Devon drove through Liverburg, voted so often by Californiana magazine as the up-and-coming place to live, in record time. Main Street had been decorated for the last few days with bunting and flags to celebrate the centenery of the town's foundation, with a small parade planned for the weekend. Paul's boss' two teenage daughters were going to be marching in it, and he promised that they'd both be standing on the sidewalk with his boss to support them.
Devon would've preferred to knock his head against a brick wall instead of watching yet another small town college band, like the one he had been forced to take part in at his own school, but that wasn't an option.
After he drove to the other side of the town, he pulled into a driveway that had become all too familiar to him. It had become a place that he became used to feeling nervous, in case his car was recognized. He didn't like it when one of the neighbors noticed him coming or going. He didn't like it when his name was called. In truth, he didn't like being there at all, yet he had no other choice. His fate was sealed with the secret he had let build up, like a snowball rolling down a mountain, but he had no way to turn away now.
It was six o'clock, and he had made his promise. And his excuse to his husband.
He took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, and got out of the car. He walked towards the front door of the relatively small house, rang the doorbell, and waited for the inevitable sound of footsteps. As the front door opened, Devon took another deep breath.
"Hey buddy! How's my little man? Did you have a good day?"
Devon picked up Aydan and lifted him up over his head, making whooshing sounds as he held his three-year-old son, before bringing him back down to let Aydan cuddle into his chest."
"He's been missing you, you know."
Jessica walked through the hall to the front door, motioning Devon to come into the house.
"I've missed him too," Devon said warmly, "haven't I, buddy?"
"Yeah!!" Aydan's face beamed with joy as he looked at his father.
Jessica and Devon sat on the couch in the living room, watching TV while Aydan played with his stuffed toys on the carpet floor in front of his parents. Devon looked down at Aydan in total admiration; he had grown up so much, he felt, even in the last couple of months. Devon never thought he'd be a father, but now, he couldn't imagine his life without his son.
"You need to spend more time with this little tiger," Jessica said in a warm tone, but Devon knew that her delivery would have been much cooler if Aydan wasn't in their presence.
"I know. It's just..."
"Paul. Yeah, I get it." Jessica sounded defeated, and Devon's heart sank for causing that reaction in her yet again.
"I'm sorry, Jess. I just don't know how to tell him."
"That he's a stepdad? I get that, Dev," Jessica said wearily, "but you've treated us both like your dirty little secret for too long. I've been patient, but come on, he's three years old."
"I know." Devon sighed heavily. "What the hell do I say to him, though? 'Hey, d'you remember that night I got insanely drunk and stayed over in my college girlfriend's house? Well, I kinda did the one thing gay guys aren't expected to do with girls, and now I have a son. Surprise! Anyway, Lake Tahoe this weekend?'"
Jessica shrugged. "I dunno. Lake Tahoe probably needs to come first in all that. If I remember correctly, Paul loves to plan everything, so he'd probably get so lost in drawing up an itinerary, he'll stop listening."
Devon smiled in spite of himself. "You're so mean."
"Um, pot, kettle, black, honey." Jessica punched Devon playfully in the arm, before picking up one of Aydan's teddy bears to shake it in front of their son.
"I know you love him, Dev. He deserves to know about this little guy, here. About you being a father. About me."
"Will he leave me?"
Jessica turned to look at Devon, who now looked more lost than their child ever did. His eyes were on the brink of weeping, as he thought about the consequences of revealing Aydan's existence to his husband. Jessica dropped the teddy and leant over to hug Devon, just before his tears started to roll down his cheeks and onto her shoulder.
"Oh, Dev. You've no reason to be scared, but you gotta be strong for us all, here. Aydan's gonna get old enough to ask why Daddy isn't around all the time, and I need for him to know who his father is. That involves Paul."
Devon nodded as he pulled away from Jessica's embrace, wiping his cheeks with his sleeve.
"I know. I know. It's a risk I gotta take, and God knows I need to stand up and make this all up to you, too. Jess, I'm so sorry."
"Look," Jessica announced. "In a year's time, I promise that everything will be fine. I won't be your dirty little secret; I can finally brag to my girlfriends that I turned a gay guy straight for one night only, and Paul will become the sassy stepdad he was always meant to be. Plus, I get to give Aydan to you guys when I finally get back out on a date."
"Yeah," Devon replied, "I can imagine this hasn't been good for your own love life."
"Devon, there are solitary monks in Mongolia that have had more success in the bedroom than me."
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Cranberry Close: Scandals in SuburbiaGeneral Fiction
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