“You like to paint, Daniel?” Arty turned in the passenger’s seat to look back at the boy, the teen’s dark eyes looking out of the car window. They flickered to Arty when the man spoke, and the teen smiled.
Arty smiled big, reaching out to pat Jack’s arm, his husband looking out at the road while driving. “I told you he’d be a painter! He’s going to love it at home, isn’t he?”
Jack gave a single nod, keeping his eyes on the passing pavement. Arty looked back at Daniel, his smile turning meek.
“You’ll like it at the house,” he said to the teen. “Jack used to paint, so we have everything you’ll need and more. Does that sound good?”
Daniel nodded, sitting back in his seat with his legs crossed, his smile innocent. “It does, thank you.”
Jack turned into the driveway a little later, when they arrived at home. Arty was the first to get out, unbuckling his seat-belt and climbing out of the car. Then Daniel got out, just a slight moment before Jack, and the teenager looked at Arty with his dark eyes.
“You have another son?” he asked, shutting his door. Jack was the one to answer, walking around the car to Arty and putting a thick arm around the younger man’s shoulders.
“We sure do,” he spoke up and kissed Arty’s cheek. The brunette let out a breath with a small smile, looking over at Daniel, who stood beside the car.
“His name is Geil,” Arty said, a soft fondness in his blue eyes. “Do you want to meet him? Come on, babe, it’s cold out here,” he brought a hand up to pat Jack’s chest and the older man gave the light brunette a smile before letting him go. Arty gave Jack a quick smile in return before stepping to Daniel in the snow.
“Ready? Come on.” He put a hand on the dark haired teen’s shoulder and they started walking to the front door of the house while Jack headed to the trunk of the car to get Daniel’s belongings.
Walking up to the front porch, Arty started stomping his feet of the snow, and in the corner of his eye could see Daniel copy the action after a second. Chuckling, the man spoke up, “Jack’s brother just finished the floor inside and I don’t want him to come all the way back here to do it again.”
Looking up at Arty, Daniel furrowed his eyebrows just a bit, his dark bangs covering them. “Why do you live so far away?” he asked. Arty twisted his lips and hummed, reaching out to the door to grab the doorknob.
“Well, I guess for the privacy. Jack works a lot in the city and he doesn’t like work coming into our home life,” the brunette said and turned the doorknob. He smiled again at Daniel. “We’re… here~” He pushed the door open, stepping inside the house that Daniel could already see was big. When the teenager didn’t move, Arty sighed, looking around the big living room.
“I know, I know, it’s a bit much. We really need a bigger chandelier, don’t we?” he rolled his eyes back from the bright room to Daniel, whose dark eyes looked at Arty from the staircase; wide. Arty laughed and shook his head before starting to pull his coat off. “I’m kidding. My dad left me an inheritance when he passed away, and my old job helped, too.” He leaned over just a bit so that he could meet Daniel’s ear, the teen almost his height. “Jack just likes ornate things,” he whispered before pulling away with a little laugh. “Almost as much as my mother,” he added and pat Daniel’s shoulder.
“Go ahead and take off your coat; you can just put it here,” the man turned from the teen to the coat hanger that stood behind the door, Daniel doing the same just a moment after. Then Arty grew quiet a little second after, and he looked at Daniel.
“Is this all too much?” he asked quietly, his blue eyes looking as though they were born soaked in emotion. Any time anyone looked into his eyes, it was either like eating a piece of cake for the first time or kicking a puppy.
Daniel shook his head. “No. It’s more than I’ve seen before.”
“And that’s a good thing?” Arty chortled.
Daniel gave a single shouldered shrug and nodded, a little smile pulling his lips. “Yeah.”
Arty smiled softly at the teen, but then there was a child’s yell that got his attention and he looked off towards the kitchen, which was just passed one of the sofas and beside the staircase, with a big arch that now had a little boy running out of it.
“Daddy!” Geil squealed, his arms open wide and voice vibrating as he quickly ran on two small legs. Arty gave an open-mouthed grin to appeal to the boy and knelt, holding out his arms.
“Well hello, little baby!”
Geil ran into Arty’s arms and the man hugged the boy, standing up so that he could hold him, the blonde child wrapping his legs around his father’s waist. “This is Geil, Daniel. Geil, this is your new brother, Daniel! Go ahead and say hello.” Arty held Geil with one arm so that he could smooth out the boy’s hair with his other hand, the blonde strands sticking about like he had been rolling around all morning.
Geil looked at Daniel but didn’t say anything, a little smile on the boy’s face that showed his tiny teeth. His eyes were wide and blue and he was smiling, but he didn’t look like he knew what to do. Daniel didn’t, either, as he stood with his arms at his sides.
“Hello, Geil,” the teen said after a moment and Geil opened his mouth wide before turning his face to Arty and grinning big.
“He sounds weird!”
Arty laughed and gave a little nod, glancing passed Geil’s blonde head to Daniel.
“Yeah, he’s from Scotland, isn’t that cool?” Arty looked back at Geil and the boy squealed, shaking in Arty’s arms. The front door opened and Jack came in, carrying four suitcases in what looked to be a difficult manner. He knelt to the ground and let them fall lightly from his arms, to be respectful of Daniel’s belongings, and then he stood straight with a little cough; his nose and cheeks pink from the cold.
“Did you get stuck?” Arty asked in what seemed to be a teasing voice and Daniel smiled at it, standing beside the brunette and looking at Jack. The older man had sandy blonde hair that was lined with grey, and he had grey and brown facial scruff that Arty liked looking at but hated touching. Jack gave a shake of his head, because he was a strong man who took pride in doing things himself, and then he glanced at Arty while taking off his coat.
“Where’s your mother?”
Arty shrugged, taking Jack’s coat and handing him Geil when the boy wanted him.
“I can hang it up,” Daniel said, looking at Arty. The man smiled and pat the teen’s upper arm.
“Thank you, Daniel,” he replied and handed the coat to the dark haired brunette, who turned to hang the coat up with a little smile.
“Boys, are you here?” A woman called out from the kitchen and Jack mumbled a “Speak of the devil” under his breath as he held Geil, letting the boy try shutting the front door from his hold. Daniel glanced to the kitchen as Arty’s mother walked out, blonde hair that was tied up in a swirled bun. She wore clothes that looked more expensive than the house, and was thin with jewelry that should weigh her down.
“Oh, Arthur, there you are!” The older woman made her way across the pale wooden floor, her heels clacking against the floor more loud than they should have been. Daniel watched her approach Arty, putting her jeweled hands on the man’s cheeks as she smiled to him with perfect red lips.
“You took so long getting here, I thought I would have to take Geil home with me!” ahe said and laughed, but neither Arty or Jack laughed with her. She dropped a hand down Arty’s face to his neck, where she toyed with a silver chain that hung around him. But then she quickly turned her attention to Daniel after her gaze wandered and found him behind Arty.
“Well, you must be my new grandson.” She reached her hand out to the boy, placing it on his head. He could feel her rings tap his head through his hair, and he just looked up at her with his dark eyes. Arty cleared his throat.
“Mom, this is Daniel; Daniel, this is my mom, Sandra,” he announced, looking at the two. Jack put Geil down when the boy made noises of wanting down, and then the man followed him after the boy announced he had something to show him. Sandra didn’t seem to mind Jack’s leaving, keeping her attention on Daniel.
“Hm, Daniel. How old are you?” she asked, her brown eyes looking the teen over.
“Fifteen,” Daniel answered, and Sandra let out a breath before dropping her hand from the teen’s head and looking at Arty.
“A twenty-eight year old adopting a fifteen year old. That sounds funny. It’s a, what, thirteen year difference?” She had a fine eyebrow quirked and the slight of an amused smirk. Arty just motioned lightly with a hand before sighing and looking at Daniel.
“Daniel… I was going to ask if you would mind getting yourself a snack, but I just realized you haven’t been shown around yet. Excuse us, Mother,” Arty looked at Daniel like he wanted the teen to go, and the teen looked at Sandra.
“It was nice to meet you, Sandra.” He held out a hand to her, but she just watched him; thinking. Then Arty motioned.
“Come on, Daniel- I think you’ll really love your room!” The man smiled at Daniel, a mask that the teen saw through, and he stepped passed Sandra so that he could go with him. Looking passed Daniel, Arty looked at his mom.
“We’ll see you later?”
Sandra didn’t say anything. She turned to the front door, opening it.
“Thank you for watching Geil-”
She left the house before Arty could finish, shutting the door to cut him off. Arty let out a little hum before putting his hand on one of Daniel’s shoulders. “Let’s go, kiddo.”
The two walked through the living room, where Arty showed Daniel the side doors that led out to the side of the house, where there would be a garden in summer, and he showed him where the closets and bathroom were. There was one bathroom downstairs and two upstairs that Arty hadn’t shown Daniel yet. He did, though, take Daniel into the kitchen, where it was tidy besides a plastic plate with bread crust scattered off of it and onto the dark marble counter. As Arty walked over to pick the mess up, Daniel stepped aside to look at a large, beige china cabinet.
“Do you and your mum not get along?” Daniel asked, a hand raised and brushing lightly over the carvings in the wood. Arty laughed from behind him, at the counter with the mess, and Daniel looked into the cabinet’s glass to see Arty’s reflection shaking its head.
“Well, I like her and all, but she’s just apprehensive about some things. I mean, I think it has to do with-”
“Your relationship with Jack?” Daniel watched Arty look up at him before looking away as he scooped crumbs onto the plate.
“Yeah. You’re very smart, aren’t you? I mean, it’s not hard to tell our age difference, but still,” Arty laughed and walked away from the counter to the trash can, where he dumped the plate inside.
“How old is Jack?” Daniel asked, turning around so that he could look fully at Arty. The older brunette turned from the trash, looking up at the ceiling. He twisted his lips in thought before looking at Daniel.
“You’re lying,” Daniel spoke up and Arty laughed, nodding. He dropped his gaze to the floor before looking back to Daniel.
“He’s fifty four. Shocking, isn’t it?” Arty chortled and Daniel shook his head.
“You two look happy.”
“Ah, you’re smartandinsightful!”
Daniel huffed a smile and Arty motioned to him. “Come on, let’s go upstairs.”
There were two sets of stairs, and they had a beautiful carpet that lined down them. And then there was the hallway, with the two bathrooms, four bedrooms, Jack’s old art room, and a playroom. Jack’s study was downstairs in a room just south of the kitchen, which was in the east.
“Are you ready to see your room?” Arty asked, when they stopped before a bedroom door.
“Will I share it with Geil?”
Arty laughed. “Not unless you want to.”
“Okay then, I’m ready,” Daniel said through a grin and Arty laughed again.
“Alright, go ahead and open the door, then!”
Daniel gripped the doorknob with his pale hand and turned it slowly before pushing the door open.
It was clean inside, impeccably. The bed was made, with grey and pale blue bedding, and there was a dresser and closet, with a desk in front of the window. The walls were bright and pale, the floor pale wood like downstairs, but with a soft carpet covering a majority of it. Daniel stepped inside and Arty followed, looking around at the room.
“We didn’t really know what you’d like, so a lot of it’s up to you. And since you like to paint, you can even use the walls,” the man said, smiling lightly at the room he had put together. Then he walked to the closet, where he pat the door, getting Daniel’s attention. “It’s a walk-in closet! They’re really neat, I always used to throw my shoes in mine when I was a kid,” Arty laughed. Daniel walked to Arty and hugged him.
“...Thank you,” he said, hugging Arty around his torso. The man let out a breath and wrapped his arms around Daniel in return, hugging him softly.
“It’s nothing, Daniel. Thank you for deciding to come here.”