Kyle and Blu disembarked their plane in Boston. Kyle yawned and stretched as they stood to wait for their luggage, their honeymoon was a lot of fun. However, they were both ready to see their family.
Kyle spotted their luggage making its way around on the conveyor grabbing their two suitcases, “Let's go find our ride home. Did Jared tell you who was picking us up, Babe?”
“I think Nan and the Judge, maybe,” Blu squinted as if he were thinking hard about it, “Jared and Kaleb were going to, but Kaleb got a big catering job on the weekend he’s got all of them helping at the moment,” Blu finished. He took one of the luggage bags from Kyle, as well as their carry on.
The boys moved from baggage claim toward the airport exit, as they were told they’d be picked up out front because of how much luggage they had. Better that than having to haul it through the parking lot and paying a weeks rent to park the SUV. They dawdled out, tired from their travels but excited to see the family. As they stepped out into the heat, Kyle spotted their SUV in the pick-up zone and steered him and Blu toward the Judge who was standing with the back of the truck open.
As they approached the Judge, he put his hands out grabbing bags helping the boys load their luggage in the back of their ride. He put his hand out to shake with Kyle and Blu’s. The boys grabbed him in a hug, thanking him. The Judge looked a little emotional as he pulled away from the boys, taking his handkerchief quickly wiping his eyes before jumping in the driver's seat. Nan jumped on both the boys squeezing them in a welcome home hug.
“My grandbabies are back,” Nan shouted, as she hugged the boys, turning a few heads at the sheer volume of the tiny woman. Blu and Kyle didn’t care they were more than happy with the excited greeting.
“Hey Nan, don’t suppose you behaved while we were gone?” Blu said to his Nan, while they hopped into the SUV.
“Not on your life, baby boy, we did buy a house though in your neighborhood. I’ll be close by now when you give us great grandbabies.” The crazy old lady said happily to Blu and Kyle, they both looked at each other, their eyes popping out of their head.
Blu swallowed, “That’s great Nan, but you know we might move after college right? It will depend on where we can get jobs.”
Kyle took Blu’s hand in his giving it a squeeze, “Babe, you know this is the first place that has felt like home to me. So,” Kyle shifted his focus to Steven and Nan, “Is there going to be another wedding soon?”
Steven gulped as his eyes got larger, “I… uh… You need to talk to her,” Steven waved his hand in Nan’s direction, “Pumpkin, why don’t you answer the boy's question.”
“Marriage, schmarriage,” Nan waved her hand dismissively, “ain’t no lack of a piece of paper gonna stop me from dancing on your fire pole cherry buns.”
“Pumpkin,” Steven blushed as he stiffened in his seat, “Can we not talk like that in front of the boys?”
“You might want to knock anytime you enter our laundry room then, Judge, if that kind of talk makes you uncomfortable,” Blu snickered.
“We’ll discuss this later,” Steven shrugged his shoulders and continued the drive home in silence.
As the SUV came to a stop in the driveway the door opened to the house, Khan shot out of it like a bullet. Jared stood on the porch watching his family with a smile beaming with a smile from ear-to-ear. Before Kyle had a chance to stand up, Khan had shimmied his way on Kyle’s lap smothering him in kisses, “Hi,” Kyle chuckled as Khan wiggled his way to Blu, “I think somebody missed his Daddies.”
Blu laughed nodding his head trying to pat Khan, who was now sounding out his greeting as he flipped about, “Woo, woo, woof,” he leaped from the SUV then ran about excitedly. The three men headed to the back to grab all of their luggage. As soon as Khan saw the bags he shot back into the house to let everyone know his daddies were home, and because they weren’t quick enough he came back to the door, “Woo, woo, woof.”
“We’re coming,” Blu laughed entering the house with the others right behind him, hanging in the opening to the kitchen was a big banner, “Welcome Home, Butthead!” Blu looked at Kyle, “I guess that’s for you if it were for me the language would be stronger.”
Kyle laughed as he pushed Blu further into the house so they could relieve their burden and set the bags on the floor. There was noise coming from the back porch, the foursome and Khan pushed their way through until they found the guilty parties. Davis and Kaleb were up at the grill, Doug, Lily, the Colonel and his wife, along with Chris and Steph, Liv and Charlie were drinking wine, eating nibblies, and laughing. Steph caught sight of them first, getting up from her seat she rushed over to Blu wrapping her arms around him.
“You’re back,” she squealed, then hugged Kyle. The other party goers all smothered the boys one by one with smiles and hugs.
“Did you have a good time?” Lily asked with a big grin.
“We had a great time Mom, we’ve got plenty of pictures. It’s an amazing country, we had a blast,” Blu grinned back at his Mom while putting his arm around his husband's waist.
Kyle got a serious expression on his face, “Can you believe their bakeries use marijuana in their brownies?”
Blu laughed at the memory, “Yeah, that was awesome, you were so ridiculously paranoid,” he said kissing Kyle’s temple, pulling him to him.
Kaleb chuckled as he flipped steaks on the grill, “Kyle, that wasn’t a regular bakery.”
“It said Bakery on the sign. Pay attention to what you’re good at I want my steak rare,” Kyle waved his hand at Kaleb dismissively.
“Well done, heard,” Kaleb answered sarcastically as he saluted Kyle like he was the supreme commander.
“Bite me. Jared did Khan behave himself since you’re the more mature brother that was home,” Kyle asked as he sat down with their guests.
“He was good for the most part. He found one of Kaleb’s work shoes and made a chew toy out of it,” Jared chuckled, “You should see the thing it looks like swiss cheese with all of the holes he put in it. Blu I’m glad you warned me to put my shoes away.”
“Welcome buddy, how was everything back here while we were away. Mom and Dad, along with the Colonel all exchanged glances, as Blu was about to call them on it, James and Teddy came outside from the back sliding doors.
“You’re home!” James and Teddy shouted excitedly, “We’re so glad to have you guys back home, how was Amsterdam?” They asked as they both hugged the boys.
“It was good,” Kyle gave the adults a suspicious look, “Why are all of you acting so weird?”
“Shithead, did you break the washer again?” Blu snarled.
“No,” Kaleb took the steaks off the grill and attempted to make a hasty retreat to the kitchen.
“Freeze,” Kyle shouted at Kaleb, “Does somebody want to tell us what the hell is going on?” Kaleb stood perfectly still holding the platter of steaks not wanting to test his brother's mood.
“We’ll talk before I leave gentlemen, nothing to be concerned about. Let’s enjoy your welcome home party?” the Colonel answered.
Kyle looked at Blu giving his shoulder a squeeze knowing there was more to the situation than the Colonel was letting on, “Kaleb you can move,” Kaleb breathed a sigh of relief and bolted into the kitchen to finish dinner.
Kyle followed Kaleb into the kitchen, “Do you wanta hand little brother?”
Kaleb shrugged his shoulders, “Yeah, I guess. So are ya glad to be home?”
“Yeah,” Kyle sighed, “We had a great time, it was fun. Sooooo…”
Kaleb let out a long slow breath, “Uh, ya, sooo… the court lifted the freeze from our trusts.”
“Okay, that’s a good thing right? That doesn’t explain the glances and everyone dodging our questions, what is going on Kaleb? What have me and Blu missed while we’ve been on our honeymoon?” Kyle narrowed his eyes at his brother.
Kaleb opened the fridge fidgeting around, “Kyle the Colonel’s son has been permanently transferred to Washington, and he wants to sell the house as soon as possible,” Kaleb stood up turning to look at his brother not sure of how he would handle the news.
Kyle’s shoulders slumped as he looked around, “That sucks! I don’t want to move I like it here,” he said sadly.
“Kyle, I think that if you talked to Mom, Dad, and James, you could buy the house within the rules of the trust fund. Remember there was a clause about purchasing real estate,” Kaleb smiled as he leaned against the island in the kitchen.
“What about you and Davis didn’t you want to buy the house? What do I do about Blu?” Kyle’s brow furrowed worriedly, “He won’t be happy about me buying the house.”
Kaleb sighed, “Davis and I want to talk to you later, but we don’t want the house.”
Kyle nodded his head as Kaleb gave him the platter of steaks and a bowl of potato salad to take outside. Kyle placed the food on the table and sat beside Blu.
Kaleb came out carrying steak sauce and cheesecake. After placing it on the table, he kissed Davis and sat down beside him, “Everybody help yourself the rare steaks have the blue picks in them the red is well done. I don’t get why anybody wanted well-done steaks,” Kaleb cringed thinking about eating the leather-likepiece of meat.
Well into their dinner, there was a lull in the conversation, Jared took his opportunity to speak with James and Doug, he’d been thinking about it since he joined the family. Now was as good a time as any.
Nervously he cleared his throat, “James, Doug, you know I respect the both of you very much.”
Kaleb leaned forward, “Me too!” Jared glared at his younger brother.
Jared frowned at Kaleb’s interference, “Anyway, I would like to have my last name changed to Jessup-Waters if you both agree to it.”
“Hey,” Kaleb bounced like an excited puppy in his seat, “I wanna change mine too!”
James rubbed his forehead, “Boy’s that is totally up to you, and both of you have my blessing. I’d be honored for you to have my last name.”
All eyes focused on Doug, Kaleb bounced around, and Jared rolled his eyes.
“I would be honored if that’s what you want,” Doug answered his voice thick with emotion.
After dinner, the Colonel and Doug took the boys into the office so they could talk privately. Kyle sat down pulling Blu into his lap kissing the back of his neck, “So… let's hear what you guys have to say.”
The Colonel sat on the edge of Kyle’s desk, “Gentlemen, my son has been permanently assigned to a position at the Pentagon. It was a very unexpected development that happened while you were away. He wants to sell the house as soon as possible so that he and his family can find a permanent home for their children.”
“That’s understandable,” Blu said disappointedly, “it’s a pity we aren’t in a position to buy. Hell even on our teacher salaries after we graduate we wouldn’t be able to afford this place. How long have we got before we have to move Colonel?”
Kyle snaked his arms around Blu’s waist hugging him tightly as he rested his chin on Blu’s shoulder, “Babe, What if we had a way to buy the house?”
“Blondie, I’m not doing porn, not even with you so we can buy a house,” Blu chuckled.
Kyle’s face turned pink at the thought of Blu’s comment, “No… I… I didn’t mean it that way,” Kyle said in a fluster, “Uh… my trust fund was released by the court.There is a real estate clause that we could use to buy this house, our house.”
Blu went quiet, his eyes dropped to his hands in his lap. The three other men in the room waited for a reaction that didn’t come. Doug looked at Kyle concerned, the Colonel sat patiently propped against the desk.
Kyle kissed Blu’s neck, “Babe, this has been home to both of us for over a year now. Hell, it’s the first real home I feel like I’ve ever had. I want us to buy this together, remember the for richer and poorer shit, well any money I have is yours too and vice versa. I want us to live here and raise our own family, right here in this house.”
Blu listened to what Kyle had to say, then nodded his head without speaking. He would leave it to Kyle to make the decision. He couldn’t afford to provide anything close to the house they had been living in, he could not provide for anyone at the moment they were just scraping by as it was. The car payments, Kyle’s tuition along with Kaleb’s. Every cent Blu earned now went to that and household costs. He was not happy about the situation but if it made Kyle happy he would not ruin that for him.
“Babe, I know this is a big step just trust me I want us to have this house together,” Kyle rubbed Blu’s shoulders, “This would be our home, think about it, we will raise our kids here in this house. Holidays our family can get together here even Nan and Steven live just down the road.”
Blu rolled his eyes, “Don’t remind me,” just what they all needed Nan living closer to Kaleb. “Can I kick Kaleb out?” Blu chortled.
Kyle chuckled, “Babe, you wouldn’t kick family out, not even Kaleb. Maybe we should limit Nan’s visits with Kaleb to non-school days.”
“Yeah, right, the woman doesn’t believe in limitations,” Blu stood up, “If you want to Blondie, go ahead. I’m going to grab a shower and put a load of laundry on if the room is free,” he said leaving his husband, Dad, and the Colonel to sort through the details.
Doug caught up with Blu in the hallway to his room, “Son, are you okay?”
Blu stopped, crossing his arms but not looking his Dad in the eye, “Yeah Dad, I’m fine just tired from the travel I guess.”
“Okay then, but if you want to talk your Mom and I aren’t leaving until the morning,” Doug said then leaving Blu alone.
Doug returned to the office, Kyle looked at him with a blank expression. “Dad, I want us to buy this house, but I’m not sure what Blu wants. I don’t want him feeling pressured into something because of a trust fund that I could live without. How can I prove to Blu that money doesn’t mean a thing to me?” Kyle leaned back in his chair sighing.
“Blu knows you aren’t about money, Kyle. As long as you don’t use your trust to flaunt a lavish lifestyle, he will come around. He’s never really had to deal with having so much money readily available before. He may just feel a little uncomfortable,” Doug tried to placate Kyle, “Look, Kyle, as long as you use the money responsibly, by that I mean no lavish gifts or extravagant vacations, he’ll be fine with it. Like you Blu believes you should work for everything. But… there’s no harm in using it to make your living situation a little better. Let’s sort out the house, I know Blu loves this place it shouldn’t take much to bring him round to your way of thinking, while we are at it we’ll pay off your car loan too. One last thing do you want to reinstate the trust for your tuition?”
“I’d like to pay college for both Blu and myself off if that is possible just to give him some peace of mind,” Kyle looked at Doug with a pleading look. “I know he worries about finances and for the first time the trust gives us a chance to focus on school and our lives, instead of worrying about money.”
“We’ll talk to the accountant, that should be fine,” Doug looked over to the Colonel to take the reigns of the house.
The Colonel smiled as he shifted forward on the desk, “Kyle, my son wants this to be a quick transaction. He wants ten percent below market value if you’re willing to take quick possession of the property. I spoke with the executors of your trust, and they have agreed that the ownership of the property could be completed within thirty days. Your final purchase price would be $475,000 plus transfer of the deed and taxes.”
Kyle had a solemn expression on his face, “I’m fine with that, but I want the deed placed in both of our names, Dad does all of this sound reasonable?”
“If that’s what you want Kyle? You two are married now, it’s not up to me to say,” Doug smiled fondly at Kyle.
“Okay, get the papers drawn up then Colonel,” Kyle smiled and shook his hand, “Dad will be the financial go-between for the monetary side of the transaction.”
The Colonel stood up, “Consider this a done deal, it has been my pleasure becoming a part of your lives. I’ll be in touch soon Doug, Kyle I’ll call to schedule the closing on the property as soon as the papers are drawn up by the attorneys.” The Colonel nodded as he headed out to find his wife.
Kyle turned to Doug, “Am I doing the right thing, Dad? Blu didn’t seem really excited about this.”
“Just give him some time son, whether he likes it or not you boys have money,” Doug held out his hand to give Kyle a hand out of the couch he’d sunken into.
Kyle stood in front of the mirror getting dressed, “Babe, Dad, and the Colonel are handling the paperwork for the house. I know you aren’t thrilled about the money situation, but it’s our money and so is the house. Once the papers are drawn up we have to go and sign them, the deed for the house is going to be in both of our names. Also, yours and my tuition will be paid in full once Dad speaks with the accountant.”
Blu glanced at Kyle as he finished buttoning up his shirt, “Okay,” he muttered putting a tie around his neck, “why am I getting dressed up again, I thought you said we were just talking with Kaleb, Jared, and Davis.”
“Well, you look adorable dressed up,” Kyle smiled bashfully, “After my lessons, we can ditch our brothers and go see a movie.”
Blu chuckled his face tinging pink, “I don’t look adorable, I look manly and ruggedly handsome, heuua,” Blu did a bodybuilder pose for Kyle.
Kyle chuckled, “Babe, are you ok with everybody just pitching in like they always have and not having rent? I mean the house and taxes are covered, soit's just the utilities mainly.”
“Whatever you think is fair Blondie, but I’m putting a lock on the fuckin’ laundry door,” Blu grumbled.
Kyle laughed, “So we are stopping by the hardware before the movie theater?” Blu laughed nodding his head. “Oh, are they going to be pissed,” Kyle kissed Blu as they headed to the kitchen.
Kaleb had a spread of food already placed on the dining room table. He walked over to the table sipping on his coffee, “Morning guys grab some coffee and have a seat, Davis, and I have something we need to talk about.”
Jared snickered, “Worried you will be kicked out for screwing on the washer?” Jared made a gagging face and cringed.
“Your new landlord will definitely have issues with that,” Kyle joked as he pointed to Blu.
Kaleb rolled his eyesgiving a dismissive wave, “Fuck off, we already figured a compromise out, we are installing a hammock to give us that rocking motion.”
“That’s just gross, you dirty fuckers,” Blu said, taking a cinnamon roll.
“Don’t knock it until you try it,” Kaleb laughed, “You old bastards have no imagination.”
“Old bastards?” Jared picked up a Danish chucking it at Kaleb smacking him directly between the eyes.
Blu, Kyle, Jared, and Davis cracked up laughing, Kaleb glared at Davis who stopped laughing immediately.
“Ok, you’ll miss me when I’m gone,” Kaleb grumbled, “Davis would you like to tell our brothers or should I?
“You can,” he said hanging his head, now that he’d pissed off his newly appointed fiancée.
“Well, first off Davis won’t be going back to BU, he’s been accepted into Tuft University to get his Medical Degree,” Kaleb smiled as his brothers sat there doing impersonations of a fish, their mouths opening and closing without producing words. “Oh, and we’re engaged,” Kaleb sunk down in the chair doing his best attempt to hide.
“Congrats Davis,”Kyle smiled, and then his smile vanished as quickly as it appeared as he held up his hand, “You’re what Kaleb? Davis, did you finally figure out how to get him pregnant?”
“Yeah,” he chortled, “it wasn’t for lack of trying I can tell ya.”
“Congratulations, guys,” Blu went to Davis hugged him then Kaleb.
Kyle gathered his thoughts and hugged his brothers, “I guess it’s a good time to tell you both that Blu and myself are buying the house. Nobody has to pay rent or anything just focus on yourselves and school.”
“You know we don’t mind helping out by paying rent,” Jared said thoughtfully, “It’s not like you have to worry about making all of our lives easier without having to pay rent.”
Kaleb reached over punching Jared in the shoulder, “Shut it, that will make my life easier. Now maybe Davis will stop working so much and focus on Medical School. I hate seeing him running himself ragged, half the time our private time is sadly spent in the laundry room while his clothes are washing or we are cuddled in bed.”
Blu scoffed, “Nice excuse.” Kaleb grinned as he gave Blu the one-fingered salute.
“Always full of class Kaleb,” Jared grinned as he sat forward in his chair staring at Kaleb and Davis, “So you two are getting married huh?”
“Yep,” Kaleb said with a smug grin.
Kyle and Blu looked around, “Did we get a doorbell?” Blu asked.
“Uh ya it was a gift from Nan,” Jared shrugged his shoulders, “I’m not really sure why you need one.”
“That’s Nan,” Blu laughed, “Blondie, you might wanna get the door it’s probably one of your lessons.”
Kyle walked to the front door opening it, “Can I help you?” he asked not looking as the door swung open.
“Ya open the door you moron,” Chris said as he pushed his way into the house dragging Steph with him.
“Who pissed in your Cheerio’s,” Kyle slammed the door shut following Chris.
“Sit,” Chris pointed at Kyle’s chair which earned him a nasty glance from Blu and Kyle.
Chris stood with his arm wrapped around Steph as he fidgeted shifting his weight from foot-to-foot, “So we umm…”
Steph elbowed Chris, “Oh for god sakes Christopher get a grip life isn’t gonna end, we’re just expecting a baby.” Steph smiled sweetly, “I think Chris will be bald before the baby is born, I’ve never seen somebody go absolutely crazy over worrying about a pregnancy.”
“Oh, so this is a good thing right, we’re all happy about this,” Blu said, “Because Topher looks like he’s about to implode.”
Steph chuckled and attempted to hide her smile, “Oh this is tame at the moment, at the Doctors visit I thought Chris was going to demand to see the lab technicians certification.”
“Hey,” Chris said with a half scared to death look on his face, “He might not be certified to do blood work, you can’t be sure. You know what I mean right guys?”
“Right Chris,” Davis said, looking at the others shrugging, “I’ll get him some water before he passes out,” Davis left the room.
Kyle stood up trying to keep a straight face as he walked to the newly expecting parents. He pulled Steph into a hug, “Congrats, you’ll make a great Mother.”
Steph had a radiant glow about her, “Thanks, Kyle, I’m so excited. I can’t wait to find an apartment,so we can decorate the nursery.”
Chris gulped like he was on death row awaiting the lethal injection. Kyle turned pulling Chris into a hug, “Calm down bro, you have a big family you’re gonna be a good Dad if you don’t worry yourself to death. Seriously, Chris, we are all here for the both of you.”
Chris nodded as the haze seemed to lift from his mind, “What if I turn out like our parents?” he mumbled.
Kaleb shot out of his chair placing an arm around Chris’s shoulders, “Chris you are nothing like your dad or Rudolph.”
“Topher, I honestly don’t think you have anything to worry about. You may not want to hear this, but you are actually a lot like my Dad. You’re caring, responsible, you care about those around you. Even when you were being forced to do the wrong thing, it didn’t sit well with you, and you came clean. You have Steph and all of us. Charlie and Liv are going to be over the moon, I really don’t think you’ll get to hold your kid until they’re eighteen. It’s gonna be fine, just stay away from Lily and Nan, and you’ll be golden,” Blu chuckled.
Chris had a genuine smile on his face as he looked at Blu, “I hope I am like your Dad, he has proven how much he loves each of us in his own way.”
“Well for Christ sake don’t tell him that, he’ll get a big head,” Blu smiled warmly at Chris, “Just make sure you ring the folks and tell them they’re getting their first Grandbaby, but for fuck sake don’t tell Nan yet she’ll bloody move in.”
Steph smiled as she leaned in kissing Chris and for the first time the rest of the family spotted the baby bump when her baggy shirt twisted just right, “I love you, Baby, you’re gonna be the best Daddy,” Steph said as she rubbed her stomach.
Chris smiled pulling out his cell, “I’m gonna step outside and call Dad,” Chris walked out the sliding door to the patio closing the door behind himself.
“Well,” Kaleb clapped his hands together, “Since everybody is here I’m sure you’re all dying to help me prepare for the Children's Charity. Blu, why don’t you start chopping the vegetables, you were good at that in our cooking classes. Kyle, well never mind I don’t need water boiled, and I’m sure you don’t want to show your students how poor your competence in a kitchen actually is. Davis, if you would start mixing the ingredients for my homemade cheesecake,” Khan came running at the mention of cheesecake which earned him a scratch behind the ear. “Khan you can be our taste tester,” Kaleb chuckled and received a hearty ‘WOOF.’
There is the last regular chapter of Struggling Forward, the next is the epilogue that will catch everybody up in time and prepare each of you for Book 3 which is titled ~ Family Struggles. We want to thank each of you for being as supportive as you have been throughout this journey. Family Struggles brings a lot of changes to the Worth the Struggle series, we hope each of you continues to follow along with Kyle and Blu and the rest of the extended family.