When the sun rose, Michael and I had to convince a reluctant Liam to head out to work. My brother accompanied me to a domestic violence restraining order clinic, and we began the application for a temporary restraining order. We were then assigned to a court and handed the paperwork over to the Bailiff.

In the days that followed, everything felt like a whirlwind to me. I had to explain my situation at work, with family, and with friends. The paperwork was processed, and Kris was served. We attended a court hearing that Locklear never showed up to, which actually made it easier for the restraining order to be granted, especially after Michael and Liam testified. After that, I needed to have a copy of the restraining order with me at all times, which I was more than willing to do.

I had taken the week off so that I could focus on the situation at hand with Kris, paperwork, and court. Michael never left my side and Liam came by every day to eat dinner with us and to give his support. To help distract me, the auburn-haired man took me out on more dates.

Our third official date consisted of a movie. I then spent the night at his apartment over the weekend, which I had fully taken advantage of. Though we didn't go too far when it came to physical intimacy, I managed to convince him to have a little more physical intimacy than usual. Our fourth official date was a wine and dine in the middle of the following work week. Our fifth, and final, 'official' date would be Friday since it was a day we both had off. We decided to go on a picnic at the state park.

"I never would have taken you for a hiker," Liam responded when I gave him my suggestion as to where we should go.

"I'm not," I explained. "The beginner paths are fine, though. My family and I used to go to the park once every couple of months. Walking in the shade of trees for twenty minutes isn't very tiring, especially not when it's towards the picnic area."

"That sounds great," the auburn-haired man replied. "When should I come over?"

"Around ten. We can walk for a bit, have our picnic," I answered. "And afterward, we could relax and watch movies in your apartment. Is that ok?" I saw his throat's movements as he gulped hard and it made a mischievous smile form on my face.

"Y-yeah, that'd be fine," Liam stated with some difficulty. "Would you be sleeping over, as well?"

I draped my arms over his shoulders as my smile became downright feral. "Since you just invited me, yes. I'll bring enough clothes for the weekend."

"Wait, the whole weekend?" the taller man's voice wavered. "Again?"

"You don't want to spend that much time together?" I questioned in my best innocent tone of voice.

"Of course I do, I just didn't think…will Michael be alright by himself for another weekend?" He asked aloud as if he were grasping at straws.

"Mike prefers not walking in on any of our activities," I pointed out. Though the two of us hadn't done anything too risky, there was one day that Michael had entered the kitchen while I was seated on the counter trying to swallow Liam's tongue with my legs wrapped around his waist. The college student had shrieked something along the lines of not being prepared to see that first thing in the morning.

"Good point," Liam agreed.

"It's settled, then," I practically purred as I gave him a firm kiss on the lips. "I'll be waiting for you in the morning."


"So, are you gonna take the black silk boxers with you?" Michael teased after I got home from work that night and began to prepare for the picnic and sleepover.

"How did-" I questioned with a frown before shaking my head. "You need to stop reading my journal."

"I haven't been reading it at all lately!" Michael confessed. "The undies thing was in a very old entry I read years ago. And seeing as how we're all creatures of habit…I merely guessed."

"Not that it's any of your business, no I'm not," I replied with a weary sigh.

"Either way, have fun sleeping over at Liam's!" Mike concluded with a devious smile. "Don't forget to bring protection! Anything chocolate-flavored would do since Liam's as much of a chocoholic as I am."

"One of these days, Michael, you're going to come across someone you really like," I warned. "When that day comes, I will show you no mercy. I have copies of your baby photos on my phone and on a protected folder in my laptop."

Michael gasped. "You wouldn't," he countered.

"I absolutely would," I countered. "So, you better watch out."

An exaggerated, comical pout formed on Michael's lips. "Fine, I solemnly swear that I'll never read your journal again…unless you're kidnapped or murdered or something."

"Kidnapped or murdered?"

"Yeah, cause then I'd have to read the journal in case there are any clues," he reasoned adamantly. "No one kidnaps or kills one of my brothers and gets away with it."

I hugged the twenty-year-old from behind the couch and pressed a kiss to the top of his head. "Did I ever thank you for all of your help in the last month? Especially at court?" I prompted.

"Twice!" Michael admitted with a cheeky grin. After a moment of comfortable silence, his voice took on a more serious tone. "By the way, when are you gonna introduce Liam to the rest of the fam?"

"After this weekend," I answered. "When Liam makes his decision."

"I thought the whole point of the 'five dates' thing was for you to make your decision."

"…I'm going to toss in some of the pictures of you cross-dressing along with the baby ones," I declared in response.

"Hey, now that's downright abuse!" Mike argued with a blushing face.

"You don't have a physical journal. Besides, a picture says a thousand words…" I teased.

"But, it's not like I'm telling anyone about what I've read!" the college student insisted. "Only you."

"Then I'll consider it insurance," I said as I held back a snicker.

"If you ask me, I think he's great for you," Michael replied in a more serious tone of voice. "When it comes to playing around and having fun, Liam and I are more alike than I'd care to admit. But, anyone can see just how much he cares about you."

Though I had been expecting my brother to say something along those lines, I didn't expect it to be so soon. After all, it had only been a month since he started to get to know Liam, compared to the years I spent in denial. In a way, Liam and I had been partners and friends long before we ever began to date. But, to be honest, Michael's opinion mattered a great deal to me. I felt a warmth deep in my chest at the thought of my brother wanting me to be happy.

"Seriously, every time he looks at you he has this dopey lovestruck expression on his face," Mike continued in a teasing tone. "And it's not like anyone can tell him about it since his light brown eyes are so glued to your face that he doesn't know what anyone else is doing around him."

…and with that statement, all the warm and fuzzy feelings dissipated. So, I gave the young man a flick in the back of his ear.

"Ow! But, it's true!"


Liam held the basket, and I held two bags as the two of us made our way to the picnic area we had chosen. The weather was perfect. The trees shaded us from the hot sun.

We passed an elderly couple halfway into our path, but since it was still a weekday, we came across no one else. Our conversation was light as we talked about our childhood memories and the parks that we visited in the past.

"…and my cousin got so stuck that we had to ask an adult to try to lift her back out!" Liam concluded. "I couldn't stop laughing. I think her tears were only due to embarrassment rather than any actual pain."

"My siblings and I knew better than to try to get into the toddler swings when we were too big for them. Our problems were always featured around the slides," I admitted. "We'd burn our thighs, get stuck halfway down, and the sillier ones would bash their faces into them trying to climb up the wrong end."

"That sounds like something Michael would do," Liam pointed out with a grin.

I shook my head. "Actually, it was Antoine. Michael's weakness was always the monkey bars. We'd always find him dangling like a bat from them," I continued. "One time, he was wearing one of Antione's shirts, which was too big on him. When he dangled on the bars, the shirt slid right off his head onto our sister Cara, below. Cara never stopped laughing even when we were in the car on our way home."

"What about you?" Liam asked. "What was your favorite?"

"The big kid swings," I responded. "Even when I was so small that the seat flipped up on either side of me."

"Mine's a toss-up between the see-saws and the merry-go-rounds," Liam confessed. "Even though both were equally as dangerous." He added with a throaty laugh.

Before we knew it, we arrived at the clearing. The picnic area we chose had a roof and four tables, along with a grill. We set our bags and the basket on top of one of them.

Liam caught sight of a large, metal bench swing a few yards away and nodded in that direction. We left the bags at the table and walked over to it. He sat down on one end of it first and took hold of my hand as I sat down next to him.

The swing faced towards a lake. The view was quite peaceful. I felt Liam shifting beside me. He let go of my hand and wrapped his arm around my shoulders, urging me closer. I peered up at him, but his gaze was set on the scenery in front of us. In spite of myself, I studied the shape of his chin and cheekbones. He wasn't as gorgeous as a model, and neither was I. But, my heart skipped a beat whenever his honey-hued eyes met mine. I felt joy whenever I got him to smile.

A part of me started to understand what Michael had meant about looking lovestruck. Through my enamored eyes, Liam was goddamn beautiful.

As if he couldn't stand the weight of my gaze any longer, the auburn-haired man glanced at me. I smiled at him and wrapped my arms around his midsection in a hug. He gave me a warm kiss in return, one that I felt down to my toes. I don't know if he was the one that pulled me closer or if I was the one who moved first. But, I ended up straddling his lap and all but eating at his mouth. It wasn't until I began to grind harder against him that he finally stopped me. We were both quite aware of our growing arousal. But, I was clearly less concerned about any possible accidents than he was.

In the clear daylight, I was able to study the flecks of golden brown in his eyes and his freckles. He seemed to be studying my face, as well. The words escaped my lips before I realized it.

"Move in with me," I suggested. As his eyes widened in surprise, I continued before I lost my resolve. "Meet the rest of my family. Forget this five-date agreement already…"

Before I was able to continue, I felt his fingers digging into the back of my head as I was pulled into another kiss. Since he initiated it, I conceded the control. As eager as my body was to respond, I realized that I was genuinely happy. When we pulled away, I noticed that Liam seemed to be just as content.

"Then, Seth," he prompted. "Will you officially be my boyfriend, my partner, from here on out?"

"You really enjoy the sound of the word 'official,' don't you?" I teased. "It's not like we're getting married or anything."

I couldn't quite read the expression that formed on Liam's face after that.

"You really wouldn't mind?" the redhead questioned.

"Mind what?"

"Marrying me some day?" Liam clarified.

The blush that rose to my cheeks reminded me of horrible nubile teenage moments of embarrassment that I swore I had outgrown by then. "Well, I'm not entirely against the idea," I admitted. "Ask me again how I feel about it some three years from now."

I saw the determined glint that formed in his eyes, and I let out a groan of defeat.

"Liam, I swear…" I grumbled. "That wasn't a deadline or anything."

The wide smirk that formed on his face did nothing to hide the determination in those honey-hued eyes.

"Why do you have to take everything I say so literally!?"


By the time we left the park, it was around two in the afternoon. We went straight to Liam's apartment, where we played a few games, took turns taking showers, and cuddled together in night clothes to watch a TV show. I was in pajamas and Liam wore a soft white shirt and pajama bottoms. A part of me was a bit disappointed. I knew for a fact that Liam generally only wore boxers to bed. So, he seemed to think that the pajama pants and the shirt were an added layer of safety.

He couldn't be more wrong.

"I'm afraid to ask what you're thinking."

The words drew me out of my devious brainstorming long enough to glance over at him. "Hmm?"

Liam took a deep breath before he responded. "What are you thinking about?" He asked hesitantly.

"How to get into your pants," I replied frankly.

"I thought we agreed to wait until the tests come back," Liam reasoned. The two of us had gotten tested some weeks prior, and we wouldn't have the results of the final set for another month or so.

I scowled at him. "Let me rephrase that," I countered. "I'm thinking about carefully molesting the hell out of you until I see you cum again."

"Why does it feel like groping's similar to a gateway drug for you?" Liam replied with a laugh.

"Because it's closer to the truth than I care to admit," I agreed. "It's just been such a long time, and you were so amazing that last time…if I promise not to go too far or do anything stupid, would it be ok?"

"A part of me wonders what you were like in your college years," the brown-eyed man admitted. "Another part of me wants to remain in blissful ignorance about your past experiences."

"Oh, I was a bit of a nymph," I responded shamelessly. "But, I'm always faithful to the person I'm with." A slight frown formed on my face as a flickering thought of Kris crossed my mind. "The same couldn't be said about some of my past partners."

Liam tugged me closer against him and pressed a kiss to my temple. "I feel the same way you do," he said. "A relationship built on lies and deceit isn't healthy."

I nodded solemnly before breaking the mood. "That's why I'm warning you up front," I replied. "You might have to sleep with one eye open tonight. My hands have a mind of their own sometimes."

The sigh of defeat that followed that statement made me laugh.


I could quite literally see the blinds of my parents' house held open by fingers as we pulled up to the garage. I assumed it was my mother, sister, and middle brother. When Liam and I approached the door, I heard the stomping of several feet and wondered if my siblings were fighting over who got to open the door first. Liam's finger froze halfway into reaching for the doorbell when it swung open, and my grey-eyed sister stood in its place.

"Welcome home!" Cara greeted as she launched herself into my arms.

I hugged her just as tightly as she hugged me. "I'll make proper introductions when we get inside," I urged as the three of us walked in. "Everyone, this is Liam. Liam, this is my sister Cara," I continued as I motioned towards the brunette. "My middle brother, Antoine, my parents, and you already know Michael."

Cara ignored the hand Liam offered and gave him a quick hug. "Welcome to the family," she whispered, though the sound carried to their ears.

Antoine gave Liam a normal-looking handshake. He had the fairest skin out of all the siblings, which made his blue eyes and brown hair stand out in contrast. But, he was also the shortest.

My parents also gave Liam a handshake. My father's had dark brown hair and grey eyes, and my mother had medium brown hair and blue eyes.

"Pleasure to meet you," Liam concluded his greeting from person to person. He turned towards my dad. "I wanted to take the opportunity to ask for your permission to date your son."

Michael broke the tense silence that immediately followed by laughing. "See? Told you guys he was nothing like Kris," he commented. "Total romantic, too. You'll see what I mean."

"Mike!" I hissed in warning.

"What? They're gonna love him!" Michael defended.

In spite of my concerns, there weren't many awkward moments, if at all, during the dinner with my family. Liam sat across from me with Antoine on his left and Michael on his right, who helped him keep the conversation going. Overall, it had been quite nice.

As I hugged my family members goodbye later that night, I saved Michael for last. He had moved out immediately when he found out that Liam planned on moving in with me. Though he was as mischievous as could be, I missed having him around constantly.

"It's good to see you so happy," he whispered into my ear as he gave me a tight hug.

I mouthed the words 'thank you' to him before Liam, and I made our way back to the car.

"So, what did you and my father talk about after dinner?" I asked as we drove back to our house. Our house…it was amazing how easily it was to regard it as such after only a few months.

"The usual," Liam responded with a half-smirk. "Not to break his favorite son's heart."

"My dad doesn't play favorites," I argued.

"As far as you know, he doesn't," the other man pointed out.

As I glanced out the window, I thought of the week ahead.

"Are you going to allow me to congratulate you on your promotion?" I taunted. Our test results had finally arrived on Wednesday, but Liam had insisted on waiting until the weekend. The day before was a Tuesday staff meeting in which he had been officially promoted as the director of his own department.

"No," Liam responded. "I don't want our first time together to be attached to any specific event."

"How much longer are you going to make me wait, Liam?" I whispered.

A smirk formed on the auburn-haired man's face. "About ten more minutes."

I glanced over at him, confused. Hadn't he just said he didn't want our first time to correlate with an event?

"We are going to make love for the sake of exploring one another further," Liam elaborated, his voice falling a sultry octave. "Not because of some promotion."

I tried not to squirm or adjust myself. "Well, I'm not sorry for anything I've done in the meantime," I stated.

"If you can't walk properly at work Monday morning," Liam replied. "It's because you've brought it upon yourself."

I couldn't help the devious grin that formed on my face. "If I can't walk properly Monday morning, I'm calling out. And you can be the one to explain why to Kathryn all by yourself," I countered.

"Now that's just cruel," the redhead responded through a grin of his own.

When we finally arrived back home, it took me longer than usual to get the damn door open. I was lit up inside with pure excitement and anticipation. The relief I felt to know that Liam had been just as anxious as I was the entire time…the feeling was indescribable. We were on the same page. We both wanted this.

I had barely locked the door before I was pinned against it. My arms wrapped around Liam's shoulders as I tried my best to keep from humping his leg like the depraved man I was. No words were spoken between us. The sounds of our frantic make-out session echoed in the hallway as we made our way to the bedroom.

The suction of lips against lips, the thumping of limbs against walls, and the thud of shoes being kicked off were the sounds that followed us as we stumbled through the door. I don't know how we made it onto the bed naked, but when I felt Liam's leg slide between mine and the warmth of his body above, I realized that we were finally there.

My hands slid up and down Liam's back as he leaned back down for another heady kiss. I spread my legs wide to accommodate him and bent enough so that one of my hands was able to squeeze one of his incredibly round mounds.

I felt his shaft sliding against mine as he gently rocked forward and backward. He then made his way lower, and I felt his member sliding beneath my sack and between my own butt cheeks. The redhead continued to dip down and back as if it were a small taste of what he really wanted to do to me.

His mouth nipped at my chest, the tongue swiping at one of my nipples as he continued to grind against me. I was so aroused. My legs were curled over his thighs and my fingers raked roughly into wavy auburn locks.

I felt more than saw Liam kissing his way down my body, effortlessly dropping my legs back down in the process. I felt slick fingers against my entrance and briefly wondered when he had coated them in lube. I squirmed and bucked when those long fingers made their way inside me.

"Liam!" I gasped in both surprise and pleasure. His honey-hued eyes were full of fire as they raked over my body and then locked on my own.

In what felt like no time at all, Liam was finally sliding inside. The heat and stretch were quite wonderful. But, the rolling moan that fell from his lips was even better.

"S-Seth," he hissed as he began to rock inside me.

My arms once again slid over his shoulder and arms. Liam caught one of my hands and used it to pin my arm down beside my face as he began to thrust faster. He then reached down and behind to lift my left leg up, causing me to bend and curl my other leg tighter around him.

The rhythm of his movements picked up another notch, and I cried out as the pleasure began to build inside. He only slowed down to grab the back of my neck with his free hand and used the hold as leverage to slam inside harder.

"Yes!" I gasped, drawing in a loud breath of air. "Fuck yes!"

My name once again fell from his panting lips as one of my hands raked a path down Liam's back. Somewhere down the line, I took hold of the shaft between us and jerked it. My hand pumped erratically as I took in the sensation of the other man's flesh sliding along a more sensitive area inside me.

"Liam…" I whimpered just as I burst all over my abdomen and chest. Mere moments later, I felt the unmistakable warmth of Liam's own release inside me.

The other man's ragged breath blew softly against my ear as he shifted onto his elbow to keep from crushing me with his weight. I pressed soft kisses to his shoulder, which was the nearest stretch of skin I could reach.


"You ok, Seth?" Came the concerned question.

"I'm infinitely better than just 'ok,' you know," I responded with a snicker. "I'm actually a little mind blown at the moment."

Liam lifted his head to look at my face. He had a wide, salacious smile and looked to be quite satisfied. "That's funny," he replied and paused to press a soft kiss on my lips. "I feel the same."

My eyes fell on a cloth draped across the headboard of the bed. "Heh," I scoffed. "Looks like yet another one of my pants ended up ripped at the seam." I mused aloud as I motioned towards it.

The auburn-haired man grinned. "Do you want to borrow my leather pants again?" He suggested.

"No," I responded. "I'd much rather remain naked for our next round."

I would never tire of the sound of Liam's voice chuckling.


"I can't believe you're already graduating," I sighed as I reached out to gently tug at my youngest brother's hair.

"Hey," Michael huffed playfully as he raked his jet-black hair back. The locks had grown long, and he recently had it cut to his chin with the lower half shaved so that he could pull the top half back into a small ponytail. "Why do you sound so surprised? I'm not that dumb."

"You're not dumb at all, Mike," I responded as I placed my hands on my hips. "I taught you better than that. I did teach you how to read, after all."

A wide grin formed on the younger man's face. "And if I didn't find fun things around to read, like your journal, I'd have gotten bored of it long ago," he confessed.

"Don't make me beat you up before your graduation," I grumbled in complaint.

"I kid, I kid," Mike replied. "Though I admit that the content in your journal was tons more interesting than Cara or Ant's."

"I didn't know Antoine had a journal!" I blurted out loud.

"Pssh, it was so dry," Michael elaborated. "Like his Instagram posts."

The two of us locked gazes, and that was all it took to burst out into laughing. When we were no longer taking in shaky breaths of air, I reached out to gently shove his shoulder. "So, what would you like for a graduation gift?" I prompted.

A mischievous glint formed in Mike's hazel eyes. His were the most unique in the family, grey and brown with a touch of saffron in a ring around the pupil. As lovely as they were, they spelled out doom for me whenever my brother had something devious in mind.

"You'll see, big bro," he admitted.

But, the words didn't bring me any comfort at all.


The whole family looked sharp and elegant for Michael's graduation day. Even Liam looked like he could have stepped right out of a men's fashion catalog. When his name was called, Michael walked across the stage shaking the hands of everyone there. Just before walking off the stage, he sent us a smug expression and a salute before heading out back to find his certificate amongst his peers.

When we caught up with him, he was giving his best friend Gigi a congratulatory hug and wishing some of their other classmates well. Some of those classmates along with Gigi herself would be joining us later that night for a reception party. We took so many pictures and video clips that the batteries on Cara's camera died.

After the sun set, we were all in slightly more casual attire. We ate, drank, and danced. Extended family members were there, as well as friends and neighbors that had seen Michael growing up. My siblings, Liam, and I led every single group dance that the DJ played for us, urging the crowd to join us. Overall, it was a fantastic day full of bittersweet memories (especially when all siblings started remembering moments of our youth and the hilarious trouble Michael always caused throughout the years) and pure joy. I didn't think I could feel any happier.

I was wrong.

Before the night was over, as everyone began to settle down after much dancing, Michael borrowed the microphone from the DJ and commanded everyone's attention.

"Family and friends!" Michael began as he waved an arm up in the air. When the chatter died down, he continued. "First of all, I want to thank all of you for joining us in this graduation celebration. I want to congratulate the fellow graduates that are here; we made it guys!" He then scanned the crowd.

"There's someone here that has a special graduation gift for me," Mike revealed. "So, I'm going to hand this right over to him."

My eyes widened when I saw Liam stand up beside me and headed over to the offered microphone. "Hello everyone, my name is Liam Lux. Most of you recognize me as Seth's partner, as I've had the pleasure to meet most of you throughout the last few years…" I was confused when those brown eyes focused on me.

"Michael's older brother once joked about a particular deadline," he said as he walked towards me. "But, I'm here to say that I'm dead serious…" My throat closed right up when Michael rushed over to take the microphone, and Liam knelt before me and held out a small jewelry box.

A part of me hoped it was a joke and something else was in that box…a key, a card, some other kind of jewelry. But when he opened it, the diamond-studded band downright glinted beneath the lights. I swallowed hard.

I don't know how I managed to drown out the wild cheering that erupted in the room, but the noise around me finally registered when I felt Liam slide the ring onto my left ring finger. The coldness of the platinum band was quickly eliminated by the heat that every inch of my skin emitted. I gasped when Liam pulled me out of my chair and into a tight hug.

"Slater or Lux?" he asked in a whisper right beside my ear.

I didn't respond with words. I merely pulled him into a kiss. From that night onward, my journal was signed Seth Lux.