3:13 Go The Distance

Owen was on the phone with Maeve. She loved the book and wanted him to go on a book tour with some other authors to promote the book.

“I don’t know if this is a good time, Maeve. Dakota will be having the baby soon.”

“The tour is only two weeks. Dakota still has a few months, right?”

“Two months.”

“You’ll be home in time to watch that kid pop out of the oven.”

This woman definitely had an interesting way of stating things.

“I will talk to Patrick about it and let you know tomorrow.”

09-16-18_2-19-33 AM

Patrick waited for Owen to hang up the phone. “What was that about?”

“Maeve wants me to go on a two week book tour to promote the book. With the baby coming soon and so much still to do, I don’t think this is the right time to go away for two weeks.”

“Would you go if the baby wasn’t due so soon?”

Owen nodded his head. “Yes. The book needs promoted. I am still an unknown author, and the tour could change that.”

“Then go. I can handle things here while you are gone. The other apartment is ready and we don’t have a lot of stuff to move.”

“What about the nursery?”

“I will see if your dad can help. The landlord won’t let us paint or anything so it’s just putting together the furniture we already bought. We can move things around once you get back.”

“I wish you could come with me.”

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“Me too, but I have things here that I need to do. I can’t get the time off work.” He put his arms around Owen. “It’s only two weeks. It will go fast. We can Facetime each other every day. It will be fine. This will be good for you and your book.”

“I hope so. I am going to be miserable without you.”

“No you won’t. You will meet other authors and make new friends. Just don’t go falling in love with any of them.”

Owen kissed Patrick softly. “Never. You are the only person I could ever love.”



3:12 Feeling Good

09-15-18_11-35-09 AM

The first try did not work. Neither did the second or the third. They had decided to try one more time then stop and adopt instead. They couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working.

Owen’s sperm tested fine. The count was great and they were moving fine according to the doctor. Dakota’s tests were also normal. So why wasn’t it working?

Owen heard his phone ding letting him know he had a text message. He saw that it was from Derick asking if it was a good time to visit. Owen sent a text back letting him know that Patrick would be home from work in a few minutes, but he could still come over.

09-15-18_11-36-01 AM

Patrick arrived home as he was sending the text. He kissed Owen’s cheek. “How was your day? Get any writing done?”

Owen nodded. “Finished the book and already sent it to Mauve. I made an extra copy for you if you would like to read it.”

“Great! I can’t wait to read it.”

“Derick is on his way over.”

“Okay. I’ve waited this long. I can wait a little longer.”

09-15-18_12-28-57 PM

Owen looked at the picture that Dakota and Derick had handed him. “Is this what I think it is?”

Dakota nodded as she watched them. “That is the first picture of your baby. It’s still too small to tell if he or she was smiling for the picture.”

Owen remembered that the chances of multiple births was higher than normal. “Just one baby?”

Derick nodded. “Only the one.”

Patrick was actually glad to hear that. “I think one is perfect. Gives us a chance to make our mistakes and learn before we have another.”

Owen looked at Patrick frowning a little. “You make it sound like this baby is our guinea pig or something.”

“Well, it kind of is. We’ve never done this before, so we are going to make mistakes. We will learn from them and be better next time.”

“That’s true, but let’s not name the baby Nibbles.”

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Owen looked at his parents and sister. He hadn’t expected this reaction from any of them.

Grace didn’t say anything, but looked sad as she left the room. 

Raelyn was actually angry. “You two are much too young to have a baby. You need to wait.”

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Zaiden was actually the only one not upset by the news. “Honey, we were not much older when Owen was born.”

“And look at the mistakes we made.”

“Yes, we made mistakes, but he turned out fine. He is happy and healthy.” Zaiden looked at the two boys. “If this is what you truly want, I am happy for the two of you. Having a baby is a big responsibility. I hope your mother and I have prepared you for it.”

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“There is one important thing you taught me, Dad.”

Zaiden knew Owen was talking about the drugs, but was surprised by his answer.

“You taught me that when things get hard, don’t give up. Things will get better.”

Zaiden hugged his son. “I love you, Owen. You are going to be a great dad.”



3:11 Baby, Baby

09-08-18_1-31-51 PM

Once all the legal paperwork was done, it was time for the doctor appointments. The three of them went to the first few together. Derick had tagged along with Dakota for support.

Jessie had talked to Dakota. They wanted to make sure that she knew what to expect. They would understand if she had backed out. It was a huge commitment. 

She didn’t change her mind and now they were just waiting to find out if she was pregnant.

Dakota had decided that she wanted to go to this appointment without them. Derick was going with her. They had promised to call as soon as they left the appointment.

Patrick took Owen’s hands in his. “You need to relax. You are going to wear a hole in the floor.” 

“What if it didn’t work?”

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“Then we try again. You are worrying for nothing. It worked. You just have to think positive.”

“I’m trying. There’s just so many things that can go wrong.”

Patrick’s phone rang. Owen watched as he checked the ID. “Is it them?”

Patrick shook his head. “It is my grandmother. I will call her back after Dakota and Derick call.” He sat down on the sofa and pulled Owen down beside him. “We need to find something to distract you until they call.”

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Owen kissed him softly and smiled. “You are great at distracting me.”

“I’m not doing a very good job today.”

“You are doing a better job than you think you are.” He started pulling Patrick to the bedroom then stopped when his phone rang. He looked at the ID. “It’s them.”



3:10 Count On Me

09-07-18_3-45-10 PM

After talking with Jessie, Owen and Patrick discussed the pros and cons of using a surrogate. They decided to give it a try. It was going to be their only option for a child of their own.

They decided to invite their friends over and let them in on all the good news. Only Derick knew that they had gotten married. It was time to tell the rest of their friends.

Owen sent everybody a group text asking them to come over to the apartment. Everybody replied back that they would be there. Derick asked if he could bring his girlfriend along.

Owen had been hearing a lot about Dakota and couldn’t wait to finally meet her. Unfortunately, not everything that he was hearing was good. Aliyah had plenty of bad things to say about Dakota.

Aliyah had been Owen’s friend for a long time. He trusted her and valued her opinion. Derick was Owen’s best friend. He had known Derick longer than he has known anyone else. He trusted Derick, but knew that love is blind. There could be things about Dakota that Derick could not see.

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Owen looked over at Patrick who was setting up more chairs for everyone. “Do you know anything about this Dakota girl that Derick is dating?”

“Only the same stuff that you know. Derick is crazy about her and Aliyah doesn’t like her. We can make our own opinion of her after we meet her.”

Owen smiled when he heard the knock on the door. “Can you answer the door while I finish making the snacks?”

Patrick kissed Owen’s cheek on his way past. “Such the perfect little husband.”

Owen couldn’t help smiling when he said that. His main goal was to keep Patrick happy so he wouldn’t regret them getting married. So far it was an easy goal to achieve.

Owen looked up when someone stopped beside him. He frowned when he saw the look on his cousin’s face. “What’s wrong, Alana?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Tell you what?”
“About you and Patrick. I had to find out from Uncle Zaiden when he was telling Dad about it.”

Owen should have realized that his dad would tell his Uncle Zander and his aunts. “To be honest, it was a spur of the moment thing. We were talking about it and just decided to do it. We didn’t tell anybody until afterward.”

He thought about the reaction everybody was having and frowned. “I just wish at least one person was happy for us.”

09-07-18_7-55-55 PM

Alana heard the others arriving. She took Owen’s hand and pulled him into the bedroom where they could talk in private.

“Owen, are you sure about this? I know the two of you are cousins. Since neither of you can get pregnant, I am okay with the two of you. I just know that some aren’t. I want to make sure you are okay.”

“We love each other. If anybody has a problem with it, we don’t need them in our lives.” He knew that would include his parents if things didn’t change.

Alana looked at her cousin then hugged him. “As long as you are happy, I am happy for you.”

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Their friends didn’t seem surprised by the news that they had gotten married. They had decided to keep the cousin thing a secret.

“So are the two of you going to adopt some kids?”

Owen smiled when he thought of their plans. “Maybe someday in the future. Right now we are searching for a surrogate.”

Alana looked at the two of them. “I will do it for you.”

Owen looked over at her and shook his head. “Thank you for being willing to help, but you can’t. We plan to use the same surrogate twice so we both can have a biological child.”

“And since I am your cousin, using my eggs would cause health issues for the baby. I completely understand.” She smiled at both of them. “I hope you will at least let me babysit.”

“Of course.”

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“What about Dakota? She can have your kids for you.”

Owen looked at Derick. “You are offering your girlfriend to us without asking her first?”

“You are my best friend, but I probably should have asked her.”

“I’ll do it.”


3:9 This One’s For The Children

09-03-18_7-42-25 PM

Owen and Patrick had decided to just stay at home instead of going somewhere. They would save their money for something else. Patrick had some vacation time from work so they could spend a few days together.

“How many kids do you want?”

Owen didn’t need to think about it. It was a question he had thought about before. “At least two. What about you?”

“The same. Being an only child can be lonely.”

Owen put his arm around Patrick. He remembered what he had been told about his childhood. “Our children will know nothing but love.”

Patrick kissed him softly. “Do you want to start checking out adoption agencies?”

“Not yet. Maybe in a few years.”

09-03-18_7-45-13 PM

“You want to wait until we are old and too slow to keep up with the kids?”

Owen laughed and shook his head. “No. I just want our first two to truly be ours.”

“You do know that neither of us have the right equipment for getting pregnant, right?”

“I know that. Do you remember what I told you about my grandma?”

“About Aunt Jessie being a surrogate?”

That was still a bit weird. “I was thinking that we could try that first. The kids would truly be ours.”

“Okay, but it has to be someone we trust. There are too many stories of the birth mother wanting to keep the baby.”

Owen hadn’t thought about that. He knew that his grandma said it was hard to walk away from the kids, especially the oldest because of the time they had spent together. “Maybe we should go talk to Grandma.”

09-03-18_9-06-45 PM

Owen and Patrick had planned to go visit Jessie, but had been surprised with a visit from her and her sister. 

Patrick gave his grandmother a big hug. He had never been allowed to visit her when he was growing up so every visit with her now was a treat.

“We talked to your mother. We are very disappointed in the two of you.”

Owen looked down at the floor. He hated disappointing anybody, especially family. “I’m sorry, Grandma.”

“Your grandfather is very upset. Why didn’t the two of you tell us what was going on?”

“After the way Mom reacted…”

09-03-18_9-07-32 PM

“You don’t worry about your mother. I will take care of her. You need to call your grandfather.”

“I will. We were actually just getting ready to go see you. We wanted to ask you about something.

Jessie looked at the boys. “What do you two want to ask me?”

“We want to have children of our own. We know that you were a surrogate.”

“Honey, I am much too old for that again.”

Owen shook his head and smiled.

“We weren’t going to ask you, Grandma. We just want to know more about it. Since you have done it…”

“I’m happy to answer any questions you have.”

09-03-18_9-07-40 PM

“How many time have you done it?”

“Twice. Both times for the same family. Four beautiful healthy babies.”

Owen looked over at Patrick. “We hadn’t considered twins or triplets.”

“If that is what we get, we will handle it. Aunt Jessie, how hard was it to walk away?”

“It was  very hard. The hardest thing I have ever done. I had already given Daniel up for adoption. Having to walk away from four more broke my heart.”

“Do you ever see them?”

“Only in passing. I don’t talk to them when I see them. If they want to talk to me, they will. Their fathers know how to find me if they want to.”

“So it was two men that you did it for?”

Jessie nodded. “Two very nice men and very good fathers. I knew that the kids would be taken care of and be well loved.”

“How were you able to just let them go?”

“I had to. When I first agreed to be a surrogate, I didn’t know that I was already pregnant. Thankfully all the legal paperwork took awhile. I was able to have Daniel and find him a nice home before they were ready for me to have their babies. In my mind, I was like I already had one baby that I couldn’t keep, what’s a couple more. My heart was already broken, so I didn’t think it could break any more. I was wrong.”

Owen reached for his grandmother’s hand. “How did you get through it?”

Jessie looked over at Meagon and smiled. “I had my sisters. If you two do this, please make sure that the mother has a strong support system backing her.”

“We will. You have given us a lot to think about.”




3:8 Exhale

08-31-18_7-12-45 PM

Owen opened his eyes and smiled when he saw that Patrick was already awake. “Been awake long?”

“Long enough to listen to you snore.”

“I’m sorry. You never said anything about me snoring before.”

“Don’t be sorry. It was entertaining to watch the curtains being sucked in.”

Owen wasn’t sure what to say about that. “It wasn’t that bad.”

“If the curtains were any longer, you would have swallowed them.”

Owen was a bit embarrassed.

Patrick felt bad for teasing him. “I was just joking. You actually have a really cute, quiet snore. The curtains didn’t even budge.”

08-31-18_7-41-37 PM

Owen attacked Patrick tickling him. “That was not nice. I was all prepared to start sleeping on the couch so I wouldn’t keep you awake.”

“I don’t mind you keeping me awake, but there are much better ways to do it than snoring.” He pulled Owen back down into bed to show show him some of the acceptable ways he could keep him awake.

08-31-18_9-22-39 PM

Owen hadn’t expected this reaction from his parents. He knew they didn’t like him being with Patrick, but he didn’t think they would be this upset.

“Why can’t you two just be happy for us? We love each other, and whether you like it or not, we are now married.”

Raelyn looked at Patrick. “You know why this is wrong, Patrick.”

“You mean that thing about us being cousins? I don’t really see a problem with that. It’s not like the two of us can have kids together.”

Owen looked between the two of them. “Wait a minute. What? We are cousins?”

“Patrick’s grandmother is my mother’s sister.”

“This is why you have been so against us? Why didn’t you say something? Why keep it a secret?”

“I was afraid of what your father would do if he knew that it was my cousin that killed his parents.”

Owen looked over at his father and saw that he looked pretty angry. He didn’t blame him. He was pretty angry also.

“If you would have told me, I probably would have moved on to someone else. You chose to not say anything though. Now we are married.”

“You can get it annulled, Owen.”

“I could. I won’t though. I love Patrick and plan to stay married to him.” He looked at his husband. “We do need to talk about this when we get home.”

08-31-18_9-42-18 PM

After the boys left, Zaiden looked at Raelyn. He was glad Grace was spending the night with a friend. He didn’t want her to see the two of them fighting.

“You should have told me.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“What did you think I would do?”

“I don’t know. Hate me.”

Zaiden looked at her and shook his head. “My own cousin tried to kill me and I do not hate him. If you really thought that I would hate you because of something your cousin did, then you really do not know me.”

Raelyn reached for his hand. She was glad he didn’t pull away. “I am sorry, Zaiden.”

“Is there anything else that you are keeping from me?”

She shook her head. “There’s no other secrets. I swear.”

“I have no secrets from you. I never have. I trust in us enough to know that we can handle anything that comes up.”

“What are we going to do about the boys?”

“We aren’t going to do anything. They are both adults. Owen now knows the truth about who he married. We have to let them work this out on their own and support whatever decision they make.”

“I hope they truly are happy.”

08-31-18_10-03-54 PM

As soon as they were back at the apartment, Owen turned on Patrick. “How could you keep that from me?”

“I didn’t think it mattered. We love each other. Isn’t that what is important?”

“I guess. I hate finding out that way though. I wish you would have told me. Even if it was this morning before going over there. I would have been prepared for it.”

08-31-18_10-05-31 PM

Patrick worked on unfastening Owen’s belt. He was hoping to get his mind off what had happened.

“What do you think about going away for a few days? A mini honeymoon.”

“Can we afford it?”

“Depends on where we go. If it’s somewhere nearby we should be okay.”

“How about we discuss it after you are finished distracting me?”



3:7 Changing Colours

08-30-18_9-11-19 PM

Owen spent quite awhile thinking about the talk the family had a few days earlier. He had already contacted the university and turned down the scholarship and cancelled enrollment. 

“If you aren’t going to be a doctor, what are you going to do?”

“I actually have two things planned. First, I’m going to write.It has been something that I have always enjoyed doing.”

“I have read some of the things you have written. They are really good.”

Owen often wrote little poems or short stories. He had several at the apartment.

“What kind of story do you want to write?”

“I was thinking about giving crime novels a try. I have plenty of stories in my family to use as a reference.”

Patrick did have to agree with that. “I can’t wait to read your first best seller.” He kissed Owen softly. “What is your second plan?”

“Since I am not going to medical school, I see no reason for us to wait.”

“Really? Are you sure.”

Owen nodded. He was a bit nervous. What if Patrick had changed his mind?

“Let’s go do it now.”

Owen was a bit surprised.

“You don’t want a big…?”

“No. My parents are both in prison. Your parents are against us being together. This is the only way we can do this without a problem.”

“You are right. Let’s do this.”

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3:6 And So It Goes

03-22-18_7-43-46 PM

“Grandpa, how did Dad get involved working for you? Was it because he married Mom?”

Tony shook his head. “Your father came to me for help after your aunt got sick. I gave him little jobs to do them. Things like taking food to my men. Nothing dangerous.”

He looked over at Zaiden then back at Owen. “Your father has always been like a son to me. He was the son of my two best friends. I spent a lot of time searching for your father so he could be reunited with his father. When we thought that your grandparents had died, your father was what I still had of them. I was not going to risk his life with dangerous or illegal jobs. After he married your mother, I have even more reason to keep him safe. That is why I kept sending him places with Daniel. I was protecting them both. I didn’t worry about your mother. Nobody knew about the work she did for me.”

Owen looked at his mother. He hadn’t known she was working for his grandpa also. “I always thought you were a stay at home mom.”

“I am. I only do some computer work for your grandpa. Now I work with your Uncle Daniel.”

Owen looked over at his uncle. “You are taking over for Grandpa?”

Daniel nodded and looked at his nephew. “Yes, and the only job I have for you is for you to live a good life and love your family.”

08-30-18_9-08-26 AM

“I can do that. I have other plans for my life anyway. I was accepted into the pre-med courses at the university.” His dream of being a doctor was changing though. An older dream was coming back to life.

Tony didn’t see the spark in his grandson’s eyes that should be there if being a doctor was what he really wanted. “You do whatever makes you happy. If it is becoming a doctor, that is great. If it is something else, that is fine. We just want you to be happy.”

“Thank you, Grandpa. Now can you tell us about the night Dad was shot?”

Tony shook his head. “Your dad should tell you about that.”

Owen looked over at his father. “Dad?”

07-27-18_11-21-29 AM

“I’ll just fill in the gaps of what your mother already told you. We were there to pick up a doll house, but it didn’t feel right. All the lights were off in the house and there was no doll house in sight. Your uncle was on the phone with your grandfather trying to figure out what was going on. I saw the curtains move in a window and saw the gun pointed at Daniel. I pushed him out of the way as I pulled out my gun. I felt the bullet hit my chest and shot back. I found out later that the shot I fired hit the guy that shot me. That is the one and only time I have ever shot anybody. It is the murder that I was arrested for.”

“Self defense because he shot you first.”

“Right. They had nothing to prove the other charges so they were all dropped.”

“Did you do those other things?”

Zaiden nodded his head. “I did and could have done time in prison if it wasn’t for your grandfather.”

“Did it have anything to do with Nelson?”

Zaiden frowned at Owen. “How do you know anything about that?”

“I heard Uncle Collin yell at you the day Nelson died.”

07-03-18_10-10-42 PM

“Yes, it did have to do with Nelson. He owed a lot of people a lot of money. One of those people was your grandfather. Twice I went to get the money he owed your grandfather and he didn’t have it. The first time, Tommy and the guys beat him up pretty bad and broke his arm. That was the assault charge. I did text Uncle Collin and let him know where to find Nelson so he could be taken to the hospital. The second time I had the guys hang Nelson by his feet over the edge of the old family office building. That was the attempted murder and kidnapping charge.”

“Dad, that building is…If they had dropped him…”

“I know. He was only dangling for a few minutes. It was to scare him more than anything.”

“Did you ever get your money, Grandpa?”

“I did. Your father paid the debt himself.”

08-30-18_9-09-32 AM

“You knew?”

“Of course I did. Tommy told me.”

“You never said anything.”

“You were helping family, Zaiden. I was not going to disrespect that by turning away the money because it did not come from Nelson. You take care of family, and that is what you were doing. I honored that loyalty by donating that money to the youth center where you spent part of your life. If you ever visit the new building, you will find it also has a new name. The Maynard Center is no longer the hell hole where you had lived.”