A birthday scene from Always by Kindle Alexander.
“Honey that was the clown company on the phone. They aren’t coming either. I think we just need to call this off,” Kane said while absently placing the phone back on the wall mount. Avery was packing the last of the hotdogs and chips into a grocery bag, not paying him any attention. Autumn and Robert were bundled up head to toe in their matching snowsuits and snow boots. They stood waiting by the garage door, both children stood staring up at Avery. Uncertainty, as well as maybe some disappointment was clear in their eyes. Kane couldn’t help his small smile as he looked over at their children. Avery had even added decorative birthday party hats on top of their already tied hoods.
Today was their sixth birthday party and a late in the season snow storm was just beginning to blow in. The giant tent, ponies and caterer had already canceled this morning as the unexpected, unwanted storm began to build outside.
“We don’t need that stuff! We got this birthday party thing down! It’s not every day you’re children turn six years old!” Avery declared, grabbing the bag and the juice boxes, heading toward them. “We’re the Adams! We don’t need anything but ourselves to make this a great birthday party! Right?”
No one answered as Avery walked past and opened the garage door, letting the ice cold air inside chilling them all.
“Let’s go! Pile in the truck for birthday party time!”
“Incoming, Robert! Watch yourself!” Avery yelled, diving in front of Robert, taking him off his feet seconds before a snowball would have hit him squarely in the face. Avery tried for a tuck and roll, letting the next snowball hit him. That was one thing he’d taught Autumn – take no prisoners and his sneaky little daughter had let Granddaddy Paulie and Kane distract Robert while she came in from the side.
“Are you okay?” Avery asked, looking down at Robert’s face, wiping away the snow that had landed there when they rolled.
“Yes! Thanks Dad!” Robert’s face beamed happily up at him. The moment stole his heart and he bent in placing a quick kiss on his son’s forehead.
“Good. Now we gotta get them back!” Avery started to stand only to have Autumn suddenly jump on his back and the snowball in her hand smacked him in the face. She’d watched him pull that same move on Kane when they first got to the park today and now she was getting him back.
“We Win! Daddy we Win!” Autumn yelled and Avery took the moment for his own surprise attack, carefully flipping his daughter over and dabbing her with just a little snow in the face. Her grin matched Robert’s who was still down beside her. He quickly kissed her forehead and brought them both to their feet.
“I think we still won, right Daddy?” Autumn asked. Her long blonde hair was slipping free of her hood and her bright red cheeks glowed as she ran toward Kane and Paulie who were making their way back over to them.
“You did real good, baby. They never saw you coming!” Autumn launched herself into Kane’s arms where he hauled her up, settling her on his side.
“I think Granddaddy Paulie needs to be on our team next time. Autumn doesn’t need any help planning her strategies out,” Avery said, laughing as they met in the middle, close to the small tent he had erected when they first arrived. The portable heater was keeping it warm, but so far they hadn’t needed the relief for anyone except Kennedy who hadn’t ventured out for the snow ball fight.
“Mom, are the hotdogs ready?” Avery yelled. She didn’t even lift the flap to respond, she just yelled back.
“If you like them black on one side, I’ve got them ready!” Autumn reached out for Avery and he took her as they made their way to the tent.
“I don’t like black on my hotdog,” she whispered in his ear. And the move Autumn had just pulled now made sense. Avery wouldn’t make her eat the hotdog where Kane would make her at least take a bite. Robert was right there beside them, working hard to keep up in the snow. He slid his hand in Avery’s and tugged.
“I don’t like black on my hotdog either, Dad,” he said. They had double teamed him! He looked over his shoulder to see if Kane had heard any part of their exchange. Apparently he had because he was already shaking his head no. Now he was in a spot. Avery knew Kane wanted him to say they needed to at least try and eat the food, but his babies were only six years old one time in their lives. Ignoring Kane he gave the declaration as he flipped open the tent.
“Mom, we’re forgoing the dogs and going straight for the birthday cake!”
“Whatever they want, but get inside here quick and close that flap. It’s too cold out there.” Autumn and Robert both squealed in delight, dessert before lunch never happened! Avery held the tent open for Paulie as he ducked in, but closed it as Kane got closer.
“Don’t be mad,” Avery started. Kane had always watched their diets so closely. He knew those hotdogs weren’t just run of the mill, grocery store wieners. They were quite possibly handmade chicken hotdogs from a health food store Kane had found.
“You should have at least made them t…” Kane started but was stopped by Avery’s kiss on his lips.
“It’s their birthday.” Avery smiled at Kane’s slightly upturned face and leaned down to kiss Kane again.
“Their kissing again!” Autumn called out. Avery looked down to see her face sticking out of the flap. Her hood was off, her hair a crazy blonde mess, but her smile took his heart.
“Of course they are,” Paulie’s gravelly voiced boomed out.
“Come on! This is the best birthday ever! Nonnie has the cake ready.” The last part came out as a squeal and the tent flapped shut.
“How could I say no to that? “ Avery asked, lifting the tent for Kane.
“You need to learn how,” Kane said, ducking under the flap. Avery made sure he hid as he slid his hand down Kane’s ass cheek, only to get the are–you-serious glare in return from his husband. But in his defense, there weren’t too many times Kane’s ass stuck up in the air like that without him being prepared for more. Avery shrugged and gave a chuckle as he followed Kane inside the warm tent.
Born to a prestigious political family, Avery Adams plays as hard as he works. The gorgeous, charismatic attorney is used to getting what he wants, even the frequent one-night stands that earn him his well-deserved playboy reputation. When some of the most prominent men in politics suggest he run for senate, Avery decides the time has come to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. With a strategy in place and the campaign wheels rolling, Avery is ready to jump on the legislative fast track, full steam ahead. But no amount of planning prepares him for the handsome, uptight restaurateur who might derail his political future.
Easy isn’t even in the top thousand words to describe Kane Dalton’s life after his father, a devout southern Baptist minister, kicks him out of the family home for questioning his sexual orientation. Despite all the rotten tomatoes life throws his way, Kane makes something of himself. Between owning a thriving upscale Italian restaurant in the heart of downtown Minneapolis and managing his long-term boyfriend, his plate is full. He struggles to get past the teachings of his childhood to fully accept his sexuality and rid himself of the doubts brought on by his religious upbringing. The last thing he needs is the yummy, sophisticated, blond-haired distraction sitting at table thirty-four.