Upstairs in my apartment my brothers, and the other boys – so many children, though I was only a few years older than most of them – only Drake was actually a child really. Laker, Rider, Matt and Faelen were all sixteen years old, months apart. Which meant I was the guardian to boys 7 years my junior – four of them. Granted two of them were my brothers, but still I was responsible for 4 teenagers when I barely responsible for myself. Thank god for Alex, and Ant and Ryan, my father, and Dorian. And everyone else who helped me understand how to be a parent to teenagers.
Laker opened the door for me when I started punching in the key code to enter. He grinned at me with bright eyes that reminded me of my mother, “I thought I heard someone outside.”
Laker was wearing a black cape and white make up and was pretending to be an old school movie vampire. I arched an eyebrow at him and he laughed, “Hey it was scary before I met real vampires. I’m going to cheesy scary.”
“I think you will offend Ant.”
Laker grinned. “As long as he doesn’t eat me for it.”
I smiled and wrapped my arm around my brother’s neck careful not to smudge his makeup, “He doesn’t feed on men as a general rule.”
“Good to know,” he said as he pulled out of my embraced and fell into Matt’s arms who was leaning against a wall wearing a mouse costume.
I tried. I really did try not to laugh but the smile crept up and I snorted at the thought Matt was afraid of mice. He gave me a dirty look and then turned his attentions on the boy in his arms. Their little romance bothered my father. He asked me how I could let them be like that when they were practically brothers. Which was as far from the truth as anything. Matt was Venatori, Laker was human. There was no harm in their romance. And I’d rather I was aware of their sexual activity than not. Rider mentioned something a bout how Dad would never have let them have sex at home.
I disagreed with my father and my step father apparently. I wanted them in my house verse on the streets somewhere. At least here was safe and clean and there were condoms available – always on hand.
Rider was in the kitchen making whatever he did. He was dressed like a movie werewolf – fuzzy mask and all. His furry rubber gloves were laid on the back of a chair. “Can you even see out that?” I asked him.
He turned and snorted, “Barely. Drake is in his bedroom trying to be a rain cloud. Fae won’t come out of his room either. It’s almost party time and you aren’t even ready. And where is Alex?”
I sighed. “Alex is getting ready. Text him if you need him to hurry up. What do you need me to do first?”
Rider looked at me through the rubber mask eye holes and I could see the wheels turning. “Get your costume on and then help Drake. I’ll send Matt after Fae. He listens to Matt most of the time.”
Rider was part of the reason why I was coping so well with so many changes all at once. I got all five boys at the exact same time. We’d come back from Vegas and wham Jesse had passed away, Drake came to live with and Matt and Faelen were staying with me on a provisional basis. Matt with the Venatori and Fae well because he refused to join the pack – either of them.
Rider and Laker had their own issues but they were part of the reason I managed so well – and Alex. Alex was the main reason I coped. He thought I’d leave and he always would, but he was my sanity. I loved him, I needed him but more than anything else I wanted him in my life. I wanted to share everything with him.
My scary costume was hanging up in the closet. It was simply a black robe, with a black see through mask and glowing red eyes. There was nothing scarier for me. I had toyed with the idea of making colored tentacles out of pool noodles but that might send me into a massive panic attack and I didn’t want to do that to myself on Alex’s birthday.
I couldn’t wait to see what everyone else was. But first I had to deal with Drake – the little rain cloud who refused to put his costume on.