I headed up stairs to get ready. I still planned on being Ted. It was still a costume party, we were just going to throw a wedding into the mix. A lot less planning Alex said.
Alex was waiting for me in our room. He sat on the bed wearing a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt that simply said “404 Costume Not Found”
I chuckled at the costume and rolled my eyes. “I should have expected as much.”
“You should have. You feel better.”
I nodded. “I do. I’m sorry.”
Alex sighed, “I’m sorry.”
I looked in the mirror and frowned, “Ted doesn’t have a beard.”
Alex chuckled, “You are still going to be Ted.”
“Right on dude!” I grinned at him.
Alex smiled and took my hand, “It grows back.”
I shivered. Alex dragged me into the bathroom and pushed me against the counter, “Sit.”
I sighed but I complied. Alex pulled out the shaving kit and he went to work. It felt wonderful feeling his fingers against my skin, but the razor only made me anxious. It wasn’t distrust, it was the fact that my carefully kept beard was going the way of the dodo, and it would look awkward for a while as I grew it back in. I didn’t want to look like a child. Or more feminine than I already did. A little makeup and I could pull off a drag queen very well.
But that wasn’t me.
Alex patted my bare cheek softly when he was done. “Keep your eyes closed.”
I sighed but heard Alex pulling a makeup wipe from the box and he started rubbing off the eyeliner and lip gloss. “Ted doesn’t do the make up thing either.” I shivered. My entire person was being rewritten for a costume. “You going to be okay?”
“With you here.” I whispered.
Alex leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to my lips. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Alex left me alone staring at the mirror. The sharp angles of my cheek bones clearly visible. The bare chin was soft and smooth and I looked like a different person. Younger. I saw my mother in me and I turned from the mirror. I didn’t want to hate myself.
Hunter came in with my costume pieces and he smiled up at me. “Daddy?”
“I know. How long am I going to be grounded for?”
“How long did Alex say on the beach?”
He laughed, “Forever.”
I shrugged. “I will work on lessening that sentence but it won’t be by much.”
Hunter nodded. “I’m sorry I ran away.”
“I know you are. Don’t do it again, with or without Vin.”
“Did Vin get in trouble?”
“He did.” I said. Though Vin’s in trouble was more of a please don’t listen to a five year old when you know he shouldn’t be doing things. Thank Vin actually getting punished. Because he did what he was asked. He watched Hunter, he didn’t interfere. He helped as he could, and I couldn’t fault him for that. But Hunter had to understand what he did was wrong. And using Vin was not a good thing.
Hunter sighed, “I’ll go to my room then.”
“Nope. You will get your costume on, and you will sit at the punch bowl serving everyone as punishment. But you will be there, and I might let you off to play some of the games Lake has planned.”
Hunter grinned, “Yes sir.” And off he ran to get dressed.
“You know I would have been okay if he didn’t have to work the party. It’s our wedding after all and he’s your son he should be there – grounded or not.” Alex said stepping into the bathroom while I pulled on the sweat pants for my Ted costume.
“You might have. But he needs to know he doesn’t get a free pass.”
“They hated when I was the big bad Dad.”
“Because you weren’t ever the person to punish them. I was. You were always the fun Dad. By the way, with these wedding papers we are going to sign. Dorian has adoption papers for you to sign too.”
“You are the kids Da. Hunter, Cass, Drake and Faelen – all mine. Now if you sign the paperwork – all ours.”
I nodded. “None of them will change last names because I want them to carry on the ones they are given, but they will be officially yours – on paper even if that was already the case.”
Alex grinned, “You surprise me sometimes.”
“Am I still just paperwork?”
“Marriage is all about paperwork. Alex, we’ve been more than husbands for a long time. A wedding just tells the world we are together forever. And the piece of paper tells the government that everything we have we share. But none of it changes how I feel about you. With or without it, I can’t live without you.”
“You just did.” Alex smirked.
“Not well, Alex.”
I finished with the costume and pulled on the wig. I dared a glance in the mirror and didn’t see my mother staring back. “Woah!” I mimicked.
Alex chuckled. “Woah!” He ran his finger down my jawline and I could see the lust in his eyes. “You going to be okay?”
I shrugged, “But I’ll be okay with you.”
Alex nodded and took my hand and we joined the rest of the family just as people started to arrive.