A Surprise Engagement
What a night. The door opened and cool wind overcame the warmth inside the lift. Kit stared out at Hawkins House and grinned. The Italianate building was even lovelier than normal with the white lights twinkling around the roof and a wreath and poinsettias surrounding the perimeter of the porch. He’d always loved this time of year. It was strange being here instead of at Hawthorne but he couldn’t regret it, even if the snow was a slushy mess instead of a blanket of white. He and Leland had agreed to stay in town for Payton since this was the first holiday away from his family. Kit grinned. The young king-consort had become like one of their own.
Climbing out of the coach, he glanced next door at Bradford House. The Christmas tree was visible in the front parlor window, but the lights were off. Presley was probably still out painting the town. Ah, to be that young again. Kit rolled his head to the side, stretching out his neck. A horrendous pop rent the air. Bloody hell, did I break it? He tiled his head side to side. Nope, still intact. Would Leland be asleep already?
“Just where in the hell have you been? Have you any idea what time it is, young man?”
Kit started, his hot breath fogged up in the cold air, then recognition set in. “Damnation, Jared.” He swung around and raised a brow at Leland’s youngest son, “You scared the hell out of me.”
Jared chuckled and slid his arm around Kit’s shoulder. He flipped his walking stick, making it twirl in a circle. “Wanna go to White’s with me?”
Tipping his top hat backward a little, Kit glanced up at the Mayfair mansion. Hmmm…go out with one of his sons or go snuggle in bed with Leland? He cut his gaze toward Jared. It didn’t matter that Jared wasn’t his natural son, Kit had always loved him as such.
He looked back up at the house. It really was a lovely house, and it would be so warm inside. There was even a Christmas tree in Leland’s bedroom. Kit glanced back at Jared. “Absolutely not. I’m beyond tired. You do know it’s three in the morning, do you not?”
“The night is still—“ Jared yawned and covered his mouth with his hand.
Kit chuckled and nudged the younger man forward, getting him moving. “You were saying, Scamp?” Kit inhaled the pine and spruce wreath certain he was making the right decision about not going. “Ahh…”
“I think I’m getting old.” Jared took off his hat and grabbed Kit’s as the front door swung open. He handed them both over to Donald the assistant butler.
“If you’re old, I’m ancient. I still remember your birth quite clearly.” He’d sat in the office, drinking and worrying with Leland, with a four year-old Nathaniel and two year-old Presley playing with toy soldiers at his feet. Daniel had been with Susan as usual. By the time Jared made his entrance into the world, Kit had long since moved to the floor to play with Nathaniel, and Presley had fallen asleep in Leland’s lap. Kit, with Nathaniel’s help or interference as it was, had been the first one to hold Jared. Presley had awaken moments later, and Kit had ended up with the three boys in his arms and lap. Kit grinned at the memory and took off his gloves. He removed his coat and allowed Donald to take it. “Is his grace home?”
“Yes, Lord Oxley. I believe his grace has already retired to his room.”
“Thank you, Donald.”
Jared shrugged out of his coat and gave his belongings to the butler as well.
“What are you doing here, Scamp?” Kit asked on his way up the stairs.
Jared hurried to follow. “I let my rent house go since I’m planning on spending a couple of months on Regelence with Nate and Aiden after Christmas. My belongings are being delivered here tomorrow morning. I’ve been thinking—“
Chuckling, Jared slugged him in the arm. “I’m glad you moved in here and let Presley have Bradford house.”
When he didn’t continue, Kit stopped and glanced at him. “You like having two old men boss you around?” He started them walking again.
“No,” Jared slugged him again, “but then you and Dad have been bossing me around all my life, so I’m used to it. I like that you’re here for Dad. He had to be lonely when I moved out, and well…I’m glad you’re here. Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome, but I have a confession.” He stepped up onto the last step and started down the hall toward the master suite. “It was self defense, plain and simple. Presley was driving me insane with his odd hours.”
Jared chuckled. “I can imagine. Presley is one of my oldest and best friends, but he’d make me crazy too. Is he still trying to play the piano?”
“No, I believe it’s the cello this week.” Presley had decided this season he was going to become more cultured. He’d taken up painting and music. Last season it had been business and he’d bought a shipping company. To his credit, the business was doing quite well. The season before that, it had been boxing. He’d ended up with a broken nose. The boy got bored entirely too easily.
He and Jared shared a laugh and Kit stopped beside Leland’s door. He grabbed the handle. “Good night, Scamp.” He turned the knob.
He stopped and turned back to Jared. “Yes?”
Oh blast. He’d nearly gone into Leland’s room with Jared here. He let go of the door. “I must be more tired than I thought. Remind me not to stay out playing cards with St. Albins anymore.”
Jared chuckled and walked down the hall with him to the next door. “Who won?”
“Payton was there?”
“He and Simon showed up an hour before we left. Payton wiped the floor with us. I think the boy is a card shark as well as a computer genius. Good night, Jared. I’ll see you at breakfast.”
“Good night, Kit.”
Kit opened the door, crossed the room and went through the dressing room door into his lover’s bedroom. The fire and the Christmas tree in the corner were lit, but it was otherwise dark. Crossing to the chair next to the fire, Kit sat down and began removing his boots.
“Did you win?”
Setting his boot on the floor, Kit glanced up at the huge four poster bed.
Leland sat up, stretched his arms over his head and yawned.
“No. I started losing as soon as you left.” He took off his other boot and stood. “What are you still doing awake?” He walked over to the bed and leaned in to give Leland a kiss. “I thought you were tired?”
“I was.” Leland wrapped a hand behind Kit’s neck and brushed his lips across Kit’s. “But I think I was more foxed than tired. Now I feel fine.” He tugged Kit forward again, making him lose his balance and fall against Leland’s bare chest. He kissed him again, this time deeply.
“Mmm…” Kit pulled back, nipping his love’s bottom lip.
“You were losing before I left.” Leland caught his hand.
“How very rude of you to remind me.”
Leland chuckled and tugged Kit’s arm. “Get in bed.”
“I’m working on it,” he grumbled. Taking off the rest of his clothes, Kit tossed them in the general vicinity of the chair and crawled under the covers.
As soon as he laid down, Leland snuggled into his side, propped himself up on his elbow and looked down at Kit.
“You really should’ve come home with me. It might have kept you from losing—how much did you lose?”
Wrapping his arms around Leland, Kit pulled him on top. “Not that much. When have you ever known me to bet more than I could afford to lose?”
“Good point. And speaking of good points…” Leland ground his erection against Kit’s hip.
Oh yes. That was indeed a good point. “Have I told you how much I love you lately.” He pushed up a little, increasing the pressure.
“You have, but I never tire of hearing it. Tell me again.”
Kit chuckled and ran his hands down Leland’s back. He kissed Leland’s jaw and encountered stubble.
Leland purred. “That feels incredible, but I think what you’re looking for is lower.”
Kit groaned and bit his chin. He gripped the firm cheeks under his palm with one hand and moved his other up to the back of Leland’s head. “Shut up and kiss me.”
“My pleasure.” Leland pressed his lips firmly to Kit’s and raised back up. He stared into Kit’s eyes, and a soft smile eased into place. The look said more than words possibly could. It said I love you and cherish you. The back of Leland’s knuckles caressed his cheek. He cocked his head to the side, and his brow furrowed. “Did you hear that?”
Kit listened. “I don’t hear anything.” It was probably the wind. “You are supposed to be kissing me.”
Leland listened for a few more seconds and glanced back down at him. “Right. Kissing.” He flicked his tongue across Kit’s lips, then nudged Kit’s mouth open with his thumb. He swept his tongue into Kit’s mouth along with a lusty moan.
Pleasure and contentment swept through Kit, leaving him breathless. He wrapped his hands in Leland’s hair and held on. It didn’t matter how often Leland kissed him, he’d never get enough. His cock hardened and he sighed.
Without breaking their kiss, Leland rolled to the side. He slid his hand down Kit’s body until he reached his prick.
Kit shivered in anticipation. Oh yes.
“Dad, are you awake?”
The door between their rooms clicked open, “I can’t find Kit, he was just—“
They broke their kiss and jerked their attention to Jared, who stood in the doorway.
“Oh my stars!” Jared covered his eyes and backed out the door, closing it behind him. “Nevermind. I guess I found him, huh? Sorry.”
Leland looked at Kit, his eyes wide.
A nervous ache niggled in Kit’s stomach. “Jared?”
“Are you ok?” Leland asked.
“Just fine thanks. Feeling pretty stupid though. How did I not know the two of you were lovers? I feel like an idiot. You’ve been lovers forever haven’t you?”
Leland looked back at Kit.
Kit shrugged and sat up. Jared didn’t sound mad or disgusted. Really, Kit didn’t expect him to given Nathaniel’s marriage. He sounded confused and hurt.
Clutching Kit’s hand, Leland sat as well. “Open the door, Son.”
“No, thank you.”
Laughter bubbled up inside Kit, and he had to slap a hand over his mouth. It felt good that someone finally knew about them. Why had they kept it secret for so long? They should’ve told everyone when Nathaniel married Aiden. Or if not then, when Simon married Payton.
“Why haven’t you told me? Do Nate and Presley know?”
Kit’s mirth faded. “Open the door, Scamp. We’re covered up.”
“I’ll pass. Just answer the question."
“Jared, stop talking through the door and open it.” Leland squeezed his hand.
Leland closed his eyes and ran a hand through his hair. “No, they don’t know. If you’re mad because you thought they knew and you didn’t, then you can just get over your anger.”
Letting go of his love’s hand, Kit slid out of bed and put his trousers on. He crossed to the door and opened it. “Come sit—“
Jared jerked the door out of his hand and slammed it shut. His footsteps clicked against the dressing room tile.
The sick feeling in his gut increased. Kit turned to Leland. “Should I go after him?”
“No. Let him cool down.”
Footsteps echoed in the hall and stopped abruptly. “What do the two of you have to say for yourselves? Don’t you think this is important enough to mention to us? How long has this been going on?” Jared demanded.
Kit raised a brow. Should he go open the other door? “Since we were—“ he looked at Leland, “what fifteen?”
“And you didn’t think we should know?” Jared’s voice was quieter now.
“Jared, I swear if you don’t open that door and get in here this instance I’m gonna— do something.” Leland growled.
Kit chuckled. This was beyond ridiculous. Jared had his feelings hurt because he felt left out, and Leland was threatening to punish a thirty-four year old.
The door opened and Kit laughed harder.
Leland and Jared glared at him.
“I’m sorry, but this is a silly argument.” He pointed at the edge of the bed and met Jared’s gaze. “Sit.”
Jared sat. “I’m sorry. I just feel like the two of you have lied to me.” He frowned. “Did mom know?”
“Yes. She knew before we ever married.” Leland answered.
Kit nodded. “Elizabeth was a wonderful woman.” He smiled. Liz had been something else. Not only had she not minded, but she’d joined them on occasion. “I didn’t mind sharing with her.”
Frowning, Jared turned to Leland. “Why in the galaxy did you marry mom when you already had Kit?” He turned to Kit. “And why did you marry that that—? No offense, Kit, but if I remember correctly she was a real,” he waved his hand in a circle, “a real—”
“Harpy.” Kit supplied.
“Bitch.” Leland said at the same time.
They shared a smile. Susan had been way more interested in her own pleasure to even care what Kit did. He’d thought her a sweet agreeable girl when he’d married her. It hadn’t taken long after the wedding to realize her personality had been an act. It took her no time after the wedding to find a lover and get pregnant with Daniel. Kit had tried to be a father to the boy, but Daniel and Susan had made that damned near impossible. And after she’d had Presley, Kit’s son, it was even harder to get along with Daniel because Susan and Daniel had both neglected Presley. In hindsight, it was probably because Presley looked so much like Kit and had always preferred Kit’s presence to Susan and Daniel’s. If she’d had a clue about he and Leland she’d have told every one and ruined them for spite. “We married because we both needed heirs. In the case of your mother it was no hardship. She fit right in with us.”
Jared’s eyes widened. “You mean…”
Leland arched a brow and one side of his lip turned up. “Do you really want to know?”
“No!” Jared shook his head. “I don’t. Forget I said anything. Yuck.”
Kit groaned. At least Jared had lost the irate attitude.
“I think it’s very sad that our society is so messed up that the two of you haven’t been able to be together. Thank Galaxy things have changed.”
“They haven’t changed that much. Our King may be married to a man, but quite a few of the old lords are still against same sex marriages and make sure we all know it by voting against anything Si supports.”
Jared continued like Kit hadn’t spoken, “You guys can get married now.” He’d smiled and rubbed his hands together. “Leave it to me.” He chuckled. “This is going to be great. A Christmas wedding.” He leaned in and kissed Leland’s forehead, bounded up, grabbed Kit by the shoulders and kissed him on the cheek. “I have to go find Presley and call Nate.” He darted out of the room.
“What the hell just happened?” Kit didn't know what to do. He was happy that Jared was happy, of course, but that exuberance was akin to train wreck. The boy was an unstoppable force. How were Presley and Nathaniel going to react to Jared telling them instead of he and Leland?
Leland patted the bed next to him and laid down. “Apparently, we’re getting married. Come back to bed, darling.”
Kit kicked free of his trousers an lifted the covers. What? He froze. They couldn’t get married. Could they? “Are you serious?”
“Absolutely. Jared is right, it’s long overdue.” He kissed Kit and jerk him off balance.
Falling on top of Leland yet again, Kit caught himself on his hands. Marriage? How would that work? Would he still be Oxley or the Duke-Consort of Hawthorne?
“Kit. Stop thinking. Just say, Yes, your grace, I’d love to marry you.” Leland slanted his mouth across Kit’s and wrapped his arms around his back, holding him tight.
Delight warred with arousal and confusion as Kit gave in and kissed him back. He rolled them to their sides and grabbed Leland by the cock. “Yes, your grace, I’d love to marry you.” He’d deal with the rest later.
© 2013 by J.L. Langley. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written consent of J.L. Langley.
© J.L. Langley 2017