Chapter Nine



Copyright July 2002

{ denotes sign language }

Rafe slid off the motorcycle and handed his helmet to Jakob. He smiled as his hair was carefully brushed back into place. { Thanks. } Turning his attention to the two story house, Rafe swallowed nervously. { Why do I feel like Iím going to my execution? }

Grinning, Jakob secured his and Rafeís helmets to the back of his bike. { You gotta quit worrying, Bri. Everythingís gonna be okay. }

Rafe walked beside his lover as they made their way to the front door. { I hope those arenít famous last words. }

Laughing, Jakob turned and threw his arms around Rafeís shoulders, pulling him close. { Want a kiss for luck? }

Rafe smiled. { Iíll take all the help I can get. }

Jakob growled softly and moved closer, claiming Rafeís lips, inviting the man to take possession of his mouth. Rafe obliged by slipping his tongue inside. A shiver passed through his body when Jakob lightly bit down on his tongue and coaxed it into dueling with his own. Tangling his hands in the soft strands that surrounded Jakobís face, Rafe slowly pulled away from the kiss and rested his forehead against Jakobís for several seconds as he struggled to regain his breath.

Feeling the need to be wicked, Jakob slid one hand over Rafeís back and down to his behind. He squeezed the rounded firmness several times, pressing his fingers against Rafeís hole and grinning at the manís answering moans. Just as he was about to make a move on the area between Rafeís legs, the front door jerked open, revealing both Simon and Jim. Rafe stiffened with embarrassment and tried, unsuccessfully, to move away. Jakob gripped Rafeís arm with his free hand and refused to allow him to escape. Turning slightly to the side, he made sure his fathers noticed where he was touching Rafe and, with a lift of an eyebrow, dared them to comment on it. Once he was sure there were no protests forthcoming, Jakob released his lover and kissed him on the nose. Slipping past his fathers, he innocently inquired, "Is it time to eat yet?"

Rafe found himself the focus of two pairs of disapproving parental eyes. Hanging his head to hide his blush, he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out the small piece of paper he had tucked inside earlier. He handed it to Simon. "This is the funeral home you can send my body to."

With a straight face, Simon examined the note and said, "Actually I was planning to bury you in the flower garden."

Rafe snapped his head up and caught the twinkle of merriment in Simonís eyes. "You might want to find another spot. Iíd probably kill your flowers." He chuckled and held out his hand. "Thanks for inviting me over."

Before Simon could move, Jim, who had remained silent, grabbed Rafeís wrist. "Where did you get that ring," he growled.

Rafe grimaced in pain and attempted to jerk free. "Dammit, Jim. Let go."

Jim ignored Rafeís request and tightened his grip. "I repeatÖ where did you get that ring?"

Jakob reappeared suddenly and pushed his way between the two men. "Back off, Dad," he angrily warned. "I gave the ring to him. You got a problem with that?" Glaring at Jim, Jakob peeled his fatherís hand off Rafeís wrist. "Weíre together." He lifted Rafeís hand to his mouth and softly kissed the bruised flesh. "Deal with it."


Rafe sat on the back porch and watched Jakob argue with Jim, his hands moving almost too fast for Rafe to read. Sighing, he took a sip of his beer and glanced over Simon. "I take it Jimís not very happy with all of this."

"Letís take a walk." Simon stood and guided his guest down the porch steps and around to the side of the house where his rosebushes were. He spent several minutes trimming away dead leaves before speaking.

"I think Jim has had the hardest time coming to grips with the fact that Jakobís an adult now. He and Blair still think of him as their little boy. And because of that, Jimís not quite sure how to handle the age difference between you and Jakob."

Simon snipped off a yellow rose and handed it to Rafe. "If you remember, Jim was given a lot of grief when he started to openly date Blair. And correct me if Iím wrong but I seem to remember several robbing the cradle remarks coming from you and Hís mouths."

"Shit!" Rafe stared up at Simon, a look of apology on his face. "We were just joking. I never in a million years thought Jim would take it to heart."

"Well, he did." Simon indicated Rafeís beer bottle with a nod of his head. "Finished?" Taking the empty bottle, he tossed it into recycle bin standing against the side of the house. "The age difference between Jim and Blair was a major obstacle for the two of themÖ more so for Jim than Blair. He nearly allowed it to destroy their relationship."

A barking German Shepherd puppy joined them, nipping at Simonís feet. Leaning down, he scooped up the small dog and handed it to Rafe. "Meet Greta."

Rafe took the dog and found himself treated to a slobbery kiss. Wiping his face with his hand, he followed after Simon as he made his way through his rosebushes. "Are you telling me Jim doesnít want me dating Jakob because Iím too old?"

Simon chuckled at the sight of Greta chomping down on the rose he had given Rafe earlier. Reclaiming the wiggling puppy, he set her back on the ground. "What Iím saying is thisÖ if youíre having any doubts about being in a relationship with Jakob because of the age difference, then do yourself a favor and end it now. BecauseÖ if, later on, you decide you canít handle dating a younger man and you break it off with Jakob, Jimís gonna kill you for hurting his son."

Rafe took hold of Simonís arm. "What about me? What if Jakob dumps me?"

Having caught the words his lover had spoken, Jakob stepped into view and slid his arms around Rafeís waist. "No way, babe." Smiling, he softly demanded, "Would you please stop it with the Iím too old thing?" Jakob glanced over his shoulder at Simon and the silently approaching Jim. "I donít want to hear either one of you say one more word about Bri being too old or me being too young."

Twisting around, he faced his fathers. "You guys need to lighten up. Itís not like me and Bri are getting married tomorrow." Jakob took Rafeís hand and slid it across his naked chest until it rested over his heart. To emphasize his words, he signed, { This is the man I want to be with. Donít you dare do anything to mess this up. }

Stepping clear of Rafeís embrace, he examined each one of their faces. "Are we all clear on this matter?" Three heads nodded in unison. "Good. Letís eat." Jakob chased after Greta with Simon following close behind.

Rafe took a step forward but found his way blocked by Jim.

"If you hurt himÖ" the older man warned.

This last threat was the straw that broke the camelís back for Rafe. "Thatís it. Iíve had it." He got right up in Jimís face and said, "Listen to me carefully, Jim Ellison. IÖ amÖ datingÖ your son. And I will continue to do so until he says otherwise. And thereís really nothing you can say or do that will change that."

Rafe caught sight of the ring Jakob had given him to wear and the memory of what it stood for helped diffuse his anger. He placed his hand on Jimís shoulder. "I truly care for your son. He has somehow wormed his way into my heart."

Rafe smiled tightly as he looked up at his friend. "You have to know that I will treat Jakob with the respect he deserves and care for him to the best of my ability. If love happens to work its way into the equation, then Iím all for it. Spending the rest of my life with Jakob would indeed be a blessing from God."

Jim spent several seconds searching Rafeís eyes, verifying the truth of his words. "I hope you mean that." He held up his hand, stalling Rafeís answer. "Look, I need to say this and then Iíll shut up. I am not happy with this situation, whatsoever. Hell, if you want the real truth, Iíd much prefer you to tell Jakob goodbye right now and move on. And no, itís not just about your age." Jim sighed heavily and hung his head. "For years I had to worry about Blair getting that call from some faceless voice down at the precinct, telling him either me or Simon was killed on the job." Jim lifted his eyes to Rafe. "I sure as hell donít want Jakob to know that fear or heartache."

Rafe gripped Jimís arm. "I canít change who I am or what I do, Jim. I work in law enforcement. And you, as well as Simon and Blair, know the dangers that come along with it. Jakobís your son. Iím sure he understands that as well." Rafe released his hold on Jim and stepped back, running his hand through his hair. "I canít promise you Jakob wonít ever get that call. But you can bet Iíll do my best to make sure that he doesnít."

"Thatís all I can ask." Jim threw his arm around Rafe's shoulders and led him to the back of the house. "Iíll tell you something else. If you and Jakob do eventually get hitched, donít you dare call me Dad."

Rafe grinned. "Got it. I can handle that."

Jim returned Rafeís grin. "Shall we go stuff ourselves with the best steaks money can buy?"

"Lead on, Pops."


End of chapter 9