Day two's story departs the sci fi realm and veers into new territory. Kyle, a fisherman, meets Donnan when he's seventeen. He has no idea what Donnan is, other than hot. He runs into him several times until, now in his thirties, he fishes Donnan from the sea. In true selkie form, Donnan isn't a forever sort of guy, but when he's in trouble Kyle's the man to help him out. What does Kyle get out of being the "nice" guy? Well, read and find out.
Sealed with a Kiss
Three sets of hands grasped the line. Three, where only two should be. Kyle stared into the murky water and tried to see who had been caught. The third set of hands on the line didn’t worry him yet. Once they’d hauled the survivor aboard he would determine who had left their assigned post.
Sodden clothes weighed down the person struggling to keep their head above water. Keith reached down over the edge of the boat and grabbed a piece of a coat. He nearly lost his grip when he saw the face.
“Donnan,” he whispered and then yelled, “Haul harder, men!
How Donnan had come to be here, incapacitated in the water, was a story he would dearly love to hear. For now, he and the rest of the rescue boat, had to get him aboard and seek other survivors.
The storms had come three days ago and Kyle, and any other fisherman willing to risk his boat, had been out trying to help those lost in the waves. His men were exhausted, but they kept going back out. Donnan fell to the deck and Kyle knelt beside him. When he felt for a pulse he breathed a sigh of relief. Donnan was breathing and his eyes fluttered open. The shock in his dark eyes was easily read. Kyle was sure when he’d seen Donnan in the water he’d had the same look.
“Kyle,” the man said before he closed his eyes again.
“Get him below deck,” Kyle shouted. He wanted to do it. Every nerve screamed to take Donnan into his arms and carry him to his bed, but he had work to do. So, he let his crew take him away. “Back to work!” Kyle yelled. “We’ll make one more sweep and then head in for the night.”
He wasn’t going back in because of Donnan, he told himself. He was as exhausted as his men and without rest, another ship would have to be sent out to rescue them.
They found no one else and Kyle wearily steered the ship for port. She would be as grateful to get in as the rest of them. The Moby Dick was old, but she’d settled into her new name when he’d bought her from his uncle ten years ago. His parents had been appalled, but they’d been appalled since he announced at seventeen that instead of coming home or returning to college, he was staying in Scotland to be a fisherman.
Rubbing tired eyes, Kyle radioed in to port to say he was coming in. Then there was nothing else to do but watch the waves and the lights of the other ships – and not think of the man below deck.
“You know they expect you to turn tail and run,” Uncle Neil had said as they drove away from the airport.
“Yea, well, I don’t run so easily,” Kyle had said as he bumped along in the old truck away from civilization. “And I’d rather spend the summer working than listening to endless lectures on why I should have applied to more colleges or taken the whole thing more seriously.”
At seventeen, Kyle may not have known what he wanted to do, but he was sure it didn’t involve college. Four more years of school had seemed a nightmare. He’d applied to his parents’ alma maters, but with no real sincerity. After paying for three other kids to go to school he thought they’d appreciate not writing more checks.
“They said you had some trouble at home.”
Kyle tried not to blush, but all he could do was hope his uncle was too busy watching the road to notice. Had his parents really told Neil about his breakup with Will? Why would they do that?
“Look, I’ll tell you what I told them. I don’t care where you stick your prick so long as it doesn’t get in the way of work. You cause trouble with the rest of the crew and I’ll toss your ass into the sea.” The words were blunt, as was his demeanor, and it took Kyle a minute to be sure he understood them all, but he was thankful for them. Kyle wasn’t here looking for that. He was here to work and forget about Will.
“Tell me about the job,” Kyle said as they stopped to wait for a flock, herd, group of sheep to cross. He wasn’t sure what they were called, but he stopped thinking about it as Neil began to speak. Kyle did his best to remember everything he was told. He didn’t want to go home over the summer.
“Don’t you want another beer?” Selma asked as Kyle stood up from the sand.
Kyle shook his head and stumbled away from the light of the bonfire. He tugged his coat closer around his frame as the sea carried in the cold wind. It would be colder away from the fire, but three beers had gone to his head, unused to drinking as he was, and he wanted to get away in case he was sick. The stars spun, but only a little, and Kyle wandered farther off.
Being from Kansas, he hadn’t seen much of the ocean before this summer. The cold, Atlantic water was a source of endless fascination. Three weeks here and already his heart ached at the thought of returning to his landlocked home. Kyle sat down and watched the waves as the clouds allowed the moon to play peekaboo with him.
“There’s a sight I don’t see often.”
Kyle broke the skin on his lip as his teeth fought to keep him from moaning. He’d never heard a voice like that one. Seven words, whispered under the hidden moon, and his body was ready for anything.
“Cat got your tongue?”
Kyle’s head swiveled up and stared at, well, god-like was so overused. The man was probably a few years older than Kyle and he wasn’t wearing a shirt. Kyle suspected he did not work out at the gym even if his body hinted at such activities. There was something wilder about him. Like he wouldn’t be caught dead in such an establishment.
“No,” Kyle stammered. “I’m Kyle.” Smooth, he thought.
“Donnan,” the other man said as he dropped to the sand beside Kyle. He was too close and Kyle tugged his coat down further to, hopefully, cover his body’s embarrassing reaction. “You hurt your lip.”
Donnan’s hand lifted and this time there was no stopping Kyle’s moan. Rough, damp fingers brushed over his lower lip and Kyle leaned in to the touch. Dark eyes watched with humor as Kyle lifted his hand to run through Donnan’s long, black hair.
“Kyle,” Donnan whispered as he pushed his thumb between Kyle’s lips. “Do you want to stay here with me for the night? Only the night.”
Kyle, seventeen and away from home, surrounded nearly all the time and unable to see to any needs didn’t need to think about it. Not tonight with the warm haze of beer coursing through him and the waves tempting him to abandon. He pulled Donnan’s head towards his and the other man toppled him down into the sand. The cold was forgotten, but as Kyle lost himself in Donnan’s encouraging touches he never stopped hearing the waves hitting the hard packed sand.
Kyle shook himself and focused on Selma. Now his first mate and best friend, she was the only one he’d told about his meetings with Donnan. Unlike his siblings, long abandoned in the States, Selma was his sister.
“Hey, you want me to spell you? We’re about thirty minutes out. You could go get some rest.” Selma’s grin was huge even though her red hair hung in limp, exhausted curls around her cute face. Thank goodness, Kyle thought, for cold clothes. He shook his head, but she squeezed into the cockpit with him. “Go on.”
He should say no, but he didn’t. Instead, he hurried out into rain whose temperature struggled to hover above freezing. In the galley he grabbed a couple cups of bad coffee and carried them to his cabin. He didn’t question how he knew where Donnan was. He’d been able to find him since their first meeting.
“The name’s terrible,” Selma said as she set her glass on the bar. “You’ll not be hiding anything with it.”
Kyle grinned, whisky glass almost empty, as he waved down the bartender for another.
“I think by now everyone knows,” he pointed out. It’d been ten years since he’d shown up in the village. Ten years of first working for his uncle, and then working to buy his uncle’s boat. Today he’d made the last payment and the newly christened Moby Dick was his, free and clear. His uncle Neil didn’t believe in banks and had insisted Kyle work off the price of the ship. Years of scrimping and living off meals mooched from friends had been worth it. His parents still pointed out he could sell the boat and go to school, though, which was why he didn’t call them often. Occasional emails kept their relationship as civil as it was.
The door opened as fresh drinks were set in front of them and Kyle caught the scent of the sea. He turned, but saw no one new inside. Why the scent of the sea should have caught his attention now, when the whole village smelled of the sea, was unclear. He slid his full drink to Selma and finished his other.
“Be right back.”
It wasn’t a hunch; he would tell Selma later when she weaseled all the embarrassing details from him. It was more like, he knew. If he went outside, then he’d see him. If he saw him he’d touch him. The thought sped up Kyle’s steps and he raced down the street to the beach.
“There you are.” That voice. Older now, his body under a little more control, Kyle didn’t make a sound. He was still instantly, embarrassingly instantly, hard. Kyle found Donnan in the tall grass at the edge of the beach and sank down to his knees beside him.
“Sometimes,” Kyle confessed as he ran a hand down Donnan’s bare chest, “I thought I’d dreamed you.”
“No, Kyle,” Donnan said before he gasped. Kyle’s fingertips were under the waistband of Donnan’s pants. “No alcohol fumes conjured me up. Only the sea, washing me ashore for an evening.”
“Then may the Lord bless the sea and the bounty she provides,” Kyle murmured as his fingers worked to free the sea’s gift to him. Donnan’s laugh made his whole body shiver and he didn’t need to coax Kyle’s body atop his. Nor did he have to work hard to get Kyle’s clothes off.
Much later, when the salt scented wind sent Kyle burrowing up against Donnan, he asked, “You’re not from here, are you?”
Kyle was too embarrassed to admit how he’d kept an eye out for him. Ten years and whenever the sea scent was too strong he looked around. How many nights had he spent sitting on the beach with only a bottle for company instead of the man he sought?
Fingers stroked down Kyle’s back as Donnan kissed his shoulder. “You’re a smart one, you are,” he teased. “Do you want a story then? Until you’ve recovered?”
“Oh, I’m sufficiently recovered,” Kyle said, falling for Donnan’s words too easily. His words and the feel of his fingers creeping lower down his back.
“Come to warm my poor drowned body then?” Donnan asked as Kyle stepped into his cabin and closed the door. There was little room to move around, but Donnan reclined on the bed, a thin blanket pulled up to his waist.
“Coffee,” Kyle stuttered despite his age. A man in his thirties should not be so affected by a bare chest. Even the perfect one in his bed. He’d forgotten the way the light dusting of hair grew thicker the farther down his eyes traveled. Kyle jerked his gaze away.
“It’s not coffee needed to warm either of us,” Donnan teased. His body shifted on the bed and the blanket slid down another inch.
“Coffee,” Kyle said again, more firmly. “Selkie.”
Donnan’s dark eyes, always warm and teasing, turned chilly. “You learned something since last we met.” He sat up and Kyle held out one of the cups, the hot splash of coffee on his hand unnoticed.
“It’s been five years,” Kyle said. Donnan didn’t take either cup so he set them down on the small desk normally folded up against the wall.
“Time does pass differently for me.” Donnan said. “We’re headed to the village?”
“Uh, yea,” Kyle said. “Are you really a selkie? I thought for sure I’d say the word and you’d laugh at the dumb American.”
“You’ve been here almost as long as you lived there, Kyle,” Donnan reminded him. The cold in his eyes was vanishing and Kyle stumbled into his gaze when the ship lurched. Donnan laughed and grabbed Kyle’s hand to tug him down onto the bunk. “I’ve done a foolish thing, Kyle. I’ve a need to stay on land for a bit.”
Donnan’s fingers worked the buttons of Kyle’s shirt one at a time. It wasn’t until his sodden shirt was tossed to the floor that Kyle found his voice again. Almost, it abandoned him again, when Donnan’s fingers worked to undo his belt.
“What did you do?”
“And wasn’t I a fool?” Donnan whispered as his hand slid into Kyle’s wet jeans. The damage done by the cold water vanished and Kyle moaned as Donnan’s fingers slipped past his boxers as well. “Dallied with the wrong girl I did and all this time you’ve been waiting for me, Kyle.”
Deep in his brain, Kyle could hear himself thinking, “Holy fuck! He’s really a selkie.”
Kyle pushed Donnan onto his back and tugged the blanket down. “I want to hear all about it,” he said before he kissed along Donnan’s jaw. “But not yet.” Donnan’s laugh turned into a gasp as Kyle’s mouth took his.
“Holy fuck! You fucked a selkie!” Selma was halfway to being more than three sheets to the wind. Kyle was bright red and slumped down in the corner booth across from her. “No wonder you abandoned me last night. Oh, I may have run your tab up a wee bit so don’t have a coronary when you get the bill tonight. Now…dish.”
Kyle looked at his whisky and resolved to stop at one. Who knew how many drinks he’d be paying for from last night? He would be annoyed, but his body still remembered Donnan’s touch and assured him it was worth it.
“Hey, I said dish!”
“You know selkies aren’t real, right?” Kyle asked. “I mean, they’re fairy tales.”
“Dark hair, handsome as all get out, always by the water, and dallies for a night.” Selma lifted a finger with each point and then said, “Check, check, check, check. Tell me about his dick.”
Kyle’s skin, not quite recovered from his earlier blush, turned crimson as he choked on his whisky. Selma waited with an alcohol assisted patience she normally lacked. He should talk to her about her drinking. She’d been doing more of it since Rory had broken up with her. Rory, an ass, had done it over text.
“Hey,” Selma said as she snapped her fingers.
“Selma, I am not going to sit here and talk about Donnan’s dick with you.”
“That good, yea?”
“Fuck yea,” Kyle said with a grin.
“I have to help dock,” Kyle said as he disentangled from the blanket and Donnan. The selkie watched him, naked and not quite sated looking, but Kyle drew on dry clothes and headed up to help.
“Was he still good?” Selma hollered over the wind.
“Oh, shut up!” Kyle said. Selma laughed, but they were too busy to talk. Once the Dick, as Selma liked to call it, was docked Kyle made sure all his hands were safely in their cars before he went back to his cabin. Selma had been hard to get rid of, but a timely call from her husband had worked in his favor. As had the quick text he’d sent to said husband making sure he called. Once he was alone on the ship he went back to check on Donnan.
“Did you want to come back to my place? It’s not too far.”
Donnan had been dressed, back in his wet clothes, when Kyle made it back to him.
“Will you feed me?” Donnan’s voice made every question an innuendo. No, a promise of lascivious activities. Kyle didn’t bother to try to hide his shiver of desire.
“After you tell me what’s going on I’ll do whatever you want,” Kyle promised.
Kyle’s little house, bought from his uncle along with the boat, was warm. He’d despaired it being such, but the woodstove had been doing its job while he was out. Kyle shed his coat and boots as Donnan, with no modesty, undressed down to a pair of mostly dry boxers.
“Umm. You can borrow anything that might fit.” Kyle went to the kitchen and started a fresh pot of coffee and dug in the fridge for something to heat up. Finding the remains of the other night’s chicken stew he carried the pot to the stove. Donna joined him, not having put anything else on, and sat at the table.
“What’s her name?” he asked.
“Cecilia. And she’s out to here.” Donnan’s hands curved and he extended them way past his stomach. “And she claims the babe is mine.”
“Is it?” Kyle asked as he stirred the stew.
“Could be. She believes so. And so she’s gone and stolen my skin and said she won’t return it until the babe is running around.” Donnan’s voice reminded Kyle of his grandmother’s when she’d spoken at her husband’s funeral. As if there was nothing to live for any longer. “I thought perhaps my father would assist me, but he did not come and the storm caught me by surprise.”
Kyle found a half loaf of bread and cut it to set on the table. Once he had everything ready he sat across from Donnan. Under the table the selkie’s foot ran up his calf. Kyle choked on his coffee before glaring at the other man.
“What are you going to do?” Kyle asked.
“What we’ve always done. Be bound to the earth until I can find my skin and be free.” The wind rattled the old glass windows to add to the mournful tone of Donnan’s words.
On the one hand, Kyle felt bad for him. On the other, well, if he was the father shouldn’t he take care of the kid? Especially since he could be like him.
“Won’t the child be selkie?”
“Ah, there’s the thing,” Donnan said as he quit playing with his uneaten food. “There’s no way to be sure at first. No offense, your food does little to whet my appetite.” His direct gaze aroused the same appetite in Kyle who dropped his spoon into his bowl.
“Then we’ll eat later,” Kyle said. Shoving his chair back he stood and grabbed Donnan’s arm on the way to the small bedroom at the back of the house.
“Why’re you doing this again?” Selma asked as they stood in the lobby to the small hospital two villages over.
Kyle’s eyes darted back and forth as his foot tapped restlessly on the floor.
“Kyle!” Selma’s voice echoed and drew several sharp looks. She ignored them. “Why are you doing this?”
“Because.” Kyle couldn’t explain it. For two days he’d let the crew rest. He wasn’t rested. Donnan had either been loudly lamenting the loss of his skin or distracting himself with Kyle. Not that Kyle had minded the latter. Still, by the third morning he’d readily agreed to Donnan’s too sly suggestion he go check on Cecilia. Kyle had brought Selma along for moral support.
“Excuse me? Are you Kyle?”
Drawn from his thoughts, Kyle looked up to see an older woman with a worn smile. “I’m Mary. Cecilia’s mother. We spoke on the phone.”
Kyle rose and took her hand as she stared at him with open curiosity. Selma faded into the 1970s printed sofa.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m Kyle Sterling. Is Cecilia ok?”
“Oh, yes. She’s fine. Is this your wife?” Kyle turned bright red at the question. Especially since Selma laughed.
“I’m his ride,” Selma said as she stood. “Nice to meet you. Can Kyle see Cecilia?”
Mary hesitated, green eyes clouded and smile disappearing. “Cecilia is quite wore out after the labor. Did I mention on the phone? She went into labor last night.”
Kyle reached for Mary’s hand, unsure why. “Are Cecilia and the baby ok?”
“Babies,” Mary said, distracted. She gave herself a shake before smiling. “But if you say you’re a friend of the babes’ father then perhaps I should let you talk to her. Something has to help.”
Her words left Kyle more worried. Would she do something to Donnan’s skin? What would happen to the selkie if he were bound to the land forever? Kyle was sure it would be nothing good. Selma tagged along as Mary led them to Cecilia’s room. At the door she held Mary back and spoke softly to her, leaving Kyle to go in alone.
“Cecilia?” Kyle said to the petite woman lying in the bed. She looked as if she might be sleeping, but when he said her name again her eyes opened. Her black hair had been cut into short spikes and her eyes were the same green as her mother’s. She was pretty. Kyle could see why Donnan had been tempted even if she didn’t tempt him.
“Go away. I know he sent you.” Cecilia turned her head away, but Kyle only moved closer. “It’s not here. I’m not stupid. It’s somewhere safe and he can have it back when the babes are older.”
“What are their names?” Kyle picked up a chair and set it by the bed. The small noise it made caused Cecilia to look at him.
“Erynna and Clyde. After my gran and my father.”
“Did you know you were having twins?” The look Cecilia gave him was likely only bestowed previously on an idiot. “Sorry,” Kyle mumbled.
“What do you want?”
Before he might answer a nurse knocked at the door. “All done,” she said cheerfully as she and a second nurse brought the babies in. All Kyle could see were still, tiny forms wrapped snugly in blankets.
“Can I hold one?” he found himself asking.
The nurses exchanged a look Kyle didn’t understand before they turned to Cecilia.
“It’s ok,” she answered as she sat up and reached for the babe being handed to her.
Kyle’s hands nearly shook as the nurse placed a baby in them. It – she - made a noise and he tucked back the little hat she wore to see dark hair. She was sleeping and he traced her cheek with his pinkie. A clang from the hall startled him and he tucked her up against his chest. He looked at the door. Erynna stirred and wailed.
“Ah, it’s ok, Erynna,” Kyle whispered. “Just some big oaf. Never you fear. No big oafs here but me and I’ve got you.”
“Do you have your own children?” Cecilia asked and her voice was softer and hostile than before.
“I’m gay,” Kyle said.
“Oh,” Cecilia said. “Then you’re Donnan’s friend friend.”
Kyle laughed, the sound too loud and making both babies stir. “I suppose I am. Although, well…I’ve no belief he’ll linger. He never has before.”
Kyle had never given it much thought. He enjoyed Donnan, but had never truly missed him. Not since those first years when he’d been a teenager. It was obvious he wasn’t the sticking around type.
“I can take her,” Cecilia offered. Kyle felt his muscles tighten as he held Erynna, but he rose and handed the baby to her mother. “I just need help,” she said as she held both babies. “I was in school. Online, you know? I want to work with computers. I don’t know how I’ll manage. Mom said she’ll help, but it’s just the two of us and she works.”
She was crying. Kyle had almost zero experience with crying women. He patted her shoulder awkwardly.
“My brother comes home in the summers, but he teaches in London and can’t be here all the time,” she continued hopelessly.
“I could help.”
Who said that?
Kyle looked around before he realized he’d said it. He was such a sucker.
“I don’t know you.”
“I know. I just…uhh…” Kyle stepped away from the bed. “Sorry. You don’t know me. I’m sorry. Fuck.”
Cecilia laughed as Kyle dropped into the chair again.
“Tell me about yourself,” Cecilia said as the babies settled down.
So, he did. Beginning with his break-up ages ago with Will and how he’d wound up in Scotland. Cecilia didn’t speak until he’d ended things, abruptly, with fishing Donnan from the sea last night.
“I never wanted kids,” Cecilia said into the room’s silence. “I was going to get my degree and get out of this backwards part of the world. Now I’ll be like my mom and stuck forever. I’ve never been anywhere.”
She was crying again.
Kyle stood and said, “I’ll go get your mom.”
He felt bad about fleeing, but he didn’t know what to say. More than that, he was afraid of what he might say. Because, seeing her lost and those small babies needing so much he’d wanted to offer to take them. Not that he knew a thing about raising children. Or had time. Or space. Or…
“Fuck.” He made it outside before cursing.
Selma found him leaning against her car. All her teasing died when he didn’t rise to it the whole way home.
“Don’t answer it,” Donnan said as the phone rang. The words were compelling. So was the location of Donnan’s hand, but despite that Kyle still rolled off the selkie and grabbed his phone.
He sat up when he saw the number and bit back a groan before answering it as Donnan knelt behind him and began to kiss his neck.
“Is he there?” Cecilia asked.
Kyle bit his tongue as Donnan’s hands slid around to his chest.
“I know he’s there. I’m outside.” She hung up.
Kyle swore, loudly, and stood up on shaking knees. He pulled on his jeans and tossed Donnan his pants. The selkie took his time and Kyle already missed the sight of him. They walked to the front door where Cecilia stood. Behind her, a car was parked with the engine running. The wind had died down, the storm moved on, but it was still cold and Kyle regretted not grabbing a shirt.
“Yea, not surprised I’m interrupting.”
“Do you have it?” Donnan’s voice held a note of longing Kyle had never heard before. “Cecilia, sweetheart. Please.”
Kyle was forgotten as the selkie and the mother of his children stared at each other. He felt like an interloper in his own doorway.
“Do we have a deal?” Cecilia asked.
“Yes,” Donnan said. “Of course. I told you. Let me see it.”
“I don’t have it here. I’m not stupid.”
Kyle recalled hearing similar words in the hospital. Wondering what was going on he reached for a jacket hanging by the door and slipped it on.
“I’ll take you there. After.” She turned and headed for her car. Donnan followed without a look at Kyle. Unsure of what to do, all of his uncertainty died when Cecilia opened the door and pulled out a car seat. She handed it to Donnan before retrieving a second.
A slow understanding dawned and Kyle felt as if the deck were falling out from under him. He was hurtling towards the railing and had no way to catch himself. This wild idea in his head was surely not truth. Only, there they were, hauling two car seats and a couple of bags up the path to the front door.
“I’ll just need them watched for a couple of days,” Cecilia said. Without looking at him. Kyle didn’t move, only stood. He couldn’t move. If he did they would bring the babies inside and be gone. His bones knew the truth. Cecilia and Donnan would drive away and he’d never see either again. What would Mary do? Would she think he’d kidnapped them?
“Kyle, sweetest,” Donnan said and even knowing what he did Kyle still shivered at his name on the selkie’s lips. “Just to let us fetch my skin.”
Did they see the understanding in his gaze? Did they care? Kyle stepped aside. It was too cold for the babies to be outside. No one spoke again. It was quiet but for the screech of gulls and the crunch of tires on gravel as they drove away. Until a wailing drew him inside.
What the fuck was he supposed to do? Kyle pulled out his phone to call Mary and tell her to come get her grandchildren, but as the babies wailed louder he dropped his phone onto the couch. Probably best to do it after they stopped crying.
Clyde was fussy. He always was when they left the Dick. Selma had any number of jokes to make up with that knowledge, but Kyle ignored them. Erynna was quiet, but she was always quiet. The doctor said she was healthy, but Kyle thought he saw some awareness in her that wasn’t entirely human. Would Donnan return for them someday and take them to the sea? Would he let them?
“See you tonight, pops!” Selma hollered as she loaded her kids into the car. The weather had been lovely today and Kyle had taken the crew and their families out for a short trip. He’d done some work on the engine recently and wanted to see how she was running. Tonight he was taking the crew out for a drink. Tradition. His first one where he needed a sitter, but Mary had agreed to come sit with her grandkids while he had a pint or two.
“Let’s get you home and in a bath,” Kyle said after the kids were secured. “So Granny Mary doesn’t think I used you for bait.”
They laughed and he smiled.
Mary knocked at the door as Kyle tried to feed two kids at once. Someday, likely by the time they were holding their own spoons, he’d get the hang of it. He ignored the cranky complaints as he stood and hurried to get the door. Only, it wasn’t Mary. Hello! Kyle willed his body down, but it was hard going. Whomever this stranger was, at least he’d brightened the evening for a moment.
“You lost? You probably missed the turnoff about two miles back.”
“Uh, Kyle?” the red-headed man asked. “I’m Ewan. Umm. Mary’s sorry, but she can’t make it. Her work needed her late. She asked me to come out and cover for her until she can make it.”
Clyde screeched and Kyle glanced over his shoulder. “Look, come in. Who are you? Sorry. Excuse me.”
He hated letting a stranger in, but if he didn’t feed Clyde he was liable to magician himself out of his highchair again. The door closed and he grabbed his phone off the counter to see if Mary had called. No calls.
“I’m sorry. I thought she’d told you I was back. I’m Cecilia’s brother. Home from London for the summer. You, umm, you did know Cecilia had a brother right? You weren’t- That is- Mom said you and her had been casual.”
Kyle stuck his tongue out at Erynna who blinked in response. Kyle shook his head and offered her another spoon of some gross looking concoction she adored. When she smiled so did he. No, Donnan would take her over his dead body.
“Uh, Cecilia and I never dated,” Kyle said as he heard Ewan shuffling behind him.
“Oh. I’d just assumed.”
“Clyde, Erynna this is your uncle Ewan. Say hello.”
“Are they talking?”
Two sets of dark eyes left Kyle to look up at the new body in the room. Erynna blinked, it was her favorite trick, and Clyde leaked food from between pursed lips. Before Clyde could cry Kyle had the spoon ready. He was wise to the boy’s tricks.
“No, not talking. You can have a seat. Listen, no offense, but until I can get ahold of Mary I hope you understand why I’m not keen on leaving my kids alone with you.” His kids. Their parents had left and, as Kyle had suspected, never returned. It had only taken the first night for Kyle to realize he wouldn’t let them go. Mary had been alarmed, but relieved, not to be raising babies at her age. The daughter of his neighbor was paid handsomely to watch them when he was out on the boat, but any other time he was home with them.
“No, I understand. Well, wait. I thought you were the father?”
Kyle laughed until Ewan’s hip brushed against his shoulder as he moved to a chair. Ah, yes, that body. The one he’d been happy to check out at the front door. One thing about being a single parent: He’d been without for too long.
“I’m gay.” May as well kill the comfortable mood now.
“Why would I lie about that?” Kyle twisted around in his seat to see Ewan better and wound up with the spoon he was holding bumping into Erynna’s cheek. She screeched in annoyance. Unfortunately for her, he wasn’t quite as fast as he usually was. Not with the way Ewan was looking at him. HELLO! his body said once more. Kyle silently agreed.
“Listen, let me get them fed and cleaned up and in bed and I can tell you the whole story. Although you won’t believe it.”
“You never know,” Ewan said.
Kyle caught Ewan’s eyes before he let his gaze travel down his body. “No,” he said before standing. “But I think I’d like to someday.”
And Erynna and Clyde stared out the kitchen window as a gust of sea air carried the scent of brine into the room.