I was sitting at the dining room table looking through a cookbook for a new idea of how to fix chicken when Karen knocked on the side door as she walked in. I got up and hugged her and then I asked her to join me in the kitchen for a coffee as I could tell something was really bothering her. We chatted about recipes a bit and drank our coffees slowly until finally, I couldn't stand it any longer.
"Ok, sis, spit it out," I told her.
"What?" she questioned. She tried valiantly to look like she didn't have any idea what I was talking about, and I suddenly realized just how much Peter took after her. Neither of them can lie to me, but they keep trying.
"You know Peter looks just like you when he tries to act innocent," I told her. "I don't buy it from him, and I'm not buying it from you either. You came over here because something is bothering you and you needed your fabulous gay brother with secret ninja superpowers to solve all the world's problems for you."
She sat for a second blinking at me, and then nearly fell out of her chair laughing. "It's no wonder Peter lives here instead of at home. You are such a fun person to be around."
"The butter is in the fridge, Karen, so you don't have to spread any on me," I prompted. "What's up, my sister from another mother?"
"What if Ray changes his mind now?"
"Why on earth would he let the most incredible straight woman in the world go now that you have agreed to marry him?"
"Well, things aren't the same as they were when he asked me," she moaned. "I'm not the same."
"Karen, the only thing about you that has changed since I met you is your clothes," I told her seriously. "You are the most wonderful neighbor and one of my dearest friends, not to mention my token straight sister. Ray is head over heels for you, honey, and I don't think he could or would change how he feels if you suddenly went psycho and axe murdered all of us."
"Your imagination really runs away to weird places sometimes, you know that, oh brother dear?" she retorted. "I have changed a lot just this week, and he hasn't spent any time with me since he found out, and I'm so nervous, and I just know that he doesn't want me anymore."
"Slow your roll, sis," I interrupted her. The light bulb suddenly came on for me though. "This is about the news from Brooke and Daniel, isn't it? You think Ray is going to dump you because you're a frumpy old crotchety grandma now."
"FRUMPY!" Karen yelled at me. "I will show you crotchety, you backstabbing, carnation smelling jerk," she growled.
"There's my sister," I grinned back at her. She immediately sank back into the chair and blushed intensely, but a second later was back to growling at me.
"You know, one of these days your methods of getting to people are going to get you clobbered before they realize you aren't serious," she warned me.
"Who says I wasn't serious?" I gave her my innocent look. "You are a grandma now."
"Yeah and you are not only a grandpa now, but you are a year older than I am," she snapped back with a grin.
"Oh, you have been spending way too much time with Dragon Lady," I pouted.
"Sisters have to gang up on our brother, it's in the job description," she shrugged. "At least, Brooke always said it was when she and Peter were growing up."
"I'm the gay brother, though, that should get me some slack," I told her as I handed her the cookie jar from the counter.
"Equality does not mean you get special treatment, oh brother dear, you get treated just the same as any other brother would," she told me as she stuck her tongue out at me. "Now these oatmeal scotchies of yours, these will get you plenty of special treatment." She finished off her cookie and then got an almost scary feral grin on her face. "Now what's this I hear about the endowments of a certain dead people dude?" I promptly choked on my own cookie and rebaked said cookie with the heat from my face.
"Where did you.... How did.... I'm going to kill me some boys."
"Yeah, yeah, kill the kids later, now be a good gay brother and dish up the details," she teased me. "Enquiring minds want to know," she giggled.
"Excuse me? My other sister doesn't ask for personal info like that," I informed her.
"Gee, I can't imagine why our lesbian sister wouldn't be interested in the tree trunk that is supposedly between your boyfriend's legs," Karen said sarcastically. She sat up a little straighter and smiled at me. "You know perfectly well I am just picking on you, Cammie. I do not need or want to know any details that you and Scooter would not feel comfortable sharing with me. Ray is the only man I am interested in to that degree."
After Karen left, I called Ray's office and asked to speak to him. The secretary explained that while I am on the 'always put the call through' list, Ray has been so busy this week that no one's calls are allowed through. I was assured that he would be given the message that I had called as soon as he came out of the office for any reason. She then asked what my call was about. I told her that she had just answered my question for him and there would be no need to give him the message that I had called.
He called me on his way home anyway. "So Cameron, you called earlier today," he started. "I'm sorry I couldn't take the call, but I have been so swamped this week sorting out the nightmare that is going on over the building that your brother wants to buy for his corporate headquarters."
"Is there something going on that I don't know about?" I responded.
"Oh, I thought you knew since you are part owner of the company as well," he answered. "Brendan suggested to the board of directors that they should buy the building he and Derek used to stay in with the gang and develop it as a corporate office with space for lease for other offices and businesses as well."
"Oh, I remember that part," I admitted. "I just didn't think that would be difficult."
"So you have written a lot of commercial property rental agreements, have you?" I was well aware of the sarcasm in his voice, so I apologized. "No, I'm sorry, Cam. I shouldn't take out my exhaustion on you. I have been avoiding everyone as much as I can so that I won't hurt any feelings."
"I can understand that, Ray," I told him. "Perhaps, you should have a small talk with someone about that though."
"Oh, Trey knows what I am like when I get really busy with caseloads," he assured me.
"I actually wasn't thinking of him, but I am glad to hear that," I responded. "I have an idea though; you and your boys are coming over here for dinner tonight. As I am so old and feeble now that I am a grandfather I want to spend all the time with family that I can."
"What are you talking about, Cam? You are anything but feeble and you're actually two years younger than I am," Ray contradicted me. "Wait. I know what you are up to. You are trying to teach me some lesson here."
"I have no idea what you could be referring to," I denied. "It's just that when people get to be grandparents they start to realize how much they enjoy time with the people they love, and..."
"OH GOD! You are talking about Karen aren't you?" He blurted out suddenly. "I didn't even think to tell her how busy it has been getting at work. I will call her now."
"Oh, no you don't," I warned him. "If you call her and tell her that I called you, we are both going to be in the doghouse. You are going to come over here for a dinner that I am going to have her help cook, and you will do some serious sucking up that does not include my name or involvement in any way shape or form."
"Yes, sir," he answered with a laugh. "Are you sure you weren't meant to be the attorney? You are pretty good at these negotiations."
"I will leave the legal mumbo jumbo to the professionals," I promised him. "I will just step in when necessary to protect my sister from another mother from the typical alpha male forgetfulness."
"Ok, let me call Trey and let him know we don't have to eat his macaroni and cheese tonight after all."
"If it's any consolation, Zack is a pretty decent chef for his age, and is picking up a lot more from spending so much time over here, so at least your son in law will be a good cook," I told him.
"Son in law," he mumbled. "So not ready for that phrase, but I guess it's pretty obvious that they are in it for the long haul. I wasn't nearly so sure of my feelings when I was their age."
"You were dating girls," I reminded him. "When it's two guys, we have the advantage of both being from Mars. Guys understand the way guys think and talk. Our relationships generally tend to go much smoother."
"And that's all the details I need about your relationship, thank you very much," Ray laughed. "What time should the boys and I get there?"
"Come over as soon as you want," I answered. "The boys can hang out upstairs, and you and Karen can have some time too."
"I thought you said she was going to be cooking," Ray said in confusion.
"Yeah, that's what I'm going to tell her to get her to show up," I explained. "Once you two see each other, I doubt the menu she has on her mind will be appropriate for the kids or me to know about." I heard strange noises from the other end of the call for a second.
"Dang it, Cam, you can't say stuff like that when you are talking to people who are driving," Ray scolded me. "I almost took out a mailbox while choking on my chai tea."
"Not my fault you can't multitask safely," I retorted with a laugh. "Now hang up and get your boys and get over here." I had just disconnected that call when my phone rang again.
"Hello, Vinny," I greeted my professor and research partner. "How are you doing?"
"I don't really know," he answered honestly. "Do you have any idea how much you have turned my entire world upside down and inside out?"
"Ummm, I'm going to have confess stupidity, here, Professor," I told him in confusion.
"I understood my life and was settled once," he continued. "And then Edan showed up at a faculty mixer with you on his arm. I couldn't dislike you because you were too nice and you actually brought such a smile to Edan's face that it was impossible to not give you at least a chance. The more I got to know you and Edan, as a couple, the more I understood that I had a lot of learning still to do in my life."
"I think I should say thank you at this point, but I’m not entirely sure," I mumbled.
"You made me realize that despite what I have been led to believe my whole life, gay people really are just like everyone else," he said.
"Okay that is a good thing isn't it?" I questioned.
"Well, of course, it is. Don't overplay the stupidity because it isn't believable once people know you," he snarked. "My point is that because I met you, I was prepared for it when my son told me last night that he is gay."
"I'm happy that things have..."
"Shush, I'm not done yet," Vinny scolded. "It's also your fault that he told me something else for which I was certainly not prepared. Eddie is dating Piper. You, my friend, are a normal person who happens to be gay. Piper is beyond description. The only thing I have managed to determine so far is that there is nothing normal about Piper. I have Piper living in my house with my son, and it is all your fault."
"I just have one question," I told him.
"Will this affect my grade?"
"Why did I bother to call you about this?" he moaned. "You will hear from me every time I am suffering from an overdose of Piper. You have been warned."
"Welcome to the family, Vinny," I smiled.
"I hear that grin," he snarled. "Don't think I can't tell you are amused by this."
"You know what, Professor? I love having a grumpy older uncle in the family."
"You, young man, are a brat."