Notes: A tasty little chapter to tide you over until Christmas Day, when there will be much rejoicing. Yeah, next Tuesday is Christmas, but I’m not going to let that mess with my schedule:) Happy Tuesday, my darlings.
Part Eighteen: Rapid Response
The first thing Cody did when he saw Garrett at breakfast was give him a huge hug. Garrett was warm again, not cold like the last few times Cody had held him, and that was reassuring. The second thing Cody did was push Garrett away from himself as hard as he could.
Garrett bent a little at the waist with a grunt as he stepped back, but he didn’t say anything. Cody’s dad was far more surprised, and immediately upset with him.
“You aren’t supposed to get sick!” Cody yelled at Garrett, interrupting his dad. He knew he was going to get in trouble for this, but he needed to say it. It wasn’t right. He had been worried for days and days, practically forever, and it hurt. “Nobody’s supposed to get sick except for me! You’re supposed to be okay!”
“No, it’s okay.” Garrett waved Jonah off. “You’re right,” he said. He knelt down on the ground in front of Cody, still a few feet away. “I’m sorry about that. I didn’t take care of myself the way I should have. It wasn’t very responsible of me, and I hate that I made you and your dad worry so much.” He smiled a little, not an “I think this is funny” smile but an “I get it” kind of smile, special for just the two of them. He held out a hand toward Cody and Cody wavered a little, wanting to go to Garrett but not wanting to give up his upset quite so fast.
“I can’t promise never to get sick again, just like you can’t promise never to get sick. But we don’t do it on purpose, either. Neither of us wants to hurt anyone who loves us, right?” Cody nodded slowly. “And I promise to do everything I can to stay healthy. I promise, sweetheart.”
Well, fine then. That had to be enough for Cody, and he didn’t really want to be apart from Garrett any longer. Cody took his hand and let Garrett pull him into another hug, this one a little more gentle. His daddy’s hand came down to rest on his hair and this was right, this was the way it was supposed to be. They were supposed to be together and fine, and now they actually were. It was perfect.
“What did we say about expressin’ our emotions with violence?” Daddy asked dryly. Darn it. Moment over.
“That is isn’t the right way to solve things,” Cody muttered into Garrett’s shoulder. He pulled back just far enough to check his daddy’s posture out of the corner of his eye. “But sometimes it is.”
He didn’t look convinced. “You really gonna try to argue with me about this, bucko?”
“But maybe it can wait until after breakfast?” Garrett offered, letting go of the hug and standing up, but keeping a hand on Cody’s shoulder. “In fact, there’s a lot to do after breakfast. Like school work, for one.”
“Oh, right. Good thinking.”
“What?” Cody watched a look pass between his fathers and felt his happiness sink a little. Were they going to work together like this all the time? “But I’ve already done it all,” Cody said.
“Everything except for the biology project, kiddo.”
Cody frowned. “I thought I didn’t have to do that because I got stung.”
“That’s the awful thing about personal responsibility,” Garrett said, and he didn’t look all that happy either, so that made Cody feel a little bit better. “Just because we get taken out of the game for a while doesn’t mean we don’t have to do the work. I’ve got a lot to make up too.”
“No you don’t.” The three of them looked over at Miles, who stood in the kitchen door. Cody liked Miles, but he liked him even better now than he was on Cody’s side. “Most of the point of this visit was to get the two of you married, and that hasn’t happened yet. Frankly, I think it’s in the best interest of everyone that we make it happen as quickly as possible, given our record of success so far.”
Garrett frowned. “I thought there was still a lot to do to get ready. Colors and linens—”
“All done. You’ll look wonderful in blue.”
“The cake, the food—”
“There’s going to be a small one of every flavor Cody approved of, and I remember that you enjoy lemon chiffon, so that will be in there even though Cody didn’t care for it. The meal is poached tramblefish with an herb-infused…” He turned around and looked at Claudia, who walked in holding Renee and poured herself a cup of bissap juice. “What is it?”
“Herb-infused vegetable parfait,” Claudia said. “With a careole remoulade. You’re going to love it!”
“The guest list, then…”
“Just us, plus Robbie and Wyl. It was always going to be a small family affair,” Claudia smiled. “And Jezria’s marrying you over the com. She already okayed the additional time off, too, so no one has to worry about lost work or school projects. Just this once.”
“Wow.” Garrett sounded a little dazed. “And when are we doing this?”
“Tomorrow morning. That will give you all today to enjoy each other’s company before the ceremony tomorrow, and then you two can leave for your honeymoon while Cody spends some quality time with us.”
Cody held Garrett’s hand tighter. “I don’t want them to go away,” he said.
“They aren’t going far.” Claudia bent over and kissed Cody’s forehead. Renee giggled in Cody’s ear. “And Wyl might have said something about going on a tank ride…”
“Really?” Cody had been asking to ride in a tank forever, and Robbie kept saying he couldn’t approve it, but apparently he had anyway. “A real tank?”
“We don’t have any fake tanks,” Miles assured him.
“That’s so…that’s so cool!”
“Yeah yeah, tell it to Wyl and Robbie,” Garrett said mildly. “But just once, so it doesn’t go to his head. So. Everything is all ready to go.”
“Sure is.” Claudia kissed Garrett too, also on the forehead. “You’re welcome, dear.”
“How are you guys going to spend the day?” Claudia asked, handing Renee over to Miles. The baby bumped a wide, open-mouthed smooch to her daddy’s cheek, leaving a thin line of drool behind. Cody made a yuck face, but Miles just smiled. “Because if you’re going to be around here, you could help me tie up the whimsy flowers that I’m going to weave through the decorative arch for tomorrow—”
“Actually, you know what, we haven’t seen the zoo yet,” Garrett said quickly. Cody pumped his free fist with triumph and jumped up and down, but just once, because he knew how to be discreet. “I think maybe we’ll go after breakfast…guys?”
“Definitely,” Daddy agreed.
Cody had never been to a zoo before. “What kind of animals will they have there?”
“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Garrett told him with a grin. Cody frowned.
“What does that even mean?”
“It’s a very, very old movie quote, I’ll explain it on the way to the zoo.”
“You guys eat first,” Miles said. “I’ll let Thérèse know she’s going with you.”
Garrett’s face fell. “Oh come on, do we have to take Thérèse? What about Corporal Kelly?”
“He’s on patrol. I’ll get her, you guys get ready to go.”
“I like Thérèse,” Cody offered, looking up at his dads. “She’s nice.”
“Nice! She’s nice, he says.” Garrett rolled his eyes. Jonah shepherded the two of them to the table, where Claudia was laying out the breakfast she’d held back for them. It was Cody’s favorite, pancakes in the shape of fish. “Of course you think she’s nice.”
“She is,” Cody insisted, grabbing up a fish. It was puffy and flaky, and as soon as he bit down creamy red filling squished out into his mouth. He looked up at his dads and grinned wide. They both grimaced at him.