by Sammy Girl
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be.
Note: My thanks to Kerry for the Beta work and Nin for the French.
Back to: Dance Lessons
29 rue Jacob
Your mother has seen fit to contact me, she seems to be concerned for your well being. She tells me you have taken up with someone, that you have taken this person into your home. Your mother has some reservations, she feels this companion of yours is unsuitable. Furthermore, she tells me that you have moved to Denver and are currently employed by the Federal Government. She feels that this relationship will harm you and she seems to disapprove of your career choice.
I find I will be in Canada in a few weeks time, I will have time to fly to your Denver on the eleventh. Do not bother to collect me from the airport I shall employ a taxi. Please e-mail me at the address below to confirm these arrangements.
I shall be able to stay until Monday morning.
P Y Lamerre
Buck looked up from the letter. "Companion?"
"I doubt dear Maude has bothered to tell him of the true nature of our domestic arrangements, she no doubt wants to 'spring' you on him."
"Just who is this person?"
"Patrick Yves Lamerre, my father." Ezra smiled at Buck's undisguised surprise. "I suppose it is only fair that I should tell you the whole story, or rather what I know of it." Ezra sat back in the couch, looking distinctly deflated.
Buck sat back as well, placing one long arm over Ezra's shoulders and pulling him in a little closer. "Only if you want to, but have to admit I'm curious - other people's fathers always interest me, having never had one of my own you understand."
Ezra turned to look into his partner's eyes, worried his news had touched a raw nerve, but he found only twinkling merriment.
"Hum, very well then, to satisfy your curiosity, but I may need a libation to tell the tale properly."
"Fair enough, what do you fancy?"
"Well since we are going to discuss my father I think that a brandy is in order, will you join me?"
"Sounds good t' me."
Once they both had a drink, and Buck had collected some bar snacks from the kitchen, they settled down on the couch together.
"My father, as you may have guessed is French, he was born in France, moved here, not Denver you understand, but the US, as a child, he returned to France some time in his late teens and won a place at the Sorbonne. You know what that is?"
There had been a time when Buck would have been offended by that, by someone assuming he didn't know something, questioning his education and intelligence. But not now, not from Ezra or the rest of the team, they at least knew him, knew that behind the loud playful persona was a thoughtful, educated, intuitive man.
"Kind of like France's Ivy League right?"
"Just so. But before he took up his place he had to do his military service. He was posted to Vietnam and it changed him, at least that is my interpretation of events. Once discharged from the army he returned to the Far East, he never did get to the Sorbonne. He set up an import-export business, and has been trading in one way or another with the Far East ever since. When he met Mother he was on the brink of making a fortune, but it didn't last, he lost it, and returned to France. There was no way Mother was going to a foreign country with a man who had - at that time - no money."
"How old were you?"
"So you're really Ezra Lamerre?"
"Sometimes, in the US I am Ezra Patrick Standish, that's what it says on my birth certificate, but on my French birth certificate it says Patrick Ezra Lamerre."
"And two birth certificates?"
"Is that legal?"
"Four! How the hell did you get four?"
"I was born in Canada, Quebec."
"That makes three."
"On for each name." Buck wasn't sure if he was being spun a line or not. "I assure you it's true, they are in the safe at this very minute." Ezra grinned at him, making his dimples show, which was guaranteed to melt Buck's heart every time.
"My boyfriend, international man of mystery!" Buck exclaimed, giving Ezra a playful kiss on the cheek.
Ezra picked up the letter again. "It says Maude contacted him some weeks ago, but he waits until he's almost here to announce his arrival - typical."
"When was the last time you saw him?"
"I told you, when I was five, frankly I'm amazed Maude's still in contact with him."
"What does he do now?"
"Oh still importing things, adding on a huge mark up and selling them to gullible westerners. Mind you I have noticed in the financial press, especially the European papers, that his latest company does seem to be thriving. These days I believe he's mainly importing from Vietnam. Seems he got in on the ground floor when they started to open up again after the war." Ezra drained his brandy. "Well, I'd better send him an e-mail telling him not to come."
"Why? Come on Babe, you haven't seen the man for nearly thirty years, who knows when you'll get the chance again?"
Ezra levered himself off the couch and crossed the room to refill his glass.
"The man has shown scant regard or interest in me all these years, now Mother sets him on me - and you - like some terrier, hoping his disapproval will end our relationship. Well, I am not going to play their games."
"How do you know he'll disapprove? He's French after all," Buck observed calmly, not moving from the couch, just sitting back and letting Ezra pace, which he was now doing.
"Why is Maude in contact with him at all? That's what I want to know, she's hardly mentioned his name or even his existence since the day he left."
"You said his company is doing better, as in richer?" Buck speculated, knowing as well as Ezra what was closest to Maude's heart.
"Of course, money, she wants to get back with him, either to re-marry or ensure she is included in his will."
"Where she doesn't want you, his first born son, are you his first born son?"
Ezra shrugged. "I believe so, but who can be sure? The point is, he has never even tried to find me before, so why should I care now? I don't need his money, we are as financially secure as it is possible to get. If both of us were forced to quit work today and received no pension, our lifestyle would hardly change at all."
"Indeed, and most of it is in risk free investments."
"Maybe he couldn't find you? After all, the way Maude had you shunted around the country, and kept re-marrying, the FBI would have had trouble finding you. For all you know, he's been looking for you for years."
Ezra picked up the letter. "Does this letter sound like a man who's been desperately searching for his son all these years?"
Buck had to admit it didn't.
"He wants to come for the whole weekend, what about Sunday? We are invited to the ranch to watch the football, I was given to understand this match is of particular interest?"
"First match of the season Babe, always vital."
Ezra took his word for it, he had no interest in football. Football to Ezra had come to mean lying on the couch, wrapped around Buck, sleeping or just enjoying being close to his lover, and if he was lucky, someone would occasionally bring him a beer.
"Well, in that case, you must not miss it."
"I can tape it, watch it here or he can come with us, meet the guys, Chris won't mind, you know it's open house on Sundays."
Ezra snorted. "My father at the Sunday football mayhem, I don't think so."
Buck sighed, patting the space beside him. "Come here."
Ezra obeyed, relaxing back into Buck's embrace. "If nothing else he's curious, let him see the whole you, us, the guys - are you planning to change to make him happy?"
"Good God no!"
"You said we don't need his money."
"Not a cent, or should that be a Euro?"
"So show him the real Ezra, let him take it or leave it."
On Friday they left the office promptly, having warned Chris they may have a guest with them on Sunday, and headed for their local delicatessen. During the day their domestic service had been in and given the place an extra clean, aired the guestroom and its bed and received and put away the grocery delivery. All that was left for Ezra and Buck to do was order the fresh food to be delivered the next day and a few extras. Buck had counselled that they shouldn't try and provide their guest with French cuisine, but stick to American classics. In the end they decided to feed him steak, prime fillet steak, fresh salad, baked potato skins and, as a nod to France, sauté potatoes. To finish they would have fresh cheesecake from the deli. Their other deli purchases were for themselves, for that night, a little special treat.
Once the food was prepared and laid out they headed for the bathroom, this was not going to be a quick shower, this was going to be a long, sensual indulgence. Working together, with hardly a word passing, the bathroom was illuminated with candles and the huge bathtub filled with steaming hot water and essential oils.
"Tonight is for us, just us, no one else, we don't have to live up to anyone else's standards, we don't have to hide who we are or what we are," Buck purred, as his lips began to nuzzle at Ezra's neck.
"Mon amour, mon seul et unique," Ezra replied.
"I love you. Je t'aime."
"Je t'aime too." Buck's hand came up to stroke his beloved's face, his thumb brushed over Ezra's cheekbone, then he lowered his lips to meet Ezra's. First he just sucked gently on the flushed lower lip, then he pressed his lips to Ezra's mouth, which parted willingly, welcoming him in. Ezra tasted of coffee and chocolate, the dark continental chocolate he'd purchased at the shop and had fed to Buck as they drove home. Eventually they parted. "What did I do to get so lucky?"
"It is not you who should ask that, but me," Ezra countered.
"Let's take joint responsibility for the good fortune."
Not waiting for a response, Buck let his fingers drift down to start untying Ezra's silk tie. Once it was undone he started work on the mother of pearl buttons on Ezra's linen shirt. Ezra matched him, button for button, unfastening Buck's plain Wal-Mart denim shirt. Fingers well practised at undoing buttons made short work of the smooth buttons and soft fabric of Ezra's shirt and Buck was pushing it down off the smooth, powerful shoulders, long before Ezra had his undone. As his lover's skilled mouth began to map out his neck, chest and shoulders, Ezra found it increasingly difficult to work on Buck's shirt. He was desperate to run his fingers through Buck's soft, downy chest hair, to kiss his beloved's hard, dark nipples that he could almost see marked out under the well worn fabric. He wanted, needed, to feel the true warmth of Buck, to hear his strong steady heartbeat as he lay his head on that broad chest. The trouble was the more desperate he was, the less his fingers seemed to respond to his commands.
"To Hell with it," he finally muttered in a mixture of frustration and ecstasy. Buck's tongue played with his nipple once more, while strong, callused fingers pressed flat against his abdomen and slid down past the waistband of both pants and under shorts. He took hold of the two buttoned sides of the shirt and yanked them apart, cheap buttons flew across the room as the shirt fell open.
Buck broke off and looked down at his ruined shirt, one eyebrow raised.
"I'll get you a new one, maybe two or even a dozen," Ezra breathed by way of an explanation, even as he was laying his head on Buck's chest to hear - once more - that steady, reassuring beat within.
"Am I still alive?" Buck asked, looking down dreamily at his lover.
"Mmm, indeed you are," came the happy response.
"Better check on you then." With that Buck let the hand that was pushing down Ezra's groin, closing around the shaft, which was already hard, but he felt it tremble and give a twitch of anticipation in response to his touch.
"Well?" Ezra asked.
"Alive and kicking."
Buck eased Ezra away a little, so he could once more lower his ever eager lips to Ezra's neck and shoulder, letting them map out the hard muscles below the soft, smooth, unblemished skin. He revelled in its rising warmth, trailing down the neck, sucking on the collarbone and the little hollows of the throat. Ezra flung his head back as his body came alive, energised, every nerve awake and receptive. Moving Ezra back a little more, he pulled his hand away from Ezra's groin, which produced a little moan of regret from Ezra.
"Easy there slick, we're getting there, patience," Buck purred.
Sinking to his knees, one hand on each of Ezra's hips, Buck began to kiss Ezra's stomach, dipping his tongue into the navel - which made Ezra giggle and sent little involuntary shivers through him - then Buck licked up and down the washboard hard abdomen. All the time he gazed up at Ezra, lust and merriment in his eyes. Ezra watched him with equal measures of lust and love. Nimble fingers began to work on Ezra's remaining clothing, dropping his pants and shorts to the floor, where they puddled around his feet.
"Mmm," Buck all but purred at the vision of perfection before him. "Mine."
"Always." Ezra carded his fingers through Buck's luxuriant hair, as his dick was brushed with gentle kisses.
Little kisses became deeper kisses, then little by little Buck took Ezra into his mouth, sucking him in and then pulling back, each time he sucked a little more in, each time he increased the pressure and took a little longer as he pulled back. He savoured the taste and feel of Ezra, letting his mouth map out and memorise Ezra's shaft, as he had so many times before. The salty bitter taste of pre cum told him his beloved was close to release. Ezra was moaning now, his lithe hips swaying slightly, his hands had moved to Buck's shoulders, gripping to steady himself. Buck's hands had moved from Ezra's hips and were now playing over Ezra's firm buttocks, kneading them, letting his fingers brush ever deeper into the cleft he loved so much. Suddenly those self-same buttocks clenched, Ezra's whole body went rigid with tension as his seed exploded into Buck's willing and skilled mouth, where, as always, it was swallowed greedily.
As Ezra began to go limp all over, Buck pulled back, looking up at him, and licking his lips. "No finer protein shake anywhere in the world!" he joked.
"Hummm." Ezra just swayed slightly, his eyes closed.
"Come on, let's get you in the bath." Buck stood and guided Ezra to the candlelit, steaming tub. "In you get."
Ezra looked at the water and then back at Buck. "Not without you."
"Oh don't you worry, I'll be coming just as soon as I get undressed." He began to undo his fly.
"No, let me," Ezra stated petulantly.
"Whatever you say, Babe." Buck pulled his hands back to let Ezra work.
Unfortunately, as always when on a post orgasmic high, Ezra lost all semblance of fine muscle control, and his uncoordinated fumblings had little effect on Buck's tight button down 501's. He used to wear his jeans loose and comfortable, but after watching the way Chris' very tight, jean clad ass held Vin's attention, he had purchased some tighter ones. Not as tight as Chris', that was just torture as far as Buck was concerned, but tight enough to get Ezra's attention.
Buck shook his head, Ezra's hands were so skilled, so nimble, his normal touch so deft - except when his brain was in his dick. "Come on, you get in the water, I'll join you." Kisses and caresses accompanied his gentle guidance and Ezra didn't resist.
Ezra lay back in the water, never once taking his eyes off Buck as he peeled his jeans down, freeing his full and attentive cock from its denim prison, it sprung up hard and proud, tenting his boxers. Ezra's eyes now remained below Buck's waist as the boxers were pushed down.
"Oh my," he sighed as the full vision came into view. He saw it almost daily, sometimes more often than that, yet it never ceased to make his gut do little flip-flops or his heart miss a beat.
Buck grinned as he moved to slide into the bath behind Ezra, stopping only to scoop up a generous amount of lube and liberally coating his cock even as he was climbing into the tub.
Ezra arched his back involuntarily as Buck hardness ran down his spine. Buck settled down with Ezra resting on his thighs and one hand already moving behind his cheeks. Ezra was relaxed and needing and it didn't take long to work him open.
"Slow and easy tonight, no hurry," Buck purred in Ezra's ear as he helped him to rise up enough to impale himself on Buck's ramrod straight shaft. Buck only let him sink down gently, taking him in little by little, once Ezra's buttocks came to rest on his hips, he began to rock his hips back and forth, little by little building up the speed. Ezra set up his own rocking rhythm, in counterpoint to Buck's, increasing the friction for both of them. Little by little the heat grew between them, Buck was so hard it hurt, but he didn't speed up. His hand came around Ezra to take hold of his cock, it was only half hard, so soon after he'd come there was little chance of anything more, but that didn't mean he wouldn't enjoy the sensation of being stroked. Ezra arched his back a little, looking up and back he stretched out a hand to reach behind Buck's neck, pulling him down for a deep, deep kiss, which was finally what took Buck over the edge. It wasn't a huge explosion but a slow build eruption that seemed to go on and on forever. When it was done, Buck sighed, and let himself lay back against the tub pulling his lover with him.
Ezra lay there, on top of him, he could feel Buck softening inside him, feel his copious seed filling him and he was as happy as he could be. He was loved and he was in love, and life didn't get much better than that. It didn't matter if his mother approved of his life or even loved him, it didn't matter if his father walked back into his life or not, Buck was in his life - nothing, absolutely nothing else mattered. At some point Buck slipped out of him and the hand that had been resting over his chest was holding a sponge and gently soaping him down.
"Do you ever think about your father?" he asked, stretching his head back to gaze up at Buck.
"Do you know anything about him?"
"He probably had blue eyes."
"All Ma's family have brown eyes. He didn't have type O blood." Ezra frowned. "I'm B, Ma was O so he had to be B or AB."
"Was he tall?"
Buck weighed it up. "Ma was tall, so was her father, so no - not necessarily."
"No that's all Ma. That's about it, a man with blue eyes and type B or AB blood, not much to go on, even if I wanted to find him, which I don't."
"Not when I was a boy, not now, in the future - who knows?"
"What if he wrote to you out of the blue, what then? Would you meet him?"
"It ain't the same, and you know it."
"You knew your father, he was part of your life, my father is a nothing, even my mother didn't know his name." Buck gave a funny, little ironic laugh. "You know what I am? I'm an industrial accident."
Ezra reached his hand up and trailed it along Buck's strong jaw. "Not to me, to me you are a gift from heaven."
A strange look came over Buck in response to this observation.
"What's wrong?" Ezra wanted to know.
"That's what she said, my mother, she called me her 'gift from God'."
Ezra used the hand behind Buck's neck to pull him down for a deep kiss. "That," he explained when they parted, "is because she loved you and I love you. To love you is to be blessed." Buck gave him a strange look. "What does that mean?"
"What does what mean?"
"You know what JD always says about me?"
"That you're full of crap?"
"That's it - well, I'm thinking you could be taking over from me."
"Me? I think not, what I said was the plain truth and nothing more, whereas your stories, as related to young master Dunne, are somewhat on the fantastical side."
"Every one of them stories is true, I swear it."
"You're so full of crap."
"Remarks like that will seriously damage your chances of getting a second fuck later tonight," Buck warned.
"If I thought, for even one moment, that was true I would desist, but we both know it's not." He pulled Buck down for a second kiss. "Don't we?"
Buck returned the kiss. "You know me too well."
After they had finished washing and dried off, they dined on Parma ham and melon, satay chicken and peanut sauce, onion bhaji, sun-dried tomatoes with feta cheese and olives and for dessert they had chocolate mousse and raspberries; taking it in turns to feed each other, before retiring to their huge bed, resplendent in its luxurious white bed linen.
"When did you say he was arriving?" Ezra asked, while Buck was massaging his shoulders.
"Can't get here before about half two, not from Quebec."
"Hum, lots of time for a nice long, lie in then."
Buck bent down to kiss Ezra's shoulder. "Lots of time for lots of things," he purred seductively.
"Wha'?" Buck looked up, trying to work out why he was awake. The doorbell rang again and Buck looked at the alarm clock, it flashed nine twenty three. "Damn," he muttered.
Slipping out of bed without waking Ezra, he pulled on his jeans and then, unshaved and with serious bed hair, he headed for the door. "Damn deli, ain't meant to deliver before twelve," he muttered as he pressed the button on the intercom.
"You delivering?" he asked.
Buck wasn't really awake, much less listening, he just pressed the door release and opened the apartment door. Overcome with a huge yawn, he didn't see who was crossing the small lobby.
"Put it in the kitch..."
Buck looked up, and tried to work out who it was on the doorstop. "You're not from the deli," he finally stated confidently.
"I am looking for Ezra." The man peered at Buck, looking him up and down. "You are not Ezra?"
"Perhaps I have the wrong house?" The man placed his expensive looking flight bag and attaché case down and pulled out his diary, and a pair of glasses. He then consulted the slim black book at length, while Buck tried to wake up. Eventually he looked up. "Apartment one, two hundred and fifty six, Dayton Street?" He looked at the door, confirming the number.
"Yup, that's here, who are you?" Buck asked, though in truth the French accent was a good clue.
"I am Patrick Lamerre."
**Oh shit!** Buck stood back. "Please, come in. I'll... um that is I'll... Please wait here," he stammered out, suddenly lost for words.
Lamerre looked at Buck as if he was mad, but nodded his agreement, placing his bags on the floor as Buck closed the door and edged past him to head down the corridor to the bedroom.
"Ez!" Buck shook his partner, as he called his name as loud as he dare. "Come on man, wake up!"
Ezra rolled over, still half asleep, found no Buck and finally looked up.
"Finally, come on you have to wake up," Buck urged.
"Time for round four?" Ezra asked, a look of pure lust spreading over his face, his hand reaching for Buck's crotch.
"Oh come on Beloved, come to Ezra," he cooed.
Buck pulled his hand away from his groin. "He's here, you have to get up now!"
Ezra froze where he was. "He's here - as in him? Lamerre him?"
"Yeah, him, your dad, for fuck's sake will you get up!"
Ezra pushed himself into a sitting position. "What happened? Did we oversleep?" He suddenly looked at the clock.
"No we didn't oversleep, he came early," Buck explained, with that he grabbed Ezra by the wrist and physically pulled him from the bed. "Get dressed," he ordered, already turning away to find some cleaner clothes.
When the need arose even Ezra could wash, shave and dress in record time, thus it was that in less than ten minutes both men, freshly shaven, washed and dressed in clean casual clothes, but no shoes, headed toward the front of the apartment to meet Ezra's father. As they approached the front door, it was clear that while the man's bags were where Buck had left him, Lamerre had wandered off. A quick search of the living room, dining room and kitchen failed to locate him. Ezra was just going to check the guest washroom when Buck spotted him in the garden, sitting on one of the teak steamer chairs, apparently enjoying the sun, despite the September chill.
"Good morning," Ezra said softly.
Lamerre opened previously closed eyes and, shading them from the sun, looked up at Ezra.
"You are Ezra?" he asked.
"Yes, you are Patrick Lamerre?"
"I am." With that he stood up and father and son regarded each other. Lamerre was well dressed in what Ezra judged to be a bespoke suit, probably from London. He had full head of hair, which was mostly grey, with just a hint of auburn. He was shorter than his son and carrying a little extra weight. Yet, despite the rich brown eyes, there was a definite family resemblance. "You have your mother's eyes," he finally commented.
"And your hair. Shall we adjourn to somewhere warmer? Buck has coffee brewing." Ezra gave him a gentle, encouraging smile, which was born more from nerves than anything approaching affection or even regard.
Patrick glanced down at his son's bare feet as he stood on the flagstones.
"Do they not have shoes in America any more? It has been some time since I was last here."
"We don't wear shoes around the house - what's the point of under floor heating if you can't enjoy it?" With that he turned and headed, not back through the conservatory into the living room, but through the side door directly into the kitchen. If Lamerre had had any doubts about the nature of Ezra's relationship with Buck, the very brief, but loving kiss they exchanged as Ezra came up beside him, dispelled it.
"I got coffee, muffins, and OJ - that okay for you Mr Lamerre?" Buck asked, picking up the tray and already heading for the living room.
"Most satisfactory, and most assuredly better than the food on the aeroplane." He followed Ezra. "Were you not expecting me?"
"Not until about two, no flights from Quebec were due until one," Ezra explained.
Buck, who had set the tray down on the coffee table, looked up. "Yeah, just how did you get here so soon?"
"On a scheduled flight - from Montreal?" the Frenchman explained matter of factly.
"But you told Ez you were coming in from Quebec," Buck protested.
"Montreal is in Quebec." Lamerre looked almost pityingly at Buck.
"Aw shit!" Buck cursed softly, then he looked up at Ezra and shrugged. "Sorry Babe, guess I screwed up."
"No more than I, Beloved, it had not occurred to me either."
The use of their pet names for each other was quite deliberate. They had to be careful and circumspect at work, but outside of work and away from any public place where they might meet work colleagues other than the team, they would not hide or pretend, nor change their usual pattern of behaviour, not for anyone, and most definitely not in their own home.
Patrick settled down in one of the armchairs, while Buck and Ezra settled on the large leather couch.
"I take it you - Mr?"
"Wilmington," Buck supplied. "But you can call me Buck."
"...are the companion Maude wrote to me about."
"Partner, life partner," Ezra corrected.
Buck favoured his 'father-in-law' with one of his best grins.
"Indeed, well I'm not going to ask you how long you have been together or if you are happy. How long is irrelevant and you look to be very happy."
"We are, very," Ezra confirmed.
"Whether that lasts is in the lap of the gods." Patrick smiled at them. "All I ask Mr Wilmington, is that you don't hurt my son."
Buck's easy, relaxed manner changed, protecting Ezra was always uppermost in his mind, it was the single most important job in the world, as far as he was concerned.
"Never," he fixed the Frenchman with a hard stare. "I'll always protect him, from anything and anyone - anyone." He made no attempt to hide the implied threat.
Ezra pressed himself closer to Buck. He could take care of himself, had been doing it for a very long time, nothing had changed there. He could take care of Buck too, but that didn't mean he didn't enjoy living under the cover of Buck's all encompassing protection. His smile, while loving toward Buck, turned almost smug when it moved to his father.
"I'm glad to hear it."
Ezra was beginning to like the man. He watched as Buck pushed the plunger on the cafetiere and poured him a cup, and passed it over. Lamerre then helped himself to sugar and a blueberry muffin.
Savouring his first bite of muffin, Patrick held it up. "There are those in my country who believe that American cuisine is almost as bad as British, they are all wrong, it is every bit as good as British." He looked at the muffin. "Ask me to choose between a good blueberry muffin and a hot buttered crumpet, I'd be hard pressed to make a decision."
The trouble was Ezra didn't want to like him, he'd spent a quarter of a century hating the man. All his life if he was ever mentioned - which wasn't often - he was firmly told that his father was a wastrel, an irresponsible loser, who had squandered his money and run away back to France leaving his wife and son high and dry. While he quickly grew to take anything his mother told him with a pinch of salt - sometimes an entire cellar - nothing could change the fact that his father had never once tried to contact him. No phone calls, not one birthday card, not one Christmas card, nothing, not in twenty five long years. Suddenly the anger broke free.
"Where the hell have you been!" Ezra demanded.
"I don't know what...? I was in Montreal, I explained that to you."
"I don't give a damn where you were yesterday! Where were you all of my life? Where were you for my birthdays, for all those Christmasses? Where were you at my graduation? When I was seven, I was rushed into hospital - food poisoning - where the hell were you? Nowhere - just like my mother!"
Buck tried to pull Ezra closer to him, but it was too late; he was already pushing himself up and moving to stand in front of the older man.
"Well?" he demanded.
"I didn't know where you were," Lamerre explained calmly. "I sent you letters and cards, and presents. I never got a single reply, but I kept sending them. Then they began to come back, 'not known at this address'. I tried, I really did, for years. A few times, when I had the money, I came over here to look for you, once I even hired a detective, but I never found you. Please son, I wanted you to come with me back to France, but Maude wouldn't hear of it."
"So why didn't you stay here, with us?" Ezra demanded.
"I'm not an American, I have -" he glanced at Buck, "no offence - no desire to be an American. In France I still had business connections and some assets. I only asked my wife to come for a short time, I promised to return, but by the time I was back on my feet, so to speak, she had disappeared and taken you with her."
Buck stood up and came to stand beside Ezra, offering silent support. Ezra just stared down at the man in the chair; he'd wanted to believe he was as callous and heartless as his mother had led him to believe. Yet here he was, in his home, pleasant, accepting, he wasn't condemning them, he wasn't belittling his job, he wasn't anything like Maude.
"I tried son, I really did."
Still Ezra didn't move.
"Ezra?" Buck whispered, but got no response. "Ez? Babe?" Slowly Ezra's head turned to look up at Buck. "For what it's worth, I believe him."
Ezra's jade green eyes locked on to Buck's midnight blue ones. Slowly Buck raised his hand to cup it gently along Ezra's jaw. **I'll stand by you whatever you decide to do.**
**I know, love you.**
**Love you too.**
The whole silent exchange took no more than a second, and was conveyed entirely with their eyes. Ezra finally turned away, leaving the room without so much as a backward glance. Patrick, began to rise. "Ezra, son, please don't..."
"Let him go," Buck advised.
"He's gotta think on it," Buck explained.
He knew that at that very moment his lover was pulling off the expensive dockers and designer polo shirt he had been wearing and pulling on a pair of sweat bottoms and heading for the small gym behind the master bedroom. Once there he'd work out, pushing himself until he dropped. It was what he always did when he had aggression to work off or a problem to think over. It was a pattern of behaviour Buck was familiar with, whenever Ezra returned from an undercover assignment the very first thing he did was head for the gym. After the work out, once he was drenched in perspiration and gasping for breath, Buck would step in and take care of him, helping him to wash, massaging tired muscles, pouring him a large glass of claret and making long, slow, sweet love to him. The work out wouldn't take long, Ezra would push himself to the limit as fast as he could.
Lamerre tore his eyes away from the doorway Ezra had just disappeared through. Worry was etched on his face, a face Buck could see more and more of Ezra in.
"He'll be fine, have a seat," Buck soothed.
Once they were sitting again, Buck helped himself to some orange juice and a muffin, then he sat back. "So..."
"So, what did dear Maude tell you about me?" Buck asked, taking a big bite of muffin.
Buck raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "She tell you I was a man?"
"No, no she didn't - and, in case I didn't make that clear - I have no problem with it."
"No, no you made that clear alright."
Lamerre seemed to relax a little. "Good, that's good. I really want this to work. I've never stopped hoping I'd see him again, one day. I never stopped thinking about him." He reached into his jacket and pulled out his wallet and flipped it open, then he passed it to Buck. Inside was a little picture of a small, auburn-haired, green-eyed boy. "It's a copy, the original is too precious for me to carry around," Lamerre explained.
"Damn, he was a cute kid," Buck exclaimed. "Course he's damn cute now," he added with a lecherous grin.
Lamerre almost choked on his coffee. "I'm sorry, there are some things I still have to get used to."
"That's okay." Buck poured himself some coffee. Like Ezra, he liked the man, if Ezra decided to cut him out of his life again, Buck would stand by him, but he hoped he wouldn't.
"May I ask you some questions?"
Buck looked over his coffee at the French man and shrugged. "Sure, but I can't promise to answer, not if it's something only Ezra should tell you. "
"Actually I wanted to ask you about you. If you are going to be part of my family, I'd like to know a little about you."
"Oh," Buck seemed a little fazed. "Well I guess, go ahead, shoot."
The two of them talked while Ezra worked out. Buck, a past master of talking up a storm but not actually saying anything, didn't reveal much about himself, other than to explain that he had no family left and how he and Ezra came to be together. Patrick wasn't sure how he felt on finding his son was a law enforcement agent, he had equated Maude's description of him as 'working for the Federal Government' as a civil servant. Now he found he was a gun carrying lawman, not only that, he was doing high risk undercover work.
"I watch his back," Buck stated firmly.
Lamerre nodded, from what he'd seen of the two of them, he didn't doubt it.
"We all do, the whole team, we take care of each other."
Ezra had stepped on to the treadmill and set it at a gentle jog, but little by little he had turned up the pace. Running faster and faster, he pushed himself until there was nothing in his mind but the rhythm of his feet and the pounding of his heart. Sweat ran down his forehead and stung his eyes, he didn't bother to wipe it away, he didn't need to see, he just had to run, he had to feel the pain burn in his legs and chest. He had to clear his mind, if he cleared everything out he hoped to gain some clarity, some perspective. His legs were beginning to tremble, if he didn't stop soon then he might miss his step and the treadmill would spit him out backwards like a potato stuffed up an exhaust pipe. That had happened to Buck once, he'd been pounding along, burning some serious calories, when Ezra walked in - naked and ready for 'action', any idea he had for a nice quick fuck with a sweaty lover was lost with Buck's new collection of bruises that afternoon. Little by little he dialled down the speed until it was safe to stop the machine and step off. Panting heavily, he took a moment to drain the bottle of S. Pellegrino he had with him, before heading for the shower.
Turning the power shower up to the maximum, he let the water practically drill into his back as he stood there, waiting - waiting to see how he felt about his father, waiting for his brain to re-engage and tell him what to do. Turning slowly, he lifted his head, let the water hit him like hail.
**Do I believe him? - Yes. He had a fortune and lost it, no greater crime in Maude's book, she probably wanted to keep me away from him, lest I get contaminated.**
Ezra shifted again, picking up the shower gel, he began to soap his body.
**Do I want him in my life? Depends what 'in my life' means. I don't need a father, I don't need his money, I don't need his protection - I already have the best protection in the world**
He smiled, unable to help himself at the thought of his big, over protective lover. Ezra began to wash his groin and stopped thinking of his father for the duration, only one man filled his thoughts when he was doing that.
**So,** Moving to washing his chest, his thoughts returned to the problem at hand. **In what way do I want him in my life - in our life - if at all?**
Ezra turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. **We need to get a wet room.**
Standing in front of the mirror he looked at himself, trying to see his father, but other than height, all he could see was Maude. Where Buck saw Lamerre, all Ezra saw was Maude and her green eyes.
**You got questions, you need answers, so ask the man.**
Patrick had been telling Buck of his many travels in the Far East when Ezra walked back into the room. He was dressed in the same clothes as when he left and the only indication of what he'd been doing while he was away was the water still clinging to his hair, making a damp patch on the collar of his shirt. Without a word he crossed the room and sat down once more beside Buck.
"So what have you two been talking about?" he asked.
"Well Buck has told me a little about himself," Patrick emphasised the word 'little', which made Ezra smile briefly. He of all people knew how guarded about himself and his past Buck was, it had taken him far longer to break down Buck's defensive walls than it had taken Buck to penetrate his defences. "And he also told me what it is you two do for a living," concern was evident in his voice now, "I had no notion you were engaged in so dangerous a profession."
Ezra had suspected Maude had been very economical with the truth.
"Is that a problem for you?" Ezra asked, keeping his tone neutral.
"No, I am bound to say I will worry about you, but then parents are meant to worry about their children, it is part of the job. That said, Buck assures me you are extremely skilful and well protected."
Ezra glanced back at Buck, who was smiling benevolently at him. "Indeed I am, very well protected. I... err... I have some questions."
"Anything son, ask me anything."
"Quebec? What were you doing there and does it have anything to do with me being born there?"
"Yes it does, my father died before you were born, my mother remarried and moved to Quebec, Maude wanted to have someone around to help her - when you were born - so we moved to be close to your grandmother, you lived with her, my mother, for your first three years."
Ezra didn't respond, somehow he shouldn't have been surprised that Maude hadn't been particularly maternal, he really had never been able to reconcile the woman he knew with the image of a mother feeding and diapering a baby.
"So where were you and mother all that time?" he wanted to know.
"We were building up the business, that meant travelling a great deal."
"I see. But when you were not travelling, I lived with you?"
Patrick looked uncomfortable. "We visited you as often as we could and once the business was doing better you came to live with us."
"Weaned, potty trained, able to understand and follow rules and instructions, a cute appendage," Ezra accused.
"Please son, it wasn't like that, I always wanted you with me, I..."
"But Maude didn't, she wanted a fashion accessory not a child." That was, after all, the way she had treated him all his life. 'Appearances are everything Ezra', 'Manners maketh the man Ezra'. When he wasn't packed off to boarding school or a relative, he was expected to be a model child, like some performing seal, 'Behold Ezra! The perfect son! A desirable addition to your family. Seen but not heard, always clean and smart, always amusing company.'
Patrick frowned, he had no real notion of what Ezra's life with Maude had been like, but he felt moved to defend her. "Ezra, that's not fair, she loved, and I'm sure still loves you in her own way, not all mothers are maternal."
"How do you know? You weren't here!"
An uneasy silence fell over the room, finally Buck was compelled to say something.
"Is you mother still in Quebec?" he asked.
The Frenchman gave a slight head shake. "No, she passed on a few months ago, I was back there to deal with her effects, after the probate came through. She had Alzheimer's," he added. "Hadn't known me for years."
"Nothing to be sorry for, she was nearly a hundred, it was a blessed release in the end."
"Can I ask something else?" Buck looked back at Ezra.
"You can ask anything you like, this is your family as much as mine," Ezra assured.
Buck liked the sound of that, much as he loved Sarah and Adam, as close as he had been to them, he was always conscious of the fact that they were another man's family, not his. Before Ezra, he hadn't had any family of his own since his mother died, all those years ago.
"What I was wondering was, have you ever remarried? Does Ezra have any half brothers or sisters?"
Even as he spoke, Buck felt Ezra stiffen, he knew Ezra well enough to know that possibility hadn't occurred to him. For his part Lamerre looked confused, even hurt.
"No, of course not," he stated indignantly.
"Why is it so out of the question?" Ezra asked.
"I may not have been a very good father, I have done some foolish things and some questionable things in business, but I am a Catholic and I take my marriage vows very seriously."
Ezra was getting a strange feeling in his gut. "Just what are you saying?"
"I'm saying I will not father children out of wedlock."
"So why not re-marry?" Buck asked.
Now Lamerre looked really confused. "How can I re-marry, when I'm still married to Maude?"
Buck and Ezra both froze where they were, Buck's jaw actually dropped.
Ezra swallowed hard. "Um, could you say that again?" His voice was little more than a whisper.
"Your mother and I are still married, at least as far as I know, I have never received any divorce papers from her, in her letter to me she called me 'husband'. Didn't you know?"
Patrick looked from his son to his son's lover and back, both men had looked shocked, now smiles - wide as Cheshire cats - were spreading across their faces. Ezra stood up, his body seemed energised. He paced, almost as if he didn't know what to do with his body.
"This is too good," he finally said, grinning at Buck, "it's priceless!"
"Would someone tell me what is going on?" Lamerre asked, but no one was listening. Buck was on his feet, too, the pair of them looked like schoolboys who had just found a non stop supply of chocolate.
"Four, she's been married four more times, and they were all bigamous. All that money, huge settlements." The light of understanding dawned. "That's why she always took the 'one off' payment, never the alimony! Take the money and run, of course."
"If they ever find out - the other husbands - they'd have the right to sue to get the money back," Buck pointed out gleefully, as he enveloped Ezra in a bear hug
"With interest!" Ezra added enthusiastically, and kissed Buck. "Father!"
Lamerre started slightly, this was the first time Ezra had verbally acknowledged their blood connection.
"I think I can speak for both of us," He gave Buck a little squeeze, "when I say, we would love to have you stay for the weekend."
"Thank you, I'd like that very much."
"Tomorrow we will be going to the home of a colleague, the rest of our team will be there, would you care to join us?"
Patrick smiled warmly. "Son, I would be honoured to meet your friends."
"Outstanding!" Buck declared. "Now why don't we show your father the sights of Denver?"
Patrick stood. "I'd like that."
"Don't get too excited, it should only take about five minutes," Ezra warned.
Buck stood back, looking shocked. "How can you say that? There is so much to see, we'll start with Mile High and then go on to Coors Field, after that there's the Pepsi Centre and..."
"Oh dear Lord." Ezra stepped between Buck and his bewildered father. "Run father, while you still can!"
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