It's been blissful these last few months. Kinnetic has gone from strength to strength. Justin's ‘Memories of Prom' was a great success though very emotional for both of us. But with the continued love and support of our RTOAF - rag tag of a family - we got through it.
"Justin! Come on we're going to be late, and I'm not having you bitch and moan because the confit salmon profiteroles got soggy!"
"Good point! Two minutes!" He bellows back.
"One minute or we go without you!"
That gets him pounding down the stairs, much like he was pounding my ass last night, and I just about manage to open the door before he hurtles through it.
Every time we see the Humvee we smile. It was at the summer barbecue that we came up for the collective name for our family and rather stupidly Faal and Justin decided that painting the acronym on the side of the Humvee was a good idea. Zee didn't think so and had it repainted but liked the acronym so it's the licence plate instead.
"So what got him out?" Hunter asks.
"Soggy salmon profiteroles." I smirk.
"Who had profiteroles?" Hunter yells out.
"Me! Finally I win a pot!" Jenny yells back.
We're on our way to a tasting for Henry Feeley's Autumn Company Party, who became one of E&ZHoD's first customers when they launched.
Justin settles in our usual spot giggling and it isn't until I notice the ‘reserved for the Taylor-Kinneys' across the back seat that I realise and then shrug and pull him into my arms. Normally we would test at E&ZHoD but Zee wanted it at the Treehouse so we're on our way there once we pick up everyone else.
I've got this gnawing feeling in my gut that my idiot bastard fucktard of a father is planning something. I finally Brietling'd it out of Faal that he was having him watched but so far nothing but I know the mendacity of the man and he's coming for us. He's not going to take being ejected from the head of the family and having his nuts roofed lying down.
Another burr is Wankerboy and Twatzilla. They've still not worked out that the Starks are their landlords but when they do I suspect they will come out twittering with indignation and hollow threats of revenge, hopefully their short term memory remains intact and so they will step up and I can have them slung in jail again, this time for 6 weeks for breaching the restraining order, which is in place for the next 5 years.
One of the good things that has come out of all their machinations is the real friendship that has developed between Kiki, Bernie and Arnold. Turns out that they have a son who reacted to her attempts to be understanding about him being gay with callousness and ending up leaving the family home without leaving word of where he'll be. She's not seen him for over 10 years and doesn't hold out much hope. Kiki called in a favour and we're working on it.
I'm pulled out of my musings and dark thoughts by a movement out of the corner of my eye. I sigh as Faal attempts to feed Claude a piece of chicken that I know will be too spicy for him.
"You will be cleaning the tray." I warn, which has the desired effect.
I giggle at the baleful look I get from Claude, but the moment he leaves the room Claude chirrups and I feed him a non-spicy version of it and get my customary slow blink of thanks.
"You spoil him!"
"Don't even start. Mr. Storm has to have lightly poached prawns for breakfast every day!"
He pulls me into his arms and kisses me soundly. "You really worrying about him?"
"My dad hates me, really hates me even more that Zeon. I just know he's coming and he's going to come with everything he's got or thinks he's got."
"Is it because of me that he hates you so much?"
"No, that started the moment I was born."
"What are you talking about?" Debbie demands, making us both jump.
One of the disadvantages of us all having keys to each other's places is the ease of entry.
Sighing, I can feel the tears build up.
"Lig, what is it?"
"Let's taste and talk yeah?"
"Do we get to listen this time?" Jenny asks. "We know you talk about stuff when we're not there. We're old enough now, right?"
I look across at Mel and Ben and they nod. She has grown in these few short months into a very astute young lady. "Right. But you guys take this home and let us know what you think okay?"
"Oh fuck." Emmy Lou mutters.
Before I could say anything, Carl sits on the other side of me and I give him a small smile. From having no real father since birth to having three, Uncle Luc, Papa and Papa Bear, makes my heart sing.
"Okay, so most of you know that Zeon and I are twins. Well mom was supposed to have triplets but he died within seconds, seconds, of being born. He would never have survived. But that didn't stop da...Luther from blaming me for killing his boy by being born..."
"Fucking hell!" Faal mutters.
"From that point on, he called us the failure twins. We're not identical and of course that was my fault because Zeon and Zebadiah were the spit of each other. Nothing I did was good enough. Mostly, Zeon got away with more because he's a boy. He played us off against each other, giving a grain of love but then giving a gallon of hate, mostly aimed at me. So I decided to be what he wanted me to be and did everything I was told. Went to the army, Zeon did Navy and then had to work my way up in Stark, whilst the boys just waltzed in. The problem was that they were fucking crap and I was fucking brilliant and that burned his ass. Once grandpa saw that, he overruled every undermining attempt by Luther. So he naturally started to favour Zeon more and more but by that time I had done tours so built up an armour but then it all went to crap for him when Zeon came out. Suddenly I was his pride and joy, his baby girl until Faal came along and then I was back to being his son's killer. Imagine being 6 and hearing that..."
I take a huge gulp of wine.
"So when we got married and he disowned me, I wasn't too bothered. But then grandpa died and that's when the real problems started. Those who sided with dad, which were Zeus and Zeon- despite his treatment of him- gave Luther his shares so he built up the 25% he needed to be a controlling partner in the company. Zander just had the shares but didn't run the day-to-day operations until I took over. Luther undermined every decision I tried to make, the printing error was him. In the end, I just got so fucking tired that I just let Zander be the figurehead but unbeknownst to Luther, I was the one signing the contracts and now we are where we are. So he's been tricked by his kids over who was really making the decisions, nut-roofed by his ex, effectively disowned by Zeph and had a White guy buy him out so yeah he's coming...and with the connections he's got and being a bitter rich man, he's going to come hard."
"Let him come. He won't know who the fuck he's dealing with."
"No I'm sick and tired of bullies. Let's do to him what we did to... what did you call them?"
"Wankerboy and Twatzilla?"
"Yes and let him play his hand...we've got connections of our own."
For the first time in months, the unease in my stomach dissipates.