Ava didn’t even flinch as Ryan fainted, too busy staring at some invisible mark of the wall. Everyone else seemed happy about the announcement, though. I think Ava was lucky Mom was out of the room, though, or she’d have been knocked to the floor in a hug already. Which kind of isn’t what you want when you’re pregnant. Alex went over to try and wake Ryan up and Ava kept staring.
“That’s great” I smiled, going over to her to give her a hug if she wanted one.
“No it’s not” she said.
“Why not?” Alex asked, propping Ryan up and fanning him.
“We can’t afford another kid”
Alex frowned slightly. “That sucks. No child benefits or anything you can use?”
Ava shook her head a little. “We earn too much for it, but it’s not enough to raise two kids”
“I can help you out, if you want. It’s not like I’m gonna run out of money any time soon” Maxxie said, smiling faintly.
“Couldn’t what? What’s going on?” Ryan asked, vaguely awake.
“You’re family. It’s the least I can do” Maxxie said.
“What is?” Ryan asked, before turning his attention to Ava. “I’m sorry, did you say you were pregnant?” he asked and she nodded.
“I’m offering to help out with the cost of having a second kid” Maxxie said,
“Oh. We’re keeping it?”
“How should I know? I only just found out” Ava said.
“I thought you didn’t like abortion” I said, frowning a little.
“I don’t, but kids are expensive” Ryan said and I frowned even more. That’s hardly a reason to get an abortion.
Maxxie shrugged. “It’s up to you, but the offer’s there”
“I’d take it if I were you. He sold his London house and the money’s just sitting there doing nothing. Better it be spent on something worthwhile” Momma Fuller smiled.
“I don’t know if I want another one, yet. I mean, Riley’s only small” Ava said.
“Yeah, but you’re not getting any younger. You’re, what, forty three now? Forty four?” Caleb said.
“I’m thirty four” Ava glared.
“Don’t mind my mum, she just wishes she’d had another kid” Maxxie said, rolling his eyes a little.
“D’you want this one?” Ava asked, laughing a little.
“Don’t I get a say in this?” Ryan asked.
“Because you get me pregnant at awkward times”
Ryan rolled his eyes. “This is the second time I’ve gotten you pregnant”
“Last time you got me preggo at Christmas too. You’re not Santa, y’know?”
Maxxie’s mom glared at him a little as she said “I’d love to, but I’m not sure Pete would be quite so enthusiastic. One was enough for him”
Ava didn’t really say much to that, too busy panicking. Maxxie’s mom went over to try and calm her down, which trust me would be no easy task, and Alex just looked like he wanted to slap Ryan, who looked like he was at risk of fainting again. Ava headed disappeared with Maxxie’s mom, and we could all faintly hear her saying “Don’t tell my mum”.
"Y'know, considering she's had a kid, she's hot" Caleb said once she was gone and both me and Ryan glared at him.
"That's my sister you're talking about" I said in perfect unison with Ryan, although Ryan said “wife”. Wait, wife?
Alex chuckled slightly. "I'm still here, Ginger Spice"
"So? She's hot"
"Did you say wife?" I asked, arching an eyebrow and ignoring Alex and Caleb.
"Uh, I meant girlfriend"
"You can't tell me you don't think she's hot" Caleb said when Alex pouted.
"Why'd you say wife?"
"No reason. Has anyone seen Riley?" Ryan said, trying to change the subject.
"He's already mentally married to her. And yeah, she is hot, but that's no excuse to say it while I'm still in the room" Alex said casually.
"Can people stop saying my wife's hot. Girlfriend"
"Would you rather we said she's fugly?" Alex asked. ‘Fugly’ was a term I’d expected to come from Caleb’s mouth, not Alex’s.
"I'd rather you didn't say anything. Unless she's the size of a whale like she was before and she asks if she's still pretty? Then you can definitely tell her she's hot"
"Hey, man, I'm just appreciating that you have an attractive chick. It's not like I wanna jump in bed with her. You're s'posed to be proud that she's all yours"
"I'll be prouder when she agrees to marry me" Ryan laughed faintly.
"How many times has she said no now?" I asked, wondering if he’d asked her again since Riley had been born.
"You're exaggerating" I laughed.
"Okay, maybe more like thirty"
Alex chuckled. "You'll get there one day" he smiled.
"Would now be a bad time to ask her again?" Ryan asked and Alex nodded. "Shame, I was planning on asking her tomorrow"
"Yeah, that's rough, but you don't wanna land another important decision on a girl when she's already trying to make up her mind about something. Especially if the first decision is to do with finances. Weddings are expensive too, y'know?"
"I started saving for it when we'd been together a year" Ryan mumbled.
"Cute" Alex said, which just embarrassed Ryan further. Alex smiled. "Why're you so embarrassed about that?"
"Because it's lame and embarrassing. It's s'posed to be the girl that has a wedding fund"
"It's not lame"
"I will punch you if you keep calling it lame"
"It is lame when we've been going out for ten years"
Alex shrugged. "You're just well prepared for when she says yes then" he said, punching Ryan’s arm lightly.
Ryan chuckled. " If she says yes. What about you, then?"
Caleb tried ever so slyly to eavesdrop, but I think we both knew Alex had noticed him.
"She will. And what about me? There's nothing to tell about me”
Caleb was visibly upset by this, and shuffled off to sulk somewhere. Now, you would’ve thought I’d go after him what with being his best friend and all, but I was more interested in whether or not Alex had a wedding fund.
"Sure about that?" Ryan asked, laughing slightly.
"Saving up is not lame" Alex said, glaring a little and making me and Ryan laugh.
He just scowled at us.
"Gayleb'll look cute in a dress" I giggled and Alex and Maxxie laughed. "I'd say you could have a double wedding, but I think Caleb'd say yes a lot quicker than Ava"
"Can I marry him instead, then?" Ryan asked and Alex glared at him. "What?" he laughed.
"The ginger is mine, bitch"
"So he's mine if he dyes his hair?" Ryan asked and Alex punched his arm again, harder this time. "I'm sensing some hostility here"
Maxxie giggled, earning himself a scowl. All I’m saying is I can see why Ava likes him.
"Does he like the beach?” Ryan asked me and I nodded. "Okay, so hair dye and a fancy house on the beach. I only need hair dye" Riley appeared just as he finished his sentence and he picked him up. "You can't hit me now, I have a kid"
Alex shuffled up to Ryan, planting a tiny kiss on his lips. "If you think you can handle him, he's all yours"
Riley watched on innocently as his father wore a flawless poker face. Alex ruffled Riley’s hair, making the little guy smile.
"Daddy's been naughty. He's trying to steal my boyfriend. Am I allowed to hit him?" Alex asked him.
Riley thought about it for a while, before deciding with a smile “Yus"
Alex grinned evilly, punching Ryan’s shoulder.
"I'm not a punch bag" Ryan frowned a little.
Riley, clearly keen to impress Alex, punched Ryan’s stomach lightly, smiling up at the Englishman. Alex laughed, ruffling Riley’s hair again.
"Can I keep him?"
"Mine" Ryan said, hugging Riley close to him.
Alex smiled. "Then you'll have to excuse me. I have a ginger to find" Alex said and Ryan nodded.
"I feel sick" Riley said quietly and I had to try not to laugh as Alex made a swift exit.
“If that’s Cayden, tell him to get lost” I said, hearing a knock at the door.
Maxxie went to answer it and before we knew it, there was yelling coming from the hallway. Me and Ryan went to see what was what.
"I told you to fuck off" Maxxie yelled.
I tried to calm him down and Ryan watched, probably not too sure what to make of the whole situation.
"I came to get my wife, you stupid little faggot" Maxxie’s dad yelled back, just as angry.
"She's upstairs with my girlfriend, man. Chill" Ryan said. Maxxie’s dad tried to get past him but Ryan blocked his way. "You can sit down, behave, wait patiently for her and apologise to Maxxie for calling him a faggot, or you can wait outside" he said calmly.
"I'm not apologising to a disgusting faggot like him"
"Then you can wait outside" Ryan said, trying to steer him towards the door.
Maxxie’s dad punched Ryan. Ryan’s face stayed expressionless before the split second before he punched back. Maxxie tried to stop them fighting but just ended up getting punched by his dad.
"Ryan can handle it" I said, trying to pull Maxxie away from the fighting.
Ryan wasn’t doing too bad for himself, still trying to steer Maxxie’s dad back outside. Maxxie’s dad was raging partly about Maxxie being a disgusting fag and partly about how he “shouldn’t have to wait around for his fucking wife”.
"Calm the fuck down, you miserable old bastard" Ryan said, annoyed. "Maxxie's a lovely guy, with a lovely husband and two lovely kids. There's nothing disgusting about it. And you're fucking waiting for her because she's helping my girlfriend decide whether or not to keep our baby"
Maxxie’s dad clearly didn’t care, slamming Ryan’s head against the wall. Now, let me just say one thing, Ryan’s no pushover. He had muscles and he knew how to use them. He got Maxxie’s dad pinned to the floor in one move, keeping his arms and legs still as he struggled. Riley wandered over, looking at Maxxie’s dad innocently. He spat in Ryan’s face and Ryan scowled.
"That was very mean" Riley said.
"He's a very mean man" Maxxie said, sounding a little upset.
Riley prodded Maxxie’s dad’s nose innocently and Ryan wiped his face.
"Go stand with Uncle Hadley, kiddo"
"Uncle Maxxie wants ice cream and a cuddle. I'll share my ice cream with you if you come with me, Riley" Maxxie said when Riley didn’t move.
"Ice cream" Riley said happily, smiling and heading over to Maxxie.
Maxxie picked Riley up, carrying him into the kitchen for ice cream. I stayed with Ryan, not trusting him to be able to keep an eye on the kids as well as keeping Maxxie’s dad pinned down since Danny and Lily were both too tired and grumpy to be interested in ice cream.
"You can go if you want, Hadley. I've got this covered" Ryan smiled and I smiled back.
"It's okay" I flopped down on the couch while we waited for Ava and Maxxie’s mom to be done.
"What's the verdict, then?" Ryan asked with a smile when they returned.
"We're, uh, we're keeping it. If that's what you want, I mean"
Ryan jumped up, wrapping Ava in a tight cuddle. "Of course it's what I want. We'll just have to spend a little less from now on"
"I was thinking we could take Maxxie up on his offer. Just til we've got a little saved up or something" Ava said, kissing back as Ryan pressed his lips to hers.
Maxxie’s dad got up. "We're going now" he said grumpily to Maxxie’s mom.
Ava frowned. "Don't tell her what to do"
"It's none of your fucking business” Maxxie’s dad yelled.
"It is if she's family"
He laughed. "She's hardly family to you"
"She might as well be" Ava said defensively.
"She's my wife. I've lost my son to the faggots, I'm not gonna lose my wife too" Maxxie’s dad raged.
Ava stood between the two of them. "The only reason I can see that you've lost your son is because you're a homophobic little twat. And in case you couldn't tell from the boyfriend and son, I'm straight"
"Does it matter? You still support them and their disgusting habits"
"Because there's nothing wrong with it"
"There's everything wrong with it. Anyway, I came here to get my wife, not argue over how revolting gays are"
Ava didn’t move and Maxxie’s dad reached past her, grabbing his mom’s arm kinda tight.
"Karen, we're going.Now"
"She doesn't have to go anywhere if she doesn't want to" Ava said grumpily.
Maxxie’s dad pretty much dragged his wife out of the house, shoving Ava out of the way when she tried to stop him. Ryan rushed over to make sure she was okay but Ava was more concerned about Maxxie’s mom.
"Asshole" she muttered.
"Charming man. Absolutely charming" Gramps grumbled.
"You let him marry her why?"
“I didn't have much of a say in it, my dear. And to be fair, he used to be a pretty decent guy. I think he lost it when Maxxie came out"
"I knew I should've punched him"
“Ava, you're pregnant. Punching and all the other wonderful kinds of violence are off limits to you" Ryan said and Ava didn’t exactly look pleased.
Gramps patted her on the shoulder. "Never used to have all these rules for pregnant women in my day"
"Punch him for me?" she asked, laughing a little.
Gramps smiled. "I'm not planning on going after him. My daughter can handle herself well enough"
"See, we're not all useless" Ava said to Ryan.
"I never said you were. It's just you are very pregnant and he was very angry" Ryan said.
"You worry too much"
"You wouldn't know you two aren't married. You certainly bicker like you are" Gramps chuckled, making Ava blush and Ryan laugh. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I want to go and talk to my grandson. And his husband"
Gramps went to the kitchen and I followed him, bring the kids with me. Maxxie was snuggling Riley and eating ice cream in the kitchen. I smiled at him, ignoring the kids complaining about having been moved.
"Now, as you know, the only family I have back in England is my daughter and that husband from hell of hers, there's not very much for me to go back to. There's a lot more here for me. The last few days, I've been seriously considering staying in America for however many years it is I've got left in me, but I'd quite like your blessing. And maybe a place to stay while I sort things out" Gramps chuckled slightly. "Would you two be able to put me up for a couple of weeks?"
I smiled. "Of course. There might be a space issue, though"
"There's always the sofa bed" Maxxie said and I nodded.
Gramps smushed the both of us together in one of those grandad hugs. "Thank you"
"It's the least we can do" I said, laughing a little.
Gramps smiled, no doubt looking forward to being with his family.
"I feel sick" Riley said quietly.
"Okay, let's go find daddy" Maxxie said, picking Riley up and going in search of Ryan.
I smiled at Gramps and he smiled back.
"Hopefully Karen will ditch that liability and stay in America, too"
I laughed. "That'd cheer Ava up. It'd be nice for these two to get to see her more, too" I said, gesturing at the kids.
"Only one who'd have a problem with that would be Maxxie" he said and I sighed a little. "I'm sure they'll settle their differences soon enough. Might be easier once Peter's out of the picture" he said, smiling as I nodded.