It was a bit of a scramble to get a crib and all the baby stuff I’d need for watching Lottie that I couldn’t borrow from Sarah, but I managed it in the end, with some help from John who still had some of Beau’s baby stuff in the attic. As for looking after Lottie... It was tiring, but it was worth it. I didn’t care that she was an eating, sleeping, pooping machine, she was my eat, sleep and poop machine. I almost didn’t want to give her back when Sarah came to pick her up, but I wasn’t heartless enough to take two children away from Sarah. I’d taken the opportunity to check Lottie over for any bruises or anything, but she was completely mark free.

As for things in the rest of the world, Alex had built quite a name for himself. I mean, he was already a little bit famous from his fighting, but he’d become California’s leading gay rights activist. I’d seen him on TV once, but I’d been in a rush to get the kids ready for one thing or another, and hadn’t really been able to pay attention to what he was saying. From what I’d been told, he was only on air for about five minutes anyway, so it couldn’t have been much.

Apparently he was talking about the pride march coming up soon, as I found out from Caleb on the day when he called me at five am to tell me I was going or he’d never speak to me again. I woke the kids up a couple hours later, getting them ready and fed before going to pick up Lewis. I’d called Karen while the kids were getting dressed and asked her to have him up and ready when we got there. We met Caleb and Alex there, and I resisted the urge to turn around and go home when I saw the state the two of them were in. Alex was topless, with rainbows, smiley faces, and multicolour cocks drawn on him. Caleb had simply settled for a smiley face on his cheek, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d gone to town on himself with his paints where the casual observer couldn’t see.

"I see unpainted people" he giggled when he spotted me and the kids.

"Keep away from me" I warned him and Alex laughed.

"If I have to walk around like this all day, you do too"

Caleb pounced on all of us, being kind enough to ask the kids what they wanted instead of forcing it on them. Lily had asked for a rainbow on her cheek, and Danny had settled for nothing. Lewis, on the other hand, made the mistake of telling him he didn’t mind what he had, so he ended up looking like the child of a rainbow. Alex giggled when he saw them, and Caleb informed them they all looked fabulously gay, and Lewis started worrying that people wouldn’t like him for looking gay. He’d come a long way in the time that he’d been with us, and it didn’t take half as long to calm him down again. I smiled down at him, watching as he held Danny’s hand. Lily had made friends with some nearby lesbians, who I’d found out were happily married and called Tali and Emma, and the three of them were happily chattering away. I made sure we were near them, just in case anything happened. It’s not that I didn’t trust them, I just… You worry about these things, y’know?

"You whore" I called, laughing, when Alex announced we were all going to a club later. I could tell he was enjoying all the half-naked men around him as much as Caleb was.

Alex grinned at me and I shook my head in disbelief. Danny was busy making sure Lewis was enjoying himself, and Alex and Caleb started competing over who could get the most attention. Did they seriously not get enough sex already? Caleb, as per usual, insisted that he would because Alex was “old and fat”, and I rolled my eyes.  Unfortunately for Alex, most of the attention he was getting was because people recognised him. Caleb got his fair share of attention because he was being his usual slutty self, and I got some attention from some good looking guys, purely because I wasn’t single and therefore couldn’t enjoy the attention I was getting without feeling guilty.

Alex dragged us into the march, picking Danny up and putting him on his shoulders. I held Lewis’ hand instead, asking him if he was having fun, the both of us watching Alex and Caleb dancing around with Danny. He nodded, flashing me a smile.

“Wanna dance?” I chuckled.

“Yeah” he said happily, and the two of us started dancing along as we marched.

I spotted some anti-gay picketers up ahead, and did my best to keep him distracted as we went past them, but he noticed anyway. He stopped dancing and his gaze shot to the ground beneath him.

"Just ignore them, kiddo” I said, a little upset that it had this kind of effect on him.

"Now the fags are stealing our kids. Someone has to stop this, before his innocence is gone" I heard one of the picketers yell and scowled.

I guess one of them knew him or something, because they knew his name, and started telling him to come back with them.

"Ignore them" I said, a little sternly.

"But they're all mommy's friends"

"And when they find out about you and Danny?" I asked quietly. It was a shitty move, I know, but I just wanted to get him away from them. He looked up at me innocently. “Exactly”

Lewis shuffled so he was walking closer to me and I squeezed his hand a little, seeing Alex yelling at the picketers to get the fuck away from the parade. And then the idiot decided to physically drag the leader away from the crowd, the others following in an angry mob.

"You okay?" I asked Lewis.

"All the people I used to see all the time hate me now"

"And they're very silly for it"

"I liked them" he said quietly and I stopped, crouching down and pulling him into a hug.

"I know it sucks, kiddo, but they might change their minds one day"

"I hope so"

"And if not, fuck 'em, you're better off without them" I said and Lewis giggled a little.

"You said a naughty word" he said and I nodded.

"And I'll say it again if I have to"

He nuzzled his head against my chest and I picked him up with difficulty, catching up to Caleb and the kids not long before Alex reappeared with a split lip.

"Stupid fag haters can't even throw a decent punch" he muttered.

"You didn't" I groaned.

"I didn't, they did."

"As long as you didn't fight back"

"I defended myself, does that count?" he asked and I let out another groan. "What?"

"They'll sue you for assault or something"

"They threw the first punches. I just... pushed them aside and got the fuck out of there" he said and Lewis told him off for swearing.

"Good boy" I smiled, before turning back to Alex. "They'll still try something. It wouldn't matter so much if you were just another face, but I'm pretty sure everyone here knows your name"

"They can try" he shrugged.

"Just be careful, yeah?"

"I will" he said, and went back to entertaining Danny and Caleb.

I carried Lewis til he wanted to walk again, though he kept close to me and the others when he did. I held his hand again, and started relaxing a little. Hopefully that was the last of the homophobes. Oh boy, was I wrong.

“Look at that, they start training ‘em young these days, huh?” I heard someone remark, and glanced over at the crowd watching the parade. “How long d’you reckon til she’s licking pussy?”

“Couple years, I’ll bet. I heard those dykes are into little kids” someone else said, and I spotted two guys leaning on one of the barricades, both clutching bottles of beer.

“Hey, kid, come over here! I got this special lollipop you might be interested in!” the first yelled over, laughing with his buddy. And then I noticed who they were yelling at: my fucking daughter.

That was fucking it. I stormed over to them, yelling at them to have some fucking respect. Alex appeared, trying to keep me calm, but I was having none of it. She was a fucking child, and they were yelling that at her? What the fuck was wrong with them? Alex dragged me away eventually, kissing my cheek as I tried to calm myself down.

"Sorry" I sighed.

"It's fine" he smiled.

"I think I'm gonna have to call it quits, man"

"We can go chill out in a diner or something if you want?" he asked, this sad look on his face.

"I don't mind, I just..." I trailed off, sighing again.

Alex wrapped me in a hug, telling Caleb he was going to a diner with me and the kids, and asked if the ginger wanted to join us. Caleb said he would, despite all the attention he was getting, and I thanked Tali and Emma for looking after Lily. The six of us headed for the nearest diner, and Alex treated us all to something to eat. I just got a beer, thwacking my head down on the table, humming as he played with my hair.

"Cheer up bunny"

"I don't think I'm built for all this pride stuff"

"How come?"

"I can take people saying shit about me, but not about my family" I said and I felt him kiss the top of my head.

"I know how you feel. If anyone said something like that about ginger, I'd rip them limb from limb. You don't have to stay if you don't want to" he smiled.

"I don't wanna let you guys down, though"

"You won't. I'm hardly gonna make you stay if you're not having fun"

"Oh, no, I was having fun, I just can't deal with that, y'know?" I said and he nodded.

"We can look after the kids, if you wanna head home?" he said when I let out another sigh.

"S'fine, I'll take them with me"

"Sure?" he asked and I nodded. "'Kay"

I said bye to Caleb, returning the kiss he gave me, and earning myself a kiss on the cheek from Alex. He gave the kids a goodbye hug each, and I told him that I was still up for going out if I could find a sitter. I just had to hope John wouldn’t mind.

The End

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