unexpected alliance by phoenix.writing

12 Dec

Zita had not breathed a word about what she had discovered to anyone else in the family; she had allowed Adam to swear her to secrecy, though that had not prevented her from chewing him out so soundly that his ears were still ringing.

She thought Aiden was amazing, and she thought that Adam was particularly stupid for keeping the man hidden.  Adam agreed in theory, he really, truly did, but he didn’t want to start World War III within his family.  It wasn’t even that he was scared of falling out of Gran’s good graces—though he was pretty sure that’s what Zita thought—it was that having one person who could be assured of peacekeeping with the woman meant that it went altogether more smoothly for the entire family.

If the two of them fell out, he really wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

But Zita had brought home what Adam had been thinking for weeks—months—on his own.  If he didn’t introduce Aiden to his family soon, he was going to lose the man, and if he thought that staying in Gran’s good graces at the expense of his relationship with Aiden was worth it, then as Zita had pointed out, he didn’t deserve the other man.

Aiden was the best thing that had even happened to Adam, and while he didn’t want to offer up the peace and happiness of his family on the altar of his own desires, Zita had reminded him that he needed to see to his own happiness and the rest of them would see to theirs.

It would be easier if he invited Aiden to meet the rest of the family first, but he just knew how Gran would react if she found out that everyone had known but her.  No, that was definitely a bad plan.

The closest he was going to get in the way of being clever about it was introducing the man first without indicating exactly how they were related.  If she decided that she liked Aiden, it was possible that this would only go disastrously wrong instead of exploding with the force and city-levelling destruction of a nuclear bomb.

He hadn’t wanted to talk about it at all, but he’d recognized that Aiden was walking into a mine field and deserved to know what he was getting himself into.

So Adam carefully invited Aiden to lunch with his gran, his mother, and his sister.  He carefully explained to Aiden that he’d like to just introduce them first, and he went on in as much detail as he could about the likely reactions that his gran would have, detailing some of the rather colourful examples so that Aiden would know what he was getting into.

Aiden found the whole thing a little bit amusing, from the look of him, but he seemed to realise how much effort it had taken Adam to gear himself up to this, so he didn’t tease Adam too much.

Adam made sure that his life insurance policy and will were up to date—not that he confessed this to Aiden—ensured that his hair was perfection itself, and at 12:45pm, he presented himself at his Gran’s house with Aiden at his side, trying and failing miserably not to feel that he was a dead man walking.

His gran had wanted to know why he’d decided to bring a friend, wanted to know why he’d suggested a meeting with his mother and his sister, wanted to know what was going on.  She’d sounded more and more suspicious, and he could only imagine what theories were bouncing around in that shrewd mind of hers, but since she wanted answers, she’d allowed the lunch.

This was going to end in complete disaster, but at least no one would be able to accuse him of not trying after this.

Susannah, the maid, escorted the two of them out to the terrace where his gran was waiting, and Adam tried to shake the feeling that his doom was approaching; when had he gotten so theatrical?

They rounded the corner and he could see his gran.  It was too late to make a run for it.  They were right in front of her now, and Adam opened his mouth and—

“Aiden, dear boy, what are you doing here?”

“Isa, how lovely to see you again.  I had no idea that you were Adam’s grandmother.”

Adam’s mouth closed with a snap, and he tried not to goggle as his gran patted the seat next to her, ushering Aiden into it.

By the time Zita and his mother arrived, Adam had gathered that Aiden was Isa’s hairdresser and they were fast friends, but he still hadn’t managed to do much more than stare in shock, and he was amused to note that his mother and Zita didn’t do much better.

It was the best possible outcome, of course, but it was more unexpected than he had words to describe.

Maybe, just maybe, this was going to work out all right after all.

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Adam, Aiden, Zita, and Isa have been seen previously in Blame Aiden, Flustered, The Consequences of Rage, Multiplication, and Good Samaritan.

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