Blessings and Miracles by H.M. Wolfe

Chapter 1

“Good morning, Mr. Bloom-Tanner,” Justin said in a deep, raspy voice, pulling his husband closer.  Did you sleep well?”

“G'morning, Mr. Bloom-Tanner,” Marcus echoed him in a voice heavy with sleep. “My husband and my babies drained me of energy, but I'm not complaining.” He shifted in Justin's embrace, facing him. “A mighty, uncontrollable hunger is the only side effect I'm experiencing right now.” Marcus grinned.

“Hunger? Are you talking about that kind of hunger? Or the other kind?” Justin spoke in the same low, seductive voice from earlier, his sapphire eyes shining with a mix of amusement and lust.

“I'm talking about food.” Marcus rolled his eyes with a dramatic sigh. “Croissants, toast, butter, any kind of fruit jelly, honey, milk, omelet, cooked bacon, sausages...whatever people eat for breakfast. We also have a teenager and a six-year-old to feed, both girls with an epic hunger.”

“I get the message.” Justin nodded, grinning. “You should take a look in the mirror, husband. There is a wild look in those green eyes of yours. I'm legitimately afraid you are going to eat me in one go.” He left the bed and disappeared into the closet, where he came back from a few minutes later fully dressed.

“If I wasn't so hungry, I would have had a little fun with that sexy behind of yours before you covered it with two layers of fabric,” Marcus purred, climbing off the bed and starting to make it. “Wow, snow.” He looked out the window, clapping his hands, then put on a pair of jeans and a turtleneck.

Justin turned around, letting out a low, appreciative whistle. “You look too sexy for this hour of the day. Can I have you for breakfast?” He got close to his husband and inhaled his scent. “You smell...yummy.”

Marcus playfully shoved Justin, grinning. “Later, if you behave. Now, I'm going to check on the babies, feed them if they’re awake, then I'm going to wake up Miss Rosaleen and Alana.”

“And I'm going to feed my family with the tastiest breakfast ever cooked in this house.” Justin smiled gently. “Just like Ezra taught me,” he added, the smile brightening his face even more.

Gods, I miss your brother a lot.” Marcus groaned, tilting his head backward. “One more week until Christmas, and it will be the longest of my life.”

“I miss everyone.” Justin sighed, opening the door. “Especially Peyton, Arnett, and Hayden, but also Dad, Uncle Sebastian, and... you are going to laugh at this, but I'm dying of curiosity to see if all the rumors about Uncle Fabian's dramatic change for the better are true.”

The man went downstairs into the fully equipped kitchen and started to collect the ingredients for breakfast, but his thoughts wandered to the family reunion that was going to take place at the Stark family's mansion in Connecticut. On one hand, Justin couldn't wait to spend quality time with his father, Uncle Sebastian, his brother, his cousins, and all his friends.

On the other hand, the man was afraid that the presence of his Uncle Fabian there would create tensions and would make the atmosphere heavy and uncomfortable. Marcus and Justin both had a thick skin, so they could deal with shitty situations. The babies, and even Rosaleen, could react pretty badly, not to mention Alana, who was still adjusting to life with them, even after ten months.

A small smile played on the man's lips as he took a trip down the memory lane, remembering the day the girl, who was fifteen at the time, knocked on his and Marcus' front door, asking for a glass of water. From the look on the girl's face and her body language, they could tell the teen was in some kind of trouble.

Marcus's sweet voice, the men's mild manners, the kindness and compassion in their eyes won Alana's heart, and, between two bites of turkey and grilled cheese sandwich, she trusted them with her story. One of her father's business partners, aged forty-five, made her sleep with him a few days after she turned fifteen.

At first, Alana resisted, but the man promised to divorce his wife and marry her, and she finally gave up and had unprotected sex with him. The relationship continued until the inexperienced teen discovered she was eight weeks pregnant, and, beyond happy, delivered the news to her lover, who was less than thrilled about it.

He went ahead of the naive teen girl and, feigning revolt, announced her family about the situation, denying his involvement. Alana's father, her mother, and even her brothers sided with the man, kicking the girl out of the house the day before with only the clothes on her back. The girl was embarrassed to mention she didn't have a single cent in her pocket, but Justin and Marcus figured it out by themselves.

Although they knew that the outcome wasn't going to be a positive one, the two husbands decided to go to Alana's parents and convince them to listen to their daughter, take her back, and support her. They took the girl with them but left her in the car, which was a wise decision, as her family called her ugly names even in her absence.

“Blueberry muffins and that super-delicious, extra-tasty omelet! You are the greatest cook and the best dad ever!” Alana's voice brought Justin back from his thoughts, and he turned to her, smiling. “Marcus is the best, too, for changing the babies and letting me sleep in.”

“Good morning, princess,” the man smiled, getting back to the stove and turning it down. “You still need a lot of sleep and food to recover after the birth, which is a traumatic experience for an adult woman, let alone a girl your age. Plus, you have two babies who need every second of your time when you're awake.” Justin spoke in a low, gentle voice.

“Did someone say babies?” Marcus climbed down the stairs, a bright smile on his face. “Those cuties insisted on joining us for breakfast, so I need a volunteer to bring them into the kitchen.”

“That would be me.” Alana raised her hand. “I was going to go and check on our Queen Rosaleen, anyway. She promised to get dressed by herself if I let her watch cartoons for another ten minutes,” she continued.

“I can't believe you fell for that.” Marcus facepalmed. “It's the oldest trick in the book. It's not your fault, though. We should have warned you about...”

“Good morning, Daddy and Papa.” Rosaleen's chirping voice cut the man short. “Look, I'm a big girl now. I got dressed all by myself.”

“Yay.” Alana clapped her hands, winking at the two men. “I knew you could do it! Now let's get into the nursery and help Daddy bring Yvonne-Marie and Gregory-Thaddeus downstairs to have breakfast with us.

“How did you...” Marcus shook his head, an incredulous expression on his face. “These two are a league of their own,” he muttered under his breath, loud enough for Justin to hear him.

“Soon enough, there will be three of them, so let's enjoy our independence before they take over the house.” Justin laughed.

But Marcus had already disappeared upstairs and couldn't hear him. He came back a few minutes later, the little boy safely cocooned in his arms in a milk-drunk state. Alana followed the man carrying the little girl, who was a lot more alert than her brother and studying the new surroundings with visible curiosity.

She recognized Justin and offered him a toothless smile, which melted the man's heart on the spot. With Alana's help, Marcus put the babies in the portable double crib set in the kitchen, then started to set the table while his husband spent some quality time with the babies, cooing at them and making funny faces.

The little boy started to yawn like a kitty and, a few minutes later, he was sound asleep. His sister examined her favorite stuffed toy from all angles like she was seeing it for the first time, but soon, her eyes grew heavy with sleep, too, and it wasn't long before she followed her brother into the land of dreams.

Rosaleen was the first who finished her breakfast and, after she thanked both her fathers for the delicious meal, hurried upstairs for more cartoons, coloring, and reading, her favorite activities. Alana, on the other hand, asked for seconds, the soft moans of appreciation escaping from her lips from time to time making Justin happy.

“This”—the girl pointed with the fork to the empty plate—“is the queen of omelets. What is the secret ingredient you guys use? There has to be one because I've never ate an omelet that tasted like the one you cook.”

Marcus smiled small, but Alana detected a note of worry in his kind, grass-green eyes. “Uncle Vincent, the one who invented the recipe, always says that love is the main ingredient of this omelet. By the way”—he turned to Justin—“he messaged me earlier. The plans have changed a little. Everyone will be there three days earlier than initially planned.”

“This is great news,” Justin said in a cheerful voice, his sapphire eyes shining with excitement. “Oh, dear, we have to talk.” He turned to Alana, whose body posture suddenly changed, her shoulders slumped, and gaze lowered.

“We intended to tell you about this big family reunion”—Marcus tentatively touched the girl's long, wavy, chestnut hair—“but we couldn't find the right moment and...I'm sorry. We didn't intend to put you in an uncomfortable position.”

“You told me once that your family is almost all males. Just like mine,” Alana whispered, staring at her hands resting in her lap.

The men in our families are either gay or bisexual.” Justin spoke in a warm voice. “They are loving fathers, doting grandfathers and some of them are great cooks, or so they claim.” He grinned.

“You met Hayden and his husband Arnett, and you liked them very much,” Marcus said, letting out a sigh of relief when Alana nodded. “Well, my Uncle Vincent is Hayden's godfather and the one who took care of him, and Arnett after Hayden's mother died. He is an adorable man, and so are his... life partners.”

“What about your father and brother?” The girl turned to Justin, speaking in a low voice. “Are they gay, too?” The shine returned in her eyes as she hoped for a positive answer.

“My father is currently single, his former boyfriend moved to England and met someone there, and Ezra is married to the most beautiful and wonderful person on the face of the Earth, Peyton. They have six children together and love them to the moon and back.” Justin's voice was thick with emotion, his sapphire eyes shining with affection.

“And there are, of course, the others,” Marcus continued on the subject, encouraged by Alana's considerably more relaxed attitude. “Daniel, Hayden's older brother; Martin-Cornelius, Justin's straight cousin, who is a great guy; Liam, the biggest gossiper in the universe; and of course, Alasdair, the king of yellers.”

“Alasdair's husband, Ardan, helped by his brothers and a handful of men dedicated to this cause, run a sanctuary for abused and neglected children. Speaking of, my cousins and friends have a lot of kids, by blood or adopted, of all ages.” Justin smiled, seeing how the shine in Alana's eyes intensified.

“Wow, that's wonderful.” She clapped her hands in excitement. “When will we be going there again?”