Brenton is a famous rock star. He's also bisexual and closeted, despite the band's very open nature. When Zeke comes to work for them, Brenton is helplessly drawn. However, he has far bigger problems when he finds a picture that's been shoved under his door. The band has dealt with stalkers before, but this time Brenton—and Zeke—seem to be the focus, and Brenton fears this might be the time the band doesn't overcome a threat to their lives.
“I have something to tell you all,” Jamie Pierce, the manager of Black Lace from their first day as a band and through several line-up changes, announces from the head of the table.
The whole band is there, plus Kelly and Penny. Brenton is sitting next to Donnie and Jed, their guitarist and singer, also a long-term couple. Drew, their bass player, is next to the girls.
“Do tell,” Jed encourages. He and Jamie had dated when the band first started and gotten married. That was before Bert, their ex-guitarist, outed Jed. But that was a long time ago. Jed and Jamie are best friends, and Jed’s been dating Donnie for two years, ever since Donnie joined Black Lace. It hadn’t been easy for them, but it’d worked out for the best. And seeing them now, holding hands under the table, it makes Brenton smile.
“Well, I didn’t tell you, but Chris and I… He wishes he could be here tonight, but anyway, he agreed I could tell you. We’ve been trying for a baby, and I’m three months pregnant.” Jamie beams, her hand resting gently on her stomach. Her pregnancy isn’t obvious in her smart suit, but there’s something different about her.
Jed’s first to his feet, hugging her tightly, and then they all take their turns hugging her. Brenton goes after Donnie. He’s a big guy. He does cross-fit, MMA, and other sports in his spare time. He’s tall, broad, and muscular. The news people are always calling him scary and intimidating. So when Brenton reaches Jamie, he’s careful to keep his hug gentle.
“Congratulations. We’re all going to spoil you rotten,” Brenton warns her before he takes his seat.
“I know you’re all probably wondering how this will affect work. I plan to keep working for now, but I’m hiring an assistant to help with managing the band. They’ll slowly do more of my duties, but to start off, they’ll be like a PA for all of you,” Jamie explains.
“You think of everything, don’t you?” Penny smiles.
“If you ever need a babysitter, I call dibs,” Kelly adds, and Brenton can’t help but wonder if Penny and Kelly have thought about having children. They haven’t mentioned anything to him, or around him, but Brenton’s known Penny a very long time, and Kelly long enough to know they both like kids.
They’ve lost a band member to family life before. Cherry Lee was their guitarist after Bert and before Donnie. They’re still in touch. She now has four kids, all young, and Brenton doesn’t blame her at all for not wanting to tour when she has them at home.
“Thank you, all of you. I’m really happy. I promise this won’t stop the next tour. I’ll be about six months when you go on tour, so I’ll probably only come to local shows, but you’ll be fine without me, and like I said, I’m training someone up to help you guys out,” Jamie says, taking a sip of her fizzy water. Brenton hadn’t really noticed before that she wasn’t drinking alcohol, but he does now.
“So, we all get to be uncles and aunties, right?” Jed asks. He looks excited.
Jed’s been a happier version of himself since Donnie came into his life. He hasn’t changed, but he’s more relaxed. Being in a relationship he doesn’t have to hide is good for him. He was used by Bert, stalked by Bert’s brother, Peter, and almost lost Donnie to Peter and a gun. Time has changed so much, but the band is going strong, and now Jamie and her partner Chris, who’s a music producer, are adding to the family they’ve made here.
“Of course, the coolest aunties and uncles ever.” Jamie smiles.
“And I’m the coolest of them all,” Drew says smugly.
“Dork,” Penny snorts.
“Children, please.” Jed tuts.
“I think we should toast to Jamie and the baby,” Donnie suggests.
They all raise their glasses, some alcohol, some not, and they bring their glasses together, wishing Jamie and her unborn baby good health.
Penny puts her arm casually around Kelly’s shoulder. Donnie and Jed go back to holding hands. Jamie’s hand rests on her stomach, radiant smile on her face, and Drew is on his cell phone, texting one of a long list of casuals.
Brenton is single: no children, no ex-wife, no baby on the way. He feels a little bit jealous. But not much because he has all of them: his band, his friends, and his dream job. So Brenton pushes aside the small, petty jealousy, and focuses on enjoying being with them and savoring their joy.
They finish their desserts, and the meal starts to wind down. They take their time drinking coffee, but soon people start to yawn.
Then Draw stands up, saying, “I have to split. I have a date.”
Jed smirks. “At this time of night, it’s not a date. It’s called a booty call.”
Drew just grins at that, saying goodbye to them all, and congratulating Jamie again. Penny and Kelly are next to head out. They moved in together about a year ago. Kelly and Donnie used to be roommates, and they’d both decided to move in with their lovers at the same time.
“Right, I’m exhausted. I need to get home to my man,” Jamie says.
“Of course, you need your rest,” Jed insists.
“I’m not a delicate flower, Jed. Women have been having babies for as long as there’ve been people,” Jamie says.
“I’ll try not to be too bad, but I worry about you.” Jed sighs. He and Jamie have remained close through everything.
Donnie grins. “Mother hen.”
“Princess,” Jed fires back before leaning in to kiss Donnie’s cheek. Princess is Donnie’s nickname, thanks to Kelly.
“Make sure they don’t make a scene,” Jamie asks Brenton, and then she says goodbye to them all and leaves.