Elliott Quinn tried to catch his boyfriend at the door and issue a fair warning, but the front door slammed shut in the same moment that Eliza Grace let out a terrific laughing screech—the eardrum piercing kind that only truly joyful babies can create. He was tickling his one year-old honorary niece with the feather in his costume cap, earning those wonderful peals of laughter, and he’d totally lost track of time.
“Oopsie,” Elliott said to Eliza Grace. “I think Uncle Auggie is going to be surprised to see you.”
“El?” Augustus’s deep voice boomed up the stairs to the second floor. “Do you have Tori’s kid again?”
Elliott turned his head to shout out the bedroom door, instead of into the baby’s face. “Maybe. Come upstairs and say hi.”
Heavy footsteps trod up the carpeted steps, moving steadily closer. Elliott fluffed the gauzy wings attached to the back of Eliza Grace’s dress, then stepped aside so his boyfriend could get the full effect.
Augustus Rhinehart filled the doorway to their bedroom, fatigue weighing down his broad frame. His dark eyes widened as he took them in, and then he started laughing.
Like, really laughing.
“What?” Elliott couldn’t help his affronted squawk. “You’re supposed to say how adorable we both look.”
“I’m sorry, I just--” He coughed like he always did when trying to control himself. “Didn’t expect this, and I should have, because it’s so you.”
Since Augustus didn’t know that Elliott had impulsively planned their entire evening in the last forty-five minutes, the “so you” wasn’t his love of last minute preparations and parties. The “so you” was the fact that he’d raided a pop-up costume store so he could take Eliza Grace trick-or-treating in the most perfect costumes: he’d dressed up as a blond Peter Pan, while she was decked out in the cutest (and age appropriate) Tinkerbell dress possible.
“Here’s an obvious question, though,” Augustus said. “Why do you have the baby, instead of her parents?”
“Because Tori called me less than an hour ago, super upset, because Allen is uber-sick with the flu and still blowing chunks, and she didn’t want to leave him alone, but she didn’t want Eliza Grace to miss her first Halloween out.”
Last year, Eliza Grace had only been sixteen days old on Halloween, the weather had been cold and rainy, and her parents decided not to risk their newborn’s health for candy she couldn’t even eat. She still couldn’t eat much of it this year, but Uncle Elliott was ready to help out in that department. Ever since meeting and falling in love with Augustus over two years ago, Elliott had embraced soft belly, so gorging on sweets was not out of the question.
And maybe Elliott was the only one out of his trio of very best friends who didn’t still have at least a four-pack, but whatever. Augustus loved his body and nothing else mattered.
Augustus stepped over to the bed, his mouth quirking in the adoring smile he reserved for two people: Eliza Grace and his nephew Jack. “She does make an adorable Tinkerbell. But Peter Pan?”
“What?” Elliott twirled, showing off the green tights and tunic. “You don’t like?”
“Don’t ever change, El.” Augustus planted a loving kiss on his lips. “Does this mean I get to follow along in the car for when you inevitably get tired of holding both her and the candy?”
“Oh hell—I mean, heck no.” He reached behind the bedroom door where he’d stashed the other costume, revealing it with a flourish. “You, my love, are going to join us on our candy hunt. Say hello to Wilmington’s hottest Captain Hook.”
Augustus stared at the costume, which Elliott might have paid a little too much for, but now that he owned it, he was pretty sure he’d soon be developing a pirate fetish. Black, bloused trousers, a white shirt that only buttoned up halfway, and a beautiful red velvet jacket with all the trimmings. He’d even gotten a hat with long, black curls sewn in, since Augustus kept his hair cut short.
“Peter Pan and Captain Hook, huh?” Augustus said.
“I know, I know, there’s an argument to be made about daddy issues, but I promise you mine are long since resolved. Besides, I should get creativity points for pulling all this together in less than an hour.”
“And you do get points. One question, though?”
Elliott crossed his arms. “Yeah?”
“Did James and Boxer each already have plans?”
He let out an exasperated grunt. “Maybe. So?” His two best friends, Boxer and James, were a lot less flighty and way more down to earth than Elliott—their significant others, too—so yeah, they’d made more sense to take Eliza Grace out. Elliott hadn’t been offended that he’d been Tori’s third call for a sitter, especially when most of his attempts at babysitting solo consisted of many frantic phone calls to his various friends for advice. He still hadn’t figured out her “I’m hungry” cries from her “I shit my diaper” cries.
“Only asking, babe,” Augustus said. “Let me grab something to eat, and then I’ll get changed.”
Elliott bounced up on his toes. “So you’re coming with us?”
“Watching you trick-or-treat with a baby in your arms? I wouldn’t miss it.”
“And you get to be a pirate.”
Augustus eyeballed him in a less-than subtle way. “Do we have her the entire night?”
“I offered but Tori didn’t trust me with her all night, even with you here.” Elliott shrugged, not put off in the least. It meant he could strip Augustus out of his costume one piece at a time, so sexy Captain Hook could fuck Peter Pan senseless. “I’m not sad about that. And there’s food already in the microwave. Go heat it up, then get dressed, Cap’n.”
Elliott carried Eliza Grace downstairs behind Augustus, careful of her dress’s wings. He didn’t want to crush them before they’d visited one house. She seemed content to sit on a blanket in the middle of the living room floor, so Elliott grabbed a piece of paper out of a kitchen drawer. He’d bought candy, expecting to be home to pass it out, but now that they were going out he planned to leave it on the porch in a bowl. The handmade “One piece please” sign probably wouldn’t do any good, but he’d feel better knowing he tried.
Augustus ate quickly, then dashed back upstairs. Elliott amused himself by re-enacting bits of the Disney version of Peter Pan that he remembered, much to Eliza Grace’s ear shattering delight. That kid had the most amazing laugh. Mostly he jumped around and acted the fool, and she ate it up.
The sun was starting to set, sending small pockets of children into the streets, when Augustus finally descended the stairs. Elliott resisted the urge to cover Eliza Grace’s eyes with his hand; she was too young to understand how smoking hot her Uncle Auggie was in his Captain Hook costume.
More for Elliott to ogle. The trousers were almost too small, hugging Augustus in all the right places. The unbuttoned shirt showed off miles of dark chest and wiry black hair. And the hat and wig? Elliott checked his chin for drool because HELLO. Then he pinched himself hard on the thigh, because his own tights were not going to hide a hard-on if he kept staring.
“Holy damn. Um, darn.” Elliott shook himself all over. “Why didn’t we try costume role play before now?”
Augustus gave him an innocent smile, then lifted the tail of his jacket to show off his ass. “Why? Something look good?”
“You’re killing me here, Auggie, seriously killing me.”
“Hey, you bought the costume, Peter Pan.”
“Yes, I did, and I have no regrets whatsoever. None. Nope.” Okay, so maybe he sort of, kind of regretted needing to leave the house to trick-or-treat with a one year-old, but not really. He’d never get this chance again with Eliza Grace. Sex could definitely wait a few more hours.
Augustus stalked over slowly, intently, like a real pirate about to take his conquest. “You do realize that later on, when we’re alone, nothing comes off. Not even the hat.”
“Same for you, Cap’n. I want to feel those curls on the back of my neck.”
He growled softly. “You’d have loved my dreads. Sometimes I think about letting them grow out again.”
“I think that would be sexy as hell—heck.”
“Hmmm.” Augustus palmed his ass, and dear God, they needed to leave before Elliott did pop wood. “Have I mentioned lately how much I’m starting to love Halloween?”
“I love Halloween. And I love you, Elliott Quinn.”
Elliott’s heart turned over hard. No matter how many times Augustus said it, it meant everything to Elliott. He’d fought so hard to be a man worth loving. His relationship with Augustus hadn’t been without its own difficulties, but they’d found a way to forgive and move on as a committed couple. “I love you more, Augustus Rhinehart.”
He squatted to pick his Tinkerbell up off the floor. “And I love you too, little niece of mine.” She tried to grab his feather cap again and succeeded in knocking it to the ground. “It’s going to be like that, is it?”
Augustus snatched the hat up with a chuff of laughter, then plunked it back down on Elliott’s head. “You know, for all your insecurities, you really are amazing with her. You’d make a great dad.”
Elliott shrugged. “It’s easier when it’s someone else’s kid. I can give her back at the end of the day, let her parents do all the hard work.” He leveled Augustus with a suspicious look. “Why? You just turned forty, don’t tell me you want to start a family now?”
“Forty isn’t all that old, thank you. And no, I’m not saying that. We’ve had this discussion. Your cat is high maintenance enough, and we like our life as is. I’m just saying you’re better at this than you give yourself credit for. Plus Dawn, Beverly and Billy adore you.”
And he adored the three kids of Augustus’s best friend right back. Plus, now that Dawn was in high school, she regularly texted Elliott for boy advice, which was ten kinds of awesome. Elliott was officially the Cool Uncle. “Like I’ve always said, I like other people’s kids.” He grinned. “But if you really want someone new in your life, running around your ankles, Schtump could always use a sibling.”
Augustus surprised him by not turning down the idea of a second cat. “How about we discuss the idea of visiting a rescue shelter while we’re getting this pretty little pixie some Halloween candy?”
“Yeah?” They’d never talked about adopting another pet, mostly because Schtump was seriously picky about the humans she liked. Mixing in a second feline might be asking for trouble—and serious flesh wounds.
“Yeah.” Augustus grinned. “If it’s what you want.”
“Cool.” He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted another cat, but he loved knowing the option was absolutely on the table.
Augustus grabbed his keys and the glittery bucket Elliott bought as their candy pail. He held the front door open. “After you, Mr. Pan.”
“Why thank you, Captain.”
They didn’t have to leave the neighborhood to trick-or-treat, so he and Augustus walked down the sidewalk to the first house with a light on, elbows touching, Eliza Grace perched on Elliott’s hip. Groups of kids and parents were already wandering the street, laughing and pointing out costumes.
Elliott ignored the occasional glare from disapproving parents, because he was happy, dammit, and he didn’t need anyone else to approve of his life. One little girl dressed as a fairy squealed and insisted her mom take a picture with their trio. Peter Pan was apparently her favorite Disney movie, and she seemed in complete awe of “Captain Hook.” Augustus ate it up as much as Elliott did.
And later on that night, after delivering Eliza Grace and her bucket of candy home to her parents—minus a mini candy bar or five—Elliott and Augustus removed the minimal amount of clothing necessary in order for Augustus to bend him over the kitchen counter and fuck him senseless.
Best. Halloween. Ever.
© A.M. Arthur 2016
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