Julian and Silas had been sitting in the living room talking when Ash, Julian’s father, walked in through the sliding door, his blue tie undone and blazer in hand. “Hey, boys.”
“Hi, Uncle Ash,” Silas replied, his eyes glued on the TV as an episode of Moonknight played.
However, Julian paused the show to say hello to the two men who had adopted him into the family but was surprised only to see Ash and not Sebastian. “Hi, Ash. Where’s Sebastian?”
“Why?” he muttered as he sat beside him. “Am I not enough?”
Julian’s eyes widened as he waved his hands before him a little. “Oh, no, I didn’t mean it like that.”
Ash snorted. “I know, kiddo. I’m just joking; learn to let loose. He’s still at work and should be home soon.”
“How do you know?”
When Ash’s phone rang, he smugly scooped it out of his pocket to show them the screen. Sebastian was calling him. He answered, a broad grin on his face. “Hello, Bubbles.”
Julian didn’t know what Sebastian was saying. He could hear him yelling intangible. “First of all,” Ash said, frowning. “I get that you’re annoyed, but you take that tone with me, and you’re on the couch for a week. Second, you’ve been working overtime for the past two weeks. I’ll unlock your computer tomorrow. Get home. Love you, bye.”
Ash hung up and ran a hand through his hair before dropping the blazer on the couch and walking through the archway into the kitchen where Alex, Ash’s brother, was making dinner. He could hear the two men talking as Bailey, Alex’s child, came down the stairs and entered the kitchen without saying a word to him or Silas.
Bailey was one of Julian’s five cousins from Ash’s side. All four families lived together in one large home, while extended family and others who were family lived in the same street, so they were together almost all the time. It had been an odd adjustment for Julian, who went from having nobody to so many people four years ago when he had been adopted.
Although some were at university and their dorms from September until June. Everyone was at home now due to the holidays, and Julian wasn’t sure if he liked or hated it. So many people were crawling in and out of the house at all hours of the day.
Ten minutes later, when the sliding door into the living room opened again, he wasn’t surprised to see Isaiah, Midnight and Royal appear. Isaiah was one of Luca’s children, while Midnight’s uncle was a family friend and lived with Luca while his uncle and his partner travelled the world. Julian didn’t know much about Midnight’s familial situation, mainly because no one would tell him, and the man scared him too much to ask him himself. Royal was Isaiah’s best friend. He also spent most nights with them. That trio were often referred to by everyone as the stoners, mainly because they were rarely not high.
All three walked in. Royal’s heterochromatic eyes were a bright shade of red, and he had a dopey smile as he stared at Isaiah's rant about something. “Julian,” Isaiah said, a smile on his face when he saw Julian. “You want weed?”
Silas sighed. “f**k off, Zay.”
“Don’t offer my child weed without offering me some first!” Came Ash’s yell from the kitchen. Julian smiled a little when he heard Alex chastise him.
Julian turned his gaze back to the sliding door when he heard the front door open again. This time, the group, often called the girls, came in; it was his sister, Thea, Wendy, another of Luca’s children, and his cousin Melody. And with them came Sebastian. He smiled tiredly as he said hello and went into the kitchen.
Once Julian had seen his family inside, where they were safe, he relaxed and focused on the ramblings of a stoned Isaiah.