Hugo never expected his life to go the way it has. He’s only twenty-one, yet here he is, single father to a three-month-old Ennis. His parents aren’t happy he made the decision to keep Ennis, but he’s dealing with everything better than he ever thought he would, and when he meets his mate, he feels everything coming together.
Leo is lucky his son lives in Gillham. With the help of the pack, he managed to beat cancer, and he can now focus on Brian and his mate, Josh, and on rebuilding his life. He knows it won’t be easy, but at fifty-four, he doesn’t expect much. He certainly didn’t expect to have a mate and for him to be thirty-three years his junior.
Leo tries to stay away from Hugo because he thinks he’s too old. No one else seems to think that’s a problem, or no one who matters, anyway. But will Leo be able to get over his hang-ups and give his relationship with Hugo a chance? The family he’s always wanted is right in front of him. Will he take that opportunity, or will he let his age get the better of him?
Hugo jerked to the side just in time to avoid the stream of urine coming at him. He scrambled for the clean diaper, holding it up and shielding himself. Ennis grinned at him, showing his gums.
“Very funny, little man,” Hugo groused.
He tickled Ennis’ stomach and smiled at the way his son squirmed. God, his son. He still couldn’t believe that was something he could actually think or say. He’d never have thought he’d be a father at twenty-one, let alone a single father.
But this was his life, and he didn’t regret the choice he’d made. He couldn’t deny it was hard to take care of Ennis mostly on his own, but he was glad he had that opportunity. When he thought he wouldn’t have had this if he’d agreed to the adoption…well, he didn’t want to think about that. It hadn’t happened, and he had his son.
Sometimes he didn’t believe this was his life.
Not that he’d been a partier or anything before Ennis had happened, but he’d enjoyed going out with his friends. That wasn’t possible anymore, but to Hugo’s surprise, he didn’t want to go out. He was perfectly fine going to bed at nine PM because he knew Ennis would wake him up at midnight to eat. That was something he could have done without. Waking up every four hours meant he was perpetually cranky, which was unfortunate since he had to work with people every day.
“The floor is wet.”
Hugo put a hand on Ennis’ stomach and turned to look at Ned. “Ennis peed while I was changing him.”
Ned grimaced and scratched his stomach. He had a bad case of bed-head and looked like he was only half awake. “I’m going to go grab something to mop it up.”
“Don’t bother. I’ll clean up once Ennis is dressed again. There’s coffee in the kitchen.”
Ned smiled sleepily. “Thanks. I would totally do you if I weren’t with Luke.”
Hugo barked out a laugh. “Don’t let him hear you. Besides, you love me only for my coffee.”
“Damn right I do. Luke can’t make coffee for shit.” Ned looked at Ennis. “Shit. I’m sorry. I know I have to watch my mouth.”
“Once he grows up. I’m pretty sure he’s not about to repeat stuff right now.”
Ned shuffled away, and Hugo went back to Ennis. He threw away the wet diaper and grabbed a new one. He’d gotten good at changing his son, so he was done about five minutes later. He put Ennis back in his crib and cleaned up the floor, then went to wash his hands.
Luke and Ned were both in the kitchen when Hugo and Ennis got there. Ennis had already had his bottle, but Hugo’s stomach felt like it was about to eat itself. He was glad when Luke held out his hands to take the baby. “Thanks.”
“Want me to fix you something?” Ned asked.
“Nah. I’ll just grab some cereal.”
Luke wrinkled his nose. “That stuff is bad for you.”
“I know. But it’s quick to eat. I have to go to work for a few hours.”
Luke held Ennis close to his chest, rubbing his back. “Are you leaving Ennis with Mom and Dad?”
“No.” Hugo knew he had that option, but he wasn’t going to take it, not after the way his parents had reacted to the news that he was going to be a father.
He understood where they were coming from. They wanted the best for him and Luke, and that didn’t include having a baby at twenty-one. Hugo certainly hadn’t planned it. He’d been working to put money away to go to college, and having Ennis meant that wasn’t possible anymore. But he liked his job at the bookstore, especially now that Lucas had given him a raise and more responsibilities, and he loved his son. Lucas allowed Hugo to bring Ennis to the store, and it worked well. Ennis was a surprisingly happy baby who barely ever cried—unless he was hungry. And that way Hugo didn’t have to use his parents or pay for daycare. Doing his job and taking care of Ennis wasn’t always easy, but it worked, and that was enough for the moment. Hugo knew he wouldn’t be able to juggle Ennis and the job when Ennis was older, but he’d face that problem when he got to it.
“I know, but like I said, it’ll be just a few hours. Lucas tried to talk me out of it, but he can’t do inventory on his own. I should get to Mom and Dad’s in time for lunch, don’t worry.”
Hugo didn’t usually work on Sundays, but Lucas needed to do the inventory. They’d had a fire in the store a few months before, and the place had been a mess. Between the fire and the renovations, things were just now getting back to normal.
“Want us to drive you?”
“Nope. I want to be able to leave when I want to this afternoon.”
Ned grimaced over his coffee mug. “Things are still tense with your parents?”
“Sometimes.” Hugo’s parents loved Ennis, but after pushing for Hugo to give him up, they’d decided they could help raise him. They’d suggested Hugo move back with them, or even that he let them raise Ennis.