Being home for the summer wasn’t something Ian Hamilton had planned on, but his mother surprising everyone with a fourth baby was also sort of unplanned. Ian’s father slowly going bonkers coping with sleepless nights, feeding the new baby, and dealing with Ian’s twelve-year-old twin sisters complicates things even more.
Michael Alexander had moved back into his parents’ home last summer, just until he could find an apartment nearer the hospital where he works. His parents had offered to look for him, but that was over six months ago.
One smmer day, Michael gets home exhausted, only to find a Lemonade Stand set up on the curb of his driveway, making it impossible to park his car. Expecting to see his neighbor’s twin girls, he’s surprised when he finds a young man instead—one who takes one look at Michael’s tired face and offers him a glass of lemonade and a flirty smile.
Michael shook his head as he slowed down and manoeuvred his car to park on the sidewalk in front of his house. Even if he weren’t tired, if he’d insisted on driving in, he would have grazed the stand and ruined his paint job. Thoughts of having to deal with the manic duo, as he liked to call his neighbour’s twin girls, already exhausted him. The only good thing about them was that they were pretty. Other than that, they were pretty adventurous. Belatedly, he remembered the twins were most likely acting out because of the new addition to their family. He’d helped their mother deliver her baby in the hospital only a week ago. The new-again parents were most likely still adjusting to the newborn’s schedule.
He closed the door and clicked on the fob to lock the car, before walking up to the stand. It wasn’t really a stand, just a table and two white plastic chairs, a tray with an iced pitcher of yellow liquid in it, and a folded cardboard sign with the word Lemonade on it.
Michael laughed under his breath at the sheer ingenuity and uniqueness of the stand. All he had to do was talk the twins into taking their stand somewhere else. Like a foot over to their side of the property line, so he could park his car. Didn’t they realize his car could get towed should the local police spot it?
Craning his neck, he didn’t see anyone manning the stand, then a door slammed from somewhere. Michael’s head snapped up at the sound and he turned in the direction it came from. From his neighbour’s side entrance, right next to his parents’ house, walked a tall, young man Michael judged to be in his early twenties. With his head bent, all Michael could see were wide shoulders and a mop of dark hair. The man raised a fist to his mouth and gave a big yawn, showing Michael even white teeth and a familiar face.
The man opened his eyes and stopped mid-yawn when he met his gaze. For a moment, time stood still. Michael recognized him now. Ian Hamilton. The last time he’d seen him he’d been a head shorter and had a black eye from a fight with a classmate.
“Michael? Is that you?”
Later, Michael couldn’t say who did or said what first. It was like he was watching from a distance. Ian putting his arms around him in a man-hug and him not wanting to let go of the solid muscles he suddenly found stuck to him.
By the time Michael shook his head clear, he was sitting on a plastic chair behind the stand beside Ian, a glass of cold lemonade in his hand. From the sweet tasting tang of lemon in his mouth, Michael knew he’d been drinking some. When Ian handed him a phone, he looked down at it and wondered when the exchange had happened. His head snapped up when Ian spoke.
“So, what time are you picking me up tonight?”