Hunter: Phone-Sexed Up (musc)

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Travis Cole knew there was something about his host.

He had seen the man greeting his manager, during check-in at the hotel. He was hard to miss. Dressed in a vest and tie with no jacket, the man radiated confidence and sexuality. He was as good-looking as any male model that Travis had ever seen, and as in shape as the top pro athletes. Enigmatic and mysterious, the man disappeared before Travis could find his name.

So, the Mets outfielder was happy to see the handsome face outside of his door, through the peephole. Travis greeted him with a firm handshake.

“Jordan Denoux,” the man said in a well-textured baritone as he shook Travis’s hand. “I was wondering if I could have a few moments of your time, Mr. Cole?”

“Sure. Uh, yeah, definitely, come in.” Travis shut the door behind Jordan as he entered.

Face-to-face, Jordan’s looks became almost intimidating. His shirt, vest and pants looked sensational on him. His tie brought out his radiant blue eyes, and his skin looked freshly buffed and completely even. Jordan had some of the best bone structure that Travis had ever seen – cheekbones like granite cliffs, shooting down into a preternaturally chiseled jaw and chin. He looked like a photoshopped magazine cover, but in the flesh.

As Travis sized up Jordan, the thinking was reciprocated. Travis Cole had a body that most men did not even dare to dream about. His proportions seemed comically perfect – he wore a white button-down with the collar opened and the sleeves rolled up, and the fabric vibrated with every movement. The man had power and strength to spare. And his face matched – wide and bearded and masculine, stunningly strong-looking with a voice like thunder. Each man unintentionally intimidated the other, in his own way.

“How can I help you, Mr. Denoux?” Travis didn’t much care for formalities, he just wasn’t that kind of guy, so he was relieved to hear “Oh, call me Jordan,” in response.

“Well then, Jordan, what can I do for you?”

“I have something to tell you that might mean something to you,” Jordan replied, looking visibly tense. “And if it doesn’t, then that’s completely fine and we’ll both go on our ways. But I think we have some things in common.”

Travis remained composed, but began to get nervous. “Oh? Like what?”

“I…know Hunter Hardy.”

Travis didn’t know what he had expected Jordan to say, but it certainly wasn’t that. His heart leapt with joy and sank with dread, all at once. Should he let on? Should he feign ignorance? Maybe Jordan hadn’t meant what Travis thought he meant…

As all of Travis’s thoughts tumbled through his mind, his face remained calm. Travis Cole was always cool under pressure – it was practically a requirement for baseball. Jordan saw his companion’s eyes narrow, and Travis muttered, “Do you.”

“Yes.” Jordan’s eyes shifted to the window, and then back at Travis. “I know that you two are friends, and I…”

The narrow eyes started to widen. “Yeah?”

“I want you to tell him thank you, again, from me.”

Even wider. “For what?”

“My, well, my…life.”

That was all Travis needed to hear. He threw his arms around Jordan as if greeting a long-lost friend. The movement surprised Jordan, but he reciprocated as soon as he recovered his balance.

Travis motioned for Jordan to sit, and he did the same. “He changed you too?”

“Yeah. About three years ago, he was a VIP in the hotel and this girl, Allison, and I were his assistants for the weekend.”

Travis nodded. “And he could see everything that you wanted.”

“God, could he ever. I was living with Allison but we were just roommates, we weren’t dating. I wanted to date her, but I didn’t have any confidence. And suddenly, I started…changing. It was slow at first.” Jordan spoke in low, confidential tones. “I started going to the gym more. My paunch disappeared. My skin started tightening. I had more energy, I felt different, it was so strange. I didn’t know what was happening to me.”

Travis was incredulous. “Yours was slow? Like, over days?”

“Yeah. Yours wasn’t?”

“No, no, not at all. It was a matter of minutes. It never dawned on me that they might be different for each person.”

“Minutes? That must’ve hurt like shit.”

“Hell yeah it did. Felt great and killer all at once. Anyway, anyway, finish your story.”

Jordan’s eyes were aglow with excitement. “Like I said, I didn’t know what was happening to me. Suddenly, my clothes didn’t fit. I got taller, I, I, I…my voice changed, my shoulders got broad, my hair got darker, my muscles were growing so fast, it was like a second puberty.”

Another nod from Travis. “Yup.”

“I was kind of freaked out for the first couple of days, but I was still pretty cool with it. Just watching my body become beautiful turned me on so much, it was all I could do to not masturbate 24/7.”

“Tell me about. The night I changed, I had sex with my wife for ten hours. She was pregnant, too.”


“Go on, I’m sorry, I keep interrupting!”

“No worries. Like I said, my body’s shape becoming all manly and jocky, that was fuckin’ sweet. But when my face started changing, I got scared. Legitimately scared. I was afraid I wouldn’t look like my family anymore. I wanted to be more handsome, but I still wanted to be me. And every day, I got better and better-looking, until I was this guy!” He pointed to his face. “It was just crazy to watch. I felt like I was losing my mind. I still look like me, just to clarify. Just a way hotter me.”

“What about your roommate?”

Jordan blushed red. “She knew I was changing. She didn’t know why…I mean, I didn’t know why! But she just tried to ignore it, to explain it rationally somehow. My sex drive really revved up because my hormones were going nuts and I just couldn’t stop whacking off.” There was a pause. “I can’t believe I’m telling you this.”

“You forget that I got changed too! Don’t worry about it.”

Jordan laughed. “Right, right. So, I was doing the deed, y’know, thinking about my roommate,” he laughed nervously, “and I felt my dick get bigger in my hand! And not in the ‘grower not a shower’ way, but in a ‘three inches longer in two seconds’ way, kinda like pushing Chapstick all the way out of its tube.” Both men laughed at the analogy. “And then, my chest started getting bigger, really fast, and it grew a little bit of hair, and I panicked. I totally panicked! I yelled her name and she walked in on me and she saw me grow.”

Travis chuckled in surprise. “Shit, dude.”

“She saw me finish changing. It was the most intimate thing we could share, I suppose. What else is there to discuss when you watch someone develop a new body and a new face? It was like my soul gave birth to the true me or something. We fucked immediately, pretty much. And we didn’t stop. We couldn’t stop. We were so bonded by then that there was nothing else to do. She’s the only one who remembers the old me, that’s reason enough…”

“.. to get hitched.”

“To get hitched, yeah. Married,” Jordan confirmed, with a turn of his wedding band. “She and I started working here together, when we were still roommates, and after we got married we got promoted together. We help run this place now. But she’s at home at the moment, on bed rest. Our son Miles is going to be born any day now.”

“Great name. My wife and I talked about that name for our boy.”

"Y’know, I remember reading about him being born, but I forget the name, I’m sorry.”

Travis shook his head. “You didn’t forget, we actually never released it. His name is Cole. Cole Cole.”

Jordan’s eyes narrowed. “You’re…”

“Joking. Yes, I am.”

They both laughed. “Actually, his name is Stefan,” Travis continued. “Stefan Cole. He’ll grow into it.” There was a big pause before Travis continued. “Hunter and I haven’t been friends long. His best friend is Neil Blue, and I tortured that kid in high school. Well, not tortured, but shot insults his way when our paths crossed.”

“Tortured? He’s a stud. I would think the three of you would’ve all been best friends in high school.”

“Neil was one of Hunter’s first changes.”

Jordan looked stunned. “He was? Of course he was! That’s so funny, with you I assumed but with him it never dawned on me…guess I’ve never seen him up close…”

“They’re both great men. I was a jock in high school but my twenties were shit, and I saw them at the reunion and I was looking baaaad. Divorced before my thirties, broke, really out of shape – well, fat - and miserable. Of course, they looked like, well, like Hunter Hardy and Neil Blue. And I looked horrible. And Neil, Neil...Neil forgave me. And they changed me. I didn’t ask for the forgiveness, or the change, but I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my life. Jen and I remarried and we have a son now. It’s unreal. Unreal.”

Jordan nodded. “I completely understand the feeling. Man, I’m glad that I didn’t change in one night. I would have completely lost my mind.”

“And I’m glad that I didn’t have a slow change, like you…I don’t have the patience for it!”

They both laughed. “Wow, he really knew what he was doing. He’s one smart motherfucker, isn’t he?”

“He sure is. I’m honored to be his friend. He and Katie are so great together and they’re great parents, too. It’s always been the four of them – Hunter, Katie, Neil and Mel – and their kids, but they’re nice to include my family when our schedules line up.”

Jordan ran his hands through his wavy hair and grinned. “I’d love to meet him again. We talked on the phone a couple of times and he explained stuff to me but I want to see him and shake his hand and just say thank you, in person.”

“He’ll swing by here again, I’m sure.”

“Last week, Mason Leigh, the actor, had two suites here. Him, his girlfriend, plus his Dad, his Dad’s second wife and their two sons. And I was looking at Mason and his Dad, Jack, and I was sure, almost positive, that Hunter had done them too. Something about the way they look…it’s not FAKE, but it’s unnatural. Kind of other-worldly. It’s the way you and I look, too. Even Jack’s other two sons have it, and they’re just little boys. I think our sons will have it too. It’s like, like…gene purification. Most men have a lot more imperfections than we have – in body and face, we’re just kind of flawless looking. I don’t say that to be egotistical. Really, I don’t, I just-”

“No, no, I know. I know what you mean.”

Jordan’s voice rolled out, deep and smooth. “I pussed out, though. I didn’t talk to them, I was too scared, but I swore the next guy who came through, I would talk to about it.”

“And that was me,” Travis said.

“Yeah, a lot faster than I thought. Hey, listen, I…let me get your opinion about something. Do you have Hunter’s number?”

Travis hesitated to give it. “Yeahhh…”

“Well, listen, there’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.”


Ward Klemmer had a little bit of a crush. That’s what he thought it was, anyway. He didn’t count the way that his heart fluttered whenever Jordan Denoux walked by as reason enough for a bigtime obsession.

The truth of the matter was that Ward Klemmer adored Jordan Denoux, his boss. He got nervous whenever he talked to him. Every day he rushed into work and hoped that Jordan would be the first person he saw. He was friends with Jordan on social networking sites and masturbated to the pictures that Jordan posted, ignoring that wife of his that was always in the pictures with him. God, it was like Jordan worshipped her. Ward was insanely jealous of Allison but knew that it was unreasonable for him to be, for numerous reasons – she was ridiculously likeable, for one, and it wasn’t like Ward actually had a shot at being with Jordan anyway. Even he could admit that. Jordan Denoux was a happily married heterosexual male who was about to become a father for the first time. To a baby boy, no less…a boy who would look like Jordan, and who would probably grow up flawlessly and pump iron in the hotel gym while wearing sleeveless t-shirts with his gorgeous, Jordan-clone face all sweaty, and then shower with his glorious body on view for all to see, and then put on three-piece suits and look amazing and stupefy everyone he walked by…god, Ward was even jealous of Jordan’s son, and Miles wasn’t born yet.

But it was just a little bit of a crush, Ward reasoned. Everyone has crushes, right?

Ward didn’t even talk to Jordan that much; he was too scared he would say something stupid. After witnessing countless hotel guests and employees stammer in Jordan’s god-like presence, Ward preferred to witness his boss’s perfection from afar. The most sequential words Ward had ever said to Jordan was when Jordan had mentioned that Allison was pregnant, and Ward, with uncharacteristic gumption, had placed a hand on Jordan’s shoulder – his toned, buff, perfect shoulder… - and said, “You’re going to be a great Dad, Mr. Denoux.” And Jordan had turned his head with a white, beaming smile and replied, “Thanks, Ward. And feel free to call me Jordan, it’s cool,” and then Ward had blushed for absolutely no reason at all and stammered out a “Yes, sir, Jordan, okay,” and then skulked away to stare at Jordan’s broad shoulders pulling his expensive dress shirt taut.

Ward had heard, from long-time employees, that Jordan hadn’t always been a snappy dresser. He was always sensationally handsome, everyone attested, and so nice that his kindness became annoying to those who wanted to hate him for being so damned attractive. But when he and Allison had started officially dating, people said his wardrobe did a 180. Old blazers and jeans were replaced by tailored suits, form-fitting vests and sharp dress shirts. He loved pocket squares, pinstripes and cuff links, wore beautiful ties that set off his eyes and made his skin shimmer, and his shoes were always so shiny that people who were too nervous to look into his striking eyes could look down and see their reflections. Even when Jordan dressed casually, it was in more upscale brands like Banana Republic or J. Crew. The staff didn’t know if it was Allison who initiated the makeover herself, or if Jordan had done it himself to woo her, but it worked like crazy either way. He looked like a man who was the boss and made enough money to dress himself as such, in addition to providing for his family.

An elevator dinged and the doors opened and closed. Ward could hear Jordan’s shoes walking authoritatively down the hallway toward the front desk, where Ward worked. His breath caught in his throat as Jordan rounded the corner. Every time Ward saw his boss, it was as if Jordan moved in slow motion. He took confident strides. The light played off his face’s great bone structure and his wavy hair bounced slightly as he walked. The tie around his built neck was loose and his collar was open, hinting at the power in his chest and shoulders. His vest framed his broad shoulders and made them look even wider, and tapered down into his sculpted waist that Ward was sure was ripped to shreds. What he’d give to see Jordan’s abs…

“Hey, Ward,” Jordan said with a smile as he walked up to the desk.

Ward froze. Was Jordan talking to him, or was there another Ward around somewhere?

Jordan continued in hushed, confidential tones. “There’s gonna be an important phone call coming through in a couple minutes, but I was just meeting with Travis Cole and I have to go back up to discuss a maintenance issue in his room. Could you take the call and stall for a couple of minutes?” Jordan took out his iPhone and slid it across the desk to Ward, who looked at it as if it was wired to explode at any moment.

SAY SOMETHING. “Uhhh, sure, yeah. Should I tell them I’m your assistant or something?”

“That’d work,” Jordan shrugged. “I’ve dealt with this guy before, he should be fine with whatever.”

Ward thought it was strange that Jordan was “discussing” a maintenance issue with the client instead of just sending up a maintenance guy or moving Mr. Cole, and he didn’t really understand why Jordan couldn’t just take the call himself. Ward didn’t think too much about it at the time, though.

The call came so quickly, Ward could still hear Jordan’s footsteps toward the elevator. He almost called for his boss to answer the phone, but decided he would fulfill his obligation.

The name appeared on the screen as “Hunter.”

Ward took a deep breath. “Jordan Denoux’s phone, his assistant Ward speaking.”

The voice on the other end was deep and clear. “Hi there. To whom am I speaking again?”

“Ward Klemmer. I work under Mr. Denoux. This is Mr. Hunter, I assume?”

There was an easygoing laugh on the other end. “Mr. Hunter, heh, I like that. No, no, Hunter is my first name. Last name’s Hardy.”

“I apologize, Mr. Hardy.” Hardy. Hunter. Hunter Hardy. Wait…HUNTER HARDY?! Oh SHIT. Before he knew what he was saying, he had blurted out, “THE Hunter Hardy?”

Hunter laughed. “The one and only.”

“Well, uh…” Ward went blank. Shit, what do I say now? “Uh, can I get a quick message to give to Jordan, I mean, Mr. Denoux, before he talks to you?” That was moderately professional-sounding; maybe I can get away with this.

Ward could hear Hunter smirk through the phone. “Oh, a message won’t be necessary.”

“Okay, well then, Mr. Denoux should be here soon.”

Hunter was a straight-shooter. “To be honest, Ward, you’re the reason for this call.”

“’scuse me?”

“Yeah. I’m going to change you, Ward.”

Ward got a chill up his spine. What the hell did THAT mean? “Huh?”

“Quite simply, Ward – and this will only take a moment or two – you’re going to become the man that you’ve always dreamed of being.”

Ward bristled. This was a fucking prank call, wasn’t it. He wanted to end the call right there and his thumb even hovered over the red button on the screen. But then, he panicked. This was his boss’s phone. If the call was legitimate and he hung up on Hunter Hardy – who apparently was mad as a motherfuckin’ hatter – then Jordan would probably fire him. It was either be the aggressor and possibly lose his job, or risk embarrassment and a little bit of ribbing for the next few days to maybe reap the benefits of completing his task.

Ward chose embarrassment.

“I’m confused,” Ward said quietly.

“Are you? Understandable,” Hunter purred. “I’ll make it simple then. Doesn’t your collar feel a little tight?”

As soon as it was mentioned, Ward could feel his shirt collar digging into his neck. His Adam’s apple pressed uncomfortably into the collar button, and before Ward had a chance to reach up to loosen it, the collar had burst open on its own. Ward tugged off his cheap tie hastily.

The voice on the other end was coolly professional. It was a sexy voice but it wasn’t trying to be. “There, Ward, now doesn’t that feel better?”

“Wh-what, what the hell…”

Ward Klemmer was an average dude. A little chub had been added to his frame after high-school, giving him a skinny-fat body, not fat but not slim either. He hadn’t shaved in the past three days, leaving some stubble to distract from his untoned neckline. He played Xbox Live with his buddies, bought DVDs like they were food and lived a relatively sedimentary lifestyle, punctuated by the occasional jog to clear his mind.

He was confused and nervous. This was not at all what he’d expected to happen; he’d just expected awkwardness, not…domination.

“Hiya, Ward.” A uniformed bellhop greeted Ward, failing to notice that he was on the phone. He was about ten years older than Ward - a nice, slightly paunchy, stalwartly single guy.

Ward’s eyes widened and he shook his head violently, mouthing “No” over and over before waving his hand vigorously to the side, motioning for Craig the bellhop to go away. But suddenly, he stopped waving his hand and simply stared at it. It was different. The fingers were longer and thicker, the palm wider. The dark hair that had covered the back of his hand since puberty was gone now, bringing out the small muscles and veins around his hands.

“Dude, what’s up with you?” Craig stared incredulously before finally realizing that Ward was staring at his hand. The hand didn’t look exceptionally weird, although Craig had never really checked out Ward’s hands before – just his ass and face. So, without even really thinking about it, Craig was soon checking out his own hands.

“H-huh, what…” His hands weren’t bigger, like Ward’s, but they were stronger than he’d ever seen them. Craig balled his hands into fists and felt the muscles scrunch up against his fingers. “What the hell…”

Their eyes locked and, from that point on, almost never wavered. Craig began to realize that the person on the other end of Ward’s phone was more than a simple client. Craig’s eyes got wider – questioning – and Ward nodded back with an equally big gaze.

“What’s happening to us?” It was barely a whisper from Craig. Ward had to read his lips, mostly, but he knew what he was saying.

“Changes,” Ward mouthed back, although he clearly didn’t know what kind.

Their eyes never wavered off of each other.

“What are you doing to us?”, Ward said into the phone as he watched Craig’s salt-and-pepper hair turn a dark, very even blond.

“You’re doing it to yourselves,” Hunter responded calmly.

At this point, Ward was envisioning Hunter Hardy furiously masturbating in a heart-shaped bed with red silk sheets. His big naked body would be writhing with all of those beautiful muscles pumping and pulsing, completely turned on by his power over this lowly hotel employee.

In reality, Hunter was on a Bluetooth headset in his kitchen, making breakfast for Katie and Burke while the triplets slept – at the same time, the first time they had done that since their birth. Katie was passed out on the sofa. Burke was clinging to Hunter’s right leg, like a monkey, and Hunter would repeatedly pull him off and guide him over to his play area, where he would stay for about thirty seconds before shooting back to his Dad’s calf. If Ward had been paying enough attention, he would have been able to hear both the sizzle of eggs in a pan and the tones of indifference in Hunter’s voice.

Hunter wasn’t even really thinking about Ward; he was on transformation autopilot. His thoughts were more trained to his son. Henry had recently visited on break from Florida and pointed out that Burke held on to Hunter just like Henry had as a child, and now every time Burke clung to his Dad’s football-sized calf, Hunter would look down and think of Henry. Burke even looked like Henry had as a toddler, and presumably the way Hunter would have as well. What an awesome kid. We’re so blessed. Hunter let go of any annoyance he’d had with Burke, any frustration he’d had with having to walk without bending his right knee or with the need to yank his shorts up when they kept getting pulled downward. The small replica of Hunter’s football jersey that Burke wore, emblazoned with HARDY across the back, sure made it hard to be mad for long. Burke grinned up from his Dad’s knee, and Hunter reflected the expression back at his son. “You’re my #1 Big Gun, sport.”

A voice crackled into his ear, sounding syrupy and sexually overwrought. “Wh-what?”

Oh right, the hotel guy. Wonder how far along he is now? “Not you, I was talking to…oh, never mind,” Hunter chortled. Whoops.

Ward and Craig both now had full heads of blond hair – Craig’s was a dark, sun-streaked shade, while Ward’s was two steps away from being platinum. The bellboy had thick, close-cropped waves and was quickly growing a dense, nicely trimmed beard of the same color, while Ward had a silky coating of designer stubble evenly covering his rapidly thinning face.

Ward wanted them to have muscles, apparently, because they were growing fast. Craig was blowing up more rapidly than Ward. The red cloth of his uniform was beginning to tear, as the gold piping snapped off from the force. “Ward, what’s goin’ on here?!” His chest was twice as wide as it had once been, his arms were almost as big as his own head.

“Interesting little changes you’ve picked, Ward,” Hunter murmured. “You’ve piqued my interest.”

“I can’t be doing this! This isn’t real!”

“Oh, it’s real. Don’t tell me that those eight abs aren’t real.”

Ward automatically stuck his hand inside his oddly-fitting shirt and felt the deepest grooves he’d ever known on a body. Ward had jerked it to abs that were half as good as the ones on his own physique.

Craig didn’t have washboard abs, but his waist was thick and tough and strong enough to drive a tank over. Each pec was like a bowling ball, the same shape as his biceps and the shoulders that crowned them. Craig’s eyes snapped into tandem with Ward’s, and Ward gasped at their color – the center was sky blue, which segued into a ring of kelly green around their rim. They were the most unbelievable eyes Ward had ever seen. He couldn’t look away from them. They were completely hypnotic.

“Your eyes, Craig, oh my God, they’re…they’re incredible.”

Craig’s eyes looked so warm and kind, even through the fear they clearly expressed. “Yours are too.”


“They’re this amazing blue and then they turn bright green in the center. And they have gold flecks!” Craig boldly walked up and stared directly into Ward’s eyes.

And then he kissed Ward uninhibitedly.

“I’ve wanted to do that for a long time,” he said softly, in a deeper and far sexier voice than the one he had had moments before. Ward could hear it changing as Craig talked.

Ward’s gorgeous eyes widened with surprise. “What?”

Craig smirked, and Ward watched his lips actually change shape along with the expression. The cupid’s bow got more pronounced, the tips turned upward into a small, permanent smile. “You were too busy checking out Jordan’s tight little ass to notice me. But I was noticing you.”

“I’m sorry,” Ward whispered in his own new voice. His cheekbones were getting higher and sharper. His face was nothing but sharp angles, from his jawline to his pronounced cleft chin. Everything was capped by a pair of shapely, thick lips. “I didn’t mean to ignore you, Craig. I didn’t know.” Ward began to peel off Craig’s torn uniform, revealing a remarkably tight (and sturdy) white tank top that was overstuffed with maxed-out muscle. Golden hairs poked out over the deep scoop of the tank.

“God, look at you. Look at your body.”

“It’s exactly how I’ve always wanted to look,” Craig said with a big white smile. “And you…you look like…Jordan.”

“I do?”

“A blond Jordan,” Craig grinned. His big hands caressed Ward’s face. “The cheeks, the jaw, the mouth, the bod. But on YOU, Ward Klemmer. They’re yours.”

They stumbled and clawed their way into the back office and locked the door. Craig peeled off Ward’s clothes, revealing the new gym-rat body underneath. Gravity-defying, round pecs above flawless abs and a big, sausage-thick cock. His arms were bulging and pumped, as if they knew they were about to get fucked. “You’re like a swimmer/gymnast hybrid,” Craig said, as he began nibbling on Ward’s ears. Ward gnawed on Craig’s beefy shoulder.

Their eyes were locked as Ward pulled his legs up and Craig forced his way in.


“God, listen to your voice. Drives me wild.”

“Look at your body.” Hands pawed at every beefy muscle. “Fuckkkkkkkkk oh oh oh, ohhhhhh…”

The two blond bodybuilders, the beautiful buff one and the brawny bearded one, would become a common fixture at the Simon. But for now, they were too busy fucking each other’s brains out to care about anything else.

Ward’s eyes suddenly widened. “Hunter!”

Craig leaned back, giving a beautiful view of his powerful upper body. “Hunter? I’m Craig.”

“No, no, I know. The guy who changed us, his name is Hunter. I dropped the phone, I need to thank him!”

“Well, we shouldn’t be screwing on the clock anyway,” Craig said as he eased into his red uniform, which looked unreal on him. “Look…my uniform fits again.”

“Does it ever,” Ward said hungrily as he buttoned up his own white shirt, tailored flawlessly. Craig came over and unbuttoned the shirt back to chest level, showing off the tight, perfect pecs that Ward owned. He leaned down and kissed them.

“Mmmmm, see you after work.”


“Hey, Jordan.”

Jordan looked up from his computer and smiled at the new Ward. “Well, hi. I assume you’re Ward? You look like Ward.”

The fitness hunk smiled angelically. “Yeah. I’m Ward, and you’re a sneaky sonuvabitch.” They both laughed, until Ward turned serious. “But thank you. Truly.”

“You’re quite welcome.”

It was hard for Ward to get too personal with Jordan – after all, when he looked at Jordan, all his thoughts turned to goo. But a hug wasn’t an unreasonable request, and Jordan gladly stood to give it, even offering his monogrammed handkerchief to Ward to dry the single tears that rolled down the newly beautiful face.

“I know the feeling, Ward.” Jordan clamped a kind hand on Ward’s shoulder.

“It’s scary. I’m scared, real scared.”

“I know. You’ll do great. This is the hardest part, the thinking about it.”

Jordan stared at Ward, Ward at Jordan. The two men took stock of each other. Each was impressed.

Jordan grinned and his classic features became boyish for a moment. “Ward, I know you think I’m cute. I’ve known for months.”

Ward’s coloring had changed from slightly olive to a beautiful golden hue that matched his blond hair perfectly. This new skin tone was more than receptive to a deep blush, and Ward turned crimson. “I…you do?”

Jordan nodded. “I do. It’s okay, Ward. Don’t be embarrassed. But know that nothing will come of it. I’m married, Ward. I’m about to be a Dad. I’m not going to mess that up, and no offense, but you're not my type.”

“I know. I was never going to tell you. I respect you and Mrs. Denoux, I mean, Allison, seriously, I do. I don’t think I could live with myself if I broke up any marriage. You’re just…” He stared at Jordan. His lips, his hair, his eyes, his nose, his shoulders, his everything… “Super fuckin’ hot.”

Jordan’s lips curved into another smile. “Like I said, nothing’s gonna happen between us, but I thought I’d let you down easy and so I called in a favor.” Jordan turned Ward around and stood next to him, and they looked into a large portrait mirror hanging on the wall.

“I dunno if you’ve noticed, but all the features that you admired in me, you have.”

Ward gasped at his own reflection. He looked like Jordan’s equal - that walking Photoshop ideal, smoldering flawlessness. His knees buckled and Jordan caught him. Ward hung on his crush, embracing him. “What can I do to repay you? Or Mr. Hardy?”

“Move on from me. And maybe buy my son a onesie.”

“Hell, I’ll buy you everything in babyGap.”


“There you go, champ.”

Hunter placed a plate of breakfast on the kitchen table, then set a wriggling Burke in front of it. “Eat up, dude.”

Hunter sat down next to Burke and watched him eat. This was a great day. He was home, with his family. It was wonderful, wonderful bliss.

Burke took his piece of toast and held it up to Hunter, who grinned widely. “Oh! No thanks, I’ve already had breakfast. That’s all yours.” Burke took a bite of the toast and set it back on his plate. Hunter cupped his thumb and index finger around Burke’s chin and tilted it upward, the same way he’d seen his Dad do with his younger brothers.

He stared Burke dead in the eyes. “I love you.”

Burke smiled. “I love you too, Dad.” And then he nimbly jumped off his chair, scaled Hunter’s leg and wrapped his small arms around Hunter’s huge torso as best as he could. “I like having you home. I’m happy when you’re home.”

A part of Hunter broke in two.

“Thanks, buddy,” he replied, trying to maintain his composure. “I’m happy when I’m home too. I don’t like being away from you guys.”

Burke rested his head on Hunter’s shoulder, like it was a big granite pillow. “Dad?”

Hunter moved his eyes to look at his son. “Yeah?”

“Tripp hit me yesterday. But I didn’t do anything to him, because I love him.”

Hunter tried to process this sentence. It confused him a little. “Who’s Tripp, kiddo?”

“My brother.” It came out sounding like bruddow.

“Your brothers are Neil and Hunter, buddy.”

Burke leaned up, with his knees in Hunter’s lap, and shook his head back and forth. “Nooo! You’re Hunter,” he said, with a very determined point of his finger. “That’s what Mama calls you. They’re Neil and Tripp.”

“Why do you call Hunter Junior, Tripp?”

“’cause he’s a trip.”

“He’s a triplet.”

“A trip,” Burke nodded affirmatively.

And that was that. Neither Burke nor Hunter knew then, but from there on out the firstborn triplet was referred to as Tripp Hardy, from his crib to his school to his college career to his own eventual home.

“You said you didn’t do anything to him?”

Burke shook his head again. “I love Tripp.”

“So you’re saying you didn’t…change him?”

“Yeah,” Burke rasped. “Never. I love Tripp and Lily and Neil.”

Hunter wrapped Burke up in a huge bear hug and squeezed him tightly. Oh Burkey, that’s the best thing you’ve ever said to me.

Katie’s voice ran out from the couch. “Babe, my phone’s ringing, will you get it?”

With a kiss and another quick hug, Hunter set Burke down. “Where is it?”

“Top of the coffee table.”

Hunter pressed “accept” without looking at the caller. “Hey, this is Hunter Hardy, Katie will be here in a second.”



“Hunter, I called your phone, you didn’t answer. I need you.”

Hunter realized he’d been on the phone with Ward. “What’s wrong?”

Neil’s voice was wavering but clear. “It’s Mel. Oh God…please come to the hospital now. Don’t drive. No time.”

Hunter went pale. “I’m coming.” He held the phone away from his mouth. “Kate, it’s Neil, I’m going to the hospital, something’s wrong with Mel, stay with the kids, I’ll call you…”

Katie was off the couch in a flash, but Hunter was already gone. She picked up his phone from the table and told Burke to finish eating.

Then she waited.


Neil’s visit with 25-year-old Lachlan had been burned into his mind. Mel had always wanted a girl, he knew, and he also knew that the baby within her was their third boy, Landon. The Blues had plenty of money. Mel enjoyed being pregnant. They loved parenting and they had beautiful, healthy, happy children.

…so why do we stop at three boys? Why not try for a fourth, for a girl?

Neil had pondered this over the months following the time travel. And on this day, he found himself in the hospital, three weeks before Landon’s due date, hearing words that no man wanted to hear. He tried to arrange them into some logical order, but the panic made it impossible.

Hemorrhage. Cord. Tear. Trouble. Blood. Wrapped. Oxygen. Trouble. Lack. Breathe. Trouble.

“What do you mean?” He kept asking. “What’s wrong? Somebody, please, is Mel okay? Is our baby going to live?”

Don’t know.



Neil Blue was a crier, but on this day, he did not cry. He kept stealing glances to Lachlan and Leighton, who sat in the hallway on two folding chairs that had been hurriedly brought for them. Leighton, normally more wriggly than an earthworm, sat still and held Lachlan’s hand. Both boys’ big blue eyes were cloudy with concern and fear. No fools they, they knew something was terribly wrong.

Stay strong for the boys. Stay strong, Neil.

Neil gulped in a big breath of air.

Mel, you can’t leave me like Dad did. Please, no. I can’t do it again. I’m too weak. I’ll crumble.


Neil turned and looked into Leighton’s bright, gorgeous face.

“When do we get to go home, Daddy?”

Neil walked over and pulled both boys close to his chest. “I don’t know,” he said, placing a hand on each of his sons. “There are lot of things I don’t know right now, guys, but I need you to be patient with me. Can you promise me that?”

They both nodded. “You look scared,” Lachlan said quietly.

Neil’s eyes began to water. What do I say? God help me, what do I say…

“Mr. Blue?”

Neil stood and faced the doctor who had been reporting to him throughout the day. Something looked different…

“Mr. Blue, your wife is a warrior.”

The dam broke. Neil sobbed, his chest heaving, tears cascading down his face like a waterfall.

“It’s alright, Mr. Blue. She’s fine now.”


“And you have a baby boy!”

Holy shit, this guy has about twenty-five more pounds of muscle. That’s what’s different. Everything’s…bigger.

The doctor was handsomer, too. Butch features had replaced soft ones. His teeth were straight and white. His muscles were flawless.

“It’s a miracle,” the studly doctor said as Neil wept. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

It was another blur of words, and before Neil had time to think, he was holding Mel’s hand and had his face pressed against hers. His tears rolled onto her face. The doctors all left. Leighton and Lachlan sat on the other side of the room, separated by a curtain. Landon was under routine observation.

“Hunter was here,” she whispered.

“I know. I called him.”

“He saved Landon’s life.”

“We would’ve been fine, Melly,” Neil tried to reason.

She shook her head. “I could feel him going. It was so strange…horrible. He was too small to fight for his own life. We’re not meant to be born fighting. And I prayed, I prayed, oh God, just let Landon live. Don’t take him. Take me.” Her lips lightly touched his nose and kissed it. “I was ready to die for him. And then…Hunter was there. His face was right where yours is.” She laughed, quickly. “Well, a little further back. He wasn’t kissing me. And he said, ‘Mrs. Blue, you’re the reason I can do this. This is why. You’re it.’”

“He’s right.”

“He asked me what was wrong, and I told him. He cried.”

“Hunter cried?”

She nodded. “It was all so quick. He was gone as quickly as he--”

There was a knock on the door. Mel watched Neil disappear behind the curtain, then heard him exclaim, “It’s Hunter and Katie!”

“I had to go back for her,” she heard Hunter say, about Katie. Then all three appeared around the curtain. Lachlan and Leighton tailed behind.

“I look like hell,” Mel said with a smile.

“You look beautiful,” Katie said as she sat down next to her friend. Hunter stood behind his wife.

“Thank you, Hunter.”

Hunter shook his head. He was tired of people owing him. Friends helped friends. “Please don’t thank me. I did what anyone would want to do. What everyone was trying to do.”

Neil understood, but he was eternally grateful nonetheless. And when a doctor came and placed tiny Landon Blue in his father’s strong arms, four friends gathered to witness a new life figuring out how to live. Tiny breaths went in and out. Small fingers wriggled. Wet eyelids blinked.

And as Hunter watched, he smiled. The expressions on Mel and Neil’s faces, and Lachlan and Leighton’s, as they looked at Landon – that made it worthwhile. All the pain was worth it for moments like this.

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