First off thank you to Srienia for all the amazing hard work on beta reading this story for me. You are amazing, awesome, for being able to keep up with my crazy pace. Thank you so much!
I want to welcome everyone over to my Facebook page, link is on my profile. Thanks again to all that have joined. You are all amazing and I love you! You all inspire me :)
And to those that have added me to their favorite author list and story alerts, again thank you. It means so much to me.
Wiping his brow he stepped back and looked at the frame, it would do. Starting a new boat was always like starting a new chapter in life and in so many ways he really was.
"Wow that was quick." Tony descended the stairs and sat on one of the sawhorses.
Without asking Gibbs dumped out a jar of nails and poured Tony a drink. Handing it over, Tony took a sip. It had been a long week and it was only Thursday.
"You remember I'm taking a personal day tomorrow right?" Tony asked glancing from the boat to Gibbs.
Gibbs nodded leaning back against the tool bench.
"God, I so don't wanna go tomorrow." Tony groaned. "I'm going alone so all I'll hear "why aren't you seeing anyone. You're such a nice boy and so handsome.""
Gibbs smirked. "So take someone."
"I've tried, called almost my whole little black book." Tony shook his head. "Everyone's busy or refuses to go. A funeral is not exactly the kinda date most people wanna go on."
"She can't. She has plans this Saturday and I'm staying till Monday, because of the holiday." Tony ran his hands down his face, then chuckled. "Got any plans this weekend?"
Gibbs shook his head. "No."
"Wanna go to a funeral with me?"
"You're kidding right?"
"We'd be gone all weekend." Tony said skeptical.
"Yeah, I got that."
"But it's a great family estate. My mom's uncles place." Tony smiled the excitement starting to set in. "Huge place, everything you could want."
Tony's eyebrow went up. "Are you serious about this?"
Gibbs chuckled. "Yeah."
The excitement faded as trepidation took over. Not a good idea. Tony told himself. A weekend with Gibbs. Tell him no. "I'd owe you big time boss." Damn it, what the hell are you doing?
"I'll collect." Gibbs smirked taking a drink from his mug.
"The funeral is tomorrow night." Tony paused, mentally head slapping himself for agreeing to this. "But after that the weekend is ours. Well, not ours, ours. I mean, you'll be free to do whatever you want."
"I'll pick you up at seven am." Tony smiled. What the hell have you done? "It's about a four and a half hour drive to Elizabeth City."
Tony started up the basement steps, then paused. "Gibbs." Cocking his head, he looked at his boss "Are you really sure, you don't have to do this. I can go alone, it's not as big of a deal as I make it out to be."
Gibbs steel blue eyes locked on green. "It was just an offer, if you don't want-"
"No." Tony quickly snapped. "I want you to come, I mean go with me." God, get a grip. "Tomorrow at seven."
"Seven." Gibbs nodded.
Continuing up the stairs, Tony disappeared and a few seconds later Gibbs heard the front door open and close. Gibbs brow furrowed. Why did Tony try and backpedal?
Climbing into his car, Tony took a deep breath, then dropped his head against the steering wheel. He banged his head repeatedly on the wheel. "Stupid, stupid, stupid. Ouch!" Rubbing his forehead, he groaned. This was such a bad idea.
Pulling into the driveway a few minutes before seven, Tony shook out his body, and took a deep breath. "You can do this, it'll be fine. Just keep it professional."
Gibbs stepped out of the house and Tony groaned. Not the tan pant suit. Damn it. Gripping the steering wheel tighter, Tony let out a long breath. Keep it together. So he looks sexy as hell. He's your boss and he's doing you a favor. That's it, end of story!
Carrying a small duffel bag and a garment bag, Gibbs tossed the bags into the back seat, and climbed into the passenger seat.
"You ready for this?" Tony forced a smile.
Once they were on the road an odd silence settled between them. Something Gibbs wasn't used to between them.
"Whose funeral?" Gibbs asked breaking the silence.
"My aunt Bridget." Tony chuckled. "She was awesome when I was growing up. Crazy, but so much fun."
"Crazy ones always are the most fun."
"The rest of the family is great too. Lots of cousins, some other aunts and uncles and all their husbands and wives." Tony glanced over at Gibbs. "And plenty of booze."
Gibbs shook his head.
"Hey come on we're Irish on my mom's side." Tony grinned the nervous energy taking over. "And the estate is amazing. Tons of rooms, bar, pool room, library, tennis courts and on, and on, and on."
The rest of the trip was spent with Tony regaling Gibbs with stories about the estate and some of his family. Gibbs knew it was a nervous chatter, but it made the trip go quickly and soon they pulled up to the estate. Tony wasn't kidding, it was huge. No wonder everyone was staying at the estate, he had no doubt that several extended families could live here and not see each other for weeks. Pulling up to the front of the house, a man met them as they stepped out of the car.
"Anthony." The man grinned as he bear hugged Tony. "Damn, so glad you came."
"Conor. How's it going?" Tony smiled.
"Rachael's got morning sickness" Conor rolled his eyes.
"Aren't you used to it, this is number six."
Conor smiled proudly. "I never get use to it."
"And this must be Jethro?" Conor extended his hand to Gibbs. "Is it okay if I call you Jethro?"
Gibbs nodded, shaking the man's hand.
"Tony!" Another man emerged from the house and crushed Tony in an embrace.
"Ian." Tony hugged back.
"Get your ass in here." Ian smiled. "Everyone's dying to see you. It's been too long."
By their age, Gibbs assumed the guys were Tony's cousins.
"We should probably get settled." Tony glanced over at Gibbs.
"Don't worry. Servants will take the bags to your room." Ian smiled. "Jethro right?"
"Nice to meet you." The two shook hands.
"Tony go. I'll take Jethro to get a drink." Conor smirked patting Gibbs' shoulder.
"Go ahead." Gibbs nodded, seeing the concern in Tony's eyes.
"Thanks." Tony smiled. "I won't be long."
Walking into the kitchen there were seven or eight people standing around talking.
"Hey Conor. Who've we got here?" A tall brunette asked.
"Jethro." Conor grinned and winked at the brunette. "Tony's friend."
Hi's rang up all around.
"Jethro we've heard so much about you." Another person said.
Gibbs forced a smile.
The tall brunette approached Gibbs. "I'm Anna. Tony's cousin and I'm so happy to meet you." She threw her arms around his neck hugging him tightly.
"Nice to meet you." Trying to be polite, Gibbs hugged her back. She steps back and Gibbs could see the family resemblance. Anna was striking, with a beautiful smile that lit up her face. Maybe that smile wasn't just a DiNozzo trait. She had the same green eyes, sparkling even brighter when she smiled with a hint of mischief.
"You're Tony's boss right?" Another woman asked.
"And you've been partners how long?" Anna asked.
"Over ten years."
"Wow." Anna shook her head with a look of surprise. "That's great. I was worried about Tony for a long time. Jumping from job to job and relationship to relationship."
"Jethro what can I get you to drink?" Conor asked standing in front of a row of bottles.
"Bourbon." Gibbs could use a drink, no matter how early it was.
"I was shocked, but thrilled when Tony called last night and said he was bringing you." Anna gave Gibbs the once over. "We've been begging him for years to bring someone to meet us."
"You must be special if he's letting you meet us." Anna smiled happily. "But then if you've been together ten years I think that proves something."
"Here you go." Conor handed Gibbs the Bourbon.
"Thanks." Taking the glass, Gibbs forced himself to take a small sip. He could drink with the best of them, but he normally didn't start before noon.
"We harass Tony something terrible." Conor smirked. "But we just want him to be happy."
Yet another nod.
"You're the strong silent type right?" Anna chuckled. "Guess you'd have to be with Tony, Mr. Diarrhea of the Mouth."
"Are you out to your family? They've met Tony?" Conor asked.
"Out?" There was a puzzled look on Gibbs' face.
"Do they know about you and Tony?" Conor paused. "I thought Tony said he met your dad."
"Yeah." Gibbs took another swig of the Bourbon. "Tony's met my father."
"Tony speaks very highly of him."
"Jack gets a kick out of Tony." Gibbs smirked. The several times Jack had come to town, they had bonded
"So any wedding bells in the future for you two?" Anna asked excitedly. "It's legal in D.C."
The Bourbon caught in Gibbs' throat and he had to cough, trying to force it down.
"Still scared of getting remarried?" Anna chewed at her lower lip. "Tony said you've been divorced a couple times."
"A couple." Gibbs cleared his throat.
"Well, you obviously just hadn't found the right man." She gave him a wink.
Gibbs shook his head. "Tony and I aren-"
"Hey everyone." Tony smiled walking into the kitchen, cutting off Gibbs explanation.
"Tony." Rang up from around the room as people came up and hugged him.
Anna was the first to ambush Tony, giving him a hug and whispering in his ear. "Jethro is gorgeous."
She smiled at Tony, giving him a wink as she stepped aside allowing another person to say hello and hug him.
Once the hello's and hugs finally ended, Gibbs put down his drink and touched Tony's elbow. "Tony." Gibbs nodded towards the door.
"Um, we'll be right back." Tony knew that look, knew the way Gibbs had said his name that something was wrong.
Ohhhhs and Aahhhhhh's rang up as the two walked out of the room. Tony glanced back confused by the reaction.
Gibbs pushed Tony into the first open door he saw and shut it behind him. He stood there staring at Tony.
"What happened?" Tony groaned. Leave it to his family to piss off Gibbs within the first half hour of them being there.
"Something you wanna tell me?" Gibbs asked folding his arms across his chest.
Tony's eyes darted back and forth. "Um no."
Gibbs continued to stare at the younger man.
"Well I know it's early, but come on its five o'clock somewhere right?" Tony laughed thinking Gibbs was talking about everyone drinking so early in the day.
"Tony." The name was now spoken with annoyance.
"What? Did I miss something?" Tony tried to think of the endless possibilities of bizarre things his family could have done while they were alone with Gibbs. "Did Anna come on to you? She said something about thinking you were gorgeous. She's single."
"Don't think that would work." Gibbs balked.
"Would it be too weird dating someone related to me?" Tony grinned.
"No." Gibbs shook his head. "It would be weird because since she thinks I'm already dating someone."
Tony drew his head back puzzled. "Who?"
Tony's eyes went wide. "What?"
"She thinks I'm your boyfriend." Gibbs paused. "Everyone in that kitchen believes that."
Dropping down in one of the chairs, Tony ran his hands over his face.
"Tony?" Gibbs spoke the name as a question.
Leaning forward, Tony put his elbows on his knees. This wasn't how he wanted Gibbs to find out. Hell he never wanted Gibbs to find out. "Um, it's just a misunderstanding. I'll talk to them."
"A misunderstanding?" Gibbs sat down in the chair across from Tony.
"Yeah." Tony's gaze fell to the floor.
"Why didn't you tell me?" There was a disappointment note to Gibbs' voice.
"Never had a reason to." Tony dropped his head back. "Or wanted to."
"Did you think I would care?" Gibbs thought Tony knew him better than that.
"No." Shaking his head, Tony finally looked at Gibbs. "I know you're not like that."
"And all the women?"
"I like dating women." Tony shrugged.
A lump formed in Tony's throat. "They know my preferences."
"So you told them I was your boyfriend?"
"No." Tony shot up shaking his head. "God no. I would never do that."
Gibbs eyed Tony.
"They must have assumed when I called last night and told them I was bringing you." Tony ran his hands through his hair. "I never said we were dating. I said I was bringing a friend."
"But you've talked about me?" Gibbs paused. "They knew I was your boss."
"Yeah I've talked about you." Tony tried to down play it. He had probably talked about Gibbs more than he should have in the past. "As my boss, nothing more."
Gibbs stood up. "Okay."
"I'll fix it." Tony sighed. "I hope they didn't embarrass you with anything in the kitchen."
"I'm so happy for him."
Gibbs and Tony both heard the female voice outside the door.
This time a male voice.
"Tony's been so unhappy for so long."
Gibbs now realized the voice was Anna talking to Conor.
"Hiding who he is, what he wants."
"It's hard." Conor answered.
"I worry about him." Anna sighed. "His mother would be so thrilled to see him with such a gorgeous guy. Those two together are heartbreak city for us poor straight girls."
"Yeah." Conor chuckled.
"Jethro seems uncomfortable though." Anna sighed. "I want everyone welcoming him with open arms, understood."
"I get it. Don't worry. Jethro's a good man. He'll fit right in."
"Tony looks happy I wanna keep it that way." Anna continued. "Anyone acts like an asshole about this I'll beat the shit out of them. Tony's had enough rejection over all this."
"No one cares Anna. You know that." Conor sighed. "We tease him, but he knows we support him."
The voices faded away as the two walked down the hall.
Tony had dropped back down in the chair and was staring at the floor. "Didn't realize she cared so much?"
Gibbs knew the conversation had moved Tony.
"She's always acted more like a big sister to me than a cousin." Tony rubbed his forehead. "She shouldn't worry so much."
"Tony." Gibbs sighed.
"Some people aren't as accepting as this side of the family." Tony swallowed the emotion.
Gibbs nodded not pressing as to whom wasn't accepting. Although he had an idea.
Tony took a deep breath and stood up. "I'll talk to Anna first. Make sure she understands." Tony turned towards the door and Gibbs grabbed his arm.
"Maybe we should-"
The door opened suddenly and Gibbs released Tony's arm.
"I wondered where you two were hiding." Anna grinned. "Lunch time."
"We'll be right there." Tony forced a smile.
"We're on the balcony."
She took a step into the room. "You don't have to worry." Anna smiled. "No one cares if you want to be affectionate in front of us. It's sweet."
Tony rolled his eyes.
turned around his eyes wide and grinned at Gibbs.
"Good to know." Gibbs smirked. "I'll remember that for the future."
Tony turned around, his face contorted in confusion.
"Everyone here is so thrilled for both of you." Anna's happiness was evident. "We have wanted to see Tony happy for so long."
"I try my best." Gibbs nodded.
"You must be doing a great job." Anna chuckled. "I've never seen that sparkle so intense in his eyes."
Spinning back around Tony glared at her. "Okay got it." He pushed her out the door. "Everyone's happy Tony's got a man."
"You're so cute all in love." Anna patted Tony's cheek.
"He is, isn't he." Gibbs winked at her.
Yet again Tony turned around giving Gibbs a puzzled look.
Anna sighed and shook her head. "Why are all the good ones gay?"
Tony turned to Anna. "We'll be out in a minute."
"Take your time." She waved as she walked away.
Closing the door, Tony leaned back against the door and stared at Gibbs. "What the hell?"
"You're happy, they're happy."
"They're happy, because they have the wrong impression."
Gibbs shrugged. "What's wrong with letting them believe it, for the weekend."
"What?" Tony shook his head, then tapped his palm against his ear as if he had heard wrong. Then he looked at Gibbs, a befuddled look on his face. "You wanna pretend to be my boyfriend for the weekend?"
Gibbs shrugged again.
Rubbing his hand over his forehead, Tony laughed. "This is a joke right? Anna put you up to this?"
Gibbs shook his head.
"Why, I mean, what would we, how-." Tony groaned. Don't even consider it! Just tell him no. "You would really do that?"
"Why not?" Gibbs took a step towards Tony. "They care about you, they wanna see you happy. Why disappoint them?"
Tony's brow furrowed. "You just wanna do this so Anna won't know you're straight and hit on you."
Gibbs snickered. "That's a damn good reason."
"You don't even know these people, why do you care what they think?"
"I know you and you care what they think."
Tony's eyes glanced at the floor then back up settling on the steel blue eyes.
"It's not a big deal."
Yeah right. Not for you. Tony thought to himself. Can you really pretend when what you're pretending is something you actually want?
Gibbs speaking his name pulled Tony out of his thought.
"They're going to hound you for information, harass you, joke and kid." Tony smirked. "They are gonna be all up in your business."
"I think I can handle it." Gibbs gave that famous half smirk.
"If you change your mind, at any time-"
"I'll be fine." Gibbs nodded. "Will you?"
No. That was the answer Tony should have given, wanted to give. "Yeah. I'll be fine."