Exclusive Excerpt from Impossible Things
by Beth Bolden
When the carousel ride completed, and Diego carried Ana over to where Abby and Benji waited for them, he shot the latter a huge smile. “I’m so glad you came with us,” Diego confided as Benji handed him his cup. “You made today special.”
Benji shrugged a little self-consciously. “You could’ve made the same phone call and gotten the exact same results.”
“I don’t mean Abby, and not waiting in any lines, though that is nice,” Diego said. “I mean that it wouldn’t have been as special if you weren’t with us.”
Benji nearly pulled up short as they approached Dumbo and its insane line, creeping all the way around the ride and threatening to spill into the walkways around it. “You . . . you really mean that, don’t you?” he asked, clearly surprised.
It was hard not to feel a twinge of guilt at the shock in Benji’s voice. “You’ve always been an important part of our lives, but . . . now, more than ever, we want you here, with us.”
Benji reached out and squeezed Diego’s shoulder. His gaze told Diego that he wanted so much more. He wanted to lean down and casually kiss him, like it was something they already did a dozen times each day. He wanted to hold hands, without it catching the attention of every single harried parent in this line.
Diego could have changed the famous line, “with great power comes great responsibility,” to “with great power comes great obligation,” and it would have still been completely accurate. He’d never felt the obligation of his fame as strongly as he did in this moment. Before, he’d felt it for others, specifically Leo and Caleb, but never for himself. It had never truly gotten in the way of anything he’d ever wanted—instead it had made a lot of things easier. Money made even the bitterest pill easier to swallow.
But money couldn’t fix this problem. No matter how much money they had, Benji couldn’t confiscate every single phone in this park. He’d seen the occasional interested face, and more than one quick flash in his direction. Pictures would exist of his trip here today with Ana, and while it was terrible enough that they were taking pictures of his kid, he couldn’t risk him and Benji looking like anything more than good friends.
“You excited for Dumbo, Ana?” Benji asked her as Diego picked her up and carried her the last bit of the way to the ride. She was good on her feet, with sturdy legs that usually would carry her farther and faster than Diego ever wanted to go, but it had been a long day already and he could tell she was getting tired.
But Ana, instead of answering with increasing excitement, promptly burst into tears.
Instantly, Diego stopped and leaned against an empty stretch of low wrought-iron fencing. Shifting Ana in his arms, he gave her a soft smile. “Ana Banana, what’s wrong?”
“Saaaaaaad,” Ana wailed.
Diego exchanged blank, confused looks with Abby over Ana’s head, but then Benji was suddenly there, putting a big palm on her narrow back, and gently transferring over to his own arms.
“It is a sad movie,” Benji cooed at her, and she calmed from sobbing hysterics to only a trickle of tears. “But Dumbo is happy at the end, right?”
“Dumbo sad!” Ana exclaimed again, and for a moment, as everyone in their group held their breath, she looked to be on the precipice of a second outburst.
“Sometimes you’re sad so you know what being happy is, Ana-girl,” Benji said softly, seriously.
“Happy,” she parroted back, a puzzled look on her sweet face.
“Yeah,” Benji said, hugging her close, “we’re happy right now.”
“I guess that’s a no on Dumbo,” Diego said.
“Actually, I think she should ride it. She’d like it, and it might give her a different perspective,” Benji offered.
Diego rolled his eyes. “Sure thing. You want to ride it with her, then, Mr. Child Psychologist?”
Benji grinned. “I’d love to.”
Abby and Diego watched from a little distance as Benji carried Ana over to the ride.
“He’s very sweet with her,” Abby offered, kindness tempering the crisp edges of his accented words. “You’re very lucky to find someone who loves your kid as much as you do.”
Diego opened his mouth and then snapped it shut again. What could he say? No, you’re wrong? We’re not involved, and I’m not lucky? All Abby would have to say was, have you seen that guy? He’s ripped and gorgeous and adores your child—and you.
Abby shot him a sideways glance. “We all sign NDAs, by the way, if that matters.”
Diego wanted to be at a place in their lives where that didn’t matter, but he knew better.
“It does, actually,” Diego said with a reluctant sigh. “This is all very new, and well . . . you’ve surely seen the circus around Leo and Caleb. I’m not sure I’m ready to subject Ana to all that.”
“Well, as one queer man to another, it’s pretty damn cool regardless.” Abby grinned. “It meant a lot, that interview you guys did.”