"Joshua's Chronicles"  by: Tidia

Chapter 5: Otherwise Engaged

Author's Note: This is unbetaed-- I did run through it, changed things, and then went out for drinks. Thank you to Ridley, That Girl Six, Laura and to Tara.

Joshua wanted Carolyn to have everything she dreamed about – a nice ring, a lengthy engagement, and then a wedding. Part of that was having a party to celebrate their engagement in order to introduce the families. There was familiarity since both families were part of The Brotherhood, but this would be the time for closer inspection.

An intimate weekend get-together at his townhouse in North Carolina morphed into a full function with catering service for 50 people. Drew helped Carolyn put it together so he would be invited. Thankfully, he had to at the last minute go out of town with another PR manager who required his administrative assistance. It had cost Joshua his connection to the NCAA and a set of tickets to the finals. It was well worth it to keep the invitees from The Brotherhood and the coven away from his work life. Joshua was able to stand in relative comfort in his living room with Carolyn by his side receiving guests.

The immediate family was already mingling- Esme with Mac, bringing along Cullen and Jocelyn who flew in for the occasion, but would be spending a week in New York City with his mother. Carolyn's parents, her father retired from The Brotherhood, her mother and younger sister.

Alison, with her latest girlfriend, came in carrying a plastic milk crate with a bow tied to it. "Congratulations." She handed him the box, then with her free hand she grabbed her girlfriend's hand.

Joshua felt the bottom of the box move. "It's alive."

She arched her brow. "It's a Poochon for you to practice on."

"A what?" He put the box down, and Carolyn bent down, pulling it open and grabbing the squirming pup. "To practice what?" Joshua frowned. He didn't have time for a dog, which is why he had a self sustaining cat.

"Your child rearing skills." Alison smirked. "Molly breeds them- a cross between a Bichon and a Poodle. This is the pick of the litter."

"It is show quality if you are inclined. We have some organic dog food for you and other things in the car," Molly added, trying to size them up as new owners.

Carolyn held up the ball of fur. "Oh my god, it is so cute."

"I already have a cat," Joshua informed them. Pru did not need or want company. Right now she was hiding in his bedroom, afraid of the guests.

"Pru will love having a sibling." Carolyn was snuggling the animal.

"It's a boy," Alison said with a smile, looking directly at Joshua with a challenge.

He always liked Alison, appreciated her efforts for The Brotherhood and gave gifts to stay in her good graces. He didn't know why he was being punished.

Carolyn pulled the dog away from her and studied him for a moment. "Wyatt from Charmed."

"Perfect," Alison agreed.

Joshua could not understand the attention lavished on the dog, and hoped it did not mean that Carolyn had changed her mind, wanting to have children right away instead of waiting.

He never thought he would look to Caleb Reaves as salvation. Caleb, along with the Winchesters had been invited, but not expected. Caleb put a finger to his lips and came up behind Alison and her girlfriend.

"Switch sides yet, Sweetheart?" Caleb leaned down, whispered in Alison's ear as she stood next to her girlfriend.

Alison lifted the hand of her girlfriend. "Not yet, Babe."

"She gave us a dog." Joshua complained, hoping to have someone on his side, maybe take the dog off his hands, though Caleb's home would not be deemed adequate for humans let alone animals. He was never there, always on the road for The Brotherhood.

"You know what they say, first a dog, then a baby," Caleb said in a singsong manner.

Joshua realized they had been in cahoots- Alison and Caleb. It was transparent. She was trying to gain support in her agenda of having women named to The Brotherhood, Caleb wanted to be friendlier with The Geek Squad. "They do not say that." Joshua was adamant.

"We are going to say hello to your mom and Mackland." Alison retreated with Molly in tow.

Caleb kissed Carolyn on each cheek. "Congratulations. You know you can do better than Josh. Me, for example."

Carolyn blushed. "It's hard to top Joshua."

"Really?" Caleb smirked.

She turned a redder shade. "I mean. . ." She stuttered, then sighed. "Thank you. I am glad you were able to come."

Joshua was going to ask about Dean and Sam to divert attention from Carolyn, but didn't have to as Dean came in with his brother, eyes downcast, following.

Dean shook Joshua's hand. "We heard you were having a party and couldn't pass up a free meal." He turned to Carolyn. "Hey, you got a new puppy. You know what they say. . ." he added a wink, which made Carolyn blush.

"There is no such saying," Joshua grumbled.

Sam gave a tentative smile to Carolyn. "Congratulations on your engagement."

"Hello Sam. How are you?" She reached out and hugged him quickly, but passed on doing the same with Caleb and Dean. They made her nervous and she was still apologizing to Dean for her treatment of him at the hospital even though he had said all was forgiven on numerous occasions.

Joshua had not informed her of Sam's alliance with Ruby. He slipped a protective arm around her waist. Unaware, she made conversation.

"Elijah and Ethan are here. Silas was unable to make it because his wife just had a baby. Griffin sent his regards."

"Silas is married?" Dean's gaze fell on all of them, but Joshua wondered if it was more of a cover-up for the omission of Joshua's father from the list of guests. Of course Silas did keep his personal life very quiet. He had never met Mrs. Fox, or anyone who had met her, so Dean honestly could have been bewildered.

Carolyn nodded. "Yes, for awhile now. It wasn't recent, like your time away or anything, years in fact." She was blushing as she tried to avoid talking about Hell. She patted Joshua's hand. "I'm going to find a place for Wyatt. Our new puppy!" Carolyn took the crate with one hand, the puppy in the other, leaving the men.

"Josh, Sam wants to know if you told Carolyn about his issue?" Caleb spoke quietly and gestured to a contrite Sam.

"No, I kept my word. The coven and Carolyn know that Ruby is back and nothing further." He would not leave Carolyn or the coven defenseless.

"Thanks," Sam replied, but Joshua dismissed it.

He hoped Sam would have come to senses by now, delivered Ruby to the coven to dispose of, or at least done away with her himself. It disturbed him that Dean and Caleb were losing their influence, not the bad sarcastic jokes, but the side to be vigilant about evil. "I thought you said you weren't going to make it because you needed to save the world, as usual."

Caleb stood up with rigid military posture. "I'm campaigning for the position of best man."

Joshua laughed. He hadn't given the idea much thought. "You want me to pick you?"

"You'll have the best bachelor party in the history of bachelor parties." Caleb nudged Dean with his elbow.

"Stop hitting me. Josh is not interested in the Playboy Mansion." Dean winked at Joshua. "Is that Adam talking to Cullen?"

Joshua had heard about the debauchery at the Playboy Mansion. He didn't know if it was myth, fact or stories that would be a legend in years to come. Either way, at the moment, he was going to enjoy toying with Caleb, giving him competition for the best man position. "Yes, Adam helped set up the tables, and has been conversing with Cullen for quite awhile."

Dean tugged his docile brother. "I haven’t seen Cullen in years. Come on Sammy, Eli, your geek buddy is joining the circle, too."

Caleb sighed, placed his hands on his hips. "We go back a long time, longer than you and Adam, Mama's Boy."

Joshua shook his head. "I am recently engaged, and I expect it to be a long engagement because of a certain situation. Once that is cleared up, then I'll think about the groomsmen."

Caleb looked down, stepped in closer. "We can't put a leash on him, and Dean needs concrete evidence to move against Ruby." Caleb cleared his throat. "Anything on the journals?"

He had his career at the PR firm, the coven, The Brotherhood and in his spare time he worked with Bradley on the missing Advisor journals. He was thankful Mackland had given that particular job to Bradley instead of Riley. Carolyn could keep up with Riley's franticness better. "We need to talk to Missouri. It seems her father just disappeared one day."

"I'll leave that up to you." He jutted his chin towards his father and Esme. "How's the other happy couple?"

Joshua groaned inwardly. He had acquired a nickname of Mama's Boy and now another moniker, too. "I think we need to keep an eye on them, especially with your grandfather saying that your father needs to make an honest woman of my mother."

Caleb narrowed his eyes. "Do you think your mother's pregnant?"

"Go away." Joshua shook his head.

"Right, I know, bad joke," Caleb said, smiling.

"Your grandfather has also been saying he wants his grandson to get married and great-grandchildren while he is young. I did not mention that eighty perhaps is not that young." Cullen was very much like his grandmother, older, but still active with all his faculties, enough he was still able to run a company. Cullen had informed him the Ames men led long lives.

"That's a bad joke, too. Not going to happen." Caleb looked grim for a moment.

It was a moment where Joshua counted his blessings that his blood held no taint of demon. When he had made his deal with the coven he purposely excluded his children so they would not have to carry he burdens he did.

Caleb shook his head. "He should think about himself. What about him and Jocelyn?"

"Absolutely not." Joshua was trying his hardest to keep them separated, afraid the all Ames men could put a spells over all the Madrigal women.

"You want to keep your grandmother all to yourself." Caleb punched his shoulder lightly. "I better go over there before my inheritance goes to Adam."

"He's a good guy. Carolyn said when you met him. . ." Joshua let the conversation drop.

"Why don't you give us all a proper introduction 'cause all I know right now is the guy is a vet, and Ethan seems to like him." Joshua didn't know if Caleb read Adam's mind or could judge from Adam's outside demeanor. "It'll save you from all this for awhile. Real man bonding." Caleb added a grunt at the end.

Joshua had to agree. He needed a break from the mingling and didn't want to think about the dog.

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Onto the next chapter:
Growing Up