Monday Night Football” had come to its bone-crunching conclusion, and that was time to turn off the fifty-seven-inch-wide screen and think about bed.

Derian lifted himself off the couch, reached under his T-shirt to scratch his belly hairs, and released a blast of hot, silent, stinking air into the seat of his sweatpants. I can smell the Bud in that one, he thought.

His large hand came down on the light switch, darkening the entertainment room. Continuing to minister to his itching belly, he loped down the hallway to the door which was cracked open, sending forth a wedge of golden light.

Derian nudged the door open with his shoulder. There, in this room filled with glow-in-the-dark stars against a yellow sky, sat his Jamie, nursing a spoonful of Marshmallowy sweetness.

Jamie, alerted by the creaking door, looked up at Derian with wide Keane eyes.

“How was the football?”

“The Raiders put foot on ass, my man.”

Jamie’s white terrycloth robe was loosely tied, so the whole chest was exposed. Marshmallow was feeding from one nipple. The other was open to Derian’s view...

The bare, milk-flecked nipped pointed at him, as nakedly tempting as a chocolate bonbon stuffed with vanilla ice cream.

The sight roused Derian’s two hungers: the one in his belly, and the one a few inches below. His bare feet moved silently across the carpet, until he kneeled at the right side of the rocking chair. He was close enough to smell the milk, the nutty-sweet aroma drawing him in.

He just couldn’t resist. He opened his mouth and closed his plump lips around the nipple...and then something soft came down on Derian’s mouth.

Still holding on to the nipple, he turned his head.

The softness was a pink, three-inch-long foot. Marshmallow loomed in his horizon, her gray eyes studying Derian with laser focus.

Derian stared back, tried to suckle again...and then the other foot came down, pushing him away from the nipple. Derian turned to his baby daughter and gave a mock-frown.

“Uh, uh, Daddy Derian. Steak, pasta and Met-Rx helps you get big and strong.” Jamie spoke the words Marshmallow would if she could. “But Daddy Jamie’s milk helps me get big and strong, so don’t mess with it.”

“Territorial about the food supply.” Derian nodded. “Smart girl.”

Derian placed his hand on his lover’s thick, muscled wrist, gazed up at the face shadowed with dark stubble, the result of baby coming first, shaving second.

“I had the easy part,” he said, referring to more than his night of watching football.

“Don’t get the guilts, Der. You were here when we both needed you, before and after, then and now.” Jamie kissed his lover on the forehead.

Marshmallow released Jamie’s other nipple and made a small grunting sound. Jamie placed her head on his shoulder and patted her tiny back. She spat up a little milk, and then opened her rosebud mouth to yawn.

It was the perfect punctuation to end the day.

“Let me put her to bed,” said Derian.

Jamie handed Marshmallow to Derian. She felt as light as a cloud in his arms...a lightness that belied the impact she had on his -- and Jamie’s -- world.

Derian glided her into the crib, face up. Jamie covered her with a fluffy yellow knitted blanket. Both of her fathers kissed her to dreamland, and Jamie turned out the light.

When the two men were alone in the hallway, Jamie whispered to Derian:

“Marshmallow’s not looking now. You can have a sip -- a little sip.”

Derian didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation. He bent his knees so that his mouth was level with Jamie’s nipple. Now he could suckle...taste the creamy sweet nourishment that Jamie provided his baby.

“Ohhh...oh, Der...mmmm, I think that’s enough milk for you tonight.”

Derian stood back up, licking excess milk off his lips.

“You give good milk, my man.” He grinned, exposing his gapped front teeth. “It’s sweeter than my grandma’s fortified egg nog.”

“Speaking of fortified...” Jamie took one of Derian’s large hands and put it on his flannel-covered crotch.

“Whoa. Your private parts just got promoted to major woody.”

“It doesn’t do that with Marshmallow. Only you.”

“I’m sure glad to hear that, Jamie.”

Derian wiggled his fingers into the open fly of Jamie’s pajama bottoms. The little blond hairs on his arm tingled when he touched Jamie’s hot, hard penis.

“Oh, baby...” His fingers reached a little lower. “You know what happens when cows’ udders get too full?”

“They need to be milked?”

“Correct-a-mundo. And the same goes for Jamie...only this time, I’m gonna drink from the lower tap.”

Jamie pushed open the master bedroom door.

“Obey your thirst, Derian.”