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  2. Wesley8890

    Chapter 12

    That is an awesome perspective
  3. lomax61

    Photoshoot

    Oops, I did. Sorry, @Timothy M.. Hence, a couple of silly mistakes: 'maked' instead of 'naked' and 'wooden' instead of 'woollen'! I promise I'll resend any 'brilliant idea' rewrites or additions to you in future for rechecking. Consider me chastised.
  4. Geemeedee

    Photoshoot

    Are we sure they (unintentionally) didn’t? I knew Jaymes would provide the inspiration Nate needed.
  5. What a wonderful story. Absolutely made my past few days reading through all the chapters. Thanks, Com, for posting an update today. Really looking forward to Artie meeting Scottie... that’ll be fun. And Tristan’s mom meeting Jesse. And and and...
  6. Graeme

    Chapter 12

    I have a different perspective... Andrew saved Richie's life once by showing up when Richie was preparing to kill himself. Now, Andrew is doing it again by saving Richie from pushing everyone away. Richie admitted it himself -- he's isolating himself from everyone apart from Gabe, and even there it isn't like it used to be. Andrew, simply by being Richie's baby brother, is making Richie come out of his shell and helping him interact with others. Richie's not going to get off the hamster wheel of emotions by himself. Andrew's there to show him a way off that wheel....
  7. MacGreg

    Money Talks

    Thank you for coming by to read, jp. I appreciate that you've been supporting this story for so long. you're quite right about Travis being Ben's strength - and vice versa. Many people will see/learn that they make a formidable pair. Hopefully, they will realize it themselves! Cheers, my boy.
  8. Today
  9. IDEAS If Dave elicits a sexy SMILE
  10. ...and back to the baby-sitting grandpa!
  11. Well that was fun. It's good to see Tristan get more confident and comfortable with the idea of being 'out'. I also love his reaction when he realised he pretty much confirmed his mother's suspicions. I wonder if Jesse will pull a Tanner on us and arrange a dinner at Tristan's place without his knowledge... Another great chapter, Com, I'm just sad that this looks like the beginning of the end for one of my favourite stories.
  12. Sandy we miss you and hope you are doing ok!

  13. Happy Birthday!

  14. Happy Birthday!

  15. That woman on the bus needs to mind her own business. Also, mushy parents must be avoided at all costs!
  16. Wayne Gray

    Not Boyfriends

    Hi, Ford. Thanks for commenting. The cameras are all strategically placed. No danger of catching the guys in an amorous moment, unless they decide to go at it out in front of one of them. Which, maybe they will if they wanna see what they look like? 🙂 I'm glad you're liking it, along with the dialogue. I'm from the area, and it's easy to let the vernacular and patterns of speech rule in my brain while I write. Though, I find it "real" easy to start speaking this way again!
  17. Ford48

    Not Boyfriends

    I'm hoping the cameras don't pick up some private action between Wren and Caleb. That could be used to their disadvantage!!! I'm enjoying the story. I grew up not far from there and find the dialogue quiet authentic.
  18. Thanks molly. Good to see you. I hope the family had a good Easter.
  19. Jason MH

    The Ex

    Trish watched Brody and Jace enter the cafeteria together and shook her head. She just couldn't understand how other people didn't see what was so obvious to her. Well, most other people didn't see it. Brody's sister Jenny knew, but they were so close that they had no secrets from each other. And Trish thought Jace's sister Lara knew, or suspected, or something. As for the twins, Zane and Zack, Jace's brothers, it was hard to tell what they might or might not know because they were slightly autistic, making them awfully private except when around Brody and Jace. Which, now that she thought about it, meant they probably knew, or suspected, or something. "Why the long face?" Darren asked. Trish shot him a dismissive scowl but remained silent. The meathead followed her gaze, catching sight of Jace heading to the lunch line as Brody made his way to the table, dropping his backpack on the floor beside his chair before taking a seat. "Yo, what's up?" Brody tossed out as a greeting to everyone. "Yo," Darren grunted. "Hey, Bro," Lynette smiled. The nickname made Brody grin. Trish gave a demure smile before it turned coquettish. "Hi, Brody." He gave her a quick nod as he pulled his lunch out of his backpack and began spreading it out on the tabletop. A spinach salad with grilled chicken along with fruit, cheese and crackers, a protein bar, yogurt, and a bottle of water. The boy sure was serious about healthy eating. Darren threw a knowing smirk at Trish, which she tried to ignore but inwardly cringed away from. She might call Darren a meathead all the time, but the boy wasn't a dumb jock at all; in fact, he was too smart for his own good sometimes. Leaning forward a bit and dropping his voice to something just above a whisper, he growled, "Whiskey tango foxtrot?" Her face scrunched up with distaste and she gave a derisive huff. What the fuck indeed. He knew what the fuck. She'd had Brody for two years, though they'd been in the seventh and eighth grades and never did more than kiss, hold hands, cuddle, and a little heavy petting. She'd never been able to get him to take it to the next level. And she'd known all the while why he wouldn't. Because of Jace. "You need to be honest with yourself," Darren told her sotto voce before returning to his lunch. She wanted to be honest alright, to tell the truth, to let everyone know that Brody and Jace were boyfriends, that they were shacking up most nights in Brody's garage apartment mere feet from his parents without anyone being the wiser, that they were hiding their relationship from pretty much everybody, that all the stolen looks and touches and who knows what else were right there for all the world to see if they'd only pay attention. Trish was pretty sure that revelation wouldn't go over so well with some people, and it just might be enough to cause a break up, after which she could sweep in and help Brody pick up the pieces of his broken heart. "Don't," Lynette said to Trish, her voice stern. "Don't what?" Lynette didn't answer, but her expression was pure venom. She and Trish had been friends since kindergarten—well, they'd all been friends since kindergarten because they'd all grown up in the same neighborhood going to the same schools—but Lynette and Trish were the only two girls in the group of friends. They had a special camaraderie since they spent so much time around four guys. Her expression made it clear she knew what Trish was thinking and found it detestable. The six friends called themselves The Squad, though at one point in elementary school Darren's parents had called them The Sextuplets. That didn't last long because the kids soon learned about the word sex, thereby putting a whole new spin on the moniker. With the increasing addition of Brody's sister and Jace's siblings, The Squad fluctuated from six to ten members at any given time. The original friends would soon graduate, so the others would have to form their own group. James dropped into the chair beside Lynette, placing his tray in front of him, then leaned over and kissed his girlfriend. It was almost a chaste kiss. After making smooching noises and enamored faces at one another, he turned to Brody and asked jokingly, "Where's you're boyfriend?" "Getting lunch" was the response spoken around a mouthful of salad. Everybody in the The Squad knew about Jace and Brody and their secret relationship. They'd all spent so much time together that they'd seen it coming before the two boys realized how they felt about each other. That didn't mean calling them boyfriends was acceptable, but they often said it as a joke when others might hear. It added a facetious cloak to the truth, making it harder for others to see. Or so the thought went. The Squad was a strange bunch by high school standards. They had Darren, a varsity football player. Lynette was a cheerleader. James played baseball and dated Lynette. Trish was terribly popular because she had money and looks and wit without being a snob. Brody was a jock, though he played no team sports, and he was one of the best looking guys in the school. All of that bumped them up in the school's social strata, not quite landing them at the top—but it was close. And then there was Jace. He was a tall drink of water, but he was thin, almost lanky without being sinewy. He was a total nerd, destined to be valedictorian of their class. Despite that, he was quite popular because his friendship with three jocks made him friends with the various sports teams who turned to him for tutoring and help with class projects and the like. In a normal world bullies would target him, but nobody in the school would touch him because they'd find themselves beaten to a pulp by whichever sports team got to them first. Strangely enough, they had to credit Jace with pushing them into the school's popular ranking. With the support and respect of every sports team, not to mention his smarts and down-to-earth approach to people, he made intelligence approachable and friendly while bridging the gap between the geeks and the jocks. And all without trying since he never set out to be popular; that's just the way it worked. When Jace fell into the seat beside Brody, he bumped him with his elbow just enough to get his attention. They shared a look—that look which made Trish's teeth grind and her nerves fire all at once. "So how are you fine folks today?" he tossed out to the whole table, no specific target in mind. "Good," James mumbled around a mouthful of pizza. "Forgive my Neanderthal boyfriend for his bad manners," Lynette joked, giving James a stern yet affectionate look. "I'm used to it." Darren smirked before responding, "Yeah, maybe you are, Jace, but the rest of us don't want to see the masticated mess in his mouth." "Ooh, nice alliteration." Brody grinned appreciatively. "I'm more than a pretty face." Darren squared his shoulders and held his head high. That earned him a few mocking sneers and humored chuckles. "Who's going to prom?" Trish asked. She'd just had a brilliant idea. Cruel and vicious, sure, but brilliant nonetheless. "It's months away," James moaned. Lynette smacked his arm, then she leaned her head on his shoulder and purred, "I got my date." "Same here," James cooed as he rested his head on hers. Again they made smooching noises, pursing their lips and ogling each other with an adoration so sweet it dripped from their pores. Darren shrugged. "Don't know who with, but I'm going." "You should ask that girl in chemistry," Jace said. Brody agreed. "Oh, good idea. She's always giving you those shy flirtatious looks." "Is that what those looks are? Here I thought she had gas," Darren quipped. Laughter percolated around the table. "Do you not like her?" Jace inquired. "Not my type." "Huh." Jace shot a knowing look at Brody. "What about my friend Laina?" Trish asked. "She's nice, pretty—" "And a walking petri dish," James interjected. Jace frowned, shaking his head. "You know her reputation." "She's friendly," Trish said, her voice rising in defense, though she knew Laina was known for being easy. Very easy. Glancing at Brody, Darren asked, "How soon would I have to start antibiotics before touching her?" "Without kissing, today. With kissing, last month. Anything beyond kissing, there's no medicine strong enough." Quiet oohs and howls erupted around the table. "What about you guys?" Trish asked, aiming the question at Jace and Brody. Both boys looked at each other before shrugging. "Not really interested." "That's a lie, Brody, and you know it." "Look, Lynette, I might like to dance and I might like to hang out with my friends, but I'm not interested in causing a scene." "It's the twenty-first century, guys," James scolded, "and we're at a high school in Dallas, not exactly a hotbed of intolerance." Darren turned toward the two and quietly explained, "Besides, there are other gay couples going. It's not a problem. You two should go." "They're out," Jace clarified, as though that ended the discussion. "Then come out." Trish gave them a shrug and a look that made it seem like that decision was so obvious and so simple that they should have thought of it already. Brody and Jace glanced around the table, meeting the other four sets of eyes individually. Then they looked at each other. Finally, after a moment that seemed to stretch into eternity, they turned back to their meals. Before packing his pie hole with more yogurt, Brody declared in a hushed tone that sounded a bit peeved and a bit upset and a lot dismissive, "We're not going to the prom." "Wait!" James waved his hand for silence. Then setting his gaze on Brody and Jace he said, "Why not find some dates, some girls who'll go as friends? You can still go and still avoid questions or whatever it is that's got you running scared." "Great idea!" Trish agreed. "I volunteer to go with one of you." Brody gave her a considering look while Lynette, Jace and Darren looked at her like she was an opportunistic predator. Which she was, but they needn't know that. Or at least she needn't confirm their suspicion. Then Brody shrugged again and mumbled, "We're not going." "Go as friends!" Darren said in a forceful whisper that seemed louder than a shout. Immediate agreements and support spread through the group. "Yeah, lots of guys go stag just to have fun and hang out." "You shouldn't miss your senior prom. You only get one chance." "We'll all be there. You need to be there with us." "Come on!' "You have to go!" Jace raised his voice just enough to cut through the cacophony. "We're not going. That's final." Trish looked like she wished they'd change their minds. "You guys have been inseparable best friends since... well, since forever. Nobody'd think twice if you went stag with each other." "Nobody'd think twice if they came out and admitted they're boyfriends madly in love with each other," Lynette moaned, shaking her head. "Yeah, nobody'd think twice," Trish agreed. She just wasn't sure she believed that. Not at all. And she intended to find a way to test that theory since it would probably mean she'd have another shot with Brody. * * * * * Seven Years Prior Brody sat in the library working on his summer reading. Well, that's what he told his mother he'd be doing anyway. And he'd intended to work on it. Except he couldn't stop watching Jace sitting right across the table, his nose in a book, his green semi-rimless rectangular glasses making his eyes pop like sparkling emeralds, his alabaster skin aglow from the indirect sunlight pouring in through the wall of windows, his brown hair mussed into a stylish mess. They'd been best friends for ten years, so Brody had a huge place in his heart occupied only by Jace. But he knew there was something else there, something nagging at the back of his mind, some little tease of a thing that kept flitting by his consciousness, grabbing his attention just long enough to say it was there without staying around long enough to be identified. Still, he was pretty sure he knew what that feeling was. Jace had caught him staring more than once. All he'd ever do is offer a shy little smile and duck his head, never maintaining eye contact. But that was enough to make Brody's stomach flutter and make his chest constrict until it was hard to breathe and make his whole body feel drugged and wobbly. None of which he understood, not one bit, except when he threw the L-word into the mix. "You're supposed to be reading," Jace whispered without looking up from his book. "I am," Brody responded mechanically, automatically. "No you're not." Brody sighed, a facile sound that carried with it so many unspoken things. Jace's head snapped up and their eyes met. This time it was Brody who looked away without understanding why. He'd suddenly felt exposed, as though Jace might see something he wasn't supposed to see. That's when Trish dropped into the seat beside him. "Howdy, y'all," she offered in her best Texas drawl. She didn't really have an accent—none of them did—but she sometimes tried to sound sexier by adding a little twang. "Hi, Trish," Jace greeted before looking at Brody for a moment more. He finally shook his head and returned to his reading. Trish turned her pretty face toward Brody, her flaxen hair elegantly falling around her pale skin and down to her shoulders, her deep brown eyes full of mirth and wonder, her lips rosy and full and moist. "Hey," Brody mumbled. Trish glanced at Jace then back to Brody. Something in her eyes seemed new, different. It made Brody a little uncomfortable and a little excited. A nervous energy filled his body. Speaking a little louder than necessary, Trish leaned forward and asked, "Brody, you think you might like to go see a movie with me tonight?" Jace's head snapped in her direction as Brody's eyes widened. She offered a sheepish little shrug and willed a blush into her cheeks, though that attempt at mind over matter failed as her face remained rouged only with makeup. Lowering her voice as she lowered her eyes, staring at the sexy jock boy through her eyelashes, she added just above a whisper, "I thought maybe afterward we could hang out at my house for a little bit, go for a walk or something." "Are you flirting with me?" Brody deadpanned, still trying to comprehend what the hell was happening. He'd known Trish as long as he'd known Jace, and though he thought her pretty, he'd never thought of her as anything other than a friend. "Yeah," she admitted, "though I'm doing a pretty bad job of it, I guess." Jace snorted and immediately tried to cover it by clearing his throat. Trish ignored it. Brody heard it but couldn't look away from Trish, still pondering the imponderable idea that she was flirting with him. Finally he shrugged, nodded, answered, "Yeah, okay, I'd like that." She moved so quickly he couldn't have avoided the kiss even if he'd tried. It was a chaste, sweet, strawberry-flavored peck on the lips, and it sent a tingle through Brody despite the confusion it engendered. "Be at my house by six," she whispered against his lips before tossing a sly smile in Jace's direction, something akin to a victorious bearing of teeth that Brody didn't see and Jace ignored. After that she left, a little swagger in her step and a little extra swing in her hips. Jace finally looked at Brody and caught the wistful expression on his best friend's face. Their gazes locked and Brody's expression saddened further, becoming kith and kin to defeated acceptance. "What's wrong?" Jace asked. "Nothing." Dismissive, resolute, quiet. "Trish just asked you out." "It's just a movie." "And to her house. Maybe for 'a walk or something.'" "It's nothing we haven't done a hundred times before." "Not like this you haven't." "I know." "I'd think you'd be happier about that." "Yeah, me too." Without taking his eyes off Jace, Brody gathered his things, sliding them into his backpack. Once he was ready to leave, he stood, pushed his chair in slowly and silently, then stood there meeting Jace's stare with his own. Brody wished Jace was different, was a little less asexual bookworm and a little more emotionally available. There were times when he thought there was something there, but then the moment would pass and Brody would realize it was just the comfortable closeness they shared after a decade of being best friends. Well, that or wishful thinking. Yet still he hoped, wished, dreamed. In a hushed voice toned with more emotion than he'd intended, Jace asked, "What, Brody?" A few moments of silence passed as they continued staring. In the end Brody just shrugged, shook his head, mumbled, "I'll see you later, Jace." He turned and was gone, leaving his best friend bewildered. For the briefest moment Jace had thought something was happening between them, something important, something that maybe indicated Brody felt something like what Jace felt. But clearly he'd been wrong. * * * * * "You two have been dating for a year. Is it serious?" Brody's expression made Jace think his best friend just smelled something bad. "I don't think so," Brody mumbled. "After a year I'd think you'd have a pretty good idea." "Maybe I'm not ready for a serious relationship yet." "Maybe you're not with the right person." Brody spun around, nearly falling off the bed as he looked at Jace. "Why do you say that?" Jace blinked repeatedly, reminding Brody of a deer caught in headlights. Jace had no idea what to say, how to respond. The remark had fallen out of his mouth without thought, his own wishes made manifest in words. But now Brody wanted him to explain it and he couldn't. How could he tell his best friend that he wanted to be the right person for him, wanted to see if they could have something special, something serious? How could he tell Brody that he was madly in love with him but was scared to death of destroying their friendship if he admitted it? Jace felt hollow when Brody was gone. He felt like he was drugged to uncontrollable happiness when Brody was around. If he went a day without hearing Brody's voice, it felt like a knife to his heart. And when he heard his voice, it lifted him to the heavens and made even the darkest of days bright and cheery. Every little touch, every little look, and Jace's spirit soared. When they spent the night together, something they'd been doing since that first week of kindergarten, Jace often spent hours lying beside Brody watching him sleep, letting his eyes caress every inch of exposed skin, wishing he could let his hands do the same, if not his lips. Brody often worried that Jace couldn't sleep well enough on his bed because he never seemed rested the next day; Jace could never admit he got very little sleep because of the time he spent admiring his best friend, dreaming of a life together, wishing for more than what they had, wondering if Brody had any feelings for him beyond the platonic. How could Jace admit any of that? Their bond was special and their friendship of the utmost importance. The very idea of admitting how he felt made him shudder with dread for the damage it might do to them. He didn't think Brody had a bigoted bone in his body, but that didn't mean he'd be comfortable with his best friend's unrequited love for him. "Hey," Brody said in a soft voice as he touched Jace's shoulder. He felt the powerful tremble that rocked his best friend's body. With eyes wide, Jace looked at Brody, mouth agape, something like panic taking over his features. "What?" His voice came out harsh and brusque. Brody immediately removed his hand. He guessed that answered the question of whether or not Jace felt something. If a mere touch caused him to flinch and get upset, Brody knew there was no hope for something more than what they had. But he'd settle for that. He'd take it and live with it and never question it. Because he needed Jace like he needed food and water and air. He loved Jace, he knew that, loved him so much it hurt. Even if he couldn't have those feelings returned, he couldn't live without Jace, just couldn't. Shrugging, looking apologetic, Brody said, "Never mind." And he turned back to the television, settling just an inch or so toward the edge of the bed to give Jace a little more room. * * * * * Brody walked Trish to her door. They'd had a nice evening, a tasty dinner followed by a quiet walk at White Rock Lake, feeding the ducks and geese in Sunset Bay. He'd spent the last week thinking about that exchange with Jace. Since then he'd given Jace more room, hoping not to spook him, hoping he was doing a good enough job hiding his feelings. He realized his dreams of a life with Jace were empty. That had left him pondering his relationship with Trish. Thus far they'd done little more than hold hands, hug, share an occasional kiss that was nothing more than a peck. He'd decided it was time to let thoughts of Jace fade so he could focus on what he already had in his hands. As Trish turned to say goodnight, Brody bracketed her face with both hands before he leaned down and kissed her. He put more passion in the kiss than he ever had before, letting his tongue slip out and gently lick across her lips. When she gasped, he let his tongue slip in inside her mouth. * * * * * He'd always thought his first kiss would be electric, mind-blowing, powerful and memorable. Though he felt terrible for it, Brody walked away from Trish's house that night a disappointed young man. He'd felt something, sure, a little jolt of energy and a little erotic interest. But it hadn't been anything like he imagined. Not even close.
  20. Hi jp! So good to see you again
  21. keyisfake

    Chapter 32

    So much drama. I'm working on it now. Thanks for reading.
  22. davewri

    Alo Chapter 30

    Possible that one of those people Lloyd has dealt with might come back and hurt him? Making that many people angry will cause trouble.
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