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  1. FlyOnTheWall

    Making Plans

    Would I? Really? You have to ask? Of course, I don't think it would be a Nuclear torpedo. Maybe one just strong enough to make our boys rethink the current events? I need to do something. I think I got a cavity from writing the three way-too-sweet chapters!
  2. FlyOnTheWall

    Making Plans

    I can promise a torpedo in the next chapter! Muahahaha!
  3. FlyOnTheWall

    Making Plans

    Oh Wesley, Wesley, Wesley--it's all been too easy for David! You know I can't let that keep happening! <hehehehe>
  4. THE PRODIGY By Geoff Chassen Chapter 7 – Making Plans David walked to the waiting car after saying goodbye to Christian, Karlie, and the rest of the Project Runway people. He only wished he could have spoken with Charlie but understood the whole “rules are rules” thing. He only had seven weeks (at most) to wait. As soon as he got into the back of the limo, the driver asked David if he wanted to return to the Hyatt. “Yes, please. Thank you.” As soon as the driver pulled into the street, David pulled the slightly crumpled envelope out of his pocket and yet again admired the beautiful handwriting that simply said “David.” He took a deep breath, opened the envelope, and began reading: David, I’ve decided to write you a note. With the crazy rules of the show, I don’t know if you’ll ever see it, and the only way I figure you can is if you pick Eric’s design—which you totally should! It’s so much fun and completely expresses that side of you! So—three weeks ago my son and I were watching “Ellen” and I was totally looking forward to seeing Keanu Reeves. You might remember my somewhat slight obsession with him. Haha. Boy! Was I surprised to see it was YOU on the show—even more surprised when Parker came out and you guys did the Chopsticks routine. Funny—I always get emotional whenever I hear that silly song. But then again, I get pretty emotional four or five times a day. Some things never change. Another thing that has never changed is the ache in my heart I’ve carried for the last eight years. Please know that I don’t blame you for any of that! We came to an agreement. You and I both knew deep down that we had two major strikes against our relationship. The first being the success rate of high school sweethearts and the second being the almost insurmountable challenges of long-distance relationships—and ours would have been the longest of longs. Not long after you left the States, I contacted your mother and got your email address. I sent you several emails a week for at least a month—probably longer. When I never heard from you, I figured you wanted a clean break from “us.” I mean, that IS what we agreed on. To be honest, not hearing from you at all probably hurt more than the actual breakup. Again, I’m not putting any blame anywhere. What’s done is done and I’m sure at the time you had your reasons. After all, I gave up, too. You might have wondered why you suddenly stopped hearing from me. As I write this I realize just how important communication is. When we don’t hear from the people we want to hear from, we begin to make assumptions. I know I did. It took awhile, but I did move on. You may remember Janet Anderson. She was dating my best friend Liz. She died in a tragic accident along with her mother. They were on the way to the hospital to deliver her baby. It was terribly hard on her father and brother, Jacob. I met him at a cookout at Cam’s parents’ house. I won’t go into the details, but we eventually ended up living together and got married after a while. Yes, I loved Jacob Anderson—and I still do. You know me well enough that once I love completely, I will never stop loving. I eventually started to volunteer with a local theatre group for kids on the Autism spectrum and became close to a couple of them. At the same time Jacob and I decided to train for the state fostering program. One of the kids I had become close with suddenly lost his mother to a brain aneurysm and the state contacted us since they knew of my work with those special kids. When we got to the offices, I was shocked to see the kid was one that I had grown close with. We took Noah into our home and once it became clear that there were no relatives who were able (or willing) to take the boy in, we became permanent foster parents and eventually adopted him. I’m a proud daddy now and I have to tell you about Noah. I’m sure it’s challenging for anyone to foster and adopt—and countless people told us that those challenges were ten times greater with an Autistic child. I’m one of the lucky ones. Being Noah’s daddy has never been a challenge. My son and I have a remarkable bond—one that I’ve never completely understood or have been able to explain. But I have learned to appreciate that the connection Noah and I have is one of those special things that I will cherish forever. Noah is now sixteen years old. There are times he is a typical teenager. He loves his video games and plays them way too often. Of course there are times he behaves like a child half his age, which can bring a completely different set of challenges. But Noah has a heart that surpasses all ages. That boy sure can love! Believe it or not, when Jacob and I were going through our separation and divorce, Noah was my rock. To give you an idea of his personality, his all-time favorite thing is the Toy Story film. For his first birthday with us, we converted his bedroom into a duplicate of the film’s bedroom, complete with the toys, the colors, the furniture. Even now, although he lives in the garage apartment, that bedroom is his safe place. It still brings him so much joy! Wow! I was just going to write you a quick note to tell you how just how scared I was to see you again—and how happy I am that I have. I can still hear your words ringing through my head—“Even the gods couldn’t keep us apart!” Of course, I don’t have any idea when I’m going to be done with the show. I don’t have any idea how I’m going to find you once I’m able—but I will. I need to feel my arms around you. I need to thank you personally for playing the Nocturne for me again. We’re both completely different people now. So much has changed in our lives. But one thing has never changed and that’s my love for you. I can’t wait for you to meet my son. I have a feeling that’s one more thing that’s going to be beautiful. I don’t know what our future may hold. I know what I hope it looks like. One thing I know for certain—my future must have you in it, no matter how that looks. I love you, David. I always will. Charlie David’s eyes brimmed with tears as he smiled from ear-to-ear. Although Charlie wouldn’t make any commitment, he certainly left the door open for all the possibilities. The fact that he shared so much about Noah reaffirmed to David the gigantic heart Charlie Danner possessed. While he wasn’t going to remodel one of the bedrooms in his home, he decided to gather some Toy Story paraphernalia to help Noah feel comfortable when he came to visit with Beverly. David was in the middle of reading Charlie’s letter for the third time when the limo pulled up to the hotel entrance. He thanked the driver and went straight to his suite. Once inside, he stripped himself of the clothes he had on and went into the bedroom. He dug around the bottom of his bag and found his favorite toy, a 9½-inch dildo that was almost identical to Charlie’s monster. He sucked and swallowed it, dreaming of Charlie’s moans and small cries of passion while his fingers laced into his hair. He couldn’t wait very much longer before he had to lube the dildo up and push it into his tight and quivering ass. As he thrust in and out of himself, David closed his eyes and remembered the image of the stunning man hovering over him. He remembered the look of ecstasy that covered Charlie’s face. He remembered the sweat dripping onto his body as Charlie pounded into him. And just as Charlie would shift slightly to give maximum pleasure to David’s prostate, David shifted the dildo and did the same. Being so completely in the moment, David was surprised to find the result just as complete—an intense hands-free orgasm that shook him from head to toe. David eased the silicone cock out of his ass and closed his eyes. “I love you, Charlie Danner,” he whispered as he fell asleep. ******** Eric walked into the workroom after his meeting with David to cheers and yells from the other designers. Christian was there to congratulate them all on an excellent runway show and announced that they would have the evening free. He also reminded them to keep in mind that they would be back at the studio at 7:00 the next morning to begin work on the second challenge. They were instructed to gather their things from their spaces and make their way to the bus waiting for them in front of the building. They would be taken to Atlas where they could decide on their own what their evening plans would be. As they were packing their things, Charlie leaned into Eric and whispered, “Did you give the envelope to David?” “Of course, silly. And yes—he was thrilled to see it. We’ll talk more when we get home—as long as the cameras aren’t anywhere around.” Unfortunately, the cameras were around, filming the guys discussing what their plans for the night would be. With six guys, there were several different plans and they all agreed that since it was a night off, there was no need for all of them to do something together. David and Eric looked at each other and smiled. They decided to go to Washington Square Park and enjoy dinner in one of the cool SoHo restaurants. The camera crew then went to the girls’ apartment to film their plans. “Quick Eric! Let’s get out of here before the camera dudes decide to follow us!” They made a hasty retreat and soon found themselves sitting on a bench in the park. “Charlie, how are you doing now?” “Are you kidding? I got to see David. He played a song for me. He picked my design as one of his top three. I’ve not felt this good about my life in so long.” “About your design. When I met with him this afternoon, he told me that instead of waiting for the auction, he bought your design. He said he was going to start wearing it for his performances.” “Are you kidding me? He wears white tie and tails for his performances. That’s not…” “Nope. He said he was changing his appearance from now on. And your coat is a part of that.” “Wow. I can’t believe it!” “That’s not all, Charlie.” Eric reached into his pocket and handed Charlie the envelope from David. “Oh. My. God.” “Why don’t I step over a bench or two and give you some privacy?” “No. Please stay with me. I don’t know how this is going to go.” Charlie opened the letter and began to read. He looked over to Eric and said, “You can read it, too. You and I are already way beyond secrets by now.” Charlie Danner—my dear, sweet, Charlie Danner, If you are reading this, then that already makes me happier than I can explain. When I found out you were going to be on the show, I can’t even begin to describe the excitement I felt. All I could think was that finally—FINALLY—I was going to have the chance to get my Charlie back into my life! The biggest regret in my life is that we agreed to split up before I went to Russia. I tried to contact you several times and never heard back from you. I now know that even if you had tried to reach me, the Russians blocked all of my emails except those from my mother…and chunks of those were blacked out! I know you felt it—I know you felt that same jolt of energy when our hands touched the other night. It was just like the first time our hands touched in your little Honda Civic the night of the cast party. I saw it in your eyes. I hope you saw it in mine—my feelings for you have never changed. I love you as I always have. I had to call your mother to find out if you were still married. I’m so sorry for any pain you went through as that stage of your life came to an end. I know how you love—it’s pretty intense—and to lose that can’t be easy. We only have to wait a few more weeks until we can be together again. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms. I can’t wait to feel you hold me. Like I said the other night—even the Gods can’t keep us apart, Charlie Danner! I have the same phone number that I had when I left for Russia. You can call me any time—night or day. I can’t wait to hear your beautiful voice again! I love you, Charlie Danner! Please at least think about giving us another chance! Your David “Eric, he loves me. It’s right there!” “You had any doubt? After he played that Nocturne for you in front of all those people?” Charlie just smiled as he folded the letter and slipped it into his pocket. “I’m so tempted to make myself lose so I can be with him sooner!” “Don’t you fucking dare, Charlie Danner! I would have to kill you!” “Don’t worry, it was a joke. I would never do that. It would haunt me for the rest of my life.” Charlie and Eric stood and headed over to Christopher Street so they could find a place for dinner. ******** David left the Hyatt the next morning and soon found himself walking into his home on the beach. He had only been gone a week, but the dull, stale air hung heavily inside. He immediately opened windows and doors and soon had a pleasant ocean breeze blowing through the house. He unpacked his bags and sorted his dirty laundry. He carried his dirty clothes to the laundry room and started the first load. David chuckled as he thought of the irony of doing his own laundry. After his Russian experience, he found that some of the most domestic activities brought him joy. Doing laundry helped center him. While waiting for his laundry, David sat in the great room and turned on CNN. About an hour later his phone rang. It was Ben. “Hi Ben. What’s going on?” “I think maybe I should ask you the same thing.” “What? No hello?” “Hello, David. What the Hell is going on?” “That’s more like it—and I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.” “Blue? Purple? You have to buck traditional white tie at the fucking New York Phil? What was that about?” “You know I’ve always hated conforming to the traditional tails thing when I play. I just had enough and had Tania hook me up with something I was comfortable in. Why? Did you hear any complaints? I didn’t. Fucking Van Zweden even told me he preferred the purple.” “The New York press was all abuzz over it. Why didn’t you say something to me? I’m your fucking manager. But you seem to want to manage yourself. And no—that’s not EVEN a suggestion. You need me more than you want to admit!” “Of course I need you! You’re the best manager I could ever hope for. And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you ahead of time. Not that it would have made a difference. You could have bitched and moaned till the cows came home and I would have still worn it. The New York press, huh?” “Yeah, they were all over the ‘bad boy of classical music’ thing again. But here—the Daily News said that it was obvious you were comfortable because you apparently played with—what did he say—Yeah, here it is---‘Chase played the difficult Rachmaninov Third Concerto with such ease that the piano sang with an eloquent emotion unlike anything I’ve ever heard.’ Blah, blah, blah…” “Well, that was nice—a little wordy, but nice.” “So the main reason I’m calling is to tell you that the studio sent me some samples of your third concert. Jesus, David—Even I have never heard you play like that! This album is going to kill the charts!” “You think so?” “I KNOW so! If you agree, I’m going to ask the studio to bust ass so we can release the album earlier. I want to get this out there before Christmas.” “That would be cool. So we need to get the photo shoot done for the cover pretty soon. Can you get me Annie Lebowitz? I’d love to do the shoot here at the house.” “I’ll start on it right away. Did you end up with a good look from the Project Runway thing?” “Yeah! It’s fun and playful. When I saw it for the first time it brought me so much joy!” “Excellent. Lebowitz is going to cost a fortune, you know.” “I have a fortune. Is there a problem?” “No—just want to remind you in advance.” “Consider me reminded. Just get her for me, please!” “You got it. Oh—just so you know—I’m thinking I’m going to really like this new version of David Chase. It looks good on you.” “Goodbye, Ben! Keep me posted…and have them send me the recordings, okay?” “Goodbye, David.” Less than fifteen seconds after David ended his call with Ben, his phone rang again. He didn’t even bother looking at the screen. “Hi Ben! What did you forget?” “Uhm—not Ben! Hi David, it’s Tran.” “Tran! Oh! Sorry about that. I had just been talking with my manager Ben. How are you?” “I’m good—great, actually! I’m in New York for the week attending a workshop-slash-conference thing and I remember you lived in the area. I’d love to see you!” “That would be wonderful. Where are you staying?” “I’m at the Giraffe—one of those cool boutique hotels.” “Yes, I know the Giraffe. When are you available.” “I’m tied up with stuff until 4:00 each day. Evenings are free for me.” “Awesome. Hey—how about this evening? I actually have no plans.” “Yes! That’s perfect! How about 6:00? I’ll meet you in the lobby. We can have dinner at the restaurant here at the hotel. It’s really excellent.” “Perfect! I’ll see you at 6:00 then!” After the call ended, David stood on his deck looking out over the ocean. He sighed when he realized that as much as he enjoyed his times with Tran, he couldn’t—or wouldn’t—allow anything to happen. He had invested far too much in the possibilities with Charlie Danner. Watching the waves roll into the island, David let his imagination take over with the vision of Charlie and his son playing in the waves. That eventually transformed into Charlie and himself playing in the waves. That image soon melded into making love on the sand. David sighed and said a silent prayer to any Entity that would hear him—a prayer that would bring Charlie into his arms, and more importantly, into his life once again. Driving back into the city, David seriously considered the possibility of getting a place in Manhatten. He hated driving back and forth, and especially hated asking friends and colleagues to make the drive out to Westhampton. Things were going extremely well for him on the financial side of things and even Ben suggested that he invest some of his cash assets into something that would help him out with his taxes. He thought of his neighbor, Anderson Cooper. AC lived in the city during the week and spent his weekends on the island. David could most definitely handle that kind of life. After more than an hour of driving, David pulled into the parking garage of the Hotel Giraffe and found a space that was fairly close to the lobby entrance. He made his way into the lobby and broke out in a huge, toothy smile as Tran walked over to him. The men hugged and David kissed Tran on the cheek. “The cheek? Something’s going on with David Chase, I would guess.” “Do you have reservations? Or can we get a drink at the bar?” “There’s a bar inside the restaurant. We can get something while we wait for our table. They’re a little busy tonight with the conference and all.” When they walked into the dining room the host recognized David right away and told him how much he enjoyed his concert at Lincoln Center. He laughed and mentioned that he was in the top of the nosebleed section but it didn’t take away from the beauty of David’s playing. “Thank you—umm, Devin. That’s so kind of you to say. And thank you for coming!” “You should do more concerts in New York. We kind of claim you as our own here, you know.” “I’m seriously considering that. Making several changes in my future, you could say.” “And I can get you to a table right away so you won’t have to wait at the bar.” “Thank you, Devin. That’s perfect.” Devin took David and Tran to a table tucked away in the corner, one that would offer them a bit more privacy than the majority of the other tables in the restaurant. Once they were seated, Devin took their drink order and told them their server would be right with them. David and Tran ordered mimosas as they didn’t want to fill up on a heavier drink before dinner. David had eaten at the restaurant before and knew their entrees were both delicious and substantial. Devin returned to the table with the drinks and said, “Once again, Mr. Chase—it’s an honor to have you as a guest in our restaurant. I sincerely hope you have a wonderful evening.” “The pleasure is mine, Devin. And thank you.” David walked away and Tran looked at David, smiling and gently shaking his head. “How do you do that? You just made that dude feel like a million bucks and he’s just a fan. You barely batted an eyelash.” “Not ‘just’ a fan. That guy put out a pretty good chunk of money to come hear me play. He probably had one of the worst seats in all of Geffen Hall and he still had a wonderful time. As far as I’m concerned—Devin deserves to be treated with the same level of respect a VIP patron gets—probably more since it was probably more difficult for him to come up with his ticket price than some of the well-off people who believe they can buy my respect.” “Wow! That’s amazing, David. So, I have a question—what happened to the bitter, brooding David Chase I’ve known for the last three years?” “I found him.” David grinned from ear-to-ear. “You found who?” “Charlie. I found my Charlie.” “Why do I know that name?” “I told you about him. Charlie is the boy I left behind when I went to Russia to study.” “That’s right! And he’s the reason you’ve never been able to allow yourself to get deeply involved with another man, isn’t he?” “Yes. I used to hate Charlie for that. But dammit Tran—deep down inside—I truly believe it was my heart telling me to wait. Looking back, I think I always knew I would find him again.” “Where did you find him?” “Talk about the fate of the Universe—I was a challenge on the new season of Project Runway and Charlie is one of the designers. It’s an All-Star season with designers that ALMOST made it into the finals.” “Holy shit! A huge part of me is thrilled for you! A small part of me is thinking back to that kiss on the cheek and how disappointed I am. But really, this is amazing. You should sell the rights to Hollywood. It would make a great movie!” “Well, the story is far from complete. I don’t know how things are going to go when Charlie finishes the show. We have a lot of bullshit to resolve. Plus, I live in New York now. He’s still on the cape, living with his teenage son—special needs teenage son. We live in completely different worlds. Who knows how—or if—things will work out to the place where we both have what we want and need.” The server came to the table and introduced himself and asked if they were ready to place an order. Tran apologized that they had been catching up and had not even looked at the menu. David promised they would find something right away if they could just have a couple of minutes. Tran decided on the Pappardelle with the braised leg of lamb while David chose the Creste di Gallo—Brooklyn Italian sausage with a pesto sauce. They decided to share a kale salad to start things off. Once their order was placed, Tran held his glass up to David. “A toast! To the kind of love that we all dream of having—and only a chosen few get to actually have.” They took a sip of their mimosas and David replied, “Nothing’s set in stone yet. There are a lot of things that have to be dealt with—mainly five years apart with no contact.” “Wow. No contact at all?” “None. I just discovered that several people had tried to email me right after I arrived in St. Petersberg, but the conservatory Gestapo had intercepted my emails and blocked them all—except for my mother’s—she was able to get through.” “And they did this because…” “I’m almost positive it was my being gay. I know that one of my best friends—who is also gay—sent me a rather explicit email right off the bat, so they knew about me. And that isn’t such a good thing to have known about you in modern Russia, if you know what I mean.” “Speaking of sexuality—are you out yet? …or at all?” “Well, all of Barnstable knew I was gay before I left. A few people here know—my manager, the people at Project Runway, some friends out on the island…” “Is this Charlie guy out?” “Completely out. I think he always has been, too.” “And if you two end up together again?” “There is absolutely no way I can hide my feelings for Charlie Danner. I had to do that while filming a reception line for the show and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I so wanted to grab him and kiss and pronounce my never-ending love for him in front of everyone in the room!” “Well, that would have been great for ratings, right?” “Right!? And Charlie would have murdered me on the spot!” “Did he win the challenge?” “Can’t say. I signed a non-disclosure. I probably shouldn’t have told you he was even on the show, but I’m sure you won’t say anything to anyone, right?” “Right!” David and Tran spent another two hours enjoying their dinner as well as each other’s company. When they finally settled their bill and left the dining room, Devin fanboyed a little bit more, bring a smile to David’s face. In the lobby, Tran asked David if he wanted to come up to his suite. David looked at Tran and smiled, “Tran, I would love to spend some intimate time with you—but it could be nothing more than a massage. I’m afraid the temptation would be far too great. And with things the way they are now—it’s probably best that I head on home now.” David hugged Tran and thanked him for having dinner with him. David knew deep-down that he wouldn’t see Tran again. It saddened him that Tran had hoped for so much more—none of which David was willing or able to give. On the drive home, David hit the Bluetooth and told Siri to call Ben. “David! Twice in one day? What’s wrong?” “Nothing Ben. Everything’s just fine—better than fine! Hey, the reason I’m calling is that I’ve been thinking and…” “Uh oh—it always used to scare me when you started thinking. Now—I don’t know so much!” “Now don’t go getting a big head—but I’ve decided to take you up on one of your suggestions.” “Head’s swelling—I can feel it!” “Not THAT head, you dufus!” “Whatever—so tell me what nugget of sage advice you have decided to follow.” “I want a place in the city. I want to make it my primary residence and use the Westhampton house for weekends and getaways.” “Hello? I’ll pay any ransom you ask. You have apparently kidnapped my friend and client and have made a piss-poor attempt at imitating him.” “Shut up! Seriously though—I was in the city this morning and was driven out to the island. I was home for two hours, spoke to you, and then a friend from the west coast called and wanted to meet for dinner. I drove back IN to the city and am now on my way home again. This has become the perfect time to think about a nice place in the city.” “So sure—I think it’s a brilliant idea.” “Of course you do—you thought of it!” “Oh that’s right! I do look out for you on occasion. So tell me—what are you looking for?” “I’m thinking three or four bedrooms, a space for a fairly large studio, living room, family room, fully decked-out kitchen. Yeah, definitely four bedrooms.” “Wow. That’s going to run you between two and four million, ya know—depending on what part of the city you choose.” “What? I can’t afford that?” “Of course you can—that and a lot more. But why so much room?” “That’s something I’m not willing to discuss at the moment. But when there IS something to discuss, you’ll be the third person to know.” “Asshole.” “Twit.” “Okay. Okay. I’ll have Sarah start on a real estate hunt Monday morning. Anything else? Sally just motioned for me to go to the bedroom. I can’t turn that down.” “I don’t want to think about that, Ben. You’ve now given me a visual I can’t unsee until I get home and sit down in front of some internet porn. Thanks for that!” David got back home a little after 10:00 and immediately went to his room, stripped, and fell into his king-sized bed. He reached over to his nightstand and retrieved his Charlie-sized dildo. After thirty minutes or so of fantasizing about his boy making love to him, David found himself drifting into a post-orgasmic sleep, dreaming of the man who would soon be in that very bed with him.
  5. THE PRODIGY By Geoff Chassen Chapter 6 – The Challenge of the Challenge As David Chase played the last delicate chords of the Chopin Nocturne, Charlie held on to Eric’s hand as the tears flowed. The applause filled Geffen Hall as the audience rose to their feet. David accepted the accolades with grace and charm. David made sure to look at all parts of the massive auditorium and acknowledge the adoration he was receiving. He knew no one would pay much attention to his looking at the Project Runway box and smiling at the stunning young man with the long curly hair. David’s heart skipped three beats when he saw Charlie standing at the front of the box. David looked to the other side of the hall and blew a kiss. He sent a double-handed kiss to the center of the hall and one more to the left side—right at Charlie Danner. David left the stage and the Project Runway group began to gather their things and follow Karlie out into the hall. Christian stopped Charlie and put his arm around his shoulder. “I know that was really difficult, but you did a far better job than I ever could have. We’re almost done here. We have the meet-and-greet. David has been told of the situation and has promised not to make things uncomfortable for you.” “Thank you, Christian. I know I couldn’t have gotten through that concert without you and Eric.” “You and Eric have seemed to hit it off.” “I think I have a best friend for life with him. I already know he does.” “I just won a hundred bucks!” “What?” “I bet Karlie that the two of you would become besties before the first day was out. She said it was going to happen after the first week. Winner!” Eric just laughed at the whole thing, which caused Charlie to grin and chuckle. “Finally! My two favorite boys have smiled! And if you tell anyone that I just called you my two favorite boys, I will deny it—and then I’ll have to kill you. Well—maybe just bitch-slap the Hell out of your pretty faces!” More laughter as the three brought up the rear and the group gathered in the hall. A Lincoln Center usher met them and asked the group to follow her to the reception room. Karlie told everyone that the cameras were already set up and filming would begin as soon as the door opened. Charlie walked between Eric and Christian and simultaneously, they both leaned in to him and said, “You got this, Charlie!” Charlie and Eric walked into the reception room, leaving Christian in the hall with Karlie. The door was closed, and soon the designers began to speculate about what the first challenge would be. Charlie kept quiet as he observed the others in the room. He felt better than he thought he would after such an emotional evening. Having Eric stick close to his side certainly helped matters as well. Suddenly the door opened, and David was led in by Christian and Karlie, who was the first to speak. “Designers, I would like to introduce the fabulous David Chase.” The room erupted with applause as David stood in front of the designers and smiled. He was dressed in his signature black skinny jeans and tight, black v-neck tee. Christian then spoke, “I’m glad you all enjoyed the performance tonight. As you noticed, PBS filmed the concert for a future episode of Great Performances. What you probably didn’t notice was that the concert was also recorded for Mr. Chase’s next album.” “David’s next album, An Evening with Rachmaninov, will be released at the end of the year. As you know, Mr. Chase is rather unconventional in all aspects of his career, including being the first classical musician to be named Sexiest Man of the Year.” Christian glanced over and looked up and down at David. “Yes, I think People Magazine got SOMETHING right!” The room filled with laughter as David blushed. Charlie continued, “Your first challenge of this All-Star season is to create a look for David Chase that best suits his unconventional personality.” “The winner of the challenge will find their look featured on the new album and will receive immunity for the next challenge.” “We would like for you to line up and David would like to meet each of you personally.” “Fuck!” Charlie mumbled under his breath as Eric guided him to the end of the line. “You got this Charlie! Don’t give anything away. That bitch Chandra will only use it against you.” Charlie smiled at Eric and said, “Yup! You hit that nail on the head!” Karlie spoke as the designers moved into their line. “No one should be surprised that there is a bit of a twist to this challenge. As a fan of the show, David is familiar with most of you and your work. Additionally, we have learned that David knows one or possibly two of you.” Christian continued with, “To guarantee complete fairness, the runway portion of this challenge will be blind. Mr. Chase will have no idea which designer belongs to the different looks on the runway. The winner of this challenge will be chosen before David learns who created the winning design.” When David had received the video clips of all the designers, he worked to make sure he learned each of their names. Not only did he feel it was the right thing to do, but he also needed to make sure that no one would feel that Charlie had an unfair advantage. As he moved through the line, he greeted each designer by name and complimented them on one or two things he remembered from previous seasons or information he was able to glean from the videos. Charlie felt his heart pounding harder and faster as David neared the end of the line. When David reached Eric, he reached out his hand and said, “Eric! I loved you on the show last season! Just so you know, I’ve always felt you were robbed. You should have won that entire season!” Charlie sighed and vowed he wouldn’t—or couldn’t—look into David’s eyes as he took his hand. However, the electricity that passed between them as their skin touched made that impossible. Once their eyes locked, David smiled at Charlie. Charlie could only smile back as David leaned in to him and quietly said, “The Gods themselves couldn’t keep us apart forever.” David pulled back and continued smiling. “I’m thrilled to see you back on the show, Charlie. I can’t wait to see what you come with for the challenge.” Charlie squeezed David’s hands and quietly answered, “Thank you, David” as he allowed his smile to broaden. David and Charlie held their gaze for a brief second before David moved away to stand next to Christian, who announced, “We need to get you all back on the bus and back to your apartments. You have an early morning coming up. We’ll see you in the morning!” The designers were led out of the reception room after David, Christian, and Karlie left. The bus was waiting for them at the same place they were dropped off. Traffic was a little on the heavy side as all the Broadway shows were letting out as they were driving through Times Square. Once everyone was back in their apartments, Charlie excused himself and went straight into the bedroom. He didn’t even take the time to remove his jacket and he flopped down on the mattress. Charlie grabbed his pillow and began to cry into it softly. Eric looked at the other guys who seemed confused at how Charlie was acting. Eric excused himself and told the others he should probably check on his roommate. Eric quietly slipped into the bedroom and gently sat on the bed next to Charlie. He began to rub his back gently and said, “Let it out Charlie. Let it all out. Get rid of all the emotion and pain. I’m not going to let you get cut from this show on the first fucking challenge. You got this. You truly got this!” Charlie turned over and smiled at Eric. “I’m really okay. Happy, actually. Thank you for being there tonight. I’m sorry I was such a hot mess. And—knowing how you are feeling about—well, everything—you were there for me and my shit when it was probably the last thing you wanted to do. You truly are an amazing friend, Eric.” “Honestly? That’s really all I want. Being great friends is the most awesome thing I could ever have dreamed of. Look, Charlie. I’m a romantic at heart. When fucking David Chase played a song in front of the entire world that he’s only ever played for you—well, fuck! That was the most beautiful and romantic thing I’ve ever seen in my life!” Charlie wrapped his arms around Eric and squeezed. “Yeah, that was pretty fucking awesome. I pity the poor man who tries to woo me with flowers.” Eric went into an impression of Charlie that had him holding his sides with laughter. “Right!? Flowers?? You send me two dozen fucking roses grown on the side of a Central American volcano? David-fucking-sexiest-man-alive-Chase played a song just for me in front of two-fucking-thousand people. You’ll have to do better than that!” “Shhhh! Eric! Be quiet! I don’t need the others to know I’m one of the people David knows. But damn! You’re funny as shit!” “Sorry! And speaking of that—I wonder who the second person is?” “I don’t think there’s a second person. I think Christian threw that in to throw people off.” “And you know everyone is trying to figure out who they are!” “Except Chandra, she’s probably telling people it’s her just so that she can feel a little superior in the moment!” “Did you see her face when they announced the first challenge. I think she’s pissed that she’s going to have a male model.” “Ooooooh! Male Models! We need our beauty sleep!” Charlie and Eric got out of their suits and stripped down to their underwear followed by a trip to the bathroom to brush their teeth. When they walked out to the bedroom Charlie, crawled into his bed, reached down and pulled off his Andrew Christians. “Sorry, Eric. I have to sleep in the nude. I can’t sleep well if I have any clothes on.” “That’s cool. I don’t think I’ve ever slept the whole night in the nude. Not even with Mike. When he was finished with me, he insisted that we put our clothes back on. That should have told me something then, right?” “He was an asshat, Eric. You need to stop thinking about him and the b.s. he put you through.” “You’re right. I know that. It’s like every time I think about him I just give him power.” “Right! That fucker doesn’t get to take your power. He didn’t have any of his own—so he had to cheat to get some from you!” “Fuck him! –which he would never let me do!—Asshole!” Eric pulled off his boxer briefs and snuggled into the bed. “This is nice!” “Sleep with the angels, sweet man.” “You too, Charlie. –Oh! I feel so dirty!” “Good for you!” Charlie sighed and decided that he was through with the emotional turmoil and crying. There would be no more crying while he’s on the show. He had no reason. He knew David felt the jolt of energy when they took each other’s hands—he could see it in his eyes. And the Chopin piece—Holy fuck! If that didn’t say David still loved him, nothing on this entire Earth could. David Chase still loved Charlie Danner. Everything was again right with the world. ******** Christian and Karlie walked back to the dressing room with David. As they were walking David commented, “Jesus, that was hard!” Karlie replied, “You did great. I seriously doubt anyone suspects a thing.” “Right! I’m glad I had the chance to talk to Charlie after the concert. We were able to get him in a good place.” “I wanted to grab him and kiss away all the hurt and pain I caused him.” “You’ll get your chance—in about eight weeks if all goes well.” “Christian, thanks for being there for Charlie. I know this had to be hard as Hell for him to deal with tonight. And he can be sooooooo emotional!” “After we got off the bus and started walking toward the concert hall, he saw your picture hanging in the lobby and had a bit of a panic attack. He wanted to leave the show right there on the spot.” Karlie thanked Christian for talking Charlie down from that ledge. “Hey, it’s my job. I’m their mentor. I’m prepared to deal with all the panicky moments as well as be there to pat them on the back for their achievements. I really like Charlie Danner. I think he has a great chance of winning the whole thing.” Karlie chuckled and added, “Oh yeah, and the producers would have had your cute little gay ass if you let Charlie slip through your fingers!” “Karlie, Christian. Thank you for everything you did to make him comfortable. I hate that I won’t get to interact with him during the challenge, but I get it. I just hope I’m smart and pick the right design.” “I’m sure Christian will agree with me on this—you pick the design you want to be in for your album. That’s the right design—no question.” “Karlie’s right. And on that note, we need to let you go. I have an early morning with the designers and I’m sure you need to get your rest for tomorrow’s concert. We’ll see you soon—on the runway!”. Charlie and Eric woke at 5:30 the next morning. Charlie went to the kitchen to get some coffee while Eric hopped into the shower. By the time Charlie finished his first cup, Eric stuck his head out the door to let Charlie know the shower was his. The boys were enjoying a bowl of Raisin Bran while the others in the apartment began milling about, making coffee, and getting ready for the first day of their first challenge. Washington asked if they should check and make sure the girls were up and Frank, his roommate, said not to bother. The girls weren’t their problem and if it were a perfect world, they would all oversleep and miss the bus for their first day. Everyone, including the girls, made their way into the Atlas lobby by 7:25 and were ready on the bus and on their way right on time at 7:30. Upon their arrival at the studios, the designers were told to wait in the lobby. Someone would be down to take them up to the workroom. Promptly at 8:00, Christian Siriano stood in front of the designers and spoke, “Good morning, designers! In just a minute or two, I’m going to take you upstairs to the workroom. After a brief tour, you will be given thirty minutes to get started on your sketches. We’ll then head over to Mood where you will pick out your fabric, keeping in mind you will have a $250.00 budget for this Challenge. “You’ll want to get as much work done as possible—as soon as possible. Your models will arrive this afternoon for their first fittings. You will be able to work until 11:00 this evening. Now—listen closely. 11:00 this evening sounds like you’re going to have a lot of time. Trust me, it’ll be 11:00 about five hours sooner than you would like. Let’s get to work!” Christian took everyone upstairs and opened the doors to the work area. After a brief tour, he instructed the designers to select their station and place their supplies on the table. Eric and Charlie went to the far end of the room and grabbed stations that shared a common area. The designers met in the center of the room where Christian told them their thirty minutes for sketching began “now!” and the designers returned to their spaces and began drawing. Charlie’s concept for David started with a deep burgundy velvet coat with wide lapels. He designed the collar to stand up as it wrapped around his neck. He was hoping that he would find the right color with a random black pattern. He would then build pants in the same burgundy but solid and no pattern. Buttons would be ornate and gold. Charlie had no plans for a shirt, but he was hoping for a cool chain and pendant from the accessory wall. Eric’s concept was something fun and playful. His design was based on the Oshkosh overalls. His plan was to find a luxurious fabric in red, blue, yellow, and white—the primary colors. Each section of the overalls would be in a different color. Buttons would be black and the cut on the side would be deep and low—showing all he could show without being too offensive since he also had no plans for a shirt. Eric and Charlie were putting the finishing touches on their sketches when Christian entered the workspace and announced it was time to head to Mood, the fabric store located in the garment district that was the usual haunt for the Project Runway designers. Since everyone had been on the show before and was familiar with the store, everyone was able to head right to the area that held the fabric they needed. Charlie was thrilled to find exactly what he had imagined when he was planning but as he was looking through different velvets, his eye caught a luxurious burgundy brocade that was perfect for the jacket design. He found a matching plain fabric for the pants and went over to the silks for the jacket lining. Before he reached the bolts of fabric, his eyes fell on the perfect color. I was almost the exact shade of gold as David’s hair. Perfection. Two aisles over Eric was ecstatic. He found a cotton blend that had the feel of denim but the softness of velvet. He found the colors he wanted and headed to the cutting table, meeting Charlie on his way. Eric was blown away by the fabric Charlie picked and felt like he had no chance in Hell of winning, but he was going to give it his all and do everything he could to get into the top 3. Fabrics were purchased and the designers were taken back to the studio to begin work. When they arrived, they were greeted by a dozen mannequins, numbered one through twelve. Christian held a large bag and asked each designer to pick a number as they entered the “workspace. When a number was drawn, they were instructed to take the corresponding mannequin to their workspace and meet their models for the challenge. Charlie pulled the card off the #7 mannequin and flipped it over. “Holy shit, Eric! Simon has an almost identical build as David. Even the long hair! How lucky!” “Niiiice! My model is Angel. He’s got the body for my design, too. This is going to be a blast!” Charlie giggled and whispered for Eric to look across the room at Chandra. She was reading her card with a look of disgust on her face and rolled her eyes. Charlie continued whispering as they watched Chandra. “Ten bucks says she got the hottest model out of the whole lot!” With the giggles settling down, the boys went to work. Both of their designs required a lot of detail and attention. Both were feeling quite confident. ******** David was sitting in his dressing room about thirty minutes before the start of his second concert when there was a knock on the door. He recognized the knock and called out, “Come in, Ben!” “David! I heard wonderful things about the concert last night. The people at PBS are ecstatic!” Ben paused and cocked his head to the side as he looked at David’s reflection in the mirror. “What’s going on, David? Are you alright?” “What do you mean, Ben?” “You look—I don’t know—different.” “Different?” “Jesus, David—you look—happy! David Chase doesn’t do happy—not before a performance, anyway.” “I AM happy, Ben. Happier than I’ve been since before I went to Russia.” “Care to share?” “Maybe after the concert. I don’t want to ruin the energy I’m feeling.” “Okay—I’ll zip back before the reception. Maybe accompany you there.” “Sounds good. So—the PBS people are pleased? They don’t need to reshoot anything?” “Nope. They got everything they wanted—and then some. It seems when you got to the schmaltzy part of the second piece, the cameramen noticed a lot of sniffling and started shooting audience members wiping tears. One of the cameramen found the box with the Project Runway people and found them all to be in tears—especially one guy in the front row who was even sobbing. Television gold, I tell ya.” David knew exactly who Ben was talking about and it made his mood even happier. The idea that his music still moved Charlie made his heart soar. “I met with them after the concert last night. They filmed our meet-and-greet as well as the announcement of their challenge. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I remember most of the designers and I think it’s going to be awesome when the runway show comes around.” “Hey you! What have you done with David? I don’t know what kind of scheme this is—probably something those Russians came up with—but you need to return David immediately! He’s the only one who can play two fucking Rachmaninov concertos in the same concert!” “Whatever, asshole! It’s just that I’ve finally come to realize that my career totally IS unconventional. I’m like the first classical pianist that’s a big-time celebrity to people who may or may not be into classical music. I think I’m about ready to accept that—and start enjoying it.” Ben was both dumbfounded and pleased to finally hear this from his most prized client. He walked to David and kissed him on the cheek. “We can’t wait to see you perform tonight. I think we’re in for a real treat! I need to get out to my seat. The wife doesn’t like sitting by herself for too long, ya know.” “Give Sally a kiss for me and tell her I love her—more than I love you, of course!” On his way out, Ben turned to look at David, smiled at him and shook his head. “Wow!” As David walked onstage, he felt different—lighter, more confident, and he surprised himself that he was having fun. As he was playing through the Third Concerto, he found that the more difficult sections came to him with an ease he’d never experienced while playing even the simplest of pieces. When he finished the concerto, David quite literally bounced off the bench for his bow. Instead of acknowledging the conductor with a motion of his arm, he walked over to him and shook his hand. Without warning, he gently pulled a stunned van Zweden off the podium and had him take a bow with him. He then walked over to the concertmaster, shook his hand and pulled him up from his seat. He motioned to him to even more thunderous applause. The audience was eating it up—concert pianists NEVER shared the applause so generously. David had always performed with confidence and an elegant poise that most reviewers and arts commentators have acknowledged since his career took off. For the first time, David was poised, confident, and having fun. When he finished the variations, the applause was greater than he had ever heard. It seemed the audience was enjoying watching him play as much as he was enjoying the experience himself. After seven bows, an exhausted—but happy—David made his way to his dressing room. He immediately began to change into his casual clothes and heard Ben’s knock on the door just as he was pulling the tee-shirt over his head. “Come in, Ben!” “Holy fuck, David! I’ve never heard you play like you played tonight! That was—shit, David—that was fucking incredible!” “It felt so good, Ben. I’ve never enjoyed playing a concert more than I have tonight. Nothing’s even come close—ever!” “Come here, David. Sit down.” Ben motioned to the sofa and had David sit with him. “What’s going on, here? I mean, I’m thrilled to see you like this, but part of me is scared shitless. Just tell me what brought all this on.” “I found him, Ben. After all this time I found him!” “That’s not very helpful. You found who?” “Charlie. I found my Charlie!” “Wait. Charlie? As in Charlie, the-love-of-my-life-who-I-left-behind-for-Russia-and-is-married-Charlie?” “Yes! He’s one of the designers on the show!” “Shit, David. That could be bad. Do the producers know your connection to him?” “Yes, it seems that Charlie panicked as the group was walking through the plaza. He saw that fucking picture that covered the entire glass wall. Thanks for that, by the way!” “Was that a good thanks or a sarcastic thank? I don’t know with you anymore.” “Doesn’t matter. Anyway—Charlie let them know he knew me and thought he should leave the show. They didn’t want that so they’ve set the challenge up so I don't know who designed what until after I pick the winning look.” “Okay, that’s good. And this Charlie has caused this gigantic shift in you?” “Yes! Of course! Ben! He still loves me! It’s like we’ve never been apart!” “He told you this?” “No! That would have been foolish! I felt it when our hands touched. I saw it in his eyes. When he smiled back at me—well, that’s all I need. Charlie Danner still loves me. And you of all people know that I’ve never stopped loving him.” “Well, that’s a lovely story and I’m touched. But he’s tied up with the show for what? Three months?” “Eight weeks. And I will damned well make sure Charlie knows where to find me—or at least let me know where to find him when he’s finished.” “Can you handle eight weeks?” “It’s been eight years. Eight more weeks is nothing.” “Well, let’s get to the reception. Sally is there and is probably going to kill me for taking so long!” “She’ll be fine. She loves me. I’ll gush over her outfit and hair, and all will be well. Let’s go!” “What? No bitching?” “Nope! Let’s go meet some fans!” “Shit! Who the fuck are you?” For the first time, David enjoyed himself at the meet-and-greet. He engaged in conversation with the many fans who paid a large sum of money for the chance to meet the classical music phenom. At the end of the night, David was driven to his hotel where he hopped into the shower and got ready for a good night’s sleep. Before making his way into the suite’s bedroom, he found the room service cart with the late-night meal he had ordered before he left for Lincoln Center earlier in the evening. He took his sandwich and drink out to the balcony and sat, looking over the lights of New York City. “Charlie Danner. I know you’re out there. I love you, baby. I’m going to find you when you’re done with the show.” Suddenly the proverbial light bulb went off in his head. Charlie’s mother! He needed to call Beverly first thing in the morning! She’ll know what he should do! With the smile on his face that had been there most of the day, David stripped himself of the underwear he had on and slipped into the luxurious sheets. As his eyes shut and he began drifting off to sleep, David marveled at how nice it was to finally find that elusive happiness he’d been missing for so long. David woke the next morning a little after 9:00 to the sound of room service bringing his breakfast to the room. He called out a sleepy “thank you” and crawled out of bed as soon as he heard the door close. He smiled when, for the first time in at least two years, he found his morning wood standing proud. Well, it was the first time when he didn’t have a cute boy in bed with him. At 10:00 he looked up Beverly Danner in his address book and found her cell number. He pressed the call button, hoping she hadn’t changed the number in the last eight years. After two rings, he heard, “This is Beverly.” “Beverly! This is David—David Chase.” “David? Oh my! Is everything okay? Is something wrong with—” David reassured Beverly that everything was fine and then got to the point of his call. “The reason I’m calling—this is a bit difficult, and you can tell me to mind my own business if you want—but I saw Charlie at my concert the other night and I noticed he didn’t have a band on his finger. Is, uhm—is he still married?” “That’s one thing I always liked about you, David. Even when you were in high school, you never beat around the bush. But to answer your question, Charlie and Jacob divorced several months ago.” “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure that was hard for Charlie.” “It was, but he’s fine now. And are you REALLY sorry to hear that?” “And that’s one of the things I like about you. You don’t beat around the bush either. And yes, I’m sorry Charlie was hurt by whatever caused the divorce. And no, I’m NOT sorry he’s no longer married.” “You said you saw him the other night? At your concert?” “Yes. You won’t believe this, but their first challenge is to design something for me to wear on my next album cover. The only reason I agreed to do it is that I became addicted to the show after watching the season with Charlie. But I had no idea…” “How was he when you saw each other? Did you get to talk?” “Nothing more than a few words at a meet-and-greet. I had to make sure the other people in the room didn’t see that we have a special thing between us.” “Do you think it’s still special, David?” “Yeah, I truly do. I saw it in his eyes. I know he saw the same thing in mine just from the way he smiled. But that’s all I have right now. My contact with the designers is really limited until after the winner is declared.” “I probably shouldn’t say anything—but Charlie has never stopped loving you, David—even while he was married to Jacob. It just seemed there was always this hole in his heart where you belonged.” “I know. I could tell. But, I need to know—is Charlie’s son okay? How did he handle the divorce?” “It was hard on him at first. He took it all very personally—as most children do. But Noah is on the Autism spectrum and that just made it all the more difficult. He’s doing so much better now. Charlie and Jacob have joint custody.” “Noah. His name is Noah?” “Oh yes. He’s such an adorable boy. He’s seventeen now and surprises us every day. Oh David, it’s so wonderful to hear from you! I have so many questions!” “Well, I have an idea. Mother’s day is coming up next week. Do you have plans?” “With Charlie away, my plans are a quiet day with my grandson.” “I would love to see you—maybe even meet Noah if you think he would like that.” “Since Noah is the one who insisted Charlie do the show so he could find that boyfriend and bring him home—I don’t think that would be a problem at all!” “What really? Boyfriend? Find me?” “Yes David, even Noah realizes what you mean to his daddy—and Noah wants nothing more than to see his daddy happy again.” “Oh my God—that’s amazing. Look, I have a beautiful big house on Long Island. It sits right on the beach. My mom is coming up for the weekend. Why don’t you and Noah join us. I know Mom would love to see you again.” “Well, that’s a lovely thought! Of course, I have to ask Noah and see if Jacob is okay with losing a weekend with his son. Once I get all that situated, I’ll call you. Apparently, I still have your number in my phone since your name came up when you called. Is this a good number to reach you?” “Yes, it’s perfect. It’s just about the only private thing I have left in my life!” “I look forward to talking to you again, David. It was lovely to hear from you!” “You have no idea how happy you’ve made me, Beverly. Oh! One more thing—would you tell Noah that I can’t wait to meet him?” “Of course, I think that might just make his day!” “And you’ve just made mine!” After saying their goodbyes, David clicked his phone off and then dialed his stylist. “Hi David! What’s up?” “Tania, I need some help—and if you can get this done by my performance tonight, you will get a bonus like you’ve never seen before.” “What’s going on?” “Are you ready for the NEW David Chase?” “Uh oh. You know those are either the best or the worst words a stylist could ever hear! Tell you what. I’m only booked for an hour later this afternoon, but it’s nothing that can’t be put off. Where are you? I’ll be there as soon as I can get out the door. Where are you, by the way?” “I’m at the Park Hyatt near Lincoln Center.” “Great! I can be there in less than thirty minutes. I live fairly close.” “Wonderful. I’m going to leave your name at the front desk. They’ll let you up. I’ll see you soon, Tania.” ******* “David, are you sure you want to do this—at fucking Lincoln Center?” “Yes. Tania, I’m tired of being a miserable version of something I’m not just to make other people happy.” “And that’s why I love working with you, David! You DO look stunning!” When David walked out onstage he was smiling from ear-to-ear as he heard the gasps, the “ooh’s,” and “ah’s” when eyes feel on the deep blue velvet morning coat with the black lapels—over the signature skin-tight black v-neck tee-shirt. At least he was still wearing the tux pants and shiny black shoes. David smiled and winked at van Zweden before he sat at the piano. On the other hand, van Zweden didn’t know what to make of David Chase—that is, until he began to play and he realized the young man could be in his underwear and it really didn’t matter. David Chase was the finest pianist he had ever had the joy of working with. During intermission, Tania went backstage to make sure David was okay. When she got to the dressing room, David had already removed the blue jacket and had put on the deep purple version of the same coat. “David, I like that one even better. The way it sets off your hair…” “Tell me Tania, are people freaked out over the look? Not that it matters all that much, I’m not changing back.” “It’s funny, actually. After the initial reaction, I figured that blue coat would have been the talk of intermission. Bob and I didn’t hear a single word about the coat. People were only talking about—and raving about your playing.” “It’s working, Tania. This is how I’m going to dress from now on. I’ve never been so comfortable onstage!” Tania kissed David on the cheek and promised to see him at the reception. The second half of the program couldn’t have gone better. David’s happiness, combined with his new-found comfort, freed him to play with an effortless clarity as he had ever experienced. For the second night in a row, David Chase had a wonderful time at a meet-and-greet. At one point he walked up to van Zweden and shook his hand. “Maestro, it was an absolute pleasure working with you and your magnificent orchestra. I will make sure you get an invitation to the studio to hear the pieces before they are committed for release.” “Sank you, Mr. Chase.” There was a pause in the conversation as van Zweden looked David up and down. “Ze purple—much better zan ze blue. You should keep ze purple.” The conductor looked at David, smiled and winked before turning to talk to other supporters of the symphony. The next morning, David was once again woken by the sounds of room service in the outer room. He heard the door close and he walked out to enjoy his breakfast. As the coffee slowly began to wake him up, he started to feel the excitement in his stomach. Today is the day! He checked his messages and found what he needed. The show would pick him up at his hotel at 1:00 and take him to the studio for the runway show. David just hoped that he would at least get to see Charlie again! David also found a voice message from Beverly saying everything was perfect for Mother’s Day at the beach. She said even Noah was excited and the only time she’s ever seen that was when he got his Toy Story bedroom for his birthday. David showered and shaved to get ready for the show and put on his black outfit. He decided he wasn’t going to change that particular look because it was his favorite look of all. He called Beverly after he was ready to go and made arrangement for her flight. She had already taken care of it through her work and included David’s mother so they could travel together. Once all the plans were made and shared, David went to the hotel lobby to meet the car that would take him to the studio. When David was taken to the runway, he was greeted by enthusiastic applause from the designers and judges. He was led to an empty stool which happened to be between Karlie and Nina Garcia. Nina leaned over to him and whispered that she and her husband saw the concert the night before and she loved how he stepped out of the dress code box. She asked if she could mention his look in the next issue of Elle. David smiled and agreed. The designers were escorted out of the studio and the runway show began. David knew there would be some wonderful designs—some exotic, some playful, and some that were just out of this galaxy. He was surprised at how easy it was to pick four favorites. With the help of the judges, they were able to agree on the top three. David was stuck between two of the designs. He asked Karlie what happened to the clothes that were not selected as winners. She told him that they were auctioned off for a charity that was decided on by the winner and the producers. David made his choice and then offered $5000 for the second place design that he really wanted. The producers agreed to let David pay for the second one. He only hoped that one of the two belonged to Charlie. When it came to the bottom three, the judges asked if there were any designs he didn’t like. There was only one. It looked like an oversized tee-shirt with sleeves that could have swallowed his head. He told the judges that no matter what his thoughts were, he didn’t want to be the one responsible for sending anyone home. Nina smiled at him and reassured him that the four judges completely agreed with his take on the ill-fitted tee-shirt. The six designs that made up the top and bottom three were brought out to the runway. Their designers followed the models. David was thrilled to see that Charlie and Eric were both standing behind their looks. The results ended with Eric winning the challenge and Charlie coming in second place. The loser? Chandra. David couldn’t help but feel most everyone was happy to see her go. David was allowed to go backstage to see Eric one-on-one when all the other designers had left the studio area. “Thank you, Mr. Chase! I can’t believe you picked my design!” “David. Please call me David. Of course, I wanted your design. It was so much fun and—I don’t know—it just brought me so much joy!” “I know you were hoping that the winner would have been Charlie. But, just in case I won, Charlie gave me this to give to you.” Eric handed David an envelope with what appeared to be a note. David held it to his heart as tears began to well up in his eyes. “See? This is how everything works in our life together.” David pulled an envelope out of his pocket and handed it to Eric. “Please give this to Charlie. I was going to give it to Christian to pass along, but I think it would mean more to Charlie if it got to him through you.” “I think you might be right.” “Oh! And can you tell Charlie that I’ve already purchased his design so I can begin wearing it when I perform—maybe with a shirt for now!” “Oh my God! That’s amazing! He’s going to freak out!” The producers came into the room and told Eric that it was time to head up to the workroom. David gave a hug to Eric and whispered into his ear, “Take good care of my boy, Eric. I’ll be waiting for him.”
  6. Or will Charlie introduce Eric to Jacob after the show ends?  ;–) Ooooooooh, I hadn't even thought of that! Damn you DQ!! Am I going to have to come up with AnOTHER freakin' book?????
  7. My bad! I typed too fast! No Charlie Haters that I know of... but there are some David haters (and that hurts me, too!).
  8. THE PRODIGY By Geoff Chassen Chapter 5 – New York, Rachmaninov, and Fate After a long a tearful goodbye—most of the tears were from Charlie—the Project Runway All-Star from Barnstable boarded the Amtrack Acela Express and was soon on his way from Boston to New York’s Grand Central Station. Charlie was amazed at Noah’s farewell. As Beverly drove to the station, Charlie was both excited and nervous as Hell. Noah, on the other hand, was happy as a clam and laughing his way through Toy Story as it played on the SUV’s video player in the back seat. When they arrived at the station, Charlie’s tears started when he held his arms out to Noah. Without hesitation, Noah walked up and wrapped his arms around his Daddy. “Noah, you be a good boy for your Nana. And never forget that I love you and will think about you every day while I’m gone.” “I love you, Daddy. You be a good Daddy. Don’t forget to find your boyfriend so he can be a daddy for me, too.” “I’ll miss you so much, Noah.” “Okay.” Charlie knew that when his boy answered with an “okay,” there was nothing more to discuss. Noah had processed everything he wanted to process. He was done. “Mama, please give Noah the letters I wrote for him. I wrote enough to last the eight weeks of shooting with a letter on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Saturdays are important since I won’t be there to help him get ready to see Jacob.” “I know, dear boy. And I promise to read the letters before I put them back in the envelope and seal them because Noah likes to open letters. Charlie—we’ve been through everything. We’re going to be just fine. Don’t you worry about a thing. You go. Win every challenge. Then get your ass into David’s arms. You get to be happy again, okay?” Charlie began sobbing, “I love you, Mama. Thank you for everything.” “I love you and am so proud of you, Charlie. Knock ‘em dead!” Charlie hugged his mother and rested his head on her shoulder. “I can’t believe I’m doing this!” “And I just know you’re going to do it so incredibly well. I’m so proud of you and know that when the episodes start showing, we’re all going be there cheering you on.” “Thanks, Mama. I love you.” The Danners said their goodbyes outside the station, knowing the crowds and noise inside would probably be too much for Noah to handle. Charlie heard the announcement for boarding to begin on the Acela Express to New York. He was grateful that he could fit everything into one rolling suitcase and a garment bag for his suit, which the producers told him he needed. He had his phone and iPad in his backpack, and he made his way into the station and to the tracks. Charlie was happy the producers chose the train for his trip to New York. He preferred the train over any plane. He loved the wide, comfortable seats and the free wi-fi. He appreciated that he could walk to the dining car and get a snack or coffee when he wanted—rather than when a flight attendant decided to push a cart down the aisle. Knowing that he soon wasn’t going to have the ability to see any social media or anything online, Charlie spent most of the trip watching YouTube videos of interviews and concert clips of Charlie Puth and Sean Mendes, his two favorite pop musicians. Their music got him through a lot of stress while he was hard at work on a design or just needed time away from the hectic adventures life brought him. Their music also helped him get through the heartbreak of Jacob and the divorce. The fact that they were both hot as fuck didn’t hurt either! About an hour into the trip, Charlie got up from his seat with his backpack and walked back to the dining car. He found a table and ordered a coffee and an everything bagel with cream cheese. While waiting for his order, a young man walked up to him. “Charlie? Charlie Danner, right?” Charlie looked up and smiled when he recognized a favorite designer from the previous season. “Eric! Eric Daniels. Have a seat!” Eric smiled and sat across from Charlie, who asked if he had ordered anything yet. “No, I just came into the car and saw your hair—I was hoping it was you—and it was!” “You’re doing the show?” “Yeah. The new producers called me just a couple of weeks ago. Didn’t have shit for time to get ready. But I had no problem with wanting to come back. I can’t wait to work with an entirely new crew.” “Exactly. I hear Christian Siriano has replaced Tim Gunn. That alone made me excited to come back. I love that guy!” “Right! So where do you live?” “I’m in Barnstable—on the cape. You?” “How crazy is this? After the show, I relocated to Boston. I’m from Indianapolis and figured Boston was close enough to New York if I needed to go there, but I’m not a big fan of the big city.” “So we’re neighbors?” “Yeah. If we don’t kill each other over the next six weeks, we’ll most definitely have to stay in touch!” “I don’t think that will happen. I’ve seen you on the show. You were the sweetest and kindest person I think they ever had—and your work was stunning.” “Well, I can’t agree with the sweetest and kindest they ever had—not with Charlie Danner sitting in front of me! I’d happily take second place to you on that front.” Charlie blushed and smiled. “Awww! There’s the blush! I used to love it when Tim would make you blush with his compliments. And now I can see it was genuine.” “Eric, you’re too sweet. But hey, if they make us have roommates when we get to the apartment, do you think you might be interested in sharing with me? I mean, I already know I can probably relate to you better than most of the people I’ve seen on the show…” “Of course! That would be amazing—unless Christian Siriano wants a roomie, which I highly doubt!” The boys enjoyed coffee and bagels until things went dark as the train entered the underground tunnel that would take them to Grand Central Station. They decided to get back to their seats since their luggage was loaded into the cars they were sitting in. “I’m sure I’ll see you in just a few minutes, Eric. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait around for too many others and get settled into the apartments sooner than later.” “Unless our first challenge is not to meet our fellow designers—and if that’s the case—oh well!” The boys hugged and headed in opposite directions. Ten minutes after disembarking, both Charlie and Eric found a production assistant holding a card with their names. “Hi guys! Welcome to New York! I’m Deb.” “Hi, I’m Charlie.” “And I’m Eric.” “Great. I’m going to take you to a holding room where you’ll find a third designer—Chandra. We have one more arriving here at Grand Central, and his train will arrive in less than ten minutes. I’ve called the production offices for a van to pick us up in thirty minutes—and then we’ll be off to the apartments.” Eric and Charlie saw their luggage loaded onto a cart, and they were soon led to a room where they found Chandra, a thin and rather avant-garde type with bright blue hair. She was reading a book and barely looked up when the boys cheerfully greeted her. When Eric tried to engage her in conversation, she set her book on her lap and said, “Look—I’m not here to make any friends. I’m here to win enough challenges to get me into the finals, and then I’ll be done with the lot of you. Right now, I’d like to enjoy my book.” Charlie looked at Eric and smiled as they sat on one of the vinyl sofas. Eric leaned into Charlie and whispered, “I guess she’s the biatch they brought in for drama.” Charlie giggled and whispered back, “It takes all kinds to make an interesting reality show.” Fifteen minutes later Deb walked into the holding room with a gigantic black man with long dreds. “Washington, this is Charlie, Eric, and Deb. Let’s head up to the street. The van will be waiting for us, and we’ll be on our way to Atlas, which you already know is where you will live while filming. As soon as you get moved in, you’ll need to pick a bedroom with one roommate. At 5:00 we’ll meet in the lobby and board a bus for dinner, where we’ll go over the rules and what we expect of you. Since we are back on Bravo, some of you will find things to be a bit different than when we were on Lifetime.” The group walked out of Grand Central Station and onto 42nd Street where they found a large black van waiting for them. Luggage was loaded into the back and everyone filed in through the side door. Deb got in and sat in the front passenger seat and turned around to speak to the four designers. “No cell phones, laptops, or pad as we drive to your apartments at the Atlas. Once we arrive at the apartments, you will be required to turn them in to me, and they will be kept in a safe in the main production office.” She turned to the driver and told him to head to the Atlas. As they were driving through the city, Washington couldn’t get enough of the sights. “Damn! I miss this city, even though we didn’t get to see much of it the last time I was here.” Eric looked at Charlie and sighed, “Fuck me. I can already feel the hustle-bustle building in my chest. I guess some would call it anxiety.” Charlie leaned in and whispered, “Don’t worry, Eric. I got your back here. No reason for stressing out before we even get started!” “Fuck! I wish I was half as chill as you.” “You are—WAY more than half. You just keep the chill part hidden—well, until the cameras are on!” Eric rested his head on Charlie’s shoulder and sighed, “I’m so glad you’re here, Charlie. This is going to be fucking awesome!” Charlie was surprised that Eric felt comfortable enough with him to rest his head on his shoulder—even more surprised at how it made him feel. It had been over a year since there’s been any sort of close contact with another man, and although they had just met, It took immense strength for Charlie to rest his own head on Eric’s. As the van turned into the parking garage at the Atlas, Eric’s hand accidentally fell onto Charlie’s thigh. Charlie’s eyes widened in surprise—he was enjoying the contact from Eric and little too much, and his cock was half-erect and inching down his leg. Unsurprisingly, Eric’s eyes also widened as found out the nearly-hard way that his new friend was hung like nothing he’d ever see—or felt—before. “Sorry.” “No, I’m sorry.” “I was just lost in thought.” “I guess you were. Jesus, Charlie—what the fuck are…” “Alright, we’re here. Everyone follow me up to the 5th floor where we’ll get you into your apartments. There is an apartment for the men, one for the women, They each have three bedrooms, and you will be required to double up. How you decide roommates is purely up to you.” The luggage was put on a cart and was taken to the freight elevator while Deb and the four designers went into the regular passenger elevator. When they reached #517, Deb instructed all four to follow her. Chandra rolled her eyes and followed the group into the tidy space. “Okay—this is the men’s apartment. You’re the first here, so that means you get your choice of bedrooms. As you can see, these are set up like college dorms in that there are three bedrooms—each with an ensuite, and a common space with a kitchen and breakfast bar. Speaking of the breakfast bar, if you would place your electronics on the bar for me?” Charlie pulled off his backpack and retrieved his cell phone and iPad. Placing them on the counter the feeling of being cut off from the world—and his family—sunk in. He sighed and resigned himself to the feelings of isolation. It was the only thing he was not looking forward to. Each phone, laptop, and pad was placed in a bubble pouch, sealed, and names were written on them with a Sharpie. The luggage cart was sitting in the hallway and Washington grabbed one of the smaller bags to retrieve his laptop. Once the electronics were taken care of, key cards were handed out, and Chandra grunted as she was taken to her apartment across the hall. Washington asked if there were any preferences to bedrooms and Eric spoke up first. “Charlie and I are going to room together, and I would love the bedroom over there to the left.” That particular room was separate from the other two. The other two men shrugged, and Washington said, “Okay by me! I’ll grab the one on the right.” The three men went outside to the hallway and retrieved their luggage. They headed to their bedrooms to begin unpacking. The first thing Charlie unpacked was the framed picture of his mother, with Noah and Timmy standing behind her. The boys were arm-in-arm with broad smiles. Charlie smiled as he looked at the picture before putting it on the nightstand next to his bed. “Is that your family?” “Yeah, it’s my Mama, my son, and his friend.” Eric walked over and looked at the picture. “The boys are so cute! Are they…” “It’s complicated. They grew up being best friends. They are both on the Autism spectrum, and when they are together, it’s almost as if all their walls disappear. When Noah—my son—turned sixteen, we let him move into the apartment over the garage. He and Timmy decided they wanted to live there together and after many long discussions with Timmy’s mom, we both realized that our boys were so much better together than apart.” “Doesn’t she miss him?” “It’s not so bad. Noah spends his weekends with my ex-husband, and while he’s there, Timmy goes home with his mother.” “You’re so young, Charlie. How the Hell can you have a teenage son AND an ex-husband?” “Jacob and I adopted Noah when his mother died unexpectedly. Well, we took him in as foster parents first—the adoption followed as soon as they found no living relatives who could take him in.” “And Jacob is your ex-husband?” “Yeah. Shit kinda hit the fan the last time I was here. He couldn’t handle being a full-time single parent for eight weeks and things deteriorated from there. When I got home, things got worse instead of better. It’s okay though. He and I have finally talked things out, and he’s doing a much better job with Noah.” “Do you think you guys will get back together?” “Oh, no. That’s not going to happen.” Eric smiled broadly at the news. “I’m glad things are going better for you, then. And Noah’s okay with things now?” “Yeah, he was my rock when Jacob left. It was adorable how he would hold me while I cried. The role-reversal thing was kind of surreal at times—but he handled it like a pro. He would call himself ‘the daddy’ whenever he was holding me, and he would just say and do the things I would do for him when he was the one in distress.” “That’s so cool.” “What about you? What’s your family like?” “I’m all solo. I was totally living with my parents before I moved to Boston. Mom, being the typical Jewish mother, sobbed and carried on about her baby leaving the nest and going to the big, bad city. But as far as relationships go, nothing. I’m kind of shy and am terrified of heading to the bars to meet people. I refuse to put Grindr on my phone. I’m not a support group type of person, so I have ended up with a truly remarkable relationship with internet porn and my right hand—left hand if I want to wander outside the relationship and try something naughty.” The guys finished their unpacking in short order, and Charlie reclined on his bed with his arms behind his head. He had to admit that Eric had an awfully fine ass as he was bending over and putting things in the drawers. Eric turned around and blushed when he saw that Charlie had been staring at him. “What? What are you looking at?” “Your ass.” Charlie smiled, “Your cute-as-fuck ass.” Eric smiled, thrilled that Charlie liked something else about him. “Scoot over.” Eric crawled on top of the bed and faced Charlie with his head propped up on his elbow. “Charlie. We need to talk about the elephant in the room.” Charlie smiled at Eric and shifted his body so that he was facing his roommate, mirroring him. “Okay, what elephant would that be?” “Look, I’m not even going to TRY to deny how attracted I am to you—and I’ve caught you looking more than once already.” “Okay—yes, I think you’re cute as fuck, Eric.” “Nice! But here’s the thing. I learned the hard way that there just can’t be any kind of sex with another designer while I’m on the show. It was a disaster for me the last time, and I ended up not making the finals.” “Really? You were with one of the finalists?” “Well, in hindsight, I was a victim of a jealous rival. I had just won two challenges in a row as we were heading into the semi-finals and Mike Moscati…” “Mike Moscati? I remember him! He was the guy who looked like the baseball player—total hottie.” “Well, we were the only two guys left in the apartment by that point, and one night Mike crawled into bed with me. The asshole seduced me. I was gobsmacked and totally into him. He took my virginity—in everything gay. I was quickly falling in love with him and thought he was falling for me as well. The night before the semi-final challenge, he fucked me for the first time. When we were done, he looked down at me and said he was bored and wanted nothing else to do with me—that he was going to go back to girls. He walked out of the room. I was devastated. Cried the entire night and totally fucked myself over in the next challenge—and I lost.” “What an asshole!” “Yeah, I was so glad he came in last place in the finals, but it still burns when I think about it.” “I promise you I’d never do anything like that to you.” “Do what? Fuck me?” Charlie giggled, “No silly boy, take advantage of you or hurt you in any way.” “That’s nice to know, Charlie. It’s also nice to know that someday you MIGHT fuck me. Jesus Charlie, that cock is huge!” “You are a total goofball—and I love it” Charlie reached out and pulled Eric close to him. “But I need to be honest with you. When I’m done here, I promised my son that I would find an old boyfriend of mine. One who I still have it bad for—no names—he’s kind of a major celebrity.” “Oh.” Eric tried not to be disappointed, but he couldn't help himself. “Hey. Don’t feel bad. At the very least, you and I are starting out on a great adventure that will continue long after we return home. I’m so happy to have you in my life, Eric. Let’s both enjoy it while we’re in this competition, and once we get home, we let things be where they end up being—or going.” “Are you going to tell me who this man is? Would I even have a chance with him in the picture?” “It’s not you, Eric—but to be honest, no one would have a chance if I can get Da—him—back in my life.” “You almost said his name, didn’t you?” “I promise to tell you before we leave New York, okay? I just don’t want to think about it until it’s time to leave.” Charlie leaned forward and kissed Eric on the forehead just as there was quite a bit of commotion in the living room. They heard someone announce that everyone was needed right away in the front of the apartment. Charlie and Eric hopped out of bed. Charlie laughed at Eric as he tried to hide his erection. “Yours isn’t anything to laugh at—just sayin’!” Eric was in a panic and Charlie calmly told him just to pull out his tee-shirt, and they went out into the living room. Once there, they found the girls and the other four boys standing in a semi-circle, facing Karlie Kloss, the new model-host. Christian Siriano was standing there beside her. There were also two cameramen and lights set up. The show was officially beginning. Karlie was the first to speak. “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Project Runway All-Stars. My name is Karlie Kloss and I’m the new host for the show. I would like to introduce our wonderful mentor, Christian Siriano!” There was enthusiastic applause. Christian is the most successful winner from the show and has made quite a splash in the fashion industry. He spoke next. “As all of you know, we don’t waste a lot of time getting things started. We will begin shortly with your first challenge. But first, we want you to get all spiffed up in those suits and dresses you were asked to bring.” Karlie smiled and added, “We’re taking you out to a nice dinner…” “Quite possibly the only nice dinner you’ll enjoy while we’re filming…” “While dining, the challenge is to NOT talk about the show. You are only allowed to talk to and about each other. Once dinner is finished, we have another wonderful treat in store for you.” “We’ll tell you more about that after dinner. In the meantime, it’s time to get yourselves ready for a lovely night in New York City!” Everyone returned to their rooms and Charlie pulled his suit out of the garment bag. “It looks good. It didn’t wrinkle on the way down.” “Mine’s fine, too. Thank God! I don’t think we have time to iron clothes AND get ready!” Eric showered first, and I hopped in as he was drying his hair and shaving. As Charlie was adjusting the water, he called back, “Don’t worry, I made sure my cum got washed down the drain!” Charlie stuck his head out and thanked him for being so courteous. Charlie thought he was being funny but was surprised to get an eyeful. Eric had removed the towel from his waist and was drying his hair. Charlie was pleased to see that the young, nerdy Jewish boy was cute as fuck. His ass looked even better OUT of clothes, and his cock was still semi-erect. Charlie found his own cock filling out as Eric casually said, “Keep looking at me like that, and I get to watch you bust your nut.” Charlie smiled and turned off the water, flung open the shower curtain and looked at Eric. “Watch away! That would be kinda hot!” Charlie began stroking his nine inches and playing with his smooth balls as Eric turned around with wide eyes and open mouth. “Holy shit! That’s huge!” Charlie looked at Eric and admired his hard cock. It was about seven inches and thicker than his own. “Yours is pretty damned nice, too! Wanna join me?” “Oh fuck!” Eric stepped into the shower with Charlie, and they faced each other as they stroked their cocks. “Jesus, Charlie! Is this okay?” “I figure as long as we keep our hands to ourselves, we don’t break the no sex rule. But I’m a shooter, and I can’t promise that I’m not going to cover you with my nut!” “Fuuuuuuuuck!” Eric moaned and was surprised to find himself so close after having stroked out a load less than fifteen minutes earlier. He was even more surprised to find himself shooting harder and farther than he had in years, blasting Charlie’s abs with his load. “Niiiiiice!” Charlie scooped up the hot cum on his abs and applied it to his cock for lube. His knees began to buckle as he let out a moan and fired shot after shot all over Eric, covering his body from his chest to his knees. Eric turned the water back on, avoiding his hair and rinsed Charlie’s cum off his body and down the drain. Once finished, he turned around and smiled at his roomie, “Holy shit, Charlie. You better get the fuck along with me while we’re here so we can take this thing on when we get back to Boston!” “Yeah, I think that would be cool. I promise to get along with you. That’s the easy part. After the show? Could get kind of complicated—but I promise not to rule anything out. Deal?” “Deal!” Charlie and Eric made it to the Atlas lobby just in time. Everyone boarded a bus and headed to dinner. The show hired a private dining room at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square. Dinner was lovely, and the buffet had options for every dietary taste one could imagine. As dinner was wrapping up, the judges were introduced to the group by Christian. Christian let the designers know that he would never judge a designer’s work and that he was there to encourage, suggest, and discuss options with each of them. He told everyone that having been exactly where each of them was, he was more excited that was probably legal in New York City. Karlie was the next to stand up and speak. She announced that the evening was far from over and that they would now head to Lincoln Center for a concert. Nothing more was said, and the group boarded the bus for the short trip. The bus stopped in front of the famous fountain that sat in the middle of the Lincoln Center Plaza. As they neared David Geffen Hall, Charlie froze in his tracks and felt the entire world around him spin out of control. “Charlie! What’s wrong?” “I—I—I need to sit!” Eric walked Charlie over to the nearest bench and motioned to Christian to come over. The mentor was quite concerned as he sat next to Charlie. “It’s okay, Charlie. I’m here. What’s going on?” “I—I c-c-can’t. Can’t do this.” “You need to talk to me, Charlie. We can figure this out.” Christian motioned for Karlie and she was soon there. She was given all but two of the tickets and was told to take the rest of the group to their seats. Christian said he would bring Charlie up in a few minutes. “Charlie, calm down now, okay? We’re all alone. Please tell me what’s going on so I can help you.” Charlie took a deep breath and pointed to the large portrait that covered the three-story windows of the concert hall lobby. “We’re going to see him, aren’t we?” “Yes. David Chase is performing two piano concertos with the New York Philharmonic.” “I can’t go! I’m not ready to see him yet!” “Charlie. Between you and me—and you can NOT say a word to anyone. We’re going to see the concert because David is our special guest for the first challenge.” “I need to just pull out and go home. I’m sorry. I can’t do this!” “Charlie, you have to explain to me what this is about. You have my word that I won’t share anything you tell me unless it affects the show. And then I will only share what is absolutely necessary.” Charlie told Christian the five-minute version of his relationship with David Chase. Charlie listened and nodded as he began to understand the designer’s dilemma. When Charlie finished, the tears had stopped. Charlie finished with, “Things ended with so much unresolved. I have no idea what will happen when he sees me. It could be a disaster.” “Okay—where do I start?” “Tell me about it!” “First of all, David has already seen the video clips we have on all the designers that we put together for the first episode. My understanding is that he was quite excited when he finished watching the video. No one said anything more than he was excited. Now—we may know why.” “See? I should leave the show. Conflict of interest and all that shit.” “Well, let’s not be too hasty. I know the producers told you they wouldn’t even try to do an All-Star show if they couldn’t get you. They will do whatever is necessary to make sure you stay with us for as long as possible. But in the meantime, I’ll need you to do me a favor.” “What? I’m probably going to hate you for the first time in my life, you know.” Both men chuckled and Christian continued. “Come in with me. Watch the concert. There will be a meet-and-greet after the show where we will announce the first challenge. I need you to be the best-damned actor you can be. Go along with everything as if there is no history. I’ll ask the same thing of David so we can go ahead with the planned filming.” “Okay. Do you think it will work?” “Well, I have no idea. But while you are watching the concert with the rest of the designers, I will be texting with the powers-that-be, and we’ll figure something out. Can you do that for me? I like you, Charlie. You’re one of the best contestants the show has ever had. I don’t want to lose you!” “Okay. I’ll buck up and do what you ask. Will you let me know what they say?” “One way or the other, you will know how we’re going to deal with this before the night is over.” Charlie took a deep breath and stood, and Christian wrapped him in a hug. “It’s going to be fine—and at the very least, I’ll see to it that one-on-one contact between David and the designers is avoided if at all possible.” “Thank you, Christian. Let’s go see a concert, okay?” As they walked into the lobby, Christian told Charlie that they would all be in a box so it would be easier for the crew to film them watching the concert. He also mentioned that the concert was being filmed for PBS so it was highly likely that they would be seen by their cameras as well. “Jesus, it never ends does it?” Charlie and Christian walked into the box and moved to their seats. Charlie wasn’t thrilled that he and Christian were seated in the front row, but he was at least happy that Eric would be sitting on the other side of him. Once Charlie was seated, Eric leaned over and asked if everything was alright. “Yeah, it’s going to be. I’m fucking glad you’re here next to me, though.” ******** David Chase was in the music room of his oceanfront home preparing himself for his Lincoln Center concert that was just three weeks away. About two hours into his work on the Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto, David was rather pleased to see the call from his management office. He could use the break. “Hi Ben, what’s up?” “David! First off—great job on Ellen! You killed ‘em with that Chopsticks thing. Hilarious, I tell ya. Fucking hilarious!” “Thanks—but what’s up?” “We’re all set with the PBS filming and the label is going to record all three of your performances so we can pick the best of each concerto for the album.” “Great! Nice work, Ben!” “That’s not all, David.” “It never is, is it Ben?” “Do you know the show Project Runway?” “Yes—and I probably shouldn’t say, but it’s one of my favorite shows.” “Great! Then you’ll love this!” “Says you…” “Whatever! They want you to be the first challenge for their new All-Star season. They would like their designers to come up with a look for the album cover for the concert, and you will be one of the judges in the runway show to determine the winner.” “Jesus Christ! You know I hate doing that kind of shit! Even if it IS for my favorite show.” David sighed and then it suddenly came to him that Charlie had been on the show. “Wait a minute. Do you know who the designers are?” “They gave me a partial list—I don’t think they have everything finalized quite yet.” “Is there a Charlie Danner on that list?” “Yep! At the top of the list. Why?” “Doesn’t matter. I’ll do it.” “What? Who are you? You’re not supposed to agree to this so easily.” “Charlie is—well—he’s an old friend. I would love to see him again.” “Okay. I’ll let the producers know, and I’m sure they’ll be in touch with more details.” David ended the call and couldn’t hold back his excitement. He was finally going to see Charlie! It didn’t matter that he was married and had a kid. He just wanted to see the love of his life again. He had to make things right. ******** The lights in Geffen Hall dimmed, and Jaap van Zweden, the Philharmonic's conductor, entered and took a bow. Charlie took a deep breath as Christian leaned in and whispered, “You got this, Charlie!” David Chase entered in his classic white tie and tails, long blond curls flowing as he strode onto the stage. He stopped at the piano, turned to the audience, and bowed. When he took his seat, Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto began. The audience was mesmerized throughout the piece. The energy in the massive concert hall was palpable. David somehow gave life to the piano and let the sound pour over every listener. The piece ended nearly forty-five minutes later, and David received his first standing ovation of the evening. Charlie wanted more than anything to lean over the rail of the box and shout his love to David. He could have sworn that for one brief moment, David glanced up to the box and smiled—but that was ridiculous. He couldn’t have done that! During intermission, Christian pulled Charlie aside and let him know that all was good. The producers were going to alter the challenge, making the runway show anonymous. That way David wouldn’t know which designer belonged to the different pieces. There would be no contact with the designers until the final three were announced and the winner, which would have already been decided at this point, would be declared. David would only have a brief one-on-one congratulatory moment with the winner, and no one else. In fairness to the others, the designers would all be told the reason for the change to the runway show is that David knows one or two of the designers and that to be fair and equal, there will be complete anonymity. The second half of the program was Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, which was the same piece he had performed several weeks earlier in San Francisco. The emotional sections of the piece brought tears to Charlie’s eyes, and he was concerned that he was going to blow his cover. When he glanced over towards Eric, he was relieved to see tears streaming down his face. But when he glanced at Christian, he had to work hard to keep from smiling at the sight of his mentor’s ugly cry. The ovation at the end of the second piece was even greater than the first. One would have thought they were at a rock concert. After the sixth bow, David walked over to the conductor and whispered into his hear. Van Zweden motioned off to the wings and nodded to David with a smile. A stagehand brought a wireless microphone out to the stage and handed it to David. “Sit! Sit! Thank you so much! This means the world to me! Now—I realize that this is rarely—if ever—done at a symphonic concert, but I wanted to give you a little something extra this evening. I know, I know—this is rather unconventional. But then, when have I ever NOT been unconventional!” Charlie didn’t know what was going on. He had never been to a concert like the one he had just witnessed. Nevertheless, he felt a sense of dread rising from the very core of his being. “I would like to play a short piece that is my absolute favorite piano solo. This piece has such an emotional connection and means so much to me that I have never performed it in public, and, quite frankly, I’ve only played it for one other person in my entire life—and that particular person happens to be sitting in this grand hall this evening. Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat—Opus 9, Number 2.” Charlie tried his hardest not to gasp out loud and turned out to a dismal failure at that attempt. Eric noticed and looked at his friend. He leaned in a whispered, “Jesus, Charlie—get a grip. He hasn’t even started playing it yet! You’d think you were the person he was… talking… about…” Charlie stared straight ahead and barely nodded his head. Tears were already flowing as Charlie whispered back, “Help me, Eric. I need your help.” “Holy shit! It’s you! It’s him! Fate, Charlie. It’s fate.” Eric took Charlie’s hand in his. Charlie held on for dear life. Fate can bite.
  9. You guys! Give David a break! He was seventeen when he went to Russia... just a kid! Charlie was a kid! David didn't just dump Charlie. At least they talked about it for a bit... which is more than most teenagers do!
  10. THE PRODIGY By Geoff Chassen Chapter 4 – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions! Charlie’s brain was working overtime, and as delicious as dinner was, he could barely eat a thing. “Daddy, you shouldn’t play with your food. You should eat it. That’s what you used to tell me.” “I know. Noah, you take such good care of your daddy. I love you.” “I love you too. I love this supper that Mrs. Henderson made, too. But I love you more.” Charlie looked over to his mother, who was smiling at her grandson’s words. “See Mama? I can’t leave Noah behind again. I would go crazy if I didn’t have him with me.” “Is that really the reason? Or is it merely an excuse?” “The last time I went, I thought Jacob had everything under control. I had to trust in that since we weren’t allowed computer or phone access while we were on the show and competing. When I came home, I found my boy holed up in the apartment. He wouldn’t answer the door. I thought he was hurt. “I got the key and opened the door and found him sitting on the floor—just rocking back and forth. It was how I found him the first time after his mother passed away. I sat on the floor with him for an hour, promising him I was back and things were back to normal again. “He made me promise I was staying. I can’t break my promise.” “But that was a completely different situation. Jacob had completely dropped the ball and left Mrs. Henderson to take care of him while he was at work. Of course, she couldn’t give him anything like the attention you would give him since you were working from home and he had someone with him around the clock.” “And who would be here for him if I went away again?” “I would, of course! I would have been here the last time, but Jacob kept assuring me that he had things under control. I should have never gone on that cruise, but then again I had no idea what was going on at home.” “He was frustrated. He couldn’t handle being a dad on his own. He became resentful and took it out on our son.” “He didn’t hit…” “No! Oh no. No. It was even worse than that if you ask me. Jacob ignored him—he just stopped caring for our boy. Thank God Mrs. Henderson was here five days a week. It scares the fu—scares me to think what would happen if Noah had been left completely alone.” Charlie picked at his food some more and took a couple of bites. “My dear boy—you know things are so much different now. Timmy is living in the apartment with Noah. I’ve never seen those boys happier as when they are together. I live here and help in every way that I can—and Mrs. Henderson is still here five days a week. Noah would not be alone.” “Daddy? Are you going away?” Noah started to show a sense of panic and Charlie knew exactly how to deal with it. He’s learned that Noah needs to be included in conversations—especially he hears his name. “Noah. I don’t know yet what I’m going to do. Do you remember when I went to New York and was on that TV show?” “Yes, Daddy. That was a lot of fun seeing my Daddy on the TV. Especially when they made you the winner!” “Well, I did lose once, and they told me I would get to go home and be with my boy again.” “But you cried when they sent you home.” “That’s because I was so happy that I would get to wrap my arms around my boy again.” “And you were already home when we saw that. But you were still sad, and you cried a lot.” “Noah, they want me to go back and do that TV show again. What do you think about that?” “Will it make you sad again? Can I go with you?” “No, I don’t think I’ll be sad like that again. And I’m sorry big guy, but hey won’t let you—or Nana—come with me. But Nana would be here with you and take you and Timmy to school. And Mrs. Henderson will be here to make all that delicious food for you.” “Will I still see Papa on the weekends?” “Of course. None of that will change.” “Okay.” “You’re okay if I go to New York and be on the TV again?” “Okay.” Noah was done talking, and he went back to his dinner. Charlie sighed and looked at Beverly. “But David lives there. What if I run into him? I don’t think I could handle that?” Beverly laughed and took a sip of her wine. “My darling boy—New York City is huge. The chances of you running into David Chase are slim to none. Besides, he lives on Long Island. Trust me—Long Islanders avoid going into the city as much as possible. But if you beat all the odds and DID run into the man you’ve never stopped loving, it would be a gift from the heavens.” “What do you mean ‘I’ve never stopped loving?’ That’s crazy!” “A mother knows these things, Charlie. I saw how you and David loved each other. I saw how you and Jacob loved each other. Both loves were quite palpable. Both were genuine. But there was no comparison.” “What? What are you talking about?” “Do you still love Jacob?” “No. He hurt Noah and me in ways that I can never forgive. I can’t love a man who would do that to me—let alone my—OUR son.” “And how did you feel when David left for Russia?” “It hurt more than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. He left a huge hole in my soul. Until this afternoon, I thought I had moved past all that.” “What happened this afternoon?” “David was on Ellen. He looked incredible. He played the piano like nobody ever could.” “Daddy cried when that man was on TV. But I held on to him and made him feel better.” “Yes, you did just that, Noah. You are such a strong and loving boy. You always make me feel better.” “But why did he make you cry, Daddy?” Charlie looked at Beverly, and with a smirk, she nodded her head. “Go on. Tell him.” “David Chase was my boyfriend before I met your Papa.” “So you were crying because you miss him?” “Yes Noah, I miss David.” “Then you should go find him and make him your boyfriend again.” Beverly took another sip of wine and chuckled under breath, “Out of the mouths of babes…” “Mama, you’re not being very helpful here!” “I don’t need to be helpful. Noah hit the nail on the head.” “I didn’t hit anything! I promise!” “You’re right Noah. Nana was just saying she thought you had a good idea.” “I did, didn’t I?” Charlie took a large gulp of his wine and started eating. He didn’t want to answer Noah’s question, but deep down he knew he was going to have to. “Daddy? Didn’t I have a good idea?” “Yes, you did Noah. It was a brilliant idea.” Beverly chuckled and finished off her wine. “So you’re going to do it?” “I don’t know, Mama. Noah? What do you think I should do about the TV show in New York?” “I think you should go to New York and find your boyfriend. You can do the TV show while you’re there.” “And you’ll be okay staying here with Nana and Mrs. Henderson?” “Yes. I’ll have Timmy with me, too. I’ll have lots of people to be with.” “I guess I’m going to New York.” “And you’re going to find your boyfriend!” “He’s not my boyfriend anymore. We don’t know what will happen IF I find him.” “He’ll be your boyfriend, Daddy. Everyone should want to be your boyfriend. You’re the best, Daddy!” “Okay, I’ll think about it overnight and call them in the morning. In the meantime, Noah and I are going to clean the dishes and load the dishwasher.” “Okay.” “And when Timmy gets back we’ll watch a movie. I think it’s your turn to pick, too.” Charlie knew they would all be watching Toy Story for the thousandth time. But he didn’t mind since it always made Noah happy. He also knew Noah and Timmy would be sleeping in Noah’s old room after the movie. Noah wouldn’t let anything be changed since he was given the Toy Story bedroom for his first birthday in his new home.` It turned out to be a typical Friday night at the Danner home. Charlie watched Toy Story with Noah and Timmy, marveling how they would laugh at all the same places they always found funny—as though they were watching for the first time. Rather than go to their garage apartment after the movie, the boys insisted on sleeping in the Toy Story bedroom. Beverly was in her room with a nice glass of wine, binging on one of the Housewives shows on her computer. Charlie headed up to his own room, stripped down, and although his mind was spinning in overdrive with thoughts of New York and Project Runway, he was finally able to drift off into a deep and restless sleep. ******** Charlie Danner stood in front of the stunning man who was the love of his life, David Chase. They kissed deeply with the desperation of eight lost years wrought. Charlie knelt and removed David’s shoes, tallying the total value in his head--$500, $1000, $2500 for the socks, $5000 for his jacket, $10,000 for his tight, form-fitting tee-shirt. Charlie looked into David’s eyes, and he returned the wild gaze he was giving. “You better hope there’s underwear,” a breathless David managed to say. “You better hope there isn’t,” Charlie replied with urgency. Charlie removed David’s belt and wrapped it around the back of David’s neck, pulling him in for another of those soul-draining kisses he remembered from before. When they broke the kiss, David held Charlie’s face in his hands and stared deep into his eyes. “I love you, Charlie Danner. I’ve never stopped, you know.” “I’m never letting you go again, David Chase. I don’t have a life at all without you in it.” Charlie knelt again and found that David’s pants were gone—with no sign of underwear anywhere—just his magnificent nine-inch erection, dripping with precum. Charlie wrapped his slender fingers around the base of David’s cock and let the heat move into his hands. Charlie then swirled his tongue around the head, wet with David’s essence and savored the sweet taste he’d missed for so long. He looked up into David’s eyes as he slowly took inch by inch into his mouth, and then down his talented throat. Charlie was pleased that he still remembered what made David whimper and shake as they made love. “Oooooh, fuuuuuuuck!” Charlie’s throat hummed and massaged David’s cock, causing his knees to nearly buckle. Charlie felt David’s cock get larger in his throat and knew it was time to stop. He stood and kissed his lover deeply. He pulled away from the kiss and caressed David’s face. “You wanna?” “Wanna what?” “Fuck me?” “Oh, Charlie—my dear sweet boy—I’ve never been able to fuck you. I can only make love to you. And yes, let me make love to you. Let me make you mine again.” They moved over to the bed and Charlie pushed David down so he was lying on his back. Grabbing the bottle of lube, Charlie prepared David’s cock and his own ass for the one thing he’d been hoping for—for the last eight years. As he lowered himself down David’s hardness, Charlie’s eyes rolled to the back of his head as he let out a guttural moan that came from the deepest part of his body and soul. Finally! David Chase was where he needed to be—deep inside his lover. The room filled with a constant chorus of ‘I love you’ mixed in with panting and groans, and Charlie worked the muscles of his ass around David, remembering everything that drove his lover wild as though it had only been days since the last time they were together. “Are you ready baby? Pound me until you cum?” “Oh, fuck yes! I love you, Charlie Danner!” Charlie moved up to where he was hovering over David, with only a couple inches of cock inside him. “Now, David! Do it now! Pound my ass!” David went into overdrive, rapidly plowing his cock into the man he loved more than life itself. David looked down and marveled at his lover’s body as he flexed his muscles with every push into his body. Charlie’s own cock was dripping with a nearly constant flow of precum into the ridges of David’s six-pack as the huge cock inside him brutally massaged his prostate. Charlie knew what was going to happen. All he needed to do was lean back on his arms, and the angle of David’s cock against his magic spot would cause a fountain cum that would cover David and the bed they were on. Charlie did just that, and David knew what Charlie wanted. He kept up the rapid rhythm of his thrusts, and within seconds Charlie yelled out, “Now, David! Keep Going! Fuck the cum outta me! Now! Oooooooooh!” Charlie’s ass flexed with every pulse of cum, milking a huge load out of the man inside him. Their simultaneous orgasms shook their worlds to their foundation. The audience stood and roared their approval. Charlie was spent and closed his eyes as he fell forward into the arms of the man he loved. Where were David’s arms? Fuck! Where was David? The audience? A dream?? A wet dream?? Charlie’s body sagged into the realization that the amazing love-making session he had just experienced was just a dream. A damned fine dream, at that. Was he embarrassed that he hadn’t had a wet dream in years? No. He did realize that the dream was his mind telling him what the answer was—go to New York, do the show, then find David Chase. ******** “Good morning, Noah!” “Hi Papa.” Noah walked into the house and went straight into his room. “Hey, Jacob—you got a few? There’s something I need to talk with you about.” “Sure? Want some coffee? I just brewed a fresh pot.” “Yeah, that would be great.” Charlie sat at the kitchen table while Jacob put together coffees for the two of them, including the French Vanilla creamer for Charlie. He brought them over and sat across the table from his ex-husband. “You look good, Charlie. You look relaxed and even a little happy again. Looks good on you.” “Well, I guess that’s why I wanted to talk with you. I got a call from Project Runway last night. They’re doing an all-star show with ten of their top contestants who never made it into the Fashion Week finals. They asked me to do it and need an answer by this afternoon.” Jacob looked down at his coffee and sighed. “I can’t do it again, Charlie. Please don’t ask me to keep Noah while you’re gone. I can’t do that to him again.” “No, that’s not what I’m asking. You’d still have Noah for the weekends—that’s all. Mom, Mrs. Henderson, and Timmy’s mother will all be around during the week to make sure Noah is not left alone. And of course, he has Timmy with him now.” “Then why are you sitting here in my kitchen? There doesn’t seem to be a problem.” “No, there’s no problem. But I do need the one thing we never gave each other. I think it would be good for you, too.” “What’s that?”. “Closure.” “You know I still love you, Charlie. You are a remarkable man—I don’t see how anyone can love you and never stop.” “They why, Jacob? Why did you hurt your son and me so deeply?” “When all that came down, I thought I understood everything that was happening. But now, when I look back on it—I was a complete idiot—for the most part, anyway.” “Well, that’s the first thing we’ll agree on,” Charlie smiled at Jacob as he answered. “So please—tell me what was in your head then, and what is in your head now.” “After you had been gone a week, I realized the one thing I never wanted to know—that you and Noah had a remarkable connection—unique, even. No one in the world could ever match that bond. And I’m pretty damned sure he and his mother never had a connection like the one you two have.” “Okay, I have to agree with you there as well.” “After I accepted that Noah and I would never have that kind of bond, I decided to try my damnedest to do whatever I could to get closer to our boy. I tried to be you, but the harder I tried, the more distant he became it didn’t take long for the connection we DID have was completely gone.” “That’s just crazy, Jacob. You and Noah had a good thing—even a great thing. Is your competitive nature so crazy that you had to compete with me for Noah’s affection?” “No, that’s not it. But I was in the middle of this situation where I was losing my son. He even stopped wanting to see Timmy and would sit in the garage apartment by himself. After a few weeks, he wouldn’t even come down for meals. Mrs. Henderson or I would take them up to him. Sometimes he’d eat, sometimes he wouldn’t. He would just sit in the apartment, wrap his arms around himself, and rock. He wouldn’t listen to anyone.” Charlie sat and listened as tears welled up in his eyes. It was difficult for him to hear about his boy hurting. “Dear God, Jacob. Why didn’t you tell my mother what was going on? She would have stopped her cruise and been on the next plane home to help you out. You know that!” “I do know that—now. But at the time, letting her know what was happening would make me the big loser dad in her eyes. I loved your family too much to let that happen. I know, I know—it was a completely selfish way to handle things—but that was how I thought I needed to deal with it at the time. And the longer you were gone meant more time being in that situation. And the more I was in that situation, the more I began to resent the relationship you had with Noah—and eventually, things got to the point where I resented you most of all. And when you got home and went to Noah and got him into your arms and out of his apartment, that was it. I couldn’t stay and be the man I thought I needed to be.” “Wow. Just wow. Why the fuck didn’t you tell me this when you were packing your bags? You just let me stand there, bawling my eyes out as I watched my life go down the toilet. Are you so insecure that you couldn’t tell me THEN why you were leaving me? Us?” Jacob lowered his head as tears fell onto the table. “I always wanted to be the strong man. I always wanted to be the one who took care of you and Noah. When I realized that YOU were the one who was stronger than an army of men—when I realized that the people who loved you needed YOU to be their inspiration and motivation—well, it sapped me of every ounce of self-esteem I had. I felt like I had nothing to give as long as you were there.” “What the HELL are you talking about?” “You wanted to know how I was feeling then. I just told you. I’ve never told anyone this—not my Dad, not Janet, no one.” “And how are you feeling now?” “Like I’m the biggest fuck-up alive. I destroyed our marriage, I’ve almost destroyed everything I ever had with Noah, and I obliterated your trust. That’s what hurts the most—because I know that once trust has been lost, it’s impossible to get it back completely. And no matter how badly I want to go back to you and Noah so I can make things right, I know it would never work without your complete trust in me.” Charlie and Jacob just looked down at their coffees in silence. Noah came into the kitchen and asked, “Papa? Can I call Timmy?” “Of course, Noah. Just press Timmy’s name on the phone in your room.” “I know.” Noah walked back into his room. “Thanks for letting me know how you were feeling. It’s funny—I didn’t know why I felt so bad when people would ask me about you or if I thought we could get back together. But you nailed it on the head. It’s all about the trust thing. And yes, I think you have that right.” “I’m so sorry about everything, Charlie. More than you will ever know.” “I get it. And I’m sorry as well. I said some pretty harsh things to you—and about you to our friends. I was hurt. I lashed out. I’m sorry about that.” “Apology totally accepted. Look. I understand that you and I will never be together like we had been. But I also understand that you and I will forever be connected. We BOTH adopted that amazing boy. I just hope that someday I’ll figure out a way to connect to HIM even a little bit of the way you have.” “You just don’t get it, Jacob—and it’s right there in front of you.” “Get what, Charlie?” “In about an hour, you’re going to take Noah to the library, and you’re going to be the remarkable, lovable man I’ve always known. Those kids love and adore you. I’m betting that for that hour, even Noah has different feelings. So tell me—why do you think all those kids love you?” “Because I talk to them like they were real people, not just little kids. I let them take me into their worlds where I can laugh with them and hold them when they are sad or scared.” Jacob’s breath caught when he realized what Charlie had known all along. “I’m not afraid of the kids at the library. I let them into my world as much as they let me into theirs. Which is exactly what I’ve never done with Noah.” Jacob lowered his head and sobbed. Charlie went to the other side of the table and placed his hands on Jacob’s shoulders. He leaned down and quietly said into Jacob’s ear, “Stop being afraid of your son, Jacob. Let him in, and I promise he will let you in. That’s the kind of Papa Noah has been looking for. Stop trying to be me, or my mother, or Timmy—be yourself—your authentic, true, remarkable self. You know something? That’s the man I fell in love with and lost. Please get that man back for more than an hour on Saturdays.” Jacob continued to sob as he listened to his ex-husband. “Get that man back—not for me—but for your son. And even more importantly, for yourself.” Charlie wrapped his arms around Jacob and hugged him. Jacob raised his head and held Charlie’s arms in place. “So you’re going to go back to the show and do it again?” “I didn’t want to all that much. But it was Noah who insisted. And before you hear it from him, I’ll tell you now—Noah only agreed to let me go if I promised to find David Chase while I was there. He thinks we should be boyfriends again.” “You know he’s right. That boy is always right. He tells you exactly what he thinks—whether you want to hear it or not.” “Or NEED to hear it, as Mama would say.” “So you’re going to find him? I know you still love him, that there’s so much that’s never been sorted. Noah’s right. You need to find David so at the very least you can get your feelings sorted out.” “No more secrets. We share a son. We need honesty and openness.” Charlie kissed Jacob on top of his head and headed for the front of the house. “I’ll leave you with Noah now. I can’t wait to see the old Jacob back. It will make Noah happy, too—I promise.” Charlie got into his car and made his way back home. As soon as he walked in, he found Beverly sitting at the table, reading the news on her iPad and drinking a cup of coffee. “There you are! Everything okay?” “Yeah, Jacob and I finally talked things out. It was good. I understand him a lot better, and he understands himself even more. I think it’s going to be good for Noah, too” “And your big decision?” “I’m calling the producers and accepting. And just as Noah insisted, and just as I told Jacob—I’m going to find David Chase.” “And if you DO find him??” “I’m never letting him go again.”
  11. No, you didn't miss anything. There's a more thorough explanation of what happened in the next chapter.
  12. Don't worry, all will be explained in the next chapter. I can't just let a character go without some kind of explanation!
  13. THE PRODIGY By Geoff Chassen Chapter 3 – Hope, Loss, and Tears “Okay folks! You’re in for a real treat now! He’s the only American to win both the Tchaikowsky AND the Van Cliburn Competitions—and now that I think about it, he’s the only American to win those AND Sexiest Man Alive! Please welcome David Chase!” Parker was standing in the wings and watching the backstage monitor as David rounded the corner and walked onto the set. Twitch had some excellent dance music playing for his entrance, and David danced his way over to Ellen with a huge smile. “That’s the David I know and love,” Parker quietly whispered to himself. “Welcome, David Chase!” “Thank you, Ellen Degeneres! I can’t believe I’m actually sitting here with you! So cool!” “Well, it’s pretty darned cool having you here, too!” David looked out at the audience, smiling as they cheered and applauded. Parker loved how relaxed and genuine David seemed. His eyes glowed right along with his smile. “So David, you’re the first classical musician to get that little award from People Magazine.” David’s cover appeared on the big screen, and the audience cheered again. “Were you surprised when they told you about the most prestigious award you’ve ever received?” “It’s funny. They never told me!” “What?” “Right?! They called my manager the day before the issue was released—and that was two months after they came out to my house for the photo shoot.” More pictures from David’s spread appeared on the screen, including the now-famous shot of him standing in the waves in his speedo. David blushed and looked away from the screen. “Now come on, surely you knew something was up when they took THAT picture!” “Well, they DID tell me the photo shoot was for that particular issue, and they were doing shoots of many, many others. I just figured that I would be buried somewhere in the middle of the magazine.” “I guess you figured wrong, huh?” “I guess so, huh!” “Has this changed things for you—career-wise?” “Yeah. My audiences have become quite a bit younger—and louder. They get a little crazy when I walk out onstage to perform, and I can hear some soft chatter while I’m playing. So I’m starting to see a lot of people who’ve never been to a classical concert before.” “Does that throw off your concentration?” “Not really. I’m able to block it out once I start to hear it. But then, I’m not your typical classical musician—kind of a non-conformist.” “Right. Don’t they call you the ‘bad boy of classical music?’” “Awww, I’m not THAT bad!” The speedo picture popped back up on the screen and the audience cheered again. “Okay, okay—maybe just a LITTLE bad!” “Well, one thing you are definitely NOT bad at is playing the piano. Why don’t you step over there and play a bit for us?” “I would love to!” As David walked over to the piano, Ellen looked out to the audience, “I know we didn’t get to talk long, but we wanted you to hear the Sexiest Man Alive play and we wanted to make sure you got to hear a nice, complete classical piece.” David sat at the piano, took a deep breath and slowly moved his hands to the keys. He started playing Chopsticks with just two fingers, the same way everyone played the song. When he finished, he stood up as if he were going to take a bow. The audience tittered, and there were smatterings of applause as David looked off to the wings and motioned Parker to come on to the stage. Parker slowly walked out from the wings, pointing to himself as if he were saying, “Me?” and David motioned for him to sit on the bench. The audience saw David whisper something into Parker’s ear as if he were giving instructions. In reality, David whispered, “Have a blast, babe. Love ya!” They started their well-rehearsed routine, and the piece became more and more frenetic. Hands were blurred, and David’s hair was flying. Near the end of the piece, Parker began a rapid pattern of notes at the bottom of the keyboard and started working his way towards the high end, knocking David off the bench. The audience loved it! David took Parker’s place on the bench, and the two finished the piece with incredible flair. They stood and took their bows as the audience leaped to their feet and screamed. Ellen walked over to them and hugged both as they went to commercial. At the end of the commercial break, Parker was sitting in a chair next to David and both beamed as Ellen congratulated them on their performance. “David—who’s your friend?” “Oh, just some dude I found in the wings. (Laughter from the audience) I needed some help, and he was there.” Ellen shook her head and rolled her eyes. “No, seriously—the truth is—this is Parker Miller, and I know him!” “And I know you, too!” “So Parker and his partner Justin Petersen write the background music for my show Splitting Up Together, but I had no idea you could play the piano like THAT!” The audience applauded when a picture of Parker and Justin appeared on the screen. “So tell me Parker—how did you and David hook up? (audience laughter) You are soooo dirty! I mean, how did the two of you meet?” “David and I were competitive pianists, and we met back in the seventh grade. All the way through high school we competed together and became best friends. Then after high school, we ended up going our separate ways and just found each other a few nights ago after his concert with the San Francisco Symphony.” “David! How could you let a guy like this get away?” “I know, right?! Seriously, Parker came to L.A. to study film scoring, and I went to Russia to study classical piano. The funny thing is we just found out that we had tried our damnedest to say in touch, but the powers that be in Russia blocked our emails for whatever reason and we both thought the other had just decided to move on with his life.” “Those pesky Russians and that internet! They seem to enjoy getting up in our stuff, huh?” “Oh yeah! But I wouldn’t call it collusion!” “Neither would they, David. Neither would Trump!” “Now Parker, besides working on my show, what have you got brewing in the works?” “Justin and I are putting the finishing touches on a new musical, and we’ll be doing some workshops and previews here in Los Angeles.” “Oh! Can you tell us anything about it?” “Are you kidding? It’s called The Second Life of Maxie Malone, and it’s based on the 1980’s film Maxie that starred Mandy Patinkin and Glen Close. I can’t believe I get to plug it on Ellen! That’ll at least sell a few tickets!” “Oh, I loved that film! Good luck to you on that! Now—David, what’s next for you?” “Well, I’m going to head home and get ready for a Lincoln Center performance with the New York Philharmonic which will be filmed for PBS’ Great Performances.” “Well, that’s nice and all, but you’re wrong! When we come back, we all get to see your next performance—and I can almost guarantee it’s going to be GREAT! We’re gonna get David Chase outta some of those clothes and raise some money with the Sexiest Man Alive! The show went to another commercial break, and the stage manager took Parker back to the green room while Ellen and David chatted things up a bit. All too soon, the show was back on the air. “Okay! Welcome back! We have the Sexiest Man Alive—David Chase here with us and you all surely didn’t think that I’d let him get away without getting to see some skin, now did you?” The audience whooped and hollered and went crazy as David blushed and shook his head. “Now David, you’re going to help us raise some money for a charity of your choice. Which charity would that be?” David sighed and looked at Ellen. “Well, since this was your idea, I figured I might as well just go ahead and have that money go to your wildlife fund. That okay?” “Is that okay?? I’m gonna get you naked for that!” The audience went hysterical, and David blushed. “You have the cutest blush! I wonder if he blushes all over?” After more audience hysterics, Ellen continued, “I guess there’s only one way to find out!” “We’re really doing this, aren’t we?” “Oh yes, we are! You just think of those cute little baby gorillas in Africa, and I’ll take care of the rest. Now here’s how this is going to work. For every item of clothing I remove, the tally on the screen will increase. And we’ll start easy—shoes!” Each shoe ended up being worth $500. Each sock went for $750. David’s jacket came off for $1000 bucks, and his black tee-shirt was worth $2000. “Here we go, David! You let me take off your pants, and we’re going to round up to $10,000. However, if I find Ellen underwear when those babies come off, I’m gonna round it up to $20,000!” “You better hope there’s underwear!” “More than you know, David! More than you know! Twitch! Can we have a drum roll?” The drum roll starts, the pants came off, and the Ellen underwear brought the total to $20,000. One of Ellen’s staff brought out that giant check from Shutterfly paid to the order of Ellen’s wildlife fund and David. It was actually pretty cool, especially since he could hide behind it! Once again, the show went to commercial. Ellen thanked David for filling in at the last minute, and he was whisked off to the dressing room while one of the crew grabbed his clothes and followed. When they got to the dressing room, Parker was waiting, grinning from ear to ear. The members of the crew that were present complimented both men, and they soon found themselves alone. David started to put my clothes back on when Parker asked him to wait. “I just want to feel you one more time before I have to leave.” They hugged and kissed while Parker ran his hands through David’s curls. “Damn! I fucking love your hair! Now I get why you were so into Charlie’s long hair.” For some unexplained reason, David froze. He dropped his hands to his side and stepped back, tears brimming in his eyes. “I’m sorry, Parker,” David spoke with a barely audible voice. “You still love him, don’t you?” “I’ve never stopped.” David sat down in the closest chair and sighed as the flow of tears increased. “David?” After a deep breath, David continued, “He was the love of my life—still is. He’s ruined me. No matter how badly I want to, I’ll never be able to love anyone like I love Ch-Charlie.” “But I love you, David. I’ve never stopped.” “I love you too, Parker. Always have.” “So give us a chance!” David raised his head to Parker with a shocked look on his face. “W-wh-what? What are you talking about?” “Haven’t the last couple of days shown you the possibilities? What we have is good. So close to being great. I love you, David! I’m IN love with you like I have since the beginning.” “Oh, Parker! Don’t—don’t do this to yourself. You have Justin in your life. And it’s a life that’s so very different from mine. Don’t throw it away. I’m not worth it. You’ll only get hurt. I’m not able to give you what you need—no—deserve.” “But…” “No, Parker—don’t.” David got up and took a weeping Parker in his arms. He kissed him on the forehead and held him out at arm’s length. “Having you back in my life has made me happier than I’ve been in ten years. I promise you—I will not lose you again. You will always be the man I will consider my longest, closest, and dearest friend. That’s precious to me. I hope it is to you.” Parker nodded his head and looked into David’s eyes just as there was a knock on the dressing room door. “You good?” Parker nodded and sniffed. He then went into the bathroom and shut himself in so David could answer the dressing room door. When he opened it, there was someone there he’d never met. “Yes? Can I help you?” “Hi—I’m looking for Parker. Is he here?” David cocked his head and looked at the man in front of him. “Oh! I’m sorry! I’m Justin. Parker’s boyfriend.” “Oh!! Come in! Parker’s just using the bathroom. Did you see the show?” “Yeah, I called in a couple of favors and got a house seat. You guys were freakin’ awesome!” Just then the bathroom door opened and a smiling Parker walked out. “Oh, c’mon Justin! We were FUCKING awesome. I promise you, David Chase taught me every cuss word I know!” “Whatever!” David reached out to Justin and shook his hand. “It’s so nice to meet you, Justin!” “Likewise. I just wanted to make sure Parker knew I was here so he wouldn’t try to grab a cab back to the house.” “Thanks, babe!” Parker went to Justin, kissed him and grabbed his bag. He turned to David and said, “I’m so happy we found each other after all this time—even happier that we’re exactly where we were when we went our separate ways all those years ago. I’m not letting you go again!” Parker walked over to David, hugged him, and whispered into his ear, “Now—find Charlie. It’s the only way you can be truly happy.” He then stepped away from David and over to Justin. As they were walking to the dressing room door, David stopped them. “Justin—you’ve got an amazing guy there. Hold onto him. Don’t lose him. I know how that feels and it totally sucks.” “It’s great meeting you, David. And yes—I know just how lucky I am to have this guy by my side!” Parker and Justin headed for the door, and just as they were about to walk out the door, Parker turned around to hug David one more time. “I love you, David. Always have. Always will. But you need to find Charlie. I want you to be as happy as I’ve been from getting you back in my life. And don’t worry about me. I’m good.” “I love you so much, Parker. And yes, you’ve made me incredibly happy. I’ll see what I can do about Charlie. But he IS married and has a kid. I don’t know what the future holds, but if I could just see him one more time—get some real closure—that will make all the difference in the world.” Once the door closed, David sat at the dressing room table, holding his head in his hands. Weeping, he said out loud, “Damn you, Charlie Danner! Why are you still holding onto my heart so fucking tight!” ******** Charlie wept softly through the commercial break and stopped as Ellen embarrassed audience members with their Facebook photos. Unfortunately, the tears started to well up again as soon as Ellen started her introduction of David. When David made his entrance and danced his way over to Ellen, Charlie was dumbstruck by the man’s sheer beauty. “He looks real nice, Daddy. Don’t you think so?” “Yes, Noah. He looks amazing—and happy.” Although Charlie was smiling throughout the interview, he still had a pool of tears sitting in his eyes. A concerned Noah kept his watching his daddy, preparing himself just in case he was needed—just as he’s done over the last several months. When David started playing Chopsticks, it was too much for Charlie as he remembered the night when Charlie and Parker played for him at the restaurant after the closing night of Spamalot. When Parker made his entrance, the crying stopped if not for the fact that Charlie was quite literally shocked. “Oh. My. God.” “What’s wrong, Daddy?” “That’s Parker Miller. David’s best friend.” “Do you know him, too?” Charlie snorted as he thought back to the night of hotel sex he had with the two men playing their asses off on Ellen. “Yes, Noah. I know Parker, too.” By the end of the piece, Charlie was smiling and crying at the same time—which completely confused Noah. “Daddy? Why are you crying and look happy? How can you do that?” “Oh, my sweet, sweet boy. Your daddy’s all mixed up isn’t he?’ “It’s okay. Do you want me to hold you like I did after Papa went away?” “I’m going to be just fine, but I would love to do that. You’re such a sweet boy, Noah. I love you.” “I love you too, Daddy.” Charlie scooted to the other end of the sofa and leaned into Noah’s chest as his son wrapped his arms around him. “This makes me feel better, too.” Noah and Charlie watched the rest of Ellen while Charlie gently made circles with his finger on Noah’s arm. Noah found himself playing with Charlie’s curls. The intimate connection that only a loving father and son can have immediately put both of them in a place of peace and contentment. As the show was ending, neither noticed Beverly, Charlie’s mother, had come into the house. She stood at the end of the great room and took a picture of her “two favorite boys” snuggled up on the sofa. Rather than scare the boys or break the mood she quietly moved into the kitchen and began to prepare dinner. She pulled a large Southwestern-style salad and a chicken carbonara casserole out of the refrigerator. As soon as the oven was hot, she placed the casserole in and proceeded to go through her mail. Charlie and Noah walked into the kitchen when they heard Beverly milling about the back of the house. “Mom! Why do you still insist on getting dinner ready? I have Mrs. Henderson making all these wonderful meals so you don’t have to!” Charlie walked to his mother and hugged her. “Noah? Do I get a hug from my special boy?” As usual, Noah patiently waited for Beverly to ask him to hug her. Although he had advanced extremely far on the Autism spectrum, he still found it hard to initiate any sort of physical affection with others—even family members. The only exception was Charlie. Noah’s connection to his adoptive father was as strong as any two people could be connected. “Noah? Where’s Timmy? Is he going to join us for dinner tonight?” “No Nana. His mama came and got him so they could go to a restaurant for dinner.” “How lovely! Will he be back tonight?” “Yes, Timmy told his Mama that he wanted to stay here tonight. He likes living with me in the apartment.” “Of course he does! You two boys have a lovely home, and it’s so close to your dad’s house you can always have good meals here! You and Timmy are very lucky boys.” “Yes, we are.” The conversation was interrupted by a call on the land-line. Charlie walked over to see if a number showed up on the caller ID and was surprised to see an actual number instead of the “Unknown Caller” that usually appeared when solicitors tried to interrupt his day. “Oh, it’s a call from New York. I should probably get it and see if it’s something important. Noah helped Beverly set the table for dinner as Charlie became more involved with the call. Beverly did her best to NOT listen in but couldn’t help herself. All she could garner was her son answering questions with short, one-word answers. Apparently, there was a lot of information coming from the other end of the line as Charlie was writing away on a notepad by the phone. Beverly felt a rush of happiness as she saw something she hadn’t seen in months—a broad smile on her son’s face. She assumed it was a client wanting a new design since Charlie’s design business used the land-line. As Beverly pulled the casserole out of the oven, Charlie wrapped up his phone call. “Holy shit, mama!” “Good news?” “I think so? Maybe? I don’t know? Yes?” “Daddy, you’re not supposed to say shit. That’s one of the bad words.” “I’m sorry Noah. Thank you for catching me.” “Tell me, Charlie! What’s the news that has you smiling from ear to ear?” “That was Project Runway. They’re doing an all-star season and want me to be a part of it. They said Heidi and Tim had left the show and it’s back on Bravo. Since they have so many new faces now, they felt an all-star season would help boost viewership. He also said I was the first person they called and they would only proceed if I agreed to do it.” “Oh, Charlie! That’s wonderful news! You told them yes, didn’t you?” “No, I told them I had a lot to think about before I could commit to anything. I don’t know if I could go through all that again.” “Well, that smile on your face looks like you already know what you want to do.” “I know, Mama. It’s just my life totally fell apart when I came home. That’s what scares that crap out of me.” “Daddy? Is crap one of the bad words?” “I don’t know for certain, Noah. Let’s let that one pass, and I’ll be more careful, okay?” “Okay, Daddy. Can we eat now? I’m hungry.” “You boys have a seat and I’ll fix your plates. We’ll talk about this while we eat.” Noah sat at the table next to Charlie, and he watched his father deeply sigh as he went deep into thought. The smile vanished in short order. Two thoughts crossed Charlie Danner’s mind. The first being that although he wasn’t a finalist on Project Runway, the exposure helped him to create a name in the design world and he was kept quite busy with his custom, yet quirky designs. The second group of thoughts took him to the time he returned home after the show. He found Noah holed up in the apartment, afraid to come out or even make the short trip to the main house. Sadly, he also found a husband who was resentful and no longer interested in his family or marriage. No matter where his mind took him, every positive thought came crashing down with the all-too-familiar feeling of loss and betrayal. “Charlie? Talk to me. Let me help you.” “I can’t do it, Mama. I can’t risk losing anything more.”
  14. THE PRODIGY By Geoff Chassen Chapter 2 – Welcome Back, Parker “David?” Great. David wasn’t in the mood to face fans this early in the day. He decided to ignore whoever it was and kept looking at his Twitter account. “David Chase?” Dammit! He really didn’t want to look up, but he did--and couldn’t believe his eyes. “Parker? Parker Miller?” “David!” “Oh my God!” Parker was frozen in place--standing two tables away and holding a plate of food. David sat at his table with his fork frozen mid-air. “C-could I join you? Are you alone?” “No. I mean no, it’s great—I mean yes I’m alone--and yes, please sit with me.” Parker’s face was filled with the same goofy smile David remembered from all those years ago. David’s eyes twinkled as Parker slid into the chair across from him. A server walked up to the table and looked at Parker. “Will you be joining Mr. Chase this morning?” He looked at David. “Do you prefer the gentleman be returned to his table?” At the same time, David and Parker both answered: “No, he’ll be joining me.”/” Yes, I’ll be dining with Mr. Chase.” The server retrieved Parker’s coffee and took it to the table. David and Parker were still staring at each other with a look of shock and wonder on their faces. Finally, it was Parker who broke the spell. “Mr. Chase? When the fuck did you become Mr. Chase?” “Way too many people call me that. I guess they think it’s a respect thing. I finally gave up correcting them. The people that matter call me David. The rest? I don’t care what they call me—as long as it’s not dumb shit.” “Or late for dinner—dumb shit!” Finally, just like old times, David had a good giggle at Parker’s dry sense of humor. “God damn, P. It’s so good to see you! What are you doing here, by the way?” “I umm—I came to town to see your performance with the symphony. It’s been a year since I’ve seen you play and when I heard you were doing the Rachmaninov Variations, I had to come. You know it’s always been one of my favorites.” “Wow. I had no idea! Why didn’t you come backstage? You know I would have had you come up!” “Well, I’ve always hoped you would, but I wasn’t sure so I never got up the nerve to try.” “Why the fuck would you ever think that I wouldn’t want to see you? We were best friends for so long!” “Well, it’s weird, actually. Right after you left for Russia…” “When I never again heard from my best friend,” David interrupted. “What the fuck? What do you mean you never heard from me? I must have sent you over a hundred emails before I finally gave up. It finally became obvious you didn’t want anything to do with me.” “What? That makes no sense. I probably sent you emails every day for months before I gave up. I figured you wanted nothing to do with me since you were starting a new life in Cali.” “Fuck that’s strange. Maybe the Russian Gestapo dudes knew you and I were gay and blocked our emails?” Parker shook his head and chuckled, thinking how bizarre his comment sounded. “Oh, shit! Now that I think about it, you might be right. If I remember correctly, my first email to you was about that night you, me, and Charlie had and how I had just jerked off thinking about it. I bet those fuckers read it and blocked us from communicating! It makes sense now. Fuckers!” Parker smiled and leaned forward. He wanted David to hear him as he lowered his voice. “Just so you know, I was thinking about that very night last night. When you got to the Adagio section, I was hard as a rock and dripping like a faucet. I nearly came in front of a thousand people.” David leaned in and met Parker at the middle of the table. “If I remember correctly, you were hard more than you weren’t—and you drip precum like a fucking faucet.” “And I can almost promise you that I’m not the only person you have that effect on. After all, you ARE the reigning sexiest man alive AND the best fucking pianist in the world.” “Really? You had to go there?” Parker and David both had a good laugh. They continued talking and catching up, and after an hour, they realized they had barely eaten a bite of food, and their coffees were ice-cold. David called the server over and signed for their mostly uneaten breakfast. He asked Parker what his plans were and found out that he was also flying home to L.A. in the morning. “Please come up to the suite so we can keep talking. You have no idea how much I’ve missed this. I’ll order room service, and we can at least enjoy a nice lunch.” “I can do that. I would like that. I’ve missed you, D. I feel like we're getting back to the good times.” “Yeah—and I need some good times more than you know!” They went up to David’s suite and continued catching up with their lives. There was a lot of talking, laughing, and even some occasional tears. After hours of rebonding, Parker insisted that he take David out to dinner. David agreed after a few minutes of arguing over who would treat whom, and Parker got up to go down to his room to change. “Wait. It’s stupid that you have to pay for a room when I have this suite, courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony. Get your stuff, check out, and come back. You can stay here. I have two bedrooms and only need one.” “Play your cards right dumb shit—and you may still only need one.” “What the fuck?” “I’m still the only person who can call you that as a term of endearment. Don’t you ever forget it!” With that, Parker turned around and laughed his way out of the suite. David just stood in the middle of his suite smiling from ear to ear. It dawned on him that he hadn’t smiled like that in a long time—possibly for years. When Parker stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for his floor, he suddenly found himself overcome with emotion. It had been eight years since he had seen David and now it felt like that gap in his life had completely disappeared. By the time the elevator stopped at his floor, he was quietly sobbing. He wasn’t sad. Nor was he overtly happy. Parker was overcome with an immense sense of relief that he hadn’t felt in a long, long time—eight years to be exact. While Parker was away, David decided to shower again and freshen up for his dinner with Parker. He had seriously considered waiting so he could share a shower with Parker but felt it would be better not to push things at this point. It’s been said that great ideas tend to come to people while they are in the shower and David had a brilliant one. He couldn’t wait for Parker to get back to the suite so he could share it with him. He finished showering and quickly dried his hair. He shaved and applied his favorite cologne got dressed in his signature black skinny jeans and form-fitting black tee. He just finished tying his shoes when there was a knock on the door. He opened the door and found Parker smiling from ear to ear. David noticed Parker’s smile was one of the rare kind that reached his eyes. That made David return the smile as he let Parker in. “Wow!” “Wow what?” “You really ARE the sexiest man alive!” “Will you stop with that shit already?” “Whatever. I think it’s awesome just so you know!” “Whatever. Get your cute little ass in here. I had a brilliant idea in the shower.” “Fuck! I need a shower, too.” “You can have one after we talk about my idea.” David and Parker sat on the sofa and David started talking. “So—the reason I’m going to L.A. is that I’m going to be on Ellen tomorrow. Well, filming tomorrow. I don’t know when it’s actually going to air.” “Whoa! That’s so cool! And you DO realize Ellen’s going to be all over the Sexiest Man Alive thing, don’t you?” “Yeah. My manager said that was the reason she wanted me on the show. He also said I have to play a three-minute piece.” “What are you going to play?” “I was planning on a Chopin fantasy, but then I had a brilliant idea. We should do our Chopsticks routine. Do you think you remember it?” “I haven’t played it since you and I did it in that restaurant back in Barnstable—but if we could get to a piano, it wouldn’t take me long to get it back.” “Awesome. One other thing. When is your flight tomorrow?” “I fly out at 10:00 in the morning.” “So do I. What airline?” “American.” “Sweet! Me too. Give me your flight information so I can change you to a seat next to mine. I’ll handle it while you’re in the shower.” “You don’t have to do that. I’m booked in coach. I’m sure you’re in first class. That’s way too much.” “Won’t cost me a penny, I promise. I have like a gazillion points. I’ll just use some of them so we can enjoy a cocktail or two together.” “That does sound nice. As long as you don’t spend any money on it, I’m cool.” “Awesome. Put your bag in my bedroom and use that shower. There are plenty of towels in the bathroom.” “YOUR bedroom? Why, Mr. Chase… are you trying to get me into your bed?” “Whatever. You know we won’t be able to stop talking and catching up at the end of the day. Stop being a dumb ass.” “Dumb shit.” “Cute ass.” “Sexiest man alive ass.” “GO! I’m hungry!” As Parker made his way to the bedroom, he called out, “I made reservations for dinner while I was in my room. We’re doing Italian!” While Parker was showering, David was lucky to get a first-class seat next to him on the flight. He also called down to the hotel manager and rented a small meeting room with a piano so he and Parker could practice their number after dinner. Things were working out, and David had a sense of excitement he hadn’t felt in a long time. Parker stepped into the shower, hard as he had ever been and dripping like a faucet—just as David had said down in the dining room. After cleaning himself and washing his hair, Parker took his cock in hand and stroked off some of the powerful series of cumshots he had had in years. David Chase made him hot and horny—feeling things he hadn’t felt since those high school competitions. And feelings that deep down he knew paved a dangerous road ahead for himself and, possibly, David. Parker dried and styled his hair, shaved, and gave himself a quick spritz of David’s cologne. He went into the bedroom and changed into a pair of jeans that showed off his ass and did nothing to hide his bulge. He wore a green polo that did nothing to hide the work he’d been doing in the gym for the last several years. When he finished tying his sneakers, he walked out into the main room and told David it was time to go. “Holy shit, P! The years have been good for you. You look fucking amazing!” Although he accidentally on purpose dressed to catch David’s eye, he still blushed and looked down to the floor with a soft “thanks”—just as he had always done while they were in high school. David walked over to Parker and took him in his arms. “Thank you for making this the happiest day of my life since I left for Russia. I love you, Parker.” “I’ve always loved you, David. Never stopped.” David pulled Parker close and kissed him on the lips. It wasn’t anything overtly sexual—just a tender kiss between two people who deeply cared for each other. They walked a few blocks to a wonderful Italian restaurant where they had a nice and leisurely dinner. The excellent food and the wonderful Napa Valley wine they shared led to three hours of happy conversation, more laughs, and still a few more tears. The sounds of “I love you” kept ringing through the heads of both, yet neither wanted to put too much meaning into those three words. After dinner, David and Parker walked back to the Fairmont. David took Parker’s hand and led him down a hallway off the lobby on the side opposite the elevators. “Here it is! Meeting room 17.” “Hey, it has my name on the card.” “Right. I can’t put my name up there—we’d never have any privacy!” David swiped the card and opened the door for Parker. “Sweet! They gave us a grand. You ready for this?” “Oh hell yeah! I’m so psyched to do this with you. On fucking Ellen on top of it all! You are too good to me!” “Whatever. So here’s what I thought we could do… Ellen will introduce me; I’ll take a bow, sit at the piano and look super-intense before I start playing Chopsticks like a total amateur.” “Cool. Ellen’s gonna eat that shit up, you know.” “Well, I want her to learn that even classical pianists can be fun when they want to be.” “You DO realize you’re the exception to the rule. Every classical pianist I’ve known, other than you, has a soundboard stuck up their ass.” “Whatever—but I think you might be right. Anyway—and here’s the brilliant part—when I finish playing the song, I’m going to look off into the wings and motion for you to come on. You need to look confused with a ‘who me?’ kind of look. I’ll slide over to my side of the bench and motion for you to sit down and you get all hesitant on me. I’ll grab your arm and pull you down and give me this deer in headlights look. I’ll shout ‘go!’ and we start what we’ve always done.” “Brilliant, D. Ellen’s gonna love it. I know it!” “Yeah? How do you know, P?” “Umm. Justin and I write the background music for Splitting Up Together.” “Guess I’ll have to start watching it. I don’t see a lot of television anymore. But hey, maybe Ellen will want to talk to you, too. I’d be happy to share my time with you! I always get so uncomfortable doing interviews. But with Ellen, it might actually be fun—who knows?” “Who knows?” “So—let’s do this!” The boys worked on every part of the performance and in less than an hour, they had everything back in pristine shape—even better with all the new little tricks and gimmicks they added. At the end of the piece, both David and Parker were playing so fast that their hands were a blur. When they hit the final chord of their final practice run, both David and Parker were sweating and out of breath. Who would’ve thought Chopsticks could be so taxing? “Holy fuck, P. It feels so good to be here with you like this. Just like old times. Only better because in a lot of ways we’re both a little more mature—and wiser.” “Bullshit, D. Today I saw the David I’ve always known and loved. You still make me laugh. It’s fucking insane when I think about how much joy you have brought to my life in just one day.” “Parker, I can honestly say I haven’t been this happy since before I left the States for Russia. It’s all you. You’ve given me an amazing gift.” David reached out to hug Parker, and they both stopped at the same time. Looking into each other’s eyes, they completed the hug, which now included a passionate kiss filled with moans and an urgency brought on by eight years of separation. After they broke apart, a breathless David suggested to Parker that they take this upstairs. “Right!? I have a raging hard cock, and you’re gonna parade me right through the lobby of the fucking Fairmont Hotel?” “Yup! And if anyone notices, they’ll also see my big boner and say to themselves, ‘Oh look! The Sexiest Man Alive found another sexy-as-fuck man and is taking him up to his suite!’ And then that observant onlooker will then imagine just how fucking hot that picture might be and will have major jack-off fodder for the next six months—or whenever my reign is over—whichever comes first.” “I’ll cum first. I always do.” Filling the meeting room with laughter, both men made their way out as quickly as they could—considering the painful erections slowing both of them down. Skinny jeans may LOOK sexy on the right person, but they could sure be painful! They made it through the lobby with minimal stares—mostly from the desk clerks—and the ride up the elevator seemed to take forever. Knowing there were probably closed-circuit cameras in the elevators, both David and Parker showed an admirable amount of strength and restraint. However, once they made inside the suite and the door shut behind them, clothes flew off in record time and landed all over the suite. David and Parker found themselves lying on the plush carpet, rolling around while kissing and grinding their dripping cocks into each other’s chiseled abs. Before long, David was kneeling over Parker’s cock and feeding his own into a more than willing—and very able—mouth. Despite having pumped out three loads in the last twenty-four hours, Parker still came first, pumping a massive load of scalding cum into David’s throat. In spite of having sex twice the night before with Tran, David was not far behind filling Parker’s talented mouth with his own copious serving of nut. After catching their breath and calming down, Parker kissed David and let him know that he wasn’t done with the night’s festivities. David stood, took Parker’s hand and led him into the bedroom of the suite. After pulling back the linens, both David and Parker rolled onto the bed and continued their loud, moan-filled kissing. It took very little time for their cocks to fill again and pulse with the beating of their hearts. “Please fuck me, David! Please! I need you inside me,” a near-breathless Parker was able to gasp out. “Dude, there’s nothing I would rather do right now, but you told me you have a boyfriend. I don’t… it’s just…” “Yeah, I have a boyfriend in an open relationship. Well, he’s been open, this is my first time being open—so fuck me already!” David rolled Parker onto his back and began kissing him, moving from his mouth to his ear, down to his neck and on to his erect and sensitive nipples. Every kiss and bit caused Parker to moan from deep within. David then kissed each section of Parkers defined abs and moved even lower, avoiding his already-dripping cock. Moving below his cock, David took each ball into his mouth and swirled them on his tongue. David remembered how sensitive Parker’s taint was and couldn’t wait to drive the boy crazy. With one hand he cupped Parker’s balls, with the other he began probing his throbbing hole, and then he dove in and began chewing, licking and sucking on the smooth ridge connecting this balls to his ass. It didn’t take long for Parker to begin humping into the air as his moans became yells and soon enough, the rhythmic humping became uncontrolled thrashing. “Oh fuck yessssss! Oh my God!! Jesus!!!!!” It was when David simultaneously bit hard and probed Parker’s prostate that the body he was torturing went rigid with his second orgasm of the night—and fourth of the day. David pulled himself up and lay on top of Parker, his cum was still warm and David rubbed their bodies together as the two kissed passionately. “Jesus, David!” Parker was in a breathless daze. “I haven’t cum like that since we were sixteen, and you did the exact same thing.” “You want more, baby?” “That way you just opened me up? If I don’t get that monster cock of yours inside me now, I might just explode from frustration.” As David lay on his back, he watched as Parker slowly lowered himself on nine inches of leaking, throbbing cock. If that wasn’t enough of a turn-on, he marveled at the sight of Parker’s cock filling to full hardness by the time his ass settled into David’s trimmed pubes. “Damn P., that feels fucking amazing!” “You have NO idea, baby—no idea at all!” Parker placed his hands on David’s pecs and rode him at a nice pace while squeezing his ass muscles each time he lifted himself. “Oh! Oh! You’re getting me way too close, way too fast! Your ass is fucking amazing!” Parker leaned forward and shared a deep kiss with David. Once he pulled away from the kiss, he raised himself to the middle of David’s nine inches. “Pound me, baby. I want you cumming in my ass hard and fast. Fuck me hard, David! Now!” David didn’t need to be asked twice. He placed his hands on Parker’s quads and began pistoning in and out of Parker’s ass at a pace so fast it left Parker speechless. Parker’s eyes glazed over and his mouth hung open as David pummeled his ass. “Getting close, baby! Gonna breed your amazing ass!” Without even thinking about it, Parker began stroking his own cock at the same rapid rate David’s cock was pounding into him. In less than fifteen seconds, Parker shot yet another load all over David’s stomach and chest as David’s body froze in an arch several inches off the bed. The two men, breathing hard as they tried to come down from the amazing high of their love-making, collapsed into each other’s arms. David’s cock was still buried in Parker’s ass, and he could feel the warmth of his load coating his softening tool. They both fell into a post-coital sleep, and after a brief time, David’s cock plopped out of Parker, causing a gentle flow of cum to escape Parker’s ass. Both boys woke from their gentle slumber and David suggested they shower before going to sleep. It was 6:30 in the morning when David’s phone rang with an obnoxious alarm. Both boys groaned their dissatisfaction and soon found themselves getting out of bed. They quietly went into the bathroom and did their morning business. Since they had both showered a few hours earlier, they skipped that part of their morning routine. The Symphony provided the limo that took David and Parker to the airport. They arrived a few minutes before 8:30, checked their luggage and made their way to the TSA checkpoint, arriving at the gate about an hour before departure. David and Parker did their pre-boarding check-in and were both pleased that they had seats next to each other in first class. David was called to the front of the waiting area and was asked if he would like to board first or last, seeing that he was a celebrity and the airline wanted to make sure he wasn’t bothered as other passengers boarded the plane. David looked at Parker and asked what he wanted to do. Both agreed to board first so they could enjoy a cocktail right off. Parker suggested that David pull his hair back into a ponytail thinking that people would be more apt to recognize him with his long hair flowing around his head. Funny thing that David had never thought of that and decided to give it a go. Sure enough, only a few passengers gave him a quizzical look as they passed through first class on the way to their seats and for the first time in a long time, no one stopped to ask for an autograph or selfie. Before the plane had leveled off into its cruising altitude, both men were sleeping—and smiling in their post-sex afterglow. It was only when the plane began its approach to LAX that they were awakened with instructions to prepare for landing. As the two made their way into the luggage area, Parker spotted a young lady holding a sign that said ‘D. Chase.’ David walked over to her and told her acknowledging his arrival and explained that they needed to get their luggage and they could be on their way. When they arrived at the offices for the Ellen DeGeneres show, they were escorted into a conference room and were told that someone would be with them shortly. The production assistant asked them if they wanted anything to drink and both asked for some water. Within minutes the door opened, and another woman came in with two bottles of water, an iPad, and a friendly smile. “Good afternoon gentlemen. I’m Mary Connelly, one of the producers for The Ellen Show. Normally a production assistant would handle the pre-interview, but since this was a rather last-minute thing, I’ll be taking care of you today.” David and Parker stood and shook Mary’s hand as they introduced themselves. “So David—your manager didn’t mention that you’d be bringing anyone along with you. Is there anything you need to let me know?” “I guess you were a bit surprised when you walked in and saw Parker. We have been friends since high school, and he was at my performance in San Francisco. When I was telling him about being on the show, I remembered a piece that he and I played while we were competing in New England. It’s the perfect thing for Ellen and will end up getting a big laugh and a ton of views on the internet.” “Oh? What’s the piece?” Together, both Parker and David answered, “Chopsticks!” Mary had a puzzled look but still smiled. “Would you care to explain?” Parker pulled out his phone and told Mary he had a video of their rehearsal from the night before. She took the phone once the video started and chuckled at the beginning sequence. As the piece continued and became more and more complex, David smiled as her eyes got bigger. When the video came to an end, Mary handed the phone back to Parker and declared that it really was the perfect piece for the show. “Now Parker, I need to get some information on you, so Ellen will know who you are.” “She kinda already knows me. She hired my partner and me to write the background music for Splitting Up Together.” “Yes! I just KNEW your name sounded familiar. If Ellen wants to have you join David on the couch, would you be okay with that?” “I guess, but this is really about David. I don’t want to take away from the reason he’s here.” David knew what was coming next and he closed his eyes, smiled a bit, and just shook his head. “And David, you do understand why Ellen wanted you on the show so badly?” “I’m afraid so, yes!” “Well, you will be the first Sexiest Man Alive to play the Hell out of the piano!” “I—I—guess that makes sense.” “Okay, so Ellen would like to raise money for a charity of your choice. Shutterfly will donate $10,000.00, and we just need to decide how.” “Oh man—this is the part that has been making me nervous!” David looked at Parker and chuckled. “We have two options—and both would have you down to a pair of Ellen boxer briefs.” “No way!” “That’s awesome, David! Mary—he has the most incredible body. You should see…” “That’s enough, Parker. Please?” Mary smiled at the rapport the two men had. This could be a lot of fun for the show. “Okay Mary—what are the two options?” “The first would be the dunk tank. Ellen would throw balls at it and dunk you in a tank of water.” “That doesn’t really appeal to me. What’s the other?” “The second would be a bit of strip. Ellen would remove an article of clothing, and the tally would build up until you were down to your underwear. Personally, you would be the first to do this, and I think the audience will eat it up.” David took a deep breath and finally agreed to it. “What charity would you like to raise the money for?” “I don’t have any personal charities that I do things for yet. Parker? Can you think of any?” “What about Ellen’s Wildlife Fund?” “Sounds good to me!” “Perfect! We’ll have some fun. Since Ellen has a stake in it, you just resist a bit, and she’ll “beg” you to give in—should be a lot of fun.” “Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve done stuff just to have fun. I’m totally looking forward to it.” “Why now?” David looked over to Parker and smiled. “It’s Parker--I just got my best friend and co-conspirator back in my life. It feels great to be alive again!” Parker beamed as Mary watched the two handsome men lock eyes. “Well, gentlemen. I think I have everything we need. We have a car in front of the studio for you to take you to your hotel. You will be picked up at 9:00 in the morning for rehearsal. After that, you’ll be taken to your dressing room and just relax. We start filming at 12:30. Parker—do you need a room at the hotel?” “No, I live in L.A.” “Well, we would prefer to pick the two of you up at the same location so Andy will know that both of you are on the way together and he can relax.” “Don’t worry, Mary. Parker can stay with me.” “Perfect. I’ll call the hotel and let them know that there will be two of you-you'll be all set.” Mary stood and shook hand with David and Parker. “Looking forward to tomorrow!” She led the guys out to the lobby and their waiting car. Forty-five minutes later they were checking into the hotel and moving into their suite. As soon as the door closed, Parker told David that he needed to call Justin and let him know what was going on. David took his bags into the bedroom and unpacked while Parker made his call. He heard Parker raise his voice a couple of times and decided that he would hop in the shower rather than go back out into the main room. After a few minutes of relaxing under the cascade of warm water, the shower door opened and Parker stepped in. “Would you like some company?” “Sure babe. Hey—is everything okay? It sounded like you were getting upset.” “Yeah, it’s all good. Justin was a little pissed that I hadn’t called sooner to let him know about the Ellen gig—or that you and I have been catching up. He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stay at the house tonight. I just ended up getting a little defensive.” “Should we not be doing this? Be honest.” “No. That’s not it, really. You see, Justin plays around. Always has. I knew that getting into the relationship and have been okay dealing with it. You are the only person I’ve done anything with since he and I have been together. He figured that out somehow. Apparently, he’s not too crazy about being on the end of the deal I’ve been on the whole time.” “I’m sorry, Parker. We shouldn’t have…” “No! No! No regrets, David. I could have stopped things—if I had wanted to. You were the first boy I ever did so many things with and it was amazing. And you know something? It was even more so last night.” “Are you sure? I don’t want to cause any problems with you and Justin.” “I’m sure. And I’m sure about the amazing blow job you’re about to get right here in the shower. Because now--” Parker got on his knees and started working David’s cock with his hand and mouth until it was standing at its full nine-inch glory. “—now—I can take all nine inches down my throat.” Parker DID take every inch of David’s cock while humming and swallowing his way to a powerful nut, not wasting a drop of the sweet load. After giving David some time to recover, Parker stood up and locked him in a powerful, deep kiss. The two boys held each other under the steamy flow of water and didn’t speak a word. Words weren’t needed in the moment—the closeness they felt in each other’s arms spoke volumes. When they got out of the shower, they slowly dried each other off and then made their way into the large bed. Parker spread his entire body on top of David’s and told him that this time, he wanted to make love to David. “Please do, Parker. I can’t think of anything I would like more than to feel you inside me.” “Lay still, babe. I got this.” Parker then proceeded to kiss, lick, nibble, and suck of nearly every part of David’s body, remembering all of his sensitive spots as if it were just days—not years—since the last time they were together like this. “Please fuck me, Parker! I need you so much!” “No-no-no-no-no. No fucking this time. I’m going to make love to you—just like I always did.” “Ooooooooooooh God!” David felt Parker’s magnificent tongue push inside his tight hold and he instantly gave himself to the man who has made him happier than he’s been in years. For the next thirty minutes, Parker eased his cock in and out of David in an excruciatingly slow movement. They changed positions so many times David lost track of the number. By the time Parker was ready to lose his nut inside David, they were both whimpering and calling out their love to each other. Both men came together, but it wasn’t a loud, shout-to-the-skies nut. It was quiet, tender, and extremely intense. David and Parker immediately fell asleep in each other's arms. Two hours later, David woke Parker up with a slow and deep blowjob that quite literally brought tears to Parker’s eyes. “Good morning, Sexiest Man Alive. Those editors at People Magazine have NO idea how right they got it.” “Shut up, dumb shit! Don’t start with that shit. Ellen’s gonna give me enough of it today. Now, let’s order breakfast from room service and get our showers going. It’s gonna be taking me a while to get ready since I have to do the sexy hair thing.” David gave Parker a deep kiss and shared the remnants of the morning load that lingered on his tongue. “I think I’ll shower in the other bathroom because if I get in there with you, we will be late. I’ll order breakfast for us so you can get started. Usual for you?” “Yep. Some things haven’t changed a bit.” “You’re tellin’ me!” David reached into his suitcase and found the bottles of Norwegian hair products he discovered on a recent European tour. They were expensive as hell, but he liked how the conditioners allowed the curls to keep their shape without using a lot of hairspray, which tended to make his hair feel sticky. He liked how his hair moved with him while he played the piano—especially since that had become part of his onstage “image.” Before doing his hair, David put on his outfit—signature black skinny jeans and black Versace v-neck tee-shirt. He then turned his hair dryer to low and medium heat and began the process of creating his signature long, blond, curly mane of luscious hair. As David was finishing his hair, Parker walked in and was blown away by the gorgeous man in front of him. “Jesus Christ! You look fucking amazing. Let’s be late. I want you to fuck the shit outta me!” “Whatever, dipshit! Hey, what are you planning to wear?” “I had an idea and wanted to clear it with you. I was thinking about my skinny jeans and a burgundy tee. I want it to look like I was just hanging in the wings and not dressed to perform on fucking national television!” “Sounds perfect. Good thinking there, babe.” “Oh fuck, I’m going to be playing on national television. Why is that now scaring the shit outta me?” “No-no-no—don’t worry about that. You sound amazing, and together, we’re ready to kick some ass on that piano. Except for a couple of cameras, it’s going to be just like playing for a couple hundred people. You and I have done that as long as we’ve known each other.” “Yeah, I know you’re right. I’ll be cool—promise.” Room service arrived with breakfast, and the guys sat down at the table in the main room. After eating, David grabbed his Ralph Lauren black leather biker jacket and completed his famous bad-boy look. They made their way down to the lobby at 9:00 and found their limo waiting at the front of the main door. They were whisked to the studio and arrived at 9:45. Damned L.A. traffic! The boys were immediately taken to their dressing room, where they relaxed until they were called into the studio for their segments. They had to play through their piece twice so the cameras could get their shots set. They were surprised when David and Parker got to the point of their song when the switched places. When they finished playing the second time, there was quite a bit of applause from the staff and crew. That helped Parker relax, and he was ready to have a blast when the taping began. The director told Parker that Ellen wanted him to join David for a brief interview after they played their number. When they go to commercial, Parker will go backstage, and Ellen would have David do the fundraising “strip.” They were sent back to their dressing room and told that they would be called to make-up so they would get their faces ready for television. As they were heading backstage, Mary came up to them and told them there was a gift basket for each of them. It included several pairs of Ellen underwear. David needed to put on a pair of the boxer-briefs for the strip. Even though they had over an hour to spare before taping, the time flew by. While they were in the make-up chairs, Ellen popped her head in and let David and Parker know she saw their rehearsal and thought it was perfect. She also thanked David for choosing her wildlife foundation for the charity and mentioned that he was the first to do that. Ellen took a hand in each of hers and thanked them for coming in at the last minute. She told them that it was all about having fun—and getting David down to his boxer-briefs! ******* Back East, in Barnstable—Charlie Danner was sitting in the great room with his son Noah and his friend Timothy. Every afternoon at 4:00 the boys insisted that Charlie join them to watch their favorite television show—Ellen. The familiar theme song by Pink filled the room, and the three viewers settled back for the next hour. They watched Ellen make her entrance and laughed at her first couple of jokes. Then it happened—the last thing Charlie Danner ever expected to see on Ellen. “Now I want to know one thing. How many of you came here because you heard Keanu Reeves was going to be here?” The audience yelled and cheered just at the mention of his name. “Sorry ladies, Keanu called me and had to cancel because of the flu. Now quit your moaning and groaning—we were soooooo lucky to get a darned good substitute at the last minute.” Charlie gasped out loud when the entire wall behind Ellen filled with the image of the People Magazine cover that featured David. The audience went crazy again as Ellen continued, “That’s right! We have the new Sexiest Man Alive—classical pianist David Chase! And wait ‘til you hear him tickle the ivories!” Charlie truly believed that he had finally gotten control of his roller-coaster emotions after the events of the last six months. He couldn’t help it—tears flowed freely down his face—yet Charlie couldn’t take his eyes off the screen. “Daddy? Why are you crying? It’s Ellen!” “Don’t worry about it, Noah. Let’s just watch the show.” “It’s that sexy man guy, isn’t it?” Charlie sighed. “Yes, Noah. Let’s just watch the show, okay?” “But why does he make you cry? He’s pretty—and I bet he’s nice because Ellen said he plays the piano.” “He plays the piano like no one else in the world.” “Is that why you’re crying?” “No, Noah—that’s not why.” “Then why?” Charlie sighed again. He knew that after all these years, the only way to get Noah to stop asking all the questions was just to go ahead and answer him. Before he could form the words, Charlie’s quiet tears advanced to full-out crying and sniffling. “Noah, David Chase is the love of my life—and I let him go. I lost him. I lost him.”
  15. FlyOnTheWall

    Chapter 5

    I can sooo relate to Tracey. I began playing piano when I was four. My older brother was a total jock. My father was a basketball, football, and baseball coach at the local high school. I was constantly teased because I played the piano instead of sports. I never heard the word "faggot" until high school. While it bothered me, and I tried my damnedest to NOT be gay, I found total acceptance for whoever and whatever I might end up being at the local theatre. Of course, it was a different time. Things can be both easier and much more cruel (at the same time, even) but my heart broke for Tracey with all the judgement being thrown at him from students AND adults. Thank you, Ronyx... a very compelling story!
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