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Looking forward, it'll be interesting to see how Joey's visit to see Jack goes. I know Jack had also been seriously mislead by Shaun but he did say "Joey, promise me! If there is any future for us, then I don't want to have it hanging over me that I was the cause of your friendship breaking up, and I also don't want to get into anything if Shaun is going to be avoiding us because we are together, I happen to like the guy." Jack isn't aware of Shaun's current mental state, but I'm not sure what happened at Shaun's house was what he had in mind? The way Joey & Jack "resolve" this will be telling for their future relationship. I can't hate Shaun he needs some serious help, and I can't see him getting it from his parents. A desperate situation for him, let's hope he doesn't take any reckless steps.
I like that Jack stood up to Dean (with a bit of prompting from Joey), and that Joey has relaxed a little with Jack such that he's actually started flirting with him. Let's hope Shaun keeps to his promise to Joey about Jack. Whatever happens in the woods, it's going to be interesting!
It took a lot of courage, and a level of trust in Joey, for Jack to undress in front of him and reveal the level of physical abuse from his father. An adult needs to be involved but Joey also needs to be very careful not to betray the trust from Jack. Jack needs to know that he is safe with Joey, and that Joey cares about him. Jack needs to be persuaded to expose his father's abuse of him and his mother, but that won't be easy. He may not be dressed appropriately (although I don't know?) but as a first step, Joey needs to get out of bed again and give Jack a big warm gentle bear hug.
An excellent story James, thanks for your continuing efforts. Great character development, for me it's as though I'm almost sharing an insight into real people. I've re-read the chapter with Hunter's dark day three times now, and each time I've shed tears; my partner thinks I'm nuts when he sees the tears leak from my eyes as I look at my laptop! A Puppy 3 would be great. I'd like to think that Puppy & Hunter stick together, although I can see that there might be distractions along the way. They have too much invested together, they obviously love each other very much, even though they may not like or understand each other all of the time. All part of true love. Dealing with the bad times is what really builds a strong relationship. Steven & Puppy need to sort out their brotherly relationship, I'm sure Cindy's influence and council will help greatly. James, I've never been motivated to comment on any of the other stories I've read so you must be doing something right! Long may you continue.