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Second Shot - 43. Chapter 43: Family Ties

The Henry Mansion, Jason' family, lotsa food, Peter should have no problems at all.

Climbing the winding central stair case, Jason wished they'd taken a side one. KJ noticed them going up and tried to tag along. Much as he always tried not to push him away, Keith's presence would prevent a private moment. Fortunately, Uncle Dan saw his son following the two and called him back. For his quick save, Jason gave his uncle a grateful nod.

Peter ascended slowly, forcing Jason to slow his pace. He was staring at the chandelier hanging in foyer. When they were parallel with it, he stopped.

"Do you realize that is bigger than either of us?"

Jason remembered the first time he noticed just how big it was. "Yeah, it is pretty cool."

"Amazing," Peter whispered.

Jason led them to the rooms he and Dean used during the summer. He showed Peter to his room, telling him this was where they had all the phone sex.

Sitting on the four-post, queen bed, Peter scanned the large bedroom. "Explain to me again why we're in separate rooms? I mean, this is almost as big as both our bedrooms combined AND has its own bath."

"My grandmother's old fashioned." Jason shrugged. "She said she wouldn't let one of the girls stay with anyone they weren't married to, same with Dean."

"Yeah, but we can't get married. Did she consider that?"

Peter didn't sound too annoyed, though he also didn't look happy. "Yes, I pointed that out, half heartedly, I admit. Her response was, when we've been together a few more years and are living together, she'll reconsider."

Peter's reaction, laughter, was not what Jason expected. "I can so see her telling you that. Since I do NOT want to mess with her, I won't complain. You can sneak over for a visit, then go back to your room when we're done."

Jason shook his head, snorting once. "You think she hasn't thought of that already? There were specific promises extracted, that I wouldn't creep over in the middle of the night when I presumed everyone was asleep."

Jerking his head back, Peter smirked. "Glad I wasn't part of that conversation."

"Yeah, it was fun. Grams can be quite blunt when she wants to be."

They kissed again, before Jason led them to where he would be staying. Flopping down on the equally large bed in this room, he motioned for Peter to come sit by him.

"However, I didn't promise we would be angels before we went to our separate rooms for the night."

A small smile broke across his face. "Isn't that splitting hairs? I mean we know what they want."

He knew what his grandmother wanted, but he wanted to hear Peter's reaction. "Yeah, it is. I was hoping you would agree with that, but figured I wouldn't say more until you had a chance to think about it."

He got off the bed and pulled Jason with him. "Am I allowed to kiss you at least?"

Jason kissed him as an answer. "There's definitely no rule against that."

When they returned to the main floor, Uncle Raymond was glaring at his mom, and his grandparents' good mood was gone. All eyes turned to the pair as they arrived.

"Merry Christmas, Uncle Ray." Jason stepped forward to greet his Uncle, but stopped when the older man turned his head toward his wife.

His mother, looking as mad as she was at him the day he came out, gave him a tiny head shake. Rather than let things lie, he stepped back to Peter. "That's Uncle Ray who's ignoring us, in case you were wondering."

Ray Junior's head snapped back to Jason, eyes narrow. After everything that happened, he didn't want a fight, but he also wasn't being the asshole in this. He saw no reason to pretend he did.

Rather than address Jason, Ray turned to his sister. "Is that how you let your son speak to me?"

If he expected support, he found none. "I thought it was rather polite considering how rude and boorish you were to my son when he tried to say hello."

The two stared, no, glared at each other. Ray blinked first. There were no allies to be found, not even his wife. Shooting daggers with his eyes at everyone, especially Jason, Ray stormed off.

Embarrassed and uncomfortable, Jason wanted to leave. Not just the kitchen, but the house as well. Clearly, he was the cause of what was already the least festive Christmas he could remember.

"It's not your fault." It was as if his grandfather could read his mind. "Your uncle is being obstinate."

"Being an ass is more accurate," Flora said. She scooted around the counter and grabbed a hand from each of them. "Why don't you and your cousins go down to the recreation room? We'll call down when it's time."

Jason turned on cartoons for Kayla and Jenny, while Keith and Dean selected a non-violent game neither of them really wanted to play. It still amazed him that his grandparents bought an Xbox and had all the latest games, just for when the grandkids showed up.

When Meredith and Stephen decided to 'go for a walk,' Michele watched until they were out of sight. "He's such a stiff." She gave them both a wink before heading toward the bar area.

Drinks in hand, the three made for the far end of the large room.

"So what happened when we were upstairs?" Jason kept his voice low, hoping the others didn't hear him.

Michele tensed visibly, looking around. "Sort of the culmination of eight really bad months."

"That was cryptic, cuz. Since I appear to be the cause of some of the issue, I would like to know what I did."

Michele took a deep breath, followed by a drink. "Sorry, it's not exactly a fun topic. You're not the cause of the problem; Dad is having money issues."

"Really?" Jason shouldn't have sounded so shocked. He stole a glance at Peter. He appeared indifferent to the conversation, but Jason knew he was listening.

"Yeah." She nodded. It was a few moments before she started again. "It really isn't that surprising is it? Unlike your parents or Aunt Karen, Dad's not shy about spending money. And while Uncle Dan and your dad both work, Dad has never had a paying job.

"Things were fine until the markets went south. Once the principal started to dry up, so did the income. That, and Dad took over management of his trust fund and lost most of it on bad investments. Not sure how much he has left, but I know he's really worried he's going to run out soon."

Jason noticed her expression seemed partly concerned, but more angry. "What? There's more?"

"Things are so bad, or so he claims, that he stopped paying for college for me and Meredith."

"Really?" This did shock him.

"Yeah, it was scary. I almost didn't go back for my senior year. Mom had to come beg Pop and Grandma to pay for our school. "

"Your mom?" In his entire life, Aunt Dolores never did anything to disagree with her husband.

Michele nodded her head, her eyes wide. "Yeah. Dad asked Pop for money, not for our tuition, but in general. Pop refused, telling Dad to get a job and live within his means. Dad told us Pop and Grandma refused to help, so he couldn't pay for school anymore."

"Wow, that's harsh." Peter's voice startled Jason. He had been so quiet, Jason forgot he was listening.

"No one believed him." Shaking her head, she looked so sad. "I mean, you know how they feel about education. Turns out, Dad asked, but wanted them to give him the money and he would use it to pay for school. Pop didn't trust him, obviously. I mean Dad blew through almost fifty-million dollars in his trust. Once Pop said, 'no' to the general bail out, Dad started doing whatever he could to squeeze money from them. Pop isn't stupid; he knew what Dad was up to.

"Mom couldn't believe Pop and Gram wouldn't help out me and Meredith. She spoke to them directly and found out they offered to pay the schools directly and send us money, but he turned them down. Mom accepted their offer and now they are helping us.

Never a fan of his uncle, Jason had even less reason to like him now. "How nice of him, he put your futures on the line to test his theory."

She refused to look at either of them. Peter kept shifting his eyes from her to Jason. Still looking embarrassed, she said, "Yeah, I know. Anyway, Pop called Uncle Roy to see what he gives you each month and that's what we get. It's not what we're used to, but it gets us by. Why am I not surprised Uncle Roy doesn't give you the keys to the vault?"

Jason was afraid see Peter's face. Michele was complaining that his lifestyle was rough going. He didn't need to ask to know what Peter thought. He decided he needed to change topics.

"And this has to do with me, how?"

"So this is where it gets interesting." Michele scanned the room, then motioned them closer. "After being denied more money, Dad has been trying to find out the terms of Pop's will. From what little I heard, Pop told Dad not to expect anything more from him and Grandma. I think Dad asked to be given his inheritance up front."

Hearing his uncle's treatment of his grandparent created a wave of anger in Jason. "That's ballsy. I mean, they aren't even sick, why would he start asking about their wills?"

"Yeah, I never said Dad was a good guy." Michele's expression told Jason she wasn't trying to defend her father. "So from what I heard, Pop's will was changed, Dad found out by paying someone on the house staff to spy for him."

"Wait." Peter's voice was louder than hers causing the three to see if he attracted any attention. When no one turned around, they huddled back together. "Your dad is having money issues, so he spends money to pay someone to spy for him?"

Michele frowned and rolled her eyes. "I didn't say he was the smartest either. Once Dad heard this, he confronted Pop, who went ballistic. Can you tell they aren't speaking very much lately."

"No, I haven't been around much."

"Ah, forgot you missed last night." She smiled at him then, Peter. "Awkward!"

Despite himself, Jason laughed. When he saw Peter smiling, he gave him a wink. "Still don't see how this gets back to me."

"Not sure Dad knows all the details, but evidently one of the changes in Pop's will involves you."

Jerking his head back, Jason stared at her to be sure he heard it right. "Me?"

"Yup. Not sure what Pop did, but you're singled out in some way. Made Dad crazy. He and your mom had it out last night. I swear Uncle Roy was about to pummel Dad the way he spoke to Aunt Barbara."

No one told him about a near fight. He needed to get details from Dean before they left.

Michele took a deep breath. "I never remember your dad yelling at anyone, much less curse. He was livid. Uncle Dan had to step in and separate them. Finally Grandma ended things. Told Dad to cool down or leave. You know Gram, she can calm a hurricane."

How could no one tell him this? Had he known, he never would have dragged Peter into this firestorm. "Why didn't anyone tell me we were walking into a hornet's nest?"

"I don't know. Aunt Barbara wanted today to be special for you and Peter. Maybe she was hoping things would calm down before today."

His mom worried about him and Peter? Things really had changed in a couple months. Before he could say anything, Michele started talking again.

"Anyway, things were settling down until Dad found out you and Peter are staying over. He stormed over to Pop and asked what the hell was going on. Pop told him this is still his house and he could invite, or 'un-invite,' anyone he chose."

"Un-invite, eh?" Jason checked on Peter, but he seemed unaffected by the information.

"Yeah, a not so subtle threat." She looked at them both. "So why did he invite you to sleep over?"

Jason scanned her face to see what her motivation was for asking. Did she feel left out, worried she was being cut out? Was this going to affect his and her relationship? "He said they wanted to get to know Peter a bit and today wouldn't be the day. And he said he wanted to talk to me about his cars. He has mentioned in the past he wants to trim his collection. Since we bought about half of them together, I guess he's being nice."

Michele shrugged. "That sounds like Pop."

"Things must be bad," Jason said. "Your dad was never like this."

"Oh, yes he was." Michele pouted her bottom lip as if tasting something foul. "You were too young to understand how he was when the stock market tanked in 2000. Mostly because he only talked about it around mom and maybe Pop. But those losses, plus this time, he's almost tapped out. He can't sell the house for anything close to what he wants. I know he refinanced it for cash during the housing boom, so he might not get what he owes, let alone any profit. Lately he has been selling stuff, paintings, the vacation house, the boat, he even made mom sell some jewelry. Together it bought him time, but given our lifestyle, it won't last long."

From the corner of his eye, Jason tried to watch for Peter's reaction. Whatever he was thinking was unreadable. His, 'you aren't going to know what I think,' face was firmly in place. The exuberance he felt at being invited, and Peter seemingly fine with staying, evaporated in the few minutes they were talking to Michele.

Even without seeing it in his face, Jason knew Peter's mind was wrapped around his family's money. Michele slipped up announcing how much money Pop gave Uncle Ray. Now Peter had a good estimate of what Jason's family was worth at a minimum.

"What's wrong, Jase?" Michele's voice brought him out of his thoughts.

"Just not the Christmas I was hoping for." Right now he wanted to go for a walk. He needed to talk to Peter, find out what was going on in his head.

Michele's rueful laugh told him what she thought. "Yeah, Dad has a knack for making people unhappy lately."

"Do you mind if Pete and I go for a walk?" Hopefully Peter wouldn't be mad at the request. There wasn't any good way to separate themselves from Michele other than just asking.

"Um . . ." She looked around for something to do, then shrugged. "Sure. Catch up with you in a few."

Jason retrieved their coats, and they walked out the back door onto the pool area.

"So that's the infamous shower room." Peter was staring at the cabana beside the pool.

A nervous laugh slipped out. Although not how he wanted the conversation to start, it told him volumes about what Pete was thinking.

"Yeah, let's not go in there." Jason reached for Peter's hand. The hesitant acceptance did nothing to improve his mood. "Pete, I'm sorry about all that inside."

"Stop." Peter yanked on Jason's arm to make him stop walking. "You have nothing at all to apologize for, nothing. You're not your uncle or even your nice, but snooty, cousins. I was trying to keep from saying how terrible it must be to live on such a pittance."

"Yeah." Jason muttered. What a difference a year made for him.

"What?" Peter positioned himself so they were face to face. "You sound annoyed now."

"Oh no." Jason shook his head quickly. "Not annoyed, more like embarrassed. I was like Michele just a year ago. But you knew that."

Peter pulled him closer, a wide smile on his face. "No, Jase. You were never like that. You were always conscious about not being a spoiled brat. Maybe that's because there are guys on your team who are on scholarship or whatever. But from the day we met, you were always careful to not flout your family's money. It's one reason I love you so much. You're so modest about most things."

He was about to protest his being, 'modest,' but all he could focus on was 'love you so much.' "Thanks."

Not caring if anyone was watching, he reinforced his thanks with a kiss. With a happy Peter staring back at him, Jason let his anxiety wash away. "C'mon, I want to show you Pop's cars."

Getting to the car barn required walking almost the length of the house, then down a long driveway until the large multi-door garage was visible. Peter stopped before they reached the entrance.

"Holy shit, Jase. How many cars does he have?" The hint of excitement in Peter's voice made Jason glad he chose to take him here.

"Counting the everyday town car? Eighteen." Having washed, waxed and detailed them last summer, he knew exactly how many cars Pop owned.

When they reached the door, Jason realized he might not be able to get inside if they changed the pass code. Using the old code proved successful, and he held the door for Peter. Not paying attention, he nearly bumped into him, when Peter suddenly stopped.

Parked in two rows, Raymond Henry's collection quietly sparkled under the numerous lights. Feet rooted in place, Peter's head moved from classic car to classic car.

For Jason, his attention went to the silver Austin Healey parked in the front row. Smiling at the placement, cars in the front row were driven more often, he saw Peter move out of the corner of his eye. Moving closer, he joined Peter in front of a pristine white Bentley.

Lost in his thoughts, Peter ran a hand over the long, sleek hood. "What year is this Bentley, Jase?"

"That, young Master Gregory, is a 1948."

They both turned at the sound of Raymond Henry's voice. Wearing his favorite driving cap and a three-quarter length wool coat, he smiled broadly at the pair. Slowly he walked over, a somewhat distant look in his eyes.

"I was about your age when my father and I stood on the docks in Philadelphia waiting for its delivery. She is as beautiful today as she was that wonderful day."

"It's amazing," Peter said wistfully.

"It is Flora's favorite." Ray walked around the front, opening the driver's side door. "There is no time for a ride today, but feel free to sit inside."

Jason wanted to hug his grandfather for the smile his offer etched on Peter's face. After a moment's hesitation, Peter slipped behind the wheel.

Lightly running his hands over the wheel, he let his fingers graze the stick shift, dash, dials and anything else within reach. Seeing his boyfriend so transfixed, Jason slipped into the back seat.

"Peter." He did his best to sound as British as the car, but earned an amused chuckle from his grandfather. "To the field house and be quick. We have a match today."

Twisting, Peter rolled his eyes, still appearing caught up in the moment. Jason grinned back, happy to see Peter enjoying himself.

"Flora warned me to have you back inside by one forty-five." Ray pulled a watch from his vest pocket, something Jason grew up seeing. "That gives us thirty minutes before we should go back."

Climbing out of the car, Jason was careful not to scuff the door. "How did you know we were in here?"

"When I saw you get your coats, I asked myself, 'where would Jason take Peter?' There really was only one answer."

Peter, seemingly reluctant, exited the Bentley. "Only one?"

"Jason explained you have an interest in classic cars." Raymond directed him to the back row. "If I were going to leave the house for a walk, this is where I would come."

Jason kept his stupid grin. "Watched us from the deck, didn't you, Pop."

Raymond laughed, shaking his head. "Followed you out, actually."

"Oh." Jason could feel his face flush. Pop would have seen their kiss.

"Wow."

Peter stopped in front of a silver sedan. Its long, high hood, capped by an impressive silver grill surrounded by two large protruding headlights looked as elegant as it was old. Emerging from wide running boards, the long loping front fenders sat over the thin, white wall tires, framing the exhaust pipes that originated by each of its eight supercharged cylinders. He turned to Raymond, the unspoken question clear on his face.

"A 1933 Duesenberg, Model SJ." Explaining his passion to someone of the 'younger generation' always excited Raymond. Jason saw the same expression when Pop took the four of them to the car show last summer. "During its day, this was known as the 'Twenty Grand,' because of its price. This model was only built for one year, no new and improved models, just this one. To me it is the most beautiful Duesenberg ever built."

Peter knelt, running his hand over the running boards, across the fender, stopping to touch the exhaust pipes. "Do you ever drive it?"

Ray nodded. "Like all my cars, they are taken out from time to time. Lately however," Ray's face appear a bit somber. "I am reduced to being a passenger. My reflexes are not what they once were and Flora's not ready for me to leave her."

A touch of sadness hit Jason. These were one of Pop's passions. Not being able to feel the purr of the engine or the feel of the road beneath the wheels bothered him. Whatever Jason knew about these cars he learned from his grandfather.

"Don't fret so Jason." Raymond's voice forced Jason to look over. "I still drive 'our' car and a few others."

His grandfather's smile proved infectious. He delighted in showing them his 1956 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe, 1967 Ferrari 365 California Spyder, the 1923 Voisin Model C-5, Sporting Victoria. Pointing to cars, he gave them a brief history of each, where he bought it, how long he owned it, as well as any interesting fact associated with them.

Peter paid attention to all of them, but seemed particularly interested in the older, larger cars like the Voisin, Duesenberg or the 1930s era Maybach. The enthusiastic interest told Jason this was the right place to take Peter.

Pulling on the chain, Raymond opened his watch. "We'd best go or we will ruin Flora's day."

Snapping it shut, he returned the time piece to its pocket and gestured for the door.

He put a hand his grandfather's shoulder. "Thanks, Pop."

"Yes, thank you." Peter nodded with vigor. "This was so cool."

"My pleasure. Perhaps tomorrow we can take a closer look at a few more." Locking the door, Raymond missed the huge smile on Peter's face.

**

The formal dining hall was easily half the size of the entire first floor of Peter's house. Staff removed several leaves from the still long table. Eighteen places were set and when all but Flora and one other place was left empty, Peter turned to Jason.

"Who's that last place setting for?"

"Anastasia," Jason answered. "She's eaten Christmas dinner with us since I can remember."

"Wow," Peter mumbled.

"Yeah, even though she works for my grandparents, she's one of my grandmother's closest friends. They have been through a lot together."

Before Peter could respond, Flora and Anastasia entered with the last of the food. Neither sat down and Jason motioned for Peter to stand up. Everyone quietly joined hands and bowed their heads.

"Dear Lord," Raymond Henry spoke in his calm, measured voice. "At this time of year we remember all the blessings you have bestow on our family. That we are all here, sitting together, at this table, is my most cherished gift. I want to thank you for healing our wounds, bringing us back together and for watching over us all. You have been kind and good to us, help us to never forget your generosity and kindness. We ask you continue to bless us as we strive to do your will every day. Amen"

"Thank you Lord, for this food." Flora's small voice filled the room with surprising ease. "Thank you for showing us the way to forgiveness, for showing us the value of family and for the blessing of the love we share. We are especially thankful that you watched over Peter and made him well. Amen."

Jason was about to let go of Peter’s hand when his mother squeezed his other hand. "Thank you Lord, for showing me what was most important in my life, for giving me the strength to do what a mother should and most of all for helping my son forgive me."

This time the silence lingered until Raymond said, "Amen"

When the family responded in kind, everyone dropped hands and sat down; everyone but Jason. Blinking twice, he bent down, kissing his mother on the cheek. "Thanks Mom," he whispered softly.

Barbara squeezed his hand tight. "Thank you, Jason."

He found his seat and noticed his grandmother staring at him. She gave him a small nod and a smile. When she winked at him, he couldn't hold back a shy grin, before he winked back. Peter slid his hand onto Jason's leg, squeezing it softly until Jason covered it with his own.

Dinner was its usual raucous affair. With so many people, conversations broke out at different places. The lone exception, Jason noticed, was his Uncle Ray. Whether by design or by chance, he sat across the table from Jason and Peter, next to his sister Karen on one side and his wife on the other. He picked at his food, and kept quiet, passed what he was asked, grunting or nodding when necessary.

After everyone ate far too much, Flora asked Peter and Jason to come help with dessert. Typical of how they made any meal, Peter cooked - in this case making whipped cream in Flora's industrial sized mixer - while Jason uncovered the pies, removed cookies from the box and put éclairs and cannolis on serving plates.

Once Flora was satisfied everything was in order, Dean and Michele were called to help carry everything. His grandmother directed them where to place each dessert. Happy with their work, she smiled and sat down.

As with dinner, the amount of sweets far exceeded what was needed. After everyone took what they wanted, the room went quiet except for the sound of forks on plates and the sounds of people eating.

People began to push back from the table, making noise about how much they ate. Jason noted his uncle, in between bourbon and Coke, glared at him, probably Peter too, the entire time they were at the table. With dinner finished, his venomous looks were more obvious.

"Peter, Jason, thank you so much for providing dessert." Flora's voice made them the center of attention. "The pie was wonderful and Jason, you know I will enjoy the Sfogliatelle all week."

Jason put his hand on Peter's shoulder. "Thank Pete, Grandma, he baked. All I did was pick up what Pop ordered."

"What a Hallmark Holiday moment." Uncle Ray rolled his eyes, before draining the last of his drink. "Sucking up to the old man won't work, nephew. And you," he jutted his chin at Peter. "Don't get think you hit it rich. It all looks nice, but don't expect any of it."

Peter's head dropped toward his plate. "I don't expect anything."

Jason barely heard Peter's whisper, he was too angry with his uncle.

"Ray, just stop!" Barbara shot him 'the look.'

At first he seemed unrepentant, then he mumbled some half-hearted apology.

Meredith stood up, her red cheeks speaking to her obvious embarrassment. "Okay, grandchildren over the age of ten and their guests." She nodded to her fiancé and Peter. "As is the Henry family tradition, we're in charge of clean up."

Dean grumbled softly, but got up when prodded by his father. The adults 'assisted' by stacking and gathering their plates and silverware for collection. In years past, the 'chore' was anything but work. He and Michele usually did the lion share of the work, but they always had each other laughing the whole time.

Peter seemed a bit distant at first, but quickly lightened up under Michele's persistent ribbing. Soon the three were laughing, rinsing, washing and drying. Meredith used Stephen as an excuse to disappear as soon as the plates were off the table.

"New excuse, same result." Jason smirked. When Peter stared at him, he added, "Since we were teenagers, she has found one excuse after another to not help. Guess she thinks 'commanding' us all to come clean is her contribution."

"Aren't you going to claim the same privilege, Jase?" Dean grabbed a couple towels from a cabinet.

"You two leave me with the twerps and you'll be sorry."

Dean and KJ protested at her comment.

Peter grabbed a towel from Dean. "Nah, would rather stay in here, there are fewer barbs being flung my way."

"Yeah," Michele never looked up from the sink. "Sorry about Dad, he's more than a little bitter these days."

"And he's drunk," Jason said.

Peter's face didn't give Jason any idea how much Uncle Ray's comment affected him, though he suspect more than a bit. Even his mother's rush to defend Peter might not be enough. So caught up in his thoughts he didn't hear KJ ask him something.

Small droplets of soapy water hit his cheek, bring him back to where he was.

"Hey!"

"Next time pay attention." Michele sounded unrepentant. "KJ was talking to you."

Turning to his left, he saw KJ smirking at Jason's misfortune. "Gram asked me to play piano tonight. Can you turn the pages for me again?"

Last year when KJ asked, he tried to decline, but his cousin insisted, saying he would let him know when to turn the pages.

"Actually . . ."

"C'mon, Jase." KJ's disappointment stung Jason.

He knew how much his cousin looked up to him and wanted his approval, but he had something better in mind this year. Grabbing KJ in a headlock, he pretended to punch the top of his head.

"You should have let me finish." He released the hold. "Peter plays piano too. Perhaps if you ask him, he'll do it for you."

KJ's eyes got wider as he turned from Jason to Peter. "Really?"

Jason nodded twice. "Yup."

"You don't need to ask, KJ." Peter dried his hands and passed Jason the towel. "I would be happy to help. You don't need someone who can't read music messing things up."

Seeing his younger cousin's excitement, Jason wanted to kiss Peter, but refrained.

"Cool, wait 'til I tell Mom." He practically ran from the kitchen leaving everyone else smiling at his enthusiasm.

With everything washed, dried, or put in the dishwasher, Jason handed a towel to Michele and used the other one to wipe down the counter.

Dean shook his, half rolling his eyes. "Kid gets way too excited if you ask me."

"Actually," Jason tapped his brother on the shoulder with his fist. "No one asked you. Don't worry, he won't replace you."

"Oh my god!" Michele swatted him with her towel. "Someone tell Pop to widen the doors. Jason's head has grown three more sizes."

Unaware he said anything wrong, Jason gave her a confused look. "What did I do?"

"Nothing, Jase. Ignore her." Peter smirked at Michele as he rubbed Jason's back gently. "KJ adores you and you don't treat him like a little kid. I think it's great. "

Special thanks to KevinD not only for being a vocal reader and active supporter of GA, but for his help with the classic cars. Kevin not only offered suggestions, and provided literature and site links, he was gracious enough to give this chapter a read over before it was posted. Thanks Kevin!
Copyright © 2011 Andrew Q Gordon; All Rights Reserved.
If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

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Chapter Comments

Reallyvenjoyed this chapter, Ray is an idiot to blow 50 million....... I hope Peter is OK with all the talk of money.

 

 

 

Wonder how the will was changed....

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Loved this chapter too! Jason is growing up... I like it! And I hate Uncle Ray. Just saying... I hope we get to see more interactions between Peter and Jason's grandparents... I'm sorta looking forward to the conversation....

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On 02/27/2011 02:04 AM, rckclimber27 said:
Loved this chapter too! Jason is growing up... I like it! And I hate Uncle Ray. Just saying... I hope we get to see more interactions between Peter and Jason's grandparents... I'm sorta looking forward to the conversation....
RC, - The next chapter is the last one with the grandparents - until I get to the Short Story addition that deals with the trial. Glad you don't like Uncle Ray, that was the idea from the start - after all, he ruined the old Austin Healey that was "Jason and Pops' car. the last 5 chapters are going to have a different tone, so enjoy this one and the next, the last drop of the coaster is coming. Thanks for reading :) Andy
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On 02/27/2011 12:22 AM, Simonjames30 said:
Reallyvenjoyed this chapter, Ray is an idiot to blow 50 million....... I hope Peter is OK with all the talk of money.

 

 

 

Wonder how the will was changed....

Thanks Simon - yeah it must be hard to blow that much money but as Bernie Maddoff Shows, it's possible to 'invest wisely' but not be smart. I would think took over his investments thinking he was smarter than the trustees and could make more money - sadly we all know about a fool and his money. I suspect he always thought the bank of Ray and Flora would be there to bail him out should he get wiped out, but now he is faced with a harsh reality - they won't. They won't leave him destitute and on the street, but it might feel like it to him. Peter will be Peter til the end. As I said already, 45-49 will be the end of the ride and the last loop-de-loop is still waiting for you. Thanks for the review and for reading all along. I love the interaction with the readers. It so focuses my thoughts when they wonder. - Andy
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On 02/27/2011 12:07 AM, Frostina said:
Jason's head? :o 3 more sizes? :blink: no, no... I'm not going there.. :D

 

okay... can I cue some ominous music on here? :P

Such a dirty mind, Frosty. I'm shocked that you think such things. :blink: As for the ominous music, IDK, do you think we need it??? 0:)
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Awww... awesome chapter. I miss Christmas already :(

 

I'm just curious what Jase got from the op's will... and how would Pete react to it? Since your not a person to leave loose ends, hoping it'll be answered sooner than later.

 

And isn't it time you posted more often? :D

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Thanks for the kind words Andy - somehow a couple of minor typos got past us, but that didn't hurt the reading of the story. It was my pleasure to "give back" to you as an author, by making the small contribution to your story.

This was another great chapter loaded with the dynamics of a big family with the twist of how prosperity can affect us if we are not watchful...

I will add a comment here about the mall chapter-the feelings were so palpable that I felt as if I was in the mall with the guys watching the near implosion of the relationship...wow!

Thanks for sharing this story with us. I'm not happy thinking that this story is almost at an end though...

;-)

 

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On 02/27/2011 05:30 AM, boiwonder said:
Awww... awesome chapter. I miss Christmas already :(

 

I'm just curious what Jase got from the op's will... and how would Pete react to it? Since your not a person to leave loose ends, hoping it'll be answered sooner than later.

 

And isn't it time you posted more often? :D

Loose ends? Nope, Anyta won't let me. Everything has to be tied up or she won't let me stop. :P I promise to let everyone know what Jason is being left in the will. Uncle Ray already knows, no reason all of you shouldn't :D
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On 02/27/2011 05:57 AM, KevinD said:

Thanks for the kind words Andy - somehow a couple of minor typos got past us, but that didn't hurt the reading of the story. It was my pleasure to "give back" to you as an author, by making the small contribution to your story.

This was another great chapter loaded with the dynamics of a big family with the twist of how prosperity can affect us if we are not watchful...

I will add a comment here about the mall chapter-the feelings were so palpable that I felt as if I was in the mall with the guys watching the near implosion of the relationship...wow!

Thanks for sharing this story with us. I'm not happy thinking that this story is almost at an end though...

;-)

Kevin, really you were great, in a Jason/Peter-esque moment, when Mike saw the material on Antique cars, he was like a little kid at Christmas - he was so excited to thumb through it. I was cooking dinner when he saw it, and every so often - "Whoa" or "Wow" or "How freakin cool is that" would come from behind me. As for this ending. Hopefully there will be other stories that will grab you as well. While I do NOT see a sequel, Ethan is a character that has grabbed me, so maybe a spin off? with guest appearances? IDK yet. :)
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Ooh, family drama. A change in the will, ay? I have my guesses, but I'll just keep my mouth shut since you wouldn't tell me if I were right, anyways.

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On 02/27/2011 07:04 AM, Sara Alva said:
Ooh, family drama. A change in the will, ay? I have my guesses, but I'll just keep my mouth shut since you wouldn't tell me if I were right, anyways.
Okay, now I am dying to hear what your guess is. Send me a PM and I promise to confirm or deny it's accuracy - really. It just might not be until Wednesday when the next chapter come's out but I WILL tell you if you are right or not. 0:)
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Great chapter! I'm glad that Jason's grandparents are so loving and accepting of him and Peter. And I it's great that his mom is also now aware of what it is important in life :) I like how they are a really nice family even if Uncle Raymond is terrible. It was nice to see that Peter reacted well to Michelle saying all those things... but I don't know what he was thinking when Uncle Ray said those things to him and Jason. And the will... I wonder what was the change.

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On 02/27/2011 12:41 PM, Tiger said:
Dinner drama is always fun. Great chapter! :music:
Thanks Tim. I promise no more eating in the last few chapters, drama? No comment :whistle:
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On 02/27/2011 05:34 PM, ddz008 said:
Great chapter! I'm glad that Jason's grandparents are so loving and accepting of him and Peter. And I it's great that his mom is also now aware of what it is important in life :) I like how they are a really nice family even if Uncle Raymond is terrible. It was nice to see that Peter reacted well to Michelle saying all those things... but I don't know what he was thinking when Uncle Ray said those things to him and Jason. And the will... I wonder what was the change.
Haha DDZ, that was a lot of thoughts in that review. My vision of Mom - aka Barbara was that she was a lot like her brother Ray - privileged, concerned with appearances etc, but that Royce tempered that, bringing her back to earth somewhat. Her 'hiding' behind religion was just a crutch to hide her real reason for not approving - her position in the social scene when it came out her son was gay. As for everything, else, I said it else where - I am going to answer the change in the will question in chapter 44. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Andy
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I really think this should have been broken down into 2 separate stories. I also found some of the middle chapters structurally weaker. Regardless, i loved it. The second story arch with Peter's attack had me in tears and the emotional attachment to the characters and the story was palatable. Thank you for writing this wonderful piece.

 

Cailen

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On 03/01/2011 12:48 AM, Cailen said:
I really think this should have been broken down into 2 separate stories. I also found some of the middle chapters structurally weaker. Regardless, i loved it. The second story arch with Peter's attack had me in tears and the emotional attachment to the characters and the story was palatable. Thank you for writing this wonderful piece.

 

Cailen

Two stories? Meh, not sure if it's the kind of story that is a two parter. It always seemed to me this was one story yes there were two parts, but not sure either is good enough to stand alone at the end - but you could be right. What is more interesting to me is the comment about the middle chapters - that one gave me a wow he's good moment. Those were actually the first written, so despite attempts to go back and 'clean' them up, I guess that doesn't work as well as writing from scratch - nice pick up :)
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Really enjoyed the chapter.

I like the descriptions that give us a "picture" of how the characters feel. For example:

Peter didn't sound too annoyed, though he also didn't look happy

He appeared indifferent to the conversation, but Jason knew he was listening.

Jason scanned her face to see what her motivation was for asking. Did she feel left out, worried she was being cut out? Was this going to affect his and her relationship?

I like how the reader can "hear" the different voices of the different characters. Like Pop in the garage and the "awkward" here, I feel like I can hear her tone.

"Ah, forgot you missed last night." She smiled at him then, Peter. "Awkward!"

Witty/funny:

His, 'you aren't going to know what I think,' face was firmly in place.

"What a Hallmark Holiday moment." Uncle Ray rolled his eyes, before draining the last of his drink.

I liked how you referred back to this because that's exactly what would have happened in real life:

"So that's the infamous shower room." Peter was staring at the cabana beside the pool. A nervous laugh slipped out. Although not how he wanted the conversation to start, it told him volumes about what Pete was thinking.

Also added authenticity: "Oh." Jason could feel his face flush. Pop would have seen their kiss.

 

These made me smile:

He was about to protest his being, 'modest,' but all he could focus on was 'love you so much.'

Peter slid his hand onto Jason's leg, squeezing it softly until Jason covered it with his own.

Thank You

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On 03/01/2011 06:56 AM, IfNotNow said:

Really enjoyed the chapter.

I like the descriptions that give us a "picture" of how the characters feel. For example:

Peter didn't sound too annoyed, though he also didn't look happy

He appeared indifferent to the conversation, but Jason knew he was listening.

Jason scanned her face to see what her motivation was for asking. Did she feel left out, worried she was being cut out? Was this going to affect his and her relationship?

I like how the reader can "hear" the different voices of the different characters. Like Pop in the garage and the "awkward" here, I feel like I can hear her tone.

"Ah, forgot you missed last night." She smiled at him then, Peter. "Awkward!"

Witty/funny:

His, 'you aren't going to know what I think,' face was firmly in place.

"What a Hallmark Holiday moment." Uncle Ray rolled his eyes, before draining the last of his drink.

I liked how you referred back to this because that's exactly what would have happened in real life:

"So that's the infamous shower room." Peter was staring at the cabana beside the pool. A nervous laugh slipped out. Although not how he wanted the conversation to start, it told him volumes about what Pete was thinking.

Also added authenticity: "Oh." Jason could feel his face flush. Pop would have seen their kiss.

 

These made me smile:

He was about to protest his being, 'modest,' but all he could focus on was 'love you so much.'

Peter slid his hand onto Jason's leg, squeezing it softly until Jason covered it with his own.

Thank You

Thanks - I - er - well I'm stunned by how much work you put into each review - it is greatly appreciated. Some of the things you pulled out, were some of my more favorite moments - I find it much easier to write the good, and I struggle writing conflict - so it is good to see not all my best stuff was wasted :) Thanks again, this was really nice. Andy
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Now wasn't that an interesting chapter? Changed wills, Peter being introduced to the world of the super rich and being reminded of it by Uncle Ray, no sleeping together despite the change in Jason's head (What??!! Only saying :) ) The descriptions were heavenly. I can see the house the kitchen, the dining room :) Apart from the fact that you made me hungry I really enjoyed that

 

 

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On 03/13/2011 02:00 AM, Nephylim said:
Now wasn't that an interesting chapter? Changed wills, Peter being introduced to the world of the super rich and being reminded of it by Uncle Ray, no sleeping together despite the change in Jason's head (What??!! Only saying :) ) The descriptions were heavenly. I can see the house the kitchen, the dining room :) Apart from the fact that you made me hungry I really enjoyed that

 

In some small part this was a chapter to show that which made Jason, Jason. For all her faults, Barbara did a pretty good job raising a good kid. He loves his family, and the cousins all love him. Unlike the others, he has time for KJ who, while in that in between place, between the older cousins and the younger ones, still isn't shoved aside by Jason. Of course, every family has it's resident Prick, Uncle Ray to the front please?? Since I wrote the summer chapters, I've had a vision of the Henry Mansion, that was itching to come out. Thank Benji for making me do more with the grandparents, else these chapters might not get written.
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