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Malibu - 7. Fernando

“You look good, Jarhead.” César smiled while nodding. He was at last satisfied with Brett’s attire.

The Marine winked at his husband and stuck a pair of sunglasses atop his head. Tuesday after the long, holiday weekend had finally arrived. “Let’s go, Big Daddy. Let’s go reclaim some artwork and buy a house to display it all in.”

 

“Good morning. We’re here to see Mr. Llorosa.” Brett sounded upbeat and looked relaxed. Morning sex agreed with him too. At César’s suggestion, he had added a blazer to his sneakers, jeans, and light sweater.

The woman smiled at them from behind the museum’s reception desk. “Good morning. Welcome to CAMALA. Your names, please?”

“Brett Davenport and César Abelló. We have a ten o’clock appointment.”

“If you’ll please wait a moment, I’ll call the office and let them know you’re here.”

A few minutes later, a bespectacled young man approached the Washington couple. “Mr. Davenport?”

“I’m Brett Davenport.” The smiling Marine offered the young man his hand. “And this is my husband, César Abelló.”

“Good morning. Larry Newman. I’m Mr. Llorosa’s intern.” Larry extended his hand to shake César’s. “He went away for the holiday weekend and at the last minute decided to stay an extra day. I received an email from him asking me to meet you. He mentioned you wanted to tour the exhibition hall bearing your family’s name?”

Brett clenched his hands into fists, César quickly reached for one, and gently rubbed a thumb over it. White-knuckled, the Marine’s body vibrated with barely contained anger. César could see it in his husband’s face; Brett was ready to pounce and beat something or someone. He decided to mediate.

“Good morning, Larry. Did Mr. Llorosa mention when he would be back in town?”

“Oh, yeah. He said he would return tonight. I think he and his girlfriend went skiing. But that shouldn’t be a problem. I can escort you around.”

“That’s very nice of you.” César continued rubbing Brett’s hand, trying to prevent the brewing explosion. Larry Newman was not to blame for his boss being an idiot. Who the hell stood up someone who owned artwork on display valued in the millions? “I’d love to see all the pieces owned by us.” Technically, they belonged to Brett, but since they were married, he decided to be possessive. “They’re all on display, correct?” Aware they were not from the conversation with Alanna, he wanted to find out what the kid knew.

“Ummm, I’m not sure. Some could be in our conservation department. We do regular maintenance on everything we display.”

“We don’t mind inspecting them wherever they are.” The agreement Brett’s grandfather reached with the museum had been scanned and saved to the cloud a few years before. The previous day, they had downloaded it and printed the section describing each piece. “We have a list of all of them.”

“Actually, visitors are not allowed in those areas.” Larry’s apologetic look did nothing to calm Brett; he was increasingly agitated.

César grasped the hand he had been rubbing. “Let me ask you something, Larry. Do you have access to valuation records? Like how much each work is insured for?”

“I’m sorry, sir, I don’t. I wouldn’t even know where to start looking.”

“That’s quite alright. It’s not your fault. We were hoping to discuss such matters with Mr. Llorosa.” The kid looked like a nice college student placed in an awkward position by his boss. Said boss faced a beating from a pissed off Marine. Larry was an innocent bystander, and César did not want Brett taking his anger out on him. “Tell you what, let’s forget about the tour today. We’ll get in touch with Mr. Llorosa and reschedule.”

“Are you sure? Because I’d be happy to show you around. I do it all the time when Mr. Llorosa’s too busy. I even have the entire CAMALA catalogue of works on display in my phone. I have information about each piece in our collection.”

“Yeah, see, that’s part of the problem here. The art we want to see is not part of your fucking collection. They’re mine!” Brett spat out the last two sentences; his tone left no doubt he was furious.

“I… I’m sorry. I don’t know enough to…” The scared looking twenty-something pushed his glasses up on his nose.

That is an extremely smart comment, young man.” César paternally patted his shoulder. “Never be afraid to admit you don’t know something. It’s a wonderful quality. Anyway, seeing as we can’t accomplish what we hoped to, I think it’s a good idea for us to leave. Our apology for wasting your time.”

Outside, Brett literally screamed, drawing strangers attention. “Please tell me you weren’t serious about rescheduling with that asshole. The cocksucker decides he’d rather ski with his girlfriend than meet patrons? I’m ready to kill the fucker. You realize this is it, right? We’re taking back every speck of paint that ever belonged to my parents.”

César smiled and withdrew his phone from his jacket. “Yep. I figured that out the moment I realized we’d been stood up.”

“Who you calling?” Brett looked confused.

“Miles.”

“Good. I want him to get in touch with the asshole and have our stuff ready to be picked up—” Brett’s tirade came to a halt when César raised a hand.

“Good morning. Miles Abramonov, please? César Abelló calling.” A few moments later, his smile grew. “Morning, counselor. If you’re not busy, how’d you like to buy us lunch?”

“Really?” Miles sounded surprised. “Day’s not too bad. I was planning on ordering a sub, but we can go somewhere. I figured Fernando would treat you to lunch.”

“Stuff happened. Listen, forget about going out. Why don’t you order a couple more subs and we’ll join you in the office. You’ll get to bill for your time. And the meal.” César’s jocular tone made the attorney chuckle.

“Yeah, whatever. What do you guys want?”

“Turkey for me and roast beef for Brett. See you around twelve thirty?”

“Perfect. Can’t wait to hear what this is all about.”

 

“I can’t believe he didn’t try to get your number and call you. I mean, if he emailed the intern, it’s not like he forgot you were on his schedule.” They sat in a small conference room eating their lunch, and Miles had looked dumbfounded listening to what had transpired.

“Yeah, he really blew it. Of course, he probably had no idea who he was dealing with.” César grinned and raised his chin in Brett’s direction.

“That shouldn’t matter. He had to be aware he was meeting with someone who owned works worth so much. I’m going to have to reevaluate our relationship with CAMALA.”

“Speaking of relationships”—Brett had calmed down, but César could tell he was still fuming—“you should call Alanna. I don’t want her caught in the crossfire when we tell Llorosa I want everything back. Like yesterday.”

“Down, Jarhead. Down.” César focused on Miles. “Can you handle this for us? Would you have a conflict of interest?”

“Hmmm. I’m not sure. Alanna’s a volunteer, and we’re contributors, but neither one of us sits on the board, and the museum isn’t a client.” Miles tilted his head back and steepled his fingers. “This could get interesting. I’ll need to review the documents, but I have a feeling they won’t have a way to keep them. They may still want to fight it.”

“Can you do it?”

“Tell you what. I don’t have to be at the actual closing.” La Casita’s acquisition was on the docket for the afternoon. “I’ll get another attorney to handle Nalbo and the house. While that goes on, I’ll talk to the managing partner.”

The transaction was uneventful. Nalbo signed over title, César and Brett cancelled the mortgage they held, and the attorney handling the documents transferred the necessary funds from the law firm’s trust account to Greg’s bank. Finished, the Washington couple was escorted to Miles’ office.

“All done.” César’s mood was light, but Brett continually grumbled. “And Brett didn’t bite the guy’s head off.”

“The thought crossed my mind.” Frustration was visible on Brett’s face. “Why are we dealing with so many fucktards? Between Nalbo, Lang, and Llorosa, it seems everyone we’ve dealt with is an ass.”

“Still fuming, I see.” Miles winked at César. “Please remind me to never piss him off. Anyway, the managing partner doesn’t believe we have a conflict. I can handle CAMALA for you. Even if it goes to litigation.”

“Good. With the mood Brett’s in, I hope you don’t have to defend him for assault.”

“Ha! Assault my ass. Murder’s a solid option.” Brett cracked a smile for the first time in hours. “Did you call your wife?”

“Yeah, Alanna wants to talk to you before we do anything.”

“We’re not going anywhere for a while.” Brett pointed out the window of the high-rise office. January was living up to its history as Los Angeles’ rainiest month. “Let’s give her a call right now.”

Alanna picked up on the first ring. She did not bother with greetings. “Did you talk to Brett?”

Miles chuckled. “And hello to you too, dear. Yes I did. As a matter of fact, they’re both sitting across from me grinning.”

“Ohhh… Brett, César, I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe Fernando pulled such a stunt.”

“Not your fault, Alanna. You were trying to help us and CAMALA.”

“I still feel horrible. I called him as soon as Miles told me. He didn’t answer, so I left a message.” The woman’s distress could be heard though the speaker. “Right after I did, I got in touch with the chair of the board of trustees. I know it’s a lot to ask, but would you hold off on doing anything until you talk to her? I haven’t given her your number, but she’s embarrassed and anxious to talk to you.”

Suspecting Brett would say no, César interrupted. “Go ahead and give her the number, Alanna. We’ll talk to her.” There was no need to burn any more bridges than necessary.

“Tell her she has half an hour to call.” Brett’s response did not surprise César. His husband was not the type to roll over and play dead for anyone. “And don’t give her my number. Have her call us here. We need to discuss a few things with Miles, and I’d like him present during the conversation.” The call ended with another apology from Alanna.

César was amused. He had not seen Brett this upset in quite a while. “You’re not going to make it easy for them, are you?”

“Nope. You have no idea how pissed off I am. Anyway, Miles, aside from getting all the artwork back, we’re gonna need your help storing it for a while.”

“What are you talking about, Jarhead?” César was still grinning.

“The house’s gonna be empty most of the time, and over the next couple of months, there’ll be deliveries and who knows what else. Until the place’s done, we need a bank vault or something to keep it all safe.”

Miles scribbled something on his notepad. “I’ll have to check around. So you’re doing this, aren’t you?”

“Damn right!” Brett stood and smiled. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to use the little boy’s room.”

Brett had barely left the room when the ringing phone interrupted Miles’ chuckling. “Abramonov… Hello yourself, Meryl. Yes, I agree. Quite an unfortunate situation. What your guy pulled on my clients has me quite upset. Actually, Brett’s in the restroom right now, but his husband’s here with me. Let me put you on speaker.” He pressed a button on the phone and replaced the handset on the cradle. “Okay, you’re on.”

“Hello, this is Meryl Easton. I’m the chair of CAMALA’s board of trustees.”

“Ms. Easton, César Abelló, Brett’s husband. How may I help you?”

“Hello, César, I was hoping to talk to Brett. How is he?” The tone was firm and the pronunciation of each word crisp.

“Unhappy would be the polite way to phrase it, Ms. Easton. Let’s just say my husband’s on a scorched earth campaign at the moment.”

“Ouch. Although I’m not surprised. On behalf of the organization, I’d like to apologize for Mr. Llorosa’s behavior. And I would like the opportunity to do so in person. Is there a chance you gentlemen could stop by the museum again before you leave town? I’ll show you around myself and hopefully answer any questions you may have.”

“Not a chance Brett would agree to that.” César was not inclined to do so either. “Our intention this morning was to discuss converting the loan to an outright gift for most of his parents’ art. Your boy blew that right out of the water. Considering we wasted the morning because your executive director felt skiing was more important than meeting with us, you can understand we’re not interested in setting foot in the museum right now.”

César tried to ignore Miles’ amusement but had to cough to disguise the escaping chuckles. “However, if you’d like to talk to us, we’ll be at our place in Malibu tomorrow morning. You’re free to stop by at ten. Have a good day, Ms. Easton.” He reached across the desk and ended the call.

Miles was laughing when Brett returned. “What’s so funny?”

“I’ll confirm my previous assessment: César missed his calling. I’d never want to face off against him in court or the boardroom.”

“That’s my man! What you do?”

“I told the museum lady we were upset. But I invited her to meet us at the house tomorrow morning.”

Miles was not having it. “Oh, hell, no. Here’s how it really went down.”

 

“You’re not Brett Davenport.” The woman lifted her oversized sunglasses and rested them on her stylish mass of silver hair. She squinted at César. “Who are you?”

“Really, ma’am? You knock on my door, don’t introduce yourself, and interrogate me? Thanks, but we’re not interested. We gave at the office.” He made to close the door, but she raised a hand to stop him.

“I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” The woman lowered her head and stared at the floor. “You must be César. I apologize. I’m Meryl Easton, and I most likely ruined any chance I had to smooth things over.” She scowled at the silent man behind her. César assumed he was CAMALA’s executive director, Fernando Llorosa.

When Meryl returned her attention to César, her apologetic tone was still there. “Please forgive me, between dealing with Fernando here and fielding phone calls full of silly advice from other trustees, I’m in a state. I’m not sure where my manners disappeared to.”

César grinned. The woman was flustered and he was not going to let her off easy. “And how do you know I’m not Captain Davenport?”

“Bah! That’s easy. Your eyes are a darker blue than his. And your hair and skin tone are also darker. You look Mediterranean. Based on the name, I’m guessing Italian.”

“Come inside, please.” César was amused and intrigued. He took two steps back and closed the door after his guests. “I gather you’ve met him before?”

“A long time ago. I was friends with Lillian, his mother. Last time I saw Brett was at his parents’ memorial service.”

What were the chances? César was shocked. This was the second time they interacted with someone who had known Brett’s parents. Considering the rock on Meryl’s finger rivaled Gibraltar, he assumed Frank Jackson, Meryl Easton, and the Davenports all moved in the same social circles.

“Are you guys remodeling or redecorating?” Meryl waved a hand at the empty central expanse.

“Actually, we just bought the place yesterday.”

Meryl looked confused. “You just bought it? But this is the Davenport home. I’ve been here many, many times.”

“We sold it a few years ago and reacquired it yesterday. Brett’s in the kitchen. We bought a fancy coffee maker, and he’s installing it and brewing our first pot.”

“That would be perfect! I’d kill for a cup. These chilly days are not good for my old bones. At least it’s not raining today.” Meryl motioned with her head for the silent man to follow them. He had not said a word, and César wondered if it was because he had been told not to, or he was scared.

Brett turned his head when the swinging door opened, winked at César, and immediately returned his attention to the coffeemaker. “Not the same as ours at home, since it won’t grind beans, but it’ll serve its purpose. We can set this one up in the guest house once we get a real one for down here.” He turned his head again and this time stared at the two visitors. He squinted when his gaze rested on their female visitor and his jaw dropped. “Aunt Meryl?”

“Hiya, Brett. Long time.”

“He’s your nephew?” The question was the first time Llorosa uttered a word, and he was definitely surprised.

Meryl whirled around and pointed a finger at him. “Fernando, I asked you to remain quiet. Your job’s on the line. Employment contract be damned. For the record, no, he’s not my nephew. But his mother and I were like sisters, and he always called me Aunt Meryl.” She turned again to face Brett and addressed him in a much gentler tone. “Do I get a hug?”

César was finding it difficult to contain his mirth. He watched as his husband hesitantly approached the woman and embraced her. The situation’s parameters had changed. Brett might not be as inclined to follow the slash and burn approach anymore.

Meryl held on to Brett’s arms after they disengaged. “You’re as handsome as ever.” She stole a glance at César and smirked. “And you landed yourself a hottie!”

“Aunt Meryl!” Brett looked scandalized.

“Well, he is. And not only that, he’s a pit bull.”

“What do you mean?” Brett’s head pivoted back and forth between César and Meryl.

“Well, he was polite but curt on the phone yesterday. Had his say and then hung up on me. He basically told me to be here at ten this morning or else. And if what we’ve done wasn’t bad enough, I was rude to him when he opened the door. He, once again, politely put me in my place. Very protective of you.”

“Don’t be fooled by his politeness. He fronts well, but behind the scenes, he’s as foul mouthed and dangerous as any of my Marine brothers. It’s who our son gets it from.”

“You’re full of crap, Jarhead. He gets that from you!” César decided holding in his chuckles was impossible.

“You have a son?!” Meryl’s jaw dropped and her mouth hung open.

“Two. Hey! What’s with the last name? That’s why I had no idea it was you when Alanna mentioned it.”

“I caught Sol cheating with the maid and divorced his ass. About a year later, I met my dear Mr. Easton and married him.” She waved her ring at Brett and grinned. “Can you believe I married a goy? But when he gave me the rock, I couldn’t say no.”

“Oh, Jezzzus! The maid? Really? Isn’t that like the ultimate cliché?”

“This is Hollywood, Brett. All the old men want a trophy wife to show off. Sol got what he wanted, and I took him to the cleaners. Not sure what a twenty-something woman saw in a man over twice her age. I bet I’m getting it more often than she is.”

“Aunt Meryl!”

“Aunt Meryl, nothing. Enough about me. Tell me about your sons.”

César had a good feeling about Meryl. He could tell she was a no-nonsense woman ready to battle men on an equal footing. Her little aside with Llorosa proved she meant business. Maybe the morning would turn out differently than he expected. “Hey, Jarhead. I offered our guests coffee, but all we have are our travel containers. I’m going next door to borrow a couple of mugs. Fill in Meryl on the boys while I’m gone.”

After Meryl tore into him, Fernando had crossed his arms and leaned against the kitchen island. He had remained silent while Brett and Meryl talked and was in the same position, still frowning, when César returned.

“Thank you, darling.” Meryl accepted a steaming mug from Brett. “César, your sons sound absolutely fascinating. But I want to know more about both your lives. You’re coming over for dinner tonight. And I won’t take no for an answer.”

“Ummm, sorry but we have plans tonight. Our friend Chipper’s playing live at a bar tonight, and we promised to be there.”

“Fine. I’m coming along. You can meet my husband another time. Now, how about we deal with the elephant in the room.” She pointedly stared at Llorosa.

César realized the charming woman was determined not to lose the Davenport collection. She would be disappointed. “You mean your man here?” César jerked his head in Llorosa’s direction.

“I would appreciate it if the two of you stopped referring to me as if I was a leper.” The smoldering anger noticeable in Llorosa’s stance and indignant attitude at last exploded from the man. “I may have had a small lapse in judgement, but that doesn’t mean you get to treat me as a child.”

“Over a quarter of a billion dollars worth of lapse in judgement.” They had spent some time online the previous day, googling prices for similar works. Brett’s amicable conversation with Meryl had definitely not cooled him down. He squared his shoulders, stared at the man, and pointed a finger at his chest. “You dissed me and my parents. If it wasn’t because I know it’d piss César off, I’d love to rearrange your face. One punch and your nose’s history. And be happy I don’t have a gun in the house.”

Probably in his thirties like Brett, Fernando Llorosa was not a tall man. Both César and Brett had a few inches on him. But his shoulders were wide, his build appeared solid, and the full, dark beard gave him an intimidating appearance. Obviously, Brett was not feeling threatened.

“There’s no need to get physical, Jarhead. And remember what we told CJ about threatening people with a firearm.”

“Bullshit! This shit stain obviously thinks his farts don’t stink. Maybe what he needs is someone to take him down a peg or two.”

Meryl glared at Llorosa; her stare down told him loud and clear to remain silent. “Now, now, none of that, Brett. We came over to apologize and hopefully dissuade you from pulling your artwork from CAMALA.”

“Ain’t gonna happen, Aunt Meryl. Not as long as Mr. I’d rather ski than meet with patrons is in charge.”

“You’re not even a patron!” Llorosa shouted. “Your parents gave us a little money and it was your grandfather who entrusted the safekeeping of all those works to the museum. You’ve never even visited us before as far as I know.”

“Listen to me, you piece of shit.” When Brett poked the man in the chest, César grabbed his husband by the shoulder and yanked him away from Llorosa.

“We are not getting physical, Jarhead. No matter how upset you are.” Pushing Brett back a bit further, César interposed himself between the Marine and the museum’s executive director. “I would categorize your behavior as more than a lapse in judgement, Mr. Llorosa.

“I have no idea how much my in-laws donated to the museum, but it was obviously a significant amount. You did name a wing after them. Even if Brett’s not been a direct patron himself, you should’ve had enough respect for his parents not to skip out on a meeting you agreed to.

“Furthermore, although you may not have been aware of it, our intention was to discuss turning most of that loan into an outright gift. Little chance of that happening now. Your dereliction of duty was outrageous. Were you my employee, you’d have already been dismissed. This is a gigantic failure on your part.”

Brett smiled, Meryl looked surprised, and Fernando scowled. “I don’t appreciate you criticizing how I do my job, and—”

“Then do it instead of disrespecting donors!” Brett was still on a rampage. “You fucked up, asshole.”

“Language, Jarhead.”

“Gentlemen, let’s take it down a notch.” Meryl was still trying to smooth things over. “Fernando, you screwed up. Big time. Brett and César have a right to be upset with you and the museum. Maybe you should consider apologizing?”

“Fine! I apologize. There, satisfied?” His tone left little doubt he was not really sorry.

“Not even close, fucktard. I’ll be satisfied as soon as you return all my artwork.”

“I’ll need to review the documents your grandfather prepared, and that may take a while.” Llorosa did not improve his position with the comment.

“A while, my ass. If we don’t have everything back by the time we fly out this weekend, you can expect to deal with our attorney on Monday. It’s gonna cost the museum a lot of money, and you’re gonna lose.”

“Brett, please, don’t do this. Your parents’ artwork should be enjoyed by the public in the pavilion they built. Lil wouldn’t appreciate—”

“Don’t go there, Meryl. Don’t try to guilt-trip me. My father would have already backed up a truck to your loading dock by now. People will enjoy them. Here in this house where those pieces were displayed. In our home in Washington, and wherever our boys decide to hang whatever pieces they want. Ritch might want something for his dorm room.”

“You can’t be serious!” Fernando sounded outraged. “You can’t just gift priceless art to kids.”

“Watch me, asshole.” Brett placed his empty mug in the sink and smiled at Meryl. “It was good seeing you again, Aunt Meryl. Now, if the two of you will excuse us, César and I have plans.”

 

“I’m surprised you’re playing a dump like this.” Brett sat on a stool beside Chipper, while César stood behind them.

“Hey! No knocking the place.” The day before, Chipper had mentioned EZ on Santa Monica Boulevard was tiny compared to other West Hollywood lounges he had been to. Darker and quieter, it was probably the closest thing to a dive bar you could find in the predominantly gay neighborhood. “Bryce and Zion brought me here the first time. I came back repeatedly while the competition was going on.”

“I can’t imagine them paying you much, considering the crowd size.” César waved a hand to indicate the sparse attendance.

“Minimum wage, plus tips. This is the last time I’ll play here for a while. Next week, I’m booked at The Mint. But while I was on The Voice, I used this place as a makeshift rehearsal hall. It gave me the chance to test out what I planned to perform on the show. I feel a sense of loyalty to the owners.”

“Loyalty’s a great trait, young man.” Meryl had met Brett and César outside EZ, bought the first round, and took the stool to Chipper’s other side. She somehow seemed at home even though she was the only female in the place and a couple decades older than any of the other patrons.

“Thank you, ma’am. It’s something I learned from their son.” He pointed a finger at the other two men.

“First, it’s Meryl, not ma’am. Second, I have to meet this son of yours, Brett. He sounds like quite a character.”

César chuckled and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Not sure that would be a good idea right now, Meryl. He would probably be more upset than Brett. I’d bet he would have driven the truck my husband mentioned over by himself and your museum would have a lot of empty walls.”

“He wouldn’t have been by himself. I would have helped him.” Chipper’s granite-hard stare made Meryl lower her eyes. “Based on what Cap and Mr. A mentioned, your guy’s a douche.”

“Yeah.” Meryl’s sigh spoke of her frustration. “Unfortunately. Fernando may end up on his butt, unless Brett takes pity on us. And he’d find it difficult to get another job with a museum when they discover he was let go for bad donor interaction.”

“I’m not taking pity, Aunt Meryl. I’m not changing my mind. You guys have two days.”

“Excuse me, but it’s time for me to get on stage.” Chipper stood and smiled at Meryl. “It was a pleasure meeting you. Cap, Mr. A, I’ll see you between sets.”

Meryl was subdued for a bit before pleading again. “What can I do to change your mind?”

“Fire the asshole.”

“I would have already done so if I could. But I don’t have the power, and he does have a contract.”

“You’re confusing me with someone who gives a shit, Aunt Meryl. The day he’s gone, I’ll talk to you again. But you better realize you’ll never get all the artwork back anyway. At least one Warhol, a Pollock, the Calder mobile, and a couple other pieces I plan to keep. No negotiations on those.” Brett sounded adamant. He was entrenched in his position and did not seem willing to give any ground. But his comment offered hope. “No matter what!”

 

“That boy’s going to be a huge star.” Brett was still raving about Chipper as he slipped in bed beside César. “I mean, we always knew he had a good voice but wow! Just wow!”

César nodded in agreement. “He’s definitely improved. I’m guessing there’s a lot of coaching behind the scenes at The Voice. Stuff we don’t see on TV.”

“Considering the place and the audience, he treated the entire night as if he was playing in front of royalty. If his talent wasn’t enough, his looks and charisma alone will take him far.”

“Aunt Meryl, was definitely impressed. She slipped a Benjamin in his tip jar.” Brett adjusted the pillows on his side and leaned against the headboard. “I can’t believe she ate those greasy sliders and hammered down Bud Lights with us.”

“Speaking of Meryl, how long are you going to play hard to get? She seems truly upset about what Llorosa did. You should throw her a bone.”

“We’ll talk about it later. I think right now I want them to sweat a bit. In the meantime, how ’bout I throw you the bone instead?”

Copyright © 2020 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you for reading.

My thanks to @Mann Ramblings for editing and to @mollyhousemouse, @Reader1810, and @WolfM for beta reading. The story's better because of them. Any errors remain the responsibility of the author.

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1 hour ago, Jondon said:

Loved this chapter Carlos, things are getting interesting.

Thank you!

Nothing like a little disrespect to rile up my guys. :P

 

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Great chapter.   love they get hard-assed.  Cesar especially does a great hard-ass when he gets mad,  

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1 hour ago, CLJobe said:

Great chapter, I would have acted the same way.

I might not have been as calm. When my temper flares up, I go a little nuts. I liked showing how Brett loses his cool but Cesar calms him down without disagreeing with him.

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1 hour ago, davewri said:

....never piss off a Marine.

If Cesar had not been around as a calming influence, Llorosa may have fared worse.

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32 minutes ago, pvtguy said:

I have a feeling Mr. Llarosa will be sweeping floors if he is so lucky.  Great chapter!  Can next Friday come sooner?

Working on it but the physics of time travel are too much for me. If Cesar can't convince Brett to ease up, Llorosa will be in trouble.

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8 minutes ago, avidreadr said:

Great chapter.   love they get hard-assed.  Cesar especially does a great hard-ass when he gets mad,  

I like showing them alternating most of the time with one calming the other one. Cesar got to be the rational one this trip.

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14 minutes ago, Tonyr said:

Yeah, like this sunday for a change?... just saying!🤔

But then there wouldn't be a new chapter next Friday! My contract prohibits me from posting more than one chapter a week. :P

 

Edited by Carlos Hazday
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9 minutes ago, Tonyr said:

Best chapter so far.

I get the impression you lot like it when my men get riled up.

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1 hour ago, Carlos Hazday said:

I get the impression you lot like it when my men get riled up.

It gave goose bumps...😂

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1 hour ago, Carlos Hazday said:

But then there wouldn't be a new chapter next Friday! My contract prohibits me from posting more than one chapter a week. :P

 

Oh, you're so cheap...😛

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