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    Dabeagle
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Things We Lost - 5. Chapter 5

I woke the next morning to the sound of light snoring. My nose felt warm and then I realized it was more that it was pressed against something warm. Opening my eyes I found my face pressed against Tristan's shoulder and I pulled back, feeling odd. Tris slept on, and I climbed out of the bed to use the bathroom and then climbed back under the blanket, but facing away from Tris. That could have been uncomfortable, I'd guess, to have someone sleeping on you.

The only thing I had to compare it to was the few times guys had traded me food or money to come to their hotel rooms. Sometimes they pulled me on them or would lie on me, after, and I always felt smothered or trapped by that. Don't get me wrong, I was glad for the trade—I was earning something as sure as I was trading in cans and bottles. It wasn't the most comfortable thing, but getting a bed to sleep on, sometimes, was a nice benefit.

Anyway, I didn't want to make Tris feel smothered by me sleeping on him, even if I had felt really comfortable. I dozed for a time, only stirring when Tris got up. I sat and stretched before heading down to find the others.

“Morning, lazy bones,” Mrs. Malone said. “Pull up a chair. Do you like French toast?”

“Um, I don't know,” I admitted.

“Well, grab a seat and prepare to be amazed,” she replied.

“Mmm, French toast!” Tris said as he walked into the room. He smiled and patted my shoulder as he took a seat next to me. “Ehr, we forgot to put your stuff in the dryer. You can borrow some of my clothes till then.”

Glancing down at the clothes I was wearing I looked back at him and said, “I think I've got wearing your clothes down to an art.”

“Yeah,” he said, grinning and looking at me up and down, “Not bad! Not bad, Ehren!”

“Shut up,” I said, flushing and pushing him.

“You wanna go? I'll take you back upstairs and kick your butt again.”

“You're on!” I replied.

“Wait!” his mother's voice stopped us cold as we were sliding off the chairs. “Eat, then kill each other.”

After breakfast we put my things in the dryer and I took a shower. Tris left clothes out for me and I dressed, once more enjoying the scent of the material. I glanced wistfully at the hoodie and asked him if it was all right for me to wear it again. He grinned and told me I could keep it.

“Really?” I asked, grinning widely.

“Sure. It suits you.”

I beamed for a moment, but then remembered that the hoodie itself wasn't that great. What I liked about the hoodie was the way it smelled—Tris's scent. “Well, maybe we can share it?”

“Share it? Like, try to squeeze us both in it at the same time?” he asked, chuckling.

“No, I mean...you know, I can borrow it from you sometimes?”

“Well, it's yours—but I can borrow it from you, if you want,” he said, his voice puzzled. Embarrassed, I pulled the hoodie on and then was confronted with the fact I had no shoes. Once more, Tris came to the rescue with an older pair of shoes—the colorful light blue ones from the photo downstairs. They fit, a tad snugly, but they fit. Seeing the shoes, though, made me wonder about what he'd said the night before.

“Hey, Tris?”

“Yeah?”

“Um. These shoes. These are the ones you wore in that picture downstairs. The one with your friends?”

“Were they?”

“Yeah. Um. You said...”

He turned to look at me, waiting for me to ask. I paused, then shook my head as if to brush it off, but he wasn't going to let it drop. He cleared his throat and arched an eyebrow at me.

“It's none of my business,” I said.

“I did say it in front of you, though,” he pointed out. “It's only natural to be curious. It's okay, Ehren. Ask. I'll tell you.”

I glanced down and folded my hands over each other. I took a breath and brought my gaze back up to his and asked, “You said they used to be your friends. What happened?”

“I came out.”

“You...what?” I asked slowly.

“I came out.”

“Of what?”

“The closet,” he said with a smile.

I glanced at his closet door and back to him. “Why were you in the closet?”

“I've asked myself that question a lot, Ehr. A whole lot.”

I chewed my lower lip, trying to figure out what to say next, but Piper ended the conversation by knocking on the door frame.

“Ehr? Ready to get your hair trimmed up?”

“Sure,” I said. “Are you coming, Tris?”

“Nah,” he replied. “Promised Bran I'd meet him down at the skate park. I'll see you guys later.”

“Okay, leaving in five, Ehr,” Piper said and withdrew.

I stood up and took a step toward the door, then stopped. Looking at Tris, who was looking up at me as if waiting for something, I told him, finally, “I don't understand.”

He blushed and tilted his head to one side. “Well, I told you their names are Mark and Steve, right?”

I nodded.

“Well, Mark has a brother, Tim. Tim is Steve's best friend. With me so far?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. Well, Tim and I dated. It didn't end well and...Mark dropped me as a friend out of loyalty to his brother and Steve dropped me out of loyalty to his friend.”

“Huh.” I replied. I glanced up at the window and wondered what that felt like. Having friends and then losing them.

“Ever have friends drop you like that?”

Keeping my gaze on the window I said, “Not exactly. I didn't—don't—really have friends. There are some people I cooperate with, some people I exchange things with...some people I'm friendly with but...” I hesitated and looked back toward his upturned face.

“There was a guy I knew, was decent enough. We'd get together sometimes and collect cans and bottles to turn in for money.” My mouth went dry and I opened and closed my mouth a few times. “But, um, there were—are—some people looking for me and he told them where I was living.”

“That doesn't sound like a friend.”

I turned from the window and looked down at Tris's frown. “Things change when they point guns at you. I don't blame him. He never really had a choice, you know? He even did what they told him and they still...pulled the trigger.”

Tris face melted into confusion, disbelief, then horror and sadness. “They killed him? Your friend?”

An irritation settled into my nose and caused my eyes to water. I put my fingers on the bridge of my nose as I replied, “Yeah, they killed him.”

“Oh my God, Ehren,” he said. He stood and put his hands on my upper arms and looked at me in concern. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I mumbled as I smashed away the drops of water on my face. “Of course I am.”

“Ehr?” Piper said, stepping into the room. “Are you—what happened?”

“Nothing. Let's go,” I said, turning away from Tristan. He let me go, but he wasn't about to let it drop.

“He had a friend get killed.”

Piper looked at me with concern. “You told him about Smokey?”

I nodded, not willing to push past her as she blocked the doorway.

“You knew?” Tris exclaimed. “Was I going to be told?”

Piper sighed heavily and then closed the door behind her and leaned against it. “Tris, I told you what Ehren did for me, right?”

“Yeah. It's why we're helping him. I mean,” he said quickly, glancing at me, “we owe you.”

“Well, the reason I brought him home is because he needs help, now. He's just trying to make himself scarce for a few weeks while some bad men are looking for him.”

“I get that, but Pipes...this is really serious. I mean, shouldn't we tell Mom and Dad?”

“No!” I said firmly. Well, it was actually kind of choked out since my throat seemed to be having some kind of trouble, but I could still be understood.

“Tris,” Piper said and began making nervous gestures with her hands, tangling her fingers together. “Ehren is really scared—okay, bad word,” she amended quickly at seeking my scowl. “He really has to avoid the police or CPS.”

“Why? He didn't do anything...” trailing off, Tris turned his gaze to me and said, “wait. Did you do something?”

“No!” I said, my voice clearer. “I know who they are and they were robbing stores! My...there's a bookstore manager, I interrupted the robbery. She saw them, but she doesn't know who they are—I do; that's why they want me dead.”

“Dead? Holy fuck,” Tris exclaimed, running a hand through his hair. Glancing at Piper he said, “Are you sure it's smart for him to leave the house? What if they see him?”

A smile crossed Piper's face. “You know, you just went from being suspicious of Ehren to wanting to protect him, right Tris?”

He glared at his sister. “He's a decent guy, and even if he wasn't, taking him in public could get him—or you!—hurt, or worse.”

“I don't think they'll look for me, here. It's one of the reasons I ran this way. Buster and Lenny, they would fit in a lot less than I do here. You can tell they don't belong.” I glanced at Piper and felt a smile tug on my lips. “They'd be like a turd in a punch bowl.”

Tristan looked at each of us in turn. “I don't like this.”

Piper kept her gaze steady on her brother. “Let's talk more about it tonight. Right now, let's not do anything to make the parental units suspicious that something isn't right. Let's do what we planned for today and then...we'll talk.”

Tris pulled his lips into a sour expression. “Fine. But I don't like being kept in the dark.”

“I understand,” Piper said, her voice tremulous. “But, we can explain that tonight. Ehren? Let's get that trim—May's waiting.”

~TWL~

Getting my hair cut was an experience. Apparently May was very interested in hair design and she often practiced various techniques on her friends—and she had plenty of experience with boy's hair since she cut her three brothers' hair.

Even though I knew who she was, having met her once, I didn't know her well enough to trust her. She was Piper's friend, but I was sure Piper hadn't told her my whole story. This didn't occur to me until after we were in May's home. I guess I didn't have to worry; she'd worked everything out ahead of time.

“Okay, come over to the sink, Ehren,” May directed. I followed her over and she had me sit on a stool. “This isn't exactly like the salon, of course, but it's better than being face down. So I want to wash your hair with this,” she said, showing me a bottle. “It'll make your hair nice and thick and easier to style.”

I merely nodded, but was still surprised when she tilted me back and began to wet my hair with warm water. As she did so, she talked to Piper.

“So, wow, Tris is finally ready to date again, huh? He sure jumped in with both feet!”

The water stopped and she began to knead my hair with whatever it was she'd shown me in the bottle.

“I know!” Piper said, her tone both enthusiastic and playful. “It's nice to see him happy again.”

“After last year? I know what you mean.”

“What was wrong with Tris?” I asked, only to be ignored as the water was back on and May was rinsing my hair.

“This is a tangled mess, Ehren,” she muttered. “I'm going to wash it again. Maybe put in some—a lot—of conditioner. What do you wash your hair with?”

“Um.”

“You need a new brand,” she said as she began to scrub my head vigorously. “After all, you have to look nice for Tris, now don't you?”

“I do?”

“May, you know Tris isn't shallow,” Piper scoffed. As she did her eyes met mine and she widened them in a silent message. I have no idea what she was trying to say, but play along might be the answer.

“So, how'd you meet Tris, Ehren?” May asked as she started to rinse my hair.

“Um, the rec center,” I said in an unsure tone.

“Ugh, you guys will be so cute together—I'll need a picture.”

“S-sure,” I stammered. God fucking damn it, I was so sick of being out of control and wondering what the hell everyone was talking about! If it weren't for the fact that I don't want to upset my cover with May, I'd be settling this right now. When I got Piper alone in the car I'd—

“Okay, that's better!” May said and tilted me forward. She threw a towel over my head and started to scrub this way and that, drying my hair. All thoughts were shaken from my head as she did so. Pulling the towel from my head, she ran her fingers through my hair and nodded.

“Brush, I think, then we can start.”

The next few minutes were taken up with her brushing my hair and talking to Piper about her boyfriend troubles. The casual way Piper responded made me think that this was familiar territory. Just when I thought I couldn't take a single brushstroke more, she stopped. Still chatting with Piper, she turned on a pair of clippers and started to cut my hair. The experience, now that she was done with the damn brush, was kind of nice.

As she worked, I let my mind drift back to her comments of a few minutes before and worked to deduce what they meant. It didn't take all that long, with my mind calmer, to realize she was speaking as if Tris and I were a couple. I turned it over in my head, trying to look at it from different perspectives, but it really seemed like that was what she thought—and Piper wasn't trying to dissuade that idea. Why was that?

I analyzed my interactions with the Malone's since my arrival. The comments Mrs. Malone had made at the dinner table came back to me—questions about Piper and Tris fighting over me, the statement that they'd be seeing a lot of me. Inescapably I reached the conclusion that Tris and Piper had concocted this—or their parents had assumed it and they were going with it as a good cover. Interesting.

I turned over the idea, since this ruse would need me to play a part. What would the elder Malones expect from their son's boyfriend? How could I help to pull off this charade? Piper and Tris would clearly know more about what needed to be done, so I resolved to ask her in the car when we left. In the meantime, May was just finishing up. She handed me a mirror so I could see.

She'd trimmed my hair short on the sides and left it longer on top. She'd styled the longer hair and it swept appealingly across the upper part of my brow—I almost didn't recognize myself.

“Oh boy!” May enthused. “Tristan's going to like this!”

I fixed my gaze on Piper. “What do you think? Will he?”

She had the grace to give me an embarrassed smile. “Like I said, he's not shallow. But, yes, I think he will.”

The afternoon was a flurry of activity. Piper decided to take me to get a few clothes from the thrift stores Tris liked so much and May decided shopping would get her mind of her boyfriend, thwarting my plan to pin things down with Piper. Since I'd figured out what was going on, I was largely okay with it. Instead of dwelling or being moody about it, I enjoyed the novel experience of shopping for clothes.

We went for burgers afterward, and hot meals were always high on my list of things I didn't get enough of. In fact, by the time we got back to the Malones, I was exhausted. I stretched out in the extra room and, without really meaning to, fell asleep.

Piper woke me later, and sent me to Tris's room. I was a little unsteady on my feet, my nap having been heavier than I'd anticipated.

“You look drunk,” Tris teased.

I sat heavily on his bed. “I'm used to sleeping when I want to, mostly. After that hot food, I was ready,” I replied, punctuating it with a big yawn.

“I like the haircut,” he said and, stepping closer he raised a hand toward my head. “Do you mind?”

“Uh, no,” I replied, not really sure what he meant. A second later, I did. He touched my hair, rubbing through it and, I think, styling it with his fingers.

“Soft,” he said. “Not too thin, though. I bet you would really look nice with a little gel or something.”

I drew my lips in and knew that my face was turning red. He shook his hand in my hair, tousling it as he withdrew. Self-consciously, I ran my own fingers through my hair.

“Ready for dinner?” he asked.

After the evening meal, the Elder Malone's announced a family movie night and we all packed into the living room, much as we had upstairs the night before. Mr. Malone sat in a recliner while Piper and her mother claimed the ends of the couch. Tris sat in an over-sized chair and, when I made ready to sit on the floor, said, “No, no, no, no, no. Come here, you.”

I glanced around the room, wondering what I'd done wrong. Mr. Malone wore a smile, but I couldn't tell you what it meant—only that it wasn't the result of a joke or something similar.

“It's okay, sweetie,” Mrs. Malone said. “You can squeeze up there with Tris.”

Hesitantly I stood back up and Tris patted the seat next to him. I squished in and he wiggled around until we were both kind of comfortable. Pressed in close to him, I was sure I wouldn't be able to focus on the movie, but I was completely wrong. I'd assumed that being pressed so close together would be uncomfortable for us both, but to the contrary Tris seemed just fine and I was very comfortable.

It was a comfort I'm not sure he'd understand. When I would have all my clothes on, layer over layer, there is a cocoon-like feeling of safety and comfort. Sitting, squished next to Tris, I felt that. Stupid, I guess—and I'm damn sure keeping that to myself.

At the end of the movie, Tris was taking deep, regular breaths as he slept. His mother pried him off the chair and sent him to bed, and I decided that was a good idea for me, as well.

~TWL~

I woke to a bright room filled with sunshine and Piper pushing me. “Ehr, get up you lazy ass.”

“Huh?” I grunted and sat up.

“It's almost ten. Come eat something and then you can help the rest of us—Mom decided we're having a field day.”

“What's that?” I asked as I climbed off the bed and stretched.

“I guess it means cleaning house for people who aren't normal,” she said sourly. “Mom did a few years in the military and likes to use some of their terms.” She headed out of the room and I stretched again. Outside a small, loud motor started up and I wandered over to the window to see what it was.

Tris was outside, with just shorts and headphones snaking up from his phone. He was pushing a lawnmower across the grass and, for some reason I couldn't identify, I wanted nothing more than to watch. I forced myself to drag my gaze away and head down to breakfast...yet the image remained in my mind.

After breakfast and giving my teeth a good brushing, Mrs. Malone teased that I was going to have to earn my keep and gave me some chores to do. Frankly, it was confusing. I'd never cleaned anything in my life and, not that cleaning was a hard concept, but getting it the way she wanted it was. For instance when I vacuumed in the living room, she pointed out areas I'd missed. Then she told me I had to move the furniture as well. Then it was cleaning under the cushions—it was never ending! And who looks under the cushions in the first place?

Some time later Tris came in for a glass of water. He toed off his sneakers at the back door and, once again, I found myself watching him. He drained the glass and refilled it before spotting me. His eyes crinkled in amusement.

“Mom got you too, huh? Can't get over the change since you cut your hair!”

I touched my hair self consciously as he approached. “Thanks.”

Stepping close, his tone changed as he said, “We still need to have that talk.”

“Right,” I said. I felt slightly deflated at the sudden change in tone. He drained the glass again, and I watched his throat work, then he smiled and turned back to the kitchen. Leaving the glass by the sink he put his shoes back on and headed back out.

“Ehren, your tongue is hanging out.” Piper appeared at my side like a magic trick.

I raised an eyebrow. “Was not.”

She smiled as if she knew something and resumed going wherever she'd been headed.

Mrs. Malone got a lot out of us that day and, I have to admit, the house looked good. After we'd all been cleaned up she announced that she didn't want to cook and she ordered out for pizza. Things hot and fresh are quite the novelty to me, and pizza was no exception. I discovered cheese can burn your mouth—who knew? Then, the day got unpleasant as Brandon arrived.

“You're still here?” he asked upon seeing me.

“Sorry to disappoint,” I replied.

He frowned. “Me too.”

“Bran, chill,” Tris said and led Brandon upstairs. Though the idea of being in a small space with him was uncomfortable, I was determined not to let this punk put me off so I followed them up. Besides, if I was Tris's boyfriend, I'd be with him, not down eating more pizza, right? Idly I wondered if there was any pizza left.

As I stepped into Tris's doorway he turned and smiled at me, “There you are. Come on.”

I approached him and sat beside him on his bed while Brandon sat, backward, in a chair. He frowned.

“So after, what? A Year? You start to date this...stranger and I don't even know about it?”

“I don't tell you everything, Bran,” Tris said, gently.

“Well, why not?” he scowled. “Why would you keep something like that secret?”

Tris glanced at me and then back to his friend. “Because it's new and I wanted to have it to myself for a minute,” he said and chuckled. Brandon opened his mouth to protest, but Tris cut him off, “Bran, it has nothing to do with trust or our friendship. It has everything to do with wanting to spend time building this thing up, just him and me, before I have to share him with the world. I knew that, as soon as you and Melody found out, it'd be all about double dates and...don't be offended. I just wanted some time to get to know him.”

Brandon scowled. “I hate it when you're logical and reasonable.”

Tris chuckled and turned to smile at me. I smiled, unsure of what response would be expected of his boyfriend in this situation. I was really getting sick of not knowing what to do and how to act.

“Okay, well, Mel and I are headed to the movies—how 'bout it?”

“See?” Tris teased. “Double dating.”

Brandon snorted. “Whatever.”

“What do you think, Ehr?” Tris asked, turning his attention to me. “Want to hit the movies?”

“If you want to,” I replied, after a moments hesitation. I didn't like the idea of going anywhere with Brandon. I wasn't afraid of him, not in a physical sense, but his aggressive opinion about my being in Tris's life could cause problems later on.

“Okay, I'll get changed, then.”

I decided I should follow suit and exited the room just ahead of Brandon. Once in the hallway he pulled on my shoulder, turning me to face him. Glancing behind him, he pitched his voice low and hissed, “You break his heart and I break your face.”

“Like to see you try,” I snapped. We stood there, glaring at each other, neither willing to back down. We were interrupted by Piper cresting the stairs and, spotting us, placing her hands on her hips.

“Bran, I told you—you have to share Tris.”

He scowled again and sniffed. “Whatever.” Then, with a final glare, went downstairs.

Piper sighed. “He grows on you.”

Glancing down the stairs, I muttered, “So does fungus.”

~TWL~

Movies had been described in some of the books I'd read, but more as a setting or in passing than anything else. Watching one in a theater for the first time was truly an excellent experience and it was something I could get used to doing. I noticed signs advertising stadium seating and the smell of the popcorn made my stomach rumble, when it shouldn't have—I'd had practically a whole pizza to myself.

Melody was a nice girl with dark-rimmed glasses. She was friendly and somewhat reserved and it made me wonder why she was dating Brandon. For his part, Brandon was dictating things as soon as we arrived—who should get drinks, another for carrying snacks—while he went ahead to stake out seats. It was kind of annoying, really. But then, everything about Brandon was a little annoying.

“You guys look really good together,” Melody said. I turned my attention to her—she and I were getting the drinks and snacks; I was her pack mule—and stuttered.

“W-what?”

“You and Tristan,” she said, her voice soft. “You guys look really nice together. It's nice to see him happy.”

I glanced in the direction he and Brandon had gone. “He looks happier than normal?”

She laughed softly, “Well, to be honest, he didn't tell Brandon he was interested in anyone, let alone dating, so part of it is that he's probably pleased to have kept something from Brandon.”

“Brandon's nosy,” I said, sourly.

She laughed again, a gentle sound. “Yes, he is. But then, Tris is his only real friend, so you can understand why he's protective of him.”

I may have muttered something along the lines of him being less of an asshole would be directly proportional to his having more friends, but no one heard since it was our turn to buy things at the concession. Items purchased, we made our way to the theater and all the way up to the back row, center, where Brandon and Tris waited for us. They moved so that Melody was on one end and I on the other, with them between us.

I settled in and, almost immediately, the lights went down. Tris and I had popcorn to share, but the images on the screen dominated my attention. Tris leaned over to me.

“They are just previews, Ehr,” he chuckled mildly.

“What are those?” I asked.

“Advertisements for other movies. Haven't you been to a movie in a theater before?”

“No.”

“Oh.” He fell silent as the next preview played. As it faded from the screen he leaned over and whispered, “Hey, um, mind if we hold hands?”

I glanced at him and asked, in all seriousness, “How will I reach the popcorn?”

His mouth dropped open and he started to laugh, quickly covering his mouth with a hand. I frowned slightly, knowing I was missing something.

“You can hold the bucket in your lap,” he said, finally. He placed the bucket on me and I put a hand on the rim to keep it balanced...and then he took my hand.

It was an odd feeling, to have someone hold your hand. Glancing past him I noticed Brandon leaning out and, spotting our hands, almost throw himself back into his seat. Was he doing this to annoy Brandon or was this something to sell the boyfriend cover? Either seemed likely, although I admit annoying Brandon on purpose was probably just wishful thinking on my part. Tris's hand moved slightly in mine and, curiously, I found that my palm was sweating. Or was that him? Either way, I was discovering that holding hands was...nice.

By the time we got back to the house, it was well into the evening and everyone started to get ready for bed. I changed into the shorts, tee and hoodie from the night before to sleep in and settled back onto the thin mattress.

Around me the house grew still. I could hear the hum of an appliance downstairs and something switching on and off. I was thinking about the day I'd spent, being part of the family unit, and thinking—for the first time in a long time—that my parents had really screwed me.

“Scoot over. For a little guy you take up a lot of bed space, you know that?”

“Like you're so much taller,” I whispered as I slid over, trying to hide my surprise.

Turning to lie on his side he grinned in the dark, his teeth visible. “As a guy, you should know an inch or two makes a big difference.”

We both laughed behind our hands.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I was promised a talk tonight. So...let's talk.”

Copyright © 2016 Dabeagle; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

Uhm, did Ehren actually understand what Tris meant, when he said he came out of the closet? Oh well, at least he must have understood Tris was gay when he started talking about dating a guy, but we didn't get to know his thoughts about it. I liked how he simply went with the cover of being Tris' boyfriend all the while worrying about how he was supposed to act. And now we have to wait a whole week for the talk.

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I find Ehron's ironic and slightly sarcastic mind makes him all the more loveable
as a character. Brandon is annoying, I agree. Let's hope he does grow on you.

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I had the privilege as a young student to spend six months as an exchange student with a family in Amsterdam. That experience;with only basic language skills left me feeling that everyone was watching my every move...it made me quite nervous and unsettled. Although their warm reception can't be discounted, I certainly relate to Ehren's situation.....He is working at fitting in while not fully understanding the entire conversation or activity....All in all, this brings back fond memories. I feel that he , like myself will develop true and life long friends.
I hope that Ehren will be straightforward with Tris and the pair trust the other with their thoughts and feelings..........Great chapter......can't wait for their conversation!!!!!!!!!!!! :)Mike

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Very interesting to see Ehren's first steps into this foreign world... I wonder what's going on with Brandon? He seems jealous, but is probably just protective. Tris seems to gave been very down after what happened. Hopefully, that will change.

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On 02/22/2016 01:58 AM, Puppilull said:

Very interesting to see Ehren's first steps into this foreign world... I wonder what's going on with Brandon? He seems jealous, but is probably just protective. Tris seems to gave been very down after what happened. Hopefully, that will change.

We get a slight explanation of Brandon later, just for context. I think you'll like what you see from Tris.

 

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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On 02/22/2016 01:30 AM, bubby1234 said:

Please please let them get together AND stay together,i am just a big romantic and love happy endings.

I love happy endings, too!

 

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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On 02/22/2016 12:15 AM, flamingo136 said:

I had the privilege as a young student to spend six months as an exchange student with a family in Amsterdam. That experience;with only basic language skills left me feeling that everyone was watching my every move...it made me quite nervous and unsettled. Although their warm reception can't be discounted, I certainly relate to Ehren's situation.....He is working at fitting in while not fully understanding the entire conversation or activity....All in all, this brings back fond memories. I feel that he , like myself will develop true and life long friends.

I hope that Ehren will be straightforward with Tris and the pair trust the other with their thoughts and feelings..........Great chapter......can't wait for their conversation!!!!!!!!!!!! :)Mike

I've never been immersed in a culture like that. Visiting a foreign country has always been on the order of a few weeks - but I'd love to go to Italy for six months and just take it all in.

 

I agree, Ehren is just feeling his way along. I think you'll find Ehren gives what he's given - honesty for honesty, for instance.

 

Thanks for reading and taking the time to review!

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On 02/21/2016 10:44 PM, Stephen said:

I find Ehron's ironic and slightly sarcastic mind makes him all the more loveable

as a character. Brandon is annoying, I agree. Let's hope he does grow on you.

I love Ehren :-)

 

Brandon is based on someone I met at a new years party at a friends' house. A boy of about 16, named Brandon, with many of these overall mannerisms. I thought he was a thistle dick, personally, but our friends said he's got his own issues - which I should know, we all do.

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On 02/21/2016 08:46 PM, Timothy M. said:

Uhm, did Ehren actually understand what Tris meant, when he said he came out of the closet? Oh well, at least he must have understood Tris was gay when he started talking about dating a guy, but we didn't get to know his thoughts about it. I liked how he simply went with the cover of being Tris' boyfriend all the while worrying about how he was supposed to act. And now we have to wait a whole week for the talk.

I don't think Ehren understood the term 'coming out of the closet', but he does understand gay. Ehren has been of the world but not in it, at least not the one Tristan inhabits. Yes, the talk, such fun!

 

Thanks for reading and taking the time to review!

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There are so many things Ehren doesn't understand and hasn't experienced, I am getting more and more curious about his background. It sounds like he must have been in an orphanage or institution of some kind and left when he was young. His whole focus is understandably on survival and doesn't seem to extend much further.
The relationships between Ehren, Tris and Piper is interesting to see develop but I'm pretty sure things will blow wide open one day as Ehren can't stay forever without the parents getting curious. Look forward to more.

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On 02/22/2016 03:31 AM, avidreadr said:

There are so many things Ehren doesn't understand and hasn't experienced, I am getting more and more curious about his background. It sounds like he must have been in an orphanage or institution of some kind and left when he was young. His whole focus is understandably on survival and doesn't seem to extend much further.

The relationships between Ehren, Tris and Piper is interesting to see develop but I'm pretty sure things will blow wide open one day as Ehren can't stay forever without the parents getting curious. Look forward to more.

I find that many average experiences are new things to kids who have been in care. For instance, seeing a DVD versus going to the movies. My instincts tell me that living on the street is a day to day survival experience, much closer to the edge than those of us with jobs and steady incomes.

 

You're right, that situation can't go on forever.

 

Thanks for reading and taking the time to review!

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Hey eagle! I hope you don't mind I changed your species, but we dragons relate better to EAGLES than ...dogs

 

This section of the story has a lightness to it missing, obviously, from what came before. Which is nice - for Ehren and for us.
The whole Stranger in a Strange Land aspect is packed with humor, wonder and possible danger through misunderstanding, though none of that so far.

 

A great read, well done!! Thanks for sharing.

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On 02/22/2016 11:23 AM, skinnydragon said:

Hey eagle! I hope you don't mind I changed your species, but we dragons relate better to EAGLES than ...dogs

 

This section of the story has a lightness to it missing, obviously, from what came before. Which is nice - for Ehren and for us.

The whole Stranger in a Strange Land aspect is packed with humor, wonder and possible danger through misunderstanding, though none of that so far.

 

A great read, well done!! Thanks for sharing.

Well, people relate better to dogs than they do being dinner, so I guess it balances out ;-p

 

I may save that for a sequel, or maybe it'll be in the next chapter. Who knows?

 

Thank you for reading and taking the time to review!

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The exchange between Tristan and Ehren, when Tris was explaining what happened with his ex-friends, was very comical. :lol: Poor Ehren was so clueless.

 

I totally misunderstood about Mark and Steve. I thought they didn't want anything to do with him BECAUSE he was gay. I'm actually glad that had nothing to do with it; they just took sides with Tim - they were being loyal to him. It's so hard when there's a break up, and you both share friends/relatives. It's too bad they can't be loyal to both parties.

 

I totally agree with Ehren about Brandon; if he wasn't such an ass, he'd probably have more than one friend. lol Melody seems very sweet -- what the hell is she doing with Brandon???? I did like that Brandon is protective of his friend; that's a very good quality to have. But good for Ehren for not backing down and giving it right back to Brandon. :)

 

Great chapter, Dabeagle! I liked Skinny's comment, but I do prefer dogs over eagles. lol And beagles are terrific! There are two beagles at work who are so cute. :)

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On 02/26/2016 08:48 AM, Lisa said:

The exchange between Tristan and Ehren, when Tris was explaining what happened with his ex-friends, was very comical. :lol: Poor Ehren was so clueless.

 

I totally misunderstood about Mark and Steve. I thought they didn't want anything to do with him BECAUSE he was gay. I'm actually glad that had nothing to do with it; they just took sides with Tim - they were being loyal to him. It's so hard when there's a break up, and you both share friends/relatives. It's too bad they can't be loyal to both parties.

 

I totally agree with Ehren about Brandon; if he wasn't such an ass, he'd probably have more than one friend. lol Melody seems very sweet -- what the hell is she doing with Brandon???? I did like that Brandon is protective of his friend; that's a very good quality to have. But good for Ehren for not backing down and giving it right back to Brandon. :)

 

Great chapter, Dabeagle! I liked Skinny's comment, but I do prefer dogs over eagles. lol And beagles are terrific! There are two beagles at work who are so cute. :)

I love these two and their amusing bits were a lot of fun to participate in. I agree, I thought it would be much more average for them to be loyal rather than homophobes. Brandon is an ass, in real life - based on someone I met.

 

Dogs rule! Thanks for reading and taking the time to review!

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Yes. Enough charades. You have give us some very lovely, illuminating and highly entertaining scenes, as Ehren learns how the other half lives. But these have been charades, not real at all. I was kind of surprised he put up with the haircut. But now Tristan wants straight talk. Hope he gets it. I wonder, though, if Tristan will wind up wanting Ehren, too. Many thanks for this chapter.

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On 02/29/2016 03:55 AM, Parker Owens said:

Yes. Enough charades. You have give us some very lovely, illuminating and highly entertaining scenes, as Ehren learns how the other half lives. But these have been charades, not real at all. I was kind of surprised he put up with the haircut. But now Tristan wants straight talk. Hope he gets it. I wonder, though, if Tristan will wind up wanting Ehren, too. Many thanks for this chapter.

Ehren is adapting to a new environment. While his hair color is something different, his hair style isn't something he'd be married to or all that interested in - after all, not too many mirrors on the street, right? At least that's my thinking. I think Tris's thoughts will come out shortly

 

Thanks for reading and taking the time to review!

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On 2/21/2016 at 4:23 PM, skinnydragon said:

Hey eagle!

So I’m not the only one, huh, Dab!  ;–)

 

The description of Ehren's childhood with drug abusing parents suggests that he had a very deprived life. If your parents spend all their money on drugs and alcohol (actually another drug), they won’t be taking you to see movies, shopping for new clothes, paying for haircuts, or any of the other things most of us take for granted.  ;–)

 

I found out that barber colleges were a great place to get cheap haircuts, but there isn’t a lot of consistency because the students graduate and leave the college.  ;–)

 

UC students run a weekly clinic that offers free haircuts, massages, OTC drugs and vitamins, foot baths, basic medical checkups, and other services. But the clinic doesn’t operate when the Berkeley students aren’t in class. I think it’s difficult to organize these sorts of services because you need a venue and lots of volunteers.  ;–)

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When I saw the new chapter posted I was trying to remember the details of what had already happened. I failed miserably and decided to re-read. I just finished bingeing chapters one through five. I remember how much I enjoyed this story and these characters, especially Ehren! It's just as good the second time around! Thank you. Since it's late here I'll finish up the remaining chapters tomorrow. Looking forward to it!

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So many firsts--from French toast to haircuts to movies. Just how long has Ehren been on the streets, and how abusive were his parents, to keep him deprived of so many experiences? Since he doesn't go to school, how did he become so literate--or does his love of books hark back to a time before he hit the streets? As much as we are learning about Ehren's character, we are still in the dark as to his background. 

 

Neither Ehren nor Tris has any problem in pretending to be boyfriends. They seem to be growing into their roles quite well.... 😊

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