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    Ethan
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Noah and Jordan - 33. Chapter Thirty-Three

*** JORDAN ***

Closure.

Once my father’s body is buried in the ground I finally feel a bit at ease. He can now rest for eternity, and we can start the process of trying to heal, of trying to move on. What got me through today, through all of this, was that talk I had earlier with my dad. Getting everything off of my chest allowed me to be free of all the things that were bothering me, that were holding me down. I said everything that needed to be said; I cleared the slate, and I have no regrets. Noah was right.

I thought about Noah a lot throughout the service. In a way, I was hoping he would be there. But I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Brody wasn’t there either. He had a work meeting and couldn’t get the time off. He was quite apologetic, but I understand. He said he would drop by later in the evening. In the end though, the only person I really needed was my mom. She was there, sitting beside me, holding my hand. Or well, I was holding her hand to give her support.

The service was short. Only my Aunt Beth and eldest uncle spoke. They gave a brief eulogy, talking about my dad’s childhood and what it was like growing up with him. They told funny stories of how he was mischievous as a child and would play pranks on them. It was simple and sweet.

After the funeral we all went to my uncle’s house. He doesn’t live too far from where my mom lives. I didn’t want to go, but my aunt forced me. She said it would help spending time with the family. In the end, it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Everyone was nice and calm. No one yelled or was rude to my mom, which was good. The rude uncle kept to himself. It actually was nice to spend some time with people I don’t know all that well.

Right now, I’m in the car driving back home. We didn’t end up staying too late, only about an hour; I’m super tired.

“I’m glad today is over,” I say to my mom.

“Yeah, it’s been a long and tiring day.”

“All I want to do is get out of these clothes, take a nice hot shower and then crash on the sofa.” I am mentally and physically exhausted.

“How are you holding up?” my mom asks. “It’s been a lot to absorb in a short period of time.”

“I’m doing okay. Saying goodbye today helped. It’s still weird to think that we won’t see him again, but … I guess that’ll take some time.”

“It will take time, but I’m glad to hear you’re okay. You’ve been very strong.”

“I’ve had good help,” I say pulling the car into the driveway.

“Do you want anything to eat?” my mom asks getting out of the car.

“No, I’m okay. I think I’ll just have something small, like cereal before going to bed.”

“Okay. Just let me know if you want me to make you anything.”

“Thanks Mom, but I should be …”

I stop dead in my tracks. My eyes must be deceiving me. It can’t be him. It just can’t. There is no way he could be here. But he has that same messy hair, those same soft hazel eyes, that same shy look on his face. It’s him. There is no denying it.

“Hi …”

“Hi, Jordan,” he says standing up.

 

*** NOAH ***

I’ve dreamt about this reunion ever since he walked out of our apartment months ago. But I didn’t think it would be like this. I saw myself running towards Jordan, his arms open as he welcomed me back. I pictured we would kiss, and in that moment all the pain in our lives would be erased. We would be back to the way we were. I never pictured instead I would be here, on his doorstep, to offer my condolences. The circumstances aren’t ideal, but at least he’s finally before my eyes. How I’ve missed him.

“How are you?” I ask nervously, as I take a step forward. I want to give him a hug, but I don’t think that would be appropriate.

“I’m …” He seems to be at a loss for words. He keeps blinking as if perhaps I’m some imaginary figure that will simply float away. “I’m okay. When … when did you get here? How did you get here?”

“A little while ago. I came to pay my respects. I was planning on going to the funeral, but my connecting flight was delayed, and so I came here instead. I’m sorry for not making it on time.

“No. The fact that you’re here … I’m … I’m … How long have you been waiting?”

“Not long, half-an-hour maybe.”

His mom is standing there unsure of what to do. Jordan seems to realize her presence at the same time I do. “I’m sorry, Mom, this is …” For some odd reason he trails off.

“This must be Noah. It’s nice to finally meet you,” she says. She steps forward and gives me a hug.

I’m surprised she knows who I am. “It’s nice to meet you as well. Im so sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, dear. I’ll let you guys talk,” she says walking into the house.

“I can’t believe you’re here,” Jordan says to me.

“It was very last minute. I should have called … I just … I hope you’re not angry. I’ll leave if that’s what you want.” I swallow hard, trying to clear the lump in my throat. I hope he doesn’t say goodbye. Truth be told, it’s what I deserve.

He pauses for a second. I can’t read his face. But then his lips curl slightly, and his eyes glisten with that warmth I’ve seen so many times. “I’m glad you came. It’s good to see you, Noah.”

“It’s good to see you too,” I say with relief. It’s been months since I’ve seen him, but he hasn’t changed a bit. He still looks the same, those same eyes, that same smile. His hair is combed and jelled back, which is different for him. He looks all formal and proper. He looks amazing. But he also looks like a guy who has had a rough few days. How I’ve missed this sight. “How was the service? I knew it would be tight, but I thought I would be able to make it on time, but as I said, my connecting flight was delayed. I’m really sorry.”

“Don’t be. The fact that you came at all means a lot. You should have told me you were coming; I would have come and picked you up from the airport.”

“That’s why I didn’t. I knew today was going to be hectic, and I didn’t want to add more to your plate.”

“It would have been nothing.”

“How are you doing?” I ask him. Im genuinely concerned about him.

“I’m surprisingly doing okay. It’s been difficult, but I’m getting there.”

“Did you get a chance to say goodbye to your dad?”

“I did. Actually, I took your advice … I spoke to him from my heart and I said everything that I wanted to say. And it felt right. It felt like I was finally lifting this weight off of me. It gave me closure.”

“I’m glad to hear that.”

“And you were right,” he says looking directly at me.

“About what?”

“I told him that I love him. And then I told him that I forgive him for everything.”

“That’s really big of you,” I say.

“It’s the truth. And I have you to thank for making me realize that.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

“You helped me sort through my thoughts when I was at my lowest; I wouldn’t call that nothing.”

“I’m just glad I could help.”

And then I hear a door shut. Jordan turns around as a man I’ve never seen comes into view.

“Hey, Jordan,” he says walking up to us. He places his hand on Jordan’s shoulder. “How are you? How was the funeral?”

Jordan’s face looks blank, as if he has never seen this man before. But then he snaps back to reality. “It was fine.”

“I’m sorry I missed it.” He then turns to me and extends his hand. “Hi. I don’t believe we’ve met before. I’m Brody.”

So, I guess Jordan does have a boyfriend after all. I can feel my heart breaking.

 

*** JORDAN ***

He looks different somehow. He looks older, as if he’s matured. But something is off. That spark in his eyes is gone. And I don’t know why. Deep down though he is still the same guy.

I honestly can’t believe he’s standing here in front of my house. It’s the last thing I expected. Seeing him reminds me of all the good times we had. But it also reminds me of how it all ended. That anger I felt the last time I saw him though, when I walked out of the apartment, is gone. It’s replaced by the realization of just how much I've missed him. And to think he came all this way for me. We may not be a couple anymore, but he still cares. He’s a good guy.

I want to step forward and take him in my arms. Hug him. I want to tell him I’ve missed him, but then I hear a door slam shut. I turn around and see Brody. Before I can even flinch, or process what I’m seeing, he walks up to me and places his hand on my shoulder.

“Hey, Jordan. How are you? How was the funeral?”

“It was fine …” I say.

“I’m sorry I missed it.” Brody then sees Noah and extends his other hand out to him. “Hi. I don’t believe we’ve met before. I’m Brody.”

For a moment, I completely forgot Brody existed. I forgot I have a boyfriend. You’d think I would be happy to see him, but right now I feel the exact opposite; I wish he was far, far away from here. I shouldn’t have texted him when I left my uncle’s place! How do I even introduce him to Noah? How do I tell Noah I’ve moved on? I have no reason to feel guilty. We are in this situation because of the decisions Noah made, not me. But still I feel guilty.

“Hi, I’m Noah.”

“Brody. I’d like you to meet um … one of my …” How do I even describe my relationship to Noah? “Um … one of my friends, Noah. And Noah … this is, um, this is … my … my boyfriend, Brody.”

I intensely study Noah’s face. He’s hiding his dismay well beneath a forced smile. Or maybe he really is happy that I’ve found someone new.

“It’s nice to meet you, Noah,” Brody says.

“Nice to meet you as well,” Noah replies.

“Noah is one of my friends from university. He flew in just to be here.”

“Wow, that’s really nice of you,” Brody says. He takes his hand off my shoulder and wraps his arm around my waist. He pulls me closer to him.

“Anyway, I should get going; you’re probably tired from the long day. I’ll … I’ll talk to you later I guess,” Noah says.

I can’t just let him leave. He just got here. There is so much I want to say to him. But I can’t with Brody here. “Hang on, Noah. Um, Brody would you mind giving us a second?” I know it isn’t the nicest thing to say, but I need a moment. “Make yourself at home. I’ll join you in a moment.”

“Of course,” he says moving his arm from my waist. “I’ll be inside. It was nice meeting you,” he says to Noah.

“It was nice meeting you as well,” Noah replies.

I wait until Brody shuts the door. “We just started dating —” I feel like I need to explain myself, but Noah cuts me off.

“It’s fine, Jordan. You have every right to move on. He seems like a nice guy.”

“Yeah …” I feel really guilty. I can’t even finish that sentence. Change the topic. “How long are you here for?”

“I leave on Thursday.”

“Thursday!? You’re barely here for two days. Why so soon?” I ask.

“I’m going to take the bus to visit Jenn.”

“Oh, I see. Well, we should talk before you go.” I can’t just let him go without spending some time with him.

“That would be nice. Perhaps we can grab lunch tomorrow. Or meet after you’re done work.

Yeah. I’m actually off this week from both of my jobs. My bosses were nice enough to give me the time off to grieve.”

“That is nice of them.”

“So yeah, lunch sounds good. Where are you staying?”

“I booked a room at a hotel nearby.”

“A hotel? Why? You should stay here.”

He looks surprised when I say that, as if the notion is bizarre. “I don’t want to impose.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re more than welcome to stay here. We have a guest room you can use.” I know it could be weird having my ex stay over, but he came all this way. It’s the least I can do for him.

“Next time perhaps. I already checked in and left my stuff at the hotel.”

“Oh. Yeah, next time I guess. Do you need a ride back to the hotel then?” Again, its the least I can do.

“Nope. I can walk. It’s only about half an hour.”

“The least I can do is drop you off. Just give me a second; I really want to change out of these clothes. Come in.”

He looks hesitant. “I’ll wait here.”

“Dude, my mom won’t rob you. Come in.”

“Okay.”

We walk into my house. I show Noah into the kitchen. “Noah, make yourself at home. I’ll be down in a few minutes.”

“Take your time,” Noah says.

“Hey, Jordan, can I talk to you for a second?” Brody asks.

“Sure.”

He follows me upstairs. We walk into my room and close the door behind us. Before I even get the chance to say a word Brody starts speaking.

“That’s him, isn’t it? Your former boyfriend?

He definitely is intuitive. “It is.”

“Seemed like it. Why is he here? I thought you guys didn’t talk anymore?”

“We don’t … or well, we didn’t. He called me when my dad died … and it was the first time we spoke in months. He came to pay his respects. I didn’t know he was coming.”

“He just showed up unannounced?” Brody asks. “That’s kind of rude of him.”

“No … it’s not that simple. When I spoke to him I mentioned the funeral, and I did say he was welcome to come.” I lie. I don’t tell Brody that I actually almost said it would be nice if he were here. Though, I guess I did imply it. I can’t imagine Brody would like that.

“Why? I thought you’d moved on?”

“I have … we both have. I think hes just trying to make amends for how things ended, nothing more.”

“Are you sure that’s it? I wouldn’t fly so far just to see a former boyfriend.”

Perhaps. I don’t know. The thought crossed my mind. “Of course not.”

“Really?”

“He’s a friend, that’s all. Plus, he’s actually going to visit his other friend. He decided to stop here along the way, and then go on. Trust me, this doesn’t mean anything.” I honestly don’t know what this means.

“I trust you. Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.”

 

*** NOAH ***

Could this day get any more bizarre? Here I am walking into Jordan’s house! In the kitchen are his mom and his boyfriend. I honestly would never have even dreamed this would be happening. The world is a strange place. After showing me to the kitchen Jordan excuses himself. Brody goes upstairs with him. I’m pretty sure I know what they’re going to talk about. So, that leaves me alone in the kitchen with his mom.

“Would you like anything to eat? You must be hungry,” his mom asks.

“I’m okay, thank you ma’am.”

“Are you sure? Would you like a sandwich, or something else?”

She is sweet. “I’m all right.” I actually am really hungry.

“When was the last time you ate?” she asks.

Um, I had a sandwich on the plane.”

“And how long ago was that?”

“Around um … four, five hours ago I think.”

“There is rice, chicken, noodles … the fridge is full with food people brought over. What would you like?”

Might as well eat. “Whatever you have is fine.”

“Okay.” She starts to take stuff out of the fridge. “It was very sweet of you to come today.”

“It was nothing,” I say. “I’m sorry I didn’t make it on time.”

“I know Jordan appreciates it. So do I.

“He’s a good guy. You’ve done a great job raising him.”

“Thank you. But I didn’t do it on my own,” she says putting a plate into the microwave. “He’s had good friends like you.”

“Thank you. Can I ask … how did you know who I am?” Im really curious.

She smiles. “Jordan once showed me a picture of the two of you together. It was this black and white photo. It’s actually how he came out to me. He was sitting right where you are. He handed me the picture and I read the message on the back. It said ‘Forever Yours’. Then I turned it around. I’ll never forget that moment, or that image.”

How odd is that. Both of our moms found out we’re gay by seeing that photo. But the reaction was clearly different for both of them.

“I also remember what I said when I saw the picture,” she continues. “I told him: ‘You two look perfect together’.”

What a remarkably different reaction. If only my mom had said the same thing. Hearing Jordan’s mom say that makes me feel happy, yet sad at the same time. A bittersweet feeling. I’m happy that Jordan has such a wonderful mom who loves and supports him, but sad that I couldn’t get the same love or support from my own mom.

“That’s really sweet of you,” I say.

She pulls the plate out of the microwave and places it in front of me. “Here you go, dear. If you want anything else, please feel free to take whatever you want. Treat this as your own home. If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I’m just going to go change my clothes.”

“Thank you.”

When she gets to the door she turns back. “For what it’s worth, I still think you two look perfect together.”

Her words catch me off guard. What did she mean by that? Is she still rooting for us? Perhaps she isn’t a fan of Team Brody. I don’t get the chance to ask her. She goes upstairs to change, leaving me alone in the kitchen.

I pull out my phone to text Jenn. I messaged her last night asking if I could visit this week and spend a few days with her. She was surprised, but said yes. I figured I would spend a short time here then take the bus to see Jenn. It takes twelve hours, and the ticket wasn’t much. I didn’t tell Jenn I was going to visit Jordan first. I know that may sound stupid, but I didn’t tell her because I didn’t want her to try to convince me not to come. I know what I’m doing is a bit rash, and not sensible, and I didn’t want her to point that out. Though, I know Jenn, and she probably wouldn’t have said anything.

“So, Jordan has a boyfriend.” I message her.

It doesn’t take her long to respond back. She usually has her phone with her.

“How do you know?”

“I met him. Brody. Seems like a nice guy.”

“You met him? How?”

“I’m sitting in Jordan’s kitchen.” That ought to give her a shock. And it does.

She doesn’t text back. She calls. I’m not surprised.

“Hiya, Jenn,” I say casually.

“What the hell is going on? Where are you?”

“Jordan’s house.”

“How the hell did you get there!?”

“I got here a short time ago. I came for the funeral.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me you were going?”

“It all happened so fast. My dad called, and then I was looking at tickets —”

She cuts me off. “Wait, your dad called? I’m so confused. Start from the beginning.”

“Okay. My dad called yesterday. He apologized and said he accepts me.”

“Whoa! Holy shit that’s huge! That’s fantastic!” she yells.

“Yeah, I was completely shocked.” I tell her a bit about our conversation. “And he asked me to come home.”

“Wow. What did you say?”

“I said I couldn’t come back until my mom changed her mind too.”

“That makes sense. But at least one of your parents supports you now! That’s huge.”

“It is. I honestly wasn’t expecting he would change his mind.”

“I’m really glad he did. This is good!”

“It is. And speaking to him, hearing him talk about how much he loved me I … I remembered that’s what Jordan wanted to hear all along from his father. And I knew I had to come. I just … it felt like he wanted me to be here.”

“Why didn’t you tell me any of this when we talked yesterday?”

“A lot was going on, and I had no time; I had to get to the airport so I figured I would wait.”

“I’m so going to yell at you later about that, but I’m going to leave that for now. More importantly, you’re at Jordan’s house! What did he say when he saw you?”

“He was surprised. My plan was to go to the funeral, but my stupid connecting flight was delayed and I missed everything. So, I came to his house instead. Of course, he wasn’t home. I was about to leave when he came home.

“How did he react when he saw you?”

“He was speechless, but he was happy to see me. But we barely spoke for like two minutes and then his boyfriend showed up.”

“Fuck, what bad timing!”

“I’m guessing you knew about him,” I say.

“I did. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you … I figured it would upset you. Plus, I didn’t know you were going to go visit Jordan!”

“Hey, someone is coming back down. I’ll call you later, okay?”

“You better!” she yells.

“Bye.”

I put my phone away as Brody walks into the kitchen. Great, just the guy I wanted to see. We make small talk. He asks me what I’m studying, where I live. I ask him about his job, what he does. It’s the most awkward few minutes of my life. I’m kind of hoping Brody is a douche. Though, also that he’s a nice guy. Jordan deserves a nice guy.

He’s a nice guy.

Dammit.

 

*** JORDAN ***

My current boyfriend and my former boyfriend are sitting downstairs in my kitchen talking. How messed up is that? No seriously. Not even in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that those two would be meeting each other. This really is the weirdest day ever! To think, only a few hours ago I said goodbye to my dad, and now this.

Before I go downstairs I look in the mirror. Take a deep breath, I tell myself, exhale. This is all going to be okay. Noah is here as a friend, and Brody seems okay with it all. No need to get worked up, or stressed out. As long as I don’t say anything stupid. Who am I kidding? This is probably going to be weird. Yet, when I walk downstairs it all seems normal. Noah and Brody are talking amicably. Noah is actually chatty, which is really strange for him.

“Hey, sorry about that,” I say leaning against the kitchen counter. “I just wanted to get out of that suit.”

“No worries,” Noah says.

“You looked good in it,” Brody says.

“Thanks. So, what were you two talking about?” I ask out of curiosity.

“Nothing much. I was just telling Brody about school and how we met in English class.”

“Right, that was some class. I still can’t believe what you told me about the brat.”

“The brat? That’s kind of a mean name,” Brody says.

“I know. But we never said it to his face,” I reply.

“Who is he?” Brody asks.

“He was this guy in our English class.” Noah goes through why we called him a brat. “I saw him a few weeks ago and I didn’t even recognize him. He was wearing normal clothes.

“And of course this smart guy,” I say pointing to Noah, “didn’t take a picture!”

“And as I told you, I’m not a creepy stalker,” Noah responds.

“Just look him up on Facebook,” Brody says.

“You’re a genius! We know his first name, shouldn’t be too hard to find,” I say.

Noah pulls out his phone and starts to search. “Found him!” He hands the phone over to me.

“Wow, he does look completely different.”

“He’s cute. Who is the guy next to him?” Brody asks.

“His boyfriend,” Noah replies.

“They’re a cute couple,” I say passing the phone back to Noah.

“Do you remember the note fiasco in English class?” Noah asks.

“Do I!? Of course I do! I almost embarrassed myself. You saved me.” I fill Brody in on the story of how I almost got caught with inappropriate notes about the professor. I don’t think Brody finds it funny. I think he feels we were being a bit immature, which we were. You never told me what you wrote on the other note!”

“It was about Carter. I wrote I didn’t know how his large ego could fit into his tight pants.”

I can’t help but laugh. Brody doesn’t laugh. “Dude! That could have gotten me into a lot of trouble!”

“True, but it’s still better than the note you wrote about bondage and the prof,” Noah counters.

“That’s also true,” I say.

Anyway, you good to go?” Noah asks me.

“Yeah. You sure you don’t want to stay? You came all this way, I feel bad.”

“I am. I’ve actually been up since three this morning my time, so I’m pretty tired now.”

“Okay. Brody, I’m just going to go drop off Noah …” Shit. I can’t just leave him here. But I don’t want him to come either.

“You’re tired. I can drop him off,” Brody offers. I can see Noah’s subtle reaction from the corner of my eyes. I don’t think he wants Brody to drop him off. Besides, I do.

“That’s okay. We can all go,” I say. I can’t disinvite Brody. That would be rude.

“Cool. Um, I just have to use the washroom,” Brody says. “Back in a second.”

“Sure, take your time,” I reply.

“Does he know about us?” Noah asks in a low voice when it’s just the two of us.

“Yeah, I told him,” I say nodding my head.

“Is he okay I’m here? If he’s not then –”

I don’t let him finish. “He’s fine. It’s all good.”

“I don’t want to mess anything up.”

“You won’t,” I assure him.

He seems like a really nice guy, Noah says.

“He is. But don’t worry, you’re allowed to hate him; it’s understandable.”

“I don’t hate him!” he says shocked.

Of course you don’t,” I respond sarcastically.

“I really don’t! Wait, if I were to date another guy, would you automatically hate him?” he asks.

“Probably.” Interesting, he said date a guy and not a girl. Should I take that to mean something? I thought he was ‘straight’ again.

“Even if he won the Nobel Peace Prize for like eradicating world hunger?”

“All the more reason to hate him,” I say laughing.

“And I can see you’re still just as evil.”

“That I am. I forgot to ask, which hotel are you staying at?” Noah gives me the name and the address. “Dude, that’s not a half an hour walk. It’s more like an hour!”

“It only took me that much when I walked to your place.”

He probably could do it in half an hour, he always walks fast. “Well, I guess it’s those long legs of yours.”

“Hey, don’t hate me because you’re a turtle,” he says.

“Turtles are awesome!” I laugh.

Just then Brody joins us. “Ready to go?”

“Yep, Noah replies.

We all pile into my car. Brody and I in the front, with Noah in the back. We don’t really say much during the short ten-minute ride, just random stuff. But then out of nowhere Brody asks a rather interesting question. One I wanted to ask too.

“So, Noah, are you seeing someone at the moment?” Brody asks.

I look in the rear-view mirror to see Noah’s reaction. I can tell he is taken back by the question. His eyes go wide. He opens his mouth, but doesn’t say anything. He then smiles and says no. Interesting.

“I’m single at the moment.”

“Cool,” is all Brody says in response.

“All right, we’re here,” I say pulling up to the hotel.

“Thank you so much for the ride,” Noah says. “It was nice meeting you Brody.”

“You too. Take care, man,” Brody replies.

“Bye, Jordan.”

“Hold up, I’ll walk you in,” I say to Noah. “Brody, I’ll be back in a second.”

I don’t think Brody is happy that I’m asking him to wait, but he doesn’t say anything.

“What time do you want to meet for lunch tomorrow?” I ask Noah as we walk into the lobby. I told Brody I’m meeting Noah tomorrow. It’s not right to lie. But again, I don’t think he’s thrilled, but he didn’t say anything.

“Let’s say one o’clock? I know you like to sleep in, Noah responds.

“I’ll have you know I usually wake up at six or seven in the morning now.”

He can’t contain his laughter. “You do not.”

“It’s true! Ever since I’ve been here I’ve become an old man like you. I go to bed early and get up early.”

“Jordan, you’re forgetting that we used to live together. I used to have to yell at you for like half an hour to get you up, and you still wouldn’t get up before noon.”

“I’ve changed.”

“I’ll have to see it to believe it.”

“Fair point. Change of plans. I’ll pick you up for breakfast tomorrow. Let’s say eight o’clock.”

“If you can get up that early, then that’s fine with me.”

“Challenge accepted. And what do I get if I win?”

“What do you want?” Noah asks.

“Hmm. Not sure. I’ll have to think about it.”

“Go ahead, waste your time. You’re going to lose.”

“We’ll see. Afterwards, I’ll show you around town.”

“Sure, sounds good. Have a good night.”

“You too.”

 

*** NOAH ***

I walk into my hotel room, yank off my shoes, rip off my socks, and throw them all on the floor. I’m tired and I don’t care. I’ll pick them up later. I throw myself onto the bed. This was a mistake. I shouldn’t have come.

Don’t get me wrong, seeing Jordan and talking to him, has been amazing. It’s like we were never apart. I still feel at ease being around him. I’ve missed him more than I even knew. And I’m glad I was able to offer him support. But he’s moved on. Brody is a great guy. He has his shit together. He’s smart, handsome and confident, unlike me. The two make a good couple. He makes Jordan happy. And Jordan deserves to be happy. I had my shot with Jordan, and I blew it. I wish Jenn had told me about Brody. If I knew I wouldn’t have come.

After a while I get up and take a nice hot shower. The warm water helps calm me down. When I get out I call Jenn. I’m sure she is itching to hear from me.

“Hey!” she yells loudly in my ear.

“Hey. What’s up?”

You tell me! Where are you?”

Just got back to the hotel.”

“Oh. How did it go?”

“It was okay. I didn’t spend too long at Jordan’s place. Brody was there, so I felt like I should leave. It was a bit awkward having him around.”

“Yeah, I bet. How is he?”

“Brody? He’s a nice guy.”

“That’s too bad. But he’s no competition for you I’m sure.”

“This isn’t a competition, Jenn.

“Of course it is! Aren’t you going to tell Jordan?” she asks me.

“Tell him what?” I ask. I know what she means.

“About coming out to your parents!”

“What’s the point?” I say feeling dejected.

“What do you mean what’s the point? Isn’t that why you went there?”

“I came to pay my respects.”

“Yeah. And …”

“And he has a boyfriend.

“So?” she asks.

“So, he’s moved on.”

“Yeah, but they’re just dating. They’re not married. This is your shot at getting back together. You both clearly still care about each other.”

“Jordan is happy with Brody. I don’t want to ruin that,” I say.

“He was also happy when he was with you,” she points out.

“You were the one who told me to wait.

“I did, but I meant wait a day or two. Things have changed. You said your dad accepts you now.”

“My mom doesn’t.”

“So? It’s not like you’re going to go back into the closet. I thought you went there to tell Jordan.”

I sigh. “I came here as a friend … but yes, I did. I thought maybe … but … he’s moved on. It wouldn’t be fair of me now to make him pick again.”

“Don’t you think he has the right to know?”

Does he? I guess in some ways he does. But then we aren’t a couple anymore, so maybe he doesn’t. I don’t know how to answer the question. “I don’t know.”

“I think he does. You owe him the truth. He deserves to know. I know you said you don’t want to make him choose, but by not telling him you’re choosing for him. And that’s not fair. You can’t make that decision for him. It’s not yours to make. It’s his.”

She’s right. She makes a good point.

I get that, but … I need to figure out my own life too. Do I go back home, or do I just not try? Will going back even help fix things with my mom?”

“Well, if I were you, I know I wouldn’t go back. I can’t live with someone who feels that way about me. But then again, I know you’re not as hot-headed as me. The thing is, if you’re there, and she sees how happy you are being gay … maybe she will change her mind. It’s a long shot.”

It is. I doubt she’ll change her mind.”

“Look, I understand you want things to settle down, but you have a good opportunity right now to get back together with Jordan; don’t let it pass you by. You may not get another one. Jordan just started dating Brody, they’re a new couple. If they stay together longer, Jordan may never leave him.”

“You’re right.”

We talk for a good hour. She yells at me for not telling her about my plan. I just listen. No point in interrupting her. We also talk more about what my dad said when he called yesterday. I tell her that he offered to pay for my flight. But I said no. I had to pay for it myself. I need to start standing on my own two feet. I don’t want to rely on my parents for anything, especially money. The ticket cost me a fortune. I pretty much spent most of the money I made this summer. So, I’m basically screwed this fall. But I have no regrets. Coming here to support Jordan was the right thing to do.

I turn off the lights to go to bed. I’m almost asleep when my phone buzzes. I assume it’s just another message from Jenn. But it isn’t. It’s Jordan.

“Figured out what I want if I win. See you tomorrow bright and early!”

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day.

———  

I barely slept at all last night. I just kept tossing and turning. I had way too much on my mind. I kept debating whether I should tell Jordan, or if I should keep quiet. I couldn’t make up my mind. I couldn’t figure out what would be fair to Jordan. I kept changing my decision. But after thinking about it for hours, I finally figured it out. I know what I have to do.

Im already up when my phone rings. Jordan calls at 7:30 in the morning. I guess he does wake up early.

“Hey,” I say picking up the phone.

Yo, yo, yo! Look who’s up!” he says with a lot of energy.

“And how many times did you hit the snooze button?”

“Zero. I’ll have you know that I didn’t even turn my alarm on.”

“That’s impressive. Perhaps you have changed.”

“Told you. Now I get to claim my prize.”

“And what do you want?” I ask.

“Pack your stuff. You’re staying at my place tonight.”

Not this again. “Jordan —”

He cuts me off. “You agreed to the terms, and clearly I won. I’m not taking no for an answer.”

“Won’t Brody mind?”

“He’ll be fine. Besides, I thought you wanted us to be friends?” he asks.

“Of course I do. You know that.”

“So then why can’t you stay at a friend’s place for the night?”

It’s a bit more complicated than that. You’re my ex! But I’m not going to argue with him. “I guess I can.”

“Then that settles that. Be there in ten minutes. See ya!”

I quickly pack my things and head down to the lobby. By the time I check out Jordan is already here. I make my way outside and throw my stuff into his car.

“Well, I guess you win. I just checked out.”

“Perfect. You won’t regret this decision. Now, where do you want to go to eat?” he asks.

“Ah, whatever you suggest; you’re the expert.”

“Um … I dunno, it’s all food. You’re the guest, you should decide.”

“I don’t know what’s good in the area; you’re the one who lives here,” I respond.

“Pick something and I’ll search on my phone.”

I sigh. “Clearly you’re still as indecisive about food as before.”

“Some virtues never change,” he says with a smile.

I laugh. “Virtue, sure. Um … how about a breakfast place like Cora’s or something?”

“Sure, why not! Theres actually a restaurant close by. See, I can be decisive!”

Of course you can, I say rolling my eyes.

“I saw that!” he says.

“Keep your eyes on the road!” It feels just like old times.

It doesn’t take us long to get to the restaurant. We settle in and order.

So, is there anything specific you want to see in the city?” Jordan asks.

“Not really. I didn’t look anything up. I’m not really here as a tourist. So, whatever you think is good. I assume you know some of the go-to places.” It’s my turn to bug him. “You did grow up in this city, right? Or, unless just like breakfast, I’m going to have pick where to go.”

“Ha, ha, ha. I actually made a plan last night, just so you know.”

“Really? Well, I look forward to seeing what you came up with,” I say with a smile.

“Prepare to be blown away!” he says.

“Easy there, you may not want to set such high expectations.”

He just smiles and looks at me. It’s like he’s trying to peer right into my soul.

“You know, if you or anyone would have told me just a few weeks ago that we’d be sitting here, in my city, having breakfast together, I wouldn’t have believed them.”

“Yeah, I don’t think I would have either.”

“I honestly am really glad you came, Noah,” Jordan says getting all serious. “It’s been too long.”

“It has. And on that … there’s um … there’s actually something I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Oh. Interesting. There’s something I wanted to talk to you about as well,” he says. “That’s why I brought it up.”

“Oh. Well, why don’t you finish then,” I say.

“You sure?” he asks

“Absolutely. I can wait.” I’m curious what he has to say.

Okay. Um … as I was saying it’s been too long and … and I know that’s my fault. And for that, I want to apologize.”

My eyes go wide. What the hell is he talking about? “Why are you apologizing? You did absolutely nothing wrong. I’m the one that screwed everything up. If anything, I should apologize to you! All of this is my fault!”

“It’s not all your fault. I played a part too. I was wrong. For walking out on you. For rejecting your friendship. I was angry then but … these past few months … I’ve … I’ve had time to think. Time to reflect. And … and having you here … being with you again … I’ve realized that … I don’t want to lose you again.

I don’t want to lose him.

“Back when you suggested we be friends,” Jordan continues, I couldn’t fathom the thought of being near you, but not being with you. But now, I’m at a much better place. I’ll be honest, it took me a really long time to get over you. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, even harder than saying goodbye to my dad. But putting myself out there again helped. Meeting Brody helped.

“But still this entire time I’ve missed you. There will always be this special bond between us, that is super clear, especially after all of this. But that shouldn’t mean we can’t be friends. You coming here and calling … you really showed me that you care, and that you are a true friend. You know, so many people called me and offered advice when they heard about my dad … but it was you, and only you who really got through to me. Not even Aiden was as helpful.

“As much as I hated being away from you, I think the time apart helped. I think we needed that time apart. I’ve moved on. I’m happy with Brody. I feel like I finally have my life in order. I feel … like I can let go of the past. And it seems like you’ve moved on too. Clearly, we’re not the same people we were back then. So, what I’m trying to say is, if you’re still open to the idea, I would gladly be your friend.”

Friends.

That’s all he wants to be.

There was a time I’d be happy to hear him say that.

But right now, I can’t help but feel my heart break.

I’m not going to get a second chance.

So, what do you think? Should Noah tell Jordan that he came out to his parents?
Or is it clear that Jordan has moved on?

Copyright © 2018 Ethan; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments



Well it’s over now - the romance and discovery, that’s done. Jordan said it: he’s moved on.  Maybe Jordan and Noah can take joy in each other’s lives, and be the kinds of friends for each other that each will need in the years ahead. You build up our hopes and let them down again artfully.

 

Unless Brody turns out to be some kind of hidden evil man, I think Noah will need to learn to be more social, to make connections, and find another man who makes him feel as Jordan once did. 

 

All this has the melancholy of the cool September days that we know must give way to winter. 

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Jordan still loves Noah

Noah still loves Jordan 

 

You’ve shown this revelation from Noah’s POV

Lets see what’s going through Jordan’s head while saying all this. 

 

Jordan loves Noah

Noah loves Jordan

 

And, I love a happy ending. 😍🥰

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Honestly as much as I have enjoyed most of the story I feel almost let down knowing that you're probably going to have Noah and Jordan get together when Noah is such a terrible horrible person........... he's selfish and manipulative and spoilt.  

I'm not trying to be mean or insulting because I think you write a great story but you wrote Noah a little too well as a villain and I cannot be happy if he ends up with Jordan he doesn't deserve Jordan and he doesn't deserve to have the happy ending in here only Jordan does

 

 

I almost don't want to finish the story at all but a tiny piece of me hopes that I'm wrong and you actually write a story that doesn't leave us with the expected

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ummmmmm.....I want to say really, really bad words right now........

 

Of course he needs to tell him --- maybe nothing will come of it --- but maybe Jenn is right, he is taking the choice away from Jordan if Jordan doesn't have the entire picture.

 

Again, hate the cliffhanger, but of course it is in a great place.  As always, waiting for more!

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1 hour ago, Starrynight22 said:

Honestly as much as I have enjoyed most of the story I feel almost let down knowing that you're probably going to have Noah and Jordan get together when Noah is such a terrible horrible person........... he's selfish and manipulative and spoilt.  

I'm not trying to be mean or insulting because I think you write a great story but you wrote Noah a little too well as a villain and I cannot be happy if he ends up with Jordan he doesn't deserve Jordan and he doesn't deserve to have the happy ending in here only Jordan does

 

I almost don't want to finish the story at all but a tiny piece of me hopes that I'm wrong and you actually write a story that doesn't leave us with the expected

 

First off, honestly, thank you for your comment and your candour. I really do appreciate it. My response to it is in no way a criticism so I hope you don't take it that way.

Both Noah and Jordan are flawed -- as are all humans. I'm surprised though you'd call Noah a villain. 

He made mistakes, yes, but he was bound by his own unfortunate circumstances (which many gay people face). 

I don't think he is selfish or manipulative at all (though I am biased). He constantly puts others before him, either because he loves them or thinks he is protecting them. He did so out of a sense of loyalty (however false) to his family at first. Even now, he thinks he is protecting Jordan by either telling him or not telling him about coming out (also remembering that the conversation isn't over -- and Noah still will get a chance to respond in the next chapter). 

 

Again, to stress, I do appreciate critical comments. It helps me grow and learn as a writer. I'll keep this in mind if I decide to write another story one day (I already have a short story written which I may or may not post here). 

 

(and because I feel like I have to -- again the Canadian in me -- sorry if anything in the story has disappointed you, or the ending does -- I'd hate to think someone is going away from a story they've vested time and interest in not satisfied with how it all came to an end) 

Edited by Ethan
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1 hour ago, Hermetically Sealed said:

You might go back a reread the beginning of the story. the whole back and forth in the beginning, jerking Noah around emotionally, jumping in to date his best firend in an attempt to kind of prove himself, then dumping her so he could date Noah. He was not over Noah when he started to date Brody, hasn't exactly been honest about it, and as soon as he saw Noah started basically trying to work getting Noah closer.  I think this constant anti-Noah rhetoric tends to ignore Jordan's own problematic issues.  If anything, the revised version has kinda made Jordan less of a using jerk than he was in the original, but he's still kinda is.

Frankly, I find both of their flaws make them kind of better characters.  They're young, they're naive, and they are both making horrible mistakes, but at the heart of it the are neither bad people. They just don't have the luxury of witnessing their actions from a safe spot outside.

 

I did want to tone some of that down from the original. I thought they was too much unnecessary angst (even this version I think has a bit too much, but I kept some of it for dramatic effect). My favourite characters are those that are multi-dimensional, the ones that are flawed, and work to improve themselves. I think at this point in time we've seen that from Jordan a fair bit. He has changed and matured. Noah is getting there now. And I think you'll see a lot of growth in the next chapter -- but especially 36 -- where he really becomes the character I think he truly is meant to be. 

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So far, Brody appears to be a good boyfriend for Jordan, but so did Noah (until he didn't!). While Jordan may be content with Brody (even though Noah tastes better!), something may still happen to derail that relationship. Alternatively, if Jordan falls for Noah again (and God doesn't intervene 🤗), he may face a very hard choice with dramatic consequences. That said, I love the characters and the writing both, and I have no doubt that the story's conclusion will leave me happy. (Right, Ethan? Where are those curlers.... 😂)

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2 hours ago, Ethan said:

 

First off, honestly, thank you for your comment and your candour. I really do appreciate it. My response to it is in no way a criticism so I hope you don't take it that way.

Both Noah and Jordan are flawed -- as are all humans. I'm surprised though you'd call Noah a villain. 

He made mistakes, yes, but he was bound by his own unfortunate circumstances (which many gay people face). 

I don't think he is selfish or manipulative at all (though I am biased). He constantly puts others before him, either because he loves them or thinks he is protecting them. He did so out of a sense of loyalty (however false) to his family at first. Even now, he thinks he is protecting Jordan by either telling him or not telling him about coming out (also remembering that the conversation isn't over -- and Noah still will get a chance to respond in the next chapter). 

 

Again, to stress, I do appreciate critical comments. It helps me grow and learn as a writer. I'll keep this in mind if I decide to write another story one day (I already have a short story written which I may or may not post here). 

 

(and because I feel like I have to -- again the Canadian in me -- sorry if anything in the story has disappointed you, or the ending does -- I'd hate to think someone is going away from a story they've vested time and interest in not satisfied with how it all came to an end) 

Oh no I do,enjoy reading it, I just feel frustrated at times.  But characters are like real people.  I can love my friends and still feel incredibly frustrated by them.  

 

Your writing is good and your story is good. I just happen to have an intense dislike to a certain character.  He reminds me of a person in real life I cannot stand, but that's my issue.  

 

Jordan may have started out not so great, but he has grown up in a hurry.  Noah still to me reads as a giant child with so much immaturity.  

 

I'll resign myself to the inevitable.  Lol. I won't feel like it's been wasted time, even if I am disappointed at the pairing.  I promise. :)

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I’m not sure I agree that Noah owes Jordan the truth about coming out to his parents per say as considering they’re exes it’s kinda not any of Jordan’s business in my opinion not that I’m saying he shouldn’t be told. In the end while it honestly may be the case to some extent Jordan could see this revelation as a ploy by Noah to get back with him if he tells him right after learning about Brody. Jordan seems intent on being around Noah as much as possible and I doubt he simply wants to be friends with him if given an alternative so the truth of Noah now being out could be the push needed to get them back together though I’d hate for that to appear to be the main reason. I doubt Brody will be thrilled about Noah staying at Jordan’s and I’m sure that will cause some friction between him & Jordan. I guess we’ll see what happens going forward.

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3 hours ago, Hermetically Sealed said:

 

You might go back a reread the beginning of the story. the whole back and forth in the beginning, jerking Noah around emotionally, jumping in to date his best firend in an attempt to kind of prove himself, then dumping her so he could date Noah. He was not over Noah when he started to date Brody, hasn't exactly been honest about it, and as soon as he saw Noah started basically trying to work getting Noah closer.  I think this constant anti-Noah rhetoric tends to ignore Jordan's own problematic issues.  If anything, the revised version has kinda made Jordan less of a using jerk than he was in the original, but he's still kinda is.

Frankly, I find both of their flaws make them kind of better characters.  They're young, they're naive, and they are both making horrible mistakes, but at the heart of it the are neither bad people. They just don't have the luxury of witnessing their actions from a safe spot outside.

True they both have flaws.  

 

I haven't read the original so I'll take your word for it.  

 

I reserve my own opinion on what makes someone a "bad " person.   I know I'm in the minority of thinking Noah is terrible and not redeemable, but that's ok. Like I said to the author, I think it might be bias because he reminds me of someone I know and dislike in real life :)

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Didn’t in the original:

 

Spoiler

Brody saw them together and realized that they will never be.  From what you’ve written they never hand sex.

 

And both characters are flawed Jordan was a jerk for jerking around Jenn and Noah’s  emotions in the beginning and now Noah was having trouble coming out because he feared he’d be disowned. On the spectrum of jerkiness I think Jordan is the worse.

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3 hours ago, Hunter of Porn said:

Didn’t in the original:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Brody saw them together and realized that they will never be.  From what you’ve written they never hand sex.

 

And both characters are flawed Jordan was a jerk for jerking around Jenn and Noah’s  emotions in the beginning and now Noah was having trouble coming out because he feared he’d be disowned. On the spectrum of jerkiness I think Jordan is the worse.

 

Not exactly, as far as I can remember. Now we're comparing who is the biggest jerk. Clearly, I have way more to do to redeem these guys! 

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Come on, Noah, tell him everything! Don't stick on the introvert person you've always been. 'Tell him that you love him. Tell him that you care. Tell him that you'll always be there. Give him a great big kiss' (yes that's from the Shangri Las)

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On 2/13/2019 at 6:26 AM, Ethan said:

 

Not exactly, as far as I can remember. Now we're comparing who is the biggest jerk. Clearly, I have way more to do to redeem these guys! 

I don’t think either of them is a jerk, just couldn’t think of a better word and so I continued using what others were. 

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