Okay, now we're getting into the exciting stuff! There's a lot of stuff going on in the chapter, but part I like best is the "new" Greyson as he handles things--HIS way!
Enjoy the story--including a brief appearance by Mom--we'll hear a lot more from her in the next chapter!
GOODNIGHT & GODSPEED
CHAPTER 8 – Handling It
“Grey? Are you okay? Is it true?”
“Fuck! Fuck my life!”
“I know you don’t mean that, Grey. You also know you can talk to me. We were best friends way before we got married. We still can be.”
“Really? You don’t hate me?”
Elizabeth laughed her big, raucous laugh that I’ve actually missed hearing. “Why the hell would I hate you? I could never hate you, baby. Sure—things were awkward for a few months, but I’m quite happy now. I hope you are, too.”
“I am actually. Well—at least I was until about three minutes ago. Fuck--my phone is going to be ringing its ass off in the next couple of hours.”
“Would you like to talk about it while you have me on the phone? Just like old times?”
“Yes—I actually would. That’s the reason I called you.”
“I’m listening, Grey. I can still be your shoulder.”
“So, with all the pressure after the divorce and all, Beverly sent me to this retreat in Hawaii. It’s one of those things where they help you find your true self, help you see the possibilities, teach you how to live outside the box—that kind of thing.”
“Sounds like Epic Life.”
“Yeah, it is. How did you know?”
“Jason did the Epic Life thing right before we met. He said it was life-changing.”
“He’s definitely right about that.”
“And that’s where you met this guy you were kissing on the beach? Total hottie, by the way.”
“Yeah, the first day of the retreat, you get paired off with a partner who you spend a lot of time with for the two weeks. He’s helped me learn and see so much about myself—and somehow—I’ve done that for Lucas, too.”
“And the kiss?”
“If I remember, Lucas had just been through a particularly difficult session—his boyfriend recently died. We walk around the lagoon after those tough days and talk. He had a bit of a breakdown, and I did what I needed to do to help him through it—just like he’s helped me with my issues.”
“Well, the strange thing is that I didn’t even realize what my issues were until the program started. They have this strange way of helping you find them right off the bat.”
“What did you find, Grey?”
“That I’ve been lying to myself for the past fifteen or sixteen years—that I lied to you the entire time we were married. I’m so sorry for that, Elizabeth—it turns out I’m gay.”
“That’s it? I tell you this huge piece of information, and all you can say is ‘and?’”
“Greyson—I love you with all my heart—I always will. But even you have to admit that our sex life wasn’t much to write home about.”
“Ha! Like I could write to my mother about anything having to do with sex! But—think about it—you were the first and only person I had ever had sex with—I had nothing to compare. I had no idea if the sex was good or bad.”
“And now you know?”
“Ummm. Yeah. It wasn’t horrible—but it definitely wasn’t great, either.”
“Grey—it’s okay to admit it was horrible. But you have to know that you weren’t horrible. You’re an amazing man—and this Lucas guy is a very lucky man.”
“Oh—about that—Lucas and I are—and always will be—extremely close. But—we’re not boyfriends.”
“I’m sure you’ll find one soon enough!”
“We’ll see. There’s a lot of other shit I have to take care of before I can even think about a relationship.”
“Oh yeah—like the big talk with Judy. I’m not looking forward to telling her I’m gay—but I’m going to. I have to.”
“If she’s been to the grocery store, she already knows. She’s probably waiting for you to call her.”
“Right. I really want to have that talk face-to-face—just like my talk with Beverly.”
“Beverly? She probably has the gay thing figured out by now, too.”
“Yes, but it’s time for me to rethink my management. I can’t live my life for appearances any longer. It’s time for me to live my life where I can make a difference—where I can stop worrying about what the public image is.”
“What? Finally what?”
“Grey—for as long as I’ve known you, you have done nothing but make decisions based on how happy they would make everyone but yourself. At first, I thought it was this adorable, sweet side of Greyson Myers. After a few years, it made me terribly sad. People love you, Grey—gay or straight. But there’s one thing you need to figure out.”
“What’s that, Elizabeth?”
“Who tipped off the paps that you were in Hawaii? Beverly wouldn’t even tell me where you were going.”
“Shit. I didn’t even think of that. It had to have been someone here at the retreat.”
“And then there’s Pete Sanchez—he’s that bitchy gossip queen with the Buzz. He’s going to try to out you and make it a huge story.”
“But he doesn’t know anything—how could he?”
“Perhaps the person who told him you were there shared some of the information you shared with the others. Jason mentioned there was an exercise where you end up baring your soul—and it can be pretty intense.”
“Shit. I didn’t even think of that. We all had to sign an NDA the first day we were here. If someone actually did contact the rag, there’s gonna be hell to pay.”
“It could get kind of messy, Grey—especially if Pete Sanchez is a part of this. He loves outing celebs.”
“I’m sure I’ll be hearing from him if he is a part of this. Fuck.”
“Hey, I think you know what you’re going to have to do. But if you need anything—and I mean anything—let me know. I’m here for you, baby. I still love the shit out of you—believe it or not.”
“I love you, too. I’m sorry about the marriage and divorce thing, Elizabeth. I just want you to be happy.”
“I’m happy, Grey. Even happier now that I know the real reason our sex life wasn’t all that!”
“It wasn’t terrible.”
“Yes, Grey—it was!” She laughed. At least I know she wasn’t terribly pissed.
“So—I guess I should let you go. I guess I need to call Beverly now.”
“Okay, Grey. I’m here—and I’ve got your back. I’m sure that bastard Sanchez will be calling soon enough. Don’t worry about a thing. I’ll put him in his place!”
That made me smile—she definitely will put that gossip queen right where he deserves to be.
We ended our call, and it didn’t even take ten seconds for Beverly to call. Okay—here goes nothing!
“This is Grey.”
“Greyson. What the hell is going on there in Hawaii? Kissing another man out in public?”
“And how are you, Beverly?”
“Don’t be smug with me, Greyson. My job is to help you get out of the little slips and mistakes you have made over the years—but this? Kissing a man on the beach? Are you gay, Greyson?”
“You need to chill out a bit, Beverly—and yes—I’m gay.”
“Chill out? Do you know what this is going to do to your public image? The world loves the Greyson Myers who is—or was—married to one of the top models in the world. They won’t accept the Greyson Myers that’s kissing random boys on a Hawaiin beach!”
“Oh, Jesus Christ, Beverly—shut up for a minute. It’s my turn to talk.”
“Did you just tell me to shut up?”
“Yes. Now listen to me—and listen well. I’m gay. That’s why my sham marriage never was going to work—the sham marriage you insisted on, by the way. And fuck the god-damned image. That’s not my image—that’s the image you created. There are plenty of openly-gay news anchors in the business. Who they love has absolutely nothing with their credibility as a journalist.”
“But this isn’t you, Greyson.”
“This is me, Beverly! This may not be the Greyson you have created, but it is me. Now—and I need you to be completely honest with me. Has a Peter Sanchez been in touch?”
“Oh, Jesus! Yes, Greyson. He won’t leave me alone. He insists on talking to you before he published his story on your Hawaiian activities.”
“Did he share any of his information with you?”
“Nothing much—but he did mention a boy from high school that you were going to find when you returned to the city.”
“Okay. That’s all I need to know. Someone from the Epic Life retreat broke their NDA. No one else knew about Rafe. Now—I need you to give me Sanchez’s contact info. I need to have a few words with him.”
“That’s my job, Greyson.”
“No—I’m going to do this my way, Beverly. We’ll talk about it more when I get back. But this is a bit of an emergency, and I need to deal with things in real-time—without a third-party moderator.”
“I hope you know what you’re doing, Greyson. I’ll contact the network and see how they want to proceed.”
“No, Beverly. I’ll be handling the network on this. You see—this is the most personal thing I have going on my life. This has nothing to do with the Greyson Myers you created. I’m handling ME in my own way. Please text me that contact information, and I’ll let you know when I get back to the city. Goodbye, Beverly.”
I ended the call and went downstairs to the conference room. I sure hope Francesca is there!
The doors were locked, so I knocked—I knocked four times before someone finally answered. It was Heather, one of the other group leaders.
“Hello, Greyson. Can I help you?”
“I hope so. I need to speak with Francesca. It’s an emergency that needs to be handled right away.”
Heather smiled and said she would be right back. In less than a minute, Francesca came to the door.
“Yes, Greyson. Is there something I can do for you?”
“Is there somewhere we can talk in private? There’s a situation, and I may have to leave as soon as I can get a flight.”
Francesca took me to the front of the room, out of earshot from the other group leaders.
“It appears someone has contacted a weekly gossip rag and told them I was here—as well as some of the details of my private conversations that have taken place.”
“What do you mean, Greyson?”
I pulled up the photo Elizabeth sent me, showing her the cover of the Buzz. She sighed and shook her head. “I’m so sorry, Greyson. I will put our legal team on this right away. We’ll figure out who is behind this. You also said private information had been shared?”
“I just got off the phone with my soon-to-be-former manager. She said that they have been trying to contact me. They also said they had information on me wanting to find my high school sweetheart when I returned to the city. They are apparently talking about Rafe—and no one—absolutely no one—knows anything about Rafe except the people who were in this room during my one-on-one session.”
“Are you okay? Do you know what you are going to do?”
“Yes, I’m surprisingly okay. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to have told Beverly that this was about me—not the image of me that she created. I said I was going to handle this my way, and she didn’t have to do a thing.”
“That’s wonderful, Greyson. Can you share your plans?”
“It’s all pretty new and most likely will change, but after I talk with you, I’m calling my bosses at NNN to tell them what’s going on, and that I need to get back on the air as soon as possible.”
“How will they take the news?”
“Are you kidding? When Anderson Cooper came out on the air, they were frustrated that they didn’t have a gay anchor who could come out as well. When Don Lemon told his CNN audience that he was gay, I think the bosses wanted to see if any of their anchors would at least pretend to be gay so the network would look just as progressive as the competition.”
“Gotta love show business, right?”
“Yeah—you get it. Anyway, after I talk with the network, I get to speak with the man who wrote that article. If he follows his pattern, which I’m sure he will, he will be publishing a story in the next issue—using all the private information that was shared with him from my One-on-One. The reason I need to leave is so I can get on the air and come out at the end of my first broadcast—on MY terms.”
Francesca took my hands in hers—then she smiled. “We will all miss having you with us, Greyson. I’ve seen hundreds of people make their way through this program. Nearly all of them have enormous breakthroughs and can make some wonderful changes in their lives.
“Very few people have transformed themselves like you have, Greyson. Do you need the rest of the program? Probably not. Would you have benefitted from the rest of the week? Probably. But I can say with great assurance that the others in the group would have significantly benefitted from your further participation. It seems you have a lot of plans to get underway. I can assure you we will do everything we can to find out who leaked your private information to the press.”
Francesca stood and took me in her arms. “I’m so proud of you, Greyson. And I’m especially proud to have spent this time with you. I will stay in touch.”
“Thank you for everything, Francesca. You have changed my life.”
“No, I just guided you in the right direction. You have changed your own life.”
Whoa. It seems the shit has hit the fan with Greyson. To say I was shocked when he showed me the cover of that American gossip magazine is an understatement. On the other hand, I was blown away by how calm Grey was. He was handling the situation remarkably well.
Yes, I’m sad that he’s leaving Hawaii tonight. I know we’ll be staying in touch. In just ten days, we’ve developed quite a history together.
When we went back to the conference room, Francesca was not pleased. She told us that someone in the room had broken their Non-Disclosure Agreement and that we would not be leaving the room until she knew who it was.
Fortunately, or unfortunately—it didn’t take very long to learn who the culprit was. Jack was going to take each of us into another room where he and Francesca would talk with us. They would as several questions—designed to discover if we were the person who leaked Grey’s information to the press. They definitely knew what they were doing. It seems like they have had to do this before.
Right before they were to speak with the last person in the group, Jack and Francesca came out of the room—alone. Francesca spoke with us first. She said Naomi admitted that she was the person who leaked the information. Naomi told Francesca that it was for the money—that she didn’t mean to cause any harm to Greyson. She had medical bills that needed to be taken care of, and this was a way to make sure that was done.
Francesca then talked to the entire group, told them what had been discovered, and then spoke about the importance of the NDA. She explained to the group everything that Grey was going to have to do now that private and personal information had been leaked to the press.
Francesca talked about how we should be committed to the success of each and every person in the room. She wrapped up by bragging about Greyson’s new-found confidence and steadfast determination. She knew that everything was eventually going to work out precisely the way it needed to.
I was so proud of Greyson—but I was going to miss him terribly.
I got to the room after my talk with Francesca. The first thing I did was book the next flight back to New York. It cost a pretty penny, but it was so well worth it. I have a lot to do!
I will be back in the city tomorrow afternoon. I called Bob Jernigan, the network president. I told him what was going on and that I needed to make a special announcement at the end of tomorrow’s newscast. He suggested that my sub do the newscast tomorrow and that he would let me do the last segment, Greyson’s Take, which I usually did at the end of every newscast.
That worked for me as long as I could go back on the air the following night. Bob agreed and assured me that the network supported me and was behind me 100%. While I knew they would be, it did feel good to hear that reassurance first-hand.
The hardest part was saying goodbye to Lucas. There were quite a few tears, but the hug and kisses were there to help ease the pain. We promised to stay in touch. Hell, how could I not keep in touch with the man who was so instrumental in me finding myself?
Two hours later, I was in a limo on my way to the airport. I called Rafe to see if he had seen the story. He said he had, but after our talk, he wasn’t too concerned. He had a feeling I was on top of it. I told him I was and that I was heading back to the city a few days early. I told him when I would be arriving, and that I would contact him as soon as I got back home.
The next call was to my mother. She had called three times, and I didn’t answer. She would probably be more pissed about that anything else.
“Greyson! Are you okay? What the heck are you doing in Hawaii?”
“I told you I was going to Hawaii. I’m here for a conference.”
“Some conference! I saw that magazine in the grocery store. At first, I thought it was a mistake, but then I looked closely. That was definitely my son—kissing another man on a public beach. Do you have anything to say about that?”
“Yes, mother. I have a lot to say. But I’m going to say it face-to-face. We’re not going to have this conversation over the phone. I’ll be back in the city tomorrow. I’ll be doing my Take segment at the end of tomorrow’s newscast. I would like you to be in the studio when I do it. Can you make that happen?”
“Yes, Grey. I’ll be there.”
“If you can get there about an hour early, I would like to talk with you before I go on. It’s very important to me, Mom. Please do this for me?”
“Of course, Greyson. I’ll see you tomorrow night, then. Just one thing—are you okay?”
“Mom—despite all the crap going on, I’ve never been better in my life.”
“Okay, son. I’m going to trust you on this. Goodbye. I love you.”
“I love you, too. Bye.”
Well, that was a pleasant surprise. Mom wasn’t hysterical. She seemed genuinely relieved when I told her that I was okay. At least she agreed to meet me at the studio. I know she won’t go into hysterics and make a scene there.
My first flight was a puddle-jumper to the Honolulu airport. I had a 90-minute layover before my direct flight to Laguardia. During that layover, I got the email I had been expecting from Beverly. It had Sanchez’s contact information—along with a detailed explanation of her concerns for my well-being. Whatever.
About ten minutes later, I got the email I had been waiting for all day:
I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to be publishing a story based on the information I have received regarding your newly-discovered sexual preferences.
I should say that I know about your desire to find the boy you were in love with in high school. All I know is that his name is Rafe. I also know that you are about to change management. After speaking with Beverly, I have to say you are making the right decision on that front.
I don’t want to make life difficult for you, Greyson. But I feel that your viewers have a right to know who the real person is behind the one they see in their living rooms every night.
As with any other story of this nature, I will not let my story go to print if you are able to speak the truth to your viewers before Friday of this week. If the world hasn’t heard from Greyson Myers by then, my story will be published in the next issue of The Weekly Buzz.
Fucking bastard! I’m so going to call that son-of-a-bitch out tomorrow night! He needs to stop this bullshit!
My flight was finally called, and I made it from the American lounge to my seat in First Class. I settle in with a quick cocktail, and I think I was asleep before the plane was even halfway into its ascent.
I slept most of the way back to the city. I woke up for some breakfast, which wasn’t bad—but was pure shit compared to the food I’d been eating in Hawaii. I think the smartest thing I had done was turn my phone completely off once I got on the place. There were no waiting calls, messages, or emails for me to worry about. I’ll handle all of that once I get back on the ground and into my apartment.
After my second cup of coffee, the captain announced we were beginning our descent into Laguardia. It’s funny—the “old” Greyson would be a stressed-out maniac about this time. Now—it was calm in my resolve. I really do like this taking control of things in my way!
I think the best part of flying First Class is that you get to be the first off the plane. You don’t have to deal with the crowds nearly as much, either. As soon as we touched down, I turned my phone on so I could arrange for my Uber to take me home.
Of course, there were a ton of messages and emails. I surprised myself when I ignored them.
As soon as I got off the escalator to the baggage claim, I heard someone yelling my name—well, my old name. Weird.
“Gary! Gary Mackolvich! Over here!”
Fuck! It was Rafe. He ran up to me, wrapped his arms around me, and spoke into my ear.
“I got you, Grey. My car is outside. Let’s get your bags and get the fuck outta here before anyone discovers you’re here.”
“Oh my god! I can’t believe I’m holding on to you, Rafe! I want to kiss you right here, but—”
“Oh, hell-the-fuck-no! We are not having our make-up kiss in the middle of fucking Queens! Even I have standards.”
We went to the baggage claim and waited. We really didn’t talk. All I could do was steal glances at the incredibly hot man my formerly skinny and scrawny best friend had become.
We finally got my bags, and I followed Rafe to the Uber lot. We got into his car, and I gave the driver my address.
“No, we’re going to my place. One of the cast members lives on your block and said that the paps were all over your place for the entire day. You don’t need that bullshit right now. You’re coming to my house so you can get ready for your newscast. I’m going to be with you tonight. I got myself covered for the show.”
The entire time he was talking, Rafe held my hand. It was one of the nicest feelings I’d had in a long time. I told him I had so much to say to him, but he said wait. He didn’t want me saying anything that the driver could hear.
In my ear, he whispered, “You should know by now that you can’t trust anyone you don’t know. When we get home, you can tell me everything—after the kiss you promised.”
He lightly kissed my ear and said, “Welcome home, Grey. You have nothing to worry about. I’ve got your back—just like I always did.”
I had this incredible sense of peace wash over me. Rafe squeezed my hand, and I watched the traffic go by as we were making our way into the city. I had this half-smile glued to my face when a single tear rolled down my cheek.
Rafe wiped the tear away with his thumb while leaning into me one more time. “If that was a sad tear, I should let you know that I intend to make sure it’s the last sad tear you shed for a long, long time. If that’s a happy tear, then I guess I need to get ready for a lot more of those, because I promise to make sure that this new Greyson Myers is the fucking happiest Greyson Myers the world has ever seen.”
Fuck it! I couldn’t wait any longer. I placed my hand on either side of Rafe’s face and pulled him in for the kiss I’ve been waiting for for the past several days.
Whoa! What a kiss! But Rafe suddenly broke the kiss and whispered to me, “nice job on waiting, newsboy. We’ll finish that kiss when we get home.”
I don’t know which part of that I liked the best. Was it the “we” part? Was it “home?” Or was it the combination of “we” and “home” so close together in the same sentence?
Remember that half-smile I told you about? Well, it was a full-fledged, fucking big-ass grin the rest of the way to Rafe’s apartment.
Fuck! What the hell was in store once we get there? That made my smile even bigger.
Oh boy! That was a lot of stuff to get through. I know it seems a lot happened in a short time, but when you think about it, Grey HAD to make things happen quickly so he could control the situation.
I can't wait to write the next chapter! Even more is going to happen as we discover (along with Grey) the new man Greyson Myers is becoming.