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Endings - 13. Chapter 13 Fare Thee Well

Remembering Peter Pan....

                                                                                                                                                                                 ***

Fare Thee Well

 

 

His father was waiting up for him when he got home, and Chase had pretty much expected it… after all, he’d been gone for hours. “Hey.”

“Chase, everything all right?” His father stood up from his seat on the couch, a concerned expression clouding his face.

“Relax, Dad. Everything’s good, okay?”

“I am relaxed,” Charles said quickly.

Chase raised one eyebrow in challenge. “Who are you kidding?”

“Okay, well, you can’t blame me for worrying when you up and left out of the blue. Ah, do you want something to eat? You didn’t have much of the pizza.”

“Sorry about that. I just needed some air… and time to think. Didn’t plan to be gone so long, and I ate again at Dawson’s. We ordered in Chinese.”

“I figured that’s where you might be.”

Chase, feeling guilty, shrugged. “I probably should have called,” he said before walking into the kitchen and opening the fridge.

His father followed him. “Don’t be silly… I knew you were fine… I just—”

“I know… but I should have called anyway. Oh, good, there’s pizza left for breakfast.”

“There’s enough for breakfast and lunch. Neither one of you ate a full slice.”

“Did Hank stay long after I left?”

“Only about twenty minutes. I think he was worried about you too.”

Chase closed the door and turned to face his father and saw the concern was still present. “Would you please stop looking so freaked out? You did the right thing, and I’m fine. I’m glad Mom thought there was going to be a wedding because she got to feel a part of it. Okay?”

His father’s expression finally cleared, and he smiled. “She was so excited after Hank told her, and it kept her focused at a time she needed something. It was a blessing I’ll always be thankful for.”

“I am too, now that I know about it. There is so much love in that little painting, and we both know almost all her favorite movies had weddings in them.”

“Just about,” his dad agreed.

“Of course she would be excited, and I’m not upset with Hank for not telling me. He did the right thing too. So… so why would you think Hank was worried about me?”

“Oh. That’s easy. I know him just about as well as I know you, and it was the way he acted after you left. He got fidgety, and Hank doesn’t usually get fidgety.”

“Not usually, no. Maybe he had to meet someone—he hates to be late—but didn’t want to be rude and leave too soon. He hadn’t seen you in ages. Who knows, maybe Kevin was waiting for him.”

Charles shook his head and gave a sarcastic snort. “You guys. I can’t believe you two.”

“Dad, come on, I’m just saying—”

“You hear what you want to hear, and so does Hank,” he said with another headshake, and Chase heard the exasperation in his voice.

“Hey, where is this coming from?”

“Look, he told you it was over with Kevin, but you still don’t believe it, and he’s just as bad. He got agitated when I said you probably went over to Dawson’s.”

“He did? What makes you think that?”

“For one thing, he started chewing on his lip.”

“Okay, that could be a sign he was annoyed… but why the hell would he care?”

“Only one reason, son. Figure it out.”

“Jealousy? No way! You heard him. He said I had no business sticking my nose into his life, or his sex life.”

“Suit yourself, but I heard something different, like embarrassment at being put on the spot, a little shame, and maybe some regret—that whole business between you guys started when you mentioned Dawson—but you go right ahead and think what you want.”

“Oh, now I see what you’re trying to do, but I know Hank. No matter how many times I told him otherwise, he still thinks I screwed the guy I kissed. He looks at me and sees a cheater, and no matter what he says, he has me in the same category as his mother, yet he’s the one who ended up sleeping with someone else.”

“I agree, but you neglect to mention he said you might be right about that.”

“Exactly! And, it’s great he finally sees that—if he really does—and can actually admit it, but it doesn’t change a thing.”

His father sighed, and Chase could feel his frustration. “You’re missing my point, but I get the message and I’m sorry—I don’t want to step on any more toes today. This is between the pair of you, but I got to tell you, it makes me sad to see—”

“Don’t apologize, and I do appreciate what you tried to do when you told us about your drunken kiss with the torpedo lady.” He grinned, and was relieved when his dad briefly returned it before rolling his eyes.

“Yeah, thanks—not one of my finest moments—but I shouldn’t have done that. I was interfering and I knew it.”

“No, you had my back, and that’s allowed.”

“Well, I’m glad you feel that way. When you agreed with Hank it wasn’t the same as your situation, I was pretty sure I’d overstepped. Can I ask you a question, though, and then I promise I’ll stop?”

“Ask whatever you want.”

“Okay, why did you agree with Hank it was different from what you did? It surprised me to be honest, because I thought it was pretty similar.”

“I did too.”

“But—”

“Look, I saw where you were going with the story and so did he, and it was making him uncomfortable, so… I sided with him. I appreciated the attempt, but didn’t feel good about how you made him squirm.”

“Ah… see, that’s what you do for someone you love.”

“Hey, I made him squirm way more than you did.”

“Yes you did, but that was you. When it comes from someone else, it’s not allowed. That, my son, is how love works.”

Chase thought about it before he responded. “The love I’ve always felt… it hasn’t left.”

“I can see that.”

“But the hope has, Dad, and I know you care about him, and about us, but you should let the hope go too.”

“Who says I’m hoping?”

“Oh, please. You’d chain us together if you could. I saw that and so could he.”

His father smiled, but he at least had the decency to look contrite. “Was I that obvious?”

Chase chuckled while rubbing his face. “Like a brick to the head, old man. I’m tired. I think I’ll go to bed… it’s been a tough day. I’m losing my best friend on top of everything else, and I just want to sleep.”

“You get some rest, but are you sure you and Hank can’t be friends? It seems to me—”

“No, I’m not talking about him. I’m talking about Dawson. I didn’t want to get into this now, but you might as well know why I might be glum for the next few days. I found out tonight he’s moving far away from here.” He smiled weakly as he took in his father’s incredulous expression.

“Oh, Chase, that’s a shame. I really like that kid.”

“So do I.”

“What’s the deal, anyway? I talked to him in front of the building—Monday, I think—and he never said a word. Come to think of it, he was distracted, though. Why is he moving?”

Chase groaned, regretting having said anything. “It’s a long story, but he’s following his heart, and I am happy for him. He has a chance at connecting with his first love, and he should do it, but it hurts… it hurts a lot.” He was facing his father with eyes burning, and it took everything he had not to fall apart. It had been a hell of a day.

“Damn. I’m so sorry.” He moved forward with his arms out, and Chase folded into them. “I know how close you guys are.”

“It’s okay. I’m just tired and I wasn’t expecting it.”

“I thought he was still seeing that fellow from your work… the golfer. Is that who—”

“No, he cares about Carter, but his heart’s been elsewhere for a long time.”

“I see. When’s he moving?”

“He flies out tomorrow night.”

“Tomorrow? Dear Lord, that’s sudden. Where to?”

“Whitehorse, in the Yukon, believe it or not.” He let go of his dad and turned away quickly, heading down the hallway. “Good night.”

“Chase?”

“I’ll see you in the morning, Dad.” Closing the door of his room, he flopped onto his bed and let go of the tears he’d been holding back all evening. When would this rollercoaster his life had become, end?

 

Waking with a headache, Chase sat up, groaned, flicked on his light, and stared blearily at the clock. It was way too early to start the day, but he decided to anyway. His eyes felt dry and swollen from the tears shed before he fell asleep, but at least this time it hadn’t been about Hank. He was back to being alone again, and that was going to be hard, but what could he do. He’d clicked with Dawson immediately, sharing a lot in the few months they’d known each other, and knew how fortunate he’d been to have his friendship. The fact was, he loved the guy, and didn’t know what he would do without him. Damn, life really sucked sometimes.

As he pulled clean underwear from his dresser, it occurred to him Dawson had replaced Hank in a number of ways. He’d taken over the role of confidante, giving him comfort when he needed it, and support while he floundered, just like his ex had done through some very tough years. Hmmm. Maybe the reason for tears wasn’t so cut and dried after all… he heard Dr. Chorney’s voice in his head, telling him to delve deeper… and not to turn away from his feelings. Opening his door carefully, he stepped out into the hallway.

He needn’t have been quiet. His dad, fully dressed, was peering at him from the living room. “Chase, you all right?”

“Yeah, Dad, what are you doing up so early?” He advanced up the hallway to the bathroom door, wondering if his dad had continued to worry about him after he’d gone to bed so abruptly.

“I could ask you the same question.”

Yup… there was that concern again. “Woke up with a headache, but I’m feeling better already.”

“I see. Well, that’s good. Do you want some breakfast? Warmed up pizza, or maybe scrambled eggs and toast?”

“Oh, ah… scrambled eggs with a half-slice of warmed-up pizza instead of toast sounds great. I’ll be out in fifteen.” He gave his dad a reassuring smile, and the man’s demeanor relaxed.

“You got it. Oh… do you think Dawson could use my help today? He must have a lot to do?”

“He’s got it all organized, but you can check with him.”

“Good idea. I’ll do that.”

 

Chase ended up calling Dawson after receiving a ‘good morning’ text. Just hearing his voice made him feel better, and his excitement when he answered gave Chase reason to smile. He’d just received a text from Brent, telling him he was getting the hang of running the motel, and that the three full-time employees he’d hired were working out great. Some part-timers had been hired as well, so there was no reason to worry about him. That was basically it, but Dawson found it encouraging, and it’d served to lessen his nervousness about showing up out of the blue.

Chase agreed it was a good sign, and at the very least the man was thinking about him. He didn’t voice the doubts the text gave him—it seemed like Brent might have been telling Dawson to back off, but he hoped that wasn’t the case.

“Oh, Dad wanted me to ask if you need any help with anything.”

“No… I don’t think so. I’m leaving in a few minutes to take my car over to Carter’s. Other than that, I don’t have much to do but wait.”

“Okay, I’ll tell him.”

“”I’ll be back around nine if he wants to come over for a cup of coffee… no… sorry, I just have tea. The coffeemaker’s packed away in the garage now, but it would be nice to say a proper goodbye.”

He asked his Dad, who enthusiastically agreed. “He’ll be there. Call him when you get back and he’ll pop over.”

“Great. See you at lunch… I should make it by noon.”

“I’m counting on it, buddy.”

 

Dawson kept his word and showed up right on time, rushing through the door with a minute to spare. Chase had already gotten their sometimes order of cheeseburger combos, and they were in a lineup, waiting.

“We’re not going to make this a sad lunch, are we?”

Chase shook his head. “I admit it hit me like a punch to the gut when you told me, but this is a good thing. More than that, I really want this to work out for you.”

“I know you do. Your dad helped calm me down this morning. He’s a cool guy… maybe even cooler than his son.”

“Aww… thanks for the parting gift,” he said with a grin. “You’re probably right, though. Dad had his rough patch, but he’s back to being himself, which is pretty darn awesome.”

“He is,” Dawson agreed, “but you’re not so bad either.”

“I try,” Chase joked, feeling the awkwardness as they both tried to pretend this was just another day. He picked up their tray and walked outside to one of the concrete tables, with Dawson following close behind, carrying their drinks. The sun was strong, but there was a nice breeze. “So, you all set?”

Dawson nodded, stuffing fries into his mouth. “I’ve gone over it again and again, and I think I have everything covered, but I’ll probably realize I forgot something after I’m on the plane.”

Chewing on a mouthful of burger, Chase shook his head. “Doubt it… you’re too organized. I’m going to miss this.”

“Miss what? Eating totally unhealthy junk food with me?”

He chuckled. “That, and company at lunch time.”

“Come on, you can have company at lunch any time you want. You work with a good group.”

“True.” His smile slipped. “I should have said I’m going to miss you, Dawson.”

“Same here, but no sadness, right? We’ll keep in touch, and who knows, I might even be back.”

“Yeah we will, and no, you won’t. Brent would have to be crazy to let you go again.”

“Thanks, but there’s no guarantees, and I have to be prepared for the worst.”

“No… with love there never is.” He took a drink of his diet coke, but he forced his gaze back to his friend.

“Sorry, man,” Dawson said, maintaining eye contact that showed his concern.

“What for?”

“You know what for. I wanted things to work out for you too.”

“It’s fine, dude. Like we talked about last night, Hank and I have run our course and I’m ready for new possibilities.”

“Speaking of possibilities, you know Carter is a good guy.”

Chase’s jaw dropped. “Are you seriously trying to hook me up with your ex-boyfriend?”

“Too soon?” The smirk that appeared said it all.

“Very funny.”

“I thought so… and you said yourself he was hot.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“Yup, that’s me. Just saying… it wouldn’t bother me if you two—”

“Shut up!”

 

When lunch was over, they hugged goodbye on the outdoor patio of the restaurant, but there was no way Chase could hide his sadness. A couple of tears escaped despite his efforts, but he wasn’t the only one to shed some. This was their final farewell because it was the way Dawson wanted it. Chase was a little bummed he wouldn’t be seeing him off at the airport, but he understood. His friend was seemingly handling his fears well, but he could sense his inner turmoil over jumping into the unknown. The last thing he needed was an emotional sendoff. Doing it here and now was easier.

The rest of the day was a drawn-out ordeal for Chase, so he was relieved when he finally made it to his car, no longer having to put on a happy façade. In a few hours Dawson would be on his way to the Yukon, and in most respects, out of Chase’s life. He’d lost some friendships over the last few months, but the sting of this one hurt the most. The man had helped him through the worst of times.

He immediately felt guilty at the thought. That dubious honor really belonged to someone else. Hank had gotten him through the illness and eventual death of his mother, and no matter where they were now, he could not forget how much he’d done for him during their shared past. Hank had been his never-complaining rock.

Putting the car in gear, he drove home to an empty condo. His father had offered to cancel, but Chase insisted he go to dinner and a movie with Cindy as planned. He’d managed loss before and he would do it again. At least this time he wasn’t being spurned, and with every bit of his heart he hoped Dawson would get his happy ending. He sure could have used Rex’s company, but he was in no mood to call Hank.

Standing in the open door of the fridge, it took him forever to decide between heating up leftover pizza or making a roast beef sandwich. The pizza won out because it was easier. He tried watching TV, but it soon became depressing when he realized he and Dawson wouldn’t be watching the Leaf hockey games together this winter. They’d both been looking forward to a new season after major changes in the lineup.

Sighing, he finished his dinner, got up to clean his few dishes, and then puttered about until finally putting in some laundry, all the while watching the clock. He was just putting the last of it away in his dresser, at ten-thirty, when he received a text from Dawson.

“All checked in and waiting to board… wish me luck. Love you, buddy. I’ll miss seeing your face every day.”

This was what he’d been waiting for, and Chase smiled to himself as he replied. “And I’ll miss your lame-ass jokes. Good luck… go get him, dude… love you right back!”

Proud as he was of being supportive, his smile fell away as he flopped down onto his bed. He was tired of his life being about endings. Frustrated, he put a pillow over his face and groaned into it. This wasn’t about him. Everyone suffered loss sooner or later, whether through death or a break up… or friendships that drifted away—it was simply circumstances he had no control over, so what was the point of self-pity.

Yeah, control. It was time to take some back. Feeling sorry for himself was a trap, and he had to keep reminding himself he wasn’t that guy anymore… he refused to be. Throwing the pillow across the room in an act of defiance against past demons, he searched for and found his phone in the blankets. Squirming to make himself comfortable, he called Stacy, something he should have done ages ago. He was the one who hadn’t returned her last two attempts to reach out, and it was time to face the music.

 

“Hey, stranger!”

“Hi, Stacy. I’m not calling too late, am I?”

“No, of course not… your timing is perfect actually. Don’s asleep and I’m sitting outside on the patio listening to the crickets and enjoying a glass of red.”

“Sounds wonderful.”

“It is. I’ve earned it. So how about you?”

“I’m in my room staring at the ceiling—still living at Dad’s—and I’m doing okay…. for the most part. Sorry about not keeping in touch.”

“You should be, mister… but really, it’s fine, Chase… I get it. Heard you were busy.” There was a question in her voice, and genuine kindness.

He should have known she would be understanding. “Busy? Yeah, I guess. Who did you hear that from?”

“A few people… and Hank.”

“What did you hear exactly?” Chase asked, but he was pretty sure he knew the answer.

“That you had a new boyfriend.”

“Hank told you that? When?”

“A couple of weeks back, at Fred’s barbecue. He didn’t bring it up, but he said he was aware when the gang talked about it.”

“Well, check with him now. I set him straight yesterday. I’m sure he’ll call and tell you all the gory details.”

“We don’t hear from him much, Chase, not like we used to. So, you and that guy aren’t an item? I heard he was spectacularly handsome, and that you guys were glued at the hip.”

“Did Hank say that?”

Stacy snorted, and then laughed, reminding Chase of how much he’d missed talking to her. “Hell no. He just glowered while the others agreed he was smoking hot stuff in his bike shorts. I think everyone in the village has seen you two together, and you know those guys never miss a thing.”

“The pipeline must have been chirping like crazy.”

“Anytime there was a sighting,” she said with a snicker, but sounded rueful just the same.

“That’s okay… I’d expect nothing less. So, Hank glowered, eh? That’s funny. He screws Kevin and yet he didn’t like the thought of me and Dawson. I don’t get that at all.”

“Jealousy is a bitch, and are you sure he did that? Screw Kevin?”

“Between us, yeah. He admitted it… said it’s over now, but who knows.”

“It is… I do know that at least. I just didn’t know it went that far… I suspected it, though.”

“People can really surprise you.”

He heard Stacy sigh before she spoke again. “Kevin is apparently none too happy… called Ray and bitched about Hank. Said he led him on and played him, but I don’t believe that for one second… neither did Ray.”

“And I don’t either, but then again… I don’t exactly know Hank like I thought I did.”

“Maybe… maybe not.”

Chase could picture her doubtful expression, and he smiled at the phone.

“So what about this friend of yours?”

“His name is Dawson, and yes, he is smoking hot, and he does look good in bike shorts. We did work at the same place—he started as a paid intern and then advanced—but we were only friends… nothing more.”

“Were?”

“Are, but he’s flying out to the Yukon tonight, and he plans on living there.”

The Yukon? That’s in the Arctic, right? Why in heck is he going there?”

“Love. He’s following his heart—I admire him for it, but I’m going to miss him.”

“Oh, Chase, I’m sorry. It sounds romantic, though, flying off like that.”

“He’s taking a big chance in following this guy, Brent—they grew up together and fell in love, but they didn’t know how the other felt until recently. Ah, one day, I’ll tell you the whole, messy story.”

“Deal. I’ll hold you to it. Maybe we can have a night on the patio, just the two of us, like we used to.”

“I’d like that.”

“It’s a date, then. How about next Tuesday at eight?”

“Ah, okay sure… I’ll be there.”

“Awesome. I’ve missed you.”

“I know… me too… it was just easier to—”

“You don’t have to explain. I know how raw you were. Guys like Hank don’t come along every day… oh shoot, sorry.”

“Don’t be… you’re right, and I was raw for a long time.”

“And now?”

“Well, I feel like I’m losing my best friend again, but I’m handling it a lot better than I would have, so—Dr. Chorney has really helped.”

“Good to hear, but just remember, you have a lot of people who care about you, moi included, so if you need me to be your best friend, I’d be happy to.”

Chase laughed outright, and it felt good. “Is your bike in good shape?”

“My what?”

“Your bike.”

Stacy, with her usual humor, let out a peal of laughter after she scoffed. “If my bike was in good shape then my ass would be in good shape, so the answer is no.”

Chase laughed even harder. “We can change that with a month of biking.”

“I’m rescinding my offer. I don’t want to sweat with you, Chase. I’m the kind of best friend who sits in a comfy chair and drinks wine while you confide in her.”

“I’ll take it.”

“Of course you will, sweetie. You can go biking with Hank. Apparently, he’s been doing a lot of it lately.”

“He has?”

“That’s what I heard, not from him, though. Like I said, he keeps to himself nowadays, and even when he visits, he doesn’t stay long.”

“Hmm, that’s different. He never really liked biking… he’d rather run.”

“That’s what we thought, but things change.”

“Yeah they do, but, me and Hank going for a ride together? Not going to happen. Why is he keeping to himself?”

“Don’t know, but I could guess. He’s miserable, and we’re probably reminders.”

“Reminders of what?”

“You. You and him. Happier times? Take your pick.”

“My guess would be embarrassment over jumping into bed with John’s ex. I doubt it has much to do with me—he’s made that clear, but enough about the past. I’m so over it.”

“Are you?”

“Yep, I am. He has his life and I have mine.”

“Very mature of you,” Stacy said, but he could again hear skepticism in her voice.

He ignored it. “Well, it was about time I grew up.”

Stacy’s humor was back. “You do what you want, but I have no intention of ever growing up.”

“You sound like Peter Pan. Oh, remember when—”

“Oh my God! That play where the ropes gave way and Peter Pan ended up taking out most of the scenery?”

“Yeah, that’s the one. You peed yourself, remember.”

“Yes I did, and that’s still just between us, right?” Her giggling kept him smiling.

“Always.”

“Oh, Lord… that was one of the best nights of my life that didn’t involve crazy sex with Don.”

Chase laughed. “TMI, Stace.”

She snickered before calmness slowly returned, and her tone changed to a more serious one. “I’ve never forgotten how good a friend you are, Chase, never.”

“I know. Right back at you,” he said, feeling deeply touched. This call had been exactly what he needed. “See ya Tuesday?”

“I’ll be here, and probably on my second glass of wine.”

“Fair enough. You’re more fun when you’re tipsy.”

“That’s what Don says, but he’s talking about something else, if you know what I mean.”

“Once again, TMI, Stace, TMI.” Chase was laughing again as he hung up.

 

The following morning, he woke with a start from a deep sleep. The sky was just starting to lighten, and after stretching from head to toe, he reached for his phone. There were no new messages from Dawson, but it was early yet... he'll still be on the plane. Deciding not to get up until his alarm went off, he set the phone beside him on the mattress and turned over. He spent a few minutes thinking about what Dawson might be up against when he came face to face with Brent.

“Good luck, buddy,” he murmured before sliding back into sleep.

 

*

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this chapter... please share your thoughts if you can. Are your fingers crossed for Dawson? :unsure: Thanks also to my editor, Timothy M., for all he does. Cheers!

Copyright © 2019 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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Dawson’s departure was as sad as I thought it would be. How hard it is to say farewell to a close friend. I’m more struck by the echoes and shadows of Hank in this chapter. Chase may never escape these reminders of the man, but maybe they will fade into the background as he builds something new. Maybe now Hank will concentrate on finding his own way more constructively. I enjoyed this chapter! 

Edited by Parker Owens
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7 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

Dawson’s departure was as sad as I thought it would be. How hard it is to say farewell to a close friend. I’m more struck by the echoes and shadows of Hank in this chapter. Chase may never escape these reminders of the man, but maybe they will fade into the background as he builds something new. Maybe now Hank will concentrate on finding his own way more constructively. I enjoyed this chapter! 

Yeah, It was sad. I think it might have been easier if it hadn't happened so quickly, but there is something to be said for a band-aid being ripped off quickly. Their friendship was truly special, one of those that clicks on so many levels... they understood each other, and each other's pain, right from the beginning. That would be hard to lose. I like that you mention the echoes and shadows of Hank... he is definitely throughout this chapter, and maybe because he us unforgettable to Chase too. I think we all have those people who haunt us....

I'm pleased you enjoyed this chapter, Parker. Thanks for the support... cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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8 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

Ok so let me get this straight, the friends who didn't want to pick sides had a bbq and invited hank. Why not chase? I get not wanting to interfere with their screwed up relationship but I don't recall ever hearing about an invitation being extended to Chase. Seems to me like they did pick a side and it's clear whose it was. If your not picking sides you either invite both or neither. 

It's also very clear that Chase and hank are both hard headed idiots who cant see what is very clear to everyone else.

The only real friend out of the group is stacy. She's the only one to actually talk to Chase. Everyone else sends their best to him through her but yet they can freely associate with hank all they want. Quite frankly they can all buzz off.I get that Chase could call them too but it's not really on him. He's going through stuff and the only one who have a Damn enough about Chase was Stacy.  With the exception of Stacy, Chase should dump the rest of the assholes.

And that little cavernous skank of an open manhole! Hank led him on? Little freaking tart! I hope the next guys boyfriend he screws give him gonorrhea!

Cavernous? :rofl:  Hey, Wes! You got beat today, but only by milliseconds. :)  Sounds like Kevin has been spurned, because he wasn't much in contact after his breakup with John. Now he's calling and whining. I think he got hurt... but he should have seen it coming. When we compare his friendship to Dawson's, there is no comparison. Dawson was smart enough to not step in shit. Kevin obviously wasn't.

As far as the friends, Chase didn't respond to Stacey's last two attempts to reach out... I would expect one of those attempts was to invite him to the BBQ, to at least let him know about it. I get why you feel the way you do, but I've been on both sides of this. There really needs to be a cooling off period, and I think that's what happened. Now, most importantly, Chase is reaching out, and maybe it signifies that period is over, and this group of friends can bring him back into the fold. I also want to point out that they all thought Chase had a new boyfriend, and had moved on. It would be really hard to invite Chase AND a new boyfriend to the same events Hank was invited to. It's a difficult thing to maneuver... just saying.

I do agree Chase and Hank are being hard headed, but I also understand that. Both are fearful of more hurt. I thought Charles did a group job of showing how entrenched both men are, in his conversation with Chase when he arrived back home. :yes: 

Stacey is definitely cool... she didn't get pissed that Chase shut her off... she understands what he's been going through. 

Thanks, buddy... I was looking forward to your thoughts and you didn't disappoint. :P  Still laughing... cheers... Gary... :hug:  

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2 minutes ago, Headstall said:

I also want to point out that they all thought Chase had a new boyfriend, and had moved on. It would be really hard to invite Chase AND a new boyfriend to the same events Hank was invited to. It's a difficult thing to maneuver... just saying

And it's their fault for assuming that. None of them thought to ask Chase if he had a new boyfriend? They just assumed he did. They made an assumption and none of them had the common sense or decency to verify it. As I've said they are crappy friends. Making an assumption just because they saw him hanging out with another guy! As to the not wanting Chase and a new boyfriend there while hank was there, did they invite kevin?they knew Damn well hank and that sinkhole were getting closer and closer. Did they have they same worry for chase? How would Chase feel if he saw hank and another guy at the bbq? Did they care even to think about that? All these so called friends do is send their thoughts and prayers to Chase through Stacy and make asanine assumptions about Chase without even caring enough to know if their true.

Quite honestly if I were Stacy is tell these cowards to sod off and get someone else to pass along the messages. Even if one of Stacys missed calls was about the bbq, why was it her responsibility to tell Chase about it. If Fred was throwing a bbq then it is Fred's place to man the Hell up and call chase, but like the others he's a coward and prefers someone else to do the dirty work. Just like Trey, he could've called and apologized directly, but nope he had to send the message through Stacy. 

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12 minutes ago, Danners said:

(Would’ve been first to comment but some of us like to enjoy our reading, Wes.)

I can’t blame Chase for shielding himself from believing Hank still has feelings for him — genuine feelings — because he doesn’t want to start hoping for something that isn’t there and end up being devastated again, but when three people whose judgement you trust are telling you the same thing, maybe it’s time to give it a second thought. The spark of hope is still there, buried deep and waiting, or Chase wouldn’t be so interested in Hank’s reactions. Semiconscious as it may be, he’s thinking about Hank thinking of him, and he likes it.

Charles hit the nail on the head when he said they both [Hank and Chase] saw what they wanted to see. Time will well, but I’m confident their views will align at some point in the near future.

Excuse me but I do enjoy it and I wasn't first today. It took a bit to put into words how I felt about this chapter. But I agree that spark of hope is still there

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5 minutes ago, Danners said:

(Would’ve been first to comment but some of us like to enjoy our reading, Wes.)
 

Looks like it’s Chase’s turn to take a dip in denial. That’s three people now who’ve pointed out Hank’s jealousy coming from a place of love — Charles, Dawson, and now Stacy. Hank’s behavior at the barbecue was telling enough, what with everyone assuming Chase and Dawson were an item, but what really made me believe was the bike riding. Hank, I think, found an indirect way or connecting with Chase that felt safe and that also lessened the blow of Chase riding with Dawson. It’s almost like Hank was putting himself there with them. Or, perhaps, now that he’s crawled his way free of Cave-In, Hank is planning ahead for something he and Chase can do together down the road.

I can’t blame Chase for shielding himself from believing Hank still has feelings for him — genuine feelings — because he doesn’t want to start hoping for something that isn’t there and end up being devastated again, but when three people whose judgement you trust are telling you the same thing, maybe it’s time to give it a second thought. The spark of hope is still there, buried deep and waiting, or Chase wouldn’t be so interested in Hank’s reactions. Semiconscious as it may be, he’s thinking about Hank thinking of him, and he likes it.

Charles hit the nail on the head when he said they both [Hank and Chase] saw what they wanted to see. Time will well, but I’m confident their views will align at some point in the near future.

Chase also had it right when he decided he was tired of his life being about endings and that wallowing was a trap. He isn’t that guy anymore, and I’m proud of him for acknowledging that to himself. After all, it’s one thing to convince another but you’re your own worst critic.

Bon voyage, Dawson. May Brent welcome you with open arms. We’ll see you again when Gary publishes your side story. Until then, don’t be a stranger. Even in the Yukon, you can offer Chase an ear and put his to good use in return.

You're right about Chase's denial. But, we must admit Chase has tried and been rebuffed again and again. When do you throw the towel in? Unfortunately, Chase appears to have reached that point. I know you get that, and you understand the why of it. 

Great catch on the bike riding. You see it as I do, Dan, whether Hank, himself realizes it or not. I, too, believe it is a way of feeling closer to Chase. I'm not sure if he is thinking into the future for him and Chase... but he is showing signs of a shift in his thinking. 

The talk with Stacy was enlightening, for us especially, but Chase is still basing his stance on what he's heard from the horses's mouth. I don't blame him for being skeptical. His conversation with Hank was just yesterday, and it did hurt him deeply to hear the suspected truth about Kevin. That, and Hank's attitude are roadblocks to changing it... as far as Chase sees, sure, he doesn't like the idea of Dawson, but he's had his damn cake. Can't say I blame him for thinking that way. But again, you make another good point. Chase does seem interested in hearing about his ex.

I'm glad to hear you are proud of Chase, buddy. I'm proud of him too. He is taking this new ending well. He's come a long way... he seems determined to keep going forward with his life, and I loved that he reached out to Stacey after throwing the pillow. He has learned he must always be proactive. :) 

Thanks for another stellar comment, my friend... I appreciate it... cheers... Gary.... :hug:  

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After reading Wes’s comment and your reply, Gary, I had to go back and check something that was bothering me. Hank was invited to the barbecue, not Hank and Cave-In, and that was a couple weeks ago. Invitations for such events don’t go out last minute, which hints at the two of them having been broken up for at least three weeks, maybe a month at that point. Interesting.

I think they went to the cottage, after all, and after they did the deed, Hank knew for a fact he wasn’t over Chase. He felt guilty. Just like Chase felt guilty when he kissed Dawson, I can hear him thinking. That did it, and the relationship ended. Hank broke it off.

I can see how Cave-In could feel led on and maybe even used but, in my opinion, he has only himself to blame. He wasn’t even a rebound, he was a failed rebound. A placeholder. He took advantage of Hank’s issues and hurt feelings and he got exactly what he deserved.

Actually, no. Petty as it may be, what he deserves is to see Hank and Chase happily together again and know that he couldn’t come between them.

But hey, it gives me hope. It, along the bike rides, shows that Hank is taking time to himself and using it to evaluate his situation. Solo rides can be quite meditative and we know he reflected on what Chase said about his mother, or he wouldn’t have agreed that he let those unresolved issues put Chase in the wrong light. If he came to terms with that, what else has he been ruminating over? 

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You keep the tension going!  I would have cheered if Charles had chained Hank and Chase together and kept them until they finally truly talked...but that would have ruined the story!  Great job!  And now...next chapter please?

Tony

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2 minutes ago, Danners said:

I can see how Cave-In could feel led on and maybe even used but, in my opinion, he has only himself to blame. He wasn’t even a rebound, he was a failed rebound. A placeholder. He took advantage of Hank’s issues and hurt feelings and he got exactly what he deserved.

Actually, no. Petty as it may be, what he deserves is to see Hank and Chase happily together again and know that he couldn’t come between them.

 

You are absolutely correct he has only himself to blame. I'm pretty sure I know why John cheated on him. He's a shiny little manchild who cries when things don't go his way. Who the Hell would want to be around that all the time. Quite frankly I wouldn't mind seeing John come back into the group. 

And I don't think it's petty to want to see that. I would love to see the look on that walking gloryholes face of they got back together

Glad my comment made you think.

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9 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

Excuse me but I do enjoy it and I wasn't first today. It took a bit to put into words how I felt about this chapter. But I agree that spark of hope is still there

I know, Wes. I was just kidding.

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11 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

And it's their fault for assuming that. None of them thought to ask Chase if he had a new boyfriend? They just assumed he did. They made an assumption and none of them had the common sense or decency to verify it. As I've said they are crappy friends. Making an assumption just because they saw him hanging out with another guy! As to the not wanting Chase and a new boyfriend there while hank was there, did they invite kevin?they knew Damn well hank and that sinkhole were getting closer and closer. Did they have they same worry for chase? How would Chase feel if he saw hank and another guy at the bbq? Did they care even to think about that? All these so called friends do is send their thoughts and prayers to Chase through Stacy and make asanine assumptions about Chase without even caring enough to know if their true.

Quite honestly if I were Stacy is tell these cowards to sod off and get someone else to pass along the messages. Even if one of Stacys missed calls was about the bbq, why was it her responsibility to tell Chase about it. If Fred was throwing a bbq then it is Fred's place to man the Hell up and call chase, but like the others he's a coward and prefers someone else to do the dirty work. Just like Trey, he could've called and apologized directly, but nope he had to send the message through Stacy. 

Okay, I will concede you make a good point, but Hank was the one who confirmed it. And Chase and Dawson were biking through the village and its neighborhoods almost every day. That would have the entire pipeline chirping. But you are right it was an assumption... we all make those based on what we see and hear. And yeah, we often end up having to backtrack in our thinking. I guess they chose to believe Hank, and didn't see the need to check with Chase. :( 

I get invitations from my friends, passed on by other friends, so I don't find that particular point unusual, Wes. I think Stacy is the unofficial leader of their group of friends, but I do see your point. I will just make one other point... Chase has not reached out to anyone but Stacey, and he didn't respond to her last two attempts to talk to him. He does bear some responsibility too. That's my opinion. :) 

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1 minute ago, Danners said:

I know, Wes. I was just kidding.

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Awwww

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17 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

Excuse me but I do enjoy it and I wasn't first today. It took a bit to put into words how I felt about this chapter. But I agree that spark of hope is still there

Lol. You tell him, Wes. :P  Take as much time as you need, buddy. It doesn't really matter whether you're first or tenth. :yes:  And I love hearing your thoughts... and I like that you still hold onto hope. :hug: 

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Just now, Headstall said:

Okay, I will concede you make a good point, but Hank was the one who confirmed it. And Chase and Dawson were biking through the village and its neighborhoods almost every day. That would have the entire pipeline chirping. But you are right it was an assumption... we all make those based on what we see and hear. And yeah, we often end up having to backtrack in our thinking. I guess they chose to believe Hank, and didn't see the need to check with Chase. :( 

I get invitations from my friends, passed on by other friends, so I don't find that particular point unusual, Wes. I think Stacy is the unofficial leader of their group of friends, but I do see your point. I will just make one other point... Chase has not reached out to anyone but Stacey, and he didn't respond to her last two attempts to talk to him. He does bear some responsibility too. That's my opinion. :) 

And they thought that the bitter ex boyfriend was the best person to get that information. They should've got it straight from the horse's mouth but they seem to be incapable of doing anything involving common sense. Yeah let's just believe the jilted lovers words right off the bat. 

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5 minutes ago, Headstall said:

 will just make one other point... Chase has not reached out to anyone but Stacey, and he didn't respond to her last two attempts to talk to him. He does bear some responsibility too. That's my opinion. :) 

Also Stacey reached out first. These idiots have to remember Chase was going through something and was not in the right headspace to reach out. He always had Hank there to help him get through stuff and when hank stopped doing that he had no one. We're they ever really his friends of they couldn't see that?

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11 minutes ago, Danners said:

After reading Wes’s comment and your reply, Gary, I had to go back and check something that was bothering me. Hank was invited to the barbecue, not Hank and Cave-In, and that was a couple weeks ago. Invitations for such events don’t go out last minute, which hints at the two of them having been broken up for at least three weeks, maybe a month at that point. Interesting.

I think they went to the cottage, after all, and after they did the deed, Hank knew for a fact he wasn’t over Chase. He felt guilty. Just like Chase felt guilty when he kissed Dawson, I can hear him thinking. That did it, and the relationship ended. Hank broke it off.

I can see how Cave-In could feel led on and maybe even used but, in my opinion, he has only himself to blame. He wasn’t even a rebound, he was a failed rebound. A placeholder. He took advantage of Hank’s issues and hurt feelings and he got exactly what he deserved.

Actually, no. Petty as it may be, what he deserves is to see Hank and Chase happily together again and know that he couldn’t come between them.

But hey, it gives me hope. It, along the bike rides, shows that Hank is taking time to himself and using it to evaluate his situation. Solo rides can be quite meditative and we know he reflected on what Chase said about his mother, or he wouldn’t have agreed that he let those unresolved issues put Chase in the wrong light. If he came to terms with that, what else has he been ruminating over? 

I suppose it's different for everybody, but things like BBQs are no big deal in my circle and my experience. 'Invitations' don't go out... and I suspect these are regular things, like hey, let's have a BBQ at my place this weekend. We are only talking about six or eight friends getting together on a Sunday afternoon for a few hours. It's really not a big deal. 

I suspect you are right that Hank experienced guilt over sleeping with Kevin, whether he did it that weekend or some other time... and I base that on his shift with regards to comparing Chase with his mother. 

Yeah, as I said earlier, Kevin has only himself to blame... we don't know Kevin, and he may have been coming from a dark place, but he should have been more careful. And yeah, it sounds like he was a failed rebound. :(  Personally, I take no joy in that. We all make mistakes....

We've all watched Chase progress... is it Hank's turn now? We aren't in his head, but it sounds as if he realizes that while Chase began this with his actions, Hank is really the architect of their demise as a couple. Tough lesson to learn. :unsure:  Thanks, Dan. :hug: 

 

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19 minutes ago, pvtguy said:

You keep the tension going!  I would have cheered if Charles had chained Hank and Chase together and kept them until they finally truly talked...but that would have ruined the story!  Great job!  And now...next chapter please?

Tony

Also... it would be illegal. :P  Hey, Tony. Yeah, if only things were that simple, but the fact is, chaining them together might have made it worse... well... I guess it can't get much worse... or can it? :D  Just kidding... maybe... :unsure2: 

Glad you liked the tension... next chapter in six and a half days. :) 

Thank you, my friend, for letting me know your thoughts. Cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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5 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

You are absolutely correct he has only himself to blame. I'm pretty sure I know why John cheated on him. He's a shiny little manchild who cries when things don't go his way. Who the Hell would want to be around that all the time. Quite frankly I wouldn't mind seeing John come back into the group. 

And I don't think it's petty to want to see that. I would love to see the look on that walking gloryholes face of they got back together

Glad my comment made you think.

Careful, Wes. Don’t let your distaste for Cave-In put you in the urinal’s camp.

John cheated and he claimed it was a mistake, but he did cheat. He made that decision and gave up all designs on how his boyfriend would react after doing so. Something tells me he isn’t a bad person; however, let’s not rally behind him just because Cave-In’s issues ate him alive.

John did that to him. I mean, there’s a Kleenex box worth of issues behind Cave-In’s behavior with Hank and all of them don’t stem from the urinal. Some of them probably drove him to John to cheat like you said.

But . . . had John not cheated, Cave-In most likely wouldn’t have bent over backwards to comfort Hank and that whole debacle wouldn’t have snapped Chase’s already strained sense of hope.

The urinal and Cave-In deserve each other if you ask me, and they can both fuck off.

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19 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

You are absolutely correct he has only himself to blame. I'm pretty sure I know why John cheated on him. He's a shiny little manchild who cries when things don't go his way. Who the Hell would want to be around that all the time. Quite frankly I wouldn't mind seeing John come back into the group. 

And I don't think it's petty to want to see that. I would love to see the look on that walking gloryholes face of they got back together

Glad my comment made you think.

I think you got your wish, Wes. At least part of it. Kevin has ended up hurt from the looks of it, and yea, he has only himself to blame. I would never have done what he did, but I don't know where Kevin was at in his headspace. 

And no, Dan is not being petty to want to see something like that. :)  Walking gloryhole? :gikkle: 

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22 minutes ago, Danners said:

I know, Wes. I was just kidding.

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Aww... that was so sweet. :wub: 

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21 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

Awwww

You guys... :heart: 

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17 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

And they thought that the bitter ex boyfriend was the best person to get that information. They should've got it straight from the horse's mouth but they seem to be incapable of doing anything involving common sense. Yeah let's just believe the jilted lovers words right off the bat. 

Yes. Maybe it's a form of cowardice... or maybe after going through it with John and Kevin and losing both of them from the group, they have decided on a different tack. :huh:  Just saying....

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7 minutes ago, Headstall said:

Also... it would be illegal. :P  Hey, Tony. Yeah, if only things were that simple, but the fact is, chaining them together might have made it worse... well... I guess it can't get much worse... or can it? :D  Just kidding... maybe... :unsure2: 

Glad you liked the tension... next chapter in six and a half days. :) 

Thank you, my friend, for letting me know your thoughts. Cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

Illegal, yes...but those two need to sit in a locked room, get all the negative out in the open and then start dealing rationally.  That would be a job for the good Doctor to tackle, but I will admit that I enjoy the drama in the story.  After all, it is a story - yet one that has a lot of material upon which to reflect, react, and digest.  Just the type that I enjoy reading, Gary!

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