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    Headstall
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Endings - 15. Chapter 15 Girls' Night

Not yet....

                                                                                                                                                                                     ***

Girls' Night

 

 

“Dude, I’ve been waiting all day to hear from you. What happened?”

“I got out of the car like you told me too.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“Hey, stop fucking with me and spill!”

Dawson laughed. “Sorry, it’s been quite a day. Long story short, the douche showed up right after I got here… like five minutes after we texted.”

“Perry? You’re fucking kidding me!”

“Nope, talk about bad timing again, but it’s the truth. Totally freaked me out because he wanted to get back together with Brent, and he’s pretty slick. He kept trying and trying and trying. I swear, man, I thought I was going to pass out a couple of times, but fortunately Brent told him there was no fucking way it was going to happen.”

“Just like that? Right in front of you?”

“Yup… Brent never waffled once. He insisted I stay… it happened right in the middle of the parking lot. Awkward as hell, but I have to say I was glad I saw it. The guy is a douchebag supreme, and I’m proud to say he hates my guts.”

“Wow. So where does that leave you and Brent?”

“Right now, you could say I’m in post coital bliss.”

“You’re what?!”

“You heard me. And I have to say it was the best thing ever. He told me I was worth the wait, and he definitely was… twice in a row.”

“TMI, buddy, but I’m happy for you. So it’s all good then?”

“It’s perfect. We are now partners in every sense of the word.”

“I knew it. I told you there was no way he’d let you go again.”

“Props to you, dude, for being right, and Brent wanted me to give you his thanks too.”

“Why? I didn’t do anything.”

“Yeah, you did. You told me to take my own advice. This never would have happened if you hadn’t challenged me, and we both know it.”

“If you say so. You have a lot more guts than I do. Is he there?”

“Yeah, but he’s napping, so I snuck out to the dining room to call you. Speaking of which, the house needs a ton of work, but I absolutely love it. Anyway, back to Brent. I think I wore him out. He wore me out too, but I slept for about half an hour, and now I’m energized.”

“Atta boy. I’m over the moon for you, Dawson.”

“I know. Thanks, and I’ll call again soon, I promise. There’s so much I have to tell you about this place, but I have to wake him up now. He’s showing me the ropes and I can’t wait to get started, and Chase, you have more courage than you think.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Just… you’re a lot stronger than you were when I met you, so don’t sell yourself short, okay? I’m serious.”

“Ah, sure… okay, thanks, buddy.”

“And if you want something, you go after it. You deserve to be happy, remember that. Don’t do what you think you should do… do what you want to do.”

“I will, I promise.”

“Okay, talk to you soon. Gotta go… We’re three hours behind you so it’s only three here, and we work till about eleven or twelve. Say hi to your dad. Oh, and the motel has a restaurant.”

“Really? That sounds like a lot of work.”

“I guess it will be if we go full service, but right now it’s more of a café that operates until seven. There are just so many possibilities here, and I’m excited as hell!”

“No kidding… you sound it,” Chase said with a chuckle. “Are you sure you’re not overtired?”

“No… slept a fair bit on the plane, and anyway, I’m too happy to sleep.”

“Well, congrats, Dawson, I mean that.”

“I know you do. Tavvauvutit.”

“What the fuck did you just say?”

“I said goodbye in Inuit… it’s what you say to a friend.”

“Tavutatit to you too.”

Dawson laughed. “Close enough… remember what I said, okay?”

“Will do… don’t wait too long to call me.”

“I won’t… promise.”

“Love you, buddy.”

“Love you too, Chase.”

 

Chase was grinning from ear to ear as he pulled back out onto the road. In minutes, he arrived at Hank’s apartment, still smiling despite being a few minutes late. Rex, waiting on the front step with Hank, reacted as soon as he saw Chase’s car. He didn’t hear the bark but he saw it.

“Sorry, Hank,” he said as he got out and walked towards him.

“No problem. I called but it went to voicemail.”

“Yeah, Dawson called, so I had to pull over into the plaza.”

“So that’s why you look so happy,” Hank said deadpan, and quickly changed the subject. “Let me know when you want to bring him back.”

“I will. Dad wants to take him to the beach tomorrow.”

“Oh, he’ll love that. Okay, see you.” Hank turned away from him abruptly, and the stiffness in his posture piqued Chase’s curiosity.

“Hank?”

“Yeah?” He did a half turn, as if reluctant to spend any more time talking.

“I look happy because Dawson is happy.”

“That’s nice,” he said, and while someone else might, Chase didn’t miss the sarcasm.

“He’s happy because he took a leap and followed his heart.”

“Ah…is this going somewhere, Chase, because I have a project I need to finish up?”

“I’m talking about him flying… well, moving to the Yukon to reunite with his first and only love. He didn’t know how it was going to go, but it went great—better than great—so that’s why I’m happy.”

“Oh.” Hank’s blank expression morphed into a confused one. “You’re happy about that? Really? I thought you—”

“Yes, Hank, I know what you thought, and I am happy for him. In fact, he and his partner thanked me for challenging Dawson to make the call to Brent… that’s the guy’s name. I lost my new best friend, but it’s okay because he’s happy. Are you?” He could see Hank was completely flummoxed, and he couldn’t help but smile again.

“Am I what?”

“Happy?”

“What the fuck are you asking me that for?”

“Because a lot of time has passed… and you used to be my best friend once. Sorry, I shouldn’t have pried.”

Hank shook his head and blew out a long breath. “No, don’t be. I shouldn’t be so frigging touchy.” Another sigh followed. “My answer is… not yet.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Are you? Happy, I mean?”

“I am today. But… I guess my answer is the same as yours… not yet. I’m getting closer, though.”

Hank didn’t respond, but his gaze never left Chase’s. Finally, he nodded. “Well, I’m sorry you lost your best friend.” He turned away slowly with his head down, as if he was considering saying something else.

“I’m getting used to losing friends,” Chase said, causing the man to hesitate with his hand on the door handle of the front entry. “Hank?”

Pulling the door partway open, his gaze returned to Chase, and his eyebrows rose in question.

“Do you see a liar when you look at me?”

“What? What kind of question is that?”

“A fair one. You’ve stopped taking me at my word ever since that night. I told you there was nothing between me and Dawson—I made that as clear as I could a couple of times—but you didn’t believe me, did you? No matter what I said, you did not believe me.”

“I don’t… I had my doubts, yeah,” he admitted, and Chase was pretty sure he saw a flicker of shame in the face he knew so well.

“Why?”

“Good question,” he answered, making a scoffing sound as he looked downward. “But I don’t have a good answer—I thought I did, but—I’ve got my own issues to figure out. I don’t see you as a liar, not… not anymore, and I don’t know why I ever did. I’m sorry.” The door swung shut behind him, and he disappeared from view.

Chase stood there staring at the door, half expecting him to appear again. Motionless, he tried to digest what had just happened, until a bark from Rex demanded he move. He closed the gate on his SUV and got in, still pondering their short exchange.

Why had he pushed the man? Why had he asked that question? He had no idea, nor did he have any idea what Hank’s last words had meant. Whatever answer he might have expected, it wasn’t the one he got. Well, whoopee, he finally believed him about Dawson. Sighing, he put the car in gear, thankful they hadn’t ended up at each other’s throats over a touchy subject. Touchy. ‘I shouldn’t be so frigging touchy.’ Did Hank really mean that?

Not yet? Yeah, that part he could understand. But by the time he reached his dad’s condo, he still hadn’t decided whether their talk had been good for either of them, or if it had just caused more distance. Had he pushed Hank because of Dawson’s advice to go after what he wanted? By the time he got off the elevator with Rex, he concluded it didn’t matter. Yes, he loved the man—Hank still made his heart race like a freight train every time he saw him—and yes, he would like nothing more than to have another chance, but the distance was already too great to bridge. Even if the worlds aligned, and they tried again, could it ever be as good as it once was? “Come on, Rex. Let’s get your ball and go play.”

 

He arrived at Stacy’s the following Tuesday, and she met him at the door with a glass of wine in both hands, standing back as he walked in. “Good, you didn’t drive,” she said as his Uber backed out of the driveway. “Here you go, the merlot you like.”

“I’d rather have a hug first. Damn, I’ve missed you.”

“Oh, me too, sweetie. Let’s not do this again, okay?” She set the glasses on the console table before hugging him so hard his emotions got the best of him.

“I promise.”

“Now, let me look at you.” Her eyes traveled up and down before settling on his face, more specifically, his eyes… eyes that were slightly wet. “You look older.”

“Hey! You should know better than to tell a gay man he looks older,” he joked, comfortable with her scrutiny.

“But you do. You look as handsome as ever, but you’ve changed. You’re… hell, you’re hotter.”

“Hotter? Really?” he asked with a smirk. “What would Don think about you saying that?”

“Oh, who cares about him? Besides, he’d probably agree if he were here.”

“Well, thanks, and you look great as always… younger.”

“Now, see? That right there… that’s why I missed you. Grab your wine, sweetie.”

Chase, chuckling, did as ordered, and followed her down the hallway, through the kitchen, and out to the covered back patio. Dusk was underway, and Chase’s eyes went to the white, twinkling lights on the ceiling before darting sideways. He was startled to see Trey and Carlos sitting on the bench against the far planter wall. Both men rose at the same time.

“Hi, Chase.” It was Carlos who spoke after taking a step forward, and Chase could sense his nervousness in those two words. “I hope you don’t mind us crashing your girls’ night.”

Chase, tense initially, immediately relaxed, and then smiled. “Two more girls makes for more fun.”

Trey, standing a little behind Carlos, squealed and ran up to Chase with arms open and his soft afro bouncing. “I’ve missed you, sugar.”

Chase welcomed the hug as he kept eye contact with Trey’s partner. He knew it was really Carlos who’d turned away from him when he and Hank had broken up. “Missed you too, Trey-Trey.”

When Trey pulled away, Carlos took another step closer. “I’m really sorry, Chase.”

Chase held out his arms and Carlos moved quickly to grab hold of him, squeezing tightly. “No need to apologize. I understand.”

“Do you?” Carlos peered intently at his face in the diminished light.

“As long as you guys are okay, I’m okay, okay?”

“Okay.”

Chase got another hug from the man before they separated. Everyone began talking at once, just like in the old days. Glancing at Stacy, he saw a Cheshire cat grin, and returned it with a joyful one of his own. It was better that she hadn’t told him they would be here tonight. As she poured more wine for Trey and Carlos, they began catching up, with a lot of friendly barbs thrown in that only good friends can exchange.

It turned out he had missed a lot. Once they settled down, each with wine glass in hand, the conversation got more serious. Trey’s sister was in rehab again, having overdosed for the third time, and he and Carlos, at her request, were looking after her six year old son. Social services were involved, and they were approved because of having cared for Joey in the past… once for three months, and the last time for five.

“This time should be a lot longer, because my sister has proven again and again she can’t stay clean. She loves Joey, but she loves her drugs more.” Trey said, the pain evident in his voice.

“Is this what you guys want? For him to be with you long term?” he asked, pretty sure what the answer would be.

Surprisingly, it was Carlos who answered, because Trey was normally the more talkative of the two. “Absolutely. He has no one else but us and Trey’s mum. It was awful when he left the last time, for him and us—”

“I remember… you guys came over to our place that night.”

“That’s right, so you know. You and Hank cried right along with us.” Carlos nodded as Trey put his arm around him. “We’d be happy to have him stay with us for good. Shawna, God bless her, is too old to handle him full-time, but she can still be a part of Joey’s life.”

“Yeah, Mum’s at our place now, watching him, so we can’t stay too late,” Trey added.

“Well, if you ever need any help, Dad and I are around pretty much every evening, and Joey’s a cool little dude.”

“Thanks, Chase.” Carlos hesitated for a few seconds. “I’m so glad we put all that stuff behind us. We missed your support—your friendship—and I had no right to judge you like I did.”

Trey nodded his agreement. “Hank was the one who set us straight.”

“Hank? He did? What does that mean exactly?”

Carlos took over again. “He said you made some mistakes… stupid, drunken ones… but so did he in how he handled things, and he realized he was an idiot for thinking you would ever actually cheat.”

“Yeah,” Trey agreed. “He said he was wrong about the cheating, and while he may not have liked what you did, he should have believed you would never go that far, so nobody should be freezing you out. Said he never wanted that.” His gaze went to his boyfriend, who was nodding while looking embarrassed, probably remembering the time at the restaurant when he wouldn’t even say hello.

Chase’s mind sifted through what he just been told. Wrong about the cheating? Did Hank actually believe him now, after their talk about Dawson last week? Did he finally remember the person Chase was? “Wow. I wonder why he changed his tune. We talk a little, but he’s not all that friendly with me.”

“Well, something’s changed, because getting anything out of him before was like pulling teeth—he was so moody and closed off. Maybe he’s not hurting as much anymore, but he was very serious when he stopped by for coffee a couple of days ago, and it was the first thing he brought up.”

“He told me the same thing, Chase,” Stacy said. “And, he said he felt bad for you because Dawson was moving away, and how everyone was wrong about you guys being a couple—that you were just good friends.”

“He said that?!”

“He did, and that you needed to know you still had us. I got the feeling he was worried about you. I told him you were coming over here tonight, and he seemed relieved. He was the one who suggested I invite Trey and Carlos.”

Chase took a sip of wine to cover his confusion. Feeling the intense scrutiny of those around him, he smiled. “Well, you could knock me over with a feather right now… but… maybe it means we can let go and move on now, Hank and me.” The boys smiled back at him, but Stacy didn’t. She’d tilted her head slightly, as if pondering his statement. He knew her well enough to know she had something to say, and he didn’t have long to wait.

“Or, it could mean he’s sorry.”

“Sorry? Really? For what?”

“I’m not sure, Chase, I just know he was concerned for you. Could be he’s sorry for overreacting.”

“Nah, I don’t think so. I was the one who fucked up. Do you think he overreacted?”

“It doesn’t matter what I think, but I’ll tell you anyway. We all overreact to some degree when we get hurt. Some of us rage, some of us push everyone away, and others… they hide away in bed for days on end.”

Carlos chimed in, and Chase was reminded of what he went through before he met Trey. “I know I have. Hell, I’ve done all three, and don’t forget drinking. I did that too. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?”

Trey put down his wine and gave Carlos a hug. “You got me now, baby. Damian never deserved you in the first place. And, for what it’s worth, I think Hank is feeling regret, no doubt about it… it was written all over that man’s face. I heard what Stacy said when you arrived, and she’s right. You have gotten hotter.”

Chase laughed. “Okay, guys, enough with trying to make me feel good, but Hank and I are finished, and we both know it.”

Trey shook his head emphatically. “No, no. I’m serious. You carry yourself different. It’s the first thing I noticed when you walked out here.”

“My boyfriend’s right, Chase. You always seemed, like, younger than the rest of us, but, baby, I see all man now.”

His wiggling eyebrows got him a slap and a giggle from Trey. “Enough of that,” he warned teasingly. “I don’t know if you guys are finished or not but I know Hank, and something’s changed. So how about you, Chase? You really weren’t involved with this Dawson guy?”

The question was unexpected. Of course, no matter what Hank might have said, there would be some doubts. “No, we were… are… just friends… really great friends. He helped me get through a really tough time, and now he’s living in the Yukon with the guy he’s loved since he was a teenager.”

“We saw you guys biking through the village a bunch of times, and I got to say he is one good-looking man. So, you weren’t even tempted?” Carlos asked, grinning.

“Oh, I tried, but it just wasn’t there. We kissed once, twice actually, after Hank and I had an argument, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was too conflicted.”

“Meaning you were still in love with Hank?”

“I was just angry, and frustrated, and… yeah… it felt like I was cheating on him, which was really stupid.”

“Oh, sweetie”—Trey reached over and patted his hand—“it wasn’t stupid. The heart wants what the heart wants.”

“Don’t worry, guys. I’m fine. It was all part of the process, but now I’m ready to get on with my life.”

Stacy, having stayed quiet, finally interjected. “Are you sure about that?”

He gave her a sheepish smile. “Sometimes… more often lately. Besides, what choice do I have?”

 

Chase left Stacy’s house slightly tipsy, but feeling great. On the short Uber ride home, he leaned his head back against the seat and smiled. Seeing Trey and Carlos—and Stacy—made him feel better than he had all summer.

For months he’d told himself losing his friends was part of the breakup, collateral damage that he had to accept. The fact was, though, it had continued to hurt. Yeah, Dawson had made it easier, but he was gone from his everyday life now.

His smile grew broader as he thought about the boys’ invitation to dinner the weekend after next. They intended to invite Ray and Frank as well, friends he hadn’t seen since before that fateful night. And, he would get to see little Joey again. He and Hank had babysat him once, and enjoyed every minute of it. Despite his rocky road, he was a happy kid who laughed easily. He hoped that hadn’t changed.

Hank. Why had he come around, insisting his friends take him back in the fold? Was he truly ready to be friends now? Was their last conversation some kind of turning point? Time would tell, Chase supposed. In truth, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to handle just being friends… not close ones anyway.

 

 

 *

So, we're back to Chase and Hank after spending some time with Dawson and Brent. What did you think of these new developments? Please share your thoughts if you can, and thanks for reading and supporting this story. Thanks also to my editor, Timothy M. for all he does. Cheers! I hope you enjoy "Girls' Night." .

Copyright © 2019 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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1 minute ago, Wesley8890 said:

This is without a doubt the happiest I've been while reading this story. I expected maybe trey would make an appearance but I have to say, despite his obviously stupid last behaviour, I'm Glad Carlos was there too and we got to learn more about them.

my biggest takeaway is that Hank finally realized what a twatopotomas he was being. Now who will make the first move. Both Chase and hank have proven they are more are headed than a pachycephalasaurus.

Sneaky not mentioning Kevin the whole chapter to keep the Kevin bashing to a minimum😉

No Kevin bashing? Would I do that? 0:)  

Hey, Wes! Don't get too excited. There has been some movement on Hank's part, but I think Chase is right to be skeptical. Sounds like Hank is feeling guilty to me. Anyway, he finally did something that shows caring. That's obviously gone a long way to giving Chase back his friends. Opinions change when we get to know people, and now we know more about Carlos... he's obviously been badly hurt in the past, so he has baggage too. And Trey is such a sweetheart. :)  Cheers, and congrats on being first in! :hug: 

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There can also be another aspect to Hank's behavior that is being overlooked:  In his making sure Chase is being taken care of and supported, he is withdrawing.  That could be seen as potentially suicidal ideation...

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6 minutes ago, Headstall said:

No Kevin bashing? Would I do that? 0:)  

Hey, Wes! Don't get too excited. There has been some movement on Hank's part, but I think Chase is right to be skeptical. Sounds like Hank is feeling guilty to me. Anyway, he finally did something that shows caring. That's obviously gone a long way to giving Chase back his friends. Opinions change when we get to know people, and now we know more about Carlos... he's obviously been badly hurt in the past, so he has baggage too. And Trey is such a sweetheart. :)  Cheers, and congrats on being first in! :hug: 

I mean me and @Dannerswould still find a way. 

Not getting my hopes up. My first move comment was more pointed towards who makes the first move towards a reconciliation of their friendship. Remember baby steps

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23 minutes ago, pvtguy said:

There can also be another aspect to Hank's behavior that is being overlooked:  In his making sure Chase is being taken care of and supported, he is withdrawing.  That could be seen as potentially suicidal ideation...

Hey, Tony!  Yeah, there are many ways this could go. There is obviously a shift in Hank, but why? Was the reason the talk with Chase, or is it something else? We haven't liked what we've been seeing from Hank, so it's up in the air as to what is going on with him. Thanks for your provocative thoughts, buddy... they show we need more information. :unsure:  Cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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Wow what a great chapter so could Hank and Chase be friends again? And Chase recovers some friends which I was happy to see since Dawson moved to Yukon:yes:

And I must wait for next Monday sigh :yes:

Wonderful Chapter :thankyou:

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29 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

I mean me and @Dannerswould still find a way. 

Not getting my hopes up. My first move comment was more pointed towards who makes the first move towards a reconciliation of their friendship. Remember baby steps

Yes... baby steps... for Hank, Chase, and us. Chase isn't even sure he could handle a friendship after all that's happened, but that might be because his guards have become automatic. And as far as @Danners, I sure he will behave himself... you... not so much. :P  Oh, hell, who am I kidding... Dan is even worse than you, god help us. :unsure2: 

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Just now, Albert1434 said:

Wow what a great chapter so could Hank and Chase be friends again? And Chase recovers some friends which I was happy to see since Dawson moved to Yukon:yes:

And I must wait for next Monday sigh :yes:

Wonderful Chapter :thankyou:

Hey, Albert!  Yes, it was great to see Chase back in the fold again. It was exactly what he needed to keep his progression going. We need our friends, no matter how much we might convince ourselves we don't. Girls' night was a reminder of how close these friendships have been in the past. Shared history is important when it comes to staying grounded, and I think they all learned something with this reunion. Carlos was never a bad guy, but he was badly hurt once, and his baggage made him pull back. 

It'll be Monday before we know it, buddy... thanks for sharing your thoughts on the chapter. Cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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Woohoo!

First, before it slips my mind, I fully suspect Carlos and Trey have ulterior motives for inviting Chase to dinner next weekend. Ray and Frank won’t be the only men Chase is reunited with and little Joey may be the key to closing the distance between he and Hank. “Out of the mouths of babes” comes to mind.

In keeping with that, I’m relieved Hank has indeed been using this time alone to examine himself and start processing why he reacted the way he did, not only with what happened with Chase but the whole underlying trust issue. It sounds like it was time well spent if he was able to take their latest conversation to heart and set the record straight with Trey, Carlos, and the rest of their mutual friends. Also, the fact he reached out at all speaks of the progress he’s made.

”Not yet” is exactly right. Hank still has a ways to go, as does Chase, but they’re moving in the right direction. From what we’ve been able to glean, neither is backsliding, consciously or otherwise. Although Hank seemed a little lost after their last conversation. I hope they can rediscover the support each is able to provide the other and take advantage of that as they attempt to bridge the distance between them.

Chase is taking Dawson’s departure in stride so far. That he’s happy because his best friend is happy is a definite positive and so is reconnecting with old friends. Things are looking up for him, especially after he admitted to himself he still loves and hopes to build a life together with Hank. Even though he thinks the chasm is too wide between them, he did question that after finding out what Hank told his friends. Chase’s hope gives me hope for a happy ending.

Oh, and last but not least, Carlos had an abusive or adulterous ex. That’s why he reacted so strongly and immediately iced him out after taking Hank’s side. His question to Chase — “Do you [really understand]?” — and Trey’s comment about Damian not deserving him kind of fit that piece of the puzzle in place for me. It makes sense.

Why, oh why, must we wait a whole week for the next chapter? (That’s rhetorical, Gary, unless you want to surprise us.)

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Danners

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Headstall said:

Yes... baby steps... for Hank, Chase, and us. Chase isn't even sure he could handle a friendship after all that's happened, but that might be because his guards have become automatic. And as far as @Danners, I sure he will behave himself... you... not so much. :P  Oh, hell, who am I kidding... Dan is even worse than you, god help us. :unsure2: 

Thank you for recognizing my supremacy!

As for Hank’s mistake, I’d rather not mention him at all anymore. He’s a non-issue, just like I consider him a non-person. He fulfilled a need, albeit a confused and utterly self-destructive one, and now that it’s over between them, he can crawl back under the bridge and troll some other vulnerable man.

Oh, and I see what you tried to do there. Chase doesn’t think he can handle being just friends with Hank, not friends at all. Trixy, trixy, Gary, trying to gloss over that detail. 

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17 minutes ago, Danners said:

Thank you for recognizing my supremacy!

As for Hank’s mistake, I’d rather not mention him at all anymore. He’s a non-issue, just like I consider him a non-person. He fulfilled a need, albeit a confused and utterly self-destructive one, and now that it’s over between them, he can crawl back under the bridge and troll some other vulnerable man.

Oh, and I see what you tried to do there. Chase doesn’t think he can handle being just friends with Hank, not friends at all. Trixy, trixy, Gary, trying to gloss over that detail. 

Yes, Gary is tricksier than hobbitses! Sorry spent the weekend watching LOTR and the Hobbit. 

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I agree with many of the above: We will have to wait another week for the next chapter. You are not making that easy! Three wonderful conversations. I love how you give us a look back to the Yukon, the chance to see a a deliriously happy Dawson. I see a real change in Hank during their talk and at last, a lot of surprising new insights into Hank's development and their friends' feelings.

Great chapter. Thank you once more.

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51 minutes ago, FanLit said:

I was thrilled that Dawson reached out to Chase, it shows his intent to try and keep in touch;  It’s easy to do now....time will tell if they are able to maintain contact.  I think they will, even if it may be infrequent with all that Dawson and Brent will be doing and Chase, too.  Real life gets in the way of the best of intentions but I sense a dedication to this friendship that may stand the test of time.

Chase and Hank’s conversation showed progress-they didn’t end up in an argument and Hank even apologized, which shows growth past his perspective.   
I was looking forward to Chase and Stacy having a nice evening together;  I for one didn’t appreciate Carlos and Trey crashing the evening, especially at Hank’s behest;  To me, that indicates they and all their collective friends did take sides and the side was Hank’s.  Chase showed his new maturity in making amends with Carlos, I personally would’ve told him to fuck off.  I might have kept some kind of contact with Trey but Carlos and the rest of them can go blow bubbles.

 It’s understandable that Chase missed them, (as he would, thinking they were real friends) that exile would’ve made me realize otherwise.  Chase’s guilt is still present, even with the strides he’s made....I think it’s why he accepted the ostracism-he felt it was appropriate punishment.  
The only reason I approve of Hank trying to do damage control is because he’s the one who actually damaged Chase’s reputation with their crew;  Had he listened to Chase that evening or subsequently, things wouldn’t have progressed the way they did.

This was a chapter of movement but there is still a lot more miles on this trip.  Hank isn’t in my bad book but he isn’t in my good book either. 🤷‍♀️

Hey, FanLit! I think that's a good way of putting it... Hank isn't in your bad book, but he isn't in your bad book either. The jury is till out on what his movement on the issues mean. All in all, they had a civil conversation, with no explosions. :) 

As far as Trey and Carlos, remember Stacy invited them, and personally, I believe it was the right move. Carlos had some of his own baggage with his ex Damian, and that contributed to him pulling away from Chase. Trey is just an absolute sweetheart, who was caught in the middle. He didn't like it, but he understood why his boyfriend was the way he was. I do understand how you feel about the 'friends,' but Chase pulled away too... even from Stacy. It's something that happens... sort of like an emotional overload that needs time to settle. 

And yes, Hank bears a lot of responsibility, but Chase's actions started it all. As much as he has progressed, you're right that he still feels guilt over what happened... and I wanted readers to get that. :yes: 

As far as Dawson and Chase's friendship, I suspect it will be a lifetime one. They clicked in that special way, and it will serve to keep them connected. Thank you, my friend for sharing your thoughts... we'll see what this chapter means in the scheme of things. Cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

 

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Headstall

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Danners said:

Woohoo!

First, before it slips my mind, I fully suspect Carlos and Trey have ulterior motives for inviting Chase to dinner next weekend. Ray and Frank won’t be the only men Chase is reunited with and little Joey may be the key to closing the distance between he and Hank. “Out of the mouths of babes” comes to mind.

In keeping with that, I’m relieved Hank has indeed been using this time alone to examine himself and start processing why he reacted the way he did, not only with what happened with Chase but the whole underlying trust issue. It sounds like it was time well spent if he was able to take their latest conversation to heart and set the record straight with Trey, Carlos, and the rest of their mutual friends. Also, the fact he reached out at all speaks of the progress he’s made.

”Not yet” is exactly right. Hank still has a ways to go, as does Chase, but they’re moving in the right direction. From what we’ve been able to glean, neither is backsliding, consciously or otherwise. Although Hank seemed a little lost after their last conversation. I hope they can rediscover the support each is able to provide the other and take advantage of that as they attempt to bridge the distance between them.

Chase is taking Dawson’s departure in stride so far. That he’s happy because his best friend is happy is a definite positive and so is reconnecting with old friends. Things are looking up for him, especially after he admitted to himself he still loves and hopes to build a life together with Hank. Even though he thinks the chasm is too wide between them, he did question that after finding out what Hank told his friends. Chase’s hope gives me hope for a happy ending.

Oh, and last but not least, Carlos had an abusive or adulterous ex. That’s why he reacted so strongly and immediately iced him out after taking Hank’s side. His question to Chase — “Do you [really understand]?” — and Trey’s comment about Damian not deserving him kind of fit that piece of the puzzle in place for me. It makes sense.

Why, oh why, must we wait a whole week for the next chapter? (That’s rhetorical, Gary, unless you want to surprise us.)

Hey! Who's writing this? :P  We'll shall see if you're correct in your assumptions. :whistle: 

Self reflection is always important to do, and it seems Hank might be delving into his own actions. That is a plus for him as a person. And yeah, reaching out to show support for Chase was a better than decent thing to do. 

I also think you're right that Hank seemed lost by the end of that conversation, but his actions after were quite positive. Maybe he is firmly on his own journey, and I think we can all agree it is about time if he is. 

If we look deeper, Chase has always needed someone... since his mother became ill... but letting Dawson go without slipping backwards is one more sign he is a much stronger man. And that also means he has his guards up against getting hurt again. He can handle it, but he won't let it happen if he can help it. That's what getting hurt does... it changes us, and trust is harder to build. 

I didn't want to hit readers over the head, so I'm glad you got why Carlos acted the way he did. 

Thanks, Dan... as always, I love your comments... cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

Edited by Headstall
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56 minutes ago, Danners said:

Thank you for recognizing my supremacy!

As for Hank’s mistake, I’d rather not mention him at all anymore. He’s a non-issue, just like I consider him a non-person. He fulfilled a need, albeit a confused and utterly self-destructive one, and now that it’s over between them, he can crawl back under the bridge and troll some other vulnerable man.

Oh, and I see what you tried to do there. Chase doesn’t think he can handle being just friends with Hank, not friends at all. Trixy, trixy, Gary, trying to gloss over that detail. 

Ladies and gentlemen... an excellent example of passive aggressive... :gikkle:   Of course I recognize your obsessiv... er supremacy. :P 

And just who are you calling Trixy? It was a simple thought, well expressed. -_-  

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38 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

Yes, Gary is tricksier than hobbitses! Sorry spent the weekend watching LOTR and the Hobbit. 

Ah, thank you, my precioussss. We likes hobbitses... :D 

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18 minutes ago, mayday said:

I agree with many of the above: We will have to wait another week for the next chapter. You are not making that easy! Three wonderful conversations. I love how you give us a look back to the Yukon, the chance to see a a deliriously happy Dawson. I see a real change in Hank during their talk and at last, a lot of surprising new insights into Hank's development and their friends' feelings.

Great chapter. Thank you once more.

Hey, mayday!  No, I guess I am guilty of some trying chapters. Sorry.... :D   I love writing dialogue, so I'm glad you enjoyed all these conversations. Staring off with the one with Dawson was necessary in my opinion. Notice how quickly Dawson reached out to an anxious Chase. That shows how important their friendship is to each of them. 

The conversation with Hank was enlightening, but also left us with more questions. 

The reunion of friends, and their conversation, was an important step for all of them. The healing can begin... the dust has settled, and Hank is no longer a factor in how they proceed. :)  Thanks, my friend... glad you enjoyed this one, and appreciate hearing your thoughts... cheers... Gary.... :hug:  

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I found this chapter rather sad.  It's clear that Chase and Hank still have feelings for each other, but whether they should seek an immediate reconciliation, as some commenters appear to think, is still an open question in my book, and I'm still leaning toward No.  Hank still has a lot to figure out, and he may need professional help with that, so it's probably not a good idea for them to try to reconnect just yet.  And in any case, the relationship probably needs to be set on a whole new basis, if it's going to work going forward.  I am convinced that the past is not salvageable.  For one thing, Chase has grown too much to again be satisfied with the kind of dependency he had with Hank before.  Yes, their friends can see that the two of them still care for each other, but they have no clue about the underlying dysfunction that needs to be dealt with, and so they shouldn't be pushing.  I know that "your friends know your inmost thoughts and feelings better than you yourself do" is a treasured trope in this kind of fiction, but Gary is a much better author than to fall into that trap.  (And yes, I've always also detested the kind of movie where the two characters hate each other's guts until they fall into each other's arms and kiss.)

In any case, I trust Chase's instincts over those of his friends.  If Chase and Hank really want to be together in the future, they are sure to find a way, but it won't work if anyone interferes.  Charles has done what he can and has quite reasonably stepped back to let time do its work.

The aspect of this chapter that made me really sad, however, is how it shows that Chase is still not valued by his former group of friends, apart from Stacy.  It has taken orders from Hank for them to reach out to Chase, and that just  feels so sad to me.  I wish they valued Chase for himself and had reached out to hear Chase's side of the story before taking Hank's part.  If anyone had kept in touch with him, they'd have known that Dawson wasn't anything more than a friend, and they wouldn't still need the convincing that this chapter has now shown is necessary.  And I'm still upset that they jumped to conclusions about Chase and Dawson on the basis of very little evidence.  (Internalized homophobic stereotypes notwithstanding, gay men can and do hang out with good-looking gay men without having to put the make on them.)  But I'm glad to see the friends at least following their marching orders from Hank, for what it's worth.  I just wish Chase had some other, better friends (besides Dawson and Stacy, I mean) to lean on.  At least he has Dr. Chorney (though that's not the same thing).

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2 minutes ago, BigBen said:

I found this chapter rather sad.  It's clear that Chase and Hank still have feelings for each other, but whether they should seek an immediate reconciliation, as some commenters appear to think, is still an open question in my book, and I'm still leaning toward No.  Hank still has a lot to figure out, and he may need professional help with that, so it's probably not a good idea for them to try to reconnect just yet.  And in any case, the relationship probably needs to be set on a whole new basis, if it's going to work going forward.  I am convinced that the past is not salvageable.  For one thing, Chase has grown too much to again be satisfied with the kind of dependency he had with Hank before.  Yes, their friends can see that the two of them still care for each other, but they have no clue about the underlying dysfunction that needs to be dealt with, and so they shouldn't be pushing.  I know that "your friends know your inmost thoughts and feelings better than you yourself do" is a treasured trope in this kind of fiction, but Gary is a much better author than to fall into that trap.  (And yes, I've always also detested the kind of movie where the two characters hate each other's guts until they fall into each other's arms and kiss.)

In any case, I trust Chase's instincts over those of his friends.  If Chase and Hank really want to be together in the future, they are sure to find a way, but it won't work if anyone interferes.  Charles has done what he can and has quite reasonably stepped back to let time do its work.

The aspect of this chapter that made me really sad, however, is how it shows that Chase is still not valued by his former group of friends, apart from Stacy.  It has taken orders from Hank for them to reach out to Chase, and that just  feels so sad to me.  I wish they valued Chase for himself and had reached out to hear Chase's side of the story before taking Hank's part.  If anyone had kept in touch with him, they'd have known that Dawson wasn't anything more than a friend, and they wouldn't still need the convincing that this chapter has now shown is necessary.  And I'm still upset that they jumped to conclusions about Chase and Dawson on the basis of very little evidence.  (Internalized homophobic stereotypes notwithstanding, gay men can and do hang out with good-looking gay men without having to put the make on them.)  But I'm glad to see the friends at least following their marching orders from Hank, for what it's worth.  I just wish Chase had some other, better friends (besides Dawson and Stacy, I mean) to lean on.  At least he has Dr. Chorney (though that's not the same thing).

I totally agree with the first part of your comment, Ben. If it isn't believable, I can't go there. Right now, I don't see leaning any other way but no. Life is never completely cut and dried, but you're right that a lot of damage has been done. Chase has changed. Really changed, and what he wants now might not be what his heart feels. Sometimes, as hard as it is, we reach such a point. 

I trust Chase's instincts too, but I don't think his friends are trying to push them back together. It was an open conversation they all had, and it was about people they care about. I'm sorry you felt sad, but you have a different read about Trey and Carlos and Stacy than I did. I don't see it as Hank giving them orders... but he did help to clarify a few things. I believe the biggest factor was Chase reaching out to Stacy after rebuffing her a few times. Honestly, while I understand it, I don't think 'marching orders' is fair. I believe the boys were relieved to put this behind them, and Carlos was genuinely sorry, and admitted he had his own issues...

 

“Nah, I don’t think so. I was the one who fucked up. Do you think he overreacted?”

“It doesn’t matter what I think, but I’ll tell you anyway. We all overreact to some degree when we get hurt. Some of us rage, some of us push everyone away, and others… they hide away in bed for days on end.”

Carlos chimed in, and Chase was reminded of what he went through before he met Trey. “I know I have. Hell, I’ve done all three, and don’t forget drinking. I did that too. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?”

Trey put down his wine and gave Carlos a hug. “You got me now, baby. Damian never deserved you in the first place. 

 

I think what happened between Hank and Chase hit a little too close to home for Carlos... it hurt him too... and Trey was caught in the middle. Are all these people perfect... absolutely not... endings are hard for everyone, and we all see them in our own unique ways, which is kind of the point of the story. :) 

Thanks, buddy... I always appreciate how deeply you feel about my characters... hang in there, and be safe... cheers... Gary....

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23 minutes ago, BigBen said:

The aspect of this chapter that made me really sad, however, is how it shows that Chase is still not valued by his former group of friends, apart from Stacy.  It has taken orders from Hank for them to reach out to Chase, and that just  feels so sad to me.  I wish they valued Chase for himself and had reached out to hear Chase's side of the story before taking Hank's part.  If anyone had kept in touch with him, they'd have known that Dawson wasn't anything more than a friend, and they wouldn't still need the convincing that this chapter has now shown is necessary.  And I'm still upset that they jumped to conclusions about Chase and Dawson on the basis of very little evidence.  (Internalized homophobic stereotypes notwithstanding, gay men can and do hang out with good-looking gay men without having to put the make on them.)  But I'm glad to see the friends at least following their marching orders from Hank, for what it's worth.  I just wish Chase had some other, better friends (besides Dawson and Stacy, I mean) to lean on.  At least he has Dr. Chorney (though that's not the same thing).

Brava!!  👏   
 

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25 minutes ago, Headstall said:

I do understand how you feel about the 'friends,' but Chase pulled away too... even from Stacy. It's something that happens... sort of like an emotional overload that needs time to settle. 

I disagree a little bit, here.  Yes, Chase pulled away, but the friend group does appear to have been happy to let him.  And believe me, I really understand how tempting it is to follow the path of least resistance.  Also, I have the impression (perhaps wrongly?) that they were all Hank's friends first, so perhaps their taking Hank's side is somewhat to be expected, though still not really right.  After all, Stacy knew Hank first, but she made a point of reaching out to Chase as well as to Hank.

Real friends check up on friends, as Stacy did, several times, and then accept the wanderer back when he or she is finally ready, as Stacy did.  Even Trey didn't find a way to give a text or call to Chase—surely there were opportunities when Carlos wasn't looking.  Stacy was there for Chase, even when Chase was unable to respond to her overtures.  It's why he eventually did respond, and why he trusts that her invitation to Trey and Carlos was motivated by love, and not a desire to meddle.  (The same as with Charles, actually.  Charles was intentionally meddling, but he knew just how far to push and when to back off, not to mention that Chase trusts him profoundly.)

The big unresolved issue for me here is that Hank is going to have to acknowledge to the friend group that he had a fling with Cave-in.   (C'mon, Gary, you knew someone was going to bring him up!  😂)  Remember that Stacy didn't know until Chase told her, so presumably no one else did, either.  While it is true that Cave-in's complaints that Hank "played" him have probably let the cat out of the bag, Hank still needs to do the upright thing and acknowledge the abortive affair.  The reason for this is his monumental jealousy over Dawson, while at the same time telling Chase that he had no right to an opinion regarding his fling with Cave-in.  Chase has remarked on this double-standard, so I assume (and hope) he's going to bring it up when Hank tries to reconcile.  Hank is right that his sleeping with Kevin didn't constitute cheating on Chase, because the relationship was over, but the same logic would have applied to Chase and Dawson had they actually slept together, and Hank needs to acknowledge that.  (More for his own sake, than for Chase's, actually.)

At least Hank appears to be slowly dealing with some of his faulty thinking, and that's a good thing, no matter what.

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Just now, FanLit said:

Brava!!  👏   
 

I see I have my work cut out for me. :P  Seriously, though, I get it. We all make assumptions, and they are often wrong. People put two and two together and got five. Hank and Chase break up, and then Dawson and Chase are seen together all the time. It shouldn't have meant what they all thought it did, and they did take their cues from Hank, who was convinced Chase had moved on. That is sad, but also life. 

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BigBen

Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, Headstall said:

I believe the biggest factor was Chase reaching out to Stacy after rebuffing her a few times. Honestly, while I understand it, I don't think 'marching orders' is fair.

I'm learning that my understanding of a passage often depends on my mood at the time, and I may well see things your way the next time around.  Besides, the value of this forum and the slow unfolding of a text—at least for me—is that I get to try out different interpretations and see how they fit with other people's thinking.

And you know, don't you, that when I disagree with you it's because I care, not because I don't love you, right? :kiss:

Of course you do.  Silly me! ❤️

Edited by BigBen
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FanLit

Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, BigBen said:

I disagree a little bit, here.  Yes, Chase pulled away, but the friend group does appear to have been happy to let him.  And believe me, I really understand how tempting it is to follow the path of least resistance.  Also, I have the impression (perhaps wrongly?) that they were all Hank's friends first, so perhaps their taking Hank's side is somewhat to be expected, though still not really right.  After all, Stacy knew Hank first, but she made a point of reaching out to Chase as well as to Hank.

Real friends check up on friends, as Stacy did, several times, and then accept the wanderer back when he or she is finally ready, as Stacy did.  Even Trey didn't find a way to give a text or call to Chase—surely there were opportunities when Carlos wasn't looking.  Stacy was there for Chase, even when Chase was unable to respond to her overtures.  It's why he eventually did respond, and why he trusts that her invitation to Trey and Carlos was motivated by love, and not a desire to meddle.  (The same as with Charles, actually.  Charles was intentionally meddling, but he knew just how far to push and when to back off, not to mention that Chase trusts him profoundly.)

The big unresolved issue for me here is that Hank is going to have to acknowledge to the friend group that he had a fling with Cave-in.   (C'mon, Gary, you knew someone was going to bring him up!  😂)  Remember that Stacy didn't know until Chase told her, so presumably no one else did, either.  While it is true that Cave-in's complaints that Hank "played" him have probably let the cat out of the bag, Hank still needs to do the upright thing and acknowledge the abortive affair.  The reason for this is his monumental jealousy over Dawson, while at the same time telling Chase that he had no right to an opinion regarding his fling with Cave-in.  Chase has remarked on this double-standard, so I assume (and hope) he's going to bring it up when Hank tries to reconcile.  Hank is right that his sleeping with Kevin didn't constitute cheating on Chase, because the relationship was over, but the same logic would have applied to Chase and Dawson had they actually slept together, and Hank needs to acknowledge that.  (More for his own sake, than for Chase's, actually.)

At least Hank appears to be slowly dealing with some of his faulty thinking, and that's a good thing, no matter what.

I concur with your view on “the gang” and how they’ve treated Chase and even Gary’s neutrality cannot sway my view. ( 😘, that’s for you, Gary)

I disagree with Hank having to disclose his indiscretion(s) with Kevin (we really don’t know how long or how often things “transpired” between those two). 

Hank and Kevin were both free agents when what (who? 😉) went down went down...I don’t think Hank is obligated to let the chew crew know what happened.  It was a rebound move and I think it helped to bring him back down to earth in regards to the high horse he saddled up to on Chase road.  Chase wronged Hank but Hank also wronged Chase and it seems he is finally opening his eyes to his actions and more importantly, his reactions.

If the gossip flies, let it be Kevin on a bitchfest maybe but Hank doesn’t strike me as the sort to put his business in the street like that.  The circus that could come from that would derail his sloooow progress toward recognition and his own redemption and he doesn’t need that.

Edited by FanLit
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