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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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Too little, too late as far as Hank is concerned. If a partner ever treated me as horrible as Hank treated Chase over something that he made up in his mind, then went and hooked up with a mutual friend, I would want to rip his effin throat out!! No way in hell would I have any other feelings other than hate and disgust for him!

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1 minute ago, jaysalmn said:

Too little, too late as far as Hank is concerned. If a partner ever treated me as horrible as Hank treated Chase over something that he made up in his mind, then went and hooked up with a mutual friend, I would want to rip his effin throat out!! No way in hell would I have any other feelings other than hate and disgust for him!

Hey, jay! We're not sure Hank is even trying to create anything new with Chase, but we know for a while he considered it was he who was cheated on. What might each of us think if we were in the same situation, and found our boyfriend/partner in a bathroom stall, kissing another man? And then not hearing from him for five hours. I'm just saying, that would be a hard thing to digest. Not being able to handle that logically does not mean Hank is a terrible person... it just means he made mistakes too, and now he is paying for them. For me, there are two sides, and I don't believe it is just because I'm the author. :P And it is never too late to try to do the right thing... to make amends. It's okay to take sides, though, and I get where you are coming from.  Still, I prefer love over hate, and sympathy over persecution. Always look forward to hearing your thoughts, buddy. Stay well, and be safe. Gary.... :hug: 

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Ya know... I'm not liking Hank much now! Hank is an insecure, selfish child. At this point, I don't even want Chase and Hank to get back together. Chase would be better off without him... Yeah, Chase has grown a lot and probably still has a lot to deal with but I don't think Hank can grow up fast enough to catch up to Chase to make it work. Hank's a selfish child... stuck in his own pain and loss which doesn't leave much room for Chase.

 

Chase has to get on and find someone more mature than Hank.

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1 hour ago, Nahrung said:

Ya know... I'm not liking Hank much now! Hank is an insecure, selfish child. At this point, I don't even want Chase and Hank to get back together. Chase would be better off without him... Yeah, Chase has grown a lot and probably still has a lot to deal with but I don't think Hank can grow up fast enough to catch up to Chase to make it work. Hank's a selfish child... stuck in his own pain and loss which doesn't leave much room for Chase.

 

Chase has to get on and find someone more mature than Hank.

Hey, Neal. I totally get where you're coming from. Hank has screwed everything up, and now he's kind of on the outside looking in. he doesn't deserve Chase. However, I feel a good amount of sympathy for him. I hope he can find a way to move forward. Chase already has... and I think he's ready to make some changes. :)  Thanks for your support, and for sharing your thoughts, my friend... cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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I'm happy to see some of their old friends coming back into Chase' life, and hey noticed the change in him right away.  Still, the one person he'd like to have back remains distant, if not quite as much as before.

Only time will tell what the final result will be for our tragi-heroic couple.

:read:  :2thumbs:  🐈 

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1 minute ago, ColumbusGuy said:

I'm happy to see some of their old friends coming back into Chase' life, and hey noticed the change in him right away.  Still, the one person he'd like to have back remains distant, if not quite as much as before.

Only time will tell what the final result will be for our tragi-heroic couple.

:read:  :2thumbs:  🐈 

Yes, time will tell where these two men end up. Chase is ready for a big step forward... he has all the support he needs, and he has the confidence to push Hank without losing his cool. That's such a 180 from where he was at the beginning. And yeah, further proof is how his friends noticed the change... particularly the way he carries himself now. I'm sure Hank has noticed that too... a little too late. Whatever happens, at least Chase has come out of this stronger. Hank might still be distant, but that's the least of his problems. He has been left behind, and I suspect he knows it now. :( 

Thanks as always, dear friend. Please take care and be safe. Cheers... G-man. xoxoxo :hug: 

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Sweetlion

Posted (edited)

I have been following the story, but I'm terrible with commenting, so my comment will be long and probably related to previous chapters as well. And although I truly love Gary's writing, what finally drove me to comment was that I really disliked Trey and Carlos being there. I am a romantic, so part of me wants Hanks and Chase to get together. But I am sorry to say that I think Hanks need to suffer more first. And I hate he forgave his "friends". One thing that we don't really feel very strongly, but Gary's alludes from time to time is the timeline... Weeks passing here, months there... So a long time has passed. So Hank really needs to understand what he did to Chase and I wish Chase had explained it to him better when they fought. Yes he was hurt and Chase did a mistake, but by not even talking with him, and telling only his version to their friends (because unless he is dumb he should know how gossip spreads in s friend's group) he totally isolated Chase, who in his dark moments was completely alone. And then deciding to moving on (which I understand and agree he should have tried) with someone from their friend group (doing common friends is like doing your friends exs, a giant no). And those "friends" didn't even call, for months... I am not saying getting together and being all happy, but that we know no one apart from Stacy even called to see how Chase was doing... For months and months. It might be an exaggeration, but if Chase had been in mind to hurt himself, he could be dead by now and everyone would cry their "crocodile" tears without ever caring for him when he has alive. Dawson wasn't Chase best friend, he was is only friend at this point.

I imagine some would say that growing up and moving on is forgiving and leave hate, but I believe it is also realizing who is worthy and your true friends. And all those fail. The only thing Ray and Frank, the checked out couple that didn't want to "chose sides", Carlos, the self righteous ass with problems, or Trey, the spineless little man with zero personality or free will to check on his friend, deserve is a monumental fuck you as much drop from Chase.

 

PS: and I didn't even talked about "friend" Kevin giving a whole new meaning to helping hand.

Edited by Sweetlion
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6 minutes ago, Sweetlion said:

I have been following the story, but I'm terrible with commenting, so my comment will be long and probably related to previous chapters as well. And although I truly love Gary's writing, what finally drove me to comment was that I really disliked Trey and Carlos being there. I am a romantic, so part of me wants Hanks and Chase to get together. But I am sorry to say that I think Hanks need to suffer more first. And I hate he forgave his "friends". One thing that we don't really feel very strongly, but Gary's alludes from time to time is the timeline... Weeks passing here, months there... So a long time has passed. So Hank really needs to understand what he did to Chase and I wish Chase had explained it to him better when they fought. Yes he was hurt and Chase did a mistake, but by not even talking with him, and telling only his version to their friends (because unless he is dumb he should know how gossip spreads in s friend's group) he totally isolated Chase, who in his dark moments was completely alone. And then deciding to moving on (which I understand and agree he should have tried) with someone from their friend group (doing common friends is like doing your friends exs, a giant no). And those "friends" didn't even call, for months... I am not saying getting together and being all happy, but that we know no one apart from Stacy even called to see how Chase was doing... For months and months. It might be an exaggeration, but if Chase had been in mind to hurt himself, he could be dead by now and everyone would cry their "crocodile" tears without ever caring for him when he has alive. Dawson wasn't Chase best friend, he was is only friend at this point.

I imagine some would say that growing up and moving on is forgiving and leave hate, but I believe it is also realizing who is worthy and your true friends. And all those fail. The only thing Ray and Frank, the checked out couple that didn't want to "chose sides", Carlos, the self righteous ass with problems, or Trey, the spineless little man with zero personality or free will to check on his friend, deserve is a monumental fuck you as much drop from Chase.

I actually agree with a bunch of what you said except one point, Stacey was a friend during this time as she's the only one we know who actually made contact with Chase.so Dawson wasn't the only friend. But he was THE best friend.

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5 hours ago, Ivor Slipper said:

Two happy chapters in a row - what's going on Gary?

It feels like he's setting is for something doesn't it?

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10 hours ago, Sweetlion said:

I have been following the story, but I'm terrible with commenting, so my comment will be long and probably related to previous chapters as well. And although I truly love Gary's writing, what finally drove me to comment was that I really disliked Trey and Carlos being there. I am a romantic, so part of me wants Hanks and Chase to get together. But I am sorry to say that I think Hanks need to suffer more first. And I hate he forgave his "friends". One thing that we don't really feel very strongly, but Gary's alludes from time to time is the timeline... Weeks passing here, months there... So a long time has passed. So Hank really needs to understand what he did to Chase and I wish Chase had explained it to him better when they fought. Yes he was hurt and Chase did a mistake, but by not even talking with him, and telling only his version to their friends (because unless he is dumb he should know how gossip spreads in s friend's group) he totally isolated Chase, who in his dark moments was completely alone. And then deciding to moving on (which I understand and agree he should have tried) with someone from their friend group (doing common friends is like doing your friends exs, a giant no). And those "friends" didn't even call, for months... I am not saying getting together and being all happy, but that we know no one apart from Stacy even called to see how Chase was doing... For months and months. It might be an exaggeration, but if Chase had been in mind to hurt himself, he could be dead by now and everyone would cry their "crocodile" tears without ever caring for him when he has alive. Dawson wasn't Chase best friend, he was is only friend at this point.

I imagine some would say that growing up and moving on is forgiving and leave hate, but I believe it is also realizing who is worthy and your true friends. And all those fail. The only thing Ray and Frank, the checked out couple that didn't want to "chose sides", Carlos, the self righteous ass with problems, or Trey, the spineless little man with zero personality or free will to check on his friend, deserve is a monumental fuck you as much drop from Chase.

 

PS: and I didn't even talked about "friend" Kevin giving a whole new meaning to helping hand.

Hey, Leo! It's been a long time since I heard from you. I hope you are well and staying safe. You are right there has been a substantial passage of time in this story, and I think your feelings are fair. I get why you feel the way you do, but as with most stories, some stuff is left for readers to interpret. Your point about Hank not listening is right on, but... I think in Hank's mind, he did listen to Chase... he tried to interact with him the night he looked after him when Chase was ill. I know he was reluctant, and he didn't really want to hear what Chase had to say, but he was raw. Do we not see how he put his feelings aside to make sure Chase would be all right? Do we not think he did nothing but think about what had happened while he spent the night in the condo? So he didn't want to hear anymore... maybe that was his way of surviving. I have to say when I wrote those first chapters, I lived Hank's pain because it was based on an experience of my own. We can try to understand him, but I don't think he fully understands himself. I'm not defending him... logic and measured response often disappears when we feel we've lost the one we love. 

So back to time passing... now we see signs Hank has come to grips with how he handled this pain of his, and what it cost him. We don't know for sure what's in his mind, but the signs are there. He was angry, of that there is no doubt, and we often use anger to circumvent pain. Sleeping with Kevin was reactionary. It was wrong, and he did himself damage by doing that. Did Kevin put pressure on him? I believe the signs point to yes, but the fact is Hank is responsible for his decision and I believe Hank now knows what he did to Chase... I don't doubt that for a minute. And yes, you make a good point that Chase didn't do a good job of explaining himself... his explanation for the lost five hours was sorely lacking, and his reasoning later could be taken as contrived. And that's how Hank took it by saying it was a 'good story' and 'how long did it take him to come up with it.' Hank didn't believe him, and we all know why now. Hank has some deep seated issues with the concept of cheating, because of what happened in his own family. In essence, the scene in the bathroom stall brought all that baggage to the fore. It was a hell of a wallop.

As far as the 'friends.' Even friends who don't want to take sides, have their opinions. There were once five couples... Kevin and John have all but disappeared... Hank and Chase are done... so that leaves Trey and Carlos, and we now know Carlos has trust issues of his own because of what Damian put him through. I didn't beat us over the head with it, but it's pretty easy to interpret that Damian was a cheater, and Trey did send Chase a message through Stacy. So that leaves Stacy and Don, who have reached out and been supportive, despite Chase snubbing them the last few times... and Ray and Frank, who initially were going to invite Hank and Chase to the same dinner, but decided against getting in the middle. My point is, there have been casualties, and experience with losing a pair of friends because of a breakup, in Kevin and John. It can be exhausting, and it's so easy to step in crap when you try to be supportive. Okay, my point really is, that this story is called Endings for a reason. I wanted to show what consequences endings have... everyone suffers, not just the ones immediately involved. Hank and Chase's ending has affected everyone, including Charles and Cindy, and the three couples that are left. Should they all have reached out? Absolutely, in a perfect world, but after Kevin and John, maybe they are all treading more carefully. Waiting to be approached rather than sticking their foot into the mess. The sad fact is, good friends can be lost as to what to do in these situations, but I guarantee you that if Chase had called Ray and Frank, they would have been supportive, just like Stacy and Don have been. 

There is this weird dynamic with friends... as to who they were friends with first. Nobody wants to make a choice, but Chase is aware these are Hank's friends that he inherited. I say this to explain why he didn't reach out. He wanted to make it easier on everyone until the dust settled... and then along came Dawson, and Chase was able to avoid potentially painful and awkward run-ins with his ex. If it wasn't for shared custody of Rex, these men would likely have interacted very little. As it was, Hank's bristling attitude made Chase want to avoid his old circle of friends. Speaking of circles, I feel I'm going in one... :)  I'm not trying to change your mind about the story, but I believe it is my job to show a different interpretation.  

I will finish by saying I don't agree that all these friends failed. Carlos, yes, believed Chase had cheated on Hank... they all did at first, because the facts were indisputable as far as they went. Chase turned down a proposal and was seen by Hank making out in a stall with another man. Dead stop. So, whether you think Carlos was petty or an asshole, Chase doesn't. He accepted his apology because he understood.  Just like he understood why Trey didn't rock the boat with his boyfriend. I repeat... he sent Chase a message... and they all knew was going on from Stacy. Meanwhile, we learn Trey and Carlos have been going through a lot because of Trey's sister. Life is happening in real time... and I might not hear from some friends for months at a time, but I know they are there. And we don't judge our absences. We reconnect easily, and are  appreciative of what we share. I think that is what happened at Stacy's house. Chase is happy... his doesn't harbor any anger or resentment. He knows it was a two way street.

Damn, I need to stop... I haven't even eaten yet today. :)  Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Leo... and thanks for listening. Always good to hear from you... don't be a stranger. :hug:  :kiss: 

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11 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

I actually agree with a bunch of what you said except one point, Stacey was a friend during this time as she's the only one we know who actually made contact with Chase.so Dawson wasn't the only friend. But he was THE best friend.

I concur. Dawson was definitely a best friend! A one in a million kind of friend, and I, for one, love the guy. :) 

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6 hours ago, Ivor Slipper said:

Two happy chapters in a row - what's going on Gary?

I blame it on old age. :P  Seriously, though, the darkness of the first part of the story is dissipating. As Chase's journey progresses, we start the see the positives of his sustained efforts. It was time for the doom and gloom to lighten, but that's not to say there isn't drama ahead. :)  Thanks, Ivor! :hug: 

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41 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

It feels like he's setting is for something doesn't it?

Moi?  Clear sailing ahead, Wes................ except for that tornado in  the distance. :huh: 

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16 hours ago, Headstall said:

Hey, jay! We're not sure Hank is even trying to create anything new with Chase, but we know for a while he considered it was he who was cheated on. What might each of us think if we were in the same situation, and found our boyfriend/partner in a bathroom stall, kissing another man? And then not hearing from him for five hours. I'm just saying, that would be a hard thing to digest. Not being able to handle that logically does not mean Hank is a terrible person... it just means he made mistakes too, and now he is paying for them. For me, there are two sides, and I don't believe it is just because I'm the author. :P And it is never too late to try to do the right thing... to make amends. It's okay to take sides, though, and I get where you are coming from.  Still, I prefer love over hate, and sympathy over persecution. Always look forward to hearing your thoughts, buddy. Stay well, and be safe. Gary.... :hug: 

If he truly knew Chase well enough to propose to him, he would know that Chase is not a liar. The way he found Chase in chapter one should have told him that Chase was telling the truth. Hank is scum.

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7 minutes ago, jaysalmn said:

If he truly knew Chase well enough to propose to him, he would know that Chase is not a liar. The way he found Chase in chapter one should have told him that Chase was telling the truth. Hank is scum.

Okay, but I think it is a little more complex than that... at least I hope it is... I tried. :P  Cheers, buddy. :hug: 

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19 minutes ago, jaysalmn said:

If he truly knew Chase well enough to propose to him, he would know that Chase is not a liar. The way he found Chase in chapter one should have told him that Chase was telling the truth. Hank is scum.

You know you do make a good point. But I don't think hank is scum. I think he's just been scrapped on by life so much that he just automatically assumed the worst. I can't blame him for that reaction, however after having time to think about it and seeing Chase in that condition in the first chapter he should have realize he was wrong. 

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22 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

You know you do make a good point. But I don't think hank is scum. I think he's just been scrapped on by life so much that he just automatically assumed the worst. I can't blame him for that reaction, however after having time to think about it and seeing Chase in that condition in the first chapter he should have realize he was wrong. 

No, he's not scum. We know enough about how he used to be to give him at least some benefit of the doubt. And who decides what the timetable is for getting a clue? :huh: 

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BigBen

Posted (edited)

On 4/6/2020 at 12:52 PM, FanLit said:

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.

I share some of your feelings in this regard.  What I am focusing on, however, is that it would be nice to have seen Chase reaching out to this group and insisting on respect from them, just as he has been doing with Hank whenever they've encountered each other.  It bothers me that Hank still had to intervene to make it happen.  I don't care about Hank's motives, or why the friends weren't there for Chase as well as Hank; I just want Chase to be strong enough to take matters into his own hands and be strong.  He's obviously capable of that now; as the comments about his having grown from a boy into a man indicate.  It would be great to see him taking more of the initiative now.

ETA:  I realize that this may seem inconsistent with my earlier posts in this chapter, but this is my current take, after a third reading of the chapter, and after going through all the comments again.  Who knows what I'll be thinking tomorrow, lol!

Edited by BigBen
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23 hours ago, Headstall said:

I think in Hank's mind, he did listen to Chase... he tried to interact with him the night he looked after him when Chase was ill. I know he was reluctant, and he didn't really want to hear what Chase had to say, but he was raw. Do we not see how he put his feelings aside to make sure Chase would be all right? Do we not think he did nothing but think about what had happened while he spent the night in the condo? So he didn't want to hear anymore... maybe that was his way of surviving. I have to say when I wrote those first chapters, I lived Hank's pain because it was based on an experience of my own. We can try to understand him, but I don't think he fully understands himself. I'm not defending him... logic and measured response often disappears when we feel we've lost the one we love. 

I can see how these things are true for Hank, but my goodness, if only he'd been able to say something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, Chase, but I'm too raw to deal with this right now," instead of what he did say.  Such a shame!  (I don't regret Chase's reaction to the marriage proposal, however.  If he'd acted sensibly at the time, this whole story could never have been written, and we'd have missed out on so many really excellent Cave-in jokes!)

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39 minutes ago, BigBen said:

I share some of your feelings in this regard.  What I am focusing on, however, is that it would be nice to have seen Chase reaching out to this group and insisting on respect from them, just as he has been doing with Hank whenever they've encountered each other.  It bothers me that Hank still had to intervene to make it happen.  I don't care about Hank's motives, or why the friends weren't there for Chase as well as Hank; I just want Chase to be strong enough to take matters into his own hands and be strong.  He's obviously capable of that now; as the comments about his having grown from a boy into a man indicate.  It would be great to see him taking more of the initiative now.

Great points, Ben, but to take it a step further, we can focus on the fact Chase can stand on his own two feet. He's getting to where he needs to be, and he hasn't slipped back, even without the support of some prior friendships. I prefer to think he was always in control of where he stood with the rest of them. It's as you say... reaching out was always a possibility... Chase chose not to. The fact may well be, he wasn't ready to reach out... he had work to do and that was his focus. And yes, we can't ignore the fact he wore guilt like a coat... and that he was ashamed of the things he had done. Coming out from under that weight has taken time. 

I'm not sure Hank had to intervene. The evening was already set, and that was a big deal. And Chase was the one who finally reached out to Stacy. Another big deal. Who's to say that Trey and Carlos wouldn't have attended anyway? These are not terrible people, and Carlos showed us he had regrets. It, like everything else, is a process. And yes, we could assume some of his friends took sides. It happens. 

I believe Chase makes his decisions from a new found place of confidence... and he does take the initiative. And as far as his strength, he was able to send his best friend off to the Yukon with his full and genuine support, and he's still standing strong. :)  Thanks, buddy. :hug: Oh... and there is a new signature author  feature posted today, on the top of the forums page, featuring yours truly, if you want to share any thoughts on my work there... 

 

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19 minutes ago, BigBen said:

I can see how these things are true for Hank, but my goodness, if only he'd been able to say something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, Chase, but I'm too raw to deal with this right now," instead of what he did say.  Such a shame!  (I don't regret Chase's reaction to the marriage proposal, however.  If he'd acted sensibly at the time, this whole story could never have been written, and we'd have missed out on so many really excellent Cave-in jokes!)

I think Hank was pretty clear about the pain he was in. He did share how he was feeling... and Chase knew exactly the agony his actions had caused. In a perfect world, logic would have prevailed, but it's one of the first things to go out the window with such breakdowns as these. In some ways, I can look back and see these guys were on borrowed time anyway... as Dr, Chorney pointed out... something had to give... and it did. :(  

So... the story's worth on based on the opportunity for Cave-in jokes? :blink:  :P  I know you don't mean that. :wub: 

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I really enjoyed the Dawson and Brent interlude! It was great that they got back together! Maybe it's a foreshadowing of Hank and Chase? I loved the hotel in the Yukon! It could almost be another character, and would be the perfect backdrop for a story about Dawson and Brent. Hint. Hint. Now back to Chase. I am glad he reconnected with his friends. What they say about Hank's attitude doesn't quite jive with what Chase sees. Maybe he will follow his own advice and make a real push to get Hank back. Still loving this story! Thanks. 

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22 minutes ago, JeffreyL said:

I really enjoyed the Dawson and Brent interlude! It was great that they got back together! Maybe it's a foreshadowing of Hank and Chase? I loved the hotel in the Yukon! It could almost be another character, and would be the perfect backdrop for a story about Dawson and Brent. Hint. Hint. Now back to Chase. I am glad he reconnected with his friends. What they say about Hank's attitude doesn't quite jive with what Chase sees. Maybe he will follow his own advice and make a real push to get Hank back. Still loving this story! Thanks. 

Hey, Jeffrey! Thank you. It was a decision I was glad I made, to include Dawson and Brent's story in "Endings." So glad you liked the motel. I am always nervous to include a lot of detail about places or buildings, but the motel was an important part of understanding Brent, who we'd never met. So what you say about it being another character means a lot to me. :D 

As far as this chapter, girls' night was a huge success in my opinion. Chase needed this, and so did trey and Carlos. Their information about Hank has confused Chase, but he is afraid to think they can even be friends, let alone anything more. He's closed himself off to those possibilities, so it's not looking good. I'd just like to seem both men happy... in whatever way they can be. Glad to hear you are still loving the story, buddy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and encouraging words... cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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Yes - see my happy face :rolleyes: - baby steps for sure but, at least steps in the right direction!

Hank has obviously done some soul-searching and reconciliations of his own behaviors.

A great chapter Gary. Thank you! :kiss:

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