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    Headstall
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Exes and Ohs - 5. Chapter 5 Promises of Forever

Presentable.

“Wow… looking good. The dark grey is a good choice,” Jimmy enthused with raised eyebrows. Drake had showered and dressed in the green room to save time, and had just returned to the blue room. His face warmed at the full-length perusal he was receiving.

“You, too,” Drake responded, and he wasn’t being polite… the guy looked hot as hell. Even though he saw Jimmy in a suit every workday, it was markedly different in this intimate setting. Standing only a few feet away, he exuded a masculinity that Drake couldn’t ignore. His short dark curls were still damp at the ends, and the green-grey fabric really did complement his eyes. The fit was perfection, and he found himself swallowing extra saliva as he pictured the body he’d just seen at the pool, beneath the clothes.

“Are you nervous?”

“What? Oh, about the wedding?”

“No.” Jimmy gave him one of those caring, searching looks as he stepped forward and worked on centering Drake’s tie. “There, that’s better.”

“Thanks. You mean Richard?” He swallowed more saliva while breathing in the freshly-showered scent of the man.

Jimmy stepped back and nodded.

“Yeah, I guess. It’s been a long time. Who knows… maybe he won’t show up. Callie said Bernadette is getting close to term.”

“How would you feel if he doesn’t?”

“Relieved, I suppose.”

A quick grin flashed across Jimmy’s face at the ‘I suppose,’ creating one on Drake’s. “I understand, but I think you need this.”

“You do? Why?” He walked to the dresser and picked up his cologne. “Should I?”

“I’m not wearing any, so yeah. That one smells great on you. From what you’ve told me, you guys never had any closure.”

“There wasn’t much to talk about after he told me he was in love with Bernadette.” He put the cologne back down without applying any. “We should head downstairs. The cab will be here in a few minutes.”

“I’m ready.”

“Me too.” They exited the room, but Drake stopped and headed back, picking up the cologne once more. One quick spritz and he turned to face an amused Jimmy. “I changed my mind.”

“Good. Nothing wrong with changing your mind.”

 

His parents were standing in front of the Avant-garde church with his spinster aunt, Nadine. She resembled his mom quite a bit, although ten years her senior. Her hair was still the same shade of honey gold he and Callie shared with their mother.

It suddenly hit him Preston was the only one in the family with white blond hair. Drake had always assumed he’d gotten it from the great grandfather their mother said he resembled, but did he actually inherit it from his biological father?

By the time he closed the door of the cab, Jimmy was at his side, hand brushing his. It was an offering, and it was left up to him to decide. After a few seconds hesitation, he accepted it. A sideways glance revealed a broad smile on the man’s face. They were in this together, and he had no intention of pulling away.

His father’s greeting was different… warm, as always, but uneasy as well. His grey eyes held a question, and Drake was certain his mother had told him what she’d done.

Stepping back from his hug, he gave him a reassuring smile before he began the introductions. “Dean, this is my dad, and my aunt Nadine.”

Drake watched as Jimmy took his aunt’s hand and said hello. A few short words later and she was completely charmed, just like his mother was as he leaned in and kissed her cheek. He then greeted Drake’s father. “James Dean Calloway, sir. Very nice to meet you, Mr. Forrester. I’ve been looking forward to this.”

“I have too, Dean. Dot's been telling me a bit about you. Please, call me Lawrence. It’s nice to finally meet someone Drake cares enough about to bring home. I was just told you work together?”

“Yes, sir. We have slightly different duties, but we’re in the same department.”

“And you don’t get sick of one another?”

“Not yet, sir.”

Drake’s father chuckled. “That’s a good sign. I’m glad to see he brought someone so presentable.”

Drake rolled his eyes at them both as Jimmy gave him a smug grin, but he couldn’t help feeling ridiculously proud in that moment.

“Should we go in?” Dot asked. “We’re in the straggler category now, and I want to sit near the front.”

“Now, Dorothy, the doors are still open, and there’s lots of time yet. I’m sure Preston and Cathy are saving us seats like you asked.”

“I suppose,” she said, but Drake could tell when his mother was anxious. He was relieved her response hadn’t been snarky at least, something she was prone to be with his father. Jimmy caught his eye, grinning as he held out his hand.

Drake took it once more, and murmured quietly, “You don’t seem to mind telling people your full name anymore.”

Jimmy snorted. “It doesn’t seem such a big deal now… finally came in handy.”

Drake laughed, and felt a comforting squeeze. He was thankful he wouldn’t be going through those big doors alone.

 

Walking down the aisle of the fifty-year-old Trinity United Church behind an usher he didn’t recognize, Drake’s eyes darted over the numerous heads, expecting to get a glimpse of Richard. It wasn’t until they’d entered the pew directly behind Preston and his family that he spotted him across the aisle. When their eyes met, Drake felt a sickening jolt, and had to look quickly away.

It had been almost two and a half years since the man had leveled him with a few stuttered-out words, but the horror of that day had never completely left. In that one second of eye contact, the memory of it came slamming back to the forefront of his brain.

Sitting down, his attempt to act composed failed the minute he looked at Jimmy. He saw nothing but commiseration on that face, and it helped him let his guard down as he took in a few shuddering breaths.

Jimmy quickly retook his hand and whispered, “I’m here.”

Struggling to handle the effects of seeing his ex, Drake whispered back. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Anything I can do to help, you let me know,” Jimmy murmured. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m getting there.”

“If it’s any consolation, it looks like seeing you shook him up too.”

He didn’t respond other than to tighten his grip on Jimmy’s hand. His attention had gone to Preston, who, sitting slightly sideways in the pew in front of them, was watching him curiously. Most likely he was enjoying his brother’s discomfort, but he turned away as soon as Drake returned his stare, giving his attention to his children. Apparently, neither one had spotted their uncle as yet.

Seeing him now, and knowing the truth, he almost felt sorry for his brother… half-brother. He supposed that was how Preston had viewed him and Callie all this time, as half-siblings.

“This place is beautiful, isn’t it? Really interesting architecture for a church.”

“It’s not typical,” Drake said, happy to be focusing on something else. “It’s called the Ark as a matter-of-fact.”

“I can see why. It brings to mind a ship with all the angled wood. I wonder if they perform gay marriages here… that looks like the gay rainbow in the stained glass window on the left.”

“It is. Those two stained glass windows were in the local news while they were being made. They’re actually light boxes… seven foot tall light boxes.” Drake clued in Jimmy was attempting to keep his mind occupied, and he was appreciative. He was feeling more like himself again.

“So, do they perform same-sex marriages here?”

Drake nodded. “They pride themselves on being inclusive.”

“Cool. Is this your family’s church?”

Drake scoffed quietly. He looked at his brother, occupied with keeping Patrick behaved, and lowered his voice to a whisper. “The only regular church goer in the family is Preston, and could you ever see him attending service at an inclusive one?”

“Good point. No, I can’t. It feels kind of homey in here. Not the usual vibe I get from a church.”

“Feels more like a chapel, doesn’t it?”

“Exactly. And I like all the different kinds of white flowers. It’s not overdone.”

A white blond head popped up and turned around, giggling as he pointed at his uncle. “Hi, Uncle Drake,” the boy said before his mother had him sit down again. Preston kept his face forward this time.

“Hey, buddy,” Drake responded, leaning forward and whispering. Another giggle sounded. He wished he could invite him to sit with them—he loved his nephew—but that was out of the realm of what was allowed. From his vantage point, he could see Laura was now passed out across her mother’s lap. Ruefully, he leaned back, accepting he didn’t have the normal rights of an uncle.

His parents were in deep conversation beside him, but the murmured chatter in the church prevented him from hearing more than a few words. He did hear his mother say ‘see what I mean’ and a little later ‘we owe him that,’ but he wasn’t sure who the ‘him’ was.

Their conversation, and all the others, came to a sudden halt when the big doors at the back of the Church were shut with a bang. Seconds later the groom and his best man walked across the altar to take their places. The two ushers, one being Callie’s boyfriend, Luke, walked up the steps and joined them. They all looked sharp in their traditional black attire, and Drake couldn’t help smiling at the deer-in-the-headlights expression on Rocco’s face.

The wedding march began to play, and all the guests could be heard shifting their bodies to get a better view. Drake took a deep breath. Chancing another look, he saw that Richard, across the aisle and a couple of rows back, was watching him. So was Bernadette, a person he’d known much of his life.

This time he was better prepared, managing to nod before looking away and concentrating on the procession. Mauve was an unexpected color, but his sister looked pretty as a picture when she followed the two bridesmaids out of the side door. He didn’t recognize either one, which meant they were probably college friends of Rachel’s, but both were lovely. As soon as Callie made it to the steps of the altar, Rachel appeared.

There was a collective gasp as she walked in on the arm of her father. A low whisper came from Jimmy. “Wow. Good looks run in the family.”

He smiled, but his attention remained on his cousin. She looked transcendent in a slim-fitting, lightly-beaded gown, but what fascinated him most was the rapt expression she wore as she turned the corner and began her journey towards the groom. He followed her gaze to Rocco, and saw the blank look was gone. Now a thousand words were written across his face as he followed her progress.

A sob from his Aunt Charlene, the mother of the bride, sitting in the front row, didn’t help Drake’s effort not to spill tears, and a few of them escaped. For a split second he glanced at Richard, seeing he was still being observed. Was the man thinking of the talks of marriage and the promises of forever they’d made in the now distant past?

Instantly, he felt foolish. Obviously, the only talks that had meant something to Richard were the ones he’d had with Bernadette behind his back. It was nothing more than natural curiosity that had the man staring at him. Nothing like watching two people in love, giving that public commitment, to make a person maudlin, and he’d been dangerously close to falling into that trap just now.

He shifted in the pew, increasing his contact with the man at his side, and essentially attempting to hide from that gaze. Concentrating once again on the altar, he watched Callie, who, after helping Rachel up the steps with her train, turned her head and gave him a beaming smile. He smiled back when her eyes widened at the sight of Jimmy. In that fleeting moment shared, he saw her approval, and it made him feel pleased… until thoughts of his deception rose up.

The guests witnessed a wonderful, lighthearted ceremony with touching vows, and Drake found himself getting lost in it, and teary once more. It was clear these two belonged together. A slight tightening of the grip on his hand had him turning his head, and he saw the sheen in Jimmy’s eyes.

It didn’t surprise him at all… the man was never afraid to show his feelings. Glancing down at their hands, he appreciated that the earlier tension hadn’t done any damage. Having his support and friendship was allowing Drake to be here, and ready to face what couldn’t be avoided much longer.

Outside, the front of the church was a mass of confusion, with people milling about as photos of the wedding party were being taken in front of the beautiful doors. Relatives and friends kept coming up to greet his parents and him amid the happy chaos, and he was proud to introduce Jimmy to them all. ‘Presentable’ didn’t begin to describe the handsome man at his side, and he enjoyed the reactions he caused, even if they were just friends. Finally, edging away until they were standing well back, Drake relaxed and took a few deep breaths. He didn’t expect he would see Callie until the reception, but a flash of mauve in the crowd, followed by the appearance of blonde curls, proved him wrong.

“I only have a few seconds,” She said as she hugged him. “We are going straight to the country club for more photos. So… introduce me.” Her eyes were on Jimmy, looking up into his face.

“Dean, this is my sister, Callie. She’s my favorite pain in the ass.”

“Really? Your favorite?” she asked slyly. “I’d have thought there were other pains—”

“Callie! Behave yourself! See what I mean?”

Jimmy laughed. “Nice to meet you, Callie. That color suits you.”

“Why thank you, Dean. I didn’t realize you were so tall, and I also didn’t know your hair was so dark. Didn’t you tell me he had brown hair?”

Ooops. “Did I? I don’t remember.” Drake floundered, feeling a blush coming. Half a minute and Callie had already caught them out on two things.

Jimmy came to the rescue once again. “It is brown, just very, very dark. If I spend a lot of time in the sun it lightens a bit.”

“Oh, okay, well, it was nice to finally meet you. I hope you’re having a good time.”

“It’s been interesting.”

“Oh, oh.” Callie switched her attention to Drake. “Preston?”

“He’s been—”

“An ass hat,” Jimmy finished. “But, I was warned. And yes, I’m having a great time. Your mom has been very welcoming.”

“An ass hat?” Her eyes sparkled with amusement.

“I’m trying to be nice,” Jimmy said with a grin, getting a giggle in return.

“Not on my account, I hope. I’m sorry about my brother… not this one,” she said, teasing Drake. “I wish I could have been around to run interference for you guys.”

“No need, sis. Dean put Preston in his place, and more than once.”

“Really? I’m sorry I missed that. I wish we could talk longer… I want to hear everything, but I have to go. Rachel would like you to be in some of the photos. Do you guys want to come with Luke and me?”

“We’re hitching a ride with Mom and Dad, but thanks. We’ll meet up there, okay?”

“That’s fine. I’ll tell Rachel. Did you see…?” Callie hesitated, biting her lower lip.

“Yes, but we haven’t spoken yet. Don’t worry about me, Callie. It’s no big deal.”

“Okay.” His sister didn’t look convinced as she hugged first him, and then Jimmy.

“Look after him for me, Dean.”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got him.” They exchanged a look Drake didn’t miss, and then she was off in a blur of mauve.

“I like her.”

“I knew you would, and I saw that look. Damn I hate lying to her.”

Jimmy put a hand on his arm as he was about to turn away. “Drake, you know what I think, but I get it… I can see how close you are. Just think about how this weekend might have gone if you’d been alone… I think Callie would understand, and you just might have your mom and dad back now.”

“Maybe. At least I know the big family secret,” Drake said with a halfhearted smile.

“Exactly, and there’s no maybes about Dot. You said it yourself, that she’s been turned around… and doesn’t that help Callie too? Your mom said Preston hasn’t been nice to her either.”

“I guess. Yeah, you’re right. And you’re right Callie would understand.”

“I usually am.”

Drake laughed at the smirk. “And you’re humble too. Thanks, Dean.”

“You’re welcome… anytime.”

Jimmy had done it again. Drake didn’t deserve his devotion, but he’d have been lost without it. Suddenly, he felt exhausted. “Um… let’s head for my dad’s car. I know where it’s parked, and knowing my mom, she’ll want to get going.”

“I just saw your mom. She’s right over there with your dad. Don’t you want to say hello to—”

“No, it can wait.”

“All right.” Jimmy wore the same unconvinced look Callie had.

Drake walked ahead a bit, finally relaxing his expression to one that probably showed fear. Despite Jimmy’s supportive presence, he wasn’t as ready to face Richard as he’d thought.

 

Something was different between his parents. Not once during the drive to Loch March Golf and Country Club did his mother’s voice go sharp or clipped. While exchanging small talk with his Aunt Nadine and Jimmy, he saved some attention for the friendly conversation in the front seat. Was it for his and Jimmy’s benefit, putting their best foot forward, or was it an actual change in how they interacted? He decided it had to be part of the act they usually performed, but still… it didn’t seem as forced. He thought about Jimmy’s earlier words… was he getting his parents back?”

Jimmy’s exclamations at seeing the views of the Gatineau Hills as they drove up the tree-lined drive towards the Tudor style clubhouse, reclaimed his full awareness.

“It’s pretty, isn’t it?”

“Everything is so green,” Jimmy enthused. “And there’s a lake!”

Drake chuckled, as he looked at the familiar grounds through Jimmy’s eyes. It really was a special place. And perfect for wedding photos.” Actually, you’ll soon see there are lakes.”

“Oh, cool. Have you been here before?”

“Sure, lots of times. Not in a few years, though, but Mom and Dad are members.”

“My parents were members here too, before they moved to Arizona,” Dot added.

“Do you golf?” Lawrence asked Jimmy as he cautiously maneuvered his Mercedes sedan into a parking space.

“I do, yes. My dad’s an avid golfer, and he really enjoys humiliating me for eighteen holes. I love it, though.”

“Did you know Drake plays a decent game?”

“No, sir. How decent?” he directed to Drake.

“Not that decent. I’ve never gotten closer than four strokes to Dad, and I only did that once.”

“Four strokes is damn good, and that’s only because you gave it up, son. You possess a natural talent I never had at your age.”

Drake rolled his eyes at Jimmy, but he was secretly pleased, until his father spoke again.

“We should all get together for a weekend of golf before the season is over. Maybe your dad would want to join us, Dean?”

Drake, wincing at this new complication, was just about to nix the idea when Jimmy responded as if it was a real possibility.

“My dad would travel anywhere to play a round of golf. He likes trying different courses, so he would definitely take you up on it. Besides, it would give him another opportunity to humiliate me,” he said with a grin, and a wink sent Drake’s way. He wanted to smack him, but Jimmy was just being his friendly self.

“Well, I have lots of room to put him up, so you guys talk about it and let me know.”

“Sounds good, sir. I will for sure.”

Drake hoped that was the end of the conversation. At some point, there would have to be a ‘breakup,’ and this talk of future plans wouldn’t make it any more palatable for a mother and father who’d already been won over by Jimmy and his inherent charm. It was proving way too easy to get caught up in this pretense they were carrying on, and Drake experienced another sickening drop in his stomach. The sooner this was over with, the better.

“Do you boys want to get yourselves a drink? The bar is supposed to be open until dinner is served.”

“Ah, maybe I’ll show Dean around the grounds before we head in. You guys go ahead, though. How about we meet you and Mom at our table?”

“That’s a good idea, dear. We still have to make the rounds before we take our seats,” his mother answered for them both, giving Drake one of those knowing mother looks. He hadn’t seen one of those in years, and he couldn’t help thinking briefly that, in this moment, he liked it better when she’d paid no attention to him. He had no doubt she knew he was rattled by the car that had just pulled in.

“Come on,” Drake said as soon as his parents were out of earshot.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see… just… let’s go.”

 

 

*

A big thank you to Timothy M., my wonderful editor, and to all those who keep reading week after week. Please leave me a comment if you can and let me know what you think of this chapter. Cheers... Gary....

Copyright © 2018 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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1 hour ago, ColumbusGuy said:

I like Callie...and the venue for the wedding sounds wonderful.  It would be great if Drake's parents were building a truce between them as Jimmy thinks.  Divorce is hard on children no matter the age when it happens...I was 21 when it happened to my parents, and the 'tug of war' between them for attention may not have been as overt as if I were younger, but you could tell it was there on my mom's behalf.

Well, looks like we'll meet Rick The Dick soon...  :P

:hug:

That venue exists in Ottawa, as does the Loch March Golf and Country Club, so I'm pleased you connected with it, my friend. I've been to Ottawa a few times, but I really had to do some research to find the right places. Callie is awesome, for the little part she played in this chapter. There is a bit of the bond here that I have with my own sister. 

 

The way Dot and Lawrence are acting is giving Drake pause. Dot said she wanted to repair her family and in my mind that would mean a united front where the kids are concerned. I agree that divorce is hard on children no matter what the age... it was hard on me for sure, when my mom and stepfather split up. Yet, we were still a family. :)  

 

Yes, Rick the dick is coming up... eventually... :X . Thanks, CG... I always look forward to your thoughts... on everything... cheers, and much love... G-Man.... :hug: 

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1 hour ago, FanLit said:

Damn!!

Another chapter before the Dick confrontation?!?!

 Good set up, I think Callie smells something fishy but Drake knows he can tell her the truth (just NO WHERE within earshot of Preston).

The white blond description of Preston's hair threw off my image of him; From J.D.'s "I thought you'd be taller" statement (which was an AWESOME intro line for that jerk, 😄) and his subsequent "asshatness", I pictured a short, stubby, slightly potbellied troll.

6 days, 23 hours,    minutes until the next installment.  ⏳

 

Only one more chapter? :X   We'll get to see Dick eventually, FanLit. ;)  :P  Yes, alarm bells flashed briefly for Callie, but it was Jimmy to the rescue again. As you point out, the nice thing is Callie won't judge Drake if she ever found out the game they're playing. Lies are never a good idea, but in this case, we can see the reason Drake went along with Jimmy's plan. Once again, Jimmy helped Drake get through his guilt, with how he sees everything so clearly.  There really is no harm being done... unless it's to them. :( 

 

LOL to how you thought Preston looked. Remember that looks do run in the family... he's no Drake, but Preston is okay in the looks department. Not that it matters... he's a jerk, as you say. He he... troll :gikkle: . 

 

Thank you for your thoughts and your support, my platonic friend  :D ... cheers... Gary...  :hug: 

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1 hour ago, Wesley8890 said:

Uh oh...

LOL... what are you saying, Wesley? I expect it will be smooth sailing from here on out. :P  Thanks for  your comment and support, buddy... see you Monday :D  Cheers... Gary....

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1 hour ago, Bucket1 said:

Yep, I agree with Drew. The only way Jimmy could have been more obvious is if he dropped to one knee and asked Drake to marry him :gikkle:

That's in the next chapter :)

 

This was a strange chapter in which nothing really happened but so much happened. I guess most of the action was in Drake's head, so many thoughts running around his head he might get vertigo. JD will be there to catch him 

 

So the reception will be interesting, Richard, Preston, Callie... bring on the next chapter

LOL... now let's not get ahead of ourselves. :P  It make take two chapters for a proposal. :D  Seriously, the poor guy was just being a good friend, taking his work buddy's mind off Richard. Makes sense, right? :rolleyes: 

 

I'm so pleased you saw this chapter the way you did... there really was a lot going on under the surface in this chapter, the biggest thing being :X  ... yet it seemed rather tame compared to earlier ones. These kind of chapters are necessary in the scheme of things, I suppose. :P Yes, Drake is a thinker... Tobynesque, as we established last week.  :)  Thanks, B... as always, you rock, my friend... cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

 

 

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1 hour ago, FanLit said:

And Richard and Bernadette staring at Drake during the wedding?!?!

Them two better come in peace or they'll be leaving in pieces.  :huh: :whistle:

Well, Bernadette is about ready to give birth, so I don't think we need to worry about her going all ninja. :P  And if Dick was to be a dick, my money would be on Jimmy Dean. :D  

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1 hour ago, Geemeedee said:

It’s rude to stare. Didn’t they have a wedding to watch?

 

They’re lucky they didn’t get an eyebrow-raised “take a picture, it’ll last longer” look from Jimmy Dean.

LOL. I think Jimmy will try not to interfere. He feels this is important for Drake to deal with... I'm sure he hopes Drake will see the light somehow. :unsure:  I wonder if Bernadette feels guilt or jealousy, or something else where Drake is concerned... oh, yeah... I know. :D  Thanks, buddy, for your comment and your support... I'm so happy you are engaged in this story... see you next week... cheers... Gary....

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1 hour ago, Geemeedee said:

And you know what? Drake doesn’t have to talk to them at all. I say act like they aren’t even there, but politely say hello if they pass.  Enjoy the reception and that fine-ass man.

He he. :D Yeah, that's what I would do, but Drake needs closure. If he plays his cards right, maybe he can do both.  :whistle:  Then again, maybe not. Drake has some issues holding him back. I am sure though, that he will be polite... it is his cousin's wedding... then again... :X  :P 

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OK time to move to the main event. I can't wait to see Jimmy take on Richard and Bernadette. And isn't it about time for Drake to give Jimmy a second chance? I'm still not entirely clear what was Jimmy's big mistake. Must be time to re-read for details. Thanks so much for sharing this story.

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