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    Headstall
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Treading Water - 1. Chapter 1 Murky Depths

What the hell is going on?

Treading Water

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Craig happened to be facing the side entrance to the backyard while he, along with his Aunt Helen, tended to burgers and hot dogs on the gas barbecue. He hadn’t seen his ex-brother-in-law for many months, and not just the sight, but the condition of the man entering by way of the tall, wooden gate, threw him for a loop. The robust Jared he remembered was not in evidence here. Instead, what Craig saw was a diminished copy of his friend. He was still a big, broad-shouldered man whose chest strained the fabric of his tee shirt, but the weight loss was quite apparent. Standing almost forlornly, a few feet inside, he scouted the populated area. His searching eyes stopped at Craig, but darted quickly away, as if he didn’t want to interact on any level.

Craig didn’t know whether to be more disturbed by his appearance or the obvious snub. This was the person who’d gotten him through the ordeal of losing his partner because of an industrial accident… a broken safety harness, and a fall from thirty-five feet while performing a routine task. The doctors’ reassurance Harlan couldn’t feel pain had done nothing to help the bitter hopelessness Craig had wallowed in.

But Jared had. He had leaned on this man, his sister’s husband, while Harlan had lingered on the edge of death for two excruciating weeks. When his partner finally succumbed to the massive injuries, it had been the worst time of his life, and Jared had never left his side. Craig felt guilty as he recalled the annoyance his sister had begun to let show, but at the time, he couldn’t muster up enough strength to care. He often wondered since, whether Jared’s devoted support had contributed in some way to their demise as a couple.

Watching the still-rooted man visibly quail, Craig followed the direction of his eyes to see the reason why. Carly. His twin looked livid as she marched toward her ex, and Craig could sense the anger radiating off her as she neared the man who’d been her husband up until a year ago. Their marriage had ended a month after Harlan’s funeral, the day Jared had moved out of this very place, although the official dissolution came later. Craig was too grief-stricken at the time to fully understand all that was happening, and his sister was very tight-lipped about the reasons for going their separate ways. She had once inferred he’d cheated, that there was someone else, but Craig had trouble believing such a thing.

“What are you doing here, Jared? We had an agreement. I told you specifically you weren’t allowed to come here.”

Agreement? Weren’t allowed? Craig could hear her voice clearly from where he stood, but he passed the stainless steel tongs to his aunt so he could move nearer. It was never pretty when his sister was this pissed off.

“It’s Bailey’s birthday, for Christ’s sake. I have a right to see my own daughter on her birthday.”

“The deal was I always bring her to you, and this isn’t your day to see her. I don’t care if it’s her birthday… you have no business being here, and don’t pretend you came here to see Bailey. Now leave, you son-of-a-bitch.”

Craig could scarcely believe what he was hearing. “Jesus, Carly. What the hell is the matter with you? It’s his daughter’s birthday!” He knew his sister could be a bitch, but this was too much. Jared gave him a fleeting look of gratitude before averting his gaze.

Carly turned on her brother with vicious fierceness. “She’s only two! She has no idea what’s going on, or whether her father’s here or not.” The rage emanated off her, and Craig reeled at the strength of it. “Are you going to side with him or me?”

“Side?” Craig stared at her in confusion.

Jared spoke up. “I’ll know if I don’t see her on her birthday, Carly, and that matters to me. Just let me say hello… wish her a happy birthday, and then I’m gone. I’ll only be a couple of minutes.”

The scene being created had garnered attention from the relatives and friends within hearing distance, and Craig was mortified at his twin’s behavior. Thank God there was music playing. He had no idea the situation was this strained between them. Surreptitiously taking more notice of the physical changes in the man who had been his rock, a sharp pang at the memory of those times made its presence known. “Carly,” he spoke softly. “This doesn’t sound like too much to ask. He just wants to see Bailey on her birthday. What good dad wouldn’t?”

“Oh, of course… I knew you would see it his way. Fine… go see her… and then leave.” She glared at Jared and then Craig, before storming off into the house.

“What the hell was that?” Craig directed at Jared. “I had no idea things were so bad between you two. What happened? Mom said you weren’t speaking for a while, but I thought you had a reasonably friendly divorce? Carly told me you weren’t around because you were working out of town a lot. Were you?”

Jared, with dark half-circles under his eyes, looked near collapse. “I’m sorry, Craig, but now is not the time. I just want to wish Bails a happy birthday, and get out of here before she comes back.” He glanced toward the house and literally shuddered.

“Do you want me to go down there with you? Mom’s watching her in the sandbox.” It was hard to lay eyes on the little girl in the long, crowded backyard with all the adults and children milling around. Fortunately, no one was staring anymore.

“Thanks, but it’s not a good idea. I don’t want that woman pissed off at me any more than she already is, and I don’t want her pissed off at you either. I really shouldn’t have come here.”

He looked so sad when he said that, and Craig didn’t understand why. “Are you worried about me again? You used to do that a lot, and I want to you to know I’ve never forgotten it. I couldn’t care less if Carly is mad at me. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had… you kept me going, Jared, and I don’t get it. I can see now, the reason you don’t come by, but why didn’t you answer my calls or texts?”

“I wanted to… look… don’t, Craig. Just don’t.” The anguish in his voice made no sense to Craig.

“Don’t what? Just because you and Carly are at odds doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends, does it?”

“I’m sorry, but yes it does. I wish I could explain, but I can’t. Trust me… it’s for the best. You don’t want to know what… look, just let it go… we can’t be friends.”

Craig watched in disbelief as Jared turned from him and made his way between the picnic tables to the sandbox in the corner. He heard Bailey’s squeal at the appearance of her daddy, and all he could think of was Jared’s abrupt declaration. It hurt, and was so unlike the man he thought he knew; the big strong one who’d physically held him up as they laid Harlan to rest. The one who had sat with him day after day in the hospital as he waited out the inevitable conclusion, with no hope allowed… a death watch. He felt familiar despair rise up in him again, and realized it was triggered by another loss… that of a person he cared greatly for. His immediate instinct was to go curl up in bed again… something the man he could see swinging his daughter around had coaxed him out of, many months ago.

He returned to helping his Aunt Helen with the barbecue, and even served a few distant family members whose names he couldn’t recall, before losing all focus. What had just happened between his sister and Jared, and Jared and himself, defied all logic. He was missing something. And what was with the changes in his one-time brother-in-law. The guy used to be the quintessential construction worker with all the bulky muscles and toning to go with it. His former condition screamed ‘healthy and vibrant.’ What he saw now as he looked down the lawn was a much leaner, hollow-faced version of the Jared he knew. Not once had he seen the smile that could light up the world. There was a grim set to his face Craig had never seen before. Even standing there entertaining his little girl, the spark was missing. What the hell had happened?

Craig started to feel guilty for letting their friendship slip away. He should have tried harder to find out why his calls went unanswered. Jared had checked in on him a few times after he’d left Carly, but then he’d vanished from his life entirely. Craig was finally starting to engage fully with the world again, and this little mystery aroused his curiosity. It looked to him like his friend was desperately in need of some help, and he owed the man big time. Looking down the yard once more, he saw his mother talking seriously to her ex-son-in-law. Determined to get to the bottom of this, he set the barbecue tongs down and told Helen he had something to take care of.

 

Craig heard the gate swing shut on its spring hinges, and latch with its usual bang. A second later, Jared hurried past the open side-door of the garage.

“Jared. Wait! I want to talk to you.” He’d startled the man as he stood in the doorway, and the way Jared jumped would have been funny in a different situation. Liquid blue eyes met his, and the pain in them struck him like a slap. He took a step forward onto the lush grass, but stopped when Jared held up his hand. His other hand swiped at the wetness around his eyes.

“Are you trying to ambush me now, Craig?” His voice was a raspy croak of emotion. “I asked you to leave it alone.”

“Leave what alone? I don’t even know what ‘it’ is.”

“Isn’t it enough that I said I don’t want to talk to you?” God, he sounded terrible to Craig.

“No. Hell, no. Would it have been enough for you if I’d said that when Harlan died?” He received no answer to his question. “You dragged me out, kicking and screaming, when I tried to hide myself away, and I love you for it. I want to do the same for you, and don’t tell me there’s nothing wrong. I can see you’re in a bad way. Will you talk to me, please?” He waited for a response, any kind of response, and realized he'd give anything to see that full-lipped smile again… the one that showed Jared’s dimples and crinkled those eyes that brought to mind the sky on a sunny day.

“Craig, you don’t get it. I’m sorry… I can’t do this. I can’t open up this can of worms. It wouldn’t be fair to you… or me.” Jared turned around and headed towards his three-quarter-ton truck, parked on the street.

“What wouldn’t be fair?” he called out. No answer came as the dark-haired man jumped in his truck and pulled away with a squeal.

That had not worked out the way he’d hoped, and Craig found himself getting morose. It was a pitfall he had to be aware of. His days might be brighter, and he was off all meds now, but depression lurked close enough he had to be on guard. Harlan was gone, and he’d accepted it, but the emptiness was still there. It would likely remain for a while because dating was something he couldn’t bring himself to do… not yet.

Leaning between the two cars parked in the garage, he closed his eyes and began his practiced deep calming breaths. Seeing Jared again was a double-edged sword. As much as he missed him and his strength and support… it also triggered the memories of those dark and terrible days. Was that why he had allowed him to disappear from his life? Jared had been the only one who was able to decipher his needs at the time. Certainly, Carly hadn’t been able to. In all honesty, she wasn’t a caring person… it wasn’t in her makeup. They might be twins, but they couldn’t possibly be more different. She was impetuous and volatile, and very self-centered, while he was just the opposite. Harlan used to say he got her heart as well as his own when they shared the womb. That was Harlan; he always told it like he saw it.

Physically too, they were like night and day. Carly was short, mousy-haired, and just a little thick, while an athletic Craig was six feet, and more on the leaner side, with what Harlan used to call a ‘golden mane’ of hair. It was shorn close now, mainly for the ease of it. They didn’t even share eye color. True, they both had green eyes, but while Carly’s were pale to the point of gray, Craig’s were strikingly vivid. Harlan used to call them twin emeralds… a terrible pun… he’d been good at those, Craig remembered fondly. The fact her eyes were less striking had always bothered his sister. In fact, most everything bothered her, and Craig let that thought surface because of what he had seen from her today. She had been a bitch, plain and simple.

A slight scuff at the still open door intruded on his thoughts, irritating him. He kept his eyes closed, hoping whoever it was would go away. He needed this time alone before he went back to his niece’s party… just another ten minutes was all he asked for. A throat clearing caused him to swing around. Jared’s big frame, spare as it was, took up most of the doorway, and with the light behind him it was difficult to see his facial expression.

“You still want to talk?” His voice sounded clearer… stronger.

He stepped further in, and Craig studied him. “Yeah, I do. What changed your mind?”

“You. I wasn’t being fair… I haven’t been fair… there’s stuff you need to know… things I should explain.” Jared hung his head for a second, and then advanced inward until he was leaning against the car opposite Craig, facing him. He gave the impression he was headed for slaughter.

“God, Jared. You can talk to me about anything… anything at all. I owe you so much….”

“Don’t say that. Your sister was right… I wanted….”

“You wanted what?”

“Oh shit, I can’t do this.”

The crushing pain displayed on the handsome face in front of him had Craig truly concerned. Something was very wrong. When Jared looked away, toward the door, it was obvious he was thinking about bolting again, and Craig couldn’t handle that. His fear for the man was starting to escalate. He stood up from his lean on the car behind him, and stepped forward, resting his hands on muscular forearms.

Jared looked down at those hands before looking back up into Craig’s face. “What are you doing?”

Craig was momentarily taken aback as the breath that washed across his face smelled strongly of liquor. “Have you been drinking, buddy?” He stared into those enormous blue eyes, more confused than ever. “Why have you been drinking?” he asked softly. “You didn’t have that on your breath when you first got here.”

Jared looked sheepish, but he held Craig’s questioning gaze. “Liquid courage.”

“Liquid courage? I don’t understand. Why do you need liquid courage?”

Jared’s eyes had moved to his mouth as he spoke. “Oh fuck it. For this, Craig… I needed the courage to do this.” Leaning forward, he caressed Craig’s lips with his own. It was gentle and soft and filled with so much feeling, the recipient was too stunned to react. The one that followed was not so gentle, flicking a switch on that had Craig responding in kind. Without thinking about it, he attacked Jared’s mouth with equal passion, not minding the taste of booze in the slightest. One of his hands ended up in the dark-chocolate-colored hair, pulling him closer. A crash from behind Jared caused the kiss to end as they jumped apart. He was horrified to see Carly standing at the doorway leading to the inside of the house, with an empty tray in her hand and a broken glass pitcher on the concrete step beneath her.

If he thought he’d seen rage earlier, what spewed from his sister this time was something else entirely. At the same instant she started screaming, the tray she held came flying toward their heads. Jared pulled him sideways just before it bounced off the hood of the farthest car. “I knew you would try to get into my brother’s pants sooner or later. That’s why you came here today, isn’t it? You fucking faggot bastard. All you cared about was my brother’s ass. You said you would never do that, but look at you… my husband and my brother almost fucking in my own goddam garage.” Spit was flying out of her cruelly curled mouth, and Craig was stuck in a mental quagmire. He heard her, but he couldn’t process the meaning behind the words.

“He hasn’t been your husband for almost a year, dear, and I’d hardly say they were ‘fucking’ as you called it. I don’t know what did happen here, but you need to calm down now. Must I remind you your daughter’s birthday party is going on at the moment, and this isn’t the time to be screaming like a common washerwoman?” Their mother’s voice was pure steel and the look on her face was one of total disgust, and it was directed at her daughter. “Must I also remind you this is my ‘goddam garage,’ not yours?”

“But, Mom, they were in here making out… my own brother.” She glared at her twin, not at all cowed by her mother’s admonishment. “I will never forgive you for betraying me like this, and you, you fucking prick, get the hell out of my house. You’re not welcome here.” She turned on her heels and brushed past her mother in a fury.

“I’ll just get a broom and sweep this mess up. Be careful of the glass here. And this is my house, not Carly’s, and I haven’t told anyone to get out of my house.” And with that, his mother was gone, and they were left alone with nothing but magnified silence. Craig was still attempting to come to grips with his twin’s shocking tirade. There was so much to try to comprehend. He turned to Jared with wonder. He had kissed him… with undeniable feeling. And Craig had kissed him back. He realized his fingers were touching his lips.

“I’m so sorry, man. I never should have done that. This is all my fault… she warned me, and now she’s going to make me pay. And she’ll take it out on you, too. Fuck, I’m an idiot… maybe if I leave now she won’t follow through.” It all came out in a rush, and Craig finally caught on to how frantic Jared really was, and what he was actually saying.

“Hey, calm down. How can she make you pay, and how can she take it out on me… what? Not speak to me? There’s nothing she can do… and we need to talk… we really need to talk.” He touched his lips again, and for a second, relived the passion that was in their kiss.

“Look, there’s nothing to talk about. I got carried away and I shouldn’t have. I took advantage of you… you’re still vulnerable, and I never should have done that. I’m really sorry, Craig… I really am….”

Before he had a chance to say anything, Jared took off out the door, and within seconds, Craig heard the squeal of truck tires once again.

Thank you to Timothy M, for his editing and his support.

Copyright © 2016 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Sorry to go all hungry bird on you but post the next chapter now. No gentle intro chapters for you :lol:
I'm guessing that Mum knew what was going on/had some idea, sounds like there needs to be a few chats in that family so poor Craig isn't left floundering. OK, Craig and us readers have so many questions that need to be answered.

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And we are off to a fantastic start. Jared is in a tough spot. I don't imagine that it's easy to fall for your ex wife's brother. Carly is bitter and I get that it's a painful pill to swallow. By Jared's comments at the end, I'm betting she gets worse before she gets better. Mom was pretty cool. Then there is Craig. Is he prepared for Jared's admission and all the tangles it comes with?

 

You have a unique ability to create characters that feel like they could be our neighbors. Their actions, their situations are something we can easily understand, and of course empathize with. Naturally, I'll be rooting for Jared and Craig, as they go on this journey.

 

A really great beginning Gary, can I start begging for the next chapter now..

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First...
Congrats on a new Story!!! :D

 

Tim was right, I needed tissues :,( Too lose your partner must have been so devastating. Even after all these months, Craig is still mourning the loss of his partner. Jared, it was obvious from the beginning that he had a lot of baggage on his shoulders, going being the divorce. Well, by the end of this chapter, that baggage was his feelings for Craig.
I suspect Jared has felt like this for a long time. If so, it really must have been hard to see his best friend fall for another man. :(

 

Gary, this was a fantastic start to a great story! :) I'm looking forward to the other chapters.

 

Thanks for writing Treading Water :hug:

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Wow Gary, nothing gradual about that beginning!

 

Although we could sort of piece Carly's (or Jared's) problem as the chapter unwound, nothing prepared us for its conclusion. Great job there!

 

So Craig has a lot on his plate right now, including memories.
A great chapter and I'm sure it will be a great story too!

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Love, love, love the new story! U have such a great way of weaving an equal mix of love and drama into ur stories! Have a feeling its gonna be a bumpy road to get Jared and Craig on the same page, and I'm sure together! Can't wait to see what Jared has to say! Absolutely looking forward to reading more!!!

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Yay!! I had a Like!!
It's early yet, but I can say with certainty, this story is going to be good! :D
Craig and Jared I like. Mom too for putting Carly in her place. As for Carly, she wasn't born, she crawled out from under a rock. What a wretched excuse for a human being she is. :pinch:
I hope chapter two comes really really soon....*fingers crossed*
Well Gary, I think it's safe to say, you've hit another home run with this story. :worship:

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On 01/26/2016 12:44 PM, Bucket1 said:

Sorry to go all hungry bird on you but post the next chapter now. No gentle intro chapters for you :lol:

I'm guessing that Mum knew what was going on/had some idea, sounds like there needs to be a few chats in that family so poor Craig isn't left floundering. OK, Craig and us readers have so many questions that need to be answered.

Thanks, Bucket for my first review for this new one. I was nervous... you know how I get... anyway, this helps tremendously to settle me down. You can chirp all you want... I like it, but it's too soon to give you hints... I'll just say there's a lot more to unfold, and leave it at that... as a bloody author does, you know... I so appreciate this review, buddy... cheers... Gary...

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On 01/26/2016 12:50 PM, Defiance19 said:

And we are off to a fantastic start. Jared is in a tough spot. I don't imagine that it's easy to fall for your ex wife's brother. Carly is bitter and I get that it's a painful pill to swallow. By Jared's comments at the end, I'm betting she gets worse before she gets better. Mom was pretty cool. Then there is Craig. Is he prepared for Jared's admission and all the tangles it comes with?

 

You have a unique ability to create characters that feel like they could be our neighbors. Their actions, their situations are something we can easily understand, and of course empathize with. Naturally, I'll be rooting for Jared and Craig, as they go on this journey.

 

A really great beginning Gary, can I start begging for the next chapter now..

Thanks, Def! I'm so glad you like the beginning. Your words and your review are very kind and encouraging. My favorite kind :) . I guess we can see that Craig's head is spinning right now... he has no idea what's going on... but he did kiss back. This story was based on the premise of crossing lines... we have to wait and see what these lines are, and I'm so please you're looking forward to this journey. I hope you continue to like it... a great review, my friend... cheers... Gary...

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:o Wow. That was an amazing and intense first chapter. :worship: You can really pack a punch in a few thousand words, Gary. I can't wait to read more.. about Craig's loss and how he's tried to move on, about Jared's feelings, what Craig's mother knows, Carly's reaction, where they go from here. Seriously, this was incredible. I can't wait for more.

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On 01/26/2016 12:50 PM, Drew Espinosa said:

First...

Congrats on a new Story!!! :D

 

Tim was right, I needed tissues :,( Too lose your partner must have been so devastating. Even after all these months, Craig is still mourning the loss of his partner. Jared, it was obvious from the beginning that he had a lot of baggage on his shoulders, going being the divorce. Well, by the end of this chapter, that baggage was his feelings for Craig.

I suspect Jared has felt like this for a long time. If so, it really must have been hard to see his best friend fall for another man. :(

 

Gary, this was a fantastic start to a great story! :) I'm looking forward to the other chapters.

 

Thanks for writing Treading Water :hug:

Thanks, Drew! It's been a bit over a year since Craig lost Harlan, and I think he's at the point where thinking of him doesn't hurt so much. There's a few surprises in store yet, but Jared is definitely in a bad way. When Craig refers to Jared as his best friend, it's for what he did when Harlan got hurt... how he was there for Craig, and got him through it. I'm so glad you liked the start... I admit I get nervous, and I kept putting off the posting, but I feel better now, thanks to some really great reviews... thank you for such great support, and the awesome review... cheer, little buddy... Gary...

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On 01/26/2016 01:36 PM, skinnydragon said:

Wow Gary, nothing gradual about that beginning!

 

Although we could sort of piece Carly's (or Jared's) problem as the chapter unwound, nothing prepared us for its conclusion. Great job there!

 

So Craig has a lot on his plate right now, including memories.

A great chapter and I'm sure it will be a great story too!

Thank you, so much, skinny! I'll take the 'wow' gladly. This was originally going to be a short story, so it kind of starts with a bang. I'm glad you liked the chapter, my friend. Craig doesn't know what to think... and Jared, well he's a whole other story... I hope you stick around... it won't be too long a ride... I appreciate the great review... cheers... Gary...

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On 01/26/2016 01:42 PM, jaysalmn said:

Love, love, love the new story! U have such a great way of weaving an equal mix of love and drama into ur stories! Have a feeling its gonna be a bumpy road to get Jared and Craig on the same page, and I'm sure together! Can't wait to see what Jared has to say! Absolutely looking forward to reading more!!!

Thanks, jaysalmn! Such a great review. I love that you love it. Thank you for the kind words, and yeah, we have a few bumps coming up... I can tell you that Jared has some interesting things to say when he finally gets around to it. I hope I can keep you loving it... cheers... Gary...

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On 01/26/2016 01:43 PM, Reader1810 said:

Yay!! I had a Like!!

It's early yet, but I can say with certainty, this story is going to be good! :D

Craig and Jared I like. Mom too for putting Carly in her place. As for Carly, she wasn't born, she crawled out from under a rock. What a wretched excuse for a human being she is. :pinch:

I hope chapter two comes really really soon....*fingers crossed*

Well Gary, I think it's safe to say, you've hit another home run with this story. :worship:

Yay!! I like your certainty, and I hope you still feel that way at the end. When I started, I didn't really know these characters, but I do now, and I really care about them. My plan was to post once a week. :) . A home run would be nice... and you seem to know what you're talking about lol, so I'm feeling more confident than I did earlier. Thanks for a terrific review, my friend... cheers... Gary...

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On 01/26/2016 02:12 PM, LitLover said:

:o Wow. That was an amazing and intense first chapter. :worship: You can really pack a punch in a few thousand words, Gary. I can't wait to read more.. about Craig's loss and how he's tried to move on, about Jared's feelings, what Craig's mother knows, Carly's reaction, where they go from here. Seriously, this was incredible. I can't wait for more.

Aw shucks, Lit. Thank you so much. It's not a really long story, but there is still a lot to come. I'm really pleased I got your attention... hopefully I can keep it... I really got caught up n this while I wrote it, and you never know if you're too close, so it's great to get the positive feedback... thank you so much, lit... cheers... Gary...

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I'm curious: what state is this set in? Just wondering how hard it'll be legally for Jared to get shared custody as a gay man. Especially if Carlt tries to claim he was having an affair with her brother.

 

Also, is Craig adopted?

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I can see this is another story where I'll have the pleasure of commenting on your brilliant titles as well as the story itself. ;)
Treading Water is of course perfect for a story which starts out with two men who have been just surviving for the past year (or perhaps longer in the case of Jared?). Treading water but not getting anywhere, just trying to keep from going under. Apparently, Jared kept Craig from succumbing to depression, so it's natural Craig want to help him in return. But from that kiss we all know what Jared needs, and the question they and we ask ourselves is; Is Craig ready for that?
Oh and the chapter title Murky Depths is perfect too. Carly's soul is full of it, drowning her sense and heart and proper behavior - although from their mother's reaction that bitter woman has never had either. OK, of course it's difficult to realize your husband is in love with your brother, particularly when you have always felt you stood in his shadow and everyone likes him better. But perhaps she should ask herself whether she is the cause of people not liking her - even her own mother doesn't seem particularly fond of her right now. :pinch:
But I guess Murky Depths also describes what Craig is feeling. The threat of depression, the loss of Harlan, the secret Jared has been hiding, the unexpected hatred of his sister rising up and him being unable to see the reasons why. Let's hope the next chapters will bring some clarity and understanding. :yes:
Another fabulous start gripping us by the balls or whatever and squeezing, hard. :lol:

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Family dynamics are a total mess it seems here. I will say that Carley seems to be a bit of an anomaly. Meaning that he's obviously been out to his family for a long time while he had a partner, and apparently isn't at odds with any of them over it and yet she's spewing homophobic slurs. Is it just in reaction to her ex obviously having feelings for her brother, or has she always just been some oddball homophobe in an otherwise accepting group? Guess that'll hopefully be explained.

 

Also apparently Jared's feelings for Craig played a part in thei marriage failing and both mom and sister already knew but Craig was none the wiser all that time. I guess that's to be expected since the poor dear was under a grief cloud. I somehow picture mom as encouraging Jared to tell Craig the score.

 

So the big question is how can Carley make Craig pay? It's obvious she can try to interfere with Jared's relationship with his daughter, but in what can she possibly do to Craig? And it would have to be believable to send Jared running like that. Though I will say that it seems Carley would have to burn A LOT of bridges to do anything considering she lives at her mother's home and mom is already not supportive of her conduct.

 

Great opener and definitely looking forward to chapter 2.

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I already love the mom; she's going to be great!

 

Absolutely lovely beginning, can't wait for the rest. Thank you for sharing.

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Great beginning and a great variation of the situation in Cards on the table. More baggage for the two men to deal with, more viciousness but again supporting, loving and fair parents.

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You got me hooked in this first chapter. What an introduction. What happened that Jared and Carly broke up? Why doesn't Craig have a clue what's going on? Was he in that much of a depression?
I look forward to more - and soon.

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You know I'm so tired of gay men have to hide, to be sorry, to not be who and what they are.
Carly needs to let it go now and grow the fk up and start to do what is best for her kid. She does have a father, does happen to be human and Carly needs to deal with that. I'm restraining my language, grrr.
So good for Jared, to go and get what he wants and Craig too. Maybe not the best way, o what he planned but so there it is. You get one life, don't waste it being who you are not.
Mum is obviously the sane one. I like her already.
There I'm done.

 

tim

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Annnnnnnnnd......we're off!!! :D Great first chapter. Carly needs a therapist and a couple thousand Valium :gikkle: I loved Mom and she's probably wondering how she raised such a shrew. She was switched at birth, right? :yes: Poor Jared probably realized he had feelings for Craig during the 'ordeal' and seeing him at the party was the straw that broke the camels back. You're about to take us on an emotional roller coaster, aren't you? Well, I'm buckled up and ready. :read: (got a box of Puffs too!) :rolleyes:

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Great first chapter :heart:

 

I am going to refrain from commenting on any characters attitudes until I get to know them better. I have seen your characters change before and I don't want to judge prematurely.

 

I'll look forward to the next chapter :read:

 

:hug:

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On 01/26/2016 04:26 PM, Geemeedee said:

I'm curious: what state is this set in? Just wondering how hard it'll be legally for Jared to get shared custody as a gay man. Especially if Carlt tries to claim he was having an affair with her brother.

 

Also, is Craig adopted?

Hey, Geemeedee! This is set in Canada actually, in a small city 2 hours from Toronto. And no Craig isn't adopted. He and Carly are fraternal twins. Jared being gay has nothing to do with custody... but there is more to come on that. Thank you for reading this story, and thanks for the review. I hope you stick with it... cheers... Gary...

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On 01/26/2016 04:42 PM, Timothy M. said:

I can see this is another story where I'll have the pleasure of commenting on your brilliant titles as well as the story itself. ;)

Treading Water is of course perfect for a story which starts out with two men who have been just surviving for the past year (or perhaps longer in the case of Jared?). Treading water but not getting anywhere, just trying to keep from going under. Apparently, Jared kept Craig from succumbing to depression, so it's natural Craig want to help him in return. But from that kiss we all know what Jared needs, and the question they and we ask ourselves is; Is Craig ready for that?

Oh and the chapter title Murky Depths is perfect too. Carly's soul is full of it, drowning her sense and heart and proper behavior - although from their mother's reaction that bitter woman has never had either. OK, of course it's difficult to realize your husband is in love with your brother, particularly when you have always felt you stood in his shadow and everyone likes him better. But perhaps she should ask herself whether she is the cause of people not liking her - even her own mother doesn't seem particularly fond of her right now. :pinch:

But I guess Murky Depths also describes what Craig is feeling. The threat of depression, the loss of Harlan, the secret Jared has been hiding, the unexpected hatred of his sister rising up and him being unable to see the reasons why. Let's hope the next chapters will bring some clarity and understanding. :yes:

Another fabulous start gripping us by the balls or whatever and squeezing, hard. :lol:

Fantastic review, Tim! I'm glad you like the name choice, and the chapter choice as well. You're right on the money as usual, and I wish I could say more, but I can't. I will just add that Jared can't quite see through the murky depths as yet... and leave it at that. That kiss was the last thing he expected, but why did he go with it... that remains to be learned. Sorry about gripping your whatevers... I'll try to be gentle next time... or not. Again, superb review and I thank you for it and your awesome support... cheers, buddy... Gary...

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