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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.

Treading Water - 10. Chapter 10 Floating Toward Shore

Calmer waters.

Treading Water

 

 

Chapter 10

 

 

Their kiss had been fairly chaste at Craig’s laughing insistence. No tongues until he brushed his teeth. So Jared had licked his face instead, getting a snorting, squealing response. Jared, behind the wheel now, maneuvered the truck off the shoulder and onto the roadway, accelerating towards the little community where their prospective first job as a team awaited.

They weren’t early, but they weren’t late either. It was a pretty street they drove down, and Craig took note of the varied styles of houses dotting the neighborhood. Jared pulled into the deserted driveway at the address given, and parked in front of a sprawling but tacky, vinyl-sided bungalow. Right away, Craig began cataloguing the features of the abused structure. There had been no TLC given to this place, yet it didn’t look all that old. The landscaping looked more or less like it had been designed by nature’s hand, but it had an appeal. A little trimming and mowing would go a long way.

Jared got out of his side and walked around to Craig’s. “What do you think?”

Craig hopped out. “There is potential here. The lot is awesome with all these trees, and it’s nicely set back.” They both turned at the sound of a vehicle arriving. Of course it would be a Mercedes SUV, Craig couldn’t help thinking as he watched a burly man in an expensive-looking suit exit it.

“Hey, Jared. It’s been a while. How are you doing?”

“I’m doing well, Mr. Sheppard,” he said to the man who now held his hand out. Jared shook it before turning to the blond man at his side. “This is my partner, Craig Fletcher.”

His handshake was firm, but not the contest of strength Craig detested. “Nice to meet you, sir.”

“Just call me Alan. You too, Jared. We’re old friends now,” he said with a warm smile. “So, when did you take on a partner? I’m only paying for one of you, right?” he joked.

“Yes, Alan. You get two for the price of one,” Jared joked back. “Craig is my business partner… he takes care of the design aspects, but he’s also my life partner.”

Alan was quiet as he surveyed them both, and Craig thought oh, oh. “You know, I always like getting a bargain.” And that was his only noticeable reaction. “So, what do you think of the place?” He was looking at them both.

“What are your plans, Alan? Is this a flip, or are you going to live here?”

“To tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure. I sold my business, which means I have a lot of free time. There’s some trouble with the wife, so we’re going to travel abroad for a while to see if we can get back to where we used to be. There could be a chance I’ll be living here when we return, but I’m hoping not.”

Craig was surprised at the openness of the answer, and felt sympathy for the man who looked to be in his late fifties. He could see in his short disclosure this was hard for him. “So, maybe we should make it family friendly, but lean towards a more masculine feel.”

“Exactly, Craig. I like you already!” His demeanor was back to the business at hand. “So I was thinking we brick the front of this, and make it look a little classier, and of course replace all the windows. It needs a new roof as well. I was thinking maybe a shingle to match the brick?”

“Yeah, we can do all that, no problem. Do you have a brick picked out?” Jared asked.

“No, I don’t but I was thinking some kind of dark brown. What does the design division think?” Alan focused on Craig, as did Jared.

“I think a brown would be okay,” he said uncertainly.

Jared raised his eyebrows. “What are you thinking, Craig?”

“Yes, I want your honest opinion. I’m good at reading people, and it looks like you don’t like the idea of brown brick,” Alan said with a curious expression.

Craig cleared his throat. “Honestly, I don’t like the idea of brick, period.” He took a deep breath, and looked at the expectant faces. “All the houses on this street are unique. They all stand out in some way, and this is a pretty standard bungalow. It’s big and it’s on a beautiful lot, but if you do brick it, I think you would need to do the sides too. Bricking just the front will make it look like a subdivision house. Cookie-cutter, you know?”

He forged ahead, mainly because he didn’t want to let Jared down. “Anyway, just as you turn onto this street, there is a blue-gray board-and-batten two-story, that looks amazing, but it sits kind of starkly. This house, in a sage-green color, with the same siding as that bluish house, would fit so much better amongst all these trees. It would look more like it belonged here… and it would stand out by not standing out, if that makes any sense.” He stopped, and looked questioningly at Jared, who did the same to Alan.

“I have to say I can totally envision what you’re saying, Craig, and I like it. It would set it apart from all the neighbors, and I know the house you mean. I do like the board-and-batten.”

“And, it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than bricking the whole thing. I agree bricking only the front would be a mistake,” Jared added, backing up his partner.

“Okay, so what else would you do to the outside?”

“I would replace that huge bow window with three separate ones. It’s ugly in my opinion. And I would make what are probably three bedroom windows on the left, a fair bit larger, and longer. They are too small, and it makes the house appear out of balance. Plus, they should be centered over the three basement windows so your eye travels straight downward. They’re only off a little, but it matters, and if you change them anyway, it should be easy to do, unless it won’t work from the inside.” The words were coming out in an enthusiastic rush, and Jared gave him an approving look.

“Okay, I’m still picturing it. What else would you do?”

Jared nodded for him to continue, and he had a little smile on his face.

“The front door is too small. I would put in double doors, or a three foot one with two sidelights… something with leaded glass tops… and no brass anywhere.” He grimaced at the existing door, and Jared and Allan both chuckled.

“Tells us what you really think,” Alan joked. “Are you an architect, Craig?”

“Oh, god no. I just love houses… and I think I got the full-on designer part of the gay gene.” He grinned at Jared while Alan let loose with booming laughter.

“That’s good enough for me. I agree about the entry. Is there anything else you would do?” Alan was still amused.

“That’s the thing. There is no real entry, so I think you should make one. First of all, I would do the roof in a dark gray steel, definitely not brown, and I would bring another pitched roof out from the peak of this one, that extends maybe six or eight feet past the front of the house, and maybe eight or ten feet wide depending on the room available. So, in essence you would have a porch or portico that gives the house some architectural interest, and adds oomph to the front of the house. I think it would improve it dramatically. Would it be expensive to do, Jared?” he asked his partner.

“Not at all, considering the bang you would get for your buck,” he answered as he turned to Alan. “I picture two big square pillars as supports for the roof coming out, and board and batten under the front eaves to blend with the house, with a tongue and grove cathedral ceiling and a lantern type fixture hanging in the center. There would be lots of height, and it would be both stately and welcoming. We could do a raised base and a curved walkway, all covered in a rich-looking slate. What color trim, Craig?”

“White. Wide white trim around the door and all the windows, and of course the soffit and fascia should be white as well.”

Alan stared at the house, and Craig could see the wheels turning. “This would be so much better than what I was thinking. Wow, I’m impressed, guys. I’m sold on the whole vision. I’m normally not a fan of green, but I can see it working here with all these pine trees. You two make a hell of a team. Let’s go inside so you can show me what other magic you can come up with.”

Jared gripped Craig’s shoulder and squeezed as they followed Alan through the door. They stepped straight into a huge living room, and a much smaller dining area could be seen in the far corner, to the right. Across and over from them, a standard-sized doorway led into the kitchen. To the left was a central hallway leading to the bedrooms, and to their immediate right was a large red brick fireplace resembling an ugly box. The color of it dominated the room. “That has to go… I hate that thing,” Alan said, pointing at it. They followed him through to the somewhat narrow, galley-style kitchen, which had a second opening that led into the dining room. “This whole kitchen needs to go too. Maybe some nice ceramic tile floors, and high-end oak cabinets, and I think we should get rid of the fourth bedroom that’s behind that end wall, and make the kitchen larger. The house doesn’t need four, and everyone wants a huge kitchen, right?” Craig nodded thoughtfully as they followed the new owner through the rest of the house and its dreary décor.

The master bedroom was large, but the attached bathroom was small by comparison. Alan expressed a desire to take space from the adjacent walk-in closet to make room for a large two-person shower. The other three bedrooms were standard sized, and really only needed new carpet, paint, and trim. The main bath was a gut job, but it was plenty big enough. The basement was a clean slate with lots of space for a workout, and game room. It already housed the laundry area. When they returned to the main floor, Alan looked expectantly at the pair, but his main focus was on Craig.

“Okay, let’s hear it. I know you have an opinion,” Alan said seriously.

“Are you sure you want to hear it, Alan, because it’s way different from yours.”

“Fire away. I don’t have that gay designer gene you have,” he said with a pleasant smirk.

“Yeah, I kind of missed that one too,” Jared admitted.

“So, it all falls on me then. Okay, for starters, I don’t like stepping right into the living room.” He walked over to the entry area and the other men followed. The house needs a foyer so I would put a wall up to create one, and have it end even with the hallway. That would make furniture placement easier for the living room too, because you would gain a couch wall.” Alan and Jared nodded. “And there’s no place to hang guest’s coats.” He touched the wall behind him. “On the other side is the master closet. I would take three feet off it, and put a doorway here. There is about five feet of wasted space behind the door in that bedroom which wouldn’t be missed, so I would use that to replace the space we’d take away with this, and to make the bathroom bigger. Are you guys following me?” Both men nodded again.

“Out here, I’d keep the fireplace, but I’d paint it, probably white, and put a big blocky mantel on it. I think it would look great then. I think you’re wrong about the fourth bedroom, Alan. Everyone wants a separate office and that would make a perfect one. Besides, if you added it to the kitchen, it would still look narrow, and closed off. Probably even more so. The living room is almost too big, even if you take away some for the foyer, so I would take out that wall dividing it from the kitchen and put in a huge island about where the wall is now. Is that doable, taking out the whole wall, Jared?”

“For sure,” he replied eagerly. “There’s no doubt it’s load-bearing, but we could put a beam in, either exposed below, or hidden, up in the attic. This house must have been custom built because the ceilings are a good nine-and-a-half feet.”

“Could the fireplace mantle be the same size and material as the beam?”

“Not a problem at all. We can make them match, and I think that would be a nice touch.”

“Then I would suggest exposed, Alan. It would give the space some extra character, and you might as well draw some attention to the extra ceiling height.” When he looked at the man, he was appearing very pleased. “I know you want a ceramic tile floor in the kitchen, but I think hardwood throughout, a chestnut brown color, would be the better way to go, and honestly, I wouldn’t go with oak cupboards. The floors and the beam would be enough wood. I’d consider going with a painted cabinet, light or medium gray… maybe a combination of both, the darker gray on the lowers, in a simple shaker-style. I believe those would be a lot more interesting, and would suit the house better. I would take the dining room wall out too, if it was me, so it was all open concept. That one isn’t load-bearing, is it?”

“No, it isn’t, and paint grade cabinets would be quite a bit cheaper than oak,” Jared added.

“You’re hired.”

“What?” Craig looked at Jared.

“I said, you’re hired… the pair of you. I already know what you can do, Jared, and this guy of yours is worth his weight in gold. I like every one of the ideas, from outside to inside, so price it out and work it all up… give me a general quote. I trust you to do great work. The timeline can begin whenever it’s good for you, but the sooner the better. I’ll be out of the country for at least ten weeks, starting in just under a month, so contact through email might be sporadic; and Craig, I want your concepts put into place here, and anything else you can think of. You have free rein; I feel good about leaving this in your hands, guys.”

Craig waited in the truck while Jared talked financial arrangements with their new client. It wasn’t long before he was striding towards the vehicle, and Craig. There was a look of immense satisfaction about the man, and Craig’s pride grew with each step Jared drew nearer. He had helped give him that confident bearing. When Jared leapt inside, he insisted gently this time there would be tongue, and his wish was granted.

“Alan was right. You are worth your weight in gold. You were brilliant. He just told me he’s thinking of doing this on a regular basis to keep himself busy, and make a little money. He said we can do great things. Can you believe it?”

“Yes, because he already knows what you’re capable of.”

“What we’re capable of.” He kissed Craig again, simmering hunger evident, and Craig’s dick began to respond.

“Hmm mmm. What we’re capable of. Now let’s get you back to work before we steam up the windows. Turn up the air conditioning… it’s getting hot in here,” he teased.

“I love you, Craig.”

“Yeah, I figured that out.” He chuckled in delight as Jared licked his face. “I love you too, but you have to stop acting like an overgrown puppy.”

Jared’s response was to lick the laughing man again.

 

Craig had been busy. After picking up his Jeep and returning home, feeling energized from what had turned out to being an amazing day, he hadn’t stopped. He’d felt a little ashamed of how his fears for Jared had gotten the better of him, temporarily, but that shame hadn’t lasted. Jared hadn’t let it.

First, he dusted, swept, and mopped the corner bedroom on the main floor. Next, he moved a table desk from the original living room into the now clean and tidy space. It already had Jared’s somewhat ancient laptop residing there, and Craig smiled when he placed his own beside it. The color of the plaster walls was a soft grey green that Craig found calming. He deemed it perfect for an office, and one of the collection of rugs stored at his mother’s house would complement it perfectly. There were two generous-sized windows in the room, ideal for desks to be placed under, but for now they would have to share the one large one. He also had artwork stored which would need to be brought home. Yeah, home truly was this old house that became more charming and welcoming to Craig with each passing moment.

There was no password protection on the Wi Fi for the internet, and that would have to change. It was unlikely a neighbor was close enough to steal their signal, but Craig liked a secure network regardless. For now, though, it was a good thing because he could use the internet without calling the man. It had come in handy that morning when he’d fired off some emails. He had a ton of things he was itching to order, as he surfed different sites, but he needed to talk with his guy first. Something had occurred to him when they were going over their client’s house earlier. Quickly responding to a couple of emails, and doing a little reference checking, he determined it was time to get back to the tasks at hand.

He had gone on to do the kitchen and family room floors as well, pleased with the results when he was done. He hurried to shower and change before Jared arrived home. His timing ended up being perfect. Entering the kitchen, he saw Jared’s truck go by the window, and resisted the urge to go meet him. Craig watched the handsome man walking eagerly toward the house before stopping abruptly when he spied the rolls of flooring in the gulley beside the driveway. He continued on with a backward glance, and was soon standing just inside the kitchen.

“Wow. Can I walk on it?” His eyes swept across the pines floors, obviously enthralled with the difference.

“There’s a boot mat behind the door, if you wouldn’t mind,” Craig suggested with a tentative smile. He hoped he hadn’t gone too far with the ripping up of the linoleum.

“What a difference, man. This looks fantastic, and the fridge is out of that corner… so much better.”

“That’s what I thought too.” He watched Jared take off his steel-toed boots and set them on the mat.

“God, what smells so good?”

“Pot roast.”

“Is it ready?”

The hopeful look on Jared’s face made Craig laugh. “Just about. Sit down and I‘ll start you off with something I baked.”

“Okay, sounds good. How did you do all this today? Taking up that old floor couldn’t have been easy for one person.”

“It wasn’t hard at all once I figured out I should slice it downs the seams of the pine boards I could make out. I didn’t pry the edging up. I just carefully cut along it. Was that okay to do?”

“Of course. It gives a nice clean line to the bottom of the baseboards. You amaze me,” he said as he stood in front of Craig. “Can I have a kiss?”

Craig’s answer was to pull Jared close. When they finally came up for air, both men had diverted blood flow. At the same time he ghosted his fingers over the enticing bulge in Jared’s pants, he ordered him to sit again, and he did this time, with a groan.

“We could eat later,” Jared suggested with a flushed but serious face.

“”Yeah, we could but we’re not. We need to eat first, and then pick up more stuff from Mom’s.” Craig went over to the stovetop, removing foil from the top of a baking pan.

“What do you want to pick up?”

“Rugs, artwork, some curtains and linens I have stored, my oak table desk and office chair. I think my end tables too. Is it okay if we take care of that after supper?”

“Sure. I might get to see Bailey if she’s still awake when we get there.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” Craig said as he placed a warm buttered tea biscuit in front of Jared.

Jared made short work of it, and was looking for more. The beef, roast potatoes, and carrots followed within minutes. Three more biscuits were used to sop up the gravy, and Craig had a hard time keeping up with him. He laughed when Jared leaned back with a groan and patted his stomach.

“I see you’re getting your appetite back.”

“Am I ever. All of it was delicious, baby. Thank you so much.”

Craig felt warmth at Jared calling him ‘baby.’ He pushed his own near-empty plate away. “You’re welcome, stud. You can earn it later.” That got him a monumental grin. “Now, come on… I want to show you our new office, and then we can clean up in here.”

 

Jared pulled his truck in beside a strange car parked in the driveway. Craig looked it over when they got out, but didn’t recognize the black Subaru. They had almost reached the front step when the door opened, and Carly came out with a strange man following close behind her. His sister was momentarily startled, but then her face smoothed into a smile.

“Timothy, this is my brother, Craig, and Bailey’s father, Jared.”

“Hi, guys. Nice to meet you.” He shook hands with them both, and Craig got a good vibe from the nice-looking blond guy. His eyes briefly met his sister’s but he couldn’t read anything behind a smile that stood a good chance of being fake. “I work with Carly, and I’m just going to take her out to dinner, if that’s okay with you,” he said in a joking manner.

“By all means, take her away,” Craig joked back, noticing the smile leave Carly’s perfectly made-up face for a second. Jared said nothing, but Craig saw poorly concealed humor in his expression.

“See you gentlemen another time,” he said as he took Carly’s arm and walked her around to the passenger’s side.

“Oh, Jared, tell Mom it’s fine to let Bailey stay up another half hour if you want to spend some time with her.”

Jared’s jaw dropped as Carly got in the car. “Okay, thanks,” he called out just before the door was shut. As her date backed out and drove off, he looked at a laughing Craig.

“You should see your face.”

“Was that the same Carly? I swear that’s the first time I’ve seen her smile in over a year.”

“Unbelievable, but yeah. That was my twin on her best behavior. Maybe there’s hope for the bitch yet, although I’m not holding my breath.”

“Me, neither. Holy shit. I hope that poor bastard has steel balls.”

 

Craig and his mom got most of the stuff packed up and loaded while Jared played horses, tigers, and bears with his daughter. Craig smiled every time he heard them laughing.

“You look happy.”

“I am, Mom. Everything about this feels right. What Harlan and I had was wonderful, but he’s gone. Jared is my second chance, but he’s not second choice. Do you understand what I mean?”

“I do,” his mother said softly. “You hold a piece of Harlan in your heart, but you’ve let him go. Jared has your love now.”

“Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it. I couldn’t love Jared any more than I do right now. I don’t know if it’s because he was my first love… all I know is that it’s the truth. Mom, why didn’t you find someone after Dad died?”

“Who says I haven’t?”

“What? You have?”

“Kind of.” She giggled as Craig stared open-mouthed. “It just so happens, I been to the movies three times now, with a lovely man.”

“No way!”

“Yes, dear. He’s the manager at the hardware store, and he’s a widower like me.”

“Wow. Does Carly know?”

“No, and don’t you say anything. Let her get laid first, and then I’ll tell her.” She giggled again. “You know, we’ve done a lot of talking since Saturday, and I think I’ve gotten through to her. She was the one who called Timothy and said she’d go out with him. They went for coffee yesterday, and Carly was so different when she got back home. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

“She’s not a good person, Mom.”

“No, she’s not. But that doesn’t mean she can’t be. I’m not giving up on her, and I hope you don’t either. Someday, maybe you’ll be able to forgive her?”

“We’ll see. It won’t happen if she ever tries to hurt Jared again.”

“I think she knows that.”

Craig let his mother see his scepticism.

“No, really. She saw you in a new light on Saturday. You were like a mother tiger… I could see the rage, and so could she. It shook her up, Craig.”

“Well, like I said, we’ll see.”

“She called her lawyer this morning about the new custody agreement she wants to have drawn up. I heard her. She put everything in there she was supposed to… even that Jared has the right to take Bailey out on excursions during the week.” She looked questioningly at Craig, and Craig wanted nothing more than to reassure her.

“Well, that was the agreement. It’s only a first step, Mom. But, she was nice to Jared when we arrived. I’ll keep an open mind, okay?”

“That’s all I ask.”

Thank you to my editor, Tim, and to all those who have embraced this story. It means so much to me. Any discussion can take place in the COTT thread of the promising author forum:

www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/39932-cards-on-the-table-by-headstall/

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.

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this was a nice chapter Gary :) I missed to review the last few chapters as I read them on a cousin's tab. I'll review them when I'll read them again :) I sometimes wonder how much of an active imagination you have to write such descriptions of houses :unsure: I liked the designer Craig :yes: I'm waiting to see how Carly and Timothy are going to go :unsure2: there's still hope for her. and I'm really happy about Craig's mom :D she deserved it 100%. I wish I could write more but I don't have an imagination as active as yours :( but you painted a good picture in my mind :yes: thank you for the nice chapter Gary :hug:

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I liked that Carly is giving herself some opportunities to change and be happy. That's a good thing for everyone. Her previous unhappiness dragged everyone down with her. I'm glad that the boy's partnership is going well. There was a little too much house description for me, that stuff doesnt interest me really and I glaze over, but I'm sure there are just as many who will dig it!! It's great that it worked for the client though.
nice chapter
tim

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Lovely chapter Gary.. It's great to see the guys balance their business partnership with their personal lives.. That doesn't always work, but they have set roles and it's not all the time, so it's a good thing.. Might want to commission Craig..

 

I really hope that this is really the beginning of a good thing for Carly.. I would like to believe that she can be better than she has been. She sure threw the guys for a loop.. Also, I would hate for her to have yet something else to be pissed about, seeing as how their mom has someone too.

 

Well done Gary!

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I think their lives are coming together nicely. I love how Craig referred to the house as his home several times in this chapter. It wasn't just lip service (since he wasn't actually talking to anyone else) but his honest feeling about the place. Craig's design sense is amazing. I could imagine the renovations he was describing. I can see someday soon him joining Jared full time in his business... especially when word gets around how good they are as a team.
Even Carly was behaving and acting like a human being. She has a lot to make up for, but she's taking some good baby steps in the right direction. I hope she keeps on that path
This was a wonderful feel good chapter and put a smile on my face. Thank you. :hug:

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I usually don't read the the other reviews before, I write mine, but I did happen to catch a little of tim's and it made me laugh.
tim may not be up to hearing about house renos, but I loved it all. In fact, I want that house! You had me at the sage green batten and board (I even googled that term to get a clear picture of it in my head :thumbup: ) I loved all the explanations Craig put forth; liking that Jared and Alan just let him run with it.
As for Carly, things do see to be improving don't they? However, I totally understand Craig's being leery of Carly's changed behaviour. She has a lot to make up for, so there needs to be quite a few "changes" on her part before her new attitude is to be believed.
As for the changes to Jared and Craig's home Craig's quite the Domestic Goddess isn't he? :gikkle: Course, he did admit to having the gay designer gene, didn't he. :)
As always, nicely done Gary

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This was such an awesome day for them! :D I know Craig said he wasn't an architect, but he definitely has the knack for it! :yes: And I really loved how encouraging Jared was with Craig when he didn't know how to proceed. I can understand Craig's uncertainties in giving a differing opinion to Alan, because Alan could've been one of those "it's my way, or the highway" types. But he wasn't, Alan is very open-minded and capable of listening to suggestions/views by others. That is an important quality that anyone should strive for.

 

As for Carly, Yay!!! :D Timothy looks like a great guy and he may prove to be Carly's soulmate, I hope that's the case :)

 

Thank you for another great chapter Gary! :hug:

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I liked that Jared got to see Craig in his designer mode. Damn I love them together. Another wonderful chapter. Can't wait to read more. :read::*)

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On 03/29/2016 06:12 AM, Victor Gutte said:

this was a nice chapter Gary :) I missed to review the last few chapters as I read them on a cousin's tab. I'll review them when I'll read them again :) I sometimes wonder how much of an active imagination you have to write such descriptions of houses :unsure: I liked the designer Craig :yes: I'm waiting to see how Carly and Timothy are going to go :unsure2: there's still hope for her. and I'm really happy about Craig's mom :D she deserved it 100%. I wish I could write more but I don't have an imagination as active as yours :( but you painted a good picture in my mind :yes: thank you for the nice chapter Gary :hug:

Hey, Victor... thanks for the review! I'm pleased you like designer Craig :) . The house, and Craig's input, was important to Jared. I think it was to both of them, particularly after what happened earlier with 'Tarzan'... Thanks for saying I could paint you a picture... Ordinarily, I try not to overdo detail, but as I've said before, in this story the houses serve as metaphors for what these guys continue to build. Great review, buddy... cheers... Gary...

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On 03/29/2016 06:17 AM, Mikiesboy said:

I liked that Carly is giving herself some opportunities to change and be happy. That's a good thing for everyone. Her previous unhappiness dragged everyone down with her. I'm glad that the boy's partnership is going well. There was a little too much house description for me, that stuff doesnt interest me really and I glaze over, but I'm sure there are just as many who will dig it!! It's great that it worked for the client though.

nice chapter

tim

Maybe Carly has evolved, and maybe she hasn't. At least, as you say, she's giving herself a chance. Meanwhile, the guys are trying to build something special, and I think it's working. Thanks for the review, tim... cheers... Gary...

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On 03/29/2016 07:33 AM, Defiance19 said:

Lovely chapter Gary.. It's great to see the guys balance their business partnership with their personal lives.. That doesn't always work, but they have set roles and it's not all the time, so it's a good thing.. Might want to commission Craig..

 

I really hope that this is really the beginning of a good thing for Carly.. I would like to believe that she can be better than she has been. She sure threw the guys for a loop.. Also, I would hate for her to have yet something else to be pissed about, seeing as how their mom has someone too.

 

Well done Gary!

I don't want to paint Jared as weak, because he's not... but what transpired at their business meeting meant a lot to Jared. I wouldn't say he is needy, but he's suffered some damage to his confidence and his self-esteem, and Craig, as a partner in business, gave him some of that back. I think Jared was quite insecure about whether he'd be successful repairing his reputation as a contractor... he is very hard on himself, and in that respect, for the time being he is just a little bit needy. I think Craig gets that after their earlier breakfast conversation. Whether Carly ends up happy is up to her. She's lucky she gets any family support at all. As always, a wonderful review, Def... sorry for going on and on... thanks and cheers... Gary...

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On 03/29/2016 10:12 AM, LitLover said:

I think their lives are coming together nicely. I love how Craig referred to the house as his home several times in this chapter. It wasn't just lip service (since he wasn't actually talking to anyone else) but his honest feeling about the place. Craig's design sense is amazing. I could imagine the renovations he was describing. I can see someday soon him joining Jared full time in his business... especially when word gets around how good they are as a team.

Even Carly was behaving and acting like a human being. She has a lot to make up for, but she's taking some good baby steps in the right direction. I hope she keeps on that path

This was a wonderful feel good chapter and put a smile on my face. Thank you. :hug:

I really did want this to be a feel good chapter, after their ups and downs earlier in the day. I also wanted to show, even though they are quite different, they actually complement each other on the business side, and could be very successful as a team. Jared hung on every word Craig uttered during the reno tour, and it gave them both something important... thanks for seeing that. With Carly... who knows... maybe Timothy does have balls of steel, and will be able to turn her around. For Bailey's sake especially, it would be a great thing. Thanks for the review, Lit... cheers... Gary...

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On 03/29/2016 11:30 AM, Reader1810 said:

I usually don't read the the other reviews before, I write mine, but I did happen to catch a little of tim's and it made me laugh.

tim may not be up to hearing about house renos, but I loved it all. In fact, I want that house! You had me at the sage green batten and board (I even googled that term to get a clear picture of it in my head :thumbup: ) I loved all the explanations Craig put forth; liking that Jared and Alan just let him run with it.

As for Carly, things do see to be improving don't they? However, I totally understand Craig's being leery of Carly's changed behaviour. She has a lot to make up for, so there needs to be quite a few "changes" on her part before her new attitude is to be believed.

As for the changes to Jared and Craig's home Craig's quite the Domestic Goddess isn't he? :gikkle: Course, he did admit to having the gay designer gene, didn't he. :)

As always, nicely done Gary

Hey, Reader! Glad you liked you liked hearing about the house. Guess whose house is sage green board and batten :) . The end result was a Jared who has his confidence back... at this point, he needed to feel he wasn't alone in getting a ruined business back on track. I think he has a real fear of failure... he sees his life as a succession of them, and he's way too hard on himself. Craig does not trust Carly in the least, and like you, I can't blame him. He should be leery... but there are little signs that Carly could change... I would wish it for Marian and Bailey. 'Domestic Goddess'... love it! I have that same gene, which surprises the hell out of people..hehe... thanks for the great review, my friend... cheers... Gary...

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On 03/29/2016 02:30 PM, Drew Espinosa said:

This was such an awesome day for them! :D I know Craig said he wasn't an architect, but he definitely has the knack for it! :yes: And I really loved how encouraging Jared was with Craig when he didn't know how to proceed. I can understand Craig's uncertainties in giving a differing opinion to Alan, because Alan could've been one of those "it's my way, or the highway" types. But he wasn't, Alan is very open-minded and capable of listening to suggestions/views by others. That is an important quality that anyone should strive for.

 

As for Carly, Yay!!! :D Timothy looks like a great guy and he may prove to be Carly's soulmate, I hope that's the case :)

 

Thank you for another great chapter Gary! :hug:

Craig underestimates himself. Jared has complete faith in him. Together, they have what it takes to make this business something special. I think Craig did a good job from the get go, painting pictures for Alan, and for Jared... and as much as he helped Jared, the favor was returned. I'm a little ambivalent about Carly... but she has a chance at redemption, and moving on with her life. She's wasted enough of everyone's time. Thanks for the review, Drew... cheers... Gary...

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On 03/29/2016 02:59 PM, Jade1988 said:

I liked that Jared got to see Craig in his designer mode. Damn I love them together. Another wonderful chapter. Can't wait to read more. :read::*)

Craig really came through, Didn't he? Jared was impressed, but not surprised. I'm so glad you liked that part! I love these guys too, and I love watching them sort through all the baggage and build a life together. I really appreciate your reviews, Jade... thanks and cheers... Gary....

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Your readers have come to have expectations of you ... and you continuously deliver. Whether incredible love scenes or things more mundane like home renovation. Some of us blush and skip ahead, others glaze over at choosing paint colors but it's the result of excellent writing.
I think Craig was still in the doldrums from losing Harley. Now he has a reason to resume truly living and he's throwing himself in to it whole heartedly. He and Jared are a good working partnership ... vison and execution. Their future is bright.
I'm glad Carly has decided to try something different for too long she was too busy being bitter to actually live her life.
It seems this story is about living again for each of the twins.
I think by now you know this but I'll say it anyway because it's nice to hear ... well done!

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On 03/30/2016 06:47 AM, dughlas said:

Your readers have come to have expectations of you ... and you continuously deliver. Whether incredible love scenes or things more mundane like home renovation. Some of us blush and skip ahead, others glaze over at choosing paint colors but it's the result of excellent writing.

I think Craig was still in the doldrums from losing Harley. Now he has a reason to resume truly living and he's throwing himself in to it whole heartedly. He and Jared are a good working partnership ... vison and execution. Their future is bright.

I'm glad Carly has decided to try something different for too long she was too busy being bitter to actually live her life.

It seems this story is about living again for each of the twins.

I think by now you know this but I'll say it anyway because it's nice to hear ... well done!

I like what you say about this story being about living again for each of the twins. That is very true, now that I think about it. It's also about living again for Jared, and for Marian too. "Vision and execution"... that describes exactly their business partnership... and I think that partnership is an important element for these two men who have felt alone for quite a while. And yeah, I can never hear 'well done' enough :) . I wish Carly well, but turning her life around is entirely up to her. Maybe Timothy will be her shining knight. I just hope she has fully learned a lesson about honesty. Thanks, buddy for the awesome review... it means much... especially today... cheers... Gary...

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Damn, our little Craig is a spitfire, right! He said last chapter when Jared asked if he was always so demanding that he had no idea but he was going to learn (I loved that line by the way)and Jared indicated that was just fine by him. I guess Craig wasn't kidding. Take your shoes off and put them on that mat. We could eat later but we are not because you are going to eat and then take me to mom's. Go Craig go. Of course he was polite afterwards with an if that is okay, but what really gets me is that Jared wouldn't care if he was polite or not really. Well maybe he cares, but I think he knew what he was getting into all along. You don't love someone that long, even from afar and not notice their personality. I think that Jared actually likes that character trait in Craig - goes hand in hand with why he was frustrated he had to spell out to Craig that he really wanted his honest input on the reno job upfront and with the customer there, because the Craig that Jared loves isn't afraid to take charge or speak his mind. I know that Jared is gaining back his professional confidence but he is also pushing Craig to open up to his old self as well. Grief can do a number on us but then so can love, which is what I am seeing with this chapter.
As for Carly, well I vote she still gets a visit from Santa but that's just me. Your other readers seem to be happy for her to move on and prove herself. I don't think selfish people can change but so much, but I am happy that she is making an effort to move on even if I am selfish in that I am happy about it for Jared's sake. I'm solidly in the "hope she changes but never really trust her again camp." I also laughed out loud at the review that said that Tim might just be her soulmate...I mean I know they meant it nicely but you have to have a soul to have a mate.

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Wow, Craig seems to know his stuff, I found that a bit overwhelming and I couldn't keep up with all the changes. I guess that's why the client said go for it :)
Yay for Mum having a special friend

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Craig seems to be coming into his own with the design side of things.

 

As for Carly's new guy? Well, is he just for show, or will he become a permanent fixture? I'll withhold judgement on her apparent about face a while longer I think.

 

Great chapter and looking forward to what you come up with for the boys next.

 

:hug:

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So the question I have is, does Craig spend a lot of time watching home improvement shows? Or perhaps reading design magazines? Cause he really knows his stuff, and he has great instincts to use what's already in a house to his advantage to make it better. I like this side of Craig, I knew he'd be a great asset to Jared's business.

 

Good to see Carly focusing her attentions on something else for the moment. I can't imagine what it would be like to have no real healthy relationships. Plus being an angry bitch 24/7 seems exhausting. Hopefully she doesn't try to screw this new guy over too.

 

Great chapter Gary, loved it.

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On 03/30/2016 09:00 AM, pzetts3 said:

Damn, our little Craig is a spitfire, right! He said last chapter when Jared asked if he was always so demanding that he had no idea but he was going to learn (I loved that line by the way)and Jared indicated that was just fine by him. I guess Craig wasn't kidding. Take your shoes off and put them on that mat. We could eat later but we are not because you are going to eat and then take me to mom's. Go Craig go. Of course he was polite afterwards with an if that is okay, but what really gets me is that Jared wouldn't care if he was polite or not really. Well maybe he cares, but I think he knew what he was getting into all along. You don't love someone that long, even from afar and not notice their personality. I think that Jared actually likes that character trait in Craig - goes hand in hand with why he was frustrated he had to spell out to Craig that he really wanted his honest input on the reno job upfront and with the customer there, because the Craig that Jared loves isn't afraid to take charge or speak his mind. I know that Jared is gaining back his professional confidence but he is also pushing Craig to open up to his old self as well. Grief can do a number on us but then so can love, which is what I am seeing with this chapter.

As for Carly, well I vote she still gets a visit from Santa but that's just me. Your other readers seem to be happy for her to move on and prove herself. I don't think selfish people can change but so much, but I am happy that she is making an effort to move on even if I am selfish in that I am happy about it for Jared's sake. I'm solidly in the "hope she changes but never really trust her again camp." I also laughed out loud at the review that said that Tim might just be her soulmate...I mean I know they meant it nicely but you have to have a soul to have a mate.

I love this! I think what we are seeing is Craig getting back to being who he is, and seeing that helps Jared do the same. Craig is not one to spin his wheels, and that is what he's been doing for the last year. Jared's progression as the person he was meant to be was halted years ago, and he adapted for everyone's sake but his own. As I said earlier, he is not a needy person, but he is acting just a little bit so because what is happening is almost too good to be true. That person Carly is based on did change, but it took a long time, and she only changed a little. She is one character in my stories I care little about. For others sake I hope she gets there... she needs someone strong, and Timothy might be that person. He works with her so he may nave seen glimpses of the real Carly, and if that didn't scare him away...anyway, I wouldn't trust her either, but maybe Craig eventually can... thanks for another superb review, my friend... Cheers... Gary...

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On 03/30/2016 04:00 PM, Bucket1 said:

Wow, Craig seems to know his stuff, I found that a bit overwhelming and I couldn't keep up with all the changes. I guess that's why the client said go for it :)

Yay for Mum having a special friend

Sometimes it's tough to know where to go with a story. I wanted to show how seriously Craig took being a help to Jared's business... to show he understood how important it was to Jared. He completely lost himself in it for his partner's sake. I'm sorry you found it overwhelming. I guess I could have done it another way, and maybe I should have... it's good food for thought, Bucket... and yeah, yay for Marian... thank you for the review, buddy... cheers... Gary...

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On 03/30/2016 11:43 PM, Caz Pedroso said:

Craig seems to be coming into his own with the design side of things.

 

As for Carly's new guy? Well, is he just for show, or will he become a permanent fixture? I'll withhold judgement on her apparent about face a while longer I think.

 

Great chapter and looking forward to what you come up with for the boys next.

 

:hug:

I think you are wise to hold off on judging Carly, Caz... I don't think she can hurt our boys anymore, but I don't have great faith she will become a new person. And yeah, Craig is in his element when it comes to houses, and Jared knew that... Thanks for the great review, my friend... cheers... Gary...

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On 03/31/2016 12:52 AM, spikey582 said:

So the question I have is, does Craig spend a lot of time watching home improvement shows? Or perhaps reading design magazines? Cause he really knows his stuff, and he has great instincts to use what's already in a house to his advantage to make it better. I like this side of Craig, I knew he'd be a great asset to Jared's business.

 

Good to see Carly focusing her attentions on something else for the moment. I can't imagine what it would be like to have no real healthy relationships. Plus being an angry bitch 24/7 seems exhausting. Hopefully she doesn't try to screw this new guy over too.

 

Great chapter Gary, loved it.

Hey, Spikey... nice to see you back! I think, with Craig, they have a successful company in the making. More importantly, he gives Jared some much needed confidence as the try to build their relationship and their life together.

Whether Carly ends up happy is really up to her. You're right that the last few years of bitchdom must have been exhausting. Thanks for the great review, spikey... cheers... Gary...

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I get the calmer waters part, but I'm not sure I agree with the floating. I think they are in fact swimming deliberately and happily towards their goal of building a life and a home together. The promised land (shore) is in sight and their relationship safe and sound.
Balls of steel :rofl: that's all I'm gonna say about your name game. :rolleyes:
Oh, and this is my review no 2,000 ! :D

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