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    Jdonley75
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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.

The Empty Spaces Between Us - 15. Chapter 15

“Wake up.”

He could hear the voice calling him, but it seemed so far away as he lay in the soft, warmth around him. It didn’t seem urgent enough to respond. He sighed and slipped deeper into the welcoming warm darkness around him.

“Come on. You need to wake up.”

The voice was more insistent now. He could feel a touch. So familiar and so inviting. He struggled to open his eyes, but it seemed like so much effort.

“Seriously. I need to get moving and you need to get the boys ready.”

Boys. Whose boys? His? Theirs? It didn’t feel right. He didn’t feel right. Something was missing. He reached his hand out but felt nothing. Something should be there. Someone should be there. He opened his eyes just a little. Light streamed in, causing him to grunt and groan.

“There’s my sexy man. Come on. Almost there.”

He smiled. The voice was familiar, and he could hear the love in it. He wanted to be there. With that voice. Feel that love again. He forced himself awake, using the call of that voice as a lifeline he can pull himself up with. His eyes opened again, and he blinked to clear them to get accustomed to the light. He stretched his body, reaching his hands out towards the sound of that singular voice that could only be the most important person in the world. “I’m up,” he grunted as his hand found the warmth of another hand. His fingers closed around it and held it.

Brian giggled and leaned in to kiss Andy’s cheek. “Sure you are. You sleep like a little rock, it’s almost impossible to get you up.”

Andy smiled and looked up at him. “Well, you help me sleep through the night.” It was true. For the last two weeks, ever since their talk about some of his problems, Andy hadn’t woken up once. It was invigorating to think how much it helped settle his mind knowing that he would wake up every morning to that face.

“Happy to help out,” Brian said with a smile reserved only for his lover. “But you need to get out of bed and start getting the boys ready for the day. Tanner’s got school and Blake needs to go to Dad’s house.”

Andy sat up and pulled Brian into his arms, burying his face in the crook of Brian’s neck. “I love you,” he said softly. “I love you so much.”

Brian felt that familiar thrill inside him upon hearing that. He knew he’d never get tired of it. “I love you too.” He kissed the side of Andy’s head before extracting himself from his arms. “Now, get up and get dressed. I’ve got to get to school myself.”

Andy groaned as he got up. “How much longer now?”

“Before what?”

“Before you’re not having to drive an hour to work every day?”

Brian watched as Andy’s naked body crossed the room as he reached to put on a fresh pair of boxers. “Three months, eighteen days.”

“An eternity as far as I’m concerned.” He grabbed a pair of loose fitting pants and a tank top. It probably wasn’t going to be too hot outside with it being the middle of September, but the sun would be shining and that would keep him warm enough if he got too cold.

“I’m sure we’ll manage.” Brian checked himself in the mirror to make sure his hair wasn’t mussed up from Andy’s attention. He had to admit he loved waking him up now. “Five minutes until Tanner has to be up and dressed.”

“Tanner!” Andy called out. “Time to get moving.”

He could hear movement in the room next door and smirked to himself. It was all real. The children, the life, Brian. He’d never felt this happy before. Even before, when they were just in high school being halfway flirting and touching. The first time they had sex and spent all that time together before he went away. None of that compared to this one moment when he finally felt he had the family he didn’t even know he wanted. There were only a few pieces missing.

“Can I go now,” Brian asked as he came up behind him.

Andy chuckled. “Yeah. You can go. What time should I expect you?”

“About seven,” he said with a shrug. “I have a couple meetings after classes I need to attend.”

It was a disappointment but one he could live with. “Alright. You gonna go say goodbye to the boys before you leave?”

“Yes…” he replied with a jokingly annoyed tone. “If it’ll make you happy.”

Andy rolled his eyes. Brian was still in a mode of pretending he wasn’t in love with Tanner and Blake, but Andy had noticed him looking at them with that same gentle smile he reserved for those who he was close too. “Yes, it would. Now, go give them hugs and kisses and get moving before you’re late.”

Brian giggled and headed to the bedroom door. “Have a good day, sweetheart.”

That left a half-smile on his face as he finished up getting dressed. Not once in seven years of marriage had Stacy ever said things like that to him. And any time she said anything close to it he could always tell she never meant it. By the time he heard the front door close, he was heading to check on the progress of Tanner and Blake. Tanner was pretty well put together, but Blake still couldn’t quite manage to put on a pair of pants on his own. He didn’t mind, though. He knew eventually, they’d be getting themselves awake and dressed and out the door on their own in due time. He can still remember one of the things David had said to him shortly after Tanner’s birth. “One of the worst things about being a parent is slowly watching your child need you a little less over time.” Andy knew he should enjoy these small moments with his son now before they were over forever.

Forty-five minutes later, they were all dressed, fed and heading out the door. He stopped at David’s first to drop off Blake before dropping Tanner off at school. Before he got out, Andy looked back at his son and said, “try to not outsmart the teacher today, okay?” He flashed him a playful grin.

“No promises,” Tanner said back with a grin of his own.

Andy blinked and checked a laugh of surprise. “Where’d you learn to say that?”

Tanner shrugged unapologetically and answered, “Bri.”

Andy knew then that there was no way he wasn’t going to propose to Brian before the year was out. “Okay. Just keep that kind of attitude between us for now.”

“I will,” he replied with a nod.

Andy smirked. That feeling of pride making his chest swell again. “Good boy. Love you. Have a good day.”

“Love you to, Dad.” Tanner got himself out of his car seat and Andy got out and helped him with the door. By how Tanner carried his bookbag and everything else about him, he knew in a few months helping him with the door was going to end. He watched his oldest son go into the school before getting back in the truck and heading to work.

When he got to the office, he did get a moment of tension which could have ended his good day if he hadn’t quickly brushed off. ‘She isn’t here anymore. She can’t hurt you.’ His smile returned to full force as he went through the break room to the hall, heading to Troy’s office.

Andy knocked twice before opening the door and stepping inside. A quick look around told him there was nothing special going on. If there had been, the other site supervisors would be in as well. “Morning, bro.”

Troy looked up from the papers on his desk and smirked. “Hey. Ready for the weekend?”

“Just about,” he replied. Walking around the room, he stopped behind Troy’s desk and admired a picture he had taped to the file cabinet. “Damn. Those are some hot looking boys in this picture.”

Troy turned to stare up at his friend like he was crazy. Then he noticed where Andy’s eyes were trained, and his face relaxed into a warm smile. “Yup. All together again, finally.”

“Yeah.” His smile broadened as he replayed his morning in his mind. “Anything I need to know for the day?”

“Not really,” Troy pulled out a folder and held it up to him. “Standard shit. Go ahead and finish up the job you guys started yesterday. Once you’re done, then head home.”

Andy took the folder and frowned a little. “That’ll make for a short day. Me and the boys’ll probably be done before lunch.”

Troy shrugged. “Don’t have any small stuff and I don’t wanna start anything big until Monday. Manpower is back to normal now and we’re just coasting into winter at this point.”

He nodded and made an indifferent noise. “Oh, by the way,” he turned and went back around Troy’s desk, flopping down into the chair across from him, “what’s up with Jacob lately? I’ve barely seen or heard from him since Labor Day.”

Troy chuckled. “He’s been busy with his own work lately, so he hasn’t been around the house much except at night and from what David has told me, he spends most of that time upstairs in his room talking to Kyle.”

“So, work and phone sex.” He grinned as Troy laughed.

“I’d rather not think about them having phone sex or any other kind of sex, thanks.” Troy leaned back in his seat and looked at him with a pleased smile. “What about you and Brian?”

“Oh, you don’t mind thinking about us having sex?” Andy chuckled softly, then sighed contentedly and leaned back. “It’s great. The boys think he’s awesome. Even started to pick up on his smart-ass comments. That’ll make Tanner a treat in school. I’m gonna need to teach him the art of the filter. If I don’t, he’ll spend most of junior high in detention.”

Troy shrugged. “If the boys are already attached to him, the only thing you need to do now is to marry him and get it done. You got the money to do just about whatever you want. Hell, I’m surprised you still show up to work since Nate gave you that check.”

Andy stared at him for a second. The idea of marrying Brian had been there. Kyle had mentioned it, but only in a joking manner. But Troy sounded more serious. “Well… I really don’t have anything else to do. I don’t want to spend any of that when I can still work.”

“That’s fair.” Troy leaned back in his chair and gave his friend his full attention. “By the way, if you can, talk to Tyler or something. He’s been in a piss poor mood for a while. I don’t know what his problem is, and his mom seems at a loss too.”

Andy nodded. “Yeah. He hasn’t been himself lately. I’ll have him come eat dinner with me and the boys. That might cheer him up.”

“And Brian…” Troy added with a grin. “Might as well out yourself to him. Gotta say, you do know how to keep it close to the vest.”

Andy blushed. He kind of felt back keeping Troy and the others in the dark, but there wasn’t much use in confessing or coming out. “I’m full of surprises. I’ll talk to him today.” Andy headed back out of Troy’s office and headed to the break room, with his team.

As he walked in, he took a look around and smirked. He couldn’t blame Troy for his team, he guessed. He at least still had Tyler, and Sean had proven himself to be a quick learner, though he still looked like a runway model, no matter what he was wearing. With Dex, Neal and Chris, he figured he had enough youthful energy to get this job done well before noon.

“Good news, bad news, boys,” he said to get their attention. “We’re finishing up the Claudin house today and that’s it. So, we should be done here by noon.” All but Tyler seemed relieved by that. “Let’s get our gear and get moving. Tyler, you wanna ride out with me?”

Tyler shrugged and nodded. At the very least, he could save gas for the day. Sean seemed about to say something before he caught himself and headed out to his car.

Andy got a cooler of bottled waters to put in his truck. It wasn’t going to be a hot day, but he wanted to make sure in case the sun got to be too much for any of them. Once he had that done, he climbed in with Tyler who was already in the passenger seat, waiting for him. “How’ve you been lately?”

“Fine,” Tyler answered.

Andy frowned slightly. Not a good sign if he’s giving a one word answer. “Well, that’s good to hear, I guess.” He kept his eyes on the road, making his way to the work site for the day. He let the silence linger before he started again. “Got any plans for the weekend?”

“No.”

Andy rolled his eyes. He wasn’t in the mood for this. “Alright. What’s gotten up your ass lately?”

Tyler looked over at him. “What do you mean?”

“You’ve been moping around for a while now,” he said with a little exasperation. “Me, Troy, your mom… we’ve all noticed it. So, what gives? What’s been going on that’s got you acting like this?”

Tyler was quiet for a minute before he quietly said, “I fell in love with someone and he left me.”

“Oh, Tyler,” Andy said with a sigh. “I’m sorry. Why didn’t you tell anyone?”

Tyler shrugged. “I didn’t think it was important. I mean, it sucked and all, but it’s not like telling someone was going to fix it.”

“’A burden shared is a burdened is a burden halved.’ It might not be solvable but talking about it with someone can at least let you get it off your chest.” Andy shook his head slightly, hearing the words in his head he just said repeated back to him in David’s voice. “So, that’s all you’ve been doing the past few weeks? Working and sitting at home?”

“Yeah,” he muttered. “Haven’t felt like doing much else. Drake asked me out a couple times. So did Sean. But I just didn’t feel like being out.”

Andy felt a little guilty now. He could remember Tyler asking him to hang out, but he was so involved with reconnecting with Brian he’d kept putting him off. “Well, we’re done with that now. Once we’re done with work, you’re coming over to hang out with me. I’ll have Jacob pick Tanner up from school and bring the boys home. I’ll cook dinner for everyone, and we can just sit around and relax and talk, okay?”

A ghost of a smile appeared on Tyler’s lips. “Sure. I guess so.”

“No guessing,” he said in quiet determination. “Time to get you out of this funk.”

“So, you’re gonna cook for all of us? Who’s ‘everyone?’”

Andy grimaced slightly. He should’ve told him sooner and right now wasn’t the best time to do it. “Tell you what: You come over and I’ll catch you up with what’s been going on with me and you can do likewise.”

“When do you want me to show up,” he asked.

“I’ll let you decide, but if you’re not there by two, I’ll be coming to find you.” He looked over at the young man and smirked. “Just remember; I’m a marine and I will find you and drag you back to the house if I have too.”

Tyler chuckled quietly. “Okay. Okay. I’ll be there.”

“Good.” Andy smiled knowing that this should be a good night for all of them.

 

****

 

Tyler parked his truck in front of Andy’s house as the time on his phone read 2:01 p.m. He sighed to himself, not really feeling in the mood to socialize. But he got out, determined to make himself have a good time. He really had felt horrible the last month. The entire time all he could think about was Alex and all the things he could have done to get him to stay. As he stepped up to Andy’s door, he pushed the thoughts aside and tried to relax before he knocked on the door.

It was a few second later before the door flew open and Andy stood there, half dressed, damp hair and a small grin on his face. “Yeah, I’m running late. Come on in.” He stepped aside to let Tyler in before heading back to his bedroom. “Go ahead and help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge. I think we got enough for tonight. If not, I’ll make a call.”

Tyler watched Andy’s back as he walked back to his bedroom. Maybe it was just his lack of a sex partner for the last month, but he couldn’t deny Andy looked a lot more attractive than he normally does. Andy’s back had a lean look to it and his narrow waist accentuated his ass. The young man sighed and headed to the kitchen, finding a case of beer, some bottled waters, a few juice drinks and some sodas to choose from. He opted for the water since it was so early in the day still. As he opened the bottle, he hoped being here wouldn’t be another mistake.

Andy entered the kitchen, dressed in a sleeveless shirt with his hair still slightly damp. “Sorry. I texted Jacob and we got to talking about stuff.” He reached in the fridge and pulled out a small bottle of apple juice that Tyler figured was for one of the kids.

“What about?”

Andy smirked. “Him and Kyle. He’s thinking about taking things to a new level with them.”

Tyler’s brow furrowed. “New level? What, are they dating again?”

Andy nodded. “Yup. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t stop it from happening.”

Tyler felt his heart land somewhere in his left shoe. Realistically, he knew there was little to no chance of him and Jacob ever becoming more than friends. Yet, that desire never really went away, no matter how much he tried to deny it to himself. “Good for them, I guess.” He tried to keep any bitterness out of his voice, and he felt he was mostly successful.

Andy chuckled and said in a more understanding voice, “the thing about the two of them is this: You know how some people talk about ‘soul mates’ or things that are just meant to be? That’s Kyle and Jacob. Through and through. I swear, I was there the second the two of them fell in love in that hallway at school our junior year. They can talk about other times they fell in love or about their prom night together or how I caught them sucking face in Jacob’s workshop on Labor Day weekend. But I know it happened that first second they laid eyes on each other. They’re just meant to be.”

“Sucking face?” He turned to Andy with an amused look.

Andy chuckled. “Like two seals fightin’ over a grape.” His chuckling gave way to a cheerful laugh as he remembered the look of shock on their faces being caught.

Tyler stared at him as his laughter got stronger and ended up giggling from watching him. “That must’ve made Jacob turn beet red.”

“Oh, it gets better,” Andy said, controlling his laughter only a little. “Turns out, Kyle had a kid a few years back with his friend from college. Cute little three year old boy. He was there with me and Bri, walking in on them and he was all like, ‘daddy, what’re you doin?’” He finally got his laughter under control enough to take a drink and wipe his eyes.

This sounded too weird to be true. “How are they back together if he got a girl pregnant?”

Andy shrugged. “His friend, Stephanie. She was a surrogate for him, from what he told me. They didn’t get married since, you know, him being gay and all.” Andy remembered then the other thing he needed to tell Tyler. “Speaking of... I need to tell you something.” Andy motioned to the front room and headed out of the kitchen. Tyler followed, plopping down on the sofa waiting for Andy to speak. “We’re not gonna be eating until around seven tonight. Brian won’t get home until then.”

Tyler blinked. He’d met Brian but thought he was living in Pittsburgh. “He lives here with you?”

Andy nodded. “Yeah. Thing is, I wasn’t all that truthful with myself and my feelings about him for a long time.” Tyler ‘s eyes started to go wide, and he suddenly wished he’d chosen a beer instead of the water in his hand. “The thing is… I’ve always been in love with Brian. But I spent a long time trying to ignore it. That landed me in the marine corps and Afghanistan for three tours, and a loveless marriage I had no right going through.” Andy watched his face carefully. “So, yeah, I guess, I’m gay too. I mean, obviously, because I’m in love with a guy. And he’s in love with me, so he claims,” he added with a playful smirk. “I just wanted to be upfront with you about that because I didn’t want you thinking I lied to you or purposefully didn’t tell you when we first started hanging out together.”

Tyler scoffed. At first, he felt something close to anger after knowing Andy for over a year and he never confided in him. But he could also understand why he would have chosen to keep it to himself for this long. His experience with Alex alone was a good lesson in how often some men around here chose to keep quiet about their sexuality. “No big deal, really. I think I’m the last person to throw stones about that anyway.”

“Don’t beat yourself up so much,” he answered with a chuckle. He looked over at Tyler for a moment before he added, “so, tell me what’s been troubling you lately.”

He stared at his water before he muttered, “I fucked up. I met a guy who I loved. But I fucked it up.”

Andy’s eyes narrowed skeptically. “Exactly how did you fuck it up?”

“He wasn’t comfortable being out,” he said with a sigh. “And, when I went to introduce him to… well, to Jacob at the grocery store a while back, I said… ‘This is Alex. A guy I know.’”

“And that pissed him off?”

“Yeah.”

“Pissed him off so bad he walked out on you?” Andy felt a little sympathy for Tyler, seeing the look in his eyes.

Tyler lowered his head, remembering the fight that night. “Yeah.”

“Listen.” Andy got up from his spot and sat down next to Tyler. “You’re a good guy. I don’t know this guy’s story, but if he was really interested in you, he will come back. And if he doesn’t then that’s okay. Just means he’s not the one for you.”

“It’s just…” Tyler rolled his eyes and grumbled, “there’s not a lot of options around, you know?”

Andy had the good sense not to laugh. “You’d be surprised what you might find. Just don’t beat yourself up over one guy. Maybe you messed up, but your heart was in the right place. If he can’t see that, then he doesn’t deserve you.”

One side of Tyler’s mouth lifted slightly. “Thanks.”

Andy smiled and patted his knee. “How about we grab a snack and wait for the boys to get home, then we’ll put in a movie or something before I start prepping for dinner?”

“Sounds like a good idea.”

They returned to the kitchen and set about the task of making some sandwiches while Andy contemplated what else he should do for dinner for everyone. He finally opted for some chicken breasts and went looking for a marinade to use with them. If he had hours before dinner, he may as well do it right.

It wasn’t long after they both returned to the front room when the door opened and two energetic kids along with Jacob stepped inside. “Hey guys.” Jacob had a pleasant smile on his face and Tyler privately suspected it had been there since he started seeing Kyle again.

Tanner and Blake raced past Jacob and over to Andy who quietly put his drink to the side just in time before his two boys slammed into him. He made a playful pained noise as Tyler chuckled silently.

“Hey there, my boys,” Andy said with a laugh in his voice. “How did you do today in school, Tanner?” The blonde boy opened his backpack and pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to his father. “Uh, oh,” Andy said with a grin as he took the paper and looked at it. He looked it over before he said, “looks like you got all the questions right on your phonics worksheet. What do we say when we get a perfect score?”

“Ooorah!” Tanner yelled out which made Tyler blink and Andy and Jacob to chuckle.

“That’s right. Now, go put your paper on the fridge and then go change and wash your hands.” He patted the boy on the butt to get him moving before turning his attention to Blake. “And what did you do today, my little man?”

Tyler sat there and watched Andy set Blake on his lap as the boy launched into a long story about what he did with his “grandpaw.” Tyler couldn’t keep up with some of the words that tumbled out of the toddler’s mouth, but he admired Andy who sat there patiently and nodded attentively until his story was finished. Then he let the boy run to his room to change before he turned his attention to Jacob. “Sounds like he had fun today.”

Jacob smiled. “We had a good time with him and Carter. Though, I think I’m gonna put a lock on the door to my workshop. They’re starting to get a little too curious about it and I don’t want them cutting themselves on anything in there.”

Andy nodded and stood up. “Not a bad idea.” He stepped up to Jacob and gave him a friendly hug. “Thanks for bringing them home for me.”

“No problem,” he replied. “I need to head back and get back to work.” Jacob turned his attention to Tyler, still smiling. “How’re things with you? I haven’t seen or heard from you in weeks.”

Tyler just shrugged. “Nothing special going on here.”

Andy rolled his eyes but kept any additional comments to himself. “He’s having dinner with us tonight. Maybe a good time for him to meet Bri.”

Jacob chuckled. “That should be fun. Need anything else?”

“No, I think we’re all set here.”

“Alright then. I’ll see you guys later.” Jacob gave Tyler a friendly wave before he headed back out the door.

“Go ahead and relax for a minute,” Andy said to Tyler as he stood up. “I need to go make sure the boys are actually getting changed and help Blake wash his hands.”

Tyler just shrugged in understanding and watched Andy walk away into the back of the house. He had an odd moment, feeling a slight sliver of jealousy about Andy’s life. It looked so perfect and normal. He was a good father and a great person all around. He wished he could find another guy like him around town. He chuckled to himself as he took a drink. All the best guys are already taken, he supposed.

After they returned, the four of them lounged around. Tanner and Blake were watching cartoons while Andy and Tyler talked about random things. Tyler told him about talking to his dad again which had become a weekly phone call between them. His father seemed upbeat and held high hopes that he would recover from his cancer. So far, it had been mostly good news. Andy suggested he take some time the next month and actually go see him. Tyler wasn’t keen on the idea, but Andy convinced him it might be a good next step between them.

Andy told him about Jacob and Kyle’s fight back in August and what was said in a general sense. He kept out the more salacious details regarding what happened between the two of them and Kyle’s father. That was one secret he knew none of them could ever tell anyone else. It had shaken his own faith in David when he learned about it. But he couldn’t bring himself to fault him, or anyone else for that matter. It was a series of mistakes compounded on each other. Was he mad at Jacob and David? Yes and no. It still bothered him, but he’d known David his entire life and Jacob was family. He was just relieved that it was all over with.

Around six o’clock, Andy got a text from Brian letting him know he was on his way home. Andy got Tyler to join him in the kitchen to start preparing everything that will go on the grill before Brian gets home.

Tyler couldn’t deny that the longer he was at Andy’s house the better he felt. He was still troubled about how things went with him and Alex, but the closeness he felt with Andy made it seem less of a burden to him. There was also the fact that Andy was right in that if it was meant to be then Alex would come back at some point. At least, he hoped.

The mid-September evening was inching towards twilight by the time the two of them went out to the back patio, so they turned the lights on. Andy got the charcoal burning and went back inside to start preparing everything for the grill. “Where did you learn to grill like this,” Tyler asked him as they stood outside, watching the coals heat up.

“My dad,” he replied with a shrug. He kept his eyes on the grill, watching and waiting for the right moment to put the meat on. “He liked to grill. And to cook. But he got a special kick out of standing around a grill, experimenting with stuff and just entertaining everyone. He’d invite the neighbors over on a whim just for fun and to get reactions from people about his cooking.”

“Sounds like he was a lot of fun,” Tyler replied. “What happened to him?”

“He died. About four years ago or so.” Andy’s voice sounded casual, as if they were just talking about the weather. “I was overseas and couldn’t get back in time.”

“I’m sorry. That must’ve been tough.”

Andy shrugged. “It is what it is. But he was a lot of fun and he had a sense of humor. He loved to make mom laugh.” A small smile appeared on his face as he remembered. “I used to get in trouble being a smart ass at school when I was a kid. Worst time was when I said something in fifth grade. I can’t remember what I said. But I ended up in the principal’s office and Dad had to come down and bail me out. I figured he was gonna whip my ass when we got home. He just looked at me, asked me if I really said whatever it was I said to the teacher. I fessed up and he just sighed and said, ‘well, with a mouth like that you’re definitely my son and not the mailman’s.’” They shared a quiet chuckle. “After that, he didn’t say anything else about it.” He gave the grill another second or two before he said, “time to get the meat burnt.”

Tyler laughed as Andy put the chicken on the grill. Six big chicken breasts began to sizzle in the waning light of evening. He stepped inside to check on the kids without Andy asking and got a beer for the both of them before rejoining him at the grill. “Thanks, by the way,” Tyler said as he took a drink.

Andy didn’t look up from the grill as he watched the meat cook over the hot coals. “For what? Having you come over?”

“That and… just being my friend, I guess.”

Andy grinned. “Well, you make that part easy.”

The sound of a door opening, and a toddler’s happy scream announced Brian’s arrival home. Tyler saw the change in Andy’s face go from his regular casual look to a brightening of his green eyes and his smile coming back as he kept his attention on the food cooking in front of him. Tyler could hear the click of shoes on tile as he turned around and saw the same guy he saw at Jacob’s house only a month ago but he looked different now, dressed in a business casual shirt and tie with a sport coat and form fitting yet comfortable designer jeans. When their eyes met, Tyler nodded politely.

Brian inspected Tyler with a small smile forming on his lips before turning his attention to Andy. “Hey, loser,” Brian said as he came up behind Andy and gave him a warm hug and a kiss on his neck. “I can see you’ve been doing nothing but be a lazy bum all day.”

Andy grinned and turned his head to give Brian a tender kiss. “Sweet talker. Bri, this is Tyler,” he said as he motioned to the young man who was watching their strange interaction.

“Oh, we’ve met,” Brian replied in a polite if playful tone. “What brings you by?”

Watching Brian and Andy interact brought a smile to his lips. He couldn’t deny that they looked very cute together and their carefree conversation between them seemed rather natural. “Your lazy bum invited me over.”

Andy laughed. “Watch out, Tyler. Brian has a second degree black belt in smart ass.”

“Don’t listen to him,” Brian countered. “He never got over the fact that I was more talented than he was.” They chuckled before Brian let go of him and asked, “do I have time to change before you’re done?”

“Yeah. It’ll be another couple of minutes. I’m also cooking some stuff on the stove inside. Could you make sure none of it is boiling over when you go in, please?”

Brian made a noise in his throat as he walked inside and muttered, “I have to do everything around here…”

Andy laughed as he watched Brian head back inside. Tyler wondered at their casual talk with each other. “You two have an interesting way of talking to each other.”

Andy shrugged helplessly. “It’s how we’ve always been. Sometimes we get serious. Most of the time we just like to have fun. We like to mess with each other but he’s crazy about me. Don’t let what falls out of his mouth give you the wrong impression.”

Tyler shrugged. “If you say so. You seem happy enough.”

“I am,” he replied.

A few minutes later, Brian came back out wearing just jeans and a polo shirt. He had a large plate in his hands as he walked right up to his lover and held it out, waiting. Andy pulled the chicken off the grill and set them on the plate Brian was holding out. Tyler watched them as they worked in unspoken symmetry as they moved the food inside and followed them through the kitchen and into the small dining area where Brian had already set up an extra chair for Tyler.

“Boys come get your dinner,” Andy called as he started putting food on the plates for his sons before getting Tyler’s and Brian’s. The boys came up and took their places at the table as Andy finished slicing up the food on Blake’s plate while Brian got drinks for the boys and refills for everyone else.

Tyler looked around the table. The house felt a lot different than it had the last time he had been here. Andy always made him feel welcome in the past. But there was a new feeling in the air. The boys seemed more relaxed and enjoying themselves at the table. Andy seemed more comfortable and the house itself just felt warmer. He looked across the table at Brian, more than a little surprised that he could be the cause for all the changes.

Andy chewed on his food and looked around the table. He could tell Tyler was more at ease than he was before he showed up at his house. But he also knew that he needed more support and it had to look spontaneous. He glanced over at Brian and suppressed a grin. It was time to find out how much of their old language Brian remembers. He continued eating, mulling it all over in his head, trying to figure out how to word things that only Brian would get while still looking like innocent, casual banter.

He gave it a few more moments, glancing around the table to make sure everyone was more into their meals than interested in him. “Hey. So, do you remember…” He paused long enough to get Brian’s attention. When he saw Brian’s eyebrow arch as he turned to look at him, he knew he had his attention. “… that one guy who almost started that fight our junior year?”

Brian had a ghost of a smirk on his lips as he said, “vaguely. Why do you ask?”

Andy’s eyes went to Tyler and back to Brian. “I was thinking about that earlier. He was horrible at dating, remember?”

Brian chuckled silently. He’d followed Andy’s glance at Tyler and knew that in some way he was comparing Kyle’s situation back in high school to Tyler now. “That part I remember well.” He was letting Andy know he understood what he was getting at.

Tyler looked up from his place, listening, oblivious to the real conversation taking place.

“I seem to recall me talking to him,” Andy added casually. “But he had to go and screw it up with that girl.”

Brian nodded with a slight frown. “Yeah. I remember hearing about that.”

“Well, to be fair,” Andy said with a shrug, “I wasn’t the best at giving that kind of advice.”

Brian laughed. “Yeah. You struck out with the girl at Prom. Chrissy, wasn’t it?”

Andy smirked. He could tell Brian had gotten the message. “Yeah… And she left without me, thanks for reminding me.”

Brian looked at Tyler with an impish grin. “Andy should’ve known then he was hopeless with women.” Tyler chuckled but said nothing. Brian looked back at Andy and asked, “Did that guy end up going to prom?”

Andy shrugged. “I don’t remember him being there.”

“Hm. That’s a shame.” Now Brian knew why Tyler was here. If what he got from Andy’s tale right, Tyler has been having relationship troubles. Andy thinks he helped but figures someone else should say something to the young man as well. That someone being him.

Dinner finished soon after and Tyler offered to help Brian clean up the dishes while Andy cleaned up the boys. Brian started washing the dishes by hand. He knew he could just put it all in the dishwasher, but he honestly liked washing dishes himself. “So. It occurs to me we don’t know much about each other,” he said to Tyler innocently.

“Not much to tell,” Tyler shrugged.

Brian smirked. “That’s never true of anyone. Besides, if Andy likes you, you have to be someone worth knowing. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but he’s not the kind of guy who invites just anyone over to his house.”

“What do you wanna know?”

Brian chuckled a little to himself, keeping his eyes on the dishes he was washing. “It’s not an interrogation, Tyler. Just general stuff that I don’t already know. You work for Troy and you’re a friend of Andy and Jacob’s, which, if you think Andy is picky when it comes to friends, you have no clue how bad Jacob is.”

Tyler wasn’t sure what to say. “I’m just a guy that works with Andy. I met Jacob through him, helping him out with his workshop and started helping him deliver some of the stuff he’s sold. I work, I go to the bar and that’s really about it.”

“No boyfriend?” Brian stole a glance at the boy to see his reaction.

Tyler sighed. “Not right now.”

“Well, there’s no need to rush it,” he commented. “How come you seem so down in the dumps about it?”

“I met a guy who was really awesome and now he won’t speak to me.”

“You think you did something wrong?” He could hear the heartbreak in Tyler’s voice as he listened, and he wasn’t unsympathetic.

“Yeah,” he mumbled as he took one of the clean dishes and dried it before putting it back in the cupboard.

“Well, best I can tell you is to just let it go. You’re not perfect and if that’s what the guy expected then he can get over it. And, if he loves you, he’ll come back.” Brian finished the last plate and turned to look at him. “You need to set your sights on the next guy. If you’re going to date again, you have to get rid of this funk you’re in and start looking like a confident guy that someone will want to get to know.”

Tyler laughed at that. “I’ve never been all that confident.”

“Neither was I at first,” he quipped. “But I faked it until I got the confidence I needed. Look at you. You’re young, cute and you have a solid head on your shoulders. You think Andy or Troy would hand their kids off to just anybody? Hell, I think they’d think twice before letting me babysit them like you did.” A good ego boost from a new perspective was something Brian wasn’t expecting to do but felt it would give Tyler a better payoff in the end. “And Jacob chooses you to ride with him when he’s gotta make his deliveries...?” Brian shrugged and looked over at him. “Sounds to me like you’re not really seeing all your worth. Maybe you don’t even need to fake it. You just need to admit to all your accomplishments.”

Tyler had a hard time buying all that. “It’s just me being available is all.”

“Stop that.” Brian fixed him with a penetrating gaze. “Stop undercutting yourself. There are tons of guys around here who’d probably love to date you but you’re not gonna find out if you keep thinking you’re not worth it.”

Tyler gave him a drool look. “Any other advice?”

“Always use a condom. If he’s got some sort of hang up that you’re not into, don’t feel bad about walking away. Don’t let a guy hurt you, even if he’s just joking around. No still means no. No matter how horny he thinks you are, or you think you are.”

Tyler smiled politely. He knew Brian had a point, but he didn’t seem to know how lucky he had gotten in life. “Thanks. I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Oh, and keep in mind most older guys who are looking for a hookup around here are married which means they’re closet cases which means don’t expect some sort of miracle happy ending between him and you if you do decide to hook up with him.”

Tyler gave him an odd look. “How do you know that?”

Brian grinned. “Experience. And talking to guys online.”

“I thought you were always in love with Andy?”

Brian laughed and rolled his eyes. “I was and am. But he was unavailable for one reason or another and I wasn’t sure if that would ever change. So, I dated. A lot. And fucked. A lot. Are you telling me you haven’t fucked around or had sex with someone you knew you weren’t going to want to spend the rest of your life with?”

Tyler’s cheek tinted slightly. “Okay, yeah. Is it okay to still be friends with a guy you had sex with?”

Brian shrugged. “Sometimes. Just depends, really. Friends-with-benefits can be nice. Just… don’t make it a friend who’s a little too close to you. It can sometimes make things awkward for a while.” He looked over Tyler’s shoulder at Andy who was leaning against the doorframe with a playful smirk on his face. “Especially if your current boyfriend is a jealous dickhead.”

Tyler rolled his eyes as he heard Andy laugh softly behind him. He walked around Tyler and put an arm around Brian’s waist. “Good thing I’m not a jealous dickhead, huh?”

“Jarhead… dickhead… Pretty much the same thing.” Brian grinned up at Andy and kissed him softly. They shared a loving look before they looked back at Tyler.

Tyler grinned and said, “I think that’s my cue to take off. Give you guys some alone time.”

“Oh, you don’t have to leave,” Brian insisted.

“I’ve been here almost all day and Andy’s probably getting tired of me,” he replied with a shrug.

“You just gonna go home,” Andy asked him.

He nodded. “It’s a little late to be doing anything else. Maybe tomorrow night I’ll go out.”

Andy stepped closer to him. “You’re welcome to stay if you want. It’s up to you.”

It gave Tyler a warm feeling inside him because he knew Andy meant what he said. “I know. And I appreciate it. I just wanna go home, play some games and go to bed. You guys should have some time to yourselves too.”

“Alright.” Andy walked him to the door. “Thanks for coming over.”

“Thanks for inviting me. I’ll see you later.” He stepped out of the house and head to his truck.

Andy watched him and thought he seemed more like himself than he had that morning. He shut the door and turned to look at Brian who was regarding him with a little gleam in his eyes. “You picked up on everything I was trying to tell you earlier?”

Brian laughed and stepped up to him, putting his arms around Andy’s neck. “Of course. He’s having boyfriend problems. Nice context, comparing him to Kyle when he was in high school.”

“It was the only thing I could think of that you’d understand.” He leaned in to kiss Brian softly. “You did good. He seems a lot better than he did this morning.”

“He’s a good kid,” Brian said with a smile. “Kinda reminds me of Jacob when we first met him.”

“He’s a good friend,” Andy said. He held Brian a little closer, looking into his bright blue eyes. “I put the boys to bed after their baths,” he added in a whisper.

“Oh. Guess we should be quiet then,” Brian whispered back before giving him a soft, lingering kiss.

“It’s been a long day. Are you tired?”

Brian felt Andy’s arms wrap around him and closed his eyes, enjoying their closeness. “Hmm. Maybe not tired. But I wouldn’t mind laying down…”

“How about we go lay down together,” Andy suggested as he released his hold on Brian and locked up the house before turning out the lights and leading him to bed.

 

****

 

Tyler was heading to bed after his day and evening with Andy. He smirked a little thinking how normal his life was. It felt good though to get out of the house and not constantly replay what happened with Alex over and over in his head. After cleaning up and putting on some loose shorts, he went around the house to turn off the lights when his phone chirped with a message on it.

He sat down on the edge of the bed when he read the text. It was from Drake.

“Do you have plans for the weekend yet?”

Tyler thought about it. He was thinking about seeing he could run into Alex at The Steel Door, but he wasn’t sure that was a good idea. He decided to text back. “Not really. What did you have in mind?”

A minute passed before he got a new text from Drake that read, “great! You’re coming with me then. We’re going to have some fun at a real gay club instead of some little hometown bar.”

Tyler was dubious but decided that it was better than sitting around and waiting for something that might not come. Besides, Brian did say he should concentrate on the next guy. Maybe the next guy would be there. He texted Drake back. “Alright. But you’re driving.”

The reply was quick. “Yeah. I’ll drive. It’s time you unwind and really enjoy life anyway.”

They texted a few more times to set what time to meet up and what Tyler should wear. He’d never been to a gay club before. Not knowing what to expect, he just put faith in Drake that it would be a fun night. He shut the light off in his room, slipped into his bed and was asleep within moments.

Copyright © 2019 Jdonley75; 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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Chapter Comments

7 hours ago, starboardtack said:

It is such a delight revisiting these guys and reading this story as it is retold through another person's life. This really is a joy.

There is a lot more to come, I promise. :)

 

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Another great chapter, @Jdonley75! :thumbup:

Looks like you've just about finished meshing the two stories together, and basically done it seamlessly.

Nice to see how Troy got Andy to intervene on Tyler's behalf, and good to see that Andy was so willing to help. Maybe Drake's also spotted the funk that Tyler seems to have got himself into, and that's why he's invited him to the gay club with him. Looks like he's also a good friend for Tyler. And who knows who they might meet at the club? I don't know why I'm thinking Sean might be there. :unsure2: (It could even be Alex - or maybe I'm just overthinking again ;)). Whatever happens, I'm just happy to see Tyler's mood lifting!

The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is very low (a quick Google search suggests that the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five-year rate is only 7%). So, if Tyler is planning to actually visit his dad, he might be as well not to leave it too long, or the likelihood is that he won't do it in time. I know there are some readers who think that Tyler shouldn't visit him, but I'm beginning to suspect that Tyler isn''t in their camp just at the moment; even if it doesn't go as well as he might hope, and their final time together doesn't go that well, hopefully it will give Tyler some sort of closure.

Andy certainly seems to be in a better place than he was. I'm just hoping that the 'There were only a few pieces missing' thought of his, shortly after Bri had woken him up near the start of this chapter, aren't going to prove to be difficult or unsurmountable.

In a former life, I taught school for fifteen years, so I'm going to end this comment sounding like a teacher writing a comment on a child's report, and say to @Jdonley75:

Keep up the good work!

;) 

(P.s. I'm still really curious about Sean...)

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There are a few comments made that I have to completely echo:

@Jdonley75 - There is a lot more to come, I promise. :)

@Marty - (P.s. I'm still really curious about Sean...)

 

always happy when Jdonley75 makes comments like this.....you have become one of my favorites!  Your work is outstanding and the ability you have to continue to draw me along with the story is awesome....

I too am curious about Sean -- but I think the curiosity goes with "get off your ass and make a move dang it" 

After reading "The Acquittal' I am thrilled seeing the background to everyone else in the story.  Interested to see some thoughts from Tyler on Kyle and Jacob as we move along.  And more of the background for Andy/Brian.....

 

Thanks for continuing the stores and as always, looking forward to the next update.

Jay

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10 hours ago, Marty said:

Looks like you've just about finished meshing the two stories together, and basically done it seamlessly.

That was no small feat, let me tell ya.  It was the biggest part of figuring out if this could work or not.  Luckily (?) I managed to put in enough gaps in the first book that I had opportunities to squeeze in pieces here and there to fit the narrative and also expand on some of the things that weren't addressed in the first book.

10 hours ago, Marty said:

Nice to see how Troy got Andy to intervene on Tyler's behalf, and good to see that Andy was so willing to help. Maybe Drake's also spotted the funk that Tyler seems to have got himself into, and that's why he's invited him to the gay club with him. Looks like he's also a good friend for Tyler. And who knows who they might meet at the club? I don't know why I'm thinking Sean might be there. :unsure2: (It could even be Alex - or maybe I'm just overthinking again ;)). Whatever happens, I'm just happy to see Tyler's mood lifting!

Yeah.  That was some good teamwork, wasn't it? ;)  Also, it's a club.  Never know what can happen in those places.

10 hours ago, Marty said:

The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is very low (a quick Google search suggests that the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five-year rate is only 7%). So, if Tyler is planning to actually visit his dad, he might be as well not to leave it too long, or the likelihood is that he won't do it in time. I know there are some readers who think that Tyler shouldn't visit him, but I'm beginning to suspect that Tyler isn''t in their camp just at the moment; even if it doesn't go as well as he might hope, and their final time together doesn't go that well, hopefully it will give Tyler some sort of closure.

Yes.  Pancreatic cancer is usually terminal.  What will end up happening could change a lot of Tyler's perspective on life.

11 hours ago, Marty said:

In a former life, I taught school for fifteen years, so I'm going to end this comment sounding like a teacher writing a comment on a child's report, and say to @Jdonley75:

Keep up the good work!

:blushing: If my English teachers could only see me now...

11 hours ago, Marty said:

(P.s. I'm still really curious about Sean...)

I guess the only way to cure your curiosity is to find out what happens.... :gikkle:

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6 hours ago, JayA said:

There are a few comments made that I have to completely echo:

@Jdonley75 - There is a lot more to come, I promise. :)

@Marty - (P.s. I'm still really curious about Sean...)

 

always happy when Jdonley75 makes comments like this.....you have become one of my favorites!  Your work is outstanding and the ability you have to continue to draw me along with the story is awesome....

I too am curious about Sean -- but I think the curiosity goes with "get off your ass and make a move dang it" 

After reading "The Acquittal' I am thrilled seeing the background to everyone else in the story.  Interested to see some thoughts from Tyler on Kyle and Jacob as we move along.  And more of the background for Andy/Brian.....

 

Thanks for continuing the stores and as always, looking forward to the next update.

Jay

Thanks for the kind words.  Sean seems to be on everyone's mind.  Hmmm....

More on the teams past and future is coming.  There's going to be a lot of revelations before this is over with so be prepared for some shocks.

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2 hours ago, spyke said:

Well how about  Brian just stepping right up and taking on the role of gay mentor to Tyler!   That was just awesome how he propped Tyler up and mentioned some really positive qualities that Tyler didn't see in himself.  I hope that the  conversation sets Tyler off in a new direction where he gains a bit more confidence and self esteem.  

I think out of all the boys, Brian would be able to understand Tyler the most if he spent more time with him.  What Tyler does with the things Brian imparts to him remains to be seen.

Thanks for reading.

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I enjoy the way this group of friends support each other. Brian's conversation with Tyler was great, and I was tickled by Brian's and Andy's conversation about being tired! Thanks. 

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5 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

I enjoy the way this group of friends support each other. Brian's conversation with Tyler was great, and I was tickled by Brian's and Andy's conversation about being tired! Thanks. 

The thing I liked most about that whole exchange was demonstrating how Andy and Brian can speak in code that allows them to talk about the person right next to them without that person catching on. Get ready for some twists and turns. :) 

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I looooovvvveed this!!  🎶

Not the Tyler being sad part (but that was slowly lifting with some good advice and good intentions from Andy and Team Drake, lol) I loved everyday life with Andy and Brian.

“Tyler looked around the table. The house felt a lot different than it had the last time he had been here. Andy always made him feel welcome in the past. But there was a new feeling in the air. The boys seemed more relaxed and enjoying themselves at the table. Andy seemed more comfortable and the house itself just felt warmer. He looked across the table at Brian, more than a little surprised that he could be the cause for all the changes.”

Brian is not one to be taken lightly but many people do.  If still waters run deep, jocular waters run deeper;  His words of wisdom to Tyler were gems.

Me likey much, Jonathan.  Is the next chapter posted yet?  

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5 minutes ago, FanLit said:

I looooovvvveed this!!  🎶

Not the Tyler being sad part (but that was slowly lifting with some good advice and good intentions from Andy and Team Drake, lol) I loved everyday life with Andy and Brian.

“Tyler looked around the table. The house felt a lot different than it had the last time he had been here. Andy always made him feel welcome in the past. But there was a new feeling in the air. The boys seemed more relaxed and enjoying themselves at the table. Andy seemed more comfortable and the house itself just felt warmer. He looked across the table at Brian, more than a little surprised that he could be the cause for all the changes.”

Brian is not one to be taken lightly but many people do.  If still waters run deep, jocular waters run deeper;  His words of wisdom to Tyler were gems.

Me likey much, Jonathan.  Is the next chapter posted yet?  

Glad you enjoyed it.   It was kind of a transitional chapter because the last book didn't delve to far into what kind of changes took place in Andy's life with Brian's return.  Obviously, nothing good ever lasts and we all know what is to come, but I felt it was important to put it all into perspective how deep their relationship and their feelings for each other really run.

Also, Andy talking about his dad in his past was good to flesh him out a little more.  Makes him more real.  

Brian's conversation with Tyler was something I've been looking forward to myself.  I wasn't sure they would hit it off so well, but Brian is still a caring individual in his own way.

The next chapter will be awhile (yeah, right, heard that one before) while I work on some other stuff. ;)

 

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Outstanding chapter! Andy the kids and Brian are happy living together. Jacob, Kyle, Carter and David appear to have worked out most of their problems and are happier for it. The invitation by Andy to spend the day with he and his boys, as well as Brian for dinner was just what Tyler needs to pull him out of his funk relative to Alex. Brian’s advice was spot on and will help him believe in himself and boost his self esteem. He’s now fully aware that he and Jacob can’t happen. Hopefully going out to the gay club will help him move on and maybe Sean will grow a pair and make a move. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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2 minutes ago, flesco said:

Outstanding chapter! Andy the kids and Brian are happy living together. Jacob, Kyle, Carter and David appear to have worked out most of their problems and are happier for it. The invitation by Andy to spend the day with he and his boys, as well as Brian for dinner was just what Tyler needs to pull him out of his funk relative to Alex. Brian’s advice was spot on and will help him believe in himself and boost his self esteem. He’s now fully aware that he and Jacob can’t happen. Hopefully going out to the gay club will help him move on and maybe Sean will grow a pair and make a move. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

Carter?  :D

It was a pretty fun and relatively easy chapter to write.  Just had to keep the characters honest to themselves and it basically wrote itself.  Tyler is unknowingly putting down the foundations for a greater relationship with all of The Team later on in his life.  He's going to be fortunate when he's in need.

Keep reading.  I'm not gonna say it gets better from here because that wouldn't be true. ;)

 

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Brian made up for the abrupt and kind of rude initial meeting with Tyler with this conversation.
;–)

I know Tyler and Andy have gotten to be close over the past year, but still, the changes in Andy and the atmosphere of his home due to Brian must have been pretty dramatic for Tyler to have noticed. Most guys don’t notice things like that. Even many of the Gay men that I know are not that observant about those sorts of subtle details. I know I don’t usually notice those kinds of things.
;–)

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2 hours ago, droughtquake said:

Brian made up for the abrupt and kind of rude initial meeting with Tyler with this conversation.
;–)

I know Tyler and Andy have gotten to be close over the past year, but still, the changes in Andy and the atmosphere of his home due to Brian must have been pretty dramatic for Tyler to have noticed. Most guys don’t notice things like that. Even many of the Gay men that I know are not that observant about those sorts of subtle details. I know I don’t usually notice those kinds of things.
;–)

You'd be surprised what someone can notice and not mention to anyone.  I think it's less of an element of how things are cleaner than they were and more about that undefinable quality in the air in a house where people love each other in comparison to a house with a lot of fighting and tension in it.

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who he was close too – whom he was close to. Whom is to object of the preposition to and s/b in the objective case, The final preposition s/b to as it implies direction or movement. If ending a sentence with a preposition bothers you (as it did the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Churchill) the sentence can be rewritten as, 'to whom he was close,' but some readers may find that word order to be 'stuffy'.
A burden shared is a burdened is a burden halved. – A burden shared is a burden halved. Duplicated text.

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12 minutes ago, Will Hawkins said:

who he was close too – whom he was close to. Whom is to object of the preposition to and s/b in the objective case, The final preposition s/b to as it implies direction or movement. If ending a sentence with a preposition bothers you (as it did the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Churchill) the sentence can be rewritten as, 'to whom he was close,' but some readers may find that word order to be 'stuffy'.
A burden shared is a burdened is a burden halved. – A burden shared is a burden halved. Duplicated text.

Sir,

I understand that you may be trying to be helpful, but all you are doing is damaging my ego and making me feel like a failure while simultaneously posting all of my mistakes for everyone to see.  Please, stop.

If you have any critiques to make in the future, I would appreciate it if you did it in a more private setting.

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