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Standing In Shadows - 9. Chapter 9


I didn’t have any trouble sleeping that night, the pain medications I was given knocked me out, I was thankful for that really. I didn’t want to spend any time thinking on the last few days. The summer of freedom definitely looked promising with Greg, but now I wanted nothing more than to forget him. Forget how I felt when he held me through the storm and kissed me. The way the tent held the heat of the moment through the hail and the lightning. How both our nearly naked bodies slid against one another on the air mattress.

Waking up, I saw my door standing open. I always slept with it closed as it kept the cool air from the air conditioner trapped. The sun was shining, but I squinted past it to see Jen holding a modest tray of food. Dad was hovering behind her with a smug grin.

“I fixed you some eggs,” Jenny said as she stepped into my room.

“Thanks,” I offered grunting as I put weight on my broken arm. For a few moments the bulky green cast surprised me, but then I remembered.

Jenny nearly tripped on my sneakers as she carried the tray of food. Luckily only a drop of orange juice landed on the floor, Dad snickered as he turned and left us alone. Something a parent shouldn’t do, leave two teenagers alone in a bedroom. He made it worse when he closed the door. I heard him muttering something, but the door muffled it. It didn’t muffle the sound of him rummaging through the refrigerator though, looking for the coldest can of beer.

“Don’t tell your dad this,” Jenny whispered leaning closer to me, “but he’s getting a disgusting beer belly.”

“Yeah, I don’t think I’ll tell him that one,” I agreed, smiling at her expression.

“I didn’t want to wake you,” she said, handing me the tray of food. The eggs looked over cooked and the toast was burnt so I picked up the glass of orange juice.

“I can’t afford to sleep around here,” I responded, then I downed the orange juice in a few drinks. “Sorry about all this, but I’m not much for breakfast.”

“Breakfast is important,” Jenny argued, “it helps keep you from overeating in all your other meals.”

A silence fell on the room after that and I felt trapped in my own bedroom. She glanced at the closed bedroom door a few times, then she kicked off her flip flops and moved around me to sit at the head of the bed as well. She reached up and tried to smooth out my hair, but it was too short to do much good without styling gel.

“I thought you would be out at the pool or something,” I offered, breaking the silence. She dropped her hand from my head back to her lap.

“I promised to come see you, besides, I can’t be getting too much sun before the wedding,” Jenny said, “it is this afternoon.”

“Already?” I asked my heart sinking in my stomach for a reason I didn’t want to surface in my mind, but did anyway. I wouldn’t see Greg anymore.

“Well I was mad at you so I didn’t send you an invitation,” Jenny answered smiling, “but I’m officially inviting you, your parents are coming.”

“Thanks,” I said, “but I don’t know...”

“Come on Corey get out of the house when you have the chance,” Jenny said elbowing me in the side. I grunted and she laughed then playfully rubbed the spot with her finger tips. This was her way of flirting and I glanced at her noticing she was looking at my bare chest. I felt exposed with the covers down at my waist. At least it was covering the fact that I wasn’t wearing any shorts.

“My Tux wouldn’t fit my cast,” I said glancing at my closet to where it would be hanging.

“Wear a polo or something, you look hot in anything,” she said, then looked thoughtful. “A red one if you have it so it will match my dress, this can be our substitute prom.”

“So now I’m your date?” I asked, trying to keep my voice light.

“Well yeah silly,” she answered moving herself over my legs. I could see down her top so I looked away. I heard her giggle as she moved to stand on the floor again. “I have to go though, if I’m not ready my sister will kill me.”

“When should I come?” I asked as she slid her feet back into her flip-flops.

“Noon, so you might want to get a move on,” she said glancing at my night stand, “since you do have to shower around that cast without getting it wet.”

“Yeah,” I offered and she smiled, then surprised me by leaning down and kissing me on the corner of my mouth. It was just a light kiss, not lasting a second, but I felt my face flush as she giggled again and left the room, closing the door behind her.

I groaned as I slid my burnt breakfast down to the foot of the bed and leaned back against the headboard. I looked up at the ceiling as my door opened again. I feared that she forgot something, but frowned when I saw Dad leaning against the open door frame. His smug smile from before had intensified. I wanted to roll my eyes, but knew it wouldn’t be a smart thing to do.
“She looked happy,” Dad said, crossing his arms. It made the bottom of his shirt rise up over his protruding belly. He had lost his figure over the past few months.

“She drafted me to be her date for the wedding,” I answered, “I guess a cast is sexy.”

“Don’t get me started on your broken arm,” Dad grumbled glaring at my green cast.

“Oh come on Dad,” I said, “it was just a joke, I know I messed up.”

“No, Cj and his stupid ass side kick did,” Dad said, his blue eyes blazing to life. “I called his father and explained as much.”

“Dad!” I yelped, “I told you to stay out of all that.”

“It was one thing to dump your ass into a river, but to ruin your senior season and hopes of a good scholarship is messing with your future,” Dad said stalking further into the room. He picked up the tray of food and sat down on my bed. It would be a reassuring fatherly thing to do, if it wasn’t my father doing it. I felt more trapped now than I did with Jenny. “And really son, you’re nothing like me, I would have kicked their asses.”

“I know,” I said, my voice cracking. I could feel the anger and frustration burning through me. It made my throat tighten and my eyes to sting. I looked out the window at the sun begging my eyes not to shed any tears in front of him.

“Anyway Cj. won’t be messing with you anymore,” Dad said, “thanks to your old man.”

“Yeah,” I offered, my voice shaking. Dad seemed to ignore it as he stood and walked out of the room. I blinked and felt a warm tear streak down my face and fall from my cheek. I reached up and rubbed my face with my fingers. I was around nine the last time I cried. Dad told me that I was a man, that I couldn’t cry anymore. I had listened to him back then when he was a hero to me, but now I couldn’t believe I had let myself cry here, this morning, because of him.

Slowly I pulled myself back and wiped the remaining evidence of crying from my eyes before I left the room. I went to the living room though, because as much as I hated it, I needed his help. I couldn’t shower with the cast exposed.

“What do you want?” Dad asked, noticing me in the living room. He was drinking a second beer and was watching game tapes. I wanted to shrug my shoulders and leave the room. This would be something Mom would happily do, and I probably wouldn’t even have to ask. She would know what I wanted, like she always did.

“I need help with my cast,” I answered, “covering it up with something so it won’t get wet.”

“Can’t your ass figure that out?” Dad asked, but he grunted and stood. He walked around me, hitting his shoulder against mine as he passed. I turned and saw him grab some plastic wrap, he rolled some out and I offered my arm. He rolled the plastic wrap around it a few layers, then up and over my hand and a few inches above my arm.

“Thanks,” I offered, but he ignored me as he taped my arm with duct tape to keep the plastic wrap from falling away.

I was thankful when I stepped into the bathroom and started the shower. As much as I didn’t want to go to the wedding, I knew I had to. I also had to see if I had a red polo, not remembering if I did or not. Showering felt awkward, doing everything with one hand. I had to put the shampoo bottle under my arm to open the cap with my other hand. I had to do the same with body wash and I dropped both bottles more than once before I was successful in getting myself clean. Then I laid against the wall of the shower for a few minutes and let the hot water run down my body. I closed my eyes, breathing in the hot air around me and tried to forget where I was and where I was about to go. Freedom had always looked appealing until I started dealing with the people of this small town, which I thought I knew. In school I had friends and I was normally outgoing, but now I just felt clumsy. It didn’t help matters that Jen was interested in me and was using Dad to make sure I kept to her plans. That Cj has made it his mission to bully me before our senior year started. Then Greg came into town and brought out some well suppressed feelings. Thankfully, I thought, he would be leaving and I wouldn’t have to deal with all of those feelings again. I just had to convince myself that I wouldn’t miss him after he left, even if I barely knew him.

Before the hot water ran out I shut the water off and dried myself with one hand, which was also difficult. By the time I was able to hold my towel around me, I was finished dripping onto the bath mat under my feet. Then I fumbled with the door knob, silently cussing my broken arm and Cj all over again. Knowing that if Dad saw me struggling to deal with my broken arm, he would get mad. I let out a frustrated sigh and walked across the hall to my room to finish drying.

After rummaging through my closet not finding a red shirt of any kind, I smirked knowing Jen would be unhappy if we didn’t match. It surprised me that I was fine with whatever she would say about it as well. I settled on wearing a dark blue polo and a pair of khaki pants. I struggled with the button and the zipper, but I didn’t dare ask for any help. Then I tied my brown boots before I stepped out of my room.

“Looking handsome,” Mom said from the hallway. I hadn’t heard her come in, but she had already changed from her work clothes and apron to a light yellow Sunday dress. She was brushing her hair, but reached over and rubbed my damp hair. Parts of it were sticking up, but I didn’t care about brushing it until it got a little longer.

Dad stepped out of the bedroom wearing a tuxedo, he was fussing over the pants. It wasn’t buttoned or zipped and his shirt tail was hanging out over the front opening. He glared at me when he saw me looking, so I stepped around Mom into the kitchen. Mom was about to follow me, but stopped when she saw Dad struggling to get his pants close enough to button.

“You’ve shrunk my pants,” Dad groaned as he bent forward trying to get the buttons to close.

“I got your tuxedo dry cleaned,” Mom answered, “it definitely wasn’t me.”

“Damn dry cleaners probably switched the pants, old Martha never has liked me,” Dad said as he walked down the hall with his pants still not fastened.

“Maybe,” Mom said then looked at me and smiled, “or maybe someone has had too many beers and steaks.”

“Nonsense I weigh the same as I did in high school,” Dad said, finally getting his pants buttoned. His eyes went wide when he relaxed his stomach. Then he looked down and saw that his belly fat had drooped slightly lower than the hem of his pants.

“Told you,” Mom said, then the plastic button gave way and fell to the floor.

“Damn!” Dad bellowed, “fix these pants honey.”

“Nothing I can do,” Mom said, “no more desserts and a little less beer.”

“I’m telling you they switched my pants or something,” Dad argued as he walked back into his bedroom as Mom and I laughed when he slammed the bedroom door rattling the pictures on the wall.

“Your father,” Mom whispered, shaking her head.

“Your husband,” I offered, causing her to snicker again. She rolled her eyes and walked down the hall. She would probably have to pick out a secondary outfit for Dad.

After Dad found a second suit to wear we left for the wedding. I rode in the back seat of Mom’s car, knowing Dad and Mom wouldn’t stay long. Mom would reopen the store for the old men to come back and start talking and watching sports on the television. Dad would want to stay longer though, he liked to talk as long as the alcohol kept coming.

When we arrived everyone was filtering out of their cars and greeting one another. I walked in front of Mom and Dad, not scanning the crowd of people, wanting to avoid at least three of the people I knew would be here. It didn’t take long though, for Jenny to come bouncing up to me. I saw her frown as she took in my blue shirt. She was wearing a bright red Bride’s Maid dress. It was form fitting and had a big bow on the back just above her butt.

“We so do not match,” Jenny said, not greeting me.

“I didn’t have any red,” I said shrugging, “no one cares if people match.”

“I guess so,” she said as she looped her arm in mine, “they say opposites attract anyway.”

“Yeah,” I offered, looking over my shoulder to see Mom studying me and Dad smirking. I turned around when he flashed me a thumbs up and hoped no one saw.

“I’ll be glad to get this mess over with,” Jenny said looking around, “Sara is quite the bridezilla.”

“She can’t be that bad,” I said after a short silence fell between us. She had looked expectant when she glanced at me. One thing Jenny was good at, was talking. It would be a struggle for me to keep up with her.

“If you only knew,” Jenny said, “you can ask anybody, that Greg guy, he’ll tell you.”

“That’s alright,” I said and she smiled when I pulled my arm tighter around her. I hated using her, but if I stayed with her, she could distract me or at least keep Greg at a distance. Either way, I didn’t want to talk to him.

“Cj and Clinton are already here, but please don’t start anything,” Jenny said as I held the door open to their large white house. A waft of cold air hit us and relieved us from the midday heat and humidity. It wouldn’t last long though as the wedding was outside under a white tent in the backyard. Sara’s family went all out on the wedding, that was apparent by all the roses decorating the house and the large tent we could see as we parked the car. People were still fussing over everything and Sara was nowhere to be seen. I was starting to think we came too early. I had wanted to arrive barely in time for the ceremony, so we wouldn’t have to be too social.

“Don’t worry,” I responded looking down at her.

“Corey, your father and I are going to go talk to Phil and his wife,” Mom announced and Jenny gave them a friendly wave, happy to be left alone with me.

“Want me to show you around?” Jenny asked, “Since you’ve never been to my house.”

“I guess so,” I answered looking around the house I saw Amy and knew Greg wouldn’t be far away. Since it seemed Jenny wanted me here early for some reason, I had no choice but to be shown around the large house.

She took me up the stairs and just pointed to most of the rooms, explaining that one room was Sara’s and she was in there getting dressed in her gown. Then she pointed to the two upstairs bathrooms, then to her room. She frowned, then explained that Brandon was in there with his best man getting dressed as well. Then she stopped and opened a white door.

“That’s the guest rooms over the garage,” she explained, “we finished those last summer, but I really have to pee, don’t go anywhere.”

“Ok,” I shrugged as she bolted from my side to one of the bathrooms.

When she left me I stood in the middle of the hallway. Feeling awkward I leaned against the door frame leading to the guest rooms above the garage. I didn’t know why they needed the guest rooms, not many people ever visited this small town. It made their house a lot larger though, the rooms probably will be neglected after the wedding.

It was then I heard soft music playing down the hall towards one of the guest rooms. Looking around, I expected Jenny to be back by now, but then she did have to maneuver around a tight red dress and I couldn’t imagine what else underneath. So, I walked down the short narrow hall to the first guest room and knocked on the door. When no one answered, I leaned forward and heard the music better. It was an older rock song that I didn’t really care for, but I did notice that the door was slightly ajar, so I pushed it open.

Greg was sitting on his bed fussing over his hair in the large mirror across the room. When he saw my reflection in the mirror he paused and I wanted to turn around and leave. Jenny still wasn’t in the hallway and Greg stood, dropping the brush on the bed he walked over to the door and opened it.

“Come in,” he said as he moved away from the door allowing me room to enter the bright guest room. The sun was shining through the window, Greg had the shades pulled up. I could see the white tent beyond the window when I stepped into the middle of the room.

“I don’t want to talk to you,” I whispered, knowing if I spoke any louder my voice would crack.

“I can understand that,” Greg said as she shut the door behind him. I stared at the door knob, now that the door was closed I felt trapped. I didn’t even understand why I walked into the room with him. Something about leaving things as they were bothered me now that I was in here though.

“Why did you bother then?” I asked, crossing my arms over my chest. I felt the hem of my shirt rise slightly revealing my stomach. I watched as Greg’s eyes found my tan skin just above the hem of my pants.

“I don’t know,” he answered, “maybe I was just nervous about Amy and me.”

“So you did all that just to forget about Amy?” I asked, his eyes finding mine again.

“No,” Greg answered then he shook his head, reaching up he rubbed his hand through his hair then sat down on the bed. “I don’t know, but I know we can’t, me and you.”

“You’re selfish, you know that?” I said hearing the anger in my voice, I wanted to apologize, but didn’t.

“I’m straight Corey,” Greg responded and I smirked.

“Whatever Greg,” I countered, “you picked me, I didn’t see you befriending Jenny or Amber or anyone else, but me. I just don’t understand why.”

“I already told you why,” Greg said and I rolled my eyes, tired of hearing him lie. His slumped shoulders and flushed cheeks made me want to comfort him. I needed to get out of the room before I felt sorry for him. Before I sat down beside him and put my arm around him and told him that it was alright. I knew if I did that I wouldn’t allow myself the chance to get over him while I was still angry.

“Bye, thanks for screwing with my head,” I said and as I walked by he grabbed my wrist. He stood when I tried to pull out of his grasp and he wrapped his arm around my lower stomach. He pulled me around until I faced him. I was larger than him, if I struggled I would be able to get out of his embrace, but I didn’t as he wrapped me into a hug.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “but I can’t do this.”

“Then let go of me,” I said and he released the hug, he looked up at me. A moment passed when I thought he was going to kiss me. I wanted to bolt for the door before that happened, but I was saved by someone knocking on the door.

“Greg, have you seen Corey?” Jenny asked through the closed door and Greg backed away, grabbing the brush he started brushing his hair again. A fake smile spreading across his face as I opened the door.

“See you guys down stairs,” Greg said as Jenny entered the room.

“There you are,” she said looking past me to Greg for a second. I forced a smile and put my arm around her, leading her back out of the room before she could start asking questions.

“It sucks that Greg is leaving tonight,” she said as we entered the main hallway and started back down the stairs.

“Why’s that?” I asked and she looked up at me when I pulled my arm back. Now that we were around other people, I wanted to distance myself from her. I didn’t want people getting the wrong idea about me and Jenny, even though I had led her on.

“Because you two seem to have become good friends,” she said shrugging her shoulders as she took my hand.

“He’s too old,” I said and she shook her head, rolling her eyes.

“He’s a lot nicer than all of Brandon’s other dumb meat head friends,” Jenny said, laughing at her own comment. I looked over my shoulder searching the room for Mom. I wanted her to save me from Jenny, but she was nowhere to be seen. The living room and kitchen had emptied slightly as people started making their way to the tent.

“Don’t you have to be with the wedding people?” I asked and she glanced at the clock on the microwave.

“Yeah, in a minute,” she answered, then turned to face me, she leaned forward, her high heels making her closer to my height. I moved my face from her causing her to miss my lips and kiss my cheek. She gave a small sigh then backed away.

“Sorry Jen,” I said as she let go of my hand.

“You’re a good guy Corey,” she said, her voice shaky, but she didn’t look upset. She was nervous, and I wanted to reassure her, but didn’t. She took a few steps back then offered her hand to me. “Friends then?”

“Yes, Jenny,” I said offering her a small smile. I took her hand and she gave it a slight squeeze.

“At least until you change your mind,” she said winking, she stepped around me and headed towards the living room.

I heard her talking to Greg at the bottom of the stairs so I found the back door and nearly ran out. I slowed my pace when I saw the white stepping stones leading to the large tent where everyone was gathering. At the back of the line waiting to be seated wherever the ushers wanted you to sit, I saw Clinton and his parents. I cussed my bad luck as I found the back of the line and saw him glance over his shoulder to see me standing behind him. I expected him to smirk or say something, but he fell a few steps behind his parents and stood next to me.

“I’m sorry about your arm Corey,” Clinton said looking down at the cast. “I feel like shit.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I offered, looking forward I chewed on the inside of my bottom lip trying not to get angry. I promised Jenny I wouldn’t start anything and I knew if I did Dad would kill me for embarrassing him.

“I mean it,” Clinton said as he grabbed my arm just above my cast. “I won’t let Cj bother you anymore.”

“Cj will do whatever he wants,” I shrugged wishing he would let go of my arm.

“Just know I won’t bother you anymore,” he said, “and you should really fight back, Cj won’t bother you if you do.”

“Thanks for the advice,” I said then looked down at my arm. He let go of it and I noticed him blinking a few times, seeming to snap out of a trance. He walked ahead of me to join his parents and I walked in and found the open seat next to Mom and waited for the wedding to start.

The wedding was a needed distraction. I looked down at the cards and pictures the ushers handed everyone as they took their seat. Sara was in her wedding dress and Brandon was in his tux in various poses. I recognized the house and then the courthouse. They seemed to have gone all around town taking pictures. Then there were a few with Sara and Jenny. Jenny didn’t really look like her older sister. Sara was a natural blond with a tan and liked wearing make-up and fake nails. Jenny was a more natural looking girl, barely wearing make-up. She cared about her looks though, but seemed to care more about the people around her. Her soft red hair and light milky skin that never would tan contrasted Sara completely.

I looked up when the music started playing and Sara’s maid of honor led the small group towards Brandon and the pastor. Jenny smiled and winked at me as she walked by holding white roses against her stomach. Greg was a groomsman and he kept his eyes forward, not looking at anyone. His face was still slightly flushed, but his shoulders were square. When they all were in their positions the music changed to the wedding march and everyone stood and turned to watch Sara walk down the aisle in her white dress with her father. She was all smiles, knowing everyone was watching her. She looked around at the people as well. I looked at Brandon feeling slightly sorry for him. I wondered if he really knew what sort of family he was marrying. As he would surely get his mother-in-law’s criticism and his father-in-law’s warnings and glares. I had received them when I was dating Jenny. I didn’t want to know what they thought of me now, not after I dumped Jenny before our junior prom.

When we sat and waited for the Pastor to start the ceremony I yawned and looked around, making sure I kept myself from looking at Greg. I saw that Sara’s mother had started crying and Sara’s father’s hand shook when he handed his daughter’s hand to Brandon. I smirked when I saw him shoot Brandon one last glare before he turned and sat next to his wife. He wrapped his arm around her, offering her his handkerchief. She brushed his hand away and took a second tissue from someone else.

Then I looked around and saw that Cj looked bored, sitting between his father and mother towards the front of the tent. He casually placed headphones in his ears then and leaned his head back, not caring about the ceremony at all. I rolled my eyes, then I noticed that Clinton was looking at me. His extremely light blue eyes didn’t turn away when I caught him looking, not instantly anyway. It was when I frowned that he straightened his posture and turned back towards the front. I believed him when he said that he was sorry for breaking my arm, but he was still Cj’s best friend. I wondered what the two of them had planned for me next, especially after Dad got involved and likely got Cj in trouble with his own parents.

I looked at the front of the tent when everyone started clapping and saw that Brandon wrapped Sara into an embrace and they were sharing their first kiss as husband and wife. I clapped a few times, then looked at Greg. He seemed to be the only person there not clapping and smiling at the kissing couple, that seemed to be falling into an awkward make-out. He was looking past me to the open door, lost in thought. Then his eyes found mine briefly and we both looked away, it was how we would say goodbye, hopefully I’ll not see him before he leaves. Returning to normal and forgetting him was what I had planned and I needed him to leave for that to happen.

Copyright © 2014 Krista; All Rights Reserved.
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Thanks for taking up this great story again Krista!!! This is a good chapter, showing that Jen may not be the devious fox I thought she was, but rather a caring, perceptive and understanding women, just too caught up in the plot of the pathetic father--pathetic, because he can't accept that his glory days are gone and he is trying to relive them by pushing his son in the ways he (dad) wants to live. Hope you keep writing this and allow Cory to sort out his life and come out of the shadows!!!

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Again, you are such a good writer. I don't know if it's a gender thing or what, but as a female you capture details, emotions, etc. differently than other authors. You make me feel like I'm reading a real story. When time is precious, to decide to read something worth it is a big decision.


Is there anything on this site that can let us know when you update with a new chapter?

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On 05/05/2011 09:42 AM, Jons317 said:
Again, you are such a good writer. I don't know if it's a gender thing or what, but as a female you capture details, emotions, etc. differently than other authors. You make me feel like I'm reading a real story. When time is precious, to decide to read something worth it is a big decision.


Is there anything on this site that can let us know when you update with a new chapter?

You can, I think "like" the story and it will tell you when I update. I plan on writing more to this story tonight and into the weekend! Thanks for liking the story. :)
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Another great chapter. :)


It’s hard to guess what’s coming next, but with Greg going I guess it’ll help Corey move on somewhat. But this is Krista we’re talking about, nothing is ever that simple, I expect many more complications and dramas down the road! :P



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This story is still maneuvering around, we are still figuring out who is who and what they want and who they are. I like that.

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Happy wedding or is it, Corey doesn´t believe it´s a happy ever after marriage and who cares :o


There are more important things, like Greg going away and then there´s Clinton :P He seemed sincere in his apology.

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7 hours ago, Higster said:

So sad to see how Greg and Corey's friendship has eroded so quickly...


Yes, it was. :( The relationship happened so quick.. so the end was just as quick to make it a bit balanced. 

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Interesting development with Clinton....

I feel more sorry for Greg now. He’s confused and in denial. Whether he’s gay or bi I don’t know. I would actually like for he and Corey to have a friendship in the future, once they’re both over what is happening right now. Right now he’s the catalyst for making Corey explore his sexuality. They are helping each other learn things about themselves - while it’s confusing in the moment I think that meeting each other is something they both needed.

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25 minutes ago, crystalline said:

Interesting development with Clinton....

I feel more sorry for Greg now. He’s confused and in denial. Whether he’s gay or bi I don’t know. I would actually like for he and Corey to have a friendship in the future, once they’re both over what is happening right now. Right now he’s the catalyst for making Corey explore his sexuality. They are helping each other learn things about themselves - while it’s confusing in the moment I think that meeting each other is something they both needed.

I do like Greg, I wish I could have went more into his character. Since I'm older and have more stories under my belt (and if re-reading this story sparks interest), I may do a Greg spin-off, but there would have to be a lot of substance there for me to do that and I'm not sure there is if I'm remembering the story correctly and not getting it mixed up with the original from ages ago. 

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