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    LitLover
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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.

Choices - 12. Chapter 12

Chapter 12

 

Liam was reeling from his conversation with Alek. So much of what he thought he knew about the man and his relationship with Natalia was wrong. They’d never been a real couple. Hell, the girl knew all about Alek being gay, and about Liam. Regardless of his newly single status, however, Alek had walked away from their relationship. Could Liam ever truly trust him again?

Needing to talk to someone, Liam drove home and called his best friend.

“Did you talk to him yet?” Marty asked before he even said hello.

“Hello, Marty. I’m great. Thanks for asking.”

“Stop being a drama queen and answer the question.”

“Yeah, we had coffee today.” Liam lay across his bed, letting his legs dangle over the side. “It was illuminating.”

“Are you going to make me ask, or are you going to tell me what happened?”

Liam chuckled. “It would serve you right if I made you wait.”

“Li….”

“Fine, fine. I called Alek today and invited him out for coffee. I took your advice and made it clear I only wanted to talk.”

“Do you think he understood that?”

“I think so. He didn’t push, and he let me set the tone of the conversation.”

“Good. I would hate to have to fly all of the way out there just to give him a beat down, no matter how satisfying it might be.”

Liam snorted. “You just like being able to flex your muscle in front of people.”

“Guilty as charged. So what happened? Did he say anything you didn’t already know?”

“Well, he confirmed the girlfriend was only a friend. Apparently she’s known from the beginning he was gay. They were using each other as a beard.”

“Interesting. Do you believe it?”

“I might have been skeptical, but it goes along with what Natascha told me, and what motivation would he have lie to me? It’s not like we were together when they started dating. He didn’t owe me anything.”

“He might be trying to impress you. Make you think he was faithful all this time.”

“I guess so, but I didn’t get that vibe from him. I think he was being honest about this. He still thinks I’m with Nathan, and told me he hoped he made me happy.”

“You didn’t tell him the truth?”

“I wanted to, but he had to leave for work. Now I don’t know if I should.”

“Are you thinking about taking him back again?”

“I don’t know, Marty. I loved him… I still love him, but he really hurt me. I don’t know if I can trust him not to do the same thing again.”

“You also have to consider what will happen when his father throws his money in his face. He could lose his business.”

"Actually," Liam replied, grinning to himself at the thought, “he found another lender, so daddy dearest can’t lord that over him anymore.”

“That’s great. That means he’s financially free to be himself, right?”

“Apparently,” Liam mused.

“You sound skeptical.”

“I’m not skeptical of what he said… I’m skeptical about what it means. He had a year while we were together, and over six months after we broke up to be honest with his parents, and he never did it. I wasn’t enough to come out for. How can I trust he won’t push me away again if I decide to give him another chance?”

“You’re right. No one can tell you Alek will never disappoint you again, not even Alek.”

“You’re supposed to be telling me what to do here,” Liam said in a huff.

“When have you ever listened when someone tried to tell you what to do?”

“Fine, but you could still tell me anyway,” Liam responded, hearing the whine in his voice. “I don’t know what to do here. I love the guy, but he walked away from me.”

“He did,” Marty agreed. “He let the best thing to ever happen to him get away. That’s on him. You don’t owe him anything. If you want to let him back into your life, then do it for you. This is about what you can handle, and what you want. Would I trust the guy again? No, probably not. I didn’t take Amy back when she came crawling a few months ago, but you’re not me. What do you want, Liam?”

“Wait. What? Amy came back? You never told me that.”

“There wasn’t much to tell.” Marty replied. “She showed up on my doorstep and wanted to start up where we left off. I told her I wasn’t interested.”

“But you were in love with her. I thought you would have been happy to have her back.”

“Maybe in the first couple of months, but I’ve moved on since then. I’m happy with the life I have now. I’ve enjoyed dating, and I’m still in the process of possibly moving closer to you. I don’t have room for her in my life anymore.” Liam was quiet as he mulled over what Marty told him. Don’t do that, Li,” Marty said, interrupting his thoughts. “Our situations aren’t the same... WE aren’t the same people. You can’t make your decisions based on my life.”

“I know that. I wish I could see into the future. The idea of trusting him again is terrifying.”

“I know it is.” Marty was quiet for a moment before speaking again. “I’ll support you, no matter what you decide.”

“Thank you. Your support means a lot, even if I wish you would just make my decisions for me.”

Marty’s laugh was loud over the speaker. “You would hate it and you know it.”

“Thank you for listening to my rambling.”

“Anytime, Shorty.”

Liam ended the call and pulled the pillow over his head, blocking out the overhead light. Why was love so damned complicated? Happily ever after, my ass.

 

The next morning, Liam left Corey’s clinic after a particularly tough workout. His doctor had finally cleared him for work, and Liam was excited to come back in a week as an employee and not just a patient. Judging by Corey’s reaction to the news, he was looking forward to the return of his ‘favourite employee’ as well.

With a smile on his face, he parked the car and hopped out, hoping to grab a tea at the café before heading home to scrounge something to eat. He wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings and nearly bowled someone over as he walked through the door. An apology stalled on his lips as he recognized Elena, standing immediately in front of her much taller brother.

“Liam,” she greeted him with a smile. “You look like a man on a mission.”

Liam laughed, embarrassed. “Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.”

“It’s all right,” Alek interjected. “Elena wasn’t paying attention either. She was too busy looking over her shoulder trying to convince me to give her half of my donut.”

“Traitor,” the young woman scolded. “I was too paying attention.”

The banter between the siblings made Liam smile. These two were always like this when together. “Coffee break?” he asked, knowing Alek normally worked on Saturday mornings.

“I took the day off, actually. El had some problems with her beater, so I came out to drop her off at work and pick up her car.”

Liam looked over his shoulder and saw the tow truck parked across the street. “That was nice of you. How late were you out last night?”

“Last night?” Elena inquired, looking back and forth between the two men. “You were out last night?” She raised her eyebrow and smirked.

“Nothing like that,” Alek retorted. “I got a call out to an accident.” He turned his attention to Liam. “It was a bigger mess than they thought. Neither vehicle was driveable. I didn’t get home until around three.”

“Alek.” Elena slapped her brother’s chest and narrowed her eyes as she glared at him. “Why didn’t you tell me? I never would have dragged you out of bed. I could have taken a cab.”

“I didn’t tell you because it didn’t matter. You’re my baby sister. You needed me, so I came. End of story.”

Liam smiled. It was like Alek to put his family before himself. Liam suspected it was why he had trouble disappointing his parents. Too bad Liam didn’t rate being high on that list. With an internal sigh he pushed away his bitterness and turned his attention back to the conversation.

“Would the two of you like to join me for lunch?” he asked before he thought better of it. “I’m starved after being put through the paces by Corey.” Liam wasn’t sure why he was doing this, and judging by Alek’s confused expression, he was just as baffled. Elena, on the other hand, looked thrilled.

“I wish I could stay, but I really do have to get to the clinic.” Elena turned to her brother, giving him a suspiciously innocent look. “I would hate for Liam to have to eat alone. Why don’t you stay? I can take a cab from here.”

“Elena….”

“I insist,” she interrupted. “Liam, it was wonderful to see you again. I’m taking a rain check on lunch. Maybe we can get together next week?” Without waiting for an answer she swept out of the building and hailed a passing cab, leaving both men silently watching her exit.

“So,” Alek cleared his throat, his amused gaze meeting Liam’s. “Lunch?”

The second Alek gestured for Liam to lead the way to the counter, his heart started to pound. What had he done? He didn’t want to give Alek false hope, and he still wasn’t sure he could truly get over the hurt inflicted, but the invitation felt right. Oh well, he thought. It’s too late now.

After placing his order, he led the way to a table which might afford them a little more privacy. There were a few things he wanted to discuss.

The two men sat quietly for a few moments before Alek finally broke the silence. “I’m really happy you invited me, but I have to admit I’m surprised.”

Stalling, Liam took a fortifying sip of tea. “Honestly, I wanted to clear the air about something, and I didn’t feel right telling you by text or over the phone.”

“Oh?” Alek stiffened slightly.

“Nathan isn’t my boyfriend. We’re not together.”

“You’re… you’re not dating?”

“No, we’re not, but he has become a dear friend of mine.”

“But Elena told me she saw the two of you holding hands. And Bryce said….”

Liam sighed. “Elena misinterpreted. She saw one friend giving comfort to another. As for Bryce? He’s protective. I’m sure he thought he was doing me a favour.”

Alek’s eyes were wider than normal and he appeared shell-shocked. “That sounds like something Bryce would do. He’s always given me a hard time.”

“He hated that I chose to step back into the closet, and blamed you for it. It goes against his flamboyant nature.”

“I’m not sure what to say. This is a surprise.”

Liam took a breath and steeled himself for what he was going to say next. “Don’t misunderstand. I didn’t tell you this because I wanted us back together. I thought you deserved the truth.”

Alek deflated slightly, but not as much as Liam would have thought. “Even when you were single, I never let myself believe you would give me another chance. I’ll be honest… it was easier not to have hope when I thought you’d found someone else, but I won’t put any pressure on you. I know you don’t want an ‘us’ anymore.”

“Thank you,” Liam responded, feeling himself relax, even as a feeling of sadness settled through him. “I don’t know if it’s possible, but I would like to try to be friends again someday.”

Alek didn’t respond right away. Both men quietly concentrated on their meals for several minutes before Alek finally spoke. Liam fidgeted, unsure of what Alek was thinking,

“Are you sure you can do that? Be my friend, I mean,” he asked. “I know how much I hurt you. Friendship is a lot to ask.”

“To be honest, I don’t know if I can do it, but I know I’m tired of being angry. I want to get past that. We might not be able to hang out like buddies, but I think we can be civil, and maybe even have dinner together once in a while.” Liam raised his bagel in a salute before taking another bite.

“I’d like that.” Alek smile was tentative, and he seemed unsure of himself as he picked his sandwich apart. “How have you been? We talked a little about me last night, but I don’t know what’s been happening in your life.”

“Well, you know about the accident,” Liam began, earning an eye roll and mock scowl. “I finally decided to go back to school.”

“You did?” Alek leaned forward, looking as excited as Corey had about the news. “That’s wonderful.”

“Yeah. I applied to the Queen’s University physiotherapy program. I should find out in a few weeks if I got in.”

“You’ll get in,” Alek replied, sounding confident. “You’re one of the smartest men I know.”

“I don’t know about that, but thank you for the vote of confidence. Corey’s pretty stoked.”

“I’m sure he is. He’s been after you about school for as long as I’ve known him.”

“Yes, he has. Well he got his wish. I hope I don’t disappoint him.”

“I can’t see how you could. If I know Corey, he’ll be scheduling study sessions around patients.”

That comment had Liam laughing so hard his eyes began to water. “Oh, God. Now I’m picturing him following me down the halls, book in hand, quizzing me about the skeletal system.”

“Or showing up at your house before class because he knows you have a test that day and wants to help you cram.”

Both men were soon laughing, lunch momentarily forgotten. Liam told Alek more about the program, and Alek told him how busy the garage had become. Before Liam knew it, an hour had passed, and their food was long gone.

Alek was listening to Liam lament about wanting his cast off when the big Russian yawned.

“I know I’m not the most interesting guy in the world, but this must be the first time I’ve put someone to sleep.”

Alek’s blush was adorable. “Sorry. It’s not you. I guess I was more tired than I thought.”

Liam patted Alek’s arm. “We should probably be going anyways. Go home and take a nap.”

Alek’s smile turned melancholy. “I don’t really want this to end. I know it was just lunch, and I have no expectations, but I feel like when we leave here, we’re never going to be this comfortable with each other again.” He looked down at the table. “That probably sounds stupid.”

“No, I think I understand. This was spur of the moment. Neither of us expected it, so it was easier. If we want to spend time together again, it’ll have to be planned, and that could be awkward.”

“Yes, that’s it exactly. I haven’t had this much fun since before… well you know.”

“I’m sorry I can’t say anything to make this better,” Liam said softly. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I’m tired of being angry and hurt. Being here with you… the sense of normalcy, it helped more than you can know.”

“Then it was worth it,” Alek responded while reaching across the table to squeeze his good hand. “No matter what tomorrow brings.”

A big thank you and a :hug: to my editor and friend, Gary.  He always has great advice and helpful suggestions.  Thank you to everyone who reads and supports this story.  I appreciate all of your support.  

Copyright © 2017 LitLover; 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



I hope Liam's apparent decision not to let Alex back in his life stays that way.  Nathan would be the better choice for him.  Nathan's not pressuring him, but he is more mature than Alex who hurt Liam badly.  I wouldn't give him another chance considering Liam has his doubts about it not happening again.

 

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Poor Elena will be so disappointed... :P

 

The convo between Liam and Marty got me thinking. I had assumed that Alek was being truthful and didn't consider him saying it to impress/woo Liam. What was also interesting was Liam admitting to holding onto the anger and still feeling the disappointment he wasn't higher on the priority list. It has given Liam an awful lot to think about... 

 

As for the ending, I can't help thinking of the von Trapp children, so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye... :)

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Good chapter. Happy that it sounds like Liam is finally starting to move forward. Obviously he has trust issues with Alek, and for VERY good reason. For me, personally, once trust is lost there's no getting it back. Cut my losses and move on. I feel that Nathan has kind of been friend zoned, LOL, but there are plenty of good guys out there for Liam. Hopefully the lunch with Alek brought this chapter of his life to a close and will open up new and different possibilities.

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NO !  Liam, please, friend zoning Alek would be a big mistake ... please, no ... 

:run away sobbing:

This frank and open conversation, though so authentic and real, breaks my heart ...

:,(

 

  • Like 4
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An honest, civil conversation between Liam and Alek was long overdue. Nice to see Liam get over some of his anger and for Alek to be honest in his feelings. Maybe this baby step will help clear a path to friendship for these two. And maybe a renewed romance? Thanks. Jeff

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 A healthy conversation!... Hopefully this will give closure to Liam. 
 Liam now has the complete picture of his previous relationship with Alec. If both guys could have communicated. They might not be where they find themselves! ?

  • Like 4
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:-) I guess A-team is happy with this chapter. I was more than one time told, that it never works getting back together after a break up. I know better, it depends on the circumstances. ;-) Very sweet, emotional and touching chapter.

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I like to think that the lunch meant closure for Liam and Alek. Now Liam can move on even if it means someone besides Nathan.  ;-)

 

Spoiler

But I’m still Team Nathan all the way!

 

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I'm really torn here...Nathan would seem to be the perfect guy for Liam...but learning about Alek's true relationship with Nata(lia--sha?) changes things.  And there is the fact that he finally came out to his parents and is financially free...all the impediments to their being together seem to be gone.  Liam already knew how hard it was to stop caring for Alek, and now that things might be possible again--it comes down to trust.  I've been there before...the guy wanted to come back, but I tried it for only one more date--it wasn't the same and I found that the bond had been broken which we'd shared.

If the bond was strong enough, perhaps it could be re-forged...only Liam can know that. 

Eager for more!

  • Like 5
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Excellent Chapter. I am enjoying how you are showing Liam and Alek starting to have the potential for a lasting friendship. On to shipping now: how about Alek and Nathan in the long term and Liam and Marty (i always figured him as a switch hitter or maybe still "confused") Time and more chapters will tell

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I get it. Alek let Liam down and hurt him. He was an idiot. He was upfront with Liam from the beginning and we know that from "Unforgivable," but he was a fool to think Liam would be happy with a foot in the closet for long. Still, Liam bears some responsibility. Alek took advantage... he had his business, and his Liam. BUT... he never cheated on Liam. He was never abusive or mean. He so obviously loves the man... enough he is letting him go even though it hurts. Everything I've seen of the man says he's deserving of a second chance. Maybe he'll get it and maybe he won't. But, I don't see any thing here that is unforgivable. As far as this chapter, I love dthe conversation with Marty, and I loved the clearing of the air with Liam. It was important for him. That's it... all I got... <drops mic> cheers... Gary....

Edited by Headstall
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I like that -- Team Liam. :)

 

The conversation between Liam and Alek was very mature, and it seemed so natural. Nothing they said sounded forced.

 

I totally get Liam being so tired of all the anger and hurt he's still carrying around. It's good that they could sort of come to some kind of closure -- even if it was romantic closure and not friend closure. Does that make sense?

 

I agree with Dugh when he said that Liam will be busy with school and work; he might not even have time for a partner. I do hope, though, that he and Nathan will remain friends.

 

Great chapter, Lit! :)

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Liam has made his choice....it's Team Liam all the way.  The conversation with Alek was for the sake of clearing the air and closing a chapter. Friends? Maybe.  Nathan will be a friend. But for now, Liam needs to concentrate on himself. 

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I think the friendship is a great idea, because the real test comes when Alek's parents happen to run into Alek and Liam together. I'm sure they'll assume all sorts of things (which would have been correct a year earlier) and Alek's reaction will make or break his chance of winning Liam back - or the chance of friendship with Liam, Corey and Jason. Liam needs to experience for himself that he's moved up on Alek's priority list to range alongside his family. Ideally, Alek should tell his parents that pleasing them cost him his best chance of happiness with the man he loves, and he's not going to let them destroy the friendship with the only people who truly accepts him. In fact, Liam needs to see Alek chose him again and again, before he can let go of the anger and hurt, and perhaps contemplate choosing Alek back.

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On 3/30/2017 at 10:16 AM, Terry P said:

I hope Liam's apparent decision not to let Alex back in his life stays that way.  Nathan would be the better choice for him.  Nathan's not pressuring him, but he is more mature than Alex who hurt Liam badly.  I wouldn't give him another chance considering Liam has his doubts about it not happening again.

 

 

Liam does have a lot of valid concerns.  Whether or not he will be able to move on with Nathan?  I can't say.  


Thank you for your comment and support, Terry :) 

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On 3/30/2017 at 10:32 AM, Wesley8890 said:

Awesome chapter! Loved the honesty between liam and alek

 

Thank you!  I hope you continue to enjoy the story, Wesley :) 

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On 3/30/2017 at 10:43 AM, Bucket1 said:

Poor Elena will be so disappointed... :P

 

The convo between Liam and Marty got me thinking. I had assumed that Alek was being truthful and didn't consider him saying it to impress/woo Liam. What was also interesting was Liam admitting to holding onto the anger and still feeling the disappointment he wasn't higher on the priority list. It has given Liam an awful lot to think about... 

 

As for the ending, I can't help thinking of the von Trapp children, so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye... :)

 

It's not surprising that Liam's close (and protective) friends would questions Alek's motives, right?  

 

And now I'm replaying the Sound of Music Soundtrack in my head ;) 

 

Thank you for your comments and support, B :hug: 

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