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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 - 16. Chapter 16

Chapter 16

 

Liam couldn’t believe how fast four days had gone by. Now he was back at the airport, waiting to board his flight to Toronto. Marty had dropped him off over an hour ago, and Liam missed the man already. Although they wouldn’t be living in the same city, he was really looking forward to having his best friend in the same province.

His last night in Halifax had been wonderful. He and Marty had gone out for a lobster dinner, and then binge watched an entire season of Big Bang Theory. They could have gone out, but he wanted his best friend to himself for a while. Liam was relieved the evening was about fun and laughter, and that Marty didn’t bring up this dad or Alek. There were things Liam still needed to process, and he wanted time with his own feelings before discussing them with anyone, even his best friend.

The trip to Toronto was uneventful, and he managed to make it out of the airport unscathed. Traffic through the city was lighter than expected, and soon he was pulling up to Bryce’s condo complex to pick up his miffed cat. Liam grinned when, after knocking, he could hear Tux meowing from the other side of the door. He was a good watch-cat, even if he would give up all of Liam’s belongings for a baggie of catnip.

“Liam,” Bryce greeted him with a grin. “How was your trip? Did you have a good time?” His friend welcomed him inside. Welcoming him inside, the questions continued. “Are you hungry? I made way too much food for just me.”

“Yes. Yes, and I’m starved,” Liam replied with a laugh. “I don’t like eating much before flying, and I didn’t want to stop anywhere along the 401.

Bryce nodded. “I’m the same way. I just want to get to my destination. Well, take off your jacket and say hello to that damned cat before he disowns you for the rest of his nine lives.”

Liam knelt on the hardwood floor and reached out to scratch his furry buddy behind an ear. He was pleased when Tux nuzzled into his hand, purring.

“I guess he missed you.”

“He must have. It normally takes him a while to forgive me for abandoning him.”

After a few minutes of undivided attention, Tux flicked his tail and stalked across the room and hopped onto a window sill. With his greetings out of the way, Liam followed Bryce to the kitchen and, after washing up, dug into Bryce’s signature mushroom risotto. Liam had been trying to make the dish for years, and never seemed to get it right.

After their initial hunger had been sated, Bryce again asked about Liam’s trip to Halifax.

“It was great seeing everyone. I haven’t laid eyes on some of them for years, and a visit to Marty’s parents was long overdue. I’ve missed them so much. “

“Well, you did say they were like second parents.”

“They are. Eileen and Walter always treated me like one of the family. It felt like going home again.”

“You sound like you really miss living there.” Bryce gave him a searching look before taking another bite of his meal.

“I do at times, but Kingston is my home now.”

“So many of your friends and family live out east. Do you ever think about moving back?”

“I have,” Liam replied honestly, “but it’s not the same anymore. I’ve built a life in Kingston. I have a great job, a great boss, and soon I hope I’ll be attending a great school.”

“All you need now is a great man in your bed,” Bryce said with a wink.

Liam snorted. “Not everything is about getting laid, Bry.”

“Doesn’t hurt.”

Liam shook his head and smiled. Bryce never seemed to change.

“Speaking of men,” Bryce said as he gathered their plates and began rinsing the dishes. “How are things going with the hot paramedic?”

“Nathan?” Liam raised an eyebrow and grinned. “He’s doing great. Why do you ask?”

“No reason,” Bryce replied, ducking his head and turning to the sink.

“Does someone have a crush?”

“No, don’t be stupid. I don’t do crushes. I just thought if you really weren’t interested in the guy, he might be fun to play with next time I visit.”

Liam scoffed internally. His friend had never displayed much interest in anyone past the first meeting, or one night stand. On the other hand, he didn’t want Nathan consumed by the force of nature that was Bryce. “Nathan is a really nice guy, Bry. Don’t play with him… please.”

Bryce huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m not that bad, Li.”

“No,” Liam agreed, pulling his friend into a hug. “I know you’re not, but I’m not sure Nathan is a ‘hit it and quit it’ type of guy. If you want to go there with him, at least be up front about what you’re looking for.”

“You really wouldn’t mind?” Bryce asked, looking up at Liam through long lashes. “I wouldn’t be stepping on your toes?”

Liam sighed and leaned back against the kitchen island. “Believe me, I wish I was interested in Nathan like that. My life would be so much simpler, but no, he’s just a friend. A good friend, but a friend nonetheless.”

“Still hung up on Alek?”

“Ugh,” Liam grumbled, and looked up at the ceiling. “Yes. I can’t seem to walk away. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment?”

“Eddie said Alek finally manned up with the parents. Is that true?” Eddie was a mutual friend, who knew Alek from his bouncer days. Liam enjoyed the younger man’s company, but he was still in the ‘fuck anything with a dick’ stage of his life, so they didn’t hang out often.

“Yeah, he did.”

“How fast did Alek haul ass to tell you about it?”

“He didn’t tell me. I overheard a conversation between Alek and his dad, and confirmed it with Natascha later. It’s true.”

“Alek didn’t tell you himself?” Bryce’s disbelief was obvious. “I thought he would’ve been at your door the second he finally did it. He knew it was what you wanted.”

“I know,” Liam replied, rubbing his palms over his face. “I was surprised too. Apparently, he thought I was with Nathan, and didn’t want to interfere.”

“I think I might have had something to do with that.”

“That’s what Alek said.”

“I don’t know if I should apologize or not. How do you feel about everything?”

“Don’t apologize. I get why you did it, and I appreciate you trying to help. Honestly, I’m kind of confused, and don’t know how to feel. I’ve been trying to get over the guy for months, and now he goes and does something I begged for? Why now? Why not when he still had me?”

“Well, you did say he was pretty shook up after your accident. I wonder if that had something to do with it.”

“He admitted seeing me in the wreck did something to him, and he didn’t want to live a lie anymore.”

“So you did talk to him about all of this?”

“A couple of days before I went to Halifax actually. We bumped into each other and ended up having lunch. We cleared the air about a lot of things. I fessed up about Nathan being just a friend, and he apologized for hurting me.”

“I can’t believe he actually did it. I’ll give the guy props. Coming out is tough, especially when you don’t have anyone to do it for.”

“You came out to your parents when you were single.”

“Please,” Bryce retorted, rolling his eyes. “They realized I was gay by the time I was ten. All I did was confirm it.”

Liam laughed, feeling some of the tension leave his shoulders. “I think it was the same with me. My dad didn’t seem surprised at all. I think he was more shocked I aced math that year. It was never my strong suit.”

“So what are you going to do?” Bryce’s gaze met his with sympathy and concern.

“I don’t know yet. I do know I can’t jump back into a relationship with him again, even if I still love him. Forgiving Alek over and over again is what got me in the position I’m in now. Maybe if we spend more time around each other, out in public, I can gauge how far out of the closet he’s willing to step. I know he came out to his parents, but what about his employees? Friends? I need someone who is going to be completely out of the closet. Halfway won’t cut it. Not anymore.”

“It’s probably a good idea for you to take things slow. Time will tell how sincere Alek really is.” Bryce pulled Liam into another hug, kissing his cheek. “You know I love you, Li. I’ll support whatever you decide, but if he hurts you again, I’m going to cut off his balls.”

Liam laughed and squeezed his friend tightly. “Thank you, Bry. I appreciate it, and I love you too.”

 

Liam pulled up to his apartment and quickly unloaded his bag and Tux’s carrier. The feline head-butted him and then wandered off to his favorite window ledge. After shooting a text to Marty and Corey to let them know he made it home safely, he ran downstairs to check the mail.

Thumbing through the envelopes, he stumbled on the stairs when he spotted a Queen’s University logo on the cover of a large manila package. With shaking hands he tore open paper and pulled out the correspondence inside. His eyes couldn’t focus on anything past the word ‘Congratulations.’ He’d gotten in.

The cell phone was buzzing on the coffee table when he walked into his apartment. Still staring at the thick paper, he sat and blindly grabbed for the phone.

“Hello?”

“Liam?” Nathan’s voice broke into his thoughts. “Are you all right? You sound strange?”

“I got in,” he responded, his voice barely a whisper.

“Got in?”

“To Queens. I just got the acceptance letter.”

“Oh, my God!” Nathan exclaimed. “We have to go out and celebrate. Call Corey and see if he’s free too. I’m sure he’ll be ecstatic.”

Liam grinned running his fingers over the page. “That sounds like a great idea. What time do you want to meet?”

“How about I make the arrangements and text you? Send me Corey’s contact information and I’ll let him know too. Congratulations, Liam. I knew you’d get in.”

“Thank you. I’m still pinching myself.” After saying goodbye, Liam called his boss, and had to pull the phone away from his ear when Corey started shouting. Laughing happily, he told his boss about Nathan’s celebration plans. Corey confirmed both he and Jason would be there and would wait for Nathan’s call.

With a grin he couldn’t wipe off his face, he called Marty with the news, was informed his acceptance was never in doubt, unpacked, and then showered. While he was going through his closet, trying to decide what to wear, a text came in from Nathan saying they had dinner reservations at a popular waterfront restaurant, and he would pick up Liam in twenty minutes. Hurriedly dressing, he grabbed his coat and practically skipped down the stairs.

As he waited, a familiar voice caught his attention from the direction of the parking lot. Turning, he saw Alek, looking dusty but handsome, in snug jeans and a jacket emblazoned with his garage’s name. His ex was looking under the hood of a shiny black SUV and hadn’t noticed him. A slender blonde man stood at his side, obviously checking out Alek’s… assets as he bent over the engine.

“It’s your fan belt. I should have one at the shop, but I’ll have to tow you in.”

“That’s okay,” the blonde replied with a grin. “I don’t mind. Can I ride over with you?”

“Not a problem,” Alek replied, grabbing a rag from the tow truck and wiping off his hands. “I’ll have you on your way in no time.”

“I owe you one.” The man stepped closer and placed a hand on Alek’s forearm. “Maybe I can take you out to dinner tonight? As a thank you?”

“There’s no need,” Alek replied, sounding every bit the professional. “It’s my job.”

Jealousy hit Liam hard as the man leaned closer and whispered something in Alek’s ear. He couldn’t hear what was said, but whatever it was made Alek laugh and shake his head. With all of his recent introspection, it never occurred to him that Alek might be the one to move on. Why wouldn’t he? Liam had made it clear he was only interested in friendship. Liam’s breath hitched, and the noise must have alerted both men to his presence. They turned, and Alek’s face lit up with a smile.

“Liam,” he called out, moving towards him at the same time, and leaving the customer next to the vehicles. “How are you?”

Liam looked at the scowling blonde for a moment before meeting Alek’s bright brown eyes. “I’ve been great. I just got my acceptance from Queens. Nathan, Corey, and Jason are taking me out to celebrate.”

With a whoop of joy Alek pulled him into a hug before pulling away with a sheepish apology. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I knew you could do it, Li. I told you: you’re the smartest man I know.”

Liam reached for Alek’s hand and gave the callous-roughened palm a squeeze. “Thank you. What are you...?” His words were cut off by a car pulling up beside them and Nathan hopping out of the vehicle.

“Are you ready to head out?” Nathan looked between Alek and Liam, his curiosity obvious.

“Yep. The drinks are on Corey tonight.” Liam gave Alek a small smile. “I’ll talk to you later?”

“Of course,” Alek replied, smiling back. “You’ll do great. I know it.”

As they pulled away from the curb, Liam turned and saw Alek walking back to his customer. He stifled a sigh, and reigned in his urge to go back and tell the blonde bitch to back off. Alek wasn’t his to claim. Not anymore.

Sending a big thank you, and a :hug: to my editor, beta reader and friend, Gary.  Thank you to all of you who read and support this story :thankyou: 

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 think Drew has coerced LitLover into writing this chapter. It’s the only explanation for Liam dismissing Nathan’s obvious charms! I think Liam should explore living life unencumbered by a boyfriend who is so tethered by family commitments like Alek.

 

But now that Drew has gotten his way, maybe Nathan can accept a job in the SF Bay Area…  ;-)

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6 minutes ago, droughtquake said:

I think Drew has coerced LitLover into writing this chapter. It’s the only explanation for Liam dismissing Nathan’s obvious charms! I think Liam should explore living life unencumbered by a boyfriend who is so tethered by family commitments like Alek.

 

But now that Drew has gotten his way, maybe Nathan can accept a job in the SF Bay Area…  ;-)

I have no part in Lit's story, as editor, beta-reader, and such. :P So, you can't blame this on me!

 

Anyways, stop pouting and accept the sexy Russian! :D 

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12 minutes ago, Drew Espinosa said:

I have no part in Lit's story, as editor, beta-reader, and such. :P So, you can't blame this on me!

Says the sashaying Texan who claims to be Emperor…

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56 minutes ago, Drew Espinosa said:

I feel like Liam is moving the goal post. :unsure: I recall from the earliest chapters that Liam and Alek broke up because Alek wasn't out and open about their relationship to his family. Now, Liam's saying he'll consider taking Alek back after he proves he's out to his friends and coworkers? :huh: 

 

I remember him being sad about not being able to talk much to Alek at a hockey match, for fear of his teammates getting suspicious. 

 

Hmm, I went back and checked Unforgivable, but I couldn't find any mention of it. Only Alek being nervous about people overhearing his talk with Liam and Corey.

Edited by Timothy M.
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I'm not going to say that I'm not feeling smug right now... :rolleyes:

 

A great chapter Lit.. Yay, for Liam getting into school. I agree, Liam's time away did give him perspective, but he's still muddled. He needs to examine his own motivations I think.. That said, why didn't he just ask Alek along to celebrate. I like that Alek is still mindful of their boundaries though. His joy for Liam was so heartfelt.. 

 

Ahh. Nyce... Book 3? Taming Bryce or, that time Nathan discovered his wild side.. 

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3 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

You just gotta love Liam! Glad his life is moving forward, and he's been accepted to college. Now, let's work on team Marty. ?

If Liam doesn't want Marty... I'll take him! 

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6 hours ago, Drew Espinosa said:

Ah thanks Tim! :hug: However, throughout this story, the focus has been on Alek coming out to his family, so Liam's demand that Alek must be out to his friends and coworkers feels sudden and out of left field. I still can't help but feel he's shifting the goal post.

 

I see you point, but he's not actually telling Alek this, so it's more like he's trying to work out in his own head, what would make him trust Alek. See also my post in the story topic.

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I like Liam best when he thinks through his choices and is comfortable with them...it seems that he had never been wholly comfortable giving up Alek. It will be interesting to see if this will spur Liam to resolve this in some way. However you write it, I am sure it will be enjoyable.

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Ok, everyone to their thinking spots! Time to figure out exactly what they actually want!  

:2thumbs:

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