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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 - 17. Chapter 17

Chapter 17


It’d been a week since Liam got the news about school, and he was still walking on a cloud. Corey, as expected, had been ecstatic for him, and they talked often about what Liam should expect when classes started. Liam was also happy to finally be back at work. It was great his boss had given him so much time off, but he loved working, and talking to the patients. There was only so much down time he could handle before he went stir-crazy.

The early afternoon sun was shining brightly, and the day was mild, so Liam decided to walk downtown and find something for lunch. He didn’t eat out often, but he’d been procrastinating going to the grocery store, and the cupboards were pretty bare.

The walk was quick, and soon he was seated at a table, inhaling the delicious aromas of homemade soup, bacon, and coffee. The bell over the front door chimed and he smiled and waved when Elena looked his way. With an answering grin, she immediately walked to his side.

“Hey there, stranger. You’re looking much better than last time I saw you.”

“Thanks,” Liam replied, touching the now healed cut on his head. “It seems like it’s taking forever, but I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.” He lifted his casted arm. “This thing is supposed to come off later this week. I can’t wait.”

“I can’t imagine.” Elena shook her head. “I’ve never broken anything, thank goodness.”

“Pull up a chair and join me for lunch.”

“Thanks. I’d love to. So, how have you been? My brother tells me you two actually had a civilized conversation.”

“We did,” Liam replied with a nod of his head. “It was good to clear the air.”

A slim hand reached across the table and rested on Liam’s forearm. “I’m sorry for my part in the misunderstanding about Nathan. I honestly thought….” She paused and chewed lightly on her lower lip. “I was sure you were with him. You seemed close.”

“No harm done,” Liam tried to reassure her. “Alek knows Nathan and I are just good friends. Besides, it’s not like it kept Alek and I from getting back together.”

“Can I ask you a personal question?”

“Ask away, although I may not answer,” he joked.

Elena was interrupted by the waitress approaching to take their orders. Liam was pretty hungry, and chose the clubhouse sandwich and homemade tomato soup. As soon as she left, Elena turned her attention back to Liam.

“Have you considered forgiving Alek?”

“Elena… I….”

“I know he hurt you. He screwed up royally, and he knows it, believe me, but he did tell our parents the truth. Doesn’t that count for something?”

Liam sighed. “I don’t know, El. I’m happy he finally told your mom and dad, but he had a whole year to do it, and refused. Hell, it took him over six months after we broke up to pluck up the courage to step out of his closet.”

“He should have done it while you two were together,” Elena agreed, “but he never stopped loving you.”

“This isn’t something I can make a rash decision about,” Liam replied, studying the tabletop. “I forgave him over and over again, and it didn’t get me anywhere.”

“He’s been thinking lately about starting to date again.” Elena’s voice was so soft.

Liam’s gaze shot to hers, and he was surprised to see sadness there. “Oh?”

“I doubt he’ll jump back into anything yet, but if he doesn’t stand a chance with you, then he does need to move on. Friends have been trying to set him up, but he hasn’t been ready. I guess someone asked him out to dinner a few days ago. He turned the guy down, but it made him think about actually putting himself out there again.”

“I didn’t think any of his friends knew he was gay.”

“Oh, he told Jerome and Rene before he talked to mom and dad. I think a few employees know after dad caused that scene at the garage, but I’m not sure.”

“Wow,” Liam said, blinking in surprise. “That’s a surprise.”

“Why?” Elena replied, looking at him curiously. “He might be slow to get started, but when my brother sets his mind on something, he does it.”

“I wish he’d have set his mind on this while we were still together,” Liam muttered bitterly.

“A lot happened, so I would understand if you say no, but you have to admit you two were good together. I’d never seen my brother so happy as when he had you in his life.”

“It’s not an easy decision, Elena. I may love him, but I don’t know if I can ever trust Alek to put me first. How many chances can one person have before enough is enough?”

“Honestly, I would probably feel the same if this wasn’t my brother we were talking about.”

Conversation was interrupted again when the waitress delivered their meals. They ate silently for several minutes, each seemingly lost in their own thoughts. Liam’s mind was whirling, and he wasn’t sure of his own feelings. Seeing that blonde hit on Alek evoked strong jealousy, but not wanting Alek to be with another wasn’t a good reason to take the man back. Was it? Lost in his thoughts he didn’t realize Elena was speaking until she touched his arm.

“I’m sorry. I was somewhere else for a minute,” he said, feeling sheepish. “Were you saying something?”

Elena smiled sadly. “I said I was sorry for pressuring you. I might want you two to make up, but I’m not naïve enough to believe it would be a simple decision.”

“Thank you. This is a really hard position to be in,” Liam replied, playing with his food. With his stomach tied up in knots his appetite was gone. “I should get back to work.”

“And I should head to the clinic for my shift.”

Liam, over Elena’s objections, paid for both of their lunches and then, after a hug goodbye, walked swiftly to the office. He tried to keep his mind on his work, but his thoughts kept returning to his talk with Alek’s sister. Over the course of the afternoon Corey gave him curious looks, but they were so busy there was no time for small talk. As soon as he’d ushered the last client out of the building, Corey locked the door and stepped up to the reception desk.

“How was lunch? You seemed off when you got back.”

“I saw Elena.”

“Aleksei’s sister?”

“Yeah. She showed up at Annie’s and I invited her to join me.”

“How did that go? You said you and Alek talked, right?”

“She said Alek’s thinking about dating again.”

“And that bothers you.” It wasn’t a question.

Liam groaned and let his head thump down onto desk. “I hate it. I saw some blonde flirting with him the other day and wanted to claw the bastard’s eyes out. What the hell is wrong with me?”

Corey rubbed comforting circles over Liam’s shoulder. “There is nothing wrong with you. You still love the guy; of course the idea of him dating is going to bother you.”

“But I went through this already when I though he and Nalalia were together.”

“And it nearly killed you then. I was there, remember?”

“What do I do, Cor? I hate the idea of him dating, but I’m not ready to take him back. I don’t know if I ever will be.”

Corey paced for several minutes as Liam dug his thumbs into his temples, trying to stave off an impending headache.

“The way I see it,” Corey said, startling him. “You have two options. Either you do nothing, sort through your feelings in your own time, and let the chips fall where they may, or you talk to Alek and tell him how you feel.”

“Tell him how I feel? Wouldn’t that be giving him false hope? What if I decide I can never go back to him?”

“That’s why you would need to be honest. Tell him you still love him, but have a lot of baggage to work through before you can make any decisions. The ball will be in his court at that point. It’ll be up to him to decide if he’s willing to wait.”

“And if I don’t say anything?”

“Then you risk him finding someone else. I don’t say that don’t hurt or pressure you, but it is a fact. Alek would and should eventually get on with his life.”

“It just doesn’t seem fair,” Liam said, leaning back in the chair and closing his eyes. “I’d be asking him to wait for me, without any guarantee we would ever get back together.”

“I’m willing to bet he’d be happy knowing he’s still in the running at all.”

“What would you do?”

“I honestly don’t know. I’m the first to admit I made mistakes with Jason. When he came back into my life, I was still stuck on the stupid things he did in the past. Jason wasn’t that same person. He grew up, but I had a hard time getting past what happened when we were younger.”

“He’d cheated on your friend, didn’t he?”

Corey nodded in agreement. “He did, and I hated him because of it, for a long time. When I saw him again at his brother’s wedding, I was an ass.” Corey’s eyes got a far off look as if he was reliving his memories. “It took time to see the man he’d become, and not the idiot kid he’d been.”

“Alek’s not a college kid. He was an adult who made the choice to let me go.”

“Yes, he was, and he’d probably agree it was the dumbest thing he’s ever done. This isn’t about him, though. It’s about you. What can you live with? Is it in you to give him the opportunity to prove he’s changed, or are you prepared to let him go for good? If you don’t think you can get past the hurt, then you need to make peace with that and get on with your life. Being happy doesn’t mean you need a man in your life, even if you are a great catch.”

Liam snorted a laugh. “Sure. I’m the catch of the year.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, Li. You’re a great guy. Anyone would be lucky to have you.”

“I feel like I keep going around and around about all of this. I wish I could just make a decision. Hell, we broke up months ago.”

“It took Jason a long time to mature, and it took me even longer to let go of the past and forgive what he did to Pierre. Some things can’t be rushed.”

“So… talk to Alek?”

“Only if you want to. You’re not obligated to forgive him, or even be polite to the guy on the street.” Corey nudged Liam’s chair with his leg and smiled. “I don’t know if I ever told you how proud I was of you for putting your foot down with him. You were hurting, and made the hard choice to walk away, no matter how painful it was. I don’t want you to compromise that strength, but I don’t think you’re ready to give up on Alek. If you were, seeing that man flirting with him wouldn’t have affected you so much.”

“Does that make me a glutton for punishment? If I do this, I can’t help feeling like I’m letting him off the hook. Again.”

“Giving the man a chance to prove himself doesn’t mean letting him walk all over you, or even jumping into a relationship with him. You were right to leave when you did. Stick to your guns, and set out terms and conditions for both of you. You could start over again as friends, and be very clear about what you expect from him and what he can expect from you. It sounds like Alek’s already taken the first steps to becoming the partner you need him to be; now he needs to be patient and give you time to believe in him again, if that’s even possible.”

“How did you get so smart?”

“By almost losing the love of my life? If I didn’t us a chance, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

Liam stood and hugged the man who was so much more than a boss. “You’ve given me a lot to think about.”

“I know this whole thing has been hard on you. It’s never easy to be disappointed by someone you love. Alek is lucky you didn’t write him off.”

“I feel like whatever I decide, my life will never be the same.”

“It won’t be. You’ll either be on the road to a life with Alek at your side, if he doesn’t fuck it all up again, or you’ll be a happy and healthy, single physiotherapist. Either way, you have an amazing boss.”

Liam laughed as some of the heaviness of the conversation dissipated.

“Do me a favour and stop beating yourself up.” Corey gripped Liam’s shoulder. “This is your life. No one else gets to decide what will make you happy.”

Liam took a deep breath and met Corey’s kind eyes. “I think I know what I need to do.”

A huge thank you goes out to my incredible, crazy, and dedicated editor and friend, Gary for working through the flu to get this chapter back to me in time for posting.  You are truly amazing.  :worship:  Thank you to everyone who reads and supports this story.  :thankyou:


If you want to weigh in on the Alek debate, please feel free to join us here.

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

Liam is a lucky guy to be surrounded by so good friends! I must admit, that I think he has to go the way with Alek again, obviously the man is not out of his system jet.

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And I think Liam needs to see a therapist about his emotionally abusive relationship with Alek. Going back to the abusive partner is a typical pattern for the abused. Liam needs to break the pattern. Then he can start seeing a man who is capable of an emotionally mature relationship: Nathan.


Repeating old patterns is not healthy.

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6 hours ago, droughtquake said:

And I think Liam needs to see a therapist about his emotionally abusive relationship with Alek. Going back to the abusive partner is a typical pattern for the abused. Liam needs to break the pattern. Then he can start seeing a man who is capable of an emotionally mature relationship: Nathan.


Repeating old patterns is not healthy.

I absolutely agree!! Total battered wife's syndrome! No matter how many black eyes, broken bones or trips to the hospital, they go back because "she loves him, and he says he's sorry and he'll never do it again". This sounds exactly like what everyone wants Liam to do for Alek! So what if Alek repeatedly disrespected u as a person, said I love you as he's pushing u out the back door because daddy is coming up the front walkway, made u feel like u weren't even on his list of people important to him, made u feel less than. How many chances does everyone think this douchebag deserves??? I wouldn't have given him a second chance, much less the fifth, sixth, or seventh chance you all want Liam to give. I don't think Nathan will be the one, but Liam can do much better than a loser who used him as a doormat!

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I understand that both @droughtquake and @jaysalmn think that Liam could do better, it is not really about Alek or Nathan, it is about Liam.


All the comments for this chapter, or this entire story ( and to some extent in the discussion taking place in the Forum ), they all read like that there is a real couple who have broken up and we, the readers, are their friends.  We're taking sides based on how much we love one or the other of the couple.  If one loves Liam more, then he very well should move on from that SOB, he has suffered enough; because he is such a sweet and loving person, he deserves someone better.  If one loves Alek more, then of course he should be given yet another chance, he has begun to live his own life truthfully and he, Aleksei, also deserves a chance at happiness with Liam.


Congratulations @LitLover for writing something so realistic that you've us all up in arms over the two of them.  Personally, I would like to project myself into Corey in this story, he has grown and matured into such a great person, a fair employer, loyal friend and wise individual and married to a loving husband ... can't get better than that ...


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Thanks for continuing this story, really looking forward for Liam and Alek to get togather again.

Sure Liam is unsure but in this real world it is still hard to come out specially to the families who are not open so I think Alek needs a brake too, Kuddos for finally having the courage to stand for himself

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I believe Alek has truly changed and will put Liam and their relationship first from now on. I've broken up with someone and taken them back after a year. It didn't work out, but I'm glad I tried, or I would always have wondered 'What if?'  I think Liam should give it a try, first as close friends and then more if he feels like it. He'll never be able to move on, if he doesn't try dating an out Alek and see whether it makes a difference.

Edited by Timothy M.
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On 5/4/2017 at 10:09 AM, Wesley8890 said:

Corey is one of the best friends you can have. I hope liam can at least talk to Alek.


Corey is a pretty good friend.  He only wants what's best for those he cares about. 

Thank you for your comments and support, Wesley :) 

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