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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 - 19. Chapter 19

Chapter 19

 

Liam waited nervously for Corey and Jason by the doors of the arena. Alek would likely have arrived earlier and would now be ensconced in the locker room with the rest of his team. Corey had agreed immediately to attend, and since Jason was a hockey fan, it didn’t take much convincing to get him to come to the men’s league game.

Liam bit back a smile as he thought of his conversation with Bryce before leaving the apartment. Bryce tried to convince him to wear his flashiest outfit, and wave pompoms. Just the idea of it still filled him with amusement.

Liam pulled away from the wall he’d been leaning against, and waved as Jason’s truck pulled into the lot. “Hey, guys,” Liam greeted them as they approached. “Thanks for doing this. I didn’t really want to come alone.”

“No problem,” Jason replied with a pat on the shoulder. “I’m looking forward to this.”

Corey chuckled, bumping hips with his husband. “Jason’s actually thinking of joining next year.”

“I didn’t realize you played.”

“Well, baseball is more my thing, but I did play a bit in high school and college. It’s been years, though, so I’d probably be crucified out there.”

The men entered the arena, paid their entry fee, and made their way to the stands.

“Maybe you can talk to Alek about joining when we go out later,” Corey said as they found seats near the centre line. “He’d probably have some great tips.”

Liam lost track of the couple’s conversation when the teams skated into the rink. He didn’t know why, but he always found the sight of Alek in his uniform arousing. Alek appeared to be scanning the seats until his brown eyes met Liam’s. The man looked both relieved and happy as his mouth widened into a grin before moving into formation to take warm-up shots against the goalie.

Soon, the referees called for the game to start, and Liam, Corey and Jason sat forward, ready to cheer. The pace was quick, and the men glided over the ice as is they were born with skates strapped to their feet. Since his first game over a year ago, Liam had learned a lot more about the rules, and he cheered and cat-called with the most devout fans. The teams were evenly matched and the play intense, but Alek’s team finally won after a highlight worthy pass from Alek to Rene, resulting in a goal in the final seconds of the third period. Liam leapt from his seat, cheering and whistling as Alek celebrated on the ice.

Distantly, Liam was aware of Corey and Jason cheering beside him. Liam looked down at the ice and found Alek watching him with a happy smile lighting up his face. With a responding grin, Liam waved as the players acknowledged their fans.

“Come on,” Jason said, drawing Liam’s attention. “Let’s head out to the lobby to wait for Alek.”

The outer room was crowded with people chattering and laughing as they finished their drinks. Liam’s group found a quiet corner and watched a handful of kids who’d started an impromptu game with rolled up hockey tape and mini-sticks.

“Liam.” Alek’s voice immediately caught Liam’s attention. Alek’s hair was still damp and he looked delicious in snug jeans and a form fitting long sleeve shirt. The smile on the man’s face only added to his appeal.

“Alek,” Liam replied as the taller man approached them. “Great game!”

“Thanks. For a while there, I wasn’t sure we were going to pull it off. I thought we’d have to go into overtime.”

“That was a great pass. Highlight quality stuff,” Jason interjected, sounding enthusiastic. Alek looked startled, as if just realizing they weren’t alone.

“Jason, Corey,” he greeted and shook their hands. “I’m glad you could make it.”

“It was fun,” Corey replied. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a game.”

“Aleksei, man. We’re headed out. You coming?” A couple of men approached from the direction of the change rooms.

Alek’s body stiffened as he turned to face his teammates. “I’m not sure.” When he looked over his shoulder at Liam, the apprehension in his eyes faded. With a smile and a subtle nod, Alek turned back to the other men. “I’m taking Liam out to celebrate.”

“Liam?” a stocky blonde inquired, hitching his hockey bag higher onto his shoulder.

Moving to stand closer to Liam, Alek placed a hand on his shoulder. “Liam, these are a few of my teammates: Rene, John and Lee. Guys, this is my ex-boyfriend, Liam, and those two”–he pointed his thumb to Corey and Jason–“are Liam’s boss, Corey, and his husband, Jason.”

Liam stared up at Alek. Shocked barely touched the surface of how he was feeling. Alek winked before turning back to the players with a smile. John’s face hardened and with a sound of disgust, and he stalked off, not looking back.

“Tabernak,” Rene swore in his Quebecois French. “I knew that guy was a prick.”

“You didn’t react much better when I first told you,” Alek pointed out with a chuckle.

“Maybe,” Rene agree. “But I smartened up, non?”

“So...,” Lee broke in with a low whistle. “Gay? I never would have guessed. Good thing I don’t gamble.”

“You don’t seem bothered by it,” Alek said, raising an eyebrow.

Lee shrugged his shoulder. “Meh. My uncle’s gay. Doesn’t matter to me.”

“Well then,” Rene said, slapping Alek on the bicep. “Are you and your friends coming to Raxx’s Bar with the rest of us, or what?”

Alek focused on Liam. “It’s up to you. This was supposed to be your celebration.”

Liam fidgeted from one foot to another. “I think it’s important for you to go out with your teammates, but I don’t want to cause any trouble.”

“Hey, man,” Lee said, stepping closer and lowering his voice. “Don’t let John scare you off. He’s an asshole to everybody.”

“I don’t know….” One by one, Liam met Corey’s, Jason’s and then Alek’s gazes. Alek’s expression was understanding, if a little nervous. “Okay. Let’s go. We can celebrate Queen’s and your win at the same time.”

“Queen’s?” Rene’s eyes widened comically.

Alek sputtered a laugh before smacking his friend lightly on the head. “Not that kind of queen, idiot. Liam got accepted to Queen’s University.” Everyone laughed as Rene grinned sheepishly.

 

After a quick strategy meeting, they decided to follow Alek to his place to drop off his truck and then drive to the bar in Jason’s vehicle.

“I’m impressed Alek was so open with his two friends,” Jason commented as they drove.

“He looked like he might pass out for a second, but he did it,” Corey agreed with a chuckle. “It’s too bad about John, but there always seems to be a bad apple in every batch.”

“I don’t think that’s the last bad reaction he’s going to have to deal with.” Liam stared out at the passing scenery. “Alek told me one of his employees quit.”

“We’ve all had people who reacted badly.” Corey turned in his seat to face Liam. “One of my roommates requested a transfer to another dorm when he found out.”

Jason shook his head and made a disgruntled noise. “Sounds like the guy was an asshole anyways. Good riddance.”

Corey laughed softly and leaned over the console to kiss his husband’s cheek. “Always the protector.”

Jason pulled into the driveway behind Alek, and they waited for the man to take his equipment into his garage before hopping in the back seat with Liam.

“I never understood why you don’t park in the garage,” Liam commented with a smile.

“You’ve seen the inside. My truck would never fit in there.”

“There’s a joke there somewhere,” Corey interjected, laughing when Liam playfully swatted the back of his head.

 

The bar was crowded by the time they finally arrived, and Liam recognized several players from the team. Looking around the dimly lit space, he spotted John sitting with a few other men. John glared before ducking his head and speaking furiously with his companions. The group looked over with varying expressions of surprise and disgust.

“Don’t look now,” Jason said to Alek, “but your buddy, Johnny, might be stirring up trouble.”

Alek didn’t even look in his teammate’s direction. “He’s an asshole. Not worth it.”

“Just be careful. All bigots can be dangerous: stupid bigots are even more so. Their hatred makes them brave.”

Liam nodded. Although he hadn’t had to deal with the physical side of hatred, he’d known men who’d been attacked. One college acquaintance was beaten so badly he still needed the assistance of a cane to walk. It was a scary world when people feared you.

“Don’t worry, I always watch my back; on and off the ice.”

Dropping the heavy conversation for now, they made their way through the crowd to the bar. Jason offered to buy the first round and disappeared through the throng. They were scouting for available seats when Rene appeared beside them.

“A bunch of us are sitting over there.” The man pointed to a large group sprawled over several tables pushed together. “We saved some seats for you and your friends.”

Alek looked surprised but pleased. He looked to Liam who nodded his agreement. “Sure. Sounds good.”

“Why don’t you two head over, and I’ll help Jase bring with the drinks,” Corey offered.

Liam thanked his boss, and then followed Alek to the boisterous group of hockey players, their wives and girlfriends.

“Hey guys,” Rene said, reclaiming a chair. “Look who I found.”

“Alek,” one of the guys called out. “Who’s your friend?”

Liam looked sideways, gauging Alek’s reaction. Although he seemed uncomfortable, he didn’t flinch from anyone’s gaze. “Guys, this is Liam… my ex-boyfriend.” The sudden silence at the table was deafening, but Alek didn’t look away.

Ex-boyfriend?” a tall lanky blonde commented with a smirk. “No wonder you’ve been grouchy as fuck this season. You’ve stopped getting laid on the regular.” The rest of the group burst into loud laughter, and the discomfort seemed to dissipate as the questions started: How long has Alek been gay? How did they meet? Why didn’t he tell anyone sooner? To his credit, Alek tried to answer as honestly as he could, and even admitted the reason for the breakup.

“I don’t know if I could’ve done it,” a man, introduced as Don, commented. “You’re gonna be in for a lot of shit, and from what I remember, your dad’s kind of a hard ass.”

“Oh we’ve had it out already,” Alek replied with a loud exhalation of breath. “... A few times. He even caused a scene at the shop.”

“That must’ve gone over like a lead balloon.”

“Had one guy quit, but the others have stayed on so far.”

Liam listened to the conversation, still feeling like he was watching a scene from a movie. This was not the Alek he remembered. That Alek would never in a million years be having a frank conversation about his sexuality with members of his hockey team. Liam was startled when he felt a large hand cover his and warm breath tickle over his skin.

“Hey, are you okay?” Alek asked. “You seem distracted.”

“I’m good.” Liam looked up with a small smile.

Alek’s brow furrowed, but he nodded. “If you’re sure?”

“I’m sure.” Alek’s concern brought a real smile to his face as he squeezed the man’s hand. “Overthinker, remember?”

As the night wore on, Liam managed to stop comparing this Alek to his ex-boyfriend, and enjoyed getting to know Alek’s friends. Some appeared to be ignoring his relationship with Alek, but they were at least friendly, if a little distant. Rene was great, and drew Liam into conversation several times. Even Corey and Jason seemed to be welcomed warmly by most everyone. Jason was currently deep in discussion with a young woman who was planning on attending law school in the fall. At one point, Liam realized Alek’s arm was resting across the back of his chair and he was leaning into the bigger man’s body. He peered up to find Alek laughing and looking more relaxed than he’d ever remembered him being, except maybe when they were alone together. The sight made Liam’s heart warm. It was good to see Alek so happy.

A little before last call, Liam offered to go to the bar to order another round of drinks. Rene hopped up with an offer to help and they wove their way through the crowd. Before reaching their destination, someone called out to Rene. Liam gestured he would meet Rene at the bar and continued on. He hadn’t even made it a few feet, when he felt a presence behind him.

“You’re one of those fags that came to the game.”

The vitriol in the man’s voice startled Liam. He had been subject to homophobic slurs before, but he’d felt safe here, and the taunt caught him by surprise.

“The name is Liam,” he replied, to the tall man hovering beside him. He recognized the guy as one of the group Alek’s teammate, John, had been with.

“So, you take it up the ass?”

Liam huffed and stopped trying to find a path the bartender. “Do you really want to know about my sex life?” He turned to face the man fully, pasting a wide smile on his face. “How much detail do you want? Feeling a little curious? Do you want to know exactly how good it feels to have a nice thick cock up your ass?”

Liam knew he was playing with fire, but the alcohol in his system had loosened his tongue, and his sense of self-preservation. He didn’t even see the fist coming before it hit him. Pain exploded in his right eye as he fell backwards into the crowd. He ended up on the floor with a heavy body coming down hard on top of him. People were yelling as he raised his arms to defend himself. Before a punch connected, someone yanked his attacker back, and Alek appeared in his line of sight.

“Li, baby, are you okay?”

“Fuck, my eye hurts,” he answered, reaching up to touch the sensitive area.

“That motherfucker,” Alek said with a growl, turning to jump up from his crouched position. “Where is that asshole? I’m gonna fucking kill him.”

“Rene’s got him,” someone replied over the din. “He dragged him over to the bouncers.”

“He’s fucking lucky Rene got to him before I did.”

“Alek,” Liam called out, wanting to draw Alek’s attention before he got himself into trouble. It worked as Alek immediately knelt back down beside him.

“What hurts? I should take you to the emergency room. Shit. I can’t believe this happened. Fucking asshole.”

“I’m fine,” Liam replied. He reached his hand to cup Alek’s face. “Now help me up off this sticky, disgusting floor.”

“Oh, yeah. Right. Sorry.” Alek helped him to slowly rise, keeping a hand on him even after Liam was on his own two feet.

When he was finally standing, he realized they’d gathered a crowd, including Corey and Jason who stood close by looking concerned. They stayed close as Liam was led back to the table. Several people offered their support and expressed their disgust over what happened. Apparently, the jackass was known for his short temper. One of the bouncers even came by to see if Liam wanted to press charges.

“No,” he replied, gratefully accepting an ice-filled cloth someone handed him for his eye. “I just want to go home and forget about all of this.”

“Li,” Corey interjected, crouching in front of his chair. “You can’t let that guy get away with this. He hit you.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Liam saw Alek nodding in agreement.

“I kind of taunted him.”

“That doesn’t give him the right to hit you,” Alek replied, his eyes flashing in anger.

“No, it doesn’t, but I just want to go home.”

“Okay,” the bouncer said with a sympathetic smile on his face. “Our owner will still have us call the police and file a report. Think about it tonight, and if you change your mind, call the station in the morning.”

“Thank you.” Liam watched the bar employee leave before facing his friends again.

“I’ll respect your wishes on this, but I don’t think you should be home alone tonight,” Corey said, reaching up to gently touch his sore eye. “You had a pretty bad concussion, and who knows what this will do to aggravate it. Maybe you should come home with me and Jason?”

Liam was shaking his head before Corey finished speaking. “I don’t want to impose on you guys.”

“It’s not an imposition,” Jason said from his position behind his husband. “Corey’s right; you really shouldn’t be alone.”

Liam was about to decline again when Alek spoke. “Why don’t you come home with me?”

Liam’s eyes met Alek’s worried brown ones. “What? Are you serious?”

Alek held up his hands. “Only so you’re not by yourself. I know we’re not together, and I won’t try anything. I just don’t want you to be alone in that apartment, or having to worry about all of those stairs. I have a spare bedroom, and my place is closer to the hospital if anything happens.”

A headache that had been building steam since he’d been hit took that moment to spike, so Liam knew Alek had a good point, even if he wasn’t sure how smart it was to spend the night in his ex-boyfriend’s house. “Okay. Just for tonight.”

“Then it’s settled,” Corey said, clapping his hands together as he rose from his seat.

Alek held out a hand to help him to stand, and Liam gratefully accepted the assistance as he wobbled slightly.

“Don’t worry,” Alek whispered in his ear as he led him through to the exit. “I promise to take care of you.”

A huge thank you goes out to my rock star editor and friend, Gary, who managed to get this chapter edited and back to me in record time, even though I sent it to him late yesterday afternoon. :worship:  :glomp:  Thank you to everyone who reads and supports 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



Damn. Now that Alek has himself sorted a bit, he is blazing a trail.  I'm proud of how far he's come even though the argument is that he could have gotten there sooner. 

Sorry, that Liamhad to take the hit from that 'always one in the group' jerk, but it set up what could be a vey important night for him and Alek. 

 

Great as always Lit! 

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Liam shouldn't have to be assaulted for Alec to have a chance to redeem himself but it was sweet (if you don't count the homophobic violence). I expect charges or no charges there will be consequences. This was a team member not a random stranger after all. The wait begins for the next chapter.........

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I agree with everyone who said Liam should have that eye looked at. And his head! The way the punch was described, his eye got the whole impact.

 

Good for Liam for sticking up for himself. Even if he did taunt the asshole, hitting him was unforgivable. Pardon the play on words. The sorta play on words. :lol: And I say press charges!!!!!!!! Show that bigot that hate crimes are punishable, and there are consequences for his hate.

 

Awesome chapter, Lit! :)

 

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On 5/25/2017 at 10:24 AM, Wesley8890 said:

I love that confrontational side of liam. Alek is getting better and better. I'm glad liam has stopped comparing him to the old Alek. Great chapter

 

I loved Liam's confrontational side too.  Sometimes you just have to put jerks in their place ;) 

 

Thank you for your comments and support, Wesley :) 

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On 5/25/2017 at 10:37 AM, Bucket1 said:

Well that's an interesting chain of events... I notice that the homophobic coward didn't try it on with Alek, someone his own size, sadly typical...

 

Liam really should be seeing a doctor this soon after major concussion 

 

What will the next chapter bring? :)

 

Bullies can often be cowards. I've learned. and attack who they feel they have the best chance of beating.  

Liam should maybe see a doctor, but he is much like my husband (and many, many other men I know) and is too stubborn for his own good about his health :rolleyes:  


Thank you for your comments and all of your support, B. :hug: 

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On 5/25/2017 at 10:41 AM, Parker Owens said:

On the whole, Alek's coming out to his teammates was a qualified success. You provide us with real piece-of-work bigots as foils for the better people on the team. It is a great pity Liam became the target and got assaulted. But Alek will take care of that guy on the ice, quite possibly in the corner or behind the goal. The bigot with the big mouth should beware. And now Alek can take Liam home in the meantime. :) 

 

There is a decent chance that guy is going to face a little on ice justice. :yes:   And although wasn't great that Liam was assaulted, it was a contrast to how well other teammates reacted :) 

 

Thank you for your comments and all of your support, Parker :hug: 

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