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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 - 6. Chapter 6

Chapter 6

 

It was the day before Marty had to return home, and Liam couldn’t help but feel melancholy. He loved having his best friend with him, and was going to miss the man when he left in the morning. Not wanting to come across as needy, he pasted on a smile and tried to remain positive throughout the day. His friend seemed overly upbeat, which Liam knew was Marty’s way of dealing with a potentially teary goodbye.

Nathan had come over the other day for the promised Chinese food and a movie. Liam ordered dinner from his favourite place and, after a short debate, they decided to watch Lara Croft, The Cradle of Life. Marty, closet set-up artist that he was, suddenly remembered some urgent work he needed to complete and made himself scarce, retiring to the spare bedroom. It was obvious from the paramedic’s blush that he realized what was going on. To be fair, Marty had never been accused of subtlety.

 

“I’m sorry about that,” Liam said with an exasperated sigh. “He thinks he’s eHarmony or something.”

The other man smiled at him and shrugged. “There’s no need to apologize. I have a friend like that too. She’s always trying to throw me into the path of any guy she thinks is cute.”

Liam laughed. “Maybe we should introduce her to Marty? They can keep each other occupied and leave us alone.”

Nathan grinned as he swiped an egg roll from the carton. “That might have worked if Sara wasn’t happily married with two kids.”

“Ah well, it was worth a shot.”

The movie started and the two men settled back, sitting next to each other, but not quite close enough to touch. Liam was hyper-aware of the other man’s presence, and had difficulty concentrating on what was happening on the screen. It felt as though he was wound tighter than a spring. What did Nathan think was going on here? Did he think this was a date? Did it matter if it was a date? Did he want to start a relationship with Nathan? He found Nathan attractive, but was it enough? Over and over his mind spun around the same questions. He didn’t notice the movie had been paused until Nathan touched his arm, startling him out of his reverie.

“Sorry,” Nathan apologized. “I didn’t mean to scare you. Are you all right? Do you want to pick another movie?”

“No, no. Lara Croft is great,” Liam replied, giving the man what he hoped was a convincing smile. “I’m just a little distracted tonight... sorry.”

“I can go and we can do this another time if you need rest.”

“God, I’ve slept so much this week I may not have to sleep again for a month. You don’t need to leave. I’m sorry. I invited you over and my mind is a million miles away.”

“Anything you want to talk about?”

“No… I… maybe?” Liam huffed a breath, irritated with his own indecisiveness. Finally, he asked the question that seemed most important at the moment. “What do you think is happening here, Nathan?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why are you here?” Liam muted the television and turned to fully face the other man. “I know the question is out of nowhere, but where do you see this going? Do you think this a date?”

“Well,” the other man started, and then paused. His brow furrowed for a moment before he met Liam’s gaze. “I had hoped it might be a date when you invited me over, but I know you’ve recently gotten out of a relationship, so I’ve tried not to presume.”

“Oh.” Liam looked away from the paramedic’s questioning eyes. “I like you, Nathan… I do, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to start dating again.” Screwing up his courage, he looked up again, and saw only understanding reflected back at him. “Alek and I were together for over a year before I ended it. That was a little over six months ago. I really thought I was over him, but….”

“But seeing him again after the accident brought your feelings back?”

“Yeah. Like a tidal wave.” Liam rubbed his palms over his face. “I want to be over him. Believe me, I would like nothing better than to move on and find a nice guy… like you.”

“It’s okay, Liam. I like you. You seem like a great guy, but if you’re only ready for friendship, I’m all for that.” Nathan gave him a supportive smile. “Don’t get me wrong. I would love nothing more than for you to agree to go out with me, and I think we could be good together, but I’m not going to pressure you. If it never happens, then at least I’ve made a good friend.”

“You’re a really good man, you know that? Thank you for being so understanding.”

“You’re welcome.” Nathan reached across the space between them and gave Liam’s knee a gentle squeeze before turning back to the television. “Now, let’s finish this movie. We still haven’t seen Gerard Butler shirtless.”

Liam laughed, feeling much lighter now that he and Nathan had cleared the air. He nudged the paramedic with his shoulder as he resumed the movie. “No shirtless Gerard Butler? That would be a sin.”

After the movie ended, Nathan gave him a hug before heading home, promising to text him to set up a coffee date. He was just starting to clean up with the mess from dinner when Marty made an appearance.

“Nathan gone?”

“Yeah, he just left a few minutes ago.” Liam narrowed his eyes at his best friend. “You’re not as sneaky as you think you are.”

“Me?” Marty’s expression was all innocence, and completely fake. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Liam snorted. “Please. You suddenly remembered some vague emergency correspondence? Not very original.”

“Fine, I give, but in my defence, I wanted to give you two a chance to talk. I know you’ve been driving yourself crazy about the guy’s expectations, and there was no way you would ever have that conversation with me in the room. I figured I would give you the chance, if you wanted it.”

Liam sighed and ran his hand through his dark waves which had gotten long enough to fall into his eyes. As much as he didn’t like being set up, Marty did have a point… not that he would admit it. He picked up two empty glasses with one hand without making further comment. Marty smirked as though he could read Liam’s thoughts.

“So, did you pluck up the courage to talk to him?” his friend asked as he followed Liam into the kitchen with the food cartons in hand.

“Yeah, we had a good conversation.” Marty didn’t ask, but the question was clear in his eyes. “Nathan is a great guy. He understands why I’m not ready to date right now, and he’s willing to be patient with me… at least for now.”

“Is that what he said?” Marty’s brow furrowed. “You don’t think he’s going to pressure you, do you?”

“No, but what attractive, sexually active man is going to wait forever for me to get over another guy?”

“They might if it meant waiting for someone very special.” Marty pressed a kiss against his temple.

Liam stared at the man for second before grinning. “And you said I was sappy? Have you gotten into my pain medication?”

“Fuck you, Shorty,” the other man grumbled. “See if I give you a compliment again.”

Liam laughed and headed for the kitchen, followed by his mumbling friend. It felt great to laugh, even if his ribs ached. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do when Marty went home. No one could keep his spirits up like his best friend could.

 

Liam smiled, thinking back to that evening. If Marty’s potential move didn’t happen soon, he was going to have to return the visit. He might have to plan a trip regardless so he could drop in on Marty’s parents. Although they spoke on the phone, he hadn’t seen them since the funeral.

Liam was mentally planning a possible vacation when he heard the doorbell. Before he had a chance to leave the room, Marty answered the door. Male voices could be heard from the front of the house, but the voices were too muted for Liam to figure out who the visitor could be. Pulling on a pair of sweatpants, which had become his garment of choice with the broken wrist, he left his room to investigate.

He’d rounded the corner into the living room just as Marty entered from the other side, looking over his shoulder and speaking to their guest. “Have a seat. I’ll go see if he’s awake yet. Those pain meds have been knocking him on his ass.”

Liam’s curious expression morphed into a wide smile as Corey walked through the archway. He and Jason had come to see him for a short visit the day he was discharged from the hospital. The entire day was fuzzy, but he remembered Corey’s promise to come by again soon.

“Never mind, it looks like he’s up now,” Marty said, sounding amused when he spotted Liam standing by the couch. “Sit. I’ll bring in some coffee and juice. Are you hungry Corey? I picked up some fresh cinnamon rolls from coffee shop downtown.”

“As good as those are, nothing for me. Jason made us a huge breakfast this morning. I’m still stuffed.”

Marty left the room briefly, returning with a tray holding two cups of coffee, cream, sugar, a glass of apple juice, and a promised cinnamon roll for Liam. Liam’s mouth watered immediately when the scent hit him.

“When did you have time to get these?”

“Earlier this morning. I’ve been up for hours.”

“Really? I don’t remember you being such an early bird.”

Marty rolled his eyes. “Li, you do realize it’s almost eleven?”

“Holy crap.” Liam sat heavily and looked up at his boss and his best friend, who appeared to be suppressing smiles. “I can’t believe I slept for almost twelve hours.”

“Liam,” Corey chastised him gently as he sat in a chair adjacent the couch. “You know as well as I do people healing from major injuries sleep a lot more than they are accustomed to, especially if their medication manages the pain adequately.”

“Yeah, yeah, Doctor Smyth.””

Corey grinned at him. “You know I’m right. You’re just pissed off because you hate feeling like you’re being lazy.”

“That’s what I keep telling him.” Marty sat beside him, grabbing the glass of juice and a pill from the tray and handing them to Liam. “Now be a good patient and take your medicine.”

“Great, now I have both of you ganging up on me.”

“Don’t forget Nathan,” Marty teased. “He agrees with us too.”

“Nathan?” Corey asked, looking confused. “Who’s Nathan?”

Much to his mortification, Liam felt himself start to blush. “He’s a friend. Someone I met recently.”

“He was a paramedic on scene at the accident,” his friend volunteered. “Apparently Liam made enough of an impression that he came to check on him at the hospital.”

“He was just being nice. He visits other patients too.”

“Oh?” Corey said, raising an eyebrow. “This Nathan sounds interesting. Is he hot?”

“Now that…,” Marty responded as he stood up, “is my cue to get back to work. I’ll just be in the kitchen if you need anything.”

Liam found himself telling Corey about Nathan: the hospital visits, his hot chocolate and caffeine mercy runs, and the two movie ‘dates.’

“He sounds like a good guy,” his boss stated when Liam finished talking. “It was probably a good idea, telling him you wanted to take things slow. You were with Alek for a while and that breakup really wrecked you.”

Liam was a little taken aback. He knew he’d been having a hard time moving on, but didn’t realize it was so noticeable.

“Don’t look so surprised,” Corey said with a crooked smile. “Those of us who care about you saw how much it hurt. I think the wedding was the first time I heard you really laugh in months. Not just the polite laugh you have for patients who tell bad jokes.”

“I didn’t realize I was that… bad.”

“It’s not a bad thing,” Corey responded, patting his hand. “You were in love with Alek. You wanted forever with him. No one gets over something like that overnight. Just because it was the right thing for you to end things when you did, doesn’t mean your heart is going to fall in line. At least you were dealing with your feelings instead of hiding from them. I would have been more concerned if you’d started dating again within the month. ”

“Between you and Marty you could start your own advice column,” Liam joked, swallowing past the lump in his throat.

“I knew I liked him,” the other man joked with a wink.

The two men talked until Corey said he had to get going. He was interviewing applicants for the temporary receptionist position. Liam felt a little uneasy until Corey assured him he had a job the moment he was ready to start working again. His practical boss had even brought disclosure forms with him for Liam to sign, giving the doctors permission to discuss Liam’s injuries and prognosis. It was thoughtful, and practical, and so like his friend. With Corey’s help, Liam didn’t doubt he would be back on his own two feet in no time.

A big thank you goes out to my editor/friend, Gary, for all of the extra time he puts in helping me improve and grow as a writer.  :worship:  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



That was a good talk, to clear the air. Maybe not what Nathan wanted to hear, but better than being strung along. Time will tell.

 

And just what is Alek up to...? He promised big changes. Time to deliver!

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Time is such a interesting thing, it will heal, it will pass, but one can not see it.
Very nice chapter! As Puppilull said, it cleared the air and gave a open start-

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You're trying to lull us into complacency with this nice chapter, aren't you? Everyone is acting sensibly, being considerate, honest and caring. I know you're just waiting for us to relax and then you'll hit us with major drama or something. :o:unsure:
But it was great to see how Liam's friends give him lots of support. :hug:

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What does Tim M mean by his review ? Does he KNOW that something is up ?

 

Nice going for those of you in Team Nathan ...

 

Yes, where the heck is Alek ?

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Unlike the rest of you, I’m glad we didn’t see Alek this chapter. Whenever he shows up, things get chaotic and troubling for Liam. Liam needs to recover from his trauma, he doesn’t need more drama. ;-)

 

Alex needs to stay in his undisclosed location and work out his issues. Liam doesn’t need Alek popping up like some cheesy villain in a teenage horror movie! Besides, if it were a teen horror movie, Liam and Nathan would need to get naked before they go investigating that strange sound they heard in the basement just as the power went out and…

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This chapter really shows Nathan in a very good light. He seems to be a wonderful man. As Corey said, he'll be even more wonderful if he's willing to wait for Liam. Which, knowing Liam, would be a very good choice for Nathan to make. It was very, very wise for Liam to clear the air with Nathan, seeing as Nathan reacted as I might have expected and hoped. A lovely chapter. More please? Now?

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In my mind this was an excellent chapter. A chance to catch a breath from the dramatic entry chapters. Liam was wise to talk with Nathan ... who reminds me a bit of this guy named Chet. You might have heard of him. Patient enough to be friends but wishing for more ... concerning expectations. While I'm sorry Marty is leaving Corey and Jase are home and nearby if needed. I suspect the absent Alek is off trying to make good on his promise of change. Very nicely executed ... I mean the chapter not Alek.

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Damn, I miss the big Russian :P . Nathan was all right in a vanilla kind of way <ducks for cover> hehe. Seriously, he's a good guy, and he'll make Li a good friend. Now, back to that other guy... where is he and what is he doing... inquiring minds want to know -_- . Another great chapter, my friend... nice to see that Liam is getting better, and nice to visit with our Corey again... cheers... Gary....

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Loved the really frank and honest conversations had by all today. It's a good thing that they can communicate so well and be supportive and understanding of each others needs.
Something tells me this was lacking in Liam's relationship with Alek.
Great chapter Lit! :D

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Bought the t-shirt. Officially on Team Nathan

 

Gary can take his Russian and... well better left unsaid :P

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I am glad Liam and Nathan had a chance to talk. Now with agreeing to start with friendship, romance can happen with less (or no?) stress. It was also nice to touch base with Corey. Kinda like catching up with an old friend. I assume he will be more in the story for now. I am going to miss Marty. Hopefully he'll be back for a visit, or to stay, before the story ends. Nicely written! Thanks. Jeff

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Loved this lovely, soothing chapter. ^_^ Nathan and Liam did need to talk and this cleared the air and now they are on the same page. I just hope Liam doesn't keep Nathan in the friend zone too long. As for Alek....leave him where he is. But I know for the sake of drama he has to re-appear and throw poor Liam in a tizzy again. Well, the story title is Choices, right? If Alex didn't reappear to try to win his ex back, there wouldn't be any choices to be made. :rolleyes:

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Omg, I'm still laughing over Drought's review. :rofl: Man, that was funny! :lol:

 

I'm really going to miss Marty; he's a wonderful friend and an all around great guy. Seriously, there has to be a girl somewhere close by so Marty will move sooner! Liam depended so much on Marty this past week, I know that he's really going to feel his best friend's absence. :(

 

I'm glad Liam was able to have that talk with Nathan. Nathan is another awesome guy. One can never have enough friends, so having a friend in Nathan is a good thing for Liam. Romance can come later. It'll never work if he's still hung up on Alek.

 

Great chapter, Lit! :)

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On 02/17/2017 03:34 AM, Puppilull said:

That was a good talk, to clear the air. Maybe not what Nathan wanted to hear, but better than being strung along. Time will tell.

 

And just what is Alek up to...? He promised big changes. Time to deliver!

I think it was good for them to clear the air as well. Liam likes Nathan and doesn't want to lead him on, if he can help it.

 

Thank you for your review and your support, Puppi :)

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On 02/17/2017 04:41 AM, Lyssa said:

Time is such a interesting thing, it will heal, it will pass, but one can not see it.

Very nice chapter! As Puppilull said, it cleared the air and gave a open start-

Time will heal, it's just a matter of being patient and letting it happen.

 

Thank you for your review and support, Lyssa :)

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On 02/17/2017 05:17 AM, Timothy M. said:

You're trying to lull us into complacency with this nice chapter, aren't you? Everyone is acting sensibly, being considerate, honest and caring. I know you're just waiting for us to relax and then you'll hit us with major drama or something. :o:unsure:

But it was great to see how Liam's friends give him lots of support. :hug:

lol, now would I do that??

 

Liam does have some great friends. I think he lost sight of that a little bit.

 

Thank you for your review and your support, Tim :hug:

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On 02/17/2017 06:43 AM, hohochan657 said:

What does Tim M mean by his review ? Does he KNOW that something is up ?

 

Nice going for those of you in Team Nathan ...

 

Yes, where the heck is Alek ?

haha, no Tim doesn't have any inside information. He likes to speculate, and may or may not be right ;)

 

Thank you for your review and support, hoho. :)

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On 02/17/2017 07:12 AM, droughtquake said:

Unlike the rest of you, I’m glad we didn’t see Alek this chapter. Whenever he shows up, things get chaotic and troubling for Liam. Liam needs to recover from his trauma, he doesn’t need more drama. ;-)

 

Alex needs to stay in his undisclosed location and work out his issues. Liam doesn’t need Alek popping up like some cheesy villain in a teenage horror movie! Besides, if it were a teen horror movie, Liam and Nathan would need to get naked before they go investigating that strange sound they heard in the basement just as the power went out and…

Hahaha OMG that's great. I do love my cheesy B horror movies. Now I'm picturing what would happen if. :P

 

Thank you for your review and support, droughtquake. :)

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On 02/17/2017 08:28 AM, Parker Owens said:

This chapter really shows Nathan in a very good light. He seems to be a wonderful man. As Corey said, he'll be even more wonderful if he's willing to wait for Liam. Which, knowing Liam, would be a very good choice for Nathan to make. It was very, very wise for Liam to clear the air with Nathan, seeing as Nathan reacted as I might have expected and hoped. A lovely chapter. More please? Now?

Clearing the air was a good idea. Liam has a good heart and he doesn't want to hurt Nathan, even if he does want to give the guy a chance.

 

Thank you for your review and support, Parker :)

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On 02/17/2017 08:36 AM, dughlas said:

In my mind this was an excellent chapter. A chance to catch a breath from the dramatic entry chapters. Liam was wise to talk with Nathan ... who reminds me a bit of this guy named Chet. You might have heard of him. Patient enough to be friends but wishing for more ... concerning expectations. While I'm sorry Marty is leaving Corey and Jase are home and nearby if needed. I suspect the absent Alek is off trying to make good on his promise of change. Very nicely executed ... I mean the chapter not Alek.

It's very flattering that Nathan reminds you of Chet :*) He is a good guy, and time will tell if the rest of his life mirror's Chet's or not.

 

Thank you for your review and support, Dugh :hug:

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On 02/17/2017 09:53 AM, Headstall said:

Damn, I miss the big Russian :P . Nathan was all right in a vanilla kind of way <ducks for cover> hehe. Seriously, he's a good guy, and he'll make Li a good friend. Now, back to that other guy... where is he and what is he doing... inquiring minds want to know -_- . Another great chapter, my friend... nice to see that Liam is getting better, and nice to visit with our Corey again... cheers... Gary....

Haha you are fabulous pot-stirrer, Gary. And I understand you're also great at hiding hot Russians hiding from angry mobs?

 

Thank you for your review and all of your support, my dear friend. :hug:

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On 02/17/2017 10:45 AM, Reader1810 said:

Loved the really frank and honest conversations had by all today. It's a good thing that they can communicate so well and be supportive and understanding of each others needs.

Something tells me this was lacking in Liam's relationship with Alek.

Great chapter Lit! :D

Communication might not have been as strong between Alek and Liam... at least where Liam's feelings were concerned, but Alek had been honest with Li from the start about his desire to stay in the closet. It may have taken Liam a while to be honest with himself about how much secrecy he could take.

 

Thank you for your review and support, Reader :hug:

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On 02/17/2017 10:56 AM, Bucket1 said:

Bought the t-shirt. Officially on Team Nathan

 

Gary can take his Russian and... well better left unsaid :P

Oh there are t-shirt's now? That's great. I'll take one Team Alek and one Team Nathan... just to confuse everyone ;)

 

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

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On 02/17/2017 02:29 PM, JeffreyL said:

I am glad Liam and Nathan had a chance to talk. Now with agreeing to start with friendship, romance can happen with less (or no?) stress. It was also nice to touch base with Corey. Kinda like catching up with an old friend. I assume he will be more in the story for now. I am going to miss Marty. Hopefully he'll be back for a visit, or to stay, before the story ends. Nicely written! Thanks. Jeff

I have to say I've missed Corey and Jason too. They sometimes come and visit in my head, so I may have to think of a prompt chapter for them at some point.

 

Thank you for your review and support, Jeff :)

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On 02/17/2017 02:51 PM, LadyDe said:

Loved this lovely, soothing chapter. ^_^ Nathan and Liam did need to talk and this cleared the air and now they are on the same page. I just hope Liam doesn't keep Nathan in the friend zone too long. As for Alek....leave him where he is. But I know for the sake of drama he has to re-appear and throw poor Liam in a tizzy again. Well, the story title is Choices, right? If Alex didn't reappear to try to win his ex back, there wouldn't be any choices to be made. :rolleyes:

The story is all about choices, and the consequences of your choices. Honestly, I couldn't see Liam doing anything other than clearing the air with Nathan, so that was an easy choice for him to make.

 

Thank you for your review and support, LadyDe

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