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    Naptowngirl
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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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Then Came You... - 6. Chapter 6 Caught In The Middle...

In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage more or less intensely. The five stages do not necessarily occur in order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death.Drake makes a confession, but how will Cody receive it. Max's continued efforts to deal with Brad's death betray him yet again.

“Have you always been such a goody two shoes?” He chuckled as he pulled back the tab on his can of beer.

“I’ve been called a lot of things…” He reflected thoughtfully, “some I don’t even want to repeat but ‘goody two shoes’ isn’t one of them.” He replied before turning up his can.

“Well, if I were you, I wouldn’t tell him. I mean he’ll never know…right?” Brad shrugged casually. Drake rubbed his hand roughly up the side of his neck. He pondered the question while his friend watched, anxiously anticipating his response.

“I don’t…it just doesn’t feel right. You know?” He sighed heavily.

“It was dinner for Christ sake. It’s not like you slept with him or anything.” Brad reasoned before swallowing down his beer. He reached for a pretzel and pulled back, “Wait…” he squinted suspiciously. “Or did you?” He asked with an arched brow.

“No...no.” Drake laughed, “We didn’t do anything and it wasn’t a date… really"

“Bull shit! It was a date and you know it.” Brad countered. “I actually like Austin, he’s… colorful.”

“Colorful?” Drake furrowed his brows questioningly.

“Yes,” Brad laughed before taking long gulp of his beer. “He’s funny as hell. He had me and Max cracking up.” he continued to giggle. “What did he say about you again?” Brad snorted his way through a boisterous laugh.

“Nothing…” Drake replied while trying to stifle his own laughter.

“No,no… “He shook his finger at his friend teasingly. “He definitely has the hots for you! I can’t believe that night we ran into him and he told us how he walked in on you naked.” Brad laughed even harder as he told the story. Drake ducked his head behind his beer attempting to hide his red tinted cheeks. “And what was really funny, besides the look on your face, was that he admitted that he knew you were changing and didn’t bother to knock.”

Drake sighed and shook his head before downing the rest of his beer. “Anyway, like I said, it wasn’t a date.”

“If it wasn’t a date, then why do you feel the need to tell Cody?” Brad challenged.

“Because-”

“Because, you feel guilty.” Brad charged.

“Guilty?” Drake balked “I do not feel guilty. What do I have to feel guilty about?”

“Because you like him, that’s what.” Brad laughed.

“I do not like him.” Drake defended, though unconvincingly.

“Like who?” Maxwell asked as he approached the table carrying the pizza.

“Yeah, let’s ask Max. He’ll agree with me… won’t ya baby?” Brad pronounced proudly.

“Of course, Boo…” Maxwell chuckled as Brad pulled him backwards on to his lap. “What am I agreeing with you on this time?” He asked giving Drake a sly wink.

“That Drake likes Austin.” He answered before placing a kiss to Maxwell’s cheek.

“I do not like Austin.” Drake defended even as he reached into the pizza box and pulled out a slice.

“I’m trying to tell him it’s okay if he does,” Brad said as he reached around Maxwell for a slice of pizza. Maxwell nodded thoughtfully while grabbing a slice of pepperoni pizza for himself. He took bite to give himself some time before commenting.

“I thought he was dating Cody?” he shrugged before taking another bite.

“Cody is cool but I like Austin.” Brad replied before taking a bite of his own pizza.

“It’s not up to you.” Maxwell pointed out, “Ultimately, it’s Drake’s decision who he wants to date. Personally, I like Cody.”

“It all boils down to who is better for him.” Brad stated as he reached for a napkin.

“How about you guys stop talking about me like I’m not here and let me decide who I want to be with.” Drake spoke up between chews. Both Brad and Maxwell nodded and smiled at each other resuming eating their slices. “Besides, that’s not what we were talking about anyway.” he reminded Brad.

“What were you talking about?” Maxwell asked as he reached for Brad’s beer before he could take a drink.

“Drake and Austin went out on a date…”

“It wasn’t a date.” Drake corrected.

“Anyway,” Brad rolled his eyes and continued explaining the situation to Maxwell. “Now he feels a need to confess to Cody.”

“If it wasn’t a date, why do you feel you need to ‘confess’?” Maxwell asked using air quotes.

“Because” Drake started to explain.

“Because” Brad interrupted, “He likes Austin…like that.” he added with a smirk, causing Drake to shake his head exhaustedly.

“Oh, I see.” Maxwell smiled as he relaxed into Brad’s embrace. “Then I say tell Cody the truth. Whether it was a date or not, if your conscience is bothering you, I say tell him.” He shrugged. “Honesty is always the best.” Brad sighed disagreeing with his husband while Drake sported a victorious grin and saluted his friend with his slice of pizza.

 

 

Drake inhaled deeply before letting the air out slowly. He scratched at his scalp allowing the long strands of hair to slip through his fingers. Maxwell’s words haunted him. It had been two days since he’d seen him or spoke with him or Cody either for that matter.

He’d been struggling, and his thoughts and emotions running rampant. The only relief that came from the turbulence was being at the hospital. Drake would use the time to focus on work for at least for eight hours out of the day. He didn’t have to think about him, but the time for running was over. It was time he dealt with this situation before it started dealing with him. He grabbed his keys and headed for the door.

~*~*~

“Drake, what are you doing here?” he stood between him and the door with a questioning gaze.

“I needed to see you. We need to talk.”

He sighed even as he pushed the door open and stepped back allowing Drake to enter. He scratched the side of his neck before closing the door behind him. He approached him hesitantly.

“I wondered when you would show up,” he said as he cautiously placed the palm of his hands against Drake’s broad shoulders. “Things got out of hand the last time we were together, and for that I’m sorry.” He sighed as he rested his head against Drake’s back. “We have this thing…you and me; we’re cut from the same cloth. We need the same thing.” He wrapped his arms around Drake’s waist and smiled contently when his actions weren’t met with resistance.

“Cody, we need to talk.” Drake sighed while placing his hands over Cody’s and gently removed himself from his boyfriend’s embrace.

“I know, Baby, and we will. But first things first.” He said with a flirtatious grin as he shimmied his shoulders seductively. He leaned forward pressing his mouth firmly against Drake’s, moaning approvingly when his gesture was returned.

“I’m really sorry.” he said through bated breath, his eyes closed, and his lips were still puckered when Drake pulled away.

“It wasn’t your fault, really.” Drake replied honestly as he moved over to the sofa. He sighed as he dropped down, relaxing his back against the cushions.

“The bed would be a little more comfortable.” Cody teased even as he joined him. He tilted his head slightly, locking gazes with Drake. He tried to read the expression on his face but couldn’t.

He knew Drake to be a serious man, a little too serious at times but he was always a ‘get out the problem and into the solution’ type of guy. He couldn’t remember a time when he couldn’t read him and that scared him.

“Drake, what’s wrong?” He asked as he placed his hand on Drake’s shoulder, “You look so serious.”

Drake started even as he gently removed Cody’s hand off his shoulder, placing it carefully into his lap, “You’re right, things did get a little out of hand but it wasn’t totally your fault.” He sighed heavily. “Most of it was mine…” He admitted as gray eyes looked intently into pensive brown ones. “You were right and you said a lot of things that hit too close to home.”

“No.” Cody defended. “I know Maxwell is not dealing with Brad’s death well and he does need you. How is he by the way?” He asked as his caressed the back of Drake’s hand.

“I don’t know.” Drake replied faintly with a soft shrug of the shoulder, receiving a concerned frown from Cody.

“You don’t know?” He parroted even as he stilled his hand. “What happened?”

“Oh my god, Cody, a lot…a lot happened the night you left. Max showed up. I thought he was you coming to apologize.” He added. Cody smiled nervously as he continued to rub Drake’s hand.

“And what happened?”

Drake started rubbing his temples firmly with the tips of his fingers. “We talked about the trip, about you…” He glanced up and smiled sadly. “He told me you went to see him.”

“Drake…” Cody tried to explain.

“It’s okay. I understand and so did he.”

Cody breathed a sigh of relief as he shifted in his seat. “Well, what happened?”

“I love him.” Drake stated abruptly. He sighed, shaking his head slowly. “I love him.” he repeated dejectedly.

“I know you do. The three of you were tight, I get that.” He bobbed his head quickly. “Of course you love him and I know he loves you too and would do anything for you.”

“No Cody, you don’t understand.”

“Yes Drake, I do. I understand more than you think.” The look in Cody’s eyes alerted Drake that Cody knew where this conversation was going. “Why do you think I went to see him? You not only love him, but you’re in love with him.” Cody sighed. “I can tell by the way you look at him. I’m sure Brad saw it too.” he added. “He shared everything with you including his husband.”

“Cody?”

“I’ve never seen anything like the three of you,” Cody said reflectively. “It’s like I couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began.” He admitted honestly.

“Cody?” Drake tried to interrupt once more.

“What Drake…What!? What you came here to confess? I already know. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what was bound to happen between the two of you.” He said, his tone now laced with anger. He pushed himself off the sofa and walked toward the large window that over looked the Hudson River. “How was it?” He asked with a tone of defeat as he wrapped his arms around himself as if there was a chill in the air and staring out into the distance. “Was he everything you imagined?” He asked with a dejected sigh before turning to face Drake head on.

He watched as Drake walked cautiously toward him, each step calculated and precise. Drake reached out and pulled Cody tightly into his embrace. He didn’t hug him back but Cody didn’t resist either. He allowed the very man that hurt him to provide him comfort.

“I’m sorry Cody.” He whispered faintly in his ear as he placed a tender kiss beside it. “I never meant for this to happen. I never meant to hurt you and I did.” He sighed even as he tightened his hold on him. “And I don’t know how to fix this.”

“You can’t have him you know.” Cody replied, lifting his head to meet Drake’s gaze. “He just lost his husband, his best friend. He loves you Drake but he loves Brad more.” He frowned. “And I love you.”

“But-”

“But what?” Cody bit on his lower lip as he waited for an answer. He twisted from Drake’s embrace and stared out the window once more. “Love is not like a running faucet that you can turn off and on or be hot or cold.” He shrugged as he hugged himself again. Drake reached out to touch him but let his hand fall to his side instead. He wasn’t really sure what to make of Cody’s reaction. “Do you love me…at all?” Cody’s voice startled him a little. He inhaled deeply before answering him.

“Of course Cody.” He answered as he gingerly allowed his hand to caress Cody’s shoulder.

“Good…” Cody closed his eyes tightly to keep his tears at bay. He pressed his lips together taking solace Drake’s words. “We’ll get through this but I need time.”

“Cody…” Drake started to speak but there were no words. They were lost somewhere deep in his throat…or were they. He loved Cody. Cody was good to him, always understanding, always accommodating.

Cody was gorgeous, tall, blond with green flecked brown eyes. He had a body to die for, like an athlete. Though he never visited the gym, he loved sports. He was a ‘trust fund baby’ who never worked a day in his life. He had a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Science as a fall back in case he squandered all his money away… which could never happen. Cody had traveled the world with a man in every port…at least until he met Drake. Drake, for the life of him, couldn’t see what a guy like Cody, who could have any man he desired, wanted with him.

“I’ll call you…” Cody said as he placed his hand loving on top of Drake’s. Drake sighed as Cody’s hand gave his a consoling squeeze, but in actuality, it was him that should have been doing the consoling. He couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony of it all. He was being dismissed for the second time.

“Okay…” Drake sighed before stuffing his hands in the pockets of his jeans. Cody’s body stiffened as he heard Drake walk away. What he had wanted to avoid at all costs, had happened. He was sure there was going to be a fall-out from it; he was dealing with Drake and Maxwell after all…

~*~*~

The room was quiet and still, though the moon illuminated the room, it was void of its luster. He sighed as he pulled his legs tightly against his chest, his eyes resting on the man sleeping in his bed.

He wondered what he was doing. What was he trying to prove? Truth was he was trying to forget. Forget the pain of losing Brad and the thoughts of Drake that ran rampant through his mind. Of course, this wasn’t the best way…but it worked.

He had been with several men since Drake but this one was the most persistent. They had been bed buddies for the past two weeks. It was easy with him; he didn’t ask questions or seem to want anything more than this.

Nate Houser was out, vocal, and very proud. He reminded him of Brad in so some ways. He didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about what society thought about him or his lifestyle. He was very active on campus with the LGBT community, which is how they met. It was at a rally Nate was hosting. Nate was great, but he wasn’t Brad or Drake, for that matter.

He reached over and grabbed his cigarette from the ashtray and took a long drag. He allowed the smoke to fill his lungs before blowing it back into air. The fact that he’d taken up smoking again amused him in a sad kind of way. Smoking was something both Brad and Drake detested.

He still couldn’t believe Brad was dead; there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t think about him or something funny he had said or done. Though Brad was gone, he still influenced his life greatly. From the way he made the bed in the morning, to how he folded the towels and made his coffee… all Brad.

Then there was Drake. Drake was very much alive and yet he had pushed him away. He had to in order to maintain his sanity… his integrity, he had no choice. Life wasn’t the same for him after sex with Drake. Who was he kidding? They didn’t just have sex. Drake was right, it was indeed so much more. That night was about sharing; he and Drake shared their pain, their want and their love for each other through the most intimate form of communication….

The love had always been there, but that night it had transcended so many levels, that just the thought of it terrified him. He was a grieving widower for Christ’s sake and jumping from the bed of his dead husband to that of his husband’s best friend was just not an option.

“Hey Love.” Nate’s sleep laden voice pulled him from his reverie. “You okay?” He asked rising up on his elbows.

“I’m sorry. Did I wake you?” Maxwell asked taking one last pull of his cigarette before putting it out.

“Of course you did.” Nate replied feigning irritation, “I reached out for you and you weren’t there.”

“Oh…” Maxwell chuckled as he pushed himself off the chair. He walked past the bed much to Nate’s surprise.

“Hey! Where are you going?”

“Hold your horses Tiger; I’m going to brush my teeth.” Maxwell called back over his shoulder as he padded into the restroom. Nate sighed and rested his head back against the pillow

 

He smiled approvingly as he watched Maxwell exit the restroom a bit later. He pulled back covers allowing him to slide under them, wrapping his arms around him as he did so.

“Mmmm….” Maxwell moaned as he snuggled under the covers and into Nate’s warm embrace.

“You’re cold,” Nate whispered as he kissed Maxwell on the shoulder while pulling him tightly into his arms.

“You’re hot.” Maxwell smiled as he relaxed even more. He sighed as he combed his fingers through his hair almost feeling guilty. Nate had been excessively nice and understanding, much better than he deserved. He allowed Nate to take his mind off things or more importantly at this moment…Drake. His mind was in a constant battle. He would give anything to have Brad back. He missed him terribly and it would actually make his life a hell of a lot easier. He wouldn’t be without his husband and he wouldn’t have to deal with these feelings, and that’s where Nate came in, with him there was no thinking involved.

“Hey, can I take you out to dinner tonight? That is if you don’t have to study or work.” Nate’s voice intruded on his thoughts.

“Huh?”

“Dinner, I was wondering if I could take you out to dinner tonight…if you’re free.”

“Yeah, that’s fine.” Maxwell shrugged as he played with Nate’s long, nimble fingers.

“Great…” Nate replied before kissing him on the shoulder. “What time is it?” He asked peering over Maxwell’s shoulder.

“Three.” Maxwell said as he scooted forward allowing Nate to get out of bed.

“Damn, time flies when you’re having fun.” he frowned. Maxwell watched Nate hunt around in the dark for his underwear and clothes. His perfect physique was silhouetted by the moonlight and his caramel complexion…flawless.

The fact that Nate never let the sun rise when they were together didn’t bother Maxwell in the slightest. He figured Nate had a boyfriend or lived with someone, either way he didn’t care. He didn’t want anything serious anyway, just a simple diversion until he could deal with everything.

“See you tonight.” Nate leaned over giving Maxwell a kiss on the mouth, before using his thumb to caress his cheek.

“Yeah…” Maxwell stated as he pulled the covers up around his neck, “Just make sure the door locks when you close it.”

“Of course.” Nate smiled grabbing his cell phone and keys off the nightstand. Maxwell watched as he eased out, leaving the door slightly cracked. He listened intently until he heard the front door close and the lock clicked before he adjusted the covers over him closing his eyes slowly.

~*~*~

 

He hurried into the kitchen since he was running late, a cigarette clinched between his teeth. The coffee had just finished brewing. He pulled a cup from the cabinet, squinted through the smoke to keep it from burning his eyes, as he filled it with black coffee. He took one last pull off the cigarette and put it out in the sink before taking a cautious sip of his coffee.

Today was another day he would have to muddle through. It was like clockwork lately. Early morning classes, skipping lunch and then a long nap before work, with studying somewhere in between.

He glanced at the clock on the wall, making a mental note of the time, as he grabbed the box of ‘Total’ cereal off the counter. He glanced over his shoulder to his cell phone as he reached inside the fridge for the milk and sure enough it vibrated just as it’s done every morning around this time.

He smiled softly to himself as the sat down at the table feeling a pang of guilt. Drake, if nothing else, was consistent. He’d been calling every day since he walked out on him and the message was always the same. No malice or contention in his voice, just worry and concern. “Please call me if you need me. You don’t have to do this alone.” Was the message he always left.

Maxwell sighed heavily while pouring the cereal into the bowl. One day, when he was ready to deal with Drake, he would answer the phone. The truth was he was afraid to. He missed Drake as much as he missed Brad. He was always there. It wasn’t a question of if Drake would be hanging out with them on any given day; it was a question of when and where they were meeting up with him.

It was actually like having the best of both worlds and that’s what freaked him out the most. He always had Drake or Brad around him all the time and now he had neither.

Drake confronts Max, Cody confronts Drake and Nate feels caught in the middle as Maxwell finally admits his true fears.

Copyright © 2012 Naptowngirl; 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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Your leaving me hanging! I'm totally not sure who Max is going to end up with, but I can't wait to find out :D

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On 03/02/2012 08:05 AM, intune said:
Your leaving me hanging! I'm totally not sure who Max is going to end up with, but I can't wait to find out :D
Hey, intune...lol thank ya for the review... :D now who will Max end up with...it might get complicated...we only have 2 chapters left, I said it was a short story, but the ending might surprise you...just say ;)

 

Kim

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Hi Kim :) . so it's sunday afternoon and i finally have the time and the peace to continue here... with this said, ok... loved this chapter although it was kind of a difficult one, so much going on, so many emotions to be revealed and it's still hard to figure out where you are going with this. hell, i don;t know for myself what pairing i like to end up together ...haha.. i love your characters, all of them!!.. the insight that came from Cody was great. so he knew all along and i wonder if Brad really saw this too and it was like sharing everything with Max, even Drake..hmm. well obviously Cody really loves Drake but i'm not so sure about Drake's feelings for Cody..He loved Cody. Cody was good to him, always understanding, always accommodating.... but?? but i don't want to read to much into this.. as for now he can't have Max for different reasons and he cheated on Cody... he lost the two most important people in his life... i guess the same goes for Max... that right there , was just sex, without asking questions without thinking involved... ok, i get that but in the end he will have to answer that phone and talk to Drake, by then he should know what he wants and i hope for Drake to really think about if Cody is right for him or is/was he just staying with him b/c he coulnd't be with the one he loved... thanks and have a great sunday Kimmi<3 Annette

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On 04/02/2012 12:45 AM, asonearth said:
Hi Kim :) . so it's sunday afternoon and i finally have the time and the peace to continue here... with this said, ok... loved this chapter although it was kind of a difficult one, so much going on, so many emotions to be revealed and it's still hard to figure out where you are going with this. hell, i don;t know for myself what pairing i like to end up together ...haha.. i love your characters, all of them!!.. the insight that came from Cody was great. so he knew all along and i wonder if Brad really saw this too and it was like sharing everything with Max, even Drake..hmm. well obviously Cody really loves Drake but i'm not so sure about Drake's feelings for Cody..He loved Cody. Cody was good to him, always understanding, always accommodating.... but?? but i don't want to read to much into this.. as for now he can't have Max for different reasons and he cheated on Cody... he lost the two most important people in his life... i guess the same goes for Max... that right there , was just sex, without asking questions without thinking involved... ok, i get that but in the end he will have to answer that phone and talk to Drake, by then he should know what he wants and i hope for Drake to really think about if Cody is right for him or is/was he just staying with him b/c he coulnd't be with the one he loved... thanks and have a great sunday Kimmi<3 Annette
Hey, Nettie Poo. Yep so many emotions and conflicting one at that. It's hard when you're not sure, when you're still hurting to know what to do. There were lines crossed between Drake and Max, ones that as you mentioned must be dealt with, Max needs to remember they are friends, then you have Cody, who is insightful and wise. He does love Drake and Drake loves him back. Life shouldn't have to be so complicated...lol Have a wonderful rest of your Sunday. Super sized Hugs coming your way.

 

Kim :D

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