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    Parker Owens
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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.

A to Z - 29. Chapter 29: Ghosts

Ghosts.

No special warnings for this chapter.

Questions and issues raised in this chapter or any other chapter can be discussed at the A to Z story thread here: http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/40860-a-to-z/

September 14

So I’ve been busy. This is good. My homework is under control. I’m really finding it easier to keep up here.

Mrs. Marjorie had plenty of yard work for me to do Saturday. More than that, she recommended me to another older couple who live about a block away from her – a Mr. and Mrs. Abbott. Like Mrs. M, the Abbotts have no children and need their grass cut and other stuff done. The Abbotts and Mrs. M are nicer about assigning me work than Dad ever was, and the work isn't as hard as farm work with Eustace. Between the two of them, I earned $80 last weekend. That’s enough to keep me eating and doing laundry.

I have plenty of time to do laundry in town, now that Dad isn't on my case with chores every minute of the day. I did it all in a single load, but it all came out a little grey. However, it smells clean, and that’s what's important.

I’ve completed another mission too, and that was to get my hair cut. I cut it with Eustace's scissors earlier in the summer. Six weeks later, and I had to get at least a trim. Now it’s long enough to cover my eyes if I keep my head down, but not so long as to attract too much attention.

That’s the whole idea. Keep in the background. Be that completely forgettable boy that no one ever remembers. So far, it seems to be working.

I’ve got a routine going – homework in the library after school, or walk into town to buy supplies or do an errand. If I’m away from the building, I get back to school as the meetings and activities begin so I can just walk right on in. I eat a snack in the farthest corner of the cafeteria. Sometimes I can get work done then, too. I stay up late past all the meetings reading in the library closet. Once the cleaning crew goes home, I’ll sneak down to the locker room for a shower. Then slide into my hidey hole behind the boxes for the night. Wake up early, sneak out to the restroom – brush teeth, try to get my hair in some kind of order. Then I’ll go to the cafeteria and eat the breakfast they serve there. Go to classes, repeat.

I’ve learned which corridors to use to avoid Lunch Boy. Now I catch a glimpse of him only at lunch, and only if I turn to look. And I have tried very hard not to look.

(***)

Where the hell did he go? That boy I spotted in the park – he was real, I knew it. He actually showed up in school. I physically ran into him at lunch the first day. And then he disappeared again. I was late to classes because I spent a few extra minutes in passing time searching the halls for him. Might have caught a glimpse here or there, but never long enough to be sure.

What I remember from that morning at the park haunted me. Hell, he shimmered into my dreams almost every night. There was something about him that moved my heart.

He's not a ghost. The boy was at lunch, in the cafeteria, one day. I'm sure of it. I saw him sitting all the way on the other side, lost in a book, his lunch totally neglected. He was just as beautiful as he was in the park. Should I get up? Go over and introduce myself? Coward. My feet were rooted in place, even as I watched. No Ray-Bans to hide behind.

My friends noticed I was staring at something, even if the boy didn't. I had to look away – and then he was gone again.

(***)

September 17

Another Saturday. Another day at Mrs. M’s, followed by a couple of hours at the Abbott’s. Again, I earned enough to get by the week and have a little more to spare. Who knew that going to school could be so profitable?

I received some grades back yesterday. I’m doing OK in English and History, and I am acing Physics and Math. No surprises there. Art is fun, and I get to draw and paint without any harassment. The teacher is this really laid back guy who just tells us to start drawing. It’s hard to know what I’m supposed to be learning, but I’m not complaining much. I can take out my (very expensive) drawing pad and start sketching on the page, losing myself completely for a while.

There are clouds on the horizon, though. Today, in Physics, my lab partner tried to put on the friendly act, as we worked on some lab data together. Terry seems like a nice person, I guess, but I can’t be friends with anyone here. Too dangerous.

“So Andrew. You’re new this year, right?”

She couldn’t figure this out?

“Yup.”

“Where do you live in town?”

Shit. Don’t want to mess with that question. Shrug. Fill in a few more data blanks.

“Nowhere much.”

“I never see you anywhere but here in class. It’s like you’re hiding out or something.” Terry smiled. It was a nice smile. A friendly smile. Not to be trusted.

“I’m around.” Didn't like the direction this conversation was headed.

More numbers. More blanks to fill in. Pencils scratching into notebooks.

“Are you around at lunch today? I thought maybe you could sit with me and my friends.”

I wanted to give her a nasty reply that would put her off and shut her out. But I just couldn’t do it. There she sat, all sincere and smiling, and I just couldn’t bite her head off.

Instead, I shrugged.

“Hey, only if you want to.” Another smile, coaxing.

It might be nice to say yes. To have friends, maybe – but no way can I do that. Besides, she hangs out with Lunch Boy, so I’ve got to put her off.

“Maybe sometime. I got something to take care of at lunch today.”

“Like what?” Terry pushed a little.

Another shrug. Look away.

“Nothing much. But it’s got to be done.”

Terry sighed, made a face, and that ended that. Hopefully for good.

Later on, another problem surfaced. My guidance counselor, Mrs. Westbrook, caught me in the hall between classes.

“Andrew Stevenson, right?” she inquired, touching me on the elbow.

“Yeah?” I replied, warily.

“Listen, I really do need your transcript from your previous school. And your birth certificate. The office told me they can't find it. Didn't you bring it? Anyway can you get these things to me, please?”

She was plainly in a hurry, so I just kept it short.

“Sure thing, ma’am. No problem.” I ventured a reassuring smile.

“Thanks so much!” she turned and moved off on another mission. “I’ll be looking for them!”

I stood there in the middle of the hall, as foot traffic flowed around me. How in hell was I going to come up with an official transcript? Or a birth certificate?

At the end of the day yesterday, another cloud joined the others. Mrs. Gersheimer called me to her desk at the end of math class.

“Andrew, can I see you for a minute, please?”

My heart dropped. What was wrong? Was I being called to the principal’s office? If so, I was going to bolt.

“Andrew,” she continued, unaware of my near panic, “this work you’ve been turning in is stellar. You’re really a long way ahead of some of the others.”

She paused. I looked up at her, and she smiled. “What I’m saying is that I’m really beginning to wonder if you shouldn’t be in the advanced class.”

Silence. How to respond? This was completely new to me. Advanced? Me? That’s stupid. I could practically hear Dad hooting with laughter at the idea.

“I – I don’t know, ma’am. Maybe – maybe I’m just lucky. Really, I’m just a stupid –“

“Now Andrew, stop it,” Mrs. Gersheimer interrupted firmly. “Please don’t insult my intelligence. You may be quiet. You may even be shy. But you are not stupid.”

I kept my head down, not knowing what to say.

“Look Andrew, I want you to think this over. Talk to your parents this weekend. We can discuss this again next week, all right?”

I nodded.

“OK, you’d better go now. You don’t want to miss your bus,” she laughed.

I got out.

So now what am I going to do? Talk to what parents? The ghost of my Dad? I can imagine how that conversation would go.

Me: “Hey Dad, they want me to move to the advanced math class.”

Dad: “So what? You’ll still be a moron. A moron since the day you were born. Now you want to be an advanced moron? Your chores aren’t even started yet.”

Me: “My teacher thinks it’s a good idea…”

Dad: “Yeah? Well, I think it’s stupid. (insert sound of me being smacked here). It’ll mean more books and more money spent on your stupid moron ass. Besides, the harder the class, the less time you have to get your chores done. Think you can get out of doing your work at home for me, you worthless little shit? (insert next smack here). Tell her to go fuck herself.”

Yeah, I can replay that conversation.

And what about the transcript and birth certificate? Well, leave it to the library computer. That was tonight’s task. I was nervous as hell. I covered myself and the computer with my jacket so that the light from the monitor wouldn’t show. Then, hunched over the keyboard, I scoured the internet for models.

I couldn't believe there were actual websites telling you how to forge documents. But then I read about the penalties for forging documents, and shivered a little. Well, they already wanted me for murder. As for the transcript, I discovered you could buy these – for a hundred dollars!

The birth certificate wasn't very hard. After about forty minutes of searching images, I found a template I could use. I used my new name, but all my true birthday and so on. If they catch me, I figure I can tell them I was kind of telling the truth. I wasn't taking someone else's identity. A search located some heavy paper in a drawer under the printer, and I ran it off. Thank heaven for the laser printer in the library. It looked very official, especially with the raised seal I added using a stamp I found in the librarian's desk.

The transcript was harder. My first effort was pretty awful, but after a few tries, it wasn't too bad. First, I worked on getting a seal. I decided I would have come from New Salem High School – I don’t want anyone even thinking about Carlsberg. After a ton of trial and error, I got a template down. I even managed to lift a logo for the corner. Then it was a matter of filling it in with as much as I could remember from Carlsberg High. I did my best with course names and grades. I figured out my course credits and put what I guessed was my GPA. My finishing touches were to add an illegible signature at the bottom and to put a seal on it.

Let’s hope nobody looks too carefully at these things, because I don’t think they will stand up to too much scrutiny. Maybe nobody will notice the document seals say "Property of Blackburn High School Library." Anyway, I’m hoping that my efforts will just give them something to file, and then they’ll let it go. I can hand it in on Monday and get ready to run.

 

September 25

Another week. I handed in my fake transcript and birth certificate Monday. Mrs. Westbrook didn’t even glance at them when I gave them to her, with my heart in my throat. She hasn’t said anything about it, so I’m hoping that she’s filed and forgotten them.

Writing has been hard to keep up with. There has been a lot more work assigned in my classes. It’s funny, but I really want to do a good job on it. I used to care more about keeping Dad from exploding and doing work to please him. Now that I’m doing it for myself, I find that I want to learn the stuff for real. Especially the math and physics.

I think I like these classes because there are real answers. You ask a question, and there’s something definite at the end. That, and it seems like the stuff in physics just fits together naturally.

Terry P, my physics lab partner, tried again to be friendly, and I kept up 'the shrug.' It’s the best defense I have. I could try being sarcastic with her, but it’s just not right to be nasty to someone that nice. She tried the girlfriend thing on me at the end of class Thursday.

“Can I ask you a question, Andrew?”

As usual, I shrug. “Sure.”

“Do you have a girlfriend?”

I’d been waiting for this question for a couple of weeks. I didn’t think she’d be interested in me. Nice as she is, I am definitely not interested in her.

“No,” I say, shaking my head. “Not right now.”

“You between girls right now?” she asked with a grin.

Shrug.

“I could introduce you to someone, maybe, if you want…”

“No.” An emphatic shake of the head. “Thanks, but no thank you.”

That ended that conversation, thank God. But I’m learning that Terry is persistent. She’ll find her way back to the subject, so I’d better be prepared. God knows she’s asked me to eat lunch with her enough times.

It’s definitely fall now. The leaves are turning. Summer’s deep green is changing swiftly to lemon yellow and flame red.

I’ve decided that I like this time of year. Not so unbearably hot, like the middle of July. Some days are still warm, but for the most part, it’s definitely cooler. Certainly nicer. Somehow, cool weather means the grass wants to start growing faster again.

So this explains why I was on my knees outside at Mrs. Marjorie’s house yesterday, a grey Saturday morning. Cold, damp air defined the day. It must have rained the night before. Mowing was more of a chore than usual, because the grass was longer and wetter this week than earlier. The mower was not happy about it.

I had to stop the machine on the front lawn to clear out some clumped grass from underneath. As I worked, I heard voices and the sound of feet on the street. Looking up from my task, I saw a group of runners approaching, a couple of girls at the front. Maybe the Cross Country team practicing, I thought.

Then, farther back, I spotted him. I’d successfully avoided him all week long at school, and then, there he was.

Lunch Boy. Paired again with his friend the Giant, he ran effortlessly. Again, I felt seized with want, a longing ache not to be ignored. I couldn’t look away.

And this time, for some reason, he turned his head and he spotted me, watching. Our eyes met for several very long seconds. I know he kept running. I know he was still moving, but I swear, time stood still. And then, as he glided by, he raised his hand and waved. He smiled a small smile. At me.

Stunned, all I could do was nod back at him as I knelt in the wet grass.

 

September 27

The big question for today: What the heck does “Homecoming” mean? In the context of high school, that is. This week, people began buzzing with the word. Carlsberg High used to have “Homecoming” events and dances, but I never really understood much about it.

Who was coming home? Weren’t we already home? In my case, home was about the last place I wanted to be. At Carlsberg High, there was a big football game at school, and the jocks preened for weeks beforehand.

Of course, I was a target for them. I remember freshman year in Carlsberg. A couple of football players chose me out of all the kids in the hall to get a “swirly.” This is when they grab you, drag you into the bathroom, force your head into the toilet, and flush. If you’re lucky the toilet chosen for you is fairly clean, at least as far high school toilets go.

When it happens, you can fight and kick, or just take it. After the first time, you learn to give in, because it hurts less. Unless, of course you have to go home to Dad.

In that case, you can expect him to get a good laugh out of your damp and stinking clothes. Then expect to get a beating for being smelly, being a pansy, or just because you deserve it. That's the way it happened to me, anyhow.

So when Terry started up about Homecoming before Physics class this week, I knew the time to take precautions had arrived.

First, do laundry and make sure to be clean in the morning. I don’t want to get noticed for any reason. Second, travel in the middle of the crowds and avoid jocks of any description. Third, stay away from the cafeteria, where targets are often harassed. Fourth, be sure to travel light – keep as little as possible in the backpack. This conflicts with number five: stop at the locker no more than once a day.

Oh, hell, I tried a dozen strategies at Carlsberg, but I still wound up being a target anyhow.

This year at Blackburn High School, nobody has even begun to mess with me. I don’t think it’s because I’ve grown all that much. What do I know? I can’t really tell much about that. Maybe it’s because I’m a junior. Or maybe it’s because the kids here are nicer. Hell, I don’t care, as long as they leave me alone. I’m not taking chances. Stay low, keep my head down, fly under the radar – fade into the background.

Anyhow, I’ve got other problems. Mrs. Gersheimer wants to know if I’m going to switch into the advanced math class – I think she can’t wait to get rid of me. I want to do it, but something is holding me back. I know what it is. I feel the ghost of Dad hovering over me, jeering at me, waiting for some cosmic opportunity to prove it’s hopeless. I’m afraid. Dad’s been back in my dreams again. Him and Uncle Ray. They take turns, one thrashing me, and the other…ugh. Not going there. It’s ridiculous to think Dad and Ray have somehow cursed me forever, that any risk I take will backfire. But I’m still afraid. I’ll have to let her know by the end of the week.

And tonight? I’m in the cafeteria, hiding in my dark corner, hoping not to be noticed. As it happens, there is a School Board meeting in the Library tonight, and I’m kind of cut off from my closet. Next time, I’ll pay closer attention to the schedule so I can slip in before the meeting starts. For tonight, I’ll wait for things to break up and drift in as people get their stuff together.

 

September 29

So I did it. I defied Dad’s ghost and told Mrs. Gersheimer that I would take the advanced math class. She was so happy when I told her at the end of class, I thought she was going to do a little dance. It turns out she had everything for the move prepared. I guess she really, really wanted me out of her class.

I’m kind of sad, because I liked Mrs. G. She’s got high standards and a lot of energy. Nobody sleeps in that class. I liked the challenge problems she handed out. Anyhow, my schedule changes so that I’ll have Art last period of the day, and math before that. I start Monday.

I tell myself that there’s nothing to worry about; there’s nothing to be scared of, nothing to go wrong. Then why am I so afraid? But then, I remember this is to prove Dad wrong. Maybe, just maybe, I’m not the worthless idiot Dad says – said – I am.

Or maybe I’m getting worried about the not-so-subtle probing I’m getting. I’ve been here a month after all.

Terry asked me about Homecoming AND joining her for lunch after class today. Not happening. That girl just does not give up. The downside is that I had to invent an excuse to miss lunch – which meant missing lunch. Now I’m hungry, and I don’t want to spend the money on buying supper. Eating will have to wait until tomorrow. Maybe I can buy something quick and cheap on the way to Mrs. M’s on Saturday.

Many thanks go to Craftingmom for her kind and careful editing of this and every chapter.

Please leave a review. I appreciate all your comments and reflections, regardless of their nature.

Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; 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

Such a tease. How many more chapters before Stefan... I mean Eric... I mean Andy and Lunch Boy actually have a conversation?

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I so want him to make a friend. It's hard to open up for so many reasons, but I hope his longing to belong somewhere will win that fight. It's such a lonely existence.

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Lunch boy and Andy connected...eye contact anyway. Terry is persistent. Andy knows the risk he is taking, and he's taking it anyway. Maybe, subconsciously he wants to get caught? I mean the reality of what would happen if he does is scary, but I think part of him just does want to stop. That was a small victory, overcoming his father's voice, and taking the advanced math class.
Andy is proving by his ingenuity, he is not at all stupid. I'm happy he's finding ways to survive, but curious to see where you take him next..

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On 11/21/2015 03:40 PM, Defiance19 said:

Lunch boy and Andy connected...eye contact anyway. Terry is persistent. Andy knows the risk he is taking, and he's taking it anyway. Maybe, subconsciously he wants to get caught? I mean the reality of what would happen if he does is scary, but I think part of him just does want to stop. That was a small victory, overcoming his father's voice, and taking the advanced math class.

Andy is proving by his ingenuity, he is not at all stupid. I'm happy he's finding ways to survive, but curious to see where you take him next..

The moment of connection. That was a significant moment, I agree. Andy hasn't hAd that with a contemporary in forever. But there is lots of danger, reefs to avoid, shallows to navigate, storms to weather, if Andy is to avoid getting caught. And overcoming his father's voice is a tremendous victory that nobody will see or recognize. But Andy will know. Thanks for your thoughtful review.

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On 11/21/2015 10:19 AM, xleroc said:

Such a tease. How many more chapters before Stefan... I mean Eric... I mean Andy and Lunch Boy actually have a conversation?

No spoilers. Both are essentially shy persons, for reasons of their own. And both have reasons to hide. Hang on.

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On 11/21/2015 05:06 PM, Mikiesboy said:

Nice, we'll see what's gonna happen between these two. Hopefully good stuff.

Nice chapter,

tim

I'm glad you thought it was good stuff. These are shy ( and very shy) people. Andy has to negotiate living in hiding, which is a real problem, I think.

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On 11/21/2015 10:25 AM, Puppilull said:

I so want him to make a friend. It's hard to open up for so many reasons, but I hope his longing to belong somewhere will win that fight. It's such a lonely existence.

Terry is certainly trying. If she can break through, then maybe there will be a bit of sunshine,

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How did I miss this?
Anyway, a few thoughts. Andy will have two new classes. Two new sets of classmates. Maybe the new dynamic will make something happen. Of course it will ...hehe

 

I like that the two boys made significant eye contact. They know each other knows now. Also Lunch Boy has a Saturday location possibility, if he has any smarts at all.

 

Nice chapter Parker!

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On 11/22/2015 12:58 AM, skinnydragon said:

How did I miss this?

Anyway, a few thoughts. Andy will have two new classes. Two new sets of classmates. Maybe the new dynamic will make something happen. Of course it will ...hehe

 

I like that the two boys made significant eye contact. They know each other knows now. Also Lunch Boy has a Saturday location possibility, if he has any smarts at all.

 

Nice chapter Parker!

Oh, yes. Of course, there's quite a lot going on in both their lives, but the little house on the side street near the park is filed away in someone's memory for later. Sometimes it's fun being transparent. Thanks a lot for your review, and for reading.

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I wonder if a change in schedule will mean he has Lunch Boy in one of his new classes? ;) I hope so. Then they can start getting to know each other. :)

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On 11/22/2015 04:54 AM, Valkyrie said:

I wonder if a change in schedule will mean he has Lunch Boy in one of his new classes? ;) I hope so. Then they can start getting to know each other. :)

Thank you for reading and reviewing, as you have done so kindly. And yes, a change in schedule will mean some differences in his classes. I'll leave it to Andy to describe them for us. Hang on.

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Boy was I stupid! I think I only thought the change in pov was Toby only because Stefan/Eric/Andy was still working for Eustace. Now of course I know it has to be Lunch Boy. :)

 

As your other reviewers said, I hope the two class changes means more Lunch Boy! lol

 

I can't believe how resourceful S/E/A is! He can figure out how to do anything! Coming up with birth certificates, transcripts, a nice place to sleep in the back of the library closet, etc. He is very bright.

 

I'm glad he agreed to take the AP math class. He'll be challenged more in it. He needs to get the ghost of his sperm donor and his pedo uncle exorcised or something. He'll never believe he's as smart or as good as he is while they're still hanging around in his mind.

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On 12/26/2015 06:24 AM, Lisa said:

Boy was I stupid! I think I only thought the change in pov was Toby only because Stefan/Eric/Andy was still working for Eustace. Now of course I know it has to be Lunch Boy. :)

 

As your other reviewers said, I hope the two class changes means more Lunch Boy! lol

 

I can't believe how resourceful S/E/A is! He can figure out how to do anything! Coming up with birth certificates, transcripts, a nice place to sleep in the back of the library closet, etc. He is very bright.

 

I'm glad he agreed to take the AP math class. He'll be challenged more in it. He needs to get the ghost of his sperm donor and his pedo uncle exorcised or something. He'll never believe he's as smart or as good as he is while they're still hanging around in his mind.

Andy has had to learn to be resourceful in life..to lie when he had to, endure what came his way and recover, and so on. He used what he had on hand to survive; he's been doing that for a long time. The library closet is a nicer place to sleep than others he has known in this tale, but hardly a nice warm bed. AP Trig will certainly challenge Andy's bright brain in a good way. Thank you for reading Andy's story and for your encouraging reviews.

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Terry is eventually going to do something and Stefan will probably not know what to do, I can feel it as she's getting more and more persistent with asking him to do things.

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12 minutes ago, Higster said:

Terry is eventually going to do something and Stefan will probably not know what to do, I can feel it as she's getting more and more persistent with asking him to do things.

 

Poor Andy can hide, but not from Terry. She is very persistent, like Ambrose. If he feels uncovered, exposed, Andy could run again, despite the good place he seems to be in. Thank you for your thoughts and comments, and for reading the journal. 

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24 minutes ago, Higster said:

This Story is very good at making me think "Just one last Chapter before bed" hahahaha 

You just made me smile. I’m glad you get hooked. 

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"And then, as he glided by, he raised his hand and waved. He smiled a small smile. At me."

At this sentence, I quite literally covered my head with the blanket, and let out a little squeal of excitement...
I am excitable, but not usually THAT excitable, so I give you props for extracting such a reaction out of me

I am SO looking forward to the development between Stephan/Eric/Andy and Future Boyfriend 😁 I am also loving how resourceful he has become

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35 minutes ago, FrankD said:

"And then, as he glided by, he raised his hand and waved. He smiled a small smile. At me."

At this sentence, I quite literally covered my head with the blanket, and let out a little squeal of excitement...
I am excitable, but not usually THAT excitable, so I give you props for extracting such a reaction out of me

I am SO looking forward to the development between Stephan/Eric/Andy and Future Boyfriend 😁 I am also loving how resourceful he has become

Based on your reaction to that scene you are going to be liking a lot of upcoming scenes

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3 hours ago, FrankD said:

"And then, as he glided by, he raised his hand and waved. He smiled a small smile. At me."

At this sentence, I quite literally covered my head with the blanket, and let out a little squeal of excitement...
I am excitable, but not usually THAT excitable, so I give you props for extracting such a reaction out of me

I am SO looking forward to the development between Stephan/Eric/Andy and Future Boyfriend 😁 I am also loving how resourceful he has become

Andy, as he now calls himself, is a survivor. He has spent this journey further developing those skills which kept him alive with his father. His attraction to Lunch Boy frightens him, as it could undo his defenses which keep him going. I’m glad you reacted as you did. The Andy’s of this world need people who will celebrate small delights with them. Thanks again for reading.

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2 hours ago, weinerdog said:

 

Based on your reaction to that scene you are going to be liking a lot of upcoming scenes

You made me smile this morning. :) 

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Andy is starting to settle in, he got past the ghost when he agreed to move maths class. Terry is becoming very persistent. Andy and Lunch Boy eyes met, they both seem shy.

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1 hour ago, chris191070 said:

Andy is starting to settle in, he got past the ghost when he agreed to move maths class. Terry is becoming very persistent. Andy and Lunch Boy eyes met, they both seem shy.

Andy has banished quite a few ghosts since walking away from Carlsberg - though he remembers his father and the pain the man inflicted, he also has learned to attempt to do things on his own that he might never have chanced under the tyrannical rule of his dad. Eustace has something to do with that, perhaps. That math class is just one more step away from Carlsberg and closer to who he might be. And Terry is truly persistent. She is a force of nature.

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