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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 - 43. Chapter 43 Good Dreams

Good Dreams

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/

You slept in my arms. During the night, we'd turned, and I was spooned up behind you, but I hadn't let go. I woke early and just enjoyed it. Nothing ever felt better. It felt as if everything in the whole world was exactly right, as if every wish I’ve ever made had been granted. You’re adorable just about all the time, but you’re especially adorable when you sleep. I could tell when you started to wake up in the early morning half-light. Your breathing changed a little. You made the cutest little sighing sound, a comfortable kind of sound. You snuggled back in to me. How could I not hold you a little closer? How could I not help planting a few soft kisses on the back of your neck? That was the moment I knew – I was yours, for as long as you wanted me. Nothing else would ever matter again, as long as we could be together.

 

February 12 (Sunday) – Continued

Some dreams really do come true. Once in a while, since walking away from Carlsberg, I’d get a really good dream between the awful ones that haunt me. That dream when I felt wrapped up safely in someone’s arms.

I woke up to that sensation again this morning. I tried to keep my eyes closed a little longer, savoring the feeling, trying to bury myself physically in it. For a moment I hung there, suspended just past the threshold of sleep, wondering why I’d had this really, really fantastic dream. Only, it wasn’t a dream. Suddenly, I realized Zander was truly holding me. I felt his whole body enfolding me in its warmth. He'd held me all through the night. Safe. Happy. Loved. I sensed him planting little kisses down my head and neck.

And I felt his strong legs over mine, his arms clasping me to his frame. And I felt Zander’s length through his boxers, planted along the line of my butt. I must have started a little at that.

“Hey, Andy. Morning,” he murmured softly into my ear.

I leaned back into him, searching for his lips.

He rewarded me with a gentle kiss and a tighter hug. Zander was careful to keep his hands flat on my chest and belly.

“Sorry. I must have bad morning breath,” I apologized, after our lips parted.

“Can’t be much worse than mine,” he chuckled softly.

The silent room grew a little brighter. Sunlight slanting in the window illuminated the far wall.

“This is perfect,” I sighed and appreciated what I was feeling.

“Yeah,” he agreed.

We lay there for a while as the light strengthened through the window.

“Andy?” Zander nuzzled my neck.

“Yeah?”

“I don’t ever want to let you go.”

“You don’t have to.”

“Good. Because it isn’t going to happen.”

We lay like that for a few minutes, molded contentedly to one another.

“Zander, does this mean we’re boyfriends?”

Boyfriends. As in, being together. As in, being in love.

“Yeah, Andy. I think this means we’re definitely boyfriends.”

Something occurred to me to disturb the profound peace of that moment.

“Zander? How are we going to tell your parents?”

He stirred behind me.

“I don’t think it will be a big deal,” he said, “I mean, they already love you. I think they’re gonna be thrilled about it.”

I turned over in the bed to face him, not believing what I’d heard.

“You mean they know that you’re…gay?”

Zander nodded.

“Yeah. I told them this fall. They’ve been incredibly cool about it. Though I never want to have the gay sex talk with my mom ever again.” He shuddered. “What about your dad? Does he know?”

I buried my face in his chest and shook my head. Dad doesn’t know anything anymore. I didn’t want to have to face telling Zander the truth about everything. Not quite yet. I didn’t want him to change his mind about me.

“Don’t worry. It’s gonna be fine. You’ll see,” Zander reassured me.

I changed the subject.

“What about Mary Ellen? I saw you and her kissing at Kaz’s party. And then Kaz and Terry talked about how cute a couple you were, and how happy you looked. I thought you were…”

“…straight,” Zander finished my sentence. “She was the one kissing me, not the other way around. She didn’t just throw herself at me, she hurled herself. God, it was embarrassing. I had to tell her three times that I just wasn’t interested in her that way. Besides, I saw Lena kissing you, too. You have no idea how jealous I felt.”

“Yeah, well, she kissed me, too. I didn’t do it, either.”

Zander chuckled again. At that moment, his stomach grumbled.

“Someone’s hungry,” I smiled.

“For you,” Zander grinned, kissing me. I was happy to respond in kind. I couldn’t get enough of him.

His stomach growled louder.

“Or maybe for something else,” I laughed, breaking the kiss.

“Maybe,” he admitted.

“And I’ve got to use the bathroom,” I said, shifting.

In the end, we agreed it was time to get up and throw on some clothes, but we were holding hands, fingers intertwined, when we descended the stairs to the kitchen few minutes later. I was so focused on Zander, on reaching up to kiss him again, that I didn’t realize that the kitchen was already occupied when we entered. The roller coaster was about to plummet.

“So. It’s about time you two made an appearance,” Mrs. Stevenson said.

There was something hard in her tone, something less than friendly. She sat at the table with Mr. Stevenson. They’d been deep in conversation over coffee. They were still in robes and sleep clothes.

“Morning,” Zander grinned widely, oblivious to the tension, “Mom. Dad. I’d like to introduce you to my boyfriend, Andy. Have you met?”

“Your boyfriend, huh?” Zander’s mom sounded unpleasant.

“I think you two should sit down. We need to talk,” Mr. Stevenson said seriously.

Now Zander began to realize something was wrong. We pulled out chairs at the small table, Zander on my left, his dad on my right, and his mom across from me. At least Zander hadn’t let go of my hand. Yet.

“What’s the matter?” Zander asked.

“There are some questions that need answers,” his father began.

“Honest answers, Zander,” his mother said crossly, “and don’t get cute with us.”

“Questions?” Zander looked bewildered.

“Yes. Like, for a start, how long have you and your boyfriend been sleeping together?” she asked sarcastically.

“Just since the middle of the night…”

“Don’t be stupid, Zander,” she barked, “I mean, how long have you two been sneaking around having sex?”

Zander looked shocked.

“Mom, we haven’t been…”

“Don’t lie to me! I saw you!”

Understanding dawned on Zander’s face, as his mother ranted on: “I went in to check on Andy when I couldn’t sleep. And what do I find? I get the sight of the two of you all tangled up in his bed. Very lovely! And last night who did I find hiding in the barn? Your boyfriend! So, forgive me for being a little bit suspicious, but I have an idea you two have been up to no good, sneaking sex when you think nobody is watching!”

She paused for breath. “Well?”

“It wasn’t like that, mom,” Zander protested, “We just snuggled, that’s all.”

“Oh, really,” she replied, her voice dripping sarcasm, “just cuddled up, huh?”

I couldn’t let Zander take all of this on himself. After all, this was mostly my fault.

“We didn’t do anything bad,” I spoke up.

“Yes, let’s hear from the boyfriend,” agreed Mrs. Stevenson, “what does he have to say?”

I cleared my throat. “It was just…I had a bad dream. Really bad. I must have been yelling or something, because Zander heard me, and woke me up.”

She snorted. “Yeah, right. Then what?”

Mr. Stevenson sat silent on my right, watching, judging.

“I…I told Zander how I feel about him. And yes, he kissed me. And I kissed him back. But that’s all. I admit we got a little hot, but…but nothing else happened. I…wouldn’t…couldn’t let him…touch me…like that.”

Zander kept his hand in mine, holding it tight.

“So what kept your virtue intact, boyfriend?”

“Take it easy, Monica,” murmured Mr. Stevenson. But he kept his eyes on me.

This was hard. Very hard. Images, memories flashed into my head. My Dad, angry, fists balled and ready to strike; Uncle Ray, in the darkness, his terrible grin flashing white. This was stuff I never wanted to think about, let alone explain to anyone. “I stopped him… because… because… because of the dreams.”

“What do you mean, ‘because of the dreams,’ Andrew? You're not making any sense.” Mrs. Stevenson pressed.

Words wouldn’t come. I didn’t want to talk about Dad. About what he and Uncle Ray did to my body. To me. In my dreams, night after night.

“I think, Andrew, Monica is asking what was in your dream that made you stop Zander touching you in a sexual way,” Mr. Stevenson clarified softly, calmly.

I felt the frustration rising in my chest. This wasn’t supposed to go this way. I’d held out hope that maybe, somehow, they’d just let me slide again. It wasn’t supposed to go completely to shit so soon. But I couldn’t talk about that dream. My voice simply refused to function. I didn’t want to face what it meant. I was cornered.

But I could still show them.

I let go of Zander. I stood and turned around, facing away from everyone. My heart raced, and the blood pounded in my ears. I undid the top button on my shirt, and the one after that, but my fingers fumbled. I just couldn’t seem to manage the next one. In frustration, I finally just pulled the damn shirt off over my head.

There was dead silence in the kitchen. I heard the clock in the living room ticking.

“Oh, sweet Jesus,” Mrs. Stevenson breathed.

I know that I didn’t have any fresh scars, but there were plenty of old ones on my back to show. I gave them plenty of time to look.

“Who did that to you? Was it your father?” asked Mr. Stevenson very carefully.

I nodded. I still couldn’t face them. I might have heard Zander sniff.

“Andrew, why don’t you put your shirt back on and sit down?” Zander's father said gently.

Slowly, I complied.

When I sat, Zander seized my hand again. He stared at me, wide-eyed, pale, horrified. His mind was working, I could tell. I have that effect on people, I guess.

Mr. Stevenson said, “Look at me, Andrew. Are you telling us that the dreams you had were related to what your father did to you?”

I met his eyes and nodded. I still couldn’t speak.

“And you thought Zander would hurt you like that, too?”

I shook my head. No. He’d never do that. But I remembered when it had hurt. And how it had hurt. And where.

“Andrew, what was done to you was wrong. We need to call the police. They need to go and find your father.”

That finally got a sound from me: a short, sharp bark of laughter. I couldn’t help it. Mr. Stevenson looked at me curiously.

I said bitterly, “The police know exactly where he is already. They found his body, after all. My father’s dead.”

I heard a sharp of intake of breath across the table. I’d given Mrs. Stevenson yet another jolt for the morning. I looked over at Zander. His eyes were as big as saucers, his mouth open. But he hadn’t let go of me. Not yet.

“I didn’t kill him, if that’s what you’re thinking,” I went on, looking back at Mr. Stevenson. “But that’s what the police thought, so they sent a detective out to school to question me.”

“And the police questioned you right at Blackburn High School?”

“No. I wasn’t at Blackburn High School when it happened. He died last summer. It was at Carlsberg. Carlsberg Central High School. That’s somewhere way to the east of here. That’s where I used to live.” I felt Zander’s hand go slack on mine.

"I know where Carlsberg is," Mr. Stevenson scratched his head. “But, Andrew, I’m confused. How did…”

I shook my head. This had gone badly. I took a deep breath. I stared off into the middle distance and tried to start again.

“Look. You need to know some things. I’ve been lying to you for weeks – months – now. For one thing, my name isn’t Andrew. I haven’t been honest about that. That’s just one of a lot of things I haven’t told you,” I said, looking around the table. “My real name is…”

“…Stefan. Your name is Stefan Anders Ericsson,” Zander cut in. Now it was my turn to gape at him in surprise. He continued, reciting slowly, methodically, “You lived in Carlsberg, on the other side of the state. Your father whipped you for leaving a glass on the table. He beat you for spilling a little dishwater on the floor. And when he got called to your school because another student got caught trying to force you into giving him a blow job, he pounded you with his fists and boots, chained you up in the basement, and then flogged you with his belt.”

Zander paused, staring at me, his face a mask of devastation.

“Zander, what the hell…” Mrs. Stevenson started.

But Zander wasn’t finished. “It’s all true, isn’t it? That notebook that I read…that wasn’t your story for English at all, was it? It wasn’t made up. That thing was your…diary,” he spoke, his voice hollow.

I nodded. What else could I do? “What you read was my journal. I started it last spring.” I turned to his parents. “I carry it with me all the time. It was in my pack when you all rescued me…”

“I read it while you were sleeping,” Zander put in. I knew that.

There was silence for a moment. For many moments.

“So how did your father die?” Mrs. Stevenson ventured a question.

“I don’t know. I really don’t. The last time Dad whipped me was when he learned I was…when he learned that I was gay. He chained me up in the basement and left me to starve.” I shivered at the memory. Zander hadn’t mentioned what else Dad had done. I was grateful for that. “He must have dropped the key to the lock on the leg iron, because I found it on the floor and escaped. By that time, Dad had gone out, and he never came back. Thank God.”

“And your mother. Is she really gone? She left how long ago?” Mr. Stevenson asked, gently.

“She really left. When I was eight. Almost nine years ago. I never heard anything from her after that. At least she got away.”

“What happened after you got out of the basement?” This from Mrs. Stevenson again.

“I went to school. Stupid, isn’t it? My suspension was over, so I just went back. The police found me there.”

“Were you placed under arrest?” Mr. Stevenson asked.

“No. I don’t think so. I overheard the detective and the principal talking about it. But while they were deciding what to do, there was a big flash, and a lot of smoke, and everyone in the office bolted. The detective told me to stay where I was and shut the door. I decided to climb out the window instead. I started walking and never looked back.”

That’s the way it went. Little by little, question by question, I told them the outline of what happened: how I’d wandered westward over the mountains (“you mean you walked all the way from Carlsberg to Blackburn?”), that I’d worked on a farm for six weeks (“did you learn to drive a tractor?”) before the farmer’s son got too suspicious, and that I’d finally limped into Blackburn (“what do you mean you’ve slept out in the barn before?”). I didn’t give all the details, just enough. Zander’s hand never left mine the whole time.

“What I want to know is where you’ve been living since last September,” Mrs. Stevenson asserted.

“I’ve been living in the high school. I have a couple of changes of clothes. There’s a closet in the library nobody seems to use very often. It’s never locked. I sleep there. I can go out if I remember to put a pebble in one of the doors to keep it open. That way I can usually get back in after hours. But sometimes, I forget, or someone finds the pebble and closes the door.”

“But what do you do for meals?” she asked.

“School lunch. School breakfast. They’re cheap, and I can afford them from the money I make working for Mrs. Marj – er, Mrs. McDowell and the Abbotts.”

“Just two meals a day?”

“I buy extra when I can, and I’ll buy cereal and stuff that will keep for night snacks and the weekends. I shower in the school locker rooms, and do my laundry once or twice a week at the Laundromat downtown. It’s not great, but it works. At least I get my homework done regularly.”

“So, when we found you in the barn before Christmas, what really happened?” asked Zander.

“When everyone was getting out during the snowstorm, I got caught hanging around inside by the assistant principal when he was locking up the building. He hustled me outside. I had no chance to prop open another door or anything. I was locked out – I told the truth about that. I tried some other places in town first – they were all locked up. Then I remembered your barn.”

“But why didn’t you just stay? We’d have been happy to have you for Christmas,” Mrs. Stevenson wondered.

“You had family coming. You didn’t need me to mess up your holiday. I’d have been in the way,” I said quietly. “Besides, don’t worry – I found another place to stay in town. I snuck into a church and slept on the floor near a heater vent. I was warm the whole time.”

More silence greeted that explanation. None of them looked at me; I must have appalled them.

I began to think that I’d been a pain to them today. I hadn’t wanted to share my own horror; all I’d done was bring them sadness. This nice family – and the boy I loved – they didn’t need the drama and suspicion I’d brought them. I’d kept Zander’s parents up all night by being a nuisance, and I’d been a worry to Zander ever since we came downstairs in the morning. They should have been eating Sunday breakfast together, or sleeping in, or being normal. I felt an urge to get out of there before I became a bigger irritation than I already was. I let go of Zander and started to stand up.

“Where are you going?” he asked, startled.

“I…I thought…I’ve been enough of a problem for you…I’d thought I’d better go…”

“No.” Zander stood, and wrapped me up in a huge hug. “No way. You’re staying. You’re staying here. I love you, okay? No way you’re going anywhere without me, ever,” he whispered fiercely into my ear. “Mom,” he said, speaking louder, but not letting me go, “tell Andy he has to stay.”

“That’s right, Andy,” I heard her say, “you can’t go. You’re with us, now.”

So I stayed.

Emotionally, I was exhausted, and I think everyone else was kind of tired, too. We had a pretty quiet breakfast after that. I noticed Mr. Stevenson seemed to be deep in thought.

“Andy – or should I call you Stefan?” he began.

“Andy. I don’t want to have anything to do with anything that was my Dad’s – not even the name he gave me.” I said firmly.

“All right – Andy – I’ve been thinking about what to do next,” he said seriously. “We have a difficulty. I’m not sure where you should go from here.”

“Dad, why can’t Andy just move into the guestroom where he is now?” put in Zander.

“It’s more than just a question of bedrooms and logistics,” his father replied. “It’s a question of the law. As a lawyer, I am bound to behave according to the law, ethically. Legally, the thing to do is to notify the county social and family services that we suspect a case of child abuse, and let them handle it. However, I suspect Andy here wouldn’t want that,” he nodded at me.

I shook my head violently, horrified at the idea. Social services would mean contact with the police, probably, which would mean my arrest and transportation to Carlsberg, definitely.

“Now, I was thinking that there might be another route to take, but I want to think about it for a little while,” he continued. “It might work, and it might not.” He looked over at his wife. She seemed to know what he was thinking.

“Go ahead. Excuse yourself to the study, we’ll clean up,” she chuckled.

It wasn’t much of a laugh, but it was the first cheerful note I’d heard from her all morning. I felt grateful for it, somehow.

Zander and I cleared the table, and put things away.

His mother cleared her throat. “Zander, go on out to the barn and make sure the llamas are watered and fed, all right?”

“Mom, can’t it wait until later?” he almost whined. It was kind of cute.

“No. Just go do it now, okay?” her face was set in a way that tolerated no further argument. “Stubborn boys,” she muttered under her breath.

Zander grabbed a coat off the hook, slipped on a pair of boots, and went outside. I started looking for dish soap.

“Andy.” She was speaking again. “Look at me.”

I turned to her.

“I’m sorry I spoke so harshly to you earlier." She seemed ashamed. That was weird. But she was still talking. "It was just that…I was surprised by finding the two of you together this morning, and I jumped to the wrong conclusion. I was wrong to do that. Please, forgive me.” She spoke quietly and sincerely. I knew she meant what she said.

“It’s okay,” I said.

“No, it’s not okay. I should have been ready for it.” She sighed. “It’s hard, you know? I understood that Zander’s gay, and I could live with it, in a theoretical sense. I’ve tried to get used to the whole idea since he told us. But being confronted with it this morning in a real, physical way just got to me. I don’t know why I didn’t see it coming; I could tell you were great friends and that he really likes you. Why shouldn’t you be interested in each other?”

I could feel myself blushing.

“The thing is that Zander is my little boy. My baby. All mothers see their children like that. It’s just very difficult to recognize my little boy as a sexual person. A boy who’s growing into a man. Finding the two of you in bed together this morning just rubbed all that in my face. I took all that out on you. I’m really sorry, Andy. You didn’t deserve it. Not at all.”

She sniffled a little. Her eyes were getting watery. I stood there, wondering what to do, when she reached out and pulled me into a warm, tight hug.

“I’m sorry,” she repeated.

“It’s all right,” I tried to reassure her, “you didn’t mean it. I forgive you.”

I think I’m getting better at hugs. I know that they feel really good. But it felt very strange to be forgiving an adult for something. Certainly Dad had never asked me for my pardon. He hadn’t ever been wrong in his life.

She let me go, and I started to fill the sink. “Maybe you should let me do the dishes,” Mrs. Stevenson said gently.

“That’s okay. I can do them,” I said, and she didn’t argue. Instead, she sat at the table nursing her cup of coffee. Zander returned from the barn, and his mother sent him up to shower while I worked on the glasses and cups and plates left over from breakfast. On his way, he very deliberately stopped at the sink, wrapped his arms around me and kissed me.

I smiled and shivered appreciatively at his affection. I just hoped his mom didn’t mind too much, because I wanted this. Needed this.

"Oh, go get a shower," his mother said. I could hear the smile in her voice and that felt good, too.

"It’s gonna be okay,” Zander whispered in my ear before releasing me. He ran upstairs.

As I finished up, wiping down the counters, Mr. Stevenson strode in. “Andy, I think you’d better go and get dressed.” He was all business.

Surprised, I looked up at him, then down at myself. I’d pulled on the clothes I was wearing the day before. I just needed my shoes and socks.

“I’ll get your coat. Go get your things, and be down here in a couple of minutes, all right? And bring your pack.”

Suddenly, I felt alarmed. What was going on? Was he going to try and get rid of me after all? He must have seen my expression as I wavered.

“Don’t worry, I’ll explain. But we have to hurry.”

I dashed upstairs and crammed my feet into my boots. I knew I looked pretty rumpled and awful, but Mr. Stevenson had said to hurry, so I let it go. The shower was still running; Zander must have been taking a long one. I knocked on the bathroom door and opened it a crack.

“Zander? I gotta go somewhere with your dad. He says I have to hustle, so I’ll see you when we get back,” I called into the steamy room. I hesitated a second. “I love you.”

I heard Zander shout something indistinct as I shut the door and ran.

Craftingmom was editor, mentor and guide for this and every chapter. I am deeply grateful.

Please leave a review. Your comments and thoughts of all varieties are most welcome. I thank you for reading this story.

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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Good morning Parker. Thank you for another wonderful chapter. Monica will have to learn to control her anger around Andy. I wonder where they are off to in such a hurry on a Sunday morning. I can hardly wait for the next chapter. Thank you for sharing your time and talent with us. I wish you all the best in the New Year.

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Great chapter. It looks like things are getting better, but I hope someone soon realizes that Andy's journal is actually legal evidence, just like police notebooks are. They really need to protect it.

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So the truth is out. I bet it won't be an easy road, but I'm guessing that the Stevensons will fight tooth and nail for Andy. Good thing Mr. Stevenson is a lawyer. Great chapter. :)

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And so part three of this story begins. I can't wait to see how the mystery unravels. Will we learn how Andy's dad really died? What have the Carlsberg police and Ambrose Whitley been doing about the mystery boy for the past five months? Will Ackerman get what's coming to him? And finally, who does lawyer Garret Stevenson know who can take some action on a Sunday morning that would prevent or defer the need to call CPS? Stay tuned...

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I'm relieved that Andy has finally been able to tell his horrible story to sympathetic and loving hearers. You write so well that I could just hear Andy's soft, matter-of-fact voice telling each ghastly detail of his life to people who probably can not even imagine how horrific it would be to endure such treatment. I hope they were as impressed as I am with Andy' ability to find ways to survive and surmount every difficulty thrown in his path without becoming bitter or self-pitying. You have created a Mahatma, a "Great Soul" in Andy.
And Mr. Stevenson better be a damn good "junk-yard dog" of a lawyer!

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Thank you for another brilliant chapter Parker! Beautiful, dramatically interesting, well written, clever, ...

 

I was especially impressed with the mood transitions in this chapter. Zander's ignorance of events prior to discovering Andy in the guest bedroom facilitated the transition from sweet morning comfort to tense anxiety flawlessly. Andy's inability to fully verbalize the information he NEEDED to communicate kept this fantastic scent believable; it felt REAL! When Andy removed his shirt, it communicated far more than words ever could! Finally, Zander's familiarity with Andy's journal combined with his initial misunderstanding of it's contents completed the scene perfectly. It both communicated information that Andy could not as well as facilitated the realistic emotion of the scene. Very clever construction!

 

Andy is still frightend. He is still traumatized. He struggles to communicate what he so desperately needs to communicate. And while none of Stephan's problems have begun to be resolved, Andy is no longer Stephan. Nor is he Eric. The slow, often excruciating, transition in the protagonist's identity, or sense of self, accelerated on New year's eve. And while far from complete, Andy has made another important decision: he wants to be Andy, a man of his own creation.

 

Parker, you recently wrote that no one would call "atoz" literature ... don't be too sure! ;)

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Sometimes, just sometimes us lawyers are good to have close by! ;)

 

I think how you described his parents as their reaction to Zander not only having a boyfriend but a very damaged boyfriend showed just how wisely Andy has chosen to give his heart. Hopefully, Mr Stevenson has a plan. A foolproof one. I don't want Andy and Zander separated for even a day.

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Another great chapter Parker! I just hope Mr. Stevenson has good intentions of helping Andrew through this mess and is not setting him up with some bad news. As the story has progressed I think he is a good person and will help Andy. Time will tell!!

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Extraordinary reading...each and every chapter!!! But this one, was truly exceptional and give new meaning to "light at the end of the tunnel"...what a long dismal tunnel for Andy, to finally meet such a "bright light" at the end of it!! Brilliantly handled!! :2thumbs:

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I am often annoyed when I hear the titles 'Survivor' and 'Hero' tossed around when it often seems that so many of these people just managed to wait out their difficult situation until it changed, until they were rescued or helped out by others and, through no actions on their own, until it changed and/or improved to their benefit.
Andy is a true survivor! And Andy is a true hero to anyone who has decided not to give up.
When others would just give up, Andy persevered! He wanted LIFE, to LIVE whatever life he could, and DID absolutely everything he could to make his life as good as he could.
He never asked for a hand out; never expected anyone to rescue him; never asked for anything he didn't work for.
Andy is a true Survivor and a true Hero.

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So happy for Andy but I am so sad that this is about to be finished :/ Bittersweet. It was a hell of a ride my friend. I hope you immediately start another story for us to enjoy :)

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Andy's progression to this point has put us through an emotional wringer, yet we have stood by him, faithfully waiting for this moment. When he could tell his side of the story to someone, people, who believe him. When he would be loved through it. When he could get help and have a chance at a 'normal' future. I expect it will get a little messy, before all is said and done.

 

I think it's amazing that Mrs S. apologized so profusely to Andy for her wrong assumptions, when he just told his story and it didn't warrant an apology nearly close to what she gave. I am anxiously awaiting Mr S' plan. Zander is going to be so mad he got left behind..

 

Awesome chapter Parker...

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A tender chapter Parker.

 

I think Andy is in good hands now (finally).
Monica will care for him.
The Lawyer will take care of him.
Zander will envelop him in the cocoon of love he's never had, but desperately needs.

 

Lots of interesting things ahead: Daddy's plan, T & K, his employers, and even the priest!

 

Thanks for this!

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On 12/28/2015 01:19 AM, lukester34 said:

Good morning Parker. Thank you for another wonderful chapter. Monica will have to learn to control her anger around Andy. I wonder where they are off to in such a hurry on a Sunday morning. I can hardly wait for the next chapter. Thank you for sharing your time and talent with us. I wish you all the best in the New Year.

Thank you for your kind review. Andy has come come clean now, as much as he can for the moment. The whole family will have to get used to one another all over again, and that will mean bumps and bruises along the way, I suppose. Thanks for reading Andy and Zander's story so far.

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My favorite chapter so far. I read it three times and kept tearing up when he said "I was warm the whole time". This story is incredible.

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On 12/28/2015 02:25 AM, Bart said:

Great chapter. It looks like things are getting better, but I hope someone soon realizes that Andy's journal is actually legal evidence, just like police notebooks are. They really need to protect it.

Journals and diaries are often overlooked. As for Andy, he's about to learn what it's like to share and trust. After carrying it all by himself for so long, that will be a major change. Thanks for reading and for your patience. I appreciate your reviews.

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On 12/28/2015 03:14 AM, Valkyrie said:

So the truth is out. I bet it won't be an easy road, but I'm guessing that the Stevensons will fight tooth and nail for Andy. Good thing Mr. Stevenson is a lawyer. Great chapter. :)

The truth is indeed out. The Stevensons now have to figure out how to respond. From Andy's point of view, things have been encouraging - at least so far. And yes, it is very good that Mr. Stevenson is a lawyer. Thanks for your review, your encouragement, your patience, and above all for reading thus far.

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On 12/28/2015 03:41 AM, xleroc said:

And so part three of this story begins. I can't wait to see how the mystery unravels. Will we learn how Andy's dad really died? What have the Carlsberg police and Ambrose Whitley been doing about the mystery boy for the past five months? Will Ackerman get what's coming to him? And finally, who does lawyer Garret Stevenson know who can take some action on a Sunday morning that would prevent or defer the need to call CPS? Stay tuned...

Andy's story has reached a watershed moment, and something new is indeed beginning. Lawyer Stevenson is a good man, but Andy hasn't yet found his full measure. At least we can know that the Stevensons will support Zander and Andy, which is pretty huge. Thanks for continuing to read Andy's story, and for your commentary.

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On 12/28/2015 03:46 AM, Ozymandias said:

I'm relieved that Andy has finally been able to tell his horrible story to sympathetic and loving hearers. You write so well that I could just hear Andy's soft, matter-of-fact voice telling each ghastly detail of his life to people who probably can not even imagine how horrific it would be to endure such treatment. I hope they were as impressed as I am with Andy' ability to find ways to survive and surmount every difficulty thrown in his path without becoming bitter or self-pitying. You have created a Mahatma, a "Great Soul" in Andy.

And Mr. Stevenson better be a damn good "junk-yard dog" of a lawyer!

I am glad you can hear Andy's voice as I can. Perhaps it sounds crazy, but I really could hear him speak some days, Poor Mrs. Stevenson must have been shocked, then amazed, and then heartbroken by what she heard. No wonder she just sat with a cup of coffee in the end. No wonder Mr. Stevenson went to his den to make a plan. No wonder Zander needed to kiss Andy again. Thanks for your continuing to read Andy's story, and for your reviews.

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On 12/29/2015 02:45 AM, skinnydragon said:

A tender chapter Parker.

 

I think Andy is in good hands now (finally).

Monica will care for him.

The Lawyer will take care of him.

Zander will envelop him in the cocoon of love he's never had, but desperately needs.

 

Lots of interesting things ahead: Daddy's plan, T & K, his employers, and even the priest!

 

Thanks for this!

Lots of very good "wills" indeed. If it's allowed, Zander will surely be at the center of loving Andy. And you are right, in that their new relationship will affect everyone else. Thanks for reviewing, and for continuing to read Andy's story.

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On 12/28/2015 03:59 AM, said:

Thank you for another brilliant chapter Parker! Beautiful, dramatically interesting, well written, clever, ...

 

I was especially impressed with the mood transitions in this chapter. Zander's ignorance of events prior to discovering Andy in the guest bedroom facilitated the transition from sweet morning comfort to tense anxiety flawlessly. Andy's inability to fully verbalize the information he NEEDED to communicate kept this fantastic scent believable; it felt REAL! When Andy removed his shirt, it communicated far more than words ever could! Finally, Zander's familiarity with Andy's journal combined with his initial misunderstanding of it's contents completed the scene perfectly. It both communicated information that Andy could not as well as facilitated the realistic emotion of the scene. Very clever construction!

 

Andy is still frightend. He is still traumatized. He struggles to communicate what he so desperately needs to communicate. And while none of Stephan's problems have begun to be resolved, Andy is no longer Stephan. Nor is he Eric. The slow, often excruciating, transition in the protagonist's identity, or sense of self, accelerated on New year's eve. And while far from complete, Andy has made another important decision: he wants to be Andy, a man of his own creation.

 

Parker, you recently wrote that no one would call "atoz" literature ... don't be too sure! ;)

I am so happy you liked this chapter. It was very hard to write, and. I took quite a long time to get it where I wanted it. It was Monica's reaction to Andy exposing his back that came to mind first. Now comes a new part of Andy's life. You are right in that he remains frightened and wary. He may also have difficulty believing how much of this new love can be true or trusted, I love how you put it: he may choose to be Andy, Thanks for that, and for continuing to dread Andy's story.

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On 12/28/2015 04:09 AM, Puppilull said:

Sometimes, just sometimes us lawyers are good to have close by! ;)

 

I think how you described his parents as their reaction to Zander not only having a boyfriend but a very damaged boyfriend showed just how wisely Andy has chosen to give his heart. Hopefully, Mr Stevenson has a plan. A foolproof one. I don't want Andy and Zander separated for even a day.

The Stevensons must suspect they are in for a bracing ride. But you are right, in that a lawyer is very handy in such a situation. Even more so when that lawyer is a good man like Garrett Stevenson appears to be. Notice he spent Andy's retelling of his story listening first. Thanks. For your review, and for your patience as I try to catch up!

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On 12/28/2015 04:16 AM, slapshot said:

Another great chapter Parker! I just hope Mr. Stevenson has good intentions of helping Andrew through this mess and is not setting him up with some bad news. As the story has progressed I think he is a good person and will help Andy. Time will tell!!

Garrett Stevenson is a good man, bound by his duty to the law. He just has to fit the situation to the right law.This is no courtroom drama, though. For once Andy is in a safe place with people he ought to be able to trust. Thanks for your review, and for your patience as I catch up.

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On 12/28/2015 07:53 AM, Onim said:

Extraordinary reading...each and every chapter!!! But this one, was truly exceptional and give new meaning to "light at the end of the tunnel"...what a long dismal tunnel for Andy, to finally meet such a "bright light" at the end of it!! Brilliantly handled!! :2thumbs:

Thank you so much for the thumbs up. I am glad you liked this chapter; these chapters in the mid forties were tough to write, though really quite a joy to think about. I hope some of that came through. I really appreciate your reviewing, and your patience as I try to catch up after a long absence.

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