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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 - 61. Chapter 61 Dash

Dash

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/

March 27 – Monday

More bad dreams last night. More torment from Dad, and a guest appearance from Uncle Ray, who held Zander down in my dream. At least Zander didn't wake up when I sat up in a cold sweat at two in the morning. Could I really be the beast my Dad was? Should we get married, or should I ask Zander to call it all off?

Because it's happening. It's really happening. It hit me like a freight train today after school. I'm getting married on Friday. This Friday. As in, four days from now, Friday. As in, I'll be married in time for the weekend.

This is turning out to be completely weird.

My usual day looks almost normal – wake up, go running, go to school, track practice, maybe a session with Dr. O'Shea, come home, eat supper, do homework, bed. Oh, and make out with my boyfriend before bed, and in our bed after lights out at some very late hour. I did say 'almost normal.'

How many 'normal' kids will add "Marriage Counseling" to their calendars before "homework" on Wednesday night? Or cram "Wedding Rehearsal" into a suppertime slot on their Thursday planner? Or "Get Married" in the space right after "Track Practice" on Friday? How many 'normal' kids have to meet and get the seal of approval from brand-new family in the same week – on the same day - as their first ever Track meet?

And Monica insists I have to go with her sometime to get a haircut. God knows where we'll pencil that in.

At least Zander's grandmother Nonna Costanza likes me. Or at least, she likes to see me eat; she thinks I'm too thin. I still can't believe she gave us wedding rings. Monica took them down to the jeweler (Jeff's dad again!) to get resized today. Two weeks ago, I didn't even know they could do that.

From Father Brewer, I've learned that it's pretty unusual to get married on a Friday. Almost everyone gets married on a Saturday. Funny, I just wanted to get married as soon as we could, and that was the earliest date.

Father Brewer gave Zander and me some homework to do for tonight – we have to pick out readings from the Bible for the actual wedding. He needs them tomorrow, so we were looking at some suggestions and a big online bible index thing called a concordance tonight. This task is what really made me realize that this wedding is really going to happen. Anyway, I found the reading I want to use pretty quickly. I'm not going to quote the whole thing, but this is the part that makes me think of Zander:

”Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends."

I think it's perfect. It fits the way I know the boy I love. All I want is to love him like that, forever, without the specter of my Dad hanging over our heads. I wonder what reading Zander will pick? I've been writing for a while now, and he's still doing online research. Time to make him finish up and choose something, or we'll be here all night. It's going to be one in the morning before too long.

 

I remember picking out something to read to you at the wedding. Father Brewer's list of suggestions didn't really connect with my experience of you. Funny how you can look for something, and then realize it's right there waiting for you to find it. Kind of like how you were waiting for me last fall, too. The last reading in the handwritten list turned out to be the perfect one. It sounded so poetic, but also perfectly like your experience. I read it over and over again, letting it sink in. It was going to be exactly right. I wanted to show it to you and explain why it worked so well. But when I turned you, I saw you'd fallen asleep. The sight of you, curled up at my side, totally at peace, made my heart skip a beat. Your shoulder and ribcage moved a fraction of an inch with every breath. Your face wore a tiny smile, like you were remembering some wonderful secret. That image is still etched in my memory, years later.

 

March 29 – Wednesday

The clock is ticking. Literally. I can actually hear Zander's watch softly ticking away on the dresser. He's asleep, and I don't know how he does it.

Zander is pure comfort to me, and I still can't sleep. Even now, he's snuggled up against me, an arm wrapped around my middle, all warm and cozy. And there is something incredibly sexy about his bare shoulders. He's making it very hard to write.

And yet.

I'm still hesitant. Still worried sick that once all the excitement wears off, and we try to go back to whatever turns out to be normal for us, I'll grow into a clone of my Dad. Or worse, of Uncle Ray. Those dreams haven't gone away. You can't escape your heritage. Can you?

I thought about this. I wanted to ask Uncle Allan, but it's not the kind of thing you can text. He sent regrets that he couldn't be here for Friday, and passed on the unsettling news that his mother, my Grandmother Walker, wasn't responding to his emails or messages about the wedding. Guess she's not happy about it, after all.

Worse still, I couldn’t make my Tuesday session with Dr. O'Shea, but the kinds of questions she would have asked floated around in my head. What makes me angry? What do I do about my anger? When have I hurt someone in anger? What did I think about that?

And all I can think of is the satisfaction I got from goading Bruce Mack into running himself into the ground. I didn't enjoy seeing him hurt. At least, I don’t think so. But I think he had to be taught a lesson. That he couldn’t pick on Zander and me and get away with it all the time. And that we're just as good as he is.

But did I mean to see him hurt? And did it feel good when he pulled a muscle? Kind of.

And when I admitted that to myself, I wondered when the genuine Gunnar Ericsson rage would set in. And could I hurt Zander when that happened? No. Never.

Shit, I've gone round and round and round on this for days. It's still bothering me, and the therapy questions haven’t really helped.

In the meantime, I've pasted a smile over my fears and gotten ready for the big day. Maybe all I have is jitters. Forty eight hours from now, and I'll be a married man. Kaz and Terry agreed to be our wedding party – there's no bride or groom, and no best man or maid of honor; just Zander, me, and the two friends who will stand with us.

I think Zander is relieved not to have to ask his brother Frank to be part of it. Zander's brothers and sisters are coming tomorrow, and that has me seriously worried. No surprise there. It helps that Nonna Costanza smiles at me and gives me a hug - and a snack - every chance she gets. She also made me eat something more sometime after supper last night, too. She should have seen me last summer. Anyway, she's been very encouraging.

Zander's oldest sister, Maria, will come in tomorrow while we're in school. Her husband, Ken, won't be coming. He's apparently bent out of shape about Zander being gay, so he made some excuse. But he's the only one, and Maria is coming, anyway. Zander says he's happy his sister is coming, but I worry that we're doing something bad to their marriage.

Zander's brother Frank and his wife will be coming together with his sister Carol and her husband, Jeremy, tomorrow late in the afternoon. Frank worries Zander, because he's known for pulling practical jokes. What would he do? Anyway, they're going to fix supper here at the house with Nonna, while we have a wedding rehearsal at St. James'. Then we can come home for supper, when I get to meet the family.

Zander's other grandparents, Garrett's mother and father, will be arriving Friday for the wedding, and staying with friends of theirs in town. Zander isn't sure if they completely approve of us as a couple – let alone our getting married. But they'll be there at the church, all the same.

Oh, and did I mention that we have our first track meet tomorrow? We got our uniforms yesterday. I'll be running in the 100 and 400 yard dashes, and I'll get my first chance to compete in the pole vault. But I doubt I'll remember any of it. I'll be too nervous about what happens after.

To cap it all off, tonight is my last night here in this bed with Zander until after we are married. Monica and Nonna want us to observe all the superstitions and wedding customs. Or at least a bunch of them, anyhow. Here's the most obnoxious one: the happy couple should not be together in the same house the day before the wedding. Actually, they’re not even supposed to see each other, but that's pretty impossible. Still, starting tomorrow after the rehearsal dinner, Zander and I are going to be kept apart as much as Kaz and Terry can manage it. Yes, our best friends have gotten into the act. Just wait until it's their turn to get married.

Anyway, I get to spend tomorrow night at Kaz's house; then we get to cut Track practice on Friday and get ready for the wedding. There's going to be a party of some kind afterwards, but I have no idea when or where. All that has been Monica's doing, with Nonna Costanza's help, I think. I'm pretty hazy about what happens after that. Probably back here to the Stevenson house. Our house. It's not as though we can go on a honeymoon. But I'm absolutely certain Zander and I get to be together afterwards. I'm not negotiating that with anyone.

I can't believe that I'm getting all wound up about this – and that I'm not taking advantage of being together with Zander one last time. I'd like to wake him up with a kiss, and then we could cuddle, or even let things get a little hot. I love feeling how hard Zander gets.

But the last time we did that – was it just last night? – I had his shorts down to his ankles, and oh dear God, my lips were an inch from the tip of his cock, when he gently pulled my hair and said, "No. Stop."

I twisted and sat up. I saw Zander's chest heave.

"No. We shouldn't do this," he said – I don’t know who he was speaking to, himself or me. "We promised."

Well, we did promise and that was true. But Zander was so hard, his balls must have ached, and I wanted Zander so badly. Not fair. So, so not fair.

He turned to me. His face looked pained. "I'm sorry, A. I'm sorry. I got carried away, and I'm leaving you high and dry. I really want you," he continued, stroking my leg, "but I really want to wait until Friday. After it's done, when we don't have to hide or pretend. And can take all the time we want," he finished, almost shyly.

Despite myself, despite my raging desire for Zander, I nodded. I knew what he meant. I wanted that, too. When we'd have forever. And besides, I remembered all that Monica and Garrett were doing for us – for me – and I wanted to honor that.

So, of course, I cooled down, and got dressed. And then tossed and dreamed badly all last night. I have the feeling that's going to happen again.

 

March 30 – Thursday

Less than twenty four hours to go. Am I counting?

Today was an exercise in concentrating on the moment I lived in. If I thought too far ahead – even a few minutes ahead – I started getting nervous enough to puke. Looking back on things tonight, maybe I was stupid to be so apprehensive. But in my defense, I had lots to be scared about.

At school this morning, I parted with Zander before classes began. I gave him a hug, a big one, and whispered "I love you," into his ear. Just in case he forgot.

At lunch, only Terry and Alyssa and Jeff sat at our table.

When I cocked my head at Terry, she grinned and said, "Kaz and Nick are having lunch with Zander at a secret location. Bachelor party."

I grimaced at that one. I am not a bride. He's not a groom. I'm just his Andy, and he's my Zander. That's all.

Anyway, how many people knew Zander and I were getting married? I wasn't sure I liked the idea of everyone in the school knowing, even though it was pretty much out in the open that Zander and I were boyfriends.

Kaz and Terry were probably the only ones who knew about our plans for tomorrow. I wondered what was happening in the Guidance Office, and I hoped Zander wasn't getting an earful from Kaz.

"Don't worry, Andy," Terry went on, noticing my face, "they're just eating in the Guidance Office."

It was a good lunch, though. Terry worked hard at keeping things light, and she was really good to include Jeff in the conversation. Alyssa chipped in comments from time to time, though she seemed a little subdued. She and Jeff got up to throw away their trash toward the end of the period.

"You know, Andy, I'm jealous," Terry said, watching the others make their way across the cafeteria.

"Of what?" I asked, surprised.

"Of you and Zander. Getting married. You’re going to get to be adults, treated like real people. Kaz and me? We're just sweethearts." She sounded peeved.

"Oh." I thought about that for a second. "I'm not sorry," I replied. "I mean, I'm sorry if we're spoiling it for you, but…"

"Oh, stop Andy. I'm just impatient, that's all. You're not spoiling anything. It's just that Kaz and I have to wait more than a year still," she sighed.

"No way are we going to wait," I stated flatly.

Terry smiled. "Yeah, well, I don't blame you. I've known Zander since we were in grade school together. Third grade. Mrs. Schmelling's class. Zander was cute then," she reminisced, "But not as cute as the two of you are now," she added. "You can thank me for that."

I had to laugh then.

Terry's face got serious again. "But it doesn't matter how long I've known Zander, Andy. When you got here last year, something seemed to happen – not just with Zander, with all of us. It's like you were the part we were all missing until you showed up." She bit her lip. "I just want you to know that I love you not just because you're Zander's boyfriend, but because you’re Andy. For being you."

And then she astonished me by getting up out of her chair and giving me a big hug.

Later, when I thought her words over more carefully, I choked up a little. To be loved for myself; it was one of the nicest things she could have said.

I finally got to be with Zander in math. We actually sat next to each other in Trig, and Mrs. Gersheimer didn't seem to mind much. I thought I saw her smiling indulgently at us once while we worked together on a challenge problem, but I dismissed that as being a weird figment of my imagination.

We had a few seconds in the hall together to talk. Zander warned me that he was off on a mysterious errand of his own right after Art ended.

"Don't worry," he said in response to my quizzical glance. "I'll be back in time for the Track meet to start." He read my mind. We're getting better at doing that for each other. Funny.

"Are we walking to St. James' after the meet is over?" I asked.

"No, I think mom is picking all of us up."

All of us, meaning Zander and me and Kaz and Terry.

I checked around quickly for teachers in the hallway and then, leaning in, I stole a kiss. I couldn't help it, and I really didn't care who saw. Not even Bruce Mack could have spoiled my seeing Zander's pleased and startled smile. Which made me wonder at the time: can married couples kiss in school? I doubt it's in the student handbook.

After school, all I could concentrate on was my first Track competition. They talk about butterflies in the stomach. I had a whole flock of birds in my gut. I locked myself in a stall in the changing room and got into my track uniform. I made sure to wear a t-shirt under the flimsy tank top; I felt like the shorts were absolutely weightless. And I was going to wear the warm-up suit they issued us for as long as I could.

Kaz met me coming out of the stall and guided me out to the track. He helped me focus on stretching and reminded me of everything he'd tried to teach me about acceleration and speed. He meant to be very encouraging, but I kept looking around for Zander. Where had he gone?

"Andy, he's not on the field right now, stop looking," Kaz chuckled, noticing.

"Shit, Kaz, I can’t do this," I whined. "I'm just too messed up."

"Yes, you can," he smiled reassuringly, "it happens to everyone. You're nervous, but you're also good. You’re gonna be great. And don't worry about Zander. You'll get your chance to see him later."

I did get to see Zander later, at a distance. He had arrived late, with Nick Lewis, stretched hurriedly, and then hustled to his first event. I watched him compete in the 4 x 800 relay, which Blackburn won pretty handily. Then I had to wait, getting more and more nervous, through another race until it was my turn.

We lined up at the starting blocks, and I tried hard to keep my mind focused on the sprint ahead of me. Just that short length of track. Just that distance to cover, as fast as I could run. I was so edgy that I practically leaped out of my stance with the crack of the starter's pistol. All I could think of was getting there, getting to the finish, getting to the place where I could say I had done my best.

And then it was done. It had taken no time at all.

And I had won.

I was engulfed in a huge hug by Kaz, and Nick, and yes, Zander, too. Where had he come from? I thought he was supposed to be doing his long jumping. And then I heard some loud, raucous cheering in the stands and realized Monica was there, clapping and whistling and making a spectacle of herself. For me.

Another first. Never had a parent cheering for me before, not for anything. It was a good thing that I had a bunch of races to wait out before my next one. How are you supposed to race when you want to cry instead? So call me a big baby.

In the meantime, Kaz got to do the 1600 yard run, and Zander went off to practice for his jumps. I remembered that I was going to have to try a pole vault event and then go run again. I prayed that I wouldn't sprain my ankle.

As it happened, my first try at the pole vault was pretty awful. I know I need a lot of work, despite all the coaching I've gotten from Mr. Shanahan and from Nick. There's just so much to concentrate on in the milliseconds it takes to actually do the jump. Launch, pull, flex, push. On my first try, my leg caught the bar and pulled it off. On my next try, I had to abort my jump, because my foot planted wrong. And on my final attempt, I knocked the bar clean off with my heel as I went over. But at least I got over and didn't hurt myself.

By the time I began lining up for my second sprint, Kaz had already won the 1600, and Zander was in the middle of long jumping. This time, I noticed Monica in the stands, and I made a point of waving to her.

I was much more relaxed at the start of this race, and I immediately paid for it; I fell maybe four or five strides behind. Even though I had more time and space in which to catch up, I felt disappointed in myself. I ran hard and made up some ground, but finished third. Kaz congratulated me just the same, hugging me as if I had won.

I shook my head at him, saying "Kaz, I lost that race. I just blew it. I should have come in at least second. I know it." I was frustrated with myself.

Kaz just laughed. "Listen to yourself, Andy. What was it, a month ago you told me, 'I'm no athlete.' Now you tell me you're mad at yourself because you blew a race. Tell me who's an athlete now."

Shit. He would remember that. And it just went to prove how right he was, and to show how much my mind matters in making a success of things.

Zander placed third in the long jumps, and his 4 x 400 relay placed second. Kaz cleaned up in the 3200 yard run. Distance is really his thing. We had a lot to be happy about.

So much so that I forgot to be nervous after getting out of the shower and being met by Monica, who shepherded us all into the Toyota so we could get to the church.

At St. James', Father Brewer walked Kaz and Terry and Zander and me through the wedding 'liturgy' that's going to happen tomorrow. I know that I get to read scripture to Zander, and he reads to me. I know we get to say "I do," although it turns out there's a lot more we have to say than that. I hope I'll remember what I'm supposed to say, where I'm supposed to stand, and sit, and kneel and all that. We're trusting Kaz with the rings.

Then there's the music – nobody told us about the music, but apparently there's an organist and a processional and all that. Father Brewer recognized the glazed look in our eyes last week when he brought it up (I barely remembered him doing that), and he apparently made some suggestions that Monica approved on our behalf. Let's hope she didn't tell them to play country tunes about broken hearts and lost loves.

So much to remember, but the rehearsal went really fast. Most of the time, all I could do was hold Zander's hand and glance around nervously – and it looked as if Zander was as scared as I was. I was reminded more than once to speak up loudly, so everyone could hear.

Everyone? Who was coming tomorrow except a few people in the family?

Then we were off for home – home! – for the post-rehearsal, meet-the-family dinner. I was more nervous about that than about forgetting to say 'I do,' or 'I will,' or any of the other stuff I have to remember.

Meeting Zander's siblings shouldn't have made me sweat and tremble, but I was nervous and twitchy by the time we reached the kitchen door; that same door where I'd left Christmas presents; the kitchen door that meant home to me. Monica led the way in, followed by Zander, who held very tightly on to my hand. Did he think I was going to bolt on him or something?

To Craftingmom, who edited this chapter, I offer my deep and abiding thanks for her kindness and encouragement.

Please leave a review. Your remarks of whatever sort or variety are most welcome.

Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you Parker! This story is beautiful. And now I need to say a few words to Andy in private. Stop reading here.

 

Andy, I love your choice of words


Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Love never ends


Little brother,

 

Grandmothers are like that. You will always be too thin. And she will provide love like you can not even imagine. I know; that is what grandmothers do. Mine is now 95; I am almost 50. Andy, she still thinks I am too thin.

 

I am happy for you little brother, and yeah, you are taking a brave and scary step. Just remember always, you have our love.

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Everything in this chapter was wonderful. Really looking forward to the next installment. Wedding here we come.

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On 02/27/2016 01:31 AM, avidreadr said:

Everything in this chapter was wonderful. Really looking forward to the next installment. Wedding here we come.

Yeah, it's lovely watching this crazy life unfold, isn't it? Thanks for hanging in there!

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I could literally feel Andy's anxiety and nervousness while I was reading this chapter. In fact, I'm still feeling anxious for Andy! And he only has to wait until tomorrow, but I have to wait until next week! You did a really good job of making this chapter something special and not just a filler to pad the story to lengthen our wait. Thank you!

 

I'm wondering what Zander's siblings will be like. How will they react to a new brother-in-law? Will Andy notice similarities to Zander, Monica, or Garrett? Will he feel like a little kid with in-laws who are much older?

 

My sister-in-law has talked about how she felt when she met us all on a Thanksgiving (32 years ago!). My family and my Aunt's family have traditionally alternated hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas, so my sister-in-law walked in to have eight pairs of eyes turn to stare at her. She was the very first in our generation and none of us knew what to do or what to say. So no one said anything. She said it was very intimidating!

 

Having Monica cheer Andy on is such a little thing for those of us who have always had supportive parents. But it means so much to Andy because it's the very first time for him. All these new experiences for Andy that the rest of us take for granted…

Edited by droughtquake
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On 02/27/2016 02:17 AM, Mikiesboy said:

Nice. Waiting for the main event.

Glad you thought it was good. Thanks for reading this chapter and for your support!

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On 02/27/2016 12:52 AM, said:

Thank you Parker! This story is beautiful. And now I need to say a few words to Andy in private. Stop reading here.

 

Andy, I love your choice of words

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Love never ends

Little brother,

 

Grandmothers are like that. You will always be too thin. And she will provide love like you can not even imagine. I know; that is what grandmothers do. Mine is now 95; I am almost 50. Andy, she still thinks I am too thin.

 

I am happy for you little brother, and yeah, you are taking a brave and scary step. Just remember always, you have our love.

I am so happy you liked this chapter. And I couldn't help eavesdropping - yes, grandmothers are wonderful. Mine was Irish, but the pattern seems to hold. Thank you for reading this chapter, and I hope you enjoy the next.

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On 02/27/2016 02:48 AM, droughtquake said:

I could literally feel Andy's anxiety and nervousness while I was reading this chapter. In fact, I'm still feeling anxious for Andy! And he only has to wait until tomorrow, but I have to wait until next week! You did a really good job of making this chapter something special and not just a filler to pad the story to lengthen our wait. Thank you!

 

I'm wondering what Zander's siblings will be like. How will they react to a new brother-in-law? Will Andy notice similarities to Zander, Monica, or Garrett? Will he feel like a little kid with in-laws who are much older?

 

My sister-in-law has talked about how she felt when she met us all on a Thanksgiving (32 years ago!). My family and my Aunt's family have traditionally alternated hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas, so my sister-in-law walked in to have eight pairs of eyes turn to stare at her. She was the very first in our generation and none of us knew what to do or what to say. So no one said anything. She said it as very intimidating!

 

Having Monica cheer Andy on is such a little thing for those of us who have always had supportive parents. But it means so much to Andy because it's the very first time for him. All these new experiences for Andy that the rest of us take for granted…

What Andy has gotten since limping into Blackburn is a crash course in new experiences. Some, like friendship, love, success, and self-worth, come to us slowly over a long time. We do indeed take them for granted. Other experiences - near death by exposure, abduction and abuse at the hands of a mad trucker, and so on, shouldn't happen to anyone. What motivated me to write this story was the chance to show Andy finally exploring some of the very best joys of life, when he originally had so little. But these joys seem to come with some anxiety for Andy, don't they? Thank you so much for your excellent and insightful review. I hope the next chapter is a enjoyable, too.

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droughtquake has said it: Andy's nervousness becomes so palpable in this chapter. Never before has he been nervous for so long.
and his fears of turning out like his father make me feel for him.
Terry's love and friendship and Monica's support are now something he can believe and trust. That is wonderful to see, he has come so far already!
And I loved the way you crafted Zander's paragraph - having him write it years later allows me a glimpse of how much deeper their relationship will be then, it reminded me a little of the very first lines of the first chapter which clearly spoke of two lovers/partners/husbands being together, about their trust and love, it is the same tone, but much more intimate. And not giving us his verses - clever trick!
Somehow Andy seems so innocent when he expects nobody to turn up at church - he is in for a surprise. Let's hope not an unpleasant one, too...
Thank you again, Parker

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The verse chosen by Andy is my favourite. Love is patient. Love is kind. If they both can really geasp that, they can make it in the long run. Because you need to be patient and kind. It's actually my only advice to parents to be. Be kind to each other. When times get rough it's so easy to miss this. Sounds silly, but is so very true. Be kind. Good advice whether you're religious or not.

 

I'm curious about what Zander chose. Would be funny if it was the same. But it's pretty long. They can do hafl each. LOL

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On 02/27/2016 04:30 AM, mayday said:

droughtquake has said it: Andy's nervousness becomes so palpable in this chapter. Never before has he been nervous for so long.

and his fears of turning out like his father make me feel for him.

Terry's love and friendship and Monica's support are now something he can believe and trust. That is wonderful to see, he has come so far already!

And I loved the way you crafted Zander's paragraph - having him write it years later allows me a glimpse of how much deeper their relationship will be then, it reminded me a little of the very first lines of the first chapter which clearly spoke of two lovers/partners/husbands being together, about their trust and love, it is the same tone, but much more intimate. And not giving us his verses - clever trick!

Somehow Andy seems so innocent when he expects nobody to turn up at church - he is in for a surprise. Let's hope not an unpleasant one, too...

Thank you again, Parker

Andy is as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, as my father might have said. Yet throughout his waking hours, Andy witnesses and absorbs love and support. He will surely remember this once the event is past. But his fear is very, very real. Thanks very much for your thoughtful reaction and I hope the next chapter is enjoyable.

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On 02/27/2016 04:30 AM, mayday said:

droughtquake has said it: Andy's nervousness becomes so palpable in this chapter. Never before has he been nervous for so long.

and his fears of turning out like his father make me feel for him.

Terry's love and friendship and Monica's support are now something he can believe and trust. That is wonderful to see, he has come so far already!

And I loved the way you crafted Zander's paragraph - having him write it years later allows me a glimpse of how much deeper their relationship will be then, it reminded me a little of the very first lines of the first chapter which clearly spoke of two lovers/partners/husbands being together, about their trust and love, it is the same tone, but much more intimate. And not giving us his verses - clever trick!

Somehow Andy seems so innocent when he expects nobody to turn up at church - he is in for a surprise. Let's hope not an unpleasant one, too...

Thank you again, Parker

Andy is as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, as my father might have said. Yet throughout his waking hours, Andy witnesses and absorbs love and support. He will surely remember this once the event is past. But his fear is very, very real. Thanks very much for your thoughtful reaction and I hope the next chapter is enjoyable.

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On 02/27/2016 05:07 AM, Puppilull said:

The verse chosen by Andy is my favourite. Love is patient. Love is kind. If they both can really geasp that, they can make it in the long run. Because you need to be patient and kind. It's actually my only advice to parents to be. Be kind to each other. When times get rough it's so easy to miss this. Sounds silly, but is so very true. Be kind. Good advice whether you're religious or not.

 

I'm curious about what Zander chose. Would be funny if it was the same. But it's pretty long. They can do hafl each. LOL

Also one of my favorites! Call it an author's prerogative :) "Be kind to each other" is excellent and sensible advice. Zander doesn't tell us his verse. Thanks for your reaction and reflection. Hope the last parts of Andy journal are enjoyable...

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Jitters before a wedding are normal, but jitters before a gay wedding for 2 teen aged boys would be incredible. I am surprised that the media has not latched on this, or the students at school. This is big news even in this day and age. Although I am glad that things are going smoothly for them at this point. I hope Andy can dispel his feeling like he could turn into his hated Father and Uncle. Another great chapter Parker.

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On 02/27/2016 07:34 AM, slapshot said:

Jitters before a wedding are normal, but jitters before a gay wedding for 2 teen aged boys would be incredible. I am surprised that the media has not latched on this, or the students at school. This is big news even in this day and age. Although I am glad that things are going smoothly for them at this point. I hope Andy can dispel his feeling like he could turn into his hated Father and Uncle. Another great chapter Parker.

You are so right. Anxiety before something like this wouldn't just be normal, it would break whatever anxiety meters exist. Andy and Zander are fortunate to live in a sleepy little backwater like Blackburn; it takes a lot to get the media interested in places like that when there is so much else going on. Thank you for your reflection and insight. Hope you enjoy the next chapter... :)

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Parker,
I just just pray that Andy doesn't get overwhelmed by all the demons that still torture his fragile spirit and do what he knows all too well...run. I admit that when noticing the chapter title, I did feel that might be a possibility; you didn't relieve my concerns through his diary "confessions"....not to mention the unknown arrival of Zander's older sibs.
He is so close in achieving happiness and security with Zander and his family...but I feel very unsettled that his HEA will not materialize.......Hate to be negative, I really do, but I just get bad vibes.
I guess that is a true testament to you as to just how invested I have become in Andy's journey.........Great job even tho' I'm not feeling so secure (like Andy).....................:)Mike

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On 02/27/2016 12:58 PM, flamingo136 said:

Parker,

I just just pray that Andy doesn't get overwhelmed by all the demons that still torture his fragile spirit and do what he knows all too well...run. I admit that when noticing the chapter title, I did feel that might be a possibility; you didn't relieve my concerns through his diary "confessions"....not to mention the unknown arrival of Zander's older sibs.

He is so close in achieving happiness and security with Zander and his family...but I feel very unsettled that his HEA will not materialize.......Hate to be negative, I really do, but I just get bad vibes.

I guess that is a true testament to you as to just how invested I have become in Andy's journey.........Great job even tho' I'm not feeling so secure (like Andy).....................:)Mike

Andy is anxious and nervous in many different ways. But the good thing is that he perceives love and support from so many different directions that he can't simply dismiss it. But the fear of harboring an inner Gunnar Ericsson is very real to him, and it scares the living daylights out of him. I am very glad to see you feel invested in Andy. You are hardly alone, as I feel very much the same way. Thank you for telling me how you are thinking and I hope the next chapter is enjoyable, too.

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This chapter was a dash - a mad dash through Andy's week.
It had rewarding moments, like Terry's beautiful words. It had blindingly surreal moments, like the track meet Andy was/wasn't aware of. It had moments of great anticipation, for the siblingrilling and, of course, the wedding itself. It had disquieting moments, like the now obsessive fear of becoming his father.

 

But overall, I felt something a little off. I'll chalk it up to my suspicious nature, but it's there. :,(

 

Which means, of course, I can't wait for the next chapter. Good writing throughout this chapter Parker! It captured the breathless delirium of the dash.

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On 02/27/2016 03:13 PM, skinnydragon said:

This chapter was a dash - a mad dash through Andy's week.

It had rewarding moments, like Terry's beautiful words. It had blindingly surreal moments, like the track meet Andy was/wasn't aware of. It had moments of great anticipation, for the siblingrilling and, of course, the wedding itself. It had disquieting moments, like the now obsessive fear of becoming his father.

 

But overall, I felt something a little off. I'll chalk it up to my suspicious nature, but it's there. :,(

 

Which means, of course, I can't wait for the next chapter. Good writing throughout this chapter Parker! It captured the breathless delirium of the dash.

Thank you for noting the reason I named Chapter 61 'Dash.' You hit it exactly right. Sometimes I like to be obscure (better than being outright mysterious) in naming chapters, but it's always nice when somebody picks up on the theme. Guess I'll have to be more obscure :) Yes, Andy is scared of becoming his father; I would too, in his place. Perhaps it's because he hasn't talked about it with anyone that it is occupying such a large part of his conscious and subconscious minds. But his actual dash in his first race was totally real. And now to meet the family...anxiety inducing enough, I think...I hope that the next chapter is better for you; sorry for having an 'off' chapter this time. Many thanks for your kind and generous review.

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You absolutely nailed the nervousness Andy is feeling. Too damn much going on! I'd hoped his self-doubts would be gone, but no...and then to miss his therapy session when he needed it most...
Can't wait for the "meet the family" chapter--that should be totally outrageous!
Rock solid writing here...thank you!

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On 02/28/2016 08:56 AM, Robert Rex said:

You absolutely nailed the nervousness Andy is feeling. Too damn much going on! I'd hoped his self-doubts would be gone, but no...and then to miss his therapy session when he needed it most...

Can't wait for the "meet the family" chapter--that should be totally outrageous!

Rock solid writing here...thank you!

I have never been accused of having rock solid anything, so your compliment is very kindly taken. Thank you! Andy is feeling a whole lot of anxiety from about fifteen directions at once, as you suggest. He probably didn't count on that when he proposed, did he? You are also very right in being concerned over Andy missing his therapy session. He is certainly feeling that now. Next Tuesday, Andy gets to meet Zander's siblings. Hope you enjoy what comes next. Thanks for your lovely words and encouragement.

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Always when things are going well, the demons resurface to cast doubt an fear and raise our insecurities. I felt Andy's nerves through this chapter, but it was great to feel and see all the wonderful support he's receiving. Zander too. I am so anxious and excited for the big event.. I'm so ready for Andy to be happy happy...

 

Nicely done Parker..

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On 02/28/2016 03:14 PM, Defiance19 said:

Always when things are going well, the demons resurface to cast doubt an fear and raise our insecurities. I felt Andy's nerves through this chapter, but it was great to feel and see all the wonderful support he's receiving. Zander too. I am so anxious and excited for the big event.. I'm so ready for Andy to be happy happy...

 

Nicely done Parker..

Anxiety breeds demons, and Andy is certainly and understandably anxious. He has so much to worry about! Meeting the Stevensons would be stressful enough. Given their timeline, events are quite compressed; not much room for getting used to the new brother in law. Plenty of worry there. Pity he missed seeing Dr. O'Shea. Thanks so much for your comments, and for continuing to read the journal. Hope the next entry is enjoyable.

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Lots of jitters here and most of then caused by Andy feeling out of control. Not surprising really, but I'm mainly sorry about him missing hte appointment with Dr. Shea. He should have insisted, but that might have brought on another round of questions from hs family. Of course, we all knows he's the kindest boy in the world and the one least likely to turn violent.
I loved how he enjoyed the track meeting in spots and having a loving parent there. i'm glad Monica made it a priority in the middle of the wedding preparations. Andy will probably improve at the pole vault and his race starts, because he is very stubborn in a good way. Just like Zander is, even with blue balls. :lol:

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I am deeply sorry for having missed responding to this. Thanks so much for this comment. Andy's experience of success and love has taken roots and wings. In this case, he is flying. Monica's cheers from the stands mean at least as much as Kaz's congratulations. He is changed past his own recognition as Kaz points out. And the promise of uncharted new territory- even if it's territory he wants to explore - will make Andy anxious. 

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