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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 - 63. Chapter 63 Apprehension

Apprehension

No special warnings for this chapter.

Please go to the A to Z story thread for an announcement. You can find it here: http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/40860-a-to-z/

April 1 – Saturday

The room is getting chilly. There's not much heat here. Bare plank floors. No electricity, no toilet. There's a thin mattress I'm lying on.

No big double bed – no chatter of a lively, overflowing household – no frantic wedding preparations – nothing but lonely quiet. It's not raining anymore.

Hard to believe that Friday morning – just yesterday morning – I woke up to Kaz gently shaking my shoulder. I blinked, and wondered for a second where I was.

"Come on, Andy, time for your wedding day run," he whispered hoarsely.

Yesterday. My wedding day. The house was still hushed.

Groaning a little, I rolled out from under the blankets. I'd slept worse, but I missed Zander's body next to mine all night. Especially with my dreams the way they've been. I stood and started to make the bed.

"Don't bother with that," Kaz said. "Mom said she'd take care of it. Let's get going."

I nodded, and Kaz left the room so I could get dressed. I got into my running gear, crammed everything else into my backpack, and carefully lifted my wedding suit off the hook behind the door. I'd left nothing behind.

Mrs. Kasimierski awaited us in the kitchen. She appeared engrossed in the local weekly newspaper, the Blackburn Star Advertiser. We get a copy at the Stevenson's every week on Thursday evenings.

"I cannot believe this," she muttered, staring at the front page. Then she looked up at me fearfully.

"What is it?" I asked. Something was up.

She handed me the paper, and Kaz looked over my shoulder.

"BLACKBURN'S FIRST GAY MARRIAGE," the headline blared. "Local High School Teens to Tie the Knot After School Friday."

I began to feel a little sick. I read further:

Blackburn will see its first sanctioned same-sex marriage ceremony performed at St. James' Episcopal Church in Blackburn on Friday afternoon, according to marriage license records obtained from the Mason County Courthouse. The Reverend Daniel Brewer, Rector of St. James' Church, confirmed the report. Though the names of the two young men were not revealed, this newspaper learned that the couple are students at Blackburn High School.

"The couple have a marriage license, and the ceremony is entirely legal under civil and canon law. I believe the couple to be completely ready," Reverend Brewer commented to this newspaper. "I believe it to be the first such ceremony in this town, though other gay couples from Blackburn have been married elsewhere."

When pressed for further comment, Father Brewer declined.

Pastor Paul Norris, leader of the Faith House Evangelical Congregation in North Blackburn denounced the news, calling it a "black day for every married man and woman in the country. Marriage is for a man and a woman, period." Responding to the news, Reverend Norris told the Star Advertiser that he intended to lead a "protest prayer vigil" on Friday evening near St. James' Park, adjacent to the church, and he urged all citizens of all faiths to attend…

I stopped reading there. My gut churned; I wondered if I was going to lose it.

"You okay, Andy?" I heard Kaz ask me.

I swallowed hard. "Yeah, fine." I doubt either of the Kasimierskis believed that.

"Good. Nothing to worry about," he said flatly. "Ready to run?"

"Do not tell me you are taking Andrew running on his wedding day," Mrs. K chided her son.

Amen to that. I couldn't help but agree.

"Mom, it's good for a man to exercise and clear his mind in the morning," Kaz asserted. God, he sounded like an old running coach when he said it.

"And you are such men," his mother tried to jest.

I tried to smile, but I'm not sure it worked.

Kaz kissed his mother after grabbing his car keys. We were going to drive to school and run from there. "Bye, mom. I'll see you later," he called out.

"Have a good day at school, boys, and good luck."

Good luck. It seemed as if Zander and I would need more than just luck to get through the day. Our wedding day.

(***)

"Come on, handsome, rise and shine! Don't want to be late to school on your wedding day!"

I was startled awake by Mom's rapping smartly on the door. I had a dry, horrible tasting mouth, and a massive headache. Why had I stayed up late talking with Frank after you left with Kaz? Because I wasn't ready to go to bed; not without you. And because he'd asked me to, and he's my brother.

At first, I'd tried to help clean up the remains of dinner, but Mom and Maria and Nonna shooed me out of the kitchen. I wandered into the living room, and found Frank flopped in a comfortable chair. He grinned at me as I entered.

"Come on, sit down, little brother. Take a load off."

I reclined in a chair next to his. "Thanks for coming, Frank."

We stared into space for a little while.

"How the hell did this happen?" he finally asked, to no one in particular. "My seventeen year old brother is getting married tomorrow. To his teenage boyfriend." He looked at me. "I never even knew you were gay until you called and told me," he said, almost accusingly.

"How were you supposed to know? All the rainbow underwear in my drawer?" I asked sarcastically.

"When did you figure out you were gay?" he asked.

"I didn't just wake up one day and say, 'Hey, I'd like to be gay.' About a year ago, I admitted to myself what I'd really known all along. Boys were a lot more interesting than girls. I took a long look at myself and realized I'd always been that way. It really dawned on me last spring, but this is the way I was born."

"So at all those pool parties last summer, you were checking out the guys?" Frank smirked.

"No. I hardly went out at all last summer. I couldn't face it. Couldn’t face anyone with it."

Frank looked at me silently for a few moments. "Look, I'm sorry, Zander. I'm trying to understand. How could you be so different from…"

"But that's just it, Frank. I'm not different. I'm the same kid brother you've always had. I still love swimming, I still love to draw, I still want to be an architect, I still suck at poker; nothing's changed. I'm still me. I'm just in love with another boy. A really, really wonderful boy named Andy."

Frank stood and walked over to a cabinet in the corner of the living room. He reached in, and pulled out a bottle and a couple of heavy crystal glasses.

"Dad still keeps a bottle of the good stuff around, I see," he commented, returning to his chair, "You ever taken any?"

I shook my head. I'd tried some of Mom and Dad's liquor, but it never really appealed to me.

Frank slopped out a measure of amber liquid into a glass and handed it to me, then poured some for himself. "You're growing up in a real hurry, Alexander. Drink up."

I sipped at my glass. A bitter, fiery taste spread through my mouth, and burned a trail down my throat.

"Now. Tell me about Andy," my brother said, settling into his chair with his glass. "How did you fall in love with this boy?"

I took another sip. "It's a long story. You believe in love at first sight?"

I don't know how long we talked into the night. I talked about what it was like being alone and miserable with my secret. I told him how we met and the figure studies you sat for. I talked about how smart and courageous and determined you were. I couldn't leave Frank completely in the dark – I had to give him a shorter, cleaned-up version of your life – but I just had to tell him about you, about why I thought I was so lucky I found you.

And for once, Frank just listened, a slow smile growing on his face the whole time. We waved at Mom and Dad and the others as they went upstairs to bed. We kept on talking, reminiscing, and remembering good times. And at some point, it dawned on me that it might be all right. That Frank was okay with me. That everyone in the family might be okay with you and me being together. I know Frank refilled my glass at least twice. Maybe it was more than that.

I don't remember stumbling into bed.

I was barely myself coming downstairs, way later than I usually do. I'd slept through my alarm, and Mom and Dad and Nonna were painfully cheerful in the kitchen. A shower had helped, but my head still ached.

"Come on, Zander, get something to eat, and I'll drive you in to school," Dad chided me.

I grabbed a bowl and got out some cereal.

Mom sat reading the paper. "Look at this," I heard her say. She pointed to an article.

Dad and Nonna moved to see. I was too busy scarfing down my cereal to look, but the news had all three adults glued to the print.

"Madre Dio," I heard my grandmother growl.

Dad got tight lipped, the way he does when something outrageous happens.

"What is it?" I asked.

Three pairs of eyes looked up at me. "Nothing, Zander," my Dad said. "Nothing."

I blinked, too tired and nervous about the day ahead to argue. But as I left the house with Dad, I heard Nonna talking to Mom: "I think I know who we call to fix this, Monica. She still lives in town. Don't you worry."

(***)

In the pre-dawn twilight, Kaz navigated Blackburn's dark streets skillfully, but slowly. The prehistoric Olds had been built for comfort, not handling. Before we even arrived at the school, Kaz started up his usual chatter. Our run would not be silent.

We took it easy, deciding just to stay on the track where we had run yesterday afternoon. Where I had actually won a race. I think I must have been the most astonished person there that afternoon. It wasn't long before Kaz started up again.

"Andy, I don’t want you to worry about that stuff in the newspaper," he began.

"Kaz, how can I not worry? What's going to happen in school today? And that evangelical guy is going to do his prayer vigil right outside St. James' while we get married. I bet they're going to try and block the church," I fretted.

"You think he's gonna stop the wedding?" he asked.

"You think he won't?" I countered.

"Nah, get real, Andy," Kaz answered, "the guy's just a blowhard."

"My father was a blowhard," I pointed out simply.

For once, that made Kaz shut up and think.

I already knew that big beefy guys with an axe to grind could be dangerous. Especially to me. I wondered if Zander would be safe today. No way did I want to be the cause of any pain to Zander. I wanted my phone back, so I could call him. But if I had it, would I tell him to call off everything? Would I tell him about how scared I felt for him?

I wondered what Bruce Mack or his aunt Phyllis Chandler had to do with all this nasty publicity. About the only good thing was that the article had just come out in yesterday's paper; Pastor Norris only had a day in which to drum up a crowd to threaten us. To shut us out of our own wedding.

We ran, and I seethed.

"Why can't they just leave us alone?" I finally burst out. "What did I do to anyone except fall in love? Was that a crime?" I couldn't stop. I was working on a full scale rant. "I mean, look at you and Terry. When you get married, the only thing in the news will be a cute picture and a collective 'awwww' from the entire city of Blackburn. But for Zander and me, it's a world-wide scandal. Since when is it anyone's business if two people who happen to love each other get married? Why should it be this huge deal? Who exactly are we hurting? Can you tell me?"

My demand for an answer to this last echoed of the darkened stands. I was so mad, I was ready to sprint.

But I kept pace with Kaz, who said nothing. This was so uncharacteristic of him, that I wondered if he was okay. He took his time – a whole lap around the track – before he spoke again.

"It is a big deal. You getting married, I mean."

I glanced sharply at my giant friend in the darkness.

"Think about it. Kids get married only when something goes wrong; like when a guy gets his girlfriend pregnant, or like that. It's like marriage is a punishment for them; it's not really love, at all." Kaz was reasoning aloud, now.

I decided not to interrupt.

"And Terry and me? Everyone's known since fifth grade that we're gonna get married. High school sweethearts get a free pass – we're old news."

We jogged on.

"But you and Zander? You’re different on so many levels. One, you're a huge surprise – until this fall, Zander pretty much gave up on living his life; nobody knew him anymore. And you – you're completely unknown. You're so quiet, I bet ninety percent of the school didn’t even know you exist."

I shook my head when Kaz paused a moment.

Then he held up two fingers. "Two: you love each other. This is the real thing, it's not some punishment. Anyone with eyes and ears who pays attention can see that it's as real as me and Terry. Three, there's the whole gay thing. Ever think about how insecure you can make some random straight guy? There he is, trying to play the field, trying to figure out what he wants, trying to keep his social head above water, and there you come along – totally in love, totally knowing what you want, trashing the whole social pecking order thing. To that poor fool, it looks like you have it all, and the only thing he's got left is to be jealous of you."

Jealous? Who would be jealous of me?

"I'm just saying, Andy, it's more of a big thing than you think. I love you guys, and I think what you're doing is great. Love is always a huge deal, and some people can't get over it when they don't have what you do. So, they're knuckleheads. Their being knuckleheads is not a big deal."

I found my voice. "But what about that prayer thing outside the church?"

"Can you change what that guy is doing? No. You can worry about it all day and make yourself sick, or you can just have a little faith, and figure things out when the time comes. Your attitude is the thing, Andy. It's not your body that quits, it's your mind – and since when are you gonna let your mind quit?"

I love Kaz. He was giving me a serious pep talk, trying to keep me cool and focused, just like he did when I started running. Do other gay men get this kind of treatment from their straight friends? I wondered.

Anyhow, I felt a little better. My gut still simmered, I still worried, and I still felt annoyed by the headline, but somehow, Kaz had helped me calm down about it all. When the first raindrops started falling, we were ready to head in for a shower.

I had hoped to see Zander at school breakfast after running, but no luck. I guess Monica and Garrett kept him home with the family until the last possible moment. I remember that I went to classes, and I suppose I can reconstruct what happened in class from my sketchy notes, but I can't really recall anything definite. What I do remember were the unusual stares and whispers I was getting in the halls, and the odd, formal, pedantic courtesy I received from Mr. Warfield in English. At first I couldn’t figure out that it was me he was talking to. And Mrs. Landon seemed to make a point of smiling at me all through History.

Zander wasn't at lunch, either. This time, it was Terry who disappeared after Physics, so I assumed she was chaperoning him someplace other than the cafeteria. I thought about trying to follow her, but I gave that up.

At lunch, Kaz and Nick sat with me; Alyssa was missing, which I thought was unusual. Probably helping Terry keep Zander in line. I hoped she wasn't trying any last-minute conversions like Lena did. The conversation at our table was pretty much about running and track. This was Kaz doing his best to keep things light.

But Kaz and Terry must have recruited more than Nick and Alyssa into their plans; Mrs. Gersheimer and Mr. Karpus both wore knowing smirks after lunch. Mrs. G artlessly divided our class into small groups. Mine worked in an empty classroom across the hall from our normal room. I never saw Zander. Then, when I got to art class, I looked for Zander in his usual spot, but he never showed up. Talk about artless: Mr. Karpus let it drop that he'd sent several students outside to do some sketches from nature. Yeah. Right. It looked pretty grey outside. Sketches in the rain.

With the time for school to let out approaching, I got increasingly fidgety. My anxieties just kept forcing themselves to the front of my brain. I could still run. Still hide. I could disappear and never find out if my dreams would become real. Vanish and avoid all those people who wished me and Zander would convert to their version of normal. But that wasn't going to happen.

At least, that's what I told myself.

By the end of classes, I was a wreck. When the bell sounded, I gathered my books and stuff together and found Kaz waiting for me at the door. Mechanically, I let him help me sort out what I needed to bring home for my homework due Monday – hell, I was about to get married in two hours, and all I could think about was homework! How sick was that?

Hard to believe how rattled you get when you listen to what you're afraid of.

We walked out to the Kasimierski-mobile under chilly grey skies. It looked like the rain might start up again at any minute. Yesterday was not a good day to be out on the road, wandering. I was suddenly grateful that I'd been rescued from that.

Kaz took a few back streets to get to St. James' parking lot. It looked pretty empty. Just under two hours to go. Kaz and I pulled our fancy dress clothes out of the trunk, and I shouldered my pack.

Two hours to change clothes. Two hours to review the wedding service. Two hours to get anxious, and nervous, and tied up in knots. The first thing I did when we entered the back door to the church building was find a bathroom where I could lock myself in and hole up and be alone. I tried to get my head together.

I'd been in that bathroom before, in December. Back then, I was dirty, homeless, cold, and hungry. That tiled retreat was about the most normal place in the building for me. If an angel of the Lord had come down to that bathroom in December bringing tidings that, behold, I'd be getting married to a wonderful, funny, talented, smart, and beautiful boy, I'd have told God to have his head examined. The thought actually made me smile for the first time that afternoon.

I wondered where Zander was. Somewhere else in the building, maybe? Back at the Stevenson house, getting dressed? Getting plied with booze by brother Frank? Getting talked out of all this gay wedding nonsense by big sister Maria or Grandfather Stevenson?

I got brought back to reality by a sharp rap on the door. "Hey, Andy. You okay?" Kaz's voice on the other side sounded concerned.

Time for a deep breath. "I'm fine, Kaz. Coming in a sec," I called out.

I found Kaz waiting for me outside the door. He guided me to a room – it must have been a Sunday School classroom, I guessed – where I could sit and change clothes. I decided it would be best to review what would happen in the church next. The rehearsal Thursday had gone way too fast.

I couldn't believe someone had gone to the trouble of actually printing a little booklet with everything in it. I'm not sure where Kaz found it, but I was really happy to have it so the two of us could go over everything several times. I mentally practiced what I had to say, and the scripture I would read to Zander, and everyone else. But mostly to Zander.

After a while, Kaz glanced at his watch uncertainly. "Hey, Andy, I think it’s time we got dressed."

I nodded but didn't move. There was something bugging me, something I'd been thinking about all day. "Kaz? Why are you doing this? I mean, you and Zander have been best friends since forever, right? How come you aren't with him? Doesn't seem right you should have to hang around with me all day," I concluded.

"You're right about that," Kaz replied with a smile, "I don't remember when Zander and I weren't friends. I love him like a brother, you know? Well, Zander couldn't be here to take care of you himself, so he asked me to do it for him. You're that important to him, you understand?"

Zander had given up being with his best friend on his wedding day for me. I smiled, but a tear formed in the angle of my eye.

Kaz extracted his suit from a garment bag. He began peeling down out of his clothes. I decided to give Kaz some privacy, so I stepped out of the room. I wondered who would help me with my tie; Zander promised he'd do it, but it didn't look like that was going to happen.

I heard some footsteps in the hall, and Monica bustled around the corner, her arms absolutely full of flowers.

I stepped in her direction. "Need help, Mom?" I asked.

She looked up at me, startled. "Oh, Andy, there you are. Um, no, thanks, I can manage. You're not going to do your own flowers for your wedding."

I noticed what she was wearing – she'd gotten really dressed up. "I like your dress," I told her.

She smiled modestly. "I found it on sale. Couldn't resist. So, Andy," she smiled at me, "aren’t you getting your suit on? People will be arriving soon."

Oh, boy. That's the part I was afraid of. Couldn't we just do this in a quiet corner of Father Brewer's office?

"I'll get into my fancy clothes after Kaz is done." I gestured toward our changing room with my head. She hardly had to remind me.

"Good." She nodded approvingly. "Don't take too long." She walked smartly down the hall, her heels clicking on the tile.

Kaz emerged from the room, his own blue suit hanging elegantly on his enormous frame. "Your turn," he grinned.

I stepped inside. Alone in the little room, I took a deep breath. I thought I heard footsteps in the hall. Voices. People. I wondered who they were. I peeked out the window: rain was falling. Time to stop procrastinating.

I pulled off my jeans and my boots, hanging the denims over the back of the chair. I eased the suit pants off the hanger and stepped into the light, silky smooth trousers. The fit was tighter than I was used to, but Zander had approved. Shoes: black, polished things, completely alien to me. They almost slid on the floor like skates.

My flannel shirt came off next. This was an old one, one of my favorites. Something for comfort under stress. I thought the last week – hell, the last month – counted as stressful. The t-shirt I wore underneath was one Zander bought for me – "I'm with beautiful," it read. The tee joined the flannel hanging on the chair.

I was reaching for my new white shirt, when Kaz burst into the room. "Hey, Andy, you'd better…" He fell silent.

For a moment, I wondered what his problem was. Then I remembered. Scars. I turned and looked up at his face. Kaz looked confused and embarrassed. Like he wanted to be someplace else but couldn't.

"Damn, Andy, I'm sorry," Kaz said simply.

Sorry about what? Sorry that he had to see what I looked like? Sorry that he'd gotten stuck with me for the day?

He swallowed once, hard. He frowned. "That. On your back. Your dad did that to you?"

I nodded. I still held my dress shirt in my hands.

"Good thing your dad is dead, then. I'd want to kill him myself, for that." He was completely serious, I knew. God bless my friend, Kaz the Giant.

"It's okay, Kaz. It's all done now," I said softly, shrugging.

I moved to put on my shirt, and Kaz seemed to remember something.

"Andy, I think you need to get dressed quick," he said more urgently, "there's someone down the hall who needs to see you."

My fingers stopped working on the buttons. "Who is it?" I asked, looking up at him sharply.

Kaz shrugged. "Don't know. Never seen her before. She's waiting for you in the priest's office, though."

She? Someone from Family Services? Phyllis Chandler again? I'd been feeling anxious and panicky off and on for the past three days. It got a whole lot worse at that moment.

"Is she by herself, or did someone come with her?"

"I think she's alone. I'm not sure, though," Kaz replied.

Well, shit. If it was Phyllis Chandler, Kaz wouldn't know her. I toyed with the idea of asking Kaz to go peek at her and describe the visitor to me. Anxiety and anger jostled for position; if I was going to have a Gunnar Ericsson rage moment, this was a damn good time for it.

I hardened my face into a mask of resolve. If Phyllis Chandler thought she could stomp on in and prevent Zander and me from marrying, she had another thing coming. I'd had enough. She was alone. I figured I could handle her.

I resumed buttoning up my shirt, deliberately this time. No hurry. "Kaz, can you help me with my tie?"

Kaz looked at me curiously. "That can wait, if you want," he said.

"No, let's do it now."

Kaz moved behind me and tried to show me how to knot the elegant striped silk necktie. It was kind of difficult for him, with his huge hands trying to work over my shoulders. It required several tries before it looked right.

The big man handed my suit jacket, which seemed to skim over my shoulders as I put it on. He whistled. "Whoa, Andy, you dress up pretty good."

"Okay, let's go see my visitor," I said with determination. "You coming?"

Kaz followed me as I strode down the hall. If Family Protective Services wanted to object to the wedding, they could go join the protesters outside. I prepared for a confrontation.

The door to Father Brewer's office was open, so I walked right in without knocking. "Is there someone who wants me?" I asked harshly.

Then I saw the woman sitting in the comfortable wing back chair. Handsomely dressed. Thin frame, but solid looking. Silver white hair, lively brown eyes. Glasses hung from a chain around her neck. Definitely not Phyllis Chandler.

She turned, looked up at me, and her hand went to her mouth, eyes wide. My ears registered her gasp a second later. She stood and took a step in my direction.

That face. I could just about place it.

She moved closer. Her left hand reached up, brushed my cheek. "Dear God, it is you," she breathed. And I was pulled into a tight embrace. Who knew little old ladies could be so strong? It was a few moments before she released me, so she could look at me again.

"You don't remember me, do you? I'm Delia Walker. Your grandmother."

Craftingmom edited this and every chapter. I am humbled and grateful for her tireless support and help.

Please leave a review. Comments and reflections of any kind are highly valued.

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



Another cliffhanger!?! We're left wondering why Andy is sleeping, *alone*, in an unheated room on a thin mattress only a day after his wedding. It can't be jail, because I don't think a jail would have wooden floors. So where?!? Wow, we'll have to wait until next week to find out.

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Not much to say but WTH Parker! Why you gotta leave me hanging again? I am assuming Andy is kidnapped somehow, or something like that. But if so why would he still have his journal to write in? Oh well, something goes wrong somewhere along the line, and soon. My phone only solace is knowing that with the end drawing near I'll a few updates in a row till all is said and done.

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You are lucky Parker! This better be his paternal grannie! I'm saying nothing else. Well except that you may not be forgiven, lol!

 

Nice chapter. ..

 

tim xo

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I'm not gonna complain about the cliffy cuz it was done so well.
I can't remember one ever in the first sentence of a chapter ...hehe well done!

 

Otherwise, a great chapter with edgy bustle and expected confusion, then with the extended black cloud of Evangelical extremism encroaching. Not to mention an enigmatic grandmother.

 

OK, we have all weekend to gear up for the final flurry.

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How many twists and turns can this story take? Who is going to show up next? Just what they need for their wedding a bible thumping preacher outside their church. Can't wait to see how this all plays out. What about where Andy is the day after the wedding? Will have to wait for the answers!!

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I have been enjoying this story tremendously but it is becoming too episodic and starting to become annoying instead of pleasurable. You are about to lose me as a reader and I really do not want that to happen.

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Just when it looks like it's smooth sailing, as smooth as it ever gets for Andy anyway, you throw in a couple of bombshells into the story!

 

Clearly something unexpected has happened after the wedding. I'm predicting that Andy and Zander are having their honeymoon on Eustace's farm and that Zander woke up before Andy. I'm going to be uncharacteristically optimistic and hope you're just playing a little joke on us!

 

While I'd like Andy's story to go on forever, you've already suggested that the story is coming to a conclusion. A kidnapping would probably involve quite a few more chapters than my scenario.

 

And I believe that's Andy's previously silent Grandmother from Florida. Andy appears to have recognized her, and not in a negative way. That she is there for the wedding, but doesn't seem to be hostile, is a good sign.

 

I'm curious about who Nonna plans to call. Who would have enough influence to stop the protest? Who could counter the religious fundamentalists in such a short time?

 

Andy only has to wait until his wedding night is over to find out what's happening! We have to wait until next week! (I kind of envy the people who will start reading A to Z after the story is complete because they'll be able to read the next chapter right away!)

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On 03/05/2016 12:14 AM, xleroc said:

Another cliffhanger!?! We're left wondering why Andy is sleeping, *alone*, in an unheated room on a thin mattress only a day after his wedding. It can't be jail, because I don't think a jail would have wooden floors. So where?!? Wow, we'll have to wait until next week to find out.

So much to digest for Andy. Wedding day has been a big day, so far. Leave it to Kaz to play coach and psychologist all in one. Thanks for your comments - sorry about the suspense - and above all thank you for reading!

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On 03/05/2016 12:54 AM, spikey582 said:

Not much to say but WTH Parker! Why you gotta leave me hanging again? I am assuming Andy is kidnapped somehow, or something like that. But if so why would he still have his journal to write in? Oh well, something goes wrong somewhere along the line, and soon. My phone only solace is knowing that with the end drawing near I'll a few updates in a row till all is said and done.

Yes; at least the updates come fast and furious next week. This is a big event in Andy's journal, and it would have been way too long a chapter otherwise. At least Andy can write. Kaz was so good to him. Thanks for your reactions, and you have my apologies for the suspense. Most of all, thank you for reading!

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On 03/05/2016 01:02 AM, Mikiesboy said:

You are lucky Parker! This better be his paternal grannie! I'm saying nothing else. Well except that you may not be forgiven, lol!

 

Nice chapter. ..

 

tim xo

I beg your forgiveness, Tim. There was so much to describe about this day - and Andy was so lucky to have Kaz looking after him. Thanks so much for reading Andy's journal, and for your thoughts.

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On 03/05/2016 02:24 AM, slapshot said:

How many twists and turns can this story take? Who is going to show up next? Just what they need for their wedding a bible thumping preacher outside their church. Can't wait to see how this all plays out. What about where Andy is the day after the wedding? Will have to wait for the answers!!

The story has had a lot of winding road to get to this point. All of it has Andy annoyed and anxious as a hen in a foxhouse. At least everything updates more quickly next week...many thanks for your comments, and for reading Andy's journal.

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On 03/05/2016 02:29 AM, starboardtack said:

I have been enjoying this story tremendously but it is becoming too episodic and starting to become annoying instead of pleasurable. You are about to lose me as a reader and I really do not want that to happen.

I am sorry I disappointed you. The story will draw to a close next week. I ask you to reserve judgment until then. Thank you for your honest feedback, which I appreciate.

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On 03/05/2016 02:54 AM, droughtquake said:

Just when it looks like it's smooth sailing, as smooth as it ever gets for Andy anyway, you throw in a couple of bombshells into the story!

 

Clearly something unexpected has happened after the wedding. I'm predicting that Andy and Zander are having their honeymoon on Eustace's farm and that Zander woke up before Andy. I'm going to be uncharacteristically optimistic and hope you're just playing a little joke on us!

 

While I'd like Andy's story to go on forever, you've already suggested that the story is coming to a conclusion. A kidnapping would probably involve quite a few more chapters than my scenario.

 

And I believe that's Andy's previously silent Grandmother from Florida. Andy appears to have recognized her, and not in a negative way. That she is there for the wedding, but doesn't seem to be hostile, is a good sign.

 

I'm curious about who Nonna plans to call. Who would have enough influence to stop the protest? Who could counter the religious fundamentalists in such a short time?

 

Andy only has to wait until his wedding night is over to find out what's happening! We have to wait until next week! (I kind of envy the people who will start reading A to Z after the story is complete because they'll be able to read the next chapter right away!)

You may be right that waiting for a complete story lets one avoid delayed gratification. At least next week's chapters post quickly. I thank you for your many thoughtful ideas and comments. More importantly, I want to thank you for taking the time to read Andy's journal both now and in the past.

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Wow! More family coming out of nowhere! Grandma seems happy enough so I doubt she will try and obstruct the wedding.

 

Everyone needs a friend like Kaz. Even though I think killing is a bit extreme, I can understand the rage at seeing someone you love hurt like that.

 

Why is Andy in a cold room alone? My first though was he was away on some track meet but they might not happen over weekends. I doubt he's truly alone. Zander would never let him go. Not now.

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On 03/05/2016 04:08 AM, Puppilull said:

Wow! More family coming out of nowhere! Grandma seems happy enough so I doubt she will try and obstruct the wedding.

 

Everyone needs a friend like Kaz. Even though I think killing is a bit extreme, I can understand the rage at seeing someone you love hurt like that.

 

Why is Andy in a cold room alone? My first though was he was away on some track meet but they might not happen over weekends. I doubt he's truly alone. Zander would never let him go. Not now.

You are so right - everyone needs a Kaz in their lives. His anger and solidarity at seeing what happened to Andy are completely sincere. Kaz has come to love his new friend. Delia Walker's appearance was certainly unexpected. No track meet this weekend (they do happen on weekends sometimes...). Thanks for your thoughtful comments and ideas. And more importantly, thank you for reading Andy's journal.

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A hell of a cliffhanger in the beginning, Parker. I am not sure if I am to admire it or ... You have got too good at them!
Another one at the end, though much tamer - and more moving. And lots in between.
I love the scenes in the classroom - that Andy is changing out of his old clothes and out of his old responses. Wonderful how he channels his anger and his energy - calmly finishing dressing himself, making sure he is "presentable" and then walking determinately to face the enemy he believes to be waiting for him. A new, very self-confident Andy is emerging here.
Fitting, too, that he is only briefly fazed by Kaz' seeing his scars. When he hears Kaz' response he is not surprised any longer, just sees him as the friend he is. I do remember how - one or two weeks ago - trying to hide his scars from coach at swimming was still very important to him.
What a great friend Kaz is to Andy and Zander, both. Zander has surely chosen the perfect person to look after Andy when he cannot do it himself.
Well, we have to wait again...
Thank you, Parker for this one.

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On 03/05/2016 08:27 AM, mayday said:

A hell of a cliffhanger in the beginning, Parker. I am not sure if I am to admire it or ... You have got too good at them!

Another one at the end, though much tamer - and more moving. And lots in between.

I love the scenes in the classroom - that Andy is changing out of his old clothes and out of his old responses. Wonderful how he channels his anger and his energy - calmly finishing dressing himself, making sure he is "presentable" and then walking determinately to face the enemy he believes to be waiting for him. A new, very self-confident Andy is emerging here.

Fitting, too, that he is only briefly fazed by Kaz' seeing his scars. When he hears Kaz' response he is not surprised any longer, just sees him as the friend he is. I do remember how - one or two weeks ago - trying to hide his scars from coach at swimming was still very important to him.

What a great friend Kaz is to Andy and Zander, both. Zander has surely chosen the perfect person to look after Andy when he cannot do it himself.

Well, we have to wait again...

Thank you, Parker for this one.

I apologize for the suspense again...if I ever write another story, I'll have to do better. Everyone should have a Kaz in their lives. He trusts the big guy as Zander does, and he didn't flinch (much) when he was exposed inadvertently. The more confident Andy who strode down the hallway wasn't the same kid who showed up in Blackburn six months earlier. Thank you for your really thoughtful commentary, and thanks a million for reading Andy's journal.

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Parker, I think you are enjoying this constant toying with us readers....You should, it's quite effective, the way you drop land mines at every turn.....however I see positive outcomes to all the possible drama in this chapter.....Great job, as usual.....Thanks buddy...........:)Mike

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Good evening Parker,

 

Thank you for another great chapter. I have so enjoyed reading Andy's journal. As I read the first paragraph I did not sense that Andy was in any distress. I believe that they are on their honeymoon at the hunting cabin on Eustace's farm. It made me smile to think of all the effort that there friends and teachers are going through to keep them from seeing each other before the wedding. It just goes to show how loved and accepted he has become in such a short time. Is Nonna calling Ms. Marjorie? It is going to be a long wait until Tuesday.

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Grrr! Too much stuff going on in one chapter--and then you throw grandmother into the mix? Durn your hide!!
It's your usual solid writing, but you've left us dangling--Andy alone in a cabin? No mention of the wedding itself? What'd grandma provide, info/family-wise? What happened with the "prayer protest"?
I know it takes time to do the fine writing you do--but damnit, where's that next chapter?!? (Grin)

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Thank you Parker. Very slick!

 

Each time I think the plot will proceed in a predictable way, you surprise me.

 

A talk about dangling ...

 

My only confident deduction is that Andy is not in jail. If so, there would be a toilet.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions between Andy and Kaz. I appreciate Andy's reaction to Kaz seeing his scars. He is simultaneously confident and a little unnerved. Definitely not the boy who arrived in Blackburn. And thankfully, not Andy2 either :) .

 

Grandmother wow!

 

I would write more, but I really need to find my PO vodoo doll, ... urg ... where did I hide it ...

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On 03/05/2016 02:40 PM, flamingo136 said:

Parker, I think you are enjoying this constant toying with us readers....You should, it's quite effective, the way you drop land mines at every turn.....however I see positive outcomes to all the possible drama in this chapter.....Great job, as usual.....Thanks buddy...........:)Mike

I do apologize for the suspense. There is important action here, though it may not seem so. More than anything, Kaz comes through as a real champion for Andy - he is his cheerleader, friend, and defender throughout this entry. When Andy strides down the corridor to meet this unknown woman, he has the confidence to confront her, regardless of who she is. Of course, no confrontation was necessary. Thanks so much for reading Andy's journal, and for your wonderful reviews.

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On 03/05/2016 03:58 PM, lukester34 said:

Good evening Parker,

 

Thank you for another great chapter. I have so enjoyed reading Andy's journal. As I read the first paragraph I did not sense that Andy was in any distress. I believe that they are on their honeymoon at the hunting cabin on Eustace's farm. It made me smile to think of all the effort that there friends and teachers are going through to keep them from seeing each other before the wedding. It just goes to show how loved and accepted he has become in such a short time. Is Nonna calling Ms. Marjorie? It is going to be a long wait until Tuesday.

It isn't just Kaz who is supporting Andy so well these days; you are quite right in that so many people have banded together to love and support both Zander and Andy. But everyone should have a Kaz in their lives. I am glad you liked this chapter. I thank you for your patience, for your thoughtful comments, and especially for reading Andy's journal.

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On 03/06/2016 12:01 AM, Robert Rex said:

Grrr! Too much stuff going on in one chapter--and then you throw grandmother into the mix? Durn your hide!!

It's your usual solid writing, but you've left us dangling--Andy alone in a cabin? No mention of the wedding itself? What'd grandma provide, info/family-wise? What happened with the "prayer protest"?

I know it takes time to do the fine writing you do--but damnit, where's that next chapter?!? (Grin)

So much going on! It's...just like a wedding, isn't it? This day, of all the days in Andy's journal is just packed...so much for Andy to recall and write down. I am sorry for having to stop where I did. You may consider my hide well and properly durned. Many thanks for commenting and especially for reading the story!

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On 03/06/2016 01:56 AM, said:

Thank you Parker. Very slick!

 

Each time I think the plot will proceed in a predictable way, you surprise me.

 

A talk about dangling ...

 

My only confident deduction is that Andy is not in jail. If so, there would be a toilet.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions between Andy and Kaz. I appreciate Andy's reaction to Kaz seeing his scars. He is simultaneously confident and a little unnerved. Definitely not the boy who arrived in Blackburn. And thankfully, not Andy2 either :) .

 

Grandmother wow!

 

I would write more, but I really need to find my PO vodoo doll, ... urg ... where did I hide it ...

I am sorry you are dangling, but at least you aren't a participle...I am so glad you liked the interplay with Andy and Kaz. He has emerged as a real champion not only for his best friend Zander, but for Andy, especially. And while Kaz is probably too gentle to kill anyone, his reaction to Andy's hurt is genuine and heartfelt. For Andy, Kaz is speaking affirmation and love, not the humiliation and rejection he might have expected even six months earlier. Certainly Andy knew Kaz would be in his corner when he had to confront the unknown woman down the hall. Now as to the voodoo dolls, I think I hid them sufficiently well...at least until Tuesday... :)

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