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    Wayne Gray
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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.

Ash and Ember - 24. Family Secrets

15 February 2019, Friday 3:17 p.m. (Pacific Time)

Damn it. I already miss him, Troy thought as he and William left the airport. Grant was through security and on his way to his departure gate. He'd be in the air in forty minutes for a six-hour flight home.

As William drove, he glanced over at Troy. "You doing all right? Nervous about being here alone with us?"

Chuckling, Troy continued to look out of the window at the airline terminal as they drove away. "No. I'm not nervous." He shrugged. "Since November, Grant and I have been together - every day." He turned to William. "Ah, it's just a little weird - thinking about how he's not going to be right where I can see him." He laughed at himself. "I know, it's sort of pitiful of me. But I dread the next week and a half or so, only because he won't be here."

William smiled. They were both silent for a while, each content with the quiet. Then William took a breath. "You know, I have to admit that I wasn't sure how I felt about Grant being gay. And I know it shouldn't be a big deal." He bit his lip and shook his head. "I'm getting over it." He glanced at Troy. "And it helps that he is with you." William looked back at the road. "I can tell you love him. And, to me, that's the most important thing."

Troy smiled at William. "I really do love him." Troy debated with himself, then plowed forward. "You remember when I said that Grant saved my life?" William nodded. "Well, I wasn't joking or exaggerating. I was homeless, living out of my van. Let me tell you, doing that in the Vermont winter is not something I recommend." Staring out of the window at the passing landscape, Troy took a deep breath. "I don't know how much longer I could have held on. He invited me into his home, gave me a place to be, gave me just enough help." Troy swallowed the lump in his throat. "And when things sparked between us, it was …" He searched for the right word. "God, it was a miracle."

William's eyes were filled with empathy when he looked at Troy. Refocusing on his driving, he slowly nodded. "First, thanks for sharing. Second, I'm sorry." He exhaled. "The vineyard, and our home - it must seem like such a waste to you." William grimaced. "I didn't come from money. I was a starving college student, living on Ramen noodles and hot dogs when I met Sandra." He navigated expertly through traffic as people slowed to look at a stalled car. "Sometimes I look at what we have, and it's painful. I feel bad for those with less." He set his jaw. "We donate to charities, but it seems empty to me. We could do more. We should do more."

"It sounds like you're doing more than most."

William laughed. "What's what Sandra says."

Troy smiled at him. "You know, I don't think you should feel bad, or guilty about being successful. Look at all the people you employ. And the folks I met all seem happy with their work."

William snorted and looked sideways at him. "Wow. Okay, you and Sandra are reading from the same playbook."

Grinning, Troy shrugged. "Well, is it strange to find someone who agrees with her?"

William grew thoughtful, his brows knitting together as he considered. "Just a little. Yeah." He looked knowingly at Troy. "You might be able to guess that she's not the most endearing person at first blush."

Troy shrugged. "Sandra knows what she wants and how she wants it." He waved a hand. "Her needs, expectations, and requirements all make sense to me. Much worse is the client that has expectations that go unsaid until the work is done."

"Hmm. I bet." William again spent time thinking then smiled. "Well, Sandra appreciates your manner and your particular style. She likes that she can be her demanding self and that you're not offended, or put off by it."

"It's her money. She can be demanding when it concerns the work." Troy looked seriously at William. "Where I'll have a problem is if she tries the same thing with my relationship."

William grimaced. "Yeah. She does love to steer the boat on most everything. Back when Grant dated Rebecca, Sandra was very interested in how things were going. Huh. Though maybe she could sense all wasn't right with those two." William raised an eyebrow. "Grant being gay makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it."

"Yeah. A lot of guys don't figure things out for a while. And they struggle until they do."

The rest of the trip the pair spent chatting about the job and its particulars. Troy was thankful the conversation turned toward work. He could focus on that, and less on how much he was going to miss Grant.

He'd save that for the quiet times.

 

15 February 2019, Friday 5:02 p.m. (Pacific Time)

Sandra watched through the large, plate glass living room window as Troy mobilized the crew of men and women assigned to him by William for the project. There was only a bit of daylight left, but he wanted to go over the scope of the work, what they were out to do, and all of the steps they'd need to take.

She observed him. Even though she couldn't hear anything, she could see that Troy was a natural at leading small groups of people. The way he gestured, spoke, answered questions, and listened to those gathered around him told her many things about the man.

You're the one my son has chosen. Her eyes narrowed in thought. To an observer, she would look angry or upset, but she wasn't. Absorbing her observations, she began to form a concrete opinion of Troy.

She could tell it wouldn't matter, ultimately. She knew merely by how they interacted that Grant would forever be wrapped up in Troy's life, in at least some capacity. That frustrated her to a degree - that her own son would defy her if she didn't approve of his choice.

However, emotion is never clean cut. In her deepest of hearts, where she kept her own personal truth hidden away, Sandra felt something powerful centering around Grant and his willingness to stand up to her, all for the love of this man.

Lifting her chin, she watched as Troy smiled and dismissed the group of workers.

Though she would likely never admit it, Sandra felt a grim and unmistakable pride in her son.

 

16 February 2019, Saturday 7:42 a.m. (Pacific Time)

Troy was up, had eaten a breakfast of eggs and toast that had been mysteriously prepared in the kitchen, and was already outside in the light rain and mist that continued to fall over the fields and the vines. Eyeing the muddy ground, he stepped through the rows. His crew wasn't due to start work until eight, but he wanted to get out there, find out exactly what they had to deal with, and make sure he was ready for whatever the day threw at him.

Walking along one edge of the plot which bordered the house grounds, Troy looked over the expansive field. It was the largest, and the one that would require the most work. They would have to remove a few miles of water line and install the same amount for the new system. It would take weeks for him to do it on his own, but with the crew, the install should be cut down to a week, or maybe two if the weather continued to act so fitfully.

The new line had been delivered yesterday, then stored in a few large coils in one of the outbuildings. Troy took a shaky breath as he looked over the field, and he scratched his head under the hood of the poncho. Did I bite off more than I can chew? He grimaced. He had never worked on a project of this scope before. Though he had expressed nothing but confidence to the team yesterday, he definitely had his own doubts, only due to the scale.

Sighing, he shrugged. Well, too late for that now. Nothing to do but push forward. He was just about to give himself a little pep talk when he caught a glimpse of movement about a hundred yards away, deeper in the field.

He turned and looked through the falling rain and mist. He couldn't be certain from that distance, but it looked as if there was a tan-colored shape, moving around on the ground. With a frown, Troy headed toward it.

 

16 February 2019, Saturday 7:51 a.m. (Pacific Time)

Sandra was determined to cling to her morning routine. Rain, shine, bad days or good, she would rise early, sneak away from her vigilant husband, and walk her fields. These days, she needed to take a sturdy walking stick with her, but today it wasn't enough.

Deep in the first field, Sandra felt it coming. She leaned hard on the walking stick, her leg trembling as she tried to force the muscle to work through sheer force of will. Willpower alone would not help damaged nerves transmit signals to the tissue they serviced.

Uttering a furious curse, Sandra felt her leg fold and she went down. She sat on her numb limb in the mud, holding herself up with her arms. Her head was down, with water dripping off of the hood of the poncho, and she fought a volcanic rage at her own body.

She breathed and tried to force her naturally logical mind to work. She met with a little success. I need to call Gavin. Her cell phone was in her pocket. Of course, it's in the pocket that's currently underneath me. She gritted her teeth. She would have to roll onto her back to get to it. In the mud.

She sighed, resigning herself to her fate of a wallow in the mud. Just as she was about to lie back, she heard a voice.

"Hello?" Footsteps squelched toward her. Sandra closed her eyes and fumed. She knew that voice. "Hey, are you okay?" There was now concern in the tone.

Stepping close, Troy stood beside her. His eyes widened. "Sandra?" He immediately squatted down. "Here, let me help you up."

She nodded. Troy was tall and skinny, but he was a man used to work. He was plenty strong enough to lift her to her feet. Though once he did, her leg still wouldn't cooperate, and she clung to his shoulders. In the process, she got him royally covered in the clay-rich soil.

He didn't seem concerned about being filthy. "Are you all right?" He frowned at her in worry. She struggled to stand and he had noticed. "Do I need to call an ambulance?"

"No!" Sandra barked, then flinched at her own tone. "No. I'm fine. I just need help to get to the house."

Troy didn't look convinced, but he nodded. "Okay." He supported her weak side, and together they navigated the field. It was still about ten minutes before eight, and Sandra knew there would be others out doing their work soon.

"The back. Go to the back door," Sandra said when they neared the house. Troy complied, and they entered the home. He helped her sit in a chair in a small mudroom connected to the entryway.

Troy looked nervously at her. "I'll get William."

"No." Sandra shook her head. "He'd just be worried and there's nothing he can do." She rested and mentally went over her options. She looked up at Troy as he hovered protectively over her. "You've got a crew to handle. Get Gavin. He'll help me. And you'll get outside and see to the work."

Hesitating, Troy finally nodded. "All right, if that's what you want."

He turned to go hunt down Gavin. Sandra sighed. "Troy." Turning, he looked at her. Sandra made herself smile. "I, uh ..." She nodded with a grimace. "I want to thank you." She slumped, defeated and miserable.

It must have shown in her expression and her voice. Troy's eyes softened. "You're welcome." He bit his lip. "Ah, I can tell you don't want anyone knowing about this." It was apparent he worried and that he was curious as to what was wrong, but he didn't ask what was on his mind.

Sandra couldn't help the bitter laugh. "I figure that'd be too much to ask. But, yes. I'd appreciate it." Her voice nearly cracked as she spoke.

Setting his jaw, Troy nodded. "Okay. Then that's how it'll be." He smiled. "I'll send Gavin."

With that, he disappeared into the house. Leaning back in the chair, her head back, Sandra stared up at the ceiling.

 

16 February 2019, Saturday 8:07 a.m. (Pacific Time)

Troy met his assigned crew a few minutes after eight o'clock. William was with them, and Troy arrived to see him checking his watch, a frown on his face. He inwardly sighed. He'd had to strip off his muddy clothes and quickly change after he'd found Gavin. That had made him late.

He walked up to the group. "Sorry I'm late." He nodded at William. "Won't happen again."

William eyed him, then nodded. Troy could tell that he'd need to prove himself all that much more now. But he'd made a promise, and he wasn't about to tell William why he was late. He addressed the assembled crew. "All right. We have the new line, but the old stuff has to come out first." He looked over at William. "We've turned off the water to the old system. William has some projects that he can use a lot of the old line in. So we're going to coil it up and put it in the processing shed. Let's try to keep it in good condition."

Troy went through his plan. The dozen men and women listened while William watched him. Troy was aware that every word and action was judged. They were paying him, and paying him well. Additionally, he was dating their son, so that meant a different kind of scrutiny as well.

Troy focused on a big, tanned, dark-haired man in the group. "James, you take your folks to the northern edge and start at the water source there. My group will start on this corner, so we're not in one another's way." He finished up. "Okay. We know what to do. Let's get to it." James nodded, then he and his five helpers started on the way to the far edge of the field, while Troy and his half of the crew remained.

Troy and James both had walkie-talkies. The field was the biggest in the vineyard, so the radios were required to stay in touch as they worked. Luckily, the mist and rain were forecast to clear up.

It was also the same field he had found Sandra in. He still didn't know what to think about that. Troy knew something wasn't right, and he felt as if he should tell William, and maybe Grant too. But he had promised. Earlier, when he went to get Gavin to help her, the man had to force himself not to say anything. Gavin had a terrible poker face, and it was obvious that he knew what was wrong.

None of my business. Troy tried to convince himself as they began the process of unstaking and uncovering the old drip system. After a bit, William seemed satisfied with what he saw and left to go check on an issue with their label maker.

Troy knew that William was a little put off by his tardiness. It was a bad example for his crew, and as a result, he had some making up to do.

All right. He followed his crew into their corner of the field. Let's get to it.

 

16 February 2019, Saturday 10:34 a.m. (Pacific Time)

Returning from his trip into town, William entered the house. The light rain still hadn't let up, and though it made everything a mess, he was thankful for the water.

He was still a little annoyed at Troy. The man didn't strike him as the type to be late for anything, much less to his first day of work on a project. Maybe I misread him. He hung up his poncho beside the door.

Taking off his muddy footgear, he padded in socked feet into the house. The underfloor heating system made the stone comfortably warm, and despite his earlier annoyance, he smiled at the minor luxury.

He entered the living room. Sandra was there, in her spot at the end of the couch. William smiled. "Hi. How are you today?" He walked closer to stand near her.

She looked from the window, where she watched the workers and Troy dismantle the old drip irrigation system and gave him a tiny smile. "I'm well, dear. Thank you."

There was something in her tone, expression and overall manner that gave William pause, but it was nothing he could put his finger on. She looked back out at the field, and in her eyes, he could see a longing to be out there. Ever since her diagnosis, William knew it was dangerous for her to wander around alone, and they had agreed that her regular forays to the fields had to stop.

He knelt beside her. "Hey. I'm sorry." It was so rare to see her vulnerable and sad. He took her hand in his own. "I know you miss being out there."

She only nodded, continuing to look outside. But her hand squeezed his. Then she straightened, regaining a little of her hardness. "It is what it is." She gazed at him. "How's it going with the work? Things look as if they're proceeding well from here."

William made a face. "Well, fine, once Troy got out to the field." He made an exasperated noise. "I guess I didn't expect the man to show up late on his very first day." He shook his head. "I'm going to keep an eye on him."

Sandra's face went utterly neutral. "He was late?"

"Yeah, just a few minutes, but it was still a bad example." William was a believer in hard work, showing up, and being an example for others to follow. He was old-fashioned in this respect, and everyone who knew him realized this.

"Anyway, it's nothing for you to worry about. I've got it handled." Patting her hand, William stood. "I'm headed to check on the other team. I just wanted to come in and see how you're doing."

Sandra had grown very quiet. Her eyes had lost focus, and she blinked. "William." Grimacing, she sighed and hung her head. "I'm the reason he was late."

William frowned at her. "What?"

She swallowed, and her countenance was oddly nervous. "I went out in the field this morning. I fell. He saw it happen and helped me to the house. His help caused him to be late." She shook her head, frustration and guilt both on her face. "I thought I could do it."

William's jaw dropped. "Sandra!" He knelt beside the couch. "Why? We talked about this!" His eyes began to roam over her body. "Are you hurt? Did you hurt yourself?"

"William, no. I'm fine. I just wounded the hell out of my pride." She looked at him, her fire returning. "And I know we agreed that I wouldn't go out there alone. But, I just need my time." She bit her lip. "I'm having trouble letting go of that. That's all." She laughed. "Damn it. I almost got away with it. But I couldn't let Troy take the fall for, well, for me taking a fall."

William felt many emotions. There was anger that his wife would risk herself, sadness for the loss of something precious to her, and regret at his anger at Troy. He tried to make sure the next thing he said was something spoken from a place of thoughtfulness and not emotion. "Okay. Well, thank you for telling me." Sighing, he sat on the couch beside her. "So, what are we going to do about this?" He smiled; the expression was a bit sad. "You know, if you tell me you need these little field trips to make you happy, then I'll go with you."

She turned and stared out at the field again. "I don't want to be a burden, William." With a shake of her head, she clenched her jaw. "I will just stop going. And that's how it'll be."

He looked at Sandra, her face in profile as she observed the men in the field. She was stubborn and strong, but he could see that the loss of her ritual affected her deeply. William put his arm around her shoulders. "You know, I think I'm going to start walking the fields early before any of the workers really get going." He squeezed her affectionately. "And if you'd like, then you can come along."

Her face twitched. She slowly blinked, and a tear rolled down her cheek. Silently, she nodded just slightly. Then she closed her eyes, and she leaned over against him.

William kissed the top of her head as she leaned into him. "Let me be what you need. Okay? I want that."

She breathed, struggling to reign in her emotions. She nodded again. It was a rare moment of vulnerability and rawness. William loved her, always. But right then, at that moment, there wasn't anything that he wouldn't do for her.

And he was willing to spend a lifetime proving it.

 

16 February 2019, Saturday 6:16 p.m. (Pacific Time)

Troy felt his phone vibrate in his pocket, and he took it out. He grinned at the text from Grant.

Check what I emailed you when you're alone. The text was followed by a little devil face emoji.

Troy shook his head, and he texted back. I will. He thought warm things about his lover, and he started another text. I love you, Grant. I hope you sleep well tonight.

I love you too. And there's not much chance of that without you with me. I'll call you tomorrow. I want to hear your voice.

Okay. Goodnight. With a sigh, Troy put his phone away. He had just finished for the day and released his crews. They'd completely removed the drip line system from the first field. Long coils of line lay on the ground on the edges, and the new stuff awaited installation. That was the task for tomorrow.

Troy was tired, wet and muddy. Walking from the path to the house, he removed his boots on the covered porch. Though the work was tough in the rain, it had still gone well. The men and women on his crews were great - motivated, careful, and they worked hard. Troy was thankful for that.

As the day passed, he felt the attitude of the workers shift. He could tell, initially, that they were put off by his late showing. He'd heard from a concerned fellow on his crew that William had fired people who couldn't show up on time. So the culture of the place was rigorous in some ways. Now that the team knew him better, they apparently wanted him to stick around to finish the job.

Currently, Troy's thoughts centered around food. He was starving. Lunch had been six hours ago, and he had worked hard all day. He entered the home, removed his gloves and poncho, then walked down the hallway into the kitchen.

Troy was surprised to find William in the kitchen. "Oh, hello, William." Troy gave him a tired smile. "Ah, I'm just scrounging for something to eat."

William nodded at him. "No need to scrounge." He pointed his chin at the kitchen table. "Have a seat. Dinner will be done soon." He had an oven mitt on, and he opened the oven door. When he did, the smell of spices, cheese, tomato, and chicken wafted into the room.

Troy swallowed as he salivated. He did as he was told, then looked down at himself. "Uh, I should probably go change. I'm pretty filthy."

"You're fine." William removed a glass baking dish. It bubbled and gave off that intoxicating aroma. He put the dish on the stovetop. He also lifted the lid on a pot on the back burner. Steam rose, and he squinted down into the pot. Seeming satisfied, he turned to the cutting board.

Feeling a little guilty as he watched William chop cilantro, Troy cleared his throat. "Do you need help?"

"Nope. You worked plenty hard today. Meals are part of the payment. Relax." William sounded all business, but he smiled as he worked.

Some of Troy's tension left him. William seemed more at ease than he had been earlier in the day. His manner was back to friendly and open versus this morning, when Troy could sense the man's judgment. William grabbed a couple of plates. He served a couple of enchiladas and a scoop of Mexican rice on both dishes. "You like sour cream?" He opened the fridge and dug out a container of the stuff.

"Definitely." Troy put his elbows on the table, propping his chin on his hands. "Load me up."

William did. After that, a sprinkle of cilantro went over both the rice and the enchiladas. Walking over, he put a plate in front of Troy, then found a seat across from him. He sat with a nod at the lanky man. "Eat up. I know you've got to be hungry."

Troy couldn't argue with that. He dug into his meal. There was a complexity to the sauce that surprised him, and he glanced up at William who was watching him. When Troy looked up, he grinned. "You like that?"

With his mouth full, Troy only nodded. William grinned. "Good. That chipotle sauce I make to go along with these is one of the best things I can cook. It's just spicy enough and full of flavor."

Again, Troy agreed. The men grew quiet, and only the sound of silverware on plates could occasionally be heard in the quiet room.

Finally, Troy pushed his plate back with a sigh. The meal was excellent, and he was satisfied. William had surprised him. The man could cook. He seemed to have a knack for most things that involved hands-on work. "Thanks for the food." Troy grinned. "I was getting to the point of being hangry."

Wiping his mouth, William nodded affably at the compliment. "You're welcome." He stood and collected the dinnerware, put the dishes in the sink and returned to the table. Sitting, he eyed Troy. "I want to talk about this morning."

Initially clenching his jaw, Troy forced himself to relax. He nodded. "Okay. But, before you say anything, I just want you to know it won't happen again. I don't make it a habit to be late."

William looked thoughtfully at him, then he smiled. "Yeah. I know. I wanted to talk to you about Sandra. She told me what happened."

Troy felt relief for a couple of reasons. For one, now William knew why he had been late. But by far the most significant relief for Troy was now he didn't carry around what he considered to be a bad secret - that something was wrong, and Sandra wasn't sharing it with her husband.

"I'm happy she talked to you," Troy said. He leaned across the table. "Look, I don't know what's going on, but something is. She couldn't stand up."

William nodded. "She has good days, and she has bad days." That's when Troy realized that he already knew. William sighed. "She has MS - Multiple Sclerosis. She's okay with me telling you."

Troy sat back in his chair. "Wow." He didn't know much about the disease, but he knew it was serious. "Is this a new thing? I've never heard Grant mention it."

William grimaced. "Ah, Grant doesn't know. And it is relatively new." Troy started to say something more, but William held up a hand. "She's planning to tell him. She won't be able to keep it hidden much longer." He looked seriously at Troy. "But, it's her call. She is the one who gets to tell him."

Troy closed his mouth, his lips in a tight line. He gave a tight nod. "Okay. You got it."

William smiled, though it was a tired expression. "You're a good man, Troy." His eyes carried his appreciation. "Thanks. For helping her this morning."

"Well, of course." Troy smiled back at him. "You know, she only wanted me to keep it from you so that you wouldn't worry."

Chuckling, William said, "Yeah, I know. She loves me a lot. And no matter how hard she tries to keep it a secret," he grinned, "I know."

Hi folks. Not much time today, so I'll leave the chapter here for you to hopefully enjoy.

Thanks for reading. I always appreciate your comments, so feel free to leave them, please.

Copyright © 2020 Wayne Gray; 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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Quote

He couldn't be certain from that distance, but it looked as if there was a tan-colored shape, moving around on the ground. With a frown, Troy headed toward it.

I was thinking rabid coyote or hungry cougar!
;–)

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Poor Sauhn druh won’t be able to keep her secret much longer. She’s going to need to tell Grant soon. Having to avoid mentioning Sauhn druh’s health condition could become problematic for Troy.

I guess a walker wouldn’t work for Sauhn druh’s walks in the fields. She might need to use one around the house though. At some point, she’ll need to do something or she’ll get hurt when she falls the next time.

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2 minutes ago, kbois said:

I was hoping for a puppy!

Considering the rural setting, wildlife is more likely than a domestic pet. Yesterday, there was a news report about a coyote attacking a 5-year-old girl who received non-life threatening injuries. The attack came in a Bay Area park next to a major Interstate freeway and the edges of a suburban development where it interfaces open space parklands.

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17 minutes ago, droughtquake said:

Considering the rural setting, wildlife is more likely than a domestic pet. Yesterday, there was a news report about a coyote attacking a 5-year-old girl who received non-life threatening injuries. The attack came in a Bay Area park next to a major Interstate freeway and the edges of a suburban development where it interfaces open space parklands.

I'm glad the little girl was ok. When it comes to wildlife and their "encroachment" into human environs, I  always like what my Dad used to say.."They were here first."  Coyotes in California and we have alligators here in Florida. 

I still vote for the puppy though! Troy and Grant need a fur baby!

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48 minutes ago, James B. said:

The further along this story gets, the more I Love it more.

Thank you, James.

I'm really happy you and others like the tale. It helps keep authors writing to let us know that you're enjoying the work, so thank you for taking the time.

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47 minutes ago, droughtquake said:

Poor Sauhn druh won’t be able to keep her secret much longer. She’s going to need to tell Grant soon. Having to avoid mentioning Sauhn druh’s health condition could become problematic for Troy.

I guess a walker wouldn’t work for Sauhn druh’s walks in the fields. She might need to use one around the house though. At some point, she’ll need to do something or she’ll get hurt when she falls the next time.

You're right. She won't be able to hide it much longer. Once word gets out to the rest of the crew, the likelihood of Grant finding out through one or more of them goes waaaaay up.

Nope, a walker wouldn't help Sandra much. But ... her husband is such a loving guy, I wouldn't be surprised if he built paths between the rows that a narrow wheelchair could traverse. Soil cement is porous, and it could work. I like to think he did that after the events described by the story end.

Thanks for reading, drought. 🙂

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It is nice to see Troy interacting with Grant's parents in a mostly positive way. I know he is missing Grant, but this is a great opportunity to get to know William and, especially, Sandra. And for them to get to know him. Thanks. 

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Sandra isn't going to be able to keep her condition hid from Grant much longer now that Troy knows. After a hard days work Troy impressed both William and the workforce despite turning up late, which William found out why from Sandra later.

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15 minutes ago, Wayne Gray said:

Nope, a walker wouldn't help Sandra much. But ... her husband is such a loving guy, I wouldn't be surprised if he built paths between the rows that a narrow wheelchair could traverse. Soil cement is porous, and it could work. I like to think he did that after the events described by the story end.

Spoiler alert! This implies that Sauhn druh survives through the story in a condition where she could still use a wheelchair!
;–)

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I seriously doubt  that Sandra will be able to keep her MS a secret for much longer. She’s going to have to tell Grant asap so he knows what is going on with her. 
 

I hope that Grant takes the news well and doesn’t start trying to take care of her from Vermont. 
 

This is such a great story, I keep wanting to read more when I get a new chapter.

Edited by Butcher56
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8 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

Sandra isn't going to be able to keep her condition hid from Grant much longer now that Troy knows. After a hard days work Troy impressed both William and the workforce despite turning up late, which William found out why from Sandra later.

Thanks, chris.

She will not be able to keep things hidden long. She's many things, but Sandra is not a liar. There was no way she'd make Troy suffer for helping her. It's not how she works.

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4 minutes ago, Butcher56 said:

I seriously doubt  that Sandra will be able to keep her MS a secret 

She won't be able to. We'll have to see how it ultimately is revealed, won't we?

Thanks for the comment, Butcher!

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20 hours ago, Hawgdad said:

Why is it I think there is a VERY strong connection between your ongoing concern that we enjoy every chapter in all your stories and the fact that every chapter ramps up my engagement.  (And why do I think I'm a long way from being alone in this?)  It's also great watching Troy being Troy building his value with William and Sandra.  It's like a ray of sunshine seeing a gay "in-law" being judged on real merit rather than blind prejudice.

Tom

I believe every author wants their readers to enjoy their work. Well ... enjoy is perhaps not right. What I want is to inspire emotion of some kind. I want there to be joy, pain, sadness, and pure elation. That's what I want. 🙂

William is still processing that his son is gay, but he doesn't judge Troy for his sexuality at all. Sandra has had longer to think it through, and so it's not a thing for her. She's all about judging Troy based purely on merit, and judge she shall! But yeah, these two are evolved enough to not care about his sexuality.

Thanks, Tom!

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Man, am I glad Sandra fessed up, I was worried she was gonna leave Troy hanging.

Soooooo we’re not gonna talk about the naughty email Grant sent?  😆  It’s a different kind of progress, but progress nonetheless.

Edited by Geemeedee
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I just started reading this story a few days ago and have burned my way through the chapters, each demanding that I get to the next one.  I have fallen in love with all of your characters.  Thank you for such a titillating and satisfying read.  The sex scenes have been really hot, but the sensuousness of Grant's and Troy's relationship from the beginning has been wonderful.  You have another devoted fan in me.  Thank you again.

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51 minutes ago, Quixo said:

I just started reading this story a few days ago and have burned my way through the chapters, each demanding that I get to the next one.  I have fallen in love with all of your characters.  Thank you for such a titillating and satisfying read.  The sex scenes have been really hot, but the sensuousness of Grant's and Troy's relationship from the beginning has been wonderful.  You have another devoted fan in me.  Thank you again.

Hi, Quixo.

Ah, I'm really glad you found my story. Even better is that you enjoy it. 🙂

I like deep and complex characters; people with imperfections are just more interesting. And of course there's the sex. I write erotica, so it's important that there be sex and that it be hot; though the goal is exactly what you said about their relationship feeling sensuous.

It's always wonderful to hear from readers. Thank you.

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