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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 - 27. Chains of Love

01 March 2019, Friday 11:14 p.m.

Suppressing a yawn, Natalie stood. "Guys, it was great to hang out, but we've gotta get home to bed." Brian, who stood beside her, put an arm over her shoulders.

"You're okay to drive, Nat?" Troy asked, stepping over to give her a hug goodbye.

"Oh yeah. I only had a glass of wine. I had sparkling cider most of the night." She smiled as she hugged him.

"All right. Thanks for coming by." He patted her back and then made a noise as Brian grabbed him. Troy endured a long, crushing hug from him. Brian was a little drunk, and held on a second longer than typical. Troy smiled against his body.

Brian finally gave him some room, gripping Troy's shoulders and holding him at arm's length while looking into his eyes. "Bro, it's great to have you back." Then he looked over at Beth where she still sat by Rhett on the couch. "You too, lady."

Beth smiled at him. "You always get touchy-feely when you drink." She laughed. "But, yeah, it's good to see you."

Brian grinned. "Speaking of touchy-feely. Aaron, come here so I can rub up on you."

Aaron didn't hesitate. Georgette shook her head as Brian and Aaron hugged. Clinging tightly to one another, from their pelvises to their necks touched while both men grinned and giggled.

Beth snorted. "Gayest straight men I know."

Aaron pushed back and looked at her. "Hey! We're just secure." At that moment Brian gently tapped Aaron's crotch causing him to jackknife forward in surprise.

The room of friends laughed, while Aaron glared at Brian and covered his groin. "Not that secure!"

Chuckling, Brian stepped around the edge of the couch and held out his arms. "Okay, you've gotten a pass for long enough. You get a hug, Rhett."

Getting slowly to his feet, Rhett’s face was a study of worry and trepidation. Beth got up with him. She stood very close and crossed her arms over her chest as she watched Brian. The big man glanced at her. Then he gave Rhett a very chaste "man hug," where only their chests touched. He made a big show of patting Rhett's back, all the while watching Beth.

Beth laughed. "That's perfect." The guys split apart, and she threw her arms around Brian herself. "Boy, you are a weird one. But I love ya."

"That's Brian." Natalie grinned. "Lovable but weird." Brian pursed his lips as he clung to Beth but nodded in agreement.

Everyone but Rhett bid their goodbyes, and then it was just the four of them left in the house. Rhett stood near Beth and rubbed the back of his neck.. "Uh, it was really nice to meet you." He looked down at his feet. Troy could tell he was nervous and shy.

“It was nice to meet you too, Rhett." Beth smiled, and Rhett raised his eyes to hers. She took on a thoughtful expression. "You know, it has been a while since I've been here." She waved a hand toward Grant and Troy as they stood off to the side. "I know the guys are busy tomorrow, but I'm wondering if maybe you wouldn't mind riding around town with me? I need to get reacquainted with Barre if I'm potentially gonna live here. We could get some breakfast or lunch."

Staring, Rhett blinked. "Uh, ye—yeah." He nodded. "Yeah, absolutely." He grinned at her. "That'd be great."

She smiled, and while Troy was amazed at her people skills, he was worried about Rhett. "Hey, you've had a few tonight, Rhett." Troy motioned at the couch. "You should crash here. Then you can get an early start on your day with Beth tomorrow."

Grant nodded in agreement. "You shouldn't drive. It's a good idea for you to stay." He turned toward the hall closet. "I'll grab some blankets and a sheet for you."

Rhett watched Grant go and chuckled. "Okay." He smiled at Troy. "Thanks."

"You're welcome." Troy started to pick up the few dishes and glasses that remained on the coffee table.

While Troy cleaned up and Grant got Rhett's sleeping arrangements put together, Beth and Rhett discussed their plans. Soon they had a loose outline of things Rhett wanted to show her, a breakfast spot chosen, and even lunch plans.

Troy smiled as he washed dishes and listened to the two of them. Beth was smooth. She could tell that Rhett was interested and yet awkward, so she made it as easy as possible for him to spend time with her if that was what he wanted. And it was evident that it was what he wanted. The tone of his voice had an undercurrent of excitement and eagerness, as did Beth's.

"All right." Grant finished with the couch and patted Rhett on the back. "You're all set. If you need anything, you know where it all is."

"Thanks, Grant. And Troy." Rhett smiled at the guys, then covered a yawn with his hand.

"Yeah, I second that." Beth stifled a yawn of her own. "I'll be heading up to bed soon." Then she eyed Troy. "But, I wanted to talk to you real fast before that. You got a minute?"

Troy nodded. "Yeah." He put a hand on her shoulder and laughed. "Follow me to my office."

He led her into the garage, flipping on the light, and let the door shut behind him. It was cool in the space, but thanks to the connection to the warm house, it wasn't nearly as cold as the outside. Beth eyed him. "So, things with you and Grant." She smiled. "You guys are serious, aren't you?"

Troy nodded. "Yeah. I guess we are."

"Ain't no guessin' needed. I can see it." Beth took a breath. "He seems real good for you too. And you for him."

Troy smiled as he agreed. "Yeah, he really is. I love him, and I know he loves me. I can't ask for much more than that."

Crossing her arms, one finger tapped her bicep as she spoke. "So, what's the next step for you guys?"

Troy frowned. "What do you mean?"

Shaking her head, Beth laughed. "Troy, it's obvious you guys should be together." Her eyes focused intensely on him. "And, if I'm readin' him right, then if he hasn't done it yet, Grant is gonna want to make that more," she searched for the perfect word, "legitimate. More official."

Confused for a moment, Troy caught up. "Marriage?" Beth grinned and touched her own nose. Troy laughed, a little uncomfortable. "Ah, I don't know about that." He shook his head. "I mean, we've only dated for a few months."

Beth pursed her lips. "Troy, you told me you wanted to marry John within a few months of dating him. Now, we both know why that didn't happen, but you wanted it to." She shrugged. "Is this thing with Grant not as intense? You act like it is."

Troy felt conflicted. He was annoyed with Beth, that she'd force him to discuss something important before he had time to really think it through. Yet he was also confused by his own reticence toward a commitment to Grant. He loved Grant, that was certain. So, why the hesitation? Then he hit upon the issue. "I guess," he sighed, "I guess I feel like it'd betray what John and I had." He looked into Beth's eyes. "Even though he's gone, I still love the hell out of that man." He shook his head. "I can't marry Grant. Not even if he asked."

Beth's arms were still crossed. After a moment, she nodded with a sad smile. "For the record, John would want you to be happy, Troy. Whatever it takes for you to get there." Her arms slid apart and she put a hand over her heart. "I miss him." Her face screwed up, her eyes glistening with moisture. "I miss him so much."

Troy went to her, wrapping her in a hug. "I know. Me too." He closed his eyes as he held on. He thought about the voice he'd heard, and how much it felt as if John were still with him. But he couldn't risk revealing that to Beth. He couldn't tell that to anybody in his circle of friends.

Instead, he simply held the sister of his first true love. Together, they mourned the loss of a wonderful light, snuffed out before its time.

 

02 March 2019, Saturday 7:11 a.m.

Grant was awake. He'd heard Beth up and moving around early. On a trip to the bathroom, he'd caught the sound of conversation downstairs between Rhett and Beth. He had also smelled coffee. It appeared the two had gotten a jump on their day together, and he smiled when he heard the front door open and shut.

Returning to the bedroom, he crawled back under the covers with his lover. Troy shifted a little, but remained mostly asleep. Grant spooned him and sighed at the contact.

The guys had worn underwear to bed since they had guests in the house. A fellow never knows when he'll run into someone if he has to get up for the bathroom.

But, they were alone now. Letting his hand slide down Troy's front, Grant slipped it under the waistband of Troy's briefs.

Finding Troy's soft penis, he took it in hand. Troy made a sleepy noise and moved as he woke. "Hmmm." Grant started to squeeze, rub, and fondle him. Troy grinned, stretching against Grant. "Mornin'."

"Good morning." Grant continued to stroke Troy's growing member. Troy seemed content to lie there and let Grant do what he wanted. That sparked another sort of need in Grant's mind.

Grant pushed his boxer briefs down, and then he did the same to Troy's briefs, while Troy wiggled his hips to help things along. Reaching over Troy, he picked up the lube on the nightstand. Troy made a sound of approval as the bottle opened. Grant chuckled and rubbed some of the lubricant on both of them. "This okay with you?" He slid a finger into Troy, and the tall man inhaled.

"Mmm hmm." Troy pressed back against Grant's hand. After a minute of work with his slick finger, Grant positioned himself against Troy.

"God, you're so handsome." Grant sighed as he entered Troy. "I love doing this with you."

Troy groaned. He put a hand on Grant's hip as they moved in time to one another. "Me too." Grant began to stroke him, and Troy immediately began to ooze precome. "Ah, god."

Kissing the back of Troy's neck, Grant's pelvis started to move faster, with more force.

Judging from the noises and the way Troy twitched and moved about when he was going to orgasm, Grant knew that today he was going to get off quickly. That suited Grant fine. He went hard, fast, and gritted his teeth. As Troy's sounds increased in volume, Grant took in his breath and held it.

Grant began a mind-blowing orgasm, the sensation incredibly intense as he released his breath. He continued to thrust and to stroke Troy. His lover gasped, throwing his head back against Grant's shoulder and neck. Troy's Adam's apple moved, and his eyes rolled back into his skull as he came. Troy always shot a lot, and this time was no different as he shuddered through the moment. Grant kept at him until Troy finished with a satisfied sigh.

The two lay in a post-orgasm fueled haze. Grant planted soft kisses on Troy's skin, still inside, still connected to him.

Shifting, Troy snorted. "Ugh. I'm laying in my own mess." He chuckled. "Ah, the curse of copious come!"

"Wow. That sounds like the worst Hardy Boys novel ever!" Grant laughed as he pulled his hips back. The guys got up, balled up their sheets, and tossed them into the dirty laundry. The room now smelled like sex.

As Troy wiped his hip and crotch free of most of his semen, his eyes widened. "Oh shit!" He whispered. "Beth and Rhett!" He looked utterly rueful. "They must have heard us! I forgot they're here!"

Grant grinned at him. "Nope. They're already out and about. I heard them leave."

Sighing in relief, Troy laughed. "Oh, thank god." He shook his head. "John and I got caught by Beth once, and oh my god, the hell we got for that!" He chuckled. "That woman. She loves to give me grief."

Grant smirked, and he grabbed Troy's hand. "Well yeah. Giving you grief is fun!"

Troy narrowed his eyes at Grant. "That a fact?"

Grant was undeterred by Troy's mock-glare. "Yep." He kissed Troy, who cracked a grin at him. "Come on. Shower time. Then we need to clean this house!"

Grant led his sticky lover to the shower. There, they spent a suspiciously long time together in the small space, sluicing away the mess they had made earlier, then making another.

 

02 March 2019, Saturday 7:29 a.m.

Rhett was thankful that he was driving. His brain had a task to focus on, and so he could avoid thinking about how his heart and stomach flopped around when close to the woman in the passenger seat.

"So, where are we headed, again?" Beth smiled at him.

Carefully pulling around a stopped car on the main drag as the man was trying to turn, Rhett wet his lips. "Ah, I thought Espresso Bueno would be good. I like it. A little cafe and coffee shop where I do a lot of my studying."

"Mmmm. More coffee and breakfast food both sound great." Beth's hands rested in her lap, though her fingers drummed silently against her legs.

Rhett saw the motion from the corner of his eye, and to him, it seemed like a nervous energy sort of thing. Why is she nervous? He turned into the parking lot of Espresso Bueno, happily surprised to see only a couple of cars there. He swallowed as he put the car into park, and his lack of confidence began to chew at him. She's so far out of my league. This is stupid for me to even hope for.

"Hey." Rhett turned and looked at her. Beth wore a look of concern. "What's wrong?"

Beginning to reply with 'nothing,' he stopped with a shake of his head. "I, I just ..." He stared into her stunning eyes, then made an anguished sound. "God, I'm sorry." Rhett slumped in his seat. "I think, maybe I'm not the best guy to show you around town."

Beth was silent for a few beats. "Oh?" She put both of her hands in her lap, one on top of the other. "Can you tell me why? Because I think you're the perfect guy to show me around."

Rhett laughed, and bitterness was plain in the sound, He decided to stop playing this torturous game with himself. "Because a part of me keeps thinking that you might be interested in me. And I know that can't be true." He glanced at her. "I mean," he motioned, "look at you. You're ..." he took a breath and struggled to hold his frustration at bay. "You're beautiful."

Beth stared at him. Rhett looked back at her for a moment, then pointed his face down, away from her eyes.

"You really believe that." There was a hint of wonder in Beth's voice. Rhett swallowed and nodded.

Beth reached over to put a hand on his back. "Rhett, why do you think I wanted to go riding around with you today?"

Rhett frowned and looked at her. "You said you needed a guide." He shrugged. "Get reacquainted with the town."

She smiled. "Barre has a single main street, and everything is off of that except for the residential areas." She let her smile broaden to a grin. "Honey, I'm from Savannah. It's a city. A big one." She shook her head. "I don't need a guide for Barre." Her eyes focused intensely on him. "I needed time to get to know you."

Rhett found that almost impossible to believe, but she had no reason to lie to him. He wanted to think that there was a possibility. A smile flickered on his face, and he worked his mouth. Finally, he nodded. "Okay."

"Good." Then she did something Rhett didn't expect. Beth leaned over and very gently kissed the side of his face. His eyes half-closed as she did. He felt her eyelashes against his skin, could smell the apple scent of her shampoo, and he reveled in the warmth of her lips. She pulled back and looked at him. "Come on." She grinned. "Let's get some breakfast."

She opened the door and got out of the car. Rhett blinked, and then he followed the prettiest, most interesting woman he had ever met inside the cafe.

 

04 March 2019, Monday 4:41 p.m.

Arriving home from work, Grant noted that Troy's van was gone. Grant knew he would be home late, though Troy had texted him to say that he had started crock pot soup, so dinner was handled.

Both the weekend and the workday had been interesting. Beth hadn't gotten home from her trip around town with Rhett until mid-afternoon on Saturday. Then she was evasive about what went on between them. But, when the guys had asked her how her day had gone, she couldn't help but grin.

Rhett was less enigmatic. He had flushed a bright red as soon as he saw Grant early in the morning. When Grant had inquired how he was doing, he looked at Grant and seemed to be in shock. "I'm so good."

"Yeah?" Grant grinned at him. "Did Beth have anything to do with that?"

Rhett nodded. "Beth is," he searched for the right words, "she's like a thunderbolt. Awesome, and scary, and beautiful."

Then he had wandered off in a semi-daze to get the day started.

Grant chuckled as he thought back on it. As he parked, he noticed that Aaron and Georgette's garage door was open, and light flooded the cement pad in front of it. Aaron moved in the space, shifting boards around.

Grant waved, and Aaron smiled and waved back. Then Grant entered the house.

He found himself alone. Beth was gone, strategizing with Brian over applying to his school district's teaching position. Walking into the kitchen, he checked the crock pot.

"Mmmm." He smiled down into the steamy, savory, thick liquid. It smelled like some sort of chicken curry based stew, and it made his mouth water.

First, he had yoga to do. Grant walked upstairs, stripped off his clothes, and put on his compression shorts. Beth would be out for a while, so he could wear the skin tight clothing for his routine. He looked down at himself and grinned. Hot damn, my package looks great in these. He gripped himself, then forced his hand off of his crotch. He didn't need an erection at the moment.

Walking downstairs, Grant turned on the television. He'd bought a yoga DVD, one with some more advanced asanas, and wanted to see how much of the routine he could get through. He'd incorporate some of the new poses into his own program if he found them appealing.

He'd preloaded the disk before work so that it'd be ready for him. He turned on the DVD player, rolled out his cork yoga mat, and hit 'play' on the remote. Rolling his shoulders, he waited for the DVD to load.

"Hey, Grant." Troy's face grinned at him from the screen, and Grant laughed in surprise.

"Hello." Grant smiled at the screen at the recorded message. "What did you do, goofy?"

"I know, you're probably wondering what I'm up to." The Troy on the screen rubbed the back of his neck. His eyes stared straight forward, so it appeared Troy looked directly at Grant. "Well, I was thinking today, and I wanted to tell you what you mean to me." He smiled, though it had a hint of sadness. "I already lost someone important, and the only thing I regret is not telling him how I felt more." He shook his head. "And I know it's sort of morbid, but, I would really have loved to have had something like this from John. Something to remember him by." His eyes grew intense, and the green in his irises lit up with an inner spark. "I want you to know, these months with you have been some of the best of my life. Never doubt that."

Grant bit his lip, and he watched, eyes wide, one hand over his mouth.

Grinning from the screen, Troy's eyes glittered. "I love you, Grant. More than life. I love you."

Troy wiped his eyes, then he reached and turned off the recording. Grant stood there, his hand still on his face. Then he let it drop.

Continuing to stare, Grant's knees tried to buckle on him as he realized. There was no longer a doubt, no longer a question. He knew.

Turning, Grant bounded up the stairs. He threw on his jeans and a sweater, then pulled on his shoes. Grant hurried to the door, snagging his coat on the way out.

He quickly crossed his front yard, over to Aaron and Georgette's place. Aaron was still in his garage and had just finished stacking his new load of fence boards on a couple of sawhorses. He looked up as Grant stepped in. "Hey, Grant." He smiled, then noticed the focused expression on Grant's face. "What, what's wrong?"

Grant shook his head and forced his brain to come up with a plan as he talked "Nothing's wrong. I just wanted to get your opinion on something."

Aaron stepped around the load of wood. "Sure, man. What's going on?"

Grant exhaled, trying to find a calm place in his mind. It was everything he could do not to scream in excitement, but he had to tone it down for Aaron. He can't know. He'd tell Georgette, and then they'd all know. "Well, my family does tours of the winery they own in Napa. And my parents offered to let me take a group through for free." Grant forced a smile. "It's sort of a destination. There's even a boutique hotel nearby that caters to those folks doing wine tours."

"Huh." Aaron rubbed his jaw. "Georgette and I have done the local winery tours. They're fun." He made a face. "With her pregnancy though, I'm not sure what Georgette would be able to do."

"Oh, there's still plenty for her. Great, local cheeses, chocolates, even sparkling white grape juice that we make too." So much rode on this, Grant struggled to keep his face natural. "Plus, you guys would see where I grew up. I could give you all the real tour, stuff others never get to see." Grant quickly added, "Though it'd have to be next month. It's sort of a Spring special."

Aaron considered with a slow nod. "Okay, let me ask her. I'll let you know."

"Ask me what?" Georgette stood at the open door that led into the house from the garage. She was three and a half months into her pregnancy and was just beginning to show. Mainly, Grant noticed that Georgette had a sort of aura about her - that 'pregnancy glow' people like to ascribe to certain women while they carry a child.

Quickly telling Georgette about the opportunity for them to tour the winery, Grant was hopeful. She seemed interested, mainly when Grant told her about the cheese board they served to pair with wine or sparkling juice.

"The only fees would be for the airfare, the accommodations, and anything above and beyond that you guys want to take home." Grant watched her face. He knew she would ultimately make the decision for the couple. She was the pregnant one, and Aaron would go along with whatever she wanted in this case.

She smiled and looked at Aaron. "What do you think?"

With a shrug, Aaron nodded. "Yeah, it sounds great." He looked thoughtful and turned to Grant. "April in California. I bet everything will be blooming. It will probably be beautiful."

Grant kept the grin from his face only through tremendous effort. Instead, he just nodded. "Yep. It's nice in the Spring."

Aaron made a noise as he came to a decision. "I'm game if you are, Georgette. It sounds like a great time."

She grinned. "Yeah!" She rubbed her hands together. "Oh man, rich goat cheese in a fancy winery! I'm so onboard with this plan."

Grant left the two and went back to the house. Locking the door, he got into his car.

He made the drive over to Natalie and Brian's house and got out. He knocked, and soon the door opened. Natalie was on the phone and smiled at Grant. "Yeah, he's here. It sounds fun, Georgette. Okay, goodbye." Hanging up, she looked at Grant with a smirk. "Hello, Grant. Are we invited to this whirlwind trip to see your family's vineyard next month?"

Grant laughed and nodded. "Yep. And hello, Nat." He looked over her head into the house. "Is Beth still here? I didn't see her car."

"No, she left a few minutes ago." Natalie stood aside so he could go in. "You going to see if she wants to go?"

"Yeah, I plan to, as soon as I see her. "

At their invitation, Grant entered to sit with Brian and Natalie while they ate dinner. They offered to feed him, but Grant declined and soon got up to leave. "Thanks for the offer, but I've got to head back home. Troy made dinner for us; I just wanted to make sure you guys were given a chance to see the vineyard and get in on this chance for a tour."

Chewing a bit, Brian swallowed. "Thanks for thinking of us. And, yeah. We'd love to go."

Grant left their house and got into his car. Driving a block, he pulled off to park in a quiet, residential neighborhood and dialed his father.

"Hello." William's warm voice came over the phone.

"Dad." Grant blew out a breath. "Dad, I need your help."

"Hey, son." William seemed happy to speak to him. "Sure, what can I do?"

Nodding to himself, Grant plowed forward. "Dad, I need to set up a tour next month for my friends and me." He did a quick mental count. "There will be, ah, eight of us, counting me." He included Rhett and Beth in his calculation, just in case the pair were also able and wanted to go." He continued. "I'll pay for it, all of it up front. But I don't want any of them to know it cost anything."

"Well, all right. That's doable." Grant heard the squeak of a chair, and then the sounds of tapping on a keyboard. "I'll get it scheduled. When were you thinking?"

"Mid-month. Everything should be exploding into bloom. It'll be perfect." Grant could see it in his mind, clear as anything he had ever laid eyes on.

"Okay. How about April 19th? That's a Friday. Will that work?"

Nodding, Grant said, "Yes. That'll work."

More keystrokes, then William made a satisfied sound. "Okay. Done."

Grant smiled broadly. "Thanks, Dad." He put a hand on his head and chuckled. "Ah, I also need to talk to you about the reason for the trip."

"Oh? What's the occasion, son? Someone's birthday?"

Closing his eyes, Grant propped up his head on his hand. "No." He let out his breath, slowly, then he drew in another.

William hesitated, and there was now a concerned tone in his voice. "Grant? What's going on, son?"

He laughed. "Dad, I'm gonna ask him." Grant's decision crystallized in his mind, and he opened his eyes. "I'm going to ask Troy to marry me."

I think the title of this one is good. Yeah.

Let me know what you readers think of the chapter. Thanks for taking a peek at the story, and I hope today finds you well!

Happy Easter. 🙂

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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Happy Easter to you as well. Another awesome chapter that was feel good with no major drama. Rhett and Beth seem to be getting to like each other and learn about each other. Grant and Troy are growing closer each day and have a great network of friends. Grant is setting up a trip to the vineyard for the 8 of them so that he can propose to Troy. I can't wait for those chapters.

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As I’ve previously said elsewhere, respectful Passover and Ramadan greetings!
;–)

And joyous Agnostic springtime felicitations!
;–)

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Quote

Brian grinned. "Speaking of touchy-feely. Aaron, come here so I can rub up on you."

Aaron didn't hesitate. Georgette shook her head as Brian and Aaron hugged. Clinging tightly to one another, from their pelvises to their necks touched while both men grinned and giggled.

Beth snorted. "Gayest straight men I know."

Aaron pushed back and looked at her. "Hey! We're just secure." At that moment Brian gently tapped Aaron's crotch causing him to jackknife forward in surprise.

The room of friends laughed, while Aaron glared at Brian and covered his groin. "Not that secure!"

You’re such a tease, Wayne!
;–)

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Back in February, just before we went into lockdown, almond trees and sunflowers were in full bloom. Farmers were complaining because trespassers were trampling their crops in their efforts to capture the perfect selfies.

Selfie is the perfect description since the picture -takers are so incredibly selfish.

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15 minutes ago, kbois said:

Whaaaaaaaa? Our Mr. Gray, throw us for a loop and pull the rug out from underneath us? Never!

(As I'm nodding my head in agreement with you🤭)

Why did huge flocks of crows and ravens suddenly decide to descend on Barre?
;–)

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This was a great chapter among many great chapters! I am excited for the possibility that is Rhett and Beth, and for the winery tour coming up. I hope Troy remembers Beth's words when Grant proposes. Thanks. 

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8 hours ago, droughtquake said:

As I’ve previously said elsewhere, respectful Passover and Ramadan greetings!
;–)

And joyous Agnostic springtime felicitations!
;–)

Ramadan is a couple of weeks away 

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Great chapter, I hope that all goes to plan with the proposal. I had thought that Grant was organising a wedding? I am so happy that Rhett has found a girlfriend, I truly do hope that it works out for them. 

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11 minutes ago, Bft said:

Ramadan is a couple of weeks away 

People around here start wishing each other a ‘Merry Christmas’ around the end of November! (I hold off until one or two days ahead of the occasion and wish cheerful ‘Happy Holidays!’ to everyone regardless of their religious choices. Even if they won’t respect my right to not believe in the particular fairy tales they do.)
;–)

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14 hours ago, James B. said:

Happy Easter to you as well. Another great chapter.

Thanks, James!

Two more to go. Hard to believe that we'll be done with this one soon.

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14 hours ago, Butcher56 said:

What a fantastic chapter. Grant and Troy have such great friends who have a lot of fun together at each other’s houses for game night or just a night of friendship over a few glasses of wine and food. Now they include Rhett as well and then add Beth to the group for a total of eight people. Now Grant has the idea of taking everyone out to California to his family winery so he can propose to Troy. Troy was already told that it would happen by Beth although she didn’t know how much her talking to him about it would have a effect on him. Grant was getting ready to start his yoga routine with a new dvd with some more advanced routines on it and when he started the dvd he was surprised that Troy had changed it to one that he had made telling Grant how much he means to him. I can’t wait to read the next chapter or so about the California trip.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Butcher.

They're a good group of friends, and they're lucky to all have each other.

Let's find out what happens with Mr. Grant's proposal, eh?

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14 hours ago, kbois said:

Yep. The title of the chapter fits.

   CHAIN noun
  1. 1.
    a connected flexible series of metal links used for fastening or securing objects and pulling or supporting loads.

All of the gang are there for each other. They're secure in their friendships as evidenced by Aaron and Brian's 'platonic' relationship. They pull each other up as evidenced by them unfolding Rhett so easily into their group and therefore bolstering his confidence. They support each other unconditionally as evidenced by the way this whole story has unfolded. They are all important links in their chain of friendship.

I'm looking forward to seeing how things progress with Beth and Rhett.  

I definitely can't wait for the proposal! [Please dont eff it up with drama! Troy needs to listen to Beth and allow himself to commit again]

The definition of 'chain's includes the word flexibility. Grant and Troy both need to learn to be exactly that. 

Ah, the curse of copious come!"

"Wow. That sounds like the worst Hardy Boys novel ever!"

Made me snort! 🤭😂😊

Thanks for commenting, kbois!

They're great at that whole support for one another thing, and that is seen over and again through the various situations they've been through. You're right about that.

Rhett and Beth are both good people, and have found something new in one another.

Drama? *pantomime's innocence* Me? Why, whatever do you mean? I've been reading through the comments, and damn ... apparently I have a reputation of some sort!

The Curse of Copious Come. That definitely sounds like an erotic Hardy Boys novel. lol. Though, I gotta admit ... I'd read it!

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14 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Happy Easter to you as well. Another awesome chapter that was feel good with no major drama. Rhett and Beth seem to be getting to like each other and learn about each other. Grant and Troy are growing closer each day and have a great network of friends. Grant is setting up a trip to the vineyard for the 8 of them so that he can propose to Troy. I can't wait for those chapters.

Thanks, chris.

Nope, no major drama. Not this chapter, at least.

Grant is certainly plotting, isn't he? I thought he said no more surprises? Silly Grant. Will Troy truly allow Grant to love him as Grant needs to? We'll have to find out how that goes.

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14 hours ago, droughtquake said:

As I’ve previously said elsewhere, respectful Passover and Ramadan greetings!
;–)

And joyous Agnostic springtime felicitations!
;–)

You can be fervent, almost ... religious? about your agnostic ways. That's cool. 😉

I'm not religious anymore, but Easter was traditionally a reason for family to get together. It's the only reason I value the holiday.

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13 hours ago, Danners said:

Uh oh. Troy’s confession to Beth and the message he left for Grant have me worried, what with Grant’s plans and all. The DVD seems like a bittersweet reminder one or the other will find after Troy refuses Grant’s proposal and their relationship falls apart. Maybe it’ll bring them back together when Rhett and Beth tie the knot but . . . I don’t know, maybe I’m just expecting the worst from you.

Please, please prove me wrong.

Otherwise, what a great chapter. Happy Easter for those celebrating it. Me, I’ll be holding out for Beltane, where Easter got its (horny, bed hopping) bunny. 

Thanks for the comment, Danners.

What a reputation I must have! Damn. Would I tear these guys apart just to have a dramatic ...

remembers other past work

Err. I mean ... perhaps there is minor precedent to stand upon here, but that's in no way a patt ...

remembers yet ANOTHER past work

Okay ... okay. Fine. Let's just find out how things go. 😉

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11 hours ago, empresslovesreading said:

Ooooooooh boy!!!!

Hehehe.

I tittered when I read this, FYI.

Evil author.

Thanks for the comment, empress!

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10 hours ago, Hawgdad said:

Happy Spring Holiday to all!!  GREAT chapter, loved it.

Tom

Thanks, Tom!

There's more coming on Thursday. There, we'll see how the proposal goes.

See you then!

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