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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 - 6. Reciprocity

14 November 2018, Wednesday 7:23 p.m.

Grant extended his hands. "Here. Let me take those." Troy held a towel around his waist with one hand while the other clutched the filthy clothes he had just removed. Grant couldn't entirely hide his disgust of them, and Troy didn’t blame him. Though it still made Troy ashamed. Regardless, Grant took them, held the wadded ball of clothing at arms-length, and started for the stairs.

"Sorry." Troy grimaced. "I can do it."

Grant shook his head as he walked down the stairs. "Nope. Your job is to shower. This one is mine. See you in a little while."

Troy bit his lip. He stood at the top of the stairs until he heard the door to the garage as Grant went into that room. He sighed. He really hadn't planned on any of what had happened.

Why is he helping me? He turned and entered the bathroom, shutting the door behind. He looked at himself in the mirror.

"Fuck." He grimaced and touched his chest. His ribs were plain to see. He felt the bone, just under the surface of his skin and the tiny bit of fat he still possessed.

You look like you need help. Maybe that's why.

Troy let his hand fall to his side. He took a searching look at his own eyes, then nodded slightly. "Okay. Get on with it."

Troy turned on the shower. He waited for it to warm, then dropped the towel.

He stepped into the warm stream of water, which immediately elicited chill bumps as his body attempted to suck up the warmth. "Ahh." Breathing in the steam, he stood there under the water as it sluiced away grit, sweat, and grime.

Troy wanted to just stand there, but he had a body to scrub clean. He wiped the water out of his eyes and blinked at the assortment of little containers in Grant's shower caddy. Grant had pulled out a bunch of travel soaps, shampoos, and body washes for him. Grant had said he saved them from various hotels where he had stayed and kept them for guests to use, in case they forgot their own supplies.

Troy selected a green tea and lemon-scented body wash. He poured the stuff onto the washcloth Grant had left for him and started to aggressively rub the cloth all over himself. Starting at his head, he worked his way down his body.

Knowing it would be tough and painful, his rear he left for last. But soon, that was the only part left. Taking a deep breath he turned to let the water run down his back. Troy very gently took a soapy hand and rubbed it down his crevice.

He hissed through clenched teeth as he did. It burned as the soap hit raw skin between his cheeks. He set his jaw, and his eyes grew hard. Come on. You've been through worse. He took a breath and went for it.

Troy gritted his teeth but vigorously scrubbed himself with his soapy hand. He didn't want to think about the rough spots he felt on his skin, he only wanted them gone.

Eventually, he no longer felt anything apart from his own skin. The area still stung and burned, but he was clean as a whistle.

Breathing in relief, he turned and hung his head under the water. He anticipated that taking a dump would be an adventure, but he'd deal with that when the time came.

He stared down at the drain as the water formed a swirl to disappear between his now clean feet. He noticed that his toenails were pretty gnarly though. I should cut them. I wonder if Grant would mind if I borrowed his nail clippers? As soon as he asked himself the question he knew Grant would be okay with it.

He pushed his wet hair back, then turned off the water. Opening the curtain, Troy snagged the big, fluffy towel Grant had left for him. He began to dry himself and closed his eyes as he inhaled the clean, fragrant scent of the cloth. He couldn't help but smile. It amazed him what he missed about regular life. Little things. Things he had always taken for granted.

Troy finished drying, hung the towel and stepped out. He looked curiously at the little pile of clothes Grant had left for him. There were some briefs along with a pair of sweats and a fuzzy sweater.

Troy hadn't put on a pair of underwear for months. He held them in his hand. I wonder if Grant has ever worn these. For the first time in a while his libido stirred, and his penis started to wake. For some reason, that thought turned him on.

"Ah, quit that. I'm gonna be walking around in sweats." He made a face. He quickly put on the underwear. They fit well, and he had to admit his package looked pretty sexy since he sported a semi. He chuckled and shook his head at himself. Troy put on the gray sweats and the brown, fuzzy sweater. There was also a new pair of wool socks, and he gratefully put those on. New socks. Ah, man. That's nice. He happily wriggled his toes in the warm footgear.

He looked at himself in the mirror. Troy noticed that there was a small grooming kit sitting, nice and visible, on the vanity. There was a disposable razor and a small canister of shaving cream that sat beside it, while a simple black comb lay on top. It was all apparently new, set out just for him.

"Man, does this guy think of everything?" Troy picked up the comb and quickly tamed his hair. Then he started with the razor. He typically sheared off his beard with an old trimmer he kept in the van. But he never could get close to the skin, so he always sported a day's worth of growth. And the trimmer had seen better days. It often yanked the hair out as opposed to cutting it off.

Finishing his shave, Troy rinsed his face. He bit his lip as he studied his reflection.

He was thinner than he used to be. But Troy felt a little twinge as he looked at himself. I know that guy. He blew out a breath. "It has been a while … but I know you," he said in a hushed whisper.

It's amazing what a shower, shave, and clean clothes can do for a man.

Troy leaned against the sink. "Okay. See if you can help Grant with your nasty laundry."

He took one last look at his green eyes in the mirror, then turned and opened the door.


14 November 2018, Wednesday 7:51 p.m.

Grant took the load of laundry out of the wash. Troy had a pitiful amount of clothing: two pairs of pants, three flannel shirts, two undershirts, a few pairs of old threadbare socks, one knit cap, a pair of gloves, and a jacket.

All of it except the gloves had gone in. Those, Grant had thrown away, along with Troy's filthy bedding. The gloves had holes in them and weren't good quality to start, while the bedding was caked with dirt, grease, and who knew what else.

He put everything that had made the cut into the dryer, tossed in a dryer sheet, and started the machine.

Grant had a pad of paper beside him. As he tossed things, he wrote them down and planned to replace anything he discarded. Grant looked at his list. "Sheets, sleeping bag, blanket, pillowcase, pillow, gloves." He tapped the pencil eraser against the pad. "We should get him some underwear, and some new socks too." He wrote down the items. His tongue appeared at the corner of his mouth as he reexamined his list.

The garage door creaked open, and Troy peeked into the room. Grant smiled at him. "Hey."

Troy fully opened the door. "Hey." He gave a tiny smile back. "Ah, I wanted to see if I could help."

"Nah. It's all in the dryer." Grant carried his pad and pencil and stepped up beside him. "Come on. Let's sit in the living room."

The two guys walked through the home. Grant took an overstuffed chair that had come with the house. The couch against the wall Grant had purchased new. He had made sure to buy one that was long enough to accommodate a fully stretched out body. During his college days, he sometimes liked to lie on his couch and drift to sleep. With a fireplace, he anticipated that would happen more than a few times in his new house, and he liked to have the option.

Troy sat on the couch and leaned forward. His elbows were on his knees and one hand covered the other as they dangled, knee-level. He stared down at the floor, a few feet in front of him. The fire flickered and threw light over them both.

"Do you need anything? You want something warm to drink or some water?" Grant wanted so badly for Troy to know that he was welcome in his home.

Troy glanced up at Grant. "No. I'm okay." His hands rubbed together. He frowned and shook his head a little. "I'm sorry. About earlier." Troy tried to explain himself. "I just, ah, I didn't expect you to do all this for me." He laughed a little. "I know you didn't sign up for this."

Grant sensed the rawness of Troy's situation, and how much it bothered him to need help. He also knew from reading the journal how capable and independent Troy was. With all that in mind, he carefully chose what he said next. "Well, it's fine. I hope you don't mind, but I'm keeping track of all the stuff I threw out. I'll replace it all tomorrow, keep receipts, and we'll settle up once I pay you." Grant watched Troy for a reaction. "That okay?"

There was almost instant relief on the thin man's face. "Yes. Yes, that's great." He let his head dip and stared at the floor. "I want to pay you back."

Grant smiled. "All right." He motioned at the couch. "You can sleep in here tonight." Grant made a face. "I had to toss your bedding. It was all really bad."

Troy grimaced. He sighed then nodded. "Yeah, I thought it might have been too far gone to rescue." He looked back up at Grant. His eyes were like pools of emerald and glittered in the firelight. "I can still sleep out in the van. If you just give me a blanket, I can …"

"Troy, it's going to get really cold tonight. It's not a problem for you to stay inside." Grant stood. "I'm going to go get some bedding for you. We'll make up the couch, and you can sleep here tonight."

Grant walked back to the stairs. He gathered sheets, a blanket, a pillow, and a pillowcase. Returning, he found Troy still sitting in his spot. He gazed at the fire and had a dreamy, relaxed look on his face. He blinked when Grant returned and looked up at him as he stood by the couch.

He's tired. Grant smiled at him. "Here. Let me get your bed ready." He motioned with his head at the kitchen. "Even if you're not thirsty, you should have some water. I've watched you. You don't drink enough."

Troy gave a half-smile and got up. "Yeah. It's a hassle to piss when you don't have a bathroom. I've gotten used to going without."

Troy went to the kitchen, fished for a cup in a cabinet and turned on the water. Grant set to work, and soon he had a comfy little nest put together on the couch. He personally liked to feel like he was wrapped in a cocoon when he slept, so he tucked in the sheet and blanket at the foot and halfway up the sides. When Troy got in, he'd be cozy and warm.

The thin man returned as Grant finished. "Thanks." He looked at the couch.

"You're welcome." Grant knew Troy needed rest. "Why don't you lay down? I've got a few things to do in the kitchen, but I'll keep it down."

"All right." Troy sat and slipped his feet under the sheet and blanket. Then he scooted down and put his head on the pillow. He blinked slowly.

Grant walked into the kitchen. Checking his freezer, he found what he was looking for. Okay, chicken thighs. I'll look up a recipe, and fix something other than slow cooker food, or Dinty Moore. From the bits he'd read in the journal, Grant knew John was an excellent cook. He had the strange desire to give that back to Troy, at least while he was there at the house.

He pulled the chicken out of the freezer and put the three thighs into the fridge to thaw. He would eat one, but he was sure Troy could have a couple.

I'll have to figure out a side dish too. Maybe a salad, some fruit. Grant had never made a meal with more than three courses before, but there he was, planning a four-course dinner for a guy he'd met yesterday.

That same guy was now on his couch. Grant looked into the living room. Troy was on his side facing the room. His eyes were closed, and he was tucked under the sheet and blanket. The fire cast its glow over him and created dancing shadows that played over his face. He had the pillow wrapped in a bear hug, his long arms tight around it.

Grant's face shifted. Spooning. He's spooning the pillow. It was hard for Grant to imagine how Troy felt. To lose something so important, and so real. Grant felt a twinge of sorrow for him.

He straightened his spine. He's gonna be fine, Grant told himself. Why he needed to believe that, he had no idea, yet he did.

Grant was a provider and served to better the human condition. Usually, it meant focusing on the physical health of many people. They were like blips on a radar; each was important, but they popped into and out of his life quickly. He knew he would see most again later, and continue to help them. But it was always episodic. This paradigm was the one that Grant accepted as his place in the larger system of care.

The thing with Troy was very different. Grant gazed at the man as he slept. He knew Troy was a capable guy, and that he merely needed a little help. He needed a tiny amount of understanding, patience, and effort.

He needed someone to care.

Grant cared. He knew circumstances beyond Troy's control had destroyed his life. Somehow, he had made it this far for over a year, all on his own. Grant had the support of his family, friends, and a whole system that buoyed and pushed him toward success. It didn't appear that Troy had any of that.

"It's your turn," Grant whispered as he looked at Troy. "I'll make sure you get your turn."

Grant smiled a little to himself, then sat at his laptop.

Okay. Chicken thigh recipes.


15 November 2018, Thursday 6:44 a.m.

The smell of brewing coffee woke Troy, and he opened his eyes. At first disoriented, his brain confused past with the present. Did I make John mad? Why am I on the cou … Then the last sixteen months of his life crashed back into his memory.

He closed his eyes and drew in a breath.

Easy. You're okay. John's voice.

Troy didn't answer him this time. Instead, he nodded and sat up. There was the sound of movement in the kitchen, and he looked that way.

Grant was pouring coffee into a thermos. He had such a look of concentration on his face - his brow was furrowed, eyes narrow, and his tongue again appeared at the corner of his mouth. Troy suppressed a snicker.

Grant finished with his obviously tricky task and put the carafe back in its spot. He looked at Troy. "Hey. Good morning. Sorry if I woke you."

Troy stood up and stretched. "G'morning. It's fine. Coffee's a great thing to wake up to."

Grant's face took on a really odd expression. It was something between a suppressed grin and embarrassment. Troy frowned, then looked down.

Troy had a severe case of morning wood, and the sweats he wore did nothing to hide it. He was tented out worse than a circus.

"Gah!" He pulled his hips back and pushed at his erection. "Damn it, sorry." He hadn't had much going on below the waist for months. His body had been challenged by his situation, and resources available for his sex organs were minimal. He couldn't remember the last time he had awakened with a boner.

Grant laughed and shook his head. "Don't be sorry. Happens to every healthy guy." He raised his thermos. "There's more of this in the pot. Help yourself. There are also eggs and bacon in the fridge. If you want breakfast, knock yourself out."

"Ah, okay. Thanks." Troy still showed, but it wasn't quite as obscene. Grant didn't seem too worried about it, so Troy let a little of his anxiety go. He's pretty laid back.

"Sure. I'm heading to work. On the way home I'll stop and pick up replacements for the things I had to toss." He made a face. "Ah, I left your laundry in the dryer. Sorry about that. You can run it for a bit to unwrinkle stuff."

"I got it. That's no problem." Troy tried to focus on the job he had left to do. "I'll get the fence done today, and have the furnace delivered."

Grant nodded. "Sounds great." He smiled. "Thanks for the work. All of it looks good so far."

Troy grinned. "You're welcome, Grant."

They looked at each other, both with comfortable, relaxed smiles. Grant held his gaze for a moment longer, then dropped his eyes and licked his lips. Troy knew that set of facial expressions well.

Nervous? Why is he nervous?

"Well, I gotta go. I'll see you when I get back." Grabbing his computer bag and thermos, Grant walked into the living room to the door. "Just carry the extra key. You've got the run of the house while you're here."

"Oh, okay."

Grant opened the door. He seemed to be in a hurry.

"Hey, have a good day," Troy blurted out.

Grant jerked to a stop. He looked at Troy and gave what seemed to be a forced smile. "Thanks. You too."

Then he was gone.

Troy stood there, utterly confused. "What the hell was that?"


15 November 2018, Thursday 6:53 a.m.

Grant drove. He bit his lip and shifted his pelvis to try and get comfortable. He finally hit a stoplight and reached down. He adjusted himself so that his cock lay in a better position. The light turned, and Grant continued on.

He shook his head. "Okay, so, are you going to ignore this? Or are you going to try and figure out why the sight of Troy with an erection got you worked up?"

Grant arrived at the clinic. Pulling into the parking lot, he glared down at his crotch. "Okay. Stop it."

Like most twenty-eight-year-old guys, Grant only had a passing command of his member. That morning it was on its own program.

With no sign of letting up, Grant sighed. He got out of the car, held his computer bag so that it was in front of himself, and hurried into the clinic.


15 November 2018, Thursday 4:18 p.m.

Troy stood back, hands on his hips and looked over the length of Grant's fence. He couldn't help but wear a smile. "Oh yeah. That's a beautiful thing."

He was proud of the work. The fence was sturdy; it would last a couple of decades and Troy found it aesthetically pleasing. He used alternating light and dark boards, just as he had done with the panel he had built years back.

He'd take the fee for the fence knowing that he did the best job he could do and that he was worth every penny.

He had also selected a Rheem furnace for Grant's heater install. It was delivered around 11 a.m. and Troy had already checked it. The furnace was pristine. Troy could have purchased a refurbished one, as the fellow on the phone did give him a choice. But that's not what Grant had paid for, and Troy couldn't short-change him.

He had paid for the furnace already with some money Grant had transferred into his account. Troy kept a running total of all of the money he owed to whom.

He was glad Grant planned to keep track of the expenses incurred by buying new clothes and bedding. He didn't want a handout; he wanted to earn his way and was more determined than ever to do it.

He cleaned the yard of all detritus and debris. There were a couple of spots where he had slid a bit in the mud and carved a groove in the grass. He made a note to show each spot to Grant, and give him the opportunity to dock what he owed for the damage.

Troy became hyper-aware of every error and mistake. All he could correct, he did. The rest he listed out for Grant to review.

Gotta make sure everything is on the table. Troy nodded to himself as he stood in the yard.

Well, not everything is on the table. Troy ran his tongue over his front teeth. He still doesn't know this was your house. He grimaced. He doesn't know you're gay. He might have a problem with gay people. This place isn't exactly cosmopolitan.

The thought that Grant might dislike him based simply on his sexuality made Troy frown. Well, he doesn't have to know.

Troy grunted with displeasure. He and John had moved from Georgia precisely because they were tired of hiding who they were, and the fact that they were together.

No. Fuck that. If it comes up, then I'm not gonna lie. He affirmed to himself. Though I don't see why it would. Shouldn't be an issue. I do the jobs, I leave. Done.

Troy felt better now that he had made the decision. He liked Grant, but he wasn't going to lie to make Grant accept him.

Troy walked to the porch and looked up at the sky as he kicked his boots to knock the mud from them. He tried to ensure he wasn't going to track it through the house, as the yard was pretty messy thanks to the melted snow. Troy narrowed his eyes at the steadily darkening clouds with suspicion.

"You're gonna bust wide open again, aren't you?" He glared at the sky, then smirked. "Well, the furnace install work will all be inside. That's good, at least."

He checked his boots and snorted with irritation. There was still mud in the treads. He untied and pulled off the footgear. Troy opened the door and put them on the floor inside right beside the exit. He stepped inside.

He had finished everything he had planned to do for the day but felt a little guilty not working. Troy stood in the kitchen, his toes wiggling in his wool socks as he thought.

Pulling out his phone, Troy turned off Airplane Mode. It had been a while since he had checked his ad, and he pulled up his email.

There was one from Donald Burgess.

Troy, I need help! Please call me, as soon as you see this.

Troy frowned. The message had been sent a little over an hour ago. He immediately dialed the number.

The line picked up. "Hello?"

"Hi, Mr. Burgess? This is Troy. I got your message. What can I do for you?"

"Troy! Oh, I'm so glad you called! Look, can you come by? I've got a problem, and I need some help. And it needs to happen before tomorrow!"

"What's going on?" Troy had never heard Mr. Burgess quite so riled up.

"Ah, I tried to put in that window, dropped it, and cracked the frame. Some miracle happened, and the glass is intact. But, I royally screwed the frame."

"Uh, okay. Yeah, I can get it fixed for you. It'd be a quick thing too." Troy scratched his head. "I've got some transportation issues though. It can't wait until tomorrow?"

"No! I told my wife I'd handle it, and I really don't want her coming home to see I screwed this up. She's at her sister's tonight, but they'll both be here first thing tomorrow for breakfast. I'll never hear the end of it, from the both of them!" There was a shuffling of the phone. "If you're in town, or in Montpelier I'll come get you. I already got a piece of wood for the side of the frame I broke. And I've got tools, you know what I've got in the garage."

"Ah, uhh," Troy rubbed his face, then he threw up his hand. "Sure! I'm in town at 41 Winter Meadow."

"Troy, you're saving my ass! I should have just had you install it like she said. Damn it. I'll pay you extra for the last minute job. Be ready, I'm on my way!"

Mr. Burgess hung up. Troy snorted and looked at his phone. "Okay." He walked to the kitchen and grabbed a pad and a pencil.


Off to do a quick job. Should be back soon. ~ T


Troy put the note on the kitchen table then picked up his boots and walked them to the front door. Stepping out on the porch, he pulled them on.

He finished tying them just as Mr. Burgess' little blue Mini-Cooper pulled up. Troy walked to the car and got in.

"Oh, I'm so glad to see you!" Mr. Burgess was effusive. "You're bailing me out bigti -" he stopped talking and frowned at Troy. His eyes flicked over Troy's clothes, hair and face.

"What?" Troy buckled up. He waved a hand at the road. "Don't we have a window to fix?"

The man stared a moment longer then slowly nodded, a smile pulling at his lips. "We do." He put the car into gear. "We sure do."

Troy leaned back in the seat. As the car started to move, he grinned.


15 November 2018, Thursday 5:49 p.m.

Grant got home to a quiet house. He struggled with his bags and dropped them on the couch beside the neatly folded bedding used by Troy last night.

All of the items he needed to replace for Troy were in the bags. He'd spent most of his lunch shopping, and now he needed to make dinner too.

He walked into the kitchen.


He opened the side door and made a surprised noise. "I have a new fence!" He smiled and stepped out onto the porch. Grant looked up and down the length of the fence. "Wow! That looks awesome." He wanted to walk out closer, but the ground appeared to be a mess. He settled for his view from the porch.

He took one more satisfying look, then stepped back inside. Grant spied the note on the table and picked it up. "Oh, another job. That's good." He made a thoughtful sound. "Wonder how he got there? Maybe it was close enough for him to walk."

Grant shrugged. He got the chicken out of the fridge and put it on the kitchen counter.

Setting up his laptop, Grant navigated to the recipe page he had saved. He promptly started on his meal prep.

Twenty minutes later, his chicken with rosemary and lemon went into the oven. The thighs sat on a bed of almost cooked new potatoes and split cherry tomatoes. All of it had been tossed in olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Grant smiled as he closed the oven door. "Gavin would probably have a heart attack if he could see me."

Next, he started on the green salad. On the way home, he had bought a bag of spring mix and a blackberry vinaigrette. Grant didn't even know there was such a thing as blackberry vinaigrette, but he snagged it when he had seen it at the store near the spring mix.

He'd also make sure there was some crusty bread cut into slices to have with the food.

Grant reached and pulled the bread down from on top of the fridge, then there was a knock at the front door. Grant put the bread down on the counter, and he went to the door.

He opened it to see Troy and a car on the street pulling away. It must have just dropped Troy off. Troy grinned at him. "Hey, Grant." He held up grocery bags. "This stuff needs to go in the fridge."

"Hey." Grant looked at him, confused. "Okay. There's plenty of room for your stuff."

Troy stepped in and moved past him into the kitchen. "Oh, this is for you." He put his bags on the table. "I got eggs, bacon, bread, milk, and some coffee." He started unbagging everything.

Grant walked to the table. "Why'd you do that?"

Troy opened the fridge door. "Because I got paid cash for a job. After I finished, I had my employer take me to the store so I could replace all your food I ate." He looked Grant in the eye. "I appreciate what you did for me," Troy shook his head, "but I won't be a drain on you." He began putting away the items. "I won't be a drain on anybody."

"Troy, you didn't have to -"

"Grant," Troy interrupted, "I'm not a charity case." Pulling himself up to his full height, Troy motioned with his chin at the bags on the couch. "Did you save the receipts for that stuff?"

Grant sighed and nodded. "Yeah." He grimaced. "Sorry, I didn't mean to make you think I believe you're a charity case. I know you're not."

Troy finished with the groceries and turned to Grant. He took a step to stand in front of the shorter man then reached out and put a hand on Grant's shoulder. "I appreciate that." Grant couldn't help but notice all the little striations of hazel in Troy's otherwise green eyes as he gazed at him.

Grant looked up at him, and Troy smiled. Grant swallowed, the noise startlingly loud in his own ears. "Ah, I'm making chicken."

Troy sniffed. "That's what that is. It smells good." He finally let his hand fall from Grant's shoulder. "Did you want to eat together?"

Grant wet his lips and nodded. "Yeah. I made plenty."

Troy nodded. "All right. Sounds good."

He walked into the living room. "I'm going to get my bed in the van ready." Troy picked up the bags and looked inside. He seemed satisfied with the bedding and other items Grant had gotten for him.

Grant wanted to offer to let him stay inside another night, but he suspected Troy was probably not receptive to that suggestion tonight. "Okay. Dinner will be ready in another forty minutes or so."

Troy nodded. "All right. I'll be back soon."


Troy opened the door. Grant debated for a split second then called after him, "Hey, Troy."

The thin man turned.

Grant smiled. "You don't have to knock."

Troy was still a moment, then his eyes softened. "Thanks, Grant." He smiled back then closed the door.

Here's this chapter a day early. I was told by my editor that chapter five was "an emotional cliffhanger," and since he got six done early, I decided to post it today.

I hope you enjoy it.

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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Chapter Comments

I'm glad things are looking up for Troy, it's good that he was able to accept Grant's help. Troy is making certain that Grant knows he will be paying for everything, he's not accepting charity. All seems ok with Mr Burgess after that job he needed Troy for urgently.

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1 hour ago, chris191070 said:

I'm glad things are looking up for Troy, it's good that he was able to accept Grant's help. Troy is making certain that Grant knows he will be paying for everything, he's not accepting charity. All seems ok with Mr Burgess after that job he needed Troy for urgently.

Yep, Troy seems very determined to pull his own weight. Yes, he accepted a hand up, but he refuses to let things go without repaying Grant.

Well, Mr. Burgess may have tried to put that window in on his own thanks to his previous interaction with Troy. But, yes ... now that Troy came through for him, things seem a lot better. 🙂

Thanks, Chris!

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While Grant was cooking the thighs he thinks " Gavin would have a heart attack"  are we about to learn more about Grant's history since we know a lot about Troy's.  

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Just now, Larry said:

While Grant was cooking the thighs he thinks " Gavin would have a heart attack"  are we about to learn more about Grant's history since we know a lot about Troy's.  

Ahhhh, you noticed that, eh? I've added little hints here and there concerning Grant's history and this is just one of them. There was another in chapter five ... when he was making the eggs. There will be more too, so down the line a certain reveal makes more sense.

It will still be a few chapters before we get to a full reveal of Grant's history, but it's coming. And when it does it will make sense.

Thanks for reading, and for the comment!

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I enjoyed this chapter. Troy becomes a little more relaxed with Grant, and maybe Grant is feeling more than pity for Troy. That’s a lovely start. And a furnace to warm everything up! Better still. Now maybe Troy can get his van towed and fixed. You have me grateful for the early chapter, and looking forward to the next. 

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10 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

I enjoyed this chapter. Troy becomes a little more relaxed with Grant, and maybe Grant is feeling more than pity for Troy. That’s a lovely start. And a furnace to warm everything up! Better still. Now maybe Troy can get his van towed and fixed. You have me grateful for the early chapter, and looking forward to the next. 

Thanks, Parker. Troy is beginning to feel like he has a bit more control over his own life, and yes, he's also feeling more relaxed with Grant.

Grant got a bit of a lesson on Troy, and that he is more than his situation. Grant knows that intellectually, but he needed the reminder, and Troy was happy to give it to him. Troy was kind about it, but he's also not willing to remain the man Grant first met.

There's a lot more to come for them both. 🙂

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2 minutes ago, Wayne Gray said:

Heh. Troy is acutely aware of what he owes, who he owes it to, and he strives to pay it back as soon as possible. It is rather how his mind works. Funny ... he doesn't really keep tabs on what others owe him the same way. I mean, he tracks money ... but not time, effort, and energy he spends on someone else. I hope that makes sense.

Makes perfect sense.

With his current situation, it’s the material costs that have an almost physical hold over him. Money being the foremost concern. But it’s the situation, not Troy himself. Once you take money out of the equation, you’re left with a kind, generous, decent man. He doesn’t track what amounts to human nature because it never occurred to him that being a friend was beyond the norm.

Just goes to show you how wonderful T was and Troy is. 

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10 hours ago, chris191070 said:

I'm glad things are looking up for Troy, it's good that he was able to accept Grant's help. Troy is making certain that Grant knows he will be paying for everything, he's not accepting charity. All seems ok with Mr Burgess after that job he needed Troy for urgently.

Funny thing about excellent carpenters who will take on small jobs...  if you own property it's pretty easy to be ok with them.  They are a real treasure when you can find them.


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Great chapter Wayne!  Going from a "keystone" chapter to an "emotional cliff-hanger" makes me ready for things to really start rolling.  Count me in for the ride...


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5 minutes ago, Hawgdad said:

Great chapter Wayne!  Going from a "keystone" chapter to an "emotional cliff-hanger" makes me ready for things to really start rolling.  Count me in for the ride...


Thanks, Tom.

I'm not sure what has gotten into both Thorn and me, but chapter seven is ready to go. I'll go through it a few more times though, so it's as pretty as it can be.

So, by Sunday I'll be able to tee up a really sweet chapter for everybody. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and for sticking around!

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Troy and Grant are two terrific characters! I liked them from chapter one. I am enjoying how their relationship is growing. It is nice to see Troy accepting some help from Grant. It is already making a difference. I don't know for certain where you are taking this story, but I intend to be reading until I see "The End." Thank you! I am really enjoying this!

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Mr Burgess demonstrated (silently) what I was trying to describe in my comments for the last chapter. Mr Burgess was surprised and pleased that Troy was clean and dressed in laundered clothes. Troy noticed his reaction, but neither of them vocalized what they each observed.

Mr Burgess also noticed that Troy was more relaxed and cheerful.

Edited by droughtquake
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I also noted the mention of Gavin. My impression was that Grant is straight, but I suppose he could be bisexual. Grant was disturbed by the fact that his erection was visible as he entered the hospital, not so much by who caused it.

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Crooked FBI agents? Mafia bosses? Jealous brothers? Werewolves? Sex zombies?

Who (or what) is going to disturb the fragile calm that Grant & Troy have achieved?

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I loved the interaction between the guys in this chapter. It seems that Troy is realizing that help doesn't have to be paired with pity. Grant is realizing that he just might have to take a good long look in the mirror himself. Changes are happening for both and so far the changes are positive.  Looking forward to more of Grant's backstory! 

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On 1/31/2020 at 1:15 AM, JeffreyL said:

Troy and Grant are two terrific characters! I liked them from chapter one. I am enjoying how their relationship is growing. It is nice to see Troy accepting some help from Grant. It is already making a difference. I don't know for certain where you are taking this story, but I intend to be reading until I see "The End." Thank you! I am really enjoying this!

I'm not sure how I missed this comment. Thanks, Jeffrey! I know you've read along the last few chapters, so I hope you're enjoying the ride.

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