Subject: Lucky Chances Part 3 Chapter 4 (or “Lucky Chances 3d”) Lucky Chances: Part 3, Chapter 4 Written By: XPud (PhillipBontemps@) � 2017-2019 Standard disclaimer: This story depicts sexual acts between siblings and minors. There is also some watersports/omorashi (desperation/urination) in it. You’ve been warned. Author’s Notes: If you like this story, feel free to check out my other works at the Prolific Authors fty//authors.htmlxpud ATTENTION: My previous email address got deleted, so I have a new email address: PhillipBontemps@. Please re-send me an email if you would like to be included in emails about updates to this or my other stories; I lost the list along with that email address. I am very sorry for the inconvenience, but I do hope to hear from you! Credit goes out to NeverAnywhere for helping with formatting, editing, and suggestions. Support Nifty: Please remember readers, without the generosity of Nifty, we would not have this great place for these stories. Please donate whatever you can to keep it open and running for years to come! Part 3, Chapter 4 I don’t get a single text or call from Chance over the weekend. I know, I know, he doesn’t owe me anything. It’s not like we were best friends or anything. I mean, we’ve known each other for, what, a little less than two months now? We didn’t hang out all the time, blah blah, I get it. He gets to be his own person and do his own thing. He had a life before I showed up, and I don’t want to ruin what he had, whatever it was. Is, I guess — he still has his other friends and all. They just suck. Hardcore. Why would he choose to hang out with homophobic assholes like that?! They would hate him if they knew, and yet he still…Rrgh! It pisses me off. I don’t really have the right to say anything, though. If I talked to his parents, I’d be the world’s biggest snitch, and what right do I have to show up uninvited and throw him under the bus like that? Besides, what the heck would I say? “Your son won’t talk to me anymore because he wants to hang out with people I don’t like.” If that’s not the most 4-year-old thing I’ve ever heard of, I dunno what is. I complain about it to my therapist, who tells me exactly what I already know. I guess it’s good that I’m still pretty up on my therapy-thinking, so I know what my therapist would say in most cases. Not that I want to hear it all the time, but hey, it saves time for both of us. On the bright side, though, Dr. Feng tells me that he’s noticed a significant change in my ability to deal with things over the few weeks we’ve been talking, so that’s a definite plus. I’ve managed to keep the whole thing from the parents. Honestly, I just don’t want them involved; they’ll just find some way to make things way worse, and Chance will blame me for the whole thing. It’s just not worth it. I’ve just been telling them the things that Chance has been telling me: he’s busy, he’s hanging with other friends, all that. I mean, it’s true as far as I know, even though I have my doubts. Eh, that’s not fair to me or him. (Stupid therapy brain.) Maybe he wouldn’t tell me if I had pissed him off or whatever, but he most likely would. Besides, he’s still being friendly to me, like I’m not getting the stink-eye from him or anything. As far as I know, he really is hanging with other friends. So, y’know, shut up, brain — he doesn’t hate me, okay? He just has…other priorities. Not that I’m not important. I’m fine. I’m okay. I’ll just have to live with feeling abandoned until I can get over it, I guess. Thankfully, the gaming group keeps getting stronger. The next Wednesday, there are two games of chess, two of checkers, and the Uno game has grown to seven players. We’re running out of room quickly. Mrs. Cox seems pretty okay with it, though, seeing as it’s still less than a full classroom of kids, and most everyone behaves themselves. “Most” being that two of the Behavioral kids she warned about decided that the chess game they were playing wasn’t interesting enough, so they started throwing the pieces at each other’s faces. Hard. She broke it up before anyone broke anything, but geez. The Pathfinder session goes pretty well; they follow the dire wolf’s tracks (he wasn’t being sneaky) for some time, where they’re ambushed by angry forest sprites. Our resident fairy archer tries her best to be diplomatic with them, but it turns out they’re from a rival fairy court and hate her guts. (“That’s fine,” she remarks as she nocks her bow, “since my guts are the ones that are staying on the inside.”) A really cool moment does happen, though: I roll out the grid map (basically a huge grid of one-inch squares for the miniatures to stand on) and start drawing a bunch of trees on it, basically just like a brown circle for the trunk and a green circle around it to show where the leaves are — I’m not an artist, and I’m not going to spend years on it just to erase it right after the fight is over. However, Scott watches me as I’m drawing on the map, and after a few trees, his face scrunches up a bit as he starts muttering, “Oh man, oh man…” “What’s wrong, Scott?” I ask, glancing over to check on him. He’s starting very intently at the map; I wonder if he’s worried about how many creatures he’ll have to keep track of. It’s really not that bad, though, so I’m sure that — “You’re doing it wrong, Looke!” he finally snaps as I start drawing the fourth tree. “You’re doing the circles wrong!” Startled, I freeze in place. “Uh…I’m sorry? What’s wrong?” “They’re not circles! That one has a flat spot, and that one is an egg, and that–” “Okay, okay, I get it, heh. I’m a pretty crappy artist…I can’t really draw circles without a protractor.” “Let me do it,” he insists, reaching for the marker and grabbing it firmly, even though it’s still in my hand. Half annoyed, half amused, I let go of the brown marker. He leans over the table and holds the marker like a kindergartener might hold a crayon, straight through his fist. Regardless, he puts a single dot in the middle of the square where the tree trunk is, and then proceeds to smoothly and quickly draw a circle around it, perfectly touching the borders of the square. Basically, he freehands a perfect circle in about a second. He quickly picks up the green marker and starts one square out from the trunk, still perfectly drawing a circle in the same amount of time I would have failed to do it. “It’s supposed to look like that,” Scott points out with emphasis. Connor cocks his head to the side. “What just happened?” he asks, staring at the map. Paul leans in and looks at it. “Dude, you’re like a human protractor. What the heck.” “Uh…” I stammer, “It looks like I got myself a new map artist.” “Let me fix them,” Scott asks, looking at my horribly misshapen blobs of offensive tree-imitation. “Uh, okay. Right. Be right back,” I say, quickly ducking into the restroom to get some wet paper towels to erase the map (we use wet-erase markers so that they don’t smear everywhere). I wipe off the marks I made, drying it with another towel, and tell him, “Do your thing.” He stares at the map. “I don’t know where to put the trees.” I smack myself in the forehead and take the brown marker, putting a dot in the center of each square where I’d like a tree. Since he’s so good at them, though, I decide that this forest is going to be a lot thicker than I was going to draw it; I put dots in a ton of different squares, some right up next to each other and the like. “Okay, each dot is a tree,” I say, handing him the marker. “Is that too many?” He simply smiles, immediately getting to work on each tree with remarkable speed. As he’s ripping through the forest, Mrs. Cox comes over and watches with keen interest. Betts mentions, “This is extremely satisfying to watch.” Erin gasps. “Oh my God, we should make this into a YouTube video.” “Stop that,” Alan hisses, lightly smacking her thigh. “Let him work.” When Scott finally finishes the last tree, over thirty in total, he caps the marker and puts it on the map, flexing his fingers back and forth. “My hand hurts.” This sends a ripple of laughter around the table, followed by a short round of applause. I say, “That is the single best forest I have ever seen drawn on a Pathfinder map. Well done.” “The circumference of the trunk of all of the trees is just pi, but the circumference of the leaves of all of the trees is three pi, um… 9.42. Wait. 9.425.” “Wait, stop, whoa,” Connor says, standing up from his chair. “Did that boy just do math with pi in his head?” Erin quips, “I’m pretty sure he did it with the brain in his head. Don’t be callin’ our friends pieheads.” “I–you–but how?!” he squeals, exasperated. Scott answers plainly, “You multiply the diameter by 3.14, and you put more numbers if you want the decimals to go back more. Pi goes on forever, so you could multiply the diameter by 3.14159265358979323…um, I don’t know any more.” Connor’s eyes are liable to fall out by this point. “You’re a freaking genius!” he gasps. “Oh my God, teach me your ways, O guru!” Scott stares at him for a moment. “What’s a guru?” I can’t help but laugh. “It’s like a teacher. Come on, we need to get moving with the game. We can talk about circles later, but I warn you, you’ll get schooled hard by Scott if you do.” We eventually regain focus and move on with the fairy fight, though Connor still takes occasional pauses to marvel at the circles and Scott’s mental-math prowess. All in all, a fun session. The next day, I don’t see Chance in gym class, or anywhere else in school, for that matter. I don’t really think anything of it until I’m heading out to the buses that day. I catch a glimpse of Lucas and Brandon over on the other side of the school from the buses, walking away from some kid in a gray hoodie. Once they’re gone, the kid looks around, and as their head swings toward me, I see the unmistakable shine of red hair. What is Chance doing? He’s never even worn a hoodie as long as I’ve seen him, and it’s hot out here today! Is he…trying to hide? Damn…what do I do? Do I go talk to him and maybe get him to tell me what’s up? What if I screw it up and he never talks to me again? Wait — he hardly talks to me anyway. But — dammit! I don’t know what to do! I… Oh. He’s looking at me. We lock eyes for a moment; he turns as if to walk away, but he awkwardly turns back and smiles, walking toward me. Thank God; I thought he was going to just ignore me. We meet up near the back wall of the courtyard, out of the stream of kids heading to the buses. We’ve still got some time before the buses leave, so I say, “Hey! How are you?” Chance pulls off his hood and shrugs. “Eh, I’m okay. How are you?” “Good,” I say slowly. He seems to be acting a little weird, but I can’t place my finger on it. “I, uh, missed you in class today.” “Oh, I think I got sick from lunch, so I was in the nurse’s office for a while.” He grimaces and rubs his belly in illustration. There’s no way that food poisoning would affect him that quickly. So he’s lying to me, eh? Still, I’m just curious if I can get on his good side, even with all the weirdness, so I respond, “Wow. Sorry to hear that. You feelin’ better now, though?” “Oh yeah, I’m good now.” An awkward pause later, he says, “Well, I’ll see you later.” “Hey, wait a sec.” Please work. “Yeah?” “We haven’t hung out in a long while; you maybe wanna do something this weekend?” He stays silent, but it’s clear that he’s thinking about it. “Come on; you can bring Smash over and we can go crazy on it, maybe go to dinner with the parents or something…” “Oh, over at your place, you mean?” “Yeah!” “Hm.” Another agonizing pause, and then, “Sure.” “Yes!” I hiss, holding out a fist. He bumps it, looking at me a bit weirdly. “Okay…” he says, drawing it out in amused confusion. (That’s a fun phrase to say, by the way. There should be a word for that, like…”amusion.”) “So, see you what, Friday night?” “Yeah, or Saturday, either one.” He grins, “Let’s do Friday, and then we can have all Saturday if we want.” “That sounds awesome!” I say, matching his grin. Finally, the Chance I remember! “All right, buses are gonna leave soon, so…” “A’right. See ya!” “See ya.” He turns and goes to his bus. As he starts to leave, I smell a faint whiff of something weird, almost like…roadkill, or skunk. I can’t quite place it, but it’s not pleasant. Hm. There’s a lot of unanswered questions here, but maybe I can ask him during the sleepover. As I head home on the bus, it dawns on me how much of my life here revolves around Chance; I don’t know if that’s healthy or whatever, but it is what it is, and damn if I’m not happy right now. It’s like life is finally getting back to whatever counts for normal around here. *** Friday, though, things take a very interesting turn. We get together after class for the chat session, which continues to just be the few that have been showing up since the first time. I’m actually pretty okay with that for right now, since too many people would make it pretty hard to control. I mean, I get it — the whole point of an Inclusivity Club is to get past all that, but maybe once it’s been around a while and gotten, I dunno, well-known, then it might be able to handle more people. I’m just afraid that…well, anyway, back to the story. Just like last time, we all start out by decompressing from the week, talking about the random things that happened, though this time has a bit more of Paul and Connor boggling over Scott’s abilities. Scott, though, can’t seem to figure out why that’s such a strange thing. “I like circles,” he replies simply. Betts does eventually take control of the conversation and steer it toward her own sinister ends: “So, like I asked last time before we ran out of time: who does everyone have a crush on!?” “Why do you have to ask that?” I whine. “Because I need the gossip!” she says intensely. “It feeds me.” She stares at me with creepy, wide eyes. “Ugh, fine. I’m not answering first, though. Why don’t you start us off? Who do you have a crush on?” Betts looks honestly surprised, as if the thought hadn’t crossed kocaeli escort bayan her mind that she would have to answer. “Oh. Uh, so, there’s this boy who always hangs around your brother…kinda tall, dark skin, short, curly hair…” “You mean Ty?” I ask. Also, why does everything always revolve around Chance? I swear. “Yeah!” she confirms with a touch of pink to her cheeks. “He’s…well, he’s hot, first off, and second, he just always seems so friendly. I dunno.” She flicks her hair over her shoulder nervously. “Anyway, that’s mine. How about you, Paul?” “Me?” he asks, shocked. “Uh…it’s just a girl at this school.” Betts stares at him with a deadpan face. “Just…a girl.” He starts to get a bit pink in the cheeks, himself. “Yeah, I mean, she’s not just a girl, but she’s…” He sighs heavily and says, “Look, I really don’t want to talk about it right now. Can I skip?” Connor glances over at Paul with an intent expression. “Do I know this girl?” “Maybe. Yeah.” Paul starts breathing a bit more quickly as his cheeks burn bright red. Not as bad as mine do, but he has the whole brown hair thing going for him. Connor stares a moment longer before his eyes go wide. “Oh. …I think I know who you’re talking about,” he says softly. “Who?!” Betts implores. “I must know!” Connor looks up at the ceiling with an I’ll-never-tell smile on his face. Paul narrows his eyes and mutters, “I swear to God, don’t you say anything.” “I’m not saying a word,” Connor mumbles out of the side of his insufferable smile. “TELL ME!” Betts says, grabbing onto Connor’s shirt and using it to shake him back and forth. “Wuagh! Nope! Nope, nope, nope,” Connor chants as he’s being shaken. Erin is practically crying laughing at the whole thing, while Quoc observes with his typical nearly-stoic face. “Right, moving on,” I say in an attempt to save Paul’s dignity. “Quoc, how about you? Anyone in particular?” “Not really,” he answers. Betts is taken off-guard by the answer. “What? Nobody? Nobody at all?” “Not that I can think of,” he responds plainly. “Well, that’s boring. Quoc, you’re boring.” “I have been called that before.” She stares him down a moment longer. “Seriously. You’re lying. Who do you have a crush on?” “One doesn’t automatically have to have a crush on someone all the time,” Quoc says in his defense. “Well, who is the last person you had a crush on?” “Oh,” he responds. “There was a girl at my old school named Katie. She was in my pre-algebra class. We dated for a few weeks.” After an awkward pause, Betts asks, “Well? What happened?” “We broke up.” “Well, yeah, I figured that. What happened with that?” Quoc looks at her and raises one eyebrow, quite possibly the most emotion I have seen out of him in some time. “We broke up. We stopped going out. She and I separated. We weren’t a couple anymore.” Erin looks over at Betts and very deliberately says, “So I have a crush on someone.” As all eyes settle on her, she announces, “I have the biggest crush…on Paul.” Paul’s eyes practically bug out. “What?!” Erin looks over at him with furrowed brows. “What? No, not you! Paul Rudd.” Betts sputters, “You mean the actor?” “Yeah.” “But he’s like 50!” “Hey, don’t shame! I don’t care about that. He’s hot and a good actor.” “But–besides, that’s cheating. I meant at the school.” “Well, if he came to the school, I’d still have a crush on him.” This sets Connor and me laughing, while Paul is still trying to recover. Betts is having none of it. “Oh my God. I just wanted to have some fun, and everyone is ruining it. Fine. I’m sorry I asked.” I point out, “Hey, I think people should be allowed not to say anything if they don’t want. It’s not nice to put people on the spot. We want people to be comfortable here.” Betts pouts, but she admits, “Fine, you’re right. I’m sorry.” “It’s fine. Just to continue the rounds, though, there are a couple of the boys in choir that are pretty cute. I dunno if I’d call it a ‘crush,’ but I hardly know them. I kinda need to know someone pretty well before I feel that way, and, well, y’know. It’s still kinda early in the year, and I’m new here.” “Did you have a crush on people at your old school?” I think back to my old neighbor. “Not at my old school, but a kid on my block that I would hang out with. He was older. I guess I kinda saw him like an older brother, but also…I dunno. I guess as I was starting to think about people…that way…I kinda wanted it to be more.” Erin’s holds up a finger and says, “So you’re saying you had a crush on someone you thought of like a brother.” The realization hits me like a stack of bricks, leaving me speechless a moment as the room heats up a few dozen degrees. “Not…I mean…that’s not–” Erin and Betts both crack up laughing. I hunch up in my chair and whine, “I need an adult.” In response, Mrs. Cox calls out from her desk, “Be nice to Luke, girls.” This makes everyone laugh even more, of course. After everyone quiets down, I look at Scott for a moment, who is completely absorbed into the Pathfinder Player’s Handbook. I skip over him and look at Connor. “Did you have anyone in mind?” He looks to the side with a small smile. “Jazmin.” “The cheerleader?” Paul clarifies. “Yeah. She’s freakin’…she’s everything I’d want, you know?” Betts rolls her eyes. “Yeah…a cheerleader.” Connor kicks at her chair, snapping, “She’s more than that! God! She’s in honors classes, you know.” “I know, I know, geez!” Betts replies. “I’m just giving you a hard time. It’s cool; even cheerleaders need admirers.” “Shut up,” Connor says through his teeth. Erin looks over at Alan. “Anyone you’ve had your eyes on?” Alan looks to her, and then quickly down to his lanky legs. “Um, yeah, there’s someone.” “Oh?” Betts says slowly. “Curious minds want to know!” He takes a deep breath. “Do you promise you won’t tell anyone?” “It’s one of our rules,” I remind everyone. He takes a moment, as well as another deep breath. “Well, I might as well say it now if ever.” He looks me in the eyes and says, “I have a crush on your brother.” My mind instantly goes through a million different thoughts, most of which I can’t even follow before something else takes their place. All I’m left with is a mixture of surprise, excitement, disappointment, and jealousy: surprise that Alan is gay, excitement that someone likes my brother, disappointment that it’s not me that he has a crush on (hey, don’t judge), and jealousy…yeah, I don’t need to explain that one. While my mind is processing it, there’s an uproar of people processing aloud what he said; a few people are surprised that he came out, much like I was, while the others are more surprised that his crush is on Chance. “You have the hots for Chance?!” Betts says with a wide-eyed, excited smile. “Low-key, I knew you were gay,” Connor admits. “What? How?” “You’re not…the most manly person I know,” Connor replies with a little grimace. “Oh.” Alan doesn’t say any more, but his face definitely says that there is a lot going on upstairs. Connor senses the silence and quickly says, “I didn’t mean like…you’re not…I didn’t mean it like a bad thing, okay?” “No, no, it’s fine. It’s fine.” Alan smiles at Connor, though it doesn’t last that long. Ouch. “Remember,” I point out, “we’re not judging anyone here.” “I’m really not,” Connor insists. “I was just pointing it out.” Alan puts his hands up to show that it’s okay. “I believe you. Don’t worry about it. I just…it’s weird for me to say something about my…that I like Chance. I mean, I get that it probably won’t ever be anything, but it, it…” He chews on his lip, trying to find the words to say what’s on his mind. “I dunno. Let’s just move on, please.” The conversation does move on, at least a little bit anyway; the conversation drifts to whether X or Y person is maybe gay or whatever, and eventually ends up on celebrity crushes, thanks to Erin’s admitted infatuation with Paul Rudd. I admit that I think that the main actor from that Rollback movie we watched is pretty hot, but nobody else watched it, so I’m left all alone with my little crush. That makes two crushes nobody knows about. After the time is up and everyone starts to go, Alan tugs on my sleeve to get my attention. “Yeah?” I turn and ask. “Hey, sorry if I made things awkward today,” Alan says furtively, glancing over my shoulder at the people leaving the room. Scott, though, stands by my side, holding his books protectively while glancing idly around the room. It’s hard to tell if he’s listening to the conversation, but he doesn’t show any active interest in it. More importantly, Alan doesn’t seem to care. “What? No, that’s cool,” I say externally, though a small pang of fight-or-flight fear passes through me as I think of Chance and Alan. Jesus fucking Christ, brain — really? Jealousy? Shut up. “Good,” Alan responds with a heavy sigh. “I just know it’s your brother, and you and him seem to get along pretty well, so…” I take an involuntary deep breath. “Hey, let’s go walk toward the pick-up spot. The others are far enough ahead by now.” I nod my head at Mrs. Cox, hoping he gets the point. I wave goodbye to Mrs. Cox and head out of the room, the other two following close behind. Outside, I reply, “It’s fine, really. You can’t help who you like, sometimes.” Shut up, brain. “Seriously,” Alan says with a short laugh. The smile drops off his face, though, as he asks, “Um, so I know you said it’s Chance’s choice to say anything about his, his sexuality…” “Yeah?” “So…damn, I don’t know how to ask this…” With a sigh, Alan continues, “If he ever mentions, you know, being gay or, or whatever, could you maybe find a way to bring it up? Like, you could say that you heard that I had a crush on him, or something…ugh, I dunno, that sounds so stupid when I say it out loud. I just…I don’t know if I could ever ask him to his face, even if he was.” Alan stops mid-hallway, taking another big sigh. “I dunno why I’m even freaking out over this. It’s not like he’d actually be interested in me, much less gay in the first place.” I can see the angst on Alan’s face, and it hits me in a deep spot; for one, I know the exact feeling, and for another…I do want my brother to be happy. Maybe if he knew someone was interested in him, someone he already knew, then maybe being gay wouldn’t be so bad to him. “Look,” Alan continues, “I’m sorry I even brought it–” “I’ll be happy to bring it up if there’s a good time,” I interrupt. “I’ll make sure to tell you if I do. If I don’t, then you can just be sure that he won’t know. Sound decent?” Alan thinks a moment, eyes doing that little darting-around thing people do when processing a big thought. “Yeah…that sounds good. Man, you’re just as cool as Chance.” The last part comes with a slowly-growing smile. “I dunno about that,” I say, though inside I’m all butterflies. I’m not even sure what the butterflies mean, though. As we exit the building, I mention, “Well, I’m hanging out with him this weekend, so I’ll at least be happy to tell him you said hi.” “Cool.” He pauses, looking like he wants to say more. Finally he stammers, “So, uh…” “Yeah?” “It’s not weird to you that I have a crush on him, but not you, is it?” “I…honestly hadn’t even thought about that being a thing.” With a sly smirk, I add, “But what’s wrong with me? I know I look as good as he does.” I strike a stupid pose to illustrate. Alan tries not to laugh, but it’s an utter failure. “No, no! It’s not that. It’s just…he and I have been friends for a while, but I kinda just met you, so…you know.” “I’m just kidding, anyway,” I grin. “Hey, see you next week.” “See you!” We part ways, though Scott is still by my side. “How are you, Best Friend Scott?” He doesn’t change where he’s looking, but he replies, “I am good, Best Friend Looke.” “Can you forgive me for drawing really crappy tree circles?” He bursts into giggles. “I can forgive you for drawing…um…” “You don’t have to say the whole thing. I get it.” I pat him on the back a few times in friendship. A car pulls up, a dark blue, new-looking model 4-door (I suck at identifying the maker and all that, though) with deeply tinted windows. The driver beeps two quick honks, to which Scott calls back, “I’m coming!” (There’s no way the person in the car could hear him, of course.) He turns to me and, looking me directly in the eyes, he says, “Goodbye, Best Friend Looke.” “Goodbye, Best Friend Scott.” Instead of giving me a handshake, or just turning and leaving, he very carefully puts his books down on the concrete. Suddenly, he lunges in and pins my arms to my sides as he hugs me tightly for a second or two, just long enough for me to steady myself and realize exactly what is going on, before letting go and wordlessly dashing off to the car with his books. I’m left speechless, blinking into the afternoon sun as I watch the car drive off. *** Saturday, I spend some time cleaning up my room and generally preparing for Chance’s arrival, though I might have decided to take it too far: by the time I finish doing the dishes and start sweeping the kitchen, Papa Davy remarks, “Oh my God, are the in-laws coming over? I don’t have anything to wear!” I give him my best head-rocking eye roll and respond, “Look, I’m bored and want to keep myself busy until he gets here, and the kitchen needed cleaning. Just let me do my thing.” “Wait,” he says, “I think that his parents are actually my…let’s see…step-cousins once removed. Wait, no, that would be one generation higher…hey Chris!” Papa Chris calls out from his office area, “There aren’t words in English to describe two sets of parents with no other relation than having adopted siblings.” “So, no wait,” Papa Davy continues, completely unfazed, “step…first cousins…but the other way around…NEGATIVE COUSINS.” “Papa Davy, oh my God, shut up and let me clean.” “Backwards cousins? No, that sounds like they’re from Mississippi. We ain’t even kissin’ cousins.” He says the last bit in an obnoxious twang. “Reverse cousins?” Suddenly, his eyes go wide. “Nizooks!” I stare blankly at him for a moment. “…What?” “Nizooks! Reverse ‘cousin’ kocaeli sınırsız escort and you get ‘nisouc.'” Staring at him as flatly as possible, I open my hand, let the broom fall to the floor with a loud clatter, and walk out of the room very deliberately. “Right. Time to go. I need to save my brain cells from dying.” Papa Davy’s wild cackle echoes through the stairwell as I head upstairs. Chance shows up around two o’clock, carrying a Nintendo Switch, a pair of the nice, bigger controllers (instead of the stupid, tiny ones that come on the Switch), and a pillow under his arm. The parents all chat for a bit after hassling the both of us for not visiting each other often enough (thank everything that Papa Davy didn’t mention the stupid family crap he was making up earlier), and then Chance and I head upstairs. I’m dying to talk to him, to figure out what the heck is going on, to see if we can just get past all this stupidity…but for now, I think the best thing to do is throw him off the edge of this Smash Brothers arena. Multiple times. “Oh my God, stop!” Chance says with a determined face and a frustrated laugh. “But you’re so fun to fling!” I reply, grabbing his character yet again and tossing him into the air. Finally, he maneuvers to a point just above me and tries to crush me underneath him, but just at the critical moment, a bomb spawns between us, taking the blow for me, but turning it into a massive explosion that sends both of us flying like meteors off opposite sides of the screen. “WHAT?!” screeches Chance, complete astonishment on his face. I just collapse, laughing insanely. When I can finally breathe, I mention, “Well, I mean, I did stop…” We continue to brawl it out for a few hours until Papa Chris calls out for dinner; I’m fine with this, since my stomach hurts from laughter. “This game is gonna make me die laughing one day, I swear it.” I put the controller down to wipe tears out of my eyes. Chance puts his controller away and leans back on his hands. “Dang, you put up a good fight.” “I don’t get a lot of practice, so I’ll take it. You know we can play the cooperative mode too, though, right?” Shrugging, he says, “Yeah, I guess. Maybe next time.” “Sweet!” I exclaim, pumping my fist for emphasis. “Together we shall take down the world!” Chance joins in, “Nothing will stop The Unstoppable Twins!” I pause. “Nah, that’s lame. We need a better team name.” “Aw, c’mon, it’s fine.” “No, it’s not — there’s nothing going for it. It’s terrible.” “Well, fine, Mr. Writer: what’s a better name?” “Hm.” I sit and think a moment. “See? Told you it’s not–” “Shh!” I hiss. “I’m thinking!” “Boys?!” Papa Chris calls out. “Dinner isn’t going to wait for you!” “To Be Continued,” I reply to Chance as we get up and head downstairs. Dinner is grilled herb chicken with rosemary mashed potatoes and garlic green beans, and I’m perfectly okay with that. We pile on the food and sit down, and for a bit, the only conversation is about how delicious everything is. Shortly, though, Papa Chris turns to Chance. “Good to see you again. What’s been going on? How have you been?” “Oh, you know. Just busy with school and all.” He takes another bite of chicken without looking up from the plate. “Classes going well, though?” He looks up, pausing for a moment; he quickly returns to his food, though, mumbling with a full mouth, “They’re going good.” “Good to hear,” Papa Chris says with a dab of his napkin on his lips. An awkward silence settles over the table, though I see Papa Davy giving Chance the side-eye a bit. Suddenly, his eyes light up as he looks over to me, though. “So how’s the gaming group going, Tiger?” he asks with maybe a bit too much enthusiasm. “Uh, well, you know,” I stammer. “It’s going pretty good. The players are all just about to go into the first big dungeon-type thing, and everyone’s having fun. Um, there’s a lot more people there, now, too.” “Ohhh?” Papa Davy draws out. “Do I sense a prophecy coming true?” “Okay,” I say while pointing at him with my fork, “first off, prophecies don’t ‘come true,’ they’re ‘fulfilled.’ and second, you shut up. It’s not the same thing.” Chance darts a surprised look at me, with more than a hint of confusion. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him watching our conversation back and forth like a tennis match. Papa Davy chants, “Luke is getting faaamous! Luke is getting faaamous!” I chant in a mocking tone, “Papa is annoooying! And if he doesn’t shuuut up, he’s gonna get potaaatoes / right in his stupid faaace!” I get a fork-full of potatoes and point it threateningly. Papa Davy holds his knife. “Don’t you dare, or I’ll expose you in People Magazine!” “Children!” Papa Chris intones over us both. “We have…a guest.” He emphasizes the words heavily. “That, and I am not going to be a single parent raising two incorrigibles.” Turning to Chance, he adds, “Please tell me you don’t have to deal with this in your family.” “Not usually, no,” he replies with wide eyes and a barely-suppressed snicker. “I kinda wish my parents were this crazy.” “I assure you, you do not.” Chris raises an eyebrow at Papa Davy and me, though he hints at his actual feelings with a tiny half-smile. The conversation makes way for eating, and the parents don’t attempt to make any more small talk, thankfully. Near the end, as we’re getting up and clearing our plates, Papa Chris says, “You boys run along now. We’re happy to see you again, Chance.” “You too.” He looks as if he wants to add more, but instead hesitates for a painfully awkward few seconds before just heading upstairs. I go upstairs to find him coming out of the bathroom to wait at my door. “It’s not locked,” I point out wryly. “Well, yeah, but it’s weird just walking into someone else’s bedroom when they’re not there.” “I…never really thought about it, I guess,” I reply, opening the door for him. As we get settled in, I ask, “Okay. Now where were we?” “You were making fun of my choice in team names and making me not want to play cooperative mode with you.” “Oh, right. So…how about the Twin Terrors?” “…Really?” he asks, deadpan. “And you shot mine down?” “Hm. Okay…how about…the Ginger Twingers!” I wait for a response, but he just squints at me, as if I physically hurt him. “Okay, okay, that’s more ‘cringer’ than anything else. Hmph. Yeah, it is hard to come up with a name.” “Told you so.” “Well, I mean we can just play without a team name, I’m just sayin’.” He takes in a sudden sharp breath as if to yawn, and then just kinda deflates. “Eh, I was pretty much done playing, anyway.” He sits down on the carpet with his back leaning against the bed. “All right.” I join him in sitting and staring at the blank TV screen. Neither of us says anything else for a few moments, just sitting, just being. I’d be okay with that if I didn’t have burning questions to ask. I have to be careful, though — I have a feeling I can really screw things up if I go about this the wrong way. But I have to know, so… “Hey, Chance?” “Yeah?” “I, uh, wanted to say thanks for helping me out with the gaming group thing.” He turns to me with a raised eyebrow. “How? I didn’t do anything.” I smile sheepishly, “No, you did a lot more than you think. If you weren’t there for me, I don’t know if I could have even walked into the office. You gave me the confidence I needed to do that.” His eyebrow joins the other in furrowed confusion. “O…kay. I mean, you’re welcome?” “No, seriously. The pep talk you gave me before I actually went was super helpful. I was about to pee myself in fear before you came out to cheer me on.” He laughs, “No joke — you really did look like you were going to pass the fuck out, just right there on the floor.” His choice of language gives me pause for a quick sec — I don’t really care one way or the other, but he just usually doesn’t talk like that. “Well, it really did help, so thank you.” The hug was the most helpful part, but I don’t really feel comfortable admitting that. “Heck, even the attempted massage after the office visit was, well, at least a good thought.” This gets a bark of a laugh out of him. “Okay, so my hands are better at choking people than giving massages, okay? I tried. Oh! Speaking of which…” He points to his shoulders. “You said you were going to show me how a massage is supposed to go.” I stare at him a moment as the memory of saying that loads up, as well as my dick. Instant boner, seriously. “Uh, sure. Um, this will probably be more comfortable on the bed.” Excitement flashes across his eyes. “Bet!” he says, hopping up on top of the bed and facing away from me. “Bet?” I ask. “You know, like, ‘cool’ or ‘all right, let’s do this.’ You never heard that before?” “I guess not,” I admit. “Maybe it’s not a Connecticut thing.” I also lived a culturally sheltered life, so I’m sure that didn’t help. I hop up behind him and sit cross-legged behind him. “Okay, so first thing, you don’t want to massage bones. That hurts. You want to massage muscles.” “Well, yeah,” he says. “So this spot here,” I say as I reach over his shoulders and place my fingers across his collarbones, “is off-limits. It just hurts.” “Ah, right.” “Instead, you want to do this.” I punctuate the sentence by pressing my thumbs into the meat of his traps (the muscles between the shoulders). Chance lets out a moan somewhere between a massive orgasm and a deflating blimp. “Shh!” I hiss, “the parents are still up, dude!” (Speaking of other things that are up, now my dick straight-up hurts as it pushes against my briefs and shorts.) “Sorry,” he half-whispers. “Holy fuck, that feels good.” I move my thumbs around in a circular motion, making Chance nearly constantly moan. It is so hard to concentrate on this with that kind of distraction. Taking a deep breath, I continue, “So another thing you can do, especially if your thumbs get tired, is like playing the piano on them.” I switch to my fingers, walking them up from pinky to index finger on both sides, pushing in just a bit with each one, kneading the muscles from the shoulder up to the neck. His head starts to loll as he continues to moan in pleasure. “Oh my God, you are amazing.” “Well, y’know.” I can’t think of anything else to say to that. As I keep it up for a little longer, he repositions into a little more of a slouch, adjusting his crotch heavily. “Damn. I’m fucking boned right now.” “So, kinda weird, but giving massages makes me get hard, too.” I hope that white lie works; I mean it’s technically true, depending on whom I’m massaging… “Well…” he says suggestively. “We could mess around and fix that.” Good God in Heaven, I want to just say yes to that. Instead: “But my dads are still awake.” Never mind that I can feel the wet spot in my underwear from dribbling precum. I’m gonna need to change if I keep this up. “Whatever, we can be quiet, right?” He unbuckles his pants and slides them down, revealing a pair of basketball shorts underneath, which he then slips off as well. No briefs, no boxers, just a tight sack and a dick that is twitching to his excited heartbeat. Still, I have to ask. “Why basketball shorts?” “Oh, y’know, in case I want to go more free after school.” “But it’s Saturday.” “Well, yeah, I know, but it’s pretty comfy, actually. All the other guys are doing it, too.” I think to school, where there are quite a few of the more thuggish kids that let their dress-code-appropriate jeans sag basically under their butts, but they have on basketball shorts underneath. It’s still out of dress code, but they explain that it’s somehow different than just walking around in underwear. Ignoring it, I ask, “So what did you have in mind?” as I unbutton my jeans. “I dunno. You could blow me.” He turns and waggles it at me, smearing an arc of precum across his belly. “Wow, okay,” I say sarcastically. “What about me?” I point to the wet spot on my underwear for emphasis. “I just meant to start out, geez.” He rolls his eyes. “I can do you after.” “I was just kidding,” I say with a smile, though the way he said it kinda made me think that’s what he really meant. I crawl forward with my pants still on as Chance leans back on the bed, spreading his legs for access. I stop before I begin, though, the panic of having my parents walk in overtaking my thoughts. “I have an idea.” “What’s up?” I turn on the TV and Smash Brothers, putting the controllers within easy reach. “Just in case someone starts coming, we can look like we were playing games.” “Good idea,” he agrees, grabbing his basketball shorts and keeping them nearby, just in case. With that, I pop his mushroom head into my mouth, relishing the salty taste of his precum and the silky feel of his skin. I look up as he throws his head back and breathes deeply; at least he’s not moaning again. I would commit suicide if my parents walked in. I go at it for a little bit, getting into the rhythm of it, absolutely just reveling in the feel of it. I can’t even explain why I like it so much, but I don’t care. I even fish my own dick out and jack off as I’m doing it — I figure if I get close, I can shoot on him or his stomach or something, or just lean back and hit my own shirt. It turns out that I don’t actually have a lot of time to think about it, since Chance starts thrusting a little bit with each time I go down on him. It makes me gag once on it, but it’s such a ridiculous turn-on that I feel myself go past the point of no return within less than a minute. I pop off of his dick in just enough time to lean back and spurt a glob of cum up past my navel, though the other few just dribble out down my thumb. I sit there for a moment until my head clears; I can feel the cold dampness on my belly and the waves of awesome running throughout my body. Chance giggles, “Damn, you musta been really horny.” “Well, yeah. That and the thrusting thing kinda…really turned me on.” I conveniently leave out the part where it’s him thrusting into my mouth, but I guess I’m not really sure how much of a turn-on it’d be if someone else did. Hm. Actually, that would be really hot no matter whom. Note to self. “Oh, izmit anal yapan escort hehe. So…” he trails off, slowly jacking himself. “My turn?” I take off my now-dirty shirt and use it to wipe up the remaining cum from my fingers and bush before tossing it into the hamper. “Sure. Back to blowjob, or…?” “Sure. You give a damn good blowjob.” I raise an eyebrow. “Do you have anything to compare it to?” He stares at me for a quick moment. “No, not really, but I mean, I can imagine what a bad one would be like, right?” “Well, try to imagine the worst one possible.” “But…why?” “So mine is that much better. Duh.” He barks a laugh as I lean forward to go back to business. I barely get one good slurp in, though, before I hear the familiar creaking of the first step. “Oh, crap!” I hiss. “They’re coming!” Chance whips his basketball shorts over his feet and scrambles to pull them up, while I redo the button on my pants and shuffle down to sit against the bed frame; more distance hopefully will make things less obvious. I also have to sit with my knees up since I can’t bend my stupid dick to hide it. God, I hope this works. A tense few seconds pass, where we do our best to pretend that we were playing Smash Brothers the whole time. Shortly, I hear the series of creaks and squeaks that signal someone going back downstairs; I guess either one of the dads wanted to change the thermostat, or — oh, there’s the click of the A/C turning on. Whew. At least I’m definitely soft enough by this point that it doesn’t matter anymore. After we play a match, Chance says, “Okay, I think they’re gone for now.” “For now, sure,” I reply, “but usually they turn down the A/C just before bed. At least one of them will probably be up soon.” “So…” “So I don’t want to do anything until they’ve gone to bed,” I say before he can finish his sentence. “Ah. Yeah, that’s cool.” He nods in chill approval. After another short pause with us both staring at the game screen, neither of us moving to start another match, I hit the power button and hop back up on the bed. “Is it cool if we just talk for right now?” “Yeah, sure,” he says with a little smile. “What’s up?” “I dunno, I just…” I rub my hand across the bristles of the back of my hair. “We never hang out anymore. I miss that. I mean, you’re kinda, y’know…” How the heck do I say this without coming across as ‘madly in love with my brother’? Here goes… “You’re one of the main reasons, I mean, you’re the big…you’re the only real connection I have here.” As the last bit finally forms, it flies out of my out in a fit of frustration. “I just feel like you…like we never hang out anymore.” “But we’re hanging out now.” “I mean for the last weeks, Chance. I’m super glad you finally said yes today, but like, it’s been weeks, and you barely say hi to me at school, even.” He sighs and breaks eye contact. “Look…Luke, I — I’m really glad you came down here and all, and it’s the coolest thing in the world that I have a twin brother, and y’know, you’re freakin’ awesome and everything, but, like, I kinda miss the way things were, a little bit.” He keeps looking at my eyes and then away, as if he’s afraid to see my reaction. I can’t blame him: those words hurt way worse than I expected them to. I guess he sees it, because he quickly adds, “I don’t mean like as if you were never here or whatever, not like that! I mean, like, things changed so fast when you got here, and I kinda liked the way things were before, too, I guess…dammit! I can’t explain it. I just…I just want to spend time with my other friends, too.” As much as it completely sucks to admit it, he’s got a point. I’m not the single reason he has to live or anything. That’s just me being stupidly selfish. I nod, blinking harshly to try to gain control of my emotions before they do something stupid. “I get it,” I respond. “Seriously, I do. Just…I dunno. Maybe we could hang out a little more often?” He smiles the sort of smile that makes teachers give A’s and probably makes girls — and boys (like me) — weak. “Sure. We can do that,” he agrees. I find myself smiling back. “Cool.” “So, uh…how is the whole gaming group thing going? You know, now that you’ve started it and all.” I feel myself light up. “The Inclusivity Club is going really good! You should totally come sometime!” “Oh yeah, the ‘Inclusivity Club.’ Nah, I mean, I don’t think I’d really fit in there…” “Dude, everyone fits in. That’s the whole freaking point. Even if you don’t want to game, you can just show up on Fridays — we have a little get-together and just chat, hang out, that kind of thing.” He nods, obviously mulling it over, so I continue, “Remember how like I was saying that it’s the kind of place where you can be whatever you want and all that? I mean, we don’t have any furries — not that I know of, anyway — but everyone there is totally chill, and a couple of people even came out. I can’t really say who or anything, since we keep –” “Wait.” “Yeah?” Chance stares at me like I left the oven on. “Did you come out?” I pause. I can’t lie, but I know that this is the big moment. “Like I was saying, nobody there will say anyth–” His eyes shoot open even wider. “You came out. You fucking came out.” “Yeah, I did, but –” He raises his voice, making it spike on every other word. “I fucking told you not to come out! Now people are gonna start asking! Fuck!” His eyes begin to well with tears as he looks around the room frantically. “Listen, would you?! I promise they won’t!” He locks eyes with me, slowly shaking his head as his bottom lip quivers. “I trusted you,” he says barely above a whisper. He sees his pants on the side of the bed and quickly reaches into a pocket. “I have to go.” “Chance, please! Just listen to me!” I try to explain to him that nobody there is going to say anything, but he completely ignores me, pulling his pants on hurriedly as he holds the phone in place with his shoulder. “Hi, Mom? Come pick me up. Now. Please.” I can’t help but start to panic, as well — this is absolutely not going how it was supposed to. “Chance…please, please don’t go.” “Yeah. No. Right now. …I’m fine. Just..e get me. I’ll be outside. Bye.” He hangs up and silently starts gathering his Switch and the controllers. As he leaves, he practically slams my door behind him and stomps downstairs. I hear the muffled sounds of my parents asking him some questions; the last thing I have the energy to do is open the door and follow to the middle landing of the stairs just in time to see the front door slam. I can’t bring myself to do anything more but crumple over and sob. “Luke, honey, what happened?” Papa Davy asks. I hear him step up the stairs and feel the step shift as he sits next to me. I keep my head in my hands and continue crying; it’s all I can do as my brain assaults me for screwing everything up. When I don’t respond, he slowly begins rubbing my back with a hand, waiting out the storm. I’m not gonna lie, it’s not pretty. The only things I can think about are how I just royally screwed everything up, how I went back on a promise, how I just lost my brother only a few months after I found him. Papa Chris and Papa Davy keep trying to get information out of me, so I do end up telling them those things. Papa Chris responds, “You’re not gonna lose Chance, okay? I don’t know what you said or what promise you broke, but it’s gonna take a whole lot more than that to break the bond of brotherhood like that.” “Really?” I spit petulantly between hiccups and sobs, “because if I had a brother that–that fucked up that bad on me, I’d be pret–pretty hard-pressed to want t–to keep him around.” “It can’t be that bad,” Papa Davy says. “You didn’t, like, rat him out to the police for murder or something.” “Davy,” Papa Chris says, “please. Luke, why don’t you come sit on the couch with us and calm down a bit so you can talk this out.” At this point, I’m running low on tears anyway — I feel sorry for my shirt — so I weakly stand up and follow them to the couch, feeling completely defeated. My dads sit to either side of me as I calm down, or at least run out of steam. With enough human contact and soothing words, I finally dwindle down to manageable sniffles. “You wanna talk about it, now?” asks Papa Davy. I remain silent. Talking about it means coming out. Am I ready for that? Will it just make things worse? Papa Chris puts a warm hand on my leg. “Champ, we just want to make sure that you’re okay; you’re a good person, so whatever happened isn’t going to ruin that.” “I dunno, it was pretty bad.” I’m going to have to come out. Eh, might as well. I mean, they gotta know sometime. “Try me,” Papa Davy says with a wry smirk. “I’m sure I can top whatever it is you did or said, and I’m still doin’ fine.” I chew on my bottom lip for a moment before making the decision. I take a deep breath. “Well, first off, you two need to know something important before I tell you what happened.” “Yeah?” Papa Davy asks; Papa Chris looks at me patiently. I sigh. “I’m gay. I like boys.” There’s a long, tense silence over the room. I knew it — now they’re gonna blame themselves. Now I’ve really fucked everything up. “Okay,” Papa Davy responds finally, “so…what happened that caused…that whole thing? Did Chance freak out because you’re gay? I swear to God, I–” “NO, Papa Davy, no he didn’t.” I swear to God, he can be so dense sometimes. “He’s fine with it. Trust me. That’s not the problem.” Then it hits me. “So…wait, you guys are okay with me being gay?” Papa Chris and Papa Davy share a look between each other, one that probably says like a whole book between them like people who have been together a long time can do, and Papa Chris says simply, “Why wouldn’t we be? Nothing has changed about you, and you were amazing from the start.” Papa Davy butts in with a Valley Girl-esque accent, “Also, um, I dunno if you’ve met us, but your parents are also, like, gay, so I mean, y’know, I think they’re okay with it?” I do my best to ignore Papa Davy for a moment. “I was afraid that…that you might think that you made me this way or something.” “Luke.” Papa Chris lowers his head and stares directly into my eyes. “not only does nothing you just said make sense, but even if it did, it wouldn’t matter. At all. The only thing I feel about you right now is the pride that you would be willing to come out to me, and the love that I always feel for you. That’s it. There’s not one thing there that could possibly change that. Nothing to make me think, ‘Oh no, where did I go wrong?’ Nothing but pure pride and joy at our brilliant, loving, wonderful son.” He pulls me in for a hug, which I return. Papa Davy takes his turn as well, thankfully not squishing me in the process. “I dunno why I thought you guys would think…anything. I dunno. Sorry.” “Don’t be sorry, Champ,” Papa Chris says lovingly. “So what happened at school?” “I came out in the Inclusivity Club.” Papa Davy blinks at me. “That’s it?” Sighing, I explain, “He thinks that now that I came out, people are gonna start asking if he’s gay, since we’re identical twins.” “Still waiting for the bad part,” he replies in a sassy accent, which does get a little laugh out of me. “He…hangs out with, well, some really stupid people. I mean, it’s his choice and all, but they’re homophobes and probably worse, honestly. I haven’t asked him directly, but he didn’t want me to come out because he himself ‘wasn’t ready,’ so I’m guessing it’s because he might lose his friends or whatever.” As an afterthought, I add, “Really wouldn’t be a bad thing, if I’m being honest.” They both chuckle a bit at the snark attack. I sigh, “But now I’m down a brother because he’s never gonna talk to me again, at least not while he’s hanging out with those jerks.” “Hate to say it,” says Papa Chris, “but this is a journey that it looks like he’s going to have to travel on his own. If he’s not going to listen to wisdom, he may just need to make his own mistakes.” I stare at him a moment. “Thanks, Confucius.” He raises an eyebrow; he doesn’t play around like Papa Davy does. “Sorry, Papa Chris,” I say sheepishly. “It just sucks. Everything was awesome at first, and then just poof!” I throw my hands in the air in frustrated illustration. (Illfrustration? …Nah, that one doesn’t work.) We all sit in heavy silence for a moment. Papa Davy clears his throat and announces, “Papa Chris is right, though. You are an amazing person. Neither of us think that you were somehow ‘influenced’ by us. You are your own person, and if you’re gay, you’re gay. It is what it is.” After a second, he adds, “And if anyone gives you shit about it, or about having two dads, I will personally bitch slap them SO hard.” “I hear the child abuse laws are pretty harsh, Papa Davy, even if there are a lot of people that deserve it.” “Just saying — I would go to jail for you, and I’d smile the whole way to the cop car.” Granted, he has weird ways of showing his love, but it still gets me smiling. Sighing, I remark, “Well, I’m worn out from all this. I think I’m gonna get to bed.” I give him a hug, followed by Papa Chris. “Thanks, you guys.” “Hey.” Papa Davy looks at me with a knowing smile. “Yeah?” “Since we’re all being honest, here…I’m glad you’re gay.” I stare at him in confusion until he explains, “I’ve had to help a friend shop for a wedding dress before. NEVER AGAIN.” That sets me cracking up. “Really? That’s your reason?” With a complete I’ve-seen-some-things sort of stare, he replies, “You haven’t had to do it. Trust me.” “Good night, Luke,” Papa Chris says pointedly, looking at Papa Davy. “Good night, Lukey!” says Papa Davy, giving Papa Chris a healthy dose of side-eye. I head upstairs, get ready for bed, and lay there, staring at the ceiling, arguing with myself and fighting the urge to text Chance for a full two hours before I finally wear myself out enough to go to sleep. End of Chapter 4 Oof, that one hurt me right in the feels. Sorry ’bout that! But not to worry — things have to get better sometime soon, don’t they? …Don’t they? 😮 As ever, I’m always interested in hearing feedback from my readers, especially since I lost my old email address (and all my contacts within). Feel free to send me at ail with any commentary you have about the story. I’m all ears; I do this for art, and for you, so let me know if/how you’re enjoying it! Hope to hear from you soon!