Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Consolation Prize—Chapter 16


The first thing Will heard was Barry yelling for someone to call an ambulance, his voice gravely and far away. Realizing he was on the ground, Will struggled to orient himself, but his head spun something awful. 

Then, he heard his dad curse loudly—and unnecessarily—over the hurried whisper of a Greek prayer in his mom’s worry voice. Will had heard enough of Ari’s worry voice to last him for the rest of his goddamn natural life, thank you very much.

“Fucking Christ,” John muttered. 

“Didn’t you go to church this morning?” Olivia sniped back, her worry manifesting itself in anger. 

Will blinked a few times as he felt Scottie’s hands on his back. It was all happening in slow motion, like everyone was swimming through mud. Barry insisted again on calling an ambulance, and before Will could open his mouth, Scottie jumped in like an old pro. She had to talk him down not once, not twice, but three times. Will reminded himself to kiss that girl later.

“I’m fine,” he finally managed, pushing himself with his tender arm up into a seated position with Scottie’s measured help. “I’m fine,” he said again, this time his voice more assured. 

Wynn had insisted they all go home. Will had insisted they stay. 

“Stop being a martyr,” she argued tersely. 

“Stop being my nurse,” Will recoiled like a cobra. Wynn gave him a stony stare and a great big huff. He rolled his eyes. His shoulder would be fucked up whether he ate dinner or not, and he didn’t want to think about the complications that would undoubtedly arise from falling not just once, but twice. He also didn’t want to deprive everyone of a good meal and rob his father of the dinner he’d been looking forward to all week. 

No, they had to stay. 

He decided firmly—his disposition iron. A plan was hatched to get him back in his chair and into the restaurant that Will didn’t like, but he was realistic enough to know that he didn’t have much of a choice. Had the same thing happened among friends, he’d be laughing as one of them picked him up like a damsel in distress. He hadn’t fallen in years, and in one fell swoop he fell in front of the girl that had taken his hear and ripped it in two all those years ago, and his entire family. Just his luck. Much like with Kristin, with his family, he felt stripped down, raw, and vulnerable. Bursting into sloppy tears felt far more likely than laughing. 

As Pete and his dad hoisted him off the sidewalk, his shoulder continued to throb that hot red you see in prescription drug commercials. He had to grit his teeth to keep from groaning as Pete lifted him under the arms. His dad took his legs with the kind of expression better suited to having a steaming pile of dog shit dropped in his lap.  Scottie, his patient and reassuring shadow, followed with his chair. 

Once at the top of the steps, John and Pete awkwardly positioned Will over the seat cushion, plopping him down with a thump. No one spoke, but Will heard his mom sniffle and felt as if he might vomit up the empty contents of his stomach right there. He lifted his limp legs from under the knee and situated them on the footplate in slow deliberate movements. The way his dad kept looking at him surreptitiously as if he was made of glass. Will wanted to scream “look me in the eye goddammit” but he couldn’t muster the willpower. He wished he’d just shattered into a million pieces instead of being the headliner, the man at center stage, the leading role in this macabre chain of events.

There was now a small crowd of people gathered around, waiting to enter the restaurant but enjoying the entertainment, as he gingerly tried to wheel himself through the front door Pete was holding, but his shoulder was so sensitive he winced without meaning to. Scottie and Olivia both caught it, but Olivia was considerably shorter than Scottie—clocking in at 5’2”—so her height lined up better with pushing Will’s chair. Since it didn’t have handles and the seat was incredibly low, Olivia still had to bend over to grip the thin bar along the back rest. 

The show must go on. 

At least, that was what Ari kept saying once they’d all been seated around a large round table overlooking the lake and a couple of bottles of wine had been uncorked and poured generously. Will resented the use of the word “show” quite frankly, but he kept his mouth shut. Thankfully the path had been cleared for them, probably by Barry in his booming voice, but Will could barely look up as he was wheeled like an invalid through the crowded restaurant by his baby sister. He couldn’t even imagine the shade of red his face was as he waffled between terrible crippling humiliation and timid gratitude toward his family. It was an odd cocktail. 

The conversation stalled. Ari kept snatching worried glances at Will who did his best to keep his face neutral, despite the ache in his shoulder and the additional heat perpetually threatening to rise into his cheeks. Scottie held his hand under the table and he silently thanked god for sending her to him. He wasn’t religious but meeting her when he did sometimes feel like divine intervention. 

Things eased up after drinks had been had, Pete even made a joke about Will’s fall that cracked some of the tension and made Will genuinely smile for the first time the entire meal. He was struck with the desire to just simply be like everyone else. Just a guy, out with his girlfriend and his family. Not a guy made of glass, who couldn’t walk, and caused a big scene at the entrance of a popular restaurant. He let himself wallow in his private pity party for a glorious and depressing minute before he bit back the longing.  

The food was rich and plentiful, and with his chair tucked out of view and the earlier incident overshadowed, Will did feel, for a few minutes, like everyone else. 

Then they had to help him back down the stairs, and with getting in the car. He was thankful that Pete insisted in just scooping him up rather than getting their dad involved. Will didn’t think he could take his dad’s nervous energy and disdainful mask again. Pete eased Will out of the car once they got back to house, and pushed him up the ramp like goddamn Speed Racer. 

“Easy there, Pete,” Will joked as he bumped him dramatically over the threshold. 

“Hey, little bro, I’m in charge here,” he argued playfully while situating him in the kitchen and grabbing him a cold beer, popping the cap and handing it to him. Another drink reminded him that he had to cath, and he hoped it wasn’t too late as he frantically glanced down at his crotch—no accident yet—then tried to hide his panic unsuccessfully. 

“What’s up?” Pete asked slowly. They were alone in the kitchen as everyone had gone to their respective rooms to change into more comfortable clothes. He could hear Wynn and Sean laughing in the family room. Will didn’t want to draw attention to it any more than he had to.

“Uh, would you mind giving me a push to the bathroom,” Will asked, hating that he had to do it. 

“Oh yeah, duh,” Pete replied nonchalantly as he placed Will and his beers on the table and bent down to get a grip on the back of the chair. He rolled him up to the hall bathroom and stopped, awkwardly stepping toward the door. 

“My bathroom,” Will corrected him sternly. 

“Oh, oh, oh, my bad,” Pete stumbled over his words and took over pushing again. Scottie was coming out of Will’s room in leggings and an oversized sweater. 

“What’s happening?” she asked eyeing Will to make sure he was okay with it. 

“Just need to hit the bathroom and grab some sweats, I’ll meet you out there.” Scottie nodded and kissed him while Pete cleared his throat just to be a dick. 

“Oh, piss off,” Scottie teased, rolling her hair around her index finger as she turned toward the kitchen. 

Pete got Will into his bathroom and next to the toilet. Will could tell that he was unsure about what to do next and incredibly uncomfortable with the whole thing. Smirking, Will leaned back in his chair, grimacing slightly at the pinch in his shoulder as he crossed his arms over his chest. 

“So, I’ll just meet you outside?” Pete asked, shuffling his feet backwards toward the door. 

“Actually,” Will replied tentatively, “I think I’m going to need help in here.” 

“Help?” Pete’s face went pale as he audibly swallowed, looking from left to right, then running his hand through his hair, then offering a nervous laugh. 

“Yeah,” Will continued, “you remember what the nurses explained right after I got hurt right? How to catheterize myself? I’m pretty sure you were in the room.” Pete just nodded blankly. “I’m just going to need you to unzip my pants, and take this tube,” Will informed him as he grabbed a fresh catheter in plastic from the dopp kit on the shelf behind the toilet. “And you’ll just take my dick out, and slide this tube into it, and hold the other end over the toilet, make sense? You’ve gotta be really careful though, it’s you know, my penis you’ll be handling.” Pete’s face had drained of all color, and he reached absently for the bathroom counter to steady himself. 

“Uh, maybe I should grab mom or something,” Pete offered, running his hand through his hair again. 

“No, dude, come on, I can’t have mom touch my penis,” Will quipped, trying to hide the smirk that was creeping onto his face. 

“I guess I could,” Pete started tentatively, looking up from his shoes, which had suddenly become the most interesting things in the room, and caught the shadow of Will’s smile. 

Wait a minute,” he said, voice trailing off. 

“I’m kidding you dipshit,” Will goaded, “get the fuck out of here, I’ll just be a minute.” 

“Fuck off man,” Pete shouted and slammed the counter. “Fuck the fuck off,” he said again, this time he could barely get the words out he was laughing so hard. “You got me good.”

“Oh, I know I did,” Will replied smugly. “Remember when you wanted to get mom?” Pete grinned and shook his head. “Like I’d let you touch my dick. Get out of here.” 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Pete mocked, turning on his heel. “Hurry up and stop milking this. 
I’ve got delicate sensibilities over here.” 

“That’s for damn sure,” Will argued with a smile as Pete slammed the bathroom door. He'd always been incredibly talented at self deprecation, and the awkwardness between them dissipating, finally, like smoke.   


<>

Scottie put together a bag of ice and jokingly duct taped it to Will’s shirt so he didn’t have to hold it there. 

“Let’s preserve his other shoulder, shall we?” she quipped, confidently. Will thawed slightly as everyone laughed. He started to breathe a bit easier as Wynn set up their annual scrabble game and Ari opened another bottle of red wine. 

“If you think you’re getting off easy little brother, you’re sorely mistaken,” Pete teased while Lise chattered away with Olivia, Wynn, and Shawn. “You’ll get no pity from me this time.”

“You’ve been letting me off easy all this time? I guess that explains why you lose every year,” Will countered deftly. Scottie laughed and put her hand on Will’s good shoulder. 
“And, he’s never had me before,” she said with a smirk and a cock of the head. 

“You know, Lise was the state champion in California in Scrabble,” Pete bragged proudly. 

“What did you say?” Lise asked, cutting Wynn off in the middle of a story. 

“Is that so, Lise?” Will asked. 

“What do you think? It’s Pete we’re talking about here,” she asked sarcastically. Scottie 
laughed and nodded. Pete had been known to embellish the truth from time to time. It 
seemed to be increasing in frequency.  

“It’s not true,” Will said flatly. 

“It’s not true,” Lise confirmed, hitting Pete on the back of the head playfully. 

“Ow!” he whined, rubbing the spot. “Bro hit me up with some of that ice.”

“Can’t,” Will replied, shrugging one sidedly. “It happens to be duct taped onto my shirt,” he continued, glaring at Scottie who stifled a laugh. 

“Okay kids,” John bellowed as he entered the room carrying a bunch of glasses, followed by Ari with a tray of cookies. “Let the annual game begin. Olivia,” John continued, eyeing his youngest daughter, “looks like you’re the only one flying solo this year.” 

“I prefer it that way,” she answered haughtily, cracking her knuckles and rolling her neck in a circle—the picture of an athlete. Everyone laughed and settled down at the table for the game. 

Despite what had happened earlier, it seemed, at least for the moment, that all was well, and calm, and warm. 


<>


Will woke up abruptly in the middle night, his eyes wide, sleep sloughed off like removing a jacket. He sat up, moving slowly and calculatingly. His shoulder put up a fight as he slid off the bed and into his chair, but he tried to only use his good side situating his legs. Scottie was still soundly asleep, her chest rising and falling in rhythm. Her hair was spread out over the pillow and her lips were slightly pursed. Will was happy he couldn’t reach her from where he was sitting because he was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to resist kissing her. 

Carefully, he wheeled himself out of the room, pushing, quite literally, through the pain, and clicked the door closed behind him. There was a glow coming from the kitchen down the hall which Will assumed was just a forgotten light. But as he got closer he realized it was his dad. He was sitting at the kitchen table, leaning back in one of the chairs, a glass of whiskey in front of him. His gaze was squarely focused out the window into the darkness over the water. 

“Hey,” Will said as he rolled into the room.

“Will,” John replied, startled and slightly embarrassed, his already ruddy cheeks coloring slightly. It was 2:24 in the morning and he was wide awake and sufficiently drunk. “Sorry, you surprised me.” Will opened the fridge and pulled out a beer, backing up slightly to close the door, then pivoting toward the kitchen table, moving smoothly and riding out the glide as long as possible. 

“Sorry I didn’t mean to,” he apologized as he twisted the cap off the bottle. “I didn’t really expect anyone to be awake at this hour. 

“Yeah,” John said shrugging. “Well, here we are.” Will nodded thoughtfully and took a long sip. 

“How’s?” John asked after a moment of quiet, gesturing with his head at Will’s injured arm. Will sighed and put the beer down on the table to rub the offending shoulder. 

“I just need to rest it,” he insisted, hating what that meant. 

"Let me get you some more ice.” John was up before Will could protest, dumping cubes from the tray into a Ziploc bag, and breaking up some that had stuck together with his hands. He came up behind Will and placed it delicately on his shoulder. His gentle tenderness was entirely out of character. Shuddering slightly at the cold, Will pressed it into his long sleeve white shirt and took a deep breath. It felt better already. 

“Thanks, dad.” Will’s voice was haggard, the exhaustion etched in his words and around his eyes as he closed them, savoring the feeling of the chill running down his arm. John sat down across from his son and studied his face. He looked slightly older than his 30 years, but only slightly. He did look tired though, and worn thin. 

“Hurting your shoulder isn’t good is it?” John asked slowly. Will opened his eyes and snorted. 

“No, not good,” he replied sardonically. “I use it for everything. I’m completely dependent on my arms.” 

“And you can’t put any weight on your legs to, well, help?” John asked. Will stared at his dad with his mouth slightly ajar. His furrowed brow and the question on his lips only barely touched on his confusion. 

“Dad,” Will said slowly, “do you know what it means to be paralyzed?” He realized, suddenly, that his father probably had a clinical understanding of what it meant. He’d heard the doctors when it first happened. He’d probably chanced a few Google searches but chickened out before long. He had never asked Will a direct question about it. Not once. The insight hit him in the gut like a punch. 

“Well I, of course I know what it means,” he answered awkwardly, getting caught on the word know. 

“You know what the doctors said,” Will allowed, “And to be fair, everyone’s injury is different, some people can stand, or feel, or put weight on their legs.”  

“Okay,” John said triumphantly, clapping his hands. “So I’m not totally off here.” 

“Right, but do you know what me being paralyzed means?” He harped on the word me, trying to get through to the man who could barely look him in the eye for months afterward. His discomfort was palpable—for years it was profoundly apparent. It had diminished, just by simple exposure, but it still lingered like a bad smell. 
And then, what he said next, surprised Will, who thought he knew exactly how this conversation would go—silence ensuing, whiskey finished, glass dropped in sink, lights turned off for fear that Will wouldn’t be able to reach the switch. 

“Well then, tell me.” Will blinked to make sure he wasn’t in some kind of grotesquely realistic dream. But when he opened his eyes again, John was still sitting across from him, swirling the whiskey in his glass, but looking at Will in earnest, his face open and sincere. 

Will took a deep breath and gripped onto this chance. He didn’t know when, if ever, he’d get another one. So, he told him. 

He told him what it was like to not be able to feel anything from the waist down and how it sometimes felt like his legs belonged to someone else. He told him what it was like to get spasms somehow exactly when he needed his body to cooperate. He recollected how he initially coped with the news and began to work with—instead of against—his new body. He admitted to being humiliated in the beginning when he was unable to care for himself, feeling like he’d become an infant again overnight. But then he admonished himself for how long he wallowed in the beginning, and described meeting his friend Jack, a C3 quadriplegic, in rehab and how he’d flipped Will’s entire perspective on how much worse it could have been—he could have had all of his independence stripped away. 

He laughed as he told his dad about falling at Royal Palms in front of Kristin. He detailed how he got around the city—from driving his hand-controlled car, to attempting to hail a cab, to going six stations out of his way only to find out the elevator was out of service. He described all the little tricks he’d learned to get up and down stairs, over curbs and door jams, and through tight spaces and across rough terrain. He found himself riffing with his dad when they discussed being at butt level with everyone and how seeing up everyone’s noses was even less pleasant than it sounded. He meticulously recounted the myriad of tiny degradations whenever he had to fly. He finally admitted that he hated being stared at everywhere he went, and wished that sometimes he could just disappear. 

He told his dad what a pressure sore was, and how it was a constant fear. He listed the various medications he took, what they did, and the side effects that bothered him. He introduced him to what a catheter was, and how he had to be diligent about using one every 4 hours. He explained what a bowel routine was and confessed it was probably the worst part about being paralyzed, in his opinion. Sex naturally came up next, and Will was honest—more honest than he would have anticipated, although, he could never have anticipated this conversation in the first place. He lamented that Viagra only worked part of the time. He talked about how amazing Scottie had been about everything, jumping into a relationship with him without batting an eye. He confided his fear that he wouldn’t be able to father children with her. He whispered that most days, the only thing that bothered him was that he just wanted to be able to walk hand in hand with her down the street, and look her in the eye without her having to crouch down or take a seat herself. 
But as they came to the end of the outpouring, the flow slowing down to a trickle, Will realized that this was all incredibly important for his dad to understand him and how he got to where he was, but it wasn’t the closing statement. 

“I’ve made peace with it all, though,” Will heard himself say, and the second it came out, he knew it was true. His life had gone the direction it had not because of and not in spite of his accident, but he couldn’t argue that it didn’t change him. If he could change history, he wouldn’t. 

“Weirdly, I knew that,” John replied thoughtfully, taking his last sip of whiskey. 

“You did?” Will asked, slightly stunned. 

“You just, adapted, and pivoted,” John said flatly. 

“Anyone would,” Will argued. 

“See, that’s where I think you’re wrong,” John refuted, “I don’t think anyone would.” Will stared at his dad for a long time, then looked down at his hands in his lap. Taking a deep breath, he nodded and picked his gaze back up. Before Will could speak however, his dad put his hand on his knee. Will couldn’t be totally sure, but he wagered this was the first time his dad had touched a paralyzed part of him on his own volition. He felt his cheeks redden considerably. 

“Thank you for talking to me about everything. That can’t have been easy.” John leaned close to Will and lasered in, blue eyes meeting blue eyes. 

“Thanks, dad,” Will whispered, his voice cracking. 

“It just hurts me to see you like this.” 

“But I’m not hurting anymore.” John crossed his arms and gestured to Will’s shoulder with his chin. “Okay, okay, aside from that.” Will laughed and his Dad cracked a weak smile. 

“You’re my hero, kid,” John continued, “and I’m sorry if I’ve been hard on you. It’s just, well, I can’t really explain where it comes from. I don’t know how to act, so I act like an asshole.” His voice corded at the end, narrowly getting all the words out. 

“You do,” Will reproached with raised eyebrows. 

“Watch it,” his dad teased. Will put his hands up in apology. 

“Okay, okay.” 
“This just isn’t the life I saw for you.” His voice is heavy and sad and strangely full of self-blame. 

“Do you think it’s the life I saw for myself?” Will asked, incredulously. His dad raised his eyes to meet Will’s and he shook his head imperceivably. “It isn’t the life I saw or expected for myself either, but that doesn’t mean it’s less good.” John nodded, taking his son’s words in one at a time. He was wise, and John wasn’t sure why that surprised him so much. He, after all, had been through quite a lot. 

Scottie stood on shaky legs in the safe shadows of the hallway. She’d been woken by the door closing and was concerned about Will needing help reaching the ice. So, she had tip-toed out of bed after him, only to find herself frozen, leaning against the wall, covering her mouth, a victim to the quiet flow of tears down her cheeks as she listened to every word. 



<>


Thanksgiving came and went without incident. It was a day with too much food, too much wine, and early bedtimes. The day after Thanksgiving, Will’s shoulder was finally feeling a bit better and the first thing he did when he woke up was make an appointment with a specialist back in the city. He and Scottie were driving back that next afternoon, and he wanted to enjoy his family without thinking about his shoulder or the disastrous start to the week. The day after Thanksgiving had always been his favorite day of the year. It was this quiet pocket where the world still seemed stopped for the holiday, but there was no pressure, no agenda, no itinerary. Each year they’d spent the day lazing around, eating leftovers out of big bowls where everything got wonderfully mixed together, and playing cards—and this year was no different. 

Will found himself stretched out on the couch with Scottie sitting cross-legged at the other end with his feet resting in her lap. She hadn't confided in Will that she'd heard his conversation with his dad, and she didn't plan on it. She was able to slink back to bed before he left the kitchen, sliding silently under the covers like a shadow. She wasn't sure if she would tell him somewhere down the line, but right now it needed to remain between Will and his dad. It wasn't her place to have heard—to have listened. And, she knew that. But, what was done was done. Once it began she couldn't tear herself away, desperate for some kind of justice, or kindness, for the man she loved so much. Turning to watch him, she felt light with joy and heavy with yearning at the same time. She couldn't quite explain why she felt so sad while also feeling so happy.  

Taking a deep breath, Scottie returned to the present. She, Wynn, Lise, and Olivia had been ultra-competitive all-day playing hearts, and they were down to what was looking like the final game. Pete came in and handed Will a beer, taking a seat on the armchair to his right to watch the showdown. 

Olivia, who’d come in dead last in scrabble, unexpectedly came out on top—but just barely. She dumped the queen of spades on Lise in the final hand, which was so unexpected Lise shot up to her feet and covered her face, yelling “no, no, no, no no!” through her hands. Olivia could barely believe it. 

“I’ve never won!” she shouted. Scottie tossed her cards on the table with a deep sigh. She’d come in second, with only a few more points that Oliva. She and Will had won the scrabble game the other night with the final word “flatulent” much to everyone’s outrage and dismay, and that was where the true glory in this family was. 
Wynn huffed and  rolled her eyes, twisting her long hair around her finger. 

“Obviously Olivia cheated,” she joked, leaning against Sean’s knees. He was sitting on the other couch, which situated perpendicular to the couch Will and Scottie were on, and he absently was cracking up without taking his eyes off his phone.

“I don’t think she was the one cheating,” Sean said directly to Wynn with raised eyebrows. 

"Hey,” she warned. 

“You forgot I could see your hand, baby.” He smirked. 

“What’s all the commotion?” Ari asked, appearing in the doorway.

“Olivia just came out on top, and no one’s happy about it,” Will offered, scooting back into a better sitting position. Scottie rubbed his calf absently, and even though he felt nothing physically, he appreciated the incredible normalcy of the gesture. She pushed her wild hair behind her ears and caught him staring. 

“What?” she asked. He shook his head, a whisper of a smile on his lips. She rolled her eyes. “Okay, Mr. Nash.” 

Meanwhile, Ari was working her way across the room. 

“Olivia, don’t let them ruin your fun,” she said wisely as she kissed Olivia on the top of the head and settled into the other side of Sean’s couch. “You’re the underdog, and that’s why they’re trying.” 

“And they underestimated me because of the whole scrabble fiasco,” she replied, slightly embarrassed. 

“Well, honey, that really was a fiasco,” Ari teased and ruffled her hair as she protested loudly. 

“Hey!” 

John appeared in the doorway and seemed hesitant to enter the room. 

“Get in here, love,” Ari cajoled. John laughed nervously and puttered into the room, surveying it for a place to sit. He hesitated for a half a second and Will felt their conversation from last night, acute and hovering. His dad was clearly still thinking about it, perhaps trying to actively implement change, because after that momentary hiccup, he brusquely asked Will to move over. 

“What?” Will asked incredulously, snapping his head to glare at John. 

“You’re taking up the whole damn couch!” he goaded playfully. Will found his face split in half by a genuine smile because before last night, his dad would have treated Will like he was a box of breakable plates, taking a seat on the wood floor, despite his bad back, before asking his disabled son to make room for him—something which he could and would easily do for his dad. John would, and had gladly shoved Pete aside, but never Will. 
But that night was different. Will felt foolish as he hoped against hope that it stuck. 

And if It proved not to last, he’d remember what his mom said to Olivia. He was the underdog, and he wasn’t going to let anyone ruin his fun—even his dad. 
            

19 comments:

  1. Beautiful development! Thanks for writing.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Lovis. Good to hear from you!

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  2. Yay, I'm glad there's been a breakthrough! Will John build that permanent ramp now? or maybe ready for Will's next visit?

    I love this story with all it's twists and turns. Thank you for writing it and sharing it.

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    1. Hi Beth—thanks for writing! Here’s hoping, right?

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  3. Ok so there are two Beths but we have the same feelings about this story. Oh god. All the feels for this chapter. I read it at work. Don’t tell my boss but I couldn’t wait.

    I missed the Scottie/Will interaction this week BUT loved the devvy details of the conversation with his dad. And I love that maybe this will help to improve their relationship. God I love this story so much!

    I’m sad I read this week so early and it’s so long think the next update but I know I’ll be reading this chapter over and over.

    You’re so talented. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Haha, also couldn't wait and read the chapter at work

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    2. Oh and I forgot to mention how much I loved Will screwing with Pete in the bathroom!!

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    3. Hi Beth—so glad you agree with the first Beth!! And appreciate that you couldn’t wait to read it. I’ve definitely read some stories on here at work, too. Happy to hear you liked this chapter, despite the low level of Scottie/Will interaction. Promise I’ll make that up to you this week :)

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    4. Oh I’m sure you will! This chapter is so fantastic. I’ve had it open on my phone, reading it over and over since Thursday. I loved it

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  4. Such a beautifully long and revealing chapter. It was perfect! A great family get-together.

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  5. Beautiful. Powerful. Insightful. All while flowing so naturally. Your talent is remarkable and I'm so joyful that you are sharing it with us in this story. Will and his family, Scottie,, they're all so vivid in my mind! I love it. Thank you!
    Aliese

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    1. Aliese! So good to hear from you. Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts—so encouraging to keep writing.

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  6. Great chapter as usual! Especially loved the break through between Will & John

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  7. This chapter was perfect. Definitely worth waiting for. Your descriptions are so vivid that it really is like a movie. So glad Will and John had a talk and things are changing. I love this story so much. Please don't ever let it end! <3<3 ~Nikki

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    1. Thank you so much Nikki. I love hearing all of this!! I feel like I know them too, it’s so weird.

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