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Hudson Bartholomew

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About Hudson Bartholomew

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  1. Chapter 11b

    Cheryl's probably just being protective of her kid. She's a bit of a mama bear. And you have to admit the way Andy broke things off with them was rather dramatic, there are plenty of other ways he could have handled that situation. But they will get through all of this! Thanks for reading!!!
  2. Chapter 11b

    Now I've got the song in my head!! I'll probably be singing it all day. But it's so true! Thanks for being patient
  3. Chapter 11b

    Thank you!!! So much patience with these two, hahaha. But we're almost there!
  4. Chapter 11b

    Yes, quite life altering for them, especially for Andy. It'll take them time (and it already has taken them a lot of time), but they're on their way there! Thanks for coming on the journey with me!
  5. Chapter 11b

    Ah, but the torment makes the final getting together that much sweeter!! Its hard watching people hurting, but rest assured this is temporary! Stick with me!
  6. Chapter 11b

    Studette, hahaha!!! That's hilarious! Thanks for sticking with the story through all its up and downs!!
  7. Chapter 11b

    Andy stood on the sidewalk and watched as Marcus’ form grew smaller into the distance. The last time he watched Marcus walk away had been painful, but that was nothing compared to what Andy felt now. This was worse than pain. At least with pain, Andy knew he was alive. Andy didn’t feel pain anymore; he felt nothing. The past several weeks had gone by in a blur; Andy went through the motions of life but felt a little bit of himself die with each passing day without Marcus. And now, whatever was left of Andy’s heart and soul died with each step Marcus took. When Marcus turned the corner and disappeared from sight, Andy felt the last of himself disintegrate. He felt nothing—no more joy and no more pain—just emptiness. Was this what it felt like to sacrifice? Was this what it meant to follow his calling? Was he meant to live the rest of his life dead inside? The cost seemed too great, the burden too much to bear. If this was what it meant to live a holy life, Andy wasn’t sure he wanted to keep living. Still in his vestments, eyes glued to the spot where he last saw Marcus, Andy stood in a state of shock. His mind and body struggled to cope with what had just happened. It wasn’t until he felt a hand on his shoulder that Andy jumped and snapped out of his trance. “Andy?” John had already changed after mass. Andy swallowed thickly. He didn’t know what to say, didn’t even know if he had anything to say. “Is everything okay?” The frown on John’s face told Andy that the older man already knew the answer. “You disappeared after mass. That was half an hour ago. Have you been standing out here the whole time?” John took him arm and led him back inside. Andy didn’t resist. Thankfully, John led them down a worn path to the side door of the chapel, away from the people still milling around the front of the church. He didn’t let go of Andy’s arm until they were inside their office with the door closed. Andy sat down heavily in his chair and stared into space. He knew John wanted an explanation, but he didn’t have one to give. Andy blinked and looked away when John sat down right in front of him. “It’s clear to me that there is something terribly wrong, son.” John started. “I’m not here as a priest or even as your boss. I’m here as a friend who is concerned about your well-being. There’s something eating away at you from the inside. From your vantage point, you might think it’s the end of the world. But trust me when I say there is nothing that is too big to work through. I’ve seen a lot in my years; I doubt you can shock me. So how about you tell me what’s wrong?” Andy stared at John and processed the words he heard. Under any other circumstance, Andy would resist, deny anything was wrong and try to go on as normal. But what was normal? Andy wasn’t sure he knew anymore. The double life he had been living certainly wasn’t normal; a lifetime of denying who he was didn’t feel normal, either; at least, it didn’t feel right. As he took in Father Sullivan’s pleading eyes, Andy realized that he didn’t have any fight left in him to keep denying the truth. He wasn’t strong enough to keep up the façade any longer. There were two options: if he kept denying what he knew deep down to be true, he would end up dead in every sense of the word, or he could finally own up to the truth. There would be consequences to confessing; there was a good chance he would lose everything he claimed to live for. But was the other option really viable? No, he decided, it wasn’t. Andy watched his hand move as if it belonged to someone else. It reached for the drawer of his desk and pulled it open. Lying on top of some papers was one of the drawings that Marcus had made of him. He kept it at his desk to look at whenever things got too difficult to remind himself of the peace he felt with Marcus. There was another drawing tucked away in his wallet so that he would always have a piece of Marcus with him wherever he went. He took out the drawing from the drawer and traced over the lines with his finger. He still thought Marcus had been too generous; Andy certainly was not as beautiful as the drawing. His actions today proved that, if nothing else. The weight of what he had done to the man he loved fell heavily on him, and tears streamed unchecked down his cheeks. The last weeks had been spent trying to convince himself that he had made the right decision. He had buried himself in work, shifting into overdrive to prove to himself that he was still pious enough to be called a priest. He had even resorted to scrubbing floors on his hands and knees. All that had gotten him was bruised knees and blisters on his hands, but he was no less at peace with his decision and no closer to replicating the joy he felt when with Marcus. He put the drawing down on the desk before he dripped tears on it. John picked it up and studied it for a moment before turning back. Andy expected a frown of disapproval, but instead he only saw curiosity and concern. “Do you want to tell me about this?” John asked. He couldn’t help the sobs that escaped his throat, and his shoulders shook with the force of his crying. How embarrassing—a grown man sobbing into his hands—but he couldn’t stop, couldn’t get a grip on himself. Andy sobbed, and with each heave, he let go of the anguish and pain that had consumed his being for longer than he could remember and all the pent-up fear that had enslaved him for so long. He let it all out until the tears dried up and his head ached. Andy wiped his face with the tissue John handed to him. He couldn’t look the older man in the eye. He was drained and too exhausted to deal with the judgment he was sure was directed his way. “Heavenly Father, I pray for Your peace upon this young man.” John’s voice was quiet and gentle. Andy’s head snapped up when he realized what John was doing and then quickly bowed again in prayer. “Heavenly Father, I know not what troubles Andy, but I know it must be a great and tiring burden. Father God, we all have our burdens to bear, but You never leave us to bear them alone. Lord, I pray for Your strength upon Andy; help him turn his burdens over to You; help him lean on Your strength rather than his own. I pray that he would not feel alone, but rather know the peace of Your presence with him always. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.” Andy quickly crossed himself and whispered Amen. He was embarrassed by the prayer. It felt intimate and personal, as if John knew exactly what kind of prayer Andy needed. He didn’t deserve such a heartfelt prayer. He had been so disobedient. What right did he have to all those things the prayer petitioned for? “Andy.” John’s voice was ever patient. “Would you like to tell me what’s wrong?” Andy straightened and glanced hesitantly at John. He saw nothing but concern. No judgment, no condemnation, just John waiting patiently until Andy was ready to talk. Well, really, what did he have to lose now? The game was up, no more pretending. It was time to own up to his actions and face the consequences, whatever they may be. Andy took a deep breath, held it in his lungs and slowly counted to five before letting it out. He was ready to talk. ***** There was a heavy pounding far off in the distance. Too far for Marcus to figure out what it was, but just close enough to be fucking annoying. Marcus tried to bury his head into the pillow to block out the sound, but it only seemed to grow louder. Then there was some sort of commotion and a door opening and hushed whispers before his bed dipped with the weight of someone sitting down next to him. Marcus’ mind woke up slowly and with it an intensely painful, throbbing disorientation. “Marcus?” Came a gentle voice and a warm hand on his shoulder. Fuck. His mother. “Marcus, sweetheart.” His mother’s voice had that concerned tone that grated on Marcus’ nerves. “Sweetheart, it’s two in the afternoon. Time to get up, don’t you think?” No, he didn’t think. Marcus groaned and pulled the pillow over his head. He didn’t want to get up, didn’t want to talk to his mother. He just wanted to go back to sleep, back to the safe darkness of sleep. The weight lifted from his bed, and Marcus thanked fuck that his mother had finally left him alone in his misery. Just as he was about to succumb to the sweet oblivion of unconsciousness, his pillow was rudely wrenched out of his grasp and he was assaulted by a waterfall of icy coldness. “What the fuck!” Marcus bolted upright and wiped the ice water from his face. He was fully awake now, heart pounding, head spinning, and stomach bile threatening to find its way up his throat. “What the fuck, Mother?!” “Excuse me, mister. You do not use that kind of language with me.” Cheryl stood above him with an empty glass in one hand and the other braced on her hip; her lips were set in that firm line that Marcus knew not to mess with. “Sorry.” Marcus looked forlornly at his wet bed and debated whether he could still go back to sleep. He pulled his legs up to his chest and wrapped the dry part of the duvet around himself like a cocoon. “Oh, no you don’t. You smell rank. You’re getting into the shower right this minute, young man.” Cheryl tugged at the blankets, but Marcus was in no mood to let her win. “Stephen, some help here.” It wasn’t a request. Marcus glared at his best friend, whom he hadn’t noticed standing at the foot of the bed. Stephen looked about how Marcus felt, hair in disarray, bags under his eyes, his normally smooth face covered in stubble, shoulders slumped in defeat. He guessed that’s what people looked like when they drank and bitched about closeted priests for days on end. “Sorry, buddy. Your mom scares me.” Stephen at least had the decency to look apologetic as he helped Cheryl wrestle the blankets from Marcus and push him toward the bathroom. Turning the water on as hot as his skin could handle, Marcus stood under the spray and let it wash over him. His head pounded as a nasty hangover sunk its teeth into his brain. God, he could use a drink. The hot water loosened his muscles, and he rolled his shoulders carefully to slowly coax life back into his body. He soaped himself down while steeling himself to go out to face whatever talking to his mother wanted to give him. As he turned the water off, Marcus overheard bits and pieces of conversation carry in from his apartment. “Really, Stephen.” His mother sounded exasperated. Stephen’s response was muffled by the towel Marcus ran through his hair. “An entire week, Stephen! You let him drink away an entire week!” Marcus paused and tried to remember what day it was. It felt like a few days since Andy had driven a knife through his heart, but it couldn’t have been an entire week, could it? Marcus pulled on the clothes someone left on the toilet seat for him. He didn’t want to go out there, but he could only hide in the bathroom for so long. The first thing he noticed when he stepped out was a glass of water and a bottle of aspirin sitting out on the table. He helped himself to a generous serving. This was going to be one hell of a hangover. “Marcus.” Cheryl began, arms crossed sternly. “Yes, Mother.” It was easiest to just agree to whatever his mother wanted of him. That way she would leave and he could go back to bed. Cheryl huffed and paced in a circle around his apartment. “I should go find this Andy priest and give him a piece of my mind,” she said. “I should go tear off his testicles and shove them down his throat.” Marcus exchanged a look with Stephen. Whatever he thought his mother was going to say, that was the last thing he expected. “That little prick.” Marcus had to stifle the urge to jump to Andy’s defense. It had been that way the whole week. Marcus used every curse he could think of to rail on Andy, but the minute Stephen said one negative thing about the man he loved, Marcus immediately objected. Yes, he still loved Andy. The constant ache in the middle of his chest made it all too apparent that days of drinking weren’t enough to make him fall out of love with someone. “Well, Cheryl.” Stephen stood and stretched. “If you really decide to do that, please let me know. I’ll bring popcorn and enjoy the show. Now, you’ll both have to excuse me. I’m going to shower and wash off some of this stink.” Stephen moved toward the bathroom and mumbled to Marcus as he walked past, “I don’t know why I let myself get dragged into your drama.” Cheryl sat herself down opposite Marcus at the table and reached over to clasp Marcus’ hand in her own. “Sweetheart, I don’t like seeing you like this. I know you’ve been through breakups before, but I’ve never seen it hit you this hard. I’m worried.” Marcus sighed and resisted the urge to pull his hand out from under his mother’s. “I know, Mom. But I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.” Cheryl didn’t look like she believed him. “Tell me what happened.” Marcus rolled his eyes, sat back and folded his arms across his chest. He didn’t want to tell his mother; he didn’t want to relive that moment when Andy denied everything that had happened between them. Stephen had already teased it out of him during a week of drinking. Marcus didn’t have it in him to go through it again—with a hangover, no less. “Marcus?” Cheryl prompted. “There’s nothing to tell, okay?” Marcus shot back and then winced at the throbbing in his head. She sat back in her chair, arms crossed in a carbon copy of Marcus’ pose. Mother and son sat across the table from each other in a battle of wills until Marcus broke first. Marcus always broke first. “I can’t, okay?” He barely managed to get the words out. “I don’t want to talk about it.” Cheryl’s posture softened, her eyes filled with concern. “Have you told Stephen?” Marcus rolled his eyes. “Yes, unfortunately.” “Good, at least you’ve told someone. Nothing worse than keeping it bottled up inside.” She stood and started collecting empty glasses on the table and throwing smelly clothes into a corner. “You need get this place cleaned up.” “Yes, Mother.” Marcus rolled his eyes again. “And no more drinking. I’ve told Stephen to cut you off. Make sure you get out of this apartment today, you need to stay busy.” “Yes, Mother.” Cheryl nodded, satisfied that she had contributed her part. She brushed off her hands and collected her purse. “You’re leaving already?” “Did you want me to stay?” “Oh, um...” Marcus hesitated. He didn’t want her to stay but knew that if he answered honestly she would stay longer just to spite him. “I just thought you’d have more to say.” Cheryl smiled. “I have plenty to say, but none of it will be helpful now. Remember, no more drinking, clean up, and get out of the apartment.” “Yes, Mother.” “Good.” Cheryl came over and gave Marcus a quick kiss on the forehead before letting herself out. Stephen came out of the shower a minute later to find Marcus curled up on the couch wrapped up in his duvet. “Your mom left?” “Yes, and she told me to tell you to clean up before you leave.” Marcus’ voice was muffled by his cocoon. Stephen rolled his eyes. “And she told me to tell you that you’re cut off. No more drinking.” “Fuck.” “Yeah, no shit. Now get your lazy hungover ass off the couch and help me clean up.” “I can’t believe you let me drink away an entire week.” Marcus reluctantly climbed off the couch. “Ugh.” Stephen sighed. “It’s not like I really had a choice, did I? Come on, bitch, help me clean this shit up. I need to go get food.” Marcus glanced around at the mess that was his apartment and sighed. If only his life could get cleaned up as easily.
  8. Chapter 9

    I thought I had missed some key plot point while reading this chapter! I'm glad everyone thinks D is delusional and there's no evidence of Noel being a traitor. I need them to get back together so badly!! Enough of this! They need to stop fighting each other and join forces to fight evil!
  9. oooo..... I like the new reaction options we have now!

  10. Chapter 11a

    You're right. Andy's been more worried about himself up to this point. He can't really do anything about a potential relationship with Marcus until he's figured out his own issues.
  11. Chapter 11a

    Yeah, Marcus has got a temper on him, that's for sure!!
  12. Chapter 11a

    There definitely needs to be an intervention of sorts. You may be onto something
  13. Chapter 11a

    So true. We often have unrealistic expectations of people, especially people who are close to us. Both of them would have to make some pretty difficult decisions to find a middle ground.
  14. Chapter 11a

    Oh, I like how said Andy needs to see more shades of gray. That's so perfect!! They also need to be better at listening to each other, hehe.
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