Jwolf
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The Funny Thing Is - 14. ...I Had Just What I Needed Just When I Needed It

Contains graphic depictions of gay sex. Continue at your own discretion.

        The Funny Thing Is… I Had Just What I Needed Just When I Needed It

        We all go through situations. There is no one reading this who hasn’t been through something. Some situations are small and trivial, and only seem important at the moment. Others are huge, and weigh on us in a way that seems almost too much to bear. And as I was going through my series of situations, I realized that I wasn’t alone. I had everything I needed an arm’s length away.

      “I don’t understand exactly what you’re asking me,” Kyle said, sitting across from me at the more informal area of his office. I had snuck away between my morning and afternoon classes to give him the news about Devon and Chicago.

      “Is this something that she’s allowed to do? Just pack up and leave like this?”

      “Technically, she can do whatever she wants,” he replied, squinting his eyes at me like I was retarded. It sounded like a stupid question, almost rhetorical, but with everything we were involved in, I wondered if there was a way, legally, to keep her from going.

      “But is she allowed to take the kids with her?”

      “Cooper, if the judge awards her full custody, she can do anything. She could move the kids to Timbuktu if she felt like it.”

      I hung my head back and suppressed my justifiable anger. I couldn’t begin to think about how unfair this whole situation was without getting upset.

      “Can’t we um… can’t we tell the judge she plans on moving across the country? Won’t that, I don’t know, effect his decision somehow?”

      “It might, but I’m going to be honest with you. The chances you were going to get shared custody anyway were pretty slim.” Kyle’s face, with his reading glasses on, bore into me like a laser beam. He was in definite attorney mode, and that annoyed me big time. He knew that wasn’t what I’d come there to hear, but I guess it needed to be said.

      “What do you mean by that?”

      “Cooper, it’s an uphill battle for any father to overcome maternal rights; it’s just how the law is laid out. Devon doesn’t have a record or substance abuse issues. She’s a good mom. She’s not financially dependent on you.”

      “So I’ve heard.”

      “And if we bring this up in a motion, all she’ll need to prove is that she can afford to build a stable life for the kids in Chicago. Which, if she takes this job, I’m sure she’ll be able to demonstrate.”

      “But this is their home, Kyle,” I said. I knew my whine had little to no legal weight, but it was all that I had. “This is where they go to school. Their friends, family, everything is all here. She can’t force them to pick up and move to the windy fucking city because of her career.”

      “Except that she can, Coop,” he replied, sounding empathetic for the first time that afternoon. “You only have one substantial fighting hope,” he added. “And that’s the judge allowing the kids to choose.”

      It was the option I’d had in the back of mind, since the first time Chase explained how his family ended up divided. The judge gave him and his sister the chance to decide which parent they wanted for full custody. The other got visitation rights, but by the time the mileage distance was calculated, it became clear that any weekend trips would be few and far between.

      If that was the outcome I was hoping for, I had a few things working in my favor. For one, CJ and I got along much better than he and Devon. When he was growing up and I was working from home, he was my little sidekick in everything. I couldn’t imagine him picking up and leaving Dallas, not with his mother.

      And then there was the Mike and Liz relationship. I thought, maybe, just maybe, there was a chance that his pull on her would be enough to keep her in Dallas. It was a slim chance, considering how close she was with her mom, but it was a chance nonetheless.

      But, even sitting right there on Kyle’s client couch, I couldn’t underestimate the power of the bond a mother shared with her children. The fact was, I’d fucked up. I’d made the mistake of leaving them, and no matter how I sliced it, they didn’t owe me anything. I didn’t deserve to get to keep them, and I got that. But I still had hope, and that wasn’t something I was going to give up at any time.

       By the time my meeting with Kyle ended, we’d decided that he’d file a motion for full custody on the grounds that Devon’s decision to move to Chicago would harm the family dynamic. He said he’d keep the file in queue until she announced for sure whether or not she was going.

       As I left his office, Kyle asked if I’d given any thought to having dinner with him and Winston.

       “Why are you so into this idea?” I asked with a grin. I was amused that Kyle was trying to make things right, but it seemed so out of left field for him.

       “Okay, you’re my friend, so I’m going to level with you, one hundred percent.”

       I suddenly felt uneasy. I wasn’t sure what this was about, but I was pretty sure I hadn’t done anything wrong this time around.

       “Winston doesn’t like you. It’s been like that for years,” he said with a straight face. I stood there and took it, not sure how I was supposed to react. Mine and Winston’s love loss wasn’t a new topic, and at certain points in their relationship, I had come up as the reason that Kyle was reluctant to make a commitment. “At first when we got engaged, he was uneasy about me and you still being close. He wanted me to drop your case and spend less time with you.”

       “That’s impossible,” I blurted. I closed the door and stepped back into Kyle’s office. I could feel this conversation turning into a thing, and I didn’t want half of Wriggs and Streck instant messaging about it.

       “Don’t worry, that’s what I told him. I said you’re one of my oldest and closest friends. You’ll probably be in the wedding. We might fight all the time, but come on. You’re my family, Cooper.”

       “I wouldn’t quite put it that way,” I hinted with a raised eyebrow. I got a nervous chuckle out of Kyle for that one.

       “Anyway, to… I don’t know… appease him, I sort of told him that you and Chase were back together, y’all are happy, and that he has nothing to worry about because the two of us are completely, solidly moved on.”

       It was weird watching Kyle talk to me in this nervous tone when just minutes ago, he’d been assured with everything he was saying. I gave him credit for making the confession, but I can’t say I was happy about it.

       “So basically, Chase and I need to show up at your dinner party and act like a wonderful, loving couple so that Winston will trust you and I in a room together?”

       “You and Chase are a wonderful and loving couple. It’s not an act. It’s what you are.” Kyle paused for a second. “You make him nervous, Cooper. And you can’t blame him for that.”

       “No, I blame you for that,” I said without thinking about it. Kyle’s head reeled back and he gave me a slightly scary inquisitive glare.

       “What the hell are you talking about?”

       “Oh, come on. You get engaged the same week we start screwing again. You were with me the night before he put a ring on it. Literally, the night before.”

       “We’re not having this discussion,” Kyle said firmly. “You’re with Chase; I’m with Winston. Drop it. The past is the fucking past, Coop. Now, if you could have dinner with us on Saturday, I would appreciate that. Do you think you can handle it?”

       I slowly shook my head. I shrugged and let out a chuckle. What else could I possibly do? Not going would be admitting that I was still having trouble getting over our brief but amazing relapse. I had made the decision to let him go, and maybe this was a part of that. Against all of my better judgment, I put my hand to my head and answered him.

       “Ugh… God, okay. I will go. But you better have that shit catered, ‘cause you know he’ll try to put eye drops in my food or something,” I said, trying my best to make light of the situation.

      As I drove back to campus, I dreaded the thought of having to lecture for another hour. I was spent emotionally and I didn’t think I could muster the wherewithal to even fake it for my class. There was only one place I wanted to be.

      “Hey,” I said into my speaker phone as I pulled into the faculty lot. “Are we on for dinner tonight?”

      “Of course,” he replied. I could tell he was smiling on the other line and it briefly made me feel better.

      To Chase’s credit, he’d been the perfect elixir last night. Dropping everything and coming over. Being there and holding me. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The problem was, getting so close to him made me hornier than ever, and twenty-one days seemed like a million years away. But the thought of us finally being together, and earning it, swept my desire to get laid out from under me.

      And it was when I was walking towards my office, that I had the involuntary thought that I would be ashamed of for the rest of my life. The fact that I let it seep in from where it had lingered for a few weeks made me angrier with myself than I had been at Devon for putting me in the situation to begin with.

      Could starting a life with Chase be worth it?

      I knew from the second I’d formed the words in my brain that I was going to a deep and dark paternal hell. To even consider the tradeoff equal was stupid on so many levels. And yet it was completely human.

      I thought for a second that if my kids did go off to Chicago with Devon, I’d be free to pursue any life that I wanted. I could be a part of the gay Dallas community without worrying how it would affect my children. I could build a relationship with Chase without having to keep them on the front burner.

      But the tradeoff was so far from equal, I was ashamed to have even considered it. My kids were more than everything to me. When I split up with their mother, it was under the assumption that they still had room for me in their lives. I had been such a large part of them for so long, the idea of not being a part of them never even crossed my mind.

      Still in a funk after my last class, I drove straight home, downed a cocktail and took a strong nap until it was time to get dressed for dinner.

      We met at a brand new, trendy spot in the middle of the West End district called Toast. It was the culinary trend these days to name an entire restaurant off one menu item, and the whole practice sort of got on my nerves.

      The place was large, almost warehouse looking, and already not one of my favorites. It might have been my bad mood affecting me, but as soon as we sat down, I ordered a cosmo, took a deep breath, and made the decision to have a good time.

      “You look stressed, Monsieur. What’s wrong?” he asked as the waiter went off to fetch our drinks.

      “I don’t know, I just… this thing with my kids, it’s in the back of my mind, and I’m trying really hard not to think about it, which is impossible, and then I end up thinking about it more. It’s like trying not to pick at a scab or something,” I rambled.

      “It’s okay to stress about it,” Chase replied, reaching over the table and taking my hand. “It’s a big deal and your kids mean a lot to you.”

      I wanted desperately for him to say something douchey so that I could snap, end the date, and go to bed like I wanted. But he spent the night saying all the right things, and that made it hard.

      “Well, then there’s this whole thing with Kyle who wants us to go to dinner with him and his fiancé on Saturday,” I said. I looked around, wondering how hard it was to make a fucking cosmopolitan.

      “That could be fun,” Chase said. “You and the guys?”

      “No, you and me,” I said. Chase’s reaction said it all. “I know, I was stunned too.”

      “I didn’t think I was the most popular person in your circle,” he said.

      “Oh you’re not,” I replied. I spotted the waiter returning and I took my hand back from Chase. “But his fiancé is nervous that Kyle and I have this messy, sordid history, and he thinks showing Winston that you and I are back together and happy and loving will ease his anxiety over mine and Kyle’s relationship. It’s ridiculous.”

      Chase didn’t say anything, and I noticed it as I took a sip of my drink.

      “Agree with me,” I said. “It’s ridiculous.”

      He pressed his lips and shrugged at me.

      “Don’t take this wrong way, but I can see where he’s coming from,” Chase said. I turned my head and squinted at him.

      “What?”

      “Wha… okay. When we were dating, I was a little intimidated by Kyle.”

       “Oh, come on.”

       “He was clearly your first love, gamin, and you talked about him all the time. And remember, the night you came over really late on a Sunday because he had slept with Spencer. A blind guy could have seen that you two still had feelings for each other.”

       “That was different.”

       “If I was as jealous a guy as Winston clearly is, I don’t think it would be different.”

       “Well, you have nothing to be jealous about,” I said, letting more of my frustration with Kyle pepper my tone than I intended. I took a long sip of my drink.

       “Okay, let me ask you something without you getting upset,” Chase started. Here we go, I thought. “When I left, did you ever go back there?”

       “Back where?” I asked quickly.

       “Back with Kyle? Re-explore those feelings? I mean, I wouldn’t blame you at all. You’re right here with me now, and that’s all that counts. I’m just curious, you know, because Winston’s so paranoid. Did you guys ever do anything after I left to justify that paranoia?”

       I heard myself tell the lie and in my mind there was no other option. I knew that Chase would never exercise his right to being upset. And in truth, I didn’t think he had that right. But it was so much easier telling him that nothing had happened, ever again, with Kyle, than explaining what had happened not so long ago.

       Well, when I thought that you were gone for good because you were a lying son-of-a-bitch with a husband in sunny L.A., I slept with Kyle. Oh, by the way, it was the same night you left. And for good measure, we kept sleeping together for a while after that. Just an FYI.

       Instead, I simply said: “No. Which is why Winston’s paranoia is that much more ridiculous.”

       And with that, I ended the discussion on that topic. A second later, I motioned for the waiter and told him I was ready to order lamb tartare to go with my lardo and toast.

       The rest of the night was sweet. That’s the only way I can describe it adequately. The conversation was easy; looking at Chase was even easier. He was charming, and great, and hot as hell. The longer we sat and ate and drank, the more I entertained the thought of taking him home and jumping his bones.

       But nothing prepared me for the kiss goodnight as we stood by the valet stand as we waited for our cars.

       “I had an awesome night, gamin,” he said just inches away from my face. It was something he enjoyed doing. Going in for the kiss and then stopping just short. I could feel his lips close to mine and his face right there. But I couldn’t touch him.

       “So did I,” I replied with a smile.

       Then he did something completely unexpected. As I waited for him to go the final inch and kiss me softly, I felt him reach down with his big hand and grab my junk through my slacks.

       “Invite me back to your place,” he whispered. I squealed like a little girl, I have to admit. I hit him on the shoulder with a balled up fist.

       “Let go, you sicko,” I hissed through clenched fists. I looked around, and the only person near us was a valet with headphones on.

       “I really, really want you to fuck me tonight,” he said. Was this the same guy who’d slammed the breaks the night before? I looked him in the eye and almost told him okay. Instead, I pulled his hand away from my rapidly filling cock and cleared my throat.

       “I think you had too many oysters with dinner.”

       He laughed. It was that sort of ease that made me question whether the month was worth it. We were clearly headed down the reconciliation path. He was there for me when I needed him, and that had been my biggest fear. If he could handle that, he could handle anything that came our way, I thought.

       But still. I had to see the whole thing through, and so I kissed him goodnight with no hands, got into my car, and drove home.

       As I got ready for bed, I called Liz and CJ and had a brief conversation with each. CJ reminded me at least three times that his karate showcase was in a week and half. I asked if he’d need a ride to the dojo on Saturday and he said probably. We both knew Devon hated waking up on the weekends if she didn’t have to be somewhere. It was the only time she actually slept, I’d learned over the course of two decades.

       I spent the entire day Thursday hammering out the details of my press schedule. I drove to the Knowles offices in North Richland Hills and sat around a table with Mason and my team leader trying to figure out the best way to handle the media rollout. I already had some underpaid intern blogging things about the book. I had a couple of press leaks making their way around the writing community, and by early November, they’d have a release date set and posters to make.

       Before then, there were a million things that had to be done. There was another round of copy editing that needed to happen, all in house. Then a third party would look at the book backwards and make sure every single punctuation was correct. I had sent copies of books to too many authors with my own red pen slicing through them to have that happen to me.

       Then there was the matter of a forward, author’s remarks, dedication page, cover art, a press release photography and press tour details. All I had to do was submit my dates, which I did that day, and my team handled the bookings and transportation.

       By the time I drove back to the city, I was spent, and tired.

       I was, however, victorious. The thought of missing the holidays with my kids because I was off pimping some story didn’t sit well with me. Especially when, halfway through the calendar meeting, I realized it might be my last holiday season with them. Who knew what would happen when they went off to Chicago. I could fight for holiday visits, but the chances of me getting them were slim at best.

       The other thing that nagged at me during the entire session was the fact that this book may very well cost me my job at SMU. I didn’t really think it would come to that, but I hadn’t anticipated them making a fuss about it in the first place. The manuscript was in the hands of the powers that be, and all I could do was sit back and wait for the decision to drop.

      I was in desperate need of a drink when I got home, so I called the only person I could count on to have one with me on a Thursday night.

      “You’re speaking to me again? Shocker,” Spencer quipped when he answered his phone.

      “Yeah, yeah. You’re the only person I know alcoholic enough to come over for a drink tonight,” I said. Spencer and I hardly ever fought, not like Kyle and I ever did. There were certain things about Spence that you kind of looked over because it was his nature. And because we all knew what those things were, it was easy to return to normal once they’d passed.

      “Since I’m the one who’s apologizing, I’ll bring the alcohol,” he said. An hour and one shower later, he knocked on my door and I let him in.

      “Since when do you knock?” I asked, taking a bag out of his hands and leading the way to my six-seater bar. I had pulled out the shaker, two martini glasses, ice tongs, and everything else we needed to craft enough cocktails to knock out a baby elephant.

      “Since you and Chase are back together. I know better than to walk in on a man with a boyfriend.”

      It was the first time the B word had been used since I decided to give Chase a second chance. I didn’t see it like that, but apparently my friends did.

      “Speaking of, is this dinner with you, Chase, Kyle, and Winston actually happening?” he asked with a cringe. His contorted face finished the sentence for him better than any words could.

      “Yeah,” I replied. “That is happening. And I know you’re going to share your unsolicited opinion anyway, so… let’s hear it.”

      “The fact that you don’t want to hear what I have to say proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you think this is the worst idea known to man.”

      I started to respond, but Spencer plowed through.

      “Don’t even bother justifying it. First of all, shame on Kyle for thinking this is going to get Winston off his back.”

      “What do you mean?”

      “Coop, I may not know that much about relationships, but I know a lot about men. And I know that when a man is jealous, a three course meal isn’t going to cure it.”

      I took a long even sip of my drink. Spencer was probably right, but this wasn’t my idea. This was Kyle’s idea and he’s the one that had to live with the fact that this had some serious fail potential.

      “Look, I’m doing this as my gesture to Kyle.”

      “Because we’re moving on,” Spencer said condescendingly. His raised eyebrow coupled with the symbol we’d come up with for moving on was annoying.

      “Yes. We’re moving on.”

      “Finally.” He smiled, raised his glass at me and I clanked it.

      We mixed another round of drinks, in bigger glasses this time around, and settled in on my couch.

      “What about you, Spence?” I asked, feeling slightly buzzed. My tension headache was melting away, and I could feel myself mellowing out.

      “What about me?”

      “I didn’t mean to dig into you with the whole Kenickie thing,” I started.

      “Well the Kenickie thing is over,” he said.

      “Houston didn’t go well?”

      “Houston was fine until he said we should do another threesome with a different guy.” He shrugged. “I have my limits.”

      “You’ve reached your quota on threeways?”

      He smiled at me and took a long silent sip. “Maybe you were right. Maybe before I hop into bed with the next one, I should ask myself where something is going.”

      “Oh no,” I said, raising my finger at him. “You don’t want to end up like me. Listen, you do things your way, and you let the rest of us suffer the relationship consequences.”

      We continued to talk about Spencer’s love life, or lack thereof. I was grateful for the reprieve from me being the hot topic. Ninety minutes and four cocktails later, I declared I was just drunk enough to get an uninterrupted night of sleep and Spencer called his driver to come pick him up.

      “Tell me the truth, Cooper,” he said, leaning in close to me and smiling wickedly. “Do you think he’s doing it for the photo-op?”

      It took me a second to realize he was talking about Kyle. We hadn’t talked about that situation in a while, and I hesitated to answer.

      “I’m not telling you jack shit about what I’m thinking,” I replied. “Fool me once.”

      “Whatever,” Spencer said, opening my front door and stepping out. The lights from his black town car shown in and blinded me. “He should come out and confess to me, for Christ’s sake. If I’m bankrolling this little son-of-a-bitch’s campaign, I deserve to know if he’s getting married for the press bump.”

      “I hear you, killer,” I replied, seeing him out. I watched him get into his car and ride away.

      I spent most of the next day in my office returning emails and hammering out my lesson plan. I realized after three weeks of teaching that keeping to my schedule had been an ambitious task, and I was floating somewhere between two and three lectures behind.

      As I went through and cut some tertiary material from upcoming lectures, I got a phone call. Something in my intuition told me to let it roll to voicemail, and so I did. As soon as the red light indicating I had a missed call and a voice message popped up, I answered the phone and listened to it.

      Devon’s voice was crisp, precise, and unwavering.

      “I’m taking the job.”

      I put my head down on my desk and fought back every urge to vomit. She couldn’t do this to me, I thought. She wasn’t allowed to pack up and move everything that mattered away from me.

      I must have lain there for a solid ten minutes before my door creaked open slowly.

      “Hey, Carpenter,” Jason boomed, peeping his head in. “I just got word that Peppers is looking for you.”

      “Now is not the time,” I mumbled, refusing to lift my head.

      “Alright, well, um… you might want to give him a call or something. He’s asked about you twice in the faculty lounge.”

      I raised my head slowly and glared at him with steel in my eyes.

      “Now is not the fucking time, Jason,” I said, punctuating each word. He retreated and closed the door without another word.

      I sat up and planned my escape. I emailed Dean Pepper and told him that I had a family emergency and that I’d be away from my computer. If he wanted to schedule a meeting, I would be available as best as I could the following week.

      I didn’t edit my email or taper it to fit any sort of professional code. I didn’t give a rat’s ass if my attitude dripped all over the computer screen. They were likely going to fire me anyway.

      As soon as I turned onto Park Lane and sped past Northpark Mall to Preston Rd, I gritted my teeth, punched my steering wheel, and let out my first true emotion since the phone call. I spent the entire drive to the Highland house cursing Devon under my breath.

      “Where’s your mom?” I boomed as soon as I barged into the house. CJ looked like he’d just gotten home as he was spreading peanut butter onto a slice of bread.

      “She’s not home yet. What’s up, Dad?”

      “Nothing,” I said, catching myself. I realized I resembled a drunken brawler and that wasn’t anyway to behave in front of my kids.

      “You wanna wait for her?” he asked, stuffing a sandwich of peanut butter, bananas, and granola cereal into his mouth.

      “Yeah, I’ll wait.”

      “Wanna talk about it?” I barely understood what he was asking.

      “No kiddo, I don’t want to talk about it,” I snapped. I took a long pause. “But thank you.”

      He raced up to his room, probably to play on his newly returned game console. As I waited on Devon to arrive, I paced back and forth, too upset to string enough coherent thoughts together to form any sort of plan. I asked myself briefly where Liz was and then reminded myself that they had an away game against Irving Nimitz that night.

      I paced and waited for a solid hour and half. I was in no rush to leave. I had nowhere else to be. When I heard Devon’s car pull up, I immediately took a seat on the couch and pretended like I hadn’t been waiting on her for the better part of the evening.

      “Cooper,” she said, hauling in duffle bag full of dentistry god-knows-what. She plopped it down on the couch next to me, put her hands on her hips and gave me a questioning look. “What are you doing here?”

      “I thought I’d try to catch you before you boarded a flight and went off to Chicago.”

      “Don’t be ridiculous.”

      “’I’m taking the job’ were your exact words, Devon,” I said, physically trying to control the temperature of my blood as it rose out of my control.

      “I thought you’d want to know,” she said, tilting her head and shifting her weight. “I’m sorry I gave you the courtesy.”

      I stared at her blankly, unable to recognize the raging bitch that stood before me. When did she get so hell bent on ruining my life? I knew I needed to pay for the things I had done, but this was a new brand of torture I wasn’t even sure Devon was capable of.

      “Why are you here exactly?” she asked.

      “You’re making a mistake,” I said.

      “That would be your opinion, I’m assuming.”

      “Yes, Dev, that is my opinion. And when it comes to the welfare of my children, my opinion gets equal weight.”

      “Noted,” she said with more attitude than I could stand. “I’ll be sure to tell my lawyer your opinion the next time I have a chance. That’s why you’re here right? To threaten me? To warn me that you’ll do everything in your power to keep them here in Texas.”

      “Precisely,” I cut through gritted teeth.

      “I’m not afraid, Cooper. I’ve made my decision and they’re coming with me.”

      “Like hell they are!” I shouted. “You cannot do this to punish me!”

      “Get over yourself, Carpenter!” she shouted to match my tone. “This has nothing to do with you!”

      “You’re a lying, bitter, and angry bitch.”

      “Well then your job here is done, isn’t it?” She could have cut straight threw me with her glare and I would have bled out right then and there. She heaved a deep breath. “Get the hell out of my house.”

      “My name is still on that fucking deed, lady,” I said with more anger than I’d felt in as long as I could remember.

      “You have nothing that scares me Cooper. They are my children and they are coming with me.”

      I could tell that war had been breached and I needed every single faculty I had about me before we continued.

      “You will regret this,” I spat, backing up towards the back door. “That is a mother fucking promise.”

      I took a deep breath as I left. When I reached the car and pulled out of the driveway, I stopped at the first stop sign on the corner and finally lost it.

      I called Chase when I got home and he said he would head over with food after he finished his work out and took a shower. I almost told him to come shower at my place, but that would have been inappropriate.

      Instead, I took my own bath and waited for him to come over.

      When he did, he had stacks of essentials. He hauled up pasta from Maggiano’s and two bottles of sparkling white wine.

      “I got into a fight with my Devon,” I said bitterly as I helped him dish food out of boxes and onto two plates. He hadn’t asked why I called him over, and I loved that. But I wanted to tell him. I felt at ease with him there. I was comfortable, and not simply because I was wearing nothing but a pair of Peruna Mustang boxers.

      “About the move to Chicago?”

      “Yeah,” I said. “She called me today and dropped the bomb, so I drove over there and… I don’t know. I basically let her know I wasn’t going to sit back and let her just take them away.”

      Chase nodded, but didn’t say anything. I took a big bite of perfectly dressed salad.

      “What are you thinking?” I asked with my mouth full of olives and romaine.

      “Nothing. I just… I know what you’re about to go through.” He looked at me with sadness and empathy in his eye.

      “And…”

      He put down his plate and looked directly into my eyes.

      “And it’s not going to be easy. Regardless of the outcome, this battle is going to be tough, Cooper.”

      I closed my eyes and rubbed my temple. As if I didn’t know that already.

      “I saw this sort of thing tear my dad apart, and that’s why I chose to stay with him. He felt like he’d been punished enough losing us to begin with, but when my mom moved back home to Colorado, it was like everything had been ripped out from under him.”

      I could relate with every single word that Chase was saying. It was bad enough my kids lived in a house at least twelve blocks away and I had to make an appointment to so much as pick them up from school. The idea of them jetting off to Illinois had heartbreak written all over it.

      I realized I was crying when I felt Chase’s arms wrap around me. Hearing him say it, seeing his eyes relive the pain hurt like hell. I pulled his arm away from me, and forced myself to ask the question that had crept into my mind slowly since he’d started talking.

      “Um…” I wiped a tear away. “Do you think it would have been easier if your dad had just let you go? If he hadn’t had fought and tried?”

      I had given up all hope of looking sexy at that point, and wiped a wad of snot away from my face. Chase led me to the couch, sans plates. Eating was out of the question now that I was crying like a little kid who’d fallen off his bike.

      “I don’t know,” Chase said honestly. “I mean, I would have turned out completely different, so I’m glad he did what he did. My mom was a good mom but a total smotherer. I don’t think I would have been as ambitious, or driven to succeed had I lived with her. Everything would have been handed to me.”

      I nodded along as he continued.

      “But then again, those two years that they were at each other’s throats, I mean, they were tough, Coop. Would I wish that on any kid? Hell no. You have to do what you think is going to be best for your family in the long run.”

      I couldn’t imagine a situation in which splitting them up was best. I couldn’t imagine a situation where keeping them from Devon was best. The only ideal situation would be me going back into time, sucking up my own desires, and sticking it through. The question was what to do when best was impossible? What the fuck was the second best option?

      Hearing Chase bare his soul so honestly was a different story. I had called him over to distract me from my plight, and in a way, he’d done that by sharing his own. Seeing what a great guy had come out of a shitty situation gave me hope that my kids would, eventually, get passed the pain I’d created and find someone who would love them no matter what.

      As he continued to tell me about his parent’s God awful fights, I pulled him down on top of me and let him lie perfectly in my arms. I could tell it was hard for him to share; hell, it was hard for me to hear.

      “It got to the point where I would stop telling my dad things my mom had said and vice versa because he’d write them down and fax them to his lawyer right away. Every single thing turned into a fight.”

      As he explained it, I made a vow not to fight with Devon like that anymore; not with CJ a couple thin walls away. Everything could be handled civilly without resorting to name calling and useless digging. She was in a tough position as well, I realized.

      “I just feel like there has to be a solution we can all live with,” I said, my diaphragm vibrating against his stomach.

      “And I have no doubt that you’ll find one,” Chase said. He lowered his face and kissed my forehead. At that moment, I knew that by the end of the night, I would most likely throw the thirty day pact away. We were too close and I wasn’t about to let him go.

      There’s something about comfort that a human craves, and for the past few nights, Chase had been there to comfort me. And while he was as sexy as all get out of town, it was the closeness to him that turned me on that night.

      “Chase, I’m going to need someone here with me,” I said honestly, trying not to cry any more. “I just… I can’t let them go without trying and I know it’ll be tough and I know if I go up against her in court, she will win. But I’m going to need someone here.”

      He looked me deep in the eye with his crystal blues and I could see the calculations going on inside his brain. It was the opening he’d been waiting for weeks. I was finally ready to let him back in, and I read it across his face.

      “I’m not going anywhere, gamin.”

      “Promise,” I demanded. He answered by kissing me so deeply, I felt like he was searching for my soul with his tongue. He immediately ground into me with his pelvis and the thin material of my boxers did nothing to mask the hard bulge forming in his pants.

      “I promise,” he whispered. He sat up, kneeling between my legs, and pulled his shirt off. A second later, he dove in and returned his lips to mine, lifting my head up to his with his strong hand.

      Twenty years had passed, but nothing had come between Chase and my rhythm. Even on a couch that two grown men shouldn’t have fit on, we found our groove, and before I knew it, both of us were naked and grinding against each other.

      “I love you,” he whispered between passionate kisses. He would occasionally leave my lips and kiss my neck, sucking in slightly and pulling at every nerve ending on my nape. It wasn’t something I was used to from him, but I refused to wonder where he’d learned it.

      All I concentrated on was how good he made me feel.

      He pulled my legs around his waist and I tied them tight around his back. As he sat up to guide his way into me, he couldn’t help but smile wickedly down at me.

      “I love you, Monsieur,” he whispered. Instead of answering, I did a sit up, pulled his neck, and kissed him deeply as he lifted me up and slid right in.

      It was almost like the two of us fit like puzzle pieces. His dick buried into me with nothing but the slickness of his precum and the anticipation of being filled. I took a deep breath, held on to his neck, and let him push me back and forth.

      Before long, my weight became too much for his strong arms and he eased me back onto the couch and pushed in from above me. The smile was sexy and cute, but obnoxiously wicked. It was like he knew he was dominating me, and he loved it.

      There’s nothing better than looking into the eyes of someone you love while the two of you share the most intimate parts of each other. I can’t describe it as fucking because although the mechanics of basic animalistic sex were there, there was also so much more.

      When our eyes weren’t connected, our lips were. I wrapped my legs around him tightly so that as much of my skin as possible was pressed up against his. We were in no rush, and his thrusts in and out proved that. They were excruciatingly slow at times, and astonishingly quick at others.

      No matter the rhythm, it was driven by a man who loved me more than anything.

      Before long, I pushed him back, and slid off his cock. It was my turn to smile wickedly, and I did as I led him towards my bedroom. The last thing I wanted to explain to my thirteen year old was cum stains on a brand new couch.

      But we never made it to the bedroom. Before I had a chance, Chase pushed me roughly against the hallway wall and slid into me from behind. He lifted my left leg up for easier access as I arched my neck back and gave him full access to my shoulder region.

      Like a horny teenager, Chase bit down on my shoulder and thrust deeply into me at the same time.

      “Oh fuck,” I sighed, unable to do anything more. My sigh rose to a pant, and by the time Chase was plowing in from behind me, my pant was a full on continuous moan.

      “Oh fuck, babe,” he said over and over into my ear. His breathing was labored, proof that the most in shape man I knew was getting a workout at my body’s expense.

      “I… I… I… love you, babe,” he shouted, his voice bouncing up and down like he was. His lips were everywhere from my back to my ears, from my neck, to my lips. There was something about his touch that drove me crazy, and I never wanted it to end.

      As our breathing became more and more labored, and our sweat continued to slide down our bodies, I realized that eventually it would have to end. Chase’s thrust became slower, but deeper. I could feel his cock pull all the way out of me and then slip back in, stimulating every single nerve ending that existed inside of me.

      By the time I heard him grunt behind me, tense his entire body, and spew wave after wave of piping hot cum deep inside of me, I was convinced he was determined to give me the best orgasm I’d ever had, and my wall had the nail marks to prove it.

      Maybe it was coming off a nearly two-week dry spell. Maybe it was finally connecting with Chase on a level that pre-dated any of our past drama, or maybe it was realizing that my life could indeed reach a new normal.

      When the ground beneath us stabilized and our cocks stopped twitching, I caught my breath and led Chase to the bathroom for round two.

      Two orgasms and a gallon of cum later, we finally settled into bed, his arms wrapped firmly around me. Even with everything going on in my life, it was impossible to feel anything less than secure.

      For the first time in a long time, I fell asleep thinking that everything could, and more importantly would, eventually be okay.

Hope you enjoyed that chapter. Thanks for the continued reads and support. As always, comments, reviews and feedback are welcome and greatly appreciated.

Join the discussion here: http://www.gayauthor...funny-thing-is/

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Chapter Comments

Chase seems to affect me the same way as Cooper; he just can't do wrong. Which will of course be a huge let down when he does something horrible soon enough (probably). I like that we still don't know about his teaching position. And I think we all saw the Chicago thing coming. I spent all week thinking, yeah CJ will probably want to stay with him, and if Mike and Liz are still together she'll probably want to be around, so I'm glad he had the same thoughts too. I'm hoping for that fairytale ending. Great stuff bro.

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On 10/03/2011 04:08 PM, jinkies33 said:
Chase seems to affect me the same way as Cooper; he just can't do wrong. Which will of course be a huge let down when he does something horrible soon enough (probably). I like that we still don't know about his teaching position. And I think we all saw the Chicago thing coming. I spent all week thinking, yeah CJ will probably want to stay with him, and if Mike and Liz are still together she'll probably want to be around, so I'm glad he had the same thoughts too. I'm hoping for that fairytale ending. Great stuff bro.
Glad you liked the chapter. This chapter was to set up the inevitable fallout from the Chicago decision, which I'm hoping will be less expected. Thanks for the review!

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Arghhh! I read through this chapter. It held my interest, infuriated me, titillated me and in some ways appalled me. I guess that means the author is doing something right.

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On 10/03/2011 05:14 PM, Daddydavek said:
Arghhh! I read through this chapter. It held my interest, infuriated me, titillated me and in some ways appalled me. I guess that means the author is doing something right.
Thanks :)

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Read it as soon as it went up. The end was simply hot! Turned me on big time, but aside from that I think it shows us an overview of how the divorce will transpire especially with Devon trying to get her way. Also, could this be Chase and Coop finally taking it to another level again and hopefully for good? We'll see what happens next.

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On 10/03/2011 06:30 PM, wexine said:
Read it as soon as it went up. The end was simply hot! Turned me on big time, but aside from that I think it shows us an overview of how the divorce will transpire especially with Devon trying to get her way. Also, could this be Chase and Coop finally taking it to another level again and hopefully for good? We'll see what happens next.
Hey Wexine! Thanks for the review. I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter :) The divorce is about to take a messy turn, but I will say, I don't see Chase going anywhere any time soon (that doesn't mean he won't eventually, but he's there for now in a big way). Thanks again.

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Winston doesn't care for Coop! ohmy.png Ok, no surprise there. wink.png Good on Kyle for being honest about his reasons for wanting to have the dinner. It tells me he wants to make things work with Winston; it tells me he really is moving on. I'm glad Coop is going to run with it as well. Spencer makes a solid point, though. Will seeing Coop and Chase together and in love appease Winston? Spencer certainly doesn't think so. My guess is that Winston will play nice and try and go with it. Whatever is in the back of his mind on this issue, we may never know. Winston likely sees himself as Kyle's second choice; that's always a bitter pill to swallow.

 

Chase is being perfect. wub.png I truly believe he's being sincere. He's now Coop's rock. Whatever happens on the kids front, Coop will survive it.

 

The love scene was.....GULP.....very satisfying. blush1.gif

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On 10/04/2011 03:36 AM, Conner said:
Winston doesn't care for Coop! ohmy.png Ok, no surprise there. wink.png Good on Kyle for being honest about his reasons for wanting to have the dinner. It tells me he wants to make things work with Winston; it tells me he really is moving on. I'm glad Coop is going to run with it as well. Spencer makes a solid point, though. Will seeing Coop and Chase together and in love appease Winston? Spencer certainly doesn't think so. My guess is that Winston will play nice and try and go with it. Whatever is in the back of his mind on this issue, we may never know. Winston likely sees himself as Kyle's second choice; that's always a bitter pill to swallow.

 

Chase is being perfect. wub.png I truly believe he's being sincere. He's now Coop's rock. Whatever happens on the kids front, Coop will survive it.

 

The love scene was.....GULP.....very satisfying. blush1.gif

You'll have to wait and see how the dinner party turns out. As for Chase, I'm glad folks are getting back on his side. We'll see if it lasts, but for now, I'll say you're right about his sincerity. Glad you... um... enjoyed the love scene :)

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Just a bit of a nit pick ;)

If this is some time in the future, then the 'mother gets custody by default' precendent likely wouldn't exist, as its much less common nowadays, tho I know you're using it here for the drama ;)

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On 10/04/2011 07:27 AM, G90814 said:
Just a bit of a nit pick ;)

If this is some time in the future, then the 'mother gets custody by default' precendent likely wouldn't exist, as its much less common nowadays, tho I know you're using it here for the drama ;)

You might be right. But you like you said, it's for the drama. Thanks for the review.

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Loved this chapter... 1st let me say I love the friendships here. Your writing style makes it so easy to read. It's like watching a movie. Now to the story. I totally feel for Cooper, it seems like he's trying to get it together and shit aka life keeps getting in the way..He's human after all so I also dig the Chase thing, though I agree with Chase and Spencer, Kyle is Cooper's first love. Kyle on the other hand I hope he sees that Cooper is his at this dinner which I can't wait to read about...lol Stil team Kyle don't know why but I just love his ass. I see his name in the chapters and get all happy...stupid I know so sue me...lol Devon well you know my stance on that...UGHHHHH...lol great chapter keep em coming.

 

Kim

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On 10/04/2011 11:21 AM, Naptowngirl said:
Loved this chapter... 1st let me say I love the friendships here. Your writing style makes it so easy to read. It's like watching a movie. Now to the story. I totally feel for Cooper, it seems like he's trying to get it together and shit aka life keeps getting in the way..He's human after all so I also dig the Chase thing, though I agree with Chase and Spencer, Kyle is Cooper's first love. Kyle on the other hand I hope he sees that Cooper is his at this dinner which I can't wait to read about...lol Stil team Kyle don't know why but I just love his ass. I see his name in the chapters and get all happy...stupid I know so sue me...lol Devon well you know my stance on that...UGHHHHH...lol great chapter keep em coming.

 

Kim

Thanks a bundle for the review. I'm glad you're enjoying the story, especially the friendships, because I really think that's the heart of the tale. Anyway, expect big things from the dinner... I won't say which way things go, but I'm hoping they're surprising at least. More to come :)

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Ah, poor Coop. I know how it feels to have your whole life turned upside down, but for Devon to go to Chicago w/the kids is like twisting that knife further and further in Coop's back. Making them choose which parent they want to live with may be in Coop's favor for CJ, but how about if Liz doesn't want to be away from her mom? I think it's terrible, for example, what Chase's parents did, and separate the kids. I believe the kids should stay together. They already lost one parent, I wouldn't want them to lose each other.

 

I don't remember if I asked about this in the last chapter: was "All Cooped Up" written before Coop worked at SMU? And if so, then why did they hire him in the first place? Wasn't "All Cooped Up" (the most awesome title, btw) also a little risque? I mean, I know not like "The List", omg, no, but still knowing Cooper, it must have had its fair share of sex in it, even if it was the straight kind. lol Wouldn't the school see it like they're condoning his behavior by hiring him? Then why are they giving him such a hard time over this latest book; just b/c it has to do with gay themes? Lighten up you Texans! It's 2011 for God's sakes! :)

 

I absolutely LOVE Chase even more than I did before. He is amazing. I just hope that he doesn't disappoint Coop again. Coop is falling for him maybe faster than before. Ok, not faster, but Chase better not hurt him again.

 

And if I were Winston, I'd feel the same way. Kyle will always love Cooper as more than a friend and Winston knows he's sloppy seconds. I imagine it's not a good feeling. He probably feels insecure and vulnerable and he knows that if Coop gave Kyle just a glimmer of hope that they could be together again, then he knows he'd be gone before he could say "campaign strategy".

 

Awesome chapter as usual! Made my day to see it updated! :) Oh, and whatever happened to BHB's? You're not quitting on Logan and Co., are you? :(

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On 10/05/2011 11:12 AM, Lisa said:
Ah, poor Coop. I know how it feels to have your whole life turned upside down, but for Devon to go to Chicago w/the kids is like twisting that knife further and further in Coop's back. Making them choose which parent they want to live with may be in Coop's favor for CJ, but how about if Liz doesn't want to be away from her mom? I think it's terrible, for example, what Chase's parents did, and separate the kids. I believe the kids should stay together. They already lost one parent, I wouldn't want them to lose each other.

 

I don't remember if I asked about this in the last chapter: was "All Cooped Up" written before Coop worked at SMU? And if so, then why did they hire him in the first place? Wasn't "All Cooped Up" (the most awesome title, btw) also a little risque? I mean, I know not like "The List", omg, no, but still knowing Cooper, it must have had its fair share of sex in it, even if it was the straight kind. lol Wouldn't the school see it like they're condoning his behavior by hiring him? Then why are they giving him such a hard time over this latest book; just b/c it has to do with gay themes? Lighten up you Texans! It's 2011 for God's sakes! :)

 

I absolutely LOVE Chase even more than I did before. He is amazing. I just hope that he doesn't disappoint Coop again. Coop is falling for him maybe faster than before. Ok, not faster, but Chase better not hurt him again.

 

And if I were Winston, I'd feel the same way. Kyle will always love Cooper as more than a friend and Winston knows he's sloppy seconds. I imagine it's not a good feeling. He probably feels insecure and vulnerable and he knows that if Coop gave Kyle just a glimmer of hope that they could be together again, then he knows he'd be gone before he could say "campaign strategy".

 

Awesome chapter as usual! Made my day to see it updated! :) Oh, and whatever happened to BHB's? You're not quitting on Logan and Co., are you? :(

Hey Lisa! So many comments and questions. I love it :) so All Cooped Up was out when he was hired. But like you said, the list is on a completely different level. expect some fireworks there. I'm glad you're feeling Chase these days. I think if you like him now, you'll only like him more moving on. Not to say coop's feelings for Kyle are in the clear... Finally, I'm finishing up bhb, but I haven't had as much time for it this fall. Cooper and co are my obvious priority :)

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As always another good one. I would say I can't believe Cooper lied to Chase about never being with Kyle, but then that wouldn't be Coop and wouldn't make for good drama later on. Can't wait for the dinner because I think it will be like a train wreck. Looks like everyone is piling on Coop with Devon leaving and now the administration wanting to talk to him. But Chase came to the rescue with some damn good loving. That was a very hot ending. I might have to read that again before going to bed with my hubby. Not sure if he(husband) would understand that particular scene getting me going but it was worth the wait I think.

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On 10/06/2011 12:25 PM, peethree said:
As always another good one. I would say I can't believe Cooper lied to Chase about never being with Kyle, but then that wouldn't be Coop and wouldn't make for good drama later on. Can't wait for the dinner because I think it will be like a train wreck. Looks like everyone is piling on Coop with Devon leaving and now the administration wanting to talk to him. But Chase came to the rescue with some damn good loving. That was a very hot ending. I might have to read that again before going to bed with my hubby. Not sure if he(husband) would understand that particular scene getting me going but it was worth the wait I think.
Hey peethree! Thanks for the review. Glad you enjoyed th happy ending.... More to come soon. Pun so definitely intended.

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Intense, strange gamesmanship, but each new twist adds intrigue and a desire for more. After the List, I didn't think this saga could get better, but it has and does each new chapter. My impression of the Tx judicial system has not improved with Kyle's discussions with Coop -- when will they come out of the dark ages and realize mothers are not always the best choice for children! I can only hope that the judge here has enough sense to see through Devon's intrigues! Thanks again for a great read!

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On 10/10/2011 10:15 AM, GeR said:
Intense, strange gamesmanship, but each new twist adds intrigue and a desire for more. After the List, I didn't think this saga could get better, but it has and does each new chapter. My impression of the Tx judicial system has not improved with Kyle's discussions with Coop -- when will they come out of the dark ages and realize mothers are not always the best choice for children! I can only hope that the judge here has enough sense to see through Devon's intrigues! Thanks again for a great read!
Hey George. Thanks for the review! I'm glad the story continues to entertain. More to come soon

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I'm glad he couldn't last 8000 words. Your story was missing a spark. Hopefully he can avoid the drama that is KYLE... Then he can go back to fighting for his JOB and KIDS. Devon isn't wrong to want a fresh start but that mistake was twenty years ago. She knew CHASE was breathing. I would NEVER have thought COOPER was over men or HIM. If she read the same LIST, I read, she would have never had said I DO. She needs to accept some of this is her fault. The storm is weakening... hopefully Cooper will let it.

HA... We know he won't. James should not be his middle name, Foolish comes to mind. I love your story.

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On 10/13/2011 04:14 PM, Westlake82 said:
I'm glad he couldn't last 8000 words. Your story was missing a spark. Hopefully he can avoid the drama that is KYLE... Then he can go back to fighting for his JOB and KIDS. Devon isn't wrong to want a fresh start but that mistake was twenty years ago. She knew CHASE was breathing. I would NEVER have thought COOPER was over men or HIM. If she read the same LIST, I read, she would have never had said I DO. She needs to accept some of this is her fault. The storm is weakening... hopefully Cooper will let it.

HA... We know he won't. James should not be his middle name, Foolish comes to mind. I love your story.

Thanks for the review. I enjoy reading your reactions for sure. I'm glad you love the story. It's far from over :)

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