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    Renee Stevens
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Reece's Choice - 9. Chapter 9

“Dave, I think we need to go get some groceries.” We’d been living together for three days when I finally told Dave we had no other choice. We had to brave the grocery store. It was apparent Dave had been telling the truth about never cooking. We didn’t have much at all for food in the house. I’d managed to scrounge a couple of meals out of the meager offerings, but that was about it.

It was the perfect opportunity to learn more about the man I’d given my heart to.

“What kind of vegetables do you like?” We were in the produce section and with the exception of corn, which I’d get frozen, I preferred fresh veggies. We’d already gotten a bag of red potatoes and one of white, as well as lettuce and tomatoes.

Dave wrinkled up his nose and barely glanced at anything. He pointed to the cart. “Can’t we just stick with potatoes and salads?”

I laughed until I realized he was serious. I shook my head. “Have you had squash before?”

He nodded. “I think so, once. It wasn’t very good.”

“I wish I knew how it had been cooked. Steamed, it’s great.” I picked up a couple zucchini squash and a couple of yellow squash. Dave looked at them doubtfully. “Just try them once, and if you don’t like them I won’t make them for you again.” That wasn’t to say I wouldn’t cook squash occasionally, I just wouldn’t try and get him to eat it.

“Sounds fair enough.”

“I guess I should have already asked, but are you allergic to anything?” It would make it easier to plan the meals if I knew what he couldn’t have.

“Nope, not that I’m aware of.”

I smiled, added a couple of sweet potatoes to the cart, a few different peppers, and moved on to fruits. Dave was much more helpful there. I added a mixed bag of apples and oranges. Dave added some bananas, strawberries, and peaches. I spied the raspberries and grabbed a thing of those. I probably went overboard on the fruit, but I loved fruit and my budget hadn’t allowed me to have it very often.

We went through the aisles one by one. I got everything I needed to make spaghetti again, since Dave had seemed to enjoy it. I got various types of noodles and rice. We made our way down the canned aisle and I added things to the cart as we passed them. Dave even added a few things. I cringed when he added canned pasta and took it back out of the cart.

“What? I like those.” He started to reach for them again and I shook my head.

“There’s some others we can get and add to a sauce. Trust me, you’ll like those better.” He nodded once and stepped away from the canned stuff. I would count that as a win.

I didn’t plan on doing a lot of baking, but I still needed to get flour and sugar. We grabbed those and moved on to grab eggs and milk.

“If you’ll get the eggs, I’ll get the milk.” I sighed when Dave grabbed the first carton of eggs he came across. He started to put them in the cart and I stopped him.

“What?” He held up the eggs. “I thought you wanted eggs.”

“We do need eggs, but you need to check them first.” I made a mental note to never have Dave stop at the store for something that I was missing. At least for a while. Hopefully after a few trips he’d know what I was looking for.

“Check them?” He raised an eyebrow and glanced at me like I was nuts. “What’s to check? They’re eggs.”

“Open the carton and look at them.” I tried to keep my tone as patient as I could.

“They look like eggs.” He shrugged his shoulders.

“Are any broke or cracked?”

“I don’t think so.” He peered down at the eggs. “Oh, wait, this one looks cracked.” He put that carton back and grabbed a different one. I smiled and grabbed a gallon of milk as he opened the new container and checked the eggs inside. “These look good.”

He put them in the cart and I moved them to the upper part where they couldn’t get crushed, but didn’t say anything.

“So, what’s next?”

“We still need meat, cheese, the ravioli, and bread.” I glanced at what we had in the cart. “Do we want cereal for when we need a quick breakfast?”

“Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. And lunch meat for when we’re home for lunch.” Dave looked around and pointed. “I think we passed the cereal aisle over there.”

I pushed the cart in the direction he indicated and looked through the various cereals. I grabbed a box that I liked and watched to see what Dave would pick. I wasn’t under any illusion that we’d always be able to go shopping together and so it was a good thing for me to know.

We left the cereal aisle and moved to the lunch meats.

“I used to like a couple of different kinds of meat on my sandwiches.” I grabbed a package of honey ham and hesitated before adding one of roast beef. It had been a while since I had been able to afford to get what I wanted and I knew I’d have to be careful or I’d go completely overboard. I glanced at the cart and cringed. Even more than I already had.

“So do I.” Dave tossed a package of turkey in the cart. “I usually do turkey and ham.”

“Roast beef and ham is good together too.” I reached for a package of cheese. Out of habit I picked up the most processed stuff and then put it back when I realized what I’d grabbed. It was cheaper per slice than the good cheese, but for once I was going to get the kind I actually liked. Besides, if my biggest part of the bills was groceries, then I wasn’t going to skimp and always buy the cheapest. I reached for a package of cheddar and one of swiss.

“What kinds of meat are we getting?” Dave led the way over to the meat section.

“What kind do you like?” I realized as soon as I said it what I had opened myself up for. Dave didn’t disappoint.

“Well”–his gaze roved over my body, and he leaned closer to whisper—“I’d say it’s about six and a half inches, hot, hard, and has a creamy sauce.”

I struggled not to laugh. “I mean to eat, smartass.” I held up my hand to stop the comment that I was sure was coming. “Beef, chicken, or pork?”

“Umm, all of the above?”

“Okay, that’s helpful.” I scanned the selection. I only planned to do a major shopping trip once per paycheck, so some things would have to be freezable. I picked up a large pack of chicken breasts and put it in the cart. Chicken was versatile and could be used for so many things. Plus, I could freeze it into smaller packages.

“Do we need hamburger?” Dave held up a one pound package.

“Yeah, but get one of the bigger sizes.” I pointed to the one I wanted.

“Isn’t that a little much for just us?” Despite the question, he put the ground beef in the cart.

“Yeah, but I’ll freeze some of it. Same with the chicken.” I picked up a package of boneless beef ribs and added it to the already heaping cart along with a package of cubed pork chops. A pork loin and a beef roast finished out the meat department and I headed for the bread aisle with Dave trailing behind.

I grabbed various bread items as we went down the aisle. If Dave disagreed with my choices, he didn’t say anything. And after the canned pasta debacle I had no doubt he would have. Which reminded me I needed to get the ravioli. It was over by the deli, so I could grab it on our way to the checkouts. I saw Becky as I reached for the packages of ravioli.

“Hey, Reece.”

I smiled at Becky as she walked over to us. “Hey, Becky.” I motioned Dave closer. “Becky, this is Dave. Dave, this is one of my supervisors, Becky.” I mock frowned at her. “Aren’t you working today?”

“Nice to meet you.” Dave shook her hand.

“Same to you.” Becky turned her attention back to me. “Just grabbing something from the hot case for lunch. Did your Mom find you?”

“My mom?” I wasn’t sure I even wanted to know why Becky was asking about my mom.

“Yeah, she was in the store earlier today, asking if you were working. Said she’d been trying to get ahold of you.” Becky crossed her arms over her chest. “She got a little loud when I refused to give her your new address.”

I groaned. The last thing I needed was to have Mom cause problems for me at work. I knew I was being childish by refusing her phone calls, but it looked like I was going to have to talk to her sooner rather than later. I couldn’t believe she’d come to my work. No, scratch that, I could.

“I’ll get ahold of her later today and find out what’s going on.” Like I didn’t know what she wanted. “Thanks for letting me know.”

“No problem. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Becky waved and walked away.

I turned to Dave. “We ready?”

“Yeah.” Dave refused to look at me and instead headed for the checkouts.

Gone was the playful guy from the meat department. Dave was quiet as we loaded the groceries on the conveyor belt. Once we had everything unloaded from the cart, he turned to me.

“I’m going to go out and wait at the car.” Dave didn’t wait for a response. He simply walked away. I watched him go and tried to figure out what had caused the abrupt change in his demeanor.

I waited impatiently for the clerk to finish ringing up our purchases. Unlucky for me, I’d gotten one of the newer employees who was still rather slow. It seemed to take forever for him to finish and I barely even heard the total. My mind was too occupied with what was going on with Dave.

Despite my distraction regarding Dave, I winced when I heard the total. I’d definitely need to make a budget and stick to it. I finished paying and pushed the cart out to the car. Dave got out as I got near and—without a word–helped me load the groceries. The ride home was quiet, and the closer we got, the more worried I became. This wasn’t the Dave I knew and loved. I’d never seen this side of him and I never wanted to again.

Once we got home, he helped carry the bags into the kitchen, grabbed a beer from the fridge, and disappeared out the back door. I kept glancing at the back door, waiting for him to come back in while I put away all the food. I’d just stowed the last of the canned goods and was finally finished. I grabbed a beer and debated on whether or not to go look at him. He obviously needed some space, but I didn’t know what had happened to upset him. I took a single sip of my beer and couldn’t wait any longer.

I found him as soon as I walked out the back door. The yard wasn’t really all that big, but it had a small patio area with a small table and a couple of chairs. A barbecue grill sat to one side.

“Dave?” I took a tentative step closer when he didn’t answer. “You okay?”

I could tell he took a deep breath by the rise of his shoulders and he let it out with a sigh. “I really want this to work, but not like this.” He still hadn’t looked at me.

I moved so I was facing him. He sat twisting his beer bottle in his hands and finally he glanced up at me. The pain written across his face was my undoing and I moved to crouch in front of him.

“What did I do?” I’d never have done anything to intentionally hurt him. “Tell me so I can try and fix it.”

He looked back down at his hands. “It’s not even the same situation. You’re out to your family. Your cousins know about us moving in together. And I know you don’t have the greatest relationship with your parents, so I kind of understand. But in the end, you’re still hiding from them what we mean to each other.”

Fuck. I hadn’t even given a thought to how my avoidance of my mother might affect Dave. Especially after what he’d gone through in college. Our situation was different, but in some ways I was doing the exact same thing that asshole had done to him. There were tears in his eyes when he looked at me again.

“I can’t be anybody’s secret, Reece.” Dave pushed his chair back and stood. He started towards the door to the house, but stopped part way there and looked back at me. His voice dropped to a whisper. “Not even yours.”

Copyright © 2015 Renee Stevens; All Rights Reserved.
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This is a great chapter. An emerging dynamic between two men who want to love one another. You describe it beautifully without being prosy. And the stinger on the end about not being anyone's secret - the reader just wants to jump up and down and yell at Reece to get out there and make it public, official and hell, call the newspapers. Just saying.

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Wonderful scene in the store as Reese and Dave complete their shopping and set up their household…

 

It is a shame that Dave thinks that Reece is hiding their relationship. I think Reece just doesn't want to deal with the negativity of his mother and it has nothing to do with hiding his relationship with Dave. I think that he has misinterpreted Reece's behavior. I think the important lesson here for Reece and Dave is the absolute need to do better communicating with each other, especially as they are still learning about each other. Making assumptions can be fatal for their relationship...

 

I want to see these guys in domestic bliss so that they can heal each other's emotional wounds...

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Dave certainly is aware of Reece's mother's toxic attitude towards his homosexuality...so why would he insist on Reece telling her about his living arrangements? What good can it do? Dave and Reece are WAY better off without her and her attitude!

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I think I understand Dave feeling the way he does, but I don't agree it's the same thing at all with Reece. That said, if it helps him to hear Reece own him to his parents, and they back off of Reece then I'm all for it. Maybe Reece does need to shut his mother down and set her straight.
Loved them at the store..

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So the simple solution here is to call Reece's mum on speaker phone and let Dave witness how awful she is and how hurt Reece feels. Maybe then he'll understand and stop doubting Reece.
But since Reece probably hasn't told Dave how badly his parents and older generation family treat him and how difficult it is for him to deal with it, out of some misplaced loyalty and pride, he carries part of the blame for this misunderstanding.

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Renee: Wonderful chapter. I can remember a similar shopping trip with one of my ex's. I mean we had TOTALLY different tastes. I guess I was lucky to be the type who is willing to try new things! The end...the part of Reece & Dave FINALLY talking about what hurt Dave in the store was SO important. ANY relationship MUST be based on total honesty and communication is key.
It was a good lesson for both of them. Dave should have said something in the car instead of allowing it to fester in his mind. Reece on the other hand, should have just called his mother and told her... Secrets are bad for everyone.

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I think Dave is being a bit unfair. He knows that this is bigger than him. He knows that his parents rejected him in their actions. I don't think he's hiding Dave as much as not wanting to deal with his parents. I would think from the first night and the things he's been told that Dave would get that they weren't going to be opening their armms to their son and his boyfriend.
That said, I'd understand if Dave was worried or it was tripping that switch that the last guy did. But, he could have asked the reason why he hadn't told his parents and asked him if he planned to. He could have given him a chance to make it right.
It drives me crazy when people just walk away like Dave did. He had to be chase down for a reason he was acting wierd and then when he tells him the problem he just walks off again. That isn't good communication for a relationship. I hope that doesn't put their relationship at risk. We'll see.

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Sorry, Dave bugged me this chapter. I see others being more empathizing with Dave, but personally I can't get on board with it. Reece is out to his family, it's not like he's kept his relationship a secret at all. His cousins all know about it, and they've all spent time with them while they've been an open couple. Considering how Dave met Reece, and the blatant bigotry displayed by his family, I'm not sure what Dave is wanting or expecting here.

 

Am I wrong in thinking that what Reece is doing is generally how most people are in real life. If people, family included don't accept you for who you are and who you choose as a significant other, you generally choose to be happy with your significant other and cut those others out of your life. I've seen more than one straight couple do this, let alone gay couples.

 

Am I really supposed to think that Reece, a grown man living on his own, has to put up with a bunch of bigoted nonsense and shrill nagging from his overbearing mother because Dave thinks he's Reece's dirty secret? I think Dave needs a taste of reality.

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On 10/12/2015 11:45 PM, Parker Owens said:

This is a great chapter. An emerging dynamic between two men who want to love one another. You describe it beautifully without being prosy. And the stinger on the end about not being anyone's secret - the reader just wants to jump up and down and yell at Reece to get out there and make it public, official and hell, call the newspapers. Just saying.

Thank you Parker. I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. I wrote it and I still want to tell Reece to make it all better, lol. We'll just have to see what time brings for these two :) I look forward to seeing what you think of the last couple of chapters.

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On 10/13/2015 01:03 AM, KevinD said:

Wonderful scene in the store as Reese and Dave complete their shopping and set up their household…

 

It is a shame that Dave thinks that Reece is hiding their relationship. I think Reece just doesn't want to deal with the negativity of his mother and it has nothing to do with hiding his relationship with Dave. I think that he has misinterpreted Reece's behavior. I think the important lesson here for Reece and Dave is the absolute need to do better communicating with each other, especially as they are still learning about each other. Making assumptions can be fatal for their relationship...

 

I want to see these guys in domestic bliss so that they can heal each other's emotional wounds...

Thank you, Kevin! I like the grocery shopping as well, though Reece definitely needs to set a grocery budget.

 

I agree with you as far as Reece not wanting to deal with his mother. Communication definitely could have kept the situation from getting out of hand.

 

I hope you enjoy the last couple of chapters!

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On 10/13/2015 10:33 AM, Coastguard said:

Dave certainly is aware of Reece's mother's toxic attitude towards his homosexuality...so why would he insist on Reece telling her about his living arrangements? What good can it do? Dave and Reece are WAY better off without her and her attitude!

Thanks for the review Coastguard! I do agree that Dave and Reece are better off without her, but at the same time I can definitely understand where Dave is coming from. I hope you enjoy the next chapter :)

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On 10/13/2015 11:03 AM, Defiance19 said:

I think I understand Dave feeling the way he does, but I don't agree it's the same thing at all with Reece. That said, if it helps him to hear Reece own him to his parents, and they back off of Reece then I'm all for it. Maybe Reece does need to shut his mother down and set her straight.

Loved them at the store..

Thanks Defiance! Even Dave agrees that it's not the same thing. He told Reece he knows it's not the same, but sometimes we can't help the way we feel. Communication was the key here and somehow it got missed.

 

I loved them at the store too :)

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On 10/14/2015 05:16 AM, Timothy M. said:

So the simple solution here is to call Reece's mum on speaker phone and let Dave witness how awful she is and how hurt Reece feels. Maybe then he'll understand and stop doubting Reece.

But since Reece probably hasn't told Dave how badly his parents and older generation family treat him and how difficult it is for him to deal with it, out of some misplaced loyalty and pride, he carries part of the blame for this misunderstanding.

Thanks for the review, Tim. I think a part of Dave does understand, but at the same time, sometimes emotions aren't really rational. I think the biggest issue is, Dave's ex refused to tell his family because of how they would react. There are enough similarities for it to be a trigger for him.

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On 10/14/2015 07:01 AM, Atruefan said:

Renee: Wonderful chapter. I can remember a similar shopping trip with one of my ex's. I mean we had TOTALLY different tastes. I guess I was lucky to be the type who is willing to try new things! The end...the part of Reece & Dave FINALLY talking about what hurt Dave in the store was SO important. ANY relationship MUST be based on total honesty and communication is key.

It was a good lesson for both of them. Dave should have said something in the car instead of allowing it to fester in his mind. Reece on the other hand, should have just called his mother and told her... Secrets are bad for everyone.

Thanks Lenny! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I remember similar shopping trips like that with my hubby, except he went for the frozen dinners, lol.

 

They definitely needed to talk about what was going on. Honestly, Dave should have talked to Reece about it before the trip to the store, since it's now been building for a couple of days. Now we just have to see how they handle it.

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On 10/14/2015 08:44 PM, Cannd said:

I think Dave is being a bit unfair. He knows that this is bigger than him. He knows that his parents rejected him in their actions. I don't think he's hiding Dave as much as not wanting to deal with his parents. I would think from the first night and the things he's been told that Dave would get that they weren't going to be opening their armms to their son and his boyfriend.

That said, I'd understand if Dave was worried or it was tripping that switch that the last guy did. But, he could have asked the reason why he hadn't told his parents and asked him if he planned to. He could have given him a chance to make it right.

It drives me crazy when people just walk away like Dave did. He had to be chase down for a reason he was acting wierd and then when he tells him the problem he just walks off again. That isn't good communication for a relationship. I hope that doesn't put their relationship at risk. We'll see.

Thanks for the review, Cannd. Dave definitely should have talked to Reece prior to when he did. I think it's especially shocking coming from Dave, because he's seemed so together throughout the story. Unfortunately, sometimes someone's past can come back to bite them in the ass, and now it's happening to Dave and Reece.

 

As far as Dave walking away, yeah, that is annoying. I think they have both been guilty of not communicating well and it's definitely something they need to work on if they want to make it as a couple.

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On 10/14/2015 10:44 PM, spikey582 said:

Sorry, Dave bugged me this chapter. I see others being more empathizing with Dave, but personally I can't get on board with it. Reece is out to his family, it's not like he's kept his relationship a secret at all. His cousins all know about it, and they've all spent time with them while they've been an open couple. Considering how Dave met Reece, and the blatant bigotry displayed by his family, I'm not sure what Dave is wanting or expecting here.

 

Am I wrong in thinking that what Reece is doing is generally how most people are in real life. If people, family included don't accept you for who you are and who you choose as a significant other, you generally choose to be happy with your significant other and cut those others out of your life. I've seen more than one straight couple do this, let alone gay couples.

 

Am I really supposed to think that Reece, a grown man living on his own, has to put up with a bunch of bigoted nonsense and shrill nagging from his overbearing mother because Dave thinks he's Reece's dirty secret? I think Dave needs a taste of reality.

Thanks for the review spikey! I can definitely understand why Dave bugged you this chapter, but one thing to remember is he's not perfect. Sometimes emotions just get the best of us.

 

I also don't think it would have been such a big thing if Reece simply hadn't called his parents. The issue comes in because he's actively avoiding them. Normally, that probably wouldn't be a big deal, but we only have the basics of what happened with Dave's ex.

 

For all we know, it's the exact same behavior that the ex displayed. We'd have to be in Dave's head to know exactly what he's thinking and feeling and why he's acting the way he is.

 

Do I blame him? No. Do I think he could have handled it better? Yes.

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Ouch! I can imagine Reece's face when Dave walked away telling him he won't be his secret. Reece isn't asking Dave to be his secret. I agree with your readers; I think Dave needs to give Reece a little more time to deal with his mother. Dave MET his mother; he knows what a horrible person she is; he knows how poorly she treats her own son. Why on earth would Reece WANT to call her back? Reece is nothing like Dave's db ex.

 

I really hope they can work through this.

 

I also liked their grocery store trip. :)

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On 10/16/2015 02:28 PM, Lisa said:

Ouch! I can imagine Reece's face when Dave walked away telling him he won't be his secret. Reece isn't asking Dave to be his secret. I agree with your readers; I think Dave needs to give Reece a little more time to deal with his mother. Dave MET his mother; he knows what a horrible person she is; he knows how poorly she treats her own son. Why on earth would Reece WANT to call her back? Reece is nothing like Dave's db ex.

 

I really hope they can work through this.

 

I also liked their grocery store trip. :)

Thanks for the review, Lisa! I definitely would hate to be in Reece's position right now.

 

To be fair to Dave, I think he's being judge overly harsh. He actually has never met Reece's parents. Unless Josh introduced him around when they first arrived, which is doubtful, Dave wouldn't have known which of the assembled older adults were Reece's parents. The only interaction he had with any of the older adults, was Aunt Leslie. Even when Reece's mom called after they left the family dinner, Reece never told him who was calling, just said he needed a minute, and so Dave never even overheard Reece's mom and her words to him. And that was the only time, that we know of, that Dave was even remotely near when Reece talked to his Mom.

 

The only thing Reece ever said about his parents, as far as I can remember, is that all his mom could do was cry and ask where they had gone wrong and his dad got upset (Reece never did say what his dad said, just that he was displeased), but now the family essentially tolerates him.

 

As far as Dave's past, we never get the entire story. We never heard what lengths his ex went to in order to keep their relationship hidden. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Reece actively avoiding calls could be reminiscent of what happened before.

 

I hope they can work through it too, and the grocery trip was classic :)

 

Thanks again for the review and sorry if my reply got a little long winded, lol.

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I think Dave is being overly sensitive about Reece's reluctance to talk to his mother. It's not the same situation as with his ex, since Reece is out to his family. Heck, Dave even met his family and knows what peaches they are. On the other hand, we are not always rational when it comes to love. Hopefully they can get through this rough patch. Oh, and I loved the scene in the grocery store. :)

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Having let this story slip away from me, I appreciate the chance to renew my acquaintance with it being featured. So I am picking up where I left off and I have to agree, Dave is overly sensitive. And that's ok given his history....as long as he and Reece can talk about it and work through it.

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Hard hitting chapter, Renee. As soon as I heard Becky say his 'mom' I started to feel the tension. I can't blame Dave at all... he's been patient, but I can't really fault Reece either. Maybe this will give him the strength he needs... cheers... Gary....

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