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The people in rossford chapter two part one

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Old 01-05-2017, 06:43 AM
Chris Gibson (Offline)
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Default The people in rossford chapter two part one


APOLOGIES.... FOR SOME TIME i WAS NOT ABLE TO GET ONLINE AND POST



CHAPTER
TWO

THE FALL OUT

Brendan heard his name called, and turned around to see Dan Malloy.
“Can I have a word with you?”
“Sure, Father.”
“How are you? You’re not busy, are you?”
“No, Father. I’m good.”
“You ready for a new year to start?”
“Not just yet, actually,” Brendan Miller confessed. “But we got a few weeks, right?”
“Yeah. Senior year?”
“Yes?”
“Have you seen any schools you like?”
“Not yet. I thought about Loretto.”
“Well, look,” Dan said, “can we have a seat? I didn’t call you to ask about schools and your future. Let’s just have a seat. All right?”
Brendan nodded and followed Dan Malloy to a pew.
“I… I heard about everything. You and Dena. And…” Dan said in a low voice, “You and Kenneth.”
Brendan’s face went hot and Dan said, “I know. We’re in church. We’re not supposed to discuss things. Not real things. It’s like some things don’t exist. But they do exist, Brendan. And no matter what I can’t say and can’t do publicly, when one of my parishioners, especially one who is a friend and who I have looked after since he was very young has been in trouble, then he deserves the truth. He deserves all the help I can honestly give him.
“I failed you, Brendan.”
“No!” Brendan said. “No, don’t say that.”
“You came to me for real help with real questions, and I failed you. Do you know someone actually told me that? Told me I had failed you and I should have been more honest.”
“Who, Fenn Houghton?”
Dan laughed with surprise.
“I just don’t know who else would say that to a priest. Except maybe, Layla.”
“Well, it doesn’t really matter who it was. What matters was he was right. When you came to me and told me you thought you might be gay, that you had all of these feelings you didn’t understand—”
Brendan snickered.
“What?”
“I think,” Brendan said, sadly, “that I understood them a little too well. I hurt two other people and made a jackass of myself because I ignored that understanding.”
“Well, I could have made it less painful, Bren.”
“How?”
“I could have told you I know how you feel.”
“How can you know how—?” Bren started, and then shut up.
“They say,” Dan continued with a half smile, “that three fourths of the priests in the world can tell you how you feel. But none of us admits it. It… It would be too much of a stumbling block, too much reality for too many people. So you just don’t ever bring it up. It’s not hard. That’s how church works. People like to make little jokes about Poor Father… like the one, how’s it go? I saw two priests at a candlelight dinner. I didn’t know to give them a bottle of wine or a Cub Scout.”
“That’s… awful.”
“It’s what everyone says, and jokes about,” Dan said. “But if… you really, really, in your heart believed your priest was a homosexual…” Dan shook his head, “too much reality! And then, some of them, some priests, they don’t know it themselves. They never… had a lover or anything like that.”
“Did you?”
And then Brendan covered his mouth. “I’m sorry. That wasn’t my business.”
“I’m afraid it is,” Dan said. “I’m afraid you would have been a lot happier if I told you the truth.
“I was like you. But when I was a little older I met someone who also wanted to be a priest, and we became very close. In fact that’s exactly what we were. Lovers. And we loved each other for a very, very long time.”
“What happened? “ Brendan said. “I mean, you didn’t do… what I did? Betray him? Pretend it wasn’t real?”
“No,” Dan said. “The love did what it did. Loves are different. It changed. I wanted to be a priest really, really badly. At first I went to just test it. He, the boy I loved, told me I had to. In the end I found out I was a priest, and he found out who he was too. It isn’t always heartbreak. Everything doesn’t end. Sometimes it just changes. We’re still very close.”
Brendan nodded.
“That must be good.”
“It is very good!” Dan discovered. “He’s still the love of my life. Him and the priesthood.”
Brendan didn’t say anything right away. He just thought about this. Then he spoke.
“I treated Kenny so badly. We need to… I need to get back to where we were. I need to figure out things.”
“Is he the love of your life?”
“You think I’d know if he was?” Brendan said. “I’m just seventeen. I know… I know I like him, and enjoy…”
“The sex?”
Brendan looked shocked.
“The sex?” Dan said again.
Brendan nodded his head and said, “I love, love, being with him. But I don’t know if he’s the love of my life. I don’t know if I’ve ruined my chances to be sure. It’s been confusing… since I stopped coming to confession, or really telling people things.”
“But now you know that you can come to confession. At least when I’m in. I wouldn’t go telling Father O’Donell what you just told me.”
“No… he’s pretty traditional.”
“Well, he’s ninety-four this August.”
Brendan nodded and said, “He might not be able to handle me and Kenny, or me being…”
“Gay?”
“Yes,” Brendan said.
“No,” Dan agreed. “Probably not. He’s still having a difficult time adjusting to the news that the world is round.”



“That is turning me on so much!” the nasal voice said. “It’s just. That is so hot.”
The sound of slapping, slapping slapping.
Kirk Hanley sat on the sofa with the remote control, watching the porno, as he had had already done several times.
“Shut the fuck up,” Johnny Mellow said, climbing off of the ass he was fucking and telling the boy who held the jittery camera, “It’s your turn now.”
And then Johnny, that is Paul, climbed on top of the other one, and began determinedly fucking him, literally riding him, the flats of his hands on the boy’s shoulders, holding him down so he could fuck him harder.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Sheila said, coming into the room. “Just stop watching that. I don’t know why you’re torturing yourself.”
“Take…” Johnny Mellow groaned, slapping harder and harder into him, “fucking that, man!”
“I’m not torturing myself,” Kirk said. “I’m… trying to understand.”
“Well…” Sheila said.
“Well, what?”
“I don’t know,” Sheila said. “I don’t know if you are trying to understand. I mean, it seems to me you’d talk to him if you were trying to understand. Or… Nevermind.”
“Or… nevermind what?” he looked up at her.
Sheila Hanley looked unusually thoughtful, and she put a finger to her chin before saying: “It’s only that… I think, if you were trying to understand him, you would go and talk to him. But you’re watching this…”

“Ah, fuck! Fuck! Fuck me! Harder!
“You like that? You like that, huh… take this!”

“This crazy crap, so I can only guess that you’re trying to understand yourself. How he makes you feel. How all of this makes you feel.”
Kirk looked at her, and then he turned off the movie.
“You should have been a psychologist. Your talents are totally wasted here.”
Sheila frowned at him, and then Kirk said, “Well, hell…
“Maybe you’re right.”
“Well, how do you feel?”
“Oh, don’t ask me that,” Kirk said standing up.
He went to the kitchen and Sheila heard the refrigerator door slam. And then Kirk marched back in and said, “You know what?”
“I feel like I wish he’d come in and asked me to listen to him again. And I wish he’d tell me something that would…. Justify the way I feel about him, how I can’t stop thinking about him. I wish he’d tell me the right thing. And I can’t go to him. I can’t. Last time he came, I turned him away. I cannot go to him.”
Sheila didn’t say anything for a while.
“I know you probably don’t get it,” he said to her.
“No, I get it,” Sheila said. “You’ve got your pride.”
“Is that so bad?”
Sheila shook her head.
“It would be bad if you didn’t have it.”


“He hasn’t said anything about it yet. In fact, he’s been real good,” Todd said. “But I’m pretty sure I should get back to Fenn. You did sort of ruin his life, and the idea that I’m here with you, when I should be with him is sort of… not that great.”
Brian was about to say, “Well, go then.” But he didn’t mean it. And then, he didn’t really want it. He was literally terrified at the prospect of Todd going away.
“I can’t go back there.”
“Well, you can’t stay in this hotel,” Todd said. “Unless you get a job at a college around here, or become the new organist at a local church. Then you can pay your hotel bill and be the weird guy who lives in the Holliday Inn. You’ll start wearing the same clothes and smelling like cat piss and… It’s gonna get ugly, Bry.”
Against his will, Brian laughed.
“I guess then you could do a film about me.”
“Well, I’d have to, wouldn’t I?”
“I’m scared to go back. I’m scared of facing the damage I’ve done, all the people I hurt. And I can’t make it right. How can I make it right? You always hear, you hear it in church: amend, amend. Well, how do you amend? You can’t really, can you? How can I unmake sending out those movies? Or how can I unmake the movie I made? How can I look at people? How can I say… I’m sorry?”
“Are you sorry?”
“God, yes, I’m sorry! I’m sorry for everything!
“And… how will I learn my lesson? How will I stop hurting everyone?”
“Everyone makes mistakes. We all hurt people on occasion.”
“Oh, just stop!” Brian said. “It’s not like what I have done. You know it. How do I stop being that person?
“I used to think that… religion was the cure. Go to confession, go to communion and God would cure me of this mean person, this selfish person. But, no. And I’m scared of him. I feel like he’s living in me and I can’t control him.”
Brian’s voice trailed off.
“You know what your problem is?” Todd said, at last. “I mean aside from the fact that you really need a shave and a change of clothes?”
Brian looked up at him.
“You don’t have friends.”
Brian opened his mouth to say something sarcastic.
“You’re all alone. You don’t have anyone to confide in, to share the stuff inside you with. That’s your trouble, Bry. You don’t have anyone to fight the devils with. And you’ve got a lot of devils, my friend.”
“My friend?”
“We were friends. Once.”
“Yes. But then, when you ended up with Fenn, I backed away from that.”
“I guess I did too,” Todd said. “Loyalty and everything. But apparently I came back. I came back when I thought someone needed to find you. So, see, I’m your friend. We’d all be your friends if you wanted.”
“All?” Brian looked at him.
“Fenn, at least.”
“That’s the worst!”
“He’s serious, though.”
“I know,” Brian said. “But I was so, so awful. I know it’s over, but it’s not over for me.”
“Well, don’t you think it should be?”
“Yes,” Brian said, tiredly. “I think everything should be over. All of the old things, I mean. All of the bad things.”


“Milo, there’s someone here for you,” Barb Affren said when she tipped into her grandson’s bedroom.
“And by the way, a rather pretty someone.”
Milo raised an eyebrow and stood up. But as his grandmother went away, she was replaced by Dena Reardon.
“Oh… hi,” he said.
“Hi,” said Dena. “Can I sit?”
Milo nodded and patted the bed.
Dena sat down next to him, and she said, “Well, you know, I was just thinking that…”
“Yes?”
“I was wondering. You know what?” she said. “I know what I want to say. Only… I don’t know how to say it.”
Milo’s face changed, and then he said, “I bet you do know how to say it.”
“Yes,” Dena said, at last. “Are you going to make this easier for me?”
“No,” said Milo. “I won’t.”
“Will you go out with me?” Dena said at once. “Would you like to do that?”
“Yes,” Milo said. “I would have liked to do that a long time ago.”
“I know,” Dena said. “I know I should have asked a long time ago. I should have… realized something about Brendan.”
“You should have realized something about me,” Milo told her. “You knew how I felt, and you went back to that… drip.”
“Bren’s not so—”
“He’s a fucking drip, and you and Kenny… I don’t get it,” Milo shook his head. “I know this sounds vain, but I think I’m hotter than him.”
“I went to Brendan because I was loyal,” Dena said. “Not because he was better. I thought we’d always be together.
“Maybe that’s how it was with my mother. I never understood how she could make that mistake with my dad. And then I turn around and do the same damn thing. I went to him. I believed in him. I think I wanted to help him.”
“Well, now do you think we could help each other? Do you think we could… try to be something?”
“I’d like that, Milo.”
“What are you doing now?”
“Nothing.”
“Let’s go out. Let me take you out.”
“All right. I walked.”
“We’ll take my car. Where are we going?”
“I have no idea.
Milo sang:


Take the throttle o’er of my hand
If I can’t have you no one can
Lock the doors and seal the hatches

And Dena smiled because she knew the song, and sang along,

Break my heart and burn this mattress
Take the throttle o’er my hand
If I can’t have you no one can!
Da da da dada da da
Da da da dada da da!

“We’re going out, Grandma,” Milo said.
“Are you all going to start dating each other?”
Dena had never seen Milo go red until now. He went completely crimson.
Layla squeezed his hand and said, “Yes. We are.”
“Good,” Barb told them. “Because Dena, that last boyfriend of yours…. He’s a big homo!”

“I saw you driving around.”
“You knew it was me?”
“I saw your head in the car. Besides,” Ralph said, leaning on the side of his door, “you had Hanley license plates. That was the tip off.”
Kirk smirked and Ralph said, “You wanna stop standing there like an idiot, and come on in?”

“A pornstar? Fuck!”
Kirk nodded his head.
“So, what are you gonna do?”
“There’s nothing to do. I… I ‘ve watched it a couple of times. That’s what I do, watch the porno over and over again. The second one, the one that bastard made, where he was fucking that guy—I can’t watch it.”
“Well, you know, once a pornstar, always—”
“I didn’t know he was a pornstar. I just thought he was a nice guy coming in to buy a car. I thought… I thought he might be the one.”
“Remember when you thought I might be the one?”
“Yeah,” Kirk said. “When you put it that way it seems like I’m really at fault.”
Ralph shook his head.
“We just didn’t work out.”
“I just…” Kirk said, “I just keep thinking about… those movies, seeing him like that. Part of me actually wonders what it would be like to be one of those boys.”
“In the vids. Getting fucked.?”
Prickles went up Kirk’s body.
“Yeah. A little. I just feel so weird. Half angry.”
“And half horny.”
“Yes,” Kirk admitted.
“Is that why you came?” Ralph came.
“Huh?” Kirk shook his head, as if he’d been distracted.
“I mean did you come just to talk, or did you come cause you wanted to fuck?
“Sex clears the head,” Ralph said while Kirk’s groin flooded with blood, while he felt himself getting harder and tried to stop his foot from doing that automatic tapping. The promise of sex always made him like Thumper in Bambi.
“You wanna fuck?” Ralph said again, quietly.
His throat a little dry, Kirk realized why he had come and looked up at his old friend.
“Yes.”




“Well whaddo we do with all this?” Lee said, spreading the cards and the other contents of the wallet out.
“For starters,” Tara Veems said, pocketing a fifty dollar bill. “We keep the money.”
“We keep everything,” Fenn said, sounding distracted as he emptied the wallet and Lee’s eyes lit up while he snatched a hundred dollar bill.
“He carried a mint on him.”
“And I bet he kept a mint in the bank,” Tara said.
“That’s what worries me,” Fenn said.
They looked at him.
“Look, someone with this much money is going to be missed.”
“I have Lemonade’s word on it that he won’t be,” Lee said. “He didn’t really have cronies. In fact, and you’ll love this, he fucked over the mob from what I hear. I don’t know which mob, hell it could be the Japanese mafia for all I know, but he had a lot of enemies, and he was falling on some rough times.”
“It would explain,” Tara said, “why he came after your boy Noah for that half a million. You’d think that the rumor of a suitcase of money would make most people sort of…” Tara shrugged, “I don’t know, chalk up their losses and move the fuck on.”
Lee was turning Joe Callan’s blue bank card up and down, and now Tara and his cousin looked at him.
“I was just thinking: what if we could get into his bank account? How much would be there?”
Tara looked impatient. “I thought you just said he was on hard times?”
Lee nodded, putting the card down on the kitchen table.
“Hard times for a rich man could be very different from hard times. I mean, think of it. We had half a million dollars, and just think how much of it we spent?”
“Well, it’s no use trying to get into his account unless you know his PIN number.”
Lee was silent, considering.
Fenn looked at his cousin: “You’re going to try to figure out his PIN number!”
The door opened just then, and Fenn’s eyes lit up as he rose.
“Todd,” he rounded the table and brought Todd’s face down, kissing it.
“Oh, shit!” Tara murmured in a low voice, for she had already seen what Fenn, pulling away from Todd, was just seeing enter.
Unshaven, a bit of a wreck, Brian Babcock came in and said, “Hi, folks.”

Wet and exhausted, Kirk climbed off of Ralph, and gently laid himself on the bed beside the man who was still on all fours. Ralph collapsed gently, lying on his stomach and squeezing his ass tight.
“That was just what I needed too,” he said, sleepily. “Why’d we break up anyway?”
“Because that’s all we had,” Kirk told him, looking up at the ceiling, his hands behind his head.
“So was I right? Did a good fuck clear your head?”
That, Kirk, realized, was the reason they hadn’t lasted. Ralph just talked so goddamn much.
So Kirk just did like he had back then, and ignored him.
While Ralph prattled, Kirk realized he had basically done what he said he would never do: used someone purely for sex. He had wanted very badly to lose himself in pornographic acts with Ralph and ride him like Paul would do, or would have done to him. He’d needed to be, for a few minutes, a pornstar with not much of a conscience anticipating no repercussions. And when he thought about it, Kirk also realized that if Ralph wanted another go, for now, he was willing to do it. That was the kind of person Ralph was. Some people were. They just didn’t bear too much reflection and didn’t mind being tumbled.
Am I any different from Paul?
“You’re so cute when you’re looking stern and serious,” Ralph said, snuggling up to him. “You know that? You wore my asshole out, you know? You think you wanna have another go? Or you want me to fuck you this time?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Kirk said. “It’s all good with me, you know.”
“Then you’re staying awhile?”
“I can stay all day.”
“Good. Then we can fuck all day. It’s been so long!”
Or maybe I just wanted to stop being different from Paul. Maybe that’s why I’m here.
Ralph kissed him up and down. His mouth went to Kirk’s breastbone, kissed him down his stomach, kissed his navel, stopped at the patch of dark hair over his sex.
“Maybe we just all need to fuck sometimes,” Ralph observed.
And, Kirk, hardening again, as he negligently stroked Ralph’s head while Ralph began to to give him head, thought maybe that was as good an answer as any.


“What the hell are you doing here?” Claire Anderson demanded when she walked into the house with Julian.
Brian blinked and looked at her.
“I mean, you look a lot crappier than the last time I saw you, but I know who you are. Is Paul here?” She turned to Fenn.
Before Fenn could answer she said, “And Paul felt bad for you. He felt sorry for what he did to you. You know, he felt so bad he almost had me feeling sorry too. But what did he do to you? Didn’t you bring every bad thing on yourself? You know,” she turned to Julian, “I told myself, I said, if I ever get a chance to tell him off… And now, here you are!”
“Here I am,” Brian said, quietly, spreading his hands.
“And then you sent me that movie. Me and my mother.”
“Yes,” Brian said.
“I didn’t even know you. I didn’t do anything to you. That woman, my mother, she didn’t…”
“I know.”
Claire stared at him.
She took a deep, angry breath.
“You stand here, looking like you slept under a bridge, smug like… shit wouldn’t stick to you, instead of like you smell like shit—”
“Claire—” Todd interrupted, but Fenn put a hand over his, and put a finger to his lips.
“And you just nod your head and say,” Claire imitated him, “I know. I know. You’re a sick bastard. You don’t—” she shook her head, “—You don’t even care. You don’t give a damn.”
“That’s not true,” Brian said. His voice was low, half dead. Todd knew it was how he registered fear and deep regret.
“You don’t… feel,” Claire went on, amazed by the levelness of his voice. “You don’t care.”
“That’s not—”
“Well, you’ll feel this,” Claire said, and with that she reached up and smacked him across the face.
“And this is for my mother,” and she smacked him again.
“And since he’ll just tell you he understands, this is for Paul.”
She smacked him one last time and then she growled, “You… son of a bitch,” and turning, went up the stairs.
Brian stood there, his face red and stinging, and just then the door opened and Paul came in, and then stopped, staring at him.
“I brought him back,” Todd said. “I brought him back here. Where he belongs.”
Paul looked from Todd, to Brian, and Brian, his voice tight, said, “I’m going to make all of this right, Paul. I will. I promise.”

“I wish I could make it all right,” Brian said to Fenn.
“I wish I could turn around and undo everything I’d ever done. Every life I ruined.”
“Is that your way of saying you wish you hadn’t’ve had an affair with Tom?”
“Yes,” Brian nodded.
“It so wasn’t worth it. How many years did it take me to figure that out?
“It’s my way,” Brian said, “of saying… I guess, just what I said. That I wish I could undo every horrible, crazy thing I did. But, I think I can undo this one. I think I can make this one up.
“Fenn?” Brian said after a time.
“Yes?”
“How come you let Todd come and find me?”
“Todd’s not a dog, or a cat to be let to do anything. He told me he was going after you.”
“But you didn’t tell him you didn’t want him to?”
“No.”
“Why?”
“Because I’m not petty? Or did you think I was?”
“No,” Brian said. “I just didn’t know you were that good. I mean, I thought that would test the limits of your…”
“Goodness?”
“Yes.”
“How do you know it didn’t?”
“I don’t,” Brian said.
“I thought of how I forgave Tom, who I loved. And then I thought about you. I thought about that night, when I caught you. When… I threw you out. I think I did a thorough job of it. I think I threw you out so thoroughly you should never go through that again. And, I think that when you fuck up people’s lives, for once, Brian, you should be dragged back to make up for all the damage you’ve done.”
Fenn shook his head.
“I don’t know. Maybe then people could start to like you.
“Maybe you’d start to like yourself.”


Kirk Hanley went to answer the door, and was so shocked he couldn’t shut it. He couldn’t do much of anything.
“Can I come in?” Brian said.
“Haven’t you done enough?”
“No,” Brian said. “No, the problem is I’ve never done enough. I tear down things. I never put them back together. Like a little kid. I’d like to start with you. Please?”
Brian had bathed and shaven, but he wasn’t impressive the way he was before, and his speech was so not what Kirk had expected, that he nodded, and let him through.
“Paul didn’t know I made that DVD,” Brian said. “I… I was angry. Because he told me he was with you, and I hoped that he would be… No, I didn’t really hope that he would be with me. I was just angry because no one I’ve ever been with actually wants to be with me. That was it. I’ve talked to him.”
“I’ve talked to him too.”
“No, you haven’t, Kirk,” Brian said. “I bet you won’t even listen to him. He told me how torn up he was. About all that you had been through, the hurt you had been through.
“It’s… it’s real easy to think we’re the only ones who’ve ever been hurt.”
“What are you saying?” Kirk said. “Are you trying to tell me that Paul told you about my life, and you come in here to tell me that I don’t understand other people have pain?”
“No,” Brian said, shaking his head. “I’m talking about me, now. And maybe Paul. I always thought about my pain, my hurt, and what I did came out of that. That’s why I always understood lonely people, and hurting people. Because I was hurt and lonely. That’s probably why I went after Paul.
“But… I didn’t understand what he’d been through.”
“And if I could only understand poor Paul’s life, then I would forgive him?”
“Yes,” Brian said. “That’s it, exactly.”
Neither one of them said anything, and then Brian said, “Look, I just want you to ask yourself one thing? Firstly, do you hold it against him that he did porn?”
“I hold it against him that he did you,” Kirk said. “And that he didn’t tell me about the porn.”
“Well, then,” Brian said, “ask yourself this. Just ask yourself. If you’d spent the last ten years of your life being paid to screw people, and you had no experience of loving someone, when you finally got to love, how would you react? I’m not saying let him off the hook. Or me, either. Hell, I’d understand it if you threw me out, or punched me, or spat in my face. I’d get it. I’m just saying, as a fucked up person, that there are parts of Paul so fucked up that he immediately does what he hates.”
“And that’s an endorsement to go back to him?”
“No, Kirk.” Brian shook his head. “It’s not. It’s.., an endorsement to try to understand him.”

Brian pulled up to the house, parked and got out as Claire was stepping into her car in the driveway. She sat there, Paul standing beside the car, and Brian screwed up a new kind of courage to approached them. Funny, he’d always mistaken cockiness for courage. Not this trembling he felt right now, not this sucking up shame.
“I did it,” he said.
“Did what?” Claire looked at him from out of the car.
“Talked to Kirk.”
“You what?” Paul started.
“I didn’t think he’d listen to you. You’ve already tried that. I thought maybe if I went and explained… some things, then maybe he’d be ready to hear you. And I think he is. But you have to be the one to go see him. He’s got his pride, and he should. He feels really stupid, and used, and afraid. I told him how sorry I was, and that seems to have made a bit of a difference. I think in a way he sort of saw us in cahoots or something, both trying to make an ass out of him.”
Paul nodded.
“Well, thanks, Brian.”
Brian nodded.
“Todd’s in the house,” Paul said.
“All right. Goodbye, Claire.”
Claire looked at him and said, “I still don’t like you.”
“No,” Brian figured, “I can’t imagine you would. Maybe you will next time. Maybe I’ll be a little more likeable.”
Claire was about to say something rude, but instead she only shrugged, and backed out of the driveway, waving at her brother.
“Brian, could I talk to you?” Paul said.
Brian nodded as Claire honked and then headed up Versailles Street.
Taking a hand through his marmalade hair, Paul said, “You’ve apologized to me. And made up. But, I haven’t apologized to you. I’ve never had to. It’s not that I haven’t wronged someone, or… someones. But I never had to deal with the fall out. There are people I can never look in the face again. I’m not glad about what you did, Brian, but… I don’t know… It wasn’t until you did it that I realized what I had done. How… I’m sorry, Brian. You’re not any worse than me. I deserved it.”
“No you didn’t.”
“Kirk didn’t,” Paul said. “My sister didn’t, and my mom didn’t either.”
Brian’s sinuses went dry, and he turned away, but Paul touched him on the shoulder.
“But I did. I’m sorry I treated you so badly.” Then he added, “But I’m not sorry we slept together. I’ll never be sorry about that. I just wish we could have been nicer, I could have been nicer, when we were doing it.”
“Go try to make it work with Kirk, all right?” said Brian.
“If he’ll let me.”
“He can’t let you if you don’t go to him.”

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