Three Roads Chapter 48: Across 110th Street


The song that appears in this chapter is called "Apple Tree" by Erykah Badu

As his opponent approached the net, Toby knew he had him, and as he watched his backhand passing shot fly past his opponent, his fist was clenched before it even bounced, "One more point." he muttered to himself. He did his usual routine as he prepared to serve; he bounced the ball four times, looked one last time to see his opponent's positioning on the court, and then blasted the ball exactly where he had envisioned it going in his mind just a few seconds before. In Toby's opinion, serving an ace on match point was as good as it gets. He ran to the net to shake his opponent's hand and when he turned around, he expected to be greeted by his fellow teammates, but was surprised to see them already watching other matches. Toby's feelings were hurt; when Brian won his match about twenty minutes before, everyone on the team who wasn't playing a match came to congratulate him, but it seemed to him that no one cared that he won.

"Good match." Coach Williams said as he shook Toby's hand.

"Thanks, too bad nobody else cares."

"That's cause they expect you to win."

"Still, it's been like nine or ten months since I've won a match, it'd be nice if they showed some support."

"You just worry about yourself ok? Coach said, "You're team captain, you need to be at your best to motivate everyone else."

Toby nodded and turned to put his racquet away in his bag. He always did a few light stretches after a match. Not only was it the right thing to do, but it always calmed him down after the intensity of a match. As he was coming up from his last stretch, he felt himself suddenly being pushed forward by someone roughly grabbing his shoulders, "Good win today," Kyle said as he moved his hands from Toby's shoulders and patted him hard on the back, "You actually looked pretty good today."

"Uh...thanks I think."

"So, I was thinking we could study for our sports quiz when we go to our away match tomorrow."

"Shit, we already have a quiz?"

"I swear you don't pay attention at all in that class. At least it's for a good cause."

Toby rolled his eyes, "For the millionth time, I'm not attracted to that girl."

"It's ok, I'll keep your secret...Brian played pretty well today."

"Did he? I wouldn't know I was getting ready for my own match."

"Do I sense some jealousy?"

"No you sense me about to punch you in the face."

Kyle's smile evaporated from his face, "I know this is a confusing time for you, but there is no need to be violent like that."

"Normally I'm not, but you bring out the best in me." Toby said.

"I tend to do that." Kyle said as he looked off into the distance as if he were imagining something.

"What are you looking at?" Toby asked confused.

"Nothing," Kyle cleared his throat, "so yeah don't forget your textbook when we go, cause I didn't buy one."


"Thanks!" Tim smiled as he closed the register after finishing helping a customer. He felt someone come up behind him and he turned to see Jon smiling.

"That guy was cute."

"Yeah, why do you think I'm smiling so much." Tim laughed.

"He had an ass to die for," Jon continued, "I love guys that know how to wear a pair of jeans."

"Eh, not really an ass man."

"What kind of a guy are you?"

"It's not like I have tons of experience."

"In porn though," Jon said as he looked around the ice cream parlor to make sure no customers were nearby to overhear their conversation, "what usually gets you going?"

"This is weird, but I have a thing for guys that look like they might be bigger than me?"

"Like dick size?"

"No," Tim smiled, "like physically bigger. I always imagine myself with a guy bigger than me."

"Like me?" Jon smirked.

"Uh...I'll plead the fifth."

"It's ok," Jon shrugged, "everyone wants to sleep with an Englishmen."

"No...I'm pleading the fifth cause if I say yes then I have to hear about it from now until eternity and if I say no, then I have to hear you talk yourself up...which you do anyway. So I'll just stay quiet."

"Well I'm pretty hot shit." Jon laughed immediately after his comment, even he realized that he didn't pull it off well.

"Doing anything tonight?" Tim asked just so there wouldn't be any awkward silence.

"Probably just gonna drink a little bit, chat with some friends online, nothing big, you?

"I'll hang out with Toby for a little while when I get off of work and then probably just do whatever."

"Oh, cool...well if you get bored later, just call me and maybe we can hang out."


"Yeah, if you're not going to be doing anything."

"Maybe I'll take you up on that." Tim said. As soon as he finished talking, they heard the ping of the bell that told them a new customer had entered the parlor. When they realized it was Eric and Cooper, both boys reacted quickly. Jon grabbed a rag and pretended to be wiping off the counter and Tim looked down at the cash register as if he were trying to figure something out.

"Hey guys," Eric smiled, `What's up?"

"Nothing." Jon said quickly. Tim still pretended like he hadn't noticed them at the counter.


"Oh hey." Tim smiled.

"You didn't see me?"

"No, I guess not."

"Then you must be smoking some good shit," Cooper said, "Stop being selfish and share!"

"What can I get you guys?"

"One rocky road." Eric said.

"And one chocolate chip cookie dough." Cooper smiled.

"Are you guys paying together?"

"Yeah, he's my sugar daddy now." Cooper smiled looking at Eric affectionately.

"Yeah right. You make more than I do and you get money from your parents."

"That sucks ass for you cause you work harder than I do," Cooper started, "I pretty much good paid to sit there and look beautiful."

Tim let out a snort and Cooper gave him a dirty look, "You just serve the ice cream there, Timothy."

"Are you guys together now?" Jon asked curiously.

"We are." Cooper said as he put his arms around Eric's shoulder. Eric rolled his eyes as Tim handed over the ice cream.

"That's cool, I'm happy for you guys." Jon smiled.

"Thanks," Eric said sincerely. He put his five dollar bill on the counter and said his goodbyes to his two friends.

"Yeah right," Cooper said as he and Eric sat in a booth, "He's not happy for us."

"What are you talking about?"


"Are you jealous?" Eric smiled.

"Jealous of what? I'm the one who has you, plus my dick is bigger." Cooper said simply.

"Um, what does that matter?"

"Oh trust me it matters."

"And you don't know that your dick is bigger than his. You haven`t seen it." Eric reminded him.

"I'm sure. In case you've forgotten, I'm packing quite a bit...have you seen his dick?"

"That's none of your business." Eric said dryly.

"Is that a yes?!"

"I don't know is it?" Eric said playfully as he took a lick of his ice cream cone.

"I don't know, but the way you're licking that ice cream is turning me on."

"Shut up," Eric laughed as he playfully bumped Cooper with his shoulder.

"No, I'm serious. I'm popping a boner right here."


"You love it."


"Here you go." Brian said as he put down the stacks of colored paper on Richard's desk.

"Thanks for doing that."

"No problem, what are these for again?"

"Just flyers to advertise for our Queer Straight Alliance meetings. We have a good number of people, but I'm sure there are plenty of queer students who don't know we exist. We want to make sure that the queer students on campus know they have a voice."

"And that is our mission." Dr. Taylor smiled as she appeared in the doorway.

"Did we have a meeting or something that I forgot about?"

"Can't I just stop by to say hello?"

"Yes, but usually you come to nag me." Richard joked.

Dr. Taylor laughed, "Brian, I think I'm going to fire my coordinator, you interested in a job?"

"Of course. The old coordinator wasn't all the great to begin with."

Richard threw a pen at Brian that narrowly missed his head, "You traitor!"

"I don't owe you anything."

"I'm surrounded by dysfunction." Dr. Taylor laughed.

"There's an understatment. You make your living off of people's dysfunction." Richard said.

"That's one way of looking at it." Dr. Taylor said simply.

Richard smirked, "What? I can tell you have more to say."

"Not to anyone who's already made up their mind."

"I think she's got you." Brian said.

"She has a doctorate give me a break." Richard said.

"How is the campaign going?" Dr. Taylor asked, changing the subject.

"Still in it's early stages obviously, but did I tell you I found a running mate?"

"No!" Dr. Taylor said happily, "Is it someone I know?"

"Yeah, it's Bliss."

Dr. Taylor tried to hide the look of surprise on her face, "Wonderful." She said clearing her throat.

"Don't worry," Richard laughed, "Everyone has that same look on their face when I tell them."

"It is an interesting choice, but potentially a smart one."

"We'll see." Richard said skeptically.

"If you need any help you know where to find me, see you guys later." Dr. Taylor waved as she turned to leave. On her way out the building she saw Toby and stopped to chat with him a bit.

"Long time no see." Toby smiled as he walked up to her.

"It has been too long, how are you?" She asked sincerely.

"Good, I think. There's some stuff going on, but I feel ok about it, I don't think I'm gonna drown in it or anything."

"That's so good to hear. We always have problems in life, no way to avoid them, it's all about how we deal and cope with them."

"Yeah, I'm slowly starting to learn that."

"Don't be too hard on yourself. I'm more than twice your age and I still struggle with it. How is Tim? I haven't spoken to him lately."

"He's doing pretty good. I'm probably going to see him today, but he's just workin pretty much."

"Has his mother softened up?"

Toby smiled, "Yeah, apparently they've really been getting along lately."

"I've been meaning to call him and ask him if he was considering going back to school."

"Ooooh...I don't know if I'd bring that up. He's sort of touchy about the subject."

"That's understandable, but I think he needs the push. Sure life is comfortable now, but what about ten years down the road. You'll be doing him a favor by pushing him on it a little."

"I'll try my best."

"It was good talking to you Toby, but I have tons of paperwork waiting for me in my office right now. I'm glad you're doing better."

"Trust me so am I."

"See you soon." She said as she warmly touched his shoulder. Toby walked into the building that housed the Pride Center. He heard laughter coming from the room and expected to see Joey and Richard sharing a laugh. What he saw when he entered the doorway was quite different. Richard was on his hands and knees tickling Brian who was desperately trying to get away. Toby stood in the doorway, unseen by the two friends on the floor. He stared intently at the two, a mix of emotions going through his mind. Brian eventually saw him and motioned towards Toby. Richard immediately stood up and brushed himself off, "We were just horsing around."

"I can see that." Toby said emotionlessly.

"That's what I get for taking his pen." Brian laughed nervously.

"What's up?" Richard asked.

"Nothing. I came by to say hi, but I see you're busy."

"I'm not, come in we'll chat." Richard said sincerely.

"Yeah, I have a lot of studying I should be doing, I was going to head to the library anyway." Brian said grabbing his backpack.

"It's cool. I just remembered that I'm supposed to hang out at Tim's house this afternoon." Toby looked directly at Richard as he said it and Richard knew that Toby was trying to get to him, but he side stepped the potential argument, "Alright, well if you want to swing by later I'll be here or at the dorms."


Twenty minutes later, Toby was letting out his emotions in the middle of Tim's room, "He's always around. It's like can't you go and get some of your own goddamn friends?"

"I don't get why you're so upset." Tim yawned as he laid down on his bed.

"Are you listening to me? I just told you."

"You said a lot of stuff and I'm tired. It's kinda just bouncing in and out of my ears. Sorry."

"It's ok. I need to stop anyway." Toby said laying next to Tim on the bed. They were silent for a moment, both just sort of staring at the ceiling when Toby stared to chuckle.

"What's so funny?"

"I remember the first time I came here and met your parents and we were laying in this bed and you told me how your dad had checked the bed to make sure it wouldn't squeak in case we had sex."

Tim smiled, "I remember that. I told you I loved you."

"You did."

Tim laughed hard this time, "Wow, someone got uncomfortable."

"Well, I was kind of an asshole to you."

Tim shook his head, "It wasn't that bad."

"I did like you you know."

"I know."

"No, really I did."

"I know, but Richard happened."

"Yeah, that asshole." Toby said bitterly.

"You don't mean that."

"Yes, I do. Can we just go to sleep now?" Toby asked.


Tim turned over on his side and he felt Toby also move to get into a comfortable position. There was silence for a few minutes and Tim was almost asleep when he heard Toby speak in a voice that sounded like he was crying, "Everybody on the team already likes him better than me and he's about to take Richard from me too."

Tim sleepily turned to face Toby, "In the last few months, I've seen a real change in your personality. A good change, but you've also lost some fire. The Toby I used to know would be fighting tooth and nail for what he wanted." Tim said as he once again turned his back to Toby.



"Timothy Henderson!"

Tim sat up in bed immediately at the sound of his mother's voice. He was still a bit groggy and not sure how long he had been asleep. He looked over to see Toby slowly coming to the realization of what was happening; they had been caught.

"What are you doing home?" Tim said lamely.

"That doesn't matter," Tina Henderson seethed, her chest heaving up and down, "Have you learned nothing from the last several months! Not only are you disrespecting yourself, but you are disrespecting the kindness your father and I have shown despite all the embarassment you caused this family."

"What are you talking about?"

"Don't play games with me right now," she glared at Toby and growled, "Get out!"

Toby quickly sat up and located his back pack and was half way out the door when Tim decided he had had enough, "Toby! You don`t have to leave."

"Tim it's ok..."

"No, it isn't!" He turned to his mother, "First, don't barge in my room. Second, you have no right to tell me who I can hang out with and bring over."

"Yes, the hell I do. You're living in my house and you'll follow my rules!"

"That worked when I was six, but I'm almost twenty one years old. You're not telling me what to do."

"Someone needs to. I mean my goodness Tim how little self respect do you have for yourself? He doesn't want you, he probably never did, but here you are running around trying to get him to notice you. I didn't raise you to have such little confidence in yourself. It makes me sick."

"You don't know what you're talking about once again."

"None of this matters cause he is not allowed in the house."

"Like I said before," Tim said glaring at his mother, "You are not telling me who I can and cannot bring over."

"And like I said it's my house and you will do what I say."

"Fine," Tim said standing up, "then I'm moving out."

"With what? You don't have any money." His mother said nastily.

"You don't know what I have and it's none of your damn business anyway." Tim took out a few clothes from his closet and hastily put them into a backpack, "I'll be back to get my stuff in a few days."

And with that him and Toby walked out of the house.


"Oh my God run!" Cooper yelled at the television.

Eric, who was sitting right next to him, looked at him with an amused expression, "I can tell you how it's going to end."

"Shut up! It needs positive energy."

Cooper watched as the small baby deer ran for it's life with the pack of wolves right on its tail.

"They're catching up." Eric teased.

"Stop it!" Cooper yelled as he put his hands over his ears. Eric couldn't help but laugh at the expression on Cooper's face as the inevitable happened at the wolves savagely attacked the wolf.

"I can't believe the mother left it." Cooper said in surprise.

"She didn't leave it, they got separated." Eric pointed out.

"Still, she didn't go back for her child. What a bitch."

"Are you gonna talk about this all day now?"

"No," Cooper pouted, "but you know what would make me feel better?"


"A kiss."

"Did you do this on purpose?"

"Do what?"

"Is the VCR on?" Eric asked skeptically.

"No, it was a real tv show, you saw me turn the channel. You think I would do that?"

"Yes, yes I do." Eric smiled.

"Ok, so I probably would, but you're easy so I don't need to."

"You're really not getting a kiss now."

"Come on," Cooper said trying to pull Eric's face towards him.

Eric playfully punched him the stomach, "When a guy says no, he means no."

"You just assaulted me now it's really on." He grabbed both of Eric's hands and Eric tried to get away but before he knew it Cooper was trying to get on top of him. Eric put his knees together and put them out in front of him in an attempt to stop Cooper from getting on top of him.

"Ow!" Eric said as they continued to wrestle.

"Then let me kiss you."

"Fine. But only because you're still traumatized about the deer."

"Oh, I'm sure," Cooper said licking his lips, "How am I gonna kiss you if your knees are blocking me?"

Eric lowered his knees and Cooper moved up the couch and slightly parted Eric's legs. They kissed passionately and Eric felt Cooper slip his tongue into his open mouth. Somehow, this time was different and Eric surprised himself when he moaned in Cooper's mouth. Cooper was now completely turned on and felt encouraged as he laid more of his body weight on top of Eric. Cooper very lightly began bucking his hips and Eric began running his hands down Cooper's back until he found the edge of his shirt. Cooper shivered as he felt Eric's hands on his bare skin. Cooper momentarily broke the kiss as Eric removed his shirt and threw it on the floor.

"God you're beautiful." Cooper whispered.

Eric gave an embarrassed smile, "Lots of people are beautiful when you're making out with them and horny."

"No really," Cooper said seriously, "You can't see what I see."

Eric didn't have a chance to reply as they heard the front door being opened. The two boys quickly rearranged themselves and sat up on the couch just in time to see Toby and Tim walk into the living room.

"Hey Tim," Eric said clearing his throat, "What are you doing here?"

"I'm staying the night. I'm moving out of my house."

"Oh my God what happened?!"

"Why are you shirtless?" Toby said looking at Cooper.

"He was hot." Eric said quickly.

"Uh...it's the end of January." Toby said as he got a malicious smile on his face, "Were you guys fucking around?"

"Tim," Eric said ignoring Toby, "what happened?"

"To make a long story short, my mom caught Toby at my house, she overreacted like she always does and I told her I'm moving out."

"Where are you going to go though?" Eric asked, concerned for his friend.

"I'll find an apartment or something. I have tomorrow and the day after off so maybe I can find something."

"I told him it was cool to stay here until he finds a place." Toby said.

"Yeah, of course." Eric said.

"You can put your stuff in my room." Toby said. The two of them walked through the living room down the short hallway into Toby's room. Toby sat on his bed and sighed deeply as he took off his shoes.

"Don't blame yourself for what happened today." Tim said.


"No offense, but I know you're that type of person to think that you're the reason this all happened and this really isn't even about you. This would have happened over something else if you hadn't been there."


"I'm gonna go ask Eric to borrow his computer so I can get a head start on trying to find a place."


Toby watched Tim walk out of the room and he laid back on his bed. Between what happened today with Tim and his mom, his issues with Brian, and with sharing a class with the girl who had been attacked, he felt emotionally spent.

"Fuck." He whispered under his breath when he remembered that he was leaving mid day tomorrow to sit on a bus for three hours to go to an away match. He quickly decided to pack his bag so that he could relax for the rest of the day. As he packed, he ran some bath water that was ready by the time he finished. He made sure to grab a CD before he closed and locked the bathroom door. Lately, whenever he had been feeling down or overwhelmed, he always listened to music as he felt it calmed his spirit. He put the CD into his laptop and made sure the song he wanted to hear was on repeat. He climbed into the warm bath and immediately knew he was doing the right thing. He closed his eyes and let the warmth and words of the song wash over him.

I'd like to dedicate this to all the creative righteous children
I have some food in my bag for you
Not that edible food, the food you eat, no
I have some food for thought
Since knowledge is infinite
It has infinitely fell on me, so...

It was a stormy night, you know the kind where the lightnin' strike
And I was hangin' out with some my artsy friends
ooh wee ooh wee ooh
The night was long, the night went on, people coolin' out until the break of dawn
Incense was burnin' so I'm feelin' right, aight

See I picks my friends like I pick my fruit
My Ganny told me that when I was only a youth
I don't walk around trying to be what I'm not
I don't waste my time trying to get what you got
I work at pleasin' me
Cause I can't please you and that's why I do what I do
My soul flies free like a willow tree
doo wee doo wee doo wee

And if you don't want to be down with me, then you don't want to pick from my apple tree

And if you don't want to be down with me, then you don't want to pick from my apple tree

And if you don't want to be down with me, then you don't want to pick from my apple tree

And if you don't want to be down, you just don't want to be down

I have a hoe
And I take it everywhere I go
Cause I'm plantin' seeds so I reaps what I sow, ya know, ya know
On and on, and on and on my cipher keep's movin' like a rollin' stone
I can't control the soul flowin' in me
ooh wee

See I picks my friends like I pick my fruit
My Ganny told me that when I was only a youth
I don't walk around trying to be what I'm not
I don't waste my time trying to get what ya got
I work at pleasin' me
Cause I can't please you and that's why I do what I do
My soul flies free like a willow tree
doo wee doo wee doo wee

And if you don't want to be down with me, you don't want to pick from my apple tree

And if you don't want to be down with me, then you don't want to pick from my apple tree

And if you don't want to be down with me, then you don't want to pick from my apple tree
And if you don't want to be down with me, you just don't want to be down
Oh my my my my,

oh my my my my,

oh my my my my my my my

I picks my friends like I pick my fruit
My Ganny told me that when I was only a youth
I don't walk around trying to be what I'm not
I don't waste my time trying to get what you got
I work at pleasin' me
Cause I can't please you, and thats why I do what I do
My soul flies free like a willow tree
doo wee doo wee doo wee

And if you don't want to be down with me, you don't want to pick from my apple tree
And if you don't want to be down with me, dum dum diddy
And if you don't want to be down with me, you don't want to pick from my apple tree
And if you don't want to be down with me, you just don't want to be down
You just don't want to be down,
You just don't want to be down


The next afternoon, Toby climbed onto the bus and tried to keep his thoughts positive. It was only going to be a three hour ride, but he was sure it was going to feel much longer. A few of his teammates had already taken seats, but Toby was glad to see that no one had taken a seat near the back. He was getting situated when he felt someone come up behind him, "Anybody sittin here?" Kyle smiled.


"Good, I'll take it then."

"No," Toby said putting his hand in front of him, "No one is sittin there, that means you too."

"What did I do?" Kyle asked innocently, "Is this about that girl cause I swear I'm just trying to help."

"Kyle! Just go sit somewhere else."

"But we need to study for our quiz next week."

Toby rolled his eyes so hard they were in danger of never coming back down again, "Fine, but if I tell you not to talk or to move to another seat it's for your own personal safety."

Brian walked onto the bus and immediately scanned for Toby. He had wanted to sit next to Toby to talk things over. What needed to be talked over he wasn't sure, but Brian felt like they definitely needed to talk. He saw Toby and Kyle sitting together and wondered how long they would be sitting together before Toby murdered Kyle in front of everyone. Brian took a seat by himself and put his headphones on, wondering what he was going to say when he could get Toby alone.


"Hey." Eric said walking into Cooper's room.

"What's up?"

"Are you doing anything today?"

"No plans was just going to ride the day out and see what happens, why?"

"You think you could help me help Tim move. He left a few minutes ago to go get his stuff at home."

"World war three is about to happen." Cooper said.

"No, he called to make sure his dad was there."

"TIm sure did find a place fast."

"Yeah, so if you're gonna help us, we're gonna leave here in twenty minutes to meet him at his house."

"Alright, where did he find a place?"

"Ummm...I think he said it was just across 110th street."

"Oh hell no."


"I changed my mind."


"A 110th street?!! That is the ghetto!"

Eric shrugged, "I wouldn't know. I've never been that far down."

"I knew that because you're still alive."

"You've obviously been there and you're alive and well...if a little mentally unstable," Eric said, "so it can't be that bad."

"I have amazing skills and the ability to think on my feet. If I were a mortal I wouldn't have made it either."

"Ok...so you're really not going to help?"

"I'll help...only because you asked me too."

"Thank you, I appreciate it."

"But we better hurry, sundown is in like four hours and I ain't tryin to get caught there after dark."


"Here it is." Tim said as he turned the lock in the door. Eric and Cooper walked in and not one of them could see how Tim could think this was a better option than living at home, even is he had to deal with his mother. On the way there, the number of buildings that were abandoned or had graffiti on them increased dramatically, not to mention the number of homeless people that were aimlessly wandering the streets. Inside, wasn't much better. The studio was very small, and it looked as if Tim would barely be able to fit his bed and the rest of his belongings in there. The sink looked like it hadn't been cleaned in years, the carpet was stained, and his friends just felt an overall clastrophobic feeling, and that was with nothing in it.

"This place sucks ass." Cooper said.

"Eric elbowed Cooper in the stomach and whispered, "You're not allowed to talk."

"What do you think Eric?" Tim asked.

"Uhhh...home is where the heart is."

Cooper laughed, but stopped when Tim shot them a dirty look, "You guys have no vision. Sure, it's not the greatest place but I can fix it up, I'm no longer under my mother's roof, and most importantly it's mine."

"True, but can you afford this?" Eric asked.

"Yeah, I mean all I do is work so I've been saving a lot of my money. I can pick up more hours at the ice cream place, Jon's been trying to get me to anyway. Plus, if I need help, I can call my grandparents on my dad's side. They hate my mom, so I know they'll support me even if just to piss her off."

"Good times." Cooper said. As Tim took another look around his new place, Cooper nudged Eric and whispered, "Can we get this show on the road, it's gonna be dark soon and my life is precious."

"Hey Tim, you ready to start moving some stuff?" Eric said.

"Yeah, let's get started."


An hour and a half later, they had finished putting Tim's bed together.

"Next time keep the instructions." Cooper said standing up to stretch.

"How would I ever know I would need to put it back together?"

"Lots of unexpected things seem to happen to you. You need an instruction manual for life."

Tim shrugged, "At least I can say my life is never boring these days."

"We're gonna get going, it's getting late." Eric said.

"Yeah of course."

"You should invite us over when you get it fixed up." Eric said.

"A party or something to properly christen it."

"I'm sure you'll christen it properly tonight." Cooper smiled making a jerking off motion.

"No, I'm actually very tired. It's been a hectic last two days."

"There's always time in the day for that."

"Ok," Eric said, "that's enough. I'll call you tomorrow." He said giving Tim a hug.

"Thank you so much for your help...you too Cooper."


Tim was surprised when Cooper stepped forward and gave him a hug. The two of them had never been that close, but Cooper could feel the immense gratitude that Tim had for his and Eric's help today.

"Alright, we'll talk to you soon." Cooper said as both he and Eric waved.

Tim watched them walk down the pathway and to Eric's car and was more than a little sad to see them go. He made sure the door was locked and sat down on his reconstructed bed. He looked around at the cramped space he would be living in, for how long he didn't know, and couldn't believe that this was now his home.


Toby kicked the ice machine in the hallway of the hotel they where they were staying the night. As annoyed as he was that there was no ice, he was sort of glad to be out of the room and away from Kyle and some other teammates. He just needed a few minutes to himself. When he finally decided to give up on the ice machine, he turned to see Brian standing in his way.

"Hey." Toby muttered.

"Hey. Can I talk to you for a second?"

"Uh, yeah. About what?"

"I don't know really," Brian smiled nervously, "I just feel like I need to apologize or something and make sure there's no bad blood between us."

"Basically, you're asking me if I'm pissed at you for trying to get with Richard."

"I'm not trying to get..."

"Yes you are."

"So what if I was, you guys are not together anymore."

"We aren't, but that doesn't mean things are over between us."

"Look, I'm not trying to start a fight, I'm more trying to find some common ground."

"Common ground?" Toby scoffed, "You hang out with my friends, you go to my school, you're on the same tennis team as I am, and you're going after my ex boyfriend. I think I'd like you if you weren't around all the damn time."

"What am I supposed to do?"

"I don't know but don't think you can take over my life without a fight." Toby said moving past Brian.

"All I know is Richard isn't even thinking about you. He's moved on, so should you." Brian said with surprising venom.

Toby turned and gave him one final look before heading back to his room. He was done playing nice, this was war.

I just wanted to say that I am really thankful and appreciative that you guys read these chapters and that some of you read weekly, and then some of you do all of this and still take more time to write me and let me know what you're thinking, so thank you for that. As always would love to hear what you're thinking and hope to hear from you guys. Hope you had a good 4th!