Three Roads Chapter 63: That's What Friends Are For


"You know I think I'd kind of like to live in a studio." Cooper said as he reached for the popcorn.

"Why?" Tim asked.

"I don't know there's something about it that seems cool to me. Like a guy just chillin in his studio."

"Hey! Don't eat all the popcorn before the movie starts!"

"What do you expect me to do? We have like twenty minutes before the movie starts. That's why I said we should get a large so that we can just dump it in something and then get a refill."

"You have a huge icee, gummy bears, and skittles over there, why don't you start working on those?" Tim said disgustedly, "Can you really eat all of that during one movie?"

"Watch and learn my friend."

"Speaking of living in a studio, you and Eric are both graduating in May right?"


"So what happens? Like are you guys going to move out of the house?"

"I don't know. I haven't thought about it honestly. It's still a few months away."

"Really? I mean shouldn't you be saving for a deposit or something? And plus you'd have to tell Toby."

Cooper nodded, "Well, I've got a bit of money saved up, but there's just a lot going on at the moment. I know I need to start thinking about what we're going to do, but I'm trying to finish strong in school, I'll be applying to grad school in a few weeks, and then with Carol's cancer..."

"Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. How is she?"

Cooper shrugged, "I guess as fine as anyone can be with cancer."

"Didn't she have chemo?"

"A couple weeks ago. She says she's fine. She has an appointment in a few days, it's just crazy to think about."

"I know. I've been wanting to ask Eric about her, but I didn't know if it was ok."

"He's hard to read sometimes. I think if you asked he'd be ok with that; I'm sure it'd be nice for him to know his friends care what's going on, I don't know if I'd dwell on it. I think he's still figuring out how to respond, especially since we're still not sure if they've caught it early or not."

"I see. When will you guys know?"

"No idea. He's getting things from her, she's getting stuff from her doctors and then he's telling me. He keeps saying he doesn't know if she's telling him everything, but then again I think he's fine with that cause he's scared to know everything, which makes sense."

"I guess it does."

"But yeah, that's why I haven't really thought about the whole living situation with us. At least we know we can live together so that's good."

"I don't know if you guys could live in a studio though."

"You do with your boyfriend."

"Haha very funny," Tim said rolling his eyes, "the only reason why one of us isn't dead is because we don't run into each other very much. Jack usually stays at the school until pretty late hanging out with friends and stuff."

"Does he have a job."


"Then how does he pay rent or is he paying in other ways?" Cooper asked raising his right eyebrow.

"Ew no. And I don't know I never bothered to ask. He usually just gives me like $100."

"Probably drug money." Cooper said.

"Don't say that! And shush the previews are about to start."

"The previews are lame and we're the only ones in the theatre...want to make out?"

Tim could tell that Cooper was obviously joking, "You're not my type, I don't really like Asians."

"Uh, what the fuck is wrong with my people?"

"Nothing, just watch the previews."


Jack rocked back and forth in his chair as he casually watched several of the other students who were sitting in the union. Some were chatting with other students, some were eating after a hard day, and others were valiantly studying, not allowing themselves the chance to get behind. Jack had his books open, but hadn't been as productive as he liked.

"You should be careful so you don't fall out of that chair."

Jack put his most annoyed look on his face before turning around. He immediately changed when he saw it was the basketball player he had been crushing on from one of his classes, Chris.


"Hi. What are you up to?"

"Pretending to study."

"Have you started the assignment for our math class?"

"I haven't. I'll probably wait until the morning it's due and just hurry up and finish it." Jack smiled.

"Fuck, are you serious? I really don't understand that shit at all."

"It's not that difficult...I wouldn't mind helping you if you want."

"I'd appreciate it."

"I can help you now I'm not doing anything."

Chris shook his head, "I can't, me and a buddy are about to crack open the books for something else. What about tomorrow night?"

"Sure, you want to meet here?"

"No, I really have a hard time with this, somewhere quieter. You can come over to my apartment."

Jack's heart almost leaped out of his chest and he was sure they were flirting, "Sure. We can arrange that."

"Cool. I live over on..."

"I know where you live...I was driving by one day and saw you coming out of an apartment complex with your backpack, you don't live far from campus."

Chris smiled, "Some might consider that stalking."

Jack shrugged, "Trust me, if I were stalking you, you'd never have a clue."

Chris turned around and nodded at a guy who had just sat down at the table where Chris had laid his belongings, "I should probably go. But I'll write down my cell phone number for you...unless you already have that."

"I don't." Jack lied. He had visited Chris' facebook page and found the phone number that way.

"There. Call me tomorrow after you're done with class."

"Will do." Jack pinched himself to make sure he was really awake. After pinching himself a little too hard, he knew he was going to get zero done if he stayed, so he quickly packed up and decided to head home so he could tell Tim the good news.


"Where are you?" Brian asked.

"At the grocery store."

"I hate going to the grocery store." Brian said into the phone.

"That's cause you don't have a car so someone always has to take you, but see I can take my time. I love going to the grocery store."

"You're weird, I don't think anyone loves going to the grocery store. It's just one of those things you have to do in life."

"I have a theory about this," Tim said as he debated on whether or not he wanted Pringles or potato chips with ruffles, "my theory is I love going to the grocery store so much now as adult, because when I was younger, I would go to the store with my mother and whenever I would ask her to buy this or that, she'd always say no. So now it's like...freedom I guess. I can buy whatever I want, the only limitation being how much money I have."

"That sort of makes sense."

"It makes perfect sense."

"I'm glad we're making more of an effort with each other now." Brian said.

"So am I. I think we both got caught up in our own lives. But I'm happy to see you're fully integrated. You're out dating and living life. It's good. Hey hold a second, someone's on my other line...hello?"

"Tim, where are you?!" Jack said breathing heavily into his cell phone.

"Why? I'm at the store? What's wrong?"

"Nothing, I have to talk to you. Something so wonderful happened today..."

"I can't talk now, I'm on the phone with Brian. I should be home in like half an hour or so."


"Bye Jack...sorry Brian it was Jack."

"What did he want?"

"I don't know. He's excited about something though I'm sure it's something any normal person wouldn't even give a second thought."

"Lover's quarrel?"

"You're not funny. You should come over for dinner one of these days."

"Will do."

"I mean it. This isn't one of those things that people say, but never happens."

Brian laughed, "Ok, I promise. We'll do it."

"Good. So I'll talk to you soon."


Tim smiled as he returned his phone to his pocket. He pushed the cart casually down the aisle looking at both sides for anything that jumped out at him. He never paid much attention to the signs hung high above the aisles that let the customers know what items were on each aisle, he preferred to walk up and down each and every one and pick what he wanted. As he approached the cereal aisle, he saw his mother and froze. He'd seen her a few times, but never alone. Their dad or Tathiana had always been there as a buffer so that they never had to say much to each other. He was going to skip that aisle for now, but then he thought about Eric's mother and what Eric was currently going through.

"What the hell." he muttered under his breath. He moved in her direction. He was hoping his mother would look up before he reached her so that he wouldn't have to get her attention, but that didn't happen.


She turned towards him and smiled warmly, "Hi, Tim. It's nice to see you."

"It's nice to see you too. What are you doing here?" Tim winced as he said it, knowing the answer was obvious.

"Just shopping, picking up a few things for the rest of the week...you're doing the same?"

"Yeah. I've been needing to do it. Um...how's work?"

"It's good. Always hectic, but I wouldn't have it any other way. How's things at the ice cream parlor?"

"Good. I've cut back on hours to..."

"Help your father. It's ok to say."

"Yeah, I pick Tati up from school most of the time. But I don't mind, it's nice to spend time with her."

"It is."

"Um, we should do that one day. Me, you, and her we should just have a fun day out. I think she'd really like that."

"I would like that too."

"Well, yeah you have my cell phone. As long as I know far enough ahead, I can take off from work or change shifts with someone. I have to get going though, I need to get home, but really we should plan something."

"I'll take a look at my calendar and we definitely can. It was very nice seeing you Tim."

"Nice seeing you too."


"Thirty minutes?! Thirty minutes?!"

"Sorry, I was out buying food so you know we wouldn't starve to death." Tim said, his annoyance clear his voice.

"You won't believe what happened today."

"Could you grab a bag or something?"

Jack grabbed a couple of bags from Tim's hand and closed the door to their studio, "Remember the basketball player..."

"That you hadn't spoken too yes, I remember."

"He talked to me today and invited me over to his house tomorrow night!"


"I know!"

"How did that come about?" Tim asked.

"He needs help with some math stuff."

Tim looked at Jack skeptically, "And the only place to do it is his apartment?"

"He wanted a quiet place to do it."

"The library works."

Jack smiled, "Are you jealous?"

Tim laughed, "Of what? I'm just saying it's so cliché. The seemingly closeted basketball player asks the boy to his apartment to study. If that's not the beginning to a lame porno movie I don't know what is."

"Oh my God, you are so jealous it's not even funny."

"Stop saying that cause it isn't true. I'm just trying to tell you that if you don't want sex with this guy, then you shouldn't go over there."

"Don't tell me what to do."

"Fine, then do what you want, but don't come whining to me if something bad happens."

"Fine, I won't."

"And while you're mad at me, I might as well just come out with it all," Tim began, "if you don't have a job, how do you give me money every month?"

"Does it matter?"

"If it isn't legal, it does."

"Since you made me mad, I'll tell you and then we'll be even. When my dad kicked me out he gave me some money."

"You told me he didn't give you anything."

"I know, because I knew if I did you wouldn't let me stay here, but the lie was a good thing right? Cause we have fun living here together."

Tim shook his head in disbelief, "You lie whenever it's convenient for you. What else are you lying about?"

"Nothing! I promise."

"I can't even say I'm surprised anymore Jack. You always claim to lie to me because I wouldn't have done this or that if you had told me the truth, you must not think much of me."

"I thought you knew," Jack started. He lowered his head and mumbled, "I think the world of you."


"I do. And I know you don't feel the same way about me, you've made it very clear, but it doesn't change the way I feel about you."

Tim cleared his throat, "Well thanks. I like you a lot too. You're a great guy, um...I'm going to go put in a frozen pizza. Do you want one?"

"Yeah sure."


"Are you going to work at the Pride Center next year?" Chase asked while stealing a French fry from Joey.

"I think so. It's a nice job, it pays enough and I can't think off too many other places where I can check out hot guys for free."

Chase laughed, "How can you say things like that?"

"Like what?"

Chase shrugged uncomfortably, "That you want to see hot guys."

"It's the truth."

"Yea, but still...usually the more true something is the harder it is to say it."

"I guess I feel there's no reason to hide it now. I did that long enough when I was younger. If people don't want to except me now, then fuck them."

"It's not that simple though."

"It really is when you think about it. The people who love me should accept me no matter what and why should I give a fuck about what anyone thinks that I don't even know."

Chase shook his head, "It's not that simple."

"Well that's because you have religion to help fuck up the situation."

"Don't be a jerk. All I'm saying is it sucks that in a lot of cases you don't even get a chance to prove yourself. People think, oh he's gay he can't do a lot of things or he's not a real man."

"Only bigoted and ignorant assholes think that way."

"Ok, so what if that's true? There's a lot of bigoted assholes who can keep you from getting a job or who can kick your ass or spread untrue things about you."

Joey sighed, "I just don't understand why you care so much about what other people think."

"I don't understand why you pretend you don't."

Chase's eyes suddenly widened and he stared hard in the direction behind Joey. Joey turned around to see Lucas several feet away, but glaring intently at them while shaking his head.

"I have to go to class." Chase said standing up quickly and grabbing his backpack.

"Just ignore him."

"I really have to go. I'll call you later." As he hurried off to class, Chase didn't even bother to look back, he knew Joey was pissed off at what he'd just done.


"Come on Brian!" Toby yelled loudly adding a few claps to cheer his teammate on.

"How come you never cheer for me?" Kyle asked.

"It probably has to do with the fact that we tend to play at the same time. Am I supposed to yell at you from across several tennis courts?"

"Damn, you won today and you're still in a bitchy mood, what's wrong?"

"You won today and you're being annoying, imagine that."

Brian squeaky shoes as he ran for a shot, skidded, and then ran the other direction caught Toby's and Kyle's attention. His opponent, not expecting Brian to get the last ball was surprised when it was returned and hit the next shot into the net. Brian did a quick fist pump in his teammates direction as he ran to the net to greet his opponent.

"Jesus fucking Christ you're fast." Kyle said.

Brian smiled, a little out of breath, "Thanks."

Toby gave him a pat on the shoulder, "Good match."

"Thanks. There's someone hear to see you." Brian said motioning behind Toby. Toby turned around to see Nick, the Australian guy he had recently began dating, smiling from behind the chain link fence.

"Did I miss you playing?"

Toby laughed, "Yeah, I finished almost an hour ago."

"Damn. I wanted to see you play.

"There's always next time, but it's good to see you anyway."

"It's good to see you too. And does there's always next time apply to another date?" Nick asked.

"It does if you're interested."

"Of course I am. I didn't think you were interested."

"Why would you think that?"

"It's been three days since our last date and you haven't called."

"That was because I didn't want to seem like a freak and constantly hound you."

"You're even more cute when you're uncomfortable."

"Stop it." Toby laughed.

"I'm free this weekend, we should plan something for Saturday night."

Toby agreed, "Ok. I'll call you, I promise."

"Good." Nick smiled as he walked away.

Kyle and Brian were grinning stupidly as Toby re-approached them, "What's going on there?" Brian asked.

"Yeah no kidding. I didn't know Black people could blush." Kyle said.

"We just planned to get together this Saturday night."

"On a date?" Brian asked, still smiling.

"Yes, on another date. Fuck, accents are so hot."

"Like mine?" Brian asked.

"Uhhhh...your accent is nice."

"It's ok Toby you can say Brian's accent is hot, he's no longer dating your ex boyfriend." Kyle said trying to be helpful.

Toby again threw him a dirty look, "This conversation is weird, let's talk about something else."

"We should go cheer on the last match so that we can leave."

"Good idea." Toby agreed.


"Oh my God! Could it be Cooper Hwang." Joey said, pretending to be in awe.

"The one and only."

"You must be bored out of your mind or dying if you're coming to visit me. Which is it?"

"I'm waiting on Eric. He gets out of class in a few minutes, but I thought I'd come by and see my favorite midget before I leave."

"Awww how sweet. I'm ok I guess, how is the least favorite person I've had sex with?"

"The person with the biggest dick you've ever seen is good. Why are you just ok? All your problems should disappear now that I'm here."

"I'm a little frustrated with Chase."

"What happened now?"

"He just...it's very frustrating to be dating someone who's not as comfortable as I am with being gay."

"Well yeah, you guys are in very different places. He's still half in the closet and you work at the Pride center. That's about as far apart as you can get."

"I know, but it's been like nine months since he kissed me and sometimes I think he's getting more comfortable with it and then there are other times where I feel like he's exactly in the same place. Like today, we were having a decent conversation about being gay and then Lucas showed up and he freaked out and ran away."

"It's not easy especially since there's still a lot of social stigma attached to being gay."

"Yeah, but it's getting better though. I just don't understand why other people's opinions matter."

"Cause they do."

Joey gave Cooper a quizzical look, "What do you mean? You don't care what people think about you."

"Well I mean I care what my parents and Angela think and Eric and you and Toby and maybe one or two others, but no for the most part I don't care what some random person down the street thinks. But sometimes things get to me. I think back to high school and people made their comments cause I didn't like sports and most of my friends were girls and I guess it was obvious I was gay, whatever that means. And most of the time I didn't give a shit what people thought about me, but that doesn't mean sometimes it didn't get to me. Some of the things people said were mean and it hurt my feelings. Some people are just better equipped to deal with it than others."

"I didn't think of it that way."

"I know. I didn't want to say anything cause I know you like him, but you've got to think that it might be a long while before he becomes truly comfortable with himself. Are you ok with that?"

"I don't know."

"My advice is to think with your head before your heart won't let you. I can't remember where I heard that, but it's so true." Cooper took his phone out of his pocket and answered, "Sorry, it's Eric. Should I meet you at the car?"

"Where are you?" Eric asked

"I'm at the Pride Center."

"Ok. No I'll met you there in a bit if that's ok. I need to talk to a professor about something so I'm gonna run to his office and then I'll come by the Pride Center."

"Yeah, that's fine. I'm in no rush."

"Ok, I'll try and be quick." Eric wasn't really going to see a professor he was going to see Dr. Taylor. He wasn't sure why he was lying to Cooper about it, but he felt it was necessary. He just hoped that Dr. Taylor was in her office.

"Come in." She said without looking up.

"Is this a bad time?"

"Eric! What a pleasant surprise. And I'm always busy, but I don't mind. I need a break."

"I uh need to talk to someone and I thought you might be able to help me."

"I'll do my best," she smiled, "Have a seat."

"Um...I don't know if you know but my mother was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer."

Dr. Taylor nodded, "Yes. Richard told me. I'm very sorry to hear that. My apologies for not getting in touch with you."

"No no, it's fine. It's just been really difficult lately cause I'm trying to be positive and strong for her and I don't want Cooper to worry, so I'm trying to do my best, but I'm just really, I guess I feel overwhelmed by it all."

"I think that's a natural feeling to have when you get devastating news."

"I guess I keep getting stuck in how unfair it is for her and for me. I used to hate when I was kid she'd always try and limit how much junk food I had or always tell me to exercise, she's never smoked, she drinks like once a year, she prays all the time, I just don't understand where this cancer came from. Why does it have to happen to someone who's trying to live an honest life, why does it have to happen to someone who took her nephew in because her sister is a drug addict. If she dies...I won't have any parents."

"I think it's important for you to allow yourself to feel these emotions. Many people make the mistake of bottling up when they're stressed or upset or feeling anxiety. If you don't want to burden Cooper with this, you should get a journal where you can write exactly how you feel. It's usually an effective way of recognizing what you're feeling and being able to analyze those feelings because they're out in the open. And, on a personal note, Cooper is an outstanding young man, I don't think he would mind one bit if you were to tell him how you're feeling, in fact, I think it would hurt his feelings if he knew that you were keeping these feelings from him."

"I know you're right. I just think it'll be hard for him to understand. I don't understand it and it's happening to me. I just don't want to make him feel bad."

"You guys might be able to help each other through it. You can't do it alone, Eric. And even if you could, I don't think you'd want to. Caring for someone that is sick, is a physically and emotionally draining task, especially if she doesn't get better and gets progressively worse over a long period of time. Cooper is willing to help, you should take it."

"There's one more thing I want to ask."

"Feel free."

"My dad died when I was four; he was stabbed to death trying to help a women who was being raped. My last memory, well I guess it's more of a memory of a memory now, is of us walking through a park and we're holding hands. I used to think it was silly to be sad about him dying cause I really didn't know him, I was only four. And then in high school I felt like there was a big hole in my life because I realized how many things I didn't experience and would never experience because I didn't have a father. I'm glad I don't need to shave because there was no one to teach me, but anyway I thought that I was over it. Like even though it never made sense why he had to die, I thought I was over it and that it wasn't an issue anymore, but now that my mom is sick and could die, I find myself thinking about it more. And I'm upset over it again and I don't know why it's still bothering me."

"I don't think it's something you ever get over. It's a traumatic experience, especially with you being so young. But it's something you learn to live with and put in an appropriate context. So it will always be something that you'll deal with. When you get married, when you have kids, when you graduate, that sadness will always be there, but like I said you learn to live with it. Some people, depending on their faith, still believe their loved ones watch them from above. Others might draw inspiration in that you never know when it's your time so you live life to the fullest and be thankful for every moment."

Eric wiped his eyes, "I'm sorry."

Dr. Taylor walked from around the desk and bent down next to the chair Eric was sitting in, "You have no reason to be apologizing. You're going through a very difficult time. I really hope you confide in your friends. That's what they're there for. And if you ever want my advice again, feel more than free to come by. I mean it Eric. I know people say things like that all the time, but I genuinely mean it."

She reached for a post it note and scribbled a number on the yellow piece of paper, "It's my cell phone number. You can call me night or day."

"Thank you." Eric said taking the piece of paper from her.

"You're welcome. Are you ok getting to wherever you need to go?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine. I feel a little better actually getting some of that out."

"Good. Get the journal and talk to your friends. Trust me, you'll feel even better."


"Come in Jack." Chris smiled as he opened the door.

"Thanks. Nice apartment."

"Eh, it's shit, but it's a place to live. Let's go up to my room."

"Ok." Jack said a little nervously. After talking with Tim the previous night, he was determined to have sex with Chris. Eighteen was way too old to still be a virgin in his opinion and he was still reeling a bit from what he saw as continued rejection from Tim. He walked into the room and saw that the desk was covered with books and papers that looked like they hadn't been touched in a long time, "Where are we going to study?"

"On the bed."


"You know what I wanted to ask you?"


"You're the President's son aren't you?"

"Yeah. So?"

"That's cool. I bet you don't even have to pay for tuition."

"I don't, but my father and I don't talk."


"You really want to talk about this? I thought you needed to study."

"Sorry, I was just interested."

"I have a question for you? You're gay right."

Chris laughed, "You get right to the point don't you."

"About most things."

"And no I'm not gay. I just like to suck dick and fuck a guy every now and then."

"That makes you at least bi-sexual."

"No it doesn't.

"Do the other guys on the basketball team know that you like to play with guys?"

"Hell no and there's no need for them to."

"How do you hide it from them? I saw you in class and you were obviously staring at me."

"I wasn't obviously staring at you," Chris said, "you were obviously staring at me. I just smiled at you and no one saw me."

"How do you know?"

"I know. Plus no one would dare say it to my face even if they thought they knew."

"Why because you're the big bad basketball player?" Jack said jokingly.

"Yes," Chris said seriously, "You should know what it's like with you being the son of someone important. People are always willing to look the other way."

"And if they don't, you make them."

"Exactly. You want to study a bit now?"

"Oh, ok yeah sure."

After an hour or so or studying Chris closed his books emphatically, "I need a break. Do you smoke?"


"Well you can come out on my balcony and keep me company then."

"You think this apartment sucks and it has a balcony?"

"Eh, it's whatever."

"This is dangerous." Jack said.

"What is dangerous about a balcony?"

"The railing is so low. Someone could easily fall over." Jack said staying as close to the door as possible.

"No one's going to fall over the rail. I can hold you to make sure you don't fall over."

Jack was suddenly losing his nerve, "I...actually think I should go."

"Why, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. I forgot I told my roommate I would do something with him. I really have to go."

"Alright. Well, I'll see you in class."

"Yeah, for sure." Jack said going back inside. He grabbed his backpack and didn't bother to put his math book back in before racing out of the house. He sat in his car for a few minutes before taking off. Apparently, he wasn't ready to give up on Tim.


"I'm done I give up." Dr. Paul Zamora said as he sat down on a bench located on either side of the net.

"Come on," Brian laughed, "It's only been twenty minutes. You must be out of shape." Brian said coming to join him on the bench.

"I'm not out of shape. For one it's really warm today and two you're just in incredible shape. Look at your stomach there is like no fat."

Brian laughed, "There's a little bit."

The professor put his hand flat on Brian's abdomen area, "That looks pretty damn flat to me."

"I guess it does." Brian was aware that their knees were touching and he felt himself getting incredibly aroused.

"Do you always take off your shirt when you play tennis?" Dr. Zamora asked.

"Normally no. But like you said it's hot today."

"It's definitely hot."

Their knees were still touching, but Dr. Zamora was putting more pressure where Brian was now sure it was no accident, the professor was purposely doing it.

"Really, do you play tennis or did you just say that to get me out here?"

Dr. Zamora chuckled, "I really play. My wife and I usually play, but she's no competition, so I've been looking for someone else to play with, but you might be out of my league."

"You're married?"

"Yes I am."

Brian was extremely confused, "Wow...I didn't know." He said removing his leg.

"I thought you were comfortable with this."

"Comfortable with what?"

"What we're doing here. Where it's going. We're into each other, we're both adults..."

"I didn't know you were married!"

"What's it matter?

Brian stood up, "Is this a joke?"

"Does it look like a joke?" Dr. Zamora said motioning down to his shorts.

"This is a little too much for me. I would have never shown any interest if I had known you were married. I can't do something like that to someone." Brian stuffed his racquet into his bag and walked away from the courts. He was sure he did the right thing, but that didn't stop him from cursing himself all the way back to the dorms.

"How was school today?"


"You say that every day when I ask you. Tell me what happened today?"

"The same stuff that happens everyday. Oh, some people came by and told us we should be like them."

Tim laughed, "Who were the people?"

"One was a cook, one was a doctor, one was a builder, and then our teacher talked."

"Sounds like it was career day where they have people tell you about their jobs."

"Yeah, that's what they did. Then after they asked us what we wanted to be when we grow up."

"What did you say?"

"I said that I didn't want to go to college."

"That's not a job and anyway it's hard to get a lot of money and a good job without college."

"I told them I wanted to be just like you. I don't want to go to college when I can work at an ice cream shop and eat free ice cream all day!"

Tim pulled into the driveway of the house and Tatiana jumped out of the car. Tim couldn't move. He stared straight ahead, Tathiana's word running over and over in his brain.

"Tim come on! I can't get in the house!" She yelled from the front door

Eric walked into the Denny's restaurant and looked around for Tim. He saw Tim waving from one of the booths and he quickly walked towards him.

"If you begin your sentence with can you help me get rid of a body, I swear I'm going to leave."

"Why do you think that?" Tim laughed.

"Because you called me and practically begged me to come and you said to come alone so I'm a little scared."

"It must say something about our friendship if you're a little scared and you came anyway."

"I guess it does," Eric agreed, "What's up?" he said beginning to flip through the menu.

"I want to talk about your mom."

Eric visibly paused before looking up at Tim, "Ok."

"I know I haven't sad anything about her since Cooper told me that she had cancer a while ago, but I don't want you to think it's because I don't care. I just didn't know what to say and I didn't want to say something stupid, so I decided to say nothing, which I know is stupid, but I'm sorry. I can't imagine what you must be going through, but if you ever want to try and explain it to me, you know where to find me."

"Thanks Tim."

"And one last thing since I know you're not that comfortable talking about it, but everything happens for a reason."

Eric had a hint of anger in the way he was looking at Tim now, "All I mean by that is I saw my mother in the store yesterday and I thought about your mother and what you must be going through and it made me go up to her and make plans to have lunch. I probably wouldn't have done it otherwise, so it's not for nothing."

"I understand what you mean."

"Good. And I have an announcement to make."

"You're full of them tonight."

Tim smiled, "This one you'll like. I'm going to apply to go back to the university.."

"Really, that's great! When did you decide?"

"Like three hours ago. I'd sort of been thinking about my future and where it was all going, but ultimately I want to be a good role model for Tathiana, so I'm gonna apply. I probably won't get in but..."

"That was a long time ago though, I'm happy for you." Eric said as he reached across the table and places his hand on Tim's hand.

"Thank you and one last time, don't forget I'm here for you."


Thanks for reading this chapter. I appreciate the continued support of this story J Two more are left before the end of the season. I'm still deciding about when to post again for the 5th and final season of the story and exactly how many chapters to do, but I'll know soon. As always, comments, suggestions, and constructive criticisms are always appreciated and can be sent to tenniswiz12@msn.com.