All other content or otherwise are works of my own imagination. All events are fictitious in nature.
Any similarities to persons living, dead, or otherwise are purely coincidental.
This story contains strong themes of homosexual content, if this offends you in any way, please refrain from reading further. If you are not of legal age to read this, please leave now.
A/N: I'd like to thank TalonRider for editing this chapter. His skill and tiresome effort applied to my work is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Chapter 8: The Storm: Part II
I looked over at the two figures standing in the doorway. My heart was drumming frantically in my chest. I sat there, frozen to the spot.
After what seemed an eternity, I opened my mouth, “...Josh?...Max?...” I stammered, looking at the broken expression on their faces.
Max stood there for a moment before he scrunched his face up and turned around, walking away. I managed to get my legs to respond. I got up off the bed and snatched my shirt up off the floor before slipping it over my head as I headed towards the door. I looked up to see Josh run off too. I quickened my pace, emerged into the hallway and watched as Josh rushed into his room, slamming the door. I heard the lock slide across. Locking me out. I looked to the right to see Max heading down the stairs hurriedly. I chased after him.
“Max!...Max!!!” I called out, as he approached the already open front door.
He continued to ignore me as he walked outside. I followed him. I quickly noticed my parents had returned from shopping, but their attention was now on us as we stormed out of the house.
“Max! Wait!” I called out again, trying not to cause a scene, “Let me explain…”
He stopped dead in his tracks and turned around. His face was one of fury and betrayal. My body shook with fear when our eyes connected.
“Explain?!?! WHAT THE FUCK IS THERE TO EXPLAIN?!?!” He boomed, lifting his finger and pointing at me, “You were fucking KISSING him!!!” He shouted.
I jerked violently. It was as though someone punched me in the stomach.
My mind seemed to shut down at that instant. It was like I was watching everything through someone else. It wasn’t happening to me. It couldn’t have been happening to me.
Max pointed at me again, “Just stay the FUCK away from me!!! BOTH of you!!!” He warned. The tears of anger were evident in his eyes before he turned and stormed off. With my parents having witnessed everything.
I wasn’t in control anymore. It was as though I was no longer inside my body. My hearing quickly became all fuzzy and my vision started to blur. It felt as though I was spiralling out of control, yet I knew I was standing there. I could hear some muffled voices. But they didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore. It was all over.
Jamie stood in front of me and shook my shoulders, “Hey, MATT!” He shouted. I blinked and looked up into his face, feeling somewhat disorientated.
“We have to go, come on.” He said loudly, pulling my arm.
I didn’t move. I couldn’t move.
He cupped my face and looked deep into my eyes, “Now!”
With my legs feeling like lead weights, I managed to walk forward. I could still hear the voices behind me as I walked down the street, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I didn’t want to make out what they were saying.
Our journey to Jamie’s house seemed to take seconds. Once we reached his door, Jamie reached out and hammered his fist against it. We waited a few seconds before Noah answered.
He looked straight at me, immediately noticing my expression, “What happened?” He asked quickly, looking concerned.
Suddenly my stomach lurched, “…toilet…” I mumbled, as I pushed past him, trying to hold it in.
I made it up his stairs and collapsed in front of his toilet. Everything flashed through my mind again, as I emptied my stomach into the pit. Tears began to drop from my eyes, mixing with the vicious mess below. I didn’t know what to do, how to feel. I felt numb. Both physically and emotionally. I wanted to wake up to find that this was a nightmare, something that didn’t matter in real life. But this was real life. And it was happening now. I couldn’t tell you how long I was there, it felt like hours, but the next thing I remember was sitting on the floor, laying back against Jamie’s chest and bawling my eyes out. He held me close as I wept in his arms.
Jamie brought the towel to my face and wiped me clean gently. My crying had subsided several minutes before. I was just sitting there quietly, with my mind blank. He placed the towel down and moved his lips next to my ear, “It’s ok, I’ve got you. Everything’s going to be alright.” He whispered.
Part of me wanted to laugh aloud at that. How could he know that EVERYTHING was going to be alright?!?! That was a ridiculous thing to say. On the other hand, it felt good to hear him say that. He was trying to give me hope. But at this stage, it was like throwing kindling on a burnt out fire.
I didn’t reply. I just sat there. After a few seconds, he spoke again.
“Are you ok, Matt?”
I opened my mouth, “I…er…” I began.
He interrupted me, “No. Don’t worry about it, you don’t have to say anything.”He said, hugging me closer.
He was right. I didn’t have to, but I wanted to, I think I needed to talk.
“It…It really happened…” I managed to say.
“Yeah.” He paused, “It did.”
I went over the events in my mind again. The shock on Josh’s face when he saw us on the bed. And the anger in Max’s eyes as he shouted at me outside my house. His words ripped through me like a blunt blade. They butchered everything they touched. The years of our friendship, everything that we shared as friends. Every laugh, every smile; gone. Gone in an instant.
It was when I was thinking back did I suddenly realise that Jamie was there. I mean, I knew he was there, but I had totally ignored that fact. Ignoring how he was reacting to all of this. I felt like crap. I quickly looked up at him, scanning his eyes, “How are you?”
He shrugged, “I’m alright.”
“What?” I asked in disbelief, “After everything?”
He thought for a second, “I dunno. I’m still kinda shocked.”
“I’m sorry.” I said, “I didn’t even think about you.”
He looked at me, “Don’t be, after what just happened and everything...” He said, trailing off.
I nodded before something occurred to me, “What about your parents?”
“What about them?”
“I mean, Max said everything in front of my parents, what if they tell-“
“Yeah.” He interrupted, “I think I’m going to tell my dad.”
Shit! I forgot that his dad was in the house! “Your dad? Where is he?” I asked quickly.
“I told him to wait downstairs.”
I calmed down and nodded, “Oh.”
Jamie was silent for a moment, “I think I should tell him, about us.”
I shook my head, “No…no, you don’t want to do that.”
“He can help us. He can help you.” He said, holding me comfortingly, “It would be better that I tell him, before he finds out from your parents.”
I looked up into his eyes. They were slightly moist, but he seemed to be in control, “I’m sorry.” I said.
He frowned, “What for?”
“We were both caught.” He said.
“I should have been more careful. I was being stupid.”
“Hey!” He said, causing my eyes to widen slightly, “This isn’t your fault, I could have stopped you if I wanted to, but I didn’t.” He paused, “We’re in this together Matt.”
I thought for a moment before I relaxed against him, “You’re right.” I said, looking into his eyes, “We’re in this together.”
“Yeah.” He said, holding my hand, “And we’ll get through it.”
I sat there against him for a few minutes, “Do you really want to tell your dad?”
Jamie nodded as he gently brushed away a stray tear off my cheek using his thumb.
“Ok.” I paused, “Do you want me to come?” I asked meekly.
He looked at me for a second, “No, it’s ok.” He replied.
I looked into his eyes and knew that he needed me. I couldn’t let him down. Not now. Not ever. I stood up, “I’m going with you.”
He watched me carefully before he smiled mildly and nodded.
I reached out my hand and helped him up, before we turned and headed down the stairs. His dad was sitting in the lounge, but stood up when we entered, “Are you guys going to tell me what’s going on?” He asked worriedly.
Jamie looked at me and then over to a chair opposite his dad. I got the message and sat over there, giving them some space. Jamie looked over at his dad, “Erm, maybe you should sit down. I have someth…I need to…” He paused, “Sit, please.”
Noah looked at Jamie’s confused and fragile state, but listened to him and sat down, “Look, whatever it is, I’m sure-“
“I’m gay.” Said Jamie quickly.
Noah studied him for a moment, “Are you sure?”
Noah sat there for a minute before he stood up and walked toward Jamie. Instinctively I clenched my hands into a fist. I didn’t know what I was preparing for but I wasn’t about to let him hurt Jamie. What he did next shocked me. Noah walked forward and extended his arms, before wrapping them around his son and holding him tightly.
Jamie seemed a little alarmed at the action, but he quickly threw his arms around his dad, tears falling from his eyes, “Dad.”
“It’s ok. I’m here.” Replied Noah softly.
Jamie buried his face in his shoulder as he moved tighter into the embrace, never wanting his dad to let go.
Noah rubbed his back as Jamie wept softly, “I love you, ok?”
“I love you too, Dad.” Whispered Jamie into his shoulder.
They held each other for a few more minutes before they parted. Noah smiled at his son, “I will always love you. Don’t you ever forget that.” He said, placing a hand on his shoulder.
Jamie grinned at him before he glanced over at me and then back at his dad. Noah also turned to me and looked at Jamie questioningly.
“Erm, there’s something else too.” Jamie said before he looked over to me and nodded slightly, as if to say, ‘Come here’.
I stood up and walked toward them slowly. I stood next to Jamie.
“Dad, Matt’s my boyfriend.”
I think I physically shook when Jamie said that. While I knew we were boyfriends, it felt really weird to actually publicise the fact.
Noah looked at me, “Boyfriend?”
I wasn’t sure who he was asking, but I nodded anyway. There was a second of silence before Noah walked towards me and enveloped me in a hug. I was taken a bit by surprise, but I finally hooked my arms under his shoulders. It was quite weird to be given a fatherly hug by someone other than my dad. Come to think of it, I don’t think my dad had hugged me in years, it was just something that I grew out of. Sure, we kissed each other on the cheek before we went to bed, but that didn’t compare to the feelings that I was feeling. It was a sense of closeness and security. I felt safe and loved. Not for what I was pretending to be, but for what I was. Who I was.
We pulled back, with fresh tears in my eyes. Noah looked at me closely, “I always thought you were a special kid, Matt. I just didn’t know how special you were to my son.”
I somewhat smiled at him and looked away.
He looked surprised, “I’m sorry. Did I say something wrong?” He asked, concerned about my response.
I shook my head and looked across at Jamie.
“No, Dad, you were great.” He paused, “Something happened earlier…”
During the next ten
minutes or so, Jamie told his father about the events earlier today.
Events that I was reluctant to talk about. Noah didn’t
interrupt or ask questions. He just sat there and listened, nodding
as Jamie went along. It wasn’t until I shifted in my seat did I
realise that Jamie was holding my hand the whole time, in front of
his dad no less.
“What did your parents say?” Asked Noah.
“Well…I…we left before they said anything.” I replied.
He nodded, “So you don’t know how they would have reacted?”
I shook my head and looked up at him, “They don’t like people…like us.”
“You’re their son. That changes things.”
My mind quickly flashed to an event that happened last year, during a car journey from my nans house:
“It’s just unnatural.” Spat my mum as she turned off the radio, seemingly unhappy with the topic that the presenter was discussing. Gay rights. She turned to me, “More and more people are becoming gay, it’s not a choice.” Actually, my mum thought that being gay was a choice, just that it wasn’t a very good one.
“I don’t think people are becoming gay, mum.” I said, trying to use humour to diffuse the situation.
She shook her head, “And why are they called gays anyway? When I was in school they were called queers and poofs.”
I cringed inwardly as I listened to her remarks. ‘Sticks and stones.’ I thought to myself. But it didn’t make it any better when your mum was saying those things about you. Of course she wasn’t saying them to me directly, but in a way, she was. She really had no idea.
She looked over at me, “I don’t think I’d live with myself if you were one of them. It would ruin my life.”
I forced a smile onto my face and looked at her, “You have nothing to worry about.”
She grinned, “I know sweetie.” She paused, “What would you like for dinner?”
I didn’t feel very hungry anymore…
I drifted out of my daze and looked up at Noah, “No, I don’t think that’ll matter.”
“You will have to talk to them sometime.”
I glanced at him. He was right, I would have to go back, “I know.”
It was eventually decided that Noah would come with me back to my house and talk to my parents. Jamie offered to come too, but I didn’t want to make matters worse by taking my boyfriend with me.
Jamie walked toward me and gave me a quick hug, “Good luck, babes.” He whispered.
“Thanks.” I smiled, noting that my body was trembling slightly.
Even though it was only a five-minute walk, Noah decided to take the car instead. I preferred that. It seemed that every step I took felt like I was walking on jelly. It was ridiculous.
My stomach started doing back flips when I saw my house. I had no idea what was waiting inside, but I knew that it was bad. I could feel it. Noah slowed down and parked outside, before we stepped out of the car and walked up my path. Noah nodded his head toward the door, signalling that I should knock. I didn’t move.
“It’s going to be ok, Matt.” He reassured, his voice sounding sympathetic and caring.
I listened carefully to what he said before I raised my fist and knocked on the door. We waited for several seconds before my mum opened. She looked at Noah and then at me. Her eyes were bloodshot. It was clear that she’d been crying. She continued to hold the stare for a few seconds until she turned and walked into the lounge, leaving the door open. I looked back at Noah who nodded at me.
I stepped into the house. It didn’t feel like my home anymore. It was as though the building itself was staring at me, wanting me to turn and leave. But I couldn’t leave. I had to do this. I glanced over my shoulder to check for Noah. I needed to know that he was close. He reached out and squeezed my shoulder, “It’s ok. I’ll be right behind you.” I took a deep breath before I walked into the lounge. My parents were both sitting on one of the sofas. I walked over and sat on the one opposite them, across the room. Noah came and sat down beside me.
I pried my eyes off the floor and cast my eyes over to them. The gulf between us seemed massive as I looked at them. They were both staring at me. I shivered. I could feel the hate from their stares. It was as though they weren’t looking at their son. They were looking for the evil entity occupying it. And that frightened the hell out of me.
“What Max said…was it true?” Asked my mum suddenly.
I looked at Noah and he nodded. I looked back at my parents, “Y…Yeah. Yeah, it was.”
My dad closed his eyes and swallowed. He looked like he was in a worse state than myself, if that was at all possible.
She continued, “But you’re not…one of those.” I cringed at that.
After a short pause I spoke, “I’m gay.”
Dad continued to stare at me while Mum shook her head, “No, no you’re not. You’re a good boy. You wouldn’t do something like that.” She said quickly. Frantically.
“I kissed him, Mum.”
“Stop it!” She shrieked.
I frowned at that, “It’s what happened. I shouldn’t have to lie about it.” I said, raising my voice slightly.
She narrowed her eyes at me, “Perhaps you should leave us Noah.” She said, looking across at him.
He didn’t waver, “Matt asked for me to be here, so unless he tells me to go, I’m staying.”
I felt something flow down my spine when he said that. He wasn’t one of my parents, yet he was willing to stand by me. That thought alone brought new tears to my eyes, but I wasn’t here to cry. I was here to tell my parents the truth. I was here to show them who their son really was. Who I always had been. And who I will continue to be.
Everyone became silent again, letting my mind wander off.
Had I thought about coming out before? Sure. Why wouldn’t I have? But even the make believe scenarios in my head always ended up badly. I always knew that it wouldn’t be easy to tell them. Although I had made one promise with myself. I wasn’t going to say sorry. Actually, the more I thought about it, they should be the ones apologising to ME! I mean, throughout all these years, I haven’t just had to put up with the stupid remarks that I hear at school, on the radio, or even that I see on TV. I also had to put up with my parents homophobic attitude. And while they weren’t saying that we should all be rounded up and shot, they still had the belief that we were less then they were. That we were unnatural, disgusting things. Those were my parents own words. I wanted an apology, but I wasn’t stupid enough to expect one. After all, I was the one in the wrong here, right?
“Maybe you should get yourself a girlfriend.” Said Mum.
My mouth dropped. I was stunned by that statement.
Noah stood up, “Matt, go upstairs and pack some things, you’re staying with us tonight.” He said.
“We aren’t finished here.” Said my mum.
Noah looked at her, “It’s clear that both Joe and you need some time to talk about this, but Matt’s been through enough today.”
“What about us? Don’t you think we’ve been through enough?” Replied my mum loudly.
Noah stepped toward her and lowered his voice, “We all have.” He said, looking at her. “Let him stay with us. You both need some time and space.”
My dad decided to speak up, “Ok.”
My mum looked at him, “What?”
“Let him go.”
Mum looked over at me. Our eyes connected. Briefly. I shivered. She couldn’t even look at me. Noah was right, I shouldn’t stay here tonight. I glanced at them once more before I stood up, turned and walked towards the stairs. I was packing some clothes for the night.
I had packed a spare
change of clothes into my schoolbag, but instead of going downstairs,
I found myself sitting on my bed. I wasn’t crying or feeling
angry. Actually I was feeling very little. I was surprisingly calm. I
kept trying to replay the days events over in my mind, but I
couldn’t. Part of me was blocking that out. Like it wanted me
to forget. To move on.
I looked up to the door to see Josh standing there. Suddenly I wasn’t calm anymore. I felt sad. Sad and ashamed. Josh was a good kid and an even better brother. He didn’t deserve any of this and god knows that he’s probably having a hard time understanding what’s going on. I wiped the stray tear from my cheek and looked up at him.
He walked into my room and sat down next to me. He sat there for a moment before he put an arm around me and leaned against my shoulder. I bit my lip and did all I could not to cry from his actions. I reached out and placed my arm on his shoulders.
He looked up at me, a tear rolling down his cheek, “I’m sorry Matt. I didn’t mean to be angry. I don’t want you to go.”
I hugged him tighter, “Shhh, it’s ok.” I said as I rocked him softly, “I’m only going for a little while. I’ll be back tomorrow, ok?”
“Ok.” He said quietly.
It was easy not to say sorry to my parents for being gay. But this sudden confrontation with my brother made me feel guilty. He was twelve! And I was putting him through this. MY younger brother. He had to come first. I got up off the bed and kneeled in front of him.
“None of this is your fault, ok?” I paused, “Everything’s going to be back to normal. It’s just going to take time.”
I nodded, “I promise.”
I leaned forward and pulled him into a hug. From that moment I was determined to make things work. Even if my parents had a hard time accepting me for who and what I was, I still wanted to be there for Josh. I was his older brother, the one he goes to for guidance. I was going to get us through this. I was going to get all of us through this. I only wish I could believe my own words.
I pulled back and stood up, grabbing my bag, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Josh.”
He stood up and walked with me to the door, “Ok.”
I managed a smile before I walked down the hallway towards the stairs. But before I went down I turned back to Josh, “I love you, Josh.”
“I love you too, Matt.”
We noticed the car as we
approached Jamie’s house.
“Sue and Sam must be back.” Said Noah, as he parked the car outside.
I picked up my bag from the back seat and walked up the path. Noah unlocked the door and led me inside. I could hear two people talking in the lounge, it was Sue and Sam. They must have arrived while Noah and I were at my house. I began to panic, hoping that they wouldn’t ambush me.
“Matt.” Called out someone quietly.
I looked up at the stairs to see Jamie waiting at the top. He beckoned me with his hand. I looked toward Noah who nodded, “Go, I won’t tell them that you’re here.”
I smiled meekly at him before I removed my shoes and headed up the stairs.
Jamie looked down at my bag before he stepped forward and pulled me into a hug. I wrapped my arms around him and held him close.
“I’m so sorry.” He whispered.
A few tears escaped my eyes, “It’s ok.” I whispered back.
He pulled back and stared at me, wiping my cheeks, before pulling me into a hug again, “I love you so much.” He said gently.
“I love you too.”
He took my hand and led me up the second set of stairs towards his room. We walked over to his bed and sat there for a few minutes as he held me.
“I need to tell Mom and Sam.” Said Jamie.
This day was beginning to feel like an episode of 24; things just didn’t want to ease up for us. And while we were lucky to have Noah, there was a limit to how much two sixteen year olds could take in a few hours.
“You sure?” I asked.
He nodded, “It’s the best choice.”
He was right, what other choice did he have? Given the state that my parents were in when I left, I wouldn’t put it past them to inform the whole world of my ‘decision’, let alone what Max would say. Oh my god! Max! What’s he going to say? And Connor?!?!? What’s he going to think of me when he finds out?!
“I have to tell them, Matt.”
That snapped me from my chain of thoughts, “Ok.” I paused, “Do you want me to go too?”
He shook his head, “I think it’ll go better if I was alone.”
I stared into his eyes and nodded, “Ok. I’ll be here for you.”
Jamie stood up and walked to the door. He turned back and faced me, “I’ll be back soon.”
I looked up at the clock,
5:43. The damn thing had to be broken. It felt like Jamie had
been down there for ages, not twenty minutes like it said!
I was going crazy waiting for him. I mean, I knew I couldn’t do anything to rush him, but I wanted to know if he was alright. Every five minutes I’d go over the same routine in my head. First I’d want to stay up in his room and leave him down there, then I’d want to go see what’s going on, before I finally return to the idea of staying put. But when Jamie eventually appeared at his door, a few minutes later, I was doing nothing short of jumping for joy.
He looked at me and smiled! He actually smiled!
I smiled myself, “Well?”
“It went well. I mean Mom cried, but then she hugged me and stuff.” He paused, “She said she loved me.”
I walked forwards and hugged him, “That’s great news.” I kissed his cheek, “I’m glad it went well.”
It was good news. Hell, it was great news! Especially considering that Jamie thought that everything was going to go badly. I guess we can never guess what someone is going to do or say when we come out.
I pulled back and looked at him, “What about Sam?” I asked.
He smiled again, “She said it was ‘cool’.”
“She said that she always wanted a bigger sister.”
I frowned slightly.
He giggled, “Don’t worry, I told her that I was still her brother, I just happen to like boys too.” He looked at me, “Well, one boy really.”
My expression softened as I stared into his eyes. I looked deeper and it was as though I saw right into his soul, right into his very being. Something inside me seemed to snap at that moment. It was like someone had suddenly lowered my shields that were holding back my emotions. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh, cry or just collapse under the pressure. We’d both been through a lot today. And we both had enough. I did the first thing that came to mind. I reached out and pulled him closer before I placed my lips on his. He softened against me as I held him close. We didn’t make out or anything. We just kissed. Nothing else mattered to us at that moment. It was just us. It was our moment.
I pulled back and stared into his eyes. Everything seemed better somehow. I still knew what had happened, but I felt slightly calmer inside. It made the world of difference.
“I love you.” He whispered, pressing his forehead against mine.
“I love you too.”
We stood there with our heads resting against each other for a while before there was a knock at the door.
“It’s me.” Said Noah, “Can I come in?”
I sat down on Jamie’s bed and looked up at him as he answered, “Yeah.”
The handle turned as Noah opened the door, he stepped inside before he closed it behind him.
“How are you guys?” He asked.
Jamie sat down next to me and shrugged, “It’s been a long day.”
Noah nodded, “It has.”
“How’s Mom?” Asked Jamie.
“She’s ok. She cried a little more, but she’ll be alright.”
“Ok.” Replied Jamie, frowning slightly.
“Anyway, we’re not making any food tonight, I don’t think anyone is really in the mood for a whole meal.”
We both nodded.
“But if you want anything, there’s stuff downstairs.”
“Thanks Dad, we might get something in a little while.”
He smiled, “Ok, just give me a shout if you two need anything.”
Noah nodded before he turned and left.
did go downstairs and grab some sandwiches to eat around an hour
later. During that time we saw Jamie’s mum who seemed a little
uneasy when she noticed me, or more importantly, now that she knew
who I was to her son. But she didn’t give us any trouble. She
actually tried to manage a smile at us, however she didn’t say
After we finished eating, we spent the rest of the evening up in Jamie’s room. We talked for a while about negligible topics, just something to try to distract us. Noah came to visit us before he headed off to bed. He basically told Jamie not to set his alarm for the morning, that neither of us would be going to school. He also mentioned that neither himself, nor my parents would be going to work either. He said that it could give us a chance to talk again, should I wish to do so. I honestly didn’t know what to think at that moment, but Noah understood and left Jamie and I in peace for the night.
I yawned and looked up at the clock on Jamie’s wall, 11:02.
“Do you want to go to bed?” Asked Jamie, looking at me.
“Yeah, if you want.”
We stripped down to our boxers and walked over to his bed. I suddenly realised that Noah didn’t mention where I should sleep, now that he knew that Jamie and I were together. I wasn’t sure if he’d want us to share the bed.
“Am I…I mean, am I staying here?”
He smiled, “Where else would you sleep?”
“Well, now that your dad knows, I would have thought…”
“He would have said something if he was worried.” He said, pulling back the quilt before looking over at me, “Come on.”
I smiled as I crawled onto his bed and laid my head on a pillow.
He climbed in, pulled the quilt over us and scooted closer.
We were silent for a moment before I spoke, “We will get through this. Together.” I whispered.
He nodded, “Together.”
I leaned forward and kissed him, “Goodnight, Jamie.”
“Goodnight, Matt.” He said softly, pulling me closer.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
I closed my eyes and exhaled softly. I had never felt so drained in my life. It was as though I was barely able to hold on. But laying there in Jamie’s arms made me feel better. No one could touch me while I was there. I was safe, warm and loved. I inched closer and buried my face in his chest. Falling asleep to the rhythmic beating of his heart. Jamie’s heart.
you for reading Chapter 8 of American Differences.
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