Ever After

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a story about gay people...if you can't read it or

Don't like gay people, leave. Go...bye. But if you like it, read it and

Write to me.

"You know I love it when you wear your glasses." Marco smiled.

I turned to him and smiled. I was on my computer, chatting with Ben. It had been a few weeks since Laura died and Marco was doing better. The whole family was doing better, even though they weren't at their best. Harry had began physical rehabilitation and Hannah was still teaching and taking care of Ian. Ballard had gone on vacation not long after and was away. Christina and Kendall spent a few days in jail and were put on probation because they had no priors and the man survived. Davis was still my friend and being a very good brother. Peter was still trying to decide where to put his heart while Hope was scoping out colleges. Apparently, she'd been seeing this guy and when it didn't work, she threw herself into work. Mom was good, she was helping out Michael a lot, who was obviously still grieving for his wife. Julie was staying under everyone's radar lately, which was easy since she had flown back to California right after the wedding. Eric and Jennifer were getting along just fine as far as the kids were concerned. Kya was planning big party for the twins. Her children were excited to see new babies! Things had hit an all-time low a few weeks ago but now things were getting back to the way they were meant to be. Everyone was trying to make the best of their situation. We were a screwed up bunch of people but at least now we knew it for sure. So, here I sat, chatting with Ben. I was in my own house, which I shared with Marco. We'd moved in together a week or two after his mom died. It was a big change and it just happened. We hadn't really talked about it. He needed me and I was there. We hadn't really talked about what we were to each other at all. Today was the day that he picked to leave the house. I was proud of him.

"Don't get used to it." I smiled, "How was your outing?"

"Great. I made an important decision." Marco smiled.

"Why does this feel like you're about to rock our world?" I asked.

"I'm going to retire from the agent world." He smiled.

I stared at him.

"I'm going to be an artist." Marco smiled.

Chapter 61: Take What You Need and Be on Your Way...

I smiled at him and stood from the computer, "Is there a reason for this change?" I asked.

"My mom always liked my art..."

"I love your art."


"See, so why shouldn't I do something I enjoy?" Marco asked, "I've done the agent thing but I don't want to put up with stars anymore. I want to be one."

I loved his passion. And I understood. His art was liked by all of us. He was a great artist and it went back to when we were kids. He used to draw the best pictures and before everything went to hell, he used to draw all the time. But that was before sex, drugs and violence. He deserved to live his dream and not someone else's. I understand that.

"I think it's great. You're going to be awesome." I smiled.

Marco walked over and hugged me, "I knew you'd say that...or, hoped." He smiled.

We broke the hug, "I was thinking." I said.

"That doesn't sound good." Marco said, "What exactly were you thinking?"

"We haven't talked about us. Or our living arrangement." I said.

"What's to talk about? We're back together, right? And we're living together." Marco said, "What else do you need to know?"

"I need you to know why we didn't work last time." I said, "Our savior is also the person who kept us apart."

"I don't follow."

"Jennifer knew about Christina and Kendall. She blackmailed us into lying and manipulating." I frowned.

"Like Pretty Little Liars?" Marco asked, "That's why Zack showed up to Hannah's wedding?"

"Among other things, yes." I frowned, "She made us do stuff that I would never have done."

"It's okay." He said hugging me, "The past is behind us."

"Yeah." I said softly.

-           

Christina walked into the meeting alone. She had come upon the day that she dreaded. She was walking into a meeting to discuss the future of her career. She was a model for Kendall's father's company. Kendall had come in earlier for a meeting and now it was Christina's turn. Damn stuck up, old school asses. They'd been on Christina and Kendall's backs since it was revealed that they had been the ones who pulled the hit-and-run. The court was lenient with the girls because it was an accident and the victim survived. They were handed community service and a short probation. There was nothing they could do but hold on and get ready for the backlash. It had come. When she walked in, Kendall was sitting opposite her father, Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a very cute man. He was in his late forties and looked to be the older version of Ballard. He worked out regularly and had a very big personality. Anyone would have thought he was Christina's father. He had separated from his wife two years ago and the only regret is that he had to pay her half. He was a strong business mind also. He'd maintained this company, which he inherited from his mother, who inherited it from her father. At Christina's entrance, he stood and hugged his adjunct daughter. She then noticed the rest of the board sitting around the table.

"I didn't think you would have shown up." Jeremiah said.

"Jerry, you know I wouldn't miss this important mission." Christina smiled, taking a seat, "What's this about? My next shoot? A tour?"

"They're suspending us." Kendall frowned.

Christina wasn't shocked, though her face might have suggested it. She was taken aback.

"They don't want the type of image we're projecting right now." Kendall frowned.

"Right now?" Christina frowned.

"We're not firing you." Ingrid Matzol said. Ingrid was a portly woman with a hooked nose, who had not approved of Christina from the beginning.

"We just want you two to take some time off to collect yourselves." Jeremiah frowned, "The board thinks, and I agree somewhat, that taking time off to think about what you've done and how it affects the company..."

"So you're dumping us for our image?" Christina frowned.

"Yes," Lorne Michaels, another board member said. He was African American with glasses and a green bowtie, "It would only be for a short time, until this all blows over."

"What are we supposed to do until then?" Kendall said, "How is the company going to run without me doing my job?"

"And what about the face off the company?" Christina said, "That's gotta be like...dumb. Every company has to have a face."

"We're launching another model." Ingrid said.

"Oh, you are a bitch, aren't you?" Christina chuckled angrily, "Who's replacing me?"

"Oh, come on," Everyone in the room turned to see Jennifer, "You can't think of one person to replace you?"

"Her? She can't...she's not even relevant! And since when are you guys in the market for a crazy bitch?" Christina asked frantically.

"Christina..." Jeremiah said.

"No, she's right." Kendall said, "And who is my replacement?"

"Will Barber." Jeremiah said, "He's your co-, which means that he will handle everything while you're gone."

"Will Barber? He the competitor! He works for Rossmore." Kendall said, hearing the news for the first time.

"We've made our decision." Jeremiah said, "It was a unanimous vote."

"Right." Kendall said.

"If we're done here, I know you all have things to be doing." Jeremiah frowned.

The board members and Jennifer left the room.

"You know this isn't personal. This is business." Jeremiah said, standing, "You prove yourself and you'll be reinstated." He said leaving.

"It's not personal? He's your dad." Christina frowned, "And they're hiring Jennifer? King of the skanks. And Will Barber? Sexy as hell, but you're like the soul of this company."

"And the soul got corrupted." Kendall said, "It's a good business move. It's the right business move."

"Ummm...what?" Christina frowned.

"Look, my boyfriend dumped me and moved away, my job is hanging by a thread and I'm a breath away from jail. I've been lucky, we both have, but we need to realize that even if we didn't mean it...we changed our lives." Kendall smiled.

"There's a lot of that going around." Christina said quickly, "Why am I more mad than you? You were so worried about just this happening."

"We're not fired." Kendall chuckled, "And this is the clearest moment I've had in forever."

Christina sighed, "It is better when we don't have to worry about keeping a secret." She said, "And now I will be able to rag on people more and hey, maybe I'll even get to draw mustaches on that bitch Jennifer."

"Wanna go and have a drink?" Kendall asked, "We can invite Hannah and Adaen."

"That would be spectacular." Christina said, hugging her, "It's going to be alright...just say that."

"It'll be alright, sweetie." Kendall smiled.

-           

I sat at my laptop in the bedroom. Marco was in the kitchen fixing himself a sandwich. I was trying to write more of the story. This story had to be griping and poignant. It had to be different from the first book but similar in a less obvious way. I wasn't setting out to offend anyone. I set out to inspire them. There was so much you could do with metaphors. I stopped only when I heard a shatter. I jumped up from the computer and headed to the kitchen to find Marco with his hands on the sink. He was staring out the window as I walked past the island. As I moved closer, I noticed that there were pieces of plate on the floor.

"Marco?" I asked.

Marco almost turned to me, but stopped and looked out the window again.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"I don't know." Marco said quickly.

"Did the plate break itself?" I asked.

Marco frowned.

"I'm guessing you broke it." I frowned, walking over and grabbing the dust pan and broom. I bent down and began wiping it up. That's when I felt it, "You know, I love happy Marco." I frowned.

"So, I'm supposed to be happy that my mother is dead?" Marco asked angrily.

"You're supposed to breathe, grieve and move on." I frowned, "When Larry died..."

"This is my mother!" He shouted.

I jumped.

"I'm sorry." He said, turning to me, "It's just not the same."

"Fine, then I lost my dad. I don't see him, I don't hear from him! I lost him and sometimes it feels like he's never coming back. I have lost a lot of things, dignity and pride among them, but I refuse to let you slip out of my life." I said, "And I'm not going to watch you sit around and dive into a deep depression. It's not what your mother would want. It's not something you would want."

"So, you're saying you would leave me because I'm sad?" Marco asked, staring a hole in me.

I chuckled and shook my head, "No. I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to leave you..."

"How flattering."

"...Because I love you and no matter what happens, I'm going to love you for better or worse." I said.

"We're not married." Marco said.

I sighed, "I know. I didn't mean it that way." I frowned.

"Do you feel like we should...get married?" Marco asked.

I chuckled. We were miles away from marriage. Miles and miles away from marriage. Marco wasn't ready and truthfully, neither was I. I'd been engaged before and I messed that up. I couldn't handle myself messing anything else like this up.

"No." I said, emptying the dust pan in the trash.

"What do you mean no?" Marco asked, "Is that not ever or not now."

"No. We're not playing this game again." I smiled, "Our relationship is new this time around. I need it to be new."

"We've been living together for a few months, what if that's the next step?" Marco asked.

"I'm afraid for you." I said sadly, "I've never seen you like this and it scares me."

"I'll buy more dishes." Marco nodded.

"It's not about the dishes. This is about you." I said, "I think you need to see a counselor."

Marco frowned. I moved to him and grabbed him into a hug. It was the first real hug I'd given in weeks. The rest were "I feel so sorry" hugs or "it'll be alright" hugs. I love Marco and I'm not leaving him. This time was going to be different. I wasn't going to deny anything. I had feelings for Davis, but they weren't the same as they had been. They evolved. I wanted him to be my friend. A best friend. But Marco was something entirely different for me. When I broke the hug and looked at him.

"Dad wants to talk to us." Marco said, "I think it's about the shop."

"Good. I have to go by Ballard's." I said.

"Ballard?" Marco asked, "You're still doing that?"

"I thought we talked about how this wasn't his fault." I frowned.

"We did." Marco said, "But he just left. You don't owe him anything."

I was silent.

"I know you and him have this bond, but this guy..."

"Is a friend. Something that I missed." I said, "You have your responsibilities...I have mine."

Marco smiled, "You're right." He smiled.

I leaned over and kissed him, "We can do this. Together." I smiled.

-           

Hope and Peter were laughing as they walked out onto the campus. Peter was talking about how kissing Josh was different from kissing Rocco. There wasn't a secret between them. The two had become best friends and were now in the stages of adding forever to the end. Peter was less thrilled about the events that led to Adaen coming back, but he was so happy he was back. He needed guidance and who else could give it to him? They both stopped when they entered the court yard.

"Oh my God." Hope said.

"Do you...since when is hate spreadable on this campus?" Peter asked.

They stopped at the sight of a sign for PAHA. It stood for People Against the Homosexual attitude and there were parents at the booth. Michael was standing not too far away, his arms folded and sipping coffee. The parents were soaking up the information. The hate was spreading. Hope and Peter walked to him.

"Hey guys." He smiled to them.

"Hey, professor Hartford." Peter said.

"What's with hate-a-polooza?" Hope asked.

"Bradley Williams is spreading false information." Michael frowned, sipping his coffee, "Apparently being gay is a deficiency."

Hope snatched a flyer out of the hand of a passing freshman, "And Gay people hold no capacity to love."

"Where do they get this shit?" Peter frowned.


"So, I'm not the only one offended?" Michael frowned, "This is stupid."

"Even the name is stupid." Hope frowned, "Brad's an idiot."

Peter pointed, "He's even got Rocco helping in his stupid campaign against gayness." He frowned.

"That one has to hurt." Hope smirked.

"So...You're not going to sign up?" Michael smiled.

"How can you smile?" Hope asked him, "This nut is putting down all gay people. My cousin had his butt busted to be gay here."

"I've heard the stories." Michael said, "Maybe you should get him to lobby for us."

Michael chuckled, but stopped when he found he was the only one laughing.

"We've got to go." Hope said, scurrying off with Peter.

-           

"Dad, you're not selling this place." Marco said angrily, "This is crazy! You want to sell the business, go on a trip around the world...then what? What'll happen to the house? And..."

"Marco's a bit wound up, but he's not wrong dad." Hannah said, "This is not only sudden, but it might be a huge mistake."

"Then it's one I'm going to have to make." Michael frowned. He softened his face, "You guys are young. I've lived but I had to come to grips with adulthood sooner than I liked. I love you guys and your mother, but I never got time to travel."

"Then don't sell it." Hannah frowned, "Or the house."

"Dad, you're not thinking clearly. Think about this. You're selling your income source, getting on, what, a boat? And then you're doing what? What about after you're done traveling the world?" Marco asked.

"That's the genius of it. I'll figure it out when I come to it." Michael said, "This isn't going to be a short trip."

"Where will you go?" Hannah asked.

"Everywhere." Michael said with excitement, "I don't expect you two to understand. Losing your mother was the worst possible scenario for life. After she died, I realized that my kids were grown. I was holding on to her."

"It's what you're supposed to do." Marco said.

"I'm strangling her memory and so are the two of you. Your mother was a remarkable woman and she would tell you herself, she wants you to live your lives." Michael sighed, "She'd want that for all of us."

"I'm not okay with this!" Marco said, turning from them.

"The house? I want Hannah to move in with her family since it was a family house." Michael explained, "You two have to be there for each other. If you two ever need me, I want you to be alright with calling me. I'm always here. I'm just not right here."

"You're abandoning us?" Marco asked.

"Mark." Hannah sighed.

"No, that's what this is!" Marco frowned.

"You're adults. I'm selling the shop and buying a boat and sailing until I can't sail anymore." Michael said, "I'm leaving in a couple of days."

"Right. Just leave, then." Marco said, storming out.

"You've got to be there for him. You're the matriarch now." Michael explained, "You're his sister and he needs you. I've taught him all the things he needed to know, then some. It's up to you two how you live your lives."


Hannah nodded, agreeing with everything her father said. It made sense to her for the first time.

-           

I had grabbed the mail out of the post box downstairs at the apartment. I did this regularly. Ballard had left a hole in our group. He'd left, I guess thinking that everyone blamed him. No one blamed him. Marco had at first, but now he didn't. Or he said he didn't for me. Love worked like that. As I walked down the hallway to Ballard's apartment, I stopped at the door cracked. Someone was inside. I could hear voices and suddenly the voices snapped into place and I overheard something.

"Come on, that chick in London was brilliant. She had that whole Emma Watson-thing going on." A voice said.

"Zack...I'm thoroughly amazed at how wasted I am." Ballard's voice replied.

"Who would have thought Venezuela and Portugal would have such fine women?" Zack chuckled, "And then there were those hoes in Miami."

I cracked the door and stepped inside, "Glad to see you're having fun." I said, taking in the sight of Zack. Zack. Hannah's ex-husband.

"Crap." Zack frowned.

"Look who's here! I missed you." Ballard said drunkenly.

"Everybody was worried sick about you." I frowned.

"I'm like 99% sure, that's not true." Ballard slurred.

"And you brought him back?" I asked.

"Unlike who?" Zack said, "It's nice to see you again."

I stared at him.

"Haven't seen you since the wedding." Zack smirked.

"Nice one." I chuckled, "So, you've been to Venezuela, Portugal, London, and who gives a shit."

"Zack, I think he's mad." Ballard giggled.

I chuckled in shock, "You are better than this. So you screwed a lot of people, but you were never a coward." I said, folding my arms.

"Dude, you come into my apartment and call me a coward? You know how many times I've defended you against everybody?! And now you give me shit?" Ballard asked.

"I've defended you too." I snapped, "And since when does everyone think that I'll only hear their advice without telling them what I think?"

"Dude, Davis told me..."

"Davis? You've seen Davis?" I asked, "Where did you see Davis?"

"You don't want to know." Zack smirked.

"Why do you even care? Aren't you shacking up with Marco?" Ballard asked.

"So, what's the plan?" I asked, "I mean, do you even have a job?"

"I took a leave. I don't plan on going back." Ballard said, "It's not something I want to do anymoreŚcoconuts."

"Coconuts?" Zack asked.

"Vodka. Coming up!" Ballard said, sprinting to the bathroom.

"Zack, why are you back?" I asked.

"I saw a friend in need." Zack said, "He came to me. He said he lost a patient. For a while he wouldn't talk about it and I decided that I'm going to be the one to help him out of this."

"What do you get out of this?" I asked.

"I get to atone for some of the things that I did." Zack said, "Most of those things have been to you. I mean...I've always liked Ballard, he's cool people."

"So...your living here isn't permanent?" I asked.

"Never say never." He shrugged.

"He needs someone that can help him." I said.

"And I think it's gotta be me." Zack smiled, "I've lost patients, despite being a kick-ass doctor."

"You've hurt a lot of people. You hurt anymore of them and...well, you already know." I said, walking to the door, "Nobody blames him." I said, leaving.

-         

I entered Ralph's and headed for the table with Hannah, Kendall, and Christina. I had been a part of this foursome for a while. Well, since the house arrest was over. Theirs not mine. I was used to scrutiny but these two broads were very new to it. There was judgment coming at them from all sides since they'd told the truth. I felt bad for them because they were being judged on one thing they'd done, although Christina was a total bitch...to people she didn't like. Kendall was a complicated person. She could be a real bitch when she needed but there was a very sweet and good side to her. As shown in New York. Those two were the head cases...well, the obvious head cases. Hannah, on the other hand, was dealing with something profound that I wasn't sure I'd be able to deal with. She was a powerhouse in that tiny body. She had strength that flowed off her into everyone else. We'd gotten back to a respectable best friend level since everything had happened.

"Sorry I'm late, you will never guess who's back in town." I said, sitting down.

"Thank God, we were beginning to think maybe you got lynched." Hannah smirked, "And I've got some news of my own."

"We've got a little diddy, ourselves." Christina frowned.

"Lynched?" I asked.

"We both got released from duty." Kendall said taking a swallow of her drink.

"What? What does that mean?" I asked.

"We got canned." Christina said quickly, "I take that back, we got suspended. And they're bringing on a shark."

"Well, my dad is leaving...on a boat...for an undisclosed amount of time." Hannah said slowly.

"Marco didn't take that well, did he?" I asked.

"No. And It's my job to get them speaking again." Hannah frowned.

I sighed, "I think that'll be my job. I'll take care of it." I chuckled.

"Thanks...but you're not going to screw them back together, are you?" Hannah asked.

"No. I suspect I'll be cleaning dishes." I said.

"How is that? Screwing her brother?" Christina asked.

"Chris!" Kendall warned.

"How is living with my brother...in sin?" Hannah smirked.

"Funny, you hoes are very funny." I chuckled, "It's good. He's a bit PTSD. He's unpredictable."

"I saw that first hand." Hannah said sadly, "I don't think he's accepted mom's death."

"The question is how do I get him there without forcing him to?" I asked.

"If that's your biggest question..." Kendall started.

"You're screwed." Christina frowned, "That boy needs to grieve and move on like nobody's business."

"Our mother just died." Hannah said angrily.

"And my parents are divorce." Kendall said, "Bad things happen."

"We're not saying he needs to get over it." I said, "We're just saying that maybe, just maybe he needs to let go of the pain."

"You guys are right." Hannah said.

"We are?" Kendall asked.

"Yeah. I think my dad was right about everything. He's letting go. We should, too." Hannah said, "I've got to pick up Ian." She said, standing.

"I need to find my boyfriend." I said standing, "I need to help him."

"And we're going to go home and have drinks...after we eat, of course." Christina said.

"Have fun." I said, leaving with Hannah.

"Well, doll, we've been replaced and we're convicts...you know, without the jail." Christina frowned.

"You said a mouth full." Kendall frowned.

-           

I shut the door and threw my keys in the bowl; I headed to the living room, calling out for Marco. He answered that he was in the kitchen and I sighed to myself. I wasn't ready to confront this. How in the world was I supposed to persuade him to accept his mother's death. I wasn't happy with Laura's death either. I wasn't satisfied in any aspect of it. She was like a mother to me, after my mother and my aunt. She always had good things to say and believed the best in a person. How was I supposed to accept this myself? Bad things happen. In this case, Cancer happened. This thought train stopped when Marco came into the living room with a sandwich and beer. He smiled to me as he set the beer down and flipped on the TV. He flipped it on to some football game and continued his sandwich. I walked over and stood in front of the TV.

"Umm, babe, I'm trying to watch the game." Marco frowned, taking a bite.

"We need to talk about your mom." I said slowly.

His demeanor changed. Whereas he had been calm before, he was now staring at me with an intense anger. I wanted to whimper and run away under his stare, but I just stood there. He stood and looked me over, sitting the sandwich by the beer on the coffee table.

"Why do we need to talk about that?" Marco asked angrily.

"Because you haven't accepted..."

"Stop!"

"Marco, she's dead. A horrible thing happened. A thing that if I had control over it, I would undo. If I could give my life to save you the pain..."

"This isn't...it shouldn't be about you!" He frowned, "And you don't think I know she's dead?"

I shook my head.

"I have been living with this for months and I'm sorry I can't move on from my mom like you could your dad." He said, "He's alive! My mom isn't."

"I have watched you cry out in pain in the middle of the night for months now. Maybe I don't understand. Maybe I can't! Maybe you should see someone..."

"Stop! Stop it! You know what, stop with all this! Stop being supportive and stop trying to help me, it's making it worse. I'm trying. If I could be...better, it would be for you." Marco said.

"I will never stop!" I shouted, "You are my life now."

Marco walked over and stood at the window with his head in his hand. It took a minute before I finally heard him crying. I could hear him sniffling. I walked over and put a hand on his shoulder. He turned to me and I hugged him, resting my head on his chest. He rested his head on top of mine and I felt the teardrops fall. It was the breakthrough I needed from him. The sign I needed.

-           

["Stop Crying Your Heart Out" by Leona Lewis begins]

Leona Lewis: "Hold up, hold on
Don't be scared,
You'll never change what's been and gone
May your smile shine on
Don't be scared,
Your destiny may keep you warm.
"

Ballard and Zack sat in Ballard's living room. Zack had brought out four shots. Two for himself and two for Ballard. Ballard reached for the drink, but paused. In this one sober moment, he felt it. He felt the same thing he felt every time he was sober. Guilt. He quickly reached out and grabbed the shots, downing both of them. Zack cheered, taking one of his shots.

Leona Lewis: "'Cause all of the stars have faded away
Just try not to worry,
You'll see them some day
Take what you need,
And be on your way,
And stop crying your heart out
."

Hannah and Marco stood on a dock with Ian, Harry and Michael. They were saying goodbye to their father and it was a family affair. Michael gave Hannah her mother's earrings and matching necklace and gave Marco her engagement ring. He hugged each one of them, making Harry promise to take care of his little girl. He hugged Marco, telling him not to be scared. They waved to him as he got on a boat and headed into the sunset.

Leona Lewis: "Get up
(Get Up)
Come On
(Come On)
Why you scared?
(I'm not scared)
You'll never change what's been and gone.
"

Kendall and Christina laughed as they sipped wine. They were laughing at what had become of their day. Both girls vowed then that they would get back their glory, no matter what, toasting to their future.

Leona Lewis: "'Cause all of the stars have faded away
Just try not to worry,
You'll see them some day
Take what you need
And be on your way
And stop crying your heart out."

I was sitting on my laptop, correcting my next book. There wasn't a lot of things I was sure of, but life was good for me. It wasn't perfect.

"Hey." Marco said, coming in the door.

"Hey!" I smiled.

He walked over and sat down beside me, pulling me close. I set the laptop on the coffee table and kissed him, cuddling up to him. It wasn't perfect, but it was close enough.

Leona Lewis: "Take what you need
And be on your way
And stop crying your heart out
."

-           

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed. Please give me some feedback because that's how I get started. So, I want you guys to tell me how I'm doing.