I finally drifted into a peaceful sleep. When I woke up, I found myself spooned up against Brian, my chest against his back, my body molded to his, and my arm around him. I remembered where I was, and what had happened.
And I felt peaceful. Maybe for the first time in my life.
I sat up, and watching him sleep, I thought about how we'd loved each other for years. Often when Brian was in my thoughts, those thoughts took the form of reflections on the years I'd spent trying to distance myself from my love for him. But this time, as I sat on the bed, listening to the steady sound of his breathing, I thought about how he'd loved me in silence, keeping it all inside for so many reasons; at first because he wasn't sure what to make of his feelings, and then because he didn't want to hurt his sister, and later because I kept pushing him away.
I thought about Neal and the destruction he'd brought to my life. I thought about how Brian must have felt when he'd invited me to give a presentation at the camp where he worked the summer after our freshman year in college. How he'd hoped to find time to open up to me about his feelings. How he'd had to watch me fall for Neal instead. I thought about the years after that, years during which we never seemed to be in sync with each other, never seemed to be in a place where we could tell each other the truth.
And I thought about how he never gave up. How he was here with me now. How he'd stood by me through the very worst, until somehow, against all odds, he'd ended up sleeping in my arms.
I didn't know where we were headed. But I was ready to admit that, wherever we were headed, our relationship would always be more than is typically implied by the words "best friends." It had always been more than that. Though neither of us had ever fully owned up to it, we had blurred the line between friendship and lovers long before today. Even if, right up to the moment, we'd never done anything more physically intimate than a hug and a kiss.
The rest of the weekend, we didn't talk much about what had happened. But it was clear to both of us that nothing was the same anymore. We passed the time together, doing little things. Taking Chris to the park and playing "catch" together. Watching TV together. Preparing meals for the three of us, and occasionally for the four of us when Jonah joined in.
I noticed I wasn't tense around him anymore. Smiles and laughs came much more naturally. It felt okay for Brian to put a hand on my shoulder. It felt right to lie next to him as I slept, spooned up against his back. And my internal struggle to keep him at arm's length emotionally had given way to a kind of acceptance, a willingness to go where my heart was taking me; where our hearts were taking us. The weekend went by without a word from either of us about what it all meant. We were content to let the path lead us without thinking too hard about it. And for the first time in forever, there were no misgivings about doing that.
After he'd gone back home, we talked over the phone every day. He called me up every night to make sure I was okay as I headed off to bed, and to tell me that he loved me. In between our words, we both sensed in each other an awareness of what we'd almost lost. Something beyond price...something that we'd been afraid to let flourish all those years. Something that had been waiting for us.
Waiting for us to be ready.
* * * * * * * * *
Brian kept coming down on the weekends. I could tell the trip was wearing on him, but he wouldn't hear of staying home on the weekends. Neal was still harassing me during the week, but although I'd still get stressed and scared, his routine wasn't bothering me near as much. In the visits that followed, Brian and I relaxed more and more in each other's company. We talked intimately, sharing thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams. I began getting used to being touched again. We were learning how to be together in a deeper way than we'd ever been before.
I worried about what his parents might think of us being together. They'd been so good to me; sometimes they were more like my parents than my own parents were. I knew they loved me, but how could they possibly accept the idea of Brian being with a man? Brian told me that he'd told them about us the first time I'd let him sleep in my arms. They were fine with it, he said. I tried to believe him.
About a month after that horrible flashback, he was down for a weekend visit. The first night he was there, after we'd put Chris to bed, we watched a movie. When it was over, Brian yawned, then smiled at me and said, "I'm beat. Let's go to bed."
I smiled back at him and said, "Okay." He took my hand and we walked into the bedroom. I watched him strip down to his boxers, and I did the same.
He flipped the light switch off. We crawled into bed, pulled the covers up over us, and lay on our sides, facing each other. He began stroking my hair.
"This is where I was always headed," I heard him say in the darkness.
I rested my head against his chest and scooted in closer to him. In response, he put an arm around me. He didn't try to hold me very tightly; he was just present. Holding me.
After so many years, there were so many things for us to say, and we'd been taking it at a comfortable pace. I'd discovered it was easier in the dark.
"It's been a long road," he continued. "I don't know if I'm believing it yet."
With my head resting on him, I could hear the sound of his voice through his chest. I wanted to hear that sound forever.
Quietly I replied, "I know. I never thought...I never thought I could ever be here. That night when we were kids, and you and I were in my room and you were sleeping with Katie..."
He kissed me lightly on the cheek.
"I wanted you so much that night," I told him. "It hurt so bad to listen to you making love to her. I wanted it to be me."
"I know, Sammy," he said. "But it's you now. Now and always."
I sighed. "I feel good," I said. "Better than...well, maybe better than ever. I...I just need to go slow, okay? Things are still...well, I'm kind of messed up in that department."
"If we never did anything more than this, it would be enough, Sam," I heard him say.
"Not for me," I said. He laughed. "But thank you. I just need...I need to ease into things."
"I know you do," he said. "I'll never pressure you. I'm here for the duration."
I smiled to myself and drifted into a quiet, peaceful sleep.
That weekend, I allowed myself to begin noticing things about him that I'd shut out over the years. The sexy, resonant sound of his voice. The sparkle in his beautiful eyes. His amazing hands; big and strong and a little rough, but so loving and tender when he touched me.
He had a fair amount of chest hair now. He hadn't when we were in high school. His hair is blond, but I noticed that the hair on his chest was darker, almost brown, with gold highlights, and it was curly. It made him look so masculine. And at night I loved to run my hand through it as I stroked his chest, his pecs.
The smell of his skin drove me to a fever pitch. Everybody's skin, I've noticed, has a scent that's unique. The smell of Brian's skin turned me on as much as the rest of him put together. It was incredibly soothing to me, too. I can't really put it into words; it's smells like clean, and like love.
In short, he was everything I wanted in a man physically. He had always been everything I wanted in a man physically. But beyond that, his quiet strength, his compassion, his kind nature, his no-nonsense personality, his commitment to family, his honesty...those were also everything I wanted in a man.
And I came to understand that everyone I'd ever loved I had unconsciously evaluated in terms of how they measured up to Brian.
* * * * * * * * *
Jonah had met a woman that he was crazy about several weeks before. She'd been around the house a good bit, and I liked her. The two of them seemed really good together. The two of us were home together on a weeknight for once, and Jonah took the opportunity to talk to me about her.
"It's the real deal, Sam," he said. "I want to go the distance on this one." He blushed a little, and added, "I won't screw it up this time."
I smiled at him and gave him a hug. "I told you it was okay."
"I know," he said. "I just feel so horrible that I..."
"I was just as much at fault as you were," I said, interrupting him. "Anyway, it looks like things happened like they were supposed to all the way around, right?"
"Yeah," he said, brightening. "I'm so happy for you and Brian. I hope he doesn't hate me for what I did to you."
"He likes you," I assured him. "He doesn't like what I went through, but you and I both know if you hadn't bent over and spread 'em for that jock boy, he and I wouldn't be together."
He laughed. "Damn! You sure know how to put things diplomatically."
"It's Brian's fault," I said, laughing. "He's a lot more direct when he talks than I am. I guess he's a bad influence."
"I can tell how much it bothers you," he said. I had to laugh again.
Jonah had dinner with us that night, and afterward, he loaded up a bunch of his stuff and moved it over to his girlfriend's place. In the weeks that followed, he was around the house much less often.
* * * * * * * * *
The next Friday evening Brian came to visit again. His school was having fall break the coming week. Chris was going to be on fall break too, and Brian had planned to stay the whole time. When I heard his car pull in, I smiled.
Chris greeted him at the door. Brian swept him into his arms, picked him up, and gave him a big smack on the cheek.
"What're we gonna do this weekend?" Chris asked him.
"Well, I guess we'll have to think about that while we sleep and come up with a plan tomorrow."
"I can't think when I'm asleep," Chris said. "I just dream."
Me too, I thought. And lately the dreams had been very, very good.
The three of us spent some time together catching up on each other's week. We watched a little TV, and played a video game with Chris. It was quiet, it was fun, it was like family. I remembered, from what seemed like a lifetime ago, Brian saying "I could get used to this." I remembered how confused and scared those words had made me feel, and I remembered wondering what he could possibly be thinking. Sitting there with the two of them now, I realized that this is what he was thinking; this is what he was telling me he wanted. A quiet, warm life, a place to make home and family with someone he loved. There was a small part of me that still had misgivings, still didn't understand how he could love me...but for the most part, I was willing to tell that part to go take a hike.
That evening when we climbed into bed, we snuggled in close and assumed our usual position, with my head resting on his chest. We talked for a while, as we always did at bedtime.
The bedside lamp was still on. By its reduced light, I looked at his chest, admiring it, and felt him begin rubbing my shoulders through my t-shirt, as he whispered, "I love you, Sammy. I guess I've always loved you."
Without really thinking about it, I kissed his chest.
That one sound, so full of surprise and desire, broke through my last wall of resistance. My desire for him had been ramping up steadily and I'd been resisting it, afraid of what would happen if I stopped. But with that one quiet gasp, I lost my grip on it, and I discovered that I didn't care.
I kissed him again on the chest. This time he took a sharp breath in and held it for a second or so. Exhaling with a sigh, he ran a hand up and down my back.
All the years of wanting him and needing him seemed to push me forward and focus me on this one time, this one place. There were huge reserves of pent-up desire inside me, pushing for release. I'd held them back the entire time I'd known Brian, afraid of what would happen when I let go. And that desire had grown, even during the period where I'd more or less successfully pushed it back, away from my consciousness.
All of that was over now. Here, in this moment, there was only love, and calm, and over a decade's worth of desire. I wasn't afraid of it any longer, and in that moment I made a decision: I wasn't going to hold it back anymore.
I began kissing him gently all over his chest. He moaned quietly; his breathing got heavier.
Those small, quiet sounds chased away any shyness I might have had in the moment.
"Undress me," I whispered to him.
His eyes got wide. "You don't need to d...Sam, are you sure?"
I laughed. "Does it look like I'm sure?"
He said, "I don't know, I..."
Before he had a chance to get the rest of it out, I reached down and yanked his boxers down his legs, pulled them off his body, and tossed them to the other side of the room. He lay there naked for a few seconds, his eyes wide. I laughed a little and said again, "Undress me."
As the look of shock left his face, he grinned, sat up, and pulled my t-shirt up over my head and off my body. As he reached for my boxers and slowly began sliding them down, I lifted my hips so he could slip them all the way off me.
I pushed him gently back down and climbed on top of him. He pulled my head to his and began kissing me. At the same time, his wrapped his left arm around me. I met his hand with one of mine and held it.
We kissed gently but insistently for a while. Then he looked into my eyes and asked, "Can I touch you?"
I closed my eyes and smiled at him. I lay still on top of him for a minute while his hand found my dick. A jolt of lust shot through me when I felt him wrap his fingers around me. He began stroking me slowly. I lay motionless and silent except for my deep breathing.
After a few minutes, he said, "Touch me, Sam." Tentatively, I reached out and grabbed his big cock. He jumped a little, and moaned. I kissed him again.
We held hands, and kissed, and stroked each other. I stared into his eyes and took in all the love and lust they were radiating. It was the most intimate thing we'd ever done. We were utterly connected, but in a way that was totally safe for me. Just feeling his whole body stretched out under me, feeling his naked skin--it was every fantasy I'd ever had, come true.
I was struck by how coarse the curly hair on his chest felt against my own chest. From time to time I watched his dick as I stroked him. I'd seen before that he was big, but touching him, feeling him swell up in my hands...I couldn't have predicted how that would feel. Still, of the many overpowering sensations I experienced that night, nothing in my imagination prepared me for the feel of him running his hand along my bare back: It was like a mini-orgasm every time--I'd found a whole new erogenous zone.
Our kisses and caresses and strokes continued and intensified. The smiles turned into grimaces of ecstasy, the moans turned urgent with the need for release. As I stroked Brian with determination, I felt his hand on my cock, matching me stroke for stroke. Finally he cried out a little and thick ropes of cum shot out of his cock and onto his chest.
That was all it took to set me off. I added to the mess as my dick sprayed another several jets of cum onto his chest.
I collapsed on top of him and we lay there, breathing heavily.
Something clicked for me at that moment. It felt as though something had snapped back into place, like a dislocated joint being put right. As much as I'd ached over Brian across the years, up until this moment I hadn't realized how his absence over the years had felt like an ongoing, lingering hurt. This was what it felt like to be alive and happy. Resting with him in the aftermath of our lovemaking, I realized how wrong and incomplete and empty I'd felt in all the years that had gone by. Now, by contrast, felt like the first time I'd ever been fully whole.
I stayed on top of him for a long time, allowing myself to get comfortable with the feelings. Finally, I pried myself off him and walked into the bathroom. I pulled a washcloth out of the cabinet, wet it with warm water, returned to the bedroom, and cleaned us up.
We didn't talk much afterward. There wasn't anything that needed to be said. Eventually I turned off the light and snuggled up against Brian, my chest facing his back. He was already drifting into sleep, but before he did, he said, "I love you, Sammy."
I closed my eyes, smiled, and slept as peacefully as I ever had.
* * * * * * * * *
We spent a lot of time that weekend just sitting together talking, touching more casually. We'd sit on opposite ends of the couch with our legs against each other, talking, watching TV, laughing, enjoying the opportunity to be together. For my part, I was taking a leisurely pace adjusting to the unbelievable fact that my boyhood fantasy was becoming reality.
When Monday hit, I had to go to work. I got a hang-up call from Neal in between classes, but it barely registered with me. I felt a new enthusiasm for life, and the day went by more quickly than I'd have thought possible.
When I got home, Brian and Chris met me at the door, talking a mile a minute simultaneously about their day together, laughing as they told me about a misadventure in the park with Ajax and another dog, and informing me that we were eating out this evening: Italian, and Brian was going to pick up the tab. I sent Chris off to play while I went to my room to change into some after-work clothes.
Brian followed me, saying, "That's one great kid you have, Sammy. You've been such a good father."
I smiled. "I love it that the two of you are bonding so well."
Brian blushed a little, and replied, "Yeah, well...we also had a very interesting conversation on the way home from lunch."
"Oh?" I said, wondering what embarrassing thing Chris had managed to blurt out to Brian.
"Grab a chair for a minute, Sammy, you'll probably wanna be sitting down when you hear this story."
I felt the blood drain from my face. It must have shown, because Brian just laughed and said, "It's nothin' bad." Then he proceeded to give me the highlights. As they were driving home from lunch, Chris had been finishing his super-size order of fries, when out of the blue he turned to Brian and asked, "Do you love my dad?"
They'd stopped at a traffic light. Brian swallowed hard, looked at Chris, and said, "Yes. I do."
Chris continued. "Do you love me?"
Brian reached over, tousled his hair, and said, "What do you think, buddy?"
"I think you do," Chris smiled. Then he grew quiet, and his face grew serious, and he added, "Jonah loved my dad too."
The light turned green and Brian eased his foot onto the gas.
He said to Chis, "Jonah still loves your dad."
"I know," Chris replied matter-of-factly. "I love him too. But he did a bad thing to my dad."
Cautiously, Brian asked, "What makes you say that, Chris?"
"I just see it in Daddy's face," he said.
Brian didn't know how to respond, so he said nothing. Finally Chris looked at him intently and said, "Don't do a bad thing to my dad, okay?"
"I promise I never will," Brian said.
"Good," said Chris. And then he smiled and returned to eating his french fries.
As Brian told me the story, I could feel the excess moisture pooling in my eyes. I wiped my index finger along the bottom of my right eye.
Brian kissed me on the cheek and smiled. "You can count on that promise, Sammy," he said.
I pulled him into an embrace. "I know," I said.
Because I did.
* * * * * * * * *
That night, our lovemaking was pretty tame, as it had been the previous nights. Not that I thought that the "tameness" was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Each time we were together sexually, it felt like I was falling deeper in love with him, that I was coming to know him more intimately than I'd ever hoped was possible. It was understood that we were taking the physical relationship slowly, and that we were taking it step at a time.
My Tuesday-Thursday schedule was light, so the next day we went to the clinic together and got tested for every imaginable sexually transmitted disease. On Thursday our lab work came back, certifying that we were both disease-free.
That night, we tucked Chris into bed together. As we walked out of his room, Brian whispered, "Alone at last."
He said, "Follow me," and headed into my bedroom.
When we got there, he slowly began peeling his t-shirt off. I couldn't keep my eyes off him as he lifted it over his head, grinned wickedly, and tossed it at me. He sat down took off his shoes and socks; I'd never imagined that I could get so turned on watching someone bare his feet.
He stood back up, and giving me his best come-hither look, he unbuckled his belt. He pulled it free and let it fall to the floor.
By then I was already halfway crazy with desire for him. I moved toward him, but he shook his head "no" and scooted back. Leisurely, sensually, he pushed his jeans down to his ankles and stepped out of them. As he stood back up, I stared at the huge tent his dick was making in his boxers.
I swallowed hard and let out a small whimper as, inch by maddening inch, he began to lower his boxers.
I watched, frozen, as his cock slapped him on the tummy when it cleared the elastic waistband of his boxers.
Stepping out of them, he stood naked before me, hard as a rock...
and then he lay back on the bed, spreading himself out in front of me.
He reached under a pillow, and pulled out a condom and some lube. "It's polyurethane," he said, smiling, "so you don't break out."
He held the items out to me; I took them, my hands shaking with desire and excitement. Then he blushed, and his smile faded, as he looked me in the eye, and said, "I want you."
I looked into his face; the self-confidence twinkling in his eyes during his striptease had been replaced by a look of uncertainty...maybe of fear, even. For my part, I didn't know what to say, what to think. So I just stood there, like an idiot.
And he waited.
I was so horny I could hardly think straight. I was also terrified. I wanted him so desperately, but I could hardly believe what he was offering. This was Brian. The love of my life. The straight guy I'd never be able to have.
The straight guy I'd never be able to have: That was what held me back. I still wasn't really convinced that he wanted to be intimate with me...not like that, anyway. Not a guy like him.
Once I'd recovered my voice, I croaked, "Brian, are you sure?"
"I'm sure," he said.
I looked at him. He seemed so...so vulnerable. It began to weigh in with me what a profound act of trust it was that he was inviting me into his body.
"It's been good the way we've been doing," I said. "You don't have to..."
"I know," he said, interrupting. "I want to."
"Really?" I said. "Are you sure?"
"I told you I am, Sam," he said. "Don't you want me?"
"Of course I do," I said. "It's just that...well...there's a big difference between...well, the stuff we've been doing, and...and this. Are you sure?"
After this the third time I'd asked, he rolled his eyes, grabbed me, and gave me a hard, passionate kiss.
Then, pulling his face away from mine, he said with exasperation, "Just do me, already!"
I blushed, and joined him on the bed.
I took a long time prepping him. I wanted it to be good for him more than anything. Well, that wasn't entirely it. Honestly, I was also buying time to wrap my head around the notion.
I stroked his cock for a while, then began alternating that with sucking on him. I'd already discovered in our previous sessions that he was so responsive to anything that he liked, it made it easy to know how to treat him.
I lubed up a couple of fingers and watched them disappear inside of him as I stretched him to get him ready. As I did that, I focused on finding every sensitive spot on his body, and tried to kiss each one as I was getting him loosened up for me. It was the most erotic time I'd experienced in my life.
I must have been doing okay with my search for his hot spots, because every time I hit one, he'd moan a little, and his face would register the intensity he was feeling. Finally, he wrapped his legs around me tightly, grabbed my face, and pulled me up to him so we could kiss. At the same time, he reached down and grabbed my cock to line me up with his entrance.
I looked into his eyes one more time and said, "Are you sure?"
He smiled, nodded, and pulled me even closer with those long legs of his.
I slid into him very, very slowly. Not just because I didn't want to hurt him, but also because I was so close to the edge that I was afraid I'd lose it all on the in-stroke if I wasn't careful.
As I pushed carefully into him, he began breathing deeper and more rapidly.
When I'd made it in to the hilt, he wrapped his arms around me, pulled me close to him, sighed, and kissed me.
"I love you, Brian," I said. "I've always loved you."
"I know," he said, kissing my lips, my neck, the upper part of my chest. "But what you didn't know was I've always felt the same."
I tried not to think back over all the years. I shook them off as I concentrated on the present, on the man in my bed, the man I was buried deep inside. Slowly, I began making love to him.
Even going as slow as I did, I didn't last long; it was just too intense. As I felt myself losing control, I began thrusting into him faster and harder. I was covering his face with kisses, and finally I couldn't hold back any longer. I groaned, and my dick slammed deep into him and started pumping its stuff into the condom.
For a few moments, rational thought completely escaped me and I just gave myself over to the feeling of ecstasy I felt from climaxing inside him. Somewhere in the reasonably-coherent regions of my consciousness, as if from far away, it registered with me that Brian was moaning more insistently as I pumped into him. As my belly rubbed against his cock, I heard him growl and felt him pump out a load of cum.
I collapsed on top of him as I usually did during at the end of our stroke-sessions. I didn't want to take my dick out of him. It felt so right in there.
I lifted my chest off him and looked into his eyes. It seemed to me they were smiling as big as his face was.
He kissed me and said, "There's no way that could have been any better."
I tried hard to keep my eyes from tearing up.
I almost succeeded.
* * * * * * * * *
Things began to fall in place after that.
For the rest of the school year Brian visited every weekend. That summer he sold his place and moved in with me; we used the money to buy Jonah out. It was perfect timing for Jonah, because in May he got married to the girl he'd been dating. They used the money to get into a place of their own. Brian found a teaching job at a good school in the city, and life seemed to hold nothing but promise and possibility for us together.
My flashbacks, as the months went by, faded in both frequency and intensity. By the time school started again that fall, I hardly ever had any.
In September, I got a call from the police officer who'd been assigned to work with me in keeping Neal out of my life. Neal hadn't been around that much lately, so I wondered what the officer had to say to me.
It turned out that he'd called to tell me my worries with Neal were over. He'd been arrested for selling drugs and had ended up with a pretty stiff jail sentence. When I hung up, I realized that another challenge in my life had resolved itself.
From time to time in the early autumn of that year, I thought about how rapidly things had changed, and how dramatically the troubles I'd had for years had just disappeared. And though I knew that it wasn't this simple, what it felt like was that Brian came into my life and swept all those hardships completely away.
* * * * * * * * *
When Christmas rolled around, Brian and I went back to our hometown with Chris to spend the week there.
I visited with my dad a little while I was there. He seemed like a broken man. It was clear he wanted some kind of relationship with me and with his grandson. He'd always been emotionally frozen, and things hadn't changed much in that regard, but although he never said it, I could tell he had regrets and remorse over the way he'd reacted to the news about my sexuality all those years ago. I can't say that we repaired the huge rift between us, but we were each trying in our own ways.
We stayed with Brian's parents in their huge house during our visit, the house where I'd felt more at home and more loved than I'd ever felt in my own. On Christmas eve, we all celebrated with his huge family. All the siblings and their own families were there.
When it came time to open my present from Brian, the whole family gathered around to watch.
"This is from me, Sam, from the heart."
Then Brian's dad handed him a check, and said, "It's from us, too." Brian looked at him in surprise. "We love you, Sam," said his dad. "All of us, brothers and sisters too. We couldn't be happier to have a new member of the family...and, well, to be honest, it's seemed pretty clear to me and his mom that Brian has been in love with you since he was a boy."
I blushed, and said, "Thank you. I can't tell you what it means to hear you say that."
"We all mean it," Brian's sister Mary said. "Even those of us whose hearts you broke."
I looked up at her a little fearfully. She smiled and said, "Just kidding."
"Would you all shut up and let Sam open my present?" Brian said.
I unwrapped the box and opened it.
Inside were two matching rings. Beautifully made, and clearly expensive.
I was so overwhelmed, I couldn't talk. But Brian could see my feelings in my eyes, and he smiled and kissed me.
"They're beautiful," I said.
"Alan made 'em," he said. His older brother Alan was a jeweler.
"Of course the rings are Brian's way of showing you that he wants to be with you forever," his mom said, "but they're from us, too, that's what the check is for, Brian." Brian put his arms around her and kissed her. "You've always been like a son to us, Sam," she continued, "and we couldn't be happier that you and Brian are in love with each other."
Brian took one of the rings from my hand and slipped it onto my finger. "This is for forever," he whispered. I took the remaining one, grabbed his left hand, and put it on his finger. He pulled my face gently to his and kissed me. We looked at each other, caught up in the moment and unable to speak. It seemed as though everybody else was similarly caught up.
Chris, as usual, wasn't. "Wow," he said to Brian. "You really do love my dad."
Everyone laughed. And here in the dead of winter, I felt as though the summer sun was shining inside me; Chris was right. And because he was, everything was perfect.
Note to readers: Thanks for the many
emails you've sent about Sam's story. It was my honor and joy to finish
it for him. There are two more chapters after this one.
You can contact me if you'd like at