Danny and Michael:
Alright, here is the seventh chapter. That little tease at the end of the sixth chapter sure got some of you anxious. Relax, at last you can find out what happens!
Midterms are currently happening in my life (and ironically in Danny and Michael's as well) so I didn't get this out as quick as I would have liked. Still though, it's not as bad as I have been before. Anyways, there are only two chapters left to go after this. The eigth is on the shorter side, but don't despair, chapter nine is a dousy and the biggest of the whole story. So hang in there, it's just getting good!
If you like the story, please e-mail me at:
jnew001 <at> gmail <dot> com
This is an original work and you CANNOT copy or use any part of this story without my permission. Also note that this story contains descriptions of sexual acts between minors, so if this is not legal where you live, please leave.
Monday morning I had a spring in my step that I hadn't experienced in quite some time. It seemed nothing could faze me; Michael and I were back together again and everything was right with the world. No matter the lurking finals or the fact my date with Laura might be kind of hard to explain, I was happy as a clam and nothing was going to change that.
I think my mom especially appreciated my mood after being so sullen the past week. She didn't make any mention of it, knowing that would annoy me, but was happy to answer all my requests at breakfast with a big grin on her face. I think she knew Michael and I were having problems and finally resolved them, although I highly doubted she knew the scope of our relationship.
It was finals week, but that couldn't even dampen my spirits. Since only the core subjects had to give finals, it left only one per day. Today was science. Tomorrow would be English. Wednesday would be Math. Thursday would be Social Studies. And Friday would be set aside for make-ups if any students needed them.
The bus arrived at school a fifteen minutes before the first bell rang. I rushed to my locker to put away my things before darting to the cafeteria. The usual suspects were there, Chase, Liam, Marcus and the gang. Michael had yet to arrive which was odd because he was on the same bus as Michael.
"Sup Danny," Liam called.
"Nothing," I said, sitting down. "Where's Michael?"
"Marcus said he had something to do," Chase sighed.
"Oh," I said.
"Do you know what happened Friday?" Liam asked.
"Not really," I lied.
"Rumor is it that Michael fucked Stephanie," Liam said with a grin.
"Really?" I said, somewhat amused. If only they knew what he was going through while doing so.
"Yeah, but we don't know for sure," Chase whined. "I wanna hear all the details... if it's true."
"Michael wouldn't tell me either," I said, wanting to get the attention off myself.
"Fuckkkkk, I want some pussy," Liam moaned, rubbing his crotch. The whole table seemed to be thinking about what it would be like if they had their turn with Stephanie. I turned to Marcus and rolled my eyes, he responding with the same gesture. Man seventh grade boys were horny.
Michael finally rounded the corner, his head down. I wondered if he tried to smooth things over with Stephanie. He didn't leave on the best note and if word of it got around the school it wouldn't reflect well on him.
"Yo Michael!" the whole table seemed to shout.
"Hey guys," Michael said, forcing a smile. He sat down next to me, interlocking his fingers and putting them on the table.
There were a few stunned moments of silence, everybody waiting for Michael to burst out about what a great experience it was.
"So?" someone finally whined.
"What?" Michael asked, well aware of the topic in question.
"How'd it go with Stephanie dude?" Chase said excitedly. "Did you bone her?"
"Yeah, did you fuck her?" Liam grinned devilishly.
The whole table had huge smiles on their faces and was leaning in towards Michael waiting for his response. It reminded me of a bunch of hungry hyenas or something.
"I'm not telling," Michael said simply.
"What?" the whole table yelled.
"None of your business," he said matter of factly.
"Dude, what the fuck," Chase said. "You're the first one here to have a shot at pussy... and you won't tell us?"
"Darryl said you fucked her," our friend Tyler said.
"Yeah, I heard that too," another piped in.
"Believe whatever you want to," Michael shrugged.
"Not cool," Liam said. "You gotta tell us the details dude!"
"Why the fuck not?"
"I told you. Now fuck off."
"Maybe he didn't get any," someone joked.
"Probably," said another.
"Tell me this," Chase said. "Are you a virgin?"
"Not telling," Michael said.
"Dude, if you don't say anything, I'm going to assume you fucked her," Chase said.
The table sat in silence.
"Okay then, you fucked her."
"You got pussy," Liam whined. "Not just any pussy... Stephanie Lauer pussy. The hottest in school. You fucking banged the most popular girl in school, the one every guy wants to fuck. And you won't tell us about it?"
"God dammit," Chase whined. "I just want to know what it feels like. I need to get fuuuuuucked."
All these boys getting horny in front of me was causing me to get horny as well. If only they'd open their minds and let Michael and I give them blowjobs. We wouldn't even ask anything else in return. Unfortunately in today's society, that would be way too "gay" and would make us social outcasts for the duration of our public school education.
Finally the bell rang, signaling that there were only five minutes until class began. All the boys got up and went their separate ways, glaring at Michael and pleading for him to give the details. Finally, after they all had left, only Michael, Marcus and I remained.
"I'm sorry Michael," I said, wanting to give him a hug. "They were being jerks."
"Naw," Michael shrugged. "They're just horny. I can understand. I just don't want to fuel the fire, you know?"
"Yeah," I said. "Where were you before you came to the table?"
"Talking with Stephanie," Michael sighed. "I basically told her I didn't want to see her anymore because I had another girlfriend at a different school."
"Using my excuse?" I laughed.
"Yeah," Michael grinned. "She wasn't buying it, saying I just used her or whatever. Anyways, I just told her I just felt really guilty and the sex wasn't as good as with her."
"Oh dude," I said. "Harsh."
"Yeah, she got kind of mad. Anyways, I said I wouldn't say anything about it as long as she kept her mouth shut too. If she told people I used her or whatever I'd tell people how bad she was in bed."
"Wow," I said, feeling bad for Michael. I know he didn't like to be mean to people, but I didn't see many more options. Besides, Stephanie was definitely a bitch and certainly easy for most any boy she deemed worthy.
"So that seemed to put a stop to that," he said. "Now I just got to wait for the storm to pass through. People will forget about it eventually. Something new will come up, there's always some big new thing every week. Last week it was Stephanie and I. This week, who knows..."
"I hope," I said honestly. "Come on, let's get to class."
"So you both had sex this weekend?" Marcus asked, a shocked look on his face.
"Yeah," I nodded at him.
"Wow," he said in wonder.
"Us gay boys are good," Michael whispered, winking at Marcus.
The three of us headed into English class, normally dreaded, but enjoyed by all of us because we had it together. Michael took his seat across the room from me, looking me in the eye from there for the first time in quite a while. It felt great to be on good terms with him again, especially after we pronounced our love for one another.
Michael was bugged some more from kids in the class but he just deflected them. I think he was going to stay with the whole, "It's private, I'm not telling" mantra for the long haul. It should work without looking too suspicious; however the sudden break up of Michael and Stephanie might be put into question. Then again in middle school most relationships only last a week or two so it wasn't that far from the norm.
Class seemed to fly by, Michael and I just stared at each other and smiled. I think he enjoyed being able to look me in the eyes again. Marcus was sitting quietly behind me and I'd turn to him once in a while and smile. I think he was just glad the awkwardness was over, that last week with Michael and I probably wasn't the most fun for him. We'd have to reward him this weekend for being so patient with us, and I specifically for letting me talk my feelings out to him.
The bell rang, sending the three of us in our separate ways until lunch. I knew this would probably be the longest two hours of my life, but it felt that way almost every day I was away from Michael and Marcus.
Fortunately Biology flew by because we watched a movie and didn't have to take notes. The class after that went decently fast as well, and before you know it I was headed back to the cafeteria for lunch. I'm sure the prodding of Michael would continue. I was starting to get pretty angry at them, what business was it of theirs anyways? I thought about speaking up if it continued at lunch, but then again most people thought I knew everything because Michael and I were such good friends.
I went through the line to get food, Michael still having yet to arrive. He sure was taking his time to get places these days but I didn't blame him. What happened between him and Stephanie seemed to be the talk of the school right now. I didn't envy the position he was in and glad my encounter with Laura hadn't seemed to be leaked.
"A turkey sub please," I told the lunch lady, getting one of my favorite items. The food at our school was mass prepared and generally not healthy. At first I went wild with pizza and nachos in sixth grade, but quickly grew tired of it. I picked up a can of apple juice and went to the cashier to pay.
As I exited the food area I finally saw Michael arrive and gave him an excited wave. He smiled and waved back but darted to go get his food. Chances are he was bugged during his last two classes about Stephanie and wasn't eager to return to the lunch table. I just couldn't wait until a few weeks when this all would blow over.
"Hey Danny," my friends called as I approached the table.
"What's up?" I asked, sitting down next to Marcus.
"You tell us," Liam grinned.
"What?" I asked, suddenly very uncomfortable. I could feel everybody's eyes on me.
"You and Laura dude!" Chase laughed. "Someone said you hooked up?"
"Who?" I asked.
"I dunno, I heard it from Nate who heard it from some chick," Chase replied.
"Oh," I said.
"Soooo..." they prodded.
"Did you go on a date with her?"
"We met at the park and talked," I said, knowing that flat out denial wouldn't work.
"That's it?" Chase asked, looking disappointed.
"Yeah," I said, wondering how much they, or anybody, knew.
"Nate said you did it," Liam prodded on.
"Yeah, I heard you fucked," Tyler grinned.
"No," I said, getting really pissed off. Guess I was getting a taste of Michael's medicine.
"Whatever dude," Chase sighed. "God damn, you and Michael get some action and you won't even tell us about it."
"Look, I dunno what happened with Michael but nothing happened between me and Laura," I said. "And Michael normally tells me shit so I don't think anything happened with him and Stephanie, okay?"
"Whatever," the table sighed.
"If you were less occupied with us you guys might actually get a date for once," I said, continuing to vent.
"Yeesh, Danny, sorry," Chase said, getting offended.
"What?" Michael asked, finally reaching the table.
"Danny went out with Laura Parker but won't tell us about it," Liam whined.
"Oh," Michael said, his head dropping as he sat down.
"You know!" Tyler gasped, pointing at Michael.
"I don't fucking know," Michael growled.
"Yeah you fucking do," Chase quipped.
"Why don't you just shut the fuck up?" Michael scowled. He was getting angry.
"Dude, calm down," Chase said.
"Stop bugging him," I said angrily.
"Fine, then we'll bug you," Tyler grinned.
"Can't we just talk about something else," I whined.
"We wanna know!" Tyler laughed.
"Nothing happened okay," I said, turning towards my lover, "and Michael doesn't want to tell you about his time either. So just drop it, okay?
"Fine," Chase sighed.
"Thank you," I said, relieved.
"Just tell us one thing," he grinned. "Are YOU a virgin?"
"No," I said with a smirk, wanting to give them a final "fuck you".
"What?!?" the table yelled.
"So you've done it?"
"Yeah," I said hesitantly, starting to regret my rash decision to egg them on. Michael had something going with his silent treatment.
"So you had sex with Laura?"
"Nope," I said, not wanting to commit to that. Plus, I didn't know how much if any Laura wanted out about our date on Saturday.
"Then who?" they prodded.
"I'm not telling."
"Cause you're lying," Liam laughed, wanting me to want to prove them wrong.
"Whatever you wanna think," I said, taking a bite of my sandwich. It tasted terrible and I didn't have an appetite anyways.
"I think you're a fag then," Liam scowled. It hurt more than anything anybody had said to me before. I felt like I wanted to throw up.
"Dude, shut the fuck up," Michael said, raising his voice.
"Your hand doesn't count Danny," Liam cracked, causing the whole table to burst into laughter.
"Neither does your pillow!" someone else cracked.
"Shut up!" Michael yelled, standing up. I was just in shock on what was going down. This had turned into a nightmare.
"Maybe they lost it with each other! Faggots!" Liam said, almost dying from laughter.
Michael stormed to the other side of the table and pushed Liam down in his chair. Liam quickly got up and stood right in front of Michael.
"I told you to shut the fuck up!" Michael screamed. The whole cafeteria quieted and was looking at what was going down at our table.
"I'm not going to shut up you fucking faggot."
"Don't call me that," Michael growled, his face inches from Liam's.
"Why not... fag?" Liam quipped.
Michael went apeshit. With one giant swing of his fist he sent Liam flying backwards and onto the ground. Liam sprung back up, his lip bloody, and threw a punch at Michael. Michael grabbed Liam's hand in mid-air and used his free arm to land a haymaker that sent Liam tumbling back towards the ground.
"Fight, fight, fight!" the cheer rang throughout the cafeteria. A couple of the boys at my table tried half-heartly to break up the fight but didn't do much good. I considered joining, but Michael was kicking Liam's ass and seemed able to fend for himself.
Michael sat on top of Liam's stomach and pinned his arms back.
"Don't fucking call me that," he yelled, Liam struggling beneath him.
"Why not you fag," Liam groaned, trying to escape.
"Fuck you," Michael said, spitting in Liam's face and slamming his arms back onto the ground.
Finally a number of teachers broke into the circle that had formed around the fight and tore Michael and Liam apart. Before they could get Michael away though he landed a kick right into Liam's groin, causing him to cease up in pain.
As two teachers grabbed each of Michael's arms and struggled to drag him away, the noise in the cafeteria faded. I couldn't hear anything. I couldn't see anything in the mayhem other than Michael's face looking at my own.
It was full of emotions; angry and frustrated, sad but content. If anything, it was saying "I love you." Time seemed to go by in slow motion as they dragged Michael away, his eyes continuing to lock onto mine. I love you, Danny, I love you.
I love you too Michael. More than anything in the world. I didn't say this, but I think it was understood. He give me a little smile as he rounded the corner and out of sight. I just continued to stand there in shock, not having moved an inch during the whole ordeal.
Slowly the noise and confusion faded back in, kids everywhere laughing and shouting hysterically about what had just happened. It wasn't everyday you saw a fight in our school, especially one this violent. Teachers everywhere were yelling for the students to sit back down and be quiet but nobody was listening.
"Oh my God Danny, did you see that?" Chase exclaimed, his face totally shocked. Like I hadn't seen what happened.
"Dude Michael kicked his ass!" another called.
"Liam was being a little bitch!"
"He totally deserved it!"
"Not that though!"
It was all too much. I slowly backed away from the table, wanting to leave the whole scene. Liam was getting led towards the same place Michael had gone, his face bloodied by the fists of my lover. He'd be in trouble too for fighting, but I knew Michael was going to be in it way deeper.
I mumbled something about having to go but nobody was paying attention. I walked quickly to the boy's bathroom and rushed into a stall. I put the seat down and collapsed onto the toilet, overcome with emotions. I started to sob quietly, trying to comprehend what just happened.
Mostly I was worried for Michael, nowadays fighting in school is no small matter, often reciprocated with a harsh suspension or even expulsion. Anything that could keep us apart would be devastating to the both of us.
As I began to calm down I started to become overwhelmed again, this time not because of fear, but rather what of Michael just did for me. He stood up for me when Liam started calling me names. Once Liam didn't stop Michael went insane, beating him to the ground and teaching him a lesson. Michael was normally so relaxed and low key, I never thought he was capable of such a thing. I guess love does strange things, because those looks he gave me as he was dragged away told me everything I needed to know. He loved me and would do anything for me.
God how I wanted to see him right now! Hug him, kiss him, tell him how much I loved him. Tell him that I would do the same thing for him. That I loved him and always would. Instead, he was going through God knows what in the principal's office. My heart was heavy for him as he was in all this trouble on account of me. I started to blame it on myself, knowing Michael would be mad at me for doing so, but I couldn't help but think it was entirely my fault. If I would have played the Laura situation cooler, if I would have just said "no" to being a virgin and dropping the subject. Seventh grade boys are full of hormones and curiosity and I should have known that would have gotten the better of them. Then Michael wouldn't be in school jail facing some awful penalty.
Nothing could change what happened though. Michael and I would just have to work through whatever this situation would bring. If that meant finding new friends, fine. If that meant Michael going to a new school, fine. As long as we could still see each other I think we'd be fine.
There were just too many variables, too many things that could be going on or could happen. I felt loved, scared, sad and angry all at the same time. I could care less about school right now or what people thought of me. Somehow though, I'd have to make it through the rest of my day.
"Danny?" I heard a soft voice call.
"Yeah," I sniffed, still on the toilet.
"Are you okay?"
It was Marcus.
"Sorta," I mumbled, standing up and cracking the door open.
I saw Marcus' eyes, that beautiful blue color I had fallen in love with, and they were completely sad. Marcus leaned in and gave me a hug, which I gladly accepted. His warm body felt so warm and so reassuring against my own, almost as if he were taking the weight off my shoulders.
"It's going to be okay," Marcus whispered, patting me on the back.
"We don't know that," I sniffed.
"No, nothing is for certain," Marcus said. "But we can hope for the best."
"I just feel so guilty," I sighed.
"It's not your fault Danny," Marcus assured me. "It's that prick Liam's. He's a bastard."
"I know," I said. It felt good to hear someone else say that.
There went the bell, signaling it was time for us to head to class.
Marcus and I finally let go of our embrace, thankfully nobody else was in the bathroom the entire time. He gave me a big grin and patted me on the back.
"You gonna be okay?" he asked.
"Yeah," I sighed. "I just want to go home or see Michael though."
"We'll talk to him soon enough," Marcus said, smiling again and patting me on the back.
"I hope," I sighed.
"Hang in there," Marcus said softly, "I'll see you on the bus."
"Later," I said, feeling much better. Marcus was so cute and sweet... I was very lucky to have a friend like him. I know he'd be with me the whole time during whatever this incident caused.
Luckily I had Art Class next so I wouldn't have to think much. Hopefully I could just doodle on the paper for fifty minutes without the teacher noticing. She was pretty much a space cadet and gave everyone A's though, so I had nothing to worry.
Thankfully nobody at my lunch table was in this class so I wouldn't have to talk much about it. I did get a few people asking questions when they first saw me but nothing sustained. I just simply replied "I don't really know." They didn't know the whole thing started because Michael was defending me.
I just sat there doodling, wanting to draw something for Michael but not being able to think of anything. About half an hour into the class Mr. Brown, the school's behavioral counselor, walked quietly into the room and tapped me on the shoulder.
"Could I see you for a minute Danny?" he asked softly.
"Uh, sure," I said, scared. I gently set my pencil down and got up.
"Ohhhhh," the class cooed quietly as I walked out, thinking I was in trouble. Was I?
"You're not in trouble," Mr. Brown said, taking the question right out of my head. "We just want to hear your side of the story, tell us what you saw."
"Oh," I said, my head down.
"We're interviewing all the boys at your table who witnessed the event," he continued, "To make sure we have the whole story."
"I see," I said, feeling even more scared for Michael. This was turning into a full blown investigation.
We walked into the main office and past the secretaries, to part of the building I had never been before. It was just a dark hallway, poorly light, with doors on either side. They were for the various counselors at our school, some academic, some behavioral like Mr. Brown. One room read "ISS- In School Suspension" and another read "Detention." It felt like I was in some sort of prison.
He led me into a room that wasn't marked, completely boxed in with no windows on any wall. There was only a giant table and two chairs; nothing on the walls or the ceiling spare the one fluorescent light.
"If you could take a seat," Mr. Brown said, pointing towards one the chairs.
I sat down cautiously, eyeing Mr. Brown suspiciously as he walked to the other end of the table and sat down. He had a big clipboard and took a pen out of his pocket and snapped it open. It definitely felt like one of those high pressure confession rooms you saw in all the movies.
"Okay, Danny," Mr. Brown said, smiling at me. "I brought you in, like I said, to get your view on the incident we had earlier at lunch. You were a witness, correct?"
"Yes," I said softly, not making eye contact.
"Good," he replied. "So to start off, why don't you just tell me what you saw happen and then I'll ask a few follow up questions, is that okay?"
"Yeah," I agreed.
"Great," he said, scribbling something down. "Make sure not to embellish either, we just want what really happened."
"Okay," I said, slightly agitated. I wasn't going to lie.
"Go ahead then," Mr. Brown directed.
"Okay, we were all just sitting there eating lunch. And Liam jokingly called me a... fag, and Michael told him to stop. Then he called Michael an f-word for standing up for me or whatever. Then Michael told him to stop, then Liam said it again. And that happened like three or four times and Liam kept saying it and getting in Michael's face so Michael punched him. Then Liam got up and tried to punch Michael but Michael deflected it and punched Liam again. Then Michael sat on Liam on the ground and pinned him back and told him to stop and everything. And he wouldn't so Michael didn't let go. That's about when the teachers came in."
I left out a few details that might have hurt Michael, like the spitting and the final kick to Liam's balls.
"Okay," Mr. Brown said, his eyes glued to the paper and writing furiously.
The next twenty seconds or so seemed like the longest of my life, everything was silent except for the scratch of his pen. I was feeling more and more scared for Michael, he was in some deep trouble. Finally Mr. Brown spoke back up.
"Okay Danny," he smiled, "that's just about falls into what I've heard so far, so that's good. I'm going to ask a few follow up questions now, is that okay?"
"Yes," I said.
"Okay," Mr. Brown said, smiling and trying to be my friend. I saw through him though."
"What did you say that caused Liam to call you a name?"
"I don't really remember," I said, uncomfortable with the whole situation. Oh god, was he going to find out they were talking about me boning Laura?
"Not at all?" he pressed on.
"I think we were talking about girls," I said, trying to weasel my way out. "I wasn't too involved in the conversation, I was really hungry and busy eating."
"Okay," he said, looking at me in the eyes. This was very uncomfortable.
"Sorry," I said. "I think maybe I said I didn't find one pretty or something."
"Okay," he scribbled. "The other boys said you were talking about girls as well but didn't go into specifics."
"Oh yeah?" I said, feeling better.
"Yeah," he chuckled. "Whatever you were talking about it must have been uncomfortable. But it doesn't really matter in the long run. No matter what was said nobody should ever use the term Liam used."
"Yeah," I agreed.
"But violence is not the answer," he continued. "Okay, I just want to clear up a few details as well. Did you see Michael spit on Liam?"
"Yes," I said softly, my head dropping. Dammit.
"Did Michael ever call Liam something in return?"
I thought for a minute.
"Nope," I said, pretty confident. "He just said don't call me that' again and again."
"And Michael took the first swing, correct?"
"But Liam swung back?"
"Yeah, they were both fighting."
"Okay," Mr. Brown said, continuing to scribble. "And your relationship with Michael is?"
God how I wanted to say "boyfriend."
"Best friend," I said.
"And you're his best friend?"
"Yes," I said. "We're really close."
"I can see that," Mr. Brown smiled. "Michael was right to defend you, but wrong in his actions."
"Yeah," I said, wishing Michael hadn't done what he did, but also proud of him for doing so.
"Okay, well I have everything I need," Mr. Brown said, standing up. "We're going to need you to hang around here until all the interviews are conducted. We have quite a few more to do."
"Okay," I said, unsure why this was necessary.
"We do this so you can't communicate with someone I might be interviewing. We want each student's story to be their own."
"Oh," I said, understanding. He seemed to have a knack of taking the questions right out of my head.
"We're going to put you in the supervised ISS classroom," he continued. "There is no talking of any kind. Since you don't have any schoolwork with you I'm afraid you'll just have to sit there."
"That's okay," I said, looking forward to some quiet time. "Will Michael be in there?"
"Michael and Liam won't be in there."
"Is there anyway I can see Michael?" I asked hopefully.
"I'm afraid not," came the expected answer. He opened the door to the ISS room, a number of well known school bad asses glaring at me. There was Marcus sitting in the back row, giving me a little smile as I walked in. He had probably already been interviewed.
The door shut behind me, the ISS lady looking at me sternly. She had to be about 65 years old, with thick rimmed glasses.
"Take a seat and don't make a peep," she ordered.
I just nodded and headed back towards Marcus, sitting down next to him. He turned and smiled at me.
"Sit at least one seat apart," I heard the lady bark from the front of the room.
I reluctantly stood up and slid into the next desk. This place was like boot camp.
Marcus slowly lowered his head and closed his eyes. I guess there was not much more we could do. My mind started to think of all the events that had transpired. I once again became overwhelmed with emotion, tears slipping down my face despite me not really even sobbing at all.
I crossed my arms and rested my head face down in them, letting the tears puddle up as I continued to cry. Hopefully everyone else just thought I was napping.
End of Chapter Seven
Again, if you liked the story or have any suggestions please write me at:
jnew001 (at) gmail (dot) com
And of course, stay tuned for Chapter Eight. What is Michael's fate? Will he and Danny be able to continue to explore their newly found commitment?
On a side note, my next story will be in the "Cole" series. If you haven't read the story, it is located under "Gay > Adult-Youth" (just search on that page for "Cole".)
The original story was about an 18 year old college student and a 12 year old boy. I plan on writing a single sequel to this story. If you were a fan (or become one), I'm still trying to formulate the next story in my head. If you have any plot ideas, how far in the future it should take place, etc etc. I'd like hear from you! Should it take place one year after the first story? Two years?
Thanks for reading and I'll try to get the next chapter out quick!