The daily serial fictional based on Chicago's Boystown neighborhood: Boystown series by Danny Bernardo

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1-5 Recap (Volume 4)

Charlie gets an unexpected visitor and it's Thanksgiving in Boystown in the first week of volume 4. Volume 5 launches 12/31! Happy Holidays!

1-5 Recap (Volume 4)
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Charlie gets an unexpected visitor and it's Thanksgiving in Boystown in the first week of volume 4. Volume 5 launches 12/31! Happy Holidays!


Charlie still couldn't believe that the man he'd obsessed over the past couple of weeks was standing right in front of him.

"Sorry if this is unexpected," Ben said, holding out the bouquet of flowers. Ben noticed Josh right behind Charlie. "Oh, I'm sorry. Is this a bad time?"

"No," said Charlie abruptly. "Not at all. It' just... unexpected." He turned to Josh. "I'll see you later, Josh."

"Ok," said Josh. "But um... can we talk? Later?"

"Of course," said Charlie.

"Wow, um, sorry," Ben said as Josh walked away. "I didn't mean to interrupt, I just... "

"No, you weren't interrupting," said Charlie. He took a breath and smiled. "Hi."

Ben smiled back. "Hi."

"I never thought I'd see you again," Charlie said, as they walked around the block. I mean, I left so abruptly and... "

"I know. And at first I thought you just weren't interested. Or that maybe you had a boyfriend. Trust me, I spent weeks agonizing over it. Then I thought I saw you at this Gala thing... "

"Omigod, that WAS you... "

Ben chuckled. "I didn't spill my drink on you on purpose, I swear. But then I couldn't find you after... "

"Yeah, things got... sorry, my life's been sort of complicated."

"Oh I get that. Life has a way of getting complicated, I guess. But then, after, I thought, what's the harm in asking? And if it turned out you weren't interested or had a boyfriend, at least I'd know. And if you were interested or didn't have a boyfriend, well, all the better for me."

"So how did you... ?"

Ben shrugged sheepishly. "I looked up your patient file. Stalkery, I know... "

"No, it's fine," Charlie chuckled, reluctant to admit his own attempts at trying to find Ben online.

"I could've called I guessed, but if it could be the last chance I'd see you, I wanted to actually see you."

Charlie stopped and kissed him on the cheek. "I'm glad you did."

"So does this mean that you're interested?"

Charlie kissed him in reply.

"So... are things still... complicated?"

"A little. Not too much. I just... there's a couple of things I need to figure out."

"Nothing that can be mucked up by me taking you out for dinner, I hope," Ben said, offering the flowers.

"Not at all," Charlie said, taking the flowers. "Wait, so you were just waiting on my front stoop?"

"I buzzed up but no one answered."

"How long were you waiting for?"

"Doesn't matter. I would've waited all night if I had to."

"You're a rare one, Benjamin Finn," Charlie smiled, kissing him. They stood there for a while, kissing on the corner of Halsted and Buckingham. Ben broke the kiss.

"Wait. How do you know my last name?"

Charlie smiled sheepishly.


It was moments like this Charlie wished he were a better gay. He had this lovely bouquet of flowers and no vase to put them in. His phone vibrated with a text from Josh: "Can we go to dinner some time? Talk?"

"Sure," Charlie texted back. He never thought that he'd be in this dilemma, that two guys he'd been interested in and thought there'd be no way in hell of pursuing things with were both vying for him at the same time. He felt so strongly about both in such different ways... he had to make sure he was making the right choice.

"Someone home?" Hunter weakly called out from his room.

"Just me," Charlie said, walking in that direction. Hunter was standing in his doorway, his face lifeless, his eyes red with crying. "Omigod, Hunter, what happened?"

"It's my Dad," Hunter said, breaking into sobs uncontrollably. Charlie caught him as his knees buckled underneath him. Hunter spent the rest of the night crying in bed. Charlie held him the whole time.



"Are you sure you're going to be ok?" asked Charlie as Hunter strapped on his duffle bag. "I can come with you if you need."

"I'll be fine," said Hunter. "I really don't know what I'll be walking into. Besides, no one should have to endure that MegaBus ride unless they have to."

"That wouldn't bother me if... "

"And my hometown isn't quite as... diverse as Chicago. You might get some shit for, you know... "

"Well I wasn't planning on binding anyone's feet or building a railroad, but... " That got Hunter to chuckle, much to Charlie's relief.

"I'll be ok. Really. But thank you."

Charlie hugged him. "Travel safe."

"Thanks, dude."

"Come back soon."


Hunter kept the seat next to him reserved with his duffle bag. Part of him really hoped that Daryl wouldn't show up, but he knew how selfish that was. The prospect of having to spend the next few hours on the way to bumblefuck Indiana with the estranged brother that's been trying to fuck up his life didn't have any sort of appeal to it. But still, no one should be robbed of the chance to say goodbye. Even if it was to the man who raised you in his image only to disown you when you didn't turn out the way he wanted. And just as the engine of the bus revved up to leave, a pounding on the door forced it open. On walked Daryl, his oily hair slicked back into a ponytail, looking out of his skin in jeans and an ill-fitting flannel. He walked the aisle and found Hunter.

"Hi," Hunter said somberly, moving his bag.

"Hi," said Daryl, taking the seat.

"You look... um... "

"When in Rome, right?"

Hunter knew how much it must've hurt his brother to have to dull down his flame. It was a life they'd left together long ago and as blasé as Daryl was trying to come across, Hunter knew that the impending death of their father had shaken them. Still, he wasn't quite ready to spend the next few hours trying to make polite small talk.

"I didn't get much sleep," said Hunter, reclining his seat and putting his headphones in. "Wake me up when we get there."


The tired public transportation system in their hometown actually made Hunter miss the CTA. Hunter stared out the window of the bus as it drove around their hometown. Everything seemed smaller, less important. He could barely believe that this was the place he'd been so afraid to come back to. Fuck this town, he thought. After a few hours on the MegaBus and another half hour on their small town's bus system, they made it to the hospital. As they approached the room their father was in, they were greeted by a haggard woman Hunter almost recognized as their mother.

"What is he doing here?" she snarled, pointing at Daryl.

"Never mind that," said Hunter. "How's Dad?"

"He's sleeping," she said, eying both of them suspiciously. "You can sit with him if you want. Just you though. I've got to get back to the house. See about the others."

"The others?"

"It is Thanksgiving, after all. The house is full of everyone. Uncle Seamus brought all of his kids and... well, there's just no room. So you won't be able to stay with us."

"I didn't think we would."

"Or eat with us."

"Right. Well, you'd better get back to them."

"Let me know if something happens." Daryl glared at her as she waddled to the elevator. Hunter shook his head and opened the door to their dad's room.

"See if you can get us a room at the motel," Hunter told Daryl. "Oh and find out how late the cafeteria is open. Looks like we'll be spending Thanksgiving here."



"So this is what's been taking up your time?" asked Zan, looking around Haven cautiously.

"Here or pounding the pavement for the HRC," said Tyler, signing Zan in as a volunteer.

"Is this gonna take long?" Zan asked, hanging up his coat. Tyler's look of almost-disgust made him change his tone real quick. "It's just... I've got to go to the suburbs. Do the actual Thanksgiving thing"

"You don't have to stay," Tyler said without any malice. "I know this might not be the most ideal date but... with your school schedule and my work schedule, I just thought... "

"Um, it's a little weird, sure. But, I mean, you spend a lot of time here?"

"At least three times a week if not more. Mostly I've been working in the kitchen but I've been helping out in the office too."

"But why?"

"Because not all of us were born into trust funds and live in the Gold Coast," Tyler said. Zan didn't know whether to feel guilty or offended, so instead he clenched his jaw and said nothing. "That wasn't meant as a criticism, Zan. But I'm not like you, neither are these kids. If one thing had happened differently when I came here, I might be exactly where they are. So I just want to help out as much as I can."

Zan stopped him in the hallway and kissed him. "You have got to be the sweetest guy I've ever met."

"Whatever," Tyler blushed. "Let's go get some hair nets and help make this their best Thanksgiving ever."

Study hall was just getting out as Tyler and Zan walked to the kitchen, holding hands.

"Hey LaTrice!" Tyler waved, all giddy at being with Zan.

LaTrice waved back, her eyes narrowing as they walked into the kitchen.

"Awww hell no!"



"Are you sure this is gonna be cool?" Eddy asked as Charlie rang Steve's doorbell.

"You come bearing a bottle of wine," replied Charle. "It's totally cool."

"It's just... I barely know them. I mean, sure, we met while you were in a coma or whatever, but I've... "

"Been too busy shagging every girl in Chicago to make friends? It's alright, Eds. You're my family, so... you're family. You know?"

Steve opened the door and embraced them both right away.

"Oh good!" they heard one of the Davids say from within the house. "They brought more wine."


Charlie could hear Eddy's cackle from all the way in the kitchen as she regaled the Davids with her latest indiscretion.

"Your sister is a hoot," Steve said, wiping the laughter tears from his eyes as he came into the kitchen. "They've already downed three bottles."

Charlie chuckled his appreciation. "Should we pull the turkey out?"

"Sure," Steve said, grabbing the potholders. The cry of welcome from the other room indicated that Edward and Tyler had come in from serving up Thanksgiving dinner at Haven. "Perfect timing. The bird will rest for a bit and then we can start."

"So, is it just us?"

"Well, what with the unpleasantness at Brad and Becka's engagement party... "

"Yeah, poor Tyler's still shaken up about it."

"Such a shame, really," Steve said, grinning mischievously. "I was dying for a fork dropping moment."

"A which?"

"You know, that moment at dinner where everyone's talking and chatting and someone says something or something happens that's so awkward or shocking that everyone drops their fork."

"That never happened with my family," Charlie chuckled.

"I don't know whether that's lucky or not," Steve laughed. "Growing up in a repressed WASPy Midwestern family, every holiday was full of ‘em."


"A lot has happened this year," Edward said seated at the head of the table as everyone raised a glass of wine. "Friendships tested over chicken sandwiches. Hurricanes running through the East Coast. And who knows if the Mayans are right and this is our last Thanksgiving. But even if it weren't, with everything that's happened, I just want to say I feel truly blessed to be surrounded with so many people that I love. That we are all in good health, that we are all relatively happy, and that we are all here together. So to old friends and new, to those present and those we wish were here, I say happy Thanksgiving."

Everyone echoed Edward's sentiments with a unison "Cheers," and began passing the dishes around. Tyler hated feeling so Tiny Tim about it, but he was the most grateful of all. Not too long ago, he was stuck in a life that wasn't his. Just a few short months later, he was living in a city where he could be himself, with a family of friends that were dearer to him than if they were blood. He still had a long way to go, but all in all, Tyler truly felt blessed. The doorbell rang; Steven and Edward looked at each other inquisitively. Since Tyler was the one closest to the door, he sprang up to answer it.

"Hi," said the familiar face as Tyler opened the door.

"Hi," said Tyler breathlessly.

"I didn't have anywhere else to go... "

"Um, guys?" Tyler called out. "It's Brad. Can he stay for dinner?"

The sound of five forks hitting plates echoed from the dining room.



"You sure cleaned up in there," Bryan noted as Mason carted three bag-fulls of Ralph Lauren.

"Retail therapy," Diego noted.

"So none of that is for anyone else? This is supposed to be like Christmas shopping or whatever?"

"Leave me alone," said Mason as they crossed the street to Macy's. "I'm going through a weird break-up."


"He's crashing on Tom's couch, if you were wondering," Diego told Mason, as they perused DKNY jackets while Bryan was in the fitting room.

"Like I care." Mason brushed off, trying on a peacoat.

"You two will work it out, you'll see."

"Who says I even WANT to work it out? If he doesn't see how fantastically fabulous I am, then fuck him."


Bryan knew he should've laid off the stuffing and mashed potatoes and all those carbs. But Chadwick's mom was hovering at dinner and he had to put on the perfect son-in-law face for the in-laws if he and Chadwick were gonna work things out. But the way he was puffing out in the Hugo Boss Shirt he was trying on made him question if it was worth it at all. There was a knock on the fitting room door.

"I'll be right out guys, calm down."

"Bryan," said a voice on the other end. "It's Jaison."

"Omigod, are you following me?!"

"No, you arrogant bitch. I work here. I saw you come in."


"Haven't seen you in a minute."

"Sorry, life's been... "

"Can I come in? I'm on a break."

Bryan opened the door and let him in.


Volume 4 has been a blast! Stay tuned, as we launch Volume 5 (and the 100th Chapter!) on December 31! Ring in the new year with us at BOYSTOWN THE SERIES. And until then, happy holidays!

Volume 1 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five

Volume 2 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five

Volume 3 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five


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