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

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6 - 10 Recap (Volume 5)

Charlie has to confront his past in more ways than one in the second week of Volume 5. Volume 6 launches on February 11!

6 - 10 Recap (Volume 5)
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Charlie has to confront his past in more ways than one in the second week of Volume 5. Volume 6 launches on February 11!


"Can I get you something to drink? Beer? Coffee? Water?" Tom asked as Charlie took his coat off.

"Water's fine. Still recovering from last night."

"Wild night, eh?"

"Not like before. I'm not twenty-five anymore."

Tom chuckled as he poured them both glasses of water. "Yeah, Diego and I... " He let the sentence trail off, leaving the music blaring from his laptop to fill the silence.

"I'm so sorry," Tom said, rushing over to his laptop. "Let me turn it down."

"Is that Jay Brannan?" Charlie smiled, sitting on the couch.

"Yeah. I found all of his stuff on Spotify after you turned me on to him last year."

"I remember when I gave you that CD. It felt like sixth grade again, giving someone a mix tape."

"It's still the best Valentine's Day present I ever got."

"It's the only one I've ever given out."

"Yeah," Tom smiled as he sat next to Charlie. "It's the only one I ever got."

"But this year... " Charlie let the sentence dangle in the air with a bittersweet envy.

"It's really good to see you, Charlie. Really. The last time I saw you, you weren't doing so well."

"Well, you'll have to forgive me, I didn't expect to see you living with a guy I was on a date with."

"No. I meant... in the hospital. When you were... "

"Eddy said you didn't come by."

"She stopped me once. But before... when it first happened... I was there. I just sat with you."


"Yeah. I just... said all this shit I wished I said when we were together."

"How did you even... ?"

"Tristan. He texted everybody that might care."

"And you did?"

Tom took Charlie's hand. "Of course, I did Charlie." The weight of Tom's hand on Charlie's began to feel heavy with a familiarity that Charlie longed to know again. Overwhelmed, he got up and began to pace.

"Sorry... this is just... maybe this wasn't such a good... "

"It is," Tom said, grabbing Charlie's hand and sitting him down. "I'm glad to see you."

"I am too. And I hate it."

"I think about you all the time."

"I do too."

"And I miss you."

"Yeah... I miss you too."

"So what are we going to do about it?"

Charlie's heart froze. Cautiously, he said: "What do you want to do about it?"

"You're amazing Charlie. You're easily the coolest guy I've ever met. You're funny, you're smart, you just... you have this way about you that... I want you in my life again, Charlie."

"You do?"

"Yeah. And after Diego gets to know you, he'll get over... "

"Wait. How exactly do you want me in your life?"

"Any way I can."

"Any way except the one that truly matters." Charlie let go of Tom's hand. "I can't keep doing this to myself."


"We're over. We're so over. We've been over for a year and... whenever I see you, I hope against hope that you'll wake up. That you'll realize that breaking up with me was the biggest fuck up in your life and we'll be together again."

"It was the biggest... "

"It's so stupid. I mean I have this guy, this amazing guy that actually wants to be with me. He tracked me down for god's sake. But in one second, I was just ready to throw that away. Just because I thought that you... "

"I'm sorry if... "

"No. I knew what this was. I needed closure. After all we've been through, I needed... "

"I need you. In my life. As a friend or... "

"I've got friends, Tom. I don't need any more. I needed you to be something in my life and you aren't that. So it's time to say goodbye. For real this time."

"Are you serious?" Charlie nodded and Tom abruptly hugged him and held him tight. Charlie held him back.

"I wish you well, Tom. Really. You're an awesome guy. You deserve to be happy. Even if it's not with me."

"You were my first everything," Tom said, choking back tears.

"Mine too," said Charlie, not as successful as Tom.

"So if I see you out and about... "

"I won't run. I won't hide. I'll say hi and move on. But I won't be waiting anymore. I feel like a part of me has always been waiting for you. But that's done."

Tom kissed him, slowly and tenderly. It was at once familiar and empty, like an old house that you used to live in but was already two years into its new occupants. "Sorry, I just had to. Just one last time."

"You realize I'm the only thing in your life that ever made sense, right?" Charlie joked. Tom chuckled back and nodded, letting the tears flow. Charlie grabbed his coat and let himself out, smiling at the song that popped up next on Tom's playlist on his way out. Tom waited for Charlie to come back and change his mind. But the door stayed shut.



"So this button is kick?" Fitz asked cautiously, his Captain America jabbing at Hunter's Jean Grey.

"Yeah, and if you combine with up and... "

"I got it, I got it," Fitz said, waving him away. And sure enough, in under a minute Fitz's Captain America was able to take out Jean and the rest of Hunter's "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" team.

"You sure you've never played this before?"

"Never! And be prepared for a night of it because I'm off the next two days and I don't think I'm leaving my pajamas or this couch."

"Not complaining," Hunter said, giving him a quick kiss.

"This game's a damn sight better than that car stealing game."

"Why? Because you're kicking my ass at this one?"

"No. Because it's legitimately awful. Army games I get. This I get. But why would anyone make a game that glamorizes crime? It's so wrong."

"Turn it off, Officer. You're not on duty."

"How would you feel if they made a game where the only goal was... um... making drinks wrong?"

Hunter hit paused and laughed. "What?"

"Well, fine ok. Bad example. But, besides video games and comic books... what are you passionate about? I know it's not bartending."

"No one's ever asked me that."

"And you've never asked yourself?"

"I never did, I guess. Life wasn't the easiest for my family, you know? I got a job when I was old enough and when I got kicked out and moved here, I had to survive."

"Which is why the go-go dancing."

"Yeah. I mean... I wanted to go to college and shit but my whole life, I guess... I was just getting by."

Fitz put his arm around Hunter. "That's ok too. What your job is doesn't define who you are. It's how you treat others, what your actions are. And you, Hunter Storm, are pretty fucking awesome." He kissed Hunter's head, but Hunter was still stuck in the thought.

"Did you always want to be a cop?"

"Yeah. My dad's a cop. My brother's a cop."

"You didn't feel pressured?"

"No. I mean, I don't want to stay beat cops like them, I want to make detective in a few years. But it's what I've always wanted. I just always knew. I'm lucky, I guess. Some people spend their whole lives figuring it out. Or not caring."

"Yeah," Hunter said dejectedly.

"Hey," Fitz said, taking Hunter's face in both hands and kissing him. "You'll figure it out."

"Hey guys," Tyler said coming out of his room, going to the bathroom.

"Hey dude!" Hunter called, eager to shake the mood. "Was that a guy I heard leaving the apartment this afternoon?"

"Gotta pee," Tyler said quickly, shutting the bathroom door. Hunter loved giving Tyler shit and started pounding on the door.

"Look at you! New year and ho'in' it up like a true Boystown boy!"

"Can't hear you!" Tyler said, flushing the toilet.

"Leave the kid alone," Fitz chuckled, grabbing a hold of Hunter from behind.

"Aw come on! I always wanted a little brother to fuck with!"

"Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"

Hunter pushed Fitz back onto the couch and jumped on top of him. They tussled for a bit before Hunter's shirt started riding up to the point where Fitz just ripped it off. Tyler tried to sneak his way back to his room, but Hunter heard him and started to get up, but Fitz pushed him down.

"Don't even think about it," Fitz said, kissing him on the nose.

"Did you get that thing that came for you in the mail yesterday?" Tyler called as he slammed the door to his room.

"The what?" Hunter muttered, glancing quickly at the coffee table. There was a white envelope addressed to him. Since all his bills came out automatically, he never got any mail.

"It's certified," Fitz noted as Hunter tore into it.

"Holy fuck!" Hunter gasped, reading its contents.

"It's from my dad's lawyer. He had me on his life insurance policy." Hunter dropped the two pieces of paper and moved onto a smaller slip of paper. Fitz picked the pages off the floor and a check slipped out.

"Holy shit! Hunter... it's a check for twenty grand. You could start school with this or go on some bad-ass vacation or... "

But Hunter wasn't listening. He was reading the small scrap of paper, etched with his father's chicken scratch handwriting:

"Hunter –
Don't fuck up like me. Make something of your life. Make me proud.
Love always, Dad"



"Thank you so much for dinner," David said as Edward cut up a cake for dessert. As Edward offered him a slice, he said: "No thanks, I'm stuffed."

"Me too," Other David said.

"I told you to save room for dessert!" Steve said.

"Well don't stuff us to the gills with your scrumptious London broil next time," Other David said.

"Take some home," Edward offered. "If there are leftovers, some of us might not have the willpower to stick to their new year's resolutions."

"I made no promises," Steve said, taking a huge bite of cake.

"We're so sorry that we missed your New Year's brunch," Other David said.

"We were hung over," David abruptly lied. His better half kicked him under the table.

"Oh that's alright," Steve said, pouring the coffee.

"So... any special New Year's announcements?" Other David asked eagerly.

"Whatever do you mean, dear?" Edward asked, sitting down.

"The holidays are an awfully popular time for a certain question to be asked," David prodded. Steve and Edward chuckled.

"Oh aren't you two sweet," Edward smiled. "We've only been dating a few months."

"And why would it even be a thought," Steve asked David. "I thought you were against it."

"Just because it's not high up on my priorities doesn't mean I'm against it. And with the bill getting pushed to the Senate, it might be getting pushed a bit higher up."

"Is that right?" Other David said, taking David's hand.

"Well, as someone who just got out of a twenty year relationship, can I just say that I am in no rush to get married again."

"Hell, I don't even know if we could live together," Edward joked.

"I'm just having such a good time going on dates. You're both too young to appreciate this and I hope you never have to experience it, but after so many years with someone, you start to miss the thrill of first romance. The butterflies in your stomach, the uncertainty where it might all lead." He kissed Edward's hand and took it in his own. "I'm just enjoying being with Edward without worrying about what happens next."

"Oh I know we carry on like an old married couple," Edward said, "And maybe because we're both so nurturing. But relationships can get stale so quickly and we're in no rush for that to happen to us."


"You're still thinking about what they said at dessert," Other David said, reading his better half's silent thoughts on the cab ride home.

"Things aren't getting stale with us, are they? We've been together since undergrad, I never really... "

"I don't think so. We still have fun, right?"

"Absolutely. There was that one trip to Cabo... "

"That was six years ago, babe."

"Right. Well, how about when we did the Freedom Trail in Boston."

"And that was not fun."

"Ok. But sure, we still have fun. We're fun guys."

"Making a mushroom joke would negate that, wouldn't it?"

David laughed slightly and kissed his better half on the cheek. His phone vibrated with a text that simply said "Hey."

"Do you recognize that number?" David asked, showing Other David his phone.

"It doesn't look familiar."

A follow-up text vibrated through: "New Year's was hot."

"Omigod, it's... " They both looked at each other. They'd forgotten the guy's name.

Another text: "You guys busy tonight? Want to go for round two?"

David looked at his better half. "What should I say?"



"God, I hate being back at school!" Alex whined, leaving the GSA meeting.

"Why were you so rude to Mr. Parker?" Robbie asked, trailing behind with Alex's books.

Alex's eyes narrowed. "He knows why."

"But he's so nice! I transferred into his English class this semester and... "

"Robbie, do you want to keep being my new best friend?"

"Yes, Alex," Robbie said, taking Alex's bag off and opening Alex's locker.

"Then it's best not to question me. Mr. Parker is merely a figurehead for our little alliance. As far as we're concerned, he's dead to us. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Alex." Robbie said, putting Alex's books away.

"There are many things you have yet to understand about life, Robbie," Alex lectured, continuing their passage down the hall. "There's a natural order to things, a balance that must be kept. Mr. Parker has wronged me and so it follows that the scales have tipped against him."

Somebody should've paid closer attention to Mr. Parker's lecture on mixed metaphors, thought Robbie, but instead he said, "Yes, Alex." Robbie stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the two boys who attacked him months ago between them and the main door. Alex continued on.

"Steven. Jason." Alex acknowledged as the taller one held the door open for him.

"Alexander," the shorter one said through a forced smile. Alex looked at Robbie still behind him and motioned him forward.

"How did you do that?" Robbie asked in amazement.

"I might have some incriminating photos of one or both of them. They'd prefer to keep them out of the public eye as to keep their social ranking in the pathetic high school hierarchy. So we've come to an understanding. See, Robbie? Natural order."

"Wow," Robbie oohed as Bruce came up to them. Robbie offered his hand. "Hello, you must be Alex's dad. I'm Robbie."

Alex sighed. "You may go now, Robbie."



Streetlamp mixed with moonlight fell on Ben's face as he lay with Charlie's head on his chest, fast asleep. He stroked Charlie's hair and kissed the top of his head.

"You awake?" Ben whispered.

"Mmm?" grumbled Charlie.

"I just wanted to say that I missed you over the holiday."

"Missed you too." Charlie said groggily, his eyes still shut.

"I'm sorry that I've been so busy at the hospital lately. But I'm glad that you gave me a key and I can sleepover some times."

Charlie kissed Ben's chest, wrapped his other arm around him, and murmured groggily.

"Things'll slow down soon. And I'll be able to actually take you out on an actual date again. We can go wherever you want. Promise."

"S'okay... "



"Is there something going on between you and Hunter?"

Charlie's eyes shot open.


Volume 6 launches on Monday, February 11! Just joining us? Catch up here:

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

Volume 4 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five


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