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

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1-5 Recap (Volume 9)

Hunter begins a downward spiral and Tyler hobnobs in new circles in the first week of Volume 9. The tenth and final volume launches July 29th exclusively on the GoPride Network.

1-5 Recap (Volume 9)
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Hunter begins a downward spiral and Tyler hobnobs in new circles in the first week of Volume 9. The tenth and final volume launches July 29th exclusively on the GoPride Network.


The two options lay on Hunter's bed, mocking his indecisiveness. A full suit might've been overkill. A shirt and slacks might've been mistaken as too casual. He stood there staring at them. One said long time companion. The other said glorified booty call. Neither one would, no matter how long he stared, would bring Fitz back. 


"You ok?" Charlie asked, peeking his head through Hunter's bedroom door. 


"I don't know what to wear. Typical fag problem," Hunter said, trying his damndest to be flippant. 


"What did you wear to Tristan's funeral?" Charlie asked. 


"This is different and you know it," came the bitter reply. 


"Sorry, I just..." 


"No," Hunter said, opening the door and standing at the doorway. "I'm sorry. I just...I don't know what's expected of me. You know?" 


"You're expected to be sad. And to make your peace." 


"I just don't want to look like a maitre d' while I'm doing it." 


Charlie ran to his room and brought back a grey striped tie and put it against the black shirt. 




"Yeah. Thanks." Hunter tentatively picked up the shirt and then broke down. "I can't go." 


"You have to, Hunter." 


"If go, if they bury him...then he's not coming back." 


Charlie held Hunter tight. "But he's not, Hunter. I'm sorry." Hunter sobbed in his arms for a long time. "Do you want me to go with you?" 


"It won't be a bother?" 


"No," Charlie said, already trying to figure out how to tell Ben he'd have to cancel their Skype date. "I'm here for you." 



When they arrived at the Catholic church on the South Side, Virgil was waiting for them outside. 


"Good to see you," Virgil said somberly, shaking Hunter's hand. Hunter had regained as much of his composure as he could in the cab and just nodded solemnly. They made their way into the lobby. 


"Mr. Fitzgerald, I'm so sorry for your loss," Virgil said, shaking hands with a man that looked like Fitz would've if he'd lived another thirty years. 


"Thank you Virgil. I'm sorry for yours also. You were the best partner my son could hope for." 


"Mr. Fitzgerald, my condolences," Hunter said, offering his hand. 


"Thank you, young man. I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name." 


"I'm Hunter, sir. Caleb was my boyfriend." 


Mr. Fitzgerald abruptly took his hand away. "Young man, I'm going to have to ask you to leave." 


"Excuse me?" 


"I loved my son very much, but there were just some things I could not condone. It was made very clear to Caleb that the lifestyle wouldn't affect this family." 


"With all due respect, I loved your son too." 


"With all due respect, who the fuck are you? I've known my son his whole life. I loved him, raised him. I have a right to be here. Who are you? Some sniveling faggot who had some tryst with him for a few months? I've never even heard your name mentioned. This service is for the people who loved and knew my son. Not some fly by night...whatever. I can see where you'd confuse your perversion with love. I get it, I'm an empathetic man. But I'm respectfully asking you to go away. There's no place for it here." 


Mr. Fitzgerald stormed into the chapel. Charlie placed his hand on Hunter's shoulder. "Do you want to go?"


"Fuck him," Hunter said, his eyes blazed with tears that refused to come out. "I came here to make my peace." 


Charlie stood with Hunter across the street from the church, not saying a word as Hunter stared intently at the church. They watched as pallbearers brought Fitz's coffin out to a hearse. They followed on foot as the hearse drove the cemetery. They sat on a grassy hill overlooking Fitz's grave as the priest read last rites and the coffin was lowered into the ground. They watched as family and friends slowly filtered away, as fresh dug earth was placed into the grave. Soon the sun began to set and Charlie realized that they hadn't said a word. 


Once the gravediggers had gone, once there was silence in the cemetery, Hunter began the descent down to see Fitz's grave. Charlie sat and watched for a moment, giving Hunter space. Hunter stood there, staring at Fitz's grave, not moving, not saying anything. After what seemed like an eternity, Charlie made his way down. 


"You ok?" Charlie asked. 


"Yeah," Hunter said flatly. 


"You don't seem it," Charlie said. 


"Remember when I broke down in the apartment earlier?" 


"Yeah," Charlie said, placing his hand on Hunter's shoulder.  Hunter brushed it off. 


"That was the last time you'll ever see that. Cuz fuck it, you know? It's not worth it." 


Hunter spent the cab ride home staring out the window, not saying a word. And it scared the hell out of Charlie.




"I need a favor," Edward said, coming into Tyler's office.

"Of course, anything I can do to help."

"The social worker is coming over for dinner tonight to assess if it's a suitable home for Robbie, but I'm meant to be at a benefit to schmooze with potential donors."

"And you want me to pretend to be you at dinner with the social worker?"

"No,  goober, I need you to fill in for me at the benefit."

"I don't know, Edward. I'm not so good in social settings like that."

"It's because you've never tried. Come on, Tyler. You're adorable, you're passionate about Haven. They'll just eat you up."

"Yeah, and spit me out."


Tyler fidgeted in his borrowed suit as he ordered another whiskey ginger. Even if Charlie's suit hadn't been almost a size too big, he still felt awkward in it. The suit, the scene, it just wasn't him. He felt bad for not doing more networking but he really had nothing to say to anyone. All the older gentlemen he talked to seemed more interested in him than Haven. He had decided to sneak out after he finished his drink when a group of handsome guys just a couple years older than him approached.

"What have we here?" asked the tall one in the navy bow tie.

"Oh, hello. I' Drake. I work with Haven."

"Well they've certainly upgraded," said the shorter Hispanic guy.

"We are definitely trying our hardest to be a service to the community and to the youth at risk," Tyler said.

"I'd love to hear more about it, see if we can't help you out," said the one that was too pretty for his own good.

"Absolutely. Maybe we can set up a meeting, um..."

"I'm Chadwick," said bow tie. "That's Diego, that's Bryan. And this..." he said, nudging the pretty one closer to Tyler. " Mason."

"Hi," said Mason. "Maybe we can talk more about it. Say...over lunch?"



"What time is it there again?" Charlie asked. 


"We're seven hours behind," Ben said, after a second delay on Charlie's computer screen.  


"Oh.'re eating lunch?" 


"And you're having dinner?" 


"It's like we're on a date," Charlie smiled, tried to make the best of it. "Except I never liked Ethiopian food, so..." 


" I'm not in Ethiopia babe." 


"Right. Right, what are you having?" 


"Oh god, I can't even pronounce it," Ben laughed. "If we were in American, I'd describe it as a crock pot sort of dish. Rice and vegetables and meat all in the same pot." 


"I just made a PB&J sandwich," Charlie said sheepishly. 


"You don't know how I'd kill for that right now," Ben chuckled. "Don't get me wrong, this is delicious..." Charlie began to worry: this mindless prattle about food was soon to turn into talk about the weather.


I miss you," Charlie said simply. 


"I miss you too," Ben said. "I wish you could've..."  


"A month babe," Charlie said reassuringly. "School's out in a month." 


"A lot can happen in a month," Ben said worriedly, but whether he was worried about himself or Charlie was unclear. "Are you sure you're ready to uproot your whole life...?" 


"Doctor Ben," an urgent voice coming into room said. 


"I gotta go babe." 


"Go. Save lives. Make me proud." 


"Love you." 


"Love you too." And Ben's  Skype call was disconnected. Charlie finished his sandwich and poured himself a glass of wine. The question dangled in the air: 'are you sure you're ready to uproot your whole life...?' 


And Charlie wasn't. 






Alex did a double take as he saw Robbie coming out of Mr. Parker's room as the third period bell rang. 


"Robbie?! OMG what are you doing here?" 


"Oh hi, Alex," Robbie said, continuing his way to class. "I'm trying to test out for last quarter so I'm not too far behind." 


"Are you...back at home?" 


"Nah, but my foster dads really wanted me to come back to school here. Attempt at a normal childhood they said. Plus they're really good friends with Mr. Parker, so they feel good that he'll keep an eye on me." 


"Two dads? That's crazy." 


"They're pretty cool," Robbie smiled, Alex secretly envied Robbie's two gay parents. Oh, the shopping sprees and Broadway-show-athons he was surely missing out on! 


"Hey, um...this is awkward, but...what are you doing Saturday night?" 


"Um, nothing, I guess. Honestly, I haven't been doing much of anything but hanging out at home and studying. Why?" 


" you like to go to prom with me?" 


Robbie stopped. "Me?" 


"Sure. I mean, you're a sweet guy. We're friends, right?" 




"And, I mean, you'd probably look really adorable in a tux." 


"But why me?" 


"Cause I think it'd be fun," Alex lied, not mentioning the rejections from everyone in the GSA. 


"Aren't you seeing, foster dad's ex?" 


"Bruce? No, that's way over," Alex scoffed, half-remembering his bizarre last encounter with him. 


"Will they even let us go together?" 


"Yeah. Come on, this isn't 1999." 


"I'll check with my dads, but I'm pretty sure it's ok." 


"Great," Alex said as the late bell rang. Robbie scurried off to class and Alex watched him go for a moment. Why hadn't he noticed how cute Robbie was until now? 






Life sped by him as he slung drinks. Guys came up to him with their  dime-a-dozen come ons. Typical pop diva after typical pop diva sang of pain they couldn't possibly know anything about in autotuned perfection. Guys met other guys. Guys got rejected. Guys went home with other guys. And Hunter did a shot for each occurrence.


Steve didn't mind if the bartenders sipped as they worked, but Hunter was testing the limits.  The drone of the night was too much; Hunter needed something to help him get through it. His regulars thought he was being aloof. New customers thought he was an asshole. He just didn't care. 


Closing time. Hunter locked up and looked out on Belmont bathed in moonlight and street lamp. Looking exactly like the night he met Fitz.  The night couldn't end like this. He couldn't go home. 


Walking up Halsted, he stopped into Steamworks. Because he just had to feel something.




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