AUTHOR'S NOTE: Well, some have asked for this and I said, "Why not? Cody and Grant deserve their own story!" Let me know what you think!
Cody stared at his father glumly. He wasn't surprised, really. What had he expected? His parents were considered pillars of the community … a very affluent community. This was something that could ruin his father's social status if he handled it in a manner others thought was wrong. And those others were clients and business contacts … his father's bread and butter. No. The reaction wasn't surprising. It was disappointing, though.
"So, you're sure about this?" the older man asked wearing a resigned and forlorn expression.
Oh, it was clear he was troubled for his son. Now that everything was out in the open, Cody would have to leave them. And that meant he would be out in the world on his own. Gerald Jamison sighed heavily as he contemplated this inescapable conclusion. Cody had been protected and sheltered his entire life and had little experience with the "real world" he was about to be turned loose upon. The thought of this delicate little boy being trampled on weighed upon him.
"I'm sorry," the redheaded young man murmured. "I can't live a lie anymore."
Gerald nodded sadly and looked over at his wife, Natalie. She sat silently with tears streaming down her face. Cody was their only child and she'd doted on him since giving birth. He'd been his mother's little right hand from the time he could walk.
"But where will you go?" she asked brokenly.
"I've asked Michael if I can stay with him until I find a job."
"A job?" she asked. "Whatever for? No matter what happens, you know we'll always fund your bank account. You're our son."
"I know," Cody sighed. "And I appreciate it. But I can't sit around all day and do nothing. Besides, I have that teaching degree I can put to use. I just don't want to live alone right now."
"Is Michael …?" Gerald asked.
"No, father. He and I are just friends."
Cody wanted to take offense at that. Really, he did. But he couldn't seem to find the energy to do so. He knew that this would likely be the last time he saw his parents for a long time. They couldn't risk being seen with him, or letting anyone believe they condoned his new lifestyle. New? He mentally snorted. He'd been hiding it for way too many years. If only he were more important to them, he wished. If only they valued family more than money.
But money was all that Gerald and Natalie had known their whole lives. They were both from what's called "old money". Long family lines of the rich and powerful. To sever ties that strengthened their wealth was unthinkable … even at the sacrifice of their only child. Cody simply wasn't their responsibility anymore.
"You will contact us from time to time?" Natalie asked. "To let us know you're okay."
Sure. Why not? No one has to know you're worried about me. I'll mail you vague messages, maybe even in code. Cody just nodded stiffly and stood, gathering the last of his suitcases.
"It's all right if I take the car to Michael's?" he asked, turning to them one final time.
"Yes," Gerald replied. "No one knows you're leaving yet anyway."
Cody nodded again and leaned to kiss his mother's cheek.
"Good bye, then," he whispered and walked out the door.
"I really am sorry, Virginia," Grant Henshaw said to his wife as he packed the last of what he would need for his trip. He would send for the rest later.
"I wish I could say it's all right," she sniffled before giving him a brave smile. "But whatever happens, you know I can't hate you."
He smiled back at her wearily. It had been a long and arduous year's journey to get to this moment. And she would have had every right to hate him if she wanted to. But they were best friends before they got married and she'd always tried to understand him whenever he'd had problems before.
"Some women wouldn't be so magnanimous," he teased.
"Some women wouldn't have noticed the struggle you've been going through all these years," she shot back.
"All these years?"
"What? You think I didn't know something was wrong?" she snorted. "Grant, we've known each other too long for me not to have known."
"You never said anything?"
"What could I say?" she asked in surprise. "It's not something I'm used to talking about."
"We've been married for twelve years!"
"And ever since that awkward day, we haven't been the same," she sighed. "Face it. If I hadn't gotten pregnant, you and I never would have been married."
"I didn't mean …"
"I know you didn't," she shrugged. "Neither did I. Nothing screws up a friendship more than a drunken night with no condoms."
"It's okay," she smiled. "I wouldn't take it back even if I could. Matt's my baby."
"Don't let him hear that," Grant chuckled. "He's no one's little boy anymore."
"Don't I know it?"
They laughed together and for a moment they were transported back in time, to before things changed so much.
"I just want you to know I'll always love you," she said. "No matter what."
"Me, too," he grinned dopily. "In a purely platonic way."
"Of course," she laughed. "What else?"
"You're sure I'm not getting in your way?" Cody asked Michael again as he showed him to the smaller second bedroom in the apartment.
"For the last time, Codes, it's cool!" the tall brunette laughed. "I need a roommate anyway, and ever since we graduated high school, we've been too busy to hang out. This solves two problems!"
"Yeah," Cody feigned a smile.
It wasn't that he didn't like the idea. He was still feeling melancholy over the scene with his parents. Well, he supposed he'd have to get over that.
"So …" Michael leaned back against the wall and watched Cody unpack one of his suitcases. "Gay, huh?"
"Um, yeah," Cody murmured as he nervously rifled through some of his things to separate the clothes to be hung in the closet from those he would put in the dresser. "That's not a problem, is it?"
"I told you it wasn't!" Michael frowned. "You and I are buds, pal! You're not getting rid of me so easily."
"Good," Cody sighed. "I could use a reliable friend to lean on."
"You always had one, pal," Michael smiled. "Welcome home."