Chapter 03

Tommy

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Connected: Chapter 03

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SUMMARY: At a time of national turmoil, the lives of four boys become connected as each struggles to accept his sexuality and to address the challenges he faces in life. To the extent the boys succeed in coming to grips with those challenges and in doing the right thing, it may be in ways that prove surprising or troubling. While some events, locations and features have been moved forward or back in time for dramatic and other purposes, the story takes place during an era when prejudice against homosexuals is rampant and the gay revolution in America is still at its beginnings. You can find a longer synopsis of the entire story at my blog here. Please note that italics are typically used to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself.

WARNING: This story is intended for mature audiences only since it includes scenes that depict graphic sex and violence. While I realize people read stories like this for different reasons, you may be disappointed if you’re reading my story primarily for sexual content. There is some, which is why I’ve included the warning. But if sexual content is your primary focus, you may do better on a site like Nifty.

NOTICE: This story remains the property of the author and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. It is protected by the copyright laws of the United States. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author, but you may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not use any of the characters, bars or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon this story in any way.

AUTHOR NOTES: This is my first effort at writing a story. Comments and constructive criticism are welcome. Flames will be ignored. Any help with spelling and other errors would also be appreciated since I would like to correct those wherever possible. Feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me at kitkatkid[at]planetmail[dot]net if you would like to let me know what you think. Please note that this story may also be published on Nifty at some point. However, individual chapters will always be published here first. Thanks for reading the story. I hope you enjoy it.

THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER: In Chapter 2, Nolan is surprised at dinner when the boy he was spying on down at the lake turns out to be Josh, the son of the woman who owns the farm. Nolan is smitten and tries to be friendly, even pretending to like some of the same things Josh does, such as hockey. Questioned by Josh’s Mom, Nolan indicates he likes all kinds of music, including older music by groups such as the Beach Boys. He likes that group in particular because he hopes to go surfing off the California coast someday. Later, the boys persuade their parents to let Nolan stay at the tent where Josh is camping out. Without even knowing it, Josh passes Nolan’s truthfulness test. That night the two of them chat about nothing much although it’s pretty apparent to Nolan that Josh would like to escape from Vermont.

CONNECTED

Part I – Innocence Aroused

Chapter 3

Cock-a-doodle-do! Cock-a-doodle-do!

I had been doing my best to ignore the damn rooster for hours it seemed. But every time I started to doze off again, it renewed its morning serenade. It was annoying the hell out of me.

Cock your own doodle, you fucking retard, I muttered. You’re dead meat, rooster. We’ll be having you for dinner tonight if you don’t shut the fuck up!

Eventually I realized that rooster would never give up until I admitted defeat. Since I didn’t really have any choice, I abandoned the death threats and opened my eyes. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Josh’s beautiful face, but he wasn’t in his sleeping bag across from me.

I remember wondering where he was and was just about to get up to find out when he pulled open the flap and entered the tent, his hair dripping wet and a smile on his freshly scrubbed face. He looked much too cheerful for that time of day.

“Morning, Nolan,” he said. “I have chores I need to do first thing in the morning so I’ve been up and about for a while now. By the way, my Mom says one of my new chores is going to be to wake you up every morning and get you to breakfast on time. It’s going to be served in fifteen minutes. So that’s how long you have to get your stuff together, go upstairs to my room, and take a shower. I already have.”

“And I even left all the cold water for you, too,” he added, grinning at me.

“Oh, jeez, thanks, Josh,” I replied. “I can see why you and that goat of yours are best friends. The two of you are just so sweet.”

But I remember liking the orange t-shirt he was wearing. It made him look totally hot.

Except for my briefs, which I stuffed in my pocket, I pulled on my clothes from the previous day, then trudged over to the house and up the stairs to his room. I stripped off my clothes and showered quickly, using the water to wash out my briefs so no one would know what I had been doing the night before.

Looking around for a place to hang them, I noticed another pair of briefs draped across the back of a chair nearby. Since they were wet as well, I decided to put mine next to them. Then I applied the deodorant I used and pulled on a fresh t-shirt. I didn’t really need to use the deodorant, but it made me feel more grown up and manly. I changed into a new pair of pants and headed downstairs feeling refreshed.

Breakfast was terrific that morning. Josh’s Mom served up lots of stuff my mother would never have fed me at home, including bacon and eggs. I loved her bacon and eggs. They were terrific.

After we finished breakfast, my parents told me we would be touring a historical site nearby that morning. My body started to twitch and I remember rolling my eyes.

“Do we have to,” I groaned? “How many dead people are we going to cram into this vacation?”

“Actually it’s a pretty cool place,” Josh interjected. “You’ll like it, Nolan.”

“Why thank you, Joshua,” my mother said, smiling at him benevolently.

I could tell from the look on her face she was already setting Josh up as a role model for me so I stuck out my tongue at him behind her back. Josh just grinned at me briefly. Then he turned back to my parents.

“Will you be back for lunch today,” he asked, looking at them intently?

“Yes, we will, Joshua,” Mom responded. “We thought we would just spend some time exploring the farm this afternoon, helping Nolan get used to it.”

“The reason I ask is I usually go swimming in the afternoon after I’ve finished helping my Mom around the place,” Josh continued. “I was wondering if Nolan could go swimming with me, assuming he wants to, of course.”

“That would be a yes,” I responded quickly. “Definitely a yes. It’s hot now and it’s only going to get hotter as the day goes on. It’ll feel really good to go swimming this afternoon.”

“Assuming my parents let me,” I added, glaring at them. “They hardly ever let me do anything I want to do.”

“Of course you can go swimming, sweetie,” my Mom said. “See. I told you to bring along your swimsuit. I knew you’d have the opportunity to go swimming at some point.”

I don’t want to go swimming with Josh wearing a swimsuit, Mom, I said to myself. I want to go skinny dipping with him.

But I figured I’d better keep my mouth shut about that.

Josh turned out to be right, of course. The historical site was kind of interesting, but lunch back at the farm was even better. Josh’s Mom was a magician with food and I really liked everything she was serving.

After we had finished lunch and he had checked in with his Mom, Josh said it was time for us to go swimming.

“How long will you be at the lake, Joshua,” his Mom asked?

“It depends on how long Nolan wants to stay,” he replied. “If he likes swimming as much as me, we’ll probably spend the whole afternoon there.”

“Is there a lifeguard at this lake,” my Mom suddenly asked, unable to control her protective instincts?

“No,” Josh’s Mom replied. “There’s no lifeguard and no one else goes there either because it’s so far from the road. But Joshua is an excellent swimmer. He’s on the swim team at school and I feel completely comfortable letting him go off by himself.”

“If you’re worried about it, of course, you could go along with the boys,” she added, looking over at my mother and trying to be helpful.

Oh, God, no! Please, God, don’t do this to me, I begged. Please don’t do this to me. Haven’t you punished me enough already?

“I’m just not sure,” my Mom responded, the doubt in her voice all too genuine.

“What do you think, Jim,” she asked, turning to my Dad?

“I think it should be ok, Madeleine,” he responded. “Nolan isn’t the greatest swimmer in the world, but he passed that course at the YMCA a couple of years ago. So he swims well enough I suppose. And it would certainly allow us to go back into town and do some of the things you want to do that he would be totally bored by.”

“Okay,” my mother finally responded. “Go get your swimsuit on, Nolan. You can go. Just be careful. And keep in mind Joshua knows this lake much better than you, where you can dive and where you can’t and things like that. So do whatever he tells you. Understood?”

“Yes, Mom,” I replied. “I understand.”

Wow, thanks, Mom. You better believe I’ll do whatever Josh says!

I went upstairs, changed into my Speedos quickly and grabbed a towel. Just as I was about to leave, I noticed the sunscreen my Mom had packed for me. I tucked that into my towel as well and grinned.

This is going to be perfect. It’s exactly what I need.

When I got back downstairs, Josh was standing there wearing a swimsuit that had seen better days. I didn’t like it except for the fact it was much too small for him. That gave me a terrific view of what interested me the most.

Then the two of us said good-bye and headed off down the trail, with Josh in the lead and me following along behind him. That was exactly the view I wanted and I couldn’t help but stare at his butt bouncing up and down with each step he took.

It took us about twenty-five minutes to reach the lake and I wish it could have been longer. By the time we got there, my eyes and Josh’s butt had become the best of friends. And my hands were anxious to make it a threesome!

Josh quickly led me up on to the rock he used as a diving board, pulled off his t-shirt and laid it down on the rock. I remember just standing there totally mesmerized. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He was definitely the hottest boy I had ever seen in my life.

Except for some peach fuzz that was beginning to form on each of his arms, the rest of his body was pretty much totally hairless. Unlike me, however, it didn’t make him look like some little kid, at least I didn’t think so. To me he looked really good that way.

Like I said before, his body was tanned pretty much all over although I knew from the day before his butt wasn’t tanned as much. His shoulders were broad and lightly freckled. While his waist wasn’t as small as mine, it was really tight and perfectly accented by his broad shoulders. His stomach was totally hard and flat and disappeared straight into his swim suit.

But everything about his body paled in comparison with his butt. It had to be the cutest butt I had ever seen, even if it was the very first one I had seen up close like that. The damn swim trunks he was wearing were spoiling my view, of course, but I was determined to get them off of him as quickly as possible.

“Do you really want to wear a swimming suit,” I asked Josh, nonchalantly, looking around? “There’s no one around here as far as I can tell and this swimming suit of mine from last year is really too tight on me,” I added.

“I could tell,” Josh responded, grinning at me. “You really need a bigger size.”

“And you don’t,” I replied, quickly, returning his grin?

“Well, I usually don’t wear a suit at all when I’m down here by myself,” he added. “I only wore this one because your Mom wants you to wear a suit. And that’s fine with me. I understand.”

“Yeah, but my Mom isn’t here right now,” I said. “And I’d rather go skinny dipping myself. Unless you’re chicken, of course.”

“I’m not chicken,” Josh responded. “It’s just that, um, well, you know.”

“Know what,” I interjected?

“Cluck, cluck, cluck,” I added, flapping my arms and doing the best imitation of a chicken I could think of.

“I’m not chicken, Nolan,” Josh replied, flustered. “But, the thing is, I mean, what if someone saw the two of us swimming down here totally naked,” he asked. “They might get the wrong idea.”

“And what idea would that be,” I challenged, determined by now to pound him into submission using all those techniques I had learned so well from my Mom?

Josh just stood there, not sure how to respond.

“Oh, forget it,” he said. “If you’re that clueless, telling you wouldn’t make any difference I suppose. But the point is your Mom told you to wear a swimsuit down here and I don’t want either of us getting in trouble with her.”

“I see,” I responded. “And you always do whatever your Mom tells you to do?”

“Not always,” he replied, defensively. “But most of the time I do. I mean, I know my Mom loves me and she’s doing her best to protect me and one of the things she always tells me is that some things are private and not to be shown to other people.”

“Oh, I see,” I replied, scornfully. “That’s what you’re worried about. So with all the sports teams you’re on, you’ve never taken a shower with the other boys at your school? I bet everyone appreciates that, Mr. Stinky Pants.”

“That’s different,” Josh said, looking down and shuffling his feet, nervously.

“How,” I responded?

“I don’t know exactly,” he replied. “It just is.”

“Well, I suppose you could always go back to the farm if the sight of me naked is going to cause you to have a heart attack,” I responded. “It never caused any other boy to have one, but maybe you’re different. So feel free to go back if you want.”

I knew he couldn’t do that, of course, so I also knew what the answer would be.

“I can’t do that, Nolan,” Josh said, looking over and pleading with me. “Your Mom would be really mad at me if I left you here by yourself.”

“Well, then, you’re just going to have to live with it then,” I replied, dismissing him just like my Mom did with me all the time. “Cuz I’m going skinny dipping.”

And with that I started to tug at my Speedos while Josh just stood there staring at me.

“Oh, for crying out loud, if you want to go skinny dipping that bad, it’s okay with me,” Josh finally said, surrendering to my superior logic. “But we better not tell your parents or my Mom either. Ok?”

“Sure,” I responded. “That makes sense.”

With that I stripped off my Speedos as rapidly as I could while Josh turned his back to me and pulled off his suit as well. I almost gasped when I saw his naked butt. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. But I turned around quickly because I knew what would happen if I stared at it very long.

When I was finished getting naked, I sat down on the rock, pulled my towel over my groin and started putting sunscreen on my arms and legs really slowly.

“Come on,” Josh said, his towel strategically draped in front of himself. “Let’s get into the water, city boy.”

“That’s easy for you to say, Josh,” I replied, earnestly. “You have a terrific tan over most of your body. Except for your bum, of course. But I’m as pale as a ghost. I need to put this sunscreen on to keep from getting burned and you need to help me too by putting it on my back.”

Then, before he could say anything or even knew what was happening, I tossed the tube of sunscreen toward him and stood up quickly, draping my towel in front of me.

Josh managed to catch it, but just stood there silently for a moment as if he was handling a hand grenade.

“Come on, Josh,” I said, nonchalantly, turning around and facing away from him. “I’m waiting for some help here with my back.”

I remember congratulating myself on such an inspired plan. What choice did he have after all? If he wanted to be friends, he would have to help me out because that’s what friends did, didn’t they? And by then I was really looking forward to letting him feel me up.

Josh hesitated momentarily, not really sure what to do at that point.

“Ok, I guess,” he finally said, walking over to me. “I’ll do it this time. But you need to put this on before we come down here the next time. I’m sure your Mom can put it on better than me.”

The next thing I felt was one of his hands on my back applying the sunscreen. It sent a shudder throughout my body that felt incredibly good.

“Rub it in real good, Josh,” I said, encouraging him. “Like I said, I want to get a tan like yours, but I don’t want to get sunburned the first day we go swimming.”

Soon enough Josh was totally into it. He was using both hands and really brushing it in really hard.

“You know, your father is right about you, Nolan,” Josh said, out of the blue.

“What’s that supposed to mean,” I asked?

“Don’t you remember telling me last night your Dad wants you to run for Governor someday,” Josh replied?

“Yeah,” I said.

“Well he sure was right about that,” he replied. “You should. Because you’re just like a politician. You talk and you talk and you talk until you wear everyone down and get them to do whatever you want.”

“Thank you,” I replied, grinning. “I accept your surrender, Sir Josh.”

“And by the way don’t forget my butt either,” I added, sensing he was just about done with my back. “I don’t want to have to eat dinner tonight standing up.”

I was pushing my luck by then. I knew it, but it was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

“I’m not going to rub this stuff on your butt,” Josh protested, stepping back from me as if horrified by the very notion. “You can reach back there and rub it on yourself with your own two hands.”

“I could,” I replied. “But since I can’t see back there, it would be a hit or miss kind of thing. I’ll be protected much better if you do it. So just do it already.”

But I could tell he was still very hesitant about the whole thing.

“For crying out loud, Josh, it’s like you’ve never touched someone’s butt before,” I said, letting the scorn drip off my lips.

“I haven’t,” he responded, defiantly.

“Oh, then, you must be a really lousy teammate if you’ve never given your buddies a slap on the butt,” I replied, trying to make him feel guilty.

“That’s totally different and you know it,” Josh exclaimed. “I mean, like, what if somebody saw me doing that to you. What would they think?”

“Look, you doofus,” I replied, “it’s just you, me and the fish out here; and I don’t think the fish in this lake are going to tattle on you anytime soon, Josh,” I added. “So the sooner you do it, the sooner we can get into the water and start having some fun today.”

I could sense Josh was really struggling now, trying to figure out what to do next. But just like I suspected, he finally decided he didn’t have much choice because the next thing I felt was his hand rubbing some of the sun screen on to my right butt cheek, very tentatively and very quickly at first.

“Rub it in real good,” I said, taking delight in his predicament while also enjoying the touch of his hands on my butt.

Sadly, the whole was over much too quickly, but I wanted to retrieve the tube so I could do it to him. When I turned around, however, Josh was blushing. It really surprised me, but in a nice kind of way because it made him look incredibly innocent. Almost angelic in fact.

“Why don’t you let me put some on your butt, too,” I said, taking the tube from him. “You don’t have much of a tan down there yet and I’m sure you don’t want to get sunburned either.”

I thought he might protest, but he didn’t; and, unlike Josh, I was eager to put the sunscreen on his butt and let my hands linger on his cheeks. So I turned him around facing away from me and went to work quickly before he could change his mind.

Just touching his butt cheeks sent shivers throughout me. They were smooth and firm and muscled, and by the time I was done his cheeks were just glistening from all of the stuff I had rubbed in. Suddenly I noticed I was totally hard just thinking about what had happened.

“Last one in is a loser,” I shouted, as I tossed the tube aside and dove into the water before he could see just how aroused I was. Josh quickly followed me in and the two of us started horsing around in the lake.

It really was a beautiful lake I had to admit to myself, nestled among the pine trees surrounding it and fed by springs that cascaded down from the mountains that were holding it firm in their grip. It was cool and refreshing and the two of us spent most of the next three hours swimming alone together. Yet, for all its beauty, the attraction for me wasn’t the lake, the trees, or the mountains. It was Josh.

I had to be careful, of course. I didn’t want to be obvious about it. Even more, I didn’t want to get hard in front of him, which was difficult to say the least. Still, I wanted to check out his body more closely and I spent most of the afternoon doing just that whenever I could without arousing suspicion.

Doing that just confirmed what I already knew, that, unlike me, Josh had a terrific body. It was much more muscular and defined than mine, and I remember being driven crazy with lust the longer I looked at it. His face, which was perfect from my point of view, accented his body really nicely. Whether serious or smiling, he was definitely good looking, no doubt about it. But when he was smiling, I felt totally helpless around him.

As the afternoon progressed and we alternated between sunning ourselves on the rock and playing in the lake together, I remember wanting to find some way to let him know just how impressed I was with his body. Finally, as we laid on the rock, I decided to take a chance.

“You know, you have a really terrific body, Josh,” I said, hoping it didn’t come across the wrong way. “What did you do to get it so well defined? Because I sure wish I had a body like yours.”

“I didn’t really do anything much, Nolan,” Josh responded, and I could tell he wasn’t offended at all, that he appreciated the compliment I had given him.

“I mean, the thing is, living on a farm involves a lot of work, especially when you don’t have a Dad like me. A lot of chores. A lot of lifting things. So that’s probably some of it. And the other thing is I’m on the gymnastics team at school. You really end up working your muscles hard in gymnastics. Plus, as you already know, I’m on a lot of the other teams at school: football, hockey, swimming and baseball. Put all those things together and it makes a difference I guess.”

“Are you on any teams at your school, Nolan,” Josh asked?

“No, I’m not,” I responded. “At my school everyone pretty much hates me so the only sport I’m into is running away as fast as I can whenever the other boys try beating me up. But I’ve been thinking about asking my Dad to sign me up for weight training at the YMCA. Do you think that would help me get better defined,” I asked?

“Sure,” Josh responded. “It would help a lot. A few months of that and you’ll look like a Greek god,” he added, smiling. “You already have the face of one. So you may as well put it together with the body of one too.”

It stopped me dead in my tracks.

Did he just say what I think he said, I remember asking myself?

Does he think I’m cute. Me? I don’t believe it. Me? Cute?

Omigod, I don’t believe he thinks I’m cute!

I wanted to throw my arms around him and kiss him really badly. But I was smart enough to restrain myself.

“So why does everyone at your school hate you,” Josh asked? “You seem perfectly nice enough to me. A little too stubborn, of course, kind of like that goat of mine, but you have a better personality than it does.”

“Some of the time, at least,” he added, looking over at me and grinning.

“Oh, thanks a lot for the compliment,” I responded, shaking my fist at him. “I’ll try to return the favor, goat boy. As for the rest of it, well, it’s a long story,” I added. “Maybe I’ll tell you some other day.”

The two of us jumped back into the lake. I started horsing around, trying to drag Josh under the water. But he was too strong and I quickly became his captive instead. Not that I resisted very hard, of course. I liked being wrapped in his arms and remember thinking this was going to be the very best vacation ever.

Not too long after that, Josh told me we had to go back to the farm.

“Oh, no, don’t tell me that, Josh,” I pleaded. “I’m having a terrific time here at the lake with you.”

“Me too,” Josh responded. “But if we don’t go back now, my Mom will come looking for us. And I don’t think you want her to catch us sitting here buck naked.”

“Ok,” I sighed. “But you got to promise me we’ll do this again tomorrow. Promise?”

“Sure,” Josh responded. “No one ever comes down here to the lake except me so it’s fun having someone to swim with for a change.”

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11 thoughts on “Chapter 03

  1. Intriguing. Nolan is a damned politician. But he aims to please. I find that important. No matter how hard he pushed to get what he wanted, he always considered Josh’s feelings. That my friend is what you call a class act, even if he was trying to get naked on a first date.

  2. Fabulous chapter. Nolan is a bit pushy but again he is just being a teen. Keep up the awesome writing. I’ll be waiting for the next chapter(s).

    George

    1. Thanks, George. I don’t think my writing is very good, at least at this stage. But your encouragement will make me try harder to become a better writer.

  3. I just “discovered” you (and this emerging tale) through a link on another blog. So far it looks to be an engaging story.
    You’ve asked for comments regarding construction. I only really looked for those in chapt 3 so this applies only to this one. I did notice a few sentence fragments easily corrected by eliminating a period or two, changing punctuation and so on. I could list what I see but I think you are probably familiar enough with the built in spell/grammer checkers of most word processor programs. MS Word is a pretty good one so if you run your work through one of them it should pick up the basics. Keep up the good work!

    1. It’s a fair criticism, Lee, and I appreciate your willingness to make it. There are definitely sentence fragments. I use Word and it tells me that all the time. The thing is, I’m trying, imperfectly, to write dialogue the way people actually speak; and people do speak in fragments at times, counting on what they’ve said previously to provide the appropriate context for the fragment.

      Consider the following from Chapter 3: “That’s easy for you to say, Josh,” I replied, earnestly. “You have a terrific tan over most of your body. Except for your bum, of course.”

      Now “Except for your bum, of course” is a fragment. But I think that’s probably the way most people would actually convey the thought in real life in that context. Rather than: “You have a terrific tan over most of your body although your bum is not as tanned, of course.” Or: “You have a terrific tan over most of your body. You’re lighter on your bum, of course.”

      So that’s my defense. Not that I want to come across as defensive about it. Like I told George, I’m not that great as a writer so I definitely need friendly criticism like yours to improve. I do have to say that I’m really impressed that you’re reading the story that closely, however. It scares me 🙂

      Now I’ll have to take all those green lines in Word a LOT more seriously. And by the way, feel free to leave a different construction for those fragments if you want. Because if I see your suggestions, it may help me the next time I’m trying to figure out how to put something.

    2. Well, now that I think about it, I could have done it this way: “That’s easy for you to say, Josh,” I replied, earnestly. “You have a terrific tan over most of your body, except for your bum, of course.” That would have been grammatically correct and conveyed the thought in dialogue like people actually do.

      So I stand corrected, Lee. Thanks.

      Feel free to bring the whips and chains to the joint the next time you visit. I definitely deserve to be punished 🙂

  4. “I do have to say that I’m really impressed that you’re reading the story that closely, however. It scares me ”

    LOL it shouldn’t. I mentally “edit” the newspaper when reading it.. you wouldn’t believe… Sometimes, after you think a chapter or a piece of it is finished, leave it alone for a while then come back and re-read. Often you’ll think of a different way to say essentially the same thing as your first thought(s).
    Whips and chains??? OH NO!! Feathers maybe..

  5. Hey Kit,

    I didn’t realize there were more chapters to this wonderful story! I just finished chapter three and I wanted to comment on my question I left after chapter two. I actually read the line twice when Nolan said his mom wouldn’t let him take his laptop to Vermont. Then I re-read your author’s note at the top. I still thought this took place in the 80’s and I was trying to think if they even had laptops back then! lol

    And as for your insecurity about not being a good writer – so not true! This is an amazing story so far and I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the humor! Loved the line where Nolan was mentally yelling at his father that he wasn’t invited into the conversation -he’s totally funny that Nolan! 🙂 The story is very well-written; I haven’t noticed typos, grammatical or punctuation (or lack of) errors either. I know Word definitely puts those green squiggly lines w/fragmented sentences, but you are writing the way people speak. So don’t worry about it. The dialogue is great; funny, clear and concise. It’s a great story and now I’m on to chapter four! 🙂 Awesome job Kit!

    1. There are lots more chapters, Lisa, and they’ll probably come more slowly than you would like.

      And while you’re writing comments faster than I can respond, it’s hard to complain when they’re nice ones like these 🙂

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