Author Topic: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)  (Read 3668 times)

Ginny Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2016, 07:49:29 PM »
Ginny was talking to the doctor about medications and ways to help the healing process when she heard Kara.  Gerry sat in his wheelchair as she pushed him.  The doctors had said he COULD walk on his own, but it was hospital policy.  It did however give Kara chance to screw with him.  

"Ready?  TOKYO DRIFT!"  She made a sound like a revving engine and they came around the corner, Gerry leaning to away from the turn, Kara making him fishtail while making tire-screeching sounds

"Quarter mile at a time, mother ****ers!"  Gerry called out.  "WOOOOO-ow..."  He bellowed, wincing as a sharp pain hit him.  

Kara looked down at him, concerned.  "You alright?"  she asked.

Gerry's hand touched his ribs and looked up at her.   "Only because you were g-granny shiftin' not... double clutchin' like you should.  NOW GET ON THAT ****!"

Kara's eyes went wide and she made various unnecessary shifting sounds along with the sound of tires squealing before she pushed him onward.  In the past week, his speech had improved greatly.  Some days were better than others.  It seemed like he could pull movie quotes out perfectly, but conversationally...things were much more difficult for him.

Ginny stared after them un-amused.  She called after him.  "Hey, you break him, you bought him!"  She called after Kara as she rounded the corner.  

The woman's voice came back  "What?!  Seriously?  Ger-bear, let's go find some stairs, I'm gonna go all Kathy Bates on you."

Ginny sighed and looked to the doctor.  "I'm sorry.  I'd say they're not usually like that, but it'd be a lie."

The doctor nodded with a grin.  "Oh.  No, not at all.  We've seen the two of them together.  Frankly, the nurses have been talking about them like they're a TV couple.  The whole will-they-won't-they..."

Ginny smiled politely.  "He's married."

The doctor's brow furrowed.  "To her?"

Ginny went to speak, but smiled, pulling in her lips and shook her head.

The doctor gave a laugh and nodded in the direction the two of them had disappeared.  "She know that?"

Ginny laughed at that before the doctor continued.  "Okay...so...make sure he gets plenty of rest, I'm writing him a prescription for Hydrocodone for any pain.  And try to get him talking as much as possible.  Trauma to the brain is still kind of a grey area, so we can't give you a definite or even vague idea when Gerry will be talking like normal, but treat it like an exercise.  Talk as much as possible.  In your paperwork, I've put in a referral to a good speech therapist if he so chooses."

Ginny clung to the folder and nodded.  "Thank you, Doctor."

Gerry and Kara came rolling right back up, Gerry singing the Back To The Future theme song.  They came to a screeching halt and he leaned back to her.  "Do the thing."

Kara did her best Christopher Lloyd.  "GINNY!  YOU GOTTA COME BACK TO THE FUTURE WITH US!  IT'S YOUR KIDS, GINNY!  SOMETHING'S GOTTA BE DONE ABOUT YOUR KIDS!"
[img:7e20880b4a]http://i.imgur.com/NAkCJP3.png[/img:7e20880b4a]

Kara Aimsley

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2016, 02:23:29 AM »
Kara stepped out of the bathroom and into the living room of Gerry and Ginny's apartment.  She reached behind her, pulling her hair back into a pony tail.  Gerry was sitting there with Nasya in his arms, the little girl waving her arms around.  He hadn't noticed Kara yet and just smiled down at his daughter, humming a little song to her, those bright blue eyes staring up at him and smile on the little girl's face.  Gerry tapped her little button nose lightly, making a pop sound to Nasya's delight.  

He gasped suddenly and Nasya froze in anticipation.  "Ahhhhhh...boop!"  He tapped her nose again, drawing a giggle out of the little one.  Gerry chuckled with her.  "You better watch it.  You better watch that nose..."

Kara just leaned against the wall and watched him.  When they had met up again, she never, in a million years thought she'd see this side of him.  He was so good with her, so loving.  And damn he was proud of that kid.  Looking back, she couldn't think why she DIDN'T think him capable of.  Even when they were kids, he'd been so gentle and caring.  Always taken care of her.  A smile crossed her face before she approached, leaning against the back of the couch on her elbows.

Gerry glanced back at her with a grin.  Kara tickled the baby's tummy "I'mma get this lil' belly!"  Nasya squealed and giggled.  

Kara turned to Gerry.  "Can I hold her?"  She asked him hopefully.  

Gerry's grin faded slightly.  He hesitated a moment.  "Yeah  Yeah, of course."  He carefully transferred her into Kara's arms.

Kara noted that hesitation.  She knew where it had come from, too.  She might have been around most of this kid's short life, but she was not Keirra.  Carefully, she picked her up.  "Aww...there's a little angel."

She glanced to Gerry, rocking Nasya in her arms.  "Bet you missed this little one."

"More than...more than you can im....imagine."  he managed with only a moment's frustration with himself.  

A small grin worked it's way onto her face.  "That's so weird."

"What?"  Gerry asked.

"You can recite the entirety of Jack Nicholson's speech in A Few Good Men, but simple sentences are like...super hard."  She explained.

Gerry wasn't quite as amused, she noted.  He just nodded. "Yeah...it's...it's a...um."  He closed his eyes and snapped his fingers.  "Struggle!  Struggle.  Ugh.  ****.  Saying struggle is a struggle."

Kara smiled to him warmly.  "Well, we'll get you back talking like before, Go."

He shot her one of his patented lopsided grins.  "And then...you'll...you'll be b-begging me to...to...to shut up?"

She made a pitying face and chuckled, "Awww-haw-haw....."  She glanced up at him.  "Exactly."
[img:9f4601263f]http://i.imgur.com/nPg4HIM.jpg[/img:9f4601263f]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2016, 01:51:02 AM »
Speaking sucked.  Seriously, every time Gerry wanted to say something, he would find at least one or two words that were inexplicably blocked.  He could hear...SEE them in his head, but it was like they were a different language he didn't know and his mouth refused to form them.  Weeks of near constant working at it at home and at a speech therapist had helped a bit, but the neurological damage still held him back.  

His ribs had, thankfully, mostly healed and weren't causing him immense pain, which was a damn good thing because someone had started crawling.  Raising Nasya had turned into a constant struggle to make her NOT die.  It was a task that was anything but easy, because she seemed to be drawn to ledges she could go tumbling off of, like a tiny daredevil.  

Tim's day in court had come and gone, seeing him being a slapped with a hefty sentence and carted off to prison for attempted murder, with several other counts of murder being investigated.  Kara was certain he'd never bother them again.  

Kara was another issue altogether.  Despite his protests, she was paying him even though he hadn't been capable of working.  She would spend a few hours every day looking after him, bringing him lunch and helping him with Nasya while he healed.  There were times she'd stop by on weekends and hang out with him all night until she fell asleep leaning her head against him.
 He knew how she felt.  It was hard to miss.  Most men would have taken a look at a woman like her and jumped into bed with her the second she made it known she was up for it.  But, Gerry was married still.  Being in another realm didn't change that.  

She was amazing.  Beautiful, kind, funny, smart, caring...and she was wonderful with Nasya, the 7 month old taking incredibly well to her.  Gerry would be lying if he said he didn't have feelings for her.  But...the reality of the situation remained the same.  It was all so complicated and confusing for him, but Keirra might come for him one day.  She might be out there looking...and he would be ready when she found him.
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]

Kara Aimsley

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #33 on: May 30, 2016, 02:08:09 AM »
Kara stepped up on the makeshift stage in the bar, tapping the microphone.  A packed house stood before her, a band setting up behind.  "Test...test....you guys hear me?"  She asked, her voice amplified over the crowd.  They responded with wild cheering.

"Alright!  Ladies and Gents, welcome to McAvoy's!  I want thank you all for comin' out and plunking your hard earned money on my cheap watered down beer!  Woo!"  The crowd cheered at that, raising their bottles along with Kara.   She beamed over the gathering, a big smile on her face.

" Now, I'm sure most of you know this, but tonight is a special night here.  Tonight we welcome back a fan favorite to McAvoy's Pub...Ladies.  Gentlemen.  Mostly Ladies.  Please, give a warm welcome back...to our bartender and my best friend...Gerry Finnegan!"  Kara gestured to him as he stood behind the bar offering an awkward, embarrassed wave as the crowd went wild.  He, of course realized that they would have cheered if they showed them a rusty shovel at the point, but the thought counted,right?  "It's his first night back slinging drinks, so tip well, tip often, but most importantly, have a great time!"

She introduced the band and stepped off-stage, moving over to her tall friend, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and kissing his cheek.  Gerry was pouring a drink but grinned over to her.  "Welcome back, Go."  She said, kissing his cheek again.  

It was a busy night, and the pair of them were running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  Several people talked to Gerry and congratulated him.  People she was certain he didn't even know.  Lots of them women.

That, she was not too happy about.  Gerry was pouring a shot for a girl named Gwynnifer...this blonde 22 year old with a tramp stamp that had a bit of a...loose reputation.  And her name was Gwynnifer.  Who the hell names their kid Gwynnifer...  ****ing obnoxious name.  Kara side eyed the living hell out of her popping the cap off a bottle before handing it over with a smile.  

"So, like...what do you bench?"  Gwynnifer said in flirtatious tone.

Gerry considered that a moment.  "It's been a few weeks, but, uh...last time I was....uh...was at the...the...****."  He shut his eyes and then popped them open.  "The gym I was hitting around 230, 240?"

The girl leaned forward on her elbows, her arms pushing together her cleavage as she looked him over.  "Mmm...it shows."

"Oh, thanks!"  He said sincerely.

"Thank you.  Those arms are just...wow."  She said with a grin, really laying it on thick.

Kara rolled her eyes.  She wanted to go over and slap the **** out of precious little Gwynnifer.  Instead she just cupped her hands.  "Hey, Ger bear!  Gimme a hand over here!"

Gerry glanced over to Kara.  He smiled to Gwynnifer.  "Excuse me."

He made his way over to Kara who just discretely stepped over to the cash register with him.  "Dude...fair warning...LOADED with HPV."

Gerry chucked.  "What?"

"Your girlfriend over there.  She's basically just a walking crabs infestation."  Kara glanced up at him, raising her brows.

"In that case I'll c-cancel the w-wedding."  

Kara smirked and finished ringing up her customer.  "Yeah, yuk it up.  We'll see how hard your laughing when your swimming in gonorrhea."

The night wore on and eventually the bar cleared out.  Kara was paying the band and wishing them a good night while Gerry was counting down the register.  She waved to them as she was shutting the door.  "Night guys!  Thanks again!"

She shut the door and locked it, turning to Gerry and letting out a loud exhausted sigh, slumping against the door.  A smile crept onto her face.  She quickly went to the back of the bar, carefully hugging him from behind and peering around him.  "How'd we do?"  She asked.

Gerry glanced back at her, feigning annoyance.  "Now I gotta s....start over."  He said, making a show of rolling his eyes.  With a smirk, he laid down the huge pile of cash and the credit card machine settlement.  

Kara's eyes widened.  "Wow."  She said simply.  "I'll have to beat the crap out of you and bring you back once a month if this is the kind of night we get out of it..."

Gerry chuckled and nudged her with his elbow.  Kara laughed and gave him a playful shove as he moved past her.  She watched him walk away, her smile fading slightly.
[img:9f4601263f]http://i.imgur.com/nPg4HIM.jpg[/img:9f4601263f]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #34 on: May 30, 2016, 12:58:01 PM »
A glass was slid across the counter to Kara, its golden contents sloshing around.  Gerry stepped up beside her, his own in his hand.  The pair of them clinked glasses and looked over the now-empty bar.  It was a mess, but that was to be expected after a night like tonight.  They brought their beers up and took a sip.

Gerry nodded slowly.  "Good night."

"Mm."  Kara nodded and smiled to him.  "You have fun?"

"Oh, hell yes."  He said, a big grin on his face.  "Ex...exhausting but g-good."

That seemed to please her.  Kara leaned against him, her head on his shoulder.  "Lotta people here love you, Go."

Gerry let out a little laugh.  "Yeah, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the live band and drink specials."

"I'm serious.  The way people respond to you, the way they look at you.  And not just the uberskanks with stupid ass names either."

He glanced down at her.  "You don't honestly believe I'd be into that, right?"

Kara's ice blue eyes turned up to him.  "I dunno.  I don't really...uh...know your type."

He supposed he didn't either.  His wife was a violent anorexic thief with a chip on her shoulder and he fell head over heels for her.  He wasn't sure what that said about him.  And there was that brief period where he dated a woman who challenged him to a sparring match and beat the crap out of him.  Did he LIKE that?  Oh, GOD!  Was THAT his thing?!  

No.  No, he decided.  Coincidence.  He moved on because it creeped him out.  "Well...whatever it is, it's not that... ch-chick, don't worry."

That satisfied Kara.  She nodded and grasped his arm, clinging him to her.  He'd never say it out loud, but he enjoyed this.  Kara was everything he could ask for in a girlfriend.  She stared up at him with those beautiful blue eyes, that look on her face that was always only for him.  He'd spent so much time fighting for every bit of affection and happiness with Keirra, often at the expense of his own, that he'd forgotten that it needn't be so hard.  He'd fought so much that he never though he'd see someone fight just as hard for him.  The corners of Kara's mouth upturned almost nervously, anticipation hanging in the air between them.  He could be happy here.  Happy with her.

Gerry went to speak, but the words didn't come out.  Though, not because of his injuries this time.  She stared up at him and swallowed, a big smile forming on her face.  "Gerry..."  She started..

At the same time, he spoke.  "We should clean...up..."

Kara looked like someone told her the lottery had made a mistake and she was not, in fact, a millionaire.  "O-oh..."

Gerry couldn't make eye contact with her as she let him go.  "Yeah..." she said, trying to disguise the hurt in her voice.  "Yeah, I guess we should."

He watched her set herself to task, not letting him see her face.  She cleared her throat.  "Um...you know what?  I got this.  Why...why don't you just go home."  She said

"Oh..no.  No it was my p-party,  Let me h-help."  

She shook her head vehemently.  "No, I'd rather you just...went home."

"Come on, Kara."

"Gerry.  I'm serious." the frustration in her voice was mounting.

"I am too.  Let me-"

"GOD DAMN IT, JUST GET OUT OF HERE!"  She shouted, slamming an empty bottle on the counter.  She wouldn't let him see her face.  Gerry froze in place, just watching her.  The silence cut like a knife.  He went to speak again, but she cut him off.

"Go."  She said in a little voice.

He didn't want to leave.  He didn't want to end their night like this.  He wanted to explain himself, to make things alright.  But that didn't happen.  Instead, he walked out the door and headed home.
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2016, 03:59:18 PM »
What a mess.  What an unholy awful mess.  All the fun and positivity that had come out of the GerryPalooza had been undone in those last moments of the evening.  Should he call her?  Should he text her?  Maybe go and see her?  He wasn't sure of the protocol there.  

Gerry knew he'd hurt her.  Knew she had thought something was about to happen.  Hell...HE thought something might in that moment.  He still feel his heart pounding beneath his chest as they locked eyes...and that queasy feeling  in his stomach when he saw the hope leave her face, replaced by hurt.  

Sleep never came that night for the single father, his little girl in his huge arms.  She  reached up and touched his face, making happy little noises at her father.  Gerry smiled down to her making a little surprised face at her.  Her tiny hands patting his scruffy face.  "Are you grabbing Daddy's beard?  You better s-stop it, you."  he said in a silly voice.

Nasya giggled, a big grin on her little face as she patted his beard again.  

"Oop!  Hey!  I said nnnnnNO."  He said in the faux angry voice, making an exaggerated upset face.

The little girl squealed with amusement her hands leaving his face a moment...holding them apart almost like a threat.

"You better not.  You better-"

She clapped her hands on his face, his eyes squeezing shut.  Nasya giggled with sadistic delight.  There was definitely a little bit of Keirra in her.  "Oh...you are in trouble, little MISS!"  He leaned in buried his face in her belly.  "OMNOMNOMNOMNOM!"

Nasya let loose an ear piercing shriek followed by a prolonged belly laugh.  Gerry grinned down to her...not sure how he was ever in a place where he didn't WANT to be a father.  It had become the thing he was best at in any world.  The sound of her laughter, the smile on her face, those big blue eyes that looked up at him with excitement whenever she saw him.  Yes, there were the usual things that came with a baby.  She would wake up screaming and there was more than one diaper-related war crime from the tiny little angel, but for the most part, she was perfection.

They were going for another round when a knock came at the door.  Gerry glanced over and then looked back to Nasya, gasping.  "There's someone at the door!"  He set her in her playpen.  "Hold down the fort."

The knock came again.  "Coming!"  He called out ,hustling over.  

"Hell-ooooohh...."  He said as he opened the door to find Kara standing there, two cups of coffee in her hands, a worried look on her face.

"Hey."  She said, forcing a smile.

Gerry stared at her.  Her hair pulled back in a messy pony tail, loose strands falling on one side of her face, decked out in a purple tanktop and a flowy dark grey skirt.  She looked amazing, he thought.

"Hey. " he managed back.

She offered him the cup she'd bought him, hope on her gorgeous face.  He looked down to it and took it slowly.  Those deep blue eyes stared up at him a moment.  "I'm sorry."  She said, shaking her head.

Gerry looked down at the cup in his hand, thinking a long moment.  Slowly, he glanced at Kara and gestured with his head to come in, a smile forming.

Kara's face lit up as she stepped past him.  Gerry closed the door behind her, sipping his coffee.  "Thank you."

Nasya pulled herself up on the edge of her playpen, seeing Kara, making little excited noises.  Well that just warmed her heart.  Kara looked back to him.  "May I?"

Gerry gestured with his hand for her to go ahead.  Kara grinned and leaned down.  "Hey there, little boo..." She listed the little girl up into her arms.  Nasya clapped her hands on Kara cheeks, the woman's face scrunching in response.

Gerry chuckled watching them.  Kara giving him a wry look. "Your daddy is a terrible influence."  Nasya smiled and giggled.

Kara walked over to the bar counter of the kitchen, hefting Nasya up, while she played with the necklace around the older woman's neck.  "Listen...Go...about last night..."

The grin on Gerry's face fell and he nodded.  "I know."

"I just...I thought..."

God, that made him feel guilty.  He could tell it still hurt her.  She looked back up to him.  "It won't happen again.  I swear."

He held his hand up.  "Kara...I get it.  I do.  I know this is...difficult.  It is for me, too.  I didn't mean to hurt you."

"I know."  she assured him.  For a long moment they were just quiet until he set his coffee down and opened his arms.

"C'mon."  He said.

Kara smiled and stepped forward, Nasya clung to her as Gerry wrapped those huge arms around them.  Kara rested her forehead against his chest as they closed around her and Nasya.  "I wouldn't be able to get through this without you.   You know that, right?"  He said quietly to her, placing a kiss at the top of her head.

Her eyes clamped shut as she smiled, happy and safe in his arms.  He wasn't used to this.  Usually after a blow out like the last night, he'd have to go chasing after the girl and talk her down off a ledge, convince her to take him back...but there she was.  Kara working HARD to earn forgiveness she never had to worry about.  It was weird...unnatural...and kind of great.  Keirra probably would have hit him and run away...but this...this was nice.
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]

Dah

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2016, 02:43:07 AM »
1994

9 year old Gerry stood next to the short, skinny tomboy that was Kara.  They were in the living room of their childhood friend, Danny Dubek.  Danny was the weird kid in class.  He had a speech impediment and a chip on his shoulder.  His parents were pretty shameless.  They sat now, the old man in a sweat-stained tank top and the wife in her bra and stretch pants, both of them pudgy and sweating in the summer heat.

To say the kids were uncomfortable was an understatement, but they stuck it out, waiting for Danny.

Finally, he came out from his room, his play clothes on.  The Dubeks were not a well off family, and everything Danny had was hand-me downs from his older brothers and just hung off his tiny frame.  "Aw wight y'aw.  Wets go!"

"Ohthankgod" Kara muttered under her breath.  The trio took off, Mr. and Mrs. Dubek calling after them.  "Ya'll have fun now."

"Bye!"  Gerry called over his shoulder.

The trio were terrors of the neighborhood, hassling Old Lady Miller's chickens, or playing ball in the lot behind the general store.  Many a window had been busted during their wiffle ball games.  Today they were making their way down the street to meet up with another friend when the ice cream truck rolled up.  

"Aw!  you guyd!  Ho'd up!  Imba ged dum Ide kweme!"  he called after them.

The ice cream man  turned around a smile on his face until he saw the kid in front of him.  He grumbled to himself and spoke.  "Hi, Danny.  What can I get you today?"

"I wad a owund dweam tickle.  Gibbe a dweam tickle!"

The ice cream man looked weary and nodded.  "You got money this time?"

Danny fished through his pockets pulling out a couple pennies and slapped them on the counter.  The old man sighed and shook his head.  "They're a dollar."

"I don'd godda dowah!"  he said insistently.

"Well, then you can't have any ice cream!"

"Cub awn!  You know I'b good fowit!"  He said

"You never paid me back for the one I LET you have last week!  Now, for the last time, you can't get anything for two pennies!  And pull your damn PANTS up!"

Danny cursed after him as he climbed back in and drove off.  "Bucker!  Att ho!"

"Dah!  Let's go, man!"  They called after him.  Dah.  That name had stuck with him since the first day of school when the teacher had called him Daniel and he'd responded.  "My nambe id Dah!"  At first he'd hated the nickname, but eventually grew to accept it.

The three of them met up with little Glen Stark.  A year younger than them, he would always try and tag along with them he was standing outside his parents house, a stupid grin on his face as he threw pebbles through a second story window.

The trio approached him and glanced up.  Glen threw another pebble a goofy laugh escaping him.  

Gerry's brow furrowed, looking over to him.  "What...uh...whatcha doin' Glenny?"

"Throwin' rocks."

Kara looked to him, amused.  "No s***."

"Check this out."  Glen said and reeled back and threw another one up.  The sound of a glass breaking came from inside. along with a nasally cry.  The whole group started laughing.  Slowly the head of his older brother, Billy emerged from the window.  Thick glasses magnified his eyes, his hair parted so precisely you could file papers in it.  There were rumors that he never left his room.  That he had a pee bucket to keep him from having to.  He just played with his chemistry set and read sci-fi novels.  Now, he looked PISSED and the laughter tapered off.

"Glen.  If I...EVER...catch you doing that again..." he said in a shaky voice, Glen's head lowering in shame.  "I am going to BEAT...the livin'...s*** outta you."  

Gerry snorted and tried not to laugh.

"You know what ya did?!"  Billy continued, "Ya knocked over bottle a' nitric acid!  Burned a big hole in my desk!  I hope you're happy!"

Gerry broke, a laugh escaping him.  Kara elbowed him and snorted.  

"I'm sorry, Billie..."He said almost crying.

The group took off and ran off to play a game of touch football with some of the other neighborhood kids...that would inevitably turn into a full contact.  Mostly from Kara.  One year later, Danny's parents would be transferred out of state and he was gone.
[img:10c78d9714]https://i.imgur.com/Qtk4JJY.gif[/img:10c78d9714]

Dah

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2016, 11:54:25 AM »
It had been  21 years.  21 years since life had changed so drastically.  Now...he was home.  Bright green eyes took in the exterior of that bar.  McAvoy's, the place his father had gone almost every night when they lived here.  It looked much the same as he remembered.  Some new lighting and the music selection had changed, but for the most part, still the same.  It was amazing how the old neighborhood had changed and grown in all that time.  New subdivisions, a new man-made lake, new businesses...hell they had a Walmart there now and the K-Mart was an empty building, recognizable only by the dirty mark in the shape of the signage.

The town was much like him.  It looked familiar and maintained its name...but was very much changed.  He pushed open the door and stepped inside, Whitesnake blaring on the speakers.  Whoever owned this place now had done a lot to modernize it.  No longer an old man bar, the place had pool tables, music that wasn't Perry Como or Johnny Cash, and completely new decor from the taxidermied animal heads Old Man McAvoy had hung up everywhere.    Danny remembered them very well.  No, this was very-

He stopped in his thoughts, seeing the woman behind the bar.  God, she was beautiful.  And...and something familiar about her face.  He was trying to place it, who was she?  

The woman glanced over her shoulder and called,  "Go, grab another bottle of the Three Olives from the back, will ya?  I'm out."

And then it clicked, his jaw dropping.  My God, he thought.  Kara.  And...his eyes trailed to the man who responded...a tall, hulking man in a tight t-shirt strategically engineered to earn him more tips from the straight female and gay male clientele.  Go.  That was what she called him when they were kids.  Gerry Finnegonads.  Oh, those razor sharp 7 year old wits, he thought.  A sly grin curved Danny's lips as he made his way over, elbows leaning on the bar.

Kara turned to him with a smile.  "Hey, how's it goin'?  What can I do ya for...."  she trailed off, narrowing her eyes.  Something familiar about the face before her.  "Do I know you?"

Danny thought back to how he used to talk and did his best to bring it back.  "Heddo, Kawa." he said with a smirk.

Her blue eyes went wide, her mouth dropping and forming an "o" shape.  "Dah?  ****in' DAH Dubek?!"

He laughed and spoke, his voice deep, smooth, a mild British accent to it now, those green eyes squinting ever so slightly as he laughed.  "That is a name I have not heard in a very long time."  He said.

Kara threw her hands up and laughed.  "WHAT?!  Oh my g-  WHAT?!  LOOK at you!  Holy ****! "  She exclaimed.    The gorgeous bartender practically ran around the bar, wrapping him in a big hug.  God, she even smelled amazing.

"What happened to your voice?!  You lost the...the...thing!" She said, her eyes also trailing over his body.  Danny's fitness regime was very strict, as he had found himself with a lot of high impact hobbies.

He chuckled.  "Yes!  Long time ago.  Out of necessity, as it turned out."

"What's with the accent?"  She asked, sitting on a bar stool across from him.

That was when Gerry came out, a bottle of vodka in his hand.  He looked around for Kara and found her talking to...who was that?  He looked familiar.  Gerry squinted.  Finally he just put the bottle on he back shelf and approached.  Danny smiled to him, flashing those pearly whites.  Gerry offered him a polite nod and looked to Kara, trying to sound nonchalant.  "Who's this?"

Kara face was still lit up with a smile.  "Go...you're not gonna believe this but..."

Danny smirked, "Dewwy don'd be a bucker."  He said simply.

Gerry's brow furrowed in confusion, but then his eyes went wide when it clicked.  "NO!"  He said backing away.  "NO ****ING WAY!"  Laughter escaped him.  "DUDE!  DAH?!  What the hell, b-brother!  Get over here, you att ho!"  Danny was taken by surprise as Gerry wrapped him in a big hug, almost pulling him across the bar.  Finally, he let him go and looked him over.  "How the hell you b-been, man?"

Danny laughed and nodded.  "I've been rather good, yeah!  Just keeping busy."

Gerry looked delighted at his improved speech and accent.  "Whaaaaat?!  Listen to YOU, m-man!  You sound...uh...you sound..uh...GREAT!"

Danny noted his troubles speaking and his smile faded slightly.  He perked right back up for Gerry's benefit.  "Oh...yes.  Bit of a long story, that."

"Where you been?"  Gerry asked him.  The three of them talked, Gerry and Kara listening in between serving drinks to his stories of world travel, how he had spent the majority of his adult life writing for various news organizations and doing nature photography for various magazines, TV Shows, websites, and blogs.  He pulled up pictures of him with a tribe of painted-faced aboriginals somewhere deep in the heart of Africa, several of him riding and befriending an elephant, some shots he'd gotten of Lions and Jaguars, and him at the summit of Everest.  Dah Dubek had lived a helluva life.

Eventually, closing time came and the trio were alone.  Gerry locked up and headed back, Danny and Kara in mid conversation.

"So, I've got this Koala bear staring me in the face, and they look VERY cute, right?  Like a big teddy bear.  But I know, they are just vicious little bastards, right?"  He grinned.  "So, I'm moving slowly back...back away from this little furry death machine, trying not to set him off.  And this...bloody ****ing moron in the crew just shouts, 'Holy ****!  Is that a Koala!'"  Danny chuckled.   "So, this little bugger snaps to him and just charges at him.  He thinks it's coming to hug him or something, but when that thing leapt up and bit into his leg, he just starts screaming and trying to run away, but the Koala won't let go! I'm yelling at him 'Stop!  Stop! You're just making him mad!'"

Gerry grinned and sat the table, plucking up his bottle.  "Alright...so...I g-gotta hear."  He started, but had trouble continuing.  "Th-the...uh....the um...."  He snapped his fingers, trying to find the words.  "The voice!"  He finally managed.

Danny smirked  "Ah yes.  Well...it was, uh...let's say born out of necessity.  See, when my mother and father moved from Clute, we traveled all over the states.  But I couldn't make any friends like I had here.  When I was 13, my father was transferred to London."

Off the looks on their faces he chuckled.  "Yes, the UK was ill prepared for Barry and Linda Dubek."  He smirked.  "Anyway, I decided to seek out a speech therapist.  Basically, they taught me how to speak all over again.  It took almost 3 years for me to perfect my speech and I found that when I had, I developed a bit of my instructor's accent."

"Wow."  Kara said.  "Well, it paid off."

"Oh, I completely agree."  Danny said. "Can you imagine me going up to National Geographic and saying  'Heddo.  I wanda tate pit-tuhs of po-wuh bay-uhs!'"

Gerry and Kara laughed.  Danny took a sip of his bottle and turned his attention to Gerry.  "Forgive me if this rude or...intrusive...but I noticed you having a bit of trouble with your own speech."

Gerry's grin faded.  His eyes lowered slightly and he nodded.  "There was a...a, uh..."

"Fight."  Kara finished for him.  Gerry nodded and gestured to her.  She continued, "Gerry took a pretty vicious blow to the head."

Danny nodded.  "There was some neurological trauma?"  He asked, knowing the answer.  "Dysnomia, right?  That's what they diagnosed?"

Gerry laughed.  "Yeah.  It's...better some times than others."

"Well, I have a bit of experience with trouble speaking, so if you ever want to talk about it, I do know a few techniques that might help."  Danny smiled as Gerry nodded.

Kara smiled to their old friend.  "How long are you in town?"  She asked.

"I'm not sure yet.  There was that oil spill they've got me covering, but given the way the company's been acting, I think they want me to stay as long as the story develops.  I figured, if I'm going to be near here anyway, I might as well visit my old home."

Gerry smiled at that and raised his bottle.  "Well, Dah, it's good to have you b-back."

"Cheers.  Good to be back."  he said, clinking his bottle to each of their's.
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Kara Aimsley

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2016, 05:20:36 PM »
Kara agreed to meet Danny for lunch the next day.  Gerry was helping his parents with bring in a new bed, so he had to pass.  The two of them walked down the street, leaving a Chipotle, burritos in each of their hands as they ambled along.  

"So, what have you been up to?"  Danny asked, a grey t-shirt clinging to his long, toned torso.  

Kara glanced over, chewing on her food.  "Mm!"  she started, chuckling as she swallowed.  "Well, I got taller.  Grew myself some boobs..."

An amused grin on his face he nodded.  "Yes, I would hope so."  He took a bite, and waited until he'd finished chewing.  "When did you take over the bar?"

She thought back a moment.  "Well...let's see..."  she said, her eyes squinting.  "I started working for McAvoy back in...09?  Just working part time, slinging drinks."

"Driving all the lads crazy?"  Danny said with that charming little grin.  Kara blushed a bit and tried to hide it by taking another big bite.

"So..." she continued, "Around 2010, he got really sick, so I took over most of his workload.  When he passed in 2012, he left the place to me.  Been running it ever since."

"Good for you."  He said sincerely.  "I always knew you'd do well."

Kara smiled, a little self-satisfied grin for herself.  She WAS doing well, thank you.  She glanced to him.  "So...other than living like a Indiana Jones, how's life?"

Green yes glanced upward as his cheeks puffed out, a sigh leaving him.  "Um...Good."  he smiled.  "It's all rather exciting, you know?  I've been all over, seen and done some amazing things, met a whole lot of interesting people."  He nodded.  "I had a drink or two with a 98 year old man in Cape Town.  Amazing fellow.  He talked about all the things he'd seen and this...unbelievable life he'd lead.  Running from Nazis, joining an underground resistance movement.  Ended up becoming a contractor out in the middle east, digging irrigation ditches...just...phenomenal ."  

Kara started giggling as she chewed her food and listened.  Danny grinned to her.  "What?"

"It's just...it's so weird hearing you use words like 'Phenomenal' now.  No WAY could you have even attempted to pronounce that word when we were kids."

Danny chuckled and nodded.  "I suppose not.  Yes, it took quite a bit of work getting to where I am."

She appraised him.  "Good for you.  That's awesome.  You look great, too."

"High praise from a Goddess.  I thank you."  

Her brows raised and her skin turned bright red.  How did he do that and NOT make it sound cheesy?  Was it the accent, she wondered?  "So...Um..."  She cleared her throat.  "What's the story?  Wife, kids?"

He balled up the tinfoil of his food and tossed it in a trashcan.  "Sadly, no.  I'm never in one place very long.  Doesn't leave a lot of time for romance, I'm afraid."

Kara nodded and finished off her lunch, disposing of its wrapper.  

"What about you?  How long have you and Gerry been together?"

Kara snorted and almost choked on her food, launching into a coughing fit before she busted out laughing.

"I've said something funny?"  He said with an amused smirk on his face.

"Yeah...Gerry and me...that's...it's just not."  She said.

Danny tilted his head quizzically, "No?  I thought I saw something...there."  

"It's....a long story."  Kara tried to brush it off.

"Short version, then?"  He said.

"He's...technically married and has a daughter."  Kara answered.  That WAS indeed the short version.

"Oh?  And when might I meet her?"  Danny said excitedly.

"His wife?  You...probably won't?" she said scratching at the side of her nose.

He quirked a brow at her.  "This IS a complicated tale, isn't it?"

Kara let out a weary laugh.  "Brother, you don't know the half of it."
[img:9f4601263f]http://i.imgur.com/nPg4HIM.jpg[/img:9f4601263f]

Ginny Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2016, 11:20:36 AM »
Ginny heard a knock at the door, drawing her attention away from the TV.  Gerry was on the floor egging Nasya on to come crawl to him.  "Come on!  Cyyyyyome on, Precious face!  Come to Daddy!"  She made little excited noises and crawled clumsily over to him, Gerry scooping her up immediately, with a gasp.  "YyyyyYAAAAAY!   NASYA'S THE SMARTEST BABY IN THE WORRRRRLLLLLLD!"  He mimicked the sound of a cheering crowd and started chanting her name and hoisting her up and down to her delight.

Ginny chucked and opened the door.  On the other side was a man she didn't recognize in the slightest.  Reddish brown hair, a few days of beard, bright green eyes...a pretty man, as far as men went, she had to admit.

The stranger scoffed looking at her.  "Virginia Lee Finnegan."

Well.  That was weird.  How the hell did THIS guy know her name?

"Danny!"  Gerry called out.

Danny?  Then, she looked at him, those already big blue eyes widening.  "Wait...Danny DUBEK?"

"Afraid so, love."

Ginny took him in.  "Whoa."

His brow quirked and he started laughing.  She tried to recover.  "I mean...hi!"  She said wrapping him up in a big hug.

"How are you, Ginny?"  He asked, returning the hug.

"I'm...I'm good!  Forget about me, how the hell are you?!"  She said.  "You look amazing and...your VOICE!"

There was a prideful smile there.  He tried not get too steeped in his own ego, but there things he'd earned that he still patted himself on the back for.

"Thank you.  And look at you!  Pretty as a picture!"  

Ginny chuckled and blushed, looking away, red-faced.  "Heh....naaaaaah...."  What the hell was THAT?  She wasn't even attracted to men!

Danny chuckled and looked to Gerry as he approached with Nasya.  That grin dropped as if in utter amazement.  He looked at her, mouth agape.  "My God, Gerry..."  He said.

"Danny, this Nasya."  He said, his own proud smirk on his face.  The little girl with the impossibly blue eyes and raven hair was pulling at the neck of her papa's t-shirt.

Ginny watched as their long lost friend reached up squeezing one of those pudgy little arms, drawing a high pitched giggle from her.  "Hello there, munchkin!"  He smiled.  "My God, Gerry...she's beautiful."

It was hard to believe this was the same kid she'd known growing up.  "She's due for a NAP is what she is."  Ginny reached out with grabby hands.  "Come on.  I'll leave you boys to it."
Gerry handed Nasya over to her.  Ginny took her gingerly and looked to Danny.

"It is SO good to see you."  She said

Danny grinned back at her.  "Likewise."

She carried the little blue eyed wonder to the bedroom.
[img:7e20880b4a]http://i.imgur.com/NAkCJP3.png[/img:7e20880b4a]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2016, 11:21:48 AM »
Danny sat down on the couch, The Shawshank Redemption was on TNT...because it always seemed to be.  Gerry stepped over, handing him a beer.

"Thank you."  Danny said.  "And thank you for having me over."

Gerry nodded.  "Ab-absolutely!"  He sat down with his own bottle, looking at his old friend.  He rose his bottle to him.  "Cheers."

Danny clinked his bottle in return.  The two men sipped their drinks.

"You've got a nice place here, mate."  Danny said.  

"Oh, thanks."  Gerry smiled over.

"So...Kara told me a few things."  Danny said pointedly.

"Uh oh."  Gerry responded with a smirk.

Danny chuckled.  "No, no no...nothing awful.  But...did you really just...wake up on a PIRATE ship?"

Gerry went to lie, but then he just grinned."Yeah."  He laughed, "Yes I did.  And....and...full-on, Jack Sparrow p-pirate ship.  Not 'I ahm de keptin now' pirate."

Gerry remembered them being little kids and playing pirate, always trying to get Kara to be the maiden in distress, but she would never have it.  She commanded her own ship of scoundrels, as she called them.  Captain Red Mary was the scourge of the playground.  Their imaginary crews sometimes filled in with the ranks of whatever kids were there that would do what they said.

Danny laughed.  "That is absolutely amazing!  She told me it's this...whole other world?"

"Yeah!  Oh yeah.  Like a...a..."  He shut his eyes.

"Breathe.  See the word.  You know it."  Danny said in that smooth low voice of his that seemed to charm most people he came into contact with.

"Intersection."  Gerry said.  "Of impossible things.  D-different r-realities.  All of them..."  He clasped his hands together signifying that they all came together.

Danny was enthralled.  A new world that few in this one had ever heard of?  That sounded like an adventure he could sink his teeth into.  "That....that sounds amazing."

"It is.  A bit...terrifying at times.  But amazing.  It was home."  Gerry said wistfully.

Danny gave him a knowing smile.  "You gave it up for her, though, didn't you?  For Nasya."

Gerry's eyes turned to his old friend.  "Yes.  All of it.  My business, my penthouse, my money, my wife.  I gave it all up."

"Well...from what I understand, you haven't quite given her up.  Much to...a mutual friend's dismay."  Danny  said with a grin.

"I made a vow."  Gerry said.  "Death do us part.  Well...neither of us are dead yet."

Danny's brows rose as if impressed.  He raised his bottle.  "You are a rock, sir."

Gerry was keen to change the subject as silence had settled.  "So, you k-keep in t-touch with any of the...the n-neighborhood after you left?"

"Well...I DID see Glen once.  I was in Afghanistan on assignment  Had to be about...07?  He was stationed there with his unit.  Bold as ever, brave.  But I could tell it had taken a bit from him.  Some of that...that fire in him was just..."  He spread out his fingers.  "Gone."

Gerry frowned and took a swig of his bottle.

"We talked about life and where it had taken us and the old days and family..." Danny nodded with a distant smile.  Slowly, it faded.

"Three weeks later, I heard that he was on patrol and was killed by an IED in a trashcan."  Danny sat with a grave look on his face.  "I was glad to have talked to him.  One last time."

Gerry nodded slowly.  Kara had told him about that, but it still didn't make it easy to think about.  "What about Billy?"

Danny laughed and nodded with a mouth full of beer.  "Ah yes...Billy.  From what Glen told me, Billy was working for some laboratory in Illinois.  Fitting, that, yes?"

Gerry grinned.  "You remember that time we climbed his f-....fence and found that bucket."

A chuckle escaped his old friend.  "Yes!  Big...rusty old bucket full of just...the most disgusting glop."

Gerry laughed.  "You kept poking it with a stick."

Danny was laughing so hard it came out as a hoarse wheeze.  He nodded vehemently.  "Yes!  And then Glenny comes out..."  He gasped in air.  "'Hey!  That's our dinner!'"  His voice shook with laughter.

Gerry was right there with him.  "Oh man..."He said catching his breath.  "Oh!  You remember Jimmy Savage?"

"Yes!"  Danny said excitedly and then made a face.  "Great guy.  Bloody psychopath.  But great guy."

"So, this was about a m....month after you l-left.  We're p-playing two hand touch, right?  And you remember how that always ended up."

Danny's eyes widened.  "Oh God....Yes!  Yes!  It was supposed to be touch, but..you know...more of a guideline than a rule, of course."

"Exactly!  You got it, what was his problem?"  Gerry said with a grin.  "So, I NAIL him.  Just blast him when he's got the ball.  Starts cryin' and he goes runnin' off crying to his old man."

Danny started laughing "Awww...poor Glenn."

"H-half hour later...here comes old man Stark.  Big-ass turkey drumstick in his hand, just chompin' away..."  Gerry started imitating the old man, making chewing noises and talking like he had a mouth full of food.  "'Tell ya one thing, Finnegan.  You gotta problem with Glenny, you come talk to me.  You don't lay a finger on my boy.' "

Danny laughed incredulously "Whaaaat?"

Gerry held up a finger.  "Hold on it gets better.  He THEN points at me and goes, 'Go 'head Glenny, hit him.  He ain't gonna do nothin'.'"

Danny's jaw dropped and his brows rose.  "No."

Gerry nodded with a big grin.  "And there's Jimmy Savage.  With a baseball bat, ready to take the old man out.  I had to try and signal him NOT to without them noticing."  He said, shaking with laughter.

Danny busted up laughing.  "COMPLETE PSYCHOPATH!"

That just made Gerry laugh harder.  "But...hahahaha...but a great man!"
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]

Bill Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #41 on: June 06, 2016, 05:40:36 PM »
Bill was in garage with Gerry, the two of them working on an old 71 Challenger.  The hunk of a car had sat in that garage in a state of disrepair for over a decade.  Not long ago, Bill had broached the idea to him of finishing it up together.  Gerry's hospital stay and subsequent recovery put a pretty big damper on that, but the old man was happy they were finally getting back to work.  Oldies were playing as Bill slid into the driver's seat, setting a beer can on the roof.

"Alright, Pop, try it."  Gerry said from behind the hood.

Bill turned the key, and engine whirred, trying to start, but it just would not turn over.  

"Damn...."Gerry said, staring down at the engine.  Bill frowned and climbed back out, snagging his can as he rounded the car.  He had to admit, even when things weren't working, he was ecstatic to be working with his son.  

"What ya think, kid?"  He asked sipping his beer.

Gerry bent down tilting his head.  "You kn-"  He sighed when he couldn't come up with the word.  God that always broke Bill's heart.  He wanted to help, but there was nothing he could do.  "Know before I came here I only ever drove a car once, right?"

Bill clasped his shoulder, giving him a sympathetic smile before moving on.  "You'll get it."

Gerry grabbed his can and leaned against the workbench while Bill hunched over the engine.  "So, how's Kara?"

"She's fine.  You hear who's b-back in t-town?"  Gerry asked.

"No, who?"

"Remember Dah Dubek?"  Gerry grinned.

Bill smirked an glanced back at his son.  "Dubek...Ain't that the kid who burned down his garage?"

Gerry laughed.  "That was Wally, his Brother."

"That's right!"  Bill laughed.  "What was that song you kids you used to sing?"

"DOUBLE YOU AAAAA...L L Y, D-U-B-E-K!  His naaaame is Wally Dubek!  HE burned down his garage!  DOUBLE YOU AAAAA...L L Y, D-U-B-E-K! "  Gerry sang with a smirk.  "Never got a second...uh...second verse cuz he'd t-try to b-beat the s-**** out of us."

When he finally stopped laughing Bill shook his head.  "You three were a handful."

"We were. "  Gerry nodded with a chuckle.

"So, how's he been?"

Gerry sipped his beer and made a face  "Oh man.  That dude has had a HELL of a life.  He's British now."

Bill's face scrunched up an incredulous laugh leaving him.  "What do you mean he's British?  You don't just BECOME British..."

Gerry shrugged.  "He's got the...the...the accent.  Guess he had a whole b-bunch of speech therapy in England."

"You mean he's not running around throwing garbled swears at people anymore?"  Bill asked.

"No!  He's kind of...uh...what's...Eloquent.  Lots of big words."  Gerry said feeling especially dumb with his sentence fragments and frequent word searches.  Bill knew that look.  The boy was disappointed in himself.  Gerry watched him a long moment,  

"So...you concerned?"  Bill asked him.

Gerry quirked a brow turning to his father.  "About?"

Bill shrugged and took a sip of his beer.  "I dunno.  Things with you and Kara being what they are....eloquent old friend shows up..."

Gerry laughed.  "What?  You think she'd go for him?"

Again, Bill shrugged.  He REALLY wanted his son to end up with that girl.  They were great for each other, dammit!  If only the kid would stop dragging his damn fool feet.

Gerry seemed more amused than concerned now.  "She's NOT interested in him.  I guarantee it."  

Bill crossed his arms.  "If she was?"

"She isn't."

"But if."  Bill asserted.  "What would you do."

Gerry sighed.  "In the HIGHLY unlikely event of THAT...I'd...probably be cool with it.  She deserves someone good."

Bill stared at his son with a knowing smirk.  "She does." he agreed.

"And that can't be me, so..." Gerry trailed off.

Bill made a face.  Gerry could be such a damn martyr...

"You know, I was married before I met your mother?"

Gerry gave him a doubtful look.  Bill nodded matter-of-factly, in response.  "Back in '74.  Girl named Emily Brown.  We were high school sweethearts.  Stuck together through college, and graduated together.  Seemed like it would last forever, so...we got married right after graduation."

Gerry clearly hadn't known that.  He just stared at his father.  "What happened?"

"We weren't right for each other."  Bill said simply.  "Moved into an apartment and all those little annoyances piled and piled.  We were fighting more and more...eventually, I came home from work and she was gone.  Just a note saying 'it's over, I'm sorry.'"

Even all these years later, Bill could still feel the sting of that moment.  "That was 77.  Three years later, I met your mom and I've been in love with her ever since.  But it wasn't  easy.  See, you're like me kid.  You took a vow and you hold that vow sacred.  You want to live up to the words you said, the oaths you took.  That was ME anyway.  But the second your mother came into my life, she started making it better.  Not in big, earth-shattering ways.  Just the little things.  Making me laugh again.  Making me smile.  Being there, a friend when I needed her.  And no matter how fervently I denied it to myself and everyone else...there it was."

Gerry couldn't help but smile at that.  "What happened to Emily?"

"She's married to a former lawyer.  Had 7 kids.  Whole mess of grand kids."

"The point is, if you feel something, don't deny yourself because you're holding onto something you will never get back."  Bill said, looking his son in the eye.  "You may miss out on the best thing that ever happened to you."
[img:823c10f5c3]http://i.imgur.com/wLZOVmV.jpg[/img:823c10f5c3]

Dah

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #42 on: June 09, 2016, 01:50:41 AM »
Danny sat at one of bar tables with Gerry and Kara,the place empty from customers, the doors locked for the evening.  The three of them just sitting and chatting.  Danny was in the middle of a story about a trip in New Zealand.

"Lovely family.  They lived on this dairy farm...must have been about 200 cows in 8 separate paddocks.  And...my god, Kara, Gerry?"  He looked distant for a moment, a fond smile on that handsome face.  "It was beautiful.  green mountains all around, and off in the distance, if you looked, you could see Mount Ngauruhoe."  Off the blank looks they gave him, he pressed on.  "Er...Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings, so the fellow who owned the farm told me."

Kara grinned.  "Wow, that's awesome."

Danny nodded.  "But the humility in this place.  I don't know that they knew what they had.  That they lived in one of the most picturesque places I've ever had the pleasure of seeing.  When I asked him about it, the old man turns to me and says.  'Yeah.  I guess it's kinda nice.'"  he said with a chuckle.

Gerry and Kara laughed, the former shaking his head.

Kara took a pull off her bottle.  "You ever make it back here in any of this time?"

Danny made a bit of a face and shook his head. "If I had I'd definitely have tried to look the pair of you up."  He assured them.  "Closest I came in the state was Houston 6 years ago, I suppose."

Gerry smiled at that.  "How're your parents doing?"  He asked his old friend.

"Ah, you know.  Being retired.  Mum and dad stayed overseas.  They're living in Finchley now.  Life there straightened Dad out some.  Mum just loved it, really."  

Kara sent over a sly smirk.  "What about Wally."

Danny nearly choked on his beer, drawing a laugh out of Gerry.

"Wally...well..Wally didn't do so well.  You remember what hard-ass he always tried to be?  Well, our schoolmates and the headmaster didn't put up with any of that.  Three months after he turned 18, he moved back to America.  Ended up going to some place in Illinois for Uni.  Now he works for Groupon or somesuch."  He grinned, a bit distant again.  "Don't see him much, really."

The bar was silent a moment before Danny pressed on.  "I've missed this."  He said simply.

Kara and Gerry looked to him, they had to admit, they had too.

"Growing up, I always thought the three of us were going to be together forever.  Running around, chasing Grandma Bunnie's chickens..."  He said, laughing at the memory.

Gerry's brows raised as he laughed.  He put on a thick Polish accent and imitated an old lady's voice.  "DA-NEH!  DA-NEH!"

Kara busted up and put on the same accent.  "Da-neh, da-neh, da-neh.  You useda be setch a gooooood boy.  You come over, you say 'grrrrrandma, grrrrrrandm-NOWYOUBADBOY!"

Gerry was just cracking up, scratching the back of his head.  "Man, Ol' Grandma got raw on ya!"

Danny nodded as if to say "RIGHT?!" as he sipped from his bottle.  "Oh, you remember Shirley Bazman?"

Kara rolled her eyes "The love of your life?"  She said sarcastically.

"What?  She wasn't that bad..." Danny tried to justify with a chuckle.

"She had a lazy eye and she always smelled like kitty litter even though her family didn't have cats!  She insisted that Silverhawks was better than the ****ing Thundercats!"  Kara said as if it was the greatest crime mankind had ever committed.

Gerry rolled his eyes in mock indignation.  "You know what, TIME is gonna tell on that."

"Uh...it's been like 30 years.  And WHICH show got a half-decent remake?  OH...right.  Suck on THAT, Copper Kid."  Kara said.

"Hey!"  Gerry said.  "Silverha-hawks had that bad-ass s-space octopus."

"Yeah, and friggin' SPACE Cyndi Lauper who fought them with the power of her rock!"  She said with an incredulous look on her face.

Gerry just shook his head.  "Yeah, that just makes it sound MORE awesome."

Kara went to talk, but stopped, looking disappointed in herself.  "God damn it, it DOES..."

Danny couldn't help but laugh at the two of them.  Being on the go so often didn't leave much room for closeness.  Sure, he had made friends here and there, but nothing like the closeness the two of them had.  He was just glad they extended it to him when he showed back up.  Mostly, he was glad to see that life hadn't changed who they were at their core.  Gerry finished off his beer and stood up.  "Well...I better get g-going.  Get home to the kid and whatnot."

Danny smiled up to him, the pair of them grabbing eachother's hands in a friendly goodbye.  Gerry and Kara hugged each other tightly, him placing a kiss at her cheek.  "Night guys."  He said before heading out the door.  Danny watched after him and then looked to Kara.  She noticed and smiled to him.

"Hey."  He said.

"Hi."  Kara smiled back.

"So...I wanted to...talk to you about something."  Danny said.

Kara tilted her head as she sat.  "Yeah?  What's that?"

Danny brought the bottle to his lips, taking a drink.  "So...things are unlikely to...progress between you two, right?"  He asked.

That caught her off guard.  "Uh...I don't...I don't know?"  She said, a bit confused.

"I know...never say never.  Right?"  he asked with a grin.  "I'm just..."  He stopped and thought.  "I would like to know if you would like to...go out sometime?"

Kara's face paled.  "What?"  She asked.

"I think...that you are a wonderful, gorgeous, funny, strong and charming woman, and I would like to take you out sometime."  He said matter of factly.

Kara still looked shell shocked.  "I..I....like-like on a date?"

"I believe that is what they call it, yes."  He said with a small chuckle.

"I...Danny...I don't know.  I mean...it's not that I don't WANT to go with you...or that I don't think you're attractive.  Because..."  She gestured to him, making a face.  "Come on."

Danny bowed his head in thanks.  "But?"

She sighed.  "I mean...with Gerry and me..."

"Kara.  I'm not asking you to marry me."  He said in an amused tone.  "I'm asking you, a single woman to come out with me a single man.  No expectations, no pressure.  Just two people enjoying each other's company.  Just seeing where it goes."

Danny could see the wheels spinning and he smiled to her.  "I think you are amazing.  And I hate to see someone amazing being forced to wait in the wings while someone tries to make up their mind."  Those green eyes looked straight into her's.  "I love Gerry...but you deserve better than that."

Kara couldn't help but smile.  She had to admit...it felt pretty damn good to have someone pursuing HER for a change.  And it was Dah!  No...not Dah, Danny.  And Danny looked like THAT.

"So?"  He asked.  "What do you say?"

Kara looked to him...and smiled.
[img:10c78d9714]https://i.imgur.com/Qtk4JJY.gif[/img:10c78d9714]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2016, 03:42:07 PM »
It was a friday night and Gerry and Kara were just wrapping things up for the evening.  Gerry stood behind the counter, counting down the register as Kara locked up.  The slender brunette, walked over and leaned her elbows on the table.

"We filthy rich?"  She asked him.

Gerry snickered "Oh yeah.  Rollin' in it."  Those cerulean eyes rolling to her.  "We did p-pretty good.  That damn concert kinda...uh...hit us."  He said making a dissatisfied face.

Kara watched him a moment, the wheels turning behind those smokey blue eyes.  She wet her lips  and pushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear.  "So, um...listen.  I'm taking tomorrow night off and having Shane come in."  

Gerry closed the register and put the cash and receipts in an envelope before he turned his gaze to her, concerned.  "Everything alright?"

She looked to him, her brows raised before she smiled and tried to play it cool.  "Oh.  Yeah.  Yeah, I'm fine.  Just have plans."

Gerry looked to her doubtfully, sliding the envelope.  "You sure?  You sure everything's okay?"

She looked down at the envelope and collected it, checking the contents.  Anything to keep from making eye contact.  "Mm? "  she looked up to him and nodded.  "Oh.  Mmhm.  Yeah."

She walked into the backroom where her office was, Gerry watching her go.  Yeah, he decided.  She was acting weird.  He followed after her, leaning on the door, watching her stow away the envelope in a safe.  "Where ya goin'?"  He asked her, arms crossed.

"Oh...Um...just out...with some friends."  She was really keeping herself busy with ANYTHING, completely failing at looking natural.

"Uh huh."  Gerry nodded.  "Which friends?"

Kara looked up, wide-eyed.  "Hm?"

"Which friends you goin' out with?  Anyone I kn-know?"

She made an annoyed face.  "What are you, writing a book?"

Gerry smirked and held up his hands.  "Just curious."  She breezed on past him.  "So?"  he asked, looking after her.

Kara sighed, her shoulder slumping in defeat.  "Danny."

Gerry's lips parted as he went to say something.  It slowly dawned on him what she was saying.  "Oh.  So..."

"Yeah.  We're...gonna go out."

Gerry nodded, chewing his upper lip.  "Just, uh...just the two of ya?"

Kara nodded, looking more than a little guilty.  "Is that...okay?"  She said cautiously.

Gerry looked up to her and forced a smile.  "Yeah...yeah."

She tilted her head.  "You sure?"

He furrowed his brow and nodded.  "Well..." He forced that smile again.  "Well, I'm gonna...head out."

Kara wasn't blind.  She could see he was upset, but she just lowered her eyes and nodded.  "I'll, grab my keys.  Give you ride."

"You know...that's okay."  He said.  "It's a nice night.  I'm j-just gonna w....w..walk."  He said, REALLY trying to keep calm.  

"Ger...it's like a mile and a half."

"I know.  It's cool.  I'm fine."  That fake smile was working overtime.  "Kay?  I'll see you later."

He pushed through the side door and stepped out, leaving Kara standing there.  She leaned over on the bartop, her head in her hands.
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]

Kara Aimsley

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Re: Chapter 1: Life On The Other Side (18+)
« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2016, 10:51:32 AM »
Kara leaned in front of the mirror, finishing up her make-up.  The whole day she'd been getting guilt pangs, but the more she thought about it, the less it bothered her.  After all, Gerry had made it pretty clear that nothing was going to happen between them.  She was single, and a devastatingly handsome man WANTED to take her out.  She looked at her reflection in the mirror and smiled, finally satisfied, when the knock came at the door.  One last check of her lipstick before she hustled over to the door.

Danny stood on the other end, a white collared shirt open three buttons down with a navy blue pinstripe blazer on top.  His chiseled jaw shaved smooth and graced with a grin as he looked her over.  "Wow."  He said simply.

Kara blushed, red spreading over her sun-kissed skin.  She wore a sleek black dress that hugged her curves, a short, black cardigan covering her arms and shoulders.  A necklace decorated her long slender neck.  A smile crossed her lips as she stepped aside.  "Right back at you."  

Danny stepped in the two sharing a brief embrace, his lips pressing to her cheek.    "How's it going?"  He asked her, stepping inside.

She stepped aside and let him come in.  "Good!  Great to have a night off for a change."

"Aren't you the boss?"  He asked her with a chuckle.

"Yeah, dude, but I leave that place in anyone else's hands for too long and that bitch'll burn to the ground."  She said playfully.

Danny laughed and looked around.  "Your place...it's..."

"It's a ****hole."  Kara deadpanned.

"What?" Danny chuckled.

"You and Gerry both.  Total bull-**** artists."  She shook her head with a faux accusatory look thrown at him.  "I dunno, I'm thinking about getting a nicer place.  I mean...I've got the money, it's just..."

Danny watched her, having a feeling he knew exactly what she was waiting for.  He decided to throw her a bone and change the subject.  "Well, what do you say we get going?"  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gerry stood at the bar, hard at work.  A lot of the concert crowd had spilled over into the bar.  Tonight he was working the Shane.  And...how to describe Shane?  Every happy, dumb, douchebag coworker you've ever had.  Gerry was slinging drinks while he flirted with anything with two legs and a pair of breasts.  Gerry was in the weeds, a particularly redneck-y guy whistling for his attention.

"Yeah, I'll be-" Gerry started.

"YO!  Let's go!" the Redneck shouted.

"I'LL BE RIGHT THERE!  SETTLE THE **** DOWN!"  

Tonight was already bad enough, but these people and his "help" tonight were just exacerbating everything.    He finished with the customer in front of him, a dozen more demanding his attention.  Where the hell was Shane?  

Oh.  Right.  The dopey blonde kid with the surfer boy good looks and hair in front of his face was chatting up some redhead.  "Shane!"  Gerry called out.  

No response.

"SHANE!" He tried again.  

Nothing.

"HEY *** HOLE!"  He called again.  That one got his attention.  Shane turned to him and opened his arms as if to say "what the hell?"  Gerry gestured to the customers.  "Play hide the needle on your own time!  Let's go!"

Shane reluctantly moved on to do his job.  Yep.  This was going to be an awful night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kara sat in Danny's rented black Chrysler 300.  She leaned back in the seat, watching the streetlights pass in the window as Danny talked.  "So, there I am, 40 meters over a raging river and they've got me all...strung up for the jump.  Heart is POUNDING in my chest.  I'd never done anything like it in my life, right?"

She turned to him with a smile, listening.

"I'm thinking 'something horrible's gonna go wrong' and I'll end up that dumb tourist who got killed bungee jumping on his first try."  He smirked.

"How'd you do it?"  She asked with a shake of her head.

"I just let go.  All my worries, all my hold-ups.   I decided that I didn't want to waste anymore opportunities to experience something great.  If I'm going to have any kind of life worth living...I have to actually live it."  

That made Kara smile.  It was a damn good motto.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two wannabe cowboys decided tonight was GREAT night to start brawling.  One flat out coldcocked the other.  Gerry rolled his eyes and let out a disgusted sound.  "Shane!"

Once again, his back up was indisposed.  Gerry grit his teeth and moved around the bar quickly.  The two burly cowboys grappled each other.  Gerry grabbed the nearest from behind and caught an elbow to the face for the effort.  He could taste the blood in his mouth as he stumbled backwards.  When he realized who he'd hit, the cowboy immediately tried to apologize.   Unfortunately, Shane saw the action and vaulted over the bar, knocking bottles and glasses to ground.  He plowed into the cowboy, tackling him to the ground.  


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Danny and Kara sat at the table of a VERY classy restaurant.  Her fork scooping up another bite of lobster tail as they talked.  "I dunno.  I love the bar, and it's not like I'm qualified to do anything else."  She said with a shrug.

"Did you ever get to try college?"  Danny asked her.

"Community college."  She said. "When I got clean, I went and tried a few classes.  Wasn't really for me."

Danny nodded, chewing on the immaculately prepared ribeye they'd brought him.  "I can understand that."  He said.  "You ever think about getting out even for a vacation?  See some of the world?"

Kara considered it a moment.  "I always wanted to, but...man...that ****'s expensive."

Danny chuckled "So I've heard."

"Oh, right.  Mister 'my job pays for me to see awesome things' over here."  She said with a grin.  "What about you? Ever think of settling down."

Danny flashed that smile again, those green eyes alight.  "No.  Haven't met the right girl yet."

"Ow."  she said, feigning offense.

He laughed.  "Let's get through the first date before I go deciding if I'm going to toss my life out the window and have a dozen gorgeous babies with you."  

Kara recoiled, a wide-eyed stare at him.  "A *dozen*?!  Good lord man.  Keep that thing away from my womb."

The pair laughed as the waiter came and refilled Kara's champagne glass.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gerry was talking to a cop, his lip swollen.  Most of the bar having cleared out after the fight.  He'd had to pull Shane off the cowboy, but by that time, he'd already thrown punches.

"Look, Officer...it was a stupid mistake.  I tried to break up a fight and the guy though he was getting jumped.  Shane saw him hit me and got the wrong idea."  Gerry tried to explain.

"Well, you know that guy wants to press charges."  he told Gerry.

"What?  On US?"  Gerry asked incredulously.

"It happened in your establishment, involving one of your employees, so yeah."  The officer nodded, finishing his write up.  He looked up to the exhausted, frustrated Gerry.  "We'll be contacting your employer in the next few days as we work this out.  In the meantime, I suggest you control your employees.   Have a good evening."  He handed Gerry a citation and took off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
Danny was laughing as Kara continued a story.  "So, then Gerry gets on-stage and he just BELTS out 'What A Wonderful World' to this crowd.  And, like...FULL ON Louis Armstrong, gravelly voice and everything.  Amazing." She said.  "And there's this old black guy who just leans out behind me, hearing this giant white dude rumbling away at the microphone and he just goes 'Daaaaaamn....cracka got some pipes!'"  

The two of them busted up laughing.  The date has been much more fun than Kara anticipated.  But it didn't escape Danny's notice that her stories were all about Gerry.  The last 4 she told were about him.  He smiled across the table to her, reading her face a moment.

"So...on a scale of 1-10...how in love with him are you?"  He asked her with a knowing grin.

"What?"  She asked.

"I'm not blind, Kara."  He said with absolutely no malice in his voice.  He just smiled.  "You only talk about him, and when you do...you light up in the most beautiful way."  He said.

"I'm sorry...I shouldn't be talking about-"

Danny held up a hand.  "I don't mind.  I mean...I had my suspicions when we were all together...but I wanted to be sure."  Those green eyes watched her as she moved her dessert around with a fork, not making eye contact.  "So...how long?"

Kara sighed, taking a deep breath and thinking.  "Um...10?"

"10 years?"  He asked with a quirked brow.  He knew full well Gerry hadn't been back that long.

"No.  Since we were 10."  She said bluntly.  "I never gave up hope that some day he'd come through that door again and make everything okay."

Danny frowned watching her.

"And then he does and, good news!  He's married!"  She said, her expression souring.  "It was like a kick to the face.  I'd waited for him for...19 years.  And I get him back, and all he can think of is getting away from me again."

Danny leaned back in his chair, sympathetic eyes staying on her.  "That must have hurt."

"It killed me."  She confirmed to him.  "And I'll admit...I lost my head.  I did something stupid.  I threw myself at a married man.  Tried to get him to leave her then and there.  To give up and stay with me."  Kara sighed.  "I regret that.  It was low, it was wrong, and I wish I could take it back."

Danny nodded, neither condoning nor condemning.  He lowered his eyes, thinking.  "Why isn't he trying to leave this time?"

"He can't go back."  She said.  "Don't ask me why, because I', not even sure I understand it.  He can't go back to her and she sure as hell isn't looking for him, so...I'm hoping he comes around."  Her face scrunched up and she sighed, annoyed. "You know, a guy willing to honor his marriage even in the face of it being OVER should be a good thing...but it's just frustrating as hell to me."  She chuckled.  "Maybe there's something wrong with me."

Danny snickered.  "That's got to be frustrating."

She shook her head.  "You have no idea."

Danny reached across the table and took her hand gently, giving her a squeeze.  "If you ask me...you two are perfect together.  And if it's meant to be...it *will* be.  I think he'll come around."  He smiled.  "If he doesn't, he's a fool."

Kara couldn't stop the grin that came to her face.  She just laughed.  "God...some day, you are going to make some woman feel like a ****ing queen.  I just hope she appreciates it."

Danny grinned, it was his turn to blush.  "What do you say we get you home?"

Kara nodded, looking at him affectionately.  "Thank you for this, Danny."

"Anytime, Aimsley."
[img:9f4601263f]http://i.imgur.com/nPg4HIM.jpg[/img:9f4601263f]