Things come to a head in Moving Forward, as Lee decides he needs to deal with Dustin's outrageous behavior. How will that affect their relationship with Denver? Find out in this week's episode! Then don't forget to check out the other Briefers and see what they've been up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
Moving Forward #23 (5.5)
He darted a quick glance at Lee. Lee’s jaw was set in a firm line, and his eyes were filled with a quiet fury, like the calm before a storm. Marshall had a good feeling Lee knew exactly what Dustin meant too. And he wasn’t happy about it.
Nobody spoke for a minute. Then Lee pushed his chair back and rose.
“What are you going to do?” Marshall asked. Whatever it was, he knew better than to try to talk Lee out of it. When his mind was set like this, that wasn’t going to happen. And, to be honest, whatever it was, he knew Dustin had it coming. Frankly, he was tired of trying to deal with the little shit himself. That wasn’t working out very well. And it was no way to spend their vacation, worrying about what Dustin might or might not do.
“Don’t worry, I’m just going to talk to him.” Lee glanced at Denver, who looked more than a little confused. “Sorry, Denver, this has been going on too long. I’m putting a stop to it right now.” He came around the table to Marshall. Leaning down, he kissed him softly. Marshall realized that was Lee’s way of showing he was in control of himself and the situation. Then he was gone.
Marshall leaned back in his chair and sighed. He didn’t have any clue as to why Dustin was so obsessed with him. Why he gave off such mixed vibes. One minute wanting to be friends, the next so much more. Did he always want what he couldn’t have?
“Well hell,” Denver commented, frowning. “Lee seems awful mad, and I hardly ever see that man get mad. Except when he’s protecting you. Are you all right, Marshall?” He gave him a worried look.
Marshall felt sorry for Denver. It wasn’t his fault his cousin was such a dick. He deserved an explanation as to what was going on, but Marshall didn’t feel like giving it. Not right this minute. So he contented himself with saying, “Yeah, I’m good,” and Denver didn’t push the issue.
It felt like forever, but couldn’t have been more than ten minutes or so when Lee returned. Alone. Had Marshall expected Dustin would come back with him? That would be a bit much, he knew, and not very likely. Marshall watched him thread his way through the other tables, back to him. At least Lee seemed to be calmer than when he left. So maybe it was all for the good, and they’d be able to enjoy themselves and not worry about the specter of Dustin haunting them.
Lee dropped into his chair. Scooting closer to Marshall, he kissed him, then turned to Denver, who still looked confused.
“I’m sorry, Denver,” he began.
“Sorry for what, Lee? I have no idea what’s going on here, but I have a bad feeling Dustin’s in the middle of it. Am I right? Has he done something he shouldn’t?” Denver didn’t seem surprised, just concerned.
Lee draped his arm about Marshall’s shoulder, and Marshall relaxed into his strength. “I wasn’t going to say anything, or make a big deal out of this, but ever since we met him, he’s been putting the moves on Marshall and not wanting to take no for an answer.”
“Oh holy shit,” Denver swore. “You mean… Did he… he didn’t do anything, did he? I’m so sorry.” He shook his head, his expression one of stunned disbelief.
“He never touched me, but he made it clear he wanted to,” Marshall spoke up. “And he refused to listen when I told him I wasn’t interested and never would be.”
“He refused to respect Marshall’s boundaries, and made assumptions about our relationship that, frankly, were none of his business. It’s one thing to show someone you’re interested in them, and I can understand that. But pushing yourself on someone even after he says no… well, that’s unacceptable.”
“Totally unacceptable. Oh hell, don’t tell me…” He shot Marshall a worried look. “You’re the one he expected to get lucky with? Oh hell… This is horrible. This is beyond horrible. Look, I can’t say enough how sorry I am, to both of you, for this. I never knew… I mean, if I had any idea this was part of his agenda, I’d have left him back in Tucker Falls, believe me. Sent him packing.”
“I know, Denver, we don’t blame you,” Lee said softly.
“We’re not mad at you,” Marshall echoed.
“So, just now… what happened?” Denver asked. “I assume you went after him? I mean, I know he had whatever you did coming to him… but what did you do? Just so I know.”
“Just had a little man-to-man talk with him,” Lee said. “Explained things to him. Let him know I wasn’t going to tolerate that behavior from him or any other man. And told him he’s to stay away from us for the duration of this cruise. No, I never touched him, if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“Yeah, I wondered,” Denver admitted, “but you would have been justified. I appreciate that you didn’t, though. He’s still my cousin, knucklehead that he is. For the most part, he’s a good guy. But he sure seems to find his way into trouble, like he’s a trouble magnet or something.”
“He’s done this with other guys?” Marshall was incredulous, his brows drawing together in a frown. Lee squeezed his hand in reassurance.
“No, nothing like this. At least not that I know of. I never heard anything more than vague rumors. I thought my aunt and uncle sent him to me just for a change, but now I wonder. I hope this doesn’t cause a problem between us. I sure as hell value your friendship.” He looked anxiously between them.
“Not a bit,” Lee said.
“We’ll hang out with you, but not with him,” Marshall added.
“I appreciate that. I’ll do my best to keep him on a leash.” Denver sighed.
to be continued
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