It's Thanksgiving! Easily my favorite holiday and I am spending it with my favorite people on the planet. It's been a few months since Zach and Cody and I moved to Hollywood and so much has happened, I haven't even had time to cut my hair, but I am enjoying growing it out for now.

Zach and Cody are enrolled in their schools and everything is going well. Zach is struggling a bit, but it's really with the free time that not having to work and having a partner who takes equal responsibility for his nephew has given him. His art is evolving and I am in constant awe of his talent. I have no doubt he will do amazing things as he progresses toward his degree.

I had the photos of his mural printed out and matted and framed. While I did that, I also had the framers matte and frame the drawings from his Red Thread poster. I presented them all to him and admitted I had both stolen the poster from the trash and seen the final version of his declaration of love to me. He teared up and I received a heart-shaped hickey over my heart that night. My artist boyfriend also introduced a Sharpie into our lovemaking that evening, which is something I never thought I would say. He drew the word LOVE across the heart he made with his mouth to match the one in the mural. Needless to say, he loved the gifts and now sees me as something he can tag in more ways than one. I have no qualms about it at all.

Cody is thriving in school. He is so clever and having consistency and support has made a difference as he's making friends and thoroughly enjoying life. He decided to make his room a Bat Cave and sent pictures of it along with his drawing and card to his mother. Jeanne checks in sporadically and everyone feels good about the legal arrangement we have in place that protects us all.

Speaking of feeling good, we've all been attending therapy sessions, and sometimes they are tough, and sometimes they are illuminating, but we are all feeling good to be talking and processing and learning coping techniques, and unlearning unhealthy coping mechanisms. Putting in the work has made our relationships even stronger.

So, yeah, I have so much to be thankful for. So that's what we're doing. We made a pilgrimage back to Long Beach to celebrate as one big happy family, since my Mom and Larry returned from their cruise a few weeks ago. We came back the first week they got back and both of them fell immediately in love with Cody. Zach was a surprise, but a welcome one, and they could see that his friendship with Gabe is still rock-steady. They seem quite pleased with Gabe's newfound maturity and were eager to meet Elisabeth, who I candidly credited with a lot of what helped Gabe evolve a bit.

Mom is planning to jazz up Cody's Bat Cave to suit him more and I am pretty sure we'll have another babysitter available to happily take Cody in the near future. Larry and I are rebuilding the foundations of our relationship and have grown closer. He's a great advisor when it comes to blending families.

Tori popped by before to drop off a pie she had made for us. She is doing well. She's come up to stay with us a couple times and met a friend of a friend she's casually seeing. She says she's not quite ready to belong to anyone yet, but she says she might be soon because this guy is a good guy. We're just overjoyed she hasn't mentioned Billy at all lately. She's been really into baking things lately and is exceptionally good at it, so hopefully she will find her own way out of working at the Oceanette and feeling stuck in San Pedro soon.

Zach's father John joined us for the meal; he seems about the same as before. I think seeing my family be so cool with Zach's and my relationship has made him feel even less worried about his son's choice. Zach worries for his father and calls him often to check in. Having less work responsibilities also means he can go check in more frequently as well, so I think that has made him feel less guilty about packing up and leaving the area.

Elisabeth is also spending the holiday with us (her parents are back East and her sister went to celebrate with them). She brought her dog, Spicoli, a clever terrier mix, with her, and Cody and I are hoping that he's cute enough to convince Zach that we should get a dog of our own soon. She and Gabe are doing well and Gabe is actually enjoying his feminist studies, which is a trip!

We are enjoying a tag game on the private beach out back, me and my two boys. First I'm "it," then Cody, and finally Zach, and we are working off the huge meal we just enjoyed.

Gabe and Elisabeth and little Spicoli join us for a bit with a frisbee and I am reminded of another beach and another dog and another frisbee. That time feels so long ago, but it was only, like, six months ago.

Cody wants to surf but it's definitely too cold, so we grab our boards to do a practice run on the sand. I am convinced Grasshopper will be as good a surfer as we are in short order. Once we have rehearsed how it will be on the waves, and practiced paddling out and getting up to actually hang ten, Cody is ready to head inside for pie. Zach comes up and hugs me and I grab his jaw and pull him in for a kiss. I see the red Z on my pinky, and the memory of us getting our matching red thread tattoo initials last month warms my heart. Life is perfect and I am thankful, but I aim to make it just a bit better than perfect. I am planning to surprise my family when we return to the mansion in a few minutes.

Yesterday, as everyone was checking out of work mode to celebrate and give thanks, I got a call from my agent regarding the book. It will be published in the Spring, which is excellent. That's not why he called. Apparently, an LGBT cable service called Here TV wants to option the story to make it into a movie! I will be writing the script to a movie based on a book I wrote about this love story of ours. Before we head inside, I look out at the ocean and can't picture in any way how life could be better. All our dreams are coming true.

"…Perhaps love is like the ocean, Full of conflict, full of pain, Like a fire when it's cold outside, Or thunder when it rains, If I should live forever, And all my dreams come true, My memories of love will be of you."

"Perhaps Love" John Denver, American Singer/Songwriter

Author's Note

July 4, 2022

If you are someone who is signed up for alerts for this story or me, especially if you did so when I first started it a decade ago, SURPRISE!

It's been six years since my last update and today as I post this, it's ten years to the day that I published the first chapter. I always intended to finish the story in my head, but life has a way of happening and I can honestly say that writing this story changed the course of my life so a lot happened.

During that long pause, the muse took a break, as they are wont to do. But a couple weeks ago, the muse returned, and the calendar showed me the perfect date to end Show, Not Tell. With the nonsense happening in the States right now with SCOTUS, at least there's something to be excited about today, because independence seems a bit of a joke to celebrate currently.

I hope you have enjoyed this story. It looks like it's capped out at over 186,000 words which boggles my mind (for context and using it as a cultural reference and not to promote hate towards the Trans community in any way, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is around 190,000 words).

I want to thank everyone who read it and commented or sent messages. They have meant everything to me.

I have updated a couple places, fixed typos, made the styling more consistent throughout, and added context in a couple places to help non-native English readers better understand the story, as well as adding the final 12 new chapters that tell the completed version of Shaun's tale.

Like Shaun, when I am feeling emotional and creative, I want to dedicate this story to my Zach. Or perhaps the Shaun to my Zach when I feel artistic and moody. Or, if I am being honest, I am more of a happy-go-lucky jokester Gabe right now, so the Elisabeth to my Gabe is maybe more accurate these days. Thanks for loving me just as I am, seeing the best in me always, and for making our love story just as magical and special as this one I've written about.