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...............Welp, I'm hurt ;3; (Lovely way to end the chapter, by the way)
You know what, I'm hoping Howie actually agrees to give this a shot. A lot of people in the comments are saying how realistic this is, and at the same time how Howie should just say no or walk away, but to be honest, this is exactly what happened to me. I was Sooch at one point. I half-heartedly gave one of my college friends the chance to kiss me, merely because I knew the guy had feelings for me. I didn't expect myself to like it that much since the guy was not my type at all, and all the other kissing flings I had prior were less than satisfactory. So we became friends with benefits (well, more like friends with no more than kissing benefits), which is also something I didn't expect.

But I say that I was like Sooch because I wasn't sure if I was really capable of loving another person like that, and the thought terrified me (due to past trauma)--and mind you I'm a straight cisgender female. And even when we started dating, I still felt a sense of dread knowing it would eventually end, and we'd break up like every other time I tried to date a guy.

What really forced me to face my feelings was when I encountered a similar situation to Sooch: I almost lost my boyfriend for good. He was going to leave to another city that was thirteen hours away, and I still couldn't drive, and I hated the city he was leaving to. And he wasn't even thinking of leaving because of the relationship--he wanted to live with his best friend who was already living there so he could get started on his dream job. We both were in consensus that our relationship would most likely be temporary, and we were only together to help each other move out of our parents' houses (it's complicated so I won't explain). The whole time I was telling him that I wasn't capable of loving and that our relationship would be best left temporary --and yet I cried my eyes out whenever I thought I'd never get to see him again. And I had thoughts of spending the rest of my life with him, and to care for him.

And when I finally realized I might love him, I had to face my demons and become okay with the fact that I really could love another person--just as Sooch had to come to terms with being comfortable trying intimacy with Howie. And I admitted my feelings to the guy, just as Sooch admitted his to Howie just now. And you know what? The guy gave me a chance. He accepted my newfound love for him and gave me a chance to foster it with him. And the best part--we've been together now for three years.

So that's why I say Howie should at least accept Sooch's offer and try. It might end up better than it was before. Affection can do interesting things to two best friends, and I'd like to see where it ends up.
........Whatever. I'm just happy Howie's mad at Sooch. Learning you've been lied to isn't exactly an easy thing to recover from, even if it does mean great news in the end. To put it in perspective, it's like if you run some medical test and the doctor tells you, "You'll die of cancer by next week," and so you start overpreparing for your own funeral and the same doctor comes back and says "Psyche!".

Yes, an extreme comparison, but that's probably how angry Howie's feeling.

(If that analogy doesn't make sense, then it's as though Howie was told Sooch died, and at Sooch's funeral Sooch jumped out of his coffin and said "PSYCHE!")
@Guest: *TL;DR WARNING* JadedCarlile seems to have him/herself well defended, but I'll input my two-cents anyway just because. I somehow feel like you're contradicting your own statement. You feel this is an unintelligent story, yet you're looking for a "cinema movie just with 2 guys", and claim this is more of a "documentary" than a story. Let me explain why these two comments juxtapose each other.

1. "You feel this story is unintelligent and will end like any other BL". I believe you're talking about the dreaded yaoi that most of this community are heavily against. The argument currently is that yaoi (or Japanese BL) holds no substance of its own, is cliche in every way just to make sure the two guys get together, and always ends with the notion that sex fixes everything. This sounds about where you're trying to take your stance, is it not? You're attempting to side with those who want a believable story without relying so much on unnecessary fluff or hots.

2. You want a more cinematic story and feel this is "more of a documentary". Documentaries are just another medium for story-telling; the only distinguishing factor is that a documentary relies mostly on grounded facts, a tangible timeline of events, and a heavy focus on the mundane acting as both support and antagonists. Therefore, this should be the most realistic version of any kind of story--which is exactly what you seem to be arguing for. Documentaries are also cinematic in the most minimalistic ways, however, and may utilize some effects to bring focus and attention to certain areas of interest throughout the story--which is exactly what the author here is doing.

So I'm not sure where your real argument lies. Do you want a story that is more realistic and believable, or do you want a story with more fluff and butterflies and rainbows? The fact that you called JadedCarlile a Fujoshi means you feel this story has no substance and only has fluff. the same time by saying it's like a documentary you feel it's going too slow?

So honestly, you just invalidated your own argument. And by the way, I'm happy to call myself a Fujoshi. At least I'm more flexible in my taste in BL as a result ;3
.................................................................................... ..........................Weeeeeeeeeeeeell damn
..............Well damn
True, Howie needs space. But I think an almost life/health-threatening situation overrides that initial agreement. As important as Howie's emotional health is, personal feelings can be dealt with later. For now, I do think it would be best for Howie to force Sooch to let him stay--at least until Sooch comes back to his safe place so he can work out his own issues.
I'm just gonna wait. There are too many predictions I could make about this, but now I just wanna see the result of their separation ;^;
I just love how fatherly Howie's being right now. And as far as how Sooch should respond, I wonder if he should just try to apologize right now. I mean, even if he doesn't know exactly what it means for him to be okay with the kiss, Howie should understand most of all what it's like to be this confused about your own feelings. That alone should (or I hope it would) give Howie some relief in the sense that Sooch wasn't making him feel this way on purpose.
@Guest: I believe you are referring to a couple of magical artistic devices at play--artistic style, and readability. The saying goes, "The eyes are the window to the soul," so especially for one who is harder to read, giving them larger eyes could help their expressions come through easier and more legible, thus avoiding confusion when the artist attempts to convey the characters' thoughts. Maybe the larger people have smaller eyes because their body language already speaks for them, so their eyes are more for conveying their current emotion than their overall personality. And if you notice, the girls have larger eyes as well, maybe because they're not as physically expressive, or because they don't have as much of an appearance in the plot (or both), so the larger eyes makes it super easy for the audience to understand what kind of people *they* are and what they feel--in that situation, or overall.

And as for style, the artist may have been inspired by shoujo anime/manga from Japan, and because the style impressed her so much--or maybe she wanted to improve upon it with her own creations--she produced a style of this manner, keeping the ever famous shoujo eye-size difference from the genre, which is feminine characters having larger eyes, and masculine ones having smaller eyes. Which, might I add, are used for the exact same reason I have already stated a paragraph ago.

A disclaimer, however. These are merely my observations based on my years of experience in the genre, from years of utilizing such tactics in my own art, and from reading this artist's story for two(?) years now. Please take this much with a grain of salt, as it is my own opinion, after all :)

P.S. And believe me, I could go on and on about arguing the opposite as well, about people who use dots for eyes instead, or for American graphic novelists who do the same and *haven't* read manga in their life. Just my observation is all.
Gathering from what I've read so far, Sooch is upset that he betrayed Howie by lying to him, in his own confusion, about his thoughts on the kiss. Sooch later tries to mull everything over with the compounding stress of possibly failing himself out of school and a secure future. Then Liam shows up and kicks Sooch to the rock bottom of his own ditch of mistakes he'd been digging this whole time. And now Howie shows up to save Sooch.

At this point I feel that Liam has done his part, so it would make total sense if Sooch refused to say it was Liam--especially since it might actually make it worse if they try to confront Liam again when they wouldn't even know what they're fighting for. Yes it's bad that Liam threw Sooch against the wall, but did so to defend against Sooch's counterattack on his ego and rep. What would going back serve to prove for either of them? Anything they try to correct Liam would just get thrown back at them, I feel.

I'm hoping the two sit in the room and discuss what the separation is doing to them. I don't think they need to bring Liam into this anymore, until--and only until--they figure out what they are to each other. If they can't even figure that out, they can't tell Liam off, because Liam will definitely have a comeback to make it all worse.
People are saying Liam's closeted. I still think he's just a homophobic asshole. I'm also now half-hoping Liam beats the shit out of Sooch just so Howie can see the kind of damage Liam's actually capable of, and then we can see Howie's true colors break through. Will Howie finally see Liam for what he's worth and ditch him for good? I know (and feel) that Sooch is more than capable of beating the hell out of Liam, but I think I'd like to see it happen the other way as well ;v;
Welp, Liam was a bully back in pre-college. That's my theory I'm throwing out there. I highly doubt the amount of drugs and alcohol could turn him into this; this has to be his natural demeanor that he developed over years of dealing with other shit.

Now I'm really expecting Liam to say something crass just to give Sooch an excuse to sock him in the jaws. Heheh, this is gonna be fuuuuuuuuun *rubs hands together menacingly*
Coming from a writer's point of view...
Oddly enough this makes me like Liam's character a lot more just because of how big of a dick he is. Gives no shits at all, and he's proud of how much harm he's dealing to Sooch (and possibly Howie at some point?). I mean, clearly there's no forceful effort on his part to bring Sooch down, and I'm almost certain that if Sooch engages in a fistfight, that'll just serve to validate Liam's purpose and make him feel much more superior. Hell, he'll probably actually win and feel amazing doing it, and I would enjoy seeing him fulfill his role in such a real-worldly manner.

That said, I do NOT condone such behavior, and I also don't like seeing Sooch having to suffer like this. I'm only saying that as another storyteller who constantly creates characters and plot, this is extremely well-executed, and I appreciate how rounded Liam's character is. Because the rest of the world isn't enough at this time to drive the story (just because this is the author's desired pace), having a character like this in the "calm" of the storm calls for some great anticipation in the coming pages.

This is why antagonists are so freaking fun to draw :D

*WARNING* Again I am NOT condoning such behavior to be reenacted in the real world. Nobody should have to suffer such poisonous attacks from a guy who shouldn't even care anyway. Even he understands this clearly isn't his business, so it's not like he's hellbent on ruining the two protagonists' lives. I really hope it won't have to come down to a fistfight, but in all seriousness I'm 100% expecting it to turn out that way.
@hey: Throughout the story his suits have been becoming duller in color, and now it's pale.
Notice RGB's color still hasn't come back ;v;
At least it was because he genuinely struggled, not just ditching like I did ;7; (although I did get put on it twice because I didn't make up enough credits the second time)