Stevie Woods:author of gay romantic fiction

January 30, 2013

Choices, 25% excerpt!

The 25% excerpt today is from CHOICES, my contemporary novella released in December 2012 from Amber Quill Press:

Choices_medJames quickly scanned the letter. It contained information about Suzie and Becky, Ben’s two younger sisters, and James was surprised to see Suzie was about to celebrate her seventeenth birthday. Time did, indeed, fly. Ben’s mother was a little concerned about his father…seemed the man wasn’t well, but wouldn’t go to the doctor. James remembered how stubborn Ben’s father could be and hoped Ben’s mother was worrying unnecessarily.

At last, Ben got around to writing about himself. He’d taken the plunge and left his job to start up on his own. Since he’d done a few carpentry jobs on the side and gained a bit of a reputation for himself, he’d decided it was time to become his own boss. Ben proudly added he was really standing on his own two feet now as he’d also just rented his first small apartment, hardly big enough to swing a cat, but all his. James was happy for him, but he doubted Ben would ever be able afford anything as nice as the place James was to move into the next day.

Feeling rather petty, James glanced back at the letter. Ben seemed to have stopped mid-subject; he’d been talking about a baseball game he’d gone to with some friends and then suddenly he’d begun a new paragraph.

Writing this I can’t help but wonder if you really want news from home. You haven’t replied to a letter of mine in about nine months. I had hoped to be kept abreast of how you were doing, if it was all you expected, everything you wanted. I kept hoping to hear you’re about to come home for a few days, but it seems you don’t want that. Am I being a nuisance? Do you want me to stop writing? It’s not what I want, but it has to be up to you. Please write back this time and then I’ll know you want me to continue, even if you don’t always have time to write back. But if you don’t respond this time, then I won’t write again. Please know that whatever you decide, my door and my heart will always be open to you.

God, what had he done! Fuck…of all the letters to misplace! And now what was he supposed to do?

His immediate reaction was to write to Ben right away and he was trying to think in which box he’d packed the stuff from his desk drawer, until the thought occurred that perhaps it was better this way. Six months had passed and Ben must have already assumed James purposely hadn’t replied and he no longer wanted to hear from Ben. His stomach cramped at the hurt Ben must have felt at the realization. But surely he’d be over it by now and if James opened that door again…

Somewhere down the line James knew the odds were Ben would be hurt again, either by his thoughtlessness, or quite possibly by his choice at some future date to discontinue the association. He was honest enough to admit to his own selfish nature, to the likelihood that one day he’d find reminders of his small town beginnings too unpalatable.

James wasn’t too proud to admit he’d never kept to the arrangement he and Ben had made to write to each other. God, Ben must have posted ten letters to every one James had written. Was it really fair to put Ben through that when he already believed it was over? No, it was kinder in the long run to leave things as they were. Let Ben believe James was a callous bastard, for hadn’t he proved it was true?

The decision made, James felt better. Ben would be fine. No one eased through life as simply as Ben did, and James was sure he would be making the best of whatever life threw at him and be as successful as he needed to be. It was probable he’d already put thoughts of James Lilley away into a tidy little box. James hoped he’d take them out on occasion and remember his old friend fondly.

Sighing a little, James placed the letter in the box of items he wanted to keep and carried on packing up the last few things in preparation for his move.

<end excerpt>

To read the full novella, go here

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