Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Consolation Prize - Chapter 1


It was so incredibly ugly. She couldn’t believe it. 

“If you don’t move around too much, then it should hold,” Magda said as she unceremoniously stuck a pin into the shimmery fabric—fabric that Scottie had told Nora not to choose under any circumstances. 

“Should?” Scottie asked the older woman skeptically, ending hard on the d. She ran her hands over the offensive fabric and turned her face to the side in the mirror, imaging what she might look like walking down the aisle. Except for some reason she had a hard time picturing herself in the purple bridesmaids dress—something far more white and meaningful, and arguably, far more offensive, kept filling her mind. 

When Scottie had voiced her sincere concern, Nora, in her typical sharp tone, had promptly called her a Cee U Next Tuesday. Scottie loved that Nora wouldn’t say the word. For someone so outspoken, she had these weird prudish hang-ups, and Scottie relished the contradiction. 

“Oh, you mean cunt?” she’d said to Nora’s scowl. It had been over her last trip out to New York, right before Christmas, about six months ago. They’d gotten coffees at this Greek place in SoHo that Scottie loved and were window shopping on Spring street. It had started to snow—great big fluffy flakes—and it was on days like that that Scottie missed New York the most. 

“You know what I mean,” Nora had snorted, storming off ahead, throwing her navy scarf over her shoulder like she was on stage in front of a goddamn audience. She expertly dodged the bundled up crowds of tourists and New Yorkers alike.  

“I’m only here for four days, you know!” Scottie had shouted at her back as she pressed forward. Nora knew that Scottie’s stay was limited, but she didn’t stop nor turn around for almost ten blocks. Scottie had almost decided to throw in the towel when Nora finally rounded on her. Was it tradition for the bride to hate the maid of honor by wedding day? It felt inevitable. She wondered, as Magda furrowed her brow and rubbed her wrinkled chin, if Cory hated his best man as well. 

 “Tighter, dear,” Magda said, ignoring Scottie's earlier sarcasm, referring to her squeezing her boobs together. She sighed and pressed her palms together even harder, imagining that this must be a fraction of what a mammogram feels like. She was only twenty-nine, so she’d never had one—ONLY twenty-nine. She shuddered to think about it. She also shuddered to think about the day when placing the adjective “only” before her age lost its charm. It felt like that was going to be soon. Getting older was a bizarre and unwelcome guest that she didn’t feel like entertaining. 

When she looked down at her chest, or cleavage even, it appeared that she’d gone from her size A—that she’d hated since she was 13—to a perfect size C—the size that made her green with jealousy. Nora wore a size C bra. Scottie had this secret hunch that Nora was actually stuffing because she saw her get measured at a Victoria’s Secret once in college and Nora didn’t come out as a C. She was a generous B, at most. Stuffing crumpled tissues down your bra at 29 felt incredibly sad, but then again, Nora had taken to lying about her age already, so maybe it was less sad if you were only 25. There’s that only again. It made all the goddamn difference. Scottie wondered vaguely if Nora had had some work done. She didn’t think so, but it wouldn’t have surprised her if it were true. Nothing really would have surprised her anymore. 

 “Just a bit tighter, dear, if you can,” Magda said again, voice muffled by the blossom of pins between her teeth. Scottie sucked in as much as she could and pressed against her boobs and, ultimately, her ribs, as hard as her body would allow. 

“There – we – go!” Magda chirped, sticking one final pin in on the side. 

Scottie realized once she let out a choked gasp that she’d been holding her breath. She turned toward the mirror, looking at herself from three different angles. Right mirror Scottie looked the best because her right side was decidedly her best side, but none of the mirror Scotties looked that good, which must have meant the real-life Scottie looked like a goddamn dumpster fire. This was something she’d already known in the back of her mind, but seeing it in front of her was jarring as all hell. Her collarbones jutted out sharply above the strapless sweetheart neckline, a terrible neckline for her, as you’d have it. Her dark curls descended wildly from the half-assed messy bun she threw up after rolling over, seeing the time, and throwing herself from the guest bed at her mother’s apartment. And her freckles. Her freckles looked like she’d drawn them on with a marker. 

Magda sighed audibly and undoubtedly at Scottie’s appearance. Scottie tried to wipe a little bit of the raccoon eye make-up off her face from last night, but the effort was fruitless as she just smudged more, like she was drawing under her eyes with the same marker she’d used on her freckles. She had gotten home late, thrown herself into the empty apartment, tumbled into bed still dressed, face unwashed, teeth unbrushed. The picture of a woman discarded. She looked like one of the crack addicts who would sleep on her block—her old block—in Los Angeles, near the dumpsters behind the 7/11. 

And as she thought of those disgusting trash receptacles, it hit her, quite suddenly, that it had been less than 24 hour since she had quit her relationship with J.J., or rather, he had quit it with her. She didn’t tell Sara she’d left and wasn’t coming back. She couldn’t tell Sara. Sara was the reason she went to Los Angeles in the first place, and part of the reason she felt she’d had to leave yesterday. It always came back to Sara and her recurring penchant for opiates. 

“Fuck,” Scottie whispered without taking her eyes off her reflection. Magda shook her head and made a clucking noise. 

“Just a bit of,” she hesitated awkwardly, trying to decide how best to phrase the next bit. “New makeup and….and maybe some hairspray.” 

“Yeah, yeah, okay,” Scottie said stubbornly. Magda was right. My God was she right. And that was exactly why Scottie had to get the hell out of there. 

“What’s the occasion?” Magda asked, smoothing out the ugly purple skirt.

“I’m going to a wedding.” Scottie replied, deadpan. 

“OH! How exciting!” The bird face exclaimed as she clasped her hands and rocked side to side. Scottie returns with a tight light of a smile. Magda, Magda. Her skin was so thin, like tissue paper. It looked like it was covered in fine dust. The kind of dust that resided between flaps of stacked fabric. Scottie prayed, silently, that she would never look like Magda. Although Magda didn’t look like a woman who lied about her age, and Scottie appreciated that. 

“Right,” she snapped sarcastically, “great.” 

“Okay,” Magda smiled, lips tight and chapped.  Scottie hitched up her slightly off purple skirt to get down off the platform. If Nora wasn’t having hair and makeup done for all of them she swore she would throw herself in traffic. Or she’d go back to her mom’s vacant apartment and stick a fork in her eye.

 As she was checking her purse for money, one of the pins poked her in the rib and she winced reflexively. Reaching into the wad of cash she had taken out yesterday, Scottie shoved three twenties at Magda. She noticed and chose to ignore, as she passed over the bills, that her manicure had irreparably chipped. 

“Wait,” Magda took a step toward Scottie, looking down at the crumpled money in her palm. 

“Yeah?” Scottie asked, irritated. Her foot was twitching—nervous habit.

“You can’t leave like that, dear – I haven’t altered the dress yet.” Magda’s face was a mangled mess of confusion, wrinkles, and creased makeup. 

“No time,” Scottie replied, turning toward the door, pulling up the tulle underskirt so it didn’t drag on the street. The only thing worse than that stupid ugly thing would have been if it were covered in New York City street grime. 

“When’s the wedding?” Magda asked, following Scottie out the door into the bright sunlight that she’d forgotten about. Magda shielded her eyes to the burst and Scottie wondered, absently, if Magda would disappear in a poof of fabric dust when the sun hit her. Scottie felt like Magda was something out of a Brothers Grimm tale—old, enchanted, and ultimately, stuck on rerun. 

Scottie rummaged for her sunglasses in her bag, thrusting them onto her face and turning around with a scowl. She felt like garbage, and if the mirror was any evidence, she looked like it too. 

“Tonight,” Scottie said rudely, turning to face the street. Right now, actually, she thought helplessly. 

Fuck. 

She ran up West 4th Street holding her heels, skirt, and purse, scanning the street for a cab—any cab. At this point, she would have even taken one of those big vans that rattled all the fucking way. She spotted one coming up fast. Throwing herself into the street with her hand up, she waved desperately, unaware as a car whizzed by, the whoosh throwing her back, missing her by less than a few inches. She tapped her right foot again—nervous habit. The pavement was warm under her toes. 

Someone whistled at her from behind. She spun around but, without losing sight of the task at hand, immediately threw her hand back in the air. Stay focused, Scottie. You need a cab. 

Another whistle. 

“Put some shoes on, woman!” A man’s voice, gruff with a Jamaican accent. Throwing his hands in the air, he stood on the sidewalk with a flowered shirt that looked three sizes too big, and what looked like a bathing suit in lieu of real pants. He looked at her and scoffed, waving her off as he did. Scottie realized it was a “get her attention whistle” not a “let’s fuck,” whistle—but still, she was irritated.

“You put some shoes on,” Scottie snapped back like a rubber band. He started walking away from her, down the street but then he stopped short and shouted.

“These are sandals.” 

Scottie glanced back at him quickly, suddenly feeling the grit between her toes, dreading looking at the bottom of them, but feeling secure in her decision not to eat shit and break her ankle outside Joe’s Pizza, face to pavement. 

The cab slowed down, and there was a moment where she saw the cabbie see her and she knew he knew this wasn’t going to be a good ride. But he stopped in spite of the exchange. She hitched up her dress again, the fabric pulling slightly as one of the pins pressed into her back, needling her skin. Scottie inhaled and grabbed the door. It’s was, of course, a van cab. 

“Fuck,” she said loudly as she yanked the door. It slid back with a harsh grinding sound that aggravated her already mounting headache. She tumbled in, gathering the fabric up in her arms like two chubby children, clutching them to her chest. She might have been showing this man more than he bargained for if she was wearing anything else, but there was too much fabric on the fucking thing for anyone to really see anything worth writing home about, and even then it probably wasn't worth writing anyone about. 

“The Bronx,” Scottie nodded at him as she reached for the handle to yank the door closed. He sighed loudly and started the meter.

“Sandals,” she shouted at the man’s flowery back, horns wailing behind the cab she was stalling by lingering in the open door. “Are not shoes!” That was something that she, for one, felt incredibly passionate about, and for some reason, it felt really important in that moment to share it. 

<>


Will, as open and genuinely receptive as he was, had never really liked Nora. He’d tried extra hard to have an open mind over the years that she’d been with Cory—for the sake of his friend of almost thirty years now—but it was something about their personalities—they simply didn’t click. Nora was beautiful—Will couldn’t deny that—but God did she know it. Her troubling lack of humility knew no bounds. 

She had the kind of porcelain skin you saw on cartoon princesses, so pale and smooth and blemish free it almost seemed to radiate some kind of light. She had rich dark red hair and ice blue eyes, and was so tiny—at barely 5’1”—that Will, sitting down as always was, was almost as tall as she was. But once she opened her mouth, her beauty seemed to be sucked out of the room like someone was goddamn vacuuming it up. Will knew she resented him for a few reasons—the primary and most recent being that she believed, not so secretly, that he would ruin her wedding pictures. Another was that Will had never been one to mince words. He’d been called “direct” to his face, and he was confident he’d been called a “dick” behind his back. He didn’t think there was much time for anything but honesty. And Nora didn’t like push back or feedback, but she did seem to enjoy fighting back. He did have to give it to her though, she probably made a pretty good lawyer with that kind of aggression. 

She also seemed to resent Cory’s friends an unusual amount. It was always a competition for his time, but Will wouldn’t concede any fault on that one. He felt that he was fairly reasonable, being that he was an introvert and never was one to pushed to get together much to begin with. And to add to the situation, it seemed to be the case that Nora’s only real female friend worth anything was this mysterious maid of honor from Los Angeles who had apparently made a habit of disappearing unexpectedly. Will couldn’t imagine she was much though, considering whom she apparently called her best friend. Although, judging by her impending late arrival, Will questioned how mutual the feelings were. 

And then there was the guilt that wracked Cory. Will didn't know about this particular reason, but it might have been the one that Nora clutched most tightly. Cory had had a hard time with Will's accident as he'd been in the car the night it happened. It haunted him and that kind of bone chilling fear soaked into him and ricocheted into every facet of his life. Will represented something that Cory never wanted to remember, and Nora begrudged Will for simply existing—a living, breathing, imperfect reminder of the worst night of Cory's life. Of course, Nora being Nora, with very little room for empathy in all that insecurity, failed to consider that the night of the accident might also have been the worst night of Will's life. She concerned and busied herself with Cory's needs, as his needs ultimately translated to her own. 

“Here you go Nash,” Nick said as he sat down next to Will, handing him a cold glass of champagne. Nash was Will’s last name and it had been his childhood nickname. Oddly, Pete had the same last name and people just called him Pete. 

“I shouldn’t,” Will replied, a hazy foreboding hanging around his head about the speech he had to make, or rather, make up, later, but he took it anyway and chanced a sip. He liked the way the cold bubbles felt as they went down his throat. He was just starting to feel nervous. Nick was part of their childhood group, another friend of 30 years, as good as kin. He whistled as he finished a sip of his own glass. There was a boyish quality about him, with a kind round face, brown eyes and light brown hair, and an uncanny cartoony aura about his expressions and mannerisms that could extract a smile from even the most stoic. 

“That’s some good shit,” he said in earnest. Will laughed. Nick was easily impressed, although, in his defense, the champagne was very good. “And that,” he continued, pointing directly at Will’s black eye, “Is also some good shit.” 

Will pounded his fist into his hand and couldn’t help but give Nick his best tough guy face. It soon melted into a crooked smile and then, at the sound of the door swinging open, brusquely shifted to a grimace as Cory sauntered into the room and locked eyes with him. He looked as good as Will had ever seen him, dressed in a much nicer tuxedo than the wedding party, who were, indeed, wearing very nice tuxedos. His thick dirty blonde hair was gelled down and his face was clean-shaven—for once. But that clean-shaven face predictably fell at the sight of the affronting eye. 

“Fuck,” he whispered. Then he shook his head and started to laugh. “Nora is going to fucking kill me, Nash.” But Will knew, that if Nora was going to kill anyone, it was going to be him. Between the wheelchair, which she’d known about and resented since she’d known him, and the black eye, which she would certainly know about soon, he was undoubtedly going to ruin some, if not all, of the wedding pictures. And oddly, as he tipped the champagne glass back and took another—larger—sip, it didn’t bother him at all. 

<> 

They arrived at Wave Hill a full two hours after the specified arrival time Scottie had been given by the aforementioned bride. Her stomach clenched at the thought of Nora’s face upon her late arrival. The cabbie pulled into the driveway and stopped so short that she banged her face on the Plexiglas partition. 

“What the fuck, man?” she yelled, rubbing her forehead frantically. Add a bruised nose to the list of transgressions. 

“Sorry, lady,” he said in a thick eastern European accent she couldn’t place. Not that she was great at placing accents. 

“I’m tipping 10%,” she muttered mostly to herself as she pressed through the payment screen and pulled out her credit card. 

“Not an option,” he replied smugly. She looked at the screen incredulously. Fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five percent, or calculate your own. 
“Ughhhh,” she groaned. It was like he was inside her head—which hurt too much to calculate the tip, plus she’d never been particularly good at math, especially not public math. 

“Fine,” she conceded through gritted teeth. 

“Have a nice day,” he said in a singsong voice. 

“You have a nice day,” Scottie spit back, not realizing what she’d said until it was out of her mouth. 

Her heart was racing as she jumped out of the van and slammed the door—hard. It popped back open and she felt him looking at her, daring her to slam it again. She took a deep breath and slid it closed quickly, but far less hard than previously. It clicked closed and she noted how much less satisfying it felt. And then she unceremoniously dropped her purse, which had been wedged between her body and her other arm, and it predictably spilled its contents everywhere.

Scottie stopped and looked at her things all over the driveway, letting out air through gritted teeth. Shutting her eyes tightly, trying to block out the intense sunlight, she took a deep breath. It was too fucking hot of day for a wedding. 

Opening her eyes and kneeling down to pick up her things, she felt some of the tension ebbing away. A cool breeze came from behind her and it was a welcome relief on the back of her slick sweaty neck. Standing up, she pulled one of the little airplane bottles of gin she’d picked up this morning. The cashier had eyed her bare feet, thinly veiled disgust on his face. Scottie didn’t disagree with him, but another pair of shoes wouldn’t fit in her purse. 

“Early?” he’d asked as he rung her up. She’d given him a cold sarcastic smile as she shoved cash his way and grabbed the brown paper bag. 

“Doesn’t feel early,” she’d spat as she pushed the door open, bell tinkling irritatingly behind her.

She probably should have taken one of her mom’s old carpetbags, but she hadn’t really given herself any time to think, barely brushing her teeth before she pulled the bridesmaid dress out of the plastic for the first time and tossed it haphazardly over her head only to find that it fit her like a burlap sack. Thankfully, before her mother really started slip into the folds of her deteriorating mind, she’d had a tailor named Magda down the block. That was how Scottie ended up a Saturday morning pincushion. 

The rush of bitter pine hit her throat with intensity, carving a hot trail all the way down to her stomach. She downed the bottle and opened her purse to stash it until she could find a trash can when she heard a voice. Confused, husky, worried even, but it was a welcome voice—a voice she knew, no questions there. 

“Gin, huh?” It came gruffly as she whipped around to see his face. He was had a smile playing at his lips, but his brow was furrowed concern. She felt like he was approaching her the way a hunter might approach a timid deer in the woods with a shotgun behind his back. Ignoring that disturbing image, she stepped toward him coyly with a crooked smile. 

“Gin,” she confirmed. He laughed and looked down at his dress shoes. Then he noticed her bare feet. 

“Shoes?” he asked. 

“Shoes,” she said, holding up the strappy stilettos in her hand. She didn’t like them at all, but she’d had to pull whatever she’d had on hand that would go with the purple dress. That didn’t leave many options. Also she noted privately that they were technically sandals, and therefore, by the transitive property, not shoes. 

“Why put them on for the journey? Save them for the event,” he said, shaking his head in mock agreement. 

“Max,” she continued, warmly, face feeling elastic as her smile widened. “Max!” She shouted as she walked quickly toward him and threw her arms around his neck, pulling them tight. He lifted her up and spun her around once, kissing her on the cheek. He smelled so familiar to Scottie, smoky and woody, like camping, and it put her at ease…or maybe it was the gin. She settled on the combination of the two having the mood lifting effect. 

“Scottie, darling” he whispered into her hair, loosening his grip as he put her back down. He had always called her darling and it was like music for Scottie to hear it again. She took a step back to get a better look at him. His dark brown hair was gelled back a little but sticking up slightly in the back like it always did—the king of the cow lick. His dark brown eyes were flashing as he took her in. His tuxedo was flawless. Cory had chosen the cummerbund and bowtie for his groomsmen and Scottie had to admit that he’d made a much better choice than Nora had on the bridesmaid dresses. Cory did always have impeccable taste. 

“You look really nice,” she said, rubbing his arm. 

“You look like shit,” he replied snappishly.

“If you weren’t right, I’d argue,” she agreed.  

“We’ve been calling,” he said simply, shrugging. 

“I,” she started to say, reaching into her purse for her phone. She pulled it out and pressed the button—nothing. 

“It’s, uhh,” she replied flatly, “dead.” She held it out to him and he glanced at it for a second then returned his gaze to her. 

“We were worried,” he said. 

“I know, I’m sorry,” she replied guiltily.
  
“Was your flight delayed?” he asked. 

“Oh,” she stuttered, “Yes. Terribly. I was up all night.” The lie felt awkward on her tongue, but she didn’t fight it. She had no excuse for being late except that she’d gotten exceptionally drunk on her own last night. 

“Where’s J.J.?” he asked, looking around like he might be hiding behind a tree or something. 

“Oh,” Scottie waved her hand absently, “He couldn’t make it.” She bit her lower lip and took his eyes in hers, determined not to look away. She dared him to question her. She knew he knew she was lying, but Max, unsurprisingly choosing the path of least resistance, didn’t say anything. They had a wedding to attend for God’s sake. 

 He cleared his throat loudly to signal that this wasn’t over just yet, but he’d let it go for now, and put his hands in his pocket. She was being dodgy, but he didn’t know how to pin her down. Her hair was a mess. Her face, looked, well haggard—like she hadn’t had a good night sleep in weeks. She was tall, exotic looking, and beautiful, even on her worst day, but he felt like this might have been on of those worst days. The silence between them stretched. 

“It was last minute,” she said, voice matter of fact. He saw through her attempt at brushing it off like it was nothing. She held her breath, watching him, hoping against hope he would drop it and let them move past this conversation that she wasn’t ready to have. 

“Very,” Max said flatly. 

“Max,” she said his name like pressing a button, taking a step closer, “I’m here now.” She reached out and took his hands in hers. His face softened a bit. 

“Yes,” he replied, “that is true. Nora won’t actually murder you now.” Scottie felt herself blush a bit, letting the awful truth about how late she was sink in a bit. Fuck, she thought. 

“Thank God,” she sighed, “you know how she gets.”

“It’s her wedding day,” he replied sharply, taking Nora’s side in his inflection. “And between you and the best man, you’re going to kill the couple.”

“Yes,” she conceded immediately, “you’re right. I’m sorry. I just—it’s been a long week.” She felt her face flush even more than it already had and ignored the best man comment. Whatever he’d done couldn’t have been worse than arriving hours late, right? 

“Come on,” he reassured her and turned back toward the beautiful house set back on the lawn in front of them. Putting his hand on her back he immediately recoiled, pulling his hand away like he’d been burned, examining it closely. 

“What the fuck is that?” he said frantically, turning to look at the back of her dress.
“Oh,” she replied, blowing air out through her nose and pursing her lips. “I, uh,” she said, “I had to get the dress taken in.” 

“You do look thin,” he responded, noticing the slight curves she used to have were absent and her already slender arms were twig-like. Her boobs looked big, but he realized it was probably because the dress was constricting them. Her collarbones look sharp, cheekbones even sharper. 

 “Thank you,” she sang, refusing to acknowledge the serious edge in his voice. She absolutely refused. She knew was thinner than she ever had been, but she couldn’t keep on the weight. Sara’s dip back into the exciting world of opiates had taken a very physical toll on Scottie this time.  

“Some things never change, do they, darling?” he asked, giving her a meaningful look that she knew meant they’d be revisiting this. She shook her head and immediately felt like there were marbles rolling around in there. “But they left some pins in the back,” he stopped and reaches for one of the more obvious ones. 

“Ah,” she shouted, spinning around on her bare heel. She had forgotten that she still needed to wipe New York City street grime off her feet—something to look forward to. “The pins must stay,” she declared, holding up a hand. 

“So they didn’t finish taking it in then?” Max asked, clearly very confused. 

“Well, no,” she replied sheepishly.  “I, well,” she started, “I didn’t try it on until this morning.” 

“This morning?” he asked, making sure he had heard her correctly. Scottie was last minute, but not generally this last minute. She nodded, face solemn and lined with guilt. He was silent for a minute before his face opened up. He was laughing before he even realized it. He was laughing hard. He slapped his knee and for about the tenth time since seeing her, shook his head. 

“Fucking classic,” he managed to say through the guffaws. 

“We are who we are,” she said, shrugging her shoulders and doing this little tap number they used to do in college when they were tipsy, or blacked out, or hungover. The ended up doing it quite a bit more than they would ever admit to anyone but each other. Max found himself laughing even louder. 

“Where’s Edwin?” she asked as Max finally came up for air. 

“Ah, he’s killing time somewhere while we get the groom ready,” he answers off handedly. 

“You left your boyfriend alone all day to fend for himself?”

“You left yours in LA,” he retorted. He noticed Scottie visibly recoil but he decided he didn’t want call attention to it, but he couldn’t help his eyes narrowing for a moment before returning to normal. 

“The bridal party is upstairs,” he offered instead, gesturing to a wide bay window on the second floor. Scottie could see movement—ugly purple movement. 

“And the groomsmen are right there,” he continued, waving at someone in a first floor window. Scottie focused a little better and saw at least six faces pressed against the glass. They were all in tuxedos that matched Max’s, and they were all laughing, which also matched Max. 

“Glad you guys got a show.” Her voice was sharp, but she was beginning to crack up. Max turned to look at her and puts his arm tenderly around her shoulders. He had so much love for this woman. If he weren’t interested exclusively in men, he’d marry her on the spot. 

“I’m avoiding the pins,” he said. His arm was heavy and comforting on Scottie’s shoulders. She unconsciously breathed a sigh of relief, and with that, let herself miss him for a moment. Coming back, suddenly and mercifully, felt like the right decision. 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” she responded with heavy eye roll. 

“And that show?” he teased. 

“Yeah?” she asked. 

“Darling,” he replied, kissing her on the top of the head. “I’ve got a hunch it isn’t quite over yet.”

Love UnSeen Continues

Sorry this is a bit late. This week hasn't been wonderful for me. My blood pressure tanked and I had to go off half my meds as a precaution, then my machine I use to help with my headache pain stopped working abruptly and with no explanation, so it's been a fun few days... But I got the chapter done! And it's a long one, relatively, so I hope you'll enjoy it, even if there's no Dan in this one.

Jackson goes to his doctor and then a surprise lunch this week.

Love UnSeen - 14


Thank you so much for all your feedback. It's so wonderful to see how many of you are enjoying this story. It pushes me to keep writing every week no matter how I'm feeling because I don't want to disappoint you all by not having a chapter done. :)

-CA

PS - Table of Contents (updated for those who want to catch up or re-read any previous parts)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Between the Pages: Chapter 8

This week is chapter eight of Between the Pages. THANK YOU so much to everyone who commented last time and everyone who read it too! I'm glad you all seem to be enjoying the story so far, and I hope that continues... :)

Also happy memorial day and thank you so much to everyone who has ever served in the military in any sort of capacity. You guys are the heroes!

Chapter 8
Table of Contents

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Beginnings Chapter 20

Dear friends of NB,
thanks for reading last week's chapter and for the lovely comments. Whoever still likes to follow along with Anna and Shane's dramatic love story, it ain't over yet. Anna leaves Shane behind with his brother and they both are hoping to make it work somehow. This chapter is somewhat transitional as they say Good Bye and Anna leaves.
I give you this week's shorter chapter Chapter 20 and want to thank you very much for reading and commenting.
Hugs, Dani
TOC New Beginnings

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Love UnSeen Continues

Last week we left off with the bomb that Dan is married. This week picks up right where we left it, as Jackson demands some answers.

Love UnSeen - 13


Thank you so much for all your feedback! I'm really happy so many of you are enjoying this story. For those of you who have asked, I do plan on revising this and submitting it for publication once I have a completed draft. Your input and encouragement has really helped me keep this story going even when I've been stuck, so I'm very grateful for that.

I have been able to do a bit more writing lately, and I'm working on both In/Exhale and Love UnSeen simultaneously. I'm still hoping I can start posting the latter starting next month. I'm also hopeful that I'll have another installment of LU next week so you won't have too long to wait.

Hope you guys don't hate me too much after this week's installment. Next week we'll see Jackson go to his doctor's appointment, and more I don't want to spoil.

-CA

PS - Table of Contents (updated for those who want to catch up or re-read any previous parts)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Footsteps - Coda/Thank You is up!

Well, that's it folks. 

Thank you so much for coming along on this ride with me, and I'm sorry I made you wait for the last three sections for, like, a year or something. I promise that the next story I post will be ready to go, once a week, until it's all posted. Having said that, I probably won't be posting on the blog for a while now. If you want to get in touch though, just let me know. 

I've been really moved by your comments and feedback - genuinely, there have been days when I've done a complete U-turn because I've read your comments on something that's been ticking away in the back of my brain for two years now. You're a lovely community of people, and thank you. 

Ok, well, that's enough from me! There are a few words in this next chapter/ending/thing which I know (from making a number of my American friends giggle/confused) are at least more common in, if not unique to, British English in this, so if you’re not sure, just ask in the comments… I don’t think it’ll get in the way though. I must have been topped up on Earl Grey tea and crumpets or something when I wrote this…

Also, this is very fluffy and a bit sugary. So have some self-indulgent fluff from me as a huge thank you for reading and engaging with this story. Everyone deserves a happy ending. 


(I should add that there's a PTSD episode in there amongst all the fluff, just as a bit of a warning.) 


Thank you so much, and take care
Rose

Monday, May 22, 2017

Between the Pages: Chapter 7

Happy Monday again! This week is chapter seven of Between the Pages. This chapter was originally really long with a good bit happening in it so I broke it up into two...but as a result this week's is on the shorter side. But next week will make up for it :) As always (and as everyone else always says too) thank you for the comments and for reading in general! It makes all of us writers so happy to know people are reading and enjoying what we're doing...and sometimes it helps get our creative juices flowing too! :)

If you're just hopping on, check out the Table of Contents!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Our Choices

This is the fifth episode of Our Choices! Thanks for your comments guys, they absolutely made my day! And wow, what a tight decision this time =)

Your choice: Go inside through the window, alone


I am on holidays next week, so the next update will be in two weeks.
Cheers,
Lovis
TOC

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Beginnings Chapter 19

Hello friends,
it's Thursday, time for New Beginnings.
First off thanks for the sweet comments last week and thanks to everyone who follows this story.
It's been a rough week and I didn't have much time to edit this chapter but I think it is ready to go. Anna stays another day with Shane's family, waiting for him to come home from his first day at his new job. Jenny and her become closer friends and Jenny tells her a bit more about Shane's past.
Since it's their last night together for a while Anna and Shane spend it the only way they should -- very close.
Hope you enjoy Chapter 19 of NB and as always thanks so much,
Yours, Dani
Table Of Contents NB

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Love UnSeen Continues

Surprise! I was fortunate and was able to get this finished early so it was ready to go this morning.

Last week, we left off where Jackson ran into his ex at a gay bar/coffee shop and was "saved" by Dan's call, inviting Jackson to join him for takeout back at the house. This week picks up right after that. I hope you enjoy.


Love UnSeen - 12, pt 2


I plan on posting again next week if things continue to go well, writing wise. I'm so glad you all are enjoying this story. Thank you for your feedback!

-CA

PS - Table of Contents (updated for those who want to catch up or re-read any previous parts)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Footsteps - Chapter Eighteen is Up!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments on last week's way-long-overdue episode. I cannot tell you how happy it makes us writers when you guys take the time to leave feedback. Seriously.

Without (too much!) further ado, because I think I waffled on enough in last week's post, here's the link to the last chapter of Footsteps. This and the previous one were originally all one chapter, but I split it up. That's why this one is a bit shorter than the last one, but I felt like it worked better as a stand-alone chapter, whereas before it all dragged on a bit too long...

Thank you so much for coming along with me on this story. It's been a pleasure. And I promise that if/when I post more stories on here, they will be completely written and edited and ready to go on a weekly basis before I start posting...!

I do have one more little bit planned for this story as a little bit of an epilogue/coda/thank-you, so hopefully that'll be up next Tuesday.



Thank you, and take care,
Rose

Monday, May 15, 2017

Between the Pages: Chapter 6

Happy Monday, everybody! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend; and to the mothers on the blog: I hope you each had a wonderful day being celebrated! :) I'm here today delivering chapter six, which I hope you all like because it's one of my favorites. Thank you for all of the encouraging comments last week!!!! Your comments really do make my day. I hope you all enjoy this next installment of Between the Pages. :)

Table of Contents

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Our Choices

Welcome to the fourth episode of Our Choices! Last week you decided to be brave (much braver than I would have been) and not to call the guy for help. Well, here's a shout out to strong woman! Special thanks to the person who suggested an alternative answer. A wise choice to arm yourself! I built that into the story, but without asking Ezra since I am quite sure he would not have patiently sat downstairs and waited for Caroline to shoot the potential zombie with his gun.

Okay, let's see if you've done the right thing or risked too much...

Your choice: Reach for the gun


Have a great weekend!
Lovis

Thursday, May 11, 2017

New Beginnings Chapter 18

Hello friends,
time flies when you're busy and here is Thursday again. Thanks for all your comments last week, I know it was a long chapter.
This week's installment is a bit shorter and it's more of a finishing up the day Anna and Shane shared with their very wet and hot adventure last week. And no, they didn't catch a cold, that would just be way too much drama...:-) lol
Here is Chapter 18 of NB. I hope you enjoy reading this one.You guys mean a lot to me,
Thanks for reading,
Yours, Dani

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Love UnSeen Continues


Hey, everyone! I'm back from my trip. A lot of pain and disappointment but still some promise... Sadly, we won't know anything for weeks to months. I appreciate your support and patience!

I wanted to get all of Chapter 12 done for you all today but I am just too tired, so I decided to post the first half and get the second half for you next week. Figured you'd all prefer something rather than nothing for another week.

Last week, Jackson was surprised by his ex, Benji, in a gay coffee shop/bar where they used to hang out back in grad school. Their convo picks up where it left off last chapter.

Love UnSeen - 12 - pt 1


Still hoping I can get back to posting In/Exhale in June, but progress is very slow. I *am* working on it, I just haven't been able to do too much with it each week. But I will get it posted again through hell or high water!

-CA

PS - Table of Contents (updated for those who want to catch up or re-read any previous parts)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Footsteps - Chapter Seventeen is up

Wow, hi. It's been a while... I made you guys wait for this one, didn’t I? I'm sorry about that. Turns out after my post on Friday that a few of you do remember what’s going on in this story, and who I am, so thank you! I'm really touched by your comments. I’ll put in a ‘read more’ so that I don’t clog up an entire page with this intro/explanation to the latest chapter which has become a small essay…

Monday, May 8, 2017

Between the Pages: Chapter 5

Two posts in one day! Without any further ado.... Chapter 5. Hope y'all enjoy, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!!

Between the Pages: Chapter 4


This week's update of Between the Pages is in! I hope you guys enjoy it! This chapter is kind of a filler chapter...so I might post another later today too--and I think you guys will really like that one. :D Also, holy wow! THANK YOU everyone who commented!! I love reading comments and getting advice. You guys are so awesome. :)

Enjoy chapter 4! Chapter 5 will (possibly) be forthcoming later today. 

Table of Contents (for those of you just hopping on the train!) 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Our Choices

Thanks guys for playing this game! This is the third episode of Our Choices. I managed to disable the tracking function, so you will not see yourself on a map anymore. Apologies for that!! I did not realize it would do that. Plus, in this chapter there is the possibility to add your own suggestion to the answers. But beware, you can only vote once! =) I wish you fun with:

Your choice: Try to make a deal


Lovis

Friday, May 5, 2017

Slipping - A Short Story


I've been away from the blog for so long that I had to ask Lee what the rules were now on posting because I'm actually ready now to post my next chapter of Footsteps (I know, right? You even remember that story, let alone who I am?!). When I found out Fridays are for short stories and one-shots, I asked if I could post this. I'm aiming to post Footsteps on Tuesday 9th May, but if anyone wants to use that day, just let me know in the comments on this post.  

I'll do a longer post on Tuesday to go with Footsteps Chapter 17, but just wanted to thank those of you who have left me nice comments, encouraging me to finish Footsteps. It's now finished, with a fluffy little Post Script also being written. Lovis is kindly going to give it a quick look over before Chpt 17 gets posted, so thanks Lovis! I've got two more chapters of Footsteps left to post, so I'll aim for Tuesday 9th and 16th, and hopefully 23rd for the coda. 

This is my first M/M story on the blog. It's non-explicit, and it features some dissociative (specifically derealisation) behaviour. And I'm choosy about when I reveal my names, so you'll have to indulge me and play the pronoun game for a bit… It's a story of a connection lost at a time of great change and trauma, and the power of reconnection a little bit later in life 

This one was really dear to me, and I loved writing it. Let me know your thoughts on it if you'd like to, and I'll see you on Tuesday! Rose. 


Thursday, May 4, 2017

New Beginnings Chapter 17

Hello my friends,
this week I made it on time, finished editing and reworking this next chapter. It's a long one this time. I was thinking about where to cut it in half but since it is all happening in one day I figured I leave it all together.
Anna and Shane are going through an emotional day but ending with their love for each other and the very longing to make their relationship work despite Anna leaving soon.
I realize my story is not very cheerful and my characters are broken and tortured souls. That's why I'm thankful for the people who are okay reading this story and are staying with me throughout Shane's and Anna's complicated love story.
I give you this week's Chapter 17 of NB and want to thank everyone who reads along and always welcome your comments.
Hugs, Dani

Monday, May 1, 2017

Between the Pages: Chapter 3

As usual, thanks everybody for reading! I hope you guys like this next chapter--and the story in general! Also, I've gone back and replied to comments (I'm so bad at that). Thank y'all again for always being so encouraging and helpful!!

 Table of Contents