One little word can evoke such powerful and miserable emotions. We’ve all been in a relationship before where it’s ended and probably not so nicely and we’re left with an empty feeling of pain and worry and frustration and… What if you didn’t anticipate the moment and what if there wasn’t just you involved but a child as well? That’s the premise for DONE – releasing from Rebel Ink Press on the 17th. This time it’s with a twist – two men in a passionate and very normal relationship. They are adopting a child together, after having used a surrogate, and they seem to be happy and very much in love. Until one receives a phone call that changes his life – forever. Is there a secret? Oh you bet. Let’s take a look…
Simon Preston loved his life. Between his job as a highly paid architect and his lover, Chad Murphy, things couldn’t be better. And since adopting the precocious little girl who was the love of their lives, he was ready to take the next step – marriage. After a grueling day at work, Simon decided to surprise his melded family with a homemade dinner and a selection of the finest Disney movies available. He also had another surprise in mind. Gay marriages were legalized in the state of New York and even though their relationship wasn’t perfect, Simon knew it was time to make it official. The feast prepared, he waited. And waited.
When the call came, Simon’s life was immediately shattered. In disbelief, he fell into a state of despair. How could Chad leave him and take the baby? Hell bent on getting his life back, Simon fought his inner demons, an abusive past and false truths and walked a twisted path until he was a changed man. And suddenly, he was faced with the fact no one believed Chad was really in his life. Was he truly going mad?
Michael Dayton was a private investigator and former decorated cop. And he was the only man who believed Simon’s story. As both men slipped down a trail of lies and deceit, Michael attempted to drag Simon back from the brink of revenge and the ravages of insanity but he had demons of his own. Could the love and honesty given freely be their salvation or would Simon lose what was left of his humanity?
Swallowing hard he thought about his mom and sighed. A single mother raising a boy alone in Macon Georgia, she’d worked three jobs to support them and never had a moment’s peace for herself. His mother never talked about his dad but from what Simon could glean the man had been worthless. Eventually Simon stopped asking. Then she’d fallen in love again and for a while she was very happy. Too bad the man turned out to be an asshole. The funny thing was the man really seemed to adore his mother’s little boy and for a while Simon considered him a father figure.
If only he’d really seen the monster for what he was before it had been too late. Exhaling slowly, the ugly memories he’d managed to put into a dark cavern for long enough. Why he was dragging them out now he’d never know but it was time to let the dead rest. Maybe all the dark memories meant he was finally healing. Creating not only new life but also a wonderful family was the best revenge.
At least now his mother was at peace and away from the pain and horrific brutality. Perhaps she’d be smiling down at him. He could almost hear her sweet drawl as she read him a story or acted out a play or two. God the woman had talent. As Simon walked back into the kitchen he thought about the brazen Southern accent he’d fought long and hard to get rid of. The truth was though you could take the boy out of the South but the South would always remains buried in his soul. The whispered words had been montage his mother taught him from the time he could hold a pencil in his hand and understand the meaning. Yet he hated the thought of where he was from. From the bullies to the bigots he was happy to be away from the atmosphere of hate. He poured a hefty glass of wine and smiled, lifting the stem in her honor. His mom had always been his biggest supporter.
Eyeing the clock he took a sip of wine and set the table before heading into the bedroom to change. A hefty selection of Disney movies, a whole bag of popcorn and a few fire-logs for atmosphere and he was ready to light the candles and celebrate the contract. Having a secluded weekend for the three happy musketeers would be perfect.
Simon gazed at his reflection and grinned. The new black jeans were tight and perfect for his body, if he had to admit the fact in a court of law. He’d lost just enough weight he was back into his old, smaller size and was thrilled to death. Worry and frustration was certainly a weight loss aid. Brushing his hair he struck a pose and chuckled. “Not bad for an old guy.” Sauntering back into the living room he lit the fire, switched the music to an 80’s station and allowed the sounds of Bon Jovi vibrate the house. Grabbing his glass of wine, he nearly drained the contents as he danced around the expansive room and couldn’t resist singing at the top of his lungs. Jon Bon Jovi he’d never be but at least Ashley giggled and clapped when he sang.
He stirred the spaghetti sauce and allowed the wafting odors of garlic fill his nostrils making his mouth water. “Going to be very tasty tonight.” Yanking out a box of noodles, he pulled out a cutting board for the bread and dragged the butter from the refrigerator. As he turned on the oven he gazed out the window. It was already dark, one thing he hated about the fall but the passing of time was inevitable. But damn if they weren’t expecting a rather harsh winter.
Satisfied he was about as ready as he could be, for some reason he gingerly eased out the gold foil bag from its hiding place and set it on the kitchen table. Thinking better of his decision he grabbed the handle and placed the package on top of the refrigerator. Oh, who was he kidding? He could almost never keep surprises from Chad. The guy had even snooped in the closets last Christmas. It was like the man was a magnet to anything that had sparkle or money. Just given Simon’s shit eating grin Chad would know something was up. Where wouldn’t the man sniff? “Ah.” Snagging the bag he placed it in the laundry room. God knew Chad never went in there. He had to laugh. Domestic Chad wasn’t, but he was one hell of a card player and pool shark was his middle name. “Take that, mister.”
Simon was happy and as he grabbed his wine he headed for the living room. Gazing out into the cloudless night he concentrated on the stars and said a few words of thanks. Too many things could have gone wrong with the presentation and realizing the belief Ray had in him and his design skills gave him more than just pause.
As Simon looked down at his almost empty wine glass he didn’t realize how long he’d been daydreaming about the future. Cocking his head he listened for sounds of any noise in the house before he checked his watch. It was almost six thirty. Chad was almost an hour late. No need to worry, he’s a big boy. It was true enough. Simon shook his head and headed for the kitchen, his nerves getting the better of him. Why was he jittery to ask the man of his heart to marry him? Oh he could think of about a thousand reasons. Only a few of his friends knew they were living as a gay couple and even at his job he had never openly flaunted their relationship.
He had one set of extremely close friends who knew almost every detail, almost about his relationship with Chad. Justin and Mary Matthews were fabulous friends and Mary had seen him through so many things. In truth it was Mary who kept bugging him about making their relationship more formal and hell she’d never even met Chad. Somehow something had always come up that they couldn’t get together and it was usually about Simon having to work late or over the weekend or on a holiday or…. Damn it! That was so going to change. What would his dear friend and college buddy say now? Married? Ha! Granted, Simon suspected the staff at least had an inkling he was involved with someone but given the nature of their relationship and the horrific work hours Chad had yet to come to the office.
Even the office Christmas party, which was only a few months after he’d met Chad, was a mere luncheon only. This year though was going to be a different story. It wasn’t that he was ashamed but more that he learned a long time ago he had to be very private about sex of any kind. Yeah, that had been a hard lesson doled out by some football players who didn’t like the fact they found a gay magazine in his locker. One broken nose and two black eyes later and he remained to himself for the rest of the year. No one knew anything including his asshole stepfather.
Then again Simon knew exactly what happened to the once rough-hewn men who thought football would take them into glory land. They were fat and living in squalor as they dreamed about their past glory. “I am such an evil man.” As he poured another glass of wine he turned off the sauce and sliced the bread. By the time he finished preparing the garlic butter and wrapping the loaf in foil it was almost a quarter to seven. Now he was getting worried. Grabbing his phone he dialed Chad’s number and in truth was surprised the call went straight to voice mail, which meant Chad’s phone was turned off. Hmmm… Chad lived and died by his phone and was the texting King of the block. This didn’t bode well at all for his nerves. There had to be a reasonable explanation. Refusing to leave a message because he knew the teasing he was going to get, Simon hit end and stared down at the phone willing it to ring.
“Of course.” Ashley loved to play with his phone and sometimes they allowed her to punch the buttons to calm her down. He had a sinking suspicion the girl was going to work for Apple one day if not run the place. Biting his lower lip, Simon paced the kitchen and sipped his wine and then paced some more. It was more about the ugly sixth sense than anything and he hated himself for worrying. Snapping his fingers he had an idea. Striding to the little kitchen desk nestled in the corner of the room scanned the bulletin board until he found Maria’s phone number. They’d interviewed almost twenty baby sitters before finding the right one. The spunky woman came with several recommendations and had a background in teaching so Maria was perfect and lived only a few miles from their house.
“Maria, it’s Simon Preston.” Tapping his foot on the kitchen floor his kept his eyes on the window searching for any headlights. Chad would hate to know he was being checked up on. “I’m fine. How are you and the twins? Ah…that’s great.” What if Chad stopped for a bottle of champagne? That would be so like him and their local grocery store had one of the old timey electric horses for kids. And it would also be so very much like Chad to allow her to ride more than one time. “I was just making sure that Chad picked up Ashley this afternoon. I must admit with something I had to finish at work I was terrified we got our wires crossed.” Yeah, a pony ride wasn’t what she needed just before dinner but she’d be in a good mood anyway.
“Oh he did? That’s great. About what time was that? I’m preparing a surprise dinner.” He glanced at his watch for the tenth time. It was just after seven. “Oh, almost an hour ago. Okay. No, that’s what I needed to know and thank you very much. Have a wonderful weekend.” Sucking in his breath, he laid the phone down and licked his lips before calculating the distance from Maria’s house to the local grocery store and home. Granted he had to throw in the fact it was Friday and not only would there be more traffic but the store would likely be packed but even given a few minutes to spare Chad was late.
“This is ridiculous.” He paced for another five minutes before yanking the phone up and dialing Chad’s number again. “I’m going to guess you and our daughter are doing something sinful and spicy but I’m kind of getting worried so do me a favor and give me a quick ring. Kinda have dinner going you know.” Holding the phone to his head he walked back to the window and seeing headlines coming down the street he smiled. This has to be them. When the car rolled by at a fast clip, much too fast, he started thinking about a car accident. “Fuck…no. It can’t be it…” Simon shook his head. God, he was pathetic.
Sniffing, he casually dialed Mary’s number hoping his voice didn’t have a ridiculous sounding ring to it. “Hey Mary, it’s Simon.”
“You’re calling me on a Friday night,” Mary laughed. “What’s up?”
“Just wondering if by any chance Chad stopped by.”
“Chad stop by here? Honey, I don’t think so. I’m not even sure he knows where we live. Did you guys have a fight or something?”
Simon closed his eyes. “No, just the opposite cause he figured we might be celebrating and I’m in the middle of preparing a special dinner feast and you know Chad, he’s late.”
What do you think – an average night and a average life but something is VERY wrong…
I hope you enjoyed