#FlashFiction Prompt for Hurricane Relief #Flash4Storms #LemonSharkCharity @SarahBrentyn: Write & Help Those Affected By Hurricanes Harvey, Irma & Maria

Sarah Brentyn blogs at  Lemon Shark and she has set a Flash Fiction Prompt to help everyone affected by the hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Sarah is set to donate $1 to hurricane relief for every flash fiction story posted with a link to her blog. Writers, come on, let’s come together here and do something good. It won’t take much out of any of your times to help so come on, let’s get together and do it everyone! 🙂

Rules:

1. Write a piece of flash fiction in 50 words or less with the theme: Help

(This can be any sort of assistance, support, encouragement, or a story of someone or something that needs help. You do not need to use the prompt word. Be creative! It can be 50 words, 15 words…even a six-word story. Anything goes provided it is prose up to 50 words. It doesn’t have to be sunshine and rainbows but keep it PG and friendly.)

2. Add a new post on your blog with your flash fiction and the hashtag #Flash4Storms in the title

3. Link to Sarah’s original post

4. Leave a comment here with a link to your post so I know you’ve participated

5. Help spread the word on social media with the hashtags:

 

#Flash4Storms

 

#LemonSharkCharity

 

 

Ok, here’s my flash fiction story:

 

 

Till Death Do Us Part

I’d proposed here. Now he was going to die here from cancer. At the seafront. In my arms.

“I love you Paul.”, I said, kissing him.

“I love you too Keith. You helped me through everything. Now you need to help yourself.”

He died. I cried helplessly into his chest.

 

Fellow writers, please help by writing your own piece if you have time. Thank you.

My Short Story Collection Now Available On Amazon!

 

 

My short story collection All You Need Is Love: Short Story Collection is now available to buy on Amazon. There is six stories in it: a longer short story and five shorter ones. I enjoyed putting and hope that everyone will enjoy reading it too. 🙂

 

To purchase All You Need Is Love: Short Story Collection go to:

Short Story: The Pen

Shit, I thought. I really should have got one of those cheap set of earphones from the Euro shop instead of trying to save the two Euros. Well now I’ll just have to stand and stare awkwardly at people while I stand at the bus stop.
Two old women shuffle into the enclosure. They look like they are in their eighties and one lady has a trolley which her friend is helping her pull.
“Oh her grandson said he was some poly-something or other. Honestly these new things the young come up with. Ridiculous, isn’t it Maeve?”
“Oh indeed Maureen. You wouldn’t get any of that nonsense in our day.”
Double shit, two bigots at the bus shelter. Now I really wish I’d purchased those earphones. I have a screaming desire to say the word you are looking for is polysexual but I don’t.
“I mean what would God say? It’s in the Bible Maeve. Someone needs to teach the young the right way.”
“Adam didn’t go with Steve after all.”
Animated chuckles follow.
True Adam didn’t go with Steve but maybe he’d have enjoyed it, I think.
The bus looms in the distance and I feel a gentle sigh of relief exit from my mouth. I decide to go upstairs as the two old women take a seat downstairs. Next they’ll be onto pansexuality and as a pansexual man I ain’t interested in their negativity.

When my stop came I made my way downstairs. I could hear the two women had continued their sexuality-based chat.
“Really Maeve all these new ridiculous terms are just a posh, fashionable way of sleeping around. I mean they couldn’t get married. They wouldn’t be committed to anyone. You couldn’t trust them.”
“Oh god no Maureen. How could you? They’d be picking up all sorts anywhere. They’d sleep with anyone!”
I roll my eyes and step off the bus thinking I’m a pansexual man going to meet his bisexual best friend and we sure as hell are not planning on sleeping with each other!

When I arrive at Matt’s flat I am ready to have a rant about M & M but I soon realise that’s not to happen. He is super excited about something and doesn’t even offer me a beer.
“Sit down Jay. I’ll be back soon.”
Confused I slump myself down on the sofa. I hear him shuffling around in his bedroom.
“Man, are you … ok?”
What I really mean is: is he feeling alright? Has something strange come over him?
“Matt, you haven’t started believing in aliens again, have you?”
He laughs.
“Dude, that was two weeks in secondary school! I was going through a phase! In any case Dylan was into that shit …”
Dylan’s his ex boyfriend. Emo teenager turned banker adult. The world is full of surprises.
“Oh yeah Dylan, how is he these days?”
“Who cares?! Boring! Strait-laced! Up his fucking arse!”
Dylan dumped Matt.
“Yeah, here it is. Got to be careful with this or someone will snatch it. If they knew I had this they’d beat me up for it.”
My alien theory is coming back into my head.
He comes out holding a pen and wearing a cheesy grin on his face.
“Who’s they?”, I ask, trying to hold in the concern for him in my voice.
“Oh everyone mate. This here is gold. It’s the bridging of worlds.”
“Matt, it’s a pen!”
“Oh this ain’t no ordinary pen.”
“It looks pretty ordinary to me.”
“Well it isn’t. This pen can transport someone back in time. To the 1920s.”
“Seriously man you’re pulling my leg …”
“No, I was there last night.”
“What?! You don’t seriously believe that.”
“I know it! I experienced it with my own two eyes! I was just innocently sitting having my coffee while watching Game of Thrones and I was clicking the pen and suddenly I was there!”
Now I’m worried what was in his coffee.
“Man, it was fantastic. The consumerism, the fashion, the jazz. I meant this fantastic-looking chick Dorothy in one of the jazz clubs. She was there with her friend Joseph. You’d like him. He’s proper your type. You know the quiet, gentle, deep type. Dorothy on the other hand she is wild, proper party girl. Does the Charlston into the early hours.”
“Matt, you’ve been lonely lately I get that. Since you and Dylan broke up …”
“Oh I’m long over him! Look I know this sounds mad but it’s true. Come on, let’s go for a trip buddy.”
I decide that I better humour him. Maybe when it doesn’t work we can talk sensibly. So we end up both holding the pen and clicking down on it together.

Soon I find myself in the middle of a street. Two girls are flying by me in flapper dresses and there’s an advertisement at a cinema for The Thief of Bagdad. As a film buff who constantly watches old movies on YouTube I’m now freaking out. I turn around to find a wide-eyed Matt. He smiles at the surprise on my face.
“Told you.”, he simply says.
Either we are both off our rockers or this is actually 1924.
“Come on, let’s go find Dor. She said she’d meet us at The Velvet Cat.”
“She knows I’m coming?”
“Oh yeah, just one thing. I never said how I got here. Just pretend you are from this time. Saves a lot of explanations.”
“Matt, how the hell are you taking this in your stride? We’ve just time-travelled!”
“It’s a little unusual I admit …”
“A little unusual. Who gave you that pen?!”
“The old man with glasses in the bookies …”
“What old man with glasses in the bookies?!”
“Dicer … well Phillip Dice but we call him Dicer. Picks a good few winners …”
“I don’t care about his gambling expertise!”
“I was doing a bet, the pen wouldn’t write. He gave me a lend but when I turned around he wasn’t there. Hasn’t been since. Anyway who cares? This is amazing. We are living. Loosen up. You are never going to get Joseph’s trousers off if you are going to be this uptight.”
“I’m not trying to get his trousers off! We need to get back to 2016 and find this Dicer fella …”
“You’re forgetting one thing.”, Matt says, starting to move away from me a bit.
“Oh and what’s that?”
“I have the pen.”, he stays and starts to run off.
“Dude, this is childish! Get back here!”, I shout, rushing after him with visions of been stuck in the 1920s in my head.

I follow him into The Velvet Cat. He joins a woman and a man who I presume are the wild Dorothy and the quiet Joseph whose trousers I’m supposed to be trying to get off. Matt is kissing Dorothy and Joseph is sitting across from them with his back to me. I reluctantly approach the table with one focus in mind: getting that pen.
“Jayden mate, pull up a chair.”, Matt calls out and I involuntarily roll my eyes.
Joseph gets up to let me get past to the free chair and that’s when I almost choke.
Oh my god, he’s beautiful. Maybe I would like to sleep with him.
And then he smiles. You know that incredibly endearing warm smile that introverts do when even hello is hard to get out of their mouth. I’m swept away with dizziness and before I know it I’m sitting down. Joseph offers me a cigarette and I forget and ask him where the smoking area is. He looks puzzled.
“The smoking area?”
Matt intervenes.
“Jay’s got this mad idea that there should be smoking areas in bars and clubs. Health of non-smokers and all that.”
“You don’t believe that surely darling? That’d take away all the fun!”, Dorothy purrs.
“Well …”, I begin.
“He believes what he believes.”, Joseph smiles.
“Surely Joseph sweetie you don’t think that we should be forced out to another area with our fags like some sort of bar outcasts?”
“I didn’t say I did Dor. But it’s an interesting take on it.”, he says beginning to light up his cigarette.
He stops and turns to me.
“This doesn’t offend you, does it? Because I don’t want to.”
“No, no, of course not.”
He lights his cigarette.
“It’s just I have this friend Sue and she’s a vegetarian. It upsets her when someone eats meat in front of her.”
“Sue’s a drama queen! She saves insects from been stood on!”, Dorothy whined, wrapping herself around Matt.
“She likes animals Dor.”
“Well I’ll agree on that Joesph. After all she was with Wilson and he was a beast. I should know! But that was before I met my little Matty boy!”
They begin a full on kissing session while I think this is the 1920s! I’m not the most traditional or a prude but weren’t things took a little slower back then? Back now? Oh I’m confused.
“So Joseph, what do you do?”
“I’m a railroad worker. Oh and I write poetry on the side.”
“Anything published?”
“Not as of yet. What about you?”
“I’m a barman.”
“Where?”
“A long way from here.”
“Must be. I haven’t seen you around before. And I’d remember if I did.”
Our eyes meet. It’s a few seconds. It feels like an eternity. A wonderful eternity. His hand is holding his drink. I reach across to place my hand on top of his and he pulls it away instantly. There is terror on his face and he gets up.
“I have to go Dor. Splendid night.”
He rushes out and I rush after him. When I catch up with him I begin talking very fast.
“I was told you were into guys. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
“Will you keep your voice down?! What are you trying to do?! Get us killed?!”
“I’m sorry. I forgot.”
“Yeah, well you wouldn’t want to forget too often, would you?!”
“No, I guess not.”
His voice softens.
“I’m sorry. It’s just … it isn’t right, is it? But it’s the way it is. And it’s never gong to change. So I suppose you just got to get on with things. I’m gay and I’m completely happy been but other people will never come around to just seeing people as human beings and not putting people in boxes in a quest for power.”
“Things will change. There’ll come a time when people will say they are gay and people will say so what? Well the majority will anyway.”
“You’re very positive for a gay man in the 1920s.”
“Well technically I’m not gay but I know what you mean.”
“You’re not? I’m confused.”
“I’m pansexual. I can fall for men, women or non-binary people.”
“Non-binary?”
“Someone who is both genders or neither.”
“I have a friend Charlie who feels like that. But I’ve never heard the word.”
“Well you know, as time moves on people, if they feel they want to, do find words to describe what they feel.”
“It’s like you know all this stuff I don’t.”
“Likewise. Like don’t put your hand on a guy’s hand when homosexuality isn’t legal. I forget sometimes.”
Joseph took Jayden’s hand and brought him behind the wall. He cupped Jayden’s face in his hand and began to kiss him.
“Isn’t this dangerous?”
“Sometimes it’s good to have a bit of danger. Besides we’re hidden. I don’t usually kiss someone this quick.”
“Neither do I.”
They began kissing again.

After the night, Jayden and Matt returned to their time.
“He’s a great kisser.”
“Now, you’re happy you made the trip.”, Matt smiled.
“It’s such a pity it can’t last.”
“Why not? We can go back as much as we like.”
“There’s a reason why that guy gave you that pen though.”
“I know but who cares?”
“Joseph’s life was back then. Mine’s now.”
“Would you stay in the 1920s for him?”
“Yeah.”
“Ah would you? How fucking soppy! It’s like the real life gay version of Romeo & Juliet.”
“You’ve never even read Romeo & Juliet … look think, when this guy gave you the pen did he say anything?”
“He just gave me a docket with the words The Velvet Cat on it. And tomorrow’s date only in the 1920s. 8pm.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that before?”
“Because you’d get all serious and then it would have been no fun. Besides it’s tomorrow or tonight now but it wasn’t last night’s date.”
Jayden sighed.
“Ok, tonight we go back.”

The Velvet Cat was quiet when Jayden and Matt entered. Two men and a woman sat at the bar. The barman was an older man with glasses. A violent dispute broke out between the two men for the woman’s affections. One man suddenly took out a knife and stabbed the other man. The woman rushed out. A newspaper cutting fell in front of Jayden and Matt. It read:

Man Killed In Bar. No Reliable Witnesses

Robert Mitchell (28) was killed in a stabbing incident in a bar. However his death has been deemed unsolved at an inquest today. Mr. Mitchell was having a drink in The Velvet Cat Bar at 8pm last Saturday with the only witness present been the barman Jimmy Dice (72). Mr. Dice identified a young man in his 30s as been the person who stabbed Mr. Mitchell. The man can not be named for legal reasons. At the inquest it was deemed that Mr. Dice could not be certain of his identification due to poor eyesight. According to police the case is now closed.

“This is ridiculous. They’ll think it’s us Jay!”
“What have we got to lose? We just click the pen if things go wrong.”
When the police arrived, Jayden and Matt backed up Jimmy’s story. And Jimmy said they had been sitting over the other side of the bar. They agreed to make it to the inquest.

After the inquest, a trial followed where William Nolan was found guilty of murder. Matt went to say his goodbyes to Dorothy and Jayden went over to Joseph.
“Now we can live happily ever after.”, Joseph beamed.
“I really wish you didn’t say that. Look this is going to sound nuts but I should have told you this from the start. I’m from the year 2016 …”
“What?!”
“Just hear me out. Matt and me came to right a wrong. Well at first we weren’t sure why we were here. But it became apparent. The pen time travels.”
“Look if you want to break up with me you don’t have to make up some stupid elaborate story. Just be a man about it.”
“I love you. But you have your life. I have mine. This is coincidence. This isn’t what’s meant to be.”
Jayden kissed Joseph passionately.
“The world’s really in 2016 …”
“Yeah and I hope I meet someone as wonderful as you in the present day.”
“So I’ve already died?”
“I don’t want to think of that but I’d imagine so.”
“Well I hope I met someone as wonderful as you before I popped off.”
Jayden kissed Joseph again before walking over to Matt. They clicked the pen one last time and returned to the present day.

Back in 2016, Jayden felt something in his pocket. He took it out. It was a rolled-up piece of paper.
“What’s that?”, Matt asked.
“A poem.”
“From Joseph?”, Matt smiled,
“I’ll go get us two beers in the kitchen. Give you some privacy to read it.”
Jayden began to read the poem:

There is something about you,
I can’t put my finger on it.
You are caring,
Understanding,
Real.
Before I met you love was fiction,
It was in books,
It was what I wrote
But never felt.
You are filled with strength Jay,
Filled with love,
Bursting with it.
That’s what makes you everything,
Everything to me.
Don’t ever lose that,
Don’t lose that beauty inside.

My Second Novel The Night Train Is Now Available On Amazon!

My second novel The Night Train is now available to purchase on Amazon. It is about an aspiring rocker Brian who meets a handsome footballer Adam on the way home on the train and sees blood on Adam’s arm so he follows him off the train. From there he becomes embroiled in the case of Adam’s ex-girlfriend Chloe’s murder. Can he use his sleuthing skills to find out who the killer is? And can love conquer all?

You can purchase the book at the following link if you wish:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Train-Lisa-Reynolds-ebook/dp/B01EQLLPPW?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Cheers! 🙂

My Debut Novel Blood Is Now Available On Amazon!

I am a proud Mammy today as my debut novel Blood is now available to purchase on Amazon. It’s a thriller with a romantic element to it and the fear with a thriller is that if I keep talking about it I’ll give away the killer so I’m going to shut-up! 🙂

Please check it out on Amazon and if you’d like to you can purchase a copy there:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Lisa-Reynolds-ebook/dp/B01E4U2U54?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Thank you! 🙂

Short Story: April Fool’s Day Proposal

As today is April Fool’s Day I have written a short story called April Fool’s Day Proposal. Hope you all like it. 🙂

 

 

It was April Fool’s Day and Janet sat with her hands cupped together. She seemed out of place for the day because she looked more like a witch on Halloween. Her mind was buzzing with evil plans as she stared across the coffee bar at Crystal. Crystal was her fellow college student and they were both studying English Literature but the difference was that Janet was quite popular in terms of friends while Crystal was getting As and Bs in her exams. Part of Janet was extremely jealous because she knew that many of these so-called friends would never see her again when the year was out and they went out into the big world whereas Crystal’s results would always get jobs in front of her. She imagined how she could destroy her. Destroy her confidence. After all much of getting on was believing enough in yourself to go for things and the idea of Crystal’s exam results gathering dust in an attic made a smile drift across Janet’s twisted features.

The thing about studying alongside someone for four whole years was that one got to know so much about the other. It just depended then whether someone was cruel and ruthless enough to use that information to negative effect. While Crystal had always been rather guarded there was one thing Janet knew: that she was still in love with Eddie who she had dated for a few months in second year. Eddie was always popular, one of the boys, quick with a joke and always the first to encourage everyone down the pub of a Friday. His relationship with Crystal was in Janet’s eyes a bit of a comedown for him. With her plan in motion Janet approached Eddie at the other side of the coffee bar.

“Eddie, you want to go out on a high, don’t you?”

“Aren’t we all a bit old for that? Secondary school was years ago.”

She sat down across from him and gently brushed her finger over her lip seductively.

“Wouldn’t you like to make me happy?”

“Now you’ve got my attention.”

“All you’ve got to do is go over to Crystal and propose to her. But really make it sound real like you regret ever giving her up and like you really want to marry her. Don’t do it half-heartedly. Then say April Fool’s.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Why on earth not?”

“Because it’s too real.”

“Too real?! Crystal?!”

“Of course! She’s a wonderful woman. Smart, interesting …”

“You’re weird.”

“The last time I heard that was in 6th year. Janet, it’s a mature world out there for the most part. This whole popularity thing isn’t real. It doesn’t matter.”

“Well you wanted to sleep with me a few minutes ago!”

“Yeah sleep with you but Crystal, I’d marry her.”

“Well I don’t want to marry you either!”

“Thank god for that! You and Crystal could have been friends. You two have so much in common from taste in music to taste in books but your jealousy was too much. Even if I hated Crystal I wouldn’t do what you just asked me to do. But you said one thing right. I should pluck up the courage, be a man and ask her what I really want to instead of thinking of it for ages in my mind.”

He got up and went over to Crystal and brought her outside.

“What is it Eddie?”, Crystal asked when they were around the corner from the restaurant.

He got down on one knee and took a box from his pocket which he opened to reveal an engagement ring.

“Crystal I have been carrying this ring around for months …”

“Deciding who to give it to?”, she joked.

He smiled before continuing.

“I love you. Will you marry me darling?”

“Yes.”, she said as he placed the ring on her finger.

She brought him up to his feet and they began kissing.

“I have a secret.”, she laughed.

“Ok …”, he began.

She took a box from her pocket, opened it and took the engagement ring out. She placed it on his finger.

“I’ve been carrying it around for months too.”

“Deciding who to give it to?”, he joked and they began kissing again.

 

Short Story: Chickens On Display

For Easter I have written a short story entitled, Chickens On Display. It’s quite sweet I think and hope you like it. Happy Easter to you all and all your loved ones. 🙂

 

 

I stayed over by the corner. A host of other chickens were over the other side getting acquainted. It seemed so easy for them. I smiled over and watched as a crowd of people gathered outside to look in. Raising an eyebrow I thought how the other chickens probably thought I was distant and now I was on display for all these people to decide I was too. How fun!

Taking some tentative steps I feel a plastic egg against my foot. It is multi-coloured, mostly pink and yellow. Another chicken who I learn is called Susie jokes that she laid it this morning and comes over to engage me in conversation. She is rather beautiful and I am suddenly even more shy than I was before.

“You’re the singing chicken, right?”, she asks.

“I sing a little bit.”, I admit.

“No, you don’t. Lemon, he says he seen you on ChickenTube and you’re not bad apparently. What songs do you sing?”

“I did a cover of Royal Blood’s Little Monster recently …”

“Oh a rock chick, I like it.”

“You like rock music?”

“No, I just like rock chicks Melody.”

I find myself blushing slightly.

“My real name’s not Melody. I’m Kate really.”

“I was so nervous today. You’re used to been on display.”

“Well usually singing. This is not my comfort zone either.”

“We can get through it together then. And maybe go for a coffee down in Chicken Village later if you like.”

“Is that a …”, I begin but trail off.

“Yes. That’s a date.”, she giggles.

Short Story: Meeting At The Parade

 

 

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day I have written a short story called Meeting At The Parade. Hope you all enjoy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and yours! 🙂

Jake

He took a cigarette out of his pack and I lit his cigarette. Although he looked like a cool rock star just taking a casual pull on his cigarette I knew it was really his introvert’s mechanism to cope in a crowd and boy was the crowd large at the annual Dublin City parade. Usually he wouldn’t be so on edge. His motto was if I don’t have to talk to anyone for a prolonged period of time I shall be just fine. But today he was meeting my family for the first time and it was an understatement to say that he was clearly bricking it.

“They’ll love you Aaron.”

“Yeah I know. I’m fine Jake.”

“You don’t need to put me at ease …”

“I’m not! I will be fine.”

“If you fuck it up I’ll still marry you. You wouldn’t be my first boyfriend that my family despised.”

“Comforting.”

“I have dated some assholes. You’re a saint in comparison to most of them.”

“I’m not nervous.”

“Of course you’re not.”, I smile sarcastically.

Mary

“Bob, is there no way we can possibly get there a bit faster? I said we’d be there by 1.”

“Mary, traffic is congested. There is a parade on today or hadn’t you noticed woman?”, replied my husband in an agitated manner.

“How come we’re only meeting this bloke now?”, asked my youngest son Rory from the back seat of the car.

“Air fare.”

“Ah but mother he could be a serial killer for all we know.”

“Rory dear he’s not a serial killer! I trust your brother’s judgement. If he loves him he must be a good sort.”

“I don’t. Do you remember that guy Leon? He’s in prison now for armed robbery! Jake was in love with him for a while too!”

“Yeah, well he was one of the Clancy’s. They are all a bit like that. Runs in the family the criminal streak. His father held up the grocery store when he was younger. Mind it was a bit of excitement at the time.”

“And don’t get me started on Ray Carroll …”, chimed in my eldest son Ronnie who was sitting beside Rory.

“Now that’s enough boys. It isn’t like all of your girlfriends were angels.”

“Ray Carroll was high at the dinner table! Jake just thought he was full of energy and and vibrancy for life. I swear he was sniffing in our bathroom between courses!”

“Well that was never confirmed Ronnie dear. Although his mother was a tearaway in her youth. Mind she never really grew out of it. I’m convinced that’s what drove that poor husband of hers to his death. And I remember him when he was younger. He was a good-looking man, always had a steady job. Sure by the end he was a wreck. The ‘ole drink got the better of him. You worked with him for a bit didn’t you Bob?”

“In the graveyards, yeah. FÁS. Had that job for years till the back gave way.”

“It brought in good money for us that job.”

“There’s the parade now Mary. I’ll just find us a parking spot.”

Jake

In the distance I see my mum, dad and two brothers trying to make their way through the crowd.

“There they are now.”, I say tipping Aaron on the shoulder.

He breathes heavily.

“You’re not been brought to the gallows Aaron. Relax.”

“I am relaxed.”, he protests.

“Just be yourself.”

“I am going to be. That’s what I’m afraid of.”

“There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re the only one who thinks there is. They’ll love you as much as I do if you just relax.”

Mary

“What sort of hair has that young lad? I thought he was a girl.”, Bob said upon spotting Jake’s fiance.

“He’s a hippie rocker type. He’s definitely on drugs!”, Rory replied.

“Now stop, we can’t slur the young man’s character like that Rory until we’ve got to know him.”, I said.

“We didn’t wear hair like that in my day unless we wanted to be bet up!”, Bob added.

“Well Bob dear times have moved on. I’m sure it’s probably a popular trend nowadays.”

“He’ll be reciting poetry soon enough. Mark my words. Where does he find them?”, Ronnie pitched in.

“Let’s give the lad a chance. Maybe he’ll even eventually cut that hair of his.”, I replied as we got nearer to Jake and Aaron.

Jake

“Did you all have a pleasant journey up from the country?”, I asked as my family joined us.

“You know that road near the roundabout Jake? Still as bumpy as ever! They still need to fill in them potholes!”, my father said.

“Everyone, this is Aaron. Aaron, this is my mum Mary, my dad Bob, my older brother Ronnie and my baby brother Rory.”

“It’s really lovely to meet you all.”

So far, so good.

Everyone engages in a customary hugging session to break the ice further.

“We have been looking forward to meeting you too Aaron. Jake told us noth- so much about you.”, my mother said.

“All good I hope.”

Two sentences Aaron. Hallelujah.

“Indeed. But you really must fill in all the details … all the missing details he left out.”

My mum is been her usual nosy self. Yes, Aaron this will require many more sentences.

“Oh for heaven’s sake Mary be honest with the lad, we know nothing about him except he picked him up on some street in London.”, my overly honest father says.

I silently think that I’m going to be slapped across the face later and talk quickly.

“Not a street necessarily. A cafe on a street in the smoking area outside where we met and got talking. And we’d met a good few times at the cafe prior to him getting into my car.”

“And you dropped me off at my flat.”, Aaron adds in that tone of voice of his that always suggests to me that my life is going to come to an untimely end.

I mouth silently that I’m sorry and he gives me a stare as if to say you’re not forgiven. It’s obvious that nobody notices that I’m probably going to be dissected when Rory says,

“Were you wearing them clothes when he picked you up? Skinny jeans?”

“I was as a matter of fact. Look I think you all have the wrong impression of me. I am not a prostitute!”

“Nobody’s suggesting you are. I mean Auntie Regina used to stand outside bars waiting for men and she wasn’t a prostitute.”, Rory replies.

There’s silence. Aunt Regina is my father’s sister and everyone knows she was on the game but the news doesn’t seem to have filtered through to Rory.

“I wasn’t waiting outside the cafe for a man …”, Aaron says indignantly and I’m careful not to meet his eye line because he’s fuming.

This bypasses my father who says,

“Aunt Regina had her ways. We don’t like to talk about her lifestyle choices.”

Rory’s mouth falls open.

“Auntie Regina was a prostitute?!”

“Times were hard son. She was bringing up them two children on her own and Frank wasn’t much good. He was always on the bottle.”, my mother explains.

“Well that’s not Aaron’s line of work.”, I say trying to bring this to an end.

“It fucking isn’t.”, Aaron adds defiantly.

“Auntie Regina, wow.”, Rory says.

“That’s enough about Aunt Regina.”, my father says.

“Let’s all find a spot near the front to enjoy the parade.”, my mother says like we had all just had a pleasant conversation about the weather.

Mary

As we stood watching the parade I endeavoured to find out more about the man who was to become my son-in-law.

“So what is it that you do?”, I ask.

“I’m a student. English Literature.”

I can hear Ronnie whispering to Rory behind me,

“Told you! Now we’ll hear about Wordsworth or some other geezer.”

“Not exactly a geezer. Sylvia Plath.”, Aaron says.

“Oh she’s not the best example dear. Didn’t she kill herself?”

“Well I just like her poetry but it was sad what happened to her. She must have been really upset in her life.”

Rory and Ronnie roll their eyes but I rather like his compassion. If he has compassion after all for a poet he never knew it means he is more than likely gentle to Jake. Although the interest in poetry must be extremely boring for Jake to have to listen to. We never encouraged that artsy fartsy nonsense in our house.

“And do you have other interests?”

“I like old films. Alfred Hitchcock.”

“He’s going to bump you off Jakey boy.”, Rory laughs.

“I used to watch them. Don’t anymore. I’m guessing you like music.”

“Mainly rock, folk and soul. Maybe a bit of country too. What do you like?”

“In music? Well I loved Herman’s Hermits back in the day. Peter Noone, I had a bit of a crush on Peter Noone. Never really got that whole Beatlemania but my sister now Gail she was in love with John Lennon. Cried like the rain when he was died. I liked Elvis too and of course Cliff. Robbed in the Eurovision he was.”

“Yeah he was.”

The Eurovision. Now we’re finding some common ground.

“Do you watch it?”

“My sister is obsessed with it. I go over to her place each year where she does hold her Eurovision party.”

“Swanky, is it?”, Ronnie asks with his nose turned up.

Aaron giggles.

“No, it’s a bit of popcorn and a few cans of lager. Maybe a cheap bottle of wine if we can afford it that week.”

I can see Rory’s and Ronnie’s grimacing scowls soften. Good sign.

Jake

As we walk from the parade I notice that Aaron and my father are engaged in conversation so I walk behind them and listen in.

“What are your intentions with my son?”

“My intentions? I love him very much and I want to marry him.”

“And will this be a forever type marriage or not? Because nowadays they aren’t always. I’ve been invited to so many second and third marriages of some of the young people in this family and I look forward to the next. If Elizabeth Taylor lived now she’d be in fashion with what’s going on. And you know maybe it’s for the best divorce came in, because it wasn’t there when I married Jake’s mother, it wouldn’t be heard of, you made your bed and you lay in it, because some people aren’t happy. But I would like to see Jake happy. I’ll never forget when he was sixteen and some young fella, his name escapes me, cheated on him and subsequently left him for the lad he cheated on him with and my god there was tears and wailing into the night like the sounds of a banshee and …”

“I’m not going to hurt him Mr. Murphy.”

My father stares at Aaron for a moment like he’s sizing him up before speaking.

“Well in that case, call me Bob. There’s no need for these formalities where family is concerned.”

“Ok Bob.”, Aaron smiles as they walk on.

Mary

We all arrive at a nearby pub and order in some drinks. Aaron takes a long gulp of his drink and it is only then that it dawns on me how nerve-wracking today must have been for him. He didn’t know us from Adam after all. But what he didn’t realise was that it was also a very nerve-wracking experience for us too. We may have been extroverted by nature but it was always nerve-wracking meeting new people for anyone. It is really rather endearing because he clearly loves and cares a lot about Jake to worry what we think of him.

Ronnie smiles.

“I didn’t know an Englishman could drink faster than me!”

“You’d be surprised.”, Aaron smiles back.

We raise our glasses and gently knock them off each other.

“Slainte. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.”, we say in unison.

Jake

I stand out in the smoking area of the pub and Aaron comes out to me.

“I’m sorry about …”, I begin.

“Yeah you should be.”, he interrupts.

“Our wires got crossed. I said I met you in the cafe on the street and my dad must have picked it up wrong. He worries that every man I get in with is a bad one.”

“Well if you were wailing like a banshee I’m not surprised.”

“I wasn’t wailing! I cried a few tears …”

“Hard man.”, he laughs with playful sarcasm and pulls me into him.

“I love you Aaron more than I’ve ever loved anyone.”

“Even the fella you wailed like a banshee over? Sorry cried a few tears over?”

“I was sixteen for fuck’s sake!”, I laugh.

“Yes, far more than Mark! I wasn’t even in love with him. I just thought I was. I didn’t even know what love was until I met you actually.”

“I love you too.”

“More than any of your exs?”

A grin curves the side of his mouth.

“What are you smiling about?”

“You know when we were on our first date and I listed all those names of guys I was supposedly with?”

“Yeah?”

“I was making them up. Taking random names from my head and the waiter’s name tag. I wasn’t with anyone before you. You’re engaged to an introvert or hadn’t you noticed?”

“Why didn’t you tell me that?”

“Because I didn’t want you to think I was sad or weird or a freak …”

“I’d never think that of you.”

“But you didn’t know me then. I thought you’d be on the next bus home as fast as you could.”

“For the record I’d have stayed.”

“I know that now. Some prostitute I’d make.”

“And I love you because you wouldn’t make a good one. But is it wise that we get married when you haven’t sowed your oats?”

“I hit the jackpot when I met you. How many people go through bad boyfriend after bad boyfriend in a search to meet the one? I met the one first time round. I don’t need to sow any oats. I’m not that into farming anyway.”

I laugh.

“Ok then future husband.”

“Ok then future husband.”, he smiles and we begin to kiss passionately.

Short Story: Secrets Of The Past

I recently did a course with FutureLearn called Start Writing Fiction with The Open University. On the course we were required to write three assignments. This was my second one. At the time it wasn’t titled but I did have a title in my head for it and that title was Secrets Of The Past. I hope you all like it.

Jackson sat on his sofa watching the time ticking by on the grandfather clock in front of him. When he had purchased that clock from a junk sale a few years back he never knew it would be such a significant detail in such a huge storm playing out in his mind. At 2pm today he was getting married to Troy and yet he didn’t know how he was going to say those vows truthfully when he had lied to him throughout their entire relationship. Or kept things back as he preferred to think. The clock ticked past 10 minutes to 1 and Jackson stood up. He looked at himself in his sophisticated black wedding suit in the mirror and sighed. He knew he couldn’t keep back the sin of his youth forever. Troy deserved to know exactly who he was marrying so he phoned him and asked him to come over.
When Troy arrived Jackson thought he looked so handsome in his understated black wedding suit.
“It’s lucky I don’t believe in all that seeing each other is bad luck before the wedding.”, Troy smiled,
“What is it babe?”
“Sit down for a minute please.”
“You sound serious. Are you having second thoughts?”, Troy replied but he sat down.
Jackson sat next to him and took his hand in his.
“When I was 16 …”
“Wait a second, you brought me over to discuss something that happened eleven years ago …”
“It’s important … I was dating this guy Craig. And we were out drinking one night and Craig had stolen his older brother’s car.”
“Ok.”
“But then we were in the car and suddenly we heard like a bump and when Craig got out there was a guy lying there in the middle of the road. He must have been around our age now. He was dead.”
“And you both went to the police?”, Troy asked hopefully.
“No … no, we just … we just drove off.”
He felt Troy pull his hand free.
“I was scared Troy.”
Troy got up and paced the floor a few times.
“I need to get out of here.”
Jackson grabbed hold of his arm.
“Please, I love you.”
Troy pulled his arm loose and rushed out.
Jackson stood looking out to their loved ones. He knew he had to announce that the wedding was off. Troy clearly hadn’t did so. As he began to speak, Troy walked in and joined him at the top of the aisle taking Jackson’s hand in his.
“You changed your mind?”
“I needed time to think.”
“And what did you come up with?”
“That that’s your past and us, that’s your future.”
Jackson smiled and rubbed the top of Troy’s hand lovingly as their wedding ceremony began.

My Novel: Josh and Tristan: Part 4!

Chapter 4

There’s a knock at the door which brings me away from my thinking. 
“I’ll go and answer that son.”, Da says and goes to the door. 
I can hear my boss Eddie’s voice. I forgot work today. 
“Mr. Mitchell, hi.” 
“Eddie, can I help you?” 
“I wanted to see Josh. He didn’t turn up for work today.” 
“Didn’t he tell you?” 
“Tell me what?” 
“It’s Tristan. He’s passed on.” 
“Oh my god, I am so sorry. I had no idea. What happened?” 
“He was in a car crash.” 
“Is Josh here?” 
“Yeah, he’s in the living-room.” 
dad lets Eddie in and he comes over to me. 
“Oh kid I am so sorry about Tristan. I had no idea. Oh you must be in bits.” 
“Thank you Eddie. Do you want to sit down?” 
“Yes. Thank you.” 
Eddie sits down. 
“I’ll get you some tea Eddie.”, Da says and goes to make the tea for him. 
“You should have told me.” 
“I don’t want time off. I forgot today …” 
“Oh kid, I think you might need some time off. When my wife Kara died I rushed back to work and I nearly had a nervous breakdown.” 
“Please Eddie, I can’t cope with been here all the time.” 
“You need to slow down. You need to take time out. Take as much time as you need kid. I’ll pay your wages the whole time.” 
“Eddie please, I need to keep my head occupied.” 
“Milk Eddie?”, my dad called from the kitchen. 
“Yes thank you Luke.” 
“Sugar?” 
“Yes. Two please. Thank you.” 
“OK Eddie. I’ll get that for you now.” 
“Thank you Luke. Josh please, I’m saying this because I know what this is like. I know how you feel right now but going back to work straight away like this is not going to solve your problems. You can’t get away from them by running away from them.” 
“If you insist, what can I do about it?” 
Da came back with the tea. 
“Here you go Eddie.” 
“Thank you Luke. He was a good kid, Tristan.” 
“He was.”, my dad agreed. 
Was. Was. No one means anything by it but it’s killing me. 
“The funeral’s on Friday Eddie.” 
“I’ll certainly be there Josh. Did you put it in the paper?” 
“Fr. Edwards did.” 
“Yeah. He’s a really good man is Fr. Edwards. He was great with me when Kara died. Went to school with my father. I didn’t get the paper today so I didn’t know. I am so sorry Josh. I really am.” 
“Thank you.”, I replied. 
“How old was he?” 
“Twenty-three.” 
“Two years younger than my son. My god. He was only a child.” 
Yes, we know Blake very well indeed. My mind goes back to two years ago. I was a few weeks working for Eddie at the bar. This was what you could call the first segment in the story of me, Tristan and Blake. It was a slow afternoon in the bar and Tristan came in to see me.  
“Hey gorgeous.”, he mocked. 
“Oh come on, we’re well beyond that.”, I laughed. 
“So no custom?” 
“No. I feel terrible for Eddie really. I mean he works hard to get this bar running smoothly and he gets no profits.” 
“At least he has work.” 
“Oh come on baby, he’d be better on the dole.” 
“You’d know you’ve never been on the dole.” 
“You’d know you were never the head of a business.” 
“I’m not foolish enough to take out a loan I can’t get back and leave you, myself in debt. I’m not dissing him. I like the man. He’s been good to you with the job and stuff. I’m just saying.” 
“Well I wish you wouldn’t.” 
“OK then I won’t.” 
“Why are you here?” 
“Because I’m clingy.”, he laughed. 
“You and I both know that isn’t true. That’s more me.” 
“I knew today is usually a slow one and I thought I’d come in and well, give you a slow one.” 
I was shocked. Had he just said that? He wanted to have me in my workplace! 
“What?!” 
“You heard me.”, he said with a cheeky smirk. 
“No! I’ve just got the job! If Eddie walked in, he’d think I was a bloody porn star!” 
“Hardly. I forgot the camera.” 
For the record we never filmed it. Ever. He was messing. 
“Oh ha-ha, very funny.” 
“I brought the lube …” 
“Oh god shut-up. There’s a woman in the corner.” 
“Mrs. Havers? She’s ninety-five. She has a hearing aid!” 
“Oh I’m sure she hears everything!” 
“Well OK, if you don’t want to …” 
He began to leave. I caught his arm frantically. 
“I didn’t say that.” 
To be fair where sex was concerned, I rarely said no to him. An odd night I might be tired or simply not in the mood but it was rare. In terms of our sex-life if he said jump, I’d say how high. And he knew that too. Tristan has an incredible body. In every way. The first time I seen it I couldn’t believe he was mine. His whole body was mine. But back to this incident. 
“I know you didn’t.”, he smiles cheekily. 
See, I told you. He knew I’d jump higher than a kite just to make love to him. 
“Let’s go in the back.”, I said and let him behind the bar. 
“As you wish gorgeous.” 
“Shut-up.”, I laugh. 
“Oh I love it when you dominate me.”, he laughed. 
“Well I have to. Your a very naughty boy.”, I giggled. 
“I can be naughtier.”, he replied with a cheeky grin. 
I placed my index finger down the top of his shirt and clutched his collar. I then led him into the back where we kicked off our shoes and ripped each other’s clothes off before I proceeded to penetrate him when I heard an awkward voice. 
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll come back.” 
I looked up to see a lad holding a crate of drinks hurrying away. I quickly pulled on my trousers, minus underpants and threw my shirt over my head. Tristan hadn’t opened it, just frantically pulled it over my head. 
“I’m sorry. Wait.”, I called after him. 
He stopped and turned around sheepishly. 
“I am so sorry. I had no idea you were having a moment back there.” 
“No, it’s not your fault. I’m absolutely mortified.” 
“Oh don’t be. He’s …”, his words trail off. 
“He’s what?” 
I can feel anger building inside me. What on earth was he going to say?! Did he fancy my boyfriend?! I then realised he was holding the crate in front of his penis. Was he getting an erection?! 
“Nothing. I wasn’t going to say anything. Look I’ll come back later. My dad needs me to help with accounts.” 
Oh my god! The realisation has set in. He’s Eddie’s son! 
“Your Eddie’s son?!” 
“Yeah. But don’t worry. I won’t tell him. There’s a lot I don’t tell my dad!”, he said, winked and smiled before leaving. 

Of course he fancied him! I couldn’t blame him but it still angered me. I was in the bar with Blake one day. He did a bit of bar work for his da part-time. He was also a business student.
“Did you watch the match last night Josh?”
“I’m not really a football fan. Tristan watched it though. I went to do the shopping. Groceries.”
“Tristan likes sport?”
My mind went mad. Not any kind of sport with you!
“Yeah. Except cricket and baseball.”
“Cool.”, he said.
I didn’t even like the way he said cool. It sounded like he was making a mental checklist of all the things he wanted in a perfect boyfriend.
Tristan came in.
“Hey guys.”, he smiled.
“We were just talking about you.”, I said.
“Really? All good?”
“About your sporting interests.”, Blake smiled.
He was physically blushing. Blake stud personified, one in every port Huston was physically blushing! And he’d only said four words to him!
“Oh yeah, anything but cricket and baseball.”
“Josh said. He said you seen the match last night …”
“I did. I didn’t think that was a penelty in the last minute though.”
“No. I thought he shoved the keeper in the net before putting it in.”
“Yeah, I felt terrible sorry for the others. 2-1.”
“Yeah.”
“Mate, I think I left some of those beers in the back. You couldn’t get them for me?”
“But mate no one’s here. Can’t they wait?”
“But Mr. Kennedy comes in usually at about 2 and he loves that beer.”
“Can’t we get them then? Oh OK, I’ll go and get them.”
“Cool thanks mate.”
When Blake goes into the back to get the beer I turn to Tristan.
“If you sleep with him I’ll cut your balls off.”
Tristan was taken aback.
“What? Josh, that never crossed my mind. I’d never do that to you!”
“Good. Keep it that way.”
“Sweetie where did this come from? We were just talking.”
“It’s not the chat! I’ve been watching the way he is with you for a while. And your attracted to him too.”
“No. I’m not.”, he said unconvincingly.
I raise my eyebrow.
“OK. Maybe I am a little bit …”
I raised my eyebrow again.
“OK. Maybe a lot but I wouldn’t ever do that to you. It’s a crush. I would never risk what we have for a crush.”
“Really?”
“Yes really.”, he spoke softly.
I softened.
“OK. Don’t hurt me please. Even though I hurt you. I’m sorry baby. For what I done. I’ll never do it again.”
“No, I hope not because I don’t want to do what I said I’d have to when I agreed to stay with you.”
The thought of him doing what he said sends a shiver down my spine.
“No, I don’t want you to leave me either.”
“Leave you?”, Blake says on his return carrying the crate of beer.
I swear there’s a hopeful glint in his eye and I instantly want to punch him. I told you I have anger issues.
“Oh he’s just been all insecure. I’d never leave him.”, Tristan smiles.
“Of course you wouldn’t. You two are perfect together.”, Blake replies through gritted teeth.
Tristan notices his gritted teeth and it makes him uneasy.
“Well I’m going to head. Just came in to see how you two were.”
I place my finger down the front of his shirt and clench his collar before pulling him slightly across the bar. I kissed him passionately and lingeringly. I so wanted to make Blake jealous and to show him he was not getting my man. Lingering. Because it prolonged his agony. Passionately. Because it made his agony all the more worse. When I ended the kiss, I could see Blake staring at the floor.
Tristan looked around the bar and then back to us.
“Keep working hard boys.”, he said playfully.
“Oh ha-ha, very funny.”, I replied.
“See you both.”, he said and left.
“Well that was PDA overload.”, Blake smiled but he was seething and he was digging at me.
“Well he is my boyfriend Blake. We like to display our affection for each other.”
“Clearly.”
“And …”
“And nothing. It’s cool. Call of nature. Be back in a minute.”
He quickly hurried to the bathroom. Clearly upset. Totally jealous.
That night when I got home, Tristan was reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell while sitting on the sofa with no shoes on. Something about his bare feet always did something to me.
“A bit of light reading?”, I say playfully sarcastic.
“Poor Rufus Sixsmith is going to killed.”
“As I said. A bit of light reading.”
He looks up at me and smiles.
“It’s a good book. Sixsmith reminds me of me. Oh the poor man.”
I sit down beside him. He puts his bookmarker in his book and places it on the coffee table.
“So your going all Sandy Shaw on me are you?”
“Well male version of Sandy Shaw possibly. I was cleansing my feet.”, he smiles.
I kiss the side of his foot gently.
“Well I approve of your cleansing regime.”
“You just wanted to kiss my foot. You’ve really got to do something about these foot fetish issues.”, he smiles.
“But I don’t want to get rid of my foot fetish issues.”, I smile back.
“Good.”, he replies and I kiss him on the lips gently.
His face then turns serious.
“How was Blake after I left?”
“Oh he was jealous. Had to go to the bathroom to compose himself and all.”
“Sweetie, don’t get me wrong when I say this …”
“Why do I get the feeling that your going to tick me off?”
“No honey, I’m not going to tick you off. It’s just that I wouldn’t want to hurt him. I love that you are going out of your way to show him we’re together and it’s going to stay that way but I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”
“Do you like him? Like him more than a crush?”, I ask with an enquiring eye.
“No! Josh, don’t take it like that. Try to see it from my point of view here. It’s not you that’s really hurting him. It’s me. And sweetie I don’t want to.”
“I don’t like the way he looks at you.”
“He only has a crush.”
“But that’s the point! He doesn’t only have a crush! I’m a rational green-eyed monster. I’m not some irrational green-eyed one Tristan! Men look at you all the time. I don’t mind. I understand it. Your hot. Why wouldn’t they? He’s not just looking. He’d take you off me in the morning!”
“Actually he wouldn’t. I wouldn’t leave you for him.”
“I don’t mean on your side.”
“Just cool it on the kissing and all that in front of him. I like that you care but I’m not going along with it.”
“You did today?”
“I couldn’t show you up. But next time I will.”
“Is that a threat?”
“It’s a promise.”
I sigh.
“OK. I’ll try. He drives me mad though. Perving around you …”
“Really? I don’t notice that so much.”
“Oh I do. I want to punch him.”
I can see fear come over Tristan’s face. I speak quickly.
“Babe, I feel like it. I’m not going to do it.”
“Keep it that way.”
“Trust me. You do trust me, right?”
“Yeah.”, he says unconvincingly.
“Don’t lie to me.”
“I don’t know what to think Josh.”
“I’ll never hit you again.”
“I don’t want to talk about this.”
“OK. But I won’t.”
“OK. Now can we stop?”
“Yeah OK. I’m sorry.”
“It’s OK. Let’s just …”
“OK.”
I take his hand gently in mine and trail gentle kisses on the side of his hand.
“I won’t antagonize him again if you don’t want me to. OK?”
“OK.”
I held him close to me. I could feel fear coursing through his entire body. I knew he still didn’t trust me that I wouldn’t hit him again. And the scary thing was that even though I didn’t want to hit him again, I was scared that I would if ever I felt pushed to it. And the keyword there is felt. He wouldn’t have pushed me to it. Someone like Tristan does not deserve to be hit. He’s a very kind, loving, good person but I get into rages easily and I felt like I was pushed to hit him. I don’t want to hit him again though. All this thinking causes my body to tense up. He feels this and cocks his head sideways so that he is looking up at me.
“Are you OK?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Your gone all tense?”
“You deserve someone better than me.”
“I don’t want anybody else. I love you. And your a good man Josh. Remember that.”