As you may have noticed I failed to do a flash fiction post last Monday. I don’t have one ready for today either. The annual writing madness called NaNoWriMo kicked off on November first and I haven’t had the time to work on anything other than the three projects I’d lined up for it.
I’m very glad to say I’ve so far managed to stay ahead of schedule. Which is just as well. While November is usually a very quiet month in the day job, this year it is anything but. I’m working close to full-time hours every week in November and am trying to fit my writing in anywhere I can. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up the mad schedule, or how long the husband is willing to put up with hasty dinners and little or no assistance when it comes to keeping the house presentable. The more words I can write before fatigue takes over, the better.
Still, I didn’t want to deprive you all, so this week I’ll share a little (unedited and uncorrected) excerpt from the story I’m working on. Here’s what’s been happening so far.
Nineteen year old Lennart has recently fled his traumatic childhood environment for a new start in Dublin when he meets the slightly older and very confident Aidan. The two men grow close very quickly and when Aidan has to leave the room he’s renting, Lennart offers him a place to stay. The following scene takes place just after they’ve collected Aidan’s possessions from his old house and Lennart has witnessed Aidan’s former housemates calling Aidan names.
“Are you okay?” Aidan barely glanced at me and my heart hurt for him. “I should have just told you not to come. There was no need for you to experience that. The bastards. Why was getting rid of me not enough for them?”
“Aidan?” He slowly looked up at me. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t told anyone. What would have been the point? It was where I lived and although I tried finding another room it wasn’t happening.” He sighed. “Also...” he stopped talking and shook his head. “Never mind.”
“What?” I couldn’t conceal the frustration in my voice and wasn’t sure I wanted to. I’d bared my soul to him, shared all my shit and even cried on his lap. And he hadn’t been able to tell me he lived with three bullies?
“Your confidence was growing.” Aidan sounded defensive. “You were so happy to be away from your parents, your hometown and all the bullying you’d endured. I didn’t want to tell you it could be just as bad here.” He paused and thought. “And there was no need. I had no intention of ever bringing you to that place. Even if I’d gotten on with those pricks, my room would have been too small and who wants to hang out with their boyfriend while three strangers are in and out of the same house all the time?”
The angry retort I’d been working on as he made his speech died on my lips when I heard the word boyfriend. “You mean that?”
“Yes, of course I mean that. I would never have exposed you to them if you hadn’t insisted on coming.”
“No, not that.” I was afraid to ask. “That other thing you said. The word you used. Did you mean that?”
Aidan looked confused and I realised it had probably been a slip of the tongue. One of those things people say without thinking and unaware of the impression it might make on others.
“Lennart, I’m sorry but you’ll have to be more specific. What word do you mean? I used quite a few.”
I studied the floor in front of my feet while I wondered whether I had it in me to be brave enough to ask. In the end I didn’t have a choice. Not asking – not knowing – would drive me crazy. “You used the word boyfriend.” I whispered the sentence and wasn’t sure whether or not he’d heard me until I saw his feet approaching mine across the floorboards.
“But you are, aren’t you?” The surprise in Aidan’s voice took my breath away. He’d thought of me as his boyfriend while I’d been barely able to hope I might keep him as a friend. “I mean, I thought you were.” My silence clearly confused Aidan. “If that’s not what we are...I mean, if that’s not what you want...”
“I do. I am. I mean I want to be.” Relief and anger battled inside me. I glared up at him, balled my hand into a fist and punched him in the shoulder. “If I’m your boyfriend you’ve no excuse. You. Should. Have. Told. Me. Every word was accentuated by another punch.
Aidan threw back his head and laughed. Tension left his body and the man I’d met, the Aidan I’d gotten used and attached to, returned. “You’re right, probably.” He closed the last few inches between us. “I didn’t mean to keep you in the dark. I just didn’t want to burden you with stuff you didn’t need to know about.” He lifted my hand from his shoulder and pushed it against the wall above my head. “Forgive me?”
Before I could answer his mouth was on mine and I had to trust the hunger in my response to his kiss, told him how very forgiven he was.