Author: K.C. Wells
Length: 200 Pages
Genre: Contempory, Romance, Friends To Lovers.
I?m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.
I met Matt in second grade, and we?ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what?s really amazing? After all these years, we?re still the best of friends.
Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I?m scared to death of what he?ll say. If I?ve got this all wrong, I?ll lose him ? forever.
The clock beside my bed glowed in the dark, its red numerals plainly visible. Half past midnight and sleep just wouldn?t come. All I could think about was Matt.
He?d said barely a word all day, and I knew my parents had noticed. They?d done their best to involve him in conversations, but with little success. Lunch had been a waste of time, neither of us with a decent appetite between us. I knew he hadn?t asked his parents what was going on, and I got that. If it had been me, I?d have been too damned scared to ask, in case it turned out my mom was right all along.
By the time we packed up the tents and all the accompanying stuff that went with camping, he still hadn?t brought up the subject, and I guessed he was going to wait until they got home. All evening I stared at the phone, expecting to hear its ring, expecting to be told that Matt was calling to talk to me.
He?ll tell me tomorrow at some point, I reasoned. That didn?t stop my stomach from clenching, just thinking about what was going on with my friend.
Tap tap tap.
I sat upright in bed, my head jerking toward the window.
There it was again. Tap tap tap.
I reached over, switched on the lamp beside me, and got out of bed, my heartbeat pounding as I crossed the floor to pull back the drapes.
Matt stood outside, a bag slung over one shoulder.
I opened the window as quietly and as widely as I could. ?What are you doing here?? I whispered.
He stared at me with huge eyes, his chest rising and falling. ?Can I climb in??
What the hell? I nodded and helped him clamber over the windowsill and into my bedroom. He lowered his bag to the floor and regarded me, swallowing.
Jeez, he looked awful.
?What?s wrong?? I kept my voice as low as possible. I had no idea how long it had been since my parents went to bed.
?I?ve run away.? Matt gulped and dragged his fingers through his short hair.
?What?? I sat on my bed and he joined me, visibly shaking. ?Why??
?Because I don?t want to go to Atlanta,? he announced. ?I want to stay here, with you.?
Oh God. Then it was true. ?What did your parents say??
?Daddy said?.? Matt took a moment to breathe. ?He said he had a new job, in a factory in Atlanta. Said it was more money than he makes here. Said they?d find me another tutor. Said the schools were better.? He swallowed. ?They said we?re leaving next? Saturday.?
?You?re going just ?cause your dad found a better job??
Matt nodded. ?He told me and Darren that although they liked it here, things have been pretty tight for a while. They?d been waiting to see if it got better, but then he heard about this other job. Said he couldn?t afford to turn it down. So that?s it. They?re leaving.? He squared his jaw in that way of his. ?Well, they can leave if they want to. Doesn?t mean I have to.?
My heart went out to him. I wanted him to stay, of course, but I could see problems with his plan. ?Your parents won?t leave you behind. Where would you live, for one thing??
?Here.? Matt?s eyes flashed. ?I could live here with you and your folks. There?s plenty of room.? His gaze flickered around the room. ?We could even share.?
?Don?t you think your parents would miss you??
Matt snorted. ?Why would they? It?s not like they even know I?m gone, now is it??
When I caught the sound of the phone ringing in my parents? room and the low rumble of my dad?s voice, I knew instinctively who was calling. ?I wouldn?t be so sure about that.?
Matt opened his eyes wide. ?Quick. Where can I hide??
I pointed to the closet, knowing deep down it was going to be futile. Matt lurched up off the bed, dashed across the room, and closed the door behind him. Seconds later there was a tap on my door and my mom poked her head around it. She glanced at my room and then came in.
?Sweetheart, is Matt here??
I blinked. ?Matt? No, of course not. Why would Matt be here??
Mom pointed to Matt?s school bag, standing in the middle of the floor. ?Because that is not yours, and you?re sitting here with the light on.? Before I could say a word, she walked across to my closet and pulled open the door.
Her face fell. ?Come on out, honey.?
What surprised me was that she didn?t appear angry.
Matt came out unhurriedly, and she knelt down in front of him. ?Matt, honey, your mom just called. They were frightened when they looked in on you and found you weren?t there. When they saw you?d taken some clothes and your bag, this was the first place they thought of. They?re on their way now to pick you up.?
Matt?s lower lip trembled. ?But? I don?t want to go.? He swallowed hard.
Mom stroked his cheek. ?I know, baby, I know. But you have to. You?ll see. Things will turn out all right when you get to Atlanta. And anytime you want to talk to David, you just tell your mom and dad, and they?ll let you, okay??
Dad appeared in the doorway. ?Maryann is here.? He gave me a look that seemed sad, like he knew how I was feeling. ?Say good night to David. You?ll see him tomorrow, all right??
Matt nodded, his eyes dull. My mom stood up and stepped to one side as Matt went toward the door. ?See you tomorrow,? he said to me, not meeting my gaze, before disappearing from my sight. Dad followed him.
I blinked. ?He?s really leaving??
Mom sat on my bed, her hand curled around mine. ?Yes, sweetheart. I know this feels awful right now, but it will get better.?
A brief flare of frustration passed through me. ?Yeah? And how do you know that? Did you have your best friend move away?? I couldn?t believe I?d had the nerve to say that to her, but damn it, I was hurting too.
?David, you?ll make other friends. I promise.?
?You don?t know that,? I insisted, with all the superior knowledge of an eight-year-old boy. ?And I don?t want other friends. I want Matt.?
She stroked my hair gently. ?Turn out the light and go to sleep. You can get up early and go see him. You have to make the most of this week, before he leaves.? She got up from the bed and went toward the door. ?Good night, David.?
I lay down after turning the light off, and stared at the ceiling.
Like I needed reminding that he was going.
I put down my book and got up from the table. All morning I?d wanted to go to his house, to help them pack up all their belongings into the van his dad had hired, but Dad had told me to stay away.
Matt stepped into the kitchen. ?Hey. I came to say goodbye.?
Dad held out his hand, and Matt shook it. ?It?s been good to have you around, son. Stay in touch, you hear??
Matt nodded and then turned to my mom. ?Thank you, Mrs. Lennon. You?ve been really nice.?
She ruffled Matt?s hair and kissed his forehead. ?It?s been a pleasure having you around. Good luck in Atlanta.? Her gaze flicked toward me. ?Maybe David can walk you home?back to the house, I mean.?
My gut clenched. Yeah. It wasn?t Matt?s home anymore.
I nodded, forcing a smile. ?That sounds good.? I followed Matt to the door and told my parents I?d be back soon. Then we stepped out into the bright August sunlight.
?Have your parents found a house?? I asked as we walked along.
?They?ve found a place to rent. Dad says it?s better, seeing as they haven?t sold the house yet.?
I could see the For Sale sign at the end of their driveway, along with the large white van and their car.
?Everything packed?? I knew I was just making small talk, but I didn?t have a clue what to say. The thought of Matt getting into one of the two vehicles and pulling away from 465 South Segoe Road filled me with a quiet ache.
?Yeah. I?m still amazed they got it all in.?
His brother, Darren, was standing at the roadside, talking earnestly with a girl. ?Bet Darren?s not happy about leaving.?
Matt huffed. ?He?s whined about it all week.?
?And you haven?t??
Matt turned his head in my direction. ?Me? I?ve been quiet. Half the time it didn?t feel real.?
I could understand that.
We reached the house and his mom came out, his sister, Paula, in her arms. ?Hey, David. Nice of you to come see us off. We?re just about ready to leave.? She walked over to the car, placed Paula in the back, and fastened her into the child seat.
Matt?s dad glanced over at Darren. ?Time to go, son.?
Darren pulled a face, then leaned over to kiss the girl on the cheek. With a sullen glance at his dad, he climbed into the cab of the van and slammed the door shut.
Matt?s dad sighed. ?Great. It?s sure gonna be fun riding all the way to Atlanta with him in this mood.?
I said nothing. I didn?t trust myself.
He nodded toward me. ?Thanks for coming, David. Good luck in the future. You?re a smart kid?you?ll go far.?
With that, he got into the van too.
Matt?s mom came over to me, her hand held out. When I took it, she clasped it between hers. ?I need to thank you before we go.?
?For what?? I genuinely had no clue.
She smiled. ?It was you who put the idea in Matt?s head to get him tested about his reading, wasn?t it??
Oh. That. ?It was just an idea.?
?Yes, but it changed everything. Thank you for that.? She released my hand and gestured toward the car. ?Time to go, Matt.?
Matt faced me, blinking rapidly. ?Goodbye, David. I hope we stay in touch.?
The pair of us regarded each other, an awkwardness descending. Then he got into the front seat next to his mom. I watched them pull away from the curb and head down the street, Matt?s hand sticking out of the window as he waved.
I waited until they were no longer in sight, and then I turned to head home.
God, I wanted to hug him. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and hold him tight, but I couldn?t. What was more, I got the feeling he wanted to do the same. I?m not sure what gave it away. Maybe it was the look of longing on his face, the way he raised his arms ever so slightly.
I wished he had, but that day, neither of us was brave enough.
People often ask me…
…how I got started as a writer.
I’ve always written, right from an early age. I was always writing stories as a child, and as I grew up, I had the idea of writing a novel, like so many people do. My first book was based on an idea that I kicked around for about a year, before I actually decided to do something about it. But once I started writing it, it wouldn’t stop coming! Actually sitting down to write stemmed from the desire to do something creative at a time in my life when I was at a very low point. My writing was the only positive thing in my life, and once the process had started, it simply flowed out of me.
…why write gay romance?
I first discovered erotic romances in 2009. One such book featured two male characters who were bisexual, and their scenes together were something I’d never encountered before – but definitely found intriguing. After searching for similar books (f/m/m), I took the plunge and tried a gay erotic romance – and I was hooked!
The vast majority of gay romances that I came across had a Happy Ever After ending, which I loved, and characters who weren’t perfect by any means, but who met, fell in love and wanted to be monogamous.
Dreamspinner Press was one of the first publishers of gay romance that I discovered, and I quickly began to build up my own library of ebooks. Those writers truly inspired me: they are the main reason that I decided to fire up the laptop and finally write something of my own.