Monday, 1 February 2016

February Fiction 2: Nothing Ever Happens Free Read

Today's free read is from Nothing Ever Happens. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked for this story. Maybe one day I'll finish it.

Thank you to Hanne for reading it.

Colin Matthews yawned as he parked in front of the Lake House and cut the engine of his rental car. He’d gone past tiredness and plowed straight into exhaustion somewhere over the Atlantic. He was tempted just to lay his head on the steering wheel and go to sleep.

The journey from London had been hell and he’d been up for nearly twenty-four hours. Colin was here for his father’s fiftieth birthday party and he wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but the train cancellation, the plane delay, and the kid kicking the back of his seat for most of the flight had frayed his last nerve. Colin should have accepted his dad’s offer of a seat in business class.

He forced his tired frame out of the car and grabbed his bag. The front door flung open and his dad appeared, a huge smile on his face. Before Colin could say hello he was gathered into his dad’s arms. Colin hugged him back, relieved to be home. Not that he didn’t love London, but the Lake House had been part of his life for years and in his mind, this was home. He rested his head on his dad’s shoulder, hoping he didn’t fall asleep standing up.

Andrew eventually let him go, although he kept a hand on Colin’s arm as he led him into the house. “You’re here.” He beamed at Colin, his green eyes crinkling at the corners. Colin knew exactly what he was going to look like when he was his father’s age. He was grayer than the last time they’d been together but his smile was still the same. God, Colin was glad to see him.

“Finally.” Colin ran a hand through his hair, not caring if it stuck up in all directions. “I thought I’d never get here in time. The plane was delayed for five hours.”

“Never mind, you’re here now.” Andrew led Colin into the kitchen and poured him a huge mug of coffee. His mug, the one that only Colin used when he was here. “Marcus isn’t coming?”

Colin pressed his lips together and shook his head. “We’re done. Marcus moved out last week.”

“I’m sorry, son.” Andrew squeezed his shoulder.

“Me too.” The split with his ex-boyfriend of three years had been nasty but his dad didn’t need to know that. Colin drank almost half the mug before he spoke again. “Where’s Nathan?” His father’s partner for nearly fifteen years was usually never far from Andrew’s side.

“Nate’s gone to pick up Dan. They’ll be back tomorrow.” Andrew studied Colin carefully. “You okay with Dan being here?”

 Colin gave a casual shrug although from the expression on Andrew’s face he was sure his dad wasn’t fooled for a second. “It’s your party and he’s family, although I thought you said he wasn’t going to be home in time.”

Dan, Nathan’s son, had finally finished college and was working in Malaysia for a year.

“Nate sent him the money for a ticket. You know what Nate’s like. He wants all the family here.”

“Are the Moms coming?” Colin meant his mom and Nathan’s ex-wife. Andrew didn’t speak to his own mother, and Nathan’s mom had passed away the previous year.

Andrew laughed at the stupid question. “All of them.” Both he and Nathan were friends with their ex-wives and their new spouses. “They’re all here with kids and husbands, and Nancy’s family.”

“How are she and Nathan doing?”

Nancy was Nathan’s sister, missing for many years, and now reunited with her family. It hadn’t been an easy path for any of them. Too many years had gone by and too much water under the bridge for them to resume an easy relationship.

“It’s slow,” Andrew said. “Anyway, enough about the family. Do you want something to eat?”

“I’m starving,” Colin confessed. “I haven’t eaten since this morning.”

As he expected, Andrew tsked and made him sit down at the breakfast bar. In a sleepy haze, Colin drank more coffee and watched as his father produced baked potatoes from the range, and quickly fried a couple of steaks.

By the time he staggered into bed, full up with the best steak dinner he’d had since the last time his dad had cooked for him, it was four in the morning, London time. He was buzzing with the coffee and exhausted at the same time.

Colin rubbed his eyes and hoped his brain would unwind enough to become as exhausted as his body. Eventually, as sleep proved elusive, he rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. “Why did you have to come home now?”

Tomorrow he was going to have to face Dan, Nathan’s son, who was nearly ten years younger than him, and the love of his life.

**
Colin poured coffee into his mug, shoved his feet into his sneakers, and headed down to the lake. He shivered in the early morning chill but it was bracing after hours spent on the plane yesterday. He sat on the wooden deck, burying his nose in the fragrant aroma of his father’s special blend of coffee, and watched the heron fly across the lake. He could swear he’d been watching the same heron since his first visit to the lake house.

“I thought you’d still be asleep.” Dan handed Colin another mug, then sat down next to him, loudly slurping his own drink.

Colin turned his head and looked at the boy who haunted his thoughts. Man, not boy. Dan had filled out, his shoulders broad and his legs… his legs went on forever. Colin refused to think about the size of Dan’s feet. “I thought you were in Malaysia.”

“I was, but it’s Andrew’s fiftieth, and you were going to be here.” Dan stared at him unflinchingly, his dark brown eyes not giving Colin anywhere to hide.

“Don’t do this, Dan. Not now.” Colin tipped the hot coffee into his mug and took another long swallow.

“When, then?” Dan demanded. “I’m twenty-four. Not a kid anymore. When are you going to see me?”

Colin nearly choked on his coffee. “See you? You think I don’t see you?” Christ, he did nothing but see Dan.

“You think I’m a kid,” Dan said, but he looked more uncertain now.

Colin placed his mug next to the one Dan had brought and turned to face him. “Don’t you get it? It’s the fact you’re not a kid anymore that’s the problem.”

“Why?” Dan reached out for Colin, hurt springing into his eyes when Colin flinched away. “I’m single, I know you are now.”

“How do you know that?”

“I talked to your dad when I got the coffee. He told me you and Marcus split up.”

“Dad’s got a big mouth,” Colin muttered. He was going to have a serious talk with his father about being a snitch. “Marcus dumped me.”

“He sent me an email.”

Colin wrinkled his brow. “My dad sent you an email?”

“Marcus. He sent me an email last week.”

“My ex-boyfriend sent you an email?”

Dan dug in his pocket and drew out a crumpled sheet of paper. He held the paper out to Colin who smoothed it out. The email was brief. Two words.

You win.

Colin looked at Dan. “Is this why you’re here?”

Dan nodded. “I’m fed up with waiting, Colin. I’ve waited for you all my life, but you keep running away. It’s time to stop running and face up to the fact you love me.”

Loving Dan was the problem. Why the hell couldn’t Dan see that? “Our parents—”

“Are just waiting for you to stop being a dick. They all know how I feel about you.”

“They do?” Colin stared at Dan. “You told them?”

“Christ, Colin, they’ve known how I felt about you since I was a kid.”

“I live in London, you live in Malaysia.”

“You think distance would change the way we feel about each other?” Dan smiled at Colin as if he’d said something stupid. “I could live on the moon and I’d still love you.”

“I’m too old.” Colin trotted out all the arguments that he’d used to convince himself that Dan could never be his.

“Yeah, yeah, and I’m too young. I’ve heard it all before, babe.”

Babe? In Dan’s mind they were at babe?

Colin stared out over the lake; anywhere except at the man beside him. “What do you want me to say?”

Dan moved closer to Colin until their knees were almost touching. He turned Colin around, cupping his jaw with both hands and not letting him look away. “Just say yes, Colin. Just say yes.”

**
Day 1 - Morning Report
Day 3 - Hazel Takes Over






8 comments:

  1. Oh sue ,I have wanted for so long to know how Colin and Daniel grew up and with this little snippet it just makes it more enticing to know,
    I hope you do think about sharing their story with us,
    Catherine,

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    1. I will, I will, but oh so many books to write first.

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  2. Saw Colin was the first word and started reading. So happy about this. You know I've wanted more Colin and Dan. Now I'm smiling and feeling the warm and fuzzies. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. I want to write them now. Can't. Put them on list.

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  3. I feel sorry for Marcus. I hope he'll find someone who loves him the way Colin and Dan love each other. :-)

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    Replies
    1. I nearly always write the ex-partner's story. They become as important to me as the heroes of this story.

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  4. I want more. More Colin and Dan, more Nate and Drew.....Just more.

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  5. Nice. Nothing Ever Happens is my 2nd fav Sue Brown book right after Morning Report. :)

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