Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 5


"So tell me."

"Not here. Outside."

Ten minutes later, we were leaning against my car. Stone was munching on a roast beef sandwich. I took a big gulp of soda, bit the bullet and blurted it out. "I'm gay."

Donny choked on his sandwich and looked at me in horror. He wheezed and coughed with a hand in the air until he could yell, "What the fuck?"

"Dude, please don't be like this."

"How the hell should I be? We've been friends since fourth grade and suddenly you're…" He shook his head slowly. "You've been lying to me this whole time, haven't you? Have you ever even screwed a girl before?"

"Of course I have. I thought I was bi, but it's been more one way than the other lately. I didn't wake up this morning and turn gay."

"You're like a brother, man. Why the hell didn't you tell me? I would've understood."

"Maybe you're right. Maybe you would have been cool about it, but what about the other guys? How do you think they'd handle the news? Look at how they treat Max—like a fucking leper."

"Holbrook?" Stone laughed. "The fag factor isn't the only thing wrong with him."

I was livid. "Fag factor? Wrong?"

He realized his mistake and back-pedaled. "I didn't mean it like that. You're my best friend. Of course I don't think you're wrong."

"But Max is?"

Donny was flushed with anger. "Oh, so you're all righteous now, huh? What about all the shit that you've given him?"

"Yeah, I have been horrible to him. I think it was more about fear, though. I apologized to him this morning."

"I bet that made his day. He crushin' on you now?"

I'd passed my breaking point. "Fuck you. This is exactly why I didn't tell you."

My best friend sneered and said, "'Scuse me for being freaked out that my best friend's a homo."

"No way!" said a breathless voice behind me. I turned around and saw Steve, the catcher, standing behind me, mouth gaping. I wanted to throw up. I'd been outed. Now that Steve knew, it was only a matter of time before the whole school knew. He took off running, pulling his phone out of his pocket at the same time.

Fighting back tears, I glared at Donny. He looked genuinely upset. "Fuck, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to tell him."

"Whatever," I mumbled, with no more strength left to be pissed. I walked back into the school, already hearing snickering and laughing in the halls.

The deserted bathroom on the third floor seemed like a good place to hide. Hardly anyone ever went up there. I sat on the toilet in the last stall and sobbed. I hadn't told my parents about my sexual preferences, and I'm sure it would get back to Mom before I got home from school. I was completely fucked.

Michael and Philip appeared next to me. I went off on them. "This is all your fault! If you'd just left me where I was…"

"You came out to your parents right after you graduated, so why are you so angry?" Philip asked.

"Because the whole school knows!" I yelled. "I was never out to anyone from high school. That's why I went to college half-way across the country. Everyone's already laughing out there. I can't do this. Take me back up there. It's too hard to be an angel."

Suddenly, the bathroom door opened with a loud squeak, and my heavenly guests vanished. I prepared myself for a bashing, figuring that the jocks were going to be gunning for me, but only one person came into the room before the door banged shut.

"Trace? You okay?"

I knew the voice at once. It was Max. I couldn't talk to him at that point, so I sniffled and said, "I'm fine, thanks. I'll…be okay."

The sound of digging through a backpack echoed off the tiled walls, and then a small piece of paper was shoved under the door. "Here's my number. And I'm not hitting on you. I only want to help if I can."

"Yeah. Thanks, Max, but I just want to be alone right now."

Max said softly, "I did, too. Just don't stay alone too long. And I'm sorry for being such a jerk earlier. I slammed you when you didn't deserve it. So, I'll see ya later."
"Thanks," I mumbled.

I skipped the rest of my classes and went home. It would be another three hours until my mother got home from volunteering at the hospital. The seconds ticked by so slowly that I almost went insane until finally, I heard the kitchen door open.


"Yeah?" I replied quietly. I wasn't sure if she'd heard my news already from a friend or nosy neighbor, so I played dumb.

"Why aren't you at practice?" she called.

"Oh. I…uh…I'm not feeling well."

My father got home around five. When his car pulled in the driveway, I rushed to my window. I hadn't seen Dad in twenty years and I tried to play it cool, but I couldn't. I raced downstairs and burst into the kitchen as soon as he stepped through the door.

"Dad!" I cried.

He was startled when I threw my arms around him and squeezed. My mother yelped. "What's wrong with you today?"

I cleared my throat and let my father go. He raised one eyebrow and took a step back from me. "Get hit in the head, sport? How was practice?"

"I, uh, didn't go."

Mom put her hands on her hips. "Well you look better now—" The telephone cut her off and she looked at the number. "Oh, it's Steven's mother. I wonder what she wants."

Oh. Shit. That bastard had taken no time to spread the news about me even to his mother. I mumbled an excuse and went up to my room.

Fifteen minutes later, my father called up, "Trace? Come down here, please."


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Avery Dawes
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Chris T. Kat
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Mann Ramblings
Ravon Silvius

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 4


The smell of floor polish and chalk dust assaulted my senses the moment I walked into the building. It was so surreal. On the spot where I stood, twenty years later, there would be a shopping mall.

Somehow, I really did remember everything that had happened before now. I recalled what I'd had at lunch the day before, and the nasty joke that Donny Stone—my best friend—had told me.

"Weird," I mumbled.

Suddenly, someone slapped me hard on the back and I lurched forward. Stone laughed and said, "Talking to yourself, Worthy?"

"Yeah," I shot back. "I was saying how much of a douchebag you are."

I punched him good-naturedly on the arm and said, "Go ahead to homeroom. I gotta go…check with a teacher."

Stone looked at me warily. "You? Check with a teacher? Have fun, bud."

I headed up the back stairs toward the language classrooms. I knew that the Spanish room was the most likely place to find who I needed. He was a genius with languages, and had helped me muddle through Spanish papers a few times. Right outside the room, sitting on the floor amidst a pile of papers and books sat Max Holbrook. He was bent over a laptop, typing with one hand while sipping from a large travel mug.

"Hey, Max," I called.

He was so startled that the coffee cup went flying, landing upside down on his books. "Shit!" he snapped.

I dove for the cup and righted it before much could spill onto the cover. Then I used my shirt to wipe the spilled java from the paperback. When I was sure that not much damage had been done, I sat back and noticed that Max was staring at me in shock.

I mumbled, "Sorry."

"It's fine," he said. He snatched the book from me and replaced it on the pile. I smiled sheepishly at him and he scowled. "What now?"

"What now what?" I replied.

Max shut his laptop and sighed. He started shoving his books and papers into his bag and spoke without looking up. "I've already run through the gauntlet this morning with all your friends, so I'm kinda tired. I assumed that you came to add the icing on the cake. So, go ahead. I can stand a few more jabs. Do you want to go with the ugly route, or maybe the gay thing? Take your pick."

The blunt speech surprised me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was poked in the back hard. I would have to thank Philip for the little nudge. I cleared my throat and said, "I'm sorry, Max."

"Sorry?" He blinked at me several times before frowning and saying, "That's a new one."

I held up my hands in surrender and said, "Look. I know I've always been an asshole to you, but I've changed—in more ways than you'll ever know—and I want to apologize."

He looked at me warily and finally smiled. I smiled with him, until his expression turned into a snarl. He took a step closer to me and said, "Fuck. You."

As I watched him storm down the hall and around the corner, I let my bag drop to the floor. "That went well." Then the bell rang and I realized I was late for homeroom. I trudged toward the stairs and groaned. "High school sucks."


I made it through my morning classes well. if anything, they were fun. With my extra twenty-eight years' experience, the history test that I took was a breeze. In algebra I was able to answer several of the questions that the teacher posed to the class. Stone sat next to me and kept shaking his head every time I spoke up.

On our way to lunch, Stone grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the streaming hallway crowd. He scowled. "What is it?"

"What's what?" I replied, trying not to shake with fear. Had he found out that I was dead and had been sent back on a secret mission to save the school outcast?

Stone leaned in closer. "What's got you so fucking hyped up? Did you do it with that chick from state?"

I let out the breath I'd been holding. I thought he'd figured out that I was now a quasi-reincarnated version of myself, but he was asking about a college girl I'd messed around with at a party the week before. "No. Nothing happened."

My best friend wasn't going to drop it. He grinned evilly and whispered, "What about the girl from Teauville, the team's manager? It was her wasn't it?"

Little did he know that it wasn't the female manager of the opposing team that I'd hooked up with. It was the shortstop. But was I going to tell Stone that? No way. He didn't know I was gay and I was in no hurry to tell him. Truth is, I was petrified of being mentally bashed like Max was on a daily basis. The tiniest shred of credit that I could give my friends was that they had never physically hurt Max. Our catcher, Steve, had once talked about "smearing the queer," but Stone went berserk and said that he'd smear Steve's face on the floor if he ever laid a finger on the smaller boy. That was the only reason that I hadn't severed my ties with Stone. Of all my friends, only he showed a little compassion. Too bad he didn't realize that mentally abusing someone can be just as bad as beating them up.

I came back to the present and realized Stone was still hounding me for the name of the girl he imagined had me in such a good mood. "What's-her-face from the cheerleading squad? That freshman? The mayor's daughter?"

"Will you shut up?" I barked. Stone blinked stupidly at me and I sighed. "I have to tell you something, Don."


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Thursday, August 13, 2015

5 Hearts for Remember Him from MM Good Book Reviews!

I'm thrilled with the reviews I've been getting for my book, including from MM Good Book Reviews. Click here to read the review. It's an amazing feeling to know that my hard work has paid off. Thanks to everyone who's read the book. I hope you enjoy it!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 3


"You don't need to be afraid," Philip answered. "Once you have saved Max, and your task is complete, you will spend eternity as an Adored One."

"So, I'll be whisked away, up through the Pearly Gates to float around?"

"Something like that," the dark angel laughed. "There are no gates, though. Just peace."

I tried to think of the place where my father had gone. "What's it like? Heaven, I mean."

Michael beamed. "Words cannot describe it! Imagination cannot render a likeness of its beauty. A million hearts could not contain the love and happiness that flows in God's presence."

"Wow," was the only thing I could think to say.

Philip smiled. "That's what everyone says. But it's time to start your journey, are you ready?"

"Now?" I asked. "But, I don't know what to do. Is there a manual or something?"

Michael put a hand on my arm. "No, no manual. However, you can look to God for guidance, and we will assist you as we can. Use your heart and your mind and you will succeed." They both stood and turned. The light started to fade behind them.

"No, wait! I still don't know what to do!" My head began to throb as my vision dulled. I staggered up and reached out toward the light and dark clouds, but they slipped through my fingers like smoke.


"Trace? Trace Worthy! It's time to get up!"

A beam of light from a split in the curtains felt like it was burning a hole in my forehead. I groaned and flipped over, but instead of my luxurious, king-sized, pillow-top mattress lulling me back to sleep, I rolled off the edge of a hard twin-sized bed and hit the floor with a thump.

Slowly, I sat up and rubbed my hand over my head. When I felt the collar length strands slip through my fingers, I gasped. I distinctly remembered having been to the stylist for my usual men's business cut a few weeks ago. "What the hell?"

"I really wish you wouldn't swear," came a quiet voice behind me. I spun around to see two men standing near my door. But we weren't in my obnoxiously large bedroom in my condo. We were in my childhood bedroom: cramped, clothes strewn over every surface and reeking of teenage boy. I burrowed my knuckles into my eyeballs, trying to wake myself up, but when I open my lids and my vision cleared, I was still in the tiny room in my parents' house.

"No way," I whispered. I noticed my voice seemed different. A little higher in pitch maybe.

One of the men spoke to me. He seemed so familiar, yet I couldn't quite place him. He said, "Listen to me carefully, Trace. When I touch your hand, you will remember what has happened."

He held out a hand and I took it warily. A momentary blinding headache knocked me backward, and then it dawned on me why I was now eighteen years old. I looked at the man whose hand I had touched. "You know, Philip, I really could have done without that shock."

The heavenly being chuckled. "It takes a little work to rewind the clock, you know. But now that you're up, get ready for school. Your mother will be up in a few minutes to wake you. Have fun on your first day back."

"Wait, am I going to remember what happened yesterday at school? If I don't know what's going on, they'll all think I'm nuts."

"It's all taken care of," Michael said. "Just remember, you need to make contact with Max today."

And just like that, they were gone. Seconds later there was a knock on my door. It opened slowly and my mother peeked in. "Oh! You're up."

"Yeah," I replied. "Can I have a laundry basket please? This room is a mess."

"Um…sure." She looked at me like I'd gone insane. In a few moments she returned and handed me the plastic basket. As I collected all of the laundry scattered over every surface of the room while she stood in the doorway, staring. When I excused myself and carried the clothes into the laundry room at the end of the hall, she asked, "Are you feeling all right, Trace?"

For a dead guy? Great.

"Never better," I replied with a forced smile. "Is…uh, Dad home this morning?" I was desperate to see my father, who I hadn't seen since he died from cancer almost twenty years before.

"Of course not," she laughed. "He always leaves before you get up. Are you sure you're okay? It's just that I've never seen you doing laundry."

I paused in my sorting and gave myself a mental nudge. I had to remember to act like a teenage boy. Damn. I said, "Well, I figure that I'm going off to college next fall. I may as well get used to doing laundry the right way. Not like you're going to be coming with me."

Mom shrugged and said, "Well, thanks. It'll be a great help." I emptied the basket into the bin, kissed my mother on the forehead, and then went back to prepare for high school.

Heaven help me.


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Carol Pedroso
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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Release Day - Remember Him is out!!

Hey there! I'm so excited to celebrate the release of REMEMBER HIM from eXtasy Books! I've set up a separate page for the book with an excerpt and details on how to enter the giveaway of a $20 Amazon gift card.