Last year I began writing a gay romance novel, purely for my own entertainment. When I lost my job, my belief in myself and my confidence in everything hit the floor. As unemployment stretched from days to months, my confidence gradually dropped even lower. I stopped doing anything. I stopped writing. I believe that writing was a waste of time, a silly fantasy I had no time for.
Since obtaining a new job, I’ve been focused on that to the exclusion of all else. Recently I came across the gay romance novel. I read it and then had a look at a forum I’m a member of, and saw the comments I’d received from other posters who had read a portion of it. I started writing again last Saturday and I’m just writing for me.
That said, I’d love to see what others have to say about it, so without any further ado, please find behind the cut the first chapter of my gay romance novel “Calden Cove.” It’s pretty rough, but I sort of like it. Feel free to leave a comment below to let me know what you think.
Calden Cove – Chapter 1:
Jared Whyte sat on a milk crate in the shed like structure in the underground shopping centre car park. “Be anything you want” he thought. “That’s what they say. Did I really want to be a garage based checkout chick?”
A beat up old holden drove up to the gate. Three screeching kids in the back seat, a frazzled looking mother tiredly dragging herself from behind the steering wheel to unlock the boot.
Jared walked over, his plastic customer service smile moulded across his face.
“Can I have your ticket please?”
The woman, rummaged through her pockets, pulling out a range of shopping receipts before locating the correct one. Without a word or a glance, she shoved it in his direction.
Jared glanced at the ticket and walked into the shed. Seated in neat rows, were metal shopping carts. Each one labelled with the name and number of the grocery shopper too lazy to carry the bags to their own car.
Locating the correct one, Jared wheeled it out to the parked car, and began loading the over-stuffed bags into the boot of the car.
As the final bag came to a rest, he barely had time to get his arms out of the way before the boot was slammed shut. Jared offered the docket back to the woman who took it and slumped her way back to the drivers side of the car.
“Merry fucking Christmas to you too” Jared whispered, as with a belch of exhaust the car drove off towards the exit. “What a bitch.”
Jared went back inside the shed – or exhaust fume hell as he preferred to think of it – slamming the ticket he’d taken from the docket onto the sharp nail sticking out of the window sill.
“Coming down Jared.”
Jared moved across to the elevator, listening as the mechanics cranked and wheezed. Five more trolleys laden with Christmas cheer arrived. Jared manhandled the trollies into position, replacing them with the seven empty ones that had been cluttering up his work space.
“What’s taking so long Whyte, you wanking down there or something?”
“Bite me Turner” Jared said with a laugh “it’s not my dick that seems to need air every twenty-five minutes.
Slamming the elevator door closed, Jared pressed the large green button on the concrete wall. The elevator groaned into life, lifting the trollies back up to be recycled on the supermarket floor.
“Thanks Whyte, glad to see these are in pretty reasonable shape, no cum stains or anything.”
“You’re an absolute bloody riot, go do some work for a change, better yet, come down here and relieve me, it’s my break time.”
“Oh I’ll relieve you any time you want pretty boy”.
Jared shook his head and flipped Aaron Turner his middle finger. He knew Aaron wouldn’t be able to see it but it was the thought that counted anyway.
Jared and Aaron had known each other their entire lives. They met at pre-school, ended up at the same primary school and high school. They’d parted company when Jared went on to finish his education at an exclusive co-ed school about half an hour away and Aaron had dropped out altogether.
As fate would have it, when Jared walked out of school at lunch time mid way through the second term and refused to go back, he’d ended up working in the same supermarket as Aaron. Funny how life turned out.
Minutes dragged by slower than they had any right to do and Jared filled the car boots of two more sour faced women, and the mother of one of the delightful turds he’d gone to school with. Every week she was there, Thursday afternoon at 2:15pm. For reasons only she understood she felt the need to update him on his “school chums” past week exploits.
Jared was smiling blankly, listening to the goings on of his ex-classmates as they dealt with life outside High School, while inside his head he was wandering a happy path involving butterflies, pygmies and arrows being shot into his head.
“Whyte, go have your break, the rest of the rabble are in the park across the street” Aaron said as he walked towards the pick-up area. “Oh Mrs Miller, nice to see you.” A flash of square white teeth and the cheeky grin that somehow always go him out of trouble across his face.
“Why Aaron, you look well, how is life outside school?”
“If you’ll excuse me” Jared said, darting into the pick up room and grabbing his wallet and cigarettes.
Jared walked through the sliding glass doors into the shopping centre, pausing at the donut shop for a lime milkshake and a pink iced donut. Heading towards the exit, he stepped from the air conditioned comfort of the Centre into the harsh, humid heat of a December afternoon.
“Why the hell are we sitting out here?” Jared asked as he approached his friends.
“Because smoking is bad for you and we can’t smoke in the shopping centre. Besides, we scared off the weirdo’s so we’ve got the fountain to ourselves.”
“What did you do to scare off the weirdo’s Hannah?”
“Told them you’d suck their cocks when you got here if they didn’t fuck off.”
The crowd laughed and Jared felt a moment of wonder that he’d finally found a bunch of people he belonged to, who had accepted him without a word being spoken. It was something he’d never had before. The fact they were the weirdo’s wasn’t lost on him at all.
Although all of them were in their late teens, each had a different story. Hannah, single parent to twin 1 year old boys; Raymond who walked around in a cloud of dandruff and always smelt like old coins. Deliah, as round as she was short and the first person to start organising nights at the club or picnics by the water and Owen, the newest edition to the group and the one who seemed the least weird of all.
“Come sit here” Owen said, patting the wooden bench beside him.
Jared smiled and walked over to sit next to Owen. He noticed Deliah elbowing Hannah and the two of them giggling but he ignored them. Sipping his too sweet milkshake concoction and eating a donut that now felt too dry for his mouth, Jared quickly glanced at Owen before returning his attention to this friends.
Lighting a cigarette he listened as Hannah regaled all of them with the joys of single parenthood to twins and Raymond scratched his head and sent text messages to the latest woman who had caught his eye.
Tuning out of the conversation, Jared allowed his thoughts to go where they always seemed to go these days. To Owen or more accurately straight into Owen’s lap.
Owen was tall, over six foot with jet black hair and brown eyes that shone with mischief and cheek. He was the only person Jared knew who looked good in their work uniform and he was often the centre player in whatever daydream Jared was experiencing.
“Are you listening Jared?”
The piercing sound of Deliah’s voice interrupted a nice day dream of Owen in the fountain wearing only his white work shirt and a smile. Jared dragged his attention back to the conversation.
“No, I wasn’t” Jared said “sorry.”
“We were talking about Saturday night. Do you have any plans?”
“Actually” Owen said, interrupting Jared before he could answer “Jared and I are going camping.”
Jared stared at Owen as though he had grown a second and third head.
“Jared, go camping” Deliah and Hannah both found this hysterical, “Have you met him Owen, there’s no way Jared would piss in a bush.”
“Let alone shit in the woods” Hannah interjected.
“I thought I’d give it a go” Jared said. “We should always be open to new adventures.”
“Ah-ha, looking forward to the next time we all to Kangaroo Valley for the weekend. I’ll expect you’d love to come along now.”
Jared shot Deliah a filthy glare and threw pieces of his donut around her. Flocks of SeaGulls came out of nowhere, squawking and making enough noise to wake the dead as they attacked the defenceless donut pieces.
“Fuck” Deliah screamed, waving her hands above her head and running out of the firing line. As the others laughed, Deliah looked at Jared with a smirk on her face “can’t wait to see the photos.”
“The camping trip, I’ll have a look at them on Monday.”
“I’m not a photographer, besides we’ll probably be too busy anyway.”
“You’ve got a phone Jared, I’m sure you’ll be sending pictures all weekend.”
“Come on” Owen said as he tapped Jared on the shoulder “if we’re not back on time Betty Bitch Tits will have our balls.”
“What a waste that would be” Hannah said, winking at Owen.
Owen laughed as Jared threw his rubbish in the bin, throwing the cigarette butt on the ground and stamping it out.
“So, we’re going camping then?” Jared asked as they crossed the road.
“Looks like it Whyte” Owen said with a wink “don’t worry, I’ll look after you and make sure you don’t wipe your arse with stinging nettles.”
Jared wasn’t sure if camping was such a good idea. His idea of roughing it was a 5 star hotel resort with a bar in the pool. But if it meant a weekend with Owen, how bad could be it be.