Sooo I’m not very good at getting things done on time, am I? But here’s a bit out of the book I’m currently writing called Newton’s Laws of Attraction. I should say ONE of the books I’m currently writing. I have a few projects going at the moment. I’m sure most writers can sympathize!
I have a VERY unofficial mini blurb for the novel and then I’ll get right into it!
Ben Parsons has one big regret in his life — Rory. Rory Newton had been his best friend all through childhood and then his boyfriend for a few brief beautiful months back in high school before Ben, afraid of not fitting in, made the wrong choice. Fast forward ten years. Ben’s teaching art in the high school he and Rory used to go to. He works in the old annex building, which houses a motley collection of science labs, music rooms, and his art studio. The annex teachers are a little mixed family full of characters including the “old dragon” Mrs. Burroughs who’s finally decided to call it quits. Enter the brand new chemistry teacher, none other than Rory Newton. Ben hasn’t seen him since they graduated, barely talked to him since they were seventeen.
Of course, sparks fly right away — and not the good kind…
The raging tides of awkward rose to flooding point after the morning’s staff meeting when the ‘boy wonder’ team, as Schroeder liked to call Ben and Fen, were appropriated to show Rory around the school. Ben didn’t know if he should try to get out of it or if avoiding Rory would only make things worse. He didn’t have much choice. He just stood there and nodded and felt like taking his poor clueless principal out with some sort of very lethal weapon.
Fen and Rory showed up at the door to his classroom ready for the school tour before he had a chance to manufacture a reason to get out of it.
“Uh, hey guys. We going?”
“You don’t have to come,” Rory said flatly. It was the first time he’d really looked at Ben since that awful moment of recognition back at the staff meeting. That moment back at the meeting didn’t seem so awful in comparison to the way Rory was deliberately not looking at him now.
“Sure he does! Nobody knows the back corners of this building like Ben here.”
Ben cringed. Fen, shut up. Now. Sure, he knew the back corners. Back corners he used to make out with Rory in before…well, before. “Actually I think there’s someone else. Why don’t we just show him the new building. Pretty sure Rory knows this one.”
“You went to school here too?” Fen asked.
Rory nodded. “Yep. Spent a lot of time out here too.” He grinned disarmingly at Fen and pointed at his chest. “Science geek.”
“Yeah.” Fen rolled his eyes and looked Rory up and down all lean muscles, designer jeans and runway model hair. “You look super geeky.”
Sometimes Ben wondered if Fen spent so much time with him that he forgot he was straight. Rory chuckled and gestured for Fen to lead the way out of the annex.
The annex was all that was left of the high school Ben and Rory had gone to. The rest of it had been torn down a year or two before Ben got there to make room for the new and shiny. Mostly he didn’t mind. Ben didn’t want a daily reminder of the time he made the biggest mistake ever. But the old halls of his part of the school reminded him of that — also reminded him of secret kisses in the chem lab and the band room, giggling when they thought they’d been caught. The first few weeks of school his senior year had been heady and wonderful. Ben’d had everything he could’ve ever wanted. He wondered if he’d still have it if he hadn’t managed to ruin everything.
The awkward trio trailed into the new building, Fen leading the way, Rory in the middle and Ben bringing up the rear wishing he could be anywhere but where he was. At the same time he was still reeling, just like he’d been for most of the staff meeting. Rory. He still couldn’t quite believe that Rory was right there, only a few inches in front of him, like some sort of mirage. Ben had played the moment over and over, the one where they ran into each other and he got to apologize, say that he’d made a huge mistake and that he wished they were still friends — well still everything to be honest. He’d nearly tried about a thousand times that school year but dumb fear and the look on Rory’s face like Ben had broken his heart kept him from doing it every single time.
“So, new building,” Fen said. “Course to me it’s not new since I’ve only been here two years, but I’ll do my best.”
Fen opened the door and gestured for Ben and Rory to go through. Rory ran his fingers through his hair again, all silky and caramely. Ben wanted to touch it, he wanted to touch those shoulders, familiar but so much broader than they used to be, he wanted to wrap his arms around Rory’s waist and spend about a million years breathing him in. He — ran right into Rory when Fen stopped to show him the main building’s staff lounge. Ben’s face smooshed up against the back of Rory’s neck and he nearly knocked both of them over.
Seriously? He nearly turned and booked it back to his moldy old art room where he could hide in peace. Rory turned to steady him, but then clenched his jaw and turned back towards Fen.
” … So we never eat over here. We have our own staff lounge out in loserville and we’re happy there.” He rolled his eyes. “I think the sweater brigade would have a cow if any of us annexers tarnished their precious lounge.
Rory snickered. “Maybe we’ll have to throw a barbecue over here some afternoon.”
“I like the way you think, man.” Fen bumped fists with a smiling Rory.
“I’ll lend my drink mixing skills. I think Schroeder is still recovering from that mai tai I made him last June.”
Fen chuckled but Rory only looked silently at the floor. Okay, then. Brick wall.
“Um, come this way. You already saw the cafeteria but I’ll show you the gym and the weight room. Teachers can use it after school as long as there isn’t a team in there practicing.”
Ben followed again silently and held the door to the gym open for Rory when they got there. Rory gave him a terse muttered ‘thank you’ but other than that, nothing. No eye contact, no smile. Nothing. Ben gave serious thought to quitting his job and taking residence on his parents’ couch. There was zero chance that he could survive a year with this kind of torture.