all good things for pride and chapter 42 of the voice in the forest

All good things

Hi everybody! 

Random personal tidbit — my baby cousin is getting married!

Am I planning and part of putting on a bridal shower with a ridiculously fun theme full of whimsy and joy that will also feature shiny things for all of us to wear? Yes.

Do I kind of want to spill the beans to everyone I come across because it’s so f*cking cute? Also yes.

I am a goober. I’m okay with it.

Additional random tidbit — there have been negative things and down right existential crisis terrifying things happening around PRIDE celebrations this year that are equal parts devastating, fearsome, and enraging, but some damn good things have come too.

For example: I got to take someone to their first Pride! I… it was very cool. Also, this particular event had vibes of the best kind of family picnic and I loved it.

Then there was the binge…

pride

Okay, so I read widely.

Which, should neither come as a surprise nor be taken as something I suggest everyone do.

For some people certain genres hit all their heart, for me I tend to have little pockets that need to be fed very different things.

As you all know, one of mine is like my Comfort Food Romance books. Sweet, full of love, and decidedly dripping in rainbows.

So, when I found out that Heartstopper, Alice Oseman’s webcomic/graphic novel series was being made into a Netflix series, I had to watch.

I don’t have Netflix.

Don’t come for me!

I know everyone says their favorites are on there, but there is a small problem of limited connectivity way up this mountain I live on. Choices have been made. Netflix didn’t make the cut.

BUT, my mom has it and I found out I could binge the entire first season in four hours. Done.

After so many shows everyone talks about that I don’t know, I actually got to watch this one!

Not only was it impeccably acted, it was so wholesome and adorable I… seriously. Just so good. 

And it did make me think about the books I write. The Comfort Food books are as if the teens from a Heartstopper world grew up to be in New Adult romance novels and that makes me happy.

extra

There was an extra funny line in the show, one of the characters said they were the “token straight friend.” Ya’ll, I died.

Because at another thing with some of my friends I had a moment where I looked around and went… it’s true. There’s a token straight friend!

I also realized that I tend to write all my casts closer to that than the token LGBTQIA person… so. Anyway, just assume that unless someone says so in one of my books, you never know their alphabet.

Because these are my worlds, and in my worlds no one needs to know, there isn’t a whole thing and everyone just likes who they like.

The extra great thing about crafting my own worlds, I get to make them look however I want.

Of course, I also have some less than stellar things going on, but I’m not going to talk about those this week.

Instead, let’s get to the chapter of our hot mess little story!

Reminder: this story is an unedited, rough draft, wild process with no filters story just for you that I will revise and edit before I put it out into the world.

And as an additional note: does anyone know how to get Pages on Mac to stop capitalizing the letter after a question mark in a dialogue tag without turning off all autocorrects? Lordy. One day I’ll figure it out, but I can’t get it to work so far.

the voice in the forest

Chapter 42

Finally back in my room, I sat in a chair and stared outside toward the lake, lit by work lamps into an otherworldly beacon in the dark of the night.

All the lights inside my room were off and I clutched my blanket tighter around me, tucking it over my toes.

It wasn’t cold in here, but I couldn’t get warm.

Even though I felt every minute of the day in the scratch of my heavy eyelids against my dry eyes and in the bone deep ache of my muscles, I couldn’t sleep either.

The things I should do, the things I should focus on were so far away they stood in sunlight while I looked out at darkness.

With the lightest touch, Montgomery appeared next to me, kneeling and looking up at me with one hand on my knee.

“Ara,” he said, “you need to get some sleep.”

His voice was hushed and tender and the ache in my muscles transferred to my heart. Every beat turned me into a being of blood and sadness.

Sadness built up and took over my whole body while I turned away from the light outside to stare into his eyes. It was fueled by the guilt surging through me every time I looked at him.

“I should be honest with you,” I said, and my voice sounded like a funeral dirge. 

“Honest with me about what?” he asked, tucking a piece of my hair behind my ear and letting his hand fall to cup my cheek.

Closing my eyes I tried to find the answers within me. 

Would he want to hear this?

Was it fair to even mention it?

How could I be thinking about the way this made me feel when it was so obviously too important to do the right thing by him?And, how would I even manage to say the words?

Opening my eyes, I tried to tell him.

My mouth opened and yet no sound came out. My own vocal chords didn’t know how to do this.

Letting out an exasperated breath, I folded my hand over his where it still held my cheek and let go of the blanket with the other.

There was only one way I knew to come close to telling him.

I grabbed his collar and pulled him to me.

He looked confused for a moment, but didn’t fight me as I pulled his face to mine.

A second of staring into his eyes later, the confusion fell away from him and his eyes widened, his mouth going slack.

With a nod and one desperate breath, I closed the distance and my eyes as I kissed him.

For a moment he did nothing and that battered heart in my chest began to slow and sink.

But a second later, he wrapped his arms around me and he kissed me back.

The lights in the woods and the darkness in the sky, the whole of the world fell away and I marveled at the way his lips felt on mine.

Never, in all the time Jameson and I were together did kissing him feel the way it did to kiss Montgomery, and it wasn’t because he was a ghost.

Montgomery wasn’t alive, but there was more life in our kiss than I felt in a long time.

His chest felt solid beneath my hands as I kneaded my fingers into his shirt, his mouth on mine was intent with strength and force hidden behind lips that were tender and soft.

We didn’t speak. He didn’t ask me what truth again because he felt it, he knew. He had to. This was my answer, these kisses my words, my hands clinging to him everything I knew and everything I wanted him to know.

I deepened the kiss, and he kept our lips together as he moved his arms, picking me up from the chair.

Only steps away, he placed me on the bed and crawled along with me, maintaining our kiss until we were stretched out side by side.

My hands roamed over the muscles in his back and chest, marveling at how real he felt. Even after everything, the fact that no one else could see him, touch him, feel him, hear him didn’t make any sense. I couldn’t imagine a world in which I didn’t know him.

He broke away from me only to return his lips to my neck, his arms around me and his fingers pressing against the small of my back.

“Ara,” he said into the tender skin of my neck, his voice branding my skin with my own name.

Before I could think of what to say, what to do, how to respond to his attentions on my neck that sent sensation rippling through my entire body, someone in the house screamed.
Tada!

Happy Pride month everybody, I hope yours is full of the hope and joy in Heartstopper and that I give to my characters in the Comfort Food books. 

All the good things to you.

As always, Thanks for reading everybody!

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