After a rocky first few months, Stephen Parker and Russ Bishop’s relationship is at a crossroads when the death of Stephen’s father forces them to visit Stephen’s hometown in southern Georgia.
Estranged from his family, Stephen must find a way to come to terms with his past and say goodbye to the father whose expectations he could never live up to. The small, conservative town provides its own challenges as Russ realizes providing emotional support is one part of being a true partner for Stephen.
After the dishes were done and the kitchen was clean, the three of them sat on the front porch, Russ beside him on the creaking swing as Miss Esther knitted and told Russ stories about Stephen growing up. “Before you leave I’ll show you the photos I have,” she promised Russ and he enthusiastically agreed. Stephen’s gaze flew to the elderly woman.
“You have them?”
“Sure do,” she said easily, the clack of the needles never pausing. “Your daddy tried to throw them out when your momma passed but I wouldn’t let him. I’ve been hangin’ onto ‘em for you.”
“Oh,” Stephen replied, feeling strangely shaky. He’d thought every memory of his childhood had been tossed out.
“They’re in a box in the blue bedroom,” she said. “You can get them down from the shelf in the closet for me tomorrow.”
“I’d love to see them,” Russ said, his tone eager as he leaned forward. Stephen was less sure of how he felt. On one hand, he was relieved to know it hadn’t all been destroyed. On the other, he wasn’t sure how much of his past he could face this weekend. Then Russ’ knee nudged his, their thighs pressing together. As the katydids droned in the background, Stephen felt himself relax, remembering he didn’t have to face it alone.
Length: Novella (42,629 words/115 pages)
Length: 2 Novellas (Equals & Partners combined – 91,464 words/272 pages)
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