You can also read here. And since this is a home stop in the SoA tour, there's also a clue in the giveaway contest at the end :)
Excerpt from the Foreword and Chapter 1:
Read on for more:
HELLO. My name is Padrig Kennedy. Padrig, not Patrick. I’m thirty-two now and have lived in East London all my life. I am not cockney, so just get that Eliza Doolittle shite out of your head. My friends call me Pad, not Paddy.
“What’s in a name,” right? Well, I find it pretty cool that so many experiences and feelings, the good and the bad, a whole life, can be summarized in a couple words. I’ve made the decision to share some of the experiences and feelings—good and bad—that have made my life what it is. I want people to know who Padrig was because I hope that, even when I’m not here anymore, maybe it could help.
Please stop for a moment just now, though. There’s something important that I need to tell you before you go any further. Mine is not a cheerful story. I’ve been through a lot of very difficult things, some things that no one should ever experience, and some that no one should have to experience as frequently as I have in the last few years.
It’s not always easy for me to talk about. It’s taken me all this time to be able to look back, piece together the blank spots, and to face how it all felt at the moment. There have been times when I was thinking back on things that I actually felt a bit of a panic attack coming on, and I knew I had to step away from it for a while. I got past that, though, and came back to it because I knew this was something I needed to do.
But just as I feel it is important to warn you, I also want you to know that I am not an unhappy person. I know how fortunate I am. I would not want to waste that by being miserable about things I can’t change. Life is too short for that sort of thing. I should know.
So, if you should choose to continue reading, I will describe my experiences thus far, shall I?
FREDDIE and Archie have already been dropped off at their places, and I’m the last stop. After paying the driver my share of the fare, I hurry to get my bag from the back and jog up to the house. I fumble with the keys for a moment at the doorstep. Thinking that Nick is likely still in bed has me distracted; that’s just where I want him to be because I’m planning to slip in beside him and sleep for the rest of the afternoon.
I wish he could have come with us, but his boss, Mr. “Nosey-Parker” Soames, insisted that he needed him to attend a legal conference for several days during the week that we were away. I did try not to resent Soames too much for it—Nick is their top paralegal and all—but he’s got a bad habit of keeping tabs on Nick even during off-hours. Dodgy old bugger.
I sometimes have to remember that even though I’m not working, not everyone gets to pop off on holiday as they wish. Don’t get the wrong idea—Nick is no sugar daddy and I would never treat him like one. It did actually make sense for me to quit my job selling upmarket menswear in Burlington Arcade. After I moved in with Nick, I had only a few monthly expenses that barely put a dent in Nick’s salary. When your boyfriend says he wants to take care of you, you aren’t likely to knock back the offer.
Nick felt that we’d have more fun without him along anyway, as he’d been cutting out drinking ever since that night he drove into our corner letterbox. I didn’t see it that way, but I’ve never been the clingy sort. I can spend time with my mates without ringing Nick every hour, or he can join us and my mates don’t have to feel like third and fourth wheels. Our relationship is healthy because we love and trust one another explicitly.
Just as I finally pluck out the front door key, I drop the whole set and shake my head at myself. I am a soppy sod. In my defense, I have just returned home from one of the most sexually charged places on earth, and I was without my partner the whole time. To be honest, though, it isn’t even that I’m ragingly randy. I just want to be beside my lover again. I’ve gotten so used to snuggling with him at night that I ended up hugging a pillow to fall asleep the first few nights in Ibiza. Only pillows don’t kiss you gently in the morning when you’ve got a massive hangover, or tell your mates to keep it down while you’re recovering.
Anyway, I still had fun, and now I’m home. I set my bag inside by the door and head upstairs, making a detour to the bathroom first to wash my face. I know it sounds “metrosexual” as hell, but after a week’s worth of sun, sand, salt water, and hotel soap, I’m really glad to be back to my own cleansers, toners, and scrubs.
Taking stock, I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t come home looking like a cooked lobster, but I’ve definitely got a little more tan than my usual London pastiness. At least it makes my bog-standard-brown hair look a bit more interesting. I run a comb through, trying to tidy up the messy waves before giving it up. I’m due for a haircut, and it won’t behave until I’ve had a shower anyway. That won’t be happening till I’ve had my welcome-home snuggle.
Feeling “tingly clean and menthol fresh,” I’m more ready than ever to get back to my own bed for a while. Crossing the hall, I push the bedroom door open just a bit. I’m trying to make sure I don’t wake Nick, but I know that’s a waste of effort. He could have slept through the Blitz without stirring. Peeking in, there’s hardly any light coming through the heavy drapes, even though it’s 10 o’clock on Sunday morning and actually quite bright outside.
The dull gray tinting makes the room look like a scene from a ’40s film noir. I can see Nick sprawled over his side of the bed, facedown. He’s dead to the world. His right arm is going to be tingly when he wakes up, hanging off the edge of the bed as it is.
Even a mess, his hair has always reminded me of smooth olive wood, and even in the dark the golden highlights of his chestnut coloring stand out. The sheet is wrapped around one long, toned leg, leaving the other exposed, along with his perfect, oh-so-touchable bum. He’s gorgeous now in his midthirties, and he’s got the sort of structure, a swimmer’s physique, that makes it plain that he’s going to be a dead-set hunk the older he gets. There are times when I see him, like now, and I just can’t wait to grow old together.
Opening the door wide, I’m ready to shed my clothes before tucking Nick in properly and joining him. But then I see something that causes my world to change forever.
He’s not alone.
Another man is in our bed. Sleeping on my side of the bed, the place where I’ve lain beside my lover for the last year.
The world stops. For a long moment, my mind can’t process it. It’s like seeing something that you are sure can’t be real, even though it’s right in front of you. I stand there in the doorway of our bedroom, breathing rapidly, my heart beating so loudly I’m surprised it hasn’t woken Nick. My throat is tight, it’s hard to swallow, and a burning in my chest is mirrored in my eyes as I try to keep tears from welling up. I can’t stop staring at the sight before me, as if it’ll go away if I just look harder.
The other man shifts and grunts softly, and I wonder if that sound means his arse is reminding him of the night before… hell, maybe it’s been all week. I see him lift his head to look toward the doorway, but he doesn’t make any move to get up. It’s too dark to make out anything more about him.
And suddenly I feel sick, sicker than all the last week’s hangovers put together. I’ve got a terrible, all-over cold, trembly feeling. My heart pounds and I feel like the blood has drained from my upper body. I just want to get away from this feeling, and the only thing I can think is that I need to be out of the house. Now.
I turn and run.
I run down the stairs and out the front door. I run to get away, down to the park, hoping I can find a solitary spot for a while. By the time I get to the park, I’m overwhelmed. I’ve managed to keep my tears at bay all the way down here. But now, as I sink down under a big, leafy birch, I just can’t keep it in anymore. My mind is a clutter of “It can’t be… he can’t have… I must have been mistaken….” But I know better, I know what I saw. I saw the man I love more than anything in the world in bed with another man.
I can only take short gasping breaths around my sobs, but at that moment I don’t even care if I can’t breathe. It hurts so much, deep inside my chest, up through my tight throat; even the muscles of my face feel contorted in pain, and I’ve got a hammering headache.
I don’t know how long I’m like that, lying against a tree, crying my guts out. I must look so pathetic. And it comes to me that maybe pathetic just suits me. That was what my first crush called me when I told him I fancied him, a “pathetic little faggot.”
Someone comes walking by and stops when he sees me sitting there.
He stoops down to take a closer look at me. He’s dressed very tidily and is well groomed, with dark hair and piercing gray eyes. Looks like a businessman on his way home, except that it’s a Sunday morning.
“Hey, what’s all this now?” he asks in a distinctly Brummie accent.
Stupid question, I think. It’s clearly a pathetic faggot whose boyfriend, the one he loved more than anything, is probably still lying in bed with another man. Isn’t that obvious to anyone?
“Please fuck off,” I say to him as politely as possible. I realize that considering how weak and scratchy my voice is, he probably didn’t catch it anyway.
“Here, lad,” he says softly, offering me a tissue. “Come on, now. It can’t be as bad as all that.”
I take the tissue, but just hold it in my hand. I guess all this crying has made my nose a bit runny, and that only adds to the overall pathetic-ness of the picture I present.
“It is, that bad,” I rasp. “So please let me alone.”
“Well, if I do that and then hear it on the evening news that a gorgeous young man hopped off a bridge this afternoon, I’d feel rather like shite. Likely worse than you’re feeling now.”
Why the hell won’t he shut up and go away? I’ve had my heart ripped from my body; do I really need some wanker bothering me now as well? No, I fucking do not.
“Come on, lad,” he tries again. “Sitting here crying won’t solve it anyway, now will it? Let me get you a cuppa, shall I? I only live about a couple hundred yards from the other end of the park.”
“Yeah, alright,” I say. Hopefully it’ll get him to go home and leave me alone. Then I can find some other place to bury my shattered heart while he’s off making tea.
“Good.” He stands up but doesn’t go away. He just stands there like he’s waiting for me. Bugger.
With a sigh, I finally wipe the tears and snot from my face, wishing I had that toner that’s back in the bathroom cabinet right now. But I’m not going back there. Not for a while. Maybe in a few days. I’ll have to at least tell Nick I’m leaving him.
Oh hell. Am I going to start crying again every time his name pops into my head?
“Come here,” the guy says as he offers his hand to pull me up. He wraps me in a hug and rubs his hands over my shoulders, softly shushing me. “Come on, love, come and talk with me. It’ll get better, I promise.”
I rather doubt that, but despite still wishing he’d just leave me alone in my misery, it kinda does feel better to have someone hold on to me. He starts walking us along, keeping me close and steering us toward his place. I briefly wonder why I’m letting a total stranger take me back to his place for tea. Isn’t this just the sort of thing that gets people into bad situations? I’m so miserable and exhausted right now that I don’t care.
Sins of Another contest!
Between now and May 29, 2013 I’ll be including clues in my blog tour stops and my own blog entries to references made within Sins of Another.
Here’s how it works: You get the clue from the blog posts and keep track of the answers on your own. After the last clue has been posted (May 29, 2013), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you follow the blog tour over the next couple months as I’ll be giving away swag bags, a goodie hamper, and a copy of Sins of Another.
This week’s clue:
This brand's identity with a staple of the English breakfast is so strong that some have believed it to be a UK-originated product, when in fact it comes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Name the brand.