More of the weird pair…

Elias woke, stunned and uncertain. All that made any sense was that his phone was going off. He smelled bacon, eggs, food… which was pleasantly wrong. The sunlight came from the wrong direction. The bed was too large… He fumbled for his phone and squinted at it.

“Where are you?”

Ah, yes. It had only taken them four days to realize he was gone. He knew where he was now, and it all fell back into place. “Ohio.” He typed back, resting his forearm over his eyes.

“Ohio?”

“Yes, Ohio. I moved out.” He knew why he’d been missed, and that made him even more set on staying right where he was. Rent was due there. He’d paid his, but he had more than a nagging suspicion that the money he ‘d paid hadn’t gone anywhere it should have. But that was no longer his problem. He was a minor. He wasn’t on the lease. He was six states away. He was free of that.

He could feel Silas chewing on that, but knew that there was little his brother could do about it. He could try playing the underage card, but even if he could get anybody to care, it would take a long time to find Elias. More than six weeks, and by then, that was a moot point. Neither of them was legally Elias’s guardians. Anything they could say, do, would be about as useful as pissing into the wind.

“You’d leave family?”

Elias sat up, staring around. In a heartbeat, in a heartbeat. “I moved in with a friend. Leave it at that.” He expected a response, any response, but got none. After it became obvious that Silas was, in fact, going to leave it at that..he got up and stepped into the bathroom for a quick shower. Too long in a bus, sleeping in his clothes, he was taking gross to a whole new level. He dressed in the cleanest of his clothes, and stepped into the sun-washed kitchen.

Naomi was there, barefooted, cooking. Her hair fell down her back, sun burnished, and he had to force a normal expression onto his face. Nothing would get him tossed out on his ear again faster than if he ogled her as much as he’d love to. She was stunning in person, whole, peaceful, calm. This was going to be much more difficult than he’d been expecting…

“Ah, Elias. Good morning. Sit. Eat.” She ordered with a swing of the spoon in her hand towards her side. He glanced in that direction…the door between her side and the kitchen hung wide open, straight into a brightly sunny dining room which flowed onwards into what was the more formal of the two living rooms at the front of the house. Her section was larger, he realized… but he had no complaints whatsoever. She’d taken him in, given him more than he’d ever thought. And now, she fed him.

She sat across from him, eating with barely a glance. “So, what now?” She asked, and he shrugged.

“I see about getting my GED.” He’d need that, no matter what. No one would take him for a real apprenticeship without one, and he was done with faking it. “With that, I can apply for an apprenticeship.”

“Apprenticeship?” She echoed, finally settling her gaze on him. She was listening. Weighing. Contemplating. It was a giddy sensation after having had others blow this off too many times before.

“I want to be an electrician.” He stated stubbornly. It sounded so mundane when compared to what she was doing, but the fact remained. “I’m good at it.”

“Nothing wrong with being an electrician.” She noted, “Nothing to be defensive about at all. It’s decent work, and it can’t be outsourced.”

“Thank you.”

“You need to stop thanking me. But yes, a GED first, to get you started. Please tell me you have id.”

“I have id. I chased all that down in Utah, last year. Birth certificate, driver’s license.” This was why she was the one to go to. She didn’t bat an eyelash at his lack of a real education. She understood that there was a chance he didn’t actually have identification. She managed to both get it, and still have her own head screwed on correctly. “Except for my age, I’m all legal.” He knew that bothered her slightly, and he understood. If he could have held on in Utah, he would have. “Naomi, it’s not going to be a problem. I promise.” No one was going to come looking for him, he was sure of that. And even if they did…Ohio was a big place.

“Sounds good.”

“What can I do for you? What do you need?” That’s what he needed to get across to her, that he was useful. Valuable enough to be worthy of this…

“I need a roommate. I never considered a male, but.”

“Split the bills and keep things a little safer?” He could manage that. Keeping his eyes to himself was a little more difficult, but again, something he could manage. He polished off the food, fighting down yet another thanks, and carried his plate to the kitchen. The room was clean, scrubbed, bright and he just wanted to stand there and drink it all in. He washed his plate and fork, placing them both in the dish drainer and moved into the laundry room. The machines here weren’t new, and they looked pretty straightforward to use. Every stitch of clothing he owned, including what he wore, smelled of the trailer. It was a reminder he wanted to get rid of as soon as possible.

“Yes.”

“Absolutely.” He agreed, cautiously fiddling with the washer. If he was doing it wrong, she said nothing, and he started it to fill and added detergent. He gathered up his clothes, wrinkling his nose, and put them in to wash. “I like the house.” He offered after a long, quiet pause. It was almost a thank you, but not quite, and it was truthful. To have his own room, his own living room, his own bathroom…it was a luxury he’d never conceived of at this point in his life. Of course, he was now living with a young woman and he welcomed that boundary. He needed his own space, the idea of living hand in pocket with this one sounded like a recipe for disaster.

She smiled, obviously thoughtful, and he wished he could calm her doubts. But only time would show her just how serious he really was. Things changed, life changed. He had to have faith in that, if nothing else. All he could do right now was the small stuff, one little step at a time. Be the perfect roommate…well, as perfect as a young male could manage. At least he was handy. “My brother finally noticed I was gone.” He sighed, “Probably looking for money.”

“It happens.” She breathed, unsurprised. “You haven’t…?”

“All I told him was that I was in Ohio.” The last thing either one of them needed was the unannounced arrival of any of his brothers. He leaned against the wall, trying to think, but he was still tired enough to make that difficult.

“Elias?” She asked, concerned, and he flashed her a quick smile.

“Still tired.” He admitted. “It’s early?”

“Early for here, even earlier for Utah. I wasn’t expecting you awake this soon…”

And he wouldn’t have been, if his phone hadn’t woken him. “Phone.” He muttered, and she nodded.

“Go back to sleep, I’ll watch your laundry.”

And he’d rarely heard a better offer in his life. He nodded, headed straight back for his new bed. This time he was aware enough to pull the curtains tightly closed, and undress, settling into the worn soft and cleanly scented sheets. It was cool. It was dark. It was quiet, and he was gone in a moment.  

“This Way to the Egress” con’t

Another bus. Hardly what he wanted to hear, but he nodded. Both of her reasons were solid, and he’d have plenty of time to talk to her later.

They caught the bus, well on time, and rode in silence. He was too tired to try, and she seemed willing to respect that. “Here.” She jogged him out of a doze he hadn’t let himself slip into, and he jerked awake in surprise. With a belly full of food, and the calming fact that she had shown up and seemed to be much that she claimed, he was fading fast.

He’d been steeling himself for bad, but the neighborhood they exited into was not as harsh as he’d been fearing. It wore an air of pushed to the edge, but still clinging on. Once it had been a good neighborhood, filled with post war single family homes, now the air was tinged with desperation, but it was not outwardly squalid. But still hardly the place she should be living…alone.

“We’re going to be coming in your door.” She stated, moving to the side of the house. “You have the back of the house.”

“Right.” He said, climbing the small flight of steps behind her. The door opened into a good sized den, with two couches, dimly lit by a single lamp left on.

“Your living room.” She identified, and he blinked in amazement. This was his? She had to be kidding, right? “Your bedroom, the bath is attached to it.” She opened the door on the right, and indeed, that was a bedroom. A large enough bedroom, with a double bed. The air smelled of…air. No cigarette smoke. No vomit. Nothing dirty at all. The tiny bathroom smelled of bleach and cleaners, but it was still all his. A sink, a toilet, a corner shower. “Kitchen and laundry is through here.” She noted, walking past a desolate little cubby with a tiny table in it and into the kitchen. Again, big enough, clean enough. “There you go.” She said, and he nodded. That meant that the two left hand doors, one from the den, and one from the kitchen, must lead into her side. “Get some sleep. We’ll get the little details ironed out when you’re not swaying on your feet.”

And that was about the best idea he’d heard in a long time. “Oh, Naomi.” He murmured, half turning his back while he peeled off four hundred dollars from his stash. “Thank you again.” He pressed the money into her hands, and turned, headed straight for that bed. He was asleep before he hit the mattress, still fully dressed.

 

 

Naomi sat at the table in her side of the house, thumbs on her temples, staring at the pattern of the tablecloth. Just when it looked like she couldn’t be crazier, she was proven wrong. She’d seen a picture of Elias… a tiny, fuzzy one…before. And it had done him absolutely no justice. She’d just opened up her house to perhaps the finest piece of jailbait that she’d ever rested eyes on. He was gorgeous. She could swim in those eyes, drown in them.

What now? She couldn’t send him back. There was no back to send him to. Both of his brothers were using, he’d made that clear. He couldn’t go home, and now she understood that more than ever. He was more than attractive enough to be trouble, even if he was the world’s most perfect angel, where he was from. And she sensed, under the yes ma’am, no ma’am, thank you again, Naomi exterior that he was working so hard on that Elias Barlow was strong willed. Stubborn, good looking…of course he’d been shown the door.

And…her eyes dropped on the money he’d pushed into her grasp…she needed a roommate to help make ends meet. The meal tonight had been her first real one in days. With four hundred in cash, she could finally buy groceries. Real food. “Fine, Elias.” She told the room, ruefully. “You can stay.”

Like there was any real question of that. She’d let the opportunity go that morning when he’d texted her to ask, and she just had to accept it. She locked both of the doors that linked to his side of the house securely, took a bath, and went to bed herself.

 

She woke early, feeling the very difference in the house. It was probably just her imagination, but she had always felt it when someone else was here. But judging by the exhaustion he’d breathed last night, he would sleep for hours more…enough time for a quick trip to get food.

 

“This Way to the Egress” The Meeting

It had been a long two days. Elias was hungry, but made do with as little as possible… It would be best for Naomi if he laid low until he turned eighteen, and was legal. He’d been able to work under the table in Utah, he’d known people more than willing to overlook his status and keep quiet. Here, he knew nothing and no one. The last thing he wanted was to get Naomi in trouble for harboring a ‘runaway’. She was Amish, for chrissakes. No, he was going to have to live on what he had in his pocket until he was legal. It was simply how it was. He hadn’t asked what Naomi was going to want…need…from him, and she hadn’t offered, but he knew she couldn’t afford to keep him as a pet. She was broke, worse than he was. He had a skill, he’d worked since he was small, quick enough to pick up the ins and outs of construction. And then he’d shown an innate grasp of wiring, he could go right back into that. He’d love to do it correctly, a true apprenticeship, now. He wasn’t afraid of work, he was more afraid of the dark truth that Naomi kept pushing at him…he’d need a GED to get where he wanted to be. He’d gleaned enough from their discussions to realize that Naomi was frighteningly bright, and that was the reason she had left home. She’d never been thrown away as he had been, she had a home and a family that still cared. No, she’d left because she wanted an education. She wanted to learn, and that had been denied to her. Reaching for it had been reason enough for her to leave, and the idea of it stunned Elias. She sounded so different than what he was used to, but yet so close.

He’d never been so happy to get anywhere in his life. It was almost full dark when the bus pulled into the station, and he waited until the end of the line to fall into step…scared to leave. What if Naomi wasn’t what she seemed? What if it was a lie? He was now halfway across the country, no friends, nowhere to go… He was exhausted, cold, and completely worn bare.

The station was too bright, and he blinked owlishly against the onslaught of the fluorescent lighting. He had really no good idea what he was looking for. Just because Naomi had been raised Amish meant nothing, he knew that all too well. He’d seen it before with the young women who ran, they cut their hair, shucked their dresses, and worked hard at looking nothing like what they’d been raised to be.

But still, he knew Naomi the first moment his gaze fell upon her. She wasn’t running, truthfully. She’d been allowed to go, much as he found that difficult to grasp. Women weren’t let go, they ran.

The young woman standing uncertainly before him still toed a certain line of modesty that he found immediately appealing. She still had long hair, a dark, naturally hued blonde. She wore no makeup or jewelry. Her clothes were serviceable and decently modest. “Naomi?” He guessed warily, and she answered with a grin.

“Elias.” Her gaze was frankly measuring, and he wondered if he passed inspection. She was a tall one, far from the waifish build so fashionable in the outside world. “Welcome to Ohio.”

“Thank you, Naomi. Truly.” She had an accent, intriguingly foreign, for all that he knew she had been born, bred and raised as American as he was. “Have you eaten yet?” He hoped not. He’d love to get this off on the right foot, and he couldn’t come up with a better start than to feed her.

“Ah…no.”

“I’m buying.” He offered, and she nodded after a long pause.

“Sure. Sounds good.” She finally admitted, falling into step beside him. He let her choose where, although he cringed at the idea. But she easily selected a small family restaurant close by, reasonably priced.

“It’s great to finally get to meet you.” He offered, lamely, after the distraction of selecting and ordering was taken away from him. He had very little experience talking to girls, even though he was supposed to know this one better than most.

She smiled, but it was a wary, distant smile. She had so many more reasons to be leery of this than he did, she’d really gone out on a limb for him. “Naomi.” He breathed, “I know I can’t thank you enough. I’ll do my best, I promise… everything we discussed.”

Her eyes were almost green, he realized, like leaves fading into autumn. “I hope so.” She breathed, “Elias, I’m not the sort who…” She let the words die off, shaking her head at them.

“Not the sort that lives with a man, no, Naomi, I know that. Roommates. I get it.” Oh, no. He was not going there. She had to understand that. “So give me the ground rules.” There had to be some, and oddly, he was looking forward to them. He’d had quite enough of living in a no rules household. It was a disaster, and that’s why he was fleeing.

“I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or have a boyfriend.” She counted them off on her fingers. “I go to bed early. I don’t party. You’ll have your own bedroom. Your own bathroom. Your own door, your own living room. Kitchen and laundry is common, but that’s it. I don’t want you smoking in the house. You clean up your own messes, especially in the kitchen. I don’t want you drunk. I don’t want you stoned. But you have your half of the house, and I have my half… it’s worked pretty well in the past. It’s not the best neighborhood so I need you to swear you’ll be careful with the doors and windows.”

“I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs.” If he was going to, he’d have just stayed in Utah. He could have gotten all of that easily enough there. “And I’ll be careful. How much do I owe you?”

“Three fifty a month. That’s rent and utilities.”

He nodded, more than reasonable, especially if she was correct about what he got for it. His own room, bathroom, entry and living room? It sounded almost too good to be true. “I’ll get that to you, tonight. Not a problem.”

“You look like hell.” She noted, and he grimaced, pleased when his dinner arrived. A lot of food, and…yes, good.

“Exhausted.” He admitted, tucking into it. “Long ride here.” And he’d been too concerned to sleep. He had been on a Greyhound with every penny he possessed… the best he had managed was a halfhearted doze. “And I didn’t really sleep the night before I called you. You have no idea…”

She snorted at that, “Elias, you’re not telling me anything I haven’t seen before. My cousin left on rumspringa and never came home… drugs. Alcohol. Sharing a crappy little trailer and not paying the bills. It stank. It made my skin crawl… Why leave if you’re just going to screw it up like that?”

He shrugged. Leaving had never been his choice, but he understood that it was for her. Maybe that was why she was handling it so much better…that and the fact that she was a couple of years his elder. He was just weeks shy of eighteen, she was weeks shy of twenty. “Good food here.”

“We’re not far from my school. I eat here when I can.” She didn’t seem like she was willing to dawdle over her food, and he matched pace with her. “We have to catch the last bus.” She said, the edge of an apology under her voice, “And you look like I need to get you home quickly as it is.”  

“This Way to the Egress” Naomi

You are insane.” Naomi muttered viciously to herself, stalking down the hallway of the small home she rented. She liked being alone, but had been aware that eventually she would be forced to take another roommate. However, sanity said that roommate shouldn’t be some guy she’d met on the internet. And it wasn’t as if what he’d told her was calming…he was a minor. Coming out of a really bad situation, half a country away. For everything that they had in common, (supposedly), they had equally as many completely different. And that was if…if…he was telling her the truth. This was how women turned up raped, dead in coroners’ body bags…

But, for some reason, she just couldn’t turn her back on that text. She sensed utter desperation beneath it. A complete loss. Elias had reached the end of his rope, and she seemed to be the only one he felt he could turn to. Perhaps it was just her imagination. Her stupidity.

“Gah.” She hissed, stepping into the back bedroom and staring around. Her last roommate had left it mostly clean, Naomi would wash the bedding, vacuum, and wipe down the bathroom, but it wasn’t too terribly bad.

Maybe it’d be safer to have a man around… this wasn’t the best neighborhood, by any means. She’d just been so happy to find someplace she could afford, and to be freed from the hell of dorm life, that she’d been more than happy to overlook it all. Her previous roommate had not been nearly as happy to do the same.

Saturday. At six. But he was already on his way, it was too late to back out now. And maybe it’d be good…she was not an idiot, she knew that she’d never actually met him, but he’d always been easy to talk to. He understood what none of her classmates seemed to. They were different flavors of the same ice cream.

She stripped the bed, dragging the sheets around the corner to the washer, piled them in, and started the machine, leaning against it for a long moment. Crazy. It was just all so crazy. Why had she even gone to an online support group, of all things? It had been her first mistake, but she’d been desperate to find what she couldn’t find here. It would be much easier if she’d found it in a young woman, but she hadn’t. She’d found it in him, and now he was coming here. In spite of her sanity, she felt a sudden rush of anticipation. She’d always wanted to meet Elias, face to face. To see if his picture was accurate. To hear his voice in the same room. To watch his expressions change. To actually know him.

“Fool, fool girl.” She accused herself bitterly, safe in her solitude. Certainly she was on rumspringa…and a rather extended rumspringa at that…but that didn’t mean she was husband hunting. And even if she was, she doubted if Elias Barlow qualified… Her father would have kittens if she brought home a Mormon. And not even your run of the mill LDS variety at that, but a fundamentalist. Well…ex fundamentalist. Elias had run headlong into a certain mathematical truth… if every man had to have at least three wives to ascend to heaven, and a population had the usual fifty-fifty gender split at birth, it made for surplus males. That had gotten him shown the door…at an illegally young age.

He’d had it rough. She understood that, and he needed a helping hand up, one he wasn’t getting from the brothers he lived with. Like so many, those two had simply exchanged one obsession for another…lost control of their lives again. Freedom had been fleeting, and had led them straight to alcohol, drugs, cheap sex. They were just as locked into a hopeless existence now as they’d ever been. She’d seen it with her own group, heady and loose. It was a constant, but that was not why Naomi Esh had left Holmes County on rumspringa. And, by God, if Elias was fighting against going that way as well, she’d be there to help pull him out. “It’s the right thing to do.” She muttered, now at ease with her decision. Let him come. 

“This Way to the Egress” con’t…

He nodded, “I will. And I’ll see you soon.” He promised, tucking his phone back in his pocket and moving away from the trailer. It was still early, no one there would be awake for hours. He could get a head start…by the time they realized he was gone, he’d be long gone.

First, he made his way to his safe deposit box, waiting under the bank awning until it opened that morning. He was smart enough to have never kept anything that he needed at the trailer. Every penny he had, just over two thousand dollars, was here at the bank. No account, only the box… as little a paper trail as possible while still keeping things out of his brothers’ reach. He took everything from it, and left with his usual smile for the tellers…everything needed to be the same as any other day he came through here. Why, he didn’t quite know, but he’d been raised on paranoia, and that was a hard habit to break.

From there, he went straight to the Greyhound station, doing some more praying. He had no idea of the bus schedules, for all he knew, he’d already missed the bus east…but that couldn’t be helped. He had to have money, and it had all been in the deposit box.

“Akron. Ohio.” He muttered when the clerk glanced in his direction. He’d never been out of Utah in his life and the realization was starting to hit him. He was leaving family, his brothers, to travel a thousand miles away to stay with some girl…or so he hoped. He was a damned fool.

No. He had to leave here. Even if Naomi wasn’t, well, Naomi, he still couldn’t live like this. He’d just have to find someplace else, someplace sane. Someplace to start building a life from, and that certainly wasn’t here. He had to break away from his name, from his lost brothers who had replaced one hell with another, from this state, from his past.

“Your name?”

He considered lying, but knew if she asked for identification, he’d be screwed. He actually did have a valid driver’s license, he’d been persistent enough to get that all sorted out and he was happy for it now. “Elias Barlow.” She didn’t give him a glance and he relaxed slightly, calmed. “Tell me I haven’t missed it…”

“No. There’s a wait, though. It leaves tonight, you should be here by eight. It’s a two day trip, so I suggest you take that time and get some snacks, some drinks, anything else you might want. And it will be two hundred eleven dollars.”

Elias only nodded. He was going most of the way across the country, he wasn’t expecting it to be cheap. And while he wasn’t pleased with the idea of waiting hours before even boarding, she was right. Food. Drinks. Great idea. He could do this. “When abouts will I get into Akron?”

“About six pm…Saturday.”

Great. Naomi didn’t have Saturday classes, and six in the evening was not that much of an imposition either. He paid, accepting the ticket and the clerk’s smile with one of his own. “There’s a dollar store three blocks south, it’s the closest and cheapest place to get supplies from.”

“Thank you.” He offered, taking a seat in one of the battered orange plastic seats next to a buzzing vending machine and pulled his phone back out. “I’ll be in Akron Saturday. 6 pm.” He texted, staring at the empty screen. What if she’d changed her mind?

“I’ll see you then.” Popped up, rather quickly for a response from her. She must actually be carrying her phone, would wonders never cease? He nodded to himself, put the phone back in his pocket and stepped back outside, headed south through the sunny morning light. There was a dollar store exactly where the Greyhound clerk had promised, and he bought a small cooler, snacks, drinks and ice as well as some new toiletries. He then ate lunch in a diner, killing as much time as he could before returning to just wait it out.

 

Flitting: “This Way to the Egress”

Ideas do not come in orderly queues, one politely after the other.   They come in groups, the loudest in them getting attention while the others whisper and babble around them.   Sometimes, however, there’s another that comes up…almost as loudly, but not quite.  These are the stories that have a chance, but still might die on the vine.   I still bother to write what I get of them, because if I have something to jolt my memory, a voice from them, I might be able to pick them up later.   “This Way to the Egress”  is one of those.   It was born after an odd and long spree of Youtube documentary hopping.   It’s also been a welcome breath for my writer’s group, a perfectly contemporary piece that everybody can grasp:

This Way to the Egress, rough draft, chapter 1

There was a body behind the door, and Elias growled under his breath, pushing against its yielding weight. He finally managed to get the door open far enough to step over the stranger, barely sparing it a glance as he headed straight for the trailer’s small kitchen.

No food. He wasn’t surprised, there hadn’t been any in days, but he was starving and in a filthy mood. He was tired. Tired of this. Tired of people he didn’t know passed out in front of the door. Tired of the grocery money going for beer, liquor, and worse. Tired of living in a place that reeked of cigarette smoke, dirty clothes, unwashed males…and worse.

He sighed in disgust, moving down the tiny hallway to his room. Nothing was in the same place as he’d left it, and he sat morbidly on the end of his bed. The good thing…he had nothing left to steal here. The bad…this was the fifth time someone had tried this month, and there were still days left in it. He had enough. Stick a fork in him, he was done.

His hand went to his pocket, to his phone, but he stopped before he pulled it out. It was late here, and it was later there. The absolute last thing he wanted to do was piss her off. Not now. She was the only sane voice in his life. The only way out. If he wrecked that, he had no clue what he would do then. He packed what little he had and shouldered his pack, climbing out the window to avoid the human door stop, and anybody else who might notice that he was making a run for it.

He slept the rest of the night on his brother’s dilapidated outdoor couch, it was getting cold for that, but it was better than inside. Once he had made the decision to go, now he couldn’t bear to be there another moment.

Bright sunshine woke him, and he blinked in confusion. Where…what? Oh, right. Today he was going to finally throw himself on Naomi’s mercies, and pray. She had to be there for him. She had to. If she wasn’t, he had no idea what he was going to do now…

He glanced at his watch and mentally added the necessary time. Yes, she should be awake by now. He pulled out his phone, quickly typing out her name with his thumbs…

“Naomi?”

There was a long pause, she tended to walk away from her phone and forget about it. “Morning, Elias.” She came back quickly, and he grimaced. How much small talk should he throw at her beforehand? He wasn’t used to dealing with girls, especially girls he’d never actually met. And he wasn’t used to asking for a favor this large from someone he wasn’t related to. “I have class soon…what is it?”

Ah, damn. He needed an answer, and he needed it now.

“Naomi, I can’t stay here anymore. I need a place.”

A very long pause, and he stared at the phone’s screen. Come on, come on… He prayed. Of all the people in the world, she had to understand…

“When’s your birthday again?”

He clenched his teeth, but his thumbs flew rapidly over the buttons. “Six weeks, Naomi. I promise, I have money to cover them. I’ll lie low. Nobody knows about you. Nobody’s looking for me…” Just let me come. I can’t wait six more days here.

Another very long pause, and he could imagine her considering this, weighing this. She had so many reasons, good reasons, to turn him down…

“Fine. Come. Let me know when you have the details.”

Even though he’d been praying for just that answer, he had to read it five times before it sank in. She would take him. “Thank you.” He texted back, taking a deep breath. Okay, fine. There were things he had to figure out, get done, and he had to do that quickly.

“Don’t make me regret this.”

He nodded, even though she was thousands of miles away and couldn’t see him. She had never seen him, other than an online picture. But that went both ways here, he had never seen her, either.

“Never.” He typed back. It was stupid, but it was all he had left. A woman he’d never met, several states away. A leap of faith…and he was about all out of faith.

“Talk to you when you know.”

Pseudonyms.

Although I never thought it would come, I’ve bowed to the idea of putting up some of my work under a pseudonym.   It wasn’t an impulsive decision by any means, I gave it a lot of thought before I went ahead with it.  The first alter ego came after I realized I’d like to compartmentalize my fan fiction, to keep the more lewd of my works separate from my usual ones, to have one account, one pen name, for my usual Teen rated works, and a completely separate account and pen name for the mature rated erotica.    That bridge crossed, I took a long hard look at the idea for my original novels.    I never want to mislead a reader, and I feel I’m making some strides in putting myself out there as an author of sci fi and fantasy, but I certainly wanted to bring my contemporary stories out for those who might find them interesting.    It’s an odd feeling, both liberating and a little bashful… I’d thought I’d stopped ‘hiding’ my writing, was willing to put it out there and let the world see it, only to turn around and back away from that.   But, I realized that wasn’t the reason for this… my fan fictions have always been written under pen names, of course, that comes with the territory, so to add a ‘mature’ pen name to that didn’t seem so wrong.   Putting another name on an original novel was a little bit more of a thought process, but now that it’s happened, it has a certain comfort.  (Doesn’t hurt that I chose a version of my maiden name, so it really doesn’t feel like a ‘pseudonym’, just rather like I’m using the rest of my name.)

 

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