This Will Hurt I
Publication date: May 9th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Standalone Part I of II Angst Awakening Friends to Lovers Single Dad Slow Burn
Maybe the heart needs to break before one can put together the pieces correctly. This is Jake and Roe’s story.
I used to think leaving the Marines and moving to LA was the defining moment that changed my life. I was gonna become a documentary filmmaker and see the world through my camera. Then I met Roe Finlay.
Never in a million years could I have imagined…well, everything we went through. I sucked at expressing how I felt—which was emotionally stunted most of the time—but Roe seemed to get me. I became…dependent. Attached. Not in a sexual way or anything—I wasn’t gay. Far from it. Or bisexual like Roe, for that matter. No, this was different. I just wanted to be close to him. He made me laugh like no other. We were a fantastic team. We lived together. Worked together. He was my best friend.
He was everything. He was my defining moment.
Until he decided to commit to his f—to his girlfriend.
Just go home, you fucking moron. You don’t belong in LA.
I made my way across campus, feeling more out of place every time I left class.
I was leaving behind a good career in the Marines for…random classes at Santa Monica College. Learn videography in twelve weeks. Study the art of documentary filmmaking in one semester. Then I thought about why I’d left the service. How sick I was of seeing death through my lens. Combat photography had been such a fucking fluke anyway. I was infantry. I was more at home on the front lines in Afghanistan than… But no. No. No, I was here because I couldn’t stand the war anymore. I didn’t wanna see another dead soldier, hear another explosion, witness another crying child surrounded by blood and debris.
I went to the coffee shop on the corner of the street where Nikki worked. She had the car, and we’d go home together once she was off her shift.
I ordered a coffee and found an empty table by one of the windows.
Sounded pretty good, though, didn’t it? Go home with my girlfriend at the end of the day… Except, it was her car, her apartment, and my savings were almost gone. By next month, I’d have to take that bartending job in West Hollywood where the tips were so good.
By then, I’d be twenty-seven.
I retrieved my pen from the inner pocket of my jacket, and I opened the notebook.
Final project. Final project, final project, final project. I needed content. I understood filming. Documenting. But coming up with my own content for a fucking college class’s final project? I was doomed.
“There you are! Fuck, I thought I lost you, man.”
I furrowed my brow and glanced toward the man’s voice—that belonged to someone I definitely didn’t know. But he was coming toward my table, and he was staring right at me.
No, wait. I recognized him. He was in my class, wasn’t he? Out here, I had developed a radar for East Coast people, and he had a New York accent. Otherwise, not much about him stood out. Average height, dark hair, fairly fit, on the lanky side, probably a bit younger than me.
He sat down in front of me, out of breath, and removed his messenger bag. “Look, I’m just gonna come out and say it. I have two hundred bucks, I’m living in my truck, and I have one network connection that I desperately wanna use. He told me to send him my final project—see if he could make some calls—but as has become painfully clear in this class, videography isn’t my thing. I understand fuck-all about goddamn HDV, SxS, and the difference between standard definition and hi-def.” He leaned forward. “Dude, y’all were talking about memory cards, and I thought we were discussing a fucking festival in Austin.”
That…was SXSW. South by Southwest.
“Anyway—in short, I have an idea,” he went on. “There is an artistic approach to it, but I’ll admit, it’s more of a come-hither for networks, something I think will sell. To get a foot in the door. But I need a partner, and I’ve watched you in class. You know your way around the equipment and the editing software. When the professor asks his dumb, insane questions, you actually know the answers.”
Was this how he talked to people he’d never met before? I didn’t even know his name.
I guessed if you were desperate enough and living out of your car, you cut to the chase faster.
That might very well be me in the near future.
So if he had an idea…
I extended my hand. “I’m Jake.”
He gave me a puzzled look, before he seemed to remember he’d just jumped into the conversation with no preamble. Then he flashed a dimpled grin and shook my hand.
“Roe. It’s Monroe, but everyone calls me Roe.”
I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex.
There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly.
Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.
I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
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