Apologies for this, but I’ve been so busy this week with getting the UK Meet anthology together, I just haven’t had time to write ANYTHING. *Sighs*
I’ll be chatting over on Beth Wylde’s Yahoo Group this afternoon, after going to Daisy’s school for a Jubilee picnic. I’ll post a link and reminder later
If you do fancy a snippet of new fiction, though, here’s the first scene from my story for the Lashings of Sauce anthology:
“D’you really reckon they’re going to get it finished in time?” Gan asked.
Archie looked up from where their toes were almost touching on the bedspread. Almost, but not quite. He couldn’t bring himself to nudge that little bit closer, didn’t trust his cheeks not to flame if their toes made contact, even through layers of thick socks. He moved his foot further away instead, bumping into the abandoned chemistry textbook instead.
“Wake up, mate. The dragon? You think they’ll get it done in time for us to practice with it?”
“If your mum’s in charge? Yep, I think so. Either that or she’ll make us do it using the practice kit.” The Year of the Dragon was looming, and for the first time in their lives they were going to be part of a traditional Chinese New Year parade. Well, the Somerset version of it, anyway. Their tiny village wouldn’t know what had hit it. Either that or it would piss it down with rain and only the five families that made up Rode’s Chinese community would bother coming outside to watch.
Their dragon dance practice had been a weekly fixture after kung fu for the last two months, but the dragon itself was taking a long time for Archie and Gan’s mothers to finish. They’d been put through their paces using a practice kit consisted of seven broomsticks joined together by a length of rope. Gan held the pearl the dragon chased in its spiralling dance. Well, they called it a pearl, but for now it was nothing more than a tent pole stuck into an old foam football, gradually disintegrating as the weeks went past. Performing with it would be a joke.
Gan rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I wouldn’t put it past her. She had a right strop on at me yesterday, told me I wasn’t properly respectful to my heritage as a British Chinese person. And this was only coz I said I wasn’t going to eat my rice with chopsticks when there was a perfectly good fork available.”
They both snorted. Friends since they were toddlers, Gan and Archie had been brought up by two fiercely competitive women, but this sudden enthusiasm for Chinese culture was a shock after a lifetime of their mothers trying to be as British as they could.
Lily-May, Archie’s mum, had been raised by Chinese parents but she’d married a local and when they hadn’t been able to have children of her own, had adopted a white baby. Not just white, but pale as tofu with a shock of soft blond hair Archie could only tame into a quiff with handfuls of gel. Archie’s dad had left her four years before, but that hadn’t made any difference to Lily-May’s preference for stodgy British food and high street clothing. Jen, Gan’s mum, had always had a chip on her shoulder about her race and the fact her husband owned the village’s Chinese takeaway-cum-chippie, and had wanted to call her son Gary. Archie thanked the stars Mr. Lee was even more stubborn than his wife, because he couldn’t imagine his best mate as a Gary.
Couldn’t imagine whispering Gary when he touched himself under his sheets at night.
He had to stop thinking about that. What the hell would Gan think if he started getting a stiffie while sitting next to him? It wasn’t like he could blame it on the chemistry revision they’d been half-heartedly making a stab at. It would be different if it were the other way around, as Gan was bold as you like and didn’t give a shit what anyone thought of him. But Archie was different. Archie had only ever wanted to fit in and not be noticed.
No, Gan would be grossed out. He had a girlfriend and wasn’t going to be happy if his best mate suddenly confessed to having a hard-on for him.
To being gay.
Because that’s what Archie was, he’d realised. He used to think the “liking girls” thing would kick in as he got older, used to think his interest in watching martial arts was purely to see the technique. Used to ignore those wet dreams with the slim, flat-chested person sucking him off. The one who had Gan’s dark, almond-shaped eyes, silky black hair and smooth, tan skin.
But since he’d turned eighteen Archie had decided to stop lying to himself. He was gay. Get over it, the slogan went. Tricky that, when you lived out in the sticks with no out-and-proud role models. He’d got over it, finally, but would anyone else? How the hell was he going to come out when he had no idea how the village would take it? Safer to wait until starting uni in the autumn. Just another ten months of pretending to be someone he wasn’t. He could hack it. Of course he could. He had his dragon to help.
Of course, if he didn’t get into Manchester with Gan, he should probably just come out now anyway. Life was going to be dismal without him, so he might as well get used to that now.
Now Gan was getting up and taking out the earbud they were sharing from Archie’s MP3 player, and Archie wanted to drag him back down again so he could feel that body heat so tantalisingly close to his own.
“I’m gonna go see where they’ve got to. Coming?”
“Yep.” I’d come with you anywhere.