Synopsis: Five years ago Aaron went to a casting for a photographer and was chosen by Jake as his new assistant after looking at him for two seconds, discarding all other blokes that were standing in line. Now, five years later, their relationship seems to come to a close. Aaron is moving out and Jake lets him go.
Review: This story is part of the anthology "Size still matters" from Dreamspinner Press.
Neither my synopsis which I kept extremely short nor the blurb on Dreamspinner can possibly convey what this story is about. I was actually considering skipping it altogether, because from reading the blurb I didn’t think it was for me. Now I’m so grateful that I didn’t remember what the blurb said when I started reading yesterday. I decided to just move on to the next story and I was drawn in right away.
Mild spoilers ahead!
OK, from the beginning. It starts funny and in a light tone. Jake’s and Aaron’s banter with cheeky remarks and snappy retorts was refreshing. The two guys got along from the start and became not only co-workers (of a sort), but good friends as well. Very soon Giselle Ellis starts to describe what both think about the other and that gives the story a completely different undertone. Aaron has boyfriends, Jake hates all of them. A boyfriend talks bad about Jake, Aaron just kicks him out for good. Jake has one night stands, all of them look like Aaron. I so felt with those two, I couldn’t stop reading to finally see them come together. The way the story went I wasn’t even sure that this was ever going to happen.
I usually hate stories where people are so blind that they don’t recognize their own feelings, or where they don’t own up to them, but here Giselle Ellis described everything in such a clever way that I was totally blown away.
The way Aaron practically lived with Jake, even though he had his own apartment. The way Jake called Aaron in the middle of the night to know he was there and Aaron’s reaction to that *. The way they were jealous of each other’s boyfriends or one-night stands. The way they looked after each other. The way Aaron described to Jake what he was looking for without seeing that he already had found it, that it was standing right in front of him. The way they knew everything about each other, except for the other one’s true feelings. The way they were utterly miserable without each other, not realizing they were in love. The way Jake went to Aaron’s house and just sat there and Aaron watching him. The way they were a couple without knowing it. It broke your heart. When someone is lovesick for whatever reason you normally think, ah, he’ll get over it after a while. Never for once did I think that about either one of those two guys. It was clear from the beginning that there would never be another one for them, and that neither would ever get over the other. It was incredible.
I felt like Alyson, Jake’s former assistant and friend, for the most part of the book and wanted to just yell at them both and tell them to open their eyes. Unfortunately, even after Jake and Aaron realized that what they felt for each other was love, they couldn’t bring themselves to acknowledge it. Usually by now I’d be sitting there and think "How hard can it bloody be?", but not here. It all made perfect sense. Thank God for Matt, Aaron’s current boyfriend, who must be the most selfless person ever, for recognizing what was going on early on and do something to help those two miserable guys on their way.
There was only one love/sex scene in the whole story, which is rather unusual in that genre, but, believe me, that one scene is one of the (if not the) most intense one I’ve ever read. Passionate doesn’t even begin to describe it, those guys are in a frenzy. It totally made up for the agony that everybody went through (including myself).
This is one of the most emotional reads that I’ve come across so far. The story is a real gem, I can’t say enough good about it and highly recommend it. Unfortunately I checked on Dreamspinner for more stories by Giselle Ellis, but found none. How come? How very disappointing! I want to read more of her.
* I’m reading too much into that really, but it reminded me of something Karl Kraus said: "Is a woman in a room, before someone enters, who sees her? Is there the woman per se?" (My translation, so it might be wobbly, forgive me).
The anthology is available at Dreamspinner Press.