Love and Marriage, for all

Overnight station shifts often meant solitude while he waited for a call to come in, a trial Scott considered a lonely necessity at its best and a nerve-wracking tedium at its worst. Some of the other men on the squad appreciated the quiet away from wives and children. Not Scott. Noise and commotion had become a part of his life these last seven months, but it was worth it for the blessing of little Emma.

Finchy wasn’t nearly as exciting to be around as his daughter (or his wife), but he was company to keep the silence and boredom at bay well enough. And, he seemed lonely, of late. He was also a more than passable cook, so his offer of bringing supper to the station to hang out was one Scott couldn’t refuse.

“That was great, mate,” Scott said as he eased back a bit from the duty desk. “Thanks.”

“Sure,” Finchy replied easily, and took a long swig from his water bottle.

Looking at his empty plate, Scott chuckled. “I love my wife, but I’m lucky she knows how to use a microwave. You’ll make some lady very happy, some day.”

Finchy blew a snort from around the mouth of his bottle. “I don’t think there’s any woman to satisfy me that much.”

“You just haven’t found the right one, yet.”

“Yeah,” Finchy muttered in a lazy drawl. “Rub my nose in it.”

“Maybe you’re looking in the wrong place,” Scott told him. “There’s a lot more than just this village, you know. I mean, I didn’t meet Venus here.”

“I know,” Finchy said. “I was there, too.”

Scott fell silent, reminded of that flashy, crowded club on the first night of Newquay’s Blue Surf competition almost three years past, where Finchy had spotted that Black beauty with the killer smile and unflappable attitude. Every member of their crew – save Neville – had tried to pull her, with no success. Of course, the next day, they’d found out she was a surfer in her own right: Vee, they called her, “for Victory,” though she’d introduced herself to Scott in particular as Venus Pritchard. Thinking back on it, now, his scores that comp had been shit…but he’d had a hell of a night in her bungalow to make up for it.

Lost in those memories a moment, he didn’t notice Niall swoop in from the outside and plant himself in the other seat across the desk until he opened his mouth:

“Did you know Nev is-” He dropped his voice. “-a poofter?”

Scott looked at him in mild surprise, while Finchy furrowed his brow and said, “Yeah, I know. And don’t call him that.”

“Whuh-!” Niall said, leaving his mouth hang open a second. “You knew? How long have you known?”

Finchy shrugged. “He told me, like, two years ago.”

Niall pointed at Scott. “Did you know?”

Scott nodded, feeling a bit lame. “Yeah. He told me and Venus a while ago, too.”

Niall fell back against his chair. “Did everybody know but me?” He turned to Finchy. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Why?” Finchy said, and raised his brow with sudden interest. “Are you gay, too?”

“No!”

“So, if you’re not interested in him, why should you care?”

Niall paused a second, his face gone blank; Scott figured he hadn’t thought that far. Of course, he didn’t usually think at all….

“Well,” Niall struggled out, now. “What if…What if he fancies me?”

“He doesn’t,” Finchy replied readily.

“How’d you know?”

“Because no self-respecting human – gay or straight – would ever fancy you.

“All right,” Scott muttered, extending one hand. “That was a little uncalled-for. We all have to work together.”

“That is exactly my point!” Niall said, pointing one finger around at them again, as he half-stood from his chair. “I-! I mean, we all are in…very close quarters…a lot, and…well, sometimes, I don’t wear anything under my suit, and what if, you know, when I take it off, that’s, like, too much a temptation for him? Or something?”

“Jesus!” Finchy said, scolding. “He’s not a rapist.”

Niall went from looking ill at ease to pained. “No, I’m not saying that, but-!”

“Listen,” Scott told him in a low voice, leaning across the desk. It felt a bit like speaking with a special needs child, but Niall did have some special need, at the moment. “Nev’s always been this way. You’ve known him for years, and it’s never bothered you before.”

“Well, I didn’t know before!”

“What difference should it make? He’s still Nev. He’s still ace on his board, and he’s still our mate! The way you feel about him shouldn’t change just because you suddenly found out he’s gay.”

Niall paused, as though thoughtful. Scott couldn’t easily tell; the look of contemplation on his face was so foreign.

“Yeah,” Finchy said then. “You’re an idiot, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about you.”

Shooting him a guarded look, Niall murmured cautiously, “How do you feel about me?”

“You’re an idiot,” Finchy repeated, making Scott snort a chuckle under his breath. Then, sitting up from his lackadaisical lean, he added, “And another thing: Whenever you go straight skins under your suit, you don’t take that off in front of any of us. Nobody wants to see that!”

Alianca braille

By Luistravasso (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, news came of the passage into law in England and Wales the ability for same-sex couples to marry. Some stipulations still apply, of course, because government doesn’t make anything easy, these days. But, it’s a step forward toward the equality that should have existed for couples of all variations years ago. Here in the US, the status of a person in general – including marriage – is determined by the individual states, so it creates a much more divided issue, depending where you happen to live.

I won’t get into any controversy of marriage – or laws associated with it – here. The news did prompt me to scribble down this bit of free writing, though, which I always appreciate, no matter what the impetus.

I’ve always seen Scott as “the dad” of the crew. Because he is one, but I also thought his perspective – coming from being in an interracial relationship – gives him an extra insight into other less traditional romances. And, I like the idea of hearing from some of the supporting characters in the story.

As for Niall…. Poor Niall. At heart, he’s a good guy. He’s just…not terribly quick. I hope his struggle with his own articulations, here, paints a picture of someone who’s just a little confused, not truly bigoted, especially against a friend.

Now, it’s stiflingly hot, here, so I’m going to grab my own wetsuit and head for the beach. And maybe I’ll go skins, too.

How do love and marriage figure in your stories, if at all?

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11 thoughts on “Love and Marriage, for all

    • I can understand that, Kourtney: the world is made up of all kinds of relationships, after all! That’s part of what I wanted to address, here: the idea that sometimes relationships are what many people call “traditional,” but, in reality, love is love, and true love can be most anything.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Sneaking in again on a weekend. 😉 I think I’ll have to allow myself a few blogs while I take a break from mulling and planning.

    All of my main characters to date have been women in good marriages. That could change in a future work, but with so many dysfunctional relationships portrayed in books and film and on TV, I like the idea of showing that a happily married couple can still be interesting and entertaining!

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    • You’re going to make my head swell with the privilege of your attention, JM. 😉

      I like showing the good in relationships, too. I think too many relationship stories can get weighted down by writer-imposed conflict. I understand conflict makes for good stories, but I much prefer to see lovers – of all variations – work through their difficulties together, rather than the opposite. Call me a sucker for happy couples, I guess. 😀

      Hope your planning is going well!

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  2. Huh…I actually had no idea Venus was black…neat!
    Scott is definitely the paternal influence of the crew, with Neville being the biggest brother, Finchy the rambunctious cousin and Niall the youngest at heart with so much more to learn. Not sure where that leaves Freddie…

    If anything, you write love and relationships with all the power and potential they deserve. Even if they are minor characters in Fearless, Scott and Venus fit together like two halves of the one, as rightly they should. Love is a wonderful emotion to write, and in some cases, utterly crush or manipulate. As the saying goes: All is fair in love and war.

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    • Ha ha, yes! Venus is supposed to be from the West Indies. There was a bit (which I scrapped) which had her and Amber talking about the guys’ Cornish accents, and then Venus lapsing into her familial accent for fun. When my husband saw my sketches of her, he made the same comment about her ethnicity. I guess I should make that more clear? Or, maybe not. Love is universal, after all.

      Thanks for commenting! I’m just starting to catch up on everything, but I saw you’d posted a piece of your own. I’ll make sure to take a well-deserved long look soon. 🙂

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  3. Ooh, did you go skins? I really enjoyed this, firstly the writing – with well drawn characters – and then the comment, which added an interesting context. Thanks for sharing this, Mayumi x

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    • Oh, my gosh, no! LOL! I could never imagine going commando under my suit. I find it really uncomfortable, for one thing. But, I also like to get out of it when it’s no longer necessary. My days of changing behind a towel and a watchful friend are long over! 😀

      Thanks for commenting, Gabriela. I’ve got notices of your recent posts, but I want to give them the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, I’ve got daytime job work to do before I can settle in a bit. But I will make my way over there! Promise!

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