Overcoming Challenges and Kicking Ass
When Kate Pavelle told me that she wanted to put together an anthology of stories to benefit Eric Arvin and asked if I wanted to contribute a story to it, I was surprised. Me, really? I’m thrilled to be included in such a special project for such an amazing man.
I was also excited and grateful because contributing to the anthology lets me help Eric in ways that I couldn’t do on my own. All of the proceeds of the KICKASS Anthology benefit Eric who, despite facing enormous medical costs and challenges many of us can’t imagine, keeps smiling and laughing and sharing his life with us through the videos he posts and the stories he tells.
Eric, you are an incredible person and an inspiration. You are a true kickass, grabbing every day by the horns and never losing that amazing smile. I’m so honored to be able to help you in this small way.
As I was considering the theme of being a kickass, of the little guy persevering to beat overwhelming odds and challenges, Finlay Bizet came to me. He isn’t anything special. He’s just an average guy, experiencing a run of bad luck – a lifetime’s worth. When he loses his job and faces eviction on the same day, he calls his best friend Jay to commiserate. In an unexpected turn of events, Fin finds himself treated to a night of wild abandon followed by a proposition that could solve all of his problems. Accepting the arrangement leads Fin to love, a new attitude, and the greatest challenge of his life. Can Fin conquer his inner demons and find the strength to achieve his goal, or will he crash and burn like every other time before?
Here’s a little glimpse into my story, If The Shoe Fits, and the challenge Fin must overcome:
* * * * *
Life is good, Fin thought for the first time ever as he and Jay were wrapping up their three-mile run. The last mile had been tough. Jay had been with him, pushing him to meet the goal, and he did it. They rounded the corner of the gym and jogged toward the door, wherein a steam in the sauna, a shower, and a muscle rub awaited them, when a bright pink sheet of paper on the noticeboard caught Fin’s eye.
He paused in front of the noticeboard, reading with growing interest while trying to control his breathing. Jay made it to the gym door before realizing Fin wasn’t with him, then he jogged back to stand beside him and stare at the plethora of colors and announcements behind the glass.
Not seeing anything that he thought would have caught Fin’s attention, he asked, “So…whatcha looking at?”
He wasn’t even breathing hard. Damn rat bastard. Mr. I-Can-Run-Five-Miles-Easy-So-Three-Is-A-Freaking-Cakewalk. I love him but, shit, he could at least pretend to be out of breath. Fin pushed the unhelpful thought aside and stabbed a finger at the bright pink flyer. “That one.”
“The city’s annual marathon to support the local homeless LGBT youth shelters,” Jay said, reading the information at the top of the flyer. “It’s a great cause. Several of the other trainers have run in this marathon in the past. Do you want to sponsor someone?”
“No, I think I want to run in it myself,” Fin replied softly, slowly, as if testing out the words. They flowed from his lips without a hitch, and he felt a smile spread across his face. He said it again, louder and with confidence he could feel in his bones. “I want to run in the marathon, Jay.”
“You want to – what?” Jay stood there, blinking, for several heartbeats before he found his voice again. “You want to run a marathon. You, who was a total slacker just six weeks ago, want to run a race that is the ultimate test for runners. Do you even know how long a marathon is?”
“26.2 miles.” He rattled off the answer without missing a beat. “Although I did just read that on the flyer.”
“Do you have any concept of how great a distance 26.2 miles is? You almost keeled over after three miles just now.”
Fin made a show of looking around as if he’d lost something. “Where did my supportive ‘You can do anything you set your mind to’ boyfriend go?” Gesturing to stop a passerby, he asked, “Have you seen my boyfriend? He seems to have disappeared.” The passerby continued on her way after giving him a weird look, and he turned back to Jay. “Why is it so hard to believe that I want to do this? Have you finally lost faith in me, Jay? Is that it?”
“God, no, Fin. I have all the faith in the world in you.” Jay opened the glass door and took one of the flyers out of the stack tacked onto the noticeboard. “I’m just…surprised. And a bit doubtful, I admit.”
Fin allowed himself to be steered toward the front door of the gym when Jay snaked his arm around his waist and pulled him close. “Isn’t that kind of the opposite of what it means to have faith in someone?”
The corner of his mouth quirked up as Jay glanced at him. “Caught that, huh?” His gaze returned to the flyer, reading the important details more carefully. “It’s not that I doubt you, babe. You can do anything you set your mind to. I just doubt the possibility, and the safety, of you trying to run in this particular marathon.”
Oh, well, that is a different thing entirely. Fin breathed a sigh of relief. Jay was his rock. He had been for more than fifteen years, but the last six weeks had seen him become something more…his cornerstone, his foundation. He hadn’t intended to become so dependent on his best friend and boyfriend, but there it was all the same. I need him, in a way I’ve never needed anything or anyone else in my life. If I lost him, everything would fall apart again.
“When is it?”
“About six months from now.”
“Is it possible to train for a marathon in six months?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never trained for anything even remotely like that.”
“There have to be reputable online resources, right?” he asked, trying to keep hope alive. I don’t know why this one or why now. I don’t know why that’s so important, but it is. “And you said some of the other trainers have done this marathon. Maybe they would help.”
“Sure they would. We all support each other the best we can.”
“Talk to them, please.” Fin tried to keep the desperation out of his voice but knew he failed when he saw Jay’s furrowed brow. “Do it for me.”
Jay studied his face for a moment. “Why is this so important to you?”
“I have no idea. It just…it just is, that’s all I can say.” The furrowed brow accompanied by a frown clued him in to Jay’s deepening doubt. “I’m not keeping anything from you, I swear. But this is the goal I want to set for myself. I don’t understand why either. It just feels right.”
That phrase took him back to the morning after he spent his first night with Jay. It was obvious from his reaction that it had a similar effect on Jay. “Okay, babe, I’ll talk to them and get all the inside info I can. If this is a realistic goal, then we’re in it together.”
A less than manly squeal might have slipped from Fin’s lips, though no one except he and Jay heard it and Jay knew better than to ever mention it. He wrapped his arms around his boyfriend’s neck and kissed him hard. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
* * * * *
About The Author:
Jade Crystal is easily distracted by the shiny things in the world. She often rambles and at times makes little sense to anyone but herself. She is most focused when writing the contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy, and sci-fi romances of all her sexy men – in other words, her characters. It’s their story, after all. Jade merely records it. Sometimes her imagination runs away with the stories they tell. Other times, they are infuriatingly quiet. But don’t let them fool you…she loves every single second she spends with them. Her favorite thing to do besides writing their stories: leaving the real world behind and getting lost in books on rainy nights with a cup of hot tea and a handful of chocolates.
Against bad odds, he persevered. Wit, grit, and guile pulverized his scary opponent into a sad pile of dust.
Eric Arvin is Kickass.
Even a kickass hero needs a hand from a secondary
character, and Eric needs that extra power boost right now. This anthology is a volunteer effort organized by Eric’s fans and fellow writers in order to help him raise funds and help cover the cost of his high-tech recovery. His wicked sense of humor is intact, but his body needs a bit of help.
These stories are meant to inspire. They’re a warm hug, a wave from afar, a wink and a nod. Discover new authors and graphic artists as you, too, get revved up to slay whatever ails you!
Illustrated edition !
A Note from the publishers:
KICKASS ANTHOLOGY was produced in order to raise funds for the medical recovery of our friend and colleague, author Eric Arvin.
All artwork, both written and graphic, was donated free of charge.
All proceeds will go directly to Eric Arvin and his family.
12/13/2014 – Boys in Our Books – Kate Pavelle
12/15/2014 – Kimi-Chan Experience – Jade Crystal with Eleanor Pavelle
12/16/2014 – The Novel Approach – Amy Arvin & Angela Arvin-Young
12/18/2014 – GGR Reviews – JP Kenwood with Fiona Fu
12/19/2014 – Rainbow Gold Reviews – Jackie Keswick with Tara Bluhm
12/20/2014 – On Top Down Under – Nancy Hartmann
12/22/2014 – Joyfully Jay – Sophie Bonaste
12/23/2014 – Prism Book Alliance – Brandon Witt with Catherine Dair
12/27/2014 – MM Good Book Reviews – Mia Kerick & Michael Bowler
12/29/2014 – Love Bytes – Keira Andrews with Connie Bailey
12/31/2014 – JP Barnaby – Tali Spencer
1/2/2015 – Hearts on Fire Reviews – Jonathan Penn with Taomi
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