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Better Than Beginnings – Good Short Story Collection
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Matt Sullivan knows he met someone special the night he spots the sexy man on the dance floor. However, he doesn’t know his life is about to change forever. First of all, Matt is straight. Okay, maybe not, but he doesn’t think falling in love and spending the rest of his life with a hotheaded, unapologetically fabulous diva is an option.
Aaron Mendez is confident, smart, and very comfortable in his skin. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. And though he might have reservations about falling for someone newly out of the closet, no one has ever looked at Aaron the way Matt does.
Navigating a relationship has its challenges, but both Matt and Aaron are willing to deal with difficult parents, holiday blues, and learning curves. They know their happy ever after is worth fighting for and that true love is better than good.
*No/low angst, sexy fun! This collection of short stories follows the lives of Matt and Aaron from my first novel, Better Than Good. The end of one chapter is the beginning of a whole new story from ordinary everyday life to an engagement, a wedding, and more. This collection is dedicated to Matt and Aaron fans and those who believe that the real love story happens after the first “I love you”.
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Better Than Graduation
“You want something that feels like the real thing. You are that to me.”—Better Than Good
Graduation day arrived on a gloomy mid-May Sunday, however, the sky didn’t look dark enough for rain. I strummed a few notes on my guitar in an attempt to keep my nerves at bay. Within the hour, my roommates and I would be heading over to Healy Hall and the grand commencement ceremony on the Lawn. I’d obviously been to (and in) quite a few graduation ceremonies, but this one stood out as being particularly significant. Even our robes were grand, in their royal-blue color with a regal purple velvet piping. It all screamed “Big Deal.” I was glad to know Aaron was going to be in attendance somewhere in the massive throng of bodies. He’d sent me a text first thing that morning:
So proud of u. I’ll try to find u there…xoxo
I looked at that text repeatedly with a stupid grin on my mug before finally picking up the guitar to give my fingers something else to do. Curt came out of his room with his freshly pressed gown over one arm and a bottle of expensive champagne in his other hand.
“I think a celebratory drink is in order. Gather round, gentlemen.”
He cleared his throat as if in preparation to make a speech. Dave filled in the silent gap with a large belch, and Curt made a move as if to smack him upside the head. I busted up laughing. It wasn’t so much that anything was really funny, because it wasn’t. It was an almost hysterical reaction of acknowledgment of the significant connection the three of us had shared over the past couple of years. Today would signify the end of a chapter in our lives. I’d only known Dave and Curt for two years, but we’d become close friends as well as roommates. These guys knew what I’d been through—they’d been immersed in the same shit. Endless hours of studying, reading, and writing countless papers while trying to prove ourselves as bright young minds at our internships.
We still had the bar exam to pass, but a major milestone would be reached today, and I was as proud of their accomplishments as I was of my own. They were good people and had become lifelong friends. I trusted them implicitly. They, along with Jason, who was with his girlfriend that morning, were the only people who knew about Aaron and me.
I should have said all that and then some, but tears were threatening. I cleared my throat and lifted my glass.
“To us. May we all have bright, shiny careers and hell, why not bright, shiny lives, too? Cheers.”
We clinked our glasses together and let the moment’s significance fill the void of speech. Dave raised his glass and Curt and I looked at him, wondering what words of wisdom he was about to impart as we rolled our eyes in his direction.
“I never thought I’d end up rooming with a couple of homos. One who’s a recent convert to dick, no less. But I want to say one thing…” He held up his hand both to indicate he still had the floor and to fend off Curt’s attack. “You guys are the best friends I have. Jase too, of course. I know this would have sucked big time if I hadn’t had you both here to motivate and push me a little. You guys are awesome. Thank you. You almost, almost, make me want to be just like you. Just not gay.”
What an asshole. We laughed and then got busy finishing the bottle before walking toward campus, feeling a nice fizzy buzz.
As expected, the ceremony was long—two hours, at least. But by late afternoon, I was officially a law school graduate. What followed was an endless paparazzi brigade. Photos with family, friends, friends’ families, professors—you name it, I posed for it. The only person I really wanted to see and hadn’t caught sight of was Aaron. A girl from my first-year Criminal Law class had just asked me to take a picture of her with her extended family when I heard a familiar voice behind me. I dutifully snapped the shot and turned to capture my man in a tight embrace. He gasped in surprise but returned the gesture in kind.
“I’m so proud of you. Wow! That was a lot of big words and important-like folks talking fancy talk, Matty. Are you going to start speaking like that all the time now that you’re a lawyer?” Aaron looked up at me and batted his lashes as though everything coming out of his mouth wasn’t a complete tease.
“First of all, I’m not a lawyer yet. I still have to pass the bar. However, I am confident in a favorable outcome after years of diligent scholastic application. Perchance the title of lawyer might soon rightfully be mine to claim.”