Hello, everyone! Ofelia here 👋 I’m here taking over again. Holly doesn’t mind 😉 Yesterday, He Melted Us was re-released. It was originally published back in 2016.
I wrote it during summer in 2015 as part of the Love Unlocked anthology, and it was meant to be published that autumn, but the release date kept being postponed, and soon we found ourselves in 2016.
When I submitted the story, it was called We Exploded, and it takes place in Paris. Do you remember what happened in Paris 2015? That’s right, things exploded, so we decided it was best to change the title.
Coming up with a title for a story you submitted almost a year earlier is not easy, but I think He Melted Us fits pretty well… though We Exploded has a certain ring to it.
The idea behind the anthology came from Caraway Carter if I remember correctly. It was when the love locks were removed from Pont des Art in Paris, and he had the idea that we all should write stories about one of the locks. I think it’s a brilliant idea, and I think someone should do something similar about the gums on The Gum Wall in Seattle. I’m in! 😄 Imagine what mayhem gum can cause.
This is far from the sanest tale I’ve come up with, but it was great fun to write, and seeing it with all the locks in the background makes me really happy. I did not ask for them, which makes it all the better 😍
Delron wanted to flee. Never before had their spacious flat felt so small, or so crowded. Everywhere he looked, Phillipe was there, glaring at him. Every time he tried to talk he got mumbled responses.
Why couldn’t Phillipe see he’d been trying to talk to the mayor to save them?
“I’m going to work in the afternoon. Leonore called, and they need me to fill in for a few hours.”
Phillipe scowled. “As long as I don’t have to pick you up at the police station again.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake, Phil! I’m going to work.”
“Fine, you do that. Try not to attack any padlock manufacturers on your way over there.” Phillipe sipped on his coffee and turned back to the newspaper.
Delron clenched his fists—he did not want to argue. It was a fine Saturday morning, the tail of the cat clock swung back and forth on the wall but the tick-tock was drowned out by Phillipe rustling the paper.
Delron breathed in deeply before looking at Phillipe. “What do you mean, padlock manufacturers?”
“If you ever picked up a newspaper, you would know.”
Delron rolled his eyes. He didn’t have the energy to read about all the tragic things going on in the world. He saw enough of that at the hospital. He waited, knowing Phillipe would tell him. He liked talking about what he’d read, and Delron liked to listen. He might not always care for the topic, but Phillipe’s voice as he recounted what he’d read made him smile—he sounded so important.
He liked sitting in their white kitchen, watching Phillipe sip on his coffee, and every now and then say ‘listen to this’ and read a paragraph or two out loud. It was relaxing—at least on a normal day. Today, Delron fantasised about throwing himself across the kitchen table and locking his hands around Phillipe’s throat—he wondered if strangling the bastard would be enough to soothe his nerves.
“Some people think that the locks on Pont des Arts were stolen either by a spurned lover, or by a padlock manufacturer trying to increase sales.”
A lock manufacturer? Delron tried to think. What would a lock manufacturer do with the locks? A scorned lover would probably throw them in the river. Could I hire someone to dive down there and have a look? Probably not, they wouldn’t know what to look for. One lock looked so much like another, and probably even more so in muddy water…or rust-coloured water. All those keys people threw in there probably left a lot of rust behind. No, it couldn’t be an angry lover. If it were, he wouldn’t be able to find their lock.
Delron jumped at Phillipe’s harsh voice. His brown eyes were blazing. Delron’s breath hitched. Phillipe was so fucking hot when he was angry. “What?”
“What? I can see you thinking, and I will not come get you when the police call to tell me you’ve broken into some poor scrap dealer’s place. Just stop it, Del. It’s a lock, a crappy piece of metal we paid too much for, just so we could have our names engraved on it. It doesn’t mean a thing.”
The punch Delron felt in his gut almost made him double over in his seat. How could Phillipe say that?
“I’m going to work.” Delron didn’t even push his chair back in before he started walking towards the door. Before he was out of sight, Phillipe spoke to him again.
“It’s several hours till you start. Don’t go robbing someone in the meantime. Hey, if it makes you feel better, go and buy a new lock.”
“Buy a new…?” Fire rushed through Del’s veins. Buy a new lock—as if the old one didn’t matter. “We can’t just go and buy a new lock. It would be like trying to replace what we have with something we bought for money. It would cheapen our love, Phil.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake! It’s a lock, a freaking lock. I can go buy a new one, put it in the same spot, and you can pretend this never happened…until they take it down.”
“No, it has to be the old lock, the original lock.” That Phillipe didn’t understand should have been worrying, but Del knew Phil didn’t always see things the right way. It was something he’d learned to live with.
“Don’t be stupid, Del!”
He wanted to scream that he wasn’t the one being stupid. Phillipe was the one not taking this seriously, not seeing what it did to them. They hardly ever fought—okay, sometimes, but not like this—and here they were yelling at each other, again. But instead of saying anything, he turned to the door. He tried to keep all the anger and frustration inside, but somehow he couldn’t stop himself from shouting, “Fuck you!” as he opened the door. His voice echoed in the empty staircase. At least he hoped it was empty.
All Delron Chastain wants is to live his life with Phillipe, but when their love lock is stolen from Pont des Art, their relationship is in jeopardy. Without the lock holding them together, Delron is convinced they’ll crash and burn. The only way he can save their relationship is to find the stolen lock, and that is what he plans to do, no matter what.
Phillipe Lebeau loves Delron, but a padlock is simply a piece of metal, and Delron not seeing that is driving him insane. The lock has nothing to do with them. Their life was great until the night the lock was stolen, and Del’s crazy behaviour makes Phillipe question if he’s ever really known him.
Delron’s search leads him through an art-filled Paris. Will recovering the symbol of their love be enough to soothe the mistrust his quest has planted in Phillipe? Phillipe believed he’d spend the rest of his life with Del. But who can live with anyone willing to break the law simply to find an old rusty padlock?
Gay Romance: 16,930 words