Hello everyone! I’m here as Ofelia today. JMS Books is turning 12 years this month 🥳 and there was an in-house call for stories with dozens. Every story should have something to do with twelve. We could pick any genre we wanted as long as it was an LGBTQ+ story. I wrote Keep it Down! which is a contemporary tale about two neighbours who don’t get along… or at least one of them doesn’t get along LOL
But… To epilogue or not to epilogue, that’s the question.
Perhaps it isn’t THE question, but it is a question every writer has to ask themselves. Normally, I’m a to epilogue person, but this time I decided not to be.
I was in the Morning Office with Nell Iris, and I told her, I’m not gonna write an epilogue. I have my 12 Post-It notes, and the last few have all been about deepening their relationship, so I don’t need one.
Feeling like a daredevil, I sent it off to my lovely beta readers.
A few days later, I got it back. All the Dozen stories are to be 8,000 to 15,000 words, and it’s a hard cut-off. Keep it Down! was at 13.5k – it was.
Then one of lovely, lovely betas wrote that she noted that the story was 13.5k long which left about 1.5k to play with and could she suggest an epilogue…
I laughed to myself. The question had been answered, hadn’t it? And the answer is to epilogue.
She went on writing that perhaps Nate and Eason could visit Eason’s mother in London… over Christmas… and maybe they’ve moved in together… and maybe there could be a Christmas proposal… and maybe the epilogue could be in Nate’s perspective…
Since I dislike proposals, I wouldn’t write one, right? RIGHT? Nah… not a real one, at least.
The story is very close to 15k now, though 😆
Sweat was trickling down Eason’s spine as he climbed the stairs. He was still in his suit from work and was carrying a pizza box. No way he was cooking today. He was still suffering from Nate’s party and the day he’d had… He heaved a sigh.
There had been a man trying to board with a baby he had no ticket for and no passport. When Eason had told him he couldn’t, he’d yelled and threatened—Eason didn’t do well with threats. Who knew what people were capable of?
Not long after, the security guards had arrived, and with them, they’d had one of the drug dogs. It had yapped before jumping on the man’s hand luggage and started digging, and that was after the man had been through the security check.
Eason wasn’t naive. He was aware of there being drugs at the airport, but who carried drugs while also carrying a baby? A baby he had no papers for. People were insane.
Walking up the last flight of stairs, he spotted a green Post-it note on his door. Keep it down! Some of us are trying to sleep in the morning.
For a second, Eason stared, then anger boiled over, and he stabbed Nate’s doorbell with his forefinger. He didn’t let up, simply let it ring and ring. He didn’t stop when Nate yanked the door open. “What?”
Lifting his finger off the button, Eason took a deep breath. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing putting notes on my door?”
“You put one on mine.” Nate crossed his arms over his chest, and Eason noticed the muscles playing under the tanned skin.
“You’re so fucking pathetic. It’s a wonder you’re still alive.”
Nate huffed. “At least I don’t vacuum my balcony at four in the morning.”
“I wouldn’t be either if I didn’t have a dickhead for a neighbor who smashed glass bottles on my balcony.”
“I didn’t throw a bottle!”
Eason sucked in a deep breath, fully aware shouting in the staircase was beneath him but unable to stop himself. “One of your kids did.”
“Kids?” The anger on Nate’s face was replaced by confusion. “I don’t have kids.”
“One of the boys or girls young enough to be your children did the other night. I was too tired to clean it up yesterday because I didn’t get any sleep. Some fucking imbecile with no respect for other human beings played music until after two in the morning, and as you so accurately pointed out, I’m getting up before four in the morning to go to work.”
Nate winced. “Damn, that’s early, man.”
Eason growled and walked past him to his door. “I can’t…” He stomped like a three-year-old throwing a fit. Whirling around, he glared at Nate while searching for his keys. Idiots shouldn’t be allowed to be as attractive as he was. “I can’t stand to look at you.” Nate’s eyes widened. “You’re the most pathetic being I’ve come across in years, and I come across a lot of people.”
Getting hold of his key, he unlocked the door, snatched the Post-it, and left Nate watching him in the stairway.
One day, Eason Wickham will push his next-door neighbor down the stairs. Nate Allen might be hot, but he’s the most annoying person Eason has ever met. He has no respect for the people living in the building, and night after night, he has a party. Whenever Eason rings his doorbell and tells him to keep it down, he flirts and tries to get Eason to come inside.
Calling the cops does not affect Nate’s behavior, and neither do Eason’s angry Post-It notes. But when Eason is hit by a car and fractures his leg, Nate sends his friends packing and makes sure Eason is okay. He cooks for him, shops for him, and does his laundry, but he’s still the most annoying person Eason has ever met. Right?
The cute Post-Its Nate leaves for him to find doesn’t mean he’s a different person, and while Eason longs for when Nate gets off work every day, it doesn’t mean they should be more than friends. Does it?
Contemporary Gay Romance: 14,878 words