Release Date: Mar 16, 2009
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
Amazon Kindle: A Note in the Margin
Amazon: A Note in the Margin
Blurb: John McCann, a man who judges life by the tally of an accounts ledger, has a supreme goal in life: To achieve, live, and enjoy the rarified executive lifestyle. But he's encountered one problem: The migraines are going to continue to get worse unless you make some major changes in your lifestyle. What you need is a 'sea change'… Perhaps buy a nice little business in the country, settle down, something easier to occupy your time… While John knows the doctor is right, he just can't resign from the job he's fought so hard for. He decides the sacrifice of taking a year's leave of absence won't interfere too much with his plans, and so he finds himself running Margins, a cozy little bookstore, with the help of the former owner's son, Jamie. John expects to put in his year, get his stress under control, and then get back to business. What John doesn't expect is how Margins and its denizens draw him in, particularly the quiet, disheveled man who takes refuge in the old leather chair in the second-hand book section. John's plans for an unattached year of simple business crumble when he meets David and is forced to reevaluate life, love and what he really wants from both. John and David are forced to come to terms with their pasts as they struggle to determine what possible future they might build together.
“It’s gonna be cold tonight, find somewhere warm okay?” Jamie said as he got to his feet to see David to the door. He knew David had little choice over his sleeping arrangements, but hoped the hot dinner would help.
“Yeah, thanks for the help today,” John called as David closed the door behind him.
When Jamie turned away from the door it was obvious that his previous light mood was gone. Seeing his expression John frowned and said, “Come on Jamie, he’s had his nightly weather report … he’ll be okay.”
“It’s a cold night John and it’s late.” When it was obvious John didn’t get the intent of his words Jamie continued, “It’s late John. The shelter will be closed. David knows that and he has nowhere to go.”
“Then why didn’t he fucking say so?” John rolled his eyes and growled. “Why didn't he ask…?”
Jamie shot John a withering look and said, “Would you?”
John felt the air leave his lungs; of course he wouldn’t, his fucking pride wouldn’t let him, but he still tried to reason, “Look, he’ll find somewhere.”
“Yeah John … and he can always call the hypothermia emergency line if he can find a phone that hasn’t been vandalized!” Jamie spat out.
“Come on Jamie, I‘ll drive you home,” John said quietly wondering if there was such a thing as a hypothermia emergency line.
It was bitterly cold and had started to rain by the time they reached the car, but neither man acknowledged it. They sat in silence while John peered through the fogged window waiting for the demister to clear the glass. They were several blocks down the main road when John pulled sharply into the curb. He hit the button lowering the electric windows, leaned across Jamie's lap and shouted, “Get in.”
The icy wind rushed in through the open window making Jamie’s eyes water but he was still able to make out the somewhat surprised and confused expression on David’s face. He just stood there staring at John unsure what to do. Jamie had no clue what John had in mind, but he mentally willed David to walk to the car. He could feel John growing impatient when David didn’t move so he called, “Come on Davey, please get in.”
Jamie held his breath for what seemed an age until he saw David start to walk towards them; he quickly twisted around in his seat to open the back door. David lowered himself into the car and didn’t say a word; he just sat and waited for John to explain the invitation.
John hadn’t really thought that far ahead, but managed to come up with, “Look it’s fucking freezing and um … you may as well crash on the couch tonight, after all you did help move it.” Jamie knew it sounded pretty lame, but he gave John an appreciative smile when David closed the door and mumbled his thanks.
Jamie chattered happily the rest of the way to his apartment making sure to cover up the silence in the rest of the car. When John pulled up out front Jamie mouthed thank you to John before making a dash through the rain to his front door.
John could feel David sitting quietly behind him and wondered what the Hell he was doing taking this man home. After a moment or two he turned around and asked, “Want to sit in the front? That way I’ll feel less like your chauffer.”
David looked at him before giving a small nod and stepping out of the car to swap seats. He wasn’t totally sure what was going on here but John seemed okay, and Jamie liked him. Once the car was in motion John commented on how quiet it was now Jamie was gone and went on to tell David about Jamie’s ability to talk non-stop without taking a breath. David visibly relaxed and smiled at John’s observations.
They were nearly back at John’s when he stopped outside a pharmacy and said, “Need some supplies if you’re staying over. Not be a minute.”
David felt his stomach plunge as he watched John jog into the store. There’s always a cost … even for a night on the couch. He squeezed his eyes shut and contemplated just getting out of the car, but was too tired and simply didn’t have enough energy to move. David didn’t look at John when he got back into the car but eyed the small paper bag warily before it was tossed onto the back seat. He spent the rest of the trip in sullen silence despite John’s attempts to make conversation.
When they got to the apartment he walked quietly behind John and stood still as the door was closed behind him. David felt the familiar wave of helplessness as he waited for the inevitable rough touch.