Reviewed by: Trebs
Word Count: 77, 013
So many gay stories are based on tired storylines - the best friends agonizing over the other knowing their attraction while all around them can see they're in love, or the gay boy kicked out of home only to find the perfect family and boyfriend, or that most classic cliché of the hunky rich jock falling in love with the poor geek/nerd.
Once in a while - rarely though it happens - an author will break from the pack and turn a cliché on its head. And so it goes that dkstories (a.k.a. Dan) has given us such an occurrence with The Beard. And for those that have had the pleasure to read other stories by Dan - you know that you can never exactly expect what may comes next. Do Over, Waiting for the Sign, Dreams of Humanity - all involve elegant plot twists that leave you wondering why you didn't see them coming, while at the same time just wanting to see what's next.
Now to be fair, I should disclose that in addition to being one of Dan' biggest fans, I also happen to be his husband. Also I want to note, though Dan has been absent from this site, he has returned and is starting to repost his various stories.
One of those that he has finished reposting is The Beard. I'm thrilled because of the stories he has written, it is one of my favorite.
The story starts off with Dale at work - a greasy fast food restaurant named Darlow's, when Cole stops in to order a chocolate milkshake. They know each other from high school, share a few classes and even worked on a project together in the year prior. But Dale know's Cole is out of place here - he doubts Cole has ever been to Darlow's before. Plus, Cole was Mr. Perfect:
Cole had everything in the world from loving parents that were still married, to good looks, and lots of money. He was also one of the nicest and best people in the school.
So why was Cole here? After a round-about conversation over lemonade and berry pie, with topics such as the school slut to what activities Dale used to do with his dad, and how's Dale's mother's health was, Cole finally gets to why he showed up and wanted to talk to Dale.
“I need you to be my boyfriend.” Cole answered at long last
To say that Dale didn't see it coming would be an understatement, but he soon figures out what is going on and why Cole needs him.
At 77K words, The Beard is a wonderful novella that will leave you smiling and wanting more even though the story is complete onto itself. While Dan has not committed to writing more of Dale's story, I am one of many who have been asking for a sequel. Plus, there are certain characters that come into the final chapters of the story, that provide a tie-in with some of Dan's other creations.
So - while admittedly biased, I highly recommend The Beard and hope you may have time to read and enjoy the story as I did!