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robertlee

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About robertlee

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  • Age in Years
    28
  • Gender
    Male
  • Sexuality
    Gay
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    Pennsylvania

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  1. robertlee

    Chapter Eleven

    Ava stirred beside me. After having our talk, I decided to just spend the rest of the night here. Going home wasn’t worth the struggle. Mom wouldn’t notice until breakfast anyway. Snoring softly as she tossed around, Ava cuddled close to me. I hadn’t been able to sleep. My mind wouldn’t stop racing. Her clock on the nightstand shone brightly in the dark room. 5:25. Ava’s warmth radiated through my body. I gently placed my arm around her. If only it would be this easy. Having a girlfriend and being normal. My family would see a girl by my side and think that everything was okay. No need for an escape plan. Just living out my days in Meadowbrook with a wife and kids and a job I hated. I wish it could be like that. I wish these feelings would just go away. The kiss would just become a figment of my imagination. Rob would truly be just a friend. Nothing more. Everything would be okay again. But it wasn’t like that. I didn’t chose to be this way. No one would. Not in Meadowbrook. Ava understood that. Eventually my parents would have to. I was their kid. Whether they hated me or not, I needed to be honest with them. Tell them who I really was. Oh God. I felt like I was going to throw up. Just the thought of telling them made my stomach turn. Everything started spinning. Sweat dripped down my face. I couldn’t be in this bed anymore. Or in this house. This town. I needed to get away. Carefully pulling myself away from Ava, I hopped out the window and ran down the street. My feet padded against the concrete, echoing between the houses. The sun had barely began to rise. A soft glow of warm orange and pink filled the sky. Still I ran. Past my house. Past the diner. Past Rob’s. Past the Now Leaving Meadowbrook sign. I kept running until my feet wouldn’t take me any further. Pink faded to blue as the sun inched higher in the sky. I plopped down in the grass on the side of the road. No cars drove by. No birds chirping in the branches of the oak trees. Not even a bug crawled by as I laid there. “What should I do?” I don’t know why I expected some kind of answer. “God? Anyone?" No one was out there. Completely alone in the world. My phone vibrated. Mom: Where are you!? “Just lying on the side of the road wishing I was dead. Don’t worry.” If only I could say what I really thought. Moms are sensitive creatures. Me: Went to Ava’s. Sorry, Mom. Be home as soon as I can. Her response was instantaneous. Mom: Okay. Just tell me next time please. You know I worry. She must have been genuinely concerned about me last night. Sometimes I forgot that they were actual caring people not the monsters my mind turned them into. Muscles ached as I dragged my feet back home. What seemed like minutes earlier, now felt like hours as I made the journey through town. The diner was already picking up for the early bird breakfast rush. Cars filled the parking lot, including Rob’s in the back. My feet guided me to the front door as my mind protested. No! He doesn’t want to see me. Still they didn’t listen. My fingers wrapped around the handle and pulled the door open. “Hey, honey. What are you doing here?” Pauline gave me a big hug as the door snapped shut behind me. “You’re not working today.” My heart pounded hard as I saw him behind the counter, rushing through the kitchen. I almost forgot Pauline was standing in front of me. “Just needed some breakfast. No one else at home was awake so I figured I stop in.” Pauline led me to a table in the back. She was one of Dick’s oldest employees, serving with him since the diner opened. She was like a second Mom to all of us. “Don’t worry sweetie. I’ll make sure you’re taken care of. Want me to tell Rob you’re here?” Oxygen seemed to be in short supply. My lungs could barely get enough. Just hearing his name almost killed me. “No!” Pauline looked taken aback. “No, that’s okay. You guys are busy. I’ll just take some coffee when you get a free minute.” Rob was in the zone. He moved from station to station running circles around the other cook. I could tell just watching his head bounce around the window. Pauline smiled warmly, easing some of my anxiety. “I’ll always make time for you.” She squeezed my shoulders and bustled through the dining room like a pro. All the customers loved her. We all did too. She treated all of us employees like we were one of her kids. Birthday cards on our birthdays. Having the right medicine when we got sick at work. Listening to our problems. She was the best. “Creamer, Bryan?” Her voice carried through the dining room and kitchen. Rob looked up for a split second. His eyes immediately found me. My face burst into flames. Then he looked away. Acting like I didn’t even exist. Like I was some stain on the chair. “Yes, please.” I was determined to fix this somehow. Just get him to talk to me. Or look at me without disgust. Steam rose from the cup as Pauline set it in front of me. She even added some whipped cream and chocolate syrup to the cup. “Thank you, Pauline. You’re the best.” “You’re welcome. You looked like you needed it.” She gave me a knowing look, setting her tray down and sitting across from me. “You want to talk about it?” My stomach fluttered as I took a sip. Coffee felt good as it warmed my whole body. Filling me with energy. Something I desperately needed. No sleep was starting to take a toll as I sat. “Yes. And no.” “Come on, baby. There’s nothing you can tell me that I probably don’t already know.” She smiled reassuringly, straightening the silverware on the table. “Mothers know everything.” “It’s a big secret. Only one other person knows about it.” I don’t know what I was thinking. My mind was a thousand minutes ahead of where I was. Somehow this felt like the moment. “Well, two I guess.” “You can tell me anything.” My heart raced. I wasn’t sure if it was the coffee or my fear. Or a wicked combination of both. It felt like it was working in overdrive. “Pauline, I-I’m gay.” Pauline didn’t say anything. Just smiled and chuckled to herself. “What’s so funny?” “That’s your big secret?” I nodded my head, not able to look her in the eye. “Oh child, please.” She pushed my head up to face her. “I’ve known that since day one.” “How!?” “Honey, come on.” Still in shock, I couldn’t think straight. Pun intended. “It’s just part of you. Not a big deal.” My mind battled between feeling relieved and horrified. My deep, dark secret was a known fact to someone who barely knew me. Did other people know? Rob figured it out. Ava figured it out. Now Pauline? Was I the talk of the town? She watched me cautiously as everything played out in my mind. Everyone talking about the gay kid. Nasty things were probably thought about me. Like those guys the other day. “Bryan, listen honey. You’re perfect. Being gay isn’t wrong.” Says who? “Sure this town is a little backwards but that doesn’t mean everyone in it is.” Yeah, sure. “Give people a chance.” As Pauline talked me off the ledge, Rob watched us both from the kitchen. His expression steely. Eyes fixed on me, daggers flying. “Thanks Pauline. I’m sorry I just dumped this on you.” “You’re fine, dear. I’m glad you opened up to me.” She pulled me into a strong hug, cracking my bones as she squeezed. “Maybe you should go say hi to Rob.” Something in her voice and expression made me think she knew something. The little wink and mischievous smile. “Yeah, maybe I will.” Rob turned away as I waved at him. “On second thought, maybe not.” Pauline laughed, waving bye as she fluttered around the dining room again. Time to man up. This wouldn’t get any easier. Whether he hated me or not, I was going to talk to him. Hopefully, I didn’t throw up.
  2. robertlee

    Chapter One

    Hopefully it's not too nerve racking!
  3. Surrounded by my laundry and self-doubt, I was falling into a pit of despair dreading Dustin’s arrival. My best friend for the last… well forever actually. The summer of our lives was about to happen. A summer we had dreamed of for four years now. Every moment of high school, in the back of our minds we dreamed and planned of our last hurrah. But now, all I wanted to do was bury myself in my clothes and wait for fall to rear its ugly head. Summer would be gone and I could go on without dealing with all of this shit. Stupid shit that took over every fiber of my being. A cross country road trip in Dustin’s beat up clunker sounded amazing until I realized that maybe something else was happening between us. Something more than just friendship. Something that I didn’t even understand. Feelings towards him. And maybe he was feeling the same towards me. Thing had changed. Something coursed beneath the surface of our interactions. Tiny things that you could barely notice. Or maybe I was completely insane. My mind was far too over imaginative. Grappling with all those feelings and thoughts, going 75 down the highway with nowhere to hide or run gave me anxiety. Anxiety to a higher level than I ever imagined even possible. Ding Dong. Goddamnit. Of course he was on time. He always was. Why couldn’t he be more like me? Living life by the last minute was so much more fun. Especially if you’re lazy and a major procrastinator like me. I considered it one of my finest qualities. “Trevor!” His voice raced up the stairs and down the hallway towards me like a blast of cold air. Ugh. Time to face the music, or whatever it was they said. “I’m up here.” I could hear his excited footsteps getting closer with each breath. Was this what being in a horror movie felt like? Anxiety bubbling over as you anticipated your impending demise? Even my heart pounded in my chest. Was that a little too dramatic? Probably. I started grabbing all my nicer looking clothes, shoving everything I could into my duffle bags before he burst into the room. “What the hell? You’re still not packed!?” Dustin said as he plopped down on my bed amongst all the mess. “It’s time to go.” Of course he looked perfect. Every single one of his feature came directly out of a magazine. The chiseled jaw line. The scruffy five o’clock shadow that was somehow always there. His hair was brown and shaggy but designed to look that way. Nothing was out of place on him. A perfect specimen of a man. Kill me now. “You know me, it would be weirder if I was actually ready.” He smiled, and I almost passed out. One of those smiles that just fills everything with warmth and radiance. I hated him. And loved him. It was awful. “Let me help you out. These bags are a mess man.” Dustin rifled through the duffles, folding everything meticulously, tossing out the clothes he didn’t deem worthy of coming along. Everything was organized, packed and ready to go in ten minutes, something that would have taken me three years to accomplish. Literally. “Alright, you ready to go? The moment we’ve been waiting for.” The moment I had been dreading. He looked so excited. So happy for this trip. I couldn’t mess this up for him. I wouldn’t let that happen. “Yeah let’s do this!” Feigning excitement was another of my specialties. I grabbed my duffle bags and followed behind him, my smile fading as he turned away from me. We sprinted down the stairs, kissing my mom goodbye and flooring it out of the neighborhood with tunes blasting from the radio. Dustin sang along to the music, shouting lyrics at the top of his lungs. People we went to school with drove by, honking after us. Our neighborhood faded into the horizon as we hit the highway. I didn’t know what this trip would do for us but one thing was for sure. The summer of our lives was about to happen. One way or another.
  4. As most of my friends were graduating college and moving on with their lives, I was getting left behind. I couldn't afford to finish school and worked my life away. Every day waking up and doing the same thing. Go to work. Go to a second job. Go to sleep. Repeat. It was horrible and I started falling into a pretty dark depression. Writing was the one thing I could turn to that would make me feel happy. Make me feel like me again. Any free time I had I would try and write something. Many ideas came and went, just like all writers, but one idea stuck with me. A story about Patrick and his college experience. For months I wrote about him, his friends, his school, his loves. All these different stories making me feel nostalgic for college but helping lift my spirits. I fine tuned his adventures and compiled things into a neat little snippet of his freshman year. From move in day to the start of winter break. It wasn't half bad either. Something I rarely said about my own work. In those weeks, The CSU Stories were born. Most of my projects sit on a computer or notebook somewhere and are never seen again. It didn't feel right for Patrick to fade into obscurity though. I shared the story with my Mom. An editing queen and published author herself, she read the story and was not shy about leaving her remarks. At first I felt discouraged. Like maybe it was garbage that I wrote but then I got to the last page. She wrote a paragraph telling me how proud she was of me and how amazing the story was and would be after I finished the editing process. Something a Mother had to say. It spurred me on. I edited everything she marked and resubmitted it her. Round two of edits came down and I flew through them. Patrick was finished and ready to be something. What I didn't know. My Mom suggested I make it an ebook and I thought she was crazy. No one would want to read it. She pushed me until I finally did and in 2013, Patrick was released on Amazon. Four years later we worked together to make Patrick a paperback as well. It's been an amazing journey to this point but I'm proud of the work we did. Now almost six years since I started work on Patrick the next book in the series will be releasing on Friday! You can get Patrick on Amazon in either format at https://goo.gl/szVDR5
  5. Thank you! Congrats to you as well. I'll keep going for my dreams if you do too!
  6. My next blog post will do that. So keep looking for it very soon!
  7. Since I was a little kid I've dreamed of being a writer. From the moment I learned how I just couldn't stop. Every scrap of paper I found I would write something on. Journals full of ideas, short stories, one liners, poems, songs, plays; everything you could imagine writing. I experimented with it all. Ten year old Robert even thoroughly researched (and exhausted the family printer) everything related to World War II in a failed attempt to write the next great war epic. It was a passion that stuck with me. Even when it was something I never thought I was any good at. Staring at the computer screen, reading things I typed up and laughing at myself. Cringing at the horrible dialogue. Noticing every single plot hole and poorly developed character. Beating myself up to the point I didn't want to do it anymore. Then something clicked. People in my life told me to go for my dreams. Work hard and make what you want to happen, happen. And I did. I kept writing. I kept learning. I continually put words to the page. Practicing the craft. Working towards that dream. Am I perfect? No. Do I have so much more to learn still? Yes. But what really matters is that I'm doing it. I'm writing and everyday getting closer and closer to my goal. Now at 28, I'm about to publish my second book through Amazon and couldn't be prouder of what I've achieved. I wanted to write this blog to not only talk about my books but to talk about the journey of writing and becoming a self published author. Without the people along the way that taught me what I know I would have never been able to do this. Maybe by reading this, someone else will get inspired to go for their own dream. Hopefully, I can help them on their journey.
  8. Almost ready to release my second paperback book after 5 years of work on it. Super exciting times to come!

  9. Can't sleep again. So that means more writing tonight!

    1. BHopper2

      BHopper2

      Warm Milk, with a couple of shots of Fireball Whiskey and Hot Cocoa mix.

    2. robertlee

      robertlee

      @BHopper2 Sounds delicious! I'll need to try that next time. :)

  10. robertlee

    Chapter Ten

    I definitely understand that feeling. That's totally how I am too!
  11. robertlee

    Chapter Ten

    Hopefully she'll have that power!
  12. robertlee

    Chapter Ten

    Thank you so much. I'm very happy every time I see a comment from you about the characters. When I'm writing they are like my children and I care about them deeply. Thank you again for reading!
  13. robertlee

    Chapter Ten

    It seems like Bryan's body knows more than his mind does!
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