More Painting in the Rain (watch for the cover reveal)

The official re-release date for Painting in the Rain is July 12, 2016. It has a brand new gorgeous cover designed by the amazing Jordan Castillo Price. The cover deserves it's own post. Look for that here this coming Friday. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy another picture from the Oregon Coast and a bit from Gabe's perspective in Chapter Two.

This was one of those other times. Between worry about his son and disturbing thoughts about his son’s supervisor, concentration was hard to find. The thought that Trevor might get some girl pregnant made him break into a cold sweat. Like father like son. The boy might not take his advice—but maybe he’d accept a handful of condoms.

Condoms Gabe didn’t have at the moment. He’d used the last one in a crappy hotel room in Portland with a guy who smelled like whiskey and shouted when he came—a particularly mortifying trait when that had someone in the next room banging on the wall and yelling for them to shut the fuck up. That experience hadn’t exactly sent Gabe running to the drugstore to stock up on condoms.

Gabe switched a yellow feather for a red one and considered the resulting pattern. He played around with a few more changes, feeling uncharacteristically indecisive. What was he doing thinking about condoms when he should be working? Christ, that kid had been handsome. Good bone structure, his mom would say. And those eyes—lapis blue. The paper with his number seemed to throb in Gabe’s left pocket while his phone pulsed in the right. And Trevor’s words echoed around the garage—I’ll kill you. I swear I will.

Gabe turned the knob to send gas to his welding torch with a hiss. He flipped down his visor and lit the flame. He’d lay proper beads later but for tonight he wanted to tack the feathers to the wing with single dots of metal, like thumbtacks at the edge of each piece, strong enough so he could hold the wing up next to its twin and see how they fit together, but flimsy too, so he could still change things if he didn’t like the way it turned out.

Gabe snorted. Too bad that life wasn’t like that. As it was, when things changed, the whole thing could come apart and wouldn’t go back together no matter how much heat and flux and passion he poured into it.

He turned off the torch, hung up his visor, and left the piece to cool. He stood in the garage doorway and rolled his shoulders to release the tension. Trevor’s light was still on. Above the distant sound of waves, Gabe could hear the murmur of the TV. He flipped off the garage lights and rolled down the door.

He strolled to the street and stared out at the ocean, pale gray in the moonlight. A familiar empty ache opened in his chest. He’d be thirty-five in August and it felt like he’d hit the pause button on his life.

Gabe reached into his left pocket and into his right. Before he could think about it too much, he read Mike’s number by the light of his phone, punched it in and, taking a deep breath, pushed send.

He crossed the street and stood on the cliff, watching the waves crash white against the rocks below as the phone rang once, twice, three times. Was it too late to call? Maybe Mike had gone to bed and wouldn’t welcome a crazy artist waking him up. Gabe was about to cancel the call when a voice said, “Hello.”

“Um, hi. This is Gabe Thompson, Trevor’s dad?” Right, because that’s always seductive—my teenage son’s under your care.

But the “Hey” that came back at him was warm and maybe happy. Gabe’s shoulders relaxed.
“Hi. Is this too late to call?”

“No, it’s fine. We were baking cookies.”

We. “Oh.”

“My roommate Jessica and I,” Mike said, his words tumbling out quickly, like he was rushing to clarify. “She got a call from her boyfriend tonight. He’s in Peru for the summer. It made her lonely and I was trying to cheer her up.”

“That’s nice of you. What kind of cookies?”

“Chocolate chocolate chip. What else?”

Silence. Gabe stared out at the ocean, summoning courage. Why was this, the step that might take them past casual acquaintanceship and closer to naked, why was it always so difficult?

“I’m glad you called.” Mike’s voice dropped. Gabe could almost see him turning away from the phantom roommate, maybe pacing out of the kitchen. “I wasn’t sure you would.”

Gabe exhaled. “I wasn’t sure I would either and I know I shouldn’t, but I thought there might have been something…. Today, I mean.” He stumbled into silence and kicked at the gravel, feeling inarticulate and stupid. Words weren’t his thing.

“Me too.” Mike said softly.

Gabe closed his eyes. He was really going to do this. “I was wondering if you wanted to get together some time.”

“I’d like that.” God he sounded young. And eager.

He cleared his throat. “How about Friday night? Trevor’s at his mom’s this weekend. Come to dinner?”

“What can I bring?”

Your body. Your beauty. A box of condoms. “Save me one of those cookies.”