The Wind and the Horizon: Chapter Forty Six

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Where Lety had been comfortable with driving in silence, Lenaia couldn’t stand the quiet. Unfortunately for her, May didn’t have it in her to answer the litany of questions she threw her way. So to fill the void, Lenaia simply talked.

“I am so glad it was my turn to pick up this month’s shipment for the bar,” she said, talking loudly over the incessant growl of the truck’s engine. “I mean, what are the chances we’d find each other like that?”

May offered a small smile. “I really appreciate you giving me a lift.”

“Of course!” Lenaia replied. “Let’s see, what’ve you missed over the last… year? Have you already been gone a year?”

May nodded, feeling just as amazed as Lenaia sounded. The fact that she was actually back on Hoku after all this time still hadn’t sunk in.

Lenaia eased the truck onto the narrow, two-lane road that connected the north and south halves of the island before continuing. “Your brother moved into your treehouse. Not, like, took it over or anything like that. He just wanted to keep the kids in town from rooting around in it. You know how kids are – they can’t resist the siren song of a treehouse, especially one as badass as yours.”

“I’m glad,” May said, watching the north shore fade in the rearview mirror. “There’s no one else I’d rather have it to be honest.”

“Seriously,” Lenaia agreed with a grin. “Kai’s such a good dude. I’m telling you, if I were even remotely interested in dating, I’d make a move.”

At this, May actually managed to laugh. “I don’t think he’d know what to do with himself.” She peered at Lenaia out of the corner of her eye. “Have your parents finally given up on trying to get you to settle down?”

It was no secret Lenaia’s family had long been exasperated by their daughter’s complete disinterest in finding love. They expected her – like most parents in Omea did of their own children – to get married and bring them grandchildren. But May had known Lenaia her entire life and, as the story went, Lenaia had been kissed once and promptly swore the whole thing off. She didn’t date or pine for romance, and it frustrated her parents to no end.

There was a twinkle of delight in Lenaia’s eyes as she snuck a quick glance back at May.

“Actually, I decided to take a page from your book.”

May blinked, confused. “What do you mean?”

“You standing up to your parents and deciding to run off with Em inspired me.” For a split-second Lenaia looked as close to bashful as she could get. “I told my family to lay off. I have no interest in being in a relationship or makin’ babies and shit. I said if they really loved me, they were just going to have to accept that.”

“You did?” May couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “How’d they handle that?”

“Not great at first, but…” Lenaia hesitated, licking her lips and shooting May another look. “Well, to be honest, after you left I think they were worried I might get a little too inspired, if you know what I mean. I think they realized accepting me as I am was better than losing me altogether.”

Her words wrapped around May’s heart like a vice. She thought of her own parents and wondered if they were regretting how they’d handled things.

“I guess I’ve always been a bit of a cautionary tale, haven’t I?”

“Actually, you’ve become a bit of a legend since you left.”

May raised a doubtful eyebrow. “I have?”

“Oh yeah.” Lenaia was grinning again, her perfectly painted coral lips stretching tall in the corners. “After the spectacular way you disappeared? And what happened to Kane? I gave up on keeping up with all the rumors.”

“What kind of rumors?” May asked, her stomach twisting. Between memories of Kane and the idea of being the subject of gossip once more, she was starting to regret accepting the ride back to Omea.

“All kinds of wild stuff,” Lenaia admitted. “Most people didn’t even realize you had come back at all, but then all the shit with Kane went down.”

The memory of Kane – forcing his way into her home at first and then, when the mental slideshow flicked, the image of him broken and mangled on the beach – made May’s stomach churn. She cracked the window to cool the sweat beading on her brow.

Lenaia pursed her lips, waiting for May to say something. When the silence stretched on, she cleared her throat and continued.

“His buddy, Bilo threw him under the bus.” Her voice took on a softer quality as she spoke. “He told everyone what happened – that Kane made him drive him out to your place and keep watch. People weren’t quite as sympathetic once they knew the truth.”

May let out a bitter scoff. “It figures they’d believe him but not me.”

“No kidding,” Lenaia agreed. “Kane was pretty fucked up though. He still walks with a limp. Some people think it was you who threw him.”

“I wish.”

“After you disappeared, your family was pretty tight-lipped about whatever went down.” The darting glances Lenaia kept throwing May’s way gave away how desperately she hoped to learn the truth. “Some people think you ran away again. Others think Em kidnapped you. There are even some people who think you’re dead.”

“They wish.”

Lenaia shook her head. “No, I don’t believe that.”

“I guess we’ll find out,” May mumbled. They were deep into the interior forest now. The dense foliage reached skyward, blotting out the sun and cooling the air. Between the dim light and the motion of the truck, May felt herself drifting off.

She awoke to the truck coming to a stop. Eyes closed, she listened as Lenaia climbed out, leaving her door open rather than risk waking May when she closed it.

Once May was sure she was alone, she lifted her head and peered out the window. They were at a pull-out off the highway; a rest stop for weary travellers.

“Hey, Kai. It’s Lenaia. You’re not going to believe this.”

May held her breath and eavesdropped on Lenaia’s phone call with her brother. Quietly, Lenaia let Kai know she had found May wandering alone on the north shore.

“I don’t know,” Lenaia whispered. “She’s not saying very much… Huh? Oh, she’s sleeping and I’m trying not to wake her. She looks like she needs the rest to be honest. What do you want me to do?” A pause. “Sure, that’s no problem… Probably another hour? Cool, see you then.”

The door swung open and May clamped her eyes closed again. Gently, Lenaia pulled herself back behind the wheel, clicked her seat belt, and put the truck into drive. Despite the thoughts swirling in her mind, May was quick to slip back into the lull of sleep.

She slept the rest of the drive. The next time the truck came to a stop, May sat up and blinked groggily in the bright sunshine. A fresh, salty breeze wafted in through her open window – in the distance May could hear the ocean rolling up the surf.

“We’re here,” Lenaia announced in a musical tone.

May turned to look out her window. Lenaia had brought her to her parents’ house. Her eyes trailed up the front steps and found Kai staring back. His mouth hung open and his brow was knitted with concern.

Slowly, May slid from the truck. She stood on the sidewalk feeling small and awkward. As she opened her mouth to say something, the door behind Kai swung open and out rushed her parents.

The world seemed to freeze. A rush began somewhere in the pit of May’s stomach and worked its way up to a roar in her ears. Her breaths came shallow and quick, panic gripping her like hands that squeezed far too tight.

May watched, paralyzed by uncertainty, as her mother stepped carefully toward her without breaking eye contact. The woman looked as though she were staring at a ghost and, if she so much as blinked, May might vanish into vapor.

“Baby,” she whispered, stopping an arm’s length from where May still stood rooted in place. “Baby, are you okay?”

The question, asked with so much tenderness, brought back a flood of memories. Young May sick with the flu, teenaged May locked in her room after having been teased by classmates over her boyish figure. Her mother’s concern – before things had fallen apart so dramatically five years earlier – always had a way of coaxing May down from the ledge.

May’s lip trembled. She tried to answer but her voice betrayed her.

No, she thought. I’m not okay. I don’t even remember what okay feels like.

She shook her head, collapsed into her mother’s outstretched arms, and burst into tears.

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The Wind and the Horizon: Chapter Thirty Two

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[ CW: strong language, sexual content ]

Marina’s big house was fairly quiet for the rest of the day, especially considering how many people were in it. The party spent most of the afternoon napping and getting cleaned up.

Some time after three o’clock, Em jolted awake and glanced groggily around the room until she remembered where she was. It came back to her slowly: the memory of crawling along the couch and flopping down onto her stomach between May’s splayed legs. May had been lounging there, reading the computer reference book Marina had loaned her; Em fell asleep with her arms wrapped around May’s middle and her face resting on her stomach as it rose and fell with each gentle breath May took.

“How long was I asleep?” Em asked. She peered up at May, who lifted the book she was still reading to peek back at her.

“Not sure,” May admitted. “Maybe an hour?”

Connor strode into the room carrying a basket full of fresh laundry.

“Do you guys mind if I fold in here?” he asked. “Rue’s sleeping upstairs.”

“Knock yourself out,” Em replied with a yawn, snuggling back down onto May who set the book aside and began combing her fingers lightly through Em’s hair.

Connor was almost finished his chore when a sleepy-eyed Rue wandered downstairs.

“Feeling better, love?” he asked when she walked up for a quick kiss and to survey his progress.

“Much better.” She smiled warmly.

Marina breezed into the room and grinned when she saw them. “Everyone’s surfacing! Who’s up for a drink or two?”

Without waiting for a response she unlocked a magnificent liquor cabinet and pulled out glasses. She then went to retrieve wine from the kitchen as everyone made their drink selection. Before striding back into the room she called up the stairs to the stragglers. “We’re getting drunk without you!”

Soon Jeremy and Priva joined them. They were disheveled, but it didn’t appear to have been from sleep. Em and May exchanged knowing looks when the pair passed them on their way to make their drinks, but they kept their teasing remarks to themselves.

“Oh, man.” Marina sighed happily, settling back with a very full glass of wine. “I can’t remember the last time I got drunk. I think I’m overdue.”

“We’re not getting drunk,” Connor laughed. “But don’t let us stop you.”

“For those prepared to party,” Em raised her glass of whiskey to Marina. “We salute you.”

They all clinked their glasses, a chaotic moment of reaching arms trying to make sure no one was missed, and toasted to being together, regardless of the circumstances.

For everyone but May and Em, the conversation flowed naturally, especially once the alcohol started to lighten the mood in the room. No one wanted to talk about the present and so those who shared a history dipped into the wells of nostalgia. They rehashed memories, retelling increasingly funnier stories until they gasped for breath between their laughter.

May and Em sat on the far end of the couch, edging closer with every sip from their glasses. At first they tried to stay cognisant that Jeremy was right there, regardless of the fact that he hadn’t looked at them once since entering the room. But as the whiskey worked its magic, they seemed to forget that anyone else was in the room. Em coiled an arm around May’s slender waist and nuzzled into the curve of her neck. She planted kiss after kiss – playful in the beginning, then slower and seductive as they worked through their second and third drinks – along May’s jawline and shoulder. Between kisses she’d whisper things in May’s ear that left her crimson-cheeked and giggling.

“One day I’m gonna buy us a big house like this one,” Em told May in a matter-of-fact, whisper-yell. “And you can just spend all day lounging around in fancy lingerie like the fucking queen you are.”

“Shhh, everyone can hear you.” May grinned and kissed Em to silence her.

Em replied by mumbling something against May’s lips that sounded a bit like, “I worship you.”

The only sign that Jeremy heard any of this was the subtle bouncing of his knee.

It wasn’t long after that May excused herself, slipping upstairs to use the washroom.


Jeremy didn’t realize Em had crept away too until he rose to fix another drink and found her missing. Squaring his jaw, he tried to focus on the promises he had made; one to Rue to try harder to be pleasant to the girls, made in the throes of gratitude that came with having survived his beating in the alley, the other to Priva. That afternoon she had made him promise to stop obsessing over the past – to see her, the one standing right in front of him. He had promised to try and it must have been enough for her; they made love for the first time in ages.

He thought of the sex, imagining the feeling of Priva’s silky skin under his and the look on her face as he moved between her thighs. Her moans of pleasure, her nails digging into his shoulders, the genuine happiness she radiated as they laid together afterward.

He reached out and took her hand. He could try.

“I know what we’re missing,” Marina announced, sitting up quickly. “Music!”

Priva snapped her fingers. “Didn’t you say Myles plays guitar now?”

“Yes!” Marina pointed at her, clearly into the direction Priva’s train of thought was headed. “It’s in his room!”

Priva looked to Jeremy expectedly. “Go get it, boo! Play for us!”

Jeremy blinked up at Marina. “Where’s his room?”

“Third floor. First door on your left.”

Without arguing – he was trying to be better, after all – he got to his feet and made for the stairs. He hadn’t realized just how much he’d had to drink until standing; his head swam with the early stages of his buzz.

As he stepped onto the second floor, Jeremy paused. To his right the staircase continued upwards. But to his left he saw the bathroom, open and dark. Across the hall was Em and May’s room, the door open just a crack. Everything was quiet.

That’s weird, he thought with a frown. He had been sure they had sneaked up here to fuck. A slight flurry of concern rose in his stomach.

Against his better judgement, he tiptoed toward the room. Perhaps they had simply passed out like a couple of lightweights. But what if they weren’t in there? He tried to push down the paranoid voice in his head, honed from years of fighting and fleeing, that screamed something might be wrong.

He held his breath as he peered through the miniscule opening in the door. From there he could see the bed, made and empty.

A sudden rush of movement took him by surprise as a pair of bodies tumbled into his line of vision from somewhere hidden by the door. Jeremy had to bite his bottom lip to keep from gasping out loud.

A tangle of peaches and cream; May had pushed Em up against the wall, kissing her fiercely. Their shirts had already been discarded, their hands were everywhere.

To Jeremy, the world seemed to fall away. He stood, paralyzed; knowing he needed to walk away but helpless to do so.

May dragged her teeth lightly against the tender flesh of Em’s throat. Head back, Em welcomed May’s assault with a breathy moan.

Kisses were peppered across Em’s collarbone as May groped under her lover’s bra with one hand and worked the button of her jeans with the other.

Get out of here, Jeremy’s brain shouted at him.

But he couldn’t. He was transfixed by the ecstacy on Em’s face as May’s hand plunged down the front of her pants and pressed into her warmth.

He knew that look, he remembered it perfectly. Her quiet noises of passion were exactly the same.

All at once, memories of when he was the one in May’s place came back to him like a crashing wave.

It didn’t matter what she looked like or what she called herself: Jeremy knew Audrey when he saw her.

At last he was able to tear himself away from the door. He staggered to the staircase and heaved a few deep and rocky breaths.

Go upstairs, he coached himself. Get the guitar. Go downstairs. Figure your shit out.

From down the hall, Em cried out softly.

Figure your shit out.


By the time the girls slunk back downstairs, the sitting room was filled with the sound of guitar strings and drunken singing.

“Welcome back, ladies,” Priva announced loudly, drawing everyone’s attention to the blushing pair as they slid back into their spot on the couch.

“Look,” May laughed, trying to come up with an excuse and failing.

“Listen,” Em said, with just as much success.

From his chair, Jeremy fiddled with the guitar pegs, adjusting the tuning. He didn’t look up as he launched into another song.

The notes were familiar. May recognized it as the song she and Em had performed at the flat in Luxton; the first song she learned to play herself.

“Hey!” She turned to Em, smiling. “It’s the song you’re always singing!”

But Em didn’t answer. She wasn’t smiling either.

Instead her gaze was fixed on Jeremy’s hands as they danced over the strings.

“Wait,” Em muttered, squinting. “How do you…”

Her eyes grew wide. “Oh, fuck.”

“What’s wrong?” Connor asked, glancing between Em and Jeremy.

“Imagine how surprised I was when you two started playing this song,” Jeremy said, his eyes still trained on his instrument as he finished the melody. “This, the song I wrote for Audrey.”

The final note reverberated itself into silence. No one spoke.

“She’s the only person I ever played it for.” Now he looked up. His eyes were cold.

“Isn’t that interesting?”

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Hello 2018!

I wasn’t going to do a New Years resolution post, but when I decided I wanted to post something today it felt weird to write about anything else.

2017 was one hell of a year: it started with my world falling apart which was quickly followed by a big move. It took months before my life really started to feel normal again but, when it did, good things happened.

Last year I finished the beta draft of The Star and the Ocean, a passion project more than 20 years in the making. The beta draft of that web novel went on to win a Watty Award, which really made me feel like a have a chance with this whole writing gig.

In 2017 I finally felt comfortable with calling myself a writer. I started work on the sequel, The Wind and the Horizon, dove back into art, started a podcast with my friends, and even launched a Patreon.

Oh, and I finally took up guitar, although I hesitate to say I “learned to play” because, well, I haven’t. Yet.

In next weekend’s episode of The WIP Podcast we talk about our different creative resolutions. Compared to Athena, Bri, and Rey’s goals for this year, my plan felt less grand and structured. Still, after all this time (not to mention the state of mind I ended the year in) I know what’s going to work for me with regards to where I am right now.

My creative resolutions aaaaare:

  • Finish the beta draft of TWATH (it’s half done already!)
  • Get The Witch’s Patron ready to query (and then do exactly that!)
  • Plot out my idea for NaNoWriMo (it’s never too early, dammit)
  • Create more art (and get better at it as I go!)
  • Get back to practicing guitar (I’ll actually learn to play properly!)
  • And that’s it! No deadlines or word counts.

What about you? Tell me all about it!


TWATH Update News and a New Way to Support my Work

Happy December, everyone! To kick off a new month (and the last one of 2017, whaaaaaaat??) I’ve got two pieces of news to share:

The Wind and the Horizon is taking the month off

I’m want to refrain from using the dreaded h-word here, so I’ll use the happier h-word instead: I’m going to take a holiday from updating TWATH in December.

This month is going to be a shit show for me. My day job is about to get ridiculously busy, my brother is visiting for the holidays, and I have a few projects I still need to wrap up (two outstanding commissions and editing an anthology submission, if you’re curious). Plus my lovely editor is going to be travelling for half the month anyway.

On top of finishing my outstanding projects, I want to use what little free time I’m going to have this month to keep padding the buffer of TWATH chapters I’ve already written. Not only do I want to start 2018 strong, there’s another reason I’m going to need that healthy buffer…

Segue to piece of news #2:

I’ve officially launched a Patreon

For the past two years I’ve been producing a metric buttload of content and giving it away for free on the internet. As an author and artist of queer work, I’ve been ridiculously lucky to connect with friends and fans all over the world. Up until now I’ve relied on donations, merchandise profits, and commissions to support my creative projects. Unfortunately, I’m no longer in a place where I can maintain my aggressive production schedule completely free of charge.

Enter, Patreon.

My patrons will get early access to all future chapters of The Wind and the Horizon as well as the final yet-to-be-named instalment of The Starborn Series. How early, you ask? Patrons will get to read new weekly chapters a full month before they go public, beginning in 2018.

I will also offer exclusive art and short stories, as well as discounted commission rates to Patrons (all perks that were previously only offered to members of my mailing list. Yes, that means mailing list perks will be changing). Once I figure out how the goal/reward system works, I’ll begin offering free art and other exciting stuff for higher tiers.

Your support makes everything I do possible.

I work full-time, I help my parents financially, and I have a beautiful old dog who needs expensive meds on the regular. Patron support will provide the financial incentive I need to justify continuing to create and share content.

To everyone who chooses to support my work: THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

To support me on Patreon, click here

To make a one-time donation via Ko-Fi, click here


The Wind and the Horizon: Chapter Eleven

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Content Warning: Strong language

For a heartbeat no one spoke.

Em’s wide eyes, filled with surprise, flickered from one face to the next, her grip tightening reflexively around May’s shoulder.

“Dom, what the fuck?” she demanded. She looked ready to run or fight, whichever was necessary first.

Holding his palms up in surrender, Dom kept his focus locked on her. He could sense her mix of fear and anger from where he stood. A part of him wanted to bridge that gap, to coax her down to a peaceful place with a compassionate touch. He knew her well enough to stay back. His heart ached, reflecting on how he had hoped his first reunion with these friends would go; so different from the scenario he found himself in now.

“Please, Em,” he begged. “These people need your help. You’ve got to know I wouldn’t have lead them to you if I didn’t believe that.”

And that was the problem – Em did know Dom believed he was doing the right thing. He was so good, and helping people was in his nature. For the first time she regretted not being more honest with him, for waiting so long to tell him her truth in what wound up being just a hastily abridged version anyway. She didn’t know what these people told him but there was no way he could have realized just how far away from them she had hoped to stay. For that she had no one to blame but herself.

Despite having tried to avoid it, Em eventually let herself look at the man gaping at her from the centre of the room. His dark eyes were troubled beneath a mess of unruly red hair, his expression that of someone who had just been slapped – hard. His companions glanced uncomfortably between him and Em, none of them speaking until the blond man with sad green eyes cleared his throat.

“We aren’t here to hurt you,” he said, his voice gentle and low. “But he’s right, we need your help. We’ve been trying to find you for a long time and we hope you’ll hear us out.”

Em licked her lips and let out a shaky exhale. It took her a moment to reply.

“Why us? Why me?”

The man opened his mouth to answer but it was his redheaded friend that stepped forward.

“It’s a long story, so we should probably start from the beginning.” He offered his hand for her to shake. He didn’t smile. “My name is Jeremy.”

May let out a barely audible gasp, flinching imperceptibly to everyone but Em, whose arm was still draped protectively around her. Instead of acknowledging May’s surprise, Em took Jeremy’s hand and gave it a single, firm shake.


The moment between the two seem to hang, but around them their friends exchanged wide-eyed glances. Everyone was tense.

At last Jeremy pulled back his hand and gestured to his companions.

“This is Connor,” he said of his blond friend. “His wife, Rue. And that’s Priva.”

Jeremy watched Em’s face carefully as he spoke, looking for something he didn’t seem to find as she nodded curtly in turn from Connor, to the golden-eyed Rue, and finally at Priva, who at least gave a slight wave back. In response, Jeremy frowned deeper and looked away, missing the way Em’s knuckles faded to white as she gripped at the loose edges of May’s shirt – the only hint she was reeling.

Another deep breath. Em slid her hand – clammy with nerves – to the small of May’s back and rolled her shoulders so she stood a little taller.

“I see you’ve already met my girlfriend, May.”

A person would have to be dead to miss the shockwave that shot through the room. May forced a small smile and resisted the urge to press tighter into the protection of Em’s side. She wasn’t sure what had happened but she knew the mood had gone from bad to worse. With anxiety swelling inside her she watched as Connor, Rue, and Priva glanced at one another but said nothing. Between them, May could see Dom holding his breath.

Jeremy remained locked on Em, his jaw tight and his expression stiff.

“It’s nice to meet you both,” he said at last, turning away as he did so.

May met Em’s eyes.

She wondered if Em could tell he was lying, too.

[ Next Chapter ]

31 Days to Query-Ready: How I’ll be Spending the Month of August

Hello, August. I’ve been waiting for you.

If you’re someone who’s come here looking for the regular Wednesday update of The Wind and the Horizon, I’ve got both good and bad news for you.

The bad news is that there won’t be a new chapter today. In fact, there won’t be any new Wednesday chapters for the rest of the month.

But don’t worry! The good news is this isn’t a hiatus; I’ll still be posting new chapters on Fridays.

I know it’s not necessarily ideal, but I swear I have a good reason for slowing things down a bit.

I’ve decided to spend this entire month focusing on getting my 2016 NaNoWriMo manuscript ready to query. Aside from blog posts and my newsletter, I’ll be dropping all of my other projects until September to focus on rewrites and edits on my novel, The Witch’s Patron.

For those keeping score at home, I know I’ve said I’ve been leaning more towards self publish. But this October I’ll be heading to the Surrey International Writer’s Conference (more on that in another blog post) and, along with getting to attend three days of really cool and informative sessions, I’ll also have the chance to network with people in various roles throughout the publishing industry. The more I thought about this opportunity the more I realized it would be a waste to attend without having a polished manuscript in my back pocket ready to go.

Y’know, just in case.

Plus I think it would be a good experience to try querying at least once.

I see you wondering about The Star and the Ocean, but that – and the entire Starborn Series – is a different beast altogether. I have plans for that story that don’t include having it shined up and ready to flaunt in a few months time.

And with that I embark on a month-long writing adventure that will no doubt involve a great deal of caffeine, long nights, and temper tantrums, but will hopefully end up being a good, character building experience by the time it’s all over. I’ve already started sifting through beta notes, mentally preparing myself to rework the story into the best version of itself it can be (or, at least the best version I can make it). I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

In the mean time, please excuse the decrease in TWATH updates. The options were to either maintain the current schedule, which would have meant blowing through the remainder of my buffer and an eventual hiatus come September, or drop down to once a week now and avoid the need for a hiatus later.

Hopefully you feel I made the right choice!

Thanks for understanding – I appreciate your patience. If you have any tips or advice for me with regards to my project with The Witch’s Patron please let me know in the comments!

How Embracing My Sexuality Helped Me Get My Creative Groove Back || by Maggie Derrick — BiblioSapphic

I was lucky enough to contribute a guest post on BiblioSapphic about how coming out as bisexual helped me reconnect with my creative side. Enjoy! ❤

From the time I was a child until I went off to university, I knew exactly who I was: an artist. Art was my everything; other interests came and went but drawing and painting were always there. Having a creative outlet helped me get through my parents’ divorce and, later, my tumultuous teen years. In […]

via How Embracing My Sexuality Helped Me Get My Creative Groove Back || by Maggie Derrick — BiblioSapphic

The Star and the Ocean: Chapter Fifty-Nine

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“Em?” May called incredulously, scrambling to her feet. “Em!”

Chest deep in the water, the figure turned.

Yes, it was her.

Em’s face, twisted with anguish, fell as she froze. Motionless, she let the waves nudge her closer to shore. Time came to a standstill as they gazed at one another in disbelief.

Em let out an elated cry. She pushed forward, spreading her arms so that the water before her parted into a clear path. Her bare feet slapped against the sandy sea floor as she ran back to the beach. Soaring across the last few strides, Em caught May in her arms and whirled her around joyously.

“You came!” she crowed, crushing herself into May with unbridled joy.

May was soaked and breathless and yet it was the single greatest embrace she had ever experienced.

“What are you doing here?” She pulled back so she could look Em in the face. She could hardly believe she was really there. “I thought you’d be long gone by now!”

Em took May’s face in her hands, scanning her features as though memorizing every freckle and contour.

“Welkin didn’t want me going to back to Omea so I begged them to let me at least wait here until morning. It was a long shot but I thought, just maybe, you’d come. But morning was getting close and I was having a hard time keeping it together, so…” Em gestured back to the ocean, looking somewhat ashamed.

“Oh, Emmy,” May breathed, feeling guilty. “I’m sorry.”

“What for?” Em replied with an incredulous laugh. “I’m the one who should be sorry. I told you I wanted to give us a shot and then I just left you-”

May silenced her with a deep kiss. She didn’t care about apologies right now.

Breaking away, the last thing she wanted to do was stop but she needed to see Em’s eyes.

“Em, I Iove you,” she said. Her words rang clear and steady. “I should have told you and I couldn’t stand knowing that I let you leave without saying it.”

Under her hands, Em begin to tremble.

“Fuck,” she whispered, her voice catching. “I wanted to say it first.”

It was May’s turn to laugh. “Yeah, I think Kai has words for you about that.”

“Ah, shit,” Em mumbled before pressing another kiss – harder, more desperate – against May’s lips. “I love you. Holy fuck, I love you so much.”

Just like the first time their lips met on the beach, the pair tangled themselves up in one another, savouring the warmth and security they found in the other’s arms. A sense of calm spread through May like dye dripped into water and at last she started to feel whole again.

“May,” Em whispered, burrowing her face into the crook of May’s neck. “There’s so much I needed to tell you. I was such a fucking coward, I should have just talked to you.”

“It’s alright,” May insisted. “I overheard you and Welkin talking the other night and…” She sighed. “I was afraid to bring it up too.”

Em leaned back, surveying her carefully.

“Welkin knew I wouldn’t be able to stay on the island forever,” she said quietly. “They knew I’d have to leave sooner or later. I wanted to ask you to come with me but I felt like that wouldn’t be fair.”

“Well, I’m here,” May chuckled softly. “And you are not leaving without me.”

A smile broke out across Em’s face, even though her eyes looked sad. “It’s a big decision, Maybe. It won’t always be safe.”

May shrugged. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told Welkin – I don’t care. We’re an us. I don’t want to do this without you. Besides, I think we might have more in common than either of us realized.”

Em cocked her head. “What do you mean?”

May told her about her parents’ confession – that her biological parents had been hunted for reasons related to the Stars and that their last desperate move had been to keep her hidden and safe.

“I think…” she hesitated. “I might be a Wish, Em.”

For a moment, Em’s gaze grew unfocused as she stared past May into nothing, the wheels of her mind turning.

“Of course!” she cried suddenly, slapping her forehead. “That makes so much sense!”

“It does?” May asked. A big part of her had assumed Em would find a logical way to discredit the theory – May really hadn’t been expecting this reaction. “How do you figure?”

“Wishes are marked by gifts – unique talents that make them stand out.” Em waved her hands animatedly as if it might help illustrate what she was saying. “Jeremy had a perfect eidetic memory. Connor was ridiculously strong. They’re never markers that couldn’t necessarily be explained away but are always just enough to draw attention. That’s how Audrey and the others used to track down other Wishes.”

May fidget awkwardly. “So, what would my gift be?”

Em gaped at her. “You’re kidding, right? You instantly pick up new skills, learn things super fast. I can’t believe I didn’t figure this out myself!”

It was a perspective May hadn’t considered. She had always learned things easily; it wasn’t something that really stood out to her. But to think it might have had something to do with the Stars all along… May felt like she was going to have to sit down.

“We’ll have to run it by Welkin. They’ll be able to help us figure it out,” Em said confidently.

May’s stomach turned.

“When did you last see Welkin?” she asked.

“Just after we left your place.” Em looked a bit uneasy. “They told me to wait here until morning and then took off. Why?”

With a heavy sigh, May laid her hands on Em’s shoulders. “Welkin met Kai and I on the way up here. Before they could tell us very much these two lights came down from they sky. Welkin told us to go… Em, I think they might have been other Stars. I’m not sure what happened.”

Em’s face went blank. The news seemed to hit her hard.

“The lights were definitely Stars,” she choked in a voice that was suddenly quite hoarse. “Welkin knew they were in trouble, I just didn’t think…” She trailed off and brought herself down to sit in the sand.

May followed Em’s lead and sat beside her. While Em stared numbly out across the ocean, May took her hand and traced her thumb across the back of it.

“Emmy?” she ventured gently. “Is there anything we can do to help them?”

It took a moment for Em to come back down to Earth. She closed her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose and shook her head.

“I don’t… No. No, I don’t think so. The best thing either of us can do now is lay low and stay out of trouble.”

May gave her hand a squeeze, kissing her cheek to reassure her. Em turned, her expression serious.

“Are you sure you want to do this, May?” she asked. Voicing the question looked like it hurt her. “Life out there… With me, it isn’t going to be easy. I can’t promise you safety and I just…” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “I don’t want you to have any regrets.”

With a soft smile, May leaned in and kissed her again. Her lips met Em’s in a way that was slow and tender; the kind of kiss that said so much, overflowing with love without need for words. When she pulled away she rested her head on Em’s shoulder, the two of them hushed as the sun began to rise.

“Look, there. Do you see that?” May pointed out across the water to the space where the stars faded into the seemingly endless expanse of ocean before them.

Em squinted. If there was something out there, she didn’t see it.

“What are you pointing at?” she asked. “The horizon?”

May grinned up at her.

“Exactly.” she nestled close to Em’s ear and whispered as though sharing a secret.

“Where the sea and the sky meet – that’s us. Let’s find out where it goes.”

[Read Next Chapter]

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I Wrote My Way Out: Life and Updates


My friends, I’ve been going through A Time™.

Over the last couple of weeks my life has been turned upside down. Through no fault of my own I now find myself in a weird and precarious transition period and, because of the nature of what’s going on, I’m not even able to talk about it.

In short: it sucks.

(Although my brother and his wife did welcome their first baby over the weekend, thus finally crowning me World’s Greatest Wine Aunt. My niece adorable and already super sassy, so it hasn’t been all bad.)

It’s at times like these that I find myself really, really grateful that I’m a creative person. Writing and art have been my outlets and escapes while I’ve muddled through the sea of incessant bullshit that has been my life recently. With this being top of mind right now, I figured I’d give an update on the overall state of where things are at and what I’ve been up to lately:

  • The Star and the Ocean is finished! Or, at least the writing part is done. The final fourteen (!!) chapters are now in the capable hands of my editor. Once I get her notes back I will revise and begin posting! (Also, I’m looking for suggestions for what to name the series of books that TSATO will belong to. So, if you’re feeling inspired I’d love to hear your ideas!)
  • I’ve finally started the first round of edits on my NaNoWriMo novel, The Witch’s Patron. No major revisions yet, I’m just going through spelling, grammar, and trying to get a sense of the weaker parts of the story. I was worried I wouldn’t really like it after letting it sit for a while, so I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised! That said, I’m hopeful some beta readers can really help me elevate it.
  • The Star and the Ocean won Best Bi Fiction in an LGBT Wattys contest on Wattpad! I’m super grateful, flattered, and full of warm fuzzies over it!
  • I did a beta read of the next book by my friend and editor, Athena Wright! Athena’s genre is New Adult Romance, which always makes for a fun read 😉 If that sounds like your sort of thing, be sure to check out her books!
  • Finally, I’ve been messing around with digital art for the first time in years (like, over a decade!) I most post my stuff – like the pic of Em in this post – on Twitter and Tumblr if you’re interested (because I’m super behind on updating the TSATO gallery…)

What about you? What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments!

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