Wednesday Works in Progress



This week’s work in progress is titled Sharp Dressed Man. It’s a short story I’m submitting to MLR Press for their Mixed Tape call. Had to pick an 80s song, and use it as inspiration in some way. My story is about two men who were best friends in high school, then reconnect at their twenty-fifth class reunion. What neither one of them knew was that other had always been in love with him.

Sharp Dressed Man copyright c. 2013 T.A. Chase


“He’s coming, Daniel.”

Dan held his phone away from his ear as his sister squealed. “Who’s coming where?”

She’d have to forgive him for the question since he was standing in the middle of his flat in London, trying to figure out what he needed to pack and what he could leave behind.

He still didn’t have a place to stay in New York, but he wasn’t really worried about that. He had a few friends there who would let him crash with them until he found an apartment.

The important thing was he had a job doing what he loved, and he wouldn’t have to worry about money. If he was a little lonely? Well, that was his fault. He’d dated a lot of guys since college, but none of them stuck. Or maybe he should say he didn’t stick with any of them.

“James Stanton is coming to the class reunion.” Sandy squealed again, and Dan imagined her jumping up and down like she’d done when they were kids.

He chuckled. “Why are you so excited? From what Mom told me, Jim’s gay. You’re definitely not his type.”

“True, but I’m sure you are, and this would be so romantic. High school best friends meet up later in life, and realize they’ve always been in love with each other. They fall in love again, and live happily ever after.” She sighed.

“My dear Sandy, you’ve been reading too many romance novels again. Life doesn’t happen like that. For all I know, Jim might have a boyfriend or a partner he’s bringing to the reunion. Or maybe he likes big hairy guys wearing leather.”


He burst out laughing. “I know. That’s a rather disturbing thought, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.  Mostly I just don’t want to think of James like that.”

“As gay?” Dan spun around in a circle, searching for the one box he knew was going with him. It held all his memories from high school, and he suddenly had the urge to pull them out to look through.

“Oh no. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised when either of you came out. No, I don’t want to think about James with a leather daddy.”

To be honest, Dan didn’t want to think of Jim having a leather daddy or a partner either. He wanted to believe that Jim had waited years for Dan to get his head out of his ass, and come looking for him. Of course, he knew better, but still he could dream.

“And you can’t tell me you want to think James might have a partner,” Sandy called him out on that.

He sighed. “I’m trying not to think about it, Sandy. I can’t wait to see him again, but what if he’s forgotten about me? What if he left Michigan, and pushed me to the back of his mind as just a fond memory of high school?”

After admitting his worse fear to his sister, Dan sat on the floor of his empty flat and frowned. “I’m pathetic, aren’t I?”

“Oh honey, no you aren’t,” Sandy reassured him. “You’re a hopeless romantic just like me, and you can’t help hoping that the man you’ve always loved will love you. You know what? I’ll bet you your entire Fall line, that when you meet up with James at the reunion, you’ll find out he’s been thinking about you since high school.”

Dan thought about it for a second. “All right. And if Jim treats me the same as he did back in high school, or acts like he barely remembers me, I win, and you’ll be giving me Apollo for a year.”

“Apollo?” Sandy sounded like she wasn’t sure about the bet. “How do you know the place you get in New York will let you keep a tortoise? And why would you want Apollo anyway?”

“Because he was mine until I went to college. I want him back.”

Sandy hemmed and hawed for a few minutes, then finally agreed. “All right. We have a bet, and I can’t wait to be the only person in Freeland wearing haute couture designed by her famous brother.”

“You’re an evil woman.” Dan laughed.

“No. Just sure that I’ll win. I don’t know if Mom’s ever told you, but James’ mother always asks about you.”

“That doesn’t prove anything except that Mrs. Stanton is a nice person. We don’t know if Jim ever asks about me.” Dan wasn’t hinting for disagreement or anything. He simply pointed out the truth.

“But he does. Mrs. Stanton told Mom that James asks about you every time they talk, which is why she asks Mom whenever they see each other.”

He could tell she was grinning. He spotted the box with his memorabilia, and reached out to grab it. After tugging it to him, he opened it and grinned when he saw his ZZ Top albums on the top of the pile.

“That doesn’t mean he wants to date me or anything like that. Hell, I don’t know. I thought it was a good idea to go to the reunion, but maybe it’s not. Maybe I should just chalk it all up to a high school, and move on.”

“Don’t you dare do that, Daniel Allen Perkins. Don’t you run away from this. It might be turn out the way you’re imagining, or maybe-just maybe-you’ll get the best surprise ever,” Sandy ordered him.

Closing his eyes, Dan touched the album and took a deep breath. As odd as it sounded, he took courage from it, since it was at a ZZ Top concert where he first realized he loved his best friend, then spend all of senior year trying to make sure Jim didn’t know about it. He hadn’t been worried about being gay or anyone else finding out he was gay.

All he worried about was that Jim would find out about him loving him, and not reciprocating. Dan’s fear was losing Jim as a friend, and yet after graduated, he still did. They went their separate ways, and Dan hadn’t seen Jim in twenty-five years.

It was strange that they’d never been home at the same time, but from the moment Dan got out to California, he immersed himself into college and the fashion world, knowing what he wanted to do from the beginning.

Over the years, he’d heard about Jim thru his mom talking to Jim’s mother. He knew Jim was successful at his accounting job, and that didn’t shock him because Jim always liked numbers. The one thing he listened the hardest for was when his mother talked about Jim’s boyfriends, and hid a burst of relief each time she said that he’d broken up with one.

2 Responses “Wednesday Works in Progress”

  1. T.A. Chase says:

    lol..if it’s accepted, I’m not sure when it’ll be out. (don’t want to be overconfident because sometimes my stories don’t get picked…lol) But you know I’ll let you know as soon as I get a date. 🙂

  2. Cynthia says:

    Evil evil tease When are we getting this? Dangum I want it NOW!!

Let us talk about
Name and Mail are required
Join the discuss