Redemption (Project Fierce Chicago)

projectfierce400Nobody deserves to be without a home. In collaboration with several authors, Less Than Three Press offers up an anthology of stories about young people who find that home and family are not always where you expect to find them.

All proceeds from this charity anthology will be donated to Project Fierce Chicago.

Project Fierce Chicago’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing affirming, no-cost transitional housing and comprehensive support services to homeless LGBTQ young adults. PFC also aims to encourage community-building and civic engagement through cooperative living and youth leadership development.

LT3’s Project Fierce Chicago charity anthology includes 20 short stories from Aeris, Vicktor Alexander, Talya Andor, C.J. Anthony, Blaine D. Arden, Kayla Bain-Vrba, Sophie Bonaste, Kenzie Cade, Jana Denardo, Alessandra Ebulu, Dianne Hartsock, Leta Hutchins, Caitlin Ricci, Lor Rose, B. Snow, Rin Sparrow, Andrea Speed, Piper Vaughn, Layla M. Wier, and Xara X. Xanakas.

Want to donate directly? Visit the Project Fierce Chicago website.

Excerpt:

Thane Waxen had a shaven head that was covered with brown fuzz. Brown fuzz that at the moment looked really stringy and which screamed that it was in fact a big coconut masquerading as Thane’s head. That was the only way that the moron could get away with not actually listening to anything Samuel ever had to say. Whatever the hell of a man was that idiot? How the hell had Samuel even thought for a short moment that he could be in love with the ass-wipe? What the hell had he been thinking?

“You obviously were doing as little thinking as possible. It’s the only logical explanation for why you just spoke your thoughts aloud to my entire courtroom, Mr. Jarvis.”

Samuel winced and slowly lifted his head to stare at the only two people whose eyes he couldn’t avoid: the cold grey eyes of his honour, Judge Hamilton and the laughing blue eyes of Thane. Shit! Why the hell couldn’t he learn to keep his thoughts to himself?

“Obviously because you feel that we all need to be a party to your thoughts,” Judge Hamilton said, his voice puffing at the end as his frustration finally seeped through.

Shit! “I’m really sorry your honour. This wouldn’t …”

“Spare me your sad and pathetic tales of this not happening again Mr. Jarvis. You always find yourself in my courtroom and you always blurt out your thoughts ‘subconsciously’ whenever Mr. Waxen is here as well. Tell me Mr. Jarvis, do you have a potty mouth or is it that you’re secretly dying for me to hold you in contempt of the court?”

“No Sir. It was an accident. I apologize. I just …”

“And I do not understand how you intend to rehabilitate your boys and teach them to become members of the society if you keep leaving such a terrible example for them to follow.” Judge Hamilton glared at Samuel.

Samuel winced again, and then wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole when he heard one of the boys snicker and another scoff. He saw Judge Hamilton’s eyes narrow, and gulped as he mentally went through what he could say to get Judge Hamilton to calm down.

“And your boys are incorrigible, bad-mouthed, destruct—”

“But they are good boys, Sir. A bit rambunctious, I would admit, but what boy isn’t at their age?” Samuel concluded with a small chuckle that died when Judge Hamilton glared even harder at him.

He saw Judge Hamilton open his mouth to respond but his words were cut short by a soft chuckle and the rustling of papers as Thane spoke. “Our definition of good boys differ greatly Samuel and calling your boys a little rambunctious is a bit of an understatement.”

The words were spoken calmly, unhurriedly, with a little glide over Samuel’s name. Samuel chewed on the inner part of his cheek as he fought the urge to turn around and look at his ex-lover, the man he had called his friend and partner, the man he had dreamed of spending the rest of his life with.

“It’s laudable really, what you are doing with the kids and the dreams you have for them to be in a home where they are loved and taken proper care of, but you cannot continue to house the kids and not teach them about respecting city property, nor can you keep pushing for the city to give you more kids to take care of when you’re at the moment not properly training the ones you have right now to act like civilized members of society.”

Samuel ground down on his teeth. His palms hurt and he flicked a glance downwards to see that his nails had embedded themselves in the soft skin of his palm. He heard a couple of hisses and lifted a hand into the air which calmed his boys. But he could sense the anger and the frustration in the air and he smiled slowly, reveling in the knowledge that his boys would always be so quick to rise to his defense.

“But they are children and they can learn to be civilized members of society,” Judge Hamilton reprimanded Thane with a glare.

Samuel bit his lower lip to keep from smiling and whooping in excitement. In all the times he had been in the courtroom, Judge Hamilton had never stood up to the boys. Although to be quite fair, the boys had been boisterous whenever they had had to appear in court, Samuel thought with an internal wince as he remembered the numerous shouting bouts, attempted blow-ups and the struggle with the guard that had ended with someone getting kneed in the groin and another person getting grounded for three months. The thought sobered him up and he looked up as Judge Hamilton continued to talk.

“Although I do believe that the boys could be better behaved, and I hold you responsible for that.”

Samuel nodded, subdued.

“And in order to be certain, and to work out this disagreement between both of you once and for all, and I do mean once and for all … bailiff please bring in the young man.”

Samuel turned in confusion to look at Thane, who bore a corresponding expression on his face. “Excuse me,” they both said at the same time to Judge Hamilton, who wore a serene expression. He motioned with his hand for someone behind them to come forward. Samuel turned around and was greeted with belligerent brown eyes that were currently glaring at them from beneath thick heavy set brows. The face was young but lined with the creases that screamed that its owner had lived a hard life. The way the eyes swung around after he had finally gotten to the stand confirmed that he too didn’t want to be there.

“Thank you Rick,” Judge Hamilton said before turning around to stare at them.

Samuel put his hands behind his back and waited.

“As you both know, the city has been conducting investigation into the children who live downtown and parents or guardians who mistreat them. This young man here is one of the young men we rescued. His name is …”

“Crowell. And I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here,” the young man barked out, with his glare swinging from one person in the room to another.

“Well then, let us get down to business, shall we? Samuel, you are a firm believer in the rehabilitation house and you’re also always keen to help the youth. Crowell here doesn’t have any place to stay so I’ve decided that instead of punishing the boys for vandalism and taking the money out of your paycheck, the boys will help out their community on Saturdays and you will have one more man in your flock.”

Samuel heard the sharp laughter that Thane couldn’t contain and counted internally to relax. The man was an ass but he and his boys were almost done and home free. He could add one more person to the mix and hopefully they would all get along better.

“Does this proceeding amuse you Mr. Waxen,” Judge Hamilton asked as he scribbled down some words on his paper, crossed both arms and raised his head to look down at Thane.

“I didn’t mean anything…”

“Of course you didn’t. But you are always quick to lash out at Mr. Jarvis’s parenting, so I have decided that both of you would share temporary custody of the boy.”

“What!” they all screamed and Samuel quickly glanced at Thane, then at the boy and back at the judge.

“Yes. You both will share temporary custody and in six months I will come back to look this over.” Judge Hamilton began to arrange the documents on his table. He walked forward a bit before stopping to look back at the three men. “I do hope you get along.”

Samuel saw Thane about to protest when Judge Hamilton walked out of the door only to pop his head back through the gap and add, “Oh and by the way, all three of you have to be in the same house for the six months. Considering that Samuel has a farmhouse, I’ll suggest you stay at his place. There’ll be enough room for everyone.”

“Fuck!” Samuel, Thane and the boys all yelled together.

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

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