From This Day Forward
by: Addison Albright
GENRE: LGBT Romance
LENGTH: 10,901 words
HEAT RATING: 3 flames
Revisiting the characters from ’Til Death Do Us Part, Henry and Sam Miller-Greene are enjoying life in the summer after Henry’s rescue from a small South Pacific island, where Henry and three others were marooned.
Henry and Sam thought adopting Aiden—a child with whom Henry’d been stranded—would be smooth sailing. Matters are complicated by the public nature of their rescue that has turned the survivors into overnight celebrities. Anti-gay fueled animus rears its ugly head in the blogosphere, causing concerns over the the impact libelous rumors might have on Aiden.
Their nightmare separation behind them, Henry and Sam are anxious to renew both the intensity of their former intimacies—now hampered by having a curious and still apprehensive child sharing their home—and their commitment to one another.
NOTE: Although From This Day Forward follows ’Til Death Do Us Part, it was written so that it could stand alone. It is not necessary to have read the novel to be able to understand/appreciate the short story.
Christine Granger answered the door, exclaimed, “Henry!” and enveloped me in a huge mama-bear hug. Then she burst into tears. I patted her back, and as much as I appreciated the sentiment, I hoped the whole afternoon wouldn’t be a chain reaction of this behavior. But considering Christine was the wife of my old department chairman, and I’d seen her only a handful of times each year, that was probably an optimistic expectation.
Sam held Buddy—or I should say Aiden. The almost-six-year-old had decided he wanted to use his “real” name after all. Although his upbringing thus far had been decidedly primitive, he was intelligent and quickly picked up on what would be considered typical behavior back here in civilized society. Apparently, he wanted to assimilate.
With their blond heads side by side, I could almost image Sam to be Aiden’s biological father, but of course, neither of us was. I looked nothing like either of them, sporting dark brown hair and brown eyes. Their coloring similarities ended with their hair. Sam had eyes the color of worn denim, and Aiden’s were a warm hazel. Like me, Aiden was over-tanned, having spent the past five years stranded on a South Pacific island, while Sam had been living in Seattle, completely oblivious to our plight.
Anyway, my husband held Aiden, and flashed a smirk in my direction that was probably meant to appear sympathetic, but was closer to demonstrating his enjoyment of my discomfort.
Christine pulled back, sniffing. “Henry, I still can’t get over it. I’m so glad you’re alive.”
I smiled. “That makes two of us.”
She emitted a short tittering sputter but wasn’t otherwise sidetracked. “Bill was so torn up with guilt for sending you on that trip. And seeing Sam so miserable just ate away at him. He felt like he’d personally ruined two lives.”
Sam’s eyes widened. Apparently, he hadn’t picked up on that. No shocker there, because one of the things that made Bill a great department chairman was that he was good at keeping his personal feelings out of decisions that needed to be made—or at least good at masking them. Poor Christine must have taken the brunt of his moods.
Sam spoke up to reassure her. “Nobody ever blamed Bill. I certainly didn’t. He had no way of knowing what would happen to that plane.”
Of course Bill hadn’t known. Nobody had. Obviously, none of the passengers or crew would have gone on that ill-fated flight had they known a terrorist had planted bombs, and that all but four would perish when the pilot was forced to ditch the plane in the ocean. As one of the fortunate survivors—fortunate despite spending five years left for dead and fighting for survival on a tiny island—I wouldn’t have willfully chosen that path for my life. Although I had to admit to being a bit torn on that, since Sam and I wouldn’t be adopting Aiden now if Aiden and I, together with our fellow survivors, hadn’t gone through that ordeal.
Christine ushered us through the house and out into the surprisingly sunny—for Seattle—early summer afternoon. Immediately Bill and a number of the other Biology department professors made a beeline to where Sam, Aiden, and I stood.
I hoped my gamble with humor would help Bill release the burden of guilt Christine had mentioned. As a collateral benefit, maybe it would defuse any potential repeats of the mini-scene upstairs.
I smiled at Bill, lifted my arms to the side, palms up, as if to imply a “what the fuck?” attitude, and blustered, “‘Go to Fiji,’ he said. ‘It’ll be great there in June. The dry season will be in full swing. It’ll be like a working vacation. You deserve a nice research trip like this after that stint in Greenland.’ Seriously, Bill?”
Bill chortled. He shook his head and blinked as if trying to keep the tears glistening in his eyes from falling. “I authorized six weeks, dammit, Miller-Greene, not five years. That’s just taking advantage of my good nature. I hope you understand I had to replace your lazy ass. I doubt you even collected any data on your extended holiday.”
I cracked up and several of my former colleagues moved in to pat me on the back. “Well, to be fair, I had a decided lack of instrumentation, or even a damned pencil or paper for the records.”
“Okay, okay. I might see fit to let you take on that night class you inquired about, seeing as there was a slight travel and communications mishap. I guess I can’t put all the blame on you.”
’Til Death Do Us Part – A Novel
Henry and Sam Miller-Greene are living the dream. They love their careers — which afford each of them opportunities to travel to exotic locations — they love their home, Sam’s caring family, and each other. They disagree on the subject of adoption, but are fully committed to each other in marriage … ’Til Death Do Us Part.
The dream is shattered when Henry’s plane crashes, and he’s presumed dead. But four people — Henry, two other men, and a child — survive undetected on a remote, small, and insignificant island. Will Sam and Henry’s love be able to survive as well?
Henry fights to endure in harsh conditions, never knowing when disaster will strike. Sam struggles with his loss, but with help moves on with his life. Will Sam be able to put aside his new love when he reunites with Henry?
NOTE: From This Day Forward is included at the back of the paperback version of ’Til Death Do Us Part.
Okay, Then – A Short Story in the Love Is Proud Charity Anthology
Okay, Then revisits the main characters from ’Til Death Do Us Part, and takes place within the timeline of the flashback scenes from that novel, detailing Sam & Henry’s first date/encounter after Sam tells Henry “Okay, then” while they’re together on a research trip in Honiara in the Solomon Islands.
Addison Albright is a writer/author living in the middle of the USA with three peculiar cats. Her stories are gay (sometimes erotic) romance, and tend to be sweet man-love in contemporary settings. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.