Please join me in welcoming the ever-charming Nell Iris to Stories That Make You Smile! Nell is here today to chat about her fabulous new short story, It Rained All Night. Read on to learn all about it!
Hi everyone, it’s me. Nell. I’m back to talk about my newest release It Rained All Night, a short friends-to-lovers story I wrote for JMS Books’ submission call rain or shine. But before I dive deeper into the story, I want to thank my wonderful hostess Addison for inviting me over. Thank you 😘
Henrik and Mikko, the main characters of It Rained All Night, have only met IRL once, but after that meeting, they developed a friendship that’s deep and important for them both. The reason for only meeting once, is because they live in different parts of the country; they’re separated by 1500 kilometers (that’s 932 miles according to Google for you non-metric users). Long-distance relationships are hard. Not all friendships survive the separation, and for romantic relationships, it’s even harder.
I have experience of both. When I moved from Sweden to Malaysia 10 years ago, I was determined to keep in contact with my friends back home. I thought that with the ease of the Internet, it would be a breeze. But the truth is, that quite a few of my friendships didn’t survive the distance. I was really close to a couple people who I thought I’d be close with forever, but we gradually lost touch and haven’t picked it up again even after I moved back to Sweden 2 years ago. It didn’t happen to all my friendships of course: some of them have flourished and grown stronger.
And when it comes to romantic relationships: before we moved to Malaysia, my husband worked in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, which is located some 250 kilometers away from our old hometown. Sometimes, he took the train home every evening, but sometimes he had to stay over for an entire week. I hated it and we never really learned how to nurture our relationship when we were separated. It was a really difficult time for the both of us, and we’re never again doing that long term.
So with that baggage, I can completely understand why Henrik considers the 1500 kilometers separating him from Mikko a problem.
Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? With friends, family, or a significant other? Would you do it again?
Can a chance meeting in the rain change someone’s life?
Meeting someone who can make him stop going is an eye-opener for Henrik. The man, Mikko, is his complete opposite, a steady rock in the wild rainstorm that is Henrik’s life, but the connection between them is both unexpected and instantaneous. Their encounter only lasts a few minutes, but before they part, they exchange phone numbers.
They live far away from each other, but soon they text and call daily, until Mikko is Henrik’s dearest friend and most trusted person. But a late-night question on the phone has Henrik re-evaluating his feelings. It’s impossible to love someone you’ve only met in person once…right?
Is the connection Henrik and Mikko forged long distance enough to sustain them when they meet again? And will their love be strong enough to give them the happily ever after they deserve?
M/M Contemporary / 7673 words
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Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)
Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.
Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.
Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.
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Even with a private jet at my disposal, it takes too long to travel fifteen hundred kilometers. It rains all night, and the rain follows me the entire trip; aggressive and violent when I board the plane, but milder when I land, faithfully eating away at the snow on the ground, soaking the windshield of the rental I drive to Mikko’s little house by the coast.
He’s waiting for me on the porch when I finally arrive, bundled up in a hoodie that hides his hair. His hands are deep in the pockets of his sweatpants, his gaze trained on the road. He’s ignoring the rain, and when I step out of the car, he scowls at me.
“Flying, Henrik? Was it really necessary?”
He’s my environmental warrior, but I don’t let his scowl scare me. Instead, I cross the short distance between us and don’t stop until I’m right in front of him.
Seeing him in real life again after so long, after only being in his actual presence once, slays me. He’s taller than I remember—in my mind we were equally tall, but he’s got an inch or so on my six feet—and not even his baggy sweatpants can hide his yoga-toned body. Up close, his scowl is half-hearted at best, and not even the shadows underneath his eyes take away the hope shining from them.
“It felt necessary,” I say, my voice an embarrassing croak. I shove my hands into my pockets, so I won’t reach out and wind my arms around him and pull him close. I want to sneak my hands underneath his clothes and press my palms against his naked skin, I want to bury my nose in the crook of his neck and learn his smell, I want to inhale him into my lungs.
I fist my trembling hands and force them to stay where they are, but when he takes a step closer, the tremble spreads up my arms until my shoulders are shaking.
“Are you cold?”
I shake my head and lean closer, as though an invisible string pulls me to him.
He doesn’t take his eyes off me; his gaze wanders from head to toe and back again, lingering on my face. “You look tired.”
It’s a relief to step into his tiny, warm house. Mikko stands so close his socked toes nudge my boots. He reaches out, slowly as though he’s giving me the chance to bolt if I want to, and pulls down the zipper of my jacket. When it’s opened, he coaxes my hands out of my pockets and slides the jacket off my shoulders, tossing it somewhere behind me.
I nod and toe out of my boots, kicking them out of the way, not caring where they end up.
He cups my face with warm, affectionate palms. “I can’t believe you flew here in your stupid private plane.” His voice is husky, his earlier scowl nowhere to be seen. His eyes are burning.
“Neither can I. My father was so surprised by my request he didn’t even complain about calling him in the middle of the night.”
“Have you even slept?”
“No. Have you?”
Mikko shakes his head. He grabs my hand and leads me further into the house, into his bedroom. “Let’s rest.” He squeezes my hand before letting it go and then starts undressing. Just like that, standing right in front of me, he removes every piece of clothing except for his boxer briefs.