Triptych

Amazing Triptych Fan Art by Fishsicle

Triptych Comission from Fishsicle

Here Kalp shifts his head to the other side of Gwen’s tummy, so Basil can hear better.

“He raised his hands to catch their words and asked, ‘Why are you sad?’” Kalp recites, raising his voice into a light falsetto, the timbre of the heroes of all his childhood stories.

Basil snorts tea up his nose and has to pull a tissue from the box on the side table to keep it from leaking down his face.

“We are sad,” Kalp continues, this time in the lowered voice of the distraught, “because there is never any time for intercourse.”

This time Basil howls and has to put the mug down to keep from splashing Gwen and the back of Kalp’s head.

“Sorry, sorry,” he says, the tissue clamped firmly over his face. “Go on.”

Kalp twitches his ears in amusement, then lays them flat again. He knows now that mentioning intercourse around human males always causes some sort of strange, gleeful, immature reaction. It is such a bizarre form of prudery.

*

Find more of Fishsicle’s utterly AMAZING fanart here: http://fishsicle.tumblr.com/

JM FreyAmazing Triptych Fan Art by Fishsicle
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Words for Writers: Triptych & Non-Happy Endings

I received this letter and with the permission of the writer, I’m posting it and my response here.

If you have not yet read Triptych and are leery of spoilers DO NOT READ THIS POST.

*

Dear Miss Frey

I finished reading Triptych this morning, and it has stuck with me all day. I am not usually sympathetic or empathetic towards characters in text, as they are often nothing more than words on paper to me, but it has been many years (if ever) since I felt this strongly about any novel I’ve read. On Tay’s recommendation (over on Tumblr), I went out and bought the book. Truth be told, I had low expectations coming in, as I tend to stay away from less well-known authors. I am very happy that I made this exception, and you have far outshone my wildest expectations. For that, I thank you.

For the most part, I am not an emotional person, but I felt genuine joy while reading Triptych. I loved the exploration of Kalp’s world, people and personality, as well as our world seen through their eyes. I loved that you made them recognizably humanoid, but distinctly alien in more ways than just their appearance. The way they experience the world around them, and their approach to families and sex. That they are neither prudish, nor childishly naïve on the subject. It’s refreshing to see a world where such a natural thing is not just ignored.

I expected there to be a happy ending. I WANTED there to be a happy ending. I wanted them to go back and fix things. The first time Kalp died, I thought nothing of it. We are so used to dead main characters coming back to life, and you presented a way for that to happen. I expected them to change the outcome. I wanted them to save Kalp and be happy. I wanted more Kalp. I wanted a sequel. That seems unlikely now, and we don’t always get what we want. It made me angry and sad. They then go on to get married ‘properly’ (I assume), as if everything with Kalp wasn’t proper. Wasn’t real. That, too, made me angry and sad. I don’t begrudge you these decisions. Yes, they made me angry, but I’m glad that they did. I shows me that it meant something to me. I savour the moments when literature evokes emotion in me, good or bad.

I would not want to unread Triptych. A selfish part of me wants a different book, but I doubt it would have had the same effect on me if that was the case. I so want more people to share my experience, but much like the bigots in the book, I fear that the subject matter would turn many away without a second glance. I sincerely hope to see more novels from you, but could you please not break our hearts every time? Thank you for writing Triptych. Thank you for sharing it.

 

-[Redacted]

 

*

Dear [redacted];

Thank you so much for your message, and sorry for my delayed reply. I wasn’t around a computer this weekend.

I’m happy to hear that that Tay’s love of the book infected you. I do understand the reluctance to try out a new author, especially one published with a small press and is virtually unheard of. It’s sometimes easier to stay inside one’s comfort zone, and it’s always especially disappointing to think a book sounds really cool and it turns out to be lame. But sometimes you find a jewel, too – I am lucky in that most of what I read now-a-days is the as-of-yet published work of my friends, or pre-published books from publishers looking for me to give them a great quote for the cover. In that I’m lucky, because I get exposed to all sorts of books that I might not have chosen for myself; many of them I really like, too!

I’m very pleased to hear that I did surpass your expectations. You’re welcome. Thank you for giving me a try.

I am also pleased to hear that you felt genuine joy while reading Triptych; I felt genuine joy writing those parts of the book. They were my favorite to write, just as they seem to be everyone’s favorite to read. (Well, there’s also a scene where Mark makes Basil help with the bailing, but that got cut. I know the hilarity of watching city folk bailing for the first time.)

I loved developing Kalp’s culture. It’s always a bit of a balancing act for me, because I grew up as a writer in the Fanficion community where culture-building in AUs is applauded and consumed voraciously. When I was creating Triptych I had to very consciously restrain myself and trim the excess. As a fanficcer, I know what gaps in the narrative I always wanted to fill (I call it “cultivating a garden between the gaps in the paving stones”), so when I lay the paving stones of my own novels, I always try to leave little gift-gaps to my readers. Hopefully people will decide to cultivate in them soon.

(UHG. SUCH A HARD TIME trying to decide if I should close the big slashy gift-gap in The Untold Tales of Turn or not. It was so stressful! In the end I didn’t, because I originally chose to have that part of the narrative remain off screen for a reason, and as much as I want to write the big slashy get-together story, it must remain off screen for that same reason.)

I understand your upset about the unhappy ending. I originally had a happier ending to the book, but it felt disingenuous. It felt fake. It felt like I was betraying all the pain in the rest of the book, and worse than that, the real-life analogue where people are hate-crimed to death. Those people don’t get to come back. Why should Kalp? It really broke my heart to do that to him (and Gareth), but in the end I feel like it was the right choice.

As for Gwen and Basil getting “proper” married at the end… I hope it came across correctly, but Basil and Gwen did think of their Aglunation as a “proper” marriage. With Kalp dead and their Aglunate broken, they needed to find a way to carry on, to feel like they had something in each other to live for. Instead of being widows, they wanted to affirm their relationship, and that’s why they will get “human” married. It doesn’t erase the Aglunate, any more than a second marriage overwrites someone’s love for the previous spouse, but it gives Basil and Gwen something that is just theirs, something just them to celebrate between them and together. They still love and miss Kalp, and they will never forget Gareth (in my writerly head-cannon they adopted Ogilvey’s daughter) but they needed a way to move on.

And yes, Mark’s inability to really understand what the Aglunate meant and his subsequent request of Basil was meant to make you a little mad. Because even the most understanding of people don’t always totally get it.

It’s good to hear that my writing was able to elicit that sort of emotion in you! Thank you! And yes, I think that if Triptych wasn’t so painful, it wouldn’t have resonated with me, and with other readers so much.

>> I sincerely hope to see more novels from you, but could you please not break our hearts every time?

Oh dear.

Um.

Well, the thing is… my friend Ruby Pixel is fond of saying “It’s not a J.M. Frey book unless you gross-sob at least once, and then throw it against the wall.”

So, er… I make no promises? I do have SOME stories that don’t end quite so tragically.

Thanks again for your very thoughtful letter, and I wish you all the best,

–J.M. Frey

*

For more posts on the business and craft of writing, search my Words for Writers tag.

JM FreyWords for Writers: Triptych & Non-Happy Endings
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Words for Writers: The Value of Writing

Stories Matter

(From the Office of Letters and Light blog:)

This June, the nonprofit behind National Novel Writing Month, the Young Writers Program, Come Write In, and Camp NaNoWrimo is running a fundraising drive to increase the impact of their programs and resources. In 2012, they supported 369,541 writers in 615 libraries and 580 regions across six continents, and 82,500 students in 2,000+ classrooms as they reached for their creative goals and brought their novels to life.

Why care about new novels? Because making safe spaces for people to write their stories isn’t just about ending up with more books in the world. It’s about changing creative lives. You can help The Office of Lettesr and Light do that.

NaNoWriMo believes that stories matter.

“NaNoWriMo changed my life profoundly at a time when a new focus, purpose, and goal were needed just to keep me alive. I signed up because I desperately wanted something to take my mind off the cancer I was battling, and because there had been a story bouncing around in my head for over twenty years that wanted me to tell it. Thanks to all the wonderful people and support and ideas that are NaNoWriMo, that story is being told.”

– Julie Ann Thayer

NaNoWriMo believes that anyone can be creative.

“Before NaNoWriMo, the only projects I’d worked on were assigned by teachers or bosses. NaNoWriMo empowered me to choose my own creative goal, and helped me realize that if I am willing to spend hours working on a project for someone else, I should be willing to do the same for myself. Thank you for the gift of creative writing.”

– Mary Harner

NaNoWriMo is preparing to inspire 500,000 people to tell their stories in 2013.

This year, they’re working hard to make our resources as accessible as possible. They want to create a safe space for people from every walk of life to tell their next story. And the one after that. And the one after that… (This could go on for a while.)

Consider donating and partnering with them to make more safe spaces for creative writing and its wide-reaching impacts.

*

When I was seven, I wrote a short story about a girl named September who had to babysit a fairy’s wings for a week. It was published in the local paper for a contest.

When I was eight, I was picked to go to a young author’s conference at a local university.Between the ages of nine and thirteen, I participated in children’s drama and local theatre, wrote plays (none of which were performed), and screen plays (none of which were finished).

When I was fourteen I discovered fanfiction. Fanfiction taught me how to build worlds, build narratives, build character, build a fan base, and build confidence in my ability to tell engaging stories. At last count I had written over 15000 pages of fanfiction. I would still be writing it if I had time.

When I was eighteen I went to university for theatre. That was also the year I started my first novel. (Because if I could write 500 page fanfics, I sure as heck wasn’t going to be intimidated by a novel!)

When I was nineteen I wrote a screenplay that won an honorable mention in an international competition.

When I was twenty a friend dared me to do this thing called National Novel Writing Month with her. We both won. That MS was a lot of fun and will never again see the light of day.

When I was twenty one, I did NaNo again. I won again. That manuscript was later subsumed into a novel.

When I was twenty two, I did NaNo and won.. That manuscript was later subsumed into a novel.

When I was twenty three, I tried to write both NaNo and a Bachelor’s Thesis at the same time. I failed NaNo, but graduated with honors.

When I was twenty four, I moved to Japan and finished my first novel, wrote a comic book series, wrote lots more fanfic, and was told for the first time that perhaps I ought to think about starting to polish up old manuscripts to submit to publishers and agents.  For NaNo that year I decided to write something sale-able and came up with the novella (Back).

When I was twenty five I spent a year revising my first novel before realizing that it was beautiful and unwieldy and I resigned it to my trunk. I sold (Back). I did NaNo and started what would eventually become Triptych.

When I was twenty six I returned to Canada and tried to write a Master’s Thesis and NaNo at the same time again. I failed NaNo again, but passed with the record highest marks in my program at the time. When people asked me how I had written my thesis in one month I laughed and said, “If I can win NaNoWriMo five out of seven years together, I can write a thesis!”

When I was twenty seven I was offered a full ride for a PhD and turned it down. I decided that I wanted to get a novel published before I turned thirty. I did NaNo and wrote a story called The Dark Side of the Glass.  After thirty-six rejections from both agents and editors, I sold Triptych.

When I was twenty eight, I did NaNo and wrote The Skylark’s Song.

When I was twenty-nine, Triptych debuted. It was nominated for seven awards and won two. The success of Triptych and the promise of The Skylark’s Song book landed me an agent. I sold The Dark Side of the Glass. I began a novel for NaNo called The Maddening Science, but got too ill to continue. (Spontaneous organ death is FUN, yo.) I turned it into a short story and sold it.

When I was thirty, I wrote The Untold Tales of Turn, a novel celebrating novels, and writing, and those of us who need books in our lives. NaNoWriMo is mentioned in the book. My agent is currently shopping it, and next week The Skylark’s Song goes out to publishers for consideration.

At thirty-one (almost), I am a successful, professionally published author who has won accolades and earns an income on her work, and who has just celebrated a decade of participating in NaNoWriMo.

But far more importantly than that, I am also a confident, well-read, articulate young woman who finishes what she starts, and has learned the value of compassion and touching the hearts and souls of those around her. I have learned to put myself in other people’s shoes, to consider different viewpoints, to research before I judge, to accept critique and criticism gracefully and with an engaged ear, to take pride in my accomplishments and to pick myself up and try again when I fail, to realize that haters are just gonna hate but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t always give the entirety of myself to my prose or shy away from the difficult discussions and topics, to stand up for myself and those who are denied the right to speak for themselves, to take responsibility for and try to help improve the world and the people on her with every word I set down, and to hold close those friends and family who value my work as an extension of myself.

And this is the value of writing. This is why writing matters.

*

Find out more about the Office of Letters and Light’s Stories Matter fundraising drive here.

(Also, thank you, Office of Letters and Light!)

*

For more posts on the business and craft of writing, search my Words for Writers tag.

JM FreyWords for Writers: The Value of Writing
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A Reader Liveblogs Triptych & Draws Fan Art!

Two days ago, I noticed there was a bit more activity on some of my usual Tumblr tags than normal. That was when I found out that an artist named Tay was liveblogging her experience reading Triptych. She had also left me a lovely note on my DeviantArt profile letting me know that she was enjoying the book.

I set up an alert so I could follow along, and I’m so happy I did. Going on the emotional journey with her again, remembering the moments of the book she was reading and flailing/laughing/crying/hating me a little bit over was a very sweeping, compelling, powerful experience.

I am moved. Thank you for sharing this, Tay, and thank you for reminding me why I write.

I am posting this now with her permission. The full slideshow of her notes is here.

AND

She also drew some fan art!

Part 1 (Cake and drunken kisses!) | Part 2 (Cute!Kalp)

JM FreyA Reader Liveblogs Triptych & Draws Fan Art!
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Prompt: Fanficcing my own novel (WTH?)

So I got this prompt on Tumblr: What’s your headcanon for a Basil/Gwen/Kalp high school AU thoughts? Or actually any AU, I am fine if they are giant robot pilots or work in a coffee shop or pretty much anything.

 And, oh, gosh, I’ve never thought of an AU for Triptych before.
And then I did.

And… then this happened:

*

Triptych – University/Coffee Shop AU.

by J.M. Frey

(As requested by shiftingpath!)

Kalp is uncertain, but his employer says that the dark blue of his work apron makes the green striation markings around his eyes and mouth attract attention. Says that it makes them “jump out”. The manager says this as if it is a pleasant, desired thing, so Kalp pets the apron where it lays across his chest and practices his smile.

Today is Kalp’s first shift working the preparation station alone, and though he would like to practice with the foaming wand several more times, he feels confident that his grasp of English and understanding of the complicated caffeinated beverages is sufficient for the task. It is only that his finger-pads slip against the smooth metal of the prep-canister, which makes his claws shriek against the steel in a way that halts all polite conversation in the café.

Human youths turn to stare at him when he does that. It is not that Kalp is not used to the staring – his kind are not so populous that every human on the planet has seen one like him in the flesh, and so he is very used to ignoring the staring – it is that he loathes to be the center of attention because of a mistake.

To tell truths, he loathes to be the center of attention at all. The option to indulge in his preference to act in a role that is supportive, to hide among the foliage of society, as it were, has vanished. His people are tall compared to the humans, and their bodies are vibrantly coloured. Good for the world from which he came, but very poor for urban camouflage here.

Kalp spends perhaps too much of his time in the university library, in a corner that is quiet and dim, and smells wonderfully of old paper and dancing dust motes. If he closes his eyes, he can pretend that he is in the fiction repository with his intendeds. Maru would be leaning against his arm as he read from the book, reading along over his fingers, and Trus would be sprawled across both their laps. Their scents would be mingled, warm and comfortable, and the beat of their hearts would thrum against his bones, making his own stutter and skip until they were in harmony, a dance of tempo that matched and merged.

Kalp swallows hard and twists his hands in his apron to remind him of where he is. And who is not here with him. Who he will never see again.

The human female that works the cash register is late for her shift. As the manager departs, she enters from the storage entry, tying on her apron as she goes, while simultaneously attempting to tame he queue of her short, curling fur. She is quiet and kind, and her fur is a colour caught between the red sun of his homeworld, the orange sky, and the brown earth that surrounded his mothers’ vegetable patch. It looks like osaps and garden, and her eyes are the blue of his father’s skin. Her name is Gwen, and she, like him, is far from home.

Although, unlike Kalp, she is a student at Bristol University, and he merely works on campus.

“Ready?” Gwen asks, turning the key that opens the money drawer and powering up the calculating machine.

“As I will ever be,” Kalp answers, plucking the phrase from his memory of a television program he watched the evening before in his dormitory common room.

Gwen offers him a white, dazzling smile which makes his stomach warm, pats her fringe down over the scar on her forehead that she thinks he does not know about, and the manager unlocks the front door.

***

“Don’t get me wrong, he can be a massive prick,” Gwen says as they both tidy their stations in the midst of the afternoon lull. “But he’s a cute massive prick.”

“You mean you find him sexually attractive,” Kalp asks by way of clarification.

Gwen’s skin fills with blood, a biological response that signals either growing ardour or shame. In this case, Kalp guesses that the blush is meant to be both.

“Er, yeah,” she says. “And he’s Welsh, you know? The accent is just… yum.”

“I fail to see how an accent can be delicious.”

Gwen laughs, and it is pretty. It tingles across Kalp’s skin and makes his toes curl with ticklish delight. He’s not certain what he said that has triggered this joy in her, but he is willing to catalogue it in order to attempt it again.

“I don’t think I could explain it,” Gwen says.

Kalp takes a moment to inhale the scent of the coffee beans roasting in the back room, and folds, then refolds his cleaning cloth.

“How does one go about courting a human woman?” Kalp asks. He thinks the question is vague enough, hopes it is vague enough, that Gwen doesn’t realize that he has a very specific reason for asking. “I mean to say, how is it done usually? And has your suitor followed the basic protocol to your satisfaction?”

Other humans may laugh and wave off his inquiry. Others have, and often do when he makes such specific requests for clarification, but Gwen merely cants her hips against the side of the counter, folds her hands thoughtfully below her breasts, and considers how to answer.

That is why Kalp is so fond of Gwen; she considers his requests seriously.

“There’s no real right way to do it. You meet, you feel an attraction – physical, sexual, emotional, intellectual – and then you … I don’t know, you do stuff together to see if you fit. You test drive each other, I guess. Sometimes that means just sex. Sometimes that means doing activities together, or sharing meals. Eventually you introduce them to your loved ones, your friends and family, and then if everything still seems compatible, you decide to make it official. Some people move in together, some get married, some have kids… it’s up to you.”

“And then you search for your third?” Kalp asks. “To form your Aglunate?”

Gwen clears her throat and looks away. “Right. No. Um. Mostly a binary system here on Earth. There are, erm, swingers. People who sleep with other people outside of a couple. And, um, what the hell’s the word… poly… poly something. Polyamorists! Anyway, people who love and –slash- or sleep with other people outside of their primary couple. But that’s not… common. I don’t think. I don’t know.”

She is shifting back and forth, moving her weight from one foot to the other, and wringing her fingers. Is she nervous? Uncomfortable? Ashamed? Confused. He wishes he could read human faces better. They are so difficult to decipher.

Kalp digests the implications of her answer for a very long moment. “You are only two.”

“Usually, yeah.”

“Is that not…” he pauses, uncertain how to frame his question.

Gwen cocks her head to the side like one of the flying animals he has seen begging breadcrumbs in the square. “What?”

“Inefficient? Stressful? … lonely?”

Gwen seems about to answer glibly, but then tucks her pink tongue between her blunt teeth and considers. “I can see the appeal of three,” she says. “Not sure I’d ever want it for myself, but I can see it.”

“You would not want a third with you and … Basil, was his name?”

Gwen shrugs. “That’s super putting the cart before the horse. I gotta see if I can stand Basil long enough to want to stay with him, never mind figuring out what kind of relationship we end up having. But have I ever considered an open relationship? Well, no. I guess I haven’t.”

She turns away then, and Kalp sees the gesture for what it is. She is uncertain if she wants to continue in this line of conversation, and is looking for an excuse to end it.

“I understand,” Kalp says. And he does. “But, perhaps, you will think of it?”

Gwen turns to look at him, eyes going slowly round as comprehension dawns. Kalp wishes suddenly, vehemently, that he had said nothing at all. It is too soon!

The awkward moment is shattered before either Gwen or Kalp can say something that may embarrass or hurt or anger the other. The human male in question blusters in the door of the café and flops dramatically against the counter.

“I’m gasping,” he says theatrically, and Kalp watches as Gwen flushes up again and hides a smile behind an eye roll. “I had to sneak out the back door while Simmons droned.”

“If you keep drinking coffee like this, you’ll get a soft tum,” Gwen admonishes but pokes at the till all the same.

“Just more of me to love. My usual please, Divy—oh,” Basil says, turning toward the preparation station and his words grind to a stop. “Oh. Um. Hi. You’re new.”

“I am,” Kalp agrees. In more ways than one, he thinks but does not add.

Basil turns back to Gwen. “How long as she been—”

“He,” Gwen interjects. “He’s chosen male.”

“He,” Basil echoes, “He been here?”

“I have been training for one week,” Kalp answers, even though the question was rudely not directed towards him. “Today is my first day on the floor.”

Basil jerks his gaze over to Kalp, admonished. “Er. Yeah.”

“I am Kalp. You are Gwen’s suitor, Basil Grey. You are attempting to court her, which is why you are avoiding your academic duties.”

Basil splutters and his cheeks go a mottled red, and he runs one hand through his thick, ashy brown fur. Gwen elbows Kalp in the torso and Kalp merely offers them both a companionable, if slightly sarcastic smile.

She shoves Kalp down towards the till to take Basil’s tender while she works off her mortification in making his ‘usual order’, whatever that may be. It apparently involves the larges cup size and a significant amount of raspberry syrup, chocolate curls, and whipped cream.

Kalp leans towards Basil, conspiratorially, and whispers. “I am confident that you will be successful. She finds you cute.”

“I heard that!” Gwen snaps, but then laughs.

Kalp’s toes curl again, and then the edges of his ears join in the pleasurable flex when Basil laughs as well, his voice a deep, comfortable counterpoint to Gwen’s.

Suddenly the affection he held for one has expanded to both. They sound so good together. They are in harmony.

“Listen,” Basil says as Kalp hands him his change. “Me and the boys, we’re doing a marathon this weekend. Last free weekend before finals and boyo, you don’t want to see engineers at finals. Drink you under the table, we could.”

“I’m Canadian,” Gwen says. “I was weaned on beer.”

“Not inviting you,” Basil singsongs. “Boys only. We’re watching Lord of the Rings.

Gwen points a finger at Basil while she juggles the powdered sugar shaker and the paper cup in the other hand. “Who says I wouldn’t like some good rough and tumble fantasy? Mmmm, Aragorn.”

Kalp enjoys films, but the one called The Lord of the Rings makes his heart ache. He cannot watch Bilbo and Frodo sail to the Grey Havens without his eyes burning so terribly that his whole head aches, and the tips of his ears scratching against the fine skin on the back of his neck. He knows not what the Grey Havens look like, but Gandalf’s soliloquy to Peregrine Took about silver glass reminds him sharply of home. The home that is gone.

It tears at something small and terrified deep down inside of Kalp that Bilbo and Frodo can go there, but he is stuck here, on this Middle Earth.

“Say you’ll come,” Basil says to Kalp, making a show of ignoring Gwen’s musings on the merits of chainmail and Elvin leggings. “Let us indoctrinate you into the great mythologies of our planet.”

Gwen snorts. “Next you’ll be telling him that the Justice League is a pantheon and Joss Whedon is a god.”

“He is. Don’t you sass,” Basil snaps affectionately.

“Here,” Gwen says, placing the paper cup filled with Basil’s monstrosity on the counter. “Now go away and stop pestering us.”

“You will come, won’t you? It’s just at my place, nothing special, but it’d be nice, yeah?” Basil asks, and Kalp, awed by this young human’s casual offer of friendship and the unlooked-for intimacy of a visit his domicile.

“I shall.”

“Great!” Basil says. “I’ll, uh… here’s the address.” He scribbles it onto his receipt and shoves it at Kalp, watching eagerly until Kalp smoothes it out and puts it in his pocket.

“And as for you…” Basil says, then reaches across the counter to lift Gwen’s hand between both of his. He presses his face against her knuckles, which Kalp supposes must be a courting gesture, because Gwen rolls her eyes and titters. “You’re a goddess too. My coffee goddess from the colonies.”

“Right, fuck off,” Gwen says amiably. “Go back to class and build something to save the world, you geek.”

“As my lady commands,” Basil says, picks up his coffee, and sweeps out.

The tinkle of the door chime fills the silence between the empty lounge chairs for a moment.

“Well,” Gwen says. “You gonna go?”

“Yes,” Kalp says. “It was kind of him to extend the invitation and I … would like some more human friends.”

Gwen smiles and nods, and they return to their quiet, companionable cleaning. Gwen does not seem to be avoiding his gaze, nor the casual grazes that their skins make as they move around one another, and in that Kalp is reassured that his attraction has not offended or disgusted her.

He finds her intriguing and wishes he knew how to pursue her. Pursue both of them.

There is a courting shop in the city, and Kalp knows it from his daily walk home; perhaps he will stop in there tonight and seek advice. They have many sexual toys and manuals, and even a video collection. He can learn about human courting and intercourse and then, perhaps, he can begin to seduce Gwen and Basil himself.

It is a good plan, Kalp thinks as the door chime rings and the afternoon post-lecture rush begins. He tightens the tie on his blue apron and affixes his smile, and spends the rest of the day imagining a nest, with human lovers, perhaps even a child – an Aglunate of his very own.

In his mind, he gives himself over to the hope for that which he had despaired of ever having again: a home, a family, and a place where he belongs.

JM FreyPrompt: Fanficcing my own novel (WTH?)
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