Here we are, guys and gals: one month from today, Bear, Otter, and the Kid, will be released by Dreamspinner Press. I can't tell you how excited I am for people to meet my three boys. The first peak into the book is posted in the notes section on my FB profile (in addition to the blurb), showing the relationship between Bear and his younger brother the Kid. Here, we meet Bear and Otter.
Otter has been gone for three years and suddenly returns out of the blue, throwing Bear's well ordered world into chaos. Bear still has a lot of anger at what he considered to be Otter's abandonment, and doesn't know what it means now that Otter is back. Let me know what you think! I'll post a final preview on 8/1/11. Enjoy.
It's raining harder now. I don’t say anything when I get back into the car, and I hope that Otter doesn’t want to talk, either. Most people don’t realize that it’s nice to not talk every now and then. Talking makes things real. Talking puts things in the forefront. Talking is a waste of time. Nothing ever gets solved by talking about it. People speak too much and regret what they say, but if you don’t speak at all, you can’t feel like a jackass later.
I glance over at Otter out of the corner of my eye. His face is unreadable from what I can see, and that’s only when a street lamp overhead passes by and flashes through the window. I think that maybe Anna can see things that I can’t. She’s kind of cool like that, having insights into people that I never have. Yeah, I give her shit about it, telling her she’s prying where she’s not wanted, telling her that she’s projecting, but usually she’s right. I sigh and look back out the window.
“What?” Otter asks.
“What what?” I say.
“It sounded like you just said something.”
It’s quiet a little bit longer before, “So you and Anna still, huh?”
“Me and Anna,” I say.
“You guys have been together for a long time.”
“I guess. Off and on.” 5… 4… 3… 2… 1….
“So how’re you holding up, Bear?”
It’s inevitable. People always ask me this like I am going to break. Like I’m going to fall down and never get up. I wish people weren’t so predictable. I wish Otter wasn’t so predictable.
“Oh.” A minute passes. Then, “Well, you seem to be doing well. And Ty, man, the Kid seems to be getting bigger all the time.”
“People change. That’s what happens when you disappear for a while,” I think, then bunch my fists as I realize I said it out loud. Shit.
“Disappear?” he asks, sounding genuinely surprised.
“What do you mean, forget it? You can’t say something like that and expect the conversation just to be over because you say it is, Bear.” I can hear him gritting his teeth and I think it’s because he’s mad. Good. Let him be mad.
“Yes, I can,” I retort, hating how I sound.
Another minute passes. Rain on the roof beating a song.
I hear Otter snort and shake his head. “I didn’t disappear, Derrick. You knew where I was.”
At that moment, I hate him. Using my name like that, like he’s talking down to me, like he’s better than me, like he’s talking to a child. That’s something my mom’s infinite string of boyfriends use to do. I was never
Bear to them, not that I wanted to be. But the way they said it, that knowledge in their eyes, grinning at me when my mom wasn’t looking. Always with the same thought: Yeah, I’m here with her. What are you going to do about it? Stay home and take care of your brother like you’re supposed to.
“You left, Oliver,” I snap at him. “Call it whatever the fuck you want, but you left.”