My writing and art! Main @cjadewyton and polished work on @jade-wyton
A little rough, and I definitely want to fix it up a little, but I'm glad to finally be writing the scene where Gavin comes out to Dale ;u; Dale hesitates for all of 5 seconds before his Good Dad Insticts kick in.
But that second time... it had just felt right to him. And he supposed it had to her, as well.
She’d cried on the way up the stairs that day.
It was strange, how things had turned out. Everything was so different— But also, so much the same.
The biggest difference, really, was that Talia had been happier.
Their relationship hadn’t been a magical fix and she was still having a lot of trouble being open with him.... But she was definitely happier. And right now, that was all he could ask for.
This was only the second time she’d let him stay over in the three months since they gotten together. He’d have stayed over every night, if she’d let him. Or had her stay at his house— Which she still wasn’t comfortable with.
Dale was distracted from his thoughts as Talia stretched and stole the blanket, and he had to bite back his laugh as he stole it back. He tugged her close against his chest, catching a glimpse of the alarm on her bedside table and quietly cursing that he only had another ten minutes with her before it went off. Though, as he heard Gavin’s feet hit the floor in the other room, he realised he wasn’t going to get it.
Dale had barely let out his sigh before Talia’s door creaked open and the light from the hall shone in.
‘Gav, it’s not even seven yet,’ Dale muttered. ‘Don’t you want to sleep a little longer?’
‘No, I’m awake,’ Gavin replied. ‘I.... I want to talk to you about something, Dale. It’s important.’
‘Alright,’ Dale took a deep, throaty breath, and forced himself out of bed. He stretched, then stumbled down the hall after Gavin. ‘Guess I’ll make breakfast for everyone, huh?’
‘That’d be nice,’ Gavin said, pulling a chair from the table to the kitchen. ‘And we can talk while you do?’
‘Yeah, course,’ Dale yawned as he went through the cupboards. ‘Bacon and eggs?’
‘Yes please. Scrambled?’
‘Sure,’ Dale pulled out what he needed and, with another yawn, started cooking. ‘So, what did you want to talk to me about?’
‘Well... it’s about...’ he hesitated. Then sighed. ‘Dale, you had a lot of girlfriends before my mum, right?’
‘Yeah, a few,’ Dale replied. ‘Why?’
‘Well... I want to know.... How do you ask someone out?’
Dale felt himself chuckling. ‘You have a crush?’
Gavin gave a nod, a blush creeping over his cheeks as he looked to his feet and kicked out at the wall. ‘I’ve been watching you and mum, and I think how I feel is the same.’
‘Ah,’ Dale gave his own nod. ‘I see.... That’s cool. What’s her name?’
‘No— Not a girl,’ Gavin admitted. ‘It’s Jacob.’
‘Jacob?’ Dale paused. ‘Connor?’
Gavin nodded, though he still didn’t meet Dale’s eye.
‘Oh, well, that’s fine,’ Dale shrugged, and quickly scraped the food out of the pan and onto a plate. He headed to the table, ruffling Gavin’s hair as he passed. ‘Jacob’s pretty cool, isn’t he?’
‘Yeah,’ Gavin gave a smile, and finally looked to Dale as he dragged his chair back to where it belonged and started serving himself breakfast. ‘Yeah he’s cool.... Do you think I should ask him out?’
‘Why not?’ Dale turned to the hall as he heard Talia’s alarm go off. ‘He seems nice, what have you got to lose— Hey, save some eggs for your mum, right? She’s mean when she’s hungry.’
‘She’s mean anyway,’ Gavin giggled.
‘Yeah, but you’re not spending the day at work with her!’ Dale retorted, gently smacking the boy’s hand away from the food. ‘Eat what you’ve got already, you little brat!’
Hey! Just added chapter 13 to A Man Worth a Million! :D Dale and Talia have FINALLY gotten together!
Ya'll can read the draft so far here: https://cjadewyton.com/my-writing/kladstone-romances/
It was good to hear him laugh so much.
And just as she thought about it, she heard him start laughing, and wondered what joke she’d missed as Dale turned into the apartment’s parking lot and slotted into one of the spots.
She’d only half-undone her seatbelt before Gavin leant over the seat and planted a kiss on her cheek.
‘I’ll meet you inside!’ he decided, reaching into Talia’s pocket for her keys. She didn’t have time to suggest otherwise before he was out of the car and halfway into the stairwell.
‘Gavin wai— Ugh,’ Talia leant back in her seat as her son disappeared.
‘There he goes,’ Dale’s voice floated into the car as he pulled open Talia’s door for her. ‘Fast little bugger, isn’t he? Nyoom.’
‘Nyoom,’ Talia repeated, though a little flatter than Dale had said it. ‘Sometimes I wish he’d slow down. Just a little bit.’
‘Aw, but then he wouldn’t be Gavin, would he?’ joked Dale. Then he offered Talia his hand. ‘Come on. You alright?’
‘Yeah, I...’ Talia hesitated, then took his hand and let him pull her up. ‘I’m fine. I just....’
She lost her train of thought.
And when Dale waited patiently for her to continue she felt her cheeks start to burn, and she looked away and pulled her hand back.
‘Talia?’ Dale’s voice was soft as his hand took hers again and gave it a squeeze that trapped butterflies in her stomach. ‘Hey.... Look at me?’
She dared to turn back, and as she met his soft, kind eyes she felt the butterflies trying to push out of her throat.
‘Talia,’ Dale managed, his voice cracking with the same emotions that had paralysed Talia. ‘Please be my girlfriend?’
And the butterflies escaped her as a laugh.
She didn’t mean them to.
But they escaped her, and she found herself choking on giggle after giggle as she collapsed back into the car and covered her mouth with her hands.
She had known that the question was coming, but she hadn’t expected it to sound like that out loud. She hadn’t thought he would say it like that.
She couldn’t breathe.
It was too much.
‘Yes!’ she managed. ‘Yes! Yes! Yes, Dale! Yes!’
‘You want to talk about what happened?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Talia. ‘I guess we have to, don’t we?’
‘I suppose we do,’ Dale replied. ‘Well.... First things first; do you like me?’
Talia looked away, focusing her gaze on the school yard and scanning the building for signs of students. ‘Yes.’
‘Do you want to date me?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know?’ Dale asked, his fingers tapping on the wheel again.
‘I’ve been trying to decide all day,’ Talia admitted. ‘That’s why I didn’t want to talk about it sooner. Because I’m just not sure. It’s... overwhelming. And I’m sorry. I wish I had an answer.’
‘Hey, it’s alright,’ Dale replied, and she felt his hand rest on hers. When she turned, his gaze was soft, and kind, and full of love, and it made her heart wrench sideways and upside down. ‘You don’t have to be sure, yet. You can think about it.’
‘You’d wait for an answer?’ Talia almost scoffed. ‘That’s.... I don’t know how long it’ll take me. What if it takes me a week to decide?’
Dale shrugged. ‘Then I’ll wait a week for the answer.’
‘God, I want to strangle you! Stop being so sweet!’ Talia groaned. She caught a glimpse of Dale’s grin as she turned and dropped her head against the window with a huff. They both sat for a while, staring at the nearby buildings, before Talia let out an exasperated breath and turned back. ‘Dale?’
‘Thanks,’ she managed. ‘For being patient with me. I appreciate it.’
‘It’s alright,’ he replied.
Then the bell rang, and less than a minute later students were pouring out the doors into the yard.
‘Here they come,’ Dale said.
‘Oh, no, is that Jacob?’ Talia groaned— And then felt herself relax as Jacob waved goodbye and veered off in another direction. ‘Oh thank god. I did not want him being involved in this conversion.’
‘Yeah, talk about awkward,’ Dale gave a half-hearted laugh, which became much more genuine as Gavin pulled open the car door and leapt in. ‘Hey, Gav, how was school?’
‘Was alright,’ Gavin replied, throwing his bag in the foot-well and pulling on his belt. ‘What were you doing in mum’s bed last night?’
For god’s sake, Gavin! Talia almost screamed as she watched her son through the rear-view mirror. Have some tact!
Thankfully, Dale chuckled. Though it was awkward. ‘Just chilling.’
Gavin’s brow furrowed, and he looked confused as he stared at Dale. ‘Chilling?’
‘Yeah, chilling!’ Dale repeated. ‘Nothing wrong with two people just, you know, hanging out!’
‘In bed together?’
‘Yeah!’ said Dale, his voice cracking as he blushed. ‘Just two good friends. Hanging out.’
Gavin looked at his mother. Then to Dale. Then back and forth again before he rolled his eyes. ‘You asked her out, didn’t you?’
‘Yes,’ Dale admitted.
‘Like you said you would.’
‘Whoa,’ Gavin leant back against the car seat. ‘There’s a lot about dating I don’t know yet.’
‘Well, you’re only eleven,’ Dale comforted. ‘Give it some time, and you’ll figure it out. No reason to rush.’
‘Right, you’ve had a lot of practice, haven’t you?’
‘Good,’ said Gavin. ‘You can teach my mum, then! She’s never dated anyone! Not since she had me! So she’s not very good at it and will need a lot of help.’
‘Gavin—’ Talia cut off with a sigh and eyed her son through the rear-view mirror. ‘Honey. Please. I’m not completely useless.’
‘Mmm,’ Gavin pulled a face, and Talia wasn’t sure whether or not she should have been offended. ‘When it comes to dating you kinda are.’
‘—I think you’re just bad at talking to people,’ Gavin continued. ‘Like. In general? It’s not something you’re very good at. Even with Trish and Anna you can get kinda weird and mean.’
‘Hey, Gav, keep the roasts for dinner,’ Dale cut in. Then he eyed Talia and gave her a cheeky grin. ‘Just because something’s true doesn’t mean you need to say it.’
‘Dale!’ Talia snapped, feeling her cheeks flush hot. ‘You boys— I swear to god! I will get out of this car right now and walk home if you don’t watch your mouths!’
‘We’re on the highway,’ Dale commented. ‘I’m going eighty.’
‘You think that’ll stop me?’ Talia put her hand on her seatbelt buckle and raised her brow. ‘You think I’m afraid to prove a point?’
Dale didn’t reply. Instead, he reached for the dashboard— And Talia heard the car doors lock as he pressed one of the buttons under the radio.
‘Smart choice,’ Talia commented, resting her hands on her knees.
‘Well, I want you alive,’ Dale chuckled. ‘You know. On account of the whole, loving you thing.’
I know I need to do more editing on chapter 12, but I'm just REALLY excited for chapter 13, and wrote the opening scene for it. Now it's somehow 4am, but I'm feeling fulfilled after struggling so much with the last chapter.
Talia and Dale *finally* have that wonderful moment.
It was calming, looking out the window at the dark, wet road. It reminded her of when she was young, and things were simpler. Easier.
She almost wished it didn’t. She didn’t want to remember her parents talking in the front seat as they drove around the block in an effort to lull her to sleep. Like they actually cared about her, or something. ...
She glanced into the rear view mirror with weary eyes and couldn’t help but smile when she saw Trish brush the hair away from Anna’s face before stealing a kiss. ... And Dale missed it as he glanced into his blind spot to turn.
Of course he would miss it, Talia felt herself laugh. It was weak, and tired, but it found its way from her chest to her nose and she felt the urge to cover her mouth as Dale pulled into the apartment’s parking lot.
‘Something funny?’ Dale asked.
‘Just ... nothing,’ Talia muttered, resting her head against the window again.
Gavin would be in bed by now. That was a relief. She didn’t think she’d be able to put him in bed if he wasn’t. ... But as Dale had said before, he always seemed to listen to Richard.
Talia was snapped back awake by the sound of Dale pulling on the hand-break. She didn’t think she’d fallen asleep, but she must have. Just for a moment or two as Dale had parked the car. ... Had she?
God, she was tired.
‘Hey, wake up, hon,’ Trish gently shook Anna until she let out a yawn and mumbled herself conscious again. ‘We’re home. Come on, I’ll tuck you in with the heated blanket and rub your feet.’
The girls climbed out of the car and wearily stumbled through the lot to the stairwell door.
‘Trish seems like a great friend,’ Dale commented as the girls started up the stairs.
Talia was too tired to think of something mean to say. She could barely muster up the energy to think about how stupid he was.
Stupid and charming.
It scared her, how much she liked him. ... How much she’d enjoyed the kiss. She had loved it. And although she’d spent all night trying, she couldn’t seem to convince herself otherwise.
She’d had the perfect excuse for it, too. And Dale never had to know that it had been something she’d been wanting to do. That it was a type of intimacy she’d been craving for so long she hadn’t even realised just how much she’d needed it before it was over.
Maybe he enjoyed it too?
Wishful thinking, she told herself.
Though. ... He’d licked his lips all night. Long after the lipstick mark had disappeared. Like he was hoping for the feeling to come back, just like she was.
Maybe she should say something. ...
No. She couldn’t.
Because she had to go to bed.
She had to go to bed.
And she realised she was already in bed, and Dale was halfway out her bedroom door.
‘Dale?’ she muttered. Had he carried her up the stairs again?
‘Yeah?’ he paused to let her speak, his form silhouetted by the hallway light that spilled into the room and cast yellow-black shadows along the walls.
A hundred thoughts tried to find their way out of her head. But in the end, a weak, ‘Stay?’ was all she could manage.
Dale let go of the door and made his way across the room, each step letting more of the light into the room— But his shadow never pulling away from Talia’s face. Even when he sat beside her, he shielded her eyes from the harsh yellow light.
Talia lifted herself onto an elbow and took a deep breath.
She had to say something.
About her feelings. About her fears.
She had to tell him how much she wanted him.
She had to.
‘I’m sorry,’ she muttered. ‘I’m sorry I’m always so ... so me. I’m trying not to be. To be a better person. ... It’s hard.’
Dale’s hand met hers, and she felt a shiver crawl from her toes to her ears as their eyes met.
He didn’t say anything else as he lifted her blanket and slipped underneath it.
And she felt warm, and wasn’t sure if it was her blush or if it was Dale’s arms around her as his fingers ran through her hair and his lips slowly ... so, so slowly ... pressed against hers for the second time that night.
It was so perfect.
Nothing could ever. ...
Nothing could ever disturb this. ...
Talia closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.
Then she jolted awake as a shape with the weight of an eleven-year-old boy leapt onto her legs and shouted that it was late for school.
Oh no— Gavin!
She’d slept in!
Talia tried to clamber out of bed, but tripped on Dale.
She half-processed the thought before she heard her son’s feet hit the floor and her brain started to bounce between the two boys in her bedroom.
She climbed over the top of Dale to reach her bedside table, and fumbled with Gavin’s medicine.
‘School?’ Dale echoed. ‘Oh, shit— Gavin!’
He fell out of bed after Talia and bolted into the kitchen with enough force to almost demolish it. Talia grabbed his keys as they fell to the floor behind him and practically threw Gavin’s medicine into his mouth.
‘Keys!’ she exclaimed. ‘Medicine!’
‘Lunch!’ Dale responded. ‘Car!’
‘Downstairs! Hurry! Go! Go! Now!’
The door slammed behind them with a bang, and the apartment was left to fall silent.
Dale slammed the breaks on the car, stopping in the middle of the quiet road. ‘Where did you learn that!’
‘Trish said it while babysitting me,’ Gavin beamed. ‘She gave me five dollars not to tell mum.’
Dale: WOW! I wish I had a friendship with someone as close as Anna and Trish have! Looks nice.
Talia: *absolutely floored that Dale STILL hasn't figured out they're gay*
(sorry for screenshot format)
just some first draft excerpts from A Man Worth a Million, as I'm really happy with my progress so far!
very mild implied nsfw on a couple of them (but nothing big)
Dale's too stupid to realise he's surrounded by the entire LGBT community.
‘He made a friend,’ Trish gave an impish snort and pointed to the other side of the restaurant. ‘Probably not going to see him for the rest of the party.’
Dale glanced over and saw Richard in the restaurant’s cafe, sitting weirdly close to another man as they chatted. ‘Guess I’m not good enough for him.’
There was a giggle from Dale’s other side, and he shifted over so Jacob’s mother could sit next to Talia— And then again, so her husband could sit next to her.
Dale almost sighed as Talia disappeared behind them. He wished he’d sat on her other side— But that was now taken by Anna and Trish, who sat huddled together in the tight space between Talia and the wall. They didn’t seem to mind having to practically sit on each other, at least. He half-wished he was able to do that with his friends.
He watched as Trish leant over Anna to put Talia in a headlock, practically squishing the poor girls as she knocked over her own drink.
Shaking his head, Dale decided to head out to the playground to keep an eye on the boys. He grabbed his food and headed out, taking a seat with Jacob’s aunt and. …
‘Aiden, right?’ Dale asked.
‘MUM!’ Gavin called from his room. ‘MUM, CAN YOU HELP ME?’
‘I’ll help,’ said Anna. She made her way to Gavin’s room, then hurried back in. ‘Apparently not. He needs you specifically, Tally.’
Sighing, Talia pushed herself off the couch and made her way to her son’s bedroom. She found him showing Jacob the new soccer ball he’d gotten on a shopping trip with Dale.
‘Hi mum!’ Gavin grinned.
‘Hey honey, what did you need help with?’
‘Nothing,’ responded Gavin, his grin growing wider. ‘I just wanted to see if I could make you come in.’
‘Gavin!’ Talia snapped.
‘Why is the pillow sticky?’ she muttered. She shook her head as she realised it was her makeup, not the fabric, and frowned. ‘When did I get home?’
‘About ten minutes after you fell asleep,’ Dale’s voice laughed from the dining table.
Talia snapped her head up and looked at the group of people sitting in her apartment. She stared at them for a moment, taking them in. Dale. Gavin. Richard. Trish.
‘Anna’s not back yet?’ Talia yawned.
‘It’s only nine,’ Trish commented, taking a bite out of some very wet-looking, off-coloured bread. ‘Good beef. Try it as a sandwich. Tastes like heaven.’
‘I like it with the potatoes!’ Gavin giggled.
‘Potatoes?’ Talia asked. ‘I didn’t think I made potatoes?’
‘Dale did,’ Richard commented. ‘We were waiting for you to wake up, so we made some extras to pass the time. Then Patricia came in and started eating, so we figured it wouldn’t be too rude to begin without you.’
‘Of course she did!’ laughed Talia. Then she sat up and stretched. ‘How’d I get upstairs? Oh— No. Dale? You didn’t—’
‘—HE DID!’ Gavin shrieked. ‘He carried you! All the way up!’
‘It’s three flights!’ Talia exclaimed.
‘You’re not too heavy,’ said Dale, sipping his drink. ‘Though I almost dropped you at one point. I don’t envy the me from the universe where I did.’
‘Yeah, nah. He’s dead and you know it,’ Talia snickered. ‘So, what else did I miss?’
‘Gavin took his meds,’ Dale commented. ‘And a bird flew into the kitchen window while we cooked. Scared me so much I accidentally threw a carton of juice into Richard’s face.’
‘It went everywhere!’ squeaked Gavin.
‘Kind of like your lipstick,’ Trish commented, pointing to her own mouth and wiggling her finger. ‘Might want to go wash your face.’
‘Christ,’ Talia muttered, slipping off the couch and hurrying into the bathroom. She dared a look in the mirror and was met with the ugliest version of herself she’d ever seen. ‘Frick!’
Another scene from A Man Worth a Million; but this one is from the first draft, not the final. It's chapter 26 of the first draft but, we'll see how much content gets cut/added and where it is in the final, eventually.
Talia meets her ex in a supermarket. She's pregnant again, wearing real gold and diamonds in a dress that costs more than a car (coming home from a VERY fancy party), and eating whip cream directly from the can. Because she's Talia, and Talia does what she wants.
Talia managed to swallow the whipped cream.
‘How have I been lately, or how have I been over the last twelve years?’ Talia asked bitterly. She felt the whip on her cheek, but didn’t wipe it off as she stared down her ex. He looked … well. Better than he had in high school, Talia thought. Though he still dressed like an arsehole. …
‘Look— Talia— I’m sorry,’ it came out as a sigh, and Talia almost believed it was genuine.
‘Yeah, imagine facing the consequences for your actions,’ Talia scoffed. She didn’t feel like talking and squirted another glob of whipped cream into her mouth.
‘—I don’t accept your apology!’ Talia snapped, mouth still full. ‘You’re a coward who ran away and left me to clean up your shit, and I don’t have time for someone like you!’
‘You ruined my life!’ Talia growled. ‘So you didn’t lose your chance to play football!’
‘It was wrong of me!’ Evan blurted. ‘And I really am sorry. I’ve felt so bad about it. …’
‘Then why didn’t you contact me sooner?’ Talia snorted, spraying another lot of cream into her mouth. ‘Oh, wait. It’s because you’re too much of a coward to actually face the people you’ve hurt.’
‘N-No, I didn’t know h-how,’ Evan stammered.
Talia didn’t budge. ‘Huh, well it’s weird that everyone else knew how to find me. Did you miss the memo? I wasn’t exactly hiding.’
‘—Coward,’ Talia hissed. She downed the last of the whipped cream from the can and threw it in the trolley with a loud clang.
Evan shuffled as Dale came out of the bathroom and put an arm around Talia, kissing his wife, laughing, and wiping her cheek before glancing to her companion.
‘Who’s— Oh,’ the drop in his tone was telling. He recognised him from the photo.
Gavin grabbed his mother’s hand and looked from her to Evan, back to her. ‘Mum? Are you okay?’
Evan shifted even more awkwardly at the sight of Gavin, and awkwardly rubbed his cheek to hide his face from the child. ‘I suppose I should be going.’
‘Alright. Bye then,’ Dale said dryly, turning away with a wave of his hand. He put his arm around Gavin and quickly pushed his family away, only turning back to grab the trolly, dropping his voice as he glared at Evan. ‘Have a fun life, arsehole.’
‘Was that my dad?’ Gavin asked. ‘Like, my other one?’
Talia sighed. ‘Yes.’
‘Dale’s better,’ Gavin shrugged. Then he looked to his mother and frowned before spinning around. ‘Dale’s a better dad than you’ll ever be! YOU’RE STUPID AND EVERYONE HATES YOU!’
Talia scoffed a laugh and shushed her son. ‘Gavin, don’t yell.’
‘But I have to stand up for you!’ Gavin declared.
‘I can defend myself,’ she told him. She glanced up and saw Evan staring awkwardly back. ‘He’s just a dumb coward.’
‘COWARD!’ Gavin shrieked.
‘Shush!’ Talia repeated. ‘You win by being better than him!’
‘But I want to win by yelling at him!’ Gavin declared, drawing looks from the surrounding shoppers. ‘He made you cry! I wanna make him cry back!’
‘Gavin,’ Talia sighed. ‘I’m sure he’s cried enough already.’
‘Then I’ll— I’ll break his legs instead!’
‘You will not!’ Talia snapped. ‘You will behave yourself and get in the car without any more yelling.’
‘Come on, Gav,’ Dale wrapped his arms around Gavin and heaved him over his shoulder. ‘I’m her husband. It’s my job to beat up people who make her cry.’
Talia shook her head and rolled her eyes, huffing loudly. ‘You boys, I swear. I can’t take you anywhere!’
Gavin had been chatty the entire drive home.
To be expected, Dale thought, with the day he’s had.
Glancing into the back of the car as he pulled into the apartment’s parking lot, he couldn’t help but sigh. Talia looked too peaceful to wake up. He wasn’t sure he’d have the heart to do it.
‘Told you she gets tired,’ Gavin gloated. ‘Are you going to carry her up the stairs again?’
‘Don’t think I have a choice,’ Dale laughed his response, clambering out of the car and walking to the back seat to retrieve Talia.
She didn’t seem to notice as she was hefted into the air, and simply lay heavy and limp in his arms. She didn’t even give a mumble of protest as Dale used her head to push the car door shut.
‘She’d be so mad if she knew you did that!’ Gavin snickered.
‘Well, don’t tell her,’ Dale replied.