M/M romantic relationship
Coming December 17th
Walking Wounded Copyright © 2016 by Lauren Gilley
Read the Prologue...
Luke and Hal
In a middle school classroom, in a nothing-special Virginia town, the Korean War is a day’s lesson on the Social Studies syllabus. A page of history, a phantom cold, a memory of dead men. And outside that classroom sit two boys with scraped knees, crooked glasses, and superhero lunch boxes.
“I’ve got cold pizza,” Hal announces as he slings his bag onto the bench and thumps down beside it. He’s caught in that awkward stage between scrawny boy and massive man, all knees and elbows, unwieldy hands and overlarge feet. The misting rain beads along the hood and shoulders of his navy raincoat, sliding down his arms, clinging in silvery drops to his hairline.
Luke juggles his umbrella handle against his cheek and unrolls the top of his brown paper bag. “Turkey sandwich,” he says, making a face. He is a small child, with slender feet and hands, and the delicate complexion of a scholar. He dreams. He likes to think up stories that aren’t real, and project himself into the role of hero; but he knows he isn’t made for great things, not the way that Hal is. Hal could be someone’s real hero.
Most of the students choose to sit indoors, in the crowded, too-hot cafeteria that smells like fryer oil and broccoli – which is to say, bad. But Luke and Hal always claim this bench, with a view of the brickwork side of the gym, and the flower beds, all tucked away for winter, leafless cherry limbs arching overhead.
The boys divvy up their lunch between the two of them, splitting desserts and extra Cokes, and dividing the granola bar in exactly half, carefully measured by the length of their fingers.
Neither of them know where life will soon take them; neither can predict the catastrophes, the heartaches, or the second chances. For now, they know all that anyone really needs to know about life.
They know love, and they know happiness.
They know they are the best of friends, and they don’t think that will ever change.