By Brit Columbia
Pairing: Dee/ Ryo, but they don't appear in the epilogue
Rating: Worksafe! There are no sexy people in this chapter. Stand down, pervs.
Spoilers: None, really
Timing: Set in May, directly after book 7 ended
Summary: Just in case you were wondering about this guy...
Disclaimer: I do not own Fake or any of the characters created by Sanami Matoh. Len Jarvis and Jed Haverson are mine. I have not based these characters on any living persons.
Author's notes: There are some incredibly long author's notes at the end, if you can stand to read them.
Thank you's: First, I will always be grateful to Sanami Matoh for creating FAKE in the first place. It really had a huge effect on me and will live in my heart forever. I also owe a debt of gratitude to all the people who helped me on the long road of this story: my betas bluesimplicity, mtemplar , moontatoo and the_ladyfeather. Thank you for your kindness, your patience, your expertise, your suggestions and your enthusiasm. You saved my credibility many times over!
Thanks also to loki_the_fraud and bale_ikura for your help with locations and police procedure, respectively. You guys helped me to add much needed authenticity.
FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
Len Jarvis looked pityingly at the sorry-looking chump he had hired. Why did he have such a soft spot for losers? He had given opportunities to many of them over the years, and not always, he had to admit, with a good outcome. His late wife had been right. One should try to give a helping hand to those who can help themselves and just need a little bit of help getting started, not the ones who make a hash-up of everything they do and end up pulling you down with them, whether they mean to or not. He hoped this fellow wouldn't turn out to be one of the latter.
The guy sitting across from him looked thoroughly disreputable. He had two black eyes, a recently broken nose that seemed to have set crookedly, and a nasty burn on his neck. He was also sporting several days of stubble. He moved with the stiffness of a man who had either been in some kind of accident, or who had had the crap beaten out of him. Len felt that all evidence appeared to point toward the second option. The badly set nose and the inflammation around the burn seemed to indicate a lack of medical attention, also. He hadn't been willing to talk about his circumstances, saying only that he had given up on trying to make it in Jersey, and just wanted to come back to the sea.
"This your first visit to Maine, sir?" Len called everyone sir.
"You a fighter?" Len looked at his injuries skeptically, and the man looked a little abashed.
"Oh, you mean this." He pointed to his face. "Guy wouldn't give up, er, give me back my shirt." He indicated the oversized black hooded sweatshirt he was wearing. "Plus, his friends kinda had a problem with me. Guess they thought I was easy meat." His mouth twisted in a half grimace, half smile. "Not so easy in the end."
"You got people after you, sir?" Len frowned at him, wondering for the second time if he had made a mistake.
"No, it's not like that. No one will be looking for me." He said it with such finality that Len believed him.
On the whole however, he looked like trouble with a capital 'T'. Len admitted to himself that the only reason he had given this one a chance was the sadness in his eyes. He seemed to be carrying some kind of deep and possibly recent grief. He looked like the kind of guy who might up and walk in front of a train unless life gave him a couple of breaks.
Len sighed. "So, you say you can dive?"
"Yeah, got a lot of experience."
"You got certification?"
"Used to. It expired."
"Planning to recertify?"
"Not for a while."
"Seen a doctor recently? That burn on your neck looks to be getting infected."
"Uh, I guess I should. Is there a clinic around here? I can pay."
"Yeah, there's one in town," Len informed him. "I'm taking the truck in tomorrow to buy some paint and lumber for the new dock. You can ride along if you want."
"Thanks. Guess I will."
"What did you say your name was again?"
The man hesitated, his face seeming to close. "Haverson. Jedediah. But you can call me Jed."
Len looked at him thoughtfully for a moment. "That's a pretty down-south name for a man with a Big Apple accent," he remarked.
"Well, my mother was a church-going woman." Jed, or whatever his name was, seemed to have abandoned eye contact.
"Ah well, I can never remember anyone's name, anyhow," Len said reassuringly. "Welcome aboard. I'll be glad of another pair of hands around this place. It was last year I realized it was getting a bit much for me. It was a shock to think that perhaps I'm gettin' old! Me! Imagine that." He shook his silver head self-deprecatingly.
"Thank you, Mr. Jarvis. I really appreciate your kindness."
"Kind nothing! I'll be working you hard, you know. Once the doctor gives you a clean bill of health, that is. You'll be scraping barnacles off boats, repairing the docks for me, and slapping down paint and tar 'til you've had quite enough of life in a nowhere little place like this." Len leaned forward and gave his new employee a hearty clap on the shoulder. "You go on to bed now, and I'll see you in the morning. You'll find blankets in the stow lockers on the boat. It sounds like you've gone through some hard times recently, but hey, the air is good in this place." He smiled encouragingly and waved a hand that indicated the world outside his office. "Fresh and sweet, not like life in the city. If you're looking for a new start, this place'll do for now. You'll be feelin' more like yourself tomorrow."
With faraway eyes, Jed gazed out the window for a moment, the window that opened onto the dusty road that led out of the marina. His face wore an expression of such wistful and naked longing, that Len looked away. It had to be a broken heart this fellow was suffering from, he decided. Up until now, he had been thinking that maybe it had been an untimely death, perhaps of a family member.
"Er...If you ever need someone to talk to, sir, I've been told I'm not a half-bad listener."
Jed's eyes returned to his new employer, and he seemed to give himself a kind of shake. Moving stiffly, he rose from his chair and offered Len his hand.
"Thanks," he said, "but I've noticed that talking doesn't bring anything back or change what's done. As you said, tomorrow's a new day. All a man can do is wake up and live it, one hour at a time. Good night, Mr. Jarvis." He slung his backpack over one shoulder and picked up his battered red tool box.
"Good night, sir. Sweet dreams."
As the screen door closed softly behind him, a seagull called outside from one of the pilings, a cry of exile that went unanswered. It was a lonely sound in the fading light.
Additional author's notes:
Yes, it's really over. I know, I can't believe it, either. This story sort of went on forever. Three years, as a matter of fact! I know I left some loose ends in this one, but I'll address them all in the sequel, Justice. I just had to end A New Day somewhere because 44 chapters, and every one averaging about 7000 or 8000 words is insanely LONG. My first writing effort. *pets it affectionately* It's kind of like the first-born child that new parents make all their mistakes on before they evolve into lean, mean parenting machines. (Can you tell I'm a first-born child?)
What I learned from the process of writing A New Day: when I write a book in the future, don't publish it in installments! If I were to write A New Day again, I would organize the delivery of info differently and take out great chunks here and there to tighten it up. A lot of the hints I dropped in A New Day, I would save for the sequel. But, ah well! What's done is done. I'm not going to go back in and mess with it. I'm going to let it stand as is. It will be interesting for me to read it again ten or fifteen years from now and wince at the mistakes I made while congratulating myself on having improved as a writer.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the part that the readers played in the creation of this story, from beginning to end.
I'm not one of those writers who writes for him or herself, and I never will be. I write for readers. If I thought no one would read my work, I never would have put in the time and energy to write this story and the other ones. I would have used that time and energy for other things. Since I was thirteen, I created stories and movies in my head, but I never, ever wrote them down. I didn't think anyone would read them or like them. They were ninety percent M/M romance/adventure/drama, and they were nothing like the books I've read in the past that were for gay readers. I didn't know until I read FAKE by accident one day in Chapters Bookstore that there was actually a large market out there of women who would be interested in the subjects of my private imaginings! Lightbulb moment. I began to write because I had reason to believe that even if my work didn't turn out to be popular, someone somewhere would like it.
From the outset, I have wanted what I think most writers want, which is for people to read my work and like it. You, my past, present and future readers gave and continue to give me that. Collectively rather than individually, you spent thousands of hours of your time reading this story. So many people took the time to offer me feedback and encouragement along the way. This ongoing support was what helped me to develop self-discipline and judgment as a writer. If I had been working in a vacuum, I honestly don't know if this project would have ever gotten off the ground. So thank you a thousand times for your interest, your attention and your time! I hope you'll want to continue reading the things I write.
Justice, chapter one will be up the first weekend of July!