My contribution this week to the Rainbow Snippets meme is a snippet of conversation between the two main characters in my short story “What Marriage Is About,” featured in the pansexual Sexy Little Pages anthology Silence Is Golden. In “What Marriage Is About,” a Deaf couple confronts the scars of institutional abuse as they explore bondage and domination for the first time. This scene happens toward a few minutes after an argument about sex:
Darren found Ed in the kitchen, making coffee. Steam rose from the pot. The coffee maker’s little blue light blinked on-off, on-off to indicate the brew was done. Ed didn’t look at it or at Darren. His face was down, his eyebrows furrowed. He opened the silverware drawer, snatched a spoon, then slammed the drawer shut. Next Ed attacked the cupboard, jerking the door open and yanking out a mug. He moved on to assault the refrigerator and the poor hapless sugar bowl. Crystals scattered on the counter. Ed scowled but didn’t brush them up.
Penny kept close to Ed’s heels, looking up with a mix of wariness and optimism in her big brown eyes. Clearly she could see Ed was in a tizzy, but hope sprang eternal in that dog’s soul, and if there was any chance he’d drop a scrap of food in his fit of pique, she’d be there to catch it.
Darren was not as optimistic as their dog. He gave Ed a wide berth. Touching him would only startle him, and flicking the kitchen lights would be a demand: Pay attention to me. Darren didn’t want to make another demand. Not yet. Marriage was a constant balancing act of knowing when to ask for something right away and when to wait. Darren should have waited earlier, and he could wait now.
It wasn’t until Ed sat down at the kitchen table with his coffee and a couple of those weird health-food cookies he liked that he finally caught sight of Darren. He nodded, but didn’t smile. I made enough coffee for both of us, if you want some, he signed.
Darren had to slow himself down before he went over there, calm his own nerves so he didn’t end up blurting out excuses about not meaning to upset Ed or letting his hands move faster than his brain. He took his time getting out his own mug, pouring in the coffee, and stirring in the half-and-half by dribs and drabs. He shuffled through the contents of the pantry before finally pulling out a bag of potato chips.
The ebook version of Silence Is Golden is 75% off through the end of today, March 11 (U.S. time), and my solo books are also on discount when you use the coupon code found on the books’ info pages in the Smashwords store. You can get Silence is Golden for just $1!
In case you’re curious, American Sign Language (ASL) is the main language Ed and Darren use with each other. Ed grew up with German Sign Language (Deutsche Gebärdensprache), but switched to ASL when he immigrated to the United States as an adult. You can learn a bit about both sign languages, along with several others, on a guest post I did for MM romance author Nic Starr’s blog.
Also, please check out more Rainbow Snippets on the Rainbow Snippets Facebook page or by reading through the #rainbowsnippets tag on twitter. It’s a great way to discover new authors! And feel to free to browse other story snippets I’ve posted on my blog.