Monday, October 6, 2008
Darkness Descending excerpt by Bethan Korsmit
To the outside world, Robert Petrovic had it all: money, power, a successful business and most importantly people with whom to share it—namely his mother and his lover.
Only a handful of people knew who and what Robert really was, and one of those people was his son, Alex. Alex was a rising star in politics, and when he found out about his father, he disowned him.
On a fateful July weekend, Robert begins to spiral into the darkness of despair. Within a few hours, Robert’s mother disowns him and his lover leaves him heartbroken. Everybody Robert loves abandons him. Feeling utterly alone and abandoned, Robert takes drastic action that starts his descent into darkness.
Will Robert’s family try to rescue him from the darkness? Or will they write him off for good? Will Robert find his true self and ascend back to a life where he is accepted and loved? Can he forgive those that hurt him the most?
Robert’s journey is one of great joy and unconditional love, but also horrible despair and betrayal. Only time will tell if Robert survives his journey, and only time will tell who is accepted into Robert’s life.
Darkness Descending is the first place winner in the Gay Fiction category in the Reader Views Literary Awards.
Date of Publication: June 19, 2007
As Robert’s lover walked up the long sidewalk to the opulent front door, he looked questioningly from the car angrily leaving the driveway to Robert’s feigned look of happiness. He stopped before crossing the threshold, “Robert, what’s going on?” When Robert failed to answer, Mitchell asked tenderly, “Are you all right?”
A sad smile eclipsed on Robert’s distinguished face, making him look several years older than his fifty years. “I’m fine now that you’re here.”
Mitchell Rains, a tall, athletically built gentleman of early middle-age, with stunning blue eyes and short blonde hair, reached out and took Robert’s hand gently into his own and led him into the house and onto the large sofa. Still holding onto Robert’s hand, he looked deeply into Robert’s deep brown eyes and inquired about what had just transpired before his arrival. “Robert, what did George want?”
Trying overtly to avoid discussing what had just happened, Robert replied calmly, “Nothing really.”
Disbelieving, Mitchell spoke more tenderly, melting Robert’s already fragile facade. “I know you don’t want to discuss George for fear you’ll ruin our evening, but Robert it’s okay. Nothing or nobody is going to ruin our evening together. If George is causing you problems, I want to know about it, okay?”
Robert turned away to hide the tears that glistened unshed in his eyes, but Mitchell slowly turned Robert’s face back to him. Robert closed his eyes tightly and replied calmly and steadily. “He just showed up unannounced ranting about how I had no business checking out his past.”
“What else? You shouldn’t be this upset if he was just ranting and raving. You deal with people like him all the time.”
Robert bowed his head and Mitchell caught on, “He said something about me and you, didn’t he?”
Robert turned away again and started to rise, but Mitchell caught his hand and stopped him. “Please Mitchell, can’t we just forget about George and everyone else in this world for tonight?” Robert asked pleadingly.
Mitchell cupped Robert’s face with his soft hands, tilted his head from side to side as he studied Robert’s expressive eyes, and smiled, “Sure. What’s for dinner?”
A smile crossed Robert’s tired face and Mitchell smiled reassuringly at him as the two walked into the dining room. The aromatic smell of fettuccini alfredo filled the dining room. A bottle of red wine and two tall, thin candles accented the elegant setting that Robert’s staff cook created.
Mitchell sat down, spreading his napkin over his lap as Robert opened the aged wine and poured a glass for Mitchell and himself. They raised their glasses heavenward “To life, love and happiness.”
The two lingered over dinner for almost three hours, discussing everything under the sun. Robert, the more conservative of the two, never disagreed openly with Mitchell’s opinion, but always agreed to keep an open mind. The idealist in Mitchell made him see what was wrong in the world, and sometimes the way to conquer prejudices so that everyone would have the same opportunities as anyone else.
After dinner the conversation moved into Robert’s living room, where the two lit up Cuban cigars and poured themselves some Brandy. Mitchell sat down next to Robert and put his arm around Robert’s shoulders and playfully pulled him close. “Thank you for a wonderful evening.”
Robert backed out of Mitchell’s grasp to look him in the eyes, “I’m glad you came. You know I would do anything to make you happy.”
Mitchell smiled mischievously at Robert’s words, “Do you mean ANYTHING?”
Robert’s face blushed an amazing shade of red, “Almost anything.”
Mitchell laughed and Robert responded in kind. It had been such a long time since they both were able laugh.
Taking a long drag on his cigar, Mitchell inquired, “Do you have your tuxedo out and ready to go for tomorrow?”
Confused, Robert asked, “What’s tomorrow?”
Mitchell was amused, “Tomorrow is the 4th of July.”
“Why do I need a tuxedo?”
“I accepted an invitation from one of my friends to attend a cookout and then an evening in the city dancing.”
“That’s great Mitchell. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time,” Robert added sincerely.
“I’m sure we’ll both have a wonderful time. We were both invited, so I accepted for both of us,” Mitchell said enthusiastically.
Robert stood up and walked over to the table where the alcohol was placed. He poured himself a shot of whiskey and downed it as soon as he poured it. Gathering his courage, he replied to Mitchell, “I wish you hadn’t done that. You know I can’t go.”
Mitchell answered in a controlled tone of anger, “Yes, you can go. There is no good reason for you to stay home.”
“I’m sorry Mitchell, but I can’t jeopardize his career.”
“Screw his career! He wouldn’t help you if you were lying at his feet gasping for air.”
Robert shook his head sadly in agreement, “I know he wouldn’t, but he’s still my son and I love him.”
“You love him more than me.” It was more a statement than a question.
“Please Mitchell, try to understand.”
“I understand perfectly. You are willing to give up happiness for yourself so that your ungrateful son can get ahead in his career. Am I right?”
“I just don’t want to jeopardize his career and his future.”
Mitchell sat down and shook his head back and forth disbelieving. Robert, on the verge of tears, sat down next to Mitchell and put his arm around Mitchell’s shoulder. Robert tried to speak gracefully and steadily, but his voice cracked as he said to Mitchell, “I love you too.”
Mitchell looked Robert in the face and replied softly, “I love you too, Robert, but I can’t keep doing this. I want to go out and enjoy life. I want to take you to parties, to dinner and dancing in the city.” Mitchell took a deep drink, and continued, “You always said you wanted to travel, but when I ask you to go somewhere you won’t go.”
“I know I upset you with my indecisions, but he’s my son, regardless of whether he admits that or not. I don’t want to be the reason he fails.”
“Trust me, Robert. He will fail, and it won’t be any fault of yours.”
“I promise we’ll go somewhere soon, just the two of us.”
“I’m sorry Robert, but I’ve heard that one before.”
“Please believe me,” Robert pleaded shyly.
Mitchell stood up and paced back and forth in front of Robert. “I’m sorry Robert, but I can’t go on like this. It’s a long weekend with the 4th tomorrow. I assumed we would spend time together with friends, but I guess I was wrong. I’m a sociable person, Robert. I can’t live in isolation like you do.”
Stunned, but sensing what was occurring, Robert inquired, “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that I think it best we break up.”
“Best for whom?”
“Best for me. I’m still a relatively young guy, and I want to do so many things in this lifetime. Things that I want to share with another person.”
“You don’t love me, do you?” asked Robert with an unsteady, cracking voice.
“Yes I love you, but that doesn’t change the fact that we don’t have a life together. We get together for dinners on special occasions, and sometimes I spend the night, but none of that is considered a life.”
“Please Mitchell. Please don’t leave me. I love you,” pleaded Robert.
“I’m sorry Robert, but it’s for the best. For both of us.”
With tears glistening in his eyes, Robert replied calmly, “You lied to me.”
Caught off guard, Mitchell responded, “I have never lied to you.”
“Yes you did. You told me tonight that no one would ruin our evening together.”
Mitchell, realizing the hurt that he was causing, sighed deeply. “I’m sorry Robert. Please believe that. Seeing you in pain is ripping my heart out, but I can’t go on like this. In time you’ll see that it was for the best.”
“Your leaving will never be good for me.”
“Everything will work out.” Mitchell took one last gulp of his Brandy and started for the door. Robert jumped up and caught him, pulling him into an embrace.
“I love you Mitchell. Please don’t go,” sobbed Robert into Mitchell’s shoulder.
“This isn’t goodbye, Robert. We’ll still be friends.” As Mitchell was pulling away from Robert’s embrace, Mitchell leaned in and kissed him delicately on the cheek. “I love you Robert.”
Before Robert could regain his composure, Mitchell was out the door and racing out of the driveway.