Dinner is overcooked. The guests haven’t arrived.
Luke is sitting alone at his dining table on New Year’s Eve. He was hoping to romance Nathan, one of the people he invited for this intimate evening meal.
As midnight draws closer, it seems an angel, who has magically appeared in Luke’s apartment, is the only person to drink champagne and watch the fireworks with.
But this angel has other ideas. He’s about to grant Luke the New Year’s Eve party he thought he wanted.
It was almost nine p.m. and none of my guests had arrived.
My place smelt of roast chicken. It had gone dry, yet I let it sit in the oven once I accepted no one was coming. Even with the oven turned off, the potatoes would have turned into little black rocks inside the trapped heat. I considered going down to the creek and chucking them as far as they’d go to quell my frustration.
I sat at my dinner table, eyes closed, trying to find my peace. As time ticked by, melancholy was my only companion.
Why would I think this plan would work? I had many invitations this New Year’s Eve, but my search for love kept me blind.
Three guests were supposed to be here tonight. If I was honest with myself, I’d have known one would have been here for sure. He invited himself. But he wasn’t here either, and I couldn’t blame him. He was Tim. Someone more interested in me than I in him.READ MORE
For a while, Tim was dropping hints. “Here, take my jacket,” followed by “You really need someone to look after you.” “I’ve never been kissed by a man, well, not with love.” That one was followed with a longing look, waiting for my response. So I kissed him on the cheek.
And then there were the small gifts. A record of a band I once mentioned. I had to buy a turntable just to be nice. A chilli plant. Not the best present as I have a black thumb. It lasted two months. And just the week before, a letter. I never opened the envelope. I meant to throw it out several times, but something stopped me.
When Tim found out I invited Nathan and Lucy for dinner, he stuttered while telling me he had no plans. I still don’t know why I caved in and told him to come.
But Nathan was who I really wanted to see, and if I were to win his affections, it would be his best friend Lucy I’d have to win over. She’s one of those gal pals who cherishes her gay mates. I met them both at a party, and even though I’m too embarrassed to say it, I was captivated by him. His candid nature made me feel at ease. The three of us shared one-night-stand horror stories until Lucy left us alone. But she still checked on Nathan from time to time.
Nathan told me he liked to be called Nate. He talked a lot about their friend Ben who didn’t believe in romance and then asked me for my thoughts on the whole Mr Right thing. I played it cool, yet inside I wanted to break the world record for the longest kiss; his lips against mine.
Nate longed to travel, so I looked for cheap deals to Thailand, just in case I found the courage to suggest a holiday as a New Year experience for both of us. I printed details about the Full Moon Party while imagining his soft caress in the midst of techno rhythms and disco lights.
But he wasn’t here. No one was here except my tragic self.
I felt that shudder you feel when you’re at risk of breaking down. I held the table to steady myself in my seat. I was determined not to cry.
A little later, when I wanted to, no tears were shed.
“Love isn’t worth it,” I said to myself. “It’s the worst of all the four-letter words.” I longed for alcohol, but drinking alone would verify my loser status. “I promise to never fall in love.”
“I don’t think that’s a promise you can keep.”
I jumped in my seat. My knees hit the underside of the table, causing the cutlery to clatter. Then I was cemented to my chair, too scared to investigate whose voice was coming from my kitchen. I heard a flutter, like a bird getting excited that the door to its cage was open and maybe an escape was possible.
That’s it! A bird had flown into my kitchen while my mind was giving me audible hallucinations. Those two things happen all the time, right? Now I needed that drink.
A tall man strolled into my dining room, holding a bottle of rosé.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“Someone who’s here to stop you making stupid promises to yourself.”
“Are you a friend of Tim’s? A friend of Nate’s?”
“I’m your friend.”
I screamed. Not because there was a stranger in my home who may have been planning to wallop me with a bottle of wine. I screamed because wings expanded from his back.COLLAPSE
Sandra on Goodreads wrote:
This-was-awesome such a tiny little gem. It made me so emotional.
Luke has a crush on Nathan and by inviting him on New Year’s Eve he hopes to take it to a higher level.
Nathan’s best friend Lucy and Luke’s friend Tim, who has an annoying crush for Luke, are also invited.
There he is... alone... because no one showed up, until... an angel is joining him... to make his wishes come true.
What follows is some emotional and amazing insights of how reality looks like. How the lines of love, desire, loss, hopes and fear can be blurred.
After a thorough reality check something beautiful sprouts and grows into something real. Something he didn’t realise but really yearns for.
Wonderfully written story with a, for me, deep intuitive spirit.
Serena Yates on Rainbow Book Reviews wrote:
Luke has invited three people for a New Year's dinner at his home - one with whom he's infatuated and wants as his boyfriend, one who's attached-at-the-hip to the maybe-boyfriend and whom Luke hopes to win over to have a chance at the love interest, and one who's infatuated with Luke, to Luke's dismay, and scored an invite because Luke felt bad.
And now the chicken is drying out in the oven, the potatoes are getting cold, and Luke is sitting alone in his apartment because none of the three people invited showed up.
Before the clock can strike midnight, an angel appears and magically grants Luke the New Year's Eve party and romance he'd been hoping for. And while doing so, teaches Luke a lesson or five.
This was an unusual romance book, to say the least. I didn't quite know what to expect going in. Luke is definitely an interesting character. A little lost after a break-up, he's letting his pain cloud his judgment, and what he assumes to be love is maybe only infatuation. He has to see, with the angel's help, that what he wants to happen may not be what he needs to happen.
I liked the writing style well enough. It's descriptive, but not overly so, and I had no trouble visualising Luke's surroundings. There are a couple of humorous moments, and some that are quite poignant, especially as Luke, in the fantasy world the angel concocts, really sees true love as it happens. There is very little sexual content, which befits this novella - to include any explicit on-page sexy times would have been detrimental to the story the author told us here.
Enjoyable, for sure. Not your typical holiday romance, but one you'll want to check out.
What we think we want, especially in matters of the heart, and what we actually need are often two very different things. This story explores Luke’s loneliness, his attempts to romance a guy he thinks he wants, his efforts to ignore the guy who seems to stalk him, and the eventual realisation that love cannot always be found where we want it to be. The angel who magically appears to show Luke the consequences of his wishes may or may not be real, but Luke’s growth as he begins to listen to his heart definitely is.
If you like your holiday stories to be thought-provoking, if you want to find out how wishing for something does not always work out – even if you get it, and if you’re looking for a read about the old year making place for a new year, new realisations, and a new life, then you will probably like this powerful short story.