The Perks Of Loving You
by Camilo Mott
“What are you doing here???” I asked him sharing his surprised look.
“I should be the one asking that question,” he responded.
“I’m Kate’s date,” I said calmly as I stood up and walked around the table to retrieve my phone. I was determined not to freak out in front of everyone, especially him.
“So you’re Kate’s date,” he said once he regained his composure.
“Yep, I’m the one. But what are YOU doing here?” I croaked, fixing my messed up hair and shirt.
“I’m Linda’s boyfriend,” he said. Well, as they say, birds of a feather.
I took a deep breath and, excusing myself, said, “I’ll be right back. I have to wash my hands before I eat before I sit back down.”
I entered the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face and looked in the mirror. I can’t believe I’m on a double date with Luca. Sigh.
“Fucking Karma! This is probably JC punishing me for not going to mass today. Fr. Gale always told me that he works in mysterious ways even when it’s to punish you,” I said out loud while everyone in the bathroom stared. Well, they can fuck themselves.
I splashed my face with cold water yet again, trying to get past the shock, fixed my hair and shirt better and took another deep breath.
“You can get past this, Casey. Remember, you’re charming, charismatic, and oh so cute,” I murmured as I went back to the table. I sat down and smiled pretending that nothing was wrong.
“Are you ok, Casey?” Kate asked with genuine concern.
“Couldn’t be any better,” I told her and smiled as genuinely as possible. She bought it and looked happy.
“Are we ready to order?” Linda asked. Rude bitch!
“No, not yet. I haven’t looked at the menu; too busy chasing after my phone,” I said with humor.
So I opened the menu and scanned it for scallops. Fuck! They don’t have meals with scallops. Oh, wait….fried scallops. Phew.
Damn it! It’s an appetizer. I don’t suppose I could only order an appetizer, right? No, no, that would look too weird. What am I going to do?
“Did you choose, Casey?” Kate asked me in her soft voice.
“Not yet, there are just so many good things to choose from that I can’t make up my mind,” I smiled.
“Let’s see…” Kate said looking over the menu. “You could order the Tilapia, or the Snow Crab legs, or Wild Salmon…”
“They all sound so good I don’t know what to choose,” I interrupted her.
“I have an idea,” Luca said causing all of the attention to shift to him. “Why don’t we order the Seafood Platter for the whole table? It’s basically all of the dishes in one. This way Casey gets to taste everything on the menu,” he suggested with a devilish smile.
I want to strangle him, break his pretty little neck in two and hang him like a pig. He knows I detest seafood. And people say he’s nice and caring! Sweet Luca my ass!!!!
“I think that’s a great idea,” Kate said enthusiastically.
“Works for me,” Linda added.
“Casey, do you agree?” Luca asked with a gentle smile plastered on his face. Dick!!!
“That would be great,” I responded fighting to maintain a smiling face.
The waiter came and asked for our orders. We gave him our order, “Seafood platter for the table”, but I made sure to order a big dish of fried scallops.
“So, do you guys know each other?” Linda asked Luca and me.
“Yeah, Casey and me have been friends for the longest time,” Luca said.
“Yeah, best of friends,” I smiled. Two can play at that game.
“So, how long have you been going out?” Kate asked them, breaking the awkward silence that had formed around the table.
“We only met two weeks ago and started dating,” Linda said as she stroked Luca’s shoulder.
“So how did you guys meet?” I asked while looking Luca in the eye. I was actually really curious to find out.
“I was running on the beach when suddenly I sprained my ankle. I started to fall, but was caught by Luca. As he held me in his arms, our eyes met and there was a spark. We’ve been together ever since and loving the time we have together.”
“That’s something Luca would do. He’s a sucker for romance,” I said seeing the irritation in Luca’s eyes.
But is this girl for real? She wants us to believe that she fell in love with her savior. That they looked into each other’s eyes and fell in love. Either she’s a horrible actress or she’s a complete tool.
“But enough about us, how did you two meet?” Luca asked trying to shift the focus toward us.
I saw a nervous look forming on Kate’s face. I doubt she wanted to tell them that she called me out of the blue and asked me on a date.
“Well, Kate’s a friend of Eric and we met at a party a few weeks ago. A few days ago we got in contact again and decided to go on a date. I’m glad I did because Kate’s a really beautiful girl,” I explained bending the truth a little.
Just then, the waiter came with our appetizers. I ate as many scallops as I could wanting to fill my stomach so that I didn’t have to eat anything from the seafood platter. The appetizers were quickly gone, leaving us to wait for the main course.
While we waited, I talked with Kate about trivial things, while Luca and Linda were flirting with each other.
SLUT, SKANK, WHORE, BITCH.
She was all over Luca, rubbing him, kissing him, giggling at his every comment. It was disgusting! Whenever her hand left the table, I saw Luca make a surprised look. I don’t know why a sweet girl like Kate would ever be friends with that skank? Ok, enough of this.
I took hold of Kate’s hand, it was soft and delicate. I pulled her closer to me and slowly whispered in hear ear.
“Thanks for bringing me here. I’m having a lot of fun,” I told her and gave her a kiss on the check. She blushed profoundly and just looked at me.
“Th…thanks Casey,” she stuttered.
When we turned around, both Linda and Luca were looking at us. Linda had this surprised yet contented look on her face while Luca just looked pissed off. What’s his problem? He’s the one that started it with his make-out session with Linda. As I said, two can play at that game.
The food finally arrived, breaking the awkwardness. It was dish after dish of seafood. There were lobsters tails, crab legs, shrimp, salmon, and even scallops.
We all got ready to eat and started digging in. I quickly headed for the scallops but was not the only one. Luca also decided that he liked scallops and he started eating them. In five minutes, all the scallops were gone.
This sucks! I don’t want to eat anything else. I just sat there looking at the food.
“You don’t like the food, Casey?” Kate asked.
“No, the food’s delicious. I just don’t know what to eat next.”
“Why not try some crab?” Luca suggested pushing the crab legs toward me.
“I really don’t know how to eat them,” I said doing anything to avoid having to eat them.
“Don’t worry, I’ll open them up for you. Then all you’ll have to do is get the meat out.”
After he cracked the legs open and then demonstrated how to eat them, he handed me a plate with the legs. I slowly removed the meat with a fork, brought it into my mouth and started to chew it.
It was horrible!!! I felt the meat stick to my teeth. It had the kind of texture I really despised and the flavor was not appetizing to me either. After I finally got it down my throat, I drank half a glass of water just to get rid of the taste.
“Did you like it?” Luca asked with a grin.
“Yes, it was magnificent, but I should eat the clam chowder before it gets cold,” I said and started eating a bowl of chowder next to me.
Even though the taste of seafood was slightly masked by the creamy taste of the soup, it was still there. I started taking small spoonfuls of it trying to make it last until they were all finished with the rest of the meal. We continued to talk about trivial things while I pretended to have the best chowder in my life. “It’s so good I have to savor it” was my response when they asked me why I was eating it so slowly.
It was the longest most miserable meal in my life. When I finished the last spoonful of chowder, I felt like I had just finished running a marathon. That level of relief. Phew, I managed to play into Luca’s game and actually win. Pretentious prick! Did you actually think that I would give up? Sure it wore me out and made me miserable, but at least he isn’t smiling. In fact, he seems somewhat annoyed that I didn’t break. Well guess what, Luca, I’m tougher than you think.
“Well now that we’re finished, we should go clean up,” Linda said in her bitchy and annoying voice.
We excused ourselves and headed to the restrooms. The restroom was empty, leaving me alone with Luca.
“Asshole,” I said while we washed our hands.
“What did you call me?” He stopped washing and looked at me.
I also stopped and came face to face with him. “Asshole,” I said right to his face.
He grabbed me by my shirt and pulled me closer to him. “Don’t you ever call me that again or else,” he said, his voice filled with anger and hostility as he gripped my shirt tighter.
I pushed his arms away, grabbed hold of his shirt and shoved him up against the wall. “Or else what? I’m not some puny kid you can push around, Luca. I’m not the least bit scared of you. I’ll call you an asshole whenever I fucking feel like it especially when you act like you did today!!!” I told him, my voice filled with rage and anger at this weekend’s events.
With that I let go of him and walked out of the restroom, not allowing him to react. I made my way to our table and thankfully the girls were not there. I fixed my shirt and composed myself for like the third time. The girls and Luca came back about five minutes later. I pretended that nothing had happened; I smiled and even made jokes. Though a little reserved Luca seemed normal, but what do I care.
When we were done, I paid my and Kate’s share of the bill with Luca paying the tip. We said our goodbyes. I shook hands with Luca and even gave the witch a kiss on the cheek. After we left the restaurant and went our separate ways, I drove Kate home and continued my gentleman routine.
“Thanks, Casey. This was the best date I’ve ever had. I had a lot of fun,” she said as we reached her door.
“Me too,” was all I could say.
I gave her a goodbye kiss and went back to my car. I drove home in complete silence, not really wanting to think of anything. When I got home I went to my room without stopping and threw myself into my bed without even changing.
“WORST DATE EVER!!!” I screamed into the pillow. I tossed and turned until I fell asleep.
I slept hard and when I finally opened my eyes, it was still dark. I looked at my alarm clock and it was 5:00 am. It was way too early for me to get up so I Laid my head back down to try and sleep some more but with the events of the previous night I found it impossible to achieve.
I got out of bed and started to stretch. School starts at 8:40 so I’ve got lots of time to waste. What to do? What to do? Might as well go running so I went into my closet to look for my gear. Finally found my shoes under the bed.
I quietly left my house trying to not wake my mom. I started running in really no direction, just ran without thinking about it. Since I had more than two hours to waste I ran to the beach, which was deserted at 5:45 in the morning. I guess people don’t like to run when it’s dark outside.
I ran alongside the beach, watching the wanes crash on the shore. After a while, I stopped and sat down on the beach. I wanted to see the sunrise. So I sat there while the sun rose inhaling the fresh morning air. I sometimes forget how beautiful it is. This is really nice, just sitting here.
“If only I had this peace and tranquility a few years ago, I would have been so grateful for it,” I said looking at the grains of sand.
“Oh well, the past’s the past. I can only be grateful for my life right now…and my car…and my looks,” I said and lay back on the sand and closed my eyes.
“Fuck!!! Fuck! Fuck! I overslept,” I screamed as I woke up and realized that I was in the middle of the beach.
I scrabbled to find my watch. Shit, it’s 8:00. I have forty minutes to get home, get ready, and drive to school which is already a twenty minute drive. I ran as fast as I could home. While I was running I tried to get the sand out of my body. My house seemed like it was miles away on top of a huge mountain.
After like forever, I got home. As soon as I closed the door, I started to strip. Pieces of clothing flew everywhere and my jocks ended half way up the stairs. I ran butt naked into the bathroom and slammed the door shut. I scrubbed my armpits, my ass, my privates, and rinsed my hair. Everything else could wait until I got back from school.
I ran out of the shower without even toweling off. It was 8:15 and I wasn’t even dressed. I slipped and slid down the hardwood floors leading up to my room. I put on the same pair of khakis from yesterday, a t-shirt and my dress shoes. As I left my room I grabbed my dress shirt and tie. I hurried downstairs to the kitchen where my mom was reading one of her magazines.
“Late, Love?” she said not really surprised.
“Yeah, Mom. Don’t worry. I love you. Bye,” I told her while I scrambled to get a strawberry pop tart and V8 out of the drawers. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and stormed out.
I grabbed my backpack out of the living room closet and ran out of my house, got into my car and drove off at full speed. I ate pop tarts with one hand and drove with the other racing down the high way trying to get to Woolsey in time.
I got there at 8:39 and as soon as I got out of my car the bell rang. Shit! Now I’m actually late and I have AP American Lit first period.
I stumbled through the hall putting on my shirt and tie. Guys who didn’t have class first period yelled, “Oh look, Casey is late again” and “Looks like someone’s getting JUG” as I ran down the hall. I don’t want to get detention. Sorry, it’s not “detention”, it’s JUG, Justice Under God.
I finally got to Mr. Allen’s classroom and burst in, probably shouldn’t have done that, which caused everyone in the class to look at me. Shit, now I’m going to get it. Damn it, Casey! You should have just entered like nothing had happened, Mr. Allen wouldn’t have cared.
“Lock, you’re late. Had a hard night of partying yesterday?” he said in his loud voice.
“No I didn’t… I was at the beach…and it got late and…” I said still catching my breath.
“Sit down,” he told me and everyone snickered.
“And by the way, beach bunny, this is a school not a beach party. Fix your shirt and tie,” he added, causing everyone to laugh.
“Everyone quiet and rise for morning prayer,” a voice came over the intercom. After a short prayer with some announcements, it said, “Today’s collection is a continuation of operation Rice Bowl, which serves the children of Africa.”
After it ended, Mr. Allen took out a cardboard box that said “Operation Rice Bowl” and had pictures of children. Crap! I left my wallet home. He’s going to enjoy this.
I was the closest one to him since I was late. He came up to me and started to shake the half full box in front of me.
“I don’t have any with me,” I murmured.
“Why do you hate Africa so much Casey? Why do you hate kids?” he asked.
“I don’t have any,” I responded.
He pointed to a picture of a girl on the bowl and said, “Why do you hate her, Casey? Just look at her, she’s so cute and needs your help. Why do you want her to starve to death?”
“But I don’t have any, really,” I told him. He shook the box in my face a few more times and moved on.
He moved on to the kid next to me and he shook the box saying, “Money for the Rice Bowl.” The kid just shook his head
“Why do you hate Africa, Cardone? Why are you a child hater?” he asked again.
The kid just shook his head and everyone laughed. Mr. Allen shook the box once more and moved on. He repeated his process for whoever didn’t donate.
Class itself was good, well as good as English can be. Luca, who was also in the class, seemed to be quiet. Thank God, no “I think the author means…through his use of the metaphor…” observations that only make me feel dumber.
The day went by as usual, me getting into conversations with friends and having to rush to class. Most of my friends forgot my little outburst during the party since I was acting like my usual self. But I was really hungry and didn’t have any money to buy food with. Oh boy, who’s the poor soul who’ll buy me lunch?
Ok, it is third period and I have French with Connie, I think it’s time for a little snack to calm the hunger.
“Bonjour, Madame,” I said in a happy tone.
“Bonjour, mon cheri,” she said as she hugged me. “How was your weekend, sweetie?”
“It was wonderful,” I told her and then pretended to be a little dizzy.
“Sugar plum, are you ok?” she asked. Even when she was worried she still sounded lively and sweet.
“I’m fine, Connie. I just didn’t have time for breakfast and I’m feeling a little bit dizzy.”
“Sweetie, you need to eat. Let me give you something,” she told me, starting to open one of her drawers. She handed me a coffee mug and a few madeleines.
“Sweetie-pie, go over there, make yourself some coffee and eat some madeleines,” she said pointing to her little kitchen in the back of the room.
She began class and I sat down next to Eric eating my breakfast while I listened to her talk about French pastries.
“Morals much?” Eric whispered to me.
“Umm, nope, not really,” I whispered back causing him to chuckle.
“Mel told me you had a date yesterday. How did it go?”
“Let me think…It was like the time you dated that girl with no teeth who thought she was the world’s best singer. Only worse.”
“Yeah, I’ll tell you later. Besides, I have something to give you. It’s in my backpack.”
“I’m not telling you,”
“Ok, let me ask you this. Is it something that I would like?”
“Shut up, you never like the stuff that I buy you.”
“If I recall correctly, the last gift you gave me was a DVD of Girls Gone Wild for my birthday.”
“Loosen up! You know you enjoyed it…I know little Eric did.”
He blushed profoundly and started to say something but stuttered. I laughed at the sight, causing Connie to look at us.
“Eric honey, are you ok?” she asked him.
“Oui, Madame, I’m ok.”
Connie continued talking about pastries. The bell rang a few minutes later and everyone left in a hurry to get to their next class.
“Au revoir, Madame,” I told her.
“Bye, sweetie, I hope you didn’t trick Eric on purpose.”
“Moi? I wouldn’t do something like that, I’m an angel.”
“All right, honey, if you say so. Now hop along, you don’t want to be late for you next class,” she said with a chuckle.
4th and 5th periods passed faster than I had expected. I had fun and without even knowing it, lunch period was here. Time for me to score a free meal.
“Hey, guys,” I greeted my table. Most of them were on the swim team so this should be easy.
“What are you guys doing in the Caf? We should be celebrating,” I said with enthusiasm. “Come on, let’s go over to Al’s. We can celebrate our win with pizza.” They all seemed to agree. “Everyone’s welcome,” I told the guys that weren’t on the swim team.
So we headed over to Al’s, one of the food places inside the University, which was only a two minute walk. All the guys were pumped up and happy. They were laughing and horsing around.
“You don’t have any money to buy lunch, do you?” Eric asked me while we were walking down.
“How did you know?” I asked him.
“You got Connie to give you food and now you’re throwing a pizza party? Seems pretty obvious, knowing you.”
“Ok, you win. I left my wallet home.”
“So how are you going to get them to make pizzas for twenty guys? There’s always a huge line at Al’s.”
“Don’t worry. I have a plan.”
We got to Al’s and as expected the line was long. All of the people were students from Woolsey wanting to eat something good. So I made my way to the front of the line saying that I had to tell something to a friend of mine. Finally I arrived at the front of the line and got the attention of the kid second in line, a freshman to be precise. Piece of cake.
“Hey, dude, I finally got all of the order together,” I told him. He looked at me with a confused face. Then I got closer to him and whispered, “Go with it, kid, I promise it’ll be worthwhile.” He seemed to agree.
“Ok, buddy, so here’s the order. Seven large cheese pizzas with twenty-one cans of coke,” I told him and his eyes widened. I just heard a whole bunch of grunts and moans from the guys waiting behind us.
“I don’t know…I can’t order all that.” He was nervous.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take your place then. Go wait with the other guys,” I told him and pointed to the group, which had already taken control of a corner. He looked at me with nervousness and agreed to go only after I reassured him with a friendly smile. By the time he had left, it was my turn to order. As I came forward to the counter, I recognized the woman taking the orders. Yes!!! It’s Nana. I’ve known her all my life and she’s a close friend of my mom. Told you this was a piece of cake.
“Casey, what did you do to that boy?” she asked.
“Nothing, Nana, I just got him twenty new friends,” I told her and she chuckled at the idea.
“Whatever you say, hon. So, what will you be having today?”
“Hmmm, I’ll have seven large pizzas and twenty one cans of coke. That should be it.”
“Seven pies??? What do you need that many for?”
“We’re having a little get together, that’s all,” I told her and pointed at the group of guys.
“Hm, you better not make a mess.”
“We won’t, I promise,” I told her. “And Nana, could you please bring the bill after we’re done eating?”
“Sure thing, hon.”
I made my way over to the corner where the guys had put together tables so that they could all sit together.
“Hey guys, having fun?” I asked as I sat down. I was answered with a bunch of yeas.
“So guys, I just wanted to congratulate all of you for your performance during this year’s season. And that includes those who didn’t swim but cheered us on. You guys made swimming more about fun and friendship than about competition. But I also really like to win and you guys gave it your best, making us one of the best teams in the state. So have fun and enjoy yourselves. I can’t wait till next year’s season. It’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait,” I told them all. It was all true, I did have a good time with them.
I turned to my side and tapped the freshman on the shoulder and asked him, “Hey, what’s your name?”
“My name is Casey and thanks for doing me this favor,” I told him and then turned to face the other guys.
“Hey guys! This is Scotty; he’s the one that made this celebration possible. So if you see him pass by, make sure to greet him,” I told them.
“Hey Scotty!” they said and the conversation continued. The pizza arrived ten minutes later along with our drinks. I grabbed about 4 slices and started eating away. I heard the door of Al’s open and in came Luca with his friends.
“Case, I’ll be right back. I’m going to go say hi to Luca,” Eric told me and then went to greet Luca.
So much for his quiet mood, he seemed to be happy again. He greeted Eric and they started talking and laughing. Luca seemed to be relaxed and enjoying himself. I rarely get to see this side of him. He seems……outgoing and charismatic. I can’t believe that I just said that. He’s an asshole, he made me eat crab! But I just can’t seem to look away. His smile is so contagious that now I’m smiling too.
I finally managed to look away only to look at the table. The pizza was ¾ eaten. Shit! I have to get away now or I’m going to have to pay for the food.
“Shit, guys I have to go now. I have to finish a test and I don’t want to be late. So have fun without me.” I told them as I got up and left. I quickly made my way to where Luca and Eric were STILL talking to each other. I walked next to Eric and placed my arm on his shoulder.
“Eric, we have to go now. Nana’s going to bring the check over to the table in five minutes. So you can either stay and pay or come with me.”
“You’re leaving without paying???” Eric asked and Luca just chuckled.
“Well of course I’m leaving without paying. What am I supposed to pay with, imaginary money? Now let’s go!” I told him.
“Ok, ok, ok I’ll go. I just hope they don’t find out what we’re doing.”
“Like they’re smart enough to. They’ll just think we had to go finish our test and that will be the end of that. Besides there’s like twenty guys there, I doubt they’ll have trouble paying the bill.”
“Ok! I’ll go,” he said. “Luca, I’ll talk to you later.”
“Bye, Eric,” Luca said as we walked out of the restaurant.
“Phew, mission complete,” I said once we were back at Woolsey, which made Eric laugh.
“What are you laughing at?” I asked trying not to succumb to laughter.
“You….You’re… too much sometimes…Calling this…a mission.” He tried to say but his speech was distorted by laughter.
“Whatever. Now hurry up and follow me up to my locker. I have something to show you.”
We went up to the second floor directly to my locker. I opened my locker and when I did my back-pack along with a few books feel to the floor. Now I remember, after first period I rushed to my locker and stuffed all my things into it. Sigh. “Now I have to pick it up.” I thought to myself. I grabbed the books on the floor and stuffed them back into my locker. I grabbed my backpack and stood up to face Eric “It should be in here,” I said as I rummaged through my back pack, “I remember I put it in here right after I bought so that I wouldn’t forget….Here it is!” I took the folded t-shirt out.
“A t-shirt?…good, it’s something that I’ll actually use.” He sounded relieved.
“Yep, you can wear this whenever you feel like it,” I said with innocence and handed him the t-shirt. He opened it up to see it and as soon as he saw the lettering his mouth dropped open.
“CASEY!!! What is this?”
“It’s a shirt that says you like pussies,” I said like it wasn’t a big deal.
“How am I supposed to wear this? People are going to think I’m a pervert.”
“Why would they? It says you like cats, so what? I like dogs; does that make me a pervert?”
“Casey! You know what I mean! I can’t wear this in public.”
“Fine, just wear it while you’re home. I’m sure your mom won’t think anything of it,” I managed to say before I started laughing.
“Jerk,” he said but I could see that he was smiling, “Thanks for the gift, even though you know I won’t wear it.”
“That’s ok, Eric, the look on your face was worth it,” I said, this time laughing. He punched me in the arm and also laughed.
“Let’s get to class. The bell’s about to ring,” he said.
I closed my locker and we headed off to class. Since we had the same class together we could talk while we walked there. We arrived just as the bell rang. Then halfway through class we heard a voice on the intercom.
“Casey Lock and Lucas St. Knit, please report to the athletics’ office,” it said.
Huh, the athletics’ office? It’s probably an award…yay! I mean I did win the meet for Woolsey, so they should give me an award, right? Either way, this is definitely going to be good.
I excused myself from class and headed down to the office. When I stepped in Luca was already sitting there. I looked at him and asked him what was going on. He just shrugged his shoulders. I was told by the secretary to sit down and wait for Mr. Ferris and I did.
“Good to see you boys,” Mr. Ferris greeted us as he came in.
“Hello, Mr. Ferris,” we said as we shook hands with him.
“Boys, I called you down here because I have something special to talk to you about,” he said. As I thought, I’m getting an award.
“You two are the best athletes that Woolsey has seen in a while. Not only do you have natural talent, but you show devotion, teamwork, and sportsmanship.” Scratch that, I am definitely getting an award. I could just see the plaque, “Casey Lock, outstanding athlete and student.” This is going to be awesome.
“I have a favor to ask the two of you.” What, a favor? There’s a favor involved in getting an award? Sigh. Now I’m going to have to work for it.
“Does that come before or after the award?” Luca asked. Luca, Luca, Luca, you’re so egotistic.
“What award?” Mr. Ferris asked.
“Isn’t that why you called us down here? To give us an award recognizing our athleticism?” I asked.
“No boys, what I called you for is even better than an award,” he said.
Huh…wonder what could be better than an award? Maybe a permanent picture in Woolsey’s Hall of Fame!!!! No, no, that’s like an award. What could it be?
“What would be better than an award?” I asked puzzled.
“How would you boys like to spend the whole summer together?” He said with enthusiasm in his voice.
Luca and I turned to each other with a look of terror in our eyes!
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