“Will swallows and looks at Patrick with such a soft expression that it makes Patrick’s insides ache. ‘You really care about me.'”
In a word: Read the thing! Will and Patrick celebrate their first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years as newlyweds and it’s about as awkward as you’d expect. Also funny, and heartwarming, and then heartbreaking, because pining. Both Will and Patrick can feel their relationship with each other changing, though they aren’t really sure what to do about it. We finally meet Will’s three younger siblings, though they don’t get much screen time they are a lot of fun (and the oldest takes absolutely no shit from their mother, it’s great). Ryan shows up and continues to be infuriating, but it seems like Will is finally ready to get over him. This part definitely marks a turning point in the boys’ relationship and it introduces more seriousness than it does laughs, but I assure you that Patrick is still a delight to read.
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Trigger Warning: This book contains alcoholism, needle use, emotional abuse, anxiety/panic attacks, and mentions of child abuse/neglect.
The Series: Part 3 of 6 of Wake Up Married, in which Will and Patrick Do the Holidays… And Then Each Other (But Don’t Discuss Their Feelings, Because Of Course).
The Couple: And so begins the pining (mostly on Patrick’s end). We’re starting to see some changes in Will and Patrick, and their relationship, in Part 3. They’re starting to find that they actually enjoy spending time with each other and are becoming friends (friends who want to fuck each other senseless, but friends nonetheless). They both have positive effects on the other, and it becomes more obvious as the story progresses. Patrick is becoming more emotional and open with the way he dotes on Will and cares for him. Not to say that he wasn’t always like that in some way (you can tell by his relationship with Dinah and her foster children and how he takes care of them from afar), but he’s starting to express it more. He certainly gets enough practice at it when he has to keep building up Will’s self-esteem everytime either Ryan or Will’s mother and uncle take shots at it. Patrick is also starting to open up a bit about his traumatic past, he’s not all the way there yet, but he’s getting there. He’s still an asshole though, but he’s a loveable one, may he never change. For his part, Will seems to be finally getting over Ryan (good riddance). Ever since he woke up married to Patrick he’s been adamant that he’s deeply in love with Ryan and the end goal of this whole situation was to eventually reunite with Ryan and ride off into the sunset (until the next time Ryan threw a tantrum, I guess). But as time goes on and he spends more time with Patrick he slowly comes to realize that his fake (haha) relationship is more emotionally fulfilling than his real one with Ryan had ever been, even without sex being a factor. Things eventually come to a head at the New Year’s party when Ryan punches Patrick. Will finally realizes that Ryan isn’t the man he once fell in love with (if that man ever even existed) and that it’s time to move on and that he deserves better.
The Family: This is the part in which we finally meet Will’s younger half-siblings: Caitlin (who’s 16, I think), Olivia (early teens), and Connor (who’s around six or seven). They don’t show up often, but they’re a delight when they do. Will is pretty close with his siblings so it’s important to him they get along well with Patrick. They do; Patrick is really good with kids, they love him. Connor is adorable, Olivia is a typical tween (apparently, she’s the one with the least amount of screen time), and Caitlin is awesome and absolutely calls her mother out on her shit, it’s great. We also meet Grandma Betty, Will’s maternal grandmother. She’s a sweet woman, and totally in love with Patrick (she sneaks Patrick treats so he obviously thinks she’s awesome, bottomless pit that he is). Kimberly and Kevin are there, of course, and not making themselves any less unlikeable. Kimberly is still a bitch and still hating Patrick and generally being a bad mother (and person, I suppose) all around, preparing to parade yet another boyfriend into her children’s lives (Caitlin threatens to revolt, she’s awesome). And from scenes with Kevin and dialogue between Patrick and the children we learn about this weird homophobic thing these people have going on (not the children so much, as Kimberly and Kevin). So, backstory, Kevin had a partner named Roy who died of AIDS years before the story starts (when Will was young I think). Roy and Kevin had been together for years, but Roy was never really faithful to Kevin and that’s basically how he contracted the virus (which, yeah, the more sexual partners the bigger the chance you’ll eventually come upon someone who’s infected and if this took place in the 80s/90s it makes sense considering). All this led Kevin and Kimberly to basically use Roy as a cautionary tale for being a gay adult (unintentionally, I think) so that’s one of the reasons they initially freaked out when they learned about Patrick. That’s probably also why they’re so hung up on the idea of Will getting back with Ryan, they’re weirdly obsessed with monogamy (but only for gay couples, apparently, because Kimberly doesn’t seem to know how to do monogamy). This pisses me off for a few reasons. For one thing they imply that gay people who cheat on their partners will eventually get AIDS and die; and for another thing I think they assume automatically that it’ll be Will who strays and gets sick even though It’s Ryan that’s left him many times before. It’s really weird how Ryan and Will’s relationship kinda mirror’s Roy and Kevin’s, with Ryan and Roy constantly leaving and coming back (though I don’t know if Ryan was necessarily unfaithful to Will aside from with Hartley). Kimberly and Kevin pretty much worship the ground Ryan walks on, to the point where they ignore all his flaws and emotionally abusive asshattery (although Kimberly and Kevin are kinda emotionally abusive towards Will themselves, so maybe they unconsciously agree, or something). I still really don’t like them. Oh, OH! ALSO! They actually try to defend Ryan after he punches Patrick in the face! Saying that Will should still take him back! Fuck these two, seriously.
The Ex: HO-kay, so, Ryan shows up a few times in this part. He comes for Christmas at Will’s grandmother’s house and tears down Will some more (because he’s a douche). It’s really all stuff we’ve seen before: Ryan is an emotionally abusive dickweed (thanks Patrick) and he bullies Will and makes him sad. Although the more times he does this, the more Patrick comes to comfort Will and remind him what a good man he actually is and that Ryan can go fuck off. There’s also Ryan’s attitude towards sex that really gets on my nerves. I really don’t know if Ryan is sex-repulsed asexual (that’s the theory I’m going with), and if he is then that’s fully legit and he shouldn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to in that regard, but that doesn’t give him the right to call Will disgusting and perverted for enjoying sex. And it’s apparently not only sex that Ryan denies Will (which is well within his rights, but not the way he does it), he and Will haven’t been intimate at all for a while now (like for cuddling and things), which makes me think that Ryan just enjoys hurting Will and is using his dislike of sex as an excuse. What a prick. But the one major thing that happens concerning Ryan takes place at the New Year’s Eve party at the Tallgrass Hotel. Will and Patrick are there, Will still smarting from Ryan’s appearance at Christmas, when they cross paths with Ryan and Hartley. Good news: Hartley’s going to college and Ryan’s moving away with him. Bad news: Ryan’s a smug prick. He gloats about Hartley’s achievements and how good things are with them, just to hurt Will. Patrick is there, of course, and has to put his two cents in (nothing that Ryan doesn’t deserve). And then the whole thing ends with Ryan punching Patrick in the face. Ryan is an awful human being, folks, but we all knew that. This seems to be a wakeup call for Will and he finally realizes how bad Ryan is for him and resolves to get over him for good. Even though we all know that Ryan is a giant bag of dicks, the punch still comes out of nowhere to everyone except for Will (apparently Ryan punched someone out who he thought was dating Will during a break when they were in college), though even he’s a little surprised. I certainly didn’t see it coming, and I read this before. I really think that Ryan is jealous of Patrick, and he’s finally realized that Will is moving on and he won’t be getting him back and that he won’t be able to keep hurting him for much longer. I think he pretty much lives to cause Will pain and now that he soon won’t be able to anymore he’s getting desperate.
The Side Characters: This part was mostly focused on Will and Patrick interacting with Will’s family, so we don’t see much of any side characters (aside from Ryan and the family, of course). We mainly see Jenny and Dylan when Will happens upon them and Patrick in the coffee shop. Jenny is scheduled to donate a kidney to her ex-boyfriend’s uncle and is looking to Patrick for support (she gets it, being a member of the small circle of people Patrick genuinely cares for). Don Knife and Andy Sicko have cameos, as does Will’s sponsor Owen. We learn more about Dinah (mentioned in the last part), who turns out to be Patrick’s foster mother and the closest thing to family he’s got. Hartley shows up, usually whenever Ryan’s around, and he’s an okay guy. I think he’s starting to catch on to Ryan’s abusive ways, whether that helps him or not will come up again in later parts.
The Sex: FINALLY! Really though. There’s been sexual tension since the first part, and it got really bad in the second part. Something finally gives in the third part (thank fuck). It’s mostly been Will that’s put the brakes on all things sexual, and once he finally gets over his hangups (which mostly have to do with Ryan and his family’s homophobic views) he’s ready to go. Patrick’s been willing the whole time, so Will gets no arguments from him. It’s a beautiful thing. We missed the events of the wedding night (and I’m not entirely sure if either of the boys even remember all of it), so this was like a do-over. I have no complaints about the sex scenes (there are a few), and both Will and Patrick certainly enjoyed them. This isn’t a resolution of their feelings for each other, by any means, but it is a way for them to become even closer (and complicate things further, natch).
The Writing: I’m pretty much going to be saying the same thing about the writing in all these parts: it’s awesome. Completely solid, I have no complaints. And I laugh every time (I will love Patrick forever).
[Will & Patrick Do the Holidays was published November 23, 2015, by Leta Blake Books and is only available as an ebook]