“Most things in life are and we just muddle on through. Don’t let go of something just because it didn’t come in the package you expected.”
In a word: Read the thing! This is the heartbreaking and then heartwarming conclusion to the Wake Up Married series. Will and Patrick have come a long way since the night they got drunk married in Vegas. They’ve both changed as people and basically had their whole worldviews changed. Most of the series has been about these two men trying to figure out their feelings for one another. They’ve both figured it out by now, but that doesn’t mean things are any easier. Patrick is completely sure that Will is the only one for him, there’s no question in his mind. Will isn’t so sure; he knows he loves Patrick now, but are his feelings genuine, or a product of their situation? Unfortunately, to find that out he must do something that causes them both pain, because sometimes it has to hurt before it can get better. Emotions are running high and it seems that everyone has something to say. This series may have started out silly as all hell, but it’s become completely serious now. (Mostly.)
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Trigger Warning: This book contains needle use, alcoholism, and an implied abusive relationship.
The Series: Part 6 of 6, the conclusion of the Wake Up Married series, in which we must have the sad before we have the happy.
The Couple: Boys, BOYS! Seriously, these two broke my heart in this part. We open with Nonna informing Will that divorce is now a real possibility for them. This is what both men have been hoping for since they woke up married, however their feelings have definitely changed since then. Patrick is firm in his belief that he is definitely 100% in love with Will, there’s no question in his mind that he wants to move forward into a real romantic relationship with him. Will, on the other hand, has a few reservations. He’s worried that, because their relationship technically did start with coercion, and that this relationship is the first emotionally healthy romance he’s ever had, that it’s possible that his feelings for Patrick are due to the circumstances of them being pushed together and the novelty of being genuinely wanted by someone. It’s a valid point, one that Patrick disagrees with, but still valid. Will decides that the two of them should go forward with the divorce and go through a trial separation to find out if their feelings are actually real and not just a product of their predicament. Of course, he only brings it up after the SADDEST SEX SCENE I’VE EVER READ!! Seriously, I’ve never before read something that was both hot and heartbreaking at the same time. It was both awful and wonderful; I teared up (so did Patrick). The separation itself is just heart wrenching, both men are absolutely miserable apart, very obviously miserable. Will moves back in with his mother and spends most of his time moping. Patrick stays at the Tallgrass and pretends that Will is on a vacation in Europe and counting down the time to their reunion to the minute. Will initially proposes a month away from each other, but he thankfully pulls his head out of his arse after only a week and follows Patrick to Alabama (in full rom-com style, I’m told) for a tearful then sexy makeup. These two have come a long way since Part 1 and, though Will’s still a goody-goody and Patrick’s still an asshole, they’ve both changed deeply and become better versions of themselves together. Will’s more confident and has more self-control, and Patrick is more open with his emotions and in the way he shows his affection. Their story has come to a happy conclusion, and I’ll miss reading about them and their shenanigans.
The Family: Dinah finally makes an appearance (beyond text messages and phone calls) in this part. This woman is a saint. She’s Patrick’s foster mother and she truly loves Patrick as if he were her own, and Patrick also loves her in return. Their relationship is a beautiful thing. Dinah lives in Mobile, Alabama, and Patrick was living in Atlanta before he married Will and went to South Dakota, so I don’t imagine that he and Dinah see each other all that often. I think Patrick mentions in passing at some point that he doesn’t text or call her as much as he probably should. Dinah’s been Patrick’s foster mother since he was 15, I think, and he was her first foster child and they have quite the bond. Patrick is miserable while he and Will take a break from each other, and he initially turns to Jenny for comfort. Then a young patient he was close to (she reminded him of Will and Dinah) dies and Patrick feels even worse. He decides to turn to the one person who is always there for him, back home, to Dinah, his mother. And Dinah welcomes Patrick back with open arms. I just really loved the scenes with Dinah in them; you can really tell that she thinks of Patrick as her son and just how highly she thinks of him and how much the two of them love each other. There’s also a sweet scene between Kimberly and Will where Kimberly redeems herself in my eyes by realizing just how happy Patrick makes Will, and how much he was suffering when he was with Ryan. Kimberly and Patrick will probably never be friends, but it’s obvious that they both love Will and want what’s best for him.
The Friends: I have a hard time trying to figure out how to feel about Owen. He’s Will’s AA sponsor and business partner, and I guess they’ve been friends for a while… but their relationship is a bit weird. I’m not entirely sure what an AA sponsor is supposed to do exactly, beyond helping with sobriety, but Owen doesn’t strike me as a very good one. Will’s been relapsing for years while he was with Ryan, which I felt was mostly due to emotional abuse and a lack of a support system. Where was Owen for all that? Then in this part he puts it into Will’s head that he may be replacing his addiction to alcohol with an addiction to sex (with Patrick). It’s probably a legit concern in Owen’s mind because he doesn’t know everything that goes on in Will’s life, but the way he brings it up makes it seem like he’s a bit bitter that Will isn’t keeping him in the loop and that Patrick has succeeded with Will’s sobriety where Owen hasn’t. I dunno. Maybe I’m just overthinking it? But that’s the impression I got. Especially when compared to Jenny and Jax’s reaction to Will and Patrick. Jenny becomes Patrick’s shoulder to cry on while he and Will are on break, and she does a good job at comforting him. They really have become close over the months Patrick has been living in Healing. Jenny has a few choice words for Will (she is absolutely on Patrick’s side for everything), but it’s Jax who really helps him put things in perspective. Will has never been in a normal romantic relationship, so Jax mentioning it is the first time he ever hears that the ‘honeymoon’ period of a new relationship, where sex is a thing that happens often, is a normal relationship stage that most people go through (and not, as Owen intimated, the beginnings of a sex addiction). Jax and Will aren’t particularly close, but Jax is apparently one of the few people that Will can consider a friend that he can share relationship advice with (the conversation originally started because Will offered to listen to Jax’s confusion about his relationship with Jenny).
The Ex: Ryan wasn’t in Part 5, I didn’t miss him. He’s back here for a brief scene and this is probably the worst we’ve (and Will’s) seen him. He and Hartley had moved out of town at the end of Part 4 and they’re only back now for a brief visit. I’m not entirely sure how long they’ve been gone, I think a month or two. Which doesn’t sound like a long enough time for a relationship to completely go tits up, but that’s what seems to have happened. You kinda want to feel vindicated on Will’s behalf that his shitty ex is now in a shitty relationship, but you don’t. Not really. Ryan got most of his enjoyment out of tearing down Will, and now that Will is no longer putting up with his shit it seems that he’s changed his target. Hartley was a pretty cocky, confident young man before he left with Ryan. The Hartley that Will sees now is a broken man, suffering through the same abuse that Will had been living with before he finally broke away. It’s depressing. We didn’t see all that much of Hartley, and we don’t know a lot about him, but he was a good enough guy. He definitely doesn’t deserve whatever it is that Ryan is doing to him. We only get a taste of what might be going on behind closed doors, and we can only speculate what horrors are going on that we aren’t seeing. Ryan’s had Hartley alone for a month or two in an unfamiliar place where they only have each other to rely on; we can only guess as to the extremes of Hartley’s suffering (and he’s definitely suffering). Ryan’s life looks like it’s falling apart, but we can’t really point and laugh about the bully getting his just desserts because he’s pulling a completely innocent man down with him. It’s horrifying.
The Sex: No kink in this part; we seem to have traded that in for feels because OH GOD THE EMOTION. There are a few sex scenes in this part, two of which are especially noteworthy. The first one is when Will and Patrick make love which is some of the most heartbreaking fucking I’ve ever read. Divorce is finally possible and Will, unaware of Patrick’s true feelings, thinks that this might be the last chance he’ll have to be intimate with Patrick. Patrick can tell that something is wrong and that the sex is different and that this time Means Something and he has a hard time controlling his emotions. This is sad, it’s some of the most gentle and loving sex these two have had, but that’s all overshadowed by the possibility that it may be their last time and that hearts are soon going to be breaking all over the place. This is also when Patrick finally gives into his feelings and tells Will exactly how he feels about him only to have it, to him, blow up in his face. The second notable scene is the reunion/makeup sex. In a word: rough. Also I’m not entirely sure the positions they contort themselves into are all that realistic, or safe (rugburn like whoa). This scene is fast, desperate fucking by two men who are very much happy to be back together after some time apart. Also the first time ever they have anal sex without a condom, a first time thing for both of them, it turns out (they both wholeheartedly approve). This is them coming together as a true, committed couple, everything out in the open and all on the same page.
The Writing: This part hurt me, like SO MUCH SAD! This part is probably the saddest part in the entire series and it almost had me in tears. It was heartbreaking! I think this is some of the best writing in the whole series, definitely the most emotional. You will laugh, you will cry, you will go ‘aww’, and then you will be sad that it’s all over and we won’t get to see anymore of Will and Patrick’s shenanigans. Will and Patrick are two amazingly written characters and I’m really sad to have to say goodbye to them.
[Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending was published April 15, 2016, by Leta Blake Books, it is only available as an ebook]