“Nobody had ever known every inch of Jason’s body the way that Ben did.”
In a word: Read the thing. I absolutely hate that this is so short. This is definitely something that could easily be part of a much larger story. It’s a glimpse into the lives of Jason and Ben at a time where they’ve reached a turning point in their relationship. These two men have been fuckbuddies for the past five months and now Jason is struggling with the fact that he wants more. This story is emotionally intense, and quite angsty, as we follow Jason as he struggles with his wants and desires and whether or not he should tell Ben about them. You really come to feel for Jason as you read his internal anguish and about how ashamed he feels that he’s fallen so hard for someone who might not reciprocate those feelings. I was actually pretty worried about how this one was gonna turn out because we don’t see anything from Ben’s point of view, so he’s a bit of a wildcard, we don’t know for sure how he really feels about Jason. The emotions and suspense are high in this one, not really any humour this time, but this is definitely another great read from Lisa Henry.
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Series: This story is part of M/M Romance Group’s Don’t Read in the Closet event of 2013, Love Has No Boundaries. Members of the group (from the Goodreads website) submitted prompts based on photos and authors in the group chose a prompt and photo and wrote a short story. As far as I can tell, the stories are all standalone shorts from many different authors.
The Couple: We don’t really get to know all that much about our two leads, Jason and Ben. We do eventually find out that Jason is a university student, studying to become a teacher, and that he’s living at home with his parents and younger brother while he’s at school. Ben lives in his own apartment and is a diplomat of some sort. Also we don’t know how old either of them is, Jason is still in university so I assume that he’s probably in his early twenties; I have no idea about Ben. I don’t actually have a problem with not really getting to know our characters (this time) because this story is solely contained to one event in their relationship. Jason and Ben have known each other five months when the story starts, and they’ve been having sex (or doing scenes, I guess, they’re into BDSM) with each other on a weekly basis for just as long. The main conflict of the story comes from the fact that Ben initially said, when they started sleeping together, that he doesn’t do relationships, so they would just be friends with benefits. That was fine with Jason at first, but since then he’s developed some serious feelings for Ben. Jason is completely head over heels in love with Ben, and he feels that if he tells him this it’ll ruin their arrangement. He’d rather have Ben for their allotted time each week than not at all. The problem with that is that Jason wants so much more and it just hurts him so much every time he has to leave Ben. It’s getting to the point where he’s suffering emotionally, and people are starting to notice. Like it genuinely seems to be fucking him up inside. So he knows that he can’t go on like this; he has to make a choice. And the scene where he goes to tell Ben the truth had me right on edge because we don’t get to see what’s going on in Ben’s mind, so there’s a slight possibility that Jason will lose everything here. This one may be short, but goddamn is it intense.
The Side Character: There’s only one other character in this story aside from Jason and Ben, and that would be Jason’s younger brother, Dylan. Dylan, like Jason, still lives at home and is in university; only he’s studying to become a lawyer instead of a teacher. Dylan seems a lot more easygoing and relaxed than Jason does, though, to be fair, we’re only getting a short glimpse into their lives. We do know he probably doesn’t take too much in life seriously since the possibility of getting arrested for smoking pot doesn’t seem to phase him much (an arrest record makes you ineligible to be a lawyer), although he may have been coming off a high when Jason mentions this. Anyway. I do like Jason and Dylan’s relationship. They act like brothers, both annoyed by each other and there for each other. Dylan doesn’t understand Jason’s relationship with Ben, but he is willing to lend a listening ear and impart advice. He makes it clear that he’s on Jason’s side, no matter what. He’s a good guy, in short.
The Sex: Falling Away opens with a sex scene between Jason and Ben. It’s not their first, and it’s not particularly eventful (for them) but it is the last sex Jason has with Ben before he decides that enough is enough and he wants more out of their relationship. This short was inspired partly by a photo of a young man tied to a table, and that’s what we get here. Jason is the sub in this relationship, and this particular scene has him cuffed to a table and wearing nipple clamps while Ben fucks him. The point of this scene is not the sex itself, but how it makes Jason feel. The sex is intense, but Jason’s feelings are even more so as he deals with both longing and shame and the constant need to just have more of Ben. There are descriptions of some other sex Ben and Jason have engaged in, but those descriptions tend to be less about two men getting off together and more about Jason’s feelings. I suppose they’re hot to read, but that’s not really their main purpose here.
The Writing: The writing in this was great. So much emotion in so few words. This one isn’t lighthearted much at all, it’s not exactly dark, but it is pretty heavy. There’s just so much emotion here, and it’s so easy to feel for Jason and what he’s going through. It’s also pretty suspenseful because you have no idea which way this is going to go, and we aren’t left with any clues. Just… it’s awesome, go read it.
[Falling Away was published June 12, 2013, by M/M Romance Group @ goodreads, it is available only as an ebook]