“It had been over in a matter of minutes – one conversation to end them all, as it were – but we’d had years of history before he’d decided it was over. The fact was, we were in love.”
In a word: Read the thing. This one gave me feels. Paul and Cory were high school sweethearts and planning on being together for the long haul; until Cory chose his fraternity over Paul when they were freshmen. The story starts about a year and a half after that, with Paul and Cory suddenly meeting again for the first time since they parted ways. It’s told from Paul’s first-person point of view so we really get to know just how much he was hurt by Cory’s actions and what it means to him to see him again. Paul really isn’t as over Cory as he’d like to be and now he struggles with the choice of whether to give Cory another chance or to just let him go. I felt so bad for Paul while I was reading this, especially when Cory first appears because he’s a bit of an asshole when he shows up. And that’s even before we really find out what the boys were to each other and what really happened that caused Paul and Cory to separate. I didn’t feel like things were completely resolved by the end (I never really warmed up to Cory), but it’s definitely a hopeful ending.
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Series: This novella is part of a series called Campus Cravings. It’s a series of short stories and novellas written by different authors about different characters in a college setting. The stories are all unrelated except for the fact that they all take place at the same college campus.
The Couple: Paul Switzer is our narrator. He’s a second-year college student and pizza delivery boy. He makes a delivery to his former frat house one otherwise uneventful night and suddenly finds himself face to face with his ex-boyfriend Cory Bowman. Paul and Cory have been best friends since they met in the fourth grade, going on to start dating in high school. They were each other’s first and only and they even enrolled in the same college so that they could stay together. So it completely blindsides Paul when Cory chooses the frat he wants to join over Paul after a hazing goes wrong and puts a pledge in the hospital. Paul leaves the frat and he and Cory don’t see each other for over 18 months. I really didn’t like Cory when he was first introduced, and I don’t think I ever really warmed up to him. Paul seems like a nice enough guy doing his best to get himself through college in one piece. We’re essentially inside his head so we get front row seats to all his thoughts and feelings. We actually don’t get that level of closeness with Cory; all we really know of him comes from Paul and his memories. Based on that, Cory doesn’t really seem like much of a catch. Paul’s memories from their teenage years made me ship them both together as teenagers (I loved the flashback scene), but then I see what Cory is like as an adult and I can’t help but think that Paul deserves better. Cory strikes me as someone who mostly only thinks of himself. I’m not sure what changed in the time between the flashback and joining the frat, but Cory definitely became more self-centered. He’s still pretty self-centered when he meets up with Paul again after their separation; thinking only of himself and his feelings and not really taking responsibility for the things he said and did. He does redeem himself a bit at the end and Paul seems happy enough to have him back, but Cory seems to have changed his tune almost out of nowhere and I don’t really trust it. I got really attached to Paul though, so I hope it all turns out okay.
The Flashback: This was absolutely my favourite part of the story. This part starts halfway through the story; while Paul is thinking back on his relationship with Cory. It kinda starts out of nowhere, but it is relevant and it’s so adorable that I didn’t even care about the interruption. It details a bit of Paul and Cory’s childhood and how they met and then eventually fell in love, but most of the focus is on the night of their senior prom when they lost their virginity to each other. It was sweet and so believable that these two boys were so in love and it was all just extremely genuine. It was also a bit bittersweet because the boys in the present day, about two or years after that prom night, are currently apart. Seeing a glimpse of how they were together makes you understand better exactly what Paul has lost and you really just hope that he can find happiness again.
The Sex: There are three sex scenes in this story, all between Paul and Cory. The first one happens in the flashback, the night of the senior prom when Paul and Cory have anal sex for the first time. This one is my favourite if only for the emotions and the fact that they don’t get it right on the first go. It’s a bit cliché, but the emotions worked. The second scene is a complete emotional turnaround and takes place a few days after Paul and Cory run into each other at the frat house for the first time in more than a year. This one just makes me sad. Cory has come to Paul’s dorm room to see if there’s any chance that they can get back together. And then sex happens (because of course). While Cory seems into it, Paul definitely isn’t. They really haven’t resolved anything, and that makes it hard for him to actually get into things. It’s sad for Paul because he just wants things to be like they were before, and he doesn’t know if they ever will be. It’s actually a really uncomfortable scene to read, which I imagine was totally intentional because of Paul’s emotional turmoil and whatnot. The final scene is when, of course, Paul and Cory do actually get back together. That one’s a much happier one that promises a better future for them as a couple.
The Writing: If this story were actually badly written I definitely wouldn’t like it as much. What I love best about it is the emotional ride Paul goes through, and it’s all very well-written. I still think Cory’s a complete douche, but if he does end up truly changing his tune then I’m happy for them. I would’ve preferred a more definite happy ending (the ending is happy, but it’s more HFN than HEA), but that probably wouldn’t have fit well with the direction the story was going.
[Did Somebody Order a Pizza? was published January 31, 2015, by the author, it is available only as an ebook]