Alfie and Jam have always been best friends and they grew up together, along with Jam’s younger brother, Benji. Benji was three years younger and even though Alfie was always protective of Benji, the age difference was a barrier between them, along with him being Jam’s younger brother. When it all got too much, Alfie pulled away from the brothers and concentrated on his new job. But, when he is unexpectedly fired, Alfie shows up at Jam’s birthday party drunk. Alfie doesn’t hold his liquor well and all the thoughts he thinks are in his head are really spoken aloud.
Benji has been in love with Alfie forever, but he knows that Alfie still sees him as a little kid. But, at almost nineteen, Benji is all grown up now, and all Alfie has to do is let Benji know what he wants.
A Suki Fleet book of any length is truly an indulgence. Her writing fits me perfectly and no matter what length the piece is, I am captivated by the first page. The story starts in Alfie’s first-person point of view and it’s the exceptional writing that gets us to immediately understand Alfie. As much as Alfie doesn’t want people to see everything that he wants to keep private, being in his head allows us to see the world through his eyes. Alfie has never had a relationship with a man before, but that is of no issue here as Benji is the one that Alfie wants; but Alfie does not know how to move their relationship from friends and Alfie also feels terrible for not having been around for the past year.
Even though the friendship between Alfie and Benji is already established, the raw and honest emotions of their bond carry through. Their feelings are soft and sweet, but they both carry pain that is just below the surface. They are in love with each other. They just have to let each other know. This is a perfectly paced short story and is exactly how a story of this length should be written. While I wasn’t ready for the story to end, the men are left in their own perfect place which makes this short story a perfect choice as well.
Note: This story was first published in the charity anthology Hot Summer Nights in June 2019