This post is part of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, wherein participants blog throughout the month according to the letters of the alphabet. For more on the challenge, click here.
Note: If anyone wondered, I tagged the blog as having adult content due to a few factors: one, strong language; two, the possibility that excerpts I post may have graphic descriptions of sex or violence and therefore unappealing to some readers. Never fear, though, I’ll be sure to warn y’all if a post of that nature comes up! In the meantime, feel free to read on!
Cheers and happy ABC’ing,
You may recall that I mentioned that Gage, one of the leads in H(A)UNTED, is an ex-con. Well, he is, but all things considered, he could have done much worse. I’m not telling you what he did or why he did it, but I’ll tell you this: while he was incarcerated in a maximum security prison, he was only incarcerated for two years. He went inside as an eighteen-year-old after being tried as an adult, though the crime he was convicted of was committed when he was seventeen.
By the time he got out, his father had died of a heart attack, and his mother had climbed into the bottom of a bottle to comfort herself on the loss of her husband—and, Gage thinks, of her son. She doesn’t seem to have realized, in his opinion, that he came back, but she’s certainly aware that her husband never will.
The fact remains that for two years, Gage’s freedom was taken away from him. His life ran on somebody else’s schedule, his actions were permitted to happen by someone else. For that reason, Gage is different from the other characters in this book. He has learned to hide things, to put his feelings aside and do what needs to be done to make life bearable. Darcy and Noah don’t understand that about him. Nobody does. Noah, for example, is often hesitant in discussing himself, but is comfortable talking about his family to people in town who know them. Gage, on the other hand, is at his most uncomfortable when dealing with a) his own feelings or b) his family life. As an example, here he is dealing with Darcy’s (rather intimidating) grandmother:
“What’s your name?”
“And who are your parents, Gage Holloway?” Gramma presses.
He glances to me for the barest instant. I wince and make a face that I hope conveys “sorry.” “Anna DiMelo and Malcolm Holloway.” He’s tense, but he’s not doing a bad job of hiding it. If I know my grandmother at all, though, she’ll wiggle it up to the surface.
“What do they do for a living?”
Gage’s face tightens up, his jaw firming and his lips pressing together. “My father… was a mechanic. He died fifteen years ago. I’ve supported my mother since.”
“Commendable of you.” Gramma’s not intimidated. “Died young, your father?”
A muscle jumps in Gage’s cheek. “He was forty-nine. Heart condition.”
“That’s a damn shame.” For the first time I can see Gramma showing sympathy in the tilt of her chin and the softening of her expression. “I’m sorry for it. Did he teach you to be a good man?”
Gage’s hands curl into white-knuckled fists at his sides, then let go. I wonder how many of my family members noticed. Probably more than he would like. “He tried.”
“Well, I suppose that’s all a parent can do, really.” She steps up and claps him gruffly on the arm.
And that is the story of how Gage made friends with Darcy’s grandmother. I swear at some point there’ll be a post that doesn’t involve him, this is just how the letters shook out.