This is Not a Love Story

on May 22, 2014 by Suki Fleet

Hi, I’m Suki Fleet. Thank you so much for having me, Michael! My first published novel is titled ‘This is Not a Love Story’ and I guess that title is a bit of a misnomer in the sense that it is a love story from start to finish.

So why did I come up with that title?

Well, it all started with my initial premise for the story, which was a very vague Romeo and Juliet ish take on the story of two homeless boys living on the streets of London. And I mean vague, because apart from their names, the Romeo and Juliet part of the story didn’t really come in to until the ending. But it was all about the ending.

I’m sure many people are familiar with Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet. It’s a tragic love story and at the end Juliet drinks a potion that makes her appear dead, Romeo see her and thinks Juliet is actually dead and kills himself, Juliet wakes up sees Romeo dead and kills herself. Happy stuff huh?

Without giving too much away about my plot, I wanted to make a point of Romeo and Julian’s love story not ending in tragedy like that, so (bear with me and the way my brain works :P) that is where the title comes in…their story is not a love story like Romeo and Juliet’s. 🙂

Initially ‘This is Not a Love Story’ was a novella (Part One within the novel) and this is the storyline the title particularly refers to.

This is Not a Love Story

When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy)

Find It

Dreamspinner Press
Excerpt

There’s this boy (isn’t there always?), this beautiful, glowing creature who makes me feel alive. Even here, living on the street with all the shit that happens—the cold, the hunger, the terror of spending one more day like this, one more night like this—somehow he makes me want to survive it, despite everything, just to spend another fucking minute in his starry-bright glow.

Even now, especially now, as we stand on the embankment next to the busy main road. This is the red-light district for boys like us. This is where we sell ourselves, one piece of our souls at a time.

Four coins rest in the palm of his hand, the rest hidden in the strap beneath his threadbare sleeve.

He holds them out to me, and I am entranced by the warm gold skin of his wrist—people pay a fortune to get a glow like that, for something he just has naturally.

“For you,” he mouths, fixing his light brown eyes on mine.

Yeah, for me to go and get warm in Joe Brown’s stinking cafe while he gets fucked under the railway arches by some dirty creep who doesn’t give a shit if he hurts him. I wish Julian didn’t act like my big brother. I wish just once he’d trust me to look out for him. I’m not as fragile as he thinks.

But I take the coins, when really what I want to do is throw them into the road and beg him not to go.

He knows, and our gazes lock, the both of us trying to communicate something the other doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to.

It’s like this every time he gets picked up.

As if on cue, the guy in the car blasts the horn. We both jump.

“Hurry the fuck up,” the creep hisses.

Through the steamed-up car window I can’t see the face attached to the voice, but the rest of him looks old and thin—hands gnarled as the roots of the trees that line this part of the embankment grip the steering wheel. And though I know that his age doesn’t mean he’s harmless, I can pretend, I can hope.

Julian tries to smile, his eyes telling me it will be okay. But how will this ever be okay? I can’t bear it.

But we have nothing.

We are nothing.

His warm fingers brush my cold ones, and I long to grab his hands and pull him away with me. I want to run along the embankment with him until my lungs burst. Maybe I will anyway.

 

Alone.

“Twenty minutes,” he mouths. I nod robotically. He gets in the car and watches me from the window as he’s driven away. I make a note of the color, model, and registration number. Knowing this makes me feel safer: if anything were to happen, I would have a tether, a proof that this car exists and Julian exists within it.

Nothing is going to happen. I bite back a sob. And run.

Hi, I’m Suki Fleet. Thank you so much for having me, Michael! My first published novel is titled ‘This is Not a Love Story’ and I guess that title is a bit of a misnomer in the sense that it is a love story from start to finish.

So why did I come up with that title?

Well, it all started with my initial premise for the story, which was a very vague Romeo and Juliet ish take on the story of two homeless boys living on the streets of London. And I mean vague, because apart from their names, the Romeo and Juliet part of the story didn’t really come in to until the ending. But it was all about the ending.

I’m sure many people are familiar with Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet. It’s a tragic love story and at the end Juliet drinks a potion that makes her appear dead, Romeo see her and thinks Juliet is actually dead and kills himself, Juliet wakes up sees Romeo dead and kills herself. Happy stuff huh?

Without giving too much away about my plot, I wanted to make a point of Romeo and Julian’s love story not ending in tragedy like that, so (bear with me and the way my brain works :P) that is where the title comes in…their story is not a love story like Romeo and Juliet’s. 🙂

Initially ‘This is Not a Love Story’ was a novella (Part One within the novel) and this is the storyline the title particularly refers to.


This is Not a Love Story

When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy)


Excerpt from This is Not a Love Story:

There’s this boy (isn’t there always?), this beautiful, glowing creature who makes me feel alive. Even here, living on the street with all the shit that happens—the cold, the hunger, the terror of spending one more day like this, one more night like this—somehow he makes me want to survive it, despite everything, just to spend another fucking minute in his starry-bright glow.

Even now, especially now, as we stand on the embankment next to the busy main road. This is the red-light district for boys like us. This is where we sell ourselves, one piece of our souls at a time.

Four coins rest in the palm of his hand, the rest hidden in the strap beneath his threadbare sleeve.

He holds them out to me, and I am entranced by the warm gold skin of his wrist—people pay a fortune to get a glow like that, for something he just has naturally.

“For you,” he mouths, fixing his light brown eyes on mine.

Yeah, for me to go and get warm in Joe Brown’s stinking cafe while he gets fucked under the railway arches by some dirty creep who doesn’t give a shit if he hurts him. I wish Julian didn’t act like my big brother. I wish just once he’d trust me to look out for him. I’m not as fragile as he thinks.

But I take the coins, when really what I want to do is throw them into the road and beg him not to go.

He knows, and our gazes lock, the both of us trying to communicate something the other doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to.

It’s like this every time he gets picked up.

As if on cue, the guy in the car blasts the horn. We both jump.

“Hurry the fuck up,” the creep hisses.

Through the steamed-up car window I can’t see the face attached to the voice, but the rest of him looks old and thin—hands gnarled as the roots of the trees that line this part of the embankment grip the steering wheel. And though I know that his age doesn’t mean he’s harmless, I can pretend, I can hope.

Julian tries to smile, his eyes telling me it will be okay. But how will this ever be okay? I can’t bear it.

But we have nothing.

We are nothing.

His warm fingers brush my cold ones, and I long to grab his hands and pull him away with me. I want to run along the embankment with him until my lungs burst. Maybe I will anyway.

 

Alone.

“Twenty minutes,” he mouths. I nod robotically. He gets in the car and watches me from the window as he’s driven away. I make a note of the color, model, and registration number. Knowing this makes me feel safer: if anything were to happen, I would have a tether, a proof that this car exists and Julian exists within it.

Nothing is going to happen. I bite back a sob. And run.

Copyright © 2014 Suki Fleet. All rights reserved.


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1 Comment

  1. jenf27 says:

    This sounds wonderful. Have added to my TBR list!

    jlf827 {at} icloud {dot} com

tia

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