Dragons – Jaycee Edward
A chance encounter in a hospital waiting room between twenty-two year old Will Messina and sixteen year old Josiah Pinkerton ends with a gift of a stuffed dragon off the hospital gift cart and a memory neither of them can shake.
Five years later, when a lonely, buttoned-up Will ventures into a gay club, he spots a pale, leather-clad specter with violet eyes tracking his every move. Will realizes he’s being watched by the grown version of the boy who’s haunted his thoughts for years.
Joey recognizes Will, but he’s no longer the sweet, brown-eyed boy worthy of Will’s attention. He’s damaged and defective and lives in a different world than Will now. When his childhood crush makes his way across the bar, Joey doesn’t have time to decide whether to be enchanted or dismayed because, unless he turns and runs, those worlds are about to collide.
From Will and Josiah’s very first meeting to their chance encounter five years later “Dragons” is a very sweet yet substantial story. Sometimes sweetness implies a lack of depth, but Jaycee always seems to know how to tug at the heart-strings and create full, fleshed-out characters. She consistently gives those characters an emotional, layered depth in a relatively short period of time. She made me want to scoop up Joey and hug him. He’s been through so much.
I am a fan of short stories, so you certainly won’t hear any complaints from me about the length, but I did think it would have been interesting to explore more of what happened in Joey’s life in those five years and how he got to the point he’s at when Will runs into him at the club. I loved Will as well and the fact that he had such a deft touch in dealing with Joey’s fears. He knew when to push and when to back off. The epilogue was perfect and had me grinning and laughing through it. “Dragons” was a wonderful story that you shouldn’t miss!