A Whole Latte Sass (Geek Life #2) by Marguerite Labbe
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Marguerite Labbe here today to talk about the next story in her Geek LIfe series, A Whole Latte Sass. Welcome, Marguerite!
Hello everyone. It’s great to be back at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. When I write, I like a mix of the serious and the humorous. I like to touch on topics that have affected me personally. For years I’ve wanted to write a main character who was a recovering addict, but it was always either too close to home or I just didn’t feel as I could do my best by him at the time. Then Trask Briscoe came along and I knew he was the one.
Trask had a rough start in life. His parents were addicts and his home was not a safe environment to be in. He did have his Grandmother though. She’s the one who gave him love and discipline in equal measure. She is the only one from his home that he thinks of with affection and respect. But that didn’t stop him from starting to use too. And when he left home, running as far as he could to the east coast, that demon followed him.
Addiction is a fact of life in my family as it is in so many other families, though people often don’t want to talk about it. I was sixteen years old when my mom went into rehab for drug use. I attended Alateen sessions for years. There’s a condition called “dry drunk” that can persist even after a person stops using. It’s where they continue the same behaviors and attitudes they had while they were using. Living with that is as bad as living with the addict. Though, my mom got clean, she might as well have been using for many more years before her time in therapy, rehab, and AA meetings started to make a profound change within her. She’s so strong and even now with almost thirty years of being clean she still goes to AA meetings and she’s a much more happy and stable person than before.
Trask had his ups and downs too. His road to getting clean was not an easy one and it’s why he clings so hard to his rules and the path he’s on. He’s utterly committed to staying off the drugs and alcohol. He’s very aware of the dangers of having “just one” as that “just one” bit him on the ass after being clean for over a year. I’ve seen people in the AA rooms who had five years sobriety and that one drink sent them on a tailspin. And I’ve also seen them have the amazing courage to stand up and collect that 24 hour chip after using again. I’ve lost people to this disease and so has Trask and I’ve also watched people transform their lives for the better.
My sister drank for years, hiding it from everyone. All the signs were there, but it’s so hard to see it sometimes. I ask myself how I could’ve missed it as do my parents and other siblings. I knew her history as a teenager. I worked at a rehab center for years. I missed it. We all missed it until we couldn’t any longer. So we staged an intervention and she went to AA for two years claiming the entire time she wasn’t an alcoholic until she was ready to face it. Her husband at the time didn’t believe alcoholism was really a disease and that caused other problems. It’s hard to quit when your SO thinks it’s only a matter of control. During the divorce she didn’t start drinking again, but she started using like mom, sleeping pills, antianxiety pills, anything she could get her hands on, until she hit a bottom on that one and crawled her way back out of the pit. She has a new husband who supports her whole-heartedly and her life is going in a new direction.
I have so much respect for the both of them. And there were times when I wrote scenes with Trask that I just cried because I recognized his struggle. I wanted to get it right and even with as much as I know it’s not the same as having gone through it. My sister read his scenes for me and gave me her input and her and my mom’s permission to talk about it. They are two tough beautiful ladies and a constant reminder to me not to let the statistics take your courage away. There are here and today they are clean. They provide leadership within their NA/AA circles and have made lifelong friends who know exactly what they are going through.
So if you, or anyone you love is struggling with addiction, please know that those circles work. I’ve seen them work. I’ve felt the energy and love there as well as the kind of firm, no nonsense accountability that everyone needs from time to time. And if you ever want a non-judgmental ear, I will be blessed to answer any email. Blessings to you all this New Year.
* * *
“I don’t know why you didn’t tell them to fuck off,” Felipe fumed as they made their way to the truck.
Trask had been tempted. He hated being judged, hell, even when he deserved it. It got his hackles up every time. And times like this, when he didn’t deserve it, it dug under his skin even more, making his temper simmer. “What would it have solved other than drive a deeper wedge?” Dammit, he hated uncomfortable family situations, hated them with a holy passion. He slid behind the wheel and rested his head back against the seat. “And damned if I can’t see their point.”
“Don’t you fucking dare take their side.” Felipe twisted to face him. “All I asked was for them to give you a chance, not jump all over you. I don’t care about the twenty years between us. And dammit, your past has made you the man you are today. So yeah, it fucking sucked, and you put yourself in some shitty places, but you got yourself out of them too.”
Trask shook his head and started the truck. Felipe had his points, but if Trask was a dad, he was pretty sure he’d have serious reservations about a forty-year-old man hooking up with his son or daughter.
Felipe huffed out a breath and let out a few more choice oaths. His phone rang, and he ignored it. “So you said you inherited the money for the store. Who from? I thought you and your family didn’t get along.”
Trask sensed that Felipe was asking more out of a need to distract himself than curiosity, but he had to stop dodging the questions or giving only partial answers. Might as well tell all tonight. There was no reason to hold back anymore.
“My grandmother, but I had to be clean to collect on it. And man, I wanted that chance. I wanted her to see that I could build on what she left me. That I wouldn’t be like my parents. I wanted her to be proud of me. So I found myself a program, got clean, showed up back in Texas a year later with my paperwork, test results. Pissed my old man off to no end. He was hoping to contest her will and take the money for himself.” Trask sighed and scrubbed a hand through his hair.
“How long did you stay clean after that?” Felipe asked softly.
“Almost another seven months.” Trask shook his head, his hands tightening on the wheel. “Once I’d bought the place, got everything settled, inventory in stock and the initial flurry of activity was over, I convinced myself that one drink to celebrate wouldn’t hurt anybody. I could handle one damn drink. Goddamn, I was wrong.”
Trask had zero recollection of the next few nights. “All I know is that I finally came out of it several days later, naked in some damn flophouse, with a shit taste in my mouth, fresh track marks, and too many bruises.”
He glanced over to find Felipe watching him with wide, solemn eyes. “And a whole shit pile of shame and guilt?”
Trask nodded. “You nailed it, and I couldn’t face it, so I went right back to using. I couldn’t face her memory, knowing how upset it would make her if she saw me.”
Felipe caught Trask’s hand and lifted it, studying his knuckles before laying a kiss on them. “Maybe for a while, but you found the strength to fight it back again and again until you were able to say you have almost sixteen years clean. You ever think that your grandmother looked at you and didn’t see a man who kept failing but instead saw the man who kept picking himself up to wage that war again?”
Trask’s throat tightened to an unbearable ache. He’d never looked at it quite that way, but knowing his grandmother the way he had, yeah, he could see that. Felipe opened up such a wellspring in him sometimes, emotions that had been shunted aside so he could deal with the day-to-day, that the intensity of allowing himself those feelings almost physically hurt. He tugged Felipe to him. “You’re incredible, you know that?” he asked as Felipe wound his arm around Trask’s shoulder. “She would’ve loved the hell out of you.”
It’s no secret cosplayer Felipe Suero is looking for his happily ever after—in his love life as well as his career. He’s getting his degree so he can quit his miserable job and start his own costume business. Now he just needs to land the sexiest silver fox to ever attend a con.
Trask Briscoe’s life revolves around staying clean and sober, running the Magick Den, and attending local cons. His rules haven’t left much room for romance. But he can’t deny Felipe has caught his complete attention. He’s just not sure what he can offer a man so full of joy and sass.
When Trask finally accepts Felipe’s offer for a cup of coffee, he soon finds himself on a second date and a third. Between cosplay projects and roleplaying games, they discover a deeper connection than either of them expected. And Trask realizes that sometimes rules are made to be broken.
Now Felipe just has to convince his family—and Trask—that Trask has more love to offer than he ever dreamed.
About the Author
Marguerite Labbe loves writing stories about the beauty of love and the strength of family, whether it’s the family you’re born into or the one you create. She married her next-door neighbor and best friend, and they have one son, one dog, and two cats who rule them all. She has finally converted her Alabama born husband into being a Red Sox fan and now only needs to convince her son. She runs Apocrypha Comics Studio with her husband and they often trek off to comic book conventions on the weekend where they celebrate all manner of geek culture.
Author website: http://margueritelabbe.blogspot.com/
Twitter handle: @MargueriteLabbe