THE AFTERMATH OF RELEVANT LAW
A couple of reviews have complained because Relevant Law was so long. One of them bitched that the conclusion happened at the 60% mark while another complained that it suffered from a need for paring down.
But for me, the ‘climax’ of Relevant Law doesn’t happen when Colin and the rest of Lenny’s team rescue Joshua from the hands of his kidnapper. It could have ended there, but was that really the end of the story? I’ve known people who suffered the kind of trauma that Colin and Joshua suffered in Relevant Law. I know people who’ve suffered the kind of trauma they suffered in Love’s Trials. And the story does NOT end at the 60% mark. In fact, that’s probably closer to the beginning than the end.
One doesn’t simply walk away from that kind of trauma with a big smile on their kisser. That kind of trauma does DAMAGE. It leaves scars which are not physically visible. It triggers pain from their past that moves forward with them into their future. I follow them down the road AFTER Joshua is rescued so that we can see how these two men handle that aftermath.
Colin handles it at first by trying to control everything around him. He relives the moment when he didn’t know if his beloved husband was dead or alive in everything Joshua says and does. He is stuck in that one moment in time and can’t move forward. He is massively overprotective and reluctant to allow Joshua engage with a world he now believes is threatening to destroy the very foundations of his existence. It takes love, understanding, and a lot of therapy for him to come to terms with the feelings awakened within him on that terrible day. But eventually he does.
Joshua is also traumatized by his experience. Page’s assault triggers memories and pain from the a childhood marred by both physical and emotional abuse. He both longs for Colin’s strength and protection and resents him for demonstrating those same qualities. He blames himself for not standing up to Page, for not fighting back when, in fact, doing so would have surely gotten him killed. And again, with love, understanding, and therapy he begins to find the healing he needs.
So for me the story doesn’t end with the rescue. There is a lot more going on in connection with this experience. My interest moves beyond just the facts of Joshua’s abduction, assault, and rescue. I also care about the aftermath. I care about how these two men react to their experience. I care about how they feel about it and how they react to those feelings. I care about how they express the pain they suffer because of this experience. I care about how they come to understand their pain and find healing from it.
I care about the experience as a whole, not just the dramatic act, but the not-so-dramatic, but even more important, consequences. And I think my readers care too.