In the past I have posted some of the novel that I have been working on for the past five years. I am glad to tell you all that I am nearly finished. I hope to finish it this week in fact and the worst case scenario is that it will be done next week. To show my happiness over this, I am posting the first chapter of my novel on here for you fine people to enjoy. I hope you all enjoy it, and please do not be afraid to leave a comment below and tell me what you think or even where you think it will go.
Note: The spacing between dialogue and paragraphs is very weird, I know. I promise you that in my book it is not that way.
Dusk closed over Baltimore. A frigid breeze swept through the city. Beautiful snow white flakes were falling from the sky which added to the excitement on this particular night. However it was also a cooling and relaxing kind of night due to the snow that was already laying on the streets, trees and pretty much everything. The day was December 31, New Years Eve. The city was bubbling with excitement as a majority of its residents were anticipating the New Years Eve festivities. The only sound that could be heard was a faint drumming in the far corner of the city. Two construction workers, one who looked to be in his late thirties, the other perhaps in his early twenties, were just finishing up their shifts on the site of what looked to be an office building. The younger man was named Ryan Bartleby; he had a distinguished goatee and dark brown crew cut styled hair. He stood slightly above six foot, and was quite imposing due to his muscular physique. The other had no hair but wore an orange t-shirt on most occasions with jeans; he has also had dark green eyes to go along with a protruding waist line.
“Ryan, go on you don’t have to stay here. I got it covered,” said the older of the two, as he wiped a stream of sweat from his brow.
“Are you sure Russ? I think I can stay a little longer.” Ryan said as he shielded his eyes from the fading sunlight.
“Please, go have a good night. You need one; you’ve been working more than I have this past week.”
Ryan nodded his head. “Thanks Russ. Have a good New Years, and don’t work too late man, it’s getting cold around here.”
“I’ll punch out in a few minutes; I just want to secure some of this wiring.”
Russ has been Ryan’s boss for quite some time now. Russ thought very highly of Ryan to, he thought that he had a great work ethic. Hell the man wanted to continue working even on New Years Eve. Russ raised his hand to waive goodbye and Ryan had already left, skidding away in his 1965 Chevy Impala. The car had been a gift from his previous birthday given to him by his brother. Ryan had turned twenty four years ago. On his birthday, only his brother and friend showed up at his doorstep, a fact which didn’t bother Ryan horribly; he knew who his friends were. Ryan had always been a nice guy but had his share of baggage. Upon his graduation from high school he had a falling out with his father. His father, a successful lawyer, created his own law firm and of course Dan, Ryan’s older brother, followed in Daddy’s footsteps. Ryan was expected to follow suit but declined and expressed his disdain for his father’s field; a fact which created a deep chasm between the two.
Ryan continued down the scarcely populated freeway, anxiously flipping from station to station. Almost every night after work he had made a routine of listening to the oldies and driving to a local bar to throw back a few brews. This night was no different, even if it was New Years Eve. He pulled into his favorite bar in Baltimore, parked the car and walked in. Upon entering, the song Time Has Come Today from The Chambers Brothers blasted through the speakers around the bar and the bartender greeted him as did some of the regulars inside. One of which happened to be Ryan’s best friend, Tom Willis. Tom was once a star linebacker for Maryland’s football team. Of course, that was before he tore his Achilles tendon, ending his career. He was slightly shorter than Ryan but made up for it in bulk. Tom’s appearance made him look tougher than he really was. He tried looking tougher then he actually was by shaving his head which did little to change himself overall. He had been trying to look tougher in order to rid himself of this “good guy” image. While he tried to look tough, he really wasn’t deep down, he truly is a good guy and he couldn’t get rid of it. However, Tom’s physique alone could easily have him mistook for a participant on American Gladiator. He was only a year Ryan’s senior, and also worked under Russ as a construction worker. Tom had a very distinguished look about him and when he would walk into a room everyone would notice, especially from the gleaming cross that hung about his neck if someone didn’t notice his cross they for sure noticed his striking green eyes. Tom always would latch himself onto Ryan considering Tom’s lack of family. The two of them have been close for a very long time, and Tom considered Ryan a brother, Ryan felt the same way for his closest friend.
Tom shook Ryan’s hand and gave him a pat on the back, “How was work? You and Russ finish the job.” Tom took a swig of his bottled beer.
Ryan shrugged and took a seat at the bar, Tom sat next to him. “Work was work. Russ let me go and enjoy this night.” Ryan raised his hand to the bartender and ordered a drink.
The bartender flipped a towel over his shoulder as he walked to Ryan, “So what can I get you Ryan would it be the usual Rolling Rock or Coors?” Tom and Ryan as well as the other people in the bar past a few hours in the bar kicking back a few brews. It was well into the late night New Years celebrations. Everyone was beginning to get more and more excited for the famous ball drop which brought hope into everyone’s minds of a better year. It was somewhat of a run down bar so it wasn’t like the prospects were even that attractive, which Tom still didn’t seem to mind.
Ryan looked at the television above the bartender and saw Dick Clark on television again for god only knows how long now. “I’ll have a whiskey.” He sighed.
The bartender nodded and prepared the drink and served him. Ryan grabbed his glass and drank it all in one big gulp.
“Ryan, are you alright?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks for asking though.” Ryan smiled as he asked for a refill of his drink.
In Ryan’s past he got in many arguments with his father and it was weighing on his mind heavily today. When Ryan graduated from high school his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps, just like Dan did. Much to the dismay of his father he went and joined the Marines. Ryan would have preferred to go to college after high school but his father refused to help pay for tuition, and he certainly couldn’t afford it by himself. When he went to the Marines, he didn’t hate it but he didn’t like it either. For him it was very similar to being at home where his father was bossing him around to live his life in his father’s image.
“Only ten more minutes till the New Year.” Tom yelled as he lifted his drink he was a little tipsy at the moment. His words were not clear and his head was going back and forth like a bobble head toy sometimes. Yet he still would hit on some of the woman in the bar.
“Whoop tee friggin do.” Ryan mumbled as he played with his drink and continued to drink more.
The bar was getting louder and louder with every passing minute and was just about to erupt when the clock reached twelve o’clock. Everyone in the bar was happy, or drunk, except Ryan. He was working on the drunk part however. Ryan sat in his seat, almost sulking. The laughs of drunken men and even the sparse amount of woman could be heard; while also the distinct and putrid smell of burning cigarettes was pungent. He just sat at the bar swirling his drink around. Tom was half excited and half trying to cheer Ryan up. Tom knew why Ryan was acting the way he was. On any kind of holiday Ryan always acted depressed. After all, holidays are meant to be spent with your family, but that wasn’t an option for Ryan. The year Ryan came back from the Marines he tried to see his family but his father wouldn’t even let him in his house. After every year things between him and his father got progressively worse.
The clocked reached twelve. The bar exploded into mayhem, you would think that the Baltimore Ravens just won the Super Bowl. Ryan took another drink of his whiskey. He slammed his glass down on the bar table and paid for his drinks. He waved to the bartender signaling he was done and placed his wallet firmly back into his back pocket.
“Hey Tom!” Ryan yelled as Tom started to dance with a woman that he had been eyeing for quite some time.
Tom turned around to face his friend and let go of the woman without hesitation.
“Ry where you going man?” Tom slurred as he struggled to stay straight on his feet.
“I’m going to go.” Ryan said as reached for his car keys in his pocket.
“Where are you going to go? I mean come on its New Years, let’s party!” Tom yelled as he lifted his glass in the air.
“No, really I am going to go. Tom you have fun. I’m going to see my brother.” Ryan explained.
Tom put his drink down on the table and put his arm around Ryan and walked him out of the bar. In the streets of Baltimore was just the same as inside the bar. It was crazy with people excited over the New Year. The New Year allowed people to believe that the world was giving them a new beginning filled with opportunities. It was all false hope Ryan thought to himself. People wanted to believe that the next year we be better, more often than not he believed that wasn’t the case.
“Ry, have fun man. What if your Dad is there though?” Tom asked.
“It doesn’t really matter to me. Dan is my brother and I haven’t seen him in awhile. Have a good night Tom.” Ryan explained.
Tom shook his head in agreement. “I understand, have fun.” He said.
“You to.” Ryan responded.
“Come on, Ry. You know I’ll have fun.” Tom laughed and walked back inside the bar after waiving goodbye.
Ryan unlocked his car door and entered his prized possession. Every time he saw his car it brought a smile to his face but it also made him think of his brother. He loved his brother without question. Dan always had a good relationship with Ryan despite he and their father’s differences. Ryan took his cell phone out of his jacket’s pocket. He opened it up and began to scroll through his contacts looking for Dan. He found his phone number and called him. The phone began to ring.
“Happy New Year Ryan. How you doing?” Dan said as he answered his phone.
“Happy New Year to you to. I was just wondering where you were.” Ryan answered.
“What are you with Dad?” Ryan sighed.
“Yes, alongside Natalie.” Dan admitted.
Natalie was Dan’s long time girlfriend. They met at work since Natalie is the front desk secretary at the law firm. She happened to get along with everyone in the Bartleby family, even Ryan. Ryan always wondered why she was with Dan however, because she is rough around the edges while Dan is much more quiet and reserved. Natalie got along with Ryan because of their similar personalities.
“I don’t care Dan. I’m still coming, where you at?” Ryan still questioned.
“Are you sure you want to come here even if Dad is here?” Dan questioned but his voice was slightly lighter meaning he was likely nearby Mr. Bartleby.
“Yeah. I’m sure. Now where are you?”
“I’m at the law firm’s office.”
“I thought so. I should be there in about twenty minutes. See you later.” Ryan said as he hung up.
Ever since Ryan graduated, he and his brother have stayed in contact. They got along well since their father chastised Ryan.
Ryan arrived at his father’s office. As soon as he stepped out of his car he sighed and took one big deep breath and walked inside the office. There were many people inside. Mr. Bartleby was throwing a New Years party of his own. Most of the people were people who worked for him or friends of the family. Yet even a family member wasn’t invited.
Dan saw Ryan standing at the front door, and Dan let out a big Hollywood-like smile of his. He has that kind of quality to him of boyish good looks and big blue eyes with a dark brown buzz cut hair. It also led to his successful career thus far as a lawyer. He had a lot of similarities to Ryan but due to Dan’s boyish looks he tends to look younger than his little brother. It was rare to see Ryan in an environment where it doesn’t fit in. This would be one of those rare occurrences however. Dan walked to Ryan and gave him a big hug.
“Happy New Years Dan.” Ryan said as he held onto his brother.
“What do you want Ry? Everything alright?” Dan said as he let go of Ryan and took a step backwards.
“It’s New Years Dan, so, I wanted to see you.” Ryan explained.
“Alright, you sure you’re alright?” Dan asked again.
“Yes, I’m perfectly fine. How’s the girlfriend been treating you?” Ryan said as he hit Dan on the shoulder playfully.
“Natalie’s great,” Dan paused and grabbed a hold of his brother and led him outside, “here come with me I want to show you something."
The two brothers walked out of the office and Dan sat on the curb in front of the office. Dan had his back to Ryan. Ryan saw his older brother take a deep breath which made him worried.
“Dan, what is it?” Ryan asked as he took a seat next to his brother on the curb.
Dan reached for something in his jacket pocket. Dan despite being at a party still looked like he was getting ready to go to court to defend a client of his.
“On the subject of Natalie. I got this.” Dan said as he pulled out a jewelry box.
Ryan smiled, “Your going to propose to her. Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” As he hit Dan on the shoulder.
“You’re the first one to know. I got the ring earlier today.” Dan explained.
Ryan stood up and lifted his brother up on his feet and gave him a hug.
“She’s good for you, I’m so proud of you Dan. When do you think your going to propose?” Ryan asked as he let go of his older brother.
“I was planning on when we had back to my place.” Dan said.
Natalie then came out from the office. She was stunning as she came down the stairs to see the two brothers. She had long and dark wavy hair with stunning blue eyes. She was a tall woman and slightly taller than both Ryan and Dan. Her personality on the other hand, made her stand above any other woman Dan ever met. Whenever she would walk into a room she tended to make everyone happy as she was friends with everyone and got along with everyone.
“Hey Dan, I’ve been looking for you in there” Natalie came down the stairs and gave Dan a hug and a kiss. She turned around to face Ryan. She was surprised to see him as she knows the history between him and his father. “Hey, Happy New Years. It’s nice to see you.”
“Happy New Years to you to. How’s work going for you?” Ryan asked.
“Oh, you know work is work.” Natalie said with a smile.
“Yeah I totally understand.” Ryan agreed.
“Hey, why don’t we all go inside it’s a lot better in there.” Natalie said as she turned towards the office.
Dan stared at Ryan full well knowing that their father would be in there and could create a problem. Ryan sighed deeply. “I don’t see why not.”
Ryan followed Natalie up the stairs and he felt a tug on his shirt. He looked back and saw Dan trying to get his attention.
“Are you sure because Dad is in there? Are you trying to start a fight?” Dan questioned.
“Dan, I appreciate your concerns but I’m not going to let my differences with Dad to stop me from having fun.” Ryan smirked.
Dan and Ryan walked up the stairs and through the front door to see Natalie waiting inside for Dan. Ryan felt out of place again but still was comfortable near Dan and Natalie. Ryan saw someone who looked familiar coming towards him. It was an older man with a beer gut and dark brown hair and a full goatee. He was wearing a suit and jeans just like Dan was.
“So why is the biggest mistake of my life here at my New Years party?” The chubby older man asked.
“I’m sorry do I know you.” Ryan answered.
Dan and Natalie became very uneasy.
The older man chuckled, “You don’t even recognize your own father?”
“I can see the only thing that has changed with you is your waistline.” Ryan quipped which obviously annoyed his father.
Ryan and his father’s blood began to boil. They haven’t seen each other in over five years and now they haven’t even been in a room together for over five minutes and already they were at each other’s throats. At this time when things were about to get ugly between the two of them usually, Alison Bartleby, the mother of Ryan and Dan, would step in front of them and break up the fight. However, that wasn’t the case. A few weeks before she sadly died from cancer, she was diagnosed with it at the age of fifty but fought it for five years. At the age of fifty-five she went on to a better place.
There was so much tension between the two of them ever since Mrs. Bartleby’s illness. Mr. Bartleby became an alcoholic and began to become hostile to his children, more so with Ryan. He also buried himself in his work at the law office and quickly became a great defense attorney. When Dan told his father that he wanted to follow in his footsteps, then their father-son relationship grew strong. However Ryan didn’t which went up his father’s ass like a firecracker on the fourth of July.
“Hey, I’m sorry for my comment. Let’s not fight, Mom wouldn’t want us to not today either.” Ryan explained as he tried to hug his father.
He pushed Ryan away. “Mom died because of you. All the stress you caused us, she was always worried about what might be going wrong with you ever since you joined the Marines. You were always so selfish.”
Ryan recovered from being pushed and his instincts almost got the better of him as he almost began to wind up a retaliation swing. “Your calling me the selfish one? You’re the one who wanted us to be lawyers, god forbid if we had a mind of our own. You practically brainwashed Dan into wanting to be a lawyer. A normal father would be happy for their son’s wanting to be their own man. Obviously though that sentiment is lost on you.” Ryan paused as he began walking back to the front door. He turned back around. “And don’t you ever dare try to blame Mom’s death on me!”
“Dad, Ryan would you two stop? It’s New Years for god-sakes!” Dan yelled at his father and brother.
Ryan and his father’s head went down and looked back at Dan. Ryan shook his head in agreement and took his keys out of his pocket. Ryan gave Dan and Natalie a hug and walked towards the door. He didn’t even acknowledge his father.
“Happy New Year.” Ryan muttered as he opened the door and slammed it behind him.