Substitute teacher Sean Mallory is everything Zach is not—poor, happy, and goofily charming. With a disarming smile and a penchant for drama, Sean laughs his way into Zach's heart one elevator ride at a time. Zach would love to get to know Sean better, but first he needs the courage to leave his ivory tower and face a relationship that doesn't end at the "Ding!"
I'll let you onto a little secret. One of the saddest fairy tales I have ever read was Rapunzel. Talk about isolation and loneliness. I know, I know you could probably say Sleeping Beauty or Snow White but forget about those broads because they were never conscious during their sleepy times. They were awake and BOOM they are knocked out. And then BOOM some twerp in a leotard comes and makes their day. *rolls eyes* Whatever. But Rapunzel was trapped in a tower for years, living a daily life trapped in a tower with no friends, with nothing to do but growing that ridiculous amount of hair. Could you imagine being trapped in a tower for days on end, years with no companionship? (And no the crotchety mean witch does not count.)
I felt so sad for Rapunzel because she was raised in captivity and alone.
Why in the world am I discussing my sads about Rapunzel when I could be talking about Amy Lane and "Going Up!"? I'm getting to it, gimme a sec. It's going to tie in together.
If you are new to Amy Lane, she can write her ass off. It's been proven. She wears a writer goddess crown made of knitting needles and hot naked men writhing all over each other. (She doesn't? Well she does in my book) And she can deliver the goods, make you feel for her characters. She writes some angst ridden stories that will make you curl up in the fetal position begging for hugs like they were cotton candy. That's not "Going Up!". It is Amy Lane light, promise. Your innards are safe to read this. I actually ration my Amy Lane reads due to the fact she can death grip me by my ovaries with a few choice words.
In less than 100 pages, we are taken to the lonely worlds of union lawyer Zach Driscoll. He's rich, has a great job, lives in a posh penthouse in San Francisco with a killer view, has no friends, has to schedule appointments just to meet with his parents and pays for companionship of the rent boy/escort variety. And he is most certainly living inside a trapped closet. His Republican father with political aspirations would not approve of his son being gay. So he hides his true self, a walking, barely breathing ice sculpture, living high up in Driscoll Towers (yep his Daddy owns it too) with no real friends until a chance encounter in an elevator.
Enter Sean Mallory, sweet, plucky substitute teacher who is a world full of color to Zach's dull and colorless world. The court during their brief elevator encounters for months...do not expect any insta-love here. Oh no! these two and their cute interactions chip away at the ice that surrounds Zach Driscoll. Sometimes the most damaged are the ones without visible scars. They are carriers of damaged souls. I loved seeing the world through Zach's reopened eyes.
"He felt something unfamiliar stretch his cheeks, but it wasn't until the wind hit his teeth that he remembered what it was."
I like that Zach aka my 2013 version of Rapunzel (without the dreadful hair) gets a sweet HEA without gingerbread men lurking at each corner waiting to drown you in Christmas icing. The holiday is just background Muzak, if you will, to the important tale of Sean and Zach's relationship. The story is told from Zach's point of view. A POV switch from Sean would have been sprinkles to the "Going Up!" cookie, not totally necessary but it would have been cool.
Sean was zany without being cloying. He was the perfect knight/ prince for Zach. And for the solitary detailed sex scene? It was totally worth the long courtship. Loved, loved, loved the secondary character that is Leah. She's the best and not a meddlesome annoyance. This is a great short story with a satisfying ending. and while it is lighter in tone, it still leaves a deep impact. Well, it did for me. Maybe for you?
Fans of contemporary, fairy tale-esque stories should give this a try.