The "Rainy Day" Update
As a somewhat continuous tradition, I try to commemorate each passing Shack anniversary (June 19th) by trying something completely different with the stories I've written so far. Some kind of challenge to step into something unfamiliar from what I'm used to. Well, for this particular anniversary, I wrote a series of stories that all took place on the same night. Intertwined to the best of my ability, I attempted to connect a series of brand new stories together, as well as some of the website's favorite established series. The outcome...was the "Rainy Day" update, and each story's involvement is explained down below. Along with a closer look at all of the elements included into the stories and what they mean. Enjoy!
- This entire story takes place in the course of one hour. The last hour of Brian's life. It was written to reflect my own feelings of suicide, as it once happened to me. The story is not an actual account of my life, but the situation surrounding him is as close as I can get to it. It was a time of my life that I thankfully lived through, and as an attempt to stop holding back, I decided to finally write it out. I never thought I would have the guts, to be honest. It took some bad memories and a few tears to finish this, and I am proud to post it on this site. A year ago, I could not have written this story.
(As a side note...while this story was written to only be a part of this website, I later posted it to the Nifty Archives as a dedication to a very dear real life friend of mine, who took his own life in 2001. To this day, I still get occassional emails telling me how it struck a chord with the people reading, and how it helped to turn them away from doing the same. I may have lost a friend...but I gained the opportunity to send the message out to those who needed to hear it most. For that, I'm thankful)
- This story has actually been a long time in the making. With 'watered down' versions being hinted at in other stories. With some subliminal phrases in "New Kid 20" and "New Kid 21", and some very personal thoughts in "Some Time Alone" and "Gone From Daylight". But I decided to just go ahead and do it with this one. To just let it all go and see what I could do with the feelings I had left. I'm proud of how it turned out.
- Jonathan. Yes, he appears in a few other stories as well in this update, and they ARE the same person. In "Opposite Reaction", he is seen in the library, exhausted from studying and too tired to go to the party that night. This is why he was home to get Brian's call. This also explains why he answers the phone groggy and half asleep. Also, Craig calls Jon on the phone to ask for directions. That's why he answers Brian with, "Do you want directions to the party too?".
- The lacrosse team appears in a few of the stories too. But this is the only one where they actually appear as a 'menace' of some sort. In the others, they're just sort of 'there', a cameo at best. It isn't until "A Class By Himself 6" that they're intentions are revealed. Ethan also runs into them in the hallway in "On The Outside 2". Their inclusion in the story comes from a brief mention of them in the 5th chapter of "A Class By Himself".
- While running to save his friend, Jon sees the little red haired boy who appears in every story. This race on bikes not only allows him to reach the one he loves, but also causes a reaction in "A Class By Himself 6" when the boy stops traffic.
- There is also a brief encounter where you see Aaron from "Opposite Reaction" getting pushed into the mud by the bicycle kid.
- When lightning strikes at midnight, all of the phones go dead. This will cause things to happen in "On The Outside" (Not shown. But it was supposed to force Drew to walk home in the rain instead of calling for a ride), and in "Opposite Reaction" (Where Aaron can't call for another ride and has to stay put).
- This story has been waiting in the 'archives' for a long long time now. In fact, I stopped working on it once to start the original "Lessons In Love"! That's how incredibly OLD the idea is. I finally picked it up again, re-edited and updated what I had so far, and added the 'rainy day' theme into the plot. This was a different type story, where it starts off near the end, and the rest of the story is basically told in flashback. However, I tried to throw in a surprise ending, even though you know what happens.
- The Blinking lights at the strike of midnight, also takes place in another story or two. In "A Class By Himself 6", it causes the power outage that ends the party.
- The main character of this story was originally named "Chris", but I changed it to Craig. Since all of the stories were connected, I didn't want there to be any confusion between him and the Chris from "Class". This change was made AFTER the entire story had been written. I hope I made all of the changes without missing one.
- Jonathan. He appears again in this story, but only as a cameo. This explains why he's not going to the party, and why he's not going to be able to bring alcahol. (The assumption is that they're going to have to drink the 'import beer' mentioned in "Someone For Me", "Class 6", and in detail in "Outside 2"). Craig also later calls him for directions o the party.
- Once again, the lacrosse team is briefly mentioned. But not in much detail.
- The event that takes place in every story surrounding the party, is the fight between Julian and David from "Someone For Me". In this story, we only hear the "Fuck you" part, and see Julian storm out to spill a drink on someone. Craig sees this from the couch where he's tending to a very drunken crush of his.
- This story is where the kid knocking Aaron in the mud puddle takes place. It separates him from Craig and his date, and was used to make the reader think that it is THEM who get to be alone. This sets up the false ending.
- I had been saving this sequel for ages JUST for this anniversary update. The original chapter was becoming so long, that I decided to end it at the bus stop and split it up over a few chapters. So this was half way done when I added the 'rainy day' aspect to it and made it a part of the anniversary celebration. It had enough of a good response to really hype things up a bit. This story goes back about a week or two, building up to the Friday night storm.
- Jermaine. This is where we meet Ethan's friend, who obviously is looking to have an especially good time at this party tonight. He is the one who brings the special "Import beer", and is seen in several stories as an intoxicated teenager. He plays a slightly larger role in "Someone For Me" as someone who borrows a set of house keys to use the bottle opener.
- Jordan. The star of the track team, and a ladies man supposedly. "What if Jordan was gay?" was a little wink and a smile in this story. Because in "Someone For Me" we see him kissing Taylor in the dark. And later in "Class" we see them searching for each other's company.
- Once again, the kid on the bike passes by, and splashes water on Ethan, forcing him to change in front of Drew.
- In this story, the lightning at midnight is what wakes both Ethan and Drew up, and triggers the kiss.
- This was the first of all the stories to be written, and it is also the longest. It sets the template that all of the other stories were to follow. The rain, the midnight lightning, the party, the fight, the kid on the bike. It all began here. This story takes place over the time period of almost two months.
- The main character was originally going to be named "Jason", and I changed it. However, if you read the first few paragraphs while he's watching the good looking kids go by...you'll see a mistake where I forgot to change the name. :)
- Most of the story takes place before the storm actually happens. So it doesn't come into play until the last third of the story. This one had a much longer, more agonizing set up for the main character.
- When David tells Taylor that Julian likes him, he is eyeing another boy from across the room. That boy is actually Jordan. And of course...they get together later on at the party. Another 'conquest' for Taylor to indulge in.
- The kid on the bike is seen for the first time, riding past the window. As always, he signals some kind of reaction, and this is when Julian walks up.
- The infamous fight happens in this story between Julian and David. The words "Fuck You!" are heard in several other stories to show that it is indeed the same party. Julian spills a drink on another kid on his way out. A kid that David hates without even knowing him. This kid is Derrick from "Class 6".
- Jermaine borrows David's keys to use the bottle opener for his import beer. This beer becomes a little highlight of all the stories in some way or another. This is what forces David to come back to the party, and find Taylor kissing Jordan and Julian finding out about it.
- Jordan appears again, and this is the first time that he's really portrayed as a homosexual.
- It is the midnight thunder that drowns out David's admission of love to Julian. That keeps the suspense going for just a little bit longer.
- This story, one of the last ones written, has more coincidences at the party than any other. It almost ties them all together. I took this as an opportunity to play around with some things and have some fun. Because this signaled the update nearing completion...at LAST! This entire story takes place in one day, from the middle of the school day, all the way through the night.
- As Chris is changing, and Derrick gets caught peeking, the lacrosse team makes another appearance. They are a menace, but it's not really apparent what they're up to in this story. This is the first time Clint is mentioned, and nothing else is known about their little activity that afternoon until "Final Hour". Chris was made somewhat noble by not going through with it. And if you guys didn't catch it, it is the one act that proves that he's not as homophobic as Derrick assumes he is.
- Derrick mentions the party and it's in his old home town. Having Derrick go back to his roots was going to be the whole idea of the 6th chapter from the time I planned it a few months before the update (Something that will be a part of future chapters). I'm glad this 'party' came along to let me keep that idea in motion. It's a chance to see Derrick as one of the most popular kids around when money isn't an issue.
- The gossip girl was another way for me to play around a bit. The first two people she names are made up. But then she mentions that kid Billy who just writes in his journal all the time ("Billy Chase"), Drew coming out as being gay ("On The Outside"), and Ryan and his best friend Tyler both moving out of town ("New Kid In School"). This is the first time that "New Kid" and "Class" ever connected anywhere close to one another. But this shows that they came from the same place.
- Derrick overhears Julian and David fighting from "Someone For Me", and Julian spills a drink on him while storming away. Originally the plan was to make Derrick extremely late for Tanner's party, but instead thought it would be cool to use the stain to show Tanner's family's snobbery. As well as give him a reason to take it off! Woo hoo! :)
- Derrick runs into a boy who is supposed to be Stephen from "Opposite Reaction", but might be seen as Jermaine instead. Once again, mentioning the wonders of import beer.
- On his way out, Derrick stops to talk to an old friend. It's Aaron from "Opposite Reaction", and this is the first time that we see him regretting the loss of his friendship with Craig. It was a small extra that shows that he's not really a completely bad guy.
- We get to see Taylor looking for Jordan in this story, and vice versa. It's a set up for the big kiss in "Someone For Me".
- I must admit, that this was probably one of the most fun things to write. Hehehe, simply because it creates this strange 'everybody knows everybody else' type environment by tying so many stories together. The quote was: "I was out of the loop. I didn't feel that 'connection' anymore with the rest of them. I mean, kids were moving away (Ryan and Tyler from "New Kd") and coming out of the closet ("On The Outside") and breaking records at the old arcade ("Arcade Junkie") and getting new stepbrothers ("A Stepbrother I Could Love") and that Justin guy from my history class seemed to have disappeared off the face of the Earth without a trace. ("Gone From Daylight")" Weird. Hahaha! I could have made it much longer, but that would be TOO obvious!
- I had a little bit of fun, keeping Tanner and Derrick together the whole time, and making it look like it was TANNER that Chris was trying so hard to impress. It's what slowly begins his transformation from a 'cruel bully' to someone who's 'not so bad afterall'.
- After spending time at Tanner's party, the midnight strike of lightning causes the phones to go dead and the lights to go out. This means the party is over. It gets everybody to leave at once, and sets up an opportunity for Chris and Derrick to ride together to get home.
- The red haired kid shows up again, riding his bike and blocking traffic for Jon ("Final Hour"), and also allows Chris and Derrick to be alone. It's mentioned in the other story that other drivers get out to investigate and see if the boy is alright. Jackie, the limo driver, is one of them.
+ Combining all of these stories together is a lot more difficult than you would think. Everything had to relate to something else, names, faces, places, time frames. I'm sure I screwed up here and there with these elements, but hey, a challenge is what this was all about, right? :) There were 3 more stories planned, but in the last two weeks or so things got extremely busy and I couldn't be online long enough to finish them all. So "Making Contact", "This One Night", and the original "My One True Weakness" had to wait until later. Some parts had to be rewritten from scratch, and "MOTW" didn't appear on the site until over a year and a half later!
+ The rain was added for two reasons. One, the rain turns me on! ::Giggles:: I can't help it, it really does have a strange effect on me, and it's bound to have strange effects on my characters too. I love it. And two, the weather conditions made it easier to let readers know that this was all happening on the same night. The rain stays consistent in all the stories, and I tried to describe it in a similar way in each story, so people could make the connection.
+ The big mystery...hehehehe who is the red haired kid who shows up in every story??? There's really no big hidden meaning behind it, I didn't expect there to be discussions about it like this. Hehehehe, if I knew, I would have given him a deeper significance. Simply put, the red haired boy on the bike...is 'Cupid'. Every time he is seen, he has a romantic effect on the people around him. He acts as the catalyst that sets things in motion. In every story, it's the sight of cupid that causes the two boys to get together somehow, and he's the key to it all. Had "My One True Weakness" been completed in time, this would have been more evident. Because the boy on the bike wasn't going to be included at all, and the main character ends up not getting the boy of his dreams. Therefore reinforcing the idea, no Cupid, no love affair. So, there it is. :)
+ The import beer shows up at every party because of an old friend of mine that used to make such a big fuss over it. Hahahahaha! He just needed something to yell out at a party I think. And yes, his name was Jermaine.
+ The lightning strike at midnight is the glue that binds all of the stories together. I tried not to say it or use it the same way every time, but it is almost as much of a determining factor as Cupid is. It was another device used to set things in motion, and keep a continuous flow from one story to another. The lightning strike represents fate. Because you KNOW it's going to happen and you know when, but it's still unavoidable.
+ The party. It exists in some form in every story, and I never even mentioned who was having the party, or why. It was the one gathering place where everyone could come together. It represents 'the luck of the draw'. There are many people at that party, all of them probably assuming that there are no other gay people around. Obviously, from an outside point of view, we know that isn't true. You meet gay people everyday whether you now it or not. Derrick could have easily gone home with Julian, or Julian with Craig, or Craig with Jordan, or Jordan with Derrick, etc etc. They see each other, even interact with one another, but never find out the truth.
+ You will also notice that in every story, the characters all get soaked in the rain. This was on purpose. It's a way of cleansing themselves and coming to terms with who they are, and what they want. It is the clensing that changes them in every story. Jon indulges in his love for Brian while riding towards his house. Craig begins to understand what the big fight was about with Aaron. Derrick gets his confidence to face Tanner's parents. David goes back for his keys and realizes that Taylor isn't as good a friend as he thought he was. Ethan gets splashed as he chases his dad away, and later knows how much he wants Drew as he watches him walk away. Julian finds Taylor and Jordan kissing. All of these things happen in the rain. It's what compells them to let down the mask, and starts a chain reaction towards the climax of the story.
- This chapter of "New Kid" (The 'Godfather' of all the stories I've ever written on this site) would have been missed had it not shown up to intertwine with the other stories in this update. However, there was a slight problem...there was supposed to be an entire chapter written before the 'Rainy Day' even took place! But, with no time to finish a whole chapter and THEN try to write another whole chapter on top of it for the update, I just added the storm in the later part of the chapter. Originally, the 29th chapter was supposed to be mostly about Wilson's overnight stay, and Tyler and Ariel slowly making progress towards admitting their feelings. The rain doesn't really come into until the last 3rd of the story.
- Despite the somewhat last minute change, it actually worked out to the series' benefit. I kinda fell in love with the idea that Randy and Ryan were already together and in love, and therefore existed outside of this whole fateful night experience. They're a part of it, and yet some distance away from all the commotion of the other stories.
- Ryan mentions that he's going to be taking Hailey to a party that night, and will once and for all break it off with her for good. The party he's speaking of, that takes place way out in his old hometown, is of course the same party from all the other stories.
- For the very first time, someone has a short conversation with the boy on the bike (Cupid). You see the boy just starting out on his journey for the night, and he is frantically trying to get his bike loose so he can make his 'rounds'. He's got a lot of work ahead of him, and he's seen shouting to Randy, "Thanks Mister! Please hurry! I can't be late! I've gotta go!" And Randy, already partnered up with the boy of his dreams, naturally is the one able to pull the bike free.
- After helping the boy get his bike free, Randy says that maybe he'll help HIM out someday. The boy's reply is, "Nah...not you. You don't need me at all." At the time, Randy is going through problems with Ryan and wondering if everything will be ok...that's his hint, from Cupid himself, that everything will be just fine. No worries needed.
- Another little gift from Cupid doesn't really come into play until "New Kid 31", a chapter entitled "Cupid's Lost Arrow". After the boy goes speeding away on his bike, Randy looks down and sees a pair of free passes to get into the movies. Later on, it's these two tickets that he uses to set Tyler and Ariel up for their first 'date'. And it turns out that the plan works perfectly.
- The lightning strike happens again in this story, waking Randy from his sleep to see that Ryan has finally made it home. A funny little mistake of mine, that I thankfully caught the night before posting the story, was that the power goes out in Randy's house...but a few sentences later, he looks to see if Ryan is awake, and he sees "his bedroom light on"! Um....oops! But I changed it to "I saw his car in the driveway." instead. Also, since the phones were out, that's what was going to force Randy to pay him a late night visit in person.
- As in the other stories, both Randy and Ryan get drenched in the rain, and the truth about Ryan's situation with his father is revealed for the first time. And it leads to Randy's understanding of what exactly was going on from the very beginning where Hailey was concerned.
I really hope you guys enjoyed this update and the stories involved, and now you can hopefully enjoy it on a whole new level. Now that you know how my mind was working.
This page was last updated on February 11, 2016.