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I think my story could become a blockbuster because not only is it an uplifting, love story between two, young men, but it is also a story of hope and courage. The story focuses on equality and tackles tough subjects like coming out, gay-bashing, homophobia, disownment and suicide, all mostly based on real-life events.

Chapter 4


It was about an hour into Club Clover’s grand re-opening and so far, it was a success. People swarmed the club; some sitting at the tables, some out on the dance floor and all enjoying their first of many nights hanging out at Henderson’s newest nightclub.

Ronan and Noah stood behind the bar while Daugherty stood on the other side, eyeing a guy that was currently getting a drink.

The guy got his drink and walked away and Daugherty could finally let out a breath he’d been holding.

“Mmm mmm… now he is fine.” Daugherty said, watching the guy walk away. “What do you think?” he turned toward Ronan and Noah.

“I guess so, but I’m not really feeling the plaid shirt and red pants.” Ronan said, pointing out the guy’s attire.

“I think he was kind of cute.” Noah decided to chime in, for the first time making it known that he was indeed into guys, causing Ronan and Daugherty to look at him in shock.

“Yes, I’m gay.” Noah admitted to Daugherty, whose response surprised him.

“Oh honey, I know.” Daugherty remarked, nodding his head.

Noah let a confused smile spread across his face. “How did you know?”

“My gaydar is never wrong.” Daugherty guaranteed before heading out onto the dance floor.
Noah turned toward Ronan, who was giving him a satisfied look. “Congrats, man. You are officially out and proud.”

“I only told Daugherty.” Noah countered.

“Yeah, but now that he knows you’re gay, the whole town will.” Ronan joked.

“What?” they suddenly heard and looked up to see Ronan’s grandparents standing in front of the bar. “What did you say?” Mr. Shea asked.

Ronan stared at them, unsure of what to do. “Umm,” he stammered, not wanting to out Noah.

“He said now that Daugherty knows I’m gay, the whole town will.” Noah answered. “I just told Daugherty that I’m gay, and now I’m telling you guys.”

Mr. and Mrs. Shea both looked at him before Mrs. Shea walked behind the bar and wrapped her arms around Noah. “Good for you, Noah.” she said.

“Thank you.” Noah let out. He wasn’t surprised by the positive reactions, just grateful.

Mr. Shea gave Noah a praising nod before glancing at Ronan, who had a small smile on his face as he looked at Noah. When Ronan noticed his grandfather looking curiously at him, that small smile was replaced with a sheepish one.

Mr. Shea looked from his grandson to Noah. “Four glasses of Guinness, please.” he told Noah.

“Would you look at this place.” Mr. Shea began, looking around in amazement. “Didn’t I tell you this place would be a success?” he asked Ronan.

“Here you go, Mr. Shea.” Noah said as he placed four glasses of Guinness on the bar. “And Ronan told me that all drinks for you and Mrs. Shea are on the house.”

“Well, thank you both very much, but this one is for you,” Mr. Shea informed as he handed a glass to his grandson. “And this one is for you.” he handed a glass to Noah before raising his own glass in the air.

Mrs. Shea, Ronan and Noah did the same.

“Tonight is a celebration all-around. To Ronan, Noah and Club Clover. I wish you lads much success.” Mr. Shea toasted. “Sláinte!” he exclaimed, clinking his glass to all of theirs.

They all took a sip of their drink. Mr. and Mrs. Shea walked over to a table while Noah turned to Ronan. “What is ‘sláinte?’” he asked.

“Oh, it basically means ‘cheers’ in Gaelic.” Ronan explained.

Noah was surprised. “You know Gaelic?” he asked.

Ronan shrugged. “A little bit.” he answered. “My grandparents spoke it all the time when I was little. It was pretty much my first language, but eventually I started to hear and speak a lot more English and lost my Gaelic.” he explained. “They still don’t like that I call them Grandma and Grandpa instead of Maimeó and Daideó.”

Noah smirked. “And here I thought you were an expert at everything.” he joked, causing Ronan to smile.

Before Ronan could respond, Daugherty came over and interrupted.
“How cute are you two?” he asked, causing both Ronan and Noah to turn toward him, eyes wide.

“Are you drunk?” Ronan asked as he walked up to him, trying to make light of it.

“Maybe.” Daugherty answered.

Ronan just patted Daugherty on the shoulder.

“Really though, congratulations, you guys. This re-opening seems like a real success.” Daugherty said.

Ronan smirked. “I wish I could see the look on Josh’s face right now.”

“I see you decided to open this gay club anyway.” Ronan suddenly heard from behind him, causing him to turn around and see Josh, almost on cue.

“Oh, speak of the devil.” Daugherty let out.

“First off, it’s not a gay club. It’s a typical nightclub where everyone can come and hang out.” Ronan stated. “And second, yes, we’ve opened it. Even though you tried to sabotage us.”

“I was just trying to save the people of this town from having a club run by two fairies.” Josh spat.

Noah looked at Josh, then to Ronan, who’d clearly had enough. “Josh, either stop with the slurs or get the hell out of here.”

“No problem!” Josh exclaimed. “I don’t want to be seen in a place like this anyway!” he got out before leaving.

“One of these days, that guy is going to get his homophobic butt kicked by someone.” Daugherty began. “And I hope it is the most flamboyant, over-the-top gay going.”

Ronan bit his lip to keep from laughing. “Unlike you?” he asked, trying to keep a straight face.

“Oh honey, he wouldn’t be able to handle me.” Daugherty said before practically strutting off.

Ronan turned toward Noah as the two burst out laughing.

“You’re not upset about Josh, are you?” Ronan then asked.

Noah thought for a second. “No.” he answered proudly. “Not at all.”

Ronan and Noah were alone in the club, cleaning up after the successful re-opening.

Ronan let out a pleased sigh as he propped down the broom in his hand and glanced around. “This was such a great night.”

Noah was over by the tables, cleaning up the tops. “It was. Tonight was a lot of fun.” he smiled as he brought the tray of dishes over to the bar and stayed silent for several seconds, looking down at the counter.

“What is it?” Ronan asked, walking toward Noah.

Noah looked up at Ronan. “Nothing, it’s just… tonight, for the first time in a long time… I felt so good about myself; so comfortable.” he spoke. “It’s because of you.”

“Me?” Ronan asked, surprised.

“Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t even be a part of this if it wasn’t for you. I wouldn’t be so comfortable with being out if it wasn’t for you. I always see how comfortable and real you are with everyone and you make me want to be like that too. I-” Noah almost stopped himself, continuing to stare into Ronan’s eyes before deciding to keep going. “I think I’m better because of you, Ronan.”

Ronan was silent, continuing to look at Noah before he suddenly leaned in and kissed him.

Noah kissed back, bringing his hand to the back of Ronan’s head. He felt Ronan’s hand cup his face, feeling that purple string brush against his cheek.

The kiss lasted a few seconds before Noah pulled away abruptly. “Umm,” he let out, turning his head away.

“What’s the matter?” Ronan asked softly.

Noah looked back at Ronan, not sure what to say.

“Did I do something wrong?” Ronan asked.

“No, it’s just that-”

“I thought this is what you wanted?” Ronan then asked.

“I… I don’t know.” Noah let out.

“You don’t know?” Ronan asked, confused.

“I don’t know if this is going to work out.” Noah began. “I mean, I like you, Ronan. I do, but being two guys in a relationship in Henderson… I don’t think that’s going to go over well.” he said.

“I thought you didn’t care about what everyone thinks anymore?” Ronan asked.

“Ronan, you saw how Mr. Buchanan treated you. He wouldn’t even invest in this place because you’re gay. And then Josh… people in this town think one way, and that’s if you’re gay, you’re wrong; there’s something wrong with you. I mean, do you blame me for having reservations?”

“But there’s nothing wrong with being gay. What’s wrong is giving in to everyone’s bigoted opinions and letting it cost you your happiness.” Ronan said in a serious tone.

“I wouldn’t put it passed people to do everything in their power to break us apart.” Noah said.

“Noah, there may still be a law here in Henderson against gay marriage, but there is no law that says we can’t be together, that we can’t be in a relationship and be happy.” Ronan said as he grabbed Noah’s hands in his. “I like you too, Noah, and I think we could have something amazing… you just have to be willing to go for it and not care about what everyone else thinks.” Ronan said.

Noah could feel his heart beating out of his chest as Ronan took a step closer to him.
“Okay, so, say you’re right-”

“I’m right.” Ronan cut him off, causing Noah to laugh, breaking the tension.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” Noah whispered.

“I kissed you, didn’t I?” Ronan asked, a smile on his face as he moved even closer to Noah, their bodies practically touching.

“All right,” Noah smiled. “So, what happens now?” he asked.

“Now, we do this right. We take things slow and let things happen naturally. And we start by going on a date tomorrow night.” Ronan stated.

“A date?” Noah asked, a surprised smile on his face.

“Yes.” Ronan stated. “It doesn’t have to be too fancy or super romantic… actually, I think I have the perfect idea.” he smiled.

Noah gave him a questioning look. “What is it?”

“Go out with me and you’ll see.” Ronan offered.

“How could I refuse?” Noah asked, a smile forming on his face before he leaned in and kissed Ronan once again.

The next evening, Noah and Ronan were about to go on their first date.

“Ready to go?” Ronan asked.

“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” Noah asked.

“I told you, you’ll see when we get there.” Ronan said before opening the door for Noah.

Ronan led the way through the town and finally stopped in front of a restaurant. A glowing sign hung over the door that read, The Arch. Noah had heard about this place and knew it was more upper-class.

He gave Ronan a hesitant look. “I thought you said nothing too fancy?”

“This isn’t that fancy.” Ronan sweetly argued. “Have you ever been here?”

“No…” Noah let out.

“Then how would you know if it’s fancy?” Ronan asked.

Noah glanced into the window of the restaurant. “Because there’s a ton of fancy, nicely-dressed people having expensive candlelight dinners in there.”

Ronan let out a laugh. “While that may be true,” he began. “There’s another reason why I thought this place would be perfect.” he said as he opened the door and the two walked inside.

The second they walked in, Noah was hit with the sound of a piano, melodious sounds playing throughout the entire restaurant.

He turned toward Ronan, a smile forming on his face as he noticed the sly smile on Ronan’s.

The two were quickly seated and to Ronan’s gratification and Noah’s excitement, they were sitting close by the piano.

“This is awesome, Ronan.” Noah spoke.

“I knew you’d like it.” Ronan smiled.

The two ate and talked and enjoyed their date, just as Ronan had hoped they would. Noah would look over at the pianist every so often, listening intently and watching the way he grooved and Noah’s intrigue was obvious to Ronan.

Noah had disappeared to the restroom and Ronan took this opportunity to sneak over to the pianist.

“Hi, could I make a request?” Ronan asked.

“Sure, you name it.” the pianist said.

“Just something sweet and romantic.” Ronan said.

“You got it.” the pianist replied. “Any special lady you want me to dedicate it to?” he then asked.

Ronan looked at him. “His name is Noah.” he answered before heading back over to the table, barely noticing the taken aback expression on the pianist’s face.

Noah returned just as Ronan sat back down and suddenly the pianist started speaking. “This next song is sweet and romantic… and is dedicated to Noah.” he announced before he began to play.

Noah’s eyes went wide as he stared at Ronan and noticed the smirk tugging at his lips. Noah couldn’t help but smile as he continued listening to the song. Though he couldn’t help his own melody from playing in his head…

Ronan and Noah headed into the apartment after their first date.

“Is this kind of awkward?” Noah suddenly spoke what was on his mind the entire way home. “You know, going on a date and then coming home together…”

“Why would it be awkward?” Ronan asked.

“Because I don’t know if you’re expecting more or…” Noah trailed off.

“Noah,” Ronan spoke. “I told you we’d take things slow, and we will.”

“Okay.” Noah whispered. “It’s just, this is all new to me.” he shrugged. “I’ve never gone out with a guy before or anything.”

“So, how was your first time?” Ronan asked.

“It was okay.” Noah spoke nonchalantly.

“Just okay?!” Ronan laughed, playfully shoving him.

Noah laughed. “I had a great time, Ronan.” he then said.

“Good.” Ronan spoke happily. “And we can do it again soon?”

“I’m looking forward to it.” Noah answered before giving Ronan a kiss goodnight.

Noah sneaked out of his room and headed into the living room. He sat on the couch, leaning over his keyboard that laid on the coffee table. He couldn’t stop thinking about Ronan and their date. He was actually surprised at how well it went and the connection he felt with Ronan. It was unlike anything he had ever felt before — though he had never given himself the chance.
He played quietly, not wanting to wake Ronan as he fiddled on the keys in attempt to play the melody that was currently playing in his head — the same one that had popped into his head earlier during their date.

Ronan and Noah sat in the club the next day, waiting for an incoming shipment to arrive.

“I had fun last night.” Ronan said, grabbing Noah’s hand that lay on the table.

“So did I.” Noah smiled.

“Hello, lads!” the two suddenly heard.

Noah and Ronan shot their heads up to see Ronan’s grandparents standing there. Ronan quickly pulled his hand away from Noah’s before greeting them.

“Uh, hi!” Ronan said as he got up, Noah doing the same, a bit confused about why Ronan pulled away like that.

“Your seanmhathair and I just wanted to stop by before we head to dinner. The club opens in an hour, right?” Mr. Shea asked.

“Umm, yeah. Noah and I were just waiting for a shipment before we open tonight.” Ronan smiled, glancing at Noah, who was faking his own smile to cover up his confusion.

“You boys will be great, as usual. Bye, Muirnín.” Mrs. Shea said, giving her grandson a kiss on the cheek.

“Bye, lads!” Mr. Shea called before turning to leave with his wife.

“Have fun, you guys!” Ronan called before carefully turning back to Noah.

“You’re ashamed of me?” Noah blurted out.

“What?” Ronan asked.

“Well, why else would you pull away from me when your grandparents came in here?” Noah asked. “You’re ashamed to be with me.”

“No, Noah, it’s not like that-” Ronan was interrupted.

“Just save it!” Noah let out. “I get it. I don’t blame you for not wanting your grandparents to know about us.”

“No, Noah,” Ronan began as he grabbed Noah’s hands in his. “You have the completely wrong idea.” he whispered.

“I do?” Noah asked confusedly.

“Yes.” Ronan let out. “I pulled away because I wasn’t sure if you wanted my grandparents to know about us.” he explained. “I mean, you used to work for my grandpa, they just found out that you’re gay. I wasn’t sure how public you wanted to go with this yet.”

Noah looked at Ronan. “Thank you.” he spoke quietly. “But I don’t mind if we tell your grandparents. I mean, they’re great. They’ve been nothing but good to me, especially your grandfather when I worked for him. I’m ready to tell them if you are.” Noah assured him.

Ronan bit his lip. “Tell them what exactly?” he asked. “That we’re dating, or… is this something more?”

Noah raised an eyebrow, unable to stop the small smirk from forming on his face. “We’ve only been on one date.” he reminded Ronan.

“I know,” Ronan began. “And I know I said we’d take things slow, and we will.” Ronan promised. “But I feel like we have something more than just that one date.”

Noah could hear that melody playing through his head again. “I know what you mean.” he confirmed. “So, what is this then?”

“I think this is me asking if you’re my boyfriend?” Ronan spoke in a sweet but questioning tone.

Noah smiled as that familiar melody continued in his head. “I like the sound of that.”

Ronan and Noah arrived at Mr. and Mrs. Shea’s house the following night.

“Hello, boys.” Mrs. Shea greeted as she let them in.

“Hi, Grandma.” Ronan said, giving her a kiss on the cheek.

“Hi, Mrs. Shea.” Noah spoke shyly.

“I’m so happy you could join us for dinner, Noah.” she smiled. “And Mr. Shea and I can’t wait to find out what your news is.” she said as she walked off to the kitchen. “Dinner will be ready in five!”

Ronan gave Noah a small smile before walking into the dining room to find Mr. Shea already seated at the table.

“Hello, Garmhac,” Mr. Shea said as he stood from his seat. “Noah.” he greeted, extending his hand to Noah.

They all sat down while Mrs. Shea brought dinner out. As Mrs. Shea took her seat, she noticed a look on her grandson’s face that only she could read.

“All right,” she let out. “What is it, Ronan?” she asked.

Ronan looked at her, then to Noah, who gave him a ready nod. “Okay,” Ronan took a deep breath before continuing. “Our news is… Noah and I are together.” he said as he grabbed Noah’s hand in his.

Mr. and Mrs. Shea exchanged looks.

“Well? Do you have anything to say?” Ronan asked.

They looked at their grandson and Noah and revealed two, approving smiles.

“Yes, I do as a matter of fact,” Mr. Shea began. “I think it’s about time you told us!”

Ronan and Noah both look confusedly at him.

“Wait, you guys knew?” Ronan asked.

“We had a hunch.” Mrs. Shea admitted. “The way you two work together, the way you are together… I am just so happy you’ve found such a nice, young man, Ronan.”

“So am I.” Ronan said, flashing Noah a smile.

The four finally began their meal, but it wasn’t long before questions started to be asked.

“So, how long have you two been in a relationship?” Mrs. Shea asked.

Ronan looked at Noah, letting him take this one. “Since the night of the club re-opening.”

“Have you told your parents yet, Noah?” Mr. Shea then asked.

Noah stared at Mr. Shea, not sure what to say. He didn’t exactly want them knowing that his dad was hardly ever around and his mom was a complete and utter bigot who had disowned him; frankly, he didn’t want them knowing how messed up his family was at all.

Lucky for Noah, Ronan stepped in. “We wanted you to be the first to know. You’ve both been so supportive of me and of us and our nightclub. We couldn’t wait to tell you guys.” Ronan said, hoping they would end it there.

“Well, we appreciate it.” Mrs. Shea smiled. “You two seem happy, and for that, we’re happy.”

Ronan smiled at his grandmother and turned toward Noah, noticing the beginnings of a frown on his face that he planned on asking about the second they arrived home later.

Noah and Ronan arrived at the apartment and Ronan hadn’t forgotten about the look on Noah’s face earlier that evening.

“What was with that look earlier?” Ronan blurted out as they got inside.

“What look?” Noah asked.

“When my grandma said that they’re happy we’re happy.” Ronan said.

Noah had almost forgotten until Ronan just put it in his head again. “Oh.” was all he said.

“Oh?” Ronan repeated. “What is it, Noah? What’s the matter?” he asked.

Noah let out a sigh. “It’s just,” he began, trying to find the right words. “You’re so lucky, Ronan.”

“How am I lucky?” Ronan asked.

“Because you have two grandparents who are so supportive of you. Your grandma said that they’re happy because we’re happy… it just must be nice.” Noah said.

Ronan looked at Noah. “I’m sorry you don’t have that.” he spoke. “And I get that you wouldn’t want to tell my grandparents about your parents.”

“You don’t have to apologize, it’s not your fault.” Noah said.

There was silence between the two for several seconds; Ronan with his thoughts and Noah just wanting this conversation to be over.

“Does your dad know?” Ronan suddenly spoke.

“Does my dad know what?” Noah asked.

“That you’re gay.” Ronan spoke bluntly. “You said you haven’t seen or spoken to him in years. Does he even know that you’re gay?”

“Umm… nope.” Noah answered. “I told you, he was hardly around growing up. He’s spent more of my life away than here, so how would he know? How would he know anything about me?” Noah was calm and almost understanding of his father’s ways, which confused Ronan.

“It must have been hard not having your dad around growing up though.” Ronan alluded. “Are you angry with him?”

“No, I’m not really angry. I know my dad, he’s not really the type to stay tied down in one place and I kind of understand that. I guess, more than anything, I just miss him.” Noah confided.

Ronan nodded understandingly.

“What about your parents?” Noah blurted out.

“What?” Ronan asked, a little caught off guard.

“Well, I know you grew up with your grandparents…” Noah trailed off, trying to make sense of it all without overstepping.

Ronan stared at Noah. He really didn’t feel like getting into it, but he couldn’t leave Noah hanging. “Umm, I never knew my parents.” he admitted.

“I’m sorry.” Noah spoke, noticing his boyfriend’s change in mood.

Ronan shook his head in an attempt to shake it off. “It’s okay, I’ve always had my grandparents.” he said as he walked over and plopped down on the couch. “But while I was away, I actually did meet this guy who was sort of like a dad to me at times.” he confided.

Noah looked at Ronan, listening intently as he sat down next to him.

“He was a lot older than me and we’d go exploring and hang out together. I met him in Australia and he always seemed to look after me.” Ronan spoke.

“Do you still keep in touch with him?” Noah asked.

“No,” Ronan began. “Eventually we just went our separate ways and then I came back here.” he explained.

Noah nodded. “A father figure disappearing from your life? That’s nothing new to me.” he remarked.

Ronan’s face softened as he placed a hand on Noah’s knee. “For the record, I don’t know how anyone could abandon you.” he spoke. “I know I never could.” he said before leaning in for a kiss.

It was then that familiar melody played in Noah’s head as he realized he was beginning to feel more for Ronan than he had ever expected.

Noah sat on the couch with his keyboard. The middle of the night was the only time he could play anymore without Ronan hearing. He was getting better about playing in front of Ronan, but this particular little melody that seemed to continuously pop into his head and irked him to figure out was something he wanted to keep to himself. He’d noticed a pattern with this melody and he was starting to think it was more than just a little song. This was bigger; bigger than Noah had ever experienced. This was becoming a love song.

Voting Opens

Ashley Chunell

Boston, USA

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