“...Who am I to blame you for doubting what you feel? ... I took for granted the friend I have in you ... You followed me through changes and patiently you'd wait, till I came to my senses through some miracle of fate... The search is over, love was right before my eyes.” ~ Survivor (Search is Over)
Harrison Kelly, of 'Fallout' by Meredith Russell, is dazed and confused. His sometimes lover, Anthony, propositions him the night before his wedding. Harrison is furious and turns him down, but everyone thinks otherwise: they want to blame Harrison. In pain and anger Harrison strikes out at the groom by spilling the beans about Anthony and his continuing infidelity, causing him to leave the wedding in disgrace. Fortunately his friend, Elijah, offers him comfort and support when no one else will.
Harrison has wasted years of his life being devoted to his friend, Anthony, even though their relationship is like a boomerang, constantly going, then coming back. He fervently hopes that one day, Anthony will realize he loves Harrison and will want to be with him exclusively; even though evidence points to the fact this will never happen. Their relationship is more like habit than anything else. He's gotten into a toxic pattern which he stays in regardless of the consequences. Harrison has blinders on. He is not able to see his friend, Elijah, has always been there, waiting for Harrison to get over Anthony so he might have a chance with him. After Harrison's fight with Anthony's brother at the airport and his banishment, he begins to see Elijah is the only one of his friends who cares enough to stand by him, even though it means missing his own flight to do so. Surprisingly, being with Elijah reminds Harrison of better times, before Anthony days when he was happy and carefree; when his smiles came easy and his feelings were real. When they learn the flight they were supposed to be on crashed, he has Elijah to comfort him as they run through all the 'what ifs' together and wait for word of their friends who were on the flight. Harrison and Elijah form a closer bond of friendship which will hopefully become something deeper.
When Elijah realizes Harrison is going to expose Anthony for the lying cheater he is, Elijah strongly advises against it, even though he has his doubts about Harrison's part in the whole mess; but Elijah still stands beside his friend. Elijah wants to be with Harrison, but only if he's truly given up on Anthony. Elijah wants all of him or nothing. Although it's tempting, especially with sharing a bed, to give into his desires, Elijah holds out hope of having more. Over the course of the next few days, he begins to sees glimpses of the young Harrison he fell in love with and it warms his heart, but he's still wisely cautious. Elijah only promises to be Harrison's friend, not, as yet, his lover. Harrison still has a long way to go before anything romantic happens.
This is an emotional roller coaster ride between two men transversing the territory between friends and lovers. Wise, honest Elijah just may be my favorite character in the entire series. I admire how he held his ground and refused to accept anything but the best. Harrison was not as easy to warm up to. Because of his inability to break off a relationship with someone who obviously did not have his best interests at heart, I had a difficult time respecting him. But Elijah loved Harrison and was such a good influence on him. As Harrison began to change, putting Elijah's feelings in front of his own, trying hard to improve himself, he gained my respect. All of the stories in the series are delightful and even though they can be read separately, reading them in order gives you a greater sense of continuity than if they were read out of order. If you like stories about honesty, forgiveness, character growth, and hope, you may enjoy this tale. Thanks, Meredith, for the excellent read.