Garrett Leigh: What Remains

Garrett Leigh--What RemainsI’ve had What Remains on my wishlist for a while. I absolutely love the cover. Love it. But what’s even better is that the story was good, too.

Rupert and Jody had been together for four years when Jodi was hit by a stolen car and ended up in a coma. Part One, the first third of the book, jumps back and forth between the present in which Rupert holds vigil at Jodi’s bedside until he comes out of his coma and the past, which the story of how they became a couple and started living together is told. Part Two, the remainder, details their lives after Jodi is discharged and the struggle of living when nothing makes sense.

Rupert was a fireman, but he was working at his second job as a bouncer the night he and Jodi met. They were taken with each other, but for their own reasons, they danced around their attraction. Due to circumstances and timing, they were both kind of new at the whole I’m interested in guys thing, Rupert more so than Jodi. While Rupert found himself in a new land without so much as a compass, Jodi had relied on his desires to lead him around and had indulged in the offerings along the way. Talk of sex and sexuality embarrassed Rupert, but from their first meeting, with the occasional averted gaze and reddened cheeks, he told Jodi how terrifying it all was for him. With a mix of interest and understanding, Jodi took on the role of counselor. Having been where Rupert was, he knew how confusing it could be and he did what he could to dispel the misguided notions Rupert had latched onto and to ease Rupert’s way into a comfortable awareness of his sexuality. So they didn’t just jump into bed right away, rather, they worked their way there. And their progression pleased me to no end, especially since Jodi was very much into sex, but the feeling he got from being with Rupert made the absence a non-issue. Also because he wasn’t an automatic saint and did have to remind himself not to push ahead sometimes.

There was the accident, of course, but the biggest heartbreak in Part One was Jodi waking up and having no recollection of the last five years of his life. And Rupert loved him so much. So it really hurt to see them going through it, seeing Rupert going from everything to nothing, not even a vague existence. On the other hand, Part Two was a slow tour through a recently closed up and abandoned house. All the fixtures, furniture, and dressings were there, but everything was blanketed over. Some coverings were semi-opaque and revealed hints of the object’s purpose; others were thick and draped heavily and only narrowly suggested relevance with their outlines barely detectable; others, still, were completely sheer, yet seemed completely out of place. And it wasn’t just Rupert and Jodi who had to tread through this place that haunted and mocked them every step of the way. Sophie, Jodi’s ex-girlfriend turned best friend was burdened with being what Jodi had remembered most. And Indie, Rupert’s daughter–suddenly being unable to be with the man she’d grown to love as a father as much as her own, it was confusing and, for a time, many of her questions went unanswered.

When he first returned home, Jodi’s feelings were all over the place –frustration, apathy, nothing, confusion, and fear, to name a few. Sometimes stumbling, sometimes darting, and sometimes slipping from one to another. Since Sophie was seen by Jodi as an anchor of sorts, she saw less of the mood swings. But Rupert was a stranger, a barely tolerated presence that Jodi actively denied at times and felt creeped-out by at others. He’d settled on Rupert being the weirdo flatmate. And that went on for a while, but Rupert loved him and was not about to leave him, even though the dismissal hurt, broke him daily.

Their way back was trying at the best of times. Confidence annihilating and soul destroying at the worst. Though hope slipped through his grasp with each passing day, with each reminder of how much their life had changed, and even with him being resigned to the notion that they’d never be the same, Rupert held on. Even when things looked like they’d gotten better only to get worse, he held on. However, Jodi had no choice; whatever he was, whoever he was and whoever he became was all he had.

But this was a romance, so there was a light at the end of their tunnel and I can’t say I have even one thing to complain about. It was pretty much perfect. And I’m saying this with full consideration of the fact that there was a kid in the story.

This was great. Go read it. In the mean time, I’m going to check out one of Garrett Leigh’s other stand-alones, Misfits.

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