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The Berlin Shift
Work in progress.
Night Shift was first released 7 November 2010 from JMS Books, and rereleased by Flying With Red Haircrow on 6 March 2012. It's sequel is in the works! Read below for more information.
"The Berlin Shift" takes place approximately a year from the ending of Night Shift.
Description: Jamie is thrilled to finally arrive in Derrik's homeland of Germany and they begin their life together, and for a while it's every thing he dreamed of and more as a deeper bond is forged and finally Derrik reveals his heart and soul.
Yet though their love is strong, the daily pressures of finding work, cultural differences and the apathy of Derrik's twin brother Johann soon begins to take a toll on their relationship.
Jamie's coming forced him to break ties with his family, there is no going back. So when the unimaginable happens he doesn't know who he can turn to or how to survive. Is there a darker side to Derrik after all? Time and life will tell, yet he cannot give up on their love and the belief that a "happily ever after" is still possible. And Derrik, for his part, is determined to never let Jamie go.
As Jamie looked out the oval window at his right shoulder, despite the pink edged silvery grey clouds which blocked all view of the earth below, he could scarcely contain his excitement. From the closest international airport to his town, after a long fifteen hour journey which included a change of planes at the Frankfurt am Main airport, and nearly a year away from his lover, finally he would see Derrik again!
At that thought, tears started in his eyes, tears of joy at his impending arrival, yet also remembering the hard times he'd endured alone with only an occasional e-mail or phone call to reassure his flagging hopes the German he'd met working a night shift, who'd become his lover and invited him to join him once he'd returned to his homeland, had actually meant what he said. He'd spoken to Derrik two days ago, confirming the flight number and arrival time, but it had been a short conversation. A strangely succinct conversation, now that he thought it, the niggling doubt sprouting in his stomach, spread tingling through his shoulders.
"It's just your stupid fears coming back," Jamie whispered aloud. His seat mate looked upon from her book, but said nothing. “It’ll be alright.”
Jamie turned more fully to the window, blew out a steadying breath. What he'd come to know of Derrik, even in the short time they'd been together, was that he never said anything he didn't mean. He had to continue to believe that. Surely Derrik wouldn't have written the letter of welcome for him, arranged a residence permit, nor helped him pay fees to get all his papers in order so Jamie could legally reside in Germany, if he wasn’t completely serious.
After a crackle of static, the pilot's voice came over the intercom informing them, because of weather, backlogged planes were still circling, waiting to land, and they had now joined the list so there would be a delay of some minutes. But at least he was here thought Jamie, hovering above the city in which Derrik lived, and somewhere below, the man with whom he'd fallen in love and crossed a thousand, thousand miles to be reunited with was waiting, perhaps as anxiously as he was now.
Jamie smiled then, taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly. As soon as he looked in Derrik's eyes again and see that eager, loving light, as soon as those long arms wrapped around and pulled him close, everything would be alright. All the things he'd endured, the harsh words, the final rejection from his parents when he'd fully revealed his sexuality to them, his admission of having a lover and the intent to join him across the world, soon he could forget all those things and immerse himself fully in a life with Derrik.
Just then they broke through the clouds, circling lower and lower, the city of Berlin, ruddy in the morning light, stretched as far as his eye could see. He wanted to take it all in, the images moving past, after all it was his first view of Berlin, but the straight grey streets of a sleepy neighborhood surrounding the airport, the occasional clumps of green, of trees, or park fields on the earth were all going so fast, and his mind was racing forward.
With a metallic bump the landing gear fully deployed, and soon that moment arrived when everyone collectively held their breaths a second before the wheels touched down. The final burst of chatter, and the captain announced they were now arrived, giving a cordial greeting and well wishes for their stay. The plane came to full stop, the seat-belt sign shut off, and with brisk efficiency and enthusiasm, a few people rose immediately to remove their bags from the overhead compartments, while other more canny travellers or those in no hurry, waited calmly in their seats presumably until the first rush of disembarkers retrieved their goods and headed off the aircraft.
Jamie had nothing in the overheads, having kept his backpack beneath his seat, but he stood anyway, head tilted to avoid the compartment above, though the aisle was packed with those waiting to leave. At last, those in first class must have exited for those in his area finally moved forward. He slipped into the stream of travellers before the family group with crying and chattering children who had managed to irritate everyone in “economy” overtook him.
After passing through the business section, seeing the discarded blankets and obviously more comfortable accommodations, Jamie thanked the pretty flight attendants, both male and female, who waited at the door. Ignoring the stiffness in his legs caused after sitting so long, he eagerly hurrying up the ramp.
Jamie felt some chagrin when he realized he’d been hurrying for nothing, hurrying up to wait! He needed to retrieve his luggage, and so joined the others watching the trundling conveyor belt as mostly black suitcases were disgorged from the gaping hole of the feeder tube. Through the slightly opaque glass to his right, the waiting area, a crowd was gathering, family and friends, and he noted also, green clothed security curiously relaxed, talking amongst themselves. Very different than those he’d observed in the USA, but they still made him nervous, as if suddenly they would stop him although he’d been through passport control in Frankfurt.
Jamie’s attention was torn between watching for his large case, and looking for Derrik through the glass. Finally, towards the back of the milling group he spied the distinct figure he had waited so long to see, dark haired head well above the rest, though the face was indistinct, from it’s very upright posture he knew it must be him!
Jamie exclaimed suddenly in pain, a mother struggling with two children and a wheelie cart had rolled over his heel. She apologized in a language other than German or English, exasperation clear in her voice. He should have been paying attention, but he was fairly trembling with anticipation. Finally, he saw the distinctive tag he’d attached to his luggage marking the great black hard-sided container. Jamie excused himself through a lazily chatting group of German businessmen to secure it, tipping it heavily off the belt, then pulling out it’s retracted handle with a snap, set it on his heels, and joined the stream of the recently arrived moving towards the “outside”.
They didn’t stop him. He half expected them to, but security didn’t so much as give him a glance, though he nearly tripped himself catching a heel on case mis-stride as he navigated its bulk through the dividers.
And there he was. He seemed taller than Jamie remembered, more stern, hands in pockets of straight dark trousers which matched a stylish suit jacket, white shirt without tie unbuttoned at the neck. He wore rimless glasses, not exactly surprising, for Jamie knew Derrik used contact lenses to improve his vision, but the hair: all Derrik’s long silky black hair had been trimmed away into a close crop molded into a peak above the high forehead. Nothing mattered though. He was there. Derrik was waiting and so close!
Jamie hurried past the others, unconcerned Derrik was currently looking away from him back towards the long row of windows revealing the world of Berlin.
No longer able to contain his joy, Jamie cried out his lover’s name, releasing the handle of his suitcase to rush into Derrik. Wrapping his arms around the long, lean beloved body, Jamie laid his head against Derrik’s shoulder, revelling in the heady sense of relief, of accomplishment. But was surprised when he was not embraced in turn.
The taller man stiffened then carefully extricated himself from Jamie’s grasp. Shocked into speechlessness, dumbfounded, he looked up into Derrik’s handsome face suddenly unsure of himself.
Dark eyebrows raised, grey eyes chilly and slightly bemused, there was no hint of recognition despite the intensity of the gaze. Jamie felt his face flame then cool and hardened as he stammered an apology. The cold spread down through his body pooling in the pit of his stomach.
Jamie took an involuntary step back, covering his confusion by reaching for the handle of his suitcase painfully conscious of the curious glances of some of the others nearby, fellow travellers and airport workers who may have witnessed this stilted meeting.
“Jamie Holloway,” the deep voice clipped out, accent more pronounced than before. “You did not receive the text message it seems.”
Jamie blinked then, hardly daring to look directly up at Derrik, for fear the tears at the corners of his eyes would fall.
“What message? I’ve had my phone off…I didn’t think..?” Jamie said in a low voice.
“Derrik had a job interview this morning. He asked me to meet you in his place.”
Jamie gaze snapped up. “Derrik asked you…? Wait! What?”
“I’m Johann Lehmann, Derrik’s brother,” the man said, looking somewhat uncomfortable. “He obviously didn’t tell you we are twins.”
Back to main page, The Journey of Red Haircrow....
Other excerpt pages:
"Katrdeshtr's Redemption", The Night Cat Book 1, a vampire novella.
"A Lieutenant's Love", a historical fantasy.
"Convenience Store Romance", a modern gay erotic tale.
"Night Shift", a contemporary romantic drama.
"The Agony of Joy", contemporary romantic drama, full length novel.
"Twin Masquerade", a gay Regency of twin impersonation and seaside love.