So, The Good Boy is out really, really soon -- March 26! -- and JA Rock and I thought we’d introduce you guys to some of the players. Today I’m profiling one of our MC’s Lane. If you want to read about our other MC Derek, head over to JA Rock’s blog.
Landon “Lane” Moredock is a 20-year-old guy whose life has just been turned upside down. Instead of spending a lazy vacation at his parents’ summer home in Belleview, New England, before heading back to college, Lane has suddenly found himself homeless, friendless, and completely out of his depth. The SEC has taken his parents’ house and frozen his bank accounts, the FBI has arrested his mother Laura for securities fraud, and his father Stephen is on the lam. Someone has to know where Stephen is, and where the money is, and everyone’s looking pretty closely at Lane.
Lane’s not very good at being suddenly-not-rich. Okay, he wasn’t that good at being rich either. Actually, Lane’s not good at anything except being socially awkward and cripplingly shy. He kind of likes film making, but not having people watch them, and he kind of likes animals…and that’s about it. There’s one person left in his life that he trusts: Acton Wagner, an old family friend. Big mistake.
Lane’s not looking for love. Lane’s not looking for anything, thanks very much, except enough money to keep himself together until his parents and their lawyers sort this mess out, and to be left alone in the meantime. And he’s certainly not looking for anything that a self-professed Dom like Derek Fields has to offer. Because Lane’s not putting himself out there again for anyone, right? He’s not going to make the mistake of trusting someone again. Except some part of him, some stupid, needy part of him, wants to believe that not everyone is out to hurt him.
In this excerpt from The Good Boy, Lane is worrying about whether or not to accept Derek’s offer of a job:
It had always been easy for Lane to do what other people wanted. Even as a child he’d had trouble getting his thoughts into words and words out of his mouth. He could remember panicking when someone asked him a question like where he went to school, or what his favorite food was. Adults always tried to make conversation, but Lane had wanted so desperately to stay in his own head. It wasn’t that he didn’t like people. They fascinated him. He wanted to listen to their conversations, watch the way they moved and interacted.
But the idea of participating in their world was terrifying.
He’d gotten a little better over the years. He could answer questions, at least, and he’d had a few friends at school who kidded him about being shy but accepted that was the way he was. But there was always that fear simmering just below the surface. The fear he’d be dragged into the spotlight. Forced to talk. Mocked or hated for what he said.
And that was exactly what had happened when his mother went to jail.
Suddenly, all eyes were on him. People were demanding answers Lane didn’t have. He and his family were loathed, made fun of, threatened, and disgraced.
Lane needed to be an adult. He needed to stand up for himself, tell everyone to back the fuck off, and figure out a way to go on with his life.
To take control.
Lane hadn’t intended to call Derek Fields. Not when things were almost looking up. Well, kind of looking up now he had a job at Taco Hub. Lane didn’t heart the Hub like the T-shirts for sale at the counter suggested he should, but he was grateful for it. The pay was lousy, but free tacos at the end of every shift? Worth it.
Lane wasn’t sure why he hadn’t thrown the photographer’s card away. He’d held on to it and turned it over in his hands so often that he’d worn the corners down into fuzzy edges by the time he finished his shift, but he hadn’t intended to call the guy.
Derek Fields. Fields Photography.
Derek Fields thought Lane was a liar and a thief. So why offer him a job?
“How liable are you, Landon?”
I don’t know.
His parents had hurt so many people. Lane might not have known what was going on while it was happening, but would he have spoken up if he had? Probably not.
He was the kind of person who let things happen around him, withheld his opinions because silence was easier.
If you were quiet, people sometimes left you alone. If you didn’t protest, people did whatever they were going to do to you and moved on.
Class was the worst. Lane enjoyed school, and sometimes in seminar classes he found himself full of ideas, wanting to contribute to the discussion. Then he imagined how he would sound, stammering through ideas that had sounded fine in his head. He imagined his classmates thinking, What does the asshole rich kid know? He’s only here because Mommy and Daddy can sign big checks.
He had to be done with that Lane now. The scared, cringing kid waiting for someone to save him.
He had to get his shit together.
And he could certainly do that without Derek Fields.
But Derek Fields had asked him if he was okay. He’d left Lane a five-dollar tip. Five dollars wasn’t much, but shit, it wasn’t the money, remember? It was the fucking principle.
He wasn’t going to call.
Lane thought about the way Derek Fields had stood in front of the counter at Taco Hub and asked him if he was okay. Hadn’t joined his mouthy asshole friend in taunting Lane. “Ask for a break for a few minutes. See if that helps.”
Like he actually cared.
You gonna fall for that again?
It didn’t matter if Derek hated him or not. Derek had offered him a job.
So he’d called. He’d sat on his bed and stared at the floor, and dialed the number while someone started a shouting match in the hallway outside.
“Hi, um, this is um—” And he hadn’t known where to go from there. Shit. This is Landon Moredock? Lane hated the name as much as everyone else. “Sorry, this is probably a mistake. You, um, you gave me your card. Well, you left it.”
Shit shit shit.
What the hell was he doing? Derek Fields was the photographer from the party, the one Acton said Lane had invited for a threesome. And just like that he’d heard Acton’s voice in his head: Whore. Just the memory of it had made him want to be sick.
So much for getting his shit together. Taking control.