So I love reading. According to my parents I've been reading non stop since they first taught me (According to them I was four-but they're parents, they're entitled to exaggerate). I know that at the age of 10, my father bought me a Harvard Collection Edition of Shakespearean plays and sonnets. I read the whole thing in like three days (it's Shakespeare man! It was a little difficult for my 10 year old brain to process all of the "wither thou goest" and "Where fore art thou"s). All I am certain of is the fact that I have been reading for as long as I can remember. I read anything I can get my hands on. The newspaper, blogs, news reports online, historical accounts, biographies, autobiographies, scientific research, statistical data, romance, action, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, erotica, m/f, f/f/, m/m...the list is endless.
Recently I've really only been reading m/m romance books and it was after reading Fae Sutherland's "A Tender Rough" (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6078351-a-tender-rough), an amazing book where I fell in love with the characters, really rooting for them to be in love and have their happy ending. Mason and Beau are wonderfully believable characters and I found myself identifying with Mason and really rooting for Beau to help Mason heal so that they could be in love and being so happy when he did. Mrs. Sutherland did an amazing job with the book. But it was after I read and re-read the last few pages that I realized something about myself.....
I'm kind of an epilogue whore.
I mean, I'll do anything to get one. I'll plead with the author to PLEASE write more, I want to know what happened after they ended up together. Did they actually get married? Did they have children? How many? Where did they live? How does the house look? I mean any manner of things. I don't know if it's because of how if my life were written as a book and ended where most of these books did, they would've missed out on so much. I got engaged in 2002, after a lot of bad relationships, struggling with addictions and depression and suicide attempts,I graduated from high school (much to my family's amazement) and went to college, then to seminary (my father wanted me to be a pastor-boy is he shocked by me now) where I met and fell in love with a boy named Trevor. We got engaged and it was beautiful. Any other book, be they m/f or m/m or f/f would have stopped there (First Book Entitled "Always His"-yeah I thought about it and actually started writing it as a surprise for my fiancee at the time). However, stopping the book there means missing out on the fact that he cheated on me two weeks before our wedding with my maid of honor, in our bed in our new home. Wait! What? Wasn't that supposed to be an HEA? Yeah, right, sure. That epilogue would have let the readers know that there is a sequel coming.
The second book would have followed me as I struggled to get over the brutal crush my heart sustained after my failed engagement. My moving back in with my mother, my return to drinking, partying and drugs (yes, people, I know that I will always be an addict) until I met Christopher in November 2003 (Short time I know). He helped me realize that I didn't really love Trevor, but that I accepted him or chose to be with him because it was what my father wanted for me, because Trevor was going to seminary to be a pastor also (yeah, EPIC FAIL). Christopher fought for me. No one had ever fought for me before. He fought for me, he fought with me, he made me fight for myself and he helped me heal. More than that he showed me that I was talented, and beautiful, and deserving of love. Christopher was my night in shining armor and we fell in love in 2004 and got engaged on December 24, 2005 (I've always had this thing about getting engaged and married on Christmas Eve). That is where the book would have ended (Title of Book Two: "Her Southern Knight") but if the book ended there, the readers wouldn't have known that we found out Christopher had inoperable brain cancer and he passed away, all within seven months.
The third book would then have become about my struggle to cope with the death of my fiancee, the baby I had to abort because she was growing in my fallopian tube, the young girl, Catrina, I brought into my home and raised for a year, who had been part of my youth group, who became the daughter I'd always wanted. Then my enlisting in the Army and having to return Catrina to her grandmother, both of us crying, then me going off into the Army and then getting injured and discharged, moving home then moving to Tampa where I met Brandon (who I now refer to as asshole-bet you can tell this story won't be the last one can't you?). Brandon and I had so much in common and at the end of our first date, neither one of us wanted it to end, it seemed wrong and weird that we weren't going home together. This book would go on to tell about how Brandon got scared about our rapid feelings for each other and we broke up for a time. I got a job and two months later, we were back together, our relationship was long-distance for a while because I'd already made plans to move to New York, but then one weekend, he tells me he's going to Iowa to visit his family, pays for me to come and meet them and then tells me "I want you to know I bought a ticket for you to come home with me, back to Tampa, to stay with me, where you belong. You're not going back to New York, until we go together to get your stuff." I agreed and then we moved in together, I took care of him, his house, his dog, played housewife, while he worked. Then we talked about moving to Iowa together and made plans to get a home there. Any other time, the book would have ended there (Book's Title: Soulmate's Return).
Book Four would still be being written. Following me as I get over Brandon moving to Iowa before me, with the idea that I would follow three months after, only to find out after a month and a half that he was cheating on me. We haven't spoken since, and he didn't even have the balls to tell me himself, my baby sister, who is still facebook friends with him, found the pictures and the status change and showed me. The book would follow my move to California, the friends I lost because they couldn't cope with my being in a wheelchair because of my injury in the Army or because they were all getting married and having babies and I just had a string of broken relationships behind me. Book Four would be considered a WIP (Work In Progress). With no title, but just a bunch of notes, details, scenes, characters and events, the author having no idea what was going to happen to the main character, just that it had to be time for the main character, Vee, to FINALLY have a HEA (Happily Ever After) that sticks.
Maybe that's the reason I love epilogues and sequels and even short stories that occur after "The End." While I'm a romantic and love to lose myself in the pages of fiction in a book, I know that life goes on past the words of declaration, past the "I Do's," even past the decision to move in together. So even if I don't get an epilogue, I'll take a short story or even a sequel that follows another couple but that shows the previous characters, still in love, still together, and with a mention of what happened to them, that what they'd planned for or hinted at in their book, actually happen.
I guess I just like to know that the HEA is actually a HEA and not just a HFN (Happy For Now).