Welcome back to Eldritch Girl…
This post is a few days late, apologies! I’ve been having a much-needed rest and enjoying my birthday month, and preparing for THE CROWS to come out in hardback (Season 01 of the podcast, if you missed it!).
In this episode, Wes sets his cap at Fairwood (and Carrie), takes drugs to see glimpses of a strange future, and recalls his own Changes.
CWs: drug-taking and on-page trip in POV, come-down and out-of-touch/derealisation POV due to drug-taking, very strong language (the C-word again), depersonalisation (when Wes can’t remember his own face for the first time), explicit attraction to first-cousins in inbred family context, coerced alcohol intake/relapse, toxic family dynamics.
Wes went for a short walk around the gardens once his sister had gone back to her room. He had to clear his head of the energy pulsing in the kitchen, free his mind of Ricky’s ripped abs, and definitely not think about that time they’d been stupid teenagers with nothing better to do than each other. Ricky hadn’t been into it then, either.~ C. M. Rosens, Thirteenth, pp. 267-8
Striding around the back lawns and skirting the broken wall to return to the gravel drive at the front, a twinge of jealousy stirred in his chest as the gables loomed over him.
It wasn’t often – never, in fact – that he was jealous of Ricky. He’d always known the old ruin as The Crows, a wild-sounding name that suited its decay. Its restoration was a revelation, an epiphany, a promise that even the most broken of things could be restored to some kind of life, and that life could be glorious.
This section encapsulates Wes’s character arc and motivations, and I am looking forward to expanding on this in the next book THE DAY WE ATE GRANDAD (being written at the time of this episode going live).
Class is pretty much the key thing to understanding Wes, mainly that he’s upper working class by birth and schooling, as the family didn’t make their money until Ricky grew up and was able to predict the lottery etc for them. He moved out at 16 to stay with Uncle Wayne and Aunty Jenny, went to college to get his A Levels, only just passed most of them since he was deep into drugs and having a good time.
He’d also figured out Ricky was useful to hang around with for this reason since at 16-18 Ricky was fully committed to being out of his skull as much as he could be. This was when Ricky was more open to experimentation, and how he realised he wasn’t really into sex/romance even though he was theoretically up for trying with anyone because it was all the same to him (but had no vocabulary to explain his orientation).
Wes now has millions (at least) and never earned a penny of them, and while he was in London on his first lottery win he spent his time trying to get into the right circles and failing. He attended as many parties as he could get into, mainly dealing for Uncle Barry as an ‘in’, until he gained a reputation as someone you had to invite for recreational reasons. He didn’t go to the right schools, he didn’t have the right vocabulary, and his ideas of how you spend money and what you spend money on is what lower class people think the rich/upper classes spend money on.
He had to learn how to blend in, to go for the brand names he’d never even heard of before and not the ‘popular’ ones, what topics of conversation were off the table in what kind of company, how to talk to people to get them to invite him back. He still never fitted in properly, but as long as he got to live his party lifestyle that was okay for a while. He got into the queer community and sex party scene, got through a lot of casual relationships and hook ups, and his Changes meant that he was a curiosity, someone that people found irresistibly interesting for reasons they couldn’t quite pin down.
How Wes met Charlie (and her best friend Hugo, whom he didn’t get into a relationship with until 4 years after they met) is told in OVEREXPOSURE, a short story available to buy from all eBook retailers and my Ko-Fi shop for £1.99. If you want to listen to it before you buy it, it’s a bonus episode on the podcast (linked in the title).
Reviews of it on GoodReads/StoryGraph/Amzn/elsewhere would be very much appreciated!