The Perfect Role, Clare Solomon

The Perfect Role by [Solomon, Clare]

The role of a moment.  The role of a lifetime.  The role that matters.  It's not often when you get one or more of these and even more rare when you get all three at once.  Two men are given the meet during the first, which sets them up for the second, which grows into the third.  Through ups and downs they find success, determination, separation, frustration, devastation, healing, love, and forever.

Peter is a divorced man with three children that he adores.  He's an actor who is willing to take just about every job that comes his way to provide for those children and a life that allows him to be close enough to them to take advantage of his visitation rights.  He's also struggling with loneliness and frustration because of why he's divorced in the first place.  Being betrayed by someone you loved is never easy, but to see that betrayal every time you pick up and drop off the kids you used to see every day?  At what point is it all too much?

While on the set for a small role as a homophobic, controlling father in a TV series he comes across something he didn't think he'd need to ever face.  His sexuality was always clear to him but with a marriage and family he never acted on the other half of his desires because there was no need.  Now with no ties, a lonely life, and a ridiculously attractive co-star he finds himself in new and unfamiliar territory.  Alex is a beacon of life and light and he doesn't think he's worthy of the young man's attention.

Alex, however, has a different opinion of that.  He may be young but he has experienced more in life than most other men have in their entire lives.  He's attracted to Peter, his stability, his unassuming and gentlemanly nature, his hesitance, his honesty, his passion, and even his role as a father.  There's something special about him that draws Alex despite the age gap, or maybe even because of it.  During the time he's unsure of Peter's attraction and sexuality he finds himself in the arms of a crew member from the set.  Thinking he's made a solid connection he begins to build something with Eddie.  It doesn't take long to see what a huge mistake that was, though, and it complicates things quite a bit.

That's not the only complication, though.  Peter has enough drama off-set that could threaten everything he hopes for with Alex, his career, and even the life he's trying to build with his children.  He was nearly buried under the weight of all the responsibility and negativity from his failed marriage.  At first he had his relationship with Alex to bolster him and lift him up, but when it was clear that them being together was interfering Peter was willing to sacrifice his own happiness on the altar of being a good father.  With difficulties coming at them from every side their budding relationship seems doomed from the start no matter how much chemistry and potential they have.  When all is said and done, however, they find that the roles they choose and the roles they are given don't really matter.  It's how committed they are to succeed in either that determines their happiness.

It did feel like there was one too many elements standing in their way and it made the story feel clunky.  The stuff with Peter, his ex, and the kids was essential.  The stuff with Alex, though, I think one issue could have been removed and it would have been way better.  There was a mention of bruising with panic in the very beginning, a passing mention by his brother during a phone call, and then an explanation and stressful time with its recurrence at the end and that could have been developed and integrated for it to feel complete and valid, but as it stands now, it was vague and rushed.  Either that and get rid of the stuff with Eddie or just develop the situation with Eddie.  With the health concerns it felt more vital than the vicious ex because it gave validity to Alex's life experience, his inner strength, and his emotional turmoil.  It also could have been the vehicle to trigger Peter's need to care for, protect, and nurture his partner.  Either way, it needed a bit of streamlining to feel less disjointed.

I found this story uplifting at the end and pretty well done overall.  Alex was young but nothing close to naive.  He found that his desire for Peter had a foundation in the love he has for his own family and his passion for acting.  It came naturally.    Peter was a good man, a solid man, and even though he had trouble seeing the big picture and beyond what is thrown on his doorstep, he presses on and is a force for protecting those he loves.  They were a good pairing and the concept of what a perfect role really is was a good way to wrap up all the elements of the story.

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 The Perfect Role, Clare Solomon

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