Last Chance is the third book in the First Impressions series. The first book was the aptly titled First Impressions where Jez the artist meets loud sock loving Steve. The second entry in the series is a free story called Fuzzy. This is an adorable look at Steve getting into knitting his own socks. This third short story is a darker, more serious turn as Jez’s homophobic father is dying. Despite the darker tone and content, this delightful story is a real treat to read. It’s beautifully written with a lot of subtly and punch packed into such a short space. This may not be the last we see of this couple (and I hope not) but the series and this story in particular is worth reading.
This time when Jez discovers his father is dying, he must decide whether to visit or not. This brings up a lot of complicated emotions and issues for Jez to deal with. Since Jez is the first person narrator the story delves into his character pretty deeply. There is a lot of emotional turmoil for the young artist that is set against the backdrop of his happy relationship to Steve. Although Steve is important, he’s more a source of comfort and strength than anything. His character doesn’t really change or grow very much but he’s essential to Jez working through his emotions surrounding his father and family in general.
One of the things I really like about this short story is that the characters aren’t perfect. Jez makes some considerable mistakes and even Steve is shown to be less than ideal. Not that these men aren’t adorable and wonderful on their own and together, but they’re human and prone to the same behavior as anyone else. I love that Jez is grumpy and impossible to deal with, making Steve prefer to work late and avoid Jez at first. This isn’t the perfect fairy tale relationship that instantly makes everything better but instead they feel so much more real and relatable because of that.
The writing is once again very well done. There is a lot of emotion and impact within such a short story (only 30 pages) and it’s surprising how affecting this is. It’s sad but has a very nice happy ending with a reaffirmation of Jez and Steve’s love. This couple feels real and honest throughout the series and always with a touch of whimsy and delight. I truly hope this isn’t the last we see of these two and I’m looking forward to another short story featuring some crazy socks or undies.