Chapter 1 – Intoxicated Affairs

After the Affair: The Kristopher Brown Story

Written by Sarah Markham-Hall
Based on Real Life Events

Important Notice: This novel includes content unsuitable for individuals under the age of 16.  The material encompasses, but is not limited to, strong language, drug use, sexually explicit content, suicidal attempts, and violent themes. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

Legal Disclaimer: The events and particulars depicted herein are drawn from the recollection, imagination, and personal diaries of Sarah Markham-Hall. Certain scenes are fictionalized and dramatized for content and may not accurately reflect the true sequence or occurrence of events. Names and locations have been modified to safeguard the privacy of individuals involved. No harm or injury was inflicted upon anyone during the writing of this novel.


Chapter 1 – Intoxicated Affairs

As I awoke, I found myself gazing up at the ceiling, which seemed to be twirling all around me. It was as if I had stumbled into a peculiar episode reminiscent of Allison in Wonderland, where the room was gradually constricting while I remained immobilized on an unfamiliar bed. Clinging to the bed’s edges, I patiently awaited the sensation’s retreat. In that moment, the only recollection that surfaced was the day Robi and I rode the damp teacups at Disney Land after a rain shower. The sensation was eerily similar, albeit this time I was lying down, and the spinning appeared to persist for an uncomfortably extended period. With a clearer vision dawning, I couldn’t help but wonder aloud, “What on earth is happening to me?”

As the dizziness waned, the throbbing in my head intensified. I gently sat up in the unfamiliar bed, audibly voicing my confusion, “Where am I?” My eyes wandered around the unfamiliar room, where I noticed what appeared to be partially clad depictions of soldiers on the wall. My hungover mind struggled to make sense of it all, and I couldn’t be certain if those were indeed artworks. The room was compact, furnished with two nightstands on either side of the bed and a modest dresser in front of it, upon which a 32-inch plasma TV perched.

Gradually, I released my grip on the bed’s edge, rubbing my temples as I asked, “What happened?” Justin’s banging and moaning from the adjoining room reached my ears, and suddenly, it dawned on me. I was lying in one of the one-bedroom suites at Lakeworth Resort. The events of the previous night remained a hazy memory. I recalled attending Robi’s memorial service and the gathering at Fireside, but my recollection faded after playing Wii Bowling with Kristopher. How I had transitioned from that to awakening naked in a hotel room at Lakeworth Resort was a mystery.

I mused aloud, glancing down to observe my clothing strewn across the floor, alongside a substantial portion of Justin’s attire. Still in a state of bewilderment, I cautiously swung one leg over the bedside, only to be abruptly overpowered by a wave of dizziness that sent me sprawling back onto the bed. I lay there for what felt like a minute or two, all the while the clamor emanating from the adjacent room intensified, a clear sign of Justin’s mounting frustration. Taking a deep breath, I summoned the resolve to lift both legs over the bed’s edge and gradually stood up. With deliberation, I retrieved my underwear and shirt, proceeding to dress myself slowly.

I had never experienced intoxication before in my life, to be perfectly candid. The taste of alcohol was something I despised. It held no allure for me, and that queasy sensation of teetering between nausea and an insatiable thirst for replenishing my body with nutrients was precisely why I had always abstained from it. I was the individual who would opt for iced tea or diet coke, never relying on alcohol to let loose and enjoy myself. I derived my excitement from life without the need for alcohol. However, the previous night, I succumbed to one too many drinks in an attempt to numb the pain I had been suppressing for the past two weeks.

Approximately two weeks had passed since I received the heartbreaking news of the passing of one of my dearest friends in the entire world, Robi Jones. During this time, I had been deeply engrossed in assisting his mother with the arrangements for his memorial service, ensuring the flowers were ordered, the obituary found its place in the newspaper, and the invitations were sent out. It was only last night that I managed to find a moment to sit down and allow the full weight of his absence to truly register. The reality that he would never return had begun to settle in. The shared joy of attending gay coffee nights, his animated explanations of the intricate relationships between characters in Marvel comics, and our lighthearted crushes, particularly our mutual admiration for Aaron Miles as we discreetly tracked his social media profiles, were all now mere memories. My best friend was just gone.

Robi’s passing came as a profound shock. One moment, he was canceling plans with Amber and me to go to the Lakeworth Carnival, the next, he was informing us that he believed he had another blood clot in his leg and needed to rush to the emergency room. Then, out of the blue, his cousin contacted me, conveying the dreadful news that the blood clot had reached his heart, and he was no longer with us. This was my first experience with losing someone so intimately connected to me. I had lost my grandfather during my childhood, but I was too young then to fully comprehend the gravity of the situation. Robi marked the first loss I had encountered as an adult.

I found myself in uncharted territory, with no guidance on how I should be feeling. I had always been one of those people who woke up each day with a smile on my face, even when I was going through periods of misery and depression. “It’s all in your head” was a motto I lived by. I held skepticism toward mental disorders and even the concept of depression. My outlook on life was that, if you wanted to be happy and well, all it took was a positive attitude, a couple of Tylenol pills, and a bowl of Special K cereal. That’s what had seen me through most days. I suppose it was easy to maintain such an attitude when you had never before experienced the permanent loss of someone dear to you.

As I pondered the events of the preceding day, my throbbing headache intensified, and the commotion from the adjacent room grew louder. “What are you up to, Lenox?” I inquired, voicing my question as I mustered a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other slowly. Stepping into the hotel room’s living area, I observed Justin frantically tearing the room apart in search of something. “What on earth are you doing?” I asked, clutching my head in pain as my headache escalated. Frustration filled me as I exclaimed, “This is precisely why I avoid drinking!”

“I can’t find it!” he blurted out, dumping the trash can next to the couch. As the trash was emptied, I noticed two empty 24 fl oz. vodka bottles tumbling to the floor, along with a few cans of Miller Lite, a can of Coca Cola, and a half-drunk bottle of Diet Coke.  It suddenly made sense as to why I was feeling the way that I did.   

“What can’t you locate?” I inquired, my focus divided between his incoherent chatter and my struggle to remain upright, feeling as though the room was spinning in slow motion.

“The condom, Ann!   Did we use a fucking condom or not last night!” he yelled panicky.

“What?” I queried, abruptly halting in my steps and fixing my gaze upon him, coming to the realization that he, too, stood before me in nothing but his plain white underwear.

“Do you remember what we did last night?” Justin inquired, his tone firm and a chill in his eyes as he advanced toward me.

“To be completely honest, the last memory I can recall is…” I began, reflecting on the previous evening. “Playing Wii bowling with Kristopher,” I concluded.

“What happened after that? Please think harder, Ann! What happened?” he cried out, his cold hands gripping my upper arms with a tinge of anger in his voice. “Did we have sex last night?”

“I, I …,” I stuttered.  “I don’t know.”

“Unfuncking believable!” he cried out, releasing my arms and frustratedly raking his fingers through his disheveled, dirty-blond hair. 

“You don’t recall last night either?” I inquired, taking a seat on the couch as the room once more began to twirl.

“No,” he sighed, pacing back and forth in front of me a couple of times before ultimately settling down beside me. “I never allow myself to become this intoxicated, Ann! It’s precisely why I avoid getting this drunk!”

“I’ve never experienced being drunk before, and if this is what it feels like, I’ll never touch alcohol again,” I groaned, burying my throbbing head in my hands.

“Here,” Justin offered, rising from the couch, and heading to the petite kitchen area within the hotel suite. He poured a small glass of plain black coffee and retrieved a couple of aspirin from the dresser as he returned to my side. “Have this coffee and take these pills. They should provide some relief.”

“I don’t drink coffee.  That shit is nasty!” I said pushing the coffee cup away.

“I don’t care!  Drink it!” he exclaimed shoving it back into my face.   “It’s the only thing that will help your hangover.”

“Fine,” I muttered in revulsion, nearly gagging as I swallowed the lukewarm coffee and the pair of aspirin.

“We’re in deep trouble!” he exclaimed, resuming his seat next to me. “You genuinely can’t recall anything from last night?” he inquired once more.

“I recall the memorial service. I remember meeting everyone at Fireside later that evening. I remember playing Wii Bowling with Kristopher,” I chuckled, adopting a childlike tone akin to someone reminiscing about a teenage crush.

“You’ve already mentioned that!” Justin grumbled, visibly annoyed with an eye roll.

“Oh come on, Kristopher is hot!  He could be my new gay bestie!  I just have to find a way to get him out of his house more often!” I said with a grin.

“Ugh!” Justin muttered in frustration.  “I can’t stand that guy!”

“You are such an ass!  You know that, right?  You don’t like him because he’s one of the few gay men in this town you haven’t fucked,” I laughed, attempting to take another sip of the unappetizing coffee. Truth be told, it was starting to make me feel better.

“He was in a relationship with Josh Randolph! Or have you conveniently overlooked that fact? Look, I have absolutely no desire to establish any kind of connection with him for numerous reasons,” Justin retorted, still irked. “Can we refocus here? I don’t need to hear about your infatuation with every gay guy you encounter. We need to recollect what took place in this hotel room last night!” 

“Alright,” I sighed. “As I was saying, I was playing Wii Bowling with Kristopher when you requested to talk to me outside. So, we stepped outside, and you began discussing how you were developing deep feelings for Elliot and could envision a long-term future with him. Then Kris and Amber walked out because Kristopher had to leave, and Amber was seeing him off to his car. After that, you suggested we return to your hotel room to continue our conversation, ensuring no one could eavesdrop on us. That’s all I can recall,” I explained. “You don’t remember anything either?”

“I remember us coming back here. You finally opened up about Robi’s passing. We consumed two entire bottles of vodka with some coke, and the next thing I recall is waking up next to you in that bed, both of us completely undressed, with our clothes strewn across the floor,” he recounted.

“Okay, so, what’s the big deal?” I chuckled. “It’s not like it was our first time.” Justin and I shared a convoluted relationship. I won’t delve into the intricacies of our connection in this narrative. A series of books titled “Affair of the Mind” is available if you want to explore the complex relationship between Ann Mathews and Justin Lenox. However, to grasp the unfolding events in this story, you should understand one thing – at this stage in my life, I was willing to do anything for that man. My heart was undeniably his, regardless of how poorly he treated me or how dysfunctional our relationship was. I would go to great lengths for him and compromise my principles if it meant I could call him my friend.

I should note one thing about Justin Lenox, though – he is gay.   Justin revealed his sexual orientation to his parents during middle school and has had romantic involvements with over 95% of the gay and bisexual men in Lakeworth County, Arizona.   Most who got tangled up with Justin lived to regret it.   He wasn’t known for being the most agreeable or kind-hearted person.  He portrayed two different personalities, depending on who you were.  To some he worked for the Arizona Department of Education as a sign language interpreter for deaf students, but to those who knew Justin the best, they knew his nighttime job was that of a drug dealer.   He had started dealing drugs in the early 2000s at the age of seventeen. He adamantly declined any involvement with drugs personally. Justin’s staunch stance against drug use was unwavering. He held a strong aversion to drugs and their detrimental impact on the human body. However, his strong financial motivation led him to pursue this lucrative side job, which provided him with a substantial income.

As I sat in the hotel room next to him in that moment, my perspective on drugs and alcohol could be attributed directly to his drug dealings. Thanks to his actions, I never harbored any inclination to experiment with drugs or become entangled in that lifestyle. Moreover, my birth parents were substance abusers who relinquished custody of me to fuel their addiction. However, it’s not as straightforward as that statement implies. I was adopted by my grandparents at the age of one because the courts removed me from my biological parents’ care. Although I’ll never know their drug of choice, I do know they opted to let me go instead of overcoming their addiction and fighting for custody. I suppose I still carry some resentment toward them for that. This isn’t to suggest that my grandparents didn’t provide me with the best life possible. They certainly did, and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. Nevertheless, I’ll probably continue to harbor this feeling of resentment towards my birth parents indefinitely due to their preference for drugs over me.

Throughout my high school years, I observed the world of drug dealing. While I never engaged in any of those transactions or experimented with any substances, Justin exposed me to the allure of power and wealth associated with it. The war on drugs is something the United States government will likely never conquer. To begin with, there are too many politicians entangled in the drug trade, and secondly, there’s an exorbitant amount of money at stake.

Once you delve beneath the surface of the typical drug user on the street, you encounter a realm rife with sex, wealth, and violence. I suppose I owe a degree of gratitude to Justin for revealing to me what he did because his actions made me want no part of it. To the extent that I didn’t even desire to partake in alcohol. This particular evening marked the first time since 2007, during my 21st birthday celebration on a family cruise, that I had consumed alcohol. I held a strong aversion to drugs and alcohol, and it was all thanks to Justin.

When it come to my relationship with Justin, it was rather complicated.  It’s vital to grasp that, since the age of fifteen, I’ve held a strong fascination with gay men. I nurtured numerous friendships with the gay and bisexual men of Lakeworth, largely due to their undeniable allure, even though it was rare for them to share similar feelings towards me. There was an irresistible charm to a man who displayed a touch of femininity, and when they incorporated eyeliner into their style, I couldn’t resist developing profound infatuations.

However, when it came to Justin Lenox, my ethical boundaries seemed to blur. I’ve undertaken numerous actions for him in the past that I’m not proud of.  Explaining the intricacies of our relationship would be a time-consuming endeavor. It was a relationship marked by toxicity, unhealthiness, and a departure from the conventional. Nevertheless, the focus here isn’t on the relationship between Ann Mathews and Justin Lenox, so let’s leave it at that.

At the age of fifteen, I did lose my virginity to him, and he alleges that he also lost his “heterosexual” virginity to me during that period. Apart from that solitary instance, if it’s indeed the case that Justin and I engaged in sexual relations in the hotel room the previous night, it would mark the second occasion in eight years where we did so without any specific terms or conditions.

“I’m afraid we didn’t use a condom,” Justin replied.

“Alright, I suppose that might pose a problem,” I mentioned while continuing to massage my temple, as the headache showed no signs of fading. “However, if we’re searching for a silver lining, it would at least spare you the expense of implanting my eggs into another woman,” I chuckled.

“This isn’t funny Ms. Mathews!” he responded sternly.

“It’s a little funny,” I chuckled.  “By the way, how are you not suffering from a hangover right now? I find it hard to believe how you can get thoroughly intoxicated, blackout, and then wake up the next morning as if nothing happened.”

“I have more experience with drinking than you,” he remarked, rolling his eyes.

“Well, I’ve sworn off drinking for good! This is the most awful sensation in the world,” I said, clearly still in some agony.  “So, you really think we had sex?” I asked after a few moments of silence.

“Yeah,” he sighed.  “You better not get pregnant, Ann!”

“So, what if I do,” I laughed.  “It’s not like we weren’t already having a child together.”

“You perfectly understand why we can’t conceive a child together physically!” Justin exclaimed.

I’d returned to Lakeworth less than two years ago. Lakeworth County, situated on the California and Nevada border, had a population of around 200,000 residents. The town I’d grown up in was Lakeworth, the largest of the three cities that made up the area. I’d relocated here during the fourth grade, coming from Rapid Lakes, Illinois. I regarded Lakeworth as my true home. Although I’d left for three years to pursue my college education in Tucson, Arizona, life circumstances led me back to my hometown shortly before graduating.

Prior to departing Tucson, Justin had requested me to undergo the procedure of freezing my eggs for him. Despite our disagreements and problems, I never doubted his ability to be a good father. His lifelong dream was always to have children.  Personally, I never had a strong desire for my own child. I often believed I lacked the patience required to care for a little version of myself. However, I was determined to make his dream a reality, so I readily agreed, keeping it a secret from everyone both before and after I had the procedure done, ultimately surrendering all parental rights to him.

“So, I can freeze my eggs for you to use with someone else, but I can’t bear your child physically?” I laughed.  “Understood! I mean, heaven forbid anyone find out that you had intimate relations with a woman.  I wouldn’t want to ruin your perfect homosexual image now, would I?” I said with disgust.  “Don’t worry I won’t tell Elliot we fucked either.”

“He won’t care,” he replied.

“Oh that’s right, I keep forgetting Elliot is bisexual.  So how does that work?   I mean you guys going to have threesomes with girls too,” I laughed.

“Could you please stop making jokes for a moment and take this seriously, Ann!” he shouted.  “Look, you probably didn’t get pregnant because we were too intoxicated, but if by some chance you did …”

“Don’t worry, Justin,” I said interrupting him.   “I’ll abort the baby to keep your reputation in check,” I said getting up from the couch.  “I gotta get home.  My parents think I stayed at Amber’s last night,” I said walking into the bedroom area and gathering up the rest of my belongings.

Later that day, both Justin and I gained a clearer understanding of what had transpired the previous evening. It turned out I had dialed Elliot after consuming a full bottle of vodka, confessing my profound affection for his boyfriend and asking for his approval to pursue a relationship with him. Surprisingly, Elliot granted his permission, and Justin and I spent the evening engaged in various activities while playing Adam Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment” on repeat. Regarding the possibility of getting pregnant, I began my period two weeks later.

To grasp the background of this novel, it’s crucial to provide insight into Justin and his significance in my life. In fact, the entire LGBTQ community in Lakeworth held immense importance for me. My life since high school had revolved around the dynamics and intricacies of the LGBTQ community in that county. As for this narrative, this is where it all began—after the Affair of the Mind, after Robi’s passing, and truly, after Justin.