The Silence of the Stars

The Silence of the Stars

The sequel to The Stars that Tremble

Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.

Everett Blake seems to have everything: good looks, money, and talent to spare. He parlayed a successful career as a violinist into a teaching job at Manhattan’s elite Olcott School and until four months ago, he even had the perfect boyfriend. Now he’s on his own, trying to give his new apartment some personality, even if it is unkempt compared to the perfect home he shared with his ex. When hiring a contractor to renovate his kitchen sends Sandy barreling into his life, Everett is only too happy to accept the chaos… until he realizes he’s in over his head.




They stopped at a corner. Sandy peered up at the sky. “I hate that all you can see is the fuzzy haze of light.”

“If you squint, you can kind of see a few stars,” said Everett, though Sandy was right; the sky wasn’t even dark, though it was well after sunset. “Well, that’s the city for you.”

“That is the one thing I kind of miss about the desert. It was so clear you could always see the stars at night.”


“Yeah. And stars, you know, they’re always quiet. There were nights when I’d just go outside to get away from everyone, because once the sun went down, it wasn’t so stiflingly hot. I’d just look at the stars. I found their silence comforting.”

Everett squeezed Sandy’s hand. It struck him that they had led such different lives, but somehow Everett could relate to that. Perhaps Sandy found peace in the stars the same way Everett found peace in music. That was an interesting contrast, wasn’t it? Sandy found comfort in silence, but Everett found comfort in sound. They were so different, but maybe they complemented each other. They fit together the same way their hands did, palms pressed together, fingers intertwined.

Somehow, they managed to cross Houston without letting go of their joined hands. When Sandy tugged and led Everett down Ludlow Street, Everett finally asked where they were going.

“I live over an old Jewish deli off Rivington. The building’s a shithole, but the apartment’s okay. I’ve been there since I got out of the Army, before real estate got super ridiculous. Now you can’t even rent a trash can in this neighborhood for less than three thousand a month.” Sandy shook his head. “The deli makes a killer pastrami sandwich, though.”

“You judge a lot of things by your stomach, don’t you.”

“Hey, a man has needs. Water, sex, shelter, processed deli meat.”

They arrived at Sandy’s doorstep a few moments later. Despite having grown up in the city, Everett had barely spent any time at all on the Lower East Side. Sandy’s block was quaint, in that spit-polished way formerly rough neighborhoods that had gone trendy had. Sandy had to let go of Everett’s hand to fish his keys out of his pocket, and then he unlocked a metal door that was, indeed, next to a deli called “Berkovich & Sons’ Fine Meats.” Everett followed Sandy up a narrow staircase.