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Matt & Evan Forever & Ever Character Interview

Hello everyone! It’s your girl LaQuette. Happy holidays to all who celebrate, and welcome back to my blog.

For anyone who hasn’t been fortunate to experience the Haight-Cerelli family, Tere Michaels’ Faith, Love & Devotion series is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a final installment titled, Forever & Ever.

To anyone who hasn't read the story yet, their are some spoilers in this interview. So, if spoilers bother you, this is your one and only warning to bow out now.

Here once again to chat about their incredible love story—captured so brilliantly through the words of Tere Michaels—, please welcome Matthew Haight and Evan Cerelli.

LaQuette: “Matt and Evan, how are you?”

Matt: *pulls out his cellphone* “We’re doing great, just great. Can I show you pictures of my grandchildren?”

Evan: *attempts to push Matt’s phone away* “You need to stop doing that, at least in the first eight seconds of talking to someone.”

Matt: *huffs in exasperation* “Fine.”

Evan: “Thank you for having us. And by the way, my pictures are better than his.”

LaQuette: “You’re more than welcome. You know I love having you guys here. And I would love to see both sets of grandkid pics. Even your blurry ones, Matt.”

Matt: “It’s this phone…”

Evan: “Or you can’t get a clear picture chasing kids around the house.”

LaQuette: *nods head* “He’s right. Not that I’m a grandparent, but I can never seem to get a clear shot of my own kids these days.”

Matt: “Cool grandparents don’t require poses.”

Evan: “You’re saying I’m not cool.”

LaQuette: *LaQuette and Matt look at Evan, and then each other and share a chuckle*

Matt: “No. I’m saying you’re not as cool as me.”

Evan: “Okay.”

LaQuette: “If it’s any consolation, Evan, I don’t think there’s anyone as cool as Matt.”

Evan: *nods in agreement like a good husband who knows better than to argue the point*

LaQuette: “I’m glad you’re both doing okay. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same. I am mad as hell! The last time you were here I asked you directly if there was any possibility that the two of you would take the plunge and make it legal on paper? And you played me with that bullshit ‘no comment’ nonsense. How you gon’ do me like that?

Evan: “Can I plead the fifth?”

LaQuette: *glares at Evan*

Matt: “We didn’t tell the kids or our friends! You’re going to have to get in line for the “Pissed at Matt and Evan” Review. Jim still glowers at me for no reason – I think he’s still jealous I didn’t have to wear a tux.”

Evan: “Wait – no comment is not a lie. It’s a redirect. So technically…”

LaQuette: *still glaring at Evan* “A half-truth is still a whole lie.”

Matt: “I know it doesn’t make sense to…everyone we know. But we wanted something for just us. Private and stuff. Why aren’t people more impressed with how romantic it was? I mean, come on people!

Evan: “Yes. Romantic. That’s it.”

LaQuette: *folds her arms over her chest and purses her lips in an I-call-bullshit way* “Listen, I understand your right and your need to keep your business your business. But, you didn’t even tell the kids? I’m really surprised Miranda and Katie let you get away with that, by the way. They’re slipping on their game.”

Evan: “They weren’t exactly pleased with us but they’ve come around, being married ladies now and all.”

Matt: makes gagging noise

LaQuette: *laughs and offers Matt a bottle of water*

Evan: “You know how you got grandchildren, right?”

Matt: “That’s disgusting.”

LaQuette: “Not if you’re doing it right.”

Matt: *guzzles half the bottle of water down*

Evan: *rubs his temple in slow circles* “The rest of our friends have forgiven us. I think Matt’s appendix really saved us a lot of grief.”

Matt: “Griffin got us a two-year subscription to The Knot which was fiendishly passive aggressive.”

LaQuette: “I always did like Griffin best out of all your friends.”

Evan: “The magazines came in handy when Elizabeth got engaged though.”

Matt: “So ha. We got all the last laughs.”

LaQuette: “Whatever. I can’t stay mad at you anyway. So, now that I’m not so much in my feelings anymore, let’s really get into this chat. It’s been ten years since Tere introduced us to you. That night the two of you met at Abe’s retirement party, did you think that everything that’s grown out of that connection was a possibility?”

Evan: “To be honest, I barely remember it all. I was floating at that point, struggling to get up in the morning. I don’t think I imagined any sort of future where I’d care about anything besides my kids. The idea of…living – that didn’t even cross my mind.”

Matt: “We were two of the sorriest sons of bitches on the planet.”

Evan: “So to answer your question – no. Not even a tiny sliver of possibility entered my mind.”

Matt: “Of all the ways I expected to ride out my life, this was never on the menu.”

Evan: “When all your plans get blown up, it takes awhile to trust the future, you know? What’s to say it won’t all disappear again?”

Matt: “It’s a reflex. You go in mistrusting the idea of happiness.”

Evan: “Took awhile to realize that’s no way to live.”

Matt: “It feels like a million years ago.”

Evan: *bumps Matt’s shoulder with his* “I’m glad it is.”

LaQuette: *smiles quietly to herself as she watches the two of them* “We’ve watched the two of you go from barely being friends, to stumbling into a relationship—the likes neither of you had ever before experienced—to finding something so necessary that readers like me are clinging to every moment we get to share with you. Has it felt as amazing and magical to you as it appeared to us on the page? Did you know that you’d become something the world needs now more than ever, a lesson in tolerance, openness, and acceptance?”

Matt: “I feel like I should be wearing a tiara and sash.”

LaQuette: *nods* “You should. Tiaras make everything better.”

Evan: *waits while glaring at Matt and LaQuette* “Can you teach a lesson if you’re still learning? I mean, we worked to get here, making about a thousand mistakes and I assume, on course to make a thousand more. I don’t want to be a role model for something I’m not. Just a guy doing his best, nothing more, nothing less.”

Matt: “You’re not ever going to win Miss Congeniality with that attitude.”

LaQuette: “You wouldn’t even make runner-up with that answer.”

Evan: “This is a serious question.”

Matt: *sighs deeply* “Fine. If folks can learn from our ‘journey’ then that’s great. I mean it. All a person can do is try to leave the world a little better than it was before. And make sure the young people you’re responsible for don’t turn into hipster dorks.”

Evan: “What?”

Matt: “I’m just saying.”

LaQuette: “Matthew, in my opinion, you are the heart of this family? That’s an opinion that hasn’t changed in ten years, might I add. You often provide the comic relief for the tough times in the Haight-Cerelli clan. Your ability to make everyone laugh has been an exceptional tool in decompressing Evan’s need to strangle someone when things get out of hand. Do you realize how many lives you saved over the years?”

Matt: “She gets me.”

LaQuette: *winks at Matt* “You know I gotcha, boo.”

Evan: “His ego does not need stroking.”

LaQuette: “You would know far better than I.”

Matt: *waggles eyebrows*

Evan: *shakes his head* “I am much better than I used to be. Admit it.”

LaQuette: “I’ll give you that much.”

Matt: “And I am still more fun. But yes. You’re better. I haven’t had to turn the hose on your for at least three years.”

LaQuette: “You’re doing the Lord’s work, Matt.”

Evan: *pulls his hand down his face and tries not to turn red.*

LaQuette: “Evan, we’ve watched you make major transitions over the years. The most striking in my opinion is your decision to retire from the police force. You’ve invested so much of your life into your work. What made you feel now was the time? Are you sure it wasn’t the Democrats?”

Evan: “You know, it’s really about wanting to spend more time with my family. My kids are adults, they’re starting their own families – I missed enough because of work over the years.”

Matt: *clears throat loudly*

LaQuette: *clears throat loudly*

Evan: *throws hands up in surrender* “Fine. I missed those things because I prioritized work over family.”

LaQuette: “Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.”

Matt: *winks at LaQuette and rubs comforting circles on Evan’s back* “So proud of you.”

Evan: *rolls his eyes* “I’m also not meant to be a paper-pusher. Or a politician. The Democrats wouldn’t want me, quite frankly.”

LaQuette: “Evan, we’ve watched you struggle over the years with everything from your identity to public opinion. We’ve seen you rock back and forth more times than we cared to count as you’ve moved forward with Matt over the years. And although your love for him has always been obvious, there’s no denying you had a more difficult adjustment to falling in love with a man than Matt did. But what I so loved about this installment of the Matt and Evan story is that you were always certain this time around. No matter what was going on, no matter the struggle, your belief that the two of you could face it and survive it was painted on your skin like your old tattoo. It was part of you, visible for everyone to see. What changed? When did you stop worrying about what everyone else thought?”

Evan: “That’s a tough one. Maybe I just grew up? Maybe it finally clicked that life is too short to worry about other people and their opinions.”

Matt: “Are we recording this?”

LaQuette: “Sure are.”

Matt: “Can I get a copy to frame for the living room wall?”

LaQuette: “See me before you leave.”

Evan: *ignores Matt and LaQuette and continues* “Maybe it goes back to the retirement decision. I spent a few years dealing with an endless stream of opinions and negative feedback and in the end – what did it matter? No one’s opinion matters before your own.”

Matt: “Unless my opinion is better.”

Evan: “Do you see how smoothly I ignore him? I also learned how to do that. It’s been amazing for our relationship.”

LaQuette: “That’s the first step to a happy relationship, learning to tune your spouse out.”

Matt: “The vein in your forehead says differently.”

LaQuette: “Matt, we’ve talked about the beautiful relationship you have with your daughter, Katie. We’ve watched the two of you form this unbreakable bond from day one. We’ve also seen the difficulties you’ve shared with your oldest, Miranda too. And even though we’ve seen the benefits of the truce you two have worked out over the years, it’s been a struggle for her to be more than tolerant of the relationship you and Evan share. But, when you all went to see the baby for the first time, and she called you grandpa, I felt the shift in your relationship in my soul. How meaningful was that moment for you? Was it as palpable for you experiencing it as it was for us on the page?”

Evan: *grabs a box of tissues*

LaQuette: *grabs a handful before passing some to Matt*

Matt: “Shut up.”

Evan: “I didn’t say a thing.”

LaQuette: *tries to wipe her eyes without messing up her eyeliner and mascara*

Matt: *takes a moment to compose himself* “Me and Miranda have had a rocky journey, that’s true. But listen – I don’t blame her, I never did. She worked through a lot – losing her mom, having to shoulder a lot of the load with the younger kids. She was mad as hell the way her life turned out, and who the hell am I to look down my nose at her? I’ve been mad as hell at life, I get it. In the end, she just wanted what was best for her dad and I can’t argue with that either.”

Evan: “She might also take after me a bit more than the others…”

Matt: “Poor child. Anyway, her and I have worked through it and it was good but I’m not going to lie – when she handed me little Shelia and called me grandpa, I realized we had made it, you know? Made it to being real family. Took longer and it’s different than me and Katie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not pretty freaking great.”

Evan: “They text now.”

Matt: “We’re having a gif war. Spiderman versus cats.”

Evan: “I don’t know what that means.”

LaQuette: *giggles* “You two are a mess. Matt, another moment that rocked me during that scene is when you’re watching Evan hold Sheila as he sits next to Miranda, and we see you mourn for Sherri. She’s a woman you’ve never met, a woman whose absence has made you wonder about your place in the Cerelli family on numerous occasions. But in that moment, you rose above your own insecurities and you mourned for a woman you essentially replaced. I don’t think I’ve loved you more as a reader than in that moment. I’ve never had more respect for you than I did then. Did you ever share all of that with Evan?”

Matt: “Yes, I mean, most of it. He knows. He’s had his own struggles with her memory.”

Evan: “To put it mildly.”

Matt: “Listen, me and Sherri have been sharing space for over ten years. And considering I’m filling in her side of the conversation, it’s been an ebb and flow of just how insecure I was feeling at the time. I meant what I said – she was a nice lady who didn’t deserve what happened and as happy as I am with my life, I can’t forget it only exists because of this terrible thing. And I’m not trying to be a downer, not feeling sorry for myself. It’s just reality.”

Evan: “You can’t erase her from our lives. And we wouldn’t do that to the kids. Maybe it’s just about perspective.”

Matt: “Yeah. I got some of that.”

LaQuette: “I knew I should’ve grabbed my waterproof mascara for this interview.” *dabs her crumpled up tissue at the corner of her eyes* “Now, let’s go back to when Katie was getting married. If I remember correctly, Matt was worried the world would give them shit for being an interracial couple. At the time I thought his worries were slightly unfounded but looking through today’s lens when the world seems to be falling further and further away from enlightenment, I worry that Matt’s fears may not have been as unwarranted as I believed. But then I watched as the two of you were talking about what your grandfather names would be, and Evan just as easily says ‘I will be Grandpa Evan. That’s what Josiah calls me.’

“The two of you may not see what that means because from your perspective you’re just two men loving your kids’ kids. But to me, someone who has been the only person of color in the room and has felt like the odd woman out, I cannot tell you how it made my heart weep with joy. To know that this child whom you brought into your family was now the standard for what all your grandchildren would address you as was just one more thing that made me love you two more. You didn’t have to preach your acceptance of Josiah and his father, it was woven into the parts of that simple statement. Do you even realize how much you made me cry in this book?”

Evan: “To be honest, my instinct to worry flares up now and again. I was a cop for a long time – I am unfortunately all too aware of what vile things people are capable of doing, including policemen. And it’s personal now. I watch the news with a different perspective. I mean, it’s not other people – it’s my people, if that makes sense. I look at Austin or Josiah or Nathaniel or Mattie and I think – if someone messes with them…”

Matt: “You will be visiting me in prison.”

Evan: “We can have adjoining cells.”

Matt: “We’d have the whole cellblock.”

LaQuette: “I’d have your bail money and the getaway car.”

Evan: “And what you said before about Josiah calling me Grandpa Evan. He made me a grandparent, you know? The honor goes to him as to what my name should be. He’s the head grandchild! And he’s great at it. Those kids follow him around like little ducklings.”

Matt: “He uses his power for good not evil, thankfully.”

LaQuette: “You two have allowed us to be part of your world for ten years. Tere says this is the end. Were you okay with her decision? Was this at your request, or does she just enjoy torturing us?”

Matt: “Honestly, we are really boring and set in our ways now. I work, Evan drives the kids around to their activities, we hang out with our friends. Oh, and sports. Lots of sports. Why do the Knicks suck so much?”

LaQuette: “Stop acting as if that hasn’t always been the case.”

Evan: “You’re probably getting out at a good time! It’s about to devolve into conversations about how much my back hurts and the pile of hair in the drain every morning.”

Matt: “We’ve got the happiest ending of all – life going on, everyone we love doing well. Jim’s health is good, the kids are amazing. Sometimes we have to go to see plays we don’t understand but it’s a small price to pay. It’s a good time to ride off into the sunset.”

Evan: “I’m going to enjoy having sex privately again, let’s be honest.”

LaQuette: “We thank you for the time you’ve allowed us to… share in the experience with you.” *LaQuette takes a sip from her water bottle* “Do you regret it? Letting the world inside your lives?”

Matt: “Did we make people laugh? Cry? Laugh again?

LaQuette: “You certainly did.”

Matt: “Then no – no regrets.”

Evan: “My girls used to love that movie, Peter Pan. The cartoon one? Anyway, there’s this part where everyone has to clap to bring the little fairy back to life. I don’t know, maybe we needed the readers to keep clapping us along to our happy ending.”

LaQuette: *sits up straighter in her chair* “That was so beautiful, Evan. I didn’t know you had it in you.”

Matt: “I’m so going to get a picture of you and Tinkerbell the next time we’re in Disney.”

LaQuette: “If there is a holiday novella in the future, can I be a character in your world? I just want to hang out with all of you, get to meet the wonderful Haight-Cerelli family and spend a little time in your crazy, because it is the thing dreams are made of.”

Evan: “Do you have earplugs? We are very, very loud.”

LaQuette: “Trust me, you’re no louder than the two small people that scream my name fifty-leven-hundred times a day.”

Matt: “Come on in! Bring beer! There’s always room for one more…”

LaQuette: “The two of you have shown me that love is bigger and more important than anything else in life. You’ve also taught me that the family you make is just as important as the one you’re born with. Evan, I know you say you don’t know the Democrats, but if you did, I really wish they could convince you to run, because more than anything what the world needs is the unbelievable capacity that you and all your people have to love.”

Evan: “I’ve been elected Grandpa Evan for life – that’s good enough for me. I figure my work is to make sure all my kids and grandkids and honorary nieces grow up happy and healthy and doing right by the people in their lives.” *points to Matt* “And making sure this one behaves himself.”

Matt: *chuckles* “Good luck with that.”

Evan: “I have my ways…”

Matt: “Yeah you do.”

LaQuette: *fans herself* “Are you sure you’re ready to kick us out of your bedroom just yet?”

Evan: *blushes and turns to Matt* “Not a bad way to spend the rest of our lives.”

Matt: “And they lived happily ever after.”

LaQuette: “They certainly did, and I for one am glad I had the chance to witness it. This is LaQuette, signing off from the pages of ‘Forever & Ever,’ the final installment in Tere Michaels’ Faith, Love & Devotion series for the last time. If you haven’t read it, trust me you’re missing out.

Tere Michaels

Tere's specialties are snark, angst, and happily ever afters, set in the big city. It might take some time to get there but no worries - she believes in love conquering all!

She has written fifteen books including her popular Faith, Love & Devotion series and the superhero saga The Vigilante.

Nothing makes her happier than knowing she made a reader laugh or smile or cry - it's the purpose of sharing her work with people. She loves hearing from fans and fellow writers and is always available for speaking engagements, visits, and workshops.

#TereMichaels #FaithFidelity #FaithLoveDevotion #GayRomance #MMRomance #CharacterInterview

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