For the moment I am placing a CLEAR DISCLAIMER & WARNING at the start of this story...
= I DO NOT APPROVE OF CERTAIN ACTIONS BY JAMES WOODS THAT RECENTLY CAME TO LIGHT.
= I DO NOT approve of any man approaching a woman with propositions and then persisting when she rejects him.
= I DO NOT approve of a 50 year old man hitting on two 16 year old girls who inform him of their age and are told "Even better, we'll have so much fun".
The WARNING is this: "Hope Springs Eternal" deals very heavily with an older male/younger female relationship.
Sure, it was that way in mythology and real ancient Greece. Sure, the older male in my story hesitates and doubts himself and is ultimately seduced by the younger female. Sure, it's just fiction and therefore not real. And sure, I uphold the concept of "Don't like? Don't read!" (truly words to live by). But I ALSO know what it is to have PTSD and be triggered so badly by an event you weren't prepared for and be ill for days afterward.
So I am warning everyone... If you cannot handle vast age differences even in a FULLY CONSENSUAL relationship, DO NOT read this story. If you are at all triggered by that concept, turn away now.
Mr. Woods' behavior was repellent in the extreme, and I DO NOT APPROVE of him or what he did. But I had zero idea that he was such a fucking creep when I wrote the story in 1999. I would love to NOT have this knowledge darken my OWN view of what I wrote, but it's happening anyway.