It’s Chapter Five! When we last left off, Henry and Alex had started communicating via text after having their first “pretend we’re best friends for the media” after Cake-Gate at the royal wedding. In an alternate timeline from the past, we also left off with several holiday entries from Chapter Four that took us through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. If you’ve missed any of those, make sure you go back and catch up because a LOT happens and we are diving right into Alex’s brain after THAT KISS!
Let’s see what our boys are up to this week!
“Like, he’s pretty sure he’s straight.”
“That was just how horny teenage best friends were sometimes, like when they would get off at the same time watching porn in Liam’s bedroom…or that one time Liam reached over, and Alex didn’t stop him.”
Everyone who is surprised Alex didn’t know he was bi after this never went to high school in a red state where bros do shit like this all the time – no homo!
“They’re rounding the corner for their eighth lap now, and he’s starting to see some flaws in his logic. Straight people, he thinks, probably don’t spend this much time convincing themselves they’re straight.”
Originally instead of a run, I had Alex take a long bath to think about his feelings – I like this so much better, way better fit for Alex’s manic energy.
“The whole point of him is that his appeal is as universal as possible.”
I think this is one of the saddest lines of the book! That’s not the whole point of you, Alex!
“Dude, what the hell?” June’s voice cuts through the ringing in his ears. She’s standing over him, hands on her knees, brow furrowed, panting. “Your brain could not be more clearly in another solar system. Are you gonna tell me or what?”
June wasn’t originally in this scene! She was added in edits because we decided we wanted more of her.
“He ticks off another list in his head. Henry. Shaan. Liam. Han Solo. Rafael Luna and his loose collars.”
The first and last time Alex will cop to having a crush on Raf.
“He gets a badge with his name and photo on it, a desk in a shared cubicle, and a WASPy cubicle mate from Boston named Hunter with an extremely punchable face.”
This character is mostly here to be an outlet for my frustration with sanctimonious blue state dudes.
“You might have to put guacamole directly into my mouth with a spoon because I need both hands for the next forty-eight hours.”
This is one of my favorite scenes – I love writing Nora so much.
“Nora’s grandparent’s, the Veep and Second Lady, live at the Naval Observatory, and her parents live just outside of Montpelier.”
Nora’s parents’ cabin outside Montpelier is lifted directly from a Vermont vacation I took while working on this book.
“Barbacoa?” she says hopefully as Alex drops onto the couch.
“I’ve met you before today, so, obviously.”
The superior protein choice.
“Numbers on me being into dudes?”
Nora is very smart and observant – I think she always picked up on Alex not being straight but wanted to let him figure it out.
“I observe patterns and data, and they form logical conclusions, and he’s just gay. He’s always been gay.”
The original conception of Nora’s character was “what if you took a Sherlock Holmes brain and put it with Ilana from Broad City?”
“Still waters, deep dicking.”
Came up with this line at Costco.
“Prince Henry is a biscuit,” Nora says, “let him sop you up.”
Shout out to Latrice Royale!
“First, you’ve been, like, Draco Malfoy-level obsessed with Henry for years–do not interrupt me–and since the royal wedding, you’ve gotten his phone number and used it not to set up any appearances but instead to long-distance flirt with him all day every day.”
Many people have suggested this book may be Drarry fic with names changed–it’s not! But I do see shades of Remus in Henry.
“I don’t know, man. I was in junior year of high school, and I touched a boob. It wasn’t very profound. Nobody’s gonna write an Off-Broadway play about it.”
One thing I’m proudest of in this book is that there are several queer characters and they all came at queerness differently.
“The class is Ethical Issues in International Relations. He really has got to stop taking classes so painfully relevant to his life.”
Also a real class at G-town.
“New People for you,” she says. “You’re on page fifteen. Oh, and your BFF’s on page thirty-one.”
“He casually extends her the finger over his shoulder and retreats into his room, slumping down onto the couch by the door with the magazine.”
This dynamic is based heavily on me and my sister.
“Alex has a tactical brain. A politician’s brain. It works fast, and it works in many, many directions at once. And right now, he’s thinking through a puzzle. He’s not always good at thinking: What if you were him? How would your life be? What would you have to do? Instead he’s thinking: “How do these pieces slot together?”
Love this paragraph for setting up Alex as a foil to Henry–one who struggles to intuit others’ feelings vs. one who only thinks about how his actions affect others.
“Faintly, under it all, it occurs to him: This is a very not-straight way to react to seeing your male frenemy kissing someone else in a magazine.”
“Jesus Christ,” Liam groans, and hangs up.
May God bless Liam with a lifetime of happiness in putting up with this after spendings YEARS being full-on Bad Religion dot mp3 in love with Alex and then distancing himself to get over it.
That’s a wrap on chapter five, it was another fairly short one this week! YOU DON’T WANNA MISS NEXT WEEK, BECAUSE IT IS