When Everything Is BlueBy: Laura Lascarso
Sometimes the people we need most aren’t bonded by blood but by something deeper.
When they were kids, golden boy Chris Mitcham rescued dweeby Theo Wooten from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed romantic feelings for his best friend that “arise” at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.
When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and the stunted, tenuous relationship Theo has with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery?
In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with several awkward firsts, a few haters, but also the tender comfort of an unexpected lover.
BEING HORNY and almost sixteen is the absolute worst.
Take it from me, Theodore Wooten III, resident expert in the spontaneous boner. The cause of my lovesickness: Christian Mitcham. The cure: hell if I know.
With his sun-bleached hair, warm brown eyes, and devil-may-care attitude, people gravitate to Chris like sugar ants on a soda can, me included. He’s been my best friend since sixth grade when some neighborhood punks held me down on the sidewalk and tried to spit in my eyes. Chris called them off and threatened to beat their asses even though he was outnumbered and outgunned. I guess they believed in his conviction. I know I did.
“Chris is back.”
My twin sister, Tabitha, rushes into my room, even though the door was mostly closed. When we moved into this apartment, the owner paid a contractor to split the master bedroom into two bedrooms, so that we could each have our own room. Tabs got the en suite bathroom, and I got the window. Considering the view overlooks Chris’s property, where he can often be found strutting around shirtless in the wild, it now seems like a fair trade.
“You’re supposed to knock,” I grumble. My gut is a brew of excitement and nerves at the knowledge that Chris is back. My feelings toward my best friend have become more complicated over the past year or so. I’d hoped a summer apart would simplify things.
“I did knock, Theo. You just didn’t hear me,” says Tabs, she of the last word.
I was watching some skate videos online with my cans on. The music was loud, but not that loud. I toss my tablet on the bed, stand, and stretch, delaying the inevitable.
“Oooh, he looks good,” Tabs says as she opens my window, piquing my interest even more. “Buff and tan. He’s been working out.”
“Probably just surfing.” A cloud of swampy Florida air envelops me as I steal a glance over her shoulder. She’s right. He’s even more godly than two months ago. Lucky bastard doesn’t even need to try. Ever since Chris turned thirteen, his muscles have been bursting out like microwave popcorn. He lifts a burger to his mouth and sprouts biceps, sits up in bed and boom, there are his abs. Meanwhile, I grow taller and lankier and have to deal with my mom telling me to stand up straight or I’m going to get scoliosis, which I’m pretty sure isn’t how that disease works, but it’s hard to argue with my mom when she thinks she’s right.
My sister calls down to Chris. He’s carrying a new surfboard—midnight blue, probably a gift from his dad. He glances up and lifts his free hand in a friendly wave.
My gut twists in a nausea-inducing way. The feelings are still there, the sharp knife of longing that slices down my sternum and scrambles my guts. I lift one hand in greeting and hope I’m far enough away so he can’t see anything unusual on my face.
“Come down,” Chris calls. “Bring your suits.”
I’m already wearing my board shorts and a T-shirt. Standard summer attire. We live close enough to the beach that I can bike or skate there, even though my mom hates me going through all the traffic. Sometimes I just go to skate along the seawall and smell the ocean. It reminds me of Chris.
The twist in my stomach coils into a hard knot of anxiety at the thought of our reunion , but it’ll be weird if my sister goes and I don’t. Plus, I’ve missed him like crazy. I got so bored this summer, I was finally able to nail a nightmare flip on my skateboard. Something to add to my college applications.