Tim Leonard traded his old life in North Carolina for college in New York City, and that meant leaving behind his best friend Theo Cohen, along with all of the unspoken feelings that had built up between them in high school. Leo had to leave small-town life in his dust, even if that meant losing his crush.
Now Leo is back in town, lured home by a high school reunion and more than a little by the desire to see Theo again. He hasn’t heard from his old friend in five years, but the reunion may be their chance to reconnect. That is, of course, if Theo has been thinking about Leo for the past five years, too.
He caught me looking at his lips, and they curved up into a smile. His smile had always been contagious, and this was a good one: small, a little shy, and somehow looking like he knew all my secrets, just as he’d always done.
Well. He hadn’t known all my secrets. Which had been the problem. But he knew enough of them that standing near him was like being known inside and out, which was probably why I’d been so ass-over-heels in love with him as a teenager.
The lean swimmer’s body and good smell had accounted for the burning lust, and those, at least, were very much still in effect. His t-shirt was tight in the chest and loose around the waist, and he still smelled like that damn grapefruit shampoo he’d used to favor as a kid, and apparently still did.
I stared at him for probably too long, and he looked back at me, mouth still quirked into that little smile. We probably would have stared at each other all night, if our class president hadn’t chosen that moment to start speaking to the crowd.
Michelle Howard, our class president for all four years, had clambered onto a table at the far end of the gym, which was surprising and impressive given the tightness of her skirt suit. Her microphone screamed feedback for a moment, making us all wince, and then she said, “Hello, Bears of the Class of ’18!” There was a general cheer from the gathered alums. Next to me, Theo clapped, so I did the same. “I’m so glad you all could make it! It’s so great to have everyone back under this roof, all together.”
I heard what could have been a snort from beside me, and bit back a smile. “Now, we’ve all had a chance to mingle,” Michelle went on, “and I know we’re all getting hungry, so if you’ll follow me, we have a lovely dinner waiting in the cafeteria!” She winked. “Don’t worry, we had it catered.” That made me laugh; the food here had been notoriously terrible when we’d all been students, and it sounded like that hadn’t improved along with the gender-neutral bathrooms.
Before I could turn and look at him, Theo’s mouth was back at my ear. “Sit with me?” he asked, over the sound of a couple hundred people gathering their things to leave the gym.
I nodded, and glanced at his face. He looked happy, and it made my stomach fill with butterflies.