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  1. This story is worth reading for Quent alone. What a brilliant lead character. The mystery itself is well-paced, wrapping up its various threads along the way and not leaving too many loose ends for the final chapters. Highly recommend!
  2. dearpeter

    Chapter 11

    To be fair, Harry *did* say it to Alex's face in Chapter 9. I'm not necessarily planning to take the story in a new direction, but you're about to find out a lot more about how Harry and Alex interact with their individual worlds, and how much Alex's online persona matches with reality. Without giving anything away, those interactions will lead to perhaps the most important moment of the story so far. Again, breadcrumbs...
  3. dearpeter

    Chapter 11

    George has good intentions, drpaladin. Does he have good parenting skills and an ability/desire to change his lifestyle, though? re: Alex's bullying, I've been leaving breadcrumbs along the way. The way he spoke of his project partner in Chapter 9, the fact that he never talks about his friends, the way he latched onto Harry so quickly and so completely, the way he spends his weekends with adults like Christopher instead of kids his own age. It all leads into one of the key themes of the story, that maintaining a cool/popular online persona is a double-edged sword. It impresses people who don't know you, but it gives predators something to hold over you, and it creates the illusion that you 'have it all'. Where I'm from, it actually seems really common for online creators to be bullied at school, especially at all-boys schools. Boys who can dance are sissies, boys with a decent falsetto are gay, even a guy like Tom Daley has been upfront about his negative school experiences. Any kid who's well-known for doing something a bit different seems to cop it. In Alex's case, he's popular online, but not 'Hollywood' popular. He's not popular for a particular talent, either. A singer with a broken nose is still a singer. A dancer with a broken nose can still dance. If you're popular for being pretty, you're only ever one bad accident or malicious act from having it taken away, and people like Shaun prey on that vulnerability. Anyway, I'm rambling. For all the character building I've done, Alex is still just a pretty face with fucked up parents at this point. Now you're gonna start finding out who he is beyond the front door.
  4. dearpeter

    Chapter 11

    Harry's batting .667 with people finding out his sexuality so far. His mother still loves him, Alex's mother now hates him, and George doesn't seem too bothered. Will he accept those odds and take the risk to tell his friends? There's two questions at play here, as well. It's one thing to be gay, but it's another to be hiding your relationship with a kid who's very popular on social media. Thirty years ago, popular kids like Alex were unattainable Hollywood stars, but now they could literally just live around the corner. What's gonna happen when the girls find out *who* Harry's boyfriend is? Final note: You think Harry's terrible at regulating his emotions? Wait til you see how terrible he is with his hormones...
  5. dearpeter

    Chapter 11

    I think Harry and Bridget definitely have an interesting conversation ahead of them, wienerdog. Harry's a sensitive boy with two female best friends, and we already know how terrible he is at masking his emotions. I don't think either of his friends are going to be surprised when they learn the truth. As for Alex's next move, you have an interesting theory... Also, Riverdale. I've never actually watched it, but I know it's wildly popular with teenagers. Just something about the idea of modern teenagers with old-fashioned names really hinders my ability to suspend disbelief and enjoy a show like that. I know the source material is the Archie comics from the 1940s, so the character names make sense, but how am I supposed to take a 21st century teenager who calls himself 'Jughead' seriously? Imagine if I named Harry 'Jughead' ffs
  6. dearpeter

    Chapter 11

    Sunday night was a very good night in the Delaney household. It started the moment Harry disconnected his video call, when he received a link to Alex’s cloud drive. He immediately opened the link and found a folder labeled ‘Alex Fashion’, which contained every catalog image Alex had ever posed for. Despite Alex’s unquestionable beauty, and the presence of a few shirtless board-shorted images, it was mostly stuff Harry had seen before. Nothing that really set his heart racing. So he hit t
  7. dearpeter

    Chapter 10

    No problem, KayDeeMac! Writing this story is just as much of a diversion as reading it George most definitely has some difficult decisions ahead of him. Is he ready to be the father that Alex needs? Glad you enjoyed the scene with Harry and Jill, as well. I've never lived through such an experience, but hopefully I captured the cringeworthiness of it all!
  8. dearpeter

    Chapter 10

    Thanks again for the kind words, Talo! I'm certainly playing the long game with certain plot lines, dropping breadcrumbs that won't make sense until multiple chapters later, so hopefully you continue to enjoy
  9. dearpeter

    Chapter 10

    You've got a pretty good read on the George/Jennifer dynamic, drpaladin. I think George has just taken it for granted that his son will be raised properly, and now he has to figure out what sacrifices he's willing to make to address Jennifer's shortcomings. I'm hoping that Jennifer comes across as more than just a generic homophobe, as well. She's a control freak and completely image-obsessed, but she does have an internal logic to her. Even if it's a shitty logic. On the flipside, it sounds like Jill's coming across as intended. She's the exact kind of mother that Harry needs.
  10. dearpeter

    Chapter 10

    Jennifer's had a long time to come up with a plausible explanation, yes. How long before George picks the same holes in her story that you've picked? Also, it's funny you mention the locality. I was deliberately vague about physical descriptions and localities at the start, but the story's evolved well beyond that now. For the record, I'm Australian, and the story is set in Sydney. Dunno what the emancipation laws are here, and if Alex's parents behave, hopefully I won't need to find out! I'm curious to know which phrases made you think it was British, as well. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping it vaguely American!
  11. dearpeter

    Chapter 10

    The boys are in love and, at least in Harry's case, starting to think about how to physically express that love. How do Harry's awakening desires align with the separation that the boys are about to face, though? Stay tuned...
  12. dearpeter

    Chapter 10

    I did enjoy writing that final conversation, Brayon. I think it's important to explore who the boys are as a couple, without just leaping from crisis to crisis. Regarding Alex's parents, neither of them is perfect. I don't necessarily want Jennifer to come across as a generic homophobe, as I haven't yet laid out any reasons why she'd be that way. Don't necessarily want George to come across as a saviour, either. For all his calmness, his career path has basically forced him to become an absentee father. Can he adjust to his new role? Does he even want to? More importantly, does *Alex* want him to? Some interesting days ahead...
  13. dearpeter

    Chapter 9

    Hi again, Talo! To answer your first question, I think a good story is a good story. I certainly don't watch films with uninteresting plots simply because they're LGBT. Much like great science fiction is a reflection of/commentary on reality, great LGBT stories contain relatable characters and universal truths. It's not for me to say whether I'm telling a story of that quality, but I'm certainly trying to tell a story that reflects some of the best elements that I enjoy in other people's work. As for your second point... if characters always did the smart thing and took the right opportunity at the right moment, stories wouldn't be very dramatic, would they? Rightly or wrongly, Alex's previous social media formula was working for him. Will it even occur to him to change the formula to accommodate Harry? Would the usually-timid Harry demand such a change of Alex? Maybe something could happen that takes the choice out of their hands entirely...
  14. dearpeter

    Chapter 10

    The sun was low in the sky by the time Alex emerged from his bedroom. He’d been left alone by his parents for most of the afternoon, giving him a chance to setup new social media accounts and message his online friends to tell them he’d been ‘hacked’. A few influential accounts had already offered to promote him, posting Instagram Stories about the ‘hacking’ and encouraging their followers to support Alex. As a result, he already had 1,000 new followers. Walking toward the kitchen, he be
  15. dearpeter

    Chapter 9

    It's fair to say Jennifer lost the battle, but hasn't yet given up on the war. She is, unfortunately, a woman who's used to getting her own way and having things exactly how she wants them. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if she grows from this.
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