Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Flipping for Him, which features Kevin meeting Shin.
Kevin enjoyed cutting through Central Park on his way home from school in the afternoons. Usually he’d go through at 72nd Street traveling east to west, taking a direct route if he was in a hurry or going downstairs by Bethesda Fountain if he had some time to kill.
Since it was a warm, sunny day he took the fountain route and then cut north around the lake. It was a spectacular day for early March and despite being a weekday afternoon, plenty of folks were out taking advantage of the nice weather. Kevin went past the lake into a clearing lined with trees and scattered with several clusters of rocks. This was one of his favorite spots in the city because it had a great view of the residential buildings lining Central Park West, featuring some exceptional architecture. Sometimes he would sketch nearby buildings, as the clearing got great light on sunny days.
Today he only had one thing on his mind. Warming himself in the sun.
Kevin craved the heat, as his thin frame was easily chilled. He didn’t look emaciated, but at six-two and one hundred-eighty pounds he was certainly lanky. His metabolism burned up food so quickly that his weight hadn’t fluctuated more than five pounds since his growth spurt at fourteen. Now sixteen, he had a thin but okay body. While it would’ve been easy to add some definition by hitting the weights, he preferred running over going to the gym.
Running was his first love. Track caught his eye while watching the summer Olympics when he was ten. Seeing those guys tear through the hundred meters with tremendous bursts of speed was thrilling. They reminded him of the Flash, and what ten-year-old doesn’t want to be a superhero? Kevin had the same red hair as the comic book hero, so he sort of looked the part, too. Running was also how he fell in love with the park. He lived only a few blocks away, and would often take a morning run around one of the loops.
Kevin wasn’t alone. Several others had the same idea, and were lying in the grass or on the rocks. It wasn’t surprising since it was the first decent spring-like day after the deep-freeze of winter. He hopped up onto his favorite boulder. It was big enough so that when he laid down his feet wouldn’t hang off the edge. He put his hands on the surface of the stone and felt the warmth. He removed the blue school blazer, folded it and placed it in his backpack. He did the same with his white button-down shirt. After wearing multiple layers for the past five months, he was glad to be out of them and enjoying the sun.
He stretched out, closed his eyes and listened to the park. Birds chirped, no doubt thrilled at the sudden turn of the weather as well. Kids laughed and played in the distance. Periodically, the crack of a softball against a bat came from the nearby ballfields.
Despite the welcome sounds of spring, Kevin was preoccupied. He needed to get busy on the big college hunt. The guidance counselors were bugging him about picking colleges since he was well into the second half of his junior year. Even his parents had brought it up recently. He wanted to stay in the city and was hopeful NYU would take him. He had solid grades, decent extracurriculars and expected high SAT scores.
Nevertheless, NYU wasn’t a sure thing. Competition was fierce. He needed to have backup options that had the drawing and architecture programs he wanted.
His mind drifted, and, as it usually did, it settled on Javier. He’d met Javier the first day of their sophomore year. His jet black hair, bushy eyebrows and dark brown eyes had caught Kevin’s attention immediately. His thick legs from playing soccer didn’t hurt either. He also packed a lot of muscle into his five-six frame, and the way the regulation button-down hung off his built chest drove Kevin wild. Kevin dreamed about his pecs and longed to get him out of that shirt. Kevin even considered joining the soccer team as a way to see more of Javier.
Fortunately they shared three classes so they were around each other a lot. Four weeks into the semester, Kevin missed a day of school coming back late from a trip and used that opportunity to ask Javier about missed notes and assignments. That started a friendship. Several pings on his gaydar later, Kevin took the leap and asked Javier on a date.
Javier’s “hell yeah” thrilled Kevin and just like that they were couple. It wasn’t long after the first date that Kevin got Javier out of his shirt—and everything else—to mess around. For both of them it was the first time, but they quickly figured out what they liked.
Unfortunately, Javier moved away this past summer, just two weeks before junior year began. They knew the move was coming at the end of June because Javier’s father accepted a transfer to Seattle. It was a crazy ten weeks between the announcement and the move as Kevin and Javier spent every hour they could together. Kevin considered himself lucky that Javier remained a friend.
The sun felt good beating down on Kevin’s chest as the warm rock heated up his back. He opened an eye to check his watch. He’d been lying here for almost fifteen minutes. Being fair-skinned, he sat up, crossed his legs under himself and pulled his shirt back on. He left it unbuttoned, but he covered his back and arms and adjusted so the sun was behind him. The last thing he wanted was to burn.
Looking across the grass, Kevin saw a guy jumping, almost bouncing, around on some rocks. He jumped from the ground up onto a rock and then jumped quickly from rock to rock. If the next boulder was too far away, he’d hit the ground, and do a few flips until he was close enough to jump up onto another one. After jumping around a bit more, he ran towards a tree where he grabbed a low branch and pushed off the trunk with his feet. Once he was away from the tree, he released the limb and tried to do a flip to land on his feet. Unfortunately, he hit the ground before the flip was complete. He ended up on his side, landing hard.
That had to hurt.