Yay, I remembered this year!
Today is the 5th annual No Kiss blogfest. Make sure to check out all of the fun entries here: No Kiss Blogfest Homepage
This year I am using what started as a novelette but is going to end up a novel. And in an odd move on my part, it's actually contemporary Young Adult. Not a trace of speculative fiction in this one. But I still keep the boy/boy part. ;-) Quick update. Ryan's father had a list for everything including List Thirteen, which was a list of things to do before dying. After his death, Ryan takes on the list in hopes of finishing it to keep for him. This is a scene that shows 2 of the goals and how his friend helps him.
A section from List Thirteen:
Ryan settled down on the floor in the corner of his father's office room. Since declaring his goal in finishing List Thirteen, he had made it his sanctuary. Though he refused to sit in the office chair. Each time he thought maybe he should because it had a very nice, cushioned seat, he couldn't get himself to sit down. It was his father's and he didn't want to change that fact. So, instead he sat on the floor in the corner and faced the organized desk. With a sigh, he opened the thick epic fantasy novel, turning to where he'd given up last.
Staring at the hundreds of pages that remained, he couldn't help but wonder what appealed his father so much about the series. Not to mention how could the author keep writing books of that length and keep them interesting. Plus, it was fantasy. But he had to read the whole series, so he took a quick sip of water and plowed forward, turning the pages to get started on chapter four.
A knock on the door interrupted much later and he grumbled as he put the bookmark in on page 398. He rubbed his eyes, unsettled at the dimness in the room that he didn't remember existing when he'd sat down to read.
The door opened and Trevor peeked in before pushing it wider so he could enter. "What are you doing in here?"
"Reading." He held up the book a couple inches higher as evidence. It hit him how long he'd been sitting as he moved with aches radiation through his legs, across his butt and up his back.
"Oh right, the book thing. Looks like you are almost done." Turning on the overhead light, Trevor moved by the desk and put down the plastic bag he'd brought with him. But he didn't sit in the desk chair. Instead, he stood near the desk, resting against the edge. "That makes one you can cross off the list, right?"
Sighing as he stood, his legs tingled with numb pain as he put his weight on them, he had to shake his head in the negative. "Not even close. The list states the whole series and this is just book one."
"How many are there?"
"Fourteen, well, the last book is called number fourteen but really there is one that is a prequel to book one that I don't know when it should be read. So, that makes fifteen." Ryan put the book aside on a small side table before changing his focus. He kind of liked the book at that point and wanted to finish but his friend coming in with something in tow made him wonder what he had in mind. "What is in the bag?"
"Damn." With a smile he put his hand on the bag. "Oh, this? Well, I said I'd help you with the list so I bought some hair dye. A nice pretty pink. I know you'll love it."
He hated pink and stuck out his tongue at his friend's suggestion. "If you got pink I'm going to punch you."
After a long, fake dramatic pause, Trevor pulled out a box of dye. He held it up so Ryan could see the front that had the color and an image of two people who had used it. "I know you can be a girl at times but relax, I got you a better color than pink."
Staring at the strange box gave him both relief and trepidation. While the color on the label wasn't pink and it had an image of a boy, it also had a girl with the same color and it looked sort of girly on both. But in truth, compared to pink and even purple, the teal dye did present a better option and it was crazy enough to qualify for the list. "Fine. So, I'm supposed to dye my own hair?"
"No, you goof. I am going to do it." Trevor pulled out another box. "And later on we can use this one so you don't have weird hair all summer long."
Ryan squinted at the box, uncertain about how often he'd have to color his hair and at the same time wondered how his mother and sister both put up with it since they did it a couple times a year it seemed. "Black? That isn't my natural color."
"I know. But it will cover better, or so the lady said. Besides, I think it looked good that time."
Standing close to his friend, Ryan caught his gaze, uncertain how to respond. He'd done the black hair look once, a couple years ago but the way Trevor had worded the comment combined with the stare that followed made his stomach twist. He wondered in that instance if something more lay hidden under the comment or if it was like the other things Trevor said to him in the past. Little jokes and pretend nothings that some said looked like flirting. The hand on his shoulder, touching the edge of his hair near his right ear felt real though.
Then it ended. Letting it go, Ryan led the way out of the office so they wouldn't risk ruining the carpet. Instead, they used his sister's bathroom. She was away at summer camp so he could use it without her knowing.
At first, he had little doubt but having to remove his shirt jolted his nerves. But he didn't want to stain his shirt. Relief came when they draped a couple towels over to protect his skin. He let Trevor handle the dye, doing whatever it required in order to get his hair done.
"I think this takes a few steps." Trevor stared at the box. "We need to bleach it first, then do the color."
"Whatever you say." He sat on the wooden stool and waited, not able to do much but keep still.
"Do you know why he had some of these goals?" Trevor kept the conversation going as he worked through Ryan's hair. "Like, some of them are kind of strange for his age, don't you think?"
He winced when his hair got tugged too hard. "I asked mom. She said a few of them were his mid-life crisis goals."
That caused a pause for a couple seconds. "Wait. Your dad planned his mid-life crisis? What a nerd. No offense."
"Yeah, he was a nerd." Even though Ryan smiled, he had to wipe near the corner of his eye to keep a tear from falling at the mention of his father. The hand that squeezed his shoulder helped.