“Do you remember when we were just kids and cardboard boxes took us miles from what we would miss? School yard conversations taken to heart and laughter took the place of everything…Amazing how life turns out the way that it does. We end up hurting the worst, the only ones we really love...Lying here beside me, palms and eyes open wide. I want to be your last first kiss for all time.” ~ Anberlin (Inevitable)
From the first time Evan King of 'Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me' by Anna Martin met Scott Sparrow, he knew that no one would ever take Scott' place in his heart. Many things happen to Evan and Scott over the years, but one thing that always remains constant is Evan's love for Scott.
As children, Evan and Scott are inseparable. The boys are totally dedicated to each other. They realize that no one else makes them feel as happy and content as one does for the other. It's a pure, innocent love; at the time it is perfectly normal to feel this way. As they get older, Evan acknowledges that he is gay; he also knows that his feelings for Scott are more romantic than those of the best-friends-forever kind. Since Scott doesn't appear to feel that way, Evan keeps his feelings and his sexuality deep in the closet. When Scott kisses him, Evan is confused because he has always considered Scott to be straight, but this encourages him to think that, just maybe, Scott has romantic feelings for him too. Unfortunately, the 'moment' passes as quickly as it happens. When Scott does an about-face and Evan sees him with a girl in his lap, Evan is hurt and confused. Instead of pursuing it any further, Evan chooses not to talk about it and pretend it didn't happen.
After high school Scott goes to school in Chicago and Scott stays close by. They begin to loose touch with each other, yet Evan still loves Scott with all his heart. Even though Evan comes out in college, moving on is difficult for him; no one can compare to Scott. Evan sees Scott a few more times during the years, but his encounters with Scott always end with Evan being hurt and Scott not understanding his reaction and why he is upset. They just can't seem to get on the same page. In Scott's case, he can't even get on the same page with himself. He is torn between loving Evan and being able to admit that he's either gay or bisexual. He hurts Evan when he tells him that it is okay for Evan to be gay because he's artistic and acts “that way”, but that it would ruin him to admit it, damaging his macho image. Evan can't take anymore and walks away, meaning for it to be forever. Regardless of how he feels, it's obvious that Scott is not at the point where he can be honest with himself and he may never be.
This story uses an unusual format that jumps around in time. Some sections relate to certain subjects, i.e., the whole issue between Evan and Scott, showing how close and sweet their love was as when they were children, how inevitable it seemed to be that they would end up together. Another set of stories was about how difficult it became for them when the love became more adult and serious, how Evan accepted how he felt but Scott couldn't, therefore dooming them both to years of misery. It was predictable that Evan and Scott would eventually get together, but by the time they did, there had been so much sadness, it was difficult for me to accept. Mostly, the story took place in Virginia where I've lived most of my life; it was nice to hear places mentioned that I know and love—Fredericksburg, Richmond, and, my home town, Virginia Beach. However, one of the things that distracted me was when Evan and Scott were home for Christmas, Evan and Scott wished each other a “Happy Christmas” instead of a “Merry Christmas” - not a greeting that would be used in Virginia. I loved Evan's close relationship with his mother and Scott's progressive family's attitudes as well as their acceptance of Evan and Scott's relationship. If you like friends-to-lovers stories with close families, lots of angst, and believe in love's ability to conquer all, you may appreciate this story. Thank you, Anna, for giving Evan and Scott their hard-won happy ending.