Ooooh, back in high school, star baseball play Trevor Gardiner did the unforgiveable: He outed his boyfriend. We’re talking a forced out here. We’re talking, threw him under the team bus, backed it up and then ran over him again, and poor Paul wasn’t even aware he was playing the game. That’s how Trevor’s steamy encounter with Paul in the gym locker room went from homerun to sacrifice play in the bottom of the ninth when they got caught. Trevor changed up, went for the bunt when he should’ve swung for the fence, and struck out to lose the game.
No balls and lots of errors.
See, Trevor was destined to make something of a life for himself in the big leagues, and jeopardizing that by being an out gay athlete wasn’t part of the game plan. When it came time to choose between having a boyfriend and having a shot at a major league contract, Paul came in somewhere lower in the equation than the guy who cleans stray tobacco spit off the locker room floor. (Is that even a job? I doubt it, but it works here.) But to be fair to Trevor, he was young, he panicked, and he also seriously miscalculated that Paul would understand and go along with the story.
Swing and a miss…
Well, it’s nine years later, Paul’s a prickly bastard who’s tutoring over the summer at Calapooya College, and guess who’s just recruited him to tutor the women’s softball team? Yep, you guessed it, their new coach, Trevor Gardiner, who’s retired from baseball and is now apparently looking for another at-bat with Paul. Make sure to pay very close attention to the prickly bastard part, though, because Paul is not about to make it easy for Trevor to just take a base on balls again.
Are we done with the baseball metaphors yet? I am.
So let me just paraphrase Paul and say, dammitall, this book pushed my humina-humina buttons. Ann Tenino has written a funny story that is, not so surprisingly, also a little bit touching, witnessing Trevor trying to make amends for his mistakes and Paul warring between his attraction to Trevor and his deep-seated and lingering bitterness over Trevor’s betrayal. That Paul is most definitely a man who can hold onto a grudge, and he’s not about to let Trevor forget that that single mistake all those years before won’t be something that’s easily forgiven either, especially when Paul lets his mouth get ahead of his brain and nearly blows everything up when it’s not at all what he meant to do.
Love, Hypothetically is a short and simple story about the complex issue of being outed before you’re ready, about forgiveness and second chances, and about discovering that, against all the odds, you find yourself trusting the one you never thought it possible to believe in again.
But that’s all part of the game of love, folks.
Ann Tenino is a GayRomLit participating author. You can find her blog HERE.