Christmas Eve, 2007
John Bennett was sitting in a bar alone on Christmas Eve. His father had disowned him ever since he came out of the closet. And his mother always supported his father, even though John had seen her with a black eye after furious shouting matches that took place outside his parent's bedroom door.
John's previous boyfriend, Martin, had dumped him for someone younger and better looking nearly a week after John moved to London, away from everything he had ever known. John had loved Martin so deeply that he quit his job and took all of his belongings out to a foreign city. Now he had nothing and no one to turn to.
John had spent most of his life in the city of Havering, but he was born in Nebraska. His parents had moved out to England for his father's job, taking John and his elder sister Elizabeth with them. John wasn't sure what his dad did. Something to do with the government, but nothing remotely exciting. John's father seemed to spend most of his time spewing vitriolic hatred about anyone different from him or his "perfect" family.
Or so he had thought. John's public coming out had happened at his high school graduation. John, the class valedictorian, had prepared a grandiose speech. But alas, the only two words his lips would form is, "I'm gay."
The audible gasp from his father's chair resonated throughout the auditorium. When John returned home after graduation he found all of his things strewn about his front lawn and a note saying that all the financial aid his father had provided so John could attend Oxford had been withdrawn.
So John turned to the only thing he had left at his disposal: wicked football skills. He played for minor British leagues for some cash to put himself through community college. John eventually found himself a decent desk job and eventually quit football. He dated a few guys, but nothing ever really came of it.
Until the wreck that was Martin.
Still Christmas Eve, 2007
"Um, wow. It's beautiful. I...I love it," Caitlin Macavoy said in a slightly downcast voice as she looked down at the gleaming gold bracelet. John Green knew exactly why she was so upset. Caitlin thought he couldn't tell that she had been pining for an engagement ring for months.
John didn't blame her. Certainly, if he had been dating a man for two years, he probably would have expected a proposal by now. Unfortunately, John just couldn't see spending the rest of his life with Caitlin. He cared for her deeply, but he just wasn't sure if he was really in love with her. John valued loyalty, but sometimes he wondered if he was dating Caitlin because he wanted to or if he felt he needed to remain loyal to her.
"C'mon baby," John whispered in his husky voice, knowing it would be easier to submit to her romantic needs if he was drunk.
"Let's go out drinkin'." John was still whispering and he had subconsciously slipped into his West Virginia drawl. Caitlin trembled, and darted up from the couch to grab her coat.
Once they had reached the smokey joint, John Green didn't bother to look around. He knew the place well, and they rarely had new patrons. John was fixed on one purpose: get as much liquor into his body as possible. Sure, Coach would kill him for it, but being plastered was the only way he could make Caitlin happy.
While John was calling over the bartender, he noticed a gloomy man sitting at the bar. The man had a magnificent puff of hair. There was something vaguely familiar about the depressed man. Perhaps he was a huge lower league football fan and he had seen him at some of the Swoodilypooper's games.
John Green spared the man a nod, grabbed his drinks, and rejoined Caitlin. Little did he know that his mustache didn't just have the power to drive women wild.
Even later Christmas Eve, 2007
"That man has a glorious mustache," John thought, forgetting about Martin entirely. It was true. While the man had not a strand of hair on his head, he had a wonderful, bushy mustache. The muscular, mustachioed man nodded at John.
That nod had the effect of Cupid's arrow. John Bennett knew that he would have to meet this dashing stranger. He watched the man return to his seat at a small table where a blonde woman was also sitting. John squinted at their hands, but he didn't see any wedding rings.
The blonde woman grabbed the man and kissed him passionately. The man pushed her away, and John's heart was filled with hope that was soon dashed after the man picked up two shots and drained them simultaneously. The man went back to kissing the woman.
John slumped on his bar stool, heartbroken. It was bad enough that Martin had ditched him, but he would never have a chance with this gorgeous man. The more he thought about his life, the more depressed he became. The drinks in front of his weren't lifting his mood, they were crushing it even more.
John stumbled towards the door, but a huge arm stopped him. He turned to see who had grabbed him, and saw the gleaming head, brown eyes, and the brilliant mustache of the godlike man.
"Hey," the man said in a deep voice. If John Bennett could have melted into a puddle on the floor at that moment, he would have.