Scandinavian Comfort book 2
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Meet Lukas Myrtengren, Mentor Teacher in Biology and Maths at Östra Real Senior School in Stockholm. This wasn't how his life was supposed to turn out. In your late thirties you are supposed to have your life figured out, right? Somehow, Lukas has lost his compass, his life spinning aimlessly out of control. He still gets up in the morning and goes to work, every day without fail, making sure his students pass his classes and that his schedule is right on track. His love life is a shambles, his head is a mess, but he is trying to sort it all out. Honestly. He can't keep living like this.
Meet Tom Andersson. Emergency room doctor and single dad. He has no idea how he has managed to mess up parenthood this bad. He tries too hard, has no patience and can't even hold a normal conversation with the 17 year-year-old son he loves to the point of insanity. Tom knows that he is drifting out to sea without a paddle, he just doesn't know how to stop it.
Meet me, Max Andersson. Seventeen. Gay AF. An emotional wreck with no future, no skills and no clue. All I know is that I am in love. Helplessly. Desperately. And unrequited, of course. What else would you expect from a loser like myself? It's not like my life is going to get better anytime soon. I'm a mess. That's just the way it is.
Welcome to Open Water.
- 1 To Be Read list
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay, Pansexual
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 3 Age: Under 18
Tropes: Second Chances
Word Count: 99000
Setting: Stockholm, Sweden
Languages Available: English
I actually manage to read two of the links before the sound of Dad’s homecoming echoes through the house. Big loud footfalls in the hallway. The swish of his coat being thrown over the banister. Huffing and puffing when he realises that we have no food in the fridge. Zero. We did have a banana, but I ate it. Serves him right for not coming home first.
He comes around the corner with a glass of water in his hand, still weirded out, like he doesn’t know where to look. What to say. Whether he should even step over the threshold.
“Did you eat?” he asks. Taking a gulp of water.
“Banana. We have no food,” I huff back, pretending to tap on the keyboard.
“I can go down to ICA. Get some supplies. What do you want?” He looks really confused. Fiddling with some chipped paint on the doorframe to my room.
“Dad, why did you do whatever you did to Lukas? What did he do?” I slam my laptop shut. I’m curious. Also, whatever he did will give me lots of ammo to use if I need it. Put some pressure on Lukas. Get back at my Dad when I need it. Secrets are good. I’m good at keeping them. I’m also good at using them.
“You will just hate me if I tell you. Some secrets are better kept inside,” he says, looking so fucking sad it almost breaks my heart.
“You never told me much about when you went to Östra Real. Did you do the whole graduation thing?”
“Yeah. I did everything. Student Committee, Student Council. Parties. Hazing. Rode all around town on a tractor trailer whilst drunk and disorderly. All that shit.”
It is actually. Like my Dad was on the Student Council. And was in the Hazing group. I kind of nod appreciatively. Not that I approve of it, but the kids who run in those groups are like the cool kids. The A-team. People who matter.
“I hated it. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.” He is still looking sad.
“Are there photos? Did you keep any footage? I mean it must have been twenty years ago, but surely you had cameras?”
“I got rid of them all. I wanted to just kill off who I was. I wasn’t a nice person, Max. I hurt people and I was a fucking idiot.”
“Is that the reason you got rid of the Björklund name, Dad? Because that was what they called you? I heard Simon call you that. Weird.”
“Yeah, partly. I was so scared your Mum would change her mind about giving you up, so I got it removed when you were born, thinking that it would be harder to find us with a more common name. I used to have nightmares of her turning up and snatching you away from me.”
“She gave up her parental rights. Why would she come for me?” I don’t get it. Well, I do. I am the master of overthinking shit and making up drama in my head. Then panicking and freaking out over it.
“She could have changed her mind. Regretted giving you up. I don’t know.” Dad is messing around with his hair again, picking at that chipped paint. Tapping his toes against the carpet.
“So why Lukas?” I need to know why. I mean. It’s intriguing. It’s the kind of story that would make a good script for Drama. I could probably score extra points with Simon just writing all this shit down on paper.
“He was this really cool guy. I mean, he came out during our second year. Just like that, everyone knew and he fucking owned it. This handsome cool dude, who was just who he was. No drama about it. He was a cocky little shit and the girls adored him. There was always this cluster of girls hanging around him and he had these really solid mates who defended him and loved him to bits. I mean, it was almost sickening. He had it all. People thought he was the fucking business. And hell, Max, he was so fucking cute.”
Dad stops himself and looks almost panic-stricken. Like he has said something totally wrong. Which it takes me a minute or two to compute.
“Cute?” I say. Fucking hell, Dad.
“Forget it. I am going to ICA. I’ll get meatballs. Or pizza. Or whatever.”
Yeah and a shit-ton of alcohol. Because Dad is freaking out and I almost crash my laptop onto the floor getting my feet tangled in the charging lead, following him out into the hallway.
“Dad. You were in love with him, weren’t you? That’s why you did it. You loved him. Fucking hell, Dad. After all this and you freaking loved him.”
This story is set in the Sweden, where the age of consent is 16. The laws are there to protect children from abuse or exploitation, rather than to prosecute under-16s who participate in mutually consenting sexual activity. There are a multitude of cultural differences described in this story that readers from other parts of the world might find strange or downright amusing, also family practices that not every Scandinavian family would necessarily agree with.
This story is edited in UK English. Any mistakes are the author’s own.
Trigger warnings: anxiety, panic attacks and brief non-graphic flashbacks to traumatic events and bullying.