Chapter Fifteen 

Alex goes to London, and he and Henry pose for a photograph with the crown’s royal photographer. They sit on a bench in a park together, very clearly in love. As they are shooting, Philip comes to visit them. He has apologized for being cruel to Henry and Bea since their father’s death and has had a falling out with the queen. He tries to make overtures to Alex and Henry, and Alex finds it awkward. Bea lets it slip that Henry has signed on to run some youth homeless shelters in the United States, including one in New York. It was supposed to be a surprise, but Alex is over the moon about it because it means that he and Henry will finally be spending a lot more time in the same country.  

Election Day finally arrives. Alex and his family are in Texas instead of Washington, D.C. Alex loves Texas but is nervous about the state’s reception of him since he came out as bisexual. He’s hoping that Texas will turn blue and vote for his mother. Alex is deciding between two very boring blazers. Nora encourages him to wear something that’s more in line with who he is, and Alex is worried about being too flamboyant. Alex reveals he’s playing it safe because he’s afraid of being rejected by Texas because of who he loves. Nora assures him that the state loves him and that he’s still polling well. She also gently tells him that the public outing was really traumatizing for him, so it makes sense that going out in public again, especially in Texas, would be difficult. He adds that he’s struggling to really understand who he is now that the pillars of his identity, such as his singular focus on becoming a Congressperson as soon as possible, have shifted. He tells Nora that he took the LSAT, and they come to the unanimous decision that he needs to become a civil rights lawyer and fight for people who need him before he becomes a politician. Alex is invigorated and decides to wear a red, white, and blue Gucci bomber jacket to the election.  

Election night is tense, and the race is very close. Henry is delayed in arriving but eventually makes it, wearing a tie patterned in yellow roses for Texas. Liam is there, too, with his boyfriend. The election comes down to a single state: Texas. Whichever candidate wins Texas wins the presidency. It has been over 40 years since Texas voted for a Democrat for president. June refuses to write a concession speech for her mother, refusing to accept defeat as a possibility. Then, Alex is elated as Anderson Cooper calls Texas, and they watch it turn blue. They all celebrate. Henry goes on the stage with Alex as Ellen accepts reelection. In her speech, Ellen thanks Texas and her family and says that their history of fighting for what’s right helps determine the future. As everyone continues to rejoice, Alex and Henry ride bikes over to the house Alex grew up in. He uses the key around his neck to let them in.  


Examining the role of photography in Henry’s life reflects how, over the course of the novel, Henry has gained control over his public image. The final chapter sees Henry and Alex posing for the royal photographer, which calls to mind the photograph of teenage Henry as a heartthrob in a teen magazine that started it all. The difference between these two photographs bookends Henry’s changing relationship with how the world views him. In the first photograph that drew Alex to Henry, he exudes easy confidence that isn’t true to how Henry often felt. Throughout the novel, Henry has an uneasy relationship with the way he is portrayed in the press. In contrast, Alex describes the portrait with the royal photographer as “messy” and as close as possible to the real Henry as one can get in a publicity image. What’s more, Alex fell in love with Henry by seeing something he couldn’t quite name in the first photograph. In this final chapter of the book, Alex is in the picture with Henry, suggesting that he's integral in bringing out Alex’s real self. 

Texas turning blue represents hope for the Claremont-Diaz family and for the country as a whole. Texas has a stronghold on Alex’s understanding of himself and his dreams for the country. As illustrated in the Texas Binder, he’s studied the contours of Texas and fought to understand how the state’s districting can give more voice to the disenfranchised. It’s also immensely important that Texas, as his home state, accepts him, and it’s one of his biggest fears that his sexuality will negatively impact how his mother is perceived at home. McQuiston describes the moment Texas turns, calling the blue “LBJ Lake Blue,” evoking the lake house Alex loves. This drives home that the election results reflect Alex’s hope that Texas will still be home for him even now that he’s out. Because of all this, Texas turning blue illustrates hope for the future, exemplifying that the nation can change, traditionally marginalized people like the LGBTQ+ community can have an integral role in political processes, and that Alex’s home truly is his home.  

The ring and key at the end of the novel represent the way Henry and Alex have both redefined what home and family mean. Moving away from the exuberant public celebration, Alex and Henry retreat to Alex’s childhood home, suggesting that they can finally get down to the important work of building their private lives together. They may now flourish outside of the spotlight. The key around Alex’s neck lets them in to his old childhood home, suggesting that Alex is wants to connect with the core, childhood self who he was before fame and prominence. It is a self which he associates with his roots. This parallels his desire to slow down his career and focus on what’s truly important to him—doing as much good as possible. The ring around his neck symbolizes how Henry’s relationship to his legacy and his future has changed, too. The fact that Alex wears the ring instead of Henry illustrates that they are defining their new legacy together.