Chapter Seven 

Alex and Henry continue to make headlines with their public friendship, and the world is charmed. Alex has vowed to keep their relationship purely physical, but he increasingly has romantic feelings for Henry, and he’s not sure what to do about them. He has trouble naming what the feelings are and downplays them in his head and to others. Alex and Henry take a trip to Paris, and they end up spending the entire night together for the first time, which Alex enjoys but feels it is more intimate than he counted on. They celebrate their birthdays together, sneaking into the same hotel room, protected by Alex’s security guard, Cash, who knows the nature of Henry and Alex’s relationship.  


In between traveling and clandestine meetups, Henry and Alex continue to get to know each other. They share stories from their childhoods, tell each other about their siblings, and commiserate. Alex notices that somedays, Henry falls into a dark mood or depression and it’s difficult to engage with him. Alex wishes he could help more. He notices that he’s attracted to Henry no matter what his mood is. Henry confides in Alex about his sister, Bea, who has been called “Powder Princess” in the press because of her struggles with addiction to cocaine. Someone even spray painted the epithet on Bea’s car. Alex and Henry bond over the fact that they both wish they could protect their sisters but also recognize that their sisters do a very good job of protecting themselves. Henry also opens up about his father and lets Alex in on his grief. 

Meanwhile, more people are finding out that Alex has a romantic interest. Zahra spots a hickey on Alex’s neck and insists he should be seeing a girl from the approved list, cautioning him not to interfere with his mother’s reelection campaign. June confronts Alex about sleeping with Henry. Alex is surprised she figured it out, and June is hurt he didn’t tell her. Like Nora, June found it entirely obvious that the two of them were together. June also reveals that she’s known that Alex used to look at the picture of Henry from her teen magazine and that he had a crush on him since Alex was 12. Since Alex wasn’t quite aware of those things himself, he’s surprised and appreciative of his sister’s insight. June encourages Alex to realize that he has feelings for Henry, but Alex is resistant. 

Alex’s graduation party is interrupted by the announcement that the presidential race is officially between Richards and Claremont. Alex eavesdrops on his father talking to Luna about something terrible that happened in Richards’s past, but he doesn’t understand exactly what they are talking about. Alex, June, and Nora meet up with Henry, Pez, and Bea, and the six hang out, get drunk, and have a wild fun time doing karaoke. Alex and Henry sleep together. They wake up the next morning, hungover, and Alex feels like he finally has friends. 


This chapter explores names as prophecies which gives insight into characters’ personalities and identities. Henry’s full name, Henry George Edward James Fox-Mountchristen-Windsor, is comically long, and its heft hints at the weight of his inheritance. Like his name, his legacy is too much for one person to bear. Henry goes by simply Henry Wales, which is in keeping with the more modest life he wants for himself, one not so beholden to traditional ideas of what a prince is. Henry notes that he is named after the two gay kings, James and Edward, suggesting that queerness is also part of his legacy. Alex’s full name, Alexander Gabriel Claremont-Diaz, also represents a legacy that he embraces—to be a political forerunner like Hamilton and a diplomat like Gabriel, the patron saint of diplomats. It also represents how Alex has attributes of both his father, such as saying inflammatory things to the press, and of his mother, such as being stubborn. As Alex and Henry fall more deeply in love, they also give each other names, like baby and sweetheart, christening each other in love. 

These chapters reclaim LGBTQ+ characters and historical figures who have been straightwashed in mainstream discussions and in history books. As Alex understands himself more deeply through his bisexual identity, he learns about many of the LGBTQ+ characters, stories, and history that haven’t been a part of his knowledge. It is through learning this second history that he comes to understand more about himself and how he wants to help the world. For example, Henry teaches Alex about how many icons of British culture, such as Remis Lupin from Harry Potter, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger, have had their queerness overlooked or denied. This opens Alex’s eyes to the ways that he has not emotionally engaged with America’s gay history either. He begins to see his own personal history and his country’s history with new eyes because of his love for Henry and his new understanding of his own identity. 

The Texas Binder represents not only Alex’s dreams of making Texas more progressive but also Alex’s attempts to understand his own ambition. Alex’s Texas Binder is an act of rebellion, both against what he should be focused on in his policy job with the campaign and against what he thinks he should do with his career. Alex tells himself he wants a meteoric rise to becoming a Congressman, but his attention to Texas’s voting districts feels like a pull to do good on a more local level. His desire for Texas to turn blue is also a desire for the home state he loves to more accurately reflect the will of the people who have been silenced by gerrymandering. Alex is also figuring out what obsessively draws him back to the Texas binder and why his first job in politics is already leaving him impatient and unsatisfied. Alex is, metaphorically, pouring over a map of his life and trying to chart the course that will do the most good.