If anyone were to ask, Elio would have said he didn’t know what it was that he was feeling or when he started feeling this specific way about Oliver. It would be a lie. Elio stayed in the denial stage for as long as he could. He convinced himself that he was interested in Oliver because he wanted to be just like Oliver. Elio couldn’t bring himself to admit that it was lust or love, even though he would do just about anything Oliver asked. He partook in just about every activity Oliver had an interest in – swimming, running, fishing, tennis, laying in the sun – and had a great time doing it with him.
One day during a tennis game, Oliver casually massaged Elio’s shoulders. Elio immediately jerked away in response. Elio couldn’t figure out why he reacted in that bizarre way if this was just friendship. Oliver was surprised by this response too, so Elio pretended it had hurt. It was after that moment that Elio found it harder and harder to deny what he felt. He had to move away from Oliver’s touch for if he didn’t, he would have fallen right into Oliver’s arms. It wasn’t friendship Elio wanted with Oliver, he was simply and undeniably falling in love with the man.