Love's Given Up on Me: Part 1
Chapter 12: Separate or Divided
By: Cody Lane
<Notice> I'd like to thank everyone for waiting this long and for all the e-mails asking for an update. Well, here's the chapter, hope you enjoy.
I sat slouched in my assigned seat as I looked out at the passing landscape miles below me, trees turning into mountains. The guy next to me, sound asleep with an open magazine in his lap. Wow, Thanksgiving break so soon, and here I was flying home to Colorado, going to see my dad whom I haven't seen in over 3 years. I could still hear the hum of the jet engine in the background as I listened to my MP3 player, the words of the song reminding me of Ethan and how much I missed him already. I hadn't smiled since I left him at the airport, leaving him there as he watched me disappear.
I looked back out my small rounded window letting the song lyrics take me back to the scenic view; the first time I told him anything about how I felt..... the first time I kissed him.
"...And it's all in how you mix the two
and it starts just where the light exists.
To feel the way you can not miss.
It burns a hole, through anyone that feels it.
Well you're never gonna find it if you're looking for it won't come your way.
Well you'll never find it
If you're looking for it....( looking for it)
Should've done something but I've done it enough
By the way your hands were shaking
Rather waste some time with you.
Well you never would have thought in the end
How amazing it feels just to live again
To feel the way you can not miss.
It burns a hole through everyone that feels it.
Should've done something but I've done it enough
By the way your hands were shaking
Rather waste my time with you.
Should've said something but I've said it enough
By the way my words were faded
Rather waste my time with you."
It was the song that was on the radio when we drove home that night. I remember looking franticly for the CD after that, and then listening to it over and over when I wasn't at Ethan's apartment, alone in my dorm room just staring at the empty ceiling. Ethan.... I remember how he looked at the airport when he dropped me off. Him in his onyx zip-up hoodie, making his dark brown hair look black and adding to the saddened smile on his face. He didn't wear a hat. I had to beg for that. I can still remember it all vividly.
"You sure you packed everything?" Ethan asked as he picked up my duffle bag and effortlessly flung the strap over his shoulder.
"Yeah, I think so..." I said as I took one last look over the dorm room, noticing Terry there on his computer, his back to us as he just hacked away. He quit looking at Ethan after I gave him the evil eye about a hundred times.... that and I held Ethan's hand as often as I could, making it plainly obvious that he was my property. Terry didn't need to ask if Ethan and I were a item. I didn't think we had to. Even though he might not even be remotely gay, I didn't wanna take a chance.
"Ok then," Ethan said as he opened the door, I followed him out into the hall.
"So you nervous?" he asked, looking at me from under his bangs.
"Sorta," I said, shrugging my shoulders as I flung my backpack around them, "I mean it's my dad. I shouldn't be nervous but... I haven't seen him in so long. I guess I'm just nervous because for once in my life, it's just gonna be me and him."
We got outside to find that Scott and Liz were already there waiting for us in the parking lot, Scott leaning against the side of his new white F-150 with Liz almost on top of him. They were talking but it looked more like kissing to me.
"Hey you two," Ethan said as he walked passed them and flung my duffle bag into the back with a muted clank.
Liz slowly got off of Scott, keeping his eyes until she turned and looked at me, her dark brown hair, slightly falling into her face.
"Ready to go sugar?" she said winking at me.
"Women," I though as I sighed and shook my head at her. Scott playfully spanked her ass in her tight low jeans as she seductively sauntered by him. Scott had a look of hunger in his eyes as Liz just whimpered at the sharp slapping sound. Ok, just because I'm gay does that all of a sudden mean I find straight sex revolting? God, my friends were weird, or just assholes.
"Ok you guys, cut it out," I said as Ethan walked over and stood next to me.
"I can't believe I gave up all that for you," Ethan said to me mockingly as he looked at Liz.
I stared back at him, jokingly insulted as I brought my mouth to his ear, "Quit complaining or you're gonna pay for it later."
I watched his smile go from goofy to wicked.
"That a promise?" he said letting his eyes roll from Liz to mine.
I bit my lip and sinfully smiled back, "lumberjack's honor."
We were finally on the road; Scott driving and Liz next to him up front, Ethan and I sitting comfortably in the back seat. I had myself leaned into the corner, Ethan up against me as he chewed his fingernails, my arm gently swathed around his shoulder.
We all bobbed our heads to familiar song on the radio, Nine Inch Nails-closer, as we drove down the freeway. Ethan and I watched from the back seat as Liz began to whisper the more than dirty lyrics into Scott's ear.
"....You let me violate you,
You let me desecrate you,
You let me penetrate you,
You let me complicate you,"
Ethan raised his eyebrows as he took a while turning his head to look at me, a humorous look on his face while he still had his thumb nail in his mouth. I shook my head at him and shrugged as Liz continued her verbal assault on her poor boyfriend's ear.
I broke apart my insides,
I got no soul to sell,
The only thing that works for me,
Help me get away from myself.
I WANNA F**K YOU LIKE AN ANIMAL,
I WANNA FEEL YOU FROM THE INSIDE,
I WANNA F**K YOU LIKE AN ANIMAL,
MY WHOLE EXISTANCE IS FLAWED,
YOU GET ME CLOSER TO GOD."
She licked his ear as she finished, knowing full well that Ethan and I had a front row seat to her dirty little show.
"Awwh, fuck it! I'm gonna pull over right now and fuck you're pretty little brains out. Audience or not," Scott said sneering seductively as Liz threw her head back and giggled innocently. Ethan kicked the front seat from behind.
"There a cover charge?" he said laughing.
I brought my hands out and covered Ethan's eyes, "Hu-uh, no man of mine is gonna get off watching you two."
Ethan chuckled as he pulled his head away, pulling my hands off his eyes. Scott and Liz were roaring with laugher in front of us.
Just then Ethan kicked something from under the seat. It sounded like plastic. Curious, Ethan bent over, reaching for whatever it was. I licked my lips as the back of his shirt came up. I leaned my head back and tilted it to the side as I watched his muscles work under his skin. Damn self control, if I didn't have any I would have been all over him like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat.
Just then Ethan sat back up with a Polaroid camera in hand. He eyed it confused, "Scott? What are you doing with this old relic?"
Scott looked in the rear view mirror as Ethan held it up for him to see.
"Oh, just something to have I guess... somethin' fun."
Scott smiled back at us as his attention fell back on Liz. Ethan sat back into me, his back against my chest as he held the camera out in front of us. I yanked off his cap, his hair almost surfer like. I grabbed a hold around his waist as I rested my chin on his shoulder and smiled. *flash*
The jet engine still hummed as I gently pulled the Polaroid from my pocket. It was a little bent on the edges but all that mattered was that I had something of him for the time being. I smiled as I stared at it, letting the tip of my thumb trace along the photographic line that was Ethan's jaw. His hair now long enough to cover his eyes, but slightly parted in the Polaroid. His eyes... I stared at them, happy, wistful, his smile bright and warming.
I looked out the window; out at the new landscape, Colorado snow capping the Rockies. It was gonna be a cold couple of nights, alone.....with no one to hold. I sighed as I felt an empty feeling looming in the hollow of my heart, like someone had cut out a chunk of it, held it in front of me while I let them walked away. So this is how it feels to miss someone.
Just then I heard a voice, above the jet engine, above my MP3 player, "Friend of yours?"
I looked over to see that the guy that had been sleeping next to me was up. Surprised, I pulled my earphones from my head, forgetting to turn my music off.
"Friend of yours?" he asked again, thinking I didn't hear him. He was a middle aged man, nothing far from the usual. He had an almost conservative look about him, short, parted hair, casual business clothes, but there was also something friendly about him, or at least about the way he was asking me.
"Uhh....no," I said, slightly stuttering as I lightly shook my head. He looked almost surprised, raising his eyebrows.
I looked back at the small square picture, "He's uhh.... he's my boyfriend," I said letting one corner of my lips curl.
I really didn't know what kind of reaction I should have expected but what he said sure caught me off guard.
"He's a good-looking guy," he said nodding his head at me.
I laughed nervously, "Yeah, he is," I said, letting my full smile shine.
"It's the first time we've been apart," I said as I looked back down at the picture.
"That why you look like someone just ran over your dog?" he asked, obviously trying to make me feel less lonely.
"Yeah," I said as I tucked the picture back into my pocket.
"..I......." I laughed nervously for a second time, "...I really miss him right now."
He watched as I tried to smile through my frown.
"Well.... it's good to see that there's still some spirit of romance left in the world."
With that he picked up his magazine and began thumbing through it again, occasionally smiling back at me. I looked back out the window and though about what he said. I guess in a way he was right. I mean, being gay meant that people's first impression of me was gonna be that I was some sex addict, that the only thing that mattered was getting off and then moving on.
I sighed and looked back down into my lap, the thought of Ethan creeping back into my mind as I felt a tiny smile form across my lips.
He was the only person I ever wanted to be with.
Even with the AC on full blast, it was still warm in Terrance's car. It was maybe 1, 2 in the afternoon. The landscape hadn't changed much since we left Tucson, desert was desert. I sat slouched in the passenger side seat with my feet up on the dashboard as I softly sang along to the radio, the flavor in my chewing gum completely gone. The cooler on so high it was blowing my bangs over my face. I looked out the window, counting the cactus as the blistering sun sizzled through the glass. Phoenix was coming up and it was only gonna get hotter. I looked back over at Terrance, still on his cell phone, smiling hysterically while talking with Adam. 'Please,' I said to myself sarcastically as I looked back out at the passing landscape.
Just then I squinted, slapping myself mentally. I know, I had no right to say that. I mean if it were me on the phone with Logan, I think I would sound just as bad.... if not worse.
"Miss you Adam, bye," I finally heard him say as he ended his love-sick conversation, hearing his phone beep as he dropped it back into the cup holder.
Both his hands back on the steering wheel he looked at me, "Why so, depressed?" smiling while he asked.
I slouched further into my seat, "Unlike you, I can't call my boyfriend.... he's on a fucking plane where the fucking rule is, 'no cell phones,'" I said, half bitter and half joking... maybe a little more joking than bitter.
He gave me a sneer, "It's only 5 days. I'm sure you can survive without sex until then."
Mocking insulted I spit my chewing gum into my hand and threw it at him. It hit him in the cheek with a light smack. Feeling slightly satisfied I sat back into my seat, "It's not the sex I miss."
Terrance picked the gum off his shoulder, rolled down the window and threw it outside, the warm wind rushing in.
"Well, he did say he'd call you as soon as he could."
I let the pouting look on my face weaken as I sighed, turning my attention to the desert view out the passenger side window.
"You miss him already, don't you?" Terrance's voice bleeding sympathy.
I shut my eyes, taking a deep breath as I could almost feel Logan's strong hands over my cheek, feeling down my neck and caressing across my back, his warm breath across my lips.
My eyes opened to nothing but the interior to Terrance's car. I didn't think that I'd be missing him this bad so soon. I felt pathetic. Like some love sick school boy in one of those sappy teen soap operas.
I turned back to Terrace who was apparently waiting for me to say something. I looked sheepishly down between us, at the console.
"I know it's gonna sound cheesy but.... yeah, I miss him."
Terrance looked back out at the freeway, "Figures..... I mean you two have been together non stop for what now?"
"A month," I said, finally smiling at him.
The looked on his face made me realize that even though it had been a month, to me it felt like only a few days.
"So what do you think the 'rents' are gonna say?" Terrance finally asked, making me look at him, the smile on my face gently fading. Yeah Ethan...... what were they gonna say? Naturally I wanted them to be happy for me, to accept the fact that I loved Logan and that he really, truly loved me back. If they were half as smart they'd see the difference just by looking at me.
"I really don't wanna think about that........" I replied as I turned back around and sat back into my seat.
I took a deep sigh and thought for a moment, looking back at Terrance, "Well.... they never really had any serious opinion about anything.... homosexual. But then again, I don't think they expected me to be either."
Terrance nodded his head, agreeing with me, "Well, did they know about me? Or... Jeff and Grant?"
I gave him an apologetic look, "You guys aren't as obvious as you all think you are."
Terrance looked surprised, biting back his words as he let his attention turn back to the freeway.
Stepping into the terminal I still felt a little loopy. Didn't know flying still kinda took it out of me. It felt like even though I was on solid ground, the scenery kept moving. I didn't exactly feel sick but I definitely was happy to be off the plane.
I had my grey beanie on, along with my red pull-over sweatshirt. Compared to Tucson, Denver was the North Pole. I breathed in the cool air as it chilled my throat and froze my lungs. It felt good to be home. I held my backpack on one of my shoulders as I stood still, looking around for a familiar, yet unfamiliar face; my dad's face. The noise of people and the PA making me feel almost lost, yet then again alone.
I must have been standing there, swinging my head in every direction for about a minute, looking for my dad when I heard, "KENNY!"
God, I hated that name. I focused on the sound and saw my sister, Camille, jogging up to meet me, sliding past people as the smile on her face made me glow, her long light brown hair waving behind her along with the tails of her scarf. She jumped into my arms and wrapped hers around me as I held her a good foot off the floor.
"You're such an ass Kenny," she said, letting me go as I set her back on her feet.
"I missed you too Cammy," I said, readjusting the strap of my backpack back onto my shoulder; happy to see her after 7 months.
"I thought you were with mom and Richard?" I said, letting the happy surprise shine off my face.
She folded her arms and mockingly pouted, "They didn't want me there."
"Did they say that?" I asked, knowing full well that my mom wasn't that cold. Richard on the other hand, mom's new husband, was pretty gruff, but he was never rude.
"No," she said matter-of-factly, "They didn't have to say anything for me to feel like I was intruding."
I nodded, understanding where she was coming from. If not with my mom, then who was she here with? I let the slight confusion peek through my happiness, "So if you're not here with mom and Richard then..."
Just then I saw two familiar faces appear in front of me out of the crowd. I grinned from ear to ear, letting my smile split my face in two.
"MATT!!! HOLLY!!!" I exclaimed as I wrapped my arms around my brother, even thought he was 7 years older than me, I was still taller. People used to say Matt and I looked alike, well... sort of, I was the only one with blue eyes, everyone else in the family had brown.
I smiled as I let him go and pulled Holly into a hug as well. Even though she was my sister-in-law, she felt almost like a second mother.
"It's nice to see you too Kenny," she said as I let her go, her Brazilian beauty still making me blush after all these years. Hey, I was gay, but that didn't mean that I couldn't tell a girl she was still beautiful.
I looked back over at Matt and then at Cammy, letting my brilliant smile fade as I took a further look around us.
"And dad?" I said in a small voice as I looked back into each of their faces, the happy feeling fleeting as I watched Matt take a deep breath.
"Dad had.....something come up, sorry Kenny," he said as he clasped my shoulder.
I let my shoulder slump as I smiled sadly, "I guess after 19 years you'd think I get used to this...."
Cammy hugged me from behind, "Oh, don't beat yourself up. On the bright side it's a 'Siblings Thanksgiving.'"
I laughed at how it sounded as Cammy let me go, "You guys serious?" I asked, amused.
"Yeah," Matt said confidently, "Mom's out playing 'meet and great' with Richard's parents. Dad's out doing god knows what. So that just leaves us," he finished as he pulled Holly and Cammy into his arms, all of them smiling at me.
I laughed again at the idea but I walked into the huddle and hugged everyone again as we went to fetch my luggage. As happy as I was to see my family, well.... part of my family, I still didn't feel whole, that one part of me. That one part of me that I loved most was hundreds of miles away.
And it hurt.
Tucson to Henderson (basically still Las Vegas) in 10 hours, that was a record. It was already night time, although the dark did have a lingering glow about it; all the casinos downtown, flashing and spinning, dulling the moonlight and the starlight. Growing up here, it got old fast.
Terrance had talked me into driving about half way home. The way he looked, he defiantly needed a nap. I took the final left turn as I approached my house, smiling to myself as I lip synched along to the music. The radio almost muted as Terrance slept, reclined in the passenger seat as he lightly snored, tossing every now and then.
It felt good but awkward to be finally home. The lights were still on as I pulled in front of my house, a nice two stories, not cookie cutter, but getting there. I noticed four other vehicles in the driveway. I guess everyone else beat me here. I turned off the engine as I sat there for a split second, looking at my house again through the windshield. It was a quiet place, my neighborhood, nothing exciting ever really happened here.
I turned my attention to Terrance still sleeping as I shook him firmly from across the console.
"We back?" he asked, awake and disoriented, his eyes still half shut.
"I'm home. You still got about 20 minutes to go," I smirked at him as I opened the door and stepped out, the lights turning on inside the car. Terrance squinted and then rubbed his eyes, yawning as he stretched. The car ringing as it waited for me to close the driver-side door. I opened the door to the back seat and grabbed my trusty duffel. It was all I needed for the few days I was gonna be here.
As I shut the door I noticed that Terrance had crawled over to the driver seat. I threw my bag around my shoulder as I shut the driver side door for him. As he rolled his window down I leaned in to talk to him.
"You okay to drive?" I asked, my forearms resting in the open window.
He gripped the steering wheel as he shot me a smirk, "I'll be fine."
"Ok then," I said as I leaned off the car and stood up straight, "I'll give a call later ok? Hook up with Grant and Jeff and we'll go shoot the shit like old times."
Terrance grinned and nodded his head, "Sounds like a plan."
With that he rolled up his window, turned up the stereo, drove down the street and was gone. I turned around and looked at the four other cars parked in front of my house. Great, my sisters were here.
I opened the door slowly, peeking my head in and then quietly walking into the foyer, making sure not to intrude or slam the door. I dropped my duffle next the door, in front of the closet with all the coats. The living room was empty, still meticulously spotless, just like I always remembered it. I cringed as I looked at it. Mom was a Nazi when it came to cleanliness.
I took a few steps further as I listened to a slew of familiar voices, laughing and chatting as I walked around the corner and into the dinning room. There they were, my mom and all 4 sisters, all huddled around the dinning room, sipping wine and cackling away. Of all my brother-in-laws, only Jesse was there, but he looked like he only there to restock on refreshments. The other three had to be in the family room watching ESPN.
"Oh, Ethan, honey, I didn't hear you come in."
I watched my mom cut off her sip of wine, slightly surprised as she walked up to me, arms open and smiling cheerfully. I reached around and hugged her firmly. The smell of her long black hair reminding me I was home. She looked a little more tired than usual, her almost black eyes shinning, but not as brilliantly as I remembered. Anyways, I was still happy to see her. She pulled back and looked at me. Her dark eyes smiling as I smiled back.
"Well....," she said, her grin widening as she looked me over, "let me look at you."
I held my hands out and sighed, knowing she was just gonna criticize me on something trite.
"Except for the silly shag, my little boy is turning into one handsome young man."
"Oh, mother, leave him alone," I looked over to see my oldest sister Avery there sipping away on a full glass of wine, her husband Jesse behind her digging into a bowl of potato chips and taking a handful. He nodded and smiled at me.
"I think he looks cute," she said, defending me. Something she did on rare occasions, usually accompanied by alcohol. I guess for 30 she was looking good. From what I heard, she was laying off the booze for once. As a kid I vaguely remembered her coming home drunk more than once when she was in high school and then binge drinking in her college years. Funny how it was at some fraternity keg party that she met her husband, Jesse, and 4 months later they were engaged. Even funnier is how he's the sober one in the marriage. But from what I see, he's handling it pretty well.
"Well Avery, I can see the AA hasn't given up entirely on you," I said as my mom scuttled back over to mingle with her daughters. Avery just smirked, holding her glass up as she took another sip. What a drunk.
"Well baby brother, you're looking like you just fell out of the pages of Playgirl," I looked back up at see Natalie there, giving me the eye as she snacked on a single potato chip. She had her hair up. She always had it up. I guess she still hung on to some of her old military habits. Of all my siblings she was the only one with medium brown hair. I blushed, feeling the blood rush to my face. Biting my bottom lip and chuckling I pulled the hem of my shirt up, showing her my abs.
"You know it," I said, slapping them to make them flex, "Count 'em," I said, arrogantly mocking her. Well... she started it. She gave me a look that told me, 'whatever.'
Just then I saw a Cheeto hit her lightly on the cheek.
"Don't say that to him," I watched Morrigan give Natalie a disgusted look, "Playgirl.... I'm going to think that you read that trash."
My sister Morrigan and her husband Bret were Mormon, which was the reason why she was the only one not drinking. She was a lot nicer now, well a lot nicer than she used to be, to me and Kyle that is. But she was still my sister, so that meant she still reserved the right to pick on me and Kyle from time to time. Usually when she did Bret would take mine and Kyle's side. Bret was a cool guy, always helping out our dysfunctional family in some way or another. He was a fireman and Morrigan was a grade school teacher. Yeah, you don't get more wholesome than that. Our family didn't really have a religion growing up. Yeah, we believed in god and all but we never went to church. I did kinda like the fact that Morrigan and Bret were religious. They didn't push us in any way, but it showed me that we all weren't a lost cause after all.
Nat threw a potato chip back at Morrigan, the slow start to a food fight. Natalie on the other hand had just retired from the Air Force. So in her own way she was vulgar, rude and little arrogant. But from what I heard from all the letters she sent to my parents (not to me) she was the pin up girl for her entire base. So my assumption.... she was a slut. I know a little rude for a brother to say about his older sister but... siblings will be siblings. Her husband Carey was just like her, well at least her physical counterpart. He was in construction. His dad gave him his company last year. So Carey in my opinion was a pretty big guy. But he was the biggest teddy bear if I ever knew one. I don't think I've ever seen him mad or even annoyed. Personality wise, Natalie and Carey were complete opposites. She now was a stay at home wife, wanting to work but Carey telling her that no wife of his needed to work a single day. That's why she was at my mom's place all the time.
Morrigan brushed the stray strands of hair out of her face and smiled at me. Her eyes just like mine. I think all of us, excluding Natalie had the same hair color and exact same eyes. I guess our family being half Native American my sisters liked to keep their hair long, at least shoulder length. They were all pretty.... I guess. I mean, they are my sisters.
Just then Morrigan blurted out, "Did you hear? Kat's pregnant!"
I smiled wide and looked at my youngest sister Katherine at the corner of the table. She laughed as she looked at me and then looked at Morrigan, "Morr, I was gonna tell him."
Kat? Pregnant? She just got married, AND she's only a year older than I am. Kat was the quiet one out of all of us, very reserved and probably the most innocent, when she was alone. But when she hooked up with her other three sisters, she could get vicious when it came to picking on her younger brothers. Now that we were all older, it was more like poking fun.
"Kat, you're pregnant?" I said as I looked at her, gently smiling, "Then why are you drinking?"
"Juice," she said as she held up her glass.
"Eli wants her to eat only the healthy goods," Morrigan said as she smiled back at Kat.
Eli was Kat's husband. He and her were still in college; juniors. He was going for his engineering degree and Kat was going for one in business. They had their own place but more often than not, they found themselves here at my mom's house. Eli and Kat had been an item since high school and only recently did they finally tie the knot over the summer. Eli's family moved back east, back to Boston where he originally was from. So now his only family here in Vegas was ours.
Wow, I was gonna be an uncle. Funny how Kat was the youngest daughter and the last one to get married, but she was the first one to have one baking in the oven.
My mom set her almost empty glass of wine on the table as I walked over to Kat and gave her a small sibling hug.
"So how along are you?"
"Three months," she said smiling.
I gave all my sisters hugs as we told each other how happy we were to see one other again. Sure we fight and bicker, but we were still a family and deep down we still loved each other, even though we didn't show all the time.
As for now, it was a family moment. We had the entire weekend to fight like cats and dogs.
For later afternoon, it was a little dark out. The sky gray with clouds, It was gonna snow.
Walking through the parking lot with my duffle I finally realized how cold it was out, my ears and nose almost instantly noticing the difference. I could definitely see my breath.
Matt had gotten himself a nice new black SUV, plenty of room; more than enough space for him and Holly, and the family that they wanted to start. I planted myself in the back seat along with Cammy as we started our drive down the freeway.
"So Kenny, how'd Arizona finish off the season? Didn't watch the game," Matt said as he looked at me through his rearview mirror, his voice only slightly rueful.
"Uhh, we lost," I said smiling half heartedly at him, "Doesn't matter I didn't play all season anyway."
I took a deep sigh and looked out the window at the familiar skyscrapers, "Just glad it's over."
"I think if you were playing Matt would finally pay for ESPN so we can watch your games," Holly said as she turned in her seat to look at me.
I turned my attention to her. "Next year for sure," I said smiling confidently.
Matt and Holly lived in a nice part of town, although it wasn't the ritzy side either. As we turned onto their street and pulled into the driveway we parked next to familiar ugly green car. I laughed excitedly as I jumped out of Matt's SUV.
"Kurt's here too?!" I asked, grinning as I looked back at Matt, still getting out of his vehicle and zipping up his coat.
"HEY, Kenny, you little runt."
I looked at the front porch and saw Kurt there, grinning as he shook his head at me. I walked up to him, smiling I gave him a hug. And just like Matt, he was shorter and smaller than I was. His distinguishing feature being his dark brown hair.
"Hey I didn't know you were here too," I said as I let him go.
He smiled and shrugged his shoulders. Matt, Holly and Cammy walked up behind me as all of us walked inside, taking off their coats. The house was warm and cozy, lots of furniture and very well kept. Matt handed me my duffle bag and my backpack.
"You can put 'em in the den," Matt said, "We only got two spare rooms and Cammy and Kurt already called dibs."
"It's ok," I said, smiling as I shrugged, "Sofa's fine with me."
Walking back from the den I pulled my pull-over sweatshirt off and found everyone in the kitchen, cooking dinner and prepping food for tomorrow. Cammy and Holly were cutting up vegetables. Matt was doing the dishes while Kurt was digging in the refrigerator. All of them enjoying small talk and laughing. I threw my sweatshirt over a chair in the dinning room as I walked into the kitchen, fixing my messed hair.
I froze were I stood. To my surprise I noticed two other people there also; two very beautiful Asian women standing over the stove, the older woman in an apron cooking something in a frying pan while the younger woman watched. They looked like 23 and 18.... maybe.
Finally noticing me there, Kurt looked up.
"Hey Kenny, Oh uh.... I want you to meet my girlfriend, Mika and her little sister, Lynn."
They both looked at me and smiled. Mika had here hair up in a pony tail, jet black and still long enough to hang above her mid back. Lynn on the other had had her hair cropped just below her shoulders. I guess when I finally noticed, their clothes said a lot about their age. Mika was obviously the older one.
Kurt finally said, "Mika, Lynn, this is my little brother, Kenny."
"Nice to finally meet you. I'm this week's love of Kurt's life," Mika said as she wiped her hands off on her apron, her voice soft and almost delicate. Everyone, even Kurt, laughed. She extended her hand I tired as softly as I could to shake it.
"Nice to meet you too," I said smiling and still chucking at her introduction.
"I've heard a lot about you from Kurt," she said, grinning as itlooked like she was almost sizing me up.
"Oh yeah?" I said, looking at Kurt and eyeing him, giving him that cautioning face that warned him that he better not have been talking smack about me, a joke of course.
"Hi," was all Lynn said to me as she smiled. Her voice cheerful, her eyes glinting as her smile and gaze lingered. It made me uncomfortable, although I did try my best to hide it. Finally nodding my head nervously I took a quick look at everyone else; silent and grinning. Kurt looked at me and nodded. His devious trademark smirk spread across his face. Don't fucking tell me this is what I think it is.
Just then I watched Kurt fish into his pockets and yank out his keys.
"Kenny, catch," I almost didn't see his keys come flying at me as I a clumsily caught them with a confused look rolling over my face.
"You know uh..... Holly here she uhh.... forgot to get....... uhhh," Kurt struggled to spit it out as he looked over at Holly who had stopped slicing vegetables.
Something didn't feel quite right.
"CRANBERRY SAUCE!" I heard Holly almost yell out, "I uhh.... forgot the cranberry sauce," her voice and face telling me that she felt like a ditz for forgetting. I looked at the keys in my open hand and then at Kurt.
"Soooo.... you want me to run the grocery store then?" I asked, knowing full well that the answer was yes.
Kurt nodded at me, his smile going nervous, "Why....uhh... Why don't you take Lynn with you?"
I let my eyes slowly steer in her direction. I think she felt just as uncomfortable, trying to shrink back into her sister if not into the wall.
"Yeah Kenny," my attention turned to Mika, "She needs to get out. Being around us OLDER couples I think is getting to her."
I watched as Mika gently began pushing her sister in my direction. Oh fuck..... How the hell do I handle this? I looked back at Kurt. I didn't let it show on my face, but I was pissed. Even though he knew absolutely nothing about me and Ethan..... I was still pissed. God Dammit! If I wanted a girl then I would have gotten a girlfriend. It was times like these that I just wished I could push the 'PAUSE' button on my life, turn around and find Ethan there. I think just seeing him would make anything fatal, sufferable.
I watched as Lynn shyly walked up to me, her hands behind her waist. She was obviously timid but smiling none the less. Not to seem rude, I smiled nervously back at her. I looked up at Kurt and without saying anything, grabbed my puller-over off the dinning room chair and walked out the door into the bitter cold.
What the hell were they thinking? Does it look like I need help finding someone to date? I remembered the looks on their faces. Could they have been more obvious? They might as well have spelled out across Lynn's shirt, 'Here Logan, this is for you. Enjoy!' I pulled my sweatshirt over my head as I realized, I really had no right to be angry. If I had told them I was seeing someone, this never would have happened. But then they'd be grilling me with questions. The more I thought about it, maybe it was the better option not to tell them.
Lynn zipped up her sweat shirt, small and pink, clearly designed to show off a girl's assets. She seemed almost happy now that she was out of the house, skipping off the porch and then next to the passenger side door as I unlocked Kurt's car. We both got in as I started the engine, letting it warm up, the radio tuned to some whinny-college station.
"Sorry about them...." Lynn said, her voice clearly meaning every word. I hadn't been looking at her but then suddenly felt the need to look her in the eyes.
Her smile was small, "About my sister and Kurt that is."
"Oh..." I said trying to act surprised, "Why would you be sorry?" I said, trying at act just as oblivious.
"Come on Kenny," she said, her voice telling me she wasn't fooled, "I think you know exactly why I'm here."
I laughed nervously as I stared as the steering wheel, "I can think of a few reasons."
"Well, what ever those reasons are, don't be mad at them. Kurt just wanted see you happy....... since you broke up with....." she paused.
"Alison," I said, filling in the blank, still staring at the steering wheel.
"Yeah, Alison," she relied.
Other than the traffic, the drive to the supermarket wasn't so bad. I learned that she and her sister were from Korea. Their mom was Korean and their dad was an American Army Lieutenant who was stationed there. So she and Mika were both Korean and American. When their dad died a few years ago, their mom sent them here, to the states to go to school. That was where Mika met Kurt, and to my surprise they had been dating for a few months now, 6 to be exact. It was a surprise to me because Kurt always seemed to go through girlfriends like clean underwear. So this was a landmark. Lynn said that Kurt and Mika were like Siamese twins. So Lynn already thought of Kurt as some form of unofficial in-law.
After she had gave me the 411 on her life she asked for mine. I didn't go into too much detail but I did tell her about school out of state and my whole 'football career.' She seemed fascinated about that. I personally was starting to think that she had a thing for athletes. I watched a small trace of disappointment creep across her face when I mentioned that I was seeing 'someone.' I tried to be as vague as possible, playing the 'pronoun game', and it seemed to have worked. She dropped the questions.
The parking lot was packet. It took me almost 5 minutes to find a parking spot.... in the back. We both stepped out of the car as the sharp wind nipped at our faces. Wow, it seemed almost colder on this side of town. The clouds still hung low in the late evening sky, finally getting dark.
"It's gonna snow right?" Lynn asked as she pulled a baby blue knitted beanie out of her sweatshirt pocket and put it on, covering her ears.
I pulled the hood of my red sweatshirt up and over my head, looking from the sky to her, "You betcha."
Finally inside the warm air felt cozy as I picked out a shopping cart, inspecting it as Lynn waited behind me.
"Aaannnddd.... what are doing?" she asked as she eyed me.
"Well...." I said as I looked from her back to the cart, "You know... if you don't check, you might get stuck with the shitty one."
She giggled to herself, covering her mouth; I knew she was laughing at me. Finally satisfied with the cart I had picked out, she asked, "You know were just here for cranberry sauce."
I stopped dead in my tracks and then reluctantly put the cart back, "Thanks for reminding me."
Boy, did I feel stupid. I guess it's because when me and Ethan go to the supermarket we always seem to buy more than 4 items.
Lynn looked at me as she waited for me to fall out of my trance, "Well.... lead the way."
I shook my head and laughed timidly at her. The place was packed, like some carnival ride of bumper cars. We snaked our way across the main isle and into the canned goods section, avoiding people left and right. We both eyed the products on the selves; baked beans, canned olives...... here we are, cranberry sauce.
I picked up one the few cans left, tossing it up and then catching it as Lynn asked, "So we finished?"
"Yeah," I said grinning as I handing her the can.
As we walked out of the isle, turning the corner I ran groin first into a shopping cart, shaking all its contents as I realized what had just happened. I looked up to see who I had crashed into to apologize when I was stopped before I could even finish saying sorry.
"Sor-......... Alison?" I said surprised. My ex-girlfriend? Of all the places. I hadn't seen her since over the summer. She still looked like I remembered; a good half a foot shorter than I was, her light blonde hair still styled the same; long and combed behind her ear, her warm blue eyes paler than mine. We had only called each other a few times since high school ended. I guess we were both getting too busy. Ethan was my only excuse for not calling her as much as I should have. We were still friends, maybe not best friends but friends none the less.
"Logan?" she said, her voice just as surprised as mine, her face now glowing with a bright smile.
I smiled back, about to say something when I noticed another guy walk up behind her, not as big as I was but still built. He looked at me with what seemed like narrowing eyes. I watched as he reached around Alison's waist. Ok..... it was obvious he was her boyfriend and it was painfully clear that me talking to her was threatening him to the point of hatred.
Alison must have noticed as she quickly replied, "Oh, Logan I want you to meet my boyfriend, Drew."
"Hey," I said casually nodding at him.
"Drew, this is a friend of mine, Logan," he nodded back at me without saying anything. So I'm her 'friend' now and not her 'ex-boyfriend'. I guess she already knew pretty well that he was one of those possessive, jealous types. I could totally relate to Drew. I knew exactly how he felt.
Just then I noticed Alison's attention revert to my side, "And who's this...... Logan?"
I looked to my side to find Lynn there smiling at Alison.
Before I had time to finish or even think about what to say, Lynn stepped forward and introduced herself, "I'm Lynn," she said confidently, "And you must be Alison."
Alison looked confused but still smiled, "Have we met?" she asked.
"Oh, no, but lets just say that you've been mentioned," Lynn then turned to me, putting me on the spot. Drew looked a little more interested. I'm sure he was wondering what I had to say about his current girlfriend.
I felt a lump in my throat.... a big one. Great, today just keeps getting better and better.
Alison finally said something, saving me from potentially saying something stupid in front of her and not to mention her boyfriend, who looked he wanted my head just for knowing her by association, "So LYNN....... are you and Logan........ going out? You two look almost too cute together."
I looked at Lynn; shock, terror and embarrassment all rolled into on emotion. She took her time to look at me, batting her lashes, "I dunno 'KENNY'. Are we going out?"
I jaw dropped open as I didn't know what to say but trying to put up the front like I did. My stare lingered on Lynn and then Alison, both patiently waiting for my answer. Wonderful, just fucking wonderful.
"Uhh....mgghh....No, no we're not going out."
Lynn looked at me and then Alison.
"There you go," Lynn said smiling, tilting her head to side as she said it. Women were evil, fuckin' evil.
Alison was about to say something when Drew finally stepped in, "Babe, I think we better go. Don't want to keep you parent's waiting."
He sounded like he wasn't enjoying the conversation at all. Alison nodded at him and then sighed as she turned to me and Lynn, "Well, it was good to see you again... Kenny."
She giggled under her breath. She knew that only my family called me Kenny and that I hated that name.
She turned to Lynn, "It was nice meeting you too Lynn."
"Like wise," Lynn said smiling, the poise almost radiating off her.
Drew smiled lightly at Lynn and just gave me a simple glare. Drew lead the way, now driving the cart and holding Alison's hand. As Drew turned to look ahead of him Alison gave me a look that said she was sorry, apparently for Drew's behavior and then mouthed the words, 'call me.'
They left me and Lynn still standing there. I dunno about Lynn but I was still surprised. I wasn't entirely sure about what, but I was surprised none the less. Shaking my head I looked back at Lynn, "You ready?"
"Yeah," she said, still happy as we walked towards the cashier.
Once back inside Kurt's car I threw the can of sauce in the back seat. Starting up the engine I heard Lynn's voice, "Why didn't you just say we were together?"
I looked over at her. What? Was she serious?
"Would have saved you a ton of grief from her 'parole officer' boyfriend."
I laughed lightly at her remark. It was true. Maybe if he thought I wasn't a threat, Alison and I could've talked a little while longer.
I looked into Lynn's face, "Nah, I can't tell her that. She'd see right through me."
Alison knew about me. Maybe not that I was seeing Ethan, but she definitely knew about me.
Lynn looked confused. I shifted the car into reverse and started pulling out, the confusion still lingering painfully on her face.
Finally putting the car into drive I looked at her, "Go on..... Go on and ask me."
"Am I your type at all?" her voice frank but serious.
For a spit second I thought about saying 'no' but ended up not saying a word as I stepped on the gas, making our way out of the parking lot.
"Well?" she said, still fishing for my answer, "You're telling me Eurasian and beautiful isn't your type?"
This time, I looked at her with the same shock and confusion, "No, it's not that.... I mean... you are hot and all.... but..." I turned my eyes back to the road.
"But?" she wasn't gonna let this go.
If I wanted practice coming out to my family, I had it right here. Had to start somewhere. I mean.... I want them to know. I want them to meet Ethan. I want to tell them that he was the love of my life. That I had no regrets about it. That I knew now who I was and who I wanted to be with.
I watched Lynn's eyes widen. Girls were good at keeping secrets. Weren't they?
I took a long deep sigh as we stopped at a stop light; funny how I didn't feel as nervous as I did with Scott or Adam.
"You're.... you're a girl... THERE I SAID IT."
I looked back out at the road, staring at the tail lights of the car in front of me, waiting for the light to turn green. She didn't have to like me. She wasn't even family.
"You're shittin me! YOU?!"
I could help but look at her, if just to see the reaction on her face. It was a giant wicked smile. She sat up in her seat, unbuckling her seat belt as she turned completely towards me. Ok, now she had me wondering what other thoughts she had cooking in her head.
"Mr. Badass Jock?! But Kurt talks about you like your every girl's wet dream."
"A'....ughh.... Really?" I asked, not really knowing what to say and not at all expecting that kind of reaction. I knew I wasn't too hard on the eyes but... hot?
I hung my head a laughed to myself, "Wet dream huh?"
Lynn finally sat back in her seat, grinning at me, "That's what he said."
I bit my lip, "Well he's obviously over exaggerating," I said looking from the road to her.
She laughed at me, "What? You don't think you are? You know girls.... and I'm sure guys too, love a man with confidence."
"But wet dream?... Hu-uh," I said shaking my head and frowning at her.
She gave me a pathetic smile, telling she wasn't impressed with my opinion of myself.
I finally gave her a defeated smile, "Wet dream would be my boyfriend.... girls swoon over him like he's the only guy for miles."
I watched her eyes light up and then a mischievous grin form across her pink lips.
"You have a picture don't you?"
I gave her a mockingly insulted look before looking back at the road.
"I know boys, and boys always carry a picture of their girlfriend's. Well......I guess in you're case BOYFRIEND'S, picture in their wallets," her smile went even wider. She let her eyes wander, "or in their cars."
"HA," I almost yelled at her, "You forget. This is Kurt's car."
"Oh yeah," her disappointment was almost humorous. I looked back at her as she began picking at her nails, "I dunno..... If I don't see a pic I think things might slip. I might have a slip of the tongue in front of Mika.... ooorrrrr......KURT!"
I squinted, gritting my teeth as I gripped the steering wheel, the leather squeaking in my fists.
"OK! ok," I said as we came to another stop light. I rolled my eyes at her and took a deep breath as I dug into my front pocket and slowly pulled out my Polaroid. A little more bent that it had been before. I didn't want to leave it at the house, in my bags. I wanted it close to me. I looked at it and finally handed it to Lynn.
The speed of her hand as she snatched it made me almost sit up in surprise. I watched as her smile went from mediocre to all out grin, her eyes widening in the process.
"Whoa, Kenny," she brought her fingers to lips, "Yum-my, you Colorado boys sure can pick 'em."
I laughed on an exhale at her complimented of my taste in guys. She was right, I sure could pick 'em. It was I big gamble, I took my chance, and I came out a winner.
"I hate you Kenny," she said still looking at the Polaroid, her voice wistful but contrite, "I hate you..... What a perfectly good waste of man."
She looked up at me, letting me watch the sly grin linger on her lips. She handed me my picture back, "Why are you gay guys so hot. What a waste!"
She sat back in her seat mockingly pouting at me. I put the picture back into my front pocket as traffic finally started moving again.
I shrugged at her, gesturing that I was sorry. I guess for Ethan's status of 'unattainable.'
With the humor of the conversation almost gone, I let my serious face show, "Ok, you got to see a picture so you can't say A-NY-THING to Kurt...OR MIKA!"
"Yeah, she would tell him," Lynn said, like she was stating the obvious.
"You know what? Just to be safe, don't say anything at all," I finally said.
She nodded agreeing to my terms.
"Sorry," I said.
She looked at me puzzled. I was beginning to think that all I was doing was confusing the poor girl, "It's just..... I wanna be the one that tells them."
"That's understandable. DON'T WORRY. I'm not gonna steal you're thunder," she said reassuring me that I had nothing to fear, at least from her, "All I can say is that they're gonna be floored."
"What do you mean?" curious to know what she meant.
"Oh well, they totally think you're straight as an arrow. Why do think they were trying to push us together?"
Why did that surprise me? Now I completely felt like if I said anything now they'd look at me like some complete failure. Or like mom and dad made some big mistake while raising me. I couldn't help but feel like I was crushing everyone's expectations of me.
"You ok Kenny?" Lynn finally asked, making me take my eyes off the road for a spit second to answer her.
"Yeah," I said clearing my throat.
She smiled warmly at me letting me know that things were now serious, "Kurt adores you. You know that?"
I looked at her, only slightly surprised, "Not really."
"He's always telling me about his awesome little brother...... If you decide to tell them, I'm sure they'll completely understand."
I took a deep sigh, "I sure hope so."
"Wednesday night football?" I asked as I walked around the large sofa in the family room, Bret and Jesse sitting up, turning their attention to me as I took a seat between them.
"Look whose home?" Bret said smiling as he wrapped his thick arm around my shoulder, our version of a brotherly hug. His chuckle making me smile as I leaned into him. I was so glad Morrigan married him. If I ever had an older brother, I wanted him to be Bret. Well.... he already was like my older brother, an older brother that slept with my sister. That was a disturbing thought.
I smiled back into his gentle blue eyes, not quite as blue as Logan's, but just as friendly.
"Good to see ya Ethan. How's everyone's favorite little bro doin'?"
I looked over as Jesse popped another potato chip into his mouth and grinned. He looked like he had just gotten back from the office. He had the top button of his shirt open, his blue tie loosened and his sleeves rolled up around his biceps. The style of his hair was now unrecognizable, the gel almost completely gone. I can't imagine having a shitty day at work and then having to come home to Avery. I had a lot of respect for Jesse. I guess if you really did love someone they could make you smile no matter what. And even with Avery's drinking problem, he still loved her, above everything else.
"I'm doin' awesome," I said as I leaned back into the sofa, grabbing a chip from Jesse's open hand.
"Good to hear," Jesse said, his brown eyes glistening from the television, hugging me like Bret had.
"Well you look like you're doing pretty good. Smilin' and all," Carey said from the lazy-boy. His voice gruff by default, but I could still hear the cheer in it as I smiled back at him.
"Come on, you gave Bret and Jesse a hug," he said laughing at me.
I laughed under my breath and jumped out of the sofa and walked over to Carey. He wrapped me in his oversized arms as I did the same.
"Yeah, missed you too Carey," I said as he let me go. Of all my brother-in-laws he was the oldest, but not my too much. He was dressed comfortably casual. I guess when you own your own company you can get almost any day off; although Carey almost never missed work. I'm guessing Nat had to beg for him to take at least the evening off.
"Back already?" I heard as I turned around and looked towards the hallway.
Eli stood there, his arms folded, shaking his head and smirking at me. He was almost two years older than me and Kyle, so that helped us bond quickly. He felt more like a friend from school and not so much Kat's husband. But it was still hard to believe he was gonna be a dad.
"Get over here," he said, arms stretched as I walked into his hug.
It felt great being home, I missed our little brotherhood just as much as I did my sisters and my parents. I remember Carey helping me and Kyle with me our woodshop projects and Bret helping us with our math homework, Jesse driving us to school on his way to the office and Eli taking us out to lunch every Friday. Until my parents decided to give their marriage one more shot my senior year, they, my brother-in-laws, were my dads.
Come to think of it, where was my dad? Even though my parents were separated we still spent the holidays together. Up until my senior year, Kyle lived with my dad. Avery had already married Jesse and had moved back to Las Vegas. So the only person I didn't see on a regular basis was dad. Well, I guess he should be here tomorrow, that was the big day.
I took a seat on the floor in front of the TV, my legs stretched out as I leaned back on my hands. I gave Eli back his seat on the sofa.
I reached back and took another chip from Jesse, "You know Jess, you should've just grabbed the whole bowl."
"Yeah I know but were all gonna be going out to dinner in a little bit anyways."
It was family tradition to go out to eat the night before Thanksgiving, kind of ironic really, a prepared meal before a home cooked meal.
"Heard your school's football team lost this past weekend," Carey said as I looked back at him. We did lose. I kinda dogged Logan about it, even though he had nothing to do with it.
"Yeah, that quarterback of yours didn't do so hot," Bret said from behind.
"Yeah, he's a little bit of a prick," I said as I looked back at the football game on the television screen. I remembered Logan telling me that the big shot quarterback, Alan Racker, was a total tool. Now, for Logan to think of you as a jerk, you had to work at it.
"You know him? I hear he got drafted," Jesse said as I looked back at him. I didn't know he got drafted at all.
"Alan....? No, I don't know him. I uh, know another guy on the team," I smiled meagerly at Jess, remembering Logan and then feeling the heavy weight in my chest expand, I missed him.
"Who?" Bret asked, his curiosity getting the best of him.
"Ahh.... Logan, Logan Rian," I said.
"You mean Kenneth Rian," Jesse said, correcting me and smiling while he did so.
My face went surprised and then puzzled, "How....?"
"Ethan.... Jesse's a football junkie, remember?" Eli said as he kicked me lightly from the sofa and then elbowing Jesse as they both smiled at each other.
Great, so if I EVER bring Logan home it was either gonna be something monumental or something that could completely blow up in my face.
The game was now getting pretty intense, all of us yelling at the TV as we occasionally heard the women from the dinning reminding us to keep it down.
The door bell rang, the memorable chimes echoing through the house. I was the only one that seemed to notice, letting my eyes wander in the direction of the front door.
"ETHAN...?" I heard my mom almost yell from the dinning room.
"YEAH?" I yelled back, my attention still on the football game.
"Could you get the door?" she asked.
I looked back towards the dinning room, confused. They were closer. I sighed as I got up off the floor and walked passed everyone into the hallway, passing the dinning room.
"Thanks sonny," Avery said, teasing me as I stuck my tongue out at her and walked into the foyer.
I pulled the door open, letting the warm night air in. It had to be my dad outside. He was the only one missing. I let the shock slap me across the face a couple of times before I smiled and broke out into laugher. It seemed like instead of the front door opening to the outside, it instead opened up to a full length mirror. There he was, my other half, Kyle. I guess you could say that the both of us made a complete person, us being identical twins and all.
He had his hair buzzed, not completely off but probably as long as the Navy would allow. He didn't wear his Cracker Jack uniform this time. Instead he looked comfortable in his t-shirt and jeans. It was weird looking at yourself but knowing that the perfect copy looking back at you was a whole different person.
He laughed along with me and dropped his bag. His dog tags clanking as we both hugged.
"No fuckin' way," I said as we let each other go.
I must have said it rather loudly as I heard my mom yelling from the dinning room, "Ethan, language."
We both chuckled at each other as Kyle looked up at me.
I asked, "They know you're here right?"
He laughed again, quieter this time, "Not a clue."
So he was here to surprise everyone. As my laughter dimmed I looked behind him and noticed a mounting shadow getting closer along with the tail lights of a taxi driving off in the distance. As the person approached, the porch lights slowly revealed a clean cut, squared away marine. Well it said USMC on his shirt, so I assumed he was a marine. He wasn't too tall, maybe 6 ft even. Under the low light it looked like his eyes were a deep green. And like my brother's hair, it was buzzed short, if not shorter. The only difference being that my brother's was almost black while this guy's was a dark or medium brown. Build wise, if he was a marine that would explain all the muscles.
He was carrying a large duffle across one shoulder; big, green and looked like it weighed a good 80 lbs. I was obvious that Kyle's friend was going to be staying with us. If my assumptions were correct, they were going to be washing their clothes here as well. That would explain the size of both of their over sized bags.
As Kyle's friend neared the porch he almost froze, his mouth slightly open and his eyes widened, staring at me, then Kyle and then back to me.
"I'm sorry," Kyle said to me, shaking his head, "This is a good friend of mine, Lance Corporal, Wes Young,"
"Hey," I said smiling as his shock slowly turned into a smile, a goofy one at that.
"Hey," Wes said, his voice deep and rich with a farm boy quality; Midwest, if I guessed correctly. He extended his hand, smiling as I grabbed it, shaking it firmly; both of us well aware of the other's strength.
"I'm Ethan," I looked at Kyle, "I'm this fucker's better half."
Kyle shook his head, bit his lower lip and punched me square in the shoulder, a shit-eating grin on his face. I smiled back at him, wincing slightly. He hit me pretty hard.
"Hey, hittin' me ain't gonna change the truth," I said after hitting him back.
"You little shit! If we weren't out here on the porch I'd kick your ass."
I chuckled, that's brotherly love for you. "Shut up and come on inside."
Once inside Wes shut the door quietly behind him. He looked lost and maybe a little intimidated. He and Kyle dropped their bags next to mine as I pointed them in the direction of my mom and sisters. Kyle had the biggest smile smeared across his face as he looked at me and then Wes. Wes on the other had looked nervous and somewhat shaken. I dunno, to see a marine smiling with terror wasn't a sight you got to see very often. I watched Kyle disappear around the corner and into the dinning room followed by Wes, wiping the sweat of his palms off on his jeans. Poor guy, knowing my family, he was walking right in front of a firing squad.
I think what I heard next was a mess of screams and excited squeals emanating from the dining room. The last time I remembered Kyle home was Christmas of last year. So I can imagine how thrilled my mom was going to be.
I slowly strolled into the dinning room to see Kyle smothered with hug after hug from my mom and then my sisters, and then my mom again. He looked like he was being choked half to death. Wes looked more amused, standing off to the side with his arms folded, his eyes fixed on Kyle as his smile caged off the laughter that he was apparently holding back. I couldn't help but snicker to myself as I leaned against the dinning room wall.
"Well.... are you two just gonna stand there?" Kyle protested as his eyes moved between me and Wes.
My mom finally let my brother go as she did her ritual examination of us every time we came home. She held him arms lengths away by his shoulders as she looked him over. Kyle rolled his eyes as the only thing he could do was let mom do her thing.
"Handsome as usual," she said smiling at him.
Her glare then turned to me, "Unlike your brother, you seem to have your hair under control."
There she goes again, ragging on me.
As she let Kyle go her attention then turned to Wes, her smile then turning to a smirk. It felt somehow, humorously eerie. My sisters all fell silent as Kyle gave Wes an apologetic stare. Wes on the other had looked terrified, petrified where he stood.
"Well, Kyle, don't be rude. Introduce your friend," my mom's voice teeming with intrigue.
"Oh," Kyle said, desperately trying to break the ice for Wes, "Mom, and uh... sisters. Wes Young."
"Hi," was all Wes could mutter.
"Wes, this is my mom, Elise, my sisters, Natalie, Morrigan, Avery and Kat," he said pointing each one out.
Kyle finally turned to me, "And you met my bro, Ethan."
I gave Wes a small wave as I grinned back at both him and Kyle.
I could see my sisters, married women, eyeing the poor nervous marine on the spot. I think Kyle noticed too as the look on his face seemed somewhat appalled as he looked back at our sisters.
"Well, mom.... I uh, invited Wes to have Thanksgiving with us," Kyle said, hoping to calm his nervous friend.
She took a step in front of Wes and gave him a good stare, "Any man this handsome can stay as long as he wants."
"Mom, please," was all Kyle could say as the embarrassment went beyond believable. It's horrible when your own mother hits on one of your friends. Wes didn't say anything. I think all he did was blush and show off a silly grin.
"Come on," Kyle said, tapping Wes' shoulder as he gestured him back into the foyer to retrieve their bags, "We'll crash in my old room."
Wes showed no hesitation in following Kyle, nodding and smiling at everyone before taking his leave, "ladies."
I leaned off the wall, "You girls are horrible....." I said looking at everyone, "you too mom."
They just seemed to smile and shrug in unison. I shook my head at them and walked back into the foyer. Kyle and Wes already had their bags around their shoulders. Kyle threw my duffle at me, "Lead the way."
"Bye boys," we heard Avery comment as we passed the dinning room again. Kyle and I made faces at her. Wes didn't even let his eyes wander in that direction.
Halfway up the stairs I turned around and asked, "So how long are you gonna be home this time?"
Kyle looked back at Wes and then back at me, "I think until Sunday. That's when our plane leaves back to San Diego."
"Oh," I said as we finally reached our old room, "Here we are."
I opened the door as Kyle walked in and threw his bags on his old bed. Wes had a fascinated look about him as he eyed all the posters and old high school trophies. It looked like mom kept everything in order while we were gone. I left the door open and walked by Wes, his mouth open as he took in his surroundings, and tossed my duffle on my old bed, the one under the window.
"Kyle? Honey? Could you come down please?" I hear my mom yell from below.
Kyle looked at me and sighed, smiling he shrugged his shoulders and marched out into the hall and down the stairs, "Yeah mom, I'm comin'."
"Your mom seems pretty scary," I looked up to see Wes still standing in the middle the room with his bag still over his shoulder, smiling uncomfortably as he shuffled his feet.
"Nawh, she's just tryin' to embarrass you two, that's all," I said as I opened my bag and started pulling out my clothes.
"Oh shit! Sorry man," I said as I looked back at Wes and realized he had no where to put his stuff other than the floor. That would also explain the slightly lost look on his face.
"Umm," I quickly walked over to Kyle's bed and bent down, pulling up the comforter and looking underneath.
"Here you go," I said as I pulled out a makeshift cot, "It's nothin' awesomely great but it's the only other bed in the house."
"That's ok," he said winking at me, "Beats the barracks any day."
Wes helped me construct his makeshift bed at the end of Kyle's bed.
"Soo...." I said, trying to start some small talk, "You're in the Corps right?"
We finished making the bed as he looked up at me and smiled, "The USMC? You betcha! One of 'Uncle Sam's Misguided Children'."
I chuckled at him as I sat back on my own bed, Wes throwing his duffle on the cot and opening it.
"And uhh......Kyle mentioned that you were a Lance Corporal," I said, leaning back on my hands.
"Right again," he smiled back at me as he pulled out a towel and then what looked like a toiletry kit.
I think I gave him a funny look as I thought, 'So if he's a Lance Corporal then he had to be a least a few years older than me and Kyle.'
He must have noticed my face as he laughed under his breath to himself, "And before you ask..." my attention perked up at him, "I'm 21, be 22 in April."
"I-mghg.... I didn't say anything," trying to sound innocent.
He gave me a coy smile, "But you were thinkin' it."
All I could do was smile and shrug as innocently as possible. Just then I heard the running sound of foot steps racing up the stairs. Kyle appeared in the doorway, his hands gripping the door frames.
"Dad's here," he said beaming. I jumped off my bed as Kyle nodded for Wes to tag along as well.
I think it was a race down the stairs as we finally caught sight of our dad standing in the foyer talking to mom as everyone else came pouring into the dinning room. Dad looked cheerful, his light brown hair only starting to grey. It was cut moderately short, the only style I had ever seen him with. I guess he didn't like having to worry about his hair every other minute. He was tall, maybe about Logan's height, one trait neither Kyle nor I inherited. But being in his mid 50's, he was in great shape.
I'm guessing he had just gotten off work. He held his suit coat over one shoulder, not that he ever wore it, but I think it was just part of his business dress code. He had his sleeves unbuttoned and partially rolled up his forearms, his tie comfortably loose around his neck. It was like I remembered, me and Kyle coming home form school and then waiting for dad to come home.
"Dad," Me and Kyle seemed to yell out in unison at we finally reached the foot of the stairs.
Dad finally looked at us as did everyone else. He looked somewhat tired. His age was catching up with him and on his face, it showed. The only things still vibrant being his hazel, honey colored eyes.
"Kyle? Ethan?" he looked surprised as the instant happiness spread across his face, "My boys."
He held his arms out as both of rushed into his hug.
"I finally get to see both of you at the same time," he said softly to each of us as he let us go slowly. I was glad to see him as I held him tight. Kyle looked so happy I was sure he was on the verge of tears.
He looked at me and then Kyle, hugging us again, "Kyle.... I didn't know you were going to be here too."
"Me neither....but.... surprise..." all of us laughed as the three of us finally took notice of everyone else in the room. Dad on the other hand noticed a new face, Wes'.
"And who might this be?" dad said, folding his arms and grinning at Wes.
"Oh, Dad, this is Wes, one of my good friends from Pendleton," Kyle said looking at dad and then Wes.
Wes took the last few steps off the stairs, "Good to meet you Mr. Harrison..... Sir."
Dad chuckled at him, "Mr. reminds me that I'm getting old. 'Mike' will be just fine."
"Ok.... Mike," Wes looked at little scared saying it. Kyle looked at him, his expression telling him there was nothing to worry about.
"Ok," dad said clapping his hands, "Who's ready to eat?"
I usually don't eat to the point where I actually start to feel sick, but tonight happened to be one of those nights. Dad, Carey and Jesse had their hearts set on a steak dinner; a big, bloody, expensive steak dinner. Kyle, Wes and I ended up having steaks too. I mean you don't go to a steak house to eat a salad, unlike all the girls do. But at the end of the night, Kyle ended up the smart one; he saved himself some leftovers. I on the other hand, for some fucked up, inexplicable reason I had to eat everything on my plate.
Back at home, I opened the bathroom door and trudged out into the hallway. I didn't throw up. I just needed to splash some cold water on my face. I rubbed my eyes with my palms as I turned off the bathroom light. The house was a great deal quieter now, everyone gone except for me, Kyle and Wes.... and of course mom.
"Finally," heard as I turned and found Kyle leaning against the wall next to the bathroom door, his arms folded. He looked like he was already ready for bed; white t-shirt and boxers.
"All yours," I said gesturing him in as he walked past me and shut the door.
I walked back into our bedroom, the only light on being the desk lamp as I found Wes reclined in his cot in nothing but a pair of running shorts that said 'USMC' in big bold gold letters and his dog tags, his hands behind his head resting in his pillow. He was still awake. His eyes instantly shot in my direction as I walked past him and sat on my bed, taking off my shoes and then changing into my sleeping clothes, my typical white t-shirt and basketball shorts. I guess here at home it didn't really matter if I was half naked with someone, some other guy, other than Logan looking at me. I was home.
I heard his bed shuffle as I looked up to see him, still reclined but now resting on his elbows. I pulled one of my old t-shirts over my naked torso as his eyes wandered to my cell phone on the desk
"You uh.... got a phone call." He said smiling gently, clearing his throat and nodding as I lazily walked over to retrieve it. '1 new voicemail,' flashed at me. Pushing a few buttons I felt myself smile as realized that Logan just had to call me while I was in the bathroom.
Just then I heard, "Someone important?"
I felt myself jump, just a little as I noticed Kyle smiling there next to me. The fucker appeared out of nowhere. I had my cell phone clutched tightly in my left hand as I instantly stopped myself from punching him with my right. Wes seemed to be chuckling at the both of us as he reclined back into his cot, pulled his blanket over his chest, and closed his eyes.
I gritted my teeth at Kyle, "You know better than to fuckin' do that."
"Yeah," he said as moseyed back to his bed and pulled back the covers, "But it's still funny as hell to see you jump."
With my cell phone still in my hand, I scratched my head with the knuckle of my thumb, sneering at him, "whatever, just.... get you're ass in bed."
Kyle crawled under his covers, adjusting his pillow as he tried to get comfortable. Wes looked like he had already checked out, although he could just be pretending. Kyle made a few sleepy moans and tossed a little as I quietly stepped out of the room and into the hallway. I shut the door slowly as I looked at my cell phone again, the weak glow of it hardly filling the hall. I was hesitant to turn on the lights; didn't want mom to come wandering out of her room, asking me who I was calling so late.
After trying not to stumble down the stairs in the dark I walked into the family room, using my speed dial I called the first person on my list. I planted myself on the couch, my feet up as I lay back, listening to the Logan's cell phone ring on the other end. I chewed my thumb nail as I waited, chanting in my head, 'pick up.... pick up.'
I hope it wasn't too late for him.
The den was small, nothing over the top. Papers, books, encyclopedia open on his desk. Matt had his old desk top computer on the corner next to a lamp, that for its size was pretty bright. He had all his academic certificates and his degree framed along the back wall next to a 'girls in bikinis' calendar. My brother's so straight.
I laid there on Matt's ratty den couch, a few springs poking me in the back and ass as I tried to get comfortable. I wasn't gonna sleep here. Thank god. I had the soft sofa in the living room waiting for me. But for a late night call, the den was perfect. I was all ready for bed; an old red t-shirt with the sleeves chopped off and my new favorite pair of flannel sleeping pants.
I left a voicemail on Ethan's cell phone. I know it was late but with the day I had, I just wanted to hear his voice before it was over, even if it had to be his voicemail recording. I took a deep sigh, flinging one arm across my abs, as the other clutched my cell phone as it hung off the couch.
Did Matt, Holly, Cammy, Kurt..... Mika? Did they suspect anything? I wasn't entirely confident anymore that I pulled off 'normal' when Lynn and I came back from the supermarket. I remember her telling me to just relax before we walked into the house and then one more time before she went upstairs for bed. Easy for her to say, she wasn't the one coming out to her siblings. I wonder if they already had an idea. Well Kurt for sure didn't have a clue.
I was about to just call it quits, laying here on Matt's shitty couch, waiting for my phone to ring, when I felt it buzz and vibrate in my fist. With my luck it was probably my mom. I held my phone in front of my face and stared at the name for a few seconds while I waited for the smile to fully form across my lips. I opened up my phone and brought it to my ear.
"I was wondering when you were gonna call back," I said as I relaxed back into the couch, placing my free arm behind my head, forgetting completely about the discomfort.
I listened to Ethan laugh softly and then finally breathe, his breath distorted and electronic over the phone, but still his.
"Your fault for calling so late," I could hear the smile in his voice.
I laughed as I tried to think of something smart to say, but instead hearing myself hold my breath, biting my lip and then saying, "Ethan?"
"Yeah?" he answered quietly.
"Before something happens..... I'm mean before you... hang up.....or... have to go."
I closed my eyes and imagined him smiling at me, nodding, his face asking me if something was wrong.
"I-I.... I miss you," I muttered quietly.
There was a little pause.
"Well I ah.... miss you too, if you can believe it?" Ethan's voice happy again.
"You? Mr. Harrison? Miss me?" I replied, obviously joking.
"Course I do. You're my lumberjack, remember?"
I relaxed back into the couch, forgetting everything awkward that happened today, "Well, feels good to hear you say it."
It was quiet on both ends for a few seconds. I just wanted to savor the feeling.
"So where are you at?" Ethan finally asked.
I sighed, taking another look at my surroundings, "I'm ahh, at my brother, Matt's place..... In his den to be exact. How about you?"
He laughed and then said, "Sprawled out on the family room sofa at my mom's house. Hey... weren't you supposed to be with your dad this weekend?"
I made a sour face, "Yeah, but uhh.... he flaked on me."
"I'm sorry babe," he said, apologizing like it was his fault. It wasn't, but he did make me feel better.
"Thanks.... I ahh.... just wish you were here....." I let my voice go solemn as I caressed the narrow sliver of couch next to me, looking at it as if it were him, "...next to me....on this old shitty couch in my brother's den."
I listened to him take a deep breath and then sigh, "..... and if I were?" he asked soflty, his voice deepening.
I let the corner of my parted lips perk up, "I'd have you pulled close to me, my arm around you, my palm on your lower back."
I licked my lips as I continued, "I'd want to feel your breath on my neck, my fingers gently sliding into those basketball shorts you always wear to bed."
I listened to his soft laughter. "And...?" his voice going raspy and deep.
I shut my eyes, stretching slightly, my arm back behind my head, "Then I'd suck on your neck, licking it as my hand slips farther into your shorts..... feeling those perfect, firm ass cheeks of yours in the palm of my hand."
I heard him groan across the phone as I noticed that I was getting a little excited, tenting my shorts as I lay across Matt's couch. The fucking thing would be impossible to hide if anyone walked in on me.
Fuck, let 'em walk in. I was gonna have fun with my man. I was a good boy all day so I deserved a little R&R.
I took a deep breath, closing my eyes, imaging his body so close to mine. If only.
I finally heard Ethan chuckle into the phone, "you jocks are such perves....but.... can't let you have all the fun."
I smiled devilishly as I bit my lip, wondering what he had in store for me..... wondering and thickening in my pants.
I closed my eyes, drifting away from here, drifting away from the family room couch. I grinned as I imagined me and Logan back at his dorm room, ready for bed, lying next to each other, enjoying the other's embrace. I could smell him around me, his hot breath and barbed beard caressing across my sensitive skin. His bruising body pressed tightly against mine, his raging hard on grinding itself against mine. His meaty hands feeling under my shirt, talented as they brushed my back and then expertly inserted themselves into the back of my shorts; cupping, groping, squeezing. There was no place I'd rather be.
Listening to Logan's deepening breaths over the phone only made the fantasy that much more potent.
I moaned softly into the phone arching my back as I added, "I'd want to kiss you, take a fist full of hair and pull you into it. Pull you as I feel down you chest, your abs. Take my time as I insert my fingers and then my hand into to front of those lumberjack pants you were to bed."
I heard a soft chortle from him as I continued, feeling up my own body, feeling my abs and chest through the thin cotton of my t-shirt. "I bet you'd be hard...."
"ACHING hard," Logan added.
"....and leaking," I continued as Logan said, "Mm-hmm."
"Your boxers soaked in the front as wrapped my fingers around you. Listening to you moan into my mouth as I took my first stoke."
I listened to Logan take a long exhale. I loved doing that to him, making him relax but keeping him excited.
Logan spoke up this time, "Before you make me cream my pants I'd have you rolled over.... on your stomach. Me hovering over you, smelling your hair as I kiss the back of your neck, then your shoulders, then your spine...."
I could feel it, his soft lips brushing against me. God I wanted him.... I wanted him here with me so I could look into those icy blue eyes and tell him how much I wanted him, how much I missed him, how much I loved him. His words were getting to me. My cock defiantly liked hearing them, protruding and thickening at the front of my shorts.
He continued, "... I'd kiss my way to the small of your back, the elastic band of your shorts rubbing against my chin. I'd slowly pull them off, kissing every newly exposed inch of skin, gently licking between those perfect cheeks."
"And when my shorts are finally around my knees?" I asked, completely fucking turned on, my hand in my shirt as it bunched above my abs, pinching my own nipple and moaning softly.
I heard him sigh, prolonged and choppy "...I'd pry you apart for me, bring my index finger to my lips, suck on it.... wet it. Then rub it against your hole, circling it, working up my appetite."
God damn it! I rubbed my stiffened cock through the mesh of my shorts, feeling a wet spot form as I opened my mouth, taking deep breaths as I imagined everything he fed me.
"Then.... after I can't take it any longer, I'd squeeze each muscular ass cheek in each hand, holding you open as I took long, leisure swipes up your crack.... tasting you, and loving every minute of it."
I could almost hear him licking, smacking his lips over the phone. I rubbed my cock with the palm of my hand, feeling its length through my shorts. Damn him, damn that boyfriend of mine.
"Then I'd slowly flick my tongue, gently wiggle into that fuckin' delicious hole of yours.... listen to you chant my name, your breath deep and heavy as I make you squirm, putty in my hands, giving you the best rim job of your life."
"Well, isn't sex without that now is it?" I added, grinning wickedly as I said it I
"What would you moan Ethan?" he asked, his voice deep and virile, "What would you ask me to do?"
I lay there, picturing everything in my mind, my eyes shut as I listened to his breath, labored and excited over the phone. I know what a wanted, this was a fanstay.... so, anything was possible.
"I'd tell you to....."
"Yeah....?" he asked, anticipation dripping off the word.
"I'd tell you..... to fuck me," I replied, almost a whisper as I listened to his breath come to a halt and then I heard it...... I heard him smile.
"...fuck me..." Did he really want me to? I held my breath for a split second and then realized, if we can't at this moment in our relationship, then we sure as fuck can in our phone sex fantasies. I think my smile was along the lines of heated and wicked. I looked down at my groin, pulling the elastic of my sleeping pants and boxers up, the head of my cock instantly pocking out, happy to finally be released from its confines. A sticky, clear mess dribbled from the head and onto my abs. I pulled my pants and boxers off my cock, tucking the waistbands under my balls. I gave myself a long, well deserved stroke.
I shut my eyes again, letting my head fall back on the arm rest of the couch, Ethan on the other end waiting for my response.
"I want to fuck you Ethan.... I want to fuck you so fuckin' badly," I groaned as I took another long stroke down my cock, smearing my cock snot over the head and just onto the shaft.
"Then fuck me Logan..... fuck me like you always imagined," he said, his words more breath than speech.
"I'd....I-...." I felt as if my voice was running away from me, I swallowed hard, "I'd turn you around, I'd lie on my back.... and..... and I'd pull you on top of me."
I took another hard stroke up my cock, the head was getting sensitive, my hand and fingers slicked through.
"I want to look at you Ethan, I want to see your face as you straddle me, taking every inch of me.... slowly entering you, making you feel good, making you feel loved."
I took a deep, choppy breath. I listened to Ethan's soft groans on the other end, barely audible but driving me crazy.
"Then I'd bottom out," Ethan added, the lust in his voice on fire, "I'd feel you lodged deep inside me. A place that'd be just for you.... You'd look at me, and hold it still, letting me get used to your size and girth.... then..... I'd slowly grind my hips into your groin, feel my balls brush against your abs.... God Logan, I know you'd feel so good...."
I felt my heart jump. Even through the pain of our last attempt, he wanted me. I clenched my eyes shut, picturing me and Ethan alone in a bed, me on my back Ethan straddling my hips, his hands on my chest, my cock buried to hilt up his perfect, gorgeous ass. He was tight, no doubt about it. I pictured his face, love and lust braided together in his coffee eyes. My left hand holding his waist as the other scanned his body, feeling every muscle in his body flex and tense under my touch. His hand on my chest, gripping my pec. His other hand over my mouth as I bit the flesh between his thumb and index fingers. My eyes spelling it out for him, "I love you."
"Tell me you'd love it," I asked, my hand now stroking my cock at a medium pace, the sound of slick wetness softly filling the room. "Tell me Ethan...." I almost begged.
I heard him breath heavily for a few moments and then, "....I-I'd want it harder, deeper..... I'd bent down, your hands gripping my ass cheeks, my hands gripping your shoulders and neck....... I'd be kissing you as you gently fucked me, I wait for you to open your eyes.... then I'd say it... "I love it..... and I love you."
That was it. I grunted into the phone, telling my throat to off any other noise that would wake anyone else in the house. I bit my lower lip as I felt the euphoria churn in my balls as my limbs began to go numb. 'Fuck....fuck,' I thought as the pleasure tore through my cock and exploded out the head and into my cupped hand. As lost in my orgasm as I was, I was careful not to get anything on the couch, as shitty as it was anyway. I listened to my breath slow as I ruefully climbed down from my high.
Was this really happening? I shook my head from side to side, my eyes sealed shut as only tiny moans escaped my lips. I imagined it. I imagined Logan fucking me.... making love to me.... and I loved every minute of it. Could it be as wonderful as in our dream? Logan's chopped and ragged breaths brought me back to the present. He was groaning. I had my hand in my shorts, the elastic stretched across my forearm as I stroked my aggravated tool. The head was leaking a mess into my boxer-briefs and now onto my fingers.
It was intense and quick, the feeling of electricity as it raced through my veins. Shocking my fingers and toes I realized that I was there. I clenched my teeth, still breathing through my mouth as I let the energy drain from my body and shoot out into my underwear. The waves of fireworks pulsing though my cock, ripping my mind in half behind closed eyes. I felt my breathing slow and then my heart. I opened my eyes, wishing that I'd see Logan looking back at me; only the dark, empty room.
I finally felt the cold as it crept up the sofa and over my body. I rubbed my free arm over my shoulder as I said, "Logan?"
"....yeah?" he answered.
I looked at the room around me. It was time to cuddle, as cheesy as it sounded, it was true. It was about now that I was missing Logan's arms around me more than ever, "I know I already said it but..... I miss you."
I heard him sigh, "Not as much as I miss you..."
That made me smile.
"You and I better go clean up," his voice a small laugh as he said it.
"So you know that I...." I said smiling guiltily.
"Yeah I know you came.... I could hear it," he explained.
"yeah well, you don't do a good job hiding it either," I remarked.
He laughed, caught red handed, or should I say white handed.
"Better go wash up before bed," I said, lifting up the waistband of my shorts and briefs, knowing there was a white mess to clean up before I called it a night.
"Ok then, you gonna dream about me?" his voice childishly happy again, "Like I always dream about you?"
"Uhhh...." I held him on edge, smiling to myself, "it's kinda hard not to."
He chuckled, "Well, good night prince charming."
I laughed on an exhale at him, "Good night Mr. Wonderful."
"Ok then..... Love you.... Bye," he said soflty.
"Love you just as much.... night..." I said, the sadness in my voice almost pitiful.
I closed my cell phone, hanging up. I held it to my lips as I just laid there for a few seconds, smiling like an idiot.
I waited for Ethan to hang up before I shut my phone, hanging up myself. I let my eyes wander, looking at all the slightly dusty books and folders as I took a deep breath and smiled, biting my lip. Ethan missed me too. I guess distance does make the heart grow fonder, fuckin' Hallmark card.
I awoke the next morning to the strong smell of brewing coffee and the sound of people in the kitchen; pots clanking and knives chopping. I was still tired. I buried my face back into the pillow and yawned. And I guess just by instinct I reached and grabbed at nothing but air next to me. Slightly worried I looked up to realize that I wasn't at Ethan's apartment or even my dorm room. I shook my head and focused in on my surroundings. That's right..... I'm at Matt and Holly's. I slowly sat up, then almost slamming my bare feet on the living room floor. I yawned again and stretched, rubbing my forehead and bangs. The house was surprisingly warm. I seemed like the Matt and Holly had decided to leave the heater on all night.
"Finally up?" Holly asked, smiling as she peered her head around the kitchen corner. She was all dressed, hair in a pony tail and everything. I nodded in agreement as I closed my eyes, stretching as I smiled back at her.
"What time is it?" I asked, still a bit groggy as I looked around the living room for a clock.
"7:30," Matt said as he came jogging down the stairs, completely dressed as well, t-shirt and jeans as he fastened his watch around his wrist, "So you better get in the shower kiddo."
I grunted at him as I slowly got up off the couch.
"Just leave the blankets and stuff there," Matt said to me as he walked over to Holly, still mixing something in a bowl.
"Morning honey," Matt said as he planted a modest kiss on his wife's lips. I put my thumbs in the waistband of my sleeping pants and looked at the floor, trying not to spoil their moment. I bit my bottom lip as I shuffled my feet. It fuckin' sucked waking up alone. Noticing Matt and Holly; I wanted my own morning kiss.
Matt then turned his attention back to me, "Kenny, you wanna get in the shower before Kurt and Mika get back."
"They went out? So early?" I asked as I slowly marched towards the stairs.
"Yeah," he said folding his arms with a lovingly stern face, "There's a towel in the bathroom waitin' for ya," he said as I walked up the stairs. I looked behind me and watched Matt turn back around again to Holly.
"Now where was I?" I heard him say as he disappeared into the kitchen followed my Holly's laughter.
Did they have any clue how hard they were making things for me? Everything they did together reminded me that I didn't have Ethan here to kiss, hold or even look at. I felt my heart shrink as I began to think about how I missed him. This was supposed to be a holiday.
I got to the top of the stairs and opened the bathroom door. Looks like Holly did a little bit of redecorating, probably after she had Matt re-tile the floor. I pulled off my red shirt and placed it on the toilet seat. After mussing my hair, I looked at myself in the mirror as I rubbed my jaw, feeling the sharp hairs scrap my callused fingers. No more football practice. No more having to shave everyday. I smiled at my reflection. I guess I could let my beard grow for a few days before I chop it off, although it did seem to add 5 years to my appearance.
I set the water to warm. Finally pulling off my flannel pants and boxers I stepped under the warm spray. I let the water wash down my face as I closed my eyes. In the shower.... alone. I took a deep sigh. I guess right about now would be a good time to stop moping. Until my family gets to know the real me, I can't do anything about it.
Now fully clean I turned off the water and grabbed the fresh navy blue towel that Matt had set out for me. Still dripping I stepped out of the tub. After drying myself off I wrapped the large towel around my waist. I stood still and sighed to myself letting my shoulders slump. My bag is still in the den. I opened the bathroom door; no one in the hall. Still in only a towel I jogged down the stairs. I walked into the den and found that my bag was gone. I took a few brief looks around the room.
"Matt.... Holly?" I was almost yelling.
Matt soon appeared in the doorway, his hands on the frame and his eye brows raised, "Yeah?"
Still searching I asked, "You seen my bag? I left it right here last night."
I looked over at him to see him smile, "Oh... uh... Cammy's doing laundry. I'd ask her about it."
Still smirking he turned around and walked back towards the kitchen. I grumbled to myself, grabbing at the towel and tightening it around my waist as I followed Matt into the kitchen. The aroma of warm cinnamon floated the air. Smells like Holly was baking some of her famous cinnamon rolls. She looked busy with Lynn there helping her. Matt leaned against the counter and picked up his mug of fresh coffee.
I took my first step into the kitchen, my bare feet making a soft slapping sound against the hard floor. The girls looked up at me. Holly gave me a small smile as Lynn's smirk seemed to linger. I gave her a modest smile in return and nodded at her as I quickly walked past everyone into the laundry room. I think I had a good idea of what Matt and Holly were thinking.
I heard the washer and drying going simultaneously, the room smelling like fabric softener. Cammy was there, her back to me as she folded clothes on top of the dryer.
"Hey," I said, making her turn around, "Did you by any chance take my duffle from the den?"
It felt a little old asking. Weird because even though she was my baby sis, I never walked around half naked in front of her before. She laughed and pointed at my bag in the corner, on top of a basket of dirty towels.
"Sorry Kenny, just thought I'd help out by doing the laundry," she smiled as she continued folding one of Matt's work shirts, "But you only had the one dirty set of clothes that you wore yesterday."
I picked up my duffle bag and looked inside. Nestled inside were yesterday's clothes, clean and folded.
"Thanks Cammy," I said as I was about to turn around and head back into the kitchen.
"Hey Kenny," I stopped and looked back at her, "I know how you can thank me."
The look on her face was almost devious. Great, I should have known she was gonna ask for something in return. I let one corner of my lips curl, "Cammy, you know I'm broke, I...."
"Hey, I'm not asking for money," she said, cutting me off.
I felt the confusion form across my face, "Then...?"
I watched her turn around and pull something from under a pile of folded shirts on the dryer. She held it behind her back as she turned back around to face me, "I know I haven't asked you for anything for Christmas yet."
I was about to say something.
"AND I know you're a poor starving college student," she continued, her smile getting bigger.
Why did I have the feeling like I wasn't gonna like this? She took a small step forward, the look on my face dying to know what she was thinking. I watched as she slowly revealed a familiar square Polaroid picture, MY Polaroid picture. I felt my eyes widen and my jaw hang open.... how did she? In my pocket.... the jeans I wore yesterday.
She held the picture in front of me, grinning, "Can you gift wrap him for me?"
Instinctively, I did the first thing that came to mind. I quickly snatched the picture from her fingers, "NO!"
I was serious but I think she took it as mock anger. I looked down at the picture. It looked like it hadn't been washed. I looked back up at Cammy, probably to apologize for the jealous burst. I guess even with my own sibling, when it came to Ethan.... I was... possessive. Cammy looked like nothing had happened at all. She walked up to me and looked down at the picture in my hand.
"So who is he?" she asked, happily interested.
"His name's Ethan," I said shaking my head slightly and then stuffing it back into my duffle bag.
"He's CUTE!" she said as she smirked at me and then turned around to finish with the laundry. The look she gave me..... it was almost.... naughty or.... shameful. If she had any ideas, she sure was making herself hard to read.
"HEY!" Kyle all but screamed in my ear as I literally jumped out of bed, throwing my blanket aside as I sat up quickly, my pillow clutched in my arms rather than under my head.
"What the hell Kyle?" I grumbled as I realized there was no emergency. I rubbed one of my eyes with my knuckles.
"Get up, we're gonna go for a run," Kyle said smiling as he sat back on his bed and pulled a pair of cross trainers out of his bag.
"It's Thanksgiving...." I protested, grabbing at my blanket and covering my head with it as fell back into bed.
I listened to Kyle's half-assed laugh from under my covers, "Fine, stay here and YOU can help mom in the kitchen."
I scoffed from under my covers. Fuck..... Stay here and maybe get 30 more minutes of sleep or go running on my Thanksgiving break? I could already hear Steve in my head ordering me to get up and run.
I slowly sat up, my blanket falling off my head. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes as I replied, "Ok, I'm up."
I was dressed in record time; my favorite pair of red and white basketball shorts, my skateboarding shoes and the white t-shirt I had just slept in. I didn't have time to even brush my teeth. I looked at myself in the full length mirror we had in the room. I rubbed my nose and cringed at the reflection. Won't I look just great running next to two guys in the military.
I jogged downstairs and found that Avery and Jesse were already here. They were running around the kitchen with mom, like they didn't have all day to prepare for dinner. Mom was rinsing off some veggies in the sink when she looked up at me.
"Ethan, get ready. Morrigan and Bret will be here any minute."
I opened the fridge and pulled out a small bottle of water, "Sorry mom, gotta run," I said, throwing a cheesy smile across my face.
With that I jogged out of the kitchen and out the front door. Kyle and Wes were there on porch, both in running shorts and both in grey pull-over sweatshirt. Wes looked ready to run while Kyle looked like he was finishing up on his stretches. As I closed the door behind me the both of them looked up, quizzical expressions dropping over their faces.
"You gonna wear that?" Kyle asked as he wadded up my sweatshirt and threw it at me.
I caught it as it flew at my face. "Yeah," I said as I put it on, pulling it over my shoulders and finally zipping it up, "The government don't pay for my workout clothes."
Kyle gave me a sour look. Wes looked down, kicking at the concrete of the driveway and laughing to himself.
"At least someone thinks I'm funny," I said grinning at the both of them
The run was awesome. 3 miles seemed to have done it for me and Kyle. I mean we still had to run home. But Wes looked like he still had a few more miles in him. It was a good thing Kyle grabbed my coat. Even though it was gonna get hot by mid morning it was still a little bit chilly.
We had run to a park not far form where we lived, still in the same suburb. As our running ground to a halt, Kyle and I found ourselves a vacant park bench, the both of us sweating and slightly out of breath. Wes on the other hand was a few yards away on the grass doing push-ups like this were still boot camp. The park was a little busier than I had expected it to be so early in the morning. I guess people wanted to get a head start on loosing all those extra holiday pounds, I guess even before the eating actually started.
As I sat there letting my bare calves chill in the early morning air I let my mind slowly drift into my happiest thought. I wonder what Logan was doing? Was he thinking about me? I heard myself sigh. It felt almost alien, waking up in a bed all alone. I guess I had gotten so used to holding Logan that I had to hold my own pillow just so I could fall asleep. As I thought about it, if I could just kiss him I think I'd be fine until I got back to Tucson.
My daydream was interrupted by Kyle's amused snicker. I shook my head slightly and looked over to see what was so funny. I smirked as I noticed that Wes had caught the attention of a couple of girls jogging by. He just smiled modestly and continued with his crunches, not paying them much more attention.
"Wasting their time," Kyle seemed to say to himself.
I slowly turned my head to look at him. Kyle was tying his shoelaces. I gave him a funny look.
"Wasting their time?" I asked.
Kyle laughed under his breath at my question, shaking his head at me.
"Look for yourself," he said, nodding in Wes' direction.
I think my eyes got wide as I noticed that a guy had stopped running and was now talking with Wes. Wes was still seated on the grass. It looked like he was resting from his crunches, his arms on his knees as he looked up at the young jogger, smiling and occasionally nodding.
I looked back at Kyle, not sure at what I was looking at.
"Uh...." was all that seemed to have come out of my mouth, and then, "..Nooo... Wes?"
Kyle just shrugged, "I didn't say anything."
I scratched the top of my head, my face confused as I looked back at Wes and his 'new friend,' still talking and trading smiles. Wes, gay? Well I knew that I had shit for gay-dar. I really didn't understand why it surprised me, maybe it was because he was a marine. I mean, Logan and I were nothing like the gay guys I heard about and saw on TV. Our wrists were way too strong to ever do anything close to a limp. We didn't care too much about the clothes we wore and we were both retards when it came to wine. I guess I'd come to the conclusion that we were just guys..... guys that happen to love each other.
Kyle broke the silence, "So what's been up with Grant and Jeff? I hear they might come out to San Diego for school?"
I sat back into the bench and shoved my hands in the pockets of my sweatshirt, "I dunno about those two." I looked at Kyle, "They might."
"Well, if they do, I gotta move off base and get a place for us then," Kyle said sitting back as well, matching my posture. The sun was coming up, peaking over the mountain tops. I listened to Kyle take a deep breath. Something was on his mind. We're twins, I know this shit.
"So who called you last night?" Kyle asked casually as we both squinted, the morning sun in our vision.
"Just someone," I replied, nonchalantly. I caught myself looking down. Please, please don't push this Kyle.
"Come on.... just someone?" Kyle said, jokingly elbowing me in the side.
God damn guilt. I've never hidden anything from Kyle. And I believe that he's never hidden anything from me. We're twins for god's sake. We read each other like open books. If the phone call really was nothing he would have dropped it but.... it was something, something of big importance, at least to me. I felt my mind wane as it told me, you need some fresh air. I was outside. This was as fresh as it was going to get. I wanted to tell Kyle. I really did, but gut instinct told me to wait, wait a little bit longer.
I was about to pull an answer out of my ass when Kyle and I noticed that Wes was finally alone and slowly jogging towards us, his dog tags clinking under his t-shirt as he stopped in front of us.
"So..." Kyle asked, "How'd your little date go?"
Wes shot us both glares as we chuckled at him. He shrugged it off, "Nothing, a little conversation never hurt anyone."
"Yeah, I'm sure he just wanted to talk," Kyle said snidely as he got up off the bench.
I don't think Kyle noticed, but for a split second I could have sworn Wes looked somewhat hurt by Kyle's remark. Wes did a near perfect job of wiping the expression off his face along with the forming sweat drops on his brow.
"So we ready to run back?" Wes said, the enthusiasm in his voice almost humorous as he clapped his hands once.
We were about a mile away from the house when we decided that maybe it was time for a cool down. The sun was fully out, and getting hotter by the minute. As our running fell to a slow walk I quickly unzipped my sweatshirt, letting the cool air dry the front of my soaked t-shirt. I closed my eyes as I slowly pulled it off my shoulders and threw it around my neck.
"So, Wes," I asked, lightly panting, "You play any sports?"
Wes put his hands on his hips, smiling at the sidewalk and then at me, "I uh... I play hockey."
He smiled as he nodded his head. He had to be from some farm in 'the middle of nowhere,' Kansas. He had the farm boy look pegged, not to mention a hint of country drawl in his voice.
"He's pretty good," Kyle said before yanking his pull-over off his head.
I watched and chucked as Kyle's shirt came half way off as well, bunching under his pecs and shoulder blades, his dogs tags almost hanging out as well. I guess the Navy really does care if you look good in swimming trunks. They must care a lot. As Kyle finally pulled his sweatshirt off his head I looked over at Wes. My smirk fell off my face as I watched Wes' smile faded as well, leaving his mouth slightly open as he stared at my brother's half naked torso. Fuck, Kyle was right.... The way Wes was looking at him. That was the same look Logan gave me. The deep emerald color of Wes' eyes didn't look clouded with lust or envy. They looked almost sad. I wonder.
"Aren't-cha Wes?" Kyle asked as he threw his sweatshirt over his shoulder a nudged Wes making him uneasily laugh. There was something there. And I was dead sure Kyle had no idea.
Thanksgiving dinner was awesome. It was a little bit later than we usually had it but it did nothing to wane my appetite. Holly had made a mean hickory honey ham. Cammy made the yams almost every year, and every year they got a little bit better. Mika and Lynn made us an awesome oriental side dish. I felt a little bad not remembering the name, but it was delicious just the same. Everything else on the table Matt and Kurt helped prepare, with Holly and Mika doing all of the cooking. I offered to help but in the end no one wanted to trust me in the kitchen.
It was a little awkward at fist, having dinner without mom or dad. But after all that had happened, Matt and Holly seemed to be filling the parental role just nicely. Matt sat on the end of the table next to me, Holly next to him. Kurt and Mika sat across and Lynn sat next to me with Cammy on the other end; one happy family.... sort of. As everyone dished out the chatting slowly grew. We all listened to Matt whine about his white color job and Holly telling Mika all about joining the "Rian Clan." Cammy told us about life with Mom's new husband, Richard, while Kurt announced that he and Mika were finally graduating from the university this coming spring. It felt good to laugh and enjoy a home cooked meal with everyone close to me.... well almost everyone.
The evening wore on as the stories turned to Cammy telling us all about how she was a woman unlucky in love. Kurt looked up from his dinner plate and grinned at me, "So Kenny, any idea when we're gonna get a new sister-in-law?" he asked taking a bite of broccoli.
My chewing slowed as I though to myself, 'yeah about that.' But before I could answer, Mika stepped in, "Kurt....." she said, disappointment all over her face.
Holly took another spoonful of mashed potatoed, "Just leave Kenny alone about it," she said pointing at Kurt with her fork.
I opened my mouth, about to say something in my defense when Matt added, "It'll happen when it happens, right Kenny?" he said looking straight at me. I didn't know what to say. I just stared at him totally prepared to say something else.
"He just broke up with Alison, give him some time," I heard Cammy add from the other end of the table.
"I know, I understand. It's not like romance happens over night," Kurt said in his defense, Mika shaking her head at him.
Does anyone want to know what I think? I sat back in my chair and listened to them exchange opinions.
"Kenny, you just ignore your brother....." Holly told me, barely paying attention to me.
It's my love life.... why can't I get a word in? I looked over at Lynn as she looked back at me, her hands folded in front of her, her arms and elbows on the table, her countenance telling me she felt for me. I looked down back at my Thanksgiving dinner plate, at my half eaten food going cold, at Holly's jell-o salad melting into my mashed potatoes. I poked at it with my fork, sighing to myself as I listened to Kurt and Matt argue over when it was supposed to be MY time to fall back into the dating pool. Why.... why can't they all just leave it alone?
"I'm just saying...." Kurt started.
I didn't let him finish.
"Will you guys just.....?" I asked, dropping my fork on the table as it clattered next to my plate.
Without looking up from my plate, and without thinking it through I closed my eyes and said, "I'm gay....."
I just said it. I knew if I thought any more about it all the courage I had desperately tried to salvage would have slipped through my fingers. I held my eyes shut, almost clenching them as everyone fell silent. The seconds wore on like minutes; I could almost hear my own heart beat as I felt the fear slowly begin to grind in my chest. I agued with myself, 'Was that the smartest thing to do? Logan.... was now really the best time? I know you want it out of the way.....but......'
The sound of a scooting chair forced me to open my eyes, my dinner plate still in front of me. I looked up just in time to see Kurt get up out of his seat, the napkin on his lap falling to the floor next to his feet. He paid it no attention as he took his first step towards the door. Mika looked too scared to touch him as his face showed no sign of any emotion. He looked cold, distant..... vacant. Mika held her hand out slightly as if she were trying to think of something to say to make him stay. She didn't say anything.
I listened to Kurt's heavy footsteps march away and then finally hearing the front door open and then slam shut. I looked back down at my food and sighed, my hands lethally gripping my knees under the table. I felt like crying but..... couldn't seem to will myself to do it. Ethan.....
"Kenny...?" I heard Holly ask softly.
My eyes didn't feel teary but I knew for sure they had to be red. I looked up at her, trying to smile at me as she held on to Matt's hand. The both of them stared at me. They didn't look mad but.... they didn't seem all that happy either.
I took another deep breath, pulling the napkin from my lap I threw in onto my plate. I scooted my chair out so I could stand.
"If you don't want me here that's fine..... I can...." I said as I got up.
"NO!" Matt and Holly said almost simultaneously, Holly holding out her hand, signaling me to stay and Matt almost getting out his chair.
"Kenny...." Matt said, his voice calm and sincere, "Sit down.... Please?"
I was already turned around, my back to them. It was easy; with no trouble at all I could grab my bag, call a cab and go back to Tucson. But instead I turned back around, slowly. I looked at Matt there, frowning like he was on the verge of tears. I looked at Holly and finally noticed her lightly sobbing. It felt awful, seeing them like that. It made me feel even worse realizing that I was one that was doing it to them.
I took a step towards the table, "Holly.... Matt..... don't..." I said, desperately to find some words that would comfort them.
I fell back into my chair as I looked back down at my lap, "I'm sorry....." I said quietly.
I listened to chairs dragging along the hard floor and then foot steps slowly walking around the table. My eyes stayed fixed on my lap as I finally felt Holly's warm arms wrap around me as she pulled my head into her chest. I felt her cheek on the top of my head as I felt her hand caress my temple and across my ear. I felt Matt's strong yet gentle hand on my shoulder.
Reluctantly I looked up at Holly, the light behind her making her dark hair glow. She smiled back at me. "Don't be sorry," she said, brushing her soft fingers over my face, "Never be sorry for who you are."
"Straight or.... uhhmmm...... gay," I looked over at Matt to see him smile nervously, clearing his throat, "You're still my little brother.... still love ya just the same."
Holly finally let me go only to let Cammy come rush over and take her spot, kneeling next to my chair and holding me like some dying pet. She buried her face in my chest as I stroked her hair.
"Kenny....?" She said, finally looking at me. She'd been crying. "It's gonna take a hell of a lot more than you being gay to make me hate you."
I smiled softly as I watched her gently laugh through her tears, wiping them away with her open palms.
She finally let me go and stood next to Holly. Both of them teary eyes as Cammy held onto Holly like her mother. I guess I wasn't the only one who thought of her that way. Matt's smile slowly fell off his face, "So you sure about this? Uh... I mean.... did you think it through...?"
I rubbed my face in my left palm, "Yeah, I'm sure," I said through my fingers.
"Ok then," he said as ran his thick fingers through my hair. I looked back up at him. I averted his eyes as he opened his mouth but nothing coming out.
I thought for a second and then said, "I know I'm not dad Kenny, but I'm gonna worry about you."
"Why?" I asked, just as worried and little scared by his comment.
"Being gay ain't gonna make life any easier," his fingers still in my hair.
I looked back down into my lap, "I know, but.... living a lie is probably worse."
I know I could pull off straight. But.... I didn't want to. I didn't want to at all. My heart belonged to someone. And I wasn't gonna lie to myself about it. I finally felt like crying. Why? Why can't he be here? Why can't I just hold onto him until it passed? Love isn't supposed to hurt, but when he's hundreds of miles away, that pain can be unbearable. With my self control gone, I felt my bottom lip tremble as the tears began to well up, my vision going blurry.
Matt finally got down on one knee and held me. He held me like dad always did as I softly sobbed into his chest, my tears dampening his shirt as I clutched him tightly. I couldn't ask for a better big brother.
"Hey, you feelin' ok?" he asked softly, making me look at him.
"Yeah," I said, wiping my eyes and smiling.
"I guess someone should go see if Kurt's alright," Mika said. The first thing she said since my little announcement. Mika looked at me, her expression still soft.
She was about to get up out of her seat when I asked, wiping my eyes again, "Is it ok if go talk to him first?"
I slowly opened the door, the icy Colorado air nipped at my face and arms; it was dark and it was snowing. Kurt was there on the porch, sitting under the light and staring out at the street. I'm sure he heard me walk up behind him, but he didn't do anything. The snow had lightly collected on his hair and shoulders. He didn't have his coat either, only a thin green t-shirt and jeans. I took the few meager steps next to him and sat down, looking at the street as well; empty and cold.
"You know?" he said, his voice solemn as he looked down at the snow covered concrete between his feet, "My... uhh... my best friend in High School turned out to be gay too."
I felt his words slap me as I looked at him, a bit shocked but realized that he had something else to tell me, something deeper. I watched as his breath practically froze in the ice cold air.
"He uhh....." Kurt cleared his throat, "He told me he was a homo and I punched him." He closed his eyes again, dropping his head, "I remember that his nose was bleeding. He looked at me like he wanted to trust me and I......I-I told to get the fuck out of my sight and...... I told him I never wanted to see him again. He didn't say anything, he just... walked away."
I remember. Joey....... he and Kurt were inseparable, all through grade school and for most of high school. And then one afternoon Joey just stopped coming over. I never asked him what happened, my mom did, but I'm sure Kurt would have lied to me like did to mom and told me something else.
Kurt looked distraught, opening his eyes and looking back out at the street. He finally turned and looked at me, his face sad and angry. "I was an asshole Kenny."
He turned his attention from me, looking at his feet, "What I did was wrong.... Joey should have been able to trust me and I should have just accepted the fact that he was still Joey. He was still my best friend."
Kurt turned; his arms came out around me as he pulled me into a hug. It was tight and warm, the snow on his shirt, melting under my palms. I felt his chest lightly sob against mine, "Just know that I'm not gonna disappoint you. I'm tired of disappointing people..... Mom, dad,..." he laughed through his sadness, "...Matt."
He tried controlling his tears, wiping them off his cheeks before they froze, "I love you Kenny," I smiled as he said it, "and.... I'm gonna try to accept this."
I gave him a confused but saddened look. Accept?
Upon looking at me Kurt closed his eyes and shook his head, "I'm not perfect Kenny," he said smiling behind his frown, "Just give me some time."
"I know," I said as I let him out of my hug, "I just wanted you all to know the real me, I didn't plan on.... hurting any of you."
I sighed, "But then Lynn......a-and then Alison at the supermarket....." I let my sentence trail off into nothing.
"I can't apologize about Alison," Kurt said, making me look at him, "But I guess trying to push you and Lynn together was mostly my fault."
"It's ok," I said, weakly smiling at him, "I guess I should've said something earlier."
Kurt nodded in agreement, finally smiling. The snow getting a lot heavier now as it stuck to almost everything. Kurt reached out and brushed the snow off of my head. I let out a slight chortle as I finally noticed how cold it had gotten; and me and Kurt without our coats.
"Come on Kenny." Kurt said as he got to his feet, "Let's get back inside before Matt eats all the dessert."
Feeling a whole lot better I got to my feet also, brushing the powdery snow from my shoulders as I turned around and followed Kurt inside.
Everyone was still at the table. The all looked up at us as I followed Kurt into the dinning room.
"I'm sorry everyone...." Kurt said, hanging his head, his hands in his pockets. I reached out and brought my arm around Kurt's shoulder.
"Come on. Sit back down." Matt said, smiling at him. Kurt walked around Matt, clasping his shoulder and then touching Holly's. Kurt was still our brother, but he was still a guest in their house. He finally approached Mika. She got up out of her seat and hugged him. "I'm gonna forgive you," she said into his ear as they held fast to each other.
"Well," Holly said as she got up, nervously trying to be happy, "anyone want dessert?"
The room was filled with soft smiles as everyone nodded in agreement. It was a little weird, trying to get back to normal after something like that. If I were them, I'm really not sure how I would've taken it. But everyone, seemed ok with me, maybe still a little shocked, but happy none the less. Well, at least they won't be asking me about girls now.
"So Kenny, I guess we should really be asking if you've got a boyfriend instead," Cammy said, gloating as she brought her fork to her lips and nibbled on a piece of cheese cake.
And just like before, everyone fell silent. Holly looked intrigued as she just about stopped slicing the pumpkin pie. Matt and Kurt looked dumbfounded; their mouths open as their stare froze on me. I heard Lynn try to hold in her giggle. Mika looked as her as if she were being rude. I smiled nervously at everyone. I looked at Lynn and smirked, she just about lost it, snickering as she covered her mouth.
"Uhh," I looked back down at my desert, smiling to myself, "Yeah Cammy, as a matter of fact I do have a.... uhh, boyfriend."
"Uhh... really?," Holly asked slightly amazed.
I took a breath, holding it in as I dug into my pocket, finally pulling out my lovingly tattered Polaroid picture. Funny how it looked a lot older than only a few days. I held it in front of me, slightly under the table as I smiled at it. Ethan.... I wish you were here.
Finally looking up I held the picture out to Matt sitting next to me.
He looked almost reluctant to take it from me. But when he did he looked at for a few seconds, a smile slowly forming on his lips. "You look happy Kenny." He said, finally looking at me.
Blushing I looked down at my plate again, my smile crooked. Matt handed the picture to Holly.
"Wow," she said staring at the picture and then at Matt. Matt just smirked and lifted his eyebrows at her. So I guess I did have good taste when it came to picking out a boyfriend, Ok awesome taste according to my family.
"So he's your boyfriend?" she asked smiling at the picture and then me.
"No, he's my math tutor," I said as I took a tiny bit of apple pie.
Everyone looked at me confused, except for Lynn. She still wore that same sinister smile of hers.
I laughed under my breath at everyone else, "Of course he's my boyfriend."
There a split second of silence until Kurt finally laughed. I smirked at him as everyone else finally joined in. It was little weird, smiling about something after almost crying about it. I didn't want them to feel like I didn't want them to know everything about me. I did. I just wished Ethan was here. Then they'd really see me smile.
The picture founds its way into Kurt's hands as he and Mika just stared at it.
"Is he your first?" I looked at her a little confused, but still smiling, "Boyfriend," she added.
"Oh, yeah," I replied, "He's about my age, 19, couple months older. He's from Las Vegas. Skater and.... uh... he's a Tae Kwan Do instructor."
Everyone looked impressed, Matt nodding his head as Kurt just looked back at the picture and smiled warmly.
"Skater?" Cammy asked, excitement dripping from her voice.
"Tae Kwan Do instructor?" Lynn asked as well, just as exhilarated.
"Uhh, yeah. He's gonna be competing next month. He's really good."
"Ethan, you say his name is?" Cammy asked she finally got hold of my Polaroid, for the second time.
"Yeah, Ethan Colin Harrison," I said, not noting the yearning in my voice as I said his name. The ache was getting to me, and I'm sure my family saw it on my face.
"So that's why you went all protective on me this morning," Cammy said, letting her eyes drift in my direction.
My smile was guilty.
"So when do we get to meet this guy?" Kurt asked as he got up from the table, grabbing his and Mika's dessert plates and forks.
"I,Uhh.... I haven't really thought about that"
Kurt walked into the kitchen, followed by the clatter of dishes being placed in the sink. Matt stared at the picture in his fingers and then at me saying, "I gotta ask Kenny..." His laugh went nervous, "How did you get a guy like this?.... Not to be the asshole big brother, but he seems a bit out of your league."
Holly, hit him across the shoulder. "Matthew Duncan Rian!" she said, faint annoyance in her voice. "I think Kenny is very handsome, and even if his boyfriend is hotter than hell that shouldn't matter."
She winked at me as she finished her statement. I chuckled at the both of them.
"Anyways.... so, Kenny? How did you and..... Ethan meet?"
I chewed on my piece of apple pie, looking at everyone stare back at me in anticipation. Great.... story time, again. I was beginning to loose count of how many times I've told and retold this story. I swallowed my dessert, wiping my mouth as I started, "Well, I think I told you about my first day in college....."
"....and I told him I loved him and he told me he loved my back," I concluded, my dessert gone as I left everyone pondering mine and Ethan's story.
"How romantic...." Cammy said, her elbows on the table and her chin in her hands as she smiled at me, "kissing under the stars with a view of the city lights." Her sigh afterwards was exaggerated.
I laughed at her, "You read way too many Harlequin Romance novels."
She threw her napkin at me, "Men, know nothing about romance."
I caught it before it hit me. I leaned over the table at her, "Excuse me? Who was the one mackin' on his boyfriend under stars? I believe that was me."
Everyone joined in a laugh as Kurt finally spoke up, "Well I think we should congratulate Kenny, finding someone and all." He looked at Mika, smiling as he finished his sentence.
Everyone nodded in agreement, Matt, Holly and Mika holding their glasses of soda up at me, Lynn and Cammy their cup of tea. It made me smile. In a way, Ethan and I, we had their blessing.
"You're right Kurt," Matt said
"Well Kenny," He looked at me, still holding my Picture of me and Ethan as he got up out of his seat and walked into the kitchen. "For the time being...." he said as he place the Polaroid on the fridge with a magnet. There it was, next to pictures of Matt and Holly's summer vacation, Cammy's Prom, my football portrait, Kurt's spring break, and finally an old photograph of mom and dad when they were young, matt and Kurt still toddlers, Cammy and I not there yet.
Matt walked back, his hand clasping my shoulder. "Thanks Matt," I said, my smile small but genuine. My family was so great. They were happy for me. They'd love Ethan, and I'm sure Ethan would love them too.
"Oh hey, I got somethin' for ya," Matt said as he got up from his seat and race towards the stairs, excited about something.
"Be right back," he said as he disappeared, his footsteps thundering up the steps and into the hallway.
"What is it?" I asked, looking at Holly.
She just smiled back and shrugged.
"Great," we all heard Matt say sarcastically.... almost upset. His footsteps were slow as he trudged down the stairs and into view. He was holding something, something of considerable size. As he got closer I noticed that it was a guitar.... my guitar.
Matt held it out to me, "Sorry Kenny?"
What was he sorry about? I took it from him and then noticed that the heel was broken, the only thing holding it together were the strings. I remember this guitar. Probably was older than I was. I remember being pissed, angry or depressed and all I did was strum a few cords and it made me feel a whole lot better. It was a gift from my grandfather. I don't think he knew what to get me for my 14th birthday, and it ended up being a used acoustic guitar. I never learned anything more than a few cords, but enough to play a few songs. Now that I look at it in my hands, I thought mom had tossed it in storage.
Matt looked at me nervously, "Sorry, I think it broke when I put it in the closet."
I smiled at him, showing him that I wasn't mad. I examined it and looked it over, "I think it was time.... it was already old enough when grandpa bought it for me."
"So what can play?" Lynn asked as she took a small sip of her hot tea.
I looked at her and then back at the broken instrument, "uhh... a few Nirvana songs, Pearl Jam, Bush, Alice in Chains.... that sorta music."
Lynn looked turned off. From the way she dressed, I would have guessed she was a hip-hop girl.
"Romantic," I head Holly say wistfully as she rested her head on Matt's shoulder, "You can play Ethan something."
I laughed at the thought. Me play some metal song for Ethan? yeah.... I guess it could be romantic.... could be.
"I dunno..... I don't think we're that corny yet."
Holly jokingly scoffed at me, "You're boys.... what do you know about romance anyways.... you're just like your brother."
Matt laughed at his wife's remarks, shaking his head in defiance.
"Like I said," Cammy added as she traded smiles with Holly.
Romantic? Ethan and I were romantic enough.
Mom had a sick sense of humor. She had put her foot down and declared this year's dinner was to be somewhat formal. Somehow she found the time between all the cooking to lay out clothes for me and Kyle on our beds. We learned early on that mom should never buy us clothes.
Kyle and I looked at each other in the full length mirror; side by side. The look on our faces, anything but contented. Matching shirts with matching ties; God this was lame. We haven't dressed alike since elementary school. Now the only way to tell us apart was by our hair. We slowly looked at each other, cringing as we both realized that there was no way we were avoiding the mirror for the rest of the evening. Every time we look at each other, it made the other realize how ridiculous he looked.
Kyle and I turned around and found that Wes was finally out of the bathroom. He was standing just inside the room, leaning against the frame of the door, his arms folded and smiling nervously as he gave both of the full body scan.
"Is it that bad?" Kyle asked, his voice groaning in disgust.
Wes took a deep breathe, "It's.....not THAT bad."
"Shut up," Kyle snapped, annoyed but still joking, "You get to wear a nice polo.... not this." He said pointing at me next to him.
"Shut up," I replied, smacking him on the back of his head, "You look just as bad if not worse."
Wes couldn't help but chuckle under his breath. He was lucky. He didn't have my mom picking out his clothes. Although, I think if Kyle had given her earlier notice that they were coming, then I'm sure she would have gotten Wes something to wear. I'm sure mom got Kyle's clothes just to be on the safe side.... just in case he decided to show up.
I stood there adjusting my shirt; trying, probably in vain, to make the clothes I was wearing look a little less atrocious than they already were. I looked up and watched as Wes just stood there, frozen in his posture as he just studied my brother; a faint wistful tint in his eyes as he observed Kyle fiddling with his belt. I quickly looked away before either of them noticed that I had noticed something. Ok Ethan, this is really none of your business, so just stay out of it.
I adjusted the tie around my neck, Kyle cringing at everything from his shoes to his shirt.
I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, "Hey, be thankful she didn't decide on matching sweaters."
Kyle froze, and then slowly looked at me, "Shut the fuck up, or you're gonna jinx us next year."
"BOYS.....?" Morrigan yelled from downstairs.
"WE'RE COMIN'." Kyle yelled back. He looked at me and then Wes. "Come on, or they're gonna make us eat in the kitchen."
I guess Kyle spoke too soon. By the time everyone had dished up, all the dinning room chairs were accounted for, all 10 seats. It was Ok. It was kinda fun, leaning against the kitchen counter and eating with Kyle and Wes as they told me stories from the Marine base. Some were funny, some raunchy, some both. I told them about college, although I did hold back on all my 'Logan' issues. Didn't feel like spilling that out in front of the whole family.
Everyone at the dinning room table seemed to be having a good time as well. They could thank the wine for that. I couldn't hear what the topics were but they sounded humorous. Most likely about married life. Something they decided that we, Kyle, Wes and myself, knew nothing about. I took another mouthful of stuffing, laughing while I tried to chew as Wes retold a humorous experience of his. It was then that I heard Dad almost yell at us from the table.
"So Kyle you still dating the Hanna girl?"
Kyle still had a bite of turkey in his mouth. Wes stopped talking and looked as if he almost stopped chewing completely, the smiling happy emotion falling off his face as he just looked at Kyle. Kyle noticed the look, swallowing his mouthful.
"Uh, No.... she dumped me a while back." he shouted back, looking at Wes. Something was up and I wasn't entirely sure if it was wise of me to go poking around for an answer.
"AND ETHAN, I'm hearing that you're gonna be competing soon, son."
That shook me out of my trance, accidentally dropping my fork on the kitchen floor.
It clattered on the tile as Kyle smiled at me, "Smooth bro."
Reaching down to grab it I answered, "Yeah Dad, next month. You uh.... think you and mom can come down to see me?"
I got back up and threw my fork into the sink and then pulling open the utensil draw and picking out a new one.
Wes looked almost shocked as he stared at me. I looked back at him, a confused look covering my face.
"Sorry, son... Your mother and I are kinda busy that weekend. Forgive us?"
"Oh......it's ok. I understand," I said, sorry for asking. I looked back down at my plate, poking at my veggies.
"We'll be there," I heard Morrigan say from across the room. I looked up and saw that Morrigan and Bret were smiling at me. "Everyone else has work and school that weekend," she said eying everyone else, "So.... someone from the family has to be there."
"Us too," Jesse said, wrapping his arm around Avery. She looked at him and then smiled compliantly at her husband and then at me.
It made me smile, knowing that at least part of my family would be there to see me fight. I knew my parents were busy. Carey had a business to run and Natalie wasn't going anywhere without her man. Kat and Eli were trying to finish as much school as possible before the baby arrived, so that meant weekend classes.
"Ok then," I said, nodding and smiling warmly at them.
The conversation at the dinner table began to pick up again, things going back to normal like nothing at all. I looked back at Kyle and Wes.
Wes looked like he wanted to ask me something. He put his fork back his plate and placed his plate on the counter. He swallowed his bit of food, "So you're really that good?"
I would be the first to say that I wasn't all used to flattery, even though I've been getting it on a daily basis with Logan.
I was about to say something, modest I'm sure, when I saw the back of Kyle's hand smack Wes across the arm. "Fuck yeah he's that good." I chuckled nervously at the compliment. Kyle skewered a few pieces of turkey with his fork and brought it to his mouth, "Fuckin' better than I ever was."
All of a sudden out of nowhere we all hear mom's voice over everything else, "Kyle, honey, language."
Wes and I watched as Kyle slumped his shoulders, laughing nervously. "Sorry," he said softly.
Dinner wore on, and then dessert. Nat had made an awesome homemade pumpkin pie. It turned out she only made one so I had to share my slice with Kyle and Wes. Before I knew it, I found myself at the door with Kyle, Wes and my mom, giving everyone hugs as they left along with Tupper wear full of leftovers. Dad was the last to leave. I gave him a hug after Kyle and watched as he got in his car, waving at us before he drove away. I stayed there on the porch, Kyle next to me. It was finally starting to get a little cold. Now would be a great time to have my hulking boyfriend wrap his arms around me, kiss me on the neck and say something sweet in my ear.
I was interrupted by the chime of a cell phone. Kyle and I turned to see what it was. Wes was digging in his pockets and finally yanked out his cell phone.
"Hello?" he said into it and smiled at me and Kyle.
Kyle tapped me on the shoulder, tiliting his head to motion me inside. I guess he wanted to give Wes some privacy. I looked back and saw that Wes was slowly strolling along the side of house, his conversation inaudible as Kyle and I finally stepped inside.
On top of the stairs, I walked into our room and loosened my tie, my collar slightly open as I fell face first into my pillow. God.... I want my boyfriend. I want Logan. I turned my head so I could breathe. Just then Kyle walked into the room
"Get up shit-bag. It's only 8:00."
I pulled my face back into my pillow, "I know," I said muffled.
I got up and then back on my feet.
"You need to relax Ethan."
I rubbed my eyes and forehead beneath my bangs as I walked past him, standing there with his arms folded, shaking his head. I was on my way to the bathroom when what he did next caught me completely off guard.
Kyle lunged at me, I could sense it. I turned around just in time to see him grab me around my waist as I fell on my back against the carpet, a loud thud that I'm sure anyone downstairs would've notice. The little scuffles me and him always seemed to get ourselves into was nothing new. Mom and Dad learned early on that breaking us up would only mean that the fight was delayed. So near the end it seemed like they just gave up on it and let us wrestle out or differences. Personally, I think we just needed to get it out of our systems. But now fights between us were a little more intense.
It was a little hard using my Tae Kwan Do on him. Both of us took classes growing up and we each took it very seriously. He and I had been each others only rivals in class. But when he moved he got a new teacher and learned new techniques. I did the same. I seemed to have personalized a few moves, according to Steve. Kyle on the other hand had military training, and from how we were now fighting, he was more of a grappler than I was. Which meant, in a wrestling match, like now, he had the upper hand.
It was ego crushing to finally realize that I was in a dead lock, me on my chest, on the floor with Kyle over me, twisting my wrists behind me as I grunted in extreme discomfort. If he knew it or not, he was heavy.
"I win," he said, "So that means you do the dishes."
I grunted in disgust as I finally felt him loosen his grip around my wrist. I was about to crawl out from under him when he froze and held on to my left arm. What was he doing? I then felt his finger tips lightly trace a line across my wrist and forearms. I felt my stomach turn to shit as I tried to get out from under him.
We soon found ourselves sitting on the floor, Kyle on his knees and me crouched like a sprinter ready to race at the sound of a gun shot. But, Kyle held my wrist in a lock as he continued to examine the faint lines on my arms.
I tried to yank my hand away, "Let go fuck-bag." The look on my face bitter and angered
I watched as his equally angered face met mine, his jaw tightening along with his grip.
"Some of these are new," he stated, a bit of concern mixed in as well, "What the Fuck Ethan?!"
I let the muscles in my face tighten as I looked away, snorting air out of my nostrils. Finally looking back at him I yanked my wrist free from his grasp. I got up quickly to my feet and speed for the door. I heard Kyle get up as well. I had gotten just outside of the room.
"Do you really wanna fight about this?" I asked softly, my back still towards him as I slightly turned my head. He didn't say anything, but I didn't hear his footsteps either.
I opened the back door and stepped out, shutting the door quietly behind me, the back porch light directly above as I listened to the moths gently tap against the glass. The night was cool, still warmer than Tucson's..... but still, a little too warm for late November. I leaned against the wall next to the door grasping my forearm rather tightly, listening to my deep and heavy breaths. Choking my skin won't make the scars go away. Why did he have say something? I hated this.... knowing that I had to be the weaker twin. Sorry I couldn't handle my problems like normal people. I felt like running back up the stairs and telling him I was sorry, that all that was behind me now; that I had someone special to fall back on, someone to kiss me and tell me that life wasn't as bad as I made it out to be.
I scoffed at myself, wake up Ethan. You and Kyle aren't 8 anymore. You don't play with G.I. Joes and there are no monsters in the closet. If things could only be so simple.
Just then I noticed an acrid smell in the air, cigarettes. I took a few slow looks around me and finally over, beyond the reach of the porch light, barely making out the shape of a person leaning against the wall a few yards away. Judging by the height and build, it had to be Wes. I saw that glowing orange embers as he took another puff.
I listened to him blow the smoke into the night air as he asked, "What brings you out here so late?"
I wasn't gonna tell him the truth, "Uhh.... fresh air."
"Sorry," he apologized, his voice happily guilty as he blew another cloud of smoke into the air.
"Haven't had one all week and the cravings been killin' me," he said from the shadows, "Your brother hates it?"
"Why should he care?" I said as I took a slow couple of steps in his direction.
I heard him laugh under his breath, "It's sad but.... I really like Kyle, I like being around him."
I could almost see him smile in the thick dark.
"Why?" I asked, amused but genuinely curious.
"Cause he's nothin' like me. I dunno...."
Finally next to him I leaned against the wall also. Staring at the roof tops crowed with a chaotic glow that was downtown Las Vegas. He took another puff, blowing it away from me. By now it felt like my eyes were beginning to adjust to the dark. I looked over at him only to see him stare back at me.
"What?" I asked, curiosity and faint annoyance mixing into my voice.
His cigarette gone he flicked it to the floor and rubbed it out under his shoe.
"You two look so alike it's..... scary," he said as I watched the smile form on his lips.
"Yeah," I said as I looked down at my feet, "So why are you and Kyle friends in the first place?"
He looked over at me, like I had over stepped some unseen boundary. Well, whatever the look was, it made me feel like I should apologize.... or else.
"Well....." I stuttered, "From what Kyle used to tell me, the Navy and the Marine Corp don't exactly play nice together."
I watched the expression on his face lighten, "Oh," he looked down at the floor and took a deep breath.
Finally looking up and out at the view he said, "He didn't like me very much when we first met," he looked at me and smiled weakly, "and...... I'm not entirely sure when that changed."
There a second of silence when we both sort of laughed at each other, "And to answer your question as to why I'm here..."
I looked at him, stunned. I was wondering but I wasn't going to ask. That'd just make me look like that jerk brother. Wes looked at me and smiled, signaling that it was ok.
"Hey, we're trained to obverse," he said, his deep green eyes weakly shinning into mine.
I think all I did was continue my stunned stare. He laughed at me as I shook myself out of it.
"I kinda thought Kyle would've told you by now."
I shook my head at him.
"I know he told your mom," he said, still sending the signal that even though he was a trained warrior, she still scared him shitless.
"I uhh.... got in a fight with my dad over the phone a few days back. Kyle was in the room, heard everything."
I watched as tiny trace pain began to trickle over his face. He was holding it back, but he couldn't hold all of it.
"I told Kyle I didn't want to go home, and....." Wes finally looked over at me, "he invited me here."
I lightly smiled at him as I though about how..... thoughtful, my brother could be.
"I know this is probably a really bad time to ask but..... Well, Kyle kinda hinted that..." I let my eyes shift away from him, "That you don't necessarily find girls all that much attractive....."
"You and I aren't too different, Ethan Harrison," his voice confident but somehow still shaky.
"What?" I asked.
"I didn't mean to be nosey but I heard you on the phone, I was gonna go out for a cigarette but you were downstairs and I uh...... yeah."
I felt my heart skip a beat. I was so glad that the darkness shrouded my shock. My mind rewound back to my phone call with Logan. DAMN IT! I told myself as I fumbled for words.
"O-.....Oh, ahh... that,....I ah," I said, caught red handed. Why was I so careless? Yeah Ethan, great job keeping your romantic life to yourself.
"Fuck," I said under my breath. I heard him laugh as I looked up at him, "I seriously thought you and Kyle had called it a night, so I called...."
"A trick?" Wes asked before I could finish my sentence.
I gave him an insulted look. He just laughed as he looked away, down at the lawn.
"Sorry," he said softly, "It's just you and Kyle could have anyone you want. So I just assumed...."
My look turned to a confused one.
"Come on," He said, asking me like I didn't know, "I think some of the straight boys and even some of the lesbians would bend over backwards for you guys..... plus you two are twins." He sighed, "It's a done deal."
"Uhh..... Thanks?" I replied.
I know what he meant. Logan told me every chance he got. It was still a little weird, thinking of myself as easy on the eyes. But I didn't care about those other people. All that matter was that Logan though I was the most beautiful thing in life. And that meant more that all the flattery the world could offer.
"Wait.... so you ARE....." I gestured that there was more to say, but more some odd reason of my own I didn't finish.
I watched him lower his head and smile, a small chuckle escaping his lips, "Now don't go tellin' everyone. We're military boys.... Don't ask, don't tell."
"What does Kyle say about it?..... ooorr uh, about you, I mean."
"He.... he acts like it not there," Wes sighed and looked back out at the view, "Your brother's...... complicated."
"So can I ask..... do you..... like him?" my voice showing that I was a little scared in asking him.
He turned to me and grinned, "Let's not get into that."
"So.... it'd be stupid to ask if you were Kyle's boyfriend."
"Nope.... Although I wouldn't mind it at all if I were."
I laughed at myself as we both looked back out at the view.
"It sucks, you know?" Wes finally said, letting out a big sigh.
I turned to look at him. His head was bowed, staring at his feet. He then looked at me, his face almost contrite, "Wanting someone you know you can never have."
I dropped my eyes from his. "Kyle." I said, almost a whisper. I looked back over at him and thought, 'was he good enough for my brother? .....Was my brother good enough for him?' I felt an odd tightening in my stomach, as I let the thought surface in my mind. Is Kyle even remotely gay? I let my mental self slap me. What are you asking yourself Ethan? You know the answer. You know damn fuckin' well that all Kyle plows is pussy..... but.... I guess if I made a 180 with Logan then it wouldn't surprise me. I mean we're practically the same person.
Wes didn't say anything. It was ok. His silence said everything.
"Does he know?" I asked.
He nodded his head a few times, slowly. "I think he does."
I watched him cover his eyes with his hand, rubbing them with his palms, "You know what Ethan? I really don't feel like talking about him right now."
"Ok" I said to him. I know what it felt like, to be vulnerable. I know I didn't like showing it.
"Fuckin' A...." Wes chuckled while he rubbed his eyes, "Marine, fuckin' Lance Corporal.... and here I am about to ball over some Navy corpsman."
I listened to him take a deep breathe, "Pathetic," he all buy whispered to himself.
I guess he finally realized that I was watching him, not quite sure if I should say something to calm his nerves or not. He brought his hand down and just looked at me, parted lips, dreary eyed. On the outside he may seem squared away, but on the inside, I wouldn't be surprised if he was a total mess.
He smiled at me, laughing away his emotion as he turned his head, "That boyfriend of yours must be a lucky guy."
"He is..." I said softly.
"Can I ask what he does? Gotta be more big-league than being a marine, right?" Wes asked throwing a smile on.
I lowered my head and looked up at him. "He... uh, plays football for the university we got to," I said, trying not to sound superior.
"So I assume you like 'em big then?" Wes said, almost back to normal.
"hey, I'm new at this. Besides, he's...... he's the only guy I see that way."
"So it's safe to say that you fell in love with the person then? And..... that person just happened to be guy."
"yeah..... something like that."
"So the Karate wonder kid is with the Captain of the football team. The girls must be going wild," Wes lightly smiled. His curiosity about me apparently satisfied. I guess we were.... 'family,' as they called it.
He looked back down at the lawn and pulled his carton of cigarettes out of his pocket. He was hesitant to pull another one out, fiddling with the carton, spinning it in his fingers. I looked down at my feet, shuffling them in the gravel, listening to it crackle under my shoes. I leaned off the wall and started for the back door. I stopped.
"I'm not gonna say anything to Kyle," I said I looked back at him.
"Thanks," he said, his voice dampened with appreciation.
"So you gonna come back in?" I asked, the back door still shut as I held the door knob. I looked at Wes. His silhouette still standing, leaned against the wall, his head bowed and ankles crossed.
"You go on inside, I'm..... uhh.... just gonna hang out here for a little while longer."
"Uh...." I muttered, "Ok"
I opened the door and walked back inside. He was a good guy. Although I couldn't help but feel like he was cursed in someway, falling for a guy like my brother. I'll admit, my brother could be more of an asshole I could ever be. And someone falling this hard for him was hard to believe and beyond me. But, I wasn't sure if I should be happy for him, that some guy like Wes, caring, passionate, loyal, wanted to be with him. But then again, I can't speak for my brother. I felt sorry for Wes, chasing after something he'll probably never catch.
The house was dark as I walked into the living room bumping into a stool and then kicking one of the cat's bowls along the way. As I got to the foot of the stairs I noticed that Kyle was sitting on the top step, the low light emanating from our room spilling into the hallway behind him. He was still dressed, minus his shoes and socks. He had his chin resting on his arms, folded across his knees. He noticed me there, standing still at the bottom of the steps but did nothing to invite me up. I looked down at the first step. I hated it when we didn't talk. It felt unnatural.
I took hold of the banister and slowly ambled up the steps, Kyle looking at me every so often as I got closer; his big brown eyes contrite in their appearance. Finally at the top of the stairs, I turned around and took a seat next to him, matching his posture as I waited for him to look back at me.
"I'm sorry Kyle," I muttered.
He smiled at me, trying to be happy.
"There I said it, so.... don't hate me."
"I don't hate you." he said slightly smiling behind his frown, "even you are a bit if a baby sometimes."
I laughed under my breath at his comment. I know I could be.
I lightly stroked my forearms, my wrists. I didn't look at him. I just stared at the darkness at the foot of the stairs.
"You wanna explain?" he asked, lovingly nudging my shoulder with his.
I opened my arms, my faded scars out for both of us to see, "About these?"
"Mm-hmm," he said, his chin still resting on his folded arms.
I took a deep sigh. I didn't like remembering. Even though I had some constant reminders etched into my skin. I remember, standing in the bathroom and looking at the reflection crying back at me, I must have been 15, 16... I don't remember. Kat and Morrigan had left. They didn't want to be here. They had boyfriends, Bret and Eli. I had no one... at least not anymore. Even though it was just a phone call, mom was yelling. She was yelling at dad, telling him things I never thought she'd ever say. I looked back at my reflection, telling me to look at myself, dumped, crying and alone. Life hates you.
I blinked as I looked over at Kyle, "It was a while back.... after you left. But I haven't done anything since then."
He wrapped his arm around me and rested his head against mine, "I believe you." He took a deep sigh, "even though you're 5 minutes older, I still worry about you."
I wrapped my arm around him. We loved each other. It was a rough love, but what brothers weren't.
"So my home boys, Terrance, Grant and Jeff keeping you out of trouble?" he asked, finally throwing some humor in and giving us a much deserved laugh.
"yeah," I said to him. It was partially true. There was someone else that had me loving myself along with him.
10:36, I said on the VRC in the living room. The room was dark. A low hum emanating from the heater as I laid there on the living room sofa. I was in a light sleep, the kind where soft noises still keep you conscious. I think I opened my eyes every time a car passed by the house. I rolled around on the couch, trying to find that one comfortable spot. I pulled the covers over my head, gently smiling to myself. I was still in disbelief. Did my family just accept me? Was it ok for their youngest brother to be gay? And even more of a surprise.... they wanted to meet Ethan.
I rolled onto my side, facing the VRC again. 10:53 it said this time. It was futile. I was never gonna fall asleep with the evening I had. I stuck my hands underneath my pillow, beneath my head. The only way I was gonna fall asleep now was with Ethan in my arms, pulled up against me, his scent around me, keeping me warm while the snow drifted outside.
I wasn't exactly sure when I fell asleep but the next thing I knew there was a loud knocking on the front door. I slowly opened my eyes, moaning as I squinted. The sun was already up, peaking in through the thin curtains. There it was again, the knocking. I got up on my elbows and looked towards the door, then back at the VCR clock; 8:06. Who would be outside this early in the morning?
I was about to fall back into the sofa when I heard Matt yell from upstairs, "KENNY.... CAN YOU GET THAT?"
I scoffed to myself, throwing my thick blanket off of me as I got to my feet. Wow, the room got cold pretty fast. I knew it was still cloudy out and that meant that the snow was still at least a couple inches thick. Without even looking to see who it was I opened the door. The frigid air quickly rushed in as I looked at a man standing on the porch with a long black over coat and a thick wooly scarf wrapped around his neck. The lower half of his face concealed, the icy air gently blowing through his combed graying light brown hair. He pulled the scarf away from his face, revealing a familiar smile.
"Hey Kenny, how you doing son?" Dad said.
Now I should have been mad at him, promising me time with him and then flaking on me. But I still missed him. Forgetting about the cold I took the couple of steps out the door and wrapped my arms around him. His thick coat making him feel bigger than he actually was. I felt him arms around my back, holding me just as tightly. Finally letting him go I looked into his face. He was over 50, and he looked it. The only thing out of place was that he still had his hair. I guess that was good news for me. I wanted to keep my hair, even in my old age.
"I missed you dad," was all I could manage to say. Sure I wanted an explanation as to why he left me hanging at the airport, expecting him and all. But, at least he was here now.
"Hey Dad you made it!" Matt yelled from behind me as he raced down the stairs. He was still in his version of Pajamas; some sweats from his college days and an old wife beater that showed of his slightly growing belly; nothing obscene, but definitely noticeable. His hair was sticking in all directions, and his beard look like it had grown twice as fast over night.
"Yeah," dad said, his smile slightly sorry, "Plane didn't leave until this morning."
Matt stopped just inside the house, holding the door open as he pulled his other arm into his chest, "Get inside you two, it's freezing out."
After letting his word register I finally realized that I was out on the porch; no jacket and no shoes. Dad let me step inside first. I warmed my feet on the carpet as dad took his scarf off and then his jacket, hanging them up on one of the hangers next to the door.
"I was hoping to get a flight Thanksgiving morning but.... no such luck. I was stuck in Toronto, work." He looked at me. He still had that sorry look in his eyes.
"I know I promised Kenny. I had every intention of being here on Thanksgiving. Sorry I missed it."
He really was sorry. I smiled back at him, my sign of accepting an apology. I looked over at Matt, an uncertain smile on his face.
"Yeah dad..... you uh.... you missed some dinner," Matt said scratching the back of his head as he looked back over at me, his smile going silly. Yeah, it was a Thanksgiving to remember.
"Well. There's still a lot of leftovers in the fridge," I said as I pointed towards the kitchen.
Dad was about to head in that direction when we all heard Holly's voice coming from the stairs. "Mr. Rian," she said as she slowly trotted down the steps. She was in a light pink bath robe, tied around her waist; her hair still smooth and flawless, unlike her husband's. She smiled as she walked up to Matt, kissing him on his cheek, not minding the scruff. I chuckled to myself, I guess if one were gonna date, or marry, a Rian boy..... one had to get used to it.
"Mrs. Rian," Dad said jokingly bowing at her.
"Glad you could make it Brock," she said giggling as she wrapped her arms around Matt.
Before I knew it Cammy came rushing down the stairs, also still in her sleeping clothes. "Daddy," she said as she jumped into my fathers arms. He picked her up and hugged her, rocking her a few times before setting her back on her feet, "I missed you too princess."
"I guess you caught all of us at a bad time," Matt said, looking at all of us still, unshowered and not ready at all. He looked back up at stairs, "I'm still surprised Kurt and Mika haven't come down yet."
"And Lynn?" Matt said to Cammy, she and her ended up roommates for the weekend.
"Still sleepin'." Cammy said folding her arms.
"Mika and Lynn?" Dad said, questioning in his voice as he folded his arms.
"Oh.... Kurt's girlfriend and her younger sister." Matt said.
"Lynn eh?" Dad said, letting his eye wander in my direction, his eyebrows waggling as his expression implying something along the lines of, 'well, Kenny.... go for it.'
Everyone's smile went uneasy as they looked at me and then at dad. He didn't seem to notice. I let out a nervous laugh, totally void of humor. I cleared my throat. This was awkward.
Just then Holly asked, "How 'bout some coffee?" He smile almost forced.
That broke the silence; saved by the sister-in-law. She was saint, whether she knew it or not. Matt nodded in agreement as Cammy subtly tried to pull dad by the arm into the kitchen. I guess they didn't want dad knowing anything until they felt I was ready to tell him.
"Yeah dad, come on," Cammy said, still clutching his arm, "Matt and Holly got the good stuff, not that cheap crap you buy."
He stopped, jokingly insulted by his daughter's opinion in his choice of coffee, "It's not that bad?" he said, looking at Cammy with smiling, narrowing eyes.
He looked at Matt and Holly, "Is it?"
Just then we heard, "Hey what's all the ruckus?"
Kurt was standing just off the stairs in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, yawing as Mika appeared behind him, also wearing one of Kurt's boxers. Kurt wrapped one arm around Mika's waist as he took another look at all of us again. He was a little slow but when the smile shot across his face he almost yelled out, "dad!"
Leaving Mike, he walked up and hugged dad, "You know you were supposed to be here yesterday?"
"Yeah, I know," dad said, looking at Kurt and then finally letting his eyes wander to Mika.
"Oh," Kurt said walking back to Mika and gently grabbing her hand, pulling her towards the rest of us. "Dad, I want you to meet Mika Jacobs..... My fiancÚ."
I think everyone's jaw hit the floor. I know mine did. Did he just say fiancÚ? Kurt, player since puberty? The guy with a girlfriend for everyday of the week? Was he finally gonna settle down? I closed my mouth and looked at Mika as she held out her hand, a modest size rock on her ring finger. She smiled as Holly giggled and practically ran up and hugged her.
"Last night?" Holly asked, as Mika nodded. Mika held out the ring for Holly to examine closely. Kurt hugged Matt and then dad.
"Congratulation son," dad said smiling into Kurt's shinning face.
Kurt walked up and hugged me. He whispered in my ear, "I want you there Kenny. I want you there with Ethan."
He held my face with his right hand, "The wedding, you'll be there, right baby bro? The both of you?"
I felt like shedding a few tears, for him, Mika, and myself. The time seemed appropriate. "Yeah," I said, smiling with blurry eyes.
The post engagement announcement turned into everyone talking around the breakfast table, Holly and Mika in the kitchen chatting away while they sizzled bacon and whipped up some pancakes.
Everyone was comfortably sipping on orange juice, except for Matt and dad who felt it unthinkable to drink anything but coffee in the morning. I took a small sip of OJ when I suddenly heard Lynn's voice, still slightly asleep, but still filled with a coolness that was all hers.
"So Kenny, you have any wet dreams about Eth-"
I choked on my juice, slightly spiting it back into my glass. She froze as she looked and the new face at the breakfast table. She looked at me, smiling through clenched teeth, a bit of pulp still on my chin. I could take being teased, just not with my unknowing father around. She let out a laugh that turned out to be more of an exhale.
She was also still in her sleeping clothes, no surprise there. Her dark hair in a messy pony tail as she pulled a few strands behind her ear. She stepped off the stairs and walked up to dad, extending her hand.
"Hi. I'm sorry. I'm Lynn." She giggled, her coolness turning to embarrassment, "you must be Kurt's dad."
Dad smiled and laughed along with her.
"I must look like a mess," she said, brushing the few rouge strands of hair from her face.
Dad's laugh turned hardy. "You like fine," he said gesturing that everyone else, excluding him, looked like they just rolled out of bed.
"So Lynn," he said smiling at her, "You must my new daughter-in-law's sister? Pleasure's all mine."
Lynn looked caught of guard, giving him a confused smile as she turned her head towards Mika. Mika had a guilty grin on her face as she flashed her left hand and then the ring. I don't know what sound it is that girls make when they get all excited but, that was exactly the sound she made as she skipped over to Mika and hugged her along with Holly. She then raced over to Kurt, smothering him in a hug also and then returning to her sister's side, eying her new engagement ring.
I was watching her when I heard dad's voice, low and hushed, "delightful girl." I looked over at dad, leaning over the table at me, his smile almost devious, ".....don't you think?"
I cleared my throat and threw on a smile, "Yeah dad, she's ahh.... she's great."
He seemed convinced enough as he leaned back in his chair and took another sip of coffee.
Breakfast was a joy, everyone laughing and poking at each other, especially me and Lynn. Kurt and Mika looked locked in some kinda bubble, Mika feeding Kurt small bites of scramble egg. All they did was smile at each other. As much as I was happy for them, I resented, just a little, the fact that they were together, together with family, together over the holiday.
"So I bet you're missin' Ethan huh?" Lynn said in a small voice, smiling at me as she took another bite of her maple soaked pancakes.
I spun my glass of orange juice, smiling back at her, "that obvious huh?"
She raised her eye brows, and glanced in Kurt and Mika's direction out of the corner of her eye.
"Yeah," I laughed under my breath, "I got all these reminders walking around, reminding me that I'm alone."
"You're not alone," Lynn said as she scanned a dinning room full of familiar faces.
I gave her a serious face. One that said, "You know what I mean."
Suddenly dad got out of his seat. "Seconds?" he said as he began to carry his empty plate into the kitchen. He walked around me and Lynn, smiling at us both when we all heard Holly say, "Sit down Brock, I'll get it." She wiped her mouth, about to get up out of her seat.
"I'm not old just yet Holly, sit down and enjoy your meal, I'LL get it." Holly was reluctant to sit back down but she did, her smile defeated as she rejoined her conversation with Matt and Cammy.
"So what are you gonna-" Lynn began to ask me when dad asked over everyone, "Who's this?"
I felt my stomach jump into my chest as all the conversation seemed to have ended. We all looked into kitchen and at dad, staring at the pictures on the refrigerator.
'This morning was gonna be a blast,' I said to myself, scoffing at the sarcasm in my own voice. There was a giant mess in the kitchen from the night before, and since mom did all the cooking, that meant her sons (the ones who ate everything) had to clean up afterwards. It did make sense. Everyone except for me and Kyle.... well, Wes too, but he was guest, helped cook and prepare for the monstrous dinner he had. It was like this every year, and I was not looking forward to it.
I was almost ready; showered and dressed as I sat on my bed, my hair still wet as I tied my sneakers when Kyle walked into the room, just out of the shower. Sporting only a pair of grey boxers and his dog tags with his towel wrapped around his neck. He walked passed me and took a seat on his bed, his hands in his lap, his lead bowed as he just stared at the bottom corner of the room. His lips slightly parted as his eyes narrowed. I looked up at him, finished with my shoes, as I watched him bite his lip.
He looked up at me, his countenance disturbingly confused. He looked back at the door, at the bathroom across the hall. Wes was in the shower now. He stared in that direction for a moment then looked at me.
"You uhh.... you know what's up with Wes?"
I wasn't sure if I should lie and say I hadn't a clue or tell him, 'yeah Kyle, the boy's got the hugest crush on you and I know all about it.'
I listened to myself stall, little grunts and parts of words escaping my lips before I ended up just shrugging at him as I frowned. Kyle seemed to have just thrown it off. Maybe..... maybe I should count out the idea that maybe Kyle did feel something for Wes. It may not be something along the line of.... love. But maybe he saw Wes as something more like a friend. I'd hate to be any part of this equation. Something that just didn't equal up..... for either of them. It wasn't my place to go asking Kyle if he liked Wes. I was pretty sure the answer was gonna something along the lines of, 'no'. But apparently Kyle noticed something was up with Wes. I hope nothing was my fault. I was the last one to talk to him.
There was a sudden knock at the door. "Who the fuck?" I said, whispering to myself as the both of us looked towards the door. They didn't have the decency to use the door bell? I turned back at Kyle, "Get dressed I'll see who it is?"
I jogged down the stairs. It was probably one of the girls who forgot one of their pans or maybe even a casserole dish. I opened the door, surprised to find that it wasn't any of my sisters after all.
"Hey," Terrance said, smiling as he stood on the porch with Grant and Jeff leaned against the walls just outside. I greeted them with a smile of my own.
"You ready? We got a whole day planned," Jeff said from under his shades as he chewed on a piece of gum. That's right. They watched my smile fade as I looked back at the kitchen, Terrance, Grant and Jeff peering in as well and noticing the mountain of dishes on the counter. I heard Terrance take a deep breath through his teeth. They got the message.
"I dunno guys," I said frowning slightly as I held the door open, scratching the back of my head with my left. There was no way mom was gonna let me or Kyle out of the house until the kitchen was spotless.
"NO FUCKIN' WAY!" Jeff said as he pulled his shades from his widened eyes, his mouth open as he smiled, all of them looking past me.
Curious, I turned to see Kyle slowly walking down the steps, his shoes still untied, his pants still unbuttoned. He was in the middle of putting on his shirt, his torso in full view with one arm partially out of one sleeve. Finally pulling his shirt down he grinned at everyone, a cheesy grin at than.
"HEEEYY," he said arms open as he crossed the foyer, giving each of them a buddy hug; bumping chests as they patted each other on the back. I took a step to make room for the reunion.
"You look different man," Grant bursted out.
"When'd you get back?" Terrance added.
I took a few steps backwards towards the hall. Well, I guess if we were gonna be going out then now was the time to march up stairs and beg mom for at least morning off. I left Kyle there with Terrance, Grant, Jeff and the open door as they laughed, most likely catching up on what each other's been up to.
When I got to the top of the stairs I noticed that the bathroom door was open and the light was off. I took the couple of steps and peaked into mine and Kyle's room. Wes was standing in the middle of the room, his back to me, shirtless as he buttoned his pants. I stepped into the room, knocking on the open door. Wes turned around, slightly startled, his expression relaxing when he realized it was just me.
"You feelin' Ok there?" I asked, my hands in my pockets as I slowly strolled into the room and then taking a seat on my bed. I looked up at his face as he fiddled with his shirt. Something was eating at him, his couldn't hide it anymore. He met my eyes as I let them wander to Kyle's bed. He got the clue and took a seat.
I took a deep sigh and said, "If you're thinking I said something, I didn't."
His smile was unhappy as he laughed at my statement, shaking his head, "No, I-I know you didn't."
"Sooo.... what's up?" I asked.
His face looked startled and then confused, "Tell me again.... Why are you trying to help me out?"
I shrugged, my smile innocent, "Cause....... we're 'family' now....... I guess."
He let his shoulders slump as he finally smiled convincingly at me.
I continued, "You know you're gay and I'm..."
"Ok, I got it," he said, cutting me off.
"So....." I added, hoping he'd tell what was bugging him.
He rubbed his nearly shaven head, a small smile forming across his lips, "Uhh.... it's nothing really."
I eyed him, my expression implying that I wasn't totally convinced. It was ok. He didn't have to say anything. I guess it was just part of who he was. I shook it off and got up. Still half dressed he looked up at me, obviously feeling better.
"Come on Wes, Kyle's downstairs, and believe it or not, the guy's worried about ya."
That made him smile.
"...and there are some guys I want ya to meet."
End of Chapter 12: Separate or Divided
Mike and Elise: Ethan's parents. They're separated.
Avery and Jesse: Ethan's oldest sister and her husband.
Natalie and Carey: Ethan's second oldest sister and her husband.
Morrigan and Bret: Ethan's third oldest sister and her husband.
Katherine and Eli: Ethan's fourth oldest sister and her husband.
Kyle: Ethan's twin brother
Wes: Kyle's friend
Logan's (Kenny) Story
Matt and Kurt: Logan's older brothers
Holly: Matt's wife
Cammy (Camille): Logan's little sister
Mika: Kurt's current girlfriend
Lynn: Mika's little sister
Alison: Logan's ex-girlfriend
Brock: Logan's father