By Kit

This is a story about a gay male and may involve sexual activity between males, so if this is likely to offend you, or is illegal where you live then do not read any further.  All the events and characters in this story are fictional and any resemblances to real people are purely coincidental.

The story is copyright of the author and may not be distributed or placed on any web sites without written permission from the author.

I would like to thank my editor, Richard Lyon, for his encouragement and moral support while this story was being written. Also thanks to him and to MikeL for their hard work in seeking out errors after it was written.

If you enjoy this story or have any comments about it, please feel free to send me an email .  


Part 3

But then shall I know

 Six months later, as Adam drove to the airport to collect Brian and Gary, he looked back to his father's funeral as the time when he and Brian had begun to feel like real brothers again. Despite everything, Adam felt a little guilty as it occurred to him that it seemed as if the deaths of their parents had removed an impediment to their relationship. Still, guilt or no guilt, he was determined to make the most of this chance for a fresh start.

 When he met them in the arrivals lounge he was gratified to note that they looked to be as happy to see him as he was to see them. However, unlike many other arriving passengers being greeted nearby, Brian made no attempt to embrace Adam or to show any other physical sign of affection. They had both been brought up to feel that the only acceptable form of physical contact between adult males was a handshake, but they both also realised that such a handshake would be inappropriately formal for the two of them. Thus there was no physical contact at all.


 On the second day of their visit Adam took Brian and Gary for a long walk along the coast, visiting a couple of ruined castles en route. Then in the evening he made his guests a large meal, washed down with copious amounts of wine, and by the time they'd finished eating it was after ten o'clock. When Adam offered his visitors a second round of postprandial gin and tonics, Gary declined, saying that the fresh country air had tired him out and that he hoped they wouldn't mind if he just went to bed.

 After Gary had gone, leaving Brian alone on the sofa and Adam leaning back in his armchair, the brothers continued to sip their drinks in silence for a couple of minutes. The feeling of relaxation was only partly due to the alcohol that they'd imbibed, and Adam felt sufficiently at ease to raise a subject that previously both of them had avoided.

 "Do you ever think back to when we were kids?" Adam asked, apparently out of the blue, though in fact the question had been on his mind for some time.

 "I try my best not to," Brian replied with a wry smile.

 Interpreting that response as a reluctance to discuss that topic, Adam was preparing to move on to something else when Brian spoke again.

 "Actually," he said slowly, "the very first thing I can ever remember is when I was very small and the parents were having a big fight. I was really scared, but then you seemed so calm when you said they did it a couple of times a year, so I didn't feel quite so bad."

 There was a brief silence, then Brian, looking somewhat embarrassed, continued speaking.

 "Then," he said a little hesitantly, "when you let me cuddle in your bed I felt even better... I mean... I knew you couldn't do anything to stop them, but at least I didn't feel so alone."

 Adam was very touched by his brother's words and a lump rose in his throat so there was a brief delay before he could reply.

 "Yeah, I remember that," he said, then after a pause he added, "but it's not my first memory."

 He then went on to tell Brian about the time that their mother had humiliated him in front of their aunt and uncle. Even after all this time he took great pains to emphasise to Brian that the messed pants were not his fault.

 "She really did that?" Brian said, shaking his head. "Still, I can't say it really surprises me."

 Brian sighed deeply then spoke again.

 "Ya know, she always seemed to know how to make me feel bad. Like after you went to secondary school she used to go on all the time about how you were so much cleverer than me and how I should work extra hard at school to try to do as well as you... I know that wasn't your fault, but sometimes I almost hated you for it."

 "Hah!" Adam responded, barely able to contain his indignation, "she used to tell me all the time that I should try to be as well behaved as you."

 "Did she?" Brian asked, obviously surprised. "I never knew that."

 "Yeah, it seems the idea of divide and conquer was one of her favourite tactics," Adam said bitterly. "Remember after she had rows with Dad, she'd always come to us and tell us what a bad person he was and how the fights were all his fault?"

 "Yeah," Brian replied more sadly than bitterly, nodding his head.

 There was a long silence, eventually broken by Brian.

 "Sometimes I really envied you... the fact you were prepared to stand up to them and the ways you found to avoid being home, especially after you went to secondary school... but sometimes I really resented you for it as well."

 "Resented me?" Adam asked, shocked and a little hurt. "Why?"

 "Well, I know it wasn't logical," Brian replied, shrugging his shoulders and looking a slightly embarrassed. "Obviously you had your life to lead, but in some ways I felt you'd abandoned me alone, stuck in the house with the parents."

 Although Adam didn't think he was to blame for anything, he couldn't help feeling a twinge of guilt.

 "But you got out of the house as well," he pointed out. "You had your soccer matches and stuff like that."

 "Not until I was ten. Before that they wouldn't let me go on my own and said they were too busy to take me."

 "Couldn't you have asked Grandma Taylor to take you? She was a bit weird, but usually happy to help out. And didn't she take you to school until you were nine or ten?"

 "She might have been happy to help you out, cos you were always her favourite," Brian replied with a hint of bitterness.

 "But I always thought you were her favourite," Adam said, surprised both by the content and tone of his brother's statement.

 "Whatever made you think that?" Brian asked with a frown. "I couldn't even rely on her to pick me up from school."

 Adam cast a questioning look at his brother, who then gave more details.

 "She often fell asleep in the afternoon and sometimes just forgot to pick me up," he said with humourless smile, then he frowned and added, "Do you know what it feels like when you're a little kid and you're left sitting on the school steps waiting to be picked up and everyone else has gone home?"

 Although it had never happened to Adam, he could empathise with his brother. However, he couldn't think of an adequate response to what was in any case just a rhetorical question, so he just smiled sympathetically.

 "There was one time, when I was just seven, soon after you'd gone to secondary school, and she still hadn't come for me when the headmistress was leaving the school," Brian continued, seemingly now eager to unburden himself of a previously unspoken complaint.

 "So what happened? Did she phone Gran?" Adam asked, his voice full of compassion for the seven year old Brian.

 "Yeah, and she waited with me until Gran came," Brian replied then, obviously still outraged after all those years he added, "Then when she was taking me home she told me the phone call had woken her up and nearly given her a heart attack. She said if she'd died it would have been all my fault."

 He didn't need to explain what effect that statement would have on a seven year old boy because Adam could hear the hurt in his voice.

 "Stupid old cow!" Adam said sympathetically.

 There was a brief silence then Brian, looking a little uncomfortable, spoke again.

 "I know this is stupid," he said, looking down at his drink, "and I know it wasn't your fault, but I was only a little kid... and, well, I thought that if you hadn't gone off to secondary school it wouldn't have happened, so for a while I blamed you."

 "Yeah, well we all sometimes thought weird things when we're kids," Adam said, trying to hide his surprise and sadness at this revelation.

 As it was obvious to Adam that some memories were still painful to Brian, he decided to move on to something more pleasant.

 "There were some happy times too, though," he said, trying to sound cheerful. "I'm sure that you have some happy memories of when we were growing up.

 "Oh, yes, of course," Brian replied, a smile spreading across his lips and showing also his eyes. "One of the happiest times I can ever remember was that last summer we spent so much time together... between your A levels and you going to university."

 Adam returned his brother's smile, glad that Brian was becoming more cheerful. However, although he could remember that it had indeed been an enjoyable summer, he didn't recall that he and Brian had spent a huge amount of time together.

 "Remember the party that Martin's parents gave to celebrate his good A level grades? And they said you could invite anyone because the party was for you as well?" Brian said, grinning happily. "Well I was so happy and excited when you took me. I'd only just turned fourteen and it was my first grown-up party and I felt so proud to be there."

 "Apart from Martin's mum and dad," Adam said half jokingly, "there weren't many grown ups there, mainly just kids from our school."

 "Well, they were all older than me... mostly seventeen or eighteen and even Martin's younger sister was sixteen. So they seemed pretty grown up to me."

 Brian paused, smiling to himself as he recalled that happy time, then something occurred to him and he spoke again.

 "That was the first time I got drunk," he said.

 "Drunk? I don't remember you being drunk," Adam said, frowning a little. "Who let you have alcohol?"

 "Well, I guess I wasn't really drunk, just very merry, and obviously I had to hide it from you," Brian replied. "It was easy to sneak some beer or wine and if anyone saw me they didn't say anything... Actually I'm pretty sure Martin did see me, but he just grinned and winked at me."

 "Ya know, I think he sometimes treated you like the little brother he never had," Adam observed with a pensive smile.

 "Yeah, can you imagine growing up with four sisters?" Brian asked, grinning.

 "Well, it didn't do him any harm, except maybe he was a little spoiled."

 "Actually, I was sometimes a bit jealous that you and Martin were such close friends and his whole family treated you as if you were brothers," Brian admitted wistfully, then in a more upbeat tone he added, "Have you heard from him recently?"

 "Not for a few moths now. The last I heard from him was an email when his wife had just had another baby, a boy. Apparently, as they already have two boys they were hoping for a girl."

 "They can always keep trying!" Brian said light-heartedly.

 "Knowing Martin," Adam replied with a grin, "I'm sure they will."

 "He always was a bit crazy," Brian pensively, then smiled and added, "Remember that scary drive through the Pennines just after he passed his driving test?"

 "Of course! How could I forget those little twisty roads and me begging him to slow down?"

 Because Adam didn't want to hurt Brian's feelings he didn't add that he had no memory of his brother being with them on that particular occasion.

 "And do you remember going to that cricket match?" Brian asked.

 "Yeah, but I don't remember why I went. I don't even like cricket."

 "You went because Martin and I nagged you to go and Martin bribed you by saying he'd pay for any beer you drank there... which is probably why you spent more time in the beer tent than watching the match."

 "And that's probably why I can't remember the last half of the match or even what teams were playing. I think I was a bit merry!"

 "Merry!," Brian said and laughed. "You were pissed as a newt... I was the one who was merry."

 "You were drinking? In broad daylight and in public?" Adam asked, surprised that Brian had taken such a risk. "But you were only just fourteen!"

 "Yep!" Brian said proudly, "but no one noticed because Martin handed me his plastic cup of beer when no one was looking."

 "I can't believe I didn't notice it," Adam said, frowning slightly.

 "Actually, I thought you knew and just didn't mention it. But maybe you were too drunk to notice."

 There was a pause in the conversation while Adam tried to remember if he had indeed known that his young brother had been drinking at the cricket match and if he'd deliberately turned a blind eye to it. Meanwhile Brian stared into his glass thoughtfully, swirling the ice cubes round and round until he eventually decided to break the silence.

 "That really was a great summer," he said wistfully, then he sighed and continued, "Pity it had to end when you left me alone with Mum and Dad."

 Slightly stunned by Brian's words and tone of voice, Adam at first felt a twinge of guilt, which was quickly followed by some irritation when he realised that he had no reason to feel guilty.

 "I had to go away to university," he said, a little more defensively than he intended, "and you were fourteen and knew how to handle the situation at home."

 "Oh, yes," Brian replied with a bitter edge to his voice, "I knew how to handle it, but that doesn't mean I didn't hate it."

 "Surely it wasn't that bad? After all, after I left you didn't have to listen to Mum and me screaming at one another. And you had our bedroom all to yourself."

 "Mum and Dad still screamed at one another, and there were still days of silence when I had to be messenger boy, and... well I didn't mind sharing a bedroom."

 Adam couldn't think of anything to say, so just smiled sadly and sympathetically. Although Brian knew that his brother already appreciated the situation with their parents, he decided to give Adam yet another example.

 "Do you remember I broke my leg playing soccer?" he said. "It was just a month or so after you went to uni."

 "Yeah, I remember being a bit annoyed that no one told me until more than a week after it happened."

 "I thought Mum had phoned you," Brian said. "Anyway, a couple of days after it happened my foot had swelled up and turned blue. My whole leg, especially my foot, was hurting like hell. So I told Mum, who decided we should go to the hospital. Then she told Dad he had to take us. But he said he was just off to see Grandma Taylor and would drive me to the hospital when he got back."

 Although Adam knew from his own experience that their parents were sometimes so self-absorbed as to be uncaring, he was surprised and appalled at this particular example of callousness.

 "Why would he go to see her when you needed to go to the hospital?" he asked.

 "Well, she was quite ill then. It was just a few weeks before she died," Brian replied then smiled humourlessly before continuing. "But it was probably just one of their power struggles. By saying he'd take me later he was really just saying he wasn't jumping to do what Mum told him. Anyway, as you can guess, that led to a long argument with Mum saying he was sucking up to Gran in the hope of getting something when she died."

 "Maybe he was," Adam observed, smiling wryly.

 "If he was," Brian replied with a grin. "then his plan failed because she left everything to Aunt Susan."

 "In any case, Mum didn't let Dad go to see Gran before taking you to the hospital, did she?"

 "No, but they spent more than an hour arguing about it while I was in agony with my leg. Eventually I told them that if they didn't take me right away then I'd just call for a taxi."

 "Good for you! But if it had been me I wouldn't have waited so long while they argued," Adam said. "I presume you got your leg fixed up okay?"

 "Yeah, they took the plaster off and put a new one on. They said my leg had swelled up, but I still think they put the plaster on too tight in the first place."

 There was a long silence as they both sipped their drinks and thought about the past. Adam felt sorry for his brother, who'd had to endure their parents' fights alone. Before he'd gone away to university at least they'd had one another for moral support, even if there was nothing they could do about the fights.

 When Brian broke the silence it was almost as if he'd been reading his brother's thoughts.

 "Ya know..." he said quietly and a little hesitantly, "ya know, I really resented you after you went to uni, leaving me stuck at home on my own... I know it wasn't logical, and it wasn't your fault, and you had to live your life, but I really hated the fact you went to a uni so far away and hardly ever got in touch."

 While he had been speaking Brian's eyes had been fixed on the glass that he was holding on his lap. Now he looked up and Adam thought he could see not only embarrassment in his face but also a hint of defiance and maybe also a slight lingering resentment. Although Adam didn't think he'd done anything wrong, he still felt a wave of guilt wash over him.

 "I really didn't think things were so bad for you," he said apologetically. "I thought you got on much better with the parents than I did. After all, you stayed at home until you graduated from college."

 "Just because I didn't argue with them all the time like you did doesn't mean I got on with them," Brian replied sadly, shaking his head. "It just means that I knew that arguing with them was a waste of time and would probably make things worse. And I couldn't afford to move out until I left college because Mum and Dad said they wouldn't support me if I left home."

 There was another long silence, during which Adam screwed up his courage to bring up a question that had been on his mind for a long time. He cleared his throat nervously before speaking.

 "I'm really glad we're beginning to be able to talk about stuff like this," he said, "and I understand why you might have resented me sometimes... It's good to clear the air, so... there's something that annoyed me and that I've wanted to ask you about for ages."

 Adam paused, almost as if he were waiting for permission to continue speaking, and Brian, a slight frown on his brow, apparently sensed this and nodded his head.

 "What I wanted to ask," Adam continued, "was why you reacted so badly when I came out and told you all that I had a boyfriend? I was really hurt by your reaction at the time but it hurt even more later when I knew about you, and I wondered why you never told me, not even much later, that you were gay too."

 Brian's frown deepened and he remained silent for so long that Adam wondered if he would ever reply at all.

 "Well, to be honest," Brian said eventually, "I think that was the time in my whole life that I resented you most."

 "Surely you didn't resent me just because I was gay?" Adam asked, puzzled and hurt by his brother's words.

 "No, of course not," Brian said, exasperated that he should have to explain what seemed obvious. "It was because of lots of things... like you didn't tell me before you told them. It took me by surprise. You just dumped the information on us all at the same time and then left, leaving me to suffer any fallout. And, as well as all that, I'd spent months trying to work up the courage to tell you I was gay so that I could ask your advice about how to tell Mum and Dad or whether to tell them at all."

 "I'm sorry... really sorry," Adam said sympathetically. "I never knew. I never even suspected."

 "So after you dropped the bombshell and left, I was left all alone again to pick up the pieces. They never talked about you being gay, in fact they almost stopped talking about you altogether, but they started fighting even more often than before. Then to make things even more difficult for me to come out to them, Mum kept hinting to me about producing their only grandchildren."

 "I'm sorry," Adam said again, this time even more fervently. "Looking back I realise it would have been better to talk to you first, but you seemed so independent and so, well, straight, that I didn't think you'd care much."

 "But I did care!" Brian replied, not even trying to hide his lingering resentment. "You must have known you were gay for years before you told us. After all, I thought I was probably gay when I was thirteen and I was sure of it by the time I was sixteen. If you'd only trusted me and told me about yourself there wouldn't have been so many wasted years. There were so many things I'd have asked you about... and I wouldn't have felt so alone for so long."

 "You never told me about you," Adam said defensively.

 "You were my big brother and I was just a kid," Brian said, his tone chiding Adam for not seeing the obvious. "I'd been wanting to tell you for ages, just waiting for the right time, but you were hardly ever home so the right time never came."

 "What about after you knew about me? You never actually ever just came out and told me. You just let me find out by mentioning Gary, sending me joint Christmas cards and giving me other hints and clues."

 "After I knew about you I was angry at you for a long time. By the time I'd stopped being so annoyed at you there was never any opportunity. You only ever came home at Christmas and after a while you stopped coming back at all."

 "I was avoiding them, not you," Adam protested, "but I felt you were on their side... "

 "How can you say that? How could you even think it?" Brian asked, obviously both hurt and astonished. "I was always on your side... I always thought it was us against them, even after you went off to uni and left me alone with them."

 The obvious distress in Brian's voice made Adam feel both sadness and guilt.

 "I'm sorry," he said yet again, truly contrite. "I messed things up, didn't I?"

 Brian wasn't accustomed to his big brother admitting so clearly and unequivocally that he was wrong, so it took him a little time to respond.

 "Yeah, you did," he said with sympathy and understanding, then with a grin he added, "But everyone messes up sometimes, and on certain very rare occasions even I've been known to make a mistake."

 During the course of their conversation Adam had begun to see things more and more from his brother's point of view, and Brian's latest words were all that it took to tilt the balance completely. He saw that so many of his assumptions and conclusions about his younger brother had been completely mistaken.

 "Still," he said, "I always thought that you got on with them much better than I did, and I didn't want you to feel like piggy-in-the-middle, trapped between us. After all, you visited them at least three or four times a year after you left home. And Mum told me that both you and Gary once even spent a whole week there refitting the bathroom."

 "Despite everything, they were still my parents," Brian said, shrugging his shoulders. "And when I was visiting them they hardly ever had a row. In fact, most of the time they hardly spoke to one another at all.... By the way, did you know that when I wasn't there Dad slept in our old room?"

 "No, I didn't know that, but it doesn't surprise me," Adam said, then he sighed and shook his head before continuing, "When we were kids, and especially when I was a teenager, I often asked Mum why she and Dad stayed together. You know what she always said?"

 "Yeah. The same thing she told me," Brian replied with a nod of his head and a wry grin, "She said that they stayed together because of us kids and if we hadn't been born they would have split up years ago."

 "Bloody ironic, wasn't it?" Adam said, trying unsuccessfully to suppress the anger he still felt toward their parents. "I don't know about you, but I think we would've been better off if they had split up. Anyway, I think she just said that to put us on a guilt trip, because if she really meant it, why didn't they split up after we both left home?"

 The question had been mostly rhetorical and Adam didn't really expect an answer, so he was a little surprised when Brian responded immediately, especially as the reply showed that he'd obviously given the matter some considerable thought.

 "Maybe they couldn't tell the difference between love and hate anymore. Maybe the prospect of living alone was even worse than living with someone they disliked," he said sadly and shrugged his shoulders.

 Because he'd never heard Brian protest or argue much with their parents Adam had always assumed that his brother had just accepted their family situation relatively uncritically and with little thought. Now he realised that for the most part they'd both had the same feelings but that they'd found different ways of dealing with them. Perhaps, Adam thought, Brian's way had been better, or at least less stressful.

 "Maybe you should have been the big brother," Adam said quietly, as if he were just thinking out loud.

 "Oh, God, no! Then I'd have spent my first few years having to deal with them all alone. That would've been awful!" Brian protested, grimacing as if in pain. "No, I'm glad that I had an older brother I could hide behind."

 For some reason this admission made Adam feel embarrassed, and when he noticed that Brian's glass was empty he seized the opportunity for a distraction.

 "Want another G and T?" he asked.

 "Actually, I think I'll just have a cup of tea to help me unwind before bed."

 Adam knew what Brian meant by unwinding. Although the emotional tension of the previous few minutes had decreased considerably from its peak, Adam's physical reactions to that tension, including a feeling of jangling nerves, were still noticeable.

 "Good idea," he said. "I think a nice relaxing mug of tea would be good for me, too."


 When Adam went into the kitchen Brian followed him, but neither felt the urge to speak as Adam prepared the tea. A few minutes later Adam was back in his armchair and Brian was back on the sofa as they both sat back and sipped from their mugs. Brian was the first to break the comfortable silence.

 "Are you still annoyed at me for not telling you I was gay after you came out to us?" he asked slightly hesitantly.

 "No," Adam replied sincerely, "Although I think things might have been better for both of us if you'd felt you could tell me, I understand why you didn't."

 "Actually, another reason I never told you outright was because I thought you'd managed to work it out for yourself." Brian said, his tone light and slightly teasing. "As it happens I never made an announcement to anyone in the family, not even Mum and Dad, though I did talk openly about Gary and they saw us together a lot. So I'm sure they knew..."

 "Yeah," Adam agreed, and then with a frown he added, "And judging from how the rest of the family behaved at Dad's funeral I'm sure they all knew as well."

 "You know what they're like," Brian said, trying to lighten the atmosphere with a little humour. "They live for gossip and love hinting at dark secrets."

 "Maybe all families are like that," Adam replied and smiled ruefully.

 "So," Brian said slowly after a short and pensive silence, "I presumed that you did work it out for yourself."

 Although his words were phrased as a statement they had the intonations of a question, and Adam wondered how he should respond. As a matter of principle, and certainly at this stage of rebuilding their relationship, the truth was obviously desirable. However, he still felt a little uncomfortable about the whole episode with the gay dating site, and even after all this time he still wasn't sure that he'd handled things in the best way. Eventually, he came to a decision.

 "Actually, I didn't need to make any clever deductions," he said with an embarrassed smile, "Because when you were still at college I saw your profile on a gay dating site."

 Now it was Brian's turn to be embarrassed and he flushed bright red as he stuttered his reply.

 "Er, well, er, how did you know it was me?" he asked, making no attempt at denial. "I never put my photo on my profile."

 "Ah, but you sent your photo when you contacted someone... like when you sent a contact message to my profile."

 "But, then..." Brian said, turning an even deeper red. "So you didn't have a photo on your profile?"

 Adam responded silently by a single shake of his head, and Brian frowned as he absorbed this information.

 "And you never bothered to reply to my message, even though you saw who it was from?"

 "Especially when I saw who it was from," Adam said. "Actually I did send a reply, but... well, I was embarrassed and didn't know what to say, so I just sent you an anonymous 'not interested' message. I thought maybe you'd be embarrassed if you found out who you'd contacted."

 Brian, his brow furrowed, took a couple of minutes to think about this before he replied.

 "Yeah," he said, "maybe you were right. I was pretty nervous about the whole gay dating thing at the time, and I think finding out that I'd contacted you like that... well, it would have been a bit of a shock!"

 Adam, grateful that his brother had taken the revelation so well, smiled in relief. Brian's blush began to fade and an amused grin spread across his face.

 "Ya know," he said, "looking back at it, the whole situation is quite funny. I bet Gary will laugh when I tell him."

 "You're going to tell Gary?" Adam asked, mortified at the idea.

 "He already knows I was on the dating site and that I met a couple of guys from there before I met him."

 The teasing tone indicated to Adam that his brother knew the real reason why he seemed somewhat dismayed. This was confirmed by Brian's next words.

 "Don't worry," he said and smiled broadly before continuing, "He may laugh when I tell him but he'll know that if he makes fun of either of us he'll get a swift kick up the arse."

 There was a brief silence before Brian, his curiosity overcoming his reticence, spoke again.

 "Did you ever meet anyone from that site?' he asked.

 "A few, actually," Adam replied, smiling a little ruefully, "but none of them worked out."

 "Ya know," Brian said, emboldened by his brother's openness, "you seem to change boyfriends more often than some people change their knickers."

 Adam couldn't suppress a small laugh before responding.

 "Eeuw!" he said, grimacing. "One of my boyfriends lasted almost eighteen months. I'm sure even you change your knickers more often than that!"

 "Still," Brian said, becoming a little more serious, "I'm surprised that you haven't settled down yet. After all, you'd be a reasonable catch. Good job, nice car, your own house, reasonably nice personality... and not too ugly!"

 "Well, thanks for the almost-compliment," Adam said, pretending to be insulted. "Maybe I'm just fussy, or maybe I've just not found Mr Right yet."

 "Well as soon as you do find him," Brian said with a smile, "make sure to let me know, cos I'd like to meet someone who could put up with you."

 "Ha, bloody, ha!" Adam responded sarcastically.

 The brothers exchanged grins, then Brian sighed.

 "Well, it's time I went to bed," he said and stood up. "Thanks for the great meal and the fun day... fun, but very tiring! G'night."

 "Okay. G'night. Sleep tight."


 As Brian went upstairs to get ready for bed, Adam leaned back in the armchair and closed his eyes. He knew why he'd never been able to settle down with one person. It was difficult to admit to himself, and he could never admit to anyone else, especially not to Brian.

 Once, long ago, Adam had known how to love, and then he'd learned how to hate. Eventually he'd succeeded in burning out the hatred from his soul, but then he'd found that somehow in that process his capacity to love had been vastly diminished. Now the only real love he could still feel, perhaps the only emotion of any kind that remained strong and deep, was the love that the seven-year-old Adam had discovered when he'd first comforted his baby brother.


Author's Note:

If you enjoy this story you might like to take a look at my other stories,
 "Tapping" (nifty/gay/highschool/tapping/)
 "Tough Question" (nifty/gay/college/tough-question/)
 "Not Always Easy" (nifty/gay/highschool/not-always-easy/)
 "Just Visiting"  (nifty/gay/college/just-visiting.html)
 "The Road Not Taken" (nifty/gay/highschool/the-road-not-taken.html)
 "Timing" (nifty/gay/college/timing.html)
Or just visit my Library!  (