All the events and characters in this story are fictional and any
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 hard work
encouragement and also Richie Ryan for his moral support. Any
errors are purely my own fault.
If you enjoy this story or have any comments about it, please feel
free to send me an email . I will respond to all emails except
"I'm gonna miss you," I whispered into John's ear as he nuzzled my neck.
"Mmph hmph mphs," he responded, his words muffled by my flesh.
The vibration of his voice and lips on my skin tickled and sent shivers
down my spine, causing me to reflexively pull away from him. That
was no mean feat, bearing in mind how our limbs were entwined as we
relaxed after our lovemaking. He raised his head and flashed a
wicked smile at me as I gazed into his mischievously twinkling green
"What?" he asked, pretending that he didn't already know the answer.
Of course he knew that he'd tickled me because he'd done it often in
the eighteen months we'd been together, and whenever he thought he
could get away with it he took great delight in exploiting the
sensitivity of my skin. As usual, I forgave him immediately.
"I said that I'm going to miss you," I repeated.
"Yes, I know. I heard you. And I said that it's only two
"Only two weeks!" I protested, emphasising the first word, then
slightly petulantly I added, "Won't you miss me?"
"Of course I will, you silly sod," he replied with good humour, "but
you know I've got to go home, sweet-talk my parents and collect my
stuff if we're going to be finding a flat together next month.
And you could always come with me. I already told you that Mum
and Dad said you're welcome to stay anytime you want. You made a
good impression on them at Easter."
"Yeah, well your parents are sweet," I said, mentally contrasting his
family and mine, "I'm amazed how well they took it when you came out to
them at Christmas, and it was really good of them to invite me to stay
with you over Easter. But I've not seen my family for over six
months... well, apart from the day they came up for my
graduation. So I really ought to go home for a few days."
"We can survive for two weeks," he said resting his head on my
shoulder, "and we'll be phoning one another every day."
I sighed and ran my fingers through his curly ginger-red hair,
contemplating the fact that in the previous six months we'd never gone
more than two days without seeing one another. We lay together in
peaceful silence for a couple of minutes before he spoke again, this
time in a slightly hesitant tone because he realised that he was
broaching a touchy subject.
"Mike," he said, "maybe you'd feel more comfortable seeing your parents
more often if you told them..."
"I told you before," I interrupted him, "my parents aren't as
easy-going as yours and ever since I got my degree they've been asking
me when I'm going to 'settle down' and making even less subtle hints
about how they're looking forward to having grandchildren."
"But if you tell them you're gay they'll stop pestering you like that."
"Yeah, they certainly will!" I said and laughed without humour, "In
fact they'll probably stopped talking to me completely."
"You don't know that," he said, looking up at me again and capturing my
gaze with his beautiful eyes, "Maybe you just need to pick the right
"I've been trying to find a good time for years," I pointed out.
"Yes, and during those years you drifted further and further away from
them because you've been trying to stop them finding out about an
important part of your life. Maybe if you tell them you're gay
you'll become closer again."
"And maybe they'll disown me," I said gloomily.
"Look, in two months you'll be starting your PhD, you'll have your
grant and you'll be financially independent. And you know you've
got me to rely on, so now you're in a much better position to tell them
than you've ever been before. Like I said, you just have to pick
the right time."
The following morning, with a heavy heart I waved good-bye to John as
he boarded the train to London, then with an even heavier heart I set
off to see my parents. When I left school I deliberately chose to
go to a university which wasn't within commuting distance of my home
town so that I'd not be expected to live at home with my family.
However, it was only a couple of hours drive away, so I knew that my
parents had expected me to go home much more frequently than I
had. Perhaps if my mother hadn't interrogated me on every visit
about potential girlfriends I might have gone to see her more often.
Probably John was right, I thought. If I told my parents I was
gay then maybe my secret would no longer be driving a wedge between me
and my family, and at least Mum would certainly stop asking me about
girlfriends. However, John had only met my parents once, just
briefly at my graduation, so he didn't really appreciate my mother's
attitude to gay people or my father's obsession with having
grandchildren. Still, I could see the gap between me and my
family growing wider every year, so even if they did disown me it would
merely be speeding up the otherwise inevitable alienation.
Although I loved my family, I didn't miss living at home and I much
preferred the freedom of living away at university. On the other
hand I did miss my brother and regretted the fact that a side effect of
avoiding my parents was that I didn't see him either. My brother
Stuart was a couple of years younger than me and until I left home we'd
been very close, despite the fact that we often fought and
argued. However, our fights were mostly the result of brotherly
competition and rarely involved any real aggression. In fact, for
the most part our tussles might even be regarded as signs of the
affection that neither of us could comfortably show in any other
My brother and I were very different, and apart from the fact that we
both had light brown hair and hazel eyes there was nothing to indicate
that we were brothers. We were similar in height but from his mid
teens onward he rapidly became much more muscular than I was.
Unlike me, he loved sports and despite his obvious intelligence he
wasn't at all interested in academic study, though he did enough work
in his classes to ensure that he could progress toward his chosen
career as a civil engineer. Another difference between
Stuart and me was that he got on with Mum and Dad much better than I
did, and when he left school he'd chosen to go to a nearby college and
continue living at home. As the second child, he'd always been
given much more leeway to do as he wanted and so, unlike me, he never
found it oppressive to live with our parents.
To be honest, I don't remember that I found it oppressive either, until
I began to realise that I was gay. Of course even as a little kid
I always knew deep inside that I preferred boys to girls, but until I
was about fifteen I persuaded myself that it was a passing phase.
Even when I accepted that it was a permanent part of my personality, it
wasn't until I'd gone away to university and met a few other gay people
that I began to become comfortable with my sexuality. In fact, it
was only after I met John that I became truly comfortable and when I
was with him I positively revelled and rejoiced in being gay.
The problem at home wasn't so much that my parents were anti-gay but
that they regarded it as being a terrible and tragic affliction.
All the time I was growing up Mum frequently expressed pity for 'those
poor homosexuals who will never know a normal happy life'. Often
she went on to say how much she hoped that a 'cure' could be
found. From my point of view, to be pitied and lamented over like
that would be only slightly better than being reviled and
rejected. Dad not only agreed with Mum when she expressed her
views, he also went on to say he pitied the parents who might be
deprived of grandchildren.
This somewhat broody attitude my dad had toward grandchildren might
have been more expected from a mother rather than a father, but maybe
my dad was unusual because of his background. When he was just a
few days old he'd been abandoned in a hospital waiting room and no one
had ever been able to trace his mother. As far as he knew, he had
no living relatives and he'd always wanted a large family.
Unfortunately, when my brother was born by caesarean section, something
went wrong that made it impossible for my mother to have more
children. Thus Dad seemed eager to pass on his dynastic ambitions
to me and my brother.
On several occasions it had occurred to me that as soon as Stuart got
married and had kids then that would take the pressure off me to be the
provider of grandchildren. Then, with the bloodline reasonably
assured, perhaps that would be a good time to tell my parents that I
was gay. However, a far as I knew, none of my brother's
girlfriends had lasted more than a few months, and he was only nineteen
so maybe it would be a long time before he took the pressure off me.
That evening I had my first home cooked meal with my family for several
months, and I must admit that Mum made a splendid dinner to welcome me
home. Stuart was also obviously happy to see me and I was
grateful that his ebullient conversation limited my mum's opportunities
for asking questions about my private life. Dad was more
talkative than usual, possibly because he was a little merry from the
pre-dinner bottle of champagne that he'd opened to celebrate my
acceptance onto the PhD course. Of course Mum did manage to slip
in a question about girlfriends, but I just said I'd been too busy with
final exams to have a social life. Then during dessert she asked
a question that I hadn't expected.
"How's your friend... John wasn't it? The one we met at your
"Oh, er, he's fine," I stuttered, taken completely by surprise.
"He seemed like a very nice boy..." she said.
"He's hardly a boy, Mum," I interrupted, hoping to side-track whatever
she was intending to say, "He was twenty a couple of months ago."
Mum gave me one her smiles, this particular one I'd long ago learned to
interpret roughly as 'No matter what you say, I know I'm right'.
Then I realised that I'd already given away some information about him
without her even having to ask.
"Oh, so young!" she said with a hint of triumph, "He wouldn't have
graduated this year then?"
"No, he'll be graduating next year."
"Is he on your course then?" she asked.
"No, he's studying history," I said, deliberately showing my irritation
and reluctance to answer any more questions.
She raised her eyebrows slightly and I prayed that she wouldn't ask how
I knew him. After all, if I was going to come out on this visit I
didn't want it to be by admitting that I'd met John at the university
GaySoc. Glancing around the table I was pleased to see that Dad
showed only mild interest in Mum's interrogation and Stuart, who was
wolfing down his last morsel of cake, appeared to show no interest at
all. As if in answer to my prayer, Stuart diverted Mum's
attention from me by standing up.
"Sorry I have to have to dash off," he said with a grin which didn't
seem at all apologetic, "but I'm meeting some mates for a drink in
town. I'd better go and get ready now or I'll be late. Se
ya later, Mike."
With a quick wave of his hand he left the room and went upstairs,
leaving me a little disappointed that he'd arranged to go out on my
first night home. Still, I thought, as I'd not been home for so
long I could hardly expect him to arrange his social life around my
After dinner I went to my room, telling my parents that I was finishing
my unpacking, but in reality I went to get some privacy so I could
phone John. He asked if I'd come out to my parents yet, and
although I knew he intended it mostly as a joke, I responded with a
somewhat grumpy negative. After our phone conversation it
occurred to me that when Mum had mentioned John I could have used that
as a way to bring up my sexuality and tell them that he was my
boyfriend. However, Stuart's presence would have stopped me from
doing that, even if I'd thought about it at the time.
When I went back downstairs Mum and Dad had settled down to watch her
favourite soap opera on TV. As I'm not a great fan of such
programs I was tempted to go back to my room, but I decided to be
sociable and stay with them. Also, I toyed with the idea that an
opportunity to mention my sexuality might arise. Then, when a gay
character appeared on the show Mum started expressing her pity for him,
so my very tentative idea was completely set aside. However, I
told myself that I was home for two weeks, so I could afford to wait to
see if there might be a better time to bring up the topic, maybe when
Mum and Dad weren't together. It also occurred to me that perhaps
I should wait until near the end of my visit to make my
announcement. That way, if their reaction was as bad as I feared,
I could just leave a little bit earlier than planned.
Later that night, at around eleven thirty, Dad had gone to bed and I
was bored out of my mind and flicking through TV channels in the living
room while Mum was in the kitchen making herself some tea. There
was a loud clattering noise at the front door, followed by what sounded
like suppressed giggles, then Stuart, grinning and looking flushed,
appeared in living room doorway. There was someone in the hallway
behind him, but from where I was sitting I didn't have a clear view of
whoever it was.
"Hi Mike!" Stuart said, slightly slurring, "Where's Mum?"
"Kitchen. Making tea," I responded, somewhat amused as I'd never
before seen him even so mildly inebriated.
"Oh, right. I'll just go and tell her that Paul's staying over."
It was typical of Stuart that he'd 'tell' Mum something like that and
I, of course, would have asked her permission. It was just as
typical that he'd get away with it, or at most get a mild
scolding. He disappeared in the direction of the kitchen, leaving
me with a better view of the person, presumably Paul, in the
hallway. Paul, a shy looking young man with dark hair appeared to
be about the same age as my brother, but he wasn't so tall or
muscular. He was, however, very attractive so before he caught me
looking at him lustfully, I quickly turned my eyes back to the
TV. Then I heard my brother's slightly raised voice.
"He can't drive home, he's been drinking," he said, "The last bus has
gone and he can't afford the taxi. It's almost twenty miles."
My mum replied more quietly so I couldn't here her words, but from her
tone I guessed she was agreeing to let Paul stay. A few seconds
later Stuart reappeared in the doorway and spoke to me.
"Want some pizza, Mike? Mum's just microwaving some for me and
"No thanks," I replied, "but you can get me a Coke."
Knowing my brother, I more than half expected that he'd make some
insulting comment and tell me to get my own drink. However,
possibly because of the presence of his guest, he just nodded his
acquiescence then he took hold of his friend's arm and brought him into
the living room.
"This is my friend Paul," he said to me, then without reciprocating the
introduction he turned to Paul and added, "Make yourself comfy on the
sofa and I'll go fetch the food."
As soon as Paul sat down Stuart immediately left the room, leaving the
two of us sitting in embarrassed silence. Before things became
too uncomfortable I thought I ought to say something, no matter how
banal it might be.
"I'm Mike, Stuart's brother."
"Yeah," he responded very quietly, giving me a shy smile, "I
know. Stu said you were home."
I noticed two things immediately: his voice showed absolutely no signs
of inebriation and he called my brother 'Stu'. As far as I knew,
no one ever called him 'Stu'. Again the silence was becoming
uncomfortable, but this time we were rescued by the appearance of Mum
and Stuart bringing in the pizza and drinks.
"Hello, Paul," Mum said cheerfully, "It's nice to see you again.
Stuart tells me you did well in your exams this year... better than he
did, in fact."
She threw one of her 'score one for me' smiles at my brother, then
turned to me.
"Are you sure you don't want something to eat, dear?"
"No, Mum, I'm fine with my Coke," I replied, then added, "I'm still
full from your lovely dinner."
Obviously pleased with my compliment, she smiled and left the room,
leaving me to ponder the fact that Paul was obviously both well known
and well liked by my mother, so he was probably a good friend of
Stuart's. I felt a little sad that I'd grown so far apart from my
brother that I no longer knew even the name of one of his close
The two of them ate quickly, exchanging just a few occasional very
quiet words that I couldn't distinguish, but the tone and the body
language indicated that Paul was nervous and Stuart was reassuring
him. They soon finished their food and drinks, and Stuart
immediately took the plates and glasses to the kitchen. As soon
as he returned he announced he was going to bed, whereupon Paul stood
up and they both said goodnight. At that moment Mum came
downstairs carrying a load of bedding.
"You're going to bed already?" she said as the three of them almost
collided in the hallway, "I just brought some pillows and blankets to
make up a bed for Paul on the sofa."
"Oh, erm thanks," Stuart said, "but I thought he could sleep in my room
so he won't be disturbed when Dad goes to work in the morning."
If Mum intended to respond to that she wasn't quick enough because my
brother and Paul quickly departed up the stairs. Looking a little
bemused, Mum came into the living room, gave me a small smile and
dumped the bedding on the sofa. Then she bade me a brief
goodnight and also went upstairs. Having been left on my own, I
realised how tired I was and how much I was missing John, so I too went
upstairs to bed. Just as I got almost to the top of the stairs I
saw Mum tap on Stuart's bedroom door. I came to a halt and
feeling certain that she didn't know I was there, for some reason I
decided remain undetected and observe what happened.
"Don't forget there's the air mattress in the cupboard under the
stairs!" she called through the door.
"It's okay, Mum," my brother called back, "We're comfortable now."
She gave a little shrug of her shoulders and went to her bedroom.
Quietly, I went toward my own bedroom, and as I passed my brother's
door I thought I could hear sounds that might have been giggles.
Then as I reached the partly open door of my parents' room I heard my
dad's voice. I know I shouldn't have listened in, but I couldn't
"Paul's staying over again, then?" he said.
"Yes," Mum replied, "he's in Stuart's room."
"Don't you think that's a bit... erm, odd?"
"No, they're just best friends," she replied brightly, then in a
slightly wistful tone she added, "I remember when I was their age my
best friend would stay over and we'd stay up half the night gossiping."
"Yes, but Stuart's a boy," Dad said, "Boys don't gossip as much as
girls and when I was a lad I never shared a bed with my best friend."
"But you never had any really close friends, did you, my sweet?" Mum
said gently and a little sadly, "And anyway, nowadays boys aren't so
hung-up about such things."
Apart from the small sounds of movement from within the room there was
silence for a few seconds, and I was just about to creep away quietly
to my bedroom when I heard my mum speak again.
"Anyway, I'm sure we don't need to worry about our Stuart," she said
reassuringly, "He's had lots of girlfriends and he's always been into
sports... Mike's the one who's never had a girlfriend..."
"Oh, I shouldn't worry about Mike just because of that!" Dad said in an
amused tone, "After all, you were my first real girlfriend.
Mike's always been a very quiet and thoughtful boy, so I expect he'll
be like me. He won't need to play the field and he'll just know
when he finds the right girl."
"Aw, Derek, sometimes you can be such a sweetie."
Thinking that I could detect a tiny sound that could be a kiss, I beat
a hasty retreat and quietly tip-toed to my room.
That night I didn't sleep well, partly because I missed John and partly
because I was thinking about the conversation I'd overheard. Like
my dad, I was rather surprised that Stuart was sharing his bed with his
friend and I briefly wondered if he and Paul might be more than just
friends. However, after a little thought I was convinced by my
mother's arguments and decided that my very masculine brother was
indeed heterosexual and merely behaving with his characteristic
self-confidence. As usual, he was either unaware of how his
actions might appear to others, or even more likely he didn't really
care much what they thought. Therefore I determined to stay with
my original plan and look for a suitable time to come out to my
parents, preferably just before the end of my visit.
The next morning I slept in late and by the time I got out of bed
Stuart and Paul had already got up and gone off somewhere. It was
a beautiful summer day, so knowing my brother, I guessed that he was
doing something sporty. Dad, of course, was at work so I was
alone in the house with my mother until after lunch when, much to my
relief, she went out shopping. After she left I went for a walk
around the local park and when I got back about an hour later I found
my brother in the kitchen making himself a snack.
"Want a sandwich?" he asked after we exchanged greetings, "I'm having
ham and tomato.".
Now to most people this question would not seem at all unusual, but in
combination with my knowledge of my brother and the memory of his easy
compliance the previous night when I asked him for a Coke, the question
aroused my curiosity. It's not so much that Stuart was selfish,
just that he was usually so self-absorbed that it often didn't occur to
him to wonder what anyone else might think or want. Although my
parents had worked hard on me to instil consideration for others, they
hadn't put the same effort into my brother's upbringing and, at least
in my opinion, they'd allowed him to become somewhat
"Yes, please," I replied as I still pondered his unusual behaviour,
"I'll have the same."
Without another word he made an extra sandwich for me while I made some
tea. As he seemed to have something on his mind I didn't break
the silence until we'd both sat down at the kitchen table and he'd
taken, chewed and swallowed a huge bite out of his sandwich.
"I guess Paul drove home okay this morning?" I said, then after he
nodded his affirmative, for no particular reason I added, "Although he
didn't seem particularly drunk last night."
At first Stuart looked startled, as if he didn't know what I was
talking about, then he seemed to remember something and smiled.
"Oh, Paul can take his booze," he said, "Sometimes you can't even tell
he's been drinking... but he never drinks and drives."
Normally Stuart was very lively and talkative, sometimes irritatingly
so, but he went back to eating his sandwich in silence. A couple
of times I tried to start a conversation but his responses were brief
and he seemed distracted by other thoughts, so I gave up. Mum
came home before we'd finished eating and Stuart, with a strange
expression that I thought might indicate disappointment, announced that
he was going out to play tennis.
After helping Mum to unload the shopping from her car, I went up to my
room to read one of the books I'd bought specifically for this
visit. I'd got the books not just to tide me through the expected
boring times while I was staying with my parents but also to distract
me when I was missing John. Furthermore, I'd been studying so
hard for the last few months that I'd had almost no time to read just
for pleasure and I was looking forward to immersing myself in a good
novel. The first book I chose was very absorbing and before I
knew it Stuart was knocking on my door. Without waiting for me to
acknowledge his presence, he came into my room, announcing that dinner
would be ready in about five minutes.
"Are you busy tonight?" he asked as he hovered by the doorway, "I was
wondering if you wanted to come out for a drink."
This question struck me as odd for several reasons. First, in my
experience my self-confident brother never hovered uncertainly in
doorways or anywhere else for that matter. Second, although we
got on reasonably well, or at least we used to do so, we rarely
socialised much outside of home, mainly because our groups of friends
were very different. I didn't get on well with his large number
of sporty pals and he was quickly bored by my small number of
non-sporty friends. Thirdly, I was pretty sure he knew that since
going away to university I'd lost contact with most of my local
acquaintances and so there was no reason that he should think I might
"Who with?" I asked.
"Just me," he replied, then with uncharacteristic deference he added,
"And maybe Paul... if you don't mind?"
"Why should I mind?" I asked, "he seems like a nice person to go
Although I actually said the word 'nice', in my thoughts it was
replaced with the word 'cute'.
"Oh, he is!" Stuart said, then added, "So we'll go out about eight
"Okay," I replied but he'd gone before I'd finished saying the word.
When Stuart and I arrived at one of the many local pubs we found that
Paul was already there, sitting in a quiet corner and sipping what
appeared to be glass of Coke. As the eldest I felt it was my duty
to buy the first round, and Stuart wasted no time accepting my offer,
asking for a pint of lager.
"Is that just Coke?" I asked Paul, "or is there something in it?"
"Actually, it's Pepsi and there's nothing in it," he replied with a wry
smile, "I thought I'd better stay sober tonight as I need to drive
"Not staying over at our place tonight then?" I asked half joking and
without any real thought.
He looked slightly flustered and exchanged a brief glance with Stuart
before he replied.
"No," he said a little nervously, "I don't think tonight would be a
My curiosity was aroused more by his tone than his words, and I was
about to ask him why it wouldn't be a good idea when Stuart spoke
"Hurry up and get the drinks, Mike," he said loudly, "before I die of
With a mental shrug I abandoned my question and went to the bar, and
after that we settled down to drink and chat amiably for a couple of
hours. For the first hour or so I tried to keep pace with my
brother but after my third pint I gave up. By the time Paul gave
us a lift home Stuart had drunk a couple of pints more than I had and
was quite tipsy, whereas I was just mildly merry. The evening had
been very enjoyable and I was amused at seeing my brother in this
semi-inebriated state, so I was suffused by a warm glow as we entered
When he stumbled into the living room from the hallway and bestowed a
slurred greeting on my parents I hung back, wondering how they might
respond. I felt sure that if I'd ever been in Stuart's position I
would have received a verbal roasting. However, as I'd half
expected they merely returned his greeting, though Dad's forehead
briefly creased into a slight frown. Then Mum asked if we'd
enjoyed our night out and offered to make us a cup of tea. While
the four of us drank our teas she made some pointed remarks about how
nice it was that Stuart and I could enjoy an evening out together and
what a pity it was that I didn't go home more often. Although I
partly agreed with her, I didn't respond to her remarks.
As soon as they finished their drinks, Mum and Dad went upstairs to
bed, leaving Stuart and myself lounging side by side on the sofa.
For a few minutes we both stared at the TV but the old movie being
shown didn't interest me and I doubted that it interested my brother
either. However, the remote control was on the arm of Dad's chair
and I couldn't be bothered to go and get it, so I decided to go to
bed. Just as I leaned forward to stand up, Stuart spoke.
"What did you think of Paul, then?" he asked without taking his eyes
off the TV.
Although his tone seemed neutral, I thought that I could detect a
tension in his voice and a slight tensing of his body. I remained
seated in my upright position as I answered.
"He seems really nice," I said, then thinking that sounded a bit too
bland, I added, "much more interesting than your other sports buddies."
Even before I finished saying it, I realised that it wasn't the most
tactful thing to say and that alcohol had probably reduced my ability
to think before speaking. This time his body definitely tensed up
but he still didn't look at me.
"He's not a sports buddy," he said.
His attempt to maintain a neutral tone wasn't very successful and I
noticed that there was only a slight slurring of his words. I
wondered if perhaps he wasn't quite as inebriated as he'd led me to
"No," I said hastily, "that's not what I meant. I meant that I
like him... I like him a lot more than any of your other friends that
"Good," he said, looking at me and meeting my gaze, "I'm glad."
He looked back at the TV, and assuming the conversation was over, I
began to stand up. However, I'd moved only a couple of inches
when he said something that made me sit down again.
"I love him," he said.
My mind churned and my thoughts seemed to bounce around inside my head
as I considered the implications of those three simple words.
Surely he didn't mean love as in sexual love. But he wasn't the
sort of person to use the word when referring to a friend, not even a
best friend. I couldn't even remember the last time he'd said he
loved anyone, not even Mum. Yet I couldn't believe that my butch,
masculine, sporty brother was gay. Well, to be honest I didn't
want to believe it. Selfishly, I realised that if he really was
gay then it would make my relationship with our parents even more
difficult and complicated than it already was. I must admit that
it seemed that it would be very unfair to me if he turned out to be
As these thoughts swirled around inside my head the silence between us
grew longer and longer until he turned and looked at me with a worried,
almost fearful expression. This just confused me even more
because he looked so unlike his usual confidently competitive
self. I'm not sure what he read into my own face and body
language, but whatever it was made him frown.
"Do you hate me?" he asked with a hint of defiance that seemed to be at
odds with his words.
"H-hate you?" I stuttered, surprised by his question, "No, why should
"Cos I'm in love with a bloke," he replied as if he were challenging
"You're gay then?" I asked stupidly.
His frown deepened and I got the strong impression that he didn't like
me using the word 'gay'.
"Actually, I s'pose I'm really bi, but I just happen to love Paul," he
said, then added defiantly, "And he loves me."
"That's good," I said.
My response wasn't particularly brilliant, but it was the best I could
manage at the time, and at least it wasn't quite so stupid as my
previous question. At first there was a look of confusion on his
face as if he'd expected me to react differently to his announcement,
then his eyes narrowed in an expression of suspicion.
"Are you taking the piss?" he asked, a harsh edge creeping into his
"No, of course not!" I protested, then trying to lighten the mood I
smiled and added, "I just meant that it's good that he feels the same
way. After all, I wouldn't want my little brother pining away
with unrequited love!"
Looking slightly embarrassed, he allowed himself to give me a small
smile in return. Although he then switched his gaze back to the
TV, I knew that he wasn't ending the discussion but merely taking time
to gather his thoughts. I was grateful for this opportunity to
think about his announcement and it was only when I leaned back and
relaxed again that I realised how tense I'd been. The obvious
thing for me to do was to tell him about my own sexuality, and I
certainly intended to do so, but I couldn't decide how best to do it
and I desperately wanted to avoid it sounding like a banal 'me
too'. While I was still sorting out my own thoughts, he spoke
"Do you think I should tell Mum and Dad?" he asked, turning his head
slightly and looking at me from the corners of his eyes.
That question threw my thoughts into even greater turmoil, then it felt
like my brain overloaded and my mind went blank. I just stared at
him stupidly with no idea what I should say.
"Well?" he said, impatient at my lack of response, "What d'ya think?"
"Erm, I dunno," I said hesitantly, "That's up to you. You know
what they're like and you're the one who's living with them."
"Yeah," he replied sadly, "Sometimes I wish that I'd gone away to uni
"But then you prob'ly wouldn't have met Paul," I pointed out.
He didn't reply to that and instead he stared vacantly in the general
direction of the TV for several seconds.
"I think I should tell them," he said eventually, "I'm sick of hiding
things and having to be so careful when Paul's here."
His words amused me so much that I had to suppress the urge to laugh
and point out that in my view he wasn't being very careful at
all. Obviously his definition of 'careful' was very different
from mine. However, I thought it better not to say what I was
thinking and instead I responded neutrally.
"Like I said, it's totally up to you... "
"Well, if I do tell them, when do ya think I should do it?"
Again I was lost for words and before I could think of an answer he
added another question.
"Will you be here when I do?"
At first I tried to ignore the question but the pleading look in his
eyes pulled a response from me.
"Yeah, if you want," I said without enthusiasm.
To be honest when I said that I only half meant it, but then when he
nodded and smiled at me the gratitude in his eyes prodded me to speak
"Yeah, of course I will," I added.
"How d'ya think I should do it?" he asked after another long silence.
That reminded me of all the times that I'd asked John that very same
question and I couldn't suppress a smile as I answered.
"Ah," I said, "I think that it's all in the timing."
He frowned at me, clearly confused as much by my amused expression as
he was by my cryptic words.
"Anyway," I added with a yawn as I stood up, "I think we should sleep
on it and discuss it tomorrow when we're not feeling so tired."
Although he looked a little disappointed, he nodded his
agreement. Perhaps it was cruel of me but as I stepped out of the
room I couldn't resist throwing a final remark over my shoulder.
"Oh, Stuart," I said, "I hope you and Paul will be as happy together as
me and John."
Then, not giving him any time to react, I went upstairs as quickly as I
If you enjoyed this story you might like to take a look at a couple
of my other short stories, "Just Visiting"
(http://nifty.org/nifty/gay/college/just-visiting.html) or "The
Road Not Taken"
Alternatively, if you prefer longer stories you might enjoy "Tapping"
(/nifty/gay/highschool/tapping/) or "Not Always Easy"