All other content or otherwise are works of my own imagination. All events are fictitious in nature.

Any similarities to persons living, dead, or otherwise are purely coincidental.

This story contains strong themes of homosexual content, if this offends you in any way, please refrain from reading further. If you are not of legal age to read this, please leave now.

A/N: I'd like to thank TalonRider for editing this chapter. His skill and tiresome effort applied to my work is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

American Differences
-By Emulated

Chapter 9: Aftermath

I woke up to a very full feeling in my bladder. I stretched out and rolled onto my back, immediately noticing that I wasn’t in my own bed. I squinted open my eyes and stared up at Jamie’s ceiling. I blinked a few times before I looked to my right, looking for Jamie lying next to me. He wasn’t there. I craned my neck and looked around his room. He wasn’t there either. But before I could begin to wonder about anything else, I heard someone come up the stairs and push open the door. I sat up and smiled when I saw my boyfriend’s blond head appear. He grinned back.

“Morning, babes.” He called out as he walked towards the bed. I looked at his clothing, he was wearing a white, fluffy dressing gown. He looked super cute.

“Hey, where did you go?” I asked, watching as he removed the gown, leaving him in his boxers.

“To the toilet. Scoot over.” He said, lifting my side of the quilt. I moved over as he slid in next to me, “Mmm, that’s better.” He said, looking at me.

I stared at his perfect face before I leaned over and kissed him lightly, “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I continued to stare into his pools of grey when I began to remember everything that had happened yesterday. And while it clearly wasn’t over, I was feeling surprisingly calm. Well, that was until I glanced over toward the clock on his wall,
9:53. I shivered slightly. School had started over an hour ago. That meant that Max had more than enough time to tell everyone. Part of me wanted to believe that, as hurt as he was, Max wouldn’t do something like that. Then again, I’d never seen anyone look so broken and betrayed before. I’d never forget that look in his eyes. Jamie reached out and grabbed my hand.

“You ok?” He asked.

I squeezed his hand, “Yeah.” I paused, “Just thinking about school.”

He nodded, “Whatever happens, we’ll deal with it.”

I thought for a moment, “I guess.” I looked at him, “I…just…it sucks.”

“Yeah, I know.”

I squeezed again, “How do you feel?”

He flashed me a small smile, “I’m ok, just pleased that you’re here.”

“Me too.” I paused, “Have you seen your parents?”

He shook his head, “Not yet. I heard them downstairs though.”

I nodded, ”They really know.”


“After everything, all these years, they finally know.”

“Yeah, they do.” He was silent for a moment before he sat up, “You wanna take a shower? You can go first.”

I sat up next to him, “Not together?” I joked.

He smiled and got out of the bed, “Maybe another day.”

I smiled back, “I hope so.”


Once Jamie and I had taken our separate showers and had gotten dressed, we headed downstairs to get something to eat. I wasn’t really that hungry, given what I was going to have to face today. I had already agreed that I was going to see my parents again, but I also knew that I’d have to catch up with Conner at some point, and that was something that I could really do without.

“What do you think he’ll say?” Asked Jamie as he sat opposite me at the kitchen table. We were both having some cereal, a small amount of cereal.



I looked at him for a second, wondering how he knew what I was thinking. “I dunno.”

“Well, what does he think of gay guys?”

“He likes them. I mean, he thinks that they’re ok.”

Jamie looked at me, “He actually told you that?”

I nodded, “Connor’s parents are very open minded, they’re always vocal about equal rights and stuff like that, always have been.”

“And he shares the same attitude?”

I nodded again.

Jamie frowned, “Then…then why doesn’t he already know about you?”

“What d’ya mean?”

“Why haven’t you told him that you’re gay already?”

I thought for a moment, “He might be ok with gay people in general, but that might change when he finds out that one of his friends is gay.” I paused, “He was always too important as a friend, I really cared about him, you know.” I shook my head, “I just couldn’t risk our friendship, not because of something that I can…that I can hide.”

He stared at me, “You think Connor wants you to hide part of yourself from him?”

“I dunno.”

“I think you should tell him.”

“I told you, I can’t risk it.”

“Wouldn’t he want to hear it from you?”

I glanced up at the clock again, break time. Now Max could go around the whole school, broadcasting my sexuality to everyone that would listen. Including Connor. I looked at Jamie, “Maybe he already knows…”

Jamie shook his head, “We don’t know that.” He reached out and grabbed my hand, “Even if he does, he’s going to want to talk to you.”

“I know…it’s just…” I looked at him, “What about us? What do I tell him?”

“Tell him. Tell him everything.”

I cocked my head, “But he’d know about you.”

He squeezed my hand, “Yes.” He paused, “What’s the point in telling him half the story? It’d be like coming out halfway. At least he’d know everything if he knows about me.”

“I suppose…” I looked into his eyes, “You really don’t mind?”

He shook his head, “Tell him.”

I nodded and smiled, ‘I will.’ I thought to myself, ‘As soon as I’ve spoken to my parents again.’

He stared at me for a few seconds, before footsteps could be heard. I looked toward the door and noticed Sue walk in. She noticed us and stood there for a second. I watched as her eyes drifted from Jamie, to me, and then down to our interlinked hands. I tried to pull my hand away, but Jamie tightened his grip, “Hi mom.” He called out.

I looked at him. What was he doing? Why wouldn’t he let go? Sue nodded meekly at him before she grabbed a banana and walked out again.

“Why didn’t you let go?” I asked.

“It felt like the right thing to do.”

I frowned, “I just don’t wanna make things worse for you.”

He leaned closer, “You’re not going to.” He paused, “If we pulled back our hands, it’d look like we were doing something wrong.” He looked into my eyes, “We were doing nothing wrong.”

The way he said that comforted me. While I knew that we were doing nothing wrong, at the time it just felt like the normal reaction. It goes back to that number one rule in my head; that I shouldn’t be caught doing anything gay. I think that rule book needs to be revised, or better still, burned. I looked at him, “I am just so used to being…discrete.”

He nodded, “I know, but we don’t have to be anymore. Not in front of them. We can be ourselves.”

“Morning guys.”

We looked up to notice Noah walk in, “Hi Dad.”

“Hi Noah.”

“You two sleep well?” He asked, as he walked over to the kettle, making himself some coffee.

Jamie and I both nodded, “Yeah. Thanks for letting me stay.” I said.

He waved his hand, “That’s not necessary.” He looked at me and walked over, “But just know that you’ll always have somewhere else to stay. If you ever need it.”

My eyes welled up some at that, I smiled at him, “Thank you.”

He nodded as he headed back over to the kettle and finished making his drink, before he came over to the table and sat down next to Jamie. He took a sip before he looked at me, “Have you decided when you want to see your parents?” He asked.

“Before the end of school.” I replied. I wanted to see them before Connor had the chance to enter the picture.

He took another sip, “Just tell me when and I’ll drop you over.” He paused, “I think it’ll be best if I didn’t go with you.”

I nodded, “Me too. They might be…easier to handle, if I’m alone.”

“Yes. But if anything goes bad, or you want anything, just give us a call. We’ll be over there as soon as we can.” He said, with Jamie nodding in agreement.

“Thanks.” I said again, “I hope it doesn’t come to that…” I said, trailing off.

“Just give them time, they’ll get there.” He said. I knew that he was trying to be positive, but the reality was that he didn’t know for certain that my parents would ‘get there’. If they’d ever get there.

“Yeah.” I replied quietly.

Noah nodded and stood up, “Ok. I’ll leave you guys to it.” He looked at me, “Just give me a shout when you’re ready, I’m not going anywhere.”

I nodded at him, “Sure.”

Once we finished playing around with our breakfast, we headed up to Jamie’s room and just hung around. We didn’t really do much as our minds were elsewhere, but it was still comforting to be with Jamie. We were both in a similar situation, so we both knew what the other person was going through. It was a hard time, but we had each other.

I kept looking up at the clock. It seemed to be moving really quickly today, as if it was steaming towards 3:15, the end of school. Like I had told Noah, I wanted to go and see my parents before school finished. The time had just gone 2:20. I looked over at Jamie.

“I think I should…uh…” I said trailing off.

He glanced up at the time and then looked at me, “You know you don’t have to.”

I shook my head, “I do. I need to do it now, before…before I see Connor.” I knew I had to do it now, otherwise I’d die from the tension alone.

He looked at me for a few seconds and nodded, “Ok.”


As he promised, Noah dropped me off outside my house, saving me from walking the distance. I was smart enough to bring my keys with me, so I didn’t have to knock, besides, it was still my home. For the moment. Once I turned the lock and pushed open the door, I looked back to Noah and nodded. He nodded back and drove off. Leaving me to face my parents.

I closed the door behind me and stood in the hall. I listened intently for any movement. After a few seconds, I heard someone move upstairs, before I saw Josh come bounding down the stairs.

“Matt!” He called out, rushing towards me.

“Hey, Josh.” I replied, as he rushed into my arms. I was completely taken aback by the whole thing. I hadn’t hugged Josh in years. It really upset me to see the state that he was in. I pulled back and looked at his face. His eyes were a bit watery, so I wasn’t sure if he’d been crying or if he was going to cry, either way it broke my heart to see my little brother like that.

“You’re back.” He said softly.

I nodded, “Yeah, I’m back now.”

I heard someone walk into the hallway. I looked up and noticed my mum standing there, watching me.

Josh spoke again, “You’re not going to leave again, are you?” He asked, his voice quivering slightly.

I looked at my mum, “I don’t know.” I replied. It was, after all, my parents decision.

Finally my mum spoke, “Josh, can you go up to your room? We need to talk to Matthew.” She said, using my full name.

“But Mum!” Began Josh, but I silenced him.

“Hey, look, I’ll be up there in a little bit. Ok?” I said.

He looked at me before he nodded, “Ok.” I watched as he headed towards the stairs, but he turned and looked at my mum, giving her a stare. Josh wasn’t usually like that, then again, he’d never been put in a situation like this before. None of us had.

Once Josh disappeared from sight, I walked forward and followed my mum into the lounge, where my dad was sitting on the sofa. I went over and sat on the one opposite them, like I did yesterday when I came with Noah. I looked closely at my parents faces. They didn’t have the same looks of anger and spite that they had yesterday, if anything, they looked worn out. Like they were tired, exhausted over the events of the past few days.

After a few moments of silence, I decided that I’d talk first. I had gone over what I wanted to say inside my head when I was at Jamie’s, but everything that I had memorised seemed to have evaporated from my memory. I didn’t know what to say or how to begin, so I chose to pick out the obvious.

“I’m gay.”

I looked up to see my parent’s reactions. My mum was frowning, and my dad was squinting slightly. I watched them carefully.

“That means I like boys.” I paused, “It doesn’t mean that I-“

“It’s not normal.” Interrupted my mum.

I looked at her, “It is to me.”

“No.” She leaned closer, “You’re not one of them, Matt.” She paused, “Maybe Jamie has done some-“

I cut her off, “Yeah, Jamie kissed me.” I said, anger present in my voice, “No, actually, I kissed HIM!”

“You shouldn’t be like this.” Said my dad.


“You shouldn’t be…gay.”

“And maybe you shouldn’t be straight.” I snapped.

They frowned, “We’ve always been str-“

I cut her off again, ”And I’ve always been gay.” I stood up and walked over to a cabinet, picking up a photo of Josh and me when I was around 10 years old. I held it up to them, “You see that?” I said, pointing to me, “I was gay then.” I placed the picture on the table in front of them. I reached up and grabbed another photo of me, “Gay then too.” I grabbed another one, “Gay as well.” I went through the shelf, picking up and placing down every photo of me. Declaring myself as being gay in each one.

Finally I ended up on a photo of me as a baby. I was only a matter of weeks old. I turned and faced them, tears in my eyes, “Look at this one. You see that baby in that picture?”

They looked taken aback by my sudden rage.

“Do you?!” I asked louder.

Their eyes shifted to it.

“He’s the gayest one of all! You’re first son.” I threw the picture so it landed in between them, “You think that I’ve just become gay? Look around. There’s pictures of ME everywhere.” I walked out of the room and headed upstairs. I quickened my pace towards the bathroom and locked myself inside. I leaned over the basin and stared down at it. My heart was racing madly. I’d never lashed out like that before. I could feel my hands and legs quaking slightly too. I looked up at my reflection. My eyes were slightly red, but other than that I looked fine. I turned the tap and washed my hands, splashing some water onto my face.

After a few minutes, I had managed to calm down some. My shaking had stopped and my heart had slowed down. I was sitting on the closed toilet, my mind blank, when I heard a soft knock at the door.

“Matt?” Came Josh’s small voice.

I walked over and opened the door, “Hey Josh.”

He looked at me, “Are you ok?”

I nodded, “Yeah.”

“I heard you arguing. Are you going to leave again?” He asked innocently.

I shook my head, “I don’t know.” He nodded and looked at the floor. I reached out and pulled him into a hug, “It’s going to be ok. I’ll sort things out.”

“You said that before.” He said softly.

“I know. It’s just going to take time.” I said, pulling back and looking at him, “But whatever happens, I’ll always be around for you, ok?”

He nodded, “Ok.”

I managed a smile, “Good.”


I had just spent the last twenty minutes or so with Josh in his room. After a while, he seemed to have calmed down some. I told him that I would be in my room if he needed anything. He just nodded. He was pleased to see me back again. Although I had no Idea how long that’d last. I hadn’t seen or heard from my parents since I came upstairs, so I didn’t know how they were handling it. But seeing as they hadn’t called me down, I saw that as a good sign.

It was weird to stand in my room again. I mean, I knew that it was my room, but it just seemed like it belonged to someone else, to another Matt Blake, not me. I looked around. From my computer to my pictures on my shelf. Everything was mine, but it felt like it wasn’t mine, you know? It was as though someone else worked on that computer, as though it was someone else smiling in those pictures. I recognised the face, but I didn’t recognise the person. He wasn’t me. He was who I was trying to be. All these years I tried to fit in, to be like every other boy. Every ‘normal’ boy. I learned how to copy them, how to emulate them. At the time it felt normal. I had to do it. I couldn’t risk being myself. But now it felt fake. It felt like those years had been wasted. And I was never going to get them back.

The optimist inside quickly took over, telling me that things would be better now, that I could finally be ME! But I wasn’t sure. While I couldn’t recognise that other boy, I still couldn’t recognise myself. I always knew that I was gay. So that part had never changed, but had it?

“I am gay.” I said aloud. I walked over to my mirror and looked at my reflection, “I am gay.” I repeated.

I had never actually given my sexuality much deep thought. I just knew that I was gay. And while people would say that it isn’t a defining factor of you, at that moment, standing in my room, I could think about nothing but my sexuality. The one part of my life, of my being, that I had tried to hard to lock away was finally free. It was quite overwhelming. I mean, all this time I had been someone else, how do I be me? What if I’m worse than before? What if I end up being too gay?

My mind paused at that, before I started to giggle to myself. ‘Too gay? Fucking hell!’ I thought to myself as I giggled some more. I was doing what I usually did. I built something up in my mind so much, that it scared me more than the event itself. I should really stop doing that.

I became aware of a soft buzzing. I looked over to my desk and noticed that my phone was vibrating. I purposely didn’t take it with me when I went to Jamie’s, I didn’t want anyone to contact me. I wanted to be left alone. I walked over and looked at the screen. Seven missed calls and three texts! I looked at the caller ID. They were all from Connor. I trembled slightly. What if Max had told him what happened yesterday? What if he already knew? I thought to myself. I moved my thumb to open the latest text that I had just received, but I hesitated. I really feared what I might find. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to find out. I don’t think I’d ever be ready to find out if Connor still thought of me as a friend.

I put the phone to one side and sat down at my desk. I looked past my computer and out of the window. It was another bright day outside. The sun was shining warmly, removing the cold harshness of winter. I looked out onto the street below and watched as a few people walked by, along with a few cars. I tried to focus my mind on other things, but it kept coming back to the bloody phone.

I eyed the black and shiny surface of the device curiously. I never thought much of it. It done it’s job and that was that. Jamie seemed to get more enjoyment out of all the features then I did. I only used the phone part. I couldn’t care less about everything else it did. Only now I wish that it couldn’t even do that. I didn’t want to receive any texts from Connor.

“Fuck.” I cursed as I stared at it.

I couldn’t stand it anymore. I reached out and snatched up the phone. I quickly pressed through the menus and opened the text:

Call me. Con.

I stared at the message for several seconds, reading it repeatedly. My brain was trying to gauge everything I could from the short piece, trying to figure out if he knew. I flicked back through the menus and read the other messages. They all said the same thing, there was one ‘how are you?’ in there, but nothing suggested that he knew. I exhaled deeply. That eased my tension a bit. I looked at the clock, 3:21. School had finished a few minutes ago, so it was likely that Connor was on his way home. Or worse, on his way here.

Connor. Sigh. How the hell would I tell him? He’s been my best friend throughout my whole life, I hadn’t been closer to anyone else. Then Jamie came along. I never saw Jamie as a replacement for Connor, as they both meant different things to me. Connor had my friendship. Jamie had my heart. I just couldn’t lose Connor, not over this.

With my heart pounding against my chest, I pressed on his name and dialled his number. After a few seconds, I heard him pick up at the other end, “Hey.” I said into the receiver.

“Hi, are you ok?” He asked quickly.

“Yeah, I’m fine, you?”

“I’m ok, where were you today?”

“I…erm.” I trailed off. What the hell do I say to him?


“Max. Did he say anything to you today?” I replied.

“No, he avoided me.” He was silent for a moment, “What’s going on, Matt? Have I done something?” He said, his voice softening some.

“No, no Con, you haven’t done anything it’s just…” I trailed off.

“Just what?”

“Look, something happened yesterday...”

“Are you ok? Are you hurt?” He asked, panicked.

“I’m ok, calm down.”

“Then what happened.”

I sighed. What should I tell him? “Can you meet me somewhere? The park?”

“Ok.” He said, sounding unsure, “You there now?”

“No, you go home, get changed and stuff.” I paused, “I’ll be near the swings in fifteen minutes.”

He was silent for a moment, “Ok, I’ll see you in a bit.”


“Bye.” He replied, hanging up the phone.


I sat down on the bench and looked up at the clear blue sky above. A plane was streaking past overhead, drawing lines across the sky. I continued to watch it until I noticed someone approaching. I looked to my left and watched as Connor walked towards me before sitting down next to me.

“Are you in trouble, Matt? Did you and Max do something wrong?” He asked quickly.

I turned to him, “No, it’s nothing like that.”

He looked at me, “Then what is it like?”

I looked back at him, staring deep into his dark brown eyes, “I can trust you, can’t I, Connor?” I asked aloud.

He nodded, “You know that.”

I’d lost one friend over the past 24 hours, I wasn’t ready to lose another one, especially Connor. I looked into his eyes again.

“I’m gay.”

“Ok.” He shrugged.

My eyes widened, “What?”

“Ok.” He repeated.

I stared at him in disbelief, he had to be playing me, “What?” I said again.

“I said it’s OK.” He said, smiling.

I looked straight ahead. I wasn’t prepared for that. Connor shook my arm.

“Hey, are you ok?”

I blinked, “Erm, yeah I just…” I looked back at him. He didn’t seem angry, pissed or even surprised. He was just…Connor. Everyone around me had changed since I came out, yet Connor hadn’t changed at all. He wasn’t shouting or shying away. He was just being himself. And that meant more to me than anything.

I reached out, grabbed his coat and pulled him into a hug, “Thank you.”

He returned the hug, “For what?”

“Being you.”


After our short conversation in the park, Connor insisted that I should go over to his house. I figured that I could use the distraction, so I went with him. We were sitting up in his room, we had the Playstation going, but we were hardly playing it. We spent most of the time talking.

“So you going to tell me what’s wrong with Max? I’m guessing he found out about you.” Asked Connor.

I nodded, “Something like that.”

He sat down opposite me, “Did you tell him?”

I shook my head, “No.” I paused, “He kinda…caught me.”

A grin appeared on his face, “Omigod, you wasn’t looking at…” He gestured toward his computer.

“What? No. No way.” I said, trying to stifle a small smile. It felt good to make a genuine smile for what seemed the first time in days.

His expression became serious again, “Oh. Sorry, I just thought…”

“It’s ok...well, actually, it was worse than that.”

He looked at me worriedly, “What happened?"

“Max caught me…kissing a guy.”

His eyes widened, “Shit.”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“What did he say?” He asked quickly.

“Not a lot at first, I mean, I followed him outside.” I frowned, remembering the events that happened yesterday, “And he basically…”

Connor inched closer, “What did he say?”

“I told him to calm down, that I could explain, but he was pissed. Really pissed.”

Connor stared at me, letting me continue.

“He said a few…not so nice things… then he said that he wanted us to stay away from him.”

“Us? As in you and me?” He asked.

“No, me and Ja-“ I stopped, suddenly realising what I had said.

Connor noticed immediately, “Jamie? You was going to say Jamie wasn’t you?” He said quickly. He didn’t sound threatening or angry, if anything he seemed somewhat interested. Not about my situation, but finding out about Jamie and me.

Noting that Jamie said it was ok for me to tell him, I nodded, “Yeah, Max caught me kissing Jamie.”

“So Jamie’s gay?”


“Really?” He asked, smiling.

I nodded, “Yep.”

“Wow.” He said, looking straight ahead before looking back at me, “So you and Jamie, are you two together?”

I nodded again, “Yeah.”

“Are you two new, I mean have you just started…dating?” He said, looking for the right word.

I thought for a moment, “We started dating on his first day.” I said, feeling that there was no point in denying it.

“Man! That was ages ago!” He said, before he gave me a sideways glance and a light shove, “Jeez, his first day! You don’t hang around.”

A smile crept onto my face, “Have you SEEN Jamie?”

“Not as well as you have.” He said quickly.

I opened my mouth to reply, but started to blush suddenly, “Connor!”

He giggled, “What?”

“How can you joke about it so easily? I mean, you’re not even embarrassed.”

He shrugged, “You joke about girls and stuff. It’s the same thing, in reverse.”

“But still, you’re talking about two guys.”

He nodded, “Two guys who are also my friends, one of them my best friend.”

“You’re so comfortable about it.”

“I’m straight, you’re gay. We’re both comfortable being ourselves, right?”

I grinned, “Yeah, I guess so.”

He was silent for a moment, “So…What’s he like naked?” He asked, giggling.

“Hey!” I said, giving him a light punch. Yep, Connor hadn’t changed one bit.


I couldn’t remember a time where I had been so at ease being myself than hanging around Connor’s house. Everything that had messed up over the past few days didn’t seem to matter as much. I wasn’t pretending that everything was fine and dandy, but it was nice to have my mind preoccupied by something else. Eventually though, I decided that it would be best that I headed home. I didn’t want my parents to think that I wasn’t going to return.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Matt.” Said Connor as he walked me to the door.

I nodded, noting that I fully intended to return to school tomorrow, “Yeah.”

“Hey.” He said, causing me to face him, giving him the chance to hug me tightly. It was odd to receive a hug from him. In the past I would have been concerned with getting a little too ‘comfortable’ with the contact, but the truth was, it didn’t feel anything like that. After a few moments, he pulled back, “Everything will be ok. I’ll look out for you.”

I smiled at him, “I know you will.” I paused, “Thank you Connor, for everything.”

“Anytime, Matt.”

I turned and walked down the street. The walk home was quite peaceful and relaxing. The last hour or so with Connor really helped me to sort out some of the things that were going on inside my head. I was so pleased that he accepted me. Not only that, but he was willing to stand by me, regardless.

But because of my lighter mood, I wasn’t expecting what happened next. I walked up my path leading to my house and unlocked the door. I stepped inside and noticed my sports bag placed next to the shoes. My heart quickened in pace again. I didn’t like where this was heading. After a couple of seconds, my mum appeared.

“I think that you should go over to…Jamie’s again.”

I looked at her, “What?”

“We need you to stay over at Jamie’s house.”

I frowned, “So you’re kicking me out?”

“No.” She answered quickly, before she calmed down, “We just…make this easy for us, Matthew.”

I looked at her, “So you want me to go?”

She waited for what seemed for an eternity, “We need some time, Matt.”

I shook my head, “No, I think you have everything decided.”

“A few days.” She looked at me, “Just a few days.”

I faced her, “And what happens then? What if you need more time?”

She stood there silently.

“Will it become a week? A month?” I but my bottom lip, “Or would you just give up on me?”

She continued to stare at me again.

“You know what? Don’t answer that.” I walked past her.

“Where ar-“

“I’m going to say goodbye to Josh.” I replied as I headed up the stairs. I walked past my room and arrived outside Josh’s door. I knocked lightly.

“Come in.” He said.

I pushed open the door and saw Josh sitting on his bed, wiping his eyes. I walked over and sat down next to him, “Are you ok?” I asked.

He leaned his head against my shoulder, “Why do you have to go?”

I thought for a moment, “Because it’ll be easier.”

“How?” He asked, “You’re going to leave me.”

A tear rolled down my cheek, “I’m sorry. But I promise I won’t be gone for long.”

He shook his head, “I don’t want you to go.”

“If I stay, things could get worse.” I paused, “I’ll see you everyday, I’ll just be sleeping at Jamie’s.”

“But I want you to sleep here. In your room.”

“And I will, soon.” I pulled back and looked into his eyes, “No matter what mum and dad say, I will come back here again.”

“You mean that?”

I nodded, “I do.”

He smiled, “Ok.”

I wiped a tear off his cheek, “Ok. Now I better go, but I’ll call you at 9:00, before you go to bed.”

He nodded.

“Just keep your phone near you.” I said as I stood up.

“Ok.” He paused, before he hugged me again, “I love you, Matt.”

I returned the hug, “I love you too, Josh. I’ll come by and walk with you to school tomorrow.”


“Bye, Josh.”


I turned and closed his door. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, but I held them in. I had to be strong for Josh. I headed back down the stairs and picked up the bag. I didn’t wait for my parents to show up, I just opened the door and stepped out into the night.


I reached out and knocked on the door. Noah’s car wasn’t parked in the drive, but I hoped that someone was still home. I needed someone. Better still, I needed somewhere to stay. A few seconds later, the door opened, revealing Sue standing there. We looked at each other for a few seconds before I spoke.

“Um…Is Jamie in?”

She looked at me for a moment, “No.” She answered softly.

“Noah?” I already knew the answer, but I needed someone.


I looked at her before I nodded, “Oh.” I cast my eyes to the floor as they began to swell. I bit my bottom lip.

“Hey.” She said, still in that soft voice.

I looked up at her.

“What happened?” She asked, looking down at the bag I was holding.

I opened my mouth, but no words came out. A stray tear escaped my eye, before more started to follow.

She reached out and pulled me inside. As soon as she closed the door, she pulled me into a hug. And for the second time in two days, I completely broke down, letting go of everything. I couldn’t hold it anymore. The stress of coming out to Connor, the ordeal with my parents, Josh and finally the thought of school tomorrow. It was all too much for me. We stood in his hallway for a few minutes, with Sue holding me, before we made our way into his lounge and sat down on the sofa.

Sue pulled me close as I wept against her, “Shhh, it’s ok.” She said, while stroking my hair softly, “I’ve got you.”

Once I calmed down. I started to talk some. I told her everything. Everything that happened at home, both today and yesterday. I told her what happened at the park, at Connors. I don’t think I missed out a single thing. The whole time she sat there, nodding slowly or hugging me closer again. She didn’t show any signs of disgust or anger toward me. At times she flinched at what I said, but she didn’t tell me to stop, or voice her concerns. She let me get it all out.

“I can’t say I’m happy with what Jamie told me yesterday, actually, I wish he didn’t say anything.” She said, causing me to frown at her, “But he did say something yesterday, and as angry or frustrated that I was, that I still am, I never, for one moment stopped loving him. And I’d never tell him to leave. Never.”

A fresh flow of tears escaped my eyes as I nodded, causing Sue to pull me closer.

“I don’t understand the relationship that you have with…Jamie.” She began, “But I know that you’re a good boy, one who needs to be looked after right now.”

I smiled meekly at her.

After a few minutes of sitting there, she patted my leg, “Come on, let’s get some hot cocoa.” She said, standing up. I followed her into the kitchen where she pulled out some instant hot chocolate and boiled the kettle. I watched her closely as she made the drinks. Hundreds of chaotic thoughts kept running through my mind.

“Do you hate me?” I asked, as she handed me a cup.

She looked at me, “No. I don’t hate you.”

“Do you blame me for…what Jamie said yesterday?” I asked, implying Jamie’s sexuality.

She was quiet for a moment, “I don’t know.”

I nodded. I appreciated her honesty, but her answer still hurt. While I knew that no one was to blame for Jamie being gay, she wasn’t aware of that. After all, I was the physical manifestation of his sexuality. I was the most probable target for her anger. I was his boyfriend.

“I can’t change overnight, Matt.”

I nodded again.

“But I’m trying.”

“I know.” I whispered.

We both looked down the hall when we heard a key turn the lock, before the door swung open revealing Noah, Jamie and Sam stepping through. Jamie rushed forwards when he noticed me, “Matt? What’s happened?”

I waited until Noah walked in, “They don’t want me back there, for the time being.” I said quietly.

Jamie placed down the bag that he was carrying and walked forwards to hug me. I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face in his neck. His scent helped comfort me, I knew that I was safe again. After a few seconds, he pulled back. We moved over to the table where I spent the next few minutes going over what happened at home. Noah was less than impressed.

“I have a good mind to call them right now.” He said, rubbing the side of his face, “But that could make things worse.”

Jamie nodded, “Why are they doing this? Do they just think that it’s going to go away if they ignore it?”

I shrugged, “I dunno.”

We sat there in silence before Noah stood up, unpacking the bag that he was carrying, “Anyway, we went out to get some ‘fish and chips’ for dinner.” He turned to me, “We did get some for you, in case you called us.”

Jamie looked at me, “Why didn’t you call?”

“I didn’t want to keep bothering you, you’ve already done more than enough.”

“Nonsense!” Said Noah, “Come on, lets not let this food go to waste.”


It was quite different to have dinner around Jamie’s. I mean, while I had eaten around there before it felt different now. Now they all knew that Jamie and I were together. I regarded his mum curiously throughout the meal. Her attitude seemed to have changed some since she opened the door on me earlier. I think her maternal instincts took precedence over her own beliefs. So she looked after a teen in need. Despite of my sexuality. Even so, it was clear that she wasn’t ‘there’ yet. Every time Jamie would touch me or grab my hand, she’d flinch. She tried to hide it, but I could tell that it bothered her. Regardless, she was trying. She was trying hard. And I couldn’t fault her for that.

Once we’d finished dinner, Jamie and I headed upstairs for the remainder of the evening.

The phone call with Josh was quite intense. There were moments where I thought I’d just burst out crying again. I hated the fact that I was separated from him. I shouldn’t be away from my brother. In fact, that really started to irritate me. Really irritate me. Once I hung up the call, I turned to Jamie.

“I can’t stay here tonight.”

He looked up, “What? Why?”

I stood up, “I’m not letting my parents kick me out.”

He stood up next to me, “Wait a minute, won’t this make things worse?” He said, as there was a knock on the door, “Come in.” He called out.

Noah stepped in, but frowned when he looked at my face, “What’s wrong?” He asked.

“I’m going home.”

He looked at Jamie, “Did something happen?”

“No. I’m just not being kicked out of my own home. My parents will just have to deal with it.” I said, picking up my bag.

Noah walked toward me, “Sit down a minute, Matt.”

I looked at him.


I took in a breath and sat down on Jamie’s bed.

“I have no problem with you going back home, but just think about it for a second. If you burst in there like this, it would make things worse.”

I shook my head, “I want to go home. Josh needs me.”

“I know Josh is finding it really hard right now, but think about how this will affect him.” He paused.

I sat there and thought for a moment. Noah and Jamie were right. Going around there now would only result in something worse. I wasn’t ready to risk that happening, “Ok, I’ll stay.” I paused, “But I’m going over there tomorrow. I’m not going to let them keep me away from home.”

Noah reached out and placed a hand on my shoulder, “Look, they said they wanted time. You can’t rush this.”

“But what about Josh.”

“As uncaring as it sounds, he’ll manage, he’ll have to. Besides, it’s not like he can’t see you, period.”

I nodded, “I guess. It’s just…I hate seeing him upset. Especially when it’s my fault.”

“It’s not your fault. You’re doing the best you can. Josh knows that.” He replied.

“You’re right.” I looked at him, “So if I’m staying here, where will I sleep?” I asked, wanting to be reasonable with the ‘rules of the house’.

“I’ve been thinking about that.” He began, before Jamie interrupted him.

“Can’t he stay up here tonight, with me?” He said, before Noah raised a hand.

“If Sam was bringing a boyfriend over, I’d make him sleep in the guest room.” He looked at us, “Now I don’t want to separate you two, you’ve both been through enough.” He paused, “But I want you to promise me that you’ll sleep in separate beds. Do we have a deal?”

I nodded, “I promise.” I looked at him, “Thank you, Noah.”

“Yeah, thanks Dad.” Added Jamie.

He smiled at us, “I know I can trust you boys.” He said, ruffling Jamie’s hair, “If you give me a hand with the fold up bed, then I’ll be out of your way.”

It took us around five minutes to carry the bed up to Jamie’s room and set it up. Once we had finished, Noah turned to us.

“Are you going to school tomorrow?” He asked.

“Yeah. I think we are.” I said, glancing over at Jamie who nodded. I just wanted to get everything over and done with. I wanted everything to go back to normal. And missing school wasn’t going to accomplish that.

He looked us over, “Ok. Have a good sleep, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Goodnight, Dad.”


Jamie and I didn’t stay up much longer ourselves. Not because we wanted to get an early night, but because of how exhausted we were. The last two days had really taken its toll on our sixteen-year-old bodies. After a lengthy discussion, it was finally decided that I would sleep on Jamie’s bed and he’d take the fold up bed. His argument was that I was the guest. And that his bed smelled of him. So I relented and gave in.

Noah placed the two beds side by side, so we were separated by only an inch or so. It was almost as though we were sleeping in the same bed, so it wasn’t that much of a compromise.

As we lie there next to each other, Jamie reached out and grabbed my hand, “Goodnight Matt, I love you.”

“Goodnight Jamie, I love you too.”

I leaned over the small void and kissed him, before I laid my head on the pillow. I relaxed against the bed. I could smell Jamie in the sheets, and feel his warmth in our interlinked hands. I closed my eyes and slipped into a deep sleep.



I rolled over and squinted my eyes, looking at the blaring alarm,
6:45. It sounded a few more times before Jamie reached over and smacked it. Silencing it. I rolled onto my back and closed my eyes.

It was a school day, on a Tuesday, and for the most part; I was out. I wasn’t looking forward to it. At all.

Thank you for reading Chapter 9 of American Differences.

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