The ball left his foot in a rushed frenzy, totally uncontrolled. The teen, frustrated, pulled at his hair as he watched as the central defender swept in to steal the errant pass. He glanced over around the field, hoping none of his teammates noticed his lack of poise. None seemed to be focused on him as they chased the ball back towards their own side of the pitch, like sharks to blood. Trying his best to shake his stupidity from his mind, Andy did what he could to help fix his mistake. The game’s clock started to wind down with no goals scored on either side. Andy refused to believe his folly could cost his team the game, almost praying that the defenders on his team could stop the advance.

He could only watch as the forwards effortlessly passed the ball in a series of one touches, completely picking apart the defense. Andy cringed from near mid-field, hoping the ball would get cleared out in his direction – to make up his error to his team. His hopes never came as Roderick, a brown-haired boy in his science class, received the ball from one of his own. Before any of Andy’s team could stop him, he blasted a shot straight on target. Tony, Andy’s goalie, leapt for it, stretching like a puma to get even a fingertip on it – anything to deflect the ball.

The ball whizzed past Tony’s outstretched hand and into the net.

Andy fell to his knees as the ref blew the final whistle, ending the game in his team’s defeat. A crushing weight befell his thin frame, almost weighing him down as much as the mop of blond hair atop his head soaked in his sweat from giving his all in the game. He felt absolutely sick with himself as he stared at a small rock in the ground. He cost his team the game. He couldn’t get his pass off properly.

“Hey, it’s okay.” A voice Andy really didn’t want to hear at that moment spoke up softly behind him. He knew the next thing he’d say. “It’s not your–”

“Yes it is!” Andy shouted, angry tears streaking his face. Trails of wet skin shone through the light dusting of dirt covering his face. “I lost us the championship!”

Knowing his best friend’s moods, Greg let it go. He sighed as he knelt next to Andy. “Is there anything I can say to make you feel better?” The two friends went way back, almost to the crib. Their parents arranged the play dates that led to them becoming the best friends they are now. Gently, Greg placed a hand on Andy’s back, hoping to stem the flood of bitter tears streaming from his friend’s eyes. Andy angrily shook the hand off his back.

“No, there isn’t,” he said simply. Andy, a competitive teen by nature, felt every loss as a personal attack to his character. The feeling deepened since he knew his bad pass led to the only goal that led to his team becoming second place. To him, it might as well have been a last place finish.

“Hey, I know what will cheer you up,” Greg said. He didn’t elaborate further, making Andy nearly glare at his friend, showing his impatience.

“What?” Andy wanted to shout, but he managed to dial back the volume in time.

“Why don’t you come over to my house? You can ride back with my folks and just grab a shower in my bathroom. Maybe even spend the night, like old times.” Andy missed the weekend sleepovers the he and Greg did every week. The last one happened nearly two months ago – when Greg found himself tied down to Amelia Lockhart – one of the hottest girls in their class, if not school. The two still hung out, but the weekends shifted from being a day to hang out with his best pal to being stuck at home, bored with nothing to do, as Greg went over to Amelia’s or vice versa. A few times, Greg did invite Andy over when she came to his house, but Andy never wanted to be the third wheel. “The only thing is that we’ll have to watch Matt and make sure he stays out of trouble. Though it’s hard for him to get into trouble when he’s reading a book,” Greg laughed lightly.

Suddenly, Andy’s nerves got the better of him. Anytime Greg mentioned his thirteen year-old brother, visions of his soft, vibrant face filled his mind. He couldn’t help but remember how the light played off his assuredness and self-confidence within his chartreuse eyes. How Andy couldn’t take his own jade eyes off Matt’s lips every time he spoke or graced him by curving into that delightful smile. He also recalled the few times Matt tagged along with him and Greg to the local pool over the past summer, taking in the sight of his developing chest and stomach, just wishing he could let his hands roam across that lightly tanned skin. Or run his fingers through Matt’s slightly darker blond hair.

Just as suddenly, Andy tried to shake the memories from his head as another problem started to arise. Wearing a pair of flimsy soccer shorts and no cup makes a difficult time trying to hide a spontaneous erection – just like Andy felt stirring now. His face felt florid as he quickly adjusted himself discreetly when Greg turned away for just a moment. “Uh, yeah, I guess. I’ll have to check with my mom of course.”

“I’ll have my mom call her and then they can talk for hours like they said they used to.” Andy’s mother Gwen and Greg’s mother Teresa grew up together and went to the same school. Both were thrilled when they each had a boy on the way and made sure to plan things together, hoping the children would become best friends like their moms. Naturally, everything worked out rather well for all involved. “C’mon, let’s go before my mom drags us out of here and embarrasses the hell out of us. You know she will.” Andy did know all too well. Having felt himself deflate enough for walking, Andy stood with his friend’s help. The boys grabbed their soccer bags after shucking their shin guards, socks, and cleats, exchanging them for sandals. Once the two loaded the trunk with their bags, Teresa drove the two off towards the Parker residence.

 

* * *As soon as Teresa pulled into the driveway, both fourteen-year-olds fell out of the vehicle, grabbed their respective bags, and traipsed up to Greg’s room. Greg hoped he and his friend could talk for a bit before his parents left for the evening. He knew as of late Andy seemed a bit off. Not anything to get overly concerned about, Greg just sensed something bothered Andy – and it wasn’t just the loss they just suffered. Ever since he started dating Amelia, he watched in school as Andy grew more within himself. Greg really hoped he hadn’t rubbed his relationship with his girlfriend into his currently single friend’s face – that was never meant to happen if it did. That’s what he hoped he could talk to Andy about – get to the root of the problem and hopefully stem any jealous or hurt feeling before it ended up tearing their friendship apart.

Each teen took turns using the shower with Greg going first. He waited patiently for Andy to emerge from the bathroom he shared with his younger brother. As he did, Greg couldn’t help but admire the athletic look his friend had – it came from years of Andy playing soccer. Greg only started playing at age ten, giving Andy a good three year start. Both liked the sport, but Andy’s passion to compete helped him jump into the fray a lot sooner than Greg.

“Hey, can we talk for a bit? Before Mom and Dad saddles us with watching Matt?” Greg asked, breaking off his thoughts and turning his back, giving Andy the privacy to change into some of the normal clothes he left at Greg’s from previous stays.

“Sure, what’s up?” Andy asked, as he took a seat at the end of Greg’s bed after he finished getting dressed in just a tee and some boxers.

“Well, it’s just I’ve noticed you seem down as of late. Ever since I started dating Amelia. I want to make sure we’re cool and all. You’re not mad at me, are you?”

“Mad?” Andy scoffed. “Why would I be mad at you for dating one of the prettiest girls in our class? In fact, I’m totally happy for you.”

“But there’s more to it than that,” Greg pushed, reading his best friend like an open book. “Isn’t there?”

Andy fidgeted a bit, unsure if Greg hinted at what Andy thought he might. He really wished he wasn’t. “I guess,” Andy started off slowly, hoping he didn’t sound too needy for his friend’s attention. Veering away from Greg, he didn’t want to discuss the matter. “It’s just… I miss hanging out with you on weekends. Like we used to.”

“I do too, to be honest,” Greg said a bit sadly. “I’m sorry to say, but Amelia gives me something you can’t. Here, how about we do something next weekend? The tournament’s done and my girlfriend hasn’t asked me for something to do then yet. Whaddya say?”

A small smile crept onto Andy’s face. “O-Okay, sounds good.”

Greg’s smile faded. “Oh, there’s something else we need to talk about. It’s about Matt.” He said I could tell you.” The teen rubbed his face. “Andy, this isn’t easy to say and I hope you don’t freak out. I mean, he’s still my brother and I still love him.”

Andy tensed immensely. “Wh-What are you trying to tell me?”

Before Greg could say anything, his bedroom door opened. “Hey Greg, Mom said that you…” The younger Parker stopped in his tracks as his eyes started to glaze over. Both Greg and Andy followed his line of sight right into Andy’s exposed crotch – the button on his fly somehow came undone.

Greg tore his eyes quickly away from Andy’s escaping penis. “Dude, fix yourself. And Matt, stop staring – you’re probably going to scare him away!” Andy quickly did just that, embarrassed that his underwear failed at its job.

The younger boy came back to his senses, a deep blush washing over his face. Andy thought he even saw a tear bubble up in the corner of his beautiful chartreuse eyes. “A-Andy, I-I’m sorry…” Matt blubbered for a second before turning back to his brother. “D-Did you t-tell him yet?”

“I was about to, yeah,” Greg said. “Since you’re here, did you want to?”

“Um… I-I guess – Mom wants t-to talk to you b-before they leave. They’re a-actually going out with Andy’s parents now, so he’s to stay the night.”

“Alright, I’ll be back.” Greg ruffled Matt’s hair as he passed his brother, shutting the door gently behind him.

Matt slowly sauntered over from where Greg just departed and sat down. He eyed his crush almost longingly before he caught himself staring. Greg’s right, Matt thought. I need to tell him and hope he accepts me for who I am. Maybe if I can’t have him, then us just being friends is what I’ll have to take. “Andy… wh-what did Greg say so far?” Andy recounted the conversation about Matt up to when he walked into the room. “Okay, well I hope we’ll still be friends, as I really like you and not just because you’re my brother’s best friend. You’re always including me when you don’t necessarily have to, or even get me to get off my lazy ass and go outside once in a while.” Matt laughed a bit. “Here it is – I-I’ve been stalling and I need to stop. I’m gay.”

Andy sat slightly stunned. How could he believe his luck that the boy he practically drooled over just told him he’s the same as himself? He almost couldn’t believe it, the sheer coincidence in it. Matt started to grow increasingly worried as the silence grew – the younger boy feared he lost his imaginary lover forever, always using Andy in his jackoff fantasies. In fact, Matt practically had the two of them married with adopted kids in ten years! Just as Matt couldn’t take the silence any longer Andy slipped out of his mind and back into the real world. “Matt… I’m okay with that. More than okay.” Matt’s face lost the worry and took on confusion. “Here, maybe this will help. Come on, stand up for a second.” Both boys stood, Matt a bit more hesitantly than Andy. Gently, Andy took a hold of the younger boy’s shoulders.

Andy’s lips lightly touched upon Matt’s.

The thirteen year-old, at first shocked, realized what Andy just did and slowly melted into the moment. His stiff arms loosened from his sides and slid around Andy’s neck, not wanting the moment to end. Andy moaned against Matt’s mouth as the two traded kisses that grew more passionate, more fervent. Andy’s hand caressed Matt’s hair, relishing in its silky texture. Before either knew it, two things happened. First, they fell back onto Greg’s bed, still kissing wildly, not able to get enough of each other.

Greg cleared his throat loudly behind them.

Both Matt and Andy froze, the older teen more so. He knew he accepted his brother, but could Greg accept his best friend? Would all the times of them playing hooky from school together still matter? The time where Andy saved Greg from total humiliation by giving up his own shirt after Greg lost all his clothes to a bully? The hospital visits from Andy when Greg fell down the street, deciding to “face surf” and forsaking his bike, breaking his arm in the process? “G-Greg…” Andy said as he tried to both regain his composure and hide the giant erection in his boxers.

“Andy, don’t,” Greg said gently. “You don’t have to explain. I’ve seen how you’ve stared at each other when you thought you could sneak a peek. While I think this is a strange situation – walking in on your gay brother making out with the straight brother’s best friend – given time, I… I should be okay with this. If, I assume, more will come of this?”

“I… really hope so,” Matt said cutely, blushing slightly as he slowly turned to Andy. “A-Andy?”

Andy took a hold of Matt’s hand, intertwining their fingers. He brought the back of Matt’s hand to his lips, placing a gentle kiss to it. “As do I, Matt. I’ve wanted this for so long…”

“Me too.”

“So…” Greg said. “The ‘rents are gone now, leaving me in charge of you, little brother.” An evil smirk crossed Greg’s face. “I could tell you to get away from my best friend.”

“That’d be punishing me too!” Andy said with a mock whine. He knew that smirk anywhere – it always showed itself right before Greg tried his best to be funny. More often than not, the laughs came forth from the successful prank or joke.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Greg said. “How about we all go watch a movie.” He started to leave before he stopped. “As long as it’s not a chick flick.” Both Matt and Andy laughed lightly.

“Go pick out the most action-packed flick you can find, Matt,” Andy said to the younger boy. “I need to talk to your brother for just a second, okay?”

“Okay,” he beamed. “Don’t be too long, alright? These,” he said as he pointed to his own lips, “want more of yours.” Greg rolled his eyes as Matt slipped by and out of the room.

“What’s up?” Greg asked.

“I just wanted to say… that this isn’t how I wanted you to find out about me – practically raping your little brother. For that, I’m sorry, man.”

Greg laughed. “What are you apologizing for? As I said, I pretty much expected it to happen sooner or later. I just didn’t expect it to go down in my room.” Greg paused. “For that you can apologize, especially if you got my sheets sticky.”

Andy couldn’t help but laugh. “No worries, man. We… just kissed. That’s all.” A light blush crossed his face.

“How was it?” Greg asked.

“As amazing as I expected,” Andy sighed dreamily.

“Alright lover boy,” Greg said, pulling Andy to his feet. “You do know that I’m kicking your ass the second you hurt my bro’s feelings.”

“I’ll offer my ass on a silver platter for said ass-kicking willingly.” Both teens walked out of Greg’s room and bounded down the stairs just as Matt walked back into the room with a fresh bowl of popcorn. The opening credits were rolling across the flat-panel TV. Once Greg sat down in the recliner, Andy couldn’t help but ask Matt, “Do your parents know about you being gay?”

“Not yet, no. Greg’s the only person I told before you. What about you?”

“Just whoever’s in this room knows about me,” Andy said. He sat down on the couch. “Come here.” Andy pulled Matt down and sat him on his lap. Enjoying himself, Matt smiled as he snuggled in as close as he could to Andy. Suddenly, Greg laughed. “What?” Andy asked, a bit annoyed.

“Just think – if we didn’t lose today, you two wouldn’t be so cozy with each other, but wishing you could be.”

Andy thought for a second. “I guess you’re right. We’d have been too busy celebrating to come back here, right?” Greg nodded as the first scene of the movie flashed on the screen. “I’ll have to thank Roderick in science class on Monday for beating us then. For this day couldn’t be ending any better.” Greg chuckled as he shook his head at both his best friend and brother as the two of them fell into yet another kiss, lost to each other’s love.

Published November 1, 2011

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