by David Heulfryn
I could feel my eyelids droop. I was tired and slowly falling asleep. I sensed an arm around me and felt warm and safe and
“Isn’t that sweet?” I heard my mother whisper.
I felt a hand stroke my forehead, brushing my floppy fringe from my eyes.
“I can’t remember the last time the boys were so close.” My dad replied.
We had been watching television before bedtime. I was tired after a particularly heavy-duty gymnastics session that morning. My muscles ached as the coach pushed me harder and further this time, knowing what I was capable of. That evening, Max and I sat on the sofa, and I hadn’t realised I’d snuggled up to him, laying my head on his shoulder and letting my eyes drift asleep. Max wrapped his arm around me, and I could feel his hand brushing and stroking my head. It made me feel safe and secure, so I snuggled tighter to him.
Then I felt his lips on my forehead as he kissed me. We’d forgotten where we were, at least I had. I’d forgotten we were in full view of our parents. I simply enjoyed how Max made me feel.
Max didn’t realise he was being watched. I don’t think he would have been so demonstrative to me if he had.
Max kissed my forehead again.
“Max,” our mum whispered, and I felt his muscles clench as it dawned on him we were being watched. “don’t you think you should tell Finn to go to bed.”
Max drew in a deep breath and gently shook my shoulder. “Min.” He whispered directly into my ear, and I gradually opened my eyes. “Let’s get to bed. We’re both dropping off.”
Max pulled his arm off my shoulder and allowed me up.
“Night, Mum, Dad,” I spoke and took myself upstairs. I heard my parents wish me good night as I left the living room. Then I heard Mum tell off Max.
“We said you weren’t to call him that ever again, Max. He hates it. It makes him feel second best when we all know he isn’t. We love both of you boys equally.” Mum said, and Dad nodded his agreement.
“It’s alright, Mum. He likes it when I do it. And I only ever call him that when we’re alone. I’m the only one who ever calls him it. No one else knows that was his nickname when he was younger.”
“Okay, Max. But you must stop if he tells you to, and I’ll make sure he’s okay with it in the morning. Now get to bed.”
Max came up the stairs as I left the bathroom, having cleaned my teeth. I was naked but too tired to care, and Max didn’t care either. He followed me into our bedroom, and I rubbed my thighs.
“My thighs ache so much,” I told Max. “So do my arms.” I then slipped under my duvet.
“What on earth did your coach get you doing today?” Max asked as he slowly took off his clothes.
“Nothing new, but it was just an intense training session for the county competition next month.” I watched as Max pulled down his underpants and stood naked in front of me. “I just hope a good night’s sleep will sort me out.”
Max then left the room. I was surprised that he didn’t pull on his pyjama trousers, but he left and went naked to the bathroom. Max didn’t seem to care if our parents came upstairs and caught him. Perhaps he was finally learning to love himself now that he knew other people loved him. And James loved him.
“I don’t mind you calling me Min.” I said to him when he came back. “I heard what Mum said when I left. I love it when you do.”
“That’s what I told her.” Max turned off the light and slipped under his duvet. He fidgeted a little while he got comfortable. “But if you ever want me to stop, you promise to tell me.”
“I will, Max. But it’s our private name. It makes us feel closer to you, and it’s only yours. I won’t let anyone else call me Min. Not even Mum and Dad. It’s special and only between us.”
“Thanks, Min,” Max said.
“I know I’m tired, but I can’t sleep without knowing what happened with you and James today.”
“It was alright,” Max said flatly, and then silence deafened the room.
When I realised he wasn’t going to say anymore, I spoke. “You’re not going to get away with that. I want to know everything.”
Max chuckled. “It went well. He told me to come over, and I met his parents and younger brother. He looked just like a mini-James. He even wore a rugby shirt. James said he was hardly ever out of it. I told James that you and I were different and that you didn’t care much for rugby. I told him I wished I had a brother like his.” Max teased.
“You bastard!” I told him. “You don’t really mean that, do you?” I said insecurely.
“Don’t be silly. You’re the best. I wouldn’t want anyone else than you as a brother. It’s a shame you don’t share my love of rugby, but I like that you are your own person.”
“I do like rugby, Max,” I said. “It’s just that I was always too small to be any good, and I discovered I was a better swimmer and gymnast. And I love watching you play when I get the chance.”
“Thanks, Min. I love watching you too. What you do in gymnastics is amazing. I could never do anything like that. I’m just bulk who can plough through the defence to score a try. What you do is sheer amazing.”
“It just takes practice. I bet I could teach you to do a backflip if you wanted.”
“You think so.” Max was surprised.
“Okay, I’ll let you try and teach me.”
“Join me after practice on Tuesday. That’s when the under-14s change to the under-16s. I can stay, and we can use the equipment. Just don’t wear your rugby kit. You’ll need something loose or stretchy. Those rugby shorts are too tight, and they’ll either restrict your movement or rip.”
“Thanks, Min. Let’s see if you can work your magic on me.” Max smiled.
“Talking about how stiff and unflexible you are,” I laughed, “tell me what happened with James.”
“Well, the worst part is that we nearly got caught. James’ brother burst into his room and almost caught us snogging. James said I went bright red, but James blagged our way out of it. Anyway, after that, we went out. We just walked around aimlessly, just talking. We got the bus into town, it wasn’t busy, and we ended up in a coffee shop.”
I knew Max would blush when he told me they hugged and kissed while sitting on the sofa at the coffee shop.
“On the walk home,” Max said, “we decided we wanted to come out.”
“You’re joking.” I spat out. “It’s two dates, and it’s too early.” I was worried.
“Not all at once, Min,” Max explained. “We’ve decided to come out at rugby first. I don’t go to school with any of them, and rugby is very tolerant. Several players have come out.”
“Okay, but be careful. You and James are on the same team. What if you break up. How would that work? It could be awkward.”
“I’d not thought about that.” Max considered. “But that’s got nothing to do with coming out. It could happen even if we don’t come out. Is it selfish to want everyone to know I’m in love?” Max asked me.
“No, I don’t think it’s selfish. I wish I was in love.”
“Don’t you fancy anyone at the moment?” Max asked.
“No, but just hearing you talk about James, I want some of that.”
“There’s no girls or boys at school you have a crush on?” Max asked.
“Not at school, but there is a boy at the swimming club I like. He’s cute. He’s my age, and Coach always pairs us up. Besides, all he talks about is girls.”
“Min?” Max started to ask a question.
“Are you gay?”
I thought for a while. “Well, I do think about boys more than girls. But I don’t know. Probably.” I said decisively.
“Mum won’t be too happy having two gay boys as sons. Who’s going to give her grandkids?” Max said.
“Max? Don’t you think we’re both too young to think about having kids? I’ve only just started masturbating and never thought about having sex.”
“Also, Max. Do you realise that is the first time you’ve actually said you’re gay?”
I heard Max get out of bed and come over to me. He stood over me. I looked at his naked body and face as he smiled.
Max sat on my bed. “Min, I’m gay.” His smile widened. “I’m gay, Min. I love James. I’m so gay.”
I sat up and gave him a hug. “Good for you, Max.” “Now, fuck off back to bed.” I pushed him off my bed, and he fell to the floor with a loud bump.
Max laughed, “What’s happened to your potty mouth, Min?” He stood up, and before going back to bed, he wiggled his hips, and I watched as his limp cock slapped his thighs.
“I like this new Max. You’ve changed.”
“It’s love, Min.”
“Well, if love turns you into some goofy, soppy jelly of a boy, then I don’t want it.” I laughed.
“I like being a soppy jelly.” Max chuckled.
“And goofy. James makes me feel all those things. He also makes me feel proud, confident, assertive, empathetic, self-assured and, more importantly, happy. If you had said you could teach me to do a backflip a few months ago, I wouldn’t have believed you and refused to try. But today, I feel like I could do anything. That’s love, Min.”
“Well, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on you. I’ll be in charge for once, and you have to do everything I say.” I laughed. “You’ll be mine, Max.”
“You love this. Little brother in charge. Don’t let the power go to your head. I could still beat you up.” Max giggled.
“You’d have to catch me first. You know I can outrun you. But put yourself in my hands, and I can get you fit.”
Max choked. “I’m fit. I may carry a few extra pounds, but I’m not some skinny skeleton like you.”
“Don’t worry, Max. Give me a couple of weeks, and those extra pounds will fall off.”
“Really.” Max was surprised at my promise. “I’ve not been able to shift this weight. They used to call it puppy fat, but I’m too old for that now.”
I didn’t want Max to be down on himself, so I went over to him and pulled off his duvet. He didn’t try to stop me. He wasn’t embarrassed. He just allowed me to reveal his naked body. I placed my hand on his abdomen. “This isn’t fat,” I told him. “If you were fat, you wouldn’t be the great rugby player you are. You are fit.” I laughed. “In both senses. What you are is a normal teenager. But if you are serious about the sport, fitness is the key, and we can all be fitter, including me.”
“I know, Min. I just start to doubt myself sometimes.” Max shivered. “Now, cover me up. I’m getting cold.
I flipped the covers back over him. He pulled the edge up to his chin.
“Much better,” Max whispered. “Aren’t you cold, Min? Get back to bed and get warm.”
I did as he said and soon began to feel warm again. “Tomorrow, we start to get fitter,” I told Max. “After school, neither of us has anything to do, so we’ll start then.”
“I was hoping to meet up with James,” Max whined.
“Afterwards,” I told him, “we’re just going to go jogging for an hour. Nothing strenuous. Start easy and try to build up some stamina. Rugby is good for short, sharp bursts, but you also need the stamina to keep up the attack on the opposition. Plus, it’ll be good for us to do something together again.”
“Okay, Min. I’m all yours after school, but then I’ll see James.”
“Deal. I just hope my muscles have recovered by then.” I felt my tense thighs and rubbed them. They felt sore but were starting to feel better.
“Night, Min. I love you.” Max said.
“I love you, Max.”
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