by David Heulfryn


Max came home earlier than usual. It was only eight o’clock, and we were all surprised when he said he was going to bed. He looked angry and upset.

I glanced over at Mum, and she cocked her head as if to say, follow him; make sure he’s alright. She knew we’d become closer these last few months and that he might open up to me rather than them. I said I would leave him for fifteen minutes.

I got up from the sofa at quarter past eight and went to bed.

I quietly opened the bedroom door, but when I saw Max sobbing into his pillow, I ran over and hugged him.

“What’s wrong, Max.” He was lying on top of his duvet in his clothes, including his trainers. He hadn’t bothered to get undressed.

I released him and sat on the side of his bed. Max turned over so he was now facing the ceiling. His eyes were red and puffy, his cheeks wet with tears.

“Is it James? Have you argued?” I asked, and Max closed his eyes, screwing them up to try and hold back more tears.

“Not James, no,” Max said flatly.

“If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s alright. I’ll be here if you do.”

“Sorry, Min.” Max sniffed and sat up next to me. I put my arm around his shoulder. I could feel his pain and wanted to take it away from him.

“It’s alright, Max.” I rubbed his shoulder.

Max was silent, and then I watched as more tears rolled down his cheeks. I felt sorry for him. I sat quietly next to him, just holding him. He would talk when he was ready. I knew he would.

“I spent most of today so angry, Min. But Pete has really hurt me. I thought we were good friends, but he just turned on me when I told him about James and me. He accused me of some shitty things. He accused me of perving over him in the school locker room. He accused me of fancying him. Which is bullshit!” Max spat out. “We were mates, good mates, but I never fancied any of my mates. He never gave me a chance to explain; he just told me to fuck off and die.”

I sat next to Max with my mouth open. I wondered how a friend could be so nasty.

Max turned to look at me, tears still rolling down his face. “He told me to fuck off and die and called me a queer.”

I started to cry, too. I held Max tightly, our tears mixing as our cheeks touched. “I’m sorry, Max.”

“I thought that was it. He left me alone all day at school, and my other mates told him to fuck off. They stood by me.”

“I’m glad,” I whispered in his ear.

“But he found us after school, James and me. He was aggressive and said he felt sick thinking that I was fantasising about him naked and sucking his cock, and fucking his arse. It was never like that. I tried to tell him, but he wouldn’t listen. He punched me in the face, which caused James to lay into him. I had to pull James off him. Pete ran off, spitting at us and threatening us.”

“I’m so sorry you had to go through that.” I hugged Max tightly again.

“James tried to calm me down, but I was just so angry at him for beating him up. He shouldn’t have done that. I never wanted that, even though Pete punched me. I thought it best to come home. I just wanted to be alone.”

“Sorry, I’ll leave you, Max.” I got up off the bed and made my way to the door.

“No, Min!” Max cried, “I didn’t mean you. I just wanted to get away from everyone.” Max got off the bed and came over to hug me. He sobbed on my shoulder. I just held him until he got it out of his system.

We held each other for about ten minutes before Max started to pull away. “Thanks, Min.” He sniffed away his tears and looked at the clock. “We’d better get ready for bed. It’s nearly time anyway.”

Max sat back on his bed. I heard it creak as he bent down and untied his laces to kick off his trainers. I sat on my bed and took off my sock. I threw them at Max, and they hit him in the face. He looked over at me and saw the wide grin on my face. For a moment, I detected a little smile.

With his eyes downcast again, Max stripped, carefully folding his clothes and putting them on our desk and his underwear in the dirty linen basket. He went to the bathroom. I quickly followed after undressing. I felt like I couldn’t leave him. We never spoke a word while we cleaned our teeth.

Max left our door open when he got into bed. I waited for him to get comfortable before turning off the light. His bed kept squeaking as he fidgeted. I’d never noticed his bed making that sound before. I turned off the light and got into bed. We lay in silence, but I could hear Max breathing deeply like he was thinking.

I was about to turn over and go to sleep when I heard Mum shout up the stairs.

“Finn!” She yelled, making sure she was heard. “Your Dad wants a quick word. Can you come down for a minute?”

“Shit, what do they want?” Max didn’t say anything. I got up and dashed down the stairs. It was only when I got to the bottom that I realised I was still naked. Mum came out of the front room and saw me. She squealed in shock but then started to laugh. I dashed back upstairs, flicked on the light and found some underpants to put on. Max groaned as the light hurt his eyes, but I turned it off again once I was covered up.

Mum was still giggling when I went into the living room. “Sorry, Finn. I just didn’t expect to see you naked.” Dad frowned at me. He’d specifically told me I could only go naked in my bedroom. “He’s grown a bit since the last time I saw him naked.”

I blushed, “What did you want me for?” I asked Dad.

Dad cleared his throat, “We just wanted to make sure that your brother was alright? It was obvious something had happened today. We just want to make sure everything is okay. We know he tells you things, so if there’s anything you think we should know, please tell us. We do love you boys and don’t want to see you hurt.”

“Thanks, Dad,” I said and shivered. I was starting to feel the cold as I sat in only a tiny pair of pants. “One of his friends didn’t take the news that he had a boyfriend too well. It upset him.”

“This is exactly what I was worried about.” Mum chipped in. “He’ll lose friends and get bullied.”

“It’s not like that, Mum. It’s only one friend. The others were supportive. But it still hurt him. Please just let him deal with it in his own time and in his own way.”

“Okay, Finn.” Mum conceded, “but if he is still like this in a few days, then I’m going to talk to him, and I might have to go to the school and let them know what’s going on. I’m not having him bullied.”

“Please, Mum, just leave it. He’s not being bullied. He’s fine. He’s just lost a good friend.”

“Who?” Dad said gruffly.


“Peter!” Mum was surprised, “He was always so nice. I thought he was always such a good boy.”

“Well, it seems he is also homophobic,” I told them.

“Trust me. The next time I see his mother, I will be having words.” Mum pouted.

“Please, Mum. Max doesn’t want to make matters worse. He just wants it all left alone. If it doesn’t settle down, trust me, either he will say something, or I will. I hate to see him like this.” For some reason, a tear escaped from my eye.

“Oh dear.” Mum sat next to me on the sofa and hugged me. I felt warm again, “you boys really do love each other so much.” She looked over at Dad, “Were you and your brother like this at their age.”

“Not at all. My brother was a pain in the arse at that age.”

Mum tutted. I squirmed my way out of her arms. “I’m going back to bed.” I told her, but before I left, I turned to her and said, “You’re not going to interfere, are you? It’s the last thing he would want at this moment. Please be patient.”

“I promise, Finn. But please let us know how it is going, especially if Max still isn’t telling us about it.”

I nodded and dashed upstairs.

“What was that all about?” Max asked me as I pulled down my briefs and threw them onto our desk.

“They just wondered what was wrong with you. I told them about Pete and how it upset you.”

Max sighed.

“Don’t worry. I said everything was alright and there was nothing to worry about.”

“Did they believe you?” He asked.

“I think so.” I didn’t want him to start worrying about what our parents would do. He had enough to cope with. I would try and deal with our parents. “You seem a little better,” I said to Max.

“A little. I’m just so annoyed with Pete and James.” He added quickly, “I don’t want my friend and boyfriend fighting each other.”

“Ex-friend.” I corrected him. “If I know James, he won’t carry it on. He was defending you after Pete hit you. It’s natural for him to want to defend his boyfriend.”

“I suppose. I’ll call him in the morning. Let him know that we’re still okay.”

“Good idea. He must be worried sick about you.”

“Just hang on a minute.” I got out of bed, felt for my briefs that I threw on the desk and slipped them on. I went downstairs and asked Mum and Dad if Max could text James to ensure he wasn’t worrying. They agreed, and I said I would put his phone in their room once he’d sent the text message.

Max thanked me once I was back in bed and told me he loved me.

I told him I loved him too, and we fell asleep. Although I think I had a better night’s sleep than Max.


The next night, Max was a different person. He had his smile back, and his eyes told me everything was fine. It was a rugby night, and he didn’t come home until his curfew. He rang Mum earlier to say that he was going back to James’ house after rugby and his mother offered to give him tea.

I was in bed when Max came home. I wanted to get out of the way in case he wanted to speak to Mum and Dad when he got back. He didn’t, but they knew he was okay when he got home. Max told me that Mum hugged him without saying a word and let him go to bed.

Max told me how his day went. Pete had left him alone. Max said he felt sorry for him as all their friends were supporting Max, so Pete spent the day on his own, without any friends.

“Karma.” That was the only word I said. I was glad things were looking up, especially as it was my birthday this Saturday, and I wanted it to be a special day. In fact, I had plans to put in place for the day; plans that would make it special for me, and for Max.


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One Reply to “”

  1. Of course it was bound to happen. Max may be unhappy about it, but there is always one. Depending on the popularity of that one person it stays at one or he will get a group of followers to do the same. People are herd animals, well, most of them anyway.

    Thanks for the update David.

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