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All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Special thanks to my editor and best friend, “the ever beautiful Lizzy,” who came up with the title when my brain was already fried. Luvyuxoxo
“Tell me a secret Adrian. Something no one else knows. Something you’ve kept only to yourself all this time.”
To say that I was shocked by the question was an understatement, the drunken stupor completely gone even after all the beer bottles we’d been nursing earlier. It was a hot night near the end of summer, and we hauled comforters to the lawn outside his house to enjoy the remaining days before we go our separate ways and start college. I looked at him, moonlight clearly illuminating his face, the blond highlights on his black hair shining like gold in the middle of a sea of obsidian. My heart beats fast, my mind in overdrive, Do I tell him?
The full moon shines brightly in the cloudless sky, the crickets chirp to the summer breeze. Everything seemed so peaceful and surreal and somehow I felt no inhibitions in me. Maybe I was still drunk after all. Telling him something that I meant to say to him yet never had had the courage to, somehow makes perfect sense right this very moment. Throwing caution to the wind, I took a deep breath and sat up.
“I love you Harry. I have loved you all this time.”
I never noticed that the crickets have stopped chirping, the summer night is now completely silent, except that I can hear my heart thump very loudly, as if trying to pound its way out of my chest. How would he react on what I just said? If he thought of punching me and shouting that I have betrayed his trust, he was not making any move to do so. I look at the moon as I wait for his response, my ears straining for any sound that may come out of his lips.
I hear his breath, now shallow and relaxed, when all of a sudden he sits up too, his face so awfully close to mine.
I look at him, his gray eyes the last thing I see when all of a sudden he pulls me to him, bringing our lips together, his warm lips soft yet wanting at the same time. Right that moment it felt that time stood still, his lips tasted sweet with a trace of alcohol still lingering in them. His hands were behind my head, gently guiding me. It was intoxicating. Then I felt his tongue press against my lips, without thinking I opened my mouth to let him in. This felt so great, so good, so…
“Wrong,” I said as I pushed him away from me, “this is wrong.”
I stood up and walked away, leaving him confused as he stayed sitting in the grass. Somehow I felt that I was leaving my heart also.
Harry and I have known each other for as long as we could remember, our mothers also best friends since their college days when they both found out that they loved the same band and were hanging by a thread on their majors. We were the same age, something our parents did not plan together but nevertheless they were very happy to find out. They were thrilled that their little boys are going to be growing up side by side, which they made sure we did. We lived in the same subdivision, played in the same sandboxes, and attended the same school. Some people mistook us for fraternal twins since we were always together, yet they could clearly see the difference in our looks. Harry was taller and had lighter skin and gray eyes owing from his European heritage, while I was the tan skinned boy with the dark brown eyes which I got from my father’s Filipino blood.
Growing up together, Harry and I sort of developed this connection that made us know what the other was feeling even though he didn’t show it. Harry was a very open type of person, so I don’t really have a hard time knowing his moods and what he’s feeling at a given moment. In my case however, I was more of an introvert and kept things to myself, but Harry had no problem with that.
“It’s your body language. I’ve basically seen everything and what each of them means. Now from the way you’re biting your lower lip I know that you’re very nervous right now,” he said one day while he was teaching me how to drive a car (his parents being a little less strict and already taught him when we were still 14, now he thinks he’s such a pro and drives dangerously sometimes).
As with others who grew up side by side, we naturally did everything together: learning how to ride bicycles, swimming, camping, getting lost in the middle of the grocery store, everything. In school we were inseparable: sharing our lunch, playing with other kids during break, walking home together. My parents were already fixed on having one child, seeing the strains in child-rearing and so that they can have time for their kid even if they both have busy jobs. Harry’s parents were okay with another child, but after several attempts and a visit to their gynecologist they found out that Harry’s mom had a hormonal imbalance that caused her to have unhealthy egg cells. She could get pregnant, but it’s going güvenilir bahis to be risky. That was when we knew that Harry was the only brother I could ever have, and I was his.
Harry was very thoughtful and caring, sometimes even motherly. I can’t forget that time when I was coming down with colds and my parents weren’t home because of a convention they had to attend. Harry came that day to our house to supposedly invite me to theirs, when he found me in bed burning with fever. He immediately went to our medicine cabinet and gave me ibuprofen, then proceeded to strip me of my clothes to change in more comfortable ones. He cooked a light soup and although I didn’t have much of an appetite he wouldn’t take no for an answer and spoon-fed me (it was delicious, his mother taught him how to cook already and he was amazing). When I was already comfortable in the bed he called my mom and told her not to worry and catch the latest flight back home. I was already in good hands.
We grew up and entered high school, and there we started to branch out and did things separately, although we were as close as ever. We were both into sports, but he was the center in the basketball team while I was a forward in the soccer team. Due to our ancestry and active lifestyle, I can say that Harry and I look good physically, and this is the reason why we have no problem dating with girls. However,our relationships usually end with the girl breaking up with us because Harry and I spend more time with each other than with them. They didn’t think that we were gay or anything, since almost everyone knows that we’re basically brothers, but they were jealous just the same. During those times I get confused why they would get jealous of my relationship with Harry, since we only treat each other as brothers, although deep inside I knew that my friendship with Harry is more important than any other relationship I ever had. Little did I know that the seed of attraction has already been planted somewhere inside me.
We both loved the outdoors, and every summer we try our best to get our fill of the sun as much as possible. One summer before our final year in high school we decided to go mountain climbing and camping. We were both seventeen at that time and our parents trusted us to be with ourselves. The trek was very exciting, and being out of the busy and hectic grasps of civilization gave such a relaxing feeling inside me. We decided to go the farthest we could along the hiking trail until the sun sets, then set up camp for the night.
After pitching our tents, we started the campfire and took out marshmallows to eat s’mores in front of the fire. Later I took out the cans of beer we brought along and drank while talked of school, our games and anything that came to our minds.
“Ian,” Harry said while staring at the burning marshmallow in front of him, “how do you see yourself, say, 10 years from now?”
“10 years? Well surely by that time I’m already a highly-respected civil architect with a very huge pay and a work schedule I made for myself,” I replied, my career choice already made up by that time.
“What I meant was do you see yourself being married to someone, having kids?”
He looked at me, and I looked back, gray eyes meeting dark brown. Before that time I never thought of myself being settled down in the future with some woman and having children running around the house. Except for practical decisions like my career, I was not much of a future-planning person, more usually focused on short-term goals and decisions and living life by the moment. However, when he asked that question, the picture that came to my mind was his gray eyes looking at me like they are doing now. I shrugged the thought; even true siblings have to have their own separate lives sooner or later.
“I don’t know Har,” I lied, “how about you? What do you see 10 years from now?”
He smirked and looked at his marshmallow, which was deliciously dripping now. He took his time eating it, and I thought he was not going to answer.
“I’m not really sure of anything else, but I’m very sure that unless you’ve already died and already rotting under the earth before we’re 27, you’re going to be there.”
We laughed, that was Harry, believing that death was the only thing that could ever stop anyone from doing anything. I thought of what he said as I drank the rest of my beer. The seed inside me has started to sprout roots.
We entered our final year in high school, now more focused in our academics and school performance. I was determined to enter a high-standard school, probably one of the Ivies, to study for my architecture degree. Harry already fixed his mind to enter Cornell for his business degree. His father was a Legacy so I don’t think he’s actually going to have a hard time entering, but his dad good-naturedly reminded him that unless his grades were worth it he’s going to have a hard time surviving Cornell.
We performed fairly well in our SAT’s, so we didn’t have to worry about those, but türkçe bahis we still need to maintain our GPA’s. That year we basically spent more time poring over our books. We could also have a chance in entering the Ivies if we had a sports scholarship, but our parents had already invested early in our education and we didn’t have to worry about funding anymore. Besides, sports may take up our time and compete with our majors when college comes. Nevertheless we still played in our teams and attended after-game parties.
On one of these parties I met Trish, a junior cheerleader in our school. She had a wild reputation in school and it was obvious on the onset that as she was eyeing me in the party that she clearly wants to get in my pants, but she didn’t look bad and being young I played along with her. We ended up getting way drunker than we can handle and the rest of the night became hazy to me.
I didn’t know how Trish and I ended up in one of the bedrooms in the house, but she was smashing her lips against mine and sucking my tongue as if she wanted to pull it out of my mouth. Probably because we were so drunk and our hormones were out of control, I reciprocated. Our clothes were strewn all over the floor and we were naked except for our underwear. Then Trish pulled my boxers down, and suddenly my hormone-induced haze was gone.
She felt me stiffen, “What’s wrong? You’re not liking this?” then she took me in her mouth.
She sure knew what to do, and although I was a bit apprehensive at first, I just laid back on the bed and let her continue what she was doing. Yet as I closed my eyes the image that came to my mind wasn’t Trisha. Instead I saw a pair of intensely familiar gray eyes looking at me. This thought sent a wave of pleasure to my spine and I had to hold Trish’s head. She took this as a sign of approval and got faster as she worked me in her mouth. With the gray eyes still in my mind, it didn’t take long for me to find release.
Trish and I became a couple afterwards, and except for a few congratulatory remarks from my soccer teammates nothing else changed. Relationships between players and cheerleaders aren’t uncommon after all. However I noticed that Harry distanced himself from me, not even joining Trish and me during lunch or hang up after school. I didn’t mind at first, thinking that he was also probably busy with his studies and basketball. But as the weeks passed by and Harry didn’t even as much as text me I finally had enough and cornered him after one of his basketball practices.
“What’s wrong Harry? Are you deliberately avoiding me lately?” I demanded angrily.
The guilt on his face clearly showed that the accusation hit him. “No dude. It’s just, you and Trisha look great together and I thought maybe you didn’t want me tagging along while you’re with her. I’m sorry if it looked like I’ve been avoiding you.”
He looked genuinely apologetic and I just had to forgive him. “Look man, you’re my best bud. You come first before any girl I’m with, okay? Nothing’s gonna change between us.”
He glanced down, “No, Ian. Something has changed.” Then he eyed me once more with a mischievous grin on his face, “You’ve been having a steady supply of pussy while I’m here practically celibate!”
I punched him in the shoulder, and we both laughed. Everything was fine once again.
Or so I thought.
The following days Harry was hanging around once more with me (and Trish). Although physically he was there, I noticed that he was not so lively and his smiles didn’t reach his eyes. I guessed at first he felt really awkward when Trish and I were together, especially when Trish tried jumping my bones, hoping for an intense make-out session (which was always, no matter where we were). One time during lunch Trish tried to pull my head for a kiss, but I gently pushed her, since there were a lot of people around. She took this wrongly and went away huffing. I didn’t follow her, but I noticed Harry smirked.
My relationship with Trish wasn’t based on love, desire maybe, but definitely it’s not love. Yeah we do make out, I fondle her boobs and she sucks me, but we never progressed further, though I could tell that she wants to. I guess she grew tired of waiting and one day before my soccer practice she pulled me aside.
“Adrian,” she began,”I know what we had was great, but I never felt that you were really in it. It’s as if what we had was only up to being physical, but more than that I can’t feel anything.”
I was speechless at first, but I realized that this was true. “Look, I’m sorry if I’ve been so distant. I guess I’m not ready for this yet,” I admitted.
Our coach whistled for us to be in the field. “So, I guess I’ll still be seeing you around?” I asked her.
“Yeah, see you around.” And she kissed my cheeks.
I know I should be feeling guilty and remorseful, but what I felt during practice was an exhilarating sense of freedom and ease, and it showed in my game, having scored 4 of my team’s six goals. Coach noticed and commended me, güvenilir bahis siteleri and then released us early because of our good performance.
At the showers I noticed my teammates were staring at me, but they glanced away when I looked back. It was when Rick, one of our midfielders, approached me and said, “I’m sorry man.”
I was clearly confused and I finished showering as fast as I could. It was when I walked back to my car when I saw my just-ex-girlfriend sucking face with our goalkeeper, Jaypee, plus a lot of below the neck–and belt–action.
They saw me coming, and the look on Trish’s face was very guilty, which was not fitting, since we’ve already broke up and she’s free to kiss whoever she likes. I proceed to tell this to her, “I’m sorry to interrupt. Please, don’t stop on my account,” then went inside my car and drove away.
Later that night Harry called me to come over to his houseto shoot some hoops, and I proceeded right away. As soon as I stepped into their porch he went out and hugged me, but he quickly let go and said, “I’m sorry Ian, ’bout you and Trish. The news is all over the school.”
“That fast? It was just hours ago!” I said, incredulous.
“Well, a breakup between a hot cheerleader and a varsity player is big news,” he said. “And among the varsity players, you’re the hottest,” he added, albeit hesitantly.
I pretended not to notice, but I felt a warming in my cheeks and hoped that it didn’t show. I playfully punched his hard stomach, “Shut up, let’s not talk about it anymore.”
We played basketball, and throughout our game I can’t help but notice that Harry was in a very good mood. I didn’t want to assume, but I hoped that he was happy that Trish and I broke up, because I was.
The heck I was.
The rest of the year passed in a blur, then March came, and the college acceptance letters are out. Harry was admitted, not surprisingly, into Cornell, which both he and his dad happily celebrated to. On my case, I applied for six schools and was accepted into four of them and waitlisted in two. Much to my amazement I got accepted into Princeton, which was just a four-hour drive to Cornell when we feel that we want to visit each other. Now that our colleges are more or less secured we loosened our study schedules and gave more time to our social lives, though we still made sure that we maintained our GPA’s.
The day of our graduation came, which was also the day before we have to go andtransfer to our college dorms. Harry and I passed with flying colors, although none of us was class Valedictorian. We didn’t mind, doing exceptionally well in class was okay for us. Speeches were made, diplomas were handed out, and graduation caps were thrown. My family (naturally) had a celebratory dinner together with Harry’s. Since our things were already boxed up and ready to be hauled away, we decided to spend one more night together before we part.
“Tell me a secret Adrian. Something no one else knows. Something you’ve kept only to yourself all this time.”
That was how I found myself now walking home in the middle of the night. Our house was already dark and I left my keys and phone back in Harry’s so I rang the doorbell and hoped my parents were still awake. My mom came down a few seconds later.
“Ian, honey. Why are you home so early? I thought you were going to spend the night at Harry’s?” my mom fussed as I went in the house.
“Nothing mom,” I lied, “I just felt like spending my last night in a long time here at home.” I didn’t sound convincing, but I hoped she didn’t notice.
She did, worry crossing her face as she sensed that something was wrong, but she didn’t press it.
“Well good night honey. Sleep well, you’re still going to have a long drive tomorrow,” she said as she kissed me.
That night I wasn’t able to sleep, replaying what happened earlier again and again in my head. I kept wondering how something so wrong could feel so right.
The next morning I asked my father to fetch the things I left in Harry’s house, on the pretense that I was still finishing the rest of my packing. In reality I just wanted to go as soon as possible so I won’t have to see Harry. I didn’t want to ruin our friendship. Dad returned a little later.
“Ian?” he called from outside my room.
“Yes dad? Just open the door, my hands are full.”
He poked his head in, “I have your things here, and Harry said he wants to talk to you before you go. He sounded really upset. Did you two fight last night?” he asked.
“No!” I answered too fast. I sounded guilty and dad raised his eyebrow, “Maybe he just misses me already? I’ll pass by his house on my way.” I faked a laugh.
“Well, if there is a problem between the two of you, you should fix it right away. You two are like brothers, and you shouldn’t part without making up,” he said and closed the door, leaving me alone with my guilt.
What did Harry want to talk about? Is he going to say that last night we were just two drunk guys who made a mistake? Is he going to say that he doesn’t want to see me again? I was scared of losing my best friend, and I was afraid that after what we did last night I let the thing I feared the most happen. I can’t believe how weak and stupid I was.
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