The Price of Friendship

Chapter 11

“This tastes great, Mr. Canter!” I said, between bites of the barbecue chicken kebab.

“Thanks, Rick. Help yourself to seconds if you want — there’s plenty.”

“I’ll get you some more,” Drew said, putting his plate on his seat. “Just wait here.”

He headed inside while I glanced at the other hardy souls that were staying outside. We had split up along gender lines, except that Scott was inside with Penny and Sue was outside with Joe, with the males by the fire and the women in comfort indoors.

I was glad we had separated, because I wasn’t sure how to handle my mum. I knew I wasn’t the only one who saw her expression after Drew and I kissed, because I saw Mrs. Canter take her into the house soon afterwards. I was hoping that she would be able to help my mum handle my relationship with Drew. I grinned at my thoughts. I also needed someone to help me handle my relationship with Drew, but I suspected I would have to look after that one myself.

“How often do you have these barbecues?” Dad asked.

“Usually about once a month, though that may stretch to six weeks at this time of the year because of the weather. We always have one on Grand Final day, though, even if it’s pouring rain. One of those traditions we’ve been doing for years,” Mr. Canter said.

“Yeah, though when that happens, Drew and I end up doing most of the cooking,” Will said.

Mr. Canter chuckled. “It’s called building character.”

“What’s building character?” Drew asked as he came out of the house.

“Cooking in the rain,” Will said.

Drew laughed. “As long as you don’t tell them what we do to the food when they aren’t around, we’ll be okay.”

Will grinned at his big brother. “Of course not!”

My dad seemed surprised but Mr. Canter was unconcerned. “Ignore them, Ian. They’re just trying to get a rise out of me.”

“While I remember, Sue, Joe, can you keep Saturday night in three weeks’ time free? There’s a party you’ll be invited to,” Drew said as he handed me half of the kebabs he had collected.

Will’s attention left his food. “Party? What party?”

“We’re having a house warming party at our place. We started planning it last night,” I said.

Will put his food down and jumped to his feet. “Do you need another beer, Rick? I know where Dad’s got the bourbon hidden if you want something stronger. Nothing’s too good for my friends.”

I laughed. “A beer will be fine. Thanks, Will.”

Will took two steps towards the door before stopping and looking over his shoulder at me. “There will be girls at this party, won’t there?”

Drew grinned. “Sue will be there, I hope, so that’s a yes.”

Will rolled his eyes. “Single girls. Joe’s too big for me to try to steal Sue away from him.”

“Too right!” Joe draped an arm across Sue’s shoulders. “But she likes chocolates, if you want to try.”

You like chocolates. I like strawberries.” Sue gave Joe a kiss. “Like the yoghurt covered ones you gave me for my birthday.”

Joe shrugged, while trying not to look too pleased. “I knew one of us liked chocolates.”

I smiled at Will. “There’ll be a few girls, but we haven’t worked out who’ll be invited yet. Mum and Dad want to keep the numbers down.”

Will grinned. “Sounds good to me. I’ll be back with your beer in a sec. Just remember, Will is spelt W, I, L, L. Just put it at the top of the list so you don’t forget.”

While Will was inside, I gave Drew a look. He interpreted it correctly and leant forward to whisper, “He’s okay, and if you’d like to invite him, I don’t have a problem.”

“Thanks, Drew. If we don’t get caught with numbers, I’d like him to come.”

“Then that’s that.” Drew looked over at where Sue and Joe were having their own whispered conversation. “You’ll be able to make it, won’t you?”

Sue made a face. “We hope so, but there’s a family dinner at Joe’s place that night and we can’t really get out of it.”

“Don’t worry, they usually don’t go late. We should be there after nine, ten at the latest. Just curious, but why did you pick that particular weekend?” Joe asked.

“My cast is supposed to be off the week before, but, being paranoid, we’re waiting an extra week. I don’t want to be hobbling around the party on crutches.” That decision had been made when Drew indicated he wanted to dance with me at the party. I had initially objected, since I thought that would be telling everyone there that I was gay, but when Claire also said she wanted a dance with me, I capitulated.

“Who were you planning on inviting and how big a party are you going to have?” Sue asked.

Will came out at that point and handed me a beer. I thanked him before turning back to Sue. I noticed that Drew had remained quiet, rather than answering for me. I was surprised, but he seemed to be making a special effort not to jump into things without warning.

“The definites are yourselves, Claire, Brandon, Angus and Peter.” I paused as I realised that Peter might not want to come, especially if the date between Brandon and Sharon was successful.

“And…” Will pointed to himself while giving me a wide-eyed stare.

I laughed. “Thanks for the reminder. I’d almost forgotten. We’re going to ask Will to come so he can hand out the beers to everyone.”

Will shrugged. “As long as you realise that only the pretty girls will end up getting any.”

I wasn’t sure if Drew was rubbing off on me, but I had to bite my tongue not to respond to Will’s last comment. I could see Joe and Drew were also exercising self-restraint.

“Beer, guys, beer!” Will rolled his eyes, then grinned. “But if they want any, I’m more than happy to give it to them.”

“Will…” Mr. Canter narrowed his eyes at his younger son.

“I’m talking about serving them drinks, Dad. You’ve all got dirty minds.”

“Anyway, there won’t be any alcohol at the party.” My dad gave me a stern look. “Not until you’re eighteen.”

I shrugged. “I was only joking before about the beers. We’d already agreed on no alcohol.”

“Does that mean I won’t be giving the girls any?” Will looked disappointed.


“Hopefully moving the topic out of the gutter, how many people were you looking at inviting?” Sue asked.

I glanced at Dad, but he didn’t give me any help. “I’m not sure. I think Mum said she wanted less than five hundred.”

“Five hundred!” Sue and Joe chorused.

Dad rolled his eyes. “Considerably less than five hundred.” He grinned at me. “Probably no more than forty. I don’t think the house will cope with more than that.”

“Where did you pluck the figure of five hundred from, Rick?” Sue’s dad asked.

I jumped, as I had forgotten he was there. He was sitting partially in the shadows at the edge of the house and had been eating quietly. “From that big party that Corey had in Narre Warren at the start of the year. Mum didn’t want a party like that.”

“And neither do I!” Dad smiled. “You should settle on an initial list this weekend, before too many people make other commitments for that night.”

I glanced at Drew. “Can you come over tomorrow so we can work on who to invite?”

Drew rubbed his chin. “Well, I had thought I’d go visit my boyfriend tomorrow, but I think I can make time. Sure!”

* * *

It was just after eight o’clock the next morning when my phone went off. I rolled over, picked it up, and glanced at the caller ID, but my eyes weren’t focusing. “Hello?”

“Rick, are you doing anything this morning?”

It took a moment for me to recognise the voice. “Brandon? What’s up?”

“I was asking if you were doing anything this morning.” He sounded amused.

“Not really. I had planned on sleeping in until lunchtime — we had a big night last night — but that seems to have gone out the window.”

I heard him chuckling. “I’ve heard about what the barbecues at Drew’s house are like from others who have been, so I can imagine how you’re feeling.”

“Haven’t you been to one?”

The answer was flat. “I’m not allowed to go to his place.”

“Sorry.” I had forgotten the conversation I’d had with Angus about Drew and Brandon’s family. I thought it was odd that Brandon didn’t go anyway, but I guessed that he had personal reasons for obeying that restriction.

“Hung over?” Brandon had gone back to sounding amused.

“A little.” My head wasn’t pounding, but my stomach was feeling queasy.

“Good. I’ve got the perfect cure. I’ll be there in forty minutes. Be ready for a heavy workout. I’m going to make you feel like hell has just run over you.” It may have been the hangover, but to me Brandon sounded vindictive. “I’ll bring a few things, but I’ve got a workout you can do, even without equipment and with your cast.”

“I don’t think I’m up to doing anything. I’d really prefer to just lie in bed for the morning.”

“Not an option. I’ll be there soon, so you’d better be ready, or I’ll be dragging you out in whatever you’re wearing. Don’t worry, I won’t kill you. I’ll leave that job to Peter.”

He hung up before I realised what he was implying. I suddenly felt wide awake, as it was apparent that he knew I had something to do with his date with Sharon.

I wondered if I had time for breakfast before he arrived, even though I had been told many times not to eat before exercise. I decided a light snack, such as a piece of toast, couldn’t hurt.

After getting dressed, I made my way to the kitchen. I paused in the entrance as I saw Mum, but not Dad. Since Mum had been the designated driver for the night, Dad had gotten lightly wasted. I suspected he was still sleeping off the alcohol.

“Rick, honey! I didn’t expect you up so soon.” She put down the newspaper and rose to her feet.

I noticed immediately that she was looking at me, really looking at me, for the first time since Friday night. There was also a faint, almost wary, smile on her face. I smiled back and hopped forward. “Hi, Mum. Brandon rang to say he’s coming over to give me a workout. Otherwise, I think I’d still be in bed.”

“A workout?” The smile was replaced with a frown.

“Yeah. He says he’s worked out something I can do, even with my cast.”

“Are you sure? You don’t want to overdo things.”

“Brandon knows what he’s doing.” I was confident he wouldn’t make my injury worse, though I had worries as to how sadistic he was going to be.

“In that case, do you want something to eat now, or would you prefer to wait?” Mum’s smile implied that she would make breakfast for me, if I asked. I didn’t really care; her expression was enough for me. I had been afraid she would never smile at me again.

“Just a piece of toast.” As I expected, she turned and put a slice of bread in the toaster.

“What would you like on it?”

“Just Vegemite.” I waited until she had gotten everything ready. “Mum, can I ask a question?”

She looked guilty. “Is it about yesterday and Friday?”

I nodded.

“Drew’s mother and I had a long talk last night. She explained a few things that I hadn’t understood properly, and eased my mind on a number of matters.” She reached over and put her hand on mine. “I can’t say I’m happy with how things have worked out, but that’s not your problem, Rick. Rachel and I will be having quite a few chats, I think, over the next few months. But the most important thing is that you’re my son and I love you.” She smiled. “Can we leave it at that for now?”

“Okay.” I smiled. “I love you, too, Mum.”

By mutual unvoiced agreement, we stayed on safe topics for the rest of our conversation.

When Brandon arrived, Mum offered him something to eat or drink, but he declined.

“It’s time Rick and I got started. Where can we go?”

“How about the living room?” Mum suggested. “If you move the coffee table to the side, you should have plenty of room.”

Brandon grinned. “That sounds perfect. Thank you, Mrs. Wakeland.”

Mum smiled. “My pleasure.” She winked at me. “Time to get your father up, since we’ve got a guest in the house. Have fun, boys, and don’t work too hard.”

I watched Mum leave the room and then turned to Brandon. He was staring at me in a way that made me feel awkward, like I had done something wrong. “You’ll have to move the furniture. I’d help you if I could, but…” I shrugged.

Brandon grinned. “No problem. Go sit on the floor and do some stretches while I get everything ready.”

It wasn’t long before he had me doing a number of upper body strengthening exercises. He did them all with me, though with a lot more ease and confidence than I displayed.

After my arms felt ready to drop off, Brandon allowed me a break. I decided to ask about the date with Sharon. “How was last night?” I felt that left things open for him to say as much or as little as he wanted.

He seemed surprised. “Haven’t you spoken to anyone else, yet?”

“No. I woke up to your phone call, and then I got ready for the workout.”

Brandon’s eyes widened momentarily. “But didn’t you…” He shook his head. “Never mind.”

“What were you going to say?”

“It doesn’t matter.” He must have seen that I was puzzled. “I know you told me, but it didn’t really sink in what things were like for you at your last place.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” I didn’t get the connection between the two situations.

“Didn’t it occur to you to ring or text me or someone else about what happened? Joe rang me this morning and Drew sent me an SMS, asking how things went. Even Yvonne sent me a text message, and I haven’t spoken to her for almost three weeks. Claire’s already told me that Drew sent her two text messages last night, asking for updates. The only two people I hadn’t heard from, directly or indirectly, were you and Peter, and I understand why Peter didn’t want to know.” Brandon cocked his head. “You really don’t know how to keep in touch with friends, Rick. That’s not a criticism, just an observation.”

I dropped my head and stared at the floorboards. I had wondered how things had been going with Brandon and Sharon while I was at Drew’s house, but I hadn’t thought to send someone a text message. I hadn’t even noticed that Drew had done so.

“Hey, cheer up! I told you it doesn’t matter.” A moment later Brandon grabbed hold of my chin and lifted it up so he could look me in the eye. “Rick, listen to me. It… Doesn’t… Matter.”

I gave him what was probably a weak grin. “How did it go, then?”

“Seriously?” Brandon glanced towards the kitchen, where we could hear my parents chatting, before lowering his voice. “We’ve got a problem. While I’d like to dump it all in your lap, that’s not really fair since you were only trying to help. Sharon’s a nice girl, a really nice girl, but Peter isn’t going to cope well with her going out with me. Sometime soon, we’re going to have to sit down and try to work out what to do.”

“I thought that if the two of them got together, something might happen.”

Brandon laughed. “Well, you were right there. Enough of this. Back to work, Rick. Another set of dips and then I’ll get out the weights.”

“You haven’t said how you and Sharon got on,” I said, as I prepared for more of Brandon’s version of torture. I paused when I saw his expression. He looked uncomfortable.

“She’s a nice girl. I really like her, but not enough to lose Peter as a friend. She’s indicated she’d like another date — just the two of us – but I’m not sure.” Brandon looked at me. “What do you… No, this is something I have to work out for myself.”

“Angus is right. If Peter didn’t have a chance with Sharon, then why should that mean you can’t?”

Brandon chuckled. “Angus is an arsehole who is currently scared shitless about what I’m going to do to him. I took him aside at one point last night so I could make it very clear that I didn’t like being set up on a blind date, especially when I wasn’t even informed that it would be a date.”

“What are you going to do to him?” I was keeping my fingers crossed that Brandon wouldn’t think I had been involved with that plan.

Brandon narrowed his eyes. “You’re procrastinating, Rick. Start on the dips.”

I took that to mean the end of that topic, so I got back to work. I was surprised when Brandon continued.

“I’m not going to do anything to him, but I’m going to make him think I will. The mental torture should be enough punishment.” He smiled at me, the shadow of Bad Brandon lurking in the corner. “Needless to say, if you breathe a word of that to anyone, I’ll take appropriate action.”

I finished my set before replying. “Don’t worry. I won’t say anything. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering when you’ll be paying me back.” I grinned.

Brandon laughed. “I knew I could trust you. Of course, Peter will probably kill you sometime this week, so you don’t have to keep it a secret for long.”

I kept my shock hidden. I was going to need to deal with Peter, but Brandon saying he trusted me was a surprise. I had to wonder why. He had given me the impression that he didn’t trust quickly or easily.

The workout was still continuing ten minutes later when the doorbell rang. Mum went to answer it.

“Drew! Come in. Rick and Brandon are working out in the living room.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Wakeland.”

I looked over as Drew entered and Mum headed back to the kitchen, but I didn’t risk antagonising Brandon by stopping the bicep curls. “Hi, Drew.”

“G’day, Rick. I see that Brandon has taken up torturing you as a hobby.”

Brandon chuckled. “And since you’re here, you can join in. The more the merrier.”

“No, thanks. I’m not that sort of guy.” Drew smirked. “And I didn’t know you were, either. Sharon will be very disappointed.”

Brandon rolled his eyes. “Rick, I’ll give you two choices. Two hundred crunches, or convince Drew to do some exercise.”

I grinned. “I’m sure he wants to do some exercise, but just not with you.”

Drew stepped over and dropped an arm across my shoulders. “That’s my boy. How about it, Rick? A bit of one-on-one to get the heart racing sounds good to me.”

Brandon shook his head. “Drew, you’ve corrupted him. Rick used to be a nice guy.”

“Seriously, Drew, if you want to join us, I’m sure you can find a pair of shorts that’ll fit if you check out my dresser.” I then remembered the normal state of Drew’s room. “Just don’t throw everything on the floor while you’re searching.”

Drew grinned. “Okay, I’ll be back in few.”

I turned back to find Brandon giving me a strange look. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he said, far too quickly. “Now finish those curls. I didn’t lug these weights all the way over here for you to ignore them.”

“Nothing?” I challenged him with my stare as I restarted the exercise.

Brandon glanced in the direction of my room. “Let’s just say I’m re-evaluating my opinions. Drew’s always hated to exercise unless he had to. I happen to know he skipped football training during the week, which didn’t make his coach happy. If they weren’t short of players, he probably wouldn’t have played yesterday. You getting him to exercise so easily is… interesting.”

“When does he normally train?”

“Monday nights. He misses the Wednesday night training because of his job at the supermarket.”

Drew hadn’t given me any hint on the Monday night that he was supposed to be elsewhere. It was another indication of where I sat in his priority list, and reinforced how important I was to him. I told myself again that I desperately needed to find a way out that wouldn’t hurt him.

When Drew rejoined us, he did a quick spin on the spot. “How do I look?”

He was wearing a pair of black running shorts and a tight-fitting dark blue T-shirt. I had to admit to myself that he looked better in them than I did.

“You’re not sweating. Start with some stretches.” Brandon turned back to me. “And you need to get back to work. You can perv on Drew later.”

I hadn’t realised I was staring that much. I hesitated before resuming my workout. Did that mean that I’m turning gay?

“How long is this going to go on for?” Drew asked as he stretched.

“Probably another forty minutes. Why?” Brandon said.

“Because Rick’s briefs are a bit tight. I want to get them off before they cause any permanent damage.”

Brandon and I gaped. Brandon recovered first. “You’re wearing what?”

Drew grinned. “I was wearing boxers, and it wasn’t a good look under the shorts. I knew Rick wouldn’t mind me going commando, but I didn’t think you’d appreciate it, so I went through Rick’s underwear and tried on a few pairs. These fitted the best.”

I made a mental note to wash any underpants I found out of place, even if they looked clean.

Brandon threw up his hands. “I don’t want to know, Drew. You don’t need to mention this again. At least not where I can hear you.”

Drew winked at me. I suspected he was playing with our minds. “Drew, are you really wearing my underpants?”

“Rick, no!” Brandon was horrified.

Drew glanced in the direction of the kitchen to make sure my parents weren’t in sight, and then pulled down the shorts. “What do you think?”

I looked away. “Okay, you are.” The thought made me queasy.

Drew leant over and whispered in my ear, “They’re pretty tight. I may need some help getting them off later.”


He laughed. “You should wear red shirts, Rick. To match the colour of your face.”

* * *

“Are you staying for lunch, Brandon?” Mum asked.

“Are you making macaroni and cheese again?” Brandon asked eagerly as he looked up from where he was packing the weights away.

Mum laughed. “I can, if you like.”

“In that case, I’d love to stay for lunch!”

Drew looked askance at Brandon while my mum headed back to the kitchen. “Isn’t that going to make you fat?”

Brandon patted his abdomen. “Absolutely not. Carbohydrates are a good source of energy. You just need to make sure you burn them all up.”

Drew sniffed his armpit. “I think I need a shower before lunch.”

Brandon grinned. “We all do. But since you’re the fussy type, why don’t you go first?”

Drew looked offended. “I’m not fussy. I just like to be clean. I can be dirty if I have to be, can’t I Rick?”

“Do you really expect me to answer that?” I asked. Drew was too good at the double entendres and I didn’t want to encourage him. I had already gone too far in that direction with the earlier teasing.

“Probably not in front of Brandon. We don’t want him to know everything we get up to.”

Brandon gave Drew a pained look. “Can you just go?”

Drew stared at me thoughtfully. “You’ve got a modern home, Rick. I’m not sure I’ll know how to operate the shower. Why don’t you come with me and show me how everything works?”

Brandon had had enough. “Drew, go, before I throw you outside and turn the hose on you.”

“Okay, okay!” Drew headed off.

“Thanks, Brandon. Drew gets a bit much at times.”

Brandon grinned. “I’ve noticed. You know he doesn’t mean any of it.”

I pursed my lips. “Actually, I think he does. He’s just not expecting me to go along with it.” Drew struck me as someone who loved the flirting and innuendo, but was always willing to take things to the next level if I ever gave in.

“I’ll give you that.” Brandon frowned. “I wonder if that’s where he went wrong with James. That bastard wouldn’t have said no.”

“I wouldn’t know.” I decided I needed to change the subject. I was sure Brandon wouldn’t be impressed that I was planning to try to befriend James. “While I remember, do you have any plans for Saturday night in three weeks’ time?”

“Not that I know of. What do you plan on me doing?”

“We’re having a house warming party. That’s why Drew came over — to help me work out the invite list.”

Brandon smirked. “I don’t think that’s the only reason he came over. Does that mean I’m invited?”

“Of course! Drew suggested making you a bouncer, to make sure the party doesn’t get out of control, but I’d prefer it if you’re just here as a friend.”

Brandon blinked and turned away. “I’ll be here. Thanks, Rick.”

* * *

“Drew, your mum’s on the phone!” Mum called from the kitchen.

“Thanks, Mrs. Wakeland,” Drew call back. He looked puzzled as he stood up. “I wonder what she wants. And why didn’t she ring my mobile?”

Brandon shrugged. “There’s a simple way to find out. Why don’t you go talk to her?”

“Rick, can you hit him for me?” Drew flashed me a grin before he left the room.

“Brandon, hold still please.” I hopped over to the chair where Brandon was sitting. He watched warily as I put my left hand on his shoulder to steady myself, and gently punched him in the bicep. “There. Just as Drew ordered. If you’ve got a problem, take it up with him.”

He chuckled. “I didn’t think you followed Drew’s orders.”

I headed back to my own seat. “I don’t always, but if it doesn’t take much to keep him happy, I don’t mind.”

Brandon gave me an odd look. “You’re really strange, sometimes.”

“What do you mean?”

He glanced in the direction Drew had disappeared. “When he’s flirting, you act all tense. The rest of the time, you’re like he’s your best mate.”

“He is my best mate.” I avoided responding to the first part because I didn’t know what to say. If there was anyone I could tell the truth to, I suspected it was Brandon. After telling him so much of my life history, he would hopefully be sympathetic, but he had made it clear that his main concern was Drew, not me.

Drew returned at that point, grinning broadly. “And you’re mine, too. Unfortunately, my mum’s given me an ultimatum: go home and do my homework, or no Rick for a week.” He winked. “So, you’re also an instrument of punishment from my parents. You’re a very versatile bloke, Rick.”

I admitted to myself that being friends with Drew was stretching me in ways I had never expected. Exactly how versatile I could be was something that I didn’t really want to know. I knew that Drew wasn’t rushing, so I had time to find a solution, but sex was a looming shadow that I couldn’t ignore.

Brandon rose to his feet and stretched. “Time I headed home, too. Thanks for the company, guys, and also for the invite. I’ll let you know if I’ll be bringing someone.” He picked up his backpack, stuck his head through the door to say goodbye to my parents, and then left.

Drew stared after him. “I hope he does bring Sharon, even if that’s going to complicate things with Peter.”

“Sharon is Brandon’s business, but since I started the process, Peter’s mine. Any suggestions on what I can do to try to patch things up?”

Drew gave me a wry smile. “I noticed that you waited until Brandon was gone before asking.” He shook his head. “I don’t know, because Peter hasn’t answered any of the texts I’ve sent him. We’ll have to play it by ear tomorrow, once we see how he’s reacting.”

I felt guilty because I hadn’t tried to contact Peter. I told myself that I didn’t know him well enough, but I knew that I should have made at least one attempt. I resolved to try to ring him that night.

“Why didn’t your mum call you on your phone?” I asked.

Drew shrugged. “She had been chatting with your mum and then realised what the time was. Since she knew I was here, she saved herself a call and just asked to speak to me.”

I wondered what the women had been talking about, and then realised that it was probably me. Mrs. Canter seemed to be making an effort to help my mum cope.

“Time for me to go.” Drew stepped forward, leant down, and kissed me lightly on the lips. He moved forward, started to kiss me more strongly, and then broke off. “If I don’t want to get into trouble, I had better stop. Mum told me I had fifteen minutes.”

I grinned. “You’d better go, then. Thanks for coming around.”

“If I run, I can be home in less than ten, so we’ve got another five minutes…” He arched an eyebrow.

I was surprised that Drew left it to me to decide what we’d do. I was even more surprised when I found myself considering giving Drew what he wanted. Kissing him didn’t do anything for me, but I knew it made him happy. “I think we should play it safe. We don’t want you to get grounded by being a few minutes late. Let’s be honest; would you stop after five minutes?”

Drew chuckled. “Probably not. Okay, I’ll be a good boy, this time, and go.” He leant over and gave me one more quick kiss. “See you tomorrow!” He said goodbye to my parents before rushing out the door.

I was sitting there a few minutes later, contemplating the fine line between best mate and boyfriend, when my phone beeped. I checked the text message and grinned when I saw it was from Drew. I then frowned as I read the message: “Luv ya.”

Remembering my mum’s comment from the Friday night, I realised that maybe I did love Drew. I did care for him more than myself, at least to a degree. I had told Brandon that if I had to do little things to keep Drew happy, I would. There was a line I wasn’t sure I could cross, but I had already gone further than I could have imagined. If someone had told me even a month prior that I would be regularly kissing a guy, I would have laughed. My problem was that my affection for Drew wasn’t sexual. It was that of two best mates, who would do whatever was needed to help each other out.


I stirred myself out of my thoughts to find Dad squatting in front of me. “Sorry, I didn’t see you there.”

He smiled gently. “I could tell you were thinking hard. It’s just that this is really the first chance we’ve had to sit down and talk since Friday. You said some things that indicated you’ve got some problems. I just wanted to reiterate that your mum and I are here if you want to talk through them.”

I considered the offer and I almost told him what was going on. But I realised that all he could say was that I should be honest with Drew — something I already knew. How to be honest was the real question, and I didn’t think my parents could help me with that. I had to do it in a way that didn’t hurt my best mate, and they didn’t know him well enough to offer advice in that area.

“It’s okay. I’m going to try to work this out by myself. Thanks, anyway, Dad.”

Copyright Notice — Copyright © February 2009 by Graeme.

The author copyrights this story and retains all rights. This work may not be duplicated in any form — physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise — without the author's expressed permission. All applicable copyright laws apply.

Disclaimer: All individuals depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental.

A special thank you to Ray, Kel, C James and Shadowgod, and also to everyone at The Mail Crew. The help they have given me with this story has been fantastic. Special kudos go to Aaron and Rain of The Mail Crew for doing a brilliant job of editing. I can thoroughly recommend their website to all teenagers who are gay, lesbian, bi or not sure.