“What’s the matter, Honey?” Mrs. Lynch pushed the hair from Cameron’s eyes as he ate a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast.
“Nothing, Mom.” He tried to sound convincing, but he knew his mother could read him like a book. Being her only child, she was especially close to her son. The ordeal he had undergone the past few months only made her more vigilant.
She put the dish towel on the countertop and sat down. “Want to talk about it?”
Tears formed in his eyes. “Why don’t people like me? Is there something wrong with me?”
“Oh, Honey.” She reached over and took Cameron in her arms and held him tightly. “There’s nothing wrong with you, Dear. What’s happened now?” He pushed himself away from her. The sorrowful expression on his face broke her heart once again.
“Every time I make a new friend,” he explained, “something always happens.” He was fighting hard to keep the tears from falling. “I don’t like being me.” Mrs. Lynch moved her chair closer to her son and rocked him as he cried gently. She brushed his hair back and tried to assure him everything would be all right.
“Tell me what happened.” Cameron explained how he had meet Kevin in geometry class and about the lunch they had enjoyed together. He then told her how he later meet Devin, and how he had called him derogatory names.
“Did Kevin call you any names?”
“No, Mom,” he confessed. “He tried to talk to me later.”
“And what did you do?”
Cameron dropped his head. He knew he had been wrong. “I walked away.”
“So you didn’t even give Kevin a chance to be your friend?”
“Don’t you think you owe him an apology?” She reached out and brushed the hair from his face.
“Yes, Ma’am,” he replied softly. “But what about Devin?”
“Why don’t you let Kevin deal with his brother?” she suggested. “If this Kevin wants to be your friend, then I don’t think his brother will come between you. He sounds like a very nice boy.”
Cameron’s eyes lit up with excitement. “He is, Mother. You’ll love him.”
“Then why don’t you invite him home after school,” she suggested. “I’ll make some cookies and you two can get to know one another.”
Cameron reached out and hugged his mother tightly. “I love you, Mother.”
She squeezed him tightly and whispered in his ear, “I love you too, Cameron.”
The Williams family was eating breakfast when Kevin walked in rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Morning, Sleepy Head.” Kevin’s mother piled a heaping of eggs, sausage and toast on a plate and placed it in front of him. He looked at it and moaned. “Eat up, Dear. You need all the energy you can get.”
He looked at Devin who was shoveling food into his mouth as if he hadn’t eaten in a week. “You gonna eat that?” Kevin shook his head and Devin grabbed his plate and scraped the food onto his.
“Devin!” Mr. Williams looked up from the paper he was reading. “Don’t take your brother’s food.”
“But he doesn’t want it.” He looked over at Kevin pleadingly.
“It’s all right, Dad,” he said as he took a drink of his orange juice. Mrs. Williams buttered some bread and placed it in front of Kevin. He picked up a piece and nibbled on it.
Mr. Williams laid down his paper and looked at the boys. “When does basketball practice begin?”
“In two weeks,” Devin said excitedly. He looked at his brother who continued to quietly eat his toast.
“I expect both of you to make varsity this year,” announced their father. “After the way you two played on the freshmen team last year, Coach Alston would be nuts to put you on the reserve team.”
Both boys had excelled in basketball since they were young. Their father had them shooting hoops around the age of four. He had played as a guard in college, and he had been scouted by several professional teams; however, he was never drafted. He always said it was the biggest disappointment of his life. Now he was trying to insure that his sons would have the opportunity he was never been given.
It was his dream that both Kevin and Devin would attend college on athletic scholarships. He was their biggest cheerleader at games. He never missed one their entire freshman year. He was a successful insurance agent, but he always made sure to free his schedule so he could attend the boys’ games.
“I know I’m going to play varsity,” Devin replied confidently. “I’ve been practicing with some of the seniors, and they say I’m a shoe-in.” He pretended to dribble an imaginary ball and then shoot it. “Nothing but rim!” he yelled excitedly. His father watched him and grinned. He then looked at Kevin.
“How about you, Son?” Kevin didn’t look up, even though he knew his father was addressing him. “Kevin?” He said when he didn’t get a response.
“I’m not sure yet, Dad,” Kevin answered sheepishly.
“You don’t think you can make varsity?” He was surprised by Kevin’s attitude because he always considered Kevin a better player than Devin. Kevin had almost twice as much playing time his freshman year, and his stats greatly surpassed those of Devin’s.
“No, Dad.” Kevin began to fidget nervously at the table. He knew his father’s expectations, but he had been debating whether he wanted to play basketball. Since he was becoming increasingly aware that he was gay, he was afraid what the repercussions would be if he was outed at school. He knew it could harm the team’s performance, and he figured the best thing to do was not try out for the team. He knew he would have to face this father, but he was hoping it would be later when he had come up with some reasonable excuse. Unfortunately, his father had decided to bring up the now.
“That’s ridiculous, Kevin.” He tried to be reassuring. “You’re a fantastic player. You were the highest scorer on the team last year.” He looked over at Devin and winked. He didn’t want his other son to feel he was playing favorites.
Kevin hung his head and continued to nibble at his toast. “You are going out for the team, aren’t you Kevin?” He tried to ignore his father’s words.
“Kevin?” He looked up into this mother’s worried face. “You are going out for the team, right?”
“No!” he shouted as he pushed himself from the table. “I don’t want to play stupid basketball this year. I’ve decided not to try out for the team.” He then turned and rushed from the kitchen. He hurried to his room and retrieved his book bag. As he was putting on his jacket, his mother entered.
“What’s wrong, Kevin?” She walked over and gently put her hand on his arm.
“Nothing, Mom,” he replied. He walked away and pretended to be searching for something on his desk. He turned and saw the worried look on her face. “I just don’t feel like playing this year, all right? I’m not doing that great in school this year, and I think I need to study more.”
“There’s nothing wrong with your grades,” challenged his mother. “I talked to your teachers just last week, and you’re doing fine. Geometry is giving you some trouble, but Mr. Shepard is willing to find you a tutor so you can keep your grade up.”
He turned and faced his mother. “Don’t you get it?” He shouted. “I don’t want a tutor. I don’t want to play basketball.”
“But your father...” Kevin interrupted her.
“I don’t care what Dad wants!” he shouted.
“Kevin!” He looked at the door to see the angry look on his father’s face. Devin was standing behind him.
“Sorry, Dad.” He tossed his book bag over his shoulder and walked past his father as he headed for the front door.
“Retard,” he heard his brother say angrily.
Kevin was apprehensive when he walked into geometry class. After yesterday’s exchange with Cameron, he wasn’t sure how he would be treated. Surprisingly, Cameron was waiting in his chair with a smile on his face.
“Hey, you,” Kevin said as he sat down. Cameron turned and smile. It was the first time Kevin noticed that the blonde boy had deep dimples. He couldn’t help but return a wide grin.
Cameron giggled, “You gonna pay attention in class today?”
Without thinking he blurted out, “Not with your cute ass sitting in front of me.”
Cameron’s eyes widened, and then he began to blush. “You think I’m cute?”
Kevin grew nervous. It was a big moment for him. If he said yes, then he would be accepting that fact that he was gay, and he would be outing himself to another boy. If he said no, he might ruin any chance he could have with Cameron.
He started to grin. “You’d do in a rush,” he giggled.
Cameron’s face reddened deeper. “I’ll take that as a yes?” Kevin nodded. Cameron turned his back to him. Suddenly, he felt he had made a mistake until Cameron turned and gave him a dimpled grin.
“I think you’re cute, too.” The bell rang and Mr. Shepard called the class to order. Kevin stared at the back of Cameron’s head with his heart pounding. He had finally come out, and he couldn’t have been happier with the result.
Mr. Shepard droned on for about twenty minutes and worked equations on the board. Kevin prayed that he wouldn’t be called on because he was too excited about what had happened earlier to pay attention. He sighed with relief when Mr. Shepard announced that the students could work quietly together on their homework assignment.
Cameron scooted his chair beside Kevin. He immediately pressed his leg against Kevin’s. “What’s the assignment?” Kevin asked. “I wasn’t paying attention.”
Cameron wiggled his eyebrows and grinned. “Any reason why?” He started laughing as he watched Kevin’s cheeks redden. “You’re cute when you’re embarrassed,” he said as he stared admiringly at Kevin.
“I bet you say that to all the boys,” Kevin joked.
“Nope,” admitted Cameron. “Actually, you’re the first boy I’ve had the nerve to say that too.”
“Really,” Kevin replied astonishingly. “Me too.”
“Cool,” Cameron said as he pressed their legs together tighter. Nervously, Kevin looked around the room to see if any students were observing their closeness.
Sensing his apprehension, Cameron moved his leg away. “I guess we should be careful, huh?”
“It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea,” Kevin agreed. “I’m not out.”
“Me, neither,” he replied. “Well, except to my Mother.”
“Your mother knows you’re gay?” Kevin asked excitedly. He looked around to see if any students had heard his mild outburst.
“Well, yeah,” he replied. “Your mother doesn’t?”
“Hell, no!” Kevin replied. “My family would disown me.”
“Then your brother doesn’t know either?”
“He would kill me,” Kevin said sadly. “I think he is already beginning to suspect. He’s been asking a lot of questions lately. His girlfriend is putting him up to it.”
“So he’s straight?”
“Yeah,” Kevin answered sadly. “He’d shit if he knew I was gay.” He sat quietly for a minute. “We’d better get started on the assignment.”
They worked about half the problems before the bell rang. Kevin enjoyed working with Cameron because he took his time to explain the equations. He wouldn’t go on until he was sure Kevin understood. He was learning more by working half an hour with Cameron than he had for the past couple of months with Mr. Shepard.
As Kevin was putting away his books, he remembered that Cameron hadn’t yet been assigned one. He handed the book to him. “You want to take this home with you? I can get it in the morning and finish the assignment during first period.”
Cameron began to blush. “Actually, I was going to ask you if you wanted to come home with me after school. My mother wants to meet you.”
“You told your mother about me?” Kevin couldn’t understand how he could have talked to his mother about him after only meeting him once.
“Well, yes,” he stammered. “I kind of tell my mother everything. She’s helps me a lot.”
“But we just met,” he said. “Why did you tell her about me?”
Cameron’s face brightened. “I kind of liked you the moment we met.”
“Really?” Kevin said excitedly. “I kind of did too.”
The bell rang, and they headed for the door. When they walked into the hallway, Cameron turned to Kevin. “You didn’t answer my question. Do you want to come home with me and finish the homework?”
He looked down at Cameron and smiled. “I wouldn’t miss it.” He laughed when Cameron grinned his dimpled smile. He then turned and Kevin watched him walk happily down the hall.
“Damn, Devin,” spat Paul. “Your brother is a fag.”
Paul, Devin and Ashley were sitting at the cafeteria table watching Kevin and Cameron sitting several tables away. They were talking animatedly while reaching out and touching the other’s arm occasionally. The way they were staring into each others eyes, it was obvious they were more than just friends.
“Who is that boy?” Ashley asked. “Kevin ate lunch with him yesterday. God, if they get any closer, they’ll be sitting in each other’s lap.”
“I don’t know,” Devin replied as he stared angrily across the room. He thought back to the day before when the boy had approached him thinking he was Kevin.
“You better talk to him,” Paul warned. “If he turns out to be a fag, people are going to think you’re one too. You are identical twins.”
Ashley reached over and grabbed Devin’s hand. “I can vouch that he’s no fag,” she said. “Fags don’t get hard when they’re around a girl.” She looked around the room and then reached down and quickly touched Devin’s cock. “See, I told you.”
Paul looked down and then quickly turned away. Ashley looked at Devin and started laughing. “I think you better keep an eye on Paul, too.”
Paul hissed, “Fuck you, Ashley! You always think someone’s sucking cock.” He pushed away from the table and stormed out of the cafeteria.
“I’ve asked you to ease up on Paul,” Devin admonished Ashley. “He’s my best friend.”
“He’s weird, Devin,” she said. “He’s been following you around for years like a little puppy dog.”
Devin started to grin. “Are you jealous?”
“Of course not,” she insisted.
“Yes, you are,” laughed Devin. “Admit it. You want to be my little puppy dog.” When he reached over and patted her on the head, she batted his hand away.
“You’re sick,” she replied. She gave Devin an angry look and then she started laughing.
“Okay,” she admitted. “Maybe just a little bit.”
“Then bark like a dog,” laughed Devin.
“Woof, woof,” giggled Ashley. When she started panting like a dog, Devin almost fell out of his chair laughing.
As they ate lunch, Devin continued to glance occasionally at his brother and Cameron. He began to wonder if Paul and Ashley were right about Kevin.
“They are fags,” Ashley blurted out. “Look at them. They’re rubbing their legs together.” Devin had noticed it, but he had said nothing. Kevin and Cameron were sitting closely together. Their legs were touching, and occasionally Cameron would rub his leg up and down against Kevin’s. Ashley gasped when she saw Kevin reach down and rearrange his cock. It was obvious that he had an erection.
“You’d better have a talk with your brother, Devin,” she muttered angrily. “You can’t let him be a fag.”
Devin’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll take care of this. Don’t worry about it.” The bell rang and they got up. As they were leaving, Kevin looked over and saw the angry, penetrating look in his brother’s eyes. Fear surged through his body as he realized that Devin knew his secret.
When Cameron arrived at his Spanish class, he noticed Devin standing outside the door talking to another boy. The bell rang, and Devin headed for the door at the same time he arrived. Cameron screamed out in pain when Devin shoved him into the door.
“Watch out, fag,” Devin muttered angrily as he walked away and took his seat. He lost his balance when the boy Devin had been talking to outside the room entered and pushed him aside. His books flew out of his arm and spread loose papers all over the floor. He was further humiliated when the teacher walked in and told him to stop being so clumsy.
As the day before, Devin kept turning around in his seat and looking angrily at him. Cameron tried to ignore him, but he couldn’t pay attention to the teacher without looking in his direction. Finally, he put his head down and folded his arms over his head. He would rather fail the class than submit to Devin’s angry stare.
When the bell rang, he took his time gathering his books and leaving the room. He was trying to avoid another incident with Devin. However, when he walked out into the hallway, Devin and the other student were waiting for him.
He shrunk back in fear as Devin approached him. Pinned to the wall and unable to leave, he covered his face afraid Devin was going to hit him.
“Listen, Fag.” Devin shoved his finger into Cameron’s chest. “I don’t know what your interest in my brother is, but you better stay away from him.” He shoved his finger again into Cameron’s chest. “Got it?” Cameron nodded nervously and let out a gasp when Devin walked away.
He could hardly make it to his fifth period class. His knees felt like they were going to buckle, and his hands were shaking so badly that he had trouble holding his books. He was having trouble hold back tears of fear. He couldn’t understand why Devin was reacting so angrily. He hadn’t done anything except try to be Kevin’s friend.
Halfway to class, he went into the boys’ restroom and entered a stall. He knelt over the toilet and vomited violently into it. Old fears surged inside his head, and he was overcome with an ominous feeling of danger. He had been ridiculed and physically abused before, but this was the first time that he felt that someone would actually harm him.
After washing his hands, he left the restroom. The bell had rung, and he was late to class. As he walked hurriedly down the hallway, he was stopped by the assistant principal. After a stern lecture, he was assigned a night of detention which was to be served immediately after school. He was told that his mother would be called and informed of his unruly behavior. When he entered his class, his eyes were red and puffy from tears. Never in his life had he felt so humiliated and depressed.
Kevin sat worriedly awaiting Cameron. He had anxiously looked forward to seeing him again. When he walked into class ten minutes late, Kevin’s heart broke at the sight of his new friend. Cameron walked over to the teacher’s desk and handed her the late slip. He then walked dejectedly to the other side of the room, sat down in an empty seat and pulled his thin jacket over his head. Not once did he look in Kevin’s direction.
It was the second time that Cameron had reacted strangely in fifth period, after they had gotten along well during second period. Cameron had even asked him to go home with him after school. Something must have happened between lunch and fifth period. But what?
Kevin watched Cameron worriedly during class. History was his favorite subject, but he couldn’t concentrate on the teacher’s activity. He waited for the bell to ring so he could approach Cameron and find out what was happening.
When the class ended, Cameron rose and headed quickly to the door. Kevin stepped in front of him and blocked him from leaving.
“Please move, Kevin,” Cameron pleaded as tears filled his eyes.
Kevin stood his ground. “Not until you tell me what is wrong.”
“I can’t,” Cameron replied sadly. “Just let me by.” He tried to slowly edge himself around Kevin. Kevin let him pass, but followed him down the hall. When they were alone, he grabbed Cameron by the arm and stopped him.
“I want to know what’s wrong,” he insisted. He looked at the faint bruise on the side of his face where Devin had pushed him against the door. “What happened to you?”
Cameron raised his hand and gently touched the side of his face. He looked down at the ground as tears welled up once again. “Your brother doesn’t want me talking to you.” He pushed Kevin gently aside and left him standing alone in the hallway.
Anger surged through Kevin. Not once in sixteen years had he ever felt anything but brotherly love for his twin. But rage was quickly overtaking him as he stormed down the hall to his next class. He was determined to go home later and confront Devin. It would be the first time the boys ever spoke words of anger.