The twins held each other tightly for several minutes. Kevin could feel Devin’s love surging through his body. For weeks he’d felt he had lost his brother’s love, but it now seemed even stronger.
“I’m sorry, Kev,” Devin said tearfully as he pulled away. “I’ve been a real shithead the past few weeks.”
Kevin smiled slightly. “Yeah, you have.” He playfully hit Devin in the arm.
“Well, some of it is your fault, you know,” he replied as he softly hit him back.
“How do you figure that?”
“You could have told me,” Devin frowned. “I could have handled it better if you would have just talked to me about it.”
Kevin walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. “You’re probably right,” he confessed. “But I couldn’t deal with it myself. How could I have expected you to?
Devin walked over and sat down beside him. “I really am sorry. I guess we all make mistakes.”
Kevin gave Devin a worried look. “Speaking of mistakes, Dev, you really fucked up.”
Devin hung his head. “I know. I don’t know what to do.” Tears welled up in his eyes. “How mad is Dad?”
“If I were you, I’d grab your balls so Dad can’t cut them off.” He laughed when Devin’s hand instinctively grabbed his crotch.
“Seriously, Devin,” he reached out and held his arm. “You know there’s going to be consequences. It’s like I knew when others found out I was gay there would be problems. You’re going to have to deal with it.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” Devin frowned.
Kevin leaned back and laughed. “Easy for me to say! Look at all the shit I had to put up with.”
Devin gave him a worried look and shook his head. “And I had to add to it.” Tears welled up in his eyes once again. “I’m sorry, Kev. I really am. For a while I was scared I was going to lose you.”
Kevin smiled at his brother. It was as if all the weeks of hostility between the two had been washed away. He squeezed Devin’s arm. “It’s okay. Deep down inside I always knew we’d find our way back. We’re brothers. In fact, we‘re closer than most brothers.” He reached out and put his arms around Devin and hugged him. “I love you, Dev.”
He could feel Devin’s shoulders shake as he buried his head into his neck and cried. He put his arm around him and held him. After several minutes, Devin pulled away and wiped his face dry with his sleeve.
He stood, held his hand out to Kevin and pulled him to his feet. “I guess we better get this over with,” he said worriedly.
“I’ll be with you,” replied Kevin. “I already talked to Dad. I think he’s calmed down a little.” He started to grin. “He may decide to let you keep your balls.” He laughed when Devin reached down and grabbed his crotch again.
Kevin headed for the door, but Devin reached out his hand and stopped him. He walked over to the picture on the easel. He then turned and smiled. “I like Cameron,” he said. “I’m glad you two are together. He loves you a lot.”
“I know,” replied Kevin as he looked at the picture. “I love him, too.” He put his hand on Devin’s back and led him to the door.
Cameron had been waiting nervously for ten minutes for Kevin to arrive at school. He kept looking at his watch to check the time.
“Where is he?” he asked Stanley and Charles who saw him waiting and decided to join him. Cameron had filled them in on the incident the day before. When Kevin and Devin emerged from his bedroom, their father and mother got up and left without saying anything. The twins were saying goodbye to everyone when they heard the horn honk several times outside. They put on their coats and rushed out the door. That was the last time he had seen Kevin. He tried to call him once, but his cell phone was turned off.
“There he is!” Cameron turned when Charles pointed down the sidewalk. Kevin was rushing toward school. He kept pulling up his backpack onto his shoulders.
“Hey,” he smiled as he approached the other boys. He turned to Cameron and said, “Sorry, I’m late.”
“Are you all right?” Cameron asked. “I tried to call you last night.”
“You look like shit,” exclaimed Stanley. Charles poked him in his side.
“What a night,” sighed Kevin. “I don’t think I got two hours of sleep.”
Charles asked, “What happened?”
He looked over at Cameron with a questioning look. He didn’t know if he had mentioned what happened at his house the night before. Cameron gave him a slight smile and nodded his head.
“We had a family meeting that lasted half the night,” he informed them. “Dad really laid out some guidelines for me and Devin.” When he noted the worried look on Cameron’s face, he said, “It’s okay. Mom and Dad agreed I can still see you.” He wanted to lean in and kiss him when he saw the relieved look on Cameron’s face.
“What about Devin?” Stanley asked. “I bet he’s grounded until he’s thirty.”
“Almost,” replied Kevin. “Maybe twenty. Dad called the Vance’s late last night. Devin, him and Mom are going over there Thursday after dinner. I’d hate to be Devin.”
“Shit,” whistled Charles. “I’d hate to be Devin and have to face Mr. Vance. That guy is plain ass crazy.”
“That’s not all,” continued Kevin. “Devin has to get a job so he can help support the baby. Dad’s going to take him around this weekend to put his application in at some places. Everything he makes has to go to Ashley.”
“Damn,” exclaimed Stanley. “He has to work and doesn’t get to see any of the money? Shit, that’s extreme.”
“Dad says he doesn’t deserve any money,” explained Kevin. “He says he’s going to find out what it’s like to work your life away to support a family and never have anything.”
“He has a point,” Cameron agreed. “Mom works all the time and we hardly have anything. It’s been a long time since she bought herself something.” All three boys nodded their heads.
Just then the first bell rang. The boys had ten minutes until their first period. After a few quick goodbyes, Kevin and Cameron headed in one direction, while Stanley and Charles went another way to class.
“I’m glad we can still see each other,” whispered Cameron as they were walking down the hall.
“I know,” replied Kevin. “I was worried they were going to ground me too, but they didn’t. Mom was even all right with it. I just can’t call you at night until my homework is done.” They reached Cameron’s class and said goodbye. Kevin had to run so he wouldn’t be late to his.
Kevin, Cameron, Stanley and Charles were sitting at their usual table eating lunch. They were excited about the upcoming game on Friday night. It was the first game of the season, and everyone was anticipating winning the city championship this year. Any loss early in the season could ruin their chances.
The boys were happy because most of the talk about them being gay had diminished. Once everyone had gotten over the initial shock, most had fallen into a mood of acceptance. The derogatory words had been replaced by words of support for the basketball team. A winning team on the court would ensure support off the court. The boys had made a determined effort to be successful.
“We’ve got to defend against that giant center they have,” remarked Charles. “I heard he likes to play rough when he’s under the net.”
Charles rubbed his shoulder. “You’re not much better,” he remarked to Stanley. “That foul yesterday hurt.”
“Aww,” grinned Stanley. “You want me to kiss it and make it better.”
“Kiss this,” challenged Charles as he grabbed his crotch. The boys started laughing. Suddenly, Kevin stopped and looked across the cafeteria. The others followed his eyes to where he was looking.
Devin was coming out of the cafeteria line. He immediately looked at the table where Ashley was sitting surrounded by Sherri and several other girls. He dropped his head, walked over to an empty table and sat down with his back to everyone.
Without saying anything, Kevin got up from his seat and grabbed his tray. He then walked over and sat down across from Devin. Stanley and Charles looked over at Cameron. He shrugged his shoulders, got up and joined the twins. Minutes later, Stanley and Charles walked over with their trays and sat down.
“You don’t have to do this, Guys,” Devin said sadly. “I’ve treated you like shit lately. I don’t deserve your friendship.”
“Yeah, Fucker,” grinned Stanley. “You have. But you know what?”
Devin gave him a puzzled look. “What?”
“You’re our Fucker,” he smiled.
“Thanks, Guys,” Devin replied sadly. He was blinking quickly to keep tears from appearing in his eyes.
“Don’t get too emotional,” remarked Charles as he looked over at Kevin. “If you weren’t Kevin’s brother, we probably wouldn’t be sitting here.” He put his arm around Kevin. “That’s what friendship is really about. If Kevin can forgive you, then we can too.”
Devin dropped his head. “I know it’s going to take you guys a long time to gain my trust. I’m not even sure if I was in your place I could.” He lifted his head and looked them in the eyes. “I really am sorry.” He looked sorrowfully at Kevin. “For everything.”
“Damn,” exclaimed Charles. “This shit is getting too heavy.” The boys started laughing. “Let’s talk about something less depressing.”
Stanley stood up and shouted loudly, “Let’s kick some butt Friday!” He started dancing around the floor yelling, “Give me a V!” Students stood and started shouting, “V!” When he finished spelling victory, the entire student body was on their feet cheering.
Devin glanced over at the table where Ashley was sitting. None of them had participated in the revelry. He did notice her glance quickly at Devin and roll her eyes.
Devin waited nervously outside Ashley’s sixth period class. After the bell had rung ending school for the day, he had rushed out of the room and up a flight of stairs so he could catch her when she came out. She was one of the last students to exit. As usual, Sherri was beside her.
She stopped suddenly when she saw Devin. “What do you want?”
“Can we talk?” Devin pleaded. When he saw the apprehension on her face, he asked urgently, “Please, Ashley?” He stepped toward her and hesitantly took her hand.
“Come on, Ash.” Sherri reached out and grabbed Ashley’s coat sleeve and tried to pull her away.
“No,” responded Ashley as she turned to Sherri. “You go on. Devin and I need to talk.” Devin let out a sigh of relief. Sherri cast him a dirty look before walking away.
“Thanks,” Devin replied as he squeezed her hand. He was reassured when she gripped his hand tighter. He held her hand as they walked away and exited the building.
They didn’t speak as they walked the two blocks to a small hamburger restaurant. It was a place they often frequented after school. Ashley went to the back of the restaurant and sat in the last booth while Devin got their usual order.
He sat down and pushed the hamburger and small soda in front of her. She nibbled at her food while waiting for Devin to speak. After several moments of silence, he finally looked at her.
“Look, Ashley.” He reached across the table and held her hand. “I’m sorry for what I said the other day. I was wrong.”
She looked up at him and smiled slightly. “It’s okay, Devin. I guess both of us said some things we shouldn’t have.”
“Yeah,” he smiled nervously. “I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.” They continued eating without speaking again for several minutes.
He looked across the table and stared into Ashley’s eyes. “I’m going to do what is right. I should never have told you to get rid of the baby. If you want to keep it, then I’ll help you.”
Ashley got up from her seat and sat beside Devin. She buried her head into his shoulder. He held her tightly as she cried, “I’m so scared, Devin. I don’t know what to do.”
He grabbed her shoulders and looked into her tearful face. “It’s all right, Ash. We’ll get through this. There’s someone I want us to talk to.”
“Kevin’s faggot boyfriend?” She asked angrily as she tried to get up. Devin tightened his grip on her shoulders.
“Do you care about me?” He stared into her eyes and waited for her answer. She thought for a minute and then nodded her head.
“Then you’ve got to get over this obsession with Kevin,” he insisted. “He’s my brother and I love him. I should never have let you come between us.”
“But...” she started to speak, but Devin put his finger over her lips.
“Listen, Ashley. Kevin is my brother, my twin brother. There’s a bond between us that you or anyone else can break. The only way that we can make us work is if you can accept Kevin.”
“Are you choosing him over me again?” Tears welled up in her eyes.
“I’m not doing that Ashley,” insisted Devin. “That’s the mistake I made the first time. I can love both of you. It doesn’t have to be about choosing between Kevin and you.”
Ashley looked at him as tears fell down her cheek. “You love me?”
“Of course I love you,” he replied as he gripped her hands tightly. “I didn’t realize how much until I thought I was going to lose you.”
She leaned over and rested her head on his shoulder. “That’s the first time you’ve ever told me that. It’s the only thing I ever wanted to hear you say. You always talked about Kevin. I could see in your eyes how much you cared about him. I only wanted you to feel the same way about me.”
Devin kissed her gently on the lips. He pulled away and smiled at her. “We’re going to get through this, all right?” She smiled and nodded. “You’re going to be the mother of my baby.” He kissed her again. She buried her head in his shoulder and sighed. He rubbed her back as she nestled her head against his shoulder.
When she sat back up, Devin looked at her worriedly. “Just how bad has your father taken this?” She started giggling when she noticed him put his hand in his lap and cup his crotch.
“I think if you’d been around when he got the news, you might have had a lot to worry about.” She giggled again when she looked down at his lap. She reached out and took his hand.
“But Father Brannigan has been coming by in the evenings,” she informed him. “He’s known my dad for almost forty years. They attended high school together. He’s about the only person my dad would listen to.”
Devin gave her a puzzled look. “And?”
“He’s not happy with what we’ve done,” she admitted. “But I don’t think he’s going to hurt you either.” She started giggling. “I think Father Brannigan has convinced him he’ll spend eternity in Hell if he does kill you.”
“Thanks, a lot,” Devin replied. “That’s nice to know.”
“When you come over tonight with your parents,” she said, “Father Brannigan will be there. I don’t think Dad will go off with him there. So it may not be too bad.”
“Do you think you can invite the police chief?” Devin asked worriedly. Ashley squeezed his hand and laughed.
“Seriously, Devin,” she assured him. “If he was going to do anything, he’d have done it by now. I think he’s beginning to accept the fact he’s going to be a grandfather. Just between us, I think he may even be looking forward to it a little, especially if we have a boy. He always wanted to have a son.”
“Man,” sighed Devin. “I can’t believe this happened.” He looked over and saw the frown on Ashley’s face. “All right, I know it’s happened. We’ve got no one to blame but ourselves.”
He took her hand and gripped it tightly. “But you know what?” She gave him a puzzled look and shook her head. “I’m glad we had this talk.” He leaned in and gave her a quick kiss. “I really do think I love you?”
Ashley frowned, “You think you love me?”
“Well, um...” stammered Devin. She looked at him nervously trying to correct what he had said.
“It’s all right, Devin.” She squeezed his hand. “I’ll take it. We’re only sixteen. I guess it’s a little hard to realize what love really is.”
“Yeah,” he admitted. “But at least now we’re heading in the right direction this time.” She laid her head on his shoulder and sighed deeply. They sat for several minutes without speaking. Both were reevaluating their feelings for each other. It’s a giant leap from liking someone to loving someone.
Devin looked down at Ashley. “So will you meet with Mrs. Lynch?” She thought for a minute before speaking.
“I guess,” she relented. “Why do you want us to talk to her?”
“She told me she became pregnant with Cameron when she was sixteen.”
A surprised look appeared on her face. “Really?”
“Yeah,” he said. “She’s really easy to talk to. I think she can help us since she understands what we’re going through.”
She sighed and then said, “All right. I can’t talk to Mom. I can tell she’s disappointed with me. She wanted me to wait until I got married to have a child.”
“My mother said the same thing,” replied Devin.
“So, when do you want to talk to her?”
“I’ll ask Cameron if we can come over Saturday.” She nodded her head. He then leaned in and kissed her again, this time more passionately. He grabbed her hand and helped her from her seat.
“I guess we better get ready to face the fireworks tonight,” he said as he helped her with her coat.
“Yeah,” she replied worriedly. “You don’t have the number of the police chief on you, do you?” Her frown turned to a grin. He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
Kevin was lying on his bed with his literature book propped up on his stomach. He was trying desperately to keep his eyes open as he attempted to read a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Sleep was quickly winning the battle.
He was awakened when there was a light knocking on the door. He started to yell out when the door opened, and Devin walked in. He sat on the edge of the bed and toed off his shoes. Kevin looked over as his brother laid down, rolled over on his side and looked up at him.
Kevin asked, “How did it go?” Just hours earlier, Devin and his parents had gone over to the Vance’s home to discuss Ashley’s pregnancy.
Devin closed his eyes and waited a moment before answering. “All right, I guess,” he mumbled. Kevin could tell his brother was exhausted. He looked over at the alarm clock. It was almost midnight.
“You still got your nuts?” Kevin joked. Devin opened his eyes and grinned.
“Yeah,” he laughed. “I think if that priest hadn’t been there I’d probably be a eunuch.”
“Not really sure,” he confessed. “Dad threatened to make me one the other night, so I guess it’s a guy who has his balls cut off or something.”
“So what happened?”
“Just a lot of talking,” he replied as he buried his head in the pillow. He then turned and faced his brother. “Everyone was telling us how wrong we were. You know, shit like that.”
“So, what are you going to do?”
“Ashley’s going to have the baby. She shouldn’t miss any school since the baby will be born sometime this summer.” He looked up and frowned. “I got to get a fucking job and help pay for it.”
“Well, you are kind of responsible, you know.”
“Yeah,” he sighed. “I know. It’s just I wanted to play basketball this year. I was going to ask the coach if I could come back. I guess that’s over now.”
“Yeah,” agreed Kevin. “I guess so.”
Devin rose up on his elbows. “So you guys ready for tomorrow night?”
“I think so,” replied Kevin. “The coach says we look pretty good.”
“That’s good. Me and Ashley will be there.” He laid his head back down on the bed and remained silent for a minute before lifting himself up on his elbow and looking at Kevin.
“Can I ask you a favor?”
“Yeah,” responded Kevin. “Anything.”
“Will you ask Cameron if his mother can talk to me and Ashley? She told me that she had him when she was still in high school. I like her a lot. I think she can really help us.”
“I’ll ask Cameron tomorrow,” replied Kevin. He was happy his brother liked Cameron’s mother. She had been supportive of his and Cameron’s friendship, and he knew she’d give his brother and Ashley the same support.
Suddenly, Devin got out of bed and left the room. Five minutes later, he reappeared in just his boxers. He pulled back the cover on the bed and crawled in.
Kevin asked, “What are you doing?”
“I want to sleep here tonight? Is it all right?”
“Yeah, sure.” Kevin got up and removed his shirt and pants. He then returned to bed and turned out the light. Devin scooted nearer to him.
“This is nice,” he mumbled. “We haven’t slept in the same bed since we were about eleven.” He scooted closer to Kevin until their bodies were lightly touching.
“Kev,” he mumbled.
“I love you, okay?”
“Yeah, Dev,” said Kevin as tears welled up in his eyes. “I love you, too.”
They lay quietly for a minute. Devin snuggled his body against Kevin’s.
“You’re not a retard, okay?” He mumbled sleepily into the pillow.
“Thanks.” Kevin couldn’t help but smile to himself.
Minutes later, when he heard Devin start to snore lightly, he put his arm around him and pulled him into his body. Devin wrapped his hand around Kevin’s arm. Soon both boys were sleeping peacefully.
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