“Who’s that guy with your brother?” Devin followed Paul’s eyes to the other side of the cafeteria. He noticed Kevin walking beside a boy he had never seen in school.
“I dunno.” He shrugged his shoulders and continued eating his cold fries, hoping Paul would forget about Kevin and continue his discussion of who was the hottest girl in their sophomore class.
“I don’t think I’ve seen him before,” remarked Paul. “He looks like a girl to me.”
Devin looked more closely at the boy. He was shorter than Kevin, and his blond hair cascaded down the side of his face. He’d occasionally brush it aside as he laughed at something Kevin would say. He did appear rather feminine in his appearance.
“Kevin better watch it,” warned Paul. “People are starting to wonder about him. He’s really changed this year.”
Devin cast a scornful look at his best friend. “Shut up, Paul,” he muttered angrily. “There’s nothing wrong with Kevin.”
Paul stared into Devin’s irate eyes. “Whatever you say,” he replied. “I’m just telling you that people are starting to talk.”
Devin looked at his twin brother, now taking a seat beside the new boy. “I know,” he acknowledged.
Kevin had changed recently. They had been inseparable for sixteen years, but suddenly Kevin had become quiet and withdrawn. He spent countless hours trying to get his brother to open up, but the harder he tried, the more Kevin pushed him away.
Being an identical twin, he thought that he and Kevin shared similar thoughts. Since he could remember, they had a secret bond that only twins could share. Their mother’s pet phrase for them was ‘two peas in a pod.’
When Devin fell from a tree when he was eight, Kevin came barging into the house minutes later, aware that something serious had happened. He cried that he had felt a pain in his right arm and he knew something had happened to his brother. Eerily, Devin returned hours later from the hospital with his father, his right arm in a cast. Devin and Paul had been climbing a tree, and he had fallen six feet to the ground.
When they were in the seventh grade, it was the first time that they didn’t share the same classroom. Instead of one teacher, they now had six subjects and a different teacher for each class. They learned quickly that they could adopt the identity of the other and confuse their teachers.
Devin’s favorite subjects were math and science. Kevin excelled in English and history. On more than one occasion, one twin would show up to take a test for the other. They were successful until one wise teacher suspected what they were doing and called out the other twin’s name. Kevin responded before he realized that he was supposed to have assumed the identity of Devin. A phone call home insured that they never again played the same prank.
Since that time Kevin’s hair was cut short, while Devin sported a longer style. However, they were identical in appearance. Both boys had experienced a growth spurt in the ninth grade. They now stood just a little over six feet tall. Their hair was light brown, and they had dark brown eyes. They were considered cute by the girls in their school. Devin loved the attention, but Kevin seemed to shy away from the advances of girls. It was this that confused and bothered Devin.
“Holy shit!” Cameron looked across the cafeteria. “I’m eating at the table with you, but you’re over there.” His eyes widened as he looked at Kevin and then across the room at Devin.
Kevin held his mouth and giggled. It was a reaction he had experienced hundreds of times. “That’s my twin brother,” he managed to say after he stopped laughing at the surprised look on Cameron’s face.
“You two look just alike,” he said as he continued to look back and forth at them. “That’s freaky.”
“We’re identical twins,” Kevin informed his new friend. He looked across the table at the boy with long blond hair falling across his forehead. Kevin had looked over several times as they were eating and watched him brush the hair from his eyes.
He had met Cameron during his second period geometry class. Kevin had been trying to fight sleep as Mr. Shepard droned on and on about sines and cosines. He was awakened fifteen minutes into the class when the door opened and a boy he’d never seen walked in. He immediately noticed the long blond hair and blue eyes. He was short, and he was dressed in baggy jeans and a black hoodie.
Kevin snickered when he noticed that the new boy’s hoodie had been turned inside out. He knew what that meant. The sweat shirt contained something deemed inappropriate for school, probably the name of a band or an obscene emblem of some kind.
He watched as the boy handed Mr. Shepard a schedule and waited patiently while the teacher wrote his name into his grade book. When he was finished, he handed the paper back and told the boy to take a seat. Kevin watched as his eyes scanned the room, before noticing the seat in front of him was vacant. Their eyes met as the blond haired boy strolled slowly down the aisle and dropped into the seat in front of him.
“Well, Mr. Williams?” He heard the teacher call his name. “What is the answer to my question?” Kevin looked anxiously around the room. He had been admiring the brown streaks in the boy’s hair in front of him, and he hadn’t been paying attention to what was being said in class.
“Negative two,” the boy before him whispered.
“Say negative two,” the boy whispered once again.
Kevin looked down at his paper and wrote -2. “The answer is negative two,” he said apprehensively. He held his breath while Mr. Shepard stared at him from the front of the room.
He let out sigh when Mr. Shepard smiled and said, “Excellent, Mr. Williams.” He then turned and began writing on the blackboard.
“Thanks,” Kevin whispered to the boy before him.
“No sweat,” the kid whispered back.
Mr. Shepard turned and announced that the rest of the class would be devoted to working on the remaining problems in the book. The class moaned, and then there was the noise of chairs being moved. Students were permitted to work together, as long as they worked quietly.
“Can I work with you?” The blond boy turned and looked pleadingly at Kevin. “The teach didn’t assign me a book yet.”
“Yeah, sure,” stammered Kevin. The boy scooted his chair beside him and extended his hand.
“I’m Cameron Lynch,” he smiled. Kevin noticed the even white teeth, probably the result of years of torturous braces.
“Kevin Williams,” he replied as he tentatively took the boy’s hand and shook it. The boy grasped his hand and held it longer than necessary. Kevin wasn’t aware of it until he realized that to others in the room it might appear as if they were holding hands.
“What page are we supposed to be working on?” Kevin inquired. Cameron began to giggle.
“No wonder you didn’t know the answer,” he laughed. Kevin began to blush. He could never tell Cameron the real reason he hadn’t been paying attention.
“I hate this class,” Kevin said. “Mr. Shepard knows I’m struggling, and he intentionally picks on me.”
“Don’t worry,” reassured Cameron. “I’ll help you.”
“You don’t even know me,” replied Kevin, staring into his blue eyes.
“I know enough,” remarked Cameron knowingly. They sat quietly for a minute and looked at each other. Cameron was the first to speak.
“Page sixty four.”
“Page sixty four,” he restated. “We’re supposed to be working on the problems on page sixty four.”
“Oh, yeah.” Kevin opened the book and placed it between them. After finding the page, they began to work the problems. Cameron worked quickly, answering them with ease. Kevin watched him, and then placed his pencil to the paper with such force that the lead broke.
“Damn it,” he swore under his breath. “Why is this shit so easy for everyone but me?”
Cameron looked worriedly at him. “I said I’d help you, Kevin.” He then moved his chair closer, causing their legs to touch lightly. He shoved his paper in front of Kevin. “Now pay attention.”
Kevin tried to concentrate on what Cameron was explaining, but all that flooded his mind was the hot touch of their legs rubbing against each other. He felt that Cameron was intentionally moving his leg against his, but he was unsure. It could have just been a nervous reaction to their closeness.
He gasped when Cameron leaned over to illustrate a problem, and in doing so, placed his hand firmly on Kevin’s thigh. Kevin flinched and looked quickly around the room to see if anyone had noticed.
Seeing his nervous reaction, Cameron withdrew his hand. “Sorry,” he muttered.
Kevin looked into the boys blue eyes. “It’s all right, really,” he assured him. “Just not here.” His comment brought a smile to Cameron’s face.
“When then?” Cameron giggled flirtatiously when he realized that Kevin wasn’t repulsed by his action.
“Silly,” Kevin grinned. He was quickly becoming enamored by the charm of the boy beside him. He felt a feeling beginning to resurface that he had hidden for over a year; a feeling that he couldn’t even share with his twin brother.
Devin leaned in and kissed the cheek of the girl who had just sat down beside him.
“Hi, Ashley.” Paul waved timidly as she rolled her eyes at him.
She reached down and grabbed Devin’s hand. “Are you still taking me to the movies Saturday night?”
Before he had a chance to respond, Paul interrupted, “What are you going to go see?” Can I go with you?”
Again, Ashley rolled her eyes and looked pleadingly at Devin. She wanted them to go alone, but she knew that Devin would invite his best friend to join them. Apprehensively, Devin shrugged his shoulders and said, “Yeah, sure.” He was disappointed when she withdrew her hand from his.
“Can’t you find a date?” she remarked. “The dog pound is open until six.”
“Ashley, please,” begged Devin. It wasn’t the first time that she had insulted Paul. Ashley was the first girl that he had seriously dated, and he found it difficult balancing having a girlfriend and maintaining his friendship with Paul. He and Paul had been friends for over twelve years, and he wasn’t ready to break the bond they shared. He had been trying unsuccessfully to wean Paul away while he began a steady relationship with Ashley.
“You’re so fucking funny,” Paul scoffed. “Make sure you make it back to your cage on time.” He pushed away from the table and walked off angrily.
“I wish you would stop being so insulting to Paul,” Devin chided Ashley. “He’s my best friend.”
Ashley leaned in and kissed his cheek. “Well, I’m your girlfriend,” she cooed.
Kevin shook his head. “I still think you should treat Paul better.”
“All right.” She kissed him again on the cheek. “If it’s so important to you, I’ll start being nicer to your boyfriend.” She started giggling as Devin cast an angry look at her.
“Oh, silly me,” she placed her hand over her mouth. “I forgot, you’re not Kevin.”
“Don’t go there,” warned Devin. Ashley had been suspicious of Kevin ever since she tried to get him to date her best friend, Sherri, and Kevin refused.
There was an awkward silence as they continued to eat. Ashley was a beautiful girl, and she was well aware of it. She had been pursuing Devin since the eighth grade. He finally relented, and they began dating occasionally a year ago. This year she had made it her goal to make Devin her steady boyfriend, and she had succeeded. She had convinced Devin to engage in heavy petting on the sofa in her parent’s den, and she had once given him a hand job. Her ultimate goal was to get him to have sex with her. However, Paul’s ever presence had prevented her from consummating their relationship. She had hoped that her insulting behavior would drive him away so she could have Devin to herself.
“Isn’t that sweet?” she said sarcastically. Devin looked up. Ashley’s eyes were narrowed at something across the cafeteria. “Your brother has found himself a boyfriend.”
Devin glanced at Kevin sitting next to the new kid. Their arms were touching as they talked animatedly. To a casual observer, it did appear that they might be boyfriends.
She asked, “Who’s the new kid? I don’t think I’ve seen him in school before.”
“Beats me,” Devin replied as he looked at the boy sitting next to his brother. He could tell by the way they were looking at each other that they were more than just acquaintances. Anger consumed him, but he couldn’t understand why he was feeling resentful toward the person who shared his own blood. He knew he was losing Kevin, but he didn’t understand why.
“Hey, again.” Cameron beamed as he sat down beside Kevin in Spanish class. “This is great. We have two classes together.” He scooted closer and let their knees touch lightly.
“Fuck off!” Devin cast him an angry look, got up and walked to the other side of the room. Cameron watched in astonishment. Timidly, he rose and followed him.
Placing his hand on his shoulder, he asked softly, “What’s wrong? I thought we were going to be friends.” Devin turned and looked down at Cameron’s hand.
“You got one second to get your fucking hand off me, Fag.” Cameron’s eyes widened with surprise. He couldn’t believe Kevin was treating him so rudely. He then noticed that the boy before him had longer hair than the one with whom he had eaten lunch.
Realizing that he had approached the wrong twin, he muttered, “Sorry.” He turned and returned to his seat. He looked at Devin who was staring at him with an angry expression. He was confused because he thought that Kevin’s brother would share the same friendly behavior. He was wrong. Throughout the remainder of the class, every time he looked at Devin, he was met with an intimidating stare.
Cameron had become used to intimidation. He was the victim of physical abuse at his former school. He had made the mistake of misinterpreting another student’s friendliness. They had shared a gym class together, and for weeks the other boy had engaged in playful behavior with Cameron. He was constantly grabbing him and wrestling him to the ground. He would grind his body into Cameron and pin him in various awkward positions.
Thinking that the boy was sexually interested in him, Cameron lingered after class one day as the boy showered. He stripped off his gym clothes and then entered the stall where the boy was washing his hair. He didn’t see Cameron enter and approach him. With his hands shaking nervously, Cameron came up behind the boy and wrapped his arms around him and took his soft cock in his hands.
The boy turned, hit Cameron in the face and knocked him to the ground. “You mother fucking fag!” he shouted. He then began to unmercifully kick Cameron’s limp body as he lay nude on the cold concrete floor. He left him bloody and unconscious. It wasn’t until the next class came in was his beaten body found. An ambulance was called, and he was taken to the hospital. He remained there for three days recovering from the serious wounds that had been inflicted on him.
News spread quickly, and rumors began to fly. When he returned to school, he was immediately labeled the school fag. He couldn’t walk down the hallway without someone slamming him into a locker. His book bag was stolen, and it was later found burning inside a trash can. The verbal assaults were unmerciful. People forgot his name. It became faggot, queer or cocksucker.
He withdrew into a shell. Afraid to venture out alone, he became a recluse in his own home. His mother was worried because his health began to deteriorate. She was a single parent, and Cameron was her only child. She struggled hard to make ends meet, and Cameron only added to the pressure she was feeling. One night she sat him down and made him tell her what was troubling him. Two tearful hours later, Cameron confessed to her that he was gay and told her of the abuse he was experiencing at school.
One week later, they were packed and moving to a new life. It was her hope that her son could start a new life.
Cameron shuddered when he looked at Devin. The old fears surfaced. The abuse he had suffered just weeks earlier surged forward once again. Earlier in the day, he felt that he had made a friend. Now, he knew he had to be careful. He had to protect Kevin and himself. He didn’t want the same situation to occur again.
When the bell rang, he got up and walked to the door. Devin walked beside him as he exited. He pushed him into the door and hurt his shoulder. Cameron winced in pain as he watched Devin walk away.
He stopped in the hallway, looked at his schedule and tried to figure out where his next class was located. He jumped when someone walked up beside him and tore the paper from his hand.
“Let me see what you have next.” He looked up to see Kevin reading his schedule. Careful not to make the same mistake again, he looked up at Kevin’s short brown hair.
“Cool!” Kevin said excitedly. “You have history with me. You’re going to like Ms. Strickland. She’s a good teacher.” Kevin threw his arm around Cameron’s shoulder and started to lead him down the hall. He stepped away quickly, and Kevin withdrew his hand.
“I can find it myself,” he said rudely. “I don’t need your help.” He walked quickly away. Kevin was confused as to why Cameron’s behavior had changed so suddenly. It was only an hour ago that they had laughed and joked in the cafeteria. Now, he seemed cold and distant. He trailed behind Cameron as he walked down the hall with his head down. He appeared dejected.
Kevin ran up beside him. “What’s wrong with you? I thought we were going to be friends.”
Cameron looked up as tears appeared in his eyes. He spoke sullenly, “You don’t need friends like me.” He wiped his face with his sleeve, turned and continued alone down the hall.
“Hey, Retard.” Devin was in the driveway of their home shooting basketballs in the rim on the garage. He usually made it home about twenty minutes before Kevin. Paul had gotten his driver’s license three months earlier when he turned sixteen, and he had bought a used car with money he had been saving for several years by mowing neighbors’ lawns. Since he also chauffeured two other friends who lived several blocks away, he always claimed that there was no room in the car for Devin.
Kevin, however, knew the real reason. Paul didn’t like him. He never did. He and Devin had formed a friendship since they were about six, and he was seldom invited to join them. Paul’s friendship was one of the few things that he and Devin didn’t share. He asked Devin many times over the years why, but Devin would shrug his shoulders and reply, “Dunno.”
As he grew older and became more sexually aware, he began to suspect that Paul had a secret crush on Devin and he didn’t want to share his attention. Sometimes when he’d watch him obediently follow Devin around, Kevin would find it amusing and ironic that Paul had picked the wrong twin.
Devin tossed the ball at Kevin. Kevin said angrily as he hurled the ball to his brother, “I told you not to call me retard anymore.”
“Why?” Devin threw it forcefully back. “I’ve been calling you that since we were kids.”
Kevin gave his brother an angry look. “Because we’re not kids anymore, that’s why.”
“Ooohh,” Devin said sarcastically. “Kevie’s becoming a man.”
“Fuck you, Devin.” Kevin took the ball and shot it at the basketball rim. It sailed through the air and entered without touching the rim.
“Nice, shot.” Devin retrieved the ball and threw it back to his brother. “Twenty-one?” Kevin removed his shirt and they played basketball for the next half hour. When they finished, both boys were tired and sweaty. Kevin walked around the back of the house and sat in a chair on the deck. Devin disappeared into the house and returned with two cans of soda.
“Here, Re...” He stopped suddenly and grinned. “My man.”
Kevin tried to act angry, but he let a smile creep across his face. He was happy that he and Devin had spent some time together. Since he had begun dating Ashley, he spent more time at her house or talking on the phone. He rarely had time to devote to him anymore.
They sat quietly for a few minutes and basked in the warm rays of early fall. Devin turned to Kevin and stated, “You know, Ashley is still bugging me to get you to date her friend, Sherri.” He looked at his brother who was lying on the chaise lounge with his eyes closed.
“Did you hear me?” He asked when he got no response.
Kevin sat up and looked over. “I told you I don’t want to go out with Sherri.”
“Why? She’s really pretty.” He added quickly, “But not as pretty as Ashley.”
Kevin looked over and rolled his eyes. “Forget it,” replied Kevin as he lay back and closed his eyes.
“Come on, Kevin,” pleaded his brother. “I promised Ashley you’d double date with us this Saturday.”
“No,” insisted Kevin.
“Please,” begged Devin. “Don’t you get tired of doing it by yourself?” He made a gesture as if he were masturbating.
“Like you get any,” laughed Kevin. “I hear you at night.”
Devin’s face reddened. “Well, it won’t be long. I can tell Ashley wants Little Devin.” He grabbed his crotch and tugged on it.
“Little is right,” giggled Kevin.
“It’s the same size as yours,” replied Devin. “We’re twins, so got the same equipment.”
“Maybe we do,” replied Kevin. “But right now I’m not interested in putting mine in a girl.”
Devin studied his brother intently before speaking. “I’m not sure you’ll ever be interested in that.”
Kevin looked angrily at his brother. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Forget it, Retard.” Devin stood up and stared down at his brother. “I’m beginning to wonder about you. Maybe Ashley is right.” He turned and entered the house.
Kevin began to worry if his brother was close to finding out his secret.