Offside. Chapter 17

Even if we started talking about exes, I couldn’t wait until I would be alone and I could think of the kiss on the hair properly and let those thoughts blossom, grow. I wanted to let those thoughts consume me as I would lay on my stomach, hugging my pillow and letting my mind progress to a place where I could see him properly kissing me too. I think of all of this during the pause, where Johnny is observing the lake.

“Can we row there now, in theory?” I’m a bit surprised, taken back, but I take his question.

“Yeah, of course.” I pause and Johnny looks at me pleadingly. “You mean now?”

I had rowed enough times without Steven, so that it would become routine instead of rowing for my previous boyfriend and now I would think of rowing when it’s nearly dark so that I would see the moon, so that I would see the first stars and nearly lose sight of the house, despite it’s brightly lit windows, reflecting wherever my parents were. It was odd that I would only reduce them to rooms, but then we all had many things to ponder about the other. I would catch myself thinking about odd discussions, where they would seem visibly upset about their only son being gay. I told them that most likely I would adopt regardless or if I happened to have a partner which could conceive, that would happen maybe, but it’s different from a parent’s eyes. It was briefly about what to tell everyone else since I had Steven. He had showed up to some family events as my plus one and it was met with hushed words as well as on his end.

His end was more harsh, a bit too upfront, specifically from his dad who had told him that he was an embarrassment rather than my own parents only hinting at that. But nevertheless his mother insisted on me coming, that I was a part of whatever kind of family they had going. I wonder if they actually divorced as it had smelt of it for a good while and Steven would speak on how much he himself would be happier if his parents had just went along with it.

“You know…” I trail off but catch myself. “Yeah, we can row now… But I’d rather just…”

I shrug.

“We can talk in the boat.” Johnny suggests. I wonder why is he so eager about the boat and it’s not as beautiful as one would imagine it to be, it’s no cartoon-like fairytale with singing sea animals and falling stars, it’s really just rural nature along with nearly still water.

“Sure.” I say, barely knowing how to refuse when he’s so eager about it and maybe he just wants some proper full fleshed privacy which we could only achieve by really being in the middle of the lake. We both turn around and go down the stairs which are filled with photos of me through the ages and of course there will never be a photo of me with a boyfriend. The closest I have to anything significant is standing in a full kit with a football, when I got in to the small club I am currently in now, which was one of the proudest days. No matter how shitty our club is, I’ve been in worse and this is the best I’ll get by just staying here. Johnny observes all the photos, a small smile starting to play on his lips, but he still makes his way down. We exit through the back door, avoiding all the cluttered area, but Johnny’s too excited so I just cut our way a bit and he doesn’t seem to mind all the mess.

We both avoid saying anything as we exit. He follows me and I make sure he is, even if it’s nothing hard to follow, which is a bit of a road to the right and through some trees. I stop for a brief moment, realizing that I had left my cigarettes in the backpack.

“I forgot my cigarettes.” I say a bit flatly and Johnny just goes ahead, seeing where the boat is and I look at him.

“Fuck it, be healthy for once, Robbie.” He grins back and waits for me. I join him up and start untying the boat. I do it faster than usual, because he’s so eager that he’s just rocking from front to back on his heels and I watch him, before I signal that we can both go into the boat. Johnny goes in instantly and I follow him, taking the paddles and not sure if he would now how to row properly.

“I can row this time, if you’d like.” I say and I have a vision of Steven for the first time since I had gone rowing without him, Steven had longer hair than Johnny and straight, he was very theatrical just like everything about him, he was a stereotype which people wouldn’t really talk about, not a jock. I take a while to say anything and just stare at Johnny, while he looks at the water and the surroundings, letting it all soak in.

It felt like rowing with Steven to the middle of the lake once again. It felt like an old love. I didn’t know where I wanted my mind to trail and I couldn’t help but continue the silence which Johnny started and think of my ex. It was all because I had taken someone else with me. I should’ve offered to row with Paul or Andy and leave the other cunt on the shore. I should’ve done something besides think of Steven all over. When I ended it, the feeling was far from over, I knew that we could’ve gone on somehow, that I could’ve forgiven or closed my eyes or opened the relationship, but it was the fact that he hadn’t told me that had driven me wild, to scream at him and then cry once I got back, midway back home. I didn’t cry after that, I just shut down and I let summer be the coldest I had felt in my life.

Even if we travelled I didn’t care, and just wanted back to my room. My parents didn’t know how to comfort me or speak of it, since they had heard that we broke up. My mom tried to comfort me, my dad tried to comfort me, both came to talk to me and stare at the old posters in the room, which I hadn’t taken down since I was a younger fella. They wouldn’t raise the topic right away, they would just ask me if there was anything on my mind. My mom put her hand on my shoulder, asking me about Steven after a long silence and saying that not everyone ended up with their high school sweethearts, that it was only normal. But I knew that the fact that I was dating a guy, made them confused on who should speak to me, so they both came. Mom also tried to get me into a holiday mood, but all I did was play Fifa and I would actually attempt to get some booze from the liquor drawers at night, when I wouldn’t be able to sleep so that I would stop feeling for a while. But mostly I just allowed the numbness to guide me.

I was surely glass eyed, like a doll. I couldn’t even comprehend how I had looked now. Developing a crush sometimes doesn’t erase the pain but just masks it, because a rebound does nothing.

“Do you think rebounds work?” I ask Johnny quietly, watching him notice how upset I seem, because by the end of the day we just want to be loved in a way or another. I don’t even register properly that I had spoken up. I feel like it yanks me out of my daze of missing Steven, which is new rather than lusting after the striker.

“I don’t think either of us should go for a rebound. I don’t think we’re ready.” Johnny turns to me fully and stops spinning around, watching everything from the boat as we keep getting closer to the midway. I knew that we would stop and I would just lazily keep rowing around and frankly I wouldn’t mind that.

“Speak for yourself, Johnny, I would love to be fucked.” I smirk, a bit too fake. But you gotta fake it until you make it. I happen to be lying to myself far too often, just to believe it and eventually I forget about my plan and start thinking things I shouldn’t even be thinking of in the first place, like places now which I had visited with Steven. But I’m not lying, I would love to be fucked into my goddamn mattress.

“Interesting, I never pictured you as a bottom. I guess I’d just be a top.” Johnny notes, what he thinks would be the truth.

“That’s what all straight guys say and then they get a dick up their ass and magically they change sides or halfway. But I guess you’d start with topping, to see what all the party is about.” I pause. “I’m versatile though.”

“Yeah, I can’t see you taking all the time.” Johnny swings it back to me. I laugh, slowly easing up instead of faking it and I’m sure he had noticed. I got told by Steven that I’m easier to read than a book.

“Amazing. You see me fucking someone?” I say and stop rowing, still holding to make sure that we don’t swim elsewhere with the little rowing boat.

“Yeah. I thought you were a top actually…” He drifts off, but decides to finish. “You seemed very assertive.”

“Yeah, well, I had to have some initiative.” I say and my heart acts way faster than my fucking brain catches up on. “But being a top doesn’t mean anything like that, you can lay on your back all the time, be bossed around and still be a top.”

“I guess I have plenty to learn.” Johnny smiles briefly, before looking around again, but I hope he won’t be quiet the whole time.

“I know you’re pretty used to everything by now, that it all seems dull, but it’s all really pretty. I keep staring at everything new.” He remarks and I am just happy that he is speaking instead of me thinking all over about Steven. It feels like he will never fully drift away from my thoughts, that he will always linger and be there, reminding that I had left the relationship. I always blame myself even if it was all him. I did the right thing, but that’s not something the heart listens to, is it? I loved him and that’s not easy to erase.

“Well, I see that’s pretty and unique, I guess, but I’m terribly tired of the scenery.” I saw and I row once to the left, because we’re drifting slightly, but not much. I pause and he looks at me, as if telling me to speak up, but I just avoid his gaze. “I don’t even like admitting it much… but I really wish things would change.”

I lean my head back and look at the cloudless sky for today.

“I don’t want to be stuck here forever, but the problem is that I have no idea where would I even go. Hell, I don’t even know what I would do.” It even feels heavy to say it and to open up to someone else, because Steven would hear such things while stroking my hair, as I would lay on my back, awake in the dark few hours of the night, allowing both of us to just stare at each other, barely seeing.

“How do you imagine yourself in ten years?” Johnny asks suddenly.

“Probably you still being my friend or whatever, in jail for throwing Andy and Paul down the well. You would send me cards and come visit me.” I look at him, not at the sky. “Probably had an affair already.”

He motions for me to leave with my bullshit and I just laugh. Maybe he’ll crack or I will, but someone will surely get tired of this tug of war, the problem is that I don’t know if we will remain friends or become lovers? My thoughts are a mess about Johnny. I am a terrible mess about feelings apparently, because once they started sprouting with Steven, they never stopped, love and hate intertwined. But I can’t say that I hate Johnny in any way. Now, Steven is a completely different story.

“You think we’d have an affair?” I can’t look at him as he says it, so I instead look at the water, nearly falling down, so Johnny gently shoves me and I push him back. The boat moves from side to side, so we remain still and close.

“Sure.” I shrug, turning to him.

Johnny smiles briefly and looks at the water himself. I put an arm around him. Maybe we’re not ready to discuss our past.

“You’ll be alright.” I say.

“I’ll be fucking better than Ronaldo and Messi combined.” He notes and I just start laughing, but I manage to speak up.

“You’re not a fucking winger. Say something like Lewandowski or Benzema.” I say through breaks of laughter, while Johnny looks dead serious somehow. Talk about his football self esteem, but then he doesn’t seem to be struggling about that like the rest of the world which is fucking suicidal, which is fucking self harming just because they won’t look good on a selfie. Never got the appeal, because I would just not look good enough or I would notice a bad angle later. All I’ve got is a few ones for Grindr which look as flattering as I could ever look.

“Yeah, but they’re not as good. I want the following as well. And the way Cristiano Ronaldo is playing is like a striker anyway. He’s not a winger anymore.” Johnny exclaims and I just roll my eyes at him, my hand still around his shoulders and we sit on the middle of the boat, so that we don’t really fall anywhere and have a homoerotic moment like Pocahontas could’ve had.

“He’s a winger, Johnny. Get off your high horse and become a second rate Morata.” I suggest him and pull him closer, as he smirks, but is still dead serious, like he always is about football.

“He’s got a following of girls. That counts. But he’s alright. There’s better.” Johnny mops around, that I’m not exactly glossing all his abilities, because neither of us are that great and I don’t like giving people too much false hope, specifically when Johnny has so much.

“So you want to play like Morata and have the following of James Rodriguez or something? How about you just become a bad knock off of James? You’ve got the face for it.” I say and hold myself from squeezing his cheeks. Johnny turns to glare at me and I just squeeze him with my arm. I realize something. “I’ll get jealous from all the attention you’re getting.”

“Fucking hell, live a little.” He tries to mock a serious face, but then loses it. “I’m not the cheating type anyway.”

I smile a bit sour, recalling my ex.

“Good to know.” Johnny ruffles my hair fast. “So it’s settled, we’ll have an affair and you won’t hide me from the press?”

“I’ll show all my love on camera and leak a sex tape of you riding me like an animal.” The image is way too graphic and tempting, but I ignore my urges from literally going into his pants.

A big chunk of the story is dedicated to not knowing your future, what you’re doing and what’s really the point. I touched it briefly in the beginning, but as time goes Robbie keeps thinking about it and it becomes a major theme, while I felt alienated from at first when I was writing the first chapter. Everything seemed concrete in my life and I seemed to know what I was doing, but now I relate more and more to Robbie as I write the next chapters (I’m a lot further down).

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Offside. Chapter 16

I had all summer to try and get over Steven with these ideas. There were days when I was over, but I just had this longing for something else or someone else, I was ready to move on. But to whom? There was no one and there was no point in trying online dating, since I had once me and Steven broke up. It was hard and I kept wondering who the fuck was I really missing then? Maybe there was something about missing someone who would just come into my life softly and would fall in love with me, stay faithful. But just like you can never guess what awaits one in life, I couldn’t guess that I would…

Start liking some kid who is straight. I kept staring at Johnny, while we waited for the bus. Maybe I should just get over him and start sulking about being alone and miserable again? I knew that Johnny would never tell me that, on the opposite he would tell me that I should be chin up, probably? Well, that’s what he said previously. He wanted me to find someone else and he was sure that I would. But would I really? My body ached from loneliness on the love front, because this was my first proper break up and I was a terrible late bloomer. It took me a while to figure out my sexuality until the wrong man came along.

“Bus.” Johnny says, I didn’t even realized that I spaced out and he just kept watching out for the bus, while I was left alone with my thoughts. I didn’t know how could I even speak to him about it? Hey, Johnny, you broke my heart without any proper feelings, but you still made me lonely. You still hurt me and now please help me get over it. I could never say that. But then we had both manoeuvred talking about our exes, maybe it was high time, because I was sure that Johnny still ached. But how can I say that today of all days I was missing Steven? It wasn’t any anniversary or anything, it was just another day to be miserable. My mood was terribly decreasing as we waited for our turn quietly to pay the ticket and get inside.

It was far more crowded than usual, so Johnny started checking his phone for notifications, as other people were loudly discussing their own day. I wondered how come there were so many people, maybe there was a party of sorts? But I barely recognized the other faces. I didn’t bother looking further and just closing my eyes for a brief while, listening to all the distinct voices while Johnny was busy with social media. I wonder if he even pictured himself having millions of Twitter followers and misspelling common words, just to feed into the stereotype that some of us were really fucking dumb.

I don’t even notice that I had dazed off and as soon as we are on the road, Johnny wakes me up.

“I kind of have no idea where you live, Robbie.” He smirks, poking my shoulder. “Need you to be awake.”

I just nod sleepily and stop slouching, straightening my back and stretching my arms in front of me. I look out of the window. We’re still a drive away, but I don’t want to oversleep my stop either, so I try my best to stay awake from now on. The bus drive is a brief torture, so I take out my own phone to see some messages from Paul. He asks me if I’m alright, to which I quickly reply that I am and he never gets back to me after that.

Maybe he got surprised that we had left so early without eating pizza or even hanging out with them. Well, I can understand the surprise and whatnot. Johnny looks at me, all curious since the notification was loud enough for the bus to hear, I had forgotten to put it on vibrate and it’s not like I had a bunch of texts to boast about.

“What’s up?” He ends up saying out loud, far too curious.

“Just got a weird text from Paul, asking if I’m alright and I’m left on read. Bizarre, maybe Andy is sucking him off, so he got…” Yawn. “Distracted or something.”

“Possibly.” Johnny smirks. “I mean, yeah, they’re very close friends, but they couldn’t really be sucking each other off…”

I give him a weird look, I guess, but he assumes too much.

“They cold be full blown fucking. I guess, I need to get use to all your mutual mocking.” Johnny says.

“And that is an image I really don’t want to see. They’re both ugly as hell. I never liked any of them for more than friends. Ew. Not interested in what happens or the threesomes they’re rumoured to do whenever one gets some girl. Well, everyone speculates that it’s quite involved. Because there’s a girl, it’s not queer. So who knows what really goes on. Rumours can stretch and lie.”

It’s as if Johnny feels that there is a story to it. It’s odd knowing or feeling that he could just crack me open, crack my ribs open and see me all inside. But maybe he doesn’t and it’s all in my head.

“Yeah, rumours can be hurtful. I didn’t get to be harmed by them much. At least not in the beginning. I just wouldn’t care, besides one time.” He leans his head back. “It was all small banter or people speculated a lot where I would be moving and eventually it was guessed before I could even open my mouth.” He taps his knee. “Heather heard it before I wanted her to, because I just had a bad gut feeling about it. I wanted it to come from me, not from my best mate who decided to do me a favor… Maybe things would have been different, you know?”

“Maybe.” I echo back what Johnny really wants to hear. Johnny just looks at me, hopefully that somehow it would all turn around and I would manage somehow to bring his loved Heather. I wondered how she was and how much did Johnny think of her. “But it could have all just lead to the same result.”

I don’t add more, not sure if I had even done some damage, which I was far from wanting to do to my fellow football player. But it ends up to be our stop and I apologize quickly to Johnny, as we make our way outside. It’s all the same with the mail box and the route back to the big house, and the trash can as well. There’s not that many trees by the way that we have to go. Johnny seems to be thinking a lot, but I know that our topic and our wounds need to be stitched but we need to put some medicine before we sew them on raw skin and close them up.

“I know.” He opens the topic and smiles at me very quietly, sadly and looks down as we walk to the house. It’s seen soon enough, but Johnny doesn’t ask why it’s rather far away from the road, unlike his which is rather closer. But then they bought or rented the house with its location, while mine was built ages ago and just to be close to the lake, really. “But… you can’t help but wonder what the hell could you have done to prevent it, you know?”

“Of course.” I nod. “I always wonder what if Steven never cheated… But.”

I laugh a bit darkly.

“It’s all on him. My point is… it’s not your fault, which has led me to believe after figuring this out for months. It’s really not your fault that someone fucked up, no matter how much love you’ve given them.” Johnny stares at me wide eyed as I say it, as if I had revealed to him the secret of life, why were we all born and all of our purposes in life. “She… left you. Not because of you. But because it was her all along.”

I pat the shorts, before recalling that I had put the cigarettes back to my backpack. I take out the box and take one with my mouth, while stretching the rest to Johnny. My friend? I guess. We’ve been rather close recently.

“But honestly man, you gotta stop blaming yourself for what your ex girlfriend did.” I light both of our cigarettes, as we pause and I can hear a fucking bird already reminding us that summer is fleeting.

“It’s… more easy to say than do, really.” Johnny sighs. He looks around. “Do you ever just sit here in the field?”

“Yeah, of course. When I’m too tired to show up to my parents even if we’re distant and they never push it. What you want to sit down? We’re nearly in my room and I can sneak some beers or something.” I offer and Johnny just nods at my suggestion. “I think after I broke up with Steven, I just sat down and cried for a damn good manly while.”

I look around.

“Somewhere around here.” I say pointing to the left, which is frankly next to nothing and neatly trimmed grass. Johnny just follows my finger curiously and nods, as if there would be something enough for him to comment on, but there really isn’t.

“I just… got sad, I guess.” He says and I throw an arm around him, to which he turns his head to me. For a brief second he looks deeply into my eyes, before just looking down and inhaling the cigarette. I want to kiss him. My heart feels heavier, but I do nothing. I do nothing with the hair in his eyes and I don’t dare to touch it.

Johnny looks at me again and I just hold my silence, watching how the fuck would all of this unravel with all the anxiety which keeps mixing with adrenaline, even if I know that nothing would fucking happen. I was too anxious to keep track and I knew that this wouldn’t ever be the moment, if it ever were to happen, but I couldn’t help but look at him back. I wanted both of us to find solace somehow in each other, but I knew that Johnny’s thoughts were different entirely. I took the cigarette myself and inhaled, but I kept my eyes on him, both of us only having breaks with small blinks. He didn’t seem to dare to break the moment either. But we just held our distance with my arm around him.

“Robbie.” He says, looking back down.

“Johnny.” I mock him as he breathed out, not holding and frankly maybe it’s for the best. Johnny looks back up at me, I see thankful and he throws an arm back to be around my shoulders. He ruffles my hair out of place and I’m not sure what else he had done, because it’s quickly gone and he’s away from my hair.

“I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about Heather, thank you.” Johnny says. “And I’m not sure about anyone wanting to hear me mop around about it.”

“Johnny-”

“Don’t think about it.” He shrugs and then he drops the fact that he had kissed my hair briefly. It feels like another first kiss and apparently I’ll keep having these moments with him, these firsts which always seem to be strung with first feelings, like snapshots of what he’s really feeling. My heart starts racing as he slowly starts walking and drops the hand eventually and I follow. “I mean it, thank you and… just thanks, for listening and for the listening you might do.”

“I’m always happy to listen.” I bite the bait and Johnny eases. What if he’s doing all of this to keep me as a friend? Just these minor things to keep us both entertained? What if this is his way of paying me back somehow? What if he thinks that’s all I’ll ever want. I can barely breathe now.

“You- you don’t have to do it, if you don’t want to.” We’re both finishing our cigarettes and we discard them in the bin next to the bench right besides the house. I know that my parents won’t really go outside to bother us, but if there is a window open, they would gladly listen and gossip about it. I check to make sure the window is closed. I look back at Johnny, maybe they went upstairs or for a brief walk, that could be the case.

“Excuse me?” Johnny asks. I just shrug, as if it’s no big deal.

It should be a big deal, but I can’t make it such, sadly.

I point to my hair. Johnny’s face sinks slightly, maybe he thought that I wouldn’t notice or that I would ignore it, that all these handjobs under the table would never be noticed. Johnny takes a very long breath in.

“Look, I did it as a friendly gesture. Sure, it’s more… touchy feely. But that’s just how I felt like around you.” Then he changes tone. “If it makes you uncomfortable, that’s alright.”

“No, no.” I shake my head. “On the opposite-”

“If you think it hits too close to home-”

“Johnny, fuck’s sake, it’s nice.” He bites his lips at my words as I say it out loud. Johnny just stares at me and he tries to look away, but doesn’t eventually.

“Alright.” I get scared that now he would never do it again are my thoughts while he says it. He looks away though. “It’s just that… I just do it because I know you won’t mind, that’s all. That’s how badly I can word it.”

“Okay.” I hold a long pause, where Johnny looks back at me desperately. I even lost my trail of thought during the huge pause. “Just know that I don’t mind.”

I leave it at that and Johnny turns towards the house, well, we both do, desperate to get out of a discussion which could easily hurt us both far too much and hit too close to home. My parents do end up being home, but in the kitchen, drinking tea. I wave at them and introduce Johnny. It doesn’t take long and soon enough we’re upstairs and Johnny gets glued to the window.

“Do you ever row there?” He asks, looking away at the pond.

“Yeah, I do, but Steven liked it a lot.” Realizing that we’re opening the topic once more without realizing it. Johnny looks at me understandingly and just stares at the lake, before reopening our wounds for another time.

I really miss summer and going over this chapter, which is still all about it, makes me feel a bit sad. It’s not exactly autumn with the weather where I am, but it’s autumn full force in studying and everything. I’ve been writing ahead by many chapters, so it’s been rather fun and actually matching the seasons with my mood.

I hope you enjoyed it!

Offside. Chapter 15

After that we make our way to the football pitch. I do get a bit scared, I always do but it’s only until I start playing, then all my feelings go out of the window and I just concentrate. I get more relaxed and it’s something I know how to do, at least. I’ve been always a central midfielder and never really bothered to change it much. I’m confident that Johnny had always tried to be a striker anyway, or at least whined about not getting the position or complained about being a winger. I could see him pout about it.

We don’t talk much and neither does anyone besides Paul and Andy, who apparently scored and one kept filling in on the other with rather explicit details which you could frankly jerk off to if you were into that, causing the coach to tell them to shut the fuck up and concentrate before the game.

“Hey, Robbie, how come you didn’t let me know about those Brazilian football players which jerked each other off in the dressing room of their club? Did you watch the tape?” The other Robbie asks me and I snort, thinking of the video and at the same time wishing I would be left alone. Johnny just sits besides me and turns towards the conversation.

“I’m pretty sure you jerked off to it.” I say, waiting for the time to come.

“Nah, I just kept thinking of you, sweetheart.” He says and throws me a kiss. I roll my eyes at him and Johnny seems to be concerned and just takes a sip from his water bottle. I feel a bit flattered, but I am terribly used to the banter even if sometimes it manages to stick a needle under my skin and hurt me somehow. “But on all honesty, what the fuck were those morons thinking? I heard they got happy when they were caught, like this isn’t the back of a gay bar?”

“I’m pretty sure there’s far more going on in the back of a gay bar.” I smirk and it’s time. The coach and everyone wish each other luck before we enter the field.

As we wait for the coin to be tossed, we all form our positions regardless and Johnny turns around to see me behind him and he just grins. I’m sure the cocky fuck would have enjoyed being captain, but it’s not him. I wonder if he would try to get up the ranks later, just for his own football confidence.

We get the ball.

Johnny passes it behind and the game begins, as everyone runs forwards. We get the ball taken away from us pretty fast, as Johnny had tried to dribble past three defenders and of course one of them caught it. If I could stop time I would curse at him, but I don’t because that power is beyond me. We don’t get much action done and for once, our defence isn’t as bad and somehow we hold it up, but that doesn’t stop the other team’s defence from playing just as… good? I don’t like using the word for a team as mediocre as ours, but the other team isn’t as good either with their bright purple shirts. They look like massive eggplants running towards me.

But we look like squashed, stretched oranges. So who’s the real winner here?

I honestly don’t even know where to go from here. We get a goal scored against us right before the end of the first half and after a few minutes of us frantically trying to attack and Johnny making his first, rather, second pass in the entire game to me because I happen to be behind him again. I end up getting tackled and I trip, because well, it aches and it comes from a direction which I wasn’t looking at.

The big eggplant gets a yellow card and mouths a ‘fucker’ to me. At least it wasn’t faggot or anything. In the end I’ll have to walk it off or sit it out, as the whistle blows. We all go to our separate corners to complain, as if we are children in kindergarten. I smile at Johnny, as he hands me his water before I even reach for my own. Andy and Paul proceed to talk about banging the girl and I’m not even sure anymore who banged her or if it was some threesome I’m missing out the details on. But I can’t say I care and they don’t really approach me or Johnny until a few minutes.

“Hey, lovebirds. Even your names sound like some gay Teletubbies shit.” Andy says and Paul laughs. I’m guessing Johnny glared and I just narrowed my eyes at them, drinking water now from my bottle, feeling bad for drinking Johnny’s and I had drank a fair amount without realizing it.

“Better than some sleazy hook up you’re describing. You’re so fucking identical I don’t even know who fucked her, maybe it’s all a metaphor for you two finally bonding and engaging in some long-needed friendship macho release.” I smirk and I stand up, to make sure I can still walk with my legs.

“Ha ha.” Paul says. I can walk apparently. Johnny seems to be on standby to say something back, but he doesn’t have to, so he eases and leans against the fence, only to sit back straight from the fact that it doesn’t hold up too well.

“Maybe let’s talk about something about football? Motivation?” Johnny suggests so that we stop doing some petty fighting.

“You mean soccer?” Paul says with a cocky face and mocking Johnny.

“I have never fucking called it soccer. Just because I’m American that doesn’t mean that I’m shit at it.” I hold my tongue because he’s my friend and I take a mouthful of water, I would never tell him he’s rubbish now unless he would ask me that.

“You keep dribbling instead of fucking passing.” Paul whines, rubbing his eyes.

“Because everyone else sucks.” Johnny notes his point of view to everyone.

“You passed to me.” I note. “One pass.”

I’m not really adding much to the cause, but Johnny points to me as evidence. I just widen my eyes and nod, as if confirming my own point.

“Whatever. You only trust Robbie ’cause he sucks you off.” Paul says and Andy high fives him for the joke. Johnny raises an eyebrow and drinks from his water fast, thinking of a come back.

“Nothing bad with some friendly bonding, which you lads are very aware of. Since I can’t even imagine what you do when you’re alone. Describing how you screw in detail. Man, now that’s homosexual. Can’t wait for my first gay wedding. I hope I get to be best man.”

Our burns are slowly decreasing and we all lose interest, drinking some more water and about to return to the game. I feel more tired than usual and once we resume, my legs start aching, so all the options I have is to just run it off unfortunately. My right leg is specifically the one which is killing me.

The first half was less exciting than the second, as we manage to score a goal, after all of Johnny’s terrible dribbles, he seems to have taken his criticism and actually passes it around this time and scores eventually. I am not the first to approach him, but he pulls me in to a quick hug. We break it off, as soon as everyone else approaches him and ruffles his hair or high fives or anything else.

After that, maybe we’re all terribly tired, maybe it’s no one’s day after all but it ends in an exciting 1-1.

My whole body aches, as everyone just changes their footwear into something else and some guys change shirts, exposing themselves but I’m not ripped enough, just in good physical shape, so I never really do that and even among football players, I’ve seen far more ripped guys in pornos and Grindr. Johnny swings an arm around me and I finish all of my water bottle.

“Jesus, you need more?”

“Nah, I’ll be fine. Good game though, you scored a good goal.” Johnny smiles at me and I feel far too much than I would enjoy feeling and we don’t see each other every day, I wouldn’t want to start thinking about how much I would dread those days. I don’t even want to miss him even briefly, I don’t want to put Johnny to do anything which he wouldn’t want to do. Which is clearly getting close to me on another level.

“Why, thank you.” And he looks at me in the eyes and for a moment I hold the water bottle too harshly as he looks at me with his dark eyes. “I told you I was good.”

And he breaks the moment and I smirk, looking away, as he ruffles my hair again and I wish I could ease to his touch. I wouldn’t mind even having sex with him like this, post-match and all sweaty. I’ve seen plenty pornos where guys do it after the gym, why after football would be so much different? I think of him on top of me, biting my neck and just fucking me on either of our beds, fucking me into the damned mattress. I snap out of it, just so that I don’t get a very visible boner since I’m in full gear right now.

I still can’t really let my thoughts settle, because I would be lying if I said that he hasn’t eased my loneliness by a small margin. I want to invite him over, but my parents would be scattered around the house or just sitting watching telly in the living room, not really saying much, maybe spread some gossip or ask me if he’s my boyfriend. Would that be wise? But then I had told them that I went to Johnny’s earlier. Sure, they didn’t see all the texts I had sent, but that didn’t really erase the fact that they knew that I was talking to another boy. How long would it be until the rumors would reach Johnny’s parents then? How would they react?

I didn’t want to think of it further and we walked away from the football pitch enough for me to get out a pack of cigarettes, since I was more than aware of the fact that the coach didn’t enjoy us smoking.

We discussed the game over cigarettes and sitting on a bench.

How could I even ask him to come over to mine? Of course I had a bunch of things which were making me wish things were different, but hopefully my desire would run its course and that it would be replaced by a proper friendship which I haven’t had in a good while, maybe with Paul and Andy as we were children or other guys whose names had started to fade in my memory. I was never really too friendly with girls, because I didn’t understand much what was I supposed to find attractive. Sure, I had tried, but it was brief and something that I would just get red in the face for recalling late at night, when one can’t sleep and every embarrassing memory surfaces to keep feeding the insomnia.

I watched him inhale, as he just nodded at me, as if asking what’s up.

“You want to go to my place?” There is a brief silence before I kill it with my awkwardness, but as soon as I open my mouth, Johnny cuts me off.

“Sure. It’s not like there’s much to do here anyway.” He smirks and gets his curls out of his eyes. I wonder how blind he is to me or if he’s that desperate to just make friends which will continue somehow through the course of life, because if you try a lot, one is bound to just go through, right?

I try not to smile at how blind he is, but maybe it’s for the best of the both of us. After all, maybe we just shouldn’t get together, whatever holds in store or whatever just doesn’t align. I don’t exactly know his beliefs or what exactly he thinks of. I wonder if I should push it and ask him if he even wants to sleep over, but maybe that’s something he is pretty scared of. Maybe he just doesn’t want to push it until he’s fully immune.

We keep discussing the match a while still and Johnny confirms all the upcoming matches with me, as well as everyone’s names and he doesn’t seem to be struggling to remember everyone now, but that could just be observation and maybe that’s why he doesn’t pass, because he could still screw it up? I think far too much. We mock each other on the bus stop at our game performance and I’m not sure if I should offer him sleeping over. After all, it’s not like I’ll be able to sneak in much alcohol since my parents would be home and they would keep an eye on the booze drawer and the kitchen overall. So we won’t really be past the point of no travelling return.

I don’t think I had felt attracted and constrained at the same time in my life before. With Steven it was terribly straightforward with him hitting on me, how we had started hanging out more and more. How he had done the first move, when I had already doubted my sexuality for being around with him for so long. I knew he was bisexual and I wasn’t a fool, when Paul had told me that Steven was surely eyeing for something else other than friends. I just didn’t tell Paul that I felt the same way, but I told Steven eventually. We kept each other for a secret, because I wasn’t ready to just go all out about it and eventually my mom caught us. That was it.

Steven was different and now looking back, I wonder how similar we were and what had we found in each other? But then, maybe it was the fact that we were so different that attracted both of us in the first place and we knew how to have a good time, not just sex or making out. Steven was funny, he was far more outgoing and he would force me to do things and we would often row to the middle of the lake, because he said it relaxed him. Once we even blew each other there, intoxicated slightly and after smoking, so it wasn’t like I held dick in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over the video of the Brazilian football player which jerked off two fellow players! Had to insert that for a brief cameo. The video is out there but it’s more funny than… porn with the guy’s face and all.

Inspiration can come from the weirdest places.

Offside. Chapter 14

“By the way, if anything, just message me. I know that Paul and Andy are insensitive assholes. I want you to have a good night and if that doesn’t happen, just tell me.” I smiled as he said it and nodded, even if it was pretty dark and the only light was from the house and the moon. Of course I wanted to kiss him now, slowly, feeling every bit of his lips, but I didn’t do that. I knew that when I’d be depressed that I’d start thinking that he could just fall in love with me through being friends. I hoped for that greatly.

I regretted not asking him more, but all we did was talk briefly of music and Johnny just quietly said that his ex had a better music taste than he could ever aspire to. I had also thought of his acoustic guitar, softly pressed against the wall. I thought of that a lot when I was on the bus, recalling Steven briefly, that he had some questionable bands sometimes, but that had been it really. I nearly fell asleep on the bus, thankfully not missing my stop and stopping at the right moment. But I thought of if I could be his ex someday and how would I be looking back at him, if I would ever think of him and I wondered that on the way home, muttering a quick hello and that I had eaten to my parents.

Lying on the bed made me think why didn’t he ask me to stay over, but then that would’ve probably meant that we would be pushing it. Maybe he was scared that I would kiss him in his sleep? I honestly had no idea. I didn’t text him, because I didn’t actually feel bad, I just had a lot to think about myself, but then I didn’t push it. I just browsed online for a good while and even if I felt horny, I was terrified of touching myself to him, so I didn’t. I played too much Fifa with him, so I didn’t bother to see who else would play Messi or Ronaldo just to spite me. Maybe that was something which I would only allow Johnny to do. I sure did like him and that was visible and I couldn’t deny myself that. Before I headed to bed I just watched some football shows, not really letting my mind focus and wishing I had snuck a beer from the fridge, but I was left still asking myself if I would be okay with a good friend. Maybe I would.

Johnny did end up texting me though. I took a damn while to reply, because I was in bed and I stared at the screen, making sure that I wouldn’t leave him on read. I just thanked him for the day and I dreamt of him, rather desperately and having the kiss replay in my mind when I would wake up in the night for water or any other reason people wake up for, which includes heartbreak, no matter how small the denial was.

After his text, I didn’t manage to sleep well the next night, so I started touching myself, trying to drift as far as possible from imagining him on top of me, it was dark and I had closed the curtains to neglect the sun’s last offer of the last days of summer. I could see him. He was kissing my neck, thrusting, holding me-

I spilled way too early. I put a hand over my mouth, biting my lips and my whole body jerking. I just wish there was something I could do and the overwhelming sadness just went to caress my body, as the thoughts came and stayed until I was asleep and after that I just recalled how boring the day was, focusing on yesterday’s text while playing Fifa and kicking the ball outside the house out of boredom. I also briefly texted Johnny as we discussed some bad matches which were going on the day which we couldn’t care about. It was all friendly.

I wanted to cry, I was on a rollercoaster of emotion and I was having a terrible night.

My dreams were getting to be bizarre with labyrinths and Johnny’s hair was shorter, the curls gone and him barely leaning over me as I would fall into a lake, him never moving a finger to get me out or push me in either. I was doing this all to myself, of course. That would be no lie. I knew that I was my own dark reflection which had to stop.

The days went by and we just texted just like any other friends would. Neither of us were too keen on leaving our rooms and we even bothered to tell the other, probably both smirking. I smoked a bit more and Johnny said that he would usually try to hide it from his parents as I sat on the doorstep of the house, watching the night finally crawl in and I realized that we had been texting each other for a while about nothing. Is this what people did as friends? I didn’t have a phone as a child, but I would have Paul or Andy over for hours and we would entertain ourselves somehow like that. Maybe this was the same thing. Was this feeling friendship? Was I lost?

Eventually the days passed and we agreed to meet up a bit before an actual game we were having, just to stroll around town, doing absolutely nothing. Afterwards I could always invite him over and I would be lying if my lips weren’t begging even for his fingers to brush against them. But I knew that all the desires would hush, because I had managed to hold before with him, so why wouldn’t I now?

Seeing him, makes my heart feel heavy and the whole ride I was preparing myself for the first few steps, but once you see someone you like, all the thoughts evaporate. He grins at me and waves from his bus stop. I approach him, as he manages to check his phone quickly, probably for the time, since it doesn’t take any more than a glance. The bus was on schedule, so it wasn’t exactly late and I appeared on time I said I would.

“Hey, Robbie.” He says as I get to him and he quickly ruffles my hair, since I’m shorter and that causes my cheeks to heat up, but I nudge him with my elbow and he stops. I try really hard not to think of myself touching to him and then thinking of how nice post-coital would be with all the hair ruffling.

“Hey, Johnny.” I nearly parrot it back, as his grin doesn’t fade. We both glance at the football court which already has someone from our team, probably the other Robbie, just browsing his phone and otherwise he would’ve been late, considering how he needs to make a bus connection and his bus isn’t that frequent if I remember correctly. But neither of us exposes interest in asking him to join us, which isn’t very team like, but from what I understand Johnny already got the fact that everyone is fucking homophobe when they find it necessary. Everything is pretty on paper where it says that homophobia is defeated, but it never really is. It doesn’t reach the ugly fingers of the rural areas and it’s inhabitants.

“So, did you go to sleep when we were chatting or did you actually play Fifa until dawn?” Johnny asks me, as we start walking towards whatever could be considered the centre of the city, but there isn’t really such a thing, sure, there’s a few stores but that’s all there ever will be.

“I’ve got pretty damn good curtains. I can never tell when dawn really reaches me.” I smirk back at his question. Johnny joins me.

I’m not entirely sure, if he’s worried or just being polite and I’ve had such a wide range of emotions over the past few days, times when I would try to get over him, times when all I really did was care about kicking the ball or just sitting outside and smoking. I did as much as I could to occupy myself, as if I was a therapist telling myself to pull myself together because technically there was no break up even if it had hurt.

“So did you sleep at least or are you going to make us lose, midfielder which says that our defence is rubbish?” Johnny nudges me with his shoulder now.

“Our defence is rubbish.” I pause. He’s interested. “And I did sleep after all, I went a bit after I told you, really.”

I don’t blush if anything, but something warm is in my chest, but for Johnny’s sake I ignore it as much as I can.

“Okay, maybe our defence is bad. We’ll see.” Johnny shrugs, all eyes on me, still. I try to keep looking away, but then I realize that it’s just the way Johnny is, he stares into your damn soul, making sure that you’ll look back and then some contact is held or whatever.

“It’s pretty damn bad. It’s a known consensus, that’s why we don’t really get anyone interested in us.” I sigh, annoyed at the whole damn team. Johnny cuts me off from any further thoughts.

“You’d like to proceed with the career?” Johnny asks very curiously and casually, a question which I don’t really raise myself to myself even in the deepest of nights when anxiety, depression are peeled off and I can dream of fairies granting wishes and that love is somehow true.

He startles me and my thoughts go blank, of course I had thoughts of it when I was growing up, but I had no hope in it whatsoever. I didn’t believe that we would ever scouted, any of us and that I would be stuck in some job, as I would just join other dads in order to kick the ball around, but I knew that I would never get anywhere serious because that’s what I knew, that’s what I believed in. My parents weren’t interested and frankly, I could just continue whatever they were doing or just sell all the property and live with any small job and that would’ve been sufficient, but football was never something I had wished upon to be granted.

“Dude, no one would ever scout us.”

“You can never be sure. Sometimes word just spreads or something. People get picked up from favelas, man. What’s a shitty small town here?” Johnny shrugs and I’m sure he would’ve spoken about the subject with more eager sparkling eyes if I had been up for it, even if he’s a terribly cocky striker.

“We’re like 18, they should’ve picked us up much earlier.” I guess I sound nearly whining, because I really don’t want to think of my dark future, where I literally would only kick the ball on the weekends with other mediocre dads which wouldn’t care about anything and just drinking beer during football matches and maybe still picking fights with morons online about certain things, as if I were an expert.

“You never really thought of it, right? Or let dreams seep through into your rock hard brain, yeah?” Johnny asks me curiously, probably surprised on how come I don’t really think much of something he could plaster on his walls if he could. He would plaster himself in some Barcelona kit and stare at it, waiting for the right day to come, to replace Neymar, I mean, he’s being modest of course.

“Of course I fucking know, but we’re not like Brazilian or anything. We’re not… that good.” I sigh, sadly, wondering if life had placed us anywhere else and possibly if parents cared maybe we would’ve gotten somewhere, but I highly doubt it, considering how mediocre we happen to be. Well, Johnny’s worse, but then maybe being cocky is a good attribute for a striker to have since they have to get the ball and break someone’s legs in two.

“Speak for yourself, I’m amazing.” Johnny beams. I roll my eyes at him for a long while, that he could have easily slapped me for it, but he remains polite and I know that the topic won’t really be dropped that easily.

“’Course.” I say, giving out a brief laugh. But I pat him on the back. I smile weakly. “Look, if you believe in that, keep thinking that. Maybe you’ll manage, who knows. But you gotta think what you want and you’ll figure it out, it’ll come and you’ll be happy.”

Johnny just grins at me, confident in his shitty skills and his own cocky self.

I’ve been awfully tired, but here it is. It’s a completely different mentality when it comes to theirs and mine. My summer is long over and I’m slowly getting used to a new routine, so yeah. I miss summer’s carefree nature, but then the grass is always greener. I just enjoy the story a lot.

Offside. Chapter 13

Johnny is still caught up in his thoughts, but I am more than convinced that he’s doing this because he had invited me before and this only confirms the gesture of friendship. Maybe I’m just getting honoured to be a friend forever now by this small action. We remain silent simply because I can’t really think of anything to ask at all. I could ask something really stupid like if he’s enjoying the place after the move, but the problem is that I’m sure he wishes he were back in his hometown instead. I don’t know how to imply that I’m into him, that somehow that won’t change and that my moronic heart wants him to know that. Because I’m no longer thinking with anything else, but I keep my mouth shut as we enter the door.

There’s always this loneliness which trails, which has followed me my entire life. It’s a trembling fear of never finding someone else who would understand and mimic everything I like. Once I knew I was gay I felt alienated even with Steven, because he was bisexual, I never understood attraction towards women even if I had been guilty of it in the past. I didn’t understand the merit of certain movies and I would be alone in searching for books which would tell me of the past, which would make me understand how would love tick. Steven would help, but I’d still feel alienated. I could never muster the courage to tell him that he enjoyed that movie because he could relate to it.

Maybe Johnny wasn’t a good idea either?

Would he-

I just stopped in my tracks and Johnny followed, turning around, probably because he didn’t hear the noise of my footsteps anymore. I just get hollow breathing, watching him and the wind play with curls. I wonder how often had he cut them off as a child, growing up and how much did he dislike them?

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.” My mouth tastes like metal, blood as if I had been biting it all this time. There was never anyone, just those who pretended to care. Johnny makes a step towards me, lost and I look up at him. I wish I were the wind, tousling his hair, stroking his cheeks. The bus is gone too. I have nowhere to go.

I’ve got Johnny as a friend. I shake my head and Johnny waits for me to say something I don’t know.

I can’t really speak to him about how lonely I’ve been and how I would just drown myself in alcohol and cigarettes if I could. I’ve reached the end of trying to find anyone online and around me there is no one and every year there’s a hope of someone new. It feels like an online conversation where the other decides to leave and I’m left wondering what have I even said wrong.

But I know how I’m fucking up and my heart is pounding through my entire body.

Johnny shifts to look at the bus stop, as if he would be able to fucking read the times from here.

“Robbie, regardless it’s a fucking hour to the next bus.”

“It’s fine, I can wait.” I stop looking at the pebbles below us and actually look him in the eye, even if he’s much taller than I am. I try not to think much of his height in a sexual way either, because all is really lost or maybe I’m sabotaging it myself. But then do I want to be friends with someone who just pulled me away? Is this where it all ends? Is this the grand finale?

“Robbie.” And we’re both staring at each other. Johnny seems to have discarded the kiss which ripped my heart in shreds. “Don’t be a fool, you’re welcome to come in, man.”

He puts his hand on my shoulder and I shrug it. I’m far more hurt than I should be. I didn’t expect this turn of events and I’m not sure how I even fucking feel about it.

“Yeah, I know.” I pause. “And thank you for that, but…”

“I’m not sure I’m pleased with… someone just discarding a kiss like that.” I’m desperate and sabotaging.

“…It was just a kiss.” He says with a really long pause.

“It wouldn’t be just a kiss if I would do it again and you wouldn’t lean away.” I stand strong with my words. I try to find something strong to keep backing me up. But I find nothing besides fear in his eyes. He’s panicking.

“It was just a kiss.” Johnny repeats and I recall how he was in the city. He was dazing out and we just went home for him to turn over a new leaf and forget about everything, just shove it under the rug and sit on it, waiting for all of it to be gone. But it’s not his imagination, he’s fighting but himself, ripping to shreds, denial.

I step up to him and he just stares, wind blowing his curls and I just watch him.

“You’ve got to relax.” I lean in and his breathing eases as I get closer. “You’ve got nothing to lose.”

But as soon as I say the phrase I regret it deeply. You can lose everything-

“Robbie, my parents are homophobic.” He snaps out of it and shakes his head, I watch him from this close. I’m guessing his parents are away.

“I’m sorry, that’s not exactly what I meant.” I say and Johnny’s already lost himself to thinking about his parents and I can see that on his face. I wonder how bad are they and what he had heard, because you can still hear things before you even know who you are. “You… yourself should just let loose.”

“Maybe you should stay at the bus stop.” Johnny mumbles it stone cold. He then proceeds to look up at me and regret what he had just said. “Look… Please, please just drop it. I’ve never even thought properly of guys. It’s not my sexuality, but yours.”

He starts breathing heavier and I just want to hold him. I guess I open my mouth without realizing it and Johnny abruptly stops whatever I’m doing. He’s terrified, just like any straight boy would be, I assume.

I want to hold him.

I want to tell him that it’ll be alright.

I want him to be mine.

“Yes, I kissed you. We were both caught up in the fucking moment. We just… went overboard.” I feel like his own thoughts are racing and he’s not exactly sure to which ones should he even listen anymore. I feel like I’m losing Steven again, I just see the cracks and I trace my fingers into oblivion, praying that something would happen, that me breaking it further would somehow make it all dissolve and come back if I wait patiently enough or think of it. “Look, I think of you as a great friend in this pile of shit which I’ve come to know.”

My own breath becomes heavy. I don’t even want to be just a friend. I’m out of arguments to even shoot out. I can’t touch him, we just stand ridiculously close to each other, saying nothing and doing nothing. It’s… bad.

“So you just want me to step over the kiss and remain friends?” Why is it just a kiss, when we’re grown up and frankly he should’ve just fucked me in the ass at this point. This feels like child’s play and I am clearly losing the game, I have tripped over the skipping rope and fallen chin down against the asphalt.

“Yes!” Johnny exclaims as if he were a teacher and I had finally understood the problem.

“That’ll cost you.” Johnny looks down straight at me. “Another kiss.”

He goes pale. I nudge him with my elbow, grinning as much as my broken heart can. I wish it was time for a change when I’m not heartbroken, I wish something would move properly down that front, but I understand that a kiss is literally the most action I have gotten in God knows how long now because a day is an eternity of itself.

“I’m just mocking you, I’m your friend.” Let me dream at least. He eases up. “But my offer will stand forever.”

Johnny just shows me a rather sad smile, probably feeling sorry for me but I sell it to myself that he somehow feels sad and he would rather hold me in his arms instead. At least just that.

I look back, understanding that I’ve truly lost my head on the way. Maybe I should look at him as a friend, just a friend who happens to understand me somehow. Who happens not to be homophobic towards me? Steven had left a terribly foul taste in my mouth and I’ve had crushes who had turned around to be full flesh homophobic or just stop once they would realize what’s happening, both of us would, looking back. But would Johnny be the same? Would he just vanish from my life?

We both silently continue to walk towards the house and I can’t help but wonder how many people have left such a vile and foul taste in my mouth, that even when I think of them today I just wish my mind would switch to something else. Eventually it does, but just like now, my mind is polluted with fear and such thoughts.

I still feel like I’m starving from Johnny, that I still want to pin him down, that I want to keep feeling the length of such a kiss.

I can never help but wonder about football players who are never out. I don’t think I would able to stay private and I remember thinking of artists who would produce straight art and that always got me thinking. If art is supposed to make you free, how does straight art set a gay man free? It wouldn’t be exactly applicable to football, but I didn’t want to think that I would have to hide a boyfriend. I always wondered about many players, letting my thoughts wander if they were really queer and what makes them closeted.

I also mused on ignorant opinions, because that’s what holds us back. Because one man can’t change anything at all but an ignorant opinion can spread. Maybe after crying, one can realize that the world could’ve been much worse.

“You alright, Robbie?”

Oh, you know, just thinking about how unfair the world is. No matter how much I’ll yell I’ll never be heard and if I’ll have to be closeted for a football career I would.

“Yeah, yeah.” I smile at him, I try to get out my friendliest smile which is probably terrifying and predator looking. I just sigh heavily when he’s ruffling his pockets for the keys and as soon as he glances at me, I plaster my smile back up.

“It’s fine… I don’t expect you to just give it all up today, I just think that I really want you as a friend. If you’re fine with that, of course?” Johnny says. Please tell me that somehow if we bond you’ll at least want to kiss me once more? “Getting over a crush is always hard.”

And you are hitting me hard, Johnny.

“You can always talk about it. I’d be flattered.” He grins at me slightly, still trying to make the air at least a bit lighter. But I still don’t know what to make of it all, besides frown inside.

“Ha ha.” I say a bit too gloomily, but Johnny takes it anyway and we’re in. I expected something like a kiss somehow, that when I would go to his place he would just hold me in his arms and we would make out, maybe even have sex on the rug which something which I could’ve easily expected. The rug, that is.

“You want to play Fifa?” He offers me and I just nod, realizing that a good game could relax me after all. I wonder if he’s got alcohol but then I don’t want to show up smashed back at my parents’ or at the bus, missing my stop altogether because the trees look all the same when you’re drunk and you open the bus window to peak out.

“Please don’t fucking play Cristiano like you did last time.” I whine, smiling briefly, recalling the minor mock.

“Okay, I’ll play Barcelona then. Would that be better?” He looks at me as we take off our shoes. “Why don’t you try it as well, I’ll play Barcelona, kick midfield with Messi and you take Ronaldo, since he’s rumoured to be gay, just like you.”

“I think he’s gay. Seen the daddy he hung out with?” Johnny just shakes his head to my question, because I do have a habit of sometimes checking the yellow pages about football players when I’m bored or their Instagram just to see what could’ve awaited me if I could actually be a proper midfielder.

“You clearly know much more than I do, so I’ll take him as gay then.” I just grin as we head to Johnny’s room which is upstairs, just like any other house here or maybe that’s where the console is. His family could’ve spiced it up and kept the kitchen upstairs or something, but then I doubt they did something too revolutionary with the house.

I don’t want him to leave me either way, I don’t want him to become a Steven. I don’t need to sulk over another guy to think over a sinking heart. Sometimes when I think of Steven, I feel like I’m going through all of it all over again. I feel like I’m back to day one, when I found out. I can never help but wonder what the hell could’ve happened if he kept himself to himself. He had cried. He had regretted. I don’t think of that, I think of how I had left him. I start feeling cold. I couldn’t have done anything at all to change it, but it hurts. But enough of sinking low and thinking of him. I need to move on when I’ve got no one to move to.

We do end up following Johnny’s plan and I do play as Real Madrid, kicking from the middle of the field, same for him and both of cussing when the other scores. I can’t help but keep glancing at him, confused how come he had managed to step over it so easily. In the back of my mind I prayed all day that he would change his mind in a home setting, but instead he just continued being himself, I assume. Just friendly, offering to make dinner for both of us as his parents went elsewhere and I helped to cook with every cooking skill I had. Eventually his parents came back and I couldn’t help but wonder how deeply rooted their homophobia was, since he was American. But then maybe I shouldn’t have even thought of it. The day went well, despite all my anxiety and neither of us mentioned it and I kept my jokes in my sleeve, as if there would be a perfect moment to just whip them out.

He walked me to the bus stop and as soon as we were both of out sight, he just hugged me tight. Johnny didn’t say much to go with it, but I took it actually as a friendly gesture, we had a weird start of a day and I guess a beginning to a friendship now? Could I even consider him my friend?

Sorry for the delay, but I’m only a day late thankfully. I’m also pretty smashed from life and alcohol at this point. I had this theory that everyone has their point where they decide with their mouths closed whether they become friends or not. I discussed it widely with my previous crush.

So that’s the backdrop of this chapter.

I’ve been debating strongly of family and their acceptance. The usual motion is to come out and deal with it, but is that really the wisest idea? That’s also another topic I go in deep with because it’s so personal to me.

Offside. Chapter 12

“Last stop!” And we pull away, as if burnt. Johnny looks at me bewildered, his hair a mess. He closes his eyes and rubs them, grabbing his backpack and sitting up. He glances at me, motioning to get off the bus. I can’t stabilize my breathing as we head out silently. I’m giving him the stage to speak out and we’ve got ridiculous boners which aren’t exactly hidden by anything besides us stashing them behind our backpacks. Johnny’s too silent as we just stand on the bus stop and he stares ahead.

“Look, I’m-”

“I initiated it.” Johnny says. I stare at him. He takes out a packet of cigarettes from his backpack. He bites his lip as he gets the lighter as well. “You’re a good kisser, James.”

Where do we go from here? I just look around and there’s plenty of people and they don’t know we just made out for nothing. He gives me a cigarette and leans against me to light it. I just stare at him wide eyed. My heart gets heavy. Maybe I should tell him?

“We’ve…” Johnny stares at me for the odd start of a sentence. I swallow a lump in my throat. “Oh God. We’ve kissed before.”

Johnny stares at me.

“You said you didn’t want me to be lonely.” I say and I think for a while. “That’s the best thing that happened to me in a while… until that.”

That is the kiss we just had. Johnny just nods.

“That’s true, I don’t want you to be lonely.” He says quietly. Johnny clutches the backpack and looks away. “I just… don’t think it’s going to be me.”

I let go of one strap of my backpack and grab his hand. Johnny looks at me. He’s too fucking tall for me. I don’t know what to say to that.

“I didn’t mean it to escalate.” He says. I’m guessing he means the second kiss.

“You fucking asked me what would I do to you, Johnny.” I laugh a bit darkly. He can’t really be regretting this now. I try to remember his eager mouth and tongue. I’m trying to stay grounded. But even when I look back, it did escalate ridiculously fast. I don’t know how we managed to get so heated up and so fast. I thought we would be playing this tug of war forever, but we ended up making out.

“Yeah, I know.” He looks away. “Robbie, you’re a great guy-”

I shake my head and he stops.

“Own up to it.” Johnny stares at me even more bewildered. I sigh and rub my face with my hands. “Come on. Let’s distract you.”

I grab his hand, as he still clings onto the backpack. He doesn’t move though and I look back at him. He’s got something to say and I see that he’s pondering on the right words to choose. I pause and look at Johnny, as he just looks at me just as lost as he was a while ago.

“I mean it. I… just got distracted.” He says it nearly as an echo of what’s actually going on in his head right now.

“Johnny, you made out with me.” I say, nearly confessing for him but he just shakes his head. I sigh, pulling him by his hand again, but he doesn’t even flinch and neither does he swat my hand away. Some people are looking at us curiously, but it’s not enough for us to be causing a scene since there’s hardly an audience. There’s just us frankly trying to sort out what the hell did a kiss mean. Two kisses now. I can’t believe I spilled about the first one. I should’ve held it well to myself.

“I know.” He shifts from one foot to another. He continues in a monotone. “And I’ve kissed you before.”

It looks like he’s going into overdrive and he stares at my mouth, as if somehow it would hold all the answers to his insecurities. But it can’t because he’s not open to it. Johnny’s hand is still tense, but now he lets us walk slowly away from the bus stop, which if we stay we could get more attraction and probably make it to some gossip, which I’m sure neither of us wish to be in. We start walking silently and I keep looking around, still holding his hand softly but it doesn’t last long, before he lets go and fixes his curly hair for no reason. I look at him sadly when he does that, but I don’t dare to say anything. He’s really terrified. I wish we could’ve just walked in silence even but held hands, but I see that it’s really not what he wants. But he doesn’t push me away, which gives me hope of a friendship I don’t crave that much. Would I accept just being friends with him? Maybe I should’ve just given up after him kissing me twice and rejecting me?

“Johnny.” I start, but he interrupts me, as if my voice was a cue to speak.

“Robbie, I’m sorry.” And he looks at me with deeply sad eyes. I make a crooked smile.

“It’s alright.”

“I’ll help you find a boyfriend.” My mouth goes dry as he says it. I’m guessing my gaze is sad enough for Johnny to look away, that he does it. He just shrugs. I can’t muster the courage to confront him.

I can’t find the energy within me to switch topics and just enjoy the day out, as we keep walking around and that’s when I start telling him whatever I know about the city, not sure if Johnny has heard it before, but he listens and he looks thankful to me. Maybe he does need some time alone even if he’s not interested in me, he needs time until the dust of the kisses settles in his head. We slip some mindless chatter in, allowing the topics to come naturally about other things I won’t recall which include some TV shows I haven’t seen or have glimpsed at, since Johnny is still straight and doesn’t exactly cringe at all the love lines we have seen before. We agree on some shows and discuss them idly as we eat and I wonder if we’re truly baring each other like this, calmly discussing things until we settle into music to find out that we have similar taste. Johnny goes a bit quiet when I mention my favourite bands, echoing that he quite enjoys them as well. I smile, but it doesn’t reach him. It makes him fidget more.

I start getting drowsy, as we have walked everywhere there is to show which is frankly nothing and we just keep throwing each other’s interests at each other. I feel like I’ve lost all the ground beneath me, but I keep talking more and more, allowing myself to keep blabbering as if that would somehow hide every disaster which had happened today. I wonder if he would still invite me over, as he intended and he doesn’t mention anything until we are back at the bus. Sadly, we get a different driver, but I wondered how would Johnny flinch if it were the same one.

Johnny sits quietly and even takes out his phone to browse it and I don’t disturb him, taking mine. I can only dream that somehow he would invite me over and start kissing me madly, apologizing, trailing his lips all over my face. But of course that won’t ever happen apparently. All of our kisses were a mistake.

I want to touch him, run my fingers through his hair and say-

But what can I say that would be soothing to him with such actions? I wonder if I should hold his shoulder and apologize once again. And I keep browsing nothing really, until I get so bored that I go on football player’s Instagram with all the trophy wives and token children who would grow up to be filthy rich thanks to their dads. Maybe they would get some careers though. I pondered for a while if I would even consider working, with that amount of money to my name. I would still kick the ball. But just kicking it isn’t really a job.

I turn my phone to show Cristiano Ronaldo’s ridiculous Instagram which consists of everything from him stepping on a Buddha statue which caused controversy, which Johnny had heard of and laughed regardless as I spoke about it again. We just browsed his and huffed about some football players getting far too many followers for no good reason. But Johnny seemed to easing up and then he stands up.

“You coming?” I just blink at him, as if I got something asked in a foreign language. I nearly look around, as if the question could be addressed to anyone else, because frankly it can. I don’t even know why he’s asking, but I just nod in haste and quickly follow him to get off the bus.

I think just like everyone I get a kick out of football player’s instagrams and frankly they’re fun and I mostly enjoy the over the top ones.

I’ve been having quite a few rough days and struggling with that. I don’t really say too much personal stuff on this blog, but that’s what has been happening. I just really wanted the chapter out after encouraging words, so I managed to get myself going for a bit. I love how casual the story is and how it’s easy to write besides the current scene I’m stuck on, ironically.

Offside. Chapter 11

We paused talking just to pay for the bus fare. Usually I would just space out on buses, listen to music and let it drag me away somewhere. I would always be able to hear any noise, in case there was actually something going on, but it rarely happened and if someone would be talking there wouldn’t really be anything to tune into. Johnny sits besides me as I choose a window seat in the middle. I end up staring at him with his curls. He’s far too attractive and I would’ve really stopped to check him out, if he were a stranger on the street and I would’ve refreshed Grindr in hope that he had it and had checked it as well.

“So… do you people watch on the bus as well?” He asks me and I just shake my head.

“Nah. We can get overheard too, who wants to be reminded of their messy divorce by a complete stranger?” I smirk, looking into his dark eyes. My cheeks heat up a bit. Johnny’s awfully close and I’m not sure if any of us moved and my breath gets heavier. I think he’s mocking me as I see his eyes quickly glance down.

“Yeah, wouldn’t want anyone to make assumptions about yourself, would you, Robbie?” And he pats me on the shoulder. The fucker. Maybe he knows everything and he’s playing me. I’m not the best secret holder in the world, even if the secret is my own. I’m not even sure what does he mean, but the more I look at him, the more I know that I am deeply attracted and I’m playing some ridiculous game with a straight guy.

I can’t really keep playing with fire. I’m a shit though.

“I don’t have a say in it, though. People still make assumptions, because people like gossip and if the person in question doesn’t comply to speak about themselves, then they will be talked about.” That sounded far too intellectual of me than I had ever expected. Johnny makes a face and nods. We are both probably ridiculously bored. That’s what is really happening.

“You could always just talk to people, let them know what’s on your mind.” And that sounds very bold and he realises it, but doesn’t take his words back. Instead I just stare at him, of course the kiss is constantly on my mind and as hours go the more foggy my mind gets and intertwines with what I wished had happened. I had imagined full blown sex after it already. So no, Johnny, I will never say what the fuck is on my mind. If he fucking wanted me he would’ve stroked my cheek, told me that it’s okay, but instead I am left with him trying to get me to open this way because he’s curious what does an unknown treasure chest hold. “You need to open up, man.”

“I don’t know you that well.” And yet we kissed and we still talked and opened up albeit briefly.

“That’s no excuse.” Johnny smirks and leans back into his seat, as I watch him. I don’t exactly know what to reply to that because he’s right. Sometimes we open up to strangers far more than we ever had to lovers. It’s all because a stranger has no bias and won’t judge perhaps someone who he doesn’t know? “It’s easier to confess things… when you happen to trust someone blindly in the beginning. When you’ve got some… expectations of how the person is supposed to be, until you find them out really.”

“Are you actually telling me to spill my soul out, because I have an ideal version of you?” I ask upfront from my seat and glancing every once in a while to the window, because no matter how often I’ve seen the landscape I still enjoy looking at it, because I just like looking outside the window. I even wake up at night and watch the lake bathing in the moonlight.

“That’s right, James. And my offer is standing.” I smirk at it.

“And what would you like to know? Because this is more about your curiosity rather than my own.” I shake my head slightly, trying to believe in all that is happening.

“I don’t want to know anything. It’s about you telling me. It’s a better deal. I get to hear what you want to talk about.” And then he tries to hold a serious face, before bursting out in laughter. “I’m bored.”

“You should’ve started with that.” I smirk back, looking at him. I can’t tell him about the kiss which he doesn’t recall, I think because that would be pulling the rug from underneath me. Then I wouldn’t have a memory to cherish, even if he had done it drunk and had regretted it. Maybe he knows and he doesn’t want to raise it either. I honestly don’t know. My heart still skips a beat sometimes when I look at him, but I look so often that I’m sure I’ll die soon. What does one do when they’re crushing on a straight friend? Is he even a friend? Well, we do friendly things.

“That’s where my house is.” And he points to a fairly sized house we pass, which is by the road. I just nod. They all look the same, so I’m not sure the compliment of it looks nice would actually sound genuine. I just nod and stare at it, probably thinking too much of him wanking there. Maybe I should’ve insisted for both of us to just play Fifa at his or something. Anything, but it would’ve been a lot more intimate than just wandering around the big city and eating out. But then even being in a crowd can be intimate, because no one is really following what you’re saying because there are just so many people talking.

“Oh, nice.” I still say when it’s nearly out of sight and Johnny smirks at my remark. I just shrug, because what else could I have said? I don’t know if I have it within me to talk about the previous topic again, just to see how much he teases me and wants to hear things out of me. We’re still pretty sweaty and in our uniforms, but I try not to think of it much. I never found much appeal to walking around in them, but then maybe Johnny does?

“Bare your soul to me.” Johnny continues and he nudges me with his elbow, but I just turn around and face the window, smiling slightly at his persistence but he can probably only see it through the reflection of the window. Maybe he knows we kissed and wants to see if I would spill the only thing I am clinging onto?

“Alright.” Two can play this game and I turn around to face him and hopefully we will arrive soon enough, I stretch my part of the dialogue enough so that he wouldn’t torture me too much because it’s far too hard to mutter something among the lines that I really like you even if I don’t know you that well. The thing is that I also want to get to know you, but you would never bare your soul to me if I said it. “What do you want to know?”

“If you’re a top or a bottom.” He bites his lip, trying to hold a straight face and then starts laughing and putting his hand on my shoulder. He’s very touchy. “Nah, I’m kidding. It’s personal to you. Anyone you like at the moment?”

And my cheeks surely give me out, I probably went pale too. I’m not sure which way I even went.

“So?” Johnny asks me, his eyes filled to the brim with curiosity. I’m no moron. I want to have a great time even if he’s my crush. I don’t even want to think of it, of the outcome if I tell him anything that is.

“No one you know.” I say and regret the really bad attempt at dodging the question. Johnny’s eyes focus on mine, trying to read me, but I don’t really show much. Maybe some lies, but I don’t think he catches that.

“Are you sure?” He asks, probably ruffling through people he might know which could be a crush of mine.

“Yeah.” I rub my eyes, just to avoid his piercing look.

“He straight?”

“Why are you assuming that?”

“Because you look like a straight guy chaser. A predator, trying to lure poor straight men into anal.” Johnny says it with a straight face, well, trying to and biting his lip as he nods to the words. I laugh with him and deep down, I wonder if I am one, but now it’s my turn to punch him playfully on the shoulder. Body language and touch it is. I can’t really call myself a straight chaser, because Steven was pretty bisexual and out for a fair while before I was. I’ve surely crushed on guys before I accepted myself, but I never chased them down like I’m trying to do with Johnny.

“Are they really that poor if they secretly want it?” And I bite my tongue, raising my eyebrows, trying to look just as serious as Johnny is. Maybe we’re just getting to be close friends, that’s all and he’s not a wanker like Paul and Andy. Actual banter than mockery.

“I don’t know.” Johnny pauses. “Is it really that good?”

“What is?” I pretend to be oblivious.

“Fucking a guy.”

“Well, if you’re into the guy and into gay sex, yeah.” My answer is too generic and I can’t think of anything far too cheeky to reply. Johnny also seems displeased with my lack of mockery in my answer. I turn to face him and grin. “You wanna try?”

Johnny looks up to ponder for a while.

“Maybe if the right guy came along.” He says faking a dreamy tone.

“Came along.” I smirk like a seven year old.

“Quit being an asshole. I’m having a homoerotic moment here.” My fellow striker notes. I just stare at him in pure hope and wondering if he would ever break and I would be able to make out with him again, somehow. Well, we never made out. I kept thinking about him too much, letting it all circle and waltz in my head.

“Maybe we should’ve just gone to yours then and I would have just shown you how everything works?” I say, motioning back to where we had passed the house quite a while ago now. Johnny just smiles at me, thinking what to reply now. He’s toying with me just as much as I am trying to do it back. I motion oral sex with my tongue as well, as he just laughs lightly.

“Maybe later.” He looks outside. “We passed the house a while back. Sorry for getting it far too steamy for both of us.”

I don’t even know if he is kidding with me or not, all I can think about is that maybe the offer really is on the table or I could kiss him and tell him that actually I thought you were serious, that’s why I’ve got your dick in my mouth and I’m on my knees. Johnny grins, now with the next question fresh in his mind.

“What would you do to me?” I just blink at his sudden question, realizing how much of a sexual one that is. Frankly, you only ask it if you’re about to fuck or maybe fuck around, in Johnny’s case. He grins wider. “Tell me.”

I look down at his lips as he says it. The way they move. I want to kiss him. I give out a heavy sigh and try to keep a mocking smile on my lips, just to prove that I am just as much in the game as he is. I don’t even notice that I’ve managed to lean closer to him somehow. My whole body is burning and I would’ve been shirtless if I could.

I don’t push further. Two can play this game and I put a hand on each side of him, looking at him in the eyes, barely breathing. Johnny just watches me and his grin fades, his own breathing getting heavier and he watches me, not saying anything. We’re just fucking around.

I lean closer and he just stares at me, mouth a bit open.

My mind goes blank, but I manage to speak even with him so close to me.

“I’m no moron. I would kiss you first.”

“What’s stopping you?” He asks, raising his eyebrows and moving slightly towards me. I quickly glance to the window. We’re nearly there. We’re really fucking around. He takes me by the chin and moves my head back to face him. I let my thumbs gently rub the fabric of his sweaty t-shirt.

“It’s not like…” Shit, he remembers. “You don’t want to.”

He doesn’t.

I’m not moving. He grins, but he’s fully lost.

“You’ve wanted me for a while now, haven’t you?” And he traces a finger down my cheek. I smirk, wondering who is even chasing who.

“I’m not the one bending my sexuality for a gay boy.” And I lean very close so that my breath is on his. I glance back up from his lips. I feel myself get harder from all the tension and I wonder if the same is going on in Johnny’s shorts. This would make it ridiculous to walk around.

“Well then.” He breathes on me, dark eyes fixed on mine. Johnny closes his eyes slowly –

My heart is pounding as I stare at him with his eyes closed. He’s toying me. Fear tales a firm grip on me. What if this is all mockery and he would tell everyone that I pounced on him?

Johnny opens his eyes and looks at me lustfully, which makes my stomach jump.

“Giving up?” He asks softly, mocking me. He places his thumb on my bottom lip, brushing it. Johnny’s breathing get even heavier and he removes his thumb, making himself vulnerable for a kiss again. “I’m not one to beg.”

“Maybe you should.” I insist. I can barely look into his eyes anymore. The bus does a sudden stop and I turn around to see that we reached the bus station of the city. “Johnny-”

But I don’t know what I had wanted to say.

He kisses me in haste again, as my eyes are wide open. Maybe all is going according to time. I gasp and I pull him closer, Johnny jerking at the sudden pull.

“Don’t pull back again.” I say desperately and fast against his lips, not realizing what the hell am I even doing. I kiss him again, both of us opening our mouths. Johnny’s tongue hungrily rubs against my own. Maybe he’s just experimenting? I pull his curls.

A moment we’ve all been waiting for really. I wrote it quite a while back and I did it in one go, if my memory isn’t deceiving me. I didn’t want to split it up, because it’s such a scene that you really do read in one go and it’s not like either of them drifted elsewhere with thinking either.

Offside. Chapter 10

What if he remembers but thinks that it didn’t happen because I didn’t mention it? Therefore he thinks it was just a bad dream, where you make out with your friend for no good reason other than to wake up and avoid them for the rest of the day? I end up killing too much time of the day thinking until the next practice. I try not to think of any school, courses or anything which I would be dreading. I don’t even really understand how come some things started scaring me so suddenly. It was surely because I couldn’t see myself living outside and somehow even ending up with another man. I felt as if I would always end up in this flirting, maybe dating cycle but it will never actually become properly serious.

I avoided my parents as much as I could and I knew that they felt the same. The last time we talked about my future, we ended up shouting and counting the months until the university application would open where I would be cut open and would have to speak.

Instead I thought of love. I don’t know why, but I thought of tragic love. Not much came to mind, because even if the portrayal of gay men is ridiculously tragic, I couldn’t relate to anything because all I had was a crush I smoked more often from, but at night I would dramatize it enough to just open the window and stare into the black abyss of the night with the crickets and wondering how would the day colour tomorrow’s sky. I knew that I was nothing, but everything seemed to be dramatic.

I felt bad touching myself to him, so I just watched porn, wondering how he would’ve felt.

I spent a good while playing against Andy, who seemed to have something else on his mind and wouldn’t talk much besides play with me and that seemed fine by me. Somehow, I wasn’t caring much about his problems with girls anymore. He was a cunt anyway.

Didn’t even bother to say bye to my parents before the training. I just left, walking far too fast, so I ended up waiting for the bus too long and since the reception is a bit wonky, it was no use to scroll. I thought about trying to enjoy nature and how quiet the road was, but the problem is that I grew up in the countryside and it’s not like I had a long while where I didn’t see it. Nothing was exotic. The bus came and I looked around, hoping to find Johnny and that somehow just kissing with no explanation would be okay. But I’m not straight and neither am I a girl to please him.

I curled up on the seat, watching all the houses drift with stores, farm animals and other cars passing which I could possibly remember if I tried hard enough if I’d look into the driver’s faces.

Maybe I should have actually told Johnny?

He told me he didn’t want me to feel lonely. Well, I didn’t feel lonely, he was true. I just felt heartbroken as fuck.

Maybe I should still tell Johnny?

When I see him, my chest tightens and he’s the last as usual, apparently. His bus arrives a few minutes to the start, so I can’t blame him for not taking a bus which arrives a whole hour later. There is literally nothing to do here for an hour unless you are grocery shopping for the whole family.

To make matters worse, he really does act normal, saying hi to me, Paul and Andy. I would want to say something like his eyes lingered longer on me, but they didn’t. So I just ended up sulking about it for the whole damn day, glancing towards him, up to the point that he approached me and asked what’s up. To which I had no damn reply. Nothing was up. His hair wasn’t even ruined with sweat like mine was. He just seemed moderate, but because I had a crush on him, I thought he looked great.

The whole day was a bore with the coach starting off the dread with asking us to jog around the pitch for five minutes straight. Then it was just some exercises with cones and dribbling. By the end, when I thought I would personally murder Julian, he said that the time was up and he would see us next training.

I didn’t even bother to glance at Johnny anymore, there was no point. But he did approach me, when Paul and Andy pissed off earlier than usual. Probably were both shagging some girl, to make sure that there was a girl to not make it gay.

“Hey, I heard there’s a McDonald’s in the neighbouring city.” Johnny says suddenly and I just stare at him, but I manage to compose myself.

“Yeah, there is. It’s a walk from the bus station, but there is one. It does also take an hour on bus.” I say, realizing how negative that sounds. “But that’s alright. Just have headphones on you, since the internet can get wonky on the way.”

“Or have someone come with you.” Johnny shrugs and smiles at me, slightly.

Maybe he remembers?

Maybe he really remembers somehow? I didn’t know.

“Uh, yeah, sure.” I say a bit quietly and looking into his brown eyes. I stand up, sticking my football shoes back into my backpack. I’m not a big fan of going somewhere long while covered in sweat, but I had no choice if I even tried a bit to get laid. Would I even get laid? Maybe he would get desperate and just not want to deal with taking a girl out for numerous dates when he could just ask me out and I would be on my knees? I would be spread out in front of him too.

“Awesome.” He says and I see the other Robbie smirk at me, probably thinking of some homophobic remark, but I’m the one trying to get laid. So who is the real loser? The judging or the trying one? Well, I was surely a moron, but he was the asshole. “I actually live on the way there, so if you want we can always hang out at mine’s later.”

“Won’t you get bored of the queer?” The other Robbie remarks, overhearing us or rather listening to us.

“I won’t be as bored as your parents when they slept without a condom for the thrill.”Johnny shot back. I ended up staring at Johnny in surprise, that I missed the other Robbie’s reaction completely, but he turned around when I looked back. Johnny, on the other hand had a very pleased smile playing on his lips.

“Thanks for inviting.” I nearly add asking if I should ask if Andy and Paul would be interested in joining us, but instead I keep my mouth shut, so that maybe if I go with suicide by the end of this year I would die thinking something like at least I managed to squeeze out something like a date with Johnny. I can only dream and there is nothing else to do when you’re dead.

I hadn’t been in the neighbouring city in a good while and I wondered if we would people watch, which was something you didn’t get to do much in the small town, since anyone you knew could give you stink eye for thinking they got divorced just for the sake of imagining, since I always come up with messy divorces an illegitimate children, gay twists and whatnot. They would surely judge me back if they knew properly. I wondered too much if Johnny enjoyed it and if he would have joined me on that over anything really. I was a pretty bored kid and that progressed into my older teenage years.

“Oh, don’t mention it.” Johnny says and we just make our way to the bus, which should also be his home bus. I check the timetable out of curiosity and thankfully it won’t take as long. I do get anxious, wondering what even topics to raise when it comes to softly flirting in a I don’t want you to know, but I do sort of way. We just smile, but I can only gamble that maybe he really doesn’t remember the kiss or the concern.

He doesn’t want me to be lonely.

“Do you people watch?” I ask him and he looks at me curiously. I continue my blabbering. “I just find it interesting, just to watch other people. Make up stories of terrible divorces and maybe something nice, if I feel like it. I never guess it, I think. But I do end up staring up to the point that they stare back or look away, hoping that I would do the same.”

“I never really thought much about it, but I do stare at people. Just wondering what’s going on with them and whatnot, but I never go on…” He gesticulates. “Thinking of their stories in full. Maybe what’s going on with them right now, but that’s as far as I go really.”

“It’s a great way to kill time.” I can’t really say that let’s do it together. That might rub… the right way which I should keep to myself. But then I really dwell on the thought that he still invited me only, maybe he would want to say something or he just remembers that we had hung out together while we had gotten drunk? Maybe that’s all he has to say, the fact that he enjoyed hanging out with me. After all when you hang out one on one it doesn’t really mean that you want to fuck. Not everything is a gay porno. Sadly.

This chapter is a bit shorter so that the next interaction won’t be broken into two parts. Enjoy 😉

Offside. Chapter 9

I take my hand away from Andy’s mouth who seems to be passing away into slumber, so I push him back up into a position he can remain seated. We should have played closer to the wall so that Andy could fucking lean against it and not fall asleep, but he’s already getting drowsy.

“Stay awake man, we didn’t even play truth or dare yet.” I say, trying to keep him awake for the rest of the game of monopoly at least. But I know he won’t last and we won’t really embarrass ourselves any further.

“So you only dated Steven?” Johnny asks carefully and I feel like we’re the only ones who seem to be relatively sane. Paul seems to be holding barely as well after a few more turns of his. So far no one is negotiating because frankly everyone is too drunk to care.

“Yeah. I was quite a late bloomer. I didn’t have any luck with girls, but I kept really trying and nothing would ever happen until I met Steven.” I confess, a bit too shy of being a late bloomer, but no real judgement really goes through his face, which I am thankful for.

“Yeah, but what a relationship that was.” Paul says, winking at me. That seems to be his action of the night.

“Shut up, Paul.” By now Andy is laying on the floor, passed out and holding the bottle of vodka next to him like a teddy bear.

“What about it?” Johnny’s curiosity isn’t stopped. We even decided to divide Andy’ money and property among us by putting them on the other side and just pulling from underneath his stomach. Most likely we will end up waking up later to puke and will do truth or dare then.

“It was just messy. It lasted for…” Paul looks up, trying to count in his mind and I just keep quiet, letting chaos dissolve without me. “Two years or so. But Steven cheated a lot.”

I take the bottle from Andy who does a sleeping screech and drink from it, without even pouring it into the glasses.

“As Robbie found out. He found out and that’s why they broke up. Steven was pretty much sleeping with a bunch of guys and girls. He really wasn’t faithful at all.” I just look away at the window with the night already managed to reach us with all the playing we had done and somehow I just felt terribly sad that Andy had passed out already. Maybe we shouldn’t have drank so damn early?

“Robbie?” Johnny asks and I try to snap out of it as I look into his dark eyes.

“What?” I ask, nearly snapping, but I really don’t mean it, I’m just pretty damn drunk.

“You alright, man?” Johnny asks me and I wonder how long have we all gone without a smoke break, but the alcohol seemed to have held us down pretty well.

“Yeah, I just need a smoke.” I say and I try to stand up.

“Don’t fucking smoke in the room.” Andy wakes up only to say that before dazing off again and to confirm it he starts snoring.

I stand up, obeying Andy’ orders to not smoke in the room and I’m dreading the fact that I would have to go downstairs and smoke there with his mom to see. I take out my destroyed pack of cigarettes and show it to both Paul and Johnny. Paul looks at both of us.

“Nah, I’ll stay with sleepy Andy. You enjoy your smoke, boys.” He says and just leans down on the floor before finding a good position on his back with his arms behind his head and I see him actually close his eyes before we leave. The fucker decided that he will actually sleep then.

We wobble literally downstairs and try to be as quiet as possible, as it’s already night time even if I’m sure that Andy’ mom is not sleeping, we still try not to make a fuss and make her check on us.

Everything looks the fucking same while being terribly drunk and I wonder what the fuck will even happen and if we will all be bent over the loo when the morning comes or late night. Eventually we get outside and Johnny lights the cigarette I had given him back upstairs with his own lighter and offers to light mine. As soon as I lean towards the flame he leans towards me with his cigarette and they touch, lighting mine in the process.

I just widen my eyes and stare at him, hoping for an explanation, but nothing really happens, instead Johnny who is oh so sure of his sexuality just looks back at me, as if asking what’s up, what’s going on bro. He’s playing me and he’s terribly enjoying himself.

He’s a fucking flirt too.

I have only properly flirted with Steven and wanted it.

I don’t know if I have the guts to ask him about the cigarette, but what if he’s one of those guys which get drunk and horny and what if those are the only valuables which allow him to sleep with other men?

I want to take his cigarette and kiss him, but instead we’re left in this drunk haze where we don’t yet know each other and somehow there is some electricity between us. Or maybe it’s all in my head, but he lit my cigarette with his own. So there’s something going on his mind as well or maybe he’s just terribly messing with me. What the fuck do I have to lose if I kiss him? A friend? I’ve got plenty? Well, they’re all wankers but it’s not like I need someone else to be snarky with me, but there’s rejection which happens and it would all be so anticlimactic, but it happens or maybe you should know when you get rejection, it’s only anticlimactic in one’s head?

“What?” Johnny asks all innocently and inhaling the cigarette.

“You’re making everything too sexual.” I say nearly whining and inhaling my own.

“Oh, am I?” He asks and he terribly reminds me of Paul and Andy. A cocky shit. Do I even want to stick my tongue down any of their throats? Well, Johnny’s surely. But what difference is there? How drunk am I?

I take a step towards him, he’s much taller than I am. I’m not going to stand on my tip toes.

“Yeah.” I say and his smoke is against mine, mixing, both smoke and breaths.

“Robbie, I’m pretty damn drunk, so if I fucking do anything stupid… It’s the booze.” He scratches his eyebrow and ruins the moment, just like with his sexuality he had ruined it before. I don’t back down. I’m too damn drunk as well.

“Yeah, stupid like throwing your underwear out of the window.” Underwear. Naked Johnny underneath me. Our cocks rubbing together. “I’ll tell you.”

“Robbie, I mean it.” And he puts his finger on my temple and drags it along my jawline. He’s really fucking teasing me and we both know it. He’s taking the piss and isn’t at the same time. I close my eyes, breathing out the smoke slowly and enjoying the rough touch of his fingertip.

“Is that why you’re nearly fucking me right now?” I ask rather roughly and opening my eyes just to catch his proper reaction which is smirking at me and taking his hand away and back to his cigarette.

“Teasing you and touching you isn’t really fucking you…” Johnny pauses and does a lengthy pause, which reminds me of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “Yet.”

I feel my chest tighten.

“What do you mean, yet?” It doesn’t feel in slow motion at all.

“Just once.” And he leans closer to me, taking out his cigarette and looking into my pretty damn desperate eyes. He’s toying with me and I’m completely allowing him, as if we had known each other in a past life and somehow he had managed to fuck me very successfully then.

“Just once what? You’ll fuck me?” I ask and I feel my cock twitch from the thought of it.

“No. I just don’t want you to feel lonely anymore. Paul and Andy are pure wankers.” And he kisses me. I instantly kiss back and open my mouth, but he had already leaned back, electricity going through all over my body as if I had just orgasmed and was reaching some post-coital bliss which I wasn’t even aware of that existed.

I stare at him, he looks a bit regretful.

“Johnny?”

“Sorry, I told you I would do something stupid.” He laughs a bit darkly and I take his hand. The one I had shook hands with twice, I think. I hold it.

“I don’t think it’s stupid.” I breathe out terribly heavily. Fuck. “You fucking did it for a reason. Own up to it.”

We’re standing terribly close and I know that either Andy or Paul can fucking fall out of the window and ruin the moment.

“I don’t have to own up to anything, Robbie.” I really do a dart throw guess that it’s because he’s terribly drunk and he won’t remember it sober.

“Fine.” I say rather sharply. We finish our cigarettes in peace and make our way back somehow, but all the rest of it is terribly murky that I don’t recall how the monopoly went.

I regret drinking terribly the next morning, I wake up just like everyone else on Andy’ rug and no one even bothered to change out of their clothes, besides Johnny who managed to pull his head out of his shirt and leave the arms in the sleeves. The monopoly is right under Paul’s ass with the houses digging into his jeans which looks very uncomfortable, but he’s sleeping so maybe it’s cosy in some sort of sadistic tendency way that I’m not aware of which he is into. My head is splitting open and I’m sure some doctors are putting in screwdrivers and tampering with my brain.

My lips feel like they’re burning as I slowly gather the pieces together of a memory of Johnny briefly kissing me. If we were alone I would have easily grabbed him by the shoulders and shaken him, asking why the fuck did he pull away and what the fuck was even going on in his mind.

Instead Andy does a very loud groan and Johnny shifts in his t-shirt, pulling it off entirely and sitting up, looking terribly bewildered with wide eyes, looking around until his gaze falls upon me. He looks a bit paler than he would usually, but it’s for another reason.

“Where’s the toilet?” He asks again, probably forgetting that he’s used the loo yesterday.

“Go a bit left and you’ll see it, it’s the first door.” And he runs out, holding his hand in front of his mouth. I keep hearing Andy’ groans. But I decide to follow Johnny who is actively throwing up into the toilet and I wonder since he claimed that he had drank before, how much did he actually drink? I put my hand on his back, stroking it, as he just stands on his knees, leaning over the toilet and coughing.

“Water?” I ask him and he just nods. I grab the cup which is used to brush teeth, and pour some water in it before handing it to him. Johnny drinks it very hungrily. His curls are all in front of his face and all I can think of is his words, that he told me that he didn’t want me to be lonely and that’s why he had kissed me.

What the fuck happened later? How much more did we drink? Who won monopoly?

“I’m sorry.” Johnny says with his head still nearly down the toilet, waiting if he is going to puke more or not.

“It’s alright, you were drunk.” I say softly.

“Wait… what did I do drunk?” He looks at me scared. I just blink at him. Maybe he doesn’t remember after all. Or maybe the memories will come back to him? Instead I just stroke his back again.

“Nothing stupid, I promise.” Well, it’s true, isn’t it? I just keep stroking his back. Do I tell him what he had done or do I just pretend that nothing had happened until he fucking finally does it sober? Will he ever do it sober? I doubt so. He doesn’t seem the type to actually own up to some attraction to men while sober.

I always kind of get very excited about any tension and I always worry that I might’ve pushed things far too fast, but I think everything is at it’s pace and the story is coming to be quite long. It’s far longer than Saudade which is on this blog. I’ve written stories all sizes, but it’s always fun to have a long one.

Offside. Chapter 8

We start a game of drunk monopoly, where frankly we just continue drinking. First Andy gets some glasses from downstairs as I set up the game. I end up feeling a bit dizzy already from the plain rounds we had swung from the bottle already while playing Fifa. I know that my mind is getting a bit foggy, but I still feel sober, just that I happen to stare at Johnny far more often and leaving my gaze there, just like when I’m counting the money to hand it over to him. We’re all bored so I hope he shares my view point where I frankly would bone him even if he wasn’t as nice and attractive and was just queer. But he’s not queer regardless of what I think and what he does.

“Robbie, you gave me three 500 notes.” Johnny smirks at me, probably very highly aware of my attraction to him by now. I take one note away from him. I always liked the fact that I was a lightweight when it came to alcohol or the fact that I would usually drink more than the rest and be the first drunk, because that would mean that my anxiety would be gone sooner and I wouldn’t care about what’s really happening too much.

I feel far too foggy, because I can only think about how lonely I am and I know that if I drink a bit more, I’ll probably be the first one to break down and start talking about Steven before being a happy drunk. The problem about what kind of drunk you are depends on how life really is and my life is pretty miserable even if I don’t want to admit it much, I want to stay positive and not caring, but in reality I’m terrified of the future up to the point that I’ve contemplated taking my life. I’ve thought of just ending it all because I’ve lived enough to taste everything I had wanted, but what keeps me going is the pure fear of suicide.

I take a swing from the bottle once more just to null the thoughts and it sort of seems to ease me even more a bit, even if I feel that on the edges I’ve got fear.

Andy shows up with his promised glasses. They’re just regular glasses rather than some shot glasses, because frankly we drink like pigs and in a way it’s a way to say hey mom, we drank juice, look at our glasses even if they will be reeking of a vodka and whiskey mix. We all cheer only far more drunk. Andy pours more of the remains of the whiskey bottle, as we haven’t even gotten to Johnny’s vodka and I wonder how deadly would the mix even be. I don’t think I care.

Andy sits besides me.

“Hey, Paul.” He says to me.

“I’m Robbie.” I think we’ve drank plenty or at least in Andy’ eyes I seem to see too many reflections of a drunken man.

“Whatever. I’m sorry that I didn’t invite you and Steven over too much. That was me being an asshole.” He says and I even look around, to make sure that we are in his room with all the posters of babes on the walls and the tacky old wallpapers which his mom refused to change. I look back to just stare at him confused.

“It’s… alright?” I say holding the confused note. “Just don’t be an asshole next time to whoever I’m seeing.”

“Just that… he looked like such a fairy and you always looked normal. Like… I could never believe you were gay. Besides your fucking shoes and then your clothes…” He pauses and gives a brief hiccup. “Okay, fine, you look gay, but-”

“You’re drunk.” I say drunk.

“My point is, I was an asshole. I’ll be on your side now.” And he pats me on the shoulder. Paul then just winks at me, probably indicating that he’s also on my side. Johnny, who seems to be the most sober of us all just smiles at me. Fucking smiles at me. Suck me off already.

“How sweet of both of you, homophobes.” I smirk, not fully flattered and still hating them somewhere down in my kidneys. I don’t really voice much, but Paul winks at me again and rolls the dice. I have no idea how are we even managing to stay by the rules, but we just started so it’s only later in the game where you start offering different streets to buy where our fully smashed selves will prevail.

I’m sure that the game will eventually get much uglier than I expect it to be and the fact that we keep pouring the leftovers of the whiskey isn’t really a good sign of the day ending. But it’s better than to think about the impending winter, which will frankly be basically no sunlight and snow if were aren’t lucky. I don’t want to think about seasonal depression and the feeling of just being trapped in something which doesn’t seem to pass at all because it’s so desperately long.

“We will always have your back.” Paul says and moves his little top hat, passing my little battleship.

“Yeah, of course.” I say, rolling my eyes and recounting my money because of one time when we were kids when Andy took some hundreds from me.

“No, seriously, now I know my mistakes and I’ll have your back.” Andy says. “No matter what fairy you’re fucking.”

Then he pauses.

“Who fucked who?” He asks with absolutely no filter and I just roll the dice, silently and I realize that all eyes are on me with the most ridiculous question anyone gay can get from a straight person.

“How about that’s none of your business, Andy?” I say, moving the piece and landing on Johnny’s square, so instead I shift my attention to the tall new friend. “How much, Johnny?”

Thankfully I didn’t land on any street which had a house, as he got lucky enough to get all three streets of the same colour, making Paul wince as if someone had stabbed him because he didn’t have the money to buy it when he landed there three turns ago. All these few turns Andy just sat in jail, making me wish that he would actually be in jail instead. I tried to ignore the looks and even Johnny holds from giving me his money.

“C’mon, Robbie, we’re all curious about your sex life.” Paul says and Johnny just looks at me. I lean my head back, closing my eyes.

“No, just fuck off.” I say, not even opening my eyes not to see the fuckers.

“Are you like… the passive? Is that how it’s called, Paul?” Andy asks and I’m guessing he turns to face Paul.

“How the fuck would I know, Andy?” Paul speaks out.

I don’t even want to give them a lesson on gay terminology and I flinch at the passive word, really not wishing to explain that sometimes it’s not that black and white. That in my case both me and Steven would just do it as we would please and I kind of hoped to have the same sex fluidity in that with my next partner or partners. If I would ever get any, that is.

“If you’re on my side, just google some fucking definitions and leave me alone.” I say and Johnny finally takes my money after softly saying 18, quiet enough not to disrupt the horrid discussion which was getting on my nerves pretty badly.

“Which definitions should I google, Robbie?” Andy asks and takes out his fucking phone.

“Do it in your own fucking free time so you can check some porn and put Paul’s face on your computer screen.” I say and yank his phone out of his hands. Andy just makes a weird drunk noise, which I don’t properly distinguish and Johnny laughs with Paul. I put the phone besides me and Andy grabs for it, but puts it back in his pocket, somewhere deep down probably realizing how much he had annoyed me and that it should really be dropped.

Johnny still seems to be terribly curious about it, but all I can think of is that he would ask me that later and possibly I would talk to him about it, but not in front of Paul and Andy, who are terribly annoying and would drag me for it to the end of time. But he doesn’t speak up thankfully.

Andy instead of asking more dumb questions gets the glasses.

“Johnny, can I open the vodka?” That’s it, we’ll be far more smashed and the questions should be even worse now. If we are able to fucking lift our heads from the floor, that is. Maybe we will all just sleep on Andy’ rug and that will be it really. That sounds like a very likely end to our terribly eventful evening.

“Of course. That’s why I brought it. I didn’t get IDed somehow at the end of the day.” Johnny confesses and we all just stare at him in pure awe. Well, he does look older than all of us actually look and I feel a bit jealous I would always get caught, so I would just nick something from my parents instead besides one time. But that’s because I had known the guy and it was close to Christmas, so he told me that I could get away with it. I had jerked off to him to, thinking that he would have asked me for a blow job if he wasn’t so shy. But that was just wishful thinking and soon enough he moved to the city and we never really followed up, probably hooked up plenty with ladies or whatever.

“Lucky.” And I stretch the y as I say it to Johnny and he just shrugs, smiling. He always fucking sAndy. I could kiss him if he didn’t claim to be so straight. Andy just grins and pours everyone some vodka into the glasses with flowers on them, as if they are going to make drinking more innocent than it already is.

We all don’t toast, we just continue drinking, everyone at their pace, I usually drink it like shots, feeling my head fully give up on me by now, Johnny drinking it slowly and Andy and Paul mirroring each other by drinking it at a medium pace.

“Say, which websites do you guys check out when you’re horny?” Paul asks, completely hammered. For fuck’s sake. I just start recounting my money and looking at the streets I have collected so far, but we’re all losing to Johnny who already managed to grab those three streets with the same colour.

“I just stick to pornhub and redtube and all the usual ones. I can’t say I’m too picky when I’m horny.” Johnny speaks up and I realize how loose he is due to the alcohol. It finally struck him and it’s awful because my mind goes to ask me if I would manage to squeeze out some questions from him and I’m sure the same thought goes through his head, because he keeps looking at me from the other side of the board.

“So what, I’m the only one who looks at bikini photos of girls in our class when I’m single?” Paul asks, pouting and looking around.

“You asked websites, you moron.” I laugh, looking at him and his lost expression on what he had actually done wrong or rather what he had asked wrong. Paul still looks at me as lost as ever, like a deer in the headlights. I continue laughing, as Andy just snorts and Johnny grins watching me thrash the poor fellow. “And that’s pretty damn gross and pretty predator… like of you.”

I’m so drunk.

“What’s wrong with doing that though?” Johnny pipes in. “I’ve done that to Heather before we started dating.”

Aha, she has a name. Heather.

“You’ve never done that?” Johnny asks me.

“When I figured out that I like Steven we were pretty much boning him by then.” I say.

“Who bones who…” Andy whines and leans to put his head on my lap. I shift uncomfortably, trying to shake him off, but his head remains on my lap a bit too close to my cock. I just ignore the drunkard I have as a friend. “Please tell. I’m dying from curiosity, I need to know where the cock goes.”

“Fuck off.” And I place my hand over his drunk mouth, as it’s my turn to roll the dice. I move the little battleship, a piece I’ve been using since I was a kid and whenever I change it, I always end up losing. I keep my hand there and I wish that Johnny would talk more, but then maybe I end up with all the body language and I’m so drunk that I can see him leaning over and kissing me.

Being gay during a sleepover with straight guys doesn’t always land as fun the entire time. I’ve had some odd conversations myself and before I knew who I was I’ve asked awkward questions, so it’s something which happens unfortunately.