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.

Offside. Chapter 7

Paul opens the door.

“Hey, guys. Andy got too lazy to go downstairs and I lost at rock, paper and scissors. He’s already bored of your faces. You can leave.” He says and does a shooing motion with his hand and I just walk inside, past him and give him a light shove.

“Fuck off.” I say in my usual friendly mocking. I shouldn’t have stayed up all night playing Fifa, but then who am I to blame besides myself? Exactly, no one. I can’t even blame the players I had played against. Or maybe I’m just too tired of being single and miserable? Maybe I’m just too tired from life, from thinking about how everything will unfold and there is no happy button which gives you a time out, instead it just gets worse and worse.

“So what’s the wanker owner of the house up to?” I ask Paul as I kick off my boots, which I wonder if Johnny had even noticed, as Johnny follows me to take off his shoes.

“He’s just playing Fifa. We both were, but you interrupted us.” Paul says scratching his nose and I look at him, as he frankly always looks younger than the rest of the football team, maybe only Andy can compete at how young they both look.

“I would have never guessed that you wouldn’t think of something more original.” I mock him, as we all take the stairs to go upstairs to Andy’ room. Me and Johnny would have to sleep downstairs by the looks of it, I wouldn’t leave him alone for the sole reason that it’s not fun to be sleeping alone on the couch in a separate room at a sleeping over under any circumstances.

“So it’s what, sober Fifa and then whatever dumb shit we think of while being drunk off our tits?” I ask as soon as I wave at Andy, who doesn’t even bother to turn around to greet me and Johnny as he’s playing now someone online playing Sheffield Wednesday.

“Oh, man, you’re losing against Sheffield Wednesday.” Paul notes and Andy just proceeds to aggressively mash the buttons to try and make poor Liverpool score.

“Yeah, be my guest. Suck cocaine off my dick for all I care.” Andy says without emotion and staring concentrated on the screen. “I’ll be too drunk to care.”

“You have Paul’s cock for that. I think I’d leave you both for your casual 69.” I say and sit next to him on the rug, Paul and Johnny joining me.

“How exactly do you handle all the gay jokes?” Johnny asks Paul, who just shrugs and glances at Andy’ stash of alcohol which is frankly a bottle of whiskey he nicked from downstairs, I’m guessing.

“I’m used to them, just like Robbie is used to us being assholes about his sexuality or preference-”

“It’s not a preference.” I sigh.

“Yeah, true. I’m not into listening to you explaining how sexuality works on a sober head.” Paul says and just leans back on his hands. “Drunk? Maybe.”

“I’ve explained it to you plenty times and I don’t know why can’t everyone just accept that we’re all just born like the kinksters we are.” I say and decide to roll on my stomach. Johnny just looks at me instead of the telly.

“You’re really losing, Andy, it’s a fucking 4-0.” Paul winces for Andy.

“I fucking know, Turner. This wanker plays as if he’s Real Madrid and he’s going through with it. Asshole.” Andy replies. We all proceed to silently watch the second half of the match which is frankly Andy losing to a whooping 8-0 in the end. Paul pats him on the back, as Andy just groans.

“I should’ve friended the wanker and asked for a rematch.” Andy says putting the controller down.

“You would’ve lost, you moron.” I say and stretch my arms.

“Yeah, well, you play better than I do. You would’ve avenged my honor.” Andy says with a fist in the air and I just stare at my stupid friend. I try to remember if there are any lame games to even put on a livestream of, but I can’t think of any.

“Fuck off, I’m not playing for such a loser like you.” I say.

“Well, we’re all playing regardless.” Andy shrugs and turns to face me, grabbing the controller up in his hands again.

“Yeah, but I’ll be playing for myself rather than for you.” I confess, flipping off poor Andy again, who just flips back at me. Our behaviour will always emulate seven year-olds and somehow I wouldn’t want that to change, I would just prefer going on with this somehow but the clock is ticking and I can only feel the impending doom of ageing.

“Whatever. Who wants to play? I want a damn break from this devil possessed Sheffield Wednesday.” Andy winces and places the controller in Paul’s lap as he stands up to get the bottle of whiskey.

“I also brought some alcohol.” Johnny says opening up his backpack and revealing vodka. We all cheer pretty loudly, I wonder how is Andy’ mom okay with all of this. But then it’s better for us to drink ourselves with her knowing rather than Andy showing up smashed and that seems to be the notion of other parents as well, because their parents allowed alcohol as well. So it just becomes like an unwritten alcohol rule which goes generations down and I’m sure whoever lands with children will do the same thing unless they get burnt by alcohol in some way, but I highly doubt it, it’s usually being smashed and asking dumb questions with no filter whatsoever.

“Well, you chose Paul as your tribute. Johnny, you want to play Paul?” I offer the other controller to Johnny, since we should still put up a little facade for him to show that we’re actually nice guys or it could just be that I still have some faith in getting laid at least or anything which will make me far less lonely.

“Yeah, thanks.” He smiles at me and I wonder how many times does he actually smile for me. I’m surely going crazy and desperate but I would easily find something to obsess over because that’s how you can at least cure loneliness with a placebo effect. Paul plays Sheffield Wednesday just to spite off Andy, who complains that the team is cursed forever now since they managed to whoop him with his Liverpool. Johnny takes Real Madrid which doesn’t really piss me off, but I make a face at it.

“What’s the issue with Real Madrid, Robbie?” He asks me, the match already started and kicking the ball around. Both Paul and Andy smirk because they know, because I’m terribly vocal about my choices of teams.

“Well, it has a star player, specifically Cristiano who can fucking shoot from the middle of the field and score. So frankly if you’re playing online against a twelve year old that’s all they’ll do and I’ll manage to lose simply because of that instead of having a fair game.” I whine and then I see Johnny trying to score from the middle of the field with Cristiano.

“Really, Johnny?” I ask him, but not touching him as he’s still playing, but I would shove him as well. My mind drifts to actually shoving him enough onto the floor and being on top of the pretty good looking guy.

“Yes. You whine too much then, what matter is that you win, really. All methods which are legal are allowed.” He says and tries to do it again, as Paul just remains quiet and probably silently praying that it hits the post or something. It does hit the bar, which causes Johnny to swear outloud, because frankly it was ridiculously close.

“What do you guys want to do later?” Andy asks yawning, probably staying all night jerking off Paul in his head.

“You were busy last night jerking off Paul in your mind, Andy?” I mock him and he just rolls his eyes at me, a joke I’ve said plenty times but which never ceases to amuse me. “That’s why you’re yawning, you kinkster?”

“I dunno. We haven’t properly played monopoly with all of us and we can drink as we do it. Then whatever drunk haze we’re in we will follow it.”

“Only no boarding the bus under influence and swimming to the middle of the fucking lake.” I whine.

“What the fuck happened last time?” Johnny laughs listening to me complaining.

“What you heard. We got to a lake and could barely swim back. I’m surprised we didn’t drown and managed to sneak out. It was dreadful. Both Andy and Paul were dragging me back swimming on their backs.” I say rubbing my eyes, remembering the disaster which was actually my idea and I had regretted it all summer and apologized plenty times because we frankly could’ve drowned so easily.

“Wow, sounds terribly thrilling, something I would gladly miss.” Johnny says passing the ball to Cristiano again and looking at me with a small mischievous smile. He presses the button to shoot and attempt a goal. I just show him my tongue as he does it and watches me.

But he’s clearly being far too friendly, right? How much friendliness is too much and is it wrong to think about it so often? He’s surely flirting in some odd way right? But then why did he claim that he was straight? Well, because he is straight. But what if he’s changing his mind. I look at Paul and Andy who if they would have picked it up they would have made a joke about it, but they haven’t yet so maybe I’m really out of luck and there is really nothing going on.

Andy watches our interaction and then once he notices that I look back at him, he looks away back to the television screen.

We all play for quite a good while, all sticking to our usual teams because we’re pretty stubborn in our choices and the way we play. It becomes really annoying to play against Johnny as he would just get the ball to Cristiano and just try to annoy me with it. I had the thought of just dropping the controller, because it was getting too annoying but I decided to keep doing the best I could and I ended up winning, which caused me to just lean back and fall back on the floor, flipping him off that I had managed somehow. Johnny patted my shoulder.

“You’re a better player here than you are a midfielder.” He smirks at me.

“Fuck off, Johnny.” I say. “And you’re a worse striker.”

“I never claimed to be anyone. While you’re full of ideas.” And he ruffles my hair, which I’m sure causes me to blush a bit from the sudden touch, but Johnny proceeds to ignore it. He’s far too touchy feely which I can’t really say makes me very uncomfortable, but which causes me to think a lot about why he’s doing that and how come my shitty friends aren’t really saying anything about it.

“Gay.” Paul says pointing to Johnny’s hand leaving my hair.

There it is. Everything is fine with the world, then. Johnny as if burnt turns around to look at Paul, who was busy playing Andy but left the goal to repeat itself to mock Andy’ loss.

“I’m not really gay.” He says in his defence.

“Yeah, well, you touched queer boy’s hair. It’s contagious. Last time I touched it I thought of sucking him off. Damn thing is too soft and gay. Stay a mile in radius away from him.” Paul tried to say that with a straight face and biting his lip in concentration while passing the damn ball.

“With you Paul, I’ll surely get a boyfriend so easily. You’re so smooth, I don’t even have to flirt. They’ll just end up riding me regardless because of what you’ll say.” I say before thinking much and looking at Johnny, who is caught looking between me and Paul, while Andy is just entertained and trying to beat Sheffield Wednesday’s next attempt to destroy him. “I’m not saying that Johnny is a candidate…”

I’m screwing over.

“I mean, you get what I mean.” And I lean back to reach Andy’ bed which has the alcohol. That would surely erase my embarrassment.

“Nope, all we know is that you want to screw Johnny apparently.” Andy says being a full blown wanker and I just try to avoid Johnny’s reading gaze as I just wait for Andy to look at me. But he’s too busy getting his ass handed to him by Paul so that I’m left glaring on my own and then I glance at Johnny, who now has resumed watching the game.

“Who wants a drink?” I ask, stretching to the bottle properly now and taking it in my lap.

“Yeah, I’ll have some.” Johnny chips in, turning around to face me along with the bottle.

“I know Johnny, it’s fucking hard to know that Robbie wants to bone you.” Andy says, still concentrated on the screen and now pretty much nagging that his football players aren’t doing well and that he is going to sack them all.

“Fuck off.” I say before Johnny can even say anything.

I remember I just kept writing and writing dialogue, really taken over by the story and everything new that came with it. I’ve had touchy friends, which some things happened and some didn’t, but looking back maybe that’s where I got that from. Crushes are a weird thing because you’ve got to assess what’s going on and what will you do in return as well.

I just keep writing on about this gay football player of mine, so I can’t even spoil the ending until I’ve put it to paper. But soon, soon.

Offside. Chapter 6

I feel terribly curious about his dating history and I look as if I want to ask something, so Johnny just stares at me just as curiously as I do. I know they broke up because she didn’t want long distance, but was there any other reason? What’s Johnny’s sexuality as well? How weird would it actually be if I piped up about that? That would surely be regarded as coming on to him.

“What?” He asks and I just shake my head.

“Nothing, just thinking.” I confess, shrugging. I can’t ask him if he’s actually queer in any way. That wouldn’t explain him staring at me after everyone called me queer.

“You do realize you can ask what’s on your mind.” Johnny speaks up.

“I know, only I don’t like being too nosy.” I lie. I am a nosy fuck and I would even ask the most gruesome details about the other guy’s sex life while I was still figuring out my own sexuality and trying to understand how come I never really get too attracted to other girls, but I would still listen to their sex stories, finding out what kind of teenage horny shit they were into by literally just slipping it as if it were a usual point of conversation, like oh she chocked me pretty damn well.

“You either gossip or you’re nosy, there’s nothing in between.” I laugh at his sudden remark.

“You just made that up.” I stop laughing just to say that and resume.

“I have to get you to speak somehow, Robbie.” Johnny smiles back at me. Please tell me he’s somehow queer because he’s lovely.

“I’m not really going to ask any nosy questions.” I admit, preferring to break down from just knowing it later than knowing something now so early and have all my dreams get crashed to smithereens. And that can wait for ever and ever, well at least until I get a boyfriend then I won’t really care if Johnny was gay or not. But then if he was actually queer, I’d be bummed out that I never asked or made a move.

“Come on. I’ll think of something nosy to ask you as well.” Johnny says and I think that I can’t really ask some bullshit like what music is he into, because I know what bands he likes and what movies he watched when he was like 12.

“You don’t even have a nosy question?” I smirk at him and Johnny just mockingly looks away.

“Of course I fucking do.” Johnny smirks back. I take a deep breath, here goes nothing.

“What’s your sexuality?” I ask with a really big pause in the beginning and I feel my heart shatter as I ask him that and I expect something disrespectful from him actually. Instead Johnny looks a bit surprised by the question even if he was most likely expecting it, but it’s another thing when you actually hear it and it’s been asked.

“I’m straight. Sorry.” He smiles at me a bit sadly.

Sorry.

Why sorry?

“Why sorry?” I ask a bit surprised and I look at him, a bit dazzled by the answer and not really focusing on the fact that he’s actually straight even if my heart sank properly and got buried in a funeral after being fished out of the lake where it committed suicide.

“Oh, just saying that really.” Johnny shrugs, trying not to pay much attention to his own words, as if it’s really nothing but it’s not. Of course he’s apologizing for something, does he feel bad for not being interested in me? I can’t really not have my mind race from the fact that he is actually straight, which makes all my luck go out of the window. But then I guess he does look terribly straight and it’s not like I was kidding myself with too much hope anyway. But that just puts me back into the relying on the bad dating apps which frankly will go nowhere still. What if it’s one of those apologies were one is sad that he isn’t attracted or is and can’t really feel too attracted enough to date? Why can’t I be some sort of exception? But then I wouldn’t be thrilled if a girl flirted with me like they do, just hoping that somehow I would have some wiggle room for them. I should put myself in his shoes. But I’m terribly nice. I wouldn’t use him as a fleshlight.

I try to hold a long sigh, so I yawn instead which takes him a bit by surprise.

“Sorry, I didn’t sleep too well the past night.” Lies, I stayed up playing Fifa for no good reason and cursing at the television, which would have been disastrous if I had an Xbox, but thankfully I don’t.

Johnny looks at me knowing that I’m really just bullshitting and pretty damn heartbroken because it’s been quite a while since Steven, but everyone still talks about it because we were the gay couple from the town so we were a big deal to gossip about, I guess. Possibly because we won’t really get other queer guys to mate up with me. I even tried the LGBT groups in the city nearby and they weren’t too thrilling with everyone on the hunt and knowing that no one is really your type and that everyone just goes to regret and remind themselves of how lonely they are.

“Well, the curiosity is out of the way, at least.” Johnny smiles at me and I just feel like I’m stabbed with a dagger, because he’s good-looking, nice and what else could I possibly even ask in a guy? if you get too picky you won’t get anyone at all.

“What’s your nosy question then?” I ask him curiously. Johnny just shrugs.

“I wanted to ask your orientation, but then I remembered that you were called gay, so I figured that… you are gay.” He says.

“That’s a repeat of my question, though.” I smirk at him, nudging him to ask something else.

“Okay, okay, fine.” Johnny thinks for a while and I’m sure he has a question stored up his sleeve, or perhaps many questions and is choosing the least risqué one. We’re nearly arriving and I start feeling sad that we can’t really continue asking each other twenty questions even if I know that he’s pretty straight and uninterested. “Did you and your ex have sex?”

I blink at his straightforward question.

“Of course we did. We’re just like any other couple. Didn’t you fuck with your girlfriend?” I say, a bit taken back, but taking the question regardless.

“Yeah, I know. But it’s kind of… different.” He’s surely aggressively straight by saying that.

“Not really, it’s still sex.” I shrug. “It’s really still… fucking.”

“I guess you’re right.” And he pats me on the head. He’s way too fucking tall for his own good. I smirk and press the stop button so that we can get off on the next stop and actually be on time for Andy’ party. Paul would’ve taken another bus, so there’s no way we would run into him now and knowing Paul he most likely arrived early to help Andy clean up and whatnot. I wonder how his mom handles all of these guys sleeping over all the time. But she’s lovely.

We get off on the stop, after Johnny realizes that we will have to shelf our desperately close and intrusive conversation until next time, which also makes me terribly sad because I would simply love to hear him talk more even if it’s about his girlfriend and what they had done to each other.

I keep looking at him as we walk towards Andy’ house.

“What, no more curious questions?” Johnny smiles at me curiously and I wonder how the fuck is he even straight at the same time or do I just flirt with everyone up to the point that people don’t see the desperate difference anymore? Is this how everyone talks? But then technically you can easily take anything as flirting easily. Mocking with Andy? Flirting. Asking Johnny if he’s queer? Flirting. Everything is flirting. I feel like I don’t even know the difference anymore and is that a good thing? Is that moving forwards or just swimming through life in the river’s direction? What would the river’s direction be anyway? Would it be just staying in bed until decay starts?

“No, I’ve got plenty and I’m sure we’ll get hammered enough to ask even more risqué questions.” I grin at him, wondering way too much about him.

“You sound as if all of you play spin the bottle when you get wasted.” Johnny wiggles his eyebrows as he says it.

“I’m sure Andy and Paul will do that later.” I assume him, nodding.

“But are they really gay?” Johnny asks carefully, as if he would be entering a lion’s den.

“No, no.” I laugh. “I just mock them because they’re really really close friends and I kind of don’t really believe in such a friendship even if it’s right in front of me. I still think one day Andy will just approach me and tell me he sucked off Paul drunk or something.”

“I doubt they will, though.” Johnny thinks. “They’re just friends.”

“Wanna bet?” I smirk at him and stretch out my hand. Johnny takes the bet. I keep grinning and I think of what can I even bet with him.

“If you win you get to kiss me.” I stare at him wide eyed and he bursts out laughing. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding!”

“Fuck you.” I say and flip him off. “You’re playing on the fact that I’m currently single and that’s too much pain to bear.”

“I know, I know. But I’m single too and lonely.” He keeps on laughing. I wonder how lonely he actually is, does he miss his girlfriend or did he manage to get over her and wonder what is there that lays beyond for him? I really do think a lot about him, but that’s because I frankly developed a crush on the tall striker, because I’m really desperate and there is no one to crush on. “But you should’ve seen your fucking face.”

I just glare at him, not really knowing what to say because I’ve already told him to go fuck himself and I’ve flipped him off as well. My mind just goes blank on all the insults that I don’t really know what else to tell him and we’re approaching the house soon anyway.

“What happens if you win?” I ask him and Johnny ponders for a brief moment, fixing his curls from his dark eyes.

“I haven’t really decided, actually. We can both just try to win and humiliate the other in any way we please really.” He says and I wish he would have hint some sort of glint in his eyes, but instead he doesn’t really plan anything and there is nothing mischievous or sadly sexual. He’s not interested me in that way, so why would I even get my hopes up?

“Deal.” And now we finally shake hands and let go, I think of his handshake briefly because it’s the most human contact that I have gotten in a while. We arrive at Andy’ rather big house, which is frankly so usual that I don’t flinch but Johnny looks at it a bit unused, but I’m sure his is just as big as anyone else’s really since we’re rather far out from anything and it just so happens that everyone has inherited or bought big houses. I knock on the door, just because Johnny is here because otherwise I would have just barged in and even opened the bathroom door and told Andy to cover himself up with a towel from the shower. But instead I pretend to be polite.

I actually found out that there is a gay football player in LA Galaxy and that’s actually pretty cool! I kind of tend to write less conversations while this story seems to be filled with them and it’s what the story stands on. Also, this story has a bunch of firsts for me.

Offside. Chapter 5

In the end I was left with a bunch of photos without even asking him for permission and after eating with my parents, I just proceeded to stare at photos of him. I couldn’t help but start wondering how did his lips feel, even if I had just met him and the thought of touching myself to him seemed appealing yet terribly creepy, so I just went to find some porn, locking the door. I hated still living with my parents for the pure stupid reason of having to find headphones each time to jerk off to and do it terribly quiet.

He’s tall. So I had not really much of a connection of jerking off to guys with rather big dicks wrecking some poor twink today. I really tried to convince myself of that, but I am a pretty bad liar to myself because well, you can’t really hide things from yourself, you’ll end up thinking of them eventually. So I wasn’t really lying to myself by the end of the day.

I still continued staring at really old photos of him, where he had much shorter hair and looked like a full on dork, but still looked just as cute, no matter how bad his choice of a haircut was. But then anyone regardless of age can suffer a malfunction, that’s why I stayed with the same haircut for years, knowing that I had looked good with it. It was possibly boring, but at least I would never really look bad and the barber knew what I wanted every single time, but pushing his luck to ask me whether I had wanted something else.

I finished skimming through the photos and then went to his interests, surprised that he actually had a music taste for someone who claimed that we all should go to the gym. I wondered if he went to the city then for it and worked out with a bunch of other hunks. I had tried that once, but I didn’t get laid, all I did was get far too sweaty, tired and my body would ache for a week for no good reason. I wondered if I should’ve written somewhere that I wanted a gym buddy, but I was far too rubbish to even ask for that. I had plenty of exercise with football, so I considered myself to be in shape still.

I didn’t really know what to do and I knew that if I would text him asking if I could add him and start chatting with him would be weird. So I ended up playing Fifa far too late in the night, connecting with a bunch of assholes which would play Barcelona or Real Madrid and kick the ball from the middle of the field but still scoring. I didn’t even know why I even bothered, but it entertained me and I enjoyed it after all. I ended up playing Juventus as usual and frankly cursing at everyone, which seemed to be a sport of its own for me.

Well, I didn’t have to earn money yet and maybe it was a good thing that I was at my parent’s because after this year I would have to start thinking of something and I kind of ended up relaxing and easing in the moment, that it would soon pass and I wouldn’t really be awake at around 2 am playing Juventus against some snot face from France playing Ronaldo and forgetting the other players. Maybe it was something to actually be happy about.

I ended up flicking through every single app I have to see if luck would strike because I just couldn’t rely on Johnny who I had no idea about, but it’s always conversations which reach a dead end, but I pretend to be interested and end up falling asleep with the phone in my hand, curled up in bed. I do feel terribly desperate and lonely and I only wake up thinking how would the sleepover go and what the hell would even happen during it. I remind myself to tell my parents about it once I wake up again, just to make sure that they hadn’t forgotten it. I wake up rather late, which is a good thing, that means that I will manage to stay up late with Andy and Paul. Since alcohol might make me sleepy, all excess energy is always wanted.

I browse a bit on the phone before realizing that I’m hungry. There is nothing much to do until then, so I play some more Fifa once I’m done with breakfast and reminding the parents. I take the coffee with me, wondering if I should try to make some friends online and play with them, but I get too antisocial to even think that further. I end up missing practice and kicking the ball. At least that keeps my mind occupied and I don’t think of anything else.

Eventually the clock rolls the right time that Andy texted me as I was playing and I’m pleased that it’s alright to stay over after all, he could’ve just organized it and ended up not falling through with it. That had happened before but I didn’t want to discourage Johnny by putting a new friend down in his eyes. I struggled what to wear for a while, as if I should always be wearing a t shirt from a football team. I decide on a t-shirt and a scarf. I look at my boots for a while as I’m about to leave and decide to put them anyway, it’s not like I would want someone to like me for someone who I’m not. I wonder if I should have actually texted Johnny after all and gone with it, maybe even asked something risqué, but I would never have the guts and the message would have remained read forever with no answer whatsoever. He could’ve cancelled then as well. I mean, who would have wanted to sleep in the same room as me then?

Speaking of.

How would the arrangement be? Do we split the rooms? Do Andy and Paul get Andy’ room for themselves? I try to remember that I should mock them for that as always, because it wouldn’t be me if I won’t mock them. The bus ride ends up me listening to music and trying to space out and not think of anything, trying to become medicine for myself.

I have to change buses and I really regret not texting Johnny, because I could’ve picked him up, but it’s the only bus there to arrive in time so I see him dressed in all black and giving me a small wave in the distance, as I’m currently stuck on the bus stop, frankly doing nothing. I smile a bit too wide, at least I think.

“Hey Robbie.” Johnny says and I wonder what the hell did he even bring in his backpack. His pajamas?Is it like a full set? I usually just collapse and take off my jeans, so I don’t really bring anything with me.

“Hey, Johnny. What’s in the bag?” I ask, nodding at his backpack and he just looks at his shoulder, as if forgetting that he brought it in the first place.

“Oh, I got some alcohol actually. Just trying to be discreet about it.” He says and I just grin, because the more smashed we get, the better naturally.

“Nice.” I pat him on the shoulder. Johnny’s quite tall. And a silence is among us, where I get scared that I don’t know how to really converse with new people, how do you manage to talk to someone whether it’s online or not? How do you strike up a fucking conversation?

“So… you’ve always lived here then?” Johnny asks me and I nearly sigh of relief, as the bus also arrives on time, which makes me very thankful and sad at the same time, because soon enough I’ll have to share him with the other two friends I have and I won’t really be able to woo him in any way.

“Yeah, always. Makes me pretty boring, doesn’t it?” I sigh, looking back at him as we board the bus after getting tickets.

“No, I think it’s nicer than always moving around. I moved from the US actually. Well, I’ve been in the country for a while, but that’s where I’m from originally.” Johnny says and sits besides me, looking at me which gives me a bit of a tighter chest, but I try to ignore it and understand that it’s literally from the lack of attention why I’m jumping on poor him.

“Oh, nice.” I say. “Where from?”

“Detroit.” He says and I just nod, absorbing the information.

“Still nicer to be moving around and seeing countries.” I insist on my point, looking at him and wondering if he even has the slightest attraction towards men which would make it so much easier than to suffer alone. What if he was suffering as well? That would’ve surely been very romantic, but unfortunately that surely wasn’t the case.

“I always wondered how it’s like to actually be in the same place and everything.” He starts saying and I end up interrupting him.

“It’s shit, you get bored of seeing the same places every day. Bus rides are hell. You know everyone and your mom will gossip about you, because she’s just as bored as you are.” I smirk. Johnny just smirks back and probably wants to hear the full story, but I wait for him to ask.

“Gossip?” There it is. I just grin at him.

“My mom caught me with my ex-boyfriend and after the shock wore off she went off to tell everyone that I’m gay and eventually the word got to his parents as well, before he was out.” I say laughing lightly and remembering how it all went down and Steven got a scolding, but eventually they’re so distant that they gave up on it.

“Yikes.” Johnny laughs.

“That’s why I don’t recommend staying in small towns, everyone goes crazy. Everyone knows everyone.” I sigh.

“I think gossip goes around everywhere, only I guess in small towns it reaches you much faster than it would elsewhere.” Johnny says. “I mean, there’s other things to do and kill time with, so maybe the gossip isn’t as intense. Who knows. I’m not really one to gossip, so I’m not your best resource on whether I would gossip more here or not. Ask me in a few months.”

He’s staying here for long, of course. Somehow I saw him as someone who would stop talking to me soon enough, but there’s a high chance that we will remain friends somehow unless he decides that he prefers the company of some other guys. But still, it’s not like it’s a read message so far which will never get a reply.

I get far too scared of dropping the topic and ending up with nothing to talk about, so I feel like I cling far too much because until my anxiety goes down I won’t really be able to ease properly. But it doesn’t seem like Johnny sees my anxiety as he smiles at me and keeps talking, waiting for a reply and I probably take a second longer than I should.

“I’ll make sure to check up on you then. It’s not like you’ll go anywhere.” I smirk, not taking my eyes off him. If he’s single he’s surely not on any apps because I made sure to scroll and swipe plenty at least in the apps which had men interested in men, so even if he is, I’m not really in his field. I wonder if alcohol will loosen him up and get him talking, just so that I’ll see if there is anything or anywhere I can squeeze in when it comes to his sexuality.

“No, I won’t.” And he means it in a way, so I try not to overthink it and I know that I can’t really read him, maybe he’s pondering himself or maybe he’s just polite and that’s why I am so confused. Who even knows at this point.

“Would gossip ever reach you much in Detroit if you were gossiped about? But then everyone is, I think. Everyone will get discussed eventually.” I say, nearly thinking out loud.

“Yeah, of course it would but, like, after a good while. I remember I wasn’t really the most ideal person to date my ex-girlfriend and I heard people badmouthing me, but it wasn’t really a big deal and it’s not as fun as your own mother saying stuff like her son’s gay.” Johnny admits and I frankly agree with him, that no piece of gossip will ever beat my mother’s but it’s still a bit dark to think about it because she wasn’t the most pleased. And she gossiped just like she would’ve about anyone else being gay with a bit of regret that they happened to be so. But reading and knowing what happens all around the world, made me realize that I am more than lucky to get away with few disappointment. “But then, I think all gossip is annoying because it’s never really anything positive, it’s not someone patting you on the back like ever.”

“That’s true. It’s always something negative usually and smirking.” I add. I for once decide to glance outside the window, even if I know every single tree we pass since I’ve been going to Andy’ since I was a child. Maybe I should be thankful that my parents still allowed Steven to stay over despite all of their shattered dreams and whatever slightly homophobic thought parents have in their heads.

It’s a funny thing, every movie star has at least one gay rumour but you don’t hear too many gay football rumours in the tabloids. Very shady and secretive, but legend has it that gay football players exist left and right and keep it to themselves because of the fans. I always ponder about it.

I feel like if I start talking I’ll just spoil the entire story, since I know what is ahead.

football pitch soccer gay story

Offside. Chapter 4

We eat our pizzas a bit more quietly and mostly commenting on a tv show which is shown now on the turned on television. I hadn’t been following it at all, while Paul’s mom has with all the unfolding drama so we got to hear who cheated on who and who had dated someone else before finding their true love. I kept looking at Johnny, who seemed surprisingly content to be with us and I wondered if he had been a loner in a way. Because just because he works out doesn’t really mean that he wasn’t lonely. What if he just didn’t like the football team? He could be some sort of video game addict or just someone who reads a lot. The possibilities were endless and I had no idea what exactly Johnny was, I frankly knew nothing and he had talked minimal, mostly just listening to all of us.

“So what do you guys do later?” He asks as we are close to finishing off the food.

“Me and Paul take the bus together and Robbie just goes home. We don’t really do much, we see each other on practice enough. Well, besides the current sleepover. Is tomorrow okay with you all, by the way?” Andy asks, changing subject from the fact that we frankly just divide ourselves and that’s pretty much all of our life. But then he adds. “Or sometimes we drink if someone can get us booze. I’ll see what I can do about that.”

“It’s fine with me. It’s not like I’ve got a busy schedule or anything.” I smirk and look at Johnny.

“You know I’m always up for one, Andy.” Paul smugly says.

“Yeah, should be good with me too, then.” Johnny confirms with all of us. I just smile at him and he briefly smiled back at me, before eating his last bite. He’s got a nice smile too, I could possibly jerk off to him and then forget about it the day later, since that when we are sleeping over because frankly I don’t want to act any more awkward than I usually would which is already pretty damn awkward. I kind of want him to come not only because he’s attractive and I want to hear his stories because I’m a curious fuck, but a lot of the fact that it’s just a new friend, who possibly won’t ditch me like Paul and Andy often do.

We all stand up to leave and I realize how much taller he is than all of us and frankly I’m the shortest as usual, which is something I should be used to by now. I did start wearing boots with heels when I’m not kicking a ball but once I ended up in a fight and I slipped from them, so I stopped for a while, but that was a rather brief pause. I don’t exactly look like your average football player, but it’s the fact that I play and the passion that counts.

“So how do you guys manage to get alcohol then?” He asks and I wonder how innocent Johnny actually is for asking such things. I smirk, but Andy manages to pick up the question since he offered to get it for the sleepover.

“I’ve got a mate who works in an alcohol store and there’s always whatever the parents have in the house, really. It’s not like they’re too much against it, I’ll get booze regardless.” He shrugs.

“Oh, ’cause my parents are pretty strict about it even if I’ve drank obviously.” Has he? I look at him as he says it. He surely has, he’s not exactly lying and doesn’t really look like the best of liars.

“Mine are fine. Robbie’s can be a bit pissy about it, but that’s because he really gets hammered when he drinks and ends up with a guy in his bed.” Andy smirks.

“Oi, enough soft homophobia jokes, man.” I smirk at him and shove him right in that aching shoulder. I don’t really mind them much, it’s when he’s drunk and says things he ought to regret is when I mind. And it’s not like I can exactly change friends and after all, I can sometimes pretend that they’ve got my back and they were there when me and Brian broke up, so that was something I didn’t even expect from those assholes. It was a terribly tough time and they were there. Football was there and both of them would come over to watch any bloody match which was on and I would scream for whatever team I had decided to root for the second before to bloody score.

“You’re an asshole.” Andy winces and Paul just smirks at the sudden display of violence from my side. I wonder how the hell is Johnny even amused by our bored shenanigans, I don’t even know which place is he originally from or if he had moved quite a few times. I do make a note to actually fucking decide and ask him sometime, because it’s weird if we do bond and I never find out where did he even come from. I feel tired from my aching leg and it seems to be slowly sucking away my energy without me properly realizing about it. I don’t really limp yet or at least not that I notice.

“I just love you a lot. In a bromance way since you don’t roll with the dark side. Unless Paul is involved.” I smirk at him, glancing at Paul who just narrows his eyes at me, because I probably guess too much but I think it’s going to be date night soon, so he’s trying to straighten out or something.

“Ha ha. Very unique.” Paul says, glancing at a confused Johnny. “Robbie has this wild conspiracy theory that we’re somehow banging just because we’re good friends, as if we will somehow one day emerge from one of his pornos or whatever.”

“I see.” Johnny says holding a smile, as we arrive at the bus stop and I start dreading the fact that my bus is in a while, as I check my phone and get out a pack of cigarettes. I offer them to everyone and everyone grabs one without hesitation, possibly making me question how healthy all of us are, but then it just seems fitting that we wouldn’t mind killing time that way as well.

“Okay, that’s our bus.” Andy says and pats Al on the shoulder, as they both wave at me and Johnny. Soon to discard the newly lit cigarettes, fuckers. The head out to their bus, already starting to talk about something, maybe their girlfriends which they seem to have unlike me and Johnny. Johnny seems to be single from what I had understood. Well, otherwise his current girlfriend isn’t too thrilling since he’s thinking about his ex. I mean, I know that sometimes one tries to jump onto the next relationship just to get over the previous, but he seemed too sad about it to actually be taken.

“Which bus are you getting?” I ask him, inhaling and knowing that it should be a good few minutes at least for my bus. Johnny breathes out the smoke slowly and looks at me.

“I actually live nearby, I’m just killing time with you.” I feel a bit too flattered as he says it, just because it’s a new guy whose face hasn’t really rubbed too well into my memory but for sure I’d struggle to remember while I would be jerking off because I’ve got a terrible memory for faces.

“Oh, alright. That’s nice of you to wait for my stupid bus to arrive.” I say. It dawns on me that he didn’t ask for any of our numbers to meet up tomorrow at Andy’. “Hey, you didn’t get any of our numbers. I’ll give them all to you. Just text them telling who you are or they’ll think that I’m trying to hook them up with some guy from Grindr, because I’ve done that a few times.”

Johnny laughs and takes out his phone. I hand him the numbers and wait for him to text the other two guys. I just keep looking at his ridiculously attractive face, which is covered in curls as he looks down. It’s not like someone straight would suddenly discover their sexuality, at least I only feel like it barely happens these days, by now people have it figured out I think, well, in this day and age. Of course there is no right age to discover who you are and sexuality is fluid for some, but I just don’t feel like I’ve struck gold here. I feel like I had drained everything every ridiculous apps had to offer, since I knew everyone already and relying on the big city nearby was enough for a few days of conversations which ended up abruptly and quickly. No one seems to be interested in me and I’m not the best at taking photos of myself and I’m not as attractive as I could be. So maybe the problem lays within me rather than blaming someone else for dropping me like a hot potato.

“Is that your bus?” He asks as a bus approaches us on the stop and I’m actually kind of sad that it showed up a few minutes early, but I can’t really keep Johnny to myself. I nod, sighing quietly so that he doesn’t notice.

“Yeah, actually.” I say, pondering if I had even talked to him enough to properly start liking him at any point. I am jumping in front of the desperate train and wagon and the whole railway system because I don’t really care much anymore.

“Well, I’ll see tomorrow then at the sleepover, yeah?” Johnny smiles at me, taking his cigarette from his mouth and I kind of focus on his lips for a very brief while before nodding and giving him a brief bye. He also tells me bye and I board the bus. He doesn’t really wait for me to board it or anything, he just turns around and I’m left with my own self in the bus. It doesn’t really take too long for it to depart and go through the same fields which I had heavily worn in my memory that I could possibly draw them accurately in my sleep if only I had the talent.

I do think of him a lot as the bus drives me back home and how will the sleepover even go. I don’t really talk much to Paul or Andy on how desperately single I feel and how I would refresh the apps daily in some hope, telling myself that frankly you have to put yourself out there to even get a glimpse of a possibility of trying out someone. It gets terribly ridiculous where I’ve started considering hooking up just because it’s some brief contact with someone else other than being alone.

I keep pressing myself against the window for no good reason even if the bus is frankly making it impossible to do so. My mind keeps going blank, my body finally catching up on the fact that I had the first training after summer now. Of course I’m out of shape even if I would meet up with Paul and Andy just to kick the ball in a circle and we would take turns to wreck Andy as a goalkeeper, since he was the least bad of all of us. But I didn’t get to see much of the other guys, probably we should arrange something all of us later on and be a mob in some place. Then my mind drifts to Johnny again and I open Facebook, just wondering what would his last name be and would he even be a user. Brian would post some photos of us every once in a while, so mine wasn’t really an embarrassing charade of a bunch of photos of me at 12. I didn’t bother to untag myself from them and neither did Brian, kind of making it very awkward where we would both wait if the other would do it.

I entered Johnny’s name and our city in the search bar, nearly missing my stop, so I paused my stalking and wondered if he had already thought of checking all of us already. Probably he would be home by now, by the time I would fucking manage to walk back home through the road and the fields. The internet sometimes gets wonky, but I didn’t bother, scrolling on and on until I found him. He ended up writing the nearby big city as a location instead of our town, how classy. I nearly friended him, but I dropped it last minute and it wasn’t just because because it would have actually been creepy if I had just gone ahead with it somehow. He had a few photos for the whole world to see and just like I had Brian, he had this I guess pretty looking girl with him called Meg. He was listed as single and I couldn’t see his sexual preference, so maybe he was somewhere deep down bisexual or something? Then that would explain the staring other than just staring at the gay.

My leg was really starting to ache and I should get some gel for it, for it to stop aching that is. I tried not to think of it much, as I keep browsing through the photos.

Well, it’s starting to slowly get pretty gay. I really wish it was easier for professional football players to come out, but alas, that’s why I just dived into writing this. It’s really niche, but it’s fun. I’ll keep my mouth shut from spoiling anything.

football pitch soccer gay story

 

Offside. Chapter 3

I look at the losers who finally approached us, wondering how many of us talentless football players are out there but plenty of us still get jobs somehow and crawl up the football ladder regardless, so that’s a good thing. I don’t really see much future anywhere, but the more I am stuck thinking of a future the more I wonder how the fuck can I even entangle myself into the only sport I enjoy. But that’s on the brightest of days when I actually try to care about something.

“Maybe we shouldn’t really invite those two over, eh, Andy?” Paul pipes up, smirking and pointing at us both. “They ended up winning and I kind of would prefer being a sore loser right now.”

“Hey, hey, no need to be a sore loser. Just fucking do your deal where we eat out together. I never ditch you guys.” I whine at them, Johnny probably realizing that the banter is better done between us than him who is still clearly a fresh-baked newbie. He probably hates all of us anyway and is dreading the fact that he decided to tag along with me because it would just be random insults thrown at each other over pizza and we don’t really tag along with girls, we just sit down there and complain about life.

“Yeah, because you’re like a stupid lucky charm, you never lose in training.” Paul smirks at me and we slowly start walking to the pizza place since frankly there is no more point in standing next to the court and soon enough it would be filled with a bunch of kids running around and probably pooping their pants out of joy. I don’t know I never understood the parental thrill of sending one’s child so early to football, probably because my own sent me quite later on.

“Yeah and lose the big games.” Andy chips in. I flip at him.

“We tend to lose the big games because our defence is shit.” I whine, wondering how come we even got such a shit team and how are we even supposed to attract anyone to even remotely check out our games. I wished that I had lived in a much bigger city, but then beggars can’t really be choosers. I turn to Johnny. “Can you be a defender instead of a striker?”

He just shakes his head.

“No, sorry, I’m really just a striker.” I roll my eyes at his reply and stretch out my arms above my head.

“We’re screwed then.” Is now my turn to whine because Johnny surely watched some Brazilian Ronaldo videos to get bloody inspired by and here we are, a freshly baked striker who barely has any idea of what he’s doing, like a really bad FIFA mod. I don’t really bother much about the surroundings, besides the fact that we managed to get an okay weather day where everyone is taking off their jackets a bit too confused and wondering why hasn’t the weather turned to downright shit yet. I seem to think the same, as I didn’t even bother grabbing mine. “At least I didn’t go cocky and decide to be a fucking striker.”

“You still never go on defence, Robbie.” Andy says as we approach the pizza place and he holds the door open for everyone to get in, as he scratches his nose. I keep flipping at him far too much today for every comment he does.

“Doesn’t matter, I’m less of a wanker than you are.” I smirk at him, glancing at the same old boring pizza menu even if I know all of them and have probably tried all of them as well. “I’m not a cocky striker, that’s the point unlike you lot.”

“Doesn’t mean that you couldn’t take one for the team and actually be on defence.” Paul speaks, about to order and stepping to the cashier to order. Paul takes his usual order, not really bothering to ponder on something else, as I always take my time and end up choosing more or less the same. Andy follows him, ordering some new bacon pizza for himself and I decide to try it out as well and Johnny is the last one left, probably counting the calories in his damn head, but is too shy to speak out about it. In the end he orders something which I don’t really overhear, as I decide to follow Andy and Paul to the depths of the pizza place as they can choose any seat since it’s empty after lunch.

“I’ll do that if you fucking do that, Paul.” I say, wondering when was even the last time that we had invited the rest of the guys over, but we kind of just avoided their girlfriend drama because someone would always end up dating someone’s ex or crush, so there was no bro code where you couldn’t date someone who had been dated before. It was a game, as if it was survival of the fittest, besides Paul who decided to date this girl from a few towns away and that was considered long distance even if it was just a straight bus ride away.

“I will be a defender, if you become one, Robbie.” I look at him, he’s pretty serious about it, just to fuck me over. I just fix my hair and shake my head.

“Fuck off, we’ll both be terrible defenders and you know that.” I say, because I’m not good on defence and I’ve always wanted to be a midfielder, so this is what a taste of my own medicine feels like apparently then. I pout at him, mockingly.

“Doesn’t matter, you’re the one always whining that there’s too many strikers.” Paul shrugs, as we wait for the pizzas and Johnny joins us. He joins my side, as Andy and Paul sit on one side, probably too sick of staring at each other since they always hang out besides when they remember that they have girlfriends and then they act straight. Andy and Paul are like some sort of riddle I could never figure out, but the thing is that it’s just my wishful thinking really that someone else could be queer even if I wasn’t boning them. It would get pretty lonely sometimes being around a bunch of straight guys or straight girls for that matter. I never liked being the token gay and I didn’t really fit into too much stereotypes since I was into football and eventually I would just get bored of being friends with the girls once I grew up. When you’re a child it’s far easier to just be friends with someone regardless of their gender, but once you grow up it is just a void everywhere, you can’t relate to anyone and nothing makes sense.

A void.

“And there he goes… spacing out. Who are you sucking off in your mind now, Robbie?” Andy mocks me, as all three of them laugh at me. I didn’t even notice that I had managed to space out and miss a few questions or mock statements.

“Fuck off. You’re pretty annoying today, you know.” I say rubbing my face with my hands, sleepily and tired after practice which only proves how bad we all are.

“We’re always annoying.” Andy says as a matter of fact pointing at himself and Paul, as Johnny watches all of this as if it were a show we were putting up now for him. But in reality we are always like this, mocking each other to no end and I would rant that someday Andy or Paul will actually wake up with cum in their mouth from the other after a heavy night of drinking and some mistakes will unfold in the morning. Or not mistakes and I would get a heavy kick from under the table and getting a kick from a fellow football player is never fun.

“I would have never fucking guessed.” I say sarcastically and turn around, hoping that they would bring the pizza soon enough but I know that I haven’t spaced out enough for it to even get ready and most likely they would get all our pizzas ready and then bring them, not to ruin anyone’s mood by not getting one as the same time Johnny would, for instance. Johnny instead stays out of it, just watching all of us, probably not too confident in nagging about how gay I am or how annoying Paul or Andy seem to be. I would have sat quiet myself, just waiting until I can actually befriend whomever I decide is worthy, but then I have always lived here, so everyone was kind of taken for granted besides the few people who would move in.

“Johnny, feel free to fucking annoy Robbie as well, he will surely appreciate some male attention from the depth of his pants.” Paul says taking the salt and fiddling with it, bored.

“You are such a wanker, Paul.” I state, narrowing my eyes and looking at him, just as bored and just participating in the talk because we all try to kill time somehow until life somehow unfolds and we start living instead of numbly dribbling through life.

“You’re the one wanking off to blokes.” Andy says as a matter of fact.

“You too, Andy.” I sigh. I feel terribly tired and my body still keeps aching, probably hinting that this would be one of those days where it’s just bad all over and my leg will be aching until I decide to do something about it. “A wanker that is. Of course, unless you’ve decided it’s time to address the elephant in the room about you and Paul holding hands under covers. You fuckers still do sleepovers as if you’re ten.”

“No need to be so jealous over the fact that you don’t get invited, Robbie.” Andy pipes up.

“So I’m not invited to make it a jolly threesome.” I pause and look at them. “I know you both stopped inviting me over once I got it on with Steven, I’ll never forget it.”

I look at them with a serious voice but then burst out laughing. It’s nothing I can change at all. Homophobia lives on even if you’re banging one of your mates, which I will give a hand for which Paul and Andy are doing or will do someday.

“Fine, you want to come over and sleep in a sleeping bag?” Andy asks and I just quiet down, thinking and I glance at poor Johnny, who is completely excluded from this conversation.

“Sure. Let’s be ten and play monopoly.” I shrug, glancing at Johnny again and motioning with my shoulder for Andy to invite Johnny over as well, just to be polite and we need to bond with him after all somehow, so a sleepover would be a good idea. I pretend to have done nothing as Johnny looks at me.

“You want to sleep over, Johnny? I should have enough places, Paul sleeps on my bed since he’s a fucking queen anyway. Robbie can take the sleeping bag, so that his hands are tied and you can take the couch or floor.” Andy asks, smiling at Johnny. At least we all try to bond somehow, which is always nice and makes it somehow less lonely than it could have easily been.

“Um, yeah, sure.” He says, a bit unused to us addressing him in the conversation most likely. “That is nice of you, since I just joined.”

“Well, you are a part of our team.” I say as I turn to face him. Johnny just nods.

“In my previous team we kind of spoke to each other, but not that much. Just some chatter, but no sleepovers or anything, so this is new for me. But it’s nice.” He says and smiles briefly at us. He is pretty attractive and I’m starving for anyone who I can imagine who isn’t a porn star and I haven’t really fallen too low to search very frantically online.

“Of course it’s nice.” Andy pauses to think of a comeback and then looks at Paul, who just shrugs, but around the time I notice Paul’s eyes light up and I can only guess that the pizza guy is bringing the food finally after all of this weird chatter we usually have and they have to witness and hear above all. The television is off today which makes me wonder how much he had heard and how much he wishes we went somewhere else.

“Are you going to sit there with no filthy addition, Andy?” I ask him, smirking and now it’s Andy’ turn to flip at me once the pizza guy leaves for the other two pizzas which belong to me and Johnny.

“I’m tired and hungry. And on top of everything my arm is still aching from your fucking tackle.” Andy winces touching his aching arm.

“Well, you fucking deserved it. You were too busy yelling something at Paul, which I can’t even remember now, so of course you just had to lose the ball somehow, who cares if it was with a bit of force?” I ask taking the knife and fork in hand.

“Well, maybe your mum should have fucking taught you that you should be nicer to fellow football players and not just ram into them. No manners, Robbie, no fucking manners.” Andy sighs mockingly and takes his own cutlery.

It’s been a busy week, personally and in football. James Rodríguez will finally play again after leaving Real Madrid for Bayern (so I guess I’ll start watching Bayern matches with more enthusiasm), Bonucci has left Juventus (which I’m sad about). I’m still in awe of writing Robbie and Johnny, which are obviously the stars of the show in this novel. They might not be as handsome or as talented as Real Madrid superstars but they try. At least in spirit, sometimes.

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Offside. Chapter 2

I feel as if I have his stare on me the whole time we do warm ups. I feel like I can’t really stretch in peace, as I wonder if he had even met another queer guy before. Because it really felt alone growing up and not really knowing what the hell was going on with me and what kind of demon should I really be exorcising. So maybe he hadn’t really met anyone queer yet. What if he was from some part where people are still heavily closeted and then boom, you get a queer. Well, if he will be one to actually ask me more questions I could ask him over pizza, if he decides to talk to me again that is. I hoped that he wouldn’t avoid me like the plague because after all it’s rather hard to have a striker which won’t talk to me. We don’t really have to be synchronized but should be a bit beyond hello and goodbye to properly work as a team. I already don’t really count to be close to someone who keeps staring at me as if I’m a living dodo bird anyway.

“Today we’re playing five a side.” The coach announces which is pretty much obvious to everyone since we don’t really have any other team to practice with or play or embarrass ourselves against since our defence is frankly shit. “Johnny, have the honors and choose your team. Andy, you too.”

When I just started playing I would usually get annoyed when I wouldn’t be the one choosing the team but eventually it faded with age, but Andy choosing would always mean that he would take Paul right away. He’d stay away from the other Robbie for no good reason and choose Matt as his last one. Everything was very see-through, but then Johnny would be choosing us blindly based on looks and now knowing that I’m gay. I just sighed and rolled my eyes at Jack choosing Matt because of his build most likely and I guess tall, sort of well built guys stay together. Then even more at Andy choosing Paul, as I would just stand there. It’s Johnny’s turn and he looks at me. I would say he’d decide that he needs a midfielder, but he doesn’t know my position yet.

“Robbie.” He says eventually after looking at our wide choice of boys. I even feel like pointing at myself, but I hold. I just join his side as the choosing continues and I wait, eager to actually start playing instead of doing nothing and having Johnny stare at everyone and choose what the hell could they even do.

On really bad days I actually start asking myself if I even like football, which is a ridiculous question because I do enjoy it more than anything else, but the thing is that I frankly feel that life all around is terribly lukewarm, no matter what you do, it feels like there’s still this top layer which keeps it from being too enjoyable and even medication for depression doesn’t really lift that layer off, it just keeps me being low key depressed.

I do cheer up once Johnny asks all of us confused which positions do we tend to play in, because it means that we will get to play soon and then all my thoughts will be about kicking, running and maybe tackling if someone is far too annoying with a ball.

“What? No one really told me their positions or anything.” Johnny grumbles as Matt rolls his eyes at him. No one seems to be patient today, as if we were wrestling or kick boxing and were about to vent our damn anger out. Everyone announces their positions and that’s when it hits Johnny on what he’s done, but everyone is too much of an asshole to point out earlier. “So… we’ve got three strikers, one midfielder and one defender?”

“Yup.” I say looking at everyone and wondering what the hell would I even do in Johnny’s case. Probably choose a different team. I look at our strikers. I’m guessing Jack is one. He wouldn’t give up that position for sure.

“Alright, can anyone be a midfielder or defence? A fucking goal keeper?” He asks concerned about Andy getting two goal keepers. The coach is probably having a good laugh about it. I didn’t really see it that way that he was trying to be cheeky, but then he was probably trying to be nice in the end of it all.

“I can be a goal keeper.” Matt suggests after a very awkward silence and the fact that we can hear Andy’s team chattering about positions and some diabolical plan to actually manage to win over us, well Andy knows his team and they know what they can do and what they can’t do really. While we’re lost like kinder gardeners who just got handed a ball for the first time.

“Yeah, because you were banging your girlfriend all night, that’s why you want a time out. You’ll be praying that the ball doesn’t go towards you.” The other Robbie complains.

“It’s not my fault she’s your ex-girlfriend, Robbie.” Matt scoffs at the other Robbie. Well, that was a turn of events I had forgotten about or some straight gossip I wasn’t really paying attention to. Johnny smirks at that, crossing his arms on his chest. It’s like a really bad your mom joke gone wrong, where the guy is actually banging the other guy’s mom.

The coach overhears us and sighs looking again at the poor choice of players which Jack had done.

“So, you’re left without a goal keeper.” He sighs, fixing his long black hair back. He turns to face Andy. “Andy, you dickhead, give one of the goalkeepers and you’ll get Matt. Switch now and we can start training now, boys.”

Matt waves at us and sends a kiss to the other Robbie, who just turns around as we get TJ, who I have no fucking idea how he can see without his glasses and he just looks plain weird, considering that we had gone to the same school and he attends my mom’s book club. But it really feels like the whole town is here attending football because there is nothing else to do and to kill time.

Johnny and Andy go to the middle to play rock, paper scissors to decide who gets the ball and in the meantime as I’m waiting and the other Robbie just pushes me, telling me to keep my eyes on the damn ball instead of spacing out.

“Fuck off.” I mutter under my breath and the game starts. Frankly both teams play like absolute shit and what I like about playing football is that all passes in a great blur of sweat and gasping for air and praying that someone will break their legs, both of them, and that I will get a water break. I get the ball very often, simply because Johnny isn’t the best striker and loses the ball more than half the time. Andy and Paul yell more obscenities at each other than play. We end up winning 5-0 somehow, literally because Andy and Paul couldn’t be bothered today. Coach Julian asks for them both to stay behind, so I just take my time waiting for them since we usually go to eat out after practice usually because life is all about killing time even with people who spread rumours about you.

Johnny looks at me sitting on the grass, as I wait.

“What are you waiting for?” He asks me and sits besides me. I just look at him, a bit bewildered that he’s still talking to me, probably decided that there is nothing wrong with talking to the queer. It’s only the cooties you should be worried about and as far as I know he’s not planning to kiss me anytime soon. I decide to change shoes.

“For Andy and Paul. We’re going to grab a pizza, really. We tend to do that after practice.”

“A pizza? Aren’t any of you guys on a diet or anything?” Says the gym bunny, I assume, smirking at his sudden question. Probably Matt would be the only one who I see following some strict gym bunny diet, but even then he eats a shit ton of pizza when we invite him to hang out or when he tags along.

“No.” I shrug. “Why? Who the fuck am I planning to bang that would be counting my abs?”

I say that and realize that a reminder of my sexuality probably wouldn’t be too much of a good thing now. But it’s been said as I scratch my back. I shove my football shoes back into my backpack.

“Well, it’s not just about banging girls…” He pauses and looks at me, as I raise an eyebrow, realizing that my sexuality will always be some sort of token about me and will be high up on my description since frankly I don’t really have that much to tell about myself anyway. So maybe if sexualities make someone interesting, let mine make me interesting then. “Or boys.”

He said that so cautiously.

“Or boys.” I mock how quiet and shy his voice ended up being. Jack looks at me a bit taken back and red. But I decided to leave the newbie alone. “Then what is it about?”

“Looking good for yourself.” He claims.

“Do you honestly believe that?” I ask Johnny curiously.

“Of course I do it to look attractive, but I’m just saying that it’s not just the only reason, you know.” He says, shrugging and I just give him a look, as if he’s lying and I don’t bother to sugar coat it at all. He thinks about his next phrase for a bit and I give him the space, since we’re waiting for Andy and Paul anyway. He’s probably clinging to me because I met him first and he’s terribly iffy on my sexuality. “Is it okay if I join you, Paul and Andy or is it some sort of… triad?”

“God no.” I smirk and then proceed to laugh at his comment. “I would never bang any of those. Ew. God, no. You can join and spice it up, we can be some sort of sleazy swingers then. If you’re into that and you manage to turn those two into men.”

“So you’re… the only one?” Johnny asks me carefully, as if he’s trying to determine who to stay away from and I’m guessing I happen to be in that quarantine zone he would be avoiding later on, as he will manage to meet the rest of the guys.

“Gay?” I ask and Johnny nods. I scratch the back of my head. “Well, there’s this guy I used to date, but he was bi and we don’t really talk much more, naturally.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” He says. I just wave my hand, showing that it doesn’t matter anymore even if I’m frankly shattered and I keep refreshing Grindr and wondering how long will it take me to actually hook up with a 30 year-old from the neighbouring town which keeps writing to me, I am 18 after all, every 30 year-old’s dream. I don’t think I’m that desperate yet. Neither am I writing to the older gay men in our town. Johnny then looks at his fingers. “I had a break up recently. Well, not that recent. She didn’t want to have a long distance relationship, so she ended it with me.”

“Oh.” I say, he’s probably waiting for me to announce the reason I had split up with Steven, but instead I just remain quiet and soon enough Paul and Andy wave at us, so the attention slides back to the two culprits and I wonder how in the hell do you manage to already talk about sexuality and break ups to a stranger? But then people hook up on hello, if they ever speak at all.

I look at Johnny, as he doesn’t really notice or pretends not to notice me staring at him, his curls in the wind. He’s pretty good looking but surely straight, just like most football players even if frankly you can take and make any sport gay because it’s a bunch of sweaty men running around and tackling each other every once in a while. It could well be gay, but it’s pretty hidden from us homosexuals, even if there’s plenty of talk of that guy being gay and the other and a third boning the first.

I have no idea how the fuck will having Johnny on our team will even improve anything, since he’s not that good but he could as well have been deadly terrified or nervous on his first day or he could have possibly not expected us to be this trashy? I glance at him again. Surely straight, so there goes all that belief that somehow this year will be different and there will be a new hot guy to fuck around with, because all the good looking guys are straight here, because there is simply not enough guys in this small town.

It’s been quite a journey for me to explore the dynamics of gay football players so far. I really can’t get enough of them and it’s a lighter story than what I usually write with far more conversations than inner monologues. With so little gay fiction around, and a lack of openly gay football (or soccer if you’re so inclined) players, combining these two has been exciting since I’m all for both of these things and I wish there was more of it.

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Offside. Chapter 1

Clutching the last rays of sun for the day feels like plucking out daisies and wishing for someone to end up loving you at the end of the day. And nothing feels eternal, everything feels like it’s dying and somehow everyone around feels calmer about the incoming doom of colder weather, everyone talking about how great it’s going to be once the fields will be covered in snow, when the lakes are frozen and the fucking ponies will look horrified as ever. I roll over onto my stomach so that the houses are in view and I dread the passing summer, which was all mostly tucked in football practice. In the end it’s something like all you’ve got. The surroundings feel very agoraphobic, as there seems to be no end in sight and there’s kilometres until the nearest big town with a grocery store. It all becomes either a question of the bus or nagging about the car or a usual bike ride, because who doesn’t mind killing around two hours here and back when the sky isn’t pitch black and seems to have forgotten how the night looks.

It’s about always having the same friends, which will gossip and hanging out at those who have the loosest parents which will allow alcohol, just because their parents had done the same and then it’s all about making alcohol loosen tongues and sometimes it’s bitter, sometimes it becomes a sour discussion of ‘did my ex even love me anymore or did they ever?’ Sometimes it’s a very bitter remark and a few odd looks, but by the end it’s just about drowning one’s misery and my tongue isn’t better than theirs and we just remind of small circles of society which lie in the neighbouring houses of perhaps the whole county.

The end of summer is like losing love. It happens so slowly and miserably, that when you look back you ask yourself if you were ever in love and it’s not even something you want to think of. It will make you think of love you’ve even long lost. It’s full of regrets. I roll back onto my back, so I can see the sky and I feel all the distractions of the weather arrange my thoughts in a chaotic order, allowing nothing to properly be thought of, because all is a deja vu and all answers were gotten last time, when I thought of an ex and I asked about it out loud and that had been enough.

Because someone else’s drunk haze can be clarity and belief for me. And everything else will be a nuisance. I lay and watch the sky, how the clouds run fast with the tint becoming grayer and grayer and even some tears strike down from the sky, scratching the surface of the grass, but I pay no mind, until I finally hear some thunder and I decide that even if I were to play football in the rain, that gives no motivation for anything else. I walk back to the house, away from the lake, watching it and wondering how would it even feel to be struck down by lightning while rowing if that would even happen. I think about even taking the boat for a while and while I stand thinking, the rain stops and I just decide to kill time inside.

I wonder if roomming with people is just as bad as with parents, where you don’t even drop by to say hello, just wander in and out, politely stating it at the beginning of the day during breakfast and the rest is just formality, where I’m supposed to behave and bring good grades, which sometimes doesn’t happen and as the years start rolling by, I don’t even know where does the rest go. I don’t like thinking about the future, when the bubble ends of being in the same household. It’s not that I don’t want to move out, it’s that I don’t know what I’ll do at all.

As I get back to my room, being on the unmade bed depresses me, staring at the empty ceiling with a few cracks. It reminds me of the age of the last time we had everything refurbished and all I know is that if I count aloud enough, it’ll be time to get ready for the bus. I allow myself to slip away and soon it’s time to pack, shoving the football shoes into the backpack and changing gingerly into the sports gear, reminding of an impending winter. I don’t even bother to say goodbye, just not to interrupt any word which could be said from the reality TV show my parents are watching to kill time, like the rest of us. Neither do I ask for a ride into town.

I leave, walking slowly to the bus stop, looking around and mourning the death of summer for sure. Even if it’s been a few days which had taken summer away already and locked it, it feels enough of a reason to be wearing all black and mourning. Once I’m out of sight, I take out a pack of cigarettes from my backpack and soon enough I get the lighter, flicking against the cigarette a few times before it catches fire and I can breathe easily. I turn around, just to make sure that I’m really alone among the trees. It’s just the melancholy chasing me.

The bus is late as usual, but I am no longer going through my cigarette, so I just have to kill time kicking whatever had been left on the road from the trees or discarded items, looking around to make sure that no cars are around, as I even kick a lost registry plate. I wonder who had lost it for a brief while until the bus arrives and when it does, I look around briefly, so that I won’t be disturbed in the middle of it, but the rest of my team rides different buses or gets a ride or just bikes their way into town.

In buses usually I sulk thinking of the long lost, how this year it’ll be different with Steven not showing up on the other side of the fence, holding it and watching the game unravel and sometimes supportively say something when my team would score, but it rarely happens that I score, so I would understand his boredom from watching a midfielder, but he still would. My parents would show up back when I was a kid to the bigger ones, but that soon enough changed. I dreamt of taking the train to a bigger team, but some things just don’t happen and I still enjoy it deeply, probably happy of living in a brief bubble which will break by the end of this year.

Sometimes I feel so idle that I contemplate ending everything, as I either row in the lake or sit by it, lying and feeling lazy enough to stretch my arm and feel the water. But I never have the guts and somehow I manage to get by day by day, even if I have no motivation to go forwards.

I have a desire to get another cigarette as I get off, but instead I just make myself go towards the field, slowly increasing my pace, to make sure that I’m not late and that I don’t have to kick off my shoes as I’m walking. I look back, chewing on my bottom lip, to see that indeed my bus being late as usual made me the last one in most likely, and anxiety rises a bit. When I just started, I was aware of the bus being constantly late so I would pester my parents to drive me here. I was much younger as well, and I hated being behind in anything, even if I wasn’t the brightest student in school. I was terrified, so I would study and now that fear is hanging above me again and since it’s the last year it’s even worse, with the pressure of everyone getting in somewhere and I would just avoid the subject with my parents.

There were some rumours here and there about people scouting our team if we were good enough, but sometimes I was so scared that I didn’t want anything to work out, I just wanted to lay in the grass, hit by someone and allow the pain absorb my body and just keep watching the guys screaming at each other and somehow, nothing would change. That’s what I wanted.

I wanted to be left alone, sometimes I didn’t even want to play.

I keep walking, as I hear someone’s fast footsteps behind me. I turn around to see a rather tall guy with curly hair. If I were him, I would look around to make sure the confused stare is aimed at me, but instead he knows that it’s aimed at him.

“Hey, hold on.” And he motions to his own backpack, as if hinting that he might have something in it that would be my interest. I pause and wait for him to catch up. The tall guy just stretches his hand and points at my football shirt. “I didn’t get to change yet, but I got it done.”

And he reaches for his backpack and right under the shoes, I see the bright orange colour of our team on his shirt. I blink, realizing that the striker and goal keeper indeed moved on, one went to become a doctor and the other went into economics or some other crap, which only made me ponder how come they even liked football in the first place. I kind of pictured everyone else just as lost as I am. At least the guys who I talked with on the team were like that, quiet and frankly only loud about who was better, Messi or Ronaldo. He grins at me, but I seem far less excited than he had expected.

“I’m Johnny.” I glance at his shirt and indeed it does say Johnny, which makes me ponder what would his last name be and how come he decided to push his first name on the shirt.

“I’m Robbie.” I say and think of a stupid comment, just watching him curiously. After all it is another guy on our team and even if putting football asides, it’s better to have another guy to think over, even if it will be a solid evening only, it will be at least something and have some quick play of whether he could be queer. Johnny shakes my hand rather firmly, but all I do is start walking and he does so as well, without a need to catch up. I start feeling tense all of a sudden, just because there is someone new.

We start getting closer to the field and it’s a mixture of guys already in their gear, while others are changing into their shoes and everyone seems to have decided to show up earlier besides us and one more, I believe. Someone could’ve just gotten lost in the same predictable streets of the town or on the way driving from a smaller town. We approach them as even the coach seems excited about the new striker, everyone quieting their bickering and eyes on. But it wouldn’t be a bunch of assholes playing football if one wouldn’t have opened his mouth.

“So you’ve met the queer then.” And word spreads quickly, maybe it had even been my mom who started the whole gossip round, saying that Steven was over and we were making out on the bed, which had her catching us. Then that lead to awkward conversations where I stated that I might possibly not like girls after all. There was just a sigh from them, as if they were disappointed in a gay son. It was better than what I had expected or what had been uttered from the mouths of few or the looks I’d get from the parents as if it were contagious.

“Hey, what did I tell you, we’re all tolerant here. It’s football, not some heterosexual division.” The coach quickly picked it up, but the problem is that the damage is done, I’ll be known as the queer again, just because this Judas over here had decided not to keep his shitty mouth closed. It’s not like he meant much harm, but it’s really a question of how can you not filter what you speak? I just bite my lip and give him a pissed off look, to which Judas Paul shrugs and I look back at Johnny, who seems to be dazing out while staring at me. I don’t even know where he’s from. But instead he snaps out of it, probably due to politeness. It’s not like we talked even. He does slightly open his mouth to say something, but instead the coach catches up and starts telling us to warm up even if the goal keeper isn’t here and I can still feel Johnny staring at me as if I were an animal in a zoo. Well, the local queer.

Here we go, story number 2! I’ve started growing more and more into football recently and I’ve been toying with the idea of writing about football players for a long while now. I lived in the small time at the moment when I started writing this story and overall, I mused about how it would be to take such a claustrophobic setting for a teenager. Also I took experiences of a guy I had a crush on a while back, who told me how it was to grow up like that since I’ve lived my life in many different places and when you have a crush on someone, frankly everything they’ll say is fascinating and it inspired me to continue this, rethinking the conversations I had.

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Saudade. Chapter 7

I wish there was some actual cure for my anxiety even if at this point I understand that I should be the one challenging my feelings and thoughts. No medicine can cure thinking when I’m driving myself up the wall with my own thinking. It’s the way I do it that is bothersome.

I engaged in some brief talk, which I won’t recall now, about the weather, about how hot and nice Brazil is and maybe even mentioned how you and his partner were suffering under the snow, obviously, while we ended up in some slice of paradise, because even scorching heat is better than snow. Maybe the small talk would tire you? But it was really just that, as we slowly walked back to the hotel and even bumped into some drunk underage teenagers, but I don’t think they care much about ID here, at least that’s the impression I always get. It’s always the strict parents who try to get to them. I don’t particularly feel horny, I feel drained and the desire to sleep in David’s arms or him in my own is overwhelming and intoxicating, frankly. I remember how we started sleeping all wrapped up and then we would just cuddle, but in the beginning we would arrange our faces so that we wouldn’t end up touching the other’s breath. Sometimes that bothers me, it always bothers me that the love becomes domestic and it drives me crazy because I always want love to be on the forefront.

And there’s always the wrong memories, the ones which should be hidden now, but I remember how he would ignore me and not reply for days sometimes even when we were dating for no good reason. He would always make it sound like it was just too difficult and I couldn’t understand what was wrong with the times. Maybe all of this was a mistake, but then we’re not fully involved right now and how much do people really change? How many mistakes have we both committed? What about the main one?

We head back to his room again and start kissing. I don’t think it will escalate, no matter how hungry they feel. It makes my head dizzy, as then we just decide to flick through the channels which are all in Portuguese besides some news channels, which just show a kaleidoscope of how fucked up everything is according to the news, which never discuss anything properly. It’s odd to know that everything is fabricated these days. But then when has it not been? News always made sure to make people panic horrifically. Because only fear can make people move forwards into any regime and thinking.

I wonder about our silence, because we would be leaving soon. The only event was the wedding. It was never supposed to be some super long getaway. I feel awfully tired that I start falling asleep and when he turns off the mumbling Portuguese I am barely awake.

The problem about having anxiety is that it manages to seep through dreams and drip onto them, making the dream a bit long panic attack. Not only they don’t make sense, but it doesn’t help relax at all. I keep thinking about how it was to discover who I was somehow and how I slept around. I had told my parents that I was a gay man on top of being trans and the notion of them finding out that I was literally sleeping around with strangers because there was a thrill, scared me. I didn’t want to be judged further and frankly on bad days I still struggle with what I’ve done somehow. I just look at my own parents and everyone else who happens to be monogamous and puts sex and love on the shelf. I never wanted to be like that, I never understood why should one put that away. So it becomes a question whether I should be doing that too in order not to be judged? And now I was sleeping with my ex and frankly we didn’t even use protection because I just felt like it.

I didn’t know what else to say or how to calm me down, because I never could. I would just continue judging me through life for everything I’ve done. My desire to open up was something I was desperately ashamed of and I tried to do my best to remain monogamous because everyone else was. And writing all of this down should be helping, but I’m still doing it.

I was now awake.

I looked up to stare at a sleeping David with the harsh lulls from the TV. Maybe I should just leave? Sometimes I wonder if I should listen to my intrusive thoughts, and what else have I not heard now? And sometimes I would be the one to break relationships, was that going to be the case now as well? What future did we even hold with being in an actual engagement with someone else, someone who I loved deeply? What about David? I was shaking even if it was ridiculously hot. Would I leave? Should I leave?

I moved a bit too suddenly and David woke up.

He started stroking my trembling arms.

“I’m leaving.” He looks at me wide eyed and confused. I need to clarify. “I’m leaving the city, I’m moving. I always wanted to get out of there.”

I never even allowed myself to think much of it. I know that I’m a terrible mess. David seems a bit calmer, but still worried. He’s lost me before and I had declined him when he offered to get back together once. Maybe the things I’ll never ask will be enough for me to forget him entirely and for good.

“Why didn’t you say anything sooner?” I have issues. I just shrug, looking away before he puts his hand in my hair. Maybe we became each other. Maybe love makes a mutation of the other in me.

“I don’t want to lose you again.” He says.

“You already did.” I swallow. I shouldn’t have even put his hopes up. I lower my head. I’m a disgrace. I have no idea how is this supposed to be relaxing in any way. He didn’t do anything this time. I grab his hands. “You have a girlfriend and I’m engaged.”

He stares at me, lost. I’m sudden and harsh, just like he once was. Is this some deep rooted revenge? But then he gradually pushed every domino to fall before they all caught up in front of each other. And we barely talked over dinner. Is that all we had to say after all these years?

I wanted to leave the room and I did leave it eventually, I kept thinking of you. We ended our conversation there and just like always, he never pushed it, as if he ever respected my decision but I guess he did. My whole body was still shaking as I closed the door and slowly made my way back into my room, already knowing that I wouldn’t be able to talk to you in this state. My brain was silent with no pop music blasting, all I could hear was my own heavy breathing and stare at the done bed.

I grabbed my computer, opened my e-mail and proceeded to write this, as long as it was fresh in my mind.

This closing chapter ended up being shorter than the rest, but it closes everything and now I can finally talk freely.

I wanted the boyfriend to be left nameless, anonymous even, regardless that Allan spoke of him often and spoke of how they had met. I wanted him to just be there, a presence really and end it without knowing what the reply ever is.

It’s really bizarre to put everything to rest. Also, as I kept writing I kept asking myself well, this is what’s going to happen, won’t it? I get cold feet very often and this was just a version of myself which would do such a crucial mistake in his life. I had originally planned it differently, but as the story progressed the more I saw that Allan was getting cold feet.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and a new story will be published from next Friday as always.

Saudade. Chapter 6

I had wanted to ask you the same question once, how you felt about the world when I knew that you check the news daily, but you never let it affect you and you don’t talk much about it to me because you know that I can get emotional. I speak too much truth, I don’t make anything fiction. I eventually blow all the truth out so that my whole body aches from so much exhaustion and distortion from normality.

We stare at each other in silence, before looking away and knowing that the topic is really closed, I could always open it, but I don’t. On the background there’s a football game, but I don’t know the teams to root for either even if I can guess which team is supported since everyone is wearing matching stripy shirts and last time I had been here I had a guy flirt with me as he would tell me things about the team I had long forgotten. We had hooked up which looking back wasn’t the wisest idea but sometimes danger just slips past the fingers.

“Looks like we’re the unaware foreigners.” I laugh at him as people boo the other team. David nods and maybe we had always held the same silence we hold now.

“Did you think of me?” He asks, basking in some self aware question. The question stalls me for a while, because I did think of him, but not as often, since I started dating you. I tell him that and he just nods, wondering himself probably why had we decided to drag ourselves under some passionate seal to begin an affair.

“I know that you thought of me.” I take his hand, only wondering now if it’s really safe enough, but I’m under those nights and stars where you let anything slip by and risk it all. I’ve already risked it all with you for frankly no good reason besides igniting a long gone passion. My mind is going blank now and I should probably sleep, but the more time I take writing this letter the more things I will forget and start making up the holes I won’t recall. So I have to keep writing somehow, with everything I can recall, just to make my end of the bargain fair even if we never agreed.

Maybe there is really nothing to talk about and this is the morning after which comes with a crazy bitter taste. Where does one even start pouring their soul out? It’s worse because there is always a chance of leaving, just apologizing and that would be it. But maybe we should both hold onto it for the plain sake that it’s just a few days and then we would see what happens, but this is something which drags me with fear. I don’t want to go back, my whole body is destroyed with everything that has been happening and my own mind is not just my enemy, but my poison.

Maybe the hatred is slowly unravelling itself and I truly have all the answers now and I can turn around in my sleep, knowing that I’ve been enough. But I don’t leave and neither does he. I also feel like we’re both barely holding from connecting to the Wi-Fi and checking our phones while the rooted for team tries to score. Eventually he pulls his phone out and I just look around, in a fucking sea of stripy red. He does make me snap out of thinking, though.

“Do you want a photo? I mean, when are we going to meet up in Brazil again?” And as he says it I remember a bitter memory where he wouldn’t give me the photos of us together, but I smile regardless for the photo. I should ask him instantly to give me the photo for old time’s sake.

“Can I get it, as well?” He nods, probably not even recalling that. Then we have an awkward pause were we both feel very aware that we don’t have each other’s e-mail or any mean of communication, I had made sure that no one could find me besides from looking at my left over friend’s comments and even then, I tried to comment as less as possible for such reasons. We do a brief staring contest, before I take his phone and enter my e-mail with a bit of trembling fingers. Now, he’ll be able to contact me if all goes wrong and my mood changes rapidly each second even. Now, all the thrill has shifted to fear and some doomed love. I won’t deny that I still love him, but maybe it’s all because when I loved I was young and stupid? Who do I love now? Which memories do I even hold?

“Can I ever reach you through it?” David asks and I take a while to reply, as I stare at my own screen, as if the photo would somehow never arrive. I tend to remember things sometimes and once I do, I get bitter like a grandpa.

“Yeah, of course.” And I wait for him to ask for my Facebook now.

“What do you use even?” He asks me, taking a gulp from his own drink. “I mean, from the social media?”

I pretend to think for a brief while, simply because I always get scared before giving them out.

“Yeah.” I pause. “I have nearly everything actually, some of them I end up using, some of them are just… there.”

Like Twitter.

He raises his eyebrows as an indication for me to continue, to reveal any other method he could contact me through. I ponder about it for a while, not too long though, not enough not to make it impolite. I skim through my phone, decide that Facebook could be impersonal enough but it has old photos and that’s it before I had discovered myself properly. I don’t even know what to do, I could give Instagram which has far too many selfies for its own good. I think about it too much, because frankly everyone is a block away by the end of the day.

“Facebook or Instagram?” I ask, possibly regretting that he would say something like throw both at me.

“Both is good.” I guessed it as he says it. I regret asking that for a bit, but I give him both of my usernames, since Facebook holds a fake name as well for the time being until I decide that I’m mature enough to reveal my real name online. I waited for him to add me back so that I could quickly skim through the photos and even caught a glimpse of his girlfriend’s hair and face. He could see you there as well, pissed drunk since we never changed. I noticed his face change once he saw you, how probably natural we looked and how I was happy there and about to break us apart. Then he most likely realized that we were still fucking as of now, so his face relaxed and shifted to Facebook, I’m guessing and browsed that for a bit and I did the same act. We stayed even more silent. I should be honest with you at this point, because then you know what’s been going on.

I’ve always spoken to him so much about what I had been reading, because then depression hadn’t darkened my soul to the extent that I can’t pick up a damn book and stay concentrated. I can only confess that to you, that it doesn’t bring me joy anymore and that’s why I read less and less, because my mind just catapults itself away. I always spoke to him about music and I get scared that our music tastes never changed and that there is everything alike all over again or he would know what I had been talking about.

But I don’t dare to raise it, instead he talks.

“Do you know that Maggie got married? She was the first from our class, actually. I don’t think that many followed after her.” I keep silent on our engagement. I get cold feet and you’re very well aware of it and I don’t want to spill my dirty laundry that we’ve talked about it and decided that I need to straighten my mind even more before I commit. I’m sure you’ve heard enough of me talking about it and crying about how I wish I were sane to commit.

Maybe I held my silence too long, because he looks at me very curiously. I open my mouth and I know that I have to follow with a sentence or some excuse, why I am so sudden with my reaction about someone else getting married early, someone I haven’t cared about in years actually.

“I’m engaged.” I utter nearly quietly and he just bites his lip, looking down and closing his eyes briefly. I don’t think I can look into his eyes, but I do.

“Well… Grooms very often cheat on their wives. Not that you’ll have a wife, of course, but like on the last night, at the stag party and whatnot. You’re having your stag party early.” He thinks for a while, drinking. Where even is the food? I wish I could stuff my face with some meat. “You already did it. You’ve… cheated and now it’s all irrelevant, because you’ve done it.”

I look at him.

“Might as well enjoy the sin fully since you’ll be wed.” He says the last part uncertain, as if he knows how bad cold feet I’m getting. I’ve even started crying because I was so scared in front of you, but I’m sure you remember that. I never understood your faith in me and how you say that you always have to be there for those who you love, because I’ve discarded so many. Sometimes I think that love means nothing to me.

I don’t really know what to reply to that, so he just stretches his hand and strokes my cheek. I check from the corner of my eye to make sure it’s okay, but then we’re not really tucked in too deep in the city and we are in a tourist area anyway. I ease into his touch, recalling how it had once felt and how we would spend whole days together. He gave me insight of how I wanted relationships to be further on and at the same time he destroyed me, shards which are very visible now and which you let pierce you because you don’t care about the pain in love. I wish I were like you.

What then? We sin and what next? But I don’t know how to live in the now. He leans over the table to kiss me and I kiss him back. My mind goes blank with fear, but it’s not something too frightful, it’s a fear of falling into some soft darkness, which I can be safe in, but away from everything I am. But then, I feel as the years go by that my memories fade, that I barely recall things and I don’t even know what I enjoy, I just pull the strings of my ghost. I just have fear of your reaction which I will not know until I send you the letter with all the truth, but I’m telling you everything I think of, to keep it fair and faithful as I can get. I lie so much, though.

My mind is a cobweb of fear and David is surely the spider which had spun it so many years ago, it’s as if he knew that we would meet again and reconcile somehow. But then he had thought that I would be waiting and was that actually the case? Sure, I wasn’t sitting idly like a princess, but I was galloping around like a prince to stumble onto another apparently. What even is forgiveness? Why would you give it to me? Maybe you’d give it to me because I had forgiven David. Is that how karma works?

They bring the food and I didn’t even notice that we had both chosen meat. I seemed to be spacing out enough for me not to notice the goal and once the celebrations are over, that’s when I jerk my head to see the score as if it would have changed greater than for a one. We both seem pretty hungry, so we don’t take our time and I know that I’m frankly always starving after sex, only now my mind had been clouded with all the thoughts of betrayal and whatnot. I’m done before David is and I wait for him to finish patiently, allowing my mind to drift into nothingness, some dullness as I watch the telly screen behind him, still not caring about the match even if I had times when I did. Football is fun to watch, but only when you root for a team, not when you crawl out post-coital with a former boyfriend.

What if the fact that I can never finish anything these days spills onto relationships? I can never finish something into a calm state for me to admire. I wasn’t even sure that I would ever crawl from your safe arms into someone else’s. I never saw myself as a cheater, because I’ve had the thoughts but I just assumed that I was going crazy, but then what is different from me going crazy now? It’s all the same bundle which I had given to you in a ribbon. I think too much.

It’s pretty late right now and I think the only wise option would be to go out drinking somewhere nearby and even then, going back to the hotel would be wiser. I suppress a yawn, but it’s pretty damn hard to hold. Maybe it’s fear putting me back to sleep since I can’t really die right now. It’s an odd thing to be suicidal but kind of very low in thinking of such things. It’s just a bit, never enough to lift the hand, but enough to think about it and wallow, wishing that a plane would crash and I would be okay with it. That’s where the suicidal thinking ends. And it’s not something I would ever share with a professional, knowing far too much what happens in the wrong cases and the stigma. We’ve all felt it, ask anyone. Everyone has ran a blade or scissors down their skin.

“Where’d you want to go?” And he snaps me out of my thinking. David’s done it, I think. Once we broke up, I questioned the validity of it all. Because if I get lied to once, I start thinking about everything I’ve been told.

I don’t think I had wished of anything more than falling in love when I was a child and I was shoved into that very early, which ruptured me. I would go to sleep thinking of all the guys I had crushes on and I would continue to remember them through life, I would always think of all the loves I had lost, no matter how small. I stopped crushing on people obviously as I had met you. My mind wandered only recently, when it was obvious that a wedding was on the horizon and all of a sudden I didn’t want anything to be stable. I don’t understand it, I don’t understand why and why am I even telling you this, because it’s just ripples while tracing the water’s surface.

“I frankly don’t care.” I don’t know. “Drinking is alright, but I think we will pour out our souls enough while sober.”

But would we?

“Sober it is then.” How would I act drunk when I’m completely sober? We finish our drinks and wait for the check in silence, as if there is some commotion to await. I wonder how would it even feel like, sleeping in his arms for the first time. I don’t even think we’ve napped together since I’ve only visited his place after we broke up and when he tried to kiss me. We were so young. Maybe one shouldn’t even date that young? Maybe my strict parents were right?

Why do I always want to jump relationships? Why do I go in circles?

I don’t like discussing politics much or any of the sort because it’s always far too painful with the current state of the world and being queer makes things even worse.

There’s not really much to say, I had an incident with photos which were taken and I never got them back when mine got lost. I really poured many memories into this story and let them develop into something which could’ve been if I had ever wanted it and if all my theories were true. I just made sugary fiction from a bitter reality and explored cheating and losing oneself.