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

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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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