The pair had been sitting together for a while. The room was quiet, the only sounds were their breathing and the soft hum of a fan in the corner keeping them cool.
The smaller boy gazed down at his hands, shaking slightly as the older boy wrapped his arm around his shoulders.
“It’s okay,” said the smaller, “you don’t have to love me. I understand if you want to leave.”
His body trembled in fear as he tried to stand, the older boy’s arms holding him in place. A hand rested under his chin, trying to lift his face up. He forced himself to look at the floor, resisting the urge to gaze into the beautiful eyes he knew couldn’t love him back.
“Look at me, please.”
He bit his lip hard, bringing his eyes up to meet the soft green in front of him. The older boy’s eyes had always reminded him of a summer day, when grass shone the brightest green in the warm sun and everything was happy and carefree. Now they seemed darker, like an autumn day during a rainstorm.
“I’m sorry, I’ll go.”
He moved quickly to avoid the elder’s grasp, running out of the room and down the hallway. He slammed the door to the bathroom, twisting the lock and falling to the floor, his back against the door as he slid down with his head in his hands.
His body shook with sobs as he curled up against the solid wood of the door. The room was dark, and he could barely see his hand in front of his face. The door rattled and he jumped back, covering his mouth to not shriek.
“Come out please, we need to talk about this.”
“No. Just go away!”
“I’m not leaving, please just-“
“There’s nothing to talk about, just go!” The younger’s voice was strained, almost raspy as he shouted and curled more into himself. “Please just go.”
Footsteps receded down the hallway, but the younger still refused to move. He knew the older boy well, and refused to move for the next half hour. Finally, footsteps again came down the hallway, but instead of making it to the bathroom, they went down the stairs.
The younger exhaled slowly, getting up from the floor and unlocking the bathroom door. He peeked out and saw no one in the hall, the light in his bedroom had been shut off. He dashed down the hall, running like his life depended on it, and threw the door shut. He exhaled slowly, before turning around and letting out a gasp.
The older had fallen asleep on his bed. He could see small tracks of tears on his face, and a large assortment of used tissues filled his bed. He turned to leave the room, when he heard the older’s voice.
He spun around to see his eyes fluttering open, gazing at the smaller boy who seemed frozen in place. The older reached out for the younger, who tentatively took his hand. The older pulled him into a tight embrace, pressing his nose into the smaller’s hair, breathing in his scent.
“I love you too, silly.”
The smaller boy’s eyes widened as he gazed up at the taller who was holding him tightly.
“Don’t lie to me…I know you want me to feel better.”
“Not lying, would never lie to you.”
“Then why were you so quiet? And why didn’t you say sooner?”
“I don’t know, I just was shocked to hear it from you. And then I saw you were upset and I wanted to comfort you, but you locked yourself in and I could tell you were so scared, I just wanted to make sure you were alright.”
The smaller snuggled into the older boy’s body, letting his head rest on the older’s arm as he held him close.
“I’m alright now, I promise.”