Wednesday, on the way to school, I bumped into Matty. I was pleased to see him and told him so. He said that he really would like to see me, alone of course. I decided the only way was for him to come round to my house this evening and we agreed to meet after school.
When the final bell sounded I packed my books away and headed out of school, we had arranged to wait for each other by the gate. As I crossed the carpark I saw Matty was already there. He smiled as I drew close to him. "How was your day?" I asked.
"Okay, like usual.”
"Let's go then. You can call your mum and tell her you will be at my house this evening."
We didn't say much whilst waiting for the bus, or on the way home. I had the strong feeling that Matty was holding everything in and once we were alone he would open up. Myself, I was in an odd mood, both happy and gloomy. Happy to be going home with Matty and gloomy about everything else. I wanted to be alone with Matty like that first time at his house over the weekend, but I knew that wasn't possible. There would be the family and Michael, and then Matty would have to go home. But as well as that situation, I kept thinking that I would have to say something about Jake.
When we got in I asked mum, "Is it alright if Matty stays for supper? We're doing some school work together."
"Of course it's alright. You know Matty is always welcome here."
We went up to my room. I closed the door and as usual threw my bag in the corner. "Sit down," I said and Matty moved over to the old armchair. "I'm just going to get changed." I took off my shoes, shirt, tie and trousers. Matty hadn't actually sat down in the armchair; he was standing next to it, watching me. I folded my school trousers and hung them in the wardrobe. Turning back I found Matty right next to me. He flung his arms around me and held me close, he looked up into my eyes and I could see he looked sort of sad.
"I love you, Alex," he said quietly and it was so touching I felt like crying. As he stood there hugging me, with those four simple words I felt all the emotion and all the pain of not being free and not being honest. I thought I could break his heart and as I was thinking that, tears welled up in my eyes. I realised at that moment how much he truly loved me and I asked myself if I deserved his love. Ever so gently I kissed his lips. He's such a perfect innocent boy, I thought. I gently took his arms from around my waist and guided him into the armchair. I couldn't help my cock growing hard and I couldn't hide it either, so I turned away and quickly put on my jeans and grabbed a sweat shirt. Now I had to talk about Jake, but I had to try to explain so as not to hurt Matty, how I wondered can I do that, it's impossible.
"Matty, I need to tell you about something that's happened." He was sitting there looking at me with those innocent pale blue eyes, like a little boy that had maybe done something wrong. Oh god, I thought, it's me who is the villain in this tragedy, how can I make things right.
"What do you have to tell me? We're alright aren't we?" Like some weird universal comedy it was as if he knew I was going to say something dreadful.
I didn't answer his question, I couldn't. "I met this guy, he's a bit older, we met on the bus going home, his name is Jake." I looked at Matty, but it was very difficult to look at him and tell him. I had never had to do anything like this in my life. Matty and I had had some arguments, but this was something else entirely.
"Well... I don't know how to say this." I looked down at Matty sitting in the armchair, but I kept my gaze fixed on the wing of the chair. "I slept with Jake. It was my first time with anyone and it was before you and I..." My explication trailed off like the trail from an aeroplane disappearing after its passage. What did it matter about when I slept with Jake, I slept with him and that's it. I can't justify or explain it.
Matty looked up at me, caught my eyes, "I know," he said.
I was shocked, how could he know? Is that why he needed to see me? Is it over between us? With that last thought I felt a pang of emotion in my chest. If it was over, if it was over... I had no answer for myself. I felt sick, that feeling of butterflies in the stomach. He didn't wait for me to reply, but continued, "Brandon came to see me, to make sure I hadn't said anything about the watches. He had no idea I was gay, or that you and I were anything more than best friends. Anyway it all came out, Jonathan, Jake, you."
"Do you hate me?"
"No, I don't hate you, Alex. We've known each other too long."
"If you can say that, you are more mature than me."
"When Brandon told me, it hurt. It wasn't Brandon who hurt me, it was you, Alex. I was sad, jealous, angry, worried, every kind of emotion."
"I really do love you, Matty," I told him and it was true despite everything.
"I know. That's why I'm still here."
I wanted to pick him up out of the armchair and carry him onto the bed. Instead I bent down and kissed him on the cheek. I climbed onto the bed and motioned for him to join me. He got up and came over and lay down next to me. I brushed my hand through his hair, kissed his forehead, and whispered, "I want to make love with you."
He turned his head to look at me. I put my arm across his waist. "No, Alex. Not here, not now."
"You don't really forgive me, do you?" I thought, he doesn't forgive me if he doesn't want me.
"Alex, it's not that." Matty pushed himself up to sit on the bed. "If we make love, it might make you feel better about things, but not me. You can't resolve everything by having sex. There's more to a relationship than fucking."
That hit home, and hurt, but I deserved it, and he was right. "Where does that leave us then?"
"I don't know, maybe that's up to you."
There was a knock at the door, I got up went over and opened it. Michael was standing there. "Mum says to come down, supper's ready"
"Okay, thanks, be right there."
We ate together; mum, Michael, Matty, and me. Dad was going to be home late today. After eating we all helped clear away the dishes, Matty said his goodbyes and I accompanied him to the door. As he was leaving I said to him, "I'm sorry if I hurt you, Matty." He turned, walked down the path and was gone.
I went back upstairs to my bedroom and lay on the bed thinking, thinking about Matty. I needed to do something, but I was not sure what. This whole situation was my fault; I hurt Matty and put our relationship at risk. I decided to call him. I picked up the phone and called, he picked up straightaway, "Matty!"
"Not yet, I'll call you back." He ended the call.
I sat on the bed, my phone in my hand, now I had to wait for his call. I put the phone down next to me and folded my hands behind my head on the pillow. I had to talk to him, I picked up the phone again and looked at the time, then I looked at the time of the call, three minutes ago. How long before he got home? He never said where he was. Should I call him? No, I had to wait. I looked at the phone again. It was like I was willing it to ring. He sounded normal when he answered, he would ring me, he would, I just needed to wait.
The phone rang, I grabbed it and almost launched it across the bedroom in my haste, "Matty."
I must have sounded weird because he replied saying, "Alex, chill!" Maybe he felt the anxiety in my voice.
"Matty, Matty, I love you, I do Matty, I can't lose you, I'm sorry, I'm stupid, I'm bad, Matty, Matty." The more I rambled on talking nonsense the more emotional I was getting. I was about to cry.
"Alex, calm down, calm down." I couldn't answer, there was a long silence. I thought I would burst into tears. I couldn't talk. "Alex, you're still there?"
I managed to say, "Yes." Realising you can't nod on the phone.
"Alex." How I loved to hear Matty say my name. "Alex, it's okay, it's okay." I was sniffling, my eyes were filled with tears, a cold wet streak ran down my face over my cheek. It was certain he heard me, certain he felt my emotion. "Alex, I wanted you to suffer a bit... you can understand, you hurt me, I wanted to hurt you back. I wanted you to feel what I felt when I found out."
I recovered a bit, now I knew it wasn't over, at least that's what I was thinking, he wanted to hurt me, I understood that, but I needed to hear him tell me it wasn't over. "I deserved it."
"I think you did." There was another silence.
"Matty?" I'm not sure how I was going to ask him, but as if he could read my thoughts, he interrupted me.
"It's not over, Alex, I love you." Oh wow, that's what I wanted him to say, I started crying again, I couldn't help it. "I love you, Alex," he repeated. "Stop crying." He could have been in the room right next to me, that's how much he was in tune with what was going on.
"Thank you, Matty. I love you, I do." I managed to say that in between crying and sniffling.
"Alex, please stop crying now."
I couldn't, when he said that the tears came back again. The emotion was so great I had no control. There was a long silence.
"Alex," he said again, "Please calm down, please, take a breath."
"Yes, okay," I replied. "It's okay, yes..."
Another silence, "Alex, you're alright now?"
"Yes. Yes, Matty. I love you. I don't think I could live without you. You're my life."
"Now you're being dramatic. Don't exaggerate. Don't take it too far."
"Yeah, okay." The tears had stopped, I was into recovery mode. "But you see what I said it's true, I can't lie to you. Everybody else maybe, because I'm a shitty person, but not you."
"Alex, you're not a shitty person. Well sometimes you are."
The atmosphere had lifted and lightened, I felt reassured, I felt things were back in place. I felt a huge relief.
"I'll call you tomorrow after school, okay?" He asked me.
"Yes, Matty, that would be great."
"Good night then, Alex."
"Good night, Matty."
The call ended, I put down the phone and went into the bathroom to wash the tears from my face. I looked up into the mirror; my eyes were red from crying. I stared into the mirror and my reflection looked straight back at me. "You deserved that," I spoke to myself and thought, yes I really did.