"So, I was thinking," said Emil, giving Mickey one of his nervous smiles. "How would you feel about trying out phone sex?"
Mickey didn't even have to think about it. "No."
"No? Just no?"
"What's the point of it?" Mickey shrugged. "It doesn't sound fun at all to me."
"Oh...well...I think I could get into it," Emil said. "I like the idea of listening to you tell me what you'd like to do with me. It's sexy."
Mickey considered this. "I think I'd rather just...do those things, instead of talking about it. Isn't that just awkward? Just saying stuff."
"I guess." Emil was quiet for a bit. "What if we do it over FaceTime or Skype?"
"Was that not what you meant to begin with?" Mickey frowned.
"No, phone sex I think is usually done over just the phone, I think it's camsex if there's a camera involved," Emil explained. "Phone sex is just talking."
"Huh." Mickey thought about this for a bit, but no matter how he turned it around, it just didn't sound appealing at all. "So you mean like...jacking off and talking on the same time?"
Emil laughed. "When you put it like that it kinda sounds stupid," he admitted. "So you don't...you aren't interested in trying it out at all?"
"Not really." Mickey shifted on the bed, bringing the phone closer to his face. He could see Emil a bit better this way. "Is it something you want to try? Like really want to?"
"I've thought about it." Emil shrugged. "I miss you. And I thought...maybe it'd be nice."
Mickey rolled onto his back, holding the phone up. "Really?"
"Yeah. Don't you?"
"I think kissing you is nice," Mickey said, evading the question. "And touching you in real life and not, I don't know, just saying things. Like it's fiction."
There was a line between Emil's eyebrows. Mickey could tell because of the way the light hit his face. "Why would it be fiction?"
"Isn't it? It's pretend."
"If you really want to try it, we can," Mickey said. "I'm not totally against it."
"But you don't sound like you actually want to," Emil protested. "And if you don't, then there's no point, is there?"
"Maybe I want to just because you want to -"
"That's terrible. You can't just do things you don't want to just because I do," Emil said. His voice had a note of frustration in it. "I don't want to do things you don't want to do just because I want to do them in the first place -"
"Why the hell not?"
"It wouldn't be right!"
Mickey was glaring at the phone, jaw clamped shut because he emphatically didn't want to shout at Emil - even if that was exactly what he wanted to do - when there was a knock on the door.
"Mickey? Can I come in?" The door was ajar, now swinging open from the force of Sara's knock. "Oh, is now not good?"
"Give me a moment," Mickey said to her, then turned his attention back to the phone.
Emil didn't look happy.
"I'm gonna go now," Mickey said to him. "But we are not done with this conversation. We'll talk about this later, okay?"
"What?" Emil's jaw dropped, then his eyes darkened with fury. "You can't just - you can't just say that like I'm a fucking child! Don't treat me like I'm some fucking kid!"
Mickey put the phone down facedown for a second, while he did some controlled breathing, then picked it up again. "I am treating you like an adult. I'm pausing this conversation because I don't want to say things I'll regret, okay? Can I call you back later?"
"Yeah," Emil said after a while. He sighed. "Yeah, call me later. Tonight? Or tomorrow?"
Mickey checked his watch. "Tonight? How late can I call you?"
"All right, nine. See you later. Love you." Mickey hung up. He plugged his phone in to charge, then sat up.
Sara came in quietly, sitting down next to him. "What was that about?"
"Fine, it is important. I just don't want to talk about it." Mickey nudged her. "What did you want?"
Sara pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around her legs. "I wanted to talk about secrets."
"Oh." Mickey leaned against the wall. "What kind of secrets?"
"Just secrets." Sara looked at him. "Why haven't you told mum and dad about Emil yet?"
"I have told them about him," Mickey said, but there was a heavy little stone sitting on his heart.
"Have you told told them?" Sara leaned over to bump into him, then settled back. "Because I'm not sure they know, and I'm just wondering...why is it a secret?"
"I don't know."
"You should tell them."
"Why?" Mickey also drew his knees up. "They'll tell everyone else, and then…" He made a face.
"I want to tell them about Mila," Sara said.
"You haven't even told me about Mila," Mickey grumbled. If he was a bit stung by this fact, then it was entirely justified.
"I'm telling you now."
"I told you about Emil like an hour after it happened!"
"You were freaking out! That doesn't count!"
"It counts more because I was freaking out! Anyway I wasn't freaking out -"
"You totally were -"
"No I wasn't -"
"ANYWAY I'M GAY," Sara yelled, drowning him out.
Mickey huffed. "I thought you liked guys."
"Oh, yeah, I do. But I also like girls." Sara shrugged. "And I'm with Mila, so…"
"You could've told me this before, you know." Mickey poked her shoulder,
"Yeah, you could also have told me sooner that you were gay," Sara said, poking him back.
"I'm not gay," Mickey sputtered.
"Bi then, like me."
"No, I'm not any of those things!"
"I don't know. Not that." Mickey shrugged. "Does it matter? I don't care about it. I don't like people."
"You like Emil, though."
"Yeah. Don't know why, though, he's so…" Mickey gestured.
Sara took this meaning. "But you love him anyway."
"Yeah." Mickey poked Sara's shoulder again. "So, how long has it been with you and Mila, then?"
"Long enough what?"
"Long enough that I want to tell you about it." She smiled. "I'm really happy, you know?"
She looked the part too; there was something glowing within her that shone through in her shy smile. Mickey couldn't find it in himself to be upset about her dating anymore.
"It's good that you're happy," he said.
"But seriously, how long?"
"I'll tell you if you tell me what was up with you and Emil before." Sara gave him a look.
Mickey looked away. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Why not?" She prodded him in the shoulder until he shifted out of her reach. "You argue plenty of times, why is this time different?"
"Because it's about sex," Mickey eventually answered. "And I don't really want to talk about sex with you."
"Why not? I'm not some kind of innocent flower, you know! I know about sex!"
"It's private, that's all!" Mickey snapped. "It's between me and him."
"Okay." Sara shrugged. "Fine. I won't tell you then."
Sara shook her head, then got up. "Mum's making dinner tonight. Come help me set the table."
"Are you going to tell her tonight?"
"I will if you do."
Mickey cast a glance at his phone, still charging. It hadn't buzzed even once, but he was still somewhat disappointed there was no new message from Emil. "Okay."
Emil picked up on first ring.
"Hey," Mickey said. He'd already showered and was in bed - early practise on the ice in the morning - and from the looks of it, so had Emil. "Listen -"
"Can I ask you something first?"
"Oh - yeah, sure."
"Why do you only say you love me when we argue?" Emil asked, the words rushing out of his mouth so fast Mickey almost missed the entire thing.
"Oh. Uhm." Mickey frowned. "I don't only say it then, do I?"
"Yeah, you do."
"I…" Mickey thought about this. "I don't want you to think I don't love you just because we're arguing," he eventually said. "So I tell you to make sure."
Emil was very quiet. It was dark in his room, he only had the bed lamp on, but Mickey thought maybe his cheeks were a bit pink. It was hard to tell. "And the other times?" Emil asked. "When you don't say it?"
"I just assume you know."
It was quiet for a bit. Emil wasn't looking directly at his phone, but Mickey was watching him intently.
"So, listen, about the phone sex thing," Mickey started.
Emil made small sound of embarrassment. Mickey ignored it.
"The way I see it, sex is important to you, isn't it?" he continued, watching Emil, who was now actually looking at his phone. "It's not so important to me. So I figure, it's a small compromise to make to try this out if it'll make you happy."
"Sex isn't important to you?" Emil asked, both looking and sounding incredulous.
Mickey shrugged. "I don't know what to tell you. It just isn't."
"So…" Emil was quiet for a while again, frowning. "What is important to you, then? With us?"
"Just loving you, I guess."
Emil's cheeks were definitely pink. "Jesus, Mickey, you can't just say stuff like that. You're going to give me a heart attack. Here lies Emil Nekola, slayed by romantic sentiment."
Mickey pulled the covers over his head.
"Come out from under there," Emil said. "Don't hide from me."
"I'm staying here, thanks," Mickey said.
"No, come out and tell me again you love me."
Mickey sighed, then pulled the covers down. "I love you," he grumbled. "There."
"You know, that is the nicest thing you have ever said to me," Emil said, smiling. "I can't believe I'm in love with you. You turned out to be the biggest romantic in the world."
"As opposed to what?"
"Oh, I don't know. But I thought I'd have to drag the words out of you after like two years of dating your grumpy ass," Emil said. He was now grinning. "You make me happy like no other."
"No other," Emil said. He adjusted his pillow, then burrowed down.
He did look ridiculously happy. Mickey watched him for a while.
"So, how do you want to do this phone sex thing?"
"What?" Emil squeaked. "Now?"
"I was just asking in general!"
"I hadn't thought that far," Emil admitted. "I think it'd be nice to see you, so...FaceTime?"
"Yeah," Mickey agreed. "Do you want to try now?"
"Okay." Mickey put the phone down and got up to look for his earphones.
"Where'd you go?" Emil's voice was muffled against the mattress.
Mickey found the earphones in his jeans pocket. He slid back into bed and picked up the phone. "I was just looking for these," he said, dangling the earphones in front of the camera. "I'm not leaving you on speaker if we're going to do this." He plugged them in.
"You're not getting yours?"
"My parents aren't home," Emil said.
"All right. So, what do we do now? What do you want?"
"Oh, hm." Emil's phone switched hands and he rolled onto the other side, getting comfortable. His free hand disappeared out of view, likely under the covers. "Okay, so...what'd you do if you were here?"
"Kiss you," Mickey said without hesitation. "I miss kissing you."
"Probably watch what you're doing. What are you doing?" Mickey peered at the screen.
"Do you want to see?"
He was probably going to regret this. "Okay, sure."
The phone moved and things got blurry and shaky for a bit, but then the camera came into focus. Mickey frowned at the screen, which was now approximately ninety per cent dick. The other ten per cent was Emil's hand.
"Let me see your face," Mickey said.
"You didn't want to see this?"
"Emil, I say this with love in my heart, but I don't want to see your dick that close unless I'm about to put it in my mouth."
Emil propped the phone up against the wall. He was laughing. "You are incredible," he said, chortling. "This is terrible. I'm putting it away."
"Please." Mickey rubbed his face. "I'm sorry. I didn't think this would be so…"
"Yeah." Mickey sighed. "I'm sorry. I do want to kiss you though. Every day."
"I miss you too." Emil sighed. "Send me snaps from practise tomorrow?"
Emil ended the call and Mickey put down the phone. He pulled the earphones out and wadded them up, then dropped them on the night stand.
His phone buzzed with an incoming text message. The message was from Emil and read just: ;-*