Steve absently watched as Jonathan and Nancy kissed. Even though he and Nancy were no longer together, it still hurt to see her kiss someone else.
They were all standing outside Hawkin’s High getting ready for the weekend. Steve was dreading going back to his parents’ big, empty house, but at least he could hang out with the kids. It was pretty sad that his friends were middle schoolers. Speaking of friends, Billy walked out of the school.
‘You wanna get outta here and get some beers?’ Billy asked as he came up along side Steve and threw his arm around Steve’s shoulder.
They were friends, but it was still weird that Billy touched him without getting violent. If Steve enjoyed the touches more than he should no one had to know.
‘I know that look and nothing cures a broken heart like getting shit-faced.’
‘What the hell,’ Steve said and Billy grinned as the walked to Billy’s car.
After that everything was a blur. All Steve remembered was kissing Billy and how Billy tasted like beer and cigarettes. It should have been disgusting, but Steve found that he couldn’t get enough.
Weeks later, a naked Steve was laying on his bed with an equally naked Billy laying on top of him. They were pressed together from chest to groin and Steve was absently running his fingers through Billy’s sweat damp curls. It wasn’t fair that Steve had to spend hours on his hair and Billy could step out of the shower and look like a blond movie star.
‘Love you,’ Billy mumbled into Steve’s neck.
‘You love me?’ Steve asked because he didn’t peg Billy as the lovely dovey type. Maybe Billy was loving when he was drunk.
‘Love you too,’ Steve said as he rubbed Billy’s back. Billy snored. He hoped Billy really meant what he said and it wasn’t just the beer talking.
The next morning, Steve walked into his kitchen to find Billy cooking eggs completely naked. He went up to Billy and wrapped his arms around Billy’s waist. He nuzzled Billy’s neck.
‘Did you mean it?’ Steve asked.
‘Did I mean what?’
Steve was felt his stomach twist. He needed to know if Billy meant the I love you, but at the same time he was worried that Billy hadn’t meant it. The word bullshit kept running through his mind and it sounded like Nancy’s voice.
‘Um... last night you said... you said that you loved me.’
Billy went stiff. ‘No shit. I was drunker than I thought.’
‘Oh,’ Steve said trying to keep the disappointment out of his voice. Of course it had been just the beer talking.
‘Hey. Hey. Just because I was drunk doesn’t mean that I didn’t mean it, but if you tell anybody about this I’ll kill you. Don’t think that I’m a pussy now.’
Steve grinned. ‘Love you too.’
Over time, he realized that while Billy didn’t say I love you very often he meant it every time.