Mark made his way through the darkness of the neighborhood, going right past his house to Tyler's house. He had been climbing over the back yard fence, up the wall, and into Tyler's bedroom since he was six. He had never been so nervous. After all, he wasn't just grabbing his bookbag, but finding out whether or not his most important friendship was over.
He made his way into the window. Tyler was waiting for him, watching.
"Umm, Ty, are we ok?" he asked.
"I saw the news," answered Tyler. He then bounded forward and wrapped Mark in a fierce hug. "You were awesome!" He then kissed Mark.
“Damn,” mumbled Mark, then kissed Tyler back. He then broke the embrace, suddenly realizing his plans had changed.
“Hey, gotta let Mom know where I am,” Mark whips out his personal cell and shoots his Mom a text. “At Mark’s spending the night.”
He then shuts off the phone, then the AEGIS communicator, then everything else he has that that beeps or boops. Tyler just watches him, amused. “Holy shit, Ty, how did I not know for sure you were gay? I mean yeah I don’t think straight about you, but um, I thought I would read that better. . .”
“Mark, you are the dumbest smart guy I know. Misdirection. I like girls too, and it’s easier to talk about that in public.”
“Shit, well, I've been into you that way for a while but you’re my best friend and I didn't want to make it really weird, but this looked serious, and I wasn't going to get killed without letting you know that, well...” Mark’s nerves were prompting a verbal explosion. Tyler was used to that.
“Yeah. I realized that while I was watching the news and trying to figure out what you meant. I figured you would come back, even if just to grab your pants.”
“Right. Yeah, so. . . ummm. . . since you know my day job and everything, I gotta get you a screamer,” said Mark.
“A screamer. It’s a panic button, locator, and biometric monitor. Self-activates if your vitals get out of whack.”
“Mark, that’s just weird and kind of creepy.”
“Look, I mean, this life is dangerous. I was really thinking about that. I mean, no matter how quiet we keep it, my family has enemies. And even though it never works out, some of them go after the people we care about.”
“Not any less weird,” replied Tyler, deadpan.
“Okay, whatever. You don’t have to take it, but you know, it’s an option.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
“So, ummm. . . who are you out to? Because yeah, I gotta keep in mind who I can talk to about this and who I can’t?” Mark looked hopefully at Tyler.
“My favorite ginger. That’s it.”
“So, um, I am out to my parents. Like, Dad was going to figure it out anyway, and Mom’s an analyst for God’s sake. And they like you, always have, so I think we could be open at my house, and I. . .” stammered Mark.
“You talk too much. And think too much. Let’s do this one step at a time. Yeah, we can tell your parents. Not right now, later.”
“And I guess we ought to tell my parents, just gotta figure out how to break it to them.” Mark looked baffled.
“Ty, your Dad is a pediatrician. You probably aren’t the first bi teen he’s dealt with.”
“Yeah, but the first one that he remembers changing diapers on. Let’s ease into it.”
Mark is mostly into snuggling and cuddling and kissing, and just being free to curl up against Ty and really relax. They stay up late talking and end up curled up next to each other in their boxers.
In the middle of the night, Jake, the Wilson family dog, wanders in and knocks the bedroom door open. Tyler habitually leaves the door cracked when he goes to bed, because Jake will sleep in bed with either Tyler or one of his siblings, and frequently moves bedrooms in the middle of the night. Since Jake whines and scratches at the door, most of the Wilson family is used to keeping their bedroom doors cracked.
Unsurprisingly, the boys sleep through the alarm. So Mrs. Wilson comes upstairs, and takes in the scene. Jake is sprawled across both of the boys, but she can see they are snuggled up and shirtless. Not wanting to embarrass them, she closes the door, then knocks. “Honey, breakfast is ready.”
Mark starts awake, and mutters, “Shit.”
Tyler shouts, “I’m up Mom. Ah, Mark kind of spent the night.”
“No problem, Honey. I can set another plate out. Just loan him a clean t-shirt as usual.”
“Yes, Mom,” Mark replies, snickering. This sets both the boys off in a giggling fit.
As they are getting dressed, Mark looks over his shoulder, and Tyler is just watching him. He sighs. “Let’s do it. Let’s tell the family.”
“Are you sure?” asked Mark.
Tyler takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. “Yeah. They deserve to know. And hiding ain’t gonna work for long.”
So when the boys came down for breakfast, neither one of them could quite calm their nerves. Mrs. Wilson noticed their hesitation, and then saw Mark squeeze Tyler’s shoulder, and invited them to sit down. “I’m working from the home office today, so I made pancakes.”
Tyler looked at his father, mildly surprised to see him at breakfast in the middle of the week. “Dad?”
“My first appointment is at 10,” replied Dr. Wilson.
“Oh, well. . .” started Tyler. “I guess that’s good. We’ll get this over with all at once.” He looked around the table. His older sister Theresa and his older brother Danny were both looking at him. Only his youngest sister Natalie was missing. He took a deep breath. “So, ummm. . . Mark and I. We’re. . . together. We’re a couple. And I’m bi.”
Mark clasped Tyler's hand. “And I’m gay.”
Danny snorted. “I thought you had a big dramatic announcement. Tell me something I didn’t know.”
“You’ve always made a cute couple,” replied Theresa, teasingly.
“Kids,” interrupted Mrs. Wilson. “That’s enough. Tyler, you know you’re loved and accepted, and who you love doesn’t matter to me. As for Mark, well you’ve been like a son to me for almost a decade, so this doesn’t change much. And honestly, Honey, I’m not really that surprised. I’m glad you trusted us enough to tell us.”
Dr. Wilson spoke up. “I agree entirely. Tyler, you have always been an individual, and your mother and I love you for your individuality. And I don’t care if you are bisexual or what, Mark has always been a good friend to you and a fine young man. I’m not going to embarrass you with an awkward sex talk, but I’ll send you a list of websites that I give to LGBT teens that want reliable information on sexuality. Just don’t believe everything you see in porn or in bad fanfic! If you have any questions, let me know.”
“Ummm, thanks Dad, but I’ll pass,” replied Tyler.
“Emails to my work account are protected under privacy laws. But if you’d rather, I can refer you to some good doctors in the department. They will protect your privacy, even if I do succumb to the temptation to ask how you are doing.” Tyler looked like he was going to die of embarrassment.
Mark stepped in, “Thanks Dr. Wilson, and we’ll look at those websites and see if we have any questions.”
“Now both of you, eat your pancakes before you are late to school,” interrupted Mrs. Wilson. Tyler shot her a grateful look.
As the boys headed out to the bus stop, Danny stopped them. “Hey, look, I’m happy for you two. I mean it, seriously. I guess this is where I would threaten that if you hurt my little brother, I’ll beat you senseless. But Mark, I don’t think you would hurt Tyler, ever. And you’re almost like a little brother to me too. So, just be good to each other. And so now here’s the sage elder brother advice. Hickeys can be awkward. Remember a couple years ago I got one on my neck and Natty wouldn’t shut up about it? If you two are gonna leave marks, do it below the collarbone, and wear a damn shirt down to breakfast. Ok?”
As he turned and walked away, Mark just turned to Tyler, and said, “That went well. I mean, really well.”
“Yeah, thank God my parents realize it’s the 21st century,” replied Tyler.
The boys are both a mess at school, having gotten much less sleep than normal. At lunch, Mark looks even worse as he sits down next to Tyler, carefully maintaining the socially approved distance between two boys that are good friends, “no homo.” They had carefully picked a spot where they could talk privately.
“You look like shit. Was algebra that bad?” asks Tyler, concerned.
“No. I turned on my phone. And then my, umm, work phone.”
“And?” asked Tyler.
“So, I was kind of supposed to write a report yesterday and I kind of blew it off. I had other things on my mind.”
“Oh, shit. Are you in trouble?”
“Sort of. Grandmother wants to see me tonight. I got basketball practice, so I can stall for a bit, but that psycho bitch is going to nail my hide to the wall if I don’t have a really good excuse.”
“So, tell her the truth,” suggested Tyler.
“Are you out of your mind,” Mark hissed, horrified. “I am not telling my Grandmother that still thinks it’s fucking 1958 that I blew off the report I owe her because I was kissing my boyfriend.”
“That’s fair. So what’s your plan?”
“I dunno. Run away to Estonia?” quipped Mark.
“Ah, I would totally go to Estonia with you, except I have a paper due in English on Friday. And so do you, unless you wrote it already.” Tyler was used to Mark blowing off steam about his frustrations with his family.
“No, I’m going to write it Thursday evening. We have time to go to Estonia tonight.”
“After basketball practice?”
Mark finally laughed. “Fuck it. What can that bitch do to me without endangering her precious legacy? Nathan ain’t ready to take up the mantle yet.”
“Can you do the report on your, ah, work phone?”
“Yeah, I can. I’ll do it during Biology. Fuck. At least I’ll send something in.”