Connor wished a lot.
He wished he was normal. He wished he could be just like every other young mormon boy, who falls in love with a girl and gets married one day and has a cute little family, with a white picket fence around their pristine home. He'd please his family and his friends and everyone from his church. He wouldn't have to live in constant guilt. He wouldn't have to live with that thought in the back of his mind that he was destined for eternal suffering just for existing.
He wished that those sleepless nights he spent praying to heavenly father to make these feelings go away would actually do something, like just maybe stop him from being blushing every time his friend Steve would would so much as say hi to him.
Then Connor learned to turn it off, and he thought he was finally free. Sure, he still felt the guilt of his past homosexual thoughts, and had to deal with the resulting Hell dreams every night, but at least he was normal.
Until that gorgeous man walked into the mission hut in Uganda.
All those feelings he had worked so hard to keep crushed in a box in the dark corners of his mind had come flooding out and made their way to his pounding heart as he introduced himself to Elder Price.
This was bad.
No, this was worse than bad. Because no matter how horrible Elder Price acted towards the other elders, Connor felt himself falling for him more and more as time went on. By the time they got excommunicated and Elder Price began working hard to redeem himself as a person, Connor knew he was in deep trouble.
Connor had known he was gay since he got his first crush in fifth grade. He wasn't necessarily denying that, at least not to himself. He just thought he could turn off these thoughts he had and not tell anyone, and he'd be the perfect, straight Mormon son his parents always wanted.
But as turning it off became harder, he came to realize that maybe his dream of a perfect life wasn't meant to be.
And maybe it wouldn't hurt if he told his closest friends.
The first time he considered coming out to the elders was not long after they had been excommunicated.
Elder Cunningham was discussing with everyone what they thought could be added to the Book of Arnold, in terms of what should and shouldn't be considered a sin. A few were arguing whether or not coffee should be allowed (Elder Price of course being heavily involved) when Connor gave his own addition.
"I think homosexuality should be allowed."
Everyone went silent and stared at their district leader in slight shock. Connor thought he could hear a pin drop.
Elder Poptarts was the first to say something as he looked at Connor knowingly, "Any reason why you think so, Elder McKinley?"
This was the perfect chance to say the words he never would've thought he'd ever say in his life. To come clean.
But panic set in. The two small but powerful words caught in his throat as he sat there, red faced and mouth open slightly. He wanted the words to come out so badly, but he couldn't will his body to let him say them.
He closed his mouth.
"Great idea!" Elder Cunningham, thank Heavenly Father for him, said excitedly and wrote it down in his notes. Everyone suddenly seemed to forget about what had just happened and went back to their prior discussions. Elder Price kept his gaze on the district leader for a bit longer, seemingly debating something with himself.
Connor just sat back and looked to the sky (or ceiling, rather), whispering, 'help me.'
His second failure was over dinner roughly a week later.
The elders were all sat around the dining table, some making conversation and others beginning to dig into their food.
But Connor, having thought it over beforehand this time, stood up on his chair so he was overlooking everyone, before calmly saying, "Attention District 9 elders."
The missionaries halted and turned to look at their leader with curiosity.
"I have an important announcement to make!" Connor clasped his hands together and smiled. The other elders smiled as well at his happy tone, but still stared expectantly and maybe somewhat annoyed that their meal time was interrupted.
The district leader continued happily, his mouth beginning to form the words when fear suddenly washed over him again and his mouth snapped shut. 'Not now' one part of his mind screamed, while another part was incredibly frustrated at his own cowardice and just wanted to get this darn thing over with.
Connor ended up submitting to his fear and deciding that another time would be better. He didn't have time to think about that now, though, because he was still standing on a chair while the increasingly annoyed missionaries stared at him. The redhead glanced around in an attempt to find a scapegoat somewhere in the room, and he did.
His eyes landed on Nabulungi, a Ugandan local that Elder Cunningham had had his eyes on for most of their mission so far and was now dating. She was just then entering the room from the kitchen, trying to see what all the fuss was about.
Connor cleared his throat and gestured toward her, "Our meal tonight was prepared by the lovely Nabulungi. Everyone give their thanks to her."
There was a small applause and Naba looked surprised at the sudden attention, smiling sheepishly.
Connor sat and tried to catch the breath he didn't know he was holding.
Okay, this time it definitely wasn't Connor's fault. He had every intention of coming out that evening, deciding on the day months in advance and practicing in the mirror almost every night leading up to it to make sure he did it right.
The ex-mormons were all in the living room area, with the exception of Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, playing a board game that Connor wasn't paying attention to. The district leader wished everyone could be there to hear what he had to say, especially Price, but he wasn't going to back out of this now. He even wore his rainbow tie!
There was the sound of a pair of dice hitting the game board just as a sigh and a clearing of someone's throat was heard. The young men all turned to look at their district leader.
"I... Have something I need to tell all of you."
He looked up at the elders to gauge their reactions so far, but he was too anxious to properly read anyone's face. Wiping his sweaty palms on his pants, Connor continued.
"This is something I've been hiding and trying to turn off my entire life. But recently, I've been accepting it more and I feel like it's something you all should know, being my closest friends."
The redhead's words came out as shaky as the rest of his body. Despite his apparent apprehension, however, he didn't feel any objection from any part of his body or mind to stop this time.
Right then, Elder Price burst through the door excitedly, with and even more excited Elder Cunningham on his tail and an elated Nabulungi in the latter's arms.
"Guess what just happened!" Elder Price happily gestured to his best friend beside him.
Before anyone could even process what was happening themselves, Elder Cunningham shouted out, "We're engaged!" While he grabbed his new fiancée's arm and showed off the beautiful diamond ring that they could only wonder how he got in the middle of Uganda.
The room erupted in loud, surprised chatter and anyone previously listening to Connor had gone to ask questions to the newly engaged couple.
Elder Price looked over at his district leader, who was the only one not celebrating, giving him an apologetic look.
The fourth time was later that night. And it wasn't even really a failure. Quite the opposite, actually, but it definitely wasn't planned and it didn't involve most of the people he wanted to tell.
The clock in the kitchen showed 2:03 a.m. while Connor sipped on a glass of water after an especially bad Hell dream that night. He felt hopeless, having prepared his coming out so much yet having it interrupted. Don't get him wrong, he was very happy for Elder Cunningham and Naba, but he cursed the terrible timing.
The redhead was startled out of his moment of self hatred by another person entering the kitchen. The dim light entering through the windows revealed a sleepy Elder Price.
It took a moment for Elder Price to notice Connor, "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize you were awake."
They stood and looked at each other in silence for a brief moment.
Connor nodded, "What about you?"
The redhead was concerned. Elder Price rarely mentioned having Hell dreams. He wondered what was bothering the other so bad, but he knew from personal experience that he probably wouldn't want to talk about it.
They were quiet again for what felt like ages until Elder Price said something else.
"Elder McKinley, I was wondering-"
Elder Price looked taken aback through the darkness, "What?"
"My name. Call me Connor."
"Oh, uh... Okay. I'm Kevin."
Despite how close they all had gotten, no one really used first names. Most didn't even know anyone's name. It felt really personal for the two to use them in this moment.
Kevin awaited a response from Connor, but got none, so he continued with his prior question, "Connor, I was wondering what you were trying to say earlier. Before we burst in and interrupted you."
"How do you know I was trying to say something?"
Kevin stepped closer to Connor, looking into his eyes, "I saw you when I walked in, facing the other Elders, looking all serious. Then afterwards you seemed really upset."
The redhead didn't reply. His heart was beating too hard to think of something to say, a combination of fear, adrenaline, and just being near the stunning Kevin Price. He looked around for something to distract himself with, but the darkness surrounding the two provided nothing interesting.
"What did you want to say?" Kevin asked again.
Connor blurted out the words before he could even process what he was saying, but there was an immediate weight lifted off his chest. That is, until the panic set in when Kevin took too long to respond and Connor realized just what he had admitted.
"Oh." Was all the brunet said after about 10 seconds.
Kevin didn't notice that he had put his hands on Connors arms until he felt the smaller boy begin to shake.
The smaller froze and looked up at Kevin, barely having time to fully think about the boy's words before a pair of lips were on his.
Now that Connor was out to one person, he felt a lot better about himself and his sexuality, and he was finally able to stop focusing all his energy on his plans for telling the rest of the elders. He still wanted to, but he felt a lot less anxious about it now and thought it would be better to give his mind a rest from it all.
However, a few weeks into him and Kevin's relationship, he was a bit tired of hiding their joined hands under tables, or having to make sure no one was looking just so he could kiss his boyfriend. Especially when, as Connor had quickly found out, Kevin was an extremely affectionate partner.
"I'm tired of it too," Kevin had said when Connor voiced these concerns one night, cuddled up next to Kevin on his bed. They had opportunities to spend time together in Kevin's room now that Elder Cunningham was spending more and more nights with his fiancée.
"What should we do?"
"Tell everyone about us. Duh."
Connor groaned and stuffed his face in his boyfriend's chest, causing his voice to come out slightly muffled, "You have no idea how many times I've tried coming out to them. I think I might be cursed."
Kevin chuckled and ran a comforting hand through the tuft of red hair, "You won't be the only one coming out. Maybe it'll be easier since its both of us?"
The next day was when they decided to do it. The missionaries were all sitting in the living room, making casual conversation before they had to go out and do their daily activities, unaware of the announcement their two fellow elders planned on making. All except Kevin, who had excused himself around 10 minutes ago looking flushed, and Connor was becoming increasingly worried.
Connor slipped away unnoticed and immediately headed for his boyfriend's room.
"Kevin, are you okay?" He asked with a knock on the door. There was no response, so he slowly opened the door and peered inside.
Kevin Price, who was normally so confident and self assured, paced around the room nervously, his hair disheveled from running a hand through it so many times.
Connor quickly ran over to Kevin and wrapped him in an embrace, "What's wrong? Are you okay?"
"I can't do this, Con," he said pitifully.
"But you seemed so sure about it last night?"
"Yeah, but when I saw everyone's faces, I started thinking too hard about it," Kevin sighed, "I'm not ready for everyone to start thinking of me differently."
Connor leaned up and pressed a sweet kiss to his boyfriend's lips, "That's okay. I know it's hard to be ready for something like this, and you can take your time."
Connor snuck through the hall late one night towards Kevin's room, like he did any other night Kevin's mission companion was sleeping at Naba's, only to find his tall boyfriend already waiting by the door for his arrival.
There was no time to get any question out before Kevin had the smaller man pressed up against the wall, passionately kissing him and asking for entrance, which Connor granted with a moan once he got over the shock.
Kevin pulled away from his boyfriend to take in his disheveled and absolutely sinful appearance- his now messy hair, completely red face, and growing bulge in his pants. Kevin grabbed him hungrily and pushed him onto the bed.
Breathless, Connor spoke, "What's gotten into you, Kevin Price?"
"Had a dream," he straddled Connor's legs and reached for his shirt, but didn't pull it off until he heard the small 'yes' from the redhead as consent. His own shirt was already gone, but he was in too much of a daze to recall when he had taken it off.
Connor gasped when he felt a pair of lips sucking on his neck, and that gasp turned into a moan when his boyfriend began simultaneously grinding against his clothed hard-on. If he had known Kevin was this energetic when it came to sex, he would've initiated something way earlier.
Kevin sat back up with a smirk, "Quiet. You wouldn't want to wake anyone up, would you?"
Connor bucked his hips up, "Just please, touch me."
Kevin eagerly went to pull down Connor's pants way too slowly for his liking, desperately pulling off his underwear afterwards due to impatience. He looked hungrily at the redhead's body before leaning back down and licking at the head of his leaking member.
Connor's hand immediately went to grab at Kevin's silky brown hair, silently asking for more. The latter quickly obeyed, sinking down slowly.
The taller man was licking around and taking more of Connor in, who was covering his own mouth in an attempt to muffle the moans. It was better than anything Connor had ever felt before. Oh Gosh- why had he chosen to turn it off for so long?
This continues for who knows how long, and Connor was getting closer as Kevin tightened the grip he had on Connor's thighs.
"Kevin- ah!" Connor panted, "Kev, I'm c-"
"What in the world are you two doing!?"
The two men parted with a shout, Kevin rolling off the bed and Connor reaching to grab for a pillow to cover his exposed crotch. They looked over at the doorway to see a stunned Elder Cunningham.
"Elder, what are you shouting about so late at-" Elder Church stepped into the room, awoken by the noise before stopping in his tracks and making the same face as the other, soon followed by everyone else, one by one.
No one did anything but stare for several minutes. Everybody immediately knew what was happening. Connor was completely naked and covering himself with a pillow, his neck decorated with fresh hickies, and Kevin was shirtless with a painfully obvious boner straining against his pants. There was no innocent explanation for this.
"I knew it," Elder Poptarts finally said.