Sam realized he was bisexual when he was eighteen. He had been spending most of his free time with the other teenagers on the reservation, mostly running around, roughhousing, and the occasional cliff diving day. They swam in the ocean off La Push beach (on the rare occasions it was warm enough) and played in the sand and rocks that made up the beach. His best friend was Leah, who loved joining in with games they played. He began having more trouble connecting with the group, but he wasn’t sure why. Something didn’t feel right.
He and a few others from the reservation had gone to the beach to hang out, and ended up joining a group of tourists. They had come down from the local college, and were spending the day on the beach, drinking and laughing together during the beginning of their summer break. Sam spent most of the time talking with one of the boys that had come to visit the small beach.
They had walked up and joined the group, all sitting on logs surrounding the fire pit that existed on the beach for moments like this. Sam had been at the back of his group, so he was the last to arrive and the only seat left was next to Jordan, the youngest of the tourist group. He was also eighteen; having just finished his freshman year after starting college a year early.
The conversation between the groups remained strong; with the two groups trading stories and telling jokes. Throughout the conversation, Sam and Jordan eventually got distracted when they both realized how much they had in common. They began to talk back and forth, ignoring the rest of their group as the day went on. Sam mentioned some of the tidepools on the other side of the forest, and Jordan wanted to go see them. He offered to lead a group over, but only Jordan wanted to go along. As they left, Paul winked at Sam, laughing. Sam rolled his eyes but then suddenly realized how nervous he felt to be alone with this other boy.
They slowly walked to the tidepools together, continuing their conversation along the way. Sam led him through the small forest that divided the beach until they arrived at the tidepools and began exploring. Sam would leap around the rocks, jumping from pool to pool, pointing out different things he observed. Jordan followed him, going slower. Sam stopped once he realized how much he was showing off. He didn’t usually do that for other boys.
Their conversation began to fade while they knelt at one of the largest pools, both observing what had been trapped there with the tide. They fell silent as they looked, time seeming to stop as they drifted closer together. Sam stood up quickly when his knee bumped Jordan’s. He almost fell in his haste to put distance between them, not sure why he had felt such a spark. Claiming he had a headache, he led Jordan back to where the others were having a bonfire and went back to his house.
He laid on his bed for hours that night, thinking about what had happened and what it meant. He eventually got up and went to his computer, looking online. He was up late reading blog posts and articles written by gay and bisexual men, slowly realizing that a lot of experiences he had had had related to what these men were saying.
It took awhile before he became comfortable with the label, not wanting to apply it to himself until he was sure. Eventually it was, and he finally felt free. This was right.
His friends slowly found out, now that he was done hiding it. It didn’t particularly matter to him if others knew or not, he was just happy to know himself now. They were surprised when they realized, and some took a moment to accept it, but were supportive once they did. He answered any questions they asked.
He didn’t settle into a relationship easily, preferring instead to talk and flirt with a variety of people. He could be incredible smooth at times, coming up with witty responses to whatever the person he was talking to could say. Other times, he was stammering over his words, unable to think of anything clever to say. Whenever this happened in front of his friends, they would tease him relentlessly for it. He always seemed to have trouble flirting with other boys, especially if they were taller than he was.
He did settle into a few relationships over the years: some with men, and some with women. He didn’t necessarily have a preference for one over the other; he just went with whoever made him happiest in the moment. The relationships went well, but eventually ended because they just weren’t right. Until he met Emily.