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Not What Boys Do

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John Watson has his first kiss when he is four years old. The boy's name is Henry, and he lives next door. He has brown hair and brown eyes and wears jerseys for the American kind of football because his family moved here from New York two weeks ago. He gave John a jersey too, and he likes it even though he doesn't understand the game. It is red, which is good, and it is from Henry, which his better. So he kisses Henry because Henry is excellent and it seems like the thing to do.

His mother watches from the window, and he does not notice her small sigh of relief when he and Henry stop kissing and start pretending to shoot things in the backyard.

“John?” she says when he comes inside, and he stops in front of the sink, waiting. “Boys don't kiss boys, alright? Boys kiss girls. Do you understand?”

John nods and goes upstairs, relieved that his mum had not noticed the mud on his new trousers.


“...and there's a second bedroom upstairs. If you'll be needing it, that is,” Mrs. Hudson says, smiling almost beatifically.

“Of course we'll be needing it,” he snaps, sounding harsher than he ought to have. Why anyone should think he's dating a man is beyond him.