Characters: Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty, Kenny Johnson (no pedo)
Dedication: My big sisters, but shh don't tell them.
Disclaimer: It's all lies!
Author's Notes: This is set in the summer of 2010. Jack Johnson is back home and taking classes to complete his degree at Michigan. Drew Doughty is back home in London (Ontario). Kenny is Jack's brother who is eleven years younger than him. This is a side story to Tangled Up in Blue, but you don't need to have read that to follow this.
"Hey Kenny, you've been playing Black Ops for like two hours," I said. "You want to go outside? I could get the football."
I sat down on the couch next to him and ruffled his hair, but he just shifted away from me out of my reach, scowling angrily. "Don't want to."
"Hey, pause the game," I said, irritated by his reaction. Kenny had been doing a lot of this lately--either snapping at me or just being sullen and barely saying a word. I didn't understand it. We'd always been close, despite the eleven year age difference. Mom said that it was because he was becoming a teenager, but I knew that wasn't the only thing going on with him.
Kenny ignored me and kept playing so I grabbed the controller from him and paused the game myself. He glared at me and tried to snatch the controller out of my hand, but I pulled it away from him and set it down the table.
"Don't do that again." I was getting pissed off myself. "You listen when I talk to you; when I tell you to do something, don't ignore me."
"Why?" he asked, resentfully. "Why should I listen to you? You're not Dad. Or Mom."
"You listen to me because I'm your big brother. I don't know what's going on with you lately, but you need to show me some respect." I glared back at him, but he remained defiant, and I realized that I wasn't going to get anywhere by yelling at him. I took a breath, trying to calm down. "Look, we don't get to spend a lot of time together. I go to class every day and you've got hockey camp. I'm only going to be here for a couple of months and we're not going to have a lot of time to hang out."
Kenny was still frowning at me, but he seemed less hostile. He looked down and mumbled, "I don't want to throw a stupid football around."
"Fine. What do you want to do then?" I asked, trying not to get angry again.
He looked up at me, and I could tell that he had something that he really wanted to say to me. I waited, but finally he just shook his head. "I just want to finish the level."
I sighed, disappointed, knowing that it would be pointless for me to force him to spend time with me. "Okay. Not too much longer, okay? Mom wants you to clean your room before she gets home."
Kenny grunted in response and picked up the controller, continuing his game. I went back to my room to do some reading for one of my Monday classes, settling down against the cushions in the bay window. It really was a nice day outside and I thought about going for a run, but I knew that Drew was going to show up in about half an hour and I wanted to be home when he arrived.
I'd been in such a good mood before my fight with Kenny, looking forward to Drew's weekend visit; it had been a surprise to me how much I'd missed him for the month I'd been home. It made sense--after all we'd spent practically every waking moment together before I came back to Michigan. But I hadn't expected to have difficulty falling asleep for a couple of nights because he wasn't by my side. Dinner wasn't the same without his impassioned speeches about why having ice cream for dessert was a good thing. There were so many things that I'd never noticed until he was gone, and the biggest thing I missed was making him smile.
We talked on the phone every day, but usually just for ten minutes or less. I didn't enjoy talking about my classes with him, and he wasn't all that excited to describe his workout routine either. We tried video chatting, and it was nice to see his smile, but it almost made things worse because I couldn't just reach out and hold him; it was a reminder of what I couldn't have. He suggested that we watch each other jerk off and we tried it out, but it just felt too much like some adult pay-per-view webcam site and I felt so uncomfortable that I had to stop. That was the end of our video chats.
Three months hadn't seemed that long to be apart, but I'd never been in that situation before. When Sid and I said goodbye, it was a real goodbye with no turning back and no second chances. We both knew that we couldn't be together anymore, not the way that we had been at school. It had been really tough, especially at first, but I had known that it was something that I'd eventually get over, and that had made it easier. Being apart from Drew was almost the same kind of maddening wait as being injured and crawling the walls while you went through rehab.
I had always looked forward to going home for the summer. I got to spend time with my family, go to school, get into my workout routine, and when I got sick of being at home, I'd move to the place I shared with Matt Hunwick. I didn't understand why Drew had seemed so emotional the day I left LA and I had told him he was being silly, but I ended up in the same state pretty soon after that. So when he told me that he was thinking of driving down to Ann Arbor for the weekend, it made my week.
I'd been reading for about twenty minutes when I heard the doorbell ring, and I had to resist the urge to run to the door, knowing that Kenny was still in the living room. It was even harder to stop myself from pulling Drew into the house and throwing him against the wall and kissing him when I opened the door and saw him standing there, a huge smile on his face. I settled for a big hug and whispering "I missed you so fucking much" into his ear. "Missed you too, JJ," he whispered back.
"Hey Kenny, Drew's here," I said. My brother ignored me and kept playing. "Kenny! Can you pause that for a sec and say hi?"
There was no response and I walked over to the couch, but Kenny paused the game just before I got there. He looked over at Drew and crossed his arms. "Hi."
"Hi Kenny," Drew said, putting his overnight bag on the floor and coming over. "It's good to see you again."
Kenny bit his lip and mumbled, "Yeah, good to see you too." Then he grabbed the controller and unpaused the game, going right back into a gunfight.
Drew glanced at me, raising his eyebrow and I shrugged, heading back to the door to pick up his bag and carry it to the guest bedroom. "Sorry about my brother," I said after I closed the door. "He's been weird like that for a while."
"Weird like a teenager?" Drew hadn't stopped smiling since he showed up at my door, and I couldn't handle it anymore. I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him hard, bruising and desperate at first, then more gentle, rubbing my hands up and down his back. I could see that he'd looked a little thinner when I saw him at the door, but holding him like that, I could really tell the difference. I could feel his taut stomach muscles pressing against me, and his chest, shoulders and arms felt bigger.
"You look so fucking good," I said between kisses. "I should send a 'Thank You' card to your trainer."
"What? You think I did this for you?" he said, grinning.
"Of course." I smiled and he fell back on the bed, tugging me down with him. He started kissing me more insistently, and I felt his hand slip slowly under the waistband of my shorts. I grabbed his wrist, stopping him, and sat up, gasping a little.
"Hey, we can't. My brother's out there," I said apologetically.
Drew rolled onto his side and grabbed my ass, giving it a hard squeeze. "Is he going out anytime soon?"
"I don't think he's moving off that couch until Mom gets home and makes him," I grumbled.
"So uhh, not to make it sound like the only reason I drove down here was to get laid, but when do I get to fuck you?" Drew shifted his hand a little and pressed his fingers against me, making me inhale sharply.
"What? You want to fuck me? I thought we were just going to hang out and talk, go to a frat party and play beer pong, maybe catch a movie--oh fuck." I was rudely interrupted mid-sentence by Drew grabbing hold of my dick and sliding his hand all the way up my shaft. I slapped his hand and looked at him sternly for a few moments before we both burst out laughing.
"No seriously, when do I get to fuck you?" he asked again, running his fingers through my hair and making my scalp tingle.
I lay down slowly on top of him, kissing him lightly. "Come into my room tonight. Everyone's going to be asleep by eleven."
"How's the insulation in your walls?" Drew asked, looking concerned. "You're really loud."
"I am not!" I said, feeling a little self-conscious. "I know how to be quiet. Especially when my life depends on it."
"I'll have to take your word for it. I'm just glad Simmer's such a heavy sleeper." He paused, then added. "I'm sure Simmer is glad that he's such a heavy sleeper."
I punched him lightly in the shoulder, then kissed him to make up for it. Even if all we did that weekend was what I'd joked about plus some making out, I would have been happy. Just having him there was enough.
"Hey Jack, I keep dying on Rebirth Island with the tank and-" I sat up as soon as I'd heard the door open, but it was too late. Kenny was standing at the door, blinking at me in shock and I knew that he'd seen me kissing Drew. I got up off the bed and walked towards him, but he turned and ran away from me.
"Kenny!" I yelled, hurrying after him. I couldn't believe how stupid I'd been. I'd managed to keep what Sid and I did during our sleepovers a secret for over half a year, but I'd had Drew in the house for ten minutes and my brother had walked in on us.
I found Kenny sitting on the couch with the controller in his hand and the restart menu still on the screen, waiting for him to continue. He was staring at the TV, clenching his jaw.
"Kenny, I..." I sat down next to him, trying to figure out what to say, but I couldn't think of anything.
He turned to look at me after a while, finally breaking the silence. "Are you gay?"
I nodded. "I didn't mean for you to find out this way. I'm sorry."
"Go away," he said.
"What? Let's talk about this-"
"Go away!" he screamed. "I don't want to talk to you! I hate you. Go away!"
I was stunned. The last time he'd said anything like that to me, he was just a little kid, before he realized the real meaning and impact of those words. He knew that he was inviting an ass-kicking by talking to me like that, but I could see that he was so angry that he didn't care. I'd thought a million times about how unhappy my parents would have been to find out about me, but I'd never thought about what Kenny's reaction would have been. It hurt more than I could have ever imagined.
"Go away!" he shouted again, his face livid, and I got up and took a few steps back. I desperately wanted to say something to him, but he looked so angry that I didn't think he'd hear anything I said.
I turned and walked down the hallway back to the guest room. Drew was standing in the doorway and from the look on his face, I could tell that he'd heard everything.
"I'll talk to him later," I said. "I don't think he's going to say anything to my parents."
"He's just surprised," Drew said quietly.
"He said he hates me." I entered the room and closed the door behind us, collapsing into a chair. I could still hear his words and I could see how his face looked when he was screaming at me. "I'm so fucking stupid. I know he doesn't always knock. I was careless."
"He doesn't mean it." Drew came over and started stroking my hair. "That kid idolizes you."
I swallowed, thinking about Kenny at all of my hockey games, cheering as soon as he was old enough to know how to; insisting on wearing his Michigan sweatshirt every day all through second grade; making the switch from forward to defense that past year.
"My sister and I used to scream at each other like that all the time and then forget about it an hour later," Drew said. "It'll be okay."
"But we never do this," I said, looking up at him. "Kenny and I don't fight--or at least we didn't until this summer. Sometimes he'd be stubborn, but he'd always come around at the end. It's never been like this. And now that he knows that I'm..."
He kissed my forehead lightly. "He's still your brother."
I reached for Drew's hand and he squeezed mine. It made me feel better, just having him there with me, like things weren't really as bad. Thanks to him, I'd gotten over my fear of letting the guys know who I really was. After Brownie, the biggest difficulty I'd had was convincing Greener that I was serious, which took repeating myself at least five times. I was going to tell my parents eventually, but I knew that everything would change after that, and I wanted one last summer for my family to be perfect; I guess that was why Kenny's behavior had bothered me so much.
I had never even considered telling my brother--not yet, anyway. He was still so young. I didn't know if he'd understand that I was still the same person; I didn't know if he'd be disappointed in me, or if I'd lose his respect. That had all been answered in one foolish moment.
"He hates me," I mumbled, repeating myself, but I couldn't help it. Those words stung whether he meant them or not. They took on a life of their own and it was the idea itself of him hating me that made me sick, threatening to bring hot tears to my eyes.
There was a knock on the door and Drew backed away from me. I was surprised, hopeful that Kenny had calmed down a bit, but a little worried that he would say something even more hurtful.
"Come in," I said, and Kenny opened the door slowly, stepping into the room and glancing suspiciously at Drew.
"I'm going to go find something to drink," Drew said, giving Kenny a friendly pat on the shoulder on his way out of the room that Kenny didn't acknowledge.
I blinked a few times, not wanting him to see me cry. He was looking carefully at me as he walked over to the bed, sitting down gingerly on the edge of the mattress. At least he didn't seem angry anymore.
"Jack, are you okay?" he asked softly, looking almost concerned.
"Yeah, I am. I'm fine," I said, feeling slightly relieved. "I'm sorry you saw that--us; I messed up."
Kenny scowled and I knew I'd said something to make things worse. "Why? What was wrong with it?"
"Because it shouldn't have happened like that; I should have talked to you about it first," I explained.
"And when were you going to do that? When were you going to tell me? You've been home for a month." He crossed his arms and glared at me.
"I don't know when," I answered truthfully. "But it wasn't going to be this summer. Maybe when you were a little older."
"I'm not a little kid anymore, Jack!" he said, almost shouting. "Even if you still think I am. I'm not eight years old and it's not okay to just pat my head and play mini-sticks and then forget about me."
"What are you talking about? I've been trying to get you to do stuff with me since I got home and all you ever want to do is play video games by yourself." I was confused by his outburst, and I didn't understand where it was coming from.
"But all the stuff you want to do is what we used to do when I was little, and I like that sometimes, but I want to do different things now," he said, the frustration coming through clearly in his voice.
"I ask you if you want to do other stuff, but you never say anything," I said. "I don't care what we do. I just want to spend time with you while I still can."
"I told you a couple of weeks ago; I want to go to the shooting range."
"You're too young to go shooting," I said before I could stop myself.
"See?" Kenny's frown deepened. "That's what you said before! I'm not too young, Jack. The age limit is twelve."
I looked at him and pictured him with a gun in his hand and it made me nervous. He couldn't possibly be old enough to go shooting. Then I remembered that Dad had taken me when I was thirteen, just a year older than Kenny was, and that hadn't seemed like a big deal at all. He'd grown taller, and he looked a little stronger, but when I looked at him, he was still as I remembered him when I left for LA--nine years old with tears in his eyes, hugging me at the airport and refusing to let go.
I realized he was at least partly right; I did still think of him as a little kid. I hadn't seen much of him since I started playing for the Kings, and I hadn't gotten to watch him grow up. We talked every week or so, but most of that was the mutual exchange of updates about our teams--I didn't really know what was going on in the rest of his life.
"You're right. You're not too young. It's just--it's really weird to think of you with a gun. I didn't know it was that big of a deal to you."
"You don't know a lot of things about me," he said resentfully.
"So tell me," I said. "Talk to me. I want to know what's going on in your life. I want to know what you like doing."
"No you don't. You're not interested--you forgot all about me when you left," he said, getting choked up at the end and he turned away from me, trying to hide his face with his hand.
I went over to the bed and hugged him, holding him tightly even as he tried to wriggle out of my grasp. He looked up at me, his cheeks wet with tears and I kissed his hair lightly. "Kenny, don't you ever think that--don't you ever think that I forgot about you. I think about you every day. Everything I do, everything I try--I want to do the right thing because I want to be someone you can look up to. I never want to disappoint you."
He stopped struggling, still sniffling a little and he just looked up at me. I could see how hurt he'd been by the thought that he wasn't a part of my life anymore. Then he hugged me back, squeezing me tightly and burying his face in my shoulder.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled. "I'm sorry I said that I hated you. I didn't mean it, I was just mad. I'm really sorry."
"It's okay," I said, trying not to get choked up myself. "It's okay. Are you angry that I'm--you know, that I'm gay?"
He let go of me and sat back, looking confused. "Angry that you're gay? No, it wasn't that. I was angry that you never told me. Because you think that I'm just a stupid little kid."
"That's not it at all." I took a deep breath. "Even Mom and Dad don't know yet."
Kenny's confusion turned into surprise. "You haven't told them? Why not? How long have you known?"
"I don't know, I guess I was--you know, I was about your age when I realized it." My buddies had started to talk about girls, and the way they talked about them was the way I'd felt about some other boys. I couldn't believe that Kenny was at that age. And then I thought about how in three years Kenny would be fifteen--the same age I was when I went to Shattuck-St. Mary's. My brother was growing up while I wasn't there and I felt a pang of regret for missing it.
"Oh," he said. "So you've known all this time and you never told them?"
"I was afraid." I bit my lip. "I didn't want to disappoint them. Or make them angry."
"Dad might get mad at first, but he'd be okay with it after that." He gave me a small smile. "He loves you. Just like I do."
I couldn't say anything in response so I just hugged him again, giving him a couple of hearty pats on his back. The summer wasn't turning out the way I'd wanted it to, but it was turning out pretty good; maybe even better than what I'd had in mind. It was supposed to be my last summer of perfection, but it wasn't perfection that I'd pictured. It was just an idealized version of what my family had been like when I left college and it had been meaningless to try to cling to that.
"So," Kenny said, a mischievous smile appearing on his face. "You and Drew?"
I chuckled. "Yeah, me and Drew."
"How did that happen?" he asked, settling into a cross-legged position.
"Are you sure you want to hear about this?" I almost reached out to ruffle his hair, but stopped myself just in time. It was going to take some time, changing the way I behaved towards my brother.
"Yep," he said, that familiar stubborn expression on his face.
"Okay. I guess it started after the Olympics..."
P.S. I goofed and have Kenny playing Black Ops when it didn't come out until November. Oops.