FIRST PART: https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/97/submissions/71316/
TW: Homophobic Behaviour
Miles had made up his mind, it had been a few days since he had told Dan and Alice, and he wanted to tell his parents. He needed to. Even though he had a horrible feeling their reaction wouldn’t be as good, he couldn’t pretend anymore.
He was just finishing up practice, helping to clean up the gym, his body ached from the intense training their coach put them through. He could hear the other boys joke around and laughing, using up what was left of their adrenaline.
“Hey! Miles, watch ou-,” someone shouted.
Turning to see what it was he saw an arm shoot in front of his face, making him flinch back, only to see it bat away a volleyball.
“Seriously, dude, are you trying to break that pretty face of yours?” he heard Kou ask.
Instantly Miles flushed red, instinctively wanting to snap at being teased when what Dan had said the last time he stormed away from Kou ran through his head, ‘You’re such a Tsundere.’
So instead, he grinned and in a cheeky tone, jested, “That would be such a tragedy. And aww, you think I’m pretty?” as he threw Kou a wink.
To Miles’s utter joy and surprise, Kou’s ears reddened, and he stammered for a split second before saying, “Everyone, including you, thinks you are. This isn’t news dude.”
Miles raised an eyebrow, enjoying his new power, “Is to me.”
He watched as Kou turned towards him properly, a smirk on his face, “Wow, you must have hit your head harder than we thought the other day…” with that he walked off, going to pick up a few of the loose balls scattered around the gym. Leaving Miles stood, confused as to what he had meant, his mouth half open as if his body had wanted to respond before his mind could.
“Erm… Miles, what was that?” Dan asked, as he walked up to him. Miles could see the entertained smile on his face.
“I don’t actually know,” he replied, looking over his shoulder at Kou, who was bending down to pick up an armful of balls.
“Mind. Out. Of. The. Gutter,” Dan said clapping after every word, that smile had transformed into a toothy grin.
“It wasn’t in it, can’t speak for yours though,” Miles replied laughing, elbowing Dan lightly in the side. When he calmed himself down he said quietly, “I’m going to do it.”
“Ask him out?” Dan asked excitedly.
“Oh, Hell no!” Miles accidently shouted, gaining everyone’s attention. He gave them all his best innocent look, grabbing Dan by the arm who was almost doubled in laughter, and dragged him into the changing rooms. Leaving everyone puzzled and staring.
“I meant telling my parents,” Miles stated once they were alone, “I’m not ready to ask Kou something like that.”
“Oh, OK, OK…” Dan pondered this as he plonked himself on one of the wooden benches, his face turning serious. “So, how are you going to do it?”
“Now, on the phone,” Miles said, his voice was certain, but uneasy. “If I don’t do it now, I’ll lose my nerve.”
“What can I do?” Dan asked, and Miles’s body relaxed, he hadn’t realized how tense he had been.
“Just be here, for now,” he replied and closed the door before going to his locker to get his phone. “Well, this is it.”
The phone rang four times, each time Miles’s heart wanted to push out of his chest. When his mother picked up he stumbled for words.
“Miles, sweetie, is that you?” she sounded her normal self, calm and caring. Her voice always had a high cadence that made her sound happy.
“Yeah sorry Mum, is Dad there?” he asked putting his phone on speaker so Dan could hear too, sinking onto the bench next to him.
“Yes sweetie, do you need to speak to him?” she asked.
“Both of you,” Miles said trying not to sigh.
“Harold, hon, come here, Miles wants to talk to us,” she called out, “Miles, is something wrong?” her calm voice had taken on a slight edge.
“No Mum, I just need to tell you something,” he said, his heart aching as he heard his Father come to the phone. There was a small scratching and crackling.
“Miles, why does your Mother look so concerned?” looking up, he could imagine his Fathers stern expression, he probably snatched the phone from his Mother.
“Can you please put me on speaker Dad?” Miles asked, trying to hold in his fear.
“What’s ‘on speaker’? Miles answer me, why does your Mother look worried?” Miles could hear the confusion and the anger even on the phone, he didn’t need to see them to know this was going to go badly.
He felt his muscles twitching, his body reactively waiting for the blow. That was until Dan put his hand on Miles’s arm and whispered, “You’re good, no matter what happens.”
“Oh, I can put it on,” he heard his Mother say, cheering up. Another set of crackling and scratching and then, “OK, you have us both darling.”
Clearing his throat Miles started, “I need to tell you something, I should have told you a while ago.”
“What are you blathering on about?” his Father snapped.
Taking a moment, he took a deep breath and blurted out, “I’m gay.”
They didn’t reply, but the line didn’t exactly go quiet. Instead, Miles and Dan sat listening to the couple arguing.
“This is your fault!” his Father snapped.
“How?” his Mother replied, obviously hurt.
“You just had to have that stripper on your hen night,” his Fathers voice was filling with venom.
“I-, I didn’t organise it,” his Mother replied, sounding defeated. Miles had heard enough.
“Mum, Dad!” he said louder than he had expected.
“No, you don’t get to call us that anymore!” his father sneered, taking Miles aback, his eyes stinging from the tears that began to well up.
“Why did you have to say it? Why couldn’t you just stay quiet and do what we told you to?” his Mother asked, heartbroken.
“I-,” Miles couldn’t process this, he knew they wouldn’t be happy, but this?
“You can come and get your stuff in two hours, it will be on the front garden, if you don’t pick it up by tomorrow it goes to the tip. Post your keys in the front door, we won’t be here so don’t even think of coming in, we’ll be at a hotel to make sure we don’t have to see you,” his Fathers words were registering, but he didn’t understand, he could see Dan frantically texting someone, yet his mind was somewhere else.
“How will you be able to afford-,” he started to ask and was cut off.
“Well, we no longer have to pay for your Dorm, so we have some extra cash. Enjoy life in sin,” and with that the phone went dead.
Miles couldn’t speak, his stomach twisted and churned, but his body wouldn’t move, he just stared down at his dark phone.
“Miles, Miles… Miles!” he could hear Dan, responding, however, seemed as difficult as climbing to the sky.
“Shit, Miles, talk to me!” Dan was shaking him, but he couldn’t look away from his phone, that black screen swallowing him whole. However, the shaking wasn’t helping his stomach and his body lurched forward as bile burned its way up his throat.
Two minutes, his life as he knew it had ended in two minutes. Everything was spinning in his mind, he was going to be homeless, how was he going to afford the rent for the dorm? Did his parents actually just kick him out? Did they hate him? What was he going to do? How was he going to eat? How-
His train of thought was broken by another bout of bile making its way up his throat. He coughed and spluttered, spitting out the taste the best he could as he gasped for breath. His whole body was starting to throb from pain, and he could barely hold onto his phone, it dropped the short distance to the floor with a clatter as it made contact.
“Miles, say something, please!” he could hear Dan begging, he was panicking too.
“What’s going on?” another voice asked, it was Alistair Hayes, Miles could recognise their middle-blockers voice.
“It’s Miles, he, he…” Dan trailed off and Miles could feel his friends eyes on him. It took all he had just to nod. “His parents just kicked him out and cut him off completely, they were paying his living expenses.”
“But, why would-?” Alistair started, but was cut off by several members of the team barging in, chattering among themselves.
The moment they saw Miles hunched over, staying on the bench only because Dan had hold of his waist, vomit on the floor in front of him and his phone lying lifeless on the ground beside him, the room fell silent.
“What happened?” Miles heard Kou ask, he turned his head just enough to see him pushing through the group and over to him, his usually soft face etched into a sharp look of concern.
“His parents kicked him out and cut him off,” Dan repeated, Miles could hear the shaking in his voice when his phone started ringing, “That will be my Mum, can you?” he asked, and Miles felt his weight shift and Kou’s hands wrap around him.
“Why?” Kou asked softly.
Miles could feel the eyes of everyone on the team staring at him, could feel the warmth of Kou’s arms, and the weight of that question. It didn’t matter anymore; it didn’t matter if Kou threw him to the ground and into the puddle of his own sick. His parents had just whipped his life out from under him.
“Because I’m gay,” he croaked, the damn holding his tears back finally breaking. They fell, thick and fast, carving chunky rivers on his cheeks, as Miles sobbed, his body quivering while he waited for Kou to push him away in disgust.
But that never happened, instead he felt Kou draw him closer, and he could smell Kou’s sweat as he was pressed against his side.
“That was so brave,” he heard Kou’s words and his chest tightened with the smallest drops of hope, making him cry harder. “I would know,” Kou added, his voice calm, unshaken, unashamed.
“Yeah, they said to go in two hours, after they leave…” Dan’s voice was coming in and out as he spoke to his Mum, Miles could hear him nervously pacing behind them, “No, Mum don’t go out there, it’ll make it wor-,” he was being cut off, and although Miles could only hear Dan’s side, something told him, he wasn’t alone.
“Al, go get the Coach,” Kou said, his voice was commanding, yet Miles could feel him softly stroking his hair.
“On it,” and Miles heard footsteps moving away, he was so lost. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen.
“What can we do?” Miles heard Damon Miller, their right-side spiker ask, alongside a loud wave of agreement from the team. Miles was so confused.
“We need to find a way to get all of us over to Miles’s parents house to help get his stuff,” Kou started, “And somewhere to store it.”
“Already done,” Dan said cupping his hand over his phone, “My Mum said he can keep it there, we live across the road.” He listened to something his Mum was saying, and a panicked look spread over his face, “No! Mum, don’t do that, they could call the Police!”
“Wow, she is pissed…” Miles heard Jake Williams, the team libero and shortest member, stammer. He dared a look only to manage a smile at Jakes expression, he looked exactly like the shocked emoji. His eyes wide and mouth open staring towards Dan who had gone back to pacing.
Alistair had sprinted back in, Coach Kalt in tow. His face was a picture of concern, barely in his thirties, but Miles could see the worry lines scratched into his face.
“I’m going to get in touch with…” he was doubling over breathing hard, “your dorm admin, see if I can’t sort something out.”
“I’ll see if I can borrow my sisters car, it should fit all of us and whatever you want to bring back,” Damon said going to his locker, swinging the door open to fish out his phone.
“I’ll talk to your teachers, make sure you can take the next couple of days off, one of you give me a ring when we need to go.” Alistair said, Miles could see he was thinking of what he could need. “Oh, and don’t worry, I won’t say anything they don’t need to know.”
“I’ll…” Jake started, pausing for a long moment, “Go find you something to drink, and eat.”
Miles was starting to see his way out of the darkness, he had lost his parents, but not his family, they were right here with him. But what he couldn’t focus on was how Kou had all, but told him he wasn’t straight, and how he was holding him and stroking his hair. That felt too good, and he had to figure out what to do next. Sitting up he looked at his team as they set about their tasks, and he loved them for how they were supporting him, just as they did on the court.
“What do you want to do?” he heard Kou ask. The kindness in his voice made Miles want to lean back into him, but he could smell himself, he reeked of sweat and sick.
“Shower,” Miles stated, trying to stand on wobbly feet. “I need to shower.”
To Miles’s surprise, Kou had hold of his hand, he must have given himself away, because Kou just chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, I’m just helping you get into the shower room.”
“Oh, I-,” Miles stammered, hearing Dan snort out a laugh behind him. He turned to his friend, who was now off the phone and grinning at them.
When Miles shot him a dirty look behind Kou’s back, Dan just leaned against one of the lockers and shrugged innocently.
Everyone else had moved out of the locker room, to give Miles space and sort out what they could to help. He could hear Dan, the team’s defensive specialist and his closest friend, talking to Kou, the team’s left-side spiker. It made sense they would be the ones to still be here, he leaned on them the most in a game, and if he was being honest, he leaned on Dan most in life, and as for Kou? Miles wanted Kou to lean on him.
The water was hitting his head and back as he sat on the floor, his arms pressing his legs to his chest as he rested his head on his knees. His emotions were all over the place, he had no idea what to do with how he felt about his parents unceremoniously throwing him out like rotten fruit, forcing him to realise he meant nothing to them if he wasn’t what they wanted him to be. Or how his team, his friends, wrapped their love around him like a protective bubble, helping him to come back from a place he didn’t know existed within himself. Or how Kousuke literally wrapped his arms around him, making Miles feel seen, exposed, naked and safe. – What was he supposed to do with all that?
“You OK in there?” he heard Dan shout from the doorway between the locker and shower room.
“Hmm, oh, yeah,” Miles replied, hauling himself up and turning off the shower.
“Well, Jake is back, with what I can only describe as a feast, if your stomach is feeling up to it,” he could hear the grin in Dan’s words and Miles found himself smiling too. Jake was not one to do things by half measures.
“Be out in a minute.”
“OK, your clean clothes are on the bench near the door,” Dan chirped.
Miles thought for a moment and then asked, “Please tell me your Mum isn’t going to get arrested.”
The sound of Dan’s laugh echoed through the shower room. “Nah, Alice is with her, she is royally pissed at your parents too, but you know Mum, she sees you as one of her own. So, Alice locked the doors and took the house keys until we get there, just to be safe.”
Miles laughed, drying himself off and grabbing his clothes, he could see Dan leaning against the doorframe, his back to him and his arms crossed, he was smiling but he looked like every muscle in his body was tensed.
When Miles began to dress, he said, “So your Mum is just sat shouting at the window?”
Miles saw as he pulled his T-shirt over his head a smirk had appeared on Dan’s face, “Pretty much,” he paused for a moment, “Oh, she said you can call her Mum from now on if you want. Looks like she’s adopted you now Bro.”
“Looks like,” he replied, as he walked past him and back into the locker room, pausing when he saw everything had been cleaned up, and his bag was sat on the bench, his phone on top.
He felt Dan’s hand on his shoulder, “Come on, they’re all waiting on you in the gym, we’ll have a feast and go collect your stuff. We can figure out everything else from there.”
“We?” Miles muttered.
“Yeah,” Miles’s head snapped to where Kou was stood at the entrance to the gym. “We’re a team, and besides, those of us who preferred Ken over Barbie have to stick together.”
“Gag-,” Dan said, and Miles was going to glare at him until he saw the sly smile as Dan pushed himself off the wall. “Bro, please tell me you had better taste then Ken…”