Friendship Gay Sad

This story contains sensitive content

*contains sexual references*

Steren sat in the fields watching thoughtfully as the clouds swam by in the brisk wind. The sky was an unusual bright shade of blue, uncommon in the winter months but a nice contrast to the grey and stormy weather of recent days. It felt how his mind was, clearer than it had been in ages. His thoughts were clear; he loved that boy, and it was now that he had to tell him. He was sure of it, more sure of this than he was about anything. The realisation hit him so quickly that he laughed out loud, a shrill and surprised noise only for his ears. He knew what he had to do, and it made his heart beat fast with excitement and anticipation. It was time.

He began to walk but soon ran out of pure giddiness. Adelram loved him, he was sure. He was annoyed it had taken him this long to realise that the feelings were there and he felt stupid. All those long nights and few sneaky kisses in corridors and behind walls and they hadn't ever talked about the L word, Steren had never dared. But he would now. His chest felt heavy as he ran, the words like a weight inside of him. Now or never; it had to be now or never. When he spotted Adelram by the training room doors, he almost shouted out his name in glee. But something stopped him in his tracks. A flash of pink hair, a girl pressed against the wall as they kissed. Steren grew to a halt and looked over. No, no this couldn't be. 

Steren glanced over, Adelram swung her round one last time, kissing her again, the way he kissed Steren a few days previous, and they began to run up the hill back up to the castle.  

Sterens cheeks went bright red, he felt like an idiot. Of course the Prince couldn't love him like he loved the other girls. Steren knew the prince was popular with the ladies, but he knew that the Prince was also popular with the guys too, but less openly. He was known to sleep around and enjoy the parties he threw at the castle. But Steren knew him like no other, having been friends since they were young and having trained with each other for knighthood. Growing up they were inseparable, then their friendship grew as they did, and changed in the recent months into something else, something Steren thought was real.  

After a while he wiped away his tears, feeling foolish. The sun was beginning to set and Steren realised that training began at 6, where he would have to face Adelram and pretend everything was fine. He considered skipping training, finding some cake from one of the kitchens and retiring to the knight's headquarters for an early night. At that moment it felt like the best plan , he couldn't bear anything else. As he began to walk up the same hill the Prince and that girl had, he saw the princess Raven walking by the horizon, a silhouette created by the setting sun behind the hillside. She waved to Steren as she spotted him, and ran over.  

“Hey!” She shouted to him with a big smile. “Are you-” the princess began, but soon stopped as she saw Steren’s tear stained face. “ Oh my, what happened?” She said softly as she reached him. Then Steren began to sob, big tears rolling down his face that he tried to hide from her, pulling away with hot embarrassment. He couldn't mention anything about her brother, he just couldn't so instead he sat on the grass next to her and cried silently,feeling his shoulders shake. Raven sat beside him quietly, with her arm around him, and when he did eventually stop crying he didn't say anything. His lips were a sealed line, he couldn't bring himself to admit that he had been stupid enough to believe that the Prince and his friend had ever been in love with him, he almost believed that he had made the kisses they had shared completely up in his head.  

“Steren, what is it? You're starting to worry me.” Said the princess but Steren said nothing, instead he leaned on her shoulder and Raven held him close, having no clue that the pain her friend was feeling was caused by her own brother. 

“Did something happen at training? Did someone say something to you?” The princess enquired, and Steren nestled closer, wiping his face on his sleeve. “Not exactly.” He replied, voice horse. 

“Then what was it?”

“You know when you realise something, and you can't be more sure that you're right but it turns out you're not and you get your heart broken?”

Raven considered this for a moment. “Not quite.” She said after a moment. 

Steren sat quietly. Then he said, “I was stupid to believe that someone felt the same way about me as I did with them. So I have no one else to blame but myself. ”

“I had to idea you felt that way about anyone, Steren. Who was it? “

Steren shook his head. “Nobody important.“ He said finally. He shuffled away from Raven and looked at her properly. “I was going to tell them, but I- I saw them kissing someone else. “

Raven's face dropped, her hands going to her mouth. “Oh that's awful. That's just terrible. Was she - I mean he, sorry- someone from the training?”

Steren hesitated, then nodded. Then an idea popped into his head and he groaned, throwing his head down again. “No!” He said into his lap. He looked up, “I'm leaving soon aren't I?”

Raven bit her lip, sad to be reminded. “ Yes, in a few weeks right? “

Steren covered his mouth, feeling his breakfast turning in his stomach. “Don't tell me it was one of the guys from your division? “ said Raven dangerously. “No, thank god it wasn't. “ but Steren didn't know which was worse. Now he'd never be able to tell Adelram how he really felt. Soon he was to be moving to Lord Gladuis's kingdom, where the best knights were turned into warriors. He had been honoured of course, to have been invited. But now he couldn't think of anything worse in that moment.  I wish it didn't have to be like this, he thought.

“I don't know what to do.” He said softly. Raven patted him on the back, lost for advice. “I'm not sure, Steren. But I am sorry. Truly. “ 

They sat in silence again, the clouds turning a dark silvery grey as the night began to turn. But there was one question on Raven's mind. “Who was it though, Steren? Please tell me. “ but Steren shook his head firmly. “I can't. And even if I could, I don't want to.” he glanced at Raven, grinning slightly at her frustration. Then he had an idea. He stood up, holding out a hand and pulling Raven up from the ground. “I'm going to go now.”

“What? “ Raven said. “You're not going to have dinner with me and ad?” The idea made Steren shudder, but he suppressed it enough so Raven didn't notice. “No, but thank you. Maybe I'll catch up with you later?” Even as he said this he knew it was a lie. So did Raven, but she nodded anyway. “Alright. I do hope you're OK, Steren. “ said the princess, wrapping her arms around him in goodbye. 

“I'm sure I will be. “ replied Steren flatly, returning the hug. 

“Bye then Rave. enjoy dinner.” He then turned, and began to head down to the changing rooms by the side of the training centre. And just as he had hoped, Leonidas was there unpacking his gym bag into a locker. Steren only had one idea that would take his mind off of Adelram, and knew that Leon would be up to it. 

“Hey, Leon. “ Steren said, leaning on the locker next to Leonidas's.

“Hey, Steren. “ said Leon, without looking away from his bags. He got out his water bottle and took a big sip. “Are you going tonight?” Leon finally looked at Steren, who shrugged and leaned in closer.  

“I was actually thinking of skipping actually.”

Leon raised his eyebrows, “ah, really? “

Steren nodded. “If you wanted to skip too. “ 

Leon pretended to weigh up the offer, and slammed his locket door shut.

“You know that thing we did, in the summer?“ asked Steren, slyly after a moment . 

“Which time? “ joked Leon, looking closely at Steren. 

“So you do remember.” 

“Of course I remember, what about it?””

“Well I was wondering if you…”

“Wanted to do it again?” Finished Leon with a smile.  

Steren grinned, and nodded.

“Is someone feeling a bit down in the dumps?” he teased, tugging at Steren’s shirt collar.

“A little, “ admitted Steren, eyebrows raised hopefully. 

Leonidas gave in, and chucked his water bottle back into the locker. 

“Strictly mutual though.” He said, looking Steren in the eye. 

“Of course, I just had my heart broken, remember? “

Leon looked up in understanding. “Oh, yes. Anything you want to talk about before we…”

Steren shook his head, and took Leonidas by the hand. “No, but thanks. I just want to forget.”

“This isn't the same boy from last time, is it Steren?”

Steren didn't reply. 

“Wow he must have messed you up badly this time. “ Leon pointed out, as they walked down the corridor 

Sterens eyes narrowed. “whatever. You're still OK with this right?”

Leonidas nodded. “As long as you are. “

 Steren swallowed, pushing any doubt aside as their footsteps echoed on the floor. Eventually they found an unlocked room, and they both glanced at one another before heading in. Steren guided him inside. 

“Look Steren. I'm up for this if you are, but-”

“But what?” Replied Steren, with a smile, making sure the door was shut. He turned back to Leon, looking at his dark hazel brown curls and pulling him forward and into a kiss. Leon's breath caught in his throat and he pulled away, looking into Steren's eyes and placing his hands on his shoulders, touching lips again. Steren let himself sink into the wall behind, feeling Leon run his hands through his hair as he pulled him closer by the waist. It was time to forget Adelram, by this time in a few weeks he would be away in a new kingdom, and would never have to think about or see him again. Steren was done. He tried not to think about the Prince as he felt Leon's hand glide up his shirt, or whilst Leon's breath hitched slightly as he pushed Steren harder against the wall, lips colliding desperately. 

So why did Steren’s chest begin to hurt, and his eyes begin to water? 

As he felt Leonidas's hands reach down to his trouser buckle, he suddenly pushed him away, desperately trying to wipe his eyes to rid them of any tears, and tried to catch his breath, sitting on the wooden bench. “I can't. You're right, I can't.” 

His head flopped into his hands, his chest aching with a sudden sharp pain. Leon flopped down on the seat next to Steren and sighed, wiping his mouth. After a few seconds, when Steren’s breathing was still heavy, he rubbed his shoulders, and tried to make him look up.

“Steren, I'm not mad.” Leonidas said.

After a moment or two, Steren looked up. “I'm sorry.” He said,quietly.

“It's fine, okay? I'm not mad.” Leon paused and Steren sat up properly, leaning his head back on the wall, beginning to breathe normally again. 

“You're my friend, Steren. Who messed you up so bad? What happened?”

At his words Steren almost laughed. 

“What happened was, I found the boy who I thought loved me, kissing another girl.” Steren’s words hung in the air for a second. 

“Shit, that's awful, Steren. Who was he?” but Steren just shook his head. 

“It doesn't matter. In two weeks I'll never have to see him again. Even if that means losing him as my friend.”

Leon went quiet, “he doesn't sound like much of a friend. Or a good person. And even though you won't see him again, it doesn't mean your feelings will just disappear. Unfortunately they don't work like that.”

Steren shrugged. “They will. I'll make sure of it.”

The room was quiet as the two of them sat there. Leon checked the time on his watch, training was over. “Well,” he said. “ I'm here for you as your friend, or something more if you want.”

Steren snorted, “thanks, Leon. I'll keep that in mind.”

“ Do you want to come back to mine anyway? For some drinks?” Asked Leon as they walked out the training centre. 

Steren shook his head. “No, but thank you. I think I'm just going to go back and have an early night. “

“Fair,” replied Leon. “You know where I am anyway. See you tomorrow, Steren.”

Steren smiled, “Bye, Leon.”

For the next few days, Steren ignored Adelram at training. Every session Adelram tried to talk to him but Steren would just walk away. He told Adelram he needed to concentrate as soon he was leaving. It wasn't exactly a lie, but it wasn't exactly close to the truth either. 

After 4 days or so, Steren left training and was walking with Leonidas and a few others back to the knight's living quarters when the prince shouted his name from behind. 

“Steren!” He yelled.

Steren turned around, frowning.

“Are you coming to my birthday party on Saturday?”

Shit, Steren thought. He'd forgotten about that.  

“Maybe.” He replied, before turning back to catch up with Leonidas. A burning feeling burnt in his chest, he wouldn't be going on Saturday, and Adelram didn't bother him again.

Later that night, whilst Steren sat at his desk he heard a knock at the door. At first he thought it might be Leonidas, but soon panicked as he realised it could be Adelram on the other side. 

“ Who is it?” He said cautiously.

Then Raven opened the door. 

“It's me.” She said,

“Oh hey, Rave.” Steren replied, quickly shoving the letter he was reading behind him. 

Raven raised an eyebrow, “what is that? “

“Nothing.” Said Steren quickly.

Raven rolled her eyes and sat on his bed, then Steren swivelled in his chair to face her. He went to ask what she was doing here when Raven interrupted.

“I know I shouldn't be getting involved, and before you say anything I don't want you to think I'm ganging up against you, I'm both of your friends but- Adelram has been really upset lately. What's happened between you two? Why are you fighting just before you go away?”

Steren signed. “No, you're right. You shouldn't be getting involved. Adelram has no reason to be upset. No reason!”

Raven blinked in surprise, she hadn't expected that reaction. The three of them had been friends since they were young, and Steren and Adelram had always had fights from time to time, nothing that hadn't been sorted in the next few days. But this, this seemed serious.

“But he said he has no idea what happened, or why you're upset.”

Steren walked up to Raven, and looked her in the eyes. “Why are you here? If Adelram wants to know what's wrong then he should come here himself. Or, if he just thought about it, and I mean really thought about what could possibly be wrong, he could figure it out pretty easily. He shouldn't need his big sister to sort his problems out for him.”

Raven stood up, “Don't start getting mad at me Steren. When you're gone I'm also losing a friend, don't forget that.”

Steren softened, and untensed his shoulders. “I'm sorry, Rave. I'll miss you . I promise I'm not mad at you I'm just, so much is happening, you know?”

Raven nodded. “It won't be the same without you.” She said, “But you've still got the week right? I'm sure you and Ad will sort whatever it is and it'll be a laughing matter by the time you leave.”

Steren bit his lip, and went quiet.

“Wait.” Raven began, and Steren panicked, wondering what she'd figured out. “You're leaving sooner than that aren't you? I can tell by your face.”

Steren looked back to the letter on the desk. Steren had asked his coach if he could leave earlier than Saturday, earlier than Adelram’s birthday, earlier to get away from this place. Unfortunately that would mean leaving Raven earlier too.

“I'm sorry Rave, I've only just found out I promise.”

Raven said nothing, tears forming in her eyes as she wrapped her arms around Steren's shoulders. He held her close, head resting in the nook of her neck. They both breathed deeply, holding each other for a few seconds.

“When Steren? When?” Raven asked, after pulling away though her hands were still on his shoulders.

“Four days time. Only a few days sooner. Don't cry, Rave. I'll see you loads before then.”

“So you're really going then?” She said, and Steren nodded. I wish we could stay here forever, he thought.

“Oh,” Raven said, wiping the tears from the corner of her eyes: Steren’s heart ached to see her like this, “That reminds me, my father will be giving a goodbye to the knight's leaving. He's always liked you, so I'm sure he will be sad to say goodbye too.”

Steren laughed gently. “That's nice of him, I'll be sure to wear my best uniform.”

They stood in silence for a few seconds, each wondering what to say. “Do you want to stay for a drink?” Asked Steren finally, pointing over to the small fridge in the corner of the room. 

Raven shook her head, “better not, I have to get ready for dinner with my Father later tonight.”

 He nodded, and saw Raven, giving her another hug before she left.

“You will write to me whilst you're gone, right Steren?” She asked, looking at him.

“Loads.” He promised, with a smile. “Loads and loads.”

June 03, 2024 14:39

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Kristi Gott
14:26 Jun 09, 2024

Very vivid sensory images and descriptive details make this have strong emotional impact. The complexities of the relationships and characters feelings are shown. Well done!


Georgia Stawarz
14:31 Jun 09, 2024

Thank you! These characters mean a lot to me and I was glad to share part of their story :)


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PreCh_💌♍ CH
14:28 Jun 08, 2024

“You know when you realise something, and you can't be more sure that you're right but it turns out you're not and you get your heart broken?” I've always believed that unrequited love is self inflicted with "Fragments of moments of lust;Engulfing uncertainties with life long consequences" leaving it all behind is sure to hurt and well Steren is just about to get started. Magnifique 💌Gia... would love to see more 😍


Georgia Stawarz
18:15 Jun 08, 2024

yeah thank you!


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Mary Bendickson
19:22 Jun 09, 2024

Thanks for liking my 'Secrets That We Keep'. Welcome to Reedsy.


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Martin Ross
17:23 Jun 09, 2024

Nicely done! I loved how the lead paragraphs set the EMOTIONAL stage before you establish where and when the story is set — it helps provide a universal message about romance, love, and heartbreak. Just one minor thought — maybe break those first two paragraphs into four or five? But a terrific heartfelt debut story. Hope you have as much fun and creative reward as I’ve found here!


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Georgia Stawarz
12:22 Jun 09, 2024

I read this so many times before submitting but only now am I realising some of the repeats of words in the same sentence...


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