Daniel and Zachary
I stare at Zach, and my stomach does hundreds and thousands of flips. I’m one-hundred percent certain I should NOT be feeling this way. He rubs his neck, water dripping down from the side of his face. My heart flutters. Ew, that shouldn’t be allowed. Can someone’s heart even flutter? I don’t know. Either way, this is not how I imagined my lunch break would go, watching Zach win swimming races.
“Daniel! Hurry up mate, we gotta head to class!” Jakob yells,
“Shoot, coming!” I jog after my friends, staring at Zach’s back. Which is wrong, I admit, but that dude is ripped.
“Dude, you’re an absolute demon, you smashed the other swimmers!” Dylan exclaims, and Zach shrugs.
“I’m not great at swimming, better at basketball. Thanks though,” Has he always been this modest? Probably.
“What do we have now?” Dylan asks,
“Science,” I reply automatically, and he chuckles.
“Damn, Daniel. I don’t need a timetable, I have you,”
“Yeah, I’ll remind you when you have to use your brain for classes.” Dylan gives me a thumbs up.
“Sounds good!” Zach and Jakob laugh, and we all head to class.
I am so gay for Daniel, it’s not even funny. That’s grammatically incorrect, but it’s the truth. He probably doesn’t feel the same way. He probably is heterosexual, he’s probably-
“Zach! Get your ass into gear, man! Class started a few minutes ago.” Jakob nudges me, and I hurriedly pull my binders and books out of my locker. Daniel has already started walking to the labs, he might not play a lot of sports, but that boy can walk quickly. We take our seats in class, our teacher is late, thank goodness.
“Hey, Daniel,” I poke his arm, and he turns around to face me. I freeze, can someone’s jawline be so sharp? His warm brown eyes stare back at mine, and I remember who I am and what I’m doing.
“Yeah?” I panic, I just wanted him to face me, I don’t have a reason to talk to him.
“Uh, are you- um, are you free tomorrow?” Smooth, Zach. Smooth. The ‘um’s’ and ‘uh’s’ were nice touches.
“Yeah? It’s Saturday, why?”
“I have a game tomorrow, I was wondering if you wanted to chill at my place after,”
“Sure, I think my sister has her girlfriend over tomorrow anyway, they’re so cheesy. It’s probably better if I’m not there,”
“Oh, your sister is-”
“Gay? Yeah. I think it runs through the family,”
“Yeah,” Huh, so he IS gay, score! What do I even say to that…? Congratulations? Have you come out?
“Oh, cool. Me too,” I say quietly. Alright, Zach, ‘me too’ is a good answer too.
“Huh, nice. Guess we’re two gay dudes then.” He jokes, and I really want to photograph his smile.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
I want to scream. It’s not every day your crush asks you to hang out with them, but then again, he’s my best friend. Still. I’M NOT READY FOR ANY OF THIS. The last two periods go by quickly, and before long it’s the end of the day, and we’re all giving each other fist bumps and saying goodbye.
“Bye Danny boy!” Dylan shouts as he and Jakob exit.
“See you tomorrow, Daniel!” Zach winks, and I nearly die, right then and there.
“Yep, see you.” I smile giddily, something I didn’t know I was capable of doing.
“Well, someone looks happier than usual,” My twin sister, Asa, notices, as she leans on the gate, waiting for me.
“Can’t a guy be happy?”
“Sure, I’m just wondering, what’s made you more excited today?”
“Hah, you can’t lie to me, bubs,”
“I’m not your baby brother! How many times have we been over this?” Asa starts laughing, as we walk home.
“You will always be my little brother, Daniel. Now, tell me, is it a guy? A guy I know?”
“Stop it, Asa!” I poke her sides repeatedly and she squeals; she’s very ticklish.
“Come on, Daniel! I want to know!”
“I know you do, and that’s why I’m not telling you,” She gasps,
“You’re so mean!”
“That’s my middle name,”
“No, it’s not! It’s Daniel Lucas Childerstone,”
“Wrong! It’s Daniel Lucas ‘I keep things to myself and don’t tell my sister, Asa’ Childerstone.” Asa looks ready to tackle me, so I start running, as she chases after me.
“Get back here, you!” She yells, and we both run all the way home.
Saturday’s basketball game can’t go any slower. ‘Sometimes,’ I think to myself, ‘Being the star player is the worst.’ At 7 am, we finish the match as winners, and I race back home, texting Daniel he can come over now.
Me: U can come over now
Danny boi: Sweet, coming now
A few minutes later there is a knock on the door, and I rush over to get it, nearly tripping in the process. I scowl at myself, imagine opening the door and Daniel found me sprawled on the floor.
“Hey!” I open the door and Daniel takes a step back, surprised.
“Oh, wow, I didn’t think you’d open the door that quickly,” I laugh,
“You can come in… unless you wanna go for a walk?” I propose the idea, and Daniel shrugs,
“Gimme a second,” I go back into the house, grab my phone and keys and then lock the door.
“Alright, cool, let’s go,” I say, flustered, and we both start walking to nowhere in particular.
“Where should we go?” Daniel asks, and I grin, I was waiting for him to ask.
“I like the idea of going wherever, with no place in mind,” He nods in approval, his hair shining in the sunlight.
“Hey,” We both say at the same time, and Daniel gives me an adorable smirk.
“You go first,”
“No, you,” Daniel groans, a big smile on his face.
“You go first, Daniel,”
“Ugh, fine. I was going to ask, have you come out to your parents?” Oh, so we’re going here, okay.
“I… no. I haven’t, have you?”
“Yeah, they went crazy. Do you know what my mum said?”
“Oh no, should I be scared?” His smile lingers,
“No no, it’s good,”
“Okay… hmm, what did she say?” I kick a lone pebble on the floor, and Daniel kicks it when it gets closer to him, then passes it to me. I kick it back to him.
“She said, ‘You’re gay?’ And when I said yes, she said, ‘MY LITTLE TWINS ARE GAY AWWWW!’ Asa was laughing so hard, it was great,” I smile,
“That sounds amazing, congrats dude,”
“Do you need help conspiring a plan to come out?” I think about it for a second.
“I was just thinking one day I’ll come home and show up with a boy. They can figure out the rest,” Daniel throws his head back when he laughs, and he looks so good I want to confess to him right here.
“Okay, okay, what did you want to say earlier?”
Is this a date? I hope it is. I’m pretty sure it isn’t though. I watch Zach rub his neck, a habit he has when he’s nervous. I bite my lip, what is he thinking?
This is my chance, I have to say it now when we’re alone.
“I- This might sound really out of the blue but…”
“But?” He prompts, and concern is written all over his good looking face.
“I LIKE YOU DANIEL!” I blurt out in a rush, and the tension I didn’t realise that was hanging around us, is lifted. Daniel is laughing uncontrollably, and I’m confused as to what I did wrong.
“That’s what you wanted to tell me?!”
“Oh my God, and here I was thinking you didn’t like me!” He screams and runs his hands through his hair, and I can’t help but stare.
“Do you know what this means?” He asks, and I shrug. I’m just a simple gay basketballer. I have a simple life, and I do simple things and- Daniel takes a step closer to me,
“I don’t know… It could mean a million things, Daniel,” I reply, and his eyes light up as he smiles.
“It could mean a million things, but I’m only thinking of one.”
“Hm? And what ‘one’ might that be?” He looks up at me, grinning before kissing me.
It’s like everything I’ve imagined, but better.
I don’t want to ever pull away.
“Zach,” I pull away first, breathing heavily.
“Daniel,” I take in everything about him, God, I’m actually in love with him.
“Is this a date?” He asks jokingly, and I think about it for a minute.
“Only if you want it to be,” He smiles, and I take that as a yes.
“First date, and our first kiss. Wow, we’re starting off strong,” Zach teases and I take his hand.
“Strong, just like the way I like my men.” Zach chokes, and I pat his back.
“You really went there?” I don’t say anything, smiling. Zach ruffles my hair with his hand and drags me to a playground across the road.
“What are your thoughts on swings?” I ask Daniel, an idea forming in my head.
“I used to have competitions with Asa to see who could go higher,” He smiles fondly at the memory and my heart warms.
“Okay, get on the swing, Daniel,” He follows my instructions, and grabbing the chains, I lift him and the swing as high as I can, before letting go. The momentum hits, and soon enough, Daniel is swinging.
“How hard are you pushing me?!” He yells, “It’s so high, oh my God!” I laugh, sitting on the other swing, watching Daniel go up and go down. I swing a little but mainly watch Daniel. Not to be creepy or anything. After a little while, we get off the swings and walk back to my house.
“Are your parents home?”
“Yes…” I reply, not sure where this is going.
“Didn’t you say you haven’t come out yet…? And if you were to, it would be because you're bringing a boy home?” The gears in my brain start grinding together, clicking everything into place.
“I have found a flaw in your plan,” He gives me a nod for me to continue. “My parents know you as Danny, one of my best friends.”
“Hmm, perhaps we’ll have to change that.”
We make it back to Zach’s house, my plan already set in motion.
“Ready?” Zach nods, and he quickly taps the window, before running over to me. From the corner of my eye, I see Zach’s mum, Nadine, looking out the window. I press my lips onto Zach’s and he holds my shirt, pulling me close. We hear the front door open violently, and Zach and I grin.
“Zachary! What on Earth are you doing?!” Nadine shouts,
“Saying goodbye,” He replies smugly, waiting for his mum’s reaction.
“I… That’s how you say goodbye to your friend?!”
“‘Boy’ friend, that is,” I almost feel sorry for Nadine, she looks so confused.
“What…? Are you gay?” She asks, and Zach nods cheerfully,
“Yep! This is my boyfriend, Daniel,” Nadine takes a good look at me,
“That’s right, ma’am,”
“Well…” She mutters, “I’m glad it was you, rather than Jakob,” Zach and I share a shocked glance, before bursting into laughter.
“So… you’re okay with it?” Zach asks after we stop laughing.
“Hm? Oh, of course. It was a bit of a shock, it was an… interesting way to come out, Zach. Your aunt Cecelia is a lesbian. You’re telling your father though, good luck with that one,”
“Huh, okay,” Zach shrugs before linking his arm with mine.
“I’m going to take Daniel home, we can talk more later.” He says, and Nadine waves us off, smiling.
“That went well,” I announce, as we walk to Daniel’s house.
“I’m just surprised it worked. A lot of things could’ve gone wrong,”
“Agreed. I’m never going to get over what she said about Jakob,” I chuckle and a grin forms on Daniel’s face.
“Don’t tell him a word,” He adds, as he unlocks his front door.
“Fair warning that my sister is home,”
“Oh, she is? Okay, no worries,” I check my watch.
“I have some time to kill, I’ll let my mum comprehend everything,” I wink at Daniel, who flushes slightly. I greet his parents with a polite hello, who notices us holding hands, and gives us thumbs up.
We walk down the corridor to Daniel’s room, when suddenly his twin sister, Asa, and another girl, burst out of her room, nearly colliding with us.
“Oh, hey,” Asa takes a good look at me, “Ohh, hi there you two,” She says slyly, what did Daniel tell her…?
“Hi Asa,” I turn to the girl who’s standing behind her, hands on her Asa’s shoulders. “Hi, I’m Zachary, a pleasure to meet you,”
“Ooh, he’s polite,” She snickers and I bow.
“Heard you’re a basketballer, are you any good?” Asa asks me, pretending to act like she’s never met me in my life.
“Eh, I’m not that great,” I admit,
“He’s lying!” Daniel suddenly bursts out, “He’s terrific!” I feel my cheeks grow warm at his compliment. “We have to go!” Daniel cries out, taking my hand, and drags me away.
“It was nice to meet you!” I add before Daniel takes me back downstairs.
“We literally went upstairs, then back down,” Zach points out, as we trudge down the stairs.
“I know, I know. Asa had Courtney stay the night, and whenever her girlfriend is around, she gets super hyper. So, I’m doing you a favour, we’re escaping to the clear zone,” He laughs, waving at my parents again, as I shut the front door.
“Thanks for today,” I whisper in his ear, and he flashes me a dazzling pearly white grin.
“So, we’re a thing now?” He asks, pretending he doesn’t know the answer.
“Nah, we’re just friends,” I joke and he laughs, stretching his arms up, his t-shirt lifting up to reveal the bottom of his torso.
“See you on Monday,” He quickly kisses me, before ruffling my hair, again. I think that’s going to become a habit of his, since I’m shorter than him, not that I mind. I stare at Zach, and my stomach does hundreds and thousands of flips.
“Yeah, see you,” I breathe, still feeling the sensation of his lips. He turns around, holds up a peace sign, and gives me a goofy grin. God, he’s so cute.
“I love you, Daniel!” He shouts to the sky, walking further away.
“Love you more!” I yell back, I can’t believe I just said that. It feels so… right.
“No, I do!”
“Nope, I do!”
“Alright, alright, we’ll call it a tie,” He looks back one last time, “Just kidding, love you more, Daniel!” He cries, and I’ve never seen him so ecstatic before. I don’t say anything, smiling, watching the boy I love run home.