Cameron was approaching his uncle’s house when he noticed someone sitting on the steps. He had his head down, and the hood to his coat was covering his head. As he walked nearer, the figure lifted his head. At first Cameron thought it was Kevin; but after a closer look, he realized it was Devin.
He approached him cautiously. Devin dropped his head down and pulled the hood tighter around his face. When he drew nearer, he raised his head and looked at Cameron. His eyes were moist with tears.
Devin asked harshly, “What are you doing here?”
Cameron took a step back. “This is my uncle’s house. I came to see him,” he told him nervously.
“Oh,” Devin replied as he hung his head and looked down at the steps.
“Are you all right?” Cameron stammered out. “Everyone’s been looking for you.”
“I bet they have,” he replied sharply. He took his sleeve and wiped away tears from his eyes.
Cautiously, Cameron walked over and sat down on the step beside Devin. “Seriously, Devin. Kevin’s worried sick about you. We’ve been out all day looking for you.”
Cameron watched as Devin’s shoulders began to tremble. He knew he was crying, but he didn’t know what to do. “Are you all right?” he asked again.
Devin looked up at him with a tear-stained face. “Why would you care,” he cried. “I’ve treated you like shit.”
“I don’t know,” Cameron responded as he tried to hold back his own tears. “You’re Kevin’s brother, and you’re hurting.”
“Hurting!” Devin laughed. “You don’t know the half of it.” He rose, walked over to the door and started knocking. He then turned to Cameron. “Where is Coach Alston?”
Cameron looked at his watch. “I don’t know. He should be home by now. Uncle Dave won’t be home for another hour.”
“Who’s Uncle Dave?”
“Never mind,” Cameron responded quickly. He realized that Devin didn’t know that his coach was gay.
“You should call your home,” suggested Cameron. “Everybody is worried about you.”
Devin walked over and sat back on the steps. “Everyone wants to kick my ass,” he responded sadly. He buried his hands in his head and moaned, “Oh, Man. Did I ever fuck up!”
Cameron stepped away and pulled out his phone to call his uncle. Alston informed him that he was tied up in a meeting at school, and it would probably be another hour before he got home.
Cameron walked back over to Devin. “My uncle says he won’t be home for at least an hour.”
Devin stood and pulled his hood tightly over his head. “Thanks.” He started walking away, but Cameron ran up and grabbed his arm.
“Wait, Devin.” He withdrew his hand quickly when Devin looked down at it.
“I gotta go,” he said as he turned and walked away.
“Wait!” Cameron shouted. He ran up and faced Devin. “Please don’t go. Kevin’s worried about you. I can’t just let you walk away.”
“I can’t go back home,” Devin replied sadly.
“Then go home with me,” Cameron said without thinking. He was desperately trying to keep Devin from walking away.
“Come home with me,” he replied urgently. “My Mom’s home. You can talk to her. She’s a great listener. I promise.”
Devin studied Cameron’s face for a minute before finally shrugging his shoulders. “What have I got to lose,” he muttered.
Cameron started heading toward his house with Devin trailing about six feet behind him. He would turn occasionally just to make sure he hadn’t turned around and walked in the other direction.
Mrs. Lynch came walking out of the kitchen when they entered the house. “Kevin,” she smiled. “Cameron didn’t tell me you were coming over this evening.”
Cameron took Devin’s arm and led him over to his mother. “This isn’t Kevin, Mom. It’s Devin.” He reached up and pulled Devin’s hood off his head.
“My!” she exclaimed. “You boys do look exactly alike. I can’t tell you apart.” Devin looked up and forced a smile. She looked over at Cameron and gave him a questioning look.
“Devin,” Cameron said as he pulled him over to the sofa. “Sit here a minute.” He then motioned for his mother to go into the kitchen. Once inside, he quickly explained what had happened. He kept listening to make sure Devin didn’t get up and leave.
“Oh, Sweet Jesus!” his mother exclaimed after he finished. “That poor boy!” She headed to the living room. Before leaving, she turned and told Cameron to go to his room and wait. He watched as his mother sat down beside Devin and put her arm around him. He started sobbing loudly.
“It’s all right,” she said soothingly as he continued to cry. All the emotion he had been trying to hold back erupted: the news of Ashley’s pregnancy, the change it would mean in his life, the prospect of having to face his father and Mr. Vance and the way he had treated Kevin over the past few weeks. They all came crushing down on him as he cried uncontrollably.
She said nothing. She continued to rub his back and let him release the emotion inside him. She knew from her experiences with Cameron when he would face a crisis, it was better to just wait it out until he was ready to talk.
After about ten minutes, Devin’s crying began to subside. She reached over and pulled out a handful of Kleenexes on the end table and handed them to him. He sat up, wiped his eyes dry and then blew his nose.
She looked over and gave him a smile. “Feel better, Honey? It always feels good to let it out.” He wiped his eyes again and nodded.
“Want to talk about it?” He looked at her skeptically. She was a stranger who he had just met moments earlier. She was also the mother of the boy he had been intimidating for several weeks. He didn’t know how much she knew.
“Listen, Mrs...” he started to get up. “I don’t even know your name.” She gently pulled him back down onto the sofa.
“I’m Mrs. Lynch,” she smiled.
Devin stared at her for a few seconds. “How much has he told you about me?”
“He doesn’t have to tell me anything about you,” she said comfortingly. “You’re Kevin’s brother. That’s all I need to know.”
Devin’s eyes welled up with tears once again. “Now I see why he wants to hang out here all the time.”
Mrs. Lynch patted his hand. “You’re welcomed here too anytime you want, Devin.”
Devin asked, “Why, Mrs. Lynch? I’ve treated Cameron like a piece of shit.”
“Maybe you have,” she smiled. “But it was only because you were confused.”
Devin laughed and laid his head on the back of the sofa. “Confused? I think I’m a little more than confused.” Tears started to reappear. Mrs. Lynch reached out and held him again while he cried. After several minutes he stopped and sat back.
“What am I going to do, Mrs. Lynch?” He looked hopefully at her. He hoped she had all the answers that could get him out of the situation he now found himself.
She took his hand and held it. “You have to face the fact, Devin, that you’re going to be a father.”
“I don’t want to be,” he cried. “I’m only sixteen.”
“It’s not the end of the world,” she assured him. “I got pregnant with Cameron when I was sixteen, and I was a mother at seventeen.”
Devin gave her a surprised look. “Really?”
“Yes, really,” she smiled. “Would I have done things differently when I feel in love with his father, probably,” she said. “But one thing I know, I don’t regret having Cameron. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“What did your parents say when they found out you were pregnant?”
She looked at him and smiled. “Probably about the same thing your parents are going to say to you. I shouldn’t have been having sex so young. I shouldn’t have been so irresponsible. I should have been more careful.”
“What about Cameron’s father?” he asked. “How did he take it?”
She looked at him sadly. “He couldn’t deal with it. He tried at first to deny Cameron was his son. Then he joined the army and left us alone. He’s never been a part of Cameron’s life. In fact, Cameron has never met him.”
“That sucks,” replied Devin. “When Ashley has her baby, I’m not going to be like that.”
“She’s not having her baby,” Mrs. Lynch said softly. “She’s having a baby that you and she created.”
“Yeah, right,” he said sadly as he sat back and thought. Suddenly, he sat up and stared at her.
“What if she has an abortion?” he asked. “I’ve offered to pay for it out of the money I’ve been saving for a car.”
Mrs. Lynch gave him a worried look. “And what did she say about that?”
Devin sat back and sighed. “She said she couldn’t do it. It would be murder.”
She reached out and patted his hand. “Then, Dear, it looks like you’re going to be a father.”
He sat back and moaned, “My Dad’s going to kill me.” He looked over at her. “After Ashley’s father gets through killing me.” Tears welled up in his eyes once again.
“Boy, did I mess my life up,” he replied angrily. “I wish I could go back and change things.”
“Don’t we all wish that,” Mrs. Lynch replied. “Now you just have to face the consequences of those mistakes.”
“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully as he put his head back. “Face the consequences.”
Mrs. Lynch patted his hand and said, “You wait here, Devin. I’m going to go get you a glass of milk and some cookies.” He nodded as she got up and left the room.
He looked around the living room. Even though it was sparsely furnished, it felt warm and comfortable. There were pictures of Cameron hanging on the wall. A particular painting caught his eye. He got up and walked over to it.
He lifted it from where it was hanging and held it in his hands. Tears started to fall down his face. It was a painting of Kevin. He was sitting at a desk in school with a wide grin on his face. It was a smile he hadn’t seen in several weeks. A smile he missed. He ran his hand over the painting as tears continued to fall.
He could sense Mrs. Lynch step up beside him. She reached out and touched his arm. “He still loves you, Devin. You never lost him.”
Devin turned, wrapped his arms around her and sobbed uncontrollably. “I never meant to hurt him. I just didn’t know how to deal with it.”
“I know,” she said soothingly. “It was hard for me at first, too.”
He pulled away and looked at her. “But he’s my twin brother. I should have been there for him.”
She reached out and ran her hand through his hair. “It’s not too late,” she said. Devin leaned in and hugged her once more.
“I hope not,” he muttered softly. “I hope it’s not too late.”
They turned when Cameron came tiptoeing into the room. “Is everything all right?”
Devin wiped the remaining tears from his cheeks and looked at Mrs. Lynch. “I feel a little better.” She reached out and pulled him into her side.
Cameron stood staring at them, unsure what to do. There was an awkward moment until Devin held out his arms toward him. “Come here.”
Cameron approached as Devin reached out and gave him a strong hug. Tentatively, he put his arms around him and hugged him back.
“Thanks, Cameron,” Devin whispered in his ear. “Thanks for being there for Kevin.” He squeezed him tighter as Mrs. Lynch pulled them both into an embrace. Devin knew his problems weren’t going to go away with a hug, but he at least was making an effort to correct one of his wrongs.
Mrs. Lynch pulled away when the phone rang. Cameron followed her into the kitchen as Devin took his seat on the sofa. The call was from her brother. She whispered softly to him what had happened. After several minutes, she put the phone down.
“What did Uncle Jerry say?” Cameron asked his mother.
“He’s on his way over here,” she replied. “Dave is coming with him, too.” She looked worriedly at her son.
“What’s the matter?” He asked when he noticed her concerned look.
“He’s going by and getting Mr. and Mrs. Williams. Jerry thinks it would be best if they talked to Devin here. We would all be here in case trouble breaks out.”
“Do you think that will happen?”
She looked at him and frowned. “Just what do you think I would do if you came home and told me you had gotten a girl pregnant?”
“Yeah, right,” he replied with a frown. Then he looked at her and smiled. “But you don’t have to worry about that Mom.” She tried to hold her frown, but her mouth formed a slight smile.
“Come here.” She held out her arms and he walked over and hugged her. “Have I told you how much I love you?” she asked as she squeezed him tightly.
“Yeah, Mom,” he said as he held her. “Thanks.” He kissed her gently on her cheek.
She stepped back and wiped her eyes dry. “Why don’t you take Devin to your bedroom? It would probably be best if he wasn’t in the living room when his parents arrive.”
He frowned, but agreed to do as she asked. Even though Devin had just given him a hug, he still didn’t feel comfortable around him. He was afraid after this situation was over, he might go back to being mean to him once again.
He went out and got Devin. Devin followed him to his room and then walked around. He immediately noticed the paints, rags and paintings scattered around the room. The one on the easel caught his eye. It was the one with Kevin standing at the lake.
“Wow!” he exclaimed as he looked at the picture and then back at Cameron. “You guys really are in love, aren’t you?”
Cameron blushed before asking, “Why?”
“Just look at my brother,” he said admiringly as he paced around in front of it. “Look at his eyes.” He looked back at Cameron and smiled. “You do love him.”
Cameron looked into his face. “Yeah,” he muttered shyly.
Devin walked over and sat on the bed. His eyes never once looked away from the painting. “You know,” he said, “It’s funny but I always thought that fags,” he looked apologetically at Cameron, “Sorry. I meant I always thought gay guys were in it just for the sex. You know, just to get your dick sucked by another guy. I never thought that you guys could actually care about each other.”
Cameron didn’t know how to respond, so remained quiet.
“No, really.” He got up and walked over to Cameron. “I mean, you guys actually fall in love?” When Cameron didn’t respond, he asked, “Do you really love my brother?”
Cameron walked over to the painting and stared into Kevin’s face. He smiled and turned to Devin. “Yeah,” he answered shyly, “I love Kevin.”
Devin sat on the bed and looked thoughtfully at him. “That is so cool,” he said. “I mean, I’ve been going with Ashley for a year,” he paused briefly. “I like her- a lot- but I can’t say I really love her.” He looked over at Kevin’s picture. “Not the way you guys do, anyway.”
Cameron walked over and sat down on the bed beside Devin. “So you don’t think it’s wrong?”
Devin looked over and stared at him before answering. “I did,” he replied. He got up and paced around the room. “When I found out Kevin was gay, I kind of freaked.” He looked down at Cameron and smiled. “I guess I don’t have to tell you.”
“Yeah,” Cameron replied.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Devin confessed. “Since we’re twins, I just always assumed he liked girls. Then when I did find out he was gay, then I started questioning myself. If he was gay, then I had to be too. Even my friends started asking me if I was gay when they found out Kevin was.”
He walked back over and sat on the bed. “But you know what?” Cameron looked over and shook his head. “It’s taken me weeks to realize that we can have separate lives. I guess that’s the problem with being an identical twin. Everyone always assumes you’re the same person.”
“So you don’t care if Kevin’s gay?”
Devin got up and again paced around the room. He stopped before the painting before turning back to Cameron. “I’m going to be honest. I’m not going to do cartwheels over it. I still wish he wasn’t. But if it means accepting him as he is, or losing Kevin,” tears welled up in his eyes. “Then I think I can accept him as he is.” He turned and stared at the painting as tears fell down his cheek.
Suddenly, he swung around and faced Cameron. “Can you paint a picture of me and Kevin?” His face was full of excitement.
“Together?” Cameron asked.
“Of course, together,” laughed Devin.
“I don’t know.” Devin shrugged his shoulders. “I just want to have something to remember us like we are now.”
Cameron studied Devin who looked pleadingly at him. He could tell this was something that was important to him. “Sure,” he replied. “I suppose.” Devin started smiling. “I’ll have to ask Kevin.”
“Can’t you do it without him knowing about it?” he asked. “I would like to surprise him with it.”
Cameron studied Devin for a minute. “I don’t know,” he said. “You and Kevin look so much alike. I’d have to see you side by side so I could paint the differences.”
Cameron looked puzzled when Devin started laughing. “Sorry,” he said. “It just sounded funny when you said differences.” He stopped laughing, then walked over and sat beside him. “I guess that’s what this has all been about- differences.” Cameron looked at him and nodded.
From his bedroom they could hear the front door open and then slam shut. The first voice they heard was from Mr. Williams. “Where the hell is he!” They then heard several voices speaking at once. They couldn’t make out what was being said, but it sounded like people were trying to calm his father down.
Devin began to tremble. Cameron looked over at him, but he was afraid to touch him. “I’m scared,” Devin said softly. He scooted closer to Cameron. Instinctively, Cameron reached his arm around him and held him.
Meanwhile, the scene was chaotic in the living room. After Mrs. Lynch told Devin’s father he was in Cameron’s room, it took everyone to hold him back. Finally, they were able to get him to sit in a chair.
“Mr. Williams,” insisted Coach Alston. “You can’t go barging in there in the state of mind you’re in. You have to think this through.”
Devin’s father held up his hand. “I’ve thought this through. I’m going to put my fist so far up his ass, he’ll be tasting my fingernails,” he replied angrily.
“That’s what I’m talking about.” Coach Alston pulled up a chair and sat in front of him. It was a defensive move just in case he decided to rush from the room. “You’ve got a very confused son in there right now. He needs your support, not your anger.”
Mr. Williams covered his face with his hands. “He’s sixteen, God damn it.” He looked over at his wife. “He’s sixteen and a father. What are we going to do?” Mrs. Williams walked over, sat on the edge of the chair and held his hand.
“Coach Alston is right,” she spoke calmly. “Devin needs our support. Just think what he’s going through right now.”
“He should have thought about that weeks ago,” he replied angrily.
“But he didn’t,” his wife responded. She looked over at Kevin who had remained quiet the entire time. He didn’t want to come with them to Cameron’s house, but Coach Alston insisted that he should. He thought if anyone could get through to his father, it would be him.
“You gave your support to Kevin when we found out he was gay,” she continued. His father looked over at Kevin.
“But that was different,” he stated. “Kevin had no control over that. Devin, however, could have, and should have, controlled himself.”
For the first time Kevin spoke. “Dad,” he said. “Devin did a stupid thing, but you can’t hate him for it.” He looked over at his mother. “Mom’s right. You have to stand by him the same way you’ve stood by me. We’re family. You’ve always said that blood protects blood.” His father dropped his head into his hands.
“He’s only sixteen,” he muttered softly.
His mother walked over to Kevin and hugged him. She then took Kevin’s hand and led him over to the chair and had him sit on the arm.
“Dad,” he spoke softly as he looked down at his distraught father. “You‘ve always told us we don’t have anything if we can’t trust our own blood. Devin needs us now, and we can’t turn our back on him. All the yelling and screaming isn’t going to make things go away. We have to find a way to help him out of this situation. Mr. Vance is already making threats. Are you going to be like him? You’re our dad. We turn to you when we need help. We shouldn’t be afraid to come to you with our problems. Devin’s lost right now, and he’s depending on you to help him find his way out of this mess.”
Mr. Williams looked into the tearful face of his son. He stood up and clutched Kevin tightly. Mrs. Williams walked over and put her arms around them as they continued to cry. The others silently left the living room and went into the kitchen.
Devin was pacing around the Cameron’s room. He would walk over to the door and listen, but he was confused because of the silence. It had been several minutes since he last heard his father shouting.
“What do you think is going on out there?” He turned and looked worriedly at Cameron who shrugged his shoulders. He, too, was confused. He had expected Devin’s father to come storming into the room and toss Devin against a wall. He had even planned how he could escape from the room in case that happened.
They both tensed up when there was a knock on the door. Devin walked to the other side of the room and huddled in fear. Cameron walked over and opened the door. He expected Mr. Williams to come barging in. Instead, Kevin walked in and stood in the middle of the room.
He looked at Devin and opened his arms. Cameron slipped quietly from the room as the twins embraced.