The Rest of the Story

by Nick Brady

Chapter 3

While Brian and Lanny settled into their new place, Sam and Ben found themselves alone on the second floor of the house.

"I kind of miss having Brian around," Ben said.

"Me too. He is a cool guy and it was nice to have him give us rides and stuff," Sam agreed.

"And help us with our homework and scout skills. He makes a good brother."

"It's kind of hard to remember before he came to live with us. That was a long time ago."

"He was our Den Chief when we were about eight years old. That was six years ago," Ben recalled.

"I guess we've known him almost half our lives," Sam calculated.

"He's still in town. We'll see him sometimes. It's not like he's across the country or something."

"He was gone for a month on that Europe trip. Since he came back we haven't seen him that much anyway. He's always with Lanny."

"Well, Lanny is his boyfriend now. He wants to be with him a lot," Ben pointed out. "Lanny is OK. I like him."

"I do too. I just kind of miss Brian."

"Look at it this way. Now we are kings of the upstairs. You know there are three bedrooms up here. I guess we could have our own rooms now if we wanted."

"We could always have done that," Sam said. "Are you wanting to have separate bedrooms?"

Ben thought a minute. "That would be different, wouldn't it? We have always shared a room, ever since we were born."

"I don't care. We will still be in the same house. It's not like we would be living in different places, just in different bedrooms. It's no big deal to me either way," Sam shrugged.

"I don't know. It might be cool. I guess we could try it."

Sam chuckled. "You could ask Austin over for sleepovers and you guys could play around easier."

"What do you mean?" Ben tried to sound indignant.

"You know what I mean. When you and Austin are together you guys are always doing stuff. The last time he slept over here he ended up in your bed and you guys sucked each other off. You thought I was asleep, but I knew what you were doing."

"Well, you and me play around like that. What's the big deal?"

"Yeah, but we're twins. We have always done everything together. I have never done that stuff with anybody else. I think you like it better than I do."

Ben looked away. "I don't know. Maybe I do kind of like it. Besides, Austin is cool. I like him."

"Austin is gay," Sam said flatly.

"And so are Brian and Lanny. So are Daddy and Papa. So what's the big deal?" Ben asked hotly.

"Hey. Don't get mad. I don't care what you do with Austin. That's your business. It's not like I'm jealous or anything. If you are gay it's OK with me."

Ben appeared sullen. "You have done all kinds of stuff with me. You like it too, don't you?"

"I guess. It's different with you. You know that. We are twins. It's like part of us is the same person."

"So I guess that means you don't want us to do that kind of stuff anymore?"

"Just because I don't like it as much as you do doesn't mean you aren't still my brother. I still love you, Ben. I'm just not as interested in the sex stuff anymore."

"What do you want to do then?"

"Well, maybe I want to do stuff with a girl. Girls have boobs, you know? Boobs are interesting."

Ben made a little face. "I don't know about that. They're kind of floppy."

Sam shook his head. "I guess we're different about that. So maybe you're gay and I'm not. Isn't that OK with you?"

Ben thought about that. "Sure, I guess. I like doing sex stuff with you. I like it a lot. But I have to admit, I like doing it with Austin too. I think he is, well, attractive."

"Austin is cute," Sam agreed. "I can see that. He's a little guy with a big wiener. I like Austin. I just don't particularly want to play around with him. If you do, then that's your business."

"Is this why you are suggesting we have separate bedrooms?"

"You brought it up. I don't really care much either way, but you might like to have a little more privacy," Sam explained.

"So, you're just thinking about me? What I might want?" Ben asked quietly.

"That's right. I do care about you Ben. I want you to be happy."

Ben laid back on his bed. "I hadn't looked at it that way. I guess I should thank you. I'll have to think about it."

"Whatever. I'm just saying I'm OK with it."

Their conversation was interrupted my Marco calling them down for supper. Food trumped most conversations.

Over roast pork and a nice rice pilaf, Marty announced that Marco had some good news. Ben and Sam looked attentive.

"I guess that's my cue," Marco smiled. "I have been talking with some of the contacts I made at that big art show in Santa Fe. It seems that they want to show some of my work at several European venues in London and Paris - some landscapes and some with Native American themes. Sam and Ben may become famous, although anonymously. They were particularly taken by them in their regalia."

Sam and Ben listened with mouths agape. "Really? We are famous?" Ben asked incredulously.

"Well, not you personally, but your image as Indian dancers. Those images are very interesting to Europeans. You, as individuals, will remain nameless to protect your privacy."

Ben and Sam looked at Marty. "Marco and I have agreed on this," he said.

"So, what's going to happen?" Sam wondered.

Marco smiled, "It seems that our Brian is not going to be the only member of the family to travel to Europe. I am to be present at the shows to discuss my work with potential buyers. They feel that I will add interest to my work."

"Wow! At least you will be famous," Ben said. "Can we go with you?"

"Right. Maybe they would like to see us too," Sam agreed.

"Wrong," Marty injected. "You might, but you don't really want to be famous. People would try to take advantage of you. It's not really a good idea. You would become a commodity."

"I don't understand," Ben said.

"That's not your decision," Marty tried to explain. "Let's just be happy for Marco, OK?"

"I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong idea. I shouldn't have joked about your becoming famous," Marco apologized. "I'm still trying to cope with this myself. I never expected this sort of thing to happen. I'm not sure I want to be famous either."

"Is Daddy going with you?" Sam asked.

"Nope. I'm staying here with you guys," Marty told them. "Somebody has to cook dinner."

Sam and Ben looked at each other. "You will be doing the cooking?"

"Well, somebody has to do it."

"Sometimes Brian cooks," Ben said.

"Brian isn't living here right now," Marty reminded him. "Come on now. My cooking isn't that bad."

"You both have cooking merit badges," Marco reminded them. "Maybe you could get together and have dinner ready for Marty when he comes home from work. That would be nice."

"Or we could order pizza," Ben suggested.

"Or go out," Sam said.

"Is my cooking really that bad?" Marty asked Marco.

"I'm sure you will manage just fine," Marco declared, avoiding the question. "Besides, the art shows are not until this spring, so we don't have to worry about that right now. I have to get busy and put some things together between now and then."

"Well, I think it's cool that you are going to sell your stuff in Europe," Sam told Marco. "I hope you do real good!"

"Thank you, Sam. I'm pretty excited about it."

"Yeah, Papa. Way to be," Ben agreed.

"Anybody for dessert?" Marco asked.

All hands were raised.

After a few days, Ben raised the topic of separate bedrooms again with his brother Sam.

"I've been thinking about the bedroom thing," Ben said.

"You want your own room?"

"I said I've been thinking about it."

"So, what do you think?" Sam asked.

"You really want to do that?"

"I told you, I don't care. I just thought you might like it."

"Well, I've been thinking about it," Ben repeated.

"And?"

Ben hesitated. "Do you think we should ask Papa and Daddy?"

"They said a long time ago that we could if we wanted to," Sam reminded him. "They won't care. Do you want to or not?"

"It might be cool. But not just so I can mess around with Austin."

"It's up to you."

"You aren't making this any easier," Ben complained.

"I said I was OK with it. Do you want me to tell you what to do?"

"No, but.... Oh, never mind."

"What's the matter?"

"I don't know. It's like you're kicking me out. Don't you want to share a room with me anymore?"

"No. It's not that at all. I guess I was just trying to make things easy for you. What do you want me to say?" Sam asked.

"Never mind."

"Do you want me to say I want you to share a room forever and ever?"

"No. Well, maybe. Or maybe I want you to be a little bit jealous of Austin," Ben said more honestly than he intended.

Sam sighed. "You are my brother and the best friend I will ever have. I love you and will always love you, but I don't want to be your lover, OK? I know we have done a lot of stuff, but I'm thinking that I don't much want to do that anymore. If you want to go on sharing a room then that's fine, but not so we can mess around together."

"That's blunt."

"That's being honest. Since when have we lied to each other?"

"OK. I guess you're right. I'm being stupid about this. It's not just about the room. This is making me admit something I don't want to admit," Ben said.

"Admit that you're gay?"

"Well, yes. That's kind of scary."

"Why scary? I'm the oddball. I think I may be the only one in the family to be straight. It's not like your gay parents are going to kick you out for being gay."

"I'm not worried about the family. You know how the kids at school are about that sort of thing. I don't want to get bullied."

"Oh, come one. You don't have to walk around with a sign that says 'I'm gay'. It's nobody's business but yours. That's what Daddy and Papa would tell you. Just don't get caught kissing Austin in the hallway at school."

Ben looked sad. "I know, but it's still scary."

"I understand, I really do," Sam assured him. "Some of the kids at school act funny to us because they know we have two fathers. If you make a big deal about it then I can see you catching some grief. So don't make a big deal about it."

"I guess."

"Do like Brian did. He never made a big deal out of being gay. We didn't know he was gay until he came back from that trip with Lanny. I don't think he was sure himself until then. Just keep it to yourself. I darn sure am not going to tell anybody. You and Austin, or whoever you like, should just play it cool."

"Do you suppose a lot of people know that Austin is gay?"

"I don't know. I doubt it. He isn't all girly and stuff. If he was, I don't think you would like him as much."

Ben thought about that. "You're probably right. Besides, I'm not in love with Austin. I just like playing around with him. You know?"

Sam smiled. "I know. Look, the way I see it is like this. You and Austin can do whatever you want and I am fine with it. I'm not jealous and I won't tell. I think what is important is you need to be honest with yourself. If you aren't sure you're gay, then let it ride. If you are, then accept it and do what's right for you."

"I really don't know what I want to do. Maybe that's the problem."

Sam was quiet for a moment. "For as long as I can remember, we've been told that we can talk about anything with Daddy and Papa. Remember when Travis did that stuff and kind of scared us? We were afraid to talk about it, but when we finally did, they weren't mad. They talked to us and helped us understand what happened and gave us some things we could do to deal with it ourselves. Remember? Maybe this is like that."

"That's scary too," Ben admitted. "But you might be right. I guess I could do that."

Ben sat quietly as he wrestled with his dilemma. After a minute, Sam asked, "Would it help if we both talked to them?"

"Would you do that?"

Sam looked annoyed. "Of course I would, dummy. I'm not going to bail out on you when you really need me. I'm your brother, remember?"

"You're pretty smart, you know that? I think you're smarter than me."

"Or maybe I can see this better than you because it's not my problem," Sam suggested. "No. That's not right. If it's a problem for you, it's a problem for me. We do everything together, right?"

"Right," Ben smiled and looked relieved. "Sometimes I forget that you really are my very best friend in all the world."

"I try."

"So, when do you want to do this?"

"Whenever you think you're ready. This is your deal, Ben. I'm just trying to help you with it," Sam told him. "By the way, how does Austin feel about you? I mean, is he in love with you or something?"

Ben took a deep breath. "I don't know. I think maybe he likes me better than I like him. I mean, I like him, but I don't think I want to be boyfriends."

"What if he thinks he's in love with you?"

"Damn! You keep asking these hard questions. I don't know. What difference does that make?"

"Well, if all you want to do is play around a little and he is really serious about it, then you could hurt him. You know?"

"This is more complicated than I thought."

"Probably. I'm just giving you things to think about, is all."

Ben sighed. "Maybe I should ask Austin how he feels about me, about us. But that's scary too. I don't know what to do."

"Then think about it before you do anything."

"I'm thinking, I'm thinking."

Sam smiled at his brother. "What are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking that I'm glad you are my brother. And I'm thinking that talking to Papa and Daddy is maybe not such a bad idea. Scary, but maybe a good idea."

"Whenever you're ready."

Ben stewed about his dilemma for several days. Finally, he decided to talk to their parents. After dinner one evening he decided that the time was right.

"Um, me and Sam would like to talk to you about something."

"Sam and I," Marty corrected.

Ben looked anxious. "Right. Well, can we talk?"

"Sure. You can always talk to us about anything," Marty reminded him. "Is there a problem?"

"Kind of," Ben said.

"What's up?" Marco asked.

"We were thinking about having our own rooms."

"You've always had that option. Is there any particular reason why you decided to do it now?" Marty asked.

Ben stammered, "No, not really. I just decided that uh, I mean we were talking about it and I just wanted to be sure it was still OK."

"Actually, there is more to it than that," Sam said quietly.

Ben made a face and looked at Sam, "This is kind of hard to talk about."

Sam shrugged, "It's your story to tell."

"I know. I guess the deal is that I think maybe I'm gay," Ben said very quietly.

"You're the only one who would know that," Marco said.

"Why is that the catalyst for having separate rooms?" Marty asked.

Ben looked at Sam who remained silent. "This is your story," Sam reminded him.

"Well, sometimes Austin and I like to mess around a little. Sam thought maybe I would like to have more privacy," Ben explained.

"What do you think?" Marco asked.

"I don't know. Sam and I have shared a room like, forever. It would seem strange to have separate bedrooms," Ben admitted.

"Do you think you need to have more privacy?" Marty wondered.

Ben hesitated, "I guess. Really, I think it bothers Sam more than me."

"How do you feel about this?" Marco asked Sam.

"Ben and I have done a lot of things together," Sam acknowledged. "I don't care what he does with Austin, I just don't want to be there."

"You've been friends with Austin for a long time," Marty asked Ben. "How do you feel about him?"

Ben shrugged, "I like Austin. It's fun to do stuff with him, but it's not like I'm in love with him or anything. I don't want to have a separate room just so I can mess around with Austin. That was Sam's idea, not mine."

"He thinks I'm kicking him out," Sam said.

"Do you feel that way?" Marco asked.

"Yeah, no. Well, kind of," Ben admitted.

"Maybe this is about Sam wanting his privacy too," Marty suggested.

"I guess maybe I didn't look at it that way," Ben said. "And maybe I wasn't sure how you guys would feel about me being gay."

"We could hardly hold that against you," Marco smiled.

"See. That's what I told you," Sam reminded Ben.

"How do you feel about Ben coming out?" Marty asked Sam, "Does that bother you?"

"Not really. I guess that makes me the only straight guy in the house, but that doesn't bother me. It is what it is."

"Coming out is scary. We all know that," Marco said to Ben. "If you are gay then it's because you were born that way. Maybe you aren't sure yourself how you feel."

"Maybe not, but it looks that way to me," Ben said.

"Nobody really knows that but you, although you can be sure that we will love and support you no matter what. But you should realize that this does put us in an awkward position," Marty told him. "If you were straight and wanted your own room so that your girlfriend could spend the night with you, then that might be a problem. At fourteen, you are a little young to be having sex with anybody."

"But Sam and I have done stuff together for a long time," Ben protested.

"We are aware of that," Marco said. "As twin brothers we have no doubts that you will have experimented with a lot of things. As you have pointed out, twins do everything together."

"To be quite honest, I wish that both of you were straight. Not because there is anything wrong with being gay, but because it does complicate your life in some ways. Not everyone is as accepting as we are," Marty said. "We know that from experience too."

"Here is my suggestion," Marco said, "and I think that Marty will agree. You two should talk it over and decide what seems to be the best decision for both of you. Whatever you decide will be OK with us." Marty nodded in agreement.

"Would you like to have a room by yourself?" Ben asked Sam.

"Not particularly. This was for your benefit," Sam shrugged, "Do you?"

"Not so I can do stuff with Austin. It would be strange being in a room by myself. I think it would be lonely."

"Why break up a good thing, right?"

"Right," Ben smiled.

"So, is the problem resolved?" Marco asked.

"It is for me," Ben said. "I guess I was worried about nothing."

Sam smiled, "Me too. Good roommates are hard to find."

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