20th December 2004: This is the only “Christmas special” I wrote as Sebastian Wallace and it continues the story of Sebastian and his brother, now having to bunk up together during the family Christmas festivities at their parents’ house. The story wasn’t as popular as I’d hoped and made me wonder if Christmas maybe isn’t a good time to release erotic stories.

Christmas Reunion

Part 1

Just about every Christmas I can remember, my dad’s sister and brother have paid my parents a visit with their families. For an afternoon and evening, the house becomes overwhelmed by people. You can’t seem to move without tripping over someone’s feet or elbowing someone’s drink over.

It used to be worse when Auntie Pauline – that’s my dad’s sister – and Uncle Bill used to bring their son Josh along with them. Josh was a few years older than me and used to see the visit as an opportunity to take the piss out of me continually and steal or break as much of my stuff as he could in the time they were here.

But he’d stopped coming when he’d reached sixteen or so. My CD collection and I had breathed a grateful sigh of relief.

Uncle Sean – my dad’s brother – and his wife used to bring their big black retriever. I think my mother hated that dog even more than I hated Josh. One year it got so excited by carol singers coming to the door that it somehow got the electric cable of the Christmas tree lights entwined around itself and pulled the tree, the lights, the baubles and even the fairy on top out onto the front garden when my dad opened the front door. Another year it managed to gulp down half of the uncooked turkey my mother was preparing when her back was turned.

After that my mum developed a sudden and inexplicable allergy to dog hair. Poor Tara has had to be put into a boarding kennel ever since.

It became a bit better, too, after my older sister Adrianne got married and moved out from home when she was twenty. That freed up a bedroom to become a spare room and so I didn’t have to sleep downstairs to accommodate the annual invasion.

These days, since I left home to go to University and now that I’ve moved up to Leeds, I’m hardly ever at my parents’ house to witness the Christmas reunions. The last time I was part of it, actually, must have been seven or eight years ago.

As I remember it, I’d paid my parents a fleeting visit between the end-of-term parties at University and visiting my girlfriend’s folks for Christmas and the New Year. I’d called into see them for the night, stopping off at London on the drive from Southampton and Yorkshire.

Originally I’d said I wouldn’t have time to see them until well into the New Year. But I figured I’d surprise them by taking a detour from the M25; have at least one evening of festive tradition with the folks before heading up North.

Unfortunately, my brief appearance had happened to coincide with the night my aunts and uncles chose to visit. And to complicate matters further, it also happened to be the weekend that my older brother had chosen to stay over with them.

You see, Gareth had been avoiding me since the Summer. My phone messages had gone unacknowledged, letters had been unanswered, and every time I’d been to my parents’ house he always seemed to be visiting friends or had made plans to be as far away as possible. Even a card I’d sent him to congratulate him on a job he’d got in Guildford – doing something with computers – had been met with only silence.

It had become clear that he simply didn’t want to know me.

The problem had arisen because a joke between us had got a little out of hand. Well, let’s be honest about this: it had got pretty drastically out of hand.

It had happened like this. Gareth had been staying with me in Southampton and a mate of mine had made a few jokes about the fact that Gareth and I are pretty close and don’t have many hang-ups about being naked around each other and stuff like that. Gareth and I had fooled around in front of him – pretending to get it on together – and then, after a few beers and when it had become clear that our mate was getting turned on by what we were doing, we’d got our dicks out and played around a little together.

Not too much wrong with that, you might be thinking: just two brothers having a laugh at some guy’s expense. But it went a bit further after my mate had gone. It had gone a lot further, actually.

It had seemed pretty cool at the time, trying some stuff with my older brother that I’d wondered about since we were kids, but afterwards – well – it hadn’t seemed quite so straightforward. Gareth had had some pretty serious regrets and had left my place looking anxious and upset at something he saw as being entirely his fault. He’s the elder brother, you see: that means, according to Gareth’s logic, that he carries the emotional can.

I hadn’t felt quite so upset by what we’d done – I figured, and still feel, actually, that it’s something that most brothers experiment with when they’re young – but I’d desperately wanted to make contact with Gareth about it since we’d parted.

I hadn’t wanted him to get the impression that I was trying to force him to talk about something he clearly didn’t want to confront, but I’d wanted him to know that I missed him and hoped we could be mates again.

So now you see why my turning up in the middle of a family reunion, with Gareth open-mouthed in horror at my appearance in the doorway, wasn’t exactly the best moment to have chosen.

I think, at first, that he thought he’d been the victim of a conspiracy between my mother and I; that she’d phoned me with the details of his visit so as to set up an encounter between the two of us.

He’d stared at her as she hugged me, as if trying to spot some tell-tale sign that her apparent surprise was bogus, and had muttered something like, “Very convenient,” when I’d explained that I’d called in on the way to seeing my girlfriend’s family.

But after I’d said my hellos to my parents and turned to greet Gareth, I made it clear, as sincerely as I could, that I hadn’t known he’d be home that weekend.

His expression had softened from hostility to uncertainty.

I gave him an affectionate slap on the shoulder and said, “It’s good to see you, Gazz…”

He’d shrugged. “Yeah…”

His face was wary and his posture cold and stuff. He really didn’t want this to be happening.

My mother announced that, since I’d come home, one of us would have to sleep on the camp-bed. Gareth has the bigger bedroom of the two of us, a leftover from when we were kids living at home, and so his bedroom had been assigned to Uncle Sean and Aunty Diane.

Until my arrival, it seemed that Gareth was going to sleep in the single bed in my smaller room.

I’d suggested, “I don’t mind… we’ll share the room. Gareth can have the bed… I’ll sleep on the floor –”

But Gareth had almost cried out in horror at that prospect. “No! I’ll sleep downstairs!”

My mother had seemed taken aback.

Gareth quickly added, trying to keep his voice to a more composed volume, “It’s no problem… really…”

My mother shrugged. “Well, okay… if you’re sure…”

Gareth nodded, trying to look casual about something he was clearly extremely uptight about. “It’s no big deal…”

My mother went on, “You really don’t need to sleep downstairs, though, Gareth… you and Sebastian have slept with each other before, haven’t you…?”

Gareth turned scarlet. “What do you mean?”

My mother looked surprised by his response. “When you were younger… on holiday and stuff… you’d always share a room…”

Gareth sighed, “Oh… yeah…” He seemed to realise that he was over-reacting but held firm in his intention to vacate my bedroom.

I even offered to sleep downstairs so that he could have the bed – I was, after all, the interloper – but Gareth was unshakeable.

I think my parents interpreted his steadfast refusal to share a room with me as being part of Gareth’s tendency towards solitude which had started in his teens.

Knowing the real reason, I felt upset that my older brother wanted nothing to do with me and slightly affronted that he seemed to be assuming I would make a move on him during the night despite him making his discomfort with the sexual side of our relationship so blatant.

He continued to be tense during supper and then almost entirely withdrew from the conversation when my dad, his sister and brother were reminiscing about their childhood. He sat glaring at his glass of wine in a corner as though trying to will the evening to reach its end.

At one point my Auntie Pauline was gently teasing my dad about something he’d done when he was a boy – I don’t remember what – and Uncle Sean waded in to defend him.

Auntie Pauline had smiled and nodded knowingly. “You two have always stuck together against me… Jim could say black’s white and you’d be agreeing with him, Sean… it’s been the same ever since you were old enough to talk…”

Uncle Sean had smiled back. “You’re the oldest of us… you’re just the obvious target to be someone to rebel against…”

Auntie Pauline had seemed unconvinced. She shook her head. “I don’t think that’s all there is to it. You two are brothers and I’m the sister… I can never be part of your boys’ club…”

My dad had chuckled. “I didn’t think brothers were supposed to be like that. I mean, aren’t brothers supposed to be more competitive… have the relationship of a pair of rivals rather than friends…?”

My mother interjected, “I don’t think so… Gareth and Sebastian have never been like that… they’ve always been very close like you and Sean…”

Gareth glanced up from his wine glass, his eyes guarded.

My dad laughed, “Yeah, that’s true. And they’ve always ganged up together against Adrianne…”

Auntie Pauline nodded. “It’s like I said, you see. Brothers do have a kind of boys’ club…”

Uncle Sean disagreed. “I don’t think that’s true of all brothers. Actually, I know a lot of blokes who wouldn’t piss on their own brothers if they were on fire…”

Auntie Pauline tutted and glowered at him for using the word ‘piss’, like he was still a kid. My mother could stop herself from smiling and looked downward to try and hide it.

He went on, indifferent to his sister’s disapproval, “Maybe it’s just the brothers in this family… I don’t know…”

My dad agreed. “Gareth and Sebastian are closer than most brothers, that’s true. You guys have done a lot of stuff together, haven’t you…?”

Gareth turned the colour of beetroot and stared back down at his wine.

I wasn’t feeling quite so uncomfortable – in fact, I wasn’t feeling at all uncomfortable – so I spoke for the two us. “I dunno… there’s guys at University who are closer to their brothers than Gareth and I…”

Uncle Sean shrugged. “But for every pair of those there must be a dozen who don’t see their brothers from one year to the next… no, you guys are closer than most, like me and your dad, and that’s nice… that’s how it should be…”

Gareth continued blushing, unable to make eye contact with anyone.

I guess everyone except me assumed he was drunk.

I found I couldn’t sleep that night. I felt guilty for showing up at the house when Gareth was here, for spoiling his weekend with our parents, and for making him feel so tense and anxious and paranoid about every innocuous comment anyone said about the pair of us.

I was wishing I’d continued driving up to Keighley to see Kaz, my girlfriend.

It must have been about half past three in the morning when I crept out of my room and tiptoed downstairs to talk to Gareth.

Over the hours I’d been lying awake, I’d decided that the two of us had to talk; Gareth looked like he was getting really screwed up about what had happened between us: it was time to see if I could put things right. Let’s face it: I couldn’t exactly make things any worse.

The house was cold and deadly quiet except for the slow, occasional growl of Uncle Bill’s snores from Adrianne’s old room.

Gareth was lying in his sleeping bag in front of the dying embers of the fire that had been roaring just a few hours earlier. A weak red glow filled the room from it.

He looked over at me as I entered the room. Like me, it seemed he too was having trouble sleeping.

I whispered, “I wanted to talk to you…”

He nodded.

I walked over to him, and knelt at his feet in front of the fire. I stoked the coals a little, and they glowed a little redder, but it didn’t kick out much heat.

I said, “I’m freezing…”

I was wearing just a teeshirt and my briefs and the icy air bit at the skin of my arms and legs.

He suggested, “Throw a few more pieces of coal on it… there’s still enough life in it for them to catch…”

I did as he said, feeling a little surprised that Gareth was implicitly asking me to stay a while with him. I mixed the fresh pieces with the hotter remnants, and a couple of then soon began to burn.

I said, “I honestly didn’t know you were staying here this weekend, Gazz…”

He nodded. “Yeah. I know. I was just surprised to see you…”

“You’ve been avoiding me.”

He looked at the fire. “For pretty obvious reasons…”

I decided to approach the matter head-on. Lance the wound, so to speak. “What we did, Gareth… it wasn’t wrong… it shouldn’t come between us like this…”

He had his answer ready. “What we did might not have been wrong, I’m not sure about that… I just know that how I feel definitely is…”

“Okay… so tell me how you feel…”

He laughed hollowly. “Fucked up…”

I put my hand on his shin and squeezed it. He didn’t withdraw as I’d expected. His leg felt warm; the air in the room was still freezing despite the coals that were burning on the fire.

I said, “It’s time to move on, mate. We enjoyed it, but –”

He cut in, “Yeah, we enjoyed it. That’s the problem… we enjoyed it far too much…”

I didn’t see where he was coming from. I tried, “Well… it doesn’t have to be a problem… we don’t have to make it a problem…”

He stared at me. His eyes were fixed on mine. “I don’t think you get it, Seb… this isn’t about guilt or self-recrimination or anything like that…”

“Okay…” I shrugged. “So what’s it about?”

He kept staring at me. “It’s about the fact that… well…” He looked back at the fire. The flames were licking upward into the chimney but giving out little heat. “Ever since you got here, I’ve wanted to… I dunno… to do the same stuff that we did that night…”

I was stunned to hear him say that. I hadn’t expected it at all.

I asked him, “Why didn’t you tell me… why’ve you been so funny with me these last few months…?”

“Because it’s wrong. How I feel is wrong…”

“I don’t think it is. It doesn’t have to be…”

He stared back at me. “We’re brothers for Christ’s sake…!”

I nodded. “Yeah, and we love each other… and if we chose, occasionally, to express that love in a physical way, well who’s to say that’s wrong…?”

He shook his head. “A hug’s one thing, Seb. Getting our dicks out and… well…”

I squeezed his leg more firmly. “Gareth, mate. Listen. I really enjoyed what we did. It felt good to be with you like that… it felt warm and affectionate and in no way wrong. At least not to me. It wasn’t like doing stuff with a girl… you’re my brother and that made it totally different from that…”

He tried to say something but I stopped him.

I went on, “I thought – for my part – that it brought us closer. It really upset me when you wouldn’t answer my calls and stuff… I wanted you to talk about it with me if you were feeling messed up about it… if you can’t talk to me, who the hell can you talk to, Gazz?”

He looked down. He muttered, “I’m sorry, Seb. I just couldn’t.”

I nodded. “As far as I’m concerned, if it ever happens again, I’d enjoy it. And if it doesn’t… well, I’d kind of miss it, but what’s most important is that we stay mates. That outweighs everything else…”

He nodded. “Yeah… look, I’m really sorry Seb. I knew I was upsetting you, but I really couldn’t face you…”

I smiled. “Don’t worry about it.”

He said, “You’re shaking…”

“I’m shivering… I’m fucking freezing…”

He smiled. “Do you want to get in here with me…?”

“If that wouldn’t freak you out too much…”

He shook his head, unzipping his sleeping bag. “Having you next to me won’t freak me out. I’ll enjoy it. I’ll probably get hard. That’s the part that will freak me out…”

I smiled and got in with him, smelling the familiar scent of his body inside the sleeping bag. “I just don’t see why it should, Gazz. When we were kids and we used to wank off together, part of the fun of it – at least for me – was seeing you do it. That got me hard. To me that’s reasonable. I mean, when you feel affection for someone, you’re bound to find them attractive…”

I snuggled in beside him. Like me, he was wearing a teeshirt and pair of briefs.

He said, “You think it’s as straightforward as that…?”

I smiled. “Well, no. But it’s part of it…”

I put my arm over him. “Give me a hug, Gazz…”

He rolled over to face me and I did the same to him. We wrapped our arms around each other.

I whispered, “Don’t ever give me the silent treatment again…”

He nodded.

I said, “Promise.”

He smiled. “Yeah, I promise.”

I held him tight to me, pressing my cheek against his.

When we pulled away from each other, I said, “So did you get hard?”

He smiled more broadly. “What do you think?”

I reached down to feel between his legs. Sure enough, his cock was stiff and making a thick, throbbing rod inside his briefs.

I chuckled.

He asked, “What about you?”

I smiled back at him. “What do you think?”

He reached down to mine and found it in a similar state.

I gently rubbed my fingers up and down the length of his. I felt it swell in appreciation. The head of it strained against the confines of his briefs.

He did the same to mine, following my rhythm.

I reminded him, “Just twenty minutes ago you were telling me how screwed up you’ve been feeling… is this really the best thing to do right now?”

He shrugged. “I dunno. Hair of the dog that bit you and all that…”

I smiled weakly. That wasn’t very convincing.

I asked him again, “Are you sure?”

He answered me by pressing his mouth to mine. I accepted him eagerly, opening my mouth and pushing my tongue against his.

His breathing became punctuated by short gasps as our tongues wrestled gently inside our mouths, his entering me and playing with mine and then me doing the same to his.

I felt his hand release my cock from my underwear and begin to masturbate it in earnest.

I quickly followed suit with his larger organ.

He pulled back from my mouth to whisper, “You know what I want you to do…?”

Our hands maintained their rhythms on each other’s cocks.

I nodded. “Yeah. I think so.”

“And do you want to do it?”

“Yeah, of course. If it won’t screw you up…”

He hesitated. “I really want you to do it. I’ve thought about it so often since… that day…”

I said, “As far as I’m concerned, it’ll be an act of affection, Gazz. An expression of how I feel for you as my brother…”

We kept masturbating each other for a few seconds while Gareth thought about the implications of what we were contemplating.

Eventually he suggested, “I think if we do it, Seb… I think it would be best for me to visit you in the New Year… or you to visit me. Stay over with each other; talk about it and see how we feel. Don’t give the memory time to fester…”

I nodded. “That’s fine by me…”

His thumb swirled around the head of my cock, rubbing my precum into the sensitive skin around the slit.

He nodded back at me. “In that case…”

 

Part 2

28th December 2004: In this story, I chose to have Sebastian and Gareth’s late-night affection overseen by their Uncle Sean and indeed it is Sean who narrates several sections of this part of the story. As with ‘Brother Tease’ it was about context: I felt I needed a third person to observe the lads and offer a frame of reference to what they were doing.

I wouldn’t have seen them if the door hadn’t have been ajar.

I’d heard them talking – that’s what had awoken me – but I’d have assumed they were just having a chat if I hadn’t have seen them. Thought they were talking about old times or something. Whatever guys of their age talk about.

I’d come downstairs for a glass of water. I hadn’t meant to spy on them.

But, like I said, I got glimpse of them through the gap in the door as I walked past it.

And that’s what made me stop. The hallway was freezing cold and I was wearing only a pair of pyjama bottoms and a vest but I had to see what was going on.

You see, what caught my attention was that they were both inside the sleeping bag. Both squeezed into the one sleeping bag. Whispering stuff to each other.

At first I thought maybe I was mistaken: that it wasn’t the two brothers together; that the older of them had sneaked a girl in. That was the way the whispering sounded: kind of conspiratorial; like a couple of lovers.

But both voices were deep and I realised it was the two guys in there.

My nephews.

Then I noticed the way the bag was moving.

I couldn’t really see very much – the only light was the flickering of the fire – but it was obvious what was going on inside the bag. It was pretty clear that they were fiddling with each other.

I suppose my immediate reaction was to be appalled by what I was seeing.

Two grown lads, brothers no less, playing with each other.

I almost wanted to walk right in and stop them.

But something held me back. Curiosity, maybe. Morbid fascination. I don’t know.

They kept kissing each other between whispering together. Kissing like they meant it.

I thought I must be dreaming this. This couldn’t be happening.

I mean, the younger guy has had girlfriends. I’d even met one a couple of years earlier. And he was seeing someone right then, or so I gathered.

The older one was a good looking lad as well. He’d just got himself an impressive job by all accounts. Women would be throwing themselves at him.

So what the hell was going on? Why would they be playing around with each other?

The older one said something and the younger one chuckled.

They unzipped the bag halfway down, and the younger of them lay on his back. I saw his knob poking out from the top of his underpants. The other lad pulled his brother’s underpants down a little further and handled his knob like it was made of glass.

Like he was in awe of it or something.

It was a pretty big piece of meat, I have to say. A size or two bigger than mine. I think I might have been in awe of it, come to think of it.

I almost gasped when the older lad began sucking at the head of his brother’s knob.

I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

The younger one groaned like a contented dog and lay back to enjoy the attention he was getting. He held his brother’s head, like he was trying to get more of his knob into the guy’s mouth each time the older guy moved his face down onto it.

Then the one doing the sucking paused and looked up at his brother’s face. He smiled at him and said something like, “Am I better than your girlfriend?”

The younger guy laughed and said, “Like I said, it’s totally different… it feels nice because it’s you, Gazz… not ’cause you’re a substitute for a girl…”

And that’s what started me thinking.

I’d never done much with my brother – their father – but what little we had got up to after lights out was always… well… a bit special.

Maybe that sounds a bit sentimental, I don’t know.

But seeing the two of them made me remember that I’d enjoyed something of what they were now feeling myself thirty or so years earlier.

Hugging each other, pressing our knobs up against each other, that kind of stuff. Maybe tossing off, I don’t remember.

I just know that it had felt nice to be close to Jim like that. When we were teens.

To feel my older brother’s arms around me and to enjoy feeling him getting excited; to know that we were both getting aroused by the other’s pleasure as we pressed our bodies against each other. It had sort of brought us together. If that doesn’t sound too soft.

These guys were in a different league from their father and I, but I could see the appeal and, I think, understand why they were doing it.

I must say that the older one gave his brother’s knob a treat, working the shaft with his fingers while his mouth kissed and licked at the head. His technique was gentle and tender. It was, I could see, and act of affection more than of lust.

Or that’s how it looked.

Could I have done this to Jim when we were their age?

I wasn’t sure.

Maybe it would have been nice if we had.

***

When Gareth had finished his elaborate, and extremely pleasant, way of wetting my cock, he looked up at me, smiling.

I said, “Are you really sure about this, Gazz?”

He nodded. “Yeah…”

He rolled over onto his stomach and I pulled the back of his briefs down to the tops of his thighs. His arsecheeks looked soft and pale in the dim red flicker from the fire.

I worked my fingers into his cleft, finding his tight, puckered hole.

He gasped.

Then I surprised him – surprised myself, actually – by wetting his opening using my tongue. He tried to pull away – seemed almost embarrassed – but I held him firm and licked at his anus, tasting its faintly bitter scent and feeling the heat of it against my tongue.

Pressing my face against Gareth’s arse like that made my cock strain in anticipation. The sensation wasn’t disgusting at all; I hadn’t expected it be. Instead, it felt intensely arousing to be so intimate with my brother and for us to be showing each other such trust.

After I’d moistened him, I mounted him and eased my cock slowly and gently into his rectum.

Gareth smiled and groaned in appreciation. He said, “That feels nice…”

I put my arms around his chest, my face against the back of his neck, and started fucking him with long, deliberate strokes.

He muttered, “Oh God… I’m not gonna last long…”

***

I’d never seen two men making love – never even imagined what it would look like, if I’m honest – but seeing those two doing it, in front of the fire like that, was… well…

Beautiful, I suppose.

Awe-inspiring.

The front of my blue pyjamas rose up like one of those ski jumps you see on the telly. My own organ was demanding attention from my hand. I can’t remember the last time it did that.

I felt a little guilty that I had become aroused seeing my own nephews sharing their private moment, but I couldn’t deny that what I was looking at was incredibly erotic. Yes, erotic. I was fully aware that this was an act of buggery – that I was watching one brother sodomising the other – but I think it was the motivation behind it that I found so captivating.

These guys really loved each other.

They were unashamed about being intimate together.

That was what was so beautiful about it.

And, when you think about it, how can two people better express affection than to make love with one another?

How can one man better express his love and trust of another than to allow him to enter his body?

I really was awe-struck. Open-mouthed and dumbfounded.

I began to imagine doing to my older brother – Jim – what the younger guy was doing to his older brother. When we’d been their age.

The idea was enticing, though tinged with regret that it hadn’t happened; that Jim and I had never been close enough to have experienced this together.

That to do so would be impossible now.

I realised the front of my pyjamas had a damp patch the size of a fifty pence piece at the tip of my erection. I eased my organ out through the fly and gently worked at it with my fingers.

The younger lad pulled his brother upward so that he was bending on all fours. Then he got upright behind him, his hips bucking against the older lad’s buttocks.

They were both panting like a couple of greyhounds.

The older lad groaned, “Aah… Sebastian…”

The younger lad was carressing his brother’s back and his chest, his hands exploring the other lad’s body inside his loose-fitting teeshirt.

So this was brotherly love.

If only I’d have known.

Then the older one pushed himself upright so that the two of them were kneeling together, one behind the other.

I saw that they were moving in time together: the older lad was pushing his bum back against the younger; the younger one was driving himself in to meet him.

I was bowled over again by the beauty of it. The sheer elegance.

These guys must adore each other.

I saw the older lad’s knob arching upwards in front of him while he received his brother behind him. It looked thick and enormous, bouncing around in time with their love-making.

The younger lad’s hand reached round to hold it, but the older one brushed him off.

He said, “Only when you’re ready, Seb…”

The other one panted, “I am…”

The older one shifted his position slightly, opening his legs further, and then grabbed his brother’s hand and placed it on his knob.

Their movements became faster; frenzied almost.

The older brother erupted almost as soon as the younger lad wrapped his fingers around his knob.

The younger one began bucking his hips furiously: pumping himself in and out of his brother’s backside as he reached his own climax.

The two of them were grunting like a couple of pigs.

In my mind’s eye I was watching Jim and I at their age in their place. The two of us in front of the fire, me behind him with my arms around him, being intimate with him in ways I would never have considered.

I only realised then that my own knob was spurting and that I was grunting too.

As they cleaned themselves up, and as I tried to wipe as much of my own mess from the living room door as I could, I felt a sense of loss creeping over me.

It was an odd sensation – I still get it from time to time – of having missed out on something at an age when I hadn’t even known such things were possible.

Sometimes when I see Jim looking over at me at family get-togethers, deep in thought, I wonder if he sometimes feels it too. If he knows what his two sons have experienced together and regrets that we hadn’t had the courage to explore it too.

I didn’t get much sleep that night. My mind was reeling like it had had been kicked in the teeth.

***

I didn’t see Gareth in the New Year like we’d planned.

I meant to, it was just that unexpected things happened and I ended up in hospital throughout most of January as a patient rather than a student.

He sent me a card, which said, “Thinking of you. Gareth.”

He was just about the only member of my family who did.

Actually, thinking back, I seem to remember that I got one from Uncle Sean, which was a little bizarre. It must have been the first time that he’d ever shown that he could remember my name, never mind cared about my state of health.

There was no mention of Auntie Diane on it; it was just signed, “Hope to see you soon, Uncle Sean.”

Odd.

I next saw Gareth just before Easter.

I went to stay with him at a flat he was sharing with a friend in Epsom.

The weird thing was that when I realised, after a couple of hours of being there, that his friend was a bit more than a friend, I actually found myself feeling jealous! Jealous of my brother’s boyfriend!

But, in retrospect, I think getting into a relationship helped Gareth a lot. We talked about what we’d done, when we were alone of course, but the fact that he was paired up with a guy he quite clearly had a lot of feelings for seemed to prevent further developments between the two of us.

At least in the short term…

 

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