So this piece was written when I decided to steer away from writing some more of my novel – it felt a bit too big – and I put on a random video of acoustic guitar and wrote along with what I felt was fitting. I originally put the title as Romance and Music, but I hated it. The new one isn’t much better but I really wasn’t bothered about thinking of a serious title for it. The boys are both from my actual novel. although they aren’t together, or getting together, I just thought it was a fun relationship to try out!
Russet squinted into the sun. His red hair was aflame with the light. It had been one of the best days he’d had, and as the night began to come, he hoped it would only continue. That he could bring himself to say what he had been waiting all this time for.
Tyran’s footsteps returned from inside the house. He carried a slim acoustic guitar and a bottle of amaretto whiskey in his hands. While his dark hair shone, his eyes shone brighter still, their blue resembling the daytime sky that was now fading into oranges and pinks, the slight purples of dusk.
“Mina won’t mind you taking that?” Russet asked, nodding at the guitar.
“Nah. She doesn’t play it any more.” Tyran sat on the cushion opposite Russet and began to tune the guitar. “She just listens to me if I’m being honest.”
“I see,” Russet said. He watched as Tyran quickly turned pegs and plucked strings, his hands flowing effortlessly through quick checks. When he was satisfied, he smiled up at Russet and opened the bottle. He took a deep swig and then wiped his mouth with a sleeve, before placing the bottle down and hoisting the guitar back onto his lap properly.
“Any preferences?” Tyran asked. When Tyran’s eyes caught his, Russet’s gaze faltered before it locked back onto the two blue orbs that burnt into his soul. He wished he was confident enough to just blurt it out casually, as Tyran could. But he wasn’t like that. Couldn’t be like that.
“Whatever you want, I don’t mind.” Russet shrugged and took the bottle from its resting place. Tyran hadn’t replaced the lid, so he took a mouthful and swilled it around in his mouth. It was sweet, slightly sharp. It burnt when he swallowed it. But it was a drink and drinking enough would help him.
Tyran strummed a few chords, humming to make sure he was playing the right thing, before breaking into a gentle progression that lightly filled the air between them.
Russet didn’t talk. He just listened as Tyran created the perfect soundtrack to the sunset. He watched as Tyran moved his hands up and down the guitar neck with a gentleness that he didn’t know he possessed. Russet took in the way that Tyran’s foot, lolling off the edge of the seat, lifted and dropped, tapping an unheard beat into the air, and how as he played, his lips moved slightly as he internally sang the words to keep on track with the song. At one point Tyran even closed his eyes, a strange calm coming over him, and began whispering the words instead of simply miming them.
When his eyes opened again, they rose to Russet. Tyran smiled and shook his head. He repeated the chords.
“What, you’ve never seen a guy play guitar before?” Tyran joked. Of course Russet had seen guys play guitar, but he hadn’t seen Tyran. It sparked something in him that made him wish Tyran would sing louder, sing to him, for him, maybe even write things about him.
“Not you, though.” Russet said softly.
“Oh,” Tyran started. He picked the guitar off his lap and gently placed it down on the cushions next to him. Then he rose to pick up the bottle. He took a gulp, winced, and then took another.
“Too strong for you, huh?” Russet teased. Tyran smirked, his lips still half attached to the bottle. It caused a small dribble of amaretto to trail down his chin. Tyran laughed and wiped it off. He wiped his hand over Russets face.
“At least I drink something other than beer!”
“I like beer! What’s wrong with that?” Russet smiled incredulously and shrugged, gesturing with his hands.
“Everything,” Tyran spat playfully. He tipped the bottle to his lips again and screwed his eyes shut as he drank down five mouthfuls in a row.
“Well, real men drink beer,” Russet joked. Tyran choked on the drink and Russet laughed. He laughed harder than he thought he would, a slight hysterical rush to it.
“Well then I’m a girl and I don’t care,” Tyran pouted. He lifted the bottle to his lips again and took a short sip, before mimicking a dance he and Russet had seen Mina do many times when she was drunk. They laughed until Tyran sat himself down next to Russet.
Russet took the bottle from Tyran’s hand and forced down a few mouthfuls. He pulled a sour face and then handed the bottle back to Tyran. When their hands brushed, Russet wished the impact could have lasted longer. That they would actually hold hands the way everyone else did, that he could pull Tyran in like that and kiss him. But he couldn’t. Always, there were things he couldn’t do.
“Do you think if you were a girl, you’d be lesbian?” Tyran asked.
“Would you?” Tyran asked. “Like if you had a choice I mean, to be a straight girl or be lesbian, you’d turn back into a guy later, but what would you pick?”
Russet struggled to think of an answer. He realised slowly that maybe the conversation would change into something else; he could use the chance to suggest how he felt.
“Straight,” he said, “I’m curious.”
“You’d still be like, you inside your head though,” Tyran warned.
“I know. It would just be cool because you’d feel it like how a girl feels it.”
“Would you take it in the ass?” Tyran shot the question out with a sideways look. His mouth curved into a smirk and his eyes squinted. Russet felt himself stop breathing. He laughed to cover it.
“Guys can do that anyway, what would be the difference?” Russet swallowed and then licked his lips. His mouth had suddenly gone dry. If they were really about to start talking, it would be now, and he felt unsure of how much Tyran was instigating it. What if he was just going to be some kind of one-time thing? If Tyran just wanted him for sex?
“So if you were you now, would you do it? I’m curious…”
Russet’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, his blood pumped harder and harder through his veins.
“I- uh- May- Maybe?” His voice broke.
“What about if it was with me?” Tyran grinned. His eyes were bright, but Russet could see that a slight haze from alcohol had taken over.
“I’m joking!” Tyran slapped Russet in the chest. He began to laugh as Russet felt himself blush. He swallowed hard, and began to slowly squirm out of Tyran’s way. It was too much. Too intimate. When he began to move away, Tyran’s hand clamped onto his shoulder, keeping him still.
“I’m joking… I just wanted to see what you’d do.”
“Why?” Russet asked, his voice full of venom he didn’t even know was inside of him. Tyran shrank back slightly.
“Because… I don’t know, it’s me! I like pissing about with people over gay things.”
“It’s not funny,” Russet snapped. “And move your hand.” Russet licked his lips and then bit on the lower one as he tried to stare as harshly as possible out into the distance. Anywhere but Tyran.
He felt Tyran’s hand slide until it hit the seat with a quiet, muffled thud. Tyran shifted his weight until he was sitting shoulder to shoulder with Russet, their arms touching nearly the whole way down to the elbows. Then they split apart as Russet’s fell into his lap.
Out of the corner of his eyes, Russet saw Tyran look in the same direction as him, then up and down his face.
“Sorry.” Tyran’s head lifted as he looked straight opposite, to the chairs where the guitar was lying on its front.
“It’s okay… I guess,” Russet muttered. He saw Tyran mash his lips together, heard him take a huge breath.
“I have noticed, you know?” he said. His eyes were still dead ahead. Russet broke his stare into the distance and turned to Tyran with a speed he didn’t think was possible. His eyes took in the childish look of innocence on Tyran’s face and instantly Russet’s temper rose.
“Noticed what, that you chat shit when you drink?”
“That you watch me when you think I won’t notice,” Tyran said calmly.
“It’s called looking!”
“That you act weird whenever I talk about sex.”
“Oh shut the fuck up, what are you doi-”
“That you suddenly freeze the second I get closer to you.” Tyran’s voice broke slightly, as though the statement hurt more than it should have. Russet stared back, unable to think of a response. All of it was true, he couldn’t deny it, but why would Tyran sound so upset by it? He loved knowing that people were into him, flirted like anything when he could get the chance. Was it because he didn’t want Russet to feel that way? Would he say no to anything happening between them? Did he not feel it himself? Russet’s head swam with too many questions and he closed his eyes. He tried to breathe evenly.
“I don’t get it,” he sighed.
“You don’t get it? How do you think I feel?” Tyran gestured at himself, scoffing lightly. “I tell you everything that I’m dealing with, no matter what, and then you don’t tell me this?”
Tyran’s eyes glimmered with hurt and Russet could only stare more. As though he was waiting for a reply, Tyran widened his eyes and waved his hand around at Russet. He said nothing.
“How long?” Tyran pressed.
“How long have you liked me, Russ?”
Russet felt his mouth fall open. He stuttered rapidly, hundreds of words and sentences, hundreds of explanations trying to race out of his mouth at the same time. But still, he said nothing.
“Because if you had told me, I-” Tyran swallowed. A brief flicker of anxiety contorted his face into something Russet had never seen.
“I was planning to. I didn’t know how. I’m not like you, I’ve never been out, I didn’t think I was into anyone, I just never realised.” Russet felt a tension in his shoulders slip away, his hands, which had clenched without him realising, relaxed their death grip and he wiped his hands along his jeans.
“When did you know?”
“Only a few months. Not long, I never thought of you like that before, it came out of nowhere. I just got jealous of everyone you touched, everyone you kissed, everything. I hated it but why would you fall for me? I’m not meant to be your boyfriend, I’m your best friend, things shouldn’t happen to mess that up, I’ve got over that but you deserved to know.”
“If you had said years, I might have punched you,” Tyran said. His voice lilted slightly and Russet looked towards him to see Tyran smiling. It was slight, but it was a smile. Russet dipped an eyebrow in confusion and Tyran’s smile grew. His lips drew back to reveal a line of straight teeth with two slightly fang-like canines either side. It was a smile that had grown so warm to Russet that he wanted to see it every moment of the day.
“If you hadn’t have said to me “dude, no, I’m not gay,” when we first met, I had my eye on you,” Tyran confessed. A slight red tint grew on his face, another first for Russet. Tyran had never blushed at his own feelings before. He was always confident as anything.
“Really?” Russet asked. “So you would have, like asked me out?” Russet found that he too was smiling, and his body had relaxed, his side completely moulding together with Tyran’s.
“Yeah!” Tyran laughed quickly. “But you said no, way in advance, so I kept my mouth shut and got with Niamh instead.”
“Rebound of the century…” Russet gently teased. Both boys smiled with nostalgia and then sighed. Tyran picked up the bottle of amaretto and tipped its neck towards Russet. He took it, holding his grip steadily when their hands met.
“Russ?” Tyran asked. His eyes bore into Russet’s own. The question posed inside of them made Russet’s heartbeat rise. He tried hard to stop his voice from shaking.
“Homo?” Tyran grinned and raised an eyebrow. Russet followed, laughing for a few seconds before nodding.
“This time… Homo.”