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Keeping a Secret

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As soon as Dan stops the camera, the room is filled with a small silence that contaminates both of his and Phil‘s lungs. Dan stands there gazing back at Phil, who seems to have been crying silently behind the camera, but his tears have since stopped. Phil wipes away what he can with a sniffle as he walks over to Dan. He wraps his arms around him and holds him closer than he normally would. He holds him so close that it seems like one of them would be leaving for good, but Phil was just so proud of Dan for telling his story — the harsh truth about something that he had never told anyone before — and for coming out to everyone he cared about and to everyone who supported him. Phil could feel Dan wrap his own arms around him, pulling him closer as they began to realize what happens next.

“I’m so incredibly proud of you,” Phil whispered.

“Thank you, Phil. Literally, thank you for everything. You’ve been there for me since the beginning, and I don’t think I could have done this without you.” Dan, pulling away, gazes at Phil for a moment before holding out his hand, “I’m ready.”

*

After countless hours of rigorous editing, of Phil running notes by Dan in order to fix any possible mistakes, and of adding the wonderful graphics made by Hector, the video was now in its final 45-minute form. Included in the video, with his consent of course, was a 2-minute section dedicated to Phil’s story since it fit in perfectly with Dan’s. Dan knew that people would explode over this small segment, but he also knew that his story would be the main thing people took away.

Now, everything felt complete. The only thing left to do was to push the publish button and release it into the world tomorrow. Everything that exists when the camera is off will be shared with everyone, and Dan knew that this was the best thing he could do for himself and his future. It was just one more night of holding onto a secret, one more night for a short dance that no one could see, and one more night of walking in this beautifully gay world alone. After tonight, he would reveal so much of himself and his greatest struggles, as well as hopefully have an impact. He knew that someone out there needed something to help them with their life somehow, and he hoped to be that something. That’s the only reason he holds on: to try and help someone out there understand and feel valid.

On this final night, Dan laid on top of the bed and stared at the ceiling as thoughts of doubt swirled around his head, but he pushed them away because this was for the best. He was sure of it. There’s no doubt about it. He’s never going back. Never. Just then, he felt a presence appear next to him. It was Phil. Dan takes his hand and holds onto it for as long as he can; he never wants to let go, and he knows Phil feels the same way.

“You okay?” Phil was kindly staring down at him. Dan hummed in response, making it seem as though he was on the fence about things. Phil takes this as a que to lay next to the boy whom he cares so deeply about. The two of them gaze up at the ceiling, existing together as the moonlight that had once appeared bitter became welcoming and open for the first time in years.

Still holding onto Phil’s hand, Dan brings it closer to his chest and leaves it intertwined with his on top of his heart. Neither of them look at each other as they swim in silence. This is the night before their lives are exposed more than ever before. They imagine their phones blowing up with notifications, and how everyone’s eyes will be on them more than usual. They’re preparing for the world to hear Dan speak about his sexuality, coming to terms with it, and living his truth. However, it wasn’t just Dan everyone would be reacting to, but Phil as well. He always knew that, when he did come out to the internet, it would be lowkey, but he’s still valid.

When Dan had asked Phil if it was okay to include his story in the script and he said yes, he realized how much trust they had for each other. Dan has always understood how important Phil is to him over these past ten years, but it’s moments like these that remind him of just how much he truly loves this man. Phil wouldn’t give up a part of himself for just anyone, but he’s doing it for one of the most important people in his life. So, Dan took this part of Phil and made it a subtle moment in his video because it wasn’t fully his story to tell and because he knew it’s what Phil would’ve wanted it if it was him coming out tomorrow. He has always taken great care of everything Phil gives him, and Phil will always do the same if not more.

Dan’s thoughts were rampant about how tomorrow would change a lot of things, but it would be a beautifully wonderful thing that he couldn’t wait for. So, with Phil still next to him, he turned onto his side to face him and says, “I love you.”

Phil smiled as he faced Dan, replying with the same words, “I love you, too.” He said this with so much affection that it washed over Dan like a wave, and he couldn’t help but bring him closer and kiss him like it was the last time. But it was just the last time as a secret.

*

It was nearing 8 p.m. and the publish button on the screen was itching to be pressed. Dan was fully ready at this point, but it needed to be done at the right moment. Phil was sitting with him, comforting him and making him feel better about publishing the video. After all these years, he finally feels like he isn’t doing it alone.

“Ready?”

“Always.”

With that, Dan pushes the blue button and waits for his page to update with the new video titled “Basically I’m Gay”. He felt the weight that he’s carried for twenty eight years lift off his shoulders as the video sat in front of him. He shuts his computer, logging off for the rest of the night. Dan knows that everyone is getting the notification or watching the video right now, so he and Phil sit in silence. Dan leans into Phil, and Phil wraps his arms around him, letting it all sink in.

“It’s out.”

“Not much to hide anymore. It’s just us.”

Phil kisses the top of Dan’s head, and Dan, letting reality set in, feels like he’s on top of the world. He backs away from Phil and looks at him. He feels like he’s flying. Like they’re both flying. Dan could explode at any moment out of pure happiness and excitement for all the things the future holds for them now. Everything is in their hands now, and the future can’t hold them back anymore. They feel safe with each other and with the life they’ve built together. It feels like nothing is weighing them down anymore.
Phil smiles at Dan, their connection somehow feeling stronger than before, and knows what Dans’ feeling. It’s so extraordinary that they both could scream, but, instead, Dan leans in and kisses Phil once more. Just like last night, everything they do together says more than a thousand words. It all just makes sense and everything is as it should be.

The secret they’ve kept for so long has exploded into its full spectrum of color and covers everything bad about life. For right now, everything is okay, and for now it’s just Dan and Phil.