It was weird, Matty thought, and he hadn’t noticed it before until suddenly, very suddenly, he did notice. It was like a sudden change, completely out of nowhere and so very unexpected. It was as if he’d just woken up one day and came to realize it the second he opened his eyes. And he had kept his little, newly discovered secret to himself for a few weeks, or maybe it was more like months really, he’d lost track. He went on as normal and acted as he usually would. Hanging around his friends and talking to them like nothing was wrong. In his opinion, he had done a great job of hiding it. No one had seemed to suspect anything off with him... That is until suddenly it was all too much, but even still then he couldn’t bring himself to say it to him directly. He instead turned to one of his other best friends, calling him close to one in the morning on a Wednesday. Of course, all his mates were all used to the completely out of the blue phone calls and texts about anything and everything, but this was a little different from all the previous middle of the night calls Matty would make to one of his best mates. This wasn’t him just wanting to spill about a good film he’d just finished and repeat over and over through the line that they just “have to watch it sometime.”, and then continue to go on about these characters and the plot and spoil the whole thing before they even get a chance to see it. This was different. And Ross knew that the moment he answered the call, he was just about to fall asleep when his ringtone broke the silence in his flat. Before he could even get a greeting out Matty was speaking franticly over the phone;
“Hey, fuck- I’m really, really sorry for calling but there’s this...thing and it’s going to actually fucking kill me if I don’t tell someone- if I don’t talk about it properly and I- there’s no one else for me to call and talk to about this at this hour and- I’m sorry-” Matty took a breath and became silent. He was sitting on his balcony despite the cold January weather, balancing a cigarette between his fingers while his other hand gripped his phone. He knew that really, he should’ve waited until a more reasonable hour and maybe invited Ross over and talked about it in person, but it was nagging at his brain tonight more than it had been and the thought of his friends having normal lives and normal sleep schedules didn’t really cross his mind until he’d already dialed Ross’ number.
“I- no, mate, don’t worry. What is it? What’s going on?” Ross shuffled around on the other end of the line and Matty started to feel worse about waking him up but still started to speak again since he was already clearly fully awake now and began to explain what was going on with him.
“Look, I- It’s weird, okay? I think it’s weird, and you’re going to think it’s weird because it just is...but…” He stopped again. He thought about how to say it, whether to just be blunt about it or start explaining the whole thing from the beginning. But of course, Matty was known for being quite, and maybe a bit too blunt sometimes. And not to mention it was nearing one thirty in the morning so he just fucking said it to get to the point. “I think- no, I know-...I’m in love with...someone. A boy.”
Ross was fairly quick to respond like he wasn’t at all surprised by this like he’d seen it coming and was expecting it at some point. “...And? Who is this...boy? Is that the problem? That this person’s a boy? Or-”
“It doesn’t really bother me that it’s a boy, I don’t care about that. I think we’ve all established ages ago that I’m not the straightest fucking guy in the world. It’s who the boy is that’s the problem. He’s my friend. Isn’t it like, I don’t know, some unspoken, universal rule that you absolutely do not fall for your friends? And he’s most definitely straight- fuck-”
Ross was silent for a few seconds, which felt like hours to Matty though. He wondered what he was thinking if he already had it figured out who Matty was referring to just from the small details he’d revealed in his confession. It wasn’t like it took a rocket scientist to figure it out though really. The first fact that gave it away was that Matty had called him up for advice in the first place and not George, who he always turned to first. And maybe he had tried to contact him but didn’t get an answer, but as Ross pondered the thought more he realized how unlikely that was seeing as George always answered any call or text from Matty right away. And in Ross’ mind right now, Matty calling up him in this situation could really only mean that the boy Matty had just confessed being in love with had to be George himself. Ross found himself wanting to blatantly ask and see if he happened to be right, but he also didn’t want to assume anything and be completely wrong, so he opted to just repeat the question altogether.
“Matty? Who is it then?”
“Don’t tell anyone, especially not him-”
“Nice of you to assume I’m going to immediately find this guy and tell him you’re in love with him and then proceed to call everyone else I know and tell them too.” Ross was being mostly sarcastic, but he was tired and really just wanted to go back to sleep, and he figured Matty of all people should know by now that he’s not once told any of his, or any of the other guys, secrets to anyone and he wasn’t going to start now or anytime soon. “Sorry, look- just...you know I’ve never gone and spilled any of your secrets to anyone before and I don’t plan on doing it this time around. You can tell me, you’ve called me in the first place so I know you want to talk about it.”
Matty sighed heavily, watching as the ash fell off the end of his spent cigarette and onto his bare knee. He left it there, not caring enough to do anything about it. “I know, sorry, I’m just nervous and worried and- fuck- it’s George, alright? Because of course, it is.”
“Oh.” Ross was still a little taken back by the confession, even though he’d already guessed it and seen it coming eventually. He’d just never thought Matty would say it out loud, he was usually one to keep most things, especially relationship-wise, a secret. “And you’re sure? That you’re like, I don’t know, properly in love with him? In a romantic way-“
“God, of course, I’m fucking sure. It wasn’t a thought I took lightly, you know? And I’ve spent most of my time recently trying to deny it, but I think that’s made me realize even more that it’s true and I can’t really do anything about it, can I? Like I could tell him, but what’s that going to do? Humiliate me? Because it's going to be awkward and he’s going to remind me that he’s fucking straight and my best mate and then what? I spend a few weeks sitting in self-pity and feeling sorry for myself about it until eventually I get over it or meet somebody else?.”
Ross was completely silent after this. He wasn’t sure what he could say to that, he’d never been in a situation similar to this personally or known anyone who had, so the advice he had to offer was limited. “I...I think it might help, or be good for you if you did...tell him, I mean. And it’s George, and you’re Matty, do you really think he’s going to laugh or be an asshole about it?”
Matty knew Ross was right in the end. He sat quietly for a moment and tried to resist the urge to drive over to George’s place right that second and just spill everything. He decided it was better, though, if he waited. Waited until George would actually be awake and not half asleep and confused. And until Matty could get his thoughts straightened out properly.
A few days later and Matty still hasn’t said a word to George. Literally. He hasn't spoken to him at all in about a week, it’s not like he’s ignoring him though. Neither of them had messaged the other, which was a bit odd for them, and Matty wondered if George was suspicious but really- If he thought something was wrong, he would’ve contacted Matty directly, and he hadn’t. Ross and Adam had been in touch a bit though. Both of them had mentioned that George had asked about him and why he hadn’t been around in a bit. Only Ross really knew why though, but he kept his word and didn’t say anything to anyone, not even mentioning it to Matty again and hoping that he would come around soon enough and get it all sorted out. And there were a few instances where he would get a small boost of confidence and dial George’s number, but he always locked his phone and busied himself with something else before he even let himself get as far as hitting the call button. He did make himself a promise though that if George were to call him or stop by his flat that he would tell him then since he was too much of an anxious and nervous wreck himself to initiate the conversation on his own. The thought of suddenly telling his best friend of ten years that he was in love with him, was still terrifying him. He was sure George wouldn’t feel the same and he would be left heartbroken for a while, but like Ross a had told him, he needed to at least try. So he would, no matter what the consequences ended up being.
And really- it’s not like George was in a relationship right now and he hadn’t been in a proper one for a while, so Matty doesn’t have to worry about that, which is a plus. And he’s been racking his brain trying to point out any hints from the past that George may be into guys as well as girls. I mean, sure, he’d seen him kiss a guy on the lips a few times at parties when he was drunk and dared to or something- but that didn’t mean much considering the circumstances. He’d never heard him speak romantically or kiss a guy when sober, which was pretty disappointing to him now. But maybe he just liked to keep that part of himself a secret. And Matty being, well, Matty...he’d probably pout a bit if that was the case, wondering why he’d keep that a secret from him since they tell each other everything. That’d make him a bit of a hypocrite himself though given the fact that he’s also been keeping his sexuality a secret from him and well, everyone. And Matty decided to stop thinking about it, because even if he is into guys as well; it doesn’t guarantee he’ll be into Matty, as much as he hates to think that.
George opened the door to his flat at the sound of Mattys rapid knocking. It was nearing seven at night and Matty had decided to come on a whim, not being able to take the silence between him and his best friend any longer. George looked as if he’d just taken a shower; his hair dripping slightly as it lay around his face, he wore dark gray sweatpants low on his narrow hips and a too-big, worn-out tee advertising some metal band from the early ’80s. Matty found himself staring slightly for a second but quickly snapped himself out of it and offered a smile. “Hey, uh, hi.”
“Nice of you to come around, was starting to think you changed your name and moved to a different county or something.” Matty began to wonder if George was actually upset at him, but then he chuckled slightly and cracked a smile before moving his larger frame out of the way, allowing Matty to slip inside his warm flat. “Kept asking the guys about you, but they weren’t any help. Ross told me you’d probably just been in one of those states, but you usually still talk to me so I had no fucking clue what-“
“I’m sorry, really. I had a lot on my mind and I’ve been scared to talk to you about it but I know I need to, and I came over here to do that but now that I’m here I don’t know if I can bring myself to do it. So, uh, sorry.” Matty stood silent in the middle of the living room, feeling a bit awkward in the presence of his best friend for the first time in forever. George was already sitting down on the sofa and lighting himself a cigarette, staring blankly at Matty.
“Okay, well, don’t just stand there then. At least come and sit with me, don’t just stand about like you haven’t been here more times than your own flat.” George offered his fag packet to Matty, who was sitting now on the far end of the couch, still looking nervous and sort of out of place. “So...you don’t want to talk about it?”
“I mean, I have...talked about it. To my mum and Ross, I talked to Ross just because I was losing my fucking mind and desperate to say it to someone, anyone. And I know I need to say it to you but I just- shit, I don’t know. I don’t know.” he put his head down in his hands, making sure to keep his lit cigarette away from his mop of curls in the process in favor of not burning his fucking hair off. “There’s someone that I like, or love rather, a lot. And this person, they’re a guy. A guy I know very well and trust with my whole life.”
“Um, I don’t- are you trying to tell me that you’re in love with…fucking Adam or something?”
Matty suddenly raised his head and stared at George, wondering if he was being fucking serious or not right now. “Fuck- no, what- Why would I be in love with totally heterosexual and in a relationship Adam? Fuck off.”
“I don’t fucking know, mate. Why else would you only tell me and Ross about this boy you’re in love with if it wasn’t Adam or something? Like why wouldn’t you tell Adam? Who the fuck is it then?”
The tension seemed to thicken in the room around them and Matty felt his heart shatter a little. He let his mind wander for a second that maybe in a perfect world the reason George sounded so mad about the thought of it being Adam was that he himself liked Matty and was jealous, but Matty knew that as much as he liked that to be the case it just wasn’t. This wasn’t jealous George, he knew what that looked like, and this wasn’t it. This was just George assuming and being desperate to know his best friend’s secret since he was used to always being told them. And he was beginning to realize how bad of an idea this was and that he’d never feel the same way.
Matty suddenly felt a wave of anger out of nowhere. Maybe at himself for being in love with him in the first place, or maybe at George for not getting it. Whatever the reason, he found himself speaking up before he even processed what he was doing.
“You’re a real idiot, d’you know that?” Matty put out his cigarette and made his way into the kitchen, away from George. Already losing the small boost of confidence he had as his plan went downhill. Because now George thought he was in love with Adam apparently. He didn’t get Matty’s direct hint and Matty was too nervous to directly say it. He would’ve been better off doing this on the phone as he had to his mum and Ross. At least then he wouldn’t have to see George’s face when he told him.
Matty busied himself with making up some tea, more so to have something to do with his hands and distract his brain. Maybe he could use the subject of tea to somehow divert the subject entirely and let them both forget about the topic of Matty’s secret crush.
His whole plan was thrown out the window as he heard shuffling behind him, the sound of George sitting himself at the counter behind him.
“Hey, look, I’m sorry. I made it seem like a joke or something, and I wasn’t taking it seriously but I promise that you can tell me. I won’t make fun of you or go telling people, you should know that, Matty.”
Matty gave way to a sigh, and took the kettle off, filling two mugs with the hot water. “It’s fine, whatever. Do you want some tea? Fuck, I hope you’ve got tea here, if not we’re having boiling water then.” He went to search around the cupboards for any type of tea, trying to keep eye contact away from George, refusing to let the younger man see his glossy eyes.
George got up off the stool and made his way around Matty’s shorter form, reaching up slightly to grab a beaten box of teabags at the top of one of the cupboards. He took over the job of finishing off the tea as Matty wrapped his arms around himself and sat upon the stool George had left pulled out from the counter. A few stray tears slipped past his eyelids and trailed down his cheeks as he stared down at his hands, folded together in his lap. He wasn’t even entirely sure what the proper cause of his tears had been. Maybe the fact the George hadn’t caught onto his secret yet, or the fact that he surely wasn’t going to feel the same, and Matty would be leaving in more tears than now and distances himself from his friends again for another month or two. Whatever the true cause was, Matty was silently crying a steady flow of tears now. And George noticed this as soon as he turned around to sit the mugs down. He sat himself down next to Matty and rested his arm across the back of his chair, subconsciously letting his fingers reach up to trace across Matty’s shoulder.
“Hey, look at me. Talk to me, Matty.”
“I-” Matty looked back up at him, the only light illuminating his face was the small orange glow from a lamp in the far corner. He thought it was weird how beautiful he could look, even just sitting here.
Matty wanted to kiss him.
He contemplated it for a good minute, it would certainly get the message across. It was a little bit too forward though. And would most likely scare George off more than him just saying it would. But he knew he had to tell him somehow, otherwise, it would slowly eat away at him. And so he did. Out of nowhere. Maybe a bit too bluntly. But once he realized that it was too late, he’d already said it;
“It’s you, George. I’m in love with...you” He saw George’s confusion be replaced by a look of surprise and something else he couldn’t quite name. He felt his hand retreat from his back and he knew he’d fucked it all up. “I’m so sorry.”
“I-” George trailed off and continued to stare at Matty, glancing from his eyes, his tear-streaked cheeks, and his lips. He hesitantly moved his hand up to brush a stray curl away from Matty’s eyes, and let his hand rest against his damp cheek. “Matty.”
“George...please, just…don’t-” He looked back down away from his gaze, George’s large hand still rested on his cheek, his thumb occasionally moving to swipe away a stray tear. Suddenly his free hand grabbed one of Mattys where it lay on his lap. If Matty's heart wasn’t beating as though it was about to leap from his chest before, then it definitely was now.
“Look at me.”
And Matty did. Slowly raising his eyes back up to stare into George’s. And then George inched closer. Filling in the already small space between the two of them. Matty’s breath hitched in his throat. He wanted to move, or speak, or do anything. But he couldn’t.
And finally, George closed the gap all the way. Moving in completely and covering Matty’s lips with his own. Matty was sure he’d stopped breathing. Or maybe it was his heart that stopped breathing. Or both. He wasn’t sure. He couldn’t focus. Maybe it was the constant pressure of George’s lips against his or his warm hand against his cheek, or rather the one holding his hand but he found it hard to focus on anything else at the moment.
Suddenly, all too soon, they both ran out of breath and pulled away, but George didn’t move his hands and they kept their faces close to each other. Matty suddenly realized what had just happened and moved away until he was no longer touching George.
“W-why did you do that?” He rotated his stool until he was no longer facing him, and a few more tears slipped down his rosy cheeks as he stared at the tiles on the kitchen floor. As much as he loved to be kissed by George, he didn’t want him to kiss him because he felt bad, or because he felt like he had to or whatever other reason there may be. He wanted to be kissed by him because he wanted to and because he loved him back.
“Why do you think I kissed you, Matty?” George chuckled slightly and rested his hand on Mattys back, causing him to flinch slightly and sit up a bit more. “Matty.”
“I don’t know, George, maybe because you wanted to make me feel better? And then you were gonna tell me to fuck off or something-”
“I- you really think I would do that to you? That’s-”
“I’m sorry, again, for the thousandth time tonight, I’m sorry. I just really don’t want you to kiss me and fuck around with my head like that. I want you to kiss me because you really want to. Because you like me too. You shouldn’t kiss me like that just to get my hopes up, George” Matty looked around to him with his tear-filled eyes, and his bottom lip trembled slightly.
“Love, I...come here.” He moved his arms around Matty’s shoulders and pulled him towards his chest, and Matty let himself be held like that for a good five minutes. The silence settled in around them and Matty finally tilted his head up and George’s hand found its way back to Matty’s cheek, stroking softly at the damp skin. And before Matty could even begin to speak up again, George's lips were back on his. He had to tilt his chin up more to reach his lips due to their height difference and the way Matty was sitting slouched down slightly. Their lips moved in sync together, but Matty realized soon just what was really happening and pulled away.
“You did it again.” Matty pulled back completely, sitting up straight in his seat.
“You know, Matty, I think maybe you’re the real idiot here. I thought I was being pretty obvious.” He slipped his hand back into Mattys, their fingers interlocked this time. And Matty was glancing up at him directly now, eyes a bit wide in surprise as he really realized the true meaning behind George's words and his kiss.
“Oh. I’m- maybe I am a bit of an idiot. Sorry,…I-”
“No, I mean, maybe we’re both idiots, really.” George chuckled, and Matty’s lips curved upward into a smile. He leaned forward and rested his head back on George’s chest, still trying to wrap his mind around everything. “I was a bit of a mess once I’d realized that I loved you a bit. Well, more than a bit. I called John, I didn’t wanna tell Adam or Ross because they’re wankers and would fucking laugh their asses off, so yeah...I called John and told him, he told me to tell you. I was going to, soon, eventually. You beat me to it though, asshole.”
Matty laughed at that. All this time he’d been so nervous and worried and calling Ross in the middle of the night for advice and George had been going through the same thing. Who knows how long they could’ve been together by now if one of them had been brave enough to say it. “Funny that, I called Ross for advice one night. He actually didn’t laugh, on the phone at least. He told me the same things John told you.”
“Knowing how close they’ve been acting lately, they were probably together and talking about us, how stupid we both are. Bet they both took the piss out of that one.”
“Probably. Who even knows what the fuck is going on with them.”
“Remind me to call and bully them about it tomorrow.”
They both chuckled before the sounds died out and they were left in the quiet of George’s flat. Matty was lost in his thoughts, and he broke the silence first;
“Does this mean- I don’t know, if you like me too...does that mean? Can we- um…” Matty’s thoughts were too much of a mess right now. He couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that he’d just kissed George, twice. And that he actually felt the same way. He’d been expecting an awkward mess after he told him; he thought maybe George would be weird about it or feel bad and try to make Matty feel better after telling him that he didn’t feel the same way. Of course, he’d envisioned it going this way, but he never thought that it’d really turn out like this. But he was happy.
“What? Matty ‘I Never Fucking Shut Up’ Healy has forgotten how to properly speak now?
“I actually fucking hate you.” Of course, Matty didn’t mean a word, which was obvious considering he was smiling wide and gazing at George like he was the fucking eighth wonder of the world.
“Thought you loved me? Wasn’t that your whole deal for the last few weeks? Didn’t know how to deal with being so madly in love with me?”
Matty shoved George lightly and leaned back, removing their hands from one another and crossing his arms over his chest to feign annoyance. “You are so annoying, an asshole really. What the fuck do I even see in you anyway?”
George smirk and wrapped his arms around Matty’s torso, letting his head rest on his should. “I love you, too. In case you hadn’t already figured that one out.”
“Hm, I think I got it now. Thanks for clarifying though.” He moved his hands to rest on George’s arm, still tightly secured around his waist, “I love you.”
And he kissed him again.
It’d been a little over a year since Matty had confessed his feelings to George, and somewhere along the way, they had decided to move in together, seeing as they usually spent more time at each other’s place than their own once they’d gotten together anyway. Both men really enjoyed sharing the space; Matty would still yell at George for leaving his clothes strung all over the place and for keeping their bathroom counter a cluttered mess, and George would do the same when he found yet another one of Matty’s half-finished tea mugs or his stray hair ties and clips in the floor and really just about fucking everywhere. But they still loved it, they loved each other’s company and waking up together and falling asleep next to each other at night. And they’d make each other breakfast and dinner and occasionally be sickly romantic and surprise the other with flowers on their way home from the shops. That was their normal now, and neither would change it for the world, despite the jokes and comments they’d get from the other guys, who still liked to take the piss out of the couple. Matty didn’t mind though; he liked it, he liked the way things were now and he was truly happy which it felt like he hadn’t been in a long time. Like right now;
He was laying in their bed, naked, with the sheet completely tangled around him. George was next to him, of course, in nothing but a black pair of boxers, with a thicker duvet covering him up to his chin. Matty inched towards him and lifted the heavy blanket up slightly and scooted himself in right next to George, the thin sheet and his lack of clothes not doing much to keep him warm. George grunted then quietly and moved his arm over his small waist, nosing his face down into Matty’s mess of hair.
“Good morning, love.”
“Hi, morning.” Matty craned his neck up to be able to reach George’s lips and kissed him softly before letting his head fall back down to rest on his bicep. Matty let his fingers gently trace over George’s tattoos on his arm as he sighed contently and closed his eyes.
“Are you going to sleep again?” Matty hummed in response, still not opening his eyes.. George chuckled and just went along with it; closing his eyes too but not quite falling asleep.
And they both stayed like that for a good thirty minutes until one of them finally decided to move. Usually, George would cook them a small breakfast and they’d eat at their small kitchen table next to the window, or their couch as they watch the television, or sometimes they’d just venture back to the warm bed with their plates and eat there. That was what they did today; George cooked up some eggs and toast while Matty brewed their coffee. They took their plates and mugs and sat back in bed eating silently.
This is how it had been almost every day for the pair for the last year.
And Matty truly couldn’t think of anything better