Living With The Boys (Journey to Love, #1)

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16. Our Beginning

Mark’s POV

“I’m saying that I want to actually see if there could be an us. I don’t want to keep avoiding you because I think I’ll do something I’ll regret.” I manage to say after a while, I don’t have anything planned out right now and I have no idea where this is going to go but he is right.

For the past month, at least we have been avoiding each other and things have been pretty forced, which is something I don’t want with my best friend. I was confused about seeing him in a different way, in a way that I never thought I would look at my best friend, let alone a guy.

“You want there to be an us?” He asks and I am taken back by how quiet he is and the fact that he looks really nervous, I just thought that out of the two of us he would be confident and sure of everything, like he always is. I guess I’m not the only one feeling out of sorts here.

“Well, avoiding you and any feelings I had were not getting me or us anywhere. Hope and my brother knew something was wrong and without you to turn to, I just felt all alone for a long time and I didn’t like it. This is way too deep for my liking.” I laugh as I’m not used to baring myself like this, at least not in a public space or all in one go.

If I think back to the serious relationships I have had and if I had to pin point a single reason why I’m not with any of the girls now, it would have to be that I got scared. It’s scary showing someone your darkest thoughts, even if they’re not dark, some parts you just want to keep for yourself.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you have a heart to heart with someone.” He jokes, as he was there most of the times I broke up with my girlfriends and have been accused numerous times of not having a heart. I guess I’m good at doing romantic gestures once in a while but when it comes to actually talking about my feelings, I am the biggest jerk there is.

“Don’t get used to it, today is probably going to be the only time in a while that I will share my feelings. How do people pay for this crap?” I ask while looking around the now empty coffee shop. I know a lot of people love therapy and find it amazingly healing but I can’t see myself talking and sharing my feelings for an hour.

“Don’t worry, I know what to expect, I’m your best friend remember?” He asks with a small smile and a part of me thinks that all of this is extremely weird, having these new feelings for him and now that we’re actually acting on them is enough to bring on a migraine if I think about it hard enough.

“Does this feel a little weird to you too?” I ask, hoping that I didn’t just put my food in my mouth with that question.

“In a way it does feel weird, I mean I wasn’t planning on falling in love with you. Until a month ago I didn’t even know if I was ready to go on a date with a guy, or even tell anyone that I wanted to. Then for a whole month I was panicking because I was in love with my best friend, who I thought was a straight guy. So, yes this is also a little weird for me.” He explains and the other weird thing is how I get jealous every single time he mentions some other guy, I never thought of myself as a jealous person but it seems like with him every little thing can set me off.

“I am straight though, which is what’s confusing me even more. I don’t find other guys attractive, I’ve never thought about another guy like I do you or with women in the past, yet here we are and I’m sure that I have feelings for you.” I try to explain something I don’t even understand myself.

It would be so easy to label myself as bi as I am about to be in a relationship with a guy. Yet, I know for a fact that there is no other guy who could make me even think of anything like this. There are plenty of attractive men here on campus but I have not thought about kissing or fucking any of them, not even a little bit. I find it hard to understand because labels make things easier, but in this case, I couldn’t think of anything that could make my life harder.

“We don’t have to put a label on everything, if you only find women attractive then you do. You say you have feelings for me and that’s enough for me, I know it must be a lot more confusing for you than me. I accepted who I am a long time ago and I have no problems with it, you might need a little more time to find the right label or just chose not to have one.” He reassures me as he holds onto my hand, his touch making those weird butterflies in my stomach and I feel as though someone turned up the heat in the room.

Weirdly enough he seems to have a good idea of what I’m thinking, or maybe he is just saying this to make me feel better. I am just so confused and don’t know what the right thing to do right now is, normally you know what to ask or what to talk about. With Martin, it’s different because I have known him for years and he is the person that knows me best, after my brother.

Mike. I have no idea how he is going to react to this whole thing, I know that he is very open and accepting of people because that’s the kind of person he is. I just don’t know if this will somehow change our relationship or the way he acts around me, god knows we went through that when we all slept with Hope.

We both thought that we could handle it but after it turned out that it was weird, sharing a woman with my brother at the same time. We had a short conversation about it that could not be more awkward, it was just too weird seeing him in that light and being there at the same time, so we agreed to never do that again, at least together.

I know some people really love having threesomes with people they know but I’m not one of those people. I have tried it and I have to say that the fantasy is way hotter than the reality, at least for me. I would much rather be with one person and know them. Know how to work their body and be comfortable with them but at the same want to fuck the shit out of them.

“I don’t know if a label is going to help or confuse me even more.” I admit because how am I going to explain this to people? I am not going to hide with Martin because I have gathered the guts to come this far and it’s not fair on him to hide us or what we’re feeling. If I’m doing this, I’m going to be all in.

“Then just think of it as being with me, it doesn’t matter what anyone else might call it. As long as you’re comfortable with us and want this, what else matters?” He asks and I can see that he is also struggling with this. Does he think that I’m not sure about him?

“Of course, I want this, I’ve tried to change it but it seems like we’re inevitable.” I try to joke as I try to lighten the mood a little. Truthfully, I feel uncomfortable with all this talk, I just want things to skip the awkward part and right to the comfortable stage where I’m dating my best friend.

“Not sure if that’s a compliment or a complaint.” He replies and I see the sceptical look in his eyes. I guess I am not doing very good at this feelings thing, the last thing I want him to think is that I don’t want him, the whole problem this past month has been that I want him too much for my own good.

“It’s definitely a compliment as the only reason everything has been dragged out like this is because I wanted you too much. I didn’t know why or how that was possible so I pushed everyone away, hoping that I could think through everything by myself but I only ended up causing more problems.” I try to explain as if I don’t get it right this time, I don’t know what more I could say.

“That’s better, before you sounded like this was the last thing in the world you wanted to be doing. Not really the best start to a relationship to make me feel like I was forcing you into something you don’t really want to do.” He stresses staring at me, I know that he is letting this one go because he sees how confused I am.

“You always did like exaggerating things.” I joke as I reach for the now cold coffee but see that he has already finished it. I might have had about three coffees today but I feel exhausted, all I want to do is lie on the couch or on my bed and go to sleep.

However, I know that the day is nowhere near over as people have now seen us hold hands and flirt with each other. It doesn’t bother me that much, but it’s weird feeling like your every move is being examined under the microscope. I don’t care what people say about us being together, but it’s such a drastic change that I would have to be very naïve to think that nothing would be different from here on out.

“Can we go home now? I left Hope alone and I’m pretty sure she will be freaking out trying to figure out how this is going.” He says with a little smile and once again I feel the guilt coming back. In the process of being selfish and confused, I ended up hurting her alongside Martin. How am I going to explain to her that I want to be with Martin and that it would never work out with her because of my brother.

“Wait, just because you find me attractive doesn’t mean that you like Mike as well, right?” I ask as we walk out of the coffee shop, I put on the scarf he brought me right away. Both of us walking quickly to get out of the cold as soon as possible, maybe because I am only wearing a sweater and feel as though I am going to freeze to death.

“You don’t really worry about that shit, do you?” He asks me with surprise clearly written on his face, evidently not expecting my question. I know it may seem out of the blue but sometimes the insecurity creeps up on me.

“No, I’m not in love with Mike.” He reassures me as we turn into our road, silence carrying us to the door. Another part of me relaxes with his words, I know it’s stupid but I needed to hear him say those exact words. There is always competition between siblings and sometimes even more between twins.

“Hope wasn’t too upset, was she?” I ask before we look for her in the house as we didn’t find her in the living room or the kitchen. She’s either in the small gym or in her room watching some of those YouTube people that she loves.

“She’s going to be fine when she sees that we have figured things out.” He replies confidently and a relieved sigh comes out of me as I see Hope walking down the stairs with a wide smile on her face. I don’t know why but in my head for the past month, this whole thing has played out like a nightmare yet the talk with Martin wasn’t too bad and Hope doesn’t look like she wants to kill me.

In fact, she barrels into me and pulls me in for a tight hug. I laugh as I hug her back, for a little woman she sure is strong. Her grip is tight almost as if she is silently letting me know that even though she is happy to see me that she is still mad. At least that’s what it feels like, she’s not normally a tight hugger.

“Have you guys figured out whatever shit it was that had you arguing?” She asks as she breaks our hug and gives a gentler version to Martin. I try not to laugh as I’m now sure that she is at least a little bit still mad at me. Martin looks over his shoulder to me, raising his eyebrows as he keeps quiet, letting me answer the loaded question.

“We sorted through everything at the coffee shop, almost like in one of those movies.” I can’t help the small dose of sarcasm that makes it into my answer. I know that Hope loves those movies and books so I know that even though I’m being sarcastic, the answer might score me a couple of points.

“You guys are so cute together! You guys are dating now, right?” She asks with wide eyes, looking between us as if she said the wrong thing. I’m smiling as I look at Martin, admitting out loud that I am dating him makes me for some reason inexplicably happy.

“We’re dating.” I confirm as I continue to stare at him, vaguely hearing Hope squeal beside him, jumping up and down for a couple of seconds. As I stare into his brown eyes I feel nothing but peace, content at where I am right now and for the first time in a while, everything just feels right.

“What the fuck do you mean you’re dating?” I hear my brother say behind me, only catching part of the conversation that he has walked in on. I feel kind of bad because he has been the one out of the loop the most in this whole situation. I have no idea what he must be thinking right now but I can tell by his voice that he is angry, I also know that he is not going to stick around so I’m not surprised that he walks right upstairs after his outburst.

Martin looks really uncomfortable and Hope looks ready to follow him but I motion them both to wait. This is something that I need to talk to him about, I need to explain everything to him, well as much as I know myself. He must be going through the shock of his life, walking in to hear that I am dating our best friend.

He hasn’t shut the door to his and Hope’s room so I know this is as much of an invitation I am going to get. At least he is not acting like he wants to kill me, things could be worse. I walk in to see him perched on the end of their bed, staring right at me with anger seeping out of him.

“I know you’re confused but I can explain.” I begin before he can say anything, I at least need to explain everything to him before he says anything. It also gives him a little of time to calm down before he says anything.

“Damn right I’m confused. I thought that you guys would at least speak to me before you became official.” He growls out, I don’t think I have ever seen him this mad before but his words turn me into the confused one.

“You mean you knew about us?” I ask totally surprised. I mean I wasn’t willing to accept there is an us until this morning and Hope wasn’t able to figure it out completely so it takes me by surprise that Mike knew there was something going on between Martin and I, when wasn’t sure what it was myself.

“Of course, you took her on that fancy date a couple of weeks ago and you must have spent time together when she was at our house during the holidays. That was where you kept disappearing off to, to meet in secret.” He shakes his head and for the first time I notice his clenched fists in his lap.

“Wait, now I’m the one who’s confused. What do you mean ‘her’? I’m dating Martin.” I clarify as I take a step towards him, closing the door behind me. This is a very private conversation and I need to know what he thought was going on that would make him so angry at me.

His head snaps up at the end, while a second ago he was royally pissed off, he looks more confused than I have seen him since he started doing a-level maths. “What do you mean you’re dating Martin? I thought you only liked women Mark.” He says confused, the anger giving way to his curiosity.

“I thought so too, and I don’t really like men, just Martin.” I try to explain but once again I am doing a shit job at it. We’ve never really spoken about our sexuality or the topic at all since we just figured that if either one of us was gay then we would just bring our boyfriend home. However, since we have both only had girlfriends before this must be complex to understand.

“So, you’re bi?” He asks and I can see him trying to wrap his head around the whole thing. A moment ago, he thought that I had become official with Hope and now he’s trying to understand how his brother is now dating a guy, their best friend. I sure wouldn’t want to be in his head right now.

“No, yes, I don’t really know.” I answer honestly because no word that I know seems to describe what I’m going through correctly, do it justice.

“I’m beyond confused but you’re now dating Martin while you still only find women attractive?” He asks another question which is just the last one but worded differently, my answer is the same as I have tried to think about this from every possible way.

“I’m attracted to women and Martin, but I want to be with Martin.” I reply and hope that any of this will make sense to me, because I know that if he were having this conversation with me, I would be lost. The difference is that even though I can’t explain my feelings with a single word, I can feel them and I know they’re true and right.

“This is going to take a while to get used to.” He laughs as he scratches the back of his head in a way that I do sometimes when I don’t know what to say. Perks of having a twin is you can read them like a book, mainly because most of the time you’re looking in a mirror.

“You’re okay with it?” I ask because I need to know he has my back, I don’t want him becoming weird and ruining the bond we have, I don’t see how that can happen but I need to make sure.

“I don’t really have a problem with it except that I’m confused as fuck and embarrassed now because I caused a scene downstairs.” He laughs in that awkward way I’ve been told we both share.

“I’m confused as well but I have a feeling that this is the right thing to do and I’m not confused about my feelings for him so I guess that’s the most important thing.” I shrug as I collapse on the bed next to him, this day has been filled with emotions and I feel as though I’ve just come back from a 12-hour shift.

“You sound confident about this whole thing so I have absolutely no problem with it, as long I don’t hear any shit through the walls.” He jokes and pokes me in the ribs, knowing full well that I will kick him because I am very ticklish.

“We hear all the shit you do with Hope all the time.” I remind him because even though Hope sounds amazing when she comes, I don’t need the sounds bringing back the images of my brother doing the same.

“Yeah, sometimes it’s not very nice living in the same house.” He replies with a fake disgusted look on his face.

“You going to sulk up here or come downstairs to apologise to Martin and Hope?” I ask because I know they’re both wondering what is going on up here, we’ve been gone for a while now.

“You have more apologising to do than me, you had Hope pretty worried.” He replies as he rolls off the bed.

“Yeah, well she already gave me a silent deadly hug.” We both laugh at the image, Hope is not a violent or aggressive person so that extra tight hug was her way of telling me off, or maybe she’ll be yet another person to surprise me today.

“I’m just going to have a quick shower before I come downstairs, let Martin know that I’m sorry.” He says as he takes off his shirt and walks into their connected bathroom.

Looks like they weren’t that worried at all because when I walk into the kitchen they’re singing to some new song on the radio and Martin is sitting on one of the chairs while Hope dances around. I walk behind him and even though I agree with Mike and that this is going to take some time getting used to, but I don’t feel weird when I wrap my arm around his shoulders and feel his lead back against me.

Hope doesn’t turn around as she is too into her dance, it feels as though it’s only us in the whole room and not like it’s a full house. I have never felt like this with anyone else before, this new feeling taking me by surprise but at the same time I feel as though I should have seen it coming.

“You okay?” He asks quietly and it’s amazing how the right person asking makes you feel so much better.

“I’m great.” I reply even though I have to force myself not to say something embarrassing about how I’m doing better now that I’m with him, even though it’s true.

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