"Chesus! It's cold!" Eamon coughed, pulling on a second jumper. His breath came in short, white clouds that the icy wind swept away instantly. Chase jammed his hands in his pockets and did something like a jig to warm himself up. Why Chase had made the decision to jog this morning, neither was sure. Both were doubting their sanity and Eamon has half a mind to turn around and retire into the depths of his house.

"Come on, Pansy," stuttered Chase, cuffing Eamon around the shoulders to get his blood flowing.

"If I'm a pansy, then yer a fairy!" Eamon retorted, cupping his fingers over his numb ears.

"Oh, shut it!" Chase rolled his eyes and made a 'come on!' gesture, and the two of them started off.

The jogging path they followed traces the main road for a few minutes before turning down along the marshy shore. The boys' feet beat a muffled staccato on the frosty dirt road and both exhaled in gritty clouds.

Eamon scanned the marshland to his left. Birds took off far along the horizon line, a few already alerting Ireland to the rising of the sun. This sun was still party sunk, blue-yellow, under the horizon and the glow of it behind Chase's head looked like a halo. Eamon smirked at nature's irony and turned his gaze back to the road, where his feet would soon land. To everyone else, Chase was a good boy, but Eamon knew otherwise. He and Chase had sat in the loft of his unused barn drinking beer and playing cards. Even if Chase had never kissed anyone, he was no angel. Nonetheless, Eamon liked to tease Chase about his good-boy role, meeting expectations and being chaste.

It was so cold Chase could hardly breathe right. He worried that his lungs were freezing. His hands were tucked up inside his sleeves, fists clenched tightly to conserve warmth. It was his idea to jog early, before his parents were awake, before anything was expected of him, to spend time with Eamon, but even that seemed like a dim reward for the job he was now doing. He glanced over at Eamon. Eamon had gotten his ear pierced last year and the tiny silver stud in his left ear glinted in the morning light. Eamon's face looked pale and his blonde hair white in the sunlight. 'Almost ethereal,' thought Chase, 'if he weren't cursing under his breath.'

They jogged on for another 5 minutes before Chase began to fall behind. Finally he was forced to stop by a bent willow, hands on his knees, to catch his breath. Eamon retraced his steps to meet his friend.

"Are yeh already runnin' low then?" he asked Chase through ragged breaths. Chase nodded at the ground.

"Look, there's a path through there. We can sit on the marsh bank a minute," Eamon suggested, gesturing at a space in the branches of the willow where animal traffic had left a path. Chase unfolded himself and followed Eamon through the curtain of branches to a small divot in the roots where they could sit comfortably side-by-side.

It was freezing, but the willow seemed t act as a buffer against some of the wind that bit at their extremities. Eamon put his fingers to his lips and breathed warm breath onto them. Something silver caught Chase's eye.

"What?" asked Eamon, who had caught Chase staring.

"Is that ring new?" inquired Chase, catching sight of a slightly worn claddagh ring on Eamon's right pinky. The hands appeared to be offering their heart outwards.

"Oh yeah. Me mum gave it to me for me 17th," replied Eamn, twirling it on his finger. Eamon had only just turned 17 last week. Chase was still 16, much to his chigrin.

"Cool," cChase responded, clenching and unclenching hs fists inside his sleeves.

"Hey Eamon, would yeh look at that sunrise?" Chase pointed at the horizon where a bright yellow newborn sun was peeking up above the horizon.

"Wow. I fancy it must be about the time sane people are waking up," Eamon muttered sarcastically.

"Come on. Yeh want to be fit for school," Chase reminded him.

"I am fit, yeh ruddy bastard!" Eamon spat, cuffing Chase in the head. Chase just laughed and hit him back. Laughing hurt their lungs, but the couldn't stop.

"Let's see this ring, then," requested Chase, laughter dying on his face. Eamon relinquished the ring from his pinky and placed it in Chase's palm. Chase turned the ring over and over and ran his thumb over the face of it. It was plain, worn silver. Simple in design and very masculine.

"It's a beauty, ain't it?" asked Eamon, looking at the ring as Chase inspected it. Chase nodded solemnly.

"Put out yer hand and close yer eyes," said Chase, holding the ring between his index finger and thumb. Smiling, Eamon complied, relinquishing his hand, palm-down. Chase cupped his hand over his mouth and breathed hot air onto the claddagh, then clutched it in his fist to warm it.

"Hurry up, shithead, my hand's freezing!" Eamon exclaimed. He was quickly appeased, however, as he felt the warm band slide onto his pinky, encompassing his numb finger. He opened his eyes, blinking in the changing morning light.

On his finger, the claddagh shone a friendly silver, the hands offering their heart to Eamon.

"Yeh've put it on wrong," said Eamon. Chase smiled and blew onto his fingers.

"Lemme see," he said, holding out his now-warm hand. Eamon placed his fingertips in the center of Chase's palm so he could inspect the ring.

"No, it's on just right."

"No it tain't. See, if you put it on like that it means I'm taken," Eamon contradicted. Chase looked him in the eye.

"Well, this situation would be easily remedied if yeh were teh be me boyfriend." Silence hung in the biting air a moment as gears turned visibly in Eamon's head. He slowly removed his hand from Chase's and held it out, examining it at arm's length.

"It sure looks good that way doesn't it?" Eamon asked. Then his face split into a smile and he slung an arm around Chase's shoulders.
"Yeah. Yeah, all right, yeh queer," said Eamon, hugging Chase to him. Chase scooched closer, taking advantage of Eamon's body hear. The feeling in his stomach was something like the adrenaline that came from winning a race of climbing high up in a tree and looking down.

Eamon turned a little and gave Chase a sideward glance.

"Will yeh be givin' me yer first kiss, then?" He gave an exaggerated sultry look, biting his lip. Chase shook his head laughing as Eamon licked his lips seductively. With daring he didn't know he had, Chase pressed something between a grin and a kiss on Eamon's lips. He sat back, still grinning, but Eamon looked disappointed.

"That's not a fuckin' kiss. I kiss me mum better than that. Chase laughed and leant in closer, breathing hot slow breath across Eamon's lips. However, it was Eamon who closed the space between them.

Chase, who had never been kissed, was surprised when he felt Eamon's tongue graze his bottom lip. His hands found Eamon's shoulders where he could brace himself better. Their eyes slid open and both could see the other's stupid grin at the kiss's end.

"Now that is a kiss," Eamon muttered.

"Come on yeh bloody show-off. Let's finish this jog before me mum wakes up," Chase griped through grinning teeth. He helped Eamon up and together they picked their way back to the main road. The whole run back, they hardly felt the cold at all.


This story was much inspired by the claddagh ring I just bought myself recently. It was also inspired by the short-film "Chicken" which is my favorite ever. I tried to write both Eamon and Chase as real as possible. They are boys. Just because they are gay does not mean they are squealing little pre-pubescent teen girls. Also, I'm sorry if the accent was confusing sometimes. I wanted people to read it and hear it in their heads. I love Irish accents and it is a shame that I am not Irish at all. :C

In case you don't know what a claddagh ring is, I have a link:


Thank you for reading. Please review if you have the time. Feel free to let me know of typos (unintentional ones) if you have the time.