To Belong

By: Lilac Swan Riddle

It was four a.m. when the phone rang. I knew who it was before I looked at the screen. Adam was the only person that would call me this late and he didn't do it all that often. Only when something was bothering him, usually his on again off again girlfriend Shannon, or when he was drunk. Sometimes both. Adam was my best friend, we'd known each other pretty much since birth and I was the only one that he would really talk to. I was always his first call, even when he and Shannon weren't fighting. That's why they fought so much; it pissed her off that I was always his first call. There was nothing I could do about that, though, and even if there was I wouldn't. I'd never liked Shannon much in the first place so it made no sense to tell him "talk to Shannon about this" like she wanted me to.

"What's up Adam?" I asked, stifling a yawn.

There was a pause. I could hear him on the other side of the phone, sounded like he was crying. The sound of his sobs brought me into wide-awake alertness. Adam never cried, no matter how bad things got he never cried. I sat up in bed, leaning against the headboard, and waited for him to say something. After a few moments he did, his voice breaking in strange places.

"Can you meet me outside Jayy?"

"Yeah sure. What's going on?"

"I'll…I'll tell you when you get out here. Hurry, though."
"All right. Where are you?"
"Your back yard."

"All right. Hang on a sec."

A few seconds later I was walking outside. Adam was leaning against the side of the house wearing a pair of black jeans and a black hoodie. He looked over at me as I walked towards him and tried to smile. It looked more like a grimace than a smile and I didn't bother to return it. I leaned against the wall next to him and watched him for a few minutes. He stared into space, tears falling down his cheeks, for a few minutes before saying anything. When he did speak, his voice was a whisper. He sounded scared.

"How did you know you were…gay?"

I paused before answering him. I'd known since I was fifteen. I hadn't come out until I was seventeen but I'd known before. Adam had been the first one I told but I hadn't told him how I'd known. I had been scared to tell him that I'd fallen in love with him, afraid that it would ruin the friendship. And he hadn't asked how I'd known when I told him, he'd just smiled and teased me a little. Looking away from him I took a deep breath, making the decision to tell him the truth. He'd asked and I couldn't very well lie to him. I'd never been good at lying, not to him at least.

"I fell in love with you." I answered.

He was quiet for a few minutes, staring at me. The tears stopped rolling but he made no move to clean his face. I held my breath, not knowing how he was going to react. By the time he spoke my heart was racing a million miles an hour. I looked at the ground, not wanting to see his face when he voiced the disgust I was certain I'd hear.

"Why didn't you say anything?"

"I knew it wouldn't make a difference. You love Shannon and besides…I didn't want to lose my best friend."

I could hear the eye roll in his voice. "Explain to me why you think you'd lose me."
"I knew…I knew you'd be disgusted with me. You wouldn't want to be around me and I didn't want that."

He was quiet again for a few minutes. I closed my eyes and waited for his reaction, not saying anything else.

"Jayy…look at me." His voice was louder now, just above a whisper.

I looked up and met his eyes. "Yeah?"

"I don't think you're disgusting. Actually," he smiled at this, "I'm…I'm happy."

"Why? You're straight. You love Shannon. Why are you happy?"

He laughed at that. "I'm not really all that straight. I'm bi but…lately I've been leaning more towards guys. And Shannon…well I don't love her. I thought I did for a while but I've realized that I was…I was using her."

He glanced at the sky, ashamed. Adam could be an ass sometimes but he had a heart. He hated the thought that he'd used Shannon, even if he hadn't known he was doing it. I knew him well enough to know that. When he spoke again, he looked at me with a smile again.

"I know I don't love her because…because if I really did love her she would be the one getting my phone calls at 4 in the morning. If I loved her I'd go to her with stuff like this. But I never have. I've always gone to you…always."
I stared at him, wondering what he was trying to say. My heart was beating faster, hoping that he was trying to tell me that he felt the same way. I couldn't let myself hope too much, though. He was quiet for a long while, watching me. This time, instead of speaking, he kissed me. That kiss was…well it was nothing I've ever felt. I'd kissed a lot of guys but I'd never felt my heart race like that. When we pulled away he was grinning and I felt a smile rise on my own face. He stepped closer and leaned his head against my shoulder.

"I love you, by the way. I think I've known for a while…I just didn't know how to tell you." He whispered.

"I love you too." I whispered back, laying my head on his.

He laughed.

"Why were you crying when you called?"

He sighed before answering. "I was scared…I didn't know how you were gonna react. And I'd just left Shannon's place. Ended it with her for good. I'm okay now, though."

"How did you think I'd react?"

"I was afraid you'd think I'd lost it."

I laughed. "I've known that for some time now, Adam. You lost it a long time ago."

"Yeah, probably."

We were silent again, leaning against each other contentedly. After a few seconds he looked up at me with a grin.

"You realize you're not allowed to be with anyone else now, right?"

I laughed, pulling him back against me. "I don't want anyone else. I've got the one I want. He's slightly insane, can be an ass, but he's mine. And he's not allowed to have anyone else either." I answered with a grin.

He sighed. "Yeah, I don't want anyone else either."

We sat there until the sun came up. When my dad left for work that morning he snapped a picture of us sleeping in each other's arms. He still teases us with that picture, even though it's been three years now and he has about a million more. Three years and Adam still belongs to me. Well, that's not quite right. We belong to each other.