Chapter Seven - Warm Blanket & Hot Chocolate

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"It's my birthday next month." William mentioned casually. Gabe put down his phone and looked over confusedly at William, who was perched at the end of his sofa.

"You never told me."

"Well, I'm telling you now." William shrugged, returning to his guitar.

"Why didn't you tell me before." Gabe pressed.

"Never came up." he raised his head and looked at Gabe, his eyebrows furrowed in annoyance. "Why is it such a big deal?"

"It's not, I just... I don't know."

"Sorry." William rested his guitar against the wall and slid from the arm of the sofa down beside Gabe. He wiggled his way into the gap - which was slightly smaller than he anticipated - and put an arm around Gabe and linked his hands together at Gabe's shoulder so that he was embracing him in a side-hug. William put his head on Gabe's shoulder. "I'm sorry, I'm just really not doing good. Everything's a mess at the moment."

Gabe moved his arm so that he was hugging William back, and buried his face in his hair.

"What's wrong?" he muttered, his mind flicking through dozens of possibilities and worst case scenarios.

"Everything." William sighed, lifting his head and peeling back his arms in order to look at Gabe properly, to know that there's definitely someone who cares at least a tiny bit. "I just feel like a lost cause."

"What makes you think that?"

"The whole gay thing. I'm gonna be seventeen and I've never even had feelings for a boy before, let alone kissed one, how am I supposed to prove that I know? How are people going to take me seriously?" Tears started to build up at the edge of his eyes, a lake of despair threatening to leak out of youthful misery.

"That's what you're worried about? Look at me," Gabe grabbed William by the shoulders, making sure neither of them looked away "You don't have to prove yourself to anyone, understand? You know who you are, and that's all you need. If people don't like it, they can suck a sour one. Nobody - and I mean nobody - has the right to tell you that you're wrong about your sexuality. I've never had proper romantic feelings for a girl before, doesn't mean I never will. I know I can, I know I find girls attractive. Just because you've not found that one guy yet, doesn't mean there's never gonna be one. It's okay if there never is one, though. You don't need to find the one, but you might. If you know at the end of the day that it's gonna be a guy, then it's gonna be a guy. You don't need to prove it to anyone, you just need to know."

"Gabe, you're gonna make me fucking cry." William laughed faintly, wiping away the beginnings of fresh, salty tears with the back of his hand. Gabe pulled him in tight for a hug, and there was no way William couldn't hug back. He had a feeling that even if he didn't need the hug - even if he didn't want it - he still would've hugged back just as tight. Gabe was one of those few people in William's life that he could never say no to when it came to affection.

"I care about you so much, William. You know that, right?" Gabe rubbed William's back soothingly as he snorted and sobbed into his shoulder. They pried themselves apart and Gabe used the end of his sleeve to clean away the tears.

"You don't mean that."

"I do. I care so much."

"Why? Why would you ever care about me?"

"Why do I need a reason to care?"

They sat together in silence, the most comfortable silence they'd both felt in a long time. Not that they'd had uncomfortable silences together, but this particular silence felt like a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. Gabe kept one arm around William, drawing patterns on his shoulder absent-mindedly with his fingers while William lay his head on Gabe shoulder, listening carefully to his heartbeat and subconsciously comparing it to his own. Ten minutes passed before William felt Gabe's heart speeding up.

"What are you worried about?" William inquired, barely moving in fear of losing the position he'd gotten himself into.

"Not worried. Just, uh... just a stupid thought."

"What is it?" William was now more concerned for Gabe's safety than the possibility of a cramp in his neck. His head jerked up suddenly, looking fearfully into Gabe's eyes.

"Now you're worrying, Bilvy." Gabe shook his head.

"Gabe. Tell me." Gabe was almost scared of William's stern look. He knew that there was no point in hiding it, that William would get it out of him sooner or later. He'd prefer later, but wasn't willing to see what sort of state William could get himself into. He shifted so that they were both sat upright and face-to-face again.

"I was just thinking that, I don't know... You said you were, uh, worried about never having feelings for a guy? And you, uh, you mentioned that you'd never kissed a boy..." Gabe started rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly, trying desperately to avoid eye contact. "I just thought that maybe... It's stupid, but maybe I could be your first kiss? Give you some sort of closure, or something?"

William thought, staring down at his hands. Without looking up, he spoke.

"How do I know this isn't a plan to humiliate me? To out me, or something? How do I know these past few months haven't been a trick to play with me? How do I know you're even bi, that you're not saying that just to make me trust you?"

"Because you don't have to do it." William looked up, bambi-eyed and almost helpless-looking. "This is your choice, Bilvy. I'm not going to make you do anything."

Another silence sat heavily on them, less like the warm blanket and hot chocolate from before and more like a cape of lead draped over their shoulders. It took four minutes for William to make up his mind.

"Okay."

***

I'M SO SORRY THAT IT TOOK ME SO LONG TO UPDATE!!! At least you got two chapters... sort of. Also yes I'm leaving this on a cliffhanger I'm tired and my knees hurt and I don't want to waste any time without updating this. Soz.

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