A Little Help from Little Bro

By Grant Bentley

I have been inspired by my time at Codey’s World to actually try writing. I have written two very short stories. Both of them are true stories and I was able to use my memory to develop them. That was hard enough. This story is my first attempt at writing fiction, so don't laugh. Or, at least, don't tell me you laughed. Also, if any person, place, sport, conversation, or situation seems familiar, I assure you it is purely coincidental.

Kane grew up on a small farm in south eastern Alberta, the only child of John and Mary Christensen. He had learned the importance of hard work very early in life, as making a go of it on a small farm required a lot of hard work. Kane also took his school work seriously. He might not have been the smartest guy, but he worked as hard at his school work as he did on the farm. He knew that an education was his ticket off the farm, and his hard work paid off when he earned a full academic scholarship to the University of Calgary. He was now in the third year of a BSc program in Biological Sciences. His goal was to become a doctor, and as he had managed to keep a GPA of 3.7 in his studies so far, he had an excellent chance of being accepted into medical school.

On the outside, Kane appeared to be the ultimate jock: he was six feet tall, and he filled out a T-shirt very nicely. All the physical work on the farm had given him an impressive physique. Girls were after him all the time, but he always told them that he was too busy. He had not had a girlfriend since he had been in university. In fact, he had never had a girlfriend. Many of his friends joked that all he cared about was school. They kept telling him he should start dating, get out more and maybe he would get lucky. All work and no play…well, you know the saying.

On the inside, however, Kane was very quiet and shy. He didn’t make friends easily, but those who were lucky enough to call him a friend agreed that you couldn’t ask for anyone better. There was one other thing on the inside that was different: he was attracted to guys. Kane was gay, something he had been aware of since his early teens, but had learned to hide very well.

He had met several guys that he really liked. Unfortunately, he had been too shy to approach them. However, there was one guy in his life that he cared deeply for, and that was Ashton. Ashton was about an inch taller than Kane, with blond hair and blue eyes. He was not as muscular as Kane, but he had a smooth, toned body. It wasn’t his looks that made Kane feel the way he did; it was everything about Ashton. Yeah, the looks were there, but it was the caring, outgoing personality that made Kane care so much for Ashton.

Ashton was a teammate of Kane’s on the university’s rec. hockey team, and they had quickly become really good friends. He was a year younger than Kane, and Kane had taken on the role of mentor to Ashton, both in his studies and on the hockey team. Both of them played left wing and Kane had spent many hours with him working on different plays and puck-handling skills. Kane also helped him with his studies. Ashton was a good student, but math and chemistry gave him fits. He had to work very hard to keep his grades up in those two courses, and Kane helped him a lot.

Ashton also helped Kane, although he didn’t realize it at the time. He had a vibrant, outgoing personality and was much more at ease and sociable than Kane. Being with Ashton had helped to bring Kane out of his shell. He seemed to be more relaxed and much less shy when Ashton was with him.

The two of them became inseparable. If you saw Kane, you saw Ashton. Kane was sort of the big brother Ashton had never had, but always wanted. He spent as much time with Kane as he could, whether it was working on his math and chemistry, working on his puck-handling and play-making in hockey or just hanging out doing nothing, it didn’t matter; he just enjoyed being with Kane.

They both had other friends. Most of the guys they hung out with were on the hockey team. They would often get together with their other friends to have a few drinks, a few laughs, take in a movie, or whatever, but there was something special between them. Their relationship was clearly different from those with the rest of their friends.

At some point, Kane began to realize that he was falling in love with Ashton. He found that he was thinking about Ashton most of the time: ‘What would it be like to hold him, kiss him, cuddle up with him in front of the TV, and wake up with him, wrapped in his arms in the morning?’ He began to find it difficult to be around Ashton and, as time passed, it got worse. Ashton was always right there within reach, but at the same time out of reach.

He finally decided to tell Ashton the truth. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, but he knew their bond was strong so he hoped that it wouldn’t ruin their friendship. He knew he didn’t want to go the way he had been, it hurt too much, so he had to take a chance. Kane spent the next week trying to work up the courage to talk to Ashton. He went over what he would say many times, but he could never find the right time to bring it up. Finally, he decided to make a time. Instead of getting together with the guys and going to the pub, he invited Ashton over to his room for a drink after classes on Friday. That would guarantee they would be alone, and a drink might be just the thing to relax him and give him the nerve to do it.

Ashton came over on Friday evening. They ordered pizza, and had a few drinks. Sitting cross-ways on Kane’s bed, propped up with pillows, they talked, laughed and joked about hockey, classes, family and whatever. Finally, Kane decided that it was time to turn the conversation towards the topic which he was dreading, but knew he had to bring up.

He had no idea how to start. Should he jump right in and announce that he’s gay, or should he try to lead into it? Finally, he asked Ashton, “Do I seem normal to you? I mean, have you ever noticed anything about me that seems different?”

“Not really, you seem pretty normal to me,” Ashton replied. “Why?”

“Well, I’m not exactly who you think I am,” Kane responded

“What do you mean?” Ashton asked, wondering where the conversation was going.

“I have to tell you something that may really freak you out,” Kane said.

“I don’t think there’s anything about you that would freak me out,” Ashton replied.

“Don’t be too sure,” Kane replied. “I don’t know how else to say this, so I’m going to come right out and say it. Ash, I’m gay,” he said as his eyes glassed over with impending tears.

Ashton just sat there motionless for a minute. “Wow, I’m not sure what to say,” Ashton responded, his eyes suddenly focusing on his feet.

“I hope you don’t think I’m some kind of freak, and decide to disown me,” Kane said as a couple of tears escaped and rolled down his cheek.

“No way, man. I mean, you’re still my best friend. I could never disown you. I’m just really surprised. I mean, I never would have guessed,” Ashton responded.

“Are we cool, then?” Kane asked.

“Of course. Like I said, you’re my best friend, and I don’t think I would have made it through this first year of university without you. So, yeah, we’re cool,” Ashton replied.

“Well, there’s more. If that didn’t completely freak you out, this might. I’m not just gay, but I am really attracted to you. I think about you all the time…I think I’m in love with you,” Kane almost whispered.

“Oh wow, I really wasn’t ready for that,” Ashton said quietly.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t control how I feel,” Kane said. “You’re just so amazing.”

Both boys sat quietly for several minutes, each thinking through what had just been said.

Finally, Kane broke the silence. “What are you thinking?”

“Well, you’re still my best friend and I really do like you. I care about you more than anyone,” Ashton confessed.

“I have never cared for anyone as much as you. The only time I’m really happy is when I’m with you,” Kane said back.

“Oh man, I don’t know what to say,” Ashton said in a shaky voice.

They were becoming very emotional; they both had tears gently rolling down their cheeks, and both were shaking visibly. Almost unaware of his own tears, Ashton impulsively pulled Kane into a hug when he saw Kane quietly crying. The two sat holding each other for several minutes. They pulled back and looked into each others’ eyes, and both saw something there that had not been there before; not anger, not fear, not anxiety, they saw love. Without realizing it, they leaned in towards each other and their lips met. It was a very brief kiss, but a kiss nonetheless. They pulled back and once again gazed into each others’ eyes. It was obvious that one kiss wasn’t going to be enough. They kissed again, this time much more deeply and passionately, tongues gently battling back and forth.

After several minutes, they broke the kiss and Ashton remarked, “Wow, that was amazing. Kinda weird…like, REALLY weird…but amazing.”

“That was so much more than amazing. You don’t know how much I’ve wanted do that,” Kane responded.

They both became very quiet again, content to simply sit there holding each other. It just seemed natural as Kane stretched out on the bed and Ashton cuddled up against him. The TV was on, so they started watching it. Neither paid a lot of attention to what they were watching, as they were both just enjoying the feeling of being close. For the next hour or so, they both just lay there cuddled up together. Once in a while, they would kiss, and gaze into each others eyes. Neither could believe what was happening and neither was prepared for the feelings they were experiencing, especially Ashton. Eventually, though, they both drifted off to sleep.

Ashton was the first to wake up the next morning. He looked over at Kane laying there beside him and a feeling of panic came over him. ‘What am I doing?’ he thought. ‘I can’t be in love with another man. This is so wrong.’ It went against everything his parents and the church had taught him. He carefully slipped off the bed, quietly left Kane’s room and ran down the hall to his room. When he got there, he packed a few things and headed for his parents home. He needed to get away. He needed to think.

He knew his Dad was on a business trip and his Mom was visiting his aunt. His little brother, Rob, would most likely be off with his friends, probably for the weekend—he hoped. He wanted to have the house to himself. It would give him time to think things through.

As he pulled up in front of the house, he saw his brother’s motor bike parked alongside of the garage. ‘Damn,’ he thought. ‘Why is he here? I need to be alone. I need time to think and I don’t need a bunch of stupid questions from my little brother about why I’m home.’ Thankfully, however, when he entered the house, Rob didn’t seem to be around. ‘Maybe he’s out with some friends, or maybe he’s gone camping or something.’

Ashton dropped his backpack as he entered the foyer and went straight to his room, where he threw himself on the bed and cried. After about a half hour, he had cried himself out. He lay there, staring at the ceiling, trying to come to terms with what was happening to him. He had strong feelings for Kane, there was no doubt about that, but he felt that they were so very wrong. He just didn’t know what to think.

In the meantime, Kane had woken up to find Ashton gone. That really confused him. ‘Why would Ashton leave without telling me?’ He checked the cafeteria to see if Ashton had gone to get them some food, but he wasn’t there. Knowing Ashton liked to get his work done early on a weekend, he went to the library, but Ashton wasn’t there either. He finally went to Ashton’s room. Again, he wasn’t there, but his roommate was. He told Kane that Ashton had grabbed a bunch of stuff and left that morning, saying he was going home for the weekend.

Kane returned to his room. Panicked thoughts began to race through his head. Had he pressured Ashton into doing something he didn’t want to do? Had Ashton left to get away from him? Would he refuse to have anything to do with him when he got back? Everything seemed to be falling apart, and Kane didn’t know what to do. He lay down on his bed, where just a few hours ago he had being laying in Ashton’s arms, happier than he had ever been, and began to cry.

After a while, he decided to call Ashton. When he called, Ashton said that his laundry had been piling up, so he thought he would go home and get it done. Since he woke up early, he decided to get an early start. He told Kane that, as he was sleeping so peacefully, he didn’t want to wake him. However, Kane didn’t believe him; he knew something was wrong from the tone of Ashton’s voice.

“Did what happened last night freak you out?” Kane asked.

“No, not really,” Ashton replied, sounding very insecure.

“Ash, come on. I know you too well and I can tell when you’re upset. Tell me the truth,” Kane asked.

“All right. Yes, it did. I don’t know what to think right now. It felt so right at the time, but I don’t know. It goes against everything I was ever taught… I just don’t know,” Ashton explained, his voice quivering. “I just need some time.”

“No problem. If you are unsure of how you feel and need some time, you’ve got it. I’m sorry if I pushed you into something you didn’t want,” Kane told him. Ashton said he needed to go and they said goodbye.

Kane tried to convince himself that everything would be all right, but the idea of losing Ashton scared the hell out of him. For one brief moment he had felt that what he had longed for for so many months was his, that he had Ashton’s love and they were going to be together. Now he feared that he might have lost Ashton completely. He fell face down on his bed and cried.

Meanwhile, Ashton was feeling like a total shit. He knew that he was hurting Kane. He knew that he had very strong feelings for Kane, but he felt so guilty about them. Part of him wanted to go right back to the dorm and into Kane’s arms. The other part felt that he was some kind of freak and needed to suppress these feelings, no matter what. The words of the pastor of their church, “Abomination in God’s eyes,” kept running through his mind.

Just then, he heard the front door close. His little brother, Rob, was home—although he wasn’t so little any more. Rob was 15, and pushing 6’ 3”.

He heard Rob rummaging around in the fridge, so he went into the kitchen, put on a big smile and said, “Hey.”

Rob replied, “Hey to you too. What brings you home?”

“I was running out of clean clothes, so I needed to do laundry,” Ashton replied.

Rob looked at him for a few seconds and replied, “Bullshit. Your eyes are all red. You’ve been crying. Something’s wrong. What’s going on, bro?”

Ashton immediately broke down and started to cry again. Rob rushed over to him, took him in his arms and hugged him tight. Ashton fought to get away, but Rob just tightened his grip.

When he was finally able to stop crying, he replied, “It’s nothing. School’s been getting to me lately and I just needed get away to sort some things out.”

Rob stepped back and, leaning on the counter, responded, “Bullshit…I know you, and you don’t cry over nothing.”

“Rob, I can’t tell you,” Ashton replied. “If I do, you won’t understand and you’ll hate me. I don’t even know what’s going on myself yet,” he added.

“You’re my big bro. I love you, man, and nothing you can tell me will make me hate you,” Rob said.

“Don’t be too sure of that,” Ashton replied as he sat on the edge of the kitchen table.

“I am sure of that,” Rob answered. “I’ve never seen you like this before. Now, tell me what the hell is going on with you. It’s obviously tearing you apart.”

“Oh God, I don’t know, man,” Ashton cried.

Rob waited for several minutes and finally said, “Come on, Ash. I may just be your little brother, but please let me help here. I can’t stand seeing you like this.”

Ashton took a deep breath, looked into Rob’s eyes and, seeing the concern there, he began, “You know Kane, right?”

Rob responded, “Well, yeah. He’s only your best friend and been out here, like, 50 times.”

“What if he was more than that?” Ashton asked.

“More than that?” Rob responded with a puzzled look. Then it hit him. “More than that!” he almost shouted. “You’re shitting me, right?”

Rob’s response terrified Ashton. He was sure his brother would hate him now. Not only that, but he would tell their parents and he would lose his entire family. Why was this happening to him?

They just stared at each other for several minutes. Then a huge smile appeared on Rob’s face. Now Ashton was really confused. He had expected ‘You can’t be gay! I can’t have a faggot for a brother! Get out of my sight!’ ‘I’m telling Mom and Dad!’ Instead, Rob seemed to be supportive: ‘Like…you’re gay, so what else is new?’ Which is pretty much exactly what Rob said next.

“So, you’re gay?” Rob asked, with a little less excitement in his voice and a small tentative smile.

“I don’t know,” Ashton replied. “I just know I love Kane, or I think I do, or…I don’t know.”

“That’s what all this is about?” Rob asked.

“It’s not just that. It’s like, I can’t be in love with Kane. I can’t be gay. It’s just wrong, man. Everything I’ve ever been taught tells me it’s wrong,” Ashton replied. “I can’t be gay.”

“That’s just more bullshit,” Rob stated as he reached out and pulled Ashton into another big hug. This time they both had tears flowing.

When they finally broke the hug, Rob said, “Come on, let’s get a drink and go out onto the deck.” They grabbed a couple of Cokes, then moved out and sat on the steps of the deck. Rob looked at Ashton and another huge smile appeared.

“For someone in university, you don’t know much do you?” Rob asked.


This just made Rob’s smile turn into a laugh. “God, you are so dense sometimes,” he said. “Okay, let me explain it to you,” Rob laughed.

“Explain what?” Ashton asked, still sounding a little confused.

“About being gay, dumb ass,” Rob responded.

“Okay, little bro. Enlighten me,” Ashton said, a weak smile appearing on his face.

“Okay, here goes. You listening? First, there is nothing wrong with being gay,” Rob explained. “It’s not something you become. It’s not something you choose. No one can make you gay. You just are. You’re born gay and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Understand?”

Ashton was astounded by his little brother’s revelation and sat staring at him with his mouth open.

“Tryin’ to catch flies?” Rob teased, bringing Ashton out of his daze.

“You really believe that? What about everything Mom and Dad have taught us? What about what it says in the Bible?” Ashton asked. “And Pastor Thompson?”

“Are you saying that Mom and Dad are perfect and have never been wrong?” Rob asked.

“Well, no.” Ashton replied.

“As for Pastor Thompson, don’t get me started. And the Bible, it says a lot of things that don’t hold up or nobody believes anymore. It refers to the four corners of the earth and we know that isn’t true. The earth isn’t square or flat; it’s a sphere. It doesn’t have any corners. And stuff about owning slaves, or eating shellfish, there’s lots of other things we don’t accept any more. Want me to list some more of them?” he asked.

“When the hell did you get so smart?” Ashton asked.

“I think it was the day before yesterday,” Rob replied with a laugh.

For the next couple of hours or more, the two of them just sat and talked: about being gay, about hockey, about being gay, about Rob’s girlfriend, about being gay, and whatever else they thought of. Ashton hadn’t felt as good about himself in years.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m friggin’ starving man,” Rob said after a while. “Lets order out for some Chinese.”

The food arrived and Ashton realized how hungry he was. He hadn’t eaten since yesterday evening and it was by then late afternoon. After they had cleaned up every scrap of food, including two large bottles of Coke, Ashton suddenly thought of Kane.

“Oh my God. Kane thinks I deserted him!” he suddenly cried.

Ashton didn’t know what to do. ‘Should I phone Kane? Should I drive back to the dorms tonight? If I do, it’ll be getting late before I get there. Should I just wait until morning and then drive back?’ He knew it couldn’t wait. He had to talk to Kane…no, he had to see Kane.

“I’ve got to see Kane and talk to him,” he said. “Now.”

Ashton grabbed his backpack, which was still on the floor in the entryway. He then ran over to Rob and gave him the biggest hug ever.

“I don’t know how you got so smart, bro, and I don’t know how to thank you enough,” he said.

“Just don’t ever forget which one of us is the smart one,” Rob laughed, “and don’t ever doubt my love for you again. You got it?”

“Never! I love you too, bro. More than you could ever know,” Ashton replied with tears in his eyes.

“Drive safe. Love you,” Rob yelled as Ashton ran out the door.

It seemed like no time at all passed before he was driving into the parking lot in front of the dorms. Within minutes, he was standing outside Kane’s door. He knew he had really hurt Kane by running off like that. His heart was beating a hundred miles an hour. He just stood there for the longest time, getting up the courage to knock, but, before he had gathered enough courage, the door opened and there was Kane, his eyes red and puffy. He had obviously been crying—a lot.

“I’m so sorry,” was the only thing Ashton could think of to say. “I’m so very, very sorry.”

Kane just grabbed him and pulled him into his arms and hugged him.

“No, I’m sorry. I pushed you into something. I tried to make you into someone you’re not,” Kane responded as they both broke into tears.

After a few minutes, Kane said, “We’d better get inside and close the door before we attract an audience.”

Once in the room, Ashton immediately pulled Kane into another hug. They looked into each other’s eyes for a few seconds when Ashton leaned in and kissed Kane. It was a quick, gentle kiss, but it spoke volumes.

“I thought I’d lost you,” Kane said through his tears.

“You did,” Ashton replied, “but just for a little while.”

“What changed your mind?” Kane asked.

“The smartest little bro in the world,” Ashton answered.

Kane gave him a puzzled look.

“I’ll explain later,” Ashton said, smiling.

They moved over to Kane’s bed, neither one letting go of the other, and sat down wrapped in each others arms. Kane spoke first.

“Ash, when I woke up and you were gone, I didn’t know what to do. The thought of losing you was too much,” Kane told him. “You have always been there for me whenever I needed you. You taught me how to enjoy life. Ash, you know the way I feel about you. I mean, you are more than just a friend to me. I love you, I really do,” Kane said, getting even more emotional. “I am so in love with you.”

“Kane, you know I care a lot about you. It’s just that, before I met you, I never thought of loving another guy. It would have seemed so wrong. In fact, that’s why I ran off, and I’m so sorry I did that—but Rob set me straight. Well, maybe not straight, hehe. Lets say he set me on the right track. There is no doubt that what I feel for you is more than just friendship. I am in love you too,” Ashton said, almost crying.

“I’m not sure what he did, but don’t let me forget to thank Rob,” Kane said as he leaned in and gave Ashton another kiss.

Once again, it seemed natural as Kane stretched out on the bed and Ashton cuddled up against him. Other than the occasional “I love you,” accompanied by a gentle kiss, they lay quietly, simply enjoying the contact. As it had been a stressful day for both of them, and was now quite late, they soon drifted off to sleep.

Ashton was the first to wake up the next morning. He looked over at Kane lying there beside him and a feeling of euphoria came over him. He was in love…with another man…and it was okay. He felt comfortable and at peace with himself…thanks to a little help from little bro.

A very special thanks to Azy for all his time, hard work and patience editing this story for me. Once again, he has made it look like I actually I know what I’m doing.