The only person that ever truly made him feel lowly and pathetic was Sam . . .


“Samuel! Simon! Dinner’s ready!”

“Oh, joy. I missed mother’s cooking.” The sarcasm in Sam’s voice was accompanied by the cheeky smile that he flashed me. “Come on, Simon. They’re going to get pissed if we don’t hurry.”

With a groan and a sigh–I was still in a bit of a pout due to the whole party issue–I lifted myself from Sam’s mattress and followed him to the door. Through the hall and down the stairs, Sam in front and me behind. The third step on the descent creaked just like always. The stairs led down into the living room. The TV was still on, mostly to provide Dad with some kind of distraction as the television could easily be seen from his seat at the dinner table.

Mom was placing the last of the evening’s meal on the table, offering Sam and me a warm and exhilarated smile as we came down the steps. Of the two parents, Mom was obviously the more accepting of Sam’s homosexuality. That is not to say that she approved; if she had the chance to change that one aspect of Samuel’s persona, I honestly think that she would. When Dad had made the decision to send Sam away she had argued against it vehemently. Sam and I had been hiding at the top of the stairs listening to them scream. There were a few reasons why Mom didn’t want Sam to go. It wasn’t just because she did not want to be separated from Sam, but because she did not think it conducive to Sam’s “recovery” to send him away to a school in which the temptation to sin with another male was at every turn.

I kind of agreed with Mom. It was all rather contradictory. How do you cure a boy that is gay? Send him into insolation with a bunch of other boys. Right. It all makes perfect sense when you think about it logically. Mom had argued for keeping him home, keeping him in the public school where they sent us before. At least that way they could keep tabs on him, they could watch him, and they themselves could beat this phase that Sam was going through. It was so unfair to leave the Sam on his own, to have him fighting a curse that was surely far too much for him to handle according to Mom. But it was all right; Sam was home now, and mother was there to fix everything. Just a little time with Mom and an introduction or two to some nice young ladies that Mom had met while Sam was away would be just the remedy for their predicament.

I did not understand why my parents were so against Sam’s sexual preferences. Probably had something to do with our Catholic roots, but I still didn’t see why it mattered so much. The Bible was just one huge metaphor anyway. Nothing was wrong with gay people. Why couldn’t Mom and Dad see that?

“Samuel, it’s so nice to have you home,” Mom said gently, giving him a soft smile that would seem nervous to someone who did not know the woman. Any other mother probably would have moved to hug her son after such a long separation, but Mom did no such thing. Hugging her sons, while typically motherly, was not something that she did. Mom liked to neither touch nor be touched, and for that reason she had barely laid a hand on us since we had been old enough to cross the street on our own. It wasn’t that Mom was a bad mother, an evil mother, nothing like that. She was merely distant. She loved us as any mother would but she just couldn’t get herself to express her love in a way that was seen as normal. There was an icy barrier between us all that she made little effort to melt away.

Didn’t matter much. Neither Sam nor I was really complaining.

“Nice to see you too, Mom. Thanks.” The seat that had been empty since Sam’s departure was now filled. I think that Sam felt uncomfortable eating with his family, his real family, after getting used to spending time with his classmates in the cafeteria.

I moved to sit across from my brother, noting that Mom said nothing to me. True, I had been home this whole time, she saw me every day, but still a small acknowledgment of my presence would have been appreciated. Never mind that now. I did not feel that right then was the time to concentrate on my mommy issues.

The beginning of the meal was filled with an awkward silence. Everyone could feel it lingering over the table in a thick hazy fog that could have been chewed through if anyone had made the effort. Sam and I chewed silently on our dry meat, stealing glances at one another from across the table while Dad directed his attention towards the moving pictures on the television screen. Among the four members of the Marzo family was a feeling that something needed to be talked about, but no one wanted to be the one to bring it up. That feeling of, “Oh fuck. Someone should say it. Someone say it. DEAR FUCKING GOD SOMEONE SAY SOMETHING.”

But, really? Our family was not one made up of particularly adventurous conversationalists.

The sound of Dad’s voice seemed to bulldoze through the stuffy silence, a surprise to the rest of us who usually expected Mom to speak first being the quasi-peacekeeper that she was.

“Simon, you doin’ good in school, eh?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Your teachers like you, yeah?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Not doin’ anything sinful, are you?”

“No, sir.” I tilted his head in Sam’s direction and looked at him. Sam’s hand was clenched tightly around the handle of his fork and his hazel eyes where traveling around his plate as if they had some sort of destination they just couldn’t reach. It wasn’t that Sam was actually angry with Dad’s not so inconspicuous allusion to Sam’s homosexuality, but more so at the fact that our father was using me to take a stab at him. It made me feel insanely guilty. I hated my father for making me do that to Sam.

“Don’t worry, sir, Simon isn’t as into the cock as I am. Fellatio and sodomy, while extremely fun whether you are giving or receiving, simply isn’t for everyone. It’s okay, I forgive you, Simon.”

Well. That was certainly unexpected.

My eyes were wide, Mom’s lips were parted in a silent gasp and the vein in Dad’s forehead was throbbing. Each member of the family reverted to their own version of shock at Sam’s statement. I felt his ears throb in the silence, the ticktocking of the clock boring into my skull. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick–

“So, boys, how would you feel about getting a cat?”

Sam and I looked at our mother. Without missing a beat, we sighed and shook our heads. “That’d be awesome, Mom.”


Before we go on, I should probably tell you about the little event that caused Dad to decide to send me away. Or at least the conversation that followed the event, since that’s what stands out in my memory. Sex, unless it’s either extremely good or extremely bad, isn’t the easiest thing to remember. It’s just sex. Whatever. A momentarily feeling of ecstasy depending on whom you’re fucking.

So, the conversation went something like this, if I remember correctly:

“Your brother’s kind of cute, you know that?”

I wasn’t trying to listen to the fucker. I didn’t want to. I swear he was the only guy I had ever met that felt the need to talk so much after sex. It was annoying. The sound of his voice at that point made me want to do something violent. If I told you that he made me want to punch babies in their chubby little faces, would you think any less of me?

“What?” I was making out with his pillow as I spoke. Too lazy to move. Too spent. My energy had left me along with my semen when I came inside of Josh. Sometimes I’m pretty sure the two, semen and energy, complement each other. But that’s besides the point.

“Simon. He’s cute.” Josh’s shaggy blonde hair was covering his eyes. I didn’t mind. A boring shade of dirt-brown. I had seen more interesting eyes in my time, I figured that there was no point lingering on his.

“Yeah, he is. Considering that I am related to him and all that shit I think that I would recognize such a thing.”

“Not necessarily. It’s precisely because he’s your twin that you might not see it at all.”

What was the point of this conversation? Why was Josh talking about this now? Whatever. I didn’t care. I was far more interested in the adorable little beagle that had pranced up to the side of the bed, forcing her nose underneath my fingers so that I would pet her. I loved Josh’s dog. I think I preferred her company to Josh’s. But, for the sake of amusement, I humored him.

“I know everything about my brother. Why wouldn’t I know that he’s cute?”

Josh didn’t deem my question important enough to answer. “If I weren’t fucking you, I’d fuck him.”

I scoffed. “As if it mattered. He’s straight.”

“Is that even possible?”

“Why wouldn’t it be?”

“Well, you guys are identical twins, right?”

“Yeah. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that our sexual preferences are the same.”

“Oh.” That was all Josh said. Just… oh. I knew I had chosen myself a winner.

“Are we done with this conversation? Can I sleep?”

Josh shook his head and looked over at the clock beside his bed. “I don’t think so. You need to get home before your dad realizes that you’re gone.”

I groaned. In the after orgasm high I had forgotten that I was supposed to be home. Simon was covering for me, as usual.

“Fine, fine, I’m out of here. I’ll call you later.” I wouldn’t. Considering that was the night I was to be caught and shipped away. That’s a good enough reason to not call someone, right?

Sorry, baby. I meant to get in touch with you, but, you know. My dad found out that I was gay and shipped me off to a Catholic boarding school for a year in a half, so, I was kind of busy dealing with that. You know how it goes.

Yeah. Right. Perfect excuse if there ever was one.

As I was pulling up my pants, I could feel Josh smiling in my direction. “What?”

“Nothing. I’m just a little disappointed that my fantasy won’t come true now.”

“And what fantasy is that?”

“The one where I have a threesome with you and your brother.”

I scowled and clenched my jaw. What the hell was wrong with this kid? “Yeah. Keep dreaming, freak.”

And that’s the last thing that I said to Josh before I went home and found my dad waiting for me with a half dozen empty condom wrappers and a number of (surprisingly) open Playgirl magazines strewn across the floor of the living room.

I’m still trying to figure out what Dad was trying to prove by waving a picture of a naked guy with a hard on in front of my face. Yeah. That’s going to encourage my latent heterosexuality. Thanks, Dad.


Sam’s school attire was left in a pile on the bedroom floor; I bet it had been a long time since he could discard his belongings so carelessly. Flannel pajama bottoms and a plain cotton tshirt now covered his body, more to give off the impression that he planned on staying in the house than for his own comfort. Sam did not need Dad suspecting that he was up to anything underhanded on his first night home. Not only would that end up being the last straw for good ol’ Pop, but the whole situation would end up getting me in trouble as well, and Sam knew that he had caused me enough problems simply by going away in the first place.

“So, what did Josh say?” I asked softly, my arms wrapped around the pillow that I had been holding through Sam’s ten minute long conversation on the phone. I had lent my brother my cell phone for the call, only to be slightly put out upon finding that Sam still knew Josh’s number by heart. The two had dated before Sam was sent away. Perhaps it was simply difficult to forget things like that. I was slightly upset that Sam was thinking about Josh so soon. Hadn’t Sam learned his lesson? And why didn’t he want to spend time with me? Why the hell did he have to go running off to party the second he got home? He knew that I hated Josh and Sam was still going to see him. My brother was such a fucking jerk.

“Luckily enough for us, there’s a party tonight at Spencer Chin’s house. Parents are off on a splendid Mediterranean cruise and left him and his sister the house. Do you remember Spencer, Si? I used to hang out with him before–”

“Yes, I remember,” I said quickly, peturbed.

Sam was too satisfied to be annoyed with my interruption. “Yeah, well, we’re going to be heading over there tonight. I’m pretty sure I still remember how to get there.”

“I don’t see why we need to go out at all.” I frowned and pushed the pillow away from my body, looking up at my twin, who was standing at the edge of the bed, and sighed. “I mean, this is the first time I’ve seen you in forever, and you want to go and spend it with everyone else.”

I could see that Sam tried to not roll his eyes. He moved to settle himself down beside me. I’m fairly sure that Sam expected something like this to happen, knowing me. I was always desperate for Sam’s attention at all hours of the day, wanting more than anything to be the center of Sam’s life. Sam had told me once that it was endearing and annoying at the same time. An ego booster and an incessant nuisance. Sometimes Sam adored the way I could never get enough of being around him. Sometimes Sam just had to yell at me to get me to leave him alone, and even that worked only about fifty percent of the time.

“Simon, we’re going to spend the rest of the summer vacation together. We’ll be together all day, all night, all the time. I haven’t had the chance to party since I left, and I’m anxious to get some illegal substance into my system. Not that it’s really all that difficult to get it at Holy Trinity, but sure as hell not as easy as it is here. Seriously, if I really didn’t want to spend time with you, would I be taking you to this party? Hm?”

“No, I guess not.” I didn’t like this conversation.

“Then shut the fuck up and go with it. You’re so needy with me; you really need to get some new friends and meet new people. I would have thought that me being away would have helped you, but it seems like it only made you worse. Do me a favor and talk to someone that doesn’t look like a mirror image of you tonight, you understand me?”

One. Two. Three. “Fine.”

Not the best reaction. Not the one that Sam had wanted, I bet. But he would take it. To Sam, “fine” was better than the alternative, the dreaded word that always meant death whenever it fell like liquid poison from my lips. Whatever. Neither Sam nor I wanted to hear that word coming from my mouth tonight.

“Just do it, Si. Trust me. Things will be fine.”

“Can I sleep with you tonight?”

“We’ll see.” Sam didn’t bother adding the other part of his sentence. He knew that he wouldn’t have to do so. My paranoia would cause me to figure out the sentence on my own.

It depends on whether or not I’m the only person in that bed tonight. That’s what Sam wasn’t saying. But I knew that’s what he was thinking.


There was something strange about my room. Something wholly familiar and yet disturbingly different at the same time.

My bedroom seemed as if it had been frozen in time. Not one item out of place, and yet, not one speck of dust to be found around the entire room. I told Simon to drop the bags on the floor and let the bag that I was carrying fall next to the others. The window was cracked open a few inches to let in some air; not that the room really needed it. Simon had done a wonderful job keeping the room immaculate. “Close the door,” I commanded, moving toward the window to slide it closed. The sounds of the chirping birds outside my window were annoying the crap out of me. All I wanted to hear right then were the voices of myself and my twin.

Simon, as always, did precisely as he was told, watching me with those large (and slightly creepy) hazel eyes of his. As I slowly looked around the room, Simon (apparently thinking it necessary to bring life to the situation) hopped onto my bed and giggled lightly at the sound of the worn mattress springs. It reminded me of the sounds that used to fill up my room whenever I snuck boys into my bedroom and fucked them for hours. Although I never asked him about it, I was pretty sure that Simon used to listen on the other side of the wall. He was always disturbingly curious like that.

“What have you been up to, kiddo? Anything interesting happen while I was gone? Get any awards? Get arrested? Still a virgin?” The last question was purred with a sarcastic grin, a playful eye. I could feel Simon’s blush coming on before I could see it. Simon fidgeted on the bed, turned his smooth face away and the back toward me. I had always been amazingly skilled at making Simon feel uncomfortable and shy. Funny thing is, I never had to try all that hard.

“No awards,” Simon whispered softly, lowering his eyelids and letting his thick lashes brush against his cheek. His fingers traced along the boring blanket on my bed, an irresistibly comfy but utterly plain down comforter. Then again, weren’t most down comforters plain? I have to admit though, I missed that blanket tons while I was away. I’m a bitch for down. “No arrests,” Simon continued, “not even a traffic ticket.” Oh, that’s right. Simon had his license now. He had gotten it after I had left. I could see him flicking up his eyes momentarily to see the clenching of my jaw. It had always been our way to have me do everything first. It’s how I liked it. I had taken our first drink, I had snorted our first line, I had gotten our first piercing. To have Simon accomplish something before me was unusual and disagreeable. In short, I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, I was often proud of the things that my baby brother did. As long as I had already done them. It was then that I realized that I would have to depend on Simon to get me far away from the house, if something like that were necessary. It made me feel so fucking pathetic.

“And the sex?” I asked, quick and desperate to move onto a subject in which I already reigned supreme over my twin.

Simon shook his head vigorously, allowing thick, loose curls to bounce around his ears. “No. No sex.”

Ah, of course. I felt right again. “Why not? I don’t get it at all, Simon. You do realize you’re my brother, right? You should be a deviant.” A smirk, a chide. A loving glance. Simon’s face was tinged a pretty crimson, and I couldn’t help but think about how adorable my younger brother was.

“I… I d-don’t know,” Simon stammered, chewing nervously on his lower lip. He was probably silently cursing me for bringing this subject up. Already I could tell that nothing about our relationship had changed, and I found it comforting. We both knew that I lived off of Simon’s adoration, and Simon lived off of my abuse. Neither of us minded.

“What, just haven’t found that right lady, yet, little brother? You’re seventeen, you know. As shy as you are, I would have figured you would have lost it a long time ago.”

“I’m not you, Sammy. I didn’t decide that it was a good idea to stick my dick into the first hole presented to me when I was thirteen.” Simon was already getting annoyed with this conversation. His voice was laced with a not-so-subtle ounce of venom, meant to sting, meant to hurt.

It didn’t hurt. I let the snideness go. I wasn’t in the mood to fight, and I knew Simon was always tetchy no matter what the situation. Time for a bit of damage control before Simon started to pout.

“I know you’re not me. But you’re gorgeous like me. You should be getting something by now, that’s all I’m saying.” I smiled at my twin on the bed, a gentle smile that I reserved for Simon and Simon alone. “Hey, you want to see something?”

Simon pursed his lips and lifted an eyebrow, glancing suspiciously at me. “Is it a secret?” He loved it when I shared secrets with him.

“Yes, it’s a secret. I want to show you.” I moved forward, crawling on to the bed and kneeling before Simon. With a sly smirk that was nothing less than addicting to the average onlooker, I shed my crimson blazer, letting it fall lackadaisically to the floor. The smooth tie around my throat was loosened and discarded, and the crisp oxford button up was pulled from the confines of my belt. Simon watched with rapt eyes as I quickly disrobed, wondering what could possibly be hidden from the outside world with layers of clothing that only Simon was allowed to see past. Of course, Simon was not the first one to see what I had hidden beneath my shirt, but I wasn’t about to tell him that.

One button, two buttons, three buttons, four. Each one until they all were undone and I could pull my shirt apart. I had not worn an undershirt that day for this precise reason. I wanted to show Simon. “What do you think?”

Simon flushed as if embarrassed, but a huge grin spread across his face, revealing his true feelings. His fingers reached out to graze my skin, caress the shiny metal rings. “When did you get these?”

“A few months ago. You like them.” It wasn’t a question.

Simon nodded, continuing to finger the rings in my nipples. To anyone else it would have been such an odd scene. One that should take place between lovers, or perhaps extremely close friends. Not something that should occur between siblings, let alone brothers. But to deny Simon the chance to understand what he saw, to learn through feeling, would be akin to slapping the boy in the face. And while I usually enjoyed such sadism, I wanted this night to start off on a relatively good note.

I remember when we were little, how Simon had always had to touch everything. Mom would be so pissed each time she had to pull something out of the little boy’s mouth, even when we were far past teething age. While I was content in watching and observing my surroundings from afar, Simon had to delve into the depths of the unknown, reaching out with open hands and closed eyes. I had always admired my little brother’s curiosity, and therefore encouraged it whenever I could. If Simon needed to feel me to understand what I had done to my body, that was all right. I did not mind.

Besides, I had missed the feel of my brother’s fingers on my flesh.

“If Dad ever saw these, he would flip,” Simon giggled, finally pulling his fingers away and leaning back from me.

“That’s why Dad’s never going to see them, dumb ass. And you’re a good boy, so I know that you won’t tell him.”

There was a slight pause, a tiny lull in the conversation. I frowned and reached out, pulling gently on one of Simon’s curls. My own had been shaved off the moment I reached Holy Trinity. It was fine. The curls looked better on the cherubic Simon, anyway. He had always been the angel. “Is Josh around?”

Simon turned away. Josh was the reason why I had been sent to Holy Trinity in the first place. “I don’t know. I guess. Why do you need to see him?”

“‘Cause, you and me? We’re gonna party tonight. And Josh is the perfect boy to call when you want a good time.”


The sky was dark by the time that Dad and Sam home. I could hear the sound of Dad slamming the car door from the living room, and instantly felt my toes begin to tingle. Sam was finally home! My body started shaking. It usually does that whenever I am overwhelmed by some intense emotion. At that moment it felt as if I was being injected with an emotion overdose. Anxiety, excitement, elation, fear, all of it just rushing through my veins and making my body freak out. I hated the way that I felt, but I loved what was causing it.

Dad walked into the house a few moments later, just as I was making my way to the door. He probably didn’t bother to help Sam with his belongings (not that anyone would actually expect him to help). I don’t know why Dad was in such a rush to get inside our two-story house. The only things waiting for him were the second half of a football game that he had had to miss in order to retrieve Sam and Mom’s slightly above average cooking. Tonight we would all be lucky enough to enjoy dry but not inedible turkey with a side of bland mashed potatoes and undercooked broccoli.

Did I say above average? Hm. I have a habit of making my family sound better than they actually are.

Without acknowledging my father’s presence I slipped past the behemoth and through the cracked door that he had graciously left open for Sam. My brother was still by the car, unpacking the last of his bags, looking rather pleased that Dad had decided against staying around to help out.


Like a bolt of lightning striking an oblivious tree, I pounced upon Sam with the passion and force of a long lost lover being reunited with his soul mate. I know that sounds weird, but it’s how I felt. Sam was a long lost love. He was the only person that I truly did love in some form or another. I was practically trembling with excitement and sheer joy at feeling Sam’s body against my own and could not help but clutch at Sam’s blazer as if it was the Holy Grail. “Sammy,” I panted, smiling a wide, trusting grin at my brother. “I missed you.”

“Seriously? I never would have fucking guessed, kiddo. Come on, get off. People are gonna think we’re boyfriends you keep holding onto me like that. And don’t call me Sammy.” Sam paused, groaning as he saw the look of instantaneous pain in my eyes. Sam knew that the smallest word could make me flip out for no apparent reason. But Sam knew me better than that, knew that in the time that he was away I hadn’t changed it all. There was always a reason for being upset. If I got upset it wasn’t because I was being ridiculous, I wasn’t being silly. I cared about Sam’s opinion of me. That’s why I was so sensitive. Sam noticed the glazing of my eyes and the frown on my face. He could probably feel it, too, just like I did. “Don’t do that. Fuck, Si. You know I missed you, too, all right? Help me get my stuff you fucking pansy.”

As if an emotional switch had been flipped, the smile reappeared in both my face and eyes and I leaped at the opportunity to carry Sam’s belongings, grabbing the two largest bags and pulling them toward the house. I hoped that Sam was pleased with my efforts to help him. I could hear Sam grab the last and smallest of the bags from the ground and close the car door. His footsteps echoed my own. The large white door into our parents’ house seemed like a duel entrance to heaven and hell. Sammy stopped in his tracks for just a moment. I stopped when I heard him halt and turned toward him, watching him stare. I wondered what he was thinking about. Sometimes with Sam it was impossible to tell.

“Sammy? Come with me.” The sound of my voice pulled Sam from his momentary reverie.

“I’m coming, prince. I’m coming.” And he did. And it made me the happiest kid in the world.