Chad watched Al while he washed the dishes. He liked it when Al was in his own world, relaxed and humming, his body swaying slightly. Sometimes he even thought maybe Al did it for his benefit.
It gave Chad time to think about what he wanted to say. It felt important, the kind of conversation he’d rehearsed in his head for the whole last week. Chad rubbed the handle of his now-empty coffee cup and looked down, somehow missing when Al shut off the water and hung up the dish towel.
“Hey,” Al said, sliding onto the bench in their breakfast nook. He nudged Chad. “Are you okay?”
Al smiled in a way that made it impossible not to return it. “Like always. Want to share?”
He meant the question sincerely. Al wouldn’t press for details Chad didn’t want to give. A nervous tremor shot through him. Now or never.
“You know how I’ve been doing some volunteer work at the youth center?”
“Sure, yeah. You seem like you’ve been enjoying it.”
Chad nodded. “I have. Uh…” He licked his lips. “One of the kids there, he told me he was confused about some feelings he’s been having. About another boy.”
“Just shows he trust you, huh?” Al touched Chad’s hand.
“Yeah. But it made me think about how I was at his age, and…” Chad pulled his hand away. “This kid, I think he was testing me out to see what I’d say. He told me later on he’s bisexual.”
At this point, Al seemed confused himself, probably because Chad was so worked up about it. “Do you think he meant it?”
Chad politely didn’t chastise Al for the remark; it wouldn’t help. “I think it’s wise to believe people when they say stuff.”
“Yeah, okay. So what did you say?”
“That it’s fine, his feelings are valid. That…that I am too.” Chad exhaled, long and shaky, and then there was silence. “Say something, please.”
“What do you want me to say?” Al shifted. It was subtle, but Chad felt the loss. “I don’t understand why you’re telling me this. Does it matter?”
“Yes. It’s part of who I am and something I denied for a long time.” Chad reached for Al but stopped. “You’re upset.”
“No. Yes. I don’t know. We’ve been together for years…” He looked down at his hands, now folded on top of the table. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Chad sighed. “It was easier to fit in, you know? I didn’t have to try too hard to be a guys’ guy, especially after I married you. But that kid…all of a sudden, I felt like a liar.”
Al sat there for a moment before he cupped Chad’s cheek. “It’s that important to you?”
“For you to know? Yes.” Now Chad did touch Al. “I trust you.”
Al smoothed Chad’s skin with his thumb. “Does this change anything?” He was trying to hide the tremor, but Chad heard it.
“Not between us, other than now you know me a little better.” Chad smiled and leaned in for a kiss.
When Al sat back, he seemed calmer. “Okay. But I’m not watching lesbian porn with you.”
Chad stared at him for a full three seconds before snorting with laughter. “No lesbian porn. But is it okay if I read lesbian spanking erotica out loud to you in bed?”
“Oh, God.” Al scooted away.
With a wicked smirk, Chad launched at Al, shaking the table and making the coffee cup rattle. He trapped Al with his knees.
“There’s no escape for you.”
Al caught Chad by surprise with a long, hot kiss. They were both breathing fast by the time he let up.
“I should hope not. Bedroom?”