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"It was a Seven"

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There were a few things Will never intended on telling his brother. He never intended to tell him that he himself in fact, had not broken Jonathan’s Bowie CD, but had lent it to Mike, who accidentally dropped it on his way to return it. He did not intend on telling Jonathan that although he would eat the breakfast his older brother made, it was often only half cooked, and Will was a little worried about that. Will did not intend to tell Jonathan about seeing his mother crying at night, Will did not intend to tell Jonathan how much James and Troy really bothered him at school. He did not intend to tell Jonathan what James and Troy called him at school, and he never intended to tell Jonathan that they were right.

Notice: he never intended to tell Jonathan these things. But Will had never been a good liar, and thankfully Jonathan had never been the classic asshole teen brother.

“You shouldn’t like things just because people tell you you're supposed to.”
The words echoed in Will’s head until he could say it out loud to himself. When he did say it aloud, it was night. His mom was asleep, Jonathan wasn’t. The older boy was awake with headphones on in his bedroom. Will walked as quietly as he could to the door and knocked on the open door frame. Jonathan turned his head and gave Will a friendly smile.

“Hey, Will. You okay?”

Will nodded, the corners of his mouth trying their hardest to hide a smile.
“You shouldn’t like things just because people tell you you're supposed to.”

Jonathan’s eyes changed as he grinned at Will standing in the doorway.
“That’s right, kid...That’s right.”

---

“So, you’re heading over to Mike’s?”

“Yeah, he’s been working on this campaign forever! It better be good.” Will said, excitedly zipping up his vest.

Jonathan nodded, not really listening. He watched Will smile getting all his things ready to go, stuffing a soda and some drawings into his backpack.
“And...Are you gonna tell him today?” Jonathan asked looking at the floor. Will slung his bag over his shoulder and sighed.

“I dunno, maybe? Probably not. Lucas and Dustin will be there and-”

“Will.” Jonathan cut him off. “Don’t wait too long. Remember when I talked for an entire week about how I was gonna wait for the right moment to tell Lizzie Mytcek?” Jonathan started. Will huffed.

“Yeah, yeah, and the day you finally worked up the courage she was already going to homecoming with Zachary Anderson, but that’s different!” He argued, rolling his eyes. Jonathan didn’t buy it.

“It’s not any different! Look, this kind of thing always works out the same, if you don’t tell him, he’ll end up with… I dunno, that blonde girl he likes, Jennifer something.”

“It’s different cause Mike’s a boy!” Will blurted out, annoyed. “If I told Jennifer I liked her, she might say no, but at least it’d be normal. When Mike says no, then there’s no rewind!”

Will sat down on the floor, looking frustrated.

“And then he knows, and It’s not like I get to explain anything! it’s just ‘hey, Mike, I like you as a boyfriend please don’t tell everyone I’m a queer”. Jonathan sighed and knelt on the floor in front of his brother.

“Will, do you remember what you told me last night?”

“Jonathan-”

“Do you remember?”

Will looked at the floor, his eyes burned and his hands felt hot. He didn’t want to go to the Wheeler's anymore if Jonathan would keep ragging on him like this.

“Yeah, I remember, I just said what you told me, it wasn’t a big deal.” Will muttered, looking like a total child sitting on the floor, his hair sticking to his forehead from sweat, his arms folded over his chest.

Jonathan exhaled and his smile faded.
“Well, okay, you’re upset, sorry. Just go on to the Wheeler’s. I won’t force you to do anything.”

As Jonathan stood up, Will took a deep breath and tried to fix his hair back to normal. He cooled down after a few more breaths and was able to get up, dust himself off, and head for his bike. Just as he closed the door, Jonathan could hear Will mumble to himself.

“You shouldn’t like things because people tell you you’re supposed to.”

---

 

Moths hummed, bumping around the Wheeler’s garage lights.

“There’s something wrong with your sister.” Dustin said to Mike, the last slice of pizza in his hand.

The boys swung backpacks over their shoulders and got ready to take off on their bikes.

“What do you mean?” Mike asked.

“She’s got a stick up her butt.” Dustin replied, laughing.

Will wasn’t really listening to anything being said. He had too many thoughts swimming around his brain. He didn’t get a chance to talk to Mike for even a moment alone (not that he would’ve been able to muster up the courage anyways) on account of arriving late due to his minor tantrum at home. The whole group ragged on him for being too indecisive when it came to the simple “Protection or Fireball” option. To be honest, his thoughts weren’t totally focused on the game, at least, not on anything but the dungeon master.

Will snapped back into reality as Lucas biked away.

“Later!” He called to Mike.

Will was the only one left in the driveway, aside from Mike who watched the other boys leave. If there was going to be any moment to tell Mike, this was it. Two kids, alone in a driveway. Not ideal, but the best opportunity Will would be getting.
Four simple words. Four simple words. Will kept thinking to himself, his heart-rate picking up as he glanced at Mike.
Mike caught him staring and he blurted it out. He wasn’t sure if it was on accident or not, maybe it was just too much pressure building up in his stomach. He winced as the words left his mouth.

“It was a seven.”

Mike shook his head slightly, looking confused. “Huh?”

Will’s hands tightened on his bike’s handlebars.

“The roll.” he said, his voice falling flat. “It was a seven.”
Mike said nothing, just gave a small nod as Will began to pedal away. A halfhearted “see you tomorrow” was said as he cursed himself in his head.

You blew it. You blew the whole thing. Will thought, catching up with the other boys. He only hoped that Jonathan wasn’t right. He only hoped.