Liam likes school. The academic side. Especially sciences, English, and sociology. He is not the brightest student in his year, not perhaps the most academic, but he is doing well and he finds it gratifying.
Liam doesn’t like school. The social side. It’s not that he dislikes people, it’s just that he doesn’t particularly feel like he belongs either. As if every other person in his school knows a secret he has no clue about and it somehow gives them a headstart socially.
It doesn’t help when you are the somewhat invisible kid and your brother is super popular because he is handsome, funny, smart, and captain of the swimming team. People expected him to be a certain way because of who Adam is, but were probably a bit disappointed when they realized that he was nothing like that.
Although, in all fairness, Liam isn’t exactly invisible anymore. At the beginning of the school year, for like a second and a half, he had a thing with another boy from the astronomy club. Jake was cute, smart, funny, and sort of a dream perfect boyfriend. But after a month, Liam decided to come out and Jake decided that it was an experiment and that he wasn’t that gay after all. Liam still doesn’t know if coming out pushed the other boy away or if he would have backed out anyway. Still. Now, just like a few other students in the school, he is ‘the gay kid’, as if it summed up his entire person, and his family is awkward. Not all his family. Adam has been great about it, and Samantha is probably too young to really understand. But his parents, although not awful about it, are certainly not in love with the idea. They probably hope it’s a phase. Some days, Liam does too.
Thankfully, there is a bit of light in his social life. Maisie is this tiny ginger girl with freckles and forest green eyes. Liam always found her extremely pretty, but then again, he might not be the best judge of girls’ attractiveness. The two of them have been best friends forever and she is one of the reasons Liam actually likes coming to school. He likes that she is always happy and bubbly, that she is so overwhelmingly supportive but that she also won’t hesitate to call him out on his bullshit or to make fun of him whenever she gets a chance.
Like when she asks him if the only reason he goes to his brother's swimming competitions is to look at other boys half-naked. Which is a ridiculous idea, because if there is one thing that makes you want to not look at a group of half-naked boys that way (other than, you know, you don’t need to sexualize everyone just because you can), it’s definitely when your brother is one of those boys. So… yeah, Liam had never really found boys in swimming trunks that appealing.
Except, maybe, lately his eyes have been lingering a little too much on Caleb. Not that there will ever be anything there. After the fiasco of his first relationship (or whatever it was), Liam isn’t that eager to date again. Caleb is popular, has completely different friends, different interests, he is probably straight and, most importantly, he is Adam’s best friend. So all kinds of unreachable or forbidden.
Still. He’s nice to look at, even fully clothed, and could definitely be in the column of nice things in school.
Caleb likes school. He enjoys learning new things although he is an average student in most subjects. He has dyslexia, which makes everything slightly more challenging, although he isn’t the kind of person to use it as an excuse. He is not going to let this define what he can achieve.
He likes sports and he is really proud of his achievements in his swimming team.
He likes the social side of school. Well… this one is slightly more complicated. Caleb is a bit awkward socially. He doesn’t really talk much and he is uncomfortable around large groups of people. But his team captain took him under his wing since he joined the team and they developed a strong friendship. Although he is a year older and should gravitate around other people, Adam is now his best friend, and that alone makes school worth it. But Adam also helps Caleb have a group of friends and get out of his shell a little.
When your best friend is carrying out most of the conversation and when you are popular for your sporting achievements, it doesn’t really matter that you don’t speak that much. People tend to like you enough.
The only thing that Caleb is struggling with at the moment is his sexuality. He knows he is gay. He has known for a while. And he is fine with that. But he isn’t sure about coming out. He doesn’t know how the guys on the team would react. He hasn’t heard any homophobic comments from them, but that is probably because Adam’s brother is gay, and if deep down they aren’t that woke, it might make it really awkward in the locker room. And, sure, maybe he could tell Adam, but… it would be so much easier if he didn’t have a massive crush on his little brother.
A crush that he fought for the longest time. Partly because of Adam, partly because he was afraid that he was only envisioning this option because Liam is gay too. But this is more than that. First, Liam isn’t the only boy who’s out in their school. Completely objectively, he might not even be the most attractive. But every glimpse that Caleb caught of Liam makes him want to discover more. In class, at Adam’s, sometimes at lunch, after competitions when he comes to watch his brother swim… every chance he gets, he observes the other boy. In a non-stalkerish or creepy way. It’s just that however hard it is to talk to people, it is even harder to talk to Liam who will probably forever remain the crush he once had in high school.
It’s still a nice feeling and Liam is definitely one of the things Caleb likes about school.
This is a story that has been told over and over again. Boy meets boy, boy likes boy, boys fall in love.
But what if these two were supposed to fall in love in a hundred different ways, in a hundred of different realities? How many different events could bring them together? How different could their lives be? Would they find their way to each other every time?
Let’s find out.
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