Brad and Nathan are brothers. When Nathan was five he took his three years younger brother out in the rain for the first time. They danced around naked, splashing water at each other, laughing. When Nathan stopped dancing Brad kept going, still begging Nathan to join him. Everything changed that one time when Brad was 15 and begged Nathan to join him. That time Nathan discovered feelings he didn’t understand. Feelings that are wrong and forbidden.
They are older now and Brad is still longing for those dances in the rain. He is also longing for his brother who is away, but he isn’t sure why he longs so for his brother.
You know what it’s like to look at someone who’s about to laugh. How it starts to flicker a little in the corner of the mouth and the corner of the eyes crinkle just a little. The lips get a little tense and stretch just before they slightly part. When the smile grows bigger and bigger, the lips part more and more and you see those white teeth shimmer and the crinkles in the corners of the eyes get deeper. Finally that big smile bursts out in a heartfelt laughter, the shining eyes look at you and everything around you disappear.
You know what it’s like when that bubbling laughter and those shimmering eyes make you feel something. How inside you there is a tiny, tiny butterfly flying around making you just a little uncomfortable, giving you feelings you shouldn’t have. Maybe you don’t know, but he knows.
Nathan lays in the uncomfortable bunk bed at the army compound, completely unaware of everything around him. Sure, he can hear the other men talk and snore but he can’t care less about them right now. They just came here for their yearly training and Nathan knows that he will enjoy every minute of it. He loves to be here among all the men, doing dirty things. No, not dirty in that way. Dirty like digging holes and crawling in mud. Shooting with machine guns, feeling the recoil from the weapon in his hands. Still, something’s bothering him. Something’s missing. He takes out the picture of him and his little brother and pins it to the bottom of the bed above him. His beautiful brother with the most amazing blue eyes, the blond hair falling down to his shoulders and that lean, tall body. If Nathan is the question then Brad is the answer. Well, it’s probably the other way around if you ask just about anyone else but to Nathan, Brad will always be the answer.
There is something eerie about an empty apartment. The echo in the corridor when you walk by the doors into the bedrooms, and the sounds when you stand in the middle of the living room talking to no one. Maybe you shout as loud as you can or sing that aria you always sing in the shower, just to hear the tones bounce from wall to wall. The marble topped kitchen island cools your hand when you lightly stroke it and the fridge have that faint, moldy smell when you open the door that’s been closed for days or sometimes for weeks .
Brad is lying on his bed, remembering the day he came here to look at this apartment. He fell in love with it the moment he stepped inside the door. It was no doubt the best apartment he had looked at out of the 13 he had been looking at so far. It has three bedrooms, two ensuites and one bathroom, a big kitchen and living room, and a big pantry. The pantry is important. Not that Brad is that fond of food but he likes the idea of a big pantry. He can stash a lot of things there. He still isn’t sure what those things are and he’s been living here for three years now. Nathan moved in a year later. They never really intended to live together but Nathan broke up with his girlfriend and she basically threw him out so Brad offered him one of the bedrooms.
The fan in the ceiling is spinning slowly around. ‘Why do I even keep that ugly thing’ Brad thinks to himself. He’s had that fan with little spotlights since he was 15 and it was cool to have that sort of thing. It’s moved with him every time he’s moved and every time he’s wondered the same. ‘Well, it’ll have to do for now’. Brad subsides deep down in his thoughts, thinking about warm beaches and Nathan in tight speedos. About Nathan’s slightly shorter, toned body, his wild, curly black hair and his dark, brown eyes. Nathan looks nothing like Brad but still, they are brothers. A hot wave moves through his body and he blushes. Why does he even think about his three years older brother in little, tight speedos? It’s so wrong on so many levels. He shrugs and gets out of bed and wanders down to the kitchen, trying to think about something else. He ends up in the pantry. Nathan’s left a little surprise for him in there on the middle shelf.
Since you are useless I made a little Nathan mix for you so you can make some hot cocoa. Think about me in the mud when you drink it.
Brad laughs that heartfelt laughter Nathan loves so much. Well, Brad doesn’t know about that because Nathan never told him. There are a lot of things Nathan never told his little brother. Things that aren’t okay to tell your brother. Brad immediately roams the kitchen for some soymilk but of course there is none. Nathan usually does all the shopping but he’s not here now and Brad always forgets. He forgets to eat too when Nathan’s gone, even if Nathan makes sure there is food in the freezer for him.
It’s getting dark outside when Brad finally decides that he needs a little of that Nathan mix. A grey fog is spreading just above the streets, like a layer of cotton, muting every sound. Over all it reminds him a little of a ghost town, no cars or people walking around. Most of the people are probably home with their families, eating dinner or putting their kids to bed. It’s cold and the trees, if he could see them, are beautifully colored in yellow and orange and red. The fall is the most beautiful season but Brad prefers the summer when it’s warm. He pulls his beanie down over his ears and puts his hands in his pockets and then he slowly walks down to the local store and hopes that they have soymilk. They are often out but today might be his lucky day. ‘Nathan in tight little speedos, that would be nice.’ What the hell is he thinking? It’s his brother, he can’t be thinking like that. Still, that is one thought of many he’s had of his brother lately.
They are out of soymilk so Brad buys a bag of candy instead and slowly walks back home again. The cold and the moisture creeps in under his clothes and he’s freezing when he comes back. He wishes he bought some regular milk but he can hear Nathan’s mocking voice in his head. ‘Your precious little tummy will hurt and you are gonna cry like the big crybaby you are. Brad is a crybaby.’ He rarely mocks Brad about his intolerance for lactose. As a matter of fact he only did it once when Brad was five and had such a stomach ache he cried for a whole day. Nathan didn’t understand just how bad it was. It’s not easy for an eight year old to understand but Brad still remembers how sad he got. All he wanted was for Nathan to comfort him and hug him. Instead of hot cocoa Brad runs a hot, steaming bath and takes off his somewhat damp clothes. While the tub fills he lays down naked on the bed again and looks at that ugly fan. His thoughts wander off to a memory a long time ago. A fond memory he shares with his brother.
When Nathan was five he took Brad with him out in the rain naked. They danced around the apple trees and jumped in the biggest pools of water. They splashed water at each other and got soaking wet. Brad doesn’t remember much of this but Nathan has told him so many times about how Brad’s eyes were shining and how his laughter bubbled up every time he fell in the biggest pool on the drive way. He has told Brad how he ran away and hid when their parents yelled at Nathan for taking his little brother out in the cold rain and how he, despite his young age, came and hugged his big brother afterwards. Comforting him. Brad smiles when he thinks about how they did this every time it rained, no matter if it was just a soft, light summer rain or a thundering, raging rainstorm. They were out there, dancing naked in the rain every year until Brad was ten. After that Nathan never wanted to but Brad tried anyway. When Nathan said no he danced alone while Nathan stood in the window watching him. He still longs for those dances in the rain but they are old now and you don’t dance naked in the rain with your 33 year old brother.
Nathan lays in the uncomfortable metal bunk bed listening to his comrade jerking off above him. The whole bed is shaking but he doesn’t notice because outside it’s raining and all he can think of is that time he said no to Brad when he wanted to dance with him in the rain. That time everything changed for him.
“Nathan, come on. Please, just once.” Brad stands naked in front of him, begging him to come with him. Outside the rain is pouring down. It has for days and Brad’s been begging for days now.
“Are you crazy! I’m not gonna dance in some stupid rain. Grow up Brad.” Nathan resolutely shakes his head while he studies his 15 year old brothers lanky, tall body. Brad outgrew him a year ago, much to Nathan’s disappointment. He’s a whole head taller than Nathan now. He’s got a scar on his right thigh from that time when he was seven and he fell from the tallest apple tree. Nathan’s eyes are stuck on that scar now, without him even thinking about it. His lips part a little and his tongue slides slowly along them, like so many times before. Brad watches his big brother and grins.
“What are you looking at?” The tone in his voice is seducing, he’s teasing his big brother. Slowly he starts to walk towards Nathan, wiggling a little on his lean hips. Nathan sits in the brown corner sofa in the TV-room not knowing what to do. He’s trapped between the sofa and Brad and he is completely mesmerized by his little brother. The tension in the room is so tangible and the air is so heavy Nathan is starting to breath heavily. He rubs his hands, starts to fiddle with the hem on his hoodie and looks out the window at the never ending pouring rain in an attempt to escape his taunting brother. When he looks back at Brad again Brad is so close Nathan looks straight into his crotch. Nathan immediately looks down and hides his face in his hands, feeling the heat moving up the neck to his face, his cheeks slowly turning red, from shame perhaps. Nathan isn’t sure what he’s feeling.
“Why so shy brother? How many times have you seen me naked?” Brad has a content smile on his lips. “There’s nothing new to see here.” He lets his hands softly run down his smooth skin. Nathan peeks through his fingers, pretending not to look but he can’t take his eyes off of Brad. Why is he doing this? Nathan feels that familiar beating feeling and the blood is rushing through his body. His heart starts to beat a little harder and he breathes a little faster. No, this can’t be happening. He throws himself down on his stomach in the sofa just when their mother walks in.
“What are you boys doing?” A big smile spreads across her face when she sees a naked Brad in the TV-room. “Oh, you are going out? Why don’t you join him Nathan? You know how much it means to him.” Nathan just stares at their mother while Brad stands behind her smirking. Nathan doesn’t answer her, he just snatches a newspaper laying on the coffee table to cover the unfortunate hard on he’s still got, and then he runs upstairs to his room and slams the door.
‘What the hell was that?’ Nathan is so confused, he doesn’t understand. He leans his back against the door for a little while, trying to gather his thoughts and just calm down. His heart slowly calms down again and the blood isn’t rushing so fast. He runs his hand through his messy hair and then he lets his hand follow his neck down his chest. For a while he just lets it rest there but as soon as he starts to think about Brad and his scar the hand slowly finds its way down his body and soon enough he is stroking his crotch outside the jeans. Once again the blood starts to rush and Nathan starts to blush when he realises what is happening. His eyes are starting to tear up and his cheeks turn red from shame and anger when he runs to his bed and throws himself on his stomach and buries his face in his ugly white pillow with green ducks on. He starts to sob. What is happening to him?
Although it was confusing and Nathan was afraid it is a very fond memory now. He didn’t understand anything and everything he felt was so wrong and forbidden. It still is and that’s why he never can tell anyone, especially Brad. His amazing brother didn’t understand what he did that day. Nathan smiles when he thinks about how Brad came into Nathan’s room later that day to apologize.
Nathan is sitting in his high, black leather office chair in front of his computer looking at pictures of airplanes, pretty much like he always does when he’s done with his homework. Everybody always teases him about his great fascination for, and maybe obsession about, everything regarding aviation so he has learned not to talk about it too much anymore. He’s so deeply absorbed in some facts about the Concorde he never notices Brad coming into his room. All of a sudden he just stands in the doorway intensely watching Nathan.
“Hrm” Nathan gets startled when Brad makes his presences known. “Hey, so what are you doing? Can I come in?” He doesn’t wait for an answer, he takes three long jumps and throws himself on Nathan’s bed and stares at Nathan, who quickly turns off the screen and glares angrily at him.
“What the hell, I didn’t say you could come in.” Nathan is irritated with Brad and still angry and a little confused about this afternoon.
“Oh, you are watching porn. Nathan, the pervert. I knew it!” Brad grins at him and sniggers. “No, but seriously, I know you are watching your damn planes so you don’t have to turn off the screen.” He smiles a guilty smile. He knows it’s mostly his fault Nathan feels he has to hide his passion for planes and flying. Brad hasn’t really been that nice about it. He thinks Nathan should be out chasing girls but Nathan prefers to sit inside and watch pictures of planes or play airplane simulator games on his computer. It is strange. “Anyway, I just wanted to say I’m sorry about before. I was stupid, acting like a real shit.” He gives Nathan an apologetic smile while running his hand through his hair. Nathan licks his lips again and nervously bites his lower lip. He can’t really do this one more time today. He turns around and looks at the black screen and thinks about the ugly girl next door. It’s not nice to think about people the way he thinks about her right now but he doesn’t know what else to do. It only takes a few seconds before he’s back again and turns around and faces Brad.
“Yeah, you were. Why do you always have to be so stupid?” Nathan sighs deeply and smiles. He’s sometimes so tired of Brad he could just hit him. Then he does something amazing and Nathan just wants to shout to the whole world that they should look at his brother because that is an extraordinary person, bound to be something big one day.
“Because I’m your little brother and that’s my job.” He jumps up from the bed and runs over to Nathan and throws himself at him so they both fall on the floor. They tumble around, wrestling, pretending to hit each other. Just like they have done so many times before. Nathan groans when Brad finally ends up on top of his stomach pinning him to the floor. Brad gazes down at Nathan for a while and then he leans down. His cheek briefly touches Nathan’s and the warm breath against Nathan’s neck makes him shiver when Brad whispers in Nathan’s ear. “Sorry, big brother, I’ve got homework. Go back to your porn.” Brad climbs off Nathan, laughs at him where he lays, once again blushing, and walks out the door, waving his arm as a good bye. Nathan stays on the floor and looks at the spotlights in the ceiling, thinking about what just happened. Again, with the teasing. Why did he do that? Why does he have to act like a total shit head? He tries to shrug it off and then he goes back to watching airplanes again, reading about the Concorde.
The fan in the ceiling spins slowly round and round and Brad is getting tired, almost falling asleep when he hears water splashing over the edge of the bathtub. ‘Fuck, the bath!’. He completely forgot that he was running a bath. He runs out to the bathroom and is meet by a big pool of water filling half the bathroom floor. Brad just stands there for a minute, cursing his stupidity and forgetfulness. Then the corner of his mouth starts to flinch a little and his lips spread. The corners of his eyes start to crinkle and his white teeth show. He starts to laugh at the same time as he throws himself down on the floor and starts to splash the water around. He throws it over his head and he dances around in it. He sings and jumps and laughs. He remembers and he wishes that Nathan was there with him, dancing naked in his bathroom with him. After a while he sinks down on the white, tiled floor and starts to sigh. He misses Nathan when he is away, today more than ever. He isn’t sure why but he does. The house is so silent and empty without him.
The days pass by as they always do. Some days disappear in a whiff while others move slower than ever. Nathan’s days are all the same. They go on long marches with nothing but rocks in their backpacks, eating canned food from the 50s. They jerk off at night, Nathan looking at the picture of him and Brad, and shoot with machine-guns during the day. Brad’s days are filled with meetings and some more meetings. That’s all he does when Nathan’s away, go to endless numbers of meetings to manage their company without him. He crashes in bed late at night after watching bad soap operas and reality shows. They both think about how empty life is right now.
The rain is pouring down the day when Nathan finally comes home. Brad is standing at the french doors facing the garden out back, watching the raindrops smashing hard against the window, longing to get out there to dance. When he hears the door opens his heart beats a little faster, but he stays where he is.
“Hey, I’m home. Where are you?” Brad hears heavy footsteps, Nathan’s still got his military boots on. “Why aren’t you answering me?” Nathan comes up behind Brad and hits his little brother lightly on his upper arm. Brad slowly turns around and looks at Nathan. He shines, like he always does after a month in the army. They haven’t talked for a month and suddenly Brad can’t say one word. Nathan gazes at him, waiting for him to say something. Brad can’t do anything but look, Nathan is so… Brad isn’t sure what it is he’s feeling. He wasn’t prepared for all these feelings he’s got inside him. He’s been longing for Nathan to come home. For Nathan’s company. For Nathan to fill the empty house he left behind when he went away. But this. He is completely mesmerized by his older brother. “Brad are you okay?” Nathan gently takes Brad’s hand. Brad flinches and pulls his hand away. He’s terrified all of a sudden. Scared. He doesn’t understand what’s happening to him.
“Yes. Yes I am”, he stutters, “I need to… Ehm… Sorry. ” Nathan watches his little brother run away. He waits for a short while and then he slowly follows. Brad lays on his bed staring at the ugly fan slowly spinning, trying to understand. Nathan stands in the doorway watching him for a few seconds before he softly says Brad’s name. Brad just barely moves but he doesn’t look at his big brother. Nathan walks a little closer to the bed while he starts to take off this stinking green military uniform. Brad glances at him, unsure of what’s happening. When Nathan stands beside him in only his boxers Brad stares at him. “Nathan, what the hell are you doing?” Nathan smiles at him and drops his boxers. Brad blushes and quickly hides his face in his hands. It’s silly really, he’s seen Nathan naked a thousand times. This time it’s different though. Brad doesn’t really know why, it just is.
“It’s raining and I want to dance. Please dance with me.” Brad peeks up behind the hands, not sure if he heard his big brother right. Nathan is smiling, holding out a hand for him to take. “It’s been too long and I’m sorry about that. It’s my fault. Will you please?” Brad slowly nods and starts to unbutton his jeans while Nathan watches him in silence. He watches the scar on Brad’s thigh. The scar that started all this. When Brad’s naked they go side by side, out through the French doors, into the cold rain. A big puddle of water is slowly growing in the middle of the lawn. Nathan is happy he never came around to fix that this summer. He runs out in the middle of it and starts to splash water around. Brad still stands just outside the doors, wondering what’s gotten into his brother. Why does he all of a sudden want to dance with Brad?
“Are you coming or what?” Nathan waves at Brad and giggles. Brad gets this beating feeling inside and his heart starts to pound hard. A little butterfly is wreaking havoc in his stomach and he’s blushing. That’s his brother in a puddle splashing water. Brad almost runs over to him and soon there is a raging war going on for a few seconds. A war shortly turning into a beautiful dance around the plum trees and the gooseberry bushes. Now and then they throw little glances at each other and sometimes their eyes get stuck in a gaze for a few seconds. The dance ends when Nathan swirls straight into Brad and catches him in an embrace. Time suddenly stops. A blue flash lights up the sky and from afar the thunder rumbles. Nathan’s brown eyes can’t let go of Brad’s blue and Brad doesn’t want them too. Nathan gently caresses Brad’s cheek.
“I’m sorry”, he whispers.
Everything around them is silent, there is nothing but them. Brad can see how Nathan is leaning in and he can feel Nathan’s soft lips so carefully embrace his. It only lasts a few seconds before it’s over. Brad slowly raises his fingers and lightly feel his own lips. Is this what he has really been longing for? Without understanding it? When he looks up Nathan gazes at him, waiting for him. He’s been longing for 15 years. Brad reaches for him, lays his hand behind Nathan’s neck and entangles his fingers in those black curls he so often has rested his eyes on wherever they have been. He pulls Nathan a little closer and lips meet lips once again. The rain is still falling and they are finally dancing together.