“Shut up, that’s not true!” Arnie growled, and shoved Brett hard.
Brett stumbled back. “Hey! What the hell?!”
“My brother is NOT gay.”
Brett adjusted his jacket and moved behind the tire swing for protection. ”He has a boyfriend.”
“He does not!” Arnie kicked a lump of sand. “Mason is just his friend.”
“I saw them kissing in the locker room.”
Arnie covered his ears and grimaced. “Stop saying things like that! I swear Dan is NOT gay! He’s straight!” Arnie’s last word came out as a sob.
“Arnie…” Brett sighed, and came out to guide Arnie down to sit on the rusted roundabout. “Why is this bothering you so much? You never had a problem with anyone’s sexual preference before.”
Arnie wiped his eyes and sniffed. “Once this gets around school Dan’ll get picked on and treated like crap for being different, just like me. I get bullied for being small, smart, and bad at sports, but it’s all the same. I’d never wish what I go through every day on him. He’s my brother.”
Brett patted him on the back. “That’s kinda sweet, Arn. Still, you’re an idiot.”
“What?” Arnie narrowed his eyes.
“Aren’t you forgetting that he’s your BIG brother? Hasn’t he always had your back in the face of danger? He hasn’t changed. Don’t doubt for a minute he won’t be there for you when you need him.”
Arnie took a breath and nodded. “Yeah. And maybe it’s my turn to be there for him.”
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