Just a Bit

By: Alessandra Hazard

Let’s hang out tomorrow, he texted back.

He received a reply almost instantly, which made him smile. Yeah, he was pathetic like that.

I’ll be at the house. The weather’s still good. Grab your trunks. We can hang out at the pool.

The house Ryan was referring to was his family home, or rather, Ryan’s eldest brother ’s house.

Ryan had moved out of there a few years ago and acquired a place of his own, but since Ryan’s workplace was close to Zach’s house, he lived half of the time at Zach’s for convenience’s sake.

James didn’t mind hanging out there—he’d been there hundreds of times over the years and he liked Zach.

Or you can borrow mine, Ryan sent before he could reply.

You’re gross,  James responded.

You love me, Ryan sent back.

James closed his eyes as the familiar bittersweet feeling filled his chest.

“I love you,” he whispered, because sometimes the urge to say it became too much. Sometimes he needed to say it, even if there was no one to hear him.

Even if there was no one to say it back.

Chapter 3

James loved watching happy couples. It was nice to see that happy endings did exist. But watching Ryan’s eldest brother kiss his boyfriend on the chaise lounge by the pool also made him incredibly envious and painfully aware of Ryan’s tall, strong body a few feet away, leaning against the side of the pool lazily. Ryan was completely relaxed, his head tipped back and eyes closed as the sun touched his smooth, glistening skin.

“Okay, this is still weird,” Ryan said, opening his eyes and glancing at Zach and Tristan.

“Why?” James said. “You have a brother who has been out and proud for ages.”

“Not that,” Ryan said. “You know I couldn’t care less where my brothers put their dicks.” Ryan shrugged, glancing at the couple again and smiling. “It’s just still strange to see Zach so…smitten. He was never like that with Donna. He was always so rational around her, and now look at him.”

As they watched, Zach kissed his boyfriend deeper, his hand slipping into Tristan’s trunks to cup his buttock.

“Eh,” James said, his face warming.

Ryan catcalled. “My virgin eyes!”

Breaking the kiss, Tristan glared at Ryan. It didn’t look very convincing, considering how flushed and blissed out he looked. “Piss off, Ryan. And take your bleached shadow with you.”

“I told you: I’m a natural blond,” James said with a sigh. He had no clue why Zach’s boyfriend disliked him so much.

“He is,” Ryan said, throwing an arm around James. “Come on, prove it to Zach’s boy.” He hooked his finger on the waistband of Jamie’s trunks. “Take it off, show him.”

James didn’t move.

“You’re so gay,” Tristan said. “And I’m not Zach’s boy.”

“Says the guy who moans my brother ’s name every goddamn night.” Ryan grinned and said in a ridiculous falsetto, “Oh yeah, Zach, harder—”

Tristan grabbed a Red Bull and threw it at his head.

Ryan ducked.

“I don’t sound like that!” Tristan said.

Zach was laughing. “You kinda do.”

“I hate you,” Tristan grumbled before glowering at Ryan. “Even if I am, you two are still gayer.”

Ryan didn’t look impressed, all traces of amusement gone from his face. He sighed. “All right, it’s fun and all, but it’s really getting old,” he said, starting to sound seriously irritated. “There’s such thing as friendship, you know. I mean, I love this git for some reason,”—he smirked when James elbowed him—“but even thinking of him that way grosses me out. It would be like shagging a brother.”

James forced out a wan smile. “Yep. Like shagging a twin. Gross. I mean, have you seen him naked?” His voice sounded good—lighthearted and playful—and no one could probably tell he felt like someone had shoved their fist down his throat and squeezed his heart, hard. Brother.


Ryan grinned and planted a loud, obnoxiously wet kiss on Jamie’s cheek. “I’m hot and you know it, babe.”

Sometimes he fucking hated Ryan.

Jamie thought he rolled his eyes and made a suitably disgusted face, but he wasn’t sure. His face felt wooden. Like a broken toy’s.

“Like shagging a twin?” Tristan said, wiggling his eyebrows. “You guys ever heard of twincest?”

“You’re a terrible person,” Ryan said with a pinched look.

“Yep,” James managed after a moment. Get a goddamn grip, Grayson.

“He is,” Zach said with a laugh.

Top Books