What are the Odds? (by Grant Bentley)

What are the Odds?

By Grant Bentley

If any nice person, nasty person, place, event, happening, thing, or sport, seems familiar, it is purely coincidental.

Matt learns a lot about his family after his father throws him out.

My name is Matthew (Matt) Donahue. I’m eighteen years old and a high school senior. I have two months of school left until I graduate. I live with my parents and brother Taylor. He’s twenty years old and in his second year of a computer networking course in college. He and I are very close and are more like best friends than brothers. My Dad is a construction worker and the ultimate homophobic redneck. My Mom is a lawyer and very cultured and stylish. How they ever got together is beyond me.

I’ve tried so hard to be the perfect son. I’ve never done anything bad to anyone. I’ve spent my whole life trying to do what’s right. I help old people cross the street. I mow Grandma Reeve’s lawn for free all summer and shovel the snow off her walk all winter. I volunteer at the food bank. I’m a good person. So why am I sitting in the park at four in the morning? I’ve been running the events of the last several hours over and over again in my mind. How did he figure it out? Why can’t I get my father’s hate-filled words out of my head?

Only three days ago he was telling me how proud he was of me. How the world would be a better place if all teens had my work ethic and caring outlook. Now I’m sitting in the park alone and homeless. All I can do is sit here and stare into the darkness. I can’t even cry anymore. I have no tears left. Even my mother and brother have deserted me. While my father was yelling at me, my mother just sat there looking dazed and my brother stared at me like I had grown another head.

“I don’t believe this,” he yelled. “How could you do this to us?”

“What are…” I managed to say before he yelled, “You disgust me, you know that! No faggot is going to live under my roof! I want you out of my house now!” 

“Please,” I managed to say before he yelled, “Now!” and started towards me.

Now my father is a big man, so I wasn’t about to argue and immediately ran out the door. I didn’t stop running until I reached the park which is almost three miles from home, or what used to be home. I’ve been sitting on this park bench for six hours now and I don’t know where to go or what to do. Why is this happening to me?

“You don’t make it easy do you?” I hear, scaring me half to death.

I spin around to find my brother, Taylor, standing behind the bench smiling at me.

He then moves around the bench and pulls me down beside him. As soon as he puts his arm around my shoulders, I grab onto him and burst into tears. He holds me and strokes my hair for the next few minutes until I manage to get myself under control.

“Why are you here?” I ask him.

“Why do you think?” he replies, “I’m your brother and I love you. I couldn’t just let you go. I’m so sorry I didn’t stand up for you when Dad started yelling, but I was so shocked, and by the time I clued in, you were gone.”

I burst into tears again and he pulls me in closer and holds me tighter.

“I’m here for you man,” he says, “I’ll always be here for you.”

Finally I get it together again and we simply sit holding each other for several more minutes.

“I didn’t think I had any tears left,” I whisper.

“You must be frozen. Come on, let’s go somewhere warm, get some coffee and talk,” he suggests.

“Yeah, I guess I am a little cold and I could really use a coffee right now,” I reply.

We get up and start walking towards the parking lot. He still has his arm around me and gives me a squeeze.

“I’ve been looking for you since you ran out of the house,” he says.

“Sorry,” I respond.

“Don’t be,” he says before asking, “How the hell did you get all the way down here anyway?”

“I just ran until I couldn’t run anymore.” I reply.

“God I’m so sorry Matt. I should have stood up for you,” he says.

“It’s okay. Like you said, you were too shocked when Dad went off. But you’re here now,” I tell him and give him a squeeze.

As soon as we get into the car, he looks at me and reaches for a box of Kleenex on the back seat.

“Here, you better clean yourself up a bit. You look like hell,” he says smiling, as he hands me the box.

“Thanks,” I say, “I hope that’s not part of your ‘feel better’ speech.”

He just looks at me and grins.

In about five minutes, we’re at the local all-night diner. We go in and sit near the windows at the far end. We get our coffee and Taylor orders us breakfast. I tell him I’m not hungry but he insists I eat something. As we’re waiting for our order, he looks at me and smiles.

“I guess we need to try and find ourselves an apartment real fast,” he says.

"What?” I ask sounding a little surprised.

"We need to find an apartment," he repeats.

“You’d do that?” I ask.

“Of course, you’re my little brother. Besides I was looking for a place of my own anyway. This just moves it up a bit,” he replies.

“It doesn’t bother you that I’m gay?” I question him.

“Why should it?” he responds.

“I don’t know. Most people hate fags.” I say.

“Don’t use that word. You’re gay, not a fag,” he scolds, “And most people don't hate gays.”

I smile at him and all I can think of to say is, “Thanks Tay.”

“Besides, you know Aaron, right?” he asks.

“Well duh, he’s been your best friend since you were kids,” I answer.

He looks at me for several seconds and a small smile appears. “He’s not just my best friend,” he says quietly.

“Oh my God,” I respond.

“Yeah, since freshman year,” he says grinning.

“You’re serious?” I ask, “But why didn’t you tell me?”

“Same reason you didn’t tell me I guess,” he responds.

“Yeah, I guess,” I reply, “You had no way of knowing I wouldn’t go running to Dad.”

“Yeah, about Dad, he’s two for two,” he says laughing, “That should really set him off when he finds out.”

“You’re going to tell him?” I ask.

“Not any time soon,” he replies.

“I wouldn’t think you would want him to find out ever, although it might be worth it to see the look on his face” I say grinning.

“Maybe, but for sure it won't happen till I have all our stuff out of the house. I’ll grab your clothes and whatever you want when I pack my stuff. They won’t know until it’s too late,” he says.

"I don't know what to say, thanks Tay," I respond with a smile. He just reaches over, ruffles my hair and smiles back.

After we finish eating, he pays the waitress and we leave the diner. Once we're in the car, he leans back and then looks over at me.

“I still can’t believe it,” he laughs, “What are the odds? The most macho, homophobic asshole on the planet and both his kids are gay. How’s that for poetic justice?”

“Yeah, no kidding,” I respond grinning.

“I’m still not sure I want to be around when he finds out though,” Taylor says with a chuckle.

“I don’t blame you. Ever since I realized I was gay, I’ve been terrified he would kill me if he found out,” I tell him.

“How did he find out anyway?” he asks.

“I don’t know. I’ve been trying to figure that out all night.” I reply, “I don’t have any magazines or anything stashed in my room and I’m not out to anybody.”

“What about your computer?” Taylor asks.

“There’s nothing on my computer either,” I respond.

“What about your internet history?” he asks.

“I never thought of that, but I never suspected he was bright enough to know how to check it,” I reply.

“I found him checking mine once,” he says, “I make sure I leave no traces behind now. Even if I don’t go onto any gay sites, I still erase it.”

“Damn, how stupid could I be,” I exclaim.

“It’s not like I thought of it either,” Taylor replies, “He could just as easily have caught me. I got lucky.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I say.

“This may work out for the best though,” Taylor says with a smile, “I think us living together will be a blast.”

“Yeah, for sure. You have no idea how much better I feel right now,” I tell him, “I felt so scared and alone.”

“You’re not alone anymore,” he says, “You have both me and Aaron now.”

“Thanks,” I reply as I reach across and give him a hug.

“Let’s surprise Aaron,” Taylor says with a big grin, “If we do it right, we should be able to freak him right out.”

“That’s just mean,” I respond laughing, “Let’s do it.”

Taylor starts up the car and we start driving over to Aaron’s. As we are driving, I take the time to think. I can’t believe this. Two hours ago I was ready to jump into the river, and now I’m relaxed, laughing and planning to prank my brother’s boyfriend. I can’t believe it…my brother’s boyfriend!

God I so wish I had known that four years ago when I first realized I was gay. It would have made life so much easier knowing I had his support. It probably would have made things better for Taylor too knowing he had my support. But, at least he had Aaron. I had no one. But that’s all in the past. I’m not alone any more.

When we get to Aaron’s, we get out and walk around to the back door. Taylor lifts a flower pot and pulls out the door key, unlocks the door and puts the key back. We slip our shoes off and walk into the kitchen. Aaron’s Mom is sitting at the table having a coffee.

She doesn’t even look remotely surprised when we walk in. She just smiles at us and says, “Morning boys. Up a little early aren’t we?”

“Morning Mom,” Taylor replies, “Yeah, Matt had a little run in with Dad last night and Dad threw him out. He found out Matt and I are more alike than even we knew.”

She’s up in instant, gives me a hug, and then holds me at arm’s length. “Oh my God Matt, are you all right?” she asks.

“I am now, thanks to Taylor,” I reply.

“Do you have somewhere to go?” she asks, “You’re welcome to stay here.”

“Thanks Mrs. Wells,” I respond, “But Taylor and I are going to find an apartment.”

“That’s not likely to happen today,” she warns us, “So you can stay here until it does.”

“Thanks,” I reply, “I really appreciate that.”

Then she looks at Taylor and grins before saying, “Both of you. That’s just too funny. What are the odds?”

“No kidding,” Taylor responds laughing.

“Your dad’s going to lose his mind when he finds out,” she says laughing.

“I know, but he can’t find out just yet. I have to find a place and get our stuff first,” Taylor responds.

“You know you can both stay here,” she reminds him.

“I’ve always known that, Mom,” he replies, “But thanks, it’s always good to hear you say it.”

“Does Aaron know?” she asks, “Wait, stupid question. Of course he doesn’t if you didn’t.”

“But he’s about to find out,” Taylor replies.

“You’re not,” she says laughing.

“We are,” Taylor replies with a grin.

“I want to see this,” she says.

‘Okay, what just happened here?’ I wonder, ‘Did I miss something or is there like some kind of mental telepathy going on?’

“What if he’s naked?” I ask.

“Oh I’ve seen it all before,” she replies laughing.

“Not for the last ten years,” Taylor says with a grin.

“Well I’m not going to miss this, so he’ll have to learn to live with it if he’s naked,” she replies.

We walk up the stairs to Aaron’s room. His door is slightly open and we can hear him snoring lightly. We sneak into his room. His Mom stands just outside the door so he won’t see her.

Taylor walks over and sits on the edge of his bed and gives him a little shake before leaning down to kiss him. As soon as Taylor’s lips meet his, he moans and reaches up to wrap his arms around Taylor and the kiss quickly becomes deeper and more passionate.

As soon as they break the kiss, he opens his eyes, glances over and sees me standing there. The look on his face is priceless. He pushes Taylor away and sits bolt upright in bed still staring at me.

“It’s not what it looks like!” he exclaims.

“I just watched you kiss my brother,” I state trying to sound shocked.

“I didn’t know it was him,” he says glancing at Taylor who by now is turning red trying not to laugh.

He looks back at me for a few seconds and I wasn’t much better off than Taylor. Then he looks back at Taylor.

“You assholes,” he almost shouts as it dawns on him what’s going on.

“Is that any way to talk in front of your mother?” his Mom asks, walking into the room grinning.

“You too?” he asks as a grin begins to appear on his face.

“Good morning to you too, babe,” Taylor says once he’s able to stop laughing.

“Do you know how bad that scared me seeing you standing there?” Aaron asks me.

“Yeah, I think so,” I reply with a big grin.

“All I could think of was you running to tell your Dad. You’re going to pay for this,” he warns laughing, and looking directly at his Mom adds, “All of you.”

“Like I look worried. Why don’t you get up and join us downstairs,” his Mom says, “I think Taylor and Matt have an interesting story to tell us.”

Aaron looks at me for a second before asking, “What kind of story?”

I just smile at him and flick my wrist.

“Oh my God!” he exclaims, “You serious?”

Fifteen minutes later, we are all sitting around the kitchen table with a coffee and Taylor and I are recounting the night’s events. I start by explaining my father’s rant, his throwing me out, and my running all the way to the park in hysterics.

Taylor then explains his night searching for me. It was during his explanation that I realize just how much he loves me. He breaks down twice as he explains how frantic he got the longer it took. He was terrified that I would do something drastic and felt that, because he didn’t stand up for me, it would have been his fault if I did. Then he explains the relief he felt when he saw me in the park.

“What made you look in the park?” Aaron asks.

“When I couldn’t find him anywhere else, I thought of the park. I used to go there sometimes to get away from everything and think,” Taylor answers, “It was my last hope.”

“My God, you boys have had quite the night,” Aaron’s Mom sympathizes, “I think you should be more concerned about getting some sleep than looking for an apartment though. Matt can stay with us as long as he needs to.”

“It’s not just that though,” Taylor responds, “I don’t think I can go back home and face Dad after what he did to Matt. I just want to get our stuff and get out of there.”

“I understand honey,” Aaron’s Mom replies, “I don’t think I would want to be there either. Why don’t you go and get your things and you can both stay here.”

“Thanks Mom, but I don’t think I should go over there right away though,” Taylor says, “Dad knows I’ve been out all night searching for Matt and I’ll have to deal with his homophobic bullshit...sorry Mom. I just don’t want to deal with that right now.”

“Okay, after he goes to work then,” Aaron suggests.

Just then the phone rings and Aaron’s Mom answers it. “Hi Jean,” she says looking at Taylor and me. It’s our Mom.

“Yes they are,” she replies. “Harold’s not coming is he? I’m sorry Jean but I don’t want that man any where near my house or the boys,” she warns. “Okay, we’ll see you in a few minutes.” Then looking at us, she says, “She’s on her way.”

Taylor and I look at each other. I don’t know whether to smile or cry. I don’t think he does either. We don’t have long to think about it though as the doorbell rings about three minutes later.

Aaron’s Mom opens the door and our Mom exclaims, “Hi Tracy, where are they?”

The instant Mom sees me, she rushes across the room and wraps me in a hug so tight I can hardly breathe.

“Oh Matty,” she cries, “I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do. I phoned Uncle Raymond and Uncle Jack. I’ve been praying all night that Taylor or one of them would find you.”

Then she turns to Taylor and wraps him in a hug, exclaiming “Thank God you found him. I don’t know what I would do if I lost either one of you. I would rather die than see either of you hurt.”

Once we managed to calm Mom down, we all sat at the table again as Aaron’s Mom made some more coffee.

Mom just sat there looking back and forth between Taylor and I grinning like she had won a million dollars.

Finally her eyes settled on me. “I love you Matt,” she says, I don’t care if you’re gay or straight. You are my baby and I love you no matter what.”

I got up and gave her a hug. “Thanks. I love you too Mom,” I reply.

Then her focus shifts to Taylor. She smiles and takes his hands in hers. She looks him in the eye and smiling, says, “And don’t you think for a minute I don’t know about you and Aaron. Freshman year, wasn’t it?

I think you could have knocked both Taylor and Aaron over with a feather, they were so shocked at Mom’s revelation.

“Oh God, I didn’t say something I shouldn’t have did I?” Mom asks suddenly realizing Aaron’s Mom was sitting there.

“No you didn’t Jean. I’ve known for years,” Aaron’s Mom assures her.

“Thank goodness. One crisis is enough for today,” she says before holding out her arms to both of them saying, “Come here you two.” They both get up and go over to give her a hug.

“You knew?” Taylor asks.

“I think I knew before either of you did,” she replies laughing, “You can’t be in love with someone without it showing.”

“If we were that obvious, why didn’t Dad notice?” Taylor asks.

“You have to know how to love to recognize love,” she responds coldly.

“Okay…?” I say inquisitively.

“Things haven’t been going well between your Dad and me for years. I was trying to stick it out until you boys were on your own. But he went too far last night. His ears are probably still ringing. He’s never seen me lose my temper. But he did last night and it’s not something he’ll soon forget. He left the house faster than you did. He’s going to find all his belongings in the driveway tonight and he knows it,” she responds, “He also knows I am filing for a divorce on Monday. Your Uncle Raymond and Uncle Jack will be packing up his things now that they know you’re safe and they’ll be changing the locks. They’ll also be staying with us until I sell the house.”

“Sell the house?” I ask sounding astonished.

“You boys need your freedom. I know you’ve been wanting a place of your own for a while Taylor,” she says looking at him.

Then, looking at me she adds, “You’ll be finished high school in a couple of months Matt and I know, once you start college, you’ll want your independence as well. Then what am I going to do all by myself in that huge house?”

“Besides, the money from the house will buy a nice condo for you boys with plenty of money left over. I could buy a condo for myself too, but I’m moving in with Mary. She’s been rattling around in that penthouse all by herself far too long. It’ll be good for both of us to have each other’s company. And that way you can have whatever furniture you want from the house. And by the way,” she says smiling, “There are some very nice two bedroom condos in the same complex as Mary’s, so we could be neighbours.”

Then she looks at Aaron, and laughing she quips, “We could get a three bedroom, but I’m thinking you won’t mind sharing a room with Taylor will you Aaron?”

He just smiles and turns three shades of red.

“You planned all this last night?” Taylor asks.

“Hell no, I made most of these decisions ages ago. As I said I was just waiting for the right time. This just means it’s going to happen a few months sooner than I had planned is all,” she replies.

I smiled as I thought, 'That comment sounded familiar.'

“I’m tired just listening to all of this. The most excitement I’ve had lately was watching Aaron panic when he thought Matt would give away their secret. Which apparently wasn’t that much of a secret to begin with,” Aaron’s Mom says laughing.

“So you’ve known about Aaron and me for six years and never said anything?” Taylor asks.

“I decided it was your decision to tell me or not,” she replies, “Besides, if you knew I knew, you might have gotten careless and we know how your dad would have reacted.”

“That’s true,” Taylor responds, “I guess it was better for all of us to have kept it hidden. But not anymore.”

“Since you know now that both your kids are gay, don’t you feel upset that you’re being denied grandchildren?” I ask, wondering where that thought came from.

She laughs and says, “Not particularly, I’ve never been terribly fond of babies and never being called Grandma will help me stay young.”

“You wish,” Taylor jokes laughing, as Mom reaches out to smack him.

When I start yawning, Mom suggests we should go home and probably all try to get some sleep. We’ve all been up for almost thirty six hours now and have had a pretty stressful night. I agree with her and so does Taylor but he decides he would rather stay with Aaron. He also questions whether it would be safe for me to go home if Dad’s coming to get his things. Mom assures him it will be. The locks will be changed so Dad won’t be able to get into the house. She reminds him that we won’t be alone either as Uncle Raymond and Uncle Jack will be there. Uncle Raymond is a retired Marine with Special Forces training and has been a member of the city police for twenty years and Uncle Jack has had his own martial arts training facility for almost as long.

“Our safety is the least of our worries,” she tells them laughing. After exchanging hugs with everyone, Mom and I walk out to her car and head home.

As soon as I walk in the door, I’m grabbed and lifted off the floor by Uncle Raymond. Almost before my feet touch the floor again, I’m wrapped in Uncle Jack’s arms.

“You had us so worried Matt. I don’t know what we would have done if anything had happened to you,” Uncle Jack exclaims.

“I would have killed that son of a bitch,” Uncle Raymond states.

“I don’t think so dear,” my Mom says as she pats his arm.

Just then, we hear Dad back his truck into the driveway.

“Jerk must have taken the day off,” Uncle Jack remarks with a chuckle.

Uncle Raymond goes out onto the front porch and just stands there with his arms folded across his chest. I don’t think Dad has moved so fast in his life. He has everything loaded into his truck and drives away in less than five minutes. About five minutes after he leaves, I’m crashed out fast asleep on my bed.

The next morning, the doorbell rings. I jump up, run to the door and peek out to see who it is. It’s Taylor and Aaron, so I open the door to let them in.

“I guess I need to get a new key,” Taylor says laughing.

“Yeah, me too,” Aaron and I reply at the same time.

Just then, Uncle Raymond walks out of the kitchen. “We’re just having breakfast,” he announces after giving them each a hug, “Want to join us?”

“We already ate,” Taylor responds, “But a coffee would be good.”

We all move into the kitchen to join Mom and Uncle Jack. I continue eating my cereal and Mom pours Taylor and Aaron a coffee.

“So,” Uncle Jack says, “We’ve had some excitement around here.”

“No kidding,” Aaron laughs.

"So you and Uncle Raymond know about us?” Taylor asks.

“Yeah we know,” he replies.

“You’re okay with us being gay?” I ask.

“Why wouldn’t we be?” he asks.

Then he gives my Mom a questioning look and she shrugs and smiles.

“Okay boys,” Uncle Jack begins, “Since this seems to be ‘coming out’ week, we have something to tell you.”

Instantly everyone’s attention is on him.

He looks at Uncle Raymond and smiles before turning back to us. “Raymond and I are not your Mom’s sad, unmarried, bachelors forever, brothers,” he explains.

“What do you mean?” Taylor asks.

“I mean Raymond is your Mom’s brother and I’m his partner,” he replies.

“No!” Taylor exclaims.

“Yes!” Uncle Jack exclaims, laughing.

“You guys are gay?” I ask.

“That we are Sunshine, and we’ve been together for twenty six years,” Uncle Raymond proudly announces.

There’s a few seconds of silence, as we try to take in what we’ve just heard.

Then Aaron starts laughing. “Oh my God. Your whole family is gay,” he exclaims, “Well except your Mom.”


What do you think? Should we be wondering about Mom and Mary? What are the odds?

Thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.