{Excerpt} Football Games by: Michael Donovan

Football Games by-Michael DonovanBrenton blew his tea to cool it and began to share about the series of arguments he and Jason had had recently. Erica is the only person in the world who knows that he is in a relationship with a man. Erica isn’t just his sister, but his best friend.

“Jason has been, sorta, uh, pressuring me…no that’s not the right word. He…”

“Just spit it out. We’ll make it pretty in a minute.” Erica interjected.

“Okay…Jason is pressuring me to…to come out.” He whispered, leaning in close.

The look on Erica’s face told him she was just as tired of Brenton having to hide his sexuality as Jason, but she fully understood why. With the controversy surrounding Proposition 8 and now the Supreme Court weighing in on its fate, the last thing Brenton wants is a spotlight shining his way.

“What do you mean, pressuring you?”

“Well, for starters, he wants me to come out to my teammates. He said he feels like a ghost and not a real part of my life.”

“What? He said that!” She yelled.

The driver of a cold black Maserati blared on his horn at a paparazzo that risked his life jumping in front of his car to get a shot. Brenton thought Erica couldn’t hear him because of the noise, so he repeated himself.

“I heard you. I’m shocked that he asked…is requiring that of you.”

“I wouldn’t say require…”

“I would. Hell! You know I have grown to love Jason like a brother and you know that was no easy feat! But I support him and I support the two of you together. But does he not understand the implications public disclosure could have on your career?”

“Can you keep it down a bit?” He said.

“Sorry. You know how I get.”

“I tried to explain it, but it is hard for him to hear. Sometimes he gets so caught up in his wants and needs.”

Erica is so protective of her big brother; you would think she was the oldest. They were silent for a moment. Each of them contemplated the situation from their perspective. The waiter cleared their table and Brenton began to walk Erica to her car.

“Hey Brenton, over here.” A cameraman yelled.

“Mr. Freeman, how does this season look so far?” Another asked.

Brenton ignored them both, but when a little boy and his mother stopped directly in their path, he smiled, bent down, said hello and gave the boy the autograph he was asking for.

“Your son is so well mannered. May I give him something else?”

“Uh, sure.” She looked down at her son who was beaming with delight.

“Give me one second.” Brenton reached for his cell phone, pressed a speed dial button and was connected to his publicist.

“What is your name?” He asked the mom.

“Martha. Martha Jackson.”

“Destiny. Can you have 4 tickets available at will-call for Martha Jackson and family for our next home game? Okay. Thanks.” He disconnected.

The little boy and his mother were beside themselves with excitement. Brenton grabbed Erica’s hand and they continued walking to her car. They sat down as cameras continued to click and whir from a distance.

“Brenton, do not let Jason bully you into doing something you are not comfortable with. You haven’t even come out to Mom and Dad yet!”

“Not officially, but you know they know. Mom has finally stopped begging for a grandchild, so I’m sure she knows.”

“Of course they know. You are a millionaire football player. Why would you need a roommate? They may be in denial, but they are not stupid.”

“So that means, you are going to provide all of the bio-grandkids Mom needs.” He joked, trying to lighten the mood.

Erica gave him an obligatory smile.

“Gay men can have biological children, Brenton. And you are the only one of us who actually has a man!”

He laughed. “I know, but I don’t even know if I want children.”

“Or do you mean you are unsure of having children with Jason?”

That question was a punch in the gut for Brenton. He loves Jason, but if he were honest with himself, he was not sure he could trust Jason enough to parent with him. He would never admit to it though.

“Right now, children would impede on my pseudo-bachelor lifestyle.”

They both laughed at that.

He continued. “During season, I’m so busy. And you know how I love to travel during the off-season.”

“Just excuses, Brenton, but anyway…”

“My name is not Susan?” He sang.

“Okay, those broad shoulders, fancy feet and three 100 yard games last season might have others fooled, but you are definitely gay!” She said, laughing.

“Hey! Hey! Whitney was the best singer of all time. Everybody knows that!”

“Yeah, but everybody doesn’t know her complete musical catalog like you do!”

Brenton lifted his large, strong and heavily insured hands in mock surrender.

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