They were walking hand in hand in the park and that didn't go unnoticed by a few passersby who made sure to show their bewilderment by throwing them dumbstruck glances. Sam felt like an object of observation and thus very uncomfortable. Brad on the other hand seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that they were the biggest attraction of the park so far. Sam let go of his hand.
" So, my first football match of the season's coming up soon." Brad said, glancing at Sam. He could see Sam was not at ease.
" Are you okay?" Brad frowned.
" Yeah." Sam smiled nervously. " Can we sit? I don't feel well."
" Sure." Brad sat at the nearby bench near the lake. Sam sat next to him. They gazed into the distance, silence installed itself between them. Brad was the first to break it.
" Does Sophia know?"
Sam shook his head. " I'll tell her soon."
Brad nodded, turning towards him. " Your parents don't bother me, you know." he said, studying his face as if he were trying to figure out what was troubling Sam's mind.
Sam exhaled. " My dad's been ignoring me these days. He barely speaks to me, he won't even train with me. It's like he completely cut me off. And my mom.." he nearly broke down just thinking about her. " It's like I'm not even her son anymore. She doesn't look at me the way she used to. She changed."
Brad patted his back. " Maybe she thinks you're the one who changed and she just needs time to get used to it."
Sam shook his head. " I don't think they'll ever get over it."
He leaned onto Brad's shoulder, observing the skyline for a while.
" Sometimes I just wish I could escape from the toxic atmosphere at home."
" Did I tell you what happened at school yesterday?" Brad asked, amused. Sam could tell it was something funny by his expression.
" You tripped over your shoelaces?" he asked sarcastically. Brad laughed.
" No. This girl Katie came up to me and asked whether I was available for a date."
Sam bursted into laughter. Brad frowned.
" It's funny her little brain didn't register that you're not into girls."
" Well, what? Is it obvious?" Brad asked, bemused. Sam chuckled.
" It's not. But everyone at school knows, apparently she's the only one with high hopes."
Brad smiled, nodding. " Yeah, well. I politely rejected her."
Sam smirked. " I hope she took it well."
Brad tilted his head, contemplating. " I don't care. The only person on my mind is sitting right next to me."
Sam's smile widened. He leaned in and the kiss they shared was like no other. In that moment Sam didn't care about the people watching. Let them watch. He was happy and that was all that mattered.