The boys sat down and Marco took a sip. ‘So, I see you are recovering well. That’s a relief.’ He looked at him nervously. ‘Yeah I’m well looked after.’ Tom smiled towards Alex, who was still busy feeding his son. Marco nodded and took another sip of beer. ‘Mum would have loved to do just that.’ Tom rolled his eyes. ‘Is that why you’re here?’ He asked him annoyed. ‘No, no,’ Marco said gently and looked down at his hands, ‘I saw you two at the first charity concert on TV the other day. Looked like it was quite cool.’ Tom nodded. ‘Yeah it was good fun, quite a turnout. Thousands of people were there, quite overwhelming really,’ he drank his orange juice, ‘it’s just a handful of people that still think it’s all wrong. Most of them are in football stadiums every week unfortunately.’ He gave his brother a look. Marco avoided his eyes and stood up. He looked into the garden through the window. ‘Nice place.’ He said. Tom joined him. ‘Not bad,’ he agreed, ‘so how come you don’t even call me for weeks and then you just turn up out of the blue?’, Tom asked him. Marco started walking up and down nervously and Tom felt uncomfortable again, ‘why are you here Marco?’ He asked his brother quietly.
Marco took deep breaths. ‘Because I want my brother back,’ he looked at Tom, ‘I miss you man. We all do. Mum and dad are beside themselves.’
He gulped. Tom buried his hands in his trouser pockets as he cast his eyes down. ‘You were the ones who pushed me away.’ He said quietly. ‘We didn’t push you away Tommy. We love you.’ Marco’s voice was full of emotion. Tom laughed. ‘You love me alright. As long as I conform to your expectations,’ he looked his brother in the eye, ‘if you have come here to start another argument about me and Alex, then I can tell you now you have wasted your time.’ Marco walked towards him and took a deep breath. ‘Are you absolutely sure that this is the sort of life you want? Move back up North, be in a relationship with Alex, play daddy with a boy he had with his girlfriend? No matter if the world laughs about you? No matter if you jeopardise your career?’ ‘Oh for God’s sake.’ Tom grunted angrily. Marco gasped for air. ‘Because if it is then I will try to accept it.’ Tom stared at him. ‘What?’ He muttered, surprised by his brother’s words. Marco took another deep breath. ‘I’m not going to lie to you Tommy. I struggle to get my head round all this, this whole gay thing. And I know mum and dad do too.’ ‘He makes me happy.’ Tom intervened and looked at him intensely. Marco nodded. ‘Okay. If it is what you want, then I have no choice but to learn to accept it. Because I just can’t lose you Tommy.’ He looked at him with tears in his eyes. ‘What?’, Tom forced a laugh, ‘do you really mean that?’ He asked him nervously. Marco cast his eyes down and nodded. Tom hesitated. He hectically turned around towards Alex and was looking for his eyes. His friend stopped feeding Max and gave him an anxious look. Then Tom turned back to Marco and very slowly approached him. He carefully opened his arms and gently pulled him towards him. Marco clung onto him. ‘You’re my little brother. For God’s sake man.’ Marco mumbled and squeezed him hard. ‘What about mum and dad?’ Tom asked him. ‘Leave them to me, I’ll work on them.’ They both started laughing quietly as they kept hugging each other tightly.
Alex walked over with Max on his arm. He smiled relieved and pleased at the boys’ embrace. ‘Looks like you have another uncle, baby.’ He said quietly and kissed his son’s cheek. Max looked at him with big eyes. Alex chuckled and kissed him again. Tom turned towards Alex and stretched his arms out towards Max, who wiggled on his father’s arm, desperate to be passed over to him. Tom grabbed him and hugged him with a sigh of relief. ‘This is Uncle Marco,’ he whispered in his ear as he was looking back at his brother, ‘he’s not as cool as your Uncle Tommy. But he’s alright really,’ the boys laughed. Tom smiled at Alex lovingly. He took his hand, ‘remember Alex?’ He asked Marco cheekily. ‘If you punch me again, I’ll have to defend myself.’ Alex joked. Marco took a deep breath. ‘I’m sorry Alex.’ He smiled at him nervously. Alex stretched his hand out towards him. ‘It’s good to see you man.’ He said gently and Marco laughed and shook his hand firmly.