Rick realized it when he started his senior year. He just became team captain so he spent longer hours at the school gym unlike when he was just a starting player. He noticed Alvin back then, at the school gym, seated at the bleachers writing. He was so engrossed in the sheet of paper in his lap and he scribbled, words flowing like water.
Rick was fascinated.
He knew Alvin since gradeschool since they have been in the same school but they were never close. Rick was busy back then dating random girls who'd ask him out. He was also a huge basketball freak, he normally spends time with his teammates.
Rick never knew what love was until he dated his best friend Jessie. He loved her, but the longer they stayed, the more he realized how he really felt about her. She was his best friend, his sister, nothing more. He found out how to tell love apart.
So when he saw Alvin, he felt that twitch in his heart and he knew he was in love. The fact that Alvin was a guy didn't bother him. He followed his heart but he didn't have the courage. He would will himself to walk up to him, say hi but his courage dissipates the moment he sees Alvin's face. In front of Alvin he's a mess, he loses composure.
Alvin was always aloof, by himself, looking far away, thinking. He spends a lot of his time at the Publication office and only goes out when necessary.
"I want to make him smile." Rick vowed. But the courage he was hoping for wouldn't come. When he realized that graduation was coming soon, he panicked. He swallowed all fear and insecurities and approached Alvin.
He was brushed off. But the gesture did not bother him.
At least I was able to talk to him. I made him know me, know I exist. That's enough for now.
What disturbed him, and it ate away in his mind, was the scar that Alvin has in his left wrist. It was an old scar but it was a reminder of Alvin's painful past. If he wanted to be part of his life, he has to embrace his flaws and his scars because that's what made him who he is.
If he wanted to be part of his life.
The phrase was enough to motivate him. The nearer the graduation, the more persistent he got until he knew he finally got him. He got the smile he wished to see. That, and more.
He was elated. He knew he was right. He loved Alvin more than anyone else.
Rick finally felt his chest lighter, after telling his brother about Alvin. Although they haven't officially met, he knew,in his heart that his brother would accept them.
Raymond on the other hand, was confused. He had seen his brother dated other women, including their neighbor and Rick's best friend Jessie, but this was the first time he saw his brother talk about someone else with such fervor.
Raymond looked at his brother intently, trying to read him. His brother, falling in love, and with another man. That surprised him, he had to clench his fist while trying to absorb his brother's words. But he wasn't angry at him, he loved his brother and look up to him.
Brother is happy and that's what's more important. Raymond told himself.