When Ivan first moved in next door, Alfred was happy. It meant a new kid to play with on the street. It meant someone other than his brother and that one blonde German kid down the street who was sick all the time. It meant maybe he would have a new friend.
While the family next door moved in, his mother told him to wait, and then he and his brother could go take something to them. Alfred waited at the window with baited breath, watching the different kids go in and out of the house with boxes until the moving truck left. Then he begged his mom if he could go meet the neighbors, and he and Mathew were sent over with a plate of cookies and a warm greeting.
When they met the family Mathew of course was the always polite one, while Alfred looked on a bit in awe. He claimed they were weird, to which the parents laughed at, and it seemed at least one of the children took offense to. And of course, that was the boy Alfred decided he wanted to be his friend. The younger girl was weird anyway, and the older one was looked like she had been crying.
After that day, the two became inseparable, though not without protest of the new boy, Ivan, who still seemed to take offense to being called weird. Alfred didn't seem to care though, and followed the older boy around tirelessly, commenting always on his accent, and the things he did. It was constant bickering between them, about who had won, who was right, who was better; but as Ivan complained less and less about him, the closer and closer they seemed to get. Alfred was seven. Ivan was nine.
He had been his first kiss.
Alfred never remembered a time when Ivan didn't know an answer. If he needed help on homework? He went to Ivan. If he didn't know how to do something? He went to Ivan. It wasn't that he wasn't smart in his own right; it's just that the other never seemed to be wrong, to be at a lack for what Alfred needed. So when the boy started feeling strange, going to Ivan was obviously his first thought.
"Have you ever…" They were sitting together in the tree house in Alfred's backyard. Ivan always complained he was getting too old for it, he was in high school now, but Alfred never let it go. "Have you ever wanted to kiss a guy Ivan?" he looked at him with a somewhat nervous face, not knowing how he would respond.
" Is… it alright to want that?" he nearly whispered that part into the cold night air, the crickets almost drowning him out.
Ivan chuckled that night, sighing at the boy who still fallowed him around like a puppy on summer days. " Ah..,nyet. I don't think it is wrong anyway…" Alfred relaxed visibly. "Why do you ask Alfred?" he watched the boy who was framed with the evening light of the window.
"Well… I… uh…" he stuttered, and Ivan smiled. He leaned down and he kissed his American ever so chastely in the silver twilight. Alfred was thirteen. Ivan was fifteen.
"You can't leave!" Alfred was loud. He was always loud, Ivan thought in his mind. Sighing, Ivan clutched the paper that said he got into college. Of course Alfred would take it badly. It always happened this way.
"You can't leave Ivan… you can't!" Those tan hands reached forward, grasping Ivan on the arm. Alfred felt like he was being abandoned.
"Alfred… "he spoke sternly, though as he glanced around and affirmed the room was empty, he tried again in a quieter tone. "Lyubov… I have already been a year in community college and now I got accepted. Alfred…" he leaned in and kissed the other gently.
"Ivan… you can't… you can't…" he hiccupped. Alfred knew how childish he was being, how selfish, but his boyfriend couldn't leave him. He couldn't leave him with his homophobic parents. Not with Matt off doing his own thing. Not with his annoying as piss British cousin in town. He couldn't leave him. Ivan knew the price of staying though.
"I'm sorry Lyubov."
Alfred spent that summer in a wild energy, wanting to make every moment last. He locked himself in his room when the next fall semester started. Alfred was seventeen. Ivan was nineteen.
Alfred had seen his boyfriend off and on. When breaks came, they spent all their time together, but it was never enough.
It was worth it though.
Alfred heard a ring at the front of the shop he worked at part time, though thought nothing of it other than saying a bored welcome. He wasn't expecting a familiar voice though.
"I would like to order one Alfred?" the accented voice teased. Alfred looked up, a smile spread across his face.
"I-Ivan!" he managed out, leaning over the counter and grasping onto him as tight as he could. "You said y-you wouldn't be back… n-not until next year!"
Ivan leaned down and kissed him, chuckling.
When Ivan first moved next door, Alfred was happy. It meant a new kid to play with on the street. It meant someone other than his brother, and it meant he could have a friend. He never expected this though.
They were finally together for good. Alfred was nineteen, Ivan was twenty one, and they had many years more to go.