Henry had actually started to notice things about himself at a fairly young age. He would find himself getting a little captivated with some of the boys in his class; the same type of phenomenon he would experience with some of the girls.
At first, he thought it was something everyone experienced. Everyone’s at least a little bit attracted to their best friends, even if one of them is the same gender as you.
It wasn’t until he got older that he realized these feelings weren’t some universally shared experience among humans. As he got older, it got harder to ignore the fact that he would get the same butterflies in his stomach and sweaty palms around certain boys that he would get around pretty girls.
When he was fourteen, he was finally able to say those two words out loud that he’d been mulling over in his head since he was twelve.
Piper was the very first person he ever told. Henry still remembers that afternoon like it was yesterday. It was a Saturday, mid-April. Piper was sitting on the couch in their living room, scrolling through her phone while a marathon of Spongebob Squarepants was playing on the TV in the background. Henry stood at the landing of the stairs for a minute, steeling himself for what he was about to tell her. Henry didn’t find himself feeling nervous very often, but the thought of what he was about to do was terrifying, to say the least. He wasn’t so much worried about Piper’s reaction; his sister could be a little callous at times, but he knew that she loved him and she’d never get malicious over something like this. No, it was more the words he was about to say. It was like, once he said them, he couldn’t take them back. Once he said it, it’d suddenly become true.
“Hey, Piper. Where’s mom and dad?” he asked as he approached the couch.
“Mom’s out back working in the yard and dad went to the store,” she answered without taking her eyes off her phone. Henry wrung his hands together and took a deep breath as he proceeded to take a seat next to her.
“Can I tell you something?” he asked after he sat down.
“If you must,” she replied, again without looking up.
Henry took a beat as he worked out exactly what he wanted to say.
“I think...I think I might be…” he started, but he trailed off before he could say it. Henry’s words and nervous tone was enough to bring Piper’s attention from her phone to her brother. She placed her phone on her lap while she turned to look at him.
“You think you might be what?”
“IthinkImightbebisexual!” he blurted out in one breath. As soon as the words left his mouth, he felt a sense of relief wash over him. It felt nice to finally admit it out loud to someone.
Piper blinked as she remained silent for a moment. He had said everything so quickly, it took her a second to process his words.
“Well duh,” she answered nonchalantly and she proceeded to pick up her phone again. Henry frowned a little.
“‘Duh?’ What you knew?” he responded incredulously. Piper put her phone back in her lap.
“Sort of. I mean, you flirt with girls all the time so like, that one’s obvious. But, don’t you remember Logan Harris from the 6th grade? You were at his house every weekend, and he was the only thing you talked about at dinner for a solid month.”
Henry could feel the heat rising to his cheeks as the panic started to set in.
“So do you think mom and dad know?” he asked anxiously, as he glanced towards the door to the backyard, as if his mom was going to be able to hear them through the closed the door. Piper shook her head.
“Definitely not. Mom and dad are totally clueless.”
Henry let out a sigh of relief. Even though he felt a sense of comfort at finally being able to tell someone, he wasn’t quite ready for his parents to find out just yet. The pair remained in a comfortable silence for a moment.
“Promise you won’t tell anyone?” Henry asked softly, “I’m not entirely ready to tell the world yet.”
Piper smiled a little.
“Your secret is safe with me.”
The siblings exchanged gentle smiles, and with that, Piper’s attention was back to her phone.
Charlotte and Jasper were the next two to find out. Henry had decided to tell them when he was fifteen, almost a year after he had come out to Piper. He thought about telling them both at the same time but ultimately decided that one at a time would be better.
Charlotte was up first. He suspected that Charlotte, like Piper, might’ve already known, but he decided to tell her anyway, as a way of making it “official.” It was during their summer break, in the midst of a particularly scorching July evening. Charlotte and Henry were lounging outside on the Hart’s front porch, with Charlotte sprawled out on the wall in front of the bushes and Henry leaning up against it on the ground. They had been sitting in silence for a while, just listening to the crickets sing in the background.
“Hey, Char, I gotta tell you something,” he said. Charlotte sat up from her spot on the wall to face him.
Charlotte just nodded for a moment as she glanced down at her feet. She stayed quiet for what felt like a lifetime to Henry, and Henry could feel himself getting more apprehensive with every passing second. He wasn’t particularly scared to tell her in the beginning, but now that she was staying quiet, he could feel himself starting to panic.
“So? What do you think?” he asked gently. Charlotte seemed to snap out her trance as she met his gaze, and she immediately noticed the alarmed expression on his face. She instinctively reached out to grab his hand.
“Henry, I’m sorry. I was trying to think of the perfect supportive thing to say, but I shouldn’t have left you hanging like that,” she said with a warm smile. Henry let out a breath of relief as he gave her a smile in return.
“Did you know?” he asked after a moment. Charlotte shook her head.
“No. I mean, there were times when I would wonder. Like in the sixth grade when you were a little obsessed with Logan Harris-”
“Okay, first of all, his dad used to take us to the arcade all the time, and his house had a pool!” Henry said defensively.
Charlotte just looked at him.
“And he had nice eyes,” he added quietly. Charlotte grinned.
“Does Jasper know?” she asked.
“Not yet. I wanna tell him next, though. Will you be here with me when I do it?”
“Of course. I’m always here for you,” she responded as she gently squeezed his hand. “But, I mean, it’s Jasper. He loves you so much, and I don’t see anything changing that at all.”
A couple of hours later, Jasper was crawling into Henry’s bedroom window, where he found Henry sitting on the foot of his bed and Charlotte draped across the couch by the window.
“I’m glad you’re both here, I really gotta tell you something,” Jasper said as he started down the steps towards Henry.
“Actually, I gotta tell you something too,” Henry responded as he stood up. Both boys met each other in the middle of the room. Henry shot Charlotte a look, and she nodded her head encouragingly. Henry took a deep breath as his eyes met Jasper’s.
“Jasper, I’m bi.”
Both had blurted things out simultaneously, so neither had heard what the other had to say.
“What?” they both said at the same time. Charlotte covered her mouth as she repressed a smile.
“You go first,” Jasper said as he gestured for Henry to continue.
“I’m bisexual,” Henry announced again. An amused smile spread across Jasper’s lips as he inadvertently let out a snicker.
“Shut up,” was all he responded with, and Henry felt a pang of disappointment as he furrowed his eyebrows.
“Okay, that’s not the response I was expecting at all,” Henry started, preparing himself to give Jasper a long-winded and defensive speech, but Jasper cut him off.
“No, Henry, you don’t understand. You didn’t hear what I said. I just told you I’m gay.”
“Wait, what?” Henry responded, an amused smile now spreading across his face.
“We literally just chose to come out to each other at the exact same time.”
“So you’re gay? Dude, nice,” Henry replied, and they both shared a high five. Charlotte smiled as she shook her head at her two idiot friends.
“This could honestly only happen to you two,” she said, clearly entertained by the whole situation. The trio then spent the next hour talking about all the boys in their class they thought were cute, and which ones each of them had a crush on at one point or another.
Ray was the fourth one to find out, and it was more by an accident of sorts. It wasn’t that Henry didn’t want him to know, or that he didn’t trust Ray; it was quite the opposite. Henry trusted Ray so completely, that he knew telling him wouldn’t be a big deal, and so he never felt the need to sit down and have a whole coming out with him. It was sort of something that just slipped out one day. It was spring break when Henry was sixteen. He arrived at work that morning to find Ray down in the Man Cave, watching the monitors.
“Hey, Ray. Anything going on?” Henry asked as he slumped down onto the rotating couch.
“Nah, it’s pretty quiet. So, what’s up?” Ray asked as he swiveled around in his chair to face his young sidekick.
“Nothing really. But, could I get this Saturday off? Granted nothing major happens,” Henry asked. Ray crossed his arms over his chest as he sat back.
“Why, you got a hot date?” he responded teasingly.
“Oh? What’s her name? Have you mentioned her before?”
Henry placed his hands on the table in front of him as he glanced down.
“Actually, his name is Luke.”
Ray just nodded.
“Ah. So, you’re into the dudes now?” he questioned. Henry chuckled a little.
“Sort of. I’m bisexual.”
“Nice,” Ray responded simply, and that was the end of that. Ray let him have that Saturday off, and the only thing that changed was Ray being careful not to assume the gender of Henry’s crushes until Henry revealed that himself.
Henry’s parents were the last people he came out too. He knew his parents loved him and that they were open and understanding people, but Henry couldn’t help but feel a sense of uneasiness at the thought of telling them. It took him a while to do so, but it finally got to the point where didn’t want to have to hide that part of him anymore. He didn’t want to have to skirt around questions about his dates when they happened to be boys, and he didn’t want to have to be careful about not revealing his crushes pronouns when those crushes were also on boys.
It was around dinnertime one evening, in mid-October. Henry’s mother and father were sitting on the couch, with Henry’s father flipping through channels on the television while Henry’s mother was scrolling through news articles on her phone. Henry took a deep breath as he approached them. Henry’s mother, Siren, looked up and smiled warmly at him when he reached the edge of the couch.
“Hi, honey,” she said cheerfully.
“Mom, dad. Can I tell you something?” he said quietly, and Siren’s smile immediately faded as it was replaced with a look of concern. Henry’s father, Jake, switched off the TV as he looked up at his son with the same concerned expression.
“What is it, love?” Siren asked, worry dripping from her voice. Henry looked down and started fiddling with his jacket zipper as he gathered the courage to say what he needed to say.
“I’m bisexual,” he announced after a moment. Siren and Jake both exchanged a look as Siren let out a breath of relief.
“Is that okay?” Henry asked gently as he looked up at his parents. Siren immediately stood up and placed her hands on her son’s shoulders.
“Honey, of course that’s okay,” she said tenderly as she pulled him into a hug.
“We love you no matter what, son,” Jake said from his spot on the couch. Henry melted into his mother’s arms as he felt a sense of relief wash over him.
“Henry, the only thing your father and I ever want is for you to be happy,” Siren said as she let go. She placed her hands on his cheeks as her gaze met his. She gave him an affectionate smile as she let go.
“You know what, I’m gonna make a cake...you know, one of those rainbow ones,” Siren said as she started towards the kitchen. “Or, is that offensive? Is there one just for bisexuals? You know what, don’t worry about it, I’ll google it.”
Henry chuckled to himself a little.
“Mom, it’s okay, you really don’t have to-” Henry started, but Siren was already in the kitchen pulling out various ingredients.
“Henry, you know your mother. Just let her go,” Jake said as he smiled at his son and switched the TV back on. Henry grinned a little to himself as he started back towards the stairs.
“You know what, mom? There is a flag just for bisexuals. I’ve got one in my room, I’ll go get it for you,” he said, and with that, he was gone.