Matt and Ryker from The Swedish Effect by Elektrisk

During adolescence, life swears its hatred for you.
Consequently, you are sent on many emotional roller coasters.
Is there anything you can do about it?

Chapter 2

I awoke later that morning to find that Matt was still asleep. But I guess I had moved around some in my sleep, because my head was no longer on his chest. I must have the dumbest subconscious in the world. No sane person, gay or not, would miss falling asleep to the sound of this guy’s heartbeat. But why was I bitching? I didn’t know. I placed my head gently on his sturdy chest, and bam, there it was: Beat…. Beat…. Beat….

Now, I’m no cardiologist, but his heart was beating pretty fast. Maybe it was because he was a Viking; they DO have a pretty cold climate over there. You know, ‘cause they say people from the north have longer and thinner noses, and Africans have shorter an stubbier ones. Whatever. Anyway, our legs were intertwined still, so that explained the heavy weight I felt on mine, or the fact that my legs hadn’t moved at all throughout the night. How much did this guy weigh, anyway?

A better question: What freaking time was it? I felt dead tired. Although I’m sure if my head kept bobbing up and down like this, I’d wake up anyway. Ha ha. Oh well, at least I know he’s breathing. Our clothes had dried nevertheless, and my hair looked horrible, I thought, as opposed to Matt who looked like a god with messy hair. Why is my hair so temperamental? Better yet, why am I talking about my hair? Gay moment.

In actuality, I couldn’t sleep for the longest while. It was so tempting just to lay there and listen to his even breathing. Oh but then, then I got curious. What does Matty-boy look like shirtless? Well, since I couldn’t just take off his shirt, obviously, I had to do it Hellen Keller style. You guessed it. So it went like this; I had my head on his (still breathing, yes!) chest, right where his heart was, then I slowly let my hand creep up his stomach. Am I fucking weird or what? God. But I forgot all about that when I hit the jackpot. This was what it was like, seriously: bump-crevice-bump-crevice-bump-crevice-bump-crevice-bump-crevice-bump-crevice-bump-crevice-bump-crevice. Despite that being hot, it actually was hot; like, it felt warm. If you haven’t caught on yet, I was feeling his eight pack. God.

Now, this may sound silly, but I assumed that, along with a stronger heart, the cold climate of Scandinavia has given our friend here less fat. Although that wouldn’t explain the fat polar bears…. Okay really, I’m here talking about his bod. I need a life. Or I need to sleep in case he wakes up and finds me awake, feeling him up. Whatevs.


We woke up about three hours later at eight in the morning. Well, Matt woke up, then he kindly woke me up, cough.

“Looks like your hand’s a wanderer.” He smiled, gently grabbing my wrist and pulling my hand off of him.

“Oh…!” I was pretty embarrassed, really. “Yeah, I guess so,” I smiled sheepishly. “You have a really heavy leg by the way.” I still couldn’t move the damn thing.

“You can thank soccer for that.” He lifted his off of mine. “So, I had a dream that aliens attacked a campsite nearby. In the waking world’s language, that means we should go camping today.”

“You’re insane.”

“But really, everyone’s so uptight lately. We could use it.”

“But tomorrow’s Sunday.”

“What, you’re religious now?” I was glad to be reassured that Matt hadn’t changed since last night, ha ha.

“No. But it’s winter, dork.”

“We’re also in Oklahoma. Your hand isn’t the only one that wanders.” He pulled my cell phone out of his pocket.


“Chill, I just got it to check the weather; the low for today is around fifty.”

“That’s freezing!”

“I guess if you’re American. Besides, the high is sixty-seven. Isn’t that good enough?” he grinned at me. Resist. The. Grin. Okay, I couldn’t.


“Great! I’ll go talk to the girls.”

“Wait.” I grabbed his shoulder but I should’ve known better; I was dragged across the floor as he walked.

“Hmm?” he noticed me on the ground, finally.

“WELL,” I huffed. “It’s 8 AM. Most sane people are sleeping at this time, ‘cause, y’know, it’s the fucking weekend.”

“Aww, you’re grumpy!” I couldn’t help but laugh; he was always so laidback. But how?

“But really, let’s just do something rather than wake them up; they’d kill us.”

“Well, we kind of need to talk anyway.”

“Let’s go for a walk then.”

“You were just saying it’s too cold.”

“Come on. I’ll just wear your hoodie.”

“But it zips; you hate zippy hoodies.”

“Okay, Mr. Conscience.”

“I have a better idea,” he smiled as he took his hoodie from the bed and put it on.

“Are you on crack?”

“Unfortunately not.” He pulled me close against his body, inside the hoodie. He was so freaking awesome, and he this time, he smelt like rain. I was starting to think he controlled the atmosphere around us; it was the only explanation. Or he could have some cologne, but that’d be too logical for my tastes. Nevertheless, it’d wipe away the cold.

Then he did it again; he picked me up and jumped down the whole flight of stairs. As we landed, my body shook. “Why the hell do you do that?” I asked. “No I really want to know, ha ha.”

“It’s faster than walking.” He winked.

“It’s also a fast way to lose your ability TO walk.”

“Not likely.”

“I’m always right; you can’t argue with me.”

“Yeah, whatevs. Oh hey, this place is trashed,” he said as we walked into the living room. It really was. Empty spirit bottles littered the place. Thankfully, the floors hadn’t gotten stained, but damn, the place reeked.

“Let’s get out of here.” I held my nose in disgust.

“You don’t want to clean it up?”

“You’re hilarious. Let’s go.”

The almost cold air blasted us as we shut the door behind us. The sun was probably hiding. I would be too if I were expected to heat the world on such a cold day.

“Cold?” he smiled as I shivered. I nodded as he tightened his grip on me and pulled me closer.

“S-so do you think A-alister will get over it?” I had to admit, I was warming up (because Matt was so hot, duh. Jokes), but that didn’t stop the actual weather from being so cold.

“I don’t know. It’s kind of ironic, because Ancient Greece actually encouraged homosexuality.”

“Twenty th-thousand years later.”

“Hardly. And what’s up with Alyson? I think she just wants in Alister’s pants.”

“I don’t know, but it was so not cool. It wouldn’t surprise me if she was. She’s never been the type to act out like that.”

“It’s something I’ve gotten used to… I just didn’t know them making such a big scene out of it.”

“Gotten used to what?”


“But you aren’t even out!”

“There are other things to get made fun of for; teens will always find a reason to make fun of somebody.”

“That’s a sad truth. How long have you known, anyway?”

“That I was gay? I’ve always known I was different; since I was like three I guess. Of course the sexual desires didn’t manifest until I was a pre-teen, but it was never a big deal to me when I was young.” How cliché.

“Why not? I used to get so depressed.”

“Scandinavia isn’t anything like America.”

“But you’re in America.”

“I think that family life has a lot to do with it… my mom and Anna couldn’t care less if I were gay, purple, or an alien.”

“You’re lucky.”

“Don’t be so bitter.”

“My dad would kill me if he knew.”

“He wouldn’t.” He hugged me even closer. I don’t think he believed what he was saying, either. “So anyway, when’d YOU know?”

“Oh, about sixth grade. You know, the first time us guys saw each other shirtless. Gotta love PE.”


“Always will be!” That wasn’t entirely true; if I could make this Swede fall for me, I’d never touch another guy again. There’s my wishful thinking again.

He smiled again, flashing his beautiful teeth. He would’ve been cuter with braces, but it looked as though he had already had them before. “So do you think the girls can actually talk some sense into Alyson?”

“Yeah, I’m thinking she was just shocked, but Alister is another story.”

“He’s probably a closet case, you know?”

“I’ve thought that before. I’ll never investigate; he’s scary.”

“He doesn’t scare me. He’d never hurt anyone.”

“You sound confident.”

“There’s no other way to live life.” He never seized to amaze me. “Don’t you agree?” he looked into my eyes. I got the feeling that he was looking into my thoughts ago, just like last night.

“I’ve never looked at life as you have,” I said simply.

“You should. It’d do you good.”

“Can words really do anything for a person? It’s like, when you’re depressed, nothing anyone can say will help. So what’s the point? Here you and I are, hated by our ex-best friend for no reason-”

“Shh. Don’t think like that. Think of it like this, ‘cause this is what I used to always tell myself: ‘Hang in there; the harder you fall, the higher you’re gonna bounce.’”

“Are you… always this happy?” I asked. “I don’t mean to sound rude, I just find it astounding,” I added quickly.

“Well, not always. Like how I hit Alister last night… I really regret it.”

“You don’t think he deserved it?”

“No one deserves to be hurt.”

“You really are something else.” I said quietly.

“Well, it’s not like you’d like it if I punched you across the face.” he said nonchalantly. He was right, though; I’d probably wallow around in misery for a few minutes, and then go to the hospital for a broken jaw. I’m a loser.

“I wouldn’t call my best friends faggots though,” I pointed out.

“People sometimes say things they don’t mean.”

“So that justifies it?”

“No, not all, but not everyone can deal with emotions the same way. If everyone were the same, the world would be so boring, would it not?”

“I guess so.”

“Hey, don’t sound so sad.” How could he read me so well?

“It’s just… with all this drama going on, how CAN I stay happy?”

“Like this!” He made the biggest grin he could.

“You’re such a geek,” I giggled.

“I always will be.”

“Some things never will change. By the way, we’ve been walking for uh, two hours…. Wow. You wanna head back?” I asked.

“Sure. Wanna race?” My mental note kicked in: don’t try to outrun Matt.

“No, why? You looking for an ego boost?”

“Psh, I don’t need to beat you in a race to get an ego boost,” he smirked.

“YOU think so. Oh and, quit hogging the hoodie meanie.”

“If only I weren’t so fat,” he gave a laughable sigh. “Come here.” He pulled me real close so I was completely enveloped by the hoodie. “Got cold hands?”

“What? Why?” I asked suspiciously.

“Well, you didn’t have much trouble warming them last time,” he smiled, lifting his shirt up halfway.

“Oh… hey! Be quiet about that; it’s embarrassing enough.”

“Come on,” he grabbed my right wrist playfully.

“Fine… damn Vikings,” I mumbled. I really did appreciate it though; his abs produced much needed heat. It must’ve looked weird but I honestly didn’t care. “We’re such idiots,” I laughed as I yanked my wrist away.


“Because we’re insane.” I couldn’t stop laughing.


Eventually we made it back to Lily’s huge house and napped some more. They had cleaned the place up by the time we got up, as well. “Where’ve y’all been?” Rachel asked.

“Around,” I said. “Really though, we went walking, came back, and slept.”

“Sounds romantic,” Lily said. Hint hint.

“Not. Y’all talk to Alyson today?”

“Well, yes.”


“I didn’t really know what to say… we asked her why she freaked out like that and she said ‘we wouldn’t understand.’”

“Then she hung up on us,” Rachel said boredly.

“I’m sorry guys,” Lily said, seeing our melancholic faces.

“Oh well, it’ll pass over.”

“But what if they tell people?” I thought aloud.

“Let’s not think like that,” Matt said. “Let’s think about something cheerful, like camping!”

“Camping?” the girls boggled at us.


“It’s almost winter…,” said Lily.

“Looks guys, if Santa Clause can stand to go around the world all night on Christmas Eve, then I’m sure we can handle one night in a tent or two,” he said. I just burst out laughing. Santa Claus? Oh my god.

“What the hell are you on?” I managed to say, nearly falling down with laughter. They all just kind of stared.

“Anyway, Santa Clause has five hundred pounds of fat to insulate him; we don’t,” Rachel said. They were pretty skinny.

“I do!” I grinned. I didn’t really. I wasn’t muscular like Matt or Alister, but I was nowhere near even chubby.

“Do you?” Lily asked, reaching around and poking my stomach. “I didn’t think so.”

She and Matt laughed, and this time it was our turn to stare. “Gosh, lay off the Meth,” Rachel and I said.

“Whatever. So are we going to go or not?” the two said.

“Right now?” My friends never were the type to sit down and plan stuff.

“Well the sun isn’t going to wait on us!”

“And where exactly are we going to obtain two tents?” Lily asked dubiously.

“I have some. We can just swing by my house first,” Matt said.

“Sure. Let’s go.” I loved my friends. There we were, in Lily’s hot pink Mercedes Cabriolet (yes, she’s a rich bugger; how else could she have thrown that party?), with Holiday Parade blaring on the way. I had an urge to lean on Matt, but something stopped me. It was irrational how badly I wanted to have physical contact with him, or anything! I had to stick my hands in my pockets to stop from stroking his face. This time, I didn’t think I was so weird; just sentimental. I have no idea how Lily didn’t get a driving ticket, but I also couldn’t fathom how she could see over the steering wheel at all. Ha ha ha.

“You wanna give me a hand with getting them?” Matt asked me as we pulled into his driveway. There was no doubt in my mind that Matt could’ve gotten it all by himself, but I wasn’t going to argue.

“Sure.” As we ran inside and up to his room, I got the chills; why was the house so quiet? Anna was home, so it didn’t make sense… until —
“Matt,” her voice was hollow.

But the words that followed weren’t English; why did I feel like she didn’t want me to hear? It was real awkward then. Matt looked like he’d just seen a ghost. The next thing just blew me away; I heard her say a word that eerily resembled ‘homosexual’. Surprisingly, the world didn’t split in half at that moment.

Now, I don’t know Swedish, but surely it couldn’t’ve been a coincidence. I felt like I was intruding in on something by just standing there, but the conversation was short. As they stopped talking, Anna started to cry. I’ve never seen Anna cry, so it was pretty awkward as Matt approached her. She buried her face in his chest and just sobbed as he hugged her. She started to weakly punch him in the chest. Why? I wouldn’t understand that until later.

He didn’t look at me, rather he just whispered some comforting-sounding words to Anna. The next words were English. “Will you tell mom?” she asked, wiping her eyes.

“I… I don’t know,” Matt mumbled.

“You needn’t worry. She says it’s okay.”

“Wh-what?” he asked, startled.

“I asked her what she’d say if you were… gay… and yeah, you can guess the rest.” Personally, had she been my sister, I would’ve been mad. But no, Matt is never mad.

“Aw!” he exclaimed, nearly hugging her to death.

“Matt… I can’t breathe.” She could. Just then, Lily held down her horn. “That’s your cue.” Anna winked. “Oh, and I’ll talk to you later! Maybe you too, Ryker!” She said as she walked out of the room. Matt had the perfect life. Okay, that was an envious thing to say; but he had it a lot better than I did.

“Hey, Matty-boy? Got a hoodie I can use?”

“I doubt it’ll fit. It’ll be too short and too wide.”

“I don’t mind. I can use it as a cover tonight.” That was an exaggeration, but who cares. It would’ve kept me warm.

“Okay.” He walked over to the closet and pulled out two huge tents that were still in their bags.

“Who keeps tents in their closet?”

“You can never be too prepared!” he winked, throwing me a baby blue hoodie.

“This thing is freaking huge!” It really was. I’m assuming it was at least three sizes bigger than what I wear, although the plus side was that it was really thick, and cute too! “Where the hell did you get this thing?”

“Sweden,” he said. “Come on, they’re waiting.” He walked over to me.

“Don’t do it this — oh my god!” I said as he picked me up and jumped down the stairs. “What the hell are you, a polar bear!?”

“Close enough!” Anna yelled from upstairs.

“Thanks!” Matt called up to her sarcastically.

“I can’t wait until you accidentally shatter your ankle by doing that.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“Ohhh my god!” Lily groaned; we were taking our time.

“Be quiet,” Matt said. He never told the girls to shut up; what a lady’s man. “I’ll tell you what happened later,” he whispered. I nodded my head.

“It’s almost seven already. Ohhh my God,” Lily groaned again.

“Stop whining.” I mocked her groan. ‘Ughhhhhh.”

“Shut up.”

“You can’t argue and drive at the same time.”

“Let me just CRASH INTO THIS TREE THEN.” She started to swerve.

“What the hell Lily,” I laughed. It was pretty cool though, because I slid into Matt; woohoo!

“She’s psycho,” I nodded in agreement with him. After about thirty minutes of driving, we arrived at the only lake in town. We didn’t plan on swimming, of course, but it was still breathtaking. Matt, being the dork he is, set up the tents incorrectly twice, but when we volunteered to help him, we got it right.

“We need firewood. Hint, hint,” Lily said.

“Bossy, much?”

“Oh please Ryker, it’s been your fantasy to be stuck in the woods with Matt since like fourth grade.”

“Oh whatever!” She was right. “Fine, WE’LL go get firewood while y’all hopefully get eaten by wolves.”

“Don’t hold your breath,” she said. The starry night sky beamed down on us as we walked through the woods, which oddly enough, were silent.

“So… you gonna explain to me what happened?” I asked him.

“Oh… yeah. It seems as though Alister doesn’t feel obligated to keeping his mouth shut; he told my little sister what happened.”

“Wow, since when does he talk to Anna?”

“He doesn’t; he’s just trying to piss me off.”

“Is it working?”

“Not yet. If he keeps it up though, there’ll be problems.”

“You honestly think Anna would do anything with that guy?”

“I don’t really know. She may be fifteen, but she’s still naïve. Alister isn’t particularly ugly, either. Nevertheless, I talked to her about it.”

“You think so? I don’t know if Alister would betray you like that.”

“He already has.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know… it just seems like I always thought that this would be… easier somehow. It’s just not fair. You know, I think of it as a curse sometimes.”

“Never be ashamed of the person you are.”

“But… it’s just like, why us? Why are only some people like this?”

“Because nature likes us more.”

“If that’s what you wanna go with.”

“Really Ryker… it sucks, but you have to keep your head up. These bigots watch our every move, waiting for a chance to exploit some weakness in us. You can’t let them get the upper hand on you, you know?”

“Are you always so optimistic?”

“I have to be, lest everyone else around me become just as depressed.”

“You think you’re that influential?”

“What do you think?” I honestly didn’t know.

“I don’t know… I once heard that to be happy, you have to be surrounded by happiness.”

“Do you believe that?”

“Not really.”

“How can’t you?”

“Why would you?”

“Because it only makes sense. Emotions are contagious. If your boyfriend is crying, you’ll be more likely to start crying, wouldn’t you? Or what about smiling? Haven’t you ever heard that saying that goes, ‘Smile! It’s contagious!’?”

“You’re so silly.” I couldn’t help but laugh.

“But it’s working, is it not?”

“You can’t tell if I’m smiling or not.”

“That moon’s brighter than you’d think.”

“Is that so?” I felt myself blush. “So, am I smiling?”

“You are now,” he said before tickling me. Needless to say, I really was then.

“Fine, cheater.”

“You liked it either way.”

“You only did that ‘cause you can’t make me smile naturally.”

“I beg to differ. Besides, what’s so unnatural about laughing? Are you from Mars?”

“Sometimes I think I might be; I’m your friend.” With benefits.

“Good then, you can grow up and study me. What do you want to be anyway?”

“I’ve always been interested in art, you know that. But I can’t even get a C in Art class, so how am I to ever succeed in that? It doesn’t seem likely.”

“Those who wish to sing always find a song.” Damn he was good.

“It’s not that simple,” I said.

“It is. You just have to believe it is before it becomes so.”

“Yeah? Well what do you want to be?”

“I actually don’t know. I love soccer, but to say that I want to be a professional soccer star seems so juvenile.”

“But you’re a lucky person; it’ll happen.”

“Luck never gives; it only lends.”

“I think you’d be a better philosopher.”

“That’s actually a Swedish proverb.”

“All the same….”

“Not quite.”

“Shouldn’t we be getting firewood?” I asked.

“I don’t really think they expected us to get firewood, those tricksters. Besides, I’m more concerned about how we’re going to find our way back; we’ve been walking for hours. It’s almost ten.”

“I know the way back; I’ve been here sooo many times.”

“Who would’ve thought?”

“Hey, you’re not the only outdoorsy type of guy.”

“Could’ve fooled me.”

“You’re so mean to me.”

“The bee has a sting but honey, too.”

“Prove it.”

“Okay.” So get this. He just put one hand out and stopped me, turned me around, and kissed me. This time he tasted like fruit, ironically, and smelt like flowers. It would’ve been awkward for anyone else, since he’s so much shorter than me, but he apparently didn’t have a problem with tip-toeing. And I must say that kissing in the middle of the woods in the moonlight is a lot more romantic than doing so in a hot tub at a party. So, based on past events, I won’t say that it’s the most romantic thing I’ll ever experience; there’ll be more. Here I am, ranting in my head. Gosh.

“Point proven,” I managed to say.

“Glad you think so.”

“So, does Anna think we’re dating or what?”

“Actually she does.”

“What did you tell her?”

“Well, ARE we dating?”

“Oh, um… well….”

“It’s cool if you like me.” What an arrogant bastard… too bad he was hot.

“Well, I don’t think people who are ‘just friends’ randomly kiss each other in the woods, do they?”

“No, not usually.”

“Okay, then –”

“AHHHHHHHHHHHH!” An ear-splitting scream pierced the silent atmosphere.

“That’s Rachel,” I said indifferently.

“Come on.” He started to run, and god did he run.

“Wait up!” I gasped, running out of breath. I had like no endurance, and it was rather embarrassing.

“C’mere.” He picked me up and ran. It was kind of scary, because he stumbled some every now and then, although I’m sure I wasn’t too light. Whom was I kidding? I weighed as much as a 6th grader.

He just followed the sound of Rachel’s screams. When we finally got there, we didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

“What-what’s wrong??” Matt panted.

“Sn-snake!” Lily screamed. They were all holding on to each other on top of a log.

“Where’s the little guy?”

“What the fuck Matt!?” Rachel was freaked out. He let me down, and I’m glad; I hate snakes. But Matt casually walked over to it, the small brown snake, and picked it up. It really wasn’t that big; about half a foot, or less.

“It’s just a harmless snake. You girls scared him.” He was actually petting the thing.

“Oh. My. God.” I trembled. “Make it go away!”

“Come on, pet it.”

“MATT!” I screamed.

“Okay okay, sheesh.” He walked over to the edge of the forest. “Have fun little buddy.”

“Ugh!” Rachel exclaimed. “Matt, you are sooo not as normal as we thought.”

“Snakes have feelings too!”

Rachel stuck out her tongue.

“Since you BOYS didn’t get any firewood…”

“Who’s fault is that? We thought you were dying.”

“…we will have to cuddle tonight,” Lily continued.

“We could spoon,” I suggested.

“Or y’all two could cuddle while Rachel and I do so.”

“That’s kind of gay,” Matt said.

“You would know all about that,” Lily giggled.


“Well, I’m kind of tired…,” I started. I blamed it on getting up so early.

“Already!?” Lily stared in shock. She was so dramatically funny.

“Well it is almost ten…,” Rachel said.

“We can sleep then,” Matt said.

“Okay leader. What else?”

“Don’t be so sour Lily; you’re tired too.”

“Not one bit!”

“Well, I am. Good night.” Rachel walked into their tent.

“No fair.” Lily eventually gave in and walked into the girls’ tent.

“You want to sleep now?” Matt smiled at me. He never stopped smiling.

“Yeah, I’m exhausted. I’m not used to walking for hours like you.”

“You wouldn’t last a minute on the field then.”

“It’s a good thing I don’t want to be a professional soccer player then.” I nudged him in the side playfully as we walked into our tent. It was pitch black, aside from the little moonlight that shone through from the outside, and I loved it.

“It’s a good thing you have a non-girly guy to protect you from things such as snakes,” he retorted.

“Aw, don’t be mean.”

“About that, honey….”


“I’m totally not lusting after you.”

“Whatever, loser.”

“You’re so mean to me.”

I kissed his chest, where his heart was. “Does that help?”


“Give me a straight answer, won’t you?”

“Afraid I can’t.”

“Ha ha.”

“Getting tired yet?”

“Getting off topic yet?”

“I have no problem talking about romance,” he said.

“I don’t believe you.”

“Okay.” He picked me up and turned me around.

“I’m glad you think you can randomly grab me.”

“I don’t see you stopping me. Besides, you’ll thank me later,” he said as he pulled me close to him in a spooning position, taking my decision after all. If you don’t know what spooning is, it’s when you’re against someone’s back cuddling, but where I come from, it also implies your knees are in their “leg pits” as someone calls them. So, as you can imagine, this put our bodies in a very convenient position.

“Sweet dreams?”

“See you there.” How cute.

He swung a leg over my knees; I guessed so he could be closer to me.

“Night.” I said.

“Sleep well.” He put his arms around my back in a hugging position, and pulled himself as close as he could. Ok, I take back what I said earlier; he is romantic. And as we all lay there, we dreamt similar dreams, completely unaware of the devastating events that the near future held.


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