"Yes!" I yelled, leaping off the worn sofa and throwing my fists upwards in the form of a victory punch.
"I'm bored," moaned Ed, chucking his controller onto the floor.
"Hey, hey, be careful with those!" I scolded my younger brother. "You're gunna break them, and they cost a lot more than you get for your paper round."
"So what? Everything in this house gets broken," Ed snapped back at me, uncharacteristically annoyed.
Lucas, sensing the stirrings of a family fight slipped out of the room muttering, "I'm just going to pop to the loo."
Ed leaned back against a cushion, crossing his arms and wearing a grumpy expression.
There was a moment of awkward silence. I was not sure what to do next, so all I could do was sit there and watch him fuming.
"So," I finally said, my voice wavering with uncertainty. I had never seen Ed act like this before. "Are you going to tell me why you're not in school today."
Ed's head shot up and he looked at me guiltily.
"Don't think I haven't noticed."
His cheeks flushed red and he twist his body away from me, but not before I saw a tear trickle down his cheek. I stifled the urge to sigh with impatience and strode over towards him.
"Tell me Ed," I demanded, seizing his chin and pulling it towards him.
He let out an agonised wail that sounded more like an animal's and batted my hand away.
"No," he said, trying to force his way pass me and out of the living room.
I pushed him back onto the sofa and held his shoulders down.
"You are not leaving this room until you tell me what's going on."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," he responded, still not giving me any eye contact.
"Okay," I said, getting slightly irritated now. "Let me guess. You and Mary" - refering to the girl he thought he had been seeing in secret - "decided it was time to start holding hands."
"How do you know about Mary?" he asked, surprised that I had took any notice of his life at all.
"Because I'm not a completely moron," I replied.
He shot me a look and raised his eyebrows in a way that said he knew there was more to the story. Curse my brother with his well thought-out plans and deviousness.
"Fine," I gave in. "I went on a date with her sister last week and she told me that you two had a little thing going on."
"You went out with Jane?" Ed asked me, sceptical.
I thought of her short brown hair, dated fashion sense and flat chest. "It was a dare," I said, laughing. "And I needed the £20."
"You're just cruel," said Ed, giving me a disapproving stare which made him look like Dad in the rare times he was sober.
I ruffled my brother's dark hair and smiled.
"You got a lot to learn, kiddo. Now tell me, what did you and Mary do?"
"Nothing," he replied, suddenly looking very sad. "I kissed her brother."
"You what?!" My mouth fell open and my hands slid away from his shoulders.
"I...I like guys." He said, grabbing the pillow and burying his face into it.
I yanked it away and tilted his face up towards me. His eyes - identical to mine - began to fill with tears.
"Don't tell anyone, okay?" He sniffled. "I'm not ready for other people to know yet."
My heart soften and I felt something I had not felt for a long time for anyone. Compassion. To both our surprise, I sat down next to him and pulled into a hug. I didn't particularly enjoy my t-shirt being drench with snotty tears, but I think that Ed really appreciated it.
A few seconds later Lucas slipped in the room. I had a sneaky suspicion that he had been waiting outside for a while, so I shot him a look that warned him not to say anything.