Universe Building by Welton B. Marsland

“You okay?”

“Yeah.  I think.  Except … could you let go of my hair now?”

Jimmy chuckled and relaxed the hand he’d gripped in Ryan’s sweaty hair.  “Sorry.”


At first, their expressions were sombre and serious, faces just centimetres apart, breathing heavy, both of them a little stunned and uncertain.  Then, slowly, as it became obvious that no lightning bolt was about to strike them down, nor one of them erupt into mindless rage, their mouths curved upwards at the same time.  Everything was okay – they were on the same page.

“That…” said Ryan, and raised his eyebrows a little way.

“I know,” Jimmy said.

Ryan chuckled like Jimmy had done, his voice very low and a bit throaty.  “That was very, very naughty,” he half-whispered.

Jimmy’s smile continued to widen, warm brown eyes shining with delight and great amusement and not a small amount of mischief.  “Oops!” he laughed.

Raising his head a little way off the bed, Ryan glanced down the length of their bodies.  Not that he could see too much; mostly, he could see Jimmy’s taut upper arm and the sides of their rib cages.  He let his head fall back again.  “Have we made a mess?”

Jimmy swept a glance downwards.  “Not too bad.”  He rolled his hips slightly.

They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, the enormity of what they’d done beginning to sneak up on them.

“Don’t,” Jimmy said softly.

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t freak out on me now.”

Ryan smiled.  “I wasn’t going to.”

“Well.  Good, then.  Cos you’re not allowed.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah.”  Jimmy quirked his mouth.  “I’ve decided – you’re not allowed to freak out about anything anymore.”

Ryan pulled an exaggerated sad face.  “Not ever?”

“Well.  Maybe at Christmas.  Everyone’s entitled to go a bit yampy at Christmas.  Family and all that.”

“Very generous of you.”

They both smirked and Ryan cleared his throat lightly.  Jimmy resettled himself a little lower down his mate’s body.

“We’ve really done it now, haven’t we?”

“Meaning?” Ryan asked.

“Well, we’ve just caused a whole new universe to be created, haven’t we?”

“Hmph.  You mean we didn’t merely make the planet tilt on its axis?”

Jimmy poked his tongue out briefly.  “Nah.  Quantum theory.  You know, each decision and change we make creates a new reality and a new universe.”

“Quantum theory?” queried Ryan.  “When did you suddenly become a deep prick?”

Jimmy ignored him.  “There’s a universe where we’re just best mates.  There’s another one where we barely know each other.”

“Not friends?”

“Nah, we don’t get along much in that universe.”


Jimmy affected a nonchalant tone as his imagination offered up a parallel universe version of themselves.  “That universe – we pretty much hate each other’s guts.  Fought all through school.   Trophy-fuck each other’s girlfriends.”

“You’re really warming to this material, aren’t you?”

Jimmy tilted his face down and blew a raspberry on Ryan’s chest.  A hand swatted at the top of his head and he came up laughing.  “Anyway.  Hrm.  There’s probably another universe where we never even met.”

“Naturally.  A whole lotta decisions from a bunch of different people went into me ending up in the same classes as you.”

Jimmy nodded.  “And I’m sure there’s one where we’re super-spies or playing in the Ashes series or some shit.  And now, now we’ve just created a whole new one.  One where we’re just a couple of blokes and best mates and fuck buddies.”

A bark of laughter shot up out of Ryan at that.  “Fuck buddies?!”  His chest heaved as he laughed.  “Bloody hell.  Do you seriously have to call it that?”

“I’m not calling you “my lover”, dude.  That’d just be weird!”

They were laughing together again, voices filling the room as their bodies shook against one another.  Ryan composed himself first, rubbing at his eyes as his breathing calmed.

Jimmy sighed happily.  “Hungry work, universe building.”

“Want me to call room service?” Ryan offered. “You’ll have to shift off me if you want me to get to the phone.”

“Pity,” said Jimmy. “I’m pretty comfortable here.  In my cool new universe.”

They lay still together for several more minutes before either of them could bring himself to move away, fresh new universes spiralling off into the unknown as a dozen silent decisions were agreed upon in their locked gaze.


Originally published in CQ4: Romance.

Welton B. Marsland
Welton B. Marsland is a queer-punk writer from Melbourne whose stories, poetry & more have appeared in many local & international markets. Debut novel “By the Currawong’s Call”, set in 1890s Australia, is available through harpercollins.com.au and recently won the Romance category at the 2018 Bisexual Book Awards in New York. WBM is also Editor of a poetry anthology inspired by the TV show Supernatural, called “Carrying On”. Twitter: @wbmarsland Website: weltonbmarsland.com

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