EastEnders has finally revealed the big secret Callum Highway (Tony Clay) has been trying to keep buried as a violent showdown with Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) developed into a moment of unexpected sexual tension between the boys, ending with Ben guessing Halfway is gay and trapped firmly in the closet.
Callum confronted bad boy Ben at the Beale house for selling him a stolen van, resulting in him getting pulled over by the police, but the cocky Mitchell couldn’t have cared less about getting the trainee undertaker into trouble and provoked the usually gentle soul into aggressively lashing out.
Riled-up Callum pushed Ben against the wall and got in his face but trembled at the sudden physical closeness and seemed on the verge of kissing the menacing Mitchell rather than clocking him. As the atmosphere escalated into potential passion Ben’s gaydar went on red alert – sensing shaken Callum’s fear and confusion he playfully whispered: “I smell queer…”
Thrown at being so easily outed, Callum reeled and quickly broke the sizzling moment – his immediate, vociferous denials then turned to violence when Ben goaded him about hiding his true sexuality and he got a punch in the face.
Distraught Callum fled the Beales’ in tears and paused to catch his breath staring up at the flat he’d just moved into with girlfriend Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) – confirming to the audience Ben’s theory he is living a lie and fears being outed.
Will Ben tell Whitney that Callum is gay?
This appears to be the root of Callum’s recent erratic behaviour, first noticed a few weeks ago when he lied to Whitney doctors had told him he couldn’t return to the army because of an old wound, despite being given a clean bill of health and the green light to rejoin.
Since then troubled Callum has been going overboard to prove his commitment to Whitney, but was prone to flashes of being snappy and irritable – especially at any mention of the army. Did something happen connected to his sexuality while he was in the forces? Could this be the real reason he doesn’t want to go back?
Callum is clearly terrified Ben will out him to the community, but having been on his own journey of acceptance the mean Mitchell turns out to be a confidante rather than an antagonist. On Tuesday 4th June Ben attends Callum and Whitney’s housewarming party and opens up to the harassed Highway about the death of ex-lover Paul Coker, who used to live in the flat.
Ben thanks Callum for his support and it looks like the pair have bonded, but by Thursday 6th June they’ve fallen out again when Callum brings up the subject of tragic Paul again.
Can Callum trust Ben to keep his secret? Will spiteful Ben blab to Whitney? Or could the fellas’ electric chemistry turn into full-on attraction – and a secret fling…?
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