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If asked what he liked about Camp Campbell, Max would say absolutely fucking nothing, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Max liked his friends, Neil and Nikki. He liked lazing about with them on Saturdays, and he secretly liked it when they went off on dumb adventures. He liked David’s expression after another failed escape attempt, but he secretly liked David’s expression when he showed up on the first day every year. After seven years at this god-forsaken camp, Max managed to find several things he liked about the place. This though, this was a new development.

Sure, Max appreciated the other campers sometimes, but he wouldn’t say he particularly liked any of them. They were all just so weird. Nerris still wore elf ears and Harrison still sorta freaked him out from that time he made Max barf up shitty ribbon, but he and Neil had started dating the previous summer, so Max remained civil. Dolf still looked like Hitler and Ered was still too cool to be real. Nurf was still a bully and Space Kid was still all spacey. Preston was still super extra about everything.

But then, on the first day of his seventh summer at Camp Campbell, glued to David's side by no decision of his own and greeting the other campers, something changed. Campers were getting off the bus in a flurry of movement, Harrison practically flying off into Neil’s arms, when Max saw him. Preston. He was dragging several bags and suitcases behind him, talking up a storm with Nerris. Same old Preston, only something was off. Max looked more closely, trying to see what was wrong, and then he realized: his hair. No longer did it look like a coconut. Instead it was long, pieces of it artfully framing his face, and most of it was pulled back in a messy bun. To be honest, it was kinda hot. Max didn’t think he had a long hair kink, but hey, David always says you learn something new every day. In addition to the hair, a few other things had changed. Preston wasn’t wearing all the frilly get-up, and he had on large, wide-framed glasses.

Overall, the picture was quite startling, and he was only broken out of his reverie by David shouting “Preston! Glad to see you back here at Camp Campbell. I like the glasses!”

“Why, thank you David! I feel they really add to the tortured artist aesthetic.” Yep. Same old Preston. Except he smiled at Max as he and Nerris passed, and Max thought he was going to have a heart attack.

David laughed good-naturedly beside him, patting him on the back. “Wow Max, he’s sure changed in the last year hasn’t he?” Damn David, trying to start a conversation rather than help him in his time of need.

“Y-yeah,” Max stuttered, turning and following Preston with his eyes.

“Are you alright Max? You don’t sound nearly as angry as you usually do,” came Nikki’s voice behind him.

“Ahh,” he jumped, turning back around to face her.

“Nikki, there you are,” said Neil, Harrison finally gone to bother Nerris. “We were beginning to think you weren’t going to show up at all.”

“No can do. You guys are stuck with me forever.” She and David laughed, but Max and Neil knew it wasn’t a joke. They really were stuck with her forever, not that that was necessarily a bad thing.

“Now that everyone’s here, let’s go and meet Gwen in the mess hall!” David exclaimed, pushing the three of them in the right direction.

 

<><><><><><>

 

After lunch and re-introductions, everyone split off to go to their respective camps. Everyone except Max that is. Over the years, he had found not having a specific activity assigned to him worked out in his favor, so instead he followed Neil and Nikki to the science camp table. Last year, Neil installed a working television and gaming system to keep any visitors he had entertained while he was working. It was an excellent alternative to intelligent graphing calculators. Max spent several hours playing Mario Cart with Harrison and Nikki that summer.

He parked himself on one of the cushions by the television, but didn’t turn it on, instead swiveling to look out at all the other campers. Harrison and Nerris were already fighting, Ered was skateboarding at break-neck speeds, and Dolf had painted something that could be taken as horribly offensive or ridiculously cute depending on how you looked at it. Max continued surveying, when his eyes fell on Preston, who was... crying? Right there on stage. Just crying. No one else seemed to notice. David and Gwen were busy trying to break up Nerris and Harrison, so Max took it upon himself to find out what was wrong. His temper had gone down over the years, with lots of guidance from David of course, and he was in a generous mood that day. It definitely didn’t have anything to do with newfound feelings he may or may not have suddenly developed.

Max stood up, stuffing his hands in his hoodie pocket and making his way over to the theatre camp.

“Uh, hey, Preston. Are you...okay?” He scuffed the toe of his sneaker against the side of the small stage.

“Oh, hello Max,” he sniffled, “yes, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” Max looked at him curiously. “You’re crying.”

“What? Oh, yes. I’m stage crying. It’s an incredibly important skill. I’ve been practicing, I can almost do it completely on-command.” Preston wiped his face and perked up, wide grin in place. “I thank you for your concern, however. That was kind of you.”

Max blushed and looked down at his feet. “It's whatever. See you later.” He stalked back over to Neil before Preston could answer, plopping onto a cushion with a frown.

“You like him, don’t you?” Neil said above him, not even looking away from his chemistry project.

“What?” Max spluttered, blushing furiously and gazing up at Neil. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yes you do,” Neil sighed, “you totally have a crush on Preston. Harrison owes me ten bucks. Or he will at least.” He finally turned to face Max. “Don’t worry. I will do everything in my power to get you two together within the next week.”

“Um.”

“Everything. I am not letting my boyfriend cheat me out of ten dollars.”

 

<><><><><><>

 

Sure, everyone had changed in the past year. Preston knew he had possibly changed the most, but damn, did Max look good all of a sudden. He had always been sort of cute, but this was completely different. He had grown several inches, and his eyes were almost level with Preston’s. He had grown some muscle mass too. He was by no means beefy, but he looked strong and healthy. Perhaps most amazingly, he was wearing eyeliner. Not a lot of it, just enough to accentuate his already startlingly green eyes. He was absolutely stunning. Preston had been thrown for a loop when he stepped off the bus to see that .

Not only did he look delectable, but he was also softer. Kinder. More mature. It gave Preston fuzzy thoughts.

“Preston!” He was snapped out of his thoughts by Nerris in front of him, who had previously been talking all about her latest trip to Comic-Con. “Are you even listening to me?”

“Hm? Yes of course Nerris. I’m just a bit distracted.” He moved his gaze from the back of Max’s head to her face.

Nerris scoffed and moved around the picnic table to sit next to him, pulling her dinner tray of mashed potatoes closer. “Oh, you’re distracted alright. You want his magic potion more than you want to hear me talk about mine.”

“Wha- Nerris oh my god.” He buried his face in his hands. “Not funny.”

She laughed. “I thought it was pretty hilarious, but that’s not important right now. Max, huh?”

He knew there was no use in arguing with her, so he sighed and nodded. “I don’t know what it is Nerris, but he’s drawing me in. We’ve been here for six hours and I’ve already developed a major crush.”

“I knew it! Look man, I think I can help you, but you have to trust me.”

He paused, debating, then looked up at her exasperatedly. “You know what Nerris? Knock yourself out. I trust you.”

“Why would you trust her? That’s a horrible idea.”

“Screw you Harrison, I’m extremely trustworthy.”

Harrison sat down across from them with his mashed potatoes, fiddling a little with his gloves. “Uh-huh. What’s up?”

“Preston has a crush on Max. He said so,” Nerris did jazz hands, and Harrison blanched.

“You-you do? Really?” Preston squinted his eyes at Harrison. Why did he sound nervous?

“Uh, yeah, I guess so.” Preston shrugged, choosing to ignore Harrison’s weirdness for a moment.

“Oh.” Harrison stabbed his potatoes. “That’s cool man, but uh, can you maybe do me a favor? It’s just, I don’t know if you wanna date him or whatever, but can it wait until next week? You know, let the feelings settle, then do something about them after 12:00 Monday morning.” His eye twitched a little.

“Harrison, what the frick are you talking about?” Nerris reached across the table to grab his hand soothingly.

He sighed, looking down at his soggy potatoes. “I made a bet with Neil. He thinks you and Max will get together by the end of the week, and I said it would take longer than that because you needed more time to realize your feelings. I really don’t want to lose. You know he would hold it over my head for forever.”

“But Harrison!” Preston wailed, “what am I supposed to do for the next week?”

His eyes were pained, but his lips were set with grim determination. “You have to wait it out. For me. For my relationship.”

Preston started to nod solemnly, but he was cut off by Nerris.

“Hold up, “ her eyes widen, “if Neil made this bet with you, he must know something. Oh my god, Preston, Max totally likes you back!”

He groaned and buried his face in his hands again. “Fuuuuuck.”

 

<><><><><><>

 

“The first meeting for Operation Date Preston has commenced. First order of business? Max?”

Max lowered his hand, scowl in place. “That name is fucking dumb.”

Neil sighed, shaking his head. “Noted, but that’s not important right now. Nikki?”

“Just make out with him or something. Quote Shakespeare. I don’t know.” She hopped off the tree branch where she was previously perched and straightened her overalls. “It has to be good though. You know how Preston is.”

Max’s eyes turned a little dreamy. “Yeah.”

“Gross,” Nikki giggled.

Max snapped out of it, blushing. “Shut up.”

“You’re right Nikki, it does have to be good, which is why we’re having this meeting.”

Silence.

“I’ve got nothing.” Neil slumped forward. “As expressive as he is, I have no clue what he would like. Normally, I’d ask Harrison since they’re friends, but he won’t help me. Maybe Nerris?”

“Nah,” Nikki mused, “she’s probably in on it too. Harrison wouldn’t leave you with any options.”

“This is dumb,” Max grumbled, shoving his hands in his pockets and standing up. “I’m going to bed. See you later.”

Neil and Nikki watched him go, shoulders slumped and head downturned. “He looks so sad,” she whispered, frowning. “We have to do something. If not for your stupid bet, then for him.”

“Yeah.”

 

<><><><><><>

 

Max found himself unconsciously straying in the direction of the counselor cabin rather than his tent, and he let his feet carry him all the way up to the front door. He knocked gently, half-hoping they wouldn’t hear him, but then the door swung inward and he was met with Gwen’s tired face.

“What’s-,” yawn, “what’s up Max?”

“Um. Can I talk to you guys about something?”

Gwen sized him up, then opened the door wider. He could see David slowly walking towards them, a gentle smile already in place.

“Hey, Max. What brings you here tonight.”

They were all sitting around a table before he was able to answer. “I sort of, have a problem. I don’t know what to do. I doubt you two can help me, but…” David nodded encouragingly, “well, I sort of, like someone. Someone here at camp. And the thing is, I’ve never really...liked someone before. I’m just...confused I guess. What should I do?”

Gwen looked like she wanted to say something, but she let David speak first. He had a knowing glint in his eye. “This person, are they male or female?”

Max looked at his feet and didn’t answer

“Hey, kiddo, this is a no judgement zone,” Gwen said softly, poking him on the shoulder, “You can tell us.”

“It’s a boy.” He still didn’t look up.

“Okay,” David answered, continuing on unfazed. “Do you want to tell us his name?”

“Not really.”

“That’s fine. Will you tell us what you like about him instead?”

Max looked up and blushed, nodding hesitantly. “He’s...tall, and nice. I like his hair. And, he’s really...passionate I guess? Like, he cares so much about everything. I used to think he was really annoying, but, he’s not. Not really. Just passionate. Just a little bit too loud. And he’s so pretty. I...um. Yeah.” He looked down again, clenching and unclenching his fists.

“He sounds really lovely.”

“He is. And it’s driving me crazy. What am I supposed to do? We’re here for the rest of the summer. I couldn’t stand it if he rejected me. Neil made this dumb bet with Harrison, that me and P...the guy would get together by the end of the week. Now he and Nikki are trying to make it happen, but it doesn’t work like that...does it?”

Gwen gave a little laugh. “Not usually, no. But sometimes.”

David, bit his lip. “You’re right Max, I don’t really know how to help you, but I want to. You deserve to be happy, and if Preston makes you happy, I think you should go for it.”

Max nodded, then he stopped. “How did you know it was Preston?”

David flinched at the look Gwen gave him and rubbed the back of his neck. “Oops. Sorry. It’s just, earlier, when you and I were greeting everyone, I saw how you looked at him, and I had my suspicions. I could tell when you started talking about him.”

Max blushed and nodded some more. Gwen patted him on the back. “Preston’s a good kid you know. He would never purposefully break your heart.”

David perked up. “You’re absolutely right Gwen! And if you’ll allow me to tell you a little secret Max, I think Preston likes you back.”

Max groaned. “That’s what Neil and Nikki think! Why? You’re just getting my hopes up.”

“I’m serious Max. You know I wouldn’t lie to you. Neither would Neil and Nikki. I truly believe he likes you too.”

“What would he like about me?” Max yelled. “I’m the worst.” His voice grew small. “I’m an asshole. I don’t deserve him.”

“Max, that’s not true and you know it.” David stood up and got on his knees in front of Max, trying to meet his eyes. “You’re one of the best kids out there.”

Gwen pat him on the back again, wrapping her arm around his shoulders. “You’re great Max! Everyone here loves you! Sure, you were a little shit when you were ten, but who wasn’t? I know I was worse than you when I was a kid. And now? You’ve grown up so much in the past few years.”

Max looked up, eyes a little watery, and sniffled.

“Max,” said David, earnest, “you’re an amazing person. Preston would be an idiot not to like you. You have nothing to be worried about. Everything will work itself out, I promise.”

“Okay,” Max sniffled again, giving a tiny smile. “I’m gonna go to bed. Thank’s guys.”

“It’s not a problem Max.” Gwen smiled widely.

“You can come talk to us whenever you need to Max; you’re always welcome to stop by.”

“Okay.”

Max had that tiny smile on his face all the way back to his tent, and he fell asleep content.

 

<><><><><><>

 

Rather than dwell on his feelings, Preston thrust himself into his work. Just one more week . He was working on a new stage play, and this one was really going to be a hit; he could feel it in his bones. He was already twenty pages into it, and when he made Nerris read over it, she said it was good so far. That was the best reaction he had ever gotten for a rough draft.

He spent two straight days behind stage of theatre camp, writing lyrics in his notebook and tapping out melodies with the end of his pencil. Nothing like relationship anxiety to get his brain running.

“Uh, hey Preston. What’s up?”

“Oh, just working,” he looked up, paused. Max? He could not handle this. It would break him, and he loved Harrison too much to screw him over. Pushing disinterest into his voice, Preston continued. “Can I help you?”

“I-I just...um. Nevermind. See you later.” Max spun around and stalked over to science camp. From a distance, it looked like Neil and Nikki were grimacing. Damn it. This dumb bet was going to be the end of both of them.

 

<><><><><><>

 

Neil was disappointed. He was disappointed with Max. He was disappointed with Preston. He was sorely disappointed with his boyfriend. But worst of all, he was disappointed with himself. He was a certified genius, and he couldn’t figure out a way around this simple problem. Getting with Harrison had been easy. Of course, Harrison was the one that confessed to him, so he didn’t have to do anything, but it’s the same in principle. This should be as easy as that was. Max and Preston should already be making out all over the place and grossing everybody out. The fact that they weren’t yet was a serious problem Neil absolutely had to solve. As soon as possible. He was going to use his ten dollars to buy more batteries.

“Hey babe! What’re you up too?”

“Go away Harrison. I’m plotting. You’re not allowed.”

“But Neil, I’ve missed you!” Harrison plopped himself down on Neil’s lap.

“Oh relax, you saw me at breakfast this morning. That was less than two hours ago.” Neil huffed, loosely grabbing his boyfriend’s legs and hoisting him into a more comfortable position.

“Too long.”

“I hate you.”

Harrison laughed, nuzzling his nose into the crook of Neil’s neck. “I love you.”

Neil blushed. “Whatever...Love you too.”

After an adequate amount of time spent making out, Harrison broke away, breathing heavily. “So...what are you plotting?”

“None of your business.”

“Damn. Thought that would work.”

“Really, that’s the only reason you would ever kiss me? That hurts. I’m deeply offended. Get off me.”

Harrison laughed. “I don’t think I will.”

Neil put on his best serious face. “Then you leave me no choice.”

Before Harrison had time to react, Neil stood straight up. Support gone, Harrison fell in the dirt, squeaking pitifully.

“Neil! That was mean!” He was smiling.

“Sorry not sorry douche. I gotta go. Love you.”

Harrison took his time picking himself off the ground and dusting himself off once Neil was out of eyesight, smiling to himself. What a dummy.

Unbeknownst to him, Neil was sporting a twin grin as he headed back to camp, a new idea already forming in his mind.

 

<><><><><><>

 

“I know it seems like a stretch, but I really think it’ll work Max.”

“I don’t know Neil, this seems like a bad idea. What do you think Nikki?”

“It sounds like fun!”

Max sighed, massaging his head. “Nevermind, I knew you would say that.”

“Really Max. I swear it’ll work. Besides, this brings the pressure to do something off of you and onto him. That’s ideal.”

“Neil, it’s too risky. I don’t want to accidently make things worse just because we tried to make him jealous.”

“Please Max?” Neil pouted. “Don’t you have any faith in me? That’s how I got Harrison to ask me out. He got jealous, and boom, we were making out.”

“Gross,” Max and Nikki groaned in unison.

“I’m just saying. It’ll work.”

“You know what? Fine Neil. Tell me how you propose we make Preston jealous and I’ll think about it.”

“Don’t you worry Max. I’ve already got it all planned out. It’s absolutely foolproof. Even Harrison can’t screw this up.

 

<><><><><><>

 

This was the worst plan Max had ever heard of in his whole entire life, and he had been part of a great many dumb schemes over the years. Neil had finally lost it. Making the person you like jealous only works in dumb rom-coms, not real life. Besides, Max knew Preston. If he actually had feelings for Max, he would’ve done something about them sooner. This was dumb.

But Neil refused to accept defeat. He was dead-set on this plan, and Nikki was actually backing him up. Her penchant for chaos was too much sometimes, and that’s coming from Max. The worst part was, Space Kid actually agreed to his part of the plan. Neil had tried to get someone more convincing to play the flirt, but there were only so many options. Space Kid was down for anything and everything.

“So, do you come here often?”

Max facepalmed, speaking through his hand. “Space Kid, I know Neil asked you to do this, but please, don’t.

“Sorry Max, he promised he’d be on my team when I finally go into space. I can’t pass up an engineer like him. Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”

“Space Kid, I swear to god…”

“You’re eyes are blue like the ocean, and baby, I’m swimming in the sea.”

“My eyes are green dipshit. Did Neil help you look these up?”

Space kid grinned, leaning on the table casually, sneaking a peak over his shoulder at Preston, who was seated just a few tables over, looking very interested in his salad. “Yeah. Oh, wait, this one’s my favorite: Are you an alien? Cause your ass is out of this world.”

Max laughed, standing up and dumping his tray. “Of course that one’s your favorite. I gotta go Space Kid. See you around.”

Max left the mess hall with a spring in his step. Sure, his relationship strife was tough, but the fact that Neil was an idiot really lifted his spirits. At least he had that going for him. Unknown to Max though, was the presence staring at him from a few feet back.

“What was that?”

Max spun around, hand slipping from his pockets. “Uh, hey Preston. What was what?” Play it cool Max. Maybe Neil’s not a total idiot. That’s cool too if this dumb plan somehow actually works.

Preston’s eyes were blazing, fists clenched, stance uncertain. “That...thing. With Space Kid. Are you two dating or something?”

Max laughed loudly. Him and Space Kid? God this was all so fucking stupid after all. “Fuck no. Why would you think that?”

Preston stepped back, anger dying quickly. “He-he was flirting with you, during lunch. It was...weird. You were blushing and smiling. I just thought-I thought…”

“Nah, he’s not my type,” Max grinned, “too...spacey. I’m not really all that into science.”

“Right.”

Suddenly everything was less funny and more awkward, so Max switched to default: avoidance. “Good talk, see you later Preston.”

He turned around, starting to walk away, when Preston called back to him again. “Wait, Max!”

He turned around, hopeful. “Yeah?”

Preston blushed. “I was wondering...Do you....um. Actually, don’t worry about it. See you later.” And then, he was gone. Max was left in the dust, feeling helpless. He was 100% right. This was a stupid idea.

 

<><><><><><>

 

The next few days progressed, with several other failed plans, and Neil was becoming more and more frustrated. Harrison could feel his boyfriend’s annoyance, but ignored it for the time being. Only one more day, and he will have won the bet. Preston was a champ for holding out this long. He would be free to do whatever he wanted with Max in less than twenty-four hours, so long as Harrison didn’t have to hear the nitty-gritty details. He was so not there for that.

It was Saturday, which meant a David-sanctioned bonfire. That was a new idea he had come up with a few years previously: fire’s every Saturday evening, unlimited s’mores, and of course, campfire songs. It was normally pretty fun, but it could get a little wild sometimes.

Harrison thinks back fondly on the first bonfire of the previous summer. That was when he and Neil started dating, or rather, was when they had their first kiss. Neil had looked all cozy with Max, laughing and smiling, eating his s’mores, and something in Harrison snapped. He had never felt as brave as he did in that moment. Safe to say, he didn’t have anything to worry about, but he was glad everything turned out the way it did.

Maybe Preston and Max can get together at the next one? That would be romantic. Harrison pushed that to the back of his mind, to tell Preston later. He was nothing if not a good friend, and hopefully his tip would make up for the past week. Preston deserved happiness just as much as he did.

 

<><><><><><>

 

Max was fit to bursting with all of this shit. He was tired, he was frustrated, and he really just wanted to make out with Preston’s dumb, pretty face. All of Neil’s so-called genius ideas had failed miserably, leaving Max in an increasingly worse state. He was so done, and he was going to do something about it, hopefully winning this idiotic bet for Neil in the process.

He didn’t have a plan, but he didn’t need one. It was simple. Drag Preston away from the bonfire, confess, make out. That was the ideal scenario at least, but he refused to be bogged down with doubt. His heart couldn’t take it anymore.

The hour was fast approaching, and he tugged off his hoodie in annoyance. It was too hot to breathe, and he didn’t want to be too sweaty or something. That would be very not cool. Neil was eyeing him warily from his bunk, but there must’ve been something in Max’s expression that deterred him from asking what he was planning.

They made their way over when it was close enough to the time the bonfire was supposed to start, joined by Nikki shortly after, and waiting for the other campers. David was already there, starting the fire. Once it was lit and all the s’more ingredients were laid out properly, he called Max over. Neil and Nikki exchanged looks as Max got up without complaint, walking over to David, mouth a grim line.

“Hey Max, you don’t look so great. Is everything okay?” David stood and patted him on the shoulder, smiling gently.

Max sighed, looking down at his feet. “Not really, but I’m hoping it will be soon. I’m working on it.”

“Well, if you’re sure,” David paused, “then I have faith in you Max. Good luck. You know I’m always here for you.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever…”Max hid his smile, “you’re a loser and I hate you. Bye.”

David gave him an enthusiastic smile in return and a thumbs up as he retreated. “See you later Max! Enjoy the s’mores I so graciously prepared!”

“Whatever!”

 

<><><><><><>

 

Preston was buzzing with anxious energy at the campfire, seated between Nerris and Harrison. At least, he figured it was anxiety, and not the effects of the five s’mores he had.

Max was staring at him intently from across the fire, eyes burning brighter than the flames. It was scary. And sorta hot. Hah, hot, like fire...Anyway. Preston had already planned how he was going to ask Max out the next day, but he had to get through the bonfire first. With Max looking at him like that, it was going to be difficult.

“Preston,” Harrison snapped him out of his reverie, “I know what you’re thinking. Don’t do it man. You can wait the eight hours till breakfast. I believe in you.”

“But, Harrison-”

“Preston, can I talk to you?”

Nerris grinned, answering for Preston. “Of course you can speak to Preston, Max. Go right ahead.”

Max rubbed the back of his neck. “Um...alone. If that’s not too much trouble.”

“Okay.” “No.” Preston and Harrison answered at the same time.

“I would love to go speak with you alone, let’s leave now.” Preston stood abruptly, leading the way into the woods, leaving Harrison gaping and Nerris cackling behind him. Max followed wordlessly, content to let Preston take the lead.

Preston stealthily checked his watch as he walked. 11:52. If he could delay the inevitable for eight more minutes, he would get what he wanted while winning this dumb bet for Harrison. He knew they were being followed, Neil and Harrison just out of sight behind them. They were both far to invested in the whole affair to let this spying opportunity go to waste. It all came down to these last eight minutes.

At 11:55, Max finally spoke, voice a tiny bit shaky. “Preston, where are we going? I swear if you agreed to talk just so you could murder me, I’ll kick your-”

“Shush, Max. I’m not going to kill you. We just...have to go deeper into the woods. More private that way. You know how it is.” Four more minutes. He could do this.

At 11:59, Max tugged on his shirtsleeve and stopped him. “Preston. I have to tell you something.”

Preston turned without a fight, miming zipping his mouth shut and nodding enthusiastically. Perfect.

“Preston, I...well I...shit, this wasn’t supposed to be so hard...um...oh, fuck it.” And Max pulled him closer by his shirt, crushing  their lips together.

Teeth clacked painfully, noses smushed, and Preston wouldn’t have it any other way. Except, of course, for the cheering a few meters away that pulled them apart.

“Yes, I totally won. You did it Max!” Neil was whooping and hollering, jumping up and down and wagging his finger in Harrison’s face victoriously. Preston laughed.

“Actually,” he looked down at the watch on his wrist, which was in perfect time, correct down to the second. 12:00 and 45 seconds. “Harrison won. It’s officially Sunday.”

Max buried his face in the front of Preston’s shirt, groaning. “I hate all of you so much.”

“Nah. That’s not true. You like me, right?” Preston flashed him puppy eyes, lifting up his chin. Max scowled, then softened.

“Whatever.”

Neither of them noticed when Neil and Harrison left, arguing loudly, too enraptured with each other. Then, Max seemed to realize how close they were still standing and tried to move back. Preston stopped him with an arm around his waist.

“I like you too. Kiss me again.”

Max grumbled, blushing furiously. “I never said I liked you. I hate you.”

Preston giggled and tightened his hold. “It’s okay, you can admit it because I like you too. Kiss me again.”

“No.”

“Please?” More puppy eyes, full force this time.

“Whatever.” Max leaned forward and closed his eyes, placing a light peck on Preston’s lips. Preston squealed, pulling them flush together and shaping their lips properly. He was determined to show Max a real kiss, since he obviously had no clue what he was missing out on.

Needless to say, they stayed there in the woods for a long, long time.

 

<><><><><><>

 

Making that bet was the worst decision Harrison had ever made in his whole entire life, and he was the winner. He held his victory over Neil’s head for awhile, but he got tired of not being able to kiss his boyfriend pretty quickly. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Not even close.

The worst part was, Max and Preston were sickeningly cute. All the time. Literally always. They would cuddle and kiss during meals, during daily activities, during campfires. It was horrific. Even he and Neil were never that bad.

Despite the supreme grossness though, it was nice to see his friend happy. Even if happiness to Preston meant calling Max ‘snookums’ and kissing him tenderly on the neck, in the middle of fucking dinner. Actually, scratch that. Forget about friendship and all that crap. This was horrible. Preston and Max were horrible. It was amazing.