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Steal a Glance [One Last Chance remix]

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“Hit me with you most obscure, boringest, ‘white dude with a long, wizard beard’ mumbo-jumbo,” Eleanor said. She’d read a lot of books; way too many books. But every time she’d thought she must have read all of philosophy, Chidi would pull out another stack. Surely, in all his years, he’d read something that had addressed what actions were morally correct when confronted with the potential damnation of your friends.

Chidi started gesturing. “Ok, our friends are going to the Bad Place, and us choosing to go with them won’t lesson their suffering. So, morally, we’re allowed to go.”

Allowed to go? To leave Jason and Tahani? She could feel the beginning pang of a stomach ache.

“But let’s forget about the ethics for a second. After everything that’s happened, don’t we deserve to be together?” He reached out, grabbing her hand, and she felt that fissure of pleasure at being touched. “And happy, for once?” Then he leaned down and kissed her. It was soft at first, then he parted his lips, his tongue darting into hers.

He wasn’t Chidi. She knew that. He couldn’t be Chidi because Chidi wouldn’t make these absurd declarations. He always cared about ethics and he wouldn’t abandon their friends.

And he wouldn’t kiss her.

Chidi, good person extraordinaire, wouldn’t kiss her if he didn’t like like her, not like when someone was willing to makeout with a guy just to get tickets to the Monster Jam show, or someone who was willing to makeout with a different guy at the Monster Jam show just to get free beer.

But she also hadn’t been touched in a hundred reboots, give or take, and they’d only been in love that one time (maybe) and it was difficult to take care of her own needs under the watchful eye of those ever present clowns--

Fake Chidi was a great kisser. It wasn’t even the technique, although it was great, pressure-wise, and the correct amount of tongue. It was the certainty that Fake Chidi had, the way Real Chidi never would.

Eleanor groaned. Fake Chidi gripped her tighter, and for a brief moment, she melted against him; he chest was warm and his heart was beating rapidly, like maybe he got off on the lie. She understood that implicitly and splayed her fingers on his back, feeling the way his muscles worked under that nerdy shirt.

HIs lips travelled down her neck in an excellent approximation of what he’d done on that VHS tape. She could feel the butterflies travelling down too. It would be so easy to just do this; to rub up against this guy with no gross feelings getting in the way.

She had just started unbuttoning his shirt when--

This isn’t right, Eleanor.

It was that damn voice, the one in her head that sounded like Jiminy Cricket, or Chidi sometimes. The one that told her when she was doing something wrong.

She put a hand on Fake Chidi’s chest and pushed away.

***

Later, when the Judge and Michael went off to barter their eternal souls, Chidi stopped by her, announcing his presence without a word.

She was studying her nails pretty intensely. “Hey man, what’s up?”

He reached down and grabbed her face, pulling her towards him. Before she could even regroup, his mouth was on hers, kissing her firmly. His hands were warm.

She put her hands up, and shoved. “What are you doing? I thought the test was over.”

Chidi looked askance at her. “You said-- I thought you were-- oh boy.” He put a hand to his stomach. “I apologize if my advances were unwelcome. Although, I’ll admit confusion on that point.”

oh, shit. “Wait, that was really you?”

“Of course it was me.” He shook his head at her, and she could see in his eyes-- definitely Real Chidi.

“Sorry, I thought you were someone else.”

He glanced around the barely inhabited room.

“What, I’m supposed to just think you, a man who tried to return pens to the store would just suddenly be decisive?” And interested in me, she didn’t add.

“That’s a fair concern.” He put a hand to the back of his neck. “It’s just that after that night, in the balloon-- I’ve been thinking about it non-stop.”

Eleanor leaned slightly towards him.

“It’s been very difficult to balance the existential dread of the last week with these burgeoning feelings that, no matter how hard I tried to ignore them, were creeping into my brain--”

“Hell yes! I knew I would win you over with my charm and good looks.”

He sighed.

She grabbed at his belt-loops, pulling him close.

He smiled, then leaned down, pressing his lips back against hers.

This kiss, the third of her day, was warm and wet. His lips parted, inviting her in, and she dipped her tongue inside. She breathed in that essence of Chidi; a heady mix of books, sweat, and guilt. Holy shit, it was a good kiss. Top ten, easily. She wondered, idly, if that was because of feelings and if that would have made a lot more of her sex on earth even better. Ah well, best not to think about that.

She had one hand on the back of his neck and the other sandwiched between his back and his shirt. His muscles were taut, rippling under her hands, and she wanted to rip his shirt off and wander around a bedroom, wearing it and looking tiny and hot in it.

The voice in her head was blissfully silent, too.

She pulled her mouth back, just slightly, and he pulled back too. She touched her forehead to his, and she could just feel his smile.

“It’s going to be you and me,” she whispered. “Against the universe.”

“That could come to pass at literally any moment,” he whispered back.

It was then that they heard the dulcet tones of the Judge.

She squeezed Chidi’s hand. They’d be fine, as long as they were together.