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network connectivity problems

Chapter Text

Bold = Simon

Itals = Baz

 

 

FRIDAY, SEPT. 28

 

(10:43): hi uh unsure how this works but i cant get wifi to connect to my laptop

(10:43): it worked then it stopped

(10:44): ?? Okay? Good for you.

(10:45): uh

(10:45): i mean like, how should I fix this

(10:46): Why would I know?

(10:46): you’re tech support?

(10:47): I most definitely am not.

(10:49): oh shit. sorry

(10:49): i guess i have the wrong number

(10:49): my b

(10:51): tho if you have any advice im all ears

(10:55): Did you try turning it off and turning it back on again?

 

#

 

(11:08): shit you’re brilliant, thanks mate

(11:09): That’s what they tell me.



MONDAY, OCT. 1

 

(13:02): so i tried the on and off thing again, but its not working this time

(13:04): Why are you messaging me again.

(13:05): my roommate wouldnt help me and told me to text tech support

(13:06): I’m not tech support.

(13:06): you were really useful last time though

(13:08): Burn your laptop.

(13:09): great advice mate thanks

(13:09): but really im trying to connect it to the school wifi and it wont hook up

(13:09): im like half way thru my lecture and it still wont load

 

#

 

(13:22): https://uwl.uk/itservicedesk

(13:24): omg thats my uni

(13:24): omg

(13:25): somehow i feel like that wasn’t a genuine response

 

#

 

(13:39): you saved me. its working. you’re brill

(13:40) : It’s amazing what Googling can accomplish.

(13:41): yeah yeah i get it, i need to find my own answers

(13:42) : Or at least attempt any kind of troubleshooting.

(13:43): who are you, btw?

(13:43): we clearly go to the same uni and I found your number in my notebook from last year

(13:43): so we know each other somehow

(13:45) : I doubt it.

(13:45) : Stop texting in lecture.

 

#

 

(14:06): okay i’m out of class

(14:06): who are you?

(14:07) : Not tech support.

(14:07): you’re a grump, mate

(14:08) : You’re a nightmare.



TUESDAY, OCT. 2

 

(20:17): please don’t hate me but do you know how to get onto the Watford grade database

(20:17): it keeps telling me to use my student PIN ID but its not accepting my student ID number

(20:19): Why don’t you ask your roommate?

(20:19): she’s not available

(20:21): It’s your first initial of your first name, then surname, then student ID.

(20:23): that isn’t written anywhere! that makes no sense at all!

(20:25): Have you never logged in to Watford Online before?

(20:26): no i did once last year, but my password autosaved so I never had to do it again, but then my laptop crashed this summer and everything got lost

(20:29 ): Here’s some tech advice: get a new laptop.

(20:32): wow, never thought of that before

(20:32) : Cheers



FRIDAY, OCT. 5

 

(13:03): hey! Thought you should know PrideSoc is giving out free donuts outside White Chapel

(13:07 ): Why is this information I should know.

(13:08): bc youve been helping me with my tech problems

(13:08): and i wanted to trade useful information

(13:09) : That is actually useful.

(13:10): so are you going to get a donut??

(13:10) : No.

 

#

 

(14:23) : That donut was subpar and stale

(14:25): really? I thought they were kind of good

(14:26) : So you’re technologically illiterate and have no palette. Noted.

(14:27): you think im an idiot, dont you

(14:30) : I don’t think anything of you. I don’t know who you are.

(14:31): we could fix that

(14:31) : I’d rather not.

(14:35): im positive we know each other

(14:36) : I doubt it. I don’t talk to many people.

(14:38): then why was your number in my notebook from freshers week

(14:40) : Who knows?

(14:40) : Maybe I was chatting you up .

(14:41): I would have remembered someone hitting on me

(14:46): also I’m a bloke

(14:47) : Yes, I assumed.

(14:47) : Mate.



TUESDAY, OCT. 9

 

(09:45): Do you happen to know the IT lounge hours?

(09:47): 9-5

(09:49): oh that makes sense

(09:49 ): Common sense, one might say.

(09:50): cheers xx



FRIDAY, OCT. 12

 

(16:22): the harry potter society is having a quidditch game on the lawn

(16:22): and they have actual butterbeer

(16:22): no idea what it is but it’s great

(16:35 ): Is it alcoholic?

(16:35): no i don’t think so

(16:36) : Oh. I’m staying in bed, then.

(16:36): cheers!



SATURDAY, OCT. 13

 

(11:03): I’m at an event and there are so many bananas

(11:03): piles of bananas

(11:03): like, no other food

(11:03): just bananas

 

#

 

(11:37): oh god they weren’t for eating

 

#

 

(12:45): Were you at the pridesoc safe sex workshop?

(12:45): apparently, yes

(12:45): omg were you there???

(12:46): No. Why were you?

(12:46): I was waiting for my roommate

(12:47 ): Did you get an education?

(12:48): i got something, alright

(12:48): nightmares, likely

(12:48 ): we gays are terrifying

 

MONDAY, OCT. 15

 

(14:30): what are the odds you can tell me where the student advice centre is

(14:30) : basement of white chapel

(14:31): how do you know all this shit? You’re like a walking encyclopaedia

(14:31): you’re dead useful though

(14:31): thanks, by the way

(14:34): oh do you know their hours?

(14:35): 9-5

(14:35): again. of course

(14:35): honestly you should work there

(14:36): Maybe I do.

(14:36): Any more questions?

(14:36): I have two papers and practice and a match this week.

(14:36): And my stress levels can’t get higher.

(14:36): So let’s get all your queries out now.

(14:39): oh shit sorry

(14:39): you alright?

(14:39): never

(14:42): lol

(14:42):   good luck!



SATURDAY, OCT. 19

 

(11:21): I feel obliged to inform you that some society that i’ve never heard of has scones in the Weeping Tower.

(11:38): you texted me first!

(11:38): omg

(11:38): also i love scones

(11:41): Somehow I guessed.

(11:42): You through your week of hell?

(11:42): For now

(11:43): I bet you aced your papers.

(11:45): Of course I did, I always do.

 

#

 

(12:50): Frankly, I’m amazed you’re alive still.

(13:00): ??

(13:01): I leave you alone for a week and you manage to keep yourself fed and functioning.

(13:01): I’m almost proud.

(13:03): tosser

(13:03) : numpty

(13:05): i would stay and fight but i have practice

(13:05): thanks for the scone :)

(13:09): It’s not like I gave it to you personally.

(13:09): But you’re welcome.

(13:12): Just take the gratefulness friend

(13:16): We aren’t friends.

(13:16): i think we are

(13:21): Well that sounds fake.

(13:21): But okay.

Chapter Text

Simon = bold

Baz = itals

 

SUNDAY, OCT. 20

(14:53): have you ever been so hungry you feel like you could just eat an entire stick of butter?

(15:01): What the actual fuck

(15:01): Why would anyone eat an entire stick of butter?

(15:03): I’m not saying i WOULD i’m just saying have you ever been so hungry that you think about it

(15:03): No. Never. Not once in my life.

(15:03): oh

(15:04): nevermind



SIMON

“Do you think you could watch where you’re going? Christ, Salisbury, you have eyes, why can’t you use them?”

I stare mutely at the boy standing in front of me. He wasn’t there a minute ago, I’m positive . He appeared from fucking nowhere. I had just turned to say something to Rhys and when I turned back—

Baz Pitch.

Of course it’s Baz Pitch. Lurking at the entrance to the library like some film noir villain, staring at his phone. The fucker was actually smiling, too, right up until I turned my head and walked right into him. I’m not sure if I’ve ever really seen him smile before, but the look he’s giving me now is 100 per cent murderous.

It’s not like I did any damage to him or anything. The asshole hasn’t even spilled his coffee. His pristine shirt is still white. Not a single perfect hair is out of place. There’s no reason for him to be looking like he’s going to pull my spleen out through my nose, except that he’s just that big of a dick.

“Oh, sorry,” I mumble, trying to extricate myself from my weird collision with Baz without actually touching him too much. Despite spending an entire year living next door to him — sharing a bathroom, sharing a wall — I’m not sure if the we’ve ever actually touched until now.

Small miracles, I guess. Everyone was sure we’d have come to blows at some point. Myself included.

Everyone tells you that learning to live with a roommate is hard, but no one ever talks about the small, invisible feud that pops up when you share a bathroom with a person you never see. No one tells you how quickly small annoyances can turn into a blood feud.

Passive aggressive sticky notes. Solicitous gift baskets of cleaning supplies, left helpfully on top of the toilet. Once, there was even a threatening message about empty shampoo bottles left written on the mirror in lipstick. I never figured out where the lipstick came from. I assumed from Baz’s girlfriend.

“How do you know it wasn’t from Baz himself?” Penny had asked, which had sent me into a strange thought spiral for the rest of the night while I wondered why exactly Baz had blood red lipstick lying around.

And it’s not like I was even that messy. Growing up in care, I never had the leisure to learn to be messy. Maybe I don’t scrub the loo after every piss, but that’s normal . And anyway, when I hit uni I came to the staggering realisation that for the first time, I’m in charge. I had my own room, my own space, and I could do whatever I wanted with it, even if that was just forgetting to cap my toothpaste or leaving my muddy rugby clothes in a wet heap in the corner of the shower.

Penny’s suitemate regularly had sex in their shower, so really, Baz should have been grateful.

And anyway, at least I didn’t blare my fucking music all fucking night. If either of us were the wronged party, it was me . And every time I banged on the wall to get Baz to turn it down, the music just got louder.

Once, after literal hours of listening to the same thumping vibration over and over and over, I stormed into the bathroom and opened the door that connected it to Baz’s. I hadn’t actually expected it to open — Baz seemed like the type to always keep it locked, and I had never tested that theory, because really, why did I need to know — only to find that the asshole wasn’t even home.

I unplugged the speaker out of spite, and seriously considered cutting the cord too.

But I didn’t.

Because I am the bigger person.

Metaphorically. Morally. Not physically. Baz has about three inches on me, the leggy bastard. His endless fucking legs are probably what makes him so fast, and are also the reason I’ve never seriously considered decking him. When it came to sheer bulk and muscle, I would win.

But I’d have to catch the fucker first, and that was easier said than done.

“Are you just going to stand there and stare at me like an idiot all day?”

I snap back to the present, where I’m still locked in the awkward “you shall not pass” dance with Baz, and my ears light up.

“Fuck off,” I mutter, shouldering past him. Christ. And here I’d thought that living off campus would mean I would never have to deal with this prick again. Watford is a huge school. I shouldn’t see this asshole this much. But he’s everywhere . At the library. In line at Ebbs. Loitering outside the school classrooms. Running his fucking laps down campus.

“Christ, I fucking hate him,” I glower, scrubbing my hand over my face and adjusting my backpack. I glanced down at Rhys, who smiles politely. He only knows a bit about my feud with Baz. He’s still a relatively new friend, so he hasn’t been let in on the full depth of this hatred yet. “He’s just fucking everywhere. I never saw him at all last year, and now he’s everywhere I look. It’s like he’s stalking me.”

“He’s not stalking you,” Rhys says in a tone of practised patience. Maybe he knows more about the Baz thing then I recalled. He wheels his chair to the library lift and reaches up to press the call button. “You just see him more because you spend a lot of energy thinking about him.”

“Did Penny say that?” I ask, alarmed.

“No,” Rhys responds with a sigh, shaking his head. “Just an observation. I think you need to let it go, mate.”

“I’ll let it go when he stops being a prick.”

“I think your epic feud may be one-sided here.”

“It’s not one-sided!” I yelp. “He hates me!”

The lift clatters to a stop in front of us and the doors slide open slowly to allow Rhys to wheel himself in.

“I just think you’d be happier if you let this go,” he says with a small shrug. “Penny agrees.”

The doors slide closed on my sputtering face.

Let it go. Just let it go. That’s what everyone says, but no one fucking understands. And I’m not being petty. My anger is justifiable.

Let it go.

Yeah fucking right.

 

(15:12): i need to talk about someone i hate but none of my friends will listen anymore

(15:15) : I love hating people.

(15:15): I had a feeling.

(15:15) : Continue.

 

I punch the air with a whoop of success, and then look around the library guiltily. No one is paying attention to me, so I dart over to the stairwell as quickly as I can.

Of course my weird text friend would get it. I don’t really know anything about this person, which I guess could be weird, but he seems kind of mean in a fun way, and I figured he would understand the intense anger and all consuming hatred that floods through me every time I think about Baz Pitch and his stupid fucking long legs and his perfect fucking black hair and his flawless skin that never seems to get sunburnt or develop any kind of acne ever.

 

(15:16): have you ever just met someone who fills you with this level of absolute nutters rage

(15:16) : Yes. Explain.

(15:20): like, he wont even DO anything but just looking at him makes me want to punch something

(15:20): then i’ll be like ‘okay. calm down. he didn’t even do anything to you’

(15:20): and then he WILL do something shitty and it just starts the cycle all over

(15:21): and its all because he hates me for ABSOLUTELY no reason

(15:21): like all last year he made me miserable and i should have been free of him but i keep seeing him and i dont want to fucking deal with him again

(15:21): and he says the worst shit and makes me feel awful about myself

(15:21): my roommate says I’m mental because I don’t even really know him

(15:21): she says i shouldn’t let this stranger rile me up

(15:22): but you ever meet someone who you just can’t help it

(15:25): wow im sorry this got very deep and personal

(15:28) : We could kill him.

(15:28): you’re kind of violent

(15:29) : Is that a bad thing?

(15:29): honestly? No

(15:30): thanks

(15:31) : Don’t mention it.

(15:31) : I’m always down for a good murder

 

“Simon, put away your phone,” Penny hisses for the fifth time. “We’re here to study, not play Tetris.”

“I’m not playing Tetris,” I argue, shoving my mobile back in my pocket. “I was texting someone. Sorry, I’ll focus now.”

Penny squints at me over the top of her large round glasses. It would be comical, actually, if Penny weren’t so terrifying. The glasses make her look a bit like a particularly cross bug. Like if a beetle got really pissed off that you weren’t studying efficiently enough.

“Are you and Agatha getting back together?”

“What?” I yelp, shaking me head. “No. No way. We are way better as friends. Why would you even ask that?”

Penny shrugs and twirls a purple gel pen between her fingers.

“You’ve been texting someone a lot. I just assumed it was Agatha.” Her eyes narrow. “Are you seeing someone new?”

“No, nothing like that,” I whisper, expelling a huff of air. I still don’t like talking about my absolutely disastrous relationship with my ex, and even mentioning her makes me feel buzzy and anxious inside, like I’ve just been caught out doing something bad.

(I’d felt that way through the entire relationship, honestly, which should have been the first warning sign.)

“Then who are you texting so much?” Penny pushes.

I flush a bit, for no reason that I can understand, and shrug before pulling a freckled hand through my messy brown curls. Christ, my hair is a disaster. Of course I had to have a run in with Baz today, when it looks like this.

“I dunno, actually,” I say slowly, closing my eyes against Penny’s inevitable outburst. “I found this number in my fresher’s week notebook next to a note I wrote that said ‘HELP!’ and I thought it was tech support, so I texted it.”

“So you’ve been holding a text affair with a tech support aide?” Penny asks, not even bothering to hide her amusement.

“No! He’s not tech support, I was wrong.”

“So who is he? And why are you texting him?”

“Uh…” I start. “I don’t know who he is. He didn’t say. But I just kind of kept texting him questions and he kept answering and now it’s like a thing where I tell him when there’s food on campus and he answers my questions.”

“I had wondered why I’d stopped getting so many Google texts from you…” Penny muses, sticking her pen in her mouth. “So you’ve just started using some random bloke as your Google instead?”

“It’s not like that!” I insist, feeling suddenly, unaccountably embarrassed. “It’s like… a thing we do now. We’re friends, kind of.”

“Friends who don’t know each other’s names, and who use each other as transactional food and information services.”

“Don’t make it weird,” I mutter, scratching at my neck. “I like it. It’s nice. And he lets me rant about Baz.”

“Oh, Simon.”

I flinch. I hate that tone.

“What?”

“I just…” she sighs. “You make friends so easily and quickly and you think everyone is your friend. You’re so trusting. And I just worry that maybe you read into this weird little text thing you have. It sounds kind of odd to me.”

Hot, pulsing annoyance lashes through me. I don’t trust too easily. Why does everyone always think that? I just give people the benefit of the doubt. But I’m not some hapless Golden Retriever. I’m not panting around after people begging to be friends. I can read social cues, for fucks sake.

And there’s nothing weird about my friendship with my pocket tech support. The other bloke doesn’t seem to mind it.

I don’t think.

A squirming uncertainty starts to climb up my stomach and turn around over and over inside my guts as it made a bed. I want to pull out my phone and text immediately, but I restrain myself. I feel like shit enough, without Penny’s added layer of judgement.

So I wait, impatiently, until Penny packs up her books for the evening and tells me she’s was going to meet her boyfriend Micah, before I eagerly pull my mobile out of my pocket.

 

(16:19): hey sorry i text you so much

(16:19): i just told my roommate about the wrong number thing and she told me i’m probably annoying you

(16:20): if that’s the case, I’m sorry. You don’t have to like, text back or whatever, i dont want to be like, a distraction!

(16:24) : You are.

(16:24): oh

(16:25) : But don’t worry about it.

(16:25) : I’m waiting for my food and your chatter is making the wait go by quicker.

(16:25) : I must look wildly popular to anyone who can hear my phone exploding. I’ll be driving them mad with jealousy.

(16:26): you sent me three texts in a row

(16:26): i feel like this means something

(16:30) : So tell me about the bloke we’re going to kill.

(16:30) : Is he fit?

(16:30): nah, I’m past it.

(16:31): what are you getting to eat?

(16:31) : You order me to kill someone and I don’t even get to know what he did?

(16:32): i didn’t order, you offered

(16:32): what are you getting to eat?

(16:33) : Salad.

(16:33) : Why do we hate him?

(16:33): all you’re eating is salad?

(16:34) : I’m noting your defensive manoeuvers and acknowledging them.

(16:34) : And I have practice, I eat light.

(16:35): what do you play???

(16:35): I always eat a ton before practice

(16:35): it’s better to carbo load you know

(16:35): and i’m not defensive, i just talk about him too much i guess

(16:37) : Oh.

(16:37) : I get it now.

(16:37): get what??

(16:37) : This guy you hate is fit, isn’t he?

(16:43): i guess?? Why??

(16:43) : Aw. Cute.

(16:43): ???????

(16:44) : I’m glad you took that safe sex workshop.

(16:45): oh my GOD

(16:45) : Welcome to the gay cult.

(16:46): NO

(16:46) : Yes.

(16:46) : But I understand, it will take time to adjust to your new homosexual lifestyle. I’ll give you space.

(16:47) : So what sport do you play?

(16:47): are you really asking about my life?

(16:48) : Oh god.

(16:48) : I am.

(16:48) : Disregard.

(16:49): ??? what?

 

#

 

(17:05): are you really going to stop answering me?

(17:05): wow

 

#

 

(17:23): and i don’t like him

(17:30): he’s a prick

 

#

 

(17:48): oh i just realised you’re probably at practice

(17:48): my b

(17:48): i hope you have fun with…. whatever you play

Chapter Text

 

 

TUESDAY, OCT. 22 

 

(13:08): union rugby is giving out pints on the lawn!

(13:15): You realise you only text me about food and IT and boy problems?

(13:15): idk just thought you might want to know

(13:21): Fuck union rugby.

(13:22): ?????????

(13:23): The ruggers at this school are all mental, have you noticed?

(13:23): They’re all the size of mountains.

(13:23): And while I usually enjoy a pair of large thighs, why are they always on the Lawn when you need to get to class?

(13:23): How often do they need to congregate to shout their little chants?

(13:23): All of them have brain damage.

(13:24): One of them lived on my hall last year and he tracked mud everywhere.

(13:24): omg

(13:24): you’ve never talked this much to me before

(13:24): alright, not a fan of rugby

(13:25): got it

(13:25): I guess that means you don’t play rugby then

(13:25): Over my dead body.

(13:26): you’re really passionate about this huh?

(13:26): What’s the appeal of a sport specifically designed to make you bleed?

(13:27): there’s so much more to rugby than blood!

(13:27): You’re right, there are also broken noses.

(13:28): you’re mental

(13:28): rugby is actually really hard to play

(13:28): and it’s great for getting out anxiety and tension and stress

(13:28): play rugby once and I swear you’ll feel better

(13:28): you’ll be less of a grump

(13:29): I have my own ways of blowing off steam, thanks.

(13:29): that sounded dirty

(13:29): Unbelievably it wasn’t actually meant to.

(13:30): suit yourself

(13:30): i’m going to get a pint though

(13:30) : Alcohol goes brilliantly with brain injuries.

(13:31): cheers xx

 

#

 

(16:00): Our rugby club doesn’t even do trials

(16:00): “Everyone is welcome regardless of skill or level!”

(16:00): Precious.

 

#

 

(17:07): And they’re always on the pitch.

(17:12): Honestly, rugby?

(17:20): Please tell me you at least support Watford FC as well.

 

#

 

(19:43): of course I support WFC

(19:43): they’re brilliant, everyone does

(19:43): please stop texting me about rugby i regret it so much

 

#

 

(23:54): You did this to yourself.

(23:54): Want to hear my thoughts on their short-shorts?

(23:56): do you ever fucking sleep

(23:56): Not really, no.

(23:57): well i do so sod off



FRIDAY, OCT. 25

 

(12:00): hey who are you?

(12:04): A gift from God.

(12:04): no i mean your name

(12:04): it’s weird we’ve been chatting so much and i don’t know who you are

(12:04): all I know is that you hate rugby and are kind of mean

(12:07): Also I’m gay.

(12:08): yeah so a mean gay rugby hater without a name

(12:15): Why do we have to label things? I prefer you as the unknown person who blows up my phone.

(12:15): you don’t want to be like, real friends?

(12:15): we could meet up, have a pint

(12:17): I have enough friends

(12:23): right. Okay then

(12:23): got it

(12:23): im gonna stop bugging you then

(12:23): cheers

 

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 31

 

BAZ

My phone vibrates, and I nearly knock my tea over in my rush to grab it.

Dev’s eyebrows rise so high that they almost disappear into his neatly combed brown hair, but I deliberately ignore my cousin and his amused expression as he watches me flick on my phone, stare at the screen for a moment, then put it face down on the formica table top.

It wasn’t him. Of course it wouldn’t be him. But. I had just thought…

“What was that?”

I look up, trying to keep my face blank and impassive and stick to my carefully applied disinterested expression, but I think my over eagerness has probably ruined the overall effect. That and the paper mache bat floating over my head.

“Niall,” I respond truthfully. “Asking where we are.”

I glance past Dev back to the corner of Ebb’s Cafe, where Simon Salisbury has just disappeared out of the door with a short girl hanging off of his arm. I have absolutely not been watching him for the last ten minutes, alternating between thinking about how disgusting it is to watch him eat and how badly I’ve fucked things up with the weird person whose been texting me.

Dev sighs and pushes his notebook away in order to rest his elbows on the table, brushing away some orange confetti in the process. Someone went all out and decorated Ebb’s for the Halloween, and it’s wildly fucking distracting.

Simon Salisbury had orange confetti stuck to his cheek for ten minutes.

“So…” Dev starts, raising an eyebrow. “Why did you almost have a heart attack when your phone went off? Expecting a text from someone?”

“No,” I lie, refocusing my attention on my school book. I don’t know why I bother, though. I never manage to study on match days — especially not today, the first match day of the season. Even without all my other regular anxiety, the impending game is more than enough to distract me from the legal brief I’m supposed to be analysing.

Fuck it. I’ll do it tonight after the match.

“Why do you look ready to crawl out of your skin?” Dev asks. “You never get nervous about games.”

“I’m not nervous about the game,” I snarl, slamming my book shut. Dev doesn’t even blink. “I just have a lot going on.”

“Is it the bloke you were texting?”

“There’s no bloke.”

“You were glued to your phone and now you’re not. What happened. Did you break up?”

“There was no bloke, Dev, Jesus Christ.” I let out a breath. “I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.”

And I don’t. Honestly. Because there is no bloke. There is a bloke. The one I think about constantly. Simon fucking Salisbury and his revolting bathroom habits and his nice shoulders and his ruddy cheeks with confetti stuck to them. And there was the weird boy who was blowing up my phone, but that was more of an annoyance than a source of amusement or distraction.

I don’t even feel bad about blowing him off. At least he finally got the message. I haven’t heard from him since Friday.

It’s for the best, anyway. He seemed wildly sensitive. I learned long ago it’s best to not let people into my life who are overly emotional or easily hurt. I can sometimes be an asshole to people. Easily upset people didn’t last long.

Still. The silence from my annoying pocket friend has been suspicious. And it’s been odd, adjusting to my day without some clueless, overly friendly idiot blowing up my phone. In a short matter of time I’d become strangely comfortable with the small banter, and now when I pulled out his phone…

What did I do on my phone before I texted the human disaster?

I guess I just played a lot of Tetris.

“...just don’t need more stress in your life, you’re about ready to snap,” Dev says as I tune back into the conversation. I hum, even though I have no idea what my cousin had said.

“Just schoolwork,” I respond, waving my hand and hoping this is a satisfactory response to whatever Dev was rambling about.

It isn’t.

“Whatever. I’ll tell him you’re interested, then. I’ll set it all up,” Dev says, standing up and grabbing his coffee. “I’m going to go get ready for the game. I’ll see you there. Get your head out of your ass and don’t be late.”

I don’t have the attention span to ask him who he’s going to talk to or what he’s going to set up, because my phone has just vibrated twice on the table. Two short bursts. The ringtone I set for the human disaster that’s been texting me.

“Fuck off,” I shoot back, not looking at him as I snatch up the phone.

“Yeah fuck you too mate,” Dev mumbles. But I barely even hear him.

The disaster is texting me back.

 

(16:01): so I think you didn’t mean to be a dick the other day

(16:01) : Oh, I didn’t, did I?

(16:01): considering how fast you just responded, nah

(16:02): I think you’re just awkward.

(16:03) : Oh, am I?

(16:04): my roommate thinks you don’t want to know who I am because you probably are the type to push people away

(16:04): and you like talking to me because I don’t know anything about you

(16:04): and you can walk away at any point with no damage done

(16:05): and it’s easier to open up to strangers

(16:05): Or maybe I’m a serial killer.

(16:05) I said I think you’re a vampire

(16:06): and dont want to admit you wont be able to hang out during the day

(16:07): I’d like to choose that explanation over the extremely probing and unsolicited psychological evaluation your roommate did

(16:08): brilliant

(16:08): i’m going to save you in my phone as gay vampire

(16:08): you can call me Snow, if you want

(16:09): Snow?

(16:09): it’s my middle name. Thought we could swap those instead. Could be a safe middle ground, right?

(16:09): Your middle name is Snow?

(16:09): Like a fucking disney princess.

(16:09): Precious.

(16:10): i’m sure yours is better

(16:10): I go by my middle name in real life

(16:10): oh

(16:10): first name?

(16:14) : It’s extremely distinctive.

(16:16): gampire it is then

(16:16) : gampire?

(16:16): gay + vampire

(16:19) : I’m saving you as ‘nightmare’.

(16:21): shit i gotta go to a team meeting

(16:22) : Don’t tell me it’s rugby

(16:22): no it’s uh

(16:22): squash

(16:23) : Thank you for lying to me.

(16:24): xx

 

I let out a low breath. I’m not feeling relief. That’s not what’s happening. I’m just feeling closure. A return to tradition. The disaster on the other end of the phone is texting me again, and now my routine can return to normal.

I could do without that needling pop psychology bullshit, though. I get enough of that from Aunt Fiona.

Draining my coffee, I pack up my books and clear off the table I’ve been lurking at in the corner of Ebbs, and head out into the afternoon sun. I need to go back to my flat and eat and shower and get ready before the match. Really, it’s for the best that the disaster had to go. I don’t need him distracting me.

Rugby.

Of course he plays rugby.

My traitorous mind flashes to the memory of Simon Salisbury, standing in the middle of our bathroom last year in muddy rugby kit, his shirt hiked halfway up his chest as he bent over to examine a bruise on his ribcage.

Sharing a bathroom with him was a nightmare.

It would be a lie if I said that sometimes the nightmare who texts me didn’t remind me of Salisbury. They both have that air of endearing stupidity about them, and they both annoy the shit out of me. The nightmare being a rugger explains that, though -- they’re all idiots, the lot of them. Walking mountains of anger and muscle. Niall is probably the only rugger I can stomach, and that’s only because I’ve known him since school.

Of course the nightmare plays rugby.

A lot of blokes do, though. The club is huge, and there are always people joining and dropping. It narrows the possibilities a bit, but admittedly I only really know two ruggers. Everyone else on the team is a complete mystery to me. I’ve never even been to one of the matches, because I didn’t want Salisbury to see me there, so I can’t even picture what the other members look like.

Whatever. That hardly matters. It’s not like I’m actually invested in striking up a friendship with this person. And what the fuck and I doing thinking about ruggers?

I’ve a match tonight, and I can’t let Simon Salisbury or the nightmare in my phone distract me from that.

Turning off my phone, I slip it back into my pocket and set off across campus, determined.

 

(17:10): so tell me about the rugger you hated

(17:10): what did he do?

 

#

 

(18:50): hey are you going to the wfc match? First home match of the season!

(18:50): not suggesting we meet up, just figured you’d be there

 

#

 

(19:33): going to assume you’re not here

(19:33): you’re missing a brilliant game, mate

 

#

 

(20:12): holy shit

(20:12): they won in shootouts

(20:12): oh you’re going to be raging when you see these texts

 

#

 

(20:46) : I saw the game, just didn’t have my phone on.

(20:46): oh damn

(20:48) : I’m out for pints now but I’ll text you later.

(20:48): pints!

(20:48): omg gampire has friends

(20:50) : omg

(20:50): ta ya tit

 

#

 

(23:11) : so this rugger

(23:11) : he shared my ensuite

(23:11) : absolute disaster, complete mess, always sloppy

(23:11) : came back late and blared music, just an utter menace

(23:12): are you pissed?

(23:12): you’re not using capital letters

(23:12) : i’m typing from my laptop and its faster this way hush

(23:12): omg you’re a bossy drunk

(23:13) : we were mortal enemies, of course

(23:13): who was he?

(23:13) : im not telling you, he’s probably your teammate

(23:14): so you hate rugby because you knew one rugger who didn’t pick up his kit

(23:14) : he had atrocious bathroom habits

(23:14): you hate the entire sport because of one bloke

(23:16) : he had very nice shoulders

(23:16): omg

(23:16): you made enemies with him because he was fit

(23:17): was it Niall Kelly?

(23:17) : you think niall kelly is fit?

(23:18): he’s got shoulders

(23:18) : snow, everyone has shoulders

(23:18) : and no it wasn’t

(23:19) : but i know him and im going to tell him one of his teammates is apparently gagging for him

(23:19): you know niall?????

(23:19) : shit ignore that

(23:20): its fine we’re not friends

(23:20): he wouldnt tell me who you were anyway

(23:22) : good man

(23:24): still can’t believe you became enemies with him because you shared a bathroom

(23:24) : this is uni, it’s more common than you think

(23:25): actually, yeah

(23:25): i hate the guy i had to share with

(23:25): the one you offered to kill, actually

(23:25): he was awful

(23:25) : what’s his name

(23:25): idk

(23:28) : ...you don’t know his name?

(23:28): I heard it once but it was really weird and I forgot it

(23:29): and now i can’t ask anyone, and people call him by this weird nickname

(23:29): but i’ve no idea what it’s short for

(23:29): like not joking EVERYONE calls him this

(23:29): and we dont share any classes so i cant even find out that way

(23:30) : you hate someone and you don’t even know his name?

(23:30) : Snow this is feuding 101

(23:30) : you learn their full name so you can swear to hate them till their dying day

(23:31): so you just walk around learning full names and making blood oaths, huh?

(23:31) : well at least first and last

(23:31): you are the weirdest person i’ve ever met

(23:32) : technically you haven’t met me

(23:33) : and at least i know how to use wifi

(23:33): at least i didnt go out and get sloshed and come home to sit on my laptop and harass a stranger

(23:34) : being a dick is so much more fun when you’re in bed in pyjamas

(23:34): so your idea of fun is laying in bed drunk thinking of ways to hurt me

(23:35) : this sounds like the beginning of a bad porno and i don’t trifle with straight boys so goodnight snow

(23:35) : glad you enjoyed the match

(23:37) : xx

Chapter Text

Simon = bold

Baz =  étals

 

THURSDAY, NOV. 1

 

(10:10): good morning!

(10:19): It is morning.

(10:20): how are you doing?

(10:22): Fine.

(10:23): everything alright?

(10:25): Stop texting in lecture.

(10:27): how do you know I have lecture?

(10:30): I’m in lecture, idiot.

(10:30): Now go away.

 

#

 

(10:53): you’re hungover arent you

 

#

 

(11:22): bossy drunk, mean when hungover

(11:29): I will remove your intestines and hang you with them.

 

#

 

(12:43): everyone on this campus is steamed apparently

(12:43): just ran into that tosser i hate and he looked like he came off a bender

 

#

 

(13:15): at least you know he’s suffering

(13:18): yup

(13:23): and i’m not hungover I just have a headache

(13:24): lol

(13:24): eat

(13:28): I can’t

(13:29): ?

(13:30): I have an urgent need to lay in my bed and never move again

(13:31): lol

(13:35): Any chance some unnecessary society is giving out food around campus?

(13:36): idk

(13:38): Is everything alright?

(13:38): ?

(13:40): The one word texts. You’re usually falling over yourself to talk to me.

(13:45): oh

(13:45): yeah

(13:45): i just

(13:45): I really have to pee and it’s getting really serious

(13:45): and I feel like I’m going to die

(13:49): Oh my god.

(13:49): and I have ten mins left in tutorial, so

(13:50): I believe in you.

(13:53): i don’t

 

#

 

(14:11): PISS TIME

(14:13): Please no.

(14:19): I just made the loudest moan while peeing and this whole bathroom probably thinks I’m nutters

(14:19): I didn’t need to know that

(14:19): wait are you texting me while peeing

(14:19): uh

(14:24): no

(14:25): Why did you make a sound?

(14:25): it felt good?

(14:25): So you went into the men’s, pulled it out and moaned while staring at your phone?

(14:28): oh god

(14:28): oh no

(14:28): oh noooooo

(14:33): well you tried it just for once, it was alright for kicks

(14:33): but now you’ve found out it’s a habit that sticks

(14:33): what is this what is happening

(14:33): you’re an orgasm addict

(14:34): whaty?????

(14:34): you’re an orgasm addict

(14:34): what the fuck is happening

(14:37): spotify.com.uk/ytil09

(14:37): it’s a Buzzcock’s song, here’s your education

(14:39): I’m so scared to open this

(14:41): I feel so much better, suddenly.

(14:41): I may be dead and hungover but at least I’m not a sex pest.

(14:42): noooooooooooooo

(14:46): I’m going back to bed now, don’t get convicted.

(14:49): xx

 

#

 

(18:22): this song is awful

(18:22): this is not at all what i expected you to listen to

 

FRIDAY, NOV. 2

 

(08:12): you know what i love?

(08:12): being woken up by my roommate sitting on me

(08:19): why is she sitting on you?

(08:24): to make me do my homework

(08:29): It could be worse

(08:38): how?

(08:41): my aunt sometimes wakes me up by throwing gin on me

(08:43): ?????

(08:43): I have so many questions

(08:53): None of them will be answered.

(08:53): Lecture now, go away.

 

#

 

(21:31): hey you never told me what sport you play

(21:34): cricket

(21:35): wait seriously

(21:36): Do you have a problem with cricket?

(21:36): it’s just so…

(21:36): Caucasian?

(21:37): what?

(21:37): nevermind

(21:45): So do you really play cricket or are you fucking with me

(21:47): You’d love to know, wouldn’t you?

(21:48): I feel like I don’t know anything about you

(21:48): this again?

(21:50): tell me something! You don’t have to give anything away since you’re terrified of being outed

(21:50): i’ll tell you shit too

(21:53): Shall I get the hot cocoa and we can braid each other’s hair?

(21:54): you’re a proper dickweed

(21:54): I’ve been told that before, actually.

(21:55): it’s just weird. You’re my friend but I don’t know anything about you

(21:57): Fine, what do you want to know?

(21:58): oh, shit

(21:58): uh

(21:58): what are you doing?

(22:02): That’s your pressing question? What am I doing?

(22:02): I’m sitting on my floor eating curry and doing homework, next.

(22:05): you don’t seem like someone who would sit on the floor

(22:05): Wonders never cease.

(22:06): why are you on the floor?

(22:06): I’m cold and it’s near the radiator.

(22:09): y ou’re cold? It’s not cold out at all

(22:10): The undead get cold easily.

(22:10): Curse of a gay vampire.

(22:11): oh right right

(22:13): Next question.

(22:18): are you an only child?

(22:18): No.

(22:18): wow didn’t see that coming actually

(22:18): how many siblings?

(22:20): I have four half-siblings.

(22:23): wow that’s a big family. That’s like my roommate, she has loads of siblings. It seems great to me, having all those people around. She and her siblings don’t get on though, but she’s in the middle. Where do you fall?

(22:23): Oldest

(22:25): cannot imagine you as a big brother

(22:25): actually I guess I can, you’re the responsible type

(22:25): when you’re not steaming

(22:28): That’s me.

(22:29): Are they all from one parent or do both of your parents have other kids? I’ve always thought that’s kind of interesting.

(22:37): Are you dating your roommate?

(22:38): woah that was

(22:38): out of nowhere

(22:39): You seem very close, I just assume you’re dating.

(22:40): wtf

(22:40): shes my best friend, not even remotely

(22:40): how did we get from your family to Pen?

(22:41): I have to go to bed.

(22:41): oh wow hello

(22:41): that was a nice large wall you just built there

(22:41): guess we’ll sidestep that emotional baggage then

(22:44): Appreciated.

(22:46): I get it, don’t worry

(22:46): family stuff can be hard

(22:49): That’s one way to put it.

(22:52): okay, i’ve grilled you enough. Anything you want to know about me?

(22:55): How did you meet your roommate?

(22:58): oh

(22:58): Uh we met first year because we were in a class and both hated our en suite partners

(22:58): and then we just got pretty close and we decided to get a flat together this year and I actually ended up going and staying with her family for the summer, which was really nice

(22:59): Is your family not close by?

(23:00): oh I don’t have any

(23:04): Oh

(23:04): no, no, it’s totally fine

(23:04): so before you do, don’t apologise

(23:05): I wasn’t going to.

(23:05): thanks

(23:05): i grew up in the care system, so I was in and out of homes a lot, but Pen is kind of my family now, and i think it’s better when you get to choose your own

(23:12): My mum died when I was young. All my siblings are from my father’s second marriage. We’re on decent terms, but I live with my aunt because she’s young and we get on well and it’s nice to be around someone who remembers my mum.

(23:15): oh shit

(23:15): i’m so sorry

(23:16): Don’t apologise.

(23:16): It’s really fine, I’m not an orphan.

(23:17): no but sometimes its worse to have known and lost, you know?

(23:19): and anyway, it’s not a competition

(23:19): i’m sorry you had to go through that

(23:23): I’m sure your roommate would psychoanalyse me and say this is the reason why I push people away.

(23:23): That and my crippling depression.

(23:23): are you depressed?

(23:25): I mean, sure.

(23:25): Who isn’t?

(23:26): mate… i’m sorry

(23:29): Please don’t.

(23:29): You may not understand this, but I’m comfortable in my depression. It’s not a big thing or something that I get weepy about or some romantic and melancholic thing. It just is what it is and I don’t want sympathy for it or even to really talk about it, as I had attempted to address it as a joke.

(23:32): Ok

(23:32): Still tho. If you ever feel alone, you know you’ve got me, right?

(23:32): Really?

(23:33): Guess I’ll put suicide off for another year then.

(23:36): with you i can never tell if you’re being an asshole and making an awful joke or if you’re being serious

(23:37): I’m usually being an asshole. That was a joke.

(23:37): I guess it’s not that funny though. Sorry. I’m too used to my own mordant humour

(23:39): Really though. I am fine.

(23:41): I believe you.

(23:41): Just, know you can talk to me about it

(23:41): I get it.

(23:41): I mean, not exactly, but you know what I mean. I get it

(23:46): Thanks, Snow.

(23:46): I’ll remember that.

(23:46): Now, I’m not being a twat, but I am going to bed.

(23:47): you’re always being a twat

(23:47): but night!

 

SIMON

 

I blink into the darkness twice, and then let my phone fall onto my face. I have no idea what that conversation was, but it might have been the most intense one of my life.

I didn’t mean for things to get that personal. They haven’t before, at least not like that. Gampire (I don’t really know what else to think of him as) has let me bitch about Baz, but that’s surface level. That’s just petty shit that you’d talk to some bloke in your class about.

I don’t exactly chat to people about my lack of parents.

That’s not to say that no one knows. Penny knows. My ex-girlfriend Agatha knew. But no one else does, not really. I don’t like talking about it, because people don’t know how to react. They go overboard with sympathy or they get weirdly sketched out, or just everything about the interaction changes, because they have no idea how to relate.

But Gampire gets it. He’s been through shit too, clearly, and even though it’s not the same, he understood.

My pulse is still racing a bit and I’m squirming in that way I get sometimes after I’ve just had a really exposing, personal conversation, like my skin is on fire and I’m hollowed out and I’m both exhilarated by the honesty and slightly embarrassed by it.

I hope he’s alright. He seemed okay. He seemed like he wasn’t in a bad place — just a bit uncomfortable and trying to use weird humour to cover it up. I thought about pushing back when he said he was going to bed, to make sure that he wasn’t just lying to me. But I don’t think he was. Obviously I don’t know anything about him, but I didn’t get the vibe that he was bullshitting me.

Still. I hate the idea of him going through this. His comment about being comfortable and used to his depression…

It feels like his words formed into a solid shape and is sitting just above my breast, and everytime I think about him, the little rock pulses. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just tight, like it’s expanding within my chest, pushing out my breath, weighing me down with a soft heaviness.

Jesus, what the fuck am I saying?

It’s too late for thoughts like this.

I pick my phone off my face and roll over to plug it into the charger. It takes me a couple times to get it in, because the room is pitch black and I can’t find the port. I turned off the lights awhile ago, and I’ve just been huddled under my blanket talking to him. In retrospect, I guess I kind of took his sleepover joke literally.

I wonder if he was doing the same. I wonder if he’s in bed now, his pulse racing, looking back at that conversation with a mix of panic and comfort and unease. I wonder what he thinks about me telling him that I was in the system.

I wonder what he looks like, right now. Does he have dark hair? Or light like mine? Is he tall? Or stocky like me? In my mind he’s just this kind of nebulous shadow. It’s probably for the best that I can’t picture him, to be honest. I have a shit imagination.

There’s no chance he’ll ever turn out like I expect him to.

Chapter Text

Simon = bold

Baz = itals

 

SATURDAY, NOV. 3

 

(11:22): I had the weirdest dream

(11:37): Continue.

(11:41): im on a hill in lancashire, right? And pen is there

(11:41): why would anyone be in Lancashire

(11:41): I grew up there, shut up

(11:41): ew

(11:42): so pen and I are on this hill and all of a sudden i show up

(11:42): but like, its mini me, little me

(11:42): awe, baby nightmare

(11:43): were you as annoying then as you are now?

(11:43): nah honestly i didnt do much

(11:43): like i didnt speak a lot

(11:43): I literally cannot imagine that.

(11:44): So then what happened?

(11:44): you wont believe it

(11:45): Try me.

(11:47): I grew fucking wings

(11:47): big ass dragon wings

(11:47): and a tail

(11:53): And then?

(11:53): I grabbed pen and we flew away

(11:53): weird, huh?

(11:55): Our conversation last night reminded you of your past and, faced with this stress, your subconscious wants to fly away from them.

(11:55): Also you have to stop eating before bed.

(11:56): how did you know I ate before bed?!?

(11:56): Just a hunch.

(11:59): you’re good at this psychoanalysing stuff, you and Pen would get along

(12:00): Wouldn’t that be terrifying for you?

(12:01): yeah actually… it would

(12:01): so how are you?

(12:01): Why?

(12:01): ?? just being polite? And i want to know?

(12:01): Why?

(12:02): because…. You’re my friend? And I care?

(12:04): Oh that’s weird.

(12:04): So??

(12:06): So what?

(12:06): so how are you?

(12:09): Oh. I’m fine. Just doing homework.

(12:11): You’re always doing homework

(12:13): I care about school.

(12:13): I do too but don’t you ever like… go out

(12:13): have fun

(12:14): get loose

(12:17): I have buckets of fun, Snow.

(12:19): do you have fun that isn’t getting steamed and being mean to me?

(12:23): You won’t believe it, but I have a date tonight.

(12:23): wait really?

(12:26): The note of surprise.

(12:26): no, just, you didn’t seem like the dating type

(12:29): I have no idea what that means.

(12:30): yeah...i dont either

(12:30): that will be fun

(12:30): who is it?

(12:31): Ah. Not telling.

(12:31): why?

(12:37): Because you may know him.

(12:38): omg is he a rugger?

(12:38): fuck no

(12:38): but this is a small uni, so the odds of you knowing him are strong

(12:39): especially since you seem horrifically outgoing

(12:41): you really dont want me to know who you are, do you?

(12:44): that’s fine. I mean, i respect it

(12:47): i dont want you to think im forcing it

(12:50): Why do you want to know so badly?

(12:53): i dunno

(12:53): because i like you? I’d like to be friends with you

(12:59): You just come out and say what you think, don’t you?

(13:04): yeah, yeah i do

(13:06): What I’m about to say can never be repeated or discussed.

(13:06): okay…

(13:07): I’m just a busy and private person, and I don’t have a lot of time for friends.

(13:07): I have school and my team and my aunt and I’ve never felt the need for more.

(13:07): and one person is too much more?

(13:08): I’m also… prickly

(13:08): that’s a fucking understatement

(13:09): Shut up

(13:09): I’m being human right now, don’t waste it.

(13:11): sorry sorry

(13:14) : I tend to be slightly unpleasant.

(13:14): And I also have a small reputation

(13:14): And there’s a chance you’ve heard about me from one of the blokes on your team

(13:15): And while I regret none of my actions what so ever, it may not reflect on me that well

(13:15): i dont care about that

(13:15): mmk

(13:16): but i get it

(13:16): sometimes i say and do dumb things so i get it

(13:16): I would never have guessed.

(13:17): you know what

(13:17): you’re right I dont want to know you in real life

(13:19): Get fucked

(13:22): I’m not the one with the date tonight

(13:23): omg

(13:23): he jokes

(13:26): so tell me about him

(13:29): Why?

(13:33): because I’m waiting for my food to cook and pen isnt here and im bored

(13:33): also im curious

(13:33): i cannot imagine what kind of person you would like well enough to date

(13:33): my guess is he’s probably stupidly posh and like… studying law or economics

(13:34): lol

(13:34): also probably fit as hell because you seem shallow

(13:34): no offence

(13:38): None taken, it’s true.

(13:41): Honestly I don’t know much about him.

(13:46): My cousin set this up.

(13:49): …...

(13:51): Not a word.

(13:51): i will try really hard

(13:54): My cousin is on a kick to “make me happy”, which is actually just making me miserable.

(13:54): and dating will make you happy?

(13:55): I don’t date much because people are idiots and most gay men on this campus are horrifying

(13:59): what about bisexuals

(14:12): When I’ve met enough I’ll report back.

(14:15): you’ve probably met more than you think

(14:23): I honestly can’t think of one.

(14:28): well there’s me

 

#

 

(14:37): hello?

 

#

 

(15:32): I can’t tell if you’re just busy or if you’re being a dick

 

#

 

(16:15): i’ve decided you’re being a dick

(16:15): it’s not a big deal

(16:16): sorry if i made you uncomfortable

 

#

 

(16:44): oh i just realised you’re on your date my b

 

#

 

(18:22): You absolute fucking nightmare.

(18:25): what??

(18:29): You’ve been holding out on me this entire time.

(18:33): I didn’t think you would care tbh

(18:33): Of course I don’t care.

(18:33): I’ve just missed so many additional opportunities to make fun of you.

(18:36): asshole

(18:38): Walking disaster.

(18:39): so how was the date?

(18:40): Horrifying.

(18:40): that bad?

(18:43): Let’s put it this way:

(18:43): I left after thirty minutes.

(18:43): My cousin and I then went to get kebabs and they forgot our order twice and it was still more enjoyable than that date.

(18:47): ouch

(18:47): was he at least fit?

(18:50) : Not particularly.

(18:50) : He had the most ridiculous belt buckle on.

(18:50) : He looked ready to go to a fucking rodeo.

(18:51): omg

(18:52) : Yes.

(18:52) : yeehaw

(18:52): omdfgksjdgjkdfgsdfgsdfg

(18:53) : I don’t speak idiot, use your words.

(18:54): did you actually leave because of the belt buckle?

(18:54) : Wouldn’t you?

(18:54): not if he was nice!

(18:57) : You would actually sit through an awkward date with a person you have no interest in just because the person wasn’t a prick?

(18:58): well i wouldn’t want to be mean to him

(18:58): it’s not his fault

(18:58) : No, but it’s wasting his time to pretend there’s anything there.

(19:01): so you think it’s better to just be a prick and cut it off early

(19:02): Yes. That way you’re not stringing him on.

(19:04): it doesn’t seem like you gave him a chance

(19:04): you could have really hit it off, but you left before you even got to know him

(19:04): i’m just saying, it sounds like you were harsh and judgemental

(19:09): ...I’ve never claimed to be otherwise.

(19:10): no one’s going to want to get close to you if you push them away like that without giving them a chance

(19:10): most guys don’t like assholes

(19:13): I’m not making the obvious joke

(19:14): oh my god

(19:14): stop being suck a prick

(19:14): SUCH A PRICK

(19:17): Snow, you and your stupidity have saved my night.

(19:17): Thank you, deeply.

(19:17): i really fucking hate you

(19:18): I know, I love it.

(19:18): I have netflix and a bottle of wine waiting, so I will bid you goodnight.

(19:19): fuck off

(19:19): xx

 

SIMON

“Simon, if you keep staring at that wall you’re going to put a hole through it.”

I startle and look up. I hadn’t even realised I’d zoned out so badly, but sure enough, here I am, sitting on the sofa with my mobile in one hand, a cup of cold tea in the other, staring at the wall.

“I can smell you thinking,” Penny says, folding up her legs to sit next to me. She plucks my phone out of my hand and puts it on the school trunk we use as a coffee table, and then steals my tea and takes a sip. She scrunches her nose and makes a face as she puts it back. She hates cold tea. I don’t mind it. Not really. There’s always a few cups of cold tea around, and it doesn’t matter much to me. The basic ingredients don’t change just because it cools down a bit.

“Sorry,” I mumble, rubbing at my forehead. “How long have I been out?”

“I don’t know, i just got home,” she responds, leaning back against the cushions. “What’s got you thinking?”k

“Oh, uh.” My ears go red. I’m not sure if I want to share.

Penny nudges me with the toe of her striped sock.

“Come on, tell. Today has been horribly boring. Spice it up a bit for me.”

“Gampire was on a date.”

The silence stretches between us.

“Sorry,” Penny says, pausing. “Who the hell is Gampire?”

“Oh.” A nervous laugh slips out, and it feels high and stressed, even to my own ears. “My text friend. I call him Gampire.”

“Why?”

I mumble my answer.

“Come again?”

“Because he’s a gay vampire,” I repeat, willing the sofa to open up and swallow me straight to hell.

“Well that clears that up,” Penny says, not even trying to wipe the amused expression off of her face.

“Shut up,” I mumble, picking at a loose thread on our burgundy sofa.

“So why did your creepy text friend having a date send you into a thought spiral?”

“He’s not creepy,” I protest, but then I shrug. “I dunno. We got into a small argument because he left the bloke after thirty minutes because he didn’t think it was working. It just surprised me, I guess. He’s so… confident. Like, he knows what he wants and what he doesn’t want.”

“And he actually is gay, that’s not a joke?”

I nod.

“No, he is gay. He’s really chill about it, he’s so confident and never acts ashamed or anything. Like, he’s super up front about it.”

“Well why shouldn’t he be? There’s nothing wrong with it.” Penny glares at me. “We’ve been through this, Simon. There’s nothing wrong with being bisexual. You don’t have to feel like it’s—”

“No, I know!” I say, racing to agree. “I didn’t mean that. I just…” I trail off and shrug. Penny places the mug of tea on the trunk and eyes me suspiciously.

“Is it possible that you’re jealous?”

“What? Why would I be jealous of his date? He apparently wasn’t even fit.”

“I meant jealous of his self confidence and self-awareness, but it’s interesting you went that way,” Penny says, biting her lip. “Are you jealous of the date?” She pauses and then pushes forward. “I know when we had that talk about you being bisexual, we talked a little bit about Baz. But.. is it possible there was someone else?”

“Someone else?” I ask weakly.

“Simon, do you have feelings for your text friend?”

I swallow thickly.

“I mean, I won’t lie,” I start, racing to get the words out, “him being so open about being gay definitely made me start wondering about myself. It definitely like… helped me open my mind.”

“And?” Penny pushes.

“I mean, maybe I could maybe imagine something. Maybe.” I scrub my hand through my hair. “I don’t agree with you that I have a crush on Baz, I definitely don’t. Like, yeah, he’s fit, and that realisation definitely means something about me. But sometimes when I see that I have a text from Gampire, or he does something nice…”

“Oh, Simon,” Penny breathes. I hate that tone. I hate it so much. I wish I lived in a world where people weren’t constantly trying to pity me. Gampire doesn’t pity me. Baz doesn’t pity me, either.

Honestly, they seem a lot a like. Sometimes it hits me, how similar they are. And then I wonder — do I like Gampire because he reminds me of Baz?

I don’t think so, though. They’re really different. Gampire is… nice. He’s nice to me, and he’s weird, and kind of nerdy. And surprising. That’s what gets me the most — he always pushes back, and he always surprises me.

Fuck.

“Don’t,” I tell Pen gently. “I don’t know him, and he doesn’t necessarily want to know me, so this is just like, a friendship thing. Really, it’s fine.” I smile and try to mean it. “I just have to like, make a note to thank him and Baz one day for helping me realise I like men.”

Penny bites her lip and I can tell she’s holding something back. But finally she reaches out and pats my hand.

“I just want you to be happy,” she says. “You deserve it. Even if it is with this weird vampire person.”

I grin.

“Thanks, Pen. Now, I think I’m going to go to sleep.”

She watches me stand up and stretch. I can see the last traces of worry on her face, and then it promptly turns off as she reaches for the tellie remote and turns on Netflix.

“Sweet dreams!” she mumbles. She’s already checked out. It's probably for the best. I've made enough of a tit of myself for tonight.

 

SUNDAY, NOV. 4

 

(14:11): I think my flat is haunted.

(14:23): It is.

(14:23): It’s me.

(14:23): Surprise. I’m a figment of your imagination.

(14:26): shut up im serious

(14:29): Why do you think your flat is haunted?

(14:30): I saw someone

(14:30): like, while i was sleeping, last night

(14:30): near my window

(14:30): like a woman

(14:31): and just now i took a nap

(14:31): You took a nap? How much do you sleep?

(14:31): and i swear i saw her again

(14:33): You live with a woman.

(14:34): Pen doesn’t look like this

(14:34): this lady was WHITE

(14:36): White people *are* horrifying.

(14:37): no i didnt mean like race

(14:39): wait what?

(14:39): nevermind

(14:39): did she rattle chains?

(14:39): no she just stood there and like...cried

(14:40): oh that’s unsettling

(14:40): what did you do?

(14:40): nothing??? Because there was a crying lady in my room?

(14:41): and also i thought i was dreaming

(14:41): You do have weird dreams.

(14:45): yeah but now i’ve had it TWICE

(14:49): She’s coming for your soul.

(14:49): look you’re joking but im seriously freaked mate

(14:50): i dont want a ghost!

(14:55): We should have a seance.

(14:56): why did your mind go straight there

(14:56): Let’s see if we can talk to her.

(14:56): why????

(14:56): Perhaps even call up some more ghosts.

(14:56): i don’t want this

(14:56): i don’t want any of this

(14:57): Too late, Snow, it’s happening.

(14:58): but why was she CRYING

(14:58): She’s weeping for the fact that this entire time I’ve thought you were heterosexual.

(15:01): you’re really stuck on that huh

(15:09): More like mildly intrigued.

(15:09): Surprised you didn’t tell me.

 

#

 

(16:14): idk

(16:18): it’s a newish thing

(16:22): Newish?

(16:25): yeah

(16:25): i mean i think I had ideas

(16:25): but i didn’t know there was like a word for it you know

(16:25): so i thought it had to be gay or straight, and i had a girlfriend last year

(16:25): my roommate shouted at me about this actually when i told her

(16:25): called me an idiot

(16:31): She’s right, this is a travesty.

(16:31): I’m glad you figured it out, though.

(16:31): What gave you the push?

(16:38): uh

(16:38): nothing

(16:39): Well that means something.

(16:42): Pen pointed out that maybe....

(16:42): okay you know the bloke i hate

(16:42): you mean the bloke you’re in love with?

(16:42): yeah

(16:43): i mean no

(16:43): i do still hate him. like, i know you cant hate someone you dont know but i do know i hate this guy. we have the worst interactions and i dont WANT to get to know him

(16:43): but he is fit. he’s like really fucking fit

(16:44): Why don’t you want to get to know him?

(16:44): mate, he’s like… the biggest prick you’ve ever seen

(16:44): he says the worst shit and makes me feel awful

(16:46): Maybe he is emotionally insecure and pushing people away.

(16:46): lol yeah right

(16:46): there’s no way he’s insecure. he’s fit as hell and really smart and just so fucking cool

(16:47): People can surprise you.

(16:47): and he’s popular

(16:47): he plays for Watford FC

(16:48): What???

(16:48): yeah, i’m pretty positive you’d know who he is

(16:48): No don’t tell me.

(16:49): why?

(16:49): Because I don’t want to know.

(16:49): why?

(16:50): I know a lot of people in the club. I just don’t want to know. From your description there’s only three people it could be and I don’t want to narrow that down.

(16:51): oh okay

(16:51): so yeah. im bisexual and i guess i know bc of him partially because I realised I’m attracted to him

(16:51) : and it wasn’t all him because I realised I have like… emotional romantic attraction to guys so honestly

(16:52): fuck him

(16:56): The offer stands to kill him.

(16:58): no

(16:58): WFC would lose if he died

(16:58): and im really invested in the team

(17:00): heartbreaking

(17:03): yeah

(17:05): so this has been real fuckin awkward

(17:06): Why?

(17:09): because now you know about my stupid not-crush and even worse you probably know him

(17:09): so it’s just a tad humiliating tbh

 

#

 

(17:43): I’ve been pathetically obsessed with the same boy since the first day of last year. I almost never speak to him and I know hardly anything about him, but I’m fairly confident that if he smiled at me I would set myself on fire.

(17:44): I handle this ridiculous infatuation by plotting hundreds of different ways to kill him, all of which end with us making out.

(17:44): I shared a bathroom with him for a year and I’m fairly certain he’s scared of me because I don’t know what to say around him so I resort to weird, threatening sarcasm.

(17:44): And he is one of your teammates, and probably your friend.

(17:45): So top that for humiliating.

(17:48): wow

(17:48): you’re so fucked

(17:49): I wish, Snow.

(17:49): I wish.

(17:49): gross

(17:51): And now I have practice.

(17:51): So I will see myself out, and then likely set myself on fire.

(17:54): what sport do you play?

(17:55): Competitive table tennis.

(17:58): fuck you

Chapter Text

Simon = bold

Baz = Itals

 

MONDAY, NOV. 5

 

(07:25): Good morning, you useless waste of space.

(07:25): I have the week from hell ahead of me.

(07:25): So get all questions out now, because your pocket Encyclopaedia is closed for business.

(07:26): uh can we have this convo later

(07:26): when I’m awake

(07:27): No. Next question.

(07:29): what sport do you play?

(07:30): Aerobic water dancing.

(07:33): will you text when you’re thru hell?

(07:33): Maybe.

(07:34): brill, im dry then

(07:34): good luck n shite im going back to sleep

(07:34): xx



TUESDAY, NOV. 6

 

(17:02): dont forget to eat and sleep

 

#

 

(17:50): You can’t make me.

(17:53): he lives!

(17:54): I don’t have time for these jokes.

(17:54): alright, ta

 

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 7

 

(12:18): you dead?

(12:26): not yet.

(12:29): you should take a break and go to the WFC match tonight

(12:35): I am

(12:37): oh awesome! I’ll be there

(12:37): fanboy

(12:38): well that was mean

 

#

 

(19:21): our boys are not doing that hot tonight

(19:36): holy shit i take it back did you just see that goal

(19:43): HOLY SHIT

(19:43): i know you hate ruggers but me and the lads are over here losing our fucking minds

(19:49): how the fuck is baz pitch such a brill player

(19:49): without fail he always pulls it through

(19:50): jesus christ

(19:50): god i bet he’d be insane at rugby

(19:54): fuck he’s also fit as hell

 

#

 

(20:31): I’m fairly positive Pitch would never play rugby.

(20:31): Some of us have taste.

(20:31): But you’re right, he is fit. 10/10

(20:36): did you see the game???

(20:37): I did

(20:39): Are you losing it rn?

(20:42): No, I’m too tired to lose it.

(20:42): Maybe I’ll lose it tomorrow.

(20:42): I have an urgent appointment with my bed.

(20:46): oi at next week’s match you gotta text me back

(20:47): Don’t hold your breath.

(20:49): well damn okay then

 

THURSDAY, NOV. 8

 

(12:00): Snow!

(12:12): uh

(12:16): It’s snowing!

(12:17): I know. I hate it

(12:17): what???? Snow is brill!

(12:20): It’s frozen water.

(12:20): It makes me cold and it fucks up my hair.

(12:20): And it’s barely snowing right now anyway it’s just going to make things wet and slushy and dirty.

(12:24): omg you’re such a grouch

(12:24): I love snow so much

(12:24): And I thought I was self-involved.

(12:26): okay so when I was a kid I was in a care home in Lancashire, right?

(12:26): wait do you have time to chat? I don’t want to bug you if you’re studying.

(12:27): I have time.

(12:27): okay so I was in Lancashire

(12:27): ew

(12:27): and one year it snowed, just like absolutely dumped. we were out of school for days and no one could go anywhere and the people who ran the home just kind of gave up and let us do whatever

(12:28): and we went totally wild

(12:28): and I didn’t really get on with the kids in care, like I just didn’t have a lot of friends but everyone was in snowball fights that week and no one was a dick to me and we stopped beating the shit out of each other

(12:28): like i dont think i hit anyone that whole week

(12:28): it is probably my best memory and now i just love snow

(12:31): This is violent and precious at the same time.

(12:31): 10/10 story

(12:33): thanks !

(12:34): I don’t like snow because I get cold very easily.

(12:35): that’s why i love it tbh

(12:35): i’m always so overheated and hot and i feel like im going to explode, but you just sit in the snow and it’s so cold and refreshing and it’s like i can actually breathe, you know?

(12:37): I don’t.

(12:37): But this is a sickeningly cute mental image.

(12:37): And I’m leaving now.

(12:37): boooooo

(12:37): Enjoy your snow, Snow.

(12:38): xx

 

FRIDAY, NOV. 9

 

(17:20): You’re allowed to talk to me now.

(17:33): wow thanks so much

(17:38): You are very welcome.

(17:43): so you know the footballer, the bloke I hate

(17:45): the bloke you love

(17:45): i saw him eat a sandwich today

(17:45): Okay?

(17:45): how fucking weird is that?

(17:48): Snow….

(17:48): I’m not sure if you know this.

(17:48): But people require food to live.

(17:53): no i mean like

(17:53): a sandwich

(17:53): how fucking normal

(17:53): sitting there eating a sandwich and reading like a normal person

(17:53): spooky

(17:53): I really don’t follow.

(17:54): People eat sandwiches.

(17:54): I ate a sandwich today.

(17:55): i cannot imagine you eating a sandwich

(17:55): Alright I think you have a fixation here.

(17:58): it just weirded me out

(17:58): i got so alarmed that I accidentally threw away my coffee and walked into a door

(17:59): Oh my god.

(17:59): Did he see you?

(18:00): no i dont think so

(18:06): How often do you walk into things?

(18:10): look i am actually pretty active ok

(18:10): i just dont pay attention to things

(18:10): this is why i can never have a detail oriented job

(18:12): That… that is most jobs, Snow.

(18:14): I know im fucked

(18:18): So you don't have plans then?

(18:21): idk. loose ones. but they might not pan out

(18:21): Like what?

(18:22): I thought about going into social work, maybe

(18:22): or theres this other thing but thats crazy

(18:22): Nothing you say will be crazier than getting so flustred you walked into a door.

(18:28): i really like to bake

(18:28): but theres not like a job you can do with that

(18:29): ….you could be a baker

(18:30): lol i know i just meant

(18:30): idk. People like me dont get jobs like that

(18:30): people like you?

(18:30): I just feel like there are going to be expectations on me to do something good or give back because of where i came from, yeah?

(18:33): You can do that by baking.

(18:33): Lots of people find comfort in cake.

(18:34): I never thought of it like that tbh

(18:34): what about you?

(18:36): I will likely go into law, like my father.

(18:37): oh shit

(18:37): you’d be a brilliant barrister

(18:37): Most likely, yes.

(18:40): so is that what you want to do?

(18:43): I haven’t give it much thought, honestly. It’s what I’m expected to do, so I figure that’s what I’ll do.

(18:43): right. I get that

(18:43): but is there like… something you WANT to do

(18:43): if there were no expectations

(18:56): It’s not really practical.

(18:58): mate. I want to fucking bake.

(19:03): Point taken.

(19:03): I suppose if I were able to choose I’d want to be a teacher, like my mother.

(19:05): you want to teach?

(19:05): What?

(19:05): you’re just so...not patient

(19:09): Well ideally I’d be teaching individuals who have learnt not to piss their pants.

(19:09): But thank you for that staggering show of support, Snow.

(19:12): sorry sorry!

(19:12): I think you’d be a brill teacher

(19:12): you’re wicked smart

(19:13): How would you know?

(19:15): you’ve got to be. you just seem smart

(19:15): why don’t you become a teacher?

(19:18): I’m not sure my father would approve.

(19:18): so?

(19:18): So my family is a bit posh. There’s expectations.

(19:22): that’s bollocks. Teaching can be properly posh

(19:22): if it was good enough for your mum why isn’t it good enough for you?

(19:25): Please stop.

(19:25): sorry did I cross a line?

(19:26): No, you’re just being very logical and making sense and it’s uncomfortable.

(19:27): Don’t you have some innocent bloke to yell at or some wall to walk into?

(19:32): oi I didn’t yell at him

(19:33): I can see it now

(19:33): “excuse me fit bloke, you’re extremely mean and I’m extremely horny for you, kindly get the fuck out of my school.”

(19:33): tHAT sounds way more like you than me

(19:34): also IVE NEVER SAID I FEEL THAT WAY

(19:34): mmmmmmmmmmmmk

(19:36): prick

 

SATURDAY, NOV. 10

 

(10:15): ebbs cafe is out of my usual

(10:15): I have no idea what to do

(10:20): oh no. How will you go on.

(10:20): look I start every day with it!

(10:21): what’s your usual?

(10:21): Earl Gray and three sour cherry scones.

(10:21): they’re out of scones :(

(10:24): you eat three scones every day?

(10:24): why are you eating on campus on the weekend?

(10:24): what’s the point of a student meal plan if you don’t use it

(10:25): horrifying

(10:25): are they out of anything else? I’m heading there but I’m not going to bother if they’re out of my usual.

(10:28): why are you coming to ebbs? I thought you lived off campus.

(10:28): I’m going to the library.

(10:28): Though maybe I should stay home. Today has been enough of a hellscape already.

(10:30): what’s wrong?

(10:30): and what’s your usual? I’ll check

(10:33): Pumpkin Mocha Breve and a chocolate croissant

(10:36): Jesus sweet tooth much?

(10:36): I thought you were sporty

(10:37): All body types are loved and accepted in competitive curling.

(10:37): I never know whether to believe anything you say

(10:37): As a general rule, I wouldn’t.

(10:38): so why has today been hell?

10:40): My aunt is home. She’s usually gone but when she’s home she’s a complete nightmare. She kept me up half the night with her music, and then she drank all the coffee before I even got up because I don’t think she went to sleep.

(10:40): Then my paper wouldn’t print so I had to go to the copy centre and I hate those people and they never use the type of paper I like.

(10:41): you have a favourite type of paper?

(10:41): and it’s probably going to rain which will fuck up my hair

(10:41): and I think I’m getting a cold

(10:42): Jesus

(10:42): well you’re in luck. Ebbs has your usual

(10:45): praise Satan for small miracles

(10:49): you’re fucking weird sometimes

 

#

 

(11:17): did you buy my coffee and croissant for me?

(11:17): when I got to the counter, Ebb said that order had already been comp’ed on another student’s account

(11:17): and then she handed me an umbrella

(11:20): really? Ebb sure is strange. Gotta love her

(11:20): indeed

(11:20): that was extremely unexpected and extremely kind of… Ebb

(11:21): :)

(11:21): also I’m keeping the umbrella

 

#

 

(14:42): fuck it’s pouring out

(14:45): Really? I couldn’t tell, I’m perfectly dry

(14:48): that was my only umbrella

(14:49): Kindness doesn’t pay.

 

#

 

(16:58): NIALL KELLY SHOWED UP TO PRACTICE WITH A HUGE FUCKING BAG OF SOUR CHERRY SCONES TO SHARE

(16:58): YOU WERE BEHIND THIS WEREN’T YOU

(17:13): why would I have Niall Kelly bring scones to feed a hoard of uncivilised rugby players

(17:15): because you don’t know who I am so you couldn’t pay me back so instead you used your mate to just treat the whole team

(17:15): this has you written all over it

(17:15): this is classic you

(17:15): steal my umbrella, then buy enough scones to feed a 22 person team

(17:18): You are a wildly suspicious person.

(17:18): It’s incredibly unattractive.

(17:19): oh fuck you

(17:19): don’t pretend you didn’t just do something nice

(17:19): granted, I’d have preferred my umbrella back…

(17:20): It was a gift, Snow. You can’t just take gifts back because you realised you were stupid to gift them in the first place.

(17:20): What were you raised in, a barn?

(17:26): no, an orphanage

(17:32): I can’t feel pity, your sob stories won’t get this umbrella back.

(17:35): fuck

Chapter Text

Simon = bold

Baz = ital

 

SUNDAY, NOV 11

 

(03:20): hey are you awake

(03:21): yes. Why are you?

(03:21): rough night. Why are you up?

(03:21): I’m watching movies with my aunt.

(03:21): what’s wrong?

(03:22): oh nothing. Like, I’m fine. I just have bad dreams sometimes and it makes it hard to get back to sleep

(03:22): do you need to talk about it?

(03:23): no, just need to be distracted

(03:25): how did you start playing rugby?

(03:25): what?

(03:25): rugby. How did you start playing the worst sport on the world?

(03:26): oh. Idk. I started in school I guess

(03:26): wasn’t good enough for football because I’m not very fast. I’m too bulky

(03:27): … Snow are you jacked?

(03:27): what? No. I’m just kind of stocky. Not fitba shape

(03:27): anyway I was always pissed and shit and they told me to play a sport so I could be a team player and put my “leadership” skills to good use so I chose rugby because it seemed easy to play

(03:28): and I’m good at it

(03:28): so it stuck

(03:28): I can’t imagine you as not a team player.

(03:28): I can’t even imagine you fighting.

(03:29): oh. Yeah. It’s a problem. Well it used to be

(03:29): when I got surrendered I was really angry and shit and it just never went away

(03:30): wait you weren’t surrendered as a baby?

(03:30): no. I lived with my dad for a bit before he surrendered me. I don’t remember him though. My mum died in childbirth. So I don’t have a memory of either

(03:31): Jesus Christ

(03:35): wowwww fuck I’m sorry this is too late for this heavy

(03:35): it’s not late for me. I never sleep so this is practically early.

(03:35): you should go back to bed though if you can.

(03:36): why?

(03:36): because things feel better with rest.

(03:37): yeah… yeah alright i’ll try

(03:37): thanks

 

#

 

(18:25): hey, thanks for last night

(18:31): I didn’t do anything.

(18:33): you let me talk and that was … really nice

(18:33): You have a very low threshold for nice.

(18:39): I’m gonna say something and it’s not pushing so don’t get weird and run away

(18:39): Okay….

(18:41): I wish I knew you in real life

(18:41): I wish I could say ‘hey, i’m bored and cold, meet me at Ebb’s?’

(18:41): and I wish I could buy you a coffee because you’re my friend

(18:41): I know you don’t want that and I’m not pushing, but just, if you ever want to meet up, I’d like to.

(18:47): It’ll have to be after dark.

(18:47): As a vampire, I can’t come out in the daytime.

(18:47): lol

(18:52): It would be nice though, you’re right.

(18:52): Maybe someday I’ll let you buy me that coffee.

(18:52): Even though we are decidedly not friends.

(18:53): you’re my friend

(18:54): You can’t make me.

(18:55): hey what sport do you play?

(18:55): Chess Boxing

(18:56): I fucking hate you

(18:57): See? Mortal enemies. Not friends.

 

MONDAY, NOV. 12

 

(10:03): do u kno where the athletic therapy centre is

(10:08): No, actually. I’ve never been there. Why?

(10:08): o fuck

(10:10): Why?

(10:18): Pen thinks I have a concussion and I said i’d go

(10:20): What did you do?

(10:25): I got taken down pretty hard at practice yesterday

(10:25): Niall fucking Kelly

(10:25): Looks like those shoulders you’re so fond of betrayed you.

(10:26): they are good shoulders

(10:28): oh i found it

(10:28): xx

 

#

 

(11:13): So? Are you dying yet or what?

 

#

 

(12:22): I guess you’re dead.

 

#

 

(13:10): Farewell, nightmare. I did not know you well.

(13:10): Your body will decay.

(13:10): But my phone battery will now last longer.

 

#

 

(14:30): lol im at A&E

(14:33): What’s happening?

(14:33): concussion lol

(14:33): Why are you staring at your phone with a concussion? Put it down.

(14:33): :|

 

#

 

(19:19): having a concussion is boring

(19:22): You’re not allowed to look at your phone so I’m not speaking to you.

(19:22): what a shitty way to show you care

 

TUESDAY, NOV 13

 

(15:15): Hello, how are your few remaining brain cells?

(15:19): fine, tbh

(15:19): i’ve a headache but i don’t know what the fuss is

(15:19): i’ve had loads of concussions

(15:20): That explains a lot.

(15:20): it was nice of you to be worried

(15:38): The brain damage was clearly permanent.

(15:39): So help me out. I’m buying my sister a present.

(15:39): Emoji horoscope guide or a deer skull?

(15:40): what the fuck kind of person is your sister

(15:40): 13

(15:41): is she in a cult

(15:41): Don’t insult my sister.

(15:41): She’ll find out and probably kill us both.

(15:44): go with the horoscope because i think thats not illegal

(15:56): What’s your sign?

(15:57): idk

(15:57): why?

(15:58): Because I want to see if our forbidden love is emoji compatible.

(16:06): Pen says i’m a cancer

(16:09): “Selfless, sensitive, caring and sometimes co-dependent, with strong leadership skills.”

(16:09): woah

(16:10): “Cancers can also tend to be suspicious, uncommunicative, hypersensitive and competitive.”

(16:11): oh fuck

(16:12): never really believed in this shit till now

(16:13): what are yours?

(16:16): “Hardworking, organised, dedicated, sensual and elegant.”

(16:16): Suddenly I believe in astrology too.

(16:16): I am extremely elegant.

(16:17): alright alright you got to share your shit ones too

(16:17): I have no shit ones.

(16:17):

(16:19): “Stubborn, vain, overindulgent”.

(16:20): haahahaahahahah

(16:20): christ you are so vain

(16:22): hypersensitive

(16:28): alright how compatible is our forbidden love then

(16:36): Not that forbidden, as it turns out.

(16:36): Surprise, Snow, apparently we’d make excellent soul mates.

(16:36): oh???

(16:38): Apparently our signs are well matched for supportive, nurturing domestic bliss.

(16:38): According to the emojis, however, in order for us to succeed, you will have to learn to communicate your feelings rather than lashing out, and I will have to learn to not be harsh when you are being sensitive.

(16:42): i feel kind of called out

(16:42): these emojis kind of uh, got personal there

(16:44): I’ve decided I don’t like astrology.

(16:44): yeah me neither

(16:44): get her the skull

(16:45): I was just thinking that.

 

#

 

(18:33): what should I eat for dinner?

(18:33): what are you eating?

(18:42): crisps

(18:42): that’s not a meal

(18:43): it is for me

(18:43): what the fuck

(18:43): do you never eat?

(18:44): Sorry, I need you to learn to communicate your feelings rather than lashing out.

(18:44): oh fuck you

 

#

 

(23:16): hey what sport to you play?

(23:19): Competitive cheese hill rolling .

(23:19): where the fuck do you come up with these things

(23:19): My mind is a scary place.

 

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14

 

(14:22): so I took a quiz where I picked my favourite kinds of soup to find out what magical creature id be

(14:22): and it told me I’m a dragon

(14:39): I’m sorry, the quiz learned this from your soup preferences?

(14:40): I guess chicken noodle soup is very dragony

(14:41): but it’s like my dream remember!!!

(14:41): I was going to see what you would be but I don’t know your soup order

(14:41): kinda can’t imagine you eating soup tbh

(14:57): ….

(14:57): send me the link

(15:01): buzzfood.co.uk/tell-us-your-soup-dog…

 

#

 

(15:17): so?

(15:17): These quizzes are stupid.

(15:18): what did you get?

(15:18): How can you possibly consider soup to be a serious form of data collection.

(15:18): please tell me you got vampire

(15:18): They offered weird kinds of soup, too.

(15:19): please

(15:19): please tell me you got vampire

 

#

 

(15:54): I got vampire.

(15:54): Also apparently I am a cedar scented candle.

(15:54): And the celebrity ghost I should have sex with is David Bowie.

(15:57): wow you really got sucked in huh

 

#

 

(16:35): I am a smoke scented candle

(16:35): that doesn’t even….

(16:35): I hate buzzfeed

 

#

 

(19:03): WFC has an away game tonight and idk what to do

(19:03): I’ve gotten so used to this Wednesday night tradition where I go to the game and text you and you ignore me

(19:03): I hope they do well…

 

#

 

(21:39): They won.

(21:44): how do you know?!!

(21:45): Insider knowledge, remember?

(21:45): It was tight. We went to shoot outs.

(21:46): we?

(21:47): We. WFC. Our team. The Royal We.

(21:48): oh

(21:48): i wish the rugby team were half as good as WFC

(21:48): anyway, what are you up to?

(21:59): Working on a paper. Then sleep.

(22:04): ahh i’ll leave you to it then

(22:04): good luck! Night :)

(22:04): goodnight

 

THURSDAY, NOV. 15

 

(11:01): the most insane fucking thing just happened

(11:04): Lecture, tutorial, four papers, two briefs, and practise.

(11:04): Tell me on Sunday.

(11:08): oh fuck

(11:08): good luck

(11:09): I don’t need it.

(11:10): well take it anyway, shithead

(11:14): xx

 

FRIDAY, NOV. 16

 

(10:22): there is free coffee outside the Weeping Tower

(10:25): I love you.

(10:26): are you okay????

(10:26): Yes?

(10:26): sorry just

(10:26): your niceness kind of freaked me out

(10:27): It happens once every six years.

(10:27): Now leave me alone.

 

#

 

(12:02): you know you don’t have to be all grumpy and shit when you’re busy. I get it. You can text when you’re able. Just dont get stressed!

 

#

 

(13:46): “don’t get stressed”

(13:46): Snow it’s like you don’t even know me.

 

#

 

(15:12): I hope this rain storm washes you away

 

#

 

(19:31): according to buzzfeed if I were a storm I’d be a snow storm

 

#

 

(23:47): Apparently I’d be a lightning storm.

(23:48): ur electric, mate

 

SATURDAY, NOV. 17

 

(11:47): did you leave my umbrella at Ebbs for me???

(11:58): Absolutely not.

(11:58): I’m dead right now.

(11:58): I died, last night, buried under my hopes and dreams and four legal briefs.

(11:59): oh that sucks

(12:00): Remember me.

(12:00): Also, stay dry.

 

SUNDAY, NOV. 18

 

(13:05): Remember that luck I don’t need?

(13:09): what about it?

(13:09): I’m about to need it.

(13:10): whats wrong?

(13:12): I’m on my way to my father’s house.

(13:16): yikes

(13:16): good luck

(13:16): (why do you need it?)

(13:17): It’s my little sister’s birthday. The whole family will be there. Along with dozens of thirteen year-olds.

(13:17): oh shit

(13:19): Indeed. My aunt and I are on the way there now.

(13:19): I’ve asked her to drive off the road and kill us, but oddly, she refused.

(13:20): rude of her

(13:20): That’s precisely what I said.

(13:22): so did you get your sister the emoji horoscope or the skulls

(13:22): Neither. I got her an ouija board.

(13:23): why the fuck would you do that??

(13:28): I told you, Snow, we’re having a seance.

(13:28): your family is so fucked up

(13:29): At least I have one.

(13:29): I hope your sister calls up a demon or some shit and it eats you

(13:30): No you don’t. Then who would you text?

(13:36): ….

(13:36): yeah, no I don’t

(13:36): tho maybe it could eat your dad. he seems kind of yikes

(13:40): Sometimes, very occasionally, I appreciate you.

(13:41): thanks?

(13:42): Alright, we’re here. Into the mouth of the beast.

(13:44): uh, good luck?

 

#

 

(15:26): Kill me.

(15:26): i really don’t want to

(15:29): Why are we friends, you’re fucking useless to me.

(15:30): !!!!! you said it!!! You admitted it!! We’re friends!!!

(15:30): No I didn’t.

(15:31): according to buzzfeed, you’re a liar

(15:31): Tell me something I don’t know.

 

#

 

(18:49): Someone gave Mordelia tarot cards and she’s reading my future for me. Apparently it’s bleak.

(18:50): who is mordelia?

(18:50): My sister.

(18:51): omfg

(18:51): Don’t.

(18:52): omfg

(18:52): I’ll have her read yours next.

(18:53): Oh, look at that. You will die in a violent murder.

(18:55): tbh it’s how i’ve always expected to go

 

MONDAY, NOV. 20

 

(12:20): I don’t ever want children.

 

#

 

(13:40): awe i like kids

(13:42): That’s fine and all but I don’t. They’re exhausting. I’m exhausted. I feel like I’ve been beaten. And I’m sticky. I’ve showered twice and I still feel sticky.

(13:43): guess i’ll be the stay at home parent

(13:44): ??

(13:44): Obviously. I’m clearly the breadwinner in this relationship.

(13:44): You’re just here to look pretty.

 

#

 

(14:09): hahah yeah

(14:09): lol

 

#

 

(15:22): Christ you’re awkward.

 

#

 

(17:15): haha

(17:15): yeah

(17:15): fuck off

Chapter Text

Simon = bold

Baz = itals

 

TUESDAY, NOV. 21

 

(11:22): he pushed me down the fucking stairs

(11:22): like, no joke, he pushed me down the fucking stairs

(11:22): i can’t fucking believe it

(11:39): Who pushed you down the stairs?

(11:40): that guy i hate!

(11:40): The fit one? The one you love?

(11:43): not any fucking more

(11:43): He actually pushed you down the stairs?

(11:43): What did you do to him?

(11:44): ????

(11:45): I didn’t do anything! I jogged up behind him and was like ‘hold the door!’ and the fucker completely ignored me and slammed the door in my face and i lost my balance and i went down the fucking stairs

(11:45): my coffee went everywhere and completely soaked my essay

(11:45): and now i have to go to the copy centre to get it reprinted

(11:47): Don’t let them give you their shitty cheap paper

(11:50): okay no offence but i dont give a fuck about paper

(11:50): he just pushed me down the fucking stairs

(11:50): It sounds like he didn’t realise you were there, and didn’t hear you.

(11:51): he slammed the door in my face!

(11:51): Did he? Or did you just lose balance when the door closed naturally.

(11:51): i cannot believe you’re defending him

(11:52): Someone has to. He’s not here to defend himself.

(11:52): And you defended belt buckle boy

(11:52): this is totally different!

(11:53): he pushed me down the stairs!

(11:53): Allegedly.

(11:56): okay walk me through this. How the fuck do you miss someone yelling ‘hold the door!’ on a stairwell

(11:57): Maybe he had headphones in. I never hear people when they talk to me on campus.

(12:04): i can’t believe this

(12:08): Don’t be put out, Snow. All relationships go through rocky periods.

(12:14): i fucking hate you

(12:14): i fucking hate him

(12:14): i fucking hate this day

(12:15): Are you okay?

(12:16): im fine im just overwhelmed

(12:16): this is just all so fucking great

(12:17): Go yell at the copy centre people.

(12:17): i dont want to yell at them!

(12:18): It’ll make you feel better. It’ll make me feel better.

 

#

 

(13:32): The offer stands to kill him.

 

#

 

(14:10): nah… i’m over it i think

(14:10): heading to ebbs rn and like 10 scones will make this better

(14:11): See? Love conquers all.

(14:11): Precious.

 

#

 

(14:48): i cannot believe you left my umbrella at ebbs for me

(14:55): One of us should really just cave and buy an umbrella.

(14:55): By one of us, I mean you. Since yours now belongs to me. This is a loan.

(14:59): tbh i kind of like passing it back and forth

(14:59): it helps confirm that you’re like, alive and out there

(14:59): like a little way to like, touch you

(14:59): sorry, that’s weird isn’t it

(15:08): god that sounded so weird

(15:12): Yeah, it did. Fucking weirdo.

 

#

 

(16:40): But don’t worry about it.

(16:40): I like it too.



WEDNESDAY, NOV. 22

 

(17:20): hey why dont you ever talk about the rugger you’re obsessed with

(17:32): Where did that come from?

(17:33): I was just curious

(17:33): I talk about my dumb feud all the time but like

(17:34): you are out here walking around with very real and serious feelings about someone but you never talk about him

(17:34): and i wondered why

(17:36): You’ve put legitimate thought into this and it makes me uncomfortable.

(17:37): is it because he’s on my team and you dont want to make me uncomfortable? Because i wouldnt care

(17:37): or is it like, difficult to talk about him

(17:49): It’s neither.

(17:49): I just try not to think about it. It’s not going to come to anything, he’s straight, and I’m fairly sure I’ve ruined any chance I could have had. I haven’t been nice to him

(17:49): oh

(17:50): So I’m trying to … move on.

(17:50): more blind dates like belt buckle boy?

(17:52): No. No, my attempts to get over him absolutely do not involve belt buckle boy.

(17:53): what do they involve?

(17:56): You’re outrageously obnoxious.

(17:56): Go yell at your crush and leave me alone.

(18:02): you know, i would stay and try to chip away that great big ol wall but im getting dinner before the WFC match

(18:02): TEXT ME BACK TONIGHT

(18:06): never

 

#

 

(21:12): well that was… brutal

(21:12): idk if the boys have ever lost that badly

 

THURSDAY, NOV. 23

 

(02:59): Are you awake?

(03:00): am now

(03:00): whats up

(03:01): Did I wake you? I’m sorry.

(03:02): no no im up

(03:02): what’s wrong

(03:03): Nothing.

(03:03):

(03:03): just watching movies with your aunt then?

(03:03): No, I’m still up doing work.

(03:04): wtf? mate go to sleep

(03:05): are you sure you’re okay?

(03:05): I fucked something up.

(03:05): what?

(03:06): I failed at something, and it’s… eating at me.

(03:07): what did you fail?

(03:07): I don’t want to get into it.

(03:07): wow you’re really not used to failing are you?

(03:07): Not particularly.

(03:08): wow okay

(03:08): Not helping.

(03:08): no i mean like, wow, okay

(03:08): i fail all the time

(03:08): like, constantly, i’m always fucking things up

(03:09): Also not helping.

(03:09): failure isn’t bad? Shit happens and you fuck up and you move on and sometimes you do better but sometimes you dont

(03:10): but you cant just pull into yourself and think about all the ways you suck because then you’ll get stuck there

(03:10): I fucking hate when you’re logical.

(03:11): lol. I’ve fucked up a lot, i’ve got practise

(03:11): You know Snow, I have a feeling that you’re not much of a fuck up at all. Not really.

(03:12): thanks mate

(03:12): go to sleep

(03:13): fine .

(03:13): Thank you.

Chapter Text

FRIDAY, NOV. 24

 

(22:02): so something pretty fucking embarrassing happened and it’s your fault

(22:09): I sincerely doubt that.

(22:13): so we take turns with music at practise and guys get to hook up their phones for background music as we do drills it’s nice

(22:13): oh that actually does sound nice

(22:14): today I got the aux cord

(22:14): I see where this is going. I’m sure your music taste is horrifying.

(22:14): the orgasm song came on

(22:14): the what?

(22:14): the orgasm song you sent me

(22:15): from the the cockfuzz band

(22:15): oh my god

(22:15): The Buzzcocks, Snow. They’re the Buzzcocks.

(22:15): You saved that to your spotify??

(22:16): you sent it to me!

(22:16): As a joke, Snow. I was mocking you.

(22:18): you mean that’s not your music taste?

(22:21): The Buzzcocks are brilliant but no, my taste is a bit more varied.

(22:21): My aunt plays that song to be a dick.

(22:22): oh my god

(22:22): well

(22:22): she got me then

(22:25): What did your teammates do?

(22:26): laugh, mostly

(22:26): but now a few guys keep moaning when they see me

(22:29): the dream

(22:29): so thanks for that

(22:30): any time

 

#

 

(22:59): here’s a song you might like

(22:59): spotify.uk.com/iu09927cx22

(23:00): I’m not opening that

 

#

 

(23:15): that was childish and I kind of expected better of you

(23:16): I know. I’m a little ashamed.

(23:20): this song gets stuck in my head so easily

(23:24): sing it loud sing it proud

(23:25): mate just so you know

(23:25): I appreciate our friendship and I’m never gonna give you up

(23:25): I'm never gonna let you down

(23:26): Snow, I will absolutely run around and desert you.

(23:26): fuck you

(23:26): xx

 

SATURDAY, NOV. 25

 

(09:01): it’s pouring and my match tomorrow isn’t going to be cancelled but it’s going to be a mud pit

(09:03): why are you awake

(09:03): why are you?

(09:03): because someone woke me up to bitch about mud

(09:03): oh. sorry

(09:07): but i mean, come on. It’s gonna be a mess.

(09:08): It could be worse.

(09:08): It could be today and then no one would come because of the rain.

(09:09): lol that wouldn’t make a difference

(09:09): no one comes to our matches except girlfriends tbh

(09:09): it’s a little depressing but I’m here for the game not the people

(09:11): I can imagine it would be disheartening to play to an empty stadium.

(09:11): Not that I can relate. Competitive table tennis always brings a crowd.

 

#

 

(11:02): my roommates boyfriend is over and he is the nicest person ever

(11:02): but he makes no noise

(11:02): he snuck up on me in the kitchen and I spilled my shit EVERYWHERE because I didn’t hear him

(11:04): Just because you’re noisy doesn’t mean that everyone else is quiet.

(11:04): how do you know I’m noisy?

(11:05): Just a hunch

(11:05): so now I’m at ebbs because I broke my coffee maker

(11:08): You’re at Ebbs?

(11:08): right now?

(11:09): yeah why?

(11:09): I’m at Ebbs

(11:11): oh

(11:11): I just walked out of the door

(11:12): I wasn’t looking.

(11:13): but I‘m sitting near the door.

(11:14): shit

(11:14): I didn’t pay attention, I was distracted by someone

(11:14): Well it was bound to happen sooner or later

(11:14): I’m not far, you know. I could turn around.

(11:17): no

(11:19): I mean, no. I left.

(11:20): ah

(11:20): well, cheers.

 

SUNDAY, NOV. 26

 

(16:56): so

(16:56): what are the odds

(16:56): you have something to do with the crowd of WFC footballers and their friends who are currently at my match

(16:59): do you think I have a team of footballers at my disposal?

(16:59): I wish

(17:00): Why are you texting? You have a match starting literally right now.

 

#

 

(17:08): Why are they all hugging each other?

(17:09): Is the entire sport of rugby just large men standing in a clump and grabbing each other and grunting.

(17:10): What is HAPPENING?

(17:11): Snow this is extremely gay

 

#

 

(17:17): What the fuck happened to Simon Salisbury’s face?

(17:18): How do you even play with that much blood in your eyes?

(17:20): That was a maybe 30 second stoppage to mop him up what even

 

#

 

(17:28): more huddle grunting

 

#

 

(17:32): this is slightly traumatic to watch

 

#

 

(17:38): How is it legal to grab someone by the shirt like that? Why aren’t there fouls? Why are players allowed to keep playing? No one is stopping.

 

#

 

(17:42): Oh good. A break. I’m exhausted.

 

#

 

(17:56): I’m serious, Snow, watching this huddle of grunting men just try to squeeze each other as hard as they can is wildly inappropriate.

 

#

 

(17:58): I’ve just been informed it’s called a scrum.

 

#

 

(18:02): ruck.

 

#

 

(18:09): flank and hooker

 

#

 

(18:11): how do straight men play this game

 

#

 

(18:19): Why don’t they pull that poor fuck off the field? His lip is caved in. That huge fuck on the other team just keeps bashing him. Is that allowed?

(18:20): There’s no way Salisbury is a good enough player to keep him in after the absolute beating he’s been getting.

(18:23): Oh good they pulled him off.

 

#

 

(18:31): I wonder if you’re the player who just absolutely buried his head in number 5's ass.

 

#

 

(18:37): Just kidding. You have to be the one who just attached himself like a jellyfish to the bloke with the dumb helmet.

(18:37): Only you could be that clingy.

 

#

 

(18:43): a scrum of rucking hookers and flanks

 

#

 

(18:51): Well that was exhausting.

(18:51): I’m never coming to one of these again.

 

#

 

(19:31): you came to my match!

(19:31): you came and saw me play!

(19:39): what gave you that idea?

(19:40): shit I wish I’d paid closer attention to the crowd but I got swept up in the game

(19:40): I can’t believe you brought so many people with you. Thank you. Really

(19:41): that was.. brilliant of you mate

(19:41): omg you sent me so many texts, okay I’m going to catch up

(19:43): rugby isnt gay

(19:45): wait you know Simon?????

(19:45): How do you know Simon??

(19:45): I thought you only knew Niall and the guy you’re in love with??

(19:48): I don’t know him.

(19:48): You were pretty concerned for him

(19:48): and knew who he was

(19:51): One of the blokes I came with knows him.

(19:51): oh.

(19:52): oh yeah, I bet I know who that was

(19:53): I only cared because the poor sod looked like he got put through a wood chipper.

(19:53): His nose did not need help being more misshapen. It’s already broken six ways to Sunday.

(19:53): Maybe the hit will have pushed it back in place.

(19:54): lol yeah

(19:54): maybe

(19:55): hey I’m pretty tired I’m going to go to bed

(19:56): It’s only eight.

(19:56): yeah i’m wiped tho

(19:57): thanks for coming

(19:58): xx

 

BAZ

 

My heart is pounding. Shit. Fuck I should not have said that. I shouldn’t have said any of that.

“Excuse me,” I tell Niall, clapping him on the shoulder. He barely looks up at me, just grins and raises his pint as I extricate myself from our booth and make my way carefully through the pub and outside into the cold night air.

I couldn’t help it. Salisbury took a complete beating and I was swept up in the game and I mentioned him to Snow. I shouldn’t have. I told myself not to. I’ve been careful to not talk about him much because I haven’t wanted Snow to find out. And I haven’t wanted to let on the depth of my weird fixation with him.

Small droplets of rain skate down my neck as I pull the collar of my coat up and lean against the rough stone side of the pub. The street. The only other people out are all Watford students, stumbling in and out of the pubs that are still open on a Sunday night, shouting and laughing to each other.

I check my phone. No miraculous text. Fuck.

It’s ridiculous of me to be berating myself like this. He knows I have feelings for someone else. But, I guess, to a small extent, I didn’t want Snow to get hurt.

Not that I have any reason to believe he would, but there’s been a clear build up of something happening here. There’s been absolute flirting. Ever since he told me he’s bisexual, I’ve been more and more open with him. He’s easy to talk to.

He’s easy to be open with.

But now I’ve ruined it, clearly.

He knows. He has to know — he has to have put it together that the rugger I’ve talked about was Salisbury, and now he’ll be put off. And how couldn’t he? If I’m right, if he has been developing feelings for me, how fucking weird is it to know that the person you like has a weird obsession with your teammate?

I should know. He has a fixation on one of mine.

That’s why I tried to talk back the Salisbury thing, to insult him. It’s petty. I know it is, but I didn’t want him to think….

I shouldn’t have done it, though. I thought it would be fine, because he’s mentioned other people before. He talks about Niall’s shoulders. And fuck, once he even talked about me. Real me. By name. When he called me fit.

That made me happier than I’m fully comfortable admitting.

After a long internal debate, I pull out a pack of cigarettes from the pocket of my long coat and light one up with the lighter I stole from Dev. I almost never smoke. It’s awful for the lungs, and I usually have to be three drinks in to even consider it, but I’m anxious and on edge and, god dammit, I’m a full grown man who can smoke if he wants to, even if it’s a stupid fucking idea.

Seems to be the night for those.

There’s another reason I mentioned Salisbury, and then panicked when Snow questioned me. It’s the thing I’ve been wondering, the thing I’ve been edging around. Snow. Salisbury. How similar they are. How much it would make sense. Why he would do a runner as soon as I started insulting how Salisbury looked. But everytime I become completely sure that the person I’m talking to is absolutely, 100 percent Simon Salisbury, I just as quickly become sure he’s not. Because if he was, that would mean that Simon Salisbury has real feelings for me. Both Gampire me and real me.

And that’s not how life works.

He’s not Salisbury. I know he’s not. And I’ve spent so long being certain that my love life is doomed because Salisbury is the only one out there for me. But Snow is…

Snow is real. And attainable.

And I don’t want to lose him.

My breath comes out in a low, shakey huff and I take another slow drag of the cigarette before flicking it to the damp cobblestone and crushing it out under my boot.

That’s the real surprise here. The real ‘fuck you’ from the universe. I think I’d do anything to make Snow happy, and I don’t want to lose him.

 

(22:34): so, I’ve been thinking.

(22:34): I don’t know if you’ll be in town for Christmas, but I will be.

(22:34): Maybe after the term is over and things die down, we could meet up at Ebbs for that coffee.

 

I send the message with baited breath, like a fucking character in a romantic comedy, sat in my bed with my legs tucked up, hunched over my phone. I know he said he was going to sleep, but he’s a shit liar. He’ll be awake. I just hope he answers me.

 

(22:41): yeah, I’ll be here at Christmas

(22:41): you sure?

(22:42): Yes.

(22:42): To be honest, I’m a bit desperate.

(22:42): desperate????

(22:43): Yes. I desperately need you to explain to me how the fuck rugby works.

(22:43): lol

(22:44): yeah I think I can do that

(22:44): christmas, then?

(22:45): Christmas.

Chapter Text

bold = Simon

Italics = Baz

 

MONDAY, NOV. 27

 

(10:01): candy canes outside the Weeping Tower

(10:09): Gross.

(10:09): I thought you were a sweet freak?

(10:10): I like some things which are sweet, but that does not mean I like all things that are sweet.

(10:10): weird

(10:10): honestly i’ll eat anything

(10:13): Because you’re a walking rubbish bin.

(10:13): yeah

(10:13): i think its left over from being a kid you know?

(10:13): like i didn’t get enough so now when I see food I just feel like I have to take it even if it’s not my favourite

(10:17): We’re both charmingly fucked up, aren’t we?

(10:18): I guess that’s one way to put it, sure

(10:20): ~*~ We match ~*~

(10:21): that was weird

(10:21): Are you uncomfortable?

(10:21): yeah kinda

(10:25): Good.

 

#

 

(12:11): My aunt has barred me from my own flat until Thursday.

(12:16): why?

(12:17): Her revolting Kurt Cobain-wannabe boyfriend is in town.

(12:17): isnt she like… old

(12:17): Even old people have relationships and intimacy, Snow.

(12:20): weird

(12:20): what are you going to do? Do you need a place to crash?

(12:21): we have a pull out sofa

(12:26): No, I’ll stay with my friend. He’s closer to campus anyway.

(12:26): Maybe I can make him drive me to practise and avoid the rain...

(12:27): does he play the same sport as you?

(12:27): Yes, he’s on my curling team.

(12:30): you know

(12:30): I actually checked once

(12:30): to see if Watford has a curling team

(12:30): and?

(12:31): oddly enough we do not

(12:31): Fake news.

(12:32): I’m the captain.

(12:35): I have a theory about what sport you play actually

(12:35): I’m sure you’re wrong.

(12:35): im not actually an idiot

(12:36): debatable

(12:37): so i was thinking, after christmas, once we know who each other is, we could do things like go to the WFC matches together

(12:38): Sure.

(12:38): wait really

(12:38): I’m not saying no.

(12:39): fuck

(12:39): what?

(12:39): I was positive you were going to say you couldn’t go because you’re on WFC

(12:40): You’re awful at mysteries.

(12:40): im actually pretty good at them

(12:40): you’re just a hard nut

(12:41): Thank you.

(12:42): that wasnt supposed to be a compliment

(12:46): Out of curiosity.

(12:46): How well do you know the players on WFC?

(12:46): Let’s just say I said yes, I do play. Do you have a mental catalogue of every player?

(12:46): uh

(12:46): yeah

(12:46): i really like the team

(12:47): Do you know them because you like the team or do you know them because you think they’re all fit?

(12:48): go away

(12:50): but wait really do you play

(12:52): Sorry, Snow.

(12:52): My heart belongs to ice dancing.

(12:53): you know

(12:53): i don’t even know what that is. like i dont know how its different from figure skating

(12:53): That’s because you’re an idiot.

(12:53): do you know?

(12:55):

(12:55): no.

 

#

 

(14:38): hey uh

(14:38): not to get serious

(14:38): oh no

(14:39): just, I’m looking forward to meeting you

(14:39): i’m really glad you suggested it

(14:39): i’ve wanted to meet you for awhile and i’m just glad we’re going to get to be friends in real life because i like texting you

(14:44): I’m looking forward to it too, but can we not talk about this, because being candid about emotions makes me extremely uncomfortable.

(14:45): oh, yeah, sure

(14:47): would you rather take a quiz to see what kind of vegetable you’d be

(14:47): yes

(14:48): buzzfood.co.uk/tomatoortomato/9e…

(14:48): i am a pumpkin, apparently

 

#

 

(14:59): I am an aubergine.

(15:00): i always knew you were a dick

 

#

 

(16:41): I have to go back to my flat, wish me luck.

(16:44): good luck!

 

#

 

(18:15): you’re still alive right

 

#

 

(19:01): going to practice now but i hope you’re not dead

 

#

 

(21:21): getting a bit concerned mate

 

#

 

(23:49): so

(23:49): oh good you’re back

(23:49): so

(23:49): so

(23:50): what happened

(23:50): so

(23:50): Fiona’s boyfriend wasn’t there.

(23:51): ??

(23:51): he’s not coming

(23:51): isn’t this….good?

(23:52): She lied.

(23:52): ??

(23:52): She tried to sexile me for three days so that she could just sit around and watch her preferred TV shows.

(23:53): She’s not even doing anything.

(23:53): oh thats awful

(23:53): Isn’t it?

(23:54): God I wish I’d thought of it first.



TUESDAY NOV. 28


(11:12): just had a huge thought

(11:13): Mazel tov. How does it feel? This is a big first for you.

(11:13): shut up

(11:13): Ebb knows who you are

(11:14): Ebb knows who BOTH of us are

(11:14): ...yes?

(11:14): Did this literally just occur to you?

(11:15): I just mean like the whole time I could have been like

(11:15): hey ebb who is taking my umbrella

(11:15): and she would have been like

(11:15): oh it’s Johan McDingus

(11:15): You think my name is Johan McDingus.

(11:16): idk you said it was distinctive

(11:16): In your head do you view me as some kind of Swedish/Scottish hybrid?

(11:16): Do I seem like a McDingus.

(11:17): do you want me to answer that

(11:19): You’re the McDingus.

(11:19): that was not your best

(11:20): Get fucked.

(11:22): ill get on it, johan

 

#


(12:30): I’m aware of the Ebb situation, though.

(12:30): I asked her not to tell you.

(12:35): and she agreed??

(12:35): are you friends??

(12:37): Not particularly.

(12:37): She and my psychotic aunt went to uni together, though.

(12:38): she loves me. Why would she do that?

(12:42): Ebb’s kind of a chaos agent though, haven’t you noticed?

(12:42): I imagine she likes fucking with you.

(12:43): what?? No. Ebb is the nicest

(12:43): I never said she wasn’t.

(12:44): I feel kind of betrayed tbh

#


(14:39): by the way have you picked up our umbrella yet

(14:39): because uh if not I might need it back

(14:41): I have not picked it up.

(14:42): how are you staying dry?

(14:42): Someone else gave me his.

(14:45): oh

(14:45): someone you know like a mate of yours or like

(14:46): someone who was like “it’s raining don’t get wet take this umbrella”

(14:48): What the fuck is that supposed to mean ?

(14:48): idk I just meant like

(14:50): did you borrow a friends umbrella or

(14:54): I literally just said I have someone else’s umbrella I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

(14:57): yeah no

(14:57): lol just ignore me

(14:57): I’m just gonna go get it after my tutorial then I guess

(14:59): You really need to just buy yourself one, honestly.

(14:59): lol yeah

 

#


(15:33): Maybe I’ll get you an umbrella for Christmas.

(15:35): yeah??

(15:35): Yes, then I won’t have to borrow my weird friend’s umbrella when I’m late to class, like today.

(15:35): oh

(15:36): It smells like he dropped it in a puddle of Buckfast.

(15:36): oh gross

(15:37): Pity me, please.

(15:38): or maybe I’ll just keep mine and get you one

(15:38): :)

(15:38): Yes, do that.

(15:39): Your umbrella is kind of shit.

(15:40): oi

(15:45): Though this reminds me I have to start thinking of a Christmas present for Mordelia.

(15:45): what about the skull?

(15:45): My stepmother has requested I not bring anything dead into the house again.

(15:46): get her a weegie board

(15:46): wait, “again???”

(15:46): a what

(15:47): a weegie board

(15:47): ... an ouija board?

(15:51): yeah that

(15:54): And you thought I was Johan McDingus.

#


(18:01): I got the umbrella just in time, I left ebbs and it’s POURING

(18:03): I know, I’m on my way there now.

(18:04): oh you know what you should get mordelia?

(18:04): those little stick doll thingies that you put knives in

(18:04): voodoo dolls?

(18:04): I’m getting Pen one for Christmas and making it look like a librarian she hates



BAZ

I snort, loudly, and then look around quickly to make sure no one heard. They didn’t, of course. Almost no one is outside due to the pouring rain.

I walk faster. Ebb’s will be warm and dry and full of good smells and coffee, and I’m extremely eager to get there.

Dev’s umbrella is complete shit, and it’s barely keeping the rain from drizzling down my back, and I know my hair is going to be awful and my clothes are going to be just slightly damp in that way that they aren’t wet enough to change but they make you feel slick and unsettled all day.

No one on campus is lingering; people are darting back and forth, walking determinedly with heads down, trying to get through the rain. I side step to avoid a puddle and glance down at my phone to see another text from Snow.



(18:05): you could get a set for the whole family

(18:05): you lot seem into voodoo dolls



I grin and look back up, and that’s when I see it.

Simon Salisbury, walking toward me with my umbrella.

Snow’s umbrella, rather.

There’s no chance I’m wrong. It’s a distinctive umbrella. White, with a splashy red Welsh dragon on the back and a small rip in the front that’s been taped back together with electrical tape.

That’s my umbrella. Our umbrella.

And Simon Salisbury is using it, walking away from Ebb’s, smiling down at his phone.

My hands move of their own accord, sliding over to our conversation and hitting “call.”

Several yards away, Salisbury stops and stares at the ringing phone in his hands. His smile gets impossibly wider as he holds it up to his ear.

“Hello?”

It echoes through my phone but I can also hear it across the courtyard, and I hang up quickly.



(18:06): sorry, misdial



Across from me, Salisbury’s smile dips slightly.

 

(18:06): oh

(18:06): I thought my idea was so good you had to call and say you love it

 

Simon Salisbury is... Snow. My Snow.

Simon Salisbury is bisexual. And has been talking to me for months. And has a crush on me in real life. And I’m fairly sure he has feelings for me via text.

Simon Salisbury is my pocket nightmare.

A hot, coursing wave of terror and fear and overwhelming emotion strikes through me, and then is quickly washed away by a tide of burning humiliation and stupidity.

I’ve been an absolute fucking idiot.

It was there the whole time. So blindingly obvious even I couldn’t pretend not to notice, and yet I convinced myself it wasn’t him because... because I wanted it to be him. So badly.



(18:08): What should I make for dinner?



My first instinct as the text comes in is to throw my phone into a nearby puddle and crush it to death, then flee the country.

But that wouldn’t do anything, not really.

I should tell him. I should tell him that I know. We’ve agreed to meet at Christmas; there’s a timeline coming wherein he’ll find out anyway. Wouldn’t it be better to just do it now? The secret is out; the veil of anonymity has dropped. I know who he is, and now when his texts come in I’ll read them in his voice and I’ll picture his face when I’m sending him my thoughts.

Because Simon Salisbury is my Snow.

Jesus fucking Christ.

He’ll react well. I think. He likes Gampire. He’s extremely transparent; he clearly has feelings for me. Or at least my text alter-ego. And he thinks I’m fit in real life. Even if he thinks I’m a prick (which I am) he clearly likes me in real life. I could just walk up to him now and call him Snow, and he’d know. It would all be over. He would drop our umbrella and tell me he wanted it to be me, and then he’d grab me by the back of my neck and snog the living daylights out of me, and then we’d—

My face goes red.

What the fuck is wrong with me?



(18:10): never mind I can’t decide

(18:11): I’m going back to ebbs and getting a sandwich

(18:12): she’s already added turkey to the menu for the Christmas season

(18:12): how brilliant is that?

(18:12): turkey is probably my favourite thing about Christmas



I keep staring at my phone until droplets of rain gather on the surface, and when I look up, Salisbury — Snow — is walking toward me again. He catches my eye and hesitates for a small second before giving me a tentative smile and a wave.

I just scowl back. It’s instinctual. I can’t help it. Everything is crashing down around me and nothing is making sense, and how can he just—


(18:17): I think that bloke I hate has been standing in the rain for like ten minutes

(18:17): tried to say hello and he just sneered at me

(18:17): I hope he gets pneumonia, the daft prick

(18:18): not bad enough to die or stop playing for WFC

(18:18): more like a really bad cold

(18:19): though the asshole would probably look good even if he was sick

 

My insides twist in on themselves, and suddenly my path forward is clear, and for the first time ever I’m filled with pure, unchecked courage.

I think this is going to be okay.

But I’m not going to tell him.

Not yet.

I need to be sure.

Because I’m a coward. And because I’m pathetically invested in this. There’s no way of pretending otherwise. Not now. The two people I feel the strongest about are the same person, and if I lose this…

I’ll have lost a bit of everything, I think.



(18:25): Turkey is disgusting.

(18:26): What??? Who hates turkey??

(18:26): I don’t eat birds.

(18:27): What the fuck this is the weirdest thing you’ve ever said

(18:27): Oh I’m sure I can come up with something stranger.

(18:28): But now I have to go focus on catching the bus home.

(18:28): I thought you were coming to ebbs?

(18:29): Changed my mind.

(18:29): I want to go and take a shower because I’ve been using an awful umbrella all day and I’m wet.

(18:30): text later?



My heart thunders, but I keep walking, one hand gripped around Dev’s shitty umbrella, the other clenched around my phone.


(18:31): Maybe.

(18:31): Though given the 48 texts I received from you, I think you can carry the conversation by yourself.

(18:32): that’s a yes

(18:33): maybe

(18:35): oh by the way. Did you know that as of today we have been texting for two months?

(18:36): I did not know.

(18:36): And I do not care.

(18:36): Go away.

(18:37): xx

 

I step into the safety of the bus shelter and stare down at my phone. My heart feels like it’s in my throat, and if I weren’t damp all over, I’d likely be sweating.

I take a deep breath and respond.

 

(18:39): xx

Chapter Text

Bold = Simon

Italics = Baz

 

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 29

 

(11:01): so you’re going to text me during the match tonight

(11:05): No.

(11:05): you dont play around for even a moment do you

(11:05): No.

(11:06): hey so weird question

(11:06): are you good at Egnlish

(11:06): English

(11:06): Clearly better than you.

(11:07): i’ve been working on a paper all term and i cant keep looking at it and normally i would ask my roommate to look at it but she is swamped with her own stuff

(11:07): and i would take it to the writing centre but they scare me

(11:07): They scare you?

(11:09): yeah theyre just like

(11:09): really smart

(11:12): What if I work at the writing centre?

(11:12): do you???

(11:12): youve never said anything about going to work so i just assumed you didnt work

(11:12): kinda assumed you were kinda posh and rich tbh

(11:14): You’ve never said anything about work either.

(11:14): Ergo I take it you don’t work.

(11:15): oh

(11:15): yeah you know

(11:15): good point

(11:15): i can text through work so i never really think about it tbh

(11:16): Where do you work?

(11:16): call centre

(11:16): it’s kind of an awful job for me because i hate talking on the phone and im awful at speaking to people

(11:17): You’re as pathetically outgoing and eager as a dog, I can’t for a moment believe that.

(11:17): nah not really

(11:17): i’m not as friendly as everyone thinks

(11:18): wait so my paper

(11:22): What do you want?

(11:25): if i left it at ebbs what are the odds you’d be willing to look at it for me

(11:26): I don’t know if you want me to do that.

(11:26): why?

(11:26): I’m severe on papers.

(11:26): no thats a good thing!!

(11:26): i need someone who wont just tell me its great and then move along

(11:27): Snow, you know me. You know that I’m an asshole. Are you sure you’re prepared for this?

(11:27): You’re not an asshole.

(11:30): Yes I am.

(11:30): no you’re not

(11:30): you’re really nice

(11:34): What the fuck.

(11:34): Where did you get that idea from?

(11:34): I know you

(11:38): Clearly not that well, since you didn’t even know if I had a job.

(11:38): do you?

(11:40): No, but that’s beside the point.

(11:40): what is the point?

(11:40): I don’t want you crying to me when your paper is shit and you can’t handle my critiques.

(11:41): lol

(11:41): i think i can handle it

(11:41): you’re not gonna make me cry

(11:42): Fine. I’ll do it.

(11:42): !!!!

(11:42): thank you so much! I’m at Ebb’s rn, I’ll leave it here for you

(11:42): Alright.

(11:43): really I owe you, your gross pumpkin thingy is on me

(11:43): omg hey remember how i’m apparently a pumpkin

(11:43): actually nevermind i was going to say ‘hey pumpkin is your favourite drink’ but that’s a weird thing to say

(11:43): so let’s act like I didn’t say that

(11:45): Alright.

 

#

 

(13:22): hey are you okay?

(13:27): Yes.

(13:27): Why?

(13:29): idk

(13:29): you’re acting like you have an even bigger stick up your ass than usual

(13:29): just wanted to make sure like, everything was okay with you

(13:30): I’m fine.

(13:30): see thats a thing I say to people when i’m not fine tho

(13:35): I just have a lot to focus on today.

(13:36): hey, dont worry about the paper then

(13:36): that’s like, totally not at all important! and its not even due till end of next week

(13:36): It’s fine.

(13:37): no seriously it can totally wait, i know you need to check out of stuff when things get busy, so like, dont worry about the paper, and if you need to stop texting do it

(13:39): Snow.

(13:39): It’s fine.

(13:39): I want to read your paper.

(13:39): you sure?

(13:40): Yes.

(13:40): okay. Thanks :)

 

#

 

(15:15): just saying tho if you wanted stress release, watch the game and text me

(15:25): You realise it’s an away game, right?

(15:29): oh

(15:29): no i did not

(15:29): well fuck, what am i gonna do tonight

(15:30): I’m sure you’ll still manage to annoy me somehow.

(15:30): yeah tbh probably

 

#

 

(17:19): I have your paper. Thank you for the coffee.

(17:23): are you sure you’re alright bc that text was polite as fuck

(17:23): you’re acting weird and it’s freaking me out

(17:25): I’m really not acting that differently.

(17:25): yes you are!

(17:26): idk how to explain it but you are

(17:26): you’re less… you-ish

(17:26): or like, you’re acting like you back before we knew each other

(17:27): You’re an extremely suspicious person.

(17:27): and you didn’t text me back last night, just saying

(17:27): so I think something is up

(17:28): “You didn’t text me back last night”?

(17:28): Sorry, when exactly did you become my clingy girlfriend?

(17:28): I wasn’t aware I had to check in with you.

(17:30): I didn’t mean it like that i just meant like

(17:30): idk i’m worried about you

(17:35): I didn’t ask you to be.

(17:36): you’re being a prick, you know that right?

(17:36): You’re being needy.

(17:37): jesus christ

(17:37): hey fuck you

(17:37): You want to, don’t you?

(17:38): what the fuck

(17:38): Isn’t that why you’ve been pushing us to meet?

(17:38): i stopped pushing??? meeting was your idea??

(17:39): i have no fucking idea what’s happening right now

(17:39): but i dont want any of it

(17:40): sorry you’re having a shitty day i guess, but dont fucking take it out on me

 

SIMON

I’m shaking. I’m shaking with full on rage in a way I haven’t in ages. Months. Christ, I don’t think I’ve been this angry since last year, since fucking Baz pushed me to the absolute brink and—

Jesus, that’s why I’m feeling like this. Baz.

He’s acting like Baz.

I push up from my bed with a huff and pace back and forth around my room. Penny’s out, which is good, because if she heard me she’d come in here and talk to me and tell me to stop pacing and all of it would spill out and I really don’t want her pitying sound of her “Oh, Simon,” right now, because I’m way, way more upset about this than I want to admit.

I have no idea what happened. I thought things were good. I thought we were —

Well, I knew we were friends. I thought—

“You want to, don’t you?”

That’s what made me explode. The needy comment had cut me. It had made me feel like shit, because I was being needy, just a bit, I guess, but I thought that was fine. We’re friends. You can be needy and clingy to the people you’re friends with and care about, and it’s supposed to be okay. Maybe it was overstepping to ask him to read my paper, but I genuinely thought he would want to. He’s smart, he seems to love school, I kind of thought… I thought he’d enjoy it.

“You want to, don’t you?”

That was fucking humiliating.

I haven’t been trying to play it coy or hide things, but I didn’t think it was that transparent that I kind of—

Not like that . That makes it feel cheap, all of this, everything we’ve been doing. Our conversations, our friendship, that makes it feel like something else, something other, something less than what I actually want.

Jesus Christ, how fucking dare he make me feel this way?

This is last year all over again. This is Baz. This is exactly how Baz used to make me feel — how Baz does make me feel, when I interact with him, even if it hasn’t happened recently.

Clearly there is something up with him, even if he insists there isn’t. I didn’t do anything. I know I didn’t do anything to deserve the way he’s lashing out at me. And even if I want to stalk campus until I find him and wrap my hands around his neck and squeeze until he chokes to death, I need to step away. I can almost hear Penny’s voice in my head.

“It’s not your job to save people from themselves.”

I don’t have a fucking hero complex.

If Gampire wants to stew in his own problems and push away the people that care about him, I’m not going to fucking stop him.

It’s not my fucking problem.

I kick around my room some more and eventually give up and go out into the main room of our flat and try to make dinner and watch tv and focus on anything other than my phone, which is sitting in my room in the corner under last week’s rugby kit. They’re still kind of wet and caked with mud, and. I’ve been avoiding touching them or dealing with them, which is why I put my phone under the pile. I thought it was less likely that I’d dig it out that way.

But sitting around pretending that I’m not hurt and angry isn’t really working. It’s been hours and I’m still buzzing like I’m going to vibrate out of my skin.

I need to get out. I need fresh air. I need to just… stop thinking.

I change into my joggers quickly and deliberately ignore the phone in the corner of my room, and set off.

It’s dark and cold and my windbreaker isn’t as warm as I’d hoped it would be, but it’s fine. I run hot normally, and my internal temperature will rise if I run long enough. Which I plan to. I feel hot and itchy in my skin, like all my energy is building underneath and is about to burst out, and I just need to let some of it loose or else I’m going to go mad. Or go off like an atom bomb.

Our flat isn’t far from the Watford campus, so I head toward the school, cutting down the narrow lanes of terrace houses that I pass as I walk to class each day, turning left at the Watford Bridge, and heading toward the athletic fields. I focus on my feet, one stride after enough, and I ignore the fact that my eyes are burning and that I may, possibly, be crying a bit from anger.

Fuck that.

I’m sure he’d love to know that I’m an angry crier.

Fuck him.

Gampire was right; there wasn’t a WFC home game tonight, but my Wednesday feels odd without visiting the pitch, so I run in that direction, even though it’s dark and late and the lights won’t be on. It’s nice to run through the pitch sometimes though, even when it’s deserted. Sometimes when I run by here at night I run right down the middle when no one is looking.

I was wrong about it being deserted though; there’s a large bus parked just outside the pitch, the engine still running as, to my horror, a pack of WFC players stream off the bus. Fuck. The away game. I change my direction, planning to cut around the edge of the car park and then back behind the field to head home, when I make direct eye contact with Baz Pitch.

He flinches so violently when he sees me that he actually drops his kit bag, and I scowl at him. Not because he’s done anything, but because he’s such a monumental, colossal prick. He may be fit, but he’s always been awful to me. What does it say about him that the moment Gampire has a bad night and turns into a twat, I end up getting way angrier than I usually would just because he reminded me of Baz?

I can’t think of Gampire as being like him. I can’t compare them, because then Baz will ruin Gampire for me. And I don’t want that.

He means too much to me.

Baz is still staring, his eyes wide like he’s just seen a ghost, and I wipe at my eyes and make a rude gesture to him as I pass. Then put my head down, focusing on my feet as they pound across the pavement, carrying me down the grassy field, back toward the row of terrace houses, and back to my flat.

I take a shower and throw my sweaty clothes onto the pile in the corner, and I deliberately don’t dig out my phone.



THURSDAY, NOV. 30

 

(20:40): Watford won their away game.

(20:40): 7-1

(20:43): i heard

(20:43): Baz Pitch broke his score record.

(20:44): good for him

(20:44): sorry no offence but i just

(20:44): don’t really care


FRIDAY, DEC. 1

 

(22:21): So I’ve just checked my emoji horoscope, and it informs me that sometimes I may lash out and say things I don’t mean.

(22:21): Apparently it’s advised that I try not to be a prick.

(22:25): yeah?

(22:25): that’s going to be hard for you

(22:26): According to your horoscope for the day, you’re in a particularly forgiving mood.

(22:26): that doesnt sound like me tbh

(22:26): i hold grudges

(22:27): Pen says its my worst trait

(22:27): so that horoscope is bullshit

(22:27): There is a distinct possibility I made it up.

(22:27): what does it actually say?

(22:27): I don’t know, I wasn’t planning on actually checking.

(22:28): I imagine it would say that you are owed an apology.

(22:28): lol

(22:28): you think?

(22:28): its fine. I dont expect one

(22:28): you’re you, and thats not the kind of thing you do

(22:28): so just….whatever

(22:28): i dont need more people in my life who make me feel like shit

 

#

 

(22:59): I play for Watford FC.

(23:00): what??

(23:01): I’m not good at admitting when I’m wrong, especially when I’ve been really fucking wrong.

(23:01): but I thought you might want to know something about me

(23:01): because somehow we are friends

(23:02): wait seriously

(23:02): instead of apologising you’re telling me what sport you play?

(23:02): what does WFC have to do with you being a complete fucking prick to me for no reason

(23:03): nothing

(23:03): that was unrelated

(23:03): you didn’t do anything

(23:03): yeah of course i didnt fucking do anything

(23:03): remember how I once said I’m prickly?

(23:04): yeah apparently that wasn’t a joke

(23:04): no it wasn’t

(23:04): you talk like you have a stick up your ass when you feel guilty, you know that?

(23:04): i am deeply uncomfortable right now and trying my best

(23:05): do you really play for WFC?

(23:05): yes.

(23:05): I fucking knew it

(23:05): I was fucking right

(23:07): you are admittedly not as stupid as you seem

(23:07): you’re really fucking bad at apologising

(23:08): yes. yes I am

(23:12): I had suspicions, you know

(23:12): like loads

(23:12): this has changed everything

(23:12): I’m having to view you extremely differently now

(23:14): how did you view me before?

(23:14): other than as a weird Swedish/Scottish hybrid?

(23:15): a big old nerd

(21:15): so what am I now?

(23:15): a big old shitty fit nerd

(23:16): me playing football makes me fit?

(23:16): literally every bloke on that team is fit

(23:17): Christ you’re thirsty.

(23:17): Is this why you didn’t want me to know who you were?

(23:18): among other reasons

(23:18): I liked being unknown

(23:18): I was trying to process some things and you picked up on it immediately

(23:19): I don’t think anyone has ever been able to read me that well

(23:19): and I may have panicked. a bit

(23:20): I won’t think about it

(23:20): what?

(23:20): I won’t think about who you are.

(23:21): I know all the WFC players, if I put thought into it I could easily narrow you down to like two or three of the players. I’ve thought about it before a bit, tbh

(23:21): But I won’t think about it and try to figure it out and I’ll let us meet at Christmas, if you still want to

(23:22): You can’t just decide to not think about it, that’s insane.

(23:22): i’m pretty fucking good at ignoring things if i want to

(23:22): You don’t have to do that.

(23:22): its easy for me to turn off my brain and please dont make that joke

(23:23): I don’t care, actually.

(23:23): If you figure it out. I don’t care if you… know me. And I do still want to meet you, if you’re willing

(23:23): i am, if you dont freak out and get shitty with me again

(23:24): because that fucking sucked

(23:24): I said i was prickly.

(23:24): mate that wasnt prickly that was fucking deadly

(23:25): and i actually kind of like being friends with you more than fighting with you, so i dont really want to constantly be dodging that shit

(23:26): You’re uncomfortably sentimental.

(23:26): get fucked

(23:29): I am sorry. By the way.

(23:29): yeah i know

(23:29): but don’t say it, it feels weird and unnatural and it seems like the world’s about to cave in

(23:30): oh thank god, it was physically painful for me

(23:33): want to take a buzzfeed quiz?

(23:33): please

(23:34): do you want to know what your “soul colour” is or do you want to know the first letter of your soul mate’s name

(23:34): what is a soul colour?

(23:34): I think it’s just your favourite colour tbh

(23:35): Oh. mine’s blue.

(23:35): really? mine is yellow

(23:35): like piss. cute.

(23:35): pen says its like butter

(23:36): somehow mentioning butter is actually worse than the piss joke

(23:36): let’s have the soulmate, then

(23:38): buzzfeed.co.uk/0998=soulmate….

(23:43): what the fuck

(23:43): ???

(23:43): I got ‘z’

(23:43): have you ever met a man whose name starts with Z

(23:44): Zoolander

(23:45): go the fuck away

(23:45): what did you get?

(23:46): T

(23:46): oh

(23:46): I don’t know any T’s

(23:46): except for Trixie Pixey but I really dont think she and I are meant to be

(23:47): you know someone named Trixie Pixey?

(23:47): yeah

(23:47): yeah it’s a thing, it’s been covered

(23:47): Trixie...Pixey

(23:48): mate your name is Gampire

(23:48):

(23:49): you know that’s not actually my name, right?

(23:49): please tell me you understand that my parents did not christen me ‘Gampire’

(23:49): yeah

(23:50): tbh sometimes i forget

(23:50): im very tired

(23:50): go to bed.

(23:50): I’m gonna. You go too.

(23:51): hey thanks. for talking to me.

(23:51): well

(23:51): I was bored.

(23:51): i hate you so much

(23:52): trust me, snow, i hate myself more

(23:52): oh good the depressing humour is back

(23:52): it never left

(23:52): night gamps

(23:53): goodnight nightmare


SATURDAY, DEC 2

 

(08:45): Wake up nightmare, your paper is at Ebb’s

(08:46): oi i am trying to sleep

 

#

 

(13:05): my paper is just… red

(13:05): are my words even left here? I cant see through the red

(13:08): I told you I was severe.

(13:08): holy shit mate

(13:10): I’m sorry.

(13:10): I didn’t know you wanted me to coddle you. Like a child.

(13:13): you know i was worried things would be weird between us

(13:13): but its good to see you’re still a dick

(13:18): I accept your gratitude for fixing your paper.

 

#

 

(13:47): some of these notes arent even about my paper??

(13:47): “i hate white men”

(13:47): what???

(13:54): I meant white authors.

(13:54): They’re very played out.

(13:54): And you only reference white male authors.

(13:55): oh shit really?

(13:55): okay good point, but what about

(13:55): “this sentence is useless and so are you”

(13:55): i thought you wanted to be a teacher

(13:56): please tell me you dont plan to talk to kids like that

(13:58): It’s for their own good.

(13:58): The world is cruel, I’m preparing them

(14:03): “delete this entire paragraph”

(14:03): “then delete yourself”

(14:05): I may have edited some of this on the way to the match while I was still angry.

(14:08): “this is the worst type of paper. did you print this at the copy centre?”

(14:09): I stand by that.

 

#

 

(14:34): hey you have really nice handwriting by the way

(14:34): like a nun or something

(14:49): Are nuns the standard for good handwriting?

(14:53): yeah its like

(14:53): nuns and teachers

(14:55): Thank you?

(14:55): I think?

(14:59): it looks really familiar

(14:59): Maybe you’ve seen it somewhere.

(15:00): My handwriting could unlock the mystery.

(15:00): Well done, Sherlock, you’ve cracked the case.

(15:04): get fucked

(15:07): Honestly, I need to.

(15:07): i dont want to hear these things

(15:07): Too bad, you’re my only friend now.

(15:07): You wanted this.

(15:07): Now you have to pay the price.

 

#

 

(19:43): did you… rewrite my entire citations list for me

(19:56): Yours was wrong .

(19:57): you rewrote it all. you did it perfectly

(19:57): Of course I did, I know what I’m doing.

(19:58): you saved me so much time

(19:58): omg

(19:58): thank you so much

(19:59): Don’t mention it.

 

#

 

(22:04): I hate when netflix asks if im still watching

(22:04): like yes i know my life is sad but please dont ridicule me for this

(22:05): what are you watching

(22:05): im not watching anything anymore actually it was just on in the background

(22:09): so Netflix was right

(22:09): you aren’t watching

(22:11): look

(22:11): you dont have to watch GBBO to feel GBBO

(22:12): ….you watch baking shows

(22:12): what? its really relaxing

(22:15): you sit around and watch people make bread

(22:15): so?

(22:15): this is precious, snow

(22:15): thanks?

(22:16): fucking weirdo

(22:16): what are you doing??

(22:17): sitting in bed watching Netflix

(22:17): and what are you watching that is so much better?

(22:17): a serial killer documentary

(22:18): why did i expect something else

(22:18): I really don’t know.

(22:18): i cant imagine you just like, chillin in bed, having a snack, watching some murders

(22:19): Why is it that you can’t picture me as a normal human being?

(22:19): idk

(22:19): ill ponder it while i watch bread week

(22:20): You do that.

 

#

 

(23:54): I’m hungry.

(23:54): Make me some bread


SUNDAY, DEC. 3

 

(12:15): so i had a thought

(12:18): This never goes well, why do you keep trying?

(12:20): it’s pretty fucking stupid that we’re still doing the secret identity thing

(12:20): i mean like, we plan to meet

(12:20): you said you dont care if i figure out who you are

(12:20): why not just tell each other and be done with it

(12:22): Where’s the fun in that?

(12:22): I thought you liked mysteries.

(12:22): It should be blindingly obvious who I am by now

(12:25): wait you WANT me to figure it out?

(12:26): If you think you can by Christmas.

(12:26): this isnt a competition!

(12:26): Isn’t it, though?

(12:28): oh my god what

(12:28): are you trying to figure out who I am?

(12:30): Maybe I already know.

(12:30): do you???

(12:31): I bet you’re dying for me to tell you

(12:34): you’re full of shit you could never keep it to yourself

(12:34): you’d figure out who i am and the first thing you would do is be mean to me

(12:34): okay wait but if i guess who you are will you tell me?

(12:36): Sure.

(12:36): But no random guessing.

(12:37): oh fuck

(12:37): You have to make your guess in person.

(12:40): you’re literally just trying to humiliate me arent you

(12:42): That is an added bonus, yes.

(12:42): But also I’m curious.

(12:47): i cant keep up with you, you stance on things changes so fast

(12:47): I’m a joy, aren’t I?

(12:49): okay but like we’re doing this?

(12:49): Scared, Snow?

(12:53): lol you fucking wish

(12:53): shit i gotta go to a game

(12:53): any chance you’ll be there?

(12:56): Not today. I have plans with my family

(12:56): Maybe next week.

(12:56): Or maybe never. Rugby is horrifying.

(12:57): yeah yeah

(12:57): Also, you can’t ask Niall who I am.

(12:58): fuck

 

#

 

(18:24): You can’t ask Ebb who I am either.

(18:28): fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck

(18:28): Congratulations on your win, by the way

(18:28): It should help soften the blow when you lose our bet

(18:28): bite me

Chapter Text

Simon = Bold & Brash

Baz = Italian

 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 4

 

(11:12): morning!

(11:12): oh by the way

(11:12): I know you were behind the WFC guys at my match last night, by the way

(11:12): thanks for that

(11:15): It actually wasn’t me.

(11:15): For reasons I don’t understand, they enjoy going to the games now.

(11:15): I guess it’s fair; the rugby lads always come to ours.

(11:17): that we fucking do

 

#

 

(13:45): I have no idea what to get my father for Christmas

(13:45): What do you give the man who wants nothing and hates everything?

(13:49): socks?

(13:49): I should try it.

(13:50): blood of a virgin?

(13:50): What kind of family do you think I have?

(13:50): vampires

(13:52): I’ll just give him alcohol.

 

#

 

(15:15): you’re making me anxious about christmas gifts now

(15:18): I thought you were doing voodoo dolls?

(15:20): ye but i need to get something for pen’s mum

(15:20): she doesn’t really like me so it needs to be good

(15:20): Why doesn’t she like you?

(15:21): she thinks i’m trouble

(15:23): …. You are a literal ray of sunshine, how are you trouble?

(15:23): thanks?

(15:24): and idk im just like a little rough sometimes i think

(15:24): and they have so many kids and when i first visited last year her mum was like oh hey another one

(15:24): also i had the worst broken nose and i kept cursing bc it hurt

(15:24): and im uncomfortable around them a bit and dont know what to do

(15:26): She sounds like a dick.

(15:26): no shes not! don’t say that, she’ll find out

(15:27): Alright.

(15:27): What’s she like?

(15:28): She’s a professor and a historian

(15:29): Oh this makes more sense.

(15:29): Get her a book off of one of the Guardian book lists.

(15:30): what?

(15:30): The Guardian. The newspaper. They make book lists. Find one. Read it. Buy one.

(15:34): oh

(15:34): oh shit this is a good idea

(15:34): You’re welcome.

(15:37): Now:

(15:37): Cashmere scarf or the Whittard’s collection for my stepmother?

(15:39): how much do you like her?

(15:39): Actually quite a bit.

(15:40): get her the tea. Its more personal

(15:40): How is tea more personal?

(15:42): idk! It’s cosier

(15:42): you can drink it with her

(15:44): You are odd.

(15:44): But good idea.

(15:47): thanks!

 

#

 

(17:21): What are you doing for Christmas?

(17:26): idk

(17:26): just kicking around, i guess? Ebb said she was going to make me some turkey sandwiches and I thought i’d just watch TV

(17:29): You’re not going to your roommate’s for Christmas?

(17:29): nah ive never been invited and i dont want to intrude

(17:30): What did you do last year?

(17:33): I went to my ex-girlfriend’s house

(17:34): So you’ll just be alone?

(17:38): yeah

(17:38): i dont mind tho

(17:38): it’s not like im used to big christmases, you know?

(17:45): Fiona and I are driving to Hampshire Christmas morning to see my family

(17:45): It’s always awkward but Fiona gets sauced and we watch bad TV after dinner and my little sister is always a laugh

(17:45): You should come.

(17:46): to hampshire?

(17:46): for christmas?

(17:49): I understand if you’d prefer to be alone and pathetic in your flat.

(17:50): lol

(17:50): what if we meet up and you regret this invite

(17:50): I don’t think that will happen.

(17:53): maybe

(17:53): yeah

(17:53): that’s not weird?

(17:54): No, it’s weird.

(17:54): Everything involving you is weird.

(17:54): But my family wouldn’t mind.

(17:55): We’re very philanthropic. They’d be delighted that I brought an orphan home for Christmas. It would make us look wonderful.

(17:55): and there it is

(17:55): i thought this was too nice of you

(17:55): We can put you in a newsies cap and call you Tiny Tim.

(17:56): please stop

(17:56): You’ll have to eat in the kitchen, though, of course

(17:56): with the other orphans

(17:57): others?

(17:57): I thought I’d be the only one

(17:57): I’m sure I can scrounge up some more.

(17:58): yeah I don’t think I want to come anymore

(17:58): Pity, I already asked Father to make up accomodations in the barn.

(17:58): I hate you.

 

#

 

(21:40): seeing Niall at practice and knowing I could ask him but I can’t is torture

(21:42): For what it’s worth

(21:42): I could ask him too

(21:43): how would he know?

(21:45): “hey Niall, who is the bloke on your team everyone moans at?”

(21:45): you wouldn’t

(21:45): wouldn’t I?

(21:46): If you know who I am, why haven’t you said something?

(21:46): The guess has to be made in person.

(21:47): so what’s stopping you?

(21:47): I want to see just how stupid you are

(21:47): what?????

(21:47): I’m giving you a heads start.

(21:48): did you seriously ask Niall?

(21:48): No. I didn’t. No one told me who you are.

(21:49): do you know???

(21:54): That’s the secret, isn’t it?

(21:54): oh my god this is so frustrating

(21:54): You are welcome.

 

TUESDAY, DEC. 5

 

(02:32): oi you up

(02:33): I can be

(02:33): did i wake you?

(02:33): the truth will make you feel guilty so no

(02:34): oh

(02:34): what’s wrong?

(02:34): nothing, just cant sleep

(02:35): thinking and shit

(02:35): dangerous

(02:35): what are you thinking about

(02:35): idk just

(02:35): shit i try not to think about

(02:35): dont worry about it, i dont want to talk about it

(02:36): You alright?

(02:37): Is this because of my orphan jokes?

(02:37): nah

(02:38): yeah a bit

(02:38): just i keep expectations low but i wonder if ill get that family christmas tradition stuff some day

(02:39): you will

(02:39): ya im sure i will

(02:40): no really

(02:40): you’re awful but also the best kind of person and you’ll get the christmas tree and perfect holiday and all that shit that goes with it because it would be ridiculous and unimaginable for you not to

(02:42): i should wake you up more often, you’re really nice like this

(02:42): If you want to live to see those Christmases, I wouldn’t try it.

(02:42): lol

(02:43): go back to bed

 

#

 

(11:15): I’m going to ignore you today so I can finish my briefs.

(11:20): have fun

(11:20): Do I ever?

(11:20): Am I even capable of fun?

(11:20): Have you met me?

(11:24): stop faffing and work

(11:24): Fuck you.


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 6

 

(13:00): did you finish your work

(13:10): kill me

(13:13): i’ll take that as a no

 

#

 

(16:54): gonna be real weird at the game tonight knowing that you are…. out there

(16:57): Now you can fanboy even harder.

(16:57): shut up

(16:50): Any closer to guessing who I am?

(17:03): I have three guesses

(17:03): Three?

(17:05): one of them is… really strong

(17:05): one is okay

(17:05): the other sucks

(17:06): You’re killing me, Snow.

(17:12): I think i’m going to make my guess tonight

(17:14): Are you confident?

(17:15): uh

(17:15): yeah

(17:15): Are you going to do it at the game?

(17:17): after, i think, if i can

(17:17): I cannot begin to imagine how this is going to go

(17:19): go do your work dickhead

(17:19): i will see you tonight

(17:21): hmmm maybe

 

#

 

(19:11): this is so weird, knowing you are out there

(19:11): also this game is brutal

(19:11): Pitch and Grimm are a deadly fuckin combo

 

#

 

(19:43): cant believe that got a yellow card

(19:45): dont get me wrong, i do like football and i’d play if i was good

(19:45): but there’s something nice about rugby when you feel like you’re going to explode and you can just…

(19:45): go for it

(19:49): im not very good at being gentle i guess lol

(19:49): pen says im a soft touch but not a delicate one

 

#

 

(20:35): good fucking game mate

(20:35): jesus the lads and i are losing our minds

(20:35): i think Niall is going to propose to Dev Grimm after that goal

 

#

 

(22:07): so I didn’t see you after the match

(22:11): no you did not.

(22:11): I don’t suppose you chickened out of your guess?

(22:12): no i did not.

(22:12): you’re an absolute disaster, you know that?

(22:12): yup

(22:15): so, dont keep me in suspense

(22:15): who did you harass?

(22:15): im sure you’ll find out

(22:15): I want to hear it from you.

(22:16): nah you know im good

(22:16): Tell me .

(22:17): nope

(22:18): What did you say to him?

(22:21): I asked if he had a sister.

(22:21): Oh my god.

(22:22): That sounds like a bad come on.

(22:24): yeah

(22:24): he does not

(22:24): he looked at me like i was mental

(22:27): It’s killing me not to know who you thought I was.

(22:27): I wish you’d approached me with a bad come on.

(22:27): I would have delighted in mocking you.

(22:34): is your name Vincent?

(22:34): What?

(22:34): because I’d love to have your Kompany.

(22:35): oh my god

(22:35): I don’t know what’s worse:

(22:35): That pick up line, or the fact that you’re a ManU fan

(22:36): tbh i googled the pick up line

(22:36): shut your mouth about Man U

(22:36): I fucking won’t

(22:36): what are you, chelsea?

(22:38): Chelsea is overrated.

(22:38): Liverpool?

(22:38): I’m offended

(22:38): Arsenal

(22:39): Of course.

(22:40): ugh you would

(22:40): you’re such a twat

(22:41): Snow, you play rugby, fuck off

(22:43): Tell me who you guessed.

(22:45): no

(22:45): Tell me.

(22:46): I’m going to bed now

(22:46): Tell me.

(22:46): bye

(22:47): Tell me.

 

#

 

(23:14): Tell me.


THURSDAY, DEC. 7

 

(10:16): hey weird question

(10:16): not weird

(10:16): I mean like i dont find it weird but its out of nowhere

(10:16): but feel free not to answer

(10:24): Jesus Christ what is it?

(10:26): are you white?

(10:26): ….

(10:27): this is like a really crucial question because i think im pretty confident about who you are but i could be wrong but like feel free to not answer

(10:27): I can’t believe you.

(10:27): what??

(10:29): you’re an absolute idiot, and yet you managed to riddle that out

(10:29): did you go off of context clues, or have you figured out who I am and wanted to confirm?

(10:31): context actually

(10:31): kinda have suspected for awhile

(10:31): Is that a problem?

(10:35): oh my god nooooo

(10:35): no no

(10:35): i just wanted to see if I was right

(10:37): congratulations, Snow

(10:37): for once in your life, yes, you were correct

(10:42): you’re such a prick

(10:42): i have no idea why i like you

(10:42): i mean like i have no idea why we’re friends

(10:45): because I’m perfect

(10:45): yeah sure

(10:45): lets go with that

(10:46): fuck i have to pay attention in class okay right wish me luck

(10:48): uh?

(10:48): good luck?

 

BAZ

 

“So something extremely weird just happened to me.”

Dev collapses into a seat across from me in the library and throws his bag on the table, which nearly sends my books flying into Niall’s coffee..

“Good weird or bad weird?” Niall asks from my side.

“Weird weird,” Dev responds, leaning forward onto the table. “You know Simon Salisbury?”

My heart rate ticks up and I nod. Yeah. I know him. Just a little bit. I’ve heard of him. Casually.

“I’m in a class with him and we never, ever speak, and today out of nowhere he asked to borrow my notes, right? And I gave them to him to copy, and after class he goes to give them back and he got all weird and like, stuttering, and then he asked me if I like pumpkin.” Niall snorts, and Dev’s face screws into a mask of confusion. “He was blushing like nothing you’ve ever seen. It was fucking weird.”

A combination of hysterical laughter and shock are battling inside my chest. I guess he made another guess.

“Maybe he’s in love with you,” Niall offers, and Dev makes a face.

“Gross, I hope not. Is he even gay?”

“He’s bisexual,” I say before I can even stop myself. Both of them turn to me, and I stare back down at my books quickly. I did not mean to say that. The hysteria got to me. Fuck.

“Baz,” Dev says slowly. “Baz why Salisbury ask if I liked pumpkin?”

“Why would I know?”

My cousin and my best friend both fix me with steady, accusatory glares, and I can feel myself backing down.

“It’s not that interesting.”

“Tell me,” Dev says, his tone sharp and insistent.

Alright, maybe I can understand why Snow thought I was Dev.

“It’s complicated.”

“I think we can keep up,” Niall says, putting his chin on his hands and leaning close. “Tell us.”

“He may or may not have been texting me for months without knowing who I am,” I say with a shrug, trying to sound like this is a completely normal and not pathetic situation I’ve found myself in. “And I’m think he suspects you are me.”

I glance down at the imaginary dirt under my fingernails and wait for the ground to open up and swallow my horrifying existence whole.

“Oh my God,” Dev says, shaking his head. “The rugby match.”

“The scones,” Niall breathes. “Oh I fucking knew something weird was up. Of course it’s Salisbury. You’re obsessed with him.”

“So walk me through this,” Dev says, knocking back a long swallow of Niall’s coffee and then resting his forearms on the table. “You’ve created some kind of elaborate ‘You’ve Got Mail’ scenario with Salisbury because you couldn’t work through your awkwardness last year and ask him out?”

“That is not accurate at all,” I snap, looking around the library. “I didn’t do this. He texted me accidentally, I only realised who he was a few days ago. And also I’ve never seen that movie.”

“How did this even start?” Niall asks.

“He texted me thinking I was tech support. He found my number in a notebook — probably from fresher’s week, when we got given our suitemate’s contact information, is my guess.”

“He’s an idiot,” Dev marvels, and I nod in agreement.

“And now you don’t want to tell him because he hates you,” Niall finishes grimly.

“Well….” I say dropping off. My heart is pounding in my chest. I never considered having to explain this to my friends. I never considered that this would get far enough. But it’s happening. It’s really happening, and by Christmas, there’s a chance that he and I… well…  “Let’s just say I have reason to believe he’ll take the reveal fairly well.”

Niall and Dev exchange glances, and Niall scrunches up his nose. I know he doesn’t like Salisbury. He once called him a walking tree trunk.

“So why aren’t you just… telling him?”

“Because Baz is a pussy,” Dev cuts in before I can answer. “And he’s scared of rejection.”

“Thank you, Dev, for that. Very kind assessment,” I snarl.

“Wait so why does he think you’re Dev?” Niall asks

“He’s an idiot, remember?” Dev says. “Not joking, he never speaks to me and the second he saw my notes he freaked. You should have heard him, he was practically choking.”

“Our handwriting is kind of similar,” I muse aloud. “You, your dad and I all have very similar handwriting.”

“So, handwriting?” Dev asks, frowning. “Is he some kind of fucking Sherlock, he sussed it out from handwriting?”

“Let’s walk through this,” I say, glancing around behind leaning in to count off on my fingers. “He knows I play for WFC. He knows what my handwriting looks like. And today he asked if I’m white.”

“I guess that could be a lot of guys…” Niall muses.

“And he knows my personality,” I add.

“You and I are completely different, though,” Dev argues. I’m inclined to agree. Dev is a heterosexual asshole, for starters. I am a homosexual one.

“We’ve established he’s an idiot,” I say dismissively, then lean back in my chair.

“I still don’t understand,” Niall says. “If you think it will go well, why have the bet? It seems kind of, uh…”

“Convoluted?” Dev offers, and Niall nods eagerly.

“It is,” I admit. “But with our history… I want to see if he can piece it together. He’s surprisingly perceptive. And I think if he comes to the revelation on his own, he’ll take it better than if I just spring it on him. He’s stubborn.”

“Christ, you have it bad, don’t you?” Dev asks, shaking his head in amazement.

“I will kill you,” I say.

“No, no, it’s cute,” Dev says, his face breaking out into a wide, mocking grin. “I didn’t know you had an emotion other than anger. It’s nice. I support this.”

“I could push him,” Niall offers suddenly. “Give him hints. Help him in the right direction.”

“I want to say that’s not needed, but… maybe, honestly….” I sigh. “It’s a good back up plan, I suppose. In the meantime, I’m just going to—” I break off of my sentence and turn to look at the girl who has just approached our table. She’s standing in front of me with her hands on her hips, glaring down through cat eye glasses. Her hair is a shocking red, which does not at all seem natural, given that she’s Indian.

“May I help you?” I ask her, colder than I intended. I’m annoyed she’s interrupted us.

“Yeah,” she says, sticking her chin out. “You know you’re not quiet, right? I can hear every word you’re saying.”

“Oh, sorry,” Dev starts. “We’ll keep it down, we—”

“Are you seriously Gampire? Seriously? Is this some kind of sick joke?”

My blood runs cold.

“Penny, I presume?” I ask, my voice tight with anxiety. Fuck. Fuck. Fucckkkkkk.

“Pitch,” she says, nodding curtly. “Is this some kind of prank? Because I swear—”

“Not a prank,” I say quickly. “I didn’t do this.”

She eyes me.

“Do you really have feelings for Simon?”

“Love, he’s practically writing sonnets,” Niall says, snorting, and then promptly falls silent when Penny turns to glare at him.

“I’m not pranking him,” I repeat. “I’m not trying to hurt him.”

“I don’t believe you,” she says sharply, and now I fully understand why Simon is so scared of her mother, if this girl is anything to go off of. “Why wouldn’t you tell him who you are?”

“Look, he just found out,” Dev interjects, but he too falls silent under her glare.

“I thought he’d take it better if he worked it out himself,” I tell her honestly. My pulse is racing, and I’m trying to look casual and relaxed even though I’m moments from setting myself on fire. “And besides,” I say, taking a risk, “you know what he’s like. He’s stubborn.”

“You have to tell him,” Penny says. “You have to, or I will.”

“Don’t tell him,” I grind out immediately. “I’m — I’m working on it.”

She raises one eyebrow in a move that looks practised and cutting.

“If you hurt him, Pitch—”

“I won’t hurt him,” I swear, speaking too quickly and dropping my veneer of false indifference.

“He’s a dick, but he’s not cruel,” Niall says in what has to be the world’s worst attempt to defend me. Penny looks unmoved.

“Tell him, or I will.” She sniffs. “Soon, Pitch.”

She leaves our table and we watch her go back to her own and promptly disappear behind a towering pile of books, and Dev, Niall and I all look at each other with wide eyes.

“She’s fucking terrifying,” Dev whispers, and Niall nods emphatically. I agree, but I can’t show it; my stomach is full of rocks, and the anxiety is building in me like a pressure that makes it almost hard to breathe.

“Excuse me,” I say, pushing back from the table and gathering my things. “It appears I have a text to send.”

 

(12:32): so

(12:32): made any guesses lately

(12:35): oh my god he told you

(12:35): fuccckkkkk

(12:35): do you know who I am?

(12:36): you’re the guy in his class who asked him if he likes pumpkin

(12:36): look I didn’t know how to ask like… if he was you

(12:36): You clearly don’t know me at all.

(12:36): Dev Grimm? Really?

(12:36): look my best guess was either Dev Grimm or Baz Pitch and I’m clearly fucking wrong

(12:37): Why can’t I be Baz Pitch?

(12:37): because I hate him

(12:40): What?

(12:40): yeah, I hate him

(12:40): he’s the asshole, the bloke I keep having run ins with

(12:47): I thought you loved him?

(12:47): Wanted to climb him or whatever your language is

(12:48): no I just thought he was fit

(12:48): but he’s such a prick. like really just a massive dick

(12:48): I realised that the other day when you got all shitty and started acting like him

(12:49): he’s fit and all sure but like… I couldn’t be with someone who constantly made me feel like that

(12:53): but you forgave me

(12:54): yeah, because I know you

(12:54): I know you’re a good guy

(12:55): he’s just said too much shit to me to let go

(12:55): ever since the stair thing I’m just past it

(12:55): fuck him, I don’t need that

(12:56): I’m better off without someone like that, I think

(12:56): pen agrees, and she’s always right

 

#

 

(14:15): fuck that probably means I just gave away who I am, didn’t I?

(14:15): guess I fucked up the bet lol

 

#

 

(17:03): hello?

(19:15): sorry, i really am sorry for letting it out

(19:15): but i mean… what's the point of continuing with hiding?

(19:15): i’d like to know who you are and I thought we’d agreed

 

#

 

(22:30): i’m gonna guess you’re busy or something

(22:30): but that was some shitty time to disappear

 

 

FRIDAY, DEC. 8

 

(13:02): there is a bloke in the library practising italian and its making me so hungry


SATURDAY, DEC. 9

 

(18:41): I’m not really sure what I did or why you aren’t talking to me

(18:41): is it because you know who I am now?

(18:42): i guess it’s possible Baz has talked about his hatred of me lol

(18:45): or you’re close with him and I just went off on your friend

(18:48): sorry

(18:49): I’m just really confused and I don’t know what to think and I’m second guessing myself

(18:52): i just hope it didn’t make you uncomfortable


MONDAY, DEC. 11

 

(03:01): Okay so I know i’ve said a lot of shit about Baz and that might make you uncomfortable

(03:01): but it’s just a jokey thing, you know?

(03:10): please don’t freeze me out


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 13

 

(20:19): great game tonight

(20:19): you played like mad

 

THURSDAY, DEC. 14

 

(09:47): Stop stalking me.

(09:49): I wasn’t stalking you! I just tried to leave you a note with Ebb

(09:49): did you get it??

(09:52): Leave me alone, Salisbury.

(09:52): I don’t want your favours or your fucking coffee.

(09:55): I’m sorry

(09:55): I don’t know what I did but I’m sorry


SUNDAY, DEC. 17

 

(21:30): I’m sorry I asked Niall about you

(21:30): he was pissed as shit and I don’t know what the fuck happened or what you told him

(21:30): but you can thank your friend for breaking my fucking nose during our game

 

#

 

(23:14): why are you always such an absolute prick?


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 20

 

(20:00): i know you didn’t have a game tonight, so im going to gamble that you’re home and sitting around watching tv or something. I dont expect a response but please dont just turn off your phone

(20:00): this might be me reading into things but like… I don’t know baz. I don’t know anything about him but I do know you

(20:00): and it felt like we were building up to something

(20:00): something that could be really good

(20:01): penny told me what she overheard

(20:01): but I think I already knew

(20:01): I think I knew for a long time, actually, who I’ve been talking to

(20:01): I told you I was good at not thinking about things

(20:02): and then I said all those things about you

(20:02): and you had to just sit there and take it

(20:02): and know that I’ve been talking about you this whole time and then… decided I didn’t want you

(20:03): it’s possible that this entire time, you’ve been him

(20:03): which would mean I’m your bloke, doesn’t it?

(20:04): fuck

(20:05): whatever. Fuck Baz. I have no interest in him. The one I know, I mean.

(20:05): but I care about you. Gampire. Mean gay rugby hater.

(20:05): I don’t know Baz. I know you though

(20:05): and I know you’re reading these and ignoring them and probably feeling like shit and working yourself into a stress fit and you should fucking stop and like go outside and have some fresh air or something

(20:06): but I miss you

(20:06): maybe im so, so off the mark here and thats fine and if so just keep ignoring me

(20:06): but I want to give this a chance

(20:06): I want to make up for what I said

(20:07): I guess we’re both kind of pricks, huh?

(20:07): I know you’re still here for christmas break bc you told me. So if you want to give this a chance, come to ebb’s tomorrow? 6? I’ll be there

(20:07): I’ll buy you that coffee

(20:08): fuck

(20:08): anyway. Yeah. I hope you come. Whoever you are.

Chapter Text

THURSDAY, DEC. 21

 

SIMON

He’s not here.

I’m not sure what I expected to happen. Whether he was going to stroll in looking excited and happy to see me, or if he was going to be lurking by a table in the back, ready to gouge my eyes out.

The idea that he wouldn’t even come didn’t really occur to me.

I glance down at my watch. 18:15. That seems past the possibility of mild lateness, but still. I’ve got nowhere to be. Classes are ended. Pen went home. Campus is deserted, and there’s nothing for me to be doing except sitting in Ebb’s cafe with the handful of people left of campus, waiting for Baz Pitch to show up and decide if he forgives me.

It’s him. Everything about this is confusing and has me twisted up and unsure, but I am sure of that. Gampire is Baz Pitch.

I knew. I knew for awhile, but I just didn’t want to…

I didn’t want to face it.

Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I check again to see if I have any messages, but I don't. My screen is blank and black, and even in the fuzzy reflection of my lock screen I can tell that I look like shit. My nose is still bruised and slightly purple from where Niall broke it during the scrum, and my hair has grown out too much. I should have shaved it, but Pen always helps me make sure I don’t take it too short, and I didnt want to do it without her, so my curls are wild and falling in my face.

Not the best impression.

My fingers are itching to text him and tell him I’m here, but I shouldn't. I’ve harassed him enough as it is. He’s right; I’ve been borderline stalking him.

It’s just, I need him to understand. I need him to let me explain, even though im shit with words. I didn't mean what I said. Or maybe I did, but it doesn’t apply, not anymore. Not now. The Baz Pitch I knew isn't the real Baz Pitch.

18:20.

His coffee is going to be cold. The idea of the overly sweet orange syrup and cream going cold and congealing makes me want to vomit, which isn’t a good mix with the intense stress I’m feeling right now.

My phone buzzes, and I nearly slam my hand into the table in an effort to get it out of my pocket.

 

(18:22): did he show?

 

Penny. It’s almost cruel of her to have texted me. I think about texting her back, but I don’t. I’ll fill her in later. I don’t want to have this conversation in public. It’s probably going to be bad. There’s probably going to be snot. And I’d prefer to be able to just get up and go for a run or something when it’s over.

18:26 and the door to Ebb’s opens.

I see Niall Kelly first, his bright red hair an instant identifier, followed by Dev Grimm, looking dark and untouchable, and, finally, walking behind them, his hands in his pockets, Baz Pitch.

He stops in the doorway and surveys me for a long moment, and I give him a small wave. My heart is beating out a fucking Congo line. He came. He came. He came. His mask doesn’t change, but he stalks over to my table, while Dev and Niall take a seat at the table by the door. My heart is beating so fast I feel like I’m going to have a fit.

“Hey,” I say, my voice coming out as more of a croak as he slides into the chair across from me. He stretches out his long legs — clad in tight black trousers, wearing sensible boots that match his dark wool jacket — and leans back in the chair, the picture of disinterested disdain. It digs deep in my gut.

“What do you want, Salisbury?” he drawls, reaching out toward the coffee I bought him with one hand, but not leaning forward. He turns it with one long finger to read the name scrawled on the side.

Gampire

Bless Ebb. She didn’t even blink when I asked her to do it.

Baz flicks at the lid of the coffee cup and then ignores it.

“You’re late,” I say. He arches one lazy eyebrow.

“Frankly, I didn’t intend to come,” he says, stealing a glance toward Dev and Niall which makes it clear his appearance here is apparently not willing.

“Oh,” I say, wilting. “Right.”

“Indeed,” he responds. And then we sit in silence.

“Look,” I say, leaning forward and knocking my knee against the table. His coffee jostles, and his hand shoots out to steady it. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”

“No need,” he says immediately, nearly cutting me off. He won’t look at me. He just has this bored expression on his face as he stares off over my shoulder, like he’s thinking about dinner or errands.

“Yeah, there is a need,” I argue, leaning forward again, but more carefully. “I really am sorry. I was panicking, a bit, because I was confused, and I just — I meant it, what I said. Not then,” I hurry to add. “Yesterday. I only knew this like… idea of you that you put on, you know? Where we fought? But there was more to it, and I got to know that. And like…” I pull at my curls and try to give him a smile that probably just makes me look constipated. “You like Snow more than Salisbury, right?”

He twitches an eyebrow, but doesn’t answer.

“I was a prick. I knew as I was saying it that there was a strong chance it was you, but I’m stubborn, and…” I shrug. “We’re both shitheads, alright? Can we… can we get past it?”

“I never took you for the begging type,” he says, his tone cold. He picks up his coffee cup and takes a long sip of it, then makes a face as he puts it back down on the table. “This has been fun, Salisbury, but I’m afraid I have a pressing lobotomy scheduled. Excuse me.”

He stands up quickly, rising from the chair in one clean, fluid movement, and I see Dev and Niall’s eyes snap toward us.

“Wait,” I say, reaching out and grabbing his wrist. “Wait, just, stop being a fucking prick and wait.”

“Or what?” he snarls at me.

“Or nothing,” I snap back, pulling on his wrist. I expect him to put up a fight, or pull his wrist out of my grasp, but he doesn’t.

Instead he sits down.

And stares at the wall behind me.

“This is fucking stupid,” I growl, almost on the verge of smashing something. I’m so frustrated, and I don’t know how to explain to him what’s happening and what I want. I don’t know how to make my words work. “We both like each other. We do, don’t we? We fucking told each other. And I… I don’t know, I just thought—”

“What do you want Salisbury?” he says, sounding so tired and so bored and so... detached.

“You!” I say. More like shout. Several heads pop up around the cafe, and Dev and Niall are staring at me. “You,” I repeat, more quietly, leaning forward. “I want what we had, I want this…. Terrible idea or whatever it is. I want to go back to that.”

“You made it clear you’re not interested in me,” he says, picking at something on his sleeve.

“Well I was wrong. I am,” I growl. “I just… I don’t know. I forgave you when you said a whole bunch of bullshit to me. Why can’t you forgive me?”

He’s silent for a long moment.

“Say I did forgive you. What then?”

“Uh.” I didn’t think this far in advance. I was kind of just focused on the ‘get him to forgive me’ part and then I figured we’d go from there. “Want more coffee?”

He stares at the cup of cold coffee in front of him, and then slowly turns in his chair. His friends catch his eye immediately, and he gives them two short nods. They both stand up and leave the cafe, and don’t look back. It’s uncanny. They’re like henchmen in a bad spy movie. That would never work on Penny. She’d just shout from across the cafe that she didn’t understand what I was saying.

“Go on, then,” he says, turning back to me. “Buy me a coffee, Snow.”

 

BAZ

 

This may be one of the more terrifying moments of my entire life.

Salisbury gets up from the table with a clumsy motion and nearly jostles everything again. He stammers out a quick apology, and then hurries to the front.

He’s not small by any means; he’s shorter than me by a bit, but he’s practically twice my size regardless, and nothing about him will ever be smooth or elegant. Except maybe when he plays — when he’s on the field, his movements are easy and casual and instinctual, and it’s like he suddenly fits in his skin and knows where to go and what to do.

Not so here.

And he’s not alone.

The problem is, I want to forgive him. I want desperately to find a way out of all of this and just be fine and exist in a world where Simon Snow Salisbury actually cares for my feelings and wants to start something with me and wants me to trust him. But I always want to be petty and cowardly and keep him out because the idea of letting him in sounds terrifyingly exhausting.

I’m not very good at this.

But he’s persistent. He’s stubborn. He’s a fighter, even if he doesn’t want to be, and maybe I’m living in some bizarro world where I’m something he would fight for.

When he returns to our table he’s loaded down with two cups and a plate of scones, which he sets between us with a wide smile.

“I got you another of your pumpkin things, since the first got cold while you were being a twat,” he grunts, pulling the lid off his own cup and blowing on it. I look away from the motion of his lips as he takes a tentative sip of his tea.

“So I figured out why I had your number,” he says, leaning back. I raise an eyebrow in response, and he nods. “I wrote it down during freshers week. And then when we got introduced, you took one look at me and then walked away. And I wrote “HELP” and held it up to Penny, who was across the room.”

“Thrilling,” I drawl. “I wonder how you managed to completely forget about that.”

He shrugs and picks apart a scone, before popping half of it into his mouth.

“Never occurred to me it’d be you, to be honest. All of that week was a blur anyway, with things being new and being alone and trying to figure shit out.” He shrugs again. “I don’t hold on to the shitty memories.”

“That’s a skill, I suppose.”

He grins at me.

“Yeah. Depends how you look at it.”

We lapse back into silence and I sip my coffee for lack of anything better to do with my hands, and suddenly wish I’d never come at all. Hating him for forever would be easier than sitting in uncomfortable quiet and not knowing what to do.

“Where did you get the lipstick?”

“What?” I ask, confused. “What lipstick?”

“Last year,” he says. “You wrote threatening messages on the mirror in lipstick. I assumed it was your girlfriend’s, but…” He gestures at me. “You’re you, so. Where’d you get the lipstick?”

“Fiona,” I say, clearing my throat. “She used to visit and she left it there once.”

“Why leave me a shitty message in lipstick?” he asks, frowning.

“For the aesthetic?” I offer. I don’t really remember my motivations, other than just being endlessly put out with him. And wanting to lick him.

“Right,” he says, nodding. “So those things you said. About why you were always such a prick to me? Were they… is that true?”

“I was a prick to you because you’re a slob,” I snap, looking down into my coffee cup.

‘Right, but the other shit. The stuff about, you know. Liking me?”

I want to set myself on fire. I want to just light myself up and go. Maybe I’ll kiss him first, just to let him see what he’ll be missing after I self-immolate due to humiliation. Kiss him, then go.

“Yes,” I say, my tone stilted. “Yes. It’s true.”

“Right,” he says for the third time and nodding, like something has just been decided. “Right, well. Good.” He puts the lid back on his tea and then stands up quickly, and reaches for my hand. “Come on.”

“What? Why? Where are we going?”

“Out,” he says, tugging on me again and pulling me unwillingly to my feet.

“It’s raining,” I argue.

“I have an umbrella,” he counters, and I don’t really have an argument for this, so I allow myself to be dragged through the cafe and out the doors and into the drizzling evening chill. Salisbury stops for a moment to dig his umbrella out of his pocket, and then holds it up high so it covers both of us. It’s an awkward angle; I’m taller than him, so it hits my head just a bit, and we have to stand extremely close in order to be protected.

“Where are we going?” I ask him again.

“Shut up,” he growls, and crowds into my space.

“I haven’t forgive you, you know,” I say, walking to keep time with him as we cross campus and cut left at residence hall we used to live in.

“Okay,” he grunts, and steers me down a hill.

Maybe this is where I die.

I probably deserve it, after having been such a prick for so long.

“Why are we at the football pitch?” I ask, realisation hitting me as we head toward the car park. No one is there; we’ve broken the season for the Christmas holiday, and no students are still left on campus anyway, even if it weren’t raining.

“So,” Salisbury says, continuing his determined walk toward the field. “I’ve come here pretty much every Wednesday since I started uni. Coming here Wednesday nights to watch you play has kind of been one of the only constants in my life, you know?” Even as he asks the question, he shrugs, which causing his hideous umbrella to hit me in the face. “Even when you were making my life hell last year I came and watched, because you’re… I dunno. You’re you. You’re brilliant. And also terrifying.”

“Is this how you apologise?” I ask, taking another sip of my coffee and trying desperately not to break.

“Like you’re any fucking better,” he mutters, elbowing me in the side. “And I said I was sorry. But I figure, we just have a lot of bullshit to work through, yeah?”

“Is this you or the terrifying roommate speaking?”

“Shut up and let me finish,” he says, dragging me over to the stands, and sitting down on the bottom one.

“I’m not sitting, I’ll get my trousers wet,” I say, scrunching up my face. He grabs my hand and tugs again, and I sit. Because I’m weak. And because he’s him, and he’s staring up at me with his blue eyes and his stupid mole ridden face and because it’s cold and wet outside but he’s warm and dry and he’s Snow .

“I liked talking to you,” he says. “I liked being your pocket nightmare way more than being your shitty suite partner.” He pauses. “Though you were kind of shitty too. Massively shitty.”

“Snow,” I say warningly, and he shrugs again.

“I want to be able to keep talking to you and seeing you and texting you.”

For a boy who struggles so much with his words, sometimes he gets it so simply, blindingly right.

“You’re a terrible texter,” I tell him, even as I’m melting.

He grins, and he’s made of trouble.

“I want to be your terrible boyfriend.”

“You’re ridiculous,” I say, but I can’t breathe.

“You’re a twat, it’s fine,” he responds, and then he begins leaning in. Slowly. Leaning in. Like he can make all these problems disappear with his mouth, and with his hands — one of which is still holding his shitty umbrella over us, and the other which is stroking my knuckles.

“I really hate rugby,” I whisper.

And then he kisses me.



SUNDAY, FEB. 24

 

SIMON

It’s freezing. The rain turned to snow halfway through the game, and the small number of people in the stands have been slowly trickling out. The WFC lads left at half time, just shouting out apologies as they clambered down off the stands and went to seek shelter. Maybe ten people remain to see the end of the game.

That’s actually a pretty good number, considering it’s February, and no one comes to watch rugby in February. Even Penny doesn’t. She tried once, and then told me she loved me, but it wouldn’t be happening again.

We won, but it doesn’t really feel that way. I think the other team just gave up, but that’s fine, because I’m freezing and I’ve a bruise forming on my knee and my fingers are shaking.

I pull my hoodie on over my muddy, sweaty shirt and dig through my bag for my mobile.

I have twelve unread texts.

 

(17:05): It’s fucking freezing out.

(17:05): You better fucking win.

#

(17:16): I saw you just grope that boy’s ass during the scrum

#

(17:36): Dev says that was a ‘decent enough catch’

(17:38): My favourite thing about Dev is that he hates you and this will never change.

(17:38): Good man.

#

(17:57): It’s fucking snowing.

(17:57): Dev is leaving because it’s fucking snowing. Christ this is miserable.

#

(18:07): Now would be a wonderful time for you to get injured and have to sit out the game.

(18:07): If you get injured right now and get cut I will buy you one of Ebb’s turkey sandwiches.

#

(18:15): Christ I hate rugby.

#

(18:19): There is snow on my nose. I cannot believe this would happen to me on my birthday.

(18:19): I’m leaving.

 

Grinning, I tuck my phone back into my bag and lift it up onto my shoulder, then survey the stands. Almost everyone has left, but there’s no sign of Baz. I guess he did leave then. I can’t blame him; it’s baltic out here. I don’t even want to be here. Maybe if I text him he’ll come pick me up in Fiona’s car. She’d probably let him. Fiona likes me. Well. Fiona tolerates me, which I think is as good as I can get.

“That was the most boring game I’ve ever seen,” comes a dry voice from behind me. I spin, and there’s Baz; bundled up in dark colours, his face almost hidden under his scarf, my manky white umbrella in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.

“Is that for me?” I ask, reaching for the cup, but he snatches it back.

‘Of course not, it’s mine,” he says, sniffing. “Dev brought it for me so I wouldn’t die.”

“I thought Dev left?”

“To get coffee, he came back,” Baz says dismissively, looking at something over my shoulder. “Hurry up, he’s driving Niall home and he won’t wait for us.” He lifts up the umbrella for me to step under, and hands me the coffee cup as he ushers me off the field.

I pull the lid off to take a sip — because Baz will bitch at me if I get even a hint of mud on the cap — and make a face, even as the warm liquid hits me. I fucking hate this drink. It’s one of the most revolting things I’ve tasted in my entire life.

But it’s warm, and I soak up the warmth of the cup for a moment before transferring it to the other one hand and reaching down to clasp Baz’s.

“I’m starving,” I tell him, leaning my head to knock into his. He turns his face sideways briefly to put a kiss on my hair, then pulls back immediately, making a face.

“Oh, gross, you’re sweaty,” he says, blanching in disgust.

“You’re an athlete. Why are you so weird about sweat?”

“I don’t sweat,” he bites back.

“Yeah, uh, okay,” I say. “Can we go to Ebb’s and get sandwiches?”

“No.”

“But you said—”

“I know what I said,” he responds as we reach Dev’s car. He and Niall and are already waiting in it, and the heat is cranked up so high that the windows are fogging. Baz opens the door and gestures for me to get inside.

“But I want a sandwich,” I mumble, scooting over the leather seat. Dev grunts a hello, but doesn’t look back, and Baz crowds in after me.

“Sandwiches are for people who get injured in rugby,” he snaps, shaking the snow from the umbrella all over me as he snatches back his coffee.

“I hate you,” I mumble.

He grins and catches my eye and slings an arm over the seat behind me.

“Mutual,” he says. And we both know we’re lying.