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Christmas Without You

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Connor started his morning fairly early. Well, it was more like he had no sleep to begin with, with him laying in his messy bed for hours. Staring up at the glow stars on the ceiling, he wondered how this Christmas would go. 

Last year’s Christmas was absolute shit. His ex, Jared Kleinman, ended up breaking off their relationship, leaving Connor to not be able to open up his broken heart again.

“I don’t... see you that way anymore. We can still be friends, though.” Jared had told him, but still gave Connor a kiss goodbye. “It’s been fun, our relationship. I’m happy that I met you.”

He didn’t know why Jared broke up with him, he didn’t know why it had to be that day of all days to say goodbye. Connor didn’t even get a fucking answer either! He was just left there, snow falling onto him in the middle of the night.

Coming home crying was NOT a way Connor wanted to spend his Christmas. 

When Zoe found out that night, she was upset but happened to understand why Jared left. Connor didn’t, and he pondered on the thought for so long. 

He had texted his best friend Alana a week later, with him telling her what happened. 

She was kind and supportive. Alana has always been there for him when he’s been rejected. She has always been there when he was at his lowest, and she helped him climb up from his breaking point.

Connor rather would fall in love with her instead of Jared. But she’s a lesbian, and Connor is the gayest person in all of New York; he supposes only a platonic marriage would work. 

He also wishes that he would’ve met someone else instead of Jared. And maybe that person would be better for him, maybe he didn’t have to still have these lingering feelings of hope and loss.

lil fucker: hey are u doing anything for Christmas? Hanukkah already passed and we haven’t seen each other in a while.

What a fucking second, why was Jared texting him now, a year after their break up? Connor was done with Jared, even if he still liked him. Getting back together with him would only hurt me more.

He grumbled a bit, but couldn’t be that one Asshole (TM) who wouldn’t reply back. 

actually an ass: not really, zo and i was just going to fuck ourselves over and eat a shit load of chocolate

actually an ass: why tho

lil fucker: I just wanted to see how you were doing. Are you having anyone over today?

actually an ass: my depression and bipolar, zo and lana 

lil fucker: I’ll drop by and bring a friend of mine too! 

actually an ass: wait i didn’t invite your ass over

lil fucker: Too late, see ya at 7!

Connor grumbles and turns off his phone, but still can’t help but to feel a bit of warmth left inside his (dead, cold and dead) heart. He does want to see Jared again, but if he does, all of his ‘stay pissed and move on’ thing that he’s been working on for a year would be thrown into the trash.

And who was this ‘friend’ of Jared’s? Was that person dating him, was he someone that Jared dated right after he broke up with Connor?

No no no, shut the fuck up. Just a friend, they’re all just friends. Jared, Zoe, Alana and Connor. They’re all friends. Well, Zoe and Alana have been dating since grade 10, but that’s not apart of the topic!

But is Connor jealous? Of course not!! Jared can hang out and date with anyone, Connor doesn’t care anymore. He has other shit to deal with. 

Getting out of his bed, he makes his to the kitchen. His parents are out on those ‘dates’. The whole house is just empty for Connor and Zoe. If they were irresponsible teens, they would totally throw a huge party with drunk teens in it.

They were irresponsible, and Zoe was a step ahead of him.

Soon, Alana was over at 4 to hang out with both of them. She helped bake a bunch of cookies, more or less decorate the already picture perfect living room, and set up activities for them to do. 

“Who else was invited, again?” Alana asks, remeasuring the cup of chocolate chip cookies for the fifth time. “I want to make enough cookies for everyone to eat.”

“Jared is coming over, as well as his friend... Evan, I think is his name?” Zoe responds, as she dumps the rest of the chocolate chips into the mixing bowl. Alana looks at her in horror, staring at Zoe’s double chocolate chip cookie mix and then at her own cookie mix.

“Evan? Isn’t he that kid from second grade who wouldn’t stop crying because some other asshole kid broke a tree branch?” Connor asks, pulling out a tray of triple chocolate brownies from the oven, before placing the pan onto a heat pad.

“That asshole was Jared.” Zoe deadpans, but nods. “Evan is a really sweet guy, he’s nice and kind and he would probably sell his soul to the devil to become one with the trees.”

“That’s oddly specific.” Connor replies, letting his brownies cool for a bit. He thinks back to second grade, which was 10 years ago, and remembers that Jared was the asshole who bullied him and Evan. At least he did become less of a jerk later on. But good god, thinking of the past hurts.

He waits a few moments, and realizes that Zoe and Alana are looking at him. “Wait a fucking second, you’re not planning to play matchmaker and set me up with him, are you?”

They look at each other, before looking back at Connor. “That’s exactly what we’re going to do.” Zoe answers, her smile turning into a snicker. 

Grumbling, Connor moves over to sit on the L-shaped beige couch, folding his legs and pressing them up against his chest. “Seriously, I’m sure Evan would hate me cause I was a dick to him on the first day of senior year.” He thinks of how harsh he was to Evan, and how Evan clearly did not deserve any of that shit that Connor threw at him. 

It would be way better to go back in time to properly apologize for being a jerk, to give back Evan’s letter, to explain why Connor took the letter and why he acted how he did.

He still has the letter; it rests between the pages of his favourite art book in his room, neatly folded instead of crumbled up in a paper ball. After that day, Connor often looks at the letter (like a fucking stalker he is, damn) and re-reads it. It just seems so real, the amount of emotional pain and the little bit of light that Evan had. Maybe it triggered Connor because Evan mentioned Zoe, maybe it was cause he realized that no one else would ever like Connor. 

Fuck, he needed to look at it again. Maybe give himself hope, maybe he can make a better impression on Evan when he arrives. Maybe Connor could say that he was feeling the exact fucking same, that his hoped was also pinned on Zoe because she was the one who saved him when he almost died. 

Holy shit, has it been 4 months since his last attempt? It seems almost eerie, it felt like it was just a day ago. First day of senior year, with the orange bottle in his hands, the letter in his pocket. Connor remembers reading it for the last time, thinking about Zoe. Sure, they weren’t the most stable brother-sister duo, but at least there was still something left over in their relationship. Connor at least knew that Zoe would care if he died.

My hope was pinned on you. Not to save me, but to at least show me some sorta fucking light that I desperately needed. Walking to his room, Connor closed the door behind him and opened his sketchbook, revealing the creased folded paper. 

God, you’re so fucking weird. Reading a letter that some kid wrote. It’s like you wrote it and put yourself into someone else’s shoes. Connor skims over the letter, the familiar words coming back to him. Is it weird to relate to this letter? Is it weird to understand and feel like it was him who wrote it? Is it weird to want to reach out to someone who is exactly like him?

Shut the fuck up, it’s just a goddamn letter. Evan probably doesn’t even remember about it, just throw it away before you become too obsessed over it. Stop thinking about Evan, he’s just some boy who you more or less know. Focus on Alana, focus on Jared, focus on Zoe. 

Exhaling, Connor looks at the letter for the last time before folding it again and closing it, stuffing it away in his book and placing it onto his nightstand, getting up from his bed. He walks out his messy room, and entering the kitchen. He finds Alana and Zoe clumsily making out at the kitchen’s island, and he fakes a gag. “Gross, Alana is my best friend.”

“And she’s my girlfriend.” Zoe shoots a glare, her face red and she wraps her arms protectively around Alana. 

“Touché.” Connor was about to take out the rest of the cookies from the oven when the doorbell rang. His head shoots up to look at the clock on the wall. 6:49, they’re early. That’s unexpected.

Alana pulls away (reluctantly) from Zoe and runs to the door, opening it and greeting whoever was on the other side. “Jared, Evan!! It’s nice to see you both again! Come in!” Connor hears two people shuffle in, and low and behold, it’s his ex with his friend. 

Jared looks the same like last Christmas. Combed hazel brown hair that’s swept to the side, that same smirk that hides away his anxiety. He didn’t change, not his appearance anyways. Maybe Jared grew mentally or some shit. Maybe he became a better person and rethought his life choices. Maybe he decided to be less of a dick to people. Either way, Connor knew that he was... different from before.

Evan, on the other hand, looked different. Connor wasn’t sure if it was a good difference or anything, but there’s something that made Evan.... shine. Wait, shit, that sounded gay. Sparkle, stand out, something along those lines. He sure does look happier than last time when Connor saw him. 

(Now when he thinks about it, Connor was the jerk who pushed him into the row of lockers during lunch. Of course Evan would be afraid of Connor, he was a literal walking hazard a few months ago. He still is one, but at least not... that bad, right?)

“Good to see you, Connor fucking Murphy.” Jared smirks, but there is no sign of rudeness or obnoxiousness in his voice. It’s almost affectionate, like a year ago.

“Nice seeing your fucking face, Kleinman.” Connor replies, with the same jerk-like tone. He doesn’t move from his spot, as watches the two guests wait in the hallway. He stands against the island table, staring at them as they look around.

Evan gives Alana and Zoe an awkward head nod as if he was saying thank you, but gives Connor a nervous smile. Connor tries to reciprocate it, but it feels half-assed. He feels the awkward tension increase, but thank gosh Zoe was there to save his poor ass.

“Take a seat you guys, the snacks are almost ready.” She smiles, bringing out some donuts and babka that they bought from a nearby store. She shurgs and places it on the island, and then brings some napkins and plates for all of them. “It’s late and all, but it was worth a try.” 

“Thanks, the effort is definitely appreciated.” Jared says, taking a few donuts that was filled with raspberry jam and places it on his plate, but doesn’t eat just yet. He waits for Alana to take a seat beside him, with Zoe sitting on the other side. Connor realizes that the only seat at the island table is beside Evan, so he slides into the seat. 

Jared starts to ramble about whatever the hell he’s hyperfixiated on for the past few months, with Alana nodding her head in some interest and Zoe going, “Oh, really?” Every few minutes. But Connor knows that both girls are just focused on cuddling in the least noticeable way. 

Staring at Jared, Connor wishes that at least that asshole would look his way once in a while. At least get back to their ‘good friend’ stage instead of avoiding each other. 

Evan looks uncomfortable in his seat, biting slowly into his slice of chocolate babka. He does pay attention to the one sided conversation, but doesn’t dare to say anything. It almost irritates Connor, why the hell can’t this guy try to say something?

Then again, Connor can understand. It’s not as easy to just be apart of the conversation. So instead of being a prick, Connor cleared his throat and tried to at least make some sort of small talk with the shorter boy.

“Hey, Evan, right?” He immediately cringes at how fucking stupid he sounds, but continues anyways. “How has your day been going?” 

Watching Evan perk up like a deer in headlights, frozen and eyes wide like a doe. Swallowing his babka, he looks like he has a million thoughts in is head, but he can barely open his mouth to form simple sentences. After opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water, he tries to wipe his hands on the napkin beside his plate, head ducked down and he stares at his lap. “I-it was o-okay...” It looks like he wants to say more, but something is stopping him. 

Connor presses his lips together, leaning back in his black swivel chair. “Do you celebrate Christmas, or is it just shoved down your throat?” Maybe he could sound less of an asshole and more like someone that is more sensitive. 

Evan tilts his head a bit, shrugging ever so slightly, “B-both, I guess? My mom is celebrates Hanukkah, b-but my dad celebrated Christmas...” He pauses, as if mentioning his dad was a bruise that Connor sorta punched indirectly. 

“Hey, we don’t have to talk about that kinda stuff if you don’t wanna. I didn’t mean to be a nosy jerk and make you feel like shit.” Connor says before the conversation could possibly get any worse. At that time, the timer for the cookies and brownies ring, and he gets up from his seat. “Zo, help me get these ready.” 

Zoe reluctantly gets out of her seat to help Connor, and they both take the cookies off of the cooling rack and place it on a large clean plate. Connor cuts the square brownies into smaller pieces, putting them on a seperate plate. They push the plates towards the three guests, before sitting back down. 

All of them eat and chat, with Alana now rambling about how she aced the most recent Bio test, with Zoe now attentively listening and Jared scrolling through his Tumblr. Connor talks about whatever the fuck comes into his brain, and Evan pays attention. He notes that Evan is much more of a listener than a talker. 

Once the snacks and deserts are done with, Connor ends up putting them into the dishwasher before everyone migrates to the living room. Jared takes his place in his favourite spot, obnoxiously in the middle of the couch. Zoe and Alana take the large cushioned love seat beside the cough, already wrapping themselves in a blanket and snuggling. Evan, realizing that he would be squished between Jared and someone else, ends up sitting down on the fucking ground. 

“Hold the fuck up, Evan, you are not sitting on the fucking ground.” Connor ends up commenting, instead of keeping his mouth shut. What the hell, they barely know each other and talk, Evan should easily be able to make his own choices and stick with them. But for some damn reason, Connor won’t let this boy (who he still wants to apologize to) to sit like a small lost puppy. “Jared, move over so Evan can sit.”

Jared nods his head, sliding over to the corner, where Evan sits opposite from him. Connor takes Jared’s place, but tries to lean more to Evan. He remembers him and Jared cuddling a year ago on this same couch, watching weird conspiracy theories on YouTube. It’s almost nostalgic, but that was the past. He’s moved on, and Jared obviously has too. 

Christmas music starts playing in the background, and Connor immediately knows it’s Zoe’s doing. “God, Zoe, I’ve heard over twenty fucking jinglely-janglely songs this morning, I rather listen to your fucking KBOP.” 

“KPOP, you absolute fucking walnut.” Zoe corrects, scowling. She changes the song on her phone, and that familiar Korean lyrics come up. Oh fuck, it’s almost too familiar—

Connor nearly doubles over, internally screeching. Zoe obviously wants Connor to get over Jared, but this fucking song might make shit worse. He gives a warning glare to Zoe, but she evades it and returns to cuddling with Alana.

Only Evan was the one to notice that Connor was uncomfortable, and he gives Connor an almost knowing look. “D-do you know this song?” He asks, as it he was trying to get Connor distracted. 

“... yeah, Zo plays this shit all the time.” He says, leaning back into the couch. Practically sinking into it. 

Evan nods, smiling faintly and he looks down to his lap again. “Love Scenario is a b-break up song, r-right? My Tumblr f-friend won’t stop talking a-a-about it.” He plays with his fingers and the hem of his shirt before looking back at Connor. 

He knows, he fucking knows. Connor’s mind screams, and his eyes darts from Zoe’s phone to Jared and then to Evan. Why the hell would he not know? Jared is that sorta person who would definitely tell Evan about our breakup.

“Well, yeah. Zoe likes the angsty love songs... right Zo?” Connor clears his throat and shoots mini daggers to Zoe, who gives them a sheepish shrug. “This is her favourite song so far.”

“I wonder why.” Jared asks, looking up from his phone. Luckily, Jared has no idea what Love Scenario is about, and has absolutely no interest in that sorta stuff. Thank god for that, or else this whole ‘getting over’ thing would be weird.

“So, what do we wanna do? We have 5 hours to chill, better not waste it sitting around.” Alana pipes up, interrupting the snowballing conversation, and Connor has counted about 27 times that she has saved him from fucking up anything else. The song ends at the same time, now followed by an upbeat Vocaloid song. “Hey, I know, why don’t we watch a classic Christmas movie? Suggestions?”

“I don’t celebrate Christmas but off I go I guess.” Jared says, finally putting his fucking phone away and Connor snorts. 

“Then why did you come?” Connor asks before he can stop himself. Jared came cause he was more or less invited, and yeah, Connor does miss him. Just be friends, you fucking dumbass, that’s all you gotta do. Move on, get over it. It’s been a damn year. You’re obsessing too much.

“Cause I felt like it?” Jared says, but his sarcastic tone hides something else Connor can’t quite figure out. He doesn’t look at Connor, and so Connor doesn’t know what sort of facial expression he’s making. “And Elf, that’s a classic.”

Home Alone, obviously.” Zoe responds and cuts off Jared, clinging onto Alana for a few lingering seconds before the dark-skinned girl gets out of the love seat. 

“We’ve seen that every Christmas.” Connor yawns, slumping even further into the couch. He doesn’t mind sinking into the cushions and becoming one with the furniture. Anything to get out of this situation. Maybe he should of stayed in bed, or went out with Zoe and Alana instead. He notices that Evan hasn’t said anything after the song ended, and he feels bad that everyone is nearly ignoring him. “Why don’t we let Evan pick out something?”

Evan does that same ‘h-huh?!’ perk, and he frantically looks around the room, as if he was in a daydream and forgot where he was. “I-I don’t mind...” 

Home Alone it is then!” Zoe decides, jumping from the love seat and taking out her laptop. Jared attempts to argue, but the younger Murphy wins. Syncing her laptop to the large widescreen TV, she signs into Netflix and plays the movie. The lights dim, and Connor decides that now is a great time to get up and get popcorn. 

Making his way to the kitchen, he grabs the microwave popcorn and throws it into the death machine. Taking two large bowls from the cabinet and evenly separates the now fresh and hot buttered popcorn into each bowl. 

“Oh, fuck.” It hits Connor that no, he cannot carry both bowls out at once. He could ask for help, or he could make  another trip to the kitchen... Ask for help, or don’t. You know, suffer. Gritting his teeth, Connor attempts to hold onto both bowls, but nearly drops one of them. 

“H-hey, w-would you like help?” A voice says behind him, and Connor turns his head to look at who it is. Surprisingly, it’s Evan. “I-I can hold one for you.”

It’s weird as hell, how Evan seems to be a ball of anxiety as well as a ball of sunshine in one. A small, hesitant smile, and he’s biting his lip, head tilted to the side. 

Wait, what’s this? This weird feeling in his chest, this weird badump that is too familiar? “S-sure. Here.” Connor nearly shoves one bowl into Evan’s arms, walking out and away from the situation before whatever the hell could continue on. (More like, running away from his problems—)

It is comforting in a way, Jared never really offered to help with anything. Never put that much effort into something, never wanted to be beside Connor when they were together. "Time and space, I need a lot of that.” Jared had told him, and Connor simply nodded his head.

Walking out of the kitchen, Evan offers his bowl of popcorn to the girls, and sits back in his spot. Connor places the bowl on the coffee table in front of them, taking a handful for himself. Jared immediately leans over to take two handfuls, while Evan only takes two bits.

The movie plays, and nothing happens for a while. Well, nothing that has to do with Connor. He simply chills, keeping his hands to himself and zoning out for a while. At least he has some peace, thinking about how fucking stupid the robbers ‘Wet Bandits’ are. 

Only something happens after the movie. Of course, something has to happen in Connor’s story, the climax of some sort.

“Hey, Connor, can we talk?” Jared says after the movie, stretching and getting up from the couch. He doesn’t meet Connor’s eyes, and ignores everyone else. “Outside, obviously.”

Connor blinks, looking around to the others. Zoe shrugs, and Alana gives him a sympathetic look. Evan doesn’t look their way, and instead looks outside.

“Sure.” He gets out of his spot as well, and he leads Jared to the back porch, opening the door and taking a step outside. He watches Jared stand at the doorway, still not looking at him. 

Shoving his hands into his pocket, Connor tilts his head and hears Zoe and Alana murmur something. His attention is quickly averted to Jared, who clears his throat before speaking. “Remember a year ago?” He starts, voice wavering a slight bit. 

“Well, yeah. You broke up with me and left me at the Apple Orchard alone on Christmas.” Connor replied, his voice snarky and bitter sounding. “How can I forget? It’s literally the most fucking bullshit way to end something.”

Jared turns his back and looks elsewhere, his shoulders sagging. “It was, it was a really big dick move to do that.” He watches Evan, who still sits awkwardly on the couch. 

“No kidding.” Connor does wish he would shut the fuck up and stop being such an ass. He’s over it, he can move on. I wish I didn’t like you so much. “Why did you call me out here?”

Slightly shaking, Jared tries to keep his ego and posture high and tall, but Connor knows that Jared is having some sort of internal breakdown. Turning back around, he gives Connor a toothy smile and adjusts his glasses. “I came over today to explain to you why I broke up. I also came to apologize.”

Connor wishes to hear those words a few months ago. He’s been searching for an answer for months, he’s wondered and thought why everything happened and he pondered on the thought for way to long. “W-what?”

Leaning onto the doorframe of the backdoor, Jared rubs his hands together a bit. “I knew that I wasn’t the one who was right for you. I knew that if we kept going, both of us would be too hurt to go on.” He starts.

“If we would’ve continued to have a relationship, we’d clash to much and argue and fight, we’d both be happy in the end.” Jared then mimics Connor and puts his hands into his jean pockets. “I’m not the one who can help you heal. I’m not the one who can be by your side when you’re in pain. I’m not the one who can stay by your side when you’re just as broken as I am.”

What the fuck?! “You’ve helped me a fuck load, you’ve been by my side when I needed someone and when Alana wasn’t by my side.” Connor replies, suddenly confused at what Jared means. 

Jared shakes his head. “But not enough. I’m not enough for you, and I’ve said this many times already, but I’m not the one for you.” His voice turns quiet and melancholic. 

“But I know someone who is the one for you.”

He turns his head to look back quickly before directly looking at Connor. “Remember when we still were together? Evan was always hanging around with us.”

“Yeah, but what does that have to do with everything?” Connor furrows his brows. What does Evan being in the equation have to do anything?

Jared swallows, “Evan likes you. And he understands you too. He always looks your way, he knows what sorta pain you go through, you both are actually very similar.”

“Wait, so you’re trying to set me up with him? Do you think this is a fucking joke?” Connor feels his fists curl up in his pockets and grits his teeth. “Do you know how much I’ve been hurt because of you? And now you’re pulling this fucking shit to what? Embarrass me? Mock me?”

Backpedalling, Jared shakes his head and tries to calm Connor down. “No no no, Connor, it’s not like that! Hear me out!”

“Why should I?! Fuck, I shouldn’t of let you come over, knowing this would happen!” Connor pushes past Jared and storms back inside, causing Zoe, Alana and Evan to look worriedly at the older Murphy. 

Connor stomps to his room and slams the door close in Jared’s face, huffing and his vision is all black and white. White noise fills his head and he can’t focus like he should. 

I wish I never loved you, I wish I never met you. I wish I never met him so I wouldn’t have to be in so much fucking pain, I wish I met someone else instead.

“He understands you too. He knows what sorta pain you go through, you both are actually very similar.”

“I know that. I always knew that.” Connor grumbles, pushing his messy brown hair back. “But I didn’t fall for him, I fell for you. Fucking asshole.”

He sits on his bed, clasping his hands together and tries to even his breathing. Think, think. Breathe, clear those thoughts away. You’re getting better, don’t fuck that up. 

“I’m not the one for you.” Jared’s voice rings in his ears, and Connor feels that familiar bubble of anger rise in his chest. 

“Fuck!” Slamming his fists onto the nightstand beside his bed. Something falls onto the ground, getting Connor’s attention.

His favourite art book is on the ground, the pages open perfectly to reveal Evan’s letter. His eyes catch that oh-so-familiar line he’s reread way to many times. 

I wish I was part of something. I wish that anything I said mattered to anyone.

Fucking loser, out of all of the people, why didn’t you see Evan? He clearly knows what you are going though, he and you can understand each other better than anything. Opening your eyes, dumbass. Jared’s right. Apologize and move on. It’s time to move on and let go.

Reaching out, he picks up the letter slowly. His heart beat thumps and his hands sweat a bit. Breath. You can do this.

Sitting up from his spot, he pushes himself off of the bed and walks to the door. Reaching for the doorknob, he suddenly hears a knock on the door. 


Shit, it’s Evan! Fumbling with the letter, he attempts to fold it in half and hide it behind himself but it ends up falling out of his hands. To his horror, he watches the letter slip through the crack of the door and disappear to the other side.

“H-huh?” Connor hears Evan bend down to pick up the letter, the sound of the paper crinkling in Evan’s hands. 

The other side of the door goes quiet, and Connor is ready to internally die. Fuck, fuck, fuck, Evan’s going to realize that I’m actually a creep and he’ll hate me and Jared would hate me as well and fucking hell, I just fucked up my life faster than anyone has—

Swallowing, Connor tenses his body before slowly opening to door, revealing Evan on the other side, looking up at him with huge doe-like eyes and almost as if he was in shock.

“O-oh, Evan, do you want anything?” He coughs, his eyes darting from the letter in Evan’s porcelain hands and back to Evan. 

Evan shakes a bit, breathing out slowly and licking his lips quickly. “Is this my l-letter? W-why do you still have i-it?”

”W-well, it was, sorta, like, remember when I pushed you?” Fuck, what a great way to start a fucking proper conversation, “And we saw each other in the, uh, computer lab! Yeah, the computer lab. I signed you cast and then accidentally took your letter and I was going to give it back but that didn’t really happen so I ended up holding onto it. I did plan to apologize to you and give it back but, ya know, I figured that you forgot about it so I didn’t...”

Connor fights the urge to smack himself in the face. Really? What was the rambling mess did he just spit out? It was oddly out of character too, ew, he needs to shape up and form proper sentences so that Alana doesn’t lecture him later on. Gulping and relaxing his shoulders, he tries to straighten his posture and invites Evan into his (mess of a) room. 

Evan gives him a nervous smile, but his hands on the letter are still firm and tight. “Thanks.” He mutters quietly and enters, standing near the bed but not taking a seat. 

Connor motions him to sit down, and takes a seat at the foot of the bed. Evan sits down, near the nightstand, playing with the edges of the now crinkled letter.

Sighing, he takes a few more deep breaths before speaking again. He repeats his words from earlier slowly and more carefully, trying to be thoughtful and not sounding like some weird stalker psychopath. “What I mean, I took your letter and didn’t give it back because I wanted to tell you how much I related to it, but I thought, you probably hate me because of what I did. I hoped that you would forget about it and I could apologize to you about the whole—” Connor waves his hands in the air, but is lost for words. “You know what I mean...”

Leaning back, Connor closes his eyes and waits for Evan to storm out of the room and realize what Connor truly is. He’s ready to be rejected— again— and has to dwell on how he managed to fuck things up again. But Evan doesn’t run out of the room in a terrified manner, and instead he slides closer to Connor. 

“A-at first, I-I was terrified that y-you would show the whole s-school about my letter. I did l-like Zoe, but I saw her as someone who I t-thought was like me. Someone who doesn’t s-shine in the s-spotlight, someone who was usually off to the side. But then I r-realized, sometime after the l-letter, that w-we’re more alike. That we can, could, u-understand each other.” He gasps a bit, out of breath since he was stuttering and rambling. The grip on the letter loosens and he hands the letter back to Connor. Evan smiles, small and yet so beautiful and pure. “I always wanted to t-talk to you, to be closer to y-you, but I felt that even i-if we were on the s-same page, we w-were still a million w-worlds apart...”

Evan ducks his head, biting onto his lip and his other hand was fumbling around with the loose ends of his blue striped polo shirt. He thinks for a few moments, before opening his mouth to whisper out, “But I was wrong, w-we are on the same p-page... And I’m so gl-glad...”

Inhaling, Connor feels his cheeks redden and he slowly takes the letter from Evan’s hands, his fingertips grazing Connor’s palms slightly. Jerking their hands back, they blink at each other before looking away.

“A-and, and with Jared... I don’t k-know what he said, b-but I have liked yo-you for a while... not as l-long as he says, b-but I really like you...” Evan’s face turns redder and redder by the second, and avoids looking at Connor’s face. There’s a pause, and Evan quickly backpedals. “B-but! I know t-that you s-still like Jared, so I, I don’t want to p-pressure you or any-anything and I’m s-so sorry about this whole thing!”

The blond continues to ramble for a bit but Connor gently interrupts, shaking just as much as Evan is. “H-hey, don’t worry about it. Yeah, I’m still not over Jared, but I think...” He looks up from his lap and at the open door. 

An open door to what his future holds. Another opportunity to move on. An opportunity to keep going and not stall anymore; to jump to the next page of his art book that’s his story.

“I think I’m ready to move on, seriously.” It feels kinda weird, those words that Connor tried to tell himself over and over again. How he tried to convince himself that he would be able to go on without Jared in his life. He doesn’t need to though, now. This time, however, those words feels right. Feels like it has meaning behind it and that he’s sure of his decision.

Leaning a small bit to Evan, he then says, “I can’t return your feelings right now, but we can start off from the beginning. A new start.”

Smiling softly, Evan nods his head in agreement. He does look a bit down, but it’s understanding and reassuring.

“Hi, I’m Connor Murphy. It’s pretty fucking nice to meet you.” Connor starts, putting out his hand for Evan to shake. Evan takes it, a bit shakily but his grip is firm. 

“H-hello, I-I’m Evan Hansen. It’s really nice t-to meet you as well.” Evan replies, shaking Connor’s hand.

Should I pull away now? Or should I just leave it there? What the fuck, no one told me what to do for these kinda situations.

Their fingers are still intertwined for a few more minutes before they find a (lame) excuse to let go. 

“Friends?” Evan asks, his warm cocoa brown eyes shining in the dimming sunlight that streaks through Connor’s blinds. His shoulders are slightly tense, his smile a bit awkward, but it sure is a start. 

“Friends.” Connor confirms, finding that softness (that he was sure was gone, forever frozen in the depths of hell) inside him and he can smile back. It’s also awkward as fuck, but he has to start somewhere.

He does know that he can move on this time, for sure.