“Are you sure you’re not dating Shayne?”
Damien gave her a weird look, “What makes you say that?”
Mari raised an eyebrow but he only looked even more confused. “You hold hands every time you walk together!”
“Why? Can’t friends hold hands too?”
“Both of you regularly go out! Just the two of you!”
“We’ve been hanging out together for years, Mari.”
She started to become more exasperated. “You take naps on his lap here in the office.”
“I do the same for him. You let Joven sleep on your lap too but I don’t see you dating each other.”
At this point, Mari felt the urge to either pull out her hair or violently shake Damien by his shirt. She’s leaning towards the former, but very tempted to do the latter.
“Damien, Shayne literally kisses your cheek. Every. Morning.”
He took a sip of his coffee, “It’s kind of like his own way of greeting, Shayne is just affectionate like that. He’s been doing that since last year.”
Gobsmacked, Mari took a deep breath then calmly walked to the refrigerator and rummaged for something. “I need a drink.”
“It’s nine thirty in the morning.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
Sitting beside Kevin, Tommy tried his best to press his lips together and suppress a giddy squeal. To distract himself, he shifted his focus to Garrett, who’s sitting in his little booth with all the other food to be presented.
In his opinion, Garrett is a closet sadist. It might be a very crude comparison, but Eat It or Yeet It is like his personal BDSM dungeon. The producer made it his primary goal to torment the contestants as ethically as possible, especially Shayne. But, it’s not like the crew doesn’t enjoy it too.
However, Tommy enjoys watching this segment for another reason. Appointments to the dentist and the endocrinologist are always in order after shooting these episodes. Because honestly, when did eating gross food become cavity-inducing and diabetic?
A normal player would just eat the presented food – albeit with fear and hesitation – and be done with it. Sometimes, the other players would try the food. But noooooo, Shayne and Damien would try each other’s food every time! But they weren’t content with just eating the food, they would also become quite…touchy while doing so. Not that they aren’t normally touchy with each other, but Tommy is a sucker for a specific type of scene.
Like now, Shayne ding-ed the surprise twinkie. There was the usual self-deprecating joke and hesitation before everyone counted down. He chomped on it then promptly had a coughing fit while trying to chew and swallow.
“Oh my god! Oh wow! It’s coming from everywhere!”
Damien took the bitten twinkie and sniffed the filling, “Is this…vegemite?”
Courtney fished the card from her apron, “Yup! It’s a regular twinkie stuffed with pure vegemite straight from the jar!” This earned a variety of reactions, followed by screams when Damien also took a bite but didn’t seem fazed.
“Huh, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
Shayne continued to cough, “What are you talking about?” A water bottle was brought to the table which he immediately chugged while Damien patted his back.
After Shayne calmed down, Tommy had to bite his lip as his romantic gay heart fangirled at the scene. A chuckling Damien wiped the crumbs and water on Shayne’s mouth with his bib, all while ruffling the blonde hair. Shayne blushed, looking like a deer in headlights and he can’t help but coo at the scene.
Tommy could already see the comments when the video will be uploaded. The Shaymien shippers will feast and he knew exactly how to stroke the fire further. Hmmm, maybe the onslaught of comments will push the two into finally dating...nah, he doubts it.
He’s really looking forward to the memes.
Joven watched the spectacle on the couch, ignoring the long suffering groans from either side of him.
Shayne’s face was getting redder by the minute as he squirmed, playing on a Switch while being poked and tickled by Damien.
He can’t hear much from his seat but based from what he can hear and the curses he can lip read, Shayne is trying to beat his high score in a game and Damien is there to distract him.
“Is this kind of like…a new mating ritual?”
“For moronic lovebirds probably,” Matt Raub muttered.
“So, how long has this been going on?”
Lasercorn sighed through his nose, “Since the move here. But probably even longer than that.”
It was Damien’s turn with the Switch and Shayne immediately tried to tickle him, but it looked more like caresses than serious tickles. Damien was too busy with the game and suppressing his laughter to notice.
“Am I just old or is this how courting works nowadays?”
Matt shuffled the papers in front of him, “Beats me. If one calls confessing without outright confessing courting, then probably.”
“This kinda reminds of crouching in video games. Even when you’re crouching in front of the guards, they somehow still can’t see you,” Joven commented.
Lasercorn thought about it and looked at the ‘not-flirting’ happening at the couch, “Funny that you of all people would say that. But that, is surprisingly accurate.”
Keith’s eyebrow raised incredulously as he watched Damien type on his laptop while sharing a tub of ice cream with Shayne. Shayne was trying to play it cool, but Keith can see even from a mile away how his hands shook while spoon-feeding his best friend. When Damien turned to smile at him, Keith could almost imagine steam coming out of those reddening ears.
“Wow, homeboy’s got it bad.” Noah snorted beside him.
“Understatement of the year.”
“What are they doing anyway?”
“From what I heard, they’re planning another sketch to pitch during the next meeting.”
The ‘High School Fight Caught on Camera’ sketch with Marcus and Brandon suddenly came to mind. Thinking about it now, he realized that Shayne was the one who wrote it and was probably confessing to Damien through the script. He shared his thoughts with his friend.
“It was probably the other reason he chose Damien for the sketch, not just because ‘I look like I would break with a single flex of his bicep’,” Noah said, complete with finger quotes.
“You think they’re plannin’ something like that?” He looked back and felt something close to pity at Shayne’s lovestruck face, fixated at whatever Damien was telling. It was a familiar expression whenever the two interacted.
Noah chuckled, “I doubt that. At Shayne’s current state, we could probably announce that we’re getting married and he’ll congratulate us then forget it by tomorrow.”
“Hmmm…I wouldn’t mind trying that right now.”
“Wanna bet? If Shayne asks about or mentions Tiffany, I’ll treat you wherever you want this Saturday.”
Keith stood up and brushed his clothes, “If he doesn’t, we’ll still be going out. Either way, it’s a date.”
Ian wondered if it’s too late to mandate another “No fraternization” rule. The thought of being remotely compared to Defy is the only thing stopping him.
Not that he’s against his coworkers dating, he doesn’t mind it in fact. As hilarious as seeing Shayne pine after Damien is, it also took him a lot of willpower to resist punching both the oblivious idiot and the pining idiot in their faces.
He considered just locking them both in a room, not letting them out until they make out or admit their feelings for each other. But no, he’s better than that and he doesn’t like to butt in other people’s business, despite how he usually acts on camera.
The problem usually lies during pitching, when Shayne would corner him after every meeting for some last-minute ideas. Ideas which were obviously tailored for some…‘opportunities’.
“So, why don’t we show scenes where we almost kiss but then cut to another –” “CollegeHumor already did that.”
“How about we blindfold Damien for Smosh Pit and make him guess who kissed him?” “I don’t think he’ll agree to that.”
“Ummm, a gay couple trying to get in the mood with their Spotify playlist but ads keep interrupting –” “CollegeHumor also did that.”
“Okay, okay, how about another fanfic recreation but with Shaym –”
“Shayne, can we at least go to the kitchen? I can’t deal with this without a large dose of caffeine.”
“Wait, there’s more –”
“I’m not really sure if he loves me back.”
Courtney ponders the possibility of drowning Shayne in her milkshake. Or perhaps Olivia’s cup of tea would be better.
“Shayne, I’m absolutely sure that everyone but you morons knows that you love each other,” she deadpanned, tone dry as the Sahara.
“Did you try walking naked in front of Damien to see how he’d react?” Olivia jokingly suggested.
Shayne blushed and coughed awkwardly, “Um, I do that sometimes and he uh…kinda got used to it?”
Both girls blinked. “Excuse me. WHAT?”
He remained quiet, face pink and playing with his salad, making her lose her appetite. She exchanged glances with Olivia, both sharing the same pained expressions.
She sighed through her nose, “Have you ever tried, you know, just talking to him? Tell Damien you love him.”
“Uh…no?” Shayne twirled his hair. “I really didn’t want to destroy what we already have, so I just settled on dropping hints.”
Pfft! Hints? He might as well be writing everything down in a huge signboard and dance right in front of everyone.
“Exactly! You’re best friends, and I don’t think Damien’s shallow enough to push you away just because you confessed. Just shoot your shot!”
Olivia nodded encouragingly and added, “I mean, you never know, right? The worst that could happen is that you still remain his best friend.”
Shayne’s brows furrowed, going deep in thought and absent-mindedly destroying a tomato slice with his fork. Then, he straightened up in his seat, “You’re right. I’ll tell him later before we go home.”
Olivia patted his forearm, “Good luck!”
Later that evening, Courtney was walking past the parking lot when a surprising sight made her duck behind a nearby parked car. A bit further from her position, Damien and Shayne were standing face to face. She can’t hear them but she can see them both clearly.
She could make out Damien’s smile widening, then he pulled Shayne close for a kiss.
She was having a hard time containing her giddiness, she looked like she was strangling the air. Her hands can’t stop shaking and she fought the temptation to run and give them both a hug. She almost came close to scratching the car she’s using to hide.
When they pulled away, Shayne looked dazed and his cheeks were flushed. Damien laughed and led him to his car, holding hands and intertwining their fingers.
Courtney waited until the car was out of sight before coming out of her hiding place and sending out a message to the group chat.