Chapter 1: Chapter One - London, England (June 19th, 2020)
One week of high school left, one week of Thomas walking from his last period class to get into the club room that Matthew had secured for them in there the first year of high school. It benefited them that Matthew’s mom was very powerful within not just the school board but with the London government. It had done both of the Fairchild children and their friends well.
Charles had gone to school in the US. Last Thomas heard he had gotten an internship job in London for the summer. Not that Matthew talked about his brother, the topic only came up with the boy was drunk and complaining about his ‘flawless’ brother. the flawless brother that hadn’t been in London for almost two years. However, still, Matthew seems to let Charles overshadow him.
Thomas sighed, as much as he would miss these halls, he had to admit he was somewhat done with the cold halls of the ‘best private school in Britain’ and sadly, he was getting instead done with his friends.
Christopher, although He was Thomas’s cousin and very sweet, he could get on Thomas’s nerves with his rather innocent nature, but he was also reckless, prone to blowing up chemicals just to see if he could, prone to messing with things he shouldn’t. Thomas felt as if he had to check in on him every day, make sure he wouldn’t do something to get him expelled.
Christopher wasn’t the worst, though, James and Matthew’s consent fighting as of late made him wish to get out of this school as soon as possible. They seemed to fight over everything or anything that upset them, screaming at each other till there faces where red and their voices gave out. Or if Thomas intervened, but he had grown tired of putting out the fires.
“And how is that my fault” Thomas heard as he walked into the club room wishing he was back in calc, Calc made sense whatever was going on between Matthew and James, didn’t.
“You failed to stop it. That’s how,” James and Matthew were fighting so often these days, over what Thomas wasn’t quite sure.
“Afternoon,” Thomas mumbled, dropping his bag on the chair, before walking over to where Christopher looked like he was building a bomb, “what’s this one about?”
“James and Matthew?” Kit looked over, getting a nod from Thomas, “no idea they were like this when I walked in,” Kit shrugged off, moving the goggles from his eyes. Whipping off the sweat that had collected in them.
“Fun, what are you doing” Thomas turned the conversation around on his cousin,
“I messed up an experiment in chem, so I’m retrying it to figure out what I did wrong I swear I was keeping a close eye on it” Christopher huffed, all his attention focused on the table of (mostly stolen) lab supplies,
“Well, good luck,” Thomas turned, pulling out his laptop, grinning at the new york city sticker he had gotten sent to him.
“Your American friend would likely still be in class” Kit mumbled,
“It would be around ten Kit, and I wasn’t going to message him” Thomas defended,
Alastair_C was a bit of fresh air in his stale life. A boy who lived an ocean away offered something a school full of students right next to him couldn’t, his stories were more interesting than anything the rich posh kids he took classes with could come up with.
“Sure,” Christopher remarked, Thomas opened his laptop to see a new message in his discord,
‘Remind me never to take an 8:30 lecturer again’ Alastair’s message was dated only two minutes back, likely that he had gotten out of class and messaged him.
‘Would it make a difference?’ Thomas typed quickly, opening up his English homework. He was still technically not texting Alastair if he had his English homework open, right?
‘Maybe? But that teacher is awful anyway,’ Alastair responds. Alastair was only a year older than Thomas, and he went to Unvisrty in the states, but they had been talking since Thomas entered ninth grade. He got his laptop. They had met over a Reddit forum talking about US politics, why Thomas was on that page, he doesn’t remember but hes glad that he was there.
Alastair was quick-witted and smart; he was different, something that Thomas grew to crave in the normal still life he leads.
‘So besides your 9 am class, what have you been up to????’ Thomas asks, then he finally opens his English homework, debating grabbing his headphones as James and Matthew bicker over something useless.
‘You know, studying, caring for my mum, seeing the guy occasionally, and working the graveyard shift at my coffeeshop’ the guy had become the name for the man Alastair was sleeping with who he refused to tell Thomas about.
Thomas doesn’t even know the man’s name, but hes jealous of him.
‘Why are you working the graveyard shift?? You need to sleep!!’ Thomas sighed, focusing on something other than the man who gets to be with Alastair.
Inevitably his stupid crush on a man halfway around the world will fade away. It had to.
‘If I work the graveyard shift, then I don’t have to leave my mother and sister alone with my father in the early evening, AND the cruel man doesn’t find out that I am keeping us afloat since he refuses to let my mother or sister hold jobs,’
‘... fair enough’ Thomas types in defeat, when something explodes, and he snaps his laptop shut. Surprisingly the ‘explosion’ isn’t Christopher at the lab table. Its Matthew was throwing a glass.
“Matthew,” Thomas pushes himself up from his seat, “Get the broom, we talked about you breaking glass,” Thomas demands. Like that the room got colder, once Matthew swept the glass into the dustpan, Thomas glared at Matthew and James both of them sitting down on the couch, “Kit, take this to the dumpster to throw out” Thomas passed Kit the dustpan, and the boy scurries from the room.
“Look, Tommy..” Matthew tried before getting cut off
“Save it,” Thomas gritted his teeth, “What the fuck are you, two morons, fighting about now?”
“Grace-” James started just to be cut off. Thomas hated it when his friends fought about a girl, mostly because it was always a dumb argument.
“Oh great, we’re fighting about a girl” Thomas rolled his eyes.
“Yeah, that James is completely obsessed with for no reason,” Matthew shot at James, who apparently had to relate.
“There isn’t no reason, and I saw you were hitting on my sister-” James slipped out.
“I did not hit on Lucie, you walked in to see us TALKING you know like two people who have known each other for a long time” Matthew smacked the back of his hand on the palm of his other hand,
“Shut it,” Thomas snapped, pulling them back to attention “first off, James Matthew wasn’t hitting on Lucie. Hes not that stupid.”
“Hey-” Matthew let out, Thomas didn’t care.
“Two Matthew, have you considered that James is just a little excited that the girl he liked in grade school is back in school with us,” Thomas suggested,
“Why couldn’t the girl be Cordelia,” Matthew huffed, Thomas had never meet Cordelia. Still, she was a myth from the summer she and Lucie had ‘bonded for life’ when they had gone to a two week overnight camp, then Lucie convinced her parents to let Cordelia stay with them for another two weeks.
“Cordelia wasn’t ever in school with us, she was in a summer camp with Lucie,” James looked down at his shoes,
“Still, she was nice and gorgeous,” Matthew shrugged, both getting quite.
“If you two start fighting about a girl you haven’t seen in the better part of a decade, I swear to god” Thomas broke there silence, trying to stop a fight about Cordelia.
“We weren’t, relax,” Matthew shook his head,
“Is there something else wrong, or a reason why you two are fighting more often,” Thomas asked, as Chrisphoer slipped back in the room,
“Maybe we’re just stressed, yknow with finals and everything” James suggested as they heard the door fling open,
“Daisy is coming to visit this summer,” Lucie yelled, a letter in hand, “I will see her for the first time since we were eight,” she flung her arms around Thomas’s neck,
“That’s great luce,” Thomas grinned, ruffling her already messy from rugby practise hair.
“Mum said she would prep a room, and I want to show her everything. She hasn’t been to England since she was here with me, her brother, got some internship for the summer, and their parents agreed to let Daisy come with him,” Lucie talked a mile a minute as she moved to jump on Kits back, her boundless energy had come in full force.
“Why would she need to stay with us then?” James raised an eyebrow.
“Well she won’t spend every night but some nights,” Lucie shook her head, “tom can you drive me to the airport, I think you would like her brother,”
“Why not us?” Matthew and James demanded because it would be both of them
“Because you’ll freak daisy out, you’re to forward, she’s rather quiet and reserved, you know,” Lucie shook her head.
“And she’s friends with you,” James remarked.
“James!” Lucie stomped her foot looking ready to attack her brother before Thomas spoke up
“I’ll drive you, Lucie” He shrugged,
“Why couldn’t you be my brother, Barbra and eugenia are so lucky,” Luice grinned,
“They are off a Uni, but I would bet they disagree,” Thomas laughed, the number of times he had been called an annoying brat by his sisters was terrific, the three of them had gotten closer, but when they were young, they fought like no tomorrow. However, he missed his sisters all the same, excited for them to come home for the summer.
“Alright, boys, I need someone to drive me to pick up these things for mum,” Lucie held out a small written list. James and Lucie’s mom, well she was the only one of the herondale/Fairchild/lightwood family that didn’t hold a political office job, likely due to her American origins. She was a librarian and did more charity work then anyone seems to think was possible.
But due to her not wealthy family who didn’t hold seats in office, she made her kids work, gave them chores and tasks to do instead of hiring them.
Which meant Matthew Thomas and Christopher also got chores to do with them. Thomas, never minded. He enjoyed it. Both spending time with Luice because he rarely got to do it, and the chores broke up his regular schedule.
“We can split it in half,” Thomas took the list, it was rather long, likely due to the lack of chores over there studying periods. “who wants to go with who?”
“you’re coming with me, sorry James and Matthew, but I would rather not get stuck with you fighting in a Tesco again,” Lucie wrapped her arm around Thomas’s arm, grinning up at him.
Neither saw the glare that James gave to Thomas as they shared a smile.
“Alright that is all of the food, does your mom do a charity food drive every week?” Thomas asked as he closed the trunk of his car,
“I think she would if she could,” Lucie laughed, “so, hows your internet friend?”
“still only a friend Luce, nothing is going to happen,” Thomas rolled his eyes.
For some reason, Lucie was the only person Thomas had officially come out to. Both being slightly tipsy at some party, Matthew has whined and complained until Thomas James, and Christopher had come. Then James thought a slight fit when Lucie was there, and to calm him down, Thomas said he would hang out with Lucie to watch out for her. And they both decided being at a party hanging out with someone you only knew due to convincing wasn’t fun. Hence, they got drinks, and Thomas started to whine about the boy who lived across the sea, a boy he had been slowly falling for since he was fourteen—outing himself in the process.
He didn’t quite know why he wasn’t out to his friends, Matthew was bisexual, and they had no problems, but, it felt different. Thomas was Thomas the consent; he rarely changed; he was the rock the center, announcing that he was gay felt as if he would break that.
“your so boring, something could happen,” Lucie huffed out, looking over at him with a small grin, “have you tried?”
“hes, Involved with someone,” Thomas confessed, puffing out his cheeks before they moved to get in the car, as he flopped down in the driver’s seat Lucie turned to ask.
“no, he doesn’t get into it” Thomas felt his neck heat up, he wasn’t about to tell Lucie James’ innocent sister’ that the guy he liked had a relationship with another man just for them to sleep together.
“so they sleep together,” Lucie causally let slipping almost causing Thomas to crash his car as he started to pull out of his parking spot.
“Lucie!” Thomas shouted, slamming on the break.
“am I wrong?” Lucie laughed
“no, I just didn’t want you to say it,” Thomas confessed,
“well, if its causal, then maybe they won’t last,” Lucie suggested a thought that had run through Thomas’s head many times. One that some days helped him feel better.
“it been a good ten months” Thomas shrugged, didn’t these agreements always end with feelings?
“your counting?” Lucie side-eyed him, earning a huff from Thomas.
“anyways... Cordelia’s brother is gay,” Lucie had pulled out her phone just as Thomas pulled onto the street,
“So?” Thomas asked, raising his eyebrow, why did he care if Cordelia’s brother was gay?
“look, I don’t want Cordelia to have any reason not to come back to London or to avoid London, and she and her brother are close? so I was thinking if he had friends in London, maybe he would take a job with the place he is intershiping at, then Cordelia could come to visit more often” Lucie pushed out dropping her phone onto her lap,
“and you think setting him up with me is the best way to do that, I’ve had no experience, with any gender, and I’m hard crushing on a boy I’ve never met” Thomas sighed,
“I don’t need you two to date but, you know its a ground to talk on and maybe become friends” Lucie shrugged, “just think about it, okay?”
It was nearly 9 pm when Thomas read the last message from Alastair,
‘I know my logic is flawless’ then only an hour later, ‘I broke it off with the guy,’
‘WHAT!!!!’ Thomas nearly screamed as he re-read the message to check as if he had read it wrong, but there it was in black and white, Alastair was no longer seeing the man he was sleeping with.
‘I know you didn’t like him’ Alastair respond after a moment,
‘Still, you did,’ Thomas sighed, Alastair was hiding his emotions from things, sometimes Thomas let him but, this time, he wouldn’t make it slide.
‘It just wasn’t working, he wants to keep the whole gay thing on the side and I, don’t anymore, it’s gonna be awkward all summer’ Alastair confessed, after long moments of deliberation,
‘Why?’ Thomas was starting to feel lousy pushing, but, at the same time, Alastair would just shut him down if he went to fair.
‘We have the same summer internship, he bought his way in with his mom’s money and name, my professor fought for me to get the spot, so I’m not giving it up,’ Alastair’s messages were quicker now, now that they were back to just facts, not emotions,
‘You shouldn’t have to, you work so hard,’ Thomas felt like he needed to tell Alastair that. He needed to say to the boy who worked the graveyard shift, who helped take care of his mother, who hid his fathers’ illness’ who protected his sister from everything that Alastair didn’t need to bend to someone else whim, not this time.
‘Your sweet, but he refuses to give it up either, I told him we could just work together and pretend nothing happened, but he keeps citing that hes from London, and I’m not.’
‘What does that have to do with anything??’
‘The internship is in London,’
‘Where you not gonna tell me you were in my home terf????’ Thomas pushes himself up from his bed, Alastair would be in reach, for once.
‘I didn’t want you to feel as if you needed to invite me to hang out,’
‘But I want to.’ Thomas’s heart started to race, this was Alastair, he would be close, and the man thought that Thomas wouldn’t want to meet up with him. Sure they had all learned as kids not to meet people you talk to online but, Thomas had video chatted Alastair. Some days Thomas though Alastair might know him better than his friends.
’Im sure we can figure something out.’ and then Alastair went offline, leaving Thomas to debate his near future.
Chapter 2: Chapter two - New York (June 20th, 2020)
in this chapter we see it from Alastair side, guess what your gonna have to wait a bit longer for the real-life meeting,
Alastair Castair felt as if he controlled nothing, that everything was just happening to him, and he had no control over what happened to him in his life.
His father’s addiction, his mother’s poor health, their financial troubles, it was all something Alastair had to deal with and fix, even if he couldn’t.
Alastair was leaving for London in just two weeks, the internship seemingly the only thing he can prove that he earned that he fought for, unlike Charles, who had just bought his way in with the money and power he had from his family. Charles was the TA for Alastair’s first Econ class, the man was in the second year of his master’s program, while Alastair was just starting his first year at college. One of the first men who took an interest in Alastair. From what Alastair knew now, Charles maybe never took much of real interest in Alastair, or if he did, he hid them very well.
It had only been maybe twelve hours since Alastair had broken it off with Charles. Alastair was only now realizing that Charles had always kept him to the side, just out of the view of his high school friends and family, occasionally having to take the longer route to avoid them.
Too bad it would make the internship they had both gotten very awkward all summer. The internship that was across the ocean, when Alastair had barely left the city without his parents, of course, had moved around a lot as children, but they were never left alone.
“Mom, everything will be fine,” Alastair tried to reassure his mother, sitting down on her bed, the room seemed so much smaller than the seemingly huge bedrooms that Alastair had remembered from there childhood, but those houses had been rentals or favours. the small new york condo was the best they could do with how little fund they had now. “its only six weeks, and I am bringing Cordelia with me, Teddy with come to check on you every day twice a day,” Alastair walked through his carefully laid out plan,
“I know” his mother shook her head, she was looking down at her hands, mainly at her left ring finger,
“Father has got meetings and business events all six weeks, he’ll barely be home, I’ll be home before the baby is born,” Alastair tried to reassure not just his mother but himself. Their father was an alcoholic, and while he had never hurt Sona or Cordelia, he has accidentally hurt Alastair. Alastair had become a buffer between Elias and Sona and Cordelia. Took the verbal abuse that the drunk man threw there way.
“You worry too much my Joon,” Sona reached to touch Alastair’s face,
“I just want to make sure everything is okay,” Alastair told her,
“I know” Sona sighed,
“Alastair,” Cordelia slid into the room, “do you think ill need to bring formal wear?”
“Go help Layla pack, I’ll be fine,” Sona told Alastair, at her instruction Alastair stood up and followed his younger sister down the hall back to her room.
“Wow, you know we can only bring one bag per person on the flight?” Alastair asked as he stepped into Cordelia’s room. It looked as if her wardrobe had exploited, there were some piles of clothing, but mostly, it seemed random.
“Yes, but we will be there for six weeks, and I am not like you, I need to look different every day,” Cordelia looked down at her feet,
Alastair and Cordelia’s parents had been somewhat wealthy when the two were very young, but when Alastair turned 11, he found out that whatever wealth they had had been depleted. Taken by there fathers need to drink and bills that didn’t get easily covered by the job their father would take advantage of.
“You don’t,” Alastair shook his head, picking up some of the clothing Cordelia had made. It was both her hobby and a task born out of her need to fit in.
Cordelia secretly made clothing to sell online for a bit of pocket change that she would use to create and sell her clothing.
“I know that Lucie and I are close but what if it’s different when we’re together. I haven’t truly seen her since we were eight. I don’t even face time her or post photos of my self; she comes from a successful, wealthy family,” Cordelia sighed.
“Sure, but she’ll get that you can’t bring all the clothing you have,” Alastair reasoned, “bring ten bottoms, ten tops, two sweaters, four dresses and two pairs of shoes,” Alastair started to pick up some of the astray clothing.
“But,” Cordelia tried to argue, but she was shut down.
“Nope, that should be enough besides, didn’t you say that you might go shopping with Lucie?” Alastair saw the boxes and envelopes on Cordelia’s work desk that they would have to take to the post office.
“I hate that you are smart, you know that” Cordelia huffed, then she spotted Alastair looking at the packages, “I had to finish all my orders before we left, I had to close down my orders,” She sighed, as she showed Alastair the final dress that was on the dress form.
“You could always just collect orders over the weeks we are gone” Alastair shrugged,
“I don’t want that much of a wait time,” Cordelia brushed off, “come with me to the post office tomorrow?”
“Yeah, are you gonna be okay with packing?” Alastair asked as he moved to the door,
“Ten shirts ten bottoms two sweaters four dresses and two pairs of shoes,” Cordelia shot him a finger gun earning a faint laugh from Alastair.
“Perfect, Ill go finish up some of the housework” then Alastair left leaving Cordelia to her work, he knew she would be up late finishing off and packing that last dress, as well as debating over her wardrobe choice.
‘AHHHHHHHHHA’ Alastair phone dinged almost as if just on time, it was nearly ten pm in new york, so it was 3 am in London, which wasn’t all that odd for Thomas to be up but the screaming was worrying.
‘Shouldn’t you be asleep?’ Alastair asked.
Alastair had to meet Tom_Light when he was arguing a dumb policy that had recently been passed in new york. The English boy who later told Alastair that he preferred to be called Thomas, had contacted him after the thread and they had started talking over discord.
Alastair was amazed that they still talked after all. It had been four years since the original conversation, but Thomas was persistent. After a while, Alastair enjoyed having Thomas in his life.
‘Yeah, okay, my friends are fighting over a girl… STUPID’ Thomas messaged back, causing a small laugh to fall off of Alastairs lips as he walked to the kitchen.
‘Boys fight about girls… it’s a fact of high school’ Alastair typed, then slipped his phone in his back pocket. It was nearly 11, which meant he needed to prepare the meds for his mom, find out where his father is and get ready for his shift that started at midnight.
“Starry?” Alastair turned at Cordelia’s voice. He hadn’t ever loved the nickname starry. It was one that was reserved for his sister, and only when they were alone.
“Layla?” Alastair looked in her eyes,
“Do you think mum will get better?” She asked the thought had slipped into both of there minds and plagued them since the doctor had mentioned it.
“And hopefully she will make a quick recovery after the birth,” the doctor told Alastair and Cordelia, both a mess after spending the night in hospital chairs.
“Hopefully?” Cordelia asked, catching on to the oh so careful wording of the doctor.
“There is, always a chance, even if it’s small, that she could not recover,” the doctor explained, deflating the relief that the two Carstairs siblings had felt for a moment. They never had excellent luck after all.
“Hopefully, shes strong, and we can get through anything” Alastair put a brave face on for his sister.
“You’re not normally so hopeful,” Cordelia moved over to Alastairs side, taking over the lunch he was making for himself, pushing him toward the kettle “I’m worried,” she confessed.
“So am I,” Alastair nodded, placing the kettle on the stove he took a moment to check the ding he had felt just as Cordelia walked into the room.
‘Then I wanna be in uni,’ Thomas had sent,
‘You graduate soon, don’t you?’ Alastair asked he knew the answer. Thomas and Alastair had spent countless nights talking about what collage Thomas was going to go to, having only settled on NYU the night before he was required to send in his acceptance notice.
‘Yes, next week.’ Thomas clarified.
‘Did you figure out how to tell your friends you’re going to NYU’ Alastair asked, that was the next hurdle, telling his close group of friends.
‘No…’ the kettle started to scream, and Alastair placed his phone down, fetching the teapot, his mother and sister mug and his travel mug.
‘So what? You’re just going to get on a plane and leave for five months?’ Alastair sent back after he poured the boiling water into the pot.
“Is that news of dad?” Cordelia asked, pushing the now finished lunch to Alastair before getting the sugar and milk.
Since Alastair told his sister of there father alcoholism, this had become their routine.
“No, ill text dave in a moment, it’s not that late yet,” Alastair shook his head,
“Then who are you texting?” Cordelia asked, pouring her cup of tea, side-eyeing her brother.
“No one for you to bother your self with” Alastair rolled his eyes then looked back at his phone.
‘Nooooooooo’ Thomas had sent back,
‘T..’ Alastair sighed,
‘My friend’s sisters friend is coming into town next week, and they’ll be in a good mood so I can just slip in the news,’ Thomas reasoned,
‘Fair,’ Alastair consed, then switched his status to offline. Shutting the app and moving to make his tea, Cordelia had made bother hers and their mothers.
“Layla don’t stay up too late,” Alastair called only to be meant with
“Try taking your advice,” as she disappeared up the stairs, likely to finish her dress.
“Hey, Ala,” Ariadna, the only other person who liked talking graveyard shift greeted, she sat at one of the tables with a coffee and her laptop open, the shop, like usual, was dead.
“When did you get in?” Alastair asked, dropping his book bag next to her before walking to punch in.
“I covered a 10-1 shift for asshole number one, Greg said it was fine, and he would just call Mack to come in earlier,” she looked up from her laptop.
Asshole number one was Ariadna’s nickname for Charles, the man Alastair had just broken off a relationship with.
“I’m guessing he found out I was working” Alastair rolled his eyes.
The job at the coffee shop for Ariadna and Alastair was a necessity, for Charles, it was ‘an experience.’ When Alastair broke it off with him, Charles emailed in his two weeks’ notice, even though they had both already applied for work leaves due to there internships.
“Oh yeah, defiantly tried to blackmail me into it too, God he must have a great dick because I have no idea how you put up with him” Ariadna huffed out,
“Arie!” Alastair felt his whole face go red as Ariadna rolled her eyes.
“What? Am I wrong?” She demanded
“I do not have to disclose this information at this time,” Alastair shook his head, walking into the back to grab his apron and, hopefully, his paystub.
“That wasn’t a no,” Ariadna yelled.
“So, you and anna,” Alastair asked, pulling out his laptop, even though he had the six-week internship, he was enrolled in summer classes, it was part of the courses for him to do an internship, but he did have to finish some prework before he was working.
“Shut up,” Ariadna glared before talking about it, you got to know someone in the dead of night in an old coffee shop. “okay its, different than it was last time, which I knew it would be because now I’m out of that household, but I guess I didn’t expect it to be so different.”
“That’s fair. You got any summer plans with her?” Alastair asked Ariadna was also taking the summer semester. It would help both students get out into the working world faster.
Ariadna after she finished the summer semester was only two semesters away from graduation, she had been in school for two years already, being a year older than Alastair.
“She’s going back to the UK, and I very clearly told her I couldn’t do that, but she tried to convince me, I have no money, and I have classes, what does she expect” Ariadna shook her head, “she still lives with her rich family.”
“Is she coming back next fall?” Alastair raised an eyebrow
“Yeah, that’s the question, isn’t it,” Ariadna bitterly spits out before taking a drink of her coffee.
“I thought,” Alastair shook his head, but Ariadna interrupted him.
“She was here on a school exchange program so, no, I guess I gotta get used to long-distance,” Ariadna shrugged,
“Maybe it won’t be too bad,” Alastair offered,
“Yeah,” Ariadna sighed out, dropping her head on Alastair’s shoulder. He had to admit he would miss graveyard shifts with arie when he was gone.