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Jealousy

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Sometimes Jeremy gets jealous, seeing James and Richard together in their happy little bubble of perfect understanding and same worldview. They’re like that picture-perfect pair of the best-friends-forever you can encounter at any school – huddled up together in the back of a classroom, ignoring the teacher in favour of whispering to each other and stifling giggles, exchanging silly doodles and puns, only to sneak off together during a break to smoke behind a bike shed and talk about all the girls they were lucky to snog. They’re virtually inseparable, that pair, going everywhere together, sharing their food and clothes and that disintegrating bike they cherish dearly, doing all their homework together or just cheating off each other. All the interests they have, they have in common, and their parents consider the other one practically an adopted son, and no one ever calls them other than ‘this’n’that’.

It’s bloody irritating, this chumminess, Jeremy thinks, exiting the portakabin to smoke bitterly on his own, while James’n’Richard are snuggled together in front of a laptop, browsing one of their stupid auction sites and snickering, surrounded by a completely impenetrable shield of bikeist lingo and shared excitement.

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Sometimes James gets jealous, seeing Jeremy and Richard together, laughing with abandonment and not seeing anyone but each other. James likes to compare them to one of those troublemaking couples you can encounter at school – a charismatic leader bully and a mischievous little shit, meeting each other at the headmaster’s office and immediately realising they’re a match made in heaven. From that point, you never see them on their own, always either lounging in corners, plotting something devious or in the middle of cheerful mayhem, one half of the school absolutely in love with them and the other contemptuous of their easy charm and seeming ability to get away with absolutely anything. They’d be sneaking out of their houses in the middle of the night on a whim, or going to a seaside to camp in bushes, and their parents wouldn’t even bat an eye at that. The two wittiest bastards around and the most fun to hang out with, only no one will ever match, remaining the target of their pranks or just a boring forgettable twat.

James envies the hell out of their light-hearted, merry joy he’s never able to really be a part of. He watches them fool around in front the portakabin, messing with the sound crew that lets them with fond smirks. To his annoyance, James can’t keep from smirking either.

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Sometimes Richard gets jealous, seeing James and Jeremy together, smiling at each other with besotted fondness, like there’s literally no one more amazing in the entire world. They remind Richard of one of those couples you meet at school – attached at the hip and having a man-crush on each other of epic proportions, joking about it constantly and making everyone wonder. They’re the ones who get engrossed in a heated argument about literature and politics, getting all worked up and irritated but enjoying it immensely. They’re the ones who skip an entire school day to drive all the way to another town to listen to some obscure band, talking about it afterwards at length, effectively excluding everyone from the dialogue and not even noticing. They’re the ones who climb on roofs at night with a telescope and wine they shouldn’t be allowed to drink yet, and they’re the ones who plan to rent a flat together after finishing school.

Richard turns away with a grimace, not able to take any more of them, all but cuddling on a sofa, murmuring softly about some obscure WWII documentary they’ve watched, or something – Richard tries not to listen in. Or look in, in fact, because the amount of intimate comfort they emanate is frankly excessive.

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Sometimes James and Richard get jealous, seeing Jeremy and Andy together, driving off to have a dinner or work some more, unable to part. They’re these rare pair of friends who have known each other almost since birth, growing up together and becoming literally family. They’re always recalling that one time, when, you know, and proceeding to laugh about it because they’ve long since became telepathic and can finish each other’s sentences. And then they’d go and spend an entire vacation together, only to come back and pull more of the ‘remember, when’. They know each other inside out, the deepest, darkest secrets and minute trivia, and they will always have each other’s back and know exactly what to say to make the other feel better. They also will remain the bestest, closest friends for the rest of their lives, through marriages and jobs and moving houses, always finding time to meet up and go for a holiday again.

James and Richard exchange a glance as Andy climbs into Jeremy’s car and they speed off, never pausing to discuss the upcoming episode, flinging new ideas at each other and giggling like schoolboys.
“Fancy a pint?” James asks Richard, who nods with relief.

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Sometimes Andy gets jealous, seeing Jeremy, Richard and James together, bickering in the middle of the track, unaware of the cameras, crew, and the director who tries to get them back to the scripted activities. Andy feels cheated, a bit, suddenly discovering Jeremy has found two new awesome friends and ditched Andy for them immediately. It looks now like the three of them have always been the best mates, or maybe like they’ve spent their lives just waiting to meet each other. Anywhere you look now, there’s the three of them, laughing about something happily and sharing that happiness – of being together – with the whole world, and never running out. Andy feels like he’s hanging on the outskirts of it, noticed only occasionally, and even during those rare and short moments when James and Richard are somewhere else, doing their own shit, Jeremy makes sure to bring them up, triggered by completely unrelated topics.

Andy sighs, rubbing his eyes, aching from hours of editing their merry shenanigans into something with a plot. Bloody hard, that, since it tends to get lost quickly behind the sheer excitement they project. Well, there are worse hardships in life than watching your mates having fun, Andy thinks and presses play again.