When it’s time for lunch, Pedro finds himself sitting next to Balthazar, something that was quite unusual after Hero’s party. Instantly, his nerve endings feel like they’re on fire, and when Balth accidentally brushes against Pedro when reaching for his bottled water, he swears his whole face goes tomato. Strangely, none of their friends seem to pay any attention to the interaction between him and Balthazar. Pedro frowns. Shouldn’t they been trying to see how he’d react? Balth’s hidden feelings for him had been broadcasted for the entire internet to see; shouldn’t they be at least a little bit curious about his reaction? They’d stared at him all day yesterday, so why don’t they care now that he’s seen the video?
When they have finished eating their lunches, the group scatters. Hero goes with Ursula and Meg to the library to get some help making up for what she missed during her absence. Bea and Ben go their own way to “help Bea prepare for the calculus test tomorrow”, which everybody knows is just code for “we’re going to go make out until it’s time for class”, but they’re just too polite (or too grossed out) to comment on. Claudio disappears as well, joining up with a boy in his year with whom he’s doing a History project. Only Pedro and Balthazar remain at the table, Pedro sneaking glances at Balthazar from the corner of his eye.
Is he going to say something? Should I say something? Pedro’s mind is spinning, and he doesn’t know what to do. Occasionally, he opens his mouth, but can’t dislodge the lump in his throat to speak. Finally, he manages to get enough moisture in his mouth to actually form words, though he’s not really sure what to say.
“You’ve written any more songs lately?” Not the best ice breaker, perhaps, but it’s something that connects with Balthazar. His eyes light up, and he grins towards Pedro (who is not feeling his stomach doing flips, not at all!).
“Yeah, yeah, I finished one last night, actually. You wanna hear it?” Relief spreads through Pedro’s stomach, relief mixed with some other, warm emotion. He used to be the first person Balthazar played his songs to, but after Hero’s party, Ursula took on the role of ‘primary soundboard’. The fact that he’s been returned to his position feel damn good. He nods eagerly, and they go to fetch Balth’s guitar from his locker, before sitting down behind the football field. Balth starts playing his song, and Pedro is instantly caught up in it. It’s sweet, and kind of slow, but with a beat to it. It’s the lyrics that really get to him though. He can’t remember the words, but he remembers the feelings brought out in him: feelings of longing, of wishing for something but being too scared to go after it, and those feelings morphing into excitement, hope and an eagerness for what comes next. It’s one of the most beautiful songs Balthazar’s ever written, and Pedro cannot believe he’s fortunate enough to call this talented guy his friend.
God, I love him! The thought echoes through his mind before he can stop it, but he finds he cannot regret it. Even though he’s not feeling ready for a relationship with Balthazar yet, somehow, he just know that they will get there, one day. His eyes look at Balth’s hands, those slim fingers deftly manoeuvring the strings on the guitar to make those beautiful sounds. His sleeves are a bit rolled up, so they won’t be in the way, and Pedro’s hit with a strong wave of affection towards Balthazar’s clothes, and the way he dresses himself in such an adorable way that’s so uniquely him. He seems to favour shirts and jumpers that are a bit too large on him; We could probably borrow each other’s clothes without looking weird crosses Pedro’s mind, and the vision of Balthazar in his own shirt almost makes him blush. Of course, this is the moment Balthazar looks up at him.
And for the longest moment, that’s all they do. They just stare at each other, not using vocal words to talk. Instead, every little movement is a conversation in and of its own. Pedro’s little grin is a comment on how much he liked the song; Balth’s raised eyebrow is a pleased response that also asks why exactly he liked it. A slight hunching of the shoulders is a heartfelt apology for everything that’s happened since August, and it is accepted and forgiven with a small tug on the sleeves. And through this conversation, Pedro manages to convey that he’s aware of Balthazar’s feelings for him, and that he returns them, though he’s not ready to display them yet. He also manages to explain that he’s too messed up to try to have a relationship right now, but that he’s quite eager to try when everything has calmed down, and he’s feeling better. Balthazar’s uprooting of the grass is all the answer Pedro need to understand that Balth’s perfectly happy to wait until Pedro’s head is screwed on right again, but that he’s quite ecstatic to get things started when the time is right.
When they get up to go back to class, Pedro lets his hand deliberately brush against Balthazar’s, and Balthazar brushes back. The exhilarating emotions of love rush through Pedro, and he’s finally beginning to believe things might turn out well in the end, after all.