Eugene was jealous. Yes, he could admit it straight away that the deep hard feeling in his gut was jealousy, that the heat crawling up onto his face was an angry wave of possessiveness and fear. He knew the feeling well; it had been stirred into the mix of all the spite he held back in the awful days of high school. How he was jealous of people that could disappear away from the cruel eyes of his bullies.
But that had been more an envy, a need of happiness. This? this was his head giving a violent mantra of mine. Mine. Mine. That just added to the other sensation of shame, feeling like a petulant child but at the same time a defensive lover because damnit--
Reggie was his.
This statement seemed pointless, however as a woman--beautiful, in that sense all the locals were. Deep brown eyes and rich skin with almost no blemishes, blinding in auras of exotic and elegant appearance. She knew Reggie, he gathered that much. The way she dove into his arms for an over dramatic hug full of laughs and over excited talking, how the Sheriffs face seemed so alight with excitement at her presence and god it was painful to watch.
It was eating at Eugene, no matter how juvenile his impulsive flow of emotions seemed. He couldn’t help getting jealous, of being afraid of Reggie looking away once and never looking back. Reggie wasn’t a front cover model, but he got looks. He got lingering eyes and things like this.
People he had a past with. He knew Reggie was no pure and virtuous saint. There had been others before Eugene.
And it drove Eugene insane. Not Reggie’s history, no. He wasn’t going to lose his mind over old lovers and flings and things that all people were allowed to have. He was older than him, it’d be foolish to think the older Rowe hadn’t dated in his teen years and beyond. What drove him insane was the fact one came back, one came back and right in front of him and made Reggie seem absolutely filled to the brim with joy. Like she was an old flame that all of a sudden mattered again. It made him almost vibrate with old rages, that old contempt of what made them so special?
So in conclusion to his inner monologue, Eugene was swiftly growing a dislike for the woman that seemed so intent on his boyfriend. Which was fucking childish and he knew it, he shouldn’t jump to the gun and be so...defensive about Reggie.
All he could do was stand there dumbly because he had never needed to defend his partner. Hell he hadn’t had a serious partner. He didn’t want to come off possessive and controlling, no matter how much of that very sensation coursed through him. He felt overwhelmed at the situation. He didn’t want to make himself look like a fool so he could make a point. He didn’t want Reggie to get second thoughts either. But he didn’t want to keep watching the almost natural conversation going between them.
God he was such an idiot!
He’s getting ready to turn away when he feels a hand on his shoulder, a short squeak leaving him as he’s tugged over right into Reggie’s side. That in itself eases too many tensions out of him at once, shoulders falling limp as the others’ arm falls around them. He’s talking, and Eugene’s trying to focus on it as the woman in front of them smiles. It makes him swallow with that same anxiety because fuck if she was nice it just made this worse. He felt sick, standing stiffly as Reggie introduces him. And when it’s his turn to say anything, his mind blank by how smooth and almost relaxing the woman’s voice is, all he can give is a forced “Hi.”
She laughs--Ava-- his ears manage to pick up when Reggie addresses her, completely amused by his answer for some reason.
“Not much of a talker is he?”
“Well, not with new people.”
Ava doesn’t stay long, much to Eugene’s relief. She drinks a couple beers, giving Reggie plenty of grief about old jokes he doesn’t understand. She hugs a few other members who remember her and ruffles Delsins’ hair, making a joke about how he’s grown.
Even when she’s gone, Eugene has a hard time getting the tension out of his body, of getting the thoughts swimming in his head gone. The jealousy had been almost suffocating, just watching the two made things in his stomach boil close to overflowing. Especially when Ava touched Reggie--it didn’t matter how. A shove to the face, a punch to the shoulder. Friendly things but oh--even those drove those insane. Maybe because he didn’t know who exactly she was to him. She certainly wasn’t a sister. A cousin? No, Reggie never mentioned any aunts or uncles. She was something and it made Eugene livid, that sense of being out of control making his heart ache and irritability gnawing away at him.
“You’re quiet.” Reggie comments when they’re finally home, shrugging his jacket off to hang up. Eugene can’t urge himself to turn around, feeling that small grip on his control slipping at his confrontation. So he does what he usually does; he practically scurries off into another room of the house, toeing off his shoes as he goes just to feel the coolness of the wood against his socked feet.
But Reggie follows. He always follows, the thump of his boots a slower pace compared to Eugene's quick and soft patter. He doesn’t know where he’s rushing off to; it’s Reggie’s place, he doesn’t have his warehouse to run off in and hide in a dark corner, let himself be surrounded by monitor after monitor and play HH until his eyes burn behind his lenses.
No, there’s just warm colors and family photos, old childhood drawings along with ones done by someone more experienced--Delsin when he was older most likely. And all of a sudden these things aren’t endearing, they make him feel like he’s invading. Like he’s just someone who butt himself into someone’s already steady life.
As embarrassing as it was he was ready to cry, the lump growing heavy in his throat. Maybe because he’d never dealt with this. He’d never had someone to even worry about being taken away. He’d been alone for so long besides the people on the other side of the screen, so used to self preservation that when he finally gets someone--he’s frightened at anyone looking twice. Eugene didn’t know how to handle relationships period and it was humiliating.
Reggie’s behind him, the nerd having given up scuttling off mid way to Reggie’s bedroom. Even upset that’s the only place he really felt comfort besides the warehouse. They’re both silent, Eugene stiff as a board as the taller comes closer, almost flinching when a warm hand rests on his forearm, climbing up to his shoulder to pull him back into his chest. He crosses his arms as Reggie bows his head to press his nose into his hair, even when Eugene’s trying to be mad he’s so patient and it just makes him feel worse.
What was he doing with him? They weren’t any sort of ‘handsome’ couple. Eugene wasn’t anything special, he was a kid from the south. He was flabby, skinny and if it weren’t for the conduit genes in his DNA he’d be weak. His glasses were borderline gaudy, too large for his face and old acne scars on his skin, he was far from the ideal person to be with.
He had worries, insecurities that took him over in moments like this when he remembered he was not drop dead gorgeous. Now, Reggie was no abercrombie and fitch model either. No one really was as perfect as the people magazines liked to release. Reggie had little imperfections, moles and scars that littered across him from years of living and work. His jaw wasn’t sharp, his nose on the large side and frown lines just starting to make an appearance. His torso lacking the tight hips and washboard abs, biceps missing the sharp definition of someone close to a body builder.
But he was Reggie, all these qualities and imperfections and he still managed to be an infuriating sort of attractive. Handsome, masculine and downright attention catching when he flashed miraculously white teeth in a blinding smile. He was thick, but he was fit. He wasn’t defined but he was strong.
And Eugene was just--a nerd. A...loser.
He can feel the lump in his throat growing larger, letting Reggie turn him around and he sees the curiosity and worry in the tallers’ gaze.
“Eugene, what’s up? You’ve been dead silent since the party.” He hangs his head, and he can’t hold it in anymore. He gives a soft sniffle, bunching his shoulders. He hears Reggie call his name again, worry more evident in his tone as he presses his head against the warm chest in front of him.
“Why are you even with me?” He chokes out, hot tears starting to roll down as he stares at the wood and his boyfriends still booted feet. “I’m not anything special, I’ve never been. I hide like a hermit in a freaking warehouse playing video games.” He coughs past his crying, refusing to budge when Reggie tugs on him.
“Everyone’s always surprised we’re together, like they can’t believe you’d drop your standards so low.” He bites his lip so hard it hurts, shoulders shaking. “They always act like I’m freaking blessed with you, like you’re with me out of some kind of pity and it hurts. You were with all these pretty people before and then you date me. The twenty four year old virgin--” Well, not anymore-- “Who plays video games all day, and you’re this perfect figure who does all these good things and so successful and--”
“Eugene, stop.” His voice is stern now, laced with other emotions Eugenes’ too upset to pick out. He takes a sharp inhale as he’s pulled away, Reggie’s hands firm on his shoulders. “Stop. Breathe.” And he does, a deep breath that goes in and out for a moment, the tears growing sticky on his face as they seize. He still won’t look at the older, feeling ashamed for practically spilling his guts about the truth--people always looked at Reggie with some sort of sympathy. Like he got stuck with Eugene.
“Gene, look at me.” He doesn’t move, not surprised when he feels a large thumb press against his chin and raise his head upwards, forcing him to look into those soft brown eyes. So dark. “Where’s this coming from?”
He swallows against the lump again, trying not to cry again as lips part.
“I--I got jealous.” He utters, feeling shame and disgust wriggle its way into him. “Of Ava. I just-I’m sorry, I freaked out I-”
Understanding crosses Reggie’s gaze, morphing into that damn smile of his as his calloused thumb rubs the skin of his chin. It relaxes him, leaning into the touch as Reggie starts to speak.
“Gene, you don’t need to feel bad. We all get jealous sometimes, it’s a normal thing.”
“But--” He’s silence by a soft kiss to his head, the older murmuring against his forehead.
“You’re allowed to get jealous, Ava’s an old friend before anything else, we both moved on years ago.”
“So..you two..were a thing.”
“For a month, and it was terrible and awkward.” He laughs, and Eugene can’t help but smile at it as that same thumb strokes his cheek. His smile softens, and Eugene almost flushes alone at the sheer amount of adoration in his gaze. “But just know that we’re together because I want to be with you. There’s no--” He huffs, “Pity or obligation or standard dropping. I love you, plain and simple.”
The insecurities start to arise again, holding onto Reggie’s wrists in a weak grip.
“Why? Why not? You’re so much more than you give yourself credit, angel. You’re sweet, you’re creative and you’re so passionate about helping people and the games--I don’t understand them but they make you happy, and that’s all that matters.”
“I’m not good looking though. I’m not-you know..handsome or anything.”
“I think you are, and you are. You’ve got those pretty blue eyes,” Eugene blushes deeper, trying to look down but Reggie’s clearly having none of it, a soft kiss landing on the bridge of his nose. “all these freckles, they’re everywhere.” He kisses both of his cheeks, Eugene biting his lip to suppress and embarrassed and flattered snort. “You’re so small, and I love your smile. Your laugh..” He can’t help the snort, the kisses turning into pecks anywhere Reggie can reach.
“There’s no dropped standards.” He speaks into his ear, arms wrapped securely around the smaller as he continues the gentle kisses. “There’s no secret boredom or hate. I love you, and want you. I’m the one who should feel lucky being with you, I’m not perfect either ‘gene. It’s how relationships go.” He presses his forehead to the lighter, Eugene leaning comfortably against him now. “I love you for you, as a whole.”
“I love you too.” He manages, releasing a small noise as Reggie runs along his jaw. He squeaks when Reggie hoists him up, arms locking around his neck as he becomes level with the older. He smiles at him, kissing the smaller properly. Slow and sweet, like he always does and it just makes warmth bloom through his chest because he is loved.
He and Reggie are an odd pair, brought together by their own loneliness and bonding over the silliest of things. But he loved him, and Reggie loved him back full throttle, without hesitation. It almost makes him giddy, tightening his legs around the tallers waist when he starts to move.
He spends a few good hours pressed against Reggie’s side, legs tangled together as his hands run through Eugene's light hair in lazy strokes. He’s dozing off when Reggie presses another kiss to his head, followed by a content sigh.
It makes him smile, nuzzle into the warmth of his neck.
Eugene gets jealous, but he’s the only one that gets moments like this.