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corvidpunk92 liked your photo
corvidpunk92 started following you

It was the first selfie Adam posted on Instagram after an unedited shot of the sunset over the ocean a week ago and a black and white photo of a stack of textbooks on his desk. Finding things deemed worthy of posting on the app was the hardest part, Adam was finding. The selfie in question was nothing  remarkable by any standards. He wasn’t even smiling, but his hair wasn’t a total mess that afternoon. There had been a few likes and flattering compliments from female classmates who were more shocked than anything at Adam’s sudden breach in camera-shyness.

corvidpunk92 was the only person person who like the picture that Adam didn’t know. And when he checked out the profile, the corvid punk turned out to also be the only guy.

Adam couldn’t control unexpected physical reactions he was currently having in the corner of his bed. Rapidly beating heart, sweating palms, itching curiosity that burned into something akin to arousal when he scrolled to a selfie among a sea of black and white photography of landscapes, designer boots, pets, and various street graffiti. The picture, like the rest of the carefully crafted aesthetic of the guy’s profile, was black and white- half his face covered by shadows, light hitting his eye and a slight furrow to his brow to make him look dangerous and angry. But not any less beautiful. Adam couldn’t make out much else from the photo besides what seemed to be a tattoo on his neck, a shaved head, and all things screaming BEWARE. DANGER. WILL BITE.

What was stranger still was that the stranger had hundreds of more followers than he was following. So that meant he was selective. A phrase in Latin that Adam didn’t understand (but made a mental note to google translate later) was the only thing in his bio. The quality of his photography seemed to be crisp and of the highest quality - cropped and edited better than Adam ever could attempt. Meaning he used the app as sort of artistic media outlet rather than the social aspect, as designed. He had to have been a professional. Adam could just as easily see some of these shots in fashion magazines or New York galleries.

Adam followed him back without thinking about it because he wouldn’t mind looking at more of his interesting photography.

But honestly, what the hell was this guy doing following Adam? With only a few pictures that aren’t even that good.


a.parrishable started following you
a.parrishable liked your photo
a.parrishable liked your photo
a.parrishable liked your photo
a.parrishable said: “is that a real raven?”

Ronan was really good at acting before thinking. A running mantra of “ shitfuckshitfuckshitfuckshitfuck” was streaming through his head while he flipped back and forth between the guy’s selfie and the comment left on the picture of his pet bird. Ronan usually didn’t pay that much attention to other people’s profiles, using Instagram as an easy portfolio for his photography. Convenience more than anything.

Truth be told, Ronan only accidently hit the explore button on the app and a.parrishable ’s picture was the first post. He started at it for about 30 minutes before having the courage to hit like and see that little heart pop up. He wasn’t a stranger to objective beauty. Guys flaunting their muscles, giving some stupid ass Blue Steel facial expression as if to seem mysterious and deep didn’t really do anything for him. But not this guy. Unedited, unfiltered. Ethereal, simple and beautiful. Ronan could tell he wasn’t trying in the slightest and it only made Ronan hunger over the image more and more. Boys who didn’t know how beautiful they are the most dangerous kind.

He only hit the follow button because he couldn’t resist the chance of missing this guy’s beautiful face again and immediately regretted his rash action as a huge fucking mistake.

Ronan wasn’t social . He didn’t talk or interact with people in real life, much less behind a phone screen. He was only following three people. His brother, his best friend (who forced him to follow for more travel pictures and disgusting selfies with his girlfriend), and said girlfriend of the best friend (who threw a fit at the notion that he would follow Gansey but not her).

He had taken great care of his social media presence to minimal and barely there. And what little presence was there was carefully crafted to remove as much of himself as possible. All personality gone, he didn’t want people to just know things about him. And he was certain not to cross any lines with talking to other men. He was okay with his sexuality, so long as he never addressed it and no one asked him about it. It was fine.

Well that was until the Calvin Klein model had to go and follow him back and want to interact with him. Like first of all, who asked.

Wait, fuck, I did follow him first. Shit. Now he think’s I’m one of those people that can handle casual chatting. Fuck.

It felt like breaking a rule, talking to this someone, whoever he was. But he was asked a simple question and he could handle a simple answer right? Right.


corvidpunk92: @a.parrishable yeah she’s actually my pet raven. name’s chainsaw.


Ronan was laying on his bed, tense and stressing out beyond repair and he didn’t know goddamn why. A moment later, his phone buzzed and he didn’t hesitate to swipe the notification open.

a.parrishable : i don’t know you but i’m somehow not shocked at all haha


Ronan felt the corner of his mouth tug upwards and he let himself smile, weirdly endeared. He went back to the selfie, studied those ruddy specks of freckles, sun bursting through the tousled locks of hair. A delicate, bony wrist props up his chin with his fingers outlining his high cheekbone. He looks at the camera from an upward angle. He captured the lens as if he was a professional. The location was listed on the picture of the beach as Coyote Point Park. A quick and totally not creepy google search led Ronan to California. A stack of books in another picture suggested a college student. Stanford University was the nearest school to that particular beach.

So a beautiful and brilliant boy and potential fashion editorial model. This was fine.


corvidpunk92 liked your photo
corvidpunk92 liked your photo
corvidpunk92 said: “i like your use of light in this one.”

a.parrishable liked your photo
a.parrishable said: “Gorgeous. Would love to visit Ireland someday.”

corvidpunk92 said: “astrophysics? I knew you were a nerd.”
a.parrishable : @corvidpunk92 you’ve found out my secret lol

a.parrishable said: “Please  tell me you didn’t punch a wall for the sake of a good photo.”
corvidpunk92 : @a.parrishable doesnt hurt that bad
a.parrishable said: 5 bucks says you’re a liar


It went on like this for a few days, weeks, months. Adam got more comfortable posting pictures. He began to find things more interesting, it wasn’t hard to admit that Ronan, (he eventually put his first name at least in his bio without Adam having to ask), was inspiring him. He wasn’t close to being a professional and didn’t flatter himself in that regard. But when he saw a beautiful flower, a vintage car, even himself in a certain light, he took advantage of the moment.

He also wasn’t totally daft. He began to look forward to Ronan’s simple but equally rewarding compliments. It was a bit of an ego boost when someone as talented as he was found a picture he took somewhat decent. He never commented on his selfies though, but he did like them. Adam hoped that he wasn’t just being polite and he genuinely did like them. Liked him.

Adam wasn’t shy of some attention here and there. Girls calling him cute , as one would a puppy or a friend’s little brother. It wasn’t that crazy to want someone to consider him as attractive as any other guy right? The more he and Ronan began to trade comments on each other’s pictures that varied from playful banter to constructive comments on the picture itself, the more Adam began to find that Ronan wasn’t intentionally brash or even intentionally rude. He was just a little awkward.

He intrigued Adam and he didn’t know why. Ronan seemed like the type of person one didn’t just get to know . One had to work for the privilege of knowing anything about him. In the strange seriousness that Adam spent more time than he’s willing to admit trying to dissect the tone of, he found himself weirdly pleased (if not totally eager), with whatever attention Ronan gave him. Even if it was something as simple as a like .

And likewise, to keep things even as to not seem too eager or cross an unspoken line about whatever this social media relationship was, Adam only ever just liked Ronan’s selfies- when really, he wanted to do and say so much more.

Which is why he waited exactly 2 whole days since Ronan posted his latest selfie, as few and far between as they were, before sending him a direct message. Well it took some figuring out, but the message was a picture of a phone number written on a piece of paper.

a.parrishable: If you ever feel like bothering me while i’m in class or whatever

Ronan didn’t text him or message him back within the next five seconds of Adam sending the message, so he immediately regretted it.


Ronan was in the passenger side of his best friend’s ride when he received the direct message from Adam. He could make out every single digit clear as day on the smooth napkin. He signed the bottom with his name in lowercase letters and a small little :D next to that.

He must have been staring at this lap for too long because he heard the smugness in Gansey’s voice with, “Ohhh is that him again?”

Ronan instantly pressed the power button to blacken the screen, lest Gansey wreck the car with his nosiness.

“Fuck off,” he grumbled stuffing his phone under his thigh. “You don’t know anything.”

“Like hell I don’t,” Gansey’s easy excitability was nauseating. “I’ve never seen you look at your phone even a fraction as much as you do when that guy likes and comments on your pictures.”

Ronan wondered how many bones he could get away with being broken if he just rolled himself into traffic now. He was willing to sustain life threatening injuries to get out of the conversation Gansey was going to force him to have.

Gansey continued, unfortunately, “I’m just saying you’ve never liked a single one of my pictures-”

“Because your pics are lame,” Ronan interjected.

“So I gotta wonder,” Gansey talked over him, “What makes this California dreamboat so special as to receive extra attention from the likes of you.”

Ronan let out a loud and impressive groan and slid down into the seat so his knees were pressed painfully into the dashboard.

Gansey sighed and rolled his eyes. “You know it’s okay to like someone, Ronan. I know you’re hell bent against admitting to be anything like mainstream society and its archaic traditions of romance or whatever you like to rant about, but it’s not a crime to just be into someone for the sake of.”

Ronan groaned again, just to be childish about it.

“Think of it this way,” Jesus Gansey couldn’t take a hint, “If he’s three thousand miles away, there’s no way you can disappoint him with your outstanding social skills and sense of tidiness.”

Ronan tucked his phone out from under his thigh and sat it on his lap. “Thanks a bunch Dick.  Your advice has been duly noted.”

They drove on for a bit, turning the corner to the street of their apartment.

“And also,” Gansey said cautiously, “You two are kind of embarrassing to watch flirt in a social setting.”

Ronan whipped his head around to shoot death rays into his friend’s skull.

“Oh don’t you start with me you shit,” he snarled, “Hanging out with you and Blue might as well be Git-Mo torture.”

Ronan watched as Gansey let his gaze drift fondly to the picture of him and the aforementioned girlfriend, Blue, that he kept behind his steering wheel on the dashboard.

He waited until he was in his room to pull his phone out of his pocket. Of course that didn’t stop from Gansey’s patronizing words of encouragement as he made his way upstairs.

He keyed Adam’s number and let his thumbs hover over the keypad for a lot longer than was humanly necessary to write a few simple words. But of course, Ronan wasn’t exactly humanly simple when it came to general interactions - especially when it came to random beautiful boys who he didn’t know. He couldn’t ignore the way his heart flipped when he first saw the message. The way the heat bloomed and burned in his gut at the simple notion that Adam wanted him to have this number. He wanted Adam to text him.  

                       hey. its ronan.

This was the only time in Ronan’s whole life where Ronan wished he wasn’t such a goddamn loser and could just function like a normal guy for once. A normal person wouldn’t feel sick with anxiety with just a single fucking text sent.


      Hey! Just got out of class. Was
      almost kinda nervous you
      wouldn’t text lol


                     sorry, i was going to as
                    soon as I got your message.

                    my roommate was being a nosy



      Gotta love nosy roommates


                     yep. just the best

                    got any other classes later?


       Nah, this is the last one for today.

       How about you? Are you in the
       thrilling world of higher education?


                      college isn’t really my scene


       No problem with that. You
      seem to be doing ok with
      your photography?


                      im not a professional, its just
                      a hobby. i don’t really do it
                     for money.


       You’re self-taught though
       right? I wouldn’t have guessed
       that you weren’t. People
       spend a lot of money on
      pictures like yours.


                      thanks.  they’re ok i guess


       When you followed me, I was
       so confused as to why you were


                      why wouldn’t i want to follow


         Guess I’m still trying to figure
        that one out to be honest…


                    i thought you looked interesting


        Good interesting?


                    well. yeah. very.


        Well I guess I found you
        very interesting as well.

        More intimidating-interesting.
       But still.


                    gee thanks


       Hey I like intimidating.






It went on like this for hours, days, weeks. Adam finding himself sick affection for the guy on the east coast who he was in near-constant communication with since he took a chance and offered his number. There was no goodnight , or talk to you later . There was falling asleep way too late into the night waiting for that next text, waking up and continuing the conversation all over again. Ronan was funny. He liked to rant about anything under the sun. He liked to argue. And god sometimes he let small compliments slip that made Adam damn-near giddy.

No one had ever made him feel this way. It was strange. That a guy he’s never properly met, a guy who goes out of his way to send Adam links to astrology articles with an added “ thought you might wanna check this out” , to rant to him about his roommate because he knows Adam talk him out of his anger - this random guy made Adam feel ten times more included and wanted than any of his friends in his whole life.

Adam sometimes got worried that he was bothering Ronan too much. That maybe Ronan was just replying to his first-texts out of some sort of unspoken text message courtesy. But it never failed, Adam would wake up one morning with a string of texts with jokes, a story, or a review of a movie or comic, or Youtube links, all from Ronan. Adam didn’t care what the subject was. Even if the subject didn’t interest him at all, he was glad to learn more about Ronan’s world.

He never quite realized how lonely he was until he had someone to talk to all the time.

The truth was, the truth that he’d yet to tell Ronan, was that making friends was hard for him. Had been hard for him since starting college. During high school he didn’t really care, just go and do the work and get out. But university was a completely different world. A world he couldn’t hear, being deaf. He’d been more than willing to put himself out there when the opportunity arose. He could read lips well enough and could talk if he needed to. But it wasn’t quite the same. Not when people looked at him that certain way that always made Adam feel more like a burden or task than a potential friend.

And yeah maybe he should tell Ronan this.

But what if he just wanted to pretend to be just like everyone else for a while. There was a guy some three thousand miles away - an obnoxiously beautiful guy - who didn’t know he wasn’t. They would never meet. Ronan hated talking on the phone anyways. There was no harm in just pretending for just a little while, right?


                    can i ask you something


       Sure what’s up?


                     are you like

                     like idk

                     interested in guys


        In what way?


                   dont be an asshole



      I am actually. Never been with
      a one though.

      What about you?


                   never been with a guy either


        You know what I meant


                     yeah i am

                     interested i guess


        I thought I was being really obvious


                     im not good at picking up on
                     stuff like this

                     guess i wanted to be sure


       In case you actually flirted back
      for real?


                    somethin like that

                   but dont count on it. im not good
                   at that either


      I think if you were I would have
      picked up on it by now




       Don’t be!

       I love talking to you regardless


                  i love talking to you too

                  you just…


       I just..?


                 you make me nervous


        I can never imagine you ever
       being nervous about anything


               that’s just it, i dont get nervous
              usually about anything

              idk,  its just talking you

              i dont rly know how to explain it


       You make me really nervous too.

       But in a really good way. Sometimes
       I feel stupid for how excited I get
      when you text me

       Lame huh?


                   my roommate gives me so much
                  shit for always being on my phone

                  every time i smile at my phone he
                  instantly has to know what im smiling at

                 he’s itchin for a beatin one of these days


        You smile when you talk to me?

        That’s really adorable.


                 shut the fuck up

                 im not adorable


          I wish I could see it, I don’t  
          think I’ve ever seen you smile


                    well ive never seen you smile either

                    so i guess we’re even


Oh. Fuck.The image that popped up in the iMessage window took Ronan’s breath away. Quite literally he forgot to breathe and just stared at his phone for about 30 good seconds while his face went completely numb.

It was Adam. Well, specifically Adam’s smile. Goofy, lopsided. Fucking radiant. He was laying on his bed, the frame capturing himself from the nose down, hand splayed across his chest. Between his fingers Ronan could make out the NASA logo. Oh god he was in trouble.

Ronan was a scared shitless little boy then. Was he supposed to send a picture back? Did Adam realize how uncomfortable Ronan was on camera? Was this how sexting started? Was he even comfortable enough to go there with Adam? And if he wasn’t, how could he tell him without completely ruining whatever this was.

And why the fuck was he so hard? It was just a stupid picture.

In more ways that he could ever admit to out loud, he wished he was more like Gansey in this moment. If he were Gansey, he could tell Adam how beautiful he was. How he wanted to keep that smile with him always. He could be free with his words without worrying about sounding like a fucking idiot. If he were Gansey, he would say the right things to make Adam love him. He would be good at this.

But he wasn’t Gansey. He was just Ronan. Too chicken-shit and too awkward to say or do anything right.

When he woke the next morning, he proved himself right. Adam had texted him after Ronan accidently fell asleep.

        1:32am Sorry for sending that.

        1:46am You can just ignore it haha.

        2:39pm If I made you feel weird, I’m sorry,
                     I don’t wanna rush things : /

And didn’t Ronan feel like a prized asshole.   He wanted to throw his phone across the room and watch it shatter into a thousand tiny pieces. No he couldn’t do that. Instead he took a deep breath and tried to compose his billion rushing thoughts.


                    dont apologize, im an asshole.
                    couldnt think of what to say back
                   and accidently fell asleep lol

                    i rly like the pic tho


Ronan expected  not to hear back from Adam for a few hours at least, considering the time difference. It was only 10:30am for him But  it was only a few minutes before his phone buzzed. Adam was already awake.


        Lol thank you. Not gonna lie, I was
       freaking out a little

        But I’m serious, you don’t have to
       send me any pics


Adam had meant it. He was feeling lonely and horny when he sent Ronan that picture of himself. He should have known better, well he does now . But last night he thought… he didn’t know. He thought maybe something  was going to happen if he and Ronan kept talking. He took the picture of himself from the position of where they had been texting. Sure he could have put forth a little more effort into the picture itself, or maybe tried not to seem so desperate… but he didn’t expect radio silence. His stomach was twisted in knots for hours over it as he forced himself to sleep.

He had just woken up when Ronan texted him back, and the part of him that wanted to be angry at him for leaving him hanging was immediately squashed by borderline elation.

Adam was writing a text, to change the subject, about something stupid - an essay he had to write today - when Ronan’s IM bubble popped up. And before Adam could hit send, an image bubble popped up.

A picture.

Unedited, a little fuzzy. But it was Ronan. Well, the part of his face, half buried in a pillow, nose scrunched up a bit, as fierce as a puppy. He looked shy, if not a little awkward. It was cute. Ronan was so wrong. He was fucking adorable. What little Adam could see of his neck, there was black inked tattoo. He’d seen the barest suggestion of it in other pictures, and he had to admit that he was incredibly curious to see the whole thing.


         How big is your tattoo?


                    pretty big


      Can I see it?


Adam held his breath for a moment, his fingers itching and stomach knotting itself.

Another image bubble popped up. And Adam’s jaw had literally dropped.

Ronan was laying on his stomach, taking the picture from over his shoulder. Adam had never really had a real clear idea on what Ronan looked like in one image - it was always snapshots of different angles of himself that he was forced to be creative with. But Christ. Even with the black of what looked to be like a Celtic knot or a giant cross covering his back, Adam could make out every dip and ripple of muscle. The curve of his spine that sloped into an arch sending Adam’s eyes to travel to the round ass that was clad in tight boxer briefs. A blanket was pushed down to cover up to the top of his thighs.

This could not have been happening. Ronan looked like a fucking porn star and Adam couldn’t help his thoughts from drifting. If he was only barely hard when he woke up, he was a full mast now.


        Holy fuck




       I don’t wanna put you on
      the spot….but holy shit Ronan




        You’re really hot that’s what!


                     lol no i’m not


        I’m serious, you’re probably
        the hottest guy I’ve ever seen


                    then you must be blind, dipshit

                   or never looked in a mirror…


         Come again?


                   im yesterdays garbage compared
                  to you, adam




                  i think about you all the time



         I was thinking about you last night…
         well until you dipped out on me

         And I’m afraid I’m never not gonna
        be thinking about this picture.



                  you cant say stuff like that


       Why not?


                  bc i cant touch you


      Do you want to?


                 if you want me to


       I want you to


                 then i do. so bad


       How would you… if you were
      here with me right now


                    i dont know

                   i wouldnt know what i was doing


         I want to kiss you.




        Do you like being kissed?


                   i dont know

                  i never have


        I think you would, if you let
        me kiss you.

       Slow and sweet


                   id like that

                   god you have no idea 
                   how much

                  i bet you taste like sunlight




                   warm, perfect


It went on and on like this, an easy back and forth that left Ronan more painfully aroused than he could ever remember being in his life. After a while, he wasn’t even thinking about if the things he was saying to Adam, the tiny bits of truth he’d kept locked in a secret part of his heart, was making him look stupid. God he couldn’t care less, this felt too good.

Ronan felt more connected to another human in this way that he could ever remember being. The fact that Adam was three thousand miles away didn’t even matter.

Adam was so free and easy with his words, Ronan hoped that Adam was as hard as he was - as Ronan imagined him being.

He wasn’t jerking off, he needed both thumbs to type. He instead lazily ground his painful erection into the mattress. He didn’t think he could come from just this, but it was good all the same.

Well that was until  Adam sent another picture; himself, shirtless, hand hidden beneath a blanket that came up just below his hips and Ronan was fucking done.


Adam was still buzzing as he walked to lunch later that day. He couldn’t keep his smile at bay, his thoughts continuing to drift back his bed, his phone, and Ronan. God Ronan. Things had gone to a place that some might have deemed just a step too far, but Christ he couldn’t be fucked to care.

He never saw Ronan as a random hookup, or whatever one would consider sexting with a person you’ve never actually met. He truly wanted to be his friend first despite the growing crush that Adam had thought he had under control. It was easy to entertain the thoughts of what ifs and maybes . But it did nothing to change the fact that nothing could happen between them. Ronan couldn’t want him if he knew the truth.

But still, he couldn’t help but go back to their chat from that morning.

He hoped it wouldn’t be a one-off deal.


        Can I ask you something?



         I was thinking, I know you said that
        you’ve never been with another guy
        before. You’re really attractive, and nice.
       You’re a really interesting guy, I guess
       I was wondering why that was?


                      i could ask you the same


        Not sure, I don’t think I’m what you
        would call “out”. And I’m just too busy
        with school.


                    im not really out either

                   i guess you can say im not “open”

                   if someone asked, im not gonna
                   lie about being gay. I just dont
                  really like talking about it

                  its always been hard to connect
                  with people

                  im not really, what you would call,


        Yeah I can understand that.
       People can find it hard to talk
       to me sometimes.


                    you? unapproachable? I really
                   doubt it


        You’d be surprised what people
       consider deal breakers these days

        If it makes you feel better, I find you
       very uhh, approachable


                    yeahh ur not so bad either

                   loser :P


         Would you have approached me
         if we met in real life


                  i dont know

                  you probably wouldnt
                 look twice at me


         Yeah I somehow doubt that.


Gansey once said that Ronan’s problem is that while he acted like he was too cool to be bothered by anything, it was the direct opposite: that Ronan felt everything so intensely that it overwhelmed him and he was forced to condense it. Like a white dwarf of barely-contained emotions.

And he was right, though Ronan was never going to admit it. He’d fallen so fucking hard for Adam in the half year of talking to him. He was almost sick with how happy he was. He couldn’t remember being so in so long. It was one of those things he didn’t completely realize was different about him until the change was already there. Ronan didn’t realize how left out he had felt all those years until he suddenly wasn’t anymore.

The only time they didn’t talk was if Adam was studying for finals or exam days and Ronan promised not to bother him (though Adam told him it was okay and that he would get back to him, Ronan still didn’t). He knew how important Adam’s grades were to him.

He begins throwing around the word boyfriend , tossing it over in his mind. Rolling over it like a foreign word he’s just learning the pronunciation of. It stopped seeming so entirely strange and out of reach with every sweet thing Adam would text him; even if it was just to complain about one of his professors. If they were a couple thousand miles closer, Ronan would ask him to be his boyfriend. And he would hope Adam would say yes. It didn’t really feel so out of the realm of possibility for him anymore.

He wanted to give Adam his whole heart. God he just hoped Adam felt the same way.


                    can i tell you something?

                   but you gotta promise not to freak out


       Well now I can’t guarantee that.

       Are you a girl?


                   fuck off


                   i wanted to tell you more about me,
                   i guess


        Sure, go ahead!

       You can tell me anything.


                  well, i dont know if it ever came
                  across this way, but i can seem a
                  bit asshole-ish. i dont really mean to.

                  i guess i never really learned how to
                  be nice.  not to other people. not
                  to myself.

                  I had a uh pretty rough time the last
                  few years of high school. I was pretty
                  much a grade-a fuck up

                  I liked picking fights and not sleeping
                  and early on-set alcoholism

                 senior year i was put in a youth treatment
                 facility because i hurt myself pretty bad,

                 i’ve been out for about a year. thats why i
                started photography. constructive hobby
                and all that shit

                 anyways yeah sorry i didnt mean to
                get all heavy and whatever

                i just wanted you to know


     Well first, I’m not gonna freak out
     so don’t worry about that

      And second, I’m glad you’re getting
     better, I’m sorry you had to go through
     all that. Trust me, high school wasnt a
     walk in the park for me either

     And I’m proud of you for telling me.
     I can’t imagine it being easy
     I really admire you Ronan


Something in Adam’s heart was blooming, bursting, burning. Ronan told him things, even the most painful secrets, with such a raw honesty that Adam couldn’t possibly deserve. The more they walked, the more Ronan was more free with his secrets. Some things, Adam learned, his best friend of many years didn’t even know. The darker stuff, the really painful stuff. Like his dad’s death, why he self harmed.  

All Adam could do was listen. There were so many times he wanted to tell Ronan secrets of his own, secrets he felt were long overdue. Every time Ronan told him a fear or insecurity, he wanted to tell him something of his own, something from his trove of youthful traumas. But how could he without seeming like he was overtaking the conversation, overshadowing whatever Ronan was choosing to share with him.

He’d never had to be in a situation like this. Telling someone that he was deaf who hadn’t already been aware of it as soon as they met him. Telling Ronan why he was deaf - that it wasn’t something he was born with, but inflicted with by his father. How angry he still was. He wanted to tell Ronan that he knew what it was like to be hurt, to be unwell, and to struggle to be okay every day. That Ronan was helping him with that by just being his friend. It helped knowing that someone else out there got it.

He wanted to tell himself that he was being irrational. That Ronan would be understanding, he would listen to him if Adam told him any of his secrets. That of course he would understand because Ronan was obviously interested in him and it could actually work if they really wanted. If Adam was ready to take those steps.

But a smaller voice always took over the mic in his head to say that Ronan only liked Adam under the pretenses that he’s hearing-abled. He’s going to expect a video chat or phone call or even a meet up one day . And not that Adam didn’t want to meet up with him, he just couldn’t bear to see the look on Ronan’s beautiful face when he realize that this was not what he expected.


                   how the fuck is it march and
                   its still snowing this is some


       Sucks to be you, it was a beautiful
      75 degrees today :)


                     i literally hate you


     I even took a walk without a jacket




       AND shorts


                  piece of shit


     Whatever you love me


                 yeah you wish


       Are you all bundled up in bed like a
       little snowbunny?


                im sure you’d love sexy pics
               of my flannels


       I’ve got a kink for comfy pjs
      what can I say


                fuckin knew you were secretly
                a freak


        Is your bed big enough for two?


                barely, but if you lay on top of
                me it will be

               sharing body heat and all that


      Hopefully body heat isn’t the only
      thing we’d be sharing


                  trust me i’ve thought about it



       What have you thought about?


                  holding you

                  kissing you

                  telling you how much i love you



     Holy shit




       I love you too




         Of course I do

         Loser <3


                    whatever dont get mushy
                   on me


     Says you who comes out with
     the romantic stuff!


                  I cant help it

                  you turn me into a 12 year old

                 how dare you make me feel
                 my own feelings


        If you can dodge a wrench
       you can dodge a ball


                    you’re the actual worst


       Yeah but you still love me

        And I love you


“I’m gonna do it,” Ronan said definitively from his corner of the restaurant booth.

Blue was stealing french fries off her boyfriend’s plate while Gansey wasn’t paying attention.

“Gonna do what?” they asked in eerie unison that Ronan made a mental note to ask about later. It wasn’t important right now.

“I’m gonna ask Adam if he’d be cool with me visiting him over spring break. Or like a weekend or whatever.”

Blue was gaping, munching on her stolen fries. Gansey was a matching image, straightening up in his seat, letting Ronan know that a lecture and dad voice was on its way.

“Shit so,” Blue took a sip of her Sprite, “It’s that serious with you two?”

A Ronan of months past wouldn’t have even dared mention Adam’s name to anyone. Not out of shame like people would assume, he just didn’t want people to know things about him. He didn’t like allowing other people to be a position to judge him. But talking with Adam all these months was a weird sort of therapy in that respect. He wasn’t afraid of being seen for who he was anymore. He wanted people to know, “ hey I’ve got a person too! And he’s super hot and i love him and he loves me”

He shrugged, “Yeah I guess.”

“Have you guys like done Skype or anything like that?” Gansey asked.

“No,” Ronan said, “I don’t really like webcam stuff like that and neither does he.”

Blue chewed on her lip, “But you have like… seen him before… right?”

Ronan rolled his eyes. Blue had been watching the show Catfish a lot since Gansey couldn’t keep his mouth shut and told her about Ronan’s “online relationship”. It did little to not piss him off because phrasing it like that made it seem like it wasn’t real, like it was built on deception. Adam hadn’t sought him out, he told them. It was just pure luck (or divine intervention, says the Catholic in him) that he stumbled upon Adam’s profile at all. Also who the hell catfishes through Instagram.

“Jesus, yes Blue. He is a real life person and not a 55 year old mother of two.”

“If you’re serious,” Gansey smiled at him, genuine and unmocking, “I say you should go for it. You’ve been a billion times more tolerable to be around these last few months.”

“Curbing that sexual frustration will make anyone easier to be around,” Blue said with a smirk.

Ronan tried to kick her but kicked Gansey instead, “Ow Ronan what was that for?!”

Blue rolled her eyes, “Oh come on Ronan, like you don’t remember what Gansey was like when I had that semester internship in New York.”

Ronan thought for a moment and laughed, remembering how moody and restless Gansey was. How many nights Ronan was kept awake by his pitiful attempts to keep his jerking off to a lower decimal. It was almost too pathetic to chide him about then.

“Yeah not even jerking off could cure him of being a whiny baby with you gone.”

Now Gansey was glaring at him in his best “If you don’t cut it out, I’m turning this van around right now” stare. Ronan was beaming at him. Fucking with Gansey was a hobby that Ronan expertly mastered over the years.

“Yeah and I was convinced that you didn’t even know how to jerk off until you started talking to Adam,” Gansey sneered.

“He’s not kidding,” Blue said, suddenly serious, “Do you know how many times he came to me asking if he should get you a pamphlet?”

Ronan rolled his eyes, knowing that a Ronan of months ago would have picked up this table with his bare hands and thrown it out the window that openly talk about his masturbation habits. Or lack thereof. But he knew that his friends were harmless. And all he could do is smile at them.



“So you haven’t told him,” Noah signed, “Are you ever planning on it?”

Adam shrugged, feeling sicker and sicker with every passing day that he told Ronan that he loved him without telling him that he was deaf.

Noah was his roommate, hearing able but sign language efficient. He was the only person that knew about Ronan. The only person worth telling. He was bound to find out anyways, with all the times he walked in on Adam laying on his bed, grinning stupidly into his phone, and wouldn’t move there for the rest of the night. There was an unspoken agreement about Adam keeping his more R-rated late night chats for when Noah was studying at the library or when he was at work.

And he was obsessed with his and Ronan’s relationship. Well, not obsessed , but eagerly supportive. What was better was that he didn’t treat it like it wasn’t a “real” relationship. He often referred to Ronan as “the boyfriend” and Adam loved the feeling of it too much to correct him.

“I want him to know,” Adam signed back, “I just don’t want things to get weird when he realizes I can’t hear him. He doesn’t know how to sign. It just won’t work.”

“Are you saying it won’t because you don’t want it to, or you don’t wanna give him the chance.”

“I’m saying it’s not fair to just expect him to learn how to sign for me. I can’t put that pressure on him.”

Noah sat up in his bed, “Signing isn’t impossible to learn. I learned it for my sister and you pretty much mastered it in like barely two years. And if he loves you like you said, he’ll learn it for you. You can’t always expect the worst from someone before you give them a chance, Adam”

Adam knew he was right, and that Noah wouldn’t just tell him what he wanted to hear. But still, that didn’t ease the sinking feeling in his stomach.


                     so i got a question


     And I might have an answer


                   would it be cool if i came to visit
                   sometime? I know you’ve got school
                   and stuff but maybe for just like a


     Oh uhm, I’m not sure if I would have
     the time

     Just a lot of work that’s been kicking
     my ass. I wouldn’t want you to waste
     a trip just to hang out on my bed while I’m
     buried in an applied mathematics text book


                   oh dont worry about it, its cool

                  i was just wondering


     Sorry : /

     I would love to meet up with you
     soon tho!


                       summer’s just a few months away?


      We’ll plan for something :)


                         sounds good


Ronan wasn’t sure what he had done wrong. He was trying not to obsess over it, he didn’t wanna seem like he was reading too much into things, or being overdramatic over nothing. But things started to feel weird ever since he mentioned visiting Adam. They had told each other that they loved one another, and Ronan had meant it wholeheartedly. He wasn’t crazy for expecting this to be the next step right?

But it seemed that every time Ronan casually mentioned visiting each other one day or even Skype one day , Adam would freeze up in the conversation, change it, and would talk about it. Ronan didn’t outright ask him again, but he thought maybe Adam would have picked up on the more-than-subtle hints he was leaving for him.

It was probably not a big deal, but his anxiety was telling him that it was a very big deal. And that Ronan should worry about this a lot. He didn’t want to be weird about this, he really didn’t. If Adam wanted casual, he could do that. If Adam wanted to keep it restricted as it was, he could do that too. He would force himself to be okay with never seeing him, speaking to him, if that’s what Adam wanted.

He told himself that was the rational way to approach it.

But Ronan was never known for being the most rational type.


                 do you have a bf/gf that u
                havent told me about?


      No? Why would you think that?


                 bc it seems like you really dont want
                to ever meet


         I told you I wanted to, I’m just
        really busy with school

        You knew that


                  im not trying to be crazy about this,
                  it just seems like you dont want this
                 to be anything more than just texting

                 which would be fine if this was just
                 a casual whatever

                but like

                i thought this was getting to be more
                than casual

                if im making too broad of an assumption
                here im sorry


     I know, Ronan. I promise I’m not trying
     to make you feel crazy or anything.
     I’m not lying when I tell you how
     I feel about you

     I really am just busy, okay?

     I’ve got class in a minute

     I’ll text you later?





Adam couldn’t stand feeling like this. He texted Ronan later on that night but didn’t get anything but a one-worded response the next morning. It went on and on like this for a few days until Adam got busy with school work and projects and it would be a day or two before he would get a text from Ronan or text him back.They were avoiding each other and Adam hated it.

They had gone constant talking all day to polite exchanges that never last more than a word or two between them that wouldn’t get responded to for hours or days. It felt like they had broken up, but Adam was trying to convince himself that it wasn’t possible - they weren’t boyfriends.

The problem is, he couldn’t even blame Ronan for being angry with him. He knew what it seemed like, that he was just using Ronan, taking his feelings for granted. Leading him along.

He couldn’t stand the idea of Ronan having that image of him, thinking that he was that kind of person.  

“Noah,” he signed when he got back to his dorm. “I need your help.”



Ronan wasn’t upset. Okay no that was a lie, he was. But he didn’t want to talk about it. He resigned himself to the fact that he had stupidly pulled an Icarus, reached for the sun and fell. It was his own fault and he was making himself okay with it. If it meant avoiding Adam for a while to recover from the wounds to his ego, that’s what he had to do.

But he was foolish to think that no one else would notice. He knew Gansey had to have. Whenever they would watch a movie and Ronan would leave his phone in his room without thinking about it, when they were out and Ronan would normally snap a photo or two of something interesting to send Adam. All the newfound pleasantness that Ronan had grown comfortable with seemed like a foreign skin he couldn’t fit anymore.

Gansey never said anything. He would give a sad little smile, a gesture of understanding an olive branch offering to talk whenever Ronan was ready. He’d been more open the last few months than he had been in the longest time. But he couldn’t talk about this.

He was sitting at his computer scrolling through some new photos to import into Adobe Lightroom when the iMessage alerted him of a new message. Normally Ronan would open the window, glance at whatever was there and move on.

But it wasn’t just a simple greeting or an inquiry as to how Ronan was doing, which was now standard Adam messages.

But it was a video. Ronan hesitated a moment, but his heart fluttered the same as it did the first time Adam texted him the first time.

He opened the video and there Adam was, sitting at a desk. There, in the flesh, moving. He looked nervous in front of the camera, like a frightened animal, but not any less beautiful. After a few seconds, someone else came to sit beside him. This had to have been Adam’s roommate, Noah. He was a skinny, spindly boy with white-blond hair tucked under a Stanford beanie.

Noah spoke first, turned slightly towards him where Adam was staring into the camera.


Adam nodded, sighed deeply, and straightened himself in his seat, and began to move his hands.

Noah was speaking for him, and everything clicked.

“Hello Ronan, I honestly don’t know where to begin, I just hope that you watch this til the end. There’s a lot of things I meant to tell you from the beginning but was too scared to. Firstly being that I’m deaf. I have been for a number of years, I just never knew how to tell you. You told me so many things about your life, the things you went through and I’ve greatly admired you for being a strong as you are, I just never knew how to be brave enough to tell you about my own life. But I want you to know now.”

There was a pause and Ronan hadn’t taken his eyes away from Adam since he began. He couldn’t process what he was even thinking or feeling besides the agonizing pull in his chest watching his hands move in rapid fluidity. Adam looked at Noah who patted his back reassuringly to continue.

“I didn’t have the best life growing up. My dad was really abusive all through my childhood. One night it got really bad when I was a little over curfew. I don’t remember what happened that night, but I woke up a few days later in the hospital. My dad was put in prison and I had to change my whole life. Ended up moving to another high school to learn sign language and worked my ass off to get as far away from there as possible.

“I never told you I was deaf because at first it didn’t matter. I didn’t know you, you were just some guy that I liked talking to. We would never meet and it would be fine. But then it got to be more. I started to feel more for you. I fell in love with you. And I got scared that if you found out that I was deaf, you wouldn’t want me. And I’m still scare even telling you this. But you deserve to know. Because I love you.”

Even though Noah was saying the words, Ronan only saw Adam, the honesty raw and pained. Ernest and eyes full of love. The video ended with Adam smiling, the one Ronan had fell in love with. The one that he could never imagine saying goodbye to forever.

He was shocked at Adam’s revelations, his throat tight with and eyes burning. He knew what the rational part of his brain would tell him, the difficulty of being in a relationship with someone who was deaf, the sacrifices that would be made on both their parts.

But the bigger, brighter, louder part of Ronan’s brain was screaming, “ I don’t care! Jesus fuck I don’t care, I love him I love him I love him.”



Adam finished his last exam of the semester and honestly, he was okay. He poured all his free time into his school work, biking, hiking, and it was paying off. He was feeling okay with himself. Noah asked him to come stay with him in Burbank for the summer and Adam accepted.

It was hard not to think about Ronan. He missed him, and it hurt like a motherfucker when he sent Ronan that video three months ago and didn’t hear anything back from him. Hell he even cried about it, but that was between him and his pillow. And then he got angry. Livid even. That Ronan wasted his time like this, just blew him off and pretended like the last eight months didn’t mean anything. And then he accepted it. That maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

He would move on.

But then... who the fuck. No. It couldn’t have been.

Outside his building, there he sat in all black and a familiar buzzed head. Unmistakable. It was Ronan. It was fucking Ronan.

He spotted Adam almost immediately and smiled. People were walking past them and around them, going on with their lives. They were two objects, caught in each other’s orbit.

When Adam walked closer to him, just a few feet away, Ronan held his hand up to stop where he was, and Adam did so.

Ronan was grinning and god if Adam thought he was beautiful through his pictures, it was nothing compared to seeing him in the flesh. Tall, broad, bright wide eyes. Adam didn’t use the word stunning often, but he was stunned.

Ronan reached into his back pocket and pulled out his phone. He swiped it open and held it up in front of him to take a picture. Adam bit his lip to not smile, but he couldn’t help himself. He saw the flash of the camera indicating the picture was captured and Ronan put the phone back into his pocket.

He steadied himself then, pulled his eyebrows together, and with sure steady hands, he signed.

“Hello. My name is Ronan. I love you.”

Adam dropped his backpack, and reached out to Ronan. Both hands clasped around his stubbled smile-wide cheeks, and pulled Ronan’s lips to his.


The picture of Adam, smiling in the sunlight, the first time Ronan saw Adam in the flesh, was the first picture on Ronan’s Instagram that was full of bursting color.


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