Chapter 1: EPISODE 1
A bed frame. A memory. A dinner. A party. A question.
“This is too hard,” Isak whined, Ikea instructions in his hand—metal rods and screws and thin pieces of wood strewn on the floor by his crossed legs.
“Nei,” Even replied, setting up their new TV. Important things fist, right? “You’re smart. It can’t be that bad.”
“It’s not,” Isak shot back weakly. “I’m just tired.”
Even turned his head and shot up an eyebrow. “We can take a rest?” he suggested, a small smile threatening to break over his lips.
“On what bed?” Isak laughed, his gappy, toothy smile spreading wide as he gave Even a sarcastic and suggestive up-down, gesturing to the frame he was trying to put together.
“Oh…” Even realized, his face softening but a laugh still painted on. “Right.”
Isak turned back to the instructions. “It’s okay, I think I got it now,” he continued, a small sliver of tongue sticking out under determined, knit eyebrows as he screwed part H into part G.
“You weren’t even reading the directions before,” Even stated, realization sweeping his face. It wasn’t a question.
Isak didn’t look at him, but his face twisted into a smile, tongue jamming into his cheek and he was trying not to laugh as he continued to put pieces together, but a few small snorts escaped anyways.
“Were you?” Even beamed, their smiles growing wider with Isak’s stubbornness.
“Nei,” Isak laugh whispered, still concentrated on the instructions. If he looked at Even now he would burst into uncontrollable laughter, unable to stop. And then they wouldn’t get any work done, would they?
“For real,” Even clapped, startling Isak, his hands flapping as he motioned for Isak to get up off the floor. “Let’s take a break. Tea?”
“The kitchen stuff hasn’t even been unpacked yet,” Isak pointed out, ignoring Even as he continued to sit, an eyebrow and the corner of his mouth raised. “I don’t think we even have an electric kettle? Unless you brought one?”
“Huh,” Even pondered, eyes raised like he knew something Isak didn’t. A smile creeping its way to upturned lips. “You can make tea without an electric kettle.” Wise but not condescending.
“Ok, tea master,” Isak spat sarcastically, head shaking once dramatically and mouth staying open around the last word. “Unless making tea is a two person job, I have a bed frame to build.” Extreme sass. And just like that, Isak turned his attention back to work.
Even laughed. That crinkly eye laugh that made his head cock back and his hair bounce. “Is that my new nickname?”
“Ja.” Mouth frozen open and dramatic like he was pretending to be annoyed, his head cocking to the side and the rest of his body wiggling down with it.
“Ja.” A laugh. And then Even walked into the kitchen. A second later, Isak heard some clinking of pots or cups or whatever, a few minutes of silence, and then Even was popping his head back around the doorframe. “Green? Or apple?”
Another minute, and Even sauntered back in—a little careful—with two cups of steaming tea.
“Takk,” Isak whispered, hands grabbing into the air as Even carefully placed the cup in his grasp. “Good timing. I think I’m done.”
“I hope you screwed all those screws in real tight,” Even leaned in suggestively, sitting on the floor beside Isak—narrowed, drugged lids over scanning eyes that darted all around his face.
“Oh Ja?” Isak swallowed, suddenly nervous.
“Ja.” And Even leaned in and pressed a tender kiss to Isak’s lips, eyes sparkling before he closed them.
“Can we please be done? All that’s left is just junk. We can do it tomorrow,” Isak slumped, throwing an empty box down into the done pile, eyes over at the slowly diminishing not done pile, trying to burn it with his mind. He flopped on the (now finished) bed and made grabby hands in the air for Even to come here.
“I really wanted to get it all done today,” Even complained sweetly, reaching for his hands and pulling Isak back up, a groan and an eye roll along with it.
“Fine,” Isak sighed and Even shot him kind thank you eyes. He reached for a nearby shoebox to inspect its contents, opening the lid to see—
Lots of pictures. Some letters. A few stray movie tickets, concert stubs, postcards… Sonja.
When Even turned his head to investigate the sudden silence and saw Isak standing there, shoebox open, looking at a picture in his hand, he tossed the towel he was folding on the bed and took two large steps over to him. “Fy faen, Isak, I’m so sorry. Here—” and he took the box and threw it away.
“You didn’t have to do that…” Isak started, the energy sucked out of him.
“Isak—I didn’t even remember I had that. When I was packing my room I was literally just throwing everything into moving boxes. If I had actually been looking through stuff I would have thrown it out then.” Isak’s head was just hanging down with hands shoved into his pockets, pursed lips and fallen eyelids trying not to look sad as he gave a few weak nods. Even put his hands on his shoulders and tipped his head down to try and catch his gaze. “Ok?” He asked.
“Yeah, bra,” Isak squeaked, turning around to fumble and to find something else to do—to hide his eyes.
“I haven’t even put anything in it in over a year,” Even pressed, trying to make Isak feel better when really Isak just wanted him to drop it. “Fuck Sonja.”
A little bubble of anger. “Nei, Even,” he huffed, “you don’t give her enough credit.”
Even went blank, surprised by Isak’s sudden mood change and waiting for him to continue.
“She apologized to me,” he stammered. “She didn’t have to. She was hurt, Even. Probably so hurt. And she gave me the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. How did you expect her to react when you left her… left her to be with me?”
Isak was kicking himself, fighting not even 24 hours after moving in together. He wanted this fight to be about dishes or laundry or Even coming home with a dog or something else—literally anything else.
Even recognized what Isak was trying to say. Left her to be with me. A boy.
“I thought it wasn’t real,” Isak continued, vibrating with resentment as he remembered. “When I first talked to her… I was ready to give up forever. Like, that’s just my luck, right? I didn’t know what was real anymore.”
“Isak…” Even comforted, wrapping his arms around his shoulders to steady him, tipping his chin up to look in his eyes, waiting for Isak’s to dart over to his. When they did, a small smile couldn’t help but graze under that blue gaze. “Of course it’s real,” Even laughed, gesturing to the room around them.
Isak knew what he meant. Of course it was real. As they stood in their new apartment. Together. A decision they had made. Together.
“Was, um…” Isak was transported back to the locker room a few months ago, reunited with Even. Not knowing whether he should be excited or not. His voice quiet and squeaky as he tried to hide happiness he didn’t even want to feel in the uncertainty of the moment. Not wanting to get his hopes too high. But it was hard to hide a smile when Even was so close to him. Looking at him like that. “Was… Sonja?”
Was Sonja real? Isak didn’t finish the sentence. He didn’t have to. Even knew what he meant anyway.
“Yes,” he answered.
Isak was waiting for more, but it wasn’t coming. Even was just looking at him, and then he gave him a quick but lovely kiss, and just like in the locker room, walked past Isak.
“A thing?” Magnus asked, a confused smile on his face.
“A thing,” Isak answered. Fear was on his face. His voice was cracking. Every second seemed like a year as he waited for his friends’ reactions.
“The fuck, are you gay?” Magnus’s words hurt.
“I’m not gay,” he lied. Fuck. It just came out. After saying it so many times, that’s just his reaction, you know? “Well, maybe I’m a little gay,” Isak recovered, looking down. He still couldn’t say it to someone’s face. That made it true. “But… It’s not as though… Yeah. I’m not keen on you guys, for example. It’s not as though I’m keen on all guys all the time.” It came out like a ramble. Isak was hoping it made sense, but judging the looks on Magnus’s and Mahdi’s faces, he was fucked.
“But… you hook up with chicks every weekend?”
Isak was about to respond to Magnus when Mahdi interrupted, saving him.
“Yeah, but maybe he’s pansexual?”
“What’s pansexual?” Magnus asked.
“It’s when you like both.”
“Yeah, I think that’s bisexual,” Jonas chimed in.
“Yeah, but like, pansexual is also when you like both,” Mahdi answered.
“What the fuck is the difference between pansexual and bisexual? There’s no difference,” Magnus said between squinted eyes, obviously confused.
“Well, anyways… pansexual, bisexual, gay or not, Isak said he’ll host on Friday.” Seriously, what would Isak do without Jonas?
“Sweet,” Mahdi nodded, probably the most understanding of them all, just a little quiet.
“Maybe we’ll get some chicks for once seeing as you’ve suddenly become a fag. Ayy!” Magnus laughed. Ouch.
“Doesn’t mean you’ve got any more game though,” Isak spat, a cocky smile on his face and an eyebrow raised. Fuck ‘em.
It was the only thing he could think about.
“So what turns you on, then?” Isak blurted. He couldn’t help it. He didn’t look at Even when he asked. He just stood beside him, both stripped down to boxers as Even sat at the edge of their new bed, ready for sleep.
“You,” Even smirked, eyebrows raised high on his forehead as he glanced up from his phone. It coaxed a small smile and a tiny snort out of Isak. “But… I…” Even continued, “I guess for me it’s more about the experience with the person.”
“The experience with the person?” Isak stated it more than asked but Even took it as a question.
“Ja, like, I know right away if I’m drawn to someone.”
“You are terrible at explaining things,” Isak laughed, looking down at Even, a rarity, and trying to read his face. His heart was pumping a million miles an hour, his brain following suit as he tried to understand.
“Well,” Even resumed, “the attraction comes later. The longer I’m with someone, the deeper I fall, the more attractive that person becomes to me. They just kind of become the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.” He looked Isak dead in the eyes, a hand on his cheek now and softening faces that turned to smiles. “It doesn’t have anything to do if they are a boy or a girl or both or neither,” he continued, pulling away with a shrug. “If they are lovely inside, they are lovely outside—to me.”
Maybe that was his answer.
“Come here,” Even begged, one hand patting the duvet beside him and the other outstretched for Isak. And Isak obliged, a step over to him with that cute confused look.
Even pulled him on top of him and sank back into the mattress. “We should christen the apartment.”
“Huh?” Isak asked, leaning over him.
“Let’s fuck in every room.” And it was probably meant to sound dirty but it couldn’t have been sweeter, his nose rubbing Isak’s on the last word as their lips nervous-danced around each other, the atoms in the space between pulsing with anticipation.
Isak kissed him—but it was so hard when his smile was so big.
“Hva…?” Even trailed, a little surprised—grocery bags draped over his arms as he rounded the corner into the kitchen.
“I don’t know,” Isak mumbled, head against the top of the open freezer, spatula in hand, poking and scooping away. “I think something leaked in here.”
Even peeked in and crinkled his nose, disgust bent through his face at the inside of the gross freezer. And then a smile followed by a laugh as he realized what Isak was doing.
“I don’t think whoever was here before us cleaned up very well,” Isak mumbled, scooping the ice chunks with the spatula and flinging them into the trash can.
“Ja… I didn’t want to tell you, but…” Even sighed. “I found a dead mouse back in the corner—where we put the TV.”
“Nei,” Isak smirked, a twist of the head to look at Even and an open mouth smile. He was catching on to his pranks.
“Nei,” Even laughed, swinging the grocery bags onto the counter. “What do you want? I got everything.”
“I don’t care. You’re the cook,” Isak responded flatly, still scooping.
“I’m the cook?” Even laughed, removing cups of yogurt and boxes of pasta and brown paper-wrapped fish from the bags, digging a finger into his chest.
“Ja,” Isak responded all animated, jaw dropping and smile curling and eyes sparkling as he looked over at his boyfriend. “You’re the cook in this relationship,” he dropped his voice as he turned back to the freezer.
Even just smiled. That pursed lip smile he had on the tram before they spent the evening at Even’s place only months ago. Only now it was at their place. He stole glances at his boyfriend, leaning too close sometimes while he put some groceries in the fridge—Isak scooting to the side, his cleaning on pause to let him—and left some out to cook with. “What are you doing?” he asked, dropping two fish fillets into a hot, oily pan.
“I want to remember this moment,” Isak stated simply, elbow propping the freezer open, spatula at the ready, and his other hand holding his phone.
“You would think you’d be taking a picture of ME,” Even spat cutely, whisking the sauce with one hand and flipping the fish with the other, “because I assume you mean our first dinner together in our new apartment, not scooping old, gross ice out of the freezer.”
“Last night was our first dinner in our new apartment,” Isak mumbled with an eye roll, flipping through the filters on Instagram.
“Pizza doesn’t count,” Even responded. “And that’s not the point.”
“Fine,” Isak turned around quickly, snapping a terrible picture of Even at the counter and turning back on a dime, the whole interaction taking less than five seconds.
“You’re strange,” Even smiled, shaking his head dipped down low, his eyes peeking at Isak before he turned his attention back to the stove.
“You love it,” Isak snorted.
“It’s going to get cold,” Isak whined the best he could in-between every space he could find as their mouths opened and closed around each other. He was sitting on the counter, legs spread to let Even closer to him, their hands combing through blonde waves.
“It’ll stay warm in the pan for a few more minutes,” Even answered breathlessly, breaking apart for the bare minimum it took to utter that sentence before he pressed his lips back. His hands left Isak’s hair, made their way down his chest, and settled on gripping his thighs, squished and tight in his jeans on the counter.
“At this rate, we need more than a few minutes,” Isak whispered into his mouth.
Even broke away. “Then we should stop.”
“Nei,” Isak whined, pulling the base of his neck back into crash into another kiss.
“Nei! Go!” Even shoved Isak’s shoulder playfully. “You’ve been cramped up here with me all week.” Even (tried to) wink at him.
Isak’s phone was lit up in his hand, the Troppen group message on fire. Where’s the party tonight, boys? Idk, but I have beer. Come over. Are your parent’s home? Nei.
“I guess you don’t have to tell me twice,” Isak smiled, thumbing a reply that he was on his way. “What are you going to do? Do you want to come?”
“Not really,” Even shrugged, head tilting to the side, blonde waves shifting but somehow still looking perfect. “I might go say hei to mamma and pappa.”
“Tell them I said hei,” Isak smiled, tipping up to Even, hinting at a kiss. Even obliged.
When they broke apart, Even asked, “Where are you going?”
“Looks like Magnus’s, and then I have no idea.” Isak tipped his chin back up, asking again, snapback threatening to fall off his curls.
Even smiled and leaned in, pressing another kiss to Isak’s lips, sweet and domestic. “Be safe,” he whispered.
“Hey! Isn’t that Vilde and Noora and them?!” Jonas pointed out the window, the tram they were on whipping by and then coming to a stop at a light, a few meters ahead of where the girls were standing on the sidewalk, waiting for the tram in the opposite direction.
The boy squad was tipsy and loud, cracking jokes with six packs in their hands. Standing and swaying, trying to hang on to the yellow bars of the tram to keep steady on their way to another 99er’s party.
“Villllldeeeeee!” Magnus screamed, brown bags with 40’s inside up in the air and Mahdi clapped a hand over his mouth like dude we are still in public and you are way more drunk than the rest of us.
“She can’t hear you, dude.”
“But yeah,” he continued, wrestling Mahdi off of him finally, “she’s with the girls tonight. She said they are going to try and find Noora a guy.”
“Shouldn’t be hard,” Jonas pointed out, no filter. The guys just kind of gave him closed mouth, eyebrow up smiles, slightly tilted heads. “What?” He snorted. “She’s really good looking!”
Laughter everywhere, like yeah, ok maybe you should go for it then. Magnus where are they going? Let’s go there and get Jonas and Noora to hook up. Jo-nas! Noo-ra! Jo-nas! Noo-ra!
“Wait,” Isak stumbled as the giggles and chanting died down, his words a little slurry. “Isn’t Noora still with William… or something?”
“What makes you think that?” Magnus asked. “I thought she ditched him to come back to Oslo.”
“Well before I moved out and we still lived together, she made it seem like they were still a thing… kind of…”
“Vilde says William has a new girlfriend,” Magnus corrected. “But Noora doesn’t know that. And she wasn’t supposed to tell me that. And I’m probably not supposed to tell you guys that. Shit,” Magnus rambled. “So I guess, don’t tell anyone else?”
More laughter and yeah it’s cool man. Don’t worry. We won’t tell. Secret’s safe.
“Hang on, who’re they?” Magnus asked, eyebrows down in confusion and pointing out of the tram window, bottle still in hand, to a group of guys walking towards the girls—a fuck-ton of balloons in the hands of the guy in front. He handed them to Vilde, and she smiled wide.
The tram took off again, leaving the girl squad and the balloon boys behind.
Isak recognized Mikael right away, his long, bouncy hair and big goofy smile unmistakeable. Ok fine, he had done quite a bit of social media stalking. “No idea,” he lied flatly, shaking his head back and forth.
“The fuck?” Magnus asked.
“Did you have fun?” Even asked, hand running through the blonde curls in his lap, flattened by his hat all night.
“Mmmmm,” Isak groaned. “Everything is spinning.” He rolled on his back, shirt twisting up and under him, Even’s hand moving to his forehead.
Even squirmed to get up.
“Baby,” Isak whined, tired and needy.
“I’m just getting you some water,” Even replied, setting Isak’s head back onto the mattress gently. When he returned, he slipped a hand under his back and pushed Isak up slightly, tipping a full glass of water to his lips. Isak grabbed it and downed the whole thing in two gulps.
They resumed their position on the bed, Even’s hand moving back to comb through the baby hairs by Isak’s temples.
“When are you going to tell me about Mikael,” Isak whispered, eyes closed as he enjoyed Even’s hand through his hair.
There was an unmistakable twitch in Even’s stroke as he paused, then shook back to reality and continued, twisting a curl. He didn’t answer, hoping Isak would drift off into a drunken sleep.
“I’m not stupid,” Isak continued, eyes closed and a sleepy voice hanging in the dark room. “You were either friends or lovers. And now you’re not. I’m just curious.”
“I never said you were stupid,” Even corrected, tone flat but warm. He waited until Isak fell asleep, set his heavy head under a pillow, and curled up next to him.
Chapter 2: EPISODE 2
A distraction. A job. A picture. A friend.
“I’ve read this same sentence probably 15 times and I still don’t know what I’m reading,” Isak huffed over his open chemistry book, head in his hands at their table while Even was typing away on his laptop across from him.
“I thought you were good at chemistry?” Even asked, eyebrows reaching the top of his forehead but his gaze still on the screen. His fingers still typing.
“I am,” Isak grunted, leaning back in his chair. “This is all your fault.”
Even gasped sarcastically and dramatically—a wide, crinkly eye smile spreading across his face as he looked up from his screen. His eyebrows turned downward in fake annoyance. “My fault?”
“Yeah, you’re really distracting,” Isak spat, eyebrows and lips turned up, gappy smile open, like duh, Even.
“I’m literally just sitting here doing homework,” Even responded, mouth going pursed and eyes narrowed. This was NOT his fault, damn it. “Maybe you should learn to control your hormones.” Back to typing.
“I’m serious,” Isak sighed, snapping his textbook shut and standing up. “I’m getting so behind. I was supposed to read this last week and I got a 4 on my quiz this morning. I’m going to the lobby.” He grabbed his things and turned toward the door, not even giving Even a second to stop him.
Isak was finally able to read a full paragraph, slumped over in this super uncomfortable chair. But it was already 17:00 and he still had German, biology, and Norske homework to do, all which he was also behind on, and he had to help Even with dinner, dishes, and…
There just weren’t enough hours in the day. Fuck. He pulled out his phone and scrolled through his messages, his thumb hovering over Sana. It’s finally come down to this. Desperation.
And he did what he knew best. At least Sana could appreciate some sass.
Isak: Can I ask you a favor?
Sana: What is it
Isak: Could you help us carry a washing machine up to the 4th floor in our new flat?
He smiled, proud of himself, waiting for Sana’s little reply bubbles to turn into a message.
Sana: Sorry. I forgot I had to help my mum with some stuff
Isak: I‘m just messing with you
Sana: Cool humor
Everything going well in the new crib?
Isak: Yeah it’s chill
Good that Eskild can’t stalk my life anymore
You miss him
Isak: no way
Yeah. Maybe. Barely
Did you read the chemistry test?
Isak: I haven’t read shit………..
Sana: How is that any of my concern?
Isak: Now listen up. I thought we could read it together, and then you could give me your notes.
Sana: That will cost 60kr
Isak: Cool. Let’s do it tomorrow
Well, that was taken care of. On to German—he texted Chris Berg.
“Give me your notes,” Isak demanded, eyes glued to his phone as he was typing a message to Even with one hand, his other outstretched across the kantine table, waiting for Sana’s notebook.
“I thought we were going to ‘read it together,’” she quoted, eyes narrowed in annoyance, dark, lipstick slick lips pursed small.
“I don’t have time, I thought we were going to do this after school,” he lied.
“You’re the one who suggested lunch?” Head giving a slight shake and her lip curled up over her canine in confusion. “Have you even read it?” She continued. “I thought this was more of a compare and contrast type of thing.”
“I… skimmed it,” Isak mumbled, head down and teeth biting the inside of his cheek, afraid to look back up at Sana.
She leaned back in her chair, arms crossed and a tongue sweeping over her top teeth under closed lips. Eyes were way too calm. “So you’re using me?”
Isak looked up with a wide stare like you caught me but yes.
“Here,” she spat, sliding her notes to him.
Isak took them with caution, afraid to break their gaze.
“I’m not mad,” Sana huffed obviously—with a head bob. “Besides, you helped me a lot last semester in biology.”
Isak’s eyes narrowed and his lips turned up, like got you, bitch. “So you admit it?” He laughed all snarky, teeth poking out in a smile under his lips.
Sana couldn’t help but smirk, reaching back for her notes. “Don’t make me change my mind.”
“Nei!” Isak yelled, holding them up out of the air with two long arms, out of her reach.
“I have good news,” Isak beamed, rounding the corner in the courtyard as he approached Even, not even giving him a chance to say halla.
“Oh?” Even hummed, eyebrows up as he took Isak’s hand and dragged him in close to his side, hands swaying as they began their walk home. To their home.
“Remember how when we were looking for apartments, I also started looking for a job?” Isak asked, head tipping up with a sly smile as he narrowed his eyes at Even, their strides in tandem.
A knowing smile on Even's face. “Ja?”
“And remember how I had that interview at the library two weeks ago?” He pressed.
Even raised his eyebrows and crinkled his eyes with a giant, open mouth smile. So proud of his boyfriend. “Are you a librarian now?” Even laughed, squeezing his hand.
“Maybe,” Isak hinted. “I got a voicemail during last period. I have to call them back and accept. They want me to start tomorrow.”
“Isak the librarian,” Even teased, pulling him in for a sideways kiss on the cheek, not missing a step. “Sexy.”
“Don’t you usually do your assignments… you know, the ones that are due, before biology?” Even asked as he was being dragged into Isak’s classroom 10 minutes before the bell was supposed to ring.
“Already done,” Isak grinned, hopping up on the windowsill and making grabby hands at Even.
“I thought you were behind because I was ‘too distracting,’” Even argued, lifting his fingers to make air quotes.
Isak smirked. “Shut up.”
Even placed both hands on Isak’s knees and bent his legs open with shifty, suggestive eyes as he perched himself between them, their heads level with the little bit of extra height Isak had from sitting on the window sill. He leaned in to kiss him but Isak tilted his head away.
Even pulled back slightly, shaking his head confused but leaning in again anyways only to be denied again by Isak with a coy smile, tongue sticking into his cheek.
“I’m still mad at you,” he huffed, face turning serious.
“Oh come on,” Even rolled his eyes to the ceiling, trying to hide a laugh as he reached up and pinched Isak’s ribs, trying to get a smile out of him.
“You said my haircut was ugly,” Isak groaned, a grin dancing under his lips but he wasn’t going to give Even that satisfaction, especially when he was being so insatiable right now and he knew it.
“I did not!” Even gasped, offended. “I said it makes you look younger.” He tried to poke Isak in the ribs again, trying to get that smile back, but Isak swatted his hand away and just kept his narrow eyes on him, trying to repress a laugh. “I think you look hot,” Even whispered, hands moving to Isak’s hips, blue eyes sparkling at him under a stray chunk of wavy blonde.
There was no way Isak could keep a straight face.
“Was that a smile?” Even laughed, pushing his hips lightly and playfully—then moving his hands up to Isak’s face as Isak lunged for him, one hand clutched in Even’s hair and the other on the small of his back.
They both smiled into the kiss, immediately opening their mouths because okay, Isak had wasted probably five of their ten minutes being a brat—and he was the one who finished his assignments on time anyways so he could drag Even in here and kiss him silly—so there was no time to waste.
Even grabbed his face roughly, pulling the skin of his cheek back as they closed their eyes and tilted their heads, unable to get enough of each other. Isak broke away only to readjust his head and gripped the back of Even’s neck so tight, begging more more more please more as he dove back in.
Would he ever get tired of this? Nope.
His wandering hand lowered as Even pressed into his open legs probably way too inappropriately for school when Isak heard a halla and popped off of Even a little embarrassed.
“Halla,” he replied to Sana, his hands moving to Even’s sides instead.
“Hi!” Even greeted, turning around and backing away from Isak a little as Sana sat at their usual table. He ran a hand through his hair, looking at Isak like that, because hell no he didn’t want to stop. “So, when do you finish today?” He asked, changing the subject, leaning in to tease Isak like we could have had so much more time if you would have just let me kiss you earlier.
“15:30,” Isak thought aloud. “But I have to stay late. I have a chemistry test.”
“Can’t you just study at home?” Even asked, teasing, knowing full well that he couldn’t and that he wasn’t helping in the slightest.
Isak huffed. “I can’t study at home.” He gave Even a look.
“Why not?” Even egged on, placing a hand back on Isak’s thigh.
“I can’t study at home when you’re there,” Isak gave in, finally giving Even some satisfaction.
“Am I distracting?” Even quoted, eyebrows up and icy blue eyes glowing as Isak laughed. “Am I?”
“Yeah, when you look at me,” Isak whispered, licking his lips with wildly dilated pupils, not calmed down at all from that kiss.
“I promise not to look at you.”
“What’s the point then, Even?” Isak laughed, shoving his shoulder a little and then gripping his bicep to pull him back in, looking at Even’s lips. “Of studying at home if you’re not looking at me?”
“That’s true,” Even nodded, lips pursed and turned up as his eyes darted away for a second.
Isak closed the distance and gave Even a sticky kiss. “You’re going to miss me.”
Even raised an eyebrow as they pulled apart.
“After studying I have to go to my first day of work,” Isak continued.
Even laughed. “So is that how it’s going to be?”
“That you’re just going to be out working and I’ll be at home waiting for you and cooking dinner?” Even pressed.
“It’s not weird that I’m working!” Isak huffed. “I’m thinking of our future. Like… One of us has to… make an income.”
Raised eyebrows. “An income? But it doesn’t mean that if you go to school you’ll get a good job.”
“What’s your logic behind that?” Isak asked, a playful question mark on his face.
“All of the richest people in the world dropped out of school,” Even exclaimed, opening his arms like this was old news, trying to convince Isak.
Isak did the eye roll. “That’s like one person. Like Al Gore.”
“Nei! Like three!” Even asserted, talking over Isak as he was pointing out that only dropouts source rich people like Al Gore as a valid reason for dropping out. “There’s Bill Gates. And Steve Jobs.” The bell rang, and Even made a shocked “o” with his mouth, eyebrows up in the middle of his sentence. “Gotta go to Spanish,” he mouthed over a quick kiss and then darted.
Isak hopped down from the windowsill, but before he took his seat he recognized someone on Sana’s computer screen. He stood there quietly for a second, looking at the picture of Mikael and someone else, their hands wrapped around each other. Sana just seemed to be staring.
“Who’s that?” He startled her.
Sana jolted and immediately slammed her laptop shut. “No one,” she chirped, a little nervous.
“Isn’t that… Isn’t his name Mikael, or something?” Isak pressed, knowing, slowly taking his seat. “How do you know them?”
Sana just shushed him—opening her textbook and pointing at the professor—who had begun talking.
Isak pursed his lips and opened his bag, not taking his eyes off Sana. Well, that wasn’t helpful at all.
“Nice,” Isak said lowly under his breath as he answered the door to Jonas, the first to arrive. They slapped hands and did The Bro Hug.
“Looks good with all your stuff in here,” Jonas pointed out as he looked around, toeing off his shoes in the entryway. “How come I haven’t been invited until now?” He asked.
“We wanted to get settled first,” Isak responded, handing him a beer. “And we don’t want this to be ‘The Party Apartment,’” he quoted in English, laughing.
“Hi, Jonas,” Even greeted, popping his head around the entryway on his way back from the kitchen with a fresh beer from the fridge, a friendly smile on his lips as he slipped back into the main room and unpaused FIFA. “Take Isak’s spot,” he called, holding out Isak’s controller for Jonas as they entered.
Isak flipped him off from behind as Jonas took the controller and smirked at him.
“Isak you’re behind by 3,” Jonas complained.
“Even always beats me.”
“I’m going to go switch the laundry” Even huffed, getting up from the floor and pausing the game as he handed the controller to Isak. “Don’t get me too far behind,” he teased.
“Laundry on a Friday night?” Jonas asked, one bushy eyebrow up and one down.
“Ja,” Even replied, slipping on his shoes, “it’s one of the only times the machines are available.” He huffed out the door.
Jonas unpaused the game, but Isak paused it again.
“Yo!” Jonas complained, unpausing.
“Ja?” He responded, face softening.
“Do you remember last Friday?” Isak asked, completely serious.
“Uhh… ja?” Jonas answered, a little bit of fear on his face at the sudden intensity.
“Remember on the tram, when we saw Vilde and Noora and Eva and them?”
Seriously, what was going on? “Ja.”
“I know them,” Isak said, sucking his lips in and popping them back out, waiting for Jonas’ reaction but it was just straight up confusion.
“Ja…” He trailed. “I know them too? Are you ok?”
“Nei nei nei,” Isak corrected. “The boys.”
“With the balloons?”
“Okay?” Jonas mumbled. “But you said you didn’t?”
“Well, I know one of them. Kind of… Mikael.” Isak faltered. “I think he and Even used to have a thing.”
“Did… Even tell you about him?”
“See, nei, that’s the thing,” Isak began. “When I first met Even, I tried to find him on Instagram, and Facebook…” He blushed a little. “But he doesn’t have all that. And so I googled him,” the blush grew deeper.
“You’re a creep,” Jonas interrupted, smiling and snorting. “But really, that’s kind of cute. You sap.”
Isak nervous laughed, his cheeks red hot. “Ja.”
“Anyways,” Jonas waved his hand for him to continue.
“Ja, ok. Well, in the search there was a video of him. And Mikael. A video that Mikael had made.”
“Porn?” Jonas joked, smirking, trying to lighten the mood.
“Neeiiiii,” Isak cheerily huffed, shoving Jonas’ shoulder. “I think it was for a school project, like from Bakka. Like a behind the scenes type thing. But—it seems kind of strange? Mikeal referred to Even as his ‘best buddy,’ but Even has never mentioned him or anything.”
“Hmmm,” Jonas hummed, taking a sip of his beer. “So why do you think they were a thing?”
“I asked him who he was, awhile ago, actually,” Isak responded.
“He said, ‘the other man of my dreams,’” Isak looked down. “And now he just keeps popping up everywhere, like, the other day in biology Sana was flipping through Facebook and I saw him. And then last Friday on the tram. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“Maybe he was joking?” Jonas implied. “Have you tried asking Even again? Like, seriously?”
“Yeah,” Isak mumbled, “and that’s why I don’t think so. He didn’t answer me.”
Jonas didn’t want to ask because he didn’t want to imply, but Isak was like his brother. He had to. “Does it seem fishy?”
“Nei,” Isak spat. “I trust Even 100%. I just don’t know why he wouldn’t tell me.”
“Have you told him about Sara?” Jonas asked.
“Nei, but that’s different.”
“Not really. Maybe if you opened up first, that would make Even feel more comfortable?”
“Ja… ja. Probably.” Isak nodded. “It’s just a conversation I don’t want to have.”
“Understandable,” Jonas chuckled, giving Isak kind eyes as he weakly smiled back. “If it’s really bothering you, maybe ask Sana.”
“Huh?” Isak huffed.
“Well, based on what you told me, she seems to know him.”
“I asked her too. Nothing. Well, I guess not nothing. Class just started and she shushed me before she could answer…” Isak trailed.
“Message her?” Jonas suggested.
A sigh. “Ja.”
“Have you… have you guys talked about why he left Bakka?” Jonas broke the silence. “I’m not prying at all, I don’t want to know,” he clarified, “but maybe it has something to do with that?”
“We’ve talked a little, but no details. Basically just ‘I was having an episode and then got depressed and fell too far behind in school.’” Isak quoted.
The door opened and Isak quickly unpaused the game, Jonas following suit, eyes glued to the screen like they had been playing all along.
“Still 2 to 5?” Even asked as he set the basket down and Isak handed him the controller.
“I’ll fold,” Isak offered.
“Takk,” Even mumbled over a sweet kiss he pressed to Isak’s lips when he stood up. “At least you didn’t let Jonas score,” he teased.
Chapter 3: EPISODE 3
A biology buddy. A late night. An overheard conversation. A confession.
A very long and very overdue conversation happens in this chapter. One of my favorites to write.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Isak: Biology, chlorophyll, organisms, enzymes, photosynthesis, mitochondria, biology, biology, biologyShould we talk about something else for once?
Sana: What would you like to talk about Isabell?
Isak smiled at the nickname, rolling his eyes a bit and replying:
Isak: Do you know Mikael well?
Isak: Yes he was in a picture you looked at during biology
Sana: Now you’re talking about biology again
Isak: Lol. But seriously
Sana: Distant acquaintance
Isak: I don’t believe you
Who is he?
Isak: Just wondering
I think he’s one of Even’s former friends from Elvebakken
Isak: How do you know him?
Sana: Is everything ok between you and Even or
Isak: Livin la vida loca
Sana: Hasta manjana. i have to go
Isak: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RUN AWAY FROM THE INTERNETT GURL
“You’re in the way,” Isak nudged.
“In the way of what, your selfie?” Even asked, seeing as Isak had his phone out and pointed around, the front-facing camera reflecting Isak’s face with him in the background.
“Why are you taking a selfie?” Even asked, criticizing.
“Why does anyone do anything,” Isak answered, being a brat, pulling his phone down and swiping through filters. They started walking again, slowly, Isak’s eyes still glued to the screen, thumbing a caption.
“What are we doing here so late again?” Even asked as their feet echoed off the tile floors, the hallway of Hartvig Nissen a lot quieter and a lot emptier at night. It gave Even the creeps. “Isak?”
But suddenly, Isak was nowhere to be seen. Even stopped walking, hoping to hear thuds echoing from footsteps, but all was silent.
“Isak…?” Even hesitated, he was literally right by his side a second ago. A distant whistle in the background, and then splashing. Boys swimming in the gym pool downstairs. The sound comforted him slightly, but he still felt like he was being watched.
“Cut it out, Isak,” he spoke into the silence, heart quickening as he waited for Isak to jump out and scare him. I mean, obviously that’s what was happening. He just didn’t know when.
And just as Even took a step forward, Isak jumped onto him piggyback style, his long legs and arms squeezing Even tight as he whisper-yelled into his ear, sending Even jumping and accidentally elbowing Isak in the ribs. Hard.
“Owwww,” Isak whined through a belly laugh, tumbling and kneeling to the floor as he clutched his ribs—half from the pain of being jabbed and half from the pain of laughing so hard. His hood was over his snapback, both threatening to fall off as he tipped his head back with closed eyes and a laugh so loud it drowned out the boys downstairs.
“Isak!” Even yelled, not sure if he was too mad to bend down and see if he was okay.
“You should have,” Isak started between gasps, “seen your face.” Even could barely make out what he was saying through the laughter.
And okay, the laughter was contagious, because Even started laughing too. “Fine,” he surrendered, holding his hand out to Isak to lift him up off the floor, “you got me.”
Isak took the hand and jumped up, not letting go as he grabbed Even’s other hand and backed him up, pinning him to the lockers behind him. “Hm?” He hummed, leaning in so his nose was brushing Even’s.
“I said you got me,” Even repeated, his tongue slipping out to wet his lips. He knew this game.
“Say it again,” Isak begged, hands still intertwined.
“You got me.”
Isak leaned in to kiss him slow and hot on the mouth, his hands leaving Even’s to grab his face softly as he pressed into him, leaving no space at all—crushing the atoms that still vibrated between them every time they got close. A feeling Isak hoped would never fade away. And Even wrapped his arms around his waist and smiled so wide it was hard to kiss—but Isak was serious, opening his mouth like this was the last second on earth, desperate and empty, trying to fill something up. Even let him take whatever he wanted, kissing him back until Isak decided to break away, rubbing their noses and whispering, “you got me, too.”
Even smiled all crinkly-eyed and placed another warm, sticky kiss to Isak’s lips, and then his nose, and then his cheek, and then his jaw, and then his neck…
Until Even shifted their positions and had Isak backed up against the lockers, one hand under Isak’s loose shirt, fingers on his warm hip, and the other on his jaw, tilting his head so far his hat fell off, sending blonde curls tumbling while he kissed and bit Isak’s collarbone.
A soft sound escaped him and Even smiled too wide to keep going, but he tried anyways—gripping his fiery skin harder and pressing into him. Trying to coax out another sound.
And then suddenly, twenty pool-wet dudes were walking up the stairs from the gym, bringing the scent of chlorine with them, sweats on and towels around their necks as they came up from practice.
If Isak and Even were paying half-attention, they probably could have heard them coming but—here they were. Wet, red lips and drugged eyes and tight pants as they broke away from each other with 20 pairs of eyes on them, half smirking and the other half confused.
“Eh, run?” Isak suggested to Even, lifting both his hands in question with his tongue pressed between his teeth in a grin and his eyebrows up over wide eyes.
“Ja,” Even agreed, picking Isak’s hat up off the ground as they skip-ran down the hall in the opposite direction.
“Wait! I forgot my book!” Isak called out to him as they bolted—happy as can be and just a little bit embarrassed—laughing hysterically.
Even shot him a look, his voice echoing down the hall. “Wait, is that why we were here?!”
Isak rounded the corner and immediately smiled. How could he not recognize that jean jacket and perfectly swept blonde hair, towering above everyone else?
“Hallooooo,” he greeted, sneaking up to Even’s side, always a pleasant surprise to bump into him in the middle of the school day.
Even beamed, just absolute radiance on his face when he realized Isak was right there. “Hei!” He pulled him in by the back of his neck to kiss his jaw, breathing into his ear a little and sending shivers down his spine. “I was just asking Sana where you were.” He pointed lazily to Sana, as if Isak had no idea who she was.
But something didn’t seem quite right. “Ja, I’m here,” he pointed out, a little confused, like why would she know? He gave a weak smile, like are you going to say something else? Blinking a few times and then breaking the awkward with “you joining Jonas and me for McDonald’s?”
“Of course,” Even smiled. Not letting go of Isak.
“Lovely,” Isak nodded, turning to Sana. “You joining?”
“Nei, takk,” she hummed.
“Nei,” Isak repeated. “Okay, wanna bail?” He asked, returning to Even.
“Ja.” And then Even took a step forward, slinking his arm from Isak’s shoulder to his hand, letting Isak lead the way.
“Ha det!” Isak called over his shoulder, and he heard a sing-songy ha det back from Sana.
He opened the door to the staircase and faintly head Even whisper, “Talk to you later,” over his shoulder, putting the pieces together.
Isak didn’t know why he asked. What gave him the courage. What force of the universe took control of his vocal chords and his diaphragm and his lungs and his lips but he asked.
Maybe it was the dark room—hugging him from all angles and blinding him from meeting sparkly blue eyes that made him forget how to talk at all. Maybe it was the beers he drank—a Friday-night-in where they spread blankets on the floor and Isak sat in-between Even’s legs, his boyfriends head resting on top of his while they played FIFA for 4 hours. Wherever this feigned confidence came from, it came low and slow, barely a whisper over his lips. Like a hot coal that was in his mouth, painful so he needed to spit it out.
“Will you please tell me what happened at Bakka?” A whisper. Unable to see in the blinding dark, but able to feel Even’s hands wrapped around him, his nose smushed into his back and a soft sigh escaped his lips as they lied together under the covers, a fan humming in the background.
“When are you going to tell me what happened with your parents?” Even spat back.
Isak froze. Even felt it.
“Sorry,” he whispered into his back, softening, forehead pressing into Isak’s neck. “I just know you haven’t talked to them since Christmas.”
Ahh. Isak’s parents. What a fun conversation. Isak kicked himself because of course this was going to be a give and take. He was just hoping maybe he could give a little later. When he actually knew what was going on.
“You’re not wrong,” Isak breathed out in one big sigh. “I guess we can start there.”
Even just squeezed him, indicating that he was listening.
“Papa… has messaged me…” Isak trailed, “but I just haven’t got the courage to answer.”
“What did he write?” Even asked earnestly, breath warm on Isak’s back.
Isak reached for his phone on the bedside table and opened his messages, immediately turning his brightness down when the screen momentarily blinded him. He thumbed through until he found it, eyes squinted, and read aloud.
Pappa: Isak, I’m sure you had a good reason to leave during the concert, but could you please answer me?
I’ve moved back in with mamma.
Isak? You haven’t asked for rent money. Is everything ok?
I sent you rent money.
Isak, I see you’re reading my messages.
I went to your apartment and your roommates said you moved out. Where are you?
Your roommates told me you moved in with that boy.
“That last one was from yesterday,” Isak finished, setting his phone back down and rolling over to face Even.
“You should answer him,” Even stated, and Isak knew he was right. “He doesn’t seem hurt. Or upset. He seems worried, Isak. You should make things right.”
It was barely audible. A confession that rose from his stomach like it was the first time he was thinking it and saying it all at once. “I’m not sure if I want to.” He opened his eyes to search for blue, but all he could see was dark.
“You should at least let him know you’re ok. Let him know where you are.” Even wrapped his arms around Isak’s shoulders and pulled him as close as he could, until Isak was squished against his chest.
There was a long pause—so long, Even thought Isak had fallen back asleep, but a weak, “you’re turn,” broke the silence.
“I’ve told you why I left Bakka,” Even whispered, but not angry. He was stroking Isak’s hair.
“There’s something you’re hiding from me,” Isak mumbled against his chest, warm skin growing hotter with anxiety. “Why won’t you tell me who Mikael is.”
“Because I’m afraid.” A confession.
“Afraid of what?” Isak asked, tipping his head up quickly, searching for something. Anything. Desperately.
Even gulped, his hand pausing and resuming in Isak’s hair. “Afraid of what you’ll think.”
Isak begged, his voice breaking. “Please.”
And it really wasn’t fair. All of it. This secret. The way Isak asked. One of those moments where Even wished he was normal. Not even for him anymore—his fate sealed and accepted. But for Isak, the boy he had saved being so overwhelmingly lonely that it really wasn’t fair their love had to be half-heartbreak all the time.
Ok. For Isak. A sigh to pump himself up.
“At Bakka,” Even breathed, composing himself as he tried to go on, tried to think of how to phrase this. “I had a group of friends. Adam and Yousef and Mutasim and Mikael. And Elias, who is Sana’s brother.” He said every name so slowly, like he was remembering everything he could about them with each word.
“So you already knew Sana.” A realization. Suddenly everything made much more sense, but Isak wasn’t resentful.
“Ja,” Even panted, like he had already said a thousand words when really his story had just begun.
Isak squeezed him, but Even felt the tremble in it, the anxiety was hunger in his stomach but no appetite.
“And I felt especially close to Mikael. He was my best friend.”
“And during the first semester of third year, I had an episode, and I don’t think anyone knew when it began to escalate, even myself or mamma or pappa or Sonja. It was anger issues, blurting things out that I didn’t mean, taking situations the wrong way… but I and everyone else just brushed it off as stress from school and whatever.” He reached to pinch the bridge of his nose at how obvious it all was in hindsight, but accidentally elbowed Isak in the dark. “Sorry.” A comforting hand on his shoulder to check for damage, knowing it didn’t matter because it was all internal.
Movement had stopped, and Even could tell Isak hadn’t taken a breath. “It was my worst one ever.” Not even an exhale, so—
“And then, one day, I thought I was in love with him. And I kissed Mikael, in front of everyone. And no one knew what to do and I was just smiling and trying to kiss him again, oblivious to everything because in my mind, that was right and he felt the same way. Thinking back, I was probably incoherent—frightening. Until Yousef was dragging me off and Adam was leading Mikael away, in tears. And then at the height of it, when it was just me and I had scared everyone away, I memorized the Qur’an, in Arabic, and posted versus from it all over my Facebook. Which is why I deleted it. I didn’t know what to do. I thought my friends were going to hate me.”
Isak didn’t lessen his grip on Even. Instead, he squeezed him harder, finally exhaling and letting the silence reverberate around them a little—a much needed pregnant pause after everything that had just been said.
“And then I became depressed. And I didn’t contact them because I was depressed. And I missed so much of first semester that I couldn’t continue to second semester, so I had to take a gap year. And when it came time for school to start again, I didn’t think I could handle everything back at Bakka, so I transferred to Nissen. A fresh start. And so here I am.” He used short sentences—sounded exhausted. Done. Like every word was a back-and-forth marathon, his feet slipping and tired at the end. His words void, like he had never spoken any of them out of context with positive emphasis.
“And so here you are,” Isak repeated, his arms around Even so tight he was surprised he could breathe. He was trying to rearrange the thousands of words in his head into a coherent sentence, picking each one carefully like a flower. I little bit jealous. A little bit sorry. I little bit sad. He didn’t know how to wrap it all together.
“Sometimes, I wish I had just told them what was wrong. Why I did what I did. Why I didn’t answer. Maybe they would understand. But I think it’s too late for that now…” Even sighed.
“Why were you afraid to tell me this?” Isak asked, wishing he could look into those soft blue eyes.
Even whispered it slowly against Isak’s shoulder.“Because I didn’t love Mikael.”
The reality of it sunk like a stone in his stomach. The implication almost made Isak wish he had.
“And I was afraid you would think I didn’t love you, too.”
“The police have got him, so he’s safe at least,” Sonja said all too calmly as she got off the phone.
Isak had never breathed out a bigger sigh, panic and relief swirling into an emotion he had never felt before. “What just happened?” He asked her, trying his hardest to keep hot tears inside red eyelids.
“He’s manic,” she answered hotly, pity and anger and jealousy burning through her face. “That’s what’s happening now! He’s not well!” She raised her voice and why was she smiling?
Nothing had prepared Isak for this. He kept looking all over the place, like an answer was going to appear out of thin air.
“Do you think he’s in love with you?” She laughed, driving the knife deeper into the wound. “He’s not! It’s just a sick idea he has right now.”
“But please don’t think that’s true,” Even begged, hot lips on Isak’s temple.
Isak just nodded. “Thank you for telling me.” He meant it.
Your comments make my day :) Things only get juicier from here on out. The Drama™ is about to begin.
Chapter 4: EPISODE 4
Before or after? An invitation. A question with no answer. A warm home. The most important cup of tea. A text.
Are we already on chapter four? I don't want to let go of this fic! Some loose ties finally coming to a close but you know that's not how this works—once one door closes, another one opens.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Mamma and papa would like us to come over for dinner,” Even hummed into Isak’s sleepy hair, half under the covers, a smile on his lips as he read the message and set his phone back on the nightstand.
It had been like this last morning too, like a string had wrapped them together since Friday night. Impossible to pop their bubble and tumble out of bed and face the real world. Weights lifted and spirits lifted and everything was ok. It took a minute, but everything was ok.
He loves me. It was the only thought that had run through Isak’s head.
And the words weren’t direct, but they were there. Even had said them.
He loves me. A song.
“Only if she makes those meatballs again,” Isak mumbled, still in a half-sleep heaven. Even just chuckled. “When?”
“Fredag.” He tilted Isak’s chin up, sweet and warm, to kiss him awake. “After school. Is that ok?”
Isak sighed, his eyes falling shut again. “Ja. Your mom owes me the 500kr from this week anyways.”
Even squinted down at him. A smug smirk under closed eyes on Isak’s face as he tried not to laugh at himself. What a little shit.
“They really like you,” Even continued, stroking his hair, trying to savor every moment pressed together before Isak had to get up and go to work.
Isak smiled into him, a soft kiss met with hot skin and dragging fingers. His needy mouth opened to kiss Even unexpected, because once he started he couldn’t stop.
And it had also been like this. Every time Isak looked into Even’s eyes he saw it: the sincerity and the honesty and like he was all there—for the very first time. Isak felt like a sap for letting all this communication turn him on, but it did. Even was his. All his.
He loves me.
“Stop trying to do this to me before we have to get up and go,” Even scolded with a smile, swatting Isak’s hand away from his hip and brushing their noses together instead, a sweet and domestic 180 from where this was about to go.
“Stop being so good looking,” Isak teased, ignoring him and leaning in to kiss him again, rushed and desperate like this was the last time they might ever lie here, skin burning against each other and every piece of contact felt like pins and needles. The good kind. “Let’s take a shower,” Isak mumbled over his mouth even though they didn’t have time for that.
Even broke away and raised his eyebrows under the mop of loose waves on his head. His eyes were so big and sparkly, Isak almost missed his equally big and sparkly smile. Almost. “Why do you do this to me,” he threw back, neck craning as he tried not to give in, but that surely wasn’t happening because Isak saw it as the perfect opportunity, lips meeting his pulsing, thin skin.
And Even had never been happier.
“Because it’s funny,” Isak giggled against him as he pulled away from Even’s neck. “And I can’t help myself.” A whisper, barely finishing the sentence before climbing fully on top of Even, hand on the side of his face to press it over and down into the bed and expose as much as possible.
“Ok,” Even breathed, his head rushing and his skin tingling between every little bite. “Let’s go. But you have to do the thing.”
“Shall we skip last period?” Even whispered into Isak’s ear as he snuck up on him, slinking an arm through his and hoisting him away from the boy squad in the stairwell only minutes before the bell was going to ring. “Ha det!” He called, waving at the boys over his shoulder while they gave the pair blank, confused smiles in return.
“I guess I don’t really have a choice, do I?” Isak asked, a little taken aback but nonetheless sneaking out a side door with his boyfriend. “What’s the plan?” A seductive smirk.
Even squinted his eyes at him as they walked with linked arms back home. “You have to work right after school,” he didn’t answer. He turned his head back to face front with a smug smile. “I didn’t want to wait that long.”
Their love had been a bubble. A sticky sweet one—and Isak had rubbed off on him—feeding off of how close they had been these last few days.
“To do what?” Isak asked—an impossible to suppress eyebrow raise and smile trying to ruin his sassy face—because he thought he already knew the answer.
“Even,” Isak panted, breaking off the kiss.
The blinds were open because who gave a fuck and warm, soft, yellow afternoon light was pouring into their apartment. The bed sheets were tangled up by their feet along with most of their clothes.
“Mmmmm, say my name again,” Even begged on top of him, ignoring Isak’s request as he titled his head in the opposite direction and kissed him again.
Isak couldn’t help it, damn it, so he let Even. He let Even shift on top of him to purposefully drive him mad. He let Even pin his arms down so he couldn’t move. He let Even turn him into an absolute, writhing mess. He let Even do whatever he wanted.
“I’m getting light headed,” Isak whined as Even moved to bite his ear.
“That’s not my name,” Even teased.
Isak gulped, his lower body throbbing. “I’m serious, I think I’m loosing my vision. There’s no blood in my head.”
Every word in-between kisses Isak lunged for. If he wasn’t kissing Even, it was painful.
Even gave him sarcastic eyebrows, a hand shifting down to Isak’s thigh to tease him. “And why’s that?”
“You’re being so mean,” Isak breathed, rolling his eyes back and barely finishing the last word as Even finally touched him.
He scoffed playfully, slinking his hands back up and rolling off Isak. “Fine.”
“What?!” Panicked, scrambling back for him. “,” he begged, straddling Even this time.
They both gave in.
“What are you doing?” Isak huffed, swatting Even’s phone out of their faces.
“What?” Even tried to look offended. “We look cute!”
“Just don’t post it anywhere.”
“Where would I post it,” Even responded flatly with a half-eye roll in Isak’s direction.
A sigh. “You’re right.”
“I want to ‘remember the moment,’” Even mocked, his voice going a little higher as he faked scooping ice with a spatula, and ok, that was funny, because now Isak was laughing—but the oh my god my boyfriend is such a dork kind of laugh. And Even snapped a selfie while he laughed with him, still naked under the covers.
“I better take a shower before work,” Isak groaned, slumping out of the bed and free-balling to the bathroom. Even winked at him.
And then Even had the most brilliant idea.
When he finally heard the water running, he snatched Isak’s phone off the night stand and unlocked it. With Isak’s phone in one hand and his in the other, he sent the picture, saved it to Isak’s camera roll, and opened Instagram.
Before or After? he typed, smirking to himself and hitting share. He deleted all evidence and slipped Isak’s phone back on the nightstand just as the water turned off.
The notifications were an immediate chorus of ping ping ping ping ping as likes and comments started to roll in, lighting up Isak’s screen, and Even’s smile was bubbling up under pursed lips.
Isak slipped in the room, towel around his waist, and picked up his phone which was still on fire. His eyes furrowed as he slid them open, face pursing with fake anger to cover up a smile as he thumbed a reply on his own picture: INSTARAPE FROM EVEN !!!!! “You’re dead,” Isak spat with crazy eyes.
Even laughed, throwing his arms up to protect himself as Isak lunged for him. “Nei nei nei!”
Jonas opened the door, eyes on Isak and then to the blank space beside him. “No Even?”
“Nei,” Isak sighed with a smile. “He’s sleeping.”
Jonas shrugged his shoulders and left the door open for him, making his way back to the deck from the kitchen while Isak dropped his bag. He’d been here a million times.
Mahdi and Magnus were playing kubb in the yard, the sun still sparkling low in the sky as it slowly started to stay out later and later.
Jonas handed Isak a water. “Sorry, my parents are home.”
“Never used to stop you!” Magnus shouted from the lawn.
Mahdi laughed, throwing a baton and missing. “Remember when we would go to McDonald’s and get large cups, empty them in the parking lot, and fill them with beer?”
“Beer through a straw is fucking disgusting,” Magnus added, his eyebrows up and eyes scanning the boys for confirmation. They all nodded. He knocked over a block.
“And remember when we were playing FIFA in your living room and your mom came in and asked for a drink?” Isak nudged Jonas, both trailing down to the grass. “I’ve got winner,” he added.
“Well, that was the plan,” Jonas turned back to Mahdi. “But my sister caught me sneaking a six-pack in and she’s been so moody lately.” A groan, rolled eyes and bouncy curls. “And I already called winner,” he turned to Isak with a smirk.
Mahdi sighed, losing. “What’s her deal?”
“She’s all fucking crabby because her boyfriend is graduating and moving to Berlin,” Jonas answered. “They have like, a breakup date,” he scoffed, eyes and brows low and condescending as he looked sideways to Isak for validation, but immediately gave him an oh shit up-down after he realized what he just said.
And Isak just shook his head at him, because no, they hadn’t talked about it.
“Halla, Isak!” Even’s mom pulled him into a warm hug. The whole apartment smelled delicious.
“Halla, Olivia,” he greeted, pulling away. “Erik,” he smiled, nodding to Even’s dad.
Even’s mom was shoving a glass into his hand. “Wine?”
“Takk,” Isak smiled, even though he didn’t like wine. He drank it anyways as they all took seats at the kitchen table, bright white walls around them dripping with pictures and plants and mementos. It smelled like warmth. It looked like summer. It felt like home.
And it wasn’t the first time Isak had been here. It was more like… the fourth? Maybe fifth? Each time eating and drinking and getting to know each other a little more. Even’s first boyfriend. Still new waters and downward eyes from them as Even planted pecks on Isak, each one becoming more and more comfortable.
Even’s mom kept filling Isak’s glass every time it got half full, and Isak didn’t have the heart to tell her he was only drinking it to be polite, but after what was probably three glasses now, he welcomed it. They chatted and laughed—Erik’s laugh was exactly like Even’s—while warm smells from the oven grew stronger. And despite all this, Isak felt a little sad. Surrounded by so much warmth and light, like this is how it was suppose to be.
His tipsy eyes kept darting to Even every chance they got, just absolutely gone at how beautiful and charming his boyfriend was as conversation flowed from him easy, bringing Isak in and out of the conversation in perfect time.
He loves me. It was still his favorite song. And he wanted to sing it back.
And ok, maybe he was drunk, but he felt lucky in this moment. And his eyes gave it all away.
Even met his gaze every time and raised him a smile. He squeezed his knee, just peachy-keen that everything was going so well, and their wine-slurry smiles and glances were interrupted by a giggle from Even’s mom.
“Isak?” she said, probably again, because Isak hadn’t been listening. He blushed, caught in the act as he stared wildly in love and so so thankful right at her son.
“Sorry,” he shook, taking a sip of his now full (again) glass, too embarrassed to ask what did you say?
“Does your family go anywhere for holiday?” She probably repeated.
“Um, nei,” Isak shook. “Well, we used to go to Amsterdam in the summer to visit my aunt. But it’s been a few years.” Where did that lie come from? Isak had never been to Amsterdam in his life.
Even frowned, puzzled, but shook it off. He’d ask later.
“Oh!” Olivia chirped. “My sister lives in Amsterdam. What neighborhood?”
Fuck. “Uhhh,” Isak started, his mind slow and heavy from the alcohol.
“Hmm!” Even’s dad made an interrupting sound as he hummed over his sip of wine, a word in his mouth dissolved by the liquid, saving Isak and breaking off to say after he swallowed, “Liv, do you remember last summer when we all went to visit her, and there was that man who walked up to us and called us ‘Andrian and Chloe,’” he mocked—continuing—“thought he knew us? Turns out—”
Sounded interesting, but Oliva interjected, a squinted eye and furrowed brow. “That was the summer before,” she started. “Last summer we were here with Even.”
Even’s face went dead as he shot a look to his mom like she just dug his grave.
“Oh you’re right—in the hospital,” he remembered. “Anyways—”
And suddenly the memories on the walls looked like grim reminders. Was something burning in the oven? Everything smelled less sweet. Like a thin layer of sugar had just melted off everything and a sour taste remained in Isak’s mouth.
“Hospital?” Isak interrupted, looking quickly at Even, pure concern painting his face as he slipped a reassuring hand on his knee. He had no idea.
Olivia and Erik gave each other sideways glances and not the good kind. The oh shit kind. Everyone was now looking at Even, the ball in his court.
“Yeah, I had to get my appendix out,” Even nervously laughed after a pause that was one second too long.
Everyone just took a sip of wine. The oven went off.
“I need to tell you something,” Even admitted, slinking his hand into Isak’s as they began walking home.
He wanted to wait until they were in bed. In the dark—where maybe Isak couldn’t look into his eyes or read his face or see how nervous he was. But anxiety was ten thousand little bugs eating his skin.
“Ja,” Isak breathed, preparing himself.
They just kept walking—slowly—Isak kicking the stray pebbles, taking extra wide steps here or there to kick the ones out of his way.
“I didn’t have my appendix removed.” All of the courage in those words and he still hadn’t even gotten to the hard part.
Isak looked over at him, his hood up over soft curls. His eyes were praying. “I know.” He stopped walking, dragging Even to a stop with him and squeezing his hand as he tried to pull away, swinging him back around to face him. “You don’t have a scar.”
The weakest smile. Even couldn’t help it. Only Isak Valtersen could coax it out of him.
“Tell me,” Isak begged, two steps closer so their noses were almost aligned. “I have to force everything out of you.” It was sad and broken.
Glass shattered inside Even, and this shattered glass was cutting Isak. Making small stabs in passing—the pain bigger than it seemed. They had just gotten over this, right? Everything should be out in the open now, right? Bigger than he knew. And when Isak hurt, it was because of Even, and Even didn’t realize until right now.
“I don’t want you to leave me,” Even choked, the last word fading out. He couldn’t meet Isak’s gaze, but he could feel those green eyes searching for him.
“Leave you?” Isak asked, offended. “How could I leave you?” Fingers brushing hair out of Even’s face. The touch was soft and gentle and full of everything Even told himself he didn’t deserve. “Even, you’re the best thing in my life.” Both hands were intertwined now, hanging in front of him as Isak tilted his head under to force Even to look at him. When he did, Isak wasn’t mad or upset. He was smiling with that cute cupids-bow—full of love and light.
You are too good for me, Even thought.
“Let’s go home,” Isak suggested, a nod of the head. Patient and kind.
“Tea?” Isak asked. The smallest of comforts. He didn’t know what else he could give.
Even smiled, walking through the door to their apartment and shedding a few layers. “You’re going to make me tea?”
“I can try,” Isak suggested, a knowing smile on his face like Even, you know damn well I, Isak Valtersen, do not know how to make anything.
Even playfully rolled his eyes. “I’ll make the tea.”
Isak was suppose to pay attention so he could learn, but he cornered Even in every inch of the kitchen to hold his hand or to rub their noses together or to kiss him. It wasn’t lusty or greedy or full of desire. It was longing and clingy and destitute. When Even tried to pour the boiling water into two cups, Isak spun him around to hold his face and tip up to kiss him warm and full on the mouth, causing Even to almost burn his hands.
“Isak,” Even scolded. He knew what he was doing.
“Where are you?” Pleading. Their faces close because Isak’s hands wouldn’t let go. Even didn’t answer, so he continued. “Like, in your head? Where are you.”
Even huffed. “I’m fine.” Trying to break away because he didn’t want to have this conversation. Ever.
“You can tell me.” Isak’s plea was hot and soft, his fingers still brushing over Even even though he was pulling away. “I’m right here. I’m not going to leave you.”
Even wanted to tell him he loved him, but not like this. Not when the elephant in the room was a story Even never wanted to relive. A story he didn’t want to tell Isak, because who wants to be with someone… With someone who…
“Ever,” Isak urged. A promise.
Even took a deep breath and turned around to grab the tea, handing a steaming cup to Isak who looked confused and lovely. Isak deserved to know. “I don’t expect you to understand—”
“I don’t expect to either,” Isak interrupted. A saint.
A long pause. A pause with connected eyes—one pair saying I’ve got you and one pair saying I’m sorry. But both pairs were saying please. Please tell me. Please don’t leave me.
The confession was almost inaudible, eyes down and face down and hair down. “Almost a year ago, I tried to kill myself.” He wanted so bad to look Isak in the eyes when he said it—to catch the confusion and the hurt and all of the pain that was going to pour out of that angelic face that never deserved any of this.
Could he actually go into cardiac arrest right now? Isak wasn’t sure because the blood was pulsing through his veins at an alarming speed—so fast he could feel the rush. He probably knew the why but what about the how?
Isak pictured Even in his room—In his bathroom? Alone outside along the fjord at night? He wanted to throw up, sick just thinking about it, the skin on Even almost disappearing before him as he tried to even visualize him not there.
Impossible. That would never be possible. Isak wouldn’t let it.
And he had never wanted to get rid of something in his hand faster. In a flustered panic, he threw his tea cup into the sink. It might have even shattered. Who knows. And then two arms. Two arms around Even’s shoulders as he tried to absorb that boy.
The best thing in his life.
“You got me. You’re not allowed to go anywhere anymore.”
Even wished he could promise him that.
Isak’s thumb was hovering over the arrow to send the messages. He hit it, hesitating a bit between each one.
Isak: Hei pappa
Sorry I've been so hard to reach.
Would you like to meet Even?
As always, your comments make me beam ear to ear. I love to know what you think!
Chapter 5: EPISODE 5
Everything is still the same. A smoke sesh. A barista. A kitchen countertop conversation. A text. A fight.
This chapter/episode is a long one and it has a little bit of everything! Which, as you all know, also includes The Fight™.
And thus, my interpretation of it.
And let's be real, I feel like most people were disappointed at how hyped it was only to be let down by... Isak punching Mikael? Out of jealousy?
Nei nei nei. You'll see when you get there.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Isak had woken up before Even—on purpose.
He set an alarm for 6:00, which was an absolutely ungodly hour for him, but Even was usually always up by 7:00 at the latest, so—ring as silent as possible and he stuck his phone under his pillow, praying the vibrations and muffled tone would wake only him.
And it worked. Probably. Isak had slept through the alarm for about four minutes, but it looked like Evan had too—mouth slightly agape with soft snores, blonde waves messy over freckled skin and his chest slowly rising and falling.
This was not a sight Isak saw often, so he relished it. Tip of his tongue sticking out slightly between smirky lips as his eyes sparkled.
And yesterday was a bad day. Not in the sense that anything objectively bad happened, it was just generally a bad day because Isak had to work when really it was more important to be with Even. Another Friday come and gone where they ended the night curled up in bed, secrets ruining them and sewing them back together. Isak wondered if every Friday would be a confession that sent them into a weekend full of kissing their love back in to place. Reassurances that caused them to curl under the covers all day, ignore their friends, and wonder if love had to be like this.
And it really did. It really did when you were Isak Valtersen and Even Bech Næsheim.
But Isak wouldn’t trade it for the world.
And he couldn’t help but press the gentlest kiss to Even’s sleepy forehead, accidentally waking him. “Shit,” he mumbled as Even’s eyes fluttered open. “I mean, good morning.”
Even was a morning person. It took no time to register Isak above him, warm bare skin as he brushed their noses and tipped his head to beg for a kiss. “Good morning.”
It still took Isak’s breath away. Every time their lips met it sucked the air out of his lungs, even more so now. At that stage where you think the ecstasy of love can’t be any better than this, but life manages to surprise you.
“I was going to make you breakfast,” Isak pouted, breaking their lips apart but keeping a hand on Even’s face—brushing his cheek with his thumb while his other four fingers scratched lightly at blonde waves.
Even’s smile was tired but warm, his voice deep but cheery. “Since when do you make me breakfast?”
It was a fair point.
Even felt a little like a burden. “You know everything is still the same, right?”
But Isak knew it wasn’t. It was better. His heart was heavy but so, so full. “Everything is still the same,” he repeated. Beaming.
“HA!” Isak giggled, high and uncontrolled with a gappy smile as his phone lit up at the kantine table.
“Hva det?” Even smiled, purely because Isak was smiling.
“I just got a message from Eskild,” he laughed, thumbs flying as he typed a reply. “He said he’s in love with Sana’s brother.”
Even’s face fell a little but he recovered quickly.
Isak raised an eyebrow. Oh yeah.
“You should talk to them,” Isak nudged, locking his phone and putting it into his pocket, as if it was just that easy.
“I’m not sure what to say,” Even mumbled, eyes down. Did they hate him? Did they miss him? Were they laughing at him? Were they worried about him? Honestly, he thought any one of those could be right. “I don’t even know where to begin.”
“If you’re honest, they’ll understand,” Isak smiled, reaching for his hand and squeezing it across the table. “It’s never too late.”
“Halla, gutter,” Manus sang, clapping Mahdi on the back and making a kissy face at Isak. “Are we going to SYNG on Friday?”
“SYNG?” Isak asked, leading the pack as the boy squad swung open the doors of Bislett Kebab before making their way to a “study session” at Magnus’s.
“Have you not been on Facebook?” Magnus asked, “Vilde won’t shut up about it.”
Isak pulled out his phone and ah—there was the invite.
“It’s for their bus or something,” Magnus continued, shoving a big bite into his mouth.
A chorus of I’m game. Only if those dancer chicks are going. What time?
Isak’s phone buzzed.
Even: Miss you
Isak: You saw me this morning
Even: Am I not allowed to miss you?
Even: Maybe I miss something specific ;)
“Yo,” Jonas said under his breath, holding in his hit as he passed Isak the joint, cross-legged on the floor of Magnus’s room.
Isak set his phone down to take it, eyes already red and squinty and his head already swimming to concentrate on anything. Besides maybe some food. Or some sex. But he took another hit because fuck it.
“You’ve never had sex while you were high?” Jonas asked Magnus, a condescending brow arched over in his direction, blowing smoke out with his question.
“What?” Magnus asked, breaking his gaze to take the joint Isak was handing to him, next in the circle. “Takk,” he muttered before he continued—“I didn’t know that was a thing?”
“What?” Jonas laughed. “Don’t you get… you know… turned on? When you smoke and then go see Vilde?”
“He’s right—” Mahdi coughed, smoke in his lungs. “Smoking always puts me in the mood.”
“Nei?” Magnus interjected. “Opposite for me. Totally chill.”
Even: I wish you were in bed with me
I wish you were all over me
Fuck. Isak rolled to lay on his stomach, elbows on the floor with his head propped up in one hand, the other on his phone.
Isak: I’m with the guys
Please don’t torture me
Even messaged him a selfie. Looking fucking flawless. His skin bright and smooth on his chest and collarbones. His hair wet from a shower. His mouth kind of pouty but with a devilish smile. His eyes like daggers right to Isak’s heart.
Isak was paranoid he had been staring too long, not sure if it was really only a couple of seconds or a couple of minutes. He tried to tune into what the boys were talking about, but he couldn’t concentrate.
Isak: You look so good
Even: When are you coming home?
Isak: I just got here. I can’t bail yet.
Even: I’m not sure if I can wait that long.
Isak locked his phone and set it down, motioning for Jonas to skip him and hand the joint to Magnus.
“Can we stop talking about girls?” Mahdi groaned.
“What?” Jonas half-laughed, offended. “This chick had a glass eye.”
What were they talking about? His head couldn’t make any connections—and even if he wasn’t stoned he probably wouldn’t have been able to anyways—because all of the blood was rushing from his head.
His phone lit up. When he slid the message open, he saw Even had sent him a video. Fuck. He locked it again, his body on fire.
It only took a few minutes before Isak got up, too tempted, and headed for the bathroom where he pressed play and his screen was immediately filled with Even… touching himself. He watched those 5 seconds 20 times.
Isak: You have no idea what you’re doing to me
Even: Come home so I can see
Isak: I’m not sure if I can wait that long.
Isak got the messages during his last period, and his heart fluttered with a mixture of anxiety and hopefulness when he opened them.
Pappa: Halla Isak
Of course I would love to meet Even
I'm out of town for awhile for work
How does the last Friday of June sound?
“I have news,” Isak and Even said at the same time—Isak from his laptop at the table, and Even as he walked in the front door.
They both smiled at each other—warm and bubbly.
Their banter had returned, the heavy, gooey love-stitching wearing off as they were back to flirting and teasing—stronger than ever.
“Ladies first,” Even joked, winking at Isak as he hung up his jacket.
Isak rolled his eyes so far back in his head he thought they were going to detach. When they returned to Even, he pursed his lips and kept his mouth shut. Fucker.
“Fine,” Even laughed. “I’m sorry. I was joking! I’ll go first.” He was snickering at how clever he thought he was, a content and bright smile under sassy eyes and wind-ruined hair.
Isak seriously couldn’t stay mad. He patted the space on the other side of the table for Even sit.
“I got a job,” Even relayed proudly, sliding into the seat across from Isak.
“What! Where? Why?!” Isak didn’t know where to begin.
“Because I have to help you!” Even laughed, a hand on Isak’s across the table. “I need to help ‘make an income,’” he mocked.
“No, you have to graduate,” Isak insisted, closing his laptop and giving Even a look. And then another look, like what’s going on with that, anyways?
“I’ll graduate,” Even laughed. “People in the third year have jobs, Isak. You have a job!”
“Fine,” he whined. “So what is it. Tell me.”
“You’re a barista?” Isak drawled unbelievably. He couldn’t help but roll his eyes a little and immediately felt rude, so he smiled at the irony. Of-fucking-course Even got a job at a cafe. “I’m dating… a… barista?” He emphasized the last word, keeping his mouth open around it and his eyes playfufully tilted under one down eyebrow.
“What!” Even squeaked in offense, poking a finger into his chest and lifting his eyebrows to the top of his forehead. His eyes were bright and full of teasing. “You work at a library! You can’t make fun of me!”
“I guess I’m not shocked,” Isak chuckled, leaning over across the table and surprising Even with a quick peck. “I’m proud of you. You’ll be Kaffebrenneriet’s best looking barista.”
“Plus I get tips,” Even pointed out, a smug smile with his mouth curling at the corners below dancing eyebrows.
“Only because you’re so charming,” Isak blurted. Oops. Hot all over his face, and then—
“I’m what?” Even dug, his eyes dilated and on fire under lowered lids.
Isak was still blushing.
“Say it again,” he whispered. He leaned in a little across the table to ask for a kiss.
Isak met him halfway but stopped right before their lips met. “You are so,” a kiss. “Unbelievably—” Another kiss. “Absolutely—” an even longer kiss. “Incredibly—” Isak was just mumbling over Even’s lips at this point. “Charming.” He said the last word right into his mouth because Even’s plan backfired on him—he wanted to embarrass Isak but of course his sly boyfriend found a way to make him weak.
“What about your news?” Even asked in-between every space their lips found.
“After,” Isak smiled, pulling away and giving Even a seductive up-down. He jumped on the bed.
“So?” Even asked, his hand sweeping away at the blonde curls on his chest.
“Later,” Isak mumbled into his skin. “Everything right now is perfect.”
“Who’s that?” Even asked casually, sneaking a peek over Isak’s shoulder as his boyfriend sat on the kitchen counter, waiting for him to finish cooking dinner.
Isak was scrolling through Instagram, his thumb pausing over Eva’s post from yesterday with Vilde, Chris, and Sara.
“Sara Nørstelien,” Isak said slowly, sounding it out, like it was the first time he had ever said her name.
“Ja…” Even nodded, craning his neck over to get a better look. “I think I’ve seen her around.”
There was a pause that came with Even’s curious eyes, like maybe he knew something. Heard the rumors. Had it come up in passing with the boys while Isak was out of the room.
So Isak paused too, matching Even’s gaze before he broke away. He shoved his phone in his pocket so he could rest his elbows on his knees, legs swinging.
“We uh…” Isak began, hesitant. “We used to be in a relationship,” he confessed.
Even shot a small frown but curious eyes over to him while he stirred something on the stove. His curiosity was masked badly under enthusiasm. “What happened?”
“We broke up,” Isak stated, shaking his head a bit and shooting up an eyebrow all sassy. Like c’mon Even, obviously.
“Were you upset?”
“Nei,” Isak huffed. “More like relieved.”
Even’s face turned up with an understanding smile. “First girlfriend?”
“Ja,” Isak laughed, biting his lip and looking at the floor. “But, hmm, It was sort of terrible.”
Even crinkled an eyebrow.
“Like,” he huffed, wishing the words were done and over with. “I was kind of forced into a relationship with her. And she’s honestly so terrible. You wouldn’t believe the amount of shit she talks about other people.” He sounded impatient. “She wouldn’t leave me alone after we drunkenly hooked up at a party. I was so trashed… And I lied to the boys and told them she gave me a blow job, and then that rumor went around and she just nervously went with it and never confronted me about lying. And then she broke up with me not too long after because I wouldn’t—couldn’t—have sex with her. And I only did it because I thought… like… I had to. I thought maybe what I felt for Jonas was just a fluke but really—”
“Jonas?” Even cut off, head jerking back to make his chin wrinkle—confusion painted all over his face.
Isak froze. Like literally froze. His mouth was open, half formed around the word “really” while the color drained from his face and his eyes vibrated in their sockets. He really wanted to take that to the grave with him.
“Isak did you…” Even began, mouth in a small “o” with one eyebrow up and one down, “…have a crush on Jonas?”
“It was way over a year ago—” he finally began, trying to brush it off like it didn’t crush him, but Even took a giant step over to him and scooped his limp limbs up into a tight hug.
“That sucks,” he whispered into Isak’s hair, placing a kiss on the top of his head. And he didn’t mean like that sucks for me, he meant it like I’m so sorry that happened. That must have sucked.
And yeah—he was right—it fucking sucked.
“I hated myself,” Isak whispered weakly. And it was more than just that. More than I had a crush on my best friend and it sucked and I hated myself. It was the deep kind. The kind of hate that manifests first in your cells. It starts on the inside and then pulses out into your skin until strangers can see it on your face. The kind you walk around with every day until it’s all too heavy to take another step. The kind where you ask yourself will it ever not be like this?
Even squeezed him so tight. “But you’re here now,” he cheered on, voice trying to be happy in Isak’s ear but it was so hard to picture him—hating himself. It hurt. “You’ve come so far.”
“I was not a very good person,” Isak admitted into Even’s shoulder, his arms snaking around his waist as he sat on the counter and Even held him.
“Hmm?” he hummed into Isak’s hair, a hand brushing through the curls at the base of Isak’s neck.
Isak breathed. “I did a bad thing.”
They just continued to absorb each other with tangled limbs and soft breaths. Even didn’t ask, or prod, or even squeeze Isak to let him know to go on. He was patient and kind, whatever Isak needed at the moment, and Isak felt way too lucky in leu of this situation. Like the I definitely don’t deserve this kind of lucky.
“I… hinted to Eva…” He started with a shaky breath. “That Jonas might be cheating on her. And he wasn’t. I wanted them to break up. And then when it all backfired on me, I told Eva I did it because I couldn’t stand them being together… because I liked her.”
“Does Jonas know?” Even asked, pulling away but interlocking Isak’s fingers with his, resting their closed hands on Isak’s lap.
“Nei,” Isak sighed, looking down at his swinging feet in-between Even’s open stance. “Jonas can never know.”
“Nei,” Even repeated, an understanding upturn of the lips. Whatever Isak needed.
The question was so soft and weak it broke Even’s heart. “Do you hate me?”
“Nei nei nei,” Even muttered, bringing that beautiful face in by his neck to rest on his collarbone because how in the world could he hate him. “Love makes you do stupid, stupid things,” he admitted.
“Well I must be very stupid,” Isak half laughed. And all of a sudden it just absolutely poured out of him, like a faucet he couldn’t stop, and he said it so softly and so heartbrokenly against Even’s neck. “Jeg elsker deg.”
And Even pulled him back, his hands cupping Isak’s jaw as soft blonde curls fell all over the place. The smile was automatic, warm, and desperate. Like it was saying thank you over and over and over again under the sparkliest blue eyes.
“Jeg elsker deg,” Even smiled over a soft, needy kiss. An oath.
“So you lied then!” Mahdi squealed, a big smile with ultra white teeth stretching across his face, like ha bitch! Got you.
“Just drop it, dude,” Jonas rolled his eyes, not into this conversation at all. But they ignored him.
“Neiii!” Isak shouted over the singing and the talking and the laughing all around them.
“Ja!” Magnus roared, his signature surprised face. “You said, you said, ‘two letters,’” he mocked, raising his voice up high and pretending to be Isak.
“That could have been anything,” Isak defended, a blush creeping up on his face. Why did they have to bring this shit up around Even? Who was of course just smiling, getting along with the boys, and pretending like he knew what in the world they were talking about.
“Just admit that Emma didn’t give you a blowjob during Eva’s party last semester,” Mahdi demanded. “You just wanted to seem cool.”
If by cool, you mean straight, then yes.
“Ja…” Isak trailed, “maybe not my smartest move,” he laughed at himself, and the boys joined him, loud belly laughs and beers clinking as they squished up tight next to each other in the crowd of people. Even kissed him on the cheek.
Jonas tried to say something but a cheer broke free from the crowd—drowning him out—as someone finished their song, trying to pass the microphone off to the next singer. But no one wanted to take it.
“Your turn,” Isak elbowed Even in the ribs with a smirk and nodded towards the karaoke.
“My turn?” Even pretended to be offended, poking a finger into his own chest as a loose curl dropped over his forehead over wide blue eyes.
Isak stuck his own bottom lip in-between his teeth because Even was just so damn cute and he was 3 beers in and didn’t really give a fuck what people were thinking right now. “WHO WANTS TO HEAR EVEN SING?” He bellowed, raising his beer in the air and spinning around to the open room.
Cheers erupted from the intoxicated crowd because hell, drunk people will cheer for anything. A chorus of Even! Even! Even! rang out and Even was trying to kill Isak with his eyes.
Isak just took a sip of his beer and winked over the rim of his cup at him. He playfully nudged Even towards the microphone.
“You better watch yourself, Isak Valtersen,” Even mumbled close to his face, like he was about to kiss him, but he turned around and queued up the music. A wink.
The boys took some stools against the bar and settled in to watch, the whole room hushing to turn and pay attention as the first few bars broke out in lovely piano.
“Imagine there’s no heaven…” Even sang—low and slow—focusing. Eyes over to the screen behind him with the lyrics.
Isak’s heart fluttered a bit. He had never heard Even sing before (unless you count mouthing the words to 5 fine frøkner at him in the kitchen), and he was honestly a little smitten. He sounded gorgeous.
Even glanced up, smiling as he continued the song, enjoying the attention from the crowd. And then he turned to Isak, singing to him, and Isak couldn’t help but smile because Jesus Christ he was so in love.
“Imagine there’s no country…” Even choked, frozen. His mouth was formed around the last syllable and his eyes went into panic mode. Isak could feel Even’s stomach drop from here, and the music went on while Even did not.
Isak shot his eyes over to where Even’s were looking, and he saw them. Elias and Yousef and Adam and Mutta and… Mikael. This would have been a whole lot worse two weeks ago when Isak was a little more skeptical and a lot more jealous, but his instincts sprang him up off the stool.
“Nothing to kill or die for,” Isak continued to sing, almost a whole octave higher than Even. He wrapped his arm around his shoulders and looked back at the words on the screen, then smiling over at him. You got me, too.
The look Even gave him was pure relief mixed with part thankfulness and maybe a little bit of love.
“And no religion, too…” they both continued, Isak rubbing Even’s back as he smiled into the last word. Even didn’t take his eyes off him, leaning his face in close.
And like a chorus of fucking angels, Jonas, Mahdi, and Magnus half sang with Isak and Even, “imagine all the people,” as Isak looked over to them with a smile as bright as the sun. “Living life in peace… yoo-hoo-ooooo!”
“You may say I’m a dreamer,” the whole room sang, swaying together.
And Isak skipped the next lyric, carried on the backs of all his friends, to smile so thankfully at Even—who returned the smile tenfold.
“I hope someday you’ll join us!” They chanted, heads tipping together like they were about to kiss and then tipping back to sing the last few words with extended necks and closed lids. When they returned, their eyes found each other instantly and didn’t dare to leave. They might as well have been the only two in the room.
And it continued like that. The room singing warmly and drunkenly, only tearing their eyes away from each other as they looked back to the screen when they forgot the words. Isak wanted to kiss him right then and there, so over what everyone thought, but he knew if he did he wouldn’t be able to stop.
They skipped the last line to exchange kisses on the cheek, Isak’s hat falling off his head because he was just too enthusiastic.
“Air?” Isak asked, fanning his hot face and taking a backwards step towards the door with a thumb over his shoulder.
“Ja.” Even followed him, eyes sparkling and reaching for his hand, but smiles immediately sunk when their eyes met Mutta’s and Mikael’s on the front steps.
Isak looked over at Even, frozen in his spot, wondering if he should interject again or if they even knew who he was. This could go one of ten ways, and Isak was prepared for them all—defenses kicking in because whichever turn this took, it was all about Even.
“Halla,” Mutta…laughed? Like he was somehow making fun of them. Mikael jabbed him with his elbow and gave him what the fuck, dude? eyes.
Oh fuck no. “What’s so funny?” Isak snorted, eyes squinting and head cocking to the side. Even rushed to pull him back but Isak kept walking forward, adrenaline on overdrive.
“Woooah,” Muta stood up, palms flat in defense as Isak entered his bubble.
“I said, what’s. So. Funny?” Every word a jab as he tried to shove Mutta but Even had his arms pinned down at his sides.
“Isak,” he mumbled, trying to say I’m sorry with his eyes over to Mikael, who was standing nervously to the side.
The last time Isak felt like this was when the Yakuza guys beat up Jonas. Heated and violent and dazed in a rage he didn’t recognize himself in. But now he was older. Now he was stronger and taller and angrier. It might have just been a laugh—hell—it was probably just a nervous reaction because let’s be honest the tension went from 1 to 100 the moment they locked eyes with them. But Isak didn’t care. He didn’t care if it was a misunderstanding or a joke or a purposeful punch to the gut. You fuck with Even Bech Næsheim, you fuck with Isak Valtersen.
And Isak faked out. He slumped his shoulders and acted like he was going to turn in towards Even and walk away but instead he swing around, lips in a snarl and punched Mutta right in the face.
Only it wasn’t Mutta.
It was Mikael.
Mikael—who had jumped in front of Mutta the second he realized what was about to happen.
And before Isak could even turn around, he was kicked in the back—falling on the ground—and someone was on top of him, getting two really good punches in—right to his face—before they were being dragged off.
Fuck, that hurt.
Someone pulled him protectively to his feet and rushed him away, head swinging as he tried to keep it up, but he could already see and feel and smell all of the blood. Instantly nauseous.
“Isak! Isak!” Even was worried, holding his face extremely gently as he tried to get Isak to steady his head. Open his eyes. Look at him. Anything.
There was so much shouting. New voices. A whole crowd. When his eyes settled, Mahdi was in a choke hold and Jonas was shoving Mikael, being dragged away by Magnus. Appearing from seemingly nowhere.
“Elias! Elias, stop!” Sana was shouting. “Elias, are you listening?! What are you doing?!”
Elias spat threateningly as he took a few backwards steps away, tails of Adam, Mutta, and Mikael behind him.“FUCKING KIDS!” Mutta protectively shoved Adam in front of him and glared back at the boy squad.
But they didn’t see, because now they were all around Isak.
“Are you okay?” Mahdi asked. And Sana was touching his nose lightly, inspecting the damage. But he couldn’t do or say anything without hurting, so he just looked at the blood on his hand and groaned, but it came out as more of a gurgle—blood in his throat and his nose. He couldn’t breathe.
“We have to go to the emergency room,” Even urged, hand protectively rubbing up and down the length of Isak’s arm.
“Let’s leave, then,” Mahdi nudged Jonas and Magnus.
“Are you coming?” Even asked, looking at the boys.
Isak shook his blood-wet hand as they walked, sending a spray of red onto the pavement below him. Even’s arm didn’t leave his shoulder.
“Just ignore them,” Even hushed, facing Isak on the tram as they made their way towards the hospital. It was packed shoulder to shoulder. People were staring.
Even motioned for Isak to hide his face in his chest, so he did, blood stains be damned.
And now it's time for the 10-day hiatus!
Just kidding ;) I wouldn't do that to ya'll.
As always, your comments fuel me. I can't believe this fic is already half over.
Chapter 6: EPISODE 6
A dandelion. A beginning—again. A hurting friend. A coffee date. A study session. A dinner.
Ha so this is like 7K+ words... oops. And I'll apologize in advance because this chapter is pretty much just a big set up for chapters 7 and 8, but still full with a little bit of everything :) It's a good one, I promise.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“You look beautiful,” Even reassured, holding the door open for Isak on their way out. Isak just dug his hands into his pockets with his head down—hood up—kicking the door shut behind them. A few steps down the stairwell before—
“Hey,” Even stopped him, grabbing his face with both hands so his grumpy cheeks smushed a little. “It’s okay. We are going to go to school and learn new things and eat lunch together in the windowsill and stop at Kaffebrenneriet on our way home to get an espresso before we try to do homework.”
A weak smile. Isak’s head was still heavy in Even’s hands. His eye was black and a little squinty from the swelling. The bruise spread up his forehead and down his cheek, a few broken capillaries like thin red spiderwebs all over his nose.
“And if anybody asks you what happened, you don’t have to tell them,” Even reassured. “Hell, if anything, you look super tough.” A wink.
Isak’s face melted into a weak smile because he couldn’t help it. Even could always make him feel better. There was too much light and too much love inside him to frown when he was looking into blue eyes.
“I feel so stupid,” he mumbled, the hood of his gray zip-up up over his curls and pulled down low to try and hide his eye. Even pushed it back and smoothed the hair out of his face.
“You’re a genius,” Even beamed, pulling his face in for a kiss. It was just what Isak needed because he didn’t pull away. Instead, he leaned his back and neck against the wall behind them—his hips sticking out—and pulled Even in by the bottom of his shirt giving him slow, sticky pecks with open eyes—almost too smiley to pucker his lips.
Someone came thumping down the stairwell from the next floor up. They literally spat at their feet. A quick, gross and thick inhale followed by a sharp thup on the tile. Some of it got on Isak’s shoe.
“The fuck?” Isak pulled away, but they were already swinging the door open.
He looked back at Even, hurt and confused and angry.
And Even just pretended his didn’t notice—another peck like it was the only thing that mattered. Because it was.
They took their time walking to school.
Even’s hand never left Isak’s, and he kissed him on the cheek around every corner. Isak let him.
But it was hard not to be down. Or to feel dumb. Or to be all there. Isak chose his words carefully the days following SYNG, embarrassed to look Even in the eyes for too long before he felt the guilt creep up. Wincing and pulling away when Even touched him because he didn’t deserve the sweetness. Every kiss to the forehead and every nose nuzzle under the covers and every finger slinking together—all Even’s doing—like a fire he wanted to run from and dive into at the same time.
And he was glad Even didn’t stop. A mindreader.
“Wait,” Even stopped him, plucking a stray dandelion from a crack in the sidewalk.
It was the only one. Tall and yellow and proud—growing in the most impossible place, squished between where the broken pavement met.
“You are lovely,” he reminded him, slipping it behind his ear.
Isak blushed and fumbled and tingled a little at the tickle of it. Sad smile.
“And my life has only gotten exponentially better since I’ve known you,” Even continued, tipping down to try and catch his eye.
Isak’s insides melted. They were all a big liquid pool swimming inside him, sinking to his feet and keeping him grounded. If only he knew.
“Why are you so good to me,” Isak mumbled, head down but eyes finding their way to blue.
Even squinted his eyebrows like he thought Isak was joking. “You’re my boyfriend?” A kiss.
It was soft and maybe a little too slow but it still squeezed all the air out of his lungs. Probably his blood vessels too.
“And I love you.”
Isak didn’t know it was possible to be this miserable and this elated at the same time.
“I punched your friend…”
Even smiled. “But do you know who is my very best friend?”
Isak knew what he was trying to do, so he smiled at him undeserving, asking to play the game. “Who?”
Another kiss. Another sparkly-eye smile. “You.”
“I don’t deserve you,” Isak whispered.
Even laughed. If only he knew.
Sana’s bag plopped down beside him at their table in the back. He could feel the stress between them—vibrating and hot.
He looked over at her. He wanted to ask her so many things. Are we cool? Do you hate me? What about your brother? Are you ok? Why didn’t you tell me you knew Even? Why did you try to hide the fact you knew who Mikael was, even when I asked?
The stare was unemotional. Just waiting. Waiting for someone to say something. He noticed her eyes flicker to the dandelion still behind his ear, which he just now remembered. He took it out—put it in his pocket.
“How is…” Sana started, breaking the silence and then trailing off, pointing her pencil at Isak’s eye.
“Good. It’s fine,” he replied, looking back down. Isak could tell she must have wanted to ask him a million things as well.
“Sorry again that my brother—” she started.
Isak cut her off. “That’s okay. Don’t worry about it, Sana.”
She looked empty. Like someone had taken every good thing from her all at once until all that remained was anger. She wasn’t sassy or witty like she usually was. The look in her eyes reminded Isak of a time when he felt very alone, filled to the brim with hate and a hot temperament because there was no room left for anything else.
It was all too familiar. Fear and empty and anger and no one to talk to. But Sana had someone to talk to, right?
He wanted to ask her what was wrong. How far would she even open up? Were they even friends, or just biology partners?
Before anyone could say anything else, their eyes flickered up towards the professor.
“Okay, everyone, we will be covering a lot of material in today’s class. Exams are next week, and some of you are not doing too well, so I recommend you pay close attention. We will, let’s see… go through chapter 10…”
“That refers to me, to put it that way,” Isak smirked, whispering and turning to Sana as the professor droned on. Maybe they were just biology buds. For now. But Isak was smart. “Could you help me, Sana? I’m so fucked. I’m so far behind.” Well, that sure wasn’t a lie, to say the least. He definitely had been falling behind, but his intentions were far from homework help.
“I’m sorry. You need to realize the hard truth,” she replied, scribbling in her notebook and keeping her head down.
“That I’ll get a 4?” Isak snickered, trying to find her eyes. But they were empty and hard and down.
“That you’re alone.” Flat. Cold.
Bricks in his stomach. Tons of them. If only she knew.
“How would you feel about meeting my parents?” Isak asked, putting the dishes in the drying rack away as Even began cooking.
He spun around, giving all his attention to Isak like he didn’t just casually bring up his parents.
“Are you going to fill me in?” Even asked, treading softy. He didn’t mean for it to come out rude but he saw Isak flinch a little. “Sorry, it’s just that we went from you not knowing if you ever wanted to speak to them again to them meeting… ” Even confessed.
“No, you’re right,” Isak continued, putting the last cup in the cupboard and hopping up on the counter. It seemed like all of their conversations took place here. His face was fallen and his tongue was wrapped up over his top teeth, giving him a fat front lip.
Even noticed his armor was on. Hoodie. Snapback.
“Tea?” He offered. The glue that held everything together. The one small thing they could offer each other when nothing was left to give.
Isak smiled. “Ja,” and nodded, silence while the water boiled and Even poured two cups.
“Careful,” Even focused, filling Isak’s cup a little too full and trying to balance the scalding liquid inside as he handed it to Isak. “It’s hot.”
“Takk,” Isak whispered, blowing on the slowly darkening solution and creating tiny ripples.
They both took a silent sip, looking over the flat rims of their cups at each other. Soft smiles, because God they were in love and at least they had each other.
“When we went over to your parents a few weeks ago,” Isak started with a shaky mumble. Jesus, he was so bad at this. Trying, though. Trying anything for Even. “Even though things ended a little awkward…” he continued. “All I could notice was how wonderful everything was. Your apartment, well, I guess, their apartment was homey. Full of things to remind them of you and them. Your parents love each other. And it is so apparent how much they love you.”
“And I know that’s not how everything always is,” he resumed. “I know there are dark times. Believe me, I know. I know not everything is perfect. But despite how perfect everything seemed anyways, I couldn’t be happy. I was in your home, surrounded by delicious smells and welcoming parents who accepted me—and you—and love.” His breath was stuttering. Six months ago, Isak Valtersen would rather you catch him dead than opening up about anything. “But I couldn’t be happy.”
Even was next to him now, leaning on the counter beside him to just listen. His eyes were glassy and understanding and ready to absorb.
“And I knew I would never have that,” Isak breathed, finally looking up at Even, red eyelids holding in tears at the corner up over a pursed lip smile that was masking the sadness badly—his hair swept away over his face by his hat. His hands were clasped in front of him, elbows resting on his knees.
Stones in his stomach. That look broke Even.
“And even though I will never have that, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try.” His smile was heartbreaking. His eyes like green glassy orbs under foggy water. “I’m not saying everyone with shitty parents should try to make things right,” he continued, looking away and waving with his hand as if to brush something away, sniffling his nose. “But I want to. I want to try.”
“When?” Even asked. Kind.
Even hugged him. He slinked his arms around his waist and let Isak drape over his shoulders.
“What do they know?” Even whispered.
“They know I’ve been… with someone…” Isak mumbled. “A boy,” he clarified. “They knew it was… rocky.”
Even squeezed him. I’m sorry.
“But mamma said she loved me. And that she always will,” Isak sniffled. “And pappa said he wants to meet you.”
Even carefully took Isak’s snapback off so he could stroke his hair. “Can I ask you something?”
“Then why are you so unsure of reconnecting with them?”
Isak pondered. Looking for the right words to say. “Because I left them,” he decided. “Pappa left and so did I. I resented him for it, but really, I did the same thing.”
“You were broken,” Even started, “barely even an adult—”
“Nei, Even,” Isak retaliated. “I know right from wrong.”
“You do,” Even gave in.
“I’m ready to apologize,” he softened. “I didn’t want to do it out of guilt. I want to do it for them, not for me.”
Silence as they stayed wrapped around each other, tea going cold.
“You can’t walk away when things get hard,” Isak mumbled into Even, his nose squished against his neck.
“I’m pretty sure this is the first hook-up story you’ve had that doesn’t involve the chick having a mustache… or a missing clitoris… or a glass eye or some shit,” Mahdi laughed, eyebrows raised at Jonas as the boy squad ate lunch in the courtyard.
“Ja,” Jonas laughed. “No complaints.”
“But who was it?” Magnus asked.
“I already told you I don’t remember,” Jonas shot back, taking a bite of his apple so he didn’t have to repeat himself.
Mahdi rolled his eyes.
“Anyways,” Jonas continued, swallowing. “Are we still going up to the cabin on Friday? It's supposed to be nice enough for a swim.”
Isak tuned out and watched Sana walk through the gate from the street into the courtyard. She wasn’t in biology this morning, and she looked pissed. Or maybe sad? Defeated? She had her defenses up, that’s for sure, her exterior screaming don’t touch me don’t look at me don’t talk to me.
“Isak?” It was Jonas. He didn’t hear the question.
Isak picked up his bag and followed her inside. “I gotta go.”
He could see her sitting in the windowsill from the opening in the door that leads to the stairwell. Noora and Eva too. He hesitated for a moment, wishing she was alone, but he only had a second to react when they came bouncing down the stairs, and he quickly turned away like he was walking down the hall.
A turn on his heel when they were out of earshot and he spun back around, quiet as a mouse as he took the stairs two at a time and hovered for a moment over Sana, who was looking out the window and down at Sara, Ingrid, and Vilde, being approached by Noora and Eva.
He watched for a minute, curious at this interaction. And it didn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to understand what was going on. Everything clicked.
“Has Sara stolen your friends or something?” He broke the silence completely serious, startling Sana.
“Huh? Nei!” Her defense left her lips before Isak was even finished with his sentence.
“Nei? Okay, I’m kidding…” he recovered. Woah girl. But obviously something was going on, so he stayed with Sana, looking out the window with her.
The girls were giggling together, and Sara had Vilde in a tight embrace and wow. Isak couldn’t help but laugh. He had seen the Instagram posts. Somehow these two girl squads had decided to get along, but he was so far removed from the drama he hadn’t paid it any mind… until now. When it was obviously affecting Sana.
“Fake, fake, fake, fake… Ugh. Girls,” Isak mumbled. If Sana wouldn’t let him in, fine. At least he could let her know he was on her side. That she was right. Because Sara fucking sucked. “Sara doesn’t even like Vilde.”
“How do you know?” She shot, her eyes dark and her lips dark and everything about her was dark.
“Because she talks shit about her.”
“Mmhhmmm,” he mumbled blankly.
“Are you and Sara friends or something?” She sounded worried. Like oh please not you too.
“We were in a relationship,” he reminded, smiling over at her with raised eyebrows.
She pondered. “True.” Her tongue smoothed over her teeth behind her closed mouth. “How could you even stand dating her?” The question wasn’t for him, but for her. For her friends. She wanted to be in their headspace.
Bingo. Sana could hide all she wanted but Isak wasn’t dumb. “Nei, good question,” he huffed, “it wasn’t a very sexual relationship, to put it that way,” he smirked over at her. “We mostly… chatted…” he turned back to watch Sara out the window. “Looking back on that relationship, I was more of an online therapist than a boyfriend. I would have loved to have gotten paid for all that time I spent reading shit talk about russ friends and stuff,” he confessed. “I couldn’t have given less of a fuck.” And it was true. Sara was shallow and boring and rude.
But Sana wasn’t saying anything, and Isak couldn’t read her at all. Fine then.
“Hey! Sister species are species which are determined morphologically?” He asked enthusiastically—trying to play dumb—face squinting nervously as he waited for her answer. That was wrong, but if she wasn’t going to say anything, he couldn’t walk away with that confession hanging in the air. If she was going to wear her armor, Isak was going to fight.
“Nei,” she sighed—disappointed. Her lids closed for a second probably to hide an eye-roll. “Sister species are species which are smilier in exterior traits, but which can be completely different genetically.”
Isak nodded out the window. Like I know. They’re right there. “I’ll go hang myself.” A salute, and up the stairs he went.
Before he parted, he checked for a smile. There was maybe 10% of one on her face, and it was better than nothing.
This day off from school would have been perfect if Even didn’t have to work all morning and Isak didn’t have to work all evening.
So here he was, waiting in line at Kaffebrenneriet, about four people in front of him.
Even didn’t notice him. He was steaming milk and putting powder in the espresso machine and rinsing dishes off to the left of the cash register. Isak just smiled, because only Even could look this damn good with sweaty hair pulled in every direction under a cheesy visor and a dirty apron.
Isak ordered the most complicated thing he could think of with a smirk on his face and sideways eyes over at Even—who looked busy. Two extra shots of this, half this milk and half that one, not this flavoring even thought it was in this drink recipe but this one instead…
Luckily, the cashier was nice through it all, probably just thankful she didn’t have to make it. “Name?” she smiled.
“Isak.” He said it low so Even didn’t hear. She wrote his name on the cup with his receipt stuck to it on the other side, instructions for Kaffebrenneriet’s most handsome barista, and set it in line a few cups behind.
Isak knew it would be a minute, so he waited off to the side and out of site.
He giggled when he heard Even scoff, his drink in hand. God, he was such a little brat.
It took Even twice as long to make it, double checking the flavors and the kinds of milk and finally snapping a lid on, all pissed off when he turned the cup around to read the name and call it out. “Isak?” It was part hopeful part confused part oh no you fucking didn’t.
“Halla,” Isak smirked, appearing from nowhere and taking the cup on the counter, lifting it to his lips to hide his smile. 100% sass.
“You are—” Even huffed.
“I’m what!” Isak protested, fake offended. He looked fucking adorable. Curls poking out of his beanie with THE gray hoodie up over his ears and this red and blue windbreaker on over that. His eye still a little purple and Even melted, suddenly a little self-conscious as he straightened his visor and patted his hair.
“You are insatiable,” Even laugh whispered, shaking his head and leaning against the counter.
“Can you take a break?” Isak asked.
“Mmmm, nei. But ja. Let’s go.” He flung his apron on the counter and swung the little half door open, taking Isak by the hand and dragging him outside.
“Let me try this abomination.” Even reached for Isak’s drink with his free hand and took a sip. He made a face. “What are you, a thirteen-year-old girl?”
“I don’t even like coffee,” Isak spat with a smile. “More of a tea guy.” A wink. “I just wanted to torture you.” He took the cup back, leaning in sideways and brushing his nose against Even’s as they strolled. “When are you off?” he asked.
“16:00,” Even grumbled. “When do you have to go to the library?”
“16:00. But only until 19:00. Closing early because of the holiday.”
They sighed, walking hand in hand as they strolled as slowly as possible around the block.
“I think something is wrong with Sana,” Isak turned to him, and his knit eyebrows let Even know he was concerned.
“Why do you say that?” Even asked, squeezing his hand.
“I can just tell. I think there’s some drama with her friends or something. I’m not sure, but she’s being cold.”
Even nudged, shrugging his shoulders. “She’s always a little cold.”
“Ja, but,” Isak defended, “not like this. She’s put me in my place before, that’s for sure. Now, though, ever since SYNG, she will barely even talk to me in biology.”
“Could it have been…” Even gestured to Isak’s eye. “Maybe she’s mad at you?”
‘Nei, she apologized,” Isak waved his hand. “For Elias.”
Even stuck his tongue in his cheek and looked up, thinking.
“I tried to talk to her, but she shut down. I asked for help in biology, just to get her to say something…”
“I would try again,” Even admitted, rounding the corner as they came back up on Kaffebrenneriet. “It’s about all you can do until she finally tells you to fuck off.” A smile.
Isak snickered. “Ja.”
“You’re a good friend,” Even praised, pulling him around to face front as they stepped on the landing of the cafe. He cupped his coffee-warm face, fingers under his hood, and let gravity take control as he planted a warm, parting kiss on Isak’s lips, pulling away reluctantly after a few moments too long and Isak tipped back up for one more, noses brushing.
Even smiled warm and full, his eyes sparkling like he knew something Isak didn’t. “Remember last time?”
“Hm?” Isak’s face was still smushed between Even’s hands.
“When I tried to kiss you, right here, and you swerved away.”
Isak’s heart fell a little. “A lot has changed,” he whispered, kissing him again.
“How was work?” Even’s smile was transformative—the minute Isak stumbled through the door, toeing off his shoes and shedding some layers—Even lit up.
“Bra,” Isak squeaked, meeting Even at the table for a quick peck and then he darted towards the kitchen.
“Did you talk to Sana?” Even yelled, turning his attention back to his laptop.
“Woah,” Isak came around the corner—phone in hand—looking up at Even with raised eyebrows under falling curls. “That was weird. She just messaged me.”
“What did she say?” Even peeked up from his computer, eyes on Isak’s phone and then to his boyfriend.
“Hold on,” Isak mumbled, thumbs flying.
Sana: Do you want help studying for the mock exam?
Isak: Seriously? What's up?
Sana: I feel like I owe you that much. Considering my brother and his asshole friends beat you up.
Isak: They didn't beat me up
Sana: Do you want help or not?
Isak: Yes! Definitely!
Sana: Tomorrow after school?
Or are you going out drinking?
Isak: Tomorrow after school sounds cool. I'm done at 14:30. You?
Sana: 16.00, wait for me in the cafeteria
Isak: Can't you come to my place when you're done instead?
Isak handed his phone to Even so he could read their conversation. His eyes scanning, then snickering. “They didn’t beat you up?” he laughed up at Isak.
“Nei!” Isak breathed, airy and high. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Even rolled his eyes. “So she’s coming over tomorrow then?”
“That’s the plan.”
“And your parents?”
His heart pulsed a little. “They’ll be here when you get off work.”
“Boys are coming to my house around 17:00,” Jonas appeared, opening his locker as Isak was closing his. “And then we are taking mom’s car to the cabin.”
“You aren’t going to believe this,” Isak hung his head and laughed, books clutched to his chest.
A question mark on Jonas’ face.
“I really have a family gathering,” Isak huffed. Jonas rolled his eyes but before he could say anything—“Serr, Jonas! Mamma and Pappa are coming over to meet Even,” he gulped.
Jonas went a little wide-eyed and all judgment dropped from his face. “Wow,” he muttered. “Big step, huh?”
“Ja,” Isak panted. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Jonas asked, concerned.
“Figured I’d see how it went, first…” he trailed, and Jonas could see the uncertainty drawing itself on his face.
“Well,” Jonas nudged his arm. “You could still come over and smoke with Magnus and Mahdi and me before we leave?” he suggested.
It was temping to blow off Sana, so he settled with an, “I’ll message you.”
Isak: It’s really hot today though
Isak: It’s possible that studying session will suffer from it
Sana: It will not
Isak: I kinda have stuff to do with J
Sana: You do not
Iak: Talked about going for a swim after school
Sana: You will not
Sana: It’s the same for me if you fail
Isak: True that
After that conversation, there was no way.
Isak: Sorry man, I have to clean
Jonas: All good.
“We should have cleaned,” Isak huffed, literally picking underwear off the floor and throwing it in the hamper. “Fuck,” he mumbled, sweeping dirty tissues off their dresser and then rolling his eyes at their bedside garbage can… full of condoms. He tied the bag together to hide the contents.
“Have you seen my keys?” Even fumbled, throwing on a white t-shirt and digging through the mess of stuff on their TV stand.
“Did you accidentally take them down to the laundry room earlier?” Isak asked, throwing his laptop and books onto the table from his backpack.
The doorbell rang.
“She’s early,” Isak mumbled. “Come greet her with me,” Isak pulled Even away from his search.
“Halla,” he muttered, swinging the door open to reveal a tired looking Sana.
“Hi,” she sang through pursed lips.
“Hi Sana!” Even behind Isak, towering over him and creating a beautiful blonde-boy barricade in their doorway.
She shifted her eyes as to say uhm? Move?
Even dragged Isak by the waist, his long arm still extending the door open for Sana. “Seriously. Keys?” He asked.
“Where did you see it last?” Isak was annoyed, leaning against the door frame as Sana looked about nervously and Even scrambled for the bed.
“I don’t know. I think it’s in the bed, but I can’t find it. Sorry I’m stressing—” he turned to Sana with an apologetic smile. “I have to make it to work on time for once.”
She hesitated before she noticed Isak’s school stuff on the table and took a seat. “It’s nice here,” she maybe lied. It really was a nice apartment, just a mess right now.
“Takk,” Isak sang, coming out breaking and squeaking on accident.
Even shot his head up and mocked him—“uigh!” He was laughing and squishing his eyebrows at Isak.
Isak went along and made the same noise back because Even didn’t get it right, pointing and laughing at him this time.
“I bummed about flea markets and picked out the cheapest stuff,” Even continued.
“You call that bumming about?” Isak laughed at him, a gappy-tooth smile leaning against the wall.
“We were able to get quite a lot of stuff, though,” Even pointed out.
“You should have seen it before there was anything here,” Even turned to Sana, probably poking fun at her since she was “late” to help them move in. He picked his keys nonchalantly from a dish on the table, like duh, here they are, but doing it quietly so Isak wouldn’t notice.
But he did, snickering at his boyfriend. “You found everything?” he teased.
“Ja,” Even rolled his eyes, starting for the door.
“Remember to buy crisp bread,” Isak reminded.
“And on your way out could you go by the laundry room and move some clothes from…” Isak started, a little hushed and private because he could feel Sana’s eyes burning into them as she emptied her backpack.
“Now?” Even crinkled, pulling his wrist up to glance at his watch.
“Ja,” Isak prayed, making sweet eyes.
“Work starts in five minutes,” Even complained.
“It’s only from the washing machine to the dryer,” Isak pressed.
“It can easily take ten minutes.”
“No, it doesn’t take ten minutes.”
Eyeballs from both parties.
“The last time you put it off, it smelled like rotten mold.”
“It didn’t!” They were both laughing now. “You’re just sensitive.”
“I’m not sensitive!”
“It was only two hours,” Even reminded.
“You just can’t smell,” Isak teased, and it made Even teeter back with a crinkly-eye laugh.
“If it’s that important to you, I’ll do it,” he leaned in, grabbing the fabric of Isak’s sleeve and playing with it, not sure how intimate he could be right now with their audience. “Okay?”
“Ja?” Isak was giving him the eyes. “Ok. Takk.”
And Even leaned in because he’d be damned it they didn’t kiss goodbye, squishing Isak’s nose and planting a peck, wishing for a little more but Isak popped off.
“I’ll see you later. Nice to see you, Sana,” he smiled and waved. “Good luck with studying. Remember that you’re geniuses!” He called out the door behind him.
Isak tried to hide his wild smile as he took a seat across from Sana.
“I just can’t differentiate between protists and prokaryotes,” Isak half-lied.
And when Sana belittled him with her explanation, he knew something was still wrong.
Isak was scribbling notes when she broke the silence. “Aren’t you going to serve me anything?”
“Uh, ja! Do you want something?” He was surprised but welcomed the change of conversation.
“Tea,” she nodded flatly.
“You want tea? I can fix tea,” he lied, heart quickening as he got up to go to the kitchen. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
He opened the cupboard, saw the choices, and spun back into the main room to see… Sana on his computer. “What are you doing?”
Furrowed brows, and she shot up nervous with a small, “nothing!”
Isak tried not to act like he just caught her in a lie, but his face was hard to mask.
“Mmm, I was just going to check the wifi name,” she filled the space with guilt.
“You could have just asked me. It’s gule gardiner.”
“Gule gardiner?” She asked, a small head shake like what the fuck.
“Gule gardiner,” he repeated. It needed no explanation. “But um… what kind of tea do you want? You can choose between green tea and lemon, or apple and cinnamon. Pomme et cannelle,” he tried to be entertaining, but it wasn’t working.
He shot her the finger gun and walked back into the kitchen. In a mild panic, he ran the tap water as hot as it could go, which wasn’t very hot, filled a cup, and violà—tea? But Isak knew this wasn’t right and his stomach was tying in stupid knots and if only he had paid half-attention to the billions of times Even made him tea while he sat right here on this counter.
“Here,” he set it carefully down in front of her, heart racing because did he do this right? He eyeballed her while she stirred it with disgust.
“Did you just use warm water from the tap?”
She shook her head like what in the actual fuck is wrong with you and he interrupted—
“We don’t have an electric kettle, so… It’s only Even who makes tea here! I don’t know how he makes it without a kettle.”
“I know he doesn’t do it like this,” she spat.
And she was lucky that they had already talked. That this was already clear, because why was she trying to hurt Isak when Isak when he was trying to be her friend? Couldn’t she see that? He took it as an opportunity to change the topic and maybe dig a little deeper into what was storming inside her head.
“Sana… I have to ask you something. The thing is—why didn’t you tell me that you knew, know Even?”
“Because I knew you’d ask and dig around about him.”
“Yeah, and what’s the danger in that?” Isak smiled weakly, trying to tell her I’m right here. Trying to dig around and ask about you. Where are you?
“I think Even should get to choose for himself how much he wants to share about his past,” she started, her face not softening but definitely shifting into something maybe sympathetic? It had lost the anger and the disgust around the edges—“I mean, one doesn’t want to share everything about one’s past,” she finished. It was the most she had said all week.
“You’re a good person.” He said it sincerely. Relaxed mouth and smiling eyes and finally her face softened—but into hurt and questioning and maybe even a little bit of fear.
The place was spotless. Isak couldn’t cook, but he sure could clean. He budged Sana out about an hour ago to get things moving. The bedding was washed and splayed neatly over the mattress, not a wrinkle. His plants were watered, the table was set, and he even lit a candle. Even would have bet a million dollars against prepped and cut vegetables ready to go in the kitchen, too, if you asked him right now, but there they were. Isak only cut his finger once. A small red band-aid on his thumb.
Let’s be real, Isak was still going to wait for Even to come home and cook because he couldn’t risk burning dinner. Also—impressive boyfriend points.
He was actually going to be off of work within the hour, but Isak had told his mamma and pappa to come over earlier. They should be here any minute. In a tense and shaky frenzy, he paced the apartment, straightening things that were already straight and fanning his shirt because he was getting a little sweaty. Hopefully, if things went well, they would still be here when Even got home.
A knock at the door and Isak opened it within the second, immediately embraced lightly with one arm.
“Pappa,” he sighed, a little shake as he leaned in and mimicked the hug. “Mamma,” he turned, wrapping both arms around his mom as she squeezed him.
They stepped nervously inside, tipping their shoes off and Isak reached out to take their jackets.
“It’s so cozy,” his mom smiled, looking for a place to sit and Isak gestured to the table he and Sana had sat at earlier.
“Little small,” his dad chuckled and she elbowed him. “But really, it is nice.” A few awkward glances and then ah, there it was. “Where’s uh… where’s Even?”
“He’s at work,” Isak was thankful for an easy question. “He’ll be home soon.” A few more uneasy moments and then Isak felt dumb. “Oh, sorry, I have sparkling water, coffee, wine…”
“Wine,” his dad nodded, and Isak agreed. He could easily down the whole bottle right now to lighten the mood but he was trying to be on his best behavior. Show them how good he was doing.
“Do you have tea?” His mom chirped.
Fuck. She must have seen his pupils dilate because she shot up and offered to help. Isak led her into the kitchen.
“Do you have a kettle?”
“Uh… nei…” he was suddenly embarrassed.
“Nei,” she repeated, but she was smiling. “Where are… where are your pots?”
Isak fumbled with the cabinet and pulled one out for her, and she turned on the sink to fill it up and placed it on the stove and—
Wait. That’s it? You just boil water?
Isak shook his head and reached for the wine and the opener so he wasn’t just standing there like an idiot. “You look great, mamma,” he said, popping the cork out with a squished face because it was a little harder than he thought. And he wasn’t lying, she really did look great.
“Takk,” she hummed sweetly, and Isak could tell she was giving him the up-down, choosing not to comment on how much he had grown and how much she had missed and how much it had sucked. “With Terje around again now I can go to therapy and… everything is just a lot nicer.”
“I went to the doctor. I’m doing a lot better.”
Another nod. “That’s great.” A little smile.
“You know I love you, right?” The water was boiling and she turned around to pour it into a tea cup and Isak was still kicking himself at how easy that was.
He reached for the cupboard and handed her a green tea. “I know.”
“I never meant to shove anything down your throat,” she started, dipping the bag into the water. “I’m excited to meet your boyfriend.”
Isak really was amazed at how well she was doing. The fact that they were even having a conversation spoke volumes. It reminded him of when he was really young—a small child, before he still thought everything was fine. But in hindsight, it wasn’t.
When he was six everything was golden. He could remember trips up north and watching his dad play the saxophone in jazz bars that his mom snuck him into. A rescue dog, Lea, that he played with in their backyard and his dad let him hold the treats while they taught her how to sit and stay and fetch. His mom painting in the front room, letting Isak make whatever marks he wanted. And then when he was ten, his mom was gone for days at a time and his dad was always working and suddenly they were all going to church every Sunday. And when he was thirteen he was old enough now to understand that her incoherent sentences were frightening. Scared when his dad tried to get him into his room or hell, even leave the house. At midnight. As a thirteen year old.
But things were better now, right?
“You are so handsome,” she choked a little, tears in the corners of her eyes.
He smiled and grabbed the wine and a glass for his pappa because he didn’t know if there was some special way to pour it, leading the way out of the kitchen.
“So, you got a job?” his dad assumed, taking the bottle and the glass from Isak and pouring generously. “You never ask me for rent money anymore.”
“Yeah,” Isak huffed brightly, things going smoothly. “At the University of Oslo. In the library.”
“And Even?” Round inquisitive eyes over spectacles as he swallowed a large sip and set the glass down.
“Kaffebrenneriet,” Isak nodded, hands clasped in front oh him on his bouncing knee and he wished he had something to keep them occupied.
“So how is school, then?” His mom asked and a fire was burning inside him because it was small talk. If anyone actually cared they wouldn’t need to ask—but they were, right? He tried to put it out, sand in his stomach because they were here now and Isak was here now and that’s what mattered most.
“Bra,” he squeaked, not really sure how to elaborate.
And there was some more silence because there were only so many questions they could ask that Isak was going to give shy, one-worded answers to.
“I’m just going to say it,” he breathed, eyes down and lips down and curls down, but with a quick upturn because this deserved some eye contact—“I’m sorry.”
His parents looked at each other.
“I’m sorry for ditching home, I’m sorry I blew you off after that, I’m sorry for leaving during the Christmas concert, and I’m sorry for not trying to reach out again afterwords. And for not telling you where I was. And for ignoring you.” Fuck. That was a long list. “So, yeah,” he huffed. “I’m sorry.”
“The important thing is we are all here now,” his dad smiled, like he expected this, grabbing his moms hand and looking at her and then at Isak. “And we forgive you, and we hope that you forgive us, too.”
It was one of those confessions that came with the knowledge that things still wouldn’t be the same—they wouldn’t just snap to how everything used to be. And that was ok.
He breathed out a sigh of relief, tangled ball of stress and tension unraveling with his breath and a slight tilt of the head that gave way to a smile. “Ja.” He wiped his nose, a little sniffle.
A few nervous and happy laughs to ease the tension and suddenly the whole room was a lot brighter.
“So,” his dad chirped, “we might as well talk about Even while he’s not here.”
A few more laughs and Isak sighed. “Yeah, he should be here any minute.”
“So,” his dad pressed. “Things are good?” Judging by the background information he had, he assumed things might still be rocky, but since they were sharing this apartment, and… bed… he was unsure.
“Ja,” Isak panted. “Things are good. Things were… ehm… complicated for a bit. But he makes me unbelievably happy,” he couldn’t help but smile.
“What happened?” His mom looked concerned, setting her tea down.
And now it could all come undone again. The high this had reached could all come crashing back down but if Isak wanted things to be right again, he had to tell them. He had to.
“He’s bipolar,” he whispered, eyes down to his shoes and his thumbs twitching together in his lap.
And Even couldn’t have picked a worse time to make an entrance, but there he was, unbelievably tall and bright and handsome in the doorway, shedding his shoes and hat and jacket as he rushed through the entryway to grab Isak’s mom into a hug and shake his fathers hand.
“Even, this is my mamma, Marianne—mamma, Even,” he said low, eyes up and gesturing between them. “And my pappa, Terje—pappa, Even.”
“So lovely,” Even beamed, in 100% perfect boyfriend mode. “Sorry, I just got off work.”
“Are you going to…” Isak said nicely but through gritted teeth, motioning his eyes towards the kitchen.
“And now I have to cook,” he laughed, kissing Isak right on the mouth with his hands cupped over his cheeks before he spun around, taking Isak’s breath away with him.
“He’s very handsome,” his mom smirked at the surprised expression on Isak’s face, pursed lips and low eyes as they all took a seat again.
Isak blushed, his teeth curling out from under his lips in a smile that was impossible to suppress. “Ja,” he admitted.
“As long as you’re happy,” she confessed, taking his hand and smiling sadly—eyes darting between him and his father—as the weight of the previous conversation settled back down hard around them, momentarily broken by the literal light of his life, Even Bech Næsheim.
And it was easy from then on out. Conversation flowed as Even popped in and out of the kitchen to be his charming self, Isak helping him bring dinner to the table.
And there was only one slight hiccup when Isak’s father offered for Isak to move back in, but he knew it wasn’t because of Even, it was because things were starting to patch back up again.
But Isak just smiled and grabbed Even’s hand under the table and said things were perfect the way they were, but thank you.
Pappa: Halla Isak
It was nice seeing you
And meeting your boyfriend
Please call me if you need anything
You guys make me smile so much you have no idea with all your kind comments. The next two chapters are my favorite, I hope you're ready.
Chapter 7: EPISODE 7
A tease. A discovery. A day trip. 19 missed calls. A hate message. An unavoidable conversation.
Are you ready for The Drama™?
As you know, this episode contains the talk. The one between Sana and Isak. I cut some of it.
Also, this chapter starts off a little steamy. Just a little. If you're not into that, just skip the first clip :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“We said we were going to finish our homework before we went to your parents for…” Isak gasped, unable to finish his sentence.
Their assignments were haphazard on the table, books open and laptops on, half-written sentences and half-solved theorems.
And they were pressed into the bed, Even over Isak as Even sucked a purple hickey onto his collarbone, Isak a mess under him.
“Ja,” Even mumbled low and hot, “but here we are…”
“We’ve been making out for like an hour can we please just fuck already,” Isak begged, being shut up with a kiss that immediately opened to breathy gasps and swollen lips twisting while Isak arched his hips up to speed things along.
“I was thinking I would just leave you like this,” Even whispered into his ear, breaking away and reaching down to make Isak moan loudly. This was just too much fun for him.
“You know you can’t,” Isak mumbled, letting Even kiss his neck while his voice throbbed. “I can’t go anywhere like this. I’ll seriously go into the bathroom and masturbate if you don’t—”
But he couldn’t utter any more words. Everything just paused when Even put his hands down his pants.
But only for a second, and the most desperate and needy sound—pretty much a whimper—came out of Isak when he pulled away, and Even reached for Isak’s hand laying above his head and dragged it down, following his under Isak’s jeans.
“Okay then,” Even teased, his eyes warm and wild and he was so pretty Isak couldn’t even look for too long. “If you’re so inclined.”
“This is a lot less fun,” Isak groaned, squirming under Even as their hands moved together for a second before Even pulled away, yanking his pants down as Isak continued to touch himself.
“But so, so hot,” Even breathed, straddling Isak and kissing him while Isak shifted under Even in what looked like agony.
“Please,” Isak begged when Even broke away, and his eyes were dilated and spanning wide as Even placed a kiss to his jaw, and then neck, and then collarbone, and then chest, and then stomach as Isak realized what he was doing. “Oh thank god,” he sighed, impatient as he combed his unoccupied hand through Even’s hair and pushed lightly.
“No, don’t stop,” Even commanded as Isak moved to pull his hand away when Even was finally between his legs, planting a kiss on his thigh. Isak obliged, hand unpausing and fire already burning in his stomach and his eyes rolling back as Even whimpered this is so fucking hot around him.
“Halla?” Isak greeted as he opened the door, a confused grin with gappy teeth escaping as he toed off his shoes in the entryway and eyed Even: hood up and hair messy and mouth full of something—a controller in his hand and surrounded by the boys.
A round of halla’s and Even passed his controller to Magnus as he got up and greeted Isak with a peck in the doorway. “How was work?”
“You hang out with my friends without me now?” Isak avoided, wide-eyed with feigned surprise and jealousy when really he was beaming.
“They’re my friends, too!” Even shot back, neck craning with a laugh as he finished chewing whatever he was eating. Beef jerky, maybe? Isak could smell it.
“You stink,” he shoved him playfully, a beer being thrusted into his hand by Mahdi as he approached the main room and was still somehow able to score against Magnus with one hand on the controller.
“Why are you being so mean to me,” Even whined, a hand over his heart with pouty lips but he popped a mint into his mouth anyways.
Isak blew a kiss at him and then waved for him to come here. “You’re actually the best. You know that, right?” He said it privately and sweetly as Even took a seat on the floor next to him.
“Hmm?” He smiled, tapping Isak quick on the nose. “Why’s that?”
“I had a long and busy Tuesday at school and work, still three long and busy days ahead of me—and I come home, home! to you looking all cute with all my friends and beer and snacks and FIFA.”
“Living together is literally the best,” Even sang, eyes up like thank you god for this boy with a twinkle in that blue as they landed back on Isak.
“Get a room,” Magnus whined, even though his eyes were glued to the TV.
“This is technically our room,” Isak smiled, a cocky eye-roll and the laugher of Even and Mahdi and Jonas behind him, “so if you want to leave…” he didn’t need to finish the sentence because the snickers and the jeers and the giggling were loud enough. “I’m just kidding, Mags,” Isak laughed between pursed lips, “I know you want to watch—”
And Magnus rolled his eyes through all the howls, a smirk with condescending eyes as he played along. “I actually have a ladder right here—” Magnus pointed out the widow.
And Isak thought he might actually die laughing.
Things settled down. Isak took his chemistry book out and tried to read for five seconds, mock-exam soon approaching, when he realized there was no point—giving up and laying his head in Even’s lap as he cheered for Mahdi. Magnus, though—by some miracle—beat him and Mahdi hung his head and passed the controller to Even, who offered it to Jonas, who shook his head as he scrolled through his phone with furrowed brows. Even shrugged and started a new game.
“Woah woah woah,” Jonas shot rapid fire, straightening up from his seat at the table with a confused but amused smile on his face. “Pause.”
Even paused and the boys all whipped their heads around to look at Jonas, whose brows were high on his head, eyes down on his phone and his expression was laughter hiding fear.
“The fuck is this?” He flipped his phone around to reveal an Instagram account with only a few posts—all Facebook messenger conversations. He flipped his phone back and read out loud—mocking—in a higher voice: “‘Saranors2.’ ‘I’m just so fucking annoyed that Ingrid is always so needy and unsure of herself.’ ‘Fucking hell I’m chatting with Olivia, she sucked a 01 yesterday and is showing off about it. Peeedoo.’ ‘Frida said she wanted to be a doctor today. LOL.’ ‘You know Sana from the Vilde squad? She’s a psycho today I heard she choke held someone when she was in Urra.’”
The boys all looked up wide-eyed and open-mouthed at each other and Isak’s brain was sinking into his stomach which was sinking to his feet, taking all the heat out of his face with it.
“Sara Nørstelien?” Magnus asked, waiting for Jonas to confirm.
“Nei, well, ja,” he huffed, amused, “this is her real account—” swiping quick and flashing the Saranors profile. “It looks like she got hacked.”
Mahdi let out a low whistle and slowly dragged his eyes around to each of them. “That’s some petty shit.”
“Meh,” Magnus shrugged, leaning back with the controller in his hands, ready to go again. “She’s kind of a bitch. Sorry Isak—”
“Nei,” Isak sighed, shaking a little as his head swam because he had totally read those messages before. They were to fucking him and unless she was stupid enough to copy and paste her shit talk to all her friends, someone had been on his shit. He was the one who got hacked. “She is a bitch,” he confirmed.
“Yeah, beginning of first year she was so mean to Vilde. She was basically in tears when she was telling me about it—”
“Wait—” Mahdi interrupted, face scrunched. “Scroll back.” He waved his hand for Jonas, who went back to the saranors2 account and handed his phone over. “Shouldn’t the bubbles be blue, then, if she got hacked?”
Isak didn’t think there were any other organs left in him that hadn’t sunk to the bottom of his feet.
“Fuck you are totally right,” Magnus lit up, astonished as realization bent through his features.
“Duuuuude,” Jonas droned, long and low with high bushy eyebrows as he took his phone back from Mahdi and studied the posts again. “And whoever is exposing her is cropping themselves out. You can see, like, a corner of a blue message in this post.”
“And they’re not screenshots,” Mahdi pointed out, leaning back over to look again. “They’re like low-quality pics of someone’s laptop or something.”
“Dramaaaa,” Magnus sang high and comical as he unpaused the game and everyone relaxed again, brushing it off.
But panic was terrifying Isak’s insides and he closed his eyes and nestled his head back into Even’s lap—his muscles lightly jerking and bouncing beneath him as he resumed FIFA with Magnus.
He racked his brain, thinking of someone out to get him—who could guess his password or get on his phone or—
“What are you doing?”
Furrowed brows, and she shot up nervous with a small, “nothing! … I was just going to check the wifi name.”
Even: I have a surprise for you after school
Isak was hovering at the top of the stairwell, still a full flight and a half above the girls as he headed down on his way to the A building. He stopped when he heard them—eavesdropping on the drama—hoping to get some insight.
When he saw Sana frozen in her spot as the girls drifted down without her, he slowly approached, waiting until they were out of earshot.
“Is there any drama?” He eyed them, glancing back at Sana who looked… terrified. His inner snake was a little proud, but he had put the pieces together and it couldn’t be anyone else. He was 99% sure. I thought we were friends.
“Ja…” she mumbled, glancing down and then back up at him, her eyes telling right into Isak’s smile.
“I heard something about Sara posting some shit about the girls on Instagram,” he pressed.
“Ja, it’s… Believe me. You don’t want to know,” she sighed, and why? She knew he already did.
“Yeah, I fucking don’t,” he chuckled, wishing. And she wasn’t budging and did she think Isak was dumb? But his heart had softened so much in the past six months he couldn’t call her out, not when there was all of that hurt behind her eyes. He wanted to help, but he was also bitter. He wished she had just asked him. “But are you ready for the mock-exam?” He changed subjects.
“Ja,” she lightened, probably relieved. “You too?”
“Are you crazy? I’m Stephen Hawking on Red Bull.”
Isak walked into the courtyard—scanning—face falling when he didn’t see that blonde mop towering a good head above everyone else. He took a few steps down, brows furrowed, when he heard a honk and whipped his head around to see—
Wow. His beaming, beautiful boyfriend, the happiest smile on his face as he leaned over the steering wheel of the car he was driving to push the passenger side door open for Isak, waving his hand to jump in.
“We’re going on a mission,” Even said in English, waving his eyebrows as Isak lowered himself into the car with a bright, confused smile and squinty, unsure eyes—one hand on the steering wheel and one on Isak’s thigh.
“Okay…” Isak trailed as they took off, excited but still bewildered. “Where are we going?”
“Nei,” Even giggled. “Mamma needs us to drive to Drammen to pick up some cheese—” he looked over and saw Isak giving him the eye, not quite believing. “Long story,” he laughed. “She’s going to a dinner tomorrow and forgot to get a gift, and blah blah blah,” he explained anyways.
“Blah blah blah,” Isak mocked. “Bra story.”
“I guess it’s really good cheese,” he shrugged. “It’s only like 40 minutes,” he shoved Isak’s shoulder with a grin.
“Why can’t she do it,” Isak whined, his eyes closed and his neck tipping back to lean against the headrest because he thought this was going to be fun. He definitely had other thoughts for after school.
“Because she has to work and she said I could borrow the car whenever I wanted,” Even smiled, turning at a light and making way for the E18.
“Fine,” Isak grunted, reaching for the aux cord. “But I get to be DJ.”
They held hands on the way back to the car, bags swinging and pecks on cheeks because Isak was actually having a nice time despite his previous grumpy attitude. He wasn’t going to admit it, but Drammen was actually really cool—all lifted up over the water with neat art and a beautiful breeze along the port—here by chance with Even, and without that he’d probably never had a reason to be here in his life. They took their time walking through the streets, poking their heads in shops and grabbing ice cream.
“I’m honestly exhausted—” Even began, slumping the last few feet to the car.
“Ja,” Isak poked him in the ribs, “you were up until like 3:30 you FIFA addict.”
“Will you drive?” Even asked, throwing the keys at him but Isak didn’t have a free hand so they just hit him in the face and fell to the ground.
“Really?” He squeaked, but it was honestly funny so he laughed it off, picking them up and tossing them back at Even. “I don’t know how to drive.”
Even’s mouth fell into an amused and surprised “o” while his eyebrows skyrocketed. “Isak Valtersen! Get in the driver’s seat!” And Even didn’t give him another option as he slunk into the passenger side.
“Even I am not going to drive us home on the E18 in rush hour traffic. I will kill us.”
“Isak, we’re just going to go around the block,” Even scolded, long arms opening the driver side door and patting the seat.
Isak nervously sat down and Even put the keys in the ignition, startling him when the car came to life.
A giggle. “It’s okay,” and a hand on Isak’s thigh. “There are buttons on the side panel by the window you can use to adjust your mirrors.” Even watched him struggle a little, a warm grin on his face as he beamed down, distracting Isak with a quick peck on the cheek because damn if they weren’t the cutest. “Ok, the right peddle is the gas, and the left peddle is the break. Make sure you only use one foot—not a foot for each peddle. Ok,” he dipped his head, checking that Isak’s feet were correct. “You are going to step on the break peddle, and we are going to shift the car into drive, right here,” he pointed down at the shift stick. “When you take your foot off the break, the car will idle forward on its own without you having the press the gas peddle. We are going to just do that all the way around the block, ok?—Unless you feel comfortable going faster—then go ahead and step on the gas.” Even was waving his hand dramatically. “You will get the hang of steering really fast, you don’t need to bend the wheel as much as you think. And another tip—pretend like you are sitting right above the left front wheel—most drivers when they first learn veer too far to the right, causing them to scrape parked cars—”
This was way too much information for Isak to take in. Was this even allowed? He had never even taken a driver’s course, doomed to ride the tram for the rest of his life. Like what even was a red light.
“Nei nei nei,” Isak was starting to hyperventilate, unbuckling his seatbelt and reaching for the door.
“You have to do it!” Normally Even would have taken this seriously, but he knew Isak would be fine.
“But it’s so scary!” Isak groaned, pressing his face into his hands and dragging his fingers down, pulling his skin as he let out a dramatic and distressed howl.
“Isak! Isak!” Even laughed, shaking his shoulder while he unbuckled his own seatbelt and opened the door to switch places with his boyfriend.
“I’m not sure,” Isak grumbled, face still buried in his hands and his fingers parting over his eye to look over at Even. And then he was out, huffing and slamming the door behind him as he poked his head back in the window and shook his curls.
“Not sure?” Even asked, laughing, because Isak seemed pretty sure.
Isak moved for the passenger side but Even wasn’t budging. “No biggie, c’mere—” and he reached for Isak and pulled him down through the open door into his lap, long legs cramped on either side and there was too much boy in this small space but it was fine. It was a rare moment when Even looked up at Isak, but here they were, tangled mess of limbs in the passenger seat and he kissed him square on the mouth, lips melting and lungs crushing and heart racing right away as Isak kissed him back without hesitation.
“We are not having car sex right now,” Isak breathed, pulling away and turning his face repeatedly to plant soft and intimate kisses on Even’s lips between every word.
“Nei,” Even giggled, his hands on Isak’s hips as he pushed him away with raised, suggestive eyebrows. “But I can borrow the car whenever I want.”
“I need to tell you something,” Isak muttered, eyes low as he pulled up Instagram on his phone, thumbing through to find the account for reference but…
It was gone. His heart lifted thank god but the dread soon found its way back. Isak knew Sara, and it was only a matter of time before all of this shit hit the fan. He had to tell Even now, before anyone else could.
Luckily they were already hand in hand, cuddled up in bed as a reassuring sign because those words were scary. Isak felt Even tense up beside him. “Hva det?” Quiet mumble as a hand found its way into Isak’s hair.
“Have you talked to Sana recently?” Isak asked, breath against skin and he sat up more so they could look at each other.
“Nei,” Even shook his head with downturned lips, eyebrows up because he didn’t know where this was going.
A concerned, shaky breath from Isak and then—“I think something is wrong—” and Even looked like he was about to interrupt but Isak could read his mind. “I know I’ve already told you I think something is wrong, but I think something is really, really wrong.”
Eyes met and Even could see the apprehension. “What’s…” he started, low and anxious because he wished Isak would just spit it out. But Even only knew how to be patient. “What’s going on?”
“Remember Tuesday?” Isak blurted. “With the boys and Jonas found that hate account about Sara?” Blank stare from Even. “Those chats were to me.”
And the pieces went together fast in Even’s head and a look pierced Isak for a second. A look that spoke who even are you?—But Isak never wanted Even to look at him like that again, so he interjected—
“It wasn’t me,” he explained, waving his hands but his heart was accelerating. “The chats were to me…”
“Okay…” Even trailed, puzzled yet again.
“I am like 99% sure it was Sana.”
Even paused, squinted eyes and a raised chin and it almost looked like he didn’t believe him. “…who… made the hate account?”
“And took pictures of my chats,” Isak clarified. “You can’t tell anyone.”
“Damn…” Even huffed, pulling Isak back down to lay on his chest—big hoodies soft and draped around them like shields against the outside world. Maybe if they never left their bed, nothing bad could happen. “You guys are so young and stupid.”
Isak snorted at him, just thankful his face was full of Even’s scent and he wasn’t mad.
“Tea?” Even offered, shaking his shoulder and already moving to get out of bed.
“Sounds… perfect,” Isak said in English—eyes up bright—the sparkling soon covered by lids as Even kissed him on the way up.
Isak woke up to 19 missed calls, 3 voicemails, and 47 messages from Sara Nørstelien.
His eyes and his brain were still too blurry to register what was actually going on, but when the fog cleared a sweaty sheen took its place—cold and instant as Isak’s face vibrated and his heart went into overdrive. That sure woke him up. He scanned through the messages first. Mixtures of ISAK!! and Isak I know it was you and what in the actual fuck is your problem?? and some screenshots of their old chats, proving her point.
Isak: I haven’t listened to your voicemails and I haven’t read all your messages but I’m calling you now
A few rings as he walked into the kitchen to not wake Even—rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and her voice was way too loud for this early in the morning. About two straight minutes of yelling and it was actually making Isak calm down because there was really only one option here, right?
“So you did it then?” Her voice was desperate and impatient over the phone.
“Ja,” Isak lied, digging his grave. “Ja, ja… I was upset.”
“Oh my god this is a mess,” she sighed, and Isak could hear the hot water in her throat, stuck there suppressed so it didn’t reach her eyes. “Upset over what?” Fiery anger. Annoyed.
“I…” Isak fumbled, “was just thinking and getting mad about you breaking up with me,” he lied, annoyed.
He could almost hear the eye-roll over the phone. “Well Ingrid was convinced it was Vilde and made a hate account against her and—”
“Jesus Christ,” Isak sighed, interrupting her with a hand on his forehead tipping back with eyes closed because fucking girls. “Well, it’s already been deleted. Can’t you just tell Ingrid to delete the Vilde account and we can fucking forget about it?”
“I think we are all agreeing that no one will report anything to the school. But I’m telling the bus.”
“Whatever.” He hung up.
Do you hate yourself so much that you have to bring Sara down too? She’s was right to break up with you. Get over it.
Better tell your boyfriend you still have a crush on Sara lol
Don’t act like you’re fucking innocent. I bet those chats went both ways.
Sarah said you couldn’t even get it up LMAO makes sense now
And about 15 other Facebook messages were waiting for him after German from the Pepsi Max girls.
Eva: I really thought you had changed.
That one hurt the worst.
He saw her in the hallway, black on black on black with her back to him, eyes down on her phone.
His hand lingering, about to tap her shoulder but she spun around too fast, fearful eyes caught in the act as they met in the middle.
“What do you think you’re doing?” He choked, a small shake of the head because it was the first time he had seen her since and the anger was rising—diminishing, now, as her expression turned to dismay and desolation and he sure had been there before. “Walk with me.”
“Didn’t you say the one thing you don’t like is people fucking over their friends?” He wanted it to hurt because it was so hard to be there for her when he was this close to boiling over. But he was here, wasn’t he? That was a start.
“It was…” Sana looked down, hands clasped in front of her on the bench, ashamed. “It really wasn’t my intention that this stuff would affect you. I’m sorry.”
“Okay,” he scoffed. “What was the plan, then? How is it not going to affect me?” He turned to her with side eyes, knowing she might not have an answer. “Like, I don’t give a fuck if Sara’s crew doesn’t like me, but you could’ve asked me before you… you took pictures of my private chat?” His scowl was hard to hide, but her reaction was making him weak.
Eyes were dark and furrowed but the regret and the empathy couldn’t go unnoticed. “I’m sorry.” And Isak saw it as she looked down again, reminded why he was here in the first place. A hurting friend. “I just wanted the other girls to see how Sara actually is.”
“They know how she is,” he started, all too familiar. “They’re like that too.” But he might have missed it—because Sana wasn’t talking about Sara’s friends, she was talking about hers. “Why don’t you like Sara?”
Sana turned cold. “She’s a racist bitch who… She lied to my face! And she was scheming to throw me off the bus behind my back.” Bitter and anger and hurt.
Isak shook his head and he couldn’t help it. “Maybe she just wanted to throw you off the bus because you’re a condescending, bossy bitch?” Ouch. He felt it sting too but he didn’t regret it. “But like, why are you so cold towards people, Sana?” The question was genuine, because cold is a front, and Sana sure had put one up—one that was impossible for most people to wrap their heads around.
“Yeah, well,” she huffed, offended and aggravated but eager to finally get it all out. “Try growing up in this country as a Muslim girl without turning cold.”
“What about growing up as a gay youth, then?” He spat back.
She shook her head, unable to wrap hers around his logic. “It’s not the same,” she sighed. “No one can look at you and tell you’re different. You don’t get the same looks I do. Do you know what people think when they see me, when they see my hijab… which is the first thing they see. They think I have to wear it because I’m forced to, not because I want to. And if I say I want to, then I’m brainwashed—because I ‘can’t form my own opinions.’ We talk about freedom of religion and so many other freedoms here in Norway, but wearing an extra article of clothing is wrong? And people think we get married out of nowhere, and that there are all these arranged marriages… or that I’ll be forcible married to my cousin tomorrow.”
A much-needed pause because holy fuck. Isak processed.
“Do you know what people do when Elias and I walk down the street?” She started again, fiery hot. “People spit after him because they think he’s oppressing me. Elias!” She stressed every syllable. “He doesn’t even want me to wear the hijab because he doesn’t want me to get hate. Do you know how fucking tiring it is walking out the door everyday, knowing its another day where you have to prove to a whole country that you’re not oppressed?”
And no, he didn’t know. He didn’t know what that was like but maybe he could relate. He had been almost there, walking out the door everyday trying to fight a battle.
“Try walking one day with the hijab,” she continued, spent and furious, “and you’ll understand most Norwegians are racist.”
“Most Norwegians… they care about other cultures having a nice time here,” he argued. “I’m not saying there aren’t racists in Norway. There are probably a lot,” he shrugged. “I didn’t grow up a Muslim girl, but believe me, I’ve been where you are.”
And for a moment they appreciated each other's struggles—because truly—it wasn’t a competition. And it was a blessing and a curse they were both even here at all, strong and opinionated and lively in a free country that many would be blessed to live in. It was easy to forget that.
“As soon as you start looking for hate,” Isak nodded, turning to Sana with the sun in his eyes, “you’ll find it.” He debated even finishing his thought, but it was too important. If Sana was going to be 100%, so was he. “And when you find hate, you start hating yourself.”
Her face softened a little when she realized what he was saying, looking down because it was a heavy dose. Isak saw some pity behind her eyes and wished he hadn’t, but this was him. 100%. And they were friends, right? Or at least trying?
“I’m really sorry for reading your chats,” she apologized again.
“Don’t even think about it,” he chuckled. “I’ve done stupid shit myself.” And boy was that true.
“And…” she hesitated, “sorry for Elias and the boys being homophobic.”
Isak scrunched his face, because this was news to him. “Are they homophobic?”
“Isn’t that why they…” she pointed to his almost healed eye.
“Nei nei nei, it doesn’t have anything to do with that,” he cleared up. “I was the one who punched Mikael. And then Elias came and ‘BAM!’ knocked me down,” he laughed, looking back at how fucking stupid that all was. “He’s much stronger. So… I deserved it. Oh my god, if anyone touched Jonas, I’d…” he trailed, laughing because who was he kidding. “No, I wouldn’t. Because I apparently don’t have the strength for that.”
And they both laughed, and that smile brought him to life.
“Nei…” he snorted. “Who would have thought? They gay guy and the Muslim: best buds.”
And it was clear now. Things were fine and the anger was gone and Isak would obviously take a bullet for Sana. In a way, he already had.
“We are not best buds,” she spat, and Isak arched his eyebrow because that was her defenses talking and he thought he has just brought them all down.
“Seriously?” He tilted his head all dramatic. “We’re buds.”
“Okay…” she admitted, a small upturn of the lips and a friendly eye roll. “We’re buds.”
Sad giggles, and then—“Who’s your best bud then?”
“I’m not sure if I have any anymore,” she confessed.
And Isak’s insides squirmed because Sana was so stubborn. Isak took the fall for her, in a petty conflict that literally could get him expelled, and she still didn’t think they were friends? What did Isak have to do, literally die?
“Of course you do,” he corrected, his eyes telling and his head bobbing.
And fine, maybe they weren’t friends. But they could be.
Honestly that was so fun to write. We knew NOTHING about what Isak was feeling that whole time. Like, he took the fall for Sana before he even talked to her and then seemed so pissed on the bench??? Like what. And there was that moment in the stairwell and he just had that look. Like that I know it was you look.
You guys the next chapter is my favorite. I'm so excited I might post it in the morning.
Now might also be a good time to tell you that chapter 9/episode 9 isn't done. Ok that's not completely true. It's done, it's all done, actually—but it doesn't have to be. I seriously thought like 4 people would read this fic and although I know it isn't popular, all of your kind comments have blown me away. So my question to YOU, my dear readers, is what do you want to see? What is bothering you that never got resolved? I want to know, because I want to write it. And I'll put it in chapter 9. Keep in mind you still have chapter 8 to get through ;) If it blows me away, I'll include it.
You all make me smile so much. It's the highlight of my day to post these chapters. You have no idea.
Do ya'll want my tumblr? Talk to me please.
Chapter 8: EPISODE 8
A hurting friend. A surprise. A reunion. 10 minutes of bliss. A screaming match. A late night. Another reunion. A party.
Our boys are so in love.
I reference a Hei Briskeby video in this one, so if you haven't watched them (also if you haven't watched them what are you doing they are so hilarious I love them) you might want to click the link in the text when I mention it to understand.
I link to the original YouTube channel so if you need English subs there's a link in the end notes.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Bro, you need to talk to her,” Jonas nudged, a sad Magnus still and heartbroken under his touch. “Not even just for her or for you but Jesus Christ, your phone has been buzzing nonstop for the past 24 hours. Maybe put it on silent?”
And Jonas was right. They had been in Magnus’ room since last night, cramped up and talking him down and passing his phone between them to see the screenshots he had taken of the Vilde hate account.
“Jeeze,” Mahdi exhaled, his eyes squinting over the still of Vilde puking.
“Don’t—” Magnus huffed—annoyed and pained and wishing maybe he had just kept it all to himself—swiping his phone back. “You don’t fucking know.”
Isak didn’t know how serious Sara was, but if she did tell the bus it was him, they had done a good job at keeping it between them all—because the hate messages had only come from the girls and no one else at school seemed to know. He wanted to tell Magnus it was all just drama and that Vilde didn’t do shit but this wasn’t his battle or his to fix. Honestly, it was Sana’s.
Sana: Yes best bud?
Isak: Ahahah <3
But you there’s problems between Mags and Vilde because of your brother and some instastuff.
Does this have anything to do with what you did?
Sana: In a way. But there is nothing between Elias and Vilde
Isak: Are you sure? Mags is pretty down.
“If I talk to her now I’m just going to say something I’ll regret,” Magnus mumbled.
“Delete these screenshots, never look at them again, and call her,” Mahdi urged.
Isak nodded his head. “I agree. Call her.” His phone buzzed.
Sana: There has never been anything between Vilde and Elias
*link to the ‘SMS roulette’ video*
Watch it so you understand
Everything is just dorkish and completely innocent
They talk about Even though!????
Sana: Don’t be jealous
He clicked the video and turned the volume up, motioning for the guys to huddle around. “Sana just sent me this and told me to ‘watch and we’ll understand.’”
Eyes went wide as the video ended and Magnus seemed a little relieved. Jonas seemed to be the only one who shot Isak a look at the mention of Even because fuck, Isak hadn’t even told him yet.
“Why would Sana know about this?” Magnus asked.
Isak pulled the video up again and pointed to Elias. “That’s her brother. And Sana is Vilde’s friend? They’re probably with her.”
“Sana just messaged me as well,” Magnus sighed, thumbs flying as he was about to respond. But then it looked like he backtracked, deleting the message word by word.
It took about two seconds for Mahdi to snatch Magnus’ phone out of his grip, scroll through his contacts to Vilde and hit call, placing the phone back in his open hand.
Magnus shot him a death glare and stood up, kicking his feet on the way out of the room.
“God morgen,” Even sang, jumping on the bed and bouncing Isak awake. “Breakfast is ready.”
Curls flopped over his forehead and he grabbed the nearest pillow to shove his face into. “Do you have a death wish?” Isak mumbled through the fabric.
“No, I have a surprise,” Even beamed, trying to pry the pillow away, stripping the sheets instead because Isak’s grip was iron tight. His boyfriend shivered and curled up fetal at the cold.
“You’re just full of those,” Isak moaned, throwing the pillow and getting up to give in.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Even scoffed, sitting at the table and waiting for Isak to join. He was already ready. Showered and dressed and flawless. “When you wake up enough to realize how much you love me you’ll be excited.”
Isak groaned and popped a strawberry in his mouth, still cold and squinty and grumpy as he took a seat, nothing but boxers.
“I made tea,” Even nudged the cup over to him, piping hot and still steaming.
Isak stirred it with his spoon, reaching for another strawberry. “Takk.”
Even took a sip of his own, eyes sparkling and mouth curling as he appreciated the grumpy boy in front of him.
“Okay, I’m ready,” Isak chewed, mouth full and red as his eyes started to slowly come to life. “What’s my surprise?”
“It’ll be a minute,” Even shrugged, patient as can be while he waited for his morning-hating boyfriend to start the day at a snail’s pace. “Whenever you get up and get ready we’ll go.”
“Go?” Isak asked, one eyebrow up and one down as he spooned his oatmeal. “Where are we going?” The excitement was rising in his voice and Even couldn’t help but beam a little, proud of himself.
“I thought you could use some cheering up,” he nodded, taking another sip of his tea nonchalantly with a pinky out, probably ironically.
Isak groaned. “Even, I’m fine—”
“I saw the messages, Isak,” he interjected. “They were lighting up your phone.”
And Isak just swallowed because it was true. The Pepsi Max girls had been relentless since Friday, to the point where Isak messaged Sara and asked her to call them off. Not that he actually gave a fuck, but enough was enough.
“I’ll fix it,” Isak waved. “Those girls are so self-absorbed they’ll get too scared to gossip about it outside their bus. The Vilde hate account will circle back to them and they’ll be fucked. I already told Sara to tell them to stop. I’m not afraid to threaten them,” he crossed his arms over his bare chest, flexing a little and Even just chuckled.
“Why did you do it?” he asked, genuinely curious and turning serious.
Isak shrugged his shoulders. “I care about Sana. What was I suppose to do?”
Arched eyebrow and crooked smile under a blonde coif that Isak didn’t deserve. “Have I told you you’re a good friend?”
Isak smiled. “You have.”
Isak got excited when Even pulled him towards the parking lot instead of the tram stop as they left, opening the door to his mom’s car that he got that morning before Isak woke up. He jumped in and got himself psyched for car sex but—
“Jonas’s?” He asked as they pulled into the driveway and Jonas barreled down the three front steps and into the back seat, Mahdi trailing behind him.
“We’re going to the cabin,” Even smirked, one arm on the steering wheel and one arm around the back of the passenger seat where Isak was—he planted a kiss to his cheek as the boys settled in back. Isak beamed, his teeth poking out from under his cupids bow and his eyes crinkly from his cheeks spanning so wide.
“Nei,” Isak whispered as Even pulled away, a hand gripping his face to turn it so he could kiss him right on the mouth for one second longer than he usually let himself around the boys. “Takk.” More smiling, and he asked himself what he did to deserve to be this happy, bitchy girls and school drama and possible expulsions be damned. “Magnus?” He asked, voice lowering as he turned to the back.
“With Vilde,” Mahdi nodded.
“Can we please just stay here and skip school tomorrow,” Isak exhaled, smoke coming out with it and then a little cough. He held the joint out in front of him for whoever to take it. He was high and he didn’t remember if they were passing clockwise or not.
Mahdi snatched it. “I’m at ten hours.”
“Same,” Jonas sighed, eyes out over the lake and the setting sun as they all sat cross-legged on the rocks.
“I’m pretty sure I’m over,” Even laughed, jostling Isak who was slightly below him on the slant—leaned back between his legs with his back pressed to Even’s chest—his head tipping back and sideways every once in a while for a red-eyed, dry mouth kiss that threatened to take off his snapback. Like right now, and Even pulled back after a few seconds too long—sober and cautious at how intimate Isak was being when Isak started to open his mouth. “I think you are too. We’ve been bad students this year.”
Isak rolled his eyes when they broke away and Even squeezed him as if to say later.
“I’m hungry,” Mahdi groaned, eyes low and red and his hand stuck to his stomach.
“I was about to make dinner,” Even huffed as he got up, a quick squeeze to Isak’s shoulders.
Mahdi shot up as well. “I’ll help.”
Isak knew he should get up and help, too—but his body was locked to the rocks—tingling and pulsing and weighted as he watched Even and Mahdi crack jokes on their way back inside.
“So,” Jonas started, low and slow with eyebrows down and eyes still on the water when they were out of earshot. “Is Even your new best friend?”
And Isak knew Jonas didn’t want it to hurt but maybe he wanted it to sting.
“Nei,” Isak shot back immediately, offended… but… “Mmm,” he thought, humming the sound with his throat closed and his tongue pressed between his teeth. “I guess Even is my best friend.”
Jonas flicked a rock into the water.
“But you can have more than one best friend,” Isak offered, shoulders shrugging.
Jonas finally turned to look at him. Dark curls bouncing as a breeze flew by. “Is everything ok?”
“Ja,” Isak squeaked, following suite and rolling a rock down the ledge, watching it plop into the lake. “At least, it will be.”
“Did something… happen? With Mikael?” Jonas had this way about him, where even prodding questions didn’t feel intrusive. They felt attentive and respectful and truly with best interests at heart.
“Nei,” Isak laughed, knees up to his chest with wrapped arms around them. “Although I guess I never did tell you why I punched him.”
Jonas looked away, patient.
“It was a… misunderstanding,” Isak started. “I got a little too heated. I was trying to punch someone else because I thought they were making fun of Even, and Mikael jumped in front.”
Jonas shot up his eyebrows, turning back.
“And I guess… well, I didn’t want to go off running around and telling Even’s personal stories. It was one of those things where I was so relieved after he told me, like a weight had been lifted, you know?” He turned to Jonas and met understanding eyes. “That I just forgot about it. It was done and over with and it wasn’t a big deal so I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. But I forgot I confided in you about that, and that’s my bad. I should have told you.”
Jonas knocked him with his bent knee and chuckled, about to say something but Isak continued—
“So yeah. Everything’s chill. I’m sorry.”
“I’m just glad you’re okay,” Jonas suggested. “…right?”
Isak paused for a moment, tip of his tongue out between pursed lips and down eyebrows as he debated, eyes on the rock below him. “If I tell you something,” he started, “I need you to promise me you won’t tell anyone. And I need you to promise me before I tell you. And I need you to keep your promise.” Eyes serious as he lifted them and met Jonas’ gaze on the last word.
“Ja, of course—” Jonas swore, hands animated as he waved one assuredly.
“It might ruin a friendship,” Isak interrupted. He thought of Sana and Vilde. “Or a relationship…” he trailed. Magnus.
Jonas’s eyes narrowed but he said it just as sure. “I promise.”
“Do you remember the Instagram you showed us last week when you were all at my place? The hate account against Sara Nørstelien?” Isak fumbled, feet rocking as Jonas’s face fell with every word.
Isak bit his lip and breathed it out before he changed his mind. “It was Sana.”
Jonas gasped, eyebrows rising higher by the second. “Nei…”
“And the chats were to me,” Isak confessed and Jonas’s eyebrows might have just left his head by this point. “Ja,” Isak laughed nervously, a lick of the lips because his mouth was so dry. “She took the pictures of my laptop and then made the account.”
“But why?” Jonas demanded, skeptical features on his face because this wasn’t making any sense.
“Oi, hold on,” Isak laughed, shifting in his place and getting ready to lay down the law. “It gets even better.” It was more comical than anything at this point—fucking girl drama in the way of this beautiful Sunday at his best friend’s cabin? Nei. “So Sara isn’t dumb,” he started, a smirk on his face that lightened the mood a little, “and she went through her chats or whatever, figured out the messages she wrote were to me, and confronted me about it.”
“And?!” Jonas was invested.
Isak shrugged. “I said I did it.”
Silence as Jonas still seemed dumbfounded, an open-mouth gasp turned smile with matching wide eyes as he looked around, landing back on Isak like answers were going to come out of thin air.
“Sana takes a lot of shit,” Isak disclosed, mouth scrunching as he looked out at the water. “And I don’t give a fuck if Sara and her friends don’t like me.”
Eva: Hey can I talk to you?
Isak: I'm not really in the mood to be yelled at
Eva: I'm not going to yell at you
Eva: Can you come over?
“Halla,” Eva greeted, letting Isak in through the front door where he skeptically fumbled his shoes off, messy curls falling out through his snapback and bouncing a little as he dropped his bag to the floor.
“Halla,” he mumbled, following her down to her room.
…Where he saw Vilde, Noora, and Chris strewn across the bed and floor, pajamas on with steaming cups of tea in their hands. Wide-eyed and makeup free with arched eyebrows that looked concerned, not condescending.
“Tea?” Eva offered, taking a seat on the floor by Vilde.
He stood there nervously, lifting his hat an inch to smooth the hair underneath it. “Nei takk.”
“You can sit,” Vilde suggested, patting the carpet beside her next to the nightstand.
He hesitated, a hand up and eyes fluttering closed because if they had something to say he wanted it to be done and over with. “Listen—if this is some sort of interrogation or something—”
“We know it wasn’t you,” Eva cut him off, and Isak made eye contact with all the girls one by one, waiting for someone to say something else.
“And we know it was Sana,” Noora confessed, eyes down into her tea like she couldn’t believe it.
“And we know you’re friends,” Chris pointed at him, eyes up and around to confirm that the girls thought that too. A quick nod from everyone.
“And… we just want to know why…” Vilde shifted, swinging her legs around to sit crossed instead, gaze up after a comfortable moment of silence.
“Please sit down,” Chris rolled her eyes.
He did, slowly, with squinted lids like he still didn’t believe the yelling wasn’t coming. But he sighed and figured what the hell. He began with a signature eye roll. “Listen, I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this, but I literally do not give a fuck about what Sara and her crew thinks of me.”
The girls stared, waiting for him to continue because he didn’t answer their question.
“And neither should you,” he scolded, eyes lingering on them all. “Did Sana tell you?”
“Not exactly…” Eva started, thumbs twitching in her lap and thick red-brown hair covering part of her face before she tucked it behind her ear.
Chris, on the farthest side of the bed, waved quietly at Isak, mouthing she told me and pointing at her head.
“Okay,” Isak was impatient, elbows resting on his knees as he leaned back against Eva’s nightstand with closed eyes. Taking a deep breath to calm down. “You know why she did it, right?”
Blank stares. “That’s what we’re wondering,” Noora pointed out.
“Because,” Isak stuttered, features coming to life as he got heated. “Sara is a racist, condescending bitch. And Sana said she was scheming to throw her off the bus,” he waved. “Or whatever.”
Vilde looked around to check the other girl's expressions before she turned back to Isak, slow and worried and apprehensive. “Did you… help her?”
“Neiii,” he whined, pinching the bridge of his nose, but before he could continue Noora interrupted—
“Well, she had always been skeptical about Sara—”
But Isak was quick to cut right back. “You need to believe your friend.” Eyes on Noora who looked offended, like Isak had just insulted her. “Seriously.” Eyes to the rest of the girls. “Do you even know the amount of shit she has to put up with every day? And you choose to take sides with Sara?”
The girls were starting to cast glances at each other like they had just made a huge mistake.
“I’m not saying what she did is right,” he continued. “I mean, fuck, she kind of fucked me over, didn’t she?”
“I can’t believe this,” Eva broke, hand up to block whatever she thought was coming at her while she uncrossed her legs to stand. “I still need, like, a whole day to process this.”
“You feel so far away,” Isak sighed into Even’s cotton covered-collar bone—head buried in his shirt—legs tangled. Denim on denim.
Warm light was pouring into the apartment—no music, no tv, no phones. Just a giant comfy bed they were pressed into with the windows open and the sounds of cars and birds and people coming home pouring through.
“I’m right here,” Even chuckled at the dramatics. Hand running through the curls at the nape of Isak’s neck and he pressed a quick kiss into them.
Even had wanted to go to the Oslo fjord after school to get ice cream and people watch. It was a beautiful day, they both had the afternoon off from work, school was almost over… and it sounded fun but—
Isak told Even he already had plans for them.
And it was this.
“I feel like all this stupid drama has taken over my life,” Isak mumbled all upset. “And I'm just trying to lay low and keep out of it all while sticking up for Sana, but…” he trailed, squeezing Even because he was afraid.
“Do you think I'm stupid?” It was weak and needy.
“What?” Even laughed, squishing his hips up a little closer but they really couldn't get much closer. Eyes crinkling to hide the blue sparkles and pretty lips tipping up over white teeth. He jostled Isak a little.
“I just feel so far away from you,” Isak sighed, burying in so close the words were almost lost into Even’s chest. “And I don't want you to think less of me because of all of this. I'm not one for drama, usually. Especially now. And I don't want you to think I am—”
“Isak,” Even slid his hands down to hold his face, interrupting him. “I think you handled everything... correctly,” he thought aloud. “I don't think less of you. I'm glad it's pretty much over, right? Now I get more of your attention.” He rubbed their noses together, sweet and kind.
Comfortable silence as Isak tipped up to ask for a kiss and Even met him halfway, lips parting and closing again around each other sideways on the bed, heads sinking into pillows and hands finding warm skin under clothes and legs and hips shifting to get comfortable. And it was like that for maybe ten minutes. Ten minutes of pure and utter bliss where the only thought running through Isak’s head was Even Even Even. Ten minutes of tongues and hands and tight pants as they absorbed each other, still not close enough. Ten minutes of twisting legs and lips until Isak broke away no longer able to breathe or to think or to function at all.
“How did you know?” He gasped, the air being taken by him again as Even dove back looking offended, like how dare you?
“Know what,” Even mumbled over a hot breath as he lifted his head to tilt and move his nose to the other side. Lips meeting again.
“When you first saw me. That I was gay.” Still struggling to breathe.
Even pulled away. Oh. This was serious
“I didn’t,” he shrugged, coif bouncing and dilated pupils slowly shrinking and hand moving from thigh to waist.
“Then what made you brave?” Isak’s plea whispered over his neck.
His gaze tipped down to find Isak—two fingers under his chin to lift him back up. “Well, I mean, I think I knew eventually.”
“Okay,” Isak succeeded. “I was just wondering.”
“Can we go back?” Even begged.
“To being gay?” Isak joked, Even’s eyes darting down to his lips—telling all.
Together again. Slow and needy as Even gripped the ends of Isak’s shirt to lift and expose burning skin, shedding clothes like they were on fire because they were. Hips moving like they were desperate because they were. Lips saying I'm in love because they were.
Isak smiled, seductive and thankful and happy. "Definitely."
Sana: I still haven't heard from the girls
We're having a bus meeting tomorrow and I'm not sure if they're going to come
Isak: Didn’t see you at school
Sana: I’m here. Sitting in the library trying to make the time pass
Isak: Ah I see. Did you hear anything more from the girls?
Isak: When is the bus meeting?
Isak: Ok. Good luck. I’m backing you up Like 4real <3
“Honey, I'm home!” Isak mocked in English as he stepped through the threshold of their apartment—jacket and bag finding a peg on the wall to hang and freshly socked feet finding hardwood floor.
All the lights were on. The windows were open. FIFA was paused, the controller on the floor by the bed. And he should be here.
“Hello?” Isak poked his head around the corner to the kitchen. Nothing. And this might be normal if Isak’s life was normal—but it wasn’t.
He pulled out his phone, checking it for the first time since he got off work. Nothing. He scrolled over to favorites, thumbs shaking to call Even.
Not even apprehensive rings to give him slivers of hope that he might answer, because it went directly to voicemail. He tried again. Maybe it was a fluke. Nothing.
And he should be here, right? He already worked early this morning, Isak saw him at school… and everything was fine.
He thought about their impromptu trip to Drammen. And the cabin. Even staying up late playing FIFA. All the sex they were having—and he shook it away. Because that was normal. Normal people do those things all the time without ridicule.
Now his whole body was vibrating, skin twitching and heart flying and muscles tensing and brain melting—hands shaking so bad he decided to message Olivia instead of calling her, worrying his voice might give it all away.
Isak: Hei Olivia. Is Even with you?
The message went out green, not even bubbles to anxiously stare at, so he put his phone down.
It vibrated only seconds later. Once, twice, three times—but Isak ignored it because the doorknob turned and Even walked through, bright shiny eyes and a smile when he saw Isak was already home.
But it quickly disappeared. Twenty feet too much in-between them and Isak’s eyes boiling over with hot pink tears in the corner, patchy red face because the blood didn’t know where to flow it was beating through his heart so fast. Weak shoulders and he looked so defeated under his armor—snapback and hoodie. He felt a million miles away. So yeah, Even’s face fell. It fell immediately and then two steps. Two long legged steps over to him to scoop up those limp limbs.
But he still didn’t get it. “What’s wrong?”
“Where were you?” Isak mumbled, letting Even squeeze him but his arms stayed at his sides.
Stones everywhere. In Even’s fingertips and in his elbows and in his knees—weighing him down. This is what’s wrong. And Even didn’t answer immediately. He waited for Isak to loosen, to lift his arms or to bury his head or to do something, but his phone just vibrated in the silence and he stayed still.
“I was actually with Elias.” Pulling away slightly, hands still on shoulders to look Isak in the eyes but it hurt.
And Isak knew he should ask, but he didn’t care. And he didn’t want to fight, he really didn’t, but his veins were pulsing, livid, blood running hot, and he pushed Even away probably a little too hard. “You can’t do this to me.”
“Do what?” They weren’t touching anymore, and the heat rubbed off on Even.
“No! Say it!” Arms in the air now and it was a yell. He was yelling.
“I’m allowed to worry about you!” Isak’s finger was poking in his own chest and he was yelling back. His eyes wide and red with that nervous smile that sometimes comes with anger. The kind that makes you look insane.
“Ja,” Even sighed, still harsh. “Ja.” Softer now. “You are.”
Isak didn’t expect the sudden comedown, stance and face and vocal cords still ready for more shouting.
Even lightly kicked the cabinet below the sink, hands in his pockets. “My phone was dead.”
And Isak’s phone was still buzzing. Face down.
“I’m not manic.”
Eyes up and on each other, and Isak looked like he had just shifted from cool water to warm water, storm on the horizon breaking away to sun.
“And you can say it, you know,” Even said. “You can say that word to me.”
Isak chose a different one. “Unnskyld.”
That moment. That moment when two people want to shove whatever just happened away. They want to pretend like it never happened, and for the most part they are successful. They apologize and move on. But the words don’t come out the same. The topic changes and these new words take the place of old ones, but the heaviness remains. Sad and angry notes now in their intonation.
That was the moment that was happening now. Their arms and chests and lips felt like magnets, wanting to drift towards each other but the space was thick, and no one moved.
“So…” Isak shuffled his feet. “Elias?”
Even smiled weakly, unbelievably grateful. He opened a low cupboard to pull out a small pot, filled it with water, and set it on the stove. Not even asking this time. “Ja,” he turned. “He messaged me, actually. And I have Sana to thank for that.” He turned again, reaching over Isak to the high cupboard now to grab the tea, bodies close and faces close, the space between them on fire and Isak was worried it wasn’t okay to reach out and grab him. “She talked to him,” he nodded, reading Isak’s face and mistaking his thoughts.
Isak hopped on the counter. A ritual. “And you… talked?”
Even nodded. “Mhm. And Yousef was there. And Mikael.”
“And it was… okay?”
Another nod. “I think everything is fine. They are very understanding guys. And we used to be best friends, so… everything is chill.”
“Everything is chill,” Even repeated.
The water was boiling.
Even set the cups on the counter, the last green tea in one and an apple in the other, pouring the water. He was about to grab the cups to hand one to Isak but he interrupted—
“Wait.” Isak held out a hand and Even smirked with pursed lips as he took it, being dragged right in front of Isak who nervously spread his legs and slid his hand down Even’s arm to grab his waist. He didn’t think it was too much too soon, but he asked anyways. “Can I kiss you?”
Even threw his head back to bring it back down closer with a laugh. “You don’t need to ask me.” Eyes down to lips and then back up, closing the space until they were almost kissing to let Isak make the move.
And he did, dragging Even in by the middle, trying his hardest to say please love me for the rest of your life with every kiss.
They were still up, soft fluorescence from Isak’s phone and Even’s laptop the only lights to cast long shadows on their faces, lower bodies under the sheets.
It was one of those nights where you couldn’t go to bed right away, not because you couldn’t sleep—well, that too—but because the hard edges of the last few hours could only disappear with time awake. And they needed that, for those edges to become soft again.
“How do you feel about meeting Elias and the boys,” Even broke the silence, and he was so good at looking nervous and confident at the same time. Blue glow from his screen on blue eyes over at Isak.
And his throat caught a little, pursed down lips with raised eyebrows like he didn’t want to answer. “What, uh…” he started, “what makes you say that?”
“I’m friends with your friends.” A smile. “I want you to be friends with my friends.”
And even if Isak didn’t want to, he would do literally anything Even asked. “Ok,” he nodded. “When?”
“I think tomorrow.” His eyes were kind as if to say don’t worry. “No punching,” he joked.
And Isak scoffed, pushing his shoulder and Even tried to hold on to him but Isak struggled, pouting and playing hard to get with a few giggles. “I guess you should tell me what happened?” They calmed down, Isak giving in and leaning into Even a bit, words coming back to their usual banter as those edges started to soften and they could talk and touch again.
Even smiled, an actual one with teeth. “I saw Sana at school—”
“Huh? I didn’t. Is she ok?” Isak interrupted, realizing he hadn’t checked up on how the bus meeting went. He pulled his phone back out and then realized it was almost 2:00.
“She, uh…” Even started, a smirk. “She was hanging out of the window of a van.”
Isak twisted his face into a question mark, mouth a little open with that cute cupids bow and opposite eyebrows.
“Don’t worry about it,” Even shuffled his shoulders, “I’m not even sure what was going on. She just saw me and yelled—” he threw his eyes up and his hands up shaking, laugh-shout-whispering and dragging out all the words—“Even! Elias says hi!” He laughed to himself, remembering. “And then Elias texted me almost right after that. I think she talked to him. ”A careful hand on Isak’s shoulder that he leaned into a little, scooting a centimeter at a time until they were flush side by side. “Just talk to her tomorrow.”
Isak ignored his advice and swiped his phone open, surprised when she answered right away.
Isak: How did the bus meeting go?
Sana: Why are you awake at 2 in the morning
Nevermind I don't want to know
Isak: Why are you awake at 2 in the morning?
Sana: I'm eating
Did you say something to them?
Isak: Watcha eatin'
Did you say something to them?
Isak: No idea what you're talking about
“And they know that…” Isak started, eyes back on blue as he put his phone down, waiting for Even to finish his sentence so he didn’t have to.
A little frown with matching eyebrows. “Say it.”
“They know that…” and the word was stuck in his mouth. He could literally feel it, all the letters sitting on his tongue, some sharp edges and some soft curves, little serifs poking his cheeks, waiting for him to rearrange them. It came out as a whisper but their eyes never left each other. “That you’re bipolar?”
His voice was so low, sometimes Isak forgot. “Ja, but I confirmed it. Everything is completely chill. They want to meet you… properly,” he smirked.
Isak gulped, a little nervous—half from the anxiety of tomorrow and half from the way Even was looking at him.
The edges were almost completely gone now.
Isak lifted his hand to touch Even’s neck, a thumb on his jaw and it gently moved up into his hair. And then a smirk. He was feeling cheeky. “Can I kiss you?”
But he didn’t wait for an answer.
Chris B: Impromptu bday party at my place for Eva tomorrow
You and Even are coming
Isak: Am I just now invited?
Chris B: No it really is last minute
And everyone is going to be there
Isak: It's chill
Isak put on all his armor. His red snapback and his black Rascals hoodie with the hood up, making sure a few curls poked out for Even.
“This is my favorite look on you.” Even came up behind him by the dresser, arms snaking around Isak’s middle while he planted a kiss to his cheek—and if he wanted to look tough, it didn’t work with that gorgeous smile Even managed to squeeze out of him.
Isak turned his head with shifty eyes, putting his phone down and giving Even all his attention. “Oh ja?”
“Ja.” A sideways kiss that was one second too short for Even as Isak popped off, grabbing his phone again.
Isak: Who's all there?
Sana: Elias, Yousef, and Mikael They just got here
Isak: Are you going to be there?
Sana: I actually have to leave right now
Isak: GURL YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME HANGING
Sana: You'll be fine
Sana opened the door and Isak gave her a raised eyebrow and mouthed takk as they stepped in the threshold and toed off their shoes. “Would you like anything to drink?” She offered. “Tea?”
“Lovely,” Isak responded, nerves a little high and he started to follow her into the kitchen. She squinted an eye as Even made his way into the living room, thinking Isak would follow, and they could hear the boys light up. “I’ll help.”
She scoffed. “I’m not letting you anywhere near the kitchen. Not after last time.”
It was a fair point.
“Takk for staying,” he offered up, “best bud.” A knowing smile with teeth that poked out under his lips, dimples crinkling as it widened.
She rolled her eyes as she started the kettle, and even though Sana would probably never admit she stayed for Isak, Isak knew.
“But really, can you finish this? I do need to go.” She pointed to the cupboard and Isak began to pull down cups.
“Only two,” she waved. “The boys can’t drink yet.” A wink. And then she was gone, leaving Isak alone in the kitchen with a boiling kettle and two cups ready for tea.
He waited a minute, deciding how to enter. How to introduce himself—or would Even do that? How to apologize…
He gulped and grabbed the cups, wishing Even could read his mind and come into the kitchen so he wouldn’t have to walk in there alone—but would you look at that—maybe he could, because Even’s voice got louder and closer as he sauntered through the doorway, head back while he finished his sentence with a laugh to the boys.
Eyes back to Isak. They were sparkling. “Halla.”
He was dazed. That drunk look in his eye you get when something you wish for happens. Instant gratification. “Halla.” He whispered it right back. “For you.” He handed Even the tea.
“Takk.” Eyes beaming as he palmed Isak’s shoulder blades and lead him through the doorway. “Gutter—Isak, Isak—gutter.” No names needed because they all already knew, heavy air as they tried to pretend they didn’t.
And their faces fell a little when Even returned with Isak, but came back immediately when they saw Isak had a trying smile on his face.
“Halla,” Elias sang, a hand outstretched for Isak.
Isak nodded and took it with his free one, shaking. “Halla.”
“You’re, uh, Sana’s friend?” It was curious and tension breaking, this other mutual string that tied them together besides Even, and Isak relaxed a little.
“Did she say that?” He joked, and the guys laughed a little. “But, ja, we’re friends.”
Yosef’s eyes lifted a bit, scanning Isak while he said it.
“I want to say sorry,” Elias started, pointing at Isak’s healed eye, but Isak cut him off on the last word—
“Nei—” he began, turning bravely to Mikael sitting on the couch slightly behind him. “I’m sorry.”
And Mikael smiled softly, looking between Isak and eyes resting finally on Even—like he maybe knew a lot of things the other’s didn’t, healed and whole again, an apology also on his lips that Isak knew had probably already been exchanged between them. “It’s all good.”
Isak looked up for a second as if God or Allah or Jesus or whatever force created these parallel universes were actually there above him to say thank you, because he didn’t know if this would be possible in any other one. And that thought froze him for a second, feeling a little selfish at the fact that if this wasn’t how it was, if Even really had loved Mikael, he didn’t know if the jealously wouldn’t make him too proud to be here.
Isak and Even took a sip of tea in unison, smiling at each other over their cups and you’d have to be blind to tell they weren’t in love. Strong. Like nothing could ever stop them.
It probably reverberated around the whole room, because Elias piped up with a small, “kubb?” And they were heading out into the yard.
“Adam and Mutta?” Even asked.
“Just us three,” Elias pointed between himself, Yousef, and Mikael. “But, you’re going to that birthday party tomorrow, right? For Sana’s friend? Eva, I think?”
Even looked at Isak, because Isak had forgotten to relay the news, so Isak popped up with a squeaky, “ja!”
Elias smiled and nodded, setting up the blocks in the grass as he handed Even a baton. “They’ll be there.”
“I haven’t apologized to them all!” Isak changed his shirt for the third time, lifting the blue one and struggling through the red one.
“Isak,” Even helped him tug down the corners, running his hands up his boyfriends torso and finding his face—cupping it with a small shake. “It’s totally chill. Maybe just say something to Mutasim at the party—all is forgiven.”
Isak squirmed. “I still feel weird.”
“Det går bra.” Even kissed him.
“Neiii,” Mahdi tossed back, eyebrows up at Yousef who was giving him an arched eyebrow in return over his soda.
“Nei, I think he’s right,” Jonas argued, his voice rising over everyone else who also had an opinion on Yousef’s story.
“I was the one who taught him how to dance!” Even proudly shouted, two glasses of champagne in and his head was a little bubbly. “It has to be true.”
Isak felt a hand nudge his shoulder from behind—Elias, with Mikael—a huge grin and he pointed between himself, Even, Mikael, and Isak. “Croquet?” Mallets over his shoulder.
Even shot up enthusiastically, taking a mallet from Elias before Isak could even stand. “Oh,” he melted sweetly, remembering, turning back to his boyfriend. “More champagne?”
Isak took his glass and then his hand to drag him a little close. A sweet, sticky, bubbly kiss in front of everyone because he felt so safe and fuck Even was so pretty. It would have been a sin not to. Okay, maybe the champagne wasn’t helping. “I’ve got it.”
He returned to the table on the deck, one of those nervous, sideways sorry! smiles as he filled their glasses with Eva’s fake angry eyes on him. The girls were arguing about drinks.
“Isak!” A whisper in his ear that startled him and he turned around to the left, but no one was there. Eskild tapped him on the right. “Halla, precious angel. It has been 63 days since I have last seen your face.”
He was behind him, surrounded by Adam and Mutasim, ridiculous sunglasses even though it was cloudy out as he dad-manned the grill. “Eskild!” Isak left the champagne on the table and turned to hug him.
“The next time we go this long without contact I am calling the Police. Hello, let me see your phone—” he reached in Isak’s back pocket sarcastically. “Oh, not that one? Ok—” fishing through the front pocket, pulling it out and swiping. “I am setting a reminder every Sunday for you to text me and on the last Friday of every month for us to party. Tell me, what do you think of these hotdogs?”
Isak’s mouth was just wide with an I cannot believe you smile. “Um, they look good?”
Eskild hummed, tipping his sunglasses down to peer over at them at Isak. “Do they look long? Do they look juicy?”
Isak put his hands over his face to hide his embarrassment, Adam and Mutasim snickering.
“Sorry,” Isak apologized for Eskild, pointing at him and turning to the boys as he hid his giggles. “Isak,” he stuck his hand out to Adam, “Isak,” and to Mutasim, even though they had already met. I guess you could call it that.
“We’ve met,” Mutasim smiled sarcastically as they dropped hands, pointing to Isak’s healed eye.
“Ja,” Isak sighed, “I really am sorry about that.”
Mutasim pulled him in for a sideways hug, smile wide. “It’s chill.”
“It’s chill,” Isak repeated, a curt nod and a fat smirk.
“I’m so proud of you, son!” Eskild shouted it as Isak turned away to grab the champagne and return to Even, each glass already half drank by Eva.
“We should go back to the party,” Even could hardly breathe. “People have probably noticed we’ve been gone for awhile.”
They had taken a… short walk. To be alone.
“We talked, we played croquet, we sang happy birthday, we danced,” Isak mumbled, sideways on top of Even in the warm grass as he kissed his neck, loose curls flopping over and loose shirts exposing collarbones and tight pants being drug closer by belt loops. “We’re fine.”
Even couldn’t argue, turning his head back to force Isak to kiss him on the mouth. Drunken, fuzzy kisses that would be embarrassing to be caught in the middle of. The kind they reserved for their bed. Isak let a few fingers wander inside the loose waist of Even’s pants to grip his warm skin.
“We’re outside,” Even moaned, dragging his hand back up.
Isak responded by getting all the way on top of him, legs on either side, rubbing grass stains into the knees of his jeans. Hands on either side of Even’s head to prop himself up so he could open his mouth to kiss Even dirty, his mouth trying to say let me do this somewhere else while his lower half was suddenly rocked by Even, his boyfriends hands slipping over the back of his thighs.
“Isn’t this on your bucket list?” Isak asked, pulling away to look at him—drunk with lust.
Even looked offended that he would even dare to stop kissing him, pulling him back by his neck and muttering, “Nei, is it on yours?” almost inaudible as their lips met again.
Isak let out a desperate sound, far too gone. Maybe they should have gone home to do this. “It is now.”
Here is the Hei Briskeby video with English subs.
2 more to go. It's been a wild ride. Warning that I might not post tomorrow, seeing as it is my birthday and will most likely be busy all day.
As always, your comments make me smile.
Chapter 9: EPISODE 9
An afterparty. A flirty breakfast. An interruption. A confession. A long night. A gift.
Hello, midnight update.
It's kind of just smooth sailing from here on out folks. Still an important chapter—I think it contains my favorite Isak and Even conversation if I had to pick one.
Also mainly just setting up to tie all those other straggly loose ends up in the last chapter.
And an extra dose of late night fluff.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was a… well, it was something at the Kollektiv. Probably the most arbitrary group of people who knew each other under one roof—Eskild, Linn, Eva, Penetrator Chris, girl Chris, Noora, Magnus, Vilde, and of course Isak and Even—following a shouting Eskild downtown to the apartment for what he was calling the best after party in the history of forever and yes he was including the Oscars, the Grammys, and Eurovision.
Even kept drunkenly nudging Isak on their walk, asking him why he wanted to come here instead of go home—where it seemed Even obviously wanted to go. It was strangely out of character for Isak, but he wasn’t going to admit that he missed hanging out with Eskild.
“We were in the middle of something,” Even reminded, eyebrows dancing and it was true. They were in the middle of something before a drunk Eva rounded the corner and found them rolling around in the grass by the side yard, too tipsy and handsy to walk any farther. And of course she shouted and of course she told anyone who would listen and of course the only way to drown the embarrassment was for Isak and Even to have more champagne.
Isak lost his filter after six drinks, though. Seven? He couldn’t remember. He leaned in to Even to slur-whisper like it was the funniest secret he’s ever told, eyebrows up and teeth sharp under thinning lips that stretched with his smile. “I’m so drunk I don’t even think I can get it up.”
Even laughed, pulling him in by his waist and slowing their steps to let the pack walk in front of them so they could steal sideways kisses the rest of the way there without ridicule.
“Hallo—That’s enough for you.” Eskild was mid-sentence when he said it, interrupting his own story to steal Isak’s beer and hold it above his head.
But Isak was taller now. “Nei! That’s enough for you,” he sassed back, dragging out the last word while his hand found the cup, stumbling over Eskild. He saw Eva from the corner of his eye, passing the kitchen. “Eva! Come drink this!” And she needed no further explanation, turning on a heel to enter the kitchen and giving Chris the just a second finger as he lingered in the doorway.
He shoved the beer in her hand and rolled his eyes at Eskild, because he really had had enough. A shift of their heads to change the conversation and Eskild and Isak said it at the same time— “Even—” while they turned to him first and then each other, their words in unison hanging in the air. They gave each other crazy eyes with suppressed smirks, a race to who could finish their thought faster. Before Isak could say let’s go, Eskild was muttering (sarcastically), “I can’t stand him right now—let’s dance?” While dragging Even out of the kitchen who was raising his hands and eyebrows over at Isak as if to say sorry!
“Watch out,” Eva snickered over a sip of beer. “Eskild might steal your boyfriend.”
Isak rolled his eyes playfully. “Nei. He doesn’t stand a chance.” And then a wink followed by an awkward silence.
She fidgeted with the rim of her drink, feet shuffling like she was too drunk to say what she was about to—the alcohol persuading her. “I guess it’s my turn to say sorry, huh?”
If there was a ticker on Isak’s eye rolls tonight, it might have hit the triple digits. “You didn’t know. Don’t worry about it.”
“Still, I was kind of a bitch throughout the whole thing,” she cocked an eyebrow, eyes still on her drink before she looked up after a pause. “I feel kind of dumb for blindly believing Sara instead of asking you straight up.”
“Believe me, I can understand why you’d be mad,” he chuckled, the tension easing because this seemed to be a normal thing for them. “But hey, we always bounce back. Right?”
She nodded her head up with a fat lip smile—low, tipsy eyes happily sparkling. “Right,” she repeated with a nod. “We’re the original buds here.” A quick glance around and she was right—the only one Isak had known the longest.
He noticed the doorway was now empty, Chris either bored or polite enough to leave. “So..” he fumbled mischievously. “Chris, huh?”
She laughed. “I think I’m drunk enough to tell you a funny story.”
Eyeroll number 102. “I’m not sure if I can even guess. Fuck it, I need another beer.” He reached in the fridge, sight momentarily blinded by the drink selections so when he closed the door, view now unblocked, Even was lingering in the doorway. He mouthed something, but Isak didn’t catch what, so he just nodded.
And Even looked like he didn’t expect that, so he nodded back—puckered his lips to blow a kiss—and took a long-legged step back into the living room. Isak swore to god that boy could read his mind.
“Ok, what’s your ‘funny story,’” he mocked, pulling the tab and listening to the bubbles rise—a big gulp to prepare.
“So,” she began, leaning against the counter beside him to get comfy because she knew this was about to get good. “Do you remember that Christmas party our first year?”
“Ja,” Isak nodded with a breaking laugh, eyes searching and trying to remember something funny or dramatic or interesting that happened.
Eva’s eyes were wide and knowing now. “And do you remember Noora borrowing your phone to call Vilde?”
“Ja, maybe?” Isak snickered, curious where this was going. “I think. Ja.”
“Please don’t be mad,” she began—Isak turning confused at the apology. “But Noora must have tried to google something… or something… and when she double tapped, all your windows opened.”
Isak still didn’t get it, his eyes scrunched as he waited for her to continue. “Ok?”
“ALL of your windows,” she emphasized.
And Isak’s face fell, cold rushing over as he gulped. “Nei,” he muttered, and it turned into a groan. It didn’t take long for that cold dread to turn into a hot flush on his face, and he hid it in both his hands, fingers dragging down the skin on his cheeks as he let out another distressed sound.
Eva was relieved that when he pulled them away, though, he was giggling. “You know,” he began with an embarrassed smile, “last year I think that might have destroyed me. But now it’s just funny.” And he was laughing now, trying to picture Eva and Noora wide-eyed and confused as they scrolled through gay porn on his phone.
She could barely talk through the giggles. “I’m not even done with my story!”
“Sorry.” He was still grinning. “Continue.”
She shifted her eyes around as if to see if anyone was listening, leaning in a little closer to whisper, “I thought you and Chris had a thing.”
Eyeroll 103. Isak groaned, tipping his head back. “I thought you said this story was funny.”
“Were you keen on him?!” There were exclamation points in her voice at the fact he didn’t deny it right away.
“Nei,” he huffed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “He is handsome though.” Too drunk for a filter.
She smirked. “He is.”
Isak: Hei Eskild. Here is your Sunday text. I changed the alarm from 6 to 10 you asshole.
Eskild: I have been crying for four hours
Isak: You're so dramatic
Eskild: Come over for breakfast pretty boy
And bring your pretty boyfriend
I am bursting with gossip
Isak: I don't do gossip anymore
Isak fumbled into the kitchen after toeing off his shoes in the doorway, almost heading for his old bedroom out of habit—wishing he could go back to sleep—Even trailing behind him wide awake with an even more awake Eskild on their tails. He was in a robe and boxers and Isak couldn’t be more embarrassed.
“Where’s breakfast?” Isak asked, limp hands in the air and his face was still squinty and tired. Nothing on the stove. Nothing on the counter. Nothing on the table.
Eskild started pulling eggs and bread and tomatoes down, a few spices and salt. “I thought Even could make breakfast since he’s such a good cook,” Eskild half-joked. “But really.”
Isak’s head went with his eye roll this time, grabbing Even by the arm as if to drag him away. “C’mon, Even. Let’s go—”
“I thought Even made you less grumpy,” Eskild pouted. “Please sit. I can help.”
Even smiled, not even annoyed at all while he fished in the fridge for sour cream, sending a wink Isak’s way—and fine, maybe Even did make him less grumpy.
“I can be like your surgeon's assistant,” Eskild joked, touching Even’s shoulder but all it did was make Isak roll his eyes. Again. “What do they call those? You can be like—‘spatula!’ And I hand it to you. Get it? Instead of scalpel?” He said the last part in English.
“They’re called surgical technologists,” Isak droned, head in his hand at the kitchen table.
“Right,” Eskild paused. “I forgot he’s so… science-y.” He turned to Isak. “Even and I are artists. Right, Even?”
Isak groaned, not in the mood for this. “Could you please stop flirting with my boyfriend?”
Even just laughed, too nice to push Eskild away or tell him to stop. Really, he was harmless. And honestly really sweet. “I actually think scientists and artists were meant to fall in love,” he confessed, cracking an egg and throwing his head over his shoulder to look at Isak.
And he got the first smile of the morning from that. Open mouth with pointy cupid’s bow turning up his whole face under his hat—forwards today to block the sun. He turned it around, lifting it an inch to smooth the hair underneath. His whole mood changed.
Eskild put his hand over his heart. “I guess I better go find myself a doctor then.”
“Are you going to tell me your gossip, or what, Eskild?” Isak demanded. He didn’t want to be here all day.
Eskild let out a low whistle. “I thought you ‘didn’t do gossip anymore,’” he mimicked.
Isak let out an annoyed sound. “Ok, then why am I here?”
“I don’t know,” Eskild continued, being extra difficult today. “Why are you here?”
“Fine, fine,” he looked taken aback, glancing over to Even with his hand over his chest like Isak had just personally attacked him. “So moody today.”
An eye roll. Isak had probably set the world record by now.
“You’re friend was over here this morning,” Eskild persisted, wild eyes over to Isak like he wanted him to guess. But after a few moments of silence that insinuated that wasn’t happening, he continued—“Sana.”
“Did you kidnap her so Elias would come to her rescue?” Isak joked, remembering Eskild’s crush.
And that got the first snort out of Even this morning.
Eskild gave him really? eyes like all of the sass he was delivering this morning didn’t warrant a little back. “Nei um, she was looking for Noora. But we actually had a really nice chat. About religion, and love…”
“Love?” Isak asked. “Please tell me you didn’t give her advice.”
Eskild limply put his hands in the air, elbows still down. A piercing look that matched a sassy head bob with every word. “Isak. How dare you. I am your guru?”
And there was the second snort from Even.
“She told me she’s in love. With that handsome one—her brother’s friend. Yousef.”
Even lingered his eyes on Eskild and then exchanged a confused look with Isak. And then that turned into sheepish grins.
Even motioned for Isak to come over, spatula in hand. Isak shoved Eskild jokingly and lightly out of the way to take his place, a knowing smile ready to reenact the scene—mouth playfully opening while Even fed him eggs by the sink. Two bright smiles.
Eskild ruined it. “Will you feed me too?”
Olivia: Halla Isak. I'm sure Even has already told you, but I just wanted to invite you to sit with us on Monday during Even's graduation, and I hope to see you at our place afterwords! Love, Olivia
Sana: Did you see Noora today? Don’t you have a class together?
But hey you
Eskild says you’re in love
Isak: Yes? With Yousef
Sana: Eskild damn it
Isak: But it’s true?
Isak: WOW. I never thought you’d admit it
He seems like a really nice guy
Sana: But it’s complicated
Isak: Yo. It’s always complicated
Look at who I’m with
And Even is the best thing in my life
Sana: True. Tell me if you hear from Noora though
Isak knocked on the door, shuffling his feet and tapping his toes on the pavement while he waited for Jonas to take an unusually long time to answer.
Another few knocks, the last one right into thin air as he whipped the door open. “Why are you early?”
Isak gave Jonas a bewildered and condescending up-down. “Why aren’t you wearing a shirt?”
And Jonas seemed to have forgotten he was half-naked, embarrassingly pulling a sweater from the peg in the entry to throw over himself.
When he didn’t continue to say or do anything else, just awkwardly stand there, Isak broke the silence— “Uh, Magnus told me to come over at 13:00 and we were going to smoke and go get food…?”
Jonas wiped his face with his hand, groaning and rolling his eyes as if Magnus were right there. “I told Magnus 14:00.”
Isak scrunched his lips and lowered his brows, making his whole face smaller as he sucked his lips in and popped them back out, head following with a forward nod. “So, are you kicking me out?” A nervous laugh saying don’t be rude.
“Nei, of course, come in.” And so Isak followed him. “Get yourself something to drink, I’ll be right back.” He rounded the corner to probably his room.
When he came back, Isak had a knowing smile over a glass of water. “Is someone here?”
“Nei,” Jonas defended badly.
“Jonas. It smells like sex in here.”
“I just… need to do laundry,” Jonas stammered, annoyed.
So Isak dropped it, offering to roll the joints in the meantime.
Isak really wanted to wait until Monday, he really did, but he was bad at ice breakers. Even’s graduation gift had actually been sitting under their bed for about a month, snatched at Elkjøp on his way home from work one day. He even wrapped it.
But he was having trouble getting up, his bare legs on soft sheets and big hoodie only adding to the comfort of using Even’s lower lap as a pillow while his boyfriend clicked away on his laptop, momentarily pausing every few minutes to type frantically on his phone.
And honestly, the more he thought about it, the more self-conscious he became. It was, in hindsight, a really dumb gift. He couldn’t tell if it was thoughtful enough or not, the implication it held totally up to how Even might interpret it’s meaning, holding on to the hope that it would at least make him laugh. Actually, the thought of Even opening it on Monday in front of his parents and friends and family was making him cringe, motivating him to get up.
“Who are you talking to?” Isak asked, doing nothing in particular besides pulling at his hoodie strings and enjoying the comfort, using every ounce of might to will himself up off the bed to reach for what was below it.
“Mamma,” Even smiled, a reassuring warm hand on Isak’s thigh and Isak raised his eyebrows to nonverbally ask what about, but Even went back to clicking.
“You graduate in like five days, you don’t have any homework, what are you working on?” So maybe he wasn’t bad at icebreakers—sitting up to sneak a peek over the top of Even’s screen, but he slammed it closed right away before Isak could see.
Isak raised a shifty eyebrow, heart pumping a little fast because that wasn’t like Even. “Nothing?”
“It’s a surprise.” An eyebrow wiggle. But before Isak could prod any further, Even continued— “I was, uh, actually talking to mamma about… maybe…”
And the air thickened with the way Even’s voice dropped, the atoms in the air vibrating a little faster as the whole room tensed up with every dragging word.
“Maybe going back to therapy.”
It took Isak by surprise the way Even’s face could transform from playful eyebrow dancing into deep contemplation within a second, so it took his brain a minute to register what was going on. “Of course,” he finally stammered out, his insides fidgeting. “Is… is everything ok?”
All of the research in the world still couldn’t put Isak in Even’s headspace, and he was still so new to all of this, sometimes still thinking things were his fault.
But Even didn’t know how to be anything put patient, squeezing his hand on Isak’s thigh with a warm smile. “It will be.”
And Isak didn’t really know how to interpret that.
“Better to go now, right?” Even asked, eyebrows high on his head, waiting for Isak to agree. “When I’m feeling fine.” He put his laptop on the floor and patted his chest for Isak to come lay on him.
He did, arms around Even and he put his face right next to his only a few centimeters away so he could still focus on that soft blue gaze. He squeezed him to continue.
But Even just smiled, hand raking through Isak’s overgrown curls. It looked like he was thinking, or possibly remembering. But whatever it was, it seemed like he was going to keep it all to himself. “I’ve never felt anything quite like this before.”
And before Isak could choke out neither have I, his insides melting into sticky puddles laced with sweetness, Even continued—
“And every day it gets stronger and stronger.”
Again, Isak didn’t really know how to interpret that from a clinical standpoint, jumping to the conclusion that it was his fault Even felt like he needed to go back to therapy.
“Should I…” Isak started, his low notes stuck in his throat so it came out a little high and pitchy. “Should I give you some space?” He didn’t really want to hear the answer, but that thought dissipated when Even smiled at him the same way he did in the locker room. That you are so cute but oh so wrong smile.
“Nei.” Even squeezed him. “I’m allowed to feel the way I do.”
Isak smirked, their heads sinking into the pillows only an inch away. “Only you can feel what you feel.”
And Even kissed him on the last word, memories leaking through smiles that made it hard to keep their lips puckered.
But they broke away in all seriousness, the conversation not over.
“You make me so happy,” Even admitted—his smile softening but not disappearing—his hand tangled in Isak’s hair. “Sometimes it’s all I can think about.”
That idea tickled Isak. Him stuck in Even’s thoughts all day—trying to do homework at school, making espresso at Kaffebrenneriet, cooking or playing FIFA or hanging out with friends while Isak was at work—and Isak always being there, a little footnote in Even’s brain.
“But you understand that’s not really good for me?” Isak’s smile melted away and Even saw it, pulling him closer and whispering into his hair, a kiss to curls between sentences—“But it’s not you. God, it’s not you. You’re perfect.”
His heart swelled again. There were too many highs and lows for this short conversation. So many, that Isak couldn’t imagine what it must be like to be Even.
“It’s just not good for me to feel one thing all the time,” he affirmed, Isak nodding into him. “Especially so intensely. I need to establish a routine—have different thoughts throughout the day.”
A whisper with turned up lips from Isak. “As long as you’re smiling.”
Even threw his head back with a laugh, catching the reference. “And wearing clothes?”
Isak looked up at him all cheeky, eyebrows popping up for a second with a seductive glaze dilating his pupils. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
Sometimes their love was hard. Heartbreakingly hard. But sometimes, like now, it was easy—despite what some might find as a barrier. A difficult conversation. A point of fault. Most of the time this scared Isak—because the good times were so so good. He didn’t want to feel that fall.
Right now though he ignored it. He let Even smirk at him. He let Even shift his hips up so their legs could tangle. He let Even play with his hair. He let Even pretend that everything was fine.
Because Even said it will be.
Wednesday night rolled into Thursday morning. It was one of those nights where Isak and Even woke up countless times, so much so that it felt more like a long, listless cuddle session rather than a full night’s sleep.
It was that point in the day where if you woke up, you could tell it was the early morning now instead of the late night—but still plenty of hours of sleep ahead of you if you wished. Something about the air is different. Something about the sounds outside is different. Something about the light is different, even though there is no light at all.
“Halla,” Even muttered when he realized Isak’s eyes were glowing in the dark, searching for him, his voice extra low and sleepy after being silent for so long.
“Halla,” Isak hummed back, tipping his head up to press their noses together.
“Do you ever wake up and can’t believe where you are,” Even whispered, hand snaking it’s way to Isak’s cheek and resting finally in the hollow of his neck, fingers slinking over his collarbone. “Like when you were a kid and you stayed the night at a friend’s house. Or a relative's. And maybe you’ve been there a hundred times, but you wake up in the middle of the night and forget that you didn’t fall asleep in your own room? So everything looks different for a second?”
They could barely see each other, their eyes slowly adjusting was their only source of light. “Ja,” Isak mumbled sleepily. “I know the feeling.” But he wasn’t really that tired. It was hard to go back to sleep when he woke up and remembered that he was in love.
Even smiled, his hood up over his head all warm and cozy, a stark contrast to Isak’s shirtless self. “Do you ever get that feeling here? Since we’ve moved?”
Isak thought for a moment, eyes looking up like he was searching his brain for a memory. “Nei,” he decided. “Have you?”
“Nei,” Even smiled, scooting nearer so their faces were comfortably close. All Isak really had to do was pout his lips for them to be kissing.
But instead they just lied there, thoughts humming and smiles focusing and fingers grazing like they were having a silent conversation they could understand.
They could only relish in that for so long, though, before someone—probably both of them mutually—leaned in the centimeter it took to kiss softly with half-open sleepy eyes, one pair of hands now intertwined and resting on Isak’s hip while the other pair reached out to support each other’s head—fingers sandwiched between pillows and hair.
“Why do you think that is, though?” Isak asked, not even bothering to stop. He just asked it right over Even’s lips. It was more like they were just lying there with their mouths pressed together anyways, lazy and comfortable.
It was a whisper. “Probably because I always wake up next to you.”
“Your mom texted me the other day,” Isak tried to bring up nonchalantly like it didn’t bother him.
Even played it cool, looking up from his laptop on the table while Isak sat across from him on his phone. “Oh ja? What did she say?”
“Just inviting me to sit with them on Monday… and to come over to celebrate afterwards.” And even though he was prodding, a little bit of irritation in his tone, he couldn’t help but smile at the gesture in itself. “She said you’ve probably already told me, though.” Cynical eyes, like there was some big secret. But he couldn’t contain it, and that thought couldn’t maintain the smile—turning angry. “Why haven’t we talked about this yet?”
Even looked taken aback, attacked.
“Hey,” he started, closing his laptop to get up and take a long-legged step over to Isak to bring him in close, a hand snaking through his hair while he sat. “We signed a two-year agreement on this apartment, right?”
Isak’s spirits lifted a little at the memory—Even’s hand gripping his curls feeling a lot better.
“I was just going to take a gap year. Work on my portfolio. Wait for you to finish school. Establish a routine.” Little brushes of his thumb over baby hairs at the nape of Isak’s neck between the sentences. Isak leaned into them, following his touch wherever it went like he was afraid it might go away. Even’s smile was so intoxicating Isak could believe every word he said forever.
“But,” Isak started, voice breaking like he didn’t want to say it after that confirmation. “I don’t want to hold you back.”
This thick air only called for one cure. Even lifted Isak’s face up to catch his gaze, smushed cheeks in his hands. “Tea?” He moved to turn away into the kitchen.
But Isak brought him back down to straddle him, way too much boy for one chair and a rare, reversed sight. Isak didn’t mind. He felt like he was in control. Hands running assuredly along Even’s thighs while his hands rested on Isak’s chest.
It was so easy to forgive Even. So easy to be calm. So easy to love him. “Would you like your graduation present now?”
A smile that lit up Isak’s heart. The one he adored. The crinkly-eyed one that let’s just enough blue through to create sparkles. “You got me a present?”
Isak shook his head embarrassed. “It’s really dumb.”
“No it isn’t.”
“You don’t even know what it is!”
Their sarcastic laughs were lingering in the air, Isak’s high and happy because Even wasn’t going anywhere. And Even must have decided that this was a good moment to kiss because he planted one right on Isak’s mouth—longer than Isak thought. Those sweet kisses where mouths stay closed but hands can’t get enough, trying to pry all the love out.
“You do have to get up, though, if you want me to go grab it,” he protested, popping off Even.
He just pouted, making Isak shove him away.
“Under the bed? Really?” He made fun of him but really he was also checking him out as he crouched down to reach under the frame. “And you even wrapped it.”
Isak was blushing as he handed it over. “It’s so dumb, please let me take it back.”
But Even already tore all the paper off. “A kettle?”
Isak put his hands over his face to hide, opening his fingers to peek an eye out at Even and try to read him.
Even was just smiling. “You do pay attention.”
And then they were kissing.
As always, your comments make me power through the days. I read them and seriously beam ear to ear. Only one chapter left. I'm not ready to say goodbye.
Chapter 10: EPISODE 10
An invitation. One last apology. A graduation. A best bud. A birthday. An awkward situation. A speech.
HERE YOU GO. THE LAST 7k+ WORDS OF MY SOUL.
I hope this made you smile.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sana: Kjære Isak,
I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being brave in the face of hate. Thank you for being strong enough to be yourself. Thank you for being my best bud. I’d like to invite you to Eid-pre party at my place, Saturday. I really want to break the fast with everyone I love. Lots of food, chill mood, and just nice people. I’d be really happy if you’d come.
Isak was waiting by the fence in the courtyard, propped up sassy with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face—too far away from Even approaching him down the sidewalk to say anything he could hear, so he just smiled instead.
It only took Even a few long-legged steps to make his way over and Isak made sure he “went to the bathroom” during the last 10 minutes of German before lunch to catch him walking by on his way to meet his parents before the ceremony.
“Halla,” Even beamed, surprised to see him there. “I thought you were meeting us after lunch?” He didn’t really stop, just slowed down as he passed Isak, reaching a hand out and squeezing it as his steps dragged. “I’m going to be late.”
A playful eye roll. “What a surprise. And I am,” Isak smirked. “Just wanted to catch you on your way.” A quick peck to the cheek and their hands left each other only when their arms were fully extended, holding on for as long as they could.
Even took a few backward steps and winked, hair bouncing with each gangly step and Isak swore he could see his eyes sparkling through the back of his head when he finally turned around. He probably wouldn’t have been staring at him walking away for so long—oblivious to the love-struck grin on his face—if he knew someone was watching him.
“Can I interrupt?”
And Isak was surprised to see Sara there—arms crossed in more of an insecure way than a threatening way, her hair parted in the middle and tucked behind her ears. Usually, she looked fierce and intimidating. Isak remembered how confident she always was when they were together, but now she looked scared.
He straightened up a little only to lean back against the fence uninterested. He matched her crossed arms and raised her some crossed feet, trying to block his body off and seem indifferent. “I guess.” But his tone was more of a go on rather than a don’t talk to me.
And she must have left early too because they were the only ones in the courtyard. Isak pulled out his phone, furthering his aloof front to check the time. Still about 4 minutes to lunch.
“I guess I just wanted to say sorry.”
And she really did sound sorry, but Isak didn’t care that much about her apology to him. “I’m not the one you should be apologizing to.”
She rolled her eyes but seemed to regret it right away, body language softening as she untangled her arms and slipped her hands into her pockets. “You do know that I know who you are, right?”
Isak didn’t really know what to make of that, but I guess she did. It’s not like he was a brick wall during their relationship, silent and unemotional. There were conversations. And feelings, although platonic in hindsight.
“You think I wouldn’t have apologized to Sana first before talking to you?”
He knew she wasn’t dumb, kicking himself for a minute at coming off so rude at first. It was just hard to look at her now and not scowl.
“Nei,” he sighed, “guess not.”
People were starting to filter into the courtyard.
“So, yeah, I guess I just wanted to say sorry,” she repeated.
Isak looked up at her, lips squishing to find what to say, the acceptance coming out with a sigh and an eye roll. Not the condescending kind—the forgiving kind, because Isak had many different kinds of eye rolls. “Don’t even worry about it.”
Sara saw his eyes flicker over thankfully to the bench, her head turning and following to see Mahdi and Magnus. When Isak took a step and she realized the conversation was over, she decided to follow him. “But, um, I want to ask you something.”
Isak looked half-annoyed and half-surprised that she had decided to tag along. “Ok?”
“She, uh, she invited me to some sort of party on Saturday? An Eid party? I’m not really sure.” Her steps were quick to keep up with him.
“Ja, it’s a holiday in Islam I think.” He plopped his bag down and squeezed between Mahdi and Magnus, slapping hands while he sat.
“Are you talking about Sana’s party?” Magnus asked, puzzled eyes drifting between Sara and Isak. “She sent me a super nice message the other day.”
“I just have this bad feeling, like this nervous sinking feeling about it…” Sara trailed, her last few words getting lost as the boys turned their attention to Jonas who had just arrived.
Isak slapped his hand, cutting her off mid-sentence. “Why?”
She looked a little nervous now, her arms crossing back over her chest and her body shrinking as she felt outnumbered. “Because girls are good at side-eyeing—”
But Isak cut her off again, mood lifting and sass rising as the boys settled in. “You’re the best at it, though. So you’ll win over everyone.” He was smirking a bit.
She seemed genuinely worried. “But think about it. What if I’m invited so they can like, fuck with me or something?”
“That won’t happen,” he stuck up. “She just wants peace, right? It’s like a declaration of peace to invite someone to their Eid celebration.”
“Exactly what is an Eid party like? What do you do? Is there any alcohol?”
Isak snorted. “Can you manage one party without alcohol?”
“Ja! I was just asking!” She looked offended, ready to leave if Isak was just going to be a brat around his friends.
He silently mouthed a sassy ja back and that must have been the last straw because she finally glared at him.
“Sorry—” he laughed. “But I don’t think there's going to be any alcohol.”
“Ok,” she shuffled, taking a step away to escape. “But I’ll be there.”
“See ya there!” Magnus mocked in English, giving Isak what the fuck eyes as she walked away and they all shared a snicker.
A little awkward silence and Jonas broke the tension. “Halla, boys.”
“Where the fuck have you been?” Magnus pressed, eyes sassy and knowing with his chin resting in his hand, elbow propped on his knee.
“I went to McDonald’s,” Jonas obviously lied.
“McDonald’s?” Mahdi mimicked.
They boys exchanged sneers, a silent agreement to pick on Jonas for his terrible fib.
“Did you sit by yourself at McDonald’s?” Isak smirked.
Jonas’s voice was low and careful. “Nei… Ja…”
“Totally alone?” He continued with a laugh.
“Is that so fucking—”
But Isak cut him off to keep poking away, exchanging that don’t pretend like I didn’t walk in on you having sex look, so Jonas let him dig. “Imagine, him sitting by himself eating a burger at McDonald’s—”
But he didn’t need to describe it any further because the boys were all laughing now.
“What the fuck is up with you? It’s McDonald’s,” Jonas defended.
“Where did you get money?”
Mahdi backed him up. “Yeah, I was also wondering about that.”
Jonas’s eyes got wide, lies coming quick and fast like he was proud of himself for it. “I borrowed money.”
And that warranted a round of groans. “The ATM,” Mahdi teased, and Magnus let out a condescending laugh.
Isak turned to him. “I don’t get why you dislike Julian Dahl? He’s rich!”
And that lead on to talking over each other about whether or not Julian Dahl was actually a weirdo stalker or a rich genius, interrupted by a stark laugh from Jonas, his eyes down on his phone. “Okay, I just got a message. From Penetrator Chris.”
Isak hid his smirk with a lowered eyebrow.
“Penetrator Chris?” Mahdi asked. “What does he want?”
“Ok, listen,” and Jonas read out loud unbelieving, that nervous laughter in his voice: “‘Hey, this is maybe a bit far out, but you dated Eva once. I’m crushing on her a bit. But I don’t really get her. From one bro to another, do you have any advice? Like what kind of flowers does she like hahaha.’”
Isak couldn’t help but let out a laugh, prompting the boys to tag along. “I love that ending. Ending the message with ‘hahaha.’”
“Are you bros?” Magnus asked.
“Nei,” Jonas defended. “Why? Should I give him advice?”
Magnus thinned his lips and bobbed his head down, asking, “why not?”
Jonas’s voice was rising high in defense with every question. “It’s Penetrator Chris! He’s not good enough for her.”
“I think he’s pretty hot,” Magnus admitted, and Isak shot him a goofy smile.
“Nei,” Jonas scoffed. “Eva is like up here—” hand all the way above his head. “And he’s like—” hand to the ground.
They were pleasantly interrupted. “Hei!” And suddenly Vilde’s hands were tangled with Magnus’s beside them, kisses planted to her palms and knuckles while she spoke. “Hey, Mahdi? We’re buying Sana a gift to show her how much we love her and we don’t really know what to get. I was wondering if there are any Muslim traditions of what to give as a gift on Eid?”
“Um, I’m Catholic,” he laughed, more amused than offended.
She scrunched her bottom lip as if to say oops. “Oh, sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologize.”
She turned to Magnus. “Who should I ask then?”
Their hands were playing as they spoke. “If you want to tell Sana how much you love her, tell her in a card.”
“Yeah?” She leaned in for a kiss.
“Do that,” he smiled like he knew something no one else there did.
Jonas waited for them to break away before he asked. “Vilde? What’s up with Chris and Eva?”
She looked a little taken aback, unsure of what she should tell. “I don’t know. I think they’re just sleeping together…” but she decided to be totally honest. “I think Eva might be a little bit in love with him, but I don’t think he’s keen on something more.”
Jonas nodded a little sad. Isak wondered if anyone else caught that.
“Ha det!” Vilde called.
“Give me a kiss before you leave!” Magnus demanded playfully, pulling her back. “Bye baby. But fuck—” his attention back on the boys. “With Penetrator Chris. That was brave of him. It’s brave to send a text to the ex and ask about flowers.”
“Yeah,” Mahdi agreed, putting the pieces together and maybe reading the disappointment on Jonas’s face. “Do you think it’s like Vilde said? Is he serious or just fucking around?”
“I actually think it was awesome of him to text you‚” Magnus interjected before Jonas could answer. “People change and maybe he has changed.” A nod and then a repeat. “People change.”
“Halla.” Even found his way back to him, the Bech Næsheim apartment probably more full than it had ever been—not even the open windows helping cool the place down as everyone was drinking and eating and talking over each other.
Isak had never had to share Even with this many people before, wandering off awkwardly after polite introductions every time a distant friend or relative came up to congratulate him. Sometimes Even would hold on to him, making him stay, always bringing him back into the conversation graciously so he wouldn’t get too bored. This is Isak. My boyfriend. It still made his heart flip.
Luckily, there was beer.
And Mahdi—but Mahdi brought a date.
But now it seemed the greetings were done. Even had told the same story to 100 people individually—Thank you! Yes, I finally graduated. I’m going to take a year off to work on my portfolio. I’m thinking about going to film school, but really I’m open to anything that catches my attention—and Isak made a mental note that at his graduation he was going to make a speech beforehand so he didn’t have to repeat himself. More time for beer. And food. The guests would appreciate that, right?
And now Even was here in front of him, Isak still floored that he was the one he wanted to talk to most of all. “Halla,” he repeated, his excuse for scooting closer was that it was too loud and he couldn’t hear.
“Are you having fun?”
“I’m getting drunk. That’s kind of fun.” Isak tipped his empty beer around, looking into it like it might miraculously fill back up.
“Where are your parents?” Even asked kindly, wondering why Isak was all alone in this crowd.
“Over there—” Isak pointed through the doorway to the kitchen, his mamma and pappa by the fridge chatting away with Even’s cousins. “I think they actually know each other.”
Even tilted his eyebrows up all the way on his forehead, his lips pressed together to pop back out like he was excited. “In another universe, that’s how we meet.”
Isak grinned, his dimples doubling up because Even always managed to amaze him. He was good at that.
“I’m surprised your mom hasn’t swatted that beer out of your hand yet,” Even continued.
An eye roll. “I will be 18 in two days.”
“Oh yeah! I totally forgot!” Even faked, and Isak shoved his shoulder with a pout. “Just kidding—” and he brought him into a hug, standing there in the middle of the living room like a hundred people weren’t busying about them.
When they pulled away, Isak’s eyes darted to the kitchen where he saw his parents looking at them, exchanging smiles. Even waved. “C’mon,” he nudged Isak towards the kitchen. “I feel like another beer.” A smirk. “Because I don’t have school tomorrow.”
Mikael: Are you and Even busy today?
Isak: We were thinking about going for a swim. Why? What's up?
Mikael: We kind of have a surprise for him. Anyway you could cancel and bring him over?
Isak: I'll see what I can do
“They’re so obnoxious,” Sana sighed with a smirk, secretly loving it. “Have you seen all their videos? Of course you have, stalker—” she swatted Isak’s hand away as he tried to playfully pinch her in the ribs for that comment.
She turned, offering Isak some tea while they watched the boys from the kitchen yelling and screaming as they filmed.
“But it’s nice that you’re here,” she nudged him. “You can become a regular in the Bakkoush household. Just like all these other boys. But we can sneak away and talk about biology and how to make tea,” she joked. “Because we are best buds.”
Now it just seemed she was making fun of Isak. But Sana was smiling and it was such a beautiful sight.
“You wish,” he smirked over a sip, almost blowing it out of his nose as he saw Even’s nipples being squeezed by Elias and Mutta on the couch.
Sana just rolled her eyes.
“But, are you ok?” Isak asked. She was so good at hiding what was really deep down in there, all of these smirks and jeers and eye rolls could very well be a front. He didn’t even have to prod any further. She just knew what he meant.
“Kind of sucks,” she admitted. “When things with someone finally start to get good. And then boom—”
Isak was waiting for her to finish but that’s just where it ended. “Believe me, I know what you mean.” He did. He knew all too well.
She nodded curtly, pursed dark lips at the boys and then back up at Isak. “You know better than any of us.”
When Isak woke up, Even wasn’t there.
He was too groggy and grumpy to panic, whole body creaking awake when his hand found the note by his pillow.
God morgen birthday boy,
Somewhere in another universe, there is an Isak waking up on his 18th birthday—one who agrees with his boyfriend that life is like a movie, and you can be the director. But you’re so stubborn, aren’t you? In this universe, since you don’t, I guess I’ll be the director for you.
Part 1 of your gift is hidden in the depths of the internet, a video that I’m positive you’ll eventually guess the title of. Don’t worry, if you search it correctly it should come up right away. It was you who chose our wifi name, right? You always surprise me.
I will meet you after school for part 2.
P.S. You’re hot when you’re asleep.
P.P.S. Part 3 is whenever you want it.
“What are you doing?”
He barely heard Sana he was concentrating so hard, eyes glued to his laptop while she read aloud to him and probably asked a question about the reading. He ignored her. Honestly, what were they reading, anyways? School was over in like, two days.
Instead, Isak had spent all of biology, chemistry, and German on his laptop googling obscure references and inside jokes—each one a dead end.
Either he was blanking or Even had chosen something Isak said in his sleep. Frustrated, he reached for his phone—hoping for a hint or maybe just some insight to Part 2.
Isak: What’s happening today?
Even: You just chill
I’ll handle things
Even: Wait and see
Isak: I can’t guess it
Even: Think harder bby
Isak: But it’s my birthday, like, can’t I decide
Even: You are the most demanding 18 year old I know of
You know that birthday feeling, right? You just wake up in a fantastic mood—all of your worries can wait until tomorrow. All of your to-do's can take a back seat. It doesn’t even matter if you have school or work; it’s your birthday, damn it.
That was Isak’s mood right now, his disappointment of not being able to find the video tucked away for later. He could easily tease/kiss/blackmail it out of Even—I mean, Even wouldn’t have spent time making it only for Isak to guess wrongly and never find it, right? Right? He smiled to himself, walking out of his last class because honestly, he wasn’t so sure. Even could be extra like that.
He really wasn’t surprised to see him already waiting there, thumbing something on his phone while he sat on the bench in the courtyard. So he just enjoyed it for a second: Candid Even. A sight he saw all the time but with the knowledge that Isak was usually his audience.
Isak teased him for it sometimes. You only run your hands through your hair like that to distract me from my homework. Could you quit dancing? It’s so embarrassing! Do you really have to cook dinner shirtless all the time? Our broken dishes are going to reach the double digits soon if you keep distracting me while I try to put them away.
So yeah—he just took it in for a moment, his excitement getting the best of him because what the fuck—it was his birthday, already well past 13:00 in the afternoon, and this was the first time he’s seen his boyfriend.
“Halla,” Isak approached, smile widening automatically just at the sight of Even’s eyes meeting his.
He echoed it back even happier, if that were possible. Eyes turning up to sparkle and biting his lip to keep the smile down. “Halla.”
Would it always be like this? Eight hours apart and Isak had almost forgotten what Even looked like (more gorgeous than he remembered, that’s for sure). Eight hours so painfully lonely that their smiles were like magnets. So Isak kissed him—hands on his neck in the most gentle and loving way he knew how—breaking apart way too fast as Even began to fish in his bag and hand Isak—none other than—a beer. “You can open it yourself now,” he joked.
The gesture was nice but wasn’t he suppose to be the one buying beer now? His smile was turning up with a laugh. The kind of smile he couldn’t have ever forced himself to make a year ago. Only Even Bech Næsheim could coax it out of him.
“Beer at school?” He asked, looking around like he was going to get in trouble but oh yeah—he’s 18. “Amazing.”
Even pulled one out for himself. “Skål,” he cheered, and Isak mirrored him back, cans clinking. They popped their tabs and took a sip in unison.
A rare time where Isak felt like he could read Even’s mind—because he must have felt the same way he did. He could see it on his face. They were smiling for seemingly no reason, both knowing that it was just because they were there. Together. Their mere presence enough to keep whatever this was afloat. Isak’s mind was singing Even Even Even, and Even’s was singing Isak Isak Isak, and they just both knew it.
Even kissed him on the cheek. “Did you find your video?” he asked, voice curious but his eyes were telling a different story—focused on Isak’s lips like he didn’t really care what answer came out of them.
“Nei,” Isak remembered, leaning into the hand that was slowly grazing over his shoulder and back. “I didn’t.”
Even pulled away a bit, eyebrows down like he was pretending to be offended.
“I can’t find it, I don’t know where it is!” Isak defended at his response.
“It’s on YouTube!” Even retorted.
“It’s on YouTube?” Isak smirked with sarcasm, sass coming to the surface. “That helps me a lot. There are like ten billion videos on YouTube.”
“If you don’t understand the title, you won’t get to see it,” Even said a little too seriously for it to be funny, so Isak went to plan b: flirt it out of him.
He tipped his chin up, eyes lowered and dilated like he was about to kiss Even, but he just whispered instead. “You can’t give me a little hint?”
Bingo. It worked. “It starts with G,” Even admitted, softening.
“G?” Isak repeated. “I tried gule gardiner, but that wasn’t it.”
Even’s eyebrows shot up which made a little piece of his hair fall down on top of his forehead. “You’re not that far off,” he smiled, the memory coming back to him.
“Grønne gardiner?” Isak teased. “Grå gardiner?” Okay, now he was just being mean. “Geni av Hartvig Nissen?”
Even’s laugh was only fueling his ego.
“I would never write that,” he teased back like he was offended, scooting in closer like he had a plan to make Isak nervous. He slinked his long bent leg under the crook of Isak’s, a kiss so close it was burning the air between their lips.
They’d kissed a hundred times before, but it still made Isak’s brain fuzzy. One of those moments where it was like is this really happening? But he knew how to play this game. He had a video to guess, after all. “What is it, then?” He asked, propping up to rest his arm on Even’s shoulder so he could flirt with his hair.
“I’m not telling—” Even laughed over Isak’s playful thinking sounds.
“Guden?” Isak guessed, a cocky hand to his chest. “Guden? That’s me?”
“Ja,” Even blanked sarcastically. “The film is called Guden.”
Isak played along even though he knew that wasn’t right. “Good. I’ll check it out later—” his last word got lost as he nodded his nose against Even’s to ask for a kiss. He couldn’t wait any longer, ok?
But Even had way more self-control, pulling back to keep the joke alive. “Do you think I would call a film Guden?” He laugh-asked all insulted.
“Yeah, if it was about me.” And Isak was pulling Even in by the back of his neck to hopefully trap the conversation because he wanted to kiss him. Bad.
“That’s so pretentious,” Even mumble-giggled over their lips, their smiles fading as quickly as their mouths met because it was one of those kisses that got way too intense way too fast.
Isak didn’t know if they’d ever kissed like this in plain sight, and Even must have thought the same thing because he pulled away just for a moment. Their eyes were half-open, looking at lips. Isak’s hand was tightening in Even’s hair.
Isak leaned back in, fingers lacing by Even’s neck and they might as well be in bed the way they were all over each other.
At first, Isak thought he had imagined it. A little whisper-shout because it was so far away. Get a room, fags.
But he wasn’t, because Even pulled away too to look at him, confused and hurt eyebrows. “What did he say?”
Even was silent, eyes darting like his brain was waiting for an answer that was up to him to think of.
Isak really wished he didn’t have a temper. Wished he could just smile at this fucker and continue kissing Even in quarter smugness quarter revenge quarter fuck you quarter love.
His vengeance tactics were not that subtle or graceful yet, though, so he moved to stand up, voice hot. “What did you say?”
The man continued to walk away. “That’s fucking disgusting.”
Evens hands were pulling him back before he could even fully get up. “Fuck—huh? Do you think you can go around and just do that stuff? Come here! The fuck! Fucking cunt face! You’re fucking ugly, you know that?”
Isak didn’t really know what he looked like right now, but Even looked scared. Of him? He couldn’t really tell.
“I can’t with that stuff,” Isak spat, his insides still wild but his outside calming down. “He can’t just say stuff like that.”
“Isak. Look at me.” Even said it a few times over him, hands on his face, waiting for him to pay attention. “Look at me,” he repeated.
“Ja,” Isak huffed. “Ja.” Softer now. His frustration was leaking through his fingertips like he wanted to hit something. He didn’t know what, so he balled his fists into his own thighs. He didn’t know how long Even had been looking at him this whole time, but it was the first time their eyes met since their lips were locked. He didn’t seem mad or upset at all.
“Det går bra.” Even said it like a mantra. “Ok?”
Isak forgot that for the most part, he could do whatever he wanted all the time. Feel whatever he wanted all the time. He forgot that Even didn’t have those freedoms, his mind on constant surveillance from none other than his own mind. How strong he had to constantly be to keep from getting too happy or too sad or too in love. Isak didn’t really like to think about that conversation. Even couldn’t act right away. He had to think right away—but not just any kind of thoughts. Even had to think rationally right away.
How brave and focused he must be all the time to remind himself (and Isak) that Det går bra. Isak wondered how many times he said it to himself every day so things never got too much.
“We’ll take it totally chill.”
Isak had no idea how Even was smiling right now. But he was. The one Isak would pay money to see if he had to.
“And we’ll go meet our friends,” Even continued, his hands still on Isak’s face with his grumpy cheeks pressed into them. “And we’ll go to the park. And drink beer. Okay?” There were sparkles in his eyes between every word.
And there was that smile again. This time, though, not the big one. The little one. It was barely even there. The thing these smiles of Isak’s had in common, though, was that he couldn’t have ever forced himself to make them a year ago—two for two as Even Bech Næsheim coaxed them out of him.
Even noticed it though. “Yeah?” He sang, the air growing light and warm around them.
Isak nodded into a hasty kiss Even planted on him unprepared. He tried to be grumpy for as long as possible—arms at his sides and his cheeks still sinking into Even’s palms—but he gave in.
He gave in like nothing else really mattered, wrapping his arms high above Even’s shoulders while they exchanged cheek kisses, too in love to be mad for so long.
Nose rubs as they pulled away because Even knew it would make him smile. Three for three.
“Most likely to throw up from getting too drunk,” Mahdi tossed, and the majority of fingers were pointed to Magnus, who retorted with a small and high nei! but took a drink in defeat anyways.
“Most likely to fall asleep before 23:30 at a party,” Magnus continued, and it was almost a tie between Mikael and Sana, but Mikael had one extra hand pointed his way. He rolled his eyes and took a sip of his water.
“Most likely to be overdressed for school,” he shot over, trying to get Yousef. And it was another close one, but Noora got the most hands.
They were on a giant mix-matched blanket carpet in the grass, sitting crossed-legged or side-saddled in a big circle, sprawling over each other comfortably. There were more empty beers now than full ones. The sun was setting, for the most part—the sky purple with hints of orange. And almost everyone was, all things considered, drunk.
“Most likely to fall asleep during class,” Noora smirked, mischievous eyes over at Eva. Everyone pointed to her and she pouted playfully and took a drink.
“Most likely to cry at a cheesy movie,” Eva continued mid-gulp—every finger over to Even and he hung his head with a laugh.
He took a long drink, eyes back up at Isak like he was gunning for him. “Most likely to not be able to hold their breath under water.”
The memory was instant.
“Okay, blah blah blah. Good story,” Even mocked, jostling Isak’s shoulders a little.
“You can have it,” he decided after a pause. “Make a movie.”
“I am going to make a movie about you,” Even maybe joked back.
“Okay,” Isak succeeded, not really knowing what to do with this information.
Even smirked. “Do you want to know what it’s called?”
Isak lifted his eyebrows curiously.
“Gutten som ikke klarte å holde pusten under vann.”
Neither Isak nor Even pointed while the others made a fuss. Eyes locked on each other from across the circle. The only two people in the world. Isak just licked his lip over a smile and settled on jabbing his tongue in his cheek for fear it might get too wide.
He pulled out his phone while someone—it seemed the group had settled on Magnus again—was asking the next question. Pulled up YouTube. Typed it in. There was just one video. He could see in the thumbnail by Even Bech Næsheim. He looked up with excited eyes and a lip bite at Even, who was trying his hardest not to smile. Head back down and volume just loud enough so he could hear, ignoring the game that was continuing to happen around him—Vilde shouting the next question—everyone too happy and busy and tipsy to pay him any mind.
He was transported with every clip. Back to the car. Back to Isak’s old room. Back to their bed. And fucking Gabrielle in the background. It was cliche and cheesy and so, so sweet. He tried not to think of the tea kettle in a pale comparison, simultaneously laughing at and kicking himself.
He thumbed a message and shook his phone at Even—a silent gesture for him to check his—who hadn’t stopped looking at him.
Isak: Fy faen
Jeg elsker deg
Come sit with me
Even: You know it’s 21:21
Isak: You know I was born at 21:21
Even: Swear it
Isak: I swear
Even: Now I have a boner
Isak: Should we leave
Even: We can’t leave it’s your birthday
Isak: I can decide, it’s my birthday
Every article of clothing that wasn’t essential to being decent in public was halfway in/halfway out of their threshold—a whole shirt and some jacket sleeves sticking out the door as it closed behind them. They weren’t even going to make it to the bed. That was a sure thing.
Isak pinned him to the wall, almost impaling Even with the pegs that held their coats—but thankfully he was sort of paying attention. His hands were everywhere, unable to make up their mind as they reached for Even’s hair and then his face and then down his middle to the front of his pants (with a wonderful sound) and then back up to his face again to lightly press a thumb to his neck.
“Bossy today?” Even asked, his fingers settling for Isak’s hips as he enjoyed the attention.
“Ja.” It was breathy and he didn’t even bother to stop kissing him—his mouth following his hands: everywhere.
Even was hiding how turned on he was with a laugh. “I feel like you’re worshiping me,” he smiled.
And Isak needed no further prompting to drop down to his knees, pulling Even’s hips forward by his belt loops, fingers snaking their way over to the button.
He was doing a bad job—hiding it. That only egged Isak on. “It’s your birthday,” Even half-moaned at the fact that this was really happening right now, his pants being shoved down and a smirking Isak looking up at him.
“Exactly,” Isak winked. “It’s my birthday. I get to decide.”
Isak: Hi, in the speech for Sana, you have to remeber to include how insanely strong she is. I don't think many people understand how much bullshit she has to take. Just something I thought of.
“Are you alone?” Isak smirked, dropping his bag by his shoes as he tipped them off in Jonas’s entryway.
He was met with a pair of rolling eyes. “But really. I want to talk to you about that,” Jonas’s words turning around with him towards the kitchen as Isak closed the door behind him to follow.
“Jonas, I don’t need the birds and the bees talk.”
Today Jonas had the eye roll ticker, probably hitting the double digits in the past few minutes—not in the mood for Isak’s sass.
“Fine, fine.” But Isak wasn’t done. “Is it your turn to come out to me?”
“You’re insatiable, you know that, right?” Jonas groaned, hand in the fridge to pull out two beers as he tossed one to Isak.
“I thought your sister was on your tail?”
“Followed her boyfriend to Berlin.” One of those yep, that happened, smiles on his face.
They both took a sip.
“But, um, I’m kind of seeing someone,” Jonas stammered out like it didn’t belong in his mouth.
Isak wanted to guess, but he really couldn’t think of who.
“You know her,” he continued. “And I’m not sure how you’re going to feel about this.”
“Is it Sara?” Isak half-joked half-laughed, a rock sitting in his stomach afterwards because if it was then fuck Jonas had bad taste.
Luckily, that made him laugh. “Nei,” he snorted. “It’s, um. It’s Emma.”
That was the last person Isak expected. Honestly, he had almost forgotten she even existed.
So Isak matched Jonas with a laugh back, the tension easing again. “Was that who was here last week?” He shoved his shoulder. “I was ready to bet 1000kr it was Eva.”
He expected another snicker, but Jonas met him with a dead how the fuck did you guess that face.
Isak matched it, turning and looking as if she was going to pop out.
“Nei,” Jonas sighed. “But, um. That too.”
Isak was starting to smile out of pure fear. “Please don’t tell me at the same time—”
“Nei!” He shouted a little too quickly. “Nei nei nei. It was like, a few days later.”
Isak let out a low whistle. “So—”
Jonas cut him off. “It was just a one-time thing, though. Emma and I aren’t official. Yet.” He looked up as if to ask for confirmation.
Isak rolled his eyes. “Jonas. I don’t care if you date Emma. It’s not like I’m jealous or anything.”
“Right.” A nervous but relieved laugh.
Isak tried to look at him like he knew something—he could read Jonas like a book, and that sad realization that swept his face in the courtyard earlier this week was a tell-all—but he wasn’t getting through.
He settled with a smile and a head nod chased by a hand slapping his shoulder. “Everything will fall into place.”
It was nice—this feeling. Lately, it seemed as if everyone was together more often than not. Graduations. Birthdays. Celebrations. And while Isak couldn’t complain, all he really wanted to do was curl up next to Even and not have to worry about saying anything—their silent conversations his favorite form of communication.
You know when you think of something or wish for something privately but longingly, almost begging someone to be able to read your mind—and then… it happens? It’s usually always something little. You want to kiss someone; they lean in. You want to hear from someone; they send you a message. You want to be with someone; they come over. And at first, you’re excited. That rush of instant gratification is intoxicating and almost addictive. But then it becomes a little frightening. What if they can read your mind? That fear is almost always swept under the rug immediately, though. No one can do that.
But Isak wasn’t so sure anymore. It was almost a game now—think about something or wish for something really hard, try to remain as neutral looking as possible, as see if Even could guess.
You want to be alone; they rescue you. “I’m still hungry,” Even complained as their conversation with Mikael and Adam came to a close, those genuine laughs lingering in the air as an awkward beat rested upon them—no one sure what to say next. “Shall we go get another plate?” He was dragging Isak lovingly by the arm.
Yeah, he could totally read his mind. Isak was sure of it. He smiled at Even like it was leaking out of him. Trying to contain it the best he could.
“What?” Even asked, the smile contagious as one crept over him as well.
Isak just shook his head as he began filling up his plate. “Nothing. No—hey—you have to get different stuff than me so we can try each other’s—” he was swatting Even’s fork away from the meatballs he just got.
Even put his meatball back down into the pot on the buffet table sarcastically before he reached back up and shoved the whole thing in his mouth, laughing as they took a secluded seat to enjoy the food and each other.
“It’s been awhile since you’ve had this?” Isak asked, poking around on his plate.
“We ate this every day after school,” Even confirmed.
“Why don’t you try making it yourself?”
Even waited to swallow before he continued. “There are so many spices and herbs and—”
“Expensive?” Isak cut him off, a quick downturn of the lips.
“Nei, it’s not really expensive, just a totally different way of cooking.”
“Can’t we just have an afternoon where we,” Isak stumbled a laugh because who was he kidding, “I mean you make a lot of Moroccan food. For me?”
“Ja, it’s a date,” Even beamed, reaching his hand out for a… handshake?
Isak took it anyways. “Date?” Pleasantly surprised when Even began to drag him in.
“And some delicious tea,” he finished right before their lips met, hands hanging on longer than the kiss.
“We have to celebrate! Both of us got 6’s,” Isak snickered.
“Yeah, I got a 6,” Sana shot back, her eyes disbelieving.
Isak’s mouth was full of watermelon. “I got a 6 too.”
“Why are you lying?”
“I did!” He insisted.
“You didn’t get a 6. You didn’t—I had to help you!” She squeaked, unsure of why she was defending herself when she knew she was right.
“Ja, you helped me—” Isak pointed between them, “and then I got a 6!”
“I didn’t help you that much,” she admitted.
Isak narrowed his eyes and then popped them back open. “Oiiii! you tried to help me a bit, but not enough!”
She laughed a gushy watermelon laugh, caught in the act. “No—” she giggled, “I thought, ‘wow he doesn’t even know the basics’—you couldn’t have gotten more than a 5. Tops.”
“I got a 6!”
She cocked her head. “You can tell me. You can tell me you got a 5, it’s ok.”
“I’m just getting shy because you’re so beautiful today,” Isak admitted.
She blushed. A great big smile. “Awwww, takk.”
He leaned in a little, that smile pushing it out of him. “But, uhh… Nei. I got a 5.” The last part was a quick whisper.
She looked like a winner. “Ja? You got a 5?”
“Ja, but don’t tell anyone.”
“It’s ok. I got a 6,” she beamed, and to that Isak just rolled his eyes.
“But seriously, you do look very beautiful today.” Her smile was contagious, rubbing off on him. “Have you talked to Yousef at all?”
Her phone pinged, and she turned to check it. “That was weird.”
“Is it him?” But she was lost in her own little world, pursed lips to hide another wide smile as she looked down at her screen, thumbs hovering as she thought of what to say.
Even found him then, a hand on the small of his back and he didn’t even have to turn around to know who.
“Vilde just came up to me and asked if I would give the speech,” he laughed. “She said I have a nice speaking voice.”
Isak hummed happily. “You do. What did you say?”
“I told her to ask Jonas,” he pointed somewhere, and then somewhere else, their eyes searching for him.
And when they found him, Isak couldn’t help but jab his tongue in his cheek for fear of laughing. “I knew it,” he turned up at Even, who was smiling fondly at Jonas and Eva, smiling at each other way too close—their hands and faces touching, leaning in—only to be interrupted by Vilde. “Look what you’ve done!” Isak sneered, pushing Even’s shoulder lightly and playfully, their bodies turning towards each other.
They were like magnets—they really were. No one even asked for a kiss. No one even leaned in. But here they were—one, two, three slow, sticky pecks with half-open eyes—pulling away only for the sake of public decency.
“I’m so lucky,” Even grinned down at Isak, a quick tap on his nose with low, love-drunk eyes.
Before Isak could even ask why, everyone was turning their attention to the clicking up front—quieting and huddling around as Jonas stood on the table.
“It’s time for a speech.”
A chorus of chanting—Speech! Speech! Speech! that they joined in on as well, Isak’s heart racing when Noora pointed out that he helped write it.
And there was a strange stillness to the air before Jonas started speaking. Like everything had cut to black. Like this was the end. It wasn’t a good feeling.
But he looked over at Even, and there was a light.
This speech is for you.
And you’re getting it because what you’re inviting us to today, overthrows American presidents tomorrow.
We live in a chaotic world where it’s difficult to understand the rules. Because why are some people poor, and other people rich? Why do some people have to be refugees, while others are safe? Why are some people spit on in the street? And why is it that sometimes, even though you try to do something good, it’s still met with hate? It’s not weird that people give up—that they stop believing in the good. But thank you so much, for not giving up, Sana. Because even though it sometimes feels like it, no one’s ever alone.
Isak squeezed Even’s hand as Jonas’s words passed over.
Each and every one of us is a part of the big chaos. And what you do today, has an effect tomorrow. It can be hard to say exactly what kind of effect, and you usually can’t see how everything fits together. But the effects of your actions are always there. Somewhere in the chaos. In a hundred years, we may have machines that can predict the effect of every action. But until then: we can trust this:
But fortunately, love does too.
I think I am going to be in love with their love forever. Isak Valtersen deserves the whole entire world. I seriously love writing from his point of view.
Ugh I am in pain. Writing/editing this fic had stretched out my SKAM is over denial.
Hopefully this set your heart at peace a bit? I kept it low on the angst because I wanted to wrap it up for good—just like the show. Our boys deserved some peace after the rollercoaster of season 3.
Again, your comments blow me away sometimes. If you read this and liked it, I would love to know what you thought. Bookmark it for later. You’ll want to read it again.
Here is my tumblr if you would like to keep in touch. <3