Timmy wakes up on Armie’s couch and immediately regrets waking up, regrets being alive. His head pounds like there’s a drum line going to town in there. His stomach is somehow both starving and on the verge of emptying itself completely at the same time. He groans and pushes his face into the couch cushion to block out the blaring light in the room.
He hears Armie’s footsteps on the hard wood and then his voice, “Morning, sunshine.”
“You motherfucker,” Timmy mutters into the cushion.
Armie’s weight sinks down on the other end of the couch, his fingers ghosting over Timmy’s exposed ankle briefly. “Liz is making waffles,” he says quietly.
Timmy’s stomach turns and he holds his breath waiting for it to pass. “Yeah, I don’t know about food right now,” he says, finally pulling his head out from its hiding place and squinting in Armie’s direction.
He hates how good Armie looks right now, already showered and dressed and smiling. Meanwhile he’s sure his hair is all over the place, lines on his face from being pressed against the seams on this cushion all night, the t-shirt and boxers he’d managed to strip down to last night totally disheveled.
“You could’ve at least carried me to bed,” he says, pressing his fingertips into both of his eyes.
“You were out, man,” Armie laughs. “We should not have switched to tequila.”
Timmy blinks and sees a few flashes of memories from the night before: one round, two rounds, three, and then back to the house where Armie pulled out some inordinately expensive bottle of tequila, and then they were doing shots and then things get blurry, a vague memory of him very earnestly making Armie listen to a Frank Ocean song because it reminded Timmy of them and then-
He turns over onto his back so he doesn’t have to move his head to look at Armie. “Did I behave myself?”
Armie tilts his head, considering the question.
“Shit,” Timmy says, closing his eyes. “Whatever I did— ” His brain is filing through all the possibilities. He’s been so close to the line lately, so close to just fucking ruining everything by saying too much or doing too much. He should never have gotten so drunk in the first place.
Armie puts a hand on Timmy’s calf, the warmth of it almost enough to make Timmy forget he feels like literal shit, the warmth of it almost enough. Timmy opens his eyes.
“You were a gentleman, as always,” Armie says, smiling, his eyes focused on his hand on Timmy’s leg. It feels like the entire universe is focused on that one point of contact.
Then Armie’s brow furrows and he says, “What were you worried you’d done?” His voice is so fucking coy it makes Timmy want to bury himself in the backyard somewhere.
Timmy just shakes his head and immediately regrets shaking his head. “Nothing,” he says in a weak voice. “Everything. I don’t know.” Things in his brain are not connecting properly and he hears himself say, “I never know what I’m going to do around you anymore.”
Armie’s hand moves up a little, fingers slipping behind Timmy’s knee. “Me neither,” he says, as Timmy’s body arches in response to his fingers on that delicate stretch of skin.
And then Timmy’s stomach takes another, more violent turn and he sits up suddenly, swallows a few times, his hand gripping Armie’s shoulder tightly, fighting the wave of nausea. “I think—” he says, rushing off in the direction of the bathroom before he can even finish the thought.
When he’s finished emptying the contents of his stomach into the toilet, he sits down heavily on the bathroom floor, leaning against the side of the tub. Armie has followed him from the living room and leans in the doorway. “Jesus,” Timmy says, pressing the back of his hand against his mouth.
“I’m here to hold your hair back if you need to go another round,” Armie says, teasing but gentle. Timmy almost wants to puke again just to feel Armie’s fingers against his scalp.
It turns out he doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Five seconds later he’s hunched over the toilet again, and, as promised, Armie’s kneeling beside him, one hand on his back moving in slow comforting circles, the other keeping his hair out of his face.
Timmy takes a few breaths and sits back. Armie combs his hair back into place with his fingers, his other hand still warm on Timmy’s back. “All good?” he asks, reaching up to flush the toilet.
Timmy closes his eyes. “I think that’s all I’ve got,” he says, laughing a little.
Armie sits down on the floor across from Timmy, their bent long legs slotting together, knees knocking. Timmy looks at him and smiles slowly, feeling a little embarrassed. “It’s been a while since I’ve been this hungover,” he says.
Armie jostles their legs around. “What, like two weeks?”
Timmy laughs and shakes his head. “Shut up.”
Armie just grins at him in that small, quiet space. And then he says, “There was one thing last night.”
Timmy suddenly feels like throwing up again, but instead he just looks steadily at Armie, waiting.
Armie looks down at Timmy’s bare feet on the tiled floor and shakes his head once.
“What?” Timmy asks nudging Armie’s thigh with his foot.
Armie reaches out and grabs his foot, holding it there. Time seems to freeze on this moment, this echo of their fictional selves. Timmy wonders if Armies notices it too, not just now, but all the time. These echoes, this deja vu, this dizzying feeling that they’ve fallen into some parallel universe, not quite Elio and Oliver and not quite Timmy and Armie.
Armie’s thumb presses into the arch of Timmy’s foot and a small, pained but pleased noise comes from the back of Timmy’s throat. Armie stops, lets go of Timmy’s foot, looks up at him like as if broken from a spell.
Timmy ignores how much this feels like a small heartbreak and just repeats, “What?” And quietly, “Tell me.”
Armie looks at Timmy, into him, through him, and then pats him on the leg companionably and stands. “Nothing,” he says, offering his hand. “Waffles are probably getting cold.”
Timmy stands up on unsteady legs, has to keep a hold of Armie’s hand for a second while he regains balance. In that fraction of time, they are close, Timmy can feel Armie’s breath against his temple, the heat of his body. He leans into it on instinct.
“You said,” Armie says, his voice close to Timmy’s ear. “You said something about how I happened to you.”
Timmy lets go of his hand and steps back. “Oh,” is all he says. His head still spins a little. He thinks he wants to go lie down forever.
The moment starts to come back to him. The memory of them sitting side by side on the floor in the living room while the rest of the house slept. The sound of their low voices in all that silence. The feeling that no one else existed. The way Armie had looked over at him and said in a voice thick with liquor, “Do you really not know you’re good looking or is it just an act?” The way Armie’s head had tilted to the side, observing Timmy, his eyes moving over Timmy’s jawline, his neck, his shoulders, like flames against his skin.
“I don’t know,” Timmy had said because he didn’t know anything in that particular moment.
Armie looked away, lifting a glass of water to his lips. “Well, you are,” he’d said, taking a drink. “Very.”
Timmy didn’t respond. He sat there, allowing those words to settle down in his mind, allowing his body time to sort itself out, every nerve ending suddenly on high alert. “You know, you literally came bursting into my life,” he said, not sure where the thought came from or where it was going.
Armie gave a small laugh. “Luca had been talking you up so much. I was very eager to see for myself,” he said.
Timmy grinned at him in the dark. “And?”
Armie shrugged, “Lived up to the hype, I guess.”
“You just happened to me,” Timmy said, turning to face Armie. “And it feels like nothing else has happened to me since then. Nothing real, anyway.”
Armie just looked at him.
“Maybe that’s stupid,” Timmy said.
Armie shook his head. “Not stupid.” His voice was hard, serious.
But now, standing across from Armie in the Hammers’ downstairs bathroom, Timmy just shrugs a little and says, “Is that all?”
Armie face falls just a little before he catches it. “Yeah,” he says. “That was all.”
Timmy nods and turns to leave, feeling like his head might explode if he doesn’t get out of there, but Armie catches him by the arm, pulling him back, saying, “Wait.”
Timmy turns back, looking expectantly at Armie who leaves his hand on Timmy’s arm, his fingertips pressing into his bicep a little less than tenderly. They look at each other. Armie opens and closes his mouth and then lets go of Timmy’s arm. He steps back and says, “There’s Advil in the medicine cabinet. You probably need it.”
Timmy smiles ruefully. “Right,” he says, moving toward the sink. “Thanks.”
Timmy cups his hands and fills them with water, uses some to swallow the pills and then rinses his mouth and splashes his face. When he brings his head back up, he finds Armie’s face reflected in the mirror. Armie’s eyes move over Timmy’s face the way they had the night before, full of startling want. Timmy considers this and then he considers his reflection right now: hair still wild from sleep, dark circles around his eyes.
Timmy drops his eyes and Armie knocks his knuckles against the doorframe, saying, “I’m going to go check on breakfast.” He lingers for a second in the doorway. Timmy can feel his eyes on his back, but when Timmy looks over his shoulder, Armie’s gone.
He braces himself against the sink, not sure if his head is pounding from the hangover or something else entirely.