It was one of Mike's best-kept secrets that it wasn't Edward Cullen he was jealous of -- it was Bella Swan.
The way it had all started was completely stupid, you see. An accident, really. It had just been a glance out of the corner of his eye -- the first day of school was when it had happened -- and Mike saw him, impossibly good-looking; almost too attractive to be human.
The glance became a stare as he looked at this person in bewilderment (Who is this guy, and how did he get to be so smoking hot? And look at his clothes -- ugh, it’s always the rich people that are the most attractive; it’s so typical… he’s really very good-looking, though) and an irritated scowl was shot in his direction from the mysterious, broody-looking guy.
What the hell’s HIS problem? Mike thought as the guy angrily shoved his hands into his pockets and walked away. Mike shrugged and mostly forgot about it.
Until the guy showed up in his English class during fourth period, that is.
Due to the teacher’s extremely odd method of arranging the seating chart, Mike was forced to sit next to the dude (whose name was Edward Cullen, apparently). Cullen did not look too happy about this, and inched his desk away from Mike once he sat down. Mike furrowed his brows in confusion, feeling slightly hurt despite himself. He hadn’t even said anything to him. What the hell had he done to piss this guy off?
That nagging little question hung in the back of his mind all day, from gym class to science class to lunch to math class to photography class to home. Mike laid down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling, going through the whole day in his head, trying to figure out what he could’ve possibly done to make this Edward guy glare at him like that, and coming up with nothing. Unless he’d given him a funny look without realizing it. But you’d have to be incredibly sensitive to get so offended from a look that wasn’t strong enough to give the person making the face a clue that they were even making a face at all; and for that matter --
Then Mike realized that he was being monumentally stupid over something that didn’t even matter, and got up from his bed to go play some video games.
Still, though, Edward Cullen was really, really good-looking.
Mike’s mother had a habit of saying that when Mike falls, he falls hard, and fast.
It was a statement that was entirely too true, if he had to be honest.
The first week of school had barely been out before he had found himself fostering a ridiculous man-crush on Edward Cullen, and it was seriously freaking him out. He wasn’t supposed to like guys -- that was a weird thing reserved for the ultra-feminine, diva queen, fashionable guys like the school’s resident Gay Dude, Lester Keigwin, who pranced around in pink shirts and really tight pants and talked with a lisp. And Lester was cool, and a friend of Mike’s, but still. Mike was not like that. So how could he have a crush on Edward Cullen? Obviously he didn’t, since he didn’t act like a gay guy, and so he wasn’t gay, and therefore he did not have a crush on Edward Cullen.
Convinced by his sound logic on the subject, Mike managed to rationalize the “crush” into mere admiration; it was hard not to admire Edward’s beauty, after all, and it was perfectly reasonable to notice that another member of the male species was good-looking. It wasn’t out of the ordinary at all.
But that didn’t explain why it got him off when he thought about Edward Cullen sucking his dick.
That had caught him completely by surprise one evening while he had been “taming the beast”. He had been thinking about normal stuff for the most part -- boobs, that sort of thing -- when all of a sudden, towards the end, he had the mental image of Cullen sucking him off. And that was when he came, fast and hard, with a loud groan that made him grateful that he was the only one in the house.
Oh, God. He was gay.
Mike spent the next day in an incredibly heightened state of paranoia -- oh God, they had to all know, what if someone knew, they could probably tell by the look on his face; was he sashaying his hips now? Oh God Lester was looking at him, he must know, gays can tell their own and OH GOD HE WAS GOING TO DIE HE WAS GOING TO DIE WASN’T HE. He was going to get beaten to death with sticks by the football team after school; he just knew it.
But he wasn’t murdered by the stick-wielding football team at the end of the day, and nobody had said anything to him, so Mike went home feeling stupid again.
At least Cullen had been absent. Although Mike also felt sad about that at the same time -- English class just wasn’t the same without Cullen sitting next to him.
He attempted to distract himself, in the meantime -- going out with girls on the weekends, participating more in sports, studying a lot… and while it worked to the extent that he didn’t think about Cullen during the day, there was no escaping the dirty, pornographic thoughts that invaded his mind while he was trying to go to sleep. His parents had become concerned that he was developing insomnia when, for the fourth night in a row, he only got three hours sleep, and it had taken a lot of convincing to get them to believe that he was just worried about his mid-terms.
It was weird, though, how easy it was for him to get these terrible crushes on people he barely knew. He didn’t like to think of himself as being shallow, but the only things he actually knew about Edward Cullen were that he was fucking gorgeous and that he was a foster kid with equally gorgeous foster siblings (seriously, how does that work out?). He’d never spoken to him, not even to ask about homework or to borrow a pen or something stupid like that. Part of it was a fear of stuttering like a moron and blushing and revealing to the entire world that he had a crush on this guy, but another part of it was that he was scared that the ideas that he’d formed about Cullen in his head would turn out not to be true.
That’s it, Mike thought. I’ll talk to Cullen tomorrow. Even just to say hi. I gotta say something to him.
His mind immediately started warning him against taking such an action, but Mike was firmly resolved and would not budge from his decision, no matter how many times his mind reminded him of the possibility of football players with sticks.
Mike sat down in his usual seat next to Cullen the following day. His heart was hammering erratically in his ribcage, and his stomach felt as though it had dropped about 40,000 feet below ground.
Would he even be able to make it through the class alive, let alone say something to Edward fucking Cullen? The mere thought of it was about to make him go into cardiac arrest.
“Um --” he turned to Cullen, and was immediately struck by the strange, black color of his eyes. Funny, he didn’t remember them being black a couple weeks ago…
“Yes?” Cullen asked, stiffly.
“Just… um… nothing,” he muttered, averting his gaze and facing back to the front.
God, he was such an idiot. Stupid, stupid, STUPID…
Mike spent the rest of the day keeping a careful eye out for angry football players with large wooden sticks.
Valentine’s Day was just around the corner, and Mike was getting sick of all of the ridiculous hoopla surrounding it. Yeah, Valentine’s Day was nice and all, but the way some of the girls just went on and on about it and giggled like insipid fifth graders whenever a guy simply walked past them was enough to make Mike wonder if they all had ever actually graduated from middle school.
Plus, there was too much pressure about who to send Valentine’s chocolates to. The school had set up a booth in the cafeteria so people could send a little box of chocolates to their sweeties for a small fee, and absolutely everyone in Mike’s class was going nuts over it. Seriously, what was the big deal? They were all treating it like it was a life or death situation…
“Ohmigod, are you going to get chocolates for Edward Cullen?” he overheard some girl giggle-whisper to her friend in the hallway.
“What? No!” The other girl blushed furiously. “Like he’d even be interested…”
“Oh, c’mon! As if he’ll even know it was you. And he’s so hot.”
“Yeah, but --”
“I’ll go with you to the booth, if it makes you feel better about it.”
“Well… okay.” A smile spread across the girl’s face. “C’mon!”
The both of them ran into the cafeteria, giggling their faces off.
… Damn it. Damn those girls for giving him ideas.
He was not sending chocolate to Edward Cullen. He wasn’t. No way. Never in a million years. That would just be the most embarrassing thing ever. His face was turning red at the mere thought of it.
And of course, right at that moment Cullen was walking past him towards the cafeteria. Cullen shot him a dirty look before he went inside, door swinging shut behind him.
Mike felt a stab of humiliation in his gut, although he didn’t know why. It wasn’t like Cullen could read minds or something; there was no possible way that he could know what Mike was (not) planning.
It took him exactly twenty-four hours to finally get the nerve to send the chocolates (making his handwriting on the card as girly as possible in order to disguise his identity), and almost immediately after he had done it he wanted to go jump in a lake and drown himself for being so stupid.
Why? Why had he done it? He was pretty sure that this was the most idiotic thing he had ever done in his life, including the time when he’d thought it would be a good idea to pull the fire alarm on his first day of school in second grade. Why was he so dumb? Cullen was going to find out it was him, and then he was gonna tell the whole school, and then --
“Hey, Mike Newton, right?” A senior that he recognized as being the quarterback on the football team was walking towards him.
Mike froze in place. Oh, no. This was it, wasn’t it? He was going to die. He flinched in anticipation of the giant stick that would soon be making contact with his head --
“I think you left your cell phone in Coach Pasdar’s office,” the quarterback said, holding out Mike’s cell phone. “It had your name and picture and stuff in it.”
“Oh -- thank you,” Mike mumbled, and quickly snatched the cell phone and ran away as fast as his feet could carry him.
The chocolates were delivered two days later on the dreaded Valentine’s Day during -- of course, during fourth period. Mike maintained a stoic face and refused to look anywhere except the board during the distribution of candy. Much to his surprise, he got four boxes of candy himself, which made him feel impressive.
After the guy giving out the candy had left (Mike felt sorry for him, having to wear that ridiculous heart costume all day), he accidentally looked over at Cullen’s desk and saw it completely covered with tiny boxes of chocolate. Cullen looked decidedly pissed off, especially when he picked up one of them that was --
Oh, God. It was his box of chocolate.
Mike felt his face go pale and his skin turn to weird, tingly ice as Cullen looked at the note and made a face.
Then -- and this was the scary part, because how could he possibly know -- Cullen turned to Mike and gave him an accusatory look.
“Can I talk to you after class?” Cullen asked, his voice quiet and cold.
“Um… s-sure,” he stammered.
He was definitely going to die now. Mike turned back to the front again and tried not to have a panic attack as he attempted to figure out an escape route. Maybe he could jump out of the window, suddenly, in the middle class -- unexpected! -- or maybe he could just make a run for it at the end, and then never come to school ever again, like maybe he could move to Canada or Hawaii, or possibly France --
But he never got the chance to implement any of his escape schemes, because Cullen had grabbed his arm as soon as the bell had rung (wow, he was a lot stronger than he looked), and yanked him out of his seat and into the hallway.
“Listen,” Cullen said, whirling Mike around to face him, still clenching his arm. “I’m not interested. Okay?”
“I… I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Mike said defiantly.
Cullen rolled his eyes (which were a weird topaz color now -- did the guy wear color-changing contacts or something?). “I know you sent me a box. And I’m flattered, really,” (the look on his face suggested otherwise) “but I’m not into guys like that. I’m not into anyone like that. So, please, stop thinking about me that way.”
“What --” But it was too late; Cullen had already let go of his arm and was walking down the hallway as though nothing had happened.
God, he had never been so humiliated in his entire life. It was like Cullen had just thrown a bucket of ice water over his head and had just left him there, freezing and in shock.
It was in that moment that Mike Newton decided that he hated Edward Cullen.
Two years later, when Bella Swan showed up, Mike was instantly enamored with her. It was one of the many instant attractions that he was sort of infamous for throughout the school. He followed her to class and helped her with her books and that sort of thing, and everyone thought it was “really cute”.
Except for Bella. She seemed to be more interested in the enigma of Edward Cullen than him.
Which was incredibly irritating, for a multitude of reasons.
Still, he had never thought that Cullen would be interested in her. Cullen was never interested in anyone, except himself. Mike had been completely shocked when it became apparent that Bella and Cullen were a couple, and not only that, but he wasn’t entirely sure who, exactly, he was angry at -- Cullen or Bella.
For he still had a miniscule crush on the asshole, try as he might to suppress it, and it was very difficult to suddenly be sitting at the same table as him and to suddenly have Cullen attempt to make some form of small talk with him, even though he clearly hated his guts -- and not even just the thing from freshman year, but because he also knew that Mike had a crush on Bella.
It was pretty much the most awkward situation ever.
But Mike was sure he could handle it -- after all, he was much more confident now than he had been freshman year, and was able to hang around the people he had feelings for without freaking out completely. And so far, Cullen was the only guy that Mike had ever found himself attracted to, so he was pretty sure he wasn’t entirely gay. Hell, maybe he wasn’t gay at all. Maybe he was completely straight except for Edward Cullen.
After lunch one day, Cullen, Bella, and that Alice girl were getting ready to leave, when Mike suddenly said, “Hey, mind if I tag along?”
The three of them looked surprised, and a little annoyed, but the Alice girl smiled and said, “Sure.”
Mike had no idea what had caused him to suddenly ask to go with them to… wherever it is they went after lunch… but he had a sudden and unexplainable urge to walk with them.
It was only after walking next to Cullen down the hallway for about a minute when he realized why he’d wanted to walk with them -- it was something that he’d been thinking about doing for a while, but he had kept pushing to the back of his mind. He guessed his subconscious was adamant on getting him to finally do it.
Mike cleared his throat. “Um, Edward? Can I talk to you privately for a minute?”
Cullen glanced sideways at him, a resolute expression on his face. “Okay,” he said, and let go of Bella’s hand. Bella looked distressed, but Alice gently grabbed her arm and led her down the hall.
Mike raised an eyebrow at her behind her back. Couldn’t she be out of his presence for more than two seconds without flipping out completely? It was like they shared a lung or something.
“What is it you want, Mike?” Cullen asked, a patient look on his face.
“I just…” He gulped. He had to do this. “I just wanted to make sure… you’re not going to tell Bella about what happened freshman year, right?” God, it was so hard to say. His mouth felt so dry; it was like a desert in there.
“No, of course not. Why would I do that? It’s hardly relevant…”
Mike let out a huge sigh of relief. “And you haven’t told anyone else, right?”
“Good. Thanks, I guess.”
“Not a problem.” A pause. “Is there something else you wanted?”
“No, not really…” He looked up at Cullen’s face, and a strange, overwhelming feeling possessed him when he looked up into that impossibly God-like visage, his practically luminous pale skin, and his eyes…
He didn’t even know what he was doing before he was suddenly kissing him.
Cullen shot backwards rather quickly, looking shocked and bewildered. “What -- ?”
Mike’s mouth fell open. He felt numb -- everywhere -- oh God what had he just done? “I don’t -- I didn’t mean to -- huh?”
“This never happened,” Cullen said angrily, his brows knitted together. “Do you understand?”
“I -- yes --?” Mike said, but Cullen was already running down the hallway.
It took Mike a few seconds to come to his senses, and that’s when the tidal waves of YOU ARE AN IDIOT came crashing down on him. He was sure his face was completely red, and he slid down to the floor, his head in hands.
He looked around in panic; it was five minutes before lunch was over, so thankfully no one was in the hallway and thus no one had witnessed anything that had just happened.
A figure emerged from behind one of the corners, looking more than a little taken aback. Mike slowly turned his head and saw --
It was the quarterback from his freshman year. The one who’d given him his cell phone…
What the hell?
“Didn’t you graduate?” Mike asked, forgetting, in his confusion, about the fact that he had just been caught kissing Edward Cullen.
“Yeah, I’m visiting for a while -- did you just kiss Edward Cullen?” The quarterback stepped toward him tentatively, as though frightened of him.
So. It really was true. He really was going to be beaten to death by a football player with a giant stick.
He might as well go down with some vague shred of dignity. “Yeah, I did,” he said defensively. He stood up, fists clenched. “What’s it to you?”
The quarterback stared at him for a few seconds, then suddenly grinned at him and said, “You lucky bastard.”
Mike blinked. Wait, what was this now?
“Huh?” he said.
“You know, it’s been two years and I still haven’t forgotten about that guy,” the quarterback said, almost wistfully. “He looks exactly the same. Fucking hot as hell. How was it?”
“I -- uh, don’t know…” He was completely confused. The football player was gay? And he was just openly admitting it? And a football player was gay? Mike looked at him; he didn’t look the slightest bit feminine -- he was masculine through and through, even in his movements and the way he talked. He didn’t even have a lisp!
“How can you not know? You kissed him, didn’t you?”
“I was… kind of in shock, really. I kinda did it out of nowhere. But…” He struggled to remember. “I think it was… cold. And hard. Like some kind of rock or something.”
“Huh. Weird.” The quarterback shrugged and grinned again. “You’re still a lucky bastard, though. My hat is off to you! I would never have been able to do that while I was still in high school. You’re very brave.”
“Thanks.” Mike smiled back.
“Well, I gotta run, but see you later -- Mike Newton, right? Kid that lost his cell phone?”
“Yep, that’s me.”
“Well, good luck with everything, man.”
The quarterback started walking down the hallway, when Mike called after him, “Hey, what’s your name?”
“It’s Matt!” the quarterback yelled behind him. “Matt Spencer!”
And Matt turned the corner and was gone.
Mike smiled to himself as he stood alone in the hallway, his hands stuffed into his pockets. Maybe he wasn’t so weird after all. Maybe you didn’t have to be girly and feminine and odd when you liked guys. Maybe you just were who you were, and having a thing for some dudes was just one part of you, a part that didn’t have to do with anything else.
He was still going to keep an eye out for football players with giant sticks, though. Or maybe just Edward Cullen with a giant stick.
…It took him a couple moments to realize the innuendo in that sentence, and he burst out laughing.
Well, if Cullen wanted to show Mike his giant stick, Mike wasn’t going to complain.