Tyler Lockwood hated a lot of things, a lot of people. He hated the know-it-all freshman that try to smart their way onto the football team. He hated his teachers, who constantly tried to get him to ‘try harder’. He hated his father for making him hate himself. He hated his mother for always thinking he was her perfect angel. He hated all the people who thought they knew him.
He didn’t hate any of them more than he hated himself though.
He hated Jeremy. He hated him for taking Vicki away from him. He hated him for smarting off at him. He hated him for fighting back. He hated Jeremy for looking at him like he was some kind of monster.
He hated him for pretending to care. For pitying his relationship with his father. For commenting on the drawing he’d submitted to the art show.
He hated the look in his eyes every time they fought. That look, like his heart was breaking.
He hated him for making him care.
“Just- just back off, Gilbert,” Tyler shouted. He didn’t want to fight right now. Not with Jeremy, not at all. “Back off before I do something I’ll regret!”
“What, like punch me?” Jeremy asked. It wasn’t like it would have been the first time.
“Like kiss you!” The words tumble out of his mouth before his mind could even process them.
Jeremy’s mouth fell open in shock. “Wh-what?”
Tyler grabbed his bag off the lockers and started to walk away, but Jeremy chased after him.
“What did you say?” Jeremy asked, knowing he must have heard him wrong.
“You heard me, Gilbert,” Tyler said, his temper flaring again. “Now back off.”
“No,” Jeremy said defiantly.
Tyler whirled around and pinned him against the lockers, unable to control his anger.
“I said back. Off.”
Rather than look afraid, or hurt, like he usually did when they reached the point of physical violence, Jeremy just stared at him with an expression Tyler didn’t know how to read.
“Do it,” Jeremy dared. “Do it.”
Tyler realized then what it was. That look in Jeremy’s eyes was pleading. He was begging.
“Do it,” he said again. Like he needed it.
So Tyler kissed him. It was rough, at first, because Tyler was angry, pissed off. But then it sunk in, that he was kissing Jeremy, and that Jeremy was kissing him back. He relaxed, dropped his arm from where it was holding Jeremy against the wall, and moved it to rest softly on his hip instead. He pulled back for a moment to catch his breath, but it didn’t last, because Jeremy’ hand was in his hair, and the second he tried to pull away, Jeremy was forcing them back together.
Tyler was pretty sure he’d forgotten how to breathe anyway.