Jackson Whittemore is very upset. Also, Topless.
Isaac Lahey is not leering at him from his room one house over. He really isn’t. Isaac is just looking over his book, out his window, which just happens to overlook Jackson’s window. And if Jackson doesn’t feel the need to draw the curtains or put on a shirt, it really isn’t Isaac’s fault.
But Jackson is upset. He’s on the phone with Lydia because he only ever gets that annoyed with Lydia. Isaac frowns.
“And you call me creepy,” says Matt sleepily, from where he is lying on Isaac’s feet, taking strange hipster pictures of a Very Old Piece of Wood. There is a horrible joke to be made about the whole thing that Isaac avoids in favor of kicking Matt off and turning pointedly away from the window.
“I was not watching him,” Isaac says, “ He just happened to be in my line of vision.”
It is a weak defense, but Isaac doesn’t have to pretend with Matt. (that doesn’t mean he won't try, though, because admitting is a whole different story altogether)
“I can feel you frowning, dude,” Matt mumbles, but lets it go and puts on Star Wars again.
And that is why Isaac loves Matt so much, really. Matt is Isaac’s Best Friend. It’s a very special role, one that took Isaac three whole years to award to Matt. Although one can hardly blame Isaac, because Isaac has trust issues. And self esteem issues. And a traumatic childhood that resurfaces when people mention his parents. Isaac doesn’t have real family, now, not after the night his father drank half the town, shot two policemen, himself and Isaac’s dog.
Isaac lives with Derek, who is like a father and a cool older brother rolled up into one awesome person. Derek was Isaac’s neighbor before Jackson. He is also one of Isaac’s favorite people of all time. Because, after all, Derek was the one who found Isaac in the freezer, that very last time, curled up and sobbing on the floor with bloody fingers and broken nails because he’d heard guns and he couldn’t get out. They don’t speak of it often, but Isaac knows to go to Derek when he wakes in the middle of the night gasping for air against the invisible arms that curl around his neck.
Derek is awesome, because even though he was eighteen to Isaac’s thirteen; he’d brought Isaac around with his friends, taught him the inner workings of Lacrosse and forced him to speak to others again. Matt was the only one who really tried, though, the only one who didn’t mind that the name Lahey now had the word ‘Crazy Drunkard’ attached to it. They bonded over a mutual love of Batman, Boba Fett, Peaches and Greek Mythology and never looked back.
Matt has his moments of weirdness, but Isaac doesn’t judge and its not like he has any room to, really. They are good together, like the nerd version of Stiles and Scott who, in turn, are the almost-there version of Jackson and Danny. It all boils down to the same old hierarchy that has been firmly in place since they’d started in grade school together.
It’s safe, familiar, and comfortable. It is also complicated by the fact that Isaac really, really, really likes Jackson. A lot. Like in the way Danny likes Matt (Matt does not know this).
Isaac doesn’t even really know why.
Jackson is a Grade-A Douchebag to most people, even those he doesn’t actually dislike. He is disgustingly attractive and knows it, flaunts it in the faces of anyone who dares challenge his alpha maleness. Mostly, Isaac isn’t even a blip on Jackson’s radar of beautiful popular people.
Isaac has a theory, though. When Isaac was really young, a long time ago, his Mom was in a sewing circle with Jackson’s Mom. Isaac’s first and, ultimately, prevailing memories of Jackson are of warm blue eyes, shared gummy worms and promises of friends forever. Isaac remembers a time before Jackson grew cold and angry and scared at everything and sees the little bits of 5 year old Jackson that he tries so hard to hide. Of course, after that came Isaac’s own personal hell. When Isaac emerges, fragile and broken, he sees Jackson cocky, intense and softly sad when he thinks nobody can see and promptly falls head over heels. It's ridiculous, but there it is.
So this whole unnoticed crush thing is not working out in Isaac’s favor. Since he moved in with Derek, Jackson has started acknowledging his existence with what Matt calls Bro Nods. It also doesn’t help that Jackson got really, really hot. Isaac is but a regular teenaged boy, after all. Watching Jackson fresh from the shower with glasses on and totally reading comic books is too much for Isaac to handle.
Isaac tries – he really does- to find someone else. He starts something with Erica from Latin, which spans over a two-week period. It leaves a strange taste in his mouth, a constant hum of not-jackson-not-jackson-not-jackson that buzzes through his system when he tries to take her hand. They are both relieved when it fizzles out. It even seems to be a little booster for Erica. The day after they agree that Friends are all they can be, she turns up at school covered in female empowerment and tight leather. Isaac decides that he doesn't really want to know.
So, long complicated history of feelings aside, his high school life cumulates into Isaac silently watching Jackson inconspicuously from his bedroom window, wishing that Jackson would just turn and see him.