a.ham [19:47]: i made a mistake
best of women [19:47]: you left like 5 minutes ago???
a.ham [19:48]: okay so
a.ham [19:48]: the guy at the bar wanted 2 IDs cuz i asked for 2 glasses
a.ham [19:48]: and i didnt want to walk all the way back so i
a.ham [19:49]: told him im actually alone?? and i just asked for 2 glasses so he wouldnt judge me
a.ham [19:50]: and i kinda went on a bit cause you know me i love digging myself into deeper & deeper holes by my inability to shut up
a.ham [19:50]: except hes really nice?? & apparently his shift ends @ 8…..
a.ham [19:51]: so he offered to come watch the movie with me
a.ham [19:51]: seeing as im """all alone"""
a.ham [19:51]: and he was REALLY INSISTENT and i COULDNT TALK HIM OUT OF IT
best of women [19:52]: oh my god alex are you saying you’re ditching me for some random bartender
a.ham [19:52]: look,
best of women [19:52]: is he cute at least???
a.ham [19:54]: god he is SO cute eliza like you would not believe
a.ham [19:54]: he has FRECKLES
a.ham [19:54]: and his SMILE, GODDD
a.ham [19:55]: I DONT EVEN KNOW IF HE LIKES GUYS
a.ham [19:56]: IM LIKE 80% SURE HES JUST REALLY NICE
best of women [19:57]: i swear to god this could only happen to you
best of women [19:57]: why didnt you just tell the truth
best of women [19:58]: why are you like this
a.ham [19:58]: i was flustered ok
a.ham [20:00]: i was flustered and im a disaster of a human being and he was really cute
a.ham [20:01]: we’re coming in now you can see for yourself
best of women [20:02]: who does he think youre texting
a.ham [20:03]: i told him im telling my friends about how yet another ridiculous thing has happened to me
a.ham [20:03]: which tbf is the truth
best of women [20:05]: oh no you were right he’s so cute
a.ham [20:07]: RIGHT
a.ham [20:07]: SEE
a.ham [20:07]: LIKE??
a.ham [20:08]: ITS HONESTLY RUDE
a.ham [20:24]: he keeps smiling at me eliza help im going to die
best of women [20:26]: stop texting the movie started
a.ham [20:27]: but im going to DIE
a.ham [20:43]: ok ok ok this is definitely a date
a.ham [20:44]: something scary (?? i literally have no idea whats happening whats this movie even about) was happening & he HELD MY HAND
a.ham [20:46]: and then i gave him a look cause like. thats not platonic right???
a.ham [20:46]: and he SMILED at me
a.ham [20:47]: HE HAS REALLY PRETTY EYES
a.ham [20:50]: he keeps trying to read what im texting
a.ham [20:51]: btw i told him my ''friend'' wanted updates and thats why im being a terrible person and texting every other minute
a.ham [20:54]: i think he might find my complete inability to be calm and chill like a normal person endearing????
a.ham [21:15]: HE’S BUYING US ANOTHER BOTTLE OF WINE
a.ham [21:15]: I DONT REMEMBER A SINGLE SECOND OF THIS MOVIE
a.ham [21:16]: HE KEEPS RESTING HIS HAND ON MY ARM!!!
a.ham [21:16]: PRESSING OUR LEGS TOGETHER!!!!
a.ham [21:19]: IM NOT GOING TO SURVIVE THIS ELIZA
a.ham [21:20]: SAY NICE THINGS AT MY FUNERAL
a.ham [21:35]: im literally going to have to see this movie again
a.ham [21:36]: is it actually any good??? is it worth it
a.ham [21:36]: am i even going to live through it once
best of women [21:41]: oh my god
best of women [21:41]: you’re adorable
best of women [21:42]: wait for me in the lobby i wanna meet this guy
a.ham [21:43]: WHAT NO
best of women [21:43]: too late seen you
Alex jumps when someone suddenly grabs at his arm, even though he’d been expecting it.
“Alex!” Eliza says, then raises her eyebrow at Jack. “And who’s this?”
“Jack Laurens.” Jack says. Alex starts trying to back away, slowly. He’s still holding Jack’s hand, for fuck’s sake. “Are you a friend of Alex’s, then?”
Alex stares pleadingly at Eliza as her face splits into a mischievous grin that will haunt his nightmares until the end of time and she says, “Well, actually--”
“C’mon Alex, he finds you endearing, right?” Eliza says, sounding oh so innocent. Alex covers his face with one hand, but tragically he can still see the bemused look Jack is giving the two of them. “I was Alex’s original date for tonight,” Eliza continues. Alex closes his eyes and starts to pray. “Who he was apparently incapable of mentioning because he is a ridiculous mess of a person.”
“Oh God, I’m so sorry--” Jack starts to say, while Alex’s prayers go unanswered and the floor refuses to swallow him whole.
“No, no, it’s fine. I don’t mind.” And, God that’s Eliza’s flirting voice, Alex doesn’t have to look at her to know what her face is doing right now, he’s going to die. “I don’t mind at all.”
“I do.” Alex says, without opening his eyes. “I mind a lot. And also I hate you.”
“What, you didn’t want to watch the movie with me?” says Jack, and oh fucking hell is he teasing. They’re still stood in the lobby of the goddamn movie theatre, what is his life.
“The entire reason I couldn’t explain the truth was because you’re so cute and I was really flustered, I’m still really flustered, I’m just gonna melt into the floor now--”
Suddenly, Alex is being pulled forward, and his eyes snap open out of self-preservation (he does have a little bit of that. Sometimes). Jack is walking very quickly towards the door and is also still holding Alex’s hand, meaning Alex is along for the ride. Eliza lets go of Alex’s arm but follows just behind them, and then they’re in the parking lot and Jack is resting his hands on Alex’s waist and smiling and leaning in, and then they’re kissing. Actually kissing. Jack’s lips are really soft and Alex’s hands somehow end up in his hair which is also really soft and when he steps closer Jack makes a pleased humming sound and Alex is going to die.
They break apart what’s probably only moments later, but unfortunately Alex’s brain isn’t functioning enough to measure the passage of time right now. Jack is still smiling. Maybe Alex is already dead and this is heaven.
“Tonight was really nice.” Jack says. “And I’d like to do it again sometime, if you don’t mind that is.” He directs the last bit at Eliza, who’s stood just beside Alex with a shit-eating grin on her face because she is a terrible person.
“Definitely don’t mind.” Eliza says, her grin getting somehow even wider. “Could I come with next time, though? Properly, instead of just via Alyx’s all-caps texts.”
Jack grins at her. “I’m cool with that. Alex? You okay with that?”
“You two should kiss.” Alex says, then claps a hand over his own mouth. “That wasn’t what I--”
He’s interrupted by Jack moving to stand in front of Eliza instead, and placing a hand on her cheek and leaning in (it’s not fair that he’s taller than both of them) and Alex is definitely already dead, he has no idea what he did to get into heaven but he is not at all complaining. Eliza grips Jack’s shirt to pull him closer, bites at his lip, Alex makes a quiet whimpering noise, they break apart and Jack presses a kiss to Eliza’s cheek and Alex rests her head on his shoulder because he’s genuinely worried he’s going to faint.
“What I was going to say was that of course I’m okay with that, why would I ever say no, but that was. That was fine too.” He says, voice slightly muffled by Eliza’s jacket.
“I have a day off tomorrow.” Jack says.
He’s barely finished his sentence before Alex replies, “I have a thing but I can totally cancel.”
“By ‘thing’ he means volunteering at a youth center and he cannot actually cancel.” Eliza adds, immediately.
“Oh? Which youth center?”
“The Center? It’s on West 13th Street? And it’s for LGBT youth, specifically. I run a very, very casual English class for Spanish kids.”
“Would you mind me tagging along?” Jack says, and he actually looks genuinely interested, and Alex’s heart attempts some complicated dance move of some kind.
“The average age is fifteen and they’re cutthroat ruthless, are you sure you want to? They will give you so much shit about dating me, none of them think I’m anywhere in Eliza’s league. You make one obscure Victor Hugo reference and the youth are lost to you forever.”
But Jack’s grinning and nodding and leaning in to kiss him again, and then putting his number in Alex’s and Eliza’s phones and Alex is texting him The Center’s address. And then kissing him again. Kissing Jack is really nice.
“We should probably get going.” Alex says, several kisses later. He pulls away, but Eliza lessens the effect somewhat by instantly taking his place. “I have a paper to finish - Eliza, you have a paper to finish.”
After at least a couple of minutes - Alex doesn’t really want to rush them, he spent a few minutes kissing Jack and he’s not gonna deny Eliza the same opportunity - they reluctantly separate. Alex knows the feeling. “Okay, okay. I’m busy tomorrow, but we should go on a proper date, okay? And Jack, you should text us. A lot.”
“Of course. Which way you headed?” Alex gestures up the street, and Jack shakes his head ruefully. “Damn, I’m going the other way.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” Alex kisses him one last time, and Eliza follows suite.
“Looking forward to it.” Jack smiles, and he looks so cute, and Alex’s mouth opens without consulting the rest of him.
“Or you could come back to our apartment, our bed’s not that big but I’m sure we could make it work--”
He looks at Eliza with wide, pleading eyes. She just looks at him, until he deflates. “No, okay, that’s moving a bit fast, fine. Tomorrow it is.”
Jack darts in for the third take of their last kisses of the night, then starts walking away from them (without turning around so he doesn’t have to break eye contact, which makes Alex’s heart attempt another complicated dance move) very quickly, like if he doesn’t do it now he never will. Or maybe that’s just Alex projecting.
When Jack reaches the edge of the parking lot, he waves at them both, blows a kiss, then turns the corner and disappears from sight. Alex’s life feels immediately emptier.
“Do I really have a paper to finish?” Eliza asks as she slips her hand into Alex’s and starts walking toward the sidewalk.
“The one for that Creative Writing class, it’s due in two days. Was the movie any good?”
“It was amazing. It’s a testament to how cute Jack is that he managed to distract you from it so completely.”
“Do you think Laf will go see it with me? ...Oh, God, Laf’s gonna want to know how we met Jack. Oh fucking hell this evening is going to haunt me for the rest of my life.”
“You’re lucky you’re cute.” Eliza says, fondly. Alex shoves her.