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Talk to him

Chapter Text

"So let me get this straight," Chloe said slowly, lowering the curling wand in her hand, "you've fallen in love in Jeremy and you don't know how to tell him because he recently broke up with Christine and you don't want to burden him..." She put the wand on the side of her drawer and reached for the hair spray. Making eye contact with Michael in the mirror, she sprayed her hair firm and put down the can. "Did I get it all?"

Michael flopped onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling in thought. "Pretty much yeah," he eventually replied.

He hadn't planned on telling anyone initially, Michael was far too closed off to anyone but his best friend to even think about it. But after The Squip nearly took over the whole school he seemed to get roped into a group of friends who had experienced the whole thing together, and this included Chloe. Michael didn't know Chloe very well before the incident other than the fact that she was one of the most popular girls in the year. Her and Brooke used to look down at people like Michael. But now, they all seemed to get along just fine. Chloe and Jake worked out their differences and now were closer than ever, Brooke forgave Jeremy for almost sleeping with her best friend because she now knew about The Squip and all in all everyone was happy.

However, this only made Michael more anxious. It was no secret to him that he had fallen for Jeremy long before the whole ordeal began, it only made the 'Jeremy ignoring thing' worse. But now that they had returned to normal Michael had been feeling a lot more agitated than normal. For the past few years it was easy to hide his feelings behind late night games and gay jokes. But recently, everything felt a little too much for Michael. He was noticing more things about Jeremy, things which he hadn't bothered to notice before. Like his concentration face during a particularly hard game, or his smile and the way his face would light up whenever someone gave him a compliment. It was nice, don't get him wrong, but it was painful.

It wasn't until a few days later that Michael began to notice a change in someone else too; Chloe. Perhaps it was only because they had started to hang out more but there was definitely something going on. She had started to wear a little bit more makeup, more foundation and mascara to be exact. Her smile grew a little wider whenever her best friend joined the conversation, her laugh higher and more girly. She seemed to be finding more excuses to hang out with Brooke alone, which wasn't hard in the first place but still. They were subtle changes, but they weren't subtle enough as Michael had soon caught wind as to what was going on.

As him and Chloe grew closer, she would sometimes invite him round to curl his hair or do his makeup. He didn't even bother to hide his excitement, Michael enjoyed those little bonding moments with Chloe.

A few weeks in, Michael told her he was gay. She asked a lot of questions.

A few days after, Chloe told Michael about her feelings for Brooke. He was far too happy to help.

And here they were, hanging out in Chloe's bedroom on a Tuesday afternoon with the window open and the fan turned on full blast. Michael had had enough after his short phone call with Jeremy that morning, which had made his face blow up like a tomato and his palms sweat like a waterfall. After hanging up the phone, he went straight out the door and texted Chloe to let her know her assistance was needed. She was the only person he would dare tell.

"I don't see the big problem here Mike," she smiled, finishing up her hair for the afternoon. "It's not like Jeremy is homophobic or anything-"

"No that's not it!" Michael butted in, sitting up on the bed he had previously been contemplating what he was doing on. "I know Jer will be cool with me, he's always cool with whatever I do or like but... He's gonna be curious you know?"

"Who wouldn't be?" Chloe joked.

"Exactly! And I know exactly what he'll ask too! He'll ask 'how did you know?' AND IM GOING TO HAVE TO REPLY TO HIM CHLO! What do I do then?" Michael hadn't realised he was shouting until Chloe had to physically shut him up, resulting in a hand over his mouth and a remainder that the bedroom window was indeed still open. She sighed and lifted her hand in favour of reaching for her curler and signalling Michael to turn around. He complied, of course.

"Mike, you need to chill. Ok?" She began, waiting to the wand to reach it's optimum temperature. "Jer is super sweet! He'll understand if you're not ready to tell him why, right?"

Michael thought for a moment, staring at the picture of Chloe, Brooke and Christine on Chloe's picture collage.

"What about him and Christine? He's already got enough to deal with, them breaking up so suddenly and all..." He muttered, pretty much to himself but loud enough for Chloe to hear.

Michael expected the normal encouraging yet not very helpful answer from Chloe... but it never came. All he got was the sound of his hair sizzling on the curler and the sounds of birds chirping outside the house. "Chlo-"

"He broke up with her." She said abruptly, switching off and laying down the curler. Michael turned and looked at her, puzzled.

"I know. He told me."

"Not the whole story, he didn't. I can tell her didn't." Chloe replied, avoiding any eye contact that may occur between them. She was hiding something, Michael could tell that much. Normally he would just drop it, Chloe was one to gossip after all and he didn't want to get into any unnecessary drama. But this time, it was about Jeremy.

"What do you mean." He said, less as a question and more as a statement. Chloe took a moment to raise her head to meet his.

"Okay, this doesn't leave this room but... He broke up with Christine... because he never liked her in the first place." She said slowly, pronouncing every word with precision. She locked eyes with Michael for a moment and a brief sense of confusion must have been detected because before Michael could say anything she continued. "I caught him a few days ago, in the hallway. Christine was walking away from him with slight tears in her eyes so I know what had happened. But he didn't look sad, he looked... guilty I guess is the word I'm looking for."

She adjusted her position on the bed so that she was sat up straight, facing Michael.

"So I cornered him, demanded to know why he had hurt Christine like that. I was willing to punch him, you should have seen me Mike!" She giggled, attempting to lighten the mood a little. It didn't work though, Michael was far too wrapped in the story he was being told to focus on anything else.

"What did he say?" He prompted, eager to continue. Chloe's smile dissipated and she locked eyes with Michael once more.

"He told me how he had realised he didn't like Christine in that way, in a romantic way I mean. He didn't tell me how he knew, he just knew he knew. So he broke it off before he could hurt her anymore." She explained. "But here's the thing Mike. You would think Christine would be devastated yeah? I would be after being told that! But when I called her that night, she said she was never better!"

"W-what?" He stuttered. It was one thing to hear that Jeremy didn't even like Christine, after all they had done throughout the years, but to hear that Christine was doing absolutely fine was absurd. He couldn't understand it.

"Yeah! I know! She started going on about how she was upset at first but after Jeremy told her and explained it to her, now she was excited! She started going on about his play that she liked... can't remember the name now. Something about star-crossed lovers in an unforgiving world... oh I don't know. Anyway, she sounded WAY too excited for having just been dumped... I don't get it Mike..." Chloe started to slow her speech as her story reached its conclusion. Her gaze never once left Michael, who was shifting though an array of emotions. He looked at Chloe who simply shrugged.

"Maybe you should talk to him."

Chapter Text

It was about 7am when Brooke got the phone call. She had finished getting dressed for school and was just about to start on her makeup when her phone lit up and buzzed on her dresser. Thinking it was Chloe, she happily spun across the room in her office chair towards the device, laughing to herself quietly. However, when she picked up, it wasn't who she was expecting.

"Christine..?" She exclaimed as the voice came through the phone. Sure, Brooke and Christine were on good terms, they had nothing against each other but Christine wasn't usually one to call any of the girls, especially not Brooke at 7am whilst she was getting ready.

"Sorry!" The voice cried from the other end in her normal excitable and cutesy tone. Yep, that was definitely Christine. "I know you're probably SUPER busy right now but I could do with some advice, you know? You're good at that kind of thing yeah?"

Brooke couldn't help but smile to herself. 'I suppose I do give good advice don't I?' She praised before continuing her conversation with Christine; "Yeah sure, what'cha need?"

"Great!" She replied, "I just wanted to ask you about Michael."

"M..Michael? You mean the red hoodie headphones kid?"

"Yes! That's him. I wanted to know how to get his attention, he's always so BUSY all the time you know? So distracted! He's impossible to work with."

This certainly peaked Brooke's interest. She had never really paid much attention to the boy with the headphones, despite that fact that he played a pretty vital role in saving the school. She knew Chloe was friends with him though she couldn't really see why - for some reason it made her feel quite uneasy and... jealous? No it couldn't be jealousy, Brooke wouldn't be that protective of her friend. That was besides the point, which was that Christine Canigula was asking about his guy. It was certainly strange, considering she had only just broken up with Jeremy a couple of days ago... Brooke certainly didn't see Christine as that type of girl. And with Jeremy's best-

"THAT'S JEREMY'S BEST FRIEND CHRISTINE!" She practically shrieked into the receiver, interrupting whatever the girl was previously ranting about. Brooke couldn't let this happen, not again. She knew about jealously in this field all too well thanks to her experience with Chloe last Halloween. Though she forgave her quite easily, the two promised to never let anything of the sort happen again to anyone and she was not about to break that promise.

"Yes yes I know! Brooke that's the problem, you see Jeremy-"

"Christine, honey, I know hormones can be a bitch. I get it, trust me. But you also have to trust me when I say that Michael is not a good rebound ok? The dude's totally a virgin, he has no idea what he's doing. Damn, he's probably gay."

"YOU THINK SO?!" Christine squealed, but not out of disgust or curiosity. Out of excitement...?

"Umm... maybe?"

"Gosh that would be wonderful news! Imagine how happy he would be, you have to find out for me Brooke there is no WAY I could approach Michael in such a manner."
Now she was just confused. One minute Christine wanted to hook up with Michael, maybe as revenge for her break up with Jer? Cold hearted much? But now she's getting excited at the thought that the dude's a homosexual? Brooke was just trying to make up excuses so that Christine would stay away from him...

"But... don't you want to date him?" She finally questioned.

"WHAT? NO! No no no Brooke no way, what on earth gave you that idea?"

"Well, I mean, you want his attention right?"

"Oh I see! No I personally don't want his attention," she giggled into the receiver.

"Jeremy does."

-------

"Heere, you got some explaining to do," Is all Brooke said as she charged her way through the school hall. She had spotted Jeremy coming out of English and they both needed to have a serious talk with one another after what Christine had told her that morning.

Jeremy snapped his head in her direction before acknowledging the look of pure anger and determination on her face, but by then it was too late. Brooke snatched Jeremy's arm and hurled him down the hall until she found an empty classroom to which she threw Jeremy into and slammed the door shut. She knew this room, it was barely used so they had a good amount of time before they had to leave. She waited until the voices in the hall began to quiet down before turning back to Jeremy, who now was still standing in the middle of the room with a look of confusion on his face.

"Alright Jer, time to talk," she began, pulling up a chair and taking a seat.

"What- what are you talking about? Brooke I have to get to Math! Can't this wait?" Jeremy tried to reason but she was not having any of it. Brooke crossed her arms and stared up at the boy until he slowly got the idea and shut his mouth.

She sighed. "No Jeremy it can't wait. If we don't settle this now I know I won't be seeing you for at least a month, you're surprisingly good at avoiding people, so now will have to do."

"But- I have to-"

"You like Michael."

That certainly shut him up. Jeremy's face went from a Snow White to a tomato in a matter of seconds, it was quite funny.

"Of- of course I like Michael! He's my-"

"Oh don't gimme that 'he's my best friend' bullshit you know exactly what I mean Jeremy," yelled Brooke who was getting very close to walking over there and slapping some sense into the boy.

Jeremy fell silent. He stared down at the floor and started to fidget with his shirt and stayed that way for a few more seconds until speaking up:

"How... how do you know?"

"Christine told me," said Brooke, but instantly regretted it. Jeremy looked up to meet her eyes with sense of betrayal and guilt. 'Probably shouldn't have mention Christine so soon,' Brooke thought to herself, 'nice move.'

"I mean, it was kinda my fault. She was trying to get advice from me and I pushed her a little too hard. I... basically forced her to tell me." She admitted, hoping it would make Jeremy feel a little less alone in this situation. "Sorry."

Jeremy sighed. "No no it's... it's ok, it was bound to get out eventually. I'm not very subtle at hiding things I've realised. Everyone's going to find out soon enough."

Brooke took a locked eyes with Jeremy and gestured for him to sit down, which he did. He was still fumbling with his shirt which didn't help the already very awkward atmosphere between them. This time, it was Brooke who broke the silence:

"Is that why you broke up with Christine?"

He nodded, slowly sliding deeper into his chair with guilt.

"I realised it about a month ago. Whenever I was with Christine I usually wouldn't be focusing entirely on what we were doing. My mind would always wonder to... to Michael. I would think 'God Michael would enjoy this' or 'I wish Michael was here, he would get the joke I want to make'. Christine noticed it too. She started asking if I was ill or sick on a regular basis cause I was always spaced out whenever I was with her. God I feel awful looking back on it now, lying to her like that."

"You weren't lying to her Jeremy."

"I might as well have been! She deserves so much better than me... I broke up with her out of the blue as well, and for what? Because I have a crush on my best friend!" Jeremy began to shout, throwing his arms up in the air in frustration and anger. Brooke placed a hand on his knee, trying to calm him down. He was getting considerably more upset as the conversation went on.

"You did the right thing Jeremy. Think about it dumbass," She reassured. "Christine's doing just fine... she might have been a little upset at first, which is understandable, but... she wants to help you."

Jeremy's head shot up to meet Brooke's. "W-what? Why would she-"

"Come on she's Christine, our little theatre geek. A bromance turned mutual pining, that's a dream come true for her!" Brooke laughed, lightening up the mood with her soft giggles.

"M...mutual?"

She slowly calmed and locked eyes with Jeremy, who was still sporting the iconic tomato face look. Brooke smiled at the state of him. 'God these two boys are going to be a mess when they get together,' she thought to herself.

"Maybe you should talk to him Jeremy."

Chapter Text

"This is ridiculous!"

"Chloe shut up!" Cried Brooke, settling her best friend back into her seat. The cafeteria was buzzing today due to the heavy rain outside restricting students to only the school's buzzing food hall or narrow and long hallways. Brooke and Chloe sat at the far left corner table watching from afar as they picked at their food. Across the hall, Christine could be seen eagerly talking to Jeremy, trying to convince him to talk to a certain brown haired boy. Even from where the two girls were sitting it was clear Jeremy wasn't giving in to this idea.

"Two weeks," Chloe grumbled, stabbing her fries with far more passion than was necessary. "It's been two weeks since we told them. And nothing."

Brooke sighed and turned her gaze towards Michael sitting at the opposite end of the cafeteria, humming along to the beat of his favourite song. "I know Chloe, they're hopeless."

"More than hopeless. Idiotic! Blind! Cowardly!"

"You sound like Christine." Brooke giggled, playfully punching her best friend in the arm. Chloe smiled and returned the gesture.

"I suppose I have been spending a lot more time with her."

Brooke hummed in response, feeling a small wave of jealousy rush through her though she didn't quite know why. The two fell into a comfortable silence as they watched the pining boys zig-zag around each other's feelings like flies. It had almost become routine for the girls. Christine was the only one still trying, constantly cornering Michael and Jeremy in hopes of convincing them to spill - but neither were budging.

"We need to help them," said Chloe suddenly, startling the blonde girl beside her.

"Sorry?"

"They're hopeless Brooke, they can't do this alone." She claimed, turning to her partner in crime. "We need to help them."

As Brooke slowly began to catch on, she narrowed her eyes at her friend.

"Help how exactly?"

"Just, give them a little nudge y'know?" Chloe replied, a hint of mischief in her voice.

"A little nudge..." Brooke repeated, mumbling to herself in thought.

"You got any ideas?"

"Maybe..."

"Perfect." Chloe stood from her seat and made her way to the other end of the hall, dropping her lunch tray by the counter. To her left she could see Michael and Jeremy sitting at a lunch table talking, probably completely ignoring the blatant blush on each other's cheeks.

Brooke caught up to her friend and disposed of her empty lunch tray. "Are you sure about this Chlo?" She asked, a sense of doubt in her mind.

"Positive. These two may be hopeless, but they're still human. They have to deal with these feelings eventually, and all they need is a little nudge to tip them off the edge." She turned to her best friend and smiled genuinely. "They'll be happier afterwards."

Brooke returned the smile and grabbed her best friend's wrist.

"Then we're going to need a little help from Christine."

------

"Is this really necessary?" Jeremy groaned. His arm was caught in the clutches of a miss Canigula who was dragging him through the hallway towards the drama room.

"Very," she replied firmly as she continued to tug her friend along. "No one else would help me clean out the costume closet and as you are also part of the drama club it is also your responsibility."

A couple of classrooms down lay the drama room where Chloe, Brooke and Michael were all gathered. The two girls were aimlessly searching through boxes for Chloe's "missing belt" which according to her was extremely necessary for her next performance with the club.

"I still don't understand why I have to help you look for it Chlo," grumbled Michael who was currently sorting his way through last year's props. 'Some lovely memories these bring back,' he thought to himself.

"Because you owe me," the brunette replied, "besides you know just as well as I do how upset Christine will be when she discovers that I've lost it."

"Yeah yeah..."

"Chloe!" Whispered Brooke, startling her best friend. The plastic vase Chloe was holding clattered to the floor which caught Michael's attention. She smiled nervously and pulled Brooke down to the floor to "help her" clean the mess up.

"What?" She hissed in return once Michael got back to organising the props. Brooke silently pointed to the entrance of the drama room. After a few seconds Chloe spotted the faint figures of Christine and Jeremy slowly inching their way towards the club room, causing her to suddenly jump up from her crouching position.

"Michael!" She exclaimed a little louder than she intended. It went unnoticed by the boy however as he poked his head out of the scatter of boxes to heed the call.

"Yeah?"

"Could you check the drama closet real quick? Maybe the belt is in there..." She smiled as if to further her point. Brooke glared at her from the side, nudging her lightly to 'tone it down on the dramatics'.

Micheal frowned. "Why don't you check it, I'm busy sorting through about a dozen princess costumes," he held one up for example, bowing gracefully to match his new persona. Brooke giggled.

"Just do it hoodie boy, Brooke and I have our hands full."

"Please Michael!" Brooke added, hoping it would sway the request in their favour. The plan worked as Michael begrudgingly got up from his post by the props and walked over to the drama closet in search of Chloe's so-called belt. He brought his headphones up to his ears to help distract himself from the arduous task, turning the music up to as high as he wanted before slipping into the closet. As soon as he stepped in the girls ran over and slowly closed the door behind him without his notice and processed onto phase two of their plan.

The voices of Christine and Jeremy drew near and soon the door to the drama club room swung open as the rehearsal lover stepped forward, closely followed by Jeremy. From the other side of the room, Chloe's head popped out from under the hill of props to greet the two.

"Why hellooooo Jeremy!" She smiled sweetly, waving her arms up and down in greeting.

"Hi Jeremy!" Added Brooke, hoping to ease the suspicion after Chloe's very obvious poor acting.

"Hi?" Replied Jeremy before turning to Christine and raising an eyebrow.

She shrugged. "I needed all the help I could get. The props needed sorting as well. Now," turning Jeremy's attention to the drama closet Christine hurried her friend along.

She stopped just before the door and winked at Jeremy. "Don't come out until you're ready got it?"

Jeremy sighed and nodded, opening the door to the closet. Before he could notice his best friend's presence Christine shoved him inside and slammed the door shut, using her club key to lock it.

"Sorry!" She cried as Chloe and Brooke rushed over to join her. The faint sound of Jeremy yelling could be heard from the sound proof room as the girls turned and walked away.

Chloe nudged Christine's arm playfully. "Nice subtext there Chris," she added grinning.

Christine giggled and beamed as the three waltzed out of the drama room. "I am a performer after all."

------

Jeremy wasn't quite aware of the fact that he had just been pushed into a closet by Christine until the sound of the lock being turned brought him back to reality. The same sound also revealed the presence of another boy who was currently crouched down sifting through boxes. His red hoodie was a clear give away as to what had just happened.

"Christine..." he said wilfully, stepping backwards and turning only to come face to face with the locked door.

"Christine open up," he said again, shaking the door knob to confirm his suspicions. A faint "Sorry!" could be heard from the other side. Jeremy knew exactly what was going on and was determined to remove himself from the situation before the other noticed. Unfortunately it was a little too late for that.

"Hey Chlo, I think I found your-" Michael's eyes widened as he turned to see his best friend banging on the closet door. He dropped the belt, startling Jeremy into whipping his head to face him. The two stood there for a moment, bewildered as to what they had gotten themselves into.

Michael broke the silence by clearing his throat. Jeremy gulped. The silence returned.

They both knew there was no getting out of this.

"I broke up with Christine," was all Jeremy could manage. His tone was telling of how much he didn't believe the statement to be true, yet it was.

"I know," replied Michael, "why?"

Jeremy gulped again, a few sweat drops trickled down his forehead as he took a step away from the closet door.

"I didn't love her," he stated. "B-but that's fair right?"

Michael remained silent.

"I-I mean, remember that documentary we watched a while back? It stated that it takes around two months for a crush to become love. S...so if I didn't love her by then then I never would have... right?" He stammered, trying to convince himself more so than who he was telling it to.

Michael still said nothing.

"M..Mike?"

"What about two years?" He finally replied, looking up with enough courage to lock eyes with Jeremy as he said it.

The question took Jeremy by surprise. "Two years? What do you mean two years?"

"I mean if you've liked someone for two years, it's more than just a crush isn't it?" Not once did Michael's eyes leave Jeremy's.

"I... I guess so?" He stuttered in reply.

"Isn't it..." Michael repeated quietly, taking his eyes off of Jeremy to look down at the floor.

"Michael I don't understand," Jeremy took a step closer, "what are you talking about?"

"Why did you break up with Christine." Said Michael, not as a question but as a statement. He looked up and took a step forward, locking eyes with Jeremy once more. It unnerved the tall boy.

"I already told you, I didn't love her."

"Was that the only reason?"

Jeremy opened his mouth to confirm but found that he couldn't. His mind flashbacked to his conversation with Brooke in the classroom. She knew exactly what was going on in Jeremy's head before he did. The image of her shaking her head and smiling haunted him for days along with her closing sentence: "Maybe you should talk to him."

Opposite, Michael was having a similar experience. His mind was racing through the many conversations he had had with Chloe on this topic, one of which stood out the most. He remembered Chloe telling him about how Jeremy broke up with Christine but kept something from him about it. He remembered confiding in Chloe about what to do about his feelings for his best friend. After going through their whole conversation in a matter of seconds, one phrase stood out the most as it repeated in Michael head, going round and round like a ferris wheel: "Maybe you should talk to him."

"Talk to him," Michael said slowly, inching closer to Jeremy in the process.

"Talk to him," Jeremy repeated in mutter, realising how close the two boys were at this point.

"Was that the only reason?" Michael repeated.

"No," Jeremy answered, sure of his reply for the first time in weeks.

That was all the confirmation he needed. Before the other could protest Michael grabbed Jeremy's jacket and pressed him lips to his, earning a small squeal from the boy. The surprise quickly melted into wonder as Jeremy returned the kiss with as much eager as Michael giving. The realisation of how much he had wanted this shot threw him, boasting his confidence. His hand flew up to Michael neck, pulling to two closer together. The boy hummed in response, tilting his head to deepen the kiss.

The two found themselves slowly walking backwards until Jeremy's back hit the closer door. Michael took the opportunity to slip his tongue into the others mouth, earning another sound from Jeremy. His hands began to wonder and his mind was still racing and trying to keep up as to what was happening. They broke the kiss for a split second to catch their breath and Michael took a moment to take in the sight in front of him. Jeremy was up against the closet door panting for breath with bruised lips and a flustered face, a sight Michael only got to see in his dreams.

"Two years?" Jeremy managed to mutter.

"Two years." Michael confirmed before returning to the kiss. His hands landed on Jeremy's waist, pinning him closer to the door. He didn't plan on letting go of this dream.

------

"Do you think we kept them in there too long?" Christine muttered as the girls walked back into the drama room to let Michael and Jeremy out of the closet.

"I'm sure they're fine," Brooke offered with a smile. "They needed this, a little push, right Chlo?"

"Exactly," Chloe beamed, taking the key off of Christine and making her way towards the closet door. "Besides they probably won't even want to come out. I bet you ten bucks they're in there right now making-"

Chloe's speech was cut short when a soft moan made its way through the door. Chloe stopped in her tracks and stared at the wall, frozen as to what she had just heard.

"Chloe?" Brooke asked, concerned as to why her friend had suddenly stopped.

Chloe stood there not knowing what she had quite expected when she locked the two boys in the closet that day. She hadn't quite taken into account the amount of sexual tension between the two until a small mutter of Michael's name was heard through the door. As if being brought back to life, Chloe slipped the closet key underneath the door unnoticed and rushed over to lead Brooke and Christine out of the room despite their complaints.

She made a mental note to get details from Michael later.