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“Hey!”

Connor blinked. He had been totally zoned in to the reading assignment he was working on for this writing class he was taking that semester. It sounded so hippy and liberal arts that he knew he’d never be able to talk about the course title in front of Fucking Larry: English 258, Place. Literally the whole class was about place and how it impacted a piece of writing. And the homework was all over too; their assignments ranged from “write two thousand words about your neighborhood” to “discuss the importance of place and displacement in The Blair Witch Project” to “produce a three to five minute video on your favorite area of campus.” The thing he was currently reading – it was called “Borders” and about this kid who lived on a reservation whose mom would only say she was Blackfoot when asked her citizenship – had kind of pulled him in.

Evan was smiling at him. “Where’d you go?”

“Sorry, just… reading.”

Evan kept smiling. He might have even smiled harder.

This is why he tried to study before Evan met him at the library. That smile wiped every other thought right out of his head. “What’s up?”

“Oh,” Evan said, like he’d lost his train of thought too. God, they were so embarrassing. “I just… It’s almost midnight.”

“Shit, really?” Connor blinked a few times. He had totally lost track of the evening, even though he got a lot done. Hadn’t it just been 10:30?

“We should head out,” Evan said, nodding.

Connor smiled, agreeing. Midnight was their rule. They packed it up at midnight if they studied together; one in the morning during finals. An attempt to keep regular sleep schedules.

...Absolutely Evan’s idea. Connor knew it was totally Evan’s way of attempting to help with Connor’s problems with insomnia.

But Connor agreed happily. Because he didn’t mind Evan sort of trying to take care of him.

Which.

God, he was just.

So.

Freaking.

Gay.

Whatever.

In your face, internalized homophobia.

Evan packed up his laptop and a couple of notebooks, and then Connor did the same. They put their coats on (it was just-finally-March) and then Evan offered Connor his hand like it was no big deal and Connor took it, smiling because it wasn’t a big deal anymore but it was still sort of a nice surprise.

They were such dorks.

God.

Connor thought back to last year, when his arm was in the damn cast and hand holding got a little more difficult.

Evan came home every other weekend to see him, even though Connor told him not to.

It was just.

God.

Connor was so damn obsessed with this kid.

“So what all where you working on tonight?” He asked as they stopped outside.

“Oh, uh, a policy paper,” Evan said, shrugging. He was in some class on environmental policy this semester, and Connor could tell he was absolutely obsessed with it but didn’t want to nerd out about it. It was so damn cute.

So Connor kept asking him questions about the paper and Evan kept talking about the arguments he was making and basically it was very difficult not to stop him every fifteen seconds and smother him with kisses.

Just.

Just, god. He had the world’s nerdiest boyfriend. Who was probably going to save the planet.

Fuck .

Who even was he anymore?

Even his mom said something last time he went home to visit; she got all teary eyed and said something about how she had missed seeing him smile this much.

Connor doubted he had ever smiled this much.

“Hey, did you want to stay over tonight?” Evan asked Connor. “Tom went home already for the weekend. It’s his dad’s birthday. Expect snapchats.”

“Sure.” Connor liked Evan’s room better than his room. Connor had a single and it… was just small. And a bit lonely sometimes. Plus he wasn’t great at decorating. Evan and Tom’s room felt homey and welcoming; Connor’s sort of looked like a hospital room. Which he didn’t really love. Evan stayed over sometimes, but it didn’t do much for the way that loneliness seemed baked into the brick.

So Connor preferred to stay at Evan’s when given the opportunity.

He had tried to have a roommate first semester, but the guy the school paired him with was genuinely selling oxy out of their room. Which.

Resulted in Connor staying in Evan’s room for two weeks straight while on what felt like a number of marathon telephone calls with his parents, with his new therapist Dr. Yang, with university housing, and with his RA. The whole thing had included a sort of embarrassing moment where he straight up admitted to the director of housing, half in tears, that he didn’t even want the guy in trouble he just couldn’t be in that room because he was an addict.

First time he’d ever used that word.

Dr. Yang said she was proud of him.

(He totally fucking cried when she said that. Jesus.)

Connor moved out of that dorm room the weekend after Thanksgiving and into a single in the building across the street from Evan’s.

Connor liked being closer. He still got a little nervous sometimes, that he was being too clingy or too needy or whatever. It wasn’t like they spent every single second together. They had all different classes. Connor had a group of kids in his minor who he got lunch with twice a week. Evan was part of some environmental club that, and Connor couldn’t believe this was true at first, sometimes stood on street corners with clipboards saying things like “Do you have a minute to talk about the environment?”

When Connor told Jared about that, Jared had literally drove to campus to see it. He even let Evan actually talk to him about the environment for twenty whole minutes. It was fucking hilarious.

And of course Connor was like so, just, proud of Evan. Because two years ago the idea of doing anything remotely of the kind would have sent Evan into a full blown panic.

And now. He could do it. He could decide to do it if he wanted to.

If there was ever any doubts that people could make steps toward recovery, Evan-fucking-Hansen ought to be the poster child.

God.

Just.

So fucking proud.

Jesus.

It obviously wasn’t all like that. There were still bad days. There were still days when Connor was a little bit resentful that he felt like he was watching Evan soar while Evan just sort of helping him to hobble around, limping.

But.

God.

How could he not be beyond proud of his boy when he had come so far?


 

“Uh. So. My mom asked me where I’m planning on living next year when we chatted earlier,” Evan said as they were crossing the street near the dining hall.

“Oh,” Connor said. He was a little bit nervous about that. Technically, since he was a sophomore transfer student, he only needed to stay in the dorms until the end of the year. But it wasn’t exactly like people were banging down his door demanding that he live with them. He’d never really gotten along with Chad, but that was largely on account of the pills…

He was a little scared Evan was going to move off campus and then he’d still live on campus because he wasn’t sure how to move off of campus and they wouldn’t see much of each other.

“And I’ve been thinking about… maybe looking at some apartments?”

Connor nodded, because, he was honestly expecting this. It made sense. That Evan wanted to move. He didn’t exactly love the dorms either.

He got it.

It just meant new things to figure out.

It was one thing to live alone in the dorms, but another entirely to like… get an apartment by yourself. That sounded like too much.

Evan stopped. “Hey. Connor, where’d you go?”

Connor blinked a few times. “Sorry.”

“What’s going on?” Evan looked genuinely concerned, which made a lump rise in Connor’s throat.

“I just… Um. I dunno. It’s. It’s just… Are you and Tom going to live together again?”

Evan blinked. “We hadn’t really talked about it.”

Connor frowned.

“Connor, I’m asking you if you want to look at apartments together.”

Oh.

Oh.

“You mean like… move in together?”

Evan nodded shyly. “I mean. Obviously, we, like… don’t have to. I just wanted to… float the idea.”

Connor nodded. “Okay… I. Um. I’m.” Fuck , he really hadn’t been expecting that. “I’m sorry I just. I guess I just assumed that you wouldn’t want that?”

“Oh,” Evan said. “Why not?”

Connor shrugged. “I just. I dunno. Living together is… like. A big step. And… well you’re. Not even twenty yet?”

“Hey, I’m going to be twenty next week.”

“Baby,” Connor teased.

“You’re six months older than me, God, ” Evan said, shaking his head, smiling that bright smile. The kind bright enough that, scientifically speaking, you could probably use to navigate when you’re stranded in the middle of the wilderness.

Connor knew it held up metaphorically, at least.

Then again, that smile could also be so distracting that you walked into traffic.

Not even on purpose.

God.

“Evan, I just…” How to phrase what he was thinking? Obviously he wanted to, but the idea of living together had always had this far-off, distant, fantasy sort of quality to it in Connor’s mind. Like when you imagined yourself into a rom-com. “Sorry I just didn’t realize you were thinking about this.”

“I know,” Evan said. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to ambush… Just... like. Obviously, if you’re not, like, ready, or whatever. We don’t have to. We don’t . I won’t be mad if you don’t want to. I promise. I just… It’s just that I love you and I wanted you to know I was thinking about it.”

“Okay,” Connor said. He felt like ten thousand butterflies had taken flight inside of him.

“You don’t have to decide right now,” Evan said. “We still have, like, two months before the semester ends and even then a couple of my friends in the Eco Club said that it’s a myth that all of the good apartments are taken by March anyways. So. Just. Take your time. Think about it. Let me know.”

“Okay.”


 

Connor woke up Friday morning, curled around Evan on the futon and genuinely wishing they could just stay like that all day.

Especially because Evan was always warm and he never seemed to mind that Connor was always putting his cold fingers and toes on Evan’s warm ones.

….If they lived together they would wake up like this a lot.

And that woke Connor up properly.

He practically hurdled over Evan to get out of bed.

Okay, so he was freaking out.

Like truly freaking out.

Like throwing his pants on and running out the door in Evan’s t-shirt freaking out.

Just.

If they lived together that meant that from the minute they signed the lease until the minute the lease ended they had to live in the same place.

What if they broke up?

What if Connor totally freaked out again?

What if it turned out that one of them had some super annoying habit that the other hadn’t noticed after almost two years together and then it was like all they could think about and then they just started to resent the other and then they had to like break the lease and change schools and…

Connor took a deep breath.

And reminded himself that having some anxiety over big life changes was totally normal.

He turned back toward Evan’s room, twisted the knob, was just going to wake him and talk about it and then Evan mumbled something in his sleep and.

Nope.

Not a good time for him. He needed some air.

So he stole Evan’s key, locked the door, and slid the key back under it before heading for the stairs.


 

After his morning class, before his shift at the library (because apparently he liked working in one library so much that he got a second library job… god the things he was doing lately), Connor called his sister because he needed level headed advice and she was the only person who came to mind.

“What’s wrong?” That was how Zoe answered the phone. He could see her, two hours away, shoes already half on from the second the phone rang.

“Why do you assume something is wrong?” Connor said, exasperated.

“You don’t ever call me, Connor.”

“Hey, I call you.”

“No, you call my girlfriend and she puts you on speaker,” Zoe said, but he could tell she was smiling now.

“Well you’re always together!” Connor said, laughing.

“Same could be said about you and Evan,” Zoe said, and she was laughing. “Last time I tried to Skype with him you literally walked into his dorm room, stole a yogurt from the fridge, and just hung out in the background for twenty minutes without even saying anything.”

“Hey, that was my yogurt. I just kept it there because I...” Admittedly Connor had no idea what his reasoning was for that; he just liked to keep things in Evan’s space so then he had reasons to be there. Maybe he was a little needy. So sue him. He could be needy. “Anyway, that’s why I’m calling…”

“Connor I swear to God if you broke up with him again then you’re the biggest idiot-”

“I would really like it if you would let me finish speaking before you react,” Connor said, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Nice use of ‘I’ language,” Zoe said. Connor could practically hear her smirking.

Anyway, ” he said, trying to steer the conversation back. “So, Evan um… might have asked me if I wanted to move in together last night?”

“Shit, really ?”

“Uh. Yeah?” He tried to stop the way his brain tried to insert a bunch of garbage about how obviously Zoe couldn’t believe that. He couldn’t stop it, it was just his brain, so Connor took a deep breath and just tried to focus on what his sister was saying.
“What did you say?”

Connor scratched idly at the side of his face, wondering if he should have shaved that morning. “I think I said something super intelligible like ‘um what are you sure why?’”

“Smooth, real smooth.” Zoe laughed. “Well are you going to do it?”

He sighed, taking a seat on a bench outside.. At times like these he really missed smoking. “I have no idea. Half of me thinks it’s the greatest idea ever, and the other half of me is like ‘be practical, that’s insane,’ and then a bunch of Fucking Larry’s awful U-Haul jokes, no offense.”

“Fuck ing Larry,” Zoe said, but she laughed. “I don’t even understand why he made the jokes. Alana and I live on opposite sides of campus. And I had already been thinking of applying here before she went! I did not follow her to school.”

“You know you only point that out since Jared wrote that idiotic song,” Connor said.

“Yeah, I guess. It’s super annoying because it’s so catchy too.”

The song had been called something like “The Murphys follow their lovers to college” or something equally stupid and was mostly just about how gay Connor was (but in like a nice way?). Anyways, after Zoe decided she was officially attending the conservatory on the same campus as Alana, Jared lost his mind and started teasing them both about how lovesick and gay they were.

“Anyway,” Zoe said, apparently coming back to herself. “What makes you so sure that it’s a bad idea?”

Connor sighed. He really really missed smoking right now. A cigarette sounded amazing . “Well, I don’t know. Because like… why the hell would he want to live together?”

“I don’t know, he’s probably just like, in love with you or whatever,” Zoe said, and Connor could picture her rolling her eyes perfectly. Vivid imagination or something.  “I mean. Seriously. Evan’s not like… hiding some ulterior motive. He’s just over the moon about you. It’s kind of disgustingly cute, actually.”

“But what if I-”

“Connor have you ever considered that expecting to screw things up actually makes you more likely to screw them up?”

“Um…”

“I just mean, you’re calling me like this is some big terrible tedious decision… but dude, come on. Your boyfriend asked you to move in with him, and you’re actually considering it! Because you guys are both happy and in love and doing well. These are good things. This is not a crisis situation.”

“I know! I just… I don’t know if I’m…” Connor sighed. He definitely should have shaved. And he never should have quit smoking. And probably should have just stayed in bed all day. “I’m not sure I’m ready for that? It feels a bit grown up.” He pointedly did not mention how he had lived, like, the last half decade planning to never grow up.

Zoe laughed softly. “Newsflash asshole: You are a grown up.”

“Very funny.”

“Seriously though. Is that the problem? It feels too adult?”

“Maybe?”

And the lingering anxiety that he was just going to tank this relationship without even meaning to someday.

You know.

Small stuff like that.

“I mean, Connor. Honestly. Evan is like the nicest, most patient person in the world. He will not break up with you if you say you’re not ready to live together. He’ll probably get all choked up about how ‘mature’ that makes you and then you’ll get apartments next door to each other.”

Connor sighed because he knew she was right. The fact was he just wanted someone to tell him if he actually was ready because he had no idea. “How the hell am I supposed to know if I’m ready?” He asked helplessly.

“Heck if I know, dude. I’m majoring in musical composition. Call Kleinman, he’s the psych major.”

“Gee, thanks Zo.”

“Always happy to help, bro.”


 

Evan texted him a few times throughout the day, just basic stuff, checking in, how are you, can I come stare at you in the library while you reshelve books and salivate in your general direction? He didn’t mention asking Connor to move in together. Which Connor was grateful for, because he was just so… confused about what to do.

On the one hand, the thought of living with Evan seemed too good to be true.

On the other, the thought of living with Evan seemed too good to be true .  

Connor was sure to screw it up.

Or just merrily run the whole thing into the ground by agreeing to move too fast.

He didn’t know what to do.

Because apparently for Connor it was literally always Self Doubt O’Clock.

Because when he was with Evan, it was almost like stepping inside a dark building after hours in the sun without sunglasses. It took ages to adjust to the dark, and then Connor would sometimes smack right into obvious things because he just couldn’t see them coming.

He didn’t want this to be one of them.

He’d already nearly ruined all of this last fall by freaking out about being in too deep.

Connor sighed. He also knew that asking Dr. Yang was probably useless because one of her rules was that she didn’t give advice about decisions; she would only help lay out options and remind you that you could make them.

Normally that was great for Connor since he was terrible at taking advice and generally hated being treated like someone knew better than he did about his life.

Definitely some daddy issues. Oppositional defiance or something.

But in this case…

He just wished someone would paint an arrow or a path on the ground that said, “This way to healthy decisions!”

At least then he would know when he was stepping off of it.


 

“Hello?”

Connor had just gotten off of his shift at the library. Eight o’clock on a Friday night. He had already made plans to meet up with Evan and some friends at the student union because they were screening some new movie for free. He wasn’t surprised that his phone was already ringing when he got out of work. Zoe and her big mouth.

“Did Evan really ask if you wanted to move in together?”

Connor smiled. “Hi Alana.”

“Oh my god, Connor, this is huge!”

He sighed. “I know. I’m totally freaking out.”

“Don’t freak out. Why are you freaking out? Don’t. Which way are you leaning?”

Connor sighed again. “I don’t know. Both ways… I just don’t know. Isn’t it a little… fast?”

Alana tsked at him. “You’re adults.”

“We’re both in college .”

“And you’ve been together since the start of senior year of high school. That’s almost three years.”

“Two and a half. Off and on.”

“Oh you were only off for like a month, that doesn’t count,” Alana said dismissively.

“I just mean… that’s… It’s a big thing. I don’t know if I…” He exhaled. “This is a big thing. Big. Like, huge. I don’t-”

“I didn’t say get married now did I? Don’t psych yourself out. ”

Oh god.

Connor’s heart stopped for just a second there.

If they moved in together people would start to ask when they were going to get married and Connor was still trying to figure out how to even be alive let alone be alive as half of a couple and he couldn’t deal with being asked about getting married and, god, he could just hear the comments about playing house and it would be a massive disaster.

“Connor?”

“Yeah, sorry, what was that?”

“You really are freaking out, aren’t you?”

“I am! I think I just saw my life flash before my eyes. I’m not ready to get married.”

“I mean. Duh. That’s why I said-”

“I just mean, if we move in together won’t people think…?”

Alana sighed. “They might. That is definitely a possibility.”

“Damn it. Oh, shit, and then we’ll have to tell my parents? Fuck . My mom will definitely freak out.”

“She likes Evan,” Alana said wisely.

“Likes him, sure. Wants to see me move in with him? I’m not sure.”

“Do you really care what you mom has to say about it, Connor?”

“While she’s paying my bills I do. My parents seem to think that gives them license to chime in on what I’m doing.”

“Oh the perils of having rich parents,” Alana teased.

“Blow me,” He said, rolling his eyes, but there was no malice in it.

Alana laughed. “You know, I’m not trying to tell you what to do… but if you’re this uncertain, maybe now isn’t the right time.”

“Yeah,” Connor said, nodding to himself. “Maybe you’re right.”

“I just want whatever’s best for both of you.”

“Thanks.”

“And it’s not like Evan’s going to be upset if you want to wait.”

“You know everyone keeps saying that…” Connor mumbled.

“He won’t be! God, Connor, it’s like you’re always expecting him to turn around and be someone totally different if he doesn’t get what he wants.”

“I-”

“Seriously. Connor. Evan isn’t going to freak out. Why don’t you just talk to him about this?”

“I mean, I just… how do I bring it up? He’s going to be all nice about it and when he’s nice he’s not always honest and then we’re just… going around in circles trying not to piss each other off.”

“Connor,” Alana laughed. “You’re starting to sound like Evan when he’s anxious. The world is not going to end if you don’t decide today.”

They chatted while Connor walked. Talked about how challenging Alana’s premed requirements where, about an essay that Connor AND Evan had proofread for her (she was relentless about peer reviews), about how Connor had ended up declaring a minor in Gender Studies because he had taken this class on Queer Theory and really liked it, about Zoe’s upcoming concert (and how she was maybe being recruited by a local band and how cool it would be if she was actually in a band), about Connor’s English classes and job at the library.

“You’re going to end up a librarian,” Alana said, teasing. “You talk about it like some people talk about church.”

“Libraries are very church-like. Quiet, dusty-”

“-full of old white guys…”

Connor laughed. “Will you still be my friend if I am an old white guy working at a library.”

Alana laughed. “Isn’t that you already?”

Connor groaned. “I’m only six weeks older than you are!”

“Is it only six weeks? Feels like sixty years,” Alana said, and Connor could hear how she was trying not to laugh. “Anyway, I’m meant to be picking your sister up in half an hour. We’re going to a party. Don’t lecture me, you know I won’t let her get kidnapped. Talk to you later, old man.”

“Yeah, yeah, you too kid.”


 

The movie was good. Evan and Connor ended up back at this girl Jen’s house for a while. She had, like, ten roommates who all shared the place and somehow Connor and Evan got involved in a very long game of Cards Against Humanity.

Evan always pouted because his card rarely got picked.

“You’re being too nice,” Connor said, laughing.

“You just won on the card ‘bees?’”

“You have to admit that is a great card.”

So around one in the morning, a little bit buzzed on wine, they left the party.

“Can we go to your room tonight?” Evan asked. “It’s closer.”

“Yours is literally across the street,” Connor said, giggling.

“But it’s on the far side of the street,” Evan said, whining dramatically.

“Okay, fine, we’ll go to my room.”

Connor just didn’t love his room.

But he did love Evan. So he agreed to go to his room. He didn't mind it so much when Evan was there.

“So Zoe texted me either…” Evan said as they climbed the steps.

“Oh?”

“She said you were totally freaking out.”

“Traitor,” Connor muttered, rolling his eyes.

“Are you? Totally freaking out?”

“No.” He fished his keys from his jacket pocket. “Okay. A little.”

“No, please don’t,” Evan said, taking Connor’s hand. “I don’t want you to freak out.”

“I’m not… much. I just…” Connor shrugged sort of helplessly. “I don’t want to screw this up?”

“You can’t. I already told you. I’ve been telling you that for years.”

“I know…” Connor bit his lip. “I know. I just… I guess I’m afraid I don’t…”

“Buy it?” Evan said. Connor nodded. “That’s okay. Let’s put this question on the backburner then. To be continued.”

“Continued when?”

“Whenever you’re ready,” Evan said, smiling. Like it was the simplest thing in the world.

“You’re drunk,” Connor said, teasing.

“No!’

“You absolutely are!”

Evan giggled. “I’m not. I swear! I just… I dunno. I know it makes me seem drunk to be so… calm about this. But I… I just am. I’m not worried at all. Let’s talk about it later.”

“That sounds wrong. You sure you’re Evan Hansen?”

Evan giggled. “Do you want me to rub my sweaty hands all over you to prove it?”

“Maybe,” Connor said, smirking.

“Oh my god,” Evan said, laughing, shaking his head. “Connor. Really. Let’s table this for now. We don’t have to talk about it.”

“If you’re sure…” Connor said, unlocking his door.

“God, I’m so glad you don’t live with that asshole anymore,” Evan said as he walked into Connor’s room. He pulled off his coat and toed off his shoes, putting them neatly in the closet.

“You’re just happy that Tom and I don’t keep you up playing Halo anymore.”

“Hey, I liked it when you lived in my room. It just got a little crowded.” He smiled at Connor.  “And I maintain that six am is a heinous time even if you haven’t been up all night… especially for Halo,” Evan said. He moved to sit on the bed, smiling. Connor took off his jacket, took off his shoes, and went to sit beside Evan. Yawning a little.

“Lend me some pajamas?” Evan said.

“I would much rather not,” He mumbled, head leaning a little against Evan’s shoulder.

“Why not?” Evan pouted.

“Well I guess I'd rather you slept naked,” Connor said. Casually. Conversationally. Just because.

“Is that so?” Evan said, turning to look at him, eyebrows raised.

“Yep.”

“Well. Maybe if you asked nicely.”

Connor smiled. Smirked. Cocked an eyebrow. “Please?”

“Oh, you can do better than that…”

“Pretty please?”

“Hmmm… No. I still think you can do better.”

Connor smiled harder. He looked up through his eyelashes at Evan. “Is there something in particular you're looking for? Sir?”

Evan eyes flashed. “I have some ideas. Get on your knees?”

Connor was happy to oblige.


 

Connor woke up far too early. Before the sun. Evan was curled up around him, breathing evenly against the back of Connor's neck. Connor always felt strange about being held once it was morning. Like. He liked it. A lot. But in the morning… he didn't know. It just. Felt suddenly too. Too much. Like he felt too much when it happened, like he didn’t deserve it.

Probably some kind of self loathing thing.

He desperately tried to get back to sleep. But it was no use.

By 8:00 he gave sleeping up as a bad job. Connor rolled over to face his boyfriend. Pressed a kiss to Evan’s cheek. Threw on the clothes he had worn the day before. Sent Evan a text letting him know he went to grab coffee since h was awake. But he knew Evan would be out for hours still.

And Connor would let him. Because he knew Evan could use the extra sleep.

Connor slipped out of his room. Locked up. Headed down the stairs and out into the brisk morning. It was still pretty cold out in March.

He took the long way to Starbucks, fishing a dollar from his pocket and bumming a smoke off of a guy on the corner.

He still smoked sometimes.

Way less than he used to.

Way, way less.

Usually on sleepless nights and mornings.

Work in progress.

Connor went into Starbucks. Stood in the line, ordered. Checked his phone to make sure Evan was still asleep. No texts. Good sign.

Evan had said not to worry.

But here he was, worrying. Just a little.

Because the more he thought about it, the more he really did like the idea of them living together. Sharing things, seeing each other more.

Jared called them codependent.

But they weren’t (Connor had checked with his therapist).

They just.

Really liked being around each other. A lot. All the time.

He had been full of shit last year when he tried to tell Evan that Evan wasn’t his best friend. He so clearly was.

It wasn’t that Connor didn’t love Alana and talk to her daily and consider her his best friend too.

It was just.

The person he wanted to talk to most was Evan. The person he wanted to talk to Evan about was Evan.

He was that guy now.

He kind of hated that guy.

But also sort of liked him.

Connor had never imagined getting to be that guy.


 

At nine o’clock, Connor determined it was officially early enough to call his mother. Seek out maternal advice regarding this whole question of cohabitation.

….He imagined that Heidi would be more honest with him, but he also imagined it would be hella weird to call her up and say, “Hey Heidi, long time no see, so is it cool if I live in sin with your son soon?”

Just.

Nah.

Connor wondered if Evan had mentioned it to Heidi.

Probably.

And what she had said...

Connor’s mom’s cell went to voicemail, but Connor didn’t really find that weird. His mom held onto the landline for no real reason… but that usually meant leaving her phone in another room, on silent when she was at home.

He tried the house.

“Hello?”

Fucking Larry answered. “Oh. Hey dad. Is mom around?”

“Hi Connor. No, she’s at… hot yoga? I think. She’s doing some new Saturday morning thing.”

“Got it. Will you tell her I called?” He was already preparing to hang up.

“Wait a second, wait. How’ve you been? I haven’t talked to you in a while.”

Which meant, “I haven’t texted you something vague in two weeks.” Connor spoke dad now. Evan’s was prone to saying things like that too.

“I’m alright,” Connor said. “Busy.”

“And how’s the new room situation?”

“Fine… Good. Still miss having a bathroom that doesn’t belong to twenty other people, but you know.” Connor sighed. Wished he had bummed two cigarettes from that guy now that he was trapped talking with his dad. “How are you?”

“Things here are good. Your mom and I went to a hockey game the other night.”

“Mom likes hockey?”

“I didn’t think so either, but it was her idea.”

“Huh.”

His dad let out this sort of nervous sounding half laugh. “So… what did you call for? Just saying hey?”

Connor knew he should just say yes. Let his mom break the news that he was thinking of moving in with Evan. He knew that. But. “Well… uh. Evan asked if I wanted to move in together next year.”

A pause. Larry said nothing.

Which.

Of course.

So Connor carried on. “But, like, I know you probably don’t want to talk about that so just forget I said anything-”

“Wait, Connor, slow down. Why wouldn’t I want to talk about that?”

“Well,” Connor said, annoyed, because it was so obvious. “Well... because I’m gay and my boyfriend wants to move in together? That… that’s not really. Your. Area. I guess.”

His dad sighed. “I’m sorry.”

Record scratch.

Sorry, what?

“What?”

“I… I know I haven’t been the most outwardly supportive of you. And. I like Evan. I really do. He’s a good kid, and he treats you well. And if you want to move in with him, then you should. As long as you’re happy.”

Huh.

“Sorry, it’s just…” Connor started, because he was pretty sure that hadn’t actually happened. He was certain he had imagined that. He… was pissed off.  “I just… ‘outwardly supportive’ ? Dad, like…” His breath caught. Don’t get angry, don’t get angry, don’t get-

“Dad that… That’s crap. You know it. ‘Outwardly supportive?’ You haven’t said anything about me and Evan being together since that time you caught us kissing senior year. You used to fight with mom about how she was ‘coddling’ me and ‘turning’ me gay. Zoe and I used to blast music to drown you out… I. Just. What… am I supposed to do with that…?”

His dad sighed on the other side of the line. “You’re right. I’m sorry for that too. I… you deserved better than that.”

Connor might have stopped breathing there. Just for a second.

“I’ve been… your mom and I we’ve been seeing a counselor for a few weeks… Together. And I. I realize now that, especially when you were younger, I… I wasn’t. You deserved better than what I gave you. And that it obviously really… uh. Hurt. You.”

Understatement of the century.

But more than Connor had ever expected.

“I’m so sorry, son.”

Connor sighed. “It’s… it’s fine.”

“It’s not.”

Connor swallowed. Audibly. Of course it wasn’t fine. Of course it wasn’t. But what else could he say?

Connor realized he was clenching his free hand into a fist. He took a deep breath.  “Dad I… I threw a printer at a teacher in second grade . I… I needed help.”

“I know.”

“I was… I was so messed up. And you… taught me how to throw a punch.”

“I know,” Fucking Larry breathed on the other line. “I know.”

“I dislocated a kid’s jaw at thirteen!”

“I know.”

“And y-you… you knew. You knew I was gay and you… made sure I knew that wasn’t okay with you. You made sure I was so… scared to tell you.”

“I’m sorry, Connor. I am so sorry.”

“I… I needed you. All of that time, and you…” He couldn’t finish it.

“I know. I know. Connor, I am so sorry.”

They were quiet for a while.

A long while.

Connor wiped his face with a shaking hand. He hadn’t planned this conversation, didn’t want to have this conversation, wasn’t okay with how it happened or that it was on the phone… He. Just.

Now he was just standing outside, sort of crying, looking just… nuts.

Fuck.

He wished he’d woken Evan up. He wished he had never called. He wished so many things.

“So. Evan wants you to move in together?”

“Yeah. He does.”

“Do you think you’ll do it?” Larry asked.

“Yeah,” Connor admitted. For the first time. “I don’t think… I’m not sure I’m ready to do it this summer but… I think so. Someday soon.”

“That’s good.”

“Evan...He makes me really happy.”

A pause. “I’m glad you’re happy, son.”

“Thanks… Dad.”


 

“Hey…”

Evan rolled over, smiling sleepily. “You’re awake?”

“Yeah.”

“What’s wrong?” Evan asked, sitting up, eyes big.

“Well I talked to Larry…” Connor mumbled, head down.

“Shit. Are you okay?” Evan was taking his hand, squeezing it tightly, and Connor sort of smiled.

“Yeah,” Connor said, nodding. “Evan I… I don’t think I’m ready to move in together just yet.”

“Okay.”

“You’re not angry?” he looked shyly at Evan, intertwining their fingers.

“Of course not,” Evan said, and he was smiling. “We’ve got… like. So much time to do that. I just. Wanted you to know that I’m ready, if you are. And if you aren’t, then I’ll wait.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yeah,” Evan said, kissing the side of Connor’s head.

“Alright.”

“Okay.”

“Cool.”

“Great.” Evan was smiling at him. “I’m not worried.”

“That doesn’t sound like you,” Connor said, teasing.

“I know right? Whole new person.”

“Still cute though.”

Evan smiled. “I love you.”

“Love you too.”

“Want to tell me what happened with your dad?”

Connor let out a breath. “Yeah…”