“Even!” Jonas, Magnus, and Mahdi cried simultaneously, their voices loud even over the booming bass of the Nas playlist Isak was blaring on Spotify. He turned in surprise to find his roommate leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest and a wide grin on his face.
Isak was just drunk enough to be able to fully appreciate how beautiful Even was, even under the harsh fluorescent lights of their kitchen—something he never allowed himself to do while sober—and it was nice, finally being able to look without his straight-boy goggles on. It was also dangerous, apparently, because Even was wearing tight jeans and a thin, white T-shirt and all Isak wanted to do was ditch his friends and climb him like a fucking tree.
“Halla, boys,” Even greeted, using his shoulder to push himself off of the wall. “Halla, Isak.” Isak’s stomach flipped at the sound of his name on Even’s lips. He took a long sip of his beer to keep from saying anything embarrassing and turned the music down to what might possibly pass for an acceptable level. “Don’t turn it down on my account,” Even laughed, looking over his shoulder as he dug through the refrigerator for a beer of his own. “I’ll be out of your way in a second.”
“No, you have to stay!” Magnus whined immediately and Isak could have kissed him. Even had finally found a beer and popped the top off on the side of the counter before turning a questioning eyebrow to Isak.
“Magnus says you have to stay,” he shrugged, gesturing to the empty chair next to him. Even smirked, but sat without argument, scooting his seat slightly closer to Isak’s, like it was second nature to want to be close to him. Isak wasn’t sure whether it was the beer or the proximity, but he felt warmth spread throughout his chest.
“So, we’re playing ‘Never Have I Ever,’” Magnus started without preamble and Isak and the other boys groaned.
“Still? Magnus, come on.”
“Yes, Isak, still.” Even smirked sideways at Isak and took a long drag of his beer. Isak watched in drunken fascination as his throat bobbed with each swallow. “You want to play?”
Even shrugged casually and set his drink down on the wooden table. They weren’t using coasters and Isak knew Eskild was going to yell at him in the morning, but he couldn’t be bothered to care. “Yeah, sure. Why not?”
They played a few rounds that were harmless enough. Isak learned that Even had never gotten a tattoo or had a threesome, but he had been arrested, although he refused to divulge the details of that particular story. It was only when the game circled back around to Magnus that things got interesting. “Never have I ever…kissed a boy.”
Isak, who had just taken a regrettably large sip of beer, starting coughing so violently that the whole game came to halt while the boys watched in concern as he choked. Way to go, Isak, he thought, forcing himself to take in a gasp of fresh air between hacking coughs. Very subtle. Even pushed Isak’s beer a little closer to him and he took a grateful sip to clear this throat.
“Are you okay?” Jonas asked as the coughing finally subsided.
“Yeah,” Isak waved him off, his voice hoarse. “Went down the wrong way.” The four boys watched him carefully for another few seconds, as if waiting for a relapse, before Even finally took pity on him.
“What was the question again?” he asked, effectively turning their attention away from Isak.
“Oh, um…” Magnus mused. His eyebrows furrowed as he tried to remember and for one blissful second, it seemed that he might have forgotten.
“Have you ever kissed a boy?” Jonas prompted and Isak’s heart fell into his stomach once more. He wasn’t even sure why. He hadn’t ever kissed a boy, so it wasn’t like he was being put on the spot. It just felt like a lie, somehow, to sit there and pretend that when he fantasized at night, it wasn’t a boy’s lips that he imagined.
A boy’s lips that were currently wrapped around a long neck bottle, swallowing down the last of his beer. And holy shit. That meant—
“No way, dude!” Magnus cried with an excited laugh. “Did you like it?”
Even set his empty glass on the table and chuckled at Magnus’s enthusiasm. “Yes, Magnus. I kissed a boy and I liked it.”
Isak tried to school his features into something that might pass as indifferent, but he doubted it worked because at Even’s confession, it felt like a live wire had jolted through his system, setting his nerve endings ablaze. Everything he thought he knew was suddenly wrong. Was the sky still blue? Was two plus two still four? He had no idea because for the two months he’d shared an apartment with Even, there had been heated looks and lingering touches—all of which he thought were a figment of his very sex-deprived imagination because he knew Even was straight. He had a fucking girlfriend, for fuck’s sake.
Or he used to, at least.
He was pulled out of his own head at the sound of Even’s voice. “No one else?” Isak looked over and was only mildly surprised to find Even’s piercing blue eyes glued to him, one eyebrow cocked in silent question. The part of Isak that had accepted that he was very gay on the day Even moved in wanted to take a sip to try to convey that yes, he was interested, but he could feel the eyes of his friends on him and he sat frozen. Eventually, he shook his head and the game progressed. Even, however, did not look away.
He was watching Isak, as if trying to suss out a lie, but there was no lie to find. Isak might have been imagining things again, but he thought he saw a twinge of disappointment pass over Even’s face before he turned back to the table.
Their night had already run longer than Isak planned, so it wasn’t much later before Jonas, Magnus, and Mahdi left, which was a blessing in disguise because Isak’s attention was no longer on the game and he’d missed his cue more than once, leading to some awkward berating from Jonas about why he’d never gone down on a girl. That was the type of thing that Isak would have known to lie about if he weren’t so distracted.
Once the door shut behind them, Isak turned to look at Even, wondering if he could see in Isak’s eyes how the ember of desire that had been festering for weeks was suddenly a great, fiery blaze. If he saw anything, he certainly didn’t show it. He met Isak’s gaze, lifted his eyebrows playfully, and then picked up a hand-full of empty beer bottles and carried them to the garbage. Isak took a deep breath to steady himself and then followed Even’s lead.
They danced around each other in the small kitchen effortlessly, pouring excess beer down the drain and stacking plates in the dishwasher. They weren’t touching—weren’t even looking at each other—but Isak’s skin tingled from how close they were and even when Even was out of sight, he could still feel him. Knew exactly where he was. Just that morning, they had stood together in the exact same place, but in only a few short hours it felt like everything had changed. Because now if Isak somehow managed to yank up the courage to kiss Even, there was a chance he might actually kiss back.
Isak was so distracted with thoughts of Even that he didn’t realize the kitchen was clean until the dishwasher shut with a snap. His stomach twisted into knots at the sound. He knew what was about to happen and he wasn’t ready. Even would tell him goodnight and then they would go to their own separate bedrooms and never talk about that juvenile game of “Never Have I Ever” again. Because why would they? It was a stupid game. It wasn’t supposed to mean anything.
Thoughts were whirring through Isak’s head faster than he could process them—half-formed ideas of how he could hint to Even that maybe he might want to kiss Isak one day too—but when Even finally turned to him, wiping his damp hands on his jeans, all of the suave one-liners he’d concocted disappeared and what came out instead sounded a lot more vulnerable than he’d meant it to.
“Is it different?” Blood rushed to Isak’s cheeks as Even furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. Everything in him was screaming to abort mission now, but he just kept talking. “Kissing boys? Is it different than kissing girls?”
Even reeled back in surprise at the question, but he didn’t look offended. When Isak’s embarrassment dissipated somewhat, he realized he was actually curious about the answer.
Isak had kissed his first girl when he was twelve years old during a game of Truth or Dare. He’d felt nothing. He’d felt nothing again years later with Sara, and also nothing with Emma after that. He’d thought the world was playing some sort of cosmic joke on him at first. A joke that everyone was in on but him. Oh, you actually believed all the lies that the media fed you? You actually thought kissing was fun? How dumb of you. It was only when he was subjected to Jonas’s hour-long homage to Eva’s lips that he began to realize maybe the kissing itself wasn’t the problem. Maybe it was who he was kissing.
After a thoughtful pause, Even shrugged. “There’s more stubble.” Isak realized it was a joke a beat too late and his subsequent forced laughter knocked the smile off of Even’s face, as if he suddenly realized Isak was being serious. Isak’s first instinct was to flee, but Even continued talking before he could do so. “If you like boys and you like girls, kissing them really isn’t all that different.”
Isak nodded as if Even’s explanation made perfect since, even though it didn’t, and then turned back to the sink so that he wouldn’t have to look into Even’s devastatingly handsome face any longer. Even had been leaning on the counter a few feet away, but Isak felt him walk closer until his body heat was burning all along his side. He lifted his head in surprise, only to find that there was barely any space between them at all. His breath hitched in his throat.
“I could show you,” Even said, reaching his arm around Isak to grab the counter behind him. They weren’t touching exactly, but they were so close Isak could imagine what it might feel like if they were.
Isak swallowed hard. “Show me?”
Even nodded, nosing towards Isak like a kitten. Isak tilted his head on instinct. “I could show you what it’s like to kiss a boy.”
“Oh,” Isak said feeling his blush darken. He tried to take a step back, but Even had him boxed into the counter and he couldn’t move. “That’s not what I meant. I was just curious…” The sane part of Isak was screaming at him to shut the fuck up, so he did. Even nodded, so close to him that Isak felt a lock of his blonde hair brush against his cheek, and he felt dizzy from a mixture of embarrassment and lust. What was happening?
“We don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Even whispered, his breath warm on Isak’s face. “But if you’re still curious?”
Isak forced himself to look up into Even’s eyes and melted at the playful look he saw there. It was so innocent. So sweet. So Even. “I mean, maybe we could,” he backtracked and Even’s smirk grew wider. “If you want to. You can, like, tell me if I’m doing it right, you know?”
Even chuckled against his lips. “You don’t think you’re doing it right?”
Isak rolled his eyes, his heart already beating rapidly in his chest, but he didn’t have long to worry because before his eyes had even finished a full rotation, Even leaned forward the inch that separated them and pressed their lips together.
And okay, wow, so that's why people spent their whole lives searching for this. Why they wrote movies and poems and songs about it. This...this was amazing.
Even's lips moved against his slowly, coaxing him into the kiss, and after only a second of surprised hesitation, Isak kissed him back. Kissing had always seemed so technical before. Tilt your head this way, watch out for teeth, make sure your lips are wet, but not too wet. None of that mattered with Even. It was fire instantly, razing everything he thought he knew about kissing to the ground because he couldn't think. Not about bumping noses or whether he was supposed to use tongue. He just followed Even's lead as he slowly drove him insane.
Isak had been expecting something chaste, figured that Even would only allow him a taste before pulling away, but Even deepened the kiss without warning, stepping forward so that Isak's back was digging into the counter and Even’s thigh was between his legs. Isak wanted to reach out, wanted to twine his fingers into the front of Even's hoodie and pull him closer, but he wasn't sure if he was allowed to, so his hands stayed by his side.
Five seconds turned to ten and then Even was licking into Isak’s mouth, like that was something platonic roommates did. Isak gasped in surprise. He felt his cock start to harden in his jeans and wondered if Even could feel it against his thigh. If he noticed, he didn’t seem to mind. He hummed against Isak's mouth, like he was pleasantly amused about something, and Isak was just thinking that he could do this all night if Even would let him, when the sound of a door slamming forced them apart.
By the time Eskild walked into the kitchen, Even was already back where he had started, leaning against the counter on the other side of the room, and Isak was in the exact same place Even had left him, too surprised to move. He knew his face was red, knew his lips were swollen, knew Eskild was saying something to him, but he couldn't hear it. Thankfully, Even steered Eskild’s attention to him instead and after Eskild poured himself a glass of water, he left the room with Even trailing along behind him.
"Hey, Isak?" Even smiled on his way out the door. "The kissing? You're definitely doing it right." He slapped the doorframe playfully, punctuating his words, and then disappeared around the corner. It was another five minutes before Isak regained enough feeling in his legs to slump back to his own room, thinking the whole time about how long it would be before he could kiss Even again.