Jeremy had always loved snow, ever since he was a little kid. Michael has known this from the day they met.
It was the first day of kindergarten and Michael was not happy about his summer being over, and he made this fact very much known. (He had a lot of anger for a 6 year old.)
So when a little nasally kid came up at recess and asked him why he was so sad, he told him that he didn’t want it to be school time.
The kid just smiled at him, Jeremy was missing his two front teeth at that moment in time, and said, “But the sooner summer is over, the sooner it snows!!”
What was even funnier than him trying to say all of the S’s in that sentence was his face when Michael had told him he had never seen snow before. He explained they had moved there over the summer from the Philippines where his mom’s family was.
Jeremy of course insisted that they become best friends and to make sure he was the one to show Michael his first ‘ thnow ’ day.
That’s how Michael ended up nearly falling out of his bed as a thump hit his window, before a small shout followed.
He sat but, but didn’t make an attempt to stand up just yet because he knew once he left the warm cocoon of his Star Wars sheets, that was the end of it. So he just say quietly and listened, he wasn’t sure for what yet but he was waiting.
His heart finally stopped beating loudly against his chest when he heard the faint voice of one of his mothers calling out, “Good morning Jeremiah!” from downstairs.
Michael leaned over, fumbling blindly for a second until his fingers hit the rim of his glasses and he quickly pulls them onto his face. Once he could properly see, he noticed the small snowflakes hitting his window and realized what had hit his window earlier.
This did make Michael jump out of bed, thankful he had fallen asleep with socks on because his floor was freezing as he lept to the window. He unlatched it, shoving it up to lean his head out, only to see Jeremy rounding off a pile of snow in his hands- likely about to throw another at Michael’s window.
“Lower your weapon!!” Michael screeched, running a hand messily through his hair to try to sort it out, but was met with a snow-damp tangled mess.
Jeremy obeyed, dropping the snow at his feet as his smile widened, “How are you still asleep?!”
Michael’s eyebrows knit together as he peeked his head back into his room to check the time before going back to his friend. “It’s literally 8:03 Jeremy Heere. I’m not due awake for at least three more hours. You know this.”
As if on queue, he raised a hand up to rub his eye, trying to wake himself up a little more to deal with Jeremy. I mean, he did just get abruptly shaken from a dead sleep by a snowball.
“Michael!!” Jeremy dragged out the word, stomping his foot a little, causing the snow under his boot to crunch. “It’s the first snow of the year! You are gonna get your ass out here!”
Before he could say anything else there was a quick, “Language, young man!” which caused him to pause and squeak out a small, “Yes Nay!”
A beat of silence took over, the whole neighborhood quiet from the layer of white that had taken over the houses last night, before he spoke up again.
“So are you coming?”
“No, it’s way too cold. I’m warm up here in my bed, thanks.” Michael leaned back again, starting to shut his window before Jeremy made a disgruntled noise.
“Please come down! It’ll be fun! You always end up having fun!!” Jeremy pleaded, picking at a string of his glove as he speaks.
“Nope. Not happening Heere.” he shook his head, “But you can come in and we can play video games or watch tv.”
“We always do that.”
“I’ll make us hot cocoa? We can cuddle,” Michael wiggled his eyebrows at Jeremy in a teasing way.
His cheeks flushed even more than they already were from the nippy air, as he shook his head, some snow falling off of his hat.
“No! Get down here! It’ll be quick I promise, then we can go inside.”
Ugh. Michael was never gonna get back to bed at this rate, so he might as well humor the boy for a minute or two.
“Fine. Be down in two seconds.” He shut and locked the window just in time to hear a small happy shout from Jeremy before he sleepily made his way to the bathroom to brush his teeth.
He was down a moment later, tugging on a random pair of shoes as he stepped onto the porch without even bothering to put a coat on. He would only be out there for a minute anyway.
“Took you long enough! What did you even do- you are not dressed for the snow Michael.” Jeremy scolded.
Michael carefully made his way down the steps to stand at the bottom, crossing his arms over his chest to keep warm as the wind had picked up a little. “You sound like my mothers.”
“Good, your moms are fantastic.” Jeremy shot back, tugging his hat off of his head. “Besides, if they saw you out here they'd kill you.”
Michael just let out a ‘hmm’ as Jeremy tugged his hat down over Michael’s head, as if that would keep him completely warm.
It wasn’t long before Jeremy was back in the snow. He was kicking at it, making stupid snow angels, trying to catch it on his tongue. It was like as soon as the snow started he reverted back to the small, freckled 6-year-old Michael had met all those years ago.
Michael could lie and say he didn’t find joy in watching Jeremy run around, but he couldn’t. It was one of his favorite sights in the entire world.
And he could also lie and say his heart didn’t nearly leap out of his chest when he watched Jeremy stand in his front yard, head tilted up to the sky, eyes closed as fresh snow fell over his already pale feature, but he couldn’t do that either.
A few minutes pass as Michael stands there, slightly shivering, counting down the seconds until he gets to go back inside. But then it gets quiet.
Jeremy is now standing a few feet away, some snow balled up in his gloved hand as he stares at Michael with a knowing smirk. Shit, nope, oh no.
Michael’s brain short circuits as his hands dart out in front of him as if creating some kind of force field from the snowball.
“Don’t you dare throw that snowba- god dammit!” He can’t even finish his thought before he is hit in the chest with the snow. It immediately dampens his thin sleep shirt as he jerks his body back.
Jeremy’s eyes are wide, but he’s still grinning like a maniac as he’s pretty proud of himself for the perfect aim.
“Oh- you’re gonna fucking get it now!” Michael reaches down, quickly grabbing his own handful of snow in his bare hand before pelting it at his skinny friend.
A yelp come from him, as he gets hit in the side with it, quickly retaliating and throwing another.
This starts a full out snowball war. And by the end of it, Michael’s whole shirt front is soaked and his fingers are slightly numb while Jeremy his ass down in the snow, having the wind knocked out of him. (Michael had a much better arm than he does.)
They only stop when Michael’s mom starts yelling from the window about them getting sick and they ‘need to come inside right now.’
So they do. And Michael wanders off to change his shirt and find a blanket as Jeremy takes all of his wet snow gear off.
They both meet back on the couch, noses still pink and cold as they watch Michael’s mom start a fire.
“Thanks,” Michael calls out after her as she leaves the room, getting a small ‘course!’ back.
The boys let their bodies thaw out a little before Jeremy speaks up again, “Told you that you would have fun.”
“Oh shut up. I’m a popsicle now.” Michael nudged his leg with his foot from the other side of the couch, but he was smiling. He did have fun, he always had fun. Jeremy was right. But he would never admit that to him.
“Michael, you had fun.” Jeremy insisted, sitting up straighter as he tucked one of his legs in.
“Tell that to my freezing bones.” Michael’s smile had dropped now, trying to seem as serious as he could.
A pause. Then, “I know a quick way to warm you up.” And this was followed by the saddest excuse of a wink Michael had ever seen.
“Jeez-oh my god-” Michael clutched his sides under the blanket, folding in on himself slightly as he started laughing loudly at his stupid friend.
“Sorry I- God I’ve been hanging out with Jake far too much lately haven’t I?” Jeremy laughed nervously, scratching right underneath the top of his sock where it was leaning small indents in his skin.
“Maybe a little, dork.” Michael responded when he was able to breathe again.
More comfortable silence as they both turned back to watching the fire crackle and pop as the wood burned.
Of course, silence made Jeremy nervous as Michael had discovered over the years, so when he noticed him fidgeting a little beside him he knew he had to spark a new conversation.
“Why do you even like snow so much? It’s just cold water.”
This seemed to be just what he needed to say, as Jeremy began to just ramble on.
“Oh my god, what is there not to like about snow? I mean for one it gets you out of school if it gets bad enough! And you get to wear comfy clothes and sit by the fire like we are, and it’s basically a free for all of all of the hot chocolate you could want! Plus like in video games you know when it starts snowing and you just know either a big boss battle is about to happen or you’re about to go on the most bad-ass quest ever.” Jeremy dropped his voice on the word ‘bad-ass’, not wanting to get the attention of Mrs. Mell from the other room again for his swears.
But he continued, “And like the best holidays are all near winter time! Thanksgiving is soon which is always the best, and we have our Christmas time traditions and Hannukah is starting soon and-ugh- how do you not just love the snow, you know?”
Michael just watched his friend of over a decade babble on about the weather phenomenon, a grin pulling at his lips. He was so over the moon, clique teen drama, romance novel in love with the boy sitting on the other side of his living room couch.
“I love you.”
The words Michael had been practicing in his mirror for weeks. The words he stayed up all night planning when and how to say them. The words he must have typed out and deleted a million times into his message box. The words that hung heavy on the tip of his tongue every time he ended a phone call with Jeremy.
He had just blurted those words out in the middle of Jeremy’s sentence, causing the poor kid to sputter and let the rest of the sentence fizzle out before he could finish them.
They had said ‘I love you’ a lot as kids, but as they got older they used them less and less. Not because they didn’t mean them anymore, but because they knew other ways to show that they did. Like the times Jeremy accepted Michael’s silent phone calls at 4 am when he knew he just needed to know someone was there. Like when Michael took Jeremy out to some random empty parking lot with a box of old shit and let him yell and cry and break stuff after his mom left. Like the small glances and touches they had silently made up over the years, to let the other know they were there for them even when they were around others, without words.
Jeremy knew Michael loved him. But he didn’t know he loved him.
“You..” Jeremy tried to start a thought, but his mind seemed to be erroring out at the moment. 404: Response to your best friend confessing his love to you not found.
Michael hadn’t said anything, he wasn’t going to try to backtrack on his statement. He had planned to say this sometime soon, he just didn’t think today, right now, would be that time. He was just staring wide-eyed as he begged Jeremy in his mind to do something.
Then Jeremy said the stupidest thing he could have possibly said.
“Th-Thanks?” His head tilted to the side a little, still trying to comprehend what was happening.
“Did you just..” Michael sat up more to be able to see all of Jeremy’s face before he continued, “Did you just thank me for telling you I love you?”
“I think I did…”
“Oh my god ,” Michael was laughing again, his palms pressing over his glasses, his fingers tangled in his fringe a bit as he laughed and laughed. “I mean, at least you’re not mad?”
“Mad? Why would I be mad? Michael-” Jeremy realized he still hadn’t said it back. “ Shit! Oh! I love you too!” His hands shot out to grab the sides of the blanket that were wrapped around Michael’s large frame.
“Th-Thanks,” Michael teased, copying Jeremy’s stutter on the phrase as he kept the goofy smile on his lips.
He wasn’t nervous that Jeremy wouldn’t love him back. Michael would never admit it but he may have noticed a long strand of Skype messages to Brooke last time he used Jeremy’s computer where he confessed this big long backstory of his love for him to her at 2 am one time.
He had just had to get the guts to finally admit how he felt about him.
And even if he had screwed up the original plan he had, it still turned out exactly how he wanted it to as Jeremy tugged on the blanket and pressed their (still cold and slightly chapped) lips together.
Maybe Michael could learn to love the snow after all.