Michael breathes in, hoping that more air in his lungs will give him a sudden, magical boost of confidence that’ll get rid of the nervousness currently flowing through his veins. When it doesn’t, because that’s life, he gives the steering wheel one last squeeze before he fetches the goddamn heavy boombox from the passenger seat.
He gets out of the car and stands outside of the Heere household. No backing out, Michael. It’s time to get your fucking cheese on, Michael. Fortune favors the brave. Or the stupid. But this is for Jeremy, so he’s fine with being either.
Before his brain can convince him to back out for the nth time, Michael texts Jeremy, sealing his fate tonight completely. Now or never. Cheese. It. Up.
hey i heard u liked carly rae
look out ur window
Is the Queen Of Pop herself in the driveway?
He pockets his phone, ignoring the incoming buzzes from Jeremy’s messages because he’ll understand soon enough. Michael jams the volume of the boombox to the loudest it can go, and presses play right as Jeremy’s head pops out his bedroom window. Emboldened, he lifts the boombox above his head while The Queen of Pop blasts out. Worlds fly by. Drove by your place and stopped again tonight—
“Michael,” Jeremy says, mouth hanging open. “What are you doing?”
“Come down and find out!” Michael yells, deciding to yell some more to quell the drumbeat in his chest. “And I can’t lie. I like the feeling, how you make me shy. I share my secrets and I will not hide—” and he can’t see Jeremy at his window anymore. He really hopes that means he’s going down the stairs and not dying from mortification because Michael is the world’s worst boyfriend.
Thankfully, that thought only lasts for a few seconds and a couple more lyrics because Jeremy is out his front door. He’s clad in pajama pants and one of Michael’s sweatshirts, his hair a mess and his face slightly flushed. Michael thinks he looks beautiful but he lacks the eloquence or composure to communicate this. Instead, he just sings in probably the most terrified tone, “GIMMIE LOVE.”
“Oh my god, what is happening?” Jeremy says, a hand on his face, but he’s smiling. That’s probably a good sign. “That’s a boombox, holy shit. You have Carly Rae on cassette?”
“I made it happen for you, dude,” Michael tells him. “Only the best tunes for your promposal.”
And fuck. Whoops. There goes the cool intro he had planned, he thinks as he frantically thinks of what he can do to salvage the situation.
Cause I want what I want, do you think that I want too much?—
“Do you wanna fuckin’ go to prom with me?” Michael blurts, immediately wanting to smack himself in the face. The only thing stopping him is the boombox that would crash over his head if he did. He’d end up with a concussion. “Fuck—It’s just. I remembered when you told me forever ago that you secretly liked cheesy shit like boombox proposals and I figured I could totally make that happen. But, wow, this is going pretty awful so far because I had a speech. I asked Jake to help me write index cards. I told him it was for debate, but it’s just me talking about you.” Okay, a concussion actually doesn’t sound too bad right now. “They’re in my pocket. The index cards, I mean. But I can’t get to them because of the boombox, and yeah, I had a plan. Which isn’t happening anymore. So, uh. Do you want to go to prom with me!”
It’s the way we are together. Wanna feel like this forever—
“Why are you yelling?” Jeremy asks. His hand is still on his face, but Michael can see the goofy smile behind it, thank god.
“Because I’m nervous?” Michael laughs, because this is all ridiculous, really. His heart is beating fast and loud and his hands are clammy and he’s got a beautiful boy right here, smiling at him. “Because I’m standing in your yard and holding this thing is starting to hurt my arms. Because you’re my boyfriend and I’m asking you out to prom and you technically haven’t given me an answer, which! Is totally cool! Don’t feel any pressure to answer right now. Or ever, if you want. I’m—”
“Michael,” Jeremy interrupts him. He lowers his hands, and god, he’s something. Jeremy is blushing real bad to the tips of his ears and Michael realizes that Jeremy hasn’t stopped smiling this entire time.
“Yeah?” Michael says dumbly. Really, if anybody expects him to be coherent in the face of this, they don’t know what they’re dealing with. Surviving Jeremy Heere is an endless struggle.
Jeremy takes a deep breath. Then another. Then he shuts his eyes and he says,
No. No, he yells.
“I love you!” And the thing with Jeremy is that he’s pretty goddamn loud, when he wants to be. If the dulcet tones of Carly Rae Jepsen didn’t stir the neighbors, this definitely did.
Michael doesn’t know what to do with himself. A part of him wants to cry and kiss Jeremy and another part wants to ask why the fuck are we like this? But really, he’d never want to have it any other way.
“Why are you yelling?” Michael asks, overcome with love.
“It seemed like the right thing to do?” Jeremy shrugs.
Belatedly, Michael realizes that most of their I love yous were quiet affairs. At six years old, whispered happily in a pillow fort. At twelve, muttered while Michael helped Jeremy up from scraping his knees. Sixteen and the words spilling out to an empty passenger seat as he watches Jeremy walk away. Seventeen, breathless in between kisses. (I love you, I love you, I love you.)
There’s something exhilarating about being loud. About people hearing. Knowing.
“I love you too!” Michael yells over Jeremy’s bark of laughter. “But uh, is that a yes or a no or an ‘I’ll think about it’ or—”
“Put down the boombox, Michael, holy shit, of course it’s a yes.”
“Oh thank fuck,” Michael says in reply to both the things Jeremy just told him. He’s about to thank him because his arms were really starting to hurt, but he doesn’t get to talk at all because Jeremy grabs his face and kisses him.
He stops thinking about anything else after that. He just lets his hands fall to Jeremy’s waist and kisses back, trying to say I love you without saying anything at all.
Cause I want what I want, boy you, it’s what I need. Gimmie love, gimmie love, gimmie love, gimmie love—