The times from when Billy was alive were never talked about. Especially not in Billy's presence.
But that didn't stop Spencer from occasionally thinking about them.
Despite his obviously busy schedule and obviously huge ego, Billy never did miss a family reunion - but he always spent his time at Spencer's side. And he always visited the Wrights - but only if Spencer was the one to ask him over.
He could ask why, but he knew Billy hated remembering that he wasn't alive anymore, so he'd keep his thoughts to himself.
Spencer had been twelve when Billy died. He didn't know why all of the previous relatives had turned down offers to live in Billy's house, but it had taken a full year before the deed ended up coming to the Wrights.
He still remembered how excited he was to see his cousin - well, his mother's cousin - again when he'd put on the necklace. He'd practically begged his mother to keep the house, not wanting to lose Billy again, and fearing that whatever had deterred the others may deter her as well.
Thankfully, his mother had easily agreed.
Spencer had all of these thoughts and more running through his mind as he, Billy, Rajeev and Shanilla are hanging out at the Wi-Fri. Billy ran off at some point - the guy had the attention span of a goldfish - but they all had faith that he would come back. Until then, Shanilla brought up something that seemed to be bothering her.
"Billy really cares about you, doesn't he, Spencer?"
Spencer blinked, and he smiled. "Of course he does. We're bros!"
"I just mean... He cares about you a lot. Like, maybe more than you think..."
Bewildered, Spencer just stared at her. "I mean, yeah, I know he cares about me," he said, ever oblivious to Shanilla's meaning. "He always has. Even before he... You know."
"Wait, I thought you guys didn't meet until you moved here," Rajeev cut in. "You met him before?"
"Of course. He came to family reunions, and he came to visit my family a lot." He didn't mention the parts that had to do with him clinging to Spencer. That didn't really seem like it would be taken the right way.
...What was the right way, he wondered?
"So, how did he act before he... You know? Any different?"
"Not really," Spencer said with a shrug. "I mean, more bitchy, sure - I remember this one time, paparazzi followed him to our house, and he threw a rock through one of the cars' windshields. Then he ran inside and spent the rest of the day playing video games with me." He paused. "He... Did that a lot. Came over and then spent all of his time with me. Once, he said that if it wasn't for me, he wouldn't even bother with family."
He gave a soft, awkward laugh. He wasn't sure why he'd just admitted that. He glanced around - no sign of Billy yet.
"And even now, he's so caring towards you," Shanilla noted. "Once he even gave you his singing talent! He... Spencer, I think he-"
"Yo! I forgot why I left so I figured I'd just come back!" Billy declared as he suddenly plopped down next to Spencer. He draped an arm over Spencer's shoulders - this was normal, Billy was always touching him. He'd once confided in Spencer that he was the only thing that gave him warmth. Spencer could never decline his touches after that.
"So, what are we talking about?" At Billy's question, the other three glanced nervously at each other, all knowing how he would react to talking about before his death.
Seeing no way past it, Spencer said, "I was telling them about how you used to visit me and my family a lot."
To their surprise, Billy grinned. "Nice! Did you tell them about how I used to let you make videos with me?"
Faltering, Spencer could only shake his head in reply.
Spencer knew what Shanilla had been about to say. And he wasn't sure how to take it.
Billy, his cousin - no, his mother's cousin - in love with him? Someone who was seven years younger than him?
"Hey, Billy?" Spencer spoke once they were home, alone in Spencer's room. But he couldn't bring himself to ask, so instead he said, "How come you weren't freaking out earlier? Usually you hate when we talk about before... You know..."
Billy seemed to genuinely consider it, then shrugged. "I dunno. Probably because we were talking about a time before I died when you were with me."
Spencer's eyes widened. Billy had just outright said 'died' without even flinching. It took Spencer a minute to reply, "You've... Always had a soft spot for me, huh?"
Billy chuckled almost bitterly at that. "You have no idea." He glanced over at Spencer. "I haunted the cheese out of everyone who came before your family. I wanted to make sure that you were the one who got to live here."
Spencer swallowed thickly. "Billy..." Finally, he forced it out, "Do you love me? I mean, are you in love with me?"
Billy stared at Spencer, pain in his eyes and a bittersweet smile at his lips.
"Yeah. I am. I always have been."
Before Spencer can even formulate a reply, Billy continued, "Don't respond. Not yet. If you feel the same, you should tell me when you're older. And if you don't, then..." He sighed shakily. "Then I'd rather wait to know."
Spencer swallowed thickly, and nodded. "Okay."