Simon Snow is the last person you’d expect to be a vampire. His tan skin and blue eyes practically radiate life. Everything about him is golden and warm and alive. He’s the clumsiest person I’ve ever met. I don’t know how he manages to feed, since every creature on the planet can hear him from a mile away. On top of that, he’s the Mage’s Heir, and everyone knows that the Mage doesn’t tolerate vampires.
I only know because he’s my roommate. Almost every night, he leaves for an hour or two to hunt rats in the Catacombs. He wouldn’t ever hurt a person, and he told me once he feels bad when he drains a larger animal like a deer. We used to hate each other, but ever since I found out about the vampire thing in third year, we’ve been pretty good friends. We’ll never be as close as him and Bunce are, but I don’t mind. Bunce is Snow’s other half, they practically finish each other’s sentences.
The first time I caught Snow going hunting, I tried to confront him about being a vampire. Instead of blowing up in my face like I’d expected, he started crying. Apparently, it’s just as easy to hate yourself when you’re the golden child of the magical world as when you’re the mostly forgotten son of the former headmistress.
Snow doesn’t try to hide his hunting trips anymore. We both know where he’s going. We sit together at lunch most days, with Bunce and Wellbelove of course. I help him with his homework, and we know we’re both there for each other. It isn’t the most obvious friendship, we aren’t around each other all the time, but it’s lasted five years so far.
I thought I had ruined everything during fifth year. That year, I began to develop a crush on Snow. It started with little things. My skin would tingle after his fingers accidentally brushed against mine. I found myself noticing the way the sunlight bounced off his bronze curls. Later on, I started having some confusing dreams, all of which heavily featured Snow. I would catch myself daydreaming about holding hands with Snow, then about what his lips would feel like on my neck. When he went on missions for the Mage, I worried for him, and as summer drew nearer I would absentmindedly scheme ways to save Snow from the foster system. By the beginning of sixth year, I knew I was in love with him.
Somehow, despite making basically no effort to keep my feelings a secret, Snow still hasn’t caught on. Everyone else in the school knows; I’ve zoned out staring at him enough times. If I had any form of literary talent, I’m sure the margins of my notebooks would have been filled with embarrassing poems ages ago. I haven’t told him yet. Mostly because I am strangely curious as to exactly what I have to do for him to figure it out. (Also, I’m slightly terrified of actually telling him.)
But it’s been three years, and after this year is over, we’ll go to different unis and probably never see each other again. High school friends don’t often last a lifetime. I’ve loved him for so long, I don’t know what I would do then. Watching him date Wellbelove for a year or so felt like a slowly twisting knife in my heart. I tried to be happy for them, but it was difficult when I knew their relationship wasn’t working anyway. (And when I could think of how much I wanted him.) I’ve long suspected she broke it off with him so soon partly because she knew how much their relationship was hurting me. And if that relationship hurt, I can’t imagine seeing Snow actually happy with someone at university.
The past few months have been filled with a sort of sinking feeling. It’s almost the winter holidays, and come June, my time at Watford will be over. Things are slowly ending. And if this is the end, then there’s really no point in this incredibly lame pining, is there? I don’t know when exactly the idea entered my mind, but at some point, I made up my mind. I’m going to tell Snow how I feel. I’m going to ask him to the Winter Formal.
Baz has been acting very suspicious the last few days. It almost reminds me of first and second year, when I thought he was plotting all the time. He must be plotting something now, with all the whispering him and Penny are constantly doing, but I don’t think it’s anything bad. If it were, Penny wouldn’t have gotten involved.
I think he’s planning to ask someone to the Winter Formal. I overheard him and Penny talking about the dance last week, but as soon as they knew I was there, they stopped talking. It’s probably Agatha; I’m pretty sure he’s liked her for a while. It must be a surprise, which is why they aren’t telling me. Keeping the whole vampire thing a secret is really the extent of my secret-keeping abilities. Still, I’m kind of hurt that he’s not planning it with me. I guess Penny does know Agatha better than me.
Of course, if Baz is asking Agatha, that ruins my plan to ask him. I realized I liked Baz around the same time Agatha and I broke up – about two years ago. We’d been friends for a while, so I’d assumed that I missed him when he wasn’t around because I wanted to spend more time with my friend. Then I went to his football game, just like I did at every game, and I realized how wrong I was. I was lucky I was sitting down at the game, because otherwise I might have fallen over. My mind became a steady stream of hothotreallyhotniceasshowdoeshelooksogood. Despite being extremely obvious in my staring, nobody caught on.
After the winter holiday, there are only six months left of school. Of time with Baz. So, I’d figured I should ask him to the Winter Formal, just to see if there was any chance he could actually like me back. But I guess I won’t be doing that now.
When I get back from hunting that night, Baz isn’t in the room. That’s strange, because I get back late and he usually goes to sleep fairly early. I wonder where he is as I get ready for bed. A few minutes later, I hear a knock on the door. I have no idea who it could be, as neither Penny nor Baz ever knocks, and I have no clue who else would come to our room in the middle of the night.
When I open the door, I am awestruck. Baz is standing outside our room, wearing a suit, holding roses. On the other hand, I am wearing pajama bottoms and have a toothbrush in my mouth.
“What the fuck?” I can’t form words. What is happening?
Baz’s dark skin turns bright red. “D’you want to go to the dance with me?” He asks as fast as he possibly can.
My jaw drops, providing him with what I am sure is a beautiful view of toothpaste. “What?” I repeat.
“Well, I was just going to casually ask you, like in conversation, but then Bunce told me that I should do some sort of promposal, except it’s not actually prom, but for some reason she told me it was the best idea, so I went with it,” Baz rambles. “Was this a bad idea? It probably was.”
“No, it’s just that, well, I thought you were going to ask Agatha.” Saying it out loud, while Baz is hovering in the door holding flowers he bought for me, makes me feel a little dumb.
He laughs nervously. “Snow, I’m gay. I thought you knew that.”
“I probably should’ve,” I grimace. “Sorry?”
“I feel like a fucking idiot standing out here like this,” Baz says. The hand holding the flowers falls; the blossoms barely brush the floor. “Can I just come in and we forget this ever happened?”
No. I don’t know what I can say, but I know I have to say something. I’ve spent the last four school dances wishing I was there with Baz, and now I have the opportunity and it is slowly slipping through my fingers. “Wait. I didn’t say I wouldn’t go with you.”
“I don’t want to be a pity date,” Baz spits angrily.
“I was going to ask you,” I confess, “except… yeah. You know what I thought.”
Baz’s eyebrows shoot up. “You were going to ask me?”
“Yeah. I’ve wanted to for a couple years now.”
Now it’s Baz’s turn to look awestruck. “Really? I’ve been working up the courage to do this for years, too.”
“I really want to kiss you,” I say, “except…” I motion to myself with the toothbrush I’m still holding.
Baz laughs, for real this time. “Yeah.”
“I should probably finish brushing my teeth first. And put on a shirt.”
Baz wiggles his eyebrows at me, still laughing. “That second one’s optional,” he jokes.
“Not yet,” I laugh. “We’re not there yet.”
We finally leave the doorway, and once we’re inside we settle into our normal routines. I still can’t believe Baz asked me out. And like that, too. The most difficult thing to believe is that we’ve both been pining for each other for years, while living in the same room, and we just now figured it out. I shake my head, smiling to myself. I am going on a date with Baz. A date.
I’m going to have to thank Penny for that. Despite being the most awkward experience of my life, that was priceless.