Thomas burst through the front door, reminding himself to thank Teresa for giving him that spare key to watch her cats that one time. ‘Teresa, are you home?’ He yelled through the flat once again.
Silence. Apart from the cats now purring against his legs. Maybe she didn’t hear him.
Suddenly, there came a small crash from the room next to him, right before the door swung open, revealing a very disheveled Teresa.
‘For fuck’s sake, Thomas! What?!’
He raised his eyebrows incredulously. ‘Wow, I mean you could be a little nicer to your brother.’
Teresa closed her eyes and took a deep breath, looking like she was trying to shove something deep down inside her. An urge to kill, perhaps. ‘Tom, I am busy. What do you want?’
What did he want? He’d been in his dorm, bored out of his mind, throwing a hacky sack up and then catching it when it fell. He had nothing else to do other than let his mind wander. And wander it did. ‘It’s about Newt.’
She sighed visibly. ‘Give me a sec.’ She slammed the door and everything was quiet for a second. Thomas thought she’d abandoned him and was about to leave when he heard a frustrated groan come from the other side of the door. He narrowed his eyes and nearly jumped when the door swung open and a completely different girl appeared, stomping towards the front door. Teresa popped out a second after shouting, ‘I’ll call you!’
‘BITE ME!’ The nameless girl yelled before slamming the door.
If looks could kill, Thomas would be a puddle on the floor. ‘This better be worth it.’ Teresa muttered, glaring at him before moving to sit on the living room sofa.
‘Okay,’ he began, plopping down next to her, ‘First of all, that was not on me. I am your brother. I’m not allowed to know that you even have a sex life. Second of all, I’ve been thinking about Newt.’
Teresa rolled her eyes. ‘And? You always think about Newt? What’s new?’
‘What are you talking about? No, I don’t.’ He said, surprised.
‘Then why are we here when I could be having sex?!’
‘Oh god, please stop,’ he said, putting his face in his hands. Taking a deep breath, he continued. ‘So I was just lying there, in the dorm, thinking. And then I started thinking about Newt. Just basic stuff like the project we have to do and the laundry.’ He took a deep breath. ‘But then, I started thinking about the way his eyes crinkle when he laughs. And how he always wakes me up and makes sure I’m okay when I have a nightmare. And how whenever he comes out of shower and that towel just-,’ he gets cut off before he can finish.
‘Okay, okay. Don’t need that picture in my head. I get it, thank you.’
Thomas rolls his eyes and continues. ‘I just- I think I have a crush on my roommate and that’s dangerous, so I need your help. I’ve got to squash it.’
‘Oh, honey that’s cute, but you so don’t have a crush on Newt.’ Thomas narrowed his eyes at her, unsure.
‘Uh, yes I do, T.’
‘Uh, no you don’t, Tom.’
‘Really? Then, why are we sitting here talking about this when you could be having sex?’ He threw back, a cocky grin lighting up his face.
Teresa seemed unmoved in his confidence and leaned forward with a smirk. ‘I’m going to ask you a few questions and I want you to answer them as quickly as possible. The first answer that comes to your head. Okay?’ Thomas nodded, not really sure where this was going. ‘Good. What is Newt’s favourite colour?’
‘We’ve been roommates for three years. This isn’t gonna prove I don’t have a crush on him, T.’
‘Just answer the fucking question, Thomas. This doesn’t work unless you answer immediately.’
Thomas sighed, wondering where the hell she was going with this. ‘Fine. Green. But like a soft green.’
Teresa rolled her eyes, but continued. ‘What film does he like to watch when he’s sick?’
‘Where’s he from?’
‘Favourite ice cream flavour?’
‘Are you in love with Newt?’
‘Love.’ Teresa stated. ‘The one thing harder to squash than a crush.’ She paused. ‘Also cockroaches.’
‘This isn’t funny, Teresa.’ He felt like he couldn’t breathe. Was he really in love with Newt? This couldn’t be right. But it didn’t feel wrong, either. He thought back on their time together. The late nights. The stares. The heartbeat that sped up just that little bit more when he was around him. This wasn’t new. ‘Oh god. I’m in love with my best friend.’
Teresa smiled, sympathetically this time. ‘Tough blow. You can’t get rid of this Thomas. Trust me, I know,’ she said, taking a long sip of a drink Thomas hadn’t realised she’d poured. There was more to this story.
‘What do you mean?’ He asked, curiously.
Teresa took a deep breath and placed her drink on the table. ‘Do you remember Dory?’
“Barely,’ he answered. ‘I just remember you were friends with her during freshman year and that her name was Dory.’ He giggled, earning him another glare from Teresa.
‘It was a nickname, dumbass. Anyway, we met in one of my introduction classes. She was… perfect. We became really good friends. We hung out all the time. Marathoned all kinds of movies when we weren’t in class. She even got me to eat healthier for a bit, believe it or not. Love can do weird things to a person.’
Thomas looked up. ‘You were in love with her?’
Teresa wasn’t looking at him, but instead at something in the distance, as if Dory were sitting on the other side of the room. She smiled. “Head over heels. Once I found out she had dated a girl, it was that much easier to let myself fall. It’s like I thought that maybe now I had an actual chance.’ She stopped for moment, contemplating, and Thomas wondered if she was going to continue. ‘When I found out that she was an avid Trump supporter, things started going south. I guess, personally, it was just something I couldn’t really move past. It wasn’t really noticeable at first, but we started hanging out less. There were more days between our marathons. I went back to burgers and tacos.’ She scoffed at that. ‘We were still good friends, though. And even though I was still in love with her, I no longer wanted to be with her. I figured I had nothing left to lose. So I told her.’
Thomas’ eyes widened, surprised. ‘You told her? That you loved her?’
‘Well, a variation of that. I told her that I had a teeny tiny crush on her that ended about a month into our friendship. Apples and Oranges.’
‘And are you still friends?’ He asked tentatively.
Teresa shrugged. ‘We haven’t spoken since.’
Thomas was about ready to pass out now. ‘Oh god,’ he whispered, putting his face in his hands. She quickly took his hands back and held them.
‘But that’s my point. Dory and I were good friends, of course. But you and Newt are best friends. You are the closest that two people could possibly be-’
Thomas cut her off. ‘Which means I’ve got that much more to lose.’
Teresa sighed. ‘Look, if you don’t tell him, he’s going to find out eventually.’
He glared at her incredulously. ‘Teresa, what the fuck?!’
She waved him off. “Not me, dumbass. You know how good I am at keeping secrets.’
She patted his hands, meaning it as a comfort. ‘You.’ He shook his head, not fully understanding what it was she was trying to tell him. ‘When we’re in love, our biology changes. Serotonin production in the brain is upped and we’re happier.’
‘Yeah, I really wasn’t looking for a science major for a sister, thanks.’
‘Too bad ‘cause that’s all you’ve got.’ He laughed. He really did love his sister. ‘Now that the brain is eating up all that serotonin, it needs all it can get. Every look, every touch, every laugh brings you more happiness. And the byproduct of that is that we start to get sloppy. The brain wants more, so we stare longer. We hold the touches that we get. And we tell more jokes just so we can see that laugh again.’ She sighs, circling back. ‘Whenever I spent time with Dory, I caught myself staring. A lot. I remember she played the piano for me once. I snapchatted it maybe twice that day. But aside from the two that I put up on my story, there were at least fifteen others that I saved on my phone.’ Thomas raised his eyebrows at that. ‘Yeah, I was a hot gay mess back then. But that’s my point. If you don’t tell Newt, your biology is going to do it for you.’
Thomas thought for a moment. ‘I don’t stare that much, do I?’
‘Honey, if he were the sun, you’d be blind by now,’ she stated, giggling. He rolled his eyes, playfully, knowing his sister always meant well.
‘So,’ she began, standing abruptly, ‘Sounds like you’ve got a lot of thinking to do. Meanwhile, I’m gonna call Brenda and see if maybe she’s less pissed by now.’
‘Brenda?’ He asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
‘My date that you so rudely interrupted. Although, it is nice to know that I’m not the only rainbow sheep in the family.’ She smirked as she picked up her phone and began to walk away.
‘Yeah?’ She asked, turning back toward him.
‘You still think about her?’
‘Dory?’ He nodded. She smiled sadly. ‘Barely. But every time her name pops up on snapchat, my heart still beats a little faster. Haven’t really found a cure yet, I guess.’ She scoffed. ‘Good luck, Tom.’ With that, she was gone. Probably off to call Brenda.
Teresa was right.
He had a lot of thinking to do.
None of Thomas’ friends had classes during lunch, so everyone always met up at the university’s cafeteria.Thomas was the last one there, which was normal considering his class was usually the last to let out. His eyes wandered over to their table. Teresa was there, with the girl he recognised from yesterday curled into her side. Brenda, probably. It looked like everything had sorted itself out in that department. Minho was next to them. Then Gally. Then Fry.
And then there was Newt, a seat empty between him and Teresa. He always ended up sitting next to Newt, no matter the situation. Whether it was in the cafeteria, the cinema, or a study group in the library, he was always next to Newt. He was always the last to show up, so maybe everyone just avoided that spot because they knew Thomas would sit there. Shit, did everyone know?
He shook his head, trying to clear his mind, and walked over to the group. As he got closer, he noticed a few more things about Newt. He was wearing his favourite green hoodie today. The one he wore yesterday. The one that Thomas loved. Newt had let him borrow it once. He’d just had a nightmare and Newt practically leaped to the rescue. He must’ve been noticeably shivering, so Newt took off his hoodie and placed it around his shoulders as he comforted him. Thomas woke up that next morning wearing the hoodie. It still smelled like him.
The hoodie really complimented his eyes. Although, nothing could make the deep, deep brown of Newt’s eyes unappealing. His hair would occasionally flop into his face, covering them, and all Thomas wanted to do was push it back and look straight into them forever. Even though it was honestly adorable when his hair did that. It was messy today, but it still looked good. He managed to make everything look good. He-
‘Tommy, you in there?’ He blinked and suddenly he was at the table. How long had he been standing there?
‘Huh?’ was all he could muster.
‘You’ve been, I don’t know, staring. Are you okay?’ Newt asked.
‘Staring?’ Oh no.
‘Yeah. What’s going on with you?’ He asked as Thomas took his seat, trying his best to breathe normally.
‘Biology,’ Teresa sang softly. He turned his head slowly to glare back at her. She was actually smiling. ‘Hey there. Did you not get enough sleep last night? Doing some thinking perhaps?’ She prompted, tilting her head as she smirked.
‘I hate you,’ he whispered.
‘Love you too,’ she said, turning back to Brenda and continuing to smile.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and suddenly, ‘Seriously, though, Tommy. You good?’
That nickname. A few people throughout his life have tried to call him Tommy, but he always hated it and corrected them immediately. Newt was different, though. Thomas never corrected him when they first met. He was too taken aback by how good it sounded coming out of that English mouth of his. It became Newt’s thing. He still corrected everyone when they tried to call him that, but not Newt. Never Newt.
‘Tommy!’ He was suddenly brought out of another staring spell when Newt clicked his fingers in front of his face. He shook his head, trying to snap himself out of it. He really had to stop doing that.
‘Yeah, yeah, I’m good. Just tired, I guess,’ he lied. Maybe Teresa was right. He was going to give himself away sooner or later if he didn’t get control of himself.
‘Do you want to go back to ours?’ Ours. That sounded right to Thomas. ‘You could take a nap and after we could study or watch a film or something?’ He didn’t have anymore classes that day and he knew Newt didn’t, either. And to be honest, that sounded like heaven. He actually didn’t get much sleep last night, anyway.
‘Sounds fantastic,’ he responded eagerly. Probably a bit to eagerly, seeing as he heard Teresa snort next to him.
Newt laughed. ‘Okay. Let me just trade notes with Minho for Chem. Told him I’d let him borrow them.’ He said, moving to the other side of the table.
Thomas took this opportunity to turn to his temperamental sister. ‘Why do you hate me?’
She threw her hands up. ‘Hey, I’m not the one who’s super eager to spend time with Newt away from the group,’ she explained, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.
‘I’m not afraid to hit a girl, you know. Just so you’re aware.’
‘Mmhm.’ Then, her voice dropped to a whisper as she leaned closer to him. ‘You should probably go, though. Loverboy’s waiting.’
Quickly turning his head, he noticed that Newt was indeed waiting for him, smiling at him with that dopey Newt smile. He blushed before swiftly standing and making his way over to him. But not before giving his sister a good punch in the arm.
Thomas hadn’t been alone with Newt since he’d realised his feelings. He had already left for class when Thomas woke up. Now, he was nervous. He’d lived with Newt for three years and yet, now, he just didn’t know how to act around him. He was screwed.
‘Why don’t you take a nap on the sofa or something? I’ll wake you in like an hour?’ Newt suggested as he unlocked the door to their shared dorm.
When they walked in, he saw it. The sofa. It’s like now that he realised he was in love, memories came flooding back to him.
They’d gotten that sofa at a used furniture shop. It was perfect. Small enough to fit in their tiny dorm, but could easily fit both of them. Sometimes, though, they didn’t even need all that space. Newt was sick one day, so Thomas skipped class with him to watch movies on the sofa. After a while, Newt had gravitated towards Thomas, cuddled into his side as he ate the ice cream that Thomas had run out to get for him. Strawberry, of course.
‘Tommy?’ He was brought out of the memory once again by Newt. He spoke more softly than he did when they were with their friends. He was looking at him, worry colouring his brown eyes. ‘Is there anything you want to talk about?’
Thomas sighed. There was no way he was going to be able to stuff this down, no matter how hard he tried. He had to tell him. He didn’t want to lose him, though. He didn’t want this to become another Dory story.
‘Dory!’ He suddenly shouted.
Newt jumped, placing his hand over his heart. ‘Okay, either you really want to watch Finding Nemo or you really are losing it. Maybe you should lie down.’ He said, placing a hand on his shoulder.
‘No, no, you’re right. We really need to talk.’
Newt shot Thomas a concerned glance before sitting down on their sofa. ‘Okay, what’s going on?’
Thomas plopped down next to him and continued. ‘Remember Teresa’s friend, Dory? They were friends freshman year?’
‘A little. I vaguely remember her sitting with us at the table a few times.’ He pondered.
‘Right. Well, I’m pretty sure she’s going to kill me for telling you this, but Teresa was completely in love with her. The kind of love where you can’t stop thinking about them. You can’t stop staring. They take up every day of your life, no matter how hard you try to stop it.’ He began.
He shrugged. ‘Sounds nice.’
‘But Dory didn’t love her.’
‘Oh, well, never mind. Now it sounds like shit.’ He corrected himself. ‘Where are you going with this, Tommy?’
He groaned, trying his best to rub the exhaustion and stress out of his eyes. ‘Somewhere I’m not going to be able to come back from.’ Newt narrowed his eyes, worried. Thomas sighed and continued, shutting his eyes. He didn’t want to see Newt’s face when he told him. ‘She hasn’t spoken to Dory since she told her how she felt. I don’t think I could bare it if that happened to us.’
‘Tommy, what’re you-’ Thomas looked up at his friend, hoping that he would figure it out on his own. He did. His eyes widened as realisation coloured his features. ‘Are you-’
‘I’m in love with you, Newt.’
There it was. He couldn’t hold it in any longer. It was as if he could breathe again. Like the words had been choking him until he was finally able to let them out. But now he knew. And he had zero idea as to how Newt was going to react to this. Thomas let his eyes move upward to Newt’s and he didn’t really recognise the emotion that lay behind them. Shit.
‘I don’t know for how long.’ He started, figuring he might as well let it all out there. ‘Maybe I always have been, if I’m being honest with myself. But after talking with Teresa yesterday, that’s when I realised. I’m always thinking about you. I’m always staring, even when I try not to. Hardly my fault, though. You’re kind of hard not to look at.’ He chuckled and, to his surprise, so did Newt. Maybe this would all turn out okay. ‘Look, the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t want to turn into another Teresa and Dory. If we have to forget about this completely, then I’ll do that.’ He looked up at Newt and instantly thought how hard it’d be to do that. ‘But you’re my best friend, Newt. And I just- I just don’t want to lose you.’
Newt sighed, smiling, and it eased Thomas’ nerves, like Newt always did. ‘Tommy, you’d never lose me. In fact, I’m relieved. I didn’t know how much longer I’d be able to hold it in.’
Thomas narrowed his eyes, confused. ‘What are you talking about? Hold what in-’ He was cut off when he felt a pair of very soft lips on his. He let out a small startled noise.
It took him a few moments to realise that Newt’s lips were actually moving against his, and when he did, he immediately kissed back. To say Newt’s lips were soft was an understatement. It was like kissing a cloud. The most beautiful cloud in existence.
Thomas took this opportunity to wind his hands around Newt’s neck, one of them burying itself in his blond waves. His hair. It was just as fluffy as he’d imagined it would be. When he felt Newt’s hands travel to his waist, he was a goner. He could spend the rest of life doing this.
But sadly, air was a necessity.
Once they pulled back, Thomas got a good look at Newt. His lips were now swollen. His cheeks were flushed. How long had they been doing this? He didn’t really care, to be honest. He just wanted to keep doing it. He was about to tell Newt just that, but all that seemed to come out of his mouth was, ‘Wow.’
Newt giggled, making him blush furiously. If his face wasn’t red before, it certainly was now.
‘You?’ Was all he could say next.
Newt smiled then, one of the brightest that Thomas had ever seen. ‘I have loved you for so bloody long.’ He admitted. ‘I just kept it hidden because I didn’t think you felt the same.’
‘How the hell did you do that? I barely lasted a day!’ Newt laughed at that and Thomas couldn’t help but join him.
‘I guess I have more self control than you do,’ he concluded, raising one eyebrow.
‘Oh, do you now?’ Newt nodded, suppressing a laugh. ‘Wow, someone’s cocky.’ He teased, bringing one of his hands up to cup his face.
‘Only the best for you,’ he proclaimed overdramatically, as he gave him a peck on the nose for good measure. Now, it was Thomas’s turn to giggle.
‘So,’ Thomas began, his voice softening and thumb gently moved across Newt’s cheek. ‘What happens now?’
‘Well, I think Now would be the moment I ask you to be my boyfriend, but don’t worry, I’ll give you some time to think about it.’ He smirked.
‘Oh good, cause I’ll need like a couple months, at least.’ That earned him a playful slap on the arm from Newt. ‘Okay, okay, I’m done,’ he laughed. ‘That sounds perfect.’
‘Good,’ was all Newt said before burying his fist in his shirt and pulling Thomas’ lips toward his own, kissing his boyfriend.
Thomas like the sound of that.
They decided to emerge from their dorm and rejoin their friends a few days later. They hadn’t had any classes on the weekend, so they didn’t really have an excuse to leave the room. Which worked perfectly well for both of them, considering all they wanted to do was spend time with each other.
Once they made it to the cafeteria, they figured it’d be better to just see how long it took their friends to notice.
It didn’t really take that long. Everyone knew the second Minho stood up the second they walked up and shouted, ‘Finally! It’s about time you two shanks got your heads out of your asses!’
Lunch actually progressed fairly normally after that, as nothing had changed. Well, hardly anything did. There was just kissing involved now, which Thomas wasn’t complaining about.
‘Hey,’ he heard, turning his head to find Teresa looking at him with a smile on your face. ‘I’m glad you guys worked it out.’
He smiled back, throwing his arm around her and giving her a hug. ‘Thanks.’
‘I mean, when Newt told me he was in love with you, I knew it was bound to happen eventually.’
His eyes went wide as he turned back toward her, withdrawing his arm. ‘T, what the fuck? Why didn’t you tell me? This all could’ve been dealt with so much easier.’
She scoffed. ‘One, I told you I could keep a secret.’ Thomas rolled his eyes. ‘And two, it’s because if you knew, you would’ve done this for both of you, jumping right in without really thinking about it. This is something you needed to do for yourself. To get that weight off your chest. And you did.’
‘You’re just some kind of master manipulator, aren’t you?’ He asked, smirking.
‘Only cause I care,’ she smiled.
He sighed, smiling back. ‘Thanks, T.’
‘Anytime.’ She said, patting his shoulder and returning to whatever conversation she was having with Brenda.
Thomas took this opportunity to look around the table. Surrounded by his friends. Sat between his boyfriend and his sister, the two people he cared about most in this world. Everyone seemed happy. At peace.
Life was good. And now, thanks to some random girl named Dory, he had someone to share it with.