While Will couldn’t see, he knew almost exactly where he was when someone bumped into him on the street with a harsh, “Watch where you’re going.” He was about six blocks from the apartment that he shared with his sister Kayla - four blocks north and two blocks east - and he was maybe twenty feet from the next crosswalk.
He snorted a laugh, assuming that the man that had collided with him had already continued on, and said, “Yeah, I’ll be sure to do that.”
Will shifted his weight forward and gave a light tug on the leash in his hand, though his service dog Mina didn’t budge at his side, which meant that there must have been something blocking his path.
“Oh, shit,” the same voice from before said from directly in front of Will, the bitterness completely cleared from his tone. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Will said. “Honest mistake, it’s fine.”
“No, that was incredibly rude of me,” the man said, and Will realized that he wasn’t about to just let it go. “Let me make it up to you somehow. Can I buy you a coffee?”
Will’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. Normally someone would offer to walk him across the street or something else equally as condescending. “Oh! Uh, sure. I think there’s a coffee shop at the end of the block here - I mean, if the smell is anything to go by.”
“Yeah, it’s one of my favorites,” the man said, and there was a subtle difference in his voice that made Will suspect that he’d taken a few steps away from him and toward the coffee shop. Will went to take a step to follow the sound of the man’s voice, but Mina pressed protectively against his leg.
“Mina, don’t be rude,” Will said to his dog, and so after a short moment she allowed him to follow the other man. “I’m Will, by the way.”
“Nico,” the other responded. “Hang on, let me get the door.” There was the sound of bells chiming that let Will know to continue walking forward until he was assaulted by the smell of coffee and the loud whirring of machines. “Do you want to grab a table?”
“Yes, if you don’t mind,” Will said.
“Sure, most of the tables are open, except for the ones near the windows,” Nico told him. “Uh, they’re off to your left, the closest is maybe five feet away from you. I can order if you want to take a seat?”
“Could you get me a mocha frappe?” Will asked, and waited for Nico confirm before he turned and allowed Mina to lead him to the nearest table. He sat with his back to the door, and he felt Mina relaxing until she was laying under the table, completely covering one of Will’s feet. There wasn’t anything for him to do except sit and wait, so he tried to listen for something - anything that wasn’t the hissing and grinding of the machines all tucked into one corner of the room.
The first thing he caught was Nico’s voice saying, “--and a mocha frappe.”
“Ooh, got yourself a date, did you?” the barista asked in a teasing tone.
“I wish,” Nico said, and in his surprise, Will momentarily lost his focus on the conversation.
“--snatch him up before somebody else does,” he heard the barista say when he caught up again. “He’s too cute for his own good. Anyway! Here are your drinks, enjoy!”
“Excuse me, sir,” a woman’s voice said from right beside Will, startling him so much that he jumped slightly. “We don’t allow pets inside.”
“Oh, no, it’s okay,” Will said. “She’s a service dog.”
“We don’t allow those, either,” the woman said. Will guessed that she was probably the manager, though the tone of her voice made him think she frequently said, Can I speak to the manager? “It’s too easy to claim that any pet is a service animal, so we can’t allow any animals inside without the proof of proper paperwork.”
Will frowned. “I’m blind. Isn’t that proof enough?”
“Is there a problem?” Nico asked from Will’s other side, and Will flinched again at the unexpected proximity of a new voice. Damn those noisy machines, he couldn’t pick up any footsteps or breathing until people were practically on top of him!
“Oh! You… You’re--” the woman started, her voice sounding shocked and flustered, though for what reason, Will couldn’t tell. She cleared her throat and started again. “Um. There are no pets allowed, and if you refuse to follow the rules, then I’m going to have to ask both of you to leave.”
“I’m sure you can make an exception,” Nico insisted, voice polite but firm.
Will heard a hum of frustration from the woman before she huffed out a breath and said, “I suppose I can allow it, just this once.”
“Thank you,” Nico said, and Will - finally able to tune into the sounds around him - heard soft footsteps like tennis shoes on tile walking away from them. “Here’s your frappe,” he offered, and Will held out his hand to take the drink. He first felt the warm, softness of Nico’s fingers, and then the cold condensation on the outside of the plastic cup.
He heard the legs of a nearby chair scrape along the floor, and assumed that Nico had sat down in the seat across from him. “Thanks for the coffee,” Will said. “And for getting that lady to leave us alone.”
“Of course, it’s the least I could do for, uh. You know,” Nico said a bit awkwardly, and Will hid his smile by taking a sip of his drink. Maybe Nico thought that Will was attractive, but if Will were to guess, he’d say that Nico was probably the cuter one between them. “Does that happen a lot?”
“What?” Will asked. “The service dog thing, or people not realizing that I’m blind?”
“Both, I guess.”
Will leaned his elbows on the table while he took a second to think. “The service dog thing has been happening more and more frequently because some people are so entitled that they think they can bring their pets anywhere, but people normally hear I’m blind, and leave me and Mina alone. As for the other thing, I think a lot of people usually just don’t notice. They probably think I’m just a regular guy wearing sunglasses and walking his dog. That’s probably what you thought, right?”
“Well, yeah,” Nico answered. “Until I actually took a second to look at you, then I realized that I yelled at a cute guy and probably ruined my chances with you. And then I realized that you’re blind, and I kind of wanted to kick myself.”
This time when Will smiled, he didn’t try to hide it. “So I did hear you say that I’m cute.”
“When did you hear that?” Nico asked, trying to hide his nervousness behind a laugh, but Will wasn’t fooled.
“When you were ordering our drinks,” Will admitted, shrugging a shoulder. “I may not be able to see, but my hearing is pretty great.”
“Then I guess there’s no use in hiding it, but now that you know what I think about you…” Nico said, trailing off, and Will could hear the smile in his voice.
“Well, obviously you’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen,” Will replied, and a laugh burst from Nico. “I love blonds, and green eyes are very pretty. I’ve always been attracted to people shorter than me.”
Nico huffed, and Will heard a thump - like Nico had slumped back in his chair. “Of course, the height is the only thing you get right.”
“That’s the only one that wasn’t a guess,” Will said before taking a drink.
“How did you know?” Nico asked.
“Like I said, I have very good hearing,” Will told him. “Directionally, volume-wise, tone of voice - though I guess that’s more of a perception thing. That’s also why I’m pretty sure that you’re conventionally attractive.”
“Wow, I’m swooning. Is this normally how you flirt?”
“You’re not gonna guess how I know?”
“How did you guess, Will, that I’m such a gorgeous blond?”
“It’s how you talk, and how people talk to you,” Will told him. “You sound confident, even when talking to a cute stranger. That barista - obviously I’m not the best at flirting myself, but I’d have to guess that she was flirting with you, from the little bit that I heard. And that lady that tried to kick me and Mina out of here, as soon as you jumped in she didn’t even argue. People listen to attractive, able-bodied people.”
Nico leaned forward as he said, “So if you can tell all that about another person, then you must already know that you’re pretty handsome yourself.”
Will braced his elbows on the table and felt himself leaning forward as well. “Possibly, but I’m always a sucker for compliments.”
They sat and talked in the coffee shop for about another hour before Will started feeling like they would have to buy more drinks if they wanted to extend their welcome. Nico held the door open for him and Mina as they left, and as they stood outside on the sidewalk, Nico asked, “Would you mind if I walked you home?”
“That depends,” Will started. “Are you offering because you think I might get lost, or because you haven’t gotten enough of me yet?”
“Definitely the second one,” Nico answered.
“Oh! I forgot the third option: you’re following me home to rob me blind. You know, so to speak.”
Nico snorted. “Still the second one.”
“Good answer,” Will said. “I do have one condition though. Since I can’t see, it’s pretty easy for me to lose track of someone while I’m walking down the street, so in order for me to know where you are--”
“Are you trying to think of some clever way to get me to hold your hand?” Nico asked.
“Well, if you would’ve let me finish--”
Nico reached down and laced his fingers with Will’s. “I’d tell you to lead the way, but that’s probably up to Mina, right?”
Will pointed Nico in the right direction at each street corner until they had finally arrived outside Will’s apartment. Will had to drop Nico’s hands to fish out his keys and unlock the door, and instead of reaching around awkwardly to try to reconnect their fingers, Will said, “Would you like to come inside?”
“Sure,” Nico answered, and followed Will through the door. Once the door was shut behind them, Will dropped his keys in a bowl by the door and knelt down to unhook the leash from Mina’s harness, allowing her to move freely around the room, though she never strayed far from Will’s side. Will reached up and grabbed his sunglasses, about to remove them before he remembered his company, and left them alone.
“Make yourself at home,” he said, and gestured outward to the apartment. “Would you like a glass of water?”
“Yeah, sure,” Nico answered. “I can get it.”
“No, no, take a seat,” Will said. “I’ve got it, I’ll be right back.”
Will walked into the kitchen, hearing Mina’s nails clicking on the hardwood floor as she followed behind him. Expertly navigating the familiar space, he pulled two glasses from the cabinet and filled them about halfway with the pitcher from the fridge, before he returned to the living room.
He hesitated when he realized that he didn’t know where Nico was, and said, “Okay, uh, where are you?”
“Over here, on the couch,” Nico said, and Will’s head turned toward the sound of his voice. He walked over and handed Nico one of the glasses before sitting down on the opposite end of the couch. “Wow, you really weren’t kidding about how good your hearing is.”
“Of course not,” Will responded. “It’s one of my best qualities.”
“Best qualities, huh?” Nico repeated. “So, if I were to move anywhere in the room, you’d be able to tell where I am?”
Will heard a rustling sound like Nico was rising from the couch, and Will suspected that he might move away to the opposite end of the room and have Will guess where he was, but then the cushions dipped beside him and Nico - now much closer - said in a soft voice, “Where am I now?”
“Right here in front of me,” Will breathed, leaning into the touch when he felt Nico’s fingers brush against his cheek.
“Can I kiss you?” Nico whispered, his breath puffing against Will’s face.
“Please do,” Will said, and tilted his chin up to meet Nico’s lips. The press of Nico’s mouth to his was warm and soft and so eager, and Will thought it was his heightened sense of touch that made it feel like sparks were flying from the gentle friction between their lips (or maybe it was something else). He wound his arms around Nico’s shoulders - not quite as broad as he’d expected, but skinnier, bonier - drawing him closer, and only a moment later, pulling him away just slightly.
“Is this okay?” Nico asked, panting slightly.
“Yeah,” Will said, one hand sliding away from Nico’s shoulder until it was cupping his cheek. “Better than okay, but-- Can I...touch you?”
Nico leaned away, and Will started to panic. “Sorry! That’s-- That isn’t what I meant, I’m sorry. I just want to touch your face. Too look at you. Sort of.”
“Oh,” Nico said. “Okay, yeah, I get what you mean. Sure.”
Will raised his other hand up to Nico’s face and stroked his thumbs across the soft, smooth skin before moving his hands to feel the contours of Nico’s face. Strong jaw, high cheekbones, gently sloped but pointed nose-- “Do you pluck your eyebrows?”
“Sometimes,” Nico said, and Will could feel his face forming a defensive pout.
“What color are your eyes? And your hair?”
“Brown,” Nico answered. “Both hair and eyes, pretty dark brown.”
Will slipped a hand into Nico’s hair, gliding between the soft locks before his hands moved to Nico’s ears. “Your ears are so little.”
“Shut up, maybe your ears are just big.”
“Anyway, I was right,” Will said. “You’re definitely very attractive.”
Nico’s day had started before the sun had even risen. It was practically still the middle of the night when he’d gotten up and dressed and left home to go to work, only to have to get redressed once he arrived. He spent nearly an hour in hair and makeup, his stylist reminding him once again that he needed to get more sleep - the bags under his eyes were bad enough as they were, and they were only going to get worse unless he finally got a good night’s rest.
The day’s shoot happened at sunrise on some nearby rooftop, and from there Nico could see the coffee shop that he’d taken Will to earlier in the week. He was constantly getting distracted, his mind wandering back to what may or may not have been a date, and the photographer was continuously snapping at him to pay attention. For the next few hours, all Nico could think about was the two hour break he would get for lunch, during which he planned on calling a certain blond and hopefully inviting him out with him.
Nico was feeling like he wanted to go back to bed once his break finally rolled around, but hearing Will’s voice on the other end of the phone call gave him the energy boost he desperately needed. Instead of offering any kind of greeting, Will answered the call with, “Why did it sound like my phone was having some kind of stroke when it announced who was calling?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Nico joked, and when Will didn’t respond, he continued, “Oh, you mean the emojis! Yeah, I put those in my contact name when you told me to program my number into your phone.”
“Well, I hope you’re calling to tell me that you’re going to change it for me so I don’t have to hear that every time you call.”
Nico smiled down at his feet where they sat on the floor in the backseat of his driver’s car. Part of the reason he had such a long lunch break was that he needed time to go back to the studio and change out of his clothes for the shoot, which was where he was headed now - he would be killed if someone were to get pictures of him in the outfit he was currently wearing and then sell them to some magazine. “Expecting a lot of calls from me in the future, are you? And no, I called to see if you wanted to meet me for lunch somewhere. If you say yes, then maybe I can change my contact name.”
Nico could hear Will hum through the phone before he said, “Well, I don’t have a whole lot of time, but maybe you could bring some takeout to my office.”
Nico paused at Will’s mention of an office - what did Will need an office for? It was at that moment that Nico realized that he didn’t even know what Will did. Though, to be fair, Will didn’t know that Nico was a model either, so he supposed it was alright. “Yeah, sure, just give me the address. What should I bring?”
He could practically hear the embarrassment in Will’s voice when he said, “You’re probably going to think I’m gross, but I would kill for a Big Mac right now.”
Nico snorted. “Thank God, finally, someone with some taste. I’ll be there in, like, twenty minutes.”
Jules-Albert pulled up outside the front door of the studio and waited while Nico ran inside to change. He then took Nico through the McDonald’s drive-through, ordering a Big Mac for Will and a box of McNuggets for himself - he’d only been alloted one visit to McDonald’s each month, as ordered by his agent, and he may have already used up that slot but he deserved to treat himself every so often. In about ten minutes, they were pulling up outside the building that Will claimed held his office.
Nico carried the bag of food into the building, hesitating once he got through the front door. He glanced around from what seemed to be a little waiting area with chairs and a stack of magazines to his right to a hallway that stretched out in front of him, then noticed a small desk tucked into the corner off to his left.
“Hi,” the receptionist said in a perky voice. “Can I help you?”
“Uh,” Nico started, “I’m looking for Will?” He didn’t know why he phrased it as a question, but it may have been because he wasn’t even sure he was in the right place.
The receptionist frowned up at him. “Have you had an appointment with Doctor Solace before? You look awfully familiar, but I don’t recall seeing you here before, and he doesn’t have anything on his schedule for the next hour.”
“Nope, uh, no appointment,” Nico told her, then held up the bag in his hand. “I brought him lunch.”
“Oh! Well, alright,” the receptionist said, then pointed down the hallway. “First door on the left, knock when you go in, and announce yourself so he knows you’re there.”
Nico thanked her and turned away to walk down the hall. He stopped at the one the receptionist had claimed was Will’s office, and saw a small plaque at about eye-level with Will’s name engraved on it. He knocked twice on the door before pushing it open and stepping inside.
The room was dark, the only light filtering in between cracks in the blinds, and Nico thought for a second that Will wasn’t even in the room until he heard the clicking of fingers on a keyboard.
“Hey,” Nico called into the room as he shut the door behind himself, and Will’s head snapped up. “I brought lunch.”
“Hi,” Will replied, and after a short moment of silence he jumped out of his seat. “Shit, uh, I think there might be a lamp around here somewhere, or--”
“Will, it’s fine,” Nico told him, crossing the room and setting the McDonald’s bag on Will’s desk - next to the laptop he’d been typing on. “You mind if I open the blinds?” He stepped behind Will, trailing the fingertips of a single hand across Will’s shoulders as he passed.
Will turned his head to follow the feeling of Nico’s touch. “Oh, uh, no, go ahead.”
Nico pulled the blinds open as Will returned to his seat, the light revealing the mostly empty room - aside from Will’s desk, there was a single couch and two small armchairs, as well as Mina, who was curled up underneath Will’s desk. Nico turned back to Will’s desk and hopped up to sit on the edge, pressing one foot lightly against the seat of Will’s chair until it spun toward him and Nico was able to lean forward to press a kiss to Will’s lips.
“Hi,” Will said again when Nico pulled away, and his smile was so bright that it rivaled the sunlight now pouring in through the window. “Thanks for bringing me lunch.”
“No problem, Sunshine,” Nico replied. He grabbed the McDonald’s bag and dug around inside until his fingers found the box containing Will’s burger, and he handed it over.
“Sunshine?” Will asked.
“Do you want your fries right now, too?” Nico asked, still digging around in the bag.
“Nah, it’s easier for me to eat things one at a time,” Will replied. “Are you, uh, sitting on my desk?”
“Yeah, is that okay?” Nico asked, hand freezing around his box of chicken nuggets. “I can move, if you want.”
“No, it’s fine. I just wanted to know where you are,” Will answered. “There’s a couch that we can sit on that’s probably more comfortable, though.”
“About that,” Nico started, “why do you have a couch in your office?”
“Did I not tell you? I’m a therapist,” Will answered. “What did you think it is that I do?”
Nico shrugged as he popped open his box of chicken nuggets, and after a second remembered to speak. “Honestly, I had no idea.”
Will pushed his chair back from his desk and stood up, causing Mina to stir at his feet. “Let’s sit on the couch, and I’ll tell you all about it.” He kept one hand on the edge of his desk as he stepped to the side, sliding his fingers across the surface until his palm met Nico’s jean-covered thigh. Nico saw the high points of his cheekbones grow pink just underneath the edges of his sunglasses as he muttered a quick apology and continued around the side of the desk.
Nico grabbed the bag of food and hopped off the desk, following Will across the room to the couch and taking a seat - definitely closer to Will than he needed to be, but he figured he could just use the excuse that he wanted Will to know exactly where he was, if Will happened to ask. Mina followed close behind them, curling up again on top of Will’s feet, staring up at Nico as if to make sure he wasn’t going to do something to hurt Will.
“So, therapy,” Nico prompted before taking a bite out of one of his nuggets.
“It’s a bit of a long story,” Will said, flicking his thumb against one of the tabs that kept the box containing his burger closed. “I have choroideremia, which is a disease that causes blindness to develop over time. By the time I graduated high school, I was partially blind, and figured that a surgical residency wasn’t going to be happening in my future. So--”
“Surgical residency?” Nico repeated. “You wanted to be a surgeon?”
“That was the dream,” Will said with a sad smile. “Obviously it never would have worked out, though. So I went into therapy instead, because I figured that this would be the best way to help people - you know, medically - without needing to use my eyes. I was dual-enrolled in community college while I was still in high school, and took classes year-round after I graduated, and-- Well, I guess you could say that I got my degree just in time. About a year after I got my Psy.D, I lost my sight completely.”
“Shit,” Nico commented. “That’s...really something.”
Will shrugged. “I did what I had to do.” He popped open the box in his hands and pulled out the burger. “Anyway, what about you? What do you do that gives you so much free time in the middle of the day on a Wednesday?”
“Definitely not anything as impressive as what you did,” Nico said. “I never went to college or anything like that, but a got a couple hours for a lunch break today and I wanted to see you.”
“Really, that’s all you’re going to give me?” Will asked. “I rambled on about my blindness and partially crushed dreams, and you’re not even going to tell me what you do for a living?”
“Maybe it’s a secret,” Nico told him.
Will hummed before taking a bite out of his sandwich. “So you’re a hitman.”
Nico nearly choked on his chicken nugget in his surprise. “What? No! No, I’m not a hitman.”
“No!” Nico laughed. “Do I seem like I’m in the Mafia to you?”
“Well, I don’t know, Nico di Angelo,” Will joked, “you seem Italian enough, at least.”
“I’m not in the Mafia,” Nico assured him.
“Drug dealer? That’s probably the most realistic, honestly. The most common of those three, I mean.”
“I can’t believe you think so little of me,” Nico said, feigning offense.
“Alright, well, whatever it is that you do,” Will said, “can you at least change your contact name in my phone so I can tell who’s calling me?”
“Come on, don’t you like the emojis?”
Will froze with his burger raised halfway to his mouth. “Don’t tell me you have a ton of emojis on all of your contact’s names. Give me your phone.” He set the burger down and held out his hand, waiting until Nico took his own phone out of his pocket and set it in Will’s hand.
Will hit the home button twice until the phone pinged, and Will said, “Call Will Solace.”
A robotic female voice responded, “No contact found.”
Will pouted up at Nico, holding the phone out slightly, and Nico laughed at his reaction. “Call Sunshine.”
The phone responded, “Calling heart sun emoji Sunshine sparkle emoji heart.”
From across the room on Will’s desk, his phone started to ring, buzzing against the desktop and calling out, “Call from: heart heart-eyes emoji Nico kissing face emoji heart.”
“Alright, I guess I can see how that can be annoying,” Nico told him. “I’ll change it after lunch.”
About half an hour later, once lunch was eaten and contact names were changed, Will had to return to work which meant that Nico needed to leave. Will had had an appointment with a patient that was due to arrive any minute, but Nico had insisted on an extra long goodbye, which consisted of sandwiching himself between Will and the door to his office and kissing Will senseless until a knock on the other side of the door separated them.
Nico had returned to the studio to change into a new outfit and have his makeup retouched - and while he was trapped in the makeup chair, his agent Reyna chewed him out for eating at McDonald’s again (sometimes Nico would swear that Reyna had the nose of a bloodhound, given how she must have been able to smell the grease on his fingertips, or something).
Jules-Albert had just dropped him off at the second set of the day when his phone buzzed in his pocket - a text from Sunshine that said Thanks for lunch, maybe next time I can treat you to dinner.
Nico responded as he made his way over to where his fellow models were waiting, typing out, Sounds good to me, but just one question (and I hope this isn’t rude of me to ask) how are you texting me?
Haven’t you ever heard of voice-texting?
Nico smiled down at his phone as he read the reply, and nearly bumped into Jason while he wasn’t paying attention.
“What’re you looking at?” Piper asked, trying to peak over his shoulder, though Nico pulled his phone into his chest to hide it from view.
Nico wiped the smile from his face. “Nothing.”
“Then what were you smiling at?” Jason questioned.
“Don’t worry about it.”
For the next few months, Will and Nico traded off on who paid for dates. Will talked to his sister Kayla about Nico almost every day, whereas Nico continued to shoot down any questions his friends had about the mystery person he was constantly texting and calling. Nico had yet to tell Will what it was that he did for a living, and Will had eventually stopped asking - if Nico had kept it a secret for this long, then clearly he wasn’t interested in talking about it (sure, it made him a little uncomfortable that Nico was being so secretive about such a big part of his life. Didn’t Nico trust Will enough to talk about himself by now?)
Their relationship was developing faster than any that Will had ever been in - though to be fair, it was also the longest relationship he’d ever been in (nobody had been interested in dating the kid with the coke-bottle glasses in high school, and after that he’d been too busy for anything that wasn’t studying). Nico had been the first of Will’s significant others that Will had felt comfortable enough with to show him his eyes, and was probably the first person outside of his immediate family that had seen his eyes since he’d lost his sight completely.
(It had started by inviting Will over for a cup of coffee, and had quickly escalated until they were making out on the couch like teenagers. Nico had climbed into Will’s lap, his hands tangled in Will’s curls. Will’s arms were wrapped around him, hands slipping under Nico’s shirt and feeling the contours of his skin or grabbing his ass to pull him closer.
“You feel beautiful,” Will had whispered against Nico’s mouth. “I wish I could see you. God, I bet you’re gorgeous.”
Nico pressed forward, preventing Will from saying anything else, and the frame of Will’s glasses pushed painfully into Nico’s nose. He untangled one of his hands from Will’s hair, and his fingers grazed the arm of Will’s glasses.
“Can I take these off?” Nico asked, and felt Will tense beneath him. “I mean, unless you don’t want me to. I just, uh, I thought they might be in the way, but--”
“Nico,” Will cut in, “go ahead.”
When Nico didn’t move immediately, Will reached up and removed his glasses, then pressed them into Nico’s hand.
Nico pressed his forehead into Will’s and asked, “Can you open your eyes for me, Sunshine?” He watched as Will bit his lip, his eyes squeezing shut for half a second before he relaxed and let his eyes flutter open, icy blue gazing up at him. “I think you’ve got the prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen.” He watched Will’s eyes roll and a laugh bubbled out of his mouth. “Did you just roll your eyes at me?”
“Look, are we gonna keep talking or are we gonna do something a little more interesting?” Will asked as his hands found Nico’s belt.)
Nico was quite possibly the first person that Will had ever brought home with him, and he was definitely the first to have spent the night.
(Nico had fallen asleep wrapped in Will’s arms with Mina, who appeared to have finally grown to trust Nico, laying across their feet. He’d woken in nearly the same position - Will still asleep though his grip loosened enough that Nico could slip out of bed without waking him and Mina sitting by the door waiting to be let out of the room.
Nico opened the door for Mina to leave, and moved into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. He hadn’t been sure when Will would wake up, but he decided to start making some breakfast anyway, going into the fridge to pull out the milk and a carton of eggs. He was about to search through the cabinets for a mixing bowl when he heard a high-pitched scream from behind him.
He didn’t see anyone through the kitchen doorway, but he heard stomping footsteps moving away from him, and a female voice shouting, “Will! Will, wake up! There’s a stranger in the kitchen!”
“Shut up, Kayla,” he heard Will groan from his bedroom. “That’s my boyfriend.”
“That’s your boyfriend?” Kayla repeated.
“Yes,” Will said. “So leave him alone and let me go back to sleep.”
Nico heard Will’s bedroom door shut softly, and the footsteps returned to the kitchen until a redheaded girl stood in Nico’s line of sight, her green eyes wide with shock. “Uh, you’re Nico di Angelo, aren’t you?” Kayla asked. “The, um, the famous--”
“Shh!” Nico hissed, lunging forward and waving his arms to silence her. “Yeah, that’s me, but Will doesn’t know, okay? He doesn’t know what I do, and please don’t tell him. He’s the only person that talks to me like I’m a normal human being, you know? And I don’t wanna ruin that. I’ll tell him soon, I swear, but please don’t say anything to him.”)
Nico liked to buy things for Will to surprise him - clothes he thought would look good on him, boxes of chocolate, even an Amazon Alexa (and Will had made some kind of joke about being wiretapped, though he was definitely grateful for the gift) - and he always loved the beautiful smile that would appear whenever Will got one of these presents.
Will had found himself using the Alexa every day, and in increasing frequency. His favorite thing to do was to ask Alexa for some celebrity gossip, because he hadn’t had a simple way to get pop culture news since he’d lost his sight.
One morning, as Will got ready to brush his teeth, he called out, “Hey, Alexa, tell me the newest gossip in the media.”
He zoned out for a moment as he started to brush his teeth, letting the robotic tone wash over him, until his ears caught on the headline Who is di Angelo’s Blind Beau?
Will hurried to spit into the sink so that he could say, “Alexa, read that article to me.”
“Who is di Angelo’s Blind Beau?” Alexa repeated. “Nico di Angelo, model for the DOA Modeling Agency has been seen sneaking around with an unidentified tall, blond man. This picture was taken of the two of them on Saturday outside of the Delphi Bakery around one in the afternoon. No information has come to light on who di Angelo’s mystery man might be, but some have speculated that he might be a new model joining DOA’s ranks.”
Alexa’s voice continued on, though Will wasn’t hearing the words anymore. He had been out with Nico on Saturday, to some bakery he’d never heard of before - he didn’t remember the name, but Delphi sounded about right. There was no doubt in Will’s mind that the Nico in the article was the same as his Nico and so the tall blond had to have been himself, which meant that...Nico was a model? A famous model, who was well enough known that people took pictures of him on the street and sold them to magazine companies? Why hadn’t Nico told him any of this? He trusted Will...didn’t he?
“Kayla,” Will called out into the apartment, stepping out of the bathroom and into the hall. “Does the name Nico di Angelo mean anything to you?”
Kayla’s voice came from the direction of her bedroom: “Uh, yeah, that’s your boyfriend, isn’t it?”
“Alexa, stop reading,” Kayla said, and Will heard footsteps that stopped a few feet in front of him. “What are you getting at, Will?”
“You heard that article that Alexa was reading, didn’t you?” Will asked. “About some famous model named Nico di Angelo. Who was seen out in the city on Saturday with some blond blind guy. Did you know about this?”
“Oh, uh,” Kayla mumbled, “you mean, uh, that thing.”
“So you did know,” Will said with a frown, his eyebrow furrowing in anger. “Why didn’t you tell me? We’ve been together for months, he’s spent the night here! You can see, Kayla, so you can’t tell me that you didn’t know!”
“I did know, Will, but he asked me not to tell you,” Kayla told him. “He--”
A knock on the front door cut her off, and Will turned toward the sound.
“Take a seat on the couch,” Kayla told him. “I’ll go answer the door, and then we can talk about it, okay?”
Will took a deep breath, trying to calm himself, but a hint of anger was still noticeable in his voice when he said, “I have to get ready for work,” and he went into his room, closing the door behind him.
As he opened his closet to select a shirt and pair of pants at random - he never cared much what he looked like since he couldn’t see his outfits for himself, but his closet was filled with only slacks and patternless dress shirts that he had been told always at least looked decent when paired together - he heard the front door opening, and then whispering, though he couldn’t distinguish the voices.
Will changed out of his pajama pants and into dress pants he’d picked out before someone knocked on his bedroom door.
“Will?” Nico’s voice came through the door. “It’s me. Can I come in?”
“It’s open,” Will said, and pulled his t-shirt off over his head. He heard the door open and shut again as he pulled his dress shirt from its hanger and slipped it on.
“Hey, Sunshine,” Nico muttered, and Will could hear the discomfort in his voice. “I see you’re wearing one of the shirts I got for you.”
Will’s fingers paused where they were on the buttons of the shirt. “Didn’t notice.”
There was silence between them for a moment. “Okay,” Nico said, but it was muffled somehow, like his hands were covering his face. “I should’ve told you, alright? I know that, and I’m sorry I didn’t say anything. I just wanted to be treated like a normal person, you know what I mean? Of course you do, you told me yourself that you wish people would just talk to you like they would anyone else.” He took a breath, and when he spoke again, his voice was no longer muffled. “I’m sorry. I tried to be careful so that no one would be able to get pictures of us together, for the sake of your privacy, but I guess I was distracted. I’m so sorry, Will, please don’t hate me for lying to you.”
“I don’t understand why you didn’t tell me in the first place,” Will said, struggling to button the cuffs around his wrists. “Obviously I don’t care about appearances, and I already knew you were attractive. I wasn’t going to start treating you differently just because the rest of the world thinks you’re attractive, too. I don’t like it when people keep things from me, especially since it’s so difficult for me to find things like this out on my own. I thought you trusted me, Nico.”
“I do trust you!” Nico exclaimed, and Will flinched at the unexpected volume. “Of course I trust you, Will, I love you. I was going to tell you - tonight or tomorrow, when the time was right, but soon. I was going to tell you everything, and I was going to ask if you wanted to meet my friends and my sister, and-- And I was going to do something romantic before I told you that I love you, but I guess I ruined that, too.”
Will had given up on buttoning the cuffs on his sleeves. “You didn’t ruin anything.”
“Can you promise me that you won’t lie to me anymore?” Will asked.
“Yes, of course,” Nico said, urgency coating his voice. “I promise, Will. No more lying, and no withholding anything, either.”
“Then you didn’t ruin anything,” Will assured him. “And I love you, too, by the way. I’ll still let you take me out to dinner before you tell me again, though, if you want.”
Nico stepped closer and took Will’s wrist in his hand, easily buttoning the cuff on his sleeve, before repeating the motion on Will’s other arm. “Thank you, Will, for forgiving me.”
“So that picture of us,” Will said, the tone of his voice conveying the complete change of topic. “Obviously I couldn’t see it for myself, but that article I heard with it sure said some interesting things.”
“What do you mean?” Nico asked.
“If I remember correctly, somebody said something about me looking more like a model than you do, so it’s gotta be a pretty good picture of me, right?” Will asked, letting a smile crack his neutral expression. “They got my good side? I have no way of knowing whether or not it’s truly a good picture, but you promised me you wouldn’t lie anymore, so--”
“You look gorgeous, as always,” Nico told him earnestly. “I bet my agent would drop me in a heartbeat if she thought you were even remotely interested in modeling.”
“I don’t think it’s possible to exaggerate how beautiful you are.”
Will rolled his eyes. “Would you just come closer so I can kiss you without making a fool of myself?”
“I’m right here,” Nico told him, his hands framing Will’s face. He pressed his lips to Will’s, stumbling forward until Will stabilized him with his arms wrapped around Nico’s waist.