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What a boy needs

Chapter Text

Elio hated New York City.

 

It was always too crowded and too smelly and too noisy and too everything! Most of the times he felt claustrophobic, and would have to spend countless hours in his room trying to calm down his anxiety. This never happened back in Italy. Where the air was crispy clean and the people were nice. Everything was better and simple and just more relaxing. Elio missed his home so fucking much. Not to mention, his parents, his friends, and Marzia, his lovely girlfriend. They were all so far away from Elio and he didn’t know how he was supposed to cope with the distance. He was homesick and he knew it, and every little thing reminded him of home. He had found himself crying more often than he could proudly admit and he only had been in New York for a month.

What a fucking mess.

He regretted ever applying to Columbia and wished he had listened to his mother and went to a college in Italy instead. He could’ve went to school with Marzia and his friends, but no. He wanted to take that extra mile, like always. Prove himself.

What a fucking dumbass.

If he had listened to his mom instead, he would have been having the time of his life. Instead, he’s currently at the Columbia library, trying to work on an 8 page paper because his roommates are having a “small gathering” in their dorm room and the loud music and chatter was driving Elio mad. He didn’t mind that they were having a gathering. What bothered him was that they hadn’t consulted with him first, and told him last minute when people started to arrive. They had invited Elio to stay and get drunk, but no. Elio really didn’t want to get drunk with a bunch of Americans who drank shitty beer and smoked even shittier weed. He didn’t want to be a part of their little group, so after a while of trying and miserably failing to concentrate on his paper and block the noise out,  he grabbed his stuff and excused himself.

And now he’s sitting at the library, all alone.

Even though it’s a Saturday night, Elio thought that more people were going to be around. But no. It was only him, his computer and his books. What a beautiful company. He didn’t mind it, actually. Being alone helped him concentrate on what he was writing and it also relaxed his flayed nerves. He knew he was constantly on edge and knew that if he didn’t relax, it was going to end terribly for him.

“Can I sit here?” A voice said. Interrupting Elio’s thoughts. He had been so deep in his head that when he heard that voice, he jumped a little.

“Huh?”

The man in front of him chuckled sheepishly. He was tall and broad, with blond hair and a clean shaven face. He was, to say the least, very fucking beautiful.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startled you.”

Elio stared at the man for a few seconds, trying to make his mouth work.

“uh, um.”

The man just stared right back. Those blue eyes piercing Elio’s soul.

“So, can I sit here?”

Elio shook his head, as if trying to clear the fog away. “Y-yeah, why not.”

The man didn’t hesitate to sit. Elio couldn’t help but stare at the Devine beauty in front of him and wondered why on earth this man was sitting right here with Elio when the rest of the library was pretty much empty.

“So, what are you doing here on a Saturday night?” The man asked, not even bothering to open up his computer.

Elio shrugged, “roommates are having a gathering or whatever. Didn’t want to join.”

“Why’s that?”

“Not interested in their company.”

“Too cool for them?”

Elio giggled. He had no fucking idea where that giggle had come from, but it had burst out of his lips without any premonition and Elio wanted to actually die. Luckily, the blond God didn’t seem to notice Elio’s internal turmoil and just flashed him a vibrant smile that sent Elio’s insides into a fluttering mess.

“No. It’s not that.” Elio found himself saying.

“So why? Enlighten me.”

Elio looked at the blond, confused as to why this conversation was taking place in the first place. “Why do you want to know?”

The blond shrugged his broad shoulders. “Dunno. Talking to you seems better than what I had originally planned on doing.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes, really. But it’s okay. I can leave you alone if you want.”

“No! No, it’s fine I-“ He didn’t know why but the actual thought of this beautiful man leaving him made him panic.

And then another thought swam into his head and made him panic even more.

Why the fuck did he care? Like yes, Elio was well aware that he was bisexual but… He had a girlfriend… He shouldn’t be talking to this man or thinking he was beautiful or anything… Right?

“You?” Blondie interrupted his thoughts again.

“Uh. I don’t really mind.”

“You sure?”

Elio nodded his head. “Yeah.” He’d think about those weird feelings some other time.

“Cool,” blondie smiled. “So, what’s your name?”

“Elio. You?”

Blondie smiled. “That’s a pretty name. I’m Oliver.”

“Nice.” Elio said, ignoring Oliver’s comment. “So what brings you here?”

Oliver shrugged again. It seemed like that was his signature move. “Couldn’t concentrate at home, so I came here instead.”

“Ah. Okay. What are you working on?”

“Grading some essays.” Oliver replied, finally opening up his computer. 

“Are you a TA or something?” Elio asked.

Oliver scoffed and shook his head. “I’m a professor.”

“A professor?” What the actual fuck, thought Elio. How could this man, who looked no older than 25, be a goddamn professor?!

Oliver smirked. He was definitely used to this reaction.

“Yup.” Was all he said.

“How old are you?” Elio couldn’t contain his curiosity.

“Older than you.”

Elio rolled his eyes. “Ha, ha. Very funny. But seriously. You’re too young to be a professor.”

“Oh really? You think I look young huh?”

The way Oliver said that made Elio’s insides go up in flames. He felt himself blush and cursed himself internally for feeling this fucking way.

“W-well, yeah.” Elio managed to say.

The look on Oliver’s face told Elio that the other man was finding this very amusing.

“How old do you think I look?”

Elio took a good look at Oliver then replied, “23.”

“Close.” Replied Oliver, flashing him that tantalizing smile. “Guess again.”

“Do I have to?”

Oliver leaned forward, looking Elio straight in the eyes. “Only if you want to know.”

Elio gulped. Oliver was doing unexplainable things to him in such a fucking short time and Elio was truly going crazy.

“25?”

Oliver smiled widely. “Well shit.”

“Did I guess right?”

Oliver nodded and Elio couldn’t help but feel proud over such a stupid accomplishment. “What do you want as your prize?” Oliver asked.

“Prize huh? I dunno.”

“How about I take you out for pizza?”

Elio was perplexed. He couldn’t believe this was actually happening to him. Even though he had no idea what exactly was happening to him. Everything seemed so fucking surreal, and he didn’t know whether Oliver was flirting with him or not. Like, were professors even allowed to flirt with their students? No, right?

“Really?” He asked.

“You guessed the right answer, so yes. Why not? But only after we’re both done.”

He didn’t know what the fuck was happening but that didn’t stop Elio from feeling fucking happy.

“Okay.”

Oliver smiled again as he powered up his computer.

 

 

Chapter Text

An hour later, Oliver looked up. A smile on that charming face.

“You done?”

Elio looks at him. “No. It’s only been an hour.”

Oliver leaned back and scratched his bearded chin. “An hour’s enough to write a paper.”

“Are you crazy? You know it’s not.”

Oliver laughs. “Are you calling a professor crazy?” There was a hint of amusement in his eyes and Elio found himself loving it.

“You’re not my professor, so…” He shrugged. “I can call you whatever I want.”

Oliver arched an eyebrow, assessing Elio. “Is that so?”

Feeling brave, Elio leaned forward. It was almost as if he were flirting with this hot as fuck professor. But Elio didn’t know if that’s what was really happening so he decided not to really care in the moment. “Yes.”

Oliver’s eyes went directly to Elio’s mouth and they stayed there for a hot second before Oliver looked him in the eyes. Was that a sign? Some cray part of his body hoped that it was.

“Cheeky,” Oliver said, smirking. “So, another hour?”

Elio shook his head. He didn’t want to work on his paper anymore. He wanted to talk to Oliver and get to know the older man better. There was a pull there and he was curious to know where this would take him. “I can work on this later.”

“You sure?”

Elio nodded as he closed down his computer. “Yep. I’m hungry.”

“Me too,” Oliver smiled, closing his computer as well. “Have any place in mind?”

“Not really,” he shrugged. “Anywhere is fine.”

“Okay,” Oliver said as he packed his stuff up. “I know a great place.”

Elio nodded. He felt giddy for the first time since he arrived from Italy. He had no idea where this was going to take him and he couldn’t explain the feelings that this beautiful man was making him feel, but he did know that he at least wanted to be friends with Oliver. He was interesting enough.

The two walked out of the empty library in silence. Oliver was checking something on his phone and suddenly laughed, startling Elio a little bit.

“What’s so funny?” Elio asked.

Oliver looked over at him and smiled. “My girlfriend sent me a meme.”

Elio was taken aback a little bit and some of the excitement he had initially felt, began to ebb away. “Girlfriend?”  Of course Oliver had a girlfriend. It was normal for a man that hot to not be single.

“Yeah.” Oliver smiled fondly, not saying anything else.

“Cool,” Elio looked away. “I have a girlfriend too.” He decided to add.

Oliver arched an eyebrow. “Oh really?”

Elio nodded. “Back home.” He smiled at the memory of his lovely girlfriend. She should be the only thing in his mind.

“And where’s home for you?” Oliver asked curiously.

“This little place in Northern Italy.” Elio smiled fondly.

“Wow. Italy huh? That’s great. I thought you were American.”

Elio chuckled. “Well, my dad is. My mom’s Italian. But this is my first time living in the states.”

“And how’re you liking it so far?”

“I hate it. I want to go back.” Elio said honestly.

They both stopped to wait for the light to change, and Oliver turned fully to face him. “Why not?”

Elio shrugged. “I dunno. It’s too loud. Too crowded,” Elio made a face. “It’s not home.”

There’s an understanding look on Oliver’s face, “New York can get a bit overwhelming at first.” 

“You got that right. Plus, I haven’t made any friends yet, so. My days are pretty lonely.”

The two cross the street after the light changes. “Well I don’t think you’ve made an effort to make any friends.” Oliver stated.

“Excuse me?” Elio asked, taken a bit aback. “You don’t even know me dude.”

“True, but you did tell me you blew off your roommates invitation.”

“Because they’re not interesting people.”

“But how can you know if you don’t give it a try?” Oliver argued.

Elio didn’t know how to answer. He knew Oliver was right and that he wasn’t giving anyone a chance. But he didn’t really want to admit that to the older man.

“See, I’ve got you all figured out.” Oliver smiles proudly.

Elio finds himself blushing against his will. “Shut up. No you don’t.”

Oliver chuckles. “I could be your friend if you wanted.”

“What?” Elio is thoroughly surprised.

Oliver shrugged. “Yeah, if you want.”

Elio chuckled. “Isn’t it weird for a professor to be friends with a student?” Elio asked.

“Not really? I mean I’m not really your professor.” Oliver replied. “But if you think it’s weird, then its okay. I can just buy you pizza and we can go our separate ways.”

"Why do you want to be my friend?”

Oliver took a moment to reply, then said: “You’re interesting.”

“Interesting?” Elio asked, feeling rather perplexed.

“Interesting.” Oliver stopped walking and put an arm around Elio’s shoulders. “Here we go.”

The place was small and quaint and Elio loved it. He thought Oliver was going to take him to a crappy NY pizza shop, but no. This reminded Elio of home for some reason.

“This is nice.” He told him.

Oliver smiled widely. “I’m glad you like it. Shall we go in?”

“Yeah.” They both walked into the restaurant and were directed to a small table by the window. Elio looked up after their waitress left the menu on their table and left. “You can be my friend.”

Oliver smiled. “Yeah?”

Elio nodded, then looked down at his hands. “You seem pretty interesting too.”

They spent almost two hours at the restaurant, even after they were done eating. It was surprising, really. He had no idea he was going to have so many things in common with Oliver. It felt exhilarating, to have someone who had the same mindset as him and he didn’t want this day to end.

“So you play the guitar?” Oliver asked.

“And the piano, yes.” Elio nods.

Oliver leaned forward, giving Elio a look, “I always wanted to learn, but never really took the time.”

“I can teach you, if you want.” Elio found himself saying.

“Yeah?” Oliver asked, sounding happy.

That happiness in his voice made Elio happy and he wanted to punch himself. There were so many conflicting feelings swimming around his body and he had just met the dude. Not to mention, the dude was in a relationship and so was Elio.

Elio nodded though, he didn’t want to back down despite how he felt. “Yeah. You’re interesting, remember?”

Oliver chuckled at that. Right when he was going to say something, Oliver’s phone rings. He took it out of his pocket and looked at the screen. His smile dropped.

“Shit!” He then picked up, and motioned Elio with a finger for him to give him a sec. “Hey hun,”

Elio felt uncomfortable, but he didn’t know what to do. He sipped on his soda as Oliver kept on with his conversation.

“No, I’m fine. Yeah, yes. Sorry for not calling,” There’s a beat. “Or answering your text. No, yeah I was just in the library,” Oliver made an exasperated face at Elio and he couldn’t help but giggle. “Yes, uhuh. I won’t be home for dinner.” Oliver chuckled, “Because I already ate, yeah. Well, maybe you can cook for me tomorrow. Okay, yes love. I’ll see you later. Okay, love you.”

After hanging up the phone, Oliver scratched his head awkwardly. “Sorry about that. She worries too much.”

“It’s fine. Marzia is the same way.” Elio told him.

“That’s your girlfriend, yea?”

Elio nodded, “Yep. It’s harder for her to call me on the phone because of the time difference and shit, but we FaceTime whenever we can.”

“That’s cute.” For some reason Elio felt like Oliver didn’t mean that.  “Do you want to catch a movie?”

“Dinner and a movie on the first day of meeting me? Wow, I must really be lucky then.” Elio joked, but the dopey grin on Oliver’s face made him wish just for a wild second, that the two of them had actually been out on a date.

“Well, what can I say? I love spoiling my friends.”

Elio chuckled. “I wish I had met you sooner.”

“So do I.”

Chapter Text

They watched an action movie that night, but Elio wasn’t even able to fully pay attention to the film. Oliver was sitting close to him, eating popcorn and once in a while looking over at Elio and flashing him a small smile. It made Elio’s heart race and his brain became confused. Was Oliver just this friendly with everyone? A part of him hoped that wasn’t true. He really wanted to be someone special to Oliver, even though he knew he shouldn’t be thinking that way. The movie ran for two and a half hours and that whole time, Elio wished that the two had been talking instead. There was something about Oliver that thrilled Elio and talking to the other man awoke a part of his brain that had been dormant ever since he stepped foot in New York City. Oliver’s intellectuality reminded him a lot of his father, and he was more than certain that if he ever introduced Oliver to his father, his father would love him. Because of this thought, once the movie was over and the two were walking out of the theater, Elio said: “I think my dad would love you.”

Oliver looked surprised at this statement and arched an eyebrow. “Really? You think so?”

“Oh yeah. You’re exactly what my dad looks for in every student that comes stays with him.”

“Really?” Oliver asked. There was a pensive look on his face and after a moment, he replied. “Well maybe I should apply then. I might get lucky.” Elio had told Oliver all about his dad’s graduate program he ran every summer and Oliver had seemed interested in that. But having Oliver say that he was actually going to consider applying? Well shit, that just made Elio’s night even better.

“You should. You’ll have a special recommendation from me.” Elio smiled at him.

“That would actually be great. It’ll be a very nice way to spend my summer. Plus, I’ll be able to hang out with you and see you in your natural habitat.”

“There’s not much to do there though, so you’ll be bored.”

“Nonsense! I’ll have you to keep me company.”

Elio looked away so that Oliver wouldn’t see the blush that had taken over his face. “Oh, lucky me.” Elio said, trying to sound sarcastic but failing.

Oliver put an arm around Elio’s shoulders and pulled him closer to Oliver’s broad chest. Oliver then ruffled Elio’s hair, affectionately. “Yes,” he said. “Lucky you.”

It was 11pm when Elio finally returned back to his dorm room. Oliver had walked him back and everything and gave Elio a bone crushing hug when it was time to say goodbye. It was when Oliver was laying down in bed that night, thinking back on everything that had happened, that he realized that him and Oliver didn’t exchange numbers. That realization made him bolt up right in his bed, and he cursed himself to the seventh depth of hell for being such a fucking moron. Like how the fuck do you forget to exchange numbers with the friend you just made?

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Elio exclaimed as he angrily got up from bed. How on earth was he ever going to see Oliver again? In this vast fucking city where everyone was a stranger? How the fuck.

“Shit.” He said, trying to figure out what to do. He could always go back to the library and hope to see him there. Or, he could google him. Yes. Google was the answer. Elio powered up his laptop and typed In Oliver followed by Columbia professor. That got him two RateMyProfessor accounts, but since Elio didn’t know Oliver’s last name, he had no idea if one of the accounts even belonged to him. After Google, he turned to Facebook and Twitter, but again, nothing. Elio leaned back on his chair and let out a frustrated sigh. He didn’t know why he was getting this worked up. Like he had just met the dude today and their “friendship” was probably not even going to last anyways. He should just forget about the whole encounter and move on with his life, because maybe, just maybe, Oliver didn’t ask him for his phone number on purpose.

All those negative thoughts swam inside Elio’s head, driving him crazy. He felt like him and Oliver had a connection of some sorts and the mere thought of never seeing the older man again, scared him. He truly hoped that those thoughts were wrong, and that Oliver had indeed forgotten to give him his number and that the other man would try his very best to at least find him. With that in mind, and knowing that there was nothing else for him to do, Elio decided to go to bed.

The next morning Elio woke up with a purpose. He went back to the library and asked around for “professor Oliver,” but without a last name, the people that worked there weren’t able to help him. On top of that, he had forgotten to ask Oliver what fucking subject he taught. After leaving the library, Elio decided to sit outside and regroup. He figured that going to all the educational buildings in the school was going to be a waste of time, and he felt that if he did that, he’d just end up looking desperate. No. He thought, Oliver knows where I live. If he really wants to be my friend, he’d come to my dorm. Elio nodded at that thought, and looked up at the sunny sky. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon so Elio decided to laze around the area instead of going back to his dorm. He walked and walked until he arrived at Central Park, where he found a shaded area and laid down on the grass. He took a pair of sunglasses from his pocket and his earphones. Once his earphones were in, he put on his shades and blocked the world out.

Ten minutes later, something or someone grabbed his foot. Elio was alarmed, and kicked his leg out. The person who had grabbed him yelp and Elio sat up. When he took of his glasses he realized that Oliver was now laying down on the grass, cradling his nose and muttering curses.

“Shit!” Elio said and rushed to Oliver’s side. “Dude, what the fuck.”

“Ouch.” Was all Oliver said as he looked into Elio’s eyes. “Why would you kick me?

Elio hovered above Oliver, not really knowing what to do. “Why the fuck would you grab my leg like that?” He asked, reaching down and touching the hand that was covering Oliver’s nose.

“Because I thought it’d be funny.” Oliver mumbled.

Elio was a little pissed at Oliver but couldn’t help but smile at the other man. “You’re such a weird man.”

“Me? Weird? I wasn’t the one who was sleeping in the park!” Oliver replied as he sat up.

“Did I kick you too hard?” Elio asked.

Oliver shook his head and put his hand down. “No, but it still hurts like a bitch.”

Elio moved closer to Oliver until the two of them were face to face. Elio then grabbed Oliver’s face and started examining his nose.

“It doesn’t look like it’s broken.” He said, ignoring the butterflies that were swimming around his stomach.

Oliver just sat there, looking at Elio.

“It’s a little red though.” Elio said, trying to sound nonchalant but failing.

Oliver gulped. “Is it?” He moved forward a little bit but right when Elio thought Oliver was going to kiss him, Elio moved back and got up from the ground.

Elio knew that he should feel glad that nothing happened, but the disappointment still settled in like a heavy weight.

“What are you doing here?” Oliver asked, dusting off his track suit as if nothing had happened.

“I was trying to take a nap.”

“In broad daylight?” Oliver asked, giving him a look.

Elio stood up. “I have these,” he said, showing Oliver his sunglasses. Without permission, Oliver took them from his hand and put them on and looked up at the sky.

“They can’t even block the sunlight properly.” Oliver complained. He took the glasses off and handed them to Elio, who shrugged.

“What are you doing here?” Elio asked him, moving closer to the man.

“I live near by, so I go running around here every chance I get.”

Elio stared up at him. “Ah, running. Yeah, I do some running too.”

“Really?”

“Uhu,” Elio lied. “Back home I used to run every morning before school.”

“You should run with me then. Maybe even hit the gym sometimes.”

Elio gulped and looked down at the ground. “Y-yeah, totally, yeah.”

“I was going to stop my your dorm actually.”Oliver said.

“Yea?” Elio said, hoping he didn’t sound as hopeful as he felt.

“Yeah. I uh, forgot to give you my number last night.”

“Oh right, yeah, yeah.” Elio said, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.

Oliver chuckled. “Yeah, I realized once I got home. I had half a mind to go back to your dorm, but I didn’t want to seem too desperate.”

Elio couldn’t help but smile. “No, not at all. I, uh. I was trying to look for you this morning. But I don’t know your last name or what you teach so the people I asked couldn’t really help me.”

“I teach Roman literature. And my last name is Freeman.” Oliver said with a smile.

“Cool.” Was all Elio could say. He knew that as soon as he had time, he was going to google the fuck out of Oliver. Maybe this time he’ll get more results.

“Do you want to hang out?  I can show you my favorite cafe if you want.”

“Yeah, sure.” Elio said without hesitating.

The two began to walk in silence, just enjoying each other’s company. Elio felt elated at how the day had turned out and for some reason, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

“I thought you did that on purpose.”

Oliver looked at Elio, confused. “You thought I did what on purpose?”

“The whole not giving me your phone number thing, like I thought you did that on purpose.” Elio replied shyly.

“What? No.” Oliver said, taken aback. “I was having such a good time with you that I honestly forgot.” Oliver threw an arm around Elio’s shoulder and pulled him close. “But I’m sorry if I made you feel that way. I swear I was going to stop by your dorm today.”

“Okay,” Elio said, looking up at him. “I believe you.”

“Good.”

“Does your nose still hurt?” Elio asked.

Oliver touched his nose with his index finger and winced. “A little yeah.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to kick you.”

“Nah it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have grabbed you the way I did. I probably almost gave you a heart attack.” Oliver chuckled.

“I thought I was going to get mugged.” Elio admitted. “But maybe we should stop by my dorm first, get you some ice.”

Oliver thought about it for a moment, then nodded. “Yeah, I think we should.”

Chapter Text

Elio’s roommates weren’t home when the two of them arrived and Elio was relieved. He didn’t want them to bombard Oliver with stupid questions, like he knew they would.

“So, this is your place.” Oliver said when they stepped inside. Elio’s dorm had a small common area and then three respective rooms. He loved that about this dorm, because that meant he got a room all to himself.

“Yep. My room’s over there.” He said, pointing at the middle door. “We don’t really have a kitchen but I have a cooler in my room where I keep ice.”

Oliver seemed amused by this and arched an eyebrow. “You have a cooler in your room?”

“Yeah, for when I need a cold drink.” Elio replied, as he made his way towards his room.

Oliver chuckled and shook his head. “You’re so strange.”

“There’s nothing strange about that. I don’t like warm apricot juice.” Elio told him as he opened the door to his room. “Come on.” He motioned to Oliver.

“Is apricot juice even good?” Oliver asked, making a face.

“It’s the best thing in the world. Trust me.” Elio said, walking into his room.

Oliver followed suit and took a good look around the room. He let out a low whistle. “Wow, you’re tidy as fuck.”

Elio felt oddly proud at that comment and smiled. “I try my best.”

Oliver seemed to be in awe as he looked around Elio’s small room. When his eyes fell on a Monet picture that was hanging above his desk, Oliver went up to it and touched it. 

“You’re a Monet fan?”

Elio sat down on his bed and nodded. “Yeah. There’s this, um. This Berm close to where I live, and Monet used to go there to paint.” Elio found himself saying.

Oliver turned around, surprised. “Really?” His eyes were big with wonder.

Elio couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah, I can take you if you want.” He said. “If, you know. You ever decide to do the graduate thingy.” Elio stumbled over the last words, looking down at his hands. He wanted Oliver to come home with him so bad. He wanted to show him around his town and introduce him to his friends and spend all the fucking time with him.

“I would love to.” Oliver said, bringing Elio out of his head. When Elio looked up, Oliver was standing in front of him, smiling fondly at him. Elio felt himself blushing, and his heart started beating wildly inside his chest.

He got up from his bed and walked past Oliver and towards the mini fridge that his parents had gotten him. He crouched down in front of the fridge and took out a small ice tray. 

“Sit down.” He told Oliver.

Oliver did as he was told. “Does it still look red?” He asked.

Elio stood in front of him, his hands shaking. “Y-yeah. Here you go.” He said, giving Oliver the ice cube.

“Why don’t you do it for me. Since, you know, you can see my nose better and all that.” Oliver’s voice sounded strained and Elio gulped.

“S-sure, uh. Hold still.” Elio said, gently pressing the ice cub to Oliver’s nose.

Oliver winced. “Does it hurt?” Elio asked.

“No, it’s just cold.” Elio could feel Oliver’s breath in his hand when he talked, and that sent goosebumps up his arms. It was an electrifying feeling and something he had no idea he could explain. No one had every made him feel like this before and Elio really didn’t know what the fuck to do.

He continued to hold to ice to Oliver’s nose, and sometimes he would touch it lightly with his fingers. Oliver stayed quiet the whole time, just looking up at Elio.

When the ice was almost melted, Elio spoke: “Okay, I think that’s good.” Elio moved back and went to throw the remaining piece of the ice away. 

“My nose is numb.” Oliver told him as he rubbed it.

“It looks better now.” Elio replied, sitting next to him on the bed.

Oliver looked at him and smiled. “It doesn’t hurt either. Thank you.”

“It’s the least I could do. Since I kicked you and all.”

“You want to grab lunch?” Oliver asked. “I know a great sandwich place.”

Elio nodded. “Yeah, sure.”

On their way to the sandwich place, Oliver began asking questions about his father’s program. 

“So, how exactly do I apply to it? Like do I find the application online?”

“Yeah. I can send you the website.” Elio replied, feeling ecstatic.

“Man, that would be so fucking great. A whole summer in Rome.”

“Will your girlfriend let you?” Elio found himself asking.

Oliver looked pensive for a moment, then shrugged. “I don’t think she’ll mind.”

“How did you meet her?” Elio had no idea why he was asking Oliver this, but he just wanted to know.

“We’ve been friends since we were little.” Oliver said with a fond smile.

“Must be nice.”

“It is. No one knows me better than her.” Oliver said. That bothered Elio more than he ever thought it would. It was in that moment that he realized that he wanted to know Oliver more than anyone. He wanted to be the one Oliver talked about with a fond smile on his face. He wanted to be Oliver’s. It was the scariest thought that had ever crossed his mind. He felt his mouth go dry and he felt panicky. How could he even fucking feel this way about someone he had just met? Especially when this man had a girlfriend and ESPECIALLy when Elio himself was in a relationship! It just didn’t make any fucking sense.

“Hey,” Oliver sounded worried. “You okay?”

Elio hadn't even realized they had stopped. But when he looked up at Oliver, he noticed that they were standing in the middle of the sidewalk.

“Huh?” Elio said, not really knowing what was happening around him.

“Are you feeling okay? You sort of just… stopped walking.” Oliver told him.

“Y-yeah, sorry. I just…” He didn’t even know what to say.

Oliver stepped closer to him and put his palm flat on Elio’s forehead. “You don’t seem to have a fever.”

Elio hastily took Oliver’s hand off his forehead and moved back. “I’m fine.” He knew he sounded rude, but fuck. Everything was just too much right now.

“Okay.” Oliver sounded dejected, but Elio couldn’t bring himself to look at him.

“Let’s just keep walking.” Elio told him.

And so they did.

They walked in an awkward silence until they reached the sandwich place, and right before they went inside, Oliver asked him: “Did I do something?”

“No. You didn’t. Sorry. I was just thinking.”

“About?”

“Stuff. Don’t worry about it.” Elio said, trying to wave it off. He just wanted to get through this so that he could go back to his dorm and try to get Oliver out of his system.

“Okay. I’ll leave it for now. But please do tell me if I ever do anything to upset you, okay. That’s the last thing I want.” Oliver sounded so earnest and sincere that it worried Elio. Because why did this stranger care so much about him? Because that’s truly what the two of them were. They had met the day before and even though they had agreed on being friends, they still didn’t know anything significant about one another and It just fucking perplexed Elio that he was feeling this fucking strongly about this man, and a part of his brain wondered if Oliver felt the same way.

“Why do you care?” He asked.

“Because I do.”

“But we only met yesterday. Why is this so important to you?”

Oliver looked at him for a moment before answering. “I don’t know. I just don’t want to ever cause you any pain. It bothers me and it might sound crazy but I… I want to make you happy. I-“ Oliver looked away and Elio noticed he was blushing. “I don’t know what’s going on okay, I don’t know anything.”

With that, Oliver walked into the sandwich, leaving Elio standing outside by himself.

It took Elio at least five minutes for him to get his thoughts in order and another five for him to calm down his heart and go inside. He spotted Oliver seating all the way at the back, drinking from a coffee mug. Elio made his way over to him and sat down. Oliver smiled.

“I didn’t want to order food without you, but I didn't have coffee this morning, so .” Oliver said with a sheepish grin.

“It’s fine.” Elio replied.

“Wanna go order?"

Elio nodded. He was confused with Oliver’s behavior and gathered that the older man was going to act like the conversation they had outside never happened. Elio sort of liked that. If they could just push whatever the fuck was going on to the side and act like it wasn’t there, then it’ll just go away. Right? Yeah, most likely.

The two of them got their food and talked about everything and nothing. Elio decided to push whatever he was feeling to the side and focus on just being Oliver’s friend. And it was nice. So fucking nice. They found themselves losing track of time again, as they talked and talked and learned more things about each other. Elio found out that Oliver was jewish, just like he was, and that his parents, unlike Elio’s, were very conservative and didn’t approve of a lot of the things that Oliver did and wanted to do with his life.

“Are you close to them?” Elio asked.

“I try to be, you know. I want to keep them happy.”

“That’s good. But you have to keep yourself happy to, even if that means that you have to put some distance between you and them.”

Oliver scratched his beard cheek. “I know, I know. It’s just so hard, you know? Like I want them to be proud of me. But it’s like everything I do is never enough? I don’t know.”

“I’m sorry.” Elio told him, sincerely. He hated that Oliver had to go through this with his own parents and he couldn’t even fathom what a life like that would be like. “I wish you didn’t have to deal with this.”

“It’s okay. I mean, it’s not, but… I’m managing. Luckily they really do love Liz and they’ve always been supportive of our relationship. I think that’s the only thing that I’ve done that they approve of.”

“Is that why you’re dating?” The moment that question left Elio’s lips, he wanted to die. “Sorry. Sorry, forget I asked.”

“No, no it’s fine. And, uh, no.” Oliver replied. He wasn’t looking at Elio anymore, and he panicked that he had fucked things up.

“Shit, that was such a rude question to ask. I’m really sorry.” Elio couldn’t stop apologizing.

“Hey, no, it’s honestly okay. I um, I guess in a way I am dating her because of my parents. But I’m also with her because we sort of owned it to ourselves? You now? Like we knew each other since forever and dating just seemed like the next step in our life’s.” Oliver explained. He seemed uncomfortable and Elio hated that, so he said Okay and changed the conversation.

They went on to talk about Elio’s life in Italy instead.

“So what do you do?” Oliver asked him.

“Not a lot. I just transcribe music, read, go to the lake. Hang out with my friends. Nothing really crazy.

“That sounds nice. Relaxing.”

“It is. I miss It so much, you have no idea.”

“You going back for winter break?” Oliver asked him.

Elio shook his head. “No. I mean I want to, but my parents want to come over here instead. Especially my dad.”

“Maybe I could meet him.”

“Maybe. If you’re really serious about applying I’ll let him know right now.”

“I was going to give it a little bit more thought, but…”

“But?”

“But yeah. Text your dad. Tell him I’m interested.” Oliver replied.

 

Chapter Text

Elio sent a text message to his dad as soon as they left the sandwich place. Oliver told Elio that he needed to run some errands and asked if Elio wanted to come, but he had politely declined. He didn’t want to not spend time with Oliver, but he also knew that if he stayed closed to the older man, he was going to fall down a dark hole with no way out. Oliver seemed to understand and didn’t seem upset by Elio’s refusal. He flashed him that charming smile and uttered the word “later”, then went on his way.

That word made Elio feel some type of way, but he couldn’t exactly say why. He didn’t want Oliver to just say “later” to him. It sounded too dismissive or like Oliver didn’t care about him well enough to say “goodbye.” Deep down though, Elio knew he was overreacting and that Oliver probably said “later” to everyone. But then again, that didn’t sit right with him either. He wanted to be more than what anybody else was and that thought right there was also the reason why he needed to not be around Oliver.

His phone vibrated in his pocket and Elio was brought out of his head. He took it out and saw that his dad was requesting a video call.

“Ciao Papa.” Elio said after picking up the call

“Ciao Elly Belly. How're you?”

“I’m okay, just walking back to my dorm.” Elio told him.

His dad smiled. “Ah, you were hanging out with friends then?” Samuel kept encouraging Elio to talk to people and make friends or to just go out more, since most of his days were spent in his room.

“Yeah I was. Now i’m going back to study since I have a test tomorrow.”

“Ah, well, I wish you good luck on that Elly. Now, tell me more about this Oliver of yours. Why do you think he’d be a good candidate for the program?”

Elio’s heart started to beat faster and his face got all red. He hated that he loved the idea of Oliver being his, it made his blood boil in the most sensual way, something that had never happened with Marzia before. And after her name entered his mind, Elio felt bad. He was the fucking worst for feeling so attracted to a man while he had a lovely girlfriend back at home.

“Elio, evrrything’s okay?” His father’s voice brought him out of his head.

“Huh, yeah, sorry. Spaced out for a bit.”

Samuel chuckled. “I saw. Thinking about something?”

Elio shook his head. He loved his dad but he didn’t want to spring this up on him. Not yet at least. “No, sorry, just thinking about the test I have tomorrow. But, um. Oliver’s a professor here at Columbia. Teaches Roman literature and he’s sharp as hell. I think the two of you would get along.”

Samuel chuckled again. “I didn’t know you were taking Roman literature.”

“I’m not. I met him at the library the other day and we sort of became friends.”

“Friends huh? Is this the person you were hanging out with today?”

Elio nodded.

“Well, he must be a very special and interesting guy since you’ve decided to actually become friends with him. Tell you what, give him my email and tell him to send me a proposal as to why I should share with him the application.”

Elio’s heart started to beat fast again. He knew for a fact that his dad would like Oliver and the idea of Oliver going to Crema in the summer made him happy as fuck.

“Okay.”

Him and Samuel continued to talk about other things afterwards, catching each other up on things that they had done or seen, until Elio reached his dorm room. After hanging up and promising to call later in the week, he went to he sat down on the bed. His mind was a jumble mess and he didn’t know what to do. He had realized that his feelings for Oliver weren’t as friendly as he wanted them to be and it sucked because Elio really didn’t want to be away from the other man. He wanted to hang out with him and talk to him and be in his company, but Elio also knew that if he continued down this road, he was only going to fall deeper for a man that was in a committed relationship and would never look or think about Elio that way. And then there was also Marzia. She was Elio’s first everything and he didn’t want to ruin that, especially not for someone he barely knew. She meant the world to him and just thinking about Oliver felt like he was betraying her.

Without thinking it twice, he took out his phone and called Marzia. She picked up on the third ring.

“Elio, why’re you calling so late?” She said in french. She sounded sleepy and Elio realizes that it must be late in Crema.

“Shit, sorry, sorry it’s okay, go back to sleep.” Elio told her apologetically.

“No, it’s fine. I’m up now. How’re you?”

“Me okay. You?”

She chuckled. “I’m okay too. Missing you an awful lot.”

Elio’s heart ached. Marzia was too good for him. “I miss you too. Are you coming with my parents during winter break?”

“Do you want me to come?”

“Of course I do. We could hate this place together.”

Her laugh made Elio smile widely. He missed her so fucking much it was driving him crazy. She was so special to him and he didn’t know what he’d do without her. “Please come.”

“Okay, okay. I will ask my parents. They’d most likely say yes since they love you and all. Chiara will be so jealous though. She’s dying to go to New York.”

“She’s not missing out on much. This place is dreadful.”

“I’m thinking of applying there.” She told him. Her confession knocked the air out of his lungs because wow. If Marzia came to study here as well Elio wouldn’t feel as lonely as he did and he would definitely not be thinking about a certain Roman literature professor.

“Really?”

“Yeah. Does that make you happy?”

“So fucking happy, Marzia. Oh god, I hope you get in.”

She giggled. “Well I haven’t even applied yet, but yeah. I hope I get in too. We could live together.”

"That would be great. I hate this dorm.”

“You hate everything.”

“That’s not true. I don’t hate you.”

“Well obviously.” She yawned, letting Elio know that the time difference was taking a toll on her. 

“I guess that’s my queue to hang up and let you go back to sleep.”

“Sorry love. I’ll call you tomorrow, yeah?”

“Yeah. I’ll look forward to it.”

“Love you Elio.”

“Love you.”

He hung up after that and laid back on the bed.

 

A week later saw Elio and Oliver sitting down on the grass in Central Park. They were having a picnic of sorts and Oliver had even brought some moscato. The two of them had not seen each other since the day at the sandwich shop, mostly because Elio kept avoiding him. But when the older man told him that he had to talk to him about Crema, Elio decided to put his feelings to the side and agreed to meet up with Oliver. So far, everything was going great between the two. Elio had forced his mind to stop thinking about Oliver in that way and for the most part, it was working.

“So, what’ve you been up to?” Oliver asked as he took a drink of wine from his cup.

“Nothing interesting. Just homework.”

Oliver studied him, then asked. “Is that why you’ve been dodging all my hangout plans?”

Elio looked away from Oliver, afraid that he would read through the lie that Elio was about to feed him. “Yeah. I’ve been busy.”

“Are you going to be busy this week too?”

Elio shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe not. What did my dad tell you about Crema?”

“your dad sent me the application.” Oliver didn’t look too happy about that though.

“You don’t sound excited about that.”

Oliver scoffed and looked away. “Well, you’ve clearly been avoiding me this week and I don’t think you’ll appreciate it if I went to Crema after all.”

Elio’s heart dropped. “Are you crazy? Of course I want you to come. I told you about it in the first place.”

“Then why are you avoiding me?”

“I’m not.”

Oliver gave him a deadpan look. “Please don’t lie to me Elio. Did I do something wrong? Am I being too pushy? I can back away if that’s what you want. I’m not trying to force to to be friends with me.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong, okay. I’m just going through somethings and I just wanted to be by myself for a while. I’m sorry okay. I didn’t mean to come off as rude or like I was pushing you away.”

“It’s okay. I’m being dramatic.” Oliver turned on his back and laid down. He closed his eyes and became silent. Elio didn’t know what to do or say so he remained silent as well. He didn’t know why Oliver cared so much and he hated that that filled Elio with happiness. He was trying so hard to rip this feeling out of his chest but he didn’t want Oliver to think he didn’t like him. He was in quite the predicament and didn’t know what the fuck to do.

“How was your week?” Elio found himself asking. He hated the silence that had fallen between the two.

It took Oliver a couple of seconds before he replied. “Shitty.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because a lot of shitty things happened.”

“Like?”

Oliver took his time again, as if debating whether or not he should say anything. Then he spoke: “Liz and I broke up.”

Elio’s mouth dropped open, forming an O. He was stunned by the answer and a part of him couldn’t help but feel ecstatic.

Oliver turned his face towards Elio and raised an eyebrow at him. “You okay?”

Elio closed his mouth and nodded. “I’m just, wow. Really?” He didn’t know what the fuck to say.

“Yeah. I was thinking a lot about what you told me and realized that I wasn’t with Liz because I was in love with her.”

“You broke up because of me?” The idea fucking baffled him.

Oliver sat up and looked at him. “In a way, yes. I just don’t want to live my life doing things that other people want me to do. I love Liz so much and she deserves someone better than me. Someone that could love her like she truly deserves.”

Elio looked down at the grass and started picking at it nervously with his fingers. “Why do it now?”

“Because I was so content with what I had before that I didn’t really think about the reason why I was truly with her. I always pushed it to the side. But now,” he looked at Elio and held his gaze. “I don’t want to live in a lie anymore.”

Elio nodded. He was dizzy with excitement and fear and so many other things. “Is she okay though?

“She was more understanding than I thought she’d be.”

“Do you guys live together?”

Oliver chuckled, “Yeah, but she didn’t kick me out if that’s what you’re wondering. I’m crashing over at my friends house though, until I find an apartment.”

“Okay.” A crazy part of Elio’s brain wanted to suggest to Oliver that he come and stay with him at his dorm. But he didn’t say anything because that suggestion would just be crazy as fuck.

“How’re things with your girl?” Oliver asked.

“They’re okay.”

“Are you with her to please your parents too or do you love her?”

Elio didn’t know how to answer that question. Because no, he was with Marzia because he loved her, but then again, if he was in love with her, he wouldn’t be trying to repress the feelings that he felt towards Oliver. Or could he be in love with two people at the same time? This shit was just too much and too confusing for Elio’s mind. “My parents don’t care who I date.” He answered. “They’re pretty open and understanding people. Pretty liberal too.”

“Lucky you. But do you love her?”

“Why do you want to know?”

Oliver shrugged. “Just being curious.”

“I do.”

Oliver nodded. “Maybe I could meet her when If I go to Crema.”

“She’s actually coming here with my parents.”

“Ah, even better.” Oliver took his cup and drank the content in one go.

Elio did the same.

Chapter Text

They were hanging out again. This time, they were in Elio’s dorm room. They started going there more often after Oliver had told him about his breakup. At first it started because Elio didn’t feel like leaving his room one day and Oliver decided to invite himself over anyways, and then it just became a habit, especially since it was now November and it was a little bit too cold to hangout in the park.

Elio found himself loving these days, because they didn’t do much and just basked in each others company. He was still trying very hard to suppress his feelings for Oliver and most days, it would work. He focused on their friendship and without even realizing it, the two of them had become sort of best friends. Oliver would always sit on the floor, back leaning against Elio’s small bed while Elio sat cross legged on the bed. They’d talk about everything that came to mind or watch movies or listen to music. Today, the two of them were listening to Bach. It was Elio’s suggestion, since he didn’t have a piano in his room and felt like listening to some classical music. They had been listening to him for almost an hour now, both of them quiet, enjoying the music.

“I wish I could see you play.” Oliver said out of nowhere. Elio’s eyes shot open and he looked at the other man. Oliver’s eyes were closed and there was a sweet smile on his face.

“I could play to you sometime. We could go to the music room.”

Oliver opened his eyes and looked towards Elio. “Lets go right now.”

“Now?”

Oliver nodded and stood up. “Yes, now.” He stretched and yawned, then put out a hand for Elio to grab. “Come on.”

Elio gave the man an exasperated look and sighed. “You’re too fucking much.” He still placed his hand in Oliver’s, and the other man pulled him to his feet.

“I’m the fucking best.” Oliver pulled a little too hard and Elio came tumbling towards him. Luckily, (or unluckily for Elio) Oliver was able to catch him. He placed both of his big hands on Elio’s small hips to steady him, bringing the two of them even closer together. They stood there for a moment, looking at each other. Elio was unable to fucking speak and Oliver’s grip got tighter. Both of Elio’s hands were splayed out on Oliver’s chest and he could feel the firm muscles underneath his palms. He wanted to squeeze them and feel them. He wanted to know what Oliver would do.

“You okay.” Oliver sounded out of breath.

Elio nodded but neither of them moved. It was as if everything else in the world had cease to exist and they were the only two things left. Nothing else mattered in that moment, nothing but Oliver and Elio. Elio and Oliver. There was something deep inside that drew the two of them together, even when Elio tried his fucking best to keep his distance. There was something deep inside both of them that belonged together, he just didn’t know what or why. Because he pried himself in knowing a lot about the things that mattered, and not knowing what this fucking feeling was, was tormenting him. Because he knew he loved his parents, he knew he loved Marzia, he knew he loved Bach and classical music and swimming in the river and going for long bike rides in the afternoon. He knew he loved his home in Crema and all the little things that made him Elio. He knew that if Oliver were to leave and never come back, Elio’s life would be a fucking mess and that he’d never recover from that. He knew that. But this, this electrical pull? This feeling that threatened to overwhelm him and overflow and possibly kill him? He didn’t fucking know this. He didn’t know this at all. This, whatever the fuck it was, was bigger than him and the more he tried to kill it, the stronger it became. He was only 18 and he didn’t know what falling in love was. He thought he knew, he thought he’d found it with Marzia, but no. He had never felt this way towards her before. Not even remotely close. This feeling that was bigger than Elio himself, was something new and pure and scary. He was so fucking scared.

Suddenly, Oliver’s eyes widen in shock and he grabbed Elio’s face and tilted his head back.

“Shit! You’re bleeding.”

Elio was confused. “What?” He sounded far off, as if he were in some sort of daze. 

“Keep your head like that.” Oliver said and went to Elio’s small fridge. It was then that Elio realized that something was oozing out of his nose. He brought one finger to his nose and saw that he was in fact, bleeding. By the time he started to react, Oliver was back with a bunch of napkins and some ice. He directed Elio sit down on the bed, then got on his knees in front of Elio. He pressed the ice gently to his nose.

“Are you okay?” Oliver’s worried look broke Elio’s heart.

“Y-yeah, I don’t know what happened.”

“Was it because of me? Did I pull you to hard?”

Elio shook his head again. He had no idea what the fuck was happening to him.

“Are you feeling dizzy? Does your head hurt?”

Elio shook his head. “I’m telling you, I’m fine. It’s probably just stress.”

“Here, hold this.” Oliver told him.

Elio held the ice to his nose while Oliver sat down next to Elio on the bed. He grabbed Elio’s and put them on his lap, making Elio rearrange himself on the bed.

“What are you doing?” Elio asked, as Oliver began to take off his socks.

“My grandma used to do this when I’d get sick. Trust me, it works.” Oliver said as he began to massage Elio’s feet, pulling at his toes until they cracked. Elio let out a yelp and his hand immodestly flew out to Oliver’s broad shoulder. He left it there and squeezed when Oliver pulled another toe.

“You’re going to kill me.” Elio groaned. His hand was sliding upwards towards Oliver’s neck and Elio couldn’t control it. He wanted to pull it back but it was as if it had a life of its own. Oliver looked like he didn’t mind though.

“I hope not.” He said, flashing Elio that charming grin of his.

Elio was high off all of this. His heart was beating so fucking hard that he thought it’d explode. Without second guessing, he took a hold of the star of Davis necklace that Oliver always wore and began to finger it, turning It over in his hand.

“I have one of those.” He stated, as if it mattered.

Oliver looked surprised as he pulled on the last toe. “I didn’t know you were jewish.”

“Jewish of discretion, my mama calls us. We’re the only jewish people in our town so,” he shrugged.

“Well, I’m from a small town in New England. I know what It feels like to be the odd jew out.” That drew out a chuckle from Elio, and Oliver smiled brightly at him as he let go of his feet.

“Are you feeling better now?”

Elio nodded. “I’ll live.” He left his feet propped on Oliver’s legs though, not wanting to part from the other man.

“You should get some rest.” Oliver told him, finally getting up from the bed. Elio didn’t like it, he wanted him to sit right back down and grab his feet again.

“Don’t you want me to play for you?”

“Another day, yea? I don’t want you to get another nosebleed.”

Elio was highly disappointed. He hated himself for being so fucking weak. He was enjoying this day, despite his internal turmoil, and he didn’t want it to end.

“I’m a mess, aren’t I?”

A sympathetic smile appeared on Oliver’s face and he sat back down next to Elio.

“You’re not a mess El. Trust me on that.”

Oliver’s words were highly reassuring. He liked knowing that to Oliver, he wasn’t a goddamn mess.

“Okay.”

“I should probably go now. Let you get some sleep.”

Elio wanted to argue with him, but maybe he did need to sleep this off. He ended up nodding in the end. “Are you busy tomorrow?” He asked, “Maybe I can play for you then.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

After Oliver left, Elio decided that it was best if he took a nap. His mind was all jumbled up and he didn’t want to think about the feeling that was getting bigger and bigger as the months, days, hours, minutes, seconds! Rolled by. He didn’t want to think about this thing that was blossoming like a flower in the spring and filling up his lungs and preventing him from breathing right. He didn’t want to think about how badly he wanted to feel all of Oliver, with and without clothes. Most importantly, he didn’t want to think, or feel like he was betraying Marzia. He didn’t want to think that he was so fucking close to being reckless and breaking her heart. She didn’t deserve that, not one bit.

He woke up an hour later, groggy and disoriented. For a few minutes, his mind was blissfully blank and he basked in the feeling of not having a single thing to worry about. He got up from bed and went out to use the bathroom. When he came back to his room, he saw that he had a couple of texts on his phone. Some were from Marzia while the others were from Oliver. He had to sit down as every thought hit him at once. He cursed and threw his phone in the bed.

Why was life so fucking annoying? Why couldn’t things be easy and clear for him. He felt like all he ever did now was worry and panic and overthink and he was sick and tired of it. He wanted to do the right thing but he didn’t know what the right thing was. He didn’t even know if Oliver was gay, or if he was even interested in him in that way. Elio thought he saw some signs but honestly, that could just be him projecting his feelings on to Oliver. There was also the fact that Oliver had no idea that Elio was bisexual, so if Oliver did feel something for him, he wasn’t going to be the first one to talk.

What a fucking mess.

Elio wasn’t about to risk his friendship with Marzia over this. No matter how he felt for Oliver. He wouldn’t and he couldn’t.

His phone vibrated next to him and he decided to check what the messages said.

He had a new message from Oliver that read:

Oliver: if you’re feeling better you should come out with me tonight. My friend Joshua wants to meet you.

For some fucking reason, that text made him blush.

Before he could back down from it, he opened the message threat between him and Oliver and read the previous messages.

Oliver: heyyyyyyyy, you better be sleeping

Oliver: okay it’s been like 20 mins and you haven’t replied so it most mean that you’re in fact, sleeping

Oliver: If you start feeling sick or if you get another nosebleed, don’t hesitate to call me okay

Oliver: if you’re feeling better you should come out with me tonight. My friend Joshua wants to meet you.

Elio bit his lip. Should he go out with Oliver tonight? Was that a wise idea after realizing that he was probably, most likely, slightly in love with him? The right answer would be no. But then again, hours before Elio didn’t want the man to leave. He wanted him to stay and he wanted him to keep on rubbing his feet and he wanted Oliver, Oliver, Oliver. He took a deep breath and answered:

Elio: I’ll let u know!

He got a text back right away.

Oliver: How’re you feeling?

Elio: me okay. A little groggy

Oliver didn’t answer, instead, he called. Elio’s finger reacted on its own volition and answered the call.

“Heyyyyy sleepy head.” Oliver said.

“Hi.”

“You sure you’re feeling better?”

Elio rolled his eyes. “Yes mom. I do.”

Oliver chuckled. “Okay smart ass, I’m just worried over here.”

“I’m okay. Truly.”

“So come out with me tonight. Josh keeps annoying me about meeting you.”

“Why?”

“Cus I keep spending time with you and he wants to see his competition.”

Elio couldn’t help but chuckle. “I’m not the competition.”

“Tell that to him. He thinks you’re stealing me away.”

“Am I?” Elio found himself asking. He wanted to know how Oliver truly felt about him.

“Are you what?”

“Stealing you away?”

Oliver was silent for a moment, then he said: “Maybe.”

That was a step in the right direction, right?

“You’re stealing me away too.” Elio told him, hoping that maybe if he took a step forward, Oliver would meet him halfway.

“From your dorm room.”

That wasn’t the answer Elio was expecting or wanted and it disappointed him big time. He shook it off though. Maybe that was a sign that Oliver wasn’t interested in him in that way.

“Yup.”

“So, are you going to come?”

“I don’t know. What time were you guys thinking of meeting?” Elio asked.

“Well, I’m with him right now, so you could come over to his place if you want and we could all go out later. Or, we could just meet at the bar at like, 9?”

“You do know that I’m 18 right. I don’t have a fake.”

“I know that. But Josh is dating the owner so they won’t card you.”

“Does this mean you’re condoning underage drinking?” Elio teased.

“You’ve probably been drinking since you were 16.”

“14 actually. My parents don’t really mind as long as I don’t get sloppy drunk.”

“Well, I guess I won’t let you get sloppy drunk then.”

Elio chuckled. “Okay.”

“I’ll let you go now then. Text me if you’re going to come over or meet us at the bar or whatever you decide to do.”

“Okay.”

“Later.”

After hanging up, Elio remembered that he also had some texts from Marzia. He dreaded their content because he knew that whatever she had said, would make Elio feel like a total piece of shit.

He was such a pussy.

Marzia: Hey love, I just bought my plane ticket.

The other message was a picture, showing an excited Marzia holding up a plane ticket. And like Elio had predicted, he immediately felt like shit.

Chapter Text

After an hour of staring at the ceiling, Elio sent Marzia the excited emoji and two thumbs up.

He was pretty happy that she was coming, but he was also dreading it. Two months ago, Elio’s naivety when it came to the feelings of love, lead him to believe that having Marzia around would erase the overwhelming feeling that he felt towards Oliver. Now, after realizing that whatever he felt for Oliver was stronger and bigger than his whole being, Elio knew that even having her around would not take this feeling away. And he feared with all his heart that she might see this. That she might look him in the eyes one day and notice that Elio was fantasizing about another man. That she might see Elio and Oliver together and be able to feel the electricity that sizzled in the air. He was so fucking scared of hurting her, or losing her, of betraying her trust and love. He knew he was being selfish but he just didn’t want to lose her.

Elio hadn’t meant for things to happen the way they did. He didn’t even seen this coming. Love was a fucking mystery to him and this situation totally baffled him and left him feeling woozy and the worst part of it all was that he liked it. No matter how hard he tried to push it away and just concentrate on Marzia, Elio couldn’t deny the fact that he was completely in love with the feeling that Oliver aroused in him. But whatever this thing was, he knew that It wasn’t going to go anywhere. Oliver was straight, Oliver was his friend, and Oliver would never want him the way that Elio wanted him. Those were the facts that Elio knew and nothing else besides that should matter.

With a groan, he got up from bed and took off his shirt.

He was tired of thinking about this and of feeling completely useless and helpless. He needed a break from his head. He needed to shut things off for at least a couple of hours, just so that he wouldn’t go insane. Elio walked over to his tiny closet and looked at what was inside. He picked out a pink button up shirt that his mother had gotten for him in on one of her trips to Milan, and put it on. He looked down at his jeans and examined them to see whether they were dirty or not. After deeming them presentable enough to wear to a bar, Elio pulled out a pair of white vans. He looked at himself on the mirror that hung on the door and mused up his hair a little bit. He sprayed a bit of cologne that Chiara had gifted him as a graduation present over the summer and grabbed his jean jacket from where it laid on his computer chair. Before exiting the room, he grabbed his phone and shot Oliver a text.

Elio: Coming over now. What’s the address??

Oliver’s text came when Elio was already outside the building.

Joshua’s apartment wasn’t too far from the campus, only a 20 minute walk. Elio decided to not take the bus and just enjoy the autumn weather since it wasn’t too cold out, despite it being November. He tried not to think about anything and just concentrate on his surrounding. It was a very beautiful afternoon and he wished he could stay out instead of going in. When he reached the apartment building, he was shocked to find Oliver outside, leaning against the building and smoking a cigarette. He looked like an angel with the devil between his fingers.

“I didn’t know you smoked.” Was the first thing out of Elio’s mouth as he approached the other man.

Oliver blew out smoke and grinned. “I don’t.”

Elio scoffed and got close enough to pry the cigarette out of Oliver’s fingers. He took a drag and felt extremely content because just moments ago, this very cigarette had been in Oliver’s mouth. Elio looked up and noticed that Oliver was staring at him. “What?”

Oliver shook his head. “Nothing, nothing. What took you so long? I’ve been waiting for almost half an hour.”

“I decided to walk.”

“In this weather?”

“It’s not that bad. I kinda want to hangout outside instead.” Elio confessed, passing the cigarette back to Oliver. Their fingers touched briefly, sending that electrical shock through Elio’s body. 

“Well,” he said after taking a final draft. “I don’t think Josh would like that. He’s not an outdoors type of guy.”

“Is he a childhood friend too? You never talked about him before.”

“He was my college roommate. And he’s not a real interesting guy you know, so there’s not much to tell.”

“I thought you only befriended interesting people though.”

Oliver chuckled. “Right, yeah, well he’s an exception.” Oliver said as they began to make their way into the building.

“Do you talk about me a lot?” Elio asked as they were waiting for the elevator. The question took Oliver by surprised, Elio could see it in his face.

“Huh?

“You know, since Josh wants to meet me and all.”

Oliver looked a bit embarrassed and Elio couldn’t tell whether that was a good thing or not.

“I do talk about you. But not, um, not a lot, no. Just, the necessary things.”

The elevator arrived and Oliver went inside, Elio following behind. “What are the necessary things?” Elio wanted to know.

“You know, like, I don’t know. Just. Your name and like, where you’re from. Things like that.” Oliver stammered. Elio was confused. He didn’t know why on earth Oliver was being so weird about this and the hopeful part in his soul wished that it was because Oliver thought of him as more than just an 18 year old boy he had met in the library on a weekend. The two of them remained silent after that, which wasn’t for long really, since the elevator arrived at the 9th floor and both of them stepped out.

 

They walked over to the door and Oliver rang the bell. Moments later, the door opened and another tall and broad man appeared in front of Elio.

“You must be my competition.” Josh smiled. It was a nice smile, but not as nice and charming as Oliver’s. Josh stepped to the side and let them through.

“Nice to meet you.” Elio said, shaking hands.

There was a bit of an awkward silence after, and Elio fidgeted. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do now. Josh moved over to sit on a reclining chair and Oliver followed suit, sitting down on the couch. He then patted the empty space next to it and Elio walked over and sat down.

“I like your outfit.” Oliver told him.

“Thanks. My mom got me this shirt.” Elio stated. He didn’t know why things were suddenly awkward. He wondered if it had anything to do with the conversation the two of them had had on the elevator, or if it was him that was making things awkward.

“It’s cute.” Oliver smiled at him.

“So, Olie over here tells me you’re from Italy. How is it over there?” Josh asked, interrupting whatever was happening between him and Oliver.

“Yeah, it’s pretty nice. I miss it.” Elio said, as he turned his attention to the other man. “You a native New Yorker?”

“God no. I’m from L.A. Moved here for college.”

“Are you planning on going back?” Elio asked, just to keep the conversation going.

“That’s the plan, yeah. I just don’t know when. I want this dick over here to come with me. He’d do so much better down there than here.”

That statement sent panic rushing through Elio’s entire body. “He seems to be doing fine here though,” Elio said, “Right Oliver?”

“I am. Besides, I don’t like LA.”

Elio felt smug. “See, this is why he’s hanging out with me more, cus I know him.” Elio stated.

“Wow, so you’re admitting that you’re taking my best friend away from me. What a dick.” Josh said playfully.

Elio smiled and shrugged. “Maybe.”

Josh scoffed. “Oliver’s always leaving me for pretty people.”

“Shut the fuck up.” Oliver said as he threw one of the cushions at Josh, who didn’t duck quick enough and got hit on the face.

 

The trio spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out in the living room. Josh suggested that they all smoke weed and Elio was beyond surprise to learn that Professor Oliver smoked the devils cabbage.

“There’s nothing wrong with it.” He said as he took a hit of the blunt.

“I never said there was anything wrong with it. Marzia and I get high all the time.” Elio retorted. He took the blunt from Oliver’s finger and took a hit.

“You’re parents let you smoke weed too?” Oliver asked, surprised.

Elio shook his head. “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” Elio shrugged as he gave the blunt to Josh.

Josh laughed. “I like this one,” he told Oliver. “He’s cheeky.”

Oliver smiled back. “And a real smart ass too.”

 

Minutes later, they were blissfully high. Elio was leaning back on the couch with a dopey smile on his face. After weeks of being on edge, he finally felt relaxed.

“What are you smiling about?” Oliver asked. He was sitting beside him on the couch, paying attention to the Animal documentary that was playing on TV.

“It’s private.”

Oliver chuckled and yelled at Josh who was in the kitchen getting some snacks. “It’s private he says!” He then turned to Elio and said “I guess I’ll go hang out with Josh then, since you don’t want to tell me.” Oliver made to stand up but Elio threw his leg on his lap.

“No, don’t.”

Oliver sat back down. “Okay.” He then grabbed his foot and took off Elio’s shoe off.

“What are you doing?”

“Gonna give you another foot rub.”

“Why?” Elio replied, propping his other foot on his lap.

“Oooooh, what’s going on here?” Josh asked as he entered the room. He was carrying a bag two bags of Doritos and a sandwich.

“You didn’t make me a sandwich? That’s rude.” Oliver said as he continued to massage Elio’s toes.

“You never make me any sandwiches.” Josh replied, sitting back down on his reclining chair. “Why you touching Elio’s feet?”

“Because it's fun.”

Elio looked at Oliver and grinned.

“How come your parents let you study all the way at Columbia? Ma had a whole bitch fit when I told her I was moving here.” Josh said as he took a bite out of his sandwich. Oliver made grabby hands at the bag of Doritos and Josh passed those over.

“My parents support my decisions as long as they’re not dumb.”

“I would kill to have parents like yours.” Oliver said as he took a handful of chips and then passed them on to Elio.

“Your parents can’t be that bad.” Elio said, leaning back against the couch.

“Oh trust me, they are. Didn’t they force you to stop being friends with Pete cus he was gay?” Josh said.

Oliver let go of Elio’s foot and groaned. “I’m too high to talk about this.”

“I guess they won’t like me then.” Elio found himself saying.

“What do you mean?” Oliver asked, confused.

“I’m bi, so.”

Oliver’s face was priceless. His mouth was hanging open and his blue eyes were opened wide. Elio’s insides turned to ice and he could feel his high going away. Fuck him and his fucking blabber mouth. He tended to talk way too freely without any sorts of fucking control when he was high.

Josh laughter broke the awkward silence that had suddenly fallen in the room. “Damn Olie, you sure do know how to pick em.”

“Is that a problem?” Elio asked, feeling way too sensitive.

Oliver shook himself out of his trance and said: “No, what, not at all. Sorry, I’m honestly too high for this shit.” Oliver offered the bag of Doritos to Elio but he declined. His stomach was in knots and his heart was beating fast again. He couldn’t help but feel like he had fucked up.

Chapter Text

They went out to eat an hour later after Oliver got hungry but was too lazy to make himself some food. Elio suggested they all go to a burger joint that he frequented and the other two agreed with him. After eating their food, the three of them sat back and talked about whatever came to mind. Elio learned a lot more about Josh and he was surprise to find out that the other man was bisexual as well. When he asked Oliver if his parents knew about this, Oliver told him that his parents couldn’t have a say in who he befriended anymore. Elio was rather curious about Pete and so he started to ask questions.

“But why did you let your parents come between that friendship then?” Elio asked.

“Because we were in high school and I still lived at home.” Oliver answered plainly. Elio could see that Oliver wasn’t too comfortable about this conversation, but Elio just wanted to know everything. 

“Have you talked to him since then?”

Oliver shook his head. “I don’t see the point in that.”

“Maybe he misses you. You never know.” Elio said, taking a drink from his soda bottle.

“Maybe. Who knows.” Oliver said, finishing the rest of his drink. “I’m going to go to the bathroom.”

Elio watched him go, hating the fear that settled in his heart. He didn’t understand why Oliver was being so weird. Ever since he told him he was bisexual, the blond had been acting differently. He kept avoiding Elio’s eyes and couldn’t even have a proper conversation with him. Elio turned to Josh who had been eating the rest of his fries silently.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“I don’t think so. He just gets moody when you talk too much about his parents.” Josh explained.

“But who’s this Pete guy? That’s all I want to know.” And he didn’t even know why, really. But something deep inside told him that this other dude meant something to Oliver and he needed to know, what.

Josh shrugged. “It’s not my place to tell. But hey, don’t get too hung up on that okay. That was in the past and I don’t think that what happened with Pete is going to happen with you.”

Elio didn't know if he should feel reassured by that statement but he didn’t want to keep putting his foot in his mouth so he decided to nod and let the conversation die away. Oliver returned from the bathroom looking more refreshed.

“Lets go to the bar now.” He was all smiles when he said that.

Josh finished the rest of his drink and got up. “Yes, finally.”

Elio got up as well and walked besides Oliver. As they made their way outside, Oliver grabbed him by the arm. “I don’t mind if you asking me about my parents. Just don’t ask me about Pete, please.” Oliver’s expression was unreadable when he said that, and Elio felt terrible.

He nodded. “Sure.”

Oliver let go of his arm and continued to walk.

The bar was crowded when they got there, and the three of them had to push their way through the crowds of people.

“I didn’t know it’d be this pack.” Oliver said over the noise.

“The bar’s having a deal. You buy 12 shots of anything for seven bucks and get a free beer.”

“Damn. Let’s get that.” Oliver said.

Josh looked over at Elio. “Would you be able to handle four shots?” Elio scoffed at the answer.

“Of course I can.”

Oliver laughed. Elio loved that laugh and he especially loved that Oliver what laughing at something he’d say. Maybe he wasn’t as upset with him as Elio thought.

“Elio can handle anything.” Oliver said with a smile.

They were able to find a table all the way at the back. They settled there with a tray of 12 vodka shots and a bottle of Perroni.

“Since you’re Italian and all.” Josh joked as he pointed at the beer.  “Alright fellas, bottoms up.” He then said, and the three of them began downing shots. By the time they had finished all four shots, Josh looked like he was going to be sick.

“You okay there man?” Oliver asked, clearly amused.

“I think I’m getting too old for this, be right back.” He said before heading off towards the bathroom.

“You want the beer?” Oliver asked.

“Uh, no, you could have it.” Elio told him.

“Or we could just share it.”

Elio nodded. He liked that idea.

“I’m sorry if I offended you.” Elio said after a moment. “I didn’t do it on purpose.”

Oliver looked confused. “Offended me? With what?”

Elio shrugged. “I don’t know. I feel like I’ve been walking on eggshells with you this whole night. I probably shouldn’t have told you that I was bi.” Elio looked down at his hands. The booze was starting to affect him already, but instead of feeling excited, he felt like he wanted to crawl into a ball and cry. Oliver took a hold of Elio’s hand.

“Hey, no. I’m glad that you told me. I was just honestly shocked. I thought that since you had a girl and everything, that, you know, you’d be… straight.” Oliver sounded flustered again.

Elio looked up at him. “Just because I’m dating a girl doesn’t mean I don’t like dick up my ass.”

Oliver looked as if he had stopped breathing. His eyes were even wider than before and he kept opening and closing his mouth.

“Fuck.” Elio chuckled. “I keep on saying the wrong things today, don’t I.” He stood up. “I think I’m going to go home.”

“Hey, no. Stop that.” Oliver said as he got up from his seat. He grabbed Elio from the waist and pulled him towards him. “I don’t care if you’re bi. I swear to god I don’t.”

“Then why are you acting so weird today?” Elio asked. He was truly about to die. Oliver was so fucking closed to him and had his hands on him and was breathing on him. It was all too fucking much and Elio felt like he was about to explode in more than one way. He ached for Oliver, wanted him closer until they were just one being. He wanted Oliver to be him and him to be Oliver. He wanted and wanted and wanted like never before and it was dizzying.

“Because.” Oliver said, putting his forehead against Elio’s.

He knew that they were probably causing a scene but Elio couldn’t care less. He just hoped that he wouldn’t get another fucking nosebleed.

“Because what?” Elio asked, placing both hands on Oliver’s chest and coping a feel. Oliver groaned and rubbed his nose against Elio’s, then brought one hand up to his face and caressed Elio’s cheek.

“Because you’re driving me crazy.”

Elio stopped breathing. “What?”

Oliver looked at him for a moment, before leaning in and kissing him in the mouth. Elio wanted to kiss him back with everything in him, but he couldn’t. He wanted Oliver so fucking much but cheating on Marzia was out of the question. So he moved back and shook his head. He was too overwhelmed to form a proper sentence so all that came out of his mouth was a breathless “No.”

The pain on Oliver’s face was immense. It destroy everything inside of Elio and he wanted to take that fucking word back and throw himself at him. 

“It’s just-“ Elio started.

Oliver shook his head. “No, it’s fine, that was. Wow. Let’s forget that ever happened okay.” He smiled at Elio, but it wasn’t a real smile. It was full of despair and pain and Elio wanted to die. Before he could get his mouth to work, Oliver turned around and began to walk away. Elio’s feet were glued to the ground.

When Josh came back, Elio was still standing there, looking like a fucking idiot.

“Where’d Olie go?”

“Is he gay?” Was all that Elio managed to ask.

Josh looked confused. “Is who gay?”

Elio shook his head. He didn’t think he could handle the answer. “I think I’m going to go home.”

“Is everything okay? Where the fuck did Oliver go?”

“He’s probably outside. I’m. It was nice to meet you.” He smiled at Josh before dashing the fuck out of the bar. He wanted to fucking cry and didn’t want to do that out here in the open. He had no idea where the fuck he was but he just ran. He ran and ran until he was out of breath and then stopped. He found himself leaning back against the wall of a building as tears fell down his eyes. He fucked up. All he could see was Oliver’s dejected expression. He didn’t want things to happen this way. He didn’t even know what the fuck was happening. Elio had been so goddamn sure that Oliver wasn’t into him. Like how could he be. If Oliver had a thing for him he should have been clearer. He should have told Elio what he wanted and Elio would have figured out what to do with Marzia. But no. That was a fucking lie and he knew it. If Oliver had said something earlier, he would’ve still been confused. Everything was too fucking much for him right now. He wiped his eyes with shaky hands and took his phone out of his pocket. The time read 10:45. He was fucking exhausted and he just wanted to go home. He moved away from the wall and began to walk. He still didn’t know where the fuck he was at, so he decided to flag down a taxi. He arrived at his dorm room twenty minutes later and immediately threw himself on his bed.

He woke up the next morning with a pounding headache. His eyes felt heavy and there was a tight feeling on his chest. The only reason he got up from bed was because he needed to pee. Once he returned back to his room, he sat down on his bed and let out a sigh. He brought his hand to his lips and traced them with his fingers. He could still remember the feeling of Oliver’s lips on his. Elio wished he could have them on him again so bad but he had to settle things with Marzia first before jumping into this. He grabbed his phone but realized that It was dead. After putting it to charge, he returned back to bed and ended up falling back to sleep. He awoke again to the sound of people talking loudly in the common room. He was going to ignore it and go back to sleep but then he heard it. Oliver’s voice.

“Is he here?” Oliver was asking. Elio’s heart began to beat wildly inside his chest.

“I dunno man, probably.” Mike, his roommate, stated. “Go knock.”

He heard Mike walking away and then the sound of a door closing. Things were silent for a few seconds before he heard the knock on his door. Elio had half a mind to not open it. He didn’t know what he would do if he did. But then Oliver spoke again: “Elio? You there?” He sounded so sad.

Elio didn’t reply, he just got up from bed and went to open the door.

The two of them stared at each other for a moment, before Oliver spoke. “You didn’t answer your phone.”

“Uh. Um,” Elio stammered, looking away from Oliver’s piercing blue eyes. “It was dead.”

“Can I come in?” Oliver asked.

“Yeah.” He said, stepping to the side.

Elio closed the door behind him and leaned against it.

“What are you doing here?” He asked Oliver.

Oliver stood there, looking awkward. He scratched the back of his head and looked everywhere else but at Elio. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay. Josh told me you left and then you didn’t answer your phone.”

Elio nodded, unable to speak. They looked at each other again, before Oliver looked down to his feet.

“I’m. I’m sorry about last night.”

Elio was dying to reach out to him, to touch him and hold him and love him. He wanted it so fucking bad.

“I don’t know what got into me but it won’t happen again.” Oliver told him.

“What?” Elio was disappointed.

“It won’t happen again.” Oliver said again. He looked exhausted.

Elio walked up to him and stood right in front of Oliver. “Why did you do It in the first place?” Elio noticed Oliver’s face getting red.

“I was drunk.”

Elio didn’t like that answer because he knew it wasn’t true. “Is that really why?”

“Yes. It’s a mistake I won’t repeat again. You have a girlfriend and I shouldn’t have fucking done that. I just hope that you forgive me, okay. But I’ll understand if you don’t ever want to see me again.”

“Stop being a fucking idiot.” Elio told him. He was so fucking angry because he just didn’t get what Oliver wanted from him. Just yesterday he had said that Elio was driving him crazy but now he was saying that he had only kissed him because he was drunk? “What do you want from me Oliver?”

“I don’t know what I want Elio. I just want to be good.

Chapter Text

Oliver left after that without even saying goodbye. He looked conflicted, as if he wanted to reach out to Elio but physically couldn’t. Elio, not knowing what to do, let him leave and ended up feeling hollowed and confused. Did Oliver like him? Was that why he kissed him? Elio shook his head. That couldn’t be it, right? Oliver couldn’t possibly have a thing for Elio because Oliver was straight. With a frustrated sigh, Elio sat down in bed. He didn’t know what the fuck was going to happen between them. If Oliver wanted to pretend that nothing was happening going on and just be friends with, then he’d live with that. But if Oliver where to disappear from his life, Elio would die. He was aching inside and he didn’t know how to stop it. He wanted Oliver to come back into his room and kiss him again. He wanted Oliver tell him that he was gay or bi or pan, anything.

He wanted Oliver to want him physically, mentally and emotionally and he wanted Oliver to ruin him from the inside, out. He wanted and wanted and wanted so fucking much that his whole body was trembling with need. He wanted to feel Oliver’s hands all over him and inside him and he wanted them to march into one body, one soul. But most importantly, Elio wanted clarity. He wanted to know what step he should take first so that he wouldn’t make a mistake. He knew he needed to tell Marzia, but telling her about this over the phone seemed very fucking rude to him. But then again, waiting for her to arrive from Crema, thinking she was about to have the best winter break of her life, to then load all this shit on her didn’t seem right either. He also wanted to figure out if Oliver was into him the same way Elio was into Oliver. Because he could use the kiss as evidence in his favor, but then why would Oliver call it a mistake?

Later that day, Marzia called.

“Hey.”

“Why’re you sad?”

Elio chuckled. Marzia always had a way of knowing when Elio was upset, even without having him there in front of her. “I’m not sad.”

“Elio.” She said flatly. Elio groaned and laid down in bed. He didn’t even know where to start. He was hoping to unload all this bullshit on her when she got here, since explaining to ones girlfriend that they had fallen in love with someone else was better done in person than through the phone. But now he feared he had no other choice. Marzia was persistent like that.

“It’s nothing, just missing you.” He lied, trying to prolong the inevitable.

“Oh yeah, you miss me so much that you barely even call or text me anymore.” She didn’t sound angry with him, just a little fed up.

“I’m sorry. I know I’ve been a shitty boyfriend. I’m sorry.”

Marzia let out a sigh. “You’re not a shitty boyfriend Elio. I just want to know what’s going on with you. We talk yeah, but not as much as we used to and I’m worried about you.”

Elio had a knot in his stomach the size of Italy. He wanted to throw up.

“Elio? You there?” Marzia asked.

“Y-yeah, yeah. I’m here.” His eyes were getting watery and he rubbed at them furiously. He had cried enough yesterday, he didn’t want to cry again.

“Are you happy that I’m coming to see you. Be honest.”

“Of course I’m happy Marzia. I want to see you. Everything’s just…” Elio started.

“Is it your classes? Your professors?”

Elio closed his eyes. He didn’t know what the fuck to say or do and he wished he had his mama here to comfort him.

“I love you. I love you so much and I don’t want to lose you.” He found himself saying as tears rolled down his face.

“You’re not going to lose me Elio. No matter what happens we’ll be friends forever.”

Her words eased the pain that Elio was feeling. He loved her so much and was so grateful for her. He told her this and she laughed.

“I know. You’d be dead without me.”

“That’s so true.”

They lapsed into silence, until Marzia said:

“You’ll tell me what’s wrong when I get there, right? You won’t keep things from me?”

“I won’t keep things from you.” Elio repeated.

“Good. I love you okay. Don’t forget that.”

“I won’t.”

November left as fast as it came and by the time Winter break rolled around, Elio was physically and mentally exhausted. Him and Oliver had managed to remain being friends, but things weren’t as normal as they had been. Oliver was more distant with him now and didn’t hang out in Elio’s room anymore. Whenever the two did see each other, Josh was always present. Elio couldn’t understand what the fuck was going on in Oliver’s mind and no matter how hard he tried to figure Oliver out, he fucking couldn’t. Like, how do you tell someone that they’re driving you crazy, kiss them, and then tell them that it was all a mistake? Elio just didn’t get it. He tried to ask Oliver a couple of times why exactly he had kissed him that night, but Oliver always got uncomfortable and told him to drop it. Elio didn’t want to annoy or anger him so he always did as he was told. But it still bothered him and left him awake at night. Because Elio was aching for Oliver.

Elio had accepted his fate because he could no longer fight it. Night after night after night, he’d dream about Oliver kissing his lips, his body, his soul. And night after night he felt his heart expanding with love and so much fucking adoration for a man that was so goddamn clueless. He lost count of how many times he jerked off to the memory of Oliver’s lips on his. He couldn’t remember anymore how many nights he’d cry himself to sleep, not only because he felt like he was betraying Marzia, but also because he didn’t have Oliver by his side. Elio feared that Oliver might not want him anymore, or that Oliver never wanted him at all. The uncertainty of it all was destroying everything inside of him and he didn’t know who to turn to.

On the day before his parents and Marzia were scheduled to arrive, Elio found himself sitting on the floor of Josh’s living room with Oliver sitting on the couch. Josh was supposed to be with them, but the other man had left ten minutes after Elio had arrived, claiming that he had some errands to run. Elio sensed a trap. This was the first time in weeks that Elio and Oliver were alone together in a room. It made Elio anxious and excited and he felt like he was going to throw up.

“So, what time is your girlfriend coming?” Oliver asked, rather awkwardly. There was something about the way in which he said the word “girlfriend” that threw Elio off, but he couldn’t pinpoint exactly what.

“Her and my parents arrive tomorrow morning.” Elio replied as he turned his head around to look at Oliver who was looking down at him. “Why?”

Oliver shrugged. “No reason. Do you have anyone to drive you to the airport?”

Elio shook his head. “They’re going to order an Uber.”

“I can take you if you want. Josh has a car.”

Elio thought about this for a moment, then said: “Is Josh coming too?”

Oliver looked confused. “Why would Josh come?”

“Oh, I don’t know. It just seems like he’s everywhere now. Whenever we hang out.” He didn’t mean that to come off as rude. He did enjoy Josh’s company but most of the time he just wanted to be alone with Oliver.

“I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with the both of you. Is that a bad thing?”

Now Elio felt bad. “No, sorry. There’s nothing wrong with that. Forget I said anything.” Elio turned his attention towards the TV and looked on. Moments later, Oliver spoke:

“I wonder how long he’d be gone for. Cus I’m fucking starving.”

“We could order some pizza if you want.” Elio suggested. They used to do that before the kiss. Just chill in Elio’s room eating shitty pizza and cheap wine. Elio missed those days so much he almost cried. He felt Oliver’s eyes on him and even though he wanted to turn and look him in the eye, Elio refrained from doing so.

“That doesn’t sound to bad.” Oliver stated.

“Yup. It’d be just like when we used to do this in my room. Those were good days.”

Oliver sighed behind him and rubbed at his face.

“Are you throwing indirects right now?” Oliver asked.

Elio shrugged. “If the shoe fits then wear it.”

Oliver laughed and got up from the couch, making his way into the kitchen. “You want a beer?”

Elio was very tempted to say, “I want you.” But he didn’t. That statement could be misinterpreted and that was the last thing he wanted. He ended up just uttering a loud “yeah.”

Oliver returned back to the living room but instead of sitting on the couch, he sat on the floor with Elio, bumping shoulder’s with the younger man.

“Here.” He said as he passed Elio a Corona. Elio took it and took a big sip.

Oliver laughed. “Slow down buddy. Josh has more of those in the fridge.”

Elio ignored him and took another drink.

“You’re not the boss of me.” Elio told him, hoping that it had come out as a joke and not an insult. Thankfully, Oliver turned his face towards Elio and chuckled. Their faces were inches apart from one another and Elio felt drunk on Oliver’s smell. It was intoxicating and Elio wanted more. He found himself gravitating closer to him, until they were practically merging together. Elio laid his head on Oliver’s shoulder, and Oliver let him.

“I miss you.” Elio told him, nuzzling his head on the crook of Oliver’s neck.

“I’ve been here.” Oliver replied as he ran a hand through Elio’s growing hair.

“Not the same as before though. You’re colder towards me now and I don’t like it.” Elio said against the skin of Oliver’s neck. He could feel the goosebumps rising on Oliver’s skin and he loved it. Oliver began to massage Elio’s scalp, sending a shiver down his spine and causing Elio to move closer to Oliver’s body.

“That wasn’t my intention. I hope you know that.” Oliver whispered. He placed a long kiss on Elio’s forehead, then moved back. He grabbed Elio’s face in his hand and stared into his eyes.

“I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you.”

Elio couldn’t speak. He was so enamored by the other man and he just wanted to shut his brain off and lean forward. He couldn’t do that though, not yet. So he nodded and gave Oliver a small smile. “Don’t do it again.”

Oliver returned the smile and nodded.

The two moved back to their original positions and continued to watch the show that was playing on TV and drinking their beers. A lot of thoughts were running through Elio’s head and he just wanted to let some out. Without thinking it twice, he asked:

“Are you into men as well?”

There was a long pause and for a moment, Elio thought that Oliver wasn’t going to answer.

“Maybe.” Oliver finally got out. It was so low that Elio almost missed it. He turned around to face him, but Oliver was staring straight ahead.

“You can tell me this things, you know. You can trust me.”

Oliver looked at him. “I do trust you. I just…”

“Just what?”

“It’s hard. I’ve been trying to suppress this part of me for years, and it had been dormant for such a long fucking time.”

Elio gulped at Oliver’s answer. He knew that Oliver had more to say but didn’t know how to say it. Elio wanted to pry it out of him but if he did that, Oliver might not say anything at all.

“That guy, Pete,” Oliver continued, “He was, um. He was more than just a friend.”

“Oh.” Elio said as he tried to process what Oliver had just confessed. A part of him felt elated to know that Oliver was in fact attracted to men and that maybe that meant that Oliver was in fact, attracted to him and that the kiss he had given Elio hadn’t been a mistake after all. But then another part of him was insanely jealous at the idea of Oliver being with another man that wasn’t him.

 “Yeah.” Oliver replied. “I met him during my freshman year and became friends with him right away. We’d do everything together and told each other everything. When Liz started high school a year later, she became the third addition to our team and the three of us became inseparable.” Oliver grew quiet for a second, then continued.

“During our sophomore year the both of us got so fucking drunk we couldn’t even see straight. I remember kissing him that day, and he kissing me back. I didn’t know what I was doing or whether it was wrong or not. I just knew that I loved it. That I loved him.  My parents are very conservative people so I had to be very careful about everything. Liz was the only person who knew about my relationship with Pete and she was honestly our guardian angel. Since both my parents and Liz’s parents were pestering us to go out, Pete came up with the idea that Liz should be my beard, just so that people wouldn’t suspect anything.” There was a sad smile on Oliver’s face when he said this and Elio just wanted to reach out and hug him.

“Everything was going smoothly for us. I thought we’d make it out of that fucking town alive, but then we turned 18 and we were about to leave for college and Pete just wanted to go to prom with me, you know?” Oliver told Elio. “He wanted to dance with me and kiss me in front of everyone and a part of me loved that idea, but the logical part of me knew that it would never be that simple. I told him this but he wouldn’t listen to me. He was stubborn like that.” Oliver paused again and looked up at the ceiling. “My parents didn’t really like Pete that much. They always thought he was a little bit weird and different from the rest of the other boys at my school. But they never gave me any grief about it. Maybe because Liz and him were best friends as well and my parents loved and supported everything she did.”

“But a couple of nights after Pete and I argued, he came to our house completely  hammered, screaming at my parents for being homophobes and for not letting him have what he had always dreamed of having.” Oliver shook his head and chuckled sadly. There were tears now falling down his eyes and Elio’s heart was breaking.

“God,” Oliver said, but it came out as a sob. Without thinking it twice, Elio launched himself at Oliver and hugged him.

“You don’t have to keep going.” He assured the other man. Elio knew what he needed to know and he hated himself for even asking Oliver the question. Oliver was so nice and pure and smart and beautiful and he was everything Elio didn’t know he had wanted. He loved him so much and he didn’t want him to hurt. Not like this. Oliver continued to cry softly in Elio’s arms, holding him as tightly as possible. It hurt a little bit, but Elio didn’t care. He wanted Oliver to find comfort in him. He wanted to sooth his pain and make everything feel better again.

“I want you to know.” Oliver whispered a bit later. “I don’t want to hide myself from you anymore Elio. I’m tired of that.” Elio stroke Oliver’s blonde hair and kissed his forehead.

“Okay.” Elio said and kissed Oliver’s cheek.

Oliver remained silent for a moment, getting his thoughts in order. The he said: “I had to pull my dad away from Pete. The two had gotten into an altercation and instead of helping out Pete, I ended up punching him instead. The look of pure anger and betrayal that settled on his face is still engraved in my mind. No matter how many years pass, that face is always there, haunting me. Reminding me that I’m weak and that I don’t deserve anything because I cant even stand up for the people I love or for what I want. I’m a fucking coward Elio and I don’t deserve you.”

“Please don’t say that.” Elio whispered. “You’re braver than most people I know.”

Oliver shook his head. “If I was brave I wouldn’t have ran away after kissing you.” He pulled away from Elio’s grasp and looked at him in the eyes. “I would have stayed and told you how I felt.”

Elio gulped. “You can tell me now.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Oliver looked at Elio for a moment, then looked away. “I don’t think you’ll like what I have to say.”

Elio grabbed Oliver’s face with his hand and turned it so that he was facing Elio again. He gave Oliver a smile. “I think I already know what you’re going to say. I just want to hear it from your lips.” He felt brave all of a sudden. If Oliver could open up to him and tell him about his hurtful past, then Elio could tell him how much he loved and ached for him.

Oliver gulped. He was nervous. “Why do you want me to say it?”

“Because it matters.” Elio said as he caressed Oliver’s cheek. Oliver leaned in to the ministrations and closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, then opened his eyes back up again. They were so mesmerizingly blue that Elio feared he might drown in them.

“You mean everything to me.” Oliver told him with so much sincerity in his voice that Elio’s soul left his body. He had been waiting for this moment even before he’d met Oliver. This moment where he finally felt complete because he had finally found that part that was missing within his body. Because he was certain that Oliver belonged to him just as much as he belonged to Oliver and that there was nothing else in the world that made more sense than just the two of them. "I know we haven't known each other for long, but I can't stop thinking about you. I can't stop wanting to be with you. I can't fucking stop feeling you here, in my heart and is driving me crazy. I just want to burry myself in you and make you mine and never let you go."

Elio felt dizzy. 

“Are you not going to say anything?” Oliver asked. He sounded scared now and Elio hated that. He wanted to kiss him so fucking bad but refrained. Instead, he laid his forehead against Oliver’s and breathed in.

“I love you.”

Oliver’s whole being relaxed. Elio could feel it. Oliver brought both hands to Elio’s hips and effortlessly picked him up and sat him in his lap. Elio let out a startled yelp and then laughed. Oliver was laughing as well. It was the most beautiful song Elio had ever heard in his entire life and it filled him with so much joy he felt like he was going to explode. He laced both arms tightly around Oliver’s neck as Oliver furrowed his face in the crook of Elio’s neck and hugged Elio tightly to his body.

“You don’t know how happy that makes me.”

Elio kissed Oliver’s head repeatedly. “I love you so much.” He told him.

Oliver pulled back and held Elio’s face in his hand. “You really mean that, don’t you? You love me?”

Elio nodded. “Do you love me?”

“More than I’ve ever loved anyone in my life. You honestly have no idea.”

Elio couldn’t contain himself and he hugged Oliver again. He felt tears falling down his face, but this time, they were tears of joy. “I don’t ever want to let you go.”

Oliver stroke his back gently. “I’m not going anywhere Elio. I’m yours forever.”

 

They remained that way for a while, until Elio’s legs began to fall asleep. He sat back down, but this time, in front of Oliver. They were both smiling and giggling at each other like idiots and Elio loved it. 

“I love your smile.” He told him.

Oliver took his hands in his and began caressing it. “Yeah?”

Elio nodded. “If I could see it for the rest of my life I’ll be a very lucky man.”

Oliver smiled and leaned forward, going in for a kiss.

“No.” Elio said, moving back. The pained look that settled on Oliver’s face broke his heart but he couldn’t betray Marzia. No matter how much he loved Oliver.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m still with Marzia.” Elio told him, praying that he would understand.

“Oh.”

“I need to break up with her before you and I can kiss.” Elio explained, hoping that Oliver would understand.

“ I didn’t come between you guys, right? I don’t want her to hate me.”

Elio shook his head. “I love Marzia very much but I’m not in love with her. She’s my best friend in the whole world and you haven’t done anything to tarnish that. I don’t think you and I are to blame for how things turned out, you know? We both tried to pretend this wasn’t happening but in the end it was stronger than us.” Elio told Oliver, who had an understanding look on his handsome face.

“I just hope she doesn’t hate me.” Elio’s voice sounded small and Oliver picked up on his fear. He pulled Elio towards him and engulfed him in another hug.

“Everything’s going to be okay.” He said, and Elio believed him.

Oliver ended up driving Elio to the airport and the whole car ride there he prayed that everything turned out okay. He didn’t want to cause a scene in the middle of the airport or make either Marzia or Oliver upset.

“What if she kisses me?”

“I’ll look away.” Oliver said with a smile. “I have no right to get jealous Elio. I should actually feel ashamed for taking you away from her.”

“You didn’t take me away from anyone. I was the one who chose to fall in love with you.”

Oliver turned to look at him, eyes opened wide. “You’re in love with me?”

Elio  couldn’t help but giggle. “If you don’t turn your attention back on the road, you’ll crash the car.”

“You didn’t answer my question.” Oliver said, turning his attention back to the road.

Elio rolled his eyes. “You know I am. Don’t be dumb.”

Oliver smiled widely. “I just like hearing you say it.”

Elio felt himself blush. He smiled and looked out the window, watching the scenery.

“I’m in love with you too. In case you didn’t know.”

Elio’s smile widened.

They arrived at the airport a few minutes later because of traffic and when Elio checked his phone, he had a series of missed calls from his parents.

“Shit.”

“Are they out already?” Oliver asked as the two made their way into the airport.

“Don’t know.” Elio answered as he called his mother back.

“Ciao mama. Si. We’re inside right now.” Elio explained to her. “Yeah, my bo-. I mean, my friend Oliver drove me.” Elio wanted to kick himself for almost blurting that out. Oliver smirked.

“Yeah, yeah he’s the one I told papa about. Uhu. Yes, okay.  We’re here already. Okay. Love you too.” After hanging up, Elio turned to Oliver.

“They’re here.”

Oliver nodded. “I’m nervous.”

Elio hugged him tightly and kissed him on the cheek. “I’m nervous too. But  we’ll get through this.”

Oliver nodded and kissed Elio’s head.

Samuel and Annella Perlman came out 15 minutes later, with Marzia in tow. As soon as Elio spotted them, he began waving and jumping up and down in excitement. Oliver chuckled at the sight but didn’t say anything. As soon as they reached him, Elio engulfed both of his parents in a massive hug.

“I’ve missed you so much.” His mother said as she kissed him on the cheek.

Samuel chuckled and placed a hand on Elio’s shoulder. “It’s so good to see you Elly.” He ruffled Elio’s hair and Elio leaned in to the touch. He had missed his parents more than anything else. They were his rock and without them, Elio had no idea what he’d do.

He looked towards Marzia, who was standing besides his mother with a big smile on her face. Elio let out a sigh of relief and embraced her in a hug.

“Marzia.” He said as he hugged her. “I’ve missed you so fucking much.”

Marzia hugged him back just as tightly. “I’ve missed you too.” She planted a kiss on his cheek.

“And you must be Oliver.” Elio heard his father say as he broke apart from Marzia.

“Yeah.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about you guys.”

Elio looked at his parents interact with Oliver, then back at Marzia who eyed Oliver curiously.

“Elio has told us quite a lot about you too.” Annella said with a knowing smile that made Elio blush.

“Let’s all go to the car, yeah?” Elio said, putting an arm around Marzia.

Oliver smiled at him and nodded.

As the group made their way out of the airport, Elio was happy to see that his parents were already engaged in conversation with Oliver. He smiled at the sight of the three of them talking until Marzia’s voice brought him out of his head.

“He seems nice.” She told him, and Elio felt that knot form in his stomach again. He turned to her and nodded. “He is.”

“Where’d you meet him?” She asked. Elio knew that he hadn’t said anything to Marzia about Oliver, and he had been dreading this moment ever since he realized his feelings for Oliver.

“The library. He’s a professor.”

“Ah, nice. He’s cute.”

Elio gulped. He didn’t want to answer that question because he feared that if he did, he’d give himself away. When they arrived at the car, Elio helped Oliver load the luggage in the trunk while his parents and Marzia got inside the car.

“I like your parents.”

Elio smiled and bumped shoulders with him. “They like you too.”

“I just hope they don’t hate me when, you know…” Oliver whispered.

“They won’t. I think they’d hate me instead for breaking her heart.”

Oliver squeezed Elio’s shoulder reassuringly. “let's just hope for the best okay?”

Elio smiled and nodded.

Oliver closed the trunk door and the two made their way into the car.

“I’m Marzia, by the way.” Marzia said once they were on the road. “Sorry I didn’t introduce myself before.”

“it’s nice to meet you.” Oliver smiled, but Elio noticed that it didn’t reach his eyes. He hated himself for putting Marzia and Oliver in this situation and he hated how selfish he was being for wishing that he could somehow keep both of them in their lives. He could tell that Marzia definitely knew something was up by the way she kept looking from Oliver to him. He could see it all through the rear-view mirror and at one point, the two of them made eye contact. Marzia raised an eyebrow at him and but Elio looked away. He felt ashamed for doing this. For lying to Marzia and for making her go through this. His parents were completely obvious as to what was happening and Elio also dreaded the moment that they found out. He didn’t want to disappoint anyone.

 The rest of the car ride was spent with his parents talking about their flight and telling Oliver their plans for the next few weeks.

“We’re going to stay at a hotel while Marzia here stays with Elly.” His father said with a smile. Elio wanted to die. He had forgotten about that completely. He wanted to say something but couldn’t, and when he looked towards Oliver, he noticed that the blonde was holding on to the steering wheel a little bit too tight.

“I just hope we’re able to fit on the same bed.” Marzia said and his parents chuckled.

“My bed’s not that small.” Elio found himself saying. “And if anything, I can sleep on the floor.”

Marzia looked over to Annella and said: “You’ve raised such a gentleman.”

Annella laughed and leaned forward so she could run her fingers through Elio’s hair. “He better be.”

 

Oliver dropped them off at their hotel on 5th avenue and even though the Perlman had invited him to dine with him, Oliver refused. It broke Elio’s heart but maybe this was for the better. He knew that Oliver wasn’t comfortable seeing Marzia touching him and being her normal self with him, and he didn’t want to keep putting Oliver through that. He also felt like he was cheating on Marzia by having Oliver around.

“Are you okay?” Elio asked him. His parents and Marzia had gone inside to check in, leaving Elio to say goodbye to Oliver.

“Yeah. I’m fine, I promise. I just. I feel really bad.”

Elio nodded. “I’m sorry I’m putting you through this.”

“No, it’s not your fault Elio. I just. I feel like I’m taking you away from her and it kills me.”

Elio bit his lip. He wanted to make Oliver understand that this wasn’t his fault. “You didn’t force me to fall in love with you. It happened and now we’re here.” He wanted to lean in and kiss him so badly but he held back. “I’m going to talk to her tonight and fix everything. If anything, I’m the one to blame.”

Oliver shook his head. “You’re not.” He placed a hand on Elio’s cheek and caressed it. “I’ll see you later okay? Text me if you need anything.”

Elio nodded. “I will.”

“I love you.”

“I love you.” Elio replied.

Chapter Text

His parents wanted to take a nap after they were done unpacking, so Elio left them to their own devices and took Marzia back to his dorm room. They decided to take a cab since Marzia had brought a suitcase with her and Elio didn’t want to deal with that on the subway. The ride was a short one, and before they knew it, they had arrived at Columbia. Marzia took everything in with amazement in her eyes and Elio couldn’t help but feel happy for her. Marzia had always dreamed of coming to New York but her parents didn’t like the city.

“I’m glad you’re here.” He told her as they made their way into the building.

“I’m glad I came. Everything’s so big.”

Elio chuckled. “Yeah well, don’t get too excited. My room is tiny as fuck.”

“It’s okay. It’ll be cozier that way.” She said as they entered the elevator.

Elio smiled faintly and nodded.

When they entered the dorm, Elio was surprised to find Mike lounging in the common room couch. He smiled brightly at Elio and said:

“You’re staying too?”

Elio nodded. “Yeah.” He didn’t want to be rude but he also didn’t want to talk with Mike.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your pretty friend?” Mike said as Elio was about to open the door to his room. He rolled his eyes and looked back at Mike.

“Mike, this is Marzia. Marzia, Mike.”

Marzia smiled at Mike and waved. “Nice to meet you.”

Before Mike could say anything, he pulled Marzia into his room and closed the door.

“Well that was rude.” Marzia chuckled and put her suitcase by the door.

Elio shrugged. “He’s an ass, don’t worry about it.”

“Really? He seemed nice.”

Elio rolled his eyes. “Don’t let that American face fool you. He’s nothing but trouble.” He took his coat off and placed it on his table, then sat down on his bed. He watched Marzia do the same.

“Are you jealous?” Marzia asked with a smirk as she sat down on his lap.

Elio rolled his eyes again. “I’m not jealous. Just looking out for you, is all.”

“That’s very sweet of you.” She leaned in to give him a kiss but Elio moved his head back. The moment of truth had come and even though he was dreading it, he also couldn’t wait to let it all out.

“What’s wrong?” She asked, running a hand through his hair. “Am I not your girl?”

This was too much for him to handle. He felt like his insides were being torn apart and he couldn’t breath. He didn’t know how long he remained silent for, but Marzia’s sweet voice brought him back to the present. “Elio,” She said, “talk to me. What’s wrong?”

Tears pooled at his eyes and when he blinked, they began to fall.

“I’m sorry.” Was all he was able to say. “I’m so fucking sorry.”

Marzia took a deep breath. She knew. Of course she did. Marzia was smarter than anyone else in the world and she knew him better than he knew himself.

“Did you cheat on me?” Her voice was solid and strong and he envied her courage. Elio couldn’t even look her in the eyes.

“No. I swear to you Marzia, I didn’t.”

Marzia grabbed his face in her hands and made him look at her. “Do you not love me anymore?”

The pain and hurt he saw in her eyes made him want to die.

“I love you so fucking much Marzia. You know I do.”

“Then why? Was I not good enough?”

“You were more than enough,” He tried to explain but his words got caught up in his throat.

Tears rolled down her eyes and Elio wiped them away with his fingers. “I didn’t mean for this to happen, I swear to you. You’re so important to me and I never wanted to hurt you. I need you to believe me.”

Marzia was silent for a moment and Elio was beyond scared. He was so fucking afraid that Marzia was going to walk away from his life and never talk to him again. That fear paralyzed him and left him unable to speak and he just wanted to make things right again.

“Is it Oliver?”

Unable to speak, Elio nodded.

Marzia chuckled but it turned into a sob and she wiped at her eyes furiously. “I just can’t believe you didn’t tell me before.” She got up from his lap and walked over to where she had placed her jacket. “I would’ve stayed home.”

Elio got up as well and walked up to her. “No. Marzia no. I want you here.”

“Why? Why the fuck do you want me here Elio? You clearly don’t love me anymore. You fell in love with someone else and didn’t even tell me about it.”

“Because I didn’t think it was right to tell you over the phone! Please, Marzia. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Marzia remained silent and Elio began to cry.

“I don’t want to lose you. Please. Marzia. I didn’t mean for this to happen. Please.”

Marzia closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “I need sometime to think okay.” She said as she began to put her jacket on. “Can you call me a cab please.”

Even though he didn’t want to, he knew he needed to give Marzia the space she needed. So he nodded his head and took his phone out.

They had to wait ten minutes for the cab, so they waited together inside the lobby. They were both quiet at first, until Marzia spoke:

“Does he make you happy?”

He didn’t have the courage  to look her in the eyes as he spoke. “He does.” He felt Marzia shift besides him and before he knew it, she was engulfing him in a hug. Elio hugged her back with all his might.

“I don’t hate you, okay. I don’t think I’ll ever will. I’m just a sad and disappointed that you didn’t tell me sooner. I know you didn’t mean for this to happen and I can’t blame you. But I do need time, okay. I need to heal.”

Elio’s heart broke a little more as Marzia told him this. He wished he could spare her this pain.

“I love you.” He told her, as she broke away from him.

“I know.”

 

Later that day, Elio went back to the hotel where he found out that his parents had booked Marzia a room and that she wasn’t going to be joining them for lunch. His parents weren’t noisy people, so they hadn’t asked Marzia why all this new things were happening. However, as soon as the three of them sat down to eat, Annella asked him:

“Is there something you want to tell us mio piccino?”

Elio wasn’t ready, but he knew he couldn’t keep this from his parents. 

“You can talk to us. You know that right?” His father said as he laid his hand on top of Elio’s.

Elio nodded and took a deep breath. “I’m in love with Oliver.”

There was silence in the table, and Elio kept his eyes glued to his hands.

“And Is he in love with you?” His mom asked, combing her fingers through his hair.

Elio looked at her and smiled shyly at her. “He is.”

“When you least expected,” Samuel started, “Nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spots.” He took a drink from his wine glass, then continued. “I know you didn’t chose to hurt Marzia intentionally, and even though it’s hurting her now, I know she understands that as well. Right now, all you have to do is give her time to heal and to make her own decisions. She might not want to continue being your friend, and you have to understand that and respect her wishes.”

Elio felt tears falling down his eyes again and he wiped them away.

“Don’t cry mio piccino. Everything’s going to be okay.”

“Are you guys mad at me?”

Samuel chuckled. “Of course we’re not mad Elio. You’ve done nothing wrong. We don’t chose who or when we fall in love. It happens randomly and we just have to go along with it. I assume you didn’t cheat on Marzia with Oliver though. Am I right?”

Elio nodded. “We confessed our feelings for each other just yesterday.”

“And does he make you happy?” His mother asked.

“I feel complete when I’m with him.” Elio found himself smiling.

His parents smiled at him. “Why don’t you invite him for dinner tonight. I want to interrogate him a little.” His father said, causing Elio to laugh.

“Papa!”

“I’m just teasing. But please, do invite him. I’m rather fond of him already.”

 

They went to the MET after lunch, where they spent most of the afternoon, and afterwards went for a stroll through Central Park. The weather wasn’t too cold, so they were able to actually enjoy their walk. He loved this moment very much. He had missed his parents with all his heart and having them here with him was such a blessing to him. He told them this as they walked out of the park, a few hours later.

“We are blessed to be here as well.” His father told him.

“The house is not the same without you there mio piccino. Even Mafalda misses doing your laundry.” His mother said as she held him by his arm. Elio laughed.

“I can’t wait for summer to come. I want to go back home so badly.”

“You should try to enjoy your time here though. Before you know it, four years would pass in a blink of an eye and you’ll end up missing them.”

Elio nodded. “I know. It’s just. It’s hard adjusting to things here. Everything’s so different."

“Oliver can help you with that.” His mother said as she took a cigarette pack out of her coat pocket.

“I know, and he’s helped me out a little bit, but I just feel a bit out of place.”

“Does Oliver like it here?” His father asked.

“I guess. I haven’t really asked. Why?”

Samuel shrugged. “No reason. I just think this is something the two of you should discuss. But maybe in later times.”

Elio nodded. He didn’t know what his father was getting at and he didn’t want to ask.

They returned back to the hotel and Elio had a strong urge to check up on Marzia but his mother told him to let her be and that she’d do it herself. He nodded and watched as his mother made her way out of the room. His father, who was checking something on his phone, looked up at him.

“Why don’t you hang out with Oliver?”

“Because I’m hanging out with you guys.”

His father chuckled and put his phone down. “You’ve spent the whole afternoon with us Elly. Go talk to him. I’m pretty sure the two of you have a lot to discuss.”

Elio smiled. He loved how understanding his father was and knew that he was lucky to have the type of parents that he had. Elio walked over to his dad and sat down next to him. “Thank you.” Elio said as he hugged him.

“No. Thank you. We’re very lucky to have you as a son.”

Elio called Oliver as soon as he was outside the hotel.

“Hey.” He said as soon as Oliver picked up.

“Hey yourself.” He could feel Oliver’s smile.

“Are you free right now?”

“I am. Why?”

“We need to talk.”

“Is everything okay?” Oliver sounded worried and Elio wanted to kick himself.

“Yes. Well, sort of. We just. We have a lot to talk about.”

“Okay.” Oliver said, and Elio could feel the weariness in his voice.

“I love you.” He said, hoping that those words would calm Oliver down.

He felt Oliver let out a sigh of relief and smiled. “I love you.”

Oliver was waiting outside his dorm when Elio arrived and Elio immediately jumped into his arms. Oliver chuckled at the action but held Elio as tight as possible.

“Hi.” Elio said as he buried his face in the crook of Oliver’s neck.

“Hey.”

Without thinking it twice, Elio moved back and grabbed Oliver’s face in his hands. He held his gaze for a few seconds before moving in and kissing him. Elio licked Oliver’s lips, savoring their taste. It took Oliver a moment before he realized what was happening, and when he did, he groaned and pulled Elio closer. Elio felt his entire life disintegrating and turning into something bigger and better than what it already was. He felt himself melting into Oliver and Oliver melting into him as Oliver sucked on his lower lip.  He felt Elio’s body up with his big strong hands, making him moan inside Oliver’s mouth. Elio was a whimpering mess and he wanted Oliver to take him and make him his. He had never felt this way before. This intense feeling that was overpowering every nerve in his body and making him so fucking needy for Oliver. He never wanted to stop kissing him. Never wanted to stop feeling him. Never wanted to stop being one with him.

He didn’t know how long they kissed for, but the need of oxygen made them reluctantly pull away from each other.

Oliver’s face was red and his hair was a mess from Elio pulling on it. Elio knew he looked the same way. They were both panting and smiling like idiots who were completely and irrevocably in love with one another. It was exciting. This feeling that only seem to grow more and more as the days passed by.

Oliver held Elio’s face in his hands this time and looked fondly into his eyes.

“You’re mine.”

Chapter Text

They made their way into Elio’s room in one piece. Mostly because neither of them wanted to get yelled at for indecent behavior. But as soon as they were in the comfort of Elio’s room, Oliver grabbed him by the face and kissed the life out of him. Elio held on tightly, savoring the feel of Oliver’s body in his arms and feeling his heart expand as each second ticked by. He was truly on cloud nine and he never wanted to get down.

“I love you so much.” Oliver whispered against his lips as he pushed Elio towards the bed. “You have no idea how happy you make me.”

Elio ran a hand through Oliver’s hair. “I want you.”

“Yeah?” Oliver said as he laid Elio on the bed.

Elio’s mouth was completely dry as he moved up in the bed. “Yes.” He said, but it came so low and breathy that he feared Oliver hadn’t heard him. “I want you to fuck me.” He was desperate to feel Oliver’s dick inside of him. He had ached for it, and now that he was about to get it, he couldn’t quite believe it. He was already hard in his own pants, and he could tell that Oliver was hard as well. Elio knew 00that his words excited Oliver and he fucking loved it. “Are you going to fuck me?”

Oliver groaned in response and launched himself down at Elio, kissing him once more.

“Off, off, off.” Oliver said desperately as he pulled Elio’s shirt over his head. Elio tried to do the same with Oliver’s button up but his hands were trembling. Oliver ended up ripping his shirt off his body, finally exposing that gorgeous chest to Elio. His mouth watered at the sight. He ran his hands up and down his chest, then leaned in, placing desperate kisses all over Oliver’s tanned skin. Oliver’s hand went to Elio’s hair and he pulled lightly, eliciting a moan from Elio’s lips. Elio continued his trajectory of kisses up towards Oliver’s neck where he sucked hard on the skin. Oliver’s hand went straight to his ass and groped, pulling Elio even closer to his body.

“You’re driving me crazy.” Oliver said as Elio kissed all over his face. “I’ve never wanted someone as badly as I want you. I want to make you mine and only mine.” Oliver growled, pushing Elio on his back. Elio began to unbutton his pants. He couldn’t fucking handle it anymore. He needed to be naked. Needed to share his body with Oliver. He needed and needed and needed.

“You’re gorgeous.” Oliver said as Elio laid naked on the bed. The hungry way in which Oliver stared at his body made his dick get harder. Feeling brave, he brought a hand down to it and began to stroke it.

“You like it?”

Oliver’s eyes grew impossibly wide and without any warning, he bent down and engulfed Elio’s dick with his mouth. It was in that very moment that Elio finally understood what people meant when they said the phrase heaven on earth. Because fuck. Oliver’s lips felt like magic as he bobbed his head up and down In a slow rhythm. Elio’s blood was thrumming with excitement and he felt like he was going to explode. He grabbed on to Oliver’s hair and tugged at it as Oliver sucked on the head of his dick.

“You’ll kill me if you stop.” Elio moaned.

Oliver continued to suck until Elio came with a groan in his mouth. Oliver was all smiles when he pulled back. He licked his lips, then bent back down to kiss Elio.

“Take your pants off.” He told Oliver as the man began to kiss down his neck. “I want to see you.”

Oliver complied and took his pants and boxers off in one go. Elio’s mouth went slack when he saw Oliver’s rock hard cock. It was nine inches and as thick as a salami. It was was a marvelous sight, but Elio feared that it wasn’t going to fit inside of him. He told this to Oliver, who ended up laughing like a maniac and falling down on top of Elio.

“Stop laughing at me.” Elio pouted as he hid his face on the crook of Oliver’s neck. He hugged him tightly, and wrapped both legs around him.

“I’m not laughing at you, I swear.” Oliver said, looking at his face. There was so much love and adoration in his eyes and Elio’s heart couldn’t fucking take it. He was so in love with this man and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with him.

“You’re mine.” He told Oliver as he caressed his neck. “You’re mine and I’m yours.”

He leaned up and captured Oliver’s lip with his. He knew that he’d never, ever, ever get tired of the way Oliver’s lips felt against his. He’d never, ever, ever get tired of the taste. Never, ever, ever get tired of the sounds that came out of Oliver when Elio bit his lip lightly. He’d never, ever, ever get tired of Oliver. Never.

 

They made out like that for a while. Holding and touching every inch of their bodies. They were both on fire and Elio was hard and aching again. Every time he moved against Oliver, their cocks would rub against each other and they’d both moan into each other’s mouths. It was such a beautiful melody and Elio wanted to hear it for the rest of his life.

“If you don’t fuck me now, I’m going to die.” Elio whimpered at some point.

“Do you have stuff?”

Elio laughed at the shy way in which Oliver said “stuff.” It was endearing, especially since the other man had already sucked his dick.

“Are you asking me if I have any lube?”

Oliver blushed, which caused Elio to laugh even harder.

“Now you’re the one laughing at me.” Oliver pouted.

“Because you’re blushing.” Elio said as he caressed Oliver’s flaming cheeks. “Why’re you blushing?”

“Because I’m nervous.” Oliver’s confession warmed his heart and Elio couldn’t help but pull the other man in and hug him.

“But you sucked my dick…”

Oliver laughed and kissed Elio’s neck. “Where do you keep it?”

“In the dresser. I have condoms too but I don’t want you to use them.”

Oliver looked at him, eyebrow arched. “really? You sure?”

“Yeah.”Elio nodded. “I want to feel all of you.” He said as he grabbed Oliver’s cock and stroke it. Oliver closed his eyes and let out a breathy moan. He looked blissed out and Elio was proud. Oliver looked like a fucking god right now. Hair all mused up, skin glistening with sweat, mouth parted. He wanted to capture this image in his brain forever, so that on days when he wasn’t around Oliver, he could just look back at this and touch himself to it.

“If you keep going, I’ll cum.”

Elio bit his lip. “I want you to.” He sped up a little bit and Oliver moaned. Elio got on his knees and began placing kisses on Oliver’s chest. He couldn’t get enough.

“Are you going to cum for me?” Elio found himself saying.

One of Oliver’s hand grabbed one of his ass cheek and squeezed it, making Elio moan.

“Fuck.” Oliver groaned. “Don’t stop.”
Moments later, Oliver came all over Elio’s hand. Oliver’s face had never looked as beautiful as it did in that moment and Elio wanted to see that face for the rest of his life. Oliver fell forward, holding on to Elio and breathing hard against his neck.

“You’re going to kill me.”

Elio smiled proudly and kissed him on the cheek.

“Go get the “stuff.”

Oliver laid down on the bed, catching his breath. “Give me a moment.”

Elio chuckled and straddled the blonde. “You’re such an old man.”

Oliver grabbed Elio by the hips and sat up. “Who are you calling old?” He groaned and began to kiss Elio again. All thoughts left Elio brain and all he could do was moan desperately as Oliver continued to kiss down his neck. When Elio was nothing more than a whimpering mess, Oliver moved him so that he was laying down again, then got off from bed.

“Which drawer?” Oliver asked when he reached the dresser.

“The first one.” Elio said. “Hurry up.”

Oliver chuckled and opened up the drawer. He looked around for a bit until he found the tube. “Why’s this almost empty?” He asked Elio as he walked back towards the bed.

“Because.” Elio said, hiding his face behind his hands.

Oliver chuckled amusedly. “Because what?”

Elio looked Oliver in the eyes and with a straight face, he said: “Because I use it to touch myself whenever I think about you.”

The amused look turned into a lustful one and Elio preened. The blonde got into bed and in between Elio’s legs.

“You touch yourself there?” He asked as he bent down and placed a kiss on the inside of Elio’s thigh.

Elio hummed. “Especially after you kissed me. It’s all I’ve been doing.”

Oliver continued to kiss Elio’s thighs, neglecting his aching cock.

“Please.” Elio whimpered. “I need you.”

“Turn around.”Oliver said, placing one final kiss on his navel.

Elio did as he was told and laid on his stomach.

“Lift your knees up a little.” Oliver told him. “God.” Oliver sighed. “You’re a work of art.” Elio blushed as Oliver spread his ass cheeks apart. Oliver was seeing the most private place of his body and Elio wanted to cry out of happiness. He had never shared himself in this matter with anyone before and knew for a fact that he’d never be sharing himself this way with any body else. He felt Oliver tracing his hole with his thumb and he moaned.

“You like that?” Oliver sounded drunk.

“Please.” Elio groaned. “Please fuck me.”

Oliver placed a kiss on his lower back, then uncapped the lube. He squirted some down Elio’s crack then coated his fingers.

“I need you to relax.” Oliver said slowly. “And tell me if it’s too much, okay.”

Elio nodded and tried his best to relax his body. He wanted this so fucking badly but he was still so fucking nervous. He let out a gasp when  Oliver’s index finger finally breeched him. It felt weird at first, but as Oliver continued to push in, Elio began to feel more aroused. 

“You okay?” Oliver asked, placing another kiss on his back.

“Keep going.” Elio moaned into the pillow.

Oliver added a second finger and Elio cried out in pleasure. The blonde fingered him slowly, opening Elio up. Elio felt intoxicated with the feeling of Oliver’s fingers deep inside of him. If he could go the rest of his life feeling them in him, he would.

“Fuck me.” He found himself saying. “I want you now.”

Oliver pulled his fingers out, making Elio groan at the feeling. Elio turned on his back and Oliver kissed him. He grabbed Elio’s legs and wrapped them around his waist before lubing up his dick.

When Oliver finally entered Elio, he felt like he had died and gone to heaven. He held on to Oliver’s shoulders as the older man finally bottomed out. Oliver laid his forehead against Elio, panting. Elio tighten his legs around Oliver and held him as close as possible. He was so fucking in love with this feeling. He felt complete in so many ways and he never wanted to stop feeling this way. If the world were to end in that moment, Elio would die the happiest man on earth.

“Are you okay?” Oliver asked as he kissed Elio’s forehead.

“I love you.” Was all Elio could say. “I love you so much.”

Oliver fucked him nice and slow at first, until the two of them found a rhythm. Elio’s soul had completely left his body and he was nothing but a pile of flesh and bones. He cried out as Oliver’s dick pressed against his prostate and begged for more. He wanted Oliver to go faster. Wanted Oliver to destroy him and to ruin him and to claim him. He wanted to merge his body into Oliver so that the two of them could become one.

“I’m so close.” He heard himself saying. Every nerve in his body was on fire.

Oliver groaned and fucked into him faster and harder. “Oliver, Oliver, Oliver.” Elio moaned as he came untouched. Oliver continued to fuck into him, until he came deep inside his body, crying out Elio’s name.

 

They stayed in bed afterwards. Too worn out to get up and clean themselves. If Elio was completely honest though, he didn’t want to wash away the evidence of their love making. He also didn’t want to part away from Oliver. He wanted to hold him in his arms and never let him go.

He kissed Oliver’s cheek, and felt the other man smiling. Oliver placed a hand on Elio’s face and held his gaze. There was a sleepy smile on his face as he said:

“Call me by your name, and I’ll call you by mine.”

Chapter Text

They lay in bed again once they’ve cleaned themselves up. They were still naked, and Elio basked in the feeling of Oliver’s skin against his. It felt comforting and made him feel alive. He never wanted to stop feeling Oliver. The other man ran his fingers through Elio’s hair, making him purr like a cat. Elio wasn’t embarrassed by the sounds he was making, if anything, he loved them. He loved every single thing that Oliver made him do.

“What are you thinking about?” Oliver asked as he placed a kiss on Elio’s hairline.

Elio looked up at him and smiled. “That I love everything about this.”

“Oh yea?” Oliver smiled.

Elio nodded. “I love how you make me feel.”

Oliver kissed him, slow and deep. “I love how you make me feel too.” They look into each other’s eyes for a moment, until Oliver said:

“I’d seen you around before.”

“What do you mean?”

Oliver blushed and buried his face in the crook of Elio’s neck. “This’ll probably sound creepy. But I had seen you a couple of times in the library before.”

Elio was shocked by Oliver’s confession because, how on earth had he never seen this glorious man before. “Really?” He asked, grabbing Oliver’s face so that the other man could look at him.

“Yeah. I always go to the library to grade papers, and I had seen you around a couple of times,” Oliver caressed Elio’s cheek and smiled fondly at him. “You honestly took my breath away the first time I saw you. I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

Elio’s heart was about to burst. “Why didn’t you come up to me then?”

“Because I was scared. I hadn’t felt that way about a guy in such a long time and I didn’t want to. Plus, I was with Liz.”

“So what made you come up to me then?”

Oliver shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t even know why I was so attracted to you in the first place. Like… I don’t know. Every time I saw you I just had this weird urge inside of me and I wanted to talk to you and get to know you. I wanted to see you smile and laugh and I wanted to kiss you so fucking badly. It honestly scared me. But then that Saturday I saw you, and there was no one else around and I felt so fucking brave.”

Elio leaned In and kissed him. “I’m so glad you came up to me.”

“I’m glad I came up to you too. You’re the best thing that has happened to me Elio and I don’t ever want to lose you.”

“I don’t want to lose you either.” Elio replied, hugging the other man. He knew he couldn’t live without him now. This was final and Elio didn’t want anybody else.

“What about your parents?” Elio suddenly asked.

“What about them?”

“Will you tell them?”Oliver thought about the question for a moment before he shook his head. “ I don’t think it matters if I do. It’s my life, you know. And If they’re not happy with what I’m doing then that’s on them. I don’t want their hate to affect us in any way.”

“I don’t want to cause you any trouble with them though.” Elio told him. He hated Oliver’s parents for being so cruel to him but he didn’t want Oliver to distant himself from them if that wasn’t something the blonde wanted.

“You’re not causing any trouble silly,” Oliver said as he kissed Elio’s forehead. “My relationship with my parents is already fucked up and I’ll never live up to their expectations. I just… You’re more important to me. You’re my whole life now Elio.”

Elio hugged him as tight as he possibly could. “You’ll never hurt again. I’ll make sure of that.” Elio promised him. “I’ll take care of you.”

 

Later that night, the two of them went to dinner with Elio’s parents to a nice Italian restaurant a few blocks away from the hotel. Elio could tell that Oliver was nervous, which was silly since Elio’s parents adored him already. His mother kept on talking to him about all the fruit trees she had back at home, which lead his father into talking about the origin of the word apricot.

“The word apricot,” his father started. “Comes from the Arabic - its like the word “algebra”, “alchemy”, and “alcohol.” Elio and his mother shared a look while Oliver played close attention to Samuel’s words. It was endearing, and Elio just wanted to shower Oliver with kisses.

“It derives from an Arabic noun combined with the Arabic article ‘al-‘ before it.”

Oliver nodded. He was clearly intrigued.

“The organ of our Italian ‘albicocca’ was ‘al-barquq. It’s amazing that today in Israel and many Arab countries, the fruit is referred to by a totally different name: ‘mishmish’.” His father was all smiles.

“I beg to differ.” Oliver said, which honestly shocked Elio. He wasn’t expecting the blonde to say anything at all. This excited Elio and made him happy because it meant that Oliver was comfortable. He smiled at Oliver and grabbed his hand under the table.

“Ah?” His father said, looking amused.

Elio could tell that Oliver was blushing, but he gave Elio’s hand a little squeeze continued to speak.

“The word is not actually an Arabic word.”

“How so?”

Elio and his mother were now the ones looking at Oliver, intrigued.

“It’s a long story, so bear with me, pro.”

His father smiled at the nickname and Elio felt his heart swell with emotion.

“Many Latin words are derived from the Greek,” Oliver said, “In the case of ‘apricot’, however, it’s the other way around. Here the Greek takes over from Latin. The Latin word was praecoquum, from pre-coquere, pre-cook, to ripen early, as in precocious, meaning premature.” Elio looked at his parents and smiled proudly when he saw how charmed they looked.

“Byzantines - to go on - borrowed preacox, and it became prekokkia or berikokki, which is finally how the Arabs must have inherited it as al-barquq.”

Everyone is silent after that, and Oliver looked worried, as if he had stepped out of line. All Elio could think of was  apricock, precock, precock, apricock.

“Courtesy Philosophy 101.” He said, putting his hands up and chuckling awwakrdly.

Samuel smiled proudly and Annella laughed, amused.

“He’s right, he’s right.”

Elio managed to snap out of it and turned to face Oliver. “He does this every year.”

“I was testing you.” Samuel said and Oliver visibly relaxed and smiled back.

Chapter Text

They’ve been living in Italy for two years now and life was good. Sometimes Elio woke up and turned towards Oliver and just stared at him, trying to decipher whether he had dreamt the past  six years. But then Oliver would wake up and smile that charming smile at him and Elio’s fears would all melt away. Oliver would hug him and pepper his face with kisses and Elio knew that this was real and that they were both lucky to have found each other.

“We found the stars.” He liked to tell Oliver. “You and I.”

Oliver would kiss him every time and leave him breathless.

Moving back to Crema had not been Elio’s idea originally. He had mentioned it in passing to Oliver, about wanting to go back once he finished with school, but only for a visit. But Oliver knew him more than anyone else in the whole wide world and Oliver knew that Elio was aching to go back home. That Elio missed everything that was his home and that he’d missed his parents desperately. So Oliver sat down with him and told him. He told Elio that he wanted to take a break from teaching to work on this novel he had been dying to write. Elio was against it at first because he didn’t want him to sacrifice his job. Because as long as Oliver was with him, he’d live in New York for all eternity.

“But I loved Crema too and I want to go back. I don’t want to stay for just the summer though.” Oliver told him.

“Are you sure though?”

Oliver nodded. “As long as your parents are okay with it. I don’t mind having to work if it comes to that. But you’ve lived in my world for four years now. I want to live in yours.”

Elio smiled and kissed him. His heart was about to burst with the happiness he was feeling and Elio thanked the universe for gifting him this perfect creation that was Oliver.

It took a little bit of time for Oliver to fully adjust to Crema but as time past by, Oliver became more comfortable than Elio. It was beautiful. Seeing Oliver in his world, learning Italian and even befriending the locals. Elio couldn’t help but fall more and more in love. It was a sunny afternoon when Oliver walked into their bedroom and flopped down on the bed. He looked tired but the smile on his face was so fucking big. It took Elio’s breath away.

“What’s that smile for?” Elio asked as Oliver got in bed with him. He kissed Elio deeply, touching all over his body.

“I love you.”

Elio giggled. “I know you do. I love you too.”

They were silent for a moment, just staring into each other’s eyes, until Oliver spoke:

“I finished the book.”

“Yeah?” Elio said happily. He was so proud of his love. “That’s amazing.” Elio grabbed his face and kissed him deeply. “I’m so proud of you.”

Oliver nodded and kissed his forehead.

“Does that mean we’re going to go back to New York now?” Elio asked, a bit sadly. He was glad that they had come out here and lived here for two whole years, and even though he didn’t mind going back to the loud and hectic NYC life, Elio was sure as fuck going to miss Crema.

“I don’t.”

Oliver’s answer caught Elio by surprise and he had to sit up.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t want to go back to New York. I love it here Elio. And so do you.”

“But what about your job? What about our apartment?”

Oliver grabbed Elio’s hand in his and kissed them.

“Your father asked me to work with him and I accepted. He said we can live here until we’re able to find a place for ourselves.”

Elio was speechless. He couldn’t believe this was actually happening and had no idea what to say.

“Are you okay with that?” Oliver asked a bit tentative.

Elio snapped out of his trance and launched himself at Oliver, who caught him in his arms and laughed.

Elio grabbed Oliver’s face in his hand and stared deeply into his eyes and with all the love and adoration he could muster, he said: “Elio, Elio, Elio, Elio. I love you so much.”

Oliver closed his eyes and leaned in closer, laying his forehead against Elio’s.

“Oliver.” He whispered, before capturing Elio’s mouth in a kiss.

“I love you so fucking much.”

They had a dinner party the next night and invited everyone that was important to them. Elio didn’t know why his parents and Oliver were making a big deal of this, but he decided to go along with it. While he was in his room getting ready to go downstairs, Oliver knocked on the door and stuck his head in.

“Hey, there’s someone here that wants to see you.” Oliver smiled.

Elio turned towards him. He was in the midst of fixing his hair. “Who?”

“Hey you.” Marzia said and Elio smiled widely at the sight of his best friend. He walked up to her and hugged her.

“Jesus Christ, what are you doing here? I thought you were coming back in July.”

“What? You’re not happy to see me?”

“Of course I’m happy to see you. Don’t be silly.” He said as he hugged her tightly. Oliver stood by the door with a fond look on his face.

“I’ll be down stairs.” He said before leaving the room.

Marzia and him hadn’t spoken for a full year after the breakup, but after she got accepted to Columbia, she had reached out to him. It had been awkward at first, and they wouldn’t hang out as much. But as time passed, things went back to normal. Her and Oliver even became quick friends after that, and Elio was immensely happy and grateful that two of the most important people in his life were getting along.

“I can’t believe you’re here.”

“Yeah well, I wouldn’t miss this day for anything in the world.” She smiled at him, but Elio was confused.

“What are you talking about?”

“Nothing, nothing. Don’t worry about it. Let’s go downstairs, yeah?” She told him, grabbing him by the arm.

“I need to fix my hair.”

“Your hair’s fine Elio. It looks cute. Long hair suits you.” She said as she ran her fingers through his hair.

He blushed. “Yeah? You think so?”

“Oh yeah. Totally. Now come on pretty boy. People are waiting.”

Dinner was a weird affair, only because people were all secretive and kept on smiling at Elio. He felt like he was the butt of some joke and didn’t like it one bit. It was during dessert though, that he decided that he had had enough of the side looks and giggly faces. He was about to ask them what the hell was going on when Oliver suddenly got to his feet and cleared his throat. The whole table got quiet and Elio looked confusedly at his parents.

They smiled at him, then looked towards Oliver.

“Elio.” Oliver said, and Elio turned his attention towards the blonde. His heart was beating wildly inside his chest and he just wanted to know what was going on. Before he had a chance to ask, Oliver said:

“You’re the best part of my life. These last six years have been the best years of my life and I’m so grateful I decided to approach you that day in the library. We were made for each other, and It’s crazy, because I didn’t believe in soulmates before and the idea of meeting my other half always scared and confused me.” Oliver stopped. He looked like he was about to cry.

Elio wasn;’t fairing any better either. Tears were falling freely from his eyes and he couldn’t even get up. He wanted to run towards Oliver and hold him in his arms but he couldn’t. He was paralyzed. His heart was about to explode and he was so fucking happy he could die.

“But then I met you.” Oliver continued. “I met you and realized that you were the missing part my soul had been looking for ever since I was born. You, with your beautiful face and snarky attitude. With your jokes and your insightful comments and your cold feet. You, with the unruly hair and heart of gold. You’re everything to me Elio. You’re my soulmate. My brother. My friend. My father. My son. My husband. My lover. Myself.” He took a deep breath and Elio couldn’t take it anymore. He leapt from is chair and straight into Oliver’s waiting arms. They hug each other tightly and everyone around them is forgotten. It’s only the two of them in the universe. Oliver grabbed his face and held his gaze.

“Heaven has reached down to earth and given us that ration of what is from brith divinely ours. We found the stars, you and I.” Oliver said, repeating the same words Elio had so often told him.  “And this is given once only.”

Elio was a mess of tears by now, and when Oliver got down on one knee, he thought he’d faint.  He took a ring from his pocket and showed It at Elio.

“If you agree to marry me I’d be the happiest man in the whole entire world.”

Elio felt the air leave his lungs and he was finding it very hard to speak. He wanted to say, yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. But words were failing him.

Everyone’s quiet, and Elio noticed the worried look that started to appear on Oliver’s beautiful face. Without really giving it a second thought, he said:

“You are the only person I’d like to say goodbye to when I die, because only then will this thing I call my life make any sense. And if you were to die before me, my life as I know it, the me who is speaking with you now, will cease to exist.”

Oliver was crying now, but he still managed to chuckle. “I’d take that as a yes, then?”

Elio couldn’t help but chuckle as well. “Yes. A thousand times yes.”

Oliver leaped up from the ground and picked Elio up, twirling him around.

Everyone around them started cheering and clapping as Elio and Oliver kissed.

Elio pulled back from the kiss and with a teary smile, said: “If there is any truth in the world, It lies when I’m with you.”

Chapter Text

hi guys!!
So I was thinking about doing sort of like, one shots that are set in the universe of this fic because I love this story so much and I want to continue it. However, my mind is currently blank so I need some PROMPTSSSS!!!

So like, comment what you'd like me to write about and I'll do itt <3