Newt stood in front of the huge cruise ship, already regretting everything. He looked at his friends with a slight frown on his face. Chills ran up his spine and he could feel the cold wind bite harshly at the skin.
“This is such a bad idea,” Teresa announced, standing beside Newt.
The blonde merely snorted.
“Hundred percent,” Minho agreed as he hauled the backpack onto his shoulder.
The group of six were all getting off the jeep Frypan had driven. Although his friends were around him, Newt never felt as chilled to the bone as he did now. He made a mental note to stick with his friends throughout this entire stay. There was no way he was going anywhere without at least one friend with him.
Thomas held onto the strap of his duffel bag, staring up at the large ship.
“The things I do for YouTube content,” Thomas sighed, looking down at his phone and back up at the ship.
“Well, we have to go in someday. Come on, it’s already getting so dark and creepy out here,” Brenda started to walk towards the bridge. Everyone began to follow, huddled around together as they strolled towards the ship.
Frypan had the camera out, taking a video of everything he was seeing. On the other hand, Newt held onto his phone as he took several photos.
The Queen Mary was a huge cruise that once sailed the North Atlantic Ocean. None of them knew much about the ship, except that it was really old and really haunted. Thomas was brainstorming ideas for his YouTube channel and chanced upon this ship. It was either the Queen Mary or the Stanley Hotel, an equally scary place. Upon reading the haunted stories about the ship, Thomas called up all five of his friends and persuaded them to join him on this trip.
Newt hesitated for a second, knowing how much he hated haunted or scary stuff. However, the crush he had on Thomas was too strong for him to deny something like this. Plus, spending a night with Thomas in a room together? That sounded like an ideal night to him. He just hoped that there were no ghosts lurking around.
They entered the ship after two minutes of walking, entering the lobby of the ship. Both Teresa and Thomas went to the check-in counter while the rest of the group drifted away, exploring the lobby. Newt joined Minho as they checked the hallways.
“That’s one long ass hallway, it’s so creepy,” Newt shivered, directing his camera lens towards the hallway.
He snapped a photo, hearing Minho slightly chuckle.
“It looks like the hallway where Britney Spears shot the advertisement,” Minho smirked, making Newt bark out in laughter.
“Jesus,” Newt pushed the Asian, “how do you even know that?”
Mino simply smiled, flipping his imaginary long hair, “it’s Britney bitch!”
With a loud call, Teresa urged her friends to come over towards the counter. Both Teresa and Thomas were holding three cards. Everyone gathered around the two of them.
“Alright,” Teresa cleared her throat, “Brenda and I will room together, Frypan with Minho and Newt with Thomas. Any objections?”
A chorus of ‘no’s came, prompting them to start moving towards the elevator. Frypan held up his camera and filmed Thomas explaining what was about to go down. They were all supposed to go their own rooms first, unpack then meet up again to explore the ship a little. It was only ten at night, but everyone agreed that they would hang around the hotel and try to find something until midnight.
No one knew what was going to happen, but excitement seemed to buzz around the air. Newt suspected that they would find nothing since he had this firm belief that ghosts weren’t real, however, Thomas had asked him the day before to keep an open mind. He hoped that they would actually find something so this trip wouldn’t go to waste.
They trailed over towards the elevator. While they waited, some of them made small talk. Thomas stood beside Newt, leaning on the wall.
“You okay?” Thomas asked, his eyes full of concern.
“Yeah, totally fine. This place just gives me the creeps,” Newt expressed, “it’s so old.”
“It’ll be okay though. We’re sharing a room so if there is a ghost, I’ll fight it,” Thomas promised jokingly, pointing his own camera at Newt. He was videoing some things himself on his iPhone.
“With what? Your white belt in Karate?”
“Shut up,” Thomas sniggered, pinching Newt’s side. The blonde swatted his hands away, getting into a slap fight with Thomas. They continuously tried to slap each other’s hands, laughing and giggling until the elevator came. The two stopped and stepped inside the lift, squeezing in between all the teenagers.
They rode all the way up to the third level, stepping out to reveal a long hallway of rooms. Each of their rooms were further away from each other. Somehow they hadn’t managed to get rooms that were right next to each other. They were all a room apart. Brenda and Teresa bade a quick goodbye as they disappeared into their room. Frypan and Minho waved before getting into their own room. That left Thomas and Newt standing in the hallway, looking at the room which was the last one in the whole hallway.
Newt shuddered, noting how cold it got. He wrapped his arms around him and waited Thomas patiently to open the door. The door swung open after keying in the card.
Two single beds sat in the room, along with one vanity. The room was pretty bare and empty, aside from two chairs and one desk. Yellow walls decorated the room and the walls were obviously old. The carpet was white in colour but it was slightly grey, probably from old age.
“Pleasant,” Newt sarcastically drawled out. Thomas just laughed, throwing his bag onto one of the beds. It was the one nearer to the window which had the curtains drawn close. He stepped over towards the window and drew open the curtains, admiring the view outside. The dark night sky made the lights around the city pop up more.
Newt limped over towards the window, standing behind Thomas as they admired the view.
“It’s actually very pretty,” Thomas mumbled.
Humming, Newt patted Thomas’s back and strolled over to his bed. He dug through his bag, trying to calm his racing heart. It was beating so fast as it just hit him then he was going to sleep in a room with Thomas, the boy he had been crushing on since freshman year. They were all freshly graduated from high school now and the crush hadn’t disappeared. His feelings for the brunet never once changed.
He didn’t know if Thomas ever felt the same, although he was sure the feelings weren’t mutual because Thomas had several girlfriends over the years. Newt had to sit through every pretty girl Thomas had on his arm every year without being salty, which was difficult for him. Half of those girls never actually loved Thomas, while Newt was desperately infatuated with him.
Newt would be lying if he said he didn’t hope for something to change tonight. This would be the first time the two spent a whole night in a room together. It could either go both ways. Awkward or amazing. He hoped it was the latter.
“I’m gonna shower for a quick second. Do you mind?” Newt asked over his shoulder.
“Nah, go ahead. I’ll be here,” Thomas shrugged as he flopped down onto the bed. He played around with his camera mindlessly while Newt took his towel and some clothes into the bathroom.
When he switched the light on, Newt was surprised by how clean the bathroom was. There was a simple bathtub with a shower head, along with one toilet, a sink and a tiny mirror on top of it. Newt threw his clothes aside and stripped himself from his clothes. Stepping into the bathtub, he squinted at the tiny bottles of soaps and shampoos. He also noticed that there was no warm water, for some strange bizarre reason.
Whatever, it’s only for one night, Newt thought to himself.
Turning on the shower, Newt yelped as the ice cold water hit his body.
“Son of a bitch!”
A knock came on the door.
“You okay in there?” Thomas called from the other side of the door.
“Yeah, I’m alright! It’s just bloody freezing!” Newt complained, trying to get used to the freezing temperature.
The shower was horrible, Newt wasn’t going to lie. Combined with the already low temperature of the air, showering in cold water only meant trouble for Newt. His immune system wasn’t great either so he knew he might get a cold. As he reached for his clothes to put on, he realized that he had left his shirt outside. Groaning, Newt slipped on his jeans and threw the towel over his shoulder. He took a brief look in the mirror, grimacing at the reflection. His body was thin, even though he wasn’t stick thin, he still looked super skinny. It got on his nerves because no matter how much Newt tried, he couldn’t gain weight. Being more lean would be better but he knew it wasn’t possible.
Once he stepped out of the shower, he felt Thomas’s eyes on him. Music was playing in the room softly, a female woman singing to an English of La Vie En Rose. It was calming but it failed to slow Newt’s running heartbeat. He felt insecure as Thomas ogled him from his side of the room.
He’s probably grossed out by how skinny I am, Newt thought to himself.
No, Thomas would never do that. He pushed the thought away and quickly wiggled into his shirt. When he peeked at the brunet, Thomas meekly sat up straight and averted his eyes away from Newt. He continued to fidget with his own clothes, clearing his throat slightly. Newt’s cheeks turned slightly pink.
The two boys spent about five minutes unpacking their little stuff and changing clothes. Soon, the other teens were calling their phones and demanding a meet up. Teresa and Brenda’s room had something weird and they wanted to investigate it. They silently got up from their beds and ventured out into the hallway, finding their friends immediately. Brenda invited the boys in, already explaining what was happening.
Turns out, Teresa and Brenda’s room was connected to another one. There was a wall which could open in the centre, revealing another room that did not belong to them. Neither of them knew if there were any guests in the room. At first they thought there were, because once they opened the wall a tiny bit, they saw several lights on. However, after they tried to listen in onto any conversation or sound, they heard nothing. When Teresa pushed open the wall for the boys, they found that the room was bare. The beds were neatly made, everything seemed in order and there were no sign of occupants.
So why were the lights on if no one was there?
Thomas and Minho both volunteered to go into the other room. They climbed over the sofa and hopped into the room. Looking over his shoulder, he silently urged Newt to join them. The blonde stared back with wide eyes and an eyebrow raised.
Frypan was also clambering into the room, closely followed by Brenda. Without breaking any eye contact, Thomas mouthed a soft ‘come on’ towards Newt. He turned to face Teresa, seeing the blue-eyed girl shrug.
Dragging Newt with her, the two of them climbed into the room. Newt could tell he was already going to regret it as he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand. He crossed his arms and observed the room. There weren’t any prominent differences in this room.
There were the same standard two beds with crisp white sheets. One vanity. One table with two chairs. The room was eerily silent, apart from the sound of the group’s footsteps and whispers.
Brenda pointed out that there was another room in the room itself. The door was also unusually huge. Thomas stepped towards it, holding his hand out to the knob. As he was about to open the door, they were all enveloped by darkness.
“Fuck this!” Newt hollered, rushing to climb out the room. He nearly fell out as he heard the other teens giggle and whisper-shout at each other to move. Newt watched as his friends all scrambled to get out of the scary room.
“What the fuck?” Teresa shrilly yelled, “the fuck was that?”
Minho was doubling over with laughter, holding onto his stomach as he held onto Frypan’s shoulder. The dark-skinned teen tried to hold in his laughter but failed, wheezing loudly. Newt stared at them bewilderedly. How could they be laughing?
That was the scariest thing Newt had experienced. The light switch was across the room from them and no one was near it. For god’s sake, the lights turned off by themselves! He tried to convince himself that it was just the electricity, but the thought of a spirit gnawed at him.
Tugging at the ends of his hair, Newt gaped at Thomas. The brunet seemed shocked, frozen in his spot as he held the camera up to face everybody else. Newt went up to him and poked his chest, asking if he was okay.
“Who the hell did that? Please tell me someone from here did that,” Thomas begged, looking at all of his friends with desperation in his eyes.
“Thomas, we were all on the other side of the room. The light switch was literally right beside the front door and none of us were near it,” Brenda explained, hugging her own body. She seemed quite freaked out but not as much as Newt and Teresa.
Newt was literally shaking like a leaf.
The six of them decided to retreat to someone else’s room, feeling way too creeped out to stay in that one. Frypan offered up his room and they quickly ran out of the room, being careful not to make too much noise. They all piled up inside the tiny room. Thomas asked everyone to put any footage they had on the bed, wanting to see if he could figure out how the lights turned off by themselves.
Everyone’s footage didn’t help in explaining what happened, even after careful analysis. Newt sat on the edge of the bed, his face contorting to one of fear when someone mentioned that it could really be something supernatural. Sensing how frigid Newt had gotten, Thomas called it a day and told everybody to get some rest. Frypan packed up his equipment as Thomas gently touched Newt’s arm. He nodded his head towards the door and Newt gulped, standing up.
Suddenly, sleeping didn’t sound so appealing. And Newt loved sleep.
The two of them walked out of the room after wishing their goodnight’s. Thomas shakily unlocked the door to their room, shoving the key into his pocket once they were in the room. Shrugging off his jacket, Thomas glanced over at Newt and saw him slowly take off his shoes on the bed.
“I’m sure it was just the electricity,” Thomas assured, sitting down next to Newt.
Newt tried to smile, but Thomas could see right through him. They were both shaken up from what happened. He sort of knew that Newt hated anything supernatural, yet he still came to this trip. Thomas always had this theory that Newt liked him more than he should and that scared him.
Aside from being a really good friend of his, Newt was someone very important to Thomas. When Thomas was falling behind on school a year ago, Newt had been the one who helped him. Thomas was smart, but he got distracted last year due to a horrible break up that he had. The girl Thomas had been dating cheated on him. Worst part was that Thomas had walked in on his girlfriend cheating. He had been very heart broken after that, refusing to go to school or even to eat.
Newt had been the one who helped him get back on his feet. Of course, everybody else helped too. But Newt was the one who brought schoolwork to his house, bought him McDonalds and Taco Bell whenever Thomas felt the slightest bit mopey and sat with him as he cried his eyes out over the girl. And Newt had stayed through it all.
Thomas couldn’t lie. Sometimes, he thought Newt was really pretty. Too pretty for his own good. Whenever Newt ran his hand through his golden locks, or whenever Newt laughed and his chocolate brown eyes started to twinkle, or whenever Newt smiled, it felt like nothing else in the world mattered except for that moment. It hypnotized Thomas, enchanting him into some kind of spell only Newt could put him into. He didn’t know what it meant. Usually, Thomas only felt this way around girls.
He couldn’t be gay, he had dated and liked girls before. For a while, he considered himself as bisexual. If he was so attracted to Newt, it had to mean something, maybe it meant that he was bi. He also labelled himself as pansexual for a while, but then decided to settle on the umbrella term ‘queer’. Labels were overrated anyways.
Despite having his own suspicions about Newt liking him, Thomas never acted upon his wants.
How could he? What if he got heartbroken again? It was horrible and Thomas never wanted to feel anything as gut wrenching as he did last year. He made a promise to himself. No more dating until he was out of college. School was the thing he wanted to focus on the most. His spot in Berkley wasn’t something he attained easily. It took him a lot of focus and hard work. If he could do that with his academics, he could do that with this thing he had with Newt.
However, as he sat there beside Newt, who looked like a frightened puppy, Thomas wanted nothing more than to cuddle Newt and assure him that nothing was going to happen. He knew he couldn’t do the first thing, so he tried to do the latter. Casually throwing his arm around, Thomas laid his arm around Newt’s shoulder and rubbed it.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’m kinda scared too. But we’re here together. That’s all that matters, yeah?” Thomas tried again.
This time, Newt nodded tentatively. He turned his head to face Thomas, realizing that their faces were a little bit too close. Newt waited for Thomas to move away. Nonetheless, the brunet just stared back, his eyes never leaving Newt’s. If Newt had inched just a tiny bit closer, their noses would be touching. He silently challenged Thomas, quirking his eyebrow slightly.
Something seemed to snap in Thomas as he blinked. Coughing awkwardly, Thomas moved away and stood up. Avoiding eyes with Newt, he briskly walked over towards his own bed and fished through his bag for some pajamas to wear.
Newt sighed and continued to remove his outerwear. What did he think was going to happen? Thomas didn’t like him like that. Pouting slightly, Newt changed into a long sleeve shirt and slipped out of his jeans and into a pair of grey sweatpants. He refused to face Thomas as he went under the covers, laying on his right so that he didn't have to face the brunet.
Silence filled the air, only the sound of breathing and the occasional rustle of a duvet. Newt’s mind was at frenzy and nothing he did seemed to silence it. For a while, the two of them were quiet. Until about an hour later, Newt heard Thomas clear his throat.
“Hey Newt? You awake?”
Grunting, Newt stayed still.
“I can’t sleep,” Thomas announced, “and I want to tell you something.”
His heart stopped for a second. Newt turned in the bed and faced his left, looking at Thomas. The brunet was buried underneath his blanket and only his head popped out from it. Holy shit, he looks adorable, Newt thought. Thomas’s dark hair was flat and messy, his hair sticking out in random places. His face was illuminated by the orange night light, defining all his sharp features.
“What is it?” Newt asked, propping his head properly onto his pillow.
“I just,” Thomas played with the tip of the blankets, “I think I started liking someone.”
Disappointment swelled in Newt’s heart. God, who was the perfect, pretty and amazing girl Thomas had a crush on?
“Oh, do I know her?”
Thomas laughed softly, shaking his head.
“It’s not a girl,” he admitted, “and yeah, you do know him. But I’m not gonna tell you who it is.”
The disappointment that previously filled his heart immediately washed away, replaced with the slightest hint of hope. At least it wasn’t a girl. It could be Newt for all he knew. He knew it wasn’t possible, but with the newfound knowledge that Thomas wasn’t straight gave him some hope.
What if it was someone else? Minho? They were really good friends so it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Plus, Minho was a real good looking guy and he was funny, charming and confident. Everything Thomas liked. Newt inwardly groaned. Yup, it’s probably Minho.
“Why not?” Newt tried to poke at the subject.
Thomas drew in a long breath, “I just don’t want anyone to know yet. This crush, it’s special, you know? He’s the first boy I have romantic feelings for and I want to feel this by myself for a while.”
“Can I at least guess?”
Newt huffed. An itch began to form inside of him and he fidgeted, debating whether or not to tell Thomas about his own crush on him. What if Thomas’s reaction wasn’t good? This was his friend, one he was pretty close to. The friendship they had formed over the last couple of years was too precious for Newt to ruin. Even by the slightest thing, Newt would do his best to prevent it. Would he risk it now, if it meant maybe Thomas having the same mutual feelings for him?
He decided not to tell him after a couple minutes of silence. At least, not about his crush on Thomas specifically. Admitting that he had a crush on someone would be vague enough for him to guess. If Thomas did share the same feelings, he would get the hint. Right?
Thomas shared a secret with him. Perhaps Newt could do the same.
“I like someone too,” Newt softly said, “have for a while, actually.”
“Do I know them?”
“Yup,” the blonde replied without hesitation.
There it was again. The silence. Thomas didn’t push Newt to tell him who it was. He didn’t have to.
3 am rolled around pretty quickly. After their little chat, Newt had tossed and turned in his bed until he fell asleep half an hour later. He was raised out of his slumber by Thomas shaking his shoulder, showing him the clock on his phone.
“Get up! We gotta go ghost hunting at 3 am, it’s the golden hour!”
“3 am! I can’t sleep anyways.”
Newt groaned, covering his face with his pillow. Despite every inch of his body wanting to stay in that bed, the blonde rolled out of the bed and grudgingly put on his sneakers. The things he did for Thomas.
They strolled out of the room together, Newt rubbing his eyes with his arm. When Newt stopped in front of Minho and Frypan’s door, he noticed Thomas didn’t stop.
“Are we not gonna call the others?” Newt questioned, confused.
Thomas merely shook his head and showed him his phone, “I can film on my own. Besides, I wanted to go with just you. If we all go together we’ll be too noisy.”
Oh boy, this was going to be just fun.