Isak woke in an unfamiliar room to a pair of blue eyes staring straight at
him. His first instinct was to panic, but for some reason his body wouldn’t
let him. His blood didn’t run cold, his heart didn’t race. He didn’t even
move, just stayed right where he was, staring at the man in front of him.
He looked about Isak’s age—and was just as naked and confused. His blonde
hair was tangled, flopping down into his face, and his lips were red and
puffy. He was a mess. A beautiful mess.
For a reason Isak didn’t quite understand, he felt safe next to this stranger. It was like his heart knew that there was no reason to be scared even when his mind didn’t. He attempted to speak, but his voice was rough like gravel and almost unintelligible, so he cleared his throat and tried again. “Sorry. Where am I?”
The boy’s eyes widened like the question caught him off guard. “You’re in my bed,” he said matter-of-factly and at the sound of his voice, a wave of fragmented memories washed over Isak like water. He could hear that same voice yelling to be heard over the music at the bar, asking if Isak wanted a drink—and then later if he wanted to go somewhere quieter. He remembered those blue eyes looking deep into his as he took Isak into his mouth and sucked him off. Remembered the whine he made when Isak pressed inside of him the first time. The way his whole body melted into Isak’s touch. The way his mouth opened in a silent scream when he came.
The memories were fuzzy, but they were enough to paint a very lovely picture of what must have happened. Isak curled into the mattress to hide his smile and as he moved, he found that his muscles were sore in that way they got after a really good fuck. His dick stiffened against his thigh, eager to relive the memories he couldn’t quite piece together.
It was almost a minute later before he composed himself enough to look up again and when he did, the boy was still staring at him like he had never looked away.
“Do you want me to leave?” Isak asked, his voice soft. Usually, he liked to make a quick getaway after one-night stands, but he was comfortable where he was and the view was more than satisfactory.
“No,” the boy answered. “I don’t mind.” He blushed as he said it like it was some great secret. “I just—You should probably know that I don’t actually, um, remember anything? About last night? It’s all just kinda...blank.”
“Really?” Isak smirked, pushing himself up onto his elbow. The boy shook his head from where he was lying against the pillow, his blush darker than ever. “Nothing?” When he shook his head again, Isak rolled over on top of the boy so that he was straddling him and then leaned down until their lips were only a breath away from each other. “What about now?”
There was a ring of dark purple bruises along his throat that Isak recognized as his own handiwork. It wasn’t something he did while sober, but drunk, his inhibitions disappeared. The boy swallowed hard under his attention, his eyes never leaving Isak’s lips, and after letting the moment drag on for almost too long to be comfortable, Isak sat back up to give the poor boy room to breathe. “I’m Isak, by the way. Nice to meet you.”
“Even,” the boy introduced, releasing a ragged breath as his eyes roamed Isak’s body. His gaze was almost greedy as it took everything in and Isak could feel his stare like a physical touch as it traced the contours of his chest before coming to a stop on his dick, which was hard between them. Isak was pleased to find that Even was hard too. He shifted his hips as if he were trying to draw Isak’s attention away from it. Figuring he had tortured him enough, Isak climbed off of Even and onto the ground, knowing that if he stayed much longer, he wouldn’t be leaving at all. He set to work trying to find his discarded clothes around the foreign room.
“Wait, you’re leaving?” Even asked, sitting up in bed. Isak turned to look at him, only to find that he was staring straight at his ass. Even grimaced, knowing that he’d been caught, but Isak didn’t mind. He’d known this guy officially for all of five minutes and he was already hopelessly endeared.
“I should,” Isak said, which wasn’t actually an answer. Even seemed to understand that because he smiled.
“Let me take you to breakfast.” Now that, Isak hadn’t been expecting.
“You want to take me to breakfast?”
Even nodded and when he spoke, he sounded almost desperate. “Listen, I literally do not have the kind of game it would take to convince you to go out with me while sober. It’s like Drunk Even left a gift in my bed and I’d be an idiot to just let you leave.”
Isak chuckled and then made a show out of bending over to slip into his discarded boxers. Behind him, Even got very quiet. “Well tell Drunk Even thank you from me, then.” When he looked over his shoulder, Even was once again blushing. Isak shook his head in amusement. “Do you seriously not remember anything?”
Even sighed. “Do you?”
“Bits and pieces,” Isak shrugged. He found his jeans draped across Even’s desk chair and pulled those on next. “Enough to want to do it again.”
“I can’t really picture anything,” Even admitted, “but I can feel you. Touching me. Everywhere. It’s driving me crazy.”
It was Isak’s turn to blush. Even’s voice was so raw that he could feel the words inside of him, banging around like a loose part. He remembered touching him just as Even remembered being touched and he desperately wanted to do it again.
“Yeah, okay,” he agreed. “We can do breakfast.”
He couldn’t find his shirt anywhere, but his sweatshirt was over by the door so he went to grab that instead. He pulled the soft fabric over his head and snuggled into its warmth before turning back to Even, expecting a blush or a satisfied smile. And he got both—for all of two seconds—but then his face fell as if he had seen a ghost. It was almost comical how fast it happened.
“What?” Isak grinned, looking down at his sweatshirt, but finding nothing out of the ordinary. His Greek letters were plastered obnoxiously large across the front, but that certainly wasn’t unusual on a campus like this. When he looked back up, Even was pointing at something over his head so Isak turned and immediately burst into laughter because there on the wall were the last letters he wanted to see. Even was a fucking Kappa.
“Wow, you really were drunk last night, weren’t you?” Isak smirked. He expected Even to laugh right along with him, but he was still stone-faced, staring at the sweatshirt like it had personally offended him.
“I think we both were.”
“Maybe,” Isak smiled, “but you’re the one who picked me up while I was wearing this shirt.” Even bit the inside of his cheek, but didn’t reply. “Now, c’mon. We can talk about it over pancakes. I’m starving.” Even did not move and although Isak knew he should probably be offended, his smile only grew wider. “Oh my god. Are you serious right now? Is this actually a dealbreaker for you? How old are we? Twelve?”
Finally, Even tore his eyes away from the shirt and looked up at Isak instead. “No, I just...I’m kinda the membership director?” He said it like a question, but then his face hardened. “And you keep stealing our pledges!”
Isak rolled his eyes. “That’s Jonas, not me. I just show up for the parties.”
Even opened his mouth like he wanted to argue, but then shut it again and his whole body wilted. Isak knew without even having to ask that he wouldn’t be going anywhere with him—at least not today.
“Okay, well if you’re not going to feed me, I have to go,” Isak pouted, wanting to make it clear that this was Even’s choice, not his. And then—because he wasn’t sure he would ever get another chance—he crossed the room to Even’s bed once more, cupped his face in his hands, and kissed him. Even whined against his lips and kissed him back with the same fire he had the night before, but Isak pulled away too quickly for either of them to really enjoy it. He wanted Even to miss him before he was even gone and it seemed to work because when he stood, Even just blinked at him as if he wasn’t sure where he was or how he’d gotten there. Isak smirked. “Call me when you change your mind.”
His heart was pounding out an excited rhythm against his chest as he turned towards the door. He took one step forward and then another, hoping that if he walked slowly enough maybe Even would have time to realize he was making a mistake. His hand was on the doorknob when Even finally stopped him.
“Isak,” he said. Isak smiled but managed to wipe the smug grin off of his face before turning around. Even wasn’t even looking at him. Instead, he was fishing for something on the other side of the bed and when he finally resurfaced, his resolve didn’t seem to have waned. “Your sweatshirt,” he said, pointing. “You can’t walk out of here in that.” Isak frowned, wondering what one had to do with the other, but then realized that he must be at the Kappa house. Even’s room certainly looked nice enough for it. Fucking Kappa douches. “Here.” He tossed an unfamiliar navy blue T-shirt at Isak and he caught it in one hand. Isak stared at it for a long time before sighing and pulling his sweatshirt back over his head to trade for Even’s shirt.
“I’m keeping this,” he said, pointing at the T-shirt, but Even just waved him off. It wasn’t the reaction he was hoping for, so he tossed his own sweatshirt into Even’s lap instead. “You can keep that,” he said at Even’s wary glance. “It’ll give you something to remember me by.” Even swallowed hard and finally, Isak could see his resolve weakening. If he wanted to play hard-to-get, Isak could play hard-to-get. And the first rule was to always leave them wanting more. He looked Even up and down one more time, slowly drinking him in, and then walked out the door without another word.
He would give Even a week to swallow his pride and make a move. And if he didn’t, Isak would.
Isak saw Even again five days later at a party at Eva’s sorority house. He was leaning back against the fireplace talking to another Kappa brother and Isak couldn’t stop staring. It was the strangest thing. Usually, he was much better at pretending not to care, but it was as if Even had hypnotized him and he couldn’t look away. There was a familiar hunger in his stomach and it felt good. He wanted to chase that high for as long as he could. Sadly, however, he had a feeling Even wouldn’t let him.
With some effort, Isak forced himself to look away from Even and over at Jonas instead, who was standing next to him lamenting a pledge he had lost that morning to the Kappas. “I mean, he was weird as fuck, don’t get me wrong. But still. It’s the principle of the thing, you know? Fucking douches.”
Jonas paused his tirade and his anger instantly abated. “Hm?”
“I need you to do me a favor.”
“I’ve already told you three times, Isak,” he rolled his eyes. “I’m not going to get you another drink. Go get it yourself—it’s a madhouse in there!”
“No, not that,” Isak snapped, chancing a glance over Jonas’s shoulder to find that Even still hadn’t noticed him. “I was just wondering if, maybe, you wouldn’t mind pretending to flirt with me for a few minutes?” Jonas froze in surprise and then burst out laughing.
“You want me to do what now?”
“Just for a few minutes,” Isak repeated. “I’m trying to make someone jealous.” Jonas let out an aggrieved sigh but took a step closer to Isak regardless, bringing his hand up to rest on Isak’s hip. He had always been a tactile person and his touch was casual, but to an outside observer, Isak thought it just might do the job.
“Happy?” Jonas asked, his breath now ghosting against Isak’s cheek.
Isak nodded. “Thank you.”
“What are best friends for?” Jonas replied and then snorted at the irony of that statement before turning to scan the room behind him. “So who are we trying to make jealous?”
Although Isak wanted to look over at the fireplace again, he knew that he couldn’t. So instead he reached up and forced Jonas to turn back around so that he wouldn’t draw attention to Isak’s already shoddy plan. “Just this guy I slept with last weekend,” he shrugged. Normally he would brush it off as nothing, but it seemed a bit too late for that now.
“You already slept with this dude?” Jonas asked, his eyes wide. He crept closer to Isak, eager for answers, and although Isak’s first instinct was to push him away, he knew the proximity was probably serving him well. “What the fuck? Did he not call you back or something? Has that ever happened to you before?”
Isak rolled his eyes. “Well, you don’t have to sound so excited about it.”
Jonas laughed. “Sorry, it’s just—Wow, you really are human, after all.” Isak couldn’t help it. He pushed Jonas away playfully, but Jonas came back and boxed him into the wall so close that Isak could feel his heartbeat against his own. For one harrowing second, he actually thought Jonas was going to kiss him, but instead he whispered, “Do you think it’s working?”
It took a few seconds for Isak to clear his head enough for those words to make sense, but when they finally did, he risked looking over Jonas’s shoulder and found Even staring straight back at him, his eyes dark. It took everything inside of him not to smile.
“Yeah,” he breathed, feeling light-headed. “I think so.”
“He’s watching?” Jonas confirmed.
And, yeah. He was certainly watching, all right. His friend was still standing next to him, chattering away, but Even wasn’t listening. His eyes never left Isak’s and his gaze felt heavy, like a weight threatening to drown him. Isak wanted to slip out from under Jonas’s arm and run to him instead, but he resisted the urge. If Even wanted to play games, Isak could play games.
“Yeah,” he repeated. “He’s watching.”
“Go get your drink, then,” Jonas said, stepping away from him. The sudden lack of physical contact was enough to startle Isak’s eyes off of Even and he looked to Jonas instead, confused by his abrupt shift in attitude. He was smiling. “Ten bucks says he’ll follow you.”
Isak grinned. “You think so?”
“He’d be an idiot not to,” Jonas said. “Just go. And bring me back a beer!”
Isak was stopped by three different people on his way to the kitchen, but eventually made it to the makeshift bar and poured himself a drink. He had barely taken a sip before Even sidled up next to him.
“So, who’s the guy?” he asked without preamble. Isak hid his smirk behind another sip of beer.
“What guy?” he asked, turning to Even to try to gauge his reaction. His cheeks were pink and his eyes were glassy—like maybe he’d had a bit too much to drink—but the determined look on his face was so hot, Isak wanted to kiss it right off his lips.
“You know what guy,” Even said. “The guy you were flirting with?”
Isak feigned confusion and shook his head. “No, I don’t—oh, you mean Jonas? The guy with the eyebrows?” When Even nodded emphatically, Isak smirked. “We definitely weren’t flirting, dude. He’s my best friend.”
Even relaxed immediately. “Oh,” he said, clearly embarrassed, and Isak had to refrain from laughing. Let him think he was seeing things. Let him think Isak had already weaseled himself that far into his head.
“Were you jealous?” Isak stepped closer so that he was pressed right up against Even and the boy’s blush darkened, but he did not move away.
“Maybe,” he admitted, meeting Isak’s challenging stare head-on. When he spoke, Isak could feel the words against his skin and it made his whole body tingle in a way it certainly hadn’t when it was Jonas standing this close only minutes before.
“You realize there’s an easy solution to this, right?” Isak offered. “Come home with me.” Even’s eyes widened marginally, but he didn’t speak. “I live by myself in an apartment downtown. No one will see us.” He tilted his head and pressed closer until he could almost feel Even’s lips against his. He heard Even’s breath hitch in his throat. “Please?”
To Isak’s surprise, Even brought his hand up to rest against his hip and then he leaned in, looking fully prepared to close the distance between them, but before he could—
“Even!” an unfamiliar voice called and the two of them sprang apart as if they’d been shocked. “Oh shit,” the boy laughed. “Sorry.” He looked back and forth between them, his eyes wide, but Isak had already stepped away and didn’t plan to move back now that they had an audience. Even seemed to sense that.
“What do you want, Mikael?”
Mikael appraised Isak for a second—probably trying to decide how much to say in front of a stranger—but then seemed to decide that he didn’t care either way. “That hot-as-fuck membership director from Beta Psi is here,” he told Even, “and I need you to come distract me so I don’t end up making out with him.”
Intrigued, Isak raised an eyebrow. They were talking about Jonas. He opened his mouth to give what advice he could, but Even shook his head almost imperceptibly and Isak closed it again. The aborted motion must have caught Mikael’s attention, however, because he narrowed his eyes at Isak as if he had just noticed him. “You look familiar.”
Isak shifted on his feet and forced himself to laugh, his face suddenly feeling very flushed. “Just one of those faces, I guess,” he shrugged and then slowly backed away. “It was nice talking to you, Even.”
Without even waiting for a goodbye, he booked it into the living room, dragged Jonas out of the house by the arm, and tried not to think about Even for the rest of the night.
Most of the time, Isak enjoyed being in a fraternity. He liked the people and the parties and the sense of community. He liked having somewhere to go when his apartment got too lonely. He liked feeling wanted. What he didn’t like was the annual car wash. It was the bane of his existence and yet year after year he stood in only a pair of swim trunks as his pale skin blistered under the hot sun, prostituting his body to a slew of sorority girls so that they could raise a few bucks to feed homeless puppies or some shit. He absolutely hated it—and not just because it involved physical labor. No, the worst part was having to watch socially inept pledges try to flirt their way through a conversation with freshman girls when they were supposed to be working. Isak was too gay for this shit.
“I just don’t understand why you’re not yelling at them,” Isak huffed, leaning across the hood of a bright yellow VW Beetle to clean a spot Jonas had missed on the other side. “They’re pledges. They’re the ones that are supposed to be working!”
“Will you just chill?” Jonas chuckled, tossing a wet sponge at Isak’s head, which he easily dodged. “Let them have their fun—this is supposed to be fun, remember? Just because you don’t have anyone to flex your muscles for—”
“That is not what this is about!”
Jonas held his hands up in surrender. “All I’m saying is that you get pissy when you’re not getting any and since you’re still pining over Mystery Dude…”
“Please stop calling him that.”
“There are plenty of guys out there that will return your calls, Isak,” he sighed. “Stop obsessing over the one who won’t.”
Isak rolled his eyes, but turned his attention back to the car, determined to end that particular conversation before it could really get started. “I am not obsessed,” he muttered to himself, but it felt like a lie even to himself.
Once the car was washed to Isak’s satisfaction, he traded his sponge in for a hose to rinse it off. He was already celebrating having finished the last car when another pulled into the driveway.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” he said, already prepared to send them on their way—charity be damned—but then Sana climbed out of the passenger seat and he sighed because he knew he wouldn’t be able to tell her no.
“I brought you a car,” she said with a smug smile, gesturing at the vehicle behind her.
“How kind of you,” Isak drawled. “But last time I checked, you didn’t even own a car, so…” He trailed off when two boys walked around from the driver’s side. The first Isak recognized as Sana’s maybe-boyfriend (she wasn’t very forthcoming with the details). The second was Even.
“You know Yousef,” Sana introduced. “And that’s Even, one of his fraternity brothers.”
Even paused at the sight of Isak, a blush rising high on his cheeks, but he didn’t look away. His gaze trailed slowly down Isak’s chest like he was following the path of a stray drop of water and Isak stood up a bit straighter, flexed his muscles a bit more. Jonas was right. This was fun.
“We’ve met,” Isak smirked and that, finally, seemed to force Even’s attention away from his body. Sana looked between the two of them with one eyebrow raised in silent judgment, but thankfully chose not to comment.
“Are you going to wash the car or not?”
Isak was decidedly not going to wash the car. Not when talking to Even was an option. “Magnus, Mahdi, you’re up,” he called to two pledges on the other side of the driveway. They said goodbye to the girls they were talking to and then ran to him without question. Jonas had trained them well.
“I’ll be right back,” Isak said and then wandered away from their little group so that he could speak to Magnus in private. When he got close enough, Isak flagged him down.
“What’s up, boss?”
Isak chanced a glance over his shoulder to make sure Even was out of earshot, and thankfully he was. Him, Sana, and Yousef had moved over to the grass where a half-assed lemonade stand was set up.
“Give me five minutes, then I need you to ‘accidentally’ spray that hot blonde over there with the hose.”
Magnus snorted, looking over at Even curiously. “Seriously? What’s in it for me?”
“No DD duty for the next month,” Isak bargained and Magnus’s face lit up.
“Deal,” he cried. Then he slapped Isak on the back and ran off to join Mahdi at Yousef’s car. Pledges. Gotta love ‘em.
When Isak turned back to Even, he was already staring. He had moved away from Sana and Yousef and was standing on the very edge of the driveway, almost like he was waiting on Isak to come back. Isak smiled and walked over.
“Looking for an excuse to see me half-naked?” he taunted when he was close enough that only the two of them could hear. “Because I can give you a better one.”
Even shifted his weight from one foot to the other and looked up at Isak sheepishly. “I didn’t know we were coming here,” he said. Isak was already prepared to call him out on the lie when he added, “I would have worn something nicer if I had.”
He was wearing a faded pair of threadbare jeans slung low on his hips and a T-shirt, but he still looked good. He always looked good. “If anything, I think you’re overdressed,” Isak said, gesturing to his own bare chest, and Even laughed as his eyes tracked down Isak’s pale skin.
“You look like you could use some sunscreen,” he pointed out, reaching out to press a curious finger against the red skin of Isak’s shoulder. His touch burned hotter than the sun, but it was far less painful.
“Are you offering to help me re-apply it?” Isak asked.
Even immediately blushed and withdrew his hand, tucking it back into the pocket of his jeans. “Maybe you should just put a shirt on instead.”
Isak smirked. “Why? Am I distracting you?”
Even scoured the planes of his bare body before returning his gaze, his eyes dark. “You have no idea.” The words were whispered like a promise, and Isak couldn’t help but move closer, silently asking for the one thing he knew Even wouldn’t give him. They were standing too close to be comfortable in the heat, but Isak was content. Just a few more inches and they would be touching...
Then, out of nowhere, a jet of water hit him straight in the face. Isak sputtered out his indignation and rounded on Magnus, who was laughing gleefully.
“Sorry,” he shrugged, still clutching the hose between his hands. “It slipped.” Then he turned back to the car with a wink that only Isak could see.
“Fucking pledges,” Isak muttered, shaking the water out of his hair. Even stood across from him, blinking in confusion. “Sorry about that,” he said, pretending that he hadn’t orchestrated the whole thing. He reached out and pushed a lock of sopping wet hair out of Even’s eyes. “Come with me. We’ll find you a change of clothes.” Even seemed too stunned to argue. He followed Isak into the Beta Psi house without question.
The house wasn’t much to look at. It was old and small by their university’s standards with only five bedrooms, but Even took it all in with his mouth agape. Isak thought he was probably the first Kappa to ever walk through their doors. It made him irrationally proud to be the one to lead him inside.
He thought about dragging Even upstairs to Jonas’s room, but then thought through the ramifications of that and decided not to. He pushed him into the nearest bathroom instead. It was the nice one that they reserved for female visitors and it smelled like lavender.
“Isak, this really isn’t necessary,” Even said as the door shut behind them. Isak very carefully reached out and locked it before leaning back against the wood and smirking over at Even. “I’m not even that wet.”
Without a word, Isak dropped to his knees and began to unbuckle Even’s belt. Even scrambled backward so quickly that he ended up tripping over the toilet and had to brace himself against the wall to keep from falling.
“Fuck,” he hissed, his voice several octaves higher than Isak was used to. “What are you doing?”
Isak just stared at him. “What does it look like I’m doing, dumbass?”
Even closed his eyes like he was praying for patience and didn’t open them again for several long seconds. Isak sighed and sat back on his heels, waiting. “I know what it fucking looks like,” Even said through gritted teeth. Then, his voice softened. “But...why?”
“Because I want to,” Isak said, throwing his hands into the air in exasperation. “Now do you want a blowjob or not?”
Even bit his bottom lip hard and Isak could see the questions dancing behind his eyes—the big, scary ones about what the hell it was they were doing—but Isak didn’t have answers for him. All he knew was that he wasn’t about to let a little pride get in the way of him getting exactly what he wanted. And what he wanted was Even.
As the seconds ticked on without a reply, Isak did worry that Even might leave him alone on his knees on the cold, hard tile, but then, finally, he stepped forward, his lips parted in wonder, until he was within Isak’s reach once more. Isak’s smirk only grew wider.
“Good choice,” he said, slipping his fingers under Even’s waistband and pulling his pants and boxers down in one smooth motion. Even let out an indignant squawk, surprised by the sudden movement, but then Isak took him into his mouth and the sound died in his throat.
“Oh, fuck,” Even moaned, tangling his fingers in Isak’s curls. He was already hard and every sweep of Isak’s tongue had him twitching in excitement as the salty tang of precome pooled in Isak’s mouth. Even was just so damn receptive—Isak remembered that about their first night together as well. Every touch elicited a reaction and when Even liked something, he didn’t try to hide his pleasure.
Isak pulled off just enough to expose Even’s wet dick to the air and then swallowed him down again as deep as he could go. He felt the tip hit the back of his throat and he gagged on it before regaining control. He could feel his own dick stiffening in his swim trunks and he was surprised by just how turned on he was from giving someone else a blowjob. He brought his hand down to the front of his shorts and began stroking himself over the fabric, needing to find some release, no matter how small.
After that, it didn’t take long to work up a rhythm that had Even thrusting desperately into Isak’s mouth. His bashfulness from earlier was gone and seeing him lose the little bit of control that he always seemed to carry around with him was intoxicating. Isak looked up at him as he sucked and licked and stroked Even exactly how he needed and Even stared back, entranced.
“Fuck, Isak,” Even breathed as Isak used the tip of his tongue to lick at the vein on the underside of his cock. “Feels so good.”
Isak smirked around his dick before taking him down once more and even without knowing him well, he could tell that Even was getting close. His breathing was becoming erratic and he was getting louder—more uninhibited. Isak let his hands roam Even’s body, painting trails up his thighs with his fingers before gripping his ass tight, which caused Even to thrust into him harder. But Isak didn’t mind. He let one finger brush down Even’s crack and then over his hole and suddenly, without warning, Even was coming down Isak’s throat. Isak stroked him through it and swallowed every last drop until Even was a panting mess above him. Then he pulled off, sat back on his heels, and smiled.
His own dick was pulsing almost painfully against the confines of his shorts and he wanted Even to touch him more than anything, but when Even slid down to the floor with him and moved to do so, Isak turned away from his touch. The offer was more than tempting, but they were still playing a game and Isak was determined to win.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, his voice hoarse. Even whined and reached for him again, but Isak swatted him away with a laugh. “Seriously, it’s fine.”
“I give really good blowjobs, though,” Even tried, as if a blowjob was something he needed to sell Isak on.
“Oh, I remember,” Isak grinned. “Vividly.” Even blushed and Isak wasn’t sure if it was because he remembered what had happened that night or because he didn’t.
Even opened his mouth to say something and Isak waited with bated breath, hoping that maybe it would be an invitation for something more than quickies in a bathroom, but before he could speak, someone banged loudly on the door.
“What?” Isak groaned, just loud enough for whoever was on the other side to hear him. Across from him, Even shimmied back into his jeans, his cheeks still painted red.
“Isak?!” Jonas's voice carried through the door. “I thought you left.”
“No, I, uh,” Isak started and then coughed to cover his awkward pause. “Needed to make a pitstop. My stomach’s all messed up from those tequila shots last night.”
“Well, can you fucking hurry up? I need to go to the bathroom and Chris is puking in mine.”
Isak sighed as Even slunk back against the wall like he thought he might be able to hide behind the toilet. Reluctantly, he stood and cracked the door open. Jonas was standing on the other side with his arms crossed over his chest. “Can you just give me like ten seconds?”
Jonas raised his eyebrows and twisted his head to try to see around Isak into the bathroom. “Is there someone else in there?” he whispered like he didn’t want them to hear. “What the fuck, Isak? Who did you find to hook up with at a fucking car wash?!”
“You’re the one who told me to find someone to hook up with in the first place!”
“Yeah, like fifteen minutes ago!” Jonas cried. “No one works that fast. Not even you.”
Once again, Isak sighed. “Can you please just turn around for like ten seconds? Then we never have to talk about this again.”
Jonas glared at him hard, but eventually turned around so that his back was to him and once Isak was confident that he was going to stay that way, he pulled the door all the way open and ushered Even out. With only a cursory glance at Jonas, Even stepped out into the hallway.
“Thanks for the—” he started, but then floundered on how to finish that sentence. Isak had to bite his lip to keep from laughing.
“You’re welcome,” he grinned. “See you around?”
Even nodded, threw one last glance at Jonas’s back, and then headed towards the front door without a goodbye. Isak hadn’t expected anything different, but the silence still hurt. When he turned back to Jonas, he found that he was already facing forward, watching Even walk away.
“That’s Mystery Dude?” he asked once he was out of earshot. Isak nodded. “Listen, I hate to be the one to say this, but just in case you forgot—you can’t do the whole friends-with-benefits thing, Isak. It always makes you sad, which makes me sad, and then we’re both just sad. Don’t torture yourself like this.”
Isak sighed and nodded because he knew what Jonas was saying was true. He did have his suspicions, however, that despite the pain, Even just might be worth it.
Isak was very drunk. He had somehow convinced Sana to drag him with her to a Kappa party, but they had gotten separated after three drinks and he had been alone ever since. He felt weird sneaking into the house without backup, so he sat on a tire swing in the yard instead, shotgunning beers and wondering how long it would take for Even to find him. The answer was apparently two hours, thirteen minutes, and twenty-three seconds.
“I’m starting to think you’re stalking me,” Even said from behind him. Isak tilted his head all the way back at the sound of his voice and smiled at the sight of his beautiful face.
“I’m starting to think you want me to,” he countered.
Even laughed. “Maybe I do.”
He took a seat on the swing next to Isak and used his legs to push himself until the two of them were moving in tandem. It was uncomfortably humid outside, but the breeze they were creating felt good on Isak’s flushed face. He watched Even for a while in silence, listening as the crickets sang from the woods around them, and when Even finally looked back, his cheeks were red like he didn’t quite know what to do with Isak’s attention. Red was a good color on him.
“What are you doing here?” Even asked, his voice barely a whisper. It almost seemed like he was scared of Isak’s answer.
“I came to see you,” Isak shrugged because it was the truth.
“Yeah, that’s what Sana said,” Even chuckled, shaking his head in amusement. “But I didn’t actually believe her.” Isak wasn’t quite sure how Sana knew that herself, but subtlety had never been his strong suit—especially when he was drunk. “Have you been out here all night?”
Isak grumbled something unintelligible because he didn’t want Even to know that the answer was yes. He seemed to understand what Isak wasn’t saying, however, because he frowned. “And how many of these have you had?” he asked, picking up a crushed beer can from underneath Isak’s feet.
“Probably too many,” he admitted. Even nodded like that was the answer he’d been expecting.
“Okay, c’mon,” he said, standing from his swing and holding out a hand to help Isak do the same. Isak took his hand without question. It was warm—and not at all clammy like his own was. He gripped it tighter and stood. “I’m driving you home.”
Isak tried to argue that that wasn’t necessary, but he never let go of Even’s hand and he didn’t actually object to being helped into the passenger seat of his car once they got there.
“I’m sleepy,” he yawned as Even buckled him into his seatbelt.
Even huffed out a laugh. “I’m sure you are, but I’d appreciate it if you could at least stay awake long enough to tell me where you live.”
“Downtown,” Isak replied.
Even sighed. “Yeah, I know that. Can you be a bit more specific?”
“Nissen Terrace. It’s that apartment building behind McDonald’s.”
“Okay, yeah, I know that one,” Even said. “Now just try not to throw up in my car, okay? I don’t have the money to get it cleaned.” Then he slammed Isak’s door shut and presumably walked around to climb into the driver’s seat, but Isak’s eyes were already closed and after that, he remembered nothing.
It felt like an eternity later that he was being shaken awake by a familiar touch. “Isak, we’re here.” When Isak slowly blinked himself back into consciousness, Even was the first thing that he saw. It brought back memories of the morning they’d woken up in bed together and Isak couldn’t help but smile.
“Hi,” he grinned. His whole body felt full of happiness like a pitcher of water ready to spill over. It was dark outside, but the streetlights were putting off enough light for him to be able to see Even clearly. He still looked beautiful.
Even rolled his eyes like Isak was being ridiculous, but he smiled too. “Hi. Is this the right place?” He gestured out the window, but Isak didn’t even have to look to know that it was. Everything felt familiar and safe here with Even. If he were sober, that would probably worry him more.
“Thank you for taking me home,” he said instead. “I’m sorry I fell asleep.”
“It’s fine,” Even said. “You’re cute when you sleep. That’s why I just let you sleep that first morning—even though I had no idea who you were.” Suddenly feeling shy, Isak ducked his head and looked up at Even from beneath his eyelashes. Even just stared at him for several long seconds before forcing himself to look away. “I remember more about that night now,” he said and Isak perked up.
“Yeah?” he asked, the feel of Even’s lips all over his body coming back to him. It had been weird sharing such an intimate experience with someone who couldn’t remember it. It had been a good night. It deserved to be remembered. “What exactly do you remember?” Isak was unsure where he found the bravery, but he reached out and placed his hand on Even’s thigh just to remind him of how good it felt to be touched.
Even stared at his hand for what felt like a long time before looking up at him again. When he spoke, there was a raspiness to his voice that went straight to Isak’s dick. “I remember what it feels like to have you inside of me. And I can’t stop thinking about it.”
The words should have sounded crude, but they came across as more vulnerable than anything. It was like Even was reading his diary aloud—cracking open his chest and showing Isak what was inside—and it was so fucking hot that Isak leaped forward without thinking and pressed his lips to Even’s.
Even made a surprised sound at the back of his throat, but once he recovered from the initial shock, he cupped Isak’s face in his hand and pulled him closer to deepen the kiss. Isak could feel the kiss all over his body and his head spun from the sudden rush of adrenaline. He wanted more. He wanted everything. He moved to climb over the gear shift so that he could get closer, but Even stopped him before he got that far.
“Isak,” he warned. Isak collapsed back into his seat with a huff.
“You’re such a fucking tease,” he whined.
“Me?!” Even laughed. “You’re the one teasing.” He reached out and placed his hand on top of Isak’s—which was still resting on his thigh—and Isak didn’t pause before twining their fingers together. Even stared down at their joined hands and his whole body softened. He was turned towards Isak, but he lay his head against the headrest of his seat like he physically couldn’t hold it upright any longer. “God,” he breathed, his eyes locked on Isak’s once more. “You look so goddamn adorable right now.”
Isak was just drunk enough to blush. “Come inside with me,” he begged—and he was begging. It was far from the most pathetic thing he’d done that night.
Even groaned. “Isak, I can’t.”
“Because you’re drunk,” he reminded him. “And I don’t want to take advantage of you.”
Isak frowned. “What about when I’m sober? Will you take advantage of me then?” Even sighed, but said nothing. “Even, this is so stupid,” Isak whined. “Is this seriously still about the whole fraternity thing? Because you’re blowing it way out of proportion. No one gives a fuck! I just want to sleep with you again. Please.”
Even abruptly let go of his hand and turned back towards the steering wheel. “Good night, Isak,” he said pointedly. “Drink some water before you go to bed. It’ll make you feel better.”
Isak wasn’t drunk enough that he couldn’t recognize the dismissal for what it was, so he climbed out of the car with a huff and slammed the door shut behind him. “Good fucking night to you, too,” he muttered and then continued muttering expletives to himself as he scaled the stairs to his apartment. He tried not to be too obvious, but he kept one eye on Even’s car the whole time, trying to figure out if he was still watching him—if he might change his mind. Even never got out of the car, but he also didn’t drive away until Isak was locked safely inside his apartment.
Isak woke up mad and stayed that way for several days. He wasn’t used to having to try this hard. The game they were playing was no longer fun and, win or lose, he was ready for it to be over. The problem was that they couldn’t keep having these conversations while one or both of them were drunk. They need to talk—like really talk. That’s where Sana came in.
“I am not getting involved in this, Isak,” she said, turning a page in her Biochem textbook so hard that it almost ripped. They were camped out at a table on the second floor of the library and while they were supposed to be studying for midterms, Isak couldn’t get Even off of his mind for long enough to concentrate on anything else.
“I’m not asking you for his social security number. I just want to know where he is.”
“We’re not exactly close,” she said, rolling her eyes. “How am I supposed to know where he is?”
“Ask Yousef!” Isak cried, wondering if she was being deliberately obtuse. “Please. And then I’ll leave you alone, I swear.”
That, at least, seemed to get her attention. With a heavy sigh, she picked up her phone and began typing out a text.
“Thank you,” he said, but Sana just ignored him, set her phone back on the table, and continued working. It took six minutes for Yousef to reply and once he did, Sana took her time reading it—torturing Isak just like he had probably been torturing her. “Sana,” he prompted and she smirked like she knew exactly what she was doing. She paused for effect and then rolled her eyes one last time, just to make it perfectly clear that Isak was an idiot.
“Yousef’s already left, but he said Even and Mikael are sitting at a table on the fourth floor back behind the computers.”
“Here?” Isak asked, suddenly excited. Sana nodded. “Oh my god, thank you so much.” He stood, placed a sloppy kiss on top of her head, and then took off up the stairs, eager to put his plan into action.
Even was easy enough to find. Just like Sana had said, he and Mikael were sitting at a table on the far side of the library, both hunched over a mountain of books. Isak stood back for a minute, hidden behind a conveniently placed column, and watched. Even’s hair wasn’t styled like it usually was and he was wearing only a T-shirt and sweatpants—probably already exhausted from a week of midterms. He looked so soft sitting there and it reminded Isak of the morning they’d woken up naked together. It was the only other time he’d seen him with his guard completely down.
Isak tried to practice a greeting in his head, but he kept getting thrown off by the fact that Mikael was there. Should he ask to speak to Even alone? Or just call the whole thing a bust and come back some other time? Before he could decide, Mikael stood from his seat and stretched before grabbing his wallet out of his backpack, saying a few words to Even, and then heading for the stairs, probably en route to the coffee shop on the first floor. That bought Isak some time. As soon as Mikael was out of sight, he walked over.
Even didn’t notice him until his shadow darkened the textbook in front of him. “Forget something?” Even smirked and then looked up. The smirk slipped off of his face like it had never been there at all and suddenly, he looked nervous. “You’re not Mikael,” he said and Isak laughed.
“No,” he agreed. “I’m not. I was sitting at a table over there and thought I’d come say hi. Can I sit?” He didn’t wait for permission before taking the seat across from Even, who continued to stare at him in stunned silence.
Isak hadn’t actually thought through what to say next and he didn’t think jumping straight into a conversation about what the hell they were doing would be welcome, so he tried something else instead.
“What’re you studying?” Some of the residual tension left Even’s shoulders as he looked down at the open notebook in front of him. He opened his mouth to answer, but then Isak got a better idea. “Wait. Can I guess?”
Even shrugged. “Go right ahead.”
Isak narrowed his eyes as he thought about his options. All he really knew about Even was that he had enough patience to deal with Kappa pledges and that he blushed far too easily. It wasn’t much to go on. “Elementary Education?” he tried. He could see Even wanting to be a teacher. He seemed like the type of person who liked kids.
Even snorted like the idea was laughable. “Trust me,” he grinned. “No one wants me taking care of their children.”
“Okay, well then how about—Fuck, I forgot what it’s called.” He waved his hand around as if that might make his meaning clearer. “You know. The one where you want to be, like, a news anchor or something?”
“Broadcast Journalism?” Even asked.
“Yes! That one.”
“Wrong side of the camera, but you’re getting closer,” Even said. “It’s Media Studies. I have a midterm in my Advanced Filmmaking class tomorrow that I’m almost positive I’m going to fail.” Isak frowned, trying to recall anything he might know about Media Studies, but he was pretty sure he’d never even heard of it before.
“What is that?” he asked. “Do you want to be an actor or something? Because you’ve definitely got the face for it.”
Even shifted in his seat, but he was smiling softly into his lap. “I want to be a director,” he admitted after a minute and the words felt heavy in the air between them. They felt raw. They felt personal. “What about you?” he asked. “What’re you studying for?”
Isak groaned and slouched back into the hard wooden chair behind him. “Biochem. Thank god I have Sana’s notes or I would literally fail.” There was a brief flicker of surprise across Even’s face and Isak couldn’t help but laugh. “What? Didn’t peg me for pre-med?”
Even shrugged, but he was still smiling and Isak could feel a swarm of butterflies being set loose in his stomach. This simple conversation really shouldn’t be the best part of his day, but it definitely was.
“It’s the snapback that threw me off, I think,” Even grinned, gesturing to the faded baseball cap on top of Isak’s head. Isak pulled it off and brushed out his curls with his fingers.
“Better?” he asked.
Even reached across the table to push a stray strand of hair out of Isak’s eyes. “Much more believable now,” he agreed. “You look very doctoral.”
It was Isak’s turn to blush, but it wasn’t the touch that left him flustered. It was the teasing—the fact that Even was actually returning his flirtations. It brought a whole new levity to their relationship and suddenly, Isak could imagine a whole lifetime just like this. But he knew they were never going to get there if he couldn’t even ask Even on a real date. He opened his mouth, the words right on the tip of his tongue, but before he could speak, Mikael plopped down in the seat next to him, stealing Even’s attention away.
“So, guess what?” he asked without greeting, pulling a greasy potato chip out of the bag he was holding in his hand. He chomped down on it hard and spoke his next words around a mouth full of food. Even winced. “That hottie from Beta Psi was in the coffee shop and I actually talked to him this time. His name is Jonas and I’m pretty sure I’m in love.” He swallowed his food and then turned to Isak like he had just noticed him sitting there. “Hello.”
“Hi,” Isak said, drawing the word out as he tried to decide on his next move. It felt weirdly intrusive to be listening to this conversation when Mikael didn’t know who he was. He turned to Even for guidance, but he was frowning over at Mikael, paying Isak no attention at all.
“What did you talk to him about?” Even asked, suspicion etched into every syllable. “And please don’t say—”
“The evil that is Starbucks,” Mikael interrupted and Even immediately groaned.
“Mikael!” he cried. “We’ve fucking talked about this. You can’t lead with the anti-capitalistic conspiracy theories. You at least need to get their number first. It scares people off, man.”
“No, that’s the best part, though,” he said. He was talking very quickly and Isak could tell he was excited. “He brought it up! We’re soulmates, Even!”
At the word “soulmates,” Even turned his attention to Isak and if Isak wasn’t mistaken, he could have sworn there was something that looked a lot like hope in his eyes. They just stared at each other for several long seconds and it was almost like Mikael wasn’t there at all. Until he was.
“Who are you, by the way?” he asked Isak. “You’re the guy from the party, right?”
“Isak,” Isak introduced, holding out his hand.
“Mikael,” he greeted, shaking it good-naturedly. “Nice to meet you.” He then pointed at Even with a smirk. “This idiot won’t stop talking about you.”
Even let out a cry of indignation and Mikael laughed. “He is lying ,” Even said to Isak, but Isak wasn’t quite sure he believed him. “I—”
“Oh shit,” Mikael interrupted them both as he sprang up from the table, frantically tapping his pockets as if he were looking for something. “I left my fucking phone downstairs. Be right back.” He took off once more, leaving Isak and Even alone for the second time. Isak knew that this was his last chance. If he let the opportunity slip through his fingers this time, he might never find the courage to bring it up again.
“So, what’s the real hang-up here?” he asked. Even, who had still been watching the place where Mikael disappeared, turned around to face him. He furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. “You let me think that you didn’t want anything serious with me because of the whole fraternity thing, but your President is actively trying to date my Membership Director, so clearly that’s not it.” Even frowned and opened his mouth to reply, but then shut it before saying anything. Isak sighed. “I’m tired of playing games, Even. It was fun for a while, but now I just feel pathetic.”
He trailed off, trying to ignore the way his heart was racing in his chest. He didn’t want Even to know the effect he had on him. He didn’t want to give him that kind of power when he was feeling so vulnerable. Even was quiet for a long time, staring down at his hands like they might hold the answers he was looking for. Isak was positive that he was trying to think of excuses, but when he spoke again, his voice sounded just as broken as Isak felt.
“I know you think you like me, Isak, but—”
“I do like you.”
“But,” Even continued louder. “We barely know each other. And I’m the type of person people get tired of real fast.” Isak opened his mouth to argue, but Even barrelled on like he was scared that if he stopped talking, he would lose his nerve entirely. “I like you, Isak—I do. I think I might even more than like you, but sometimes it’s like you’re running through life at a hundred miles an hour and I’m not sure I can keep up. You know how when you’re riding in a car and you look out the window, everything is zooming by too fast for you to see? It’s all just a blur? That’s what you feel like to me. I’m scared that if I let myself get too close, you’re going to leave me behind.”
The weight of that statement hit Isak like a punch to the gut and he just sat there, shocked.
“Listen,” Even sighed. “This isn’t a game to me. I’m not built for one night stands and quick fucks in bathrooms. I want everything with you and I’m not sure you can give me that.” He stared at Isak for a long time, just waiting for him to reply, but Isak wasn’t quite sure what to say. He couldn’t promise him things wouldn’t end badly because he didn’t know that himself. All he could promise was that he was willing to try. He opened his mouth to say just that, but Even had already turned away and was standing to gather his things. “I’ll see you later, Isak,” he said. “Good luck on your midterms” Then, without another word, he left him alone with his head spinning.
It broke Isak’s heart to know that Even thought all of the flirting had just been a game. It wasn’t a game so much as a defense mechanism. If Isak acted carefree, then maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much when Even eventually rejected him. If Even didn’t want to reject him, though—if being with him was actually a possibility…
For the first time in weeks, Isak let himself hope. Even had become the shining sun at the center of his universe. He just had to find a way to convince him of that.
The Kappa house was located in Old Campus. That’s where all the nice fraternity houses were—the expensive ones. The ones that had actually been built as frat houses and could sleep more than five. Isak didn’t make it over that way often and the last time he had, he was doing a walk of shame in the T-shirt Even had let him borrow. He was wearing that same T-shirt now, but he’d thrown another one of his sweatshirts on over it so that his letters were clearly visible across his chest. He wasn’t entirely sure what he was doing, but when it came to Even, he rarely was.
His stomach lurched as he approached the front door, bringing all of his anxieties and fears to his throat like bile. He stood on the doorstep with his hand raised for several seconds as he tried to compose himself and he was pretty sure that if it weren’t for the fact that he truly missed Even after three days of not talking, he would have stayed there, frozen, forever. He swallowed down his insecurities and he knocked.
Isak could hear the knock echoing around the foyer inside and it sounded just ominous enough to worry him. He thought about running, but before he could, the door was being pulled open by a Kappa pledge dressed in a button-down and khakis. He took one look at Isak’s sweatshirt and rolled his eyes.
“What do you want?” he asked.
It went against Isak’s nature to defer to a pledge on anything, but he swallowed his pride and tried to remain civil. “I’m here to see Even?”
The boy’s face immediately softened. “Oh!” he smiled, stepping back to let Isak inside. “You must be the boyfriend.”
Isak honestly had no idea whether he was the boyfriend or not. “Um, sure? Is he around?”
“Yeah, he’s moping upstairs,” the pledge said. Isak turned in that direction, but the pledge held out a hand to stop him. “I’m not letting you just roam the house, dude. How dumb do you think I am? EVEN!” Isak winced as the boy yelled Even’s name right into his ear. “He’ll be down in a second,” he said. Then he gestured towards his pledge brothers in the next room and threatened, “Hurt him again and you’ll have us to deal with.” He clapped Isak on the shoulder and then left to join his friends, a sinister smile still plastered across his face. Fucking Kappa douches.
Isak had barely recovered from that when he heard the creak of footsteps on the stairwell. He whipped around and there was Even with his hair mussed and a pillow crease across his cheek. Isak’s worries dissipated immediately and were replaced with a soft warmth that felt suspiciously like love.
“Hi,” he said as Even stopped right in front of him. It was obvious that he had been taking a nap because it seemed as though he thought he was still dreaming. He looked Isak up and down and then reached out to absently trace the shape of the letters on his sweatshirt.
“Hi,” he finally returned. “What’re you—?”
Isak couldn’t take it anymore. He cupped Even’s face in his hands and then pulled him in for a kiss filled with all of the love and passion he felt every time they were together. This time Even didn’t even hesitate before kissing him back. He pulled him in by the sweatshirt and deepened the kiss like he was scared it would be their last. Isak was out of breath when they finally parted, but he couldn’t stand to move far. He leaned into the comfort of Even’s body and rested their foreheads together.
“I want everything with you too,” he whispered. Even was quiet for a second, but then he made this high-pitched whine at the back of his throat and pushed Isak away just far enough that he could see him. When Isak looked over, Even’s eyes were so damn hopeful that it startled a laugh out of him. “I mean, don’t get too excited. It's been a long time since I was anyone’s boyfriend. I probably suck at it.”
Even started shaking his head before Isak even finished speaking. “You’re off to a good start.”
“Yeah?” Isak asked, his heart so full he thought it might burst.
Even smiled back at him, his blue eyes sparkling. “Yeah.”
Then they kissed again and it felt different this time—better—like their bodies could sense that they were each other’s now.
Isak knew that Even feared his world spun too quickly to keep up with, but as everything around them zoomed by in a blur, Even remained at the center, steady and in focus. He was the fixed point that Isak orbited around. He was Isak’s sun, his foundation, his everything—and Isak knew, without a doubt, that even if a storm came, they would be safe together, standing in the eye of the hurricane.