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Just A Regular Human And The Sempiternal Quest For Love

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The day? Patrick didn’t know. For all he cared, it was yesterday, it was tomorrow, it was history repeating itself again and again. It was the pretty lady with nice features talking to him about all the things he’d done wrong, her calm tone hiding the fury raging behind her face. She was smart, probably smarter than he is, and she wasn’t trying to end anything here, she was trying to make it better, to fix it, or at least help Patrick fix it. 

 

Patrick was no plumber, but he could see that this wasn’t worth fixing. Yeah, he’d put time and effort into it, but not that much, and he was tired, exhausted of trying and not getting anything out of it. The butterflies had been gone ever since their gaze met and the guy had seen the doom of their relationship foreshadowing itself over his own head. He’d made a bet with himself, if it lasted more than two weeks, he’d take himself out somewhere nice when they broke up, and well, sadly, his opponent had won, which well, is still himself and so he had no choice but to stay home today since he’d lost the bet, only three days away from the two weeks mark. What a shame. 

 

Well, as I’ve said before, her goal wasn’t to break up, it really wasn’t, but his was. Patrick had been trying to push her to break up with him from the moment they started dating. Why? Because he couldn’t stand how meaningless this all was. Because he could sense that it would end at any given moment and he preferred not having wasted too much time on it when it would. The reasons were multiple and all made him sound like a dick, but that’s not the point. 

 

The point is, when he simply said “ No one’s keeping you with me.” in response to her words, it was intentional, it was to push her completely out of his life, it was to produce the exact effect it produced. 

 

“ Oh my god, you’re heartless!” Followed by a string of insults, quite a few lines on how this could’ve been great, on how she deserved better, a slammed door and bam, Patrick was single. 

 

Now, he agreed, she really did deserve better, but Patrick couldn’t provide her that, and she was starting to get on his nerves, so this was honestly the best for the both of them. It was a merely practical and intelligent view of the situation, rational rather than emotional. Not that they had any emotional attachment anyway, they were together because of the loneliness everyone feels when they’re single, not because they really did like each other, and they were both painfully aware of this. 

 

So no, it didn’t hurt when the door was slammed shut. If anything, it felt good not having to worry about someone else’s feelings. 

 

He sat down on the couch of his tiny appartment, wrapped a blanket around himself and continued watching his show, the room as quiet and peaceful as it had been a few weeks ago, before her. 

 

The truth is, for a while now, Patrick hadn’t truly felt attachment for anyone else than Joe. Joe, Patrick loved dearly, but Joe was a friend, nothing more. It was honestly good for the both of them having each other, the kind of friendship where you don’t know what you’d do without the other, the kind of friendship that can’t be ended because you don’t really give a damn about anything or because you’re too boring for them. 

 

Quite honestly, he sort of missed the warmth of a body next to his own, but other than that, the expression “ I couldn’t really care less” could not apply better to the situation. He jumped from one boring show to another, skipped through the ads, wasn’t listening at all, only focused in the seemingly endless ocean of his thoughts when his phone buzzed, and he let it, the earth spinning around and around without him. He, hidden and protected from all emotions in the world, remained safe and unscathed under the softness of this blanket, numb, empty, alone and bored to death. Morgan Freeman’s voice lulled him to a dreamless sleep that left him with sore limbs but a sort of tranquility in his heart that could only be achieved in this way, the knowledge that the next few days would be spent the exact same way, coming home to an empty house and eating junk food in front of the TV until he fell asleep not bothering him in the slightest, honestly. 

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“ No, no, you can’t leave me, please, John, I’ll do anything! I’ll tell her! I’ll tell her myself! “

 

“ I can, and it’s exactly what I’m doing.” John responded, his face cold, his traits unexpressive, his eyes dead, his mouth a cemetery. How many words had died on those pretty yet defined lips? How many “I love you”s choked to death in a desperate kiss? 

 

Patrick couldn’t help but to wonder as he watched the two figures move quickly from one side to the other of the house, throwing empty vases and breaking memories, yelling and tearing everything apart. It was only natural that they’d do this, John didn’t know but She had been having a relationship with her best friend behind his back, but then again, it made sense because he was a shitty boyfriend, not that it justifies cheating. But there was a reason he was a shitty boyfriend, he was a shitty boyfriend because he’d gotten hurt before, by that same girl his girlfriend was kissing and screwing. But it made sense that that girl would hurt him since she was a lesbian, she’d made it clear from the start. Of course, there was more to it, the plot and complications seemed neverending in this ongoing telenovella. 

 

Despite being terrible in quality and not very interesting, Patrick watched it because it had some sort of logic to it and well, it was something to pass the time. Some days, he’d go get his coffee at the café down the road and he’d find two elderly women discussing the serie. One would always take John’s side, no matter what. It was like she had a crush on him or something. The other, who had this fierce look of determination in her eyes despite being 80-something, would sip on her own tea, leaving marks of a matte purple lipstick on her cup, stare at her friend in disbelief and insist that the guy was “ just one of the bad ones”. They could easily talk about the series for hours on end and never get to a consensus, but somehow, they always hugged it out and the anger burning in the darker-skinned woman’s eyes was always directed at John and never at the other woman. The relationship these two had truly captivated Patrick because it was so unconditionnal — not that disagreeing on a character from a series was a big deal, but often, if you don’t mind disagreeing on the little things, if you can get past that, you won’t mind for bigger things either. They knew they’d never agree on that, but they still talked about it with passion and without true spite, which was something quite rare. 

 

Sometimes, Patrick found himself wondering if he too was “one of the bad ones”. He wondered if John was made to represent people like him, people who just don’t care about ending relationships. In those moments, Patrick reminded himself that he wasn’t like John, he didn’t care about ending relationships because the relationships themselves didn’t mean anything, because the girls only pretended to love him like he pretended to love them, they never truly cared about him, or so they all said at the end. It ended with those words almost all the time. 

 

“ I never really loved you anyway”

 

“ Fine, go, neither did I.” 

 

Patrick didn’t remember when was the last time he truly felt love, and with those thoughts in mind, he walked the way to his local café under the nice, comforting warmth of the sunrays caressing his pale skin. As he looked around, as his blue eyes met the colors of the world, he was finally part of the groove again, he was living in it again, somewhat. It was as nice as it was scary for he never had to worry about crossing the road when wrapped in a nice blanket cocoon in his couch, but here, he could breathe. Here, some people walked with smiles on their faces, others with frowns, trees of incredibly live colors and roses with thorns and delicious smells. The greasy aroma of fast food restaurants and pizzerias greeted him as he walked by, the cold breeze from a clothing store, the beautiful people surrounding him, the kids skating in prohibited areas, and finally, the coffee shop, the smell of freshly ground coffee, the conversations of about twenty other people. A blanket nest is alright but this isn’t that bad either. 

 

And there they were, of course, discussing the series as usual. Patrick was certain that if he went up to them he could even get in their conversation, and then he’d be part of not only the earth spinning but also something new, start two new friendships, know who to talk to each day he came here, but sometimes things are best left alone. He liked seeing the two elderly women there, they didn’t need him in his life and going up to them presented its risks too. What if he made them uncomfortable, what if they stopped coming here? No. Patrick didn’t want that, Patrick wanted to see them there and know for a fact they’d be talking about John. This is what was meant to happen. 

 

He walked up to the counter and asked for a cappuccino macchiato like he loved them, and then settled at the table near the window, reading the news from a newspaper left there. This was his favourite coffee shop because it was simply so comforting in every way, because the milk was the exact temperature for you to drink the coffee immediately without burning your lips but not cool enough so that it would be cold the next second. It was the perfect temperature to, for example, read the news.. or pretend you do as you, in fact, listen very closely to the conversation about John two elderly women are having.

 

“ He’s not that bad of a guy.” Said one, “ It’s not really his fault, I mean, he’s had a hard past.” 

 

“ That doesn’t change anything, Janett!” Replied the other one.

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Patrick’s favourite part of working as a music teacher was.. everything. He knew with precision when his classes were for the rest of the year, he made a reasonable amount of money that allowed him to pay his rent and eat, every now and then, he’d allow himself to go out somewhere, most of the times with Joe because well, he didn’t really have anyone else, and well, that’s all Patrick needed. When he went out with Joe, most of the time, they’d go to gigs, because who doesn’t love a good rock show with a friend, but lately, the fro guy had been spending a lot of time with his girlfriend and well — Patrick really tried not to be jealous but it was hard. Don’t get me wrong, he was happy for his friend, who swore up and down to whoever wanted to hear it that she was the one... But also, it got really lonely. The music student felt a little like in The Little Prince, where the fox teaches the kid what taming is. He felt like Joe had tamed him ( not in the kinky way, pervert ) and, as the fox said “ You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed.” Joe was responsible for him, like he was responsible for Joe... okay, he knew it was unfair, he knew not everyone had only one friend to rely on and he knew that if one day he found a girl he thought was the one, Joe wouldn’t get all mad because he stopped spending as much time with him, but it still saddened him. What made him more angry, even, is that he was angry over this, because he liked Joe, he was his best friend, and this type of thinking made him a shitty ass best friend. 

 

Sighing softly, he moved to the next train of thought as he sipped that day’s morning coffee. His eyes skimmed through the crowd at the coffee shop. It was filled with hipster girls with big glasses and cute button-ups, the eventual middle-aged business person checking things off their to-do list, the elderly passionately discussing and one or two rebellious teens skipping class. Oh, and the baristas, two beautiful young men, both with questionnable taste in fashion but adorable smiles as they goofed around behind the counter. Momentarily, Patrick explored the possibility that maybe these two were boyfriends, and he didn’t know if he was jealous that other people might have successful relationships, happy that there were other people out there just like him (gays), hopeful that maybe they’d eventually break up and one of them would date him or angry that they were dating each other and not him. Then again, they might not even be homo. For all he knew, they were two cis straight dudes being bros and well, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either. 

 

He redirected his attention to his coffee, watching as the darker and lighter parts of it danced a slow ballet at the top of his drink, tiny particles of cocoa still hanging onto the steamed milk. Patrick brought it to his lips, deciding to ignore the outter world, mentally returning to his nest of safety, way past the doors of his apartment and into the darkness of his room. 

 

The first class of his day started at five o’clock, the last one ended at nine, by the time he got home, he’d be truly immersed in the darkness, whether it be outside or inside. 

 

Somehow, commutes always seems longer going than coming back, and so as he rode the bus, he stared out the window, bored to death, his thoughts an ocean and his mind the tiny wooden boat navigating it. Every now and then, a bump would bring him back to reality, eyes trying to identify the cause of it, but the bus was far past the bump by then and he was too lazy to turn around and analyze the situation, like he was too lazy to replay each and every single relationship he’d had up to now that had led to this, each and every mistake that had led to his last ex breaking up, and the one before, and so on. It didn’t matter now because it was in the past, and it wasn’t like he wanted any of them back anyway. 

 

He was starting to question, even, if he wanted anyone at all. 

 

Every now and then, he had the impression that he just wasn’t made to love someone. A recurring dream of his was one where he was old and his back ached, and as he tried to go up to the kitchen sink to get a glass of water, he’d find himself in this huge, very luxurious house. The mansion had walls painted of red with sumptuous and famous paintings on them, masterpieces you’d only find in the Sistine Chapel. It was so large that every step he took resonated for an eternity, it was so large that the echos got lost in echos. Going down stairs of white, polished marble, he’d fall on his face and try to call out for help, his wrinkled face pressed to the cold, expensive stone, but his voice would get lost in the silence of the walls, in the immensity of this gorgeous monster. No one would come to help him, no one, ever. He was alone due to years and years of isolating himself, of not loving anyone and therefore not getting anything back, and at that point not even the indecent angels painted so realistically on the walls would be kind enough to help him up. 

 

In his dream, Patrick could only stare at impeccable white as he slowly rotted to death in the middle of this palace-like home. In his dream, Patrick could only curse himself again and again for being emotionless. In his dream, Patrick wondered if this happening to him now was his own fault. In his dream..

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Like everything eventually comes to an end, before he even realized, Patrick was getting off the bus. He walked the few streets down to his workplace, stopping by the record store on his way to check if they had new CD’s. As stupid as it sounds, he like being in record stores, it was some kind of... thing he had. He felt comfortable, he felt in his habitat. He knew more than half the albums displayed in the rock area and it was fine like that. He knew that if someone just popped out of nowhere to test his Bowie trivia he’d be able to answer within three seconds probably. The best thing about record stores though, very objectively, is that every single person in the store is there either because they absolutely adore music or know someone who does, because no one buys a whole album if they like only one song at this point in history. Like libraries become the litterature nerd hangout, record stores become the music nerd hangout. 

 

The only downside is that hanging out here brought back good memories and he honestly didn’t want to cry in front of the metalhead that seemed to run the shop, and so he swallowed his nostalgia and took a few CD’s with him, excited to rip the plastic that covers them and discover the booklets, run his fingers on either paper or plastic, observe the designs and of course listen to the albums back to back. 

 

For now, he just shoved them in his backpack and walked around the city some more, enjoying the nice, warm weather. It was obvious that someone like him would eventually get lonely, someone who was so used to jumping from one relationship to another and who now found himself all alone, had been all alone for a few days. It was simply written in the stars that he’d eventually be longing for the warmth of a relationship again, he’d take anyone, he didn’t even need to know them. Though right now, the feeling of needing someone, that addiction for love he had — the only one, by the way — wasn’t as strong as it would be later on, as days passed and he got more and more lonely. 

 

Patrick knew for a fact that at some point he’d crush on anyone he’d see on the street, he’d invent a whole relationship in his head by the time he was walking by them and then, as soon as they had walked past him, he’d have broken up in his mind and moved onto the next. Yea, it was weird, but it was sort of his way to deal with the loneliness. He didn’t do it on purpose either, it just sort of happened pretty naturally. 

 

It was a few weeks later that he first saw her. She worked at a bookstore and that particular day, the record store had gotten too lonely, the atmosphere was thick and heavy and our main character hadn’t seen Joe in what felt like a month. 

 

As he’d pushed the old wooden door of the store, his eyes wandered inside before his feet could the floor. It was decorated very simplistically — geometric shapes, abstract art — and what took most space were the books in their tall wooden shelves. Contrarily to bigger bookstores, this one had its own personality, like it was ran by a family of bookworms or something. Before he could stop himself, Patrick was eyeing each and every book, touching them with his fingertips, looking for something — what he was looking for, he didn’t know. He was a firm believer that you don’t choose the book, the book picks you, like in Harry Potter a wand chooses its wizard. If you truly are meant to read it, it will call you. In its own way, of course, since (most) books don’t have mouths. For example, it might look aesthetically pleasing to you, or have a few worn edges that make you consider it over another, less used one. It‘s not necessarily about what’s written inside, that you can only uncover by reading when the book is truly a good one, it’s more about the way you can apply what’s written in it to your life.  Patrick thought about that a lot, themes and their meanings. 

 

Well, he finally settled on a book, one that had appealed to him by being the only best seller in hardcover version. Grabbing it carefully, he brought it to the cashier, where a lady took it with her longs hands incrusted with white fake nails, and when Patrick looked up at her, he was absolutely stunned. She was one of the prettiest girls his eyes had ever witnessed, her traits delicate yet strong, determined, her eyes hiding a hint of how smart she was, her lashes long and voluptuous, her hair in a very clean ponytail and her lips... smiling? It must’ve been clear in his face since she simply chuckled and then as he was leaving, insisted on giving him the receipt, thing no one did anymore. Long story short, let’s just say there were a few more numbers apart from the ones printed by the registerer and the blond was more than happy to see that. Patrick’s heart was beating incredibly fast against his chest as he walked quickly through the city to his workplace, a dreamy smile etched onto his face and a sensation of warmth spreading quickly from his chest to his fingertips. It was the loneliness, he should’ve suspected the loneliness. It was infatuation, it was perfection and perfection didn’t exist. It was thirty different reasons to smile and be happy, it was “ I just want to jump up and down until I’m too tired to go on”, it was burning from inside with fiery passion. He should’ve known. That is not love, that’s just the beginning of every crush.

 

He should’ve known, he should’ve known that girl would have the world at her feet. 

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Each time their eyes met, Patrick couldn’t help but to smile. This girl, she was beautiful, she was perfect, she was everything he could ever have asked for. She was extremely independent and would never rely on Patrick for anything, a fierce feminist, she stood for her rights and those of her brothers and sisters. A lovely woman.

Every morning, he woke up to a pink lipstick stain on his cheek and a “ see you later xoxo” note on his bedside drawer, and they were just three months in. She hadn’t moved in, technically, but she pretty much lived there. Yeah, Sandra truly was a lovely woman.

Patrick’s parents liked her too, thought he’d finally settle down. Joe would constantly tell him he’d found the one .

“ Marry her. Dude, for real, she’s golden.” But somehow, something didn’t click with her...

And then one day he figured it out, in a way he’d rather not have figured it out..

For the first time of his life, he wasn’t the one doing the girl wrong.

For the first time of his life, when he opened the door to his apartment, he found his girlfriend, naked and exposed, in the arms of another, whose face was a blur to Patrick who’d immediately felt tears form in his eyes. But no. Patrick had never cried over a girl before and wouldn’t cry over a girl now. He pushed them back, swallowed his sadness and with his voice croaky and broken, he told them to leave. Patrick didn’t pay enough attention to see the man apologizing, telling him he didn’t know. He wasn’t mentally there to witness his (ex-)girlfriend trying to fix things, promising she didn’t mean it, promising it was the first time.

“ Just go.” Patrick replied, emotionless, completely empty. “ I don’t ever want to see you again.”

Millions of other words wanted to escape his lips.. ‘ I loved you, I thought you meant it. How dare you do that to me?! I thought we had something!’ But they stayed, trapped inside his throat, his jaw set not to let them escape. He wouldn’t give her that satisfaction.

When he finally heard the door shut, he let himself fall to the ground, on his knees, hot tears streaming down his face like two endless rivers of sorrow. For once, he wasn’t the bad guy, and he didn’t like it. He felt like utter crap. Even when he put his heart to something, it didn’t work. Maybe he just wasn’t meant for love.

However, he did feel, which was... new. Patrick felt , as if his chest had been ripped apart by hungry animals desperate to munch on his insides. He felt so much and all at once, but he felt.

And it was torn apart and desperate that he went to the record store for his fix, for opium, for morphine, for anything that would numb him again. His hands were trembling and shaky, his eyes glassy behind his black glasses as he presented the album he wanted to acquire to the cashier, like he were buying his dose from a dealer.

“ Bowie! You have taste... That’ll be $14.99. Anything else you’d like?” The cashier asked, and Patrick looked up. The man was about as tall as him (that’s not very tall) and the broken-hearted boy felt like he was having some sort of déjà-vu. He shook his head, scared of the way his voice might come out if he spoke, and paid for his CD.

He was about to exit when he turned around, deciding there weren’t that much guys his age who liked Bowie. Back pressed against the door, he shot a hesitant smile at the man. “ Y-yeah, Bowie’s a genius. Uh.. See you I guess, Peter?“ His voice was still cracked and raspy from all the crying, but he needed the acknowledge this guy. Maybe later on, when Patrick wouldn’t feel like absolute crap, they could be friends and shit.

The other male looked at him with a confused expression “ How’d you guess that? Do we know each other? “

“ It’s kind of written on your name tag.” Patrick replied with a wet little laugh, exiting as quick as he could.

Pete was left staring at his name tag like it was the first time he’d ever seen one, taking it between his fingers in awe, and sure enough “Hello! my name is:Peter” was written on it. Goddamn his manager and the fact that they’d completely ignored him when he told them he didn’t like being called Peter. Peter was too.. middle aged businessman for a guy in his twenties with emo hair, a tattoo of Jack Skellington and a sense of humor that was pretty much limited to coming up with the weirdest nicknames for his best friends.

In the meanwhile, Patrick made his way home holding onto the little bag that carried the Bowie record like it was the only thing keeping him alive, the tiniest smile on his face from the dork at the store and the weird impression of having seen that man multiple times before. Oh well, there couldn’t be that many Peters his age and his height. Joe probably knew that guy. Patrick swore there wasn’t a person in the world Joe didn’t know.

For a few moments, his mind was taken away from his beautiful, cheating ex-girlfriend to a nicer place, a place with a new potential friend who also liked David Bowie, capo di tutti capi in heaven, and he found himself humming along to the wonderful and creative sound of one of the best records on earth, objectively. Slowly, as David’s voice filled the room, his body was tugged by invisible strings, forcing him to dance from one side of his apartment to the other as he cleaned up, erasing every proof of Sandra’s existence.

Time takes a cigarette,
Puts it in your mouth
You pull on the finger... ~

Swaying to the sound, he closed his blinds to the outter world.

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The next few days were somewhat of a blur, going out a lot and not sleeping as much as he should, throwing such a dramatic pity-party over his girlfriend leaving him. Maybe, after all, Joe was right and it really wasn’t that deep. His friend has spent the last 72 hours trying desperately to convince Stump that she hadn’t done it because of him, that it wasn’t his fault that she cheated, that she was just – that some people are just that way and one person isn’t enough. Patrick had trouble believing it though, it was natural for him to just blame himself for other people’s wrongdoings since generally he was the one doing something wrong.

After a while though, you do get used to being single again, no matter how much you loved the last person.

“ It’s alright man, she wasn’t the one.” Joe offered, sat across Patrick in a halfway between cheap as fuck and sort of fancy dinner. In front of his face, overly greasy fries, a plastic glass of plastic-tasting coke, two hot-dogs (the tiny ones). To his right, one of Joe’s friends, whose name Patrick hadn’t come around to memorize just yet. To his left, an empty spot, reserved for another friend of Joe’s who’d gone to the bathroom, possibly result of downing an entire bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

“ Yeah yeah, you’ve said that like twenty times in the past week, I got that. Can we move on now?” Patrick replied, rolling his eyes.

“ Yeahhhh, the thing is, I’ve got nothing interesting to talk about.”

“ Oh, I do, it’s sorta funny actually. The other day, I went to the record store to get some Bowie, right, and this guy..” Patrick chuckled fondly at the memory. “ Right so, he’s the cashier, and like, he compliments my choice or whatever, so I’m like, okay, I gotta acknowledge this guy’s existence, he likes Bowie. I say something along the lines of see you later Peter and he’s fucking incredulous, like, his face screams “ how the fuck does he know my name”..”

At this point, the guy in front of him had absolutely lost interest for the story, picking at the dirt under his nails instead. Patrick was so lost telling the story that he didn’t realize though. Andy, though, Joe’s friend, sat beside Stump was listening in a very interested way, perhaps for the first time in the evening.

“ He hadn’t realized his name tag had his name on it, can you believe?”

“ Yeah, that’s cool bro.” Joe smiled, pretending he’d listened to the whole thing. Joe was an exceptionnal friend, even though he spaced out often and didn’t show much interest for Patrick’s mundane stories so he could simply not not forgive him.

“Peter… I know that guy!” Joe’s friend replied, smiling. “ He’s a friend of mine, he goes by Pete.”

At that, Joe raised his gaze. “ You mean he was.. Haven’t seen that guy in like five years.”

“ Aw, you know him, Joe, he’s not very attached to people.” Then, redirecting his gaze to Patrick, Andy added. “ He’s a nice guy though, say hi to him if you see him again, tell him Andy told you to, he’ll know.”

“ You think he remembers you? He really didn’t seem like the type to remeber anyone.”

“ What’s with you today, Debbie Downer? Don’t go all emo on us, you’re more laid back, usually.” Patrick reproached, shaking his head, a slight smile on his lips whatsoever.
“ Nothing, you’re right. I just thought Pete and I were close enough for him not to like.. ghost me or something. But nah, someday, he just… went completely off-radar. Thought the dude had died or some shit. Nah, he’s alive and well, just.. Ah, it’s dumb.” Joe declared, proceeding to eat.

“ Yeah, it really is, man.” The two others replied in unison as the fourth guy came back, red-faced and teary-eyed but not looking as if he were going to throw up at any given moment, which was a plus.

The rest of the evening went by very smoothly, very nice and calm, unusually calm for an evening out with Joe. No, for real, nothing happened, it was very boring, they all felt like they were in their fourthies instead of in their twenties, and then everyone went home. All in all, though, Patrick felt alright about his day. Nothing too bad had happened, he’d learned something new about someone he’d probably see pretty often now, he’d pretty much forgotten any loneliness linked with the recent break up. Yeah, he felt alright.

Slipping a CD into the player again, he smiled to himself as he cleaned around the house, a habit he’d adopted after what had happened. It helped him keep his mind as well as his surroundings neat and tidy. His appartment looked good, too.

Once he was done with that, he turned the player off, letting himself collapse in the comfortable couch, grabbing the controller and searching for his all-time favourite on-going telenovella. Old habits die hard, they say.

“ John, oh, Johnny, take me as your wife, I’ll do anything~” John’s most recent lover moaned from outside his house.

Very Say Anything, Patrick noted. Is that how you get girls to like you?

“No, Amanda, you know I can’t do this anymore, this is serious, it’s… My mother, Amanda, I mustn’t disappoint her in her deathbed!”

“Don’t lie to me, John, deny me, reject me, but don’t lie to me. You couldn’t care less about your dying mother, it wasn’t about her two weeks ago and it isn’t about her now! You’re falling for me and you’re scared! It’s okay, I won’t leave you, take me as your wife, I beg of you!”

John shut his window, drowning out the yells of words he didn’t like hearing, of truths that hurt too much, he didn’t want anyone to tell him anything he was too much of a coward to admit.

Chapter Text

“ If there’s some kind of spirit making fun of me right now, please stop.” Pete thought. He thought hard enough for said spirit to hear him – those who know what I mean will understand – absolutely terrified under the three blankets covering his body. Now, there weren’t a lot of things the emo-looking guy liked more than hanging out with his friends, and a very limited amount of these things beat hanging out with his friends, at night, in the middle of nowhere. However, right now, he wasn’t having a fun time, his every limb shaking in sheer terror, tremors he was certain whatever was outside of the tent could perceive.

They’d been doing silly shit all day, but c’mon, what else can you do at a camping? It’s the best place to do crazy stuff and possibly not get in as much trouble as you would anywhere else. One of the genius things they’d done was jumping into the cold water of the river from one of those tall cliffs that stood proudly amongst the blue, and that was a little scary, one of the guys had pussied out, unable to bring himself to do it. Pete liked to just do things on impulse, whatever that thing is. If you take one second to think it through, it’s likely to be the second too much that will bring you to back down. No, if you really want to do something crazy, just go for it, don’t stop to question yourself.

Well, it hadn’t been his idea, but he did it, he jumped into the cold-ass water and thought ‘ This is so awesome, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die, god this is so awesome’, his face split in half with a radiant smile, his eyes wide. Pete wasn’t counting on the fact that there were rocks under the water and almost broke his foot, or leg, like he could’ve split his skull against the menacing grey, but the fact is that he exited the water unscathed, his chest puffed in pride.

The guy wasn’t so brave and proud now though, as he recalled every little action that could have offended a spirit in any way. He felt watched, observed, he felt unsafe. He just wanted to wake his friends up and tell them there was something outside. Pete’s mind imagined the worst case scenarios, perhaps a very human and live murderer, roaming campings at night for their next victim, his mind made up images of bald, vile-looking men, with their teeth rotten and eyes bloodshot. Or worse, a few Clockwork’s Orange-like youngsters, pleased with delivering ultraviolence.

But what he was most scared of wasn’t dying, he was terrified of suffering, aren’t we all?

And so his brain went on, making up evil spirits with twisted minds, creatures from the forest, from old tales, from the sea, from…

“ C’mon man, I’m freezing, what are we doing here?” A masculine voice asked, clearly pissed off.

Hallelujah, whoever was outside would chase the evil spirits away. Surely if someone else was awake they can’t torture him, that’s how it works, right?

“It’s gonna be funny, I swear, hold this for me..” Whispered another voice in reply, getting closer to the tent, and then slowly, the tent unzipped, and watching that from inside was possibly one of the scariest things in the world. Pete knew they were probably human though, and he could throw a few punches, he could put up a pretty good fight, they wouldn’t surprise him..

“ Booh, motherfuckers!” Joe yelled, flashing a bright light right into everyone’s eyes. Pete rolled his, extremely disappointed in his mind and his so-called old friends.

“ Dude, fuck off.” A tired voice demanded, the owner of it covering his eyes with his arm.

“ Honestly, Joe Troh and whoever your friend is, I agree, fuck off.” Pete added, turning around and shutting his eyes, face pressed against his sleeping bag.

“ Come have some marshmallows with us.” Trohman ordered more than he offered, holding the tent’s “door” open. “Like, you’re all awake now so why not?”

At that, the other male chuckled and Pete almost instantly sprung up. “Marshmallows, I’m in. Who’s your friend, by the way?”

“My friend? Oh, the cute blondie? His name is Alexander.” Joe replied, the guy beside him snorting as he urged Pete out with a hand motion. “C’mon, we’re cold and hungry.”

“Yeah, and I’m tired.” Pete replied.

“We’ve got marshmallows though.”

“Good point..”

When the sun, this great paintor, laid down his hues of red and yellow into the sky with the tip of his paintbrush, the fire had been out for a while, smoke still slowly rising from the ashes. A pretty, blond boy was slumped against Pete, bottles of whatever surrounding them. He, one of the straightedge species, couldn’t allow himself to platonically lay against someone with the pretext of having drank, especially not a stranger, or well, almost a stranger, because Pete is smart and the fire’s light had revealed to him Joe’s half-assed lie about Patrick’s identity, of course, the guy from the CD store. He appreciated his new friend’s warmth though, and the way he hummed softly bits of the melody of songs Wentz knew. This guy and he would be good friends, Pete was sure of that, because anyone who likes Bowie, Taking Back Sunday and Metallica, simultaneously, is some kind of gift from above.

In the quiet of dawn, a soft, soft voice said gently “I’m not Alexander, by the way, I’m Patrick.”, and Pete couldn’t help but to chuckle and respond with “ Yeah, I’d noticed.” Seemingly reassured, the humming began again, now a classic, one Pete could still hear playing on the radio every now and then, one that couldn’t get any more summery.

His own voice rose to accompany the humming, both melodies dancing together playfully “ I can’t get no..”

Chapter Text

Patrick woke up with a killer headache, in the middle of the forest, probably at noon judging by the sun, in the arms of an (almost) stranger. In those situations, you have to find consolation in small things. ‘ At least I’m not naked’ he thought to himself, sighing and pulling his upper-half up to be sat down instead of having it lay on Peter’s lap, which was a comfortable, albeit awkward as fuck position.

“ Good afternoon.” A voice spoke close to Patrick, who was somewhat startled by it. He turned his head only to find a very tired-looking emo-guy-from-the-cd-store staring at him with the hint of a smile upon his lips.

“ Listen, I don’t know what I may have told you yesterday, but whatever I said, I was drunk and didn’t mean it.”

“ Oh, don’t worry man, you didn’t say anything weird.”

“ Then why was I sleeping with my head on your lap.”

“ ...Because you fell asleep there.. And I didn’t get up?? Because you were… sleeping??” Peter said very slowly, as if Patrick was sort of stupid or didn’t understand english very well.

Patrick raised one eyebrow at the other man, examining every detail of his outfit and person, thing he hadn’t done back in the record store. The male was dressed in the weirdest way possible, colors that just… Don’t go together.. Combined?? He was wearing a teal polo shirt, but he’d popped the collar and it honestly looked terrible, it looked like he’d watched Dracula and suddenly developped an affiction for vampires. In addition, his cargo shorts (classic hardcore kid move) were complimented with a very strange, worn, multi-colored belt (not pride, just multi-colored). However, the hxc look was very soon annulated completely by the slight emo swoop falling over the dude’s face. Very confusing. Patrick was unable to fit him in a box, he wasn’t scene, but he was too hardcore to be emo, but at the same time, his eyes had the amused, slightly mocking and rebellious light of someone who appreciates skate punk.

“ What.. are you?” He asked before he could stop himself, coming off a little judgamental. Patrick, in opposition, always tried to make himself easy to box and label, just like every other thing in his house, neat and tidy, orderly. His outfits were always a perfect combination, could fit under a palette probably called something like “ Colors of the earth”, with soft browns and grass greens, whites, blacks and blues. His musical taste was a little all over the place, but when it came to his favourites, he had them well-defined and he would not let anyone tell him the genre they played was different from what Patrick thought.

“ What do you mean, what am I? I’m a human? I’m Pete Wentz? Are you on drugs?”

“ No, no, just… What type of person? Are you a hardcore kid or an emo?” He replied, trying to understand the complicated puzzle in front of him.

“ Um.. I’m just me.. I uhh.. I feel like labels are very limitating, you know? Anywhere between a crust punk and a hardcore straightedge dude, man… who also happens to like classic rock and roll I guess.. And blues.. And some jazz…” Pete seemed thoughtful for a second and then broke into another smile. “ God, I don’t know, I’m whatever you want me to be, baby.” And then he winked, an ugly laugh escaping his throat, the kind of laugh that you reflect back on and regret ever producing. Pete didn’t seem to mind too much though, messing Patrick’s hair up and then realizing he’d made a mistake when he saw sheer murder in the boy’s eyes.

“ You’re such a weirdo.” Patrick declared.

“ Thanks.”

“ It wasn’t a compliment.”

Joe interrupted their talking (read as: Pete babbling as Patrick half-listened and gave a nod every now and then) with coffee, putting down two paper cups of it in front of them. Patrick was very glad about that, for two main reasons: 1. It forced their conversation to come to a halt as most human beings are unable to drink liquids and talk at the same time, and 2. Coffee man, it’s great.

“ So, Pete, what was so pressing you had to go off the radar for like, forever? Are you in the CIA? Did you kill someone?” Joe asked, out of the blue, his eyes stopping on said man like zeroing in on his target, his tone clearly calm yet full of reproaches.

Wentz choked on his hot drink, putting it down and turning his head to cough, a disagreeable feeling lingering in his throat. “ I just..” Some more coughing.. “ The usual, man.”

Joe’s traits softened considerably hearing those words, so did his voice.

“ Dude, I thought we were over that.”

Pete looked down and shrugged “ I don’t think “we” will ever be over that.”

“ C’mon, don’t be like that man..”

Patrick cleared his throat, “ Thanks for including me in this conversation, I feel very much a part of the group. Very cool guys, can you explain what’s going on?”
Joe turned to him with an apologectic look on his face and Pete let out a weird little laugh, shaking his head. Patrick was not informed of whatever happened between Pete and Joe during those few minutes, but they did move on to another topic, including Patrick this time.

A few hours later, he’d overhear Pete’s voice in the tent beside theirs, “ I really like that Patrick guy, he looks like a cool friend.”. And he, well, he didn’t “really like” Pete. He wasn’t even close to “sorta liking” him, the guy laughed ugly, he was so complicated, a whole ass mystery, he was so weird. Besides, Patrick doesn’t “really like” anyone he sleeps on the lap of, that’s just weird and awkward and no one needs that in their life.

With those thoughts in mind, Stump shut his eyes and turned on his side, sort of pissed off.

Chapter Text

Hanging out with Pete was probably like hanging out with a human-sized chihuahua that, for some reason, also had the ability to talk. Everyone seems to adore dogs, especially cute, tiny ones with their big eyes and tiny, smiley mouths, their tiny little ears and their tiny little barks, like everyone seemed to adore Wentz and worship the ground he walked on. Patrick, however, had always hated dogs, bitches and everything in between, and maybe Pete’s not literally one, but his incessant talking and the way he never seemed to run out of energy could’ve fooled anyone. Like a chihuahua, the guy seemed to follow people around, jumping, barking and pawing at them, with it’s tiny paws and tiny, annoying bark and tiny body.. Except in this case, it was more like unnexpected hugs and half-hugs, shoving, taps in the back, tackling even. No one else seemed to mind. Patrick, however, did mind. The only thing between him and slaming that door shut on Pete’s pretty little face was the mutual love for Bowie and maybe Joe’s friendship with the guy. Trohman swore up and down that he was a “really cool guy once you get used to.. ahem..” but Patrick was one inch away from snapping and just, giving up, and if Joe loves him so much, “ then go marry him or something”.

Okay, maybe Patrick was exaggerating a lot on how bad spending time with the not-emo-not-hardcore-not-scene-not-metalhead-not-punk guy, but can you really blame him? It’s like his whole life had been quiet and lowkey and suddenly, boom, his girlfriend cheats, his best friend spends more time with his own girlfriend and this guy Patrick barely knows than with Patrick himself, his favourite telenovela’s plot is going to hell with the whole affair of John’s third wife everyone thought was dead somehow resurrecting and this whole time she was some kind of witch incitating the other girl to cheat and…

Stump could clearly see they were running out of budget and it’s all downhill from there.

Currently, with Pete sitting across him, Joe beside him and some other guy he barely knew beside Pete at a cheap breakfast and brunch restaurant, he wondered if whoever made up the plot of his life was running out of budget.

“I’m sad.” He said, not entirely realizing he’d said it aloud. All of a sudden, all three faces turned to him, eyebrows raised and concerned looks.

Joe was the first to break the silence “ Is it about.. y’know who?”

Patrick’s own eyes widened, understanding just how much he’d screwed himself over. Sort of angrily, mostly angry at himself and a little at the world in general, he got up.

“I’m gonna go take a piss.” He announced, just to get himself out of the awkward situation without much questions. Patrick left quickly, as quick as he could without running and locked himself in a stall, back against the door as he stared at the filthy, vandalized brick, a couple feet from his face.

‘Every1 deserves 1 chance’ it read, and it made Patrick want to kick the toilet bowl. Yeah? Where the fuck is his chance? What kind of chance? A chance at embarassing himself in front of a whole restaurant by crying over the fact that his first-world life has so many first-world problems? “Boo-fucking-hoo, my girlfriend cheated on me. There are people starving out there but my life is soooo sad..” Besides, why was he so emotional? Was he on his man-period or some shit? Guys don’t fucking cry. Guys take hits, guys fight and punch and kick, guys get hurt until they bleed and then laugh at it and get hurt some more. Bet Pete does that. But not Patrick, Patrick’s not man enough. Is that why she cheated? Because he wasn’t… buff, strong, muscled, sexy? What’s the fucking key to life? There has to be something.

Maybe some people just don’t get a chance after all. Maybe they deserve it but they don’t get it.

In the midst of his existential crisis at a restaurant’s toilet, he heard a voice from the other side of the door.

“ Hey man, hope this isn’t too weird but… You okay? You’ve been in there for like half an hour and.. I dunno, guess we were sorta worried.”

And yeah, it had to be that fucking…. Dog-like, I’ll-follow-you-into-the-bathroom-to-assist-at-your-breakdowns guy.

“I’m fine.” Patrick responded, done with the world’s shit. He just wanted to be left alone to overthink life some more.

“No, you’re not, and it’s okay, I get it, really, with what happened with your girlfriend and all.. It’s tough man, I know..”

Patrick cut him short, slamming the door shut as he closed it behind him, exiting the stall, his face redder than a tomato. “ What do you fucking know?! You don’t know me, you don’t know my situation, you don’t know what it feels not to feel anything, and then the one time you do, bam! She cheats! You just stand there looking pretty, stealing my friends and fucking with my mind. Get the fuck out. We’re not friends. I don’t know what Joe told you about my girlfriend but forget it, “man”.” He yelled, infuriated, his eyes wide with rage, the kind of rage that locks your jaw and electrifies your muscles, the kind of rage that makes you feel invincible, that blacks out the rest of the world. This wasn’t fucking fair. Joe had no business telling Patrick sob-stories around to anyone. Especially not this.. Empath extraordinaire that seemed to believe he was a therapist or something. Fuck him. Fuck everyone. Every limb in his body was trembling out of sheer frustration, this was it. Patrick felt as if his skin would rupture at any moment, revealing that all of this time, it was but a fragile glass containing hundreds, thousands of wasps ready to kill, buzzing underneath this translucid container.

Chapter Text

Once the anger was out, Patrick’s body turned into cotton, tired of.. All of this. Being angry was tiring, and being angry all the time – angry, sad, frustrated, nostalgic for easier times – was even more tiring. He wasn’t sorry, no, though he knew that in those moments where he’d been seeing red he might’ve said a few words that weren’t his place, he wasn’t sorry because it’s what he thought, and it’s pointless to apologize for being honest.

To his surprise, Pete was still looking at him, standing his ground firm and unrelenting despite the harsh words. It wasn’t usual for people to show such...indifference after an outburst, especially because Patrick didn’t get so angry that often, or at least didn’t express it in front of people, but there he stood, solid. His eyes though, had a glint of something Patrick couldn’t quite recognize.

“ You’re right, I don’t know, I was never cheated on. It must really suck, I don’t doubt it for a second. Listen, I just came to say that if you need someone to talk to, I’m here, and maybe I won’t get it, but I’ll hear you out, okay?”

“ Just go away. I don’t need to talk about my feelings to anyone, especially not to you.” Patrick spat out, with no real spite in his words, just reacting, reacting and reacting, like his life was an RPG.

Pete raised both hands in a defensive way, taking a few steps back before turning around as he said. “Alright man, if you say so.”

What happens after the emo-looking guy leaves, with Patrick left to pick his own pieces off the dirty, sticky bathroom floor, to wash metaphorical blood off his hands, to look at himself and hate what he sees, is none of our business. Some things are better left untold.

The next few days, everything was back to normal. Whenever he hung out with Joe, Pete was there, the dark haired guy had become an habitué of card games and kraft dinner nights like the two others had been for… more time than Patrick can count on his two hands. It didn’t necessarily please Patrick to see Pete every now and again, but the other male rarely exchanged a word with him apart from the formalities and Joe was happy, so it was fine. Patrick could make that sacrifice for his friend.

Pete was the perfect definition of the middle-class indie kid. Maybe upper-class even. Patrick didn’t remember, in the weeks that followed, ever seeing him sad. He would say things like “ I think most times happiness is a choice.” and Patrick would feel tempted to punch him in the face a good couple times until he “choose” to be happy despite the terrible pain he’d be feeling, but other than that, Patrick didn’t find any reasons to hate the kid. Oh, and rom coms. He’d probably seen every single one of them out there. His constant references were annoying as shit.

It never occured to him that there was something more to Pete than confusing style and fake-deep conversations until he’d been playing cards with Joe because the other guy had work that night and Patrick had brought the topic of Pete to his friend.

“ Why’d you tell him about my girlfriend?”

“ Who’d I tell?”

“ Pete. You told him about my girl-my ex cheating on me.”

Joe hung his head, ashamed. “ Didn’t go so well, did it? He’s.. special. He really likes helping people and-- he’s really good at it.”

“ Wait, he snitched?? That I yelled at him?”

“ He didn’t snitch anything, I asked him how it went and he said bad. Don’t be like that. Not everyone is against you, Patrick. Why’d you yell?”

“ Because… I don’t really know.. I was angry. You haven’t answered. Is that all? Just because the kid has some kind of special sensitivity you feel free to share all of my personal information with him?”

It was a game of guilt-tripping back and forth, trying to see who really was to blame for all this until they both were too sick of arguing to go on and decided to indulge in the silence of the night. And then, like an icebreaker splits an iceberg open, Joe spoke.

“ Be careful with that kid, alright? He’s.. Just be careful.”

Patrick hummed in response, shrugging, not actually listening to Joe’s world. In his mind, a thousand different replies: ‘ What? His dog died when he was 4 and he was traumatized forever?’ ‘ Oh really?! He’s a little snowflake?’ ‘ Dude, c’mon, he’s a big guy, he can handle me treating him like I treat everyone else’. But he didn’t speak them, he didn’t say a word, he didn’t care about Pete’s tragic middle-class or upper-class background, like he was sure no one cared about his own. Rich people don’t get tragic lives, they don’t deserve anyone feeling sorry for them. Half the planet has it worse. He wasn’t going to adapt to this one guy’s… whatever not to hurt his feelings. If happiness is a choice, then tuning someone out is another one and if what Patrick says doesn’t make Pete happy then he can just tune him out.

And so the next time they saw each other, that one time Pete was playing “tron” all the fucking while, Patrick had no problem telling him it was annoying and that he was dumb. Pete didn’t seem to mind too much either, he laughed along and provided his fair amount of joke insults as well, so Patrick just thought “whatever, Joe thinks the kid’s more sensitive than what he actually is” and ignored every worried glance, every warning look, every disapproving shake of his friend’s head.

Miraculously, Patrick got used to how unaware of personnal space Pete seemed to be and whenever he bitched about it, it was only half-hearted and pretty much anyone with half a brain could see right through it.

They never talked about that time at the brunch again.

Chapter Text

Pete never showed up the next weekend. He’d been busy-- That’s a lie, he’d just not been feeling like dealing with people, though solitude wasn’t his favourite either. He was starting to get the hang of mixing the two though, a bit of socialization, a little break, more socialization. He felt a lot more alive when he was with his friends, there was no denying it, but also it always ended up tiring him. So he retreated back into his cave until his eyes had adapted to the dark and wished to see light again.

Patrick. Patrick was the only one he missed without the dread to see him. The kid with the blue-ish eyes was like no one else.. Or maybe he was like everyone had been. Pete missed that, Patrick was the only way he could remember what it felt like to live fully as his own person.

Pete didn’t consider himself someone very complicated, though he liked thinking about deep things. He had a goal: happiness, and he was working towards it. Anything he did in between was to help him reach his goal, and when it wasn’t, it was so share the taste of his goal with others.

He didn’t think he was some kind of hero with superpower or a weird sorcerer able to turn sad situations into happy ones, he didn’t think he was some kind of messiah either, he seriously hoped no one thought he thought that. Pete hadn’t cracked the code to a fairy tale ending either, he only knew bits of the recipe that would provide him it, and the tricky part is that it was different for everyone.

It hurt like hell when Patrick had told him to go away when he was just trying to help, but it also woke him up. He could see his reflection in Patrick, in the personal attacks, in the anger. He’d been right, he’d been absolutely right. Pete could not understand how Patrick felt. He couldn’t understand him because only the very person who lives through an experience will ever be able to fully decrypt every emotion they felt because of it, and even then, only to a point. It would most likely take a lifetime too. Why’s this? Because every single aspect that makes you your own person, ranging from your culture to the color of your hair, passing by your likes and dislikes, by the stories you’ve read and heard.. All of these change your perspective on the world, and to understand fully a person’s emotion at a certain moment, you’d have to turn into the exact person they were at that moment, with all their memories and taking in account the world’s situation. Memories are extremely complicated and subjective, even when we’re talking about facts.

Because of all of this, Pete would never understand Patrick, he’d never understand anyone save for himself at the current moment. However, the way Patrick had reacted, that, he could relate to.

When a dog bites, the owner generally doesn’t bite back. A good owner will say “No.” firmly, and then move on and give the dog bazillions of chances. This was similar in many ways, Patrick had yelled at him, sure, but yelling back would not have been fine, it wouldn’t have been fine because while Patrick seemed to be at rock bottom, Pete had gotten better since his own “rock bottom”. He had no excuse to treat others like trash, no matter how others may treat him. He was allowed to put his limits, firm and clear like a dog owner would do, but he wasn’t allowed to bite, meaning, to yell back, to proliferate insults and all that.

Patrick didn’t seem to like him now, but Pete stayed positive, he would appreciate him one day. Maybe not as much as Pete would’ve liked, but a little bit. He’d be content knowing Patrick would miss him if he disappeared because, in the end, it’s all that matters. Who remembers even the bad memories with fondness once you’re gone, who looks at the stuff you used to love and smiles, who does all that is truly your friend. It doesn’t matter whether they do or not show up at your funerals, some people don’t like events.

With this in mind, Pete went for a walk in the woods, appreciating the brush of the wind in his hair and on his skin, the soft murmur of the leaves that seemed to be sharing some secret, the tranquility of it all, deep in the forest where no one talked, where the most you could hear was the occasional pilgrim of this earth. Long ago, he’d been trapped in his mind, bound by the rules of what is and what isn’t, long ago, he tried to understand everything; why? Why me? Why then? What for? When will this end? Now, despite what people seemed to think, he was simply happy to exist. Nothing else mattered. The littlest things, Pete had found, brought the most happiness, like three words, but only if you don’t use them too much. Often, around his most serious friends, he felt like an absolute child, searching for nothing more than a good time and then some rest, maybe good-tasting food while they all worried about their significant others, about marriage, about taxes, while they all did adult things.

But, as Pete had learned, the most important thing a person has is time. You don’t know how much you’ve got left, and once the clock stops ticking, it’s over. It’s precious because it isn’t infinite, and it’s precious because it’s all you’ve got to make the memories that your friends will keep of you when you no longer have time left. Using your time wisely is subjective, wisely implies there’s a goal to using your time, in which case Pete was using his time very wisely;

Looking for happiness.

Chapter Text

The next time Pete showed up, the sky had adopted a color reminiscent of the ocean on dark summer nights, deep, dark and mysterious. Standing from the beach, you could not possibly see the other side, and if you were away from civilization enough, it may even seem like at your feet you have a vast expanse of void, it may seem like at the tip of your toes is the end of the world. It was nights like these that were perfect for change, for once you’re away from the shore, once you’ve found yourself in the middle of the water, it’s practically impossible finding a way back.

Patrick couldn’t stop himself, he had to ask, the words were itching in the back of his throat, so he waited for Joe to momentarily leave to set his inquiring eyes onto tonight’s victim.

“Pete.” He said, almost as a declaration, though it wasn’t necessary, there was no distraction that could possibly require to call for the other male’s attention.

Pete, looking at Patrick with curiosity, replied; “Yeah?”

Now, it wasn’t that the blond didn’t speak to him, not at all, and though perhaps friends would’ve been too strong a word, they definitely weren’t enemies, or well, if they had ever been, that period was long gone. Nevertheless, rarely had Patrick showed such honest and open interest for his person in any form.

“ Why does everyone insist that you’re like, fragile or some shit?” Patrick asked, no harm meant by his words, tilting his head to the side, everyone being Joe, and judging by the looks he sometimes sent Patrick, maybe Andy also.

He swore in the split of a few seconds, a thousand emotions flashed through Pete’s eyes, but as quick as they appeared, they vanished leaving no trace.

“It’s personal.” The dark haired man replied with a coldness like the world had never heard in his voice, and then softer “ I’m sorry.”

“It’s not that personal if everyone knows.” Patrick responded with an eyebrow raise, unable to stop pushing now that he’d found the crack in Pete’s sob-story-protagonist facade that would prove everyone he was nothing but a spoiled kid with too much time on his hands and not enough suffering, not enough knowledge on the real world and how it works.

“Fine, I don’t want to tell you.”

“I won’t tell anyone else..” Patrick said with a shrug. “Why not?”

Pete eyed him with utmost seriousness, pursing his lips. “Because if I do, you’ll stop acting like this. You’ll stop treating me like I’m a normal person, you’ll start monitoring the words you use, you’ll study me under a microscope for tiny cracks like I’m a porcelain doll, you’ll look at me with eyes that scream that you’re sorry about what happened..” He wasn’t quite sure why he was being so honest, but once he’d opened his mouth, the words wouldn’t stop flowing out. “Because you treat me like a friend and you’re an absolute asshole to me sometimes and no one does that anymore. You’re my only contact with the way things were before, Patrick. I can’t let you or anyone else take that away.”

Patrick could’ve been skeptical until the very last second, but there was something about the other guy’s tone, the defeat in it, the disarming honesty, that forced him not to. He could’ve kept poking at it until he saw the boy fall apart, until he ripped open and bled truth from every pore, until the further explanation, the words in the margin appeared, but he couldn’t, all he could do was swallow his pride and accept that maybe yes, he’d been unfairly cruel, he’d been irrationally doubtful, he’d been harsh, and maybe after all, Pete was;

“ You’re a little bit fucked up by life, aren’t you?” Patrick simply replied, leaning back against the chair.

“ You know what they say, no one dies a virgin… I don’t like people saying life screwed me over though, makes me feel like I’m broken in a way.” Then, he set his two whiskey browns right into Patrick’s and added “I’m not broken, you know? I’m not broken nor am I defectuous. I’ll never be the same but saying stuff like that makes it feel like life has a grip on me, and it doesn’t, do you know what I mean? I’m not the-poor-little-guy-that-has-this-tragic-backstory, I have a name, I’m Pete!” He explained, with enthusiasm, with something like fire in his eyes.

“ I.. guess I do..” Patrick replied, finding himself meaning it, yeah, he did, of course he did. He wasn’t this guy whose girlfriend had cheated on him like he wasn’t this guy who’d once scraped his knee, he wouldn’t want anyone to remember him for that, he wouldn’t anyone to know him as that.

“ Everyone has problems, everyone has bad stuff happen to them, but we’re more than that bad stuff and staying focused on it reduces us to one thing. The depressive one, the anxious kid, the crazy girl, the insecure boy, the one that changed beyond recognition.. People don’t get that it doesn’t matter!”

Patrick felt like there was a further explanation to this too, but Joe walked in and Pete shut his mouth, offering him a smile. ‘Hypocrite’ Patrick wanted to say ‘ We were just talking about your hate for the way people like Joe treat you.’ But he didn’t, instead, he looked at the cards in his hand and went on playing with the guys, honestly having more fun than he’d ever had watching that stupid show by himself in his apartment, and by the time he had to go home, he found the ambient was less tense than it had been before. Pete had somehow proven himself worthy of Patrick’s trust in a way, and in exchange, the blond showed less unecessary hostility, though the affectuous-insulting names never stopped and he still flipped him the bird as the other man wrapped both arms around him dramatically as he was leaving, quoting Shakespeare or something.

Chapter Text

Patrick only noticed the change after weeks from it’s start, when he’d first seen Pete’s smile, but when he did notice it, his brain sort of froze for a second, like the windows error message had popped up behind his eyelids.

Oh.

Before, his days were a mere repetition of the one that came before, coffee, library, work, home where he’d watch the telenovela. He never missed one single episode of his favourite show, never ordered anything different at the coffee shop, never went out, never.. did anything else that would stray from routine. Even when he’d have girlfriends, he’d do pretty much the same save for a date or two the weekends.

Lately, Patrick had completely lost interest for the show, could barely watch ten minutes of it before getting bored. He was constantly texting either Joe or Pete to hang out-- He texted the latter more than he’d like to admit. His apartment was everything but tidy, he was barely there anymore, it was like Pete had opened up the doors to another world, in the most platonic way possible.

Pete got him away from his comfort zone and now his comfort zone was so much wider, now he was comfortable wherever his friends were, he was always having fun. It was a feeling he’d rarely experienced before, something a significant other isn’t strong enough by themselves to do. Patrick felt so surrounded, so lucky. He felt like the whole wide world was his friend, like he could go outside tomorrow and greet all the strangers on his way to work and they’d all wave back, it was almost magical. He’d never been a sociable person, but that’s not why he usually kept to himself. He did it because everyone did, because it was expected.. But now he saw why Pete didn’t do what was expected-- Because it got so incredibly fun when he broke those norms.

Now, let’s be clear on one thing, Patrick wasn’t going scuba diving in the Caribbean any soon, nor was he dieying his hair pink and styling it into liberty spikes while simultaneously wearing a green tutu and a camo shirt, he wasn’t ready for that type of defying the standards, but he was ready for a living just slightly more dangerous than the one he had. He was ready for fun.

Smiling at the barista, a tall guy he’d seen countless times before, he asked for an espresso rather than the usual cappucino, watching as the other male prepared his drink without a hint of surprise on his face. Okay, maybe sometimes he was the one taking the norms a little too seriously, but on the other hand, he’d been ordering that drink for almost two years now and suddenly he’d changed.. Well, maybe not everyone pays that much attention to what other people drink.

“ Thanks, Gabe.” He said, reading off the name tag. Patrick was in a good mood.

Not disheartened in the least by the lack of reaction of the barista, he proceeded to walk towards the two ladies who, unsurprisingly, were still arguing about John. He did not greet them, but he did find himself another spot, a spot away from his usual one, one that was bathed in sunlight and from where he could see people come and go on the street. Patrick wondered half-mindedly if one of the people there was his soulmate, if soulmates were a thing. He’d have to talk about it to Pete, who fancied deep conversations. Maybe he could do that next Saturday, since they had planned to go skateboarding. Well, not Patrick, he wouldn’t skate for a billion dollars, c’mon, he’s an adult… Everyone else seemed rather happy about the plan though, so he supposed he’d sit down and watch them go like a parent watching his many 20-something years old kids.

>>>

Joe had seen what was going on, he knew. He knew Pete would have a positive influence on Patrick, it was like the boy had this energy emanating from him.. He couldn’t explain what it was, but he knew that Pete and Patrick shared so many things that they had to be compatible as friends. They were a little bit like opposites if you consider all the things they don’t have in common, but if you consider the things they do have in common, they’re basically the same person. It’s somewhere in between that difference and resemblance that lay the benefits they could obtain from being around each other. Of course, this had simply been a theory of Joe’s, it didn’t mean it was right because humans are so unique and all think differently from each other, but at the same time, so far, it seemed to be right.

Since Pete had started hanging around Patrick, he seemed happier. The other male’s playful insults didn’t seem to bring him down, it was like he knew they were half-hearted and most of them only made him straighten his back and puff out his chest, as if to say ‘no, i don’t think what you’re saying is exact’. Subconsciously-- or so Joe thought-- whenever Pete didn’t execute those motions, Patrick shot some kind of smile at him, but not a mocking one, no, it was like Patrick was communicating that it was in fact a joke and not to be taken seriously. It was a little bit amazing, it was like they had an intangible bond between them, a body and face language Joe couldn’t understand, and that, he couldn’t have predicted in a thousand years. Other than that, Pete had also not gone off the grid again ever since they met, but that wasn’t so long ago and didn’t mean he wouldn’t do it, be it tomorrow or in two months.
Why he did that every now and then remained a mystery, his friends just knew he did and not to get overly worried, he’d come back eventually and apologize, and if he didn’t for a longer while, then, they’d start looking.

Chapter Text

Skating. Do you mean: Pure hell. Patrick went along with his new friends (and Joe), the weather was nicer than it had been throughout the week and only a couple clouds tainted the blue sky and hid somewhat the sun. The boys were all walking faster than he was, all of them holding their skate the same exact way as to show off the logo, only one of them carrying his with mall-grab, which seemed to anger quite a few kids around here, but the person in question couldn’t care less. They went on and on about how nice the concrete was and how excited they were to hear the sound of the wheels rolling on it again, and one kept saying Pete was absolutely incapable of doing a “frontside 360-ollie” while Pete defended that the guy himself was “too pussy to do a fuckin’ nosebleed, plus, you ride goofy you fuckin’ weirdo”. Patrick understood fuck all the terms they used and felt very out of place, more than usual. When they got to the park, he felt even weirder since most of the people here were, indeed, teenagers, and those who weren’t were somehow excellent skaters despite being older. There were a couple scooter kids too… ugh.

So, what did Patrick do? Patrick sat on the stairs -- he really didn’t get why there were stairs that led to nowhere – until a hippie-looking female came to tell him to please sit somewhere else and proceeding to do a pretty sick trick involving the ramp that the mainstreamer would not do anytime soon. He found a new spot on the grass, where hopefully no one would get offended if he sat, and sort of just looked at the concrete, wondering why the hell he came. He admitted the sound of the wheels on the concrete – brbrbrbrbrbrbr – was pretty nice, but other than that… Well, he was completely out of his habitat and there was no way he was asking anyone to borrow their skateboard just to pathetically fall on his face just trying to ride it.

It seems that Pete could, indeed, do a frontside 360 ollie, whatever that is, judging by the cheers of all the guys.

He heard wheels approaching, a slight screech as the owner powerslid his way to a halt. “Hey there, you look rather bored.” A familiar voice spoke. Patrick raised his head. He knew this guy, but he wasn’t too sure of his name. He was very skinny and had some kind of… hair thing going on.

“I am, actually.” Patrick responded “But it’s cool, I got myself into this.”

“Nah man, c’mon, you don’t skate?”

“Never did, never will.”

“Don’t be pussy, get on in.” The guy offered with a smile, pulling on Patrick’s arm slightly as he got one foot off the skate and turned it so the tail pointed towards him.

Patrick noted that Pete stood not too far away, eyeing him as he coasted around the park. He swallowed and thought “screw it”, getting up and putting one foot on the skate and noting as it didn’t slide off.

“Man, those are some fancy shoes. You’re not trying any tricks today, huh.” The skateboard’s owner laughed and Patrick absentmindedly shook his head, putting his other foot on. “Hey, hey, hold on, I know Pete’s got some pretty sick tricks but you should look at me right now.” He said, grabbing Patrick’s hips in the most heterosexual way possible as he got his own foot off the skate, placing it in front of the wheel.

Patrick blushed slightly at the comment about Pete, defending himself; “ I wasn’t looking at him!”

“Sure you weren’t, now look where you’re putting your feet. You need them to be more apart than that.” The skinny guy said, Patrick concentrated in trying not to fall off. “ Alright, now you put one foot down and you push.” He said, taking a step back and his hands off.

The blonde glanced at Pete again, who smiled and gave him a thumbs up.

“I’m so not ready for this.”

“Hey, it’s not that hard, if anything, just jump off, you’ll be okay.”

Patrick sighed, telling himself it really couldn’t be that hard since 10-year-old’s were doing it and pushed a little with his backfoot. The skate advanced somewhat, but it was very very little, Patrick, who felt very unstable on this fourth-wheeled demon, put one foot down almost immediately.

“Yeah, okay, you’re ready, now you skate fast and commit.” The other guy declared with a laugh at Patrick’s uncertainty. “ It’s not gonna bite you.”

The mainstreamer got off, shaking his head, “ I can’t do this.”

“Sure you can, look at the others, they’re all having a blast. We didn’t want you here looking like a boy who’s lost his mamma. C’mon and join us!”

Half-heartedly, the guy got closer, watching as Pete dropped in in the pool with professionalism almost.

“ I wanna try that.” Patrick declared after like thirty minutes, deciding it didn’t look that complicated. A few mutters and chuckles fused from the group as one of the guys passed him a skate. He grabbed it by the nose, one foot holding the tail of it onto the edge of the pool and the other one coming in to push forward. It felt thrilling to lean all his weight on the front foot and watch himself slide down, much less gracious than the others, but not so bad. As he started rolling down, Patrick leaned back, trying to gain control. It all happened in a flash. One second he was this close to falling forward and smashing his face and the next he was rolling on his side, his back feeling completely destroyed. “ Fuck!” he yelled out.

Pete ran to him, a worried look in his eyes. “ You okay man? Did you hit your head?”

“No, just my back.” Patrick responded with a pained grunt, the guys behind him commenting something about the Thrasher hall of meat. Pete took his hands, palms up, and presented them in front of Patrick’s face. His eyes widened. They were pretty peeled. Yikes. After a little, Pete helped him get out of the pool. His whole body was aching, so he let himself lean on the guy a lot more than he’d usually do. Pete didn’t seem to mind, and after a while well… They were skating again. Pete announced that Patrick wasn’t ready for the pool and taught him to turn by shifting his weight instead, on his own skate. Patrick watched him smile in awe at every little achievement, his heart fluttering a little bit in his chest. He told himself it was the shame of being such a noob.

Chapter Text

Pete & Co. were always taking Patrick to unexpected places to do weird shit he wouldn’t even have done as a teenager, so it only felt natural to invite them to one of his personal favourites. Except he didn’t invite all of them… Just Pete. Maybe he’d even blushed a little doing so, but it wasn’t like, a date or anything, he’d been quick to say that for sure. Pete could probably see right through it but hadn’t said anything about it, he’d just accepted with a slight smile.

 

So yeah, they had not a date at the library – the library. It was Patrick’s little revenge on his ex. Well, to be fair, he’d wanted to take Pete for a coffee, but the guy had been so insistent on doing anything else that he finally gave in. He supposed it was just because, you know, Pete doing everything different from the masses wouldn’t want a first date at a coffee shop, typical. Not that this was a date. They were just two bros checking out books.

 

After babbling for a long time about their favourite authors, they somehow ended up at an ice cream parlor and well, from there, somehow Pete accepted to go back to Patrick’s because it was conveniently starting to rain and you know, “you can go back once the storm is over..” turned into thirty minutes, an hour, two hours, just talking.

 

And then the TV did the talking, because Pete didn’t want to miss his favourite show and all of these were strangely starting to resemble excuses to stay just a little bit longer. Patrick didn’t mind. They sort of cuddled, it wasn’t the first time after all and well they’d been together-- as friends-- for long enough to feel okay with this…

 

Pete pecked Patrick’s cheek.

 

Smooch.

 

Patrick’s heart stopped in his chest for the split of a second before getting back to beating like usual, he was about as red as the tomatoes in his fridge and Pete was laughing his ass off on the couch, his smile comparable to an angel’s.

 

I’m sorry, you’ve been so nice all day, I was hoping I’d pull some kind of insult out of you.” He said, still laughing and Patrick glared at him.

 

You’re a fucking dick!” He announced for all his neighbours to hear, and then he grabbed Pete’s face with both his hands and kissed his lips hungrily, hoping he’d get a little more out of this, hoping to make it clear that, okay, he wasn’t looking for the love of his life but a buddy to..

 

But he got none of that. Soon, the non- genre -conforming guy pulled back, sort of shoving Patrick away from him “I-I’ve got to go, it’s getting late.” He declared, picking his jacket up from the other male’s chair and leaving in a hurry.

 

It felt like Patrick’s heart had fallen right out of his chest and he was trying desperately to get his organs back into his abdomen. This wasn’t right. This… was completely unfair. The door shut like someone forcefully closing the Pandora box and Patrick was all the bad things inside it. Pete was hope, and he’d just left.

 

I just fucked it up.” Patrick said incredulously. He wasn’t even supposed to like this guy as a friend in the first place, now he was trying to kiss him? Not.. Not leave a friendly kiss on his cheek, no, full on make out with-- It was useless denying now that he really did like the guy, and more than just a tiny tiny little bit. No. He like-liked Pete, he had… He had a crush. Well, they call it crush for good reason don’t they. And what an idiot, too, to think the guy would like him, when, to be honest, if it weren’t for that weirdly enticing laugh of his, he was like, a 10/10. Pete was a sunny day in the middle of a rainy week, the ray of sunshine no cloud can dull.

 

Now it was gonna be bad. It was gonna be awkward. Who knows if the guy would still be his friend after this-- well, probably, to be fair. He wasn’t nearly as judgmental or asshole-y as Patrick, maybe he really did have to go and the blond was being paranoid..

 

 

Pete practically ran away once he was past the staircase. He followed the exit signs like they’d save his soul, like they were the helicopter flying over a deserted island. He wasn’t cut out for this and neither was Patrick, but the other boy had a reputation for getting over people surprisingly quickly and Pete did not. Pete kissed cheeks like he breathed, fell in love like he laughed, a wink was enough to make his heart stutter in his chest, but he knew his worth in the universe, and most importantly, he knew his worth in Patrick’s universe and this was a thing he couldn’t afford. His feet guided him to his apartment where he leaned his back against the door like he were considering to barricade it, his brain taking him back to Patrick, always and forever. Patrick’s face, Patrick’s hands, Patrick’s apartment, Patrick’s lips-- Patrick’s hungry lips, desperate heart, “No.” Pete said softly “Not today.”

Chapter Text

Patrick swung by the record store a few days later, after work, but Pete was nowhere to be found. The day was grey, the shelves were dusty and Patrick felt blue. It seemed like the boy had been a mere creation of his mind and now the daydream was over, now he was in the real world again. Without Pete to say dumb stuff and laugh his stupid, annoying laugh, without Pete always searching to piss Patrick off or make him blush, or both, the world seemed so plain and boring. He picked a CD and brought it home, because only a heathen would go to a record shop and not get anything – or someone who’s broke – but that wasn’t why he was here. He wasn’t here to get the latest jazz release, he was here for the emo(?) kid.

 

On his way back home, he counted his steps to forget about his main worry at the moment. When you’re a kid and your friends and you fight, it seems like the most important problem in the world, it seems like if you don’t find a solution, you’ll be sad forever or something, when, of course, you later grow up to realize you’d have lost those friends sooner or later anyway, well, right now, Pete no longer hanging out with him felt like the biggest problem in the world, as stupid as it sounds.

 

 

“What’d you do to him? What’d you tell him?!” Joe was yelling, his grip tight on Patrick’s shoulders and the blond just wanted to be left alone.

 

“I don’t fucking know Joe! Go away!”

 

“No, Patrick, we haven’t seen him in two weeks! This isn’t about you! You were the last to see him, is all!”

 

“I didn’t do anything! I just, tried to kiss him and like.. I don’t know man, your friend’s messed up. Besides, you’re not his mom, why do you worry so much about where he is?”

 

“ Yeah, he fucking is, and you are too! But you know what? You’re my friend nonetheless and so is he. God, what were you thinking?”

 

 

Fight or flight? Why fight when flight is the easiest solution. Pete sure thought so, vanishing from Patrick’s close friends to fall back into another person’s arms. The thing about Patrick is that he could never love Pete, they’d screw, because clearly there was some type of tension and it could quickly be resolved, but there would never be love between them. Pete knew that for sure, so he did what he does best and disappeared from Patrick’s radar for a little bit. Enough for the guy to move on, surely, there was nothing between them. Enough to make it clear he didn’t want that, though he did, he wanted that, he wanted more, he wanted the whole world, he wanted to be liked and wanted and… Pete had grown fond of Patrick, truth be told, and Pete didn’t have a crush on people he kissed, usually, it was so much easier that way..

 

 

Three weeks passed by and Pete still hadn’t showed up. Patrick was really starting to feel like the guy had never existed in the first place. On the upside, he got the barista’s number. Guy didn’t look much like Pete but it was better that way. He was really pretty and well, a nice hug from a tall ass guy every now and then wouldn’t hurt, Patrick figured. And if it was followed by a kiss to his lips, or tiny little pecks on his neck, all the better! But he felt so dirty, he felt like such a terribly person, because no matter how many kisses he stole from Gabe’s mouth, they never felt as good as spending just a few minutes on Pete’s side, and that’s when Patrick started to realize just how much he’d been affected by the guy’s existence, and he missed him. A lot.

 

It was like Pete was this ink stain he couldn’t wash off his skin, a tattoo he regretted, a thought he couldn’t get rid of. He just hoped Pete missed him just as much, though clearly, he’d been rejected by the guy.

 

Patrick’s first date with Gabe had been alright, though. They kissed a lot (though people will tell you not to, not on the first date) and didn’t devote much time to talking or thinking. Patrick didn’t like him, didn’t have a crush on him, but just like for his girlfriends, Gabe’s warmth was nice and his presence was better than being lonely. As for the rest well, guess it doesn’t really matter, it’s not like he ever expected to find the love of his life and be loved forever, and certainly that would not have been Pete.

 

So Patrick went back to the nightmares of huge lonely mansions and no one to help him, woke up sweaty and most likely alone, Gabe probably out kissing other people, but it was okay because of course, it wasn’t a serious and exclusive, it was just for fun. He sort of wanted to ring the barista up, to tell him about his nightmares, to ask to be comforted, to be told he’d be okay and that he’d be loved, but he knew he was gonna get an insincere “ I love you” at best and he couldn’t blame the guy.

 

He then remembered he’d never talked about soulmates to Pete and how he’d wanted to discuss the topic with him, and that was enough to bring tears to his eyes. “ Idiot.” Patrick whispered to himself in the dark of the night. “ Stop being so emotional, goddamnit. He’s just one guy. You’ll find plenty of others you’ll also get crushes on, like everyone else.” But he couldn’t quite convince himself.

 

A little part of him feared maybe.. Maybe Pete was the one he was destined for, but of course life would fuck him over in some way and not let him have him.

Chapter Text

The concrete was wet for the third time in a row this week, the trees were greener than ever and earthworms seemed to sprout from the asphalt like grass on fertile land. Every now and then, the sun would point its shiny nose amidst the clouds and mist would rise from the ground, joining the dance as well. On the other side of the double panned windows, barely muffled, high-pitched giggles and “splooshes” as kids ran and played in the puddles. Never had Patrick regretted more his decision of not taking up his weird middle-school friend’s offer to join her and live in the middle of the forest like a wild animal.

 

He was working on his latest composition, he still did those from time to time, whenever he had nothing else to do and didn’t feel like watching a show, but it didn’t sound quite right, it was definitely missing something, and it was so frustrating not being able to put his finger on it.

 

Patrick hadn’t gone out ever since Pete’s mysterious disappearing act, and though he’d love to put all the blame on Pete, he reckoned he’d had a part of responsibility in setting it up. All of the guy’s friends seemed to think so, anyway, and hadn’t invited him anywhere ever since, but maybe they weren’t going out either.

 

It was truly marvelous how he’d just vanished like a white bunny in a tophat without any warning and without leaving any trace. Patrick was certain he couldn’t do so even if he tried really hard.

 

It was then that his concentration was disrupted by a loud, annoying and completely unwelcomed ring echoed through the room, and he identified it as the doorbell. Well, not “door”bell since it’s an apartment and all, but you get what I mean.

 

He dragged his feet on his way to the door, thinking of the 42 steps ahead of him, and then 42 on his way back, and possibly some small talk with whomever was at the entrance.

 

The thing is, he did not have the possibility to run away because when there were only 2 steps left, the man on the other side of the glass door had already seen him. He couldn’t pretend he wasn’t there, he couldn’t disappear.

 

So he did all he could do, open the door and ask “Wha-” but before he could finish his sentence, his body was pinned to the wall and a rush of strawberry something hit his nose as two curves of cream and plush were pressed against his mouth, two hills and a valley, the disgusting smell of chapstick overcompensated by the absolute softness of the two. It was perfection, the mere seconds it lasted were nothing but. A pair of hands were holding onto his rumpled shirt, a soft, warm breath hit his face and he had to open his eyes. It was over, and he didn’t know whether to cry, or beg for more, or yell “glory hallelujah”, but it was undoubtedly over.

 

“P-Pete...” Patrick stuttered, still shaken, though he’d be lying if he said he hadn’t liked it.

 

“I owed you that.” Pete responded with a little smirk and a knowing glint in his eyes, a confident chuckle escaping his lips, and Patrick really hated himself for assuming the guy’s disappearance had anything to do with him in the first place. “And if you kiss back, I’ll be in debt again.” He added a wink.

 

“M-maybe we could… hum..” Patrick said, pointing towards the staircase, now very much aware of the disgusting pale blue walls that surrounded them and possibly a few pair of eyes staring at the events.

 

Up they went, but as soon as Pete had his hands on Patrick again, the latter shook his head, pulling away. “Why’d you go? What happened?” He asked, reaching to comb Pete’s damp hair with his fingers. It had been raining, have I mentioned?

 

“We’re not in a John Hughes, cut the small-talk. That’s not why you’re with people, is it?” Pete asked, mentally begging for the opposite answer. Begging for an ‘actually, please tell me why the hell you just… left.’

 

“I… No. Just… You’re not one of my girlfriends, you know?” ‘please, please, please get what I’m implying.’

 

Pete shot him a confused look, chuckling. “No, that’s right, I’m just a bit different.”

 

“Listen, Pete, I’ve been kissed, my whole life, but I’ve never been kissed like that” ‘Like you were dying to taste my lips, like you wanted to be here with me, not just here with anyone, like you needed me.’ Patrick did not say.

 

“Well, that’s good because I’ve never kissed anyone else like that, either.” Pete laughed softly, a small hope sprouting in his heart. Maybe, after all, possibly… I mean..

 

“I-I need to tell Gabe… and then.. if you want… I’d like to go out on a date with you.” Patrick asked, scratching his neck, positive the other male wouldn’t mind. They’d talked about mutual goals and such and agreed that they weren’t in love with each other, that they would never mary each other and that if they ever found a person that actually…. Had that kind of vibe, it’d be okay to break it up.

 

“Yeah, that’d be… Wait, Gabe? The guy from the coffee shop?”

 

“Yeah, you know him?”

 

Pete blushed and laughed really awkwardly. “ Oh yeah, I know him.” He declared and Patrick decided it was better not to ask.

 

The day took a very unexpected turn for the both of them, especially Pete, who thought about thirty minutes in he’d already be covered in lovebites and thirty minutes later he’d be out the door, but it was very relieving to just hang out with his crush, a blanket covering the both of them as they snuggled somewhat awkwardly. He owed Patrick some serious explanations but as long as the blond didn’t insist, he wouldn’t spill. It was unfair but it was safer that way.

 

 

Chapter Text

Gabe had been unsurprisingly okay with everything. He just sort of smiled when Patrick mentioned Pete’s name and nodded. “I’m happy you’ve found the one.”

“He’s not the one, Gabe. Well, I don’t know. We haven’t known each other for that long and...”

“Well, right now he’s the one. You’ll worry about later when it’s time for you to.” The man responded, combing his fingers through Patrick’s hair. “Go, I know you’re dying to.” He prompted, making a gesture towards the door, and Stump nodded and laughed softly, his heart feeling like it’d been filled with helium. This was a lot easier than he’d expected.

“Why’d you run off like that?” Patrick asked softly one night, combing his fingers through his boyfriend’s hair, who seemed to believe he was a human blanket judging by the position he had adopted atop our protagonist. They were watching Patrick’s favourite show. Apparently, Pete had taken a liking to it (and Patrick, of course.)

“Why’d you look at me with those eyes?”

“What eyes?”

“Those that screamed they wanted to eat me alive, Patrick, swallow me whole and spit out the bone. (Upon proofreading, I realize this sounds like vore. Not intended, very sorry.) You looked at me like you wanted to-- like you wanted to screw me, okay? Like your lips on mine were only the key to open the lock that would lead to you and I naked in the morning light and I don’t… I’m not ‘down’ with that. Do you get it?” Pete replied, his tone serious and his eyes set.

“That’s not--...Why’d you come back then?”

“Because.. I want to be with you. I want to be with you for real, not for a few weeks, I don’t want to be a notch in your bedpost, another person to brag about when people ask how many pretty things you’ve screwed. Listen, if it’s not what you want, it’s fine. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever make love, I’m just saying--”

“You want it to be deeper than just that.” The other male finished, smiling a little bit, a hopeful look in his eyes.

“..Yeah. I know it sounds old-fashioned and..”

“No. That’s fine. It’s refreshing. You know, I want someone to care about too, I want someone to care about me too. You can be my boy crush.” He laughed, and Pete’s eyes lit up like he’d just won the lottery.

Never in his life would he have dreamt of this, a beautiful guy basically telling him he was wanted? Telling him he’d be wanted? It was.. It was pretty tight. It might not be all he’d ever needed but he could be content with this, and he’d keep working on everything else.

On Patrick’s side, I think he’s never had nightmares about gigantic, empty mansions again, I think everytime he was scared, he had someone to turn to. I think every day he reminded himself how lucky he was. This story doesn’t say whether they got married and lived happily ever after, maybe they did. Maybe not. Maybe at some point, Patrick had enough and they broke up, maybe he went back to dating cute girls and see how their heart was broken when they discovered he never gave a shit about them.

 

 

But I don’t think so.

The End