The universe, Andrew decides, has a terribly ironic way of making you eat your words.
It’s not that Andrew himself has any issues with the touching of mouths with another human being, of course. He just likes his space, has grown comfortable with his own personal space, and body contact just isn’t something he’s particularly used to. Besides, they were only a few episodes into Worth It when the first dreaded “Lady and the Tramp” situation occurs and there’s something about it that feels a little too fast. A little too far.
Andrew values his own comfortable kind of quiet and Steven….Steven is everything but quiet. Being in Steven’s presence is kind of like standing in the sun. Soaked in heat rays that make one warm underneath their collars, brightness so bright it’s blinding and that energy. My god, that energy and drive of his. It can get a bit much. At least that was how it was in the beginning. Because as taxing as it can be, being around Steven also brought along a sense of fulfillment. His determination and endless drive to pursue new knowledge is admirable. The way he forges on ahead even with bumps along the way is nothing short of inspiring. It makes Andrew want to place in all he’s got into things too. It’s easy to get caught up and be swept along with the flow of things in a way that makes his fingertips buzz with anticipation at the discovery of the next big potential video they could make. Just like the sun, Steven nourishes the soul and makes a part of Andrew feel more alive.
As it turns out, Steven’s also a bit of a tactile learner and after some fumbling along the way they find a pace. Steven knows not to overwhelm him, often initiating touch in the form of little gestures like shoulder bumping, leaning against him and the like. He lets Andrew set the pace. And in turn, Andrew finds himself growing more at ease, more accustomed with their physical contact with one another. Andrew tests it out by initiating physical contact sometimes and often surprises himself with how comfortable it’s beginning to feel. How easy it was to reach out and grab a bicep. Or sling his arm around Steven’s shoulders when they’re seated next to each other, pressed together at the hip.
The second time it happens, they were in Korea filming a take on ribs.
He jokingly brings up the Lady and Tramp comment again and notes the brief hesitation on Steven’s face. And he knows, if he were to say no, Steven wouldn’t push him about it. He’s waiting for him to set the pace again. This time, with a little help from renowned chef David Chang’s “You guys should do it”, Andrew gamely feeds the glass noodles into his mouth and waits for Steven to pick up the pace. Sure enough, he does. The incredulity of the situation ensured that neither of them could keep a straight face while they each pulled slowly til the noodles connecting their mouths broke under tension. And it was okay. It was more than okay, it was fun. It’s a nice little moment perfect for filing away as a fond memory of momentary goofiness.
Except that it keeps happening after that.
At first, it’d seemed more like a game of sorts. A game of how close they could get before one or the other broke away and both of them burst into bouts of giggles like they were teenagers again. But over time, they just kept getting close and closer. As the distance between them shortened, so does the peculiar pin and needles sensation that overtakes Andrew. Curling against his forearms, gripping his entire being like an electrical charge lighting him up from the inside. Strong enough that he could barely suppress his shuddering. It stops being something fun. Became something else.
He doesn’t exactly recall who it was that finally crossed the invisible boundary they had in between them. Too swept up in the feeling of lips against his and the faint ticklish sensation of Steven’s eyelashes brushing against his cheeks when he shut his eyes. Too swept up in lingering contact and the fabric of Steven’s jacket brushing him when he shifts closer and deepens the kiss just a little more. Finally. Finally. They part with a quiet sigh from Andrew and he’s rather pleased to note the pink hue dusting across Steven’s cheeks when he swallows rather thickly and asks, in a voice that’s barely a breathy whisper. “That okay?”
“That was fine.” Andrew cradles the sides of Steven’s face and murmurs in response. He leaned forward once more to kiss him properly, sliding their lips together in earnest. He feels Steven curl his fingers against the front of his shirt as their breathing mingled with one another, and his teeth tugs on his bottom lip. “This is better.”
Andrew pulls back only when his own lips began to tingle and takes pride in the way it draws a whine of complaint from Steven. He takes delight in watching him instinctively seek Andrew out.
“In fact, I’d go on to say that it was….Worth it.”
The ensuing groan from Steven draws a laugh out of him even when it’s slightly winded by pushing up against his side to hide his face against his chest.
“I hate you.”
“No, you don’t.” A strong arm secures Steven to him, holding him close.
“Nah, I don’t.”
The universe, Andrew confirms, has a terribly ironic way of making you eat your words. But if that’s what it takes for him and Steven to finally meet each other in the middle, then he’ll gladly do so a million times over. With a dash of mild complaining.