Andrew wanted to take care of Steven; that was a fact that he couldn't deny, at least to himself. It didn't matter that Steven didn't need saving or helping; they'd just be going about their day together and Andrew would be hit out of nowhere with a sudden pull to help Steven do something he could do himself. Usually, because of their job, this manifested itself in needing to feed Steven. Of course Steven didn't NEED him to this; sure, the fans enjoyed these particularly domestic bits but the real reason he did it was he was simply overcome with a burning desire to care for Steven.
Andrew didn't know where the hell these feelings were coming from; he'd never felt that insatiable need to care for someone before. He'd never noticed someone's clothing was rumbled and had to stop himself from fixing it. He'd never dropped someone off at home at night and felt the need to walk them inside and stay with them until they were safely tucked in their bed. He'd never felt the need to read a menu to a functioning adult who could clearly read it themselves. He never had…..that was until he met Steven.
He wasn't fucking stupid; he wasn't going to act on those impulses. He had no idea where they came from or what they meant and frankly he didn't want to. And more than that he absolutely knew that Steven wouldn't appreciate it; he wasn't some helpless maiden and even though Andrew wasn't suggesting he was, he knew that's how it would be interpreted. So, Andrew settled for the occasional pleasure of getting to feed Steven while they were shooting Worth It (and also plenty of times when they were out not on the show). It became a 'thing' they did; he enjoyed it and he was fairly sure that Steven did too and he got comfortable with the idea that no one thought anything of it. And maybe pleasure wasn't exactly the right word for it; that made it sound obscene. Andrew just really enjoyed it; there was some deep part of him NEEDED it even if he didn't understand why. He wouldn't say he had any paternal instincts; he'd never really been around children and wasn't even sure he liked them all that much. So why did the idea of taking care of someone, especially an adult, appeal to him so much?
He was good at hiding those feelings and doing his best to keep them tightly under wraps. That was until you factored alcohol into the mix. He was very good at holding his liquor but he supposed it was only a matter of time until something slipped under those conditions. He just always thought that what would 'slip' would be he'd tell some embarrassing anecdote from his past or that he'd walk up to someone he found attractive and hit on them in an embarrassing fashion. He never dreamed that he'd let something slip that he'd been trying so desperately to keep inside. Damn alcohol…..
He was totally wasted; in his defense, so was Steven. They didn't normally get so drunk together, especially so publically and he really didn't know what the reason was this time; maybe they were just feeling the need to especially unwind even if they had started off innocently enough. They'd been taking shot after shot and Andrew had a higher tolerance than Steven who didn't drink very much; he got to watch the amusing descent of Steven's level headed personality into a giggling, silly mess long before the alcohol over took him personally. The night was a haze of uncontrolled laughter, sloppy dancing and an overwhelming sense of plain good feelings. There was plenty he didn't remember but it left him with a good feeling; it was what he did remember that left him feeling uncomfortable and outraged at his lack of self-control.
It was the end of the night and Andrew could feel himself waning; he was still ridiculously drunk and totally without a filter but felt shaky and needed food. Steven, on the other hand, was looking like he might just pass out and sleep the night on the club floor. Somehow, Andrew managed to drag Steven over to the table, laughing uncontrollably all the way at what, he had no idea. Despite the wonderful delicacies that they had become accustomed to because of Worth It, nothing sounded better to Andrew in that moment than cheese fries and he ordered a large order of them while trying to get Steven to stay awake while they waited on their food.
He shouldn't have done it; he should have just gone home and ate something and left Steven at his house to sleep; he should have known he was playing with fire. He was sober enough to know he was out of control but drunk enough to not want to be able to stop himself. And that was a very dangerous place to be in.
When the fries finally arrived at their table Andrew eagerly stuffed a few huge handfuls that were delicious as only drunk food could be into his mouth before turning to an almost slumbering Steven. Andrew felt that stirring, the deep compassionate need swell inside that he had tried to deny so many times that he felt, under the influence of alcohol, he could not contain. He was sober enough to know that he shouldn't do anything but drunk enough to not care.
"Steven…..you have to eat something" Andrew proceeded, taking a cheese covered fry and pressing it against Steven's lips. Andrew had no idea why that gave him as much pleasure as if Steven had eagerly eaten the extended food.
"M'tired…."Steven mumbled, sighing tiredly, the cheese from the fry sticking to his lips as he nestled around tiredly in the chair.
Andrew couldn't stop staring at that distracting bit of cheese on Steven's lips and wanting to remove it; he was drunk so he did that just that, wiping the errant bit of cheese and depositing it into his own mouth with a sick thrill. Steven didn't even seem to notice it.
"I know you're tired but if you eat you'll feel better…..you know you will" Andrew assured him. It was true and honest even if Andrew had his own selfish reasons for saying it. He pressed a fry against Steven's lips, poking…..poking until he finally opened and took it in, chewing slowly and languidly. Andrew watched every second, finding himself smiling as Steven slightly grinned, taking it in.
"Pretty good, isn't it?" Andrew clarified, smiling too wide to himself. He was smiling entirely from Steven's reaction; poking fry after fry into Steven's eager open mouth he managed to get quite a reaction in before Steven pushed away, squinted eyes and rooting around; looking utterly cute and innocent in Andrew's opinion even though he'd rather to be caught dead than admit that he characterized anything Steven did as 'cute'.
If Andrew had been sober he would have seen it coming; as it was he had about two seconds to wonder why Steven stopped eating and suddenly gave him a curious, entirely TOO curious look considering how close he'd been to falling into an alcohol induced sleep before the fries.
Andrew had managed to get Steven to eat about half of the plate (forgetting his own hunger entirely in the process) when Steven finally pushed away his hand with a slight laugh and said, "Are you going to feed me this entire plate of fries…..and just watch me while I eat?" He was laughing and so with his impaired judgement Andrew missed the note of question and slight confusion at his actions.
"Yeah….as long as you keeping eating that's the plan" Andrew said off handily, not giving it much though other than that he wanted to see Steven eat some more. When he tried to push the fries back toward Steven's mouth, he stopped him again.
"Why? You got some kind of feeding fetish or something?" Steven asked with a laugh.
Andrew should have noticed the laugh; he should have noticed the teasing tone of Steven's that he knew so well. He should have known it was a joke. But his head was cloudy and foggy all he could think of was shit…..he'd finally gotten caught giving Steven too much attention.
He'd tried to stammer out some response but nothing but a jumble of sounds came out of his lips as his face got hot. It was only then, when it was too late, that Andrew saw Steven's laughing face turn confused. And then accusatory.
"Dude…..I was just joking. But you look so…" Steven said, his own face tinting in embarrassment as he looked away.
So what? Guilty? Embarrassed? Andrew assumed that was what Steven had been thinking but just couldn't manage to say it. And all of those things would have been correct.
"It's not a fetish…"was all Andrew managed to say. It was lame and only made things worse. It only acknowledged that whatever it was it was SOMETHING.
"It's….uh…okay. You don't have to explain it….."Steven said hastily, looking at some distant point across the room; pretty much anywhere except where Andrew was.
It was downhill from there. They both tried to make conversation about something else but it was forced and Andrew had lost his appetite; it wasn't long before they left the bar and Andrew was more than relieved when Steven fell asleep on the way home and he didn't have to force himself to try and act normal when they both knew things were awkward.
And despite the fact that he had so embarrassingly shown his hand, he couldn't resist sitting in the back of car staring at Steven while he slept and thinking about how content and happy he'd been before the ill fate conversation. How cute he'd looked while Andrew had fed him. And there that word was again…..cute. He'd thought it again; he just thanked God he hadn't SAID it by mistake.
What the HELL was wrong with him?
Andrew woke up the next morning in something akin to panic. He instantly remembered the awkward exchange and this time he didn't have the cushion of alcohol to color it anymore. He knew he had to get up and get ready for work but for the longest time he was paralyzed with nerves. He felt like he was back in high school contemplating facing the entire student population who had recently learned his most embarrassing secret. It was a feeling that he hadn't had in a great long while and it was one he most certainly did NOT miss.
Staring up at the ceiling he thought about what would happen now that Steven knew his secret…..or at least thought he knew his secret because even HE didn't fully understand what this THING was. And because he was a 'worst case scenario' person he thought about all of the ways that this embarrassing THING could ruin his life.
Steven had said feeding 'fetish'; that implied that he thought this was something it wasn't. Mainly that there was something dirty about it and though he didn't understand what it WAS he knew that it WASN'T like that. But he had lamely not explained himself; he had said it wasn't a fetish but he didn't get to explain himself so it would only be logical if Steven assumed it WAS. After all, what kind of freak got a thrill of feeding their friends? Him…..apparently he was that kind of freak. Really, he could have blamed it on Steven; he'd started all of this with his food toasting and everything; Andrew had thought it was weird in the beginning. So he COULD blame him…..but what good would that do? None whatsoever…
Whatever it was, it wasn't a fetish; it had nothing to do with sex at all. He just had some weirdly protective and caring THING for Steven that he couldn't quite explain. But he'd not gotten to explain that so he could only assume Steven was thinking he had some feeding kink and that he was on the receiving end of said kink. Which, would be humiliating it and of itself but considering he made FOOD videos as his profession having a reputation like that could be disastrous. And would Steven tell anyone else? Andrew didn't think Steven was like that but who knew with something like this? Andrew meditated several unhappy minutes on thought of walking into Buzzfeed and looking around to see everyone staring at him and just knowing that they all KNEW…
Even if Steven didn't tell anyone else, he would still know and surely that would make things awkward. Would Steven push away from him, thinking he was some kind of pervert? Andrew felt sick to his stomach and realized how very desperately he didn't want that to happen. If he lost his friendship with Steven over some weird Freudian slip of his he would never forgive himself.
Eventually, Andrew forced himself to get up and get ready for work hoping that being productive would occupy his runaway thoughts. Of course it didn't…every step closer to work he got his feeling of dread and nausea increased.
He'd worked himself up thoroughly by the time he walked into the office but after about five minutes he could clearly see that no one seemed to know anything and that his social death wasn't imminent. No one was looking at him strangely or laughing at him; everyone was treating him like he was his normal self and not a sexual deviant.
But he hadn't seen Steven yet…that was the real test of how things were going to be. He didn't know what he was going to say when he saw Steven but a fair amount of his mind was reserved in hoping that maybe Steven had been drunk enough that he wouldn't remember what had happened last night. Well…one could always hope…
Andrew found Steven at his desk, typing on the computer and sipping his coffee slowly. He had his hoodie pulled up and around his face so that all Andrew could see were a few tuffs of wild gray hair sticking out.
Feeling nervous and hating that he felt nervous around Steven who he was normally so comfortable around, Andrew plopped down in the chair next to him.
"Morning, Steven" Andrew said cheerily. Too cheerily….he sounded like a sociopath.
And obviously he was too loud because Steven grabbed his head as he turned toward Andrew. "Morning" he said tiredly, very un-Steven like, even though he was cringing and looked pale, his eyes blood shot.
"Hangover, huh?" Andrew said, making sure to whisper this time.
Steven looked miserable, obviously hung over; Andrew hated that he felt a little more hopeful that maybe Steven wouldn't remember what he had said last night.
Steven looked positively green as he looked at Andrew. "This is why I don't drink….."he said, "I feel like I got ran over a bus. I've thrown up three times this morning" he mumbled before laying his head down on his desk. "I should be in bed….."
Poor Steven…..he simply couldn't hold his liquor. He looked so utterly miserable and weak Andrew was overwhelmed with a strong desire to put Steven to bed and feed him a cup of tea. What the HELL was wrong with him? these thoughts were getting more and more out of control and he didn't know if Steven would be more insulted by Andrew's insistent need to take of him like he was a damn child or something or thinking he was the object of Andrew's perverted food fantasies. Andrew wiped the sweat from his brow and continued.
"Yeah…..yeah you passed out pretty quick last night. You remember falling asleep in the car?" he asked. He had to admit, it was a weak way to ask if he possibly blacked out and forgot Andrew's embarrassing mistake. But he simply couldn't bring himself to say what he really wanted to ask.
"Yeah, I remember" Steven said, every second paling more until he had the pallor of a ghost. Pressing a hand over his mouth he said, "Great…..I think I'm going to throw up cheese fries again….."before rushing off in the direction of the bathrooms.
Well, so much for that…now Andrew felt like the one who needed to be sick. Obviously there was little chance that Steven would remember eating the fries and not remember how Andrew was practically fawning over him while doing it.
Having absolutely nothing to say and not knowing how to fix this, Andrew quickly disappeared off to his desk before Steven could get back from the bathroom because apparently, in addition to everything else, he was now a coward too.