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16- “Why haven’t you kissed me yet?”

 

Rich picked at the sleeve of his jacket nervously. It wasn’t yet warm enough to ditch the outer layers in favor of Rich’s preferred short-sleeves, what with it being only February.

Leaning back against the cold brick of the school exterior, Rich exhaled shakily, watching his visible breath travel up and into the cloudy sky.

His mind travelled back to that morning, when Michael and Brooke had assured him that he could in fact do this. He had told the two about his… problem.. about two months ago, but this was the first time that he had seriously thought about doing something about it.

He remembered Brooke’s kind eyes as she pressed a green Jolly Rancher into his hand “for good luck” and Michaels huge grin as he ruffled Rich’s hair and told him that no matter how Jake responded, the three of them would go out for slushies to celebrate one of them actually getting the balls to confess their hopeless crushes.

Rich was beginning to regret thinking that he could do this. Obviously Jake wouldn’t react positively, they had only just gotten back to normal after Rich had burned down his fucking house-

“Hey! Bro! Thanks for waiting. Frisbee Golf took a bit longer than usual, but what can you do? I’m assistant captain so I can’t just leave.”

Rich looked back down from the sky in time to see Jake’s bright smile as he made his way over on his crutches.

Butterflies exploded in his stomach at that perfect smile. God, how was he doing to manage this?

Pushing for some sense of normalcy, Rich offered his own smile, “Jakey-D!” Oh no that sounded stupid, didn’t it? Rich pulled on his sleeve some more and swallowed down his impending panic.

“Uh.. Rich, dude, is everything okay? Are you- You need some Red or something? I’m sure Michael has some-“

“Nah- N-no I’m good. Super.” Rich flinched at his lisp and cursed himself for not even trying to find a better word.

“You sure..?” Jake had become more attuned to Rich’s moods since they had gotten closer, he should have known that he couldn’t keep him at bay for long.

“I- Of course I am. I-“ Rich remembered Brooke and Michael’s confidence and pride in him and pushed back another excuse. “I actually had something I wanted to tell you.” Rich forced his eyes back up to Jake’s concerned ones.

“You know you can tell me anything, Rich. Shoot.”

Jake’s easy going smile was what gave Rich the last bit of courage he needed. “I’m bi.”

Jake’s brows furrowed, “Uh, Rich, I know that. You told me that like as soon as you found out, why are you-“

“I’m bi. F-For you. I have a huge gay crush on you, Jake Dillinger. And- And I know you’re Pan, but it’s okay if you’re not interested in ever trying anything because you’re my best bro and I’d never compromise that, but I’ve sort of had a crush on you for like ever, I just never could get it out because of the SQUIP and then because of everything I’ve done and- and you’re just… amazing and a really good person, better than anyone I’ve ever met. You even forgave me for burning down your house!! And you deserve to know so I’m telling you. Jake, I-“

“Rich.” Jake had an unreadable expression on his face when Rich looked back up at him.

“Y-Yeah, Jake…?” Ready for rejection, Rich squared his shoulders and tried to regain a steady breathing pattern.

“Why haven’t you kissed me yet?”

Rich blinked. He- What?

“I- What?”

“I like you to, Rich. Just kiss me already, bro.”

Rich didn’t waste any time trying to understand what had just happened. He acted.