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Bad boys and pink walls

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“Okay, dude, no shut up. I’m at the cake shop right now and you haven’t given me any ideas on what cake to get you,” Liam groans into his phone as he walks into a busy and brightly light cake shop. He walks straight to the display window and smiles when Mason huffs on the other side of the phone. He unwraps the scarf around his neck and unbuttons his thick coat,  he bends down a little bit to scan his eyes over the array of brightly coloured cakes, cupcakes and a large variety of different pastries.


The shop is warm and cozy despite the strong rain thundering down outside. The pink feature wall behind the counter stands out like a sore thumb, but it oddly suits the aesthetic of the shop. The soft, barely audible Christmas music makes the shop have a homely feel, a Christmas tree stands in the back corner covered with bright, flashing lights. A few booths in the corner of the shop are taken up by students with their faces buried in books, with a few typing away on their laptops, cups of coffee and other hot drinks held tightly between frostbitten fingers. An older looking woman behind the counter takes an order, her smile lights up her eyes. Liam knows a hard worked mother when he sees one, behind her happy exterior is a tired lady who just needs a rest. A customer tuts impatiently at the back of the line and the sound of an oven timer going off fills the air.


Every few seconds the door opens with a new customer, the bell above the door chimes as a few people walk in the escape the cold air, a large gust of cold wind sweeps around the room before the door slowly closes. Liams sighs and puts his scarf back on, tucking it up over his nose. He stands up to look at the price list that hangs on the wall behind the counter, he mentally calculates the price of the cake and decoration, before ducking back down to choose a cake.


“Dude, I really don’t care what you get me. You could legit get me a cake that says happy birthday bitch boy and I’d still be happy,” Mason laughs. Liam rolls his eyes but smiles when he hears Corey laugh in the background of the call. He stands up from when he was bent over looking at the display cases, an idea pops into his head.


“Okay well, I have an idea, so I’ll see you at eight. Bye bitch boy,” Liam snickers, his words muffled by the scarf over his mouth, he ends the call and walks to stands in line, the man in front of him types away on his phone. The door opens and someone walks behind him and enters the door leading to the back room, a few seconds a figure walks behind the counter and the lady behind the counter pats the person on the shoulder. Liam can’t get a good look at the person, who he assumes is a guy, because of the people splayed out in front of the counter, the only visible part of the person is their shoulders.


While he waits, he opens his phone and scrolls through a few websites, he adds a few items to his cart that he thinks his mom might like for Christmas. He rehearses his words in his head so he doesn’t mess up and make a fool of himself. After a little while the line dies down and there is just one more person in front of him, he turns off his phone and puts it into his pocket. The man in front of him pays for his cake and walks out of the shop.


Liam is a little taken back at the boy behind the counter, he steps forward after remembering there is a growing line behind him. All the pre-rehearsed words that were floating around in his head disappear once he got a look at the beautiful boy. The boy in front of him smiles, his nose crinkles up slightly which is red from the coldness outside, he has the arms of his soft green sweater pulled over his hands, his brown hair swept up with a few strands spilling onto his forehead. Liam looks down and notices the name badge pinned to the boy's sweater. The name Theo is written in messy handwriting.


“What can I get you today?” Theo asks, and Liam thinks he has fallen in love with the boy's voice. He clears his throat, a dry throat because of someone has never happened before to Liam. Theo runs his hand through his hair as he waits for Liam to say something.


“Hi,” he manages to say, his voice cracks and leaves him blushing red as the boy in front of him smiles softly. They stare at each other for what seems like hours, but realistically it could have only been a few seconds. Someone behind Liam clears their throat which snaps Liam out of his dreamy state. He pulls his scarf away from his mouth and tucks it under his chin.


“Hello! I’m buying my best friend a cake for their birthday and I want it to be the dumbest thing they have ever seen, can you help me?” he rushes out, his words barely audible, he closes his eyes and sighs.


“Can you please repeat that?” Theo asks with a laugh. Liam opens his eyes and blushes even harder, the words he had practised now coming back into his head.


“Sorry about that,” Liam says with a blush which is now much more visible,” can I please get a caramel mud cake, I would also like to request some words to be put onto it.”  Theo nods his head and pressed some buttons on the register before turning to his left and grabbing a notepad and pen.


“What are the words you would like put onto the cake?” Theo asks. Liam blushes as he realizes the words he has to say to Theo. He shakes his head and laughs slightly, Theo looks up at him with raised eyebrows.


“Okay, so they are a bit expicts. Can the cake say, you’re always fucking things up, but happy birthday?” Liam asks, Theo pauses, he chuckles but nods his head and writes the words down on a sheet of paper.


“Is there any colour you would like the words in and when does this need to be done by?” Theo asks softly. Liam thinks about it for a second and hums before nodding his head.


“Can they be in a rainbow?” Liam asks, “and could It possibly be done by today?” Theo nods his head and sharply inhales through his teeth. Liam is about to say something, but Theo holds out his finger and pulls out a large book which he flips through.


“You’re very lucky, we have one last order spot available for today,” Theo says with a smile. Liam sighs happily and hands over his money, the amount which is displayed on the register.


“Can I get a name and number for your order so we can call you when it's ready?” Theo asks. He passes the notebook to Liam and Liam writes down his name and number before sliding the notepad back.


“I’ll see you soon Liam,” Theo says softly. Liam shivers and not because of the cold. He buttons up his coat, pulls his scarf back up over his nose and walks outside into the cold. The rain has stopped a while ago, but the cars driving past splash up water that lays the puddles. Liam jogs to his car slowly as not to slip over on the wet sidewalk, small puddles of water rippled from the few drops of water that fall from the roofs of shops and cafes that line the highway.


The sun reappears from behind the clouds just as Liam unlocks his car, the air still cold enough that his breath comes out in a white puff. He sits down in the driver's seat and turns on the ignition, the heater clicks on and a few seconds later the warm air starts to circulate around the car. The sun disappears behind the clouds and the rain continues, the pitter patter of the rain against the windshield is a soft background noise for Liam, he pulls out his phone and continues his online shopping.


In his peripheral vision he sees a figure leaning against a brick wall next to a back alley, Liam turns his head and peers through the rain. The dark green sweater the figure wears pulls his attention, it looks familiar and it tugs at the back of his mind. The figure looks to pulls something out of their pocket and put it to their mouth. He opens the door and takes in the figure.


Liam always had a thing for people watching, when he was younger and his parents were fighting he would sneak out for a few hours, just sitting on a bench in the local park. People walk past and didn’t pay him any mind, a few people would smile and say hello but other than that it was quiet. Businessmen and women would rush past grumbling into their phone, a coffee in one hand and a briefcase tucked underneath their armpit. Moms would wander past pushing a stroller with a whaling baby, they would sometimes collapse down next to Liam on the bench, he would swear that they would fall asleep for a few seconds before their child begins to cry again.


The rain comes down in sheets and makes it hard to see but Liam tries to observe the figure until the rains gets heavy enough to the point when he can’t see.  Puts his phone back into his pocket and gets out of the car, the door closes loudly behind him, the figure looks up. Liam’s feet splash in the puddles as he makes his way towards the person who he soon discovers is Theo.


Liam smiles at Theo as he leans against the wall beside Theo. Theo smiles around the non-lit cigarette in his mouth, he digs through his pocket and pulls out a lighter, he holds his hand in front of the cigarette and strikes the lighter a few times before it comes to life, a flame blowing in the wind. The smoke blows with the wind and evaporates into nothing in a few mere seconds, the cold wind nips at Liam’s fingertips, he turns to look at Theo. The boy shivers while taking a draw of his smoke and tries to cover his hands with the sleeves of his sweater.


“Hi,” Theo says, his teeth chattering a little bit as he takes a draw of his cigarette, he inhales and then blows the smoke out, the wind carries it up and it disappears, blending into the grey storm clouds.


“Hey,” Liam says, a car drives past and splashes water at their feet. Theo shakes his leg and water droplets flick everywhere, one somehow getting on Liam's face, he wipes the water away with the back of his hand as Theo snickers slightly.


Theo visible shivers again as a strong gust of wind blows through again, a couple more cars drive past and he groans as more water gets all over them.


“Do you want to get in my car?” Liam blurts out in a rush, he hopes that understands what he just said. Theo doesn’t speak for a few seconds but he hums and blows some smoke out of his mouth. He takes the cigarette out of his mouth and offers it to Liam who shakes his head, Theo stares straight ahead. Liam stares at the side of the boys face, the dark circles under his eyes stand out against the pale skin of his face. The sides of his mouth quirk as if he is trying to fight off a smile.


“Sure,” Theo says, he blows out the rest of the smoke and presses the half-smoked cigarette into the brick wall next to his thigh. Liam pushes himself off the wall and quickly walks back to the car, the rain comes down on his head as he opens the door to his car. When he gets into the car the passenger side door opens and Theo ducks his head down to get into the car.


“You’re not gonna like murder me right?” Theo asks sceptically, Liam laughs lightly and turns to look at Theo with doesn’t smile or laugh. Liam shuffles in his seat to face Theo and looks right into the boy's eyes.


“Do I really look like the person who would kill you?” Liam asks with a small smile, Theo’s lips quirk again but he clears his throat and shrugs his shoulders. Theo’s phone rings in his pocket and he pulls it out, he slides up on the screen silencing the phone.


“Well Ted Bundy was said to be the most charming serial killer and women thought he was hot,” Theo says as he puts the phone back into the pocket. Liam ducks his head and smiles slightly.


“Did you just call me charming and hot?” Liam asks, a blush creeping up his neck. Theo laughs and shakes his head. The car's windows becoming hard to see out of because the rain is fogging up the windows, Liam turns on the car and switches the windscreen wipers.


“Was that the only thing you took from what I said because I essentially called you Ted Bundy which isn’t a good thing. But yes, you are hot and charming,” Theo laughs as Liam turns completely red.


“Well as fun as this was, I have to get back to work,” Theo says, popping open the door and jumping out, the seat belt rattles against the door as the strong wind pushes it closed. Liam watches Theo duck his head and walk back towards the shop. He opens his door, jumps out of the car, the door catches on his coat as he tries to close it in a hurry. As he takes a deep breath and fixes himself and door, Theo turns back to look at him.


Once Liam locks the car, Theo is back in the shop. Liam walks back to the shop slowly, trying to avoid stepping in puddles, he opens the door and steps back into the cozy atmosphere. Theo is standing in the doorway to the back room, a little smile on his face as he looks at the front door, eyes catching Liam’s.


Theo makes a come here motion before disappearing behind a large, wooden, pink painted door. Liam looks at the older lady behind the counter, she smiles at him and nods her head towards the back room. He ducks his head and walks to the pink door, taking a second to breathe before pushing it open and walking into the cold back room.

Chapter Text

Liam didn't know what he was expecting, but this wasn't it. A dark, cold room that smells of burnt dough and cake frosting is definitely not what he expected. Papers from a table in the corner fall off the edge and twirl around on the floor as a harsh breeze blows through the room from the open window. The cafe noise buzzes through him and reminds him he is still standing with one foot in the cafe. People talking, cups clinking and the coffee machine rattles through him.

 

The door feels heavy against his hand so he takes another step into the room and the door closes behind him closes with a soft groan from the hinges as his hand falls limp at his side. All the noise from the shop suddenly stops, like they cease to exist. It feels like stepping into a different world, one where the bright pink painted walls are replaced with chipped and fading pink walls, and each step on the tiled floor causes an echo to bounces off the walls.

 

Theo clears his throat and Liam slowly turns to face him. Liam opens and closes his mouth a few times as he tries to find the words to describe how he feels. It's nothing he has ever felt before, he doesn't even know if what he is feeling is his own, the emotions are so distant he has to believe it's something from deep in his own subconscious. The backroom emits such a deep coldness Liam swears he can feel it in his bones.

 

“I know what you're feeling,” Theo says quietly, the wind seems to snatch up his words and keep them as it's own. A dog barks in the distance and Liam is broken from his trance, he walks forward and leans on one of the counters next to Theo.

 

“It feels like another world in here, I don't know how to feel or if what one feeling is actually my own,” Liam says softly, trying to ignore the need to whisper.

 

“When I first started working here, I never came back here, I always took my break outside. No one likes to admit this room makes them feel weird,” Theo admits. One of the oven timers beeps and Theo rushes around, pulling an apron over this head and tying it around his waist, he grabs some oven mitts and pulls them on. He turns off the alarm and pulls out the numerous cakes, cupcakes in a variety of colours and places them on multi-level cooling racks.

 

“Do you want me to go while you work?” Liam asks, ready to walk out the door. Theo turns to the boy and shakes his head no before opening a large fridge and pulling out a few piping bags of frosting, he places them on a metal workbench next to a few knives and a few decorations tools. Theo crouches down and pulls out a box of gloves from under the bench and pulls them on.

 

“You're welcome to stay, it'll be nice to have someone to talk to. I've gotta wait for these to cool down,” Theo says as he points to the cooling rack, “but I've got a few cooled cakes I need to decorate.”

 

He takes a large rectangle cake pan and places it on the workbench before popping out the cake, Liam takes this as an opportunity to look around more, he smiles as Theo starts to hum slightly, a cheery Christmas tune doesn’t seem to suit Theo’s mood or general anything about him but that's what he hums in the back of his throat. A few minutes pass by and Liam walks back to Theo after he has finished looking around. A hidden door opens and Liam peers his head to see through the door, he makes eye contact with a boy who stands in front of a coffee machine, the boy smiles at him and then turns back to hand coffee to someone.

 

“Can I ask you a question?” Liam asks, Theo hums out a yes distractedly as he frosts the cake, Liam’s quiet for a few seconds as he watches Theo frost a blue and yellow flower into the cake. Theo's hands stop moving and he looks at Liam with raised eyebrows as he waits for the other boy to ask the question.

 

“How did you start working here?” Liam asks, Theo turns back to his work and clears his throat, his hands starting to move in a flurry of motion and a few multicoloured flowers appear before his eyes, lines and fancy written words decorate the border of the cake, Theo tilts his head in thought and places some more little decorative swirls and dots, he nods his head before turning his attention to the next cake in line.

 

“You don’t look like the type of person to be working in a pink cake shop,” Liam says, he leans against one of the workbenches, it creaks and moves slightly, he flinches and stands back up straight. Theo laughs under his breath and tries to cover it up with a cough.

 

“Well,” Theo starts, putting down the piping bag and leans his hip against the bench. “You see the lady taking orders and the other guy making the coffees?” Theo asks, pointing to the open door which leads behind the counter. Liam nods as he remembers the brown-haired woman behind the counter.

 

“That’s Melissa and Scott, they are my family,” Theo says with a small smile, “well not by blood but legally, Melissa owns this shop so we both work here, I live with them so this is my way of chipping in I guess.”

 

Liam nods his head, he feels tempted to ask Theo about his real family but something in his head shouts at him not to, so he shuts his mouth. Theo looks at him weirdly before turning back to his work and picking up the piping bag.

 

“Can I ask you a question now?” Theo asks as he works, Liam hums and nods.

 

“You don't seem like the type of person to be buying a cake at eleven in the morning, so what are you doing here?” he asks. Liam laughs at the slight absurdity that the question holds.

 

“Well, my best friend Mason's birthday is tomorrow and his boyfriend refused to go get a cake so it was my job. We are trying to get everyone together before school starts back,” Liam says with a smile, a few fond memories flash through his mind.

 

“School?” Theo asks, “you don't look like you'd still be in high school so I'm gonna guess you're a college freshman or sophomore.” Liam laughs and shakes his head.

 

“Nope, still in high school, a senior, but still in high school,” he says with a smile as. Theo looks at him with raised eyebrows.

 

“I would never have guessed,” Theo says with an air of shock to his voice, Liam laughs and pulls his phone out of his pocket when it rings.

 

“Speak of the devil,” Liam says, he turns the phone around and shows Theo the phones call screen, the name Mason with two love heart emoji flash across the screen.

 

Liam presses answer and holds the phone up to his ear and immediately pulls it away as a screaming voice comes from Mason side of the call. The voice stops screaming and Liam takes a second before hold the phone up to his ear again with a wince.

 

“Who the fuck was that?” Liam asks as soon the call quiets down, a loud laugh feminine laugh comes from Mason's side of the call again and Liam smiles as he identifies it as Kira’s laugh.

 

“Hey kid,” He hears Kira shout loudly from a distance, Theo hears it too and smiles as he turns back to his work, he puts the current cake his working on to the side and picks up one of the cooled cakes on the rack, intending this cake to be for Liam.

 

“Hey K,” Liam says with a smile, he taps Theo on the shoulder and points to the door, Theo nods his head. Liam turns on his heel and walks out of the back room while listening to someone on the other end of the phone, he laughs loudly and Theo finds himself smiling at the slowly closing door.

 

For a few seconds, the dark room seemed to have light, Theo could feel the light shifting around in his ribcage before tucking itself next to his heart. 

Chapter Text

A little while later the door opens again and Liam walks back in with a sheepish grin, clutching a takeaway cup of coffee between his hands.

 

“What was that all about?” Theo asks with a smile. Liam chuckles as he lifts the cup to his mouth and takes a sip.

 

“My friends are playing a game of Monopoly and my friend Allison is a prolific cheater so they needed me to settle the dispute,” Liam says with an eye roll and a smile.

 

“It sounded like one hundred people talking at once,” Theo laughs, Liam huffs and nods his head in agreement.

 

“There was literally just four of them but they somehow are able to make it sound like a hundred people talking at once,” Liam laughs and takes another sip.

 

“What did you get?” Theo asks as he points to the cup Liam holds in his hands.

 

“Oh, I don't really know, the guy behind the counter, I forgot his name.”

 

“Scott,” Theo supplies. Liam nods.

 

“Yeah Scott, he was practising designs on top of the coffees with foam so he gave me this one free of charge,” he says. Theo hums and nods his head.

 

“Anyway,” Theo says, “while you were on the phone, I finished your cake.” He turns around and pulls forward a medium white box, he flips the top open and Liam at the amazing but ridiculous cake. The rainbow words are placed in the centre of the cake with a bunch of obnoxious frosting swirls surrounding them.

 

“Do you like it?” Theo asks, suddenly very nervous. Liam laughs and nods his head, Theo lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding in, he clenches his shaking hands at his side and stuffs them into the pockets in his apron.

 

“I'm very glad,” he says with a wide smile, Liam looks up at him and smiles.

 

“What time does your shift end?” Liam asks, Theo hums and looks at the small clock on the oven.

 

“My shift finishes in half an hour,” he says, the sound of shattering glass drifts through the crack in the door, a few seconds later Scott walks into the back room.

 

“Fucking high school kids,” he says to them, he grabs a broom, a dustpan and a garbage bag before walking back through the door grumbling. Theo and Liam both laugh.

 

“Do you want a ride home?” Liam asks, Theo hums and walks over to the clear counter behind him, he picks up a piece of paper and drags his finger down it.

 

“Melissa doesn't finish until five and Scott's staying back to help out, so that would be great, thank you,” Theo says as he puts the sheet of paper back down. Liam smiles at him and leans against the counter.

 

“So is it just you, Melissa and Scott that work here?” Liam asks, he turns to the paper and reads a few of the names in his head.

 

“No, we have a few other people who work here, but because it's near Christmas most of the people who work here are on their Christmas break so we had to pick up a lot more shifts. Melissa owns the shop so she's here all the time,” Theo says.

 

They chat about what type of jobs Theo does at the shop as he cleans up his workbench. By the time he's done his shift is up. As they walk out of the back room Scott hands them both hot drinks, he takes Liam's empty coffee cup and throws it in the bin under the counter before winking at Theo who just rolls his eyes. Liam chuckles and grabs the cup Scott offers, his cake carefully held in his hand.

 

“I'll see you later at home, don't stay out too late,” Scott shouts at Theo's back as he leaves the shop. Theo and Liam walk side by side on their way back to Liam's car, taking sips of their drinks.

 

“What did you get this time?” Theo asks, they reach Liam's car and he pulls his keys out of his pocket and unlocks the car, he places the cake in the back seat before getting into the driver's seat and Theo gets into the passenger seat. The heater switches on as soon as Liam puts his keys on the ignition.

 

“I got hot chocolate,” Liam says with a smile, “what about you?”

 

“I just got tea,” he says. Liam nods his head and pulls the car out of the park.

 

“So where am I taking you?” Liam asks, he drives the car down the main street, puddles splashing up and wetting the windscreen, he turns on the windshield wipers.

 

“forty-two Jackson Avenue,” Theo says, he lifts his hips and pulls out his phone from his back pocket.

 

“You're gonna need to give me directions because I have no idea where that is,” Liam says with a laugh, Theo nods and laughs as well.

 

“It's down the other side of town, near the sheriff's station,” Theo says.

 

“Is it okay if I turn on the radio?” Theo asks as Liam turns left, he nods his head.

 

Liam goes to turn the heat up at the same time Theo goes to turn on the radio, their pinkies touch briefly before Liam pulls his hand back. He tries to convince himself that the fireworks on this stomach and the tingle in his hand is just from the nerves of driving among the fog and frost from the early rain that decided to stick around.

 

The car ride is silent expect from the radio which plays Christmas music on a loop, the radio hosts voices is too loud but too soft all at once. A few cars rush past on the old empty back roads which Theo told him to take. Mist from the water that the cars splash up settle on the windows and then get wiped away when Liam turns on the windshield wipers again. The trees from the preserve line the side of the road, they sway in the wind.

 

“I forgot to ask before, but who was it that screamed as soon as you picked up the phone?” Theo asks softly, the need to whisper returns.

 

“It was my friend Lydia, she was yelling at Allison who cheated in the game they were playing,” Liam says with a laugh, Theo laughs too and shakes his head.

 

“Do you wanna meet my friends?” Liam asks with a smile, Theo thinks about it for a few seconds before shaking his head.

 

“Maybe another time, I've got some art pieces to work on,” Theo says. They don't talk much after that.

 

Liam lets his eyes unfocus, for a moment the street lights blur and the radio plays a soft guitar-based song, a rough voice song out a few lines and Theo hums along to the song. Liam lets his eyes refocus and smiles at the boy in his passenger seat.

 

“So I never got to ask but do you go to school?” Liam asks. Theo's hands tap out the beat of the song playing on the radio.

 

“Yeah, on my days off I go to art classes at the community,” Theo says quietly, Liam turns to him and smiles before turning back and looking at the road.

 

“Left here?” Liam asks, Theo hums out a yes and smiles, he turns left and pulls the car into a driveway that Theo points out to him. He stops the car and Theo unclips his seat belt before getting out of the car and shutting the door. Liam rolls down the window and shouts to Theo.

 

“Hey, Theo?”

 

He turns back and walks towards the car, he peers through the window and smiles at Liam.

 

“Can I get your number?” he asks wearily. Liam has never been known to be a man who takes people on dates, but deep down he feels a connection with Theo he has never felt with anyone.

 

“Sure,” Theo says with a smile, Liam hands Theo his phone, he puts his number in Liam phone and hands it back to him with a smile.

 

“I'll see you later cutie,” Theo says with a wink, he turns on his heel and walks up to the front door before unlocking and walking inside.

Chapter Text

Liam knew the moment he texted Mason about Theo he would regret it, he could just hear Mason telling the group about it from all the way across town. He drives through town after dropping Theo off, he stops at some more shop and picks up a few things for Mason’s party. He stops at McDonald's and gets food for the girls.

 

“So who is the guy you’re into,” Kira says as soon as Liam walks into the house, he nearly drops his keys and spins around so fast he has to stand still for a second and wait for his eyes to stop spinning. He sighs and puts down a bag of food, getting ready to get forced to tell Kira about this mystery man that Mason told her about.

 

“Liams into someone?” he hears Allison scream from the back of the house, a few seconds later a whirl of dark brown hair is bolting around the corner. Allison and Kira stand in front of him with their hands on their hips and with eyebrows raised.

 

“Fucking hell,” he sighs, he toes off his shoes and picks up the bag of food hoping it will temporarily distract them, he shakes it and the girls eyes shift to the bag before Allison practically pounces on him for the bag. He makes an escape into the kitchen but sighs when he hears footsteps approaching.

 

“Are you tell me or not?” Allison asks while shoving a handful of fries in her house, she leans against the door frame while Liam empties the shopping bag onto the counter and starts putting the groceries and things he bought for Mason's party away.

 

“His name is Theo, he works at the cake shop and no we haven’t had sex, we just met,” Liam says, answer all the questions before Allison has the chance to asks them, she rolls her eyes but nods her head slightly.

 

“Did you get his number?” Kira shouts from the living room where she is mostly shoving her face full of the food Liam bought. He huffs but nods his head, Allison yells out an affirmative and Kira laughs.

 

“What’s he like?” Kira asks, she stands behind Allison and puts her hands around her girlfriend's waist, Liam smiles at them and rolls his eyes.

 

“He’s really nice and funny, has a very bad boy-esque vibe to him, he smokes and the guy he works with gave me free drinks,” Liam gushes, the girls look at him happily and laugh.

 

“So are you gonna date him?” Allison asks seriously, Liam turns to her about to launch into this whole speech about how he does not date and that relationship are a way of stopping you from pursuing a career and just a way to tie you down. Allison walks forward just as he opens his mouth and puts her hand over his mouth, he groans and licks the inside of her palm, she takes her hand off and rolls her eyes.

 

“Just hear me out okay?”

 

Liam rolls his eyes but nods for her to continue.

 

“What's the harm? Really? Sure your last couple of relationship didn’t go well, it’s not your fault, you weren’t over Hayden. You obviously find this guy interesting so what's the harm in asking him out? Invite him to Mason’s party tomorrow,” Allison says, Liam sighs and closes his eyes.

 

Allison was right, his last few relationships ended badly. He got in relationships with people he didn’t have any connection with, he wanted to make Hayden jealous for cheating on him, after a while he broke up with them. People stopped asking him out because everyone found out that all he wanted was to make her jealous, he was heartbroken, heartbreaker and he knows it.

 

“I don’t even know if he likes guys,” Liam says quietly, he opens his eyes and looks at the girls, they give him that sympathy look and Kira sighs, still holding onto her girlfriend's waist.

 

“That's just a risk you need to take, you know that people who never take risks go nowhere in life Li,” Kira says, her head peeking over Allison as the taller girl nods in agreement.

 

“I will text him and ask him later,” Liam says, he pulls Mason’s cake out of the bag and puts it on the counter.

 

“Is that the cake?” Kira asks, Liam nods and opens the box, she unwraps herself from around Allison and joins Liam at the counter. She laughs when she sees the cake, Allison walks to stands on the other side of the counter and rolls her eyes but chuckles when she sees the cake.

 

“I don’t know if he’s going to love it or murder you,” Kira says with a laugh, they hear someone coming down the stairs and quickly shut the lid to the cake box. Mason comes into the kitchen and squints suspiciously at them.

 

“Why do all three of you look sketchy?” He asks, he peers his head to the side and notices the cake box.

 

“Oh is that my cake?”

 

“Yes, but you aren’t allowed to see it until tomorrow,” Liam says, he grabs the box and puts it in the back of the fridge, fully knowing that while everyone is asleep Mason will sneak down and look at it.

 

After putting everything away they make their way to the living room to put on a movie, Corey joins them halfway through and cuddles next to Mason on the loveseat while Allison and Kira cuddle on the sofa. After a few movies and the sun has set, they hear the front door unlock and someone walks into the house.

 

“Hello?” Lydia calls out, they all shout out so she can hear them, she enters the living room and weaves her way through giving hugs and kisses to everyone before settling down next to Liam on the floor. She leans against him and puts her head on his shoulder.

 

“How was work?” Liam asks her, she groans as she shifts to sit and looks at him.

 

“That bad huh?” Liam asks with a laugh, Lydia groans again and laughs.

 

“I seriously wonder why I’ve put up with working at that fucking shitty diner for so long,” she says, Liam shrugs and leans forward to press their foreheads together, when he pulls back Lydia smiles at him and gets up to go get changed out of her work uniform. After a few episodes and a few yelling matches about what to watch next, they call for pizza. While they wait Liam pulls out this phone and texts Theo about the party.

 

Sent from Liam Dunbar at 9:20 pm: Hey Theo, I’ve told my friends about you and they suggested that I ask you to come to Mason’s party tomorrow. So I was wondering if you wanted to come?

 

Sent from Theo Raeken at 9:22 pm: Hey Liam, I’d love to come. What time is it?

 

Sent from Liam Dunbar at 9:25 pm: Great!! It starts at 7 pm and ends whenever people decide to leave, I can pick you up from your place if you’d like? I can be there at 6 and you can come around before everyone arrives and met my friends.

 

Sent from Theo Raeken at 9:27 pm: That would be great Liam, thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow at 6 :)

 

“Hey guys, Just letting you know Theo is coming to the party tomorrow night,” Liam says with a mouth full of pizza. Mason, Kira and Allison nod their heads and smile while Corey and Lydia look at him confused.

 

“Whose Theo?” Lydia asks. before Liam can answer her question, Kira bursts into full reality TV show host voice.

 

“On a cold, rainy, morning, one man must make a journey to get a cake. But instead, he finds his heart aching for a cold, cynical bad-boy who smokes. Will they or won’t they? Is the question at hand. Find out next week on “this goddamn bitch needs a fucking love life.”

 

Liam glares at her but can’t hold it for long before laughing along with everyone else, once they all catch their breaths Lydia turns to him with her serious face.

 

“Seriously though, who is Theo?” she asks. Everyone turns back to watch the movie playing on the TV, they pick up their food and move to the kitchen, they sit down opposite each other at the dining table.

 

“He’s a guy I met this morning while getting Mason’s cake, I told Mason about him and obviously Mason told Corey, who told Allison, who told Kira and now I’m telling you,” Liam says after taking a bit of pizza.

 

“Liam…” Lydia drags out in that tone.

 

“I know, I know. But I think I’m ready to start dating again, Theo seems like a really nice guy,” Liam says, Lydia takes a moment to consider this and hums.

 

“Okay, but only if you’re completely sure. Tomorrow when I met him, I’m gonna tell him that if he hurts you I’ll cut his dick off and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine,” she says with an innocent smile. Liam wraps her in a hug and they walk back to the living room, they sit down on the floor again and laugh at whatever the group has decided to put on.



Chapter Text

The rain returns the next day, some might argue that the rain makes the town of Beacon Hills look drab and boring, that it makes everything look lifeless and makes people lazy, but on that day Liam couldn’t feel more alive or electric as if someone was to touch him, they might get zapped.

 

“Cake, check, decorations, check,” Lydia reads off her phone as she looks around the room. Liam places a banner over the TV and turns down the music that blasts in the background before making his way to the kitchen. He pulls his phone out of his pocket when it buzzes and laughs at the message on the screen.

 

“Is that the Theo kid you were talking about yesterday?” Lydia says with a soft smile, Liam looks up at her and nods his head.

 

“What else do we have to get?” he asks a few minutes later after putting down his phone. Once Lydia pulls down some bowls and cups she looks back at her phone and her eyes scan the list.

 

“We need the disco lights and the alcohol picked up that Allison's dad bought for us,” Lydia says, Liam nods his head and puts a reminder in his phone for later. Allison and Kira come bounding down the stairs hand-in-hand, they come into the kitchen.

 

“Dad just texted me and he said that he’s ready for someone to come and pick up the booze,” Allison says as she gets a bottle of water out of the fridge and hands it to Kira. Lydia looks to Liam who pulls out his phone and checks the time.

 

“It’s about five fifteen so I’ll grab it on my way to get Theo and I’ll also grab the disco lights on the way back,” Liam says as he makes his way through the house. He grabs his keys and says goodbye to the girls, he yells to Mason and Corey upstairs that he’ll back in about forty minutes.

 

He stops at Allison’s dad’s place and grabs the alcohol, he stops at the supermarket to get more food and pulls up at Theo’s place. He knocks on the front door and straightens his collar. The boy Scott from the cafe opens the door and welcomes him, he opens the door wider for Liam and he steps inside the house.

 

“Hey,” Theo says as he comes down from upstairs. Liam always hated those scenes in teen movies where the girl would come down from the stairs in a beautiful dress and the guy would be standing there trading awkward small talk with the girl's dad, he turns to her and he’d say “wow,” but Liam gets it now as he stares at Theo.

 

“Woah,” Liam says, his inner self rolls its eyes at them. Theo smiles at him, his blush creeping up his neck and claiming permanent residency on his cheeks. Melissa comes to join them from the kitchen, she introduces herself to Liam and shakes his hand before turning to Theo.

 

“Go have fun tonight,” she says with a wink directed at Liam, he smiles back at her and lowers his head to stifle this laughter. Theo looks at him and grins, Scott sighs and pushes Theo out of the way as he makes his way up the stairs, a door slams shut and Melissa laughs.

 

“I’ll be back before curfew,” Theo says with a smile, Melissa shakes her head and laughs.

 

“No, no, don’t worry about curfew tonight. You don't have work tomorrow, so just shoot me a text if you're staying the night,” she says, her tone slight altered as if she's trying to insinuate something. Liam blushes a deep red again, he looks at Theo who has a slight grimace on his face. The hope in Liam’s heart dies a little bit at the look on Theo’s face.

 

“Oh right sorry,” Melissa says as she pats Theo on the shoulder. They say goodbye, yell out a goodbye to Scott. Liam stops to pick up the disco lights, Theo helps him haul it into the back of his car, the bottles of beer, vodka and other alcohol clinks. They get back into the car and the heater clicks on.

 

“So I should probably tell you about my friends, who're dating who and things to avoid conversing about,” Liam says as he turns left and stops at a red light.

 

“So there's Mason, Corey, Allison, Kira and Lydia. Allison lives in between two houses; our house and her dad's house, she is dating Kira who lives at the house full time. Mason and Corey are dating, as you already know,” Theo nods his head along and fiddles with the shredding car seat cover that pokes out between his thighs.

 

“Corey’s parents kicked him out when they found out he was gay, so Mason’s parents, who are extremely fucking rich, bought them a house and we all moved in. Lydia had her own apartment with her ex-boyfriend but as you can guess, they broke up and she's moved into the house with us,” Liam says, he pulls into the driveway. He stops the car and turns to Theo, he smiles at the boy.

 

“So you guys all live in this house?” Theo asks, shocked. Liam nods his head and gets out of the car, he practically runs to open the door for Theo who laughs as Liam collides with the open door.

 

“I don’t know how messy and busy the house will be, so get ready to walk into a busy and messy ass house,” Liam laughs, someone turns the music up inside and it seems to shake the windows. Liam unlocks the door and opens it for Theo, he walks inside and Theo follows him.

 

“I’m here!” Liam shouts as loud as he can, Kira pokes her head out of the living room and comes racing at them, she stops short and holds out her hand for Theo to shake.

 

“Hi, I’m Kira,” she says to Theo, they shake hands and Liam sighs as he hears a few sets of footsteps coming down the stairs. Allison is the second one to introduce herself to Theo, then Corey and Mason.

“Where’s Lydia?” Liam asks, Lydia comes out from the kitchen and smiles at them.

 

“You must be Theo, I’m Lydia,” she says, Mason grabs the speakers remote and turns down the music, after everyone talks and gets to know each other they pair off, Liam takes Theo on a tour of the house. The house is flooded with people when they come back from upstairs, the music blasts loudly and people laugh. The disco lights that Mason brought in are hung up from the railing of the upstairs.

 

“Do you want something to drink?” Liam yells over the music, Theo nods his head. Liam grabs his hand and pushes his way through the crowd, time seems to slow in Liam’s mind, he looks back at Theo who smiles at him, the feeling of their palms pressed together, sends pleasurable electric shocks up his arm. He wants to blame it on the party but his mind screams at him that maybe, just maybe it has something to do with the smiling boy who holds his hand tightly as they shoulder through the crowd.

 

“What do you want to drink?” Liam asks, Theo hums as his eyes scan over the array of drinks on the table, vodka, beer, sodas and a few mixers for the alcohol.

 

“How about some vodka and Fanta,” Theo says, he picks up the bottles and a plastic red cup, he pours his drink, takes a sip and inhales sharply. Liam grabs his chosen drinks and grabs a few plastic shot glasses, he fills them with vodka. They push their way back through the crowd towards the group.

 

“I’ve got shots,” Liam yells, he hands them out and on the count of three they all tips their heads back and swallow the sharp liquid. Liam's throat burns as the vodka goes down, Theo smiles at him and takes a sip of his drink.

 

After a few drinks, they all sit around at a time and laugh at each other as they stumble their way onto the dancefloor and to the drinks table.

 

“Can I ask you a question?” Mason asks, he looks directly at Theo, how nods his head.

 

“Sure.”

 

“Are you gay?” Mason asks Corey hits his shoulder and groans. Theo and Liam laugh as they listen to the couple squabble.

 

“It's fine,” Theo laughs out, “and yeah, I’m gay.”

 

“Dammit,” Lydia mock sighs, everyone laughs. Allison grabs Kira’s hand and pulls her onto the dancefloor.

 

Theo grabs Liam's hand again and holds it softly, their fingers intertwined but loose, people at the table laugh at a joke but the only thing Liam can concentrate on is Theo’s thumb which is tracing patterns onto his palm. He can feel the alcohol take its effect and he can see it in the people around him. The music pumps around his ears and the beat rattles his brain.

 

“Do you want to dance?” Theo whispers into his ear, Liam can feel his breath on his neck, he shivers and nods his head. Theo leads him to the middle of the living room where people are dancing and grinding on each other, a couple are making out on the couch and Liam makes a mental note to burn the couch tomorrow.

 

Theo turns around his ass pushing against Liam’s front. His hand slipping back and running it through Liam’s hand, the boy behind him sneaks his hand around the front and splays it across his navel, his fingertips brushing against the zipper of Theo’s jeans. Theo sways his hips and Liam’s body lights up. After a few songs, they are dripping in sweat back with the group sipping stronger drinks than before. A pleasant buzz floats through him and he leans into Theo.

 

“Do you wanna go up to my room?” he whispers to Theo, the boys looks down at him and nods his head. They leave their drinks with the group and Theo follows Liam up to his room. Liam pushes open the door to his bedroom and closes it behind Theo, they sit down on the bed and they link their hands together again.

 

“Do you wanna have sex?” Liam asks bluntly, the alcohol in his system completely gets rid of his filter. Theo looks at him and nods his head slowly, he clears his throat and opens his mouth.

 

“Yes,” Theo says, his voice shaking slightly. Liam leans forward and connects their lips softly in a chaste kiss. Theo’s hand slips around Liam’s waist and pulls him closer.

 

Someone knocks on the bedroom door and Liam yells at them to get away before laying down and pulling Theo on top of him. Liam grinds up against Theo like they did while dancing. The boy on top of him shudders and his breathing starts to become heavy. Liam starts to kiss down his neck and his hands start to unbuckle Theo’s belt.

 

“Stop,” Theo breaths, he pushes himself up and sighs, Liam pulls himself up and sits next to Theo on the bed, they push themselves back and lean against the wall that the bed was pressed against.

 

“Are you okay? Did I do something wrong?” Liam asks. Theo shakes his head and breathes deeply for a few seconds, he fiddles with the edge of the quilt and rubs his temples with his hand.

 

“No, I’m sorry, I thought having alcohol in my system would help but it really didn’t,” Theo says. Liam looks at him confused and tilts his head.

 

“I’m asexual,” he says with a sigh, “I like you, Liam, even though we only met yesterday, but I thought that maybe I would be able to not feel uncomfortable with being aroused but I guess my body hates me and never wants to let me have sex.”

 

“Theo its okay, I like you too,” Liam smile at him, “we don’t have to do anything that you aren’t ready for or do anything that makes you uncomfortable. If you want, we just go on a date and see how it goes?”

 

Theo looks up at him and smiles.

 

“That would be great, thank you for understanding.”

 

Liam stands up and holds out a hand for Theo, he takes it and they go back downstairs to join Liam’s friend. Their hands linked and smiles wide.  

 

Chapter Text

“It’s been like a week and a half since the party and he still hasn’t messaged me or anything,” Liam huffs into the palm of his hand when Lydia asks him why he looks like someone killed his dog, Mason gives him that look, the one where Liam can’t quite decide if its a look coated in pity or a look that has a secret eye roll attached to it that he just hasn’t caught yet. The group is sat around the kitchen table eating dinner, the table quiets and looks at Liam like a sad puppy.

 

“Maybe he lost his phone,” Kira suggests, Allison gives a not very convincing nod with a sympathetic smile.

 

“Or he’s been busy with work,” Corey adds, “working at cake shop must take up a lot of his time.”  

 

Liam groans and lets his head fall onto the table with a loud bang followed with a drawn-out groan of pain. Lydia tuts and pats him softly on the shoulder, he groans again when he can practically feel the solace rolling off her in waves.

 

“Has he replied to any of your messages?” Mason asks, Liam lifts his head and looks at him confused, Lydia’s hand slips off his back, she looks at him with raised eyebrows.

 

“You have messaged him, right?” Lydia asks. Liam grimaces and looks down his palate which is still half full of food.

“Liam, for fuck sake, no wonder he hasn’t messaged you. He probably thinks you hate him,” Allison says, she reaches her arm across the table and softly thumps Liam on the forehead.

 

“I, uh should go message him, shouldn’t I?” Liam questions out loud. This time Mason rolls his eyes.

 

“Yes!” everyone yells at him. After he cleans off his plate and makes his way upstairs to his room, he pulls out his phone and sits down on his bed. He stares at the old messages between him and Theo, his fingers hover over the keyboard before huffing and turning off the phone.

 

“Have you texted him yet?” Mason asks as he stands at the door of Liam’s room.

 

“No, I don’t know what to say to him. Like hey sorry I didn’t text you, I thought you hated me because you think all I wanted from you was sex but that's not true, I like you and I wanna date you,” Liam rushes out, becoming scared that is actually what Theo thinks.

 

“Liam no, that's your anxiety brain playing into your fears. The last part of what you said was good about no just wanting sex and actually wanting to date is good, send him that,” Mason suggests. Liam nods a few times as he unlocks his phone and types in the message, his thumb hovers over the send button and he takes a deep breath before he presses it.

 

“Just sent it,” Liam says. Mason nods his head and walks out of the room, Liam throws his phone on his desk and goes back downstairs to help clean up. An hour and half an episode of Brooklyn nine nine with Kira later Liam comes back up to his room with a travel mug of coffee and a family sized bag of Doritos. He sits down on his bed and opens his laptop, pulls up Netflix and starts watching a new episode of Brooklyn nine nine.

 

Ironically, just as Jake and Amy kiss for the first time, his phone buzzes on his desk. His head shoots up and in an instance he is up and halfway across the room, picking up this phone. He doesn’t turn it on, his mind screams at him that it’s bad news, that Theo hates him. He shakes his head and tells his anxiety brain to shut up.

 

He turns on the phone and his eyes scan the message a couple of time before he runs out of his room and throws open the door to Mason and Corey's room.

 

“Listen to this!” Liam screams, “I like you too Liam, I told you at the party that I wanna go on a date with you to get to know each other and that still stands,” he reads from the phone, he looks up and smiles at the two boys that lay shirtless on top of each other.

 

“Liam, that's super great but we are kinda, how do I put this gently? Inside each other,” Corey yells at him, Liam rolls his eyes and huffs.

 

“You’re very wrong if you think I care about that, literally everyone in the house has seen and heard you two having sex at least once,” Liam says with an eye roll, but never letting the smile fall from his face.

 

“That’s not true at all,” Mason says.

 

“Yes it is,” all the girls yell from different spots in the house, Liam laughs and turns on his heel, closing the door as he makes his way back to his room. He shuts the door to his room and lays down on the bed with a smile on his face. He texts back Theo and smiles so large that it hurts his cheeks.

 

Sent from Liam at 9:22 pm: You have no idea how much that means to me Theo, I’m smiling so much right now, it’s crazy. Where did you wanna go on a date?

 

He sends the message and watches as the writing bubble pops up and disappears a few time, his phone buzzes with a new message from Lydia and he clicks on the notification.

 

Sent from Lydia at 9:25 pm: I heard you shout what Theo sent you and that’s really great Liam, but can you please stop smiling because you’re ruining my sad bitch hours, I can feel you being all happy and shit through the walls.

 

Liam frowns at his phone, tucks it into his pocket and gets up, he goes to Lydia’s room and knocks on the door.

 

“Yeah?” Lydia’s comes out muffled through the door. Liam opens the door and frowns at the sight before him. Lydia sits on the floor, hunched over and her back leaning against the bed, she looks up at him from her phone and wipes away a few tears that escape and run down her cheeks.

 

“Are you okay?” Liam asks, he points to the space on the floor next to her and she nods her head, he sits down and she leans her head on his shoulder.

 

“I just feel so stupid, it’s been eight months and he’s already moved, he bought a dog with her,” Lydia says with a watery laugh. Liam looks down and sees her scrolling through her ex’s Instagram feed.

 

“I haven’t been able to find someone new because I miss him so much and yet he bought a dog with the girl he’s seeing,” Lydia says, her voice breaks at the end and a few more tears escape her eyes.

 

“Let me guess, you feel angry, betrayed, sad but you still love him even though he left you without a reason,” Liam asks, he feels Lydia nod her head and sniff.

 

“I want him to hurt as he hurt me but at the same time, I love him beyond words. I should have known he was gonna hurt me.” Lydia sobs, Liam kisses the top of her head.

 

“You had no way of knowing this was going to happen. It’s not your fault and you know that deep down but you keep blaming yourself for this. Lydia, he was a bad person, he treated you like shit and only cared for you when he wanted something from you. He gave you a glimpse of love and then stole it,” Liam says as Lydia silently cries, her body shaking and cold.

 

They sit there for a while until Lydia cried herself to sleep, Liam lifts her up and tucks her into her bed before making his way to his room. He smiles at the messages Theo send him, they set up a date for the next weekend.

 

He goes around and turns off all the lights in the hall then falls into his bed where he lays there thinking about Lydia, the thought of Theo makes him smile, he tucks that thought into the back of his mind as he drifts off to sleep.

 

Chapter Text

“So, have you guys decided where to go on your date?” Allison asks. She pushes a trolley in front of her as they go down the aisle of the grocery store. Liam reads off a list and picks up a few things, throws them in the cart and crosses them off. One of the only house rules, besides ”heterosexuals, always wear protection cause we aren't having babies in this house,” is that every week two people have to go do a grocery shop, much to Allison and Liam's dismay, it's their responsibility today.

 

Before Lydia, Kira and Mason went off to work that went around the house and wrote down all the things they need. The list ranges from food, cleaning supplies and things for back to school.

 

“Yeah, we decided that we are gonna go to a restaurant in downtown Beacon county tonight, Theo was the one that suggested it. I think it was called Belle’s,” Liam says, he picks up a few more items and chucks them into the cart.

 

“‘I’ve been to Belle’s, I took Kira there on one of our date nights, it's a really good place with some great food. Really doesn’t seem like the type of place Theo would like though,” Allison says, she pulls out her phone and types something, a few seconds later she turns the phone around and shows Liam a picture of the restaurant, a large sign that says “Belle’s” hangs over a few booths in the photo, the lighting is neon purple and a retro arcade machine sits in the corner of the photo.

 

“It looks really cool, but yeah, you’re right, it doesn’t look like a place Theo would like,” Liam says with a laugh.

 

“That dude is full of surprises,” Allison says as she tucks her phone back into her pocket. They turn down a different aisle and Liam freezes in his spot when he hears a hauntingly familiar laugh that sends painfully cold chills through him.

 

“Hayden,” he whisper-yells, Allison's eyes bulge out of her head, she grabs Liam’s hand and swings the cart around to run the other direction before the she-devil herself finds them. They make it halfway down another aisle before he hears that sickly sweet that made in fall in the first place, calling his name. He sighs, pulls on a fake smile and turns around to face the girl who broke his heart.

 

“Hi, Hayden,” Liam says as if he hadn’t been trying to run away less than five seconds ago. Hayden smiles at him and turns her eyes towards Allison, who is glaring at Hayden and has her hands gripping the edge of the cart so hard her knuckles have turned white.

 

“How have you two been?” Hayden asks, Allison scoffs and Hayden’s smile falters but never falls off her face. She clears her throat as she waits for an answer from the two people in front of her.

 

“We’ve both been great Hayden, what about you?” Liam says as if he actually wants to know. Hayden smiles at them and launches into a whole story about the road trip her and her boyfriend went on over the last school break.

 

“Oh Liam, we need to go so you can get ready for your date tonight,” Allison interrupts loudly, the muscles in Hayden’s jaw twitches but she continues to smile at them.

 

“Well, good luck on your date tonight Liam, see you around,” she says, she turns on her heel and walks back down the aisle she came from.

 

“Want me to stab her in her in the face?” Allison asks and they finish up the shopping, Liam laughs but shakes his head.

 

“Nah, she’ll get what she deserves in the future,” he says with a sigh. They pay for their items and get home.

 

“So what time is your date?” Allison asks, she lifts up one of the bags and sets it on the counter. Liam opens the fridge and puts away the milk, eggs and butter.

 

“I told him I’d pick him up at five cause our reservation is at six, it’ll take half an hour to get into Beacon county and then another half hour to find the restaurant,” Liam says, he grabs a few bottles of soda, puts them in the fridge hen closes the door.

 

“Dude, you have it all planned out huh?” Allison says with a laugh, Liam rolls his eyes at her but nods his head.

 

“Of course I do, I want tonight to be special,” he says with a small smile. Corey comes down from upstairs and says hello then goes into the living room. They pack away all their shopping and go into the living room to wait for everyone to get home from work, they put on a movie as they wait. Mason is the first one to arrive home, he crashes on the sofa next to Corey, still in his work uniform. Lydia second, she greets everyone with a hug and a kiss on the cheek before going upstairs to get changed. Kira comes home last, she kisses Allison and gives everyone a hug. Liam checks the time and rushes upstairs to get ready for his date. When he comes back downstairs he receives a loud chorus of wolf-whistles in response. The moment he gets into the car he stalls, instead of nervous butterflies fluttering around this stomach, the butterflies violently into the sides and it makes bile in his throat. He starts the car and pulls out of the driveway even though he feels sick.

 

“Come on Liam, you can do this. It’s just a date, with a crazy hot guy who works at a fucking cake shop, what could go wrong?” Liam asks himself, he turns up the radio to drown out the negative thoughts that float around his brain. When he pulls up at Theos’ place, the boy is already waiting out the front for him, he smiles and hops up when he sees Liam’s car turn into the street.

 

“Hi,” Liam says softly as Theo gets into the car, once Theo buckles in he turns to face Liam with the softest smile on his face, Liam could confidently say that Theo’s smile would put Hayden’s to shame.

 

“Hi Liam,” Theo says and Liam melts. Before he can say something stupid and embarrass himself, he pulls the car out of the driveway and starts driving on the road to Beacon county.

 

“So, tell me about Belle’s?” Liam asks, Theo hums and taps his hands on this jean-clad thighs. The mist from the last couples of days rain sets over the trees and the sun is finally fully set.

 

“I use to go to Belle’s all the time with my sister Tara when we were younger. Our parents would fight a lot of the time so one night when they were fighting my sister and I snuck out of the house, we found this twenty-four-hour diner called Belle’s the feed was amazing and the staff treated us like family. So it became a thing for me and Tara to go there,” Theo says with a small smile on his face and a distant glaze over his eyes.

 

“Where’s Tara now?” Liam asks quietly. Theo turns to him and smiles sadly at him, Liam has a feeling in his gut, deep sinking feeling that makes his heart clench.

 

“Tara died a few years ago in a car crash,” Theo says with a sad smile, Liam’s stomach drops and he lets out a slight huff.

 

“Theo, I’m so sorry,” he says, he takes one hand off the steering wheel and rests it on the centre console between his and Theo’s seat. Theo ducks his head to look at Liam’ open hand, he lets out a watery laugh and joins his hand with Liam’s.

 

“Belle’s is actually how I found Melissa, she would work night shift there before she became the owner of her shop now. She was like a second mom to us, the night Tara died she took me home and I’ve been living there for a while. My parents moved to Texas and stayed here with Melissa,” Theo smiles at the memories that come to mind, Liam stays quiet as he alternates between watching Theo and watching the road.

 

“Anyways,” Theo says, ”what about you and your family?” Liam chuckles a little bit before delving into the whole story.

 

“Well, I have my mom and my step-dad David. My biological dad left me and my mom when I was five,  then a couple of years later I broke my arm, my mom took me to the hospital where she met David who was one of the doctors,” Liam says with a smile but frowns when memories of his biological dad come into his mind.

 

“What about your friends? When did you meet them?” Theo asks when he sees Liam frowning.

 

“Mason has been my best friend since I was one, my mom and his mom were best friends so we grow up with each other, he was with me when I broke my first bone, he was there the first time I got my heart broken. Everyone I met through school, Corey was on the lacrosse team with me, Allison was in my English class as was Kira and Lydia was in my AP environmental science , she is a year older than everyone else so she graduated last year but is taking a gap year before she goes off to college,” Liam rambles on for a few minutes, he recalls ridiculous stories and anecdotes, Theo laughs and runs his thumbs over Liam’s palm.

 

For a while, they trade back and forth funny stories about their friends and Theo shares some of his best memories of Tara. Before they know it, they are both sitting next to each other at a table in the diner. A middle age woman comes to their table and Theo says hi to her, she drops off some menus and a glass bottle of water with two cups.

 

“I already know what I’m gonna get, do you know what you want?” Theo asks as he puts down his menu, Liam’s eyes still scanning over the words printed onto the purple laminate page he holds in this hands. He hums as he makes up his mind.

 

“I think I’ll get the cheesy pasta with a side of garlic bread,” Liam says with a smile, he puts down the menus and sees Theo open hand rested on the table, Theo looks to his hand then to Liam’s face then back to his hand.

 

“Would you like me to hold your hand, Theo?” Liam asks with a laugh, Theo blushes, nods and ducks his head. Liam swoons and he joins his hand with Theo’s who sighs contently, Liam’s mind goes straight to the night of the party when they were making out, he pushes those thoughts out of his mind knowing Theo doesn’t want that. The waitress comes back over, takes their food and drink order, she writes it down on the notepad she carries and takes their order to the kitchen. Once their food comes out they dig in and leave no room for talking. It isn’t until their back in the car that Theo asks a question that makes Liam’s heart race.

 

“So are we like together, like boyfriends or something?” Theo asks when they are a few minutes out of Beacon Hills. Liam almost slams on the breaks but he keeps his cool and continues to drive even as his heart beats in his ears.

 

“I don’t really know, I mean that if you want to be boyfriends I’d be cool with that,” Liam says, a blush creeps its way up this neck and takes up residence on his cheeks. Theo clears his throat and smiles at him widely.

 

“I’d be cool with that too, being your boyfriend that is,” Theo says with a shy laugh, Liam smiles back at the boy in his passenger seat. They pull up at Theo’s place and he hops out of the car.

 

“Wait!” Liam yells out, he unbuckles his seatbelt and jumps out of the car and walks up to Theo at his door. Liam only then notices the height difference between himself and Theo, he looks up at the boy and stands up on his tiptoes to kiss Theo on his cheek.

 

“That was really nice, can I kiss you on the lips?” Theo asks with a smile, Liam nods and lifts his head when Theo ducks his head a little bit, their lips meet and small electric shocks flow through Liam’s body and it makes him feel alive. They break apart and Theo unlocks the front door, he grabs Liam's hand and pulls him inside the house. Their lips meet again this time with more fire and passion, Theo pulls them into the living room and they fall onto the sofa, Liam on his back with Theo on top of him.

 

“Wait,” Liam says as he pulls his face away, he takes a deep breath before he talks, “I don’t wanna do anything that will make you uncomfortable.” Theo rolls off of him and onto his side next to Liam.

 

“I just wanna clarify somethings, sexual arousal makes me feel uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean I can’t have sex, I just have to find someone I feel comfortable being sexual with and I’m gonna be honest, I could see myself having sex with you but in the distant future but for now I think making out is perfectly okay,” Theo says with a smile, Liam nods his head and smiles. Theo lowers himself back on top of Liam and connects their lips again. A few hours later, Liam is laying in bed thinking about Theo. He smiles and blushes as he just realizes that Theo is his boyfriend.

 

Chapter Text

“So how did you figure out you were asexual?” Liam asks as he takes a swing from the bottle Theo passes to him, he picks up his phone and changes the song.

 

“It was in a hotel on the way to math camp two or three years ago, very funny laugh it up, I went to math camp,” Theo says with an eye roll when Liam snickers at the math camp part.

 

“There was this cute guy on my team and when I say cute, I mean so fucking hot. I already knew I was gay and I knew he was bisexual. I thought I was broken because I’d had boyfriends before and I would never feel sexually attracted to them or if I did it would make me feel extremely uncomfortable like I wanted to rip my skin off,” Theo says, he takes the bottle Liam offers him and takes a big swig from it, he inhales sharply.

 

“We were at the hotel and we started making out, he got on top of me and I started to feel uncomfortable. I told him to stop, he either didn’t hear me or didn’t care but he didn’t get off of me so I shoved him off me and run out of the room. He found me later and apologized, we talked, he said that I sounded like I was asexual and demisexual, I broke down and he hugged me,” Theo says, he starts to get teary and laughs when Liam lays his head on Theo’s shoulder.

 

“I thought for the longest time I was broken and then when I found out I realized there are people out there who are the same as me. This guy and I dated for a little bit afterwards,” Theo says with a smile.

 

“So what happened to this guy?” Liam asks, he takes the bottle and swallows a mouthful of the cheap vodka.

 

“He got sick of waiting for sex and broke up with me, or more exactly, he cheated on me,” Theo says, a smile still on his face but a sad look in his eyes.

 

They sit quietly for a while, Liam feels too awkward to say anything, he opens his mouth but Theo’s phone starts buzzing, the obnoxious call tone blares out loudly, startling the two boys. They jump in shock and take a moment to compose themselves on the bed of Theo's truck, a picnic blanket under them.

 

The boys had layered a few pillows up on the base of the truck and strung a few fairy lights around the edges of the bed to give them some light. A generous amount of cupcakes and pastries from the cafe that Melissa gave them have been placed in a plastic bag and a cheap bottle of vodka leftover from the party shared between them. Theo picks up the phone and stares at it for a few seconds, an unreadable expression on his face.

 

“You good babe?” Liam asks concerned about his boyfriend. Theo's eyes snap from the ringing phone to Liam's face, he nods his head but his glazed over eyes show something completely different. He seems to shut down, the boy who was just laughing at his boyfriend spilling soda down his shirt is gone, the man in front of him is a completely different person.

 

Theo’s eyes snap back to the ringing phone in his hand, he takes a deep breath and presses the accept button, he holds the phone to his ear and listens to the voice on the other side of the phone.

 

“Hi dad,” Theo says with a sigh, he looks Liam in the eye and smiles sadly. Theo points to the cluster of trees the truck is parked in front of and scoots himself off the bed of the truck, he disappears behind the trees while talking to his father on the phone. Liam can hear Theo’s voice and a few snippets of the conversation but decides to tune out the conversation, he pulls out his phone and opens up Instagram, the first photo that pops up is a photo of a polaroid of Allison and Kira sharing a kiss, he smiles softly, likes and comments on the post.

 

A while later Theo reappears from behind the trees, the truck dips as he puts his weight on the tailgate to pull himself up, once gets back up next to Liam he takes the vodka bottle and takes a huge mouthful of the sharp, bitter liquid. Liam puts his phone away and gets close look at Theo, the soft yellow glow from the fairy lights highlights the tear tracks down his cheeks.

 

“Are you okay? What happened?” Liam rushes out, his tongue feels heavy with concern and his mind rushing through all the worst case scenario. Theo takes a deep breath, the tears slip out of his eyes and his shaky breath makes Liam reach a breaking point.

 

“I'm gonna hug you, is that okay?” Liam asks, Theo nods his head and leans into Liam's touch when he wraps his arms around the boy's neck, they stay like that until Theo stops crying, this breath still shallow as they sit side by side again, their thighs pressed together.

 

“Sorry about that, I didn't mean to scare you,” Theo says sadly, he looks down at his lap and plays with the rips in his jeans, Liam smiles sympathetically at his boyfriend and lays his head on Theo's shoulder.

 

“You're really not gonna like this, but I think we are going to need to not see each other or talk at all for a week,” Theo says quietly, a slight tremor in his voice. Liam lifts his head to look at Theo, a lump in his throat as tears prickle his eyes. Theo catches the hurt look Liam throws at him for half a second, he rushes to explain himself.

 

“This isn't me breaking up with you, this is about the phone call. It was my dad, he called to tell me my mom is sick and they are coming to Beacon Hills for a week and they are super homophobic, they can't know that I'm with a guy. They think I have a girlfriend,” Theo explains, an ashamed look on his face.

 

“Oh,” Liam breathes, his mind racing. He stays quiet as he thinks of something to say. Theo sees his hurt expression and opens his mouth to say something but Liam beats him to it.

 

“Do you have a girlfriend?” he cringes at his own voice, he tries to sound unaffected and dejected like he couldn’t give a shit if Theo had a girlfriend. Just by the guilty look on Theo’s face, Liam has his answer. Theo nods his head, Liam wants to cry, he wants to yell but all he can do is sit there.

 

“But you’re gay,” he says weakly, his voice cracking and tears burn behind his eyes. The pleasant, warm buzz from the alcohol has worn off and he’s left feeling cold, sad and alone. The man sitting next to him, the man who has been his boyfriend for the last five months, suddenly feels like a stranger. Liam jumps down from the bed of the truck, grabs his phone and the less than half empty bottle of Vodka and walks away, he hears Theo calling out his name but ignores it. He sends a text to Mason with a pin of his location and waits at the side of the road. A while later and after swallowing the rest of the Vodka, Mason pulls up and Liam gets in, he doesn’t say anything, but for the first time that night he lets himself cry.