Actions

Work Header

aperture

Chapter Text

⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀𝐱𝐢𝐢𝐢. —— the most awkward triple date. and pete.

─ i ─

Pick slowly guided Rome further into the room and left him to rummage through one of the drawers. Rome was trying to calm down his beating heart; he didn't want Pick to know how much his words meant, he didn't want to scare the senior off by being too much. Maybe it was too late to think like that, seeing as Rome walked in the rain after midnight just to ask a stupid question. 

He let his curious eyes wander around the room; it was less messy than he expected it to be considering Pick's personality. There were some papers scattered around the desk but that's really it from things that seemed out of place, no clothes on the floor, no empty bags from snacks. On one of the walls there was a hanging shelf full of cacti in colorful flowerpots and underneath it was a corkboard with various pictures on it, Rome was too far to see what was on any of them though. It all seemed more like Porsche's idea. Before Rome could walk closer, there was a towel thrown into his direction which he barely caught, flinching at the sudden movement.

"Go take a hot shower before you get sick again. Honestly, couldn't this wait until tomorrow? Or couldn't you take a taxi? Or call me?" Pick kept asking, but it felt more like he was listing all the things Rome would have done if he had a working brain. Possibly. "Why did you walk in that weather?"

Rome shuffled from foot to foot, squeezing the soft towel in his cold hands. "Because I'm stupid and gay, what else is there?" he huffed, making Pick burst into laughter. And god, what a beautiful sound that was. Proving the second part of Rome's sentence; he was very gay. 

"That does sound like you, buttercup. Go, I'll get you some clothes," Pick walked closer to Rome and caught his shoulder, steering him in the direction of a small bathroom. Rome braced his feet on the carpet and looked up at the senior.

"Do you think I'm selfish, P'?" Rome asked quietly because this was something that had been bothering him for quite a while now and the situation with Din only made everything worse. He liked to think he's not, but it would never be intentional on his part, so Rome knew he's not the best judge.

Pick, though, looked genuinely surprised to hear it.

"You? Selfish?" his eyebrows furrowed, head tilting to one side while his hand still rested on Rome's shoulder, now not pushing him forward though. "Ever since I've met you, you've been doing what Emma asked you to do. It was her idea to ask me and Porsche to be your project partners, even though she told Porsche it was yours. You didn't ask her to sit with you on the bus, but I know you wanted to. You always adapt yourself to whatever she wants and I know you do, because I've been doing the same for Porsche ever since we were kids," the senior said slowly, moving his palm down Rome's arm to finally catch his smaller hand in his. It was gentle, just enough for Rome to pull back whenever he'd want to. He didn't.

"Why do you think we’re the ones to do so?"

Pick shrugged, but he seemed a bit uncomfortable with that topic. "I guess there are very few people that actually know you and still want to be around, so you just wanna keep them or something," he said slowly, next clearing his throat. "I told you to go take a shower."

Rome blinked and then nodded quickly, he felt like it wouldn’t be okay to push it now since Pick already probably said more than he wanted to. More than Rome had expected, that's for sure. Pick gave Rome his clothes and when Rome came out of the bathroom, the senior was back in bed, scrolling through his phone─he left a place for Rome next to him with the covers pushed down and the sight of it made Rome feel... soft because it seemed so natural and it shouldn't be. It shouldn't be because they weren't... anything, really.

"Why did you ask?" Pick put the phone down on the drawer and turned towards Rome, leaning his head on a hand. Rome frowned slightly, tugging the covers upon his body. "If I think you're selfish," the older boy prompted.

"Oh... Well, it's nothing," Rome muttered.

"It's hardly ever nothing with you, though, isn't it?" the senior noticed with a raised eyebrow, reaching out to push the wet hair away from Rome's forehead. He was too tired to even towel dry it and he hoped Pick wouldn't be mad about the damp pillow. 

Rome sighed. "I just feel bad about what I did to Din," he admitted. Because even though the boy wasn't angry with him, it didn't mean Rome wasn't angry with himself. He behaved like a total idiot, like one of those people he always cursed out while watching dramas with Emma. Oh, and now he couldn't even talk to her about it because he managed to ruin that relationship, too. Statistically, he supposed it had to happen sooner or later.

"Look at that, I suddenly lost interest," Pick mocked, making Rome slap him lightly on the chest.

"Don't be mean, P'. He's one of the nicest people I know─"

"Yes, I've heard. He's nice, he likes you, he cares. Got that right, didn't I?" 

Rome felt slight annoyance but he tried his best to stay calm, he probably deserved that after all the things he said in the club. He knew he wasn't fair towards Din, but then again, he also wasn't fair towards Pick. He remembered what the senior told him in front of Rome's apartment building; "I didn't force you to run after me"─it was true, he wasted Pick's time and then told him to leave without any kind of explanation. All those things were torturing him for days and he wanted to talk about it all, he really did, but the words just wouldn't come. It was like he got choked up each time he tried to express himself and he was tired.

"I was the one who asked him out only because I saw─I mean, it's just... I shouldn't have done that," he said, sitting up because of agitation. "And he wasn't even mad at me, you know? He said it's okay and it wasn't!"

Pick snorted. "What wasn't okay? Putting yourself first for once?"

"No, you don't understand─"

"Why are you here, Rome?" Pick interrupted, and it was so weird for him to just call Rome by his name that it immediately gave the younger boy a pause. "You could've stayed with him," he continued, also sitting up. "But instead you came here just to ask one question that you could've easily texted me about. Why?"

Their eyes were locked in the dim purple lights that were hanged above the bed and Rome felt a whole new level of uncomfortable. He wanted to look away but he couldn't, because Pick asked him a direct question and Rome had no idea how to avoid the answer. He swallowed, feeling like a blush was creeping up his cheeks; he could only hope Pick wouldn't notice.

"I... It's because you're different than Din, P'," Rome's voice was barely above a whisper and he knew his hands were shaking, so he gripped the covers tighter. "You know you are. I do feel bad about what I did and I am angry at myself, but... I just wanted to see you. Oh dear, I am selfish, aren't I?" he asked with wide eyes, but before he could outright panic, Pick's hands cupped Rome's face, making him take a shaky breath in.

"My mom would probably say you're just human. Besides, who wouldn't want to see me? Come on," Pick hummed and Rome couldn't help but laugh at that. When Pick smiled, the younger boy realized that this was what Pick was trying to do─make him laugh, relax. He was indeed stressed and it showed but seeing Pick's considerate side never ceased to amaze Rome.

"I do like looking at you," he admitted, sounding a bit dazed and this time it was Pick who laughed. His hands were still on Rome's face and the younger boy caught Pick's wrists, moving forward to press their lips together. It was just an impulse, he loved hearing Pick's laugh because it used to be such a rare occurrence when they first met.

He seemed to laugh more whenever he was with Rome and Rome thought that maybe this was what Pick had meant when he said that there are very few people that really know you and still want to be around—very few people you can be yourself with, without any pretense or feeling like you have to be careful with everything you do or say. Rome was aware that there’s still so much he doesn’t know about Pick, but he liked to think that even with things unsaid between them, they felt comfortable in each other’s presence because that was the case for him. Growing up as an introvert who always had been hiding behind the lenses of his camera, Rome knew how important it is for him to cherish those he can look in the eye without that glass between them. And he didn’t mind taking the time to get to know everything about Pick; good or bad, as long as he learns it from the senior himself instead of the nasty rumors. There was also the careful thought he started to hesitantly consider, not daring to let it take a constant place in his mind—that maybe one day he wouldn’t feel like telling Pick about himself would be a bother. That not everything about him was damaged goods.

His thoughts stopped when he felt Pick pressing back, deepening the kiss and changing it from gentle to more urgent as if he was afraid they’d run out of time again. Rome didn’t mind because he missed Pick every single day and having him close enough to touch was exactly what he needed to feel better. He tangled one of his hands in Pick’s soft hair and that earned him a contented sigh from the older boy; it seemed as if Pick liked when Rome played with his hair which, honestly, worked for both of them, what with the little obsession Rome always had. After a moment Pick slowly pushed Rome down on the bed, following after him without disconnecting their lips, until he moved his along Rome’s jaw and towards his neck, leaving behind a trail of soft kisses. 

Rome tilted his head back a little when Pick started to suck on his skin and then he groaned quietly at the pleasurable pain pulsing under Pick’s lips.

"Ah, P’Pick, you’re going to leave a mark," he whined, fingers still gently running through Pick’s black hair that slightly tickled Rome’s neck. Pick moved away only a few seconds later, blowing at Rome’s skin to soothe it.

He smirked, catching Rome’s chin and moving a thumb along his bottom lip. "That was kind of the point, buttercup. I do hope our dear Din won’t be mad about it, though," he added solemnly, making Rome roll his eyes.

"You’re honestly so mean and for what?"

"Do you want me to stop then?" Pick hummed, looking as if he was seriously considering moving away, and Rome’s eyes widened as he quickly caught Pick’s shirt with his free hand, squeezing it.

"I didn’t say that," Rome breathed out and it was a bit embarrassing how needy he sounded. But, well, being under Pick wasn’t something he wanted to give up that easily if there was a way to avoid it. "Kiss me again, please."

Pick was looking down at him with an intensity that made Rome feel as if someone was squeezing his heart in a steady rhythm. 

"You look so good like that," Pick muttered, voice low and a little raspy. That alone was enough to send shivers down Rome’s spine and he blushed deeply, trying to turn his face away only for Pick to steer it back with fingers still on Rome’s chin. "And I like how you ask, too," he added, leaning down so their lips were brushing with his every word.

It was so unfair how smug Pick could be since he knew exactly what kind of effect his words had, but what was even worse was the fact that Rome didn't mind it in the slightest. On the contrary, he loved Pick's confidence because someone so sure of himself still chose to be here with Rome out of all people; and that, that was boosting Rome's poor self-esteem a lot. He looked into Pick's dark eyes that seemed to glisten in the dim light, and then he moved his head slightly up to close the small distance left between them, putting one hand on the back of Pick's neck to keep him close a bit longer.

After all the previous times they kissed, their lips seemed to find their rhythm and naturally move together, but the feeling of excitement rushing through Rome didn't change one bit─it was still as strong as the first time he kissed Pick back after their first date. Pick slowly started to trace Rome's body with his hand; his fingers grazed Rome's neck and then outlined his right collarbone, making the younger boy instinctively clench his hand on Pick's white shirt. All Pick's actions were making him feel hotter with each second, so he finally broke the kiss and pushed the senior back a little.

"Wait, if you keep this up I'll─" he breathed out, trying to calm down his rapidly beating heart. 

"It's fine, buttercup, just tell me what you want me to do," Pick whispered, kissing Rome's jaw and inching closer towards his lips, while his hand still moved down to Rome's stomach. Rome's breath hitched in his throat when Pick's fingers teased the waistband of his shorts. "Should I stop?" he asked and Rome knew that Pick wouldn't do anything Rome wasn't comfortable with.

The thing was, Rome had always thought that it would be Pick who would be hesitant when it came to things like that. Rome had been with other boys before, one way or another, but Pick? Rome was scared he would be uncomfortable with it and he'd hate to make him feel like that, so he wasn't thinking about taking things further with the senior at least until they establish their relationship. Obviously, he did think about... doing some stuff, but that was all theory. But now Pick was there and he seemed completely fine with it, and Rome... well, Rome was weak.

"No, I..." Rome swallowed, moving his hand up to softly touch Pick's cheek. "I want you to touch me, P'."

Pick nuzzled his face into Rome's palm. "Yeah, I can do that," he hummed quietly, sneaking his fingers under Rome's waistband. The younger boy gasped at the cold touch on his skin and Pick shushed at him. "The walls are thin and I know it's asking for a lot from someone like you, but I need you to keep quiet, shortcake."

Rome sputtered. "You literally have a hand in my pants, you have no right to be an asshole right now, P'. I'll have you know I'm perfectly capable of being qui─"

His next words got muffled when Pick kissed him and Rome sighed softly, closing his eyes. Okay, he liked to talk, but he decided that he liked kissing his senior more, so that worked, too, he guessed. 

Rome was already hard even before Pick touched him, so he couldn't completely stop the groan when Pick's long fingers wrapped around him. And, really, Rome knew there was a reason he liked Pick's hands so much. He had the fingers of a pianist and there was actually a piano at his old house, Rome remembered, but he somehow doubted that Pick had ever stepped close to it. Before Rome could imagine Pick playing the piano and get even more off track, the senior's hand started to slowly move, effectively cutting off any coherent thought Rome's brain might have come up with.

At first Pick's strokes seemed slightly unsure, even though every single part of Rome's body was practically vibrating with pleasure. He needed to break the kiss because he couldn't catch his breath properly, so instead, he pressed his face in the crook of Pick's neck to at least try muffling the moans that were escaping his lips from time to time. 

"Shit, P', this feels so good," he muttered into Pick's skin, tightly closing his eyes. The senior smelled like something sweet and Rome tried to remember what was written on the body wash bottle in the bathroom; it looked like a whiskey bottle, but the smell was nice and it somehow fits perfectly to the image of Pick in Rome's mind─his appearance screamed badass but his personality screamed softie. He knew it was reserved for very few people, but the sweet smell was definitely more Pick than... cigarettes or something.

Pick started to switch the pace in which his hand moved on Rome's cock depending on the younger boy's reactions. Rome liked when it was fast, but the slow and long strokes were what was driving him to the edge, and it looked as if Pick noticed the subtle differences in the way Rome would tug at Pick's collar when the tension was building inside him or how he'd just press his nose more into Pick's neck when the senior slowed down again. He was learning how to adapt to Rome and what to do to make him feel even better.

"You're doing great, Rome," Pick said in a husky voice, moving back so he could look down on Rome. And the way he said his name made everything stir inside of Rome; it was so strange after all the nicknames, but it did things to Rome, things he didn't know simple words could ever do. 

"P'..." Rome moaned, tilting his head back when the senior teased the tip of Rome's erection to gather the pre-cum on his thumb and then use it as lube to get the friction he needed to finish Rome off. But it wasn't that easy with Pick; he was moving his wrist faster but just when Rome was almost there, he'd slow down, observing Rome's face with a smirk. "Fuck, P'Pick, you're being a dick again."

Pick chuckled at that. "No, I'm holding a dick, babe," he replied in a patronizing way. And if Rome hadn't been denied his orgasm for the third time in a row, he'd probably punch his senior in the face by now. But, well, Pick was holding his dick and Rome was way too sensitive by now to do much besides holding onto the senior. 

"Please, P', I'm so close," Rome whined, cupping Pick's face in his hands and bringing him closer. "Please, let me come," he asked, pecking Pick's lips between each word. Their quick breaths mingled together and Pick's eyes widened a little as he softly nodded his head, pushing Rome down on the pillows with his free hand. 

His hand picked up the pace again. "Alright, be a good boy and come for me, yeah?" 

At that moment Pick squeezed the base of Rome's cock before slowly stroking it all the way down with a thumb lightly teasing the vein under his erection. Rome groaned loudly when his body finally shook with the sweet release Pick had given him and the senior quickly kissed him again, swallowing all the cries that would definitely defeat the walls of the dorm. Rome's hand found Pick's free one and he intertwined their fingers tightly, letting Pick press his palm into the mattress as he gave Rome a few more strokes to guide him through the orgasm. He let go when Rome calmed down and let his head fall on the pillow with closed eyes.

"Oh god," Rome sighed tiredly, feeling more content and relaxed in that one moment than he had in the last month or so. 

"Nope, still Pick," the senior answered cheekily, wiping his hand on Rome's shorts and earning himself a halfhearted slap on the arm. "But I've heard that a lot. You know, magic hands and all."

Rome snorted. "Your girls told you that often?"

"Sure they did. First time hearing it from a guy though, hits different," Pick offered dramatically, moving around on the bed.

"You're such an asshole," Rome laughed lazily.

"Not the first time hearing it from a guy. Or the first time hearing it from you, specifically. Go wash up before sleeping, I'll change the sheets," the senior said, making Rome open his eyes and look at him with a frown. "It's fine," he added before Rome could even say anything. "You were already tired when you came here. And now after... coming a second time, you'll probably fall asleep in a minute. You can return the favor the next time, buttercup."

"Jesus Christ, just for that pun you should be denied orgasms for the rest of your life, P'. Honestly, how did you ever fool anyone into thinking you're cool?" Rome whined, feeling personally offended that he had to listen to anything that came out of Pick's mouth at that point. 

Pick hummed, shrugging his shoulders. "The motorcycle pretty much does the job."

Rome slowly moved off the bed, dragging one foot after the other towards the bathroom. He just took a shower, too. Damn Pick and his hands.

"Yeah, you probably named it something stupid, too. Like croissant or some shit," he kept muttering, rolling his eyes.

"Hey, shortcake, do you have a praise kink?" Pick threw after him, making Rome immediately blush in a deep red color as he stumbled and almost hit the doors with his head. Pick was probably the pettiest person Rome had ever met in his life.

"I'm not saying anything, P'. I'll go wash up like a good boy."

"Yeah, that's what I thought."

As Rome had said, damn Pick.

─ ii ─

Rome was singing along to the tune from his phone, absolutely nailing Momo's rap part in Do It Again, when someone knocked on the doors to his apartment. He froze with a piece of ceramic in his one hand and a tube of very strong glue in another, wondering if whoever was there would just go away if ignored long enough. The list of people who knew his new address was very limited and since Rome was sure it wasn't Pick (the senior was still whining through texts about being dragged to some shelter stuff by Porsche), he didn't want to see anyone else that could bother him right now.

When the knocking only got louder, Rome sighed and turned the music off, mentally preparing for the fact that human interaction couldn't be avoided anymore. He slowly shuffled towards the doors, pressing the knob with his elbow just in case there was some of the glue on his hands—being stuck to the doors wasn't something he wanted to do on Saturday. 

"Oh, hello Emma," he said, tilting his head when she stepped from foot to foot like a kid waiting for a scolding. "Do you want to come in?"

"If that's okay," Emma smiled slightly, walking past him into the apartment. She looked quite tired and Rome immediately felt bad; she was probably stressing out over their situation and he just kept declining her phone calls. 

Rome thought back to what Pick had said last night about them adapting to their best friends. It was true, Rome was always ready to change his plans whenever Emma needed something, he usually thought about her before making any important decisions—like what would she think about it or something similar. But it's not like Emma wasn't there for him, too, when he was in need. It wasn't some master-servant relationship, they were best friends and between the two of them Rome was the damaged one, the one who always caused more troubles, so because Emma was enduring it all so well and because she stayed with him despite everything, he wanted to make her life a little bit easier because he didn't want to lose her. Just like Pick wouldn't want to lose Porsche. Rome knew Pick didn't see it as a sacrifice either, they just needed to put more effort into their relationships than others, and that was fine, too. They weren't a burden because if they were, neither Porsche nor Emma would stay.

Maybe it took Rome too long to figure it out but he was getting there.

"I'm sorry for ignoring you, I just needed some time. And I think you did too, I know I can be... a lot," he muttered, sitting at the edge of the bed and patting the place next to him.

"You don't have to apologize for anything, Rome," she assured him quickly. "Maybe it's true that we both needed time, but it's not because you're a lot. And I feel terrible about what I said to you the last time we talked, you didn't deserve that."

"No, Emma, you were right. I didn't think about how you must feel while watching me like that... Beaten up almost every single day. And I kept asking you to not talk about it to anyone," he chuckled, shaking his head and looking down at his hands. "You're not my therapist and sometimes I feel like I treated you like that. Maybe I just thought that if I won't talk about my problems, they will just eventually disappear. It seemed to work when I was a kid, but I'm not one anymore and I'm... I really need help, you know? Professional help," Rome took a shaky breath in, trying to keep his voice steady. He thought about it a lot and for a long time, he was just too scared because admitting it out loud made it more real.

Emma gently took his hand in both of hers, holding it tightly on her knees. "Oh, Rome..."

"There's something wrong with me, always had been and I think it goes back to my mother, but I was never allowed to talk about it and without it..." he trailed off with a shrug.

"Without it, you won't be able to start healing," Emma finished for him, making him nod. "Rome, it's not that there's anything wrong with you. You went through so much and you're still hurting, you were enduring it all alone for years and there's absolutely nothing wrong with needing help. And maybe I can't help in every way, but I'm still here for you. I will always be and I'm going to support you. You're my best friend, Rome," she sniffed. Rome looked up to see big tears rolling down her cheeks.

"You're such a crybaby, you know that?" he asked, reaching his free hand to start wiping her face with the sleeve of a sweater. "Come on, you know your face gets puffy when you cry."

Emma swatted at his shoulder. "Stop being an asshole, Rome, I'm crying because of you," she laughed, but when she tried to let go of his hand it felt like they were stuck together. Quite literally.

"You glued your hand to mine, didn't you?" Rome asked, making her nod and laugh even louder through her tears. "You're a disaster, kiddo."

"Like you're one to talk. And I'm older by seven months, shut up. You didn't even tell me you have glue on your—oh, is that P'Pick's flower pot? Wait! I was going to ask from the moment you opened the doors but I was afraid you'll slam it in my face," Emma spit out all the words in less than five seconds and Rome sighed. The attention span of a mosquito, of course. "That hickey on your neck—"

"Oh my god," Rome groaned, standing up and tugging at Emma's hand. Fortunately only a part of their palm was glued together so it wouldn't be very painful to remove the glue.

"No, wait, at least now you can't run anywhere. Did P'Pick do it? Rome, stop pretending you can't hear me, our hands are joined together forever!"

One peaceful day. That's all Rome wanted and yet here he was; with his hand glued to a person whose dramatics could challenge The Phantom of the Opera. He didn't deserve any of that.

— iii —

"Well, this isn't awkward at all..." Pete concluded, standing by the table with a notepad in his hand. He was carelessly twirling the pen between his fingers and Pick decided to focus on that movement and count to ten in his head before he even tried to speak up.

"What the hell are you even doing here? Since when are you actually working?" he asked with a frown because that was kind of groundbreaking. Pete's dad was probably the only man in existence that took care of his kid so Pete and work didn't go well together. 

Pete shrugged at that. "Kao's sick, I'm just filling in for him. So be generous with your tips, I have a boyfriend to feed," he winked, taking a step back and bumping into Rome who just came back from the bathroom. "Oh, sorry, didn't see you down there," he laughed.

Rome crossed arms over his chest. "Weren't you just saying you wanted good tips? Maybe I've heard wrong," the boy sighed, sliding into place beside Liz and opposite to Pick.

"That one's petty, Pick," Pete decided with a solemn look on his face before sending Pick a cheeky smile. "But it's my kind of petty, so he's getting a free pie today."

"I'm literally your only friend, I should be the one getting the free pie," Pick snorted, leaning back on the chair. "And no, Kao doesn't even like you, he doesn't count," he added when Pete opened his mouth to protest.

"You know what, I'm not even gonna—Just call me when you clowns decide what to order," Pete dismissively waved a hand and turned back to walk towards another table with new customers.

Pick sighed, feeling a headache coming as he looked around the table. He had never wanted to kill Porsche more than right now because that situation was so improbable and yet thanks to Porsche here they were. Porsche with Emma, Rome with Liz and Pick with... well, Lamai. It was messy, every single thing about it was messy, but Pick couldn't even talk to Rome right now. He thought that after moving out of his father's house, Rome wouldn't have to go out with Liz anymore and Pick could understand that they would still meet as friends—Rome did say she was nice, but when Pick met them in the cafe Liz very clearly implied that it was a double date. And, okay, Pick knew Rome is gay so none of this should be a problem. 

Pick still didn't like it.

"So what did you say you two were doing before coming here?" Rome asked, turning a little bit more towards Lamai.

Pick noticed with a great amount of horror that his ex-girlfriend took a liking to Rome even though she knew. She knew because Pick had told her that there's someone else he likes and she almost immediately asked if it was that short photography student who was often hanging out with Pick around the campus. She wasn't stupid; yes, she often let her emotions control her, just like that time when she doused Pick with water, but usually, her judgment was a bit better and that's why she was the only ex that he was still on actually good terms with.

As for Rome... well, he tried to be nice to Lamai even though Pick could see that the misunderstanding was there. Neither Pick nor Lamai said they were on a date, too, it was Liz who asked if they wanted to join, and then she called it a triple date. A terrible idea, really, it sounded like the name of some sketchy indie band and, just as Pete had said, it was simply awkward.

"P'Pick was helping me with a gift for someone," Lamai smiled happily, taking a small box out of her purse and handing it to Rome over the table. 

"Pick was helping anyone with anything?" Porsche finally decided to shift his attention from Emma where it had been for the last ten minutes or so. Porsche, out of all people, had no right to sound like it was so unbelievable because there wasn’t a thing Pick didn’t help him with; he helped him in the shower for almost two months when that idiot broke his leg, come on. Pick thought he deserved some slack for that. 

"What did I tell you about shutting up sometimes, Porsche?" Pick sighed with annoyance, though his eyes were stuck on Rome who was now fiddling with the box Lamai gave him. 

"Hm, P’Pick can be very helpful if he wants to be," the younger boy hummed, more like he was talking to himself than to any of them, but the suggestion in his voice made Pick choke on his spit. He lightly kicked Rome’s shoe under the table, but the asshole only looked at Pick from under his long eyelashes; all innocent. "I mean the school project he’s helping me with," he answered to the curious glances of Lamai and Liz. 

Rome took the silver necklace out of the box and the girls immediately started to gush over it; it was quite simple, really, a small pendant in the shape of the crescent moon. Inside the moon was a name and it was that name that seemed to draw Rome's attention the most.

"Sasithorn?" Rome asked, raising his head to look around as if he wanted to find someone. "Isn't that also the name of the waitress who works here?"

Pick quickly moved his gaze towards Lamai whose cheeks were becoming increasingly red and he picked up the menu to open it in front of her. She was honestly terrible at hiding anything and it kind of reminded Pick of Rome when they first met; the boy, too, kept blushing at every single thing. Pick promised Lamai he'd help her, but it wasn't looking too good for them now. 

"Oh, is it because Sasithorn means from the moon?" Emma excitedly leaned closer, looking down at the necklace. 

"Ah, y-yes," Lamai answered quietly, slowly moving the menu down. "Do you think it's stupid?"

Porsche was the first one to shake his head. "I think it's sweet! And if Pick helped you choose it, there's nothing to worry about," the asshole added, just because he couldn't let Pick live even for a second. Pick reached over the table to slap his best friend on the arm. "What? With the number of gifts you had to buy—"

"Okay, no one asked you, Porsche. Pete! The clowns want to order," Pick said louder, not wanting to get anywhere near that topic right now. "Porsche will take whatever is big enough to choke on it," he decided once Pete finally walked over to their table. 

"P'Pete, is Sasithorn working today?" Rome cut in, dismissively waving a hand at Pick to let him know he should be quiet now. Rude.

Pete frowned. "Sasithorn?"

"The redhead," Emma provided.

"Oh, you mean that bitch," the waiter sighed and Lamai almost let go of the menu. Pick snorted, shaking his head. Were all bisexual people walking disasters? Pete, Lamai, Pick. It was a little bit like a curse; they were cursed with flannels, blue jeans, and finger guns. "Nah, she's not here today. I can ask Kao about her shifts, why?"

"For the greater good," Pick muttered, making Lamai shove him with her elbow.

Pete seized Pick with a long look. "You're not her type and you're literally here on a date," he deadpanned, nodding towards Rome even though Lamai was the one sitting next to Pick. 

"I'm everyone's type," Pick answered immediately, almost like a reflex. Both Rome and Liz slightly nodded their heads at that, though, and Pick started to wonder how they all even ended up in this situation. "And I'm not here on a date."

Pick thought Rome would say something about that, too, since Pete heavily implied that he was Pick's date, but then Pick could feel Rome resting his shoes on top of Pick's under the table and for some reason he was relieved. It meant that despite this weird setting they've met in, they were still okay. Rome always did that—he always made Pick more sure of himself with the smallest things.

"Alright, anything else?" Pete looked down on his notepad once everyone finally told him the order.

Pick leaned back on his seat. "Can you get us Sasithorn's number with that?" he smirked, stretching his arm and putting it on the back of Lamai's chair.

"P'Pick!" the girl squealed, covering her red face with hands. But the way Rome's expression cleared with sudden understanding was priceless and Pick almost burst into laughter.

It took Pete a moment longer, but then he smiled widely, crossing arms over his chest. "Yeah, you might be her type."

At this point, Lamai was sliding down on her chair but Pick didn't think it was all that bad. Now they knew that Lamai had at least some chance with her newfound crush; besides, Rome was still lightly pressing the tips of his shoes on Pick's in some kind of rhythm, so the senior wasn't thinking about much else. Honestly, this was a win-win situation.

At least until half an hour later when Pick got a message from an unknown number.

One picture, actually. Just like Rome had warned.