History repeats itself, life imitates art (or did art imitate life? It was a blur to be honest.). Giovanni Garau didn't know the most suitable expression to describe the situation he was in but he knew one thing for sure:
He was fucking tired of it.
To be honest, to some extent of course, he felt like a good friend. Thinking about yourself in that way was odd and egotistical maybe but it was a hidden pride Giovanni carried inside his heart. He took pride in knowing that he was the first person Marti would call when he was in distress. It made him feel all giddy when Luca told Giovanni about his crush on Silvia and he was the first one to hear that from Luca's own mouth. (Because yes, technically everyone and their dog knew that Luca had a crush on Silvia but it was a different story to hear from the boy’s own lips.)
Admittedly, he had a narcissist side when it came to his friends. He smiled more when they did. He loved it when they were happy.
To say that it had been a rough couple of weeks while Marti was going through hard times would be an understatement. Of course, Giovanni never made it about himself but to see his friend in pain, to watch as he pushed away everyone around him had hurt. It had been fucking painful to watch as his friends fought and as Martino, his best friend in the whole world, had lied to him.
Trying to figure out what was going on, theorizing and trying not to speculate while doing so had been hard. However in the end, Marti was happy and content with his boyfriend (that Giovanni was hesitant to accept at the beginning because he had trust issues but he had grown to like Niccolò regardless.).
It had all played out at the end.
However going through that for the second time? Giovanni was not going to have any of this.
1. First Signs
It all started at Silvia's birthday party.
Thankfully (or unfortunately?) Giovanni was not drunk, therefore his damn senses were intact and he was easy to catch the lies his friend was trying to fead him.
When the incident happened, he was drinking and laughing with the boys minus Elia, which of course, made him wonder about his whereabouts. Scanning the room quickly, he was fast to spot Elia Santini in his white v-necked glory, staring at god knows what with a frown on his face.
That, the first sign. The reoccurring theme. Elia had been sulking for the past week, as he thought more about it. Without giving an explanation, he tried to make his way towards his friend between the crowd and he almost waved his hand to catch Elia's attention as he realized the person he was staring at.
Filippo, was it? Elenora's sweet and charming brother. Giovanni found him a bit intimidating because he had this aura around him that made people want to like him. He was unapologetically himself and he had been a good friend to Martino, the way Martino talked about him was enough for Giovanni to like him (and a bit jealous maybe, but he won't admit to that.).
He stopped abruptly as he watched Filippo make his way toward Elia. It wasn't his intension to pry but he was a bit confused and technically he was standing right there and it was Elia's fault that he was too fixed on the boy with a lip ring to notice Giovanni.
Filippo extended his hand and clearly he had something in it, as Elia didn't make any gestures to take it, Filippo raised an eyebrow and smiled a little. "Your ring."
Elia gaped and woah, Giovanni couldn't remember the last time he had seen the boy speechless. Elia ‘I have a come back for everything’ Santini was speechless and was he actually blushing?
It felt wrong to listen to their conversation like that and despite the fact that he was dying to know more, Giovanni made his presence known as he brushed past a guy from his math class to stand next to Elia. "Hi guys. Ugh, I didn't know you two knew each other?"
He clasped a hand on Elia's shoulder and tried not to flinch because he didn't mean to sound so questioning and Elia was tensing under his touch.
He drew his hand back as Elia squirmed and tried to return his attention in Filippo, giving him a warm smile.
Filippo eyed the situation with careful eyes and Giovanni was acting as if he hadn't realized the tension between the two. "We've met at Fede's birthday, right?"
Oh he was good. Filippo was relaxed and nonchalant while Elia was too eager to nod. However Giovanni was too damn good at this spot the lie game. He knew for a fact that Elia hadn't spent time with Filippo on Fede's birthday because Giovanni had been with Elia whole night.
He was about to brush it off because if Elia wasn't ready to talk, he wasn't going to push. Giovanni didn't have the chance to do that as a drunk Luca crushed into Elia with a grin on his face, Martino and Niccolò following him with matching grins.
"I thought you weren't gonna show up!" Luca exclaimed and hugged Elia with his drink in hand, making everyone chuckle fondly at his drunk affection. Meanwhile Filippo was giving Martino a kiss on the cheek as he started talking with Niccolò. It wasn't until Martino grabbed Elia's wrist gently, studying his fingers.
"I thought you lost your ring."
Giovanni instinctively looked at Filippo who was biting the inside of his cheek, unaware of Giovanni's gaze because he was staring at Elia.
"Silvia found it, its a long story," Elia shrugged after a long pause and returned Filippo's gaze, looking a bit coy. "Thanks for being the messenger man," he said to the blonde.
Everyone was watching the exchange (minus Luca because well, he was drunk). Filippo smiled at Elia's words but it was a bit tight. "Don't even mention it, dude." With a weird emphasis on the word dude, Filippo smiled wider and clasped a hand on Elia's shoulder before brushing past him, leaving behind a very frustrated looking boy.
Giovanni caught Martino's gaze and it was as if they were in a sitcom because he was sure the way Martino tipped his head towards Elia's way was a silent 'what the fuck is going on'. He was pretty sure that his little shrug was a reply as 'I don't know'.
Martino squinted his eyes but got distracted when Niccolò spoke, silent enough for only to Martino hear but Giovanni was close enough to hear a part of it. "Were we this obvious too?"
Oh, that made sense, the headphone incident. The lying and the lingering gaze and, fuck. It was going to be Martino all over again it seemed.
Giovanni was not ready.
2. The Mood Swings
Elia was an impulsive person.
He was loud, for sure. Sometimes he talked without thinking but he was never rude or hurtful, he knew when to shut up and respect people as well.
Lately, it was as if Elia had been replaced by his completely opposite doppelganger. He was silent a lot and he didn't laugh as often. He snickered know, only cynical instead of cheerful. He was bitter and mean. He even called Luca dumb just yesterday and he had apologized simultaneously but still.
Giovanni was going to interfere, he had to. He knew Martino was on to something as well but they hadn't been able to have a chat since well, Martino was having his honeymoon with his Mr. Romantic but Giovanni knew he was worried too.
So one day as they were waiting for Marti and Niccolò to say their goodbyes to have a sleep over at Luca's place, Giovanni made his move.
"Ah, don't you feel like a proud mom at the sight of young love?" He placed his hand on his heart and sighed dramatically, trying to act nonchalant.
Luca chuckled while Elia rolled his eyes. "I'm planning their wedding."
Elia scoffed at Luca's words and while Luca was too busy smiling at his friends from afar, Giovanni can see the discomfort of Elia. "They are too out there don't you think?"
"What do you mean?"
"Do they have to show the whole world that they are in love? Seriously, they can be in love and keep it to themselves more."
Luca looked confused by Elia's word and surprisingly, he even looked offended. "You know that they're not trying to show off? They're just happy bro, happiness should be contagious."
Luca was rarely serious but damn, when he was he was in it for real. Elia looked more frustrated than before though which was not the direction he was trying to go.
"Wanting to be 'exclusive' is childish don't you think?" He huffed and stuffed his hands in his pockets.
"Whatever. I think I'll head home."
Just then, Martino made his way towards them with a smile on his face, his cheeks were dusted pink. "Hey, where are you going?" Marti said as he grabbed Elia by the arm, which made the boy flinch and shrug his hand off.
"What? You weren't a moment ago." Giovanni shrugged as Martino tried to find answer from him and Luca as well with questions in his eyes.
"Well, you were gone to suck your boyfriends face for longer than a moment. So."
Martino's gaze hardened and his lips place into a thin line. Rather than angry he looked hurt, which made Elia to look away and leave without saying anything else.
Giovanni sighed as frustration and place his hand on Marti’s arm, creasing gently." It’s not about you, or Niccolò. Don' t take it to the heart."
Martino nodded but he still looked hurt.
2. The Truth
>> I don’t know what up with you but you gotta know, pushing your friends does not help. We are here for you bro
Giovanni felt down, to say the very least, he wasn't in the mood.
He couldn't believe that he had to go through this angst fest between his friends, a second time. The last time he had to deal with an Elia that felt extremely guilty and he has to convince the boy that it wasn't about him. And now Marti was being an idiot by acting as if he wasn't hurt by Elia's actions where he clearly was. Giovanni, to some extent, knew that Marti's biggest fear was rejection from his friends.
He felt like he was on edge until Martino texted him.
<< Elia and I had a chat. We're good, I think hell explain himself to you guys soon. You can stop worrying.
>>i wasn't worried
He had been, and after that, he slept a bit better.
It was the same window shell where Martino had explained himself to his friends and by that point Giovanni had made his peace with this cosmic joke.
"So, guys, ugh. You remember Filippo."
Well, at the end Elia and Martino were different people because Elia was diving head first into the situation in hand.
Giovanni and Luca nodded simultaneously, Giovanni looking at Marti to see his reaction as well. The boy gave him a small nod and that was enough to confirm everything Giovanni suspected over the past few weeks.
"What about him?" He prompted after a bit of a pause.
Elia played with his ring to stall and started down at his hand but he didn't need too much time to gather his words. "We had a thing. Or we have a thing, I don't know."
Even Luca didn't seem surprised. "You're bisexual right?" Luca asked with a smile on his face, clearly proud of himself for figuring the situation out. He quickly added. "Of course, I shouldn't assume-"
"Its okay dude. I am bisexual." Now all of them were smiling. Martino and Luca looked proud and Giovanni and Elia just looked relieved. "I knew for a time now. Just didn't talk about since, I don't know, I didn't have an actual reason? You know how it is around here, maybe I wanted to keep quiet until I met a boy. And I'm sorry that I didn't just say it earlier Marti, maybe it would've helped, I just wasn't exactly-"
"No, no stop that. You should be the one to decide when you want to talk about it. Its chill," Martino gave an encouraging smile and the two hugged over Giovanni.
"Okay so you had been fine with your identity. What is the problem? You must know that we'd be okay with you and Filippo."
"Yeah, I know but I don't think Fili was okay," Elia sighed and the smile that had appeared don his face wavered. "He told me that It was okay If we weren't official and labels for children and all that. I thought I would be okay with it, sneaking around was like a game. But I want more and he keeps talking about how we don't have to be anything and I just..."
Elia was silent after that. All of them seemed to be processing this new information on their own, all of them were confused in their own ways.
"This doesn't sound like him," Marti started. "He is not afraid to be who he is and all. I'm sure."
"I'm aware. That’s why it hurts, maybe... He doesn't like me enough."
No one had a comeback for that because no one could talk on the behalf of Filippo. Maybe their story was a bit different than Martino and Niccolò after all. Giovanni had to wait and see and meanwhile he could enjoy the moment were they all tried to cheer up their friend.
At least they had each other.
4. Straight up
One minute they were laughing about something dumb. The next moment, their smiles wavered a little as they all spotted the blank expression on Elia's face. He was too caught up with his phone to even hear what they were talking about.
The rest of the gang all shared a look, Giovanni couldn't bring himself to say anything. Thankfully Luca was in the mood to interfere.
"Bro, have you heard the new update on Iphones?" He tapped Elia's arm before speaking to gain his attention. He continued once Elia shrugged and returned his eyes on the screen again. "Here... You just press there, here you go." Luchino locked Elia's Phone and put it on the table, with a smug smile on his face.
In return he got a roll of eyes from Elia and fond smile from the rest of the gang. That boy knew how to change the mood better than anyone Giovanni met in his life.
“There is an other update called ‘tell us what’s wrong and spare us from the pain’. You should check that out as well,” Martino spoke calmly with a over the top fake smile on his face. Niccolo smacked his arm light heartedly but it didn’t make Martino back off and he continued to stare at Elia with raised brows.
Honestly, Giovanni was enjoying how the scene was playing out. He smiled when Elia sighed in defeat with a roll of his eyes. “Fine. You’re all loser,” he said bitterly. “Not you though Nicco. You can do better than Marti but still.” Niccolo replied by blowing a kiss to Elia’s way, Martino was acting as f he was offended and things were going to be fine. Giovanni relaxed and put his mind into the words Elia was about to utter.
“Filippo told me that and I quote ‘I can’t be what you want. I’m sorry.’ And left without an explanation. Honestly, I have no idea what he wants. I just told him that it was okay to be casual if it what he wants and a flipped out.”
Everyone was silent for a moment to process the situation at hand. Most of them were looking at Martino since he was the one closest to the older boy in the story but he looked as clueless as the others.
“I don’t get it. He wants something, I say okay an he leaves? Should I be a mindreader to-“
“Shut up,” Giovanni exclaimed all of a sudden. Yeah maybe Giovanni did not have the inside knowledge to understand Filippo Sava but something was starting to click. “Sorry for yelling but I think I have an idea. Maybe Filippo never wanted to be casual. Just thought it was what you wanted. And you proved him right and he got upset!”
Honestly, he deserved a metal. He was grinning big but the others had doubtful looks on their faces.
“I don’t follow,” Luca mumbled.
“Why would he tell me the opposite of what he wants?”
“No, I think Gio might be on to something,” Marti started. “Elia, bro, no offence but you give off the ‘casual fling’ type of a guy. You’re always hooking up but were you ever in a serious relationhip?”
“No but I’m not a player or some Eduardo Incanti. I just didn’t have anyone I cared about before.”
Giovanni put his hand on Elia’s knee in a reassuring manner. “But he doesn’t know that. Maybe he thought you weren’t ready for a relationship with a boy or something. Prove him wrong.”
Elia was starting to shake his head in agreement. All of a sudden, the room was filled with tension, everyone was starting get excited since something important was about to happen. Giovanni could feel the hype. “You have to pull a Niccolò Fares.”
“Wait, what is pulling a Niccolò? There is no such a thing? Babe?” Niccolò looked at Martino with a pout on his face and Martino gave a sheepish smile.
“Yeah! I will pull The Fares. But how?”
“Some big romantic gesture, like buy him chocolate or something. Make sure he knows. You have to try, you can’t give up.”
It was a chaos after that. Niccolò was both offended and flattered by the name of the operation, Luca was too excited to function well and everyone was giddy. At the end they decided that waiting was the worst possible option so Elia was out the door within ten minutes leaving a very nervous crowd behind.
At least Giovanni felt all content in heart, things will find its way.
5. Meeting Filippo
Sometimes it didn’t have to be complicated.
His friends looked so content, all having fun in the different part of the room with drinks in hand. It was another event of the school’s radio but Giovanni started to like these parties lately. The people were usually people he knew from the class, he got to hang out with hs best friends and the fact that he saw Eva didn’t hurt. And yeah, maybe they spoke a little at the previous party and yes; maybe that was the reason why he was wearing his best shirt.
In all honesty, he deserved some slack right? All the drama was finally over. Martino was happy, Luca was getting close with Silvia and was actually okay with being friends, and Elia…
Well, Giovanni hadn’t seen him since Thursday when he ran to get his dream boy with a romantic gesture. However (thankfully) they received some rather happy messages in the group chat, proving them that Elia and Filippo had sorted their thing out.
Still seeing them showing up the party with their hands latched together with matching smiles made Giovanni finally feel like he could finally relax. Especially seeing Luca’s bright smile and watching the confused look on Filippo’s face when Luca hugged him enthusiastically was priceless.
Apperantly Filippo had thought Elia was going to one of these boys who just experimented. Both of them were idiots for not speaking about anything serious and Elia wa defending himself with the fact that Fili was too hot for him to focus.
Things were okay now.
“He got me chocolate with peanut butter and almost killed me. That’s when I knew I could date him.”
Well, at least at the end, things worked out.
He was standing alone at some point in to the night, watching everyone from a distance in their own happy places. He was Eva from away also laughing with her friends and his heart speed up a little, it was bitter sweet sight to see. His eyes moved on to the couples, Martino, Niccolò, Elia and Filippo having a chat, looking relaxed.
Giovanni was alone at that point but he knew he didn’t feel lonely. He had amazing friends and he was happy.
Giovanni hadn't slept much. He kept thinking about her, and honestly did he ever stop doing that in the first place?
He was playing with a strand of his hair while he did his best to focus on the book he was holding in his other hand. Words didn't make much sense and yeah maybe reading about political philosophy while his mind was rather occupied had been a mistake.
So he was too eager to close the book as he felt a presence standing next to him in the library. It was Eva, of course he knew that even without glancing up because he knew her perfume and her old converse that had drawings on. He glanced up regardless and smiled lightly, his heart rate picking up a little at the sight of her.
She was biting her lip as she held something close to her chest and Giovanni realized that it was his sweatshirt. "Here you go," Eva spoke softly even though the library was rather empty, nervously shifting her weight between her feet. "Um, I thought that maybe we could-"
"Hi guys," Luca interrupted as he took the seat across Giovanni with his signature smile intact.
"I'll leave you guys to study, bye," Eva mumbled quickly and left quicker than that.
"What’s up with her? Are you guys talking again?"
Giovanni started down on the sweatshirt in his hand, his mind was still occupied with her mostly. "No. She brought me one of my sweatshirts that had been with her for a while."
"Seriously?!" Luca exclaimed and Giovanni had to shush him from yelling. "Dude, I saw you wearing that three days ago."
Giovanni rolled his eyes as he stuffed the sweatshirt in his bag. He muttered without keeping an eye contact. "You can't possibly know all of my sweatshirts."
Even Giovanni didn't know his shirts that well. But this particulier sweatshirt had looked so pretty on Eva Last night. So cute as she jumped around and Giovanni could feel as his heart melt at the sight. It been as if they had never been apart, as if they belonged.
He pretended to study and pretended to focus on something else and ignored Luca's bickering. He needed a bit time to figure it out for himself first and, well, Eva would never want to get back together. Right?
B O N U S
THE CHAT W/O GARAU
Luca: GUYS THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I CANT BELIEVE WE WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN BUT GIO IS HIDING STUFF FROM US
Martino: Wtf luca what are you talking about¿
Luca: You don't know the pain. The suffering. Im telling you next thing we know he will shut us out.
Elia: I noticed that he is not doing well with school work you might be right.
Luca: I KNEW IT!!
Obviously, I will lead the operation save the Garau because its my third time dealing with a friend that is being an idiot by keeping it to themselves.
I will announce everyone's roles in an hour. Marti, you're the 'I'm there if you need me friend' the rest, wait for my instructions.
Niccolò: For some reason I'm excited
Marti: Dont encourage him Ni
Filippo: Why am I even here