Julia. Quentin felt like a spastic dumb-ass because the moment his best friend touched him he knocked the teacher’s picture of his dog off his desk and broke the frame.
Shit. Julia was so pretty. She had her hair in pigtails and wore a turtleneck; she had grabbed his hand to greet him. She smelled like vanilla, and Quentin twice had to stop himself from leaning forward to breathe it in. Don’t be creepy on purpose, dipshit.
“You ok, Q?”
“Aha,” he said, he tucked his hair behind his ear and sat down behind her. He hid his face behind a copy of the Wandering Dune, the fifth Fillory and Further book. It was third period, AP History, and they were studying the French Revolution. Julia had a very large hard cover copy of Les Misérables on her desk.
James took the seat across from Julia. He smacked Quentin on the cheek and winked at him. Quentin sunk low in his chair and pretended to be interested in something in his book.
James had a loose curl. That curl was the bane of Quentin’s existence. It liked to stick out on top of James’ head away from the rest tormenting everyone who saw it. Shit. Quentin twitched and knocked his books off his desk with a loud thwack. James bent down to pick them up and their hands touched. Fuck. He wanted to disappear. He wanted his chair to swallow him whole, and never spit him out. Nice going, dickweed. Are you always this fucking embarrassing?
The ultimate power couple were ruining his life. Julia was a fucking goddess, and James smelled like cherry Jolly Ranchers, and Quentin was pretty sure he was having a panic attack.
“Q,” said Julia turned around in her seat.
“Coldwater is about to cum in his pants,” laughed an asshole in the back row. Julia gave him the finger.
“Mr. Coldwater, do you need to leave the classroom?” asked Mr. Watson.
Jacob Watson was Quentin’s favorite teacher. He was stern but fair.
“Can I just lie down?”
Q dropped to the floor and let his panic attack ride out as Julia held his hand. It was the worst possible thing she could do because his heart was pressed against his ribcage, reverberating to the syllables of her name; but she cared and that was nice.
“Should we kiss him to stop his panic attack?” James asked. Holy shit.
“If you want to kiss him, go ahead. I won’t stop you,” said Julia. Holy shit.
James. That fucking curl made Quentin hit his head on the desk. He deserves better than my stupid ass. James helped him up and held on to him as they stood.
“Come on, Q, let’s go to the infirmary.”
Quentin was a huge embarrassment to himself and having his heart practically singing James’s name as they walked to the infirmary together was more than he could handle today. It had gone from beating Julia to beating James and it was making him dizzy.
On a good day he could stand to be around his best friend and long-time crush, but her boyfriend was unexplored and terrifying territory.
James liked to touch Q. A simple hand gliding along his back was enough to make Quentin forget how to function. His broken brain would put a blue screen like a computer malfunction message, and then totally stop working.
“It’s ok, buddy. You’re ok. Do you want me to kiss you?” Is this real life?
Quentin was sure he was blushing and had nothing to hide behind.
“Uh, It not, um, so in Fillory…”
James grinned, and plopped down on the cot next to Quentin to hear him sputter through some bull shit. Quentin gestured wildly with his hands as he talked about Cozy Horse and the Chatwin twins and how much he wanted them all to be Fillorian Kings and Queens. He saw James listen to all of it like the outstanding friend that he was.
The nurse made James leave and made Quentin lie down until the period was over and sent him on to gym class.
Sports were ungodly torture. With about as much hand to eye coordination as a turtle, Quentin dropped every ball that came near him. He cowered when someone would throw a ball at him. Sports were embarrassing.
On top of not being to catch a ball flying at him, he also saw James take his shirt off during class. “Hey, look out!” A ball hit him in the shoulder. James, in his shirtless glory, nearly leapt over another boy like a Cheetah to get to Quentin.
Sweat clung to those treacherous curls pinning them to his head.
“Are you alright, Q?” James asked.
“Good, I was worried.”
“I’m sorry I’m such a loser.”
James ran back onto the gym floor after holding up class to help Quentin to the bleachers to sit down. He patted him on the head like he was a puppy, booped him on the nose, winked.
“This can’t get any worse.”
A whistle blew in the corner of the room and the girl’s gym class came sprinting in. Quentin saw Julia, with her pigtails bouncing, and her short skirt hugging her legs in the right places, and he pulled a bit of his hair in front of his face to hide behind.
“Q,” said Julia panting. She wore a yellow T-Shirt to accompany the school’s black and gold color scheme. “Why aren’t you participating? We’re about to play volleyball? Girls vs boys. I wanted to kick your ass.”
“The only sport I play is Quidditch.”
Julia didn’t say anything. She climbed up the bleachers and sat beside him. She patted his knee and nudged him with her arm. He stared at her with his mouth open.
“I won’t play either.”
“You love volleyball.”
“But I love you more. You’re not ok today. I know that. You need me right now. I don’t care if Coach Feldman gives me a zero today. Let’s sort everyone into Hogwarts houses.”
“James is a Hufflepuff,” Quentin said immediately.
“The biggest Hufflepuff the world has ever seen.”
“That girl over there is a Slytherin,” said Quentin pointing at a blonde girl who spit on him in second grade because he told her she was pretty.
“Do I get to be a Ravenclaw?”
“Where else would I put you?” Quentin asked her seriously. She layed her head on his shoulder and sorted both gym teachers into Slytherin, because only someone unspeakably evil would make teenagers play sports in gym class.