The sun was setting outside, flooding the living room of Keith and Shiro’s apartment with a dim, warm light that contrasted the sharp rays coming from the floor lamps. Today would have been a splendid day for going outside, warm and sunny, the first flowers of spring finally going into full bloom. However, neither Pidge nor Keith had enjoyed a minute of it, both leaned over their schoolwork, eyes droopy with exhaustion.
All Keith wanted was to take his bike for a ride in the soft spring breeze, but his musical composition assignment hadn’t allowed him any free time this weekend. Sighing, he pressed play and listened to his bridge for possibly the tenth time that day, desperately trying to figure out what made him wince whenever he passed a certain point. A key was clearly off, and there was something about the melody that irked him, though he couldn’t quite place it. He let out an annoyed huff.
Whatever, there was no time to change that now. He just had to live with it. This assignment was doomed to fail from the beginning. Keith had no experience in digital composition whatsoever, preferring the calming presence of a guitar in his hands or a piano beneath his fingers. Leave the fancy special effects and house music to someone else.
Pidge had her own frustrations to deal with, slumped over her computer and groaning loudly every few minutes when her character suddenly got an uncontrolled, floppy arm because she missed a frame. Digital animation was tedious, and Pidge’s project was a massive one. This combined with the fact that she wasn’t exactly the most patient person on the planet, often led to strings of curse words and manic button smashing.
At least she still had another week or two to finish her assignment, Keith needed to be done by tomorrow. Being a perfectionist, he couldn’t help but going over every part of his song again and again, second-guessing his choices for transitions, drops and whether to add more auto tune. He had probably overanalyzed everything by now, but he refused to let anyone else weigh in with their opinion, way too embarrassed about his music to share it.
Keith knew he was being difficult, hypocritical even. Who had heard of a successful musician that refused to share their works? If he didn’t get over this fear he would never be able to perform, but somehow the thought of other’s judging his work was still a mountain too high to climb. He presented his music when it was necessary for his college evaluation, but apart from that, he kept it to himself the best he could. Not even Pidge had heard him sing more than a handful of times, and she was one of the people he trusted the most.
Sighing, he pushed his laptop and mixing gear away, removed his headphones, and sauntered over to the fridge. Pidge perked up from her hunched position, eyeing him curiously. Neither of them had moved in hours, fueling themselves with lukewarm Red Bull and leftover candy.
“You done?” She pulled off her headset and quirked a brow at him skeptically.
“It’s not getting any better. If I keep going I’ll just mess it up.” Keith replied, reaching for a plate of cold slices of pineapple pizza. They usually split their pizzas half-and-half, and while Shiro devoured his without mercy, Keith always seemed to have a couple of pieces leftover. His brother and Pidge never touched them, agreeing that pineapple on pizza was a cardinal sin. As long as Adam didn’t come over he had them all to himself.
“I should probably stop too,” she said, leaning over to close her computer, “I managed to decapitate the dog in the last frame.”
Keith chuckled at the mental image, receiving a glare from Pidge as she playfully shoved him out of the way to peek into the fridge.
“Do you guys ever have anything edible in here?” She complained loudly, before settling for a small beaker of strawberry yoghurt. Pidge grimaced as she pulled the lid off, leaning over to grab a spoon from the kitchen drawer.
“If you don’t like it don’t eat it,” Keith said, sighing at her displeased frown.
“I’m starving, Kogane. I can’t exactly live off of gummy bears and stale chips,” she groaned, dramatically falling back onto the couch with a hand covering her forehead.
“You live next door,” Keith deadpanned, joining her with his pizza.
“Too far, I’m not that desperate,” she said, shoving yoghurt into her mouth as if she hadn’t had a proper meal in days.
“Then stop complaining.”
Pidge finished in a hurry, but continued to stay suspiciously quiet as Keith nibbled on his pizza. If he hadn’t been too busy feeding his desperate hunger, he would probably have noticed her leaning over to grab his phone before it was too late, but alas, the moment he jerked up and reached out for it, his android was already in the hands of the devil.
“What exactly do you think you’re doing with that?” Pidge threw him one of those glances that were meant to look innocent but read more as pure malice to Keith. He knew that look. Whatever was on her mind, he was now fully determined to stop her.
“Relax, dude. I’m just having a little harmless fun!” Nothing about Pidge Holt was ever harmless; Keith had known her long enough to know that.
“Give it back!” He reached out for her, but Pidge was both small and fast, expertly slipping out of his grip like a snake, dangling his phone just out of reach.
“Wanna know what I’m doing?” She sing-songed, and Keith frowned.
“I want you to stop what you’re doing, that’s what I want!”
“Well, since you asked so nicely, I’ll tell you anyway.” She moved in closer to him on the couch, giving him a look that clearly said she would smash his phone on the table if he tried to come for her.
“I, the amazing Pidge Holt, am helping you find your forever soulmate!” She proudly presented the screen, showing a blurry picture of Keith eating pizza. He didn’t recognize the app at first, but when he saw the little red flame emoji in the top left corner, he had to keep himself from choking Pidge on the spot.
“Why is my picture on fucking Tinder????”
“Because I’m bored and you need a boyfriend,” she stated simply, typing into Keith’s phone.
“Why don’t you just make one for yourself then? It’s not like you have a love life!” Keith snapped, but Pidge only shrugged, cutting him off before he could go any further.
“I have no interest in boys, or girls, or anyone for that matter. You on the other hand…” She mused at him, tongue poking out to wet her lips, “I just need to make you a tasty bio, and voila. Besides, it might be fun to play with all the dirty creeps on this app.”
Keith gave up on stopping her after that. Instead, he stayed just within her line of vision, making sure to glare intently at her whenever her eyes flickered up. He didn’t even want to know what she was writing about him, probably something extremely embarrassing. Luckily, he didn’t have any pictures on his phone she could snatch, and Keith sure as hell wasn’t going to let her take any more.
Two minutes later, Pidge triumphantly shoved Keith’s phone in his face, her eyes glinting with mischief. He looked down to see what had to be the most unflattering description of himself he had ever seen, yet it was scarily accurate.
“Don’t you dare post that shit anywhere with my name on it!” he exclaimed annoyed, pointing an accusing finger at Pidge.
“Ok.” she said calmly, and Keith was completely thrown off by her reaction. It couldn’t be that easy, could it?
Of course, it couldn’t. Once Pidge handed him the phone, he could see that she had taken his request quite literally. The bio was now public, but Keith’s name simply changed. Same picture. Same ridiculous description. He cursed internally. Why was Pidge always so insistent on humiliating him?
Music student at Altea. Usually seen with coffee in hand and bags under my eyes.
Hobbies include playing broody songs on my guitar and hating my life.
I never take off my fingerless gloves, not even in the shower.
Your not-so-friendly neighborhood emo.
“They need to know the real you, Keith. So they’re aware of what they’re signing up for.”
“I hate you,” Keith mumbled, but his tone was defeated. There was no way he could talk Pidge out of using this profile now that she had made it, it was better to go with the flow and delete it once she left.
“I love you too,” Lucifer herself smirked, snatching the phone back from Keith’s hand. He made one more futile attempt to grab it before moving to sulk in the opposite corner of the sofa. Sometimes he felt like Pidge was the annoying little sister he never had, but never wanted either. No one else knew how to push his buttons like her, and right now she was mashing down on the big red one saying “don’t touch” repeatedly.
Keeping his phone away from Keith’s reach, Pidge proceeded to “carefully evaluate the eligible bachelors of Altea”, which apparently meant frantically swiping right at every man she saw pop up on the screen. She even upped the age limit, swiping right on men that could have been Keith’s dad or uncle.
Wanting to monitor Pidge’s behavior, even though he knew it was futile, Keith moved in closer again, watching as she matched with man after man as she swiped right in quick succession.
“Someone’s popular,” she smirked, and Keith nudged her head, causing her to yelp loudly. Even though she rubbed the back of it afterwards, clearly feeling the impact, Keith didn’t apologize. He was the victim here, not her.
He definitely didn’t regret his decision to smack Pidge over the head after he saw what she started typing out in the chats. Dirty, vile pick-up lines peeled off her like a second skin. She used them both to reply to the ones that had already contacted her and to message various strangers she had recently matched him with. Increasingly filthier answers filled up the inbox, and Keith hid his head in his hoodie in shame, hoping none of these people was in his classes. Pidge’s efforts were sure to embarrass him for months to come if anyone he knew got a hold of these.
As if that was not enough, Pidge stepped up on a nearby armchair and started reciting the messages aloud, along with exaggerating gestures, grimaces and theatrical impressions. This attracted Shiro from his bedroom, and soon they took turns reading the messages and their replies, causing Keith to get even more uncomfortable.
“What a nice mouth you’ve got. Hit me up if you wanna swallow anything other than that pizza, wink wink,” Pidge read in her deepest, most masculine voice, before switching to a girly tone as she typed out her reply.
“I’d taste you anytime, hotshot.” Shiro was bent over the chair laughing, an occasional grunt escaping his nose and making Pidge snicker.
“I swear I’m gonna kill you both,” Keith sputtered angrily, crossing his arms over his chest. Pidge ignored him, eagerly reciting a Shakespeare sonnet that someone had roughened up and sent him, containing far too many sexual innuendos.
It was actually impressively well written; still containing the structure and old English that Shakespeare was known for. If it hadn’t been for the fact that this was clearly a poem about masturbating to the sight of his ass, Keith might have found it funny.
Shiro cut Pidge off before she reached the crescendo, struggling not to laugh as he told her it was time to stop this torturous display before Keith vanished in a puddle of shame. Keith wasn’t sure if he was thankful for what his brother did, or mad at him for not intervening sooner. As he remembered Shiro reciting a series of texts explicitly explaining how a man wanted to cuff him to his bed and fist him, he decided it was definitely the latter.
Either Pidge’s version of Keith only attracted a certain type of people, or tinder was a place full of horny bastards that only wanted one thing. Keith wondered whether he had gotten any normal messages at all. Probably not, considering Pidge had spammed every match of his with inappropriate one-liners. Oh well, it didn’t matter. As soon as Pidge left the house, Keith would delete the app and try his best to forget this ever happened.
When Shiro went to return his phone, Keith snatched it from his hand and immediately closed the app, nostrils flaring. His brother apologized profusely, trying to explain how it was all in good fun, while Pidge only looked at him with wide puppy-dog eyes. While he knew none of them had bad intentions, he definitely felt like they had crossed a line. Then again, it could have been worse.
“Don’t ever do that again. And you both owe me a pineapple pizza,” they nodded obediently, looking at each other in a way that clearly said I can’t believe we got away with it that easily.
“Sure, we’ll buy you all the pizza you want,” Shiro said enthusiastically, spreading his arms in a peace offering. Now it was Keith’s turn to laugh wickedly, confusing them both.
“The pizza is for you two. Every single piece. Plain with tomato sauce, cheese and pineapples. And you will eat it without any complaints,” he added, “or I’ll throw in some olives to boot.” Pidge groaned and looked at Shiro with pleading eyes, but he only patted her head firmly, shaking his own.
“You got yourself into this, kid. It’s only fair.” Pidge huffed in protest, but didn’t move to leave as Keith dialed the delivery truck from Pizza Hut.
“Olives for Pidge then,” he smirked. She opened her mouth to protest but Keith beat her to the punch, “If you don’t shut up, anchovies are next on the list.” Pidge frowned at him, but stayed quiet.
The next hour of watching Shiro and Pidge gag, retch and complain while devouring piece after piece of pineapple pizza made the entire exchange worth it for Keith. He laughed loudly at every groan and grimace coming from their mouths, but pitied them enough to take a few pieces for himself in the end. After all, the two of them didn’t appreciate high quality food. It was a waste of resources.
When Pidge left to go to sleep, they were all on good terms again. She even slipped him one of those incredibly rare hugs on the way out. Pidge never hugged anyone but Matt, her mom, and occasionally Keith. Though Keith was not a very affection-seeking person himself, he cherished her hugs immensely.
“I’m gonna go to bed, see you in the morning!” he waved to Shiro and headed to his bedroom. Slipping out of his jeans and hoodie, he crept into bed, wrapping himself in the duvet like a burrito.
It took him a moment to figure out how to free his arms and still maintain the structure of the covers around him, but soon he was able to effortlessly scroll on his phone while cocooned.
His finger hovered over the burning flame icon, but instead of moving it to the trash bin; he clicked to open the app, suddenly overtaken by curiosity. Opening a few of the conversations, he giggled at some of Pidge’s more creative conversation starters. When he detached himself from the equation, it was actually quite funny to read the messages.
He also learned that some of the guys contacting him had been both nice and polite, but they had stopped responding once Pidge flooded them with dirty messages. Keith felt somewhat bad for them, knowing how much courage it could take to start a conversation. He had personal experience with that.
Deleting the conversations, Keith once again closed the app, but ended up opening it only minutes later. Maybe he could just swipe a little. See what this experience was all about, without naughty messages and horny dudes to ruining it for him.
Tentatively moving his finger across the screen, Keith swiped left on a few football jocks, growing increasingly disinterested as he went. At this point he was barely even looking at the pictures before swiping left, once again wondering why anyone was present on this godforsaken app.
He nearly swiped past the next profile as well, but his finger screeched to a halt when he took in those piercing blue eyes. Stopping, he tapped the picture to enlarge it, seeing a tan brunet smiling confidently at the camera, sparkling rays from the heavy sun reflecting in his eyes. The picture was clearly taken in summer, and the boy was wearing only blue and white swimming trunks, clutching a surfboard with his right hand, his left one holding up a peace sign.
His skin looked velvet smooth, and Keith couldn’t stop his eyes from trailing to the defined abs outlined on his stomach. Intrigued, Keith moved to the next picture. Here, the stranger was standing next to a newly built snowman, holding an excited toddler in his arms. Possibly a niece or younger sister, Keith thought. Hopefully not a daughter, given the guy’s age. The boy was full on grinning, his pearl-white teeth rivaling in color with the fresh snow. It seemed like such an earnest smile, and Keith found himself wondering what it would feel like to be the cause of it.
Half Cuban/Half heartthrob
Dance student at Altea by day, hopeless gamer by night.
Like my shirt? It’s made out of boyfriend material
If you’ve read this far, why not swipe right? You obviously liked my pics ;)
Though incredibly cheesy, he seemed like a fun person. Probably a lot more outgoing and cheerful than Keith. Possibly slightly annoying, even obnoxious judging from his bio, but fun. Not to mention ridiculously pretty. It really shouldn’t be allowed.
By his name was a bright blue star icon that Keith hadn’t seen on any of the other profiles. Little sparks of blue were radiating out from it, making it prominent on the plain white background. I wonder what that means.
Pausing to think, Keith scratched the back of his head. Was he really going to use this app the way it was intended? Surely not, but it would be fun to swipe right just this once and see what happens. He was going to delete the app later anyways. Besides, this guy was way out of his league. There was no way it would work.
Keith swiped right, instantly receiving a pop-up message on the screen, displaying their icons side by side. He gasped in surprise and slight horror.
It’s a match!
You and Lance have liked each other!
Send a message
No no no no no! Hold on a minute, rewind! He never expected that to happen. What was he supposed to do now? What if this guy only swiped right to mess with him? Surely, Keith wasn’t the only one that had devilish friends. There was no way he did that on purpose. No way. Keith should probably delete the app now before he embarrassed himself again. Especially considering this guy went to his local college.
Before he had the time to do that however, a notification popped up in the right corner.
Message from: Lance
Keith clicked the icon, not sure what he was expecting, his pulse suddenly raging in his throat. He debated throwing the phone across the room and never picking it up again. What if this guy knew any of the ones Pidge had been messaging? Maybe he swiped right to get revenge for one of his mates. He nervously peeked down at the message.
Lance: Was your father a thief?
Ok, now he had absolutely no idea what was going on. Was this some sort of accusation? What kind of point was he trying to make? Keith should really just ignore him, shouldn’t he? Move on before this app caused him even more embarrassment.
But his fingers moved on their own accord and he typed back, cursing at himself for not putting away the phone and going to sleep. As if he would be able to sleep now, anyway.
K: No, why?
The chat immediately dinged again.
Lance: ‘Cause someone stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes.
Okay, he had to admit that was cute. Even though his eyes didn’t show in the picture. Wait, was this guy flirting with him, or just messing around? Probably the latter. Keith wouldn’t let him get points that easily.
K: My eyes don’t even show in my profile pic…
Blunt, as usual. Speaking his mind even when he knew he’d be better off staying quiet.
Lance: I know, that was kind of a weird ice-breaker… Sorry.
Lance: But you could show me a real picture and I’ll judge if your eyes are as cute as the rest of your face ;)
Keith blushed a little at that. What was with him today? This random guy he’d never met before made him feel all jittery inside. Admittedly, he was also a bit annoyed by his approaches, but more in an amused way. Keith felt a sudden need to know how Lance ticked, what made him flirt with such nonchalant confidence without coming off like an egotistical jerk. He was intrigued, and therefore kept indulging himself in the meaningless conversation.
K: I don’t think so
Lance is typing…
Lance: There seems to be something wrong with my eyes…
Lance: I can’t take them off you ;)
Keith shook his head in disbelief, letting out a soft chuckle. Ok, maybe this guy was a bit of a one trick pony. However, there was no way he wasn’t flirting with him at this point. Keith wasn’t very experienced in that area, but three cheesy compliments in a row had to mean something, right? To make it even better, none of them had been about his mouth, his ass or their many indecent applications.
K: Is sending cheesy pick-up lines all you do on this app or?
Lance: Kinda… I’m really bad at small talk.
Lance: You do look good though. At least what I can see from that blurry pic.
It surprised Keith how genuine his compliment seemed, and he felt a surge of heat rise to his cheekbones, his heart rate picking up a fraction.
K: Thanks, I guess
The piercing pitch from his alarm clock ruined the moment, reminding him that it was time to go to sleep if he wanted to have a decent chance of being on time tomorrow. Stretching his arms above his head and yawning, Keith typed a final message to Lance, managing to catch his answer right before he closed off the app.
K: I’mma go to bed now. Bye stranger.
Lance: Night. Sweet dreams, K.
K? Oh, right. That was him. Wow, that was… oddly sweet. Kind of endearing actually. This guy really seemed to have his heart in the right place. Keith was glad they had the chance to talk, though he doubted Lance would ever contact him again. He had responded far too crudely. Looking down at his phone, he smiled softly to himself and pressed the lock button. There was really no rush. He could delete the app tomorrow.