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On-Screen Romance

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A jawline to die for half hidden behind a fluffy mullet that looked like it belonged in a time decades ago – Billy Hargrove was hot.

It wasn’t that Steve minded having a good-looking co-star – why would he? He was definitely going to have to spend a lot of time with him, as well as kiss him for certain scenes. He was just surprised, which, admittedly, didn’t make sense. Of course the person who was going to be playing his love interest was going to be good-looking. God forbid golden boy Steve Harrington would have a less than stunning person to make out with on-screen.

“Hi,” he said a little sheepishly, realizing he was staring. “Sorry I’m late, I got held up.”

He stepped into the room and sat in one of the leather chairs in front of the desk, the door shutting behind him. Billy sat next to him, in an identical chair. He looked annoyed. Steve looked away.

In front of them, behind the large desk, sat Joyce Byers. “No worries,” she smiled. “You’re only a few minutes late and we’re not on a tight schedule... yet.” A huff came from Billy’s side, but Steve ignored it in favour of focussing on Joyce.

“I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said, even though both he and Joyce knew it was an empty promise. They’d worked on enough projects together to know Steve was almost never on time. Joyce was great, though, assuring him time and time again that as long as he wasn’t too late, it didn’t matter.

Joyce was the producer of the series they were going to start shooting for soon, Bullet Wounds. The title was intense, and so would the series be, but Joyce had already told him it had it would have its fair share of cute and funny moments as well.

“So, boys,” Joyce started, “I’ll keep this short! I’ve already told you both the basics of the series. Aspiring cop houses with the criminal son of a murderer. Enter chaos, you know it. It’ll sound much better when you read the script – there’s a reason Murray does the writing and I do the producing,” she said jokingly.

Billy, to Steve’s surprise, laughed along heartily. “You’re doing a great job, Mrs Byers, don’t worry.”

"As I've already said, just 'Joyce' is fine, Billy." She pulled open one of the desk’s drawers, taking out two maps and walking around the desk to hand one to both Steve and Billy. “All the information is in there, as well as the script for the first few episodes. There’s also a copy of the last contracts I send you, I still need those signed from both of you.”

The rest of the meeting was short, and before he knew it, Steve was standing in the hallway again, this time with Billy Hargrove, who bend down to retie his shoelaces. Steve stood there for a moment, not sure of what to say. He didn’t want to just walk away without saying anything, but the situation was awkward for several reasons. Firstly, they hadn’t said a single thing to each other during the entire meeting. Still, Steve couldn’t help but think Billy was annoyed with him.

Secondly, Billy had not followed him back on Instagram. No matter how stupid it sounded, it bothered Steve, just a little bit. Joyce had given them the other’s social media- and contact information so they could talk before being in the meeting they were just in (she clearly thought they had, considering she skipped any introductions). Steve being Steve, he’d followed Billy on Instagram, partly because he followed everyone on Instagram, and partly because he wanted to get to know the other. He’d even PM’d the other, but had gotten nothing in return.

“It’s, eh, nice to meet you,” Steve finally said, with as much of a smile as he could bring up.

Billy turned to look at him, but instead of saying anything, raised an eyebrow.

“I send you a message on Instagram. I don’t think you saw?”

“I saw.”

“Oh. You didn’t reply.” It was such a fucking awkward thing to say, Steve was well aware. He was just curious. After all, they didn’t know each other at all, so it wouldn’t make any sense for Billy to dislike him, so why did Steve get the feeling he did? “I figured we might want to get to know each other, being co-stars and all.”

Further down the hall, a door swung open. Billy was still looking at him, but didn’t say anything until the person that had walked out the door was out of sight and out of ear.

“Listen real fucking closely, king Steve.” Billy took a step closer, and Steve couldn’t help but notice exactly how close he was. “You’re just some spoiled ex-child star who loves attention. I’m here to do my job, not to join your little famous friend group. So let’s do both of us a favour, and just be colleagues.”

 

───────

 

“And then he just… left? And you let him?”

Steve was sitting on the soft carpet that covered the floor of the apartment. “Well, yeah. I mean, what was I supposed to do?”

Robin was sitting upside down on the couch, her legs over the backrest and a slice of pizza in her hand. She was going back and forth between staring at the script of Bullet Wounds and talking to Steve.

“You should’ve flipped him off, he sounds like an asshole.” She took a bite of the pizza. “Or better even, you should’ve gone for a real scandal. Something that ends up in the headlines. ‘Sweet Steve Harrington punches co-star for not following him back.’”

“You suck, Rob.”

“Not as much as you for calling me Rob.”

The back-and-forth bickering was a familiar routine. They had been living together for a few months, now. It had been an impulsive decision. They weren’t dating like the press liked to say – they were just really great friends.

Admittedly, when they were filming Sweet Sixteen, Steve had had a bit of a crush on her. But that film had premiered almost three years ago, now. A week after it had, Steve had confessed about liking her – Robin had made it clear that they would never be a thing, and had had a good reason for it; she didn’t like boys. It had sucked for a moment, but that had passed quickly, so all with all, it had worked out well. The press, however, was still – and likely forevermore – on their ass about them dating.

Steve thought it would be great to turn to the next camera that was pointed at them and just yell SHE’S A LESBIAN!, but Robin wasn’t ready to come out to millions of people, and Steve respected that.

The phone rang and pulled Steve out of his thoughts. “You get it, I’m too lazy,” Robin said, and thus, he got up and went to grab the phone.

“Hello?”

He could practically feel Robin rolling her eyes at him. You’re supposed to say your name when you pick up, Steven, she’d told him a million times before. He ignored it.

“Hi, Steve!”

He recognised the voice, of course. “Oh, hey!”

Nancy Wheeler had played the third and final protagonist of Sweet Sixteen. She, Robin and Steve had built up an impressive fanbase through that one successful film. Fans had been all over the place when Steve and Nancy first confirmed to be dating, and even more all over the place when they broke up. Later, the fandom, or whatever it was supposed to be called, had quieted down. Sweet Sixteen was over, Steve and Nancy were over, the press tour was over. The three of them started to appear in less and less interviews.

Now, though, it seemed like the Tumblr posts and crack videos about them were increasing again. After all, the announcement that there would be not a film, but a series, where both Steve and Robin would be starring in, was a big deal. Robin had snatched a role in Bullet Wounds was well, though a smaller one. She’d appear often enough, still, playing Billy’s best friend (ugh).

Steve balanced the phone between his shoulder and his ear. “What’s up?”

“Nothing much, I just wanted to check in. You start filming soon, right?”

“Yeah, next week. Hold on, Robin’s here, I’ll put you on speaker,” Steve said before doing exactly that. He dropped down on the ground again and threw the phone between him and Robin. He grabbed a slice of pizza.

“Are you excited? And hi, Robin!”

Steve groaned at the question. Robin replied, “Hi, Nance. I’m pretty excited, it’ll be fun to play one of the bad guys for a change. I think Stevie boy over here is a little less excited, though.” She grinned at Steve, and he, in response, scowled a little, and Robin, in response, threw the Bullet Wound script in his face.

“Oh, why? It should be exciting, right? It's a big production, after all.”

“I was excited,” Steve said. “’Till I found out Billy Hargrove is an asshole.”

“He’s Dover, right?”

“Yea.”

Dover was the name of the character Billy would be playing. Officially, Nancy was not supposed to know this – or anything about the upcoming series, really. Steve and Robin had told her plenty despite of it. She could be trusted not to spread the word, so it didn’t matter.

“And why is he an asshole?”

Steve started ranting.