It was when Neil arrived.
Kevin knew there was something going on with Andrew, as soon as he saw the blond hesitate at the sight of Neil on floor, courtesy of Andrew's racquet. It was slow-motion, for Kevin at least. He watched Andrew, breathless, and realised he was about to lose a battle he didn't realise he had to fight.
Because Neil was gorgeous, Kevin could admit. Ruddy and scruffed up, but ultimately good-looking. It just never occurred to Kevin that he'd have to compete for Andrew.
That night, when it was just Kevin and Andrew on the roof, neither of them brought up the new boy that had already wriggled between them. Sure, friends (barely)-with-benefits was a bad idea to begin with, but Kevin had been hoping for a Rom-Com transition into hopeless lovers in the long run. Maybe he should have taken the hint, when he fell hard and Andrew walked away from the ledge.
Still. Andrew put his lips on Kevin's neck and called him 'baby', said he was so good and took care of Kevin for another night that week, and Kevin cuddled up to him afterwards and imagined this was forever.
Selfish . Kevin was so selfish. And he didn't mind at all.
Andrew bought Neil new clothes.
Fine. Okay. Andrew bought Kevin clothes all the time. It wasn't like it was a proposal.
That was the only instruction Kevin was given. He didn't think he'd done anything wrong. He sat in the passenger seat of Andrew's car, like he always did-
"Backseat, Day," Andrew elaborated. "Hurry up."
Fine. Sure. Rites of passage, and such. Not a huge deal.
Kevin saw Andrew standing by the entrance of the stairwell. They hadn't been up there for a while. The olive branch looked more like a twig when Andrew suddenly looked askance at Kevin's presence.
"Come on," Kevin prompted, reaching for the door.
Andrew grabbed Kevin's wrist, not unkindly. "Not tonight. Go to bed."
Matt's dorm door opened, but Neil was the one who emerged. He didn't even look at Kevin. The invisibility was more painful than Kevin had imagined.
"Fine," Kevin whispered, unable to speak properly around the lump in his throat. "I'll see you."
And it took all of Kevin's strength not to breakdown at the sight of them. A hundred one night stands that meant nothing. Strangers left with stories of how they got with the Kevin Day , and he cried when they finished, never to be seen again.
Andrew danced for Neil. He couldn't even open his eyes when he was fucking Kevin.
Andrew kissed Neil's cheek as they passed each other. He wouldn't ever kiss Kevin above his jaw.
There were hickeys on Neil's neck. Kevin only had bruises on his heart.
But then. Then there was a period when Neil wouldn't talk to Andrew. The two of them couldn't look at each other. Andrew was angry, and that used to be Kevin's cue to calm him down.
Just like old times, they ended up on the roof. Neither of them spoke about Neil or their brief separation. It was them and the moon, under the stars, kissing (on the lips! Lips! ) and Andrew lamenting apologies down Kevin's chest.
It was back to normal for a week before Andrew demoted Kevin to the backseat again. Neil beamed in the passenger's seat, right at Andrew, who - God forbid - smiled back.
Kevin wanted to throw himself out onto the road. This...was happening.
That night, Neil went out with the Upperclassmen. The dorm was empty, apart from Andrew and Kevin. The thrill that used to instill haunted Kevin, but it was himself who walked from room to room, his fingertips ghosting over Andrew's things, his lips and neck, begging for the isolation to not be real.
Andrew walked up behind Kevin and placed a chaste, not quite affectionate kiss on his shoulder. "Room's free."
Kevin's lip quivered. He wanted Andrew so badly, but this was bound to be a mistake.
"One last time," Andrew proposed. "Yes or no?"
Kevin turned to face Andrew. "One last time?" He asked, breathless again. "Are you kidding me?"
"This was never permanent, Day." The tone - suggesting that he had an out for leading Kevin into the crevices of his life, dark corners and alleyways of his mind, if only to keep Kevin 'under control' - it broke Kevin.
"So, what? You have a new toy?"
"Neil is-" Andrew stopped himself. "Different."
"Yes, Andrew, better. You were always looking for something better and I was just a placeholder to keep you busy. You'll go away thinking I'm just an idiot that couldn't respect a boundary, but I'm not the only one who took this too far. Go fuck your boyfriend, stop using me as a sex-toy."
Andrew pushed Kevin, crowding him back against the wall. "I did not use you," he denied.
"Then what do you call our arrangement? A relationship? Pretty shit boyfriend you must be. Go ahead and tell Neil that he's done once he gets boring."
They were so close. An inch apart. Kevin used to love this moment of proximity.
"We were friends," Andrew argued. The past tense knocked the wind from Kevin's lungs. "You were benefitting. It was just that- an arrangement."
"Say what you want," Kevin seethed. "You just like the power."
They stared at each other, down their nose, breathing into each others faces.
Of course they kissed.
It was harsh and angry and bruising, Kevin with his hands in Andrew's jersey and Andrew scruffing up Kevin's hair. Neil was a passing thought, but Andrew's problem to deal with in the end. Kevin let Andrew shove his tongue his mouth (weird, by the way, but it turned Kevin on to no end) and let himself be pulled to Andrew's bed. He lay down himself and kissed Andrew until he couldn't feel euphoria anymore, until the dread he'd harboured for too long flooded his chest. He turned away to breathe and Andrew stopped completely.
"Are-" Kevin wasn't going to cry, no, he couldn't. "Is this it? Are you gonna act like you hate me tomorrow?"
Andrew huffed. "Acting like I hate you is hardly a chore."
(Maybe that was why they'd never work; Kevin couldn't hear the fondness in Andrew's tone. Neil heard it, smiled, and sent Andrew mad with need. He was lying if said he never saw a future with Kevin - unfortunately that future was always going to be short-lived.)
Kevin said yes. He wanted Andrew, just one more time, then it would be out of his system and he would be out of Andrew's hair.
Still. As amazing it felt, Kevin clung onto Andrew in something of a hug, thinking he was about to lose not just a hopeless dream, but his best friend.
And it was all his own fault.
It was over sooner than Kevin had expected, and he humiliated himself by leaning in for another kiss and being rejected so awkwardly.
Andrew left to shower and meet with Neil. Kevin smiled at Andrew as he left and broke down in tears as soon as he was gone. The sheets still felt familiar but they held the memories of lovers turned to ghosts, different people who, in a different world, would have made it - happily ever after and all.
But Andrew wasn't meant for Kevin. And a relationship with Kevin wasn't meant to last.
At least, that's how Kevin felt.