Evan Hansen was a goddamn liar.
Evan Hansen had had sex with Zoe on her dead brother’s bed and also had oops lied about ever having been friends with him.
So thanks Evan, thanks for the memories, and oh, you know, disrupting grief cycles with lies.
But Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, your best friend in the whole wide world, will never know about that, Evan.
Her reflection from a window caught her eye, and she was almost stunned. Dark circles sinking her green eyes into her light, freckle encrusted skin, her solid forest green t-shirt rumpled, her jeans looking distressed, and not in the trendy, ripped up way. She looked positively wrecked.
Zoe had so badly wanted to tell everyone in the school about how much of an asshole Evan was, but of course, her parents and Evan’s poor mother, Heidi, agreed that it’d be kept secret. Nobody needed to know that this charity that’d helped hundreds of thousands of people was a fraud crafted by a seventeen year old boy. And they weren’t wrong about that.
So the only people who knew the truth were the people who had worked with, or had close ties to, the Connor Project.
Maybe Zoe didn’t know and Evan just happened to actually have a secret best friend, and wasn’t posthumously using them for personal benefit, but as far as she knew, only seven people, not counting Evan and Connor, (because Connor was dead), knew the truth.
First, there was her, obviously. Then there were her parents, of course. Cynthia and Larry, who mildly hated each other but kept up appearances.
Heidi, Evan’s mom, she didn’t deserve any of this, truly. She was just doing her best for Evan and look what happened.
And then there was Jared Kleinman. Apparently he’d helped write the emails for the Connor Project, and he was kiiiiinda an asshole, but also not really, and kinda seemed to have gotten dragged into this. He’d been friends with Evan before all this, and undoubtedly, that relationship was now beyond repair. Again, Jared was kinda an asshole, but he was also.... clearly very insecure, poor sad boy with too many dick jokes shoved up his ass. But hey, he was pretty cute appearance wise... alas, that didn’t really balance anything out.
Lastly, Alana Beck. Zoe had noticed, during the last couple weeks of the Connor Project’s lie, that she was pulling pretty much all the weight. Writing blog posts, running fundraisers, social media, handing out flyers... meanwhile Evan mooched off her parent’s adoration for him. She always looked exhausted and thin, and the responsibilities of the Connor Project, combined with school, and her tendencies to enlist in 7000000 extracurriculars, Alana was... worthy of some serious pity.
In any event, Zoe needed someone to talk to, to spill some serious tea with. And since nobody was allowed to know, she needed to turn to someone who did know.
So that meant tapping on Jared’s shoulder when she next saw him in the hallway at school, between third and fourth period.
He turned, and boy, did he look just as deeply fucking exhausted as she. Dark circles under his pale blue eyes, softly fading out away from his eyes to his unremarkable white skin. He was wearing a rumpled, unbuttoned black polo shirt with white stars all over it, on top of a solid blue t-shirt, with jeans. Converse finished the look, as well as large glasses that looked slightly down at her, even though he couldn’t have been an inch taller than her.
“Hi there, stranger,” Zoe said, softly.
”Oh... hi.” Not the usual Jared, clearly he was also suffering from the truth that’d just been revealed.
”Do you want to spill some Evan Hansen tea? Since, you know, nobody’s allowed to know how much of an asshole he is, shush shush, guys.” Her voice in her ears sounded bitter, angry.
Jared hesitated, looking from her green, furious eyes, to his locker, to the floor, and back at her.
“We didn’t talk much while... I guess before... and by the way I’m so sorry-“
”Oh, forget about it. I don’t care. Evan’s the real ass here. Just come sit with me at lunch, let’s discuss?”
More hesitation, even a tiny bit of fidgeting. Then, finally, “You know what? Sure. I have better things to do, but this is fine.”
“You don’t, actually. But cool,” Zoe retorted. “See you at lunch.”
”See you, Murphy.”
She walked off briskly after that. She was about to be late for English, anyway, and she secretly hoped that the faster she walked, the faster lunch would come.
Who wouldn’t be looking forward to spilling tea with the King of Dick Jokes himself?
Lunch arrived quickly enough, and Zoe claimed a table near a corner, far enough away from the other tables that nobody would bother or overhear them.
She packed her lunches, she wasn’t stupid enough to eat the disgusting mush the school tried to pass off as food, and she’d just begun to unwrap it (a turkey and cheese sandwich) when Zoe spotted both Jared and Alana Beck in the lunch line.
Shit, she hadn’t remembered to invite Alana. She definitely wasn’t going out into the fray of screeching teenagers to grab her, though, and Alana would likely eat in the library. As usual.
But when Jared came out of the lunch line, he waited off to the side, rather than make his way to the back. She was confused, until she saw him grab Alana’s arm. They exchanged words for a few minutes, Alana looking like he’d jumped out from the shadows with a scary mask on and a chainsaw, and then they both made their way to Zoe.
That sight shouldn’t have made Zoe want to drink it in forever, but it did.
Whatever. She shoved down that odd feeling and waved to them when they were an appropriate fifteen ish feet away.
”Welcome to the Fuck Evan Hansen Club, I guess,” Zoe said.
”I have been looking forward to this,” Jared said, flopping down onto the beach. Alana primly sat down a foot or two away from him on the same bench, leaving Zoe with the entire other side to herself, a fact she wasn’t unhappy about. The school lunch tables were made of the same stuff they made the bleachers of, and they were picnic tables, to allow as many kids to squeeze into this already somewhat overcrowded school as possible.
Alana nervously twisted a long, thin brown braid from her ponytail as she crossed her legs. She was wearing a nice, comfy, oversized blue knit sweater, and black leggings, with combat boots. Zoe wouldn’t have said that Alana struck her as a combat boots girl, but she was definitely a combat boots girl. The buzzing LEDs above reflected a bit off Alana’s huge, round wire glasses. Her timid brown eyes. She always looked somewhat exhausted, dark circles under her eyes, oddly contrasting her deep brown skin with shimmering jewel undertones.
She was beautiful, to put it lightly.
Zoe might be straight, but she could appreciate another woman’s beauty.
”Anyway... Evan Hansen.”
”You mean, ultimate dick face?” Jared chimed in, a layer of asshole-ness coating an underlying tiredness.
”Agreed,” Alana said, her soft voice overwhelmingly winning the exhaustion category. Forget Jared, forget herself, Alana took home the gold.
“Did you guys know that he had sex with me? On my dead brother’s bed?” Zoe asked. She just couldn’t keep that to herself anymore.
”Oh.... oh my gosh. It was consensual, right?” Alana asked.
”Yeah. But like, I asked if we should move and he said we were just fine where we were. I mean...” she trailed off, fidgeting with the hem of her shirt. Yeah, it was kind of her fault it’d happened.
”Still, that’s messed up,” Jared said, seeming to sense her internal battle. “I didn’t know Evan Hansen could be that bold, but Jesus.”
”I pulled four all nighters for him when he started getting serious with you, and actually doing the Connor Project stuff less and less,” Alana chimed in.
”So that’s why you look like an actual zombie,” Jared said.
”I have all sorts of extracurriculars and also regular schoolwork, and extra credit, and then add on pretty much running a charity on my own, directing fundraisers, writing uplifting blog posts when I felt like death was imminent, et cetera et cetera.”
Jared let out a low whistle, and then swept off his head an imaginary hat. “Hats off to you, Miss Alana, if I had been in your place I might’ve given in to the torture and died.”
”He stayed the night at my house so many times my mom bought him a toothbrush. And he slept in fucking Connor’s room!” Zoe exclaimed. “Meanwhile you’re pulling four all nighters in a row because you’re overburdened?”
”Yeah. God, the nerve of some people,” Alana groused. That was the most salt Zoe ever heard from Alana, and that wasn’t even saying very much.
And they just kept talking. Zoe had never had such an experience with any two individuals, just griping about an asshole like old friends, even if she’d talked to Jared once or twice before and Alana, like, never.
When lunch was over, Zoe grabbed them both before they headed out into the rush and told them to sit with her tomorrow. They nodded over the noise and headed out into the stampede.
And Zoe felt... much better. She’d talked about it just like she wanted, got her emotions out and was listened to, and as a sweet bonus, she hadn’t immediately decided it was a one-time thing. She genuinely wanted to talk to them again, maybe even about things unrelated to Evan.
All things considered, it was a pretty successful day.