I could feel my eyes fill up with tears.
"Man," Aaron said, patting me on the back as I poked unenthusiastically at my food. Tears blurred my vision, a low hum of pain ringing in my ears at my memories. "It's been two days, and you haven't seen him at all?"
"Yeah, not ever since we kissed. God- just the look on his face when he pulled away from me, he looked so disgusted. And I don't know if I saw it right, but he was crying. Not full-on crying, y'know, just tearing up and I... God, I ruined everything. He was probably crying 'cause I had been practically freaking him out for so long. I don't know if I'll ever see him again and gah. What if he's hurt or something?"
Laurens sighed, taking a sip of his drink. "Damn, I'm so sorry about that James. Seriously. He'll be fine, I'm sure he's just being pissy about it is all. Don't blame yourself man, and it is Thomas, he's way too confident to get hurt!"
I tried to laugh, but I couldn't help but think about the look on Thomas' face when he stepped away from me. He looked... Repulsed. He looked as if he hated me, did he hate me? I saw him kiss Maria and I lost it, I couldn't handle him being with anyone else, I was so selfish. And then I got so lost in his... Thomas-ness, I couldn't help but kiss him back. He was so warm, damn it, and he was so gentle and I couldn't handle it. He tasted like cinnamon, so much better than the constant flowers coming out of my lips. I loved Thomas so much, and he hadn't come back to the dormitory, when I was awake, at least. I hadn't seen him at all, and I deserved it, I had been being so weird with him lately. I missed him like crazy, it had hardly been two days! After everything, I wanted to kiss him again.
That was the worst part. I just clung to this tiny strand of hope, even after mistreating him by awkwardly forcing myself onto him, and I wanted to kiss him again.
I let out a shuddering sigh, Laurens, and Aaron exchanging a glance. The flowers had been horrible, last night it went on for multiple hours. And I didn't have Thomas' arms to wrap around myself. I knew I should be angry, but damn it, this was my fault after all. I had been trying to get him to like me back, and in a horribly vague manner too. I was practically throwing myself onto him, god I know he would be so upset if he heard me talking about myself like this. I chuckled softly. I loved him, so damn much.
"You okay man?" Aaron said, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah," I mumbled, stabbing at a piece of broccoli with my fork. The three of us had gotten together today, and Hamilton was going to join us, but he had been caught up in studies. Thankfully, I made a few friends around campus, people I could rely on. "Just worried about Thomas. Have... Have either of you seen him?"
They shook their heads in unison, but Aaron spoke. "They'll be a party later today, I think John Adams is throwing it. I know Thomas and him were friends in high school at least, so maybe he'll be there. But James, Thomas can get a little sensitive about certain things."
"Huh?" I asked. Sensitive? Thomas was never anything like that. Never vulnerable, or sensitive or anything like that. "What do you mean?"
"He, um, gets kind of worked up. Not angry, but something else. Er, so in high school, you know his magenta outfits and everything?" I nodded. They were adorable, so of course, I knew what they were. "He used to be even more... Intense with all of it. Don't get me wrong, he was hilarious with it, plus pretty confident too. But then one time... Another student called him something. I don't want to say it, but it was pretty bad, the guy called him gay, but not as nice as that. He wasn't homophobic to others, still isn't, but being called that, Thomas kind of snapped."
My breath caught in my throat.
"He was quiet for some time, stopped wearing all the things he had worn. He's still not back to what he was, it took a pretty long time for him to get partially back to normal," Aaron explained, Laurens quiet. "If you decide to go, he might be a bit... Shaky about it all. I don't want you getting hurt if he reacts kind of weirdly."
Laurens let out a soft gasp at his words, raising an eyebrow. "Shit. I'll let Alexander know, I don't want to rile Thomas up or anything like that, I know that's his favorite activity. I don't want him to make him freak out at you James."
I tried to smile up at Laurens but I gnawed at my bottom lip. What if he was disgusted with himself for kissing me? My heart twinged, Thomas didn't tell me that story, but I didn't expect him to either. Still, was he alright? I definitely wouldn't be, but Thomas always seemed so strong. Now I was especially worried, what if he was punishing himself for kissing me? I was the one who forced myself onto him, flirty comments and everything, it wasn't his fault. I couldn't imagine Thomas being quiet, being scared as Aaron had told me. I didn't want to imagine it.
"I'm going to go to that party tonight," I said with a nervous smile, trying to gain my confidence back. "I want to make sure Thomas is okay, you know? Even if he doesn't feel the same for me, he's still my-" my voice cracked as I tried and failed to hide my fear-"he's still my best friend. He would have- he already has done the same for me."
Aaron and Laurens nodded, the freckled man speaking. "Be careful though James. As in, college parties can get intense. Don't accept drinks from strangers-"
Aaron cut it with a grin. "-and don't stay out too late! No doubt Thomas will be drunk, that's what people do at parties, after all, so make sure he doesn't be more of an idiot than usual."
I chuckled softly, my heart fluttering at the idea of seeing Thomas and from my friends' words. "Got it. I will."
Worry was stretching my mind thin. Thomas didn't seem to be alright, was that something to do with the scar? I hadn't forgotten about the jagged line on Thomas' side, I desperately hoped that he hadn't gotten it recently. If he did...
I steered the conversation away from the anxiety about- the love of my life, had I mentioned that?- Thomas. "So- Laurens, how's Hamil- I mean, Alexander?"
Laurens let out a loud laugh, glancing over his shoulder as if recalling a good memory. "He's... Him. Dorky and loud, argues with everyone, especially with Thomas. But he's great, y'know, he's Alex."
I grinned, Laurens and Aaron exchanging stories about their partners. I hoped someday I could tell them about Thomas even if it was utterly stupid to even think it. I was glad my friends were happy, but I couldn't stop the fear from picking at my thoughts. I was a bit excited about the party, even if I had never been to a real one before. Thomas always told me about them, poking at me to go with him and when I didn't, he was okay with it. How could someone be so... Accepting? And he always brought me back glow sticks too, wearing them in his hair, being adorable of course.
Time rolled on, and soon enough it was time for the party. I got the address from Laurens, my heart pattering desperately in my chest as I paced around the room. Thomas' sheets were messy, and out of habit, I organized the room, trying to gain some sort of control against my wild thoughts. Thomas always playfully teased me over it, his gaze steady as I anxiously tapped against our desk.
It was the first week of college, some weird entrance exam even though we had already entered the school. But I would constantly pace, organizing and reorganizing everything in the room. And I think that's when I realized I loved him, even if I didn't admit it to myself for way too long. He took my trembling hands in his steady ones and told me,'I'm proud, Jems. You've gotten this far, no doubt you'll ace these tests too.' Then he grinned at me, letting me go as if I hadn't been permanently changed inside.
I ran my fingers over the messy sheets, I knew he probably came in early in the morning. I hoped at least. I blinked away traitorous tears, inhaling sharply. I wasn't even sure if I'd see him tonight, but my heart was pounding like it was a date. I just wanted to be with Thomas, so desperately. I must have made him feel horrible. Guilt hit me like a ton of bricks as I simply tied my shoes, everything would've been so much easier if Thomas was here.
I swallowed, raising an eyebrow at my own thoughts. Why was I so clingy? And dependent all on Thomas? That wasn't a responsibility I should shove onto anybody! I had such little attention from my parents growing up, we had a big family and a middle child, like me, can get lost in the weeds. Especially when I wasn't particularly talented at anything, I was a pretty plain kid, despite being sick all the time. But with the scarce attention I got, I've almost become... Desperate for it now. I shivered pathetically, pushing away the thoughts. I was going to a college party for fuck's sake! I needed to get my head in the game.
I stumbled out if my room, pulling on a sweatshirt and disappearing down the hall. The party was off-campus, but the walk wasn't too bad. I strolled through the hallways, then soon enough the moon was above me as I left the main gates. The stars twinkled above me as I sighed softly. Even if Thomas was at this party, I didn't know if he would even talk to me. Thomas was never harsh or angry with me, but I've had quite the experience in high school with angry people. I shivered. I couldn't imagine Thomas getting angry at me, but after what I did, who knew?
I took in a slow breath, my feet moving forward even as my mind protested. I found the house easily, the door open and party music thumping, I could hear it from outside. I hopped up the stairs, and finally, slipped inside.