As soon as the phone was picked up Neil had his back to Andrew puttering around his room sending a soft “hi!” Over his shoulder. It wasn’t new, they called at least three times a week often for hours and Andrew knew once Neil had finished his task he would turn around and tell Andrew about his day. It was oddly domestic considering how many miles there were between them. Like coming home after a long day. He cringed at himself internally for thinking that, truly glad at moments like this that Neil couldn’t read his mind.
After a few minutes of watching Neil wander around, picking up things and then placing them down with no apparent reason he figured he should probably say something.
“What are you doing idiot?”
Neil startled like he sometimes did when he got inside his head before sighing in frustration.
“I’m trying to clean my room but there’s just so much”
“What’s the thing that’s making it the messiest right now.” Andrew rolled his eyes at his... boyfriend. The word still felt foreign to him. Made him feel like this was something that he could lose. He clenched his fist but before he could overthink Neil interrupted his thoughts.
“Honestly probably the clothes.”
“Are they clean or dirty clothes?” Andrew tried not to sigh at him, knowing he was probably overwhelmed by a lot of things and hadn’t been sleeping well.
“They’re dirty.” Neil said sheepishly, “I should wash them, shouldn’t I?” Andrew didn’t bother answering that, just raised an eyebrow as Neil huffed before gathering up his clothes. “I’ll be right back.”
Andrew nodded and let his thoughts trail off until Neil came back. He smiled, eyes finally looking a bit clearer.
“Okay that’ll be done in like 40 minutes,” he sighed before sinking down onto his bed, body already starting to relax. Andrew started a timer on his phone because he knew Neil would forget to do it himself.
It was still odd sometimes, this feeling of knowing someone, and even odder was the feeling of being known. It had taken both of them a long time to get to this point. From when Andrew moved away, and Neil was so scared that they would stop talking. Andrew had scoffed at him and called him an idiot but when Neil’s eyes hadn’t cleared, he had opened his hand so Neil could slide theirs together. It took time for them to fall into their groove, Neil too nervous to call and annoy Andrew and Andrew wanting to call but also pretending to himself that this was still nothing and he was not attached. But eventually Neil had called when he got tired of trying to text, Andrew had scoffed at him for his inability to use technology but couldn’t help the relief that had spread through him at hearing Neil’s voice. It became a biweekly thing at least, Neil calling whenever their schedules lined up and Andrew’s heart feeling something he refused to acknowledge.
Eventually Neil had sighed over the phone to him.
“I miss your face.” He’d admitted softly, Andrew had stayed silent for a solid minute before pressing the button. Neil had picked up with a confused face before his lit up.
“What the fuck in what world could you do this.”
“Since forever Neil.”
“And you never called me on it????”
The pure indigence on Neil’s face had almost made Andrew smile before he reigned it back in. Neil had already seen it though and his smile could have powered a whole city with how bright it was.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Andrew felt something solid and warm settle inside him even though he would never admit to it.
“You can’t push my face away now.” Neil had grinned evilly, so Andrew hung up on him.
Neil texted him a second later tell him he’d have to call back because Neil didn’t know how to use his phone. Andrew sighed and left it a few minutes before calling back.
“That was rude,” Neil whined as soon as he picked up. Andrew choked down his laugh and tried to keep his face as unimpressed as possible. Neil’s eyes were twinkling with mischief and his smile was the most beautiful thing Andrew had ever seen.
He made a note to keep video calling him after that. Even if it meant looking like he cares, only Neil would know after all.
Sitting here, listening to Neil tell him stories about his day, stories about his life and just talking about anything he loved. He couldn’t help but remember how good it was to care about something. Even though when he thought about it he felt like he was sitting on a roof staring down. Caring about Neil didn’t come naturally to him. He had fought it and denied it a long time. But right now, in his room, with Neil talking over the phone at a mile a minute, he allowed himself a small moment to appreciate his boyfriend and all they had done for each other. That is until his alarm goes off and interrupts Neil, who jumps about a foot in the air.
“Your washing's done dipshit.” Andrew said with no inflection or expression. Neil looks confused for a minute before starting to grin.
“You put a timer on for my washing.” That stupid smile again.
“You did! You put it on for me that’s so cu-“
Andrew hung up before Neil could finish, rolling his eyes at the texts that immediately appeared. He got up to go get himself a tub of ice cream before he would call his idiot boyfriend back.
Long distance was hard, but he had to admit it was fun being able to hang up on Neil when he said something stupid.