Chapter 1: Ay, let's get this started!
The only way to put it was that Connor was...depressed. I mean, he actually is depressed. He is clinically depressed and it sucks. But, he's been in worse situations before. Just...at the moment, life seems...impossible.
"Connor, please tell me you're up," Cynthia gets on the other side of the door. "It's your senior year honey, you can't miss the first day."
"Yeah, I'm up," Connor opens the door and squeezes past his mother. "Thanks for the wake up call."
"There's gluten free pancakes on the table!"
Connor blocks his mother out and walks right past the dining room. Through the living room, around the corner, and into the parlor. He pulls on his boots and waits. Zoe's only a few minutes behind him, granted she probably woke up to an actual alarm clock, not banging on the door. The two walk out the door together and Connor heads to the passenger seat. Zoe turns on her most annoying playlist and Connor contemplates doing a tuck and roll, but road rash doesn't sound like a good option at the moment. Maybe after school.
Ah school. More like hell at this point, but like Cynthia said, it's senior year. Only nine more months of this torture. Yay!
That was sarcastic, just so you know.
"Hey Connor!" Oh fuck me gently with a chainsaw. "Love the new hair length! Very ah...school shooter chic, am I right?"
And now for Connor's place on the social scale. His job is to be the punching bag. That or be the one to get people away from the punching bag, so...getting people away from him. Yeah, he's the lonely loner.
"It was a joke. It was funny, ya know?"
"Oh yeah, real funny," Connor nods. "Can't you tell I'm laughing? Am I not laughing hard enough for you?"
"Psh," the guy stare walking away. "You're such a freak."
Connor wants to let it go, 'cause yeah. He knows! Connor is plenty aware that he is a freak. And he's okay with that but...
"Are you laughing?"
He turns to the guy. He thought that maybe it would be a good day but no. No. Not today satan.
"Me? N-no I'm not laugh-"
"I uh, I promise you I'm not-"
"You think I'm a freak?"
"You're the freak!"
The guy is on the ground. He doesn't seem hurt, just shocked. Connor partially collects himself and stalks away. He spots Zoe running towards the guy. Great. Larry is probably gonna hear about this. That means more screaming and more fighting and more crying and...
He should apologize. Connor isn't a bad human being, well, not horrible. He can muster up an apology and maybe save himself a shouting contest.
Evan erases the letter and sighs. He's been trying to get a positive letter all day but...everything keeps turning out...awful. Sad. Not...great.
He was pushed in the hallway.
He hadn't been laughing at the joke. It was reflex. Awkward situations lead to awkward laughing and then...
"Uh...it's Evan, right?"
He turns around. Connor is standing awkwardly a few yards from him.
"Me? Uh, yes. YES! Uh, yeah. My name is Evan."
Connor nods, either ignoring the loud "yes" or not hearing it.
"Look...I um- I...I wanted to apologize. For...pushing you. Not cool."
"I mean...I just- I was mad and sometimes I just...see red. And you were the first person I saw."
"Yeah, Jared is, well, he's a dick to most people, not just you. So, don't worry about it?"
"Woah, how'd you break your arm?"
Evan glances at it. Sighs. "Fell out of a tree working as an apprentice park ranger this summer."
Connor sits on the table, "Ouch. So, what does a park ranger do?"
Really? Is Connor actually interested?
"Oh, uh. Apprentice park ranger, well...It was my job to go around the park, inspect for possible alien plants that could destroy the forest, kick homeless people and bums out, it was really just a lot of hiking. Not...interesting."
"Shut up, plants are crazy. I bet it was really awesome to just walk and not have a load of people bothering you." Connor brushed his hair out of his face, "Did you learn anything?"
Wow. This is happening.
"Hey, did you-"
They blink at each other.
Connor sighs, "Uh, could I sign your cast? If you don't mind. I'm sure you don't want the school shooters name on your cast so-"
Evan starts laughing. Genuinely laughing his ass off. Connor seems surprised.
"The hell?" Evan snorts. "You make jokes about insults?"
"Wh...He wasn't wrong," Connor mutters. "I am a freak."
"You're not half bad," Evan mumbles. "I'm the one without any friends."
"I believe we are passengers upon the same boat."
Evan blinks, "What?"
"I don't have friends either, tree hugger."
"Oh." Think smart be smart! "Well, let's get on a new ship." He pulls out the sharpie from his pocket. "The friendship."
Connor laughs, takes the sharpie, and writes his name on the cast. "The ship has sailed."
Evan smiles and takes the pen back, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Connor nods.
Evan watched his friend turn walking towards the door.
"Hey, uh, Connor?"
"See you tomorrow?"
Connor nods, "See you tomorrow."
Evan 's pretty sure he's going to have a good letter for therapy tonight.
Chapter 2: Did someone say gay?
Uh, establishing mutual feelings
Oh my god I've needed to write something like this for a long time! Thank god for procrastination!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Connor cannot understand how, but the past few days have been the best he's had in a long time.
I mean, having a friend who actually seems to want to talk to him is...amazing. Like, how did he manage his life without Evan, honestly?
Recklessly and not good.
But. As it happens with high school. Homework.
The moment he knows what he is supposed to be doing he calls Evan. Because, Evan probably knows shit about maple trees.
"Uh, yes Connor?"
"I'm supposed to write an essay on maple trees. Spread your knowledge to me tree hugger."
Evan is quiet for a moment. Connor learned fast that it meant Evan was trying to plan his response.
"Uh, I have a maple tree in my backyard, so... Uh, if you wanted you could, stop by and I'll show you. I feel like visuals are more helpful."
"Today keeps getting better," Connor hummed. "Text me your address, I should be there soon."
Connor hangs up and grabs his notebook. He already has a pencil in his bun, so he is set to go. The best part? He gets to drive in his own car.
The car isn't as nice as the one he totaled, but it's his. So it's fine.
Down the stairs, past the dining room, through the living room, turn the corner and out the front door.
Evan ends up living on the other side of town. It's not a long drive, he just happens to hit every red light in town. It doesn't stop him from smiling though.
He has a friend.
A real friend.
Who likes him as a person.
Connor parks at the curb and walks up to Evan's front door. He's knocks. The door opens.
"Hey Connor," Evan grins. "The tree is out back, follow me."
Connor doesn't exactly get time to look around before Evan is pulling him through the house. The backyard has the tree as promised. It's tall, but skinny. Hmm...is his spirit animal a maple tree?
"Alright," Evan smiles. "What do you need to know?"
"Um, what's that?"
There appears to be a substance on the trunk of the tree.
"Oh, that's sap," Evan says. "It's the stuff they use to make maple syrup. Yeah, I actually have an uncle in the Midwest who makes all kinds of maple junk. My mom's twin."
"But that stuff is clear, how do you turn that into syrup?"
Evan gives him a look, "Well, I guess you wouldn't know. Uh, they collect gallons and gallons of sap, my uncle practically lives in the forest come sap season. And...they boil the sap, to hundreds of degrees. It gets the water out and leaves syrup. Then they filter the syrup to make sure there isn't any dirt in it and then they bottle it or out it aside to make maple butter or maple sugar. My uncle even makes candy out of it. And...this is a lot. Sorry."
"No, this is all really helpful. Thank you."
Hold up. Connor doesn't remember sitting down. Or placing his hand on top of Evan's which defiantly shouldn't be happening!
Okay. Yeah. Connor is gay. But good grief he's known Evan for a matter of days! No crushes. Not yet anyway. Don't fuck it up.
He removes his hand and starts jotting down notes.
Evan nods his head and takes a deep breath in before continuing, "Well, maple syrup in all honesty is just...sugar. It's pure sugar, and while sugar isn't good for you, this is natural sugar. So it's...it isn't like...the worst thing you could be putting into your body. You know?"
"Um, so...I have some maple candy if yo want to try it? Or course I don't think you have to."
"I'd love to try it."
Fuck. He sucked at this.
"Oh, uh, right. Follow me."
Once inside Connor glances around the house. Evan's kitchen is jointed together with the dining room, unlike his house. Evan's house is messy in a good way, he loves how comfy it is.
"So, uh, here."
Evan hands him a leaf shaped piece of amber colored candy and smiles.
"You promise this isn't poison?"
Evan falters, "Wh- NO!"
"I was kidding tree hugger." Connor takes a bite of the candy. "This...is...amazing."
"You've never had maple candy before?"
"Nope, can't say I have."
Evan takes a piece of candy for himself and the two spend a few minutes in silence.
"Do you like I've cream?"
Evan falters, "Uh, yeah. I do. Why?"
"C'mon tree hugger, we're going out."
Connor holds out his hand, relieved when Evan takes it and let's him lead them out to the car. This is going to be one fun afternoon.
Evan walks in the front door and instantly spots a very pissed Heidi. Connor bumps into him, not noticing that he had stopped.
"Where the hell have you been?" Heidi demands. "I didn't get a text, an email, nothing."
"I-I...I'm sorry. I guess just...was distracted."
The afternoon had been amazing. Connor had taken him to get ice cream, but it wasn't ice cream it was called gelato. And it was amazing. Then they had gone to a campground and Evan talked about maple trees some more, then they stayed until the sun went down. Everything had been perfect.
"I'm sorry Ms. Hansen, it's my fault Evan was out late," Connor piped up. "I needed help with an essay, the research took longer than expected."
The only research they did was fine out that raspberry and dark chocolate gelato tastes like heaven. Evan ducks his head down as Heidi approaches them.
"I don't think we've met. Evan doesn't tutor people."
"Connor Murphy, ma'am," Connor holds out his hand.
Heidi is quiet for a minute, "You're the boy that signed Evan's cast."
"That would be me."
"Connor is my best friend."
Evan isn't sure why he blurted that out. He just...felt a need to be a part of the conversation. Stupid anxiety.
"Right," Heidi's expression softens. "Um, so, Connor...you're welcome to stay for dinner. I ordered a pizza, but if you need to get home I understand."
"My mom doesn't believe in pizza," Connor laughs. "That sounds great. Thank you Ms. Hansen."
"You're welcome. Go on, relax, I can call you two down when the food gets here."
Evan nods before walking towards the stairs. Connor follows. It was still weird, having someone follow him around.
the moment Evan steps into his room he regrets it. There are books scattered everywhere. His clothes aren't even in the laundry hamper, they're strewn across the floor. At least he made his bed that morning.
Why does he care this much?
Oh yeah, because he's into his best friend. Fucking stellar.
He doesn't know how it happened, but it did. And it's weird. But...he's going to be fine.
"I wasn't expecting guests," Evan mutters, picking up the clothes and depositing them into the hamper. "Sorry about the mess."
"I think this is still better than my own room, so you're good."
Evan watches Connor comb through the books on his desk. He decides to take the books stacked on the night stand and put them back on the shelf. There are a few on the floor that he stores away too.
"Hmm, you didn't tell me you were bi," Connor hums.
Okay now how did he figure that out?
And then he remembers.
Shit. The patch.
"This is the twenty first century," Evan grumbles, grabbing the book from Connor's hands. He takes the patch out from between the pages and sets it on the night stand. "You shouldn't be surprised. Everyone is a little gay."
Evan turns to face Connor and regrets it because they make eye contact and now he knows he won't be able to stop. Because Connor has such expressive blue eyes that drive him nuts. And the hair? He had a hard time handling that too.
"I'm not surprised," Connor says. "Well, I am. But, I'm cool with it. You are looking at a fellow LGBT member, tree hugger."
Oh god. Fuck. Connor wasn't helping the butterflies in his stomach.
"Oh." Is all he manages to get out.
Evan watches Connor pull out his phone and remove the case. A rainbow patch is tucked inside the case. Oh god.
"I'm gay," Connor says plainly. "Don't go telling people, I have a reputation to keep up."
"What? Being a loner? You lost that when you became friends with me."
"Whatever tree hugger."
It wasn't the nickname he expected to earn, but it was fitting. Connor didn't get a nickname. They wasn't any way to...sum him up. Not in one or two words. Not in the right way. Connor was...indescribable.
"Guys! Dinner is here!"
Evan once again lead the way down to the dining room. Heidi had paper plates out next to the pizza box, so Evan grabbed a slice and started towards the living room, Connor following behind.
Dinner was full of chatting between Connor and Heidi. The young mother having questions. Evan stated quiet.
He wasn't needed for the conversation. Not yet at least.
He was just about to leave Evan's. Heidi had gone out for a night class, so the two friends had spent the past two hours watching Gremlins and pointing out all the flaws. It was fun.
"What's up Evan?"
"Uh, well, I was wondering if tomorrow I could take you somewhere, since you showed me around today?"
Connor, for once, isn't sure how to respond. He doesn't want to sound too eager but he doesn't want to sound disinterested. Just...chill.
"Uh, what did you have in mind?"
"I thought we could go to Ellison? Since...I've talked about it a lot."
"That...that sounds great Ev."
Ev? Really? He went with tree hugger for a reason! It made him seem laid back, not to look like a pining idiot. Although it was fitting for Evan's character .
Evan smiles big, and fuck it's a great smile, "Great! Uh, I can meet you at the park entrance. Around...nine?"
"In the morning?"
"Well, no. At night. Trust me...I...I know what I'm talking about."
"As long as I can sleep in on Sunday, that's all that matters. I'll see you then?"
"See you tomorrow."
I know way more than I should about how to make syrup
Chapter 3: Things happen
Evan and Connor things happen
Larry and Connor things happen (angst but good angsty. It's really more of Connor brooding and things getting tense.)
Zoe and Connor things happen
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
When Evan wakes up and glances out his window, he swears he's gone crazy. He remembers the storm that started a few hours after Connor left, but it was way too early in the year for it to freeze. And yet...
Icicles. Hanging off the roof.
No snow, just ice.
It's warm enough to melt according to the weather app, but in the park? With trees covering the ground? It'll be slippery.
Still, he gets ready and skips breakfast because of nerves. He really hopes that it melts soon.
"Connor, you almost missed your curfew last night," Larry mutters. "No, you can't have an extension tonight. Especially tonight. You have school in the morning."
"I wasn't exactly asking. I was telling you that I don't know how long I'll be out." Connor says, attitude thick in his voice.
"If you aren't home by ten you lose driving privileges. Again."
"I lost them because of a deer."
"Connor," Larry finally looks up. "I'm not stupid. You crashed the car because you wanted to. Your mother and I have managed to forgive you since you haven't been skipping school. You were told the rules you had to follow to have the privilege of driving. I'm being as fair as I can be."
"Then why does Zoe have a later curfew than me? I'm older than her."
Larry gets up, walks over, and places a hand on Connor's shoulder. Connor manages to meet his eyes, and the weight in them is terrifying.
"Because," Larry whispers, some form of parental emotion in his voice. "We don't...I don't...I don't have to worry that I'm going to get a call. Telling me that my daughter has turned up passed out in a park."
Connor knows he should let Larry have it easy. This is the most emotional talk they've ever had. Not counting the scream fests.
But he can't.
"If you know what's wrong, then fix the problem," Connor whispered. "Because the problem can't fix themselves. They're too broken for that."
"You aren't broken, Conn-"
Connor cuts him off, looks his father dead in the eyes.
"Then why have you gotten a call? A call telling you that your son has turned up. Passed out in a park. Almost dead."
Connor started walking away, but he stops in the doorway. Turns around. And faces Larry again.
"I'm not stupid either, Larry."
Larry let's out an ironic chuckle, "I never said you were."
"The first step to solving a problem is to address that there is a problem." Connor shoves his hands into his pockets. "All the information is there. Address the problem, and problem will disappear in good time."
With that, Connor can walk away.
Down the hall, through the living room, past the dining room, up the stairs, and into his room.
Connor checks his phone. He has two hours to get ready. Unfortunetly, he doesn't want to look like crap. So he heads next door to Zoe.
Connor hasn't even knocked yet.
"I need your help."
"I have a thing tonight," Connor mumbles. "I don't...I can't look like a sack of trash. Please help me."
"Fine," Zoe sighs, a smile playing on her lips. "Come on, Romeo."
Connor falters before following his sister back to his room.
"It's not a date."
Zoe turns to him, "So you aren't going out with Evan?"
"He's who I'm meeting with. We're just friends Zoe."
"Connor, I'm sorry, but there is no denying that you are utterly smitten."
"Well, you're into Alana Beck, so don't judge. Dad will kill us both of he finds out that we're both gay."
"And stoners," Zoe adds.
Connor stares at his sister, "You don't smoke."
She smiles, "I do at parties. But that's about it. So I'm not a complete pot head." Zoe opens Connor's closet and starts digging through the clothes. "What's the plan for the date?"
Connor knows better than to fight with Zoe on this. He wouldn't have asked for help if it wasn't as important as a date.
"He wants to show me something at Ellison."
Zoe hands an outfit over, and plops into the desk chair.
"How long have you known about Alana?"
"I pay attention," Connor shrugged. "You were practically drooling over her on Friday. I just...if you felt comfortable being out to the school you'd be together."
"It's not safe to be lesbian at our school," Zoe mumbled. "The only reason no one bothers Lana is because we all know she could destroy us."
"Are you out to her yet?"
Zoe shakes her head, "She's fragile. Really. If I came out she'd make me join the LGBT club. I didn't know we had one until her. I don't want Alana Beck: Student Council President. I want...her. I don't know how to separate the two."
Connor sighs, "If she cares, she will show you how. But you'll still have to deal with both. No matter what."
"Thanks Connor," Zoe whispered. "Get changed. I'm fixing your goddamn nails before you leave."
"Alright, fine," Connor lightly shoves her, and Zoe leaves the room. He changes before heading back to her room.
"Alright, now it's your turn to talk. Why are you into him?"
Connor plops down on Zoe's bed and let's her start in his nails, "Have you looked at him?"
Zoe chuckles, "He's okay. But I know that looks aren't enough to melt your heart. Talk."
"He listens to me. He seems to genuinely care about my well being," Connor says. "He's got quirks that might be annoying to some people, but not to me."
"Well, Evan has anxiety. And he sometimes thinks that leading a conversation is wrong for him, so he apologizes. Like...He could be talking about a tree for ten minutes and then apologize for talking at all. It's adorable."
"Does he know you're gay?"
Connor nods, "Yeah. He's bi, so I'm set. I just...it doesn't feel right. I just got to know him."
Zoe smiles at him, "I'd say that you care about him enough, and know him well enough, that the time thing would end up working out." Zoe puts the cap back on her nail polish and sets it into a container with the other colors. "So, all you can really do now is tell him how you feel, and wait for a response."
"You should tell Alana," Connor says. "She's the nicest person I've ever met. Invite her over or something. I think if you explained your insecurities to her that it would be okay."
Zoe nods her head, thinking. Connor takes it as a cue to leave, so he gets up. He's in the doorway when he feels Zoe grab his wrist.
"Um, this was nice. Talking," Zoe said. "And, uh...I'd like it if we could do it again sometime."
Connor wraps her in a hug , "I'm sorry for being a dick."
"Me too," Zoe hugs back. "You're my brother, I'll always care."
"Uh," Connor breaks the hug and meets Zoe's eye. "Did you want to help me fix the mop?"
"It's cold out, I could make it look fluffy and soft if you wanted?"
After a few minutes they manage to find a common dislike for the chemistry teacher, and the conversation turns light.
"Connor," Larry has appeared in the doorway.
He can feel Zoe tense up. She's scared of another screaming match.
"You...you can stay out until eleven o'clock tonight," Larry says softly. "But only tonight."
Connor checks his phone, he should probably leave soon if he wants to be on time.
"I've got to get going," Connor mumbles, getting up from Zoe's desk. "Thanks Zoe."
"Go get 'em tiger!"
Down the stairs, past the dining room, through the living room, then the corner and out the front door. He finally takes into consideration his outfit.
Skinny jeans and a red sweater. Finished with his boots he always wears. It'll work. He probably wouldn't tell Evan how he felt tonight, but he would soon.
Thankfully the roads are cleared from the weird freeze this morning. He enjoys the quiet drive. It's good to be able to leave when he needs to. That was probably part of the problem over the summer...he couldn't leave."
But now, to do whatever Evan has planned.
Evan knows it's Connor when the car pulls up. Who else would come this late?
"Hey tree hugger," Connor greets, walking towards him.
Fuck. No. Don't look at the hair. Don't. Look.
But it looks fluffy, he can't help it.
"Hey Connor," Evan greets.
"What's with the backpack?"
Evan shrugs. It's a surprise, duh.
"You'll find out," Evan says. "Let's get going."
Evan leads the way through the forest, pulling a flashlight out of a pocket of the backpack. It's slippery in the woods, like he expected. Evan clearly knows the woods better than Connor, as his friend keeps slipping on the ice.
"Ev, if I break my arm I'm blaming you."
"You won't," Evan assures, holding up his casted arm. "It's my job to be the clumsy one."
"Shut up, you're literally in your element," Connor grumbles. "Hey, isn't this where you broke your arm?"
"Yeah," he gestures to a different direction. "That way somewhere. C'mon, the creek is this way."
Sure enough, the stream comes up and Evan expertly crosses on the stepping stones. Connor manages to not fall in the water.
It's just up this hill," Evan says, pointing ahead. They start walking, Connor somehow pulls ahead, but when he gets to the top Connor slips and falls on his back.
"Are you okay?"
Connor makes a noise but sits up.
"Be careful," Connor mutters.
"Yeah," Evan nods, sitting next to him. "Look up."
Connor does as asked and he sees it.
"I never came here at night," Evan explains. "But I knew it would look amazing.
Moon and stars. That's it. They're far enough into the forest that they can't see the light from town.
"This is so cool," Connor whispers, pulling out his phone to take a picture.
Evan opens the backpack and hands Connor a thermos.
"What is it?"
"Hot chocolate, duh."
Evan pulls out a second thermos for himself and they sit in silence. Sipping on the hot chocolate and watching the stars.
"I'm glad you brought me out here," Connor whispers.
"I'm glad you came."
"No, uh," Connor turns to look at him. "I was really...messed up," he gestures to his head. "Mentally. You make me feel...less broken. Thanks."
"You're welcome," Evan says. "Me too. My anxiety isn't as bad when I'm around you."
Connor stands up, holds out his hand to pull Evan up. Evan isn't expecting a hug, but he welcomes it.
"Uh," Connor makes Evan look at him, but doesn't let go. "You trust me?"
"Yeah," Evan nods.
"Okay," Connor whispers. "Cool."
Evan tries to not freak out as Connor lowers his lips to Evan's, because this cannot be happening.
But it is. And...he isn't sure what to do. WHAT DOES HE DO! He's going to ruin this!
Connor pulls back, "Sorry, I shouldn't-"
"Yes you should have," Evan blurts out. He wraps his arms around Connor's shoulders, attempting to reassure. Hopefully Connor doesn't mind his cast.
Connor nods his head. Smiles. Secures his arms around Evan's waist. And kisses him again.
Evan leans into the kiss. He feels like he's shaking. Is that weird? He's not sure.
Connor kisses him more urgently, like he has to. Evan responds with what he hopes is equal enthusiasm.
"You scared me there," Connor whispers, breaking off the kiss.
"Sorry," Evan mumbles. "So..."
"We should go out."
"Yeah." Evan lets out a snort and rests his head on Connor's shoulder, "That wasn't what I planned when I asked you to come with me."
"I mean...Zoe basically told me to do this. I just...thought it would work out so I went for it."
"Yeah," Evan nods. "Wait she knows?"
"Uh, yeah. Sorry."
"She's gay, if that helps."
Connor nods, "Yeah, it's a fairly well kept secret."
Evan nods and presses a kiss to Connor's cheek. Connor grins and sits down, pulling Evan with him.
"Thanks for inviting me out here," Connor says, rubbing Evan's shoulder with one hand.
They stay quiet for a while. It's a good silence. After a while Connor checks his phone again and gets up.
"I've gotta get home soon. Mind showing me out?'
Evan nods his head and gets up. They walk through the forest together and stand next to Connor's car.
"You have a ride home?" Connor asks.
"Yeah, Jared agreed to come get me," Evan nods.
"See you tomorrow?"
"See you tomorrow," Evan whispers, kissing Connor quickly.
Connor grins again, then gets into his car and drives away.
Evan can't stop smiling.
And he's pretty sure he isn't going to be able to stop.
Note to self: playing Grow As We Go on loop while writing makes me write good scenes.
Chapter 4: This is a chapter title now
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Hey," Zoe nudges her brother's shoulder. "You never told me how last night went."
Connor shrugs, "We went to look at the stars."
Connor puts his book into his bag and meets Zoe's eye, "We're together," he smiles. "So...it went well."
Zoe grins, "Oh, that's great!"
"Yeah," He slips his phone into his pocket. "I'm actually gonna go see if he wants a ride to school...so I'm gonna go."
"Yes," Zoe squeezes his shoulder. "You do that. Go see your man."
"Don't call him that."
Connor walks out the door and starts the drive toward Evan's house. He is still in shock about last night. He's extremely happy, but it's scary. Those expectations that come with having a boyfriend. But, he's going to be fine. He's going to do his best.
Evan clearly isn't expecting him. His hair is messy, and adorable, and he's still in pajama pants.
"Sorry, I should have texted you. Um, did you want a ride to school?"
Evan blinks, "Uh, yeah. Yes. I do. Just...I need five minutes. You can come in, sorry that was really rude of me I should have let you in from the start."
Connor places a hand on Evan's cheek, "It's okay. Thank you."
Evan nods his head before vanishing towards the stairs. Connor decides to sit on the couch and wait. He still thinks that Evan's house is more welcoming than his own.
"Oh, Connor," Heidi shows up out of no where. "Hi. Are you bringing Evan to school?"
"Yeah," Connor hums. "You going to work?"
"Yes," Heidi laughs. "Double shift and then back home to sleep for a few hours and then back up to head to class."
Heidi smiles and pats his head, "Yep. But it's what I've got to do for Evan. Have fun today. I've got to head out."
Heidi waves and walks out the front door. A minute later Evan comes down the stairs and appears in front of Connor, fully ready for school.
"Hi," Evan says, grinning.
"Hey Ev," Connor hums, standing up. "Ready to go?"
Connor turns to walk outside when he feels Evan's hand wrap around his.
"Uh...I'm okay with us being out at school if you are," Evan whispers. "I know it's not exactly a good thing at our school...so don't feel pressured."
"Well," Connor gives Evan a smile. "I have to let everyone know that you're taken, don't I?"
Evan beams and presses a kiss to Connor's cheek, "Yeah, I guess you do."
Connor rolls his eyes and walks out the door. He cannot stop his lips from curling up into a smile.
On the drive to school Connor catches himself rubbing his thumb over Evan's hand and he stops himself.
"It's okay," Evan whispers, grabbing Connor's hand. "I don't mind."
Connor doesn't hesitate to continue. He's always liked human contact. He's glad Evan doesn't mind. It's actually a relief.
He's genuinely surprised that no one gives him and Evan looks. He supposes that they just haven't noticed them yet. He knows they will. He remembers how much Ali, the sole transgender girl, had been treated.
People at their school were the kind of people who made gay jokes and then didn't hesitate to hate talk the LGBT. It was great, knowing all that time that he was the sole taboo at school. That's part of the reason he kept to himself. Along with...everything else.
"So," Evan glances around the hall. He's suspicious. "Uh..."
Evan nods. They walk in silence. Connor can't hold Evan's hand. His right arm is holding his books and the left clunks awkwardly at his side.
"Uh, I'll see you at lunch?" Evan asks, stopping in front of a door.
"Yeah," Connor nods. He presses a kiss to Evan's forehead before walking away. Five hours. Then he goes to lunch. He's got this.
Evan scans the cafeteria one last time before confirming that Connor isn't in there. They usually met at the art room, since it was on the way. But he hadn't been there.
Evan decides to head back to his locker. The hall is deserted, everyone in class or eating lunch. Evan manages to open his locker with the casted hand and slides his books inside with the good one. He's frustrated with the English homework he has. He's good at English, but he can't find any good ideas for the homework.
"Hey Evan," Connor's voice calls behind him.
Evan whips around and smiles at his boyfriend. "Hey!" Ugh. Too eager. "Uh, where were you?"
"Oh, I was cleaning up some paints. Sorry." Connor holds out his arm. "To lunch?"
"I've actually got an English project to do," Evan explains. "I just wanted to check up with you. You go eat, I'll be in the library."
"Nah, I'd rather be with you than in the cafeteria."
That makes Evan beam. He can't help it. "Okay."
They walk in together and Evan grabs a laptop from the cart before sitting at a table. Connor sits next to him. He locks their ankle as Evan pulls up his presentation.
"Yeah," Evan meets Connor's eye. "Uh, we basically have to find a movie with a speech and identify five rhetorical devices in the speech. I can't think of any movies that aren't taken."
"Hmm...how about Syndrome's first monologue from The Incredibles?"
"Uh, that might work," Evan pulls up a movie clip and watches in silence. It works. There's five devices and multiple examples.
"I did a project like that last year," Connor explains. "I didn't do this speech, but I remember seeing it while researching."
"Uh, thanks," Evan rests his head on Connor's shoulder. "Now I don't have to work on it until tomorrow."
Evan glances at the clock. That really didn't take long. "Right..."
Connor grabs his hand and stands up, "C'mon tree hugger."
Evan ignores the adrenalin and let's Connor pull him through the halls. He's pretty sure it's adrenalin this time. Not anxiety. Maybe both.
"You think a lot," Connor chuckles, squeezing his hand.
Evan blinks, "What makes to say that?"
"You haven't asked where I'm taking you," Connor explains, turning towards the stairs.
"...I trust you to not lead me to my doom."
Connor pulls him under the stairwell. It's a bit of a tight squeeze, but the space does exist and is quite roomy once you get past the wall.
"Uh, why here?" Evan asks. "It's uh, very echo-y in here."
"Yep," Connor strolls over and plants his hands on Evan's waist. He lets out a laugh before meeting Evan's eye. "You've gotta stop making me feel mushy. I have a reputation to keep up you know."
"You lost that reputation when you agreed to be my boyfriend."
Connor's mouth quickly quirks into a smile before he looks down. Holy shit he's blushing.
"Yeah," Connor sighs. "Maybe I did."
"Connor Murphy, are you blushing?"
Connor doesn't turn red like he does. Connor just turns pink, and it sticks to his cheeks, it doesn't spread.
"Why are you blushing?"
Connor fully looks at the floor, "You can stop now."
Evan gives him a look, "Just tell me why you're blushing."
He knows he's being a tease, but it's really cute on Connor.
Connor looks up, an adorable little smile on his face, "I like that you're referring to me the way that you are. Makes me feel good inside."
The smile gets a little bigger, the blush a little darker, "Yes Evan. Boyfriend."
"Okay, boyfriend." He drags out the "boyfriend."
"Whatever you say, boyfriend."
Connor laughs, "Ev, stop."
Evan smiles, "Sorry, you just look so cute when you're flustered."
And then Evan kisses him before Connor can get another word in. Anxiety hits him in the chest, because he shouldn't have kissed him, but Connor saves it by kissing him back. Evan's good arm finds a way into Connor's hair while the broken one hangs there awkwardly.
Connor is the one to pull the other arm up. Evan let's his fingers tangle into the brown locks and sighs against Connor. He feels likes he's vibrating again and it's a good feeling to have. Really good.
His ears pick up on a clicking sound echoing in the little alcove. It takes him a bit to realize that it's the sound of his and Connor's lips breaking apart and connecting again. It's a good sound.
"Who have you the right to be so damn pretty?" Connor asks.
Evan falters, but swoops back into reality.
"Ah. You know, I've never been one to follow the rules. But I could follow that one." Connor presses his lips against Evan's in a quick but firm kiss.
"I uh, I feel so honored."
Connor checks his phone quickly, "Bell is going to ring in like, two minutes. C'mon."
The two of them squeeze out of the alcove then grab their things. Evan walks with Connor until the lanky boy stops at the art room. Connor kisses Evan one last time before letting him walk to class.
"I'll see you for study hall," Evan calls, giving a quick wave.
"I'll see you then Ev," Connor hums, walking into the art room.
Like he said, there is no way he's going to be able to stop smiling now that Connor is in his life.
Almost a month. Connor has managed to keep his relationship with Evan going for almost a month. And everything is still going strong. He was proud of himself.
School was easier to handle with Evan. Connor drove them to school and they stayed in the space under the stairs until they had to go to class. There were a lot of looks and comments about them. They both knew that they would come. Connor tended to have an easier time with the comments, mainly because of the bullying he'd gone through in the past. Evan just needed little assurances here and there and they had sat down and had serious talks about it a handful of times. They managed everything fairly well.
Their dates usually consisted of walking around Ellison after school or Connor sleeping over at Evan's house. Simple, repetative, but not boring.
"If you could bring one fictional character to life, who would you choose?" Evan asks while eating a brownie.
"Jay Gatsby," Connor answers, glancing up at Evan. They were currently in the alcove, Connor reading a book while resting his head in Evan's lap. "You?"
"Olive Dunwoody," Evan hums.
"Who is that?"
"Oh, uh...she's from a book series. I have the whole series of you want to read the books."
Connor glances up again, "Sure. What does Olive do?"
Evan offers the brownie to Connor and he takes a bite. Then Evan starts talking.
"Well, Olive is an eleven year old girl who moved into a house that was once owned by witches. One of the witches made paintings that come to life and you can crawl into when wearing a pair of spectacles that are enchanted. The series is about her adventures and honestly, even though it's middle school reading, I still think it's fantastic. Even scary at times. Uh, sorry."
Connor chuckles, "Why'd you apologize?"
"I...I was talking a lot."
Connor rolls off of Evan and props himself on his elbows, "Ev, I like listening to you talk."
"But you were reading-"
"I was still listening. I wanted to know your thoughts. I think the series sounds awesome. I would love to read it."
Evan nods, polishing off his brownie. He's still feeling guilty, even though it's not necessary. There are some things Connor won't ever understand.
Connor gets up and offers Evan his hand. Evan takes it and he's pulled up from the floor.
Connor wraps his arms around Evan's waist, pulling him closer, "You get your cast off on today, right?"
Evan snorts, "Yes, for the thousandth time today. Repeatedly asking won't make my mom come get me any sooner."
"I just want to not have you scared that your cast is going to murder me if it touches me."
Evan blushes, "Sorry."
"Stop apologizing, please."
Evan opens his mouth before quickly claiming it shut.
"You want to say it again?"
"Very much so, yes." Evan whispers.
"God you're fucking adorable," Connor murmurs, kissing Evan's forehead.
Evan blushes again before kissing him on the lips. Connor feels one hand move to the back of his head, the other stays down. Connor has to poke the other arm to get it to move.
But it's really quite useless, because just as Evan's fingers start weaving through his hair, Connor's phone rings, separating them out of shock.
"AHA!" Zoe's voice cries. "Connor! Come out from under the stairs. We know you're down there!"
"How the hell did she know?" Connor mutters, denying the call and silencing his phone. He grabs his book from where he abandoned it and starts toward the exit of the alcove.
"Do, uh, am I supposed to stay here?" Evan peeps.
Connor turns, smiles, and holds out his hand for Evan to take. Evan beams and scurries over, wrapping their fingers together. They squeeze out of the alcove and meet Zoe at the bottom of the stairs. Alana is at her side.
That's a new thing. Apparently Zoe finally asked Alana out earlier in the week. Alana apparently assured Zoe protection from any bullying and so far the promise had held up. Alana Beck was a beast to be reckoned with. No one defied her.
"So, Connor," Alana beams. "Evan. Zoe has told me that you two are dating."
"No shit Sherlock," Connor mutteres.
Alana gives a laugh, then turns serious, "Right. Since you two are LGBT members, I was hoping you'd come to the meeting that the club is hosting on Saturday."
"I don't do clubs," Connor says. Evan nods next to him.
"Look, checking out one meeting doesn't mean you have to join," Alana bargains. "I just feel that as proudly out members of the LGBT, you could help inspire our more insecure members in the club. Zoe will be there, and we don't meet at the school. This month we are meeting at our staff supervisor's house. They are also an LGBT member, just so you know."
That did spark an intrest. Connor looks to Evan, "You busy on Saturday?"
"Uh," Evan glances down quickly. "I'm supposed to go to Jared's for lunch."
"Sorry Alana," Connor sighs. "I don't go without Ev."
"Oh, we meet in the evening," Alana explains. "About five o'clock."
"We could check it out," Evan mumbles. "Thank you."
And for once, Evan takes the lead. Connor is dropped off at his locker and Evan zooms across the hall to his own.
Connor grabs his pencil pouch and walks over to Evan, who is slightly struggling to get a heavy book out with one hand. Connor grabs the book with both hands and slips it into the crook of Evan's good arm.
"Thanks," Evan hums, leaning back into Connor's arms.
"You're welcome," Connor presses a kiss to Evan's nose.
After a bit of time, Connor figured out how to walk down the hall when Evan was holding things in his arm. He just had to sling an arm over his boyfriend's shoulder and they would fall into a comfortable pace.
As usual, Evan gives a farewell hug before hurrying to his class across the school before the bell rings and everyone crowds the hall.
Evan makes Connor feel soft. Mushy. Important. And Connor knows that he has a tendency of falling hard for people. But strangely enough, with Evan he feels like he's making a good pace. Like he's falling in love at a proper time. Not too quickly.
So yeah, at this point he's in love with Evan. He's fucking whipped. He feels fantastic.
But he hasn't told Evan this yet. Mainly because whenever the time feels right, it's the wrong place. He's knows it'll be emotional for both of them. So telling Evan he loves him when they are walking into school, in front of people, is a no go.
And then there's the sexual tension. It's terrifying. Connor honestly forgot what it was like to crave someone. But, Connor is taking this relationship very seriously. He won't even mention sex until the "I love you's" are exchanged. Even then, Evan will control the pace.
But it's really hard to not jump his boyfriend when Evan just...does everything right. Evan knows his tics. Evan knows what actions cause specific reactions. He knows that saying "boyfriend" makes Connor blush. He knows that running fingers through his hair calms him down. And he knows that pulling on Connor's hair turns him on.
And Connor knows Evan's tics too. "Babe," of all things, makes Evan blush. A lot of stuff makes Evan blush, but that one is a special blush that spreads more. Evan likes reassuring touches and gestures, they calm him. Evan pretty much melts under Connor's touch, so Evan is fairly easy to warm up.
It's crazy what you can learn about other people.
The rest of the school day is fairly boring. Evan and him shared their last two classes and he hadn't shown up. He was probably getting his cast off. Evan, Heidi, and him had discussed the plan for the rest of the day earlier in the week. Connor would take Evan home so Heidi could stay at work, and Connor had already informed his mother that he as staying at a friend's house.
When the dismissal bell rings Connor practically runs to his car and heads across town. He parks near the front of the building and starts walking towards the entrance. The door opens before Connor even reached for the handle.
"Hey," Evan's voice greets.
Connor eyes Evan's left arm, "Wow, you really do have more than fingers."
Evan's face turns pink, "My arm needs a washing. I look like crap."
Connor laces their hands together, pulling them towards the car, "You're amazing, shut up."
He spies Evan rolling his eyes, but doesn't say anything. He's probably going to tell Evan when they get back to the blond's house. They'll have the house to themselves for hours. It's optimal for telling Evan that he is head over heels for him.
But that doesn't exactly happen. When they get back Evan decides to take a shower to help with his arm. Connor wants to tell him after that, but his boyfriend goes to do his laundry. And then he cleans his room up. And then he asks Connor if he wants anything special for dinner. Connor suggests quesadillas and they subsequently almost start the house on fire.
They were distracted by a meme video, okay?
"I uh," Evan pokes the "food" on his plate. "I don't think that this is safe for human consumption."
Connor nods, glancing at the black mass that sat on his plate, "Thai?"
"Yes," Evan nods, tossing the mass into the garbage.
Evan orders off his laptop for them and then they finally don't have something to do.
Evan looks at him, "Hmm."
Connor sits them both down on the couch and takes Evan's face in his hands, "I just thought you should know that you are literally magical."
"What," Evan chuckles. "I'm confused."
Connor sighs, "You made me fall in love with you, you're magic."
Connor feels Evan's face heat up beneath his hands, "Wait...you aren't joking?"
"Not in the slightest," Connor assures. "I love you."
Evan grins and presses their lips together, "I love you too," he murmurs.
Connor laughs, "I've been trying to tell you since we got back. Really I've been trying for like a week."
Connor nods, pulling Evan down for another kiss.
"God, you're cute."
Evan beams and locks their fingers.
The evening goes smoothly after that. Connor takes care of getting their food from the door and they settle down to have a long binge session of Lucifer, because Connor get Evan into it of course.
"You must like murder shows," Evan mumbles.
"Like, we're almost done with this show, and you want to watch iZombie, which is about a zombie solving murders. What's next after that?"
"That show has like...fifteen seasons."
"Okay, uh...oh, Living With Yourself. Paul Rudd?"
"Yes, I want to watch that one," Evan nods, resting his head on Connor's shoulder.
Lunch with Jared's family went fine, although Jared seemed uninterested with him. After that Evan walked home and tried to ignore the discoloration in his left arm while he waited for Connor to pick him up for the meeting.
"Evan," Heidi chuckles. "You've been staring out the window for twenty minutes. He said quarter to, give him time to leave the house."
Evan walks up to his room and forces himself to start reading to distract himself. Suddenly his phone is buzzing and when he looks out the window he sees Connor's car.
He practically sprints out the door, barely remembering to say goodbye to his mother.
"Hey," Connor greets. "Ready for this meeting?"
Well, he is for the most part. But he keeps his insecurities to himself.
He's got this.
Did I watch a bunch of clips of the original cast? Yes.
Did I notice that Will and Mike are a ship? Yes.
Does anyone know if Will got married to his girlfriend yet? Not sure.
Am I sleeping enough? Hell no.
Update: My eyes started to not function from my lack of sleep. Everything started to blur and I couldn't type out anything. I was scared.