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Andrew’s Intro to Sociology class got cancelled, so he was going to use this unexpected break as an opportunity to head back to his apartment and catch up on some much needed sleep before his night class. Andrew expects Kevin to be at their apartment already since his only class on Thursdays is at 11. What he does not expect is for there to be another person in their apartment, a person Andrew has never seen before.

Kevin turns toward the door when Andrew comes in and pauses for a few seconds before he introduces his friend (does Kevin even have friends that aren’t Andrew?), “Andrew this is Neil, we workout together sometimes. Neil, this is Andrew, my roommate.”

Neil turns toward Andrew at this and they make eye contact, both refusing to look away first like this is some kind of challenge. Andrew has never seen eyes so blue or hair this shade of red, so he doesn’t really want to look away. Neil is the one to look away first and turns back to where Kevin is sitting, leaving Andrew almost disappointed that he doesn’t get to stare at Neil longer.

Andrew moves to the kitchen to get himself a totally unhealthy snack (oreos) that’s mostly just to piss Kevin off, before wandering to his bedroom, so that he can take a nap as planned. He tries not to let his thoughts stray to a certain redhead sitting just outside his room, but he fails. Andrew wonders why he’s never seen Neil before, especially because it did not look like this was Neil’s first time in their apartment. Andrew also wonders why Kevin had never mentioned or introduced Andrew to his unfairly pretty friend. That thought makes Andrew pause, because when has he ever referred to anyone as pretty? He’s called people attractive, sure, hot even, but not pretty. Andrew tries not to let himself dwell on the fact that there is definitely something about Neil that he finds intriguing and eventually drifts off into a dreamless sleep.

~~~

Both Kevin and Neil are gone when Andrew wakes up from his nap just in time to make it to his evening lab, which is three hours of his life he will never get back. Andrew stops and grabs take out at the thai place near his apartment on his way home for both him and Kevin, like he does every Wednesday.

Kevin is in the shower when he gets back, meaning he just got back from working out. With Neil, his mind supplies. Now all Andrew can think about is Neil in tiny workout shorts and has to stop himself before his mind goes somewhere he can’t come back from.

Andrew is already eating when Kevin comes out of the bathroom and says nothing until Kevin sits down with his food. He is almost desperate to find out what he can about Neil, so desperate that he is not above questioning his best friend (yes, Kevin is his best friend as much as he hates to admit it). He waits until Kevin is mid-bite before he says, “How long have you known Neil?”

Kevin chokes on his food a little bit but Andrew just waits him out. “We met earlier this semester at the gym. It was raining that day so he was running on the track instead of outside and he was fast, so I asked if he’d like to run together sometime and he just stared at me for a long time before he said yes. So now we run together a few times a week and hang out sometimes.”

Andrew continues with his questions. “Why have I never seen him before?”

“He usually comes over while you’re in class.” Kevin pauses. “Why are you asking so many questions about Neil?”

Andrew hesitates a beat too long before he says, “No reason.”

Kevin stares at him for a few seconds before he comes to the realization that Andrew was trying to avoid. “You like him.”

Andrew attempts to backtrack. “I’ve met him once and we didn’t even talk.”

Kevin won’t be deterred. “You think he’s cute.”

Andrew’s face is pink now. “Shut up.”

Because Kevin has a death wish, he says, “You have a crush.”

Andrew thinks crushes are stupid and a waste of time, so he absolutely does not have one. “Crushes are stupid and a waste of time.”

Kevin watches as Andrew’s face becomes increasingly redder, his cheeks now a pink color that stands out on his pale skin. “You’re not denying any of it.”

Andrew isn’t in the habit of lying, so he certainly isn’t going to start now. Since there isn’t anything he can say without incriminating himself further, he says nothing. Kevin takes his silence as agreement. Kevin looks way too pleased with himself at this discovery. He’s never seen Andrew act this way about a boy and it’s a little exciting.

They sit in silence for a few minutes as they finish eating. Kevin finally speaks as they’re cleaning up, “What are you going to do about it?”

That makes Andrew think. What is he going to do about it? Is he going to do anything? Odds are if he does nothing, the spark of interest surrounding Neil will go away and he can go back to hooking up with boys with no interest in a relationship and everything will be fine. The thing is, Andrew doesn’t want to do nothing, doesn’t want this spark to fizzle out. He wants to learn more about Neil and maybe be his boyfriend, if he’s open to that. Boyfriend, now that’s a thought. Andrew’s never thought about being someone’s boyfriend before. That thought leads to what he says next. “Does he even like boys?”

Kevin answers almost immediately. “Yes. He doesn’t date a lot but the last person he dated was a guy and that relationship only ended because long distance wasn’t for them. He’s asexual though, so if that is a dealbreaker you should stop now. He can also be a little oblivious to people flirting with him, so you’d have to be straightforward about what you want.”

Andrew files that information away for later. Does Andrew like sex? Yes, but he thinks he’d be perfectly fine with not having sex. He goes through periods where he doesn’t hook up with anybody, plus it’s not like he couldn’t masturbate. So, not a dealbreaker. Andrew refuses to hope for things on principle, but he thinks he might feel something akin to hope bloom in his chest.

Maybe Kevin feels sorry for Andrew in this moment or maybe realizes Andrew has no idea how to proceed, so he says, “We’re grabbing lunch Friday, if you want to join us. We’re going to this little cafe just off campus. Neil likes their sandwiches.”

Andrew is grateful for the invitation, since he really had no idea what to do next; he really is hopeless when it comes to these things. All Andrew has to do now is think about what he’s going to say and do on Friday. No problem.