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Pulling Pigtails

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Nursey came to college with a new motto “chill. He had always been so passionate about everything at Andover and the guys had chirped him to hell and back. Plus it had been tiring, caring about so much when no else gave a whoot; being passionate consumed energy that he could use for other things, like hockey. No more being passionate, Nursey was determined to live a chill life.

And then he met Dex. Dex who was uptight and reminded him so much of the privileged boys of Andover. Dex with his Samwell republican sticker. Dex who wouldn’t have to fight to fit in.

The first time Nursey gets under Dex’s skin is an accident and by the time Dex is snapping at him Nursey has already forgotten what he said. It wasn’t that important. It’s then that he thinks to share his new motto with his fellow D-Man.


Nursey was not prepared for how angry it would make Dex. But he could barely focus on what Dex was shouting or on his own replies because of the way red was spreading across Dex’s face like a red tide. Dex had flushed with anger, red across his cheeks and down his neck. Red on his large ears. Dex’s smallest freckles disappeared but the largest stood out frankly brown against the crimson of Dex’s cheeks. Nursey was in awe. Of course, Nursey could flush like everyone else but he could never flush so bright or so readily. Seeing Dex do so, made something warm bloom in the pit of his belly. He was determined to see Dex flush again. He had found something new to passionate about.

He chirped and needled and never once thought about what it might mean that he didn’t care if it came to blows because at least then it meant that Dex’s hands were on him. That Dex was close and there and present. That Nursey had some effect on him.

Nursey did’t think about what it might mean until Winter Break.

When he get’s home, it’s pretty standard. He hugged his dad, got a kiss from his mom, and ruffled his little sister’s hair (it’s thick and curly like his -mixed kid hair-, so it can make all sorts of interesting shapes).

His mom asked, “How were classes?” (Pretty well, he didn’t have half the trouble at balancing a college a course load as some of his classmates.)

His dad asked, “Did you meet any girls?” (Our team manager is a girl, but I don’t think that’s what you mean.)

His sister said, “You better win it all. Your team has potential to kick major,” she looked at their parents, “butt.” (He grins at her. She is perhaps his toughest fan and he loves it.)

Two days later he was losing at Wii bowling to his dad, while his mom took his little sister out for “girl’s time” and he was struck with a thought about how badly Dex would be chirping him if he was here to see how badly he’s playing. It startled him.

“Derek?” His dad’s voice smacked him out of his reverie and Dex realized he had stopped mid swing. The ball had gone off and only gone halfway down the lane on screen. “You alright, son?”

“Dad?” Nursey started and then stopped, not sure of how to say what he was thinking. “You know how you asked if I had met any girls?” His father nodded. “What if I had met a boy?” Nursey knows what they say about black men and homophobia and even though Nursey knows his father is not that, he is still worried.

His father took a deep breath and said, “He better be a good one if he’s messed up your Wii bowling game this bad.”

Nursey released the breath he didn’t know he was holding, “I don’t even know if he likes me back. I don’t even know if he likes guys.”

Nursey’s father nodded like he was trying to process the complexity of a same sex crush when you don’t know the crushee’s sexuality. “You wont know until you find out.”

And with that Nursey resolved to stop goading Dex and do something productive about his crush. It’s a new years resolution of sorts. Of course it all went to hell the minute he actually saw Dex in the Haus kitchen talking to Bitty who was researching recipes on his laptop (or maybe checking twitter, Nursey wasn’t sure).

“Hey, Bitty,” Nursey nodded at his friend, “Hey, Dex.” He had to stop himself from just staring at Dex, especially since Dex needs a haircut and the red hair was curling at the top of the back of his neck, making the skin there look extra soft. Dex just grunted at him. “You miss me, Poindexter?” Nursey asked slipping into the seat right next to Dex, letting his legs unfold into Dex’s space.

“No.” Dex tried to ignore Nursey in his space. Nursey right there. Nursey just being so annoying.

“You know,” Nursey grinned at Dex slow and easy, “You’re always free to skype me.”

Dex grimaced at that and did not reply, crossed his arms and held his ground.

After that it only got worse. Nursey started getting into Dex’s space, taking things out of the playground rulebook. Whichwas what finds them a month later, the only two in the Haus living room, each on the couch, each refusing to leave as Nursey started up an assault of poking on Dex.

It was not a barrage of pokes, maybe one a minute. Just enough to be annoying. First Dex didn’t react. Then he shifted in his seat. Then he went back to ignoring the pokes but Nursey knew he was getting to him because red was spreading up his neck. That beautiful, beautiful red.

Nursey was poking Dex for the seventeenth time when Dex grabs his wrist. Nursey fights for it back, but Dex was holding him tight. Nursey’s wrist felt impossibly hot where Dex’s skin was touching him. And he could feel himself blushing from the way that Dex was looking at him. Dex’s lips were crooked in the way he got when he was annoyed but his brow was furrowed the way it got when he was trying to figure something out and then he was pulling Nursey towards him, hands on his wrist and then his forearm and then his bicep, pulling Nursey until they were impossibly close.

And they were impossibly close and Dex still looked annoyed but his golden eyes were searching Nursey’s face for something. Nursey just couldn’t take it anymore, being so close, Dex’s large eyes, and he decided to kiss the annoyed look off of Dex’s face. To his surprise Dex kissed back. It was an awkward first kiss, but satisfying.

“I don’t have pigtails.” Dex said when they pulled apart.

“Huh?” Nursey was mostly stunned that he didn’t get punched in the face.

“I don’t have pigtails, so you shouldn’t be trying to pull them.” Dex rolled his eyes, but it might actually be fond.

“It worked didn’t it?” Nursey grinned.