Ted couldn’t remember how he ended up asking Bill Woodward on a date. What he did remember was a lot of procrastinating on the subject, cussing out customers over the headset, telling them to turn their computers off and on again because, sure, he had the job, but it didn’t mean he was good at it. He remembered pacing his hallway at night, trying not to wake Pete. He remembered thinking about what he was going to say when he was trying to fall asleep at night. The script needed to be perfect. He couldn’t fuck up Bill Woodward.
He didn’t know why Bill chose him as his person of moral support from and during his divorce, but he did. During the court battles, he and Alice would often spend their days with him and Pete instead of in their own apartment because Bill always said he liked the company and Alice seemed to be happier around someone her age, for once. Ted had to admit that Pete seemed a lot happier with Alice around as well. So, Ted gave Bill his bedroom and he slept on the couch which shook Pete to the core when he first found out.
Then Ted Spankoffski caught feelings for one of the best men he’d ever met. For years, he remembered struggling with his sexuality. He didn’t want to admit to himself that boys were just as hot as girls were and he wouldn’t mind which one was in his bed as long as it was one of them. Bill Woodward truly was the kicker. His laugh, the way his eyes lit up when he got passionate about a topic or when he was talking to him about Alice. He could fall in love with those eyes and that smile. Maybe, he could fall in love with Bill Woodward.
He remembered taking the Studebaker to work that day after dropping Pete off. He found out that Pete was planning on meeting up with Steph Lauter, the mayor’s daughter, before school which meant he needed to get there earlier. Coincidentally, Ted and Pete’s schedules aligned and before Pete could say no, Ted had been the one driving him to school, much to the embarrassment of his younger brother. But hey, what was he good for if he couldn’t be a complete embarrassment to his brother every so often? They didn’t have a dad, so he was going to have to be the next best thing.
He pulled up outside of Hatchetfield High and before Pete could rush away to join his girlfriend by his side, he had also gotten out of the Studebaker. He leaned against it, crossing his arms, raising an eyebrow. “This is Miss Lauter I’ve heard so much about?”
“I have told him nothing, Steph, I swear.” Pete said, pushing his glasses on the bridge of his nose as he climbed up the steps.
“The mayor’s daughter.” Ted said afterwards, his eyes following Pete’s path.
“Uh, yeah. That’s me.” Steph said and turned to Pete. “Who’s this sleazeball.”
Pete sighed, taking her hand. “My older brother. Unfortunately.”
“I’m basically your dad and you know it, Pete!” He turned to Steph. “I hope you’ve been taking care of my little brother!”
“He can take care of himself?” Steph asked as he looked at Pete. “Do you just wanna head inside?”
“Yes.” Pete’s voice cracked and he scrunched his face up. “Ted, you’re gonna be late for work!”
“Oh, fuck shit yes-“ He tore open the door to the Studebaker. “Have a good day, Pete!”
“I will!” He paused, watching as Ted got in his car before realising something else. “Oh shoot! I got work ton-“ but it was too late. Ted had already driven off in the direction of CCRP Technical. He sighed, shaking his head. “Are you looking forward to your night with Alice?” He asked as he walked inside with Steph, heading towards her locker.
“I am, actually.” She smiled gently. “It’s just gonna be a bit of fun and we’re gonna watch some movies and no doubt about it she’ll ring Deb and I’ll ring you.” She kissed the top of Pete’s hair and he smiled. “And, for the record, I don’t think your brother’s a sleazeball.” She stopped at her locker, fidgeting to get the lock undone.
“Oh, oh no, Steph. Trust me. He is, and he won’t get offended by it. He has a new girl every other day. It used to be Charlotte on the regular but now it’s new girls who I’ve never even met before.” He swallowed. “I think he’s branched out to Clivesdale.”
“Oh my god…” Steph turned to him. “And you’re sure you’re related to him?”
“Some days, I wish I wasn’t. But I am. And he’s still my brother.” He paused. “I still love him. Despite him being like…35. I can never remember. The only reason I remember his birthday is because it’s Valentine’s Day.”
Steph laughed and grabbed her books. “Lucky, lucky Ted Spankoffski.”
“With the unlucky surname.” Pete sighed. “I’ll message him and let him know I’m working The Cineplex tonight, but I don’t know if it’ll go through. I think CCRP have cracked down with the signal lately. There have been a lot of conspiracy theories and a lot of paranoia, so I don’t know if he’ll see it until after he gets off work.”
Steph laughed softly, tucking her hair behind her ear. “Well, we’re just gonna wait and see then, aren’t we?” She pressed a kiss to his cheek. “Now I’ve got shop and you’ve got chemistry so…I’ll see you later?”
“I will see you later.” He smiled and gently cupped her cheek, kissing her gently. “Don’t cut your finger off.”
“Hey! I’m not a kid with special powers. I’m actually just a regular person!” She laughed softly. “I’ll tell Hannah you say hi.”
“Heck yeah you will.” He paused and smiled. “I love you.”
She looked down, meeting his eyes, smiling wide. “I love you too.”
Ted eventually ended up at the desk of Bill Woodward, his heart pounding, with a caramel frappe. He figured he’d save Paul a job, because Paul always seemed to forget Bill’s coffee, and Bill always hid his hurt with a smile. Well. Ted was putting a stop to that. He slid it across Bill’s desk, spinning around in his office chair as he took a big sip from his chai iced tea that he’d gotten for himself. “Took a quick trip down to Beanies. Hadn’t seen ya take your break this morning so uh, I figured I’d grab you coffee.” He gestured to the screen. “Ya look quite busy.” Bill looked from his desktop to the coffee and smiled politely as he took it, examining it carefully. Ted threw his hands up in surrender. “Woah! Dude, I wouldn’t poison your coffee! Okay, I may be an asshole, but I’m not that kind of asshole.”
Bill smiled again and took a sip. “And you say Beanies made this?”
“Yep. Watched ‘em with my own eyes.”
“It tastes better than it normally does. Maybe it has something to do with Beanies getting a new manager now that that Zoey girl left.”
“Mm, yes, Zoey Chambers. Hatchetfield’s most recent Honey Queen. Gone off to Broadway to forget this once was teensy weensy town to become the next big star in the world. I wish her luck.” He took another sip of his coffee. He glanced at the screen. “What are you looking at, anyway?”
Bill chuckled at Ted’s enthusiasm as he looked at his screen. “Alice’s play is getting made at the Starlight Theatre in a couple weeks. I wanna get as many tickets as possible. For me, for Paul, for her friends cuz I know they wanna support her...”
“You better be getting one for Pete, Bill!”
He raised an eyebrow, turning to Ted. “I didn’t think Pete was interested in plays like that?”
“Eh, Pete’s gonna be there to support your kid. You know how close they are. Besides. Cineplex discount. He’ll smuggle you in a fuck ton of snacks and shit. You know how overpriced The Starlight is.”
“Yeesh. Yeah. Adding Pete Spankoffski to the list.” He flinched at the price of the tickets that were slowly adding up. Ted noticed as well.
Ted had been saving up for nothing really in particular. “Here. I’ll go, and I’ll cover half the costs. Send me the link.”
Bill turned, eyes full of surprise. “You’d…do that?”
Ted shrugged. “Fuck yeah I would. Anything to support Little Miss Woodward.” He smiled gently and looked at Bill. “Hey um, there was actually something I wanted to ask you…?”
“Uh…would you, perhaps, maybe, want to go and see that new film that came out a couple days ago at the Cineplex after work today? As like…perhaps, a date?”
“I didn’t know when you get nervous you go 14th century British gentleman on me, Theodore.” Bill combatted and Ted’s eyes sharpened.
“Hey! No I don’t!”
“But yes. I would love to go and see that movie with you tonight.”
Ted nodded, taking another sip of coffee. “Sorted. I’ll pick you up at 5.” And with that, he rolled away back to his desk, immediately booking tickets for the two of them.
The day passed extremely fast after that and, at 5 on the dot, Ted Spankoffski was stood by Bill Woodward’s desk, watching as he grabbed the last of his things. He smiled gently at Ted and together, they left the building. They got into the baby blue Studebaker and headed over to the cineplex, making narrow conversation as they did so.
They entered the doors of the Cineplex and Ted puta hand up to Bill when he went to get his wallet out of his pocket. Ted shook his head, drumming his fingers on the desk. “Heya, two tickets under the name of Spankoffski.”
The ticket taker looked up at him and nodded, printing them out. “There you go, sirs, have a nice time.”
Ted winked at the kid and guided Bill to the screen where they would be watching the film. Meanwhile, outside, the ticket taker headed directly to the back rooms where Pete Spankoffski was currently taking a small break to get his blood sugar back up. “Hey Pete. Guess who I’ve just served.”
“You’re supposed to be on till.” He said, looking at his colleague. “Who’s on till if you’re in here?!”
“Eh, I left it with one of the newbies. They’ll be fine. Anyway.” He sat down. “Your brother’s here. With Bill Woodward.”
“To see what movie?” Pete asked, taking another bite of chocolate.
“Um, that new romantic one that’s just come out like a few days ag-“
“WHAT!?” Pete asked and looked up at him. Immediately, he pocketed his chocolate, ringing Steph, who picked up in seconds.
“Everything okay, babe?”
“Are you there with Alice?”
“Yes I am, why?”
“Can you put me on the phone to her?”
“Uh, yeah, gimme a sec.”
It was silent for a few moments, before he heard Alice’s voice over the phone. “Alice, turn your camera on.”
“Oh, Jesus, Pete.” Alice laughed but did so. “Why the fuck are you moving so fast anyway?”
“Alice.” Pete said seriously. “My brother and your dad are on a date together.”
“That’s exactly what I said! Oh god, I’m so dizzy.”
“Pete, babe, is your blood sugar low?”
“Yes. It is. I sorted that issue out though and now I’m-“ He pushed the doors open to the screen and pointed at his brother, who had his arm flung around Bill. “Alice!” He flipped the camera around to catch the two red handed.
“Oh god. Oh god I’m gonna bleach my eyes. Steph, pass me the bleach.”
“Sorry, was that Alice’s voice, Peter?” Ted asked from where he was sitting, straightening his back.
“And what was that about bleach?”
“Calm down, Mr Woodward, we’re not doing anything crazy!” Steph insisted and Bill nodded, though it wasn’t convincing.
Pete strode over to Ted and pushed his glasses up on his face. “So, this is new!” His voice cracked badly, and he heard Alice laughing with him on the other end of the line.
Ted sighed deeply and turned to Pete. “Look, Petey, you’re dating the daughter of the mayor of Hatchetfield. It is one date that might possibly develop into more dates! And then we might become boyfriends and then Alice might become your sister.”
“I am not changing my surname to Spankoffski! Go fuck yourself, Theodore!”
“Alice!” Bill scolded. He turned to Pete. “I didn’t know you worked here.”
“I completely forgot you worked here.”
Pete shook his head and looked at the screen. “If the movie wasn’t about to start and I didn’t need a ride home, I’d kick your ass.” He said and walked out, back to finish his chocolate bar.
“You okay, Pete?” Steph asked.
Pete looked at his screen to see Alice lying face down on her bed. “I’ve gotten over the initial shock. Please check on Alice. I gotta go. Love you.”
“Love you too.”
Pete hung up. So, his dad was dating Alice’s dad. Well, at least it wasn’t just a hook-up this time. Besides, Bill could be a much worse person. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.