Jack is running late to practice, his advisor had kept him longer than usual. He was feeling pretty pissy already, he hated being late. So when he sees Bittle loitering around Faber’s main entrance, talking to a boy, he just grew more impatient.
‘Bittle, don’t be late!’ he shouts.
Bittle jumps and squeaks. Jack feels a bit of remorse, he just doesn’t know how to deal with Bittle’s nerves and his own moods.
From the corner of his eye, he sees Bittle take the boy’s phone, write something and give it back. At that point, he stops looking. There’s hockey to be played.
He finds Bittle sitting in the freezing cold, outside of commons. His Screw date had apparently left after throwing up on his shoes.
‘You shouldn’t let Ransom and Holster pick your dates,’ he says, handing Bittle his jacket.
‘Trust me, I won’t, not after this fiasco.’
The jacket is too long and the shoulders too wide, but Bittle stops shivering after a while. That was good. He wouldn’t catch a cold.
Jack frowns. The kegster was in full swing, the music and the people were getting to him. Shitty’s blabbering is the only thing keeping him grounded.
On the dance floor, Bittle is making out with a member of the swim team.
Jack frowns more. Bittle didn’t need to hide.
‘I’m done here, see you tomorrow.’ He climbs the stairs and closes his bedroom door behind him. The image of Bitty and the other guy comes back whenever he closes his eyes.
‘Oh my god, Jack!’ shrieks Bitty.
‘Oh. Sorry!’ he says, standing there stupidly.
On the bed, there’s a guy, not the same guy, a different guy, they’re always-
‘Dude, the door, please?’
‘Oh, yes. Hum. Bittle, checking practice. Yes.’ He closes the door in a hurry.
‘IT’S SUNDAY!’ yells Bittle through the door.
Jack goes back to his room, sits. Waits five minutes. He doesn’t think.
Muttered voices, steps down the stairs. A knock on his door.
‘Checking practice?’ asks Bittle, not looking at him in the eye.
‘Yes. Checking practice.’
The awkwardness lingers.
His name is Kenneth, and he’s annoying.
English major, tall, dark brown hair, good sense of humor, if you believed Shitty. He manages to make Bittle laugh, at the very least.
Kenneth made friends with the others easily. Charming. Good looking.
Jack makes an effort. He didn’t like meeting new people, even less when they insinuated themselves in his close group of friends. He and Bittle had been dating for a month and some days. Jack was worried about Bittle’s focus on the ice, but he knew pretty much where to draw the line between Captain and Hockey Robot, so he keeps silent.
He keeps silent.
He keeps silent.
And one day, he finds Bittle aggressively baking.
‘He treats me like I’m some frail damsel!’ shrieks Bittle. ‘It’s like he’s expecting me to be some wilting flower, because I’m small, and if he tells me how sweet and cute I am one more time, I’m throwing him in the pond!’
Jack thinks Bittle is sweet and cute, but on this, too, he keeps silent.
Anyway, the story of Bitty picking his now-ex-boyfriend in a fireman-carry and throwing him in the pond makes HAUS history.
They’re drinking coffee at Annie’s. Well, Jack is drinking coffee, Bittle is drinking a monster made of sugar, cinnamon and whipped cream.
He’s watching Bitty talk about his woes with Betsy the oven. Jack thinks:
I could buy him a new one.
It’s been great this semester, we got the time to hang out since he’s not busy with his boyfriends.
Maybe I could be-