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Still Cute

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Contemporary Poetry is Will’s favourite class so far. For one, because it’s a lot more diverse than all the other kinds of literature and poetry they studied so far, and secondly, because of Chris.

 

“Isn’t she just the greatest?” Chris whispers. She’s talking about their professor.

 

Will agrees, the professor is amazing. Right now they can’t reply though, they’re too busy thinking about how close Chris’ mouth is to their ear.

 

They smile at Chris.

 

Chris smiles back.

 

Will’s heart flutters.

 

After the class, Will asks, “Lunch?”

 

Chris nods and links arms with Will on the way to the cafeteria. She does it so casually. They’ve only known each other for a couple of weeks.

 

“How is your play going?” Will asks.

 

This is how they bonded in their first week: because they both write plays and poetry. Will didn’t want anyone to find out, but Chris has her ways of making people want to trust her. Probably because she trusts people herself.

 

The question makes Chris smile. “It’s great!” she says. She loves talking about her writing.

 

Will understands. They also love to talk about their writing, at least to some people. Chris is one of them.

 

“I’ve got fifteen scenes so far. The last one was a bit tricky, I kept on giving too much away with the dialogue, because I got too excited about the new plot twist I came up with. But I think it works now. And my protagonist is getting gayer every day, but oh well, aren’t we all,” Chris laughs.

 

It makes Will nervous, but in a good way. It’s exciting.

 

Then Chris nudges Will and asks, “and how is your poetry going?”

 

Will swallows. “Well,” they say, daring a glance at Chris.

 

Chris raises an eyebrow. “Well?” she repeats. “That’s it? Come on, give me a little detail! What are you writing about?”

 

Will shrugs, bites their lips. Then, eventually, “I don’t know. Life. People.”

 

They shouldn’t have said that.

 

“People?” Chris asks. She nudges Will again, comes really close as if they’re sharing a secret. “Have you written one about me?”

 

Will feels the heat in their cheeks. “Maybe,” they admit.

 

Just one though. So far.

 


 

 

Chris’ shift ended twenty minutes ago, Annie knows that. But Chris is still here, leaning casually against the counter, smiling while she chats with Annie. It happens a lot these days.

 

“Oh yeah?” Chris asks. “Vlogging?”

 

Annie grins. “You make it sound like something dirty.”

 

There’s something like mischief in Chris’s eyes. But she laughs and shakes her head. “Oh no, that’s not how I meant it,” she says. “It’s cool, I’m into it.”

 

“Into what?” Annie catches herself twirling her hair. She hasn’t felt this kind of attraction for someone new in a while. It’s exciting.

 

 

“You know…” Chris gives her that look that means something – Annie just hasn’t figured out yet what exactly.

 

“Filming?” Annie asks eventually when the tension gets a bit too much.

 

Chris snickers. “Yeah, filming.”

 

It’s amazing how there are never any customers when Chris goes in full-on flirt mode. Or maybe, Annie considers, Chris has really good timing.

 

“So, what’s this vlogging project about?” Chris asks.

 

Annie smirks. “Love.”

 

Chris raises an eyebrow. “Love?” She gives Annie another one of those looks. Eventually, she continues, “Oh, yeah. I’d be very interested in that project.”

 

Annie tries hard not to get too distracted by the way Chris’s lips curl. “You should come. Bates needs all the help he can get. You know, he tries to interview as many people as possible about love. It’s for a wedding.”

 

“Alright.” Finally, Chris seems to notice how late it already is.

 

“Oh well, gotta go.” She smiles at Annie, grabs her jacket from beneath the counter, and waves goodbye.

 

On her way out, she turns around one more time. “Tell your friend I’m in,” she says. “I got a couple of things to say about love.”

 

Maybe she winks at Annie, maybe Annie is just imagining things now, but damn, once Chris is gone, Annie needs to hold on to the counter for a bit and take a couple of deep breaths.

 

That girl, she thinks. Damn.

 


 

 

“You’re late!” Will complains when they hear Annie walk up the stairs to their room. “I hope you got a good excuse!”

 

That moment, Annie walks through the door. “I brought popcorn!” she announces and beams at Will. She waves around a big bag of popcorn. It smells delicious; warm and buttery.

 

“Caramel?” Will asks, raising an eyebrow.

 

Annie rolls her eyes. “Of course caramel, what kind of barbarian do you think I am?” she shrugs off her jacket and drops it into a chair, then walks over to the bed where Will is on their laptop.

 

Will moves over to make some space. “And where exactly did you get popcorn from?”

 

Annie leans back against the wall, opens the bag and grabs a handful of popcorn. “You know how I always walk by that cinema on my way from work?”

 

Will looks at her, eyes wide. “You didn’t.”

 

Annie shrugs and begins to munch away on her popcorn. “I couldn’t resist the smell.” Then she puts an arm around Will’s shoulder.

 

Will already knows this is going to end up in Annie ‘accidentally’ wiping her popcorn-sticky hand on Will’s shirt.

 

“Besides,” Annie continues, “you said Netflix and chill and I thought some popcorn might be nice for that.”

 

Will snickers. They make themselves more comfortable, snuggling closer to Annie.

 

“You know that’s not what most people mean when they say ‘Netflix and chill’, right?” they grin.

 

Annie gasps dramatically. “I’m shocked! Will Sanders, you just want me for my perfect body!”

 

“Not true,” Will states. “I also want you for your popcorn. Now give me that.” They grab the bag out of Annie’s hand and in return they put their laptop on Annie’s lap. “Here, you pick the movie.”

 

They mostly like to watch ‘Friends’ together because they don’t have to pay that much attention. Especially on week nights like this, when they both have to get up early the next day, they just want to relax and spend some time together.

 

They always end up talking about their day anyway.

 

“How was uni?” Annie asks while Chandler and Monica are trying to buy a house.

 

Will has to blink a couple of times. They were already almost dozing off; long day, and Annie is comfortable and smells like caramel. “Oh, it was fine,” they reply then. “Linguistic continues to confuse me, but Poetry was great. We talked about Eileen Myles. She wrote some weird poems, but I like them.”

 

“You should read one to me,” Annie says. She smiles down at Will whose head rests on her shoulder.

 

Will yawns. “Tomorrow, okay?”

 

Annie nods. “Oh,” she suddenly says, “how’s the cute playwright?”

 

“Oh, her,” Will mumbles. “Still cute. We had lunch together today. She asked about my poetry.” They hide their face in Annie’s shirt. Annie doesn’t have to see them blush like that, she always gets so smug.

 

But – “Aww, look at you!” Annie goes. Too late. “You always get so adorable when you have a crush.”

 

“Shut up,” Will pouts. “You’re one to talk. How’s cute shop girl?”

 

Annie sighs. “Still cute as well.” She rests her chin on Will’s head and brushes through Will’s hair with her fingers. “I swear she’s flirting with me, and I’ve been getting polyamorous vibes from her for a while now. Oh, you might meet her soon by the way, she wants to help out with Bates’s project.”

 

“That’s nice.” Will says. They already feel that second-hand tingling in their stomach that always comes with meeting one of Annie’s crushes. It’s a bit like a blind date, they think, only that their girlfriend will be the one doing the dating. Or, and they’ve talked about this for a while now, they might both want to date another person, together. Who knows, maybe if Will liked cute shop girl….

 

But that’s a thought for another time, when they’d be more awake.

 

“Are you going to fall asleep now?” Annie asks just when Will closes their eyes.

 

‘Friends’ is just a calming background noise now.

 

“Mhm,” Will mumbles. They shift down until their head rests on Annie’s lap.

 

Annie continues to run her fingers through Will’s hair. Then she says, “Well, honey, let me at least put the laptop and the popcorn away. And we gotta brush our teeth and put on pyjamas.”

 

Oh yeah, true. They should do that. But right now, this is far too comfortable.

 

“In a sec,” Will says.

 

Annie huffs a little laugh and leans down to kiss Will’s cheek.

 

Will smiles. “You’re still cute, too,” they yawn and squint to look at Annie.

 

Annie smiles back and traces the little wrinkles around Will’s nose with their finger.

 

“And you.”