‹ Prequel: Smirt
Status: finished.



“Have you noticed how. . .well, miserable Chris has been? It’s like someone told him the vegan “meat” loaf was actually made from cows,” Gavin whispered as we sat in the food court, Carter’s gift tucked securely into my satchel and the guys sitting across from us.

Carter, Taylor, Dustin, and Ellie were beside me, Gavin on the other. Chris, Hayden, Caleb, Nathan, and Dustin sat opposite of us, devouring their food like rabid animals. Times like these made me miss Reese, Dean, and, yes, even Brent. They had befriended the whole crew easily and I was close to tears when we parted ways after the spin the bottle game on the bus nearly three weeks ago. I still had conversations with Reese (and sometimes Dean, if he managed to “borrow” Reese’s phone for a few minutes without her noticing) via text message, and I had grown to adore her. We had also spoken via webcam chat and I’d brought Gavin; he agreed that she was genuine and if he were straight, he would “totally be into her.”

I picked up my fork, pasta noodles swirling like a conveyor belt onto it, and chewed slowly. “I just thought it was because he’s tired. You know he practically operates on weed and sunshine.” It was a weak attempt at a joke and Gavin knew it. Of course I noticed that he’s self-destructing, Gav. But what do you expect me to do? I can’t make him happy by telling him what he wants to hear. It’s not fair to either of us.

“I’m beginning to think that your talk with him wasn’t conducive to your relationship,” Gavin continued with a dejected sigh, tearing off a piece of my croissant and popping it into his mouth.

“That talk didn’t affect my relation---”

“I was talking about your relationship with Chris, Dol. And don’t you dare deny that there is one. It’s there!” He was on a tirade today, this one. Gavin lowered his voice. “Everyone can see that you don’t have just a friendship. Even Carter sees it and so does Ellie, although the bitch tries to pretend it doesn’t exist. But I’ll be the first to tell you---to your face---that you and Chris were meant to be something more than you are as of now.”

“Oh god, shut up and eat your lunch, Reverend Gavin. You can preach later and maybe I’ll give a fuck.” I rolled my eyes, laughing as he swatted my arm.

Gavin stuck his tongue out. “You are such a colossal bitch. Why are we friends?”

“Uhm, ‘cause you’re an even bigger colossal bitch?” I replied teasingly.

The whole table began laughing at Gavin’s expense and I smirked as he turned scarlet. But I noticed all too soon that Chris didn’t even crack a small smile. The image of his downcast expression was branded into my memory as I went to bed that night. I led myself to believe it didn’t bother me in the slightest. However, the next morning confirmed that I wasn’t completely unsympathetic to his pain. There was a pang in my chest as I saw him, hood drawn over his forehead nearly covering his eyes, his head buried in his folded arms on the table. A cup of coffee was within arm’s reach as well as a notebook and pen. I was willing to bet that Chris hadn’t slept much, if at all, last night. He looked like a mess, a wreck, a fraud of himself. Despite the extenuating circumstances, I tried not to go over and talk to him. But I couldn’t walk away from him and I hated myself for even considering it in the first place.

I was turning into such a selfish person and that scared me to death.

“Chris?” I said gently.

One bloodshot eye peered at me curiously. “Yeah?” He had his morning voice and it cracked at the edges.

“Are you alright? I. . .I’m worried that you haven’t been sleeping well.”

The corner of his lips twitched upwards. “You know I don’t sleep much anyway. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.” Liarliarpantsonbackwards. He raised his head, looking behind him and past me. “Where is everyone?”

“Uh. . .out. It’s almost two in the afternoon. I stayed behind because everyone else went out for food. I’m not hungry yet.” I glanced down at the ends of my hair, running my fingers through the tangled strands. “I was hoping that we’d go and eat together. Talk. Like how it used to be.”

He surprised me in that moment by taking his hood off, unzipping his hoodie nearly halfway, and took a swig of coffee that was stagnant and probably tasted foul. “Sounds like a date, darlin’.” Chris blanched before recovering with a quick grin.

“Whatever you want to call it, Ingle,” I responded, ignoring the urge to remind him that it was anything but a date since I had a boyfriend. For now, everything really was fine, and I didn’t want to ruin the sheer perfection of the moment by stating the unspoken truth.
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Getting back on track with the story; hopefully I didn't just jinx myself by stating that.

Anyway, happy new year to everyone and have a lovely week. <3