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   Stretched out on his bed in the hotel room, Joseph idly scrolled through Facebook. His mother posting a picture of her pet cat perched on the kitchen windowsill was probably the most exciting thing on his feed tonight, amongst all of the status updates and selfies of his friends. He sighed and closed out of the app, setting his phone on the bedside table.

   He reached for the remote, turned on the TV, and started flicking through channels. The news was too depressing. Infomercials for scrubbing pads and Snuggies were also depressing, in a different kind of way. After a few more minutes of switching between shows, he finally settled on 'Top Gear' and sat up.

   To be honest, he was quite bored. David had decided to go pick up some pizza maybe fifteen minutes ago, and instead of going along with him, he said he would go pick up some drinks — Oh, fuck, he thought, cursing himself for forgetting. How had he wasted so much time and not done the one thing he was supposed to do?

   Grabbing his phone off the nightstand, Joseph exited his room and briskly walked to the elevator. He was quite surprised at how quickly the door opened, and also by who was inside — David. "Hey, Squidoodly, I was just about to get the drinks!" he said.

   "Oh, clever, Stamps. That way they'll still be cold," he said. On the inside, Joseph was not quite sure whether or not he was joking around with him — their room does have a refrigerator, for God's sake — but it was a convenient excuse, and probably better than anything he could've come up with.

    On the outside, though, he grinned. Maybe Netty's right, he thought — sometimes he should just shut up and let things happen.


   The hotel's lobby had some interesting decor, to say the least. Joseph hadn't noticed it when he'd checked in — the night before he was too sleepy to do much other than watch their bags while David got their room key, and this morning they were running late and rushed out — but now that he had the time to actually look at it, it's...something else. He kind of liked it, though. It had character, and it reminded him of home, in all of its wallpapered and wood-paneled glory.

   It took him a few minutes to poke around enough to find the vending machines, and in that time he had already decided what he wanted to drink — a Diet Coke. He put the money in, pressed the buttons for drink, and the vending machine squealed as part of it went over to catch the drink as it fell from the shelf, and squeaked as it dropped it into the area on the side of the machine. Joseph was not sure what exactly made it so funny, but it was, and he pulled out his phone to text David. 'This vending machine is the funniest thing I've seen all day. Seriously, come down and see it.'

   A few minutes later, David walked into the lobby. "This had better be great," he said.

   "You see this? It's the world's greatest vending machine," Joseph said. "What do you want from it?"

   "I'm wanting some orange juice at the moment." David pushed the coins in, pressed the button, and the machine began to squeal again as it moved to catch the lemonade. Joseph started giggling, and soon after David did too.

   "That...that was delightful," he gasped, barely able to hold back his laughter.


  "Actually," Joseph said, shifting around on the bed, "this pizza's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It's almost not burnt."

   "I told you it'd be good," David said. "Sometimes it seems like you worry too much."

   "Perhaps I do." He glanced over at the clock. "Oh, Jesus, it's almost two o'clock. I didn't think it was so late."

   "Here you go again, Stamps," he teased. "Next you'll be having fits over being five minutes late." That was pretty accurate, Joseph thought. He was a bit anal about punctuality, but he can't really help being nervous when he's worried he's in the wrong place, at the wrong time, on the wrong day, and no one decided to tell him about it.

   "I already do that, Squid Nugget. You just don't ever see them because you're the one who's late." It came out a bit sharper than he intended.

   David's face fell. "I'm sorry about that, really. I guess I just lose track of time...but I've been trying to do better for you, for everyone, you know? I'm trying to be more responsible with things like that."

   "That's really nice to hear, actually." He paused. He kept making things weird, all in his own head. He decided to change the subject. "How are things going with Sarah, by the way? She seemed to really like you."

   David frowned. "She said it wasn't working out. I wasn't really feeling it either though, to be honest. Like, there could be all the reasons in the world for you to like someone, but if that spark's just not there, it's not there, you know? But then there are some people you know you couldn't ever get, so you just do your best to push it all down like you don't even feel anything."

   Joseph started fiddling with the strings of his hoodie. "Oh, yeah, mate, I can definitely relate to that. Love is just weird sometimes, you know? But everything else is weird too, if you think hard enough. Like, think about kissing. When you're with a girl, you're just smashing your mouths together and somehow—"

   David looked over at him. It only lasted a few seconds, Joseph thought, but his gaze was so intense it felt like much longer. He trailed off, what he was going to say next forgotten.

   Then, David leaned over to kiss him.

   When it happened, Joseph jolted in surprise. He didn't David to do something like that, even though things between them had gotten tense like that a few times before. It was a good kind of surprise, though, and he didn't want it to stop. He wondered, the thought dull in the back of his mind, if this made him gay. Probably. He didn't really care much right now.

   Eventually David pulled away, breathless. After a moment, he grinned, and then he kissed him again.


   "Jesus, you're warm," David said, bringing Joseph back to reality. Well, at least he hoped it was reality. Those past few hours had been pretty wild, and he wouldn't be surprised if he had dreamed it all up.

   It had all been too nice, though, he thought, to have been a dream. When he glanced down at his hands, they each had all five fingers, and from what he could see the wall clock hadn't gone haywire. Still, though, he pressed up against David a little harder, making sure that he was real. "You are too," he said. 

  He didn't quite feel like getting out of bed so soon, but he really did need to clean up the pizza boxes and pop bottles. When he tried to stand up, though, David pulled him back in. "You don't need to rush out the door any time soon. It'll be fine," he said.

   Joseph wanted to protest, to insist on cleaning up because they'd waste enough of their time in the morning sleeping in — not to mention cleaning up and getting all of their things together to leave — but he did not. He lay back down and, in a few minutes, he fell asleep.


   When he thought about it, he really did wish he'd straightened the room up the night before. When Joseph and David awoke the next morning, quite a bit past the time they planned on getting up, it had taken them enough time to throw away the pizza boxes and pack their bags that they had barely enough time for a shower and a cup of tea from the lobby downstairs before they were out the door and on their way to EGX.

   Most of the day had been a blur. The majority of it was spent being bored in queues for one game or another, and Joseph had already been fairly tired as a result of only getting a few hours of sleep the night before. Still, he did enjoy playing a few of the games on the floor that were soon to be released, and he even contemplated pre-ordering a few of them before he ultimately decided to wait for the reviews.

   Eventually, though, the day seemed to start dragging, and he nudged David. "Home after this?" he asked, gesturing to the line in front of them to play newest update of 'Minecraft.'

   David smiled. "That sounds good to me," he said.


   On the train home, they sat close together. It was unusual, as they'd normally sit opposite each other, but Joseph would be lying if he said that he didn't enjoy the flutters he had in his chest when David reached over and grabbed his hand, carefully angling it so that no one would see him do it.

   Staring out the window, trees and houses whizzing by, Joseph wondered how it would all work out, or if it even would. Was it just a one-time thing? Would David regret it? Would he regret it? Would it end up being an actual relationship? What would his parents think if that happened? What about his friends, and everyone else? Would they hate him, or even disown him? Maybe he was just overreacting, he thought. He didn't even know if it was going to be a thing.

   When the train jolted to a stop, though, he did his best to push his doubts away and gave David's hand a squeeze. "Stay at my place tonight?" he asked.

   David smiled. "Of course," he said.