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The Workings of Love

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"You can love two people at the same time, but never at the same level."

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Present Day (October 2017)

He looks beautiful in his despair. His skin is worn and his eyes are sorrowful. His pink yet pale cheeks are stained with tears and left over hurt. His thick brown hair is cut short but curls messily around the edges still.

He sits across from Isak with his head held high. He is strong in his misery. He is determined in his anger.

Isak’s eyes close. He feels the other man’s pain move into his own body. It weighs heavily in his chest and burns like a growing flame. His skin feels like it’s being pulled back inch by inch with every word he hears.

Jonas sits on the couch and lets his words settle in the air between the two of them.  

“Look at me” He says sharply. He doesn’t want Isak to hide from him, like he usually would, he wants him to face his words and his choices. He wants him to feel his pain, see it clearly in the light of day.

Isak’s eyes open slowly -- sore and weak with his own emotion.

Jonas doesn’t break eye contact with his boyfriend. He doesn’t blink. He refuses to let Isak run from this.

“Do you love me?”

Isak doesn’t stop to think about the question or his answer and doesn’t even hesitate for a moment before he speaks the truth.

“Yes.”  

He does love Jonas.

He loves him with every single fiber of his being. He loves the way he thinks just a little differently than anybody else Isak has ever met. He loves how he shivers at night and cuddles as closely as he possibly can to Isak’s warmth. He loves Jonas’ loud unique laugh and his unusual hand movements. How passionate he is about his work and how he never backs down from a challenge. He loves the messy way his hair stands up every morning.

Isak loves Jonas. He has spent two years of his life loving this man.

Jonas swallows his emotions.

Pain.

Anger.

Regret.

Love.

Hate.

“Do you love him?” He asks, and he doesn’t let his voice shake. He already knows what Isak’s answer will be.

This time though, Isak hesitates, and his insides shake.

He doesn’t want to answer, because he won’t be able to lie, and this truth...it hurts.

“Fucking answer me, Isak!” Jonas demands, words full of fire.

So he does, quietly, sadly. He answers with the truth, “Yes. I do.”

Jonas laughs in disbelief. There is absolutely no humor there.

“So, you’re in love with me.”

Isak nods.

“And you’re in love with him.”

Isak nods.

Jonas laughs humorlessly again. The room is filled heavily with emotions.

The air is thick and stifling and makes Isak’s skin sweat.

“Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?” He asks in a desperate, broken whisper “I don’t think it’s possible.”

Is it?

Is it possible?

“How the fuck am I supposed to respond to that, Isak?” Jonas tosses his hands “Oh, okay. No problem. You’re in love with two men who both love you back, so, no big deal. It’s all good! It’s all fun and games. Just playing with everyone’s emotions and hurting-”

“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone” Isak interrupts quietly. His voice does shake, unlike his partner’s.

He really didn't. He didn’t mean for any of this to happen. He never wanted to break Jonas’ heart.

The heart that was the very first one to touch his own. The heart that opened him up, made him see, made him feel, made him love.

He wanted to protect that heart. Keep it close to him.

But he failed.

“Well, you did” Jonas states firmly. “You hurt everyone. What the fuck did you expect would happen?”

Isak clenches his teeth hard enough for his whole jaw to ache.

He doesn’t speak. He’s scared. He’s a coward. He’s weak.

It’s his fault. Everything is his fault.

And both the men know it.

“What’s his fucking name again?”

“....Even”.

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October 2016

Isak is comfortable.

He’s comfortable with his life, comfortable with Jonas, with his work, with his friends.

Comfortable.

That word is something Isak never thought he’d use to describe his own life.

Adventurous maybe, or wild even.

Isak always liked to live on the edge. He always liked spontaneity and excitement. It was what he craved. What he does crave now.

When he was younger, high school and college days, he actively went out seeking it. Anything fun, dangerous, or exciting and Isak was there. He was the one people went to for a good time. He always stumbled home smelling of alcohol, weed, sex, and trouble. He loved it.

But he also can’t deny that he is now happy in his comfort. It’s not exciting or dangerous, but the comfort is warm and sweet and passionate. His comfort is Jonas. The man he loves. The man who makes his heart beat just a little better than it used to. Makes his blood course through his veins smoother.

The man that makes him comfortable.

However, this comfort, this steadiness -- bores Isak.

Being settled down with one person is…boring honestly.

And it kills Isak that he feels that way.

Before he met Jonas, he never thought he’d ever commit to one person, have a steady boyfriend, be in a relationship. Just the thought made him cringe. Isak likes fun, he likes men, and he likes sex with men. A lot of it. It’s not that hard to work out.

He didn’t give much thought to anything else at that point in his life.

He was going to school for animation design, getting wasted on weekends, and sleeping with too many people to keep track of.

That was it.

Then Jonas walked into his life, turned everything upside down, and the idea of being in a relationship wasn’t so scary anymore.

Originally his plan was, of course, just to sleep with the man. He had seen the tall, slim brunette from across the room at a party one night. His hair was a deep chestnut color - falling in loops and curls, his face was covered in a slight rugged looking stubble, his waist slim but his shoulders broad - his muscles prominent. His laugh echoed through the room and made Isak smile. His eyes were open and kind and full of stories that Isak wanted to be told.

He wanted this man, in more ways than one.

They didn’t have sex that night. Jonas just gave Isak his number. Jonas was confident and strong. He made Isak work for his attention, something he really wasn’t used to, and saw right through his usual “moves”.

And just a few short weeks later, for the first time ever, Isak was dating someone. They went to movies and dinners and got ice cream before spending the day on the beach. It was strange, new, and exciting for Isak. It started to feel easy for him to stop going after other men because all he could think about was Jonas. His rich hazel eyes and plump captivating lips. His dry humor that made Isak smile and laugh to no end. His quick wit and deep compassion that made Isak care.

No one man could compare. No other made Isak feel so…amazingly blissful.

They shared laughs and love and even adventure sometimes - just like Isak loved. Only, this time, instead of doing it alone - Isak has someone to share everything with.

It was a tamer kind of adventure, but it was an adventure nonetheless.

It was Jonas and Isak. Together.

Isak had never loved anyone before Jonas.

His life was now being shared with someone. And he was happy.

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He is still comfortable.

But now that comfort is slowly making its way to becoming staleness.

Isak is currently sitting at Mahdi’s kitchen counter. He’s spinning in circles on the high stool he’s seated on, tipsy and a bit light-headed, as the drinks just keep coming.

Jonas had to work late. He always has to work late.

When Isak stops and stands, he wobbles and catches himself clumsily on the countertop.

“Woah, easy there light-weight” Mahdi laughs loudly - calling his words over the noise of the blender he’s currently mixing drinks in “I don’t need you puking all over my kitchen floor…again.”

“Fuck you” Isak laughs.

Isak’s body burns red as the vodka takes its effect. He feels sweat drip down his neck and soak the back of his hair and the snapback that is fit snugly there. He wears a vodka covered shirt from the two drinks he previously spilled.

“So,” Mahdi sighs, pouring the blended drink into two glasses “What are you really over here for, Valtersen?”

"What?” He widens his eyes in false innocence “I can’t just want to hang out with my very best friend?”

He leans both elbows against the smooth countertop and places his chin in his hands.

He continues to sway from side to side and he smiles.

Mahdi laughs, walking over and placing both the margaritas in front of the small blonde. He adjusts his baseball caps and lets a small, sneaky smile linger on his lips.

“Of course you can” Mahdi tells him, dark eyebrows raised knowingly, somehow he always seems to know, “I just know when something’s on your mind.”

Isak sighs and nods, taking a gulp of the delicious strawberry mixed drink.

Mahdi and Isak have been best friends since high school. He’s always here for Isak when it counts and in turn Isak has always been there for him. Mahdi was the first person Isak ever came out to, Isak was who Mahdi went too when his home life got shitty and he had nowhere else to stay. They did ecstasy for the first time ever together in second year and, honest to god, Mahdi texted Isak right after the first time he had sex.

And even as they got older, and started living their own lives, they were kind of a package deal.

If you were Isak’s friend, you were Mahdi’s - and vise versa.

“It’s Jonas.”

“Of course it is” Mahdi says as he goes to sit,  “Talk”

Isak plops back into his seat with a thud.

“He’s…Jonas.”

"Yes,” Mahdi nods - a look of false seriousness on his face. “We’ve already established who we’re talking about”

“Jonas!” Isak smacks his palms down on the counter, tilting his head back, practically yelling his words “My boyfriend of a year! The love of my life!”

Mahdi is always amused by wasted shit-faced Isak. Even thought this time he knows something really is bothering him. Isak doesn’t usually talk about his feelings much. He expresses himself through his artwork. He paints and sketches. Only when something is really bothering him does he actually try and talk it out.

He’s been somewhat of a loner, for as long as Mahdi has known him, he’s always been the suffer in silence type.

Isak whips his head up, his green eyes meeting Mahdi’s brown.

“Have you ever been in a relationship with someone you love. I mean someone you really, really love. But you’re…”

“Bored?”

"Yes!” Isak points his finger towards the man across from him. He slaps his other hand against the counter again, excitedly. “Boring, stale."

"You’re feeling trapped?” Mahdi questions, sipping his drink, voice free of any kind of judgement.

“No” Isak sighs, his body slumping forward, shoulders curling inwards. “I wouldn’t say trapped. I love Jonas. I love being with Jonas. I just-”

“Isak” Mahdi cuts his friend’s words off, his voice already sounding wise and all-knowing. He sets down his glass and reaches across the counter, grabbing the blonde’s chin, forcing him to look at him. “I get it. It’s a huge change, ya know? Whether you want to admit it or not…you used to be a slut.”

“Hey!”

“Calm down. I’m not slut-shaming you, man. You like to fuck. You like beautiful men. You like to fuck beautiful men…a little more than the average person does but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s normal for you to feel a little weird going from that life style to your first real relationship. No matter how long you’ve been in it or how much you love Jonas.”

Isak continues to stare steadily at Mahdi. The words make sense, but they don’t do a thing to comfort his stirring emotions.

He frowns a little.

“We haven’t had sex in three months.”

Mahdi’s eyes widen. “Holy shit.”

“I know!” Isak exclaims “That is the longest I’ve gone without sex since I lost my virginity at fifteen! And Jonas and I in bed? Oh my god I can’t even explain it. It’s the best I’ve ever had. I mean the things he does with his tongue-”

“Ah, ah, ah” Mahdi shrinks away, covering his ears “I don’t need to hear the details of my two best friend’s sex lives.

Isak sighs, for what feels like the millionth time today. He takes a gulp of his tasty drink. Mahdi is an alcoholic beverage making, bartending god.

When Isak raises his eyes back to his friend’s, he watches as a small smirk begins to spread across his face.

“What are you smirking about?”

The man laughs, “You know what you have to do now don’t you, Valtersen?”

He shakes his head, confused.

“You gotta seduce him. Spice things up.”

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“You’re never in the mood, Jonas!”

“Are you seriously getting mad at me because I’m not in the mood to have sex with you?”

Isak tosses his hands up, stomping after his boyfriend, who continues to move away from him, not pausing for a moment to look Isak in the eye or have an actual conversation.

“That is a ridiculous fucking question. I’m not mad. I’m frustrated because you won’t talk to me. You’re always tired, always busy, always not in the mood to do anything.”

“Well, excuse me for having a job, Isak.” Jonas moves to the fridge, grabbing a beer and popping it open. “We’re not all tortured and talented artists.”

Jonas worked late, like usual, so Isak thought it would be the perfect surprise to have a nice dinner waiting for him when he got home. He went all out. Candles, wine, flowers.

But Jonas was cranky and tired and not in the mood, apparently.

Isak stands at the archway to the kitchen. His eyes run over his boyfriend, taking in his posture. He does look tired. He does look stressed.

Dark purple bags run beneath his eyes and his lips are tightened into a straight, hard line.

His eyes droop with his exhaustion and his body slumps. His tie hangs loosely around his neck and his clothes are crumpled.

Isak has felt him at night, restless and unable to settle, tossing and turning for hours before finally drifting to sleep for no more than three hours.

He turns on Isak and takes a gulp of his drink before speaking, “Look, I just don’t want to have sex, okay?”

Isak lets out a loud, humorless laugh of disbelief, “You really think sex is the issue here?”

Isak knows Jonas isn’t that stupid. He knows that he’s being purposely ignorant, avoiding the subject, not wanting to deal with Isak or his emotions right now.

Jonas shrugs, his face blank, his words dull, “I don’t know what else you want me to say.”

His voice is hollow. It echoes in Isak’s ears and makes his heart stutter. That is not Jonas’ voice. Jonas’ voice is comforting and full of love. When he talks to Isak his voice is light and gentle.

He’s running away. He’s blocking Isak out.

Isak nods. “Fine.”

He walks to the front door, grabbing the first jacket he sees - Jonas’ favorite green wind jacket, and flings the door open in a huff. He pauses for a moment. He’s waiting for Jonas to stop him. Ask him not to go, say something, anything. But he doesn’t.

He hears Jonas let out a frustrated sigh, toss the cap to his bottle in the trash, and sit heavily at the kitchen table -- staying silent.

So, Isak leaves.

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Present Day

Every tick of the clock rings in Isak’s ears.

It’s been hours since either of the men spoke.

There was tears and sadness, anger and yelling, throwing and stomping.

And now...it’s uncomfortable and silent.

Jonas sits at the kitchen table, drawing invisible patterns with his fingers, a glass of red wine at his side.

Isak sits across from him and just waits. Waits for him to yell some more, cry some more, do something.

He doesn’t know how much more there is to talk about, he doesn’t know what else to say or do, he doesn’t know if there is anything to do at the point.

He feels like he’s in the middle of the ocean -- no land in sight. Flailing and screaming and waiting to be rescued. But knowing that it’s not going to happen.

There is no hope here.

He can’t stand the silence anymore though, it’s eating him from the inside out, it’s so loud to him.

“Jonas,” he says quietly.

Jonas looks up but still, he stays quiet. His eyes are puffy and red from crying. His cheeks are stained with his sadness and he’s so beautiful.

His eyes are a startling hazel color -- gorgeous but subtle. His cheekbones are sharp and his jaw is strong and angled.

When he finally speaks, his words cause Isak’s heart to drop in his chest, “I don’t know what else to do, Isak” his voice cracks. Isak swallows thickly because neither does he.

Everything Jonas has said to him is true.

He’s selfish and he’s hurt everyone around him.

Isak is in love with two men.

He doesn’t want to lose either of them.

He doesn’t know how to let go.

“Who do you love more?” Jonas asks suddenly, his eyes steady and piercing, and his tone stinging like acid.

“What?” Isak heard him perfectly, but he’s taken off guard.

“I said, who do you love more? You said you’re in love with us both, right? Well, which one of us do you love more? Me or him?”

Isak opens his mouth but no words come out.

He’s never thought about it that way. In fact, over this past year he’s done his best to actively not think about the fact that he loves two men or what that means. That he’s in love with two men and he still has no idea how or why he let it happen.

“You have to love one of us more” Jonas’ voice rises - his words so sure, “I mean, assuming it’s possible for you to love both of us, you have to love one of us more.”

Isak’s lip quivers and his jaw clenches.

He shakes his head frantically.

No.

“What does he do that I don’t?” Jonas asks, the anger in his voice growing once again -- hurt and doubt and insecurity leaking through. His cheeks begin to flush and his eyes become frantic with the need for answers, “What does he give you that I can’t?”

Isak continues to shake his head rapidly.

“Come on, Isak. There has to be something! Otherwise this wouldn’t have happened in the first place!”

“It’s not about him…giving me something you can’t. It’s- I just-”

Jonas slams his wine glass down, splashes of deep purple sloshing out onto the tabletop. Isak flinches at the sudden noise.

His heart lands in his throat.

Water builds behind his eyes.

He watches as the wine pools, spreads, and begins to soak into the wood there.

“Fuck you, Isak!” Jonas whispers, before he stands, chair scraping against the tile unforgivingly, leaving the room, leaving Isak alone.

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October 2016

Isak is on his fourth drink.

He stands alone at the bar and begins to relax as the alcohol begins to take effect.

He’s drinking vodka soda - Jonas’ favorite, as he lets himself soak in his anger and depression.

He should face the problem by going back home and apologizing.

He knows it’s what he’s going to do eventually.

Jonas does work hard.

In fact, Jonas is the hardest working person Isak knows. And Jonas loves what he does.

Isak has never understood how Jonas could actually enjoy working all day in an office setting. Ringing phones and tapping keyboards. But it’s just a small part of working in the advertisement business.

Isak loves the look of excitement and passion he sees in Jonas’ eyes whenever he comes home from a good day at the office and can’t stop talking about it.

It’s not Jonas’ fault that Isak’s brain is wired the way it is.

It’s not Jonas’ fault that Isak isn’t capable of getting it to slow down, to not overthink, to not run wild and demand more. It isn’t the other man’s fault that Isak craves things when he should be perfectly happy with what he has now. Love.

It’s his.

He tosses his head back, downing the rest of his drink, and turns - ready to just face the inevitable and go home to make up with Jonas.

But as he turns, he suddenly comes into contact with another soft body, hitting it hard.

He stumbles back a bit with a groan, catching himself of the bar stool behind him.

When he hears a light yet deep chuckle -- he looks up.

What he sees makes his eyes widen and his jaw drop slightly.

This man is fucking gorgeous.

His pale blue eyes shine with humor as his laugh fills the air between the men. His hair is a dusty dirty blonde color and messy is the best kind of way, falling down onto his forehead and touching his eyelids, it’s silky looking and Isak can’t help but imagine what that hair would feel like slipping through his fingers.

The man smiles wide.

He’s obviously quite tipsy.

He stumbles forward slightly on his feet and Isak has to place his hands on his shoulders to steady him.

The man is taller than Isak, but barely, his eyes meeting Isak’s head-on. Wide and tipsy and happy.

His face is flushed red and his top-lids droop down low. He licks his lips and sigh-laughs.

Isak’s eyes flick down and he notices just how plump and pink those lips are.

His shoulders are smooth and strong feeling, Isak’s fingertips touch the skin above the collar of his shirt. The man’s skin is hot to the touch and Isak’s fingertips tingle.

He swallows the lump in his throat and makes his mind focus.

“You going somewhere?” The boy giggles, before hiccuping.

Isak smiles lightly. This man is also adorable.

“Sorry” he tells him “I was just leaving. I didn’t see you there.”

The boy sighs, “No,” he practically whines “Don’t go.”

Isak furrows his brows in confusion.

“What? Why-”

“I was just coming over here to talk to you.”

“Yeah?”

The blonde shrugs, his expression remaining open and genuine, “Sure. You’re small, blonde, and cute.”

Isak laughs at the man’s large goofy looking grin.

He also can’t help but notice that his teeth are almost perfectly straight and blindingly white. His tongue is stained a dark blue color from some kind of mixed drink, Isak assumes.

“I’m not that small.”

“My friends ditched me” The man continues, ignoring Isak’s words “Said something about it being late and going home before they get too wasted.” He waves his hand in a dismissive manner and stumbles before Isak catches him once again -- his limbs long, lanky, and uncoordinated.

“Maybe that’s not such a bad idea” Isak chuckles “You look like you’ve had enough.”

“Come on, I’m tipsy at best,” He smiles “Just stay for one drink. I promise you’ll like me. I’m loads of fun.”

Isak sighs and lets himself stare into the deep blue color of the man’s eyes. They’re alight with a certain kind of mischief that Isak remembers fondly. A kind of wonder and excitement that he misses.

He thinks about going back to the apartment.

Jonas will probably be sleeping and Isak will have to climb into his cold empty side of the bed. He remembers the staleness of his life and the boredom he’ll feel once he’s there.

The old Isak wouldn’t hesitate to say yes. The one who partied and let loose and never said no to an adventure. The Isak that stayed up all night and drank until he couldn’t stand.

The old Isak would accept this stranger's invitation without the slightest amount of hesitation.

He misses that Isak.

“Okay, I’ll stay.”
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The man’s name is Even.

His laugh is loud and his words are enthusiastic. He’s wild-happy and tipsy-free.

He likes tequila and is super good at bar tricks.

He put a puddle of alcohol on the bar top and got a group of people really close to it. He claimed he could make a piece of his hair dance. He plucked a piece from Isak’s head and placed it right in the center of the puddle. Everyone crowded in close in a huddle. He counted to three…and then slammed his hand down causing the liquid to splash everywhere.

Isak laughed so hard he could barely breathe.

Isak can see himself in the man. The old him. Excitable and fun. Playful and bold.

Even is everything that Isak is missing in his life.

The excitement and the adventure of his old life. He’s everything that Jonas isn’t.

He makes Isak forget everything.

He makes Isak feel…excited instead of bored.

Free.

And no matter how much Isak loves Jonas and his life with him - there has always been and always will be a part of him that craves his old, wild lifestyle.

“Hey,” Even places his hand lightly on Isak’s shoulder, causing him to look over “follow me.”

Isak does.

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Isak has the blonde pressed against the locked door of the bathroom stall.

It’s hot and cramped but neither of the men mind. They’re too caught up.

Isak runs his hands down Even’s sides, tracing the fabric of his tight fitting dress shirt. He reaches his thighs -- feeling smooth and toned even from beneath the fabric and squeezes them, loving the feel of his flesh beneath the material.

Even holds onto the shorter man’s shoulders to steady himself.

Isak buries his face in the man’s neck. The skin there is red and hot and spit-slick from Isak’s precious licks and kisses. Isak’s breath heats Even’s skin even more. He tosses his head back, giving Isak more access.

Isak latches his lips onto Even’s skin, sucking hard. He doesn’t know why, but he knows that he wants to leave his mark there. He wants the blonde to have a physical, visible reminder of Isak in the morning.

His teeth scrape against the soft skin covering Even’s collarbone.

Isak roughly and quickly begins to undo the workings of Even’s pants, unzipping his fly and messing with his buckle. He kicks one of Even’s feet, making his legs spread a bit, opening Even up to him. His hands move skillfully and swiftly, obviously practiced despite how long it’s been, and he shoves his hand down Even’s pants as soon as soon as he’s granted access - wasting no time.

There is nothing slow or sweet about this moment.

Everything is rough and fast - sharp bites and forceful touches.

He places his fingers against the bulge, already rapidly growing, that he finds there, tenting in Even’s boxers. Isak feels the wetness already, precum soaking through his underwear.

“Shit,” Isak whispers, “Even.”

“Please” Even moans -- not afraid to show his want, to show Isak how desperate he his for him and his touch, how much he wants him. So much that he trembles with the need. His fingers clamp down harder on Isak’s shoulders, his nails digging into the flesh there “Please, touch me.”

Isak slips his hand beneath the fabric of his boxers. His hand wraps around the other man immediately, squeezing firmly and steadily in his hand.

He takes a moment to just feel and appreciate his heat. Soft yet hard.

He’s missed this.

He’s missed hot, sloppy, dirty sex in bathroom clubs, he’s missed the thrill and daringness. He’s missed getting out of the house and experiencing life. He’s missed the heat and the burn of his stomach. He missed getting to know someone else’s body, quickly and meaninglessly, before forgetting it all the next day.

Even squirms under Isak’s touch, his hips bucking forward impatiently, looking for a more demanding kind of friction to ease the ache between his legs. The pit of his stomach burns with his arousal.

Isak squeezes harder, but only for a moment, before easing his hold -- teasing. Even’s head pushes back against the stall and he lets a desperate groan fall from his soft lips. Isak loves the heat and heaviness of Even in his hand. He feels his own erection throb in response, becoming tight and uncomfortable in the confinement of his jeans.

“Hmmmm,” Even moans. He circles his hips in small movements, trying to fuck Isak’s hand, and begs for more touch “Isak, please, please, please.”

“Do you want me?” Isak whispers, his sweet breath spreading across Even’s skin - just needing to know. Needing to selfishly hear the words, even if the answer is clear.

He watches in wonder as Even’s neck flushes further, how his chest heaves and his skin sweats, and it’s all because of Isak and his touch.

He’s so sensitive and responsive to Isak.

Isak pushes his body closer to Even’s, hard and demanding of the space, he places his lips next to Even’s ear knowing how his words will tickle his skin, make his body quiver.

“I said...do you want me?” He questions again, lowly.

“Yes, so much” Even pants “Please.” His voice is breathy and broken with his arousal and so wrecked that it makes Isak lose his goddamn mind.

So, Isak gives him what he wants. He drops quickly to his knees, quicker than he ever thinks he has before, his mouth already watering at the sight of Even hard and waiting beneath the material of his boxers.

It’s been so long since he’s had this feeling, been in this position, and the hard surface feels oddly comforting beneath his knees.

He wants to taste the other man so badly.

He curls his fingers around the edges of Even’s underwear, shoving them and his pants the rest of the way down his thighs, exposing him to Isak completely.

Even doesn’t shy away as Isak glances up at him shyly beneath soft eyelashes, his pupils grow larger, blue eyes growing darker, filled completely with lust -- another guttural groan escaping his lips. His hips lifting, thrusting mindlessly into the air, his dick briefly touching Isak’s pink cheek.

“Fuck, Isak” He pants “You look so fucking good on your knees for me.”

Isak just smirks in response, his chest swelling from the compliment, he gives in -- letting himself be completely consumed by the feeling. This feeling of being wanted, of being appreciated, of being lusted after.

He wants to stay here in this moment. He never wants Even’s hungry gaze to leave him, he wants to drown in this feeling.

His eyes wander down, coming face to face with Even’s arousal.

His dick stands proudly - red and hot and throbbing - just waiting for Isak’s touch, begging for his mouth.

Isak licks his lips, anticipation burning at the bottom of his stomach, his flesh sizzling, his whole body buzzing

He places his lips on the flesh of Even’s hipbone first, letting his breath tease the skin there, letting his tongue peak out and taste the saltiness of Even’s skin, his sweat. His lips move over his skin, leaving a trail of kisses and nips, before moving back up and taking Even in his hand again - soft and heated, steadying him, curling his fingers around his left hip to hold him in place, calm his bucking.

Please,” Even asks again, breathless. His eyes don’t move from Isak as he pants above him, loving the view.

Isak leans forward, tentatively flicking just the head with his tongue, the bitter taste of precum filling his mouth - making him moan - before taking as much of Even into his mouth as possible.

Even continues to pant and moan and let Isak know just how amazing the warm heat of Isak’s mouth feels. He rocks his head from side to side as Isak swirls his tongue experately, hollowing his cheeks, taking Even further into his mouth. His large strong hand curls into Isak’s blonde curls, not pushing or controlling, just holding -- letting himself move with Isak’s bobbing.

Isak can feel Even’s pulse behind the skin of his hip, feel the muscles of his stomach clench in pleasure, Isak taking complete pleasure himself in knowing he’s the one making these sounds fall from Even’s mouth.

His dick continues to pulse in his own pants, thighs shaking.

Even continues to try to move his hips up, despite Isak’s strong hold on him, as he silently begs for even more.

When Isak moves a hand back, grabbing the soft smooth skin of Even’s ass - pulling him closer, deeper into the smaller boy’s mouth - Even begins to moan louder. Isak hears people entering and exiting the bathroom but he doesn’t pay them any mind. He hears them giggle and whisper but all he can really focus on is this man - writhing from his touch, moaning at the feel of his tongue. He’s begging for more, desperate and not afraid to show it. He’s lost in his euphoria.

He wants Isak.

Isak hasn’t felt this wanted in a long, long time.

And he loves it.

He lets himself revel in it, feel proud and full and amazing.

It isn’t much longer before Even is gone completely, gripping onto Isak’s hair painfully tight, his mouth falling open, body jerking as his orgasm burns and builds.

“Isak, Isak I’m-” He breaks off, giving Isak’s hair one final tug, but Isak just hums around him, taking him even deeper, wanting to foolishly taste all of him.

Isak looks up, watching Even’s face as he comes apart for him, the younger boy’s name falling from his lips once again, sweat dripping from his forehead to his nose and running down his chin, His eyes are lust-blown and almost frantic looking as they lock with Isak’s.

Even tastes sweet yet bitter on Isak’s tongue as he swallows everything that the man has to give him.

When Even is finished, Isak pulls away, feeling proud and accomplished, wiping the corner of his mouth before standing -- loving how flushed the taller boy’s face is, how his body slumps against the stall, completely spent -- body weak and expression full of bliss.

All because of Isak.

Even suddenly moves, taking Isak by surprise, and pressing his lips against the shorter man’s. Isak pauses for a moment.

It’s been so long since anyone else’s lips but Jonas’ have been pressed against his own.

They feel foreign and different and…wrong.

Yet, right at the same time.

They’re a little fuller than Jonas’ but just as plush and soft. He tastes like tequila and cigarette smoke and some kind of sweetness that makes Isak want to push harder, lean into his space further, get more and more and more.

He kisses him back, letting his mouth press to his firmly and fully, giving himself over to this feeling completely.

Reckless, wild, free.

Isak's skin tingles, flutters spreading through his stomach, a warm feeling creeping up the back of his neck at the shock of these lips against his.

Even eventually pulls away, his breath hot against Isak’s lips, he chuckles slightly and pushes his hair away from his hot, damp forehead.

He smiles, straightening his shirt and reaches down to shimmy his pants back up his body.

“Need me to return the favor?” He asks, jerking his head towards the clear bulge that is still in Isak’s pants and his voice is so casual and carefree that it makes something in Isak’s chest shift -- tugging painfully.

This is when the feeling slams into him - no mercy.

This is when Isak begins to feel the guilt start to creep in.

He watches Even’s movements as he feels the emotion begin to build within himself.

What the fuck did he just do?

He just blew some random guy in the dirty bathroom of a sleazy nightclub. He feels as though his body is covered with a layer of filth.

And he suddenly feels sick, his stomach twisting and turning in knots as Jonas’ kind soft eyes flash in Isak’s mind.

He wants to vomit.

How could he throw a year of love and dedication away for a quick fling?

Even is completely unaware of Isak’s inner struggles, raising his eyebrows, letting his eyes flick down again before returning to Isak’s, and back down - making his intentions clear.

“So?”  

Isak swallows thickly, holding back his nausea “I…no, I can’t. I-”

Even looks up at him, peeking through his thick, dark lashes as he begins to wipe away the wrinkles on his shirt, “You have a boyfriend, yeah?”

Isak raises his eyebrows “How’d you know that?”

Even shrugs, a smirk spreads across his face, carelessness dances in his eyes.

He’s looks gorgeous to Isak, even through his guilt. Lips puffy and purple and eyes free of any problems.

“The familiar look of guilt in your eyes. I’ve seen it before.”

“Do you do this a lot?”

“Do you love him?” Even asks, his voice filled with complete seriousness.

Isak feels his eyes fill with water.

He has no right to cry. This is his fault. He did this.

But Even comforts him anyway. He places his hands on Isak’s neck gently, his thumbs stroking the skin soothingly, “Do you love him?” He asks again -- his eyes so strong and intense that Isak feels himself want to shy away from the gaze, hide and never come out.

He feels so exposed and open under these eyes.

Isak answers honestly, “Yes.”

Even smiles lightly, so lovely, he kisses Isak’s cheek and lets his breath touch Isak’s skin as he speaks, “Then go home to him, Isak.”

.

.

.


Isak makes his way home on shaky legs. So overwhelmed with his emotions that his mind is blank. He doesn’t think of anything at all.

He just feels numb.

Even though he notices how his lips still tingle pleasantly, a strange and new kiss still lingering there.

He’s surprised to find Jonas sitting on the couch when he gets home. He’s watching crappy midnight television, a discarded and forgotten novel by his feet, and their dog Lola lying comfortably in his lap, panting.

Jonas shoos the dog away when he sees Isak enter.

He moves to him automatically, completely unaware of Isak’s intense shame and guilt ridden body. Jonas hugs him tightly, wrapping his long, strong arms around his body.

Isak feels safe and comforted there. He always has.

But he’s never felt so trapped than he does right now.

He places his hands lightly on Jonas’ smooth back and shakes.

Jonas presses his lips to his boyfriend’s.

His kiss is firm and strong and familiar. It’s passionate and he tastes exactly like he always does. He tastes like Jonas.

A taste Isak has tasted so many times before. His favorite taste in the world.

But now it makes his stomach roll sickly, and all he can think about is breath that is laced sweetly with alcohol and smoke and the prettiest moans Isak has ever heard.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry.”

The men speak at the same time. Jonas just smiles down at Isak.

The light in the room is low and his face flows in the most delicate way.

“I’ll cut back on my work hours, okay?”

Isak nods, “okay.”
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.

.


Isak hops in the shower - wanting to wash away his lies and betrayal.

He tilts his head up and lets the hot water hit his face and soak his hair.

He’s surprised when he feels Jonas’ arms wrap around him from behind. His hands resting on his stomach.

He doesn’t ask Isak where he’s been or what he’s been doing. Because he trusts Isak. He always has. And Isak knows this.

He doesn’t even think about telling Jonas what happened tonight, because it will never, ever happen again. He’s not going to hurt him because of one mistake. One stupid, one time mistake.

Jonas leaves kisses behind on Isak’s shoulder, his neck, his lips rest against Isak’s ear. “I love you,” he whispers.

Isak is thankful for the running water - Jonas can’t see his tears this way.

“I love you too.”

They make love for the first time in months -- Jonas pushing him firmly yet gently against the cold tiles of the shower, his touches caring and filled with emotion. He knows Isak’s body better than his own.

Isak feels the connection he always has when he’s with Jonas.

His body just responds to the brunette’s touch.

His fingers trace his skin and bones, brings pleasure to him in every way possible.

But every time he closes his eyes - hazel eyes become blue ones.

And Jonas doesn’t notice how Isak’s tears never stop flowing.

Chapter Text

"Loving someone with your heart, and loving someone with your mind, are two very different kinds of love."

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November 2016

Soft skin, full lips, golden hair.

Blue eyes.

It’s been a few weeks since the incident (as Isak now refers to it) - three to be exact.

The first two weeks, Jonas kept true to his word.

He stayed home from time to time and came back before 21 every night when he did have to work.

The men stayed up late - watching movies and stuffing their faces with unneeded salty and sweet snacks.

Jonas has been giggly and happy. He leaves trails of kisses on his boyfriend’s neck, his stomach, his spine. He whispered words that made Isak’s skin burn pink and his belly fill with happiness.

It reminded Isak of when he and Jonas first got together. When Jonas looked at Isak like he was so special, the sun, the moon, and the stars.

When he always told Isak how beautiful he was. When he made fun of the way Isak snorted when he laughed too hard. When they got a little too high after smoking and would talk about anything and everything and sometimes nothing at all. But it would be okay, because each other’s company was always enough.

Isak felt loved.

He always feels loved with Jonas.

Jonas who is so protective and comforting. His arms always wrapped around him so fiercely, a wall of love and safety. His safe space.

He feels loved under Jonas’ smooth skin and warm touch.

Feeling loved was never the problem.

The problem is feeling wanted. Needed.

Jonas doesn’t necessarily need Isak.

Never has.

Sure, he loves him. But he’s fine on his own. He’s strong and independent and everything that he needs to be.

And Isak knows that his feelings are irrational.

Stupid, selfish, and insecure.

But he can’t help that these thoughts flood his mind and he can’t help the way that he feels.

He doesn’t even want Jonas to need him. He doesn’t want Jonas to feel weak and lost without Isak.

He wants them to both be strong on their own, but strongest together.

Lately, however, it seems that Jonas was too okay on his own.

He didn’t even need Isak to feel better, to feel more.

He didn’t need him at all. In any kind of way.

Now, he often glances past Isak instead of at him. He talked around him instead of to him. He cared more about tomorrow's big business meeting than movie night and soft cuddles.

These thoughts make Isak feel so fucking stupid, but they’re there, and he can’t escape them. They make him hate himself more than Jonas ever could.

More than craving something passionate and wild and fun. More than Jonas’ absent touches and half-hearted kisses. More than feeling empty even when Jonas has him filled to the brim - with his stare, his breathy word, his dick.

More than all of that...Isak is just lonely.

He doesn’t know how it’s possible for Jonas to make him feel so loved yet so alone at the same time.

He misses Jonas’ touch - his real touch. He misses his want and need and love.

“Hey babe, I’m sorry but I have to stay late tonight. Don’t wait up. Love you.”

Isak sighs and lets the phone fall from his ear as the voicemail ends.

This is the fifth time this week that Jonas has stayed late.

While Isak has been stuck here.

Alone.

Bored.

Needy.

Trapped with his own destructive thoughts.

And all of his thoughts center around the same thing.

Even.

Dirty blonde hair, long thick eyelashes, and sickly sweet moans.

The feel of his hot skin pressed against Isak’s. Breath mixing and skin sliding and scent surrounding Isak completely - filling him up until he could hardly breathe.

His fierce touches and demanding gazes. The groans that left his lips for Isak. The taste of his salty skin underneath Isak’s tongue and the way his knees buckled as Isak took him into his mouth. How his body shook and responded to the younger man’s touch so beautifully.

He couldn’t stop thinking about Even’s want.

His need.

Isak promised himself all those weeks ago that he wouldn’t let himself think of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed man again.

However, it seems that Isak is making a new habit out of lying.

Even if it is only to himself.

He cannot get the man off of his mind, no matter how hard his tries.

Everything about the other man just calls to Isak. An invisible but strong pull that tugs Isak’s thoughts in his direction each and every time. No matter where he is or what he’s doing.

Even’s musky scent, petal pink lips, his response to Isak’s touch. The wet, sweetness of his mouth and how soft his skin was, how delicate his words were, how lost and wild his eyes seemed.

The way his smile lit up the entire room and the skin around his eyes crinkled with his laugher. How he demanded everyone’s attention without even trying.

Even’s desperation lingered in Isak's mind so strongly, making Isak’s chest throb. The sounds Even made were so vivid that it made Isak feel as though he could feel them in the space around him, even now, staying with him - letting him relive that moment again and again.

Even coming apart beneath his hands, in his mouth.

Hazel eyes have suddenly become blue in his mind, seemingly permanently.

He hates his thoughts, but that doesn’t stop them from coming.
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.

He’s on his third gin and tonic.

The club is hot and stuffy and a dull throbbing pain lingers at Isak’s temples.

The people are sweaty and wasted.

Isak doesn’t know what the fuck he is.

He’s here looking for another man, while his thoughts are wrapped around his boyfriend.

He’s wearing Jonas’ favorite jacket, just like the first time. It smells like his boy. Sweet and simple. Masculine but not too overpowering. Perfect.

It’s the jacket that Jonas was wearing the first night Isak met him.

Still, Isak’s eyes scan body after body and face after face.

He’s been here an hour and still hasn’t come across Even’s breathtaking smile or bright striking eyes.

He shouldn’t be here.

Under every single one of his emotions - curiosity, excitement, anticipation, hope - there is a small but sure feeling of guilt.

He thinks of his boyfriend’s soft and caring eyes -- mixing perfectly with colors of brown, gold, and hazel.

Those eyes that he fell so deeply in love with.

His warm and welcoming smile.

His words - wise and challenging and captivating.

His intoxicating scent that Isak has lost himself in time and time again.

Even is wild, free, and new.

Jonas is comfort, love, and home.

What the fuck is he doing here?

His hands ball into tight fists, bringing one to his forehead and rubbing forcefully, hoping it will somehow magically snap his thoughts into place. Make everything make sense again.

He should be at home, waiting for his boy to come back from a long day of hard work and dedication. He should be eager to be there for him - waiting with soft smiles and loving kisses and a space between his legs, open and waiting, the place where Jonas fits perfectly.

He’s not a fucking kid anymore. He’s not stupid or immature enough to make excuses for himself or his actions. He can’t blame this on anyone else - his shitty home life or piece of shit father or absent mother.

This is him. The cold hard truth is maybe Isak was never a good person to begin with. Maybe he wasn't meant to be.

He knows his actions are only fueled by his boredom.

His sadness towards himself and his irrational desires and needs.

His sadness is often turned into loneliness.

A longing.

For everything and nothing all at once.

But he loves Jonas and Jonas loves him. He trusts Isak. He works hard. He deserves a loyal and loving partner. Something that Isak is happy to be.

He made his choice.

It doesn’t matter how he used to live - on the edge.

Jonas is his life now and he’s perfectly fine with that.

Isak sighs some more - he tosses his head back and downs the taste of the harsh alcohol filling the bottom of his glass.

He slams the glass down, hard, before turning to leave.

That’s when he comes into contact with a soft, familiar body.

He stumbles back with a groan.

He looks up, peeking through his lashes, his eyelids feeling suddenly heavy.

Even stands in front of him - tall, lean, and breathtaking.

He’s as stunning as he was the first time that Isak laid eyes on him. He’s as seductive looking as ever -- practically oozing sex. His clothes are tight and hug his slim hips. His shirt is a deep, rich, dark green color that makes his eyes somehow sparkle even brighter. The fabric making his pale skin glow brightly under the colorful, flashing lights of the club.

Isak is dazzled by just his mere presence.

He’s obviously a little too drunk as he wobbles and stands unsettled on his feet, which Isak notices are oddly bare, when he glances down. He doesn’t ask why.

His pupils are too big - indicating that he is clearly high on something more than just his alcohol buzz.

Isak feels his heart begin to beat a little faster.

It pounds wildly in his chest, his throat, behind his eyes.

He feels it start to creep in - the thoughts and feelings and cravings. Something about this man makes Isak lose all rational thought, sets his mind on fire, he can’t quite place his finger on it but he feels it -- more intensely than he’s ever felt anything in his entire life.

The most real thing he’s ever felt in his entire life.

His throat clenches too tightly - the room suddenly feeling too small and too crowded.

Even’s light pink lips turn up into a small smirk.

“Missed me?” His voice is light and teasing, breath smelling exactly like Isak remembered.

Isak swallows thickly, his throat dry. His mind memorized by the man’s smooth, silky voice and the angles of his face - both sharp and strong yet smooth and delicate.

“Are you alone?” Isak asks roughly, before clearing his throat loudly, shifting on his feet, trying to look anywhere but Even’s eyes -- where he knows he’ll get lost.

“Yep” Even smiles - wide and crooked and dazzling.

“Why?”

“Why are you alone?”

Isak simply shrugs as Even’s smirk grows.

“It’s okay, ya know.”

“What’s okay?”

“It’s okay if you were here looking for me.”

Isak pauses for a moment, not replying.

The blonde's words take him by surprise.

Even is so relaxed. So casual and confident. He speaks as if nothing is wrong. Like Isak isn’t here betraying the man he loves, instead of home in the bed that they share. He’s here lying and cheating. Like all of this is perfectly reasonable and natural.

Isak groans while shaking his head in aggravation.

His hands grip at his loose curls tightly.

His eyes focus on the dirty filth covered floor under his feet.

“No.” He says fiercely “No, it’s not okay. I have a boyfriend. I care about him. I love him.”

Even nods, “I’m sure you do.” His voice is laced with complete understanding, no judgement, no malice, just a statement.

Then, he takes a step closer and Isak feels the heat radiating off of his body. He crowds Isak - moving in so close, so quickly, that Isak has back up a step, press his body against the bar behind him, and tilt his head up to meet Even’s intense, forceful gaze -- trapping him there.

He feels Even’s delicious breath touch his face.

Isak’s heart seems to skip a beat or two.

His skin breaks out in goosebumps, his hair rising at Even’s sudden proximity.

Both welcome and unwelcome.

Both so wrong and so right.

Both guilt inducing yet thrill provoking.

“But,” Even continues, his smiling widening, his eyes filled with mischief and flirtation, “When was the last time he made your heart do this?”

Even lifts his large, strong hand and places it delicately on Isak’s chest - just above his pounding heart.

Both the men feel its wild beat.

Isak searches for an answer or explanation.

Words.

Anything.

But nothing comes to mind.

It’s been so, so long since he’s felt anything like this.

So long since he’s felt anything other than comfort and ease.

So long since he’s felt this wild spark that keeps him going. This feeling that fuels him, ignites the deepest parts of him, making his world spin and his insides tremor.

He feels like there is an earthquake erupting inside of him.

He finds himself searching for a way to defend his boyfriend.

He finds himself wanting to protect Jonas from Even’s words and his own thoughts.

But sharp blue eyes trap his, piercing right through all rational and sane thought, causing the words to escape him, causing his mind to go blank.

When Isak’s only answer is to swallow thickly, Even’s smirk grows even more and he jerks his head towards the exit.

“Come with me.”

Isak doesn’t even try to fight.

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.

Isak’s body falls back, coming into contact with the soft fabric beneath him, he bounces a few times before he peers up to see the cute giggly dirty-blonde above him.

Even straddles Isak’s petite waist.

Loose strands of silky hair fall into his face, his cheeks glow a slight red, and his lips are puffy and swollen from kissing.

Even brought Isak back to his place just a few blocks from the club. They didn’t talk much during the cab ride there. They held hands and kissed a little. Even flipped off the cab driver that wouldn’t stop staring and called him an “ass-hat” which made Isak chuckle.

Isak reaches up and cups the blonde’s neck with his hands.

His skin burns under his touch like pure fire. He runs his thumbs back and forth across the soft skin there and feels his heart beat calmly behind his ears.

This man is so damn beautiful.

He’s happiness and fun.

He’s beauty and positivity.

He makes Isak feel good. He makes him feel worthy and alive. Like he’s worth something.

And all traces of guilt are gone.

Isak doesn’t know or feel or remember anything but Even and right now.

“You’re beautiful” He whispers his thoughts.

Even smiles a little, lighthearted, “I know” he says confidently, “You are too.”

Isak blushes and blinks up at him slowly. He smiles shyly and presses his fingertips harder against Even’s flesh.

Even leans down and presses his soft, hot lips to Isak’s.

They mold perfectly to his own. They move together, slowly and sensually. A perfect sync. Like this was meant to be. Isak’s lips following Even’s movements on instinct, like a second nature.

It’s not rushed or heated like the first time. Even takes his time as he moves his lips down Isak’s body, skimming the heated skin.

He lets his tongue peek from time to time and taste the boy underneath him.

Isak feels chills run through his body – head to toe.

Hot and cold.

Even’s body is both soft and hard against him - his presence demanding and his weight so satisfying - holding Isak here, consuming him. His breath comes out in short pants and labored huffs as Even continues to touch and feel and learn his body.

He arches into Even’s touch and lets the feeling erupt through his entire being. He grips the man’s forearms tightly, nails digging sharply into his flesh.

Even’s teeth scrape against Isak’s skin; his bones, until he reaches the base of his throat, licking the dip between his collarbone, causing him to shiver.

He slips his hands underneath the fabric of the smaller boy’s shirt. His fingertips explore the skin of his soft yet defined and smooth stomach. His muscles clench underneath the touch.

Pure pleasure courses through his veins – hot and harsh. A feeling of satisfaction and coas bubbling under his skin.

Even continues to trace Isak’s curves and edges and the sharp angles of his body, memorizing every muscle of his stomach, learning his skin.

Even begins to pick up pace when he feels the impatience radiating from Isak.

The blonde beneath him squirms, lifting his hips as his erection begins to throb painfully, demanding attention.

He lets out a small whine which causes the other man chuckle softly.

“Shut up” Isak whisper-laughs, letting his hands settle on Even’s thighs.

The mood is frantic yet lighthearted. Both mellow and chaotic. Gentle but demanding.

Even lifts Isak’s shirt, making it pool around his neck, he places a single kiss in the middle of Isak’s chest, lets his tongue move over his left nipple, then his right - so softly, and lets his fingers find their way to the buttons of Isak’s jeans as he moans quietly.

Isak is so overwhelmed by how soft and considerate Even’s touches are.

He lets a generous amount of spit fall into the palm of his right hand before he slips it quickly beneath his pants and underwear and comes into contact with the flesh between his legs.

He grasps Isak firmly and Isak lets out a sharp little gasp at the contact.

It moves quickly from there.

Even doesn’t let his pace falter, he strokes Isak until the blonde beneath him is reduced to a mess of moans and whines and impatient bucking. Even circles the tip of Isak’s dick, spreading the precum there, and loving the way it makes Isak toss his head back into the throw pillows. Isak is so consumed by Even’s touch - his mind completely lost in the wonderful pressure building in the pit of his stomach, the warmth and comfort of Even’s smell and hot whispered words of reassurance and encouragement.

Isak moves his hips in sync with the other man’s slow yet hard strokes -- drawing Isak’s pleasure out, taking this slower than the first time, loving the noises he gets to pull from Isak’s soft, pink, cupid’s bow lips.

He kisses and re-kisses Isak’s skin, holding him tighter, stroking him fasting -- his own dick hard and ready against Isak’s thigh, throbbing with his own need. He can’t help but begin to move his hips forward, making tight circles, letting Isak’s thigh give him the friction he needs.

Isak’s eyes roll back in his head at the feeling. Both feelings. Getting pleasure, and feeling Even take his own from him. He’s overwhelmed with everything that builds inside him. Hot and filling him to the brim. His body is on fire and the air around him is almost impossible to breath.

Even’s lips touch his neck, his cheek, his lips, his eyelids, and back again.

Isak’s hips jerking erratically, dick pulsing beneath Even’s fingers.

He opens his mouth but no sound comes out.

Even places his lips above the younger man’s, their breath mixing together, labored and blended perfectly.

Isak can’t help but feel it. How right this is. How nothing and no one has ever felt this right. No one’s body has ever felt this like this against his - like it is meant to be, like everything else before this was just a misstep - leading him to this.

Like he can’t believe he hasn’t been here, with this man, the whole time.

The sudden realization makes Isak’s eyes burn, remorse and shame mixing with the pleasure and thrill inside of him.

“Even,” Isak whispers as the pleasure overcomes him – his orgasm hitting him hard, back arching, moan escaping his lips.

Even continues to rub Isak’s dick - fully and slowly, helping him ride out the end - his cum spilling between them, hot and messy and so pretty as Even watches on - captivated at the picture it paints in front of him - his own orgasm erupting shortly after, messy and uncomfortable in his pant.

He chuckles breathlessly, removing his hand from Isak’s pants, shaking his head in amusement. He hasn’t come in his jeans like that since he was a teenager.

When Isak’s body slumps back against the couch, he lets his eyes fall shut, completely spent.

He feels his eyes beginning to burn more intensely – tears welling up quickly.

He doesn’t know where to place these emotions inside of him. They tangle and knot together, turning and shifty, and making Isak tremble.

He knows that he has no reason to cry but he does anyway.

And all humor is gone.

He turns his head away from the man above him, hoping that he won’t see. But of course he does. Even leans down once again and kisses the wetness beneath Isak’s eyes.

“Stop,” Isak whispers brokenly.

“It’s okay” Is Even’s reply, voice so soft and reassuring and kind that it makes Isak’s heart want to fall from his chest, aching so strongly, he wants it to stop working completely.

Because it’s not.

It’s not okay.

“No,” He shakes his head “No, it’s not.”

“It’s okay,” He repeats, speaking right over Isak’s words, “it’s okay. Let it go.”

So, he does.

He lets his tears fall and lets his sobs go.

Even sits up and pulls Isak to his chest tightly – letting him cry - ignoring the uncomfortable mess between them.

He whispers words of comfort.

It’s like he knows exactly what Isak is feeling. Like he can see right into his mind. He knows exactly what to say, like he was made to do this for Isak, made to be right here in this very moment.

They don’t say anything because there is no need for words.
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.

Afterwards, Isak is embarrassed.

He tries to play it cool by laughing lightly and changing the subject quickly.

They spend the next few hours just talking.

Talking, and laughing, and watching shitty comedies.

Isak learns that Even has a sweet tooth. His kitchen is full of cakes and donuts and he even has a whole draw dedicated to chocolate bars and Nerds - despite the fact that his fridge is filled with fruits and vegetables, some Isak has never even heard of.

He changes into a pair of pajama shorts and a tight tank top. Letting Isak borrow a pair of sleepy pants while he washed Isak’s.

Isak is memorized by the way Even throws his head back and laughs at the bad jokes on screen. His eyes linger when Even sucks the rich chocolate cakes from his fingers.

He turns his eyes towards the blue-eyed boy and smiles at catching him staring.

Isak blushes. He doesn’t think he’s ever blushed this much in front of a boy before, if ever. At least not since he was an in-the-closest high schooler with no experience or confidence or game.

Even holds out a small piece of cake between his fingertips.

Isak has never been one for sweets but right now nothing has ever looked more appealing.

His eyes lock on blue as he leans in and takes the soft, warm cake.

Even smiles – breathtakingly beautiful – before turning back to the screen.

He’s so naturally care free. He’s happy and beautiful in his natural state.

And Isak is content in this moment.

Content.

Happy.

Needed.

He wants to ask questions and get to know Even. He wants to know what he does for a living and what his hobbies are. He wants to know if the watercolor paintings hung on the wall are his own work. He wants to know why he decided to take Isak into the bathroom that first time.

He wants to know it all.

But tonight, he’s content with Even’s warm body leaning against his own, both silent and comfortable, watching his facial expressions shift with his moods as they (Even) watch movies.

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.

As Isak pulls Jonas’ jacket tighter around his body, he finally feels the guilt begin to return to the surface and forefront of his brain.

The smell of Jonas hits him hard, reminding him of everything he has back at home.

Isak likes Even.

But He loves Jonas.

He craves the wildness but loves the comfort. He misses the spontaneity but loves the perfect pattern he’s created with his boyfriend.

He’s being pulled in two totally opposite directions and has no fucking idea what he’s doing.

Jonas introduced him to a whole new way of life a year ago. One he didn't even know he wanted. One full of love and laughter and a calmer kind of passion.

But maybe that’s just not who Isak is supposed to be after all.

He steps into the cold, empty hallway - feeling so small and lonely in the still space, and lets the emotions take over, overwhelming him, weighing him down.

The blonde behind him reaches out and his fingers skim Isak’s smooth neck lightly, but he shies away from the touch.

He feels Even’s hot breath touch the back of his neck as he sighs. It causes his hair to stand.

“Here.”

When he turns, Even is leaning casually against his apartment doorway. His long tan legs crossed and his smirk very much present. Seemingly unbothered by Isak’s flinches and sudden coldness toward him.

He’s holding out a small ripped piece of paper – a number jotted onto it.

Isak shakes his head, “I can’t.”

His heartbeat touches his ribs, nerves standing on edge.

He looks up and finds an expression he didn’t expect to find.

Even just nods, as if he completely understands. He smiles and his eyes shine.

Isak’s eyes focus on Even’s lips as he takes the bottom one lightly between his teeth.

He speaks softly, “I know you feel something with me, for me. Not just sex.”

Isak doesn’t deny it but as he speaks, his voice is final and firm, “I’m in love with, Jonas.”

Even already knows that it’s the truth.

He can see it in those deep, sparkling blue eyes.

He nods, “Jonas, that’s his name, huh?”

Isak swallows thickly, “Yes.”

The blonde pauses for a moment, looking deep in thought, “I like you, Isak” he says, staring deeply into his eyes. Blue on green.

Isak feels himself melt into them – not looking away, enjoying and hating the tug inside of his chest, pulling him towards the boy in front of him. He doesn’t want to try and fight it.

“I like you a lot. And I know that you love Jonas…but there has to be a reason that you’re here with me right now and not at home with him. So, if you change your mind, call me.”

Isak finds himself nodding mindlessly, mind blank, “Okay.”

He takes the card between his fingers and Even shuts the door before Isak has a chance to say another word.

.

 

.

 

.

Present Day

Jonas is completely silent as his tears fall.

His eyes look down, avoiding meeting Isak’s at all costs.

His posture, his movements, they all scream heartbreak.

Isak’s the pain move from his body, moving through his entire body, every part of him aching with hurt.

“I could maybe understand” He hiccups “Or maybe even forgive you if it was just the first night.”

He pauses, closing his eyes tightly. His throat clenches with his emotions.

Isak waits quietly – sitting across from Jonas. He wrings his hands together nervously. He doesn’t take his eyes off of Jonas. He lets himself feel the pain and guilt of his own actions.

He lets Jonas get this out.

“But you went back, Isak. You went back.” He sighs quietly.

He keeps his eyes closed and covers his mouth quickly when his finally lets a short sob escape. He feels so stupid and pathetic and small.

“You fell in love with him when you were still supposedly in love with me. You let yourself fall in love with him.”

Isak feels the pain echo throughout the room. Jonas’ words leaving a wave of heavy misery and heartbreak.

Before Isak has a chance to say anything, his phone makes a loud ding from his back pocket and he curses himself for not thinking to put it on silent.

Jonas’ eyes lift slowing, meeting Isak’s now.

“Who is it?” He asks in a whisper, shaky, like he doesn’t already know.

Isak swallows thickly. He doesn’t reach for the phone.

The room fills with a silence that makes Isak’s bones creak and quake under the pressure.

Sunlight streams through the windows around the apartment. It makes the room practically glow – orange, red, and pink as the sun sets slowly.

“Check your fucking phone, Isak.”

“No.” He says firmly.

Jonas stares deeply and steadily.

“Why?”

“Because I’m here with you. I want to talk.”

The corners of Jonas’ lips turn up subtlety. It’s a small, sad kind of smile.

“I love you, Isak” He says lowly.

His words take Isak by surprise. He opens and closes his mouth a few times as he tries to form a coherent thought, find the right words. He loves him too. So much.

“I love only you.” He whispers “No one else. And knowing that you can’t say the same thing kills me, you know?”

Jonas’ smile grows. Isak swallows thickly, letting the tears gather beneath his eyes again. They burn from the amount of crying he’s done tonight, his hands shake steadily, his body slumping forward.

He feels the wetness soak his lashes and burn his skin.

And then the brunette stands across from him, leaving the room once again – leaving Isak alone and empty once more.

Chapter Text

 "The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds."

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.

 

.

 

Present Day

He’s alone at the park, sitting uncomfortably on the cold hard bench beneath him. The wind cuts harshly, hitting his face sharply, causing his cheeks to burn red and his eyes to water against the cold.

Isak watches as the people around him walk happily – side by side, hand in hand, and smile to smile. His chest feels hollow.

He lets his body sink back further into the seat beneath him, tugging his scarf more firmly up around his neck.

Jonas asked him to leave last night. He said he needed some time to himself – to think.

Isak didn’t try to fight. He wasn’t sure if it was because he understood or because he was weak. Either way - he left without a simple nod.

Isak can't get Jonas’ face out of his head when he asked him to get out. He can’t stop hearing his voice. His voice was void of any venom - small and soft and done for the night. And that fucking expression. That expression. It was something he’d never seen before.

It wasn’t sad or angry or judgemental. He wasn’t glaring at his boyfriend. His eyes weren’t soft or hard. They were blank. His whole expression was blank.

His body language screamed defeat - sagging forward, slumping in on himself, giving in to the emotions that were building up inside of him.

And it was all Isak’s fault. It killed him to know that he was the reason Jonas looked this way, felt this way.

There was no one else to blame but himself.

He hurt the one person who he promised he never would. The one person he knew would never hurt him back.

Last night Jonas made the mistake of asking who else knew about Even.

Isak answered honestly, done with the secrets, done with the lies. He couldn’t look into those familiar warm eyes and take another piece of them away - cause more damage than he already has.

Mahdi knew the whole time and didn’t say a word to Jonas, keeping his promise to his other friend. It’s a betrayal in the worst kind of way.

Mahdi is their best friend but he chose to protect Isak rather than Jonas. Or at least, that's how Jonas saw it. It was just another punch to the gut for him. Another lie to add to the growing list. Another crack in the pavement of his life.

He told Isak he hated how stupid it made him feel. How everyone knew but him. How he was the only one.

Or maybe he did know something was up...and purposely ignored it. Because he loves Isak and he wants him. He’ll always want him.

Isak understood that feeling. He was great at ignoring the truth.

He didn’t know which one made him more pathetic, Jonas had said in a way that made Isak was to break down in tears, the saddest twinkle lingered in his boyfriend’s eyes. Isak didn’t reply. There was nothing he could say to make it better.

Isak crashed at Mahdi’s place and told him everything.

Mahdi nodded, like he knew it was coming, knew he would have to face his choice eventually too, he hugged his best friend and whispered words of understanding and comfort like he always did.

Mahdi tried to call Jonas later that night but he was ignored.

At the time, he hadn’t struggled with making a decision whether to tell Jonas or not. It wasn’t his place. He loves Jonas, he loves Isak, and he has always had an overwhelmingly powerful urge to protect both. He was a naturally loyal and protective person.

But Isak was his best friend. They’d been through so much more together, they had been through everything together. So, he did what his gut told him to do and kept his friend’s secret. Right or wrong.

.

 

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.


November 2016

“You fucked someone else!? I told you to spice things up, Isak! Not pick up some random bar trash.” Mahdi practically yells, his eyes wide and his voice way too loud, a few people from the tables scattered around the coffee shop glance over curiously.

Isak feels the heat immediately rush to his cheeks, the blush crawling beneath his skin, making it’s way up his neck.

“Shh! Keep your voice down! Jesus,” Isak huffs, smiling apologetically at the old couple next to them, letting out an uncomfortable chuckle and waving awkwardly, before turning back to his best friend with narrowed eyes, “And Even is not trash.”

“Oh, well that makes it perfectly okay then.” Mahdi nods, voice dripping with sarcasm.

“I’m serious. He’s not a bad person…he’s sweet and caring and seems really - “

“Wait, wait, wait,” Mahdi interrupts, waving his hand in the space between them, brow scrunching up tightly. “I thought you said you hooked up with him in a club. How the fuck do you know he’s sweet? Have you seen him more than once?”

Isak’s eyes remain down, color high on his cheeks, guilt pooling familiarly in his gut.

“Well, yeah, I just thought -” He swallows thickly, what the fuck was he thinking? “He seems cool...he seems...really nice...” Isak trails off lamely, not exactly sure how to word his feelings.

“Oh my fucking god, Isak. Are you serious? You like him don’t you?”

“No!”

“Don’t lie to me, Valtersen. Since when do you blush and stutter over random hook-ups? The only other person I’ve ever seen get this reaction out of you is Jonas.”

“I’m a horrible person.” Isak’s eyes fall closed for a second at the mention of his boyfriend.

Isak’s eyes focus on the crumb littered table when he blinks them back open. They’re wide and focused and he feels completely wired - on his fifth cup of coffee of the day. He didn’t sleep last night, having to practically drag himself out of the apartment today.

He hasn’t been able to sleep for a few nights. Not since his second hook-up with Even. The man’s number still tucked away safely in his bed side table -- screaming at him each and every night. Causing Isak to toss and turn and hate himself more and more with each passing moment. He would watch the sun set, and then rise, and he wouldn’t sleep a wink as the process restarted.

It was beginning to wear on him. His body felt weak and his mind was too unfocused for him to get any work done. He hasn't felt this bad since he was just a lost little boy in high school.

He watches his boyfriend sleep beside him each night with a heavy heart and a wandering mind.

All that sleeplessness, all that time to think, it was driving Isak crazy. He was already an over thinker. He already has too many ideas running around in his head.

His ideas have been getting louder though. They’ve been getting too real and too uncomfortable and way too hard for him to face.

He’s been noticing how much has changed. How much it has stopped.

And he doesn’t let himself wonder when it stopped happening.

The race of his heart and the goosebumps that used spread across his skin. Something as simple as glancing at the man beside him used to set his heart on fire. He used to just stare at Jonas when they first got together. He used to try to memorize all the smooth planes of his face, each crease and dip of his skin. He used to get butterflies every time the brunette’s eyelashes fluttered softly against the top of his cheeks. He used to daydream about all the ways he could touch Jonas’ skin, soft when he needed, and rough when he wanted, and all the ways he wanted Jonas to touch him back.

It used to be Isak’s favorite thing to do.

But now - he stared at his sleeping face and felt…flat. He felt a fondness in his stomach, and love in his heart, but he also felt dull here. No longer did his hair stand on edge.

He hated thinking about any of it. He hated thinking about anothing from his whole cliche-ridden life.

No one’s lips used to compare to Jonas’. No one’s kisses used to send tingles through his body, a chill up his spine, set his whole fucking world on fire - hot and fierce and demanding.

Not until….

He doesn’t let himself wonder. Or at least...he tries not to.

He hears Mahdi sigh across from him. Sipping his coffee loudly.

He probably already knows what Isak is thinking - it seems like he always does.

“No, you’re just a person and people make mistakes.” Mahdi says, sounding wise as ever.

“A person who makes horrible, terrible, life ruining mistakes.”

Isak bites his lip, knowing there's no way to turn back now, but not sure he even wants to turn back, even as he imagines all the different ways he could.

He could make it all stop. He could go back and erase every choice he made that first night. He could stay home and just talk to Jonas. Tell him everything he’s been feeling for the past few months. Touch the ridges of his chest and let him know how much he loves him, how thankful he is he found him, how happy he’s been here in their life. And he doesn’t know why, but he’s also restless and lonely and just needs some attention, no matter how pathetic or small it made him sound.

Except, maybe Isak doesn’t really want to go back. Maybe he doesn’t want to change that night, doesn’t want to do any of those things.

Because then he never would have seen the most beautiful color blue he’s ever come across, he never would have gotten to hear that laugh - the one that made all the pieces in Isak’s chest shift and mold together differently this time, he never would have gotten to feel those fingers - forceful and demanding and scorching hot against his skin.

He never would have met Even. And now that he knows he’s out there, he doesn’t want to take it back.

And that says something. It says something so loudly in the back of Isak’s mind. Something is wrong.

And even though the thought of Jonas finding out about his betrayal hurts Isak, like a hard punch to the gut, the thought of never having met Even hurts too.

Isak doesn’t understand, he knows he’s only met the other man twice, it should be nothing compared to how he feels for Jonas. For what he should feel at the thought of hurting Jonas. But somehow - it is. It is something compared. It stirs something inside of Isak that makes him not want to turn back.

“Look, Isak,” Mahdi says softly, causing his friend to look up from across him, meeting his eyes hesitantly, “Everyone ends up being the bad guy at least once in their life.” His shoulders shrug - simple and to the point.

Isak shakes his head, letting out a small and barely humorous chuckle. Mahdi’s ability to detach from certain situations - looking at them purely as learning experiences and situations to grow from will never cease to amaze him.

Even though Mahdi will deny it, claim he was always this way, the great and all-know yoda for his whole life, Isak knows it all started when Mahdi picked up yoga and meditation a few years ago. He was a total hot head in high school. He met a girl a few years ago and was completely smitten, at the time having to idea she wasn’t into guys, and tried to win her over by pretending to be into all the things she was into. Meditation. Yoga. He was even a vegan for a short period of time.

Mahdi’s eyes remain on his friend’s - soft and open and full of nothing but care and honesty.

Isak smiles, so thankful for the man across from him. He feels the ache in his chest already easing at the sight of Mahdi’s forgiving eyes and calm smile. He feels his own judgement begin to slip away.

“Being the bad guy fucking sucks.”

“Yep.”

“I just…” Isak tries to begin, figuring he has to talk about this some time, it's silent for a beat or two. He sips his coffee, lets to steam comfort him, and sinks further back into his chair “I thought it was just me being me at first, you know? I get bored easily and I know that. I thought maybe I was just too comfortable. Like you said, not used to being so settled down. But then I met Even and...it’s different now. It’s not that I’m just bored with Jonas or too comfortable in our life or whatever. I...I don’t even know Even and I’m...I want to know him. I’m not even thinking about Jonas. I just want to get to know the guy. So, I know it’s not spite or staleness or restlessness it’s...something different entirely.”

Mahdi nods, pursing his lips thoughtfully as he seems to mull Isak’s words over, trying to figure out exactly what to tell his friend.

He knows he’s trying to think of the best way to approach the situation, wanting to do the least damage, make him feel better in any way he can.

Isak isn’t sure that’s an option at this point however.

He knows how shit it is. He knows how shit he is.

Isak taps the tabletop unevenly and lets out a deep sigh - happy to finally get the words off of his chest - no matter how much the sting on the way out. He’s been holding it in for months now. These thoughts and feelings. These question.

“Isak,” Mahdi says softly, “it’s okay, you know.”

Isak blinks up at his friend - those words pulling at his chest - the same words Even said to him a few nights ago.

“What?”

“What you’re feeling is okay.” Mahdi continues, words so sincere, “I mean...cheating isn’t okay obviously but you’re allowed to feel everything you’re feeling right now. It’s not wrong. But it does mean that you’re going to have to make a choice. If you don’t want to be with Jonas anymore, you have to end it.”

Isak response is automatic, the words flying from his mouth before he has a chance to think them over, he feels a pang deep within his body at just the mention of not having Jonas in his life anymore, “I love Jonas.”

Mahdi nods.

Isak has said these words so many times before, in so many ways, some of them spoken without the use of words at all, and he’s meant them every single time.

So, he doesn’t know why they suddenly feel so heavy and foreign on his tongue, so wrong coming from his lips.

“I know,” Mahdi tells him seriously  “But are you still in love with him?”

Isak opens his mouth to reply, wanting to words to come just as quickly, just as urgently this time around.

But they don’t.

They stick right there in his throat, air catching between his teeth, and only a small strangled noise manages to fall from his lips.

Of course he’s still in love with Jonas. He wants to says, rolling his eyes at such a ridiculous question.

But he doesn’t.

He can’t.

Is he?

Is he still in love with him?

He remembers the process of falling in love with the older man as quick. It was so easy to fall for Jonas. Jonas and his passionate eyes and tender words. His soft blinking eyes and heart-stopping smile. He kept Isak interested and on the edge of his seat. He didn’t fall for his tricks and never let Isak get away with his usual bullshit. He swept Isak off his feet - fully and completely.

And Isak loved him. Damn, did Isak love him. He loved how his mind worked, how different he was from Isak himself, how he had never met anyone quite like Jonas.

He loved the way his heart was settled tightly in his chest - beating its own rhythm, letting Isak feel it and hear it, pressed against him so tightly every night.

It was so easy.

He couldn’t imagine that falling out of love with the same man would be just as simple, just as easy, just as quick. He didn’t want to believe it could be.

Mahdi speaks up again, always able to read Isak like a book, “Feeling how you do now doesn’t change the past though. It doesn’t...it doesn’t make it any less real. Feelings change, Isak. People change. People grow apart. It’s all okay.”

Isak swallows the lump stuck in his throat, “That's fucking terrifying.” Isak says unevenly, a shake present in his voice “People changing so quickly, without warning. I was...so fucking happy with Jonas just a few months ago and now I...I can’t stop thinking about someone else.”

Mahdi has no words this time.

“You’re not going to tell Jonas are you?”

“How can you ever fucking ask me that Isak?”

He doesn’t know. He hasn’t exactly been himself lately.

He knows that no matter how much Mahdi loves Jonas too. He’ll always choose Isak.

“Of course I’m not going to tell him, Isak. That’s your job.”

Isak closes his eyes -- relief and guilt mixing in his stomach.

“Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it. Now, tell me about this Even guy.”

He lets out a pained sounding chuckle, appreciating Mahdi’s attempt to life the mood.

But even at just the sound of his name, Isak feels his lips turn up without his permission, feels his fingers and toes start to tingle.

Shit.

He’s got it bad.

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.

.

That night - Isak sits in bed alone. This night is just like any other night. Like most of his nights.

It’s meek and quiet and the only thing that Isak can hear in the stillness of the apartment is Lola’s heaving panting from the edge of the bed, and the steady ticks of the clock.

That stupid fucking clock that never stops reminding him how slowly the time moves, how stuck he is in this life.

He’s finished up all of his work for the night, painted for awhile, sketched Lola, watched shitty television, and paced the floor for hours - hating himself. Hating himself for feeling this way. Hating himself for feeling so empty and pathetic. Angry and frustrated. Letting himself fill up to the brim with words that he hasn’t spoken and things that he’ll probably never say.

He hates that he can’t tell Jonas what he’s feeling without feeling like a piece of shit. He can’t talk to the one person he trusts most in the world. Not about this.

Jonas wouldn’t understand. He never has.

Even when they first met, connecting instantly, bodies fitting together perfectly, minds matching - Jonas never fully understood Isak. He never understood his need for thrill. He never understood why he wanted to go out on Friday nights instead of stay at home and watch movies. He never understood why Isak always wanted to go. Jonas liked comfort and quiet and stability - where Isak liked fast and fun and unpredictable.

Jonas toned that part of Isak down over the past year - intentionally or not. And Isak’s managed to stay satisfied for the time being. He loved Jonas. He loved being with him, his life with him, the excitement of the new, the steady, the calm.

But he was starting to feel it. The restlessness that has laid dormant in him.

He tapped into it again and now he can’t block it out anymore, he can’t stop it.

He’s had a taste of that part of himself again and he wants it back.

It makes his skin crawl to think of Jonas stifling him in any way, holding the real him back. He never wants to think of it that way because he wanted to be with Jonas. He still does. He chose Jonas and he would choose him again in a heartbeat. He would choose him a million times over. This has been the best year of his life.

But there is a part of his brain that is telling him just that. That this part of him, hidden so deep inside, this part of him has been stolen away. And Jonas is the reason.

He can’t help but notice the imbalances in the relationship. How much Isak has changed his personality, how much he’s shaped his life around Jonas’ schedule, and how he can’t think of a single thing that Jonas has compromised for him. Not that Isak has wanted him to, would ever ask him to. And that’s the point. He never wanted to try and change Jonas.

He liked him just the way he was.

Jonas is working late again, the empty side of the bed making Isak’s mind scream, telling him he shouldn’t be here - shouldn’t be stuck here pathetic and sad and alone. He should be out somewhere, with people who make his skin burn, make his mind race, make his heart sing.

He should be out there, losing control, taking shot after shot, letting his skin be touched by people who actually want to be around him, who want to touch him. People who crave the same things he does. People who see the world through his eyes. People who take one night off of work just to be with him. 

Maybe it's wrong. Maybe it's stupid and selfish. But it's real.

He stares blankly at the single piece of white paper held in his hands. He’s crumpled it up several times, tossing it angrily in the trash, clenching his teeth tightly and fighting himself the whole way - muscles tight and tense and his brain bouncing, before picking it back out every single time.

He stares at the number and it stares back as he fiddles with the paper, weighing his options, pretending to not already know what he’s going to do.

Pretending that he’s not weak, has no willpower, isn’t as affected as he is by the person he’ll find on the other side of the call.

He can already feel himself twitching, heart picking up speed at the thought of hearing his voice again. That tone that makes Isak’s stomach clench, filling with a softness, flipping wildly.

He can already feel the anticipation building in his throat - spreading through his body.

The pictures flash through his mind so clearly - rich chocolate cake between long artistic fingers and a laugh full of happiness, the sweetest tasting lips and the gentlest of touches, the pleasure coursing through his body so hotly, building quickly in his stomach, and the bluest eyes filled with a wild confidence and quiet mischief.

Even.

I know you feel something for me. Not just sex.

I like you, Isak.

There had to be a reason that you’re here with me right now and not at home with him.

There was. There was a reason. Whether Isak knew what it was or not, whether he wanted to admit it or not, it was there.

Mahdi was right. He usually was. Isak needed to make some choices. He needs to decide what he wants.

But the truth is, he doesn’t know, he can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to know. He doesn’t want to think about the future or of what he wants for the future. He didn't want to think any further than what he wants right now.

Isak’s fingers shake as he slowly dials the number, breath shaky, throat tight - this moments decision being made.

Even answers on the third ring.

Isak didn’t give Even his number, there was no way he should have known it was him, but Isak gets the feeling that he already does. He knows it's him. Isak can tell. The drop in his tone and the sly playful hint in his voice.

“Hey,” his greets, Isak can hear his smile.

“Hey,” Isak replies, stomach full of flutters.

“Isak?” Even questions like he doesn’t know.

Isak clears his throat, trying to chase away his lingering nerves, “Yeah.”

“I’m glad you called.”

Isak doesn’t reply to that. He doesn’t know if saying me too would be a lie or not.

It’s weird - this feeling. A truly unsettling thing to feel. Hearing Even’s voice, picturing his smile so clearly, as his head lays on the same pillows he shares with Jonas. His scent lingers on the sheets and Isak is surrounded by reminders of him everywhere. His watch on the bedside table, a picture of the two of them wrapped in each other’s arms taped sloppily to the wall, his clothes scattered across the bedroom floor.

But all Isak can focus on is Even. How just a few simple words can make his heart feel like it’s going to burst out of his chest. How he doesn’t even notice how tightly he’s gripping the sheets, the corners yanking off the bed, a smile already making its way across his face.

The way Jonas used to make him feel.

“How's your night going?”

Isak chuckles a little at Even’s words.

They actually haven’t talked much up until this point. It’s been mostly quick touches and fast words. They hung out and watched movies but that mostly just involved Isak watching Even quietly as he laughed at the comedies.

He didn’t think this through. What he would say or ask or how this conversation would go. He didn’t think about anything other than wanting to hear Even’s voice coming across the line - as strong and bold as Isak remembers.

“Not great,” Isak finds himself admitting honestly, not second guessing the urge to tell the other man the truth.

“Oh? Why's that?” Even’s voice is curious and calm.

Isak thinks for a moment.

He’s not really sure.

He’s lonely, yeah. That he knows. He’s been on edge and his insides have never felt more unsettled.

But that’s not all. He knows it wasn’t just that one night that set this in motion. It wasn’t just going out and meeting Even.

He’s been feeling this way for a while now. He’s felt less at home in his own apartment. He’s been less interested in the life he’s built here with Jonas. He’s felt this dullness begin to creep in before. He’s just ignored it until now.

Now, however, it demands to be felt.

But Isak doesn’t say all of that, at least not yet, not now, “Just bored.” He says instead, keeping his tone casual, “Nothing to do.”

“Hmmm” Even hums in response.

Isak pauses, not quite sure what that reaction means.

He doesn’t sound bored per se, but he doesn’t sound interested either. Even is quiet on the other end of the call. Isak hears some shuffling and what sounds like the bounce and creak of an old outdated mattress.

Even coughs a few times and Isak can only assume he’s smoking the deep inhales that follow.

Isak lets the silence stretch on as long as he can until he begins to fidget on the bed, the space between them growing too heavy and too uncomfortable, “What are you doing?”

“Ah, just hanging out” Isak can hear Even’s smile again as he answers, “Smoking a little. I’m technically not supposed to because it isn’t good for me but Noora is working late so she’s not here to nag.”

Isak decides he likes the sound of Even’s inhales and exhales.

“Isn’t smoking bad for everyone?” Isak questions.

“Common misconception” Even tells him “It’s actually a proven fact that smoking does less damage to you than alcohol. It’s mostly just illegal because the timber industry makes people a lot more money than the hemp industry and people are greedy so…” He coughs some more.

Isak smiles, amused by Even’s babbling, before he registers his words completely.

“Who’s Noora?”

“Oh, my roommate. She’s pretty chill. Hates when you touch her food though. Won’t hear the end of it for days. That’s why I have my own drawer of snacks. I ate her leftover pasta once and she basically banished me to my room for a week. I felt like I was a grounded kid.”

Isak lets Even continue, just enjoying the gentle cadence of the man’s voice, letting himself get lost in the lighthearted nature of the conversation. He feels the tightness in his muscles begin to unwind, feels the hardness in his chest begin to unfurl, the chaos of his mind begin to settle. He likes hearing Even this way. Where nothing is rushed or quick. There's no expectations or hurried movement. No sex. Just talk.

And apparently when Even is high he likes to talk.

“Yeah, Noora’s pretty cool once you get to know her but she’s a bit of a hard ass. Sweet as can be, would give a stranger the shirt off her back. But...a little uptight. I keep telling her she needs to come out with me more but she refuses. She says she doesn’t like bars because everyone is drunk and she doesn’t drink and being sober around mostly drunk people isn’t fun. Which I can understand.”

Isak feels Lola begin to nose his neck, tickling his skin and demanding his attention. He turns on his side and scratches behind her ear as she pants happily - her brown and white spotted face looking both sleepy and happy.

“Magnus has had the biggest crush on her since high school. Oh, Magnus is my best friend by the way. Well, him and Sana of course. Oh and Noora says I’m too messy also. And, yeah, I can be a little messy but she acts like it’s the end of the whole damn world. I say I’m just an artist and all artists are messy.”

That makes Isak perk up, immediately curious, “You’re an artist?” He asks.

“Mhm,” Even pauses once again - inhale, exhale - “I’m a filmmaker. Or, well, hopeful filmmaker I suppose. I’ve done a few short films here and there for school but nothing substantial I guess.”

“That’s amazing,” Isak smiles, sitting up excitedly, “I’m an artist.”

“Oh yeah?” Even’s voice is mixed with slight surprise.

Isak was used to it. He’s been told he doesn’t seem like the creative type. He never knew whether to take the observation as an insult or not, but he eventually just learned to roll with it.

“Yeah,” Isak nods, “A painter mainly. I uh...some of my work is up in local galleries and art shows. Nothing huge.”

“That’s amazing, Isak. I haven’t been to a gallery in years. Maybe I can come some time. What kind of stuff do you paint?”

Isak smiles, feeling a surge of happiness, liking that Even cares enough to ask. He likes that he wants to know. He's too wrapped up to even notice how easily and casually Even talked about them continuing this. Seeing each other again.

Isak doesn’t have many people to talk about art with. Jonas has always supported Isak’s passion. Hell, they met while they were still in school, he could see how important art was to Isak, how it fed his mind and fueled his life. He even loved seeing Isak’s art. Isak could see the pride in his eyes whenever they went to a gallery where his work was hung. He loved to watch Isak work too. He once told Isak that he never looked more beautiful than when he was engrossed in a project. So open, exposed, completely himself.

But as much as Jonas supported him, he never really understood Isak’s work. At least not fully. And never with lack of trying. Jonas was more analytical was all. He liked to see things in black and white, a world where everything had it’s place and had a hard time seeing outside of that little box.

Isak likes to see things in color. And if they weren’t in color when he got to them, he liked to paint them on his own, filling them in himself, bringing his own color. He liked to look at everything from different viewpoints and find new ways to use old things.

Anything could be art. And that was something Jonas always had a hard time accepting.

“I’m mostly a watercolor kind of guy,” Isak tells him, feeling the excitement in his chest bubble, inexplicably happy to be sharing a part of himself with this...stranger, “I like landscape drawing and stuff. I’m not a huge fan of abstract but I dabble from time to time. I’m technically an animator, that’s what I went to school for. There's not much money left in watercolor painting but it’s my real passion, I guess.”

“Do you like animating though?”

“Oh I love it!” Isak continues to gush, barely realizing that Even’s rambling seemed to be contagious, “I haven’t done anything huge yet but I work with a lot of the local production companies - they send people my way when they need an animator for a new show or movie pitch.”

“Hey,” Even smiles, the action lacing his voice thoroughly, “If I ever write a script for an animated film, do you think you’d work on it with me?”

Isak purses his lips, “You haven’t even seen any of my work. How do you know if I’m any good? Seems like a risky move.”

“I’m a go big or go home kind of guy,” Even replies, “A little bit of risk is always fun. Plus, someone who talks as passionately as you, no way you aren’t good.”

Isak smiles high.

"Are you messy too?"

"Absolutely."

“Good. Anyway, are you ready to tell me the real reason you’re not doing well tonight?”

Isak pauses, “Uh, what?”

“You said you weren’t doing too well and gave me the lame excuse that you were bored. So, I decided to wait to ask again, ask when you were ready, are you?”

Isak doesn’t reply right away. He doesn’t know how to reply. He definitely wasn’t expecting that.

“How do you know my answer was bullshit?” Isak questions, trying to decide where to go from here.

“Just a hunch” Even replies simply.

“Oh, uhm,” he isn’t exactly sure how honest to be.

Sure, he feels a weird connection to Even. He likes his smile and silly rambling. His touch makes Isak feel like all his pieces are falling perfectly back into place. But he doesn’t know him. Not yet.

“You don’t have to tell me” Even helps him out “I’m just saying if you wanted to that you can.”

Isak blinks down at Lola. He looks around at the room that used to feel more like home than anything else in the world. He remembers how being with Jonas, sharing a home with him, has been the realest home he’s ever had. His childhood house was anything but a home. It was loud and lonely and void of any love.

This place with Jonas was the first place he ever decided to call a home. A real one.

He hates himself for feeling this way now but -

“I’m not happy.” He lets the words spill.

“Tonight?” Even asks “Or in general?”

“In general. I’m just...I can't help it. And I absolutely hate feeling this way but I can't hide it anymore. I'm just...I'm-I’m not happy with…”

“With Jonas?”

“Yeah,” Isak breaths out quietly, it feels so good to finally say out loud, like the heaviest of weights lifting from his shoulders “I’m not happy with Jonas. I’m not happy with my life.”

“Truth?” Even’s voice is softer now, still tinted with his high but completely clear, “I’m not really happy with my life either.”

Isak licks his lips, not completely understanding the feelings beginning to flood him. His shoulders lift, an unexplainable, unexpected lightness beginning to spread through his upper body. It feels good. It feels so good.

“Is that why you’re talking to me?” Isak ask, truly curious.

“What?”

“I mean...you know I have a boyfriend. It’s messy. I’m messy to get involved with. Why are you talking to me?”

There’s a slight pause, Isak holds his breath waiting for the answer, when Even speaks again Isak can hear a small smile in his voice again, “Like I said...I like risk. And you seem like the kind of person who’s worth that kind of risk.”

It was extremely cheesy, way too corny for his usual taste, but Isak has never felt his heart swell so big.

They continue to talk through the night. Isak finds himself falling into this thing so easily. It’s easy to laugh with Even and tell Even the truth. They talk about art and Even’s filmmaking. They talk about stupid meaningless things like their favorite times of year and the embarrassing things they did in high school. Isak tells him about Mahdi and Even tells Isak more about Sana and Magnus and Noora and asks Isak if he’d want to meet them. Isak says yes.

They talk until the sun comes up and the birds begin to chirp and Isak didn’t even notice how much time had passed. Jonas still isn’t home by the time they hang up - with promises of talking again.

Isak felt good, guilt aside. He felt heard and recognized and needed and wanted and a kind of rush he hasn’t felt in over a year.

He still, selfishly, doesn’t know exactly what he wants or what he feels. But for now it’s okay. He can figure all that shit out later.

When Jonas gets home he’s apologetic. He looks like shit - exhausted and spent. He kisses Isak’s cheek and whispers how thankful he is he has him. That it’s the only thing he looks forward to each day after an all nighter of work. Coming home to him.

Isak feels disgusting.

He sits at the kitchen table, breakfast on the stove, Jonas in the shower.

Isak feels the sadness, the tears build within his chest.

He runs his fingers over the screen, over Even’s name.

He lets his mind fill with images of the blonde. His smile and laugh and beauty. His same love for art and unexpected words. His view of the world, so similar to Isak’s own.

He thinks about wild blue and gentle hazel.

He thinks, is it?

Is it possible to fall for someone else while you’re still in love?

Because he is still in love with Jonas.

He has to be.

.

.

.

A few days later, Isak finds himself outside the same door he swore he’d never see again.

He’s nervous and fidgety and has been standing in the exact same spot for over twenty minutes now, debating the best way to go about this.

Should he just knock and get it over with?

Should he go back downstairs and text that he’s here? Play it cool?

In the end, the decision is made for him, the door swings open carelessly and without warning. Isak’s mouth drops open silently, heart hitting his chest hard, fist raised in a motion to knock.

“And hurry up with that mess!” A young girl, probably around the same age as Isak yells over her shoulder, before turning towards him with a wide smile and pretty red painted lips, before she stops short, “Oh” She breathes out, clearly startled, not expecting Isak’s presence.

She’s a pretty girl. Her hair falls perfectly straight just above her shoulders, platinum blonde and perfectly groomed, not a single hair out of place. Her makeup is light but flattering and her eyes shine under the dim lights of the hall.

Her gaze moves slowly over Isak’s body, as if she’s sizing him up, assessing him accurately. It makes Isak shift uncomfortably.

“Uhm, hi” He mutters lately.

After a moment or two, something shifts in her gaze as if something is clicking into place, and the woman just smiles, “You must be Isak.”

Isak’s eyebrows raise, “You’ve heard about me?”

“Oh yeah,” the woman nods, flashing a wide smile, teeth blindingly white and shimmering, “You’re the one who's been talking all fucking night long with Even. The walls in this place are thinner than you’d think.”

“Oh,”

The woman’s words are harsher than her voice. She doesn’t really seem angry. Actually she seems more amused than anything in Isak’s opinion. She stands a little straighter and folds an ugly yellow jacket over her crossed arms as she continues to smile up at the new boy standing in the hallway.

Her smile is unthreatening yet still manages to make Isak squirm. It’s almost like she expects something from him now, but he’s not exactly sure what.

“Is uh,” He clears his throat and shifts his gaze behind her, trying to see into the blocked apartment, “is Even here now?”

“Yeah, he’s here.” She replies. “He’s been a pain in my ass all day.”

Except she doesn’t move to get him or tell him of Isak’s presence. Still she just...stares. Eyes wandering and smirk twitching.

Isak has no fucking clue what to do. He’s never been the best with uncomfortable situations in general. He’s good at only a few things in life. Barely a handful. Art. Drinking. Friendship. And sleeping around. Other than that Isak’s always been in the dark.

He clears his throat again, hating the way his cheeks begin to color under the woman’s clearly entertained scrutiny, “Are you Noora?” He asks, putting two and two together.

“Ah, so Even’s mentioned me too?” She asks, seeming pleased by this information.

Isak nods, brushes his fingers across his lips in a nervous tick, scratches the line of his jaw, “Yeah, you’re his roommate right? He said you’re nice but…”

“But?” She raises her perfectly sculpted eyebrows - playfulness still dancing in her eyes.

He lets out a nervous chuckle, “You complain that he’s too messy.”

“He’s a slob. I don’t buy that artist bullshit” she says before quickly turning and calling out “Even! Your boy toy is here!”

Her smile is still wide when she turns back to Isak. HIs expression must show his obviously shock because she lets out a melodic laugh.

“Have fun, Isak” She pushes past him easily, his body practically frozen, she smells like fresh citrus and fresh body wash, “I’m sure I’ll see you around again.” And then she’s gone.

Isak is only alone for a few moments before Even is approaching. He’s wearing a casual pair of khaki colored pants, a simple white T-shirt, and his hair it’s usual mess of dirty blonde tangles. His cheeks are flushed a delicious pink color and he’s panting slightly, like he’s been jogging.

“Hey,” he laughs happily, “sorry...I was just cleaning up really quick believe it or not. Noora got me all paranoid about, uhm, my messiness I guess.”

He stops in front of Isak, smile never falling, eyes sparkling the brightest Isak has ever seen them. “Hey,” he greets, letting out a large pent up breath.

Isak lets his eyes run over his face eagerly. He notices for the first time that there are multiple shades of blue in the older man’s eyes. Some lighter, some darker, some falling right in between. He notices the small freckle above his top lip, directly in the center where his skin dips. He sees the sharp angles of his jaw and straight lines of his shoulders and collarbone. There’s something white caught in the lashes above his right eye and a red paint smudge beneath his left.

Isak’s lips smile and his eyes widen and his skin tingles both hot and cold.

And he decides, it is.

It is possible to start falling for someone else while you’re still in love.

“Hi,” he whispers back, blinking up shyly at the beautiful man in front of him.

He can’t believe his luck. That it was Even he ran into at the club that night. Not someone who could really be considered bar trash, as Mahdi so elegantly put it.

His luck - he didn't know if it was good or bad but he was happy - happy to be here standing in front of Even who looked so soft and warm and open.

Even’s reply is to smile wider, step back and pull the door back with him, inviting Isak in.

“You want to come in?”

Isak doesn’t hesitate this time. He nods and smiles. He doesn't feel the guilt. Not yet. He doesn't see or think about anything but Even. He lets the feelings in his heart tug him forward forcefully.

He doesn’t let himself care about anything else right now.

“Yeah,” He breathes out, like Even inviting him in is catching him off guard, like this is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. “Yeah, I want to come in.”

He steps through the archway and enters.

Chapter Text

 

Could you love two people at the same time?

Could you live with yourself telling two lies?

Out of my sight, out of my mind,

I don't wanna know about it this time.

.

 

.

 

.

 

Present Day (October 2017)

Isak always considered himself to be an honest person. Even before, when all he did was sleep around and refuse to make commitments, he never led people on. He never let them believe that they should expect more than he had to offer. Which was absolutely nothing special. Nothing at all.

He never imagined he’d find himself here.

A cheater.

A liar.

Everything he promised himself he’d never become.

Isak had a talent for breaking promises though. He had a talent for breaking trust.

That night, the first night Isak gave in and called Even, that was it. It was the start. The beginning of falling in love with Even. Isak letting himself begin to let go of Jonas and begin to let Even in.

And now, all he can think about is his mother. How disappointed she would be, if she was still here. He doesn’t want to imagine how she’d look at him - shaking her head, with disappointment in her eyes.

It breaks Isak’s heart.

His father left one cold winter day when Isak was fourteen. He packed his bags and left while his wife was at work and Isak was at school. He didn’t even leave a goodbye note. He just packed all his shit and disappeared. He was a coward.

After that, he never looked back. He didn’t send a single Christmas card or birthday card. Never made a single phone call.

He left Isak’s mother in discarded shattered pieces - pieces that Isak was forced to clean up.

That's when he decided relationships weren’t for him. That’s when he decided love was a sham and that nothing could last forever.

He promised that he’d never be on either side of that situation - his mother’s or his father’s.

Heartbroken or heartbreaker.

He came home day after day to Marianne - eyes sad and words empty. His father had found someone younger, someone prettier and more vibrant she had told her son. He wanted to start over. He found someone to start a new family with. He had left them both.

He doesn’t care about us, Isak.” She would always speak so quietly, like everything she uttered was a secret that had to be kept between the two of them. “You remember that. If anyone tells you different it's a lie. He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t love me. He can’t love anybody.

Isak feels his phone buzz. He pulls it out of his pocket and immediately sees the texts he’s been ignoring from Even. He hasn’t been able to bring himself to answer just yet.

How are things going over there?

You okay? I’m worried.

Mahdi says Jonas threw you out. What’s going on?

I miss you.

I love you.

Isak closes his eyes, closes himself off from the world around him, the laughter of the children in the park, the people around him so happy and full of life.

He lets the dull pain settled in his chest take over - hurting every single part of him - inside and out. This pain makes his muscles feel so weak and his bones so brittle.

When he opens his eyes, he reads the words over again and again.

I love you.

He feels the words rattle around in his head. Settle in his heart. Dance on the tip of his tongue.

I love you too.

It would be so easy to type back. Something he’s done a million times before.

Because he does. He loves Even so fucking much. He loves him so much that sometimes he feels like this feeling could swallow him whole. That it’s something that could take him over completely until he couldn’t feel anything else. Not a single thing more than this.

But he finds himself hesitating anyway.

He feels sour inside.

He feels so selfish, selfish, selfish.

He loves both blue and hazel. He loves both golden silky locks and rich brunette curls. He loves a soft sweet giggle and a loud happy laugh.

He loves wild and free.

He loves comfort and ease.

Selfish, horrible, wrong.

But true.

Jonas’ words echo in his mind.

Who do you love more?”

“You have to love one of us more.”

Isak didn’t want to believe that. But then again - he also never knew it was possible to be in love with two people at once. Which he’s now decided is very much possible. Maybe it’s not possible for everyone but it is for him. He knows what he feels. He knows how he feels.

He loves them both in completely distinct ways, different but complete ways.

Both of their names are tattooed beneath his tongue.

But maybe he does love one more than the other.

Maybe he already knows who.

He knows that he can’t keep the both. He knows how wrong it is to love them both. But his heart beats wildly with both their names and he can’t stop it. It’s not something he can control. His actions, sure, but not this. Not these feelings inside of him that have only grown stronger and stronger over the past year.

Both of the men give Isak something that he craves deep down. And up until now he’s been able to hold both close to his heart. But he knows it’s coming to an end. It couldn’t last forever despite Isak’s blind and reckless hope that it might be able to. That it would all be okay if he just ignored the situation. If he acted like he was okay, then he would be.

He has to make a decision.

But he isn’t ready. He’s not ready to let go of either part of this fucked up situation. He’s desperate and needy. He’ll crave and cry and obsess. He’s selfish and wrong but knowing this doesn’t stop him from wanting what he knows he needs.

He wants Jonas.

He wants Even.

And he knows he doesn’t deserve either of them.

.

.

.

November 2016

Isak lets himself take in his surroundings. He steps into the apartment cautiously and lets his eyes wander curiously. The last time he was here, he was a little...preoccupied. He didn’t get a good look at the place.

It was a pretty average apartment. Minimal decorations and little furniture. The walls were bare and white but somehow it still managed to look homey and warm and comfortable. Although, Isak isn’t quite sure if that was the actual apartment or just Even and his presence.

The carpet is stained but vacuumed. The coffee table is empty unlike last time when it was littered with old magazines and candy wrappers.

Isak smiles at the idea of Even scrambling around trying to tidy the place up just for him.

“It’s nothing special but it’s home I guess.”

Isak turns to see Even standing a few steps behind him. His eyes are the shyest Isak has ever seen them, his cheeks colored a light pink color as he rubs the back of his neck awkwardly with his right hand.

“I like it,” Isak tells him honestly.

“Yeah?” Even smiles.

Isak nods, beginning to remove his coat. “Yeah.”

Even nods and his smile is so bright that Isak feels it in his chest.

.

.

.

They end up on Even’s bed, they lay side by side, Isak’s feet near Even’s head and Even’s near his - a joint being passed back and forth between to two of them.

Isak feels warm and cozy. The sun, poking from behind Even’s curtains, is heated and enjoyable against his skin - the atmosphere in the room serene and relaxed.

Even’s sheets are soft, making Isak turn to his side from time to time and nuzzle his face into the fabric there, and his room is just as messy as Isak’s own. His blanket smells like it hasn’t been washed in a few weeks and Isak loves it. It’s sharp and masculine and a little sweaty, with a slightly softer side - just like Even.

Morning pancakes and a fresh cup of tea.

A slow sunrise and too many stars filling the sky.

The room is filled with a thick cloud of smoke and the air is filled with Even’s words as he continues to talk about this really shitty, overrated indie film he just watched yesterday.

Isak’s eyes droop with his high, burning slightly, and he’d bet anything they were burning bright red.

“So, how did you get into film?” Isak asks once Even’s finished. "Like how did you discover it was something that you wanted to do?”

The man beside him chuckles, the sound is happy and makes the bed shake and creak loudly. The bed is old and weak and the sound is harsh to his ears. He’d already informed the older boy that he needs a new bed when he first hopped onto it, to which Even simply replied, “I know. Noora says it at least once a day.”

Isak doesn’t know what’s so funny but he laughs too. He loves how easy this is. There’s no stress here in the little bubble Even and he seemed to have unknowingly created for themselves. He feels safe here. The kind of safe that comes without complications. The kind of safe that comes without any kind of pressure or complexity. Isak doesn't feel himself second guessing any of his moves or words, just like it used to be, before Jonas came along.

“Uhm, I don’t know actually,” Even answers - reminding Isak’s wandering mind that he asked him a question in the first place. “I remember having a dream when I was twelve. I was sitting on this hill...or it was more like a mountain,” Even continues and Isak wishes he could see his face, see the expression that rests there, wonders if it matched the affection and intensity in his voice. “And...I was just watching. I was sitting and watching all the people at the bottom of the hill. They were doing pretty normal things. Just living their lives. There were kids and families and couples. Walking, shopping, laughing.” Isak shifts a bit on the bed to pass the joint back to the blonde beside him. When he takes it from him, their fingers briefly touch and Isak’s skin tickles. “They weren't doing anything wrong but...I couldn’t help but think about everything they should be doing differently. How I wanted them to walk and talk and laugh. And...when I woke up it was like...I don’t know. Something snapped into place and I just knew. Something about watching those people, observing them and thinking of all the things they could be doing differently. Plus, I always just loved movies and knew I could have probably made them better,” he finishes off with a chuckle.

Isak smiles wide. He loves Even’s simple explanation. His words are fair and soft and uncomplicated.

Isak wonders if Even sees the world in the same kinds of colors he does.

He can’t control the feeling that itches beneath his skin. The feeling that crawls inside his stomach. It’s hot and heavy and he tries his hardest to push it away.

It’s guilt, he knows.

Guilt for liking being here, having this conversation, and knowing it’s one he could never have with Jonas.

Jonas who thought dreams were pointless and didn’t believe in anything like fate. Jonas who scoffed at Isak’s idea of parallel universes and only ever replied “there is only one universe, Isak. And we’re living in it.”

Isak would glare at him and pout stubbornly until Jonas kissed it from his lips and rubbed his thumbs across the skin covering his cheekbones, until Isak’s expression fell.

Then the brunette would whisper something so sweet-tempered and gentle. Something that made Isak’s body melt against his and press his nose to the column of his throat just so he could inhale deeply, soak him in.

Jonas would bury his lips in Isak’s hair and whisper so softly, “But in this one universe I love you.”

Isak licks his dry lips and inhales as Even exhales the smoke that fills his lungs.

“I know what that’s like,” Isak tells him. “I mean I didn’t have a dream or anything but I remember waking up one day and just knowing. Knowing that this was something I had to do. My dad was so pissed when I told him.” Isak chuckles at the memory of his father’s beet red face and hard-lined lips as his mother tried her best to soothe her husband - rubbing soft circles on his back and shushing him. “You’d think I told him I was gay instead of wanting to be an artist. I was thirteen I think.”

“Why was he so angry?” Even questions lightly. Isak can hear the joint resting against his lips, can imagine what they look like wrapped around it. He feels his toes tingle.

“Who knows,” Isak shrugs, the movement awkward and jumpy against the bed. “Wanted me to be a lawyer like him or something. Doesn’t really matter anyway. He bailed a year later.”

Isak finds the words leaving his mouth so easily.

No second guessing.

It’s so effortless to be himself here. Simple, straightforward, and painless inside these walls.

Being here in Even’s bed is like being wrapped in a throw blanket, corners curled underneath your body, soft and snuggly. It made him feel safe and childlike. Like nothing else in the world mattered but here and now. Like he could do anything and say anything and be anything.

Even made his heart feel so...free.

“My dad left me too,” Even adds on, taking Isak slightly by surprise.

He hums in acknowledgement as he takes the joint back from in between Even’s fingers.

“Well,” Isak continues, watching the smoke above him swirl overhead and create the oddest shapes and the prettiest pictures. He feels his lips turning up at the corners and places the smoke at his lips, “fuck them. Their loss right?”

Even just laughs pleasantly.

A few minutes pass between them. There’s no awkwardness in the air, no uncomfortable thickness - just simple, comfortable, uninterrupted silence.

Isak’s whole body sinks back haphazardly into the bed. He’s surrounded by Even’s scent completely as his eyes fall shut and Even pulls the smoke from his hand once again, the roach so small now that there’s barely anything left to smoke.

The buzz of silence makes Isak feel placid and calm. His limbs hang loose and light and the skin of his arms prickles with the emotions. He counts his steady breaths and enjoys Even’s warmth beside him. He feels the blood rushing through his veins evenly and swears he can feel every single cell in his body move along with it.

Isak startles at the sound of Even’s voice filling the room again, not loud enough to make Isak jump, even though it does.

“So,” Even cleans his throat. The younger boy notices how Even’s legs tense up beside his face and turns his head in confusion. Even continues, “You really love Jonas, huh?”

A sharp sting starts to grow in Isak’s chest at the question. He wasn’t expecting that.

He breathes in deeply and lets the leftover smoke fill his lungs.

“Yeah,” He answers back because...well, because it was true. He didn’t really know what else to say.

When a beat of quietness follows, Isak thinks that maybe he answered wrong. He doesn’t know what kind of answer Even was looking for. He doesn’t know exactly what he wanted from him but Isak doubted he had any of the right answers for the other boy. He rarely ever did.

He opens his mouth, ready to take the words back, to curse Even for asking it in the first place.

But Even beats him to it, his voice is laced with a sullen kind of laughter that makes the spaces in between Isak’s ribs burn and the area behind them throb with its emptiness. “Well, that really fucking sucks for me.”

Isak bites his lip.

He knows what those words mean.

It’s Even’s not-so-subtle way of letting Isak know that he wants this. The words he whispered in the hall about feeling more, the late night phone calls, the apartment cleaning and easy smiles and joints shared. It meant something to Even.

And the tone in his voice says it all. He’s not just stating a fact - he’s asking for an answer.

That one little sentence filled with so many questions.

What is this?

Why are you here?

Am I wasting my time?

I actually fucking like you...do you actually fucking like me?

Isak wants to pause. He wants to stop and think and weigh each of his options. And he knows that he can stop this. Right now in this very moment if he wanted to. He could tell Even that he loves Jonas. That he loves him more than anything else in the whole world. He could tell Even that this has to be over before it even began, they can’t talk anymore, they can’t see each other.

He could gather his things up quietly and make his way to the door, let Even know with his words and actions that, yes, you are wasting your time. I don’t know what this is. I don’t want to know.

But he doesn’t.

Isak has never been the best at rational decision making.

He leans up on his elbows, his body slow and tired, his eyes slow-blinking, gaze finding the blue-eyed boy’s face immediately. Even stares vacantly at the ceiling above, lips pulled down, joint burned out between his fingertips.

The expression makes something in Isak’s chest shift, something in his stomach clench, something in his heart pool hot.

He doesn’t think, he just lets himself feel, he feels the comfort and ease and wildness and freeness and complete peace.

He feels the flutter as his eyes run over Even’s face again and again. He wants to know how many stories are tucked away behind those bright eyes. He wants to hear all the profound and marvelous ideas that his lips have to tell. His eyes run over the dip above his upper lip, where a small bead of sweat is gathered, and blinks.

He loves the curve of Even’s lips. He remembers how pretty his moans sounded while Isak was on his knees in front of him - face flushed and hot and body shaking.

He’s so fucking beautiful.

“Maybe it doesn’t have to fucking suck for you.” Isak’s voice comes out softly, so small and barely audible. Weak and unconvincing. But he means it. He means it so much. “Maybe it doesn’t have to.”

And then Even is mirroring Isak’s position. He leans up on his elbows and widens his eyes as his cheeks turn pink. His eyes are red and his heavy lids hang low.

Isak can tell by the twinkle in his stare that Even knows exactly what he’s trying to tell him.

He swallows down the nerves building in the back of his throat and focuses on this feeling.

The feeling Even’s deep, dazzling stare makes spread through his body.

“Yeah?” Even asks - voice so honest and earnest.

Isak nods, throat tight, “Yeah.”

.

Even is beneath him. His body is hard but giving. He squirms and pants and grips tightly onto Isak’s forearms. He looks completely gone for the younger boy. He lies beneath him in nothing but his boxers, nails digging into Isak’s skin, head thrown back as the blonde’s lips skim his neck - leaving all kinds of kisses - somewhere between soft and hard, gentle and punishing.

Isak loves the feel of his skin, the taste of his sweat, the smell of his breath.

Even’s long legs are spread just enough for Isak’s body to fit perfectly in between them. Their bare chests touch and Even’s skin burns his own. He feels Even hard and hot against his hip. The older boy is moving his hips in small and erratic little circles, trying to rub himself shamelessly against the boy above him, seeming completely unembarrassed by how wrecked Isak has him already. Isak is just as hard, but he’s always been good at self control.

He wants to drag this moment out a little more, this moment where everything feels so fucking good but no lines have been crossed yet. This moment where he is in complete control, Even squirming and moaning here under him - begging him for things that Isak is more than willing to give. He wants to tease him.

His tongue trails over the little dip at the base of Even’s throat - the skin there is both salty and sweet on his taste buds. A new kind of taste, something Isak has never experienced before, it makes his toes curl as he lets out a deep moan. His lips press against Even’s heated skin.

“Isak,” Even breaths out desperately as he turns his head - his lips touching Isak’s ear - breath hot and shaky. Isak’s body feels both hot and cold as he smells how sweet Even’s words are. His spine shakes as he shivers. “Isak, I have stuff. My bedside table.”

Even’s back curves up towards the blonde, inviting Isak in, inviting him to touch and feel and take in the prettiest way, in a way that leaves no room to question what he means.

Isak’s hands curl into the sheets beside Even’s head and he breathes in deeply.

He knows he wants this but --

“Are you sure?” Isak whispers shakily - hoping to whatever kind of god is out there that the answer is yes.

And he isn’t disappointed as Even nods frantically. His hair is fanned out on the pillow, face flushed red, lips parted, swollen, and love-bitten from Isak’s kisses.

He’s so fucking beautiful - Isak thinks for the millionth time today.

He flushes from head to toe at Even’s eagerness for this, his eagerness for him.

He pushes up to quickly reach over and open Even’s bedside table - grabbing what he needs.

He looks down at the man underneath him and can’t believe his luck. That out of all the people Isak could have met at the club that night...it was Even. He can’t believe how fucking lucky he is that Even is giving him this, that he wants it too. That he’s taking a chance on someone like Isak. Someone so small and weak and cowardly. He’s letting Isak touch his so-soft skin and kiss his beautiful full lips.

Even is here - lust-blown pupils, rose colored cheeks, chest heaving.

He can’t think about anything else, he can’t feel anything else, but this moment in time. The thrill of it rushing through his veins, the wildness burning in the back of his mind, the lust spreading through his body - starting with the heat filling his stomach.

He can’t think about the consequences of his decisions right now. He can’t focus on anything other than Even lying beneath him - so willing and trusting and gorgeous. So, he doesn’t let himself. He follows his instincts, listens to his body, feels how right this is.

He leans down and catches Even’s lips with his own. The kisses are heated and slow moving. They make Isak’s lips tingle, the sensation moving down his entire body until his toes are literally curling. Their lips work together under Even’s moans and Isak’s shivers and the hunger begins to kick in.

Even tastes like weed and something sweet like candy. He tastes like freedom and creativity and laughs filled with pure joy.

He tastes so fucking good.

Isak pulls away but only to touch his lips to the lust-flushed skin of Even’s neck. He feels Even’s wild pulse at the base of his throat. His hands move over the tight clenching muscles of his stomach, his thumbs brush over his nipples - the action causing the man to arch further into Isak’s touch, causes his breathing to become more erratic.

“Please,” Even breathes out the plea quietly, so quietly that Isak almost doesn’t catch it. But he does feel the words - hot and rushed against his face. “Please, Isak.”

Isak groans at the sound of his name falling from Even’s lips in that way. Voice rough with his arousal. Filled with desire. Desire for Isak.

“Can you fuck me?” Even asks - sounding so soft and innocent despite the filthy words he’s speaking, so small and shy that it makes Isak want to wreck every single part of him. “I really want you to fuck me now.”

Isak pulls back and lets his eyes meet Even’s once more. He squints and bites his lip and really tries to calm his breathing. He balances himself on wobbly arms and burns so hot he think he might burst from it.

He doesn’t find any hesitation in the other man’s gaze. It’s so open and honest and real that it makes Isak want to hide from it.

But he doesn’t.

He revels in it, he swims in it, he loses himself in it.

He nods, moving down to peck Even’s lips once more with a quick kiss, touching his cheek softly, breathing him in again.

“Okay.”

That one simple word makes Even react immediately - he spreads his legs wider for Isak, making his body dip slightly, fitting better there.

Their chests touch and fit together so perfectly - heated, sweat covered skin sliding together.

From there things move fast. Isak can’t help it. He tries to control himself. Tries to control his breathing and slow his movements. He wanted this time to be different from their first few encounters. Slowler, simpler, better. But he can’t. He’s so overwhelmed with his need to be inside of Even. Feel his heat surrounding him. Feel him moan and squirm beneath him. Feel his breathing hitch and his nails dig into his skin desperately. He wants Even to fall completely apart for him.

Even’s eyes flick wildly over Isak’s face - hunger and excitement flashing in the gaze.

Isak needs him. He needs this. He needs it so fucking badly that his entire body aches. He needs this wild passion, this intense heat, this unforgettable rush of lust and desire and secrecy.

He removes the rest of their clothes quickly and carelessly. He pours the lube over his fingers hastily with trembling hands and moves to balance his weight on his left arm. He rubs over Even’s rim for a moment, showing him what's to come, letting him get used to Isak’s touch - having time to back out if he needs.

The first finger slides in fairly easily, but Isak can tell it’s going to be a tight fit. Even’s clearly tense under his touch. Isak can hear his breathing hitch and watches his eyes clench tightly shut. He’s either a pretty inexperienced bottom or has never bottomed before this.

Isak briefly considers switching with him - but then Even clenches around his finger and he can’t help but let out a quiet moan - imagining that clench around his dick, how warm and tight Even must feel from the inside, and he can’t make the words come.

Isak brings his lips back to Even’s, seemingly surprising the other man as he startles, and he slows his impatient movements. He works his finger slowly inside of the blonde. He moves back and forth, in and out, moving in slow circles. A silent way of telling him it’s okay, showing him how good it can be, showing him how good Isak is going to make him feel.

When he feels that Even is ready, he adds another finger, and the man lets out another noise - coming from the very back of his throat - deep and desperate.

“Shh,” Isak shushes him comfortingly, “It’s okay. Just let it go. Let me make you feel good, baby.”

Isak’s words are low and quiet and must do something for Even because Isak can feel him relax right away. The muscles of his stomach loosen and the clench around his fingers loosens as well - letting Isak push a little deep inside of him, a little harder.

Even moans at the feeling, making something in Isak’s chest clench, causing his stomach to burn hotter.

“Shit, Isak.”

And soon Even is a mess - writhing and moving his legs and arching his back wildly. He’s open and completely ready for Isak, ready for his touch, ready for his dick. Everything is inviting him in.

He begins moving his hips, pushing himself back onto Isak’s fingers in short desperate thrusts.

He begs in a desperate whine, “please, please, please.” His eyes are closed and his lip is trapped between his teeth - where he bites so hard that Isak thinks it might begin to bleed. “I’m ready, Isak. I’m ready. Please.”

Isak nods and accidentally thinks out loud, “Shit, Even. You’re shaking for it.”

And he is. Even is shaking - his legs wobbling around Isak’s hips, fingers trembling as they press into his skin.

“So, please...please, please.”

Isak is powerless to the words. He nods quickly and reaches over to grab the condom laid out for him on the bed. He quickly rips it open with his teeth and doesn’t hesitate to roll it over his length. He moans at the feeling of his own hand, giving himself a few long and slow strokes before squirting some more lube on his hand and spreading it over himself so his dick is nice and slick.

His eyes run over the man beneath him - his narrow but full shoulders, the flush of his throat and the heaving of his chest, the straining veins in his neck and the beauty of his lust-filled expression. He traces the beautiful curves of his collarbone with his eyes and wants nothing more than to litter the smooth skin there with dark red love-bites that make Even remember this moment tomorrow. So he doesn’t forget that it was Isak that made him feel this good.

Isak moves forward and takes a few deep breaths to relieve some of the tension in his chest and the tension gathered at the base of his spine. His dick twitches as he finally places himself at Even’s entrance.

He lets his gaze meet the older man’s one more time before he begins to push in - oh so slowly. Even clenches immediately around him and Isak has to grit his teeth against the feeling, hold back his moan and make himself focus on the blonde’s comfort.

He stills his hips and leans down to press his lips to the unmoving lax ones beneath him.

“You feel so fucking good, baby,” Isak whispers, not just because it's true, not just because Isak hasn’t felt anything this good, anything this mind blowing and right in so long, but to also try to get Even to relax a bit.

Even bites his lip and nods as his muscles begin to relax, as he begins to unclench around Isak.

His hands move up to grip Isak’s shoulders tightly - to ground and steady himself. Isak loves the way Even clings to him so desperately, like he doesn’t want anything else in the world but Isak, like he needs him and nothing more.

He feels fucking incredible.

He continues to slowly but firmly push himself into Even, making room for himself inside him, until he’s completely open, until Isak is buried fully in him.

Even’s heat surrounds him completely - warm and tight and so perfect that Isak has to bite his lip to stop the sounds of pleasure from falling from them, embarrassed at how affected he is even though they’ve barely scratched the surface. But when he looks back down at Even’s face - scrunched up at how overwhelmed he his, head thrown back in pleasure - he knows he isn’t the only one who feels this way.

He can feel the shake of Even’s hands against his shoulders, the quiver of the rest of his body pressed against his own from head to toe - hot and sweat slicked.

One of his hands grips Even’s waist tightly, probably too tightly, but Even doesn’t complain. The other quickly moves up to push a strand of hair away from Even’s wet forehead before he falls back to steady himself on his arm.

“It’s good,” Even sighs, hot breath hitting Isak’s face - lost in pure pleasure. “You’re so fucking good.”

Isak can’t help but lean forward to press his lips to Even’s once more, lick the sweat gathered at the skin above them, nip at the corner of his mouth.

Isak starts slowly at first, just rocking his hips slowly back and forth, letting Even adjust to him.

Eventually the kisses that Isak is leaving behind on Even’s lips become rushed and sloppy and Even grows impatient.

He curls his legs up and hooks them behind Isak’s thighs - trying to pull him in closer, trying to make him move faster and harder.

“Come on, Isak,” He whines. “I’m good. Faster.”

So, Isak goes faster. He speeds up the snap of his hips until the creak of Even’s bed is unbearable and the headboard is smashing up against the wall loudly and Isak is fucking into Even hard and fast and reckless. He reaches up behind Even’s head and grabs onto the headboard to steady himself, using it as leverage as he pushes deeper.

“Fuck!”

Isak looks down to find Even staring directly at him - eyes wide open and pupils blown as he licks his bottom lip before biting down on it gently. Isak lets out a groan at how fucking good he looks like this. His head rocking back and forth with the force of Isak’s thrusts. His face completely relaxed and trusting, looking up at him so softly, so open and pliant, so filled with pleasure and desire.

“Fuuuuck, Even.”

Even nods, smiling slyly up at him, before a particularly hard thrust causes his eyes to fall shut again and his head to toss back and his stomach to clench with heat.

Isak keeps pushing deeper and deeper, harder and harder, he angles his hips as he searches and there is no doubt when he finds what he’s looking for because Even lets out a high whine in the back of his throat as his body arches up against Isak’s uncontrollably.

Even trembles, goosebumps spreading across his pale skin, he moans, “Isak.”

“There?” Isak asks, lips curling up slightly as he lets go of the headboard and falls roughly back onto the man below him. He doesn’t slow down or dare adjust his hips, keeping the angle he has on Even’s prostate constant and exact. “Huh? Right there?”

Even lets out desperate little pants and moans as his eyes flutter back open, he leaves his mouth open as more sounds continue to escape him. “Yes,” He whispers back. “Yes, yes, right there. Please.”

Isak isn’t exactly sure what Even is begging for at this point but he isn’t about to deny him. So he continues to move his hips in long, deep thrusts, just on the right side of rough, brushing his prostate every time.

He’s captivated by Even. The sounds he makes and the way his body moves - both giving and taking. How he bites his lip so hard, how his brow scrunches up on each inward thrust, how his lips part to let out small whimpers every time Isak touches that sweet place deep inside of him. Isak can’t believe how fucking perfect he feels beneath him, his body fitting together with his just right.

Isak can feel Even’s cock against his stomach - hard and throbbing and leaking against him and it makes warmth pulse inside of him stronger. He loves knowing that he’s the one that did that to Even. Left him like this - desperate and panting and lost in his pleasure.

He brings one hand up and traces Even’s plump bottom lip with his thumb, watching in wonder as the skin flushes from his touch, and places his lips next to Even’s ear.

“Are you close?” Isak whispers - knowing that his hot breath will fan across Even’s neck, leave a heat in their path that makes him quake. “Do you want to come?”

Even moans long and deep before replying, he moves his arms to encircle Isak, bringing his palms flat against the blonde’s shoulder blades - trying to pull him impossibly closer - “So fucking close. Please, Isak.”

And at Even’s words, Isak realizes just how close he is too. He feels the need to come clawing him from the inside out, feels the warmth at the base of his cock, feels it pool at the base of his spine. He reaches down and takes Even in his hand.

“Come on, baby,” Isak whispers - stroking Even slowly but roughly - letting the action match his thrusts. “Come for me.”

And Even does - he comes with a loud groan, his nails pressing fiercely into Isak’s back, intensifying the pleasure that courses through both their bodies. The heat pools in between the boys messily and Isak loses it himself.

He releases into the condom as a white hot heat engulfs him wholly. He wants to keep his eyes on Even’s expression but he can’t - he clenches his eyes shut - unable to keep them open at the weight of the intense pleasure that overtakes him. He buries his face into Even’s neck - letting out his own small groans and moans.

His hips keep moving in small irregular thrusts, milking himself of everything he has left, until Even pats his back to get his attention - letting out a small whine as he becomes too sensitive.

Isak pulls out and smiles - unable to contain the feelings rushing through him.

Even laughs at the dopey expression on Isak’s face and leans up to kiss him playfully.

Afterwards they lay side by side completely satisfied with matching smiles and glowing gazes.

Even smokes a cigarette with a permanent smile across his face while Isak talks eagerly about his newest art project.

It’s safe and warm here in their bubble. It’s blissful and carefree.

It’s everything Isak has been waiting for. It’s everything he’s never known he’s needed.

.

.

.

December 2016

So, it becomes a thing.

Isak and Even.

By December they are officially...something.

It happens so quickly, so naturally, an almost seamless transition.

The late night phone calls and casual midday lunches. Whenever Isak isn’t working or hanging out with Mahdi - he’s with Even.

They don’t really talk about it. They don’t set rules or guidelines or discuss what it is, what they are. But for awhile it feels like they don’t have too. Because it's good. It’s so fucking good.

Jonas’ workload is still unbelievably heavy - his hours are ridiculous and erratic and Isak hates himself more and more every time Jonas comes home late with bags under his eyes and deep wrinkles littering his face.

Isak kisses him and makes him dinner and tells him he loves him - tells him how proud of him he is. None of it is false, he means every word he utters, so he doesn’t know why they burn his tongue as he speaks them. He doesn’t know why they feel like lies every time they leave his lips.

He kisses Jonas until the brunette is too tired to keep his eyes open any longer.

Then, as soon as he hears Jonas’ loud snores from the bedroom, he calls Even.

Isak feels guilty. Of course he does.

But the guilt isn’t strong enough to make him stop. It doesn’t outweigh his craving for the other man.

Because Isak likes Even. He wants to talk to him. He has to talk to him. Whenever his mind wanders away from him during the day, it always leads him to the same place, Even and his captivating laugh and sparkling eyes.

Isak begins to get to know Even. He learns that he’s much more than just wild eyes and amazing kisses. He’s funny. He’s the kind of funny that makes Isak rolls his eyes but secretly chuckle behind his closed fist. He learns that Even would much rather watch a classic romance film rather than anything involving action. He learns that Even paints beautifully too, he loves to cook, he loves to read classic novels and writes poetry every night before he goes to sleep.

What happens if you don’t have enough inspiration to finish a poem every night?” Isak had asked once. To which Even simply replied, “I always have the inspiration for poetry. If I didn’t have enough inspiration by the end of the day, the way I live my life? I know I did something wrong that day.”

And it was true. Even just lived his life that way. He didn’t like plans or rules. He liked going with the flow and making plans in the moment. It made Isak’s hair stand on edge. It made his heart run wild and his mind to feel light.

He loved watching Even live his life - free of stress and obligation. Free of social norms and “certain behaviors”.

He was just...Even.

And though Isak had yet to meet any of Even’s friends, beside Noora, he knew how much Even cared about them. He talked about them constantly with such a care and ease. He said he couldn't wait for Isak to meet them. The thought made Isak both extremely nervous and incredibly happy.

The first time Isak wakes up next to Even is surreal. Isak has never woken up next to anyone but Jonas. With random hookups it was usually fast, meaningless, and dirty - hidden in lonely alleyways or hushed inside of bathroom stalls. And the rare occasions that they did end up back at the person’s place - Isak snuck out as soon as they started to snore.

But now, Jonas was pulling an all nighter at the office and Even asked him to stay over. Isak didn’t even try to pretend he didn’t want this, that he hadn’t been waiting for Even to ask him, he didn’t hesitate to say yes. They watched movies all night, no fucking, just soft kisses and small laughs.

They fell asleep on the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms, Isak swimming in his favorite hoodie of Even’s.

When Isak wakes up with slow blinks and weak eyes he notices right away that he’s surrounded by Even’s smell, his silky sheets, the comfort of his bed.

And when his eyes open fully - Even’s are staring right back at his. The sun, streaming through the parted curtains, highlights his face and hair in the most delicate of ways. He’s just as beautiful in the morning light as he is in the moonlight. The rays catch his cheekbones just right and hit his eyes so they sparkle.

“Hi,” Isak whispers quietly, his voice rough and laced with sleep.

Even smiles and Isak’s heart still flips the same way it did a few months ago the first time he saw it.

“I like this,” Even tells him.

“You like what?” Isak asks pointlessly, already knowing the answer because Isak likes it too.

Waking up like this. Soft and warm and surrounded by Even. Even is so cute like this. Sleep-rumpled, hair mussed and messy, his eyes puffy and dream filled.

Even’s smile grows, “Waking up to you like this. In my bed. In my clothes.” His eyes soften as he speaks the next words, “I wish we could wake up like this every morning.”

Isak smiles through the clench in his heart.

He thinks about how every time he stirred during the night, Even was pressed tightly against his body. His arms wrapped around him protectively and strongly - making Isak forget about everything and anything else in his life. Making him forget how fucked up this really is, how fucked up he really is. His chest almost ached with the feeling - the feeling that despite how wrong this was, he had never felt anything as right or real in his life.

He can’t bring himself to believe that Even could possibly feel the same way. But he does. He says he does. He holds Isak like he means it, he kisses him like he can’t get enough. He looks at him like he is right now - eyes wide and so blindingly bright it makes Isak have to blink a few times before he can focus on them fully -- full of wonder and affection and...something else Isak can’t quite place. But it’s something that makes Isak feel...so cared for. So wanted. So needed.

“Me too,” He tells Even back. Because he does. He really and truly does.

Even leans forward and presses his lips to Isak’s - he has morning breath and his lips are nighttime dry but Isak doesn’t give a shit. He loves Even’s lips against his and he’ll never turn down the opportunity to get them there.

There is a lightness that fills the air this morning. It surrounds Isak completely - wrapping him up tightly and making him feel so safe. So free in his safety.

Even’s smile is present all through the kiss, like he just can’t help himself, like he can’t contain this emotion - this happiness building up inside of him.

Even moves his hand up and places his warm palm against Isak’s face. His skin tingles where Even touches him.

“I’m so happy with you,” The older man breathes out quietly, a whispered secret against his lips, locked in the security of these four blue walls. “I’ve never felt anything like this.”

Isak nods, leaning further into Even’s touch, breathing him in and moving impossibly closer to the warmth of his body.

“I’m so happy with you too, Even,” Isak whispers back, his fingers curling into the material of Even’s sleep shirt. “I really fucking am.”

.

.

.

January 2017

Isak’s day starts with a simple text from Even.

A text made up of only three little words. A pretty unloaded, straightforward question. It was calm and easy and simple but it still managed to light Isak’s world on fire. It still managed to make his heart race and his mind fill with endless hopes and possibilities.

Meet me tonight?

Isak doesn’t know why Even bothers to word it as a question like he doesn’t know. Like he doesn’t know just how tightly he has Isak wrapped around his pinky finger - love-dazed and smitten-crazy.

It’s been two months and Isak already knows. He can feel it deep within his bones and burning hot in his veins. He knows it better than his favorite song or beloved childhood book.

He knows.

He would meet Even anywhere. He’d follow him anywhere.

Isak answers too quickly.

Always.

.

This night Isak follows Even to the beach. It’s too cold for this activity but Even doesn’t seem to mind, so in turn, neither does Isak. He pulls his scarf higher up on his neck and snuggles close to Even’s warmth as they walk.

The wind is unforgiving and freezing cold as it bites the skin of Isak’s face but he doesn’t complain. Not when he has Even this close to him, bundled just as tightly as Isak is, looking so breathtakingly beautiful that it makes Isak’s chest hurt.

Even’s eyes are bright and vibrant and filled with childlike wonder as he pulls Isak along the beaches shore just inches from where the rushing water kisses the sand. His golden locks are tucked messily under a red wool cap and his cheeks are a wind blown pink color.

Even’s eyes sparkle a deeper kind of blue under the light of the moon and Isak has never seen anything so beautiful.

Even takes Isak’s hand in his own, both of their fingers stiff from the cold air, but it’s okay because everything else is perfect and their fingers interlock like they were always meant to be together like this.

“Is this like...our first official date?”

Even nods, “Yeah.”

He chases Isak to the other side of the beach, he tackles him into the sand and kisses the stray pieces from his face and lips. Isak giggles uncontrollably and touches Even’s cheek lovingly with wide eyes and a fluttering heart.

“You’re beautiful,” he finds himself whispering into the night air.

Even smiles - all wide and full of teeth.

“Not as beautiful as you.”

Even’s thumb runs along the skin under Isak’s eye as he rolls them.

“Thanks,” he says with a chuckle before grabbing a fist full of sand and dropping it right on Even’s head.

.

.

.

It's a chilly Sunday evening and Even decides he wants to take Isak out to dinner - so Isak lets him. He’s spineless, completely powerless to resist Even when he smiles so pretty and talks so smoothly and makes Isak tongue-tied and jittery in the best possible way.

It’s a small casual kind of dine-in place with round scattered tables and tall booths.

Even requests a seat in the far corner where the lighting is low and the men can pretend they’re in their own little world.

Even orders their appetizers and Isak is so distracted by the curl of his eyelashes and the pucker of his lips that he doesn’t even hear.

Even laughs loudly, making Isak smile in return - “You’re staring.”

Isak nods, not at all ashamed.

“You’re pretty.”

“I know.”

“And so humble.”

Even’s foot kicks Isak’s under the table, and then just touches, and then moves up his leg further.

Isak’s smile grows even wider.

He doesn’t remember ever feeling this light. He’s never felt this calm and simply...happy. He was just so happy. The good outweighed the bad in his life, and even when the bad things came it was okay. Because he had Even now.

It was fast but powerful.

Sudden and unexpected but oh so welcomed.

Even tilts his head gently, leaning to rest his head on his palm, his eyes look so soft and inviting. His hair so golden and touchable.

He makes Isak’s brain short circuit when he looks like this.

When he opens his mouth to speak, Isak is expecting the usual, sweet words and sappy compliments.

But --

“God, you look so fucking hot right now.”

The food arrives a few minutes after and Isak has never eaten so quickly in his life.

.

.

.

And that's how they end up in the backseat of Even’s car, pants around their ankles, Even’s fingers slicked with lube and shoved up Isak’s ass as he leans over the younger boy - mouthing at his neck and chest hungrily.

Isak’s hands curl into the dirty-blonde’s hair roughly, pulling from the root, arching under his touch.

“Shit, Even,” he pants breathlessly as he digs his heels into the uncomfortable sticky leather seat beneath him.

He grits his teeth as Even’s long fingers brush against his most sensitive spot. The spot that makes his stomach burn with fire and his eyes roll back in his head. He moves his hips just slightly - rocking back and forth on the older man’s fingers, helping gain pressure against his prostate and friction on his dick with every upwards thrust against Even’s stomach.

Isak is so lost in the feel of Even’s body covering his own, the heat of the car surrounding him and intensifying the heat on his insides, the fog clinging to the windows, that he doesn’t notice his phone ringing. And ringing again. And again.

He doesn’t notice until Even speaks up - “It’s Jonas.”

Isak’s hips still at Even’s words. His eyes widen and his brow furrows. He wasn’t used to hearing his boyfriend’s name on Even’s lips. Especially in this situation.

Isak opens his mouth to question him but Even’s already speaking over him, pulling away slightly and frowning - “Your phone’s on the floor. He keeps calling, must be important.”

Isak shakes his head, curls a hand behind Even’s neck, loves the burn of his skin. Jonas is working late tonight. He can’t be calling for anything important.

“No, fucking ignore it,” Isak breathes out heavily, pulling Even’s lips back to his, trying to get him to move them against his again. “I’m here with you.”

Even pulls away again and Isak lets out a small pathetic whine as the heat of his bare chest leaves. Isak blinks up at Even through a haze of lust and frantic thoughts. And Even stares back - eyes soft and sad and so crystal clear with his hurt. His eyes are murky with it - like clouds rolling in on a bright blue summer day sky.

Isak wants to say something to comfort him, to ease that look in his eyes and not be the reason that it's there. But he has nothing to say. No words that will make any of this better.

“Are you?” Even asks - voice rough and low.

The tone sends a shiver up Isak’s spine.

He bites his lip and nods - not trusting his voice to convey his real emotions.

He is. He’s right here, right now where he wants to be. With Even.

He can’t explain the exact feeling. Of having to always be in two places at once. Here and there. Mind trying to find a balance, heart ripping at the center as it’s pulled in two directions.

But he wants this. He wants Even. He wants him more than he’s ever wanted anything in his entire life.

He sees the question in Even’s eyes. The questions that always hang in the air above them when they’re together, the questions that are thought but are never, ever spoken.

At least not out loud.

But Isak can read them clear as day in Even’s stare.

Why are you still with him?

Why are you still with me?

What are we doing?

Do you still love him?

Isak doesn’t have any of the answers.

I’m here,” Even says forcefully. “I’m right fucking here.”

Isak swallows, feels tears burn behind his eyes, feels his heart become too heavy for his caving chest. He feels his bones shake.

He sees Even’s eyes become determined, glazing over with a hardness that Isak has had yet to see.

He removes his fingers from inside of Isak, making Isak whimper quietly, before he works quickly. He reaches down and readies himself - sliding a condom down his length and slicking himself up generously. He places himself at Isak’s opening and moves his face closer to the blonde’s, never moving his gaze. All Isak can do is lay and watch eagerly - stomach burning with anticipation and hunger.

And when it becomes too intense Isak tries to turn his head away, but Even is having none of that, he grips Isak’s chin between his fingers tightly and pulls him back - “Look at me.”

So, Isak does. He doesn’t look away as Even begins to push forward - making room inside of Isak’s body, stretching him wide open, making Isak take him in the most beautiful way.

When his eyes flutter, Even squeezes his chin again, “I said look at me.”

He does.

His hands move up to grip Even’s hair again. He breathes deeply through the initial burn, letting himself adjust to Even’s size.

His lips quiver as Even brings his plump pink ones down to rest just above them.

He tastes like mint gum and the beer he drank with dinner.

The movement of his hips starts slow and hesitant - letting Isak feel him, get used to him, enjoy this.

“I’m right here,” Even whispers again - his eyes still not moving - hard and intense enough to make Isak’s throat tighten and his muscles clench.

Isak nods - “I know.” He breathes, ready for more, he moves his hands down and places them firmly on Even’s ass, trying to pull him closer, pull him deeper. “I know, Even. I know. Just please-”

Even pauses.

“Say it again.”

“Huh?”

“My name,” Even clarifies. “My fucking name. Say it again.”

When Isak’s eyes meet Even’s again he sees the hardness begin to soften. He sees the reason for the shake of his voice, the tremble of his fingers that touch Isak’s face, his hair, his neck, his chest.

Insecurity. Hurt. Self-doubt.

Isak isn’t his. Not completely. He doesn’t have him here. He never does. Not fully.

“Even,” he whispers against the other man’s lips, Even’s eyes flutter shut at the sound of it. “Even, please. I need you. I need you so badly, please.”

Even begins moving again and it’s a quick build up. He moves through pants and moans and grunts until both the men are coming one after the other - clinging to each other desperately when it’s all over.

Even is still shaking as he lies on Isak’s chest, the younger man’s fingers combing comfortingly through his locks, they both ignore the uncomfortable mess in between them.

“I just really, really fucking like you,” Even whispers into the dark silence of the car.

He touches his lips to the heated skin of his lover’s chest and traces invisible patterns on his shoulder blades. Isak can ear the tears in his voice and his heart is pulled a little further - splintering a little more.

“I know,” He whispers back pathetically, feeling like the biggest asshole in the world. “I really, really fucking like you too.”

The lay there in the quiet for a long time. They don’t speak or move.

All the questions and I’m sorrys and unknown hanging above their heads.

.

.

.

February 2017

“So, how did you know you were gay? Like when did that happen?”

“Magnus!”

“Ow Vilde! What was that for? Don’t hit me!”

“You can’t just ask people things like that.”

“Why not? It’s not like I’m saying there’s something wrong with being gay. I’m just asking how he knew.”

Isak shakes his head, watching the two bickering with amusement, before he glances over at Even where he sits across the room, leaning back casually in the recliner chair, feet kicked up and beer in hand. Isak raises his eyebrows and Even gives him nothing but a small shrug and a subtle smirk.

Isak is finally meeting Even’s friends. And it’s been...interesting to say the least.

“Look, Isak,” Magnus says, pulling the man’s attention back to him. Magnus is cute. He’s slightly dopey looking but in a charming kind of way. His hair is stringy and blonde and needs a good combing but he has a sweet smile and makes Isak laugh. “I’m only asking because I can’t really talk to Even about this shit. He’s not full gay or whatever.”

That’s the first Isak has heard of that.

He knows it’s not exactly polite to assume people’s sexuality but Even never indicated to Isak that he was bisexual or any other sexuality than gay.

“Oh no?” Isak questions with a raised eyebrow and a sip of his beer.

Magnus shakes his head and continues on casually, completely oblivious to the glares that Vilde is shooting him, practically glaring a hole in the side of his head.

“Nah,” Magnus shrugs, picking up his own beer bottle. “He’s dishsexual or some shit. I don’t know. The point is he’s not fully gay.”

Even lets out a loud chuckle - slightly amused, slightly fond.

“Magnus, you’ve known me since high school. When are you going to get this right?” Even says. “It’s pansexual.”

“Whatever. Point is...not gay.”

Isak feels like he learns something new about Even every single day.

Even rolls his eyes and continues to sit his beer.

Isak lets himself settle more comfortably back into the couch and enjoys this moment. He feels good. So fucking good here. He feels comfortable and happy fitting in here with Even’s friends. He likes that they know about him. He likes that they know how much Even likes him, how much Even wanted them to meet.

He doesn’t know exactly how much they know but they know enough. Enough to know Isak exists.

Magnus is rambling on and on about just how gay Even really is or isn’t and Isak loves the look of pure joy, pure amusement on Even’s face.

He can feel himself going deeper, slipping further and further into Even’s life, free falling his way into this place without anyway of stopping, without wanting to stop, fitting so steadily into this lie, into this life.

And when his phone begins to vibrate in his pocket and he glances down catching Jonas’ name flash across the screen - he ignores the call - turning his attention back to the only thing that matters right now, the only person who matters right now.

Even.

.

.

.

Isak’s going to tell him.

He is.

He knows it’s time.

After countless lectures from Mahdi and the continuing guilt building and bubbling up inside of him. His feelings for Even only growing and his love for Jonas making him know that he owes him the truth.

It’s time.

He doesn’t know what to expect. He doesn’t even know what to expect from himself. He just know that this needs to happen now. He needs to get it off of his chest. He needs to stop hiding.

He doesn’t want to be his father. He doesn’t want to lie and steal and cheat.

He knows he can’t change his past actions but he can try to make it as right as he can now.

They sit across from each other at the dinner table. The lights are low and the air is calm and comfortable. Jonas finally has a night off of work and he cooked Isak dinner. He’s sweet and wonderful and keeps looking up at Isak shyly and looking so lovely with his deep hazel eyes and beautiful, breathtaking smile and kissing his cheek repeatedly and saying so soft things like --

“I love you, you know.”

Isak nods and smiles fondly.

“I’m sorry I’ve been working so much. I’m trying to cut back again but we just have this really big campaign coming up but...I’ll try okay? I know you’ve been...lonely. I can feel it.”

Isak’s eyes close as his stomach rolls with sickness.

Jonas has always been this kind. He’s always been this soft and understanding and caring.

He’s always taken care of Isak. And Isak repays him with lies that will leave wounds in their path, hurt that will burn his flesh and bruise his mind.

Jonas’ hand covers Isak’s but he doesn’t look up.

“Hey, it’s okay. You don’t have to feel guilty, okay? It’s me I know. I’ll talk to my boss tomorrow.”

Isak catches his bottom lip between his teeth and his shoulders shake. He feels the tears in his chest and his stomach fill with sickness.

The words feel like acid on his tongue, “Okay.”

“I love you, Isak.”

A tear falls and he doesn’t let Jonas see.

“I love you too, Jonas.”

The words are true.

But they feel so wrong.

Isak doesn’t tell Jonas that night.

He doesn’t tell Jonas ever.

He never got the chance to after that.
.

.

.

March 2017

He’s staring. Isak knows he’s staring. He always does.

Something about Even’s eyes on him makes Isak’s skin blaze. It’s like no matter where Even’s eyes are, as long as they’re on him, he can feel it everywhere. He can feel it like a flowing stream of water behind his ribs - rushing full speed and non-stop. He can feel its light subtle tickles beneath his flesh - making his skin rise with goosebumps and the hair on his neck stand. He can feel it so strongly as if Even’s eyes were meant to be there, meant to be focused on Isak. He was made to look at him just like that. Soft and beautiful and so cherishing.

He pretends not to notice - staring pointedly at the TV screen in front of him, munching away on the popcorn and sweets Even has provided him with - until he just can’t stop himself any longer.

He just gravitates towards Even - Even and everything about him.

Isak turns his head slightly, looking over to where Even is sat on the couch beside him and as expected, his eyes meet Isak’s immediately.

Isak smiles, the tips of his ears burning under the gaze. “What?” he laughs.

Even shrugs, reaching out to pull one of Isak’s loose curls and his smile grows as he watches it bounce. He pulls the hood of his gray sweatshirt a little higher on his head and plays with the strings that hang from the neckline. But he never breaks eye contact.

“I just like looking at you.”

Isak wants to roll his eyes - he really, really does. But there’s something about the way Even speaks the words that stops him. Even says things like that all the time. He’ll say something cheesy just to watch Isak roll his eyes playfully, he’ll say something stupid just to see Isak get worked up and ready for a debate, he’ll saying something sweet as pie that he knows will make Isak blush - something that Isak secret revels in despite pretending to hate Even’s affection.

But this was something different.

There was nothing lacing his tone but pure sincerity. Something so raw and real - something made up of complete honesty and truth.

Even wasn’t trying to make Isak smile or blush or even roll his eyes this time.

He was just telling him. He just wanted Isak to know.

Isak licks his lips, eyes staying glued to Even’s, before he leans over to press his lips to the other man’s. It’s close-lipped and quick but Isak leans his whole body into it and makes sure Even knows exactly what the kiss means.

I like you looking at me.

When he pulls back, he lets their lips stay close enough to feel each other’s soft breaths against their lips. He brings his hands up to cradle Even’s face between his palms. He rubs his thumbs gently over the skin covering Even’s cheekbones. Even’s eyes are closed but Isak doesn’t need to see them to know what he’s feeling.

Because Isak feels it too. He feels this moment and everything it means. He feels everything it represents. He feels the words dancing on his tongue, lingering near the back of his throat, stirring the emotions settled in his chest, his mind, his fingertips, his toes.

He feels one of Even’s hands touch his thigh while the other moves to the back of Isak’s head and laces his fingers through Isak’s freshly washed curls.

And they sit just like this.

Their breath mixes together in the most intoxicating way, their eyes don’t meet yet they know everything that the other has to say, their hands grip each other tightly like they never want to let go.

Isak knows.

He knows for sure now.

He knows with one hundred percent accuracy.

He doesn’t care if it’s ‘too soon’ and completely wrong.

He knows because he can’t feel anything else. He knows because this is the strongest, best, most real thing that he’s ever felt in his entire life. This feeling has him filled to the brim with everything.

It’s wildflowers blooming, spreading quickly and fiercely in his stomach.

It’s long walks on the beach under the soft sparkling moonlight.

It’s fireworks and chocolate and movie date nights.

It’s Even’s smile and loud laugh and passionate words.

It’s waking up to blue in the morning.

It’s lovely kisses and captivating eyes and happy cuddles.

It’s smoking weed until they can’t stand and being perfectly okay with spending the day in bed together.

It’s the best kind of rush.

It’s everything.

Everything.

Everything.

Everything.

And it’s rushing in quicker, spreading and moving to every single part of Isak, flooding his mind and his body and his heart.

And --

“I love you.”

Isak’s eyes fall shut as the words hang between them. His lips brush Even’s lightly as he breathes the words into the dirty blonde’s mouth.

He tries to ignore the irrational quick beat of his heart, he ignores the nerves making his stomach knots twist tighter, he ignores the rash and powerful doubt in his mind.

Because his words are true.

In fact, he doesn’t think he’s ever said anything truer.

Even if Even didn’t say it back, even if he didn’t feel it yet, even if Isak was diving in too soon, wild and careless and way in over his head. It didn’t matter.

He meant it and he wanted Even to know.

But Even does answer.

He answers back so quietly, the words like a secret leaving his lips, but the words are strong and just as true.

“I love you too.”

Isak nods.

He knows.

Because he can feel it.

Chapter Text

I'm not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some superhero
Some fairytale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody, I can kiss

.

 

.

 

.

 

End of September 2017

Even’s apartment is bustling with people. Mostly Even’s friends from high school and university. Isak liked meeting his friends. He liked that Even trusted him with this part of his life. He wanted Isak to meet his friends. He wanted them to like him and for him to like them. 

Since they had told each other they love each other everything has felt so much more...official. 

It makes Isak’s heart warm and his insides fuzzy.

Now, they sit on the couch, Isak’s feet resting on his lover’s lap as he sips his beer. Even’s eyes are shining even brighter than usual as he people watches.

Isak loves how social Even is. He just seems to love people. He loves being around them, he loves getting to know them, he loves asking questions and receiving answers with no judgment on his part. He pushes Isak to get out more. Meet people and be a little less anti-social. He's the Ying to Isak’s Yang.

Sometimes Isak has a tendency to get down on himself. It’s probably annoying for the people around him. It's probably a big sign that Mahdi is his only real friend. But he can’t help it. He doesn’t know what they see, but what he sees isn’t anything special.

Jonas used to see Isak in a special light. He loves Isak. He tries so fucking hard. But he never truly understood Isak. Not the way he needed to be understood. 

But Even. Even sees Isak. Truly sees him. All his flaws and scratches and the artist in him. He sees through the bullshit and smiles so brightly that it pulls the truth right out of the younger man.

Even sees Isak - raw, naked, every singly undignified moment - and he loves Isak anyway. And Isak loves him and all his flaws in return. Even's flaws rip him at the edges but put him back together in the most spectacular way.

And Isak has never felt anything more earth-shatteringly beautiful in his whole entire life.

Even looks over to him and smiles widely. His cheeks are flushed rosy pink and a joint is tucked behind his ear. Some loose strands of dirty blonde hair fall into his eyes - squinted and wrinkled from his joy. Isak can’t help but smile back. Everything about this man sets his skin, his heart, his soul on fire.

“I really fucking love you.” Even says, speaking loudly over the music.

Isak’s heart has never felt so full.

“I really fucking love you too.”

.

.

.

Isak’s in the kitchen rummaging through the fridge for another beer when Sana approaches him - slinking in quietly. Startling him when she speaks, voice loud and hard as ice, “I don’t trust you.”

Isak jumps, hitting his head on the shelf above him and grabs his beer before turning.

Sana stands just a few feet away. Her arms are crossed and her eyes that are coated with a thick dark layer of eyeshadow are narrowed. Her lips pulled down into a scowl. Her hijab is a light brown color tonight.

Isak has only met Sana a few times. She and Even went to high school together and never separated once they graduated. Isak sees the way Even talks to Sana, looks at her, talks about her. He loves this girl so fiercely that Isak so desperately wanted Sana to like him.

However, she’s always seemed a bit standoffish when it came to Isak. He asked Even if she didn’t like him or something and Even just shrugged and put it simply, It takes awhile for Sana to warm up to new people. She likes you. She’s just protective of me.

“Excuse me?” Isak sputters, shaking his head in confusion.

“You fucking heard me.”

Isak’s eyes widen - taken aback by her harsh tone. Sure, Sana’s always been a bit rough around the edges, mostly just speaking to him when he initiates the conversation. But she was never downright rude - never this hostile.

“Yeah, I just….” Isak pauses, looking for the right words. “Uhm, I just don’t understand.”

Sana takes a few steps forward in a way that makes Isak want to take a few steps back, shrink in on himself.

“Even’s my best friend,” she says.

Isak nods, slowly, “I know.”

Sana lets out a humorless, cruel sounding chuckle, “No, Isak. I don’t think you do.”

“What--”

“That man out there?” She jerks a thumb in the direction of the living room to where Even is currently surrounded by his friends - laughing and living and being every single thing Isak has ever wanted in his life. “He’s in love with you. Do you fucking understand what that means? It means he’d do anything for you. It means he’s in this one hundred percent. Even never does anything halfway. And you...you’re not in this one hundred percent.”

Isak swallows thickly, his hand clutching the bottle in hand way too tightly, his knuckles burn. His stomach drops.

He knows. He knows Even loves him. He can feel it with every touch, every look, every word uttered. He can feel it in every single bone in his body.

“I know, Sana,” Isak stutters -- feeling so exposed and raw at this moment under her intense and burning gaze “I love him too. I really--”

Sana shakes her head, taking another step closer, seeming to loom over Isak despite the drastic height difference, his back presses against the open fridge.

“So you say,” She continues “But you’re still with this other guy...Jonas, I think Even said. And that isn’t okay with me. And you know it isn’t okay with Even. He's hurting and he loves you and he's hurting because of you. He wants this. You say you love him, he says that he believes you, but you know what I think? I think you’re cruel. Cruel and pathetic."

The words hit Isak hard, his lungs seem to stop working for him, stealing the breath away from him.

“I...I….I don’t know what-”

“Exactly, Isak. You don’t fucking know. You’re cheating on your boyfriend now. You’ve been cheating on him for months. How do I know you won’t turn around and do the same to Even one day if you guys do make it official and exclusive, huh? Even doesn’t think clearly when it comes to love. But I do.”

She pauses for a moment, her eyes never losing their hardness, “Figure your shit out, Isak. Before it’s figured out for you. If you really love him like you say you do. Fucking fix this bullshit."

And then she’s gone.

And Isak’s left alone with nothing but his self-loathing. His selfishness. His hate. His love for two men who he never, ever deserved.

And the single tear that makes its way down his cheek until he tastes the despair on his lips.

.

.

.

Even and Isak lay side by side in Even’s bed. Even’s snores filling the room. Soft and subtle. Comforting and beautiful. His scent surrounding Isak in a way that feels exactly like the kind of home he has always wanted.

Isak turns his head, his nose brushing Even’s because of their closeness. He looks so young and peaceful as he sleeps. Isak wishes he could get a glimpse into Even’s unconscious state. He wants to see what kind of dreams that beautiful mind of his makes up.

Isak reaches out and traces his lover’s soft pink bottom lip with his thumb, moves his fingers oh-so-lightly across his soft cheeks and traces the beauty marks - making pictures, he brushes a piece of hair away from his face. Even smiles in his sleep, snuggling further into the pillow.

And Isak knows. He just knows. And he’s known all along. But it hits him hard now in this moment. He loves this man. He loves him so fucking much. He loves him more than he’s ever loved anyone or anything in his entire life.

For months he’s claimed to be on the fence. He’s claimed to still be in love with both of the men in his life. But he was hiding behind his fear, his weakness, terrified of leaving the stable and comfortable life he had built with Jonas. The man who showed him how to love. His best friend. His first true love.

He was terrified of becoming his father.

For months he’s been denying the truth. He’s fallen out of love with Jonas. It doesn't matter how or when, just that it's happened.

The choice was always clear as day, ringing loudly in the back of Isak’s mind where he tried to bury the answer.

He would choose Even. He would choose him a million times over. He'd walk into that bar all those months ago. He'd find him. He'd choose him. He'd love him in any universe.

It’s Even.

It’s always been Even.

He’s fucked up. He’s fucked up so badly. He’s made choices he can never take back. But it’s time to make it right as he possibly can. He’s going to let Jonas go, he’s going to dive into this feeling of love, this life with Even full force. It’s time. Whether he deserves it or not. He's going to be happy.

Maybe Isak doesn't see much in himself but Even does. And that's enough for him.

Isak smiles lightly at Even as he continues to peacefully sleep.

"I choose you,” Isak whispers, careful not to wake him, “I love you more.”

And Isak drifts to sleep this way - happy, hopeful, and in love.

.

.

.

But when he wakes up in bed alone to the smell of cooking bacon, smiling at Even’s early bird tendencies, and reaches for his phone - everything comes crashing down.

He reads through the texts quickly, not even trying to stop the tears from falling, his chest heaving, trying to catch the breath he can’t seem to find.

Mahdi: ISAK CALL ME AS SOON AS YOU SEE THIS.

Mahdi : Isak, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to spill the beans. You know I would never on purpose.

Mahdi : Isak...please call me...Jonas knows.

And the text that makes a sob rip from deep in Isak’s chest.

Just one text. Just one word.

Jonas: Why?

It’s too late.

.

 

.

 

.

Present Day (October 2017)

The coffee shop is quiet and barely filled. Only a few people scattered around the room.  The silence makes Isak uneasy and on edge more than he already is.

Isak fidgets in his seat across from Jonas, staring down at his black untouched coffee, waiting for him to say something. Anything .

“Would you do it again?” Jonas’ voice is quiet and empty.

Isak looks up to find the other man looking down at his own mug. Isak can tell he hasn’t been getting sleep. He came into the coffee shop with dark circles underneath his eyes - that were filled with exhaustion.

“What?”

Jonas looks up and meets Isak’s eyes. Unshed tears fill his own. Isak swallows thickly at the sight - knowing he’s the reason for the pain behind those beautiful hazel eyes.

“If you could do it all over again,” Jonas says, his voice rough and dipping low “If you could go back in time...go to that club and meet Even. Would you?”

Jonas makes it a question but both men know that he already knows the answer.

Isak blinks slowly, bites his lip, not wanting to answer.

Jonas’ gaze remains strong and steady - not backing down.

Isak doesn’t want to hurt him any more than he already has. He doesn’t want to break his heart all over again. But he refuses to lie anymore. Jonas deserves the truth, the respect that Isak was too selfish and stupid to give him in the first place.

So he answers truthfully, his heart-shattering in his chest as he does, broken glass against his insides, “Yes.”

Jonas nods like he already knew.

“I don’t regret you, Isak.”

The words hit Isak hard and fast right in the center of his chest. He feels like the impact of them could almost leave an actual bruise on his skin.

He feels his own tears begin to form as he watches Jonas’ begin to fall.

Jonas.

Jonas has always been the very last person Isak ever wanted to hurt. Jonas who smiled at him like he was his own personal sun. Jonas who saw something more in Isak than just a one night fuck, more than a fuckboy who broke hearts and didn't care about anyone or anything. Jonas who held Isak tightly when he woke up from a nightmare in a sweat. Jonas who look Isak in and opened him up and showed him exactly how good love could be.

It didn’t matter how things were now. It didn’t matter that he met Even or fell in love with another man or broke every single promise he had once made to the man sitting across from him.

He would never regret Jonas either.

Isak tries to swallow the lump in his throat and blinks away his tears, “I don’t regret you either, Jonas.”

Jonas’ lips turn up into a sad smile. He lets his tears fall freely - not ashamed, not hiding.

And Isak knows that this is it. Everything he’s been holding on to. Everything he’s been desperate to keep. Everything he’s ever held close to his heart. A heart that used to be so cold. A heart locked away from the world. Jonas was the first person to touch that heart. The first person to see past Isak’s fake smile and sarcastic words. The first person who showed him how to slow down, how to be with another person, how to love another person. And nothing would ever change that.

Jonas moves his hand to place it gently on top of Isak’s. A feeling so comforting, so familiar that it makes Isak’s chest throb.

He blinks up at the man, feeling his sadness build in the back of his throat, he looks down and watches as a tear falls from his lashes and lands on the wooden table.

“I...I never wanted to be my father,” Isak’s voice shakes as he speaks. He wants to pull his hand away from Jonas when the dark-haired boy begins to stroke the back of it with his thumb. Isak doesn’t deserve the comfort. But he leaves it where it is - weak and selfish. “I’m so fucking sorry.” His words are barely a whisper, he’s surprised Jonas even hears him.

And then Jonas’ hand is moving away from his, gripping Isak’s chin between his fingers firmly, pushing until Isak is forced to meet the man’s eyes.

“Hey,” Jonas says softly but firmly, his brows are furrowed and his eyes are attentive, a frown is settled on his lips. “Don’t. You’ll never be him, Isak. Your dad left because he was weak and scared. And you? You’re one of the strongest people I know. You’re not the same as him, Isak. You’re not running away from something. You're running to something. You just...fell out of love.”

Isak lets out a soft sob as the last words leave Jonas’ lips. He shakes his head frantically, still stuck in the other man’s grip.

He squeezes his eyes shut too tightly, inviting the pain that radiates to the back of his skull.

He doesn’t deserve this. He doesn’t deserve to be comforted by Jonas. He’s never deserved him.

“You should hate me,” Isak whispers.

Jonas’ chuckle is small and humorless as he replies, “Yeah, I know.”

His fingers release Isak’s chin and begin to circle the rim of his mug lazily.

“And I did for awhile...and then it just hurt. I’m devastated. And it’s not easy for me to know you’re so happy. That you're already in love with someone else when I’m here...having to start over. I cried, I yelled, I took it all out on you like you deserved." Jonas smiles a sad smile, "But...I also understand in a fucked up sort of way. We met, we fell in love, we had everything,” Jonas looks back up - those beautiful eyes that Isak used to dream of every night - so sincere and earnest, “But we grew apart, we changed as people, and that’s okay. That’s life. And I will always love you, Isak. Always.”

Isak smiles through his tears. His heart growing ten sizes in his cold, hollow chest.

His words are nothing but a whisper as he replies, “I will always love you too, Jonas.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.”

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

 

 

 

Present Day (March 2018)

 

Even is so fucking beautiful like this.

Beneath Isak, breathless and blushing, completely open, completely trusting, completely at his mercy, moving his hips in perfect rhythm with Isak’s thrusts, taking him so beautifully.

Isak’s heart swells at how much Even trusts him and not just with this but with everything. Even with his track record Even chooses to put his trust into Isak. Chooses him every day – over and over and over again.

Isak isn’t sure he’ll ever be worthy of that kind of love. But he’s sure going to try his fucking hardest every day to be.

Right now, however, Even is blissed out because of Isak. He’s moaning loudly, head thrown back, bottom lip caught between his teeth as Isak thrusts into him again and again, picking up speed as he feels the heat begin to pool in his lower stomach, Even’s tight heat squeezing his dick in the most perfect of ways. Like Even was made just for him and him alone.

Even whines as Isak moves faster inside of him. He begins to move his hips in return, meeting him thrust for thrust.

As much as Isak loves seeing Even this way – completely blissed out, long pale neck exposed – he needs to see his face.

“Look at me,” Isak says in a choppy voice, shaking from the pleasure, from the orgasm he’s holding off – wanting Even to finish first.

Even lifts his head, eyes opening slowly, they’re almost completely black now. Lust-blown and frantic.

“Isak,” Even says breathily, “Isak, please. More.”

Isak smiles.

He loves when Even is like this. Needy and demanding. He isn’t afraid to ask for what he wants. And what he wants is Isak.

Like this morning when Even softly tickled Isak’s back until his eyes fluttered open. Even just smiled when Isak greeted him with a groggy good morning.

“What?” Isak asked when Even didn’t reply right away.

“I had a dream that you were fucking me. I want you inside me. Now.”

And here they are.

Hot breath mixing, burning sweat-slicked skin sliding together, nothing but the sound of their heavy breathing and the slick sound of lube as Isak moves in and out of Even.

Isak doesn’t move any faster, but he makes sure his thrusts are harder at Even’s request. As soon as he finds Even’s prostate the man beneath him is a goner.

He clenches his eyes shut, moaning louder than Isak’s ever heard him moan before.

“Open your eyes, baby,” Isak says, hips moving slowly now, but he keeps his thrusts measured and precise, “I want to see you when you come.”

Even lets out one final whine at Isak’s words, eyes opening, lips parting, letting out a silent scream as his orgasm hits. Isak feels the warmth hit his stomach.

And just the look on Even’s face is enough to push Isak over the edge, spilling into the condom, burying himself as deep as he can possibly go inside of Even.

He groans. His arms give out right after, causing him to drop his full weight on Even, making the older boy groan.

“Fuck, you’re heavy,” he pants.

Isak buries his face in Even’s chest and rubs the smile on his lips against his skin.

He pulls out of Even slowly, wincing at the sensitivity, and turns to toss the condom in the trash can.

“A good morning indeed,” Even laughs.

Isak’s smile hitches higher.

He turns to see that Even’s smile matches his own.

“I love you,” Isak tells him, before tilting his chin up, silently asking for a kiss.

Which Even grants him.

“I love you too.”

.

 

.

 

.

Being with Even without having to sneak around and hide is the best feeling Isak has ever experienced.

Isak knows how much it hurt Even to be his dirty little secret. He always said he understood that Jonas and Isak had so much history, that it was hard for Isak, and that Even got involved knowing Isak had a partner. But there was always an underlying hurt there. Something in him that didn’t understand, that didn’t want to wait for Isak, that didn’t want to share.

Now that the weight has been lifted off of their relationship they’re…free.

Isak moved out of the apartment right after his conversation with Jonas at the café. It was hard. It was so fucking hard.

Packing everything up, watching the rooms become emptier as Isak gathered his things, not knowing which pictures to take from the walls, not knowing if Jonas would want to keep any of the pictures of them together anyway.

Isak was leaving behind so many memories.

It didn’t matter that he fell out of love with Jonas or that he fell in love with someone else.

It didn’t matter how happy he was to be starting a life with Even.

It still hurt.

Isak would always love Jonas.

Always.

Jonas is the person who taught Isak how to love. He’s the one who taught him how to be with someone and not be afraid. He showed him how good love can be when you let the right person in. He showed him things he never would have experienced otherwise.

And Isak will always be grateful for that. He wouldn’t trade Jonas for the world, wouldn’t give up a single moment, wouldn’t ever regret him.

The only thing he regrets is how the relationship ended. How badly he had fucked everything up.

Isak didn’t ask Jonas if he regretted meeting him or loving him. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer.

But when Isak left, before he took his last step out of the apartment, Jonas grabbed his wrist and spun him around so fast his head spun.

His eyes were sad but warm. Like he had accepted this. Like he knew this was the end but that was okay. The tears had been all cried out, the yelling had all been done.

“I love you, Isak,” Jonas had said – his voice quivering.

Isak nodded, his throat tightening as tears threatened to spill, “I love you too, Jonas.”

Then the brunette leaned in and pressed his lips ever so slightly to Isak’s.

A goodbye kiss.

Isak came back to Even’s apartment a crying mess of mixed emotions and Even was…Even. Understanding and loving. He held Isak while he cried. Rocked him back and forth while planting light kisses on his forehead.

And then offered to bake him a cake because in Even’s book sweets fixed everything.

Now, Isak and Even have their own little apartment. It’s nothing fancy. It’s small and cozy and perfect for them.

Art is hung on every wall of the house and there’s usually always dirty dishes in the sink and Even has this annoying habit of leaving his shoes right in the middle of the floor for him to trip on when it’s dark.

And Isak has never been happier.

Even comes up behind him while Isak is making their coffee. His arms snake around the blonde’s torso, his chin resting on his shoulder.

Isak can’t help but smile.

Everything Even does makes him smile.

It’s almost kind of disgusting actually. They’re the sappiest, most in love couple any one has ever seen. Sometimes Isak is even annoyed by them, so he can’t blame their friends for rolling their eyes and complaining about their mushiness.

Even’s a romantic.

Like a hardcore romantic.

Isak doesn’t mind one bit.  

Isak closes the top of the coffee maker as it begins to brew. He turns and reaches up to wrap his arms around his boyfriend’s neck and lifts up on his tip-toes slightly to place a quick kiss on his lips.

Even still has sleepy eyes and red stained cheeks and he is the most gorgeous thing that Isak has ever laid eyes on.

“Are you ready for tonight?” Even asks, brows raising to his hairline.

Isak groans. Tonight, definitely wasn’t his idea but he knows it had to happen at some point.

Becoming friends with Even’s friends has been…a process. Magnus and Vilde took to Isak immediately. They said they trusted Even’s judgement and got good vibes from him.

Sana and Noora on the other hand were a little more hesitant.

Noora likes Isak well enough he knows. But she was still cautious, sometimes starring Isak down so hard that he had to shrink away from her gaze. She would drop hints about what she would do if he ever hurt Even in pretty much every conversation.

And Sana…well Sana hasn’t fully accepted Isak even to this day. She’s nice enough to him when she’s here, friendly. But she isn’t warm to him. Not the way she is with Even or anybody else for that matter.

Mahdi took to Even right away as well. They bonded over video games and some crappy cheesy movies they like.

Jonas finally met Even too. It was painfully awkward, and the conversation was stale but otherwise it went pretty well. No punches were thrown. No voices were raised. But they definitely weren’t going to be best friends any time soon.

In fact, Noora had introduced Jonas to one of her friends, Eva, and they hit it off. Noora told Isak that they’re planning on moving in together soon.

Isak likes Eva. She’s happy and free and balances out Jonas’ work-too-much attitude. She’s good for him.

Jonas smiles at her the way he used to smile at Isak. And it warms Isak’s heart to see.

But tonight, they were all coming over for a get together that Even organized. He apparently did want them all to be best friends.

“I suppose,” Isak fake whines, pouting slightly, “but you know I’m just doing this for you, right?”

Even laughs, flicking Isak’s nose playfully, before bringing his face down to Isak’s – nuzzling their noses together. Isak melts into the touch. Letting Even surround him completely.

“I know, baby.”

.

 

.

 

.

 

Isak watches his boyfriend from across the room while he sips a beer. He’s talking to Mahdi and Noora – head thrown back in laughter, his eyes twinkling.

Magnus took a break from talking Isak’s ear off to go outside for a smoke.

He can’t keep his eyes off of him. Everything about him just lights up the room. Isak always gravitates to him. No matter where they are or what they’re doing. Just like that first night in the club. When Even stumbled into him, just a drunk stranger that Isak could have easily blown off. But he didn’t because…he couldn’t.

Something that Isak has come to realize is that, yes, Jonas was the person who taught him how to let other people in, how to love other people properly.

But Even is the one who showed Isak how to love himself too. He shows Isak every single day. He makes Isak see the good in himself. The beauty. The light. Even pulls it out of him every day. And when Isak learned to love himself, he was able to love others better as well.

All Isak’s life he was always looking for other people to define him. The ones he loved.

When he was young he swore off love because of his father’s actions, leaving Isak and his mother alone and heart broken, never wanting to become him. But in that promise to himself he never got the chance to find the good in love. He never got to define love for himself. He never got to explore what love meant to him.

He let his mom’s experience of heartbreak and loneliness shape his life.

He wasted so many years shutting out everything that could have been so beautiful, so wonderful.

Even had showed him that now. How good love can be. How amazing it feels to define yourself and define how you love.

No one tells Isak who he can love anymore. No one tells him how he loves.

He’s discovered his own way of loving.

He’s discovered how to define himself. Love himself. Share himself completely.

Even’s eyes suddenly flick over to his – catching his gaze and smiling. Isak isn’t even embarrassed that he’s been caught staring. They’re way past that now. Isak always stares. And Even stares right back.

Even makes his way over to his boyfriend, plopping down on the couch beside him.

He’s happy-tipsy and giggly and so fucking cute.

“Whatcha doing over here all alone?” Even asks, hiccuping.

Isak laughs.

“I was talking Magnus, but he ditched me to go smoke with Vilde.”

Even nods, “and they say we’re the gross couple. Those two never leave each other’s side. Now, that’s gross.” He states loudly, like it’s final, like it’s a straight fact.

Isak just shakes his head, laughing at his boyfriend’s absurd, jumbled, beautiful mind.

He lets his gaze run over Even’s face again and again. He sees him every day, falls asleep wrapped in his arms, wakes up to his smiling face, but Isak will never get enough of him.

Isak reaches up and pokes the dip in the older boy’s chin with his index finger. Isak finds that little dip adorable. Even calls him weird for giving that spot little kisses and licks when they have sex. He doesn’t care though.

“Remember when you said you wished you could wake up to me every day?” Isak asks.

Even nods lazily, a slow knowing smile spreads across his face, he places his elbow on the back of the couch, resting his head in his palm.

“I do.”

“How’s that working out for you?”

Even chuckles, “wish granted. A dream come true.”

Isak smiles widely.

Then he places his beer on the coffee table before scooting closer to his boyfriend. Even lifts his head in surprise, not expecting it. Isak takes Even’s hands in his own, moving as close as possible in the position they’re in – legs crossed. He takes a deep breath before he speaks.

“I really fucking love you, you know that, right?”

Even’s brows furrow in confusion, “Of course I do. Isak what –”

Isak brings a finger to Even’s lips to silence him. Even stops, looking adorably confused and frazzled.

“I think…” Isak says, trailing off as the words slip away from him.

He’s been thinking about this for a while now. Struggling with why he kept Even hanging for so long. Why he kept secrets and lied and didn’t want to accept the fact that he had fallen out of love with Jonas.

He wishes he had a simple and clear explanation for Even, but the truth is there wasn’t one. Isak could even explain it to himself.

But he’s managed to work parts of it out.

Even just sits and waits patiently – sensing that this is something important to Isak.

“I didn’t want to be my father, you know?” he starts again “and I went about things so fucking wrong and I wish I could do it all over again. And funny that all that time I was trying not to turn into my father that I become something worse. A cheat. A liar.”

Even opens his mouth to speak, to defend Isak he’s sure.

But Isak doesn’t let him. He continues on, needing to get this out, needing Even to know.

“But,” he says “I wouldn’t change you. I would still walk into that club, I would still find you. I want you to know that,” Isak pauses for a moment.

He takes a shaky breath as he watches tears begin to pool beneath Even’s eyes as he listens intently, hanging onto each of Isak’s words.

“I want you to know that…I never meant hurt you. And I will never, ever hide you again. And I think…I think a part of me always knew you were my choice. The one I would choose over and over again. The moment I first saw you in that club. The moment your skin touched mine for the first time. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself.”

Isak reaches up to brush away the single tear that slips down his boyfriend’s cheek.

He smiles softly and has never spoken truer words, “It’s always been you, Even.”

Even finally breaks his silence, letting out a loud laugh-sob, slightly snorting and covering his mouth with his hand. Tears are now full on streaming down his face. He probably wouldn’t be crying this much if he weren’t a little tipsy. But who knows with Even. He’s sensitive and pure.

Isak smiles at his mess of a boyfriend.

“Shit, Isak,” Even laughs, “make me cry right in the middle of a fucking party why don’t you.”

Isak chuckles softly, rolling his eyes playfully.

Even stares at him for a moment longer – his eyes sparkling with nothing but love.

Those fucking blue eyes that had Isak hypnotized from the start.

Even leans forward and brings his lips to Isak’s. His lips are wet from his tears – both salty and sweet.

“I love you,” Even whispers into the kiss.

“I know,” Isak smiles, “I love you too.”

And this.

This is Isak’s definition of love.