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don't smile at me

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Dan had no idea why he agreed to come to the swim meet. His boyfriend, James, had managed to convince Dan to come with him to watch his friend, Charles, swim. Dan didn’t belong with the sporty jocks; after all, he was the school’s biggest theatre nerd. This year, Dan was starring in the school’s musical: Robin Hood. He had been intrigued by acting since a young age. His grandmother loved to remind him of the fact he loved to dress up when he was younger and even had videotape recordings to prove her story.

Dan began acting at a local theatre when he was in elementary school and became very close with his theatre group. Sadly, he had to move and started middle school without the comfort of his old friends. Luckily the middle school had a performing arts program and Dan was able to make new friends. Many of these friends moved up with him into high school and with every play that passed, Dan grew more addicted to drama and acting. Yet he was here watching people swim when he should be in the theatre, memorizing lines.

The sharp piercing shrill of a whistle being blown drew Dan’s attention to the direction of a boy climbing out of the pool. He raised his fists in triumph and his teammates gathered around him, cheering and embracing him. Dan was sitting far away but the boy’s beauty seemed to be as clear as the blue spring sky. His hair was shifted upwards and his skinny pale torso made it seem as if swimming didn’t tan him at all. The boy turned his head towards Dan’s direction and Dan nearly fell off the cold metal bleachers. His eyes were sea glass blue and his lips were parted in a half laugh. He seemed strangely angelic for a swimmer and soon, Dan couldn’t find him anymore once more people began to crowd around the star swimmer.

I’ve been watchin’ you for some time, can’t stop staring at those ocean eyes

The crowd dispersed as the coach waved them away, ushering the boys into the changing rooms. Dan lost sight of the boy as the team filed into the changing rooms. He had been daydreaming the whole time and hadn’t had the slightest clue who had won but judging by the way the other team had frowns on their faces, it became obvious the home team won.

“Hey Dan, let’s go congratulate Charles and his teammates,” James pulled Dan’s arm as he stood up.

“Are we allowed to be in the changing rooms?” Dan asked worriedly as James led him to the changing rooms.

“I don’t think anybody cares,” James pushed the door open and the loud noises of people opening and shutting lockers blended in with the sounds of banter rushed towards Dan at once.

“Hey, Charles! You did great today! This is my boyfriend, Dan!” James grinned as Charles went directly for the bro hug instead of a handshake and Dan tried not to cringe at the awkwardness of the situation.

“Charlie, who are your friends?” The champion swimmer casually walked over to Charles and rested his elbow on his fellow teammates shoulder.

“I’m James and this is Dan,” James introduced, an amused twinkle in his eyes. Dan didn’t like the look on James’ face. It was a look he wore when he was challenged and James was willing to do anything to conquer a challenge.

“This is Phil, Mr. Gold Medal Olympic swimmer,” Charles teased as he swatted Phil’s arm off his shoulder.

“Oh screw off egghead,” Phil laughed and the instant his eyes met Dan’s, Dan froze like he was suddenly shot with a freeze-ray gun.

Burning cities and napalm skies. Fifteen flares inside those ocean eyes, your ocean eyes

“You’re the guy who always plays the main roles in musicals, right? You were great in Beauty and The Beast last year! I never knew you had a bit of Gaston in you,” Phil chuckled, and Dan’s heart performed an elaborate tap dance that could’ve easily been mistaken for a heart attack.

“Haha, yeah I was! Is your last name Lester? I think your older brother was the director last year. He mentioned having a younger brother named Phil,” Dan attempted to seem collected as he hooked his fingers in the empty belt loops on his jeans, an old habit of his that resurfaced whenever he was anxious. James and Charles seemed to be having a different conversation and Dan was glad he could spend some time with Phil.

“Yep! He really loves directing which is weird since he used to be better at swimming than me. I guess his heart always belonged somewhere else,” Phil shrugged and ran his fingers through his obsidian hair, causing it to stick up like the quills on a porcupine’s back.

“Just so you know, James is my boyfriend,” Dan blurted out of the blue, his brain spiraling into panic once he admitted it.

“Everybody knows. Besides, I’m not going to try to steal you from James. I’m bisexual but I’m not a relationship wrecker,” Phil giggled, swatting at Dan’s arm playfully. James walked over and wrapped his arm around Dan’s waist possessively. He lifted his voice unnaturally high as if to force cheeriness and asked, “So, what were you guys talking about?”

“Drama. As in the acting drama, not gossip,” Dan replied quickly, feeling the jealousy radiating off his boyfriend’s body.

“Don’t worry, I’m not hitting on your boyfriend James. I have to go talk to the coach. See you guys around,” Phil managed one last smile before leaving the changing room.

No fair. You really know how to make me cry when you give me those ocean eyes

The next day, Dan saw Phil exactly 3 times. The first time was brief as Phil turned a corner and disappeared into the crowd before Dan could catch his eye. The second time occurred when Dan stood in the lunch line and his eyes locked with Phil’s. Phil gave him a knowing smile as if he shared a secret with Dan, and Dan’s lunch tray almost leaped out of his hands. If Dan was feeling brave, he would have invited Phil to sit with him but he decided to take the safe route and sit with his drama friends, James, and James’ soccer buddies. The third time was after school when Dan was unloading props from the van that Cara, the head of the set and props management, rented in order to fit the set pieces and props into one vehicle. An hour and a half passed since school ended and Dan hadn’t expected to see Phil bike by the parking lot.

“Hi Dan!” Phil had shouted as he waved and Dan didn’t react quick enough so by the time he turned around, Phil had biked down the street. Fortunately, Phil glanced back and Dan took the opportunity to return the greeting with a wave. Dan felt like squealing like a fangirl at the sole fact that Phil had remembered his name.

I’ve been walking through a world gone blind, can’t stop thinking of your diamond mind

Dan felt guilty to be entranced by Phil when he had a boyfriend. James was handsome and sweet but Phil was something else. He changed the definition for charming and was fully aware of it. While James’ laughter made Dan smile, Phil’s laughter was a melody no musician could ever compete with. James’ hazel brown eyes were warm and reassuring while Phil’s bright blue ones sparkled with enthusiasm.

Phil finally spoke to Dan the following day. Dan had tried to work up the nerve to talk to him but ended up chickening out. Dan had been minding his own business as he walked to his locker to get his backpack as the final bell had just rung, signaling the end of the school day, Phil seemingly popped out of nowhere and tapped Dan on the shoulder.

“You almost gave me a heart attack,” Dan yelped and Phil laughed at his shocked expression. Dan’s heart didn’t calm down the slightest bit from when he was scared by Phil because he was talking to the guy who he had been trying to talk to since yesterday.

“Don’t die on me now! Who will replace the star of the play?” Phil dramatically gasped, clinging onto Dan’s arm.

“I’m sure you’d make a great substitute!” Dan sarcastically remarked as he somehow managed to make his way to his locker while Phil was still tightly attached to his arm. Students who walked by gave Dan strange glances, wondering why he was interacting with Phil, who was way out of his league.

“There’s no way I could ever take your place! You set the standard way too high!” Phil complained, finally letting go of Dan’s arm. Dan had to admit, it was sort of comforting to have a really hot guy latching on to his arm and he definitely would miss that feeling.

“Why are you here? I mean, I enjoy your company but you must be here for some reason,” Dan twisted the lock and pulled his locker open to reveal the clusters of papers messily shoved into the small rectangular prism. Phil didn’t comment on his organization skills but he did glance worriedly at the mountain of junk.

“Well, my friend who usually times my laps isn’t coming to the pool after school and I know you have rehearsals but do you think you could stop by the pool to time me?” Phil hopefully requested, looking up at Dan with a pleading expression. It took less than a second for Dan to cave in.

“Fine, I’ll try to come to the pool around 4 after school tomorrow,” Dan answered, suppressing a giant grin as he took his backpack out of his locker.

“Thank you so much!” Phil squealed as he engulfed Dan in a warm hug. Dan was more than 200% sure his whole face was red and Phil gave Dan one last grin before he disappeared into the sea of students roaming directionlessly throughout the hall.

Careful creature made friends with time the left her lonely with a diamond mind and those ocean eyes

During rehearsals later on in the day, Dan daydreamed about Phil the entire time. Everybody surely noticed the faraway look in his eyes and his absent-minded doodles in the margins of his script. Dan was relieved that James was at soccer practice because he knew his boyfriend would suspect he had somebody on his mind.

When Dan finally managed to focus on acting, Phil decided to open the auditorium doors and take a seat in the empty audience. Dan nearly fumbled over his lines when he saw Phil but managed to steady himself. Dan tried to block out Phil but he couldn’t seem to stop glancing at him.

Dan finished the act without forgetting any lines and he was rewarded by a standing ovation from Phil. Dan smiled, feeling a rush of confidence as he bowed. He made eye contact with Phil and at that moment, perfect seemed just within his reach. Maybe it finally was.

I’ve never fallen from quite this high, falling into your ocean eyes, those ocean eyes