Rain tapped against the roof of the car, drumming its fingers in an uneven pattern. The cloud’s teardrops dragged down the windows of Phil’s car as Dan and Phil giggled at the stories they shared as they sought shelter from the sky’s sadness.
“And then the car started moving back down the hill and we had to run after it,” Dan managed through his chuckles and Phil giggled, leaning against Dan’s body. They were sitting in the back seat, their legs intertwined as they soaked in each other’s warmth. A month had passed since James had disappeared from Dan’s life and in that month, his heart healed the gaping hole James had left. In fact, he had fallen head-over-heels for his best friend.
Dan’s giant crush didn’t change much between Phil and him. He still hung out with Phil and they had grown so close, they were practically glued to each other’s side. Every Friday, they skipped school to swim in the lake and dine in Denny’s but today, the rain kept them inside Phil’s car.
Phil lifted his eyes and Dan’s breath slipped away as he stared into those ocean eyes. Was his face moving closer or was Dan hallucinating? Dan barely had time to understand what was happening but he felt a pair of lips on his and his bodily instincts took over. He slid his hand onto the back of Phil’s neck and he felt crush’s frail fingers wrap around his waist.
Dan imagined Phil’s lips would taste like the sour pool water but he tasted of caramel and buttercream. The taste was more addicting than sugar and it fueled the race car of adrenaline that zoomed and zipped through every vein in Dan’s body. His fingers tangled through Phil’s insanely soft hair and he practically fainted when Phil moved onto his lap, kissing him with more fire.
James never made Dan feel this way. James never kissed Dan as if he was the only person left on this planet. He didn’t pull Dan’s closer despite the small gap between their bodies when they kissed. James had made Dan crush on him but Phil had pulled Dan into his cyclone of endless love and support.
The duo continued to make out for longer than any round of Fortnite Dan had ever played and Dan’s lips were sore as if he had bruised them by biting down on them for a long period of time. By the time they had stopped, the rain had paused and fog clung to the windows.
“That was… wow,” Phil’s face was flushed a faint pink and he looked up at Dan with lovestruck eyes. No more words were spoken until Dan’s phone rang due to a call from his worried mother who was wondering where he was. Only then did they take the cue to drive home.
I wanna be alone. Alone with you, does that make sense?
The intimate kissing session didn’t force things to turn rocky between the couple at all. As a matter of fact, Dan was glad it happened because now Dan could reach for Phil’s hand or kiss on the cheek without thinking twice. As Dan expected, people caught on pretty quickly. He was reluctant to label their relationship status as romantic since dating seemed like a shallow term to use to describe their closeness. Once they were outed by Charles, who caught them kissing in the changing rooms, they were free to do whatever they did in private in public. It was strange to have people staring at them for the first few days but the glances toned down after a week. Dan had caught Kaden enviously glaring at him and offered a smug look. Karma might be a bitch but sometimes she could be kind-hearted to those she once relentlessly beat up.
The teachers were completely oblivious to what was going on between the couple; they always believed that those who were in love were simply the best of friends. This is probably why the 9th-grade language arts teacher was scared out of her wits when she caught Dan and Phil kissing in an abandoned classroom. Phil convinced her not to rat them out to the principal and although she was mortified, the teacher agreed because she taught Martyn, Phil’s older brother, in 9th grade.
I wanna steal your soul and hide you in any treasure chest
“He’s just hallucinating Phil!” Dan exclaimed as they watched Sherlock (specifically episode 2 of season 2), gesturing at the screen.
“No Dan, I’m pretty sure the dog is real! It looks like an actual dog!” Phil argued and they both burst into laughter, unable to take each other seriously. Dan and Phil cuddled as they binge-watched episodes of Sherlock. Or at least attempted to watch the show. They tried to figure out the mystery before it was solved but ended up having their predictions end up being way off. The couple also finished a bowl of popcorn after failing to pop one bag successfully. Phil had his head on Dan’s shoulder and a fluffy blanket was spread across their laps.
“But why would he be hallucinating?”
“PTSD, you spork. He was probably traumatized by a dog when he was younger,” Dan replied and Phil chuckled as he planted a kiss on Dan’s cheek.
“Okay, fine you win,” Phil admitted his defeat and Dan kissed his boyfriend on the mouth to seal the truce.
“What in the name of Bloody Mary is going on here?” Marytn stood in the doorway, gaping at the couple with cartoonishly wide eyes. Phil shut off the TV and Dan quickly scooted away from him. They hadn’t told their parents about their relationship status despite the fact they already came out to their parents.
“Wait is that Dan?” Dan blushed, embarrassed that the former director of a play he participated in had just caught him locking lips with his younger brother.
“So are you two- oh I guess that explains things. Wait, but why are you guys…?” Martyn trailed off, obviously confused. They had to explain that they were dating and Martyn couldn’t seem to process any of the information but he promised not to tell their parents. During dinner, it looked like it took all of Martyn’s will not to spill the beans.
I don’t know what to do, to do with your kiss on my neck
“And they lived happily ever after. The End,” The narrator concluded from the shadows and Dan beamed as the audience broke into applause. He bowed along with all the members of the cast and several people gave standing ovations, one of them being his boyfriend. Phil held up a sign that read “I’M SO PROUD OF YOU! ILYSM <3” in big, colorful letters. Some of the cast members melted at how sweet Phil was and Dan’s face seemed to be frozen with a smile. After the show, Dan was showered with bouquets of flowers and people congratulated him, complimenting him on his spectacular performance.
It was rewarding to be recognized for hours and hours of hard work. His parents had watched the play and even Kaden begrudgingly offered Dan kudos. Dan hadn’t stumbled over any lines and put his everything into each sentence. The cast party was more than amazing and especially for the seniors, it was nostalgic. New theatre members watched as the older ones compared to how previous plays went compared to the one they just performed. Dan was rewarded with kisses and hugs the next day from Phil and he knew that he would remember this show for the rest of his life.
I don’t know what feels true, but this feels right so stay a sec. Yeah, you feel right so stay a sec
Just as Phil as had watched his play, Dan watched Phil’s last swim competition and enthusiastically cheered him one. The other school’s team was more competitive than the others had been but of course, the home team won. Phil won a shiny, gold medal for being the MVP (most valuable player) and Dan took him out to Denny’s for dinner. Phil slept over at Dan’s house and Dan was thankful his parents didn’t ask whether they were going to share a bed because they ended up both sleeping on Dan’s bed.
Instead of sleeping, they ended up talking the whole night. The nights when Dan called Phil, he had wished Phil was with him and now his wish was fulfilled. If Dan hadn’t attended the swim meet on that fateful day, he would have never been as happy as he was today.
Sure, he had to go through a rocky relationship with a cheating drug dealer but in the end, it was worth it if it meant Dan could spend forever with Phil. Yes, he was fully aware high school relationships could be considered nothing but he felt a connection between him and Phil that made him believe they were soulmates.
Let me crawl inside your veins. I’ll build a wall, give you a ball and chain
“What does the root ambi- mean?” Phil held up a flash card with the root on the front and the definition on the back. He was helping Dan study for his language arts final and they had gotten off to a rocky start.
“Many?” Dan guessed as he fiddled anxiously with the hem of his t-shirt. He sat across from Phil and they were on Dan’s bed, their legs weaved together so their feet touched each other’s hips. There were so many distractions when Dan was studying with Phil. He had to focus on not kissing Phil while digging deep into his memory for answers that weren’t there.
“Close. It means both,” Dan groaned as Phil added the flash card to the ever-growing pile of unknown roots. The stack of correctly guessed words was small to Dan’s dismay. There was only one week left until the final and Dan, being a procrastinator, waited until now to study.
“Okay, let’s try a different method of studying,” Phil suggested. “What does agri- mean? Agri- can be found in agriculture.”
“Oh, field right?” Dan pumped his fists enthusiastically when Phil nodded in affirmation. It was only then when Dan realized that remembering words with the roots was the most efficient way to study. So, Phil began providing examples of words containing those roots when Dan couldn’t guess the meaning based solely on the root.
“Aesth-, as in aesthetic?”
“Feeling or sensation.”
“Bio-, as in biology.”
“Human, wait no- life.”
“Last one! Am-?” Phil smiled as Dan pondered, trying to guess the meaning. The stack of known words now seemed to tower above the unknown words pile.
“Am as in America? Uh, stupid?” Dan laughed as Phil shook his head at his wild guess.
“I’m enamored with you,” Phil offered a small grin as he saw the light click on above Dan’s head.
“Love, am means love,” Dan kissed his boyfriend, thankful that in their own little world, love meant love.
Gold on your fingertips, fingertips against my cheek. Gold leaf across your lips, kiss me until I can’t speak
Dan and Phil sat underneath a tree, letting the grass tickle their feet with every exhale of a breeze. They had their college acceptance letter in their hands and all of them were unopened. Dan was wearing Phil’s polar bear hoodie he gave Dan when he first timed Phil’s laps. It was crazy how fast time sprinted past. One moment you’re staring at someone wishing they could love you back and in the next, you’re able to call them yours.
The couple had promised to stay in contact with each other even if they didn’t attend the same college. They both studied intensively while juggling their extracurricular activities (swimming and acting) and applied to the same schools. Dan managed to bring up his GPA despite cutting classes. Scholarships seemed unlikely but they applied for them anyways.
“On the count of 3 we have to open our letters,” Phil paused mid-sentence when he saw Dan’s smile blot with worry. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“Don’t smile at me.”
“Because I’ll only fall more in love with you,” Dan sighed as he rested his head on his boyfriend’s shoulder, anxiety chewing up his thoughts.
“I know you’re worried that we won’t be accepted into the same colleges and that even if we were, you won’t be able to afford it but trust me, I know everything will work out,” Phil’s fingers slid between Dan’s comfortingly.
Gold chain beneath your shirt, the shirt that you let me wear home. Gold’ fake and real love hurts and nothing hurts when I’m alone. When you’re with me and we’re alone
“1… 2… 3…!” They opened their letters and read it to themselves. Some of the colleges accepted Dan but not Phil while some of the schools accepted Phil, not Dan. Some colleges didn’t accept them at all while many placed them on the waiting lists. But the most exciting news was that some, even it was only a few, had accepted the two of them. And even better, Codable offered a partial academic scholarship to Dan and Phil received a full scholarship for athletics.
No words could begin to describe how overjoyed they were. Happiness exploded through their bodies like bombs detonating as they jumped around, hugging each other and squealing. The couple probably seemed insane but in the end, they were only in love.
It’s not like me to be so mean you’re all I wanted, so let me hold you like a hostage