You stared after Tom for a while before turning your attention elsewhere. The doors leading to the main area where the show would take place were still closed so you couldn’t get to your seat just yet. Sighing you took out your phone, hoping that the time would fly by so you wouldn’t have to be alone for long.
You leaned against the wall and scrolled through your messages. There were a few from Haz, Harry and Elysia asking how the Oscars were going so far. But then there was also one from Jacob, congratulating you and Tom.
For a second you wondered how he already knew, but Zendaya had probably already texted him the news. You quickly answered all of them, leaving Jacobs message unreplied. You felt guilty.
You put your phone back into your purse and realized someone was making their way over to you. Glancing up you saw a young man with dark hair and sparkling eyes casually walking into your direction.
“Hey, gorgeus”, he smirked when he reached you and you huffed. “From all the things you could have said you chose that?”
You grimaced and he laughed. “Sorry, I just can’t help myself around such a beautiful lady.”
You blushed at his words and he gave you a satisfied grin. “Uh- I’m actually here with someone”, you explained, not daring to look at him. “He is one of the presenters this evening.”
You peeked into his direction to see the man still smiling at you. “I should have known that you are already taken”, he commented, but his smile had grown warmer and friendly.
“I’m Nate!” He held out his hand and you eyed it for a second before shaking it. “(Y/n).”
“I came over, because you look a little lost. Why are you here all alone?”
You fiddled with the hem of your dress before putting back on your dull smile. “As I said my boyfriend”, the words felt weird on your tongue, “is one of the presenters this evening. There are still some organizational matters for him to take care of.”
The man, Nate, nodded in understanding. “What about you? Aren’t you here with someone?”, you asked, hoping to not have to talk about yourself anymore.
Nate cringed at your question before laughing it off. “Well, my date jumped me yesterday so that kind of sucked.”
You couldn’t help but break into laughter. “Why would she do that?! It’s the Oscars”, you wondered then. “Turns out she was using me just for the fame and now found someone better to play with.”
You clenched your jaw and although Nate seemed to be completely loose talking about it, you still felt an uneasy feeling in your stomach.
For one, because you felt sorry for him, but then you also couldn’t help but project his words onto your and Toms situation.
Was he just using you for fame? Were you only something that brought him into the headlines for a while, before he decided that he had found something better and moved on?
But no, that couldn’t be. It was Tom you were talking about. He wouldn’t use you nor anybody like this.
But somewhere deep inside of you doubts were nibbling on you. Harrison’s words had planted an idea into you; something he might not even realized he had done.
“Okay I know it sounds bad, but you don’t have to feel bad for me”, Nate’s voice woke you out of your thoughts and you quickly put on your smile again.
“Sorry, I just-”, you didn’t finish. “Went somewhere else?”, he finished and you nodded in gratefulness that he seemed to understand.
“Sorry!” You felt a little embarrassed about it, but Nate quickly shook his head. “Don’t be.”
You talked to him until the doors opened a good few hours later. You found out that he was actually very funny, a little sarcastic, but what completely took you by surprise was that he seemed to have a deep side as well.
He knew that something was off, but didn’t ask any further and instead tried to distract you for a while.
You had even exchanged numbers.
A familiar voice caught your attention and you spun around to find Zendaya petting an empty seat next to her.
Relieved that you had found her this easily you slid into the seat next to her and exhaled.
“Thank god! I already thought I would never find you and have to sit alone.”
Zendaya grinned in amusement before starting to poke your arm. “Hey, I wouldn’t have let that happen! I might would have even called out for you on stage to make sure we find each other!”
You laughed and watched the people passing by, hoping to make out Tom somewhere.
You hadn’t seen him since your conversation with Zendaya earlier and you feared that you wouldn’t see him again before his presentation started.
“Searching for your lover boy?”, Zendaya teased and you giggled.
“I just wanted to wish him good luck, that’s all”, you muttered, a little disappointed that you wouldn’t be able to do it.
“I am sure Tom will forgive you”, Zendaya joked and you nodded, knowing that Tom wouldn’t be mad at you.
“But since you already started the topic.” You turned your head to meet Zendayas cheeky grin. “I wanna know everything!”
“Okay, so I think you have to be a little more specific!”, you commented and she laughed.
“Is Tom a good kisser?”
You broke into a fit of coughing at her direct question and Zendaya broke into loud laughter. “I suppose that’s a yes?”, she giggled and you shook your head in playful annoyance.
“No comment”, you smirked and leaned back in your seat. It was nice talking to Zendaya. She could always make you laugh and didn’t seem tensed about the situation.
But that didn’t mean you weren’t terrified of her questions. How should you answer the question when you had never kissed Tom?
“Have you done that yet?”
“Done what?” You frowned, trying to figure out what she meant when suddenly you realized what she was talking about.
“Oh my god Zendaya! I’m not gonna talk about this to you!”
The girl didn’t seem to mind your rejection and laughed even more.
“I can’t believe you and Tom are a thing”, she suddenly said in a more serious tone.
“Really? W-why?”, you stuttered, now insecure when Z got serious.
“I don’t know to be honest. I guess it makes sense considering how close you always were, but I can’t believe Tom kept his mouth shut.”
“I guess he didn’t have a choice or else he wouldn’t be breathing right now”, you shrugged, but Zendaya didn’t react to your joke.
“So you were the one, who wanted to keep it a secret?
You gulped, hoping that the show would start any minute and release you from this situation.
“No, no, we both wanted that”, you protested and Z turned her head to you.
“I get that you didn’t want people to know. Trust me, I really do, I just wish you would have told me before all of this chaos started.”
Your guilt was heavy, but at the same time you hadn’t been able to tell her any sooner. A part of you wanted to tell her the truth, but you had made Tom a promise.
If you started to tell more people you wouldn’t be able to stop. “Where do we draw the line?”, Tom had asked and so you had agreed with him.
But right now, looking into Zendayas disappointed chocolate brown eyes made you fill with blame.
“I’m sorry”, you whispered and you hoped that she could see how true it was.
“We should have thought about you too.”
But the girl already wore a smile again, patting your shoulder. “Don’t worry. I know how love can be sometimes. It makes blind.”
You gave her a grateful smile when suddenly the light was dimed and the show started.
It all went by in a rush. Too many impressions were overwhelming you, but although your head had started to hurt, you felt happy. Sitting next to Zendaya made you forget about everything around you for a while.
All the press and fans that would be going wild about you and Tom were out of your mind and you just concentrated on having a good time.
Eventually it was Toms turn. You knew that he was beyond nervous about his presentation, but he covered it up perfectly- just like you had expected.
Seeing him on the big stage suddenly didn’t scare you anymore, but instead you felt unbelievably proud.
You could still remember when Tom had first told you about his dream of becoming an actor. It wasn’t uncommon for kids to have such imaginations, but with him it had been different.
You had always known that it wasn’t just a phase. Tom wanted this and if he had set his mind on doing something, there wasn’t anything or anyone that could stop him from fulfilling his passion.
Tom had talent and finally people had witnessed how special he was. And somehow you were still here, by his side in all of this.
You knew that people were talking. How Tom would dump you and Haz sooner or later and choose more famous people to hang out with instead, but you couldn’t imagine it happening ever.
Tom was too smart and too kind-hearted to lose himself in fame. He didn’t care much about money nor fame. All he wanted was to act, the one thing that seemed to make him genuinely happy.
Applause erupted and you joined in, wearing the biggest smile while watching Tom leave the stage with a smile himself.
You glanced towards Zendaya to see her watching you with a smirk. “What?” “Nothing”, she shrugged it off.
You were making your way out of the hall along with a crowd of other celebrities. The show had just ended and you were hoping to find Tom somewhere.
Searching the crowd you tried to make out his figure, but had no luck. So you searched for an empty corner to wait for him.
“Here you are!”
You glanced up from your phone to meet Tom’s relieved eyes. “I just wanted to call you”, you explained while putting your phone back into your purse.
“Sorry, I had to clarify some things backstage, but now I am ready.” You nodded before reaching out to hug him.
He was confused at first, but quickly pulled you closer into his chest. “I am so proud of you”, you whispered into his shoulder, but it was loud enough for Tom to hear it.
You felt his lips curving up into a smile before he stepped back to get a look on your face. “Thank you. That means a lot to me”, he whispered. “I hope you know that.”
You smiled, nodding while your eyes didn’t leave his. For a moment you had forgotten about your surroundings, only you and Tom being important right now. “I do.”
He smiled as well and you felt how vulnerable the moment was that you were sharing. You had missed this, just being with Tom without caring about anything else. And as much you loved teasing and joking around with him, you needed these moments as well.
Moments when you and Tom were honest with each other. It reminded you that you could tell him everything, even your deepest feelings, and he would make it his mission to help you.
It was just who he was.
“About earlier”, Tom started and you knew the moment was over. You glanced to the ground, fiddling with your hands. “I don’t blame you for this Tom”, you interjected before he could say anything.
“Why? You should do it. This is all my fault!”
You sighed again, before reaching out to take his hand into yours. “C’mon, that doesn’t matter now. Zendaya isn’t mad at us and the reporters will eventually focus on a different topic.”
Tom nodded, but a frown was still covering his face. “I guess you’re right”, he stated and you grinned.
“Besides, it will allow us to spend more time together without being suspicious.”
Tom laughed at that and you were glad to relief some tension. “Now let’s go back to the hotel”, you suggested.
“You don’t want to go to the after party?”, Tom questioned and you shook your head.
“I am hella tired, aren’t you?”
“Fair point”, Tom remarked and chuckling you made your way to the entrance.
The ride to the hotel hadn’t been easy, but eventually you had arrived. You had just put on some sweatpants and a loose t-shirt when Tom returned from signing a few more autographs.
“I can’t believe they waited all this time for a signature”, he chuckled while beginning to change.
“Well I can”, you smirked, continuing to rub the make-up off your face.
“Yeah?”, Tom replied and you tried your best not to gaze into his direction. “If you didn’t know me, would you be standing out there too?”, he asked with a grin and you snorted.
“Totally!” You both laughed at the sarcasm in your voice. “I would be your biggest fan, Holland”, you added and he chuckled.
“How come I can imagine that so easily?”, he smirked and you huffed. “Oh shut up! Just because you delivered a not so terrible speech today doesn’t mean you’re irresistible.”
You turned to find Tom already in a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt lying on the bed while scrolling through his phone.
“Trust me, I know you can’t resist me”, he grinned and you rolled your eyes, but not without being able to stop a smile from forming on your lips.
“You wish”, you chuckled while awkwardly walking over to the bed, stopping in front of it in uncertainty.
Tom didn’t seem to notice at first, but then he looked up with a questioning look on his face.
“Is there anything you need?”, he asked while raising his brow.
“Yeah the bed so make some space.”
“Oh.” Tom quickly moved to the side, putting his phone on the nightstand.
“I could sleep in the armchair”, he suggested, but you shook your head. “There is enough space for the both of us”, you explained, still a little unsure about the situation.
It wasn’t like you and Tom hadn’t slept in the same bed before, but that had been years ago. While getting older you had become more aware and insecure of the situation and build walls around yourself.
But at night when you were sleeping, you were completely vulnerable. And you didn’t want to make this awkward for any of you.
Keep it simple.
“Are you sure?”, Tom wondered, visibly insecure himself. “Yeah, it’s no problem. Just don’t steal my blanket”, you tried to loosen up the tension a little.
“I will give my best”, he winked while getting comfortable. You did the same and soon Tom had switched out the light.
You woke up to the light flooding your room. Tom was still asleep next to you so you reached for your phone.
Yawning you checked your messages and social media. But all tiredness vanished when you saw the hundreds and thousands of messages and followers you had reached.
Zendaya had uploaded the photo of last night and you had to admit it looked pretty adorable.
The comments were filled with hearts and cute messages and your mood brightened up immediately while reading all the positive messages.
The people really seemed to be happy for you.
“What are you looking at?”
Tom’s voice woke you out of your thoughts. He had turned around, watching you with tired but attentive eyes.
“Social media. The people really seem to like us together”, you explained, grinning when you mustered Tom’s curls falling messy into his face.
He looked so much younger like this.
“See, I told you they would.” He had never said something like it, but you ignored that and just smiled.
“What’s the plan for today?”, you asked instead.
Tom yawned, burying his face in his pillow. “Nothing to be honest. Just relaxing”, he murmured and it took all your attention to understand his muffled voice.
“That sounds lovely”, you smiled, really looking forward to a day off.
“Tell me something I don’t know”, Tom smiled and you rolled your eyes.
Later you found yourself at the couch, scrolling through your phone again. All the comments begged for you to be seen and you couldn’t force yourself to stop reading.
“Can’t get enough of all the love?”, Tom teased you from across the room. “Ha ha”, you commented, not looking up from the screen.
“Unlike you I don’t get compliments 24/7″, you defended yourself.
It was silent for a second until you gazed up to see Tom sitting down facing you.
He hadn’t been able to unhear that you were bothered about it.
“Is that hard?”, he asked and you raised your brows. “What exactly?”
Tom cleared his throat. “I mean it somehow has become normal for me to look at my phone and see tons of compliments and lovely messages. Does it bother you that you don’t?”
You would have liked to smack him for that question, but his voice told you that he wasn’t intending to hurt you nor make you look small. He actually seemed to care about your thoughts and feelings towards the situation.
“Of course not!”, you called out, but Tom raised his brow.
A look that urged you to tell him the truth.
“Okay fine”, you sighed.
“Sometimes it might be a bit difficult to see one person get tons of love and attention while being invisible. I mean, I am happy for you and you deserve everything of that, but at times it makes one feel less of a person, like you are better than me.
When I am depressed I can’t just scroll through my phone and see all the love of people that care about me. I will just sit at home and stare at a black screen.”
You didn’t know where your emotional outburst came from, but suddenly everything you had always kept to yourself came to the surface.
Talking to Tom just had that effect on you. He always gave you a reason to tell him your deepest feelings and you knew that you could trust him more than anything.
But now, when Tom was asking this question you just felt bad. You had never wanted to say those things out loud, especially not to him, but now it was too late.
But at the same time you felt like a small burden was falling from your shoulders. All this time you were feeling like you lived in Tom’s shadow and although you were fine with it most of the time, sometimes you struggled to accept it.
How should you learn to love yourself when you were always in the dark? When your two best friends gained all the attention and you were standing in the back as if you didn’t know them?
It was silent. You had put your phone away and were facing Tom, who seemed deep in thought. He was being completely serious and you could see on his face that he was surprised by your words.
“I’m so sorry. I should have asked this way sooner, but I never really paid attention to how you felt with me being famous.”
Tom’s voice was soft and like a warm embrace. “Don’t!”, you protested while rapidly shaking your head. “Don’t feel guilty. None of this is your fault!”
Tom smiled a little, but still seemed sad. “I just wish I would have known this sooner”, he sighed.
“I should have come to the conclusion that it isn’t easy for you, but I guess I just wanted it to be easy and ignored it.”
“Tom!”, you demanded for him to stop and he stilled.
“Don’t do this to yourself! You deserve this more than anyone. I am unbelievably grateful that people see how amazing you are and show you how much love you deserve. It makes me so happy to see that people finally recognize you for all what you are.”
Tom’s eyes didn’t leave yours while you spoke and you could feel the nervousness kicking in.
Butterflies were erupting in your stomach and you did your best not to stumble over your own words.
“Thank you”, he smiled and you nodded with a smile yourself.
“You don’t have to thank me, Tom. That’s what friends are for, right?”
Tom shifted, but didn’t move away from you.
You smiled at him once more before trying to reach for your phone, when you suddenly heared his voice again.
“But I wanna say something too.”
You looked back at him with an amused smile on your face.
“Go for it, Holland”, you encouraged him with a smirk, but Tom’s calmness told you that he was still being serious.
So you gave up your playfulness and waited for him to continue with a serious expression.
“I want you to know that, (Y/n), you’re not invisible. You are all I’m looking for when I enter a room and everything I could ever ask for. I don’t know why you’re still here or how I got you to be my friend, but please know that I am really grateful for that.”
You felt a lump in your throat and gulped to cover up how touched you were by his words.
“I care about you! So whenever you’re depressed you text me, okay? I don’t want you to be alone and feel less worthy of love. You deserve so much more than that!”
Tom was watching you with sharp eyes, waiting for you to make him the promise.
His words felt like a cure and poison at the same time.
They seemed to make up for every moment you had spend wondering why no one seemed to be interested in you and if you were less beautiful or smart or funny than Harrison and Tom.
But simultaneously they reminded you that Tom couldn’t keep his promise. As much as he might want to, it wasn’t possible.
You remembered when you had one of the worst days imaginable. Coming home you had broken down in tears and spend the rest of the evening crying until you eventually fell asleep. But through those tears you had called Tom multiple times and send him messages.
And you could still remember his only message.
Sry, but I’m busy. Call you back later.
Not only had you found out that he had been out partying with Harrison, but also he had never called you back.
He had never asked you about the evening again, so you had just dropped it.
Or the other little moments when you had needed him and he had been unavailable; in an interview, filming, on press tour. It was always the same.
But right now that didn’t matter. Bringing it up would only make Tom feel bad about something he couldn’t control.
Well, except for the partying.
So you nodded.
He gave his best, so you should do too.
Besides, his words gave you weak knees. He cared about you. You are all I’m looking for when I enter a room and everything I could ever ask for.
Only a few words and your mind was going wild. Maybe he felt the same, maybe he was in love with you too.
The hope that you so desperately tried to ignore grew and you began imagining what could happen next.
Maybe he would kiss you.
“Thank you”, you smiled, tears in your eyes.
“You don’t have to thank me. That’s what friends are for, right?”
His words felt like a punch in the stomach. Although he was only repeating you without any bad intentions, it felt like a slap.
You were brought back to reality. He wouldn’t kiss you. Why should he? You were just a friend to him.
Before he could sense the impact his words had on you, you forced a smile on your lips and reached for your phone.
Your mind was numb, while you scrolled through social media.
You didn’t read any of the messages, was your mind too distracted to deal with the sudden rejection.
But you feared that if you stopped acting like you were distracted, Tom could talk to you again.
And right now his presence felt more like a burden than a gift.