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I Owe You One

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Can you believe it? My roommate, the art major Jack Kelly, finally got a girl. Hoorah....See how excited I am?

I mean, it's not like I'm not happy for him; I'm glad he found someone.

The problem is....I wish it was me. I've had a crush on him ever since freshman year; we just finished junior year and are already getting ready for senior year. I've tried to get the courage to ask him out, he is bi after all. But every time I tried, I always chickened out and never told him.

 

Then he met Katherine in Spring of freshman year. She was a transfer student who was taking Criminal Justice with a minor in Journalism. She was taking an intro to art class as a GE, which is how she met Jack. Jack introduced me to her, and we all became good friends.

However, come Fall semester sophomore year, and then things changed. Jack and Katherine started to hang out more often. At first, they were just study meetings, mainly with Jack having to go to Katherine for help with his essays for English and some art research projects. But then they start going out to get coffee or go to the movies, which we used to do with all three of us, alone. Then I overheard the way the would "play flirt" over the phone.

 

But Jack never seemed to go beyond that. He would do all that stuff with Katherine, but then immediately start messing with me. NO...not that way sicko. For instance, I'd be cooking something and he'd wrap his arms around my waist and rest his head on my shoulder. He'd say things like, "Whatcha cookin'?" or "You're the best, Davey". Hell, sometimes after all that gushiness and me telling him to go away, he'd peck my cheek and leave. You can see why I thought that Jack was only joking with Katherine and he actually liked me instead; I thought my chances were high.

Then, a few months ago, when we got back from winter break, I hear something that makes my heart break into a million pieces...

*FLASHBACK!!*

"Hello....yeah...of course we're still on for tonight. Come on Kath, did you think I would forget our first date?"

I stopped folding my clothes to take in what he said. He...and Katherine...were going on a date...A DATE!! I felt an emptiness inside and felt a few tears started to form in my eyes.

"Alright. Yeah 7:30, I remember....Yeah...OK bye."

"...*sniff* uhh...s-s-so... you and Katherine, huh? W-w-when did this happen?"

"Oh yeah I forgot to tell ya! Well we had our usual talks over the phone, and then I's decided 'Hey, why not ask her out? We's practically a couple.' And...well, we're goin' out tonight!"

Yeah. They're practically a couple. Says the guy who's always stayed with his freshman-year roommate. We're living together! Isn't there some kinda law or something that says that we're married just by that!?

"Oh...well..congrats man!"

"Thanks. Dave. You're great, you know that?"

I muster a smile as he leaves to go get something from his car. And that's my cue to release my pain.

*BACK TO THE PRESENT!!*

 

And the cherry on top of all of this...he asked her to be his girlfriend yesterday. And to my dismay, she said yes.

Now, we made a bet when we were first roommates that whoever could get a girlfriend or boyfriend first, the loser owes them a drink. Doesn't have to be anything big; it can be something as small as getting them a Bud Light. But I wanted to toast this situation with something extra special: champagne.

I know what you're thinking: "Champagne? Really? Isn't that, like, super expensive." And you're right. One bottle of Dom cost me $170...not good for a broke college student. But when your buddy (and not-single-anymore crush) has big news like this, and you're probably not gonna spend that much more time together, might as well make the most of it.

"Hey. Remember that bet we made when we were freshmen?"

"We made a bet? I don't thinks we made one. Whatta ya talkin' about Dave?"

"You know? Whoever gets in a relationship first, the loser owes them a drink."

"Oh yeah I remember." He looks back at me and smirks, "So what? You got vodka or whiskey or somethin'?"

"Even better," I say as a pull the bottle out of the bag, "How 'bout a nice Dom Perignon?"

His face changes from cocky to shock. "WOAH! DAVID! You didn't have to-HOLY...This must've cost a fortune!"

"Yep. That's why we'd better savor it before we waste it all."

"Shit! Well let's see....what can we drink out of...we already packed our dishware so that's a no-go..."

"How 'bout just drink out of the bottle? You're not scared of a few germs now are you?"

"Pfft. Nah. You and me even shared the same toothbrush by accident."

"Ugh. Don't remind me. I was nauseous the whole day."

 

"...listen..Jack there's something I've been meaning to tell you..."

"Sure, Davey. What is it?"

"Well...it's kinda hard for me to say this but-" I notice that Jack is too busy picking at the gold wrapping to look at me, "Jack are you even listening?"

"Huh?" Figures.

"Is that wrapping more important than what I have to say?"

"NO! I mean I just wanna get this open since you went through all this trouble." He keeps picking at it, harder and faster each time, "How do ya get this gold shit off?"

I roll my eyes and grab the bottle from him. With one easy pull, the wrapping comes off without a hitch. I hand it back to him as I look into his embarrassed face, "....thanks."

"You're welcome. Now back to what I was saying...You and I have been pretty close these past couple of years...Really close..."

"Of course, David. We're roommates. That's how we's supposed to be."

"I mean, yeah...I guess...I guess..." I groan as lean against the fridge and look at the bare walls of our apartment's living room, "I guess what I'm trying to say is that...I'm....I'm going to miss being around you all the time."

"....What do you mean? You'se said that we're gonna keep in touch over the summer, right?"

"Yeah but that's not what I'm trying to say... I mean, I'm gonna miss hearing you rant about how your art teacher didn't like your charcoal sketches or *scratch*....how *SCRATCH*...." 

Are you serious!? I turn around and see Jack leaning on the counter as he fiddles with champagne bottle that's resting on the counter. "JACK!"

"Huh?"

"What are you doing!?"

"Tryin' ta open the bottle, Davey. You gots us a nice bottle of champagne and the least you could is-"

"Well the least YOU could do is to stop and listen to me...please...", I say, angrily.

I feel bad because he looks like he's looking at a wild bear, and he puts his hands up like he's surrendering, "Okay...the floor is yours."

"Thank you. And... please pay attention."

"My eyes are locked and focused. Spill."

 

"*breathes* Okay. What I've been trying to say is...I'm afraid that things are gonna change..."

"Change? Whaddya mean by 'change', Dave?"

"Change in that...I'm afraid that you won't be here that often anymore...you know? Like, you'd be spending your time with Katherine more..."

"Well of course, Dave. She's my girlfriend." OUCH! That hurts like a knife to the heart. "But I'll still make time for you. You know that right?"

"I know...but it's....it's not gonna be...*sniffle*" Oh god. David! David Jacobs don't cry!

"David? Davey what's wrong?"

"....it's nothing Jack..."

"David, you're on the verge of crying. What's wrong?" He reaches out to grab my arm but I back away.

"NO Jack! You can't...You can't just do that stuff to me and pretend like you care!" I say as my voice cracks.

"Pretend!? David, what are you talking 'bout? Of course I'se care about you!"

"Yeah! You care about me as a friend. Not like-"

 

"What!? Not like what, David?"

"No. Nevermind."

"No! Tell me! I want to know why all of sudden you'se mad at me."

"I wish I was mad!"

"Then what is it David!?"

I look at him with tears in my eyes. His eyes, though filled with blind rage, tell me that he wants to know why I'm upset; he really does care.

Should I do this? This will ruin everything for us.

"...AH Fuck it!" I say as I grab him by the collar and pull him close. I close my eyes and smash my lips onto his. I hear him gasp as he just stands there, not knowing how to react. 

I stop kissing him and push him away. His face changed from anger to confusion. He looks down, clearly in deep thought. Then I see his eyes widen as he looks back up to me.

"...Davey..."

I start to let the tears drop, "I'm not mad, Jack...*sobs*...I'm just too late." I turn and walk to the couch. I drop my face into my hands as I sit and cry my heart out.

And just like that, I ruined our friendship.

 

I feel the spot next to me sink in, and I look up to see Jack staring back at me. He slowly grabs my hand and slowly moves his thumb over it.

"Look, Dave....I'm sorry I don't feel the same way as you do.... And you kissed me knowing I have a girl."

"*sniffle*...yeah...I know. I'm sorry Jack. I'm sorry I ruined everything..."

"Hold up there. Don't jump to conclusions."

"Even though I don't feel the same way, can we please still be friends? We spent too much time together to just stop. We can put this behind us and we can move on. How does that sound?"

"...I would like that."

He smiles and pulls me into a big hug. He pats my back and says, "I know you'll find someone, Davey. You're the greatest guy I know. You deserve everything great in this world."

I squeeze him tight and respond with, "...thanks, Jack."

"And hey," he slowly pulls away as he grabs my hands and looks into my eyes. He takes one of his hands to wipe away the tears in my eyes, "Thank you for being honest. Granted, that was not the best way, but at least you told me."

I laugh, "Yeah...sorry..."

"It's okay, David. And even though it's not the way ya wanna hear it...I love you."

I look back at him and look at his face. The face I've woken up to for three years. The face I fell in love with. The face I felt heartbreak with. The face that, despite being a pain, has put up with me for a long time. I never wanna lose that face.

I pull him into another hug and say, "I love you too."

Even though it's not in the way I wanted it to be, there's nothing better than just being in his arms.