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The words ‘prep’ and ‘suck up’ and ‘drama king’ kept circling his mind. Normally, Roman can just brush off these kinds of insults, but he has only known Virgil Kosa for a day and a half and if he insults Roman one more time he will kill everyone in 4th period and then himself.

 

    He didn’t know where the dark and stormy night came from. He just appeared in the corner of the room one Tuesday like a poltergeist, taunting and threatening him. The pair had 3 classes together. 4th Period English Lit, 6th Period Argumentation and Debate, and 7th Period Technical Theater III. Yet, anytime Roman would go to raise his hand to answer a question, or turn in his test or homework, he would hear snickering and laughing coming from wherever the emo was sitting.

 

    Today, Roman grossly underestimated when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born, Virgil loudly said, “Nice going Princey,” causing small, 10 person class to snicker and laugh. So what if he thought the Sherlock writer was born in the 1600, that is no reason for unfiltered mockery! Then today, he overheard Virgil in the hall speaking with someone whom he vaguely recognized from his class, “You should see him in Tech. Mr. B’s hand is so far up Princey’s ass that he might as well be doing puppetry. The most ambitious thing I bet he has ever done is change his character arc, ” So, despite the protests his best friend and his consciousness, he picks up two dozen eggs and goes to vandalise.

 

Roman was not a rebel by any means. What Virgil said hurt, but he wasn’t wrong. Roman was not a fan of breaking rules. Sure, he bent some from time to time, but never done anything blatantly wrong, that was not in service to his passions. Well, until today.

 

The engine on Roman’s old diesel Jetta was not quiet and the red did not make for the best or most discreet undercover mission, but, it was all that was at his disposal. He drove to the next town over to a neighborhood much nicer than his own. Rich people deserve to get egged. Driving further and further down, the houses get nicer and nicer and bigger and bigger. Roman did not even have time to egg because he was busy admiring the beautiful windows. He grunts and lazily tosses an egg out the window onto someone’s Audi and another at a mailbox.

 

He finally forces himself to stop at a house a bit more modest than the other ones, but still big and extravagant. He pulls out a phone to take a picture of the house.

 

    The lighting was a bit off, due to it being past midnight, but with a few clever filters, he manages to get the pull effect.

 

    Extravagant house is about to become egg-travaget!

 

    He send that to Patton, smiling. He takes out an egg and hold it in his hand. It is still cool from the carton. He looks out at the house, admiring the greek inspired columns and front doors. He sees that the house has 2 cars, one black and one white, outside the house as well as a motorcycle sitting behind the black car.

 

“Pretentious rich people with their multiple modes of transport,” He mutters and casts his first stone at the taillight of the motorbike. He watched the yolk splatter across the red of the backlight and ooze onto the tire. It felt good. He felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and saw a response from Patton. He opened it to see a close up of Patton’s face, twisted up in a disapproving manner.

 

Haha, good one kiddo!

    But please don’t throw any eggs. Please.

 

    Roman rolled his eyes and sent a picture of the egg ridden bike to Patton.

 

    Oops.

 

    He turned his notifications off and pocketed his phone, getting back to work. He felt a vibration and he noticed he got a texted from his carrier that he reached his data limit. He rolled his eyes and put his phone back in his pocket. Roman grabbed another egg and drew back his arm and aimed for the center of the house, hitting it perfectly. He continued the same motion with all four columns, the top floor windows, and the front door.

 

    Roman looked at the house, satisfied with his work. He looked at the motorcycle and the two cars as well. He threw another egg at the leather seat of the motorcycle and one at the bumper of the black car. He uses his last egg and throws it at the back windshield of the white car… when an ear splitting alarm erupts from the car.

 

    “Shit, shit, shit,” Roman says, dropping the carton and running back to his Jetta. He starts the car, the engine running obscenely loud and speeds down the road at a dangerous acceleration. He begins throwing the remainder of his eggs out the window whilst driving, desperately trying to get rid of any evidence that could be linked back to him.

 

    Once Roman reached the highway, he felt at ease. Did he feel bad for vandalizing a random person’s house? Yes. Does it make him feel better that they are so rich they could probably get a team of cleaners to fix it for him? Absolutely. Is this going to resolve his conflict with Virgil? Most likely not, but, now the insults he fires will just roll right off his back and maybe he’ll be able to supply a couple of his own.

 

    Once he parked at his apartment building, he pulled out his notes app and began crafting some insults to fire at Virgil the next day. Yes, he absolutely was writing them down. Roman Prince does not half-ass anything.




The Next Morning

 

    Roman pulled up to the school in his designated parking spot and put his car into park, hoping to shut up the loud noises the engine was making. He really should get that looked at, but playing the piano at Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mass does not exactly pay the bills (Roman is not even religious, mind you, he just cannot handle fast food right now). He slung his red backpack over one shoulder and pulled out his iPhone to look at the time. It was 6:41 right now, which means he had 39 minutes before the final bell rang for class.

 

    He walked in the heavy double doors and went into the Spanish classroom to be greeted by Patton waiting in their normal pod eat his breakfast, just like every morning. He slumped down in the chair, tired from the events of last night, and pulled out his Chromebook to study for a World History quiz they had next period.

 

    “So,” Patton quipped, “How was last night?” He raised an eyebrow in an extremely un-Patton like fashion. Roman rolled his eyes.

 

    “I do not want a lecture right now, Pat, I just need to study,”

 

    Patton sighed, popping another cheese cube in his mouth, “I know, but, why did you have to, y’know,” He looked around the relatively empty classroom, “Egg someone’s house? You could have talked to Mr. B about your insecurities or confronted Virgil, what did you think you were doing?”

 

    Roman scoffed at that omission, opening the practice test on Canvas, “Well, you know how I am filled with rage? I am just so horny and angry all the time, and I have no outlet for it, so, eggs,”

 

    “No need for bits, I am being serious Ro, what if someone found out? You could get in a lot of legal trouble-”

 

    “No one is going to find out,” Roman rolled his eyes, clicking a couple questions on the practice test, “I went to a neighborhood way out of town, Parikison’s Valley,” Patton wolf-whistled, “Yea. If any of those old, retired, rich, 1% white people were to spot me, it’s not like they could swim out of their Scrooge McDuck pool of gold to try and find me,”

 

    “That was a lot of adjectives there, Ro,” Patton chuckled.

 

    “I am just painting the picture for you. No one who lives in Parikison’s Valley would dare send their preppy grandchildren to a public school, especially one as crappy as this one. I am not as dumb as I look,” Roman clicked submit on the practice test and smiled, “See?” He turned his computer around and pointed at the 93%. “I got this. It was just a way to blow off steam and build my confidence back as Dorian Gay tore it down brick by brick,”

 

    “Dorian Gay?” Patton questioned.

 

    “Yes, he has a pride pin on his bookbag. I have a ton of them,” He pulled out his and let Patton scroll through, his frown growing more and more.

 

    “Is this really the way you want to handle this, kiddo? Egging a rich person’s house and cruel nicknames?”

 

“Look, he isn’t letting up and neither will I. I will not be bested, I must not!” Roman declared, much louder than he should have.

 

Patton sighed, knowing there was no way to stop the beginning of this feud. He always tries to get his passionate friend to parcel his emotions out in different ways, he is successful 50% of the time, but once he sets his mind to something, there is no stopping that train of thought.

 

The pair quizzed each other for a little longer, Patton tossing pretzels and cheese cubes in his mouth while talking about the Mongolian Invasion and Roman draping himself over his desk with any inconvenient or difficult question. The 5 minute bell rang and the pair gathered their stuff to go to the English hall.

 

“Did you get my Snapchat this morning?” Patton asked as they sat down at their pods, “I saw that cat again at the bus stop,”

 

Roman shook his head, “I ran out of data for the month while I was egging. I cannot even go on the internet until I get home,”

 

Patton frowned, “I thought you had unlimited,”

 

“I did,” Roman huffed, “But they are doing cutbacks at my moms jobs and she is getting less hours now. Less hour, less money, no data for me,”

 

Patton pursed his lips but before he could say anything the final bell rang and the teacher told them to prepare for the quiz. Roman silenced his phone and put it in his bag and pulled out a spare pen he found on the ground on the way to class yesterday.

 

He began writing and writing, thanking whatever being was above that Patton quizzed him because a lot of the information was not on the practice test. He finished with about 10 minutes to spare, so he began doodling flowers and castles and colonial houses. He thought back to the events of last night and chuckled a bit and began drawing a makeshift motorbike.

 

The teacher called for the tests and the class passed them forwards so she could start with the lesson and Roman could zone out for another 20 minutes. World History lecture days were entirely just a “run out the clock” class. The bell rang and the students were in a hurry to get to 2nd period.

 

Roman’s school, unlike many schools in America, worked on period scheduling rather than block scheduling. He would have 7 classes a day, 5 days a week, all 50 minutes long. He had a break after 5th period for lunch which was about 30 minutes long and would continue to 6th period. Which means, unfortunately for him, he had to deal with every class, every day.

 

“Ah, Roman!” Mrs. Grey, a stout past-middle aged teacher greeted him as he walked through the door, “Do you have research report on the history of exponents?” She smiled sweetly in a way that could make your heart melt.

 

He slapped his forehead, “It’s in my car, I forgot to staple it so I did it there, and I must’ve forgot to grab it. Do you mind if I…?”

 

He trailed off and Mrs. Grey smiled, “No, not at all pumpkin. Here,” She leaned down and wrote him a pass, “Just hurry back, we are presenting today too!” She winked at him, knowing how much Roman loves presenting.

 

A beep over the intercom signalled everyone head (or eyes) to trail upward. The poor quality audio rang out over the intercom, “May I please have to following students to the main office: Aston Ansell, Logan Arias, Isabelle Brady, Preston McCallen, Roman Prince, and Mary Zollinger. Thank you,” Most kids rolled their eyes and continued with their cellphones, laptops, or reading materials.

 

“You go deal with that, Mr. Prince, and just get back to me when you’re done. You probably just parked in the wrong spot again,” She chuckled and hobbled to her desk to write down attendance.

 

Roman turned on his heel and walked to the main office, shoving the pass lazily in his pocket. This was not the first time Roman was called to the Main Office. It was mainly a factor of Mr. B wanted him pulled out of a certain period to help with theater things or his mom dropping him off lunch or he parked in the wrong spot.

 

He got to the secretary and she smiled at him, asking him to have a seat. Roman shrugged and sat down in the plush chair, quite comforting to his ass. He pulled out his phone, pursed his lips, and put it right back in his pocket. Not much he could do without data. After a few moments, the final bell rang and he was still sitting there. He could no longer take the boredom and pulled out his phone to text Patton, who was TA-ing in the Culinary Arts class.

 

Roman: How’s TAing

 

Roman: I am bored

 

Pat-man: the most of the freshman are indifferent about their cooking assignment but the ones who are excited are doing fantastic!! so its good

 

Pat-man: don’t you have class right about now

 

Roman: No, I am waiting in the Main Office

 

Pat-man: for what?

 

Roman: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Pat-man: maybe you are winning a prize!!!

 

Roman: Maybe for biggest dumbass.

 

Pat-man: D:

 

Roman: Joking. I am sure I am just getting scolded again for my terrible parking.

 

Pat-man: i have told you you need to work on that mister

 

Roman: I simply cannot be talented, gay, and good at parking. One had to give.

 

“Roman,” The secretary smiled at him, “Dr. Schelmyer is ready for you in her office,” Roman smiled at her and grabbed his stuff, sending a final text before pocketing his phone.

 

Roman: Getting called into Dr. SM’s office, I’ll update you at lunch

 

Pat-man: 👌

 

Roman entered the quaint office space timidly. Dr. Schelmyer was at her desk, looking at her computer when she smiled at Roman. She ushered him in, prompting him to close the door. Roman threw his school bag on one of the chair and sat down in the other, across from the desk. He fiddled with the ends of his red bomber jacket and Dr. Schelmyer finished up some things on her computer.

 

“Hello Roman, how are you doing today,” She asked with a small smile on her face.

 

“I am doing well, how about yourself,” He responded slowly.

 

“Good, good, thank you,” She adjusted some papers on her desk.

 

“Now, Roman, I have called you in here for a very specific reason,” Roman’s eyebrows shot up, but he said nothing, “I got a call today regarding an… Allegation concerning you and the house of one Virgil Kosa?

 

Roman frowned at this, “The house of Virgil? Ma’am, I am afraid I have no idea what you are referring to. I would not consider myself and Virgil…  friends, acquaintances at best, but other than the classes I have with him, I have no idea anything about him,”

 

“Well, I will tell you that Virgil was adopted by the Arias family from the Czech Republic around 6 months ago but is just now starting school. According to his brother, Virgil has taken a bit of heat from his peers about things such as: being gay, being from an adopted family, and even gone as far to bully him for being half Japanese,” She counted on her fingers.

 

Roman heart started racing, “Dr. Schelmyer, you must believe me when I say I would never bully Virgil for anything of those things. I didn't even know about his adopted past until now,”

 

“Well,” She continued, opening a manila folder, “A lot of the students who have been doing this to Virgil have been, now and henceforth, taken care of. The name calling and taunting is not something uncommon in this school. However, the allegation that has been brought upon against you is much more extreme. By this anonymous caller’s omission you, “vandalized their house around 12:30 at night by throwing raw eggs at their property.”,” She quirked an eyebrow up at Roman and alarm bells were going off inside his head.

 

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, that was Virgil’s house. That was Virgil’s adoptive family’s house and cars and shit shit shit,”

 

Roman wiped his sweaty palms on his dark wash jeans and tugged at the collar of his black crew neck. He was suddenly burning up, “Dr. Schelmyer,” His voice came out, shakier than he intended, “You have to know, this, does not- this does sound- this doesn’t seem like me,”

 

There was silence after Roman’s statement. Dr. Schelmyer looked at him for a long while before closing her folder and folding her hands, “I know, Roman,”

 

His heart stopped, “You do?”

 

He chuckled shyly, “Of course I do. I have known you for four years, Roman. You are no ignorant, close-minded kid like the ones I had to speak to earlier today. I was the GSA sponsor for 2 years running, I know that you are gay and certainly not afraid to show it.” Roman and Dr. Schelmyer chuckled at that, “I know you and how accepting you are, so with this tip, I was going to toss it aside and chalk it up to an unreliable source,”

 

Roman frowned, “Was?”

 

She nodded, “At around 6:50 today, the person who made the anonymous call came forward and explained his view on the situation, who is someone I know just as well as you. I have to take both viewpoints into consideration,”

 

Roman’s heart frantically pounded, “Who is it?”

 

As if on cue, the phone ran, “Dr. Schelmyer,” She answered, “Okay… Yea. Great. Send him in,”

 

She hung up the phone and waited for a few moments, before making eye contact with Roman and nodding in the direction of the person who just walked in the door.

 

He was dawned in a loosened red tie over a black button up and a black leather vest on over his short sleeved dress shirt. Nasa, math, and nerd patches and pins littered the vest, adding a bit of grunge to the overall punk aesthetic. His practical black Levis were tucked in to his black combat boots, doubled knotted. He adjusted his rectangle frame glasses and itched behind his small ear gauge, looking at Roman with ice behind his grey eyes. He swallowed thickly in response. The last person Roman wanted to go toe-to-toe with was Logan Arias.

Chapter Text

“Hello, Logan, I apologise for pulling you out of Astronomy,”

 

Logan smirked, “It is quite alright, there are pressing matters at hand,” He closed the door and stalked towards the other chair. He looked at Roman’s school bag and quirked an eyebrow up at him. Roman jumped and scrambled to move the offending object from his opponent’s seat. He sat down on the chair, feet flat on the floor with perfect posture.

 

Logan does not dress for his job description or personality type. He is currently Student Body President, Secretary of Student Council, and founder and president of the schools Debate Team. Total nerd.

 

“Now, Logan here is Virgil’s brother, so he was in the house when the incident happened,” Dr. Schelmyer continued, “And claims that you and Virgil have a short history of not getting along, and also informed me about your short temper, Mr. Prince,”

 

“Well… I suppose that is one way paraphrase my statement,” Logan said, crossing his arms.

 

“Yes, Virgil and I do not get along. But he has only been here two, maybe three days! And it is always Virgil instigating the insults, not me,”

 

“Interesting,” Logan says, putting out a small reporter’s notebook from his pocket, “So do you deny calling him “Dorian Gay” earlier this morning and claiming to have multiple other insults lined up for him?”

 

“Were you listening to my private conversations?” Roman exclaimed.

 

“You speak very loudly, I did not have to eavesdrop, just had to be within the same mile radius as your mouth,”

 

“But you never denied eavesdropping, did you?” Roman pointed forcefully.

 

Logan turned in his seat to face the other man, “Nor did you deny creating an offensive name for my brother,”

 

“I do not have to prove anything to you,” Roman spat back.

 

“Hmm,” Logan pull a pen out of his pocket, never breaking eye contact with Roman, “So you do not deny it. Very interesting,”

 

“Quit acting like you proved something, you freaking book germ,” He said, and slapped the notebook out of Logan’s hands, as well as the pen.

 

“Gentlemen! Enough!” Dr. Schelmyer exclaimed, rising from her desk. She gripped the bridge of her nose, “Look, the easy thing to do for me is to just suspend both of you BUT , I am not going to do that, the school board is trying to lessen the amount of ISS’s we give or we will be shut down,” She turned to Logan, “Mr. Arias, if you can prove Mr. Prince’s guilt, he will be suspended for 5 days.” She looked at Roman, “Mr. Prince, if you can prove Mr. Arias’ claims are untrue and in an unfair bias to you, he will receive the same punishment,” She sat back down, taking a breath, “Or, you could both just work this out yourselves without getting the school involved, I will not bat an eye. You two have a month,” She put on her glasses and wrote something on her computer. “You both are dismissed.”

 

Roman stood up quickly from his seat and swung his school bag over his shoulder before throwing open the door. He waited for a few moments, longer than necessary to forcefully slam the door, right in Logan’s face. He stalked out of the Main Office and began power walking down the hall to god knows where. Roman reached the hall leading to the stairwell and storage rooms. Maybe Roman should have headed back to class, but he just knows he has to cool down.

 

“Hey, Princey,” Roman heard a familiar voice yell from the end of the hall. Roman, not wanting to confront Logan, walked faster, but the other did not seem to have the same idea in mind, “You do not just slam a door in my face then run away from me, Roman,”

 

Roman stopped and turned on his heel ( he nearly reached the end of the hall) and Logan abruptly stopped walking, getting a bit closer to Roman than anticipated, “Okay, well, what do you want me to say? Thank you for accusing me of something I did not do? Beg for your forgiveness on a baseless accusation? Why are you even framing me?” Roman spat at Logan, his voice laced with virtol, malice, and deceit.

 

“You and I both know I am not ‘framing’ you for anything. There is concrete evidence of your guilt,” Logan spoke, cooly.

 

“Where, what are your claims?”

 

Logan bit his lip, his expression faltering for a moment, before putting back on his smug expression, “I do not need to justify myself to you. You were the one who attacked my brother in a hateful, childish way. I was prepared for verbal backlash, but to go as far as to vandalize a place of residence… I do not understand how you believe I would not take action,”

 

“Logan, you have known me for literal years , you cannot possible believe it was me who committed the heinous act against your brother?”

 

He raised his eyebrows in response, “Can I? Can I. Are you even listening to yourself, Prince? You are speaking as if from a place of old friendships, we were never colleagues, we are barely peers seeing as your brain is still stuck in 3rd grade. It is not as if I know anything about you, I do not know what you are capable of doing or the actions you may take. All I know is you greatly detest Virgil and that you threw eggs at our home.”

 

Roman rolled his eyes, “I didn’t throw eggs anywhere, so let’s get that through your thick, self-aggrandizing skull, okay wannabe Green Day? Secondly, just because we were not friends does not mean we were not classmates. Do I really seem to be the type for property damage?”

 

“I don’t know, are you?”

 

Roman groaned loudly and Logan just stared back at him, expression as cold as ever.

 

“Time for a new approach,” Roman decided.

 

“I’m gonna level with you, Logan,” Roman started, “I am graduating this year and I am really trying to get into UCLA’s theater program, and a suspension is going to look really bad on my transcript. I cannot have you risk my future over a claim you have no evidence for,”

 

Logan considered this for a moment, “I will be honest with you, Roman,” He began, needlessly adjusting his glasses, “I am also graduating this year, and also applying at UCLA. A suspension would look poor on my transcript as well, but enforcing my duties as Student Body President and taking care of someone who committed a hate crime would really up my chances.”

 

Roman scoffed, “You have your daddy’s money and probably a 4.3 GPA, do you even need to add that to your application?”

 

Logan raised an eyebrow, “Maybe not,” Roman frowned, getting exhausted by this conversation, “Also, you or whoever it was that attack us with eggs attacked my bike as well and I spent 10 minutes cleaning off the taillight only for the yolk to ruin my jeans for today once I sat on it, so maybe there is a personal vendetta against the attacker as well,”

 

Roman was genuinely surprised at this omission, “You ride a motorcycle?”

 

“Yes, everyday to school. The mileage on my motorcycle specifically is quite high and it shaves time off of my commute to school as well. Do you have a problem with that?”

 

Roman swallowed thickly and rolled up the sleeves of his jacket, suddenly feeling very warm. “Not exactly,” Roman gained his composure back, “I am just surprised you can reach the pedals, little man,”

 

Logan hooked his thumbs around the loops of his pants, and straighten out his relaxed posture, “I am not ‘little’, I am of average height”

 

Roman chuckled, “What a sad brag.”

 

Logan narrowed his eyes into slits, “I will have you know that the lowest recommended height for my specific motorcycle is between 5’4 and 5’6.”

 

Roman smirked, “And you only just reach that benchmark because you’re wearing heels,” He looked down and nodded at Logan’s combat boots which do indeed add about 2 inches to the height of the other.

 

Logan practically had steam coming out of his ears, which made Roman even more smug. “Did you know,” Logan started to speak, placing his hands behind his back, and Roman was taken aback slightly when Logan took a step forward towards Roman, almost flushing their chests together, “That the feet have one of the highest concentration of nerves in the entire body?”

 

Roman frowned, “Okay? What does that have to-”

 

Before Roman could say more, the breath was stolen from his lungs as Logan’s boot heel came crashing down directly onto Roman’s right foot, “It is what makes trauma there so painful,”

 

Roman bent forward slightly, trying to catch his breath, “Oh, you tasteless bastard,”

 

The playful smirk that was present on Logan’s lips fell quickly as Logan leaned into Roman’s ear, “I am going to prove that you where there that night, that you hurt Virgil and you hurt me too. You are going to get suspended and you will never make it into UCLA, as long as I am here and I have anything to do with it.” Logan whispered sharply and quickly, “I am your judge and jury, and I don’t even have to be the executioner because you already ruined your own life,” He punctuated those last two words before removing the heel from Roman’s foot and sighed, looking around the empty hall. “Y’know,” Logan started, “I hear that St. Josephine's Community College has a real good theater program”

He turned on his heel and began to walk away, Roman yelled out after him, “Oh go to hell, you classist bitch! There’s nothing wrong with community college!”

 

Logan spun around, “Keep telling yourself that,” And he continued to walk forward. Roman scanned Logan as he continued to walk away, still fuming with rage. Then he notices the patches of discoloration all along the butt of his pants and thighs.

 

“Nice ass, slob,” Roman smirked.

 

“Oh fuck you, Princey,” Logan yelled back, probably louder than he should have in a school hall.

 

“You’d be so lucky!” Roman yelled back. Logan rounded the corner, but not before flipping Roman off with both of his hands. He hated Logan Arias.

 

He looked at the time and stood in the now quiet hall by himself. God, he was royally fucked.

Roman did not end up going back to 2nd period. Or 3rd. Instead, he used his hall pass to stalk the halls and look in the tiny windows of each to try and find Patton. He eventually found him in Calculus and waved at him furiously until he noticed, eyes rounded to the size of dinner plates. Roman continued to watch as he came up to the teacher, said something, then went back to his desk to gather his coat and bag.

 

“Roman, why are you not in class, is everything okay?” Roman moved them away from the window and engulfed the short man in a hug.

 

He told Patton the whole story, adding a bit more dramatics than necessary, “I mean, can you believe the audacity of him, Patton?” Patton’s mouth was thinned into a line and held a tight-lipped smile, “Okay, what?

 

Patton shook his head, “Just… Nothing, kiddo. What are you going to do? It is not as if Logan can exactly prove anything. I am sure thing whole thing will blow over,”

 

Roman sighed, “I suppose you are right, Patton.” The bell signaled the end of 3rd period as student slowly filled the halls.

 

“You should head to fourth period. Distract yourself by learning!” Patton smiled and walked in the opposite direction. Roman sighed and hauled himself off to 4th period.

 

4th and 5th period went over smoothly, despite having to look at Virgil as he walked in class for 5th. He did not seemed too phased by anything. He was scrolling mindlessly through his phone. Virgil looked up and saw Roman staring and gave him a small smile. Roman frowned in response and sat down.

 

It was all good, until 6th Period. Roman doesn’t know how he never noticed Logan was in his Argumentation class with Virgil, but he was now hyper aware of that fact as he felt Logan’s eyes boring into the back of his skull the entire period. He did not know if Logan was actually looking at him the entire time, but everytime he looked back at the Student Body President, he was staring right back.

 

Roman slowly gathered his stuff, waiting for a confrontation that did not come. Instead, the two brothers were quickly whispering to one another, which looked like the beginnings of an altercation.

 

He stepped out of the room and 7th period passed by in a flash of flats, drills, and canvases. Roman felt as though he was letting go of a breath when the final bell rang. He had a lot of homework over the weekend, but was for once grateful for that fact to use it as a distraction.

 

Roman was leaving the shop room until he heard, “Roman, hold up a second,”

 

Roman spun around and saw Virgil timidly chasing after him. Roman raised an eyebrow, but resigned to not speaking, “Listen, Roman, I know you egged my house- and don’t lie to me, I saw you out my window. Look, I know this was not done because I am Czech or gay or whatever it is... I cannot remember what Logan said it was called,” Virgil snapped his fingers, his eyes darting around the room.

 

“A hate crime?” Roman prompted, and Virgil’s eyes lit up.

 

“Yes, yes, thank you. I know it was not a hate crime and I am doubtful you even knew it was my house. You can write this up to be the lowest on my list of priorities.” Roman sighed with relief, wiping the metaphorical sweat off of his forehead, “But, you have pissed off Logan and that is not a train I can stop. Logan is a lot of things: smart, he helped me iron out my English; kind, he will clearly will stop at nothing to help me; and very, very stubborn,”

 

“So, what should I do?”

 

Virgil gripped the bridge of his nose, “I have no idea. I have much bigger things to worry about. I learned all my English from the internet and Tumblr so I thought I was up to date on slang, but there are still so many things I do not know. What the hell is a juuling and why can’t I do it?”

 

“Do you even want me to tell you?”

 

“Eh,” Virgil waved his hand non committedly, “Ignorance is bliss.”

 

Roman chuckled slightly, Virgil joining in shortly afterward.

 

“I do have to ask Virgil,” Roman began, “Why did you verbally attack me? You were already getting kind of bullied-”

 

“I did not know what else to do,” Virgil shrugged, “I regret is now, obviously, but I just knew from a lot of American TV shows if you pick on someone you end up with friends. Or, if it an unrealistic show, you and that person you are picking on form an ‘unlikely friendship’, whatever that means,”  

 

“It means two people come together who you would not have previously expected to pay liking to each other,” Roman explained and Virgil made an o shape with his mouth,

 

“Kind of like right now,” Virgil smiled and Roman gave a weak one back.

 

“With every new friendship a new rivalry is born,” Roman said, flourishing his hand and the other student sighed. “Do you know if this whole thing will just blow over. You know Logan better than I do,”

 

“Here, Roman, I want to be honest. I think that deep down, Logan really likes you. When he was giving a rundown of classes, in his slide about Debate, he said that you were ‘the only competent debate partner’,”

 

“He made a whole slides presentation for you?” Roman asked.

 

“That is not the point, Princey,” Virgil dismissed his comment and continued, “But, he likes me more, so you may have an issue on your hands. Just make sure there is nothing that can be, uh,” Virgil snapped his fingers a bit, looking for the right word and then sighed, “Just be careful, okay? I do not particularly want you to get suspended because you did something stupid.I am pretty sure Logan has something that proves you were there,”

 

“Like what?”

 

“Virgil, are you alright?” The two spun around to see Logan leaning on the doorframe, looking as calm and cool as ever.

 

“Yes Logan,” Virgil responded, “I was just gathering notes from Princey from when I was in the bathroom,” Logan rolled his eyes and tapped his watch.

 

“I better go. But, can I offer you some advice,” Virgil turned to look at Logan and then back at Roman, “Make sure to snap any ongoing chains you have with ghosts. It is a good mode to be in,” Virgil turned walk away, leaving Roman confused.

 

“Virgil, I do not understand your Japanese proverbs,” Roman called after him.

 

Viril turned around, walking backwards, “Mluv klidně dál – třeba tě nakonec něco napadne ,” He said in his first language with more confidence than Roman has ever seen in him.

 

“You have got to know I don’t understand that either!” Roman yelled, but the two had already rounded the corner and were gone.

Chapter Text

One Week Later

Tensions had been running high between Logan and Roman over the week. Logan would smirk at something he had read, faux-gasp at something on his phone, or just give Roman a smug grin, and Roman would return the favor in a civilized fashion of obscene hand gestures.

It felt as though this was going to go on indefinitely. That was, until, a randomly assigned pairs project was put before them. And as fate would have it, there was no question as to who Roman was paired up with.

“So,” Mrs. Volts continued, “As this is a public forum debate, you and your partner will work together to debate another pair. Your resolution topics have been posted on the board. After reading, you and your partner should get together and get started,”

Roman nearly cried as him and Logan looked at one another, both filled with the same amount of despair. They looked at their topic stand together, but looking very much separated, “ Americans are entitled to free and public healthcare,”

The two made their way back to a desk in the corner and pulled out their computers wordlessly and shared a document with one another.

“So, I will take the affirmative since I am sure you would love to argue the negative for this one-”

Logan cut him off, “No, I believe we should work together on each one, that way we know an equal amount about the affirmative and negative,” Roman just nodded, “Listen, Roman I would like to apologize,”

Roman frowned, “For what?”

Logan fiddled with the sleeves of his leather jacket and continued talking, not meeting Roman’s eyes, “About my offhand comment on the quality of state schooling. It has been bothering me for days now and I wanted to apologize. I am speaking from a place of privilege, privilege I know I have. I intended to hurt you with that, but I wanted to apologize now, because I immediately regretted as I said it. I made a mistake, and I was wrong,”

Roman was shocked at Logan’s admission. He believe it would go in a completely different direction leading up to a punchline about Roman’s intelligence, “That was very big of you, Logan, thank you. Consider your apology, accepted,” Roman said with a wave of his hand.

“Great,” Logan deadpanned, unzipping and shrugging of his jacket. Today he wore a eggshell vertical striped shirt with a short black tie. Roman looked down at his own attire, a bright purple and red show shirt advertising Noises Off as well as his red bomber. He laughed silently to himself, wondering how they could be dressed more different.

“Are you also going to apologize for bruising my foot by smashing it with your pumps?” Roman asked.

“No, absolutely not,” Logan looked up from his typing, “I will only apologize for things I feel remorse towards and I do not regret that. I can, would, and will do it again when the opportunity presents itself.”

“Whatever you say, Specs,”

Logan shook his head, “We are not at nickname level yet,”

Roman smirked, “What are you gonna do about it- and I see you raising your foot, it that really your only move?”

Another Week Later

 

Roman didn’t know how it happened. Slowly, Logan and Roman’s, as the former would call it, ‘childish competitive rivalry’ slowly morphed into a ‘childish competitive friendship’. It must have all started when Roman invited Logan over to work on their debate, fully knowing they were ahead with work, and Logan accepted.

Maybe Roman did scream the entire time he rode on the back of Logan’s bike, gripping onto his waist, crying for deal life. It was possible that they spent 10 minutes working on their presentation but then forwent their original motive to play Mario Party. It’s extremely likely that Logan painted Roman’s nails black and Roman taught Logan how to make a meal out of 5 things in the pantry.

“What was that about, Ro?” Patton asked as Logan passed Roman in the hall, bumping him in the shoulder, winking, then smiling.

“Oh, that? We’re friends now, can you believe that?” Roman said, smiling. They sat down for lunch and Patton was smiling meekly.

“So, you both are friends now?” Patton asked. Roman nodded, taking out his salad, “Just… friends?”

Roman’s heart stopped and he swallowed, “Yea, Pat, just friends. W-why?”

Patton giggled, “I don’t know, that did not seem like just friendly behavior to me. I am pretty sure Logan was more expressive in those 5 seconds than I have seen him in the 3 years I have known him,”

Roman stabbed his salad, the fork slightly cracking the bottom of the cheap plastic, “Logan and I are just friends, nothing more. Either way, he is straight,”

“Did he tell you that?”

“Well, no, but he is a nerd and exudes that straight energy. No gay guys ride motorcycles,”

Patton considers this for a moment, “I guess. Bi?”

Roman’s eyes widened, “Huh. I didn’t even think of that. Motorcycles are big bisexual energy,”

“Do you like Logan?” Patton asked outright.

“No. Not really. He is still a self-righteous know it all,”

“So, you will not be upset if I am brutally honest with you, Ro,” Patton started out, hesitantly.

“I suppose… What is going on?”

Patton pushed his lunch aside and folded his hands onto the table, “Don’t you think it is a bit weird that a week ago you and Logan were at each other’s throats, and now he is kind of flirting with you in the halls?”

Roman frowned, chewing on his fork, “What are you saying, Patton?”

“I think that he may be feeding off of your flirtatious nature and using you,”

Roman dropped his fork in his salad and scoffed, “Using me? For what?”

Patton tongued the inside of his cheek, “You seriously do not remember, kiddo? How you vandalized his house and he is trying to get you suspended. Doesn’t he have to come up with something in about a week?”

“Yea…”

“Maybe this is a tactic. Get close to you for information and then use that against you,” Patton put his rounded glasses on top of his head and rubbed his eyes, “I never want to be a negative Nancy, Roman, but I have your best interest in mind, yea? You need a scholarship and fraternizing with the enemy is a damn good way to not get one,”

Roman scoffed, “The enemy?”

“You know what I mean,” Patton looked at his watch and sighed, “I promised Mr. Eldredge I would help him set up for Senior Facs, I just going to head there now,” He quite harshly threw everything in his lunch box and swung his school bag over his shoulder, “Just please listen to me Roman, for once, just listen to me. If you had listened to me in the first place, maybe you and Logan could have been friends without any ulterior motives,”

Patton walked off with purpose leaving Roman by himself to compartmentalize what Patton had revealed to him.

Logan is incredibly smart. That is just a universal truth. With every class, Logan excels and has developed quite the income from selling the faculty WiFi password to students, which allows them to access restricted content on their computers. Yet, there are always two sides to the same coin. Logan uses a lot of that intelligence purely for self preservation. He never gives out test answers or lets anyone copy homework. He is quite selfish with his school supplies as well, but more than anything, Logan is incredibly reserved. Most people high school aged have broken off into cliques or groups they share common interests with. Never Logan. Sure, Logan has acquaintances and people whom he can talk to in class, but never hang out with outside of the fact or even text for leisure. In fact, Roman is pretty sure he is the only contact in Logan phone outside of family.

There is no reason why Logan would randomly, out of the blue, want to become friends with Roman. In fact, it was weird how he didn’t see it for himself, first. Logan was just a parasite, using him off for his own personal gain and wishes then depositing him into a river whenever he has sucked all the blood and life out of him.

Roman gripped at his hair (the curliness of it makes it good to latch on to) and gritted his teeth, willing himself not to spill the hot tears that were taunting the edge of his eyelids. He gritted his teeth and sucked in a cold breath, the air feeling harsh against his enamel, but not as harsh as find out one of the few friends you did make was just using you off.

In a fit of passion and anger, Roman hit his salad off of the table, hitting the wall next to him. Lettuce and dressing stained the wall and the plastic fell on the floor, even more cracked than before. A couple students around him looked at the action, but quickly  turned their attention away; nothing interesting enough was happening to stare at the student who looked on the verge of tears. Roman hastily grabbed his bag and ran out of the cafeteria. Normally, he could clean up his mess, but he was too emotional to care.

He walked and walked and walked until he reached his destination in mind. Roman raised a fist and rapped three quick knocks on the door.

“Roman?”

“Mr. B, what are you doing here… I was here to see-” Mr. Remy Brown stepped to the side to reveal Dr. Emile Picani. There were glasses set out and plates scattered across the coffee table at Dr. Picani’s office.

“Roman, is everything alright,” The school psychiatrist leapt up from his couch and rushed over to the door.

The student sniffled in response, but waved his hand away, “No, no I am fine, I just- You guys are having lunch I can come back-”

“No way, Ro,” Mr. B shook his head, “You look terrible,” He opened the door and gestured for the other to come inside.

He tentatively took a few steps inside and sat in the big leather chair across from the couch, settling into it nicely. Roman crossed his legs on the chair and picked up a stuffed dog and began fiddling with it’s long fur.

“I better go, Em,” Mr. B said, awkwardly. Roman always found it to be weird when teacher said other’s first names, but he quickly dismissed that point.

“Actually, I want you here, Mr. B, if that is alright,” Roman said awkwardly, “I was going to go to you, but I knew you were at lunch and didn’t want to bother you,” Roman looked down at his shoes, “Oops,”

The two adults looked at each other with an undesirable expression, but Dr. Picani signaled to the seat next to him and Mr. B sat down.

“Okay, Roman,” Dr. Picani bit his lip and looked up at Roman with worry, “What seems to be going on?”

*****

Microsoft NERD: Roman, you were not here for 6th period and we were supposed to debate today, is everything okay?

Microsoft NERD: I know we were supposed to go to that “Bubble Tea House” that just opened up; did you go home?

Microsoft NERD: Virgil told me you are in 7th Period, I do not know if you got your phone taken by your teacher, but you really should stop texting in class (also, I do not want you to sass me, this is my TA period).

Microsoft NERD: I am waiting by my bike for you in our usual spot.

Microsoft NERD: Roman, I have been waiting for you for about 40 minutes and you haven’t showed or texted me, I am just going to head home.

Microsoft NERD: I apologise, Roman, if I did anything to upset you or if something else upset you that was outside of me. Just, be prepared to debate tomorrow, I suppose. Goodnight, Roman.

Chapter Text

Roman liked working with his hands. Whilst worksheets and tests were never working in his favor, labs and presentations were always where he shined, despite them coming up less frequently. Which, pointing out, that that put many kids like himself at a disadvantage, seeing as it is difficult to focus on school work as just a piece of paper or online quiz, but give that same subject matter in practice and he excels.

Moving past poking holes in the modern day schooling system, Roman is a physical being by nature. While many people destress by watching television, listening to music, or sleeping, Roman is finding anything to do to keep himself working.

This does not mean in a “completing all of my homework 3 weeks in advance” way. It is in a sense of “I will do chores that I like so I can daydream freely” way. Today, Roman has planted new cilantro, walked down to his local farmers market to pick up fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos for the tostadas he is making for him and his mother tonight, and is currently working on changing the oil in his car.

After talking to Mr. B and Dr. Picani, they both came to the agreement that Roman was working extremely hard for extended periods of time and needed to take a ‘mental health day’, which Roman was not a fan of. Not working often times gave him spouts of anxiety, like he was failing himself and others around him by not working towards his goals.

Nevertheless, the two adults were incredibly adamant about it, and Dr. Picani even wrote a note for his mother so he would not get in trouble for missing school. Mr. B even arranged for someone to bring his work to him at the end of the day, which was ending right as he began working on his car.

Roman would never be considered a “car guy” by any means, considering he drives his dead father’s old Jetta, but, the cost of auto repair (like healthcare) is hyper-inflated and (unlike healthcare) Roman finds most of the repairs he can perform himself. Also, it gives him an excuse to wear muscle tee shirts not entirely appropriate for mid September.

The rough texture of the skateboard he was using as a creeper dug uncomfortably into his spine, but a few moments of discomfort was worth it to use his old skateboard as a multi use tool.

Roman adjusted his oil pan so it was directly underneath the drain plug and took his socket wrench to twist it off. He hummed along to the low ambiance of Dear Evan Hansen , but the music was still quiet enough for him to hear doors to apartments opening and closing and the cars passing him in the parking lot and a low rumble of an engine near him.

After getting the plug out, he set it next to him and Roman made sure the oil was flowing nicely into the pan and pulled his phone out of his pocket, setting a timer for 15 minutes. He pocketed the phone and turned to grab the plug, but the metal piece was not where he left it.

“Shit,” He turned to his left and right to see the plug, but it was nowhere under the car. He lifted himself off the skateboard slightly only to hit himself on the head of the undercarriage of the car.

Roman groaned out in pain, though, the goose egg on his head was the least of his concerns. He looked out from the dark of the car into the light and saw the piece of metal glistening on the pavement. He reached to his left for the plug, the skateboard leaning in that direction, but was just a few millimeters too far. He reached again, hoping to obtain a different result, but this time a hand reached down and grabbed the metal plug, handing it to the man under the car.

“Oh!” Roman cried out in relief, promptly pocketing the plug, “You are a lifesaver,”

“You are quite welcome, Roman,”

That familiar voice sent a chill down Roman’s spine and blood boiling in his veins. Of course he was here.

Roman did not want to come out from under the vehicle, knowing he would have to directly confront his problems. He could just turn up his music to max volume and pretend Logan was not there. Nevertheless, he would have to come out from under the car eventually, and Logan was just as stubborn as he was. Roman dug his heels onto the concrete and pulled himself out from under the car, to stare up at Logan, looking as radiant as ever.

Stupid gorgeous bastard,

“What are you doing here?” Roman asked, voice laced with venom, “Can you not see I am busy,”

“I am not blind, I do see,” Logan frowned, “What exactly are you doing, I am not privy to car maintenance,”

“Oil change,” Roman said sharply.

Logan chuckled weakly, “Do they not do that type of thing at car repair shops?”

“An oil change for a car of my mileage would be about $75. And I like to do things myself,” Roman told him, curtly. Logan hummed in response, hugging his sides awkwardly, “I answered all your questions, Arias, are you not capable of answering mine,”

Roman could not help but notice the way that Logan’s face hardened at the use of his last name, but the discontent with his presence was still prevalent.

“I am just here strictly for business, Prince,” Logan whipped his backpack around to his front and pulled out a bright red folder, “I was told to deliver your homework,”

The sting of betrayal from his teachers hit Roman in the heart, but he snatched the folder regardless, “So Picani asked you to deliver this,”

“Picani asked the student body president to deliver this. He did not say anything else,”

Roman hummed in response and tossed it off to the side after flipping through the pages, lazily.

“Thanks, then. See you later,” Roman shrugged his shoulders and leaned back on the skateboard to check on the oil, only to be quickly pulled back out, Logan frowning over him with his foot on the board, “What the hell, Arias,”

“I do not want to overstep, but what is going on?”

“I have no idea what you could be talking about,” Roman rolled back under the car, but not for long as Logan pulled him back out.

“Really? Because it was just two days ago we were making plans for Bubble Tea, now you are acting as though you have no idea who I am,”

“Tch,” Roman scoffed, rolling his eyes, “I don’t have to act like I don’t know who you are, ML- Lame Formatting,”

Another roll back, countered by another roll forward, this was now coupled with an even more confused looking Logan, “What exactly are you insinuating?”

“Let me just say, I am not the only actor in the midst of this tiff,”

“Acting? Prince, you know I do not do theater, please just state what is upsetting you,” Logan pleaded, his eyes filled with malcontent and confusion, but Roman said nothing in response, choosing to look at the other’s forehead to avoid eye contact with his bespeckled foe, “Princey, just listen, whatever I did to hurt you, just know you have my deepest apologies, surely, but you have to tell me what is going on,”

He opened his mouth to speak but he had nothing to say to the other. Instead, he rolled back underneath the car, staring at the darkened under carriage.

Roman felt the skateboard jerk around underneath him to where he almost fell off after Logan kicked on of the wheels, “Roman, get out from under the car and talk to me, goddammit!”

Too filled with rage and annoyance at his former friend, he rolled out from underneath the car and stood up in one fluid motion, towering over the other, both of their faces filled with anger.

“You wanna know what is wrong? Fine. I am not upset. I am pissed the fuck off, Logan! I am pissed because I don’t have many friends- no, I do not have any friends except for my friend Patton, who is a damn good one because he told me all about what you were conniving and planning. I trusted you, Logan, and you decided that using me and my friendship to get me expelled was more important than forming an actual bond between friends-”

“Roman, I-”

“Quiet!” Roman ran his hands through his hair, he was now pacing, “You used me. You wasted my time and my energy just so that you could get a leg up, a leg up you do not even need! I do not even care about UCLA or- or a scholarship. I care that you stooped so low to act like my friend for - for what? For information? A confession?”

“But I did-”

“It doesn’t matter your reasoning, it is the principle of the matter. You cannot just go through life picking and choosing people to feed off of and discard once you are finished. I - I - Y- You made me feel like nothing, like I was nothing and you made me feel like an idiot, because of all the time you have been in school, you never befriended anyone, self preservation should be your middle name, because it sure as hell -!”

“Roman I was not acting!” Logan stated, not too loudly, but stern enough to get Roman to stop ranting.

“W-what?”

“Roman.” Logan stated, punctuating each syllable, “I was not, acting,”

Roman head felt as though it had been filled with cotton, “You weren’t?”

Logan scoffed, “Of course not. Whilst it would have been a brilliant plan on my part, it was not worth the mental and physical energy to prove something that may have seemed like a lost cause. And, over the course of getting to know you better, there is a minimal chance of you actually causing the property damage,”

Roman opened his mouth to speak but promptly closed it again, not wanting to correct any of Logan’s suspicions. He did not know what to say.

“I- I do not know what to say, I guess, I am sor-”

“Do not apologise Roman, please,” Logan waved him off and leaned on the back of his car, “I understand why you would believe what you do. I too often times have difficulties trusting people,”

Roman raised an eyebrow, leaning next to the other, “Really? Why is that, Bezos?”

“Well,” He sighed, “I am sure you can relate. I am gay and I am the kid of a first generation Peruvian immigrants, and neither of them were ever really around until a few years ago. It can get really hard to know who you can and cannot trust. People take advantage of you because of what they think you are, now more than ever. You sit next to people in school who believe you do not deserve to live because of who you love or are partnered up with people who believes our parents are 'stealing their jobs',” Logan’s expression was unreadable as he stared off into the distance, “I am just trying to understand, I know how hard it can be,”

Roman twiddled his thumbs and bit his lip, debating what to say, “Yea, you can understand Logan,” He sighed, “But… Also, you cannot understand.” Logan looked at his with confusion, “Look, if I tried to get you expelled then you can just apply to UC Berkeley or Harvard or wherever. UCLA is the only ‘elite school’ quote-on-quote, that the school counselor said would even give me a chance at a scholarship. Our lives are different and will always be different because you live in higher income and I live in the low. Your parents came here and now one is an anesthesiologist and the other is a lawyer. My parents came here from the Dominican Republic and my father died and my mother is working as a hospice aide living paycheck to paycheck. Everything is always going to be easier because of your money. You have a motorcycle and a nice car. And I- I have this car that my dad died in,”

“Jesus, Roman,”

Roman chuckled in spite of himself, “Yea, that was a bit dark.” He kicked himself off the side of the car and spun around to face Logan, his expression riddled with guilt, “Look, we do not choose our upbringing, but it does shape the people that we become. Comparing the two is like… Is like comparing ionic bonds to covalent,”

Logan smiled at this, “You actually remembered something I taught you, for once,” Logan moved closer to Roman, “So, I am presuming that this row is over, and we can go back to friends now,”

Roman smirked, “Of course, my glorious nerd.” Roman’s phone violently beeped at him, making his heart skip a beat, “Before we do anything else, I have an oil change to attend to,”

“Roman,” Logan said, hesitantly, “Do you think that you could, maybe… Show me?”

“Show you?”

“Show me how to change… The oil,” Logan bit his lip, looking down at his black, shiny boots, wearing an unsure expression that does not go with his usual cocky attitude, “I have always wanted to learn and fine tuning motor skills is important to become a well-rounded individual,”

Roman smiled and grabbed a wrench, throwing it to Logan, “It would be my honor,”

Chapter Text

“Hey.”

Roman felt a harsh kick on the back of his shin. “Ouch,” He responded, turning around to see his former (?) nemesis standing over him, crossing his arms with a small smirk on his face, “What exactly was that for?”

Virgil shrugged, but offered a hand to help Roman up from drilling the bottom section of the flat. “I just need to talk to you,”

Roman frowned at this omission, “What exactly would we need to talk about, no offense,”

Virgil groaned, looked around the auditorium, quickly snapping his head from side to side, then he grabbed Roman by the bicep and pulled him out of the stage area to the spare woods shop and tools room.

“Look, I just wanted to get some things straight with you, okay?

“Impossible, I am a gay as a warm spring day!” Roman flourished, half-bowing. Virgil pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose, muttering something under his breath.

“That is obviously not what I meant,”

“What do you need, we are still in class, y’know,” Roman frowned, now getting concerned. He had been watching the anxious kid for about a month now, and he never seemed to go out of his way to talk to anyone. No matter what, he was always recluse and a bit cold, nevertheless, he went out of his way to talk to Roman, which means it must be important.

“Do you know what day it is?”

Roman scoffed, rolling his eyes, “Seriously genius, you couldn’t just look on your phone to see it is Wed-”

“No no, you misunderstand, the date,” Virgil waved his hands in front of Roman, obviously frustrated.

Roman winced in spite of himself, forgetting that Virgil is speaking his second language and translating everything he is saying in his head, so making fun of his vernacular is a dick move, “Ah, sorry, it is September 29th.”

“Right, and do you remember what happened a month ago?”

“I-” Roman’s realization dawned upon him, “Oh, right, that. Did Logan say he was going to-”

“No, he is not,” Roman cocked his head to the side as Virgil continued, “He told me last night that he has ‘let the whole thing go’,” Virgil dropped his air quotes, wearing a disgusted look on his face, but Roman’s expression perked up.

“Well, that’s great, yeah? He is not going to say anything about me egging your house and I obviously am not going to say anything. This is fantastic!”

“Yea, fantastic,” Virgil grumbled, shoving his hands in his pockets and looking down at his shoes.

“Is it not? Do you- do you want me to get expelled Virgil? Because I swear I thought you liked me. I know we are kind of enemies but I always thought it was in a playful banter type of way, not that you would ever actually try to “take me down” or whatever,” Roman gasped, “Unless that was your plan all along. Oh my God, that is genius, you really are an incredible actor, Virgil, you should join theater with-”

Drž hubu! Drž hubu Roman, I swear, you talk so much,” Virgil shouted. “I just- That is not what I am saying, this has nothing to do with me,”

“What does this have to do with, then?”

Virgil sighed, calming himself down a bit, before speaking, “What are your feelings towards Logan?”

Roman was taken back a bit by the question, which must have put a shocked expression on his face, making Virgil quirk an eyebrow up, “We- we’re friends. Good friends, Virgil,”

“Just friends?”

“No!” Roman said, putting his hands up a bit too defensively, “I mean, yes, obviously just friends, I said no because we are no more than- not more than friends. I just- No, we are friends,”

“I just cannot think of any other reason why Logan would let this go other than him being,” Virgil shivered a bit, “In love. He would do anything to get ahead and is a crazy ambitious guy. He has all the proof he needs as well,”

“What do you mean ‘all the proof’-”

“And you two spend everyday after school together now. I see how you hold onto him on his motorcycle,”

Roman scoffs, thinking about his afterschool activities as of late, specifically, the ride to his apartment, “If you mean how I hold on for dear life because motorcycles are giant death bicycles, then you would be correct,” Virgil widened his eyes, very obviously mouthing ‘wow…’ in Roman’s direction, making the latter frown, standing in akimbo, “Maybe Logan has just, I dunno, thawed out a bit. That whole Ice Punk Prince act was getting tired,”

“Act?” Virgil repeated incredulously.

“No, no, no,” Roman waved his hands in front of him, “Just, a phase,”

“A phase, huh?” Virgil frowned even deeper, crossing his arms over his chest after zipping up his jacket.

Roman sighed, shrinking in on himself, “Well, yea. Clothes often times are a direct reflection of how we are feeling, and Logan tries to distance himself from whomever he feels he is getting close to. This creates problems whenever he tries to form meaningful relationships with anyone because of his abandonment issues with his parents. They were never really there for him so he does not realise how important those kinds of relationships can be, on a fundamental level. The phase that he is in now cannot be held up forever because eventually he is going to need a support system for himself, and I believe he is recognizing that,”

Roman bit his lip a bit, “It feels nice to be one of the first people he is warming up to, y’know? I am sure you understand, Virgil,”

Virgil straightened out his shoulders and uncrossed his arms and was wearing a soft smile on his face, one that was really only reserved for his brother most days, “Yea. I think I do understand, Roman. I am shocked about how well you know Logan,”

Roman laughed, “Well, he was a tough nut to crack, but I try my best to get to know people now before making snap judgments about them. And, I took AP Psych last year,”

“Oh, hey,” Virgil pointed at Roman, “I am in that now,”

“Really? Roman asked, foregoing their original conversation, “Do you have Woodstock?”

“No, I got Davis,”

Roman pouted, “Lucky, you got the easy Psych teacher. She does not grade worksheets, it is all participation,”

“It is not so easy for someone who has anxiety,” Virgil deadpanned. Roman opened his mouth to refute/apologise, until Virgil spoke up again, “Nah, I am just playing, she normally takes pity on me because I am the exchange student,”

“Either way, that is just my two cents from my year of Psych. Maybe all Lo wants is a meaningful friendship.”

Virgil rolled his eyes, “Friendship, sure. Either way, I support you,”

Roman smirked, “Or, maybe, he just really wants my coc-”

There was a harsh rapping on the metal door leading to the shop room where a teen’s voice could be heard, “Roman, Virgil, Mr. B says if you are done making out then you need to come out and help clean up,”

Roman could not help but laugh wildly as Virgil turned beet red and quickly shuffled out of the shop room.

Despite the boisterous laughter, Roman could not cover up what he was thinking: Did he have deeper feelings for Logan? Logan always was a really clever, handsome guy. He was the type of person whose voice carried like silk throughout a room and was pleasant to listen too, and his tight jeans were not doing the world a disservice.  He was always willing to help and to learn, even in a trade he did not necessarily need to know about. Logan will most likely never change oil in his life, but the idea of even having the option to learn was just enough to get him to become excited. Logan had so much passion. Most people thought of him as cold or robotic or unfeeling, but Roman saw the human and the warmth and there was so much passion packed in his stout frame, so much Roman fears sometimes the smaller man will start singing like a teapot and burst.

Logan and Roman continued to text and hang out every day. Roman rode on the back of Logan’s motorcycle enough for his to stop screaming, but the tightness of his grip only increased. They continued this routine for a few days, but Virgil’s question still burned in his mind.

It burned and consumed his every thought. Every interaction now had a deeper meaning and he couldn’t look at anything surface level. It kept him up at night, he couldn’t close his eyes without imagining his smile. It became increasingly difficult to talk or hang out and it made his emotions go haywire, but luckily Roman was an actor by nature.

After two weeks, Roman knew, and Roman had his answer.

Roman: I am head over heels for Logan.

Pat-Man: oh dear… D:

 

A Tuesday, afterschool

“You ready to go, pretty boy, I don’t like to wait?” Logan threw the helmet at Roman who barely caught it in his haste to put his jacket back on from his waist.

“I told you not to call me that,” Roman grumbled, putting on his helmet.

Logan shrugged, “Why not, it’s so fitting,”

“Wait, what is th-” Roman was cut off by Logan’s motorcycle engine turning on and raised an eyebrow before putting on his helmet. Roman got on the back of the motorcycle before they sped off to Roman’s apartment.

After 10 minutes, they reached their destination. Logan parked his bike and took off his helmet, running his hands through his black hair, climbing off the motorcycle. He looked off into the distance at the parkway he just came off of. Roman let his eyes trail over his frame. Logan’s dark blue button up paired with a black tie nicely accented his subtle muscles. He didn’t wear ripped jeans often, but today, he wore pitch black jeans with rips on the knees and thighs with those oh so familiar combat boots. Roman’s mouth went dry. It was a partly cloudy day, but Logan was glowing. Roman was barely paying any attention until he fell off of the motorcycle back and hit his shoulder hard on the pavement.

“Roman! Are you alright?” Logan rushed over to Roman’s aid, muttering to himself, eyes filled with worry and concern. Roman almost forgot how nice and cool Logan’s voice sounded. He realised he was wrong, Logan’s voice is velvet. “Roman, what is wrong?” He realised only then he had been staring at the other with a blank look on his face, saying nothing.

“No, nothing is wrong. I feel fine,” Roman’s voice wavered a bit as he looked away from Logan.

Logan said nothing as he led Roman over to the curb and they both sat down, Roman let out at sigh of relief, standing up and the short walk to the ledge somehow became very difficult.

“Roman, did you sleep at all? Eat?” Logan asked. Roman shook his head, and Logan took his hand in his and rub his thumb across his knuckles, Roman’s pulse speeding up exponentially at the act, “Do you, uh, want to talk about it?”

Roman’s eyes widened and shook his head, “Oh, good, I would not know how to deal with that,” Logan said, running his hands through his hair with his free hand. Roman smiled at this and shook his head, “Well, here is some generic advice then: you are, uh, incredible, Roman. Whatever this is, it is not worth you not eating or sleeping over,” He raised an eyebrow at Logan and the man in question gripped the bridge of his nose, “I’m sorry, I wish I could be more empathetic. I care about you, Roman. I care… A lot,”

Roman eyes shot up and looked at Logan. He was not looking at any part of Roman and was biting his lip, looking vulnerable and open. He was frantically rubbing his knuckles now, his eyes filled with worry. Roman thought back to what Virgil said, then back to Logan giving him homework, then his apology, then the altercation in the hallway, and the first time they declared war upon one another in the vice principal’s office, what did they all have: Passion . Logan is passion. He tries so hard to subdue it, but it is who he is, and Roman cannot get enough of it. Poor Logan’s stoic demeanor is cracking ever so slightly, and just enough for Roman to read between the lines.

“Hey Logan,” Roman started, his voice scratchy and raw, “Did you know that the lips are among the body parts that have the most nerve endings out of the whole body?”

“Yes, I did. Though I am unsure as to why you’re telling me-”

Roman cut Logan off, he cupped his face and connected their lips, effectively shutting him up. The kiss was sweet and tender and chastate. Yet, somehow the kiss was filled love and admiration, and walls broken down of tension between them. Logan responded and gripped the back of Roman head, slightly tugging his brown locks and deepening the kiss. The kiss now had heat and fire in their lips. A blazing inferno was created with every second passing of the pair’s kissing. Eventually, Logan broke the kiss and rested his forehead against Roman’s.

Roman chuckled slightly, “It is what makes contact with them so perceptible,”

Logan laughed, “Oh, you gorgeous bastard,” He cupped his face and kissed Roman again, filled with that same passion that enraptured Roman so many months ago.