His 13-year-old self would kill him for it if he could, but Colin Jost breaks up with Scarlett Johansson. And he doesn’t even really know why he does it.
It’s not at a nice restaurant, because that wouldn’t be fair to Scarlett. She might cry, the paparazzi might take pictures, and the absolute last thing he wants to do is give them more ammo against her.
So Colin does it at his apartment, in private. He gets a whole bottle of her favorite drink, Chandon champagne, and two pints of strawberry ice cream.
When he hands her her pint with the spoon already stuck in it, along with the glass of bubbly, Scarlett squints at him and says, “You know, if I were a betting girl, I’d be putting money on you breaking some bad news tonight.”
Colin laughs awkwardly. “What? Can’t a guy just - buy his girlfriend her favorite ice cream and drink and serve them, together, for no reason whatsoever?”
She smiles, but she’s still looking at him with that same squint. “You would do that, Colin, don’t get me wrong. You’re a sweet guy. But I don’t know if you know this - I act for a living.”
“I may have heard that somewhere, yes.”
They grin at each other.
Scarlett continues, “So believe me when I say, drop the act, or I’ll start critiquing your technique.”
Colin sighs, and his shoulders slump a little. “Alright, alright. I wasn’t made for the big screen, anyway. Um...” He fidgets with his flute of champagne, before setting it on the coffee table. “I’m not… sure what I even want to say.”
Scarlett just looks at him. “Just give me something to work with, and I can try to help you figure it out.”
He sighs, and drops his head down. “Okay, um… It might be bad news.”
She studies him closely, shifting closer on the couch. “How bad?”
“Not - not that bad. Or, not that kind of bad. Nobody’s hurt or dying, that I know of, anyway. The annoying orange hasn’t ended the world yet, or anything. It’s just - ” Colin chews his lip. “It’s more - um, of a personal sort of bad.”
“You’re breaking up with me.”
Colin’s head shoots up. “What - ? How did you - ”
But Scarlett is already nodding to herself. “Knew it.”
Colin shakes his head, bewildered. “Are you psychic? How did you even guess that so fast?”
She smiles a little sadly. “I heard plenty of bad news before I met you, Colin.”
Then she leans forward, eye shining, and kisses him softly on the lips. “I think I’m gonna go,” she whispers. “Thank you for the - the ice cream and champagne. We can talk about it later, if you need to, but… I’d like to be alone for awhile first.”
“Okay,” Colin whispers back, trying not to think about the way his heart is breaking at the way she’s smiling at him. “Scarlett, I’m so sorry.”
“I know you are.”
This time, she kisses him on the cheek, and it says goodbye better than any words could.
Colin sits with himself and watches the two pints of ice cream melt on the table. He doesn’t even know why he did it. He barely even knows what he’s thinking of doing next.
In the end, he just finishes off both pints of ice cream and watches a buddy cop comedy in the most forlorn way possible.
The day after is a work day. It’s winter in Rockefeller Plaza, which means the snow is coming down and families are skating on the ice rink. Couples, too. Colin gets a cup of coffee and just watches them, sitting on a bench. He’s got about an hour to kill before he’s supposed to be at work, and while usually he doesn’t waste any time, today he’ll make an exception.
He did just break up with A-List actress and blonde bombshell Scarlett Johansson last night. For no actual reason, either. He’s still beating himself up about it; he can give himself some leeway.
So he sits there, snow piling up flake by flake on the shoulders of his coat, until his phone buzzes in his pocket.
Colin starts, and fishes it out. A text from Che.
Is the world ending? I’m here before you?? At work??? The place where we are both employed?? Is it a federal holiday and I just didn’t check or something because what the fuck is this
His phone buzzes again.
Wait are you dead. Did you die
Was the pussy too bomb
Colin snorts, startling a pigeon that’s been pecking at the sidewalk into flight.
No, he types back, vaguely wishing he could talk to animals for the sole purpose of apologizing to that one bird, sorry to report, I’m not dead. And I’ll be there soon. Just had to go grab a coffee.
Che texts back quickly, Aight man phew I thought the world was ending for a minute there
Get me one too?
Colin rolls his eyes. You could get one yourself.
Yeah, but then I’d have to go alone into the cold and wilderness, Jost. My delicate constitution can’t hold up to these harsh climates.
Colin laughs. Ugh, he can feel himself folding.
Ok, ok, I’ll get you one. You owe me, though.
Che sends back, Ooh, I may swoon. The strong, fearless provider on his way back from the hunt!!
Colin bursts out with a surprised laugh, warmth spreading from his center all the way out to his fingertips. He sends the strongman emoji in response, as he makes his way over to the Starbucks line, so long it’s spilling out the door.
“Hey guys,” Colin says, maneuvering his way into the conference room, doublefisting coffee cups. “Sorry I’m late.”
He hands off the foam latte to Che, and takes a drag of his frap as he takes a seat. “What’d I miss?”
“Sorry, this is awkward,” Kate McKinnon says. “We just finished your funeral arrangements...”
“Ha ha ha,” Colin says wryly. “I hope you got a good eulogist, at least.”
“The best,” Kate assures him.
“You didn’t miss much,” Beck Bennett cuts in. “We just started on another sketch brainstorm.”
“Oh! Good. What’ve we got so far?”
“Picture this,” Pete Davidson intones, hands raised like a magician’s. “One lost college kid. Woods. Creepy music. No cell phone reception. Then bam!” He claps his hands together, and jazz hands them apart. “Axe murderer jumps out from behind a tree, says something creepy, and the college kid is all, Oh hey. Waddup. Axe murderer says something threatening and inadvertently gives directions, so college kid says thanks, and walks away.”
“Oh, like another Chad sketch,” Colin says, nodding.
“Exactly.” Pete points at him. “This guy gets it.”
“Does the axe murderer follow him?” asks Kyle. “Is it gonna be a thing where the axe murderer tries to scare Chad the whole time, but Chad being Chad, keeps defusing the situation?”
“That was sort of where I was going,” Pete admits. “Seems a little like we’ve done that before, though.”
“What if it was like, a whole bunch of serial killer cliches?” Colin throws in. “Like, Chad walks away from the axe murderer, then runs into, I don’t know, Slender Man. And somehow walks away from that one. And then there’s another, and another, and it all turns out sort of the same. Chad just gets safer and safer the more dangerous the serial killers get.”
“I like that,” Michael Che says thoughtfully. “What if - ha! What if it’s like, a serial killers anonymous, where they’re all in, like, a therapy circle, and they’re all complaining about the ones that got away, and they’re telling stories about Chad shutting them down, and then it flashes back to it happening?”
Colin laughs, along with half the writer’s room.
“That’s good,” Lorne Michaels decides. “That’s really good.”
Colin claps Michael on the back. “You got the seal of approval, Che.”
“All that good coffee,” Michael shrugs, but Colin can see him trying to fight off his smug smile.
“On to the next one,” Lorne says. “Mikey, what do you got?”
Colin’s picking at his lunch when Che plops down next to him.
“Chipotle, huh,” Che comments. “You usually wolf that down, Jost.”
“Just, um, not that hungry, I guess,” Colin lies.
“Mmmmmhm,” Che replies, looking him up and down. “Yeah, the human trash compactor just isn’t that hungry.”
“Compactors can get full sometimes, too,” Colin says primly. “Y’know, too much trash, too much compacting - ”
“Late for work,” Michael interrupts. “Caramel frap. Not eating. C’mon, Jost, spill already. You think I’m blind and deaf? Something’s goin’ on here, so obvious Helen Keller herself could sniff it out in a second flat.”
“That joke’s a little overplayed - ”
“Shut it, Jost, and spill the beans.”
Colin sulks. “Can’t shut it and spill the beans at the same time,” he grouses. “Pick one or the other.”
Che rolls his eyes heavenward. “Christ, then open it and spill the beans.”
Colin sighs, rubbing a hand over his eyes and falling forward until his elbows are resting on his knees. “I broke up with Scarlett,” he mutters.
“...What?!” exclaims Che. “I’m sorry, what?”
Colin winces, and pinches the bridge of his nose. “I… Jesus H. Christ, I broke up with Scarlett Johansson last night.”
“Um, ok, let me see,” Michael Che starts. “Why?”
Colin looks up at Che imploringly. “I don’t even know why,” he admits. He waves a hand in the air. “I’m… a total fucking idiot?”
Che is looking at him weirdly. “Are you kidding me - you broke up with Scarlett Johansson. Like, the hottest millionaire ever? The one who’s been voted Sexiest Woman Alive multiple times? That Scarlett Johannson?”
“That’s the one, yes,” Colin smiles humorlessly. “God, I’m stupid.” He covers his face. “Why did I do it, Che?” he says, muffled through his fingers. “And why did I feel like it was the right thing to do, even though I feel like shit about it now?”
“Um,” Che says uncomfortably. “There, there, dumbass.” He pats Colin on the back. “You could... call her, y’know. Take it back.”
“No,” Colin replies vehemently, to Che’s and his own surprise. “Um,” he fumbles. “Sorry, I just… What the fuck. I don’t know what’s going on in my brain.”
Che looks at him, a line drawn between his brows. “Me neither, bro,” he says, before smoothing his face out. “Breaks up with Scarlett Johannson, just like that. Jesus. You know this is gonna be on your Wiki page, right? It’s gonna go right after Graduated from Harvard and Starred on SNL .”
Colin wheezes a little laugh, but his heart’s not in it. “Yeah, maybe.” He slumps a little further down. “I don’t know. You ever - you ever think you’ve gotten all a man could want, but... it’s not good enough? Like, you’re a greedy asshole who has everything he’s ever wanted, and it’s just not doing it for you?”
“Shit, man.” Che’s quiet for a moment. “Hey, you want me to get, like, Kate? She could probably do this talking thing way better than I could.”
Colin thinks about it. “No,” he says slowly. “For some reason, the only person I want to talk to about it is… you. Weird, huh.”
Che sighs, and suddenly is sitting right next to him on the bench instead of down at the other end. “Nah, man,” he says. “‘S not weird at all.”
He slings an arm around Colin’s shoulders and pulls him in, so he’s not slumping down anymore.
Colin sighs. “Thanks.”
“I do owe you one,” Che jokes.
They both look at the pigeons fluttering on the sidewalk and the hundreds of different-sized footprints in the snow cover.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way,” Che admits. “Like I got it all. It’s more like, I could never get it all. So why bother, when I could settle and get along just fine without it. I’ve got what I need, so. Anything else would be pushing my luck.”
Colin tilts his head and studies him out of the corner of his eye. “Whatever it is you want, I think you deserve it,” he says, softly and a little unsure. “I don’t - I don’t think it’d be pushing your luck, to go after it. At least you know what you want. I’m just the asshole who goes after things because I think I’m s’posed to, and don’t know what to do once I have them.”
Che looks at him pensively for a moment, then removes his arm, turns away and says in a total non sequitur, “I saw you out the window this morning.”
Colin blinks. “You did?”
“Yeah. You were sitting in front of the Rink, lookin’ all mopey. Saw you from the window of the break room. Knew something was up.”
Colin half-smiles. “Sorry.”
Che punches him in the arm half-heartedly. “Shut the hell up, man. What are you, Canadian? Anyway, so I saw you, and I thought, damn, Mr. Perfect’s looking pretty shitty right about now. Could see from all the way up there that you were beating yourself up about something.”
Colin’s quiet. He had been.
“But shit, Colin. People break up all the time. For, like, a million different reasons. And if you weren’t feeling it, for whatever reason, even if you don’t even know the reason, than that’s enough. People aren’t things to get, man. They fit together, or they don’t. And you seemed pretty sure that you didn’t want to get back together, so just...” Che gestures with a hand. “Don’t convince yourself there’s something wrong with you just because you weren’t feeling it with her. This shit happens. It’s just life. Relationships. Doesn’t matter how pretty the girl is, nothing’s wrong with you for ending it. Cuz that’s just how you feel.”
Colin lets that soak in a minute.
Colin grabs Michael in a squeezing hug.
“What the - get off me, Jost,” Che hisses, trying to push him off and kill the laughter at the same time. He doesn’t really pull off either one. “You’re bringin’ down my street cred, man.”
“Can’t stop, won’t stop, Che,” Colin says, hugging a little tighter. “We just had a moment. Let me have it.”
“Ugh, white people and hugging in public,” Che complains, but stops struggling. “Fine, whatever, but I’m not hugging you back. This is all you, man.”
Colin tucks his face into Che’s shoulder and breathes.
“You’re my best friend,” he murmurs, so quiet he hopes Michael doesn’t hear him. Then, a little louder, “Thanks.”
“Any time, bro.”
A week later, Colin meets up with Scarlett to talk. This time, it’s at her place.
“Hey, Colin,” she greets at the door. She’s smiling, but her eyes are a little sad. “Nice to see you.”
“Nice to see you too, Scarlett.” He steps in, and they sit down together at the island bar. “So, hey. Just wanted to - to talk a little. See how you were doing, try to explain myself.”
“I get it.” She slides him a beer. “Here, to take out some of the awkwardness.”
“Oh my god, thanks,” he says in relief, twisting off the cap. He downs a gulp. “Man, this is good.”
There’s a quiet, slightly awkward moment. They both take a sip of their beers.
“So, uhm.” Colin tries to organize things in his head. “First, I’m - it’s not that I don’t like you. I definitely do.”
“You just don’t love me,” Scarlett says kindly. “I understand.”
“I - um, wow, again, with the psychicness, um. Not how I would put it, but…”
“How would you put it, then?”
“I guess...” Colin thinks about it. “I just… There’s not that instant spark, I guess. Like, I feel like you’re beautiful, and funny, and so, so smart. And maybe if I was different, like if the pieces of me fit together with your pieces differently, we’d be dynamite together. Just - I feel like they don’t, exactly. And I could definitely, definitely fall in love with you. Don’t get me wrong. I just - I just don’t think it would be… I feel like it would be something I’d have to work at. You know? And that you’d have to work at. And, I don’t know… Maybe it would be better for us if we didn’t force it, and found other people where the love just… came naturally. I hope you find that person, for you. I’m just sorry that it couldn’t be me.”
He glances at her. Her eyes are wide, and wet.
“That...” She clears her throat. “Colin… I… That was beautiful.”
“Oh, why thank you,” he says with a wink, which makes her chuckle.
She puts her hand over his. “No, Colin. Thank you.” She kisses his forehead. “I hope you find that person for you, too.”
His throat gets tight, but he makes it through the rest of the evening without bawling like a baby, so he counts it as a win.
A month later, basically everyone in the entire universe knows they’ve broken up. It’s not as bad as it was when Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande split, but still. He gets some flak about it. It comes up in the news a few times, which is weird. Tabloid journalists and their photographers start following him around, trying to snap a pic of him with a new girlfriend.
“Goddammit,” he mutters, as a weirdo wearing sunglasses across the street pointedly isn’t looking at him.
He slips into 30 Rock before the guy can actually get a picture with his hidden camera, and tries to put it out of his mind. He’s got work to do.
“What do you mean, you don’t wanna get lunch?” Che asks him suspiciously.
Colin sighs and pushes back in his chair. “I mean, I just - there are all these paparazzi around, watching me all the time in public. It’s just - I don’t like going out in public if I can help it, lately. Giving them fodder.”
“So, you’re not gonna eat?”
“I didn’t say that,” Colin points out. “I was gonna order in. Feeling like pizza, want in on it?”
Che shrugs, and pulls up a chair. “Hell yeah, I’m in. No pineapple, though.”
“As if,” Colin scoffs. “Not even if you begged me.”
“Pshh,” Che waves off. “Just order the damn pie, Jost.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m calling, I’m calling.”
I’m tired of pizza, Jost. Che texts him later that week. C’mon, let’s hit the kimchi place tomorrow.
Colin sighs through his nose, but has to admit, pizza every day for lunch is starting to get pretty damn old. All right, he texts back. But if the National Enquirer decides we’re having a gay love affair, it’s on you, capiche?
There’s no text back for at least half an hour. Colin is about to call the fucking National Guard, because Che never takes this long to text back, when a reply finally comes in.
Lord almighty, free at last. No more pizza for me for like, a month.
Colin laughs. Same.
So the next day, they go to New York Kimchi on 48th Street. It’s nice inside, casual, and has pretty good lunch prices. Michael gets the bibimbap, and Colin goes for the spicy kimchi ramen. It nearly burns his tongue off, but it’s so good, Colin doesn’t even care.
“I can’t believe how good this is,” he tells Che with the vigor of the newly converted. “Seriously, Che, you gotta try this.”
He holds up a pinch of ramen in his chopsticks, and holds it up to Michael’s face.
Che rolls his eyes, but takes the bite. “It’s good,” he decides, after a good thirty seconds of keeping Colin in purposeful suspense. “You need to try this bibimbap, though.”
“Deal,” Colin says, and fishes for a big piece of beef.
“Hey!” Che protests. “I had my eye on that piece!”
“You snooze, you lose, Che.”
They both laugh, unaware of the guy at the next table, taking pictures on his cell phone.
It turns out it’s not the National Enquirer. It’s the New York Post, which is somehow worse.
COLIN JOST NOW DATING SNL CO-STAR MICHAEL CHE, the headline reads. HOW THEIR GAY LOVE AFFAIR TORE APART SCARJOST.
There are pictures of the two of them in the kimchi restaurant together, smiling at each other and eating each other’s food, because of course there are. But there’s also a smaller picture in the bottom corner of Colin and Scarlett, from months ago. Scarlett is looking at him, but Colin is looking away at something off-camera with a pensive look on his face.
But wow. The pictures of them in the restaurant… If Colin hadn’t been there and known what was going on himself, he’d almost definitely believe they were on a date.
“Shit,” Colin says dumbly. “I didn’t think that it would actually say gay love affair.”
Michael snorts. “It’s almost exactly what you said would happen, man.”
“I know. It’s… unbelievable. I’m such an idiot, I should’ve...”
“You did say it would be my fault,” Che points out. “And since you’re apparently Raven from That’s So Raven now, I accept full responsibility.”
Colin huffs a laugh and runs a hand through his hair. “Sorry.”
“Eh.” Che waves it off. “Enough of your scarily Canadian-like apologies. Throw me the magazine. I wanna properly soak in my fifteen minutes of fame.”
“You got it,” Colin says dryly, and tosses it over.
Weirdly, now that the paps have seemingly gotten their answer on Colin’s love life, it seems that things have calmed down. Nobody’s tailing him anymore, or at least nobody obvious. People don’t stare at him like he’s crazy, or follow him with their eyes in restaurants.
It’s quiet, again.
Colin breathes a sigh of fucking relief, because finally. He wasn’t made for this famous person shit.
It comes up on Weekend Update. How could it not, after being posted all over the news and internet?
When Cecily Strong as Cathy Anne comes back one week and bats her eyelashes at Michael - or, should he say, aggressively hits on him while blinking furiously - Colin plays the part of the jealous boyfriend. Cathy Anne isn’t deterred, and strongly implies she would love to be a part of that sandwich.
Colin somehow manages to keep a straight face, but only just.
“Thank you, Cathy Anne,” he says, “for the offer, but, um... see… Michael doesn’t share.”
“Damn right I don’t,” Che says, and grabs Colin’s hand possessively. “Sorry, ma’am.”
“Whoo!” Cathy Anne fans herself. “Un-der-stood! Could I maybe watch, though? Y’all don’t mind, right?”
“And that’s our special guest for tonight, Cathy Anne,” Che says authoritatively to the camera, effectively ending the most awkward improv Colin has had on SNL to date.
They smile at each other, when Che lets go.
Later, Colin will look at his hand, and wonder why his skin still tingles where Michael hand had grabbed him so tight.
“Huh,” he’ll say, stretching out his fingers. “Huh.”
They’re waiting in line at Chipotle when Colin gets the idea.
“Hey Michael,” Colin says. “I’m… Just go with it, okay?”
Colin doesn’t reply, just goes ahead with it and hoping Michael won’t take it badly. He slips a hand into Che’s back pocket, fitting them together snugly, and keeps looking at the ingredients in front of them. Che’s practically burning a hole in the side of his head with his laser eyes, but Colin keeps his face neutral.
“Extra cream cheese and guac, please,” Colin instructs to the lady behind the counter. “Thank you.”
They shuffle their way to the end of the line, and Colin pays for it all with a wink at the cashier. “Thanks a bunch,” he says, trying to ignore just how quiet Che’s gone in the past few minutes. He takes his hand out of Che’s back pocket to scribble in a hefty tip and a signature, then puts it right back in.
“There was a guy taking pictures,” Colin explains as they eat, very interested in the visual complexities of his burrito. “I just - it’s easier, that’s all, having - having a story they can’t re-break.”
Che pauses. “I get it, I guess,” he finally says. “If they can’t chase down something new, they’re not gonna hound you, right?”
“Right,” Colin says with no small amount of relief.
“Alright then.” Che shrugs. “I’ll do it.”
“You will?” Colin schools his features down from shock into mild surprise. “You’ll... fake date me?”
“Free food, hot dude, mild publicity. I’m in,” Michael says, wiping some sauce off his thumb onto a napkin. “No biggie.”
Colin grins. “Thanks, man.”
“Ah-ah,” Michael reprimands with a wagging finger. “As your fake boyfriend, I will not stand being called man. Or dude, for that matter. Not romantic enough. It’s gotta be a term of non-platonic endearment.”
Colin frowns and nods seriously. “Okay, then… Thanks, honey.”
“Ehh…” Michael see-saws his hand. “Kinda weak.”
“Mmm, not really feelin’ it. C’mon, Jost, we’ve been friends for how long, and you don’t even have a go-to romantic endearment ready for me? I’m hurt. Hurt.”
“Alright, alright. Thanks… darling.”
Michael sighs and shakes his head. “We’ll have to work on that.”
Colin scrolls through a list of popular terms of endearment on his phone. He frowns. “Apparently some people say ‘Booger.’ According to the internet, anyway.”
Michael snorts. “I am not being called Booger.”
“Oh, here’s another great one: Butter Babe.”
“Not as weird as you, Fruity Pebble.”
“People say that?”
“Google said it first, not me,” Colin defends. “Ooh, how about this: flitter mouse.”
Che makes a face. “The fuck is a flitter mouse?”
“Apparently it’s an old-timey word for a bat? I don’t know. Whatever. How about this - ”
There’s a knock on the door. They both look up.
“Hey guys,” Kate says. “Hate to break up the love-fest here, but we’ve hit another wall on the exploding zit sketch. One of the lines keeps falling flat. Deflating, if you will. Care to help out?”
“Sure,” they say in chorus, and get off their asses and into the writer’s room.
Hey, don’t forget to bring the beer.
Colin rearranges the six-pack to squish under his arm so he can text back, You got it, Poopsie.
Oh my god, Che texts back. Where are you even getting these
Colin grins. Google is an infinite treasure trove, Pudding Pop.
Somehow they just keep getting worse. Is it too late to go back to Booger
Way too late, Peach Pie.
“I’m just saying, dude,” Colin overhears Chris Redd saying, as he walks by Che’s office. “You coulda told me you guys were actually dating.”
Che shoots back exasperatedly, “Man, I told you, it’s fake. I’m just - helping out a bro. Keeps the paparazzi off his ass.”
“Mhm, sure,” Chris says. “And the fact that you guys go out together for lunch every day, complete with light PDA and grossly sappy pet names, is totally in line with that whole ‘for the press’ story.”
“What? It is.”
“Yeah, uh-huh, then tell me, Mike - how’re you ever gonna go on an actual date with all this going on? Nobody is gonna believe you aren’t actually dating Jost. I mean, I almost believe you’re dating him at this point, so why wouldn’t anyone else who doesn’t already know you?”
Colin rushes back to his own office, as quietly as he can. Fuck, it sounds like Che’s gonna break up with him.
They were never actually together.
So why does it make him feel so hurt?
“Hey, Colin,” Che says, standing in the doorway of his office with his arms crossed.
Colin fakes a smile, and keeps on typing on his laptop. “Hey, Pooh Bear. What’s up. How d’you feel about Indian food today?”
“Eh.” Michael shrugs. “Sounds fine.”
“Okay, cool. Indian it is.”
He glances up, and arranges his face to be vaguely concerned. Like he doesn’t know why Che is standing there all quiet and serious.
Then he pushes off the wall and flaps a dismissive hand. “Nah, just - checking on your endearments for today. You still suck, by the way.”
“Only for you, Munchkin.”
Michael laughs and shakes his head, walking off.
Colin relaxes like he’s just dodged a bullet. Looks like Che isn’t quite ready to break things off.
Well, good. Colin might as well try to make it last for as long as he can.
For the next week, Michael is almost constantly on the verge of saying something serious. Colin can almost see it when it gets on his mind. They’re getting lunch, holding hands, or putting hands in pockets that aren’t theirs, and Che’s eyes will shift and his face will start to turn solemn.
Before Michael can take the step and actually break them up, though, Colin will deflect with a joke or get back to business about something inane, like the new health insurance sign-up window, and the moment will pass on by. Michael will huff a breath, and the serious mood will lift.
Colin’s starting to feel like he’s on borrowed time, barely skating by for another hour every time it happens, and that he’ll need to make the absolute most of it before it’s gone.
Because y’know what? He can be honest with himself. He doesn’t want to break up.
They’re watching a movie at Che’s apartment when Colin knows he can’t escape it this time. There’s nowhere to run, there’s nothing to interrupt, and Che’s built it up enough in his mind that he’s not going to chicken out this time.
Colin watches the movie and tries to laugh at the jokes.
Michael doesn’t laugh. He just watches him.
When the movie’s over, Michael shuts off the TV and leans forward.
“Hey,” he starts, and wow, Colin is so not ready for this. In a split second, Colin’s up and moving to the kitchen.
“You want a beer, Sugar Plum?” He moves to open the fridge, but all of a sudden, Che’s palm pushes the fridge door closed from behind him.
“Colin,” Che says, exasperated. “Quit that.”
Colin’s suddenly very aware of how Michael’s basically bracketing him in, up against the fridge. It makes a shiver roll through him that he has to force down.
“Quit what,” he says half-heartedly, turning his head just enough to meet Che’s eyes.
“Avoiding me,” Che says patiently, like he’s talking to a five-year-old. “Hey, c’mon, sit down. I wanna say something.”
“O… kay,” Colin says in a high voice, as he’s shepherded into a seat at the kitchen table.
“Look.” Che pauses. “It’s been, like, two months now. Of fake dating, I mean.”
This is it. The break up talk.
“And I was just - I wanna go on real dates, man. Not this - forced, fake shit. It’s funny, you know, all the names and stuff, but - ” Che shakes his head. “It’s just not real, you dig? Like, there’s no way you called ScarJo Sugar Plum. No fucking way. And I don’t want that. The fakeness.”
Colin stares at him. He’s been expecting this for awhile now, ever since he overheard that conversation Che had with Chris, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
“I - so you,” Colin swallows. “So you wanna break up. Fake break up. Okay. I get it.”
Che blinks at him. “Um, okay, yeah, if that’s… if that’s what you want. If you don’t… If you can’t. Y’know.”
“You wanna go on real dates with beautiful women. I understand.” Colin smiles. “Sorry to have been cramping your style for so long.”
Michael scoffs. “Please. Like I haven’t been cramping your style.”
“Oh, shut up, Jelly Bean,” Colin says fondly. “Let’s just mutually agree that there’s been zero cramping, okay?”
They crack up together, and suddenly, just like that, they’re broken up.
Colin heads home soon after. He gets why Scarlett had wanted so badly to be alone, now: because she’d realized that she had more feelings for him than he did for her.
It’s a bittersweet realization, and probably far too late, but Colin decides that he’ll send her something nice for her birthday as a sort of belated apology.
Colin takes a sick day.
In retrospect, maybe that was the way-too-obvious move. Nobody would ever believe he would call off sick, not even if he had the fucking plague.
But as it is, he takes the whole day to roll around in bed, bemoaning his fate and eating depression cereal. He turns on a movie on his laptop, but it turns out to be too happy, so he changes it to something suitably bleak and disheartening.
When the movie’s finally over - everyone’s dead and the world is burning, which Colin feels is appropriate - he curls up in a mountain of blankets and pillows and cries himself to sleep.
It’s three in the afternoon, but he doesn’t care. He’s… ‘sick.’
“I’m an idiot,” Colin says forlornly over the phone to his mother. “Mom, I’m so stupid.”
She sighs. “Colin, when have you ever called just to say hello? Or even, hi, mom, my life is going great, let me tell you all about my various successes and interesting friends? No, it’s always I’m-an-idiot this and kill-me-now that.”
“Hi mom,” he repeats dutifully. “My social life is going great, and I’m very successful career-wise. Despite both of those things, my love life is now in absolute shambles and I currently want to throw myself off a cliff, if that’s alright with you.”
“It is most certainly not,” Mom says firmly. “But I see now. The love life, huh. I think I saw you were dating that nice boy Michael on the internet, is that right?”
“What, I have a computer. And a phone. And friends. Of course I’m gonna use all three to keep tabs on you, Colin. I’m your mother.”
“...Fair enough, I guess.”
“So give it to me straight. What happened?”
Colin sighs, but explains everything from the paparazzi to the fake hand holding.
His mom is quiet for awhile, letting the absolute stupidity of her son all soak in.
“You’re an idiot.”
“You’re so stupid.”
“And here I thought today couldn’t get any better.” He slumps down on the couch face-first, still in his pajamas, and waits for the evisceration. She laughs, but in a sympathetic way.
“I’m sorry, baby,” she says kindly. “Sounds like a bad roll of the dice.”
Colin sighs heavily, because as always, Mom is right. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, it is.”
He’s still moping around and feeling sorry for himself when there’s a buzz on his phone.
He just burrows further into his cocoon and ignores it. After his mom, there’s no one else he wants to talk to about this.
His phone buzzes again.
He ignores it, again.
Then there’s a knock on the door.
“Oh shit,” Colin says, surprised. Did he forget that he ordered depression pizzas? He doesn’t remember doing that.
With a groan, he untangles himself from his comforter swaddling and touches his feet on the floor for the first time in, like, three hours. He pads over to the nightstand, and roots through the drawer for his wallet, when there’s another knock.
“I’m coming!” Colin hollers. He takes a second the waffle over whether or not he should change out of his pajamas, but dismisses it. Pizza guys - or pizza girls - pizza people? Pizza deliverers, anyway - have seen a lot worse than cotton drawstring pants and an old faded Henley.
He pushes open the door with a hip as he tries to reverse engineer how many pizzas depressed-him would’ve ordered an hour or two ago.
“So what do I owe you,” Colin says absently as he rifles through his wallet.
“Explanation would be nice,” Michael Che says, deadpan as a doornail.
Colin drops his wallet.
“Uh,” he says intelligently. “I wasn’t ordering depression pizzas.”
“...Sure you weren’t.”
“No, I mean, because you’re here. And not a pizza guy. Deliverer, I mean. And I thought - I - sorry, um, not to be rude, but I think I’m missing some key information, so… Why are you here, exactly?”
“Oh, let me think,” Michael starts listing things off on his fingers. “Sick the day after you break up with me, not answering your texts, still wearing pajamas at five in the afternoon, and, of your own admission, depression pizzas. That’s pizzas plural, by the way. Just in case you missed it. C’mon, Jost. Why wouldn’t I be here?”
“I didn’t break up with you,” Colin says, frowning, because everything else Che just said is somewhat pathetic and sadly incontestable. “You broke up with me.”
“Oh Jesus fuck,” Michael says, facepalming. “We’re stupider than I thought.”
Because this isn’t an episode on Days of Our Lives, they don’t have the remainder of this conversation in the hallway of Colin’s apartment building. He invites Che into his depression cave like the gracious host he is, despite the fact that Che can now see the empty cereal bowls on the counter, the blanket nest, and the Netflix recommendations open on his laptop that really should be labeled A Cry For Help.
Che just takes it all in, surveying Colin’s trash heap - which is usually quite a nice apartment, actually - with perfectly placed disdain.
“So, okay, wow,” he says blankly. “Y’know what, this is on me.”
“No it isn’t,” Colin tries. “I should’ve - “
“Shut up, Jost. Was I asking you? No, I was not. I was stating a fact. I did not request your input.”
“Shut up, Jost.”
“You got it.”
So Colin stands there awkwardly, watching Michael watch his heart-on-a-platter mess of an apartment with his hands tucked into his sweatshirt pockets.
Michael breathes out a frustrated huff, and rubs the back of his neck. “So, um. Colin. It has come to my attention that you’re pretty torn up over this whole fake relationship we just ended. I think that’s fair to say, based on some of the subtle clues I’m picking up on here.”
“I would agree with that assessment,” Colin says, carefully neutral.
“Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Good, because I am too.” Che shoots a look at him out of the corner of his eye, then looks just as quickly away. “I should say, though. I wasn’t - actually trying to break up yesterday.”
“But you said - “
“I know what I said,” Che interrupts. “Just listen, Mr. Perfect. I wasn’t trying to break up, I was trying to - okay, how about this. I’m gonna just say what I said again, but maybe a little more clearly. That alright with you?”
Michael takes three steps, just enough to get into Colin’s orbit, and takes both of his hands.
“That’s me,” Colin says weakly.
“I, Michael Che, would like to continue dating you. Except, this time, I would like the fake dating to be more like real dating. As in, really meaning the dating. Intentional dating. Dating with makeouts and sex after dates kind of dating. And I would like the terms of endearment to be sincere as well. Is this scenario I just proposed amenable to you, Colin Jost, the person I, Michael Che, would like to seriously date?”
Colin boggles at him.
“...Really?” His voice sounds smaller than he’d thought it would.
Michael softens a little. “Really.”
Colin smiles. Che’s still holding on to his hands, so it’s easy to pull him in closer.
“Then yes, I, Colin Jost, am extremely amenable to real dating you, Michael Che. Is it too forward of me, Colin Jost, to request of you, Michael Che, a commemorative makeout session in celebration of this agreement?”
Michael’s smiling. “I, Michael Che, do not think a commemorative makeout session with you, Colin Jost, would be amiss in these circumstances. In fact, I recommend immediate implementation.”
“Implementing,” Colin says with a grin. “Coming in hot, Michael Che.”
“Confirmed, Colin Jost. Land the damn plane already, would you?”
“Roger that, Tower Three,” Colin says, before he leans the rest of the way in and kisses him. And again. And again.
Without separating them, Michael nudges him back with the line of his body until the back of Colin’s knees hit the edge of the couch. He takes the hint, breaking away and sprawling down, before he pulls Michael down along with him.
Hands smooth up Colin’s chest, rounding over his shoulders and ending at the edges of his face. Colin’s hands come up to grasp at Michael’s forearms, desperate in a strange way to hold on somehow, because it feels like he’s floating to parts unknown, adrift, and Michael is the only thing he can grab onto to steady himself.
Colin meets Michael’s eyes. He’s not sure what Michael sees in his, but whatever it is, it makes Michael’s pupils expand until the brown of his iris is as thin as the bright line of the sun at the height of a solar eclipse.
But Michael, for some reason, hesitates. His eyes flicker between Colin’s eyes and Colin’s mouth, but he stays there, kneeling above him on the couch like he doesn’t dare to move.
Colin makes a small, distressed sound.
“Michael,” he complains. “What are you - ”
“Are you... do you want this,” Che asks, breathing a little faster. “I - I don’t know if... but you look so... and - ”
“Kiss me,” Colin begs brokenly. “Please.”
Michael’s whole body stiffens at that.
“Shit,” Michael breathes, strained. “I’m so goddamn turned on, I can’t - ”
He plants a quick, strong kiss on Colin’s lips.
“I can’t fuckin’ think - ”
Another hard kiss.
Colin moans into it, pushing his body up to meet Michael’s and letting his arms fall away, up above his head and into the couch cushion. His wrists vaguely cross, and he can’t help but shudder at the thought of Michael tying them together, holding him down, doing anything he would ever want to do to him -
But in the next second, Michael lifts up and lets go of Colin’s face, which has Colin blinking open his eyes in confusion.
“Don’t - hey, come back,” he pleads.
Only to find Michael hovering over him, staring at his crossed wrists like they’re a goddamn gift.
Michael licks his lips and reaches for them, glancing down at Colin all the while. His grip finally settles on Colin’s wrists, which makes Colin gasp out loud, how embarrassing -
But it seems to break a dam somewhere, because Colin’s gasp makes Michael’s face break out in a confident smirk.
“You like that, huh,” he asks, and without waiting for an answer, rolls his body smoothly down until they’re fit chest to chest, face to face, with his hand and his body weight firmly anchoring Colin into the couch.
“Unngh...” Colin can barely do anything but vague sounds at this point, he’s so rock hard. He’d be embarrassed, but this is already the best sex he’s ever had, and they’re only making out.
His hips keep twitching of their own volition, rutting up against Michael as they trade wet kisses, and fuck, he’s not even gonna make it to the bedroom, is he.
“Gonna - ” he gasps, after what feels like an eternity of this sweet torture. “Shit, babe, I’m gonna come if you don’t - ”
Michael growls and shoves his hips down, too, with a jerk that informs Colin that yup, neither of them are gonna last that much longer, here.
“Fuuuuck,” Colin groans.
Michael covers his mouth with his, long enough that Colin starts to go light-headed, stars blooming behind Colin’s eyes like fireworks. Michael rocks his hips in a frenzy until both of them are twitching with need and panting for breath.
“Do you wanna?” Michael asks.
“Do you wanna come,” Michael says in a low, low voice. “Cuz I can make that happen.”
“Ah, fuck.” Colin squeezes his eyes shut. “Yes, I wanna come, please, please make me come, Michael - ”
Michael groans this time, and pretty much the sexiest thing Colin’s heard to date. Then the hand not holding Colin’s wrists down slides down Colin’s chest, his abs, and caresses his hardon through the cotton pajama pants.
Colin whines, bucking up into the touch. “Please,” he begs. “Please, please - ”
“You beg so nice,” Michael rumbles, sliding his hand inside Colin’s pants. “Makes me wanna - make you.”
“Please, oh - ”
Michael grips him by the base, and slowly drags his hand up.
“Make me, make me, use me, please - ”
Michael shudders, but keeps a firm grip and a steady rhythm. “Jesus, Jost,” he says shakily. His thumb rounds the head of Colin’s cock, smearing right through the precome. “Oh my god.”
He starts jacking in earnest, forcing embarrassing little bursts of noises out of Colin’s mouth with every stroke. It doesn’t take long after that - Colin’s body tightens, his toes curl, and wow, his eyes even roll back in his head as he comes his brains out.
“Ah, ah, ah,” he hears himself say breathily as he spurts over his abs.
Michael milks him through it, wracking Colin’s body with uncontrollable shudders until he’s a shivering, limp mess.
Colin takes a second to breathe, because that’s all he can do after that life-shatteringly good orgasm.
Eventually, he cracks an eye open, to the mesmerizing sight of Michael staring at his come-splattered hand before using it to pop the button on his jeans and carefully drag the zipper down.
When Michael reaches inside for his hardon, though, Colin bursts out, “No, that’s mine,” with the kind of indignation he usually reserves for littering or cutting in line.
Michael blinks at him, settling back on his haunches in consternation.
“Let me,” Colin demands. “C’mon, babe, let me do it. I want to. Please?”
Michael’s mouth works like a goldfish’s, gobsmacked, his hand frozen in place.
Colin uses the moment to sit up and turn the tables, pushing Michael down with his body. Both of them land on the opposite end of the couch. Colin kneels above him, one hand spread on the cushion next to Michael’s head for balance, studying his face.
“Please?” Colin murmurs as he maneuvers his hand down the line of Michael’s torso, batting Michael’s hand away from his cock when he gets there. He doesn’t touch, though. Not yet. Not until Michael lets him. So his hand hovers there, waiting for the word.
“It’s only fair,” he wheedles. “C’mon, babe,” and that seems to be Michael’s limit.
“Fuck, Colin,” Michael rasps, eyes wild. “Just fucking touch me already.”
“As you command,” Colin quips, leaning down for a quick kiss as he circles Michael’s cock with reverent fingers. “Sorry in advance, but just so you know, I’ve never done this before.”
“Oh, now you tell me,” Michael chuckles breathlessly, eyes fluttering closed. “Hnngh...”
Colin watches him wordlessly, with single-minded fascination as he speeds up his hand’s rhythm.
“Can I see you,” Colin asks nonsensically, already soaking up Michael’s every move with greedy eyes. “Can I - let me see you come, let me - can I - ”
Michael opens his eyes wildly and meets his gaze. “Okay,” he says, voice gravelly. “Okay, yeah, you can - ”
Colin’s spent cock twitches. “Fuck,” he whispers. “Fuck, you’re so hot, babe - ”
With a harsh groan, Michael comes.
Colin can’t even breathe, it’s so hot. He just sits there slackjawed with his hand still on Michael’s softening cock.
After Michael comes down from the rush, he lets out a long, satisfied breath. Then, one of his eyebrows quirks, and he glances down at Colin’s hand still folded around him.
“Sorry,” Colin says automatically, raising his hand up immediately.
Michael laughs. “Apology not accepted,” he says, and sits up to capture Colin’s mouth with a sloppy, deep kiss. “I don’t know if you know this about apologies, Mr. Perfect, but you actually have to do something wrong first.”
Colin giggles, and feels pleasantly warm as a blush curls across his face and up his ears.
“Sorry,” he offers, just to see Michael snort and shake his head.
“Hopeless,” Michael says fondly, pulling him into another kiss. “Absolutely hopeless.”
They take a shower, singular, and order pizzas, plural. Though, these are less depression pizzas and more celebratory pizzas.
And, of course, they fuck. A lot. For the rest of the day, and through most of the night.
They have a lot of time to make up for, after all.
They’re laying in bed after a pretty intense round when Michael asks, “Hey, remember when you asked me if I ever felt I’d gotten it all, but it wasn’t good enough?”
Michael hesitates. “You remember what I said next?”
“Yeah, of course,” Colin says, nuzzling into the palm of Michael’s hand. “You said you wouldn’t ever get what you wanted, but that you had what you needed.”
“I take it back,” Michael says with shining eyes, staring at him. “I’m a greedy bastard, because I finally have what I want, and all I want is more.”
Colin stops nuzzling. “...Are you saying… You meant me?”
Michael averts his eyes.
“No, no,” Colin says, bringing Michael’s head back with a careful hand until their eyes meet again. “Hey. Don’t do that.”
Then an idea occurs to him, and Colin frowns and bites his lip. “Do you… am I not enough? Is that why you want more?”
“God, Colin, no,” Michael says in a rush, grabbing the hand at his jaw. “I meant - I meant I have you, finally, and nothing is enough. I want you so many times, in every position, in every room of every apartment, I want you every holiday and every work day, I want you sleeping next to me every night and waking up next to me every morning, I - ”
He huffs, and look away again. “ - I told you, I’m a greedy bastard,” he mutters.
Colin doesn’t even have words.
Instead, he lunges across the bed and pins Michael down to desperately kiss the life out of him. Michael grips his hips to steady him, and Colin is pretty sure he’s going insane, because he wants bruises from those fingers tattooed on his body. “You have me,” he punctuates between kisses. “You have me.”
Michael moans at that. “Christ, Jost. You’re too fucking perfect.”
“Right back atcha, babe,” Colin says.
They smile at each other.
They go to work the next morning. Colin already took one sick day this lifetime, and that’s enough for him.
They do make out in the elevator, though. Even though they’re at work doesn’t mean there can’t be any play.
They go into the conference room, with Colin surreptitiously straightening his tie.
Leslie Jones takes one look at them and starts clapping. “The idiots got their shit together!” she announces, and the room erupts into applause, hoots, and hollers.
“Another victory for the gay agenda,” Kate McKinnon says triumphantly, clapping both of them on the back.
“Guys. How did you - ” Colin glances down, and sees he’s holding Michael’s hand. “Oh.” He grins bashfully at the twinkle in Michael’s eye. “Um.”
“Suck it, losers!” Che gleefully shouts, holding their joined hands up high like he’s the winner at a championship boxing match. “I got Jost in the sack! For keeps!”
Colin wheezes out a laugh, knowing he’s already blushing. “Oh my god, Michael.”
“It’s true, though. Right?”
“See!” Che points out at the crowd of SNL writers like he’s a goddamn rockstar. “Take notes, haters, cuz I started from the bottom, now I’m here.”
“Okay, Che, you ain’t Drake,” Leslie Jones says. “Chill some.”
Che clears his throat. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Congratulations, guys,” Kyle says earnestly. “Really.”
“Thanks, Kyle,” Colin says fondly.
“There should be cake,” Aidy decides. “I’m gonna order some cake.” She steps out of the room on her phone.
Ten minutes later, there’s half a grocery store cake on the table, and everyone is talking animatedly over a new sketch as they finish their pieces.
It’s pretty much the best way it could’ve happened, Colin thinks, as he looks over the happy, rowdy table and feels Che’s thumb rub absentmindedly over his knuckles. Just like this.
He looks over at Michael, who’s watching him already, and smiles.
Michael’s cheeks redden, his blush barely perceptible. Then he smiles back.
And there it is, Colin realizes. Right in the gut. Love, blooming, as natural as can be.