Eliott was the one to say it first, is the thing.
Lucas will never forget it: him, standing pitifully at the bus stop, tears drying on his cheeks, trying to act like watching Eliott walk away isn’t wreaking havoc on his heart. He’ll never forget the way Eliott looked when he turned around, the way his mouth looked when it formed the words Lucas? I love you.
It was strange, how Lucas felt so shocked by the words, so unprepared for them that he couldn’t think of anything else to say other than me too. It was strange because it also felt right. It felt inevitable, as though he and Eliott had always known they would get to that point. As if they’d known from the first time they sat together at that bus stop that they were building their own galaxy.
But somehow, even when he and Eliott started officially dating, even when they started to sort things out after Eliott’s episode, Lucas never expected to hear the words. Not really. He never thought of himself as the type of person who could be loved like that by someone like Eliott. This life that he’s living feels impossible. Surreal.
He has an inkling of why that might be, a shadowy voice lurking at the far corners of his mind whispering, no one stays and wait until he leaves wait until it’s over it will happen I promise.
Only Eliott hasn’t left. Every day the sun rises and Lucas will wake up to a text from Eliott, to a drawing from Eliott, or to Eliott himself in his bed, lit up by the morning light like something out Lucas’s wildest daydreams.
It’s not like Lucas doesn’t feel the same way. He thinks it must be obvious, the way his entire body is constantly bursting with it, like he’s a star going supernova just at the touch of Eliott’s fingertips. I love you I love you I love you. Eliott. But he’s not outwardly romantic like Eliott is—or at least, it doesn’t come as easily to him as it seems to come to Eliott, as easy as breathing.
He loves Eliott. He does.
He just can’t always say it.
“Where are you right now?”
“Grocery store,” Lucas says distractedly, eyeing up the pasta aisle. “Thinking about dinner.”
“What’s on the menu?”
Lucas shrugs, even though Eliott can’t see him. “Pasta, maybe.”
“Dad’s trying to barbecue right now. On our tiny balcony. So. We’ll see how that goes.”
Lucas laughs, tucking his phone into his shoulder and grabbing a package of pasta at random from the shelf, not checking to see what kind it is. “If it doesn’t work out you can come over to mine to eat dinner.”
“Hm. I only want to come over if I can eat you.”
The bag of pasta slides out of Lucas’s hand to the floor, landing with a dull splat that gets the attention of the boy stocking jars of tomato sauce at the other end of the aisle.
“May I remind you,” Lucas hisses, bending to pick up the bag, “that I am in a grocery store.” He glances over to the stock boy, who’s now raising an eyebrow at Lucas. “Also, that was disgusting. Appalling.”
“Really? I thought it was smooth.”
“You are not smooth. You are in the furthest galaxy away from smooth.”
“Well I was able to land you, wasn’t I? Are you telling me you’re an easy catch, Lallemant?”
Lucas opens his mouth and closes it. He tucks the bag of pasta under his arm and scurries out of the aisle, taking a jar of tomato sauce with him and determinedly not looking at the stock boy.
“I don’t know if you heard me the first time, Demaury. Grocery store.”
“Yeah.” Eliott is laughing now, and Lucas is distracted by the sound as he gets in line for the checkout, smiling down at his feet. “But I like the thought of you grocery shopping. It’s cute.”
“It’s cute.” Lucas drags the word out in disbelief.
“Can we do that together, sometime? And then we can cook dinner at your flat?”
“I think you mean I cook dinner at my flat. You’re banned from the stove until further notice.”
“But what if I—”
“Next!” One of the cashiers, who is somehow managing to frown and chew gum at the same time, motions impatiently at Lucas.
“Ah shit, I have to go.” Lucas half-jogs to the counter, giving the cashier a wide, apologetic smile.
“Alright. Happy cooking! I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Lucas lets his voice go a little softer, a little warmer. “Bye, Eliott.”
“Bye, babe. I love you.” Eliott hangs up before Lucas can respond and Lucas is struck dumb for a moment, standing there with his phone still at his ear, somehow still surprised when Eliott drops those words so casually into a conversation.
The cashier blows a bubble at him. “Are you going to pay, or what?”
It’s well past midnight, but if anything, Emma’s house just keeps getting more packed, with people constantly flooding in through the front door, always being greeted with loud cheers, and always offering alcohol as their admittance fee.
Lucas glances around from his spot against the wall, wondering if Emma has started to worry, but when his eyes land on her he sees she’s leading Alex away by the hand. Probably towards her bedroom.
Lucas snorts into his beer.
“What’s so funny?” A voice asks in his ear and Lucas tilts his head up to meet Eliott’s eyes.
“Your face is funny.”
Eliott looks so indignant at that, so genuinely offended, that it makes Lucas burst into laughter. He’s about four beers in, so the laugh is a little louder, and lasts a little longer than it normally would, enough that it catches the attention of the other boys.
“Care to share with the class, Lulu?”
“Don’t ask him, it’s probably some gross inside joke with Eliott.”
Lucas rolls his eyes towards Eliott, thinking about asking him if he wants to come with Lucas to get another beer, maybe sneak off to the bathroom to make out, but Eliott is already staring at Lucas, a small smile twitching at the corners of his mouth.
“What?” Lucas asks.
Eliott shakes his head slightly, then wraps an arm around Lucas’s waist and gently pulls him closer to Eliott, close enough that Eliott can press a soft kiss to Lucas’s cheek.
“Nothing,” Eliott says into Lucas’s ear, his breath warm on the side of Lucas’s face.
“Nothing.” Eliott kisses Lucas’s cheek again. “I just…” Lucas turns his head slightly, angling for another kiss, but Eliott pulls back, uses his free hand to tilt Lucas’s chin up, waits until their eyes are locked. “I love you.”
His arm is still around Lucas’s waist and honestly, Lucas is glad for for it, because otherwise there’s a very real chance he’s about to swoon, genuinely swoon, right down to the floor in front of a bunch of drunk teenagers. The boys would never let him live it down.
They’re still staring at each other and Lucas is flustered, tries to pull away to get ahold of himself so he doesn’t climb on top of Eliott right there in Emma’s living room, but Eliott tightens his arm around him and tugs him away from the wall, towards the kitchen.
“Where are we going?”
“No idea,” Eliott says, saluting the boys over his shoulder, who are all yelling obscenities and making rude hand gestures at them. Idiots. “Somewhere. Anywhere I can kiss you properly.”
Lucas smiles so wide his cheeks hurt. “Let’s try the bathroom,” he suggests helpfully.
Lucas is in the foyer, lying lengthways on the couch with his head propped up on one end, and his feet resting in Yann’s lap on the other. The arm of the couch is digging into his neck a little and it’s uncomfortable, with the way he’s craning his neck down to look at his laptop, but he can’t be bothered to move. Can’t be bothered to do anything except low-key panic over this fucking lab report—
And just like that Lucas forgets about his lab report, feels the panic dissipate from his brain as he tilts his head back to watch Eliott’s entrance into the foyer, backpack slung over his shoulder and a coffee in his hand. He looks good: hair messy and dressed in all black. There’s a smudge of charcoal high on his cheekbone that Lucas’s fingers itch to brush away.
“Hey guys.” Lucas’s eyes follow him as he comes to the front of the sofa and crouches down next to it. “Hi baby,” he says quietly, when he gets close enough.
Lucas raises an eyebrow. “Thought you had a group project to work on.”
Eliott nods easily. “I do, I just wanted to bring you this.” He sets the paper cup down on the floor. “I stopped by that place we went to on Sunday, with the coffee you really liked. Just something to help you finish that report.”
Before Lucas can respond, there’s a chorus of awww’s from Basile, Arthur, and Yann, and possibly from a small group of third-years gathered at one of the tables.
Arthur drops his chin into one of his hands, staring at the pair dreamily from where he’s laying on his stomach on the floor. “Eliott is the best boyfriend ever,” he sighs.
“Too good for Lucas, no doubt.”
“Alright,” Lucas says loudly. “How about we don’t?”
“How about we do?”
“Can Eliott be my boyfriend?”
“Eliott, I might steal this move if that’s okay.” Basile looks like he genuinely means it, too, staring at Eliott and Lucas as though he’s had a revelation.
Lucas tries to turn a full-power scowl onto Eliott, but the bastard is looking right back at Lucas and giggling softly.
“I can’t believe you,” Lucas says and he’s trying, he’s really trying to maintain his glare but the thing is, he means it. He can’t believe Eliott is real. He can’t believe his boyfriend is the type of guy to bring him pretentious coffee from a fancy place just because he knew Lucas was stressed.
And Eliott shrugs like it’s nothing, like he hasn’t just rendered Lucas emotionally compromised for the rest of the day.
“Hopefully it’s still warm,” is all he says. Then he leans towards the couch, balancing his arm on the back so he’s hovering over Lucas for a moment before dropping a kiss onto his forehead. “Now I really have to get going.”
“Eliott, don’t go!”
“Eliott, noooooo, once you leave he’ll be grumpy again.”
Lucas flips them off and Eliott laughs. He gives Lucas another quick kiss—this one on the mouth—and Lucas can feel the curve of his smile.
“I’ll see you later,” Lucas says, trying to pretend that he’s not pressing upwards from the sofa a bit, silently asking for another kiss. Just one more.
“Later,” Eliott agrees, ruffling Lucas’s hair. And then: “I love you,” he says, before disappearing out of the foyer entrance.
There’s another chorus of awww’s, and Lucas flips off the entire room with both hands, but his eyes stay trained on the doors, his mind sending a stream of me too I love you too thank you for the coffee I love you after Eliott, trying to project the words far enough that they reach him wherever he is, so that they can wrap themselves around him and keep him warm for the rest of the day.
It’s Friday night and Lucas has the flat to himself.
There’s no better scenario he can think of really. He was eating lunch when he got the text from Mika: I’ve decided to make Lisa come to Spain with me so it will just be you this weekend, baby gay!!! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do ;))))))))))
Lucas had made himself wait a full minute before he got up from the table to go find Eliott.
Now they’re home, they’re alone, and Lucas has Eliott naked underneath him, both of them sweating as Lucas grinds himself down into Elliot’s lap, his hands pressing Eliott’s wrists into the mattress.
“Fuck,” Eliott gasps, tipping his head back into the pillows. “Fuck, Lucas. You feel so good.”
Lucas think he says something nonsensical in response, but it doesn’t matter what. He’s too focused on Eliott underneath him, Eliott inside of him, Eliott’s moans and gasps and Eliott’s skin and smell—
There’s a sudden shift underneath him and Lucas yelps as Eliott pries his wrists free, grabs onto Lucas’s waist and flips him. Lucas blinks and he’s on his back, empty, panting, staring up at the ceiling and Eliott has his hands on Lucas’s legs and he's wrapping them around himself and he's thrusting forward and oh—
Lucas arches his back and digs his thighs into Eliott’s ribs. The cry that leaves his mouth is frankly obscene, but for once Lucas doesn’t have to worry about smothering his sounds so he lets them loose because fuck he feels so good, it’s like his body is made up of one giant nerve ending.
“Shit,” Eliott chokes out. “I’m close.”
Lucas is nodding. He can feel himself getting close too. “Yeah,” he says on an inhale. He rests one hand on Eliott’s back, digging his nails in whenever Eliott thrusts forward, and reaches his other hand down to grab onto Eliott’s ass. “Yeah,” he says again on an exhale, breathing the word right into Eliott’s mouth.
Eliott swears and snaps his hips forward harder, propelling Lucas’s body further up the mattress. He snakes a hand between their bodies and starts to jerk Lucas off, and Lucas thinks he probably has a minute before he’s going to come, and while he wants an orgasm he also never wants this moment to end, never wants Eliott to stop fucking him, never wants to stop having every inch of Eliott’s skin touching every inch of his.
But it turns out a minute is too generous. Turns out it’s only a handful of seconds before Lucas comes, and what finishes him off is when Eliott turns his face into Lucas’s neck and says, gasping, “You’re so beautiful, Lucas. So perfect. Fuck, I love you.”
And Lucas is gone. Physically, he’s still on the mattress, still being pinned down by Eliott’s weight, but his mind has gone to space, floating amongst the stars and planets and he could be on the surface of the sun, burning up from the inside out, but he could also tied to the end of a meteor moving so fast he can’t even make sense of his surroundings.
He comes back to himself just as Eliott comes, the strong movements of his hips going uneven, stuttering before stopping altogether, and Eliott collapses onto him, exhaling heavily into the mattress. Lucas runs a hand down Eliott’s back gently as he pulls out, wincing a bit at the sensation. They’re both quiet for a moment, still calming down, still catching their breath.
Of course it’s Eliott who breaks it.
“Did you come from me telling you I love you?”
Lucas shoves him off the mattress in response and Eliott makes an undignified squawking sound, bracing his hand on the bedside table to keep himself from falling.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Lucas says primly, gently kicking at Eliott’s back until his body slides fully off of the bed and onto the floor. “Can you grab me a towel?”
It’s in the middle of the night, maybe. Or the morning. The last thing Lucas remembers is lying with his head pillowed on Eliott’s chest, some American film playing on his laptop that Eliott had been keen on watching. He remembers Eliott gently stroking his fingers up and down Lucas’s spine, remembers feeling warm and sleepy and happy, so so happy.
Now, he wakes up alone in the dark.
He doesn’t panic. He doesn’t. There are lots of reasons why Eliott wouldn’t be in bed right now. He probably went to the bathroom. Or wanted to get a drink of water. There are lots of reasons Lucas could be waking up alone that don’t involve Eliott running out on him—naked or otherwise.
He takes a deep breath before rolling onto his side, flailing a hand out at his bedside table until it hits his phone. He presses down on the home button, nearly blinds himself with iPhone light.
Lucas rolls back over and runs his hands down his face. If he just waits, Eliott will come back. Eliott will come back and he’ll feel ridiculous for even thinking, for even considering that he could—
But it’s happened before.
The thought is unwelcome, unnecessary, but it comes all the same, an oil spill spreading blackness over Lucas’s mind.
“That was then,” Lucas whispers, hoping if he says it out loud, it will overpower his thoughts. “This is now.”
Haven’t you always thought he would leave again? Haven’t you been waiting for this moment all along?
Lucas sits up and throws the covers off, not fully sure if he’s going to storm into the living room and to find Eliott or if he’s just desperate to move somewhere he can escape his head, but before he can stand up his bedroom door creaks open and Eliott tiptoes inside, carrying a glass of water.
He sees Lucas sitting up and stops. “Hi. You okay?”
Lucas is frozen to the spot, caught between palpable relief at seeing Eliott, at knowing he didn’t leave, and utter embarrassment at how quickly he thought Eliott had abandoned him, at how needy he must be if Eliott can’t even get up in the night without Lucas having a panic attack.
“Lucas?” Eliott gently closes the bedroom door and sets his glass down on Lucas’s desk. “Did you have a nightmare?”
“N-” Lucas voice is hoarse. He swallows and tries again. “No.”
Lucas finally makes himself move and sinks slowly back down into the pillows. “No, nothing. Sorry.”
“Babe.” Eliott sits on the edge of the bed and slowly reaches out a hand to card through Lucas’s hair. “What are you sorry for? What’s going on?”
Lucas sighs and turns onto his side towards Eliott, who’s hand slides away from his hair down to his back, stroking there softly the way he had been when Lucas fell asleep. Lucas considers not telling him, doesn’t want to burden Eliott with his own paranoia, with his own emotional baggage. He thinks that’s what the Lucas from four months ago would have done. He would have said nothing and would have let the anxieties build within himself until they got to be too much, until it was too late. But he’s not that Lucas anymore. He’s the Lucas who said he could handle all of Elliot’s shit as long as Eliott could handle all of his shit. He’s the Lucas who told Eliott minute by minute.
As if he can read his mind, Eliott says quietly. “Hey. Whatever it is, you can tell me. But if you don’t want to, that’s alright too. We’ll just take it minute by minute, right?”
“I woke up without you,” Lucas says in a rush. “And I was worried you left. Like, left me completely. And I know, I know that’s…irrational. Completely ridiculous. But I was thinking about that. So, when you came back, I was. I dunno, I guess I’m embarrassed.”
Eliott hasn’t said anything since Lucas started talking. He hasn’t even moved, his hand stopping it soothing ministrations on his back.
“Forget it,” Lucas says, pulling away. “Let’s just go back to sleep.”
There’s a rustling sound and Lucas glances up to see Eliott following him, coming closer and closer until he’s pressed right up against Lucas’s side.
“I’m so sorry you felt like that.” Eliott whispers into Lucas’s hair. “I’m so sorry I made you feel that way.”
“No, no.” Lucas protests, pulling his head back so the two are face-to-face. “Don’t apologize. You should be able to get up and go piss or whatever without—”
“But I’ve done it before, haven’t I?” Eliott slides one arm underneath Lucas’s body, wrapping it around his back. “Baby,” he says, bringing his other hand up to stroke the side of Lucas’s neck. “I understand. I do. I know this is something we need to work on, something that needs more time to heal, but I also know that I never want to do that to you again. I won’t.”
Lucas brings his hands up to Eliott’s chest, gently tugs at the soft fabric of his t-shirt. “I know that. I swear, I do. I think I just forget it sometimes.”
“That’s okay. We both just need to keep reminding each other.”
“Yeah. That neither of us are leaving. That we belong together.”
Lucas blinks and his eyes are wet. He shuffles even closer to Eliott and plants his face into his chest. “Yeah,” Lucas says in a choked voice.
He feels Eliott kiss the top of his head. “I love you so much.” He says, and his voice sounds just as wrecked as Lucas’s. “So, so much.”
When Lucas whispers back I love you too he presses his mouth right up to Eliott’s chest, speaks the words right into his heart.
It’s Tuesday and it’s sunny and they’re outside, all of them, only it’s not a hey, let’s skip class because we’re young and dumb and have no responsibilities outside but a hey, we’re young and dumb and we really need to study let’s sit outside for fifteen minutes to remind ourselves that fresh air is a thing outside.
They’re in the courtyard, all propped up along a low concrete wall in various ways, with Emma and Alexis napping, Imane and Manon discussing something intently, heads bent close together, Basile and Daphné making out a little distance away from the rest of them, Arthur and Yann shit-talking each other on something to do with football, and Lucas fiddling with his phone.
“Are you texting Eliott?”
Lucas glances up and sees Arthur and Yann have ceased their conversation to stare at him, wearing matching shit-eating grins.
Lucas rolls his eyes and slips his phone into his pocket. He grips the edge of the wall and leans forward slightly from his perch on top of it, staring the other two boys down. “I know this is a weird concept for the both of you, so try to follow, but usually when someone wants to talk to you, they’ll send you text messages—”
“Ouuuu he gets defensive, doesn’t he?”
“Lucas? Defensive? Never.”
Lucas bites his lip a bit, trying to maintain his glare, but failing.
“Ah, ha!” Arthur points at him. “Don’t front, boy, I see that smile.”
Yann grins at him. “Demaury’s done a number on you, hasn’t he?”
“You’re softer than a marshmallow.”
Lucas rolls his eyes again but it’s no use. He’s fully smiling now.
“Whatever,” Lucas says, because he’s fresh out of comebacks and he’s in love.
Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s the easy teasing, or the warming presence of all of his friends, but something about the moment allows him to linger on the thought, to let it sit on his tongue and melt like caramel. In love. In love. I’m in love with Eliott Demaury.
“Where is lover boy, anyway?”
Lucas shrugs. “He said he had another class, so.”
Lucas laughs a little. “Shut up. It’s not like we have to see each other every second of every—”
The question comes from behind Lucas, right behind Lucas, right into his ear and he startles, craning his head around and clutching his chest.
“Fuck!” Lucas gasps, staring at Eliott as he lopes around to their side of the wall. Lucas is so happy to see him that it almost hurts. “You scared me.”
“Sorry.” Only Eliott doesn’t look sorry. Eliott looks like Lucas must right then, like he’s also thinking about the last time Lucas said that to him, back when they were both sitting at a bus stop.
Eliott greets the rest of the gang as he comes over to them, waving at Emma and Alexia, kissing Imane and Manon on their cheeks, laughing at the hickey on Basile’s neck and bumping fists with Arthur and Yann. When he gets over to Lucas he doesn’t do anything at first. Just gives Lucas that smiles he loves so much, the one where Eliott’s eyes scrunch up at the corners.
“Hi,” Eliott says, rocking back on his heels, hands tucked into his pockets.
“Hi. Are you ditching class?”
“No, no. I just wanted to see you.”
Arthur and Yann are making kissing noises behind them, but Lucas ignores them.
“Oh yeah?” Lucas says casually, leaning back on his hands a bit. “Well, now you’ve seen me.”
Eliott nods a little, in a way that shows its clear he knows exactly what Lucas is doing, knows that what Lucas isn’t saying but means is well, you’ve seen me so please come touch me.
Lucas can’t control the way his heart speeds up a bit as Eliott draws closer, can’t control how his breath hitches, how his skin feels extra sensitive in the span of time between knowing Eliott is about to touch him and actually having Eliott touch him.
Eliott steps between Lucas’s legs, rests his giant hands on Lucas’s thighs and he’s still smiling that fucking smile and Christ, Lucas is so in love.
“Just wanted to see you,” Eliott repeats quietly, just for Lucas. “Just wanted to touch you.” His hands slide up Lucas’s thighs, gripping his hips and pulling him forward a little. “Just wanted to kiss you,” he says before dipping his head and kissing Lucas. It’s gentle, with only a hint of pressure, but Lucas responds immediately, winding his arms around Eliott’s neck and arching into him, deepening the kiss.
Distantly, Lucas can hear some wolf whistles coming from the gang, but he really couldn’t care less. Basile and Daphné make out around them all the time, and yeah, Lucas doesn’t always, but today he does.
He and Eliott both tilt their heads a little, both open their mouths at the same time and Lucas can’t help but whimper softly as their tongues touch. One of his hands is in Eliott’s hair and he tugs, just a bit, but apparently that’s enough for Eliott, who pulls back with wide eyes.
“Whoa,” Eliott whispers and Lucas wholeheartedly agrees. Whoa.
“What the hell,” someone says, and Lucas faintly registers it as Emma. “You guys need to, and I cannot stress this enough, get a room.”
That does the trick of diffusing the tension a little, and as everyone laughs, Eliott gently tugs Lucas’s hands down from behind his neck.
“Sorry,” Lucas says, because he’s not embarrassed but now he’s wondering if Eliott is, if maybe they took it a little far. “Got carried away.”
But Eliott just shakes his head. He presses a kiss to each of Lucas’s hands. “Don’t apologize. The only problem is I liked that a little too much.”
Lucas giggles softly. He squeezes his knees into Elliot’s hips. “Well, when you’re done class, we can go to my place and continue this right where we left off.”
Eliott groans. “Is that supposed to help?” His phone buzzes and Eliott lets go of one of Lucas’s hands to check it. “Shit. I need to go.”
Lucas nods. “Go to class,” he says, using his free hand to gently push at Eliott’s chest. “Text me later.”
Eliott nods and takes a step backwards, still looking a little dazed.
Yann claps him on the back, laughing. “You good, man?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Eliott says. He turns to head back inside and trips on his feet a little. It might be the cutest thing Lucas has ever seen, and he—
“Eliott?” Lucas calls after him, loud enough that it causes Eliott to turn back towards him. “I love you.”
The gang erupts into a cacophony of cat-calling and awww’s, so loud that everyone else in the courtyard looks over at them, wondering what the commotion is.
Lucas doesn’t look away from Eliott, though, couldn’t possibly when Eliott keeps looking back at him with this expression on his face like he can’t believe his luck.
Lucas is familiar with that expression. Knows it from wearing it often.
Eliott disappears back inside the school, but not a minute goes by before Lucas’s phone buzzes with a text.
I love you too.