It was the night of the sixth Bi-Weekly Brosten-Broyd Bash. Matt Boyd and his best bro, Neil Josten, were sitting on the Traditional Bro Sofa in their Traditional Bro Positions. Matt was manspreading enough to cover a cushion and a half. Neil was upside down with his knees hanging over the back of the couch, desperately trying to play Rainbow Road on Mario Kart from his perspective.
“FUCK YOU, YOU TOAD-ASS-BITCH!” Neil yelled, and promptly shoved Matt’s character off the side just before they reached the finish line in 11th and 12th places, respectively.
Matt threw his controller to the side and crossed his arms as the winning cutscene began to roll. “On my life, Josten, if I didn’t love you so goddamn much, I would beat the shit out of you.”
“Do it. You won’t. Punch me. Bet you won’t. Fucking do it,” Neil prodded. “Do it, pussy.”
“I’d rather be alive, thanks,” Matt shrugged. “Your boyfriend would kill me.”
At the mention of Andrew, Neil went into Minyard-Mind-Mode. A tiny smile pulled at the corner of his lips almost every time he thought of his partner, and this time was no exception. “Yeah,” Neil sighed fondly. “He would, wouldn’t he?”
Shaking his head and standing up from his place on the couch, Matt walked over to the fridge to grab another beer for himself and a hard lemonade for Neil. “I will never understand you two.”
“No one asked you to. We’re just…” Neil paused and gripped the neck of the bottle he already had in hand a little harder, aimlessly gesturing as he tried to finish his thought. “We’re just us.”
“Yes,” Matt nodded, twisting the caps off their drinks. “You guys are just you. We’ve given up on trying to figure out how all of that shit works.”
Neil snorted. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe relating to one another through the layers of trauma intrinsic to Foxhood. Maybe because of how good at goalie-ing he is,” he suggested, finishing off what was left of his drink before accepting the next one. “Or maybe just because he’s pretty.”
Andrew Minyard? Pretty? Matt balked. Maybe pretty horrifying. “You think Andrew’s pretty?”
The look on Neil’s face told Matt that he had said the wrong thing.
“Why the fuck would you say that like it’s a question? Of course I think Andrew’s pretty,” Neil scoffed, giving Matt a light kick to the thigh to drive the point home.
“But you don’t think anyone’s pretty,” Matt frowned. “I thought you didn’t think of people that way.”
“Bitch,” Neil closed his eyes. “When HaShem made Andrew, He took His sweet fucking time. Even Andrew’s eyelashes are the perfect length. His eyes have just the right amount of yellow in the green. And have you seen his arms?”
“I have seen his arms. You’re right about that much,” Matt agreed. “I guess I’m just partial to Dan. You know how the Mario CPU won just now? That’s because Dan always plays as Mario. She’s so amazing that she can kick my ass when she isn’t even around.”
“Are you ever going to take the ring out of your sock drawer and give it to her?” Neil asked, rolling his eyes. “You know that she’ll say yes.”
Before Matt could stop himself, he was tearing up. “God, I love her so fucking much,” he groaned, pulling the collar of his tee shirt up over his head to hide his face as he pressed the fabric against his eyes. “I miss her so fucking much. I haven’t seen her beautiful face in...Six hours.”
He didn’t catch Neil pulling out his phone.
“Mom? Come get your man, yeah. He’s crying over you again,” Neil explained, downing half of his drink in one swig as he listened to whatever was being said on the other end of the line.
“Are you talking to Dan? Holy shit, tell her I love her, Buddy,” Matt sniffled and leaned in to talk over the line. “HI BABY!”
“Mhm, yeah, a little tipsy. He said he loves you. Yeah—Matt, I already told her. Matt. Matt, she loves you too, shut the fuck up. Okay, I’ll tell him you’ll be back in a minute.” Matt made a noise of triumph at the news and fell back onto the couch. As Neil downed the rest of his third drink, his phone started vibrating. He smiled at the caller ID and tapped the green prompt on his screen.
“Hey,” Neil hummed. “Everything good?”
Roof, Junkie. My turn.
“Don’t have to tell me twice.”
Neil ended the call with a lopsided grin on his face and looked over to where Matt lay agonizing over his girlfriend’s beauty. “Duty calls. Next time around is lucky number seven on the list. You know what that means.”
Matt nodded his head and gave Neil a thumbs up. “Laser tag, my Good Bitch. Bye, Buddy. Go kick it with your pretty mans.”
“Hey, yourself,” Andrew hummed, pulling the lollipop out of his mouth and tossing it over the edge of the top of Fox Tower and onto the ground below as Neil sat down next to him. “How was Bro-Shit Bastard-Bash?”
“I beat Matt at Rainbow Road while sitting upside down,” Neil shrugged. “So you’re basically dating a god at this point.”
Andrew turned his head to look at Neil and raised an eyebrow. “Did you come in first overall?”
“Well, no. Not exactly.”
“Mm, not good enough. Call me when you aren’t a hopeless failure. I might consider dating you then,” Andrew drawled, tracing little patterns on the back of Neil’s hand where it rested on the surface of the roof.
“Uh huh,” Neil grinned. Andrew was leaning backward and propping himself up in a clear invitation for physical affection, so Neil took his rightful place on his boyfriend’s lap. “Who scored the winning goal in the most recent College Exy National Championship? Who made the Dean’s List?”
“Who blocked the shot that got past you just before that? Who made the Dean’s List with you?” Andrew asked, playfully flipping Neil off only to have Neil grab his hand and kiss his middle finger. “I’m trying to be rude and you’re keeping me from that. Why would I ever consider dating such a thoughtless dick?”
“I ask myself that same question every day,” Neil sighed. “I think I’ve decided that it’s because you’re so pretty.”
Andrew stopped dead at that. “You’re drunk.”
“Not drunk,” Neil corrected. “Just warm. And honest. You’re pretty, ‘Drew.”
The tips of Andrew’s ears flushed pink first, and his cheeks immediately followed. “Stop that.”
“Nope. Never,” Neil shook his head. “Can’t. You told me that I’m not allowed to lie anymore. Not telling you how pretty I think you are is lying by omission.”
“Thought it wasn’t like that for you, Junkie,” Andrew mumbled. As much as he didn’t want to admit it to himself, the fact that Neil thought he was pretty was making his brain do a lot of fuckshit. The kind of fuckshit that went to his heart. The fuckshit that made him feel like insects were crawling around inside him (because he refused to admit that he had something as stupid as butterflies).
“It’s like that when it comes to you. That’s what matters.” Neil reached up and held his hand out in front of Andrew’s face, giving him plenty of time to say no before cupping his cheek. “Your eyes—”
“Neil,” Andrew warned, reaching up to place his hand on top of Neil’s. Neil disregarded him and tangled their fingers together instead.
“Let me say what I want about you, Andrew.”
Andrew didn’t argue any more after that.
“Your eyes, first. They’re so warm. Almost like gold, in the right light. And your face. You have such a nice jawline. Your freckles,” Neil continued, and then leaned in to kiss Andrew’s nose. “The tip of your nose. Perfect for kissing, really. Your chest. Your arms. Your hands.” Neil paused to take one of the hands mentioned and spread its fingers apart, slowly dragging his fingertips along the main lines on Andrew’s palm. “And your curls. So bouncy and soft. Your ears.” To emphasize those points, Neil gently tugged on a blonde ringlet or two and poked one of the thin hoops hanging from Andrew’s earlobes.
If Neil said anything else, Andrew was going to have a stroke. His boyfriend’s gentle touches and soft, open words made him feel like he could fight God and win. “Are you quite finished?” Andrew whispered, taking Neil by the chin and pulling him in for a kiss.
“All of you,” Neil murmured against his lips. “All of you is pretty.”
“I might reconsider my stance on dating you.”
Neil wrapped his arms around Andrew’s neck with a smirk. “I may not have gotten first place in Mario Kart, but I think I ended up winning tonight.”
“Well, according to you, I’m basically perfect and the ultimate catch.”
“No.” Andrew placed his hands on Neil’s waist and squeezed. He might as well just go for it, right? Just to throw the butterflies—insects—back into Neil’s face. “You are.”
”We’re kicking Kevin out tonight.”
”Pretty and smart. Maybe I’ll give you a shot after all, Josten.”
”I think you’ll find that I’m worth it.”