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Fall Into Me, and Then...

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The first Saturday night of Spring break, and here you are: exhausted on your bed after a long day of doing chores and housework. An old movie’s on tv- Kiss Me Deadly, a murder mystery thriller. It’s enjoyable enough, kitsch as it may be.

Suddenly the phone rings. Only after realizing the sound isn’t coming from the film do you answer-- it’s no surprise who’s on the other line.

“How’s it hangin’, hot stuff?” Stanley’s gruff voice asks, needing no introduction. “You up for some fun tonight?” His grin is audible through the receiver.

“Depends-- you’re not planning on getting arrested, are you?”

“Sometimes fun ain’t got no plans. Thought we could wing it.”

It’s not like you have anything better to do. “Sure, sounds fine. Maybe the arcade? I heard they got some new pinball machines in. You driving?”

“You know it. Already there.” Just like that, he hangs up.

You take couple minutes to fix yourself up and grab a jacket before heading outside; you’re one step onto your porch before Stan’s car pulls around the corner and into the driveway.


 

The arcade was moderately full, but not too crowded. Stan’s quick to prove yet again that he can get the high score on the punching bag and test your strength machines. He insists you won ski ball on a technicality, but you would have won even if he hadn’t tried to cheat.

Go go go go!!” You’re ecstatic as Stan’s on his last dime at the latest, space-themed pinball machine, hitting buttons in furious concentration.

“Shit!!!”

“What?!”

“Take over! I gotta piss!!”

“Oh my god, Stan--“ you roll your eyes, but do as he asks when the metallic ball lulls into a still spot. “Hurry up! Don’t be mad when I win before you get back- and refill my drink while you’re over there, will ya?”

He affectionately flips you off after grabbing your empty cup and heading to the bathrooms. You pray he didn’t take the cup in there with him and left it on a counter instead, but your thoughts soon hone in on the game in front of you.

In less than a minute you beat the high score by 23 points before the last ball inevitably tumbles back into the machine, playing music triumphantly. You jump with joy in celebration, looking to see if Stan is on his way back yet--

...Only to see him leaned against the food counter, talking with a beautiful brunette in baby blue.

She’s so obviously flirting, playing coy and laughing at something he says, no doubt a joke or sarcastic remark. The concession worker interrupts them by handing Stan the soda pop you asked for. He takes it, then makes his infuriatingly smooth departure with a wink. You whip back around to the machine before he can catch you staring.

“Holy shit!! You did it!” he exclaims as he returns. “Wish I could'a seen it. But y’know, when nature calls-"

You can’t help but laugh, your fingers that you didn't realize were gripping the machine so tightly soften. “Gross.”

“Speaking of, here’s your drink.”

You take the cup from him, noting the pink color visible through the translucent plastic lid and frown. “This isn’t root beer-“

“Nah, it’s even better. Just try it,” he smiles.

You do, wearily, after shooting him a look- then widening your eyes in surprise. It’s delicious.

“Pink lemonade and Pitt, baby- my personal recipe.” He’s almost proud.

“Wow, look at you. Such an innovator. How long have you been sitting on this one?”

He shrugs. “Can’t go givin’ away all my secrets at once, can I?”

“Guess not… Hey-- wanna head out?”


 

It wasn’t unusual that you ended up like this-- with a bottle of booze or two Stan snuck from his dad (or straight up stolen), various packages of junk food splayed out between the two of you on the floor of your room watching whatever’s on TV and chatting away, playing cards.

The more you drink, the less you pay attention to the old clichéd drama, and the less you hide your stolen looks at Stan next to you, lying on his back with his feet rudely propped up against your bed. His nose is flushed from the alcohol, but he can’t be more than just buzzed-- you’ve seen him far, far worse.

You shove his legs from their resting spot. “You’re getting dirt on my bed, asshole.”

He snorts, “Oh please, if you were so worried about keepin' it clean, you wouldn’t get all those crumbs in it-“

You hit his shoulder. “Says the guy with the sticky peanut fingers!!”

He continues, unfazed: “Too bad the only way yer bed’s getting dirty is from snacking--"

You hurl a bag of chips at his big, dumb face. “You’re disgusting!“

“Well, don’t mind if I do!” He opens the chips and helps himself to a handful, being extra noisy about it.

“Pig.”

And with one sudden motion, Stan dumps the chips out of the bag and onto your poor comforter.

He must expect your retaliation, because as you attempt to tackle him, he rolls and pins you to the floor instead, laughing up a storm. “Nice try.”

“Idiot!”

“You’re so cute when you pout like that.”

You hope he can’t tell how your chest fluttered at that, how your body's electrified by the sudden intimate closeness. “Sh-shut up!” 

Oh yeah, good cover.

“That’s cute too.”

You’re still pinned by his hands on your wrists-- his eyes roam your face, grin smug and brazen and infuriating. Your face feels hot-- God, why did he do this to you?!

He laughs at your sound of disgust. “Oh c'mon-- you know you love me.”

Jesus, how were you supposed to keep this up…

You couldn’t take this anymore! As much as a life without Stan in it seemed unbearable, this? This had to be worse. You couldn’t pretend that this was just friendly banter, or that you were just playing the same way you used to in elementary. Doing all the things couples do, except the kissing, the touching, the declarations of love- like it was normal, like you hadn’t felt this way for absolute ages.

Either Stan knows how you feel and doesn’t feel the same and is mercifully sparing you from the embarrassment of letting you down gently, for the sake of your friendship, or-- oh God, he probably thought of you as a sibling or cousin….

Or maybe he was just completely clueless. That would actually be sort of impressive; as daft as he could be at times, it was blaringly obvious to everyone around that you and Stan Pines should be an item. It’s what most assumed until awkwardly told otherwise.

You’re not sure if that option- naivete- would hurt any less. For years you had to pretend like it didn’t make your heart ache every time he flirted with beautiful girls. You had to try as best as you could to be happy for him whenever he bragged about scoring, or a new girlfriend came along. You always looked like the third wheel, whether it was with Stan and his twin brother as kids or when he was dating Carla--

God, Carla. You'd always had a bad feeling about her, but she made him so incredibly happy... And as terrible as it is, when she cheated on Stan and they broke up, you secretly hoped that he'd gotten even the slightest taste of what you feel… In any way, you could never get as close as you wanted. But then again, surely it must just be the booze making you sentimental…

You loved him. Stanley Pines, your best friend; you still remember the blood and snot dripping from his nose the day you came to his aid after he ate shit tumbling down the jungle gym.

He’s been a pain ever since.

But he was the one you let copy your homework. The one who took you to prom when no one asked you, who talked you into the stupidest shit but always made sure to get you out of it, even if it meant throwing himself under the bus. 

You wished more than anything you could be content with that... but you just couldn’t. Not anymore. Not since you realized that what you felt for him wouldn’t fade.

Either he’d feel the same or you’d have to walk away-- for your own sake. Even if you had to leave an immense piece of yourself behind with him.

Your mind is whirling with all this and more, a mile a minute as you're still frozen under his weight.

So when Stan leans down, bringing his face upon yours, you panic, shoving him away and nearly knocking him over. The way his smile falls into a devastated frown almost makes you wish you could take it back. You can’t look him in the eye for a moment.

“Don’t…” The word is all you can manage, the weight of everything you’ve felt for ages behind it, and the crack in your voice gives it away.

Fuck, I’m- I’m so sorry,” Stan chokes, his tone drawing your eyes back to his own and they’re filled with a mix of emotions you can’t quite place. His hand on the comforter tenses into a fist as he speaks again, “I’m sorry. I thought…”

“Though what?” Tears have spilled down your cheeks by this point and the sight visibly shakes Stan even further. God, you hated crying in front of him. “You thought you could just kiss me like that?!

He reddens. “I, I thought-- you! I dunno… I thought you’d be into it-- that you liked me!”

You can’t help the dumb look of disbelief on your face. Your jaw must’ve hit the floor. You sputter, trying to grasp what you just heard. Was he serious?

Rage takes over and next you know, you have a pillow in your fists and are inflicting a flurry of hits to the young man, unrestrained.

“OF COURSE I FUCKING LIKE YOU, YOU FUCKING MORON!” you yell between punches, ignoring the his expletives. “It only took you a decade and a half to figure it out?! You piece of shit!!”

Finally Stan manages to rip the weapon away from your grasp. “Hey!! Alright, okay, hold on! Let’s talk about this!!”

You tear up again, this time with tears of anger. “Are you just trying to fuck with me? Are you fucking drunk or something?”

“N-no! I… I just wanted to kiss you.”

“Since when?!” you’re flabbergasted.

“I dunno!! A while!!” He looks stupidly mortified.

“So… you knew how I felt and didn’t say anything?”

“I- I didn’t-“

But you don’t let him finish, vexation igniting in your bones. “I’ve been in love with you my entire life, and you knew, and you thought you could just- just see what you could get away with?!” You stand, ready to leave your own room and storm to who-knows-where, but Stanley stops you, grabbing onto you pleadingly.

“NO! Please, just-“ he groans in frustration, “I fucked up, but- can I please try to explain?!” His eyes bore into your own, like they do when giving you a pep talk or begging you not to tell anyone about some stunt he pulled that could get him in real trouble; but now, they’re begging you to stay, pleading for you to understand.

The anger melts away and suddenly you realize Stanley Pines is about to open up to you; moreover, the two of you just breached territory into a conversation you thought could only ever happen in your hypothetical scenarios.

You nod, and Stan’s grip on your shoulders relaxes. He moves to take a seat on the edge of your bed, sighing in relief when--

CRUNCH

There’s no hiding your laughter, even as Stan brushes the crushed chips from seat of his jeans with a grumble before pulling the blanket off and onto the floor, along with the mess. You take a seat next to him, still giggling.

And oh man, he’s sweating already. “I mean, you know I’m not good with- words, and junk,” he murmurs shyly, “but I’ll give it my best shot.”

Well, that’s all you could ever ask of him.

“I’ve uh- never been the best with women, as yer so quick to point out- but I guess my relationship with any guy in my life ain’t the best neither,” He laughs dryly. “Somehow it always ends bad. Either I fuck up and deserve it, or I just get shit luck.”

He shifts in his spot nervously. “Point is, besides Ford, you’ve always been there for me, and uh- I dunno know when I started feelin’ the way I do. Maybe it was b’fore I even realized it-”

He rubs the back of his neck awkwardly, chancing a glance towards you. “And I had a feelin’ you felt somethin’ too, but uh, I didn’t wanna be wrong. I didn’t wanna mess up the only good thing I’ve got goin’ in my life now that Ford’s leavin’ and all. But, guess I was just tired of playin’ it safe.”

Now that makes you laugh. “Since when have you ever played it safe, Stan Pines?”

He chuckles, relaxing a bit. “Exactly! That’s what I thought once I got some booze in me.” His look turns serious once again.

“But, y’know-- I mean it. I know I don’t got a lot goin’ for me. Everyone says I ain’t got a future and they’re probably right, but, I don’t care. 'Specially when you’re around.” His gaze meets yours and you’d be embarrassed by your tears if you weren’t so moved. His hand moves to yours slowly, hesitantly.

“You’ve put up with me through the good times and bad. Sappy as it is, I’d uh- I’d really hate t’think of a future without ya in either of ‘em. When I picture myself happy, it’s with you.

Your voice is barely coherent through the waterworks; you can only choke out his name as your arms wrap so tightly around him it almost hurts. Though he’s taken aback for a moment, he soon calms and returns it. Neither of you had ever hugged the other like this, not even as children. His arms are like a tangible wave of relief.

It was all so much, a few of your tears trickle onto his shoulder, darkening his white tee. Pulling away, you come face-to-face, nose-to-nose, cupping his flushed cheek. Surely you had to be dreaming.

But then, your lips meet- and just like that, it all becomes real. Any fuzz surrounding your mind dissipates and is replaced with absolute euphoria.

You did it. You were doing it. Kissing Stanley Pines. Your best friend. Who you were in absolute love with.

But, it was tender and quick, almost an experimental testing of newly discovered waters; you separate, grinning so hard your cheeks would surely hurt if you kept it up. “I knew you were a giant sap.”

Stan belly laughs, shifting you closer to straddle his lap. “Well, if it makes ya feel better ‘bout the pouting thing, you’re not nearly as cute when ya cry.”

You gawk, smacking his shoulder. “Five seconds after kissing me, and you insult me!” He’s snickering, just like his old trouble-maker self. “And you wonder why you have problems with women,” you scoff, wrapping your arms around his neck.

“We could try again?” His smirk is eager to please.

So you do, this time with more enthusiasm, more passion. He hums against your lips as your hands run through his slick hair. Stan breaks for air, moving to the side of your neck and leaving a peck there as his hands run along your sides.

“Everythin’ you hoped I’d be?” he teases.

“I was going to ask you the same thing.”

Suddenly he seems hesitant, realizing exactly what this may mean. “Is this weird? You sure you’re fine with th--”

You cut him off, bringing his face inches from yours again, leaning your forehead against his own. "I’m crazy about you, Stan Pines. I wouldn’t want it any other way."

Stan’s smile is so genuine, so full of joy that you almost hate to lose the sight of it as you kiss him again and again.

“I only ask cuz we might know a lil’ too much about each other,” he warns against your lips. “Liiiike, that one spot on your shoulder-”

“No!! Stanley, don’t you dare-”

But it’s too late.

Maybe this wasn't the smartest idea after all.