They both fall in love with her at the same time. It’s not gradual, not the way you would expect. It’s sudden, it’s a decision. Their eyes meet and they turn and stare and her and in silent decision, they decided together they were in love with her. They both fall in love with her at the same time. They always do everything at the same time.
Cook and Freddie meet in year 2. He introduces himself as James but Freddie can’t say his J’s so he starts calling him by his last name instead. Cook is all thumbs and trips over his own feet but Freddie likes the way he makes him laugh and how his smile twinkles when Freddie calls him his best friend. They’re 5 years old and the first thing they do together is become together. From the day they met, they were no longer just themselves, no longer just children with sticky fingers and big dreams. They become Cook and Freddie.
They get arrested for the first time together when they’re 10 years old. It was Cook’s idea, it was always Cook’s idea. Freddie told him they shouldn’t do it but Cook said it would be fun and Freddie always believed Cook because he was his Cook and his Cook would never lie to him. So, one night Cook helped Freddie sneak out of his bedroom and they stole all the snacks they possibly could from the nearest corner store. Obviously they got caught, Freddie knew they would and Freddie was always right. At the end of the night it was okay though, because Cook gave Freddie and hug that he would never forget and beamed at him with a quick apology. They get arrested for the first time together when they’re 10 years old and Freddie would never think of it any differently.
When they’re 12 they meet a boy with Aspergers syndrome. He breathes fire out his nose and makes Freddie laugh endlessly and Cook automatically loves him. Anyone that makes Freddie smile like that will always be one of Cook’s favorite people because Freddie is his person. So JJ becomes their friend, the first friend they’ve had together since the day they met.
They’re 14 when they get their first girlfriends. They’re twins, so obviously their identical and they never do anything with their girlfriends without eachother there. They went on double dates everywhere. They lose their virginities to these girlfriends, even though they didn’t particularly enjoy it that much. When Freddie’s girlfriend breaks up with him because of that, Cook breaks up with his girlfriend. The face of pure despair that Freddie had when he knocked on Cook’s door the night of the breakup and how he held him all night was enough to convince him. He didn’t want anybody who would hurt Freddie like that around them, especially not somebody who made them question who they are. They’re Cook and Freddie , and Cook never wants anybody to make Freddie doubt that ever again.
They’re 16 when they meet her. It’s the same day at the same time and Freddie sees her first. Cook and Freddie share everything, but everything about this girl is what he should think is beautiful so he stares at her until Cook does too. Freddie talks to her first but Cook was always the bad boy and she looked like she was a bad girl. So when he knows Cook and her hooked up, his heart shatters. All of sudden he doesn’t want to be Cook and Freddie anymore because she was his just like Cook was his and he was Cook’s. But Cook wanted somebody else now and Freddie wanted her . He told himself he wanted her every moment of ever day but it never sounded right.
Cook had her and he wanted her, right? That’s why when he saw Cook wink at Effy his eyes would water over and he would constantly ask himself why he wasn’t good enough for her. Why did she want him? Questions swarmed his brain over and over again and he couldn’t stand to be in the same room as Cook anymore knowing that he took her from him. So, he doesn’t. They were separate now. He was Freddie and Cook was Cook and Effy now. They stopped doing everything together, because they both wanted her. Until Katie Fitch asks him to be her boyfriend and, he doesn’t like her and everything in his brain tells him to say no, and says yes.
After he said yes, everything changed. Katie ends up in the hospital and it’s apparently her fault. He doesn’t want to believe it, but did he really know her? He loves her but he cant say she wouldn’t do that. His brain was overflowing with the questions he wanted to ask, he got a phone call from Effy and she says Cook’s in trouble. She says she loves him but he doesn’t care. Cook’s in trouble and he needs to help him because she can’t. They’re Cook and Freddie.
Cook sees Freddie and suddenly, for the first time ever, he’s full of anger and hatred. What did he think he was doing? Effy was his girlfriend and he made it very clear that he didn’t love Cook as much as he loved her so why was he here? When JJ asks her to choose and she doesn’t, she can’t, because she DOES love them both. Freddie looks at Cook and Cook looks at Freddie.
Their eyes meet on the boat, Cook covered in cuts and bruises that makes Freddie’s eyes soften. Cook notices and his soften too. Cook could always get lost in Freddie’s eyes, a soft reassuring brown that swim with emotion. He can see his reflection in them because they’re glassy from tears and love is the only way Cook can describe these emotions he feels right now. Chocolate meets Oceans. Brown meets Blue. The answer is always home. He’s got Freds and Freds has him and that’s all that matters in that moment.
They get Chlamydia together over the summer and now she’s gone it’s like everything is normal again. He doesn’t get a chill every time Freddie walks in a room and Freddie doesn’t feel alone in a world full of loneliness anymore because now they’re Cook and Freddie or Freddie and Cook and they have JJ and they don’t need her. They’re happy. Then she comes back.
Her with her dark brown hair and her eyes, light blue like ice, summoning them both towards her like a magnet. She’s there and now who are they? Freddie loves her and she loves him and that’s all that matters and that’s all Freddie wants. Now Cook is alone and without Freddie he was always a loose canon, a gun just waiting to be fired. Without Freddie, he does stupid things. That’s exactly what he does. Cook doesn’t care, because he sees Freddie smile when she walks in a room and that’s all that matters to him as he watches their figures get smaller and smaller as he goes into the jail. He loves her and he’s his person but they’re together and they don’t need him, so it’s okay.
Now Cook is gone though, Freddie’s love starts to drain. He looks at Effy’s blue eyes and doesn’t understand why he thought he loved them. He runs his hands through her hair and stares into them and hopes she sees the love she once saw in him. He looks deep into the emotion of her eyes, deep and abused and suddenly, he knows why he loved her.
Blue eyes, like the ocean and the sky and all the good things in between, no matter how dull and drained. Blue eyes he’s been staring into for years, since the day they met at 5 years old. He knows now he never loved Effy but he loved Cook. He was in love with the eyes and the endless laughs and the twinkle in his smile that was always tehre no matter what happened. Then Effy happens.
Cook breaks out a jail and Effy is depressed and Freddie is a bundle of confusion. All he wanted to do was crawl into a ball on his bed and never wake up. She was in pain and he was in pain and Cook was in pain and all he could think to himself was : i love her i love her i love her i love her. In his head he thinks, not him . His hand hovers over the fire, desperate for it all to stop. I love her . But Cook is there holding him while he cries, the familiar warmth making him cry even more. He can’t lose her, I love her .
She goes to hospital and now she’s not here he starts writing it down. Everyday, every time he thinks about Cook’s eyes or Cook’s heart or the way Cook hugged him that night. I love her, I love her, I love her, I love her.
He thinks it works and when she comes back and forgot everything Freddie is terrified because he loves her, he does. He loves her and he’d do anything to protect her, so he writes it down a few more times before Cook’s words come into his. “She broke my heart, you broke my heart, hell you probably broke hers at some point too. But does that matter? No. If it does then what are we? Were just three losers screwing eachother”. He looks at his book, almost full and writes in the very last space I love him .
He goes to the person who did this too her and he never comes back. The last thing he thinks about is Cook’s bright blue eyes and in that moment, despite all the pain, he feels safe. He loved him.
Cook knows Freddie loves her and he knows he does too. He sees her lying there and can’t believe he’d leave. When he does, Cook’s heart breaks. He says it’s because he loves her and because he hurt her but deep inside he knows that his heart broke in two the moment Karen told him Freddie was gone. Everything was bad without Freddie because without Freddie he was James and he was never really very good at being James.
Karen brings him the book and says she thinks he didn’t leave. He sees it and flicks through it over and over and over again. I love her, I love her, I love her . It was written in his handwriting in 1000’s of scribbles, until the last page. The words I love him, tiny in the corner of the page barely even visible unless studying it like Cook. He knew. Cook knew and now he understood.
Me too, Freds. Me too.