It’s been half an hour, and, quite honestly, I am done waiting. At this point, the most perfect man in London could walk through that door, and I still wouldn’t want a second date. I suppose he wouldn’t actually be the perfect man at this point. The perfect man would have showed up on time.
Dev has been on a mission for the past six months to find me a boyfriend. I’m honestly not quite sure why I’ve let him carry on this far, but I definitely am done after tonight. A grand total of 24 blind dates later, and I am no closer to finding “love” than I was at the start of this disaster. I told him I was done after the last one, but I somehow let him convince me to go on one more. I might have to look into going back to therapy if I’m making decisions this ill-advised.
“I promise, Baz. He’s just your type,” he had said, prior to me leaving my flat.
“What? Like the last four?” I had said in response, rolling my eyes. The last four dates he had sent me on had been particularly awful. I mean, really, I’d expect even Dev to clarify that one particular gentleman was even interested in men before setting me up with him (that had been quite a nasty surprise for both parties).
“Give him a chance,” he’d replied with a smirk that told me he knew something that I didn’t. I should have known then that things wouldn’t go well. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past six months, it’s that Dev has terrible taste in men. Truly, I’m shocked that he had the taste to choose Niall for himself.
So here I find myself. I check my watch one more time. 35 minutes late… Maybe I should just leave… I think to myself as I stand up, grabbing my bag from the back of my chair. Even the waitstaff is beginning to give me sympathetic looks. Well, I suppose they have been for a while now. I make my way to the door (there’s no bill to pay. I didn’t want to get anything before my date arrived). Just as I reach the door, it bangs open, and I come face-to-face with my worst nightmare.
I’m late. Shit. It really isn’t my fault. I had a long day at work, so I took a nap. When I woke up and checked my phone, it was already 6 o’clock. I blinked a few times before my brain caught up and reminded me that I needed to catch the bus in 10 minutes to make it on time. It took me five minutes to dress in a panic and an additional three to try to smooth down my bedhead (a lost cause). I sprinted out the door and made it to the bus stop on time, but realized I’d left the flowers I’d bought on my nightstand. Fuck . By the time I’d ran back to get them and made it back to the bus stop, it was too late. Which is how I’ve gotten to where I am now, shaking my leg aggressively as the old lady across from me on the bus glares.
I yank on my curls with one hand, flowers in my lap, as I try to text Penny. She’s been worried about me lately, since she moved in with Shephard, so I guess that’s why she set me up on this blind date. It felt weird when she suggested it, but she told me I’d like the guy, so I agreed. I mean, Pen knows me better than I know myself most of the time. I trust her with this kind of thing.
The bus comes to a stop about a kilometer from the restaurant, and I take off running. I almost run past the place and fall flat on my arse when I try backtracking. Curse these icy sidewalks . I don’t even think as I throw open the door to the restaurant, still flushed and panting (it really is a miracle that the flowers haven’t been crushed. Maybe I should have just left them at home…). That thought quickly disappears when I come face-to-face with Baz Pitch.
“Snow,” I sneer, putting as much disdain as I can muster into my voice. I hope I look bored, because inwardly I’m panicking. This must be a mistake. He can’t be here for me, right? This is all just an unhappy coincidence. Even after all these years, he’s still gorgeous. It’s been… Crowley, has it been seven years already?
I look over his outfit. Red sweater, khakis, a black coat. Oh my god, my date is Simon fucking Snow. I’m going to kill Dev.
“Baz,” I say in a near whisper. My eyes are wide with shock and I’m sure my face isn’t only red from the cold. I look over his outfit. Black turtleneck, patterned pants, a tan jacket. Fuck, it’s Baz?! Shit, he doesn’t even know I’m queer . Oh my god .
I’m sure the panic is showing in my face; I’ve never been good at hiding my emotions. I adjust the flowers in my arm as I try to figure out what to say. Lucky for me, Baz handles that for me.
There’s a question burning in my mind as soon as he says my name. In all our years at Watford, Snow never gave me any indication that he wasn’t straight. He was the golden boy, the Chosen One. He was practically a storybook hero, and storybook heroes are never gay. I wonder passingly what happened to Wellbelove, but I have more important concerns.
“So… Snow… I guess you’re, what? Bi?” I ask as I pretend to inspect my nails. I can feel my face burning as I ask the question and curse myself for drinking before leaving my flat.
Baz looks like he couldn’t care less what my answer is, but he’s got a pretty blush spreading across his cheeks. I feel hot all over and tug at my curls. “Uh… I prefer queer, actually…” I mutter under my breath, averting my gaze.
I wish I could say that this is the first time I’ve thought of Baz since leaving Watford, but that’s not true. He pretty much was all I could think about after I defeated the Humdrum. I moved in with Penny and things seemed to be perfect, but I couldn’t get Baz out of my head. I started drinking myself stupid, but he was still there. It took a whole year of therapy and tears for me to finally realize I was in love with him.
It had hurt. I was drunker than I’d ever been and was screaming at the empty walls about how I couldn’t stop thinking about his stupid posh shampoo, ridiculous accent, and biting wit. Penny came home and found me crying my eyes out, fully clothed, in the shower. I could barely breathe as I sobbed. I somehow managed to tell her I missed his stupid, beautiful face and how he made me feel butterflies every time he walked into the room as she pulled me into a tight hug. She kept a closer eye on me after that and stopped giving me money because I couldn’t be trusted not to buy more alcohol.
Looking in his face now, I wonder how I ever thought otherwise. He’s even more perfect than I remember. I’m so busy losing myself in the hard lines of his face that I almost miss what he’s saying.
Snow looks completely lost in thought. I feel awkward under his stare. Maybe it’s the need to say something, or maybe it’s the fact that I have nothing left to lose, but for reasons I will never fully understand, I open my mouth.
“Well, Snow, shall we eat?” I ask, gesturing toward the table I have just vacated.
Snow finally looks up into my eyes. I stare right back at him, raising an eyebrow in question. I feel like I’m back at Watford, staring him down in challenge from across the dining hall. But this isn’t Watford, and there’s a real chance here. Well, more real than I ever had at school. I think Snow can feel it, too, because I see a tentative smile slowly form on his face and his eyes light up. Merlin.
I’m scared. Terrified, really. I don’t know if I can handle my heart getting broken by Baz (again?). I realize I’m smiling as I respond, “Uh, yeah.” Baz must not have been expecting that answer (can’t say I blame him) because I manage to startle a small smile from him.
“Well, come on then, Snow. There’s no time to lose,” he tells me, turning his back to me and walking toward a table with two chairs. I follow him, a flush still covering my cheeks, ears, and neck. He pulls a chair out for me and I grin at him as I sit down. He sits across from me. He still has a small smile on his face, which only makes me smile wider. I can’t believe this is really happening.
I can’t believe this is really happening. I can’t quite manage to stop myself from smiling. Snow smiles wider, before seeming to remember something with a jolt.
“Oh, I almost forgot!” he gasps, shoving a bouquet of flowers at me. Now I know I’m really blushing as I reach out to take it.
“Thank you, Snow,” I mutter. I clear my throat and turn to place the bouquet in my bag. When I turn back to face him, I find him frowning slightly. My heart stutters and my face falls. “Is there something wrong?” Is he having second thoughts?
“Can… Can you call me Simon?” he asks, tugging at his curls again (it truly is a wonder he hasn’t gone bald already).
“It’s just- well, I was thinking- I mean-” he frowns further and takes a deep breath, closing his eyes for a moment. “Just… If we’re going to be on a date, could you at least call me Simon?”
“Is this still a date?”
“I mean. It is if you want it to be?”
I consider for a moment. I know what I want the answer to be, but am I really prepared for this? Can I handle getting my heart broken? “Alright, Simon,” I respond, giving him a smirk that’s more confident than I really feel. I’m rewarded with that same bright smile from earlier.
I still can’t quite believe I’m on a date with Baz Pitch. It feels like all the dreams I didn’t know I had in my teen years have come true. He tells me about his job teaching at a Normal school (I really should have guessed - he’s always reminded me of the scary English teachers I had before coming to Watford). I tell him about my work as a mechanic (I’ve always been good with my hands). He almost snorts out his wine from laughter when I tell him about Penny and I’s disastrous trip to America two years after graduation.
We’ve slowly been inching our chairs closer together. At some point, I hold out my hand and he takes it.
“Yes, Simon?” He hums, running his thumb over the back of my hand.
“Can I kiss you?”
He looks up at me and it’s the most content I’ve ever seen him. “You don’t have to ask.”
So I kiss him, and it’s the most wonderful thing in the world.
Perhaps Dev can live another day.