Ransom and March’s break up came as a surprise to pretty much everyone, but no one moreso than Holster. Of course, he didn’t let anyone in on this little fact, instead casually asserting that he wasn’t going to talk about Ransom’s love life without his permission (a filthy lie) and telling anyone who asked that “it just wasn’t working out, man.”
Holster didn’t even hear it from Ransom himself, which was even more upsetting. Instead, he got a text from April that read ur lucky the breakup was mutual and that was it. He had to confront his best friend in their room later that night to get the full story out of him (which mainly boiled down to: Ransom and March both being too busy to dedicate to a relationship- which makes no sense considering Ransom has spent most of his free time the last month either studying or hanging out with March.)
However, despite the fact that part of him was hurt that Ransom decided to keep something so big from him, there was another part of him, one that he’d been trying to ignore for the better part of senior year, that was happy that Ransom wasn’t dating March anymore. Don’t get him wrong, he liked March just fine and he even thought she was good for Ransom in long run, it was just...
Here’s the thing: Holster had been in love with Ransom for at least a year.
Here’s the other thing: Holster didn’t get crushes- he wasn’t the type of person who fell in love very easily.
It took more than any single look, day, or week. There was a point where Holster wasn’t sure he was going to fall in love at all . It took months and years of living in the same space, of car duets in the summer, and reading each other's mind on the ice. Countless times of calling each other's parents “mom and dad” and dealing with each other's drama.
It started as a tiny seed of warmth that grew whenever they drunkenly hung all over one another at a party or when he managed to convince Ransom to actually watch one of his shitty (amazing) romcoms or binge watch Netflix with him. And it grew and it grew like the Grinch’s fucking heart until one day Ransom smiled at him and he was just done for.
He felt guilty for being happy about the break up, especially considering that Ransom was so irredeemably straight. At least, he was pretty sure that he was- he could almost hear Shitty yelling in his ear about heteronormativity and assuming about people.
The thing was, Holster had tried to tell Ransom in the past, but Ransom just didn’t seem to get it. Of course, 90% of the times he tried to confess the convoluted that was his feelings for him, they were both fucking schwasted, but that was besides the point. Ransom always just assumed that Holster was being his normal affectionate self which, while not unprecedented, he would hope his best bud would be able to tell the difference.
There’s also the fact, that as much as Holster was 85% sure his bff is straight as a board, there’s still 15% of him that wondered . There were days, random little instances where Holster would look up to see Ransom staring at him. There was always something soft about the look, even if Holster couldn’t exactly place it, and he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. The optimistic part of him thought it was about as un-platonic of a gaze as he could get without undressing Holster with his eyes, but the more realistic side (the one that usually won out) was sure he was misinterpreting it.
There was only one way to find out for sure.
Moving into the Haus was either the best or the worst decision Lardo could’ve made for her senior year. On the one hand, she never really got any peace and quiet unless- by an act of god- everyone but her was in class at the same time. Dirty clothes that weren’t hers always seemed to end up in her room and Chowder had a bad habit of dripping water all over the bathroom floor after he showered.
Still, she’d come to enjoy the smell of the weird mix of sweat, pastries, and aftershave, and the constant hum of noise made her feel less alone when she was too exhausted to be social. It was nice to be where all the action was, and to not have to have one of the boys walk her home every time she wanted to get a little drunk. It was also nice to have an actual room where she could set up an easel without having to worry that someone was going to steal her paint brushes if she went to go grab food or take a break for a few hours.
The main and most harrowing change was that she had to make sure she locked her door if she didn’t want anyone to come in, lest she have people barging in at all hours of the day, no matter what she may be doing.
“Larrrddddsssssss!” Holster yelled, as he burst through her door, nearly stumbling over his feet in his haste to get to her. Lardo looked up from where she was laying in front of her laptop, her feet crossed in the air behind her. She was used to this by now, and merely raised an eyebrow at him, before turning back to her homework. “You gotta help me with something.”
“I’m not popping the zit on the back of your neck for you, bro- s’gross, do it yourself,” she responded, bouncing her feet back and forth behind her as she read over her essay. When he let out an undignified squawk and clapped the back of his neck, she smirked. Lardo: 5, Holster: 0.
“Nononono, not that kind of problem- also, excuse you, my skin is flawless .” She let out a scoff and he glared at her. “I need help with a Ransom problem.” This actually got Lardo’s attention. She’d always been close with the two of them, but with Shitty and Jack having graduated, a lot the time she had previously reserved for her two best friends, came to be filled with her dicking around with Ransom and Holster. Then, as the semester went on, Ransom started spending more and more time with March, leaving Holster and Lardo to hang out together alone more often than not.
Even now that March and Ransom had been broken up for over a week, they hadn’t been seeing that much more of the defenseman than they had before. It was starting to feel like they were seeing him even less .
“I need your help to make Ransom jealous.”
“What,” said Lardo, in a flat tone. That was pretty much the opposite of where she had expected this to go.
“I need to make Ransom jealous! I need to know how he feels for me!”
“Okay, just to clarify,” she said, shoving her laptop away from her and pushing herself to sit on her knees, “This is about the feelings you have for Ransom that I am ‘expressly forbidden’ to talk about, right?”
Holster colored slightly, and crossed his arms with a huff. “Yes, those feelings.”
“And you want to make him jealous to see if he has any sort of suppressed gay feelings for you, instead of just telling the dude you’re in love with him.”
“Suppressed bi feelings!” he protested and she held up her hands in acquiescence, because fair point. Ransom liked girls a bit too much just to be into dudes. “And it’s not like I haven’t tried to tell him!”
“Chyeah, when drunk,” she scoffed again, and he uncrossed his arms only to throw them up in the air, almost upending the team photo sitting on her dresser.
“I’ve tried to tell him when we were sober too, like, once! He just went ‘lol me too, bro’ and went back to playing MarioKart!” he groaned, furiously scrubbing his face with his hands in frustration. Lardo sighed and moved herself and her laptop over before patting the bed beside her. Holster took the invitation gladly and threw himself face first onto the bed. She bounced under his weight with a slight squeak but managed to catch herself by leaning onto his back.
“So, how exactly am I supposed to help you make him jealous? Cuz if you’re looking for a hookup or a date, most of the my art friends think you’re too loud- and while that’s hot in bed it’s a problem on a day to day basis.”
Holster mumbled something into her pillow but she couldn’t understand him. When she got him to remove his face from it, he was blushing again.
“I was hoping you could, maybe…. Be my fake girlfriend for a while?” he wouldn’t meet her eyes as he said this, and started picking at the loose threads on her worn pillow case.
“Bro, are you drunk?” Lardo was proud of herself for keeping her voice even though her heart was racing. She tried to keep her dating life separate from the team. After the first few weeks of managing them, she had declared them strictly off limits. The very idea of breaking that rule, even for a fake date, was something she had refused to consider.
Shitty was the exception to her rule (as he often was) but look how that turned out.
“No! I just- don’t really want to ask someone else to do it and, Lards, you’re legit my best friend outside of Ransom and I wouldn’t even trust anyone else to romcom it up with me,” he explained to her, looking both embarrassed and earnest all at once. Lardo didn’t want to admit it- considering it was a stupid ass plan and the exact reason she refused to watch romcoms with Holster unless she was drunk and sad- but something had settled in her when he referred to her as his best friend.
“Fucking hell, I’m going to regret agreeing to this, aren’t I?” she sighed, but couldn’t keep the small smile off her face as Holster let out a whoop of excitement.
“Lards! You’re, like, legit my favorite person right now!” he yelled, dislodging her from his back so he could wrap her up into a hug.
“Alright, alright! I know we’re dating now, or whatever, but I have a reputation to maintain,” she tried to push him away but he just rubbed their cheeks together instead.
“This is going to be fucking ‘ swawesome , just you wait, I’m going to boyfriend you so hard .”
“You better be prepared to buy me, like, so much froyo.”
Holster stopped nuzzling her suddenly and pulled back, a thought coming to his head, “Wait, what about Shitty?” Lardo tried to keep the frown off her face, her grip tightening slightly on his shirt.
“Don’t worry about it. It’s not like Shits and I are dating or anything,” she couldn’t quite keep the bitterness out of her voice and she could feel him ready to bombard her with questions. “Look, I really don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay,” he said after a moment of internal turmoil, “I won’t ask you what’s up, but lemme at least ask you this, do I need to beat the shit out of him for you?”
She let out a not entirely happy, but incredibly fond, laugh at that. “If I did, I’m pretty sure I could do it myself.”
“Well, chyeah, doesn’t mean you have to, bro. Hashtag got your back, you know?” Holster pulled her close again, resting his cheek on the top of her head.
“Yeah, I know.”