There was a knock on his door, but Isak didn’t bother to reply. After a short pause he heard the door open. He buried himself deeper into the blankets.
“Fuck off, Eskild! I told you to leave me alone.”
Isak groaned. “I don’t want to talk to you either. I know what you’re going to say. I’m not going to apologize.”
A weight settled on the foot of his bed.
“What’s going on with you?” Jonas asked. „Why didn't you tell me you lived here? Why did I have to hear it from Vilde?”
“What part of 'I don’t want to talk' don’t you understand?”
He felt Jonas reach over and pick something up from the floor. „Did he draw this? It’s uncanny.”
Isak swallowed hard. If Jonas saw the drawing, he sure as hell saw the words above it. The heart.
“You can talk to me, you know. When have I ever given you a reason not to trust me, Isak?”
Isak pushed away the blankets; they made him feel like he was about to suffocate. He stared resolutely at the ceiling. “I can’t talk about… this. I just… can’t. I-I don’t understand it and I don’t want to be this way. I don’t know what to tell you, really.”
“But you like him.”
“I really can’t talk to you. Especially not you.”
“Me? Why not me?”
“Is this about what Eva has told me? About your feelings…?” Isak’s whole body went still.
“Fuck! Don’t say it! I’m gonna kill Eva. She promised she wouldn’t tell.”
“But you don’t like me like that anymore, do you?”
Isak looked over at his friend. No, those feelings were gone. Everything was erased when he first saw Even.
“No. I was just confused. It wasn’t anything serious, really. It was a long time ago and I’m over it.”
“So what’s the problem? He likes you back, doesn’t he?”
“He has a girlfriend. He only likes to hang out with me in secret. And now he changed his mind completely. I feel like an idiot.” It felt good to finally say the words out loud. He was grateful to have Jonas hear him out.
“Maybe he’s also afraid of...”
“I don’t know what I did! Everything was great and then suddenly it wasn’t! I keep thinking about where I messed up… and I just don’t know. He was back with his girlfriend at Emma’s party when they were supposed to be taking a break! It made me so angry…” Isak glanced at Jonas. His friend wasn’t disgusted as he thought he would be.
“You just really like him. Of course it hurts if you see him with someone else. Sometimes it still pains me to see Eva with other guys even though I no longer have those kinds of feelings for her. It’s normal to be hurt.”
“I miss him.” It hurt just to say the words. Even’s absence was like a great hole in his heart.
“Well then maybe you shouldn’t miss school for two days in a row,” Jonas said with a grin.
“I felt like I couldn’t look at him. I’ve been acting like a clingy child, of course he doesn’t want anything to do with me.”
“I doubt he said that.”
“He didn’t have to say it! I behaved like I was his boy-” Isak burst out.
Someone knocked on the door.
“Eskild, not now please!” Isak yelled.
The door opened anyway. Even’s eyes studied the scene as he stepped inside. “Hey,” he said. He gave a short nod to Jonas, but his eyes settled on Isak.
“Er…” Jonas stood up. “I’m gonna go. Isak, call me?”
“Yeah. Uh, thanks, you know… for uh, everything.”
“No problem. You can always talk to me,” said Jonas. “Well, I’ll better be off. See you at school?”
“Yeah,” Isak nodded.
The door closed behind Jonas. Isak suddenly felt anxious to be in Even’s proximity. It didn’t help that Even sat down on the bed.
“I’m sorry,” said Even.
“What for?” Isak asked looking down at his hands. The water droplet drawing was still at the foot of the bed where Jonas left it. Isak wished he could hide it from view.
“I behaved like an asshole,” said Even.
“I… was just confused. Everything happened really fast.”
Isak didn’t say anything. He could relate. He knew it all happened in a matter of weeks and he felt like he was in over his head.
“It scares me how much I like you,” said Even. Isak raised his head so he could finally look at him.
“You are nineteen. How do you think I feel? You just… you just broke it off over a text. Next thing I see is you kissing your girlfriend.”
Even winced. “You were at Emma’s?”
Isak just looked at him in affirmation.
“I pushed her away eventually.”
“Oh, how nice of you.” Isak hoped his tone conveyed his feelings over the matter. “Why bother lying to me about breaking it off with her when you knew I would find out eventually? Or maybe you just didn’t care if I found out.”
“I did break it off. Emma invited Sonja and she was a bit drunk. She came on to me. I didn’t realize at first…”
“Didn’t realize you were kissing?”
“Didn’t realize why I shouldn’t be kissing her,” said Even. His words were like a punch to Isak’s stomach.
“Why are you here then?”
“Don’t you understand, Isak? Ever since the Halloween party I can’t stop thinking about you. About us. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been with Sonja for almost four years. I really like you. I like you too much. I’m two years older than you. I’m messed up.”
“Right. Messed up.”
Even watched Isak. He hesitated for a second. „I want to tell you. I will tell you, but now is not the right time.”
“So you only came over to tell me that?”
“I was worried about you. No one has seen you in school for days.”
“I would have only punched someone if I saw you. My friends all hate me. I even managed to piss Eskild off. All because of you.”
“I’m sorry. As you can see, I don’t have my life sorted out either. In fact my life turned upside down the minute I met you.”
“Well, so did mine! We are clearly bad for each other.”
Isak didn’t even notice how close they were until Even was almost nose to nose with him.
“That’s not what I meant at all. I’m saying this all wrong. What I meant is… I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. Halloween night was special and I’ve handled it all wrong after. I have some issues… and I’m not trying to blame it on them… I thought I needed time, but I missed you like crazy.” Isak felt like there was something stuck in his throat. He found it hard to breathe.
“Seeing you with her -”
“I know. I’m sorry. It was stupid. I missed you and I felt lonely. I shouldn’t have kissed her back at all.”
“So, what now?” Isak asked. Even smiled at him. He could never resist when Even smiled at him. He had one of those smiles that lit the room up.
“I meant what I said about us dating. I would like us to be a couple.”
“Yeah?” Isak asked. He found it hard not to smile, so he stopped fighting it.
“Yeah. If you feel like you’re ready?”
“Yeah, I’m ready.”