Jeff was eating some cheap takeout and watching 10 Things I Hate About You when he found out.
His phone buzzed next to him on the couch, underneath one of the dozen soft blankets that seemed to cascade themselves over every surface of his living room. He dug around until he felt the contrasting hard surface, and moved it so he could get a good look.
He just expected it to be a text from his sister, or maybe even his parents.
Now that he thinks about it, he did promise his mom that he would call her tonight to check-in.
But he knows he definitely didn't expect to get a text from Eric.
And he’s pretty fucking positive that he didn’t expect to see the message preview read: “so what’s the weather like in buffalo?”
The piece of orange chicken that was between his chopsticks slipped back into its box aided partially from it’s sweet and syrupy sauce, and partially from Jeff’s shock and confusion taking his attention away from his already lackluster proficiency with said utensils.
Snapped from his momentary trance by the quiet plop of his dinner, Jeff unlocked his phone and looked at the message, wondering if it was some kind of joke. Until he got a follow up message that said “can’t be much worse than minnesota i guess”.
He stared at his phone - thumb hovering over the keyboard. His mind was absolutely racing.
“you’d be surprised actually” is what he replies.
But it still doesn’t feel real, so he checks twitter to find a tweet confirming what he suspected.
EIliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNlC): “It is a straight-up trade: Johansson for Staal.”
His heart beat rapidly in his chest. Which... Okay it wasn’t a new sensation, but he hadn’t felt it in a while. Not for a couple of years at least
It felt good.
He looked back to his phone and wondered what to say next.
How do you tell someone that this is the best news you’ve gotten since finding out you get to play close to home for the rest of your career? Someone you’ve only seen in passing for the past four years. How do you tell him that you’ve been missing a part of yourself that you didn’t realize you had no control over, until it was gone?
Jeff turned off his phone and closed his eyes. The voices of Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger on the T.V faded into the background as he became overwhelmed in thought.
Jeff wanted to say so much.
He wanted to say all the things he never got to say.
How every time he reads a used book, the smell of the old pages reminds him of the tombs on Eric’s nightstand.
How skating with someone who can practically anticipate your next move doesn't feel right when it's not with him.
How could he say that blonde hair never looked the same as it did in the evening light under the fall trees of the Appalachian Mountains? No matter how much he tried to convince himself it did.
Like how there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by where he doesn’t think about the first time they were alone in the showers, and Eric cornered him back against the wall and kissed him as the water drizzled over both of their bodies.
How Jeff can’t take a shower without imagining Eric cascading his hands through his brown hair asking “is this okay?” as his whole body shivered in response.
How he never thought that they would get to touch like that again.
But instead Jeff unlocked his phone and texts back “i missed you” because even if he wants to say more, that much he knows is true. He missed Eric so fucking much.
The text bubble appeared and disappeared a few times before five words showed up on the screen: “i’ve missed you too, jeff.”