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With Prejudice

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Carlos nearly spit out his drink as Juan entered the room, dressed – rather fetchingly, his treacherous mind supplied – in a pink play-boy bunny costume complete with white fluffy bunny ears and a tail. Carlos felt his cheeks heat up. That was… a lot of skin. And was — was that a corset ?! Taking a big gulp of his virgin margarita he tried to keep his eyes firmly on Juan’s face, as his friend sauntered over to him in the most unbothered way imaginable while the rest of the party-goers parted like the red sea, and winked at him. Carlos nearly choked again. 

“You know ,” he managed, in a slightly too high pitched voice, as his disaster of a best friend finally reached him, “when I said costume party, I thought you’d come like a pirate or something. Like a normal person. ” 

Juan laughed and patted his shoulder, taking in his (in hindsight) rather conservative and perfectly respectable French-aristocrate-headed-for-the-guillotine look complete with a fake gash across his throat (at least he knew how to dress for Halloween, sue him, nobody said they had to be sexy) and raising his eyebrow.

“Oh Carlos, we can’t all be stick-in-the-muds, don’t you think I look good?” 

Carlos put down his glass. Clearly drinking was off the table right this second. “I I never said you didn’t.” He said, keeping his eyes firmly on Juan’s (beautiful) face. Was he — was he wearing makeup? He shook himself and looked around the room. Almost all eyes were on them, well, on Juan. Who in their right mind would be looking at him when Juan was right there looking like that. A whistle came from somewhere in the crowd, and Juan laughed. It was a carefree, happy sound, and Carlos wanted to bask in the joy of it, rather than having to focus on all of the eyes currently trained on his friend.  

Juan prodded him rather unceremoniously in the side. "Hey, you okay there? Or did I break your poor fragile brain." 

Carlos yelped and batted his hands away, extremely conscious of the fact the entire party was now watching them. He blushed. 

"I’m fine , thanks," he managed, trying his hardest not to stare at either Juan or the rest of the crowd, “you do realise everyone is staring, right?”

Juan snorted and grabbed a distinctly non-virgin cocktail off the countertop, “Yeah, I know. That was rather the point of all this.” He said, casually taking a sip and letting his gaze sweep across the room. He winked at one of the baseball players in the corner  –  an asshole named Raphael, if Carlos remembered correctly – and smirked as the guy’s face went red and he dragged off the girl he’d been talking to. Carlos sighed, shrugging off his fancy coat and hanging it carefully around Juans shoulders. This wasn’t going to end well, at some point Juan was going to wink at someone who would take offence and Carlos really didn’t feel like having to punch anyone on behalf of his friend tonight. His coat caught on what he realised was Juan's little bunny tail to match the ears, and he felt his face heat up further. Juan pouted, but he didn't shrug off the jacket, which was by all accounts a victory.

“Awww, spoilsport,” he said, leaning a little against Carlos. 

“You shouldn’t antagonise them like tha — get your hand off my ass!” 

Carlos yelped, pulling the offending hand away from him and trying his absolute hardest not to die of mortification. 

Juan just leaned a little closer, keeping hold of the hand that had removed his own with an expression on his face that could only be described as predatory, and said: “You know, I think you’re just jealous.” 

And truth be told —  he was. But he wasn’t about to tell Juan that. There were things in life you didn’t share with even your best friend. Just how big your crush on him was probably the first amongst them. Shaking his head a little, Carlos steered Juan away from the crowd and into the abandoned study, both to avoid the, for lack of a better term, pack of glaring athletes, and to maybe stop Juan from embarrassing them both even further. Not that Juan would be embarrassed by anything, most likely, but not everyone was blessed with nerves of steel. 

As the sounds of the party faded into the background in the study and Juan crowded him against one of the fancy bookcases, he realised his mistake. They were alone. In an empty room. Juan, somehow, almost loomed over him like this, despite their not insignificant height difference. 

“I… I’m not j-jealous,” he insisted, but the denial sounded weak even to his own ears. Juan smirked. 

“You’re not? Oh… what a shame. I was rather hoping you were, you see.” 

He shrugged off the jacket Carlos had hung around his shoulders and leaned over him, one hand resting against the wall besides his face as he lifted Carlos’ chin with the other. Carlos tried to avert his eyes, feeling the heat rise to his cheeks once more as he bit his lip, trying to think of a way to get out of this predicament. Juan was just teasing him, that was all. Juan didn’t like him like that. Juan didn’t like anyone like that.  For a moment, he glanced up at his friend's face, at those beautiful eyes that could doubtlessly charm the very sun into shining if they wanted.

“Juan… stop it. Let me up. This isn’t funny.” he said, trying to look anywhere but at the corseted pink bunny outfit that left entirely too little to the imagination. What kind of confidence it must take to wear something like that, he didn’t know, but he certainly would never possess it. He pushed softly at Juan’s shoulder, hoping to get his friend to let him go and perhaps get out of here altogether before he either did something exceptionally stupid (like kiss his best friend) or Juan got himself into trouble (by kissing one of the guests). 

To his great surprise, Juan listened. He straightened and pulled his hand away, helping Carlos stand straighter as well. For a moment, they were silent, Carlos looking firmly at his feet. Was Juan mad at him? Had he finally figured out that Carlos was jealous? That this wasn’t just a joke to him? Was Juan going to make fun of him now? 

A soft hand touched his cheek and he looked up, startled, only to find Juan looking at him with a curious little frown on his face. He swallowed, trying to find the right words to diffuse the situation and pretend that everything was fine, when Juan spoke again. 

“You —” he licked his lips, seemingly searching for words, “you know I’d like it, if you were jealous, right?” he said, almost tentatively, his thumb brushing softly across Carlos’ cheek. 

Carlos blinked, managed to look Juan in the eye, confusion clear on his features. Juan rolled his eyes. 

“Good god, but you’re dense,” he said, a fond expression on his face as he leaned closer. “I like you too, you absolute idiot. I was trying to get you to tell me.”

For a moment, Carlos just stood there, uncertain of what to do or how to respond. And then there were lips on his own, and he decided that responses were overrated anyway. 

And if anyone missed them at the party that night? Well, at least he was keeping Juan out of trouble.

 

~Fin~