Brendon successfully avoids Jon Walker for a whole four days.
“Come on, Brendon,” Spencer sighs, patting Brendon’s knee.
“It’s got nothing to do with Jon Walker,” Brendon insists, hugging his legs tighter. “I… just don’t like that particular Starbucks anymore.”
Spencer rolls his eyes so over-the-top that his pupils actually disappear into the back of his head, Brendon is sure.
“I don’t! Starbucks are a mean corporation that tries to turn us people into mindless masses by taking our money and making delicious beverages.”
“And now you sound like a retarded version of Ryan,” Spencer mutters.
Brendon pouts. “That’s hurtful and mean, Spencer.”
“Well, I won’t be buying anymore Starbucks for you, just so you know.” At Brendon’s indignant gasp, Spencer continues. “You’re a big boy, Brendon. Just give Jon a chance.”
“I’m not gay,” Brendon says immediately, jutting his chin out in defiance.
“Sure,” and Spencer rolls his eyes again, making Brendon want to pinch his belly, hard, “I didn’t ask you to bend him over the counter and fuck him, you know. The only thing I want to do is take my roommate out for coffee without it being a huge emotional drama.”
Brendon chews his bottom lip, ignoring the way his stomach soars when he just thinks about seeing Jon again. He nods silently, takes Spencer’s offered hand and allows him to pull him to his feet.
The two blocks pass far too quickly, and before Brendon’s even settled with the thought, he’s staring at Jon Walker, who is taking a customer’s order, nodding and looking like he’s concentrating, before turning around to prepare drinks. He’s wearing a black t-shirt under the green apron, and Brendon still isn’t breathing.
“Come on, you pussy,” Spencer hisses, grabbing Brendon’s upper arm and dragging him to the end of Jon’s line. Jon still doesn’t notice them, until there’s only one guy left in front of them.
The guy’s order is an epic one, and Jon is frowning slightly in concentration, pushing buttons on the register, and when he subconsciously glances over the guy’s shoulder and meets Brendon’s wide eyes, he freezes.
And of course, of course, Brendon grins sheepishly and does a very lame wave. Jon smiles widely for a quarter of a second, before turning back to the guy, saying, “Sorry, I didn’t catch that last part.”
And hearing Jon’s voice is like ringing a warning bell somewhere in Brendon’s head. “This is a bad idea, Spence, caffeine is very, very bad for you,” he rambles, tugging on the sleeve of Spencer’s shirt. “Please, Spencer, don’t make me have any.”
“So you’ll have a decaf,” Spencer says coolly, raising an eyebrow and silently daring Brendon to disobey his wishes.
“Hey,” Jon says, and Brendon automatically turns around.
“Um,” he says, oh so eloquently.
“Why, hello Jon,” Spencer says pleasantly, making Brendon stare at him in wonder. “Gosh, I’d almost forgotten you work here.”
Brendon almost groans, and when he looks back at Jon, his cheeks are a very mysterious shade of pink. “Can I have a --“
“One chocolate mocha for Brendon,” a blonde, scruffy guy in a green apron identical to Jon’s announces, putting a cardboard cup on the counter, next to Jon’s hands. “Walker here has told me all about your preferences.”
Jon is even redder now. “Um, this is Tom,” he says, pointing a thumb at the grinning guy next to him. “He’s my roommate.”
“Pleasure,” Spencer says, cocking his hip. ”I’ll have an iced latte.”
Brendon glances at Jon before taking his cup. The awkwardness of this whole encounter is going to make him cry any minute now.
“Jonny,” Tom says, and Brendon almost smiles at the cute nickname, “if you want to take ten, I’ve got this.”
“Um,” Jon says.
“Well, I’ve got to get going!” Spencer says quickly and far too brightly, grabbing his latte. “Class and all that. Darn it. Bye, guys.”
He’s gone before Brendon’s had time to blink.
“Um,” Jon says again.
Tom slams a cup down in front of Jon and says, “Seriously, man. Take a break with your friend here.”
Jon has grabbed the cup and rounded the counter before Brendon’s thought up an excuse to leave. Jon beckons his head toward an empty table at the back of the shop, and Brendon reluctantly follows. His head is almost swimming with panicked thoughts. How embarrassing it is that even though Jon had clearly just wanted a fuck, he has to endure Brendon showing up at his work.
“So,” Jon says, thumbing the plastic lid of his cup. “It’s good to see you.”
Brendon snorts, can’t help it. “You too.”
Jon smiles at him. ”How awkward is this, though?”
“So, so awful,” Brendon agrees, eyes wide and sincere, then has to laugh nervously.
Jon stops smiling and stares at Brendon. When Brendon’s done laughing and frowning slightly at the seriousness of Jon’s expression, Jon clears his throat. “Brendon,” he says in a low voice, “about the other night.” And Brendon is probably having a heart attack. “I really hope we can be friends, at least.”
The bottom of Brendon’s stomach drops, blood is swooshing through his ears. “Oh,” he says, clears his throat, tries again. “Oh. Well. Yeah.”
”I mean,” Jon says quickly. ”I really like you. Um, and I don’t want this to be weird. I just. It would be nice if we could be friends. At least.”
Brendon is staring at the table, rubbing a fingernail against the tabletop and following it with his eyes, and nods a little. “Sure, absolutely. That would be, yeah.”
It’s better than nothing, Brendon reasons. It’s better than just seeing Jon when he’s getting coffee, or to pass him at parties. Pathetic as it sounds, Brendon… wants to be around Jon. As much as he can, in any way he can. And if that means losing some dignity, so be it.
“If you want, I mean,” Jon continues, stopping Brendon’s train of thought. “I’m not. You don’t have to, you know?”
“No worries,” Brendon says, but he won’t meet his eyes. “I like you too, Jon.”
“Good,” Jon says, sounding relieved and something else Brendon can’t identify, “great. Awesome.”
He glances at the clock on the wall, and groans. “Back to the salt mine, I guess.”
Brendon smiles weakly and nods. “Could I get another one of these? For the road, I mean.” He waves his empty cup.
“Of course,” Jon grins, “follow me.”
He does, and stands on the edge of the counter while Jon makes his drink. Tom is almost opposite him, glancing suspiciously at a teenager who’s making eyes at the pastries that are on display. When he sees Brendon, he lights up.
“Hey, man,” he says, “there’s this thing, I mean, my band has a gig next Friday.”
Brendon waits for him to continue. When he doesn’t, Brendon says, “Oh, um. Awesome.”
“I know,” Tom says knowingly. ”You’re coming, right?”
Brendon glances at Jon’s back. “I don’t --“
“Great,” Tom interrupts him. ”Bring your buddies; we need all the support we can get.”
Somehow a bright yellow flier makes its way into Brendon’s hands, and he crumples it into his pocket. He gets his cup, thanks Jon, waves uncertainly at Tom and leaves.
When he crosses the corner, he leans against the wall and heaves a huge breath.
His life just got a hell of a lot more complicated.
The next night, Brendon, Spencer and Ryan are sprawled across Brendon and Spencer’s dorm room floor. Blankets are softening the wood, and Brendon has Ryan’s head in his lap and Spencer’s fingers running through his hair.
They’re on their third Molly Ringwald movie of the night, The Breakfast Club (“Bender is the single hottest headcase ever,” Brendon had declared solemnly at the beginning of the movie, while Ryan and Spencer just nodded in mutual agreement), when Ryan’s Sidekick buzzes obnoxiously.
Ryan groans, waits a minute before disentangling himself from the other guys. He grabs the Sidekick from Spencer’s bed and chuckles when he sees the screen. Spencer doesn’t comment, keeps watching the screen, but Brendon turns around. “What?” he asks.
“Nothing,” Ryan says. ”Jon might be coming over, if that’s alright?”
“Tell him to bring coffee,” Spencer says before Brendon’s even opened his mouth.
“Done,” Ryan says, throwing the Sidekick over his shoulder and back onto the bed before heaving himself back into the human pretzel that is Spencer and Brendon.
Let’s just say that Brendon isn’t focusing on the movie for the next twenty minutes, and when there’s a knock on the door that can belong to none other than Jon Walker, Brendon twitches a little.
“It’s open,” Spencer says just as Jon pulls the door open and comes in, carrying a cup holder with four cups.
“A dude pile,” he says happily. “That’s awesome. Can I join?”
“There’s always room for one more,” Ryan says, not looking away from the screen. “Now be quiet, Bender is taunting Molly Ringwald again.”
“Of course he is,” Jon nods, putting the coffees on the floor in front of the TV set and lowering himself down next to Brendon. “Hey,” he says to Brendon, smiling a little.
“Hey,” Brendon says, smiling too, and he can practically hear Spencer rolling his eyes.
“Coffee?” Jon asks, and at Brendon’s nod he leans up, arching his back and making a slip of skin show between his shirt and jeans, and oh god, that’s Jon being flexible. Brendon’s mind goes racing back to a certain night, how Jon had made Brendon break into little pieces and then put him together again. Jon’s face reappears, and then Brendon is holding a cup of hot coffee, back in the present.
“Thanks,” he breathes.
Jon’s arm is warm against Brendon’s, and he suddenly wishes he was wearing something thicker than a t-shirt. He doesn’t need to think of Jon like this, not when Jon so clearly doesn’t have any deeper feelings for him than friendship, and honestly, a friendship with Jon Walker is nothing to whine about. Brendon is glad to get the chance to see more of Jon, to get to know his quirks and preferences. Not that it’ll ever lead to anything more.
Also, Brendon’s pretty sure he’s gay. And stupid.
When the movie is over, both Ryan and Spencer are snoring, tightly entwined on the blankets. Brendon grins and rolls his eyes at Jon, who chuckles quietly and nods his head towards the door.
Brendon follows him up and out the door, leaning back against it when it’s closed.
“So, thanks for the coffee.”
Jon waves a hand dismissively. “No problem. It was great seeing you again.”
Brendon swallows thickly. “Um, you too.”
He’s just realized how close Jon is, how Brendon probably wouldn’t even have to lean forward to kiss him, just pucker his lips a bit and it would --
He feels a puff of warm breath on his lips, realizes he’s closed his eyes in anticipation, and then.
“Okay,” Jon says, and he sounds a little breathless. “Good night.”
When Brendon’s opened his eyes, heart beating fast, it’s just to see Jon walking away.
Yeah, Brendon’s definitely gay.
They fall into a kind of pattern where Ryan and Jon both show up at Brendon and Spencer’s doorstep every night, different movies and snacks in hand. They curl together on the floor, watch the movies and Brendon has never laughed more in his life. He tries not to be next to Jon too much, tries to keep some distance between them so Jon won’t be uncomfortable. Now that they’ve finally gotten some semblance of a friendship going, Brendon sure as hell isn’t going to destroy it by being clingy. It’s hard, though, and even harder when he’s sleepy and fuzzy and Jon’s arm is lying heavy on his waist.
There are more important things than sex, Brendon reminds himself every single fucking time Jon grins that lazy grin that makes his eyes go a little crinkly at the edges. Friendship is more important, getting to see Jon at all is more important.
So in a week’s time, Brendon manages to reconcile with the fact that Jon Walker always will be his friend and nothing more.
“I’m not wearing these shoes.”
Spencer gives a longsuffering sigh and snaps, “Don’t wear the fucking shoes, then. Forgive me for trying to get you to dress in some style, my fucking bad.”
Toeing out of the torture devices Spencer calls sneakers, he grins and picks up his worn Converse instead. He then goes into the bathroom to brush his teeth.
“Hurry up,” Spencer says, “they’ll be here any minute.”
Brendon gives him a toothpasty grin and nods. Of course that’s when there’s a brief knock, and then the door opens to reveal Jon and Ryan. Brendon ducks back into the bathroom, spits and rinses his mouth quickly and checks himself in the mirror. His hair is awesome as usual, so he heads into the main room.
“Hey, Brendon,” Ryan says, not even looking at him, his arms around Spencer’s waist.
Brendon grins at them, and then catches Jon’s eye. Jon is staring at him, eyes a little wide. “Hi, Jon,” Brendon says, fighting the urge to cross his arms protectively over his chest.
“Hi,” Jon says in a high voice. “We should get going.”
In the car, Brendon muses on the fact that this probably will look like a double date to anyone who sees them. And really, would that be so bad?
They’re taking Ryan’s car (an old and beaten up Citroën that Brendon thinks might’ve been red sometime in the 60’s), and the backseat is so small that Brendon finds himself neatly tucked against Jon’s side. Their arms are awkwardly pressed against each other, touching all the way to their fingers. And maybe when Jon’s fingers twitch a little, Brendon moves his in response.
Tom’s band is awesome, just like Tom himself. Brendon jumps and dances, crashing into people who are just as drunk as he is. He vaguely knows that Spencer is somewhere, probably glaring in his general direction, but he can’t bring himself to care. For once, he’s letting go of responsibilities and sexuality issues and family who doesn’t love him like they should, and just dances.
The small but very energetic crowd moves as one and Brendon grinds against everyone, boy or girl. His mind is very fuzzy and his limbs feel loose, but he’s happier and more relaxed than he’s been in a long time, since before he started looking at boys and going ‘hmm.’
Jon, his mind suddenly tells him, Jon is somewhere around and Brendon isn’t with him. He gasps at this revelation, swiveling around, but Jon is nowhere in sight. He starts pushing through the dancing crowd, trying to get to the bar where he can get a better view. He is stopped right by the edge of the dance floor, though, and he just has time to see a heavily made up face with long blonde hair before there’s someone’s tongue in his mouth.
He reflexively kisses back, stumbling a little but straightening when the strange girl snakes her arms around his waist. Dumbly standing there, moving his mouth against the girl’s, his mind is screaming at him. Why the fuck is he doing this with someone who isn’t Jon Walker?
He instantly pushes the girl away, expecting her to get mad. Apparently Brendon hadn’t exactly rocked her world, because she just shrugs and pushes back onto the dance floor. Brendon lets out a relieved breath and turns around to find Jon and the others.
The turning around turns out to be enough.
The first one he sees is Ryan, who is frowning slightly at him, looking vaguely disappointed. The next one is Spencer, who looks absolutely murderous, his arms crossed over his chest. Then there’s -- of course -- Jon.
Jon is gaping slightly, his arms slack at his sides. There’s something strange in his eyes, something insanely like heartbreak and hopes crashing down, and Brendon is hit by a very irrational wave of shame. He tries to run to Jon, but the alcohol gets the better of him, and he stumbled into a couple that’s making out. He excuses himself and walks on.
“Jon,” he says as soon as he’s within hearing range. “Jon, I’m --“
“It’s okay,” Jon says, shrinking in on himself. Brendon aches when he sees it. “I’m, yeah. I’m gonna head out.”
And he slowly turns around, leaving Brendon with his aching body and the heavy shame that’s clawing at him.
“Are you a fucking moron?” Spencer suddenly hisses at him.
Brendon stares at him dumbly. “Wha --“
“How can you be so fucking cruel?” he goes on, and Ryan puts a cautious hand on his arm. “What has Jon done to deserve that?”
“I don’t,” Brendon mumbles, looking at the spot where Jon had stood, watching him with broken eyes. “He looked so. Sad.”
“Of course he looked sad, you little piece of shit!” Spencer roared. “He just saw his date get drunk and make out with someone else -- a girl nonetheless. How the fuck would you feel, exactly?”
“Date?” is the only thing Brendon can say to that. “His… date?”
“Ryan,” Spencer says calmly. “If you have any affection at all towards Brendon, get him the fuck away from me.”
Ryan looks concerned, like Spencer might actually hurt Brendon, and says, “Guys, let’s just go. We can deal with this in the morning.”
Brendon follows them numbly to the car and doesn’t say a word when they get to the dorm. Ryan follows inside wordlessly and Brendon doesn’t protest.
The only thing he wants is to throw himself in bed and forget this night ever happened.
When Brendon wakes up the next morning with a throbbing head and a dry throat, Spencer is giving him the cold shoulder. Brendon flinches away from every glare and goes out to the communal kitchen to get some breakfast.
When he returns, feeling marginally better physically, Spencer is sitting on his bed, arms crossed and lips pursed.
“Sit down,” he says. “We are going to have a conversation.”
It sounds very ominous and Brendon has noticed that it’s always best to do as Spencer says, so he instantly sits down on the floor.
“Here’s the deal,” Spencer says, staring sharply at Brendon. “Jon likes you.”
Feeling like there’s no way anything will ever make sense again, Brendon shakes his head slowly. “No, he doesn’t.”
Spencer growls darkly. “Believe me. He does.”
“But,” Brendon says, frowning in concentration, “he left. When we had sex and all that, or after, I mean, he left. When you have one night stands, you don’t stay. He left.”
“Think about it, Brendon. You haven’t exactly been all that open about your sexuality, have you? I understand that it’s because your family is such a bunch of prejudiced assholes that don’t accept you for who you are. You’ve done nothing but denying being gay since I’ve met you, when it’s insanely clear that you like Jon.”
Okay, Brendon sure is gaping right about now. He thinks about it, tries to see the situation from Jon’s point of view. “Holy shit,” he says in a weak voice. He’d told Jon he wasn’t gay, and Jon had said it was okay, and then Jon had left when Brendon was sleeping. He was just doing what Brendon had inadvertently asked him. “Fuck.”
“I know, right?” Spencer has turned on the TV and is lazily flipping through the channels. “He’s working today.”
Brendon is already tugging his shoes on and trying to avoid falling on his ass. “I know.”
As he closes the door behind him, Brendon hears Spencer call out, “Bring me back a cinnamon hot chocolate and tell Jon it’s on the house for smacking some sense into you!” and rolls his eyes, ignoring him.
There’s a line.
There’s a huge fucking line blocking Brendon from confessing his love for Jon Walker. Whining, he stands on his toes and tries to see Jon. There he is, behind the counter, and Brendon’s stomach swoops in anticipation. Jon isn’t looking as laid-back as usual, not smiling and joking with customers or making stupid Cocktail moves with Tom. Brendon frowns, feeling bad for ever making Jon sad about anything in the world. When the line is down to just one stressed out college student, Jon sees Brendon and freezes.
“Um, hi,” Brendon says lamely when it’s finally his turn. Jon doesn’t say anything, his palms flat against the counter. “Spencer wants hot chocolate,” Brendon continues without being able to stop himself.
“Spencer could have gotten his hot chocolate himself, couldn’t he?” Jon mutters, turning away from Brendon and grabbing a cardboard cup.
Brendon winces at Jon’s dark tone, but continues talking anyway. “He says to say it should be on the house. Apparently he’s knocked some sense into my thick head.”
Jon stills with his back to Brendon, but turns around slowly, frowning. There’s a line forming behind Brendon, college students and office drones and families with small children. And Brendon doesn’t care.
He walks around the counter, ignores Tom’s yelp of amused laughter, grabs a confused Jon by the neck and kisses him. Hard. In front of the entire Starbucks.
There’s a moment of stunned silence, where it’s just Brendon’s lips against Jon’s, begging for something, anything, to happen. Then Jon opens his mouth, follows Brendon’s lead, carefully puts his hand on Brendon’s arm. When they finally break apart, Jon is breathing heavily, pressing their foreheads together.
“Jon,” Brendon says in a low voice, “Jon, Jon, I’m gay.”
Jon’s eyes snap up to meet his. “Really?”
“Really,” Brendon says, pressing tighter to Jon so he can feel just how gay Brendon is. “Especially for you. I like you, Jon, and I’m so sorry for being such a huge dickhead.”
“That’s, um,” Jon says, squeezing Brendon’s arm. “Thank god,” he finally says, letting out a huge breath.
Tom clears his throat pointedly, getting Brendon and Jon’s reluctant attention. “Dude, get out of here.”
Jon looks at him for another moment and they seem to have a silent conversation consisting mostly of eyebrows and meaningful stares. Then Jon grins balefully and tugs on Brendon’s arm. “Come on.”
Brendon follows willingly, barely noticing that every customer’s eyes are on them as they leave the coffee shop hand in hand, grinning widely.
“I want to tell you this before someone else does,” Jon says quietly, watching his fingers rub patterns over Brendon’s pale stomach.
He lifts his head a little, frowning at Jon’s serious tone. “Yes? What?”
Jon’s quiet, his breath huffing softly against Brendon’s skin. Brendon tugs a little on Jon’s hair, wanting him to continue.
“Um, well,” he finally says, but he doesn’t look at Brendon. “This is embarrassing. I sort of. I saw you coming into my Starbucks the week before our, um. Night together.”
“Okay,” Brendon says, still majorly confused. ”I saw you too, Jon. I just didn’t know you then.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s just. You were so, I don’t know, completely amazing, so I sort of asked around about you and Spencer told me you were his roommate. Then he and Ryan sort of. Well, they took it upon themselves to get us to meet.”
Brendon knows he’s gaping now.
“We met at the bar when I was too damn nervous to go over to your table, and I was so fucking lame. Then, well, I had to get Bill the fuck away from you, and we danced and, you know. Which was awesome, really, it was just amazing.”
Jon is rambling on while Brendon is frowning, piecing together what Jon’s saying with how he remembers it happening.
“But you told me you weren’t gay,” Jon tilts his head up and meets Brendon’s eyes for the first time since he began talking, growling, “you stupid fuck, so I was heartbroken.”
Without even giving it a thought, Brendon strokes Jon’s hair softly. He’s feeling sort of elated, a lightness spreading through his limbs.
“And then, you know, the shit hit the fan,” Jon says, letting out a humorless chuckle. “That was awesome.”
“Stop talking,” Brendon says suddenly. His chest is warm, so warm, and Jon fought for him, fought for his attention, and that’s just.
Jon’s eyes are wide. “Do you hate me? Am I creepy?”
”No, I don’t hate you,” Brendon laughs freely, tugging Jon up by the ears. “Sure, you’re a little creepy, but creepy is nice in my book.”
Jon blushes a little and that is just amazing. He blushes and ducks his head, grinning sheepishly.
“Apparently you’re an idiot, though,” Brendon says impatiently. “Are you gonna kiss me anytime today?”
“Bossy,” Jon murmurs, leaning down and touching his lips to Brendon’s, “I love it.”
Brendon laughs into Jon’s mouth.