Warnings: profanity, and of course lots of sexy times w/ Grahamscott.


Warren

"How to tie a tie"...

My ears are burning with shame as I enter this into the Google search. I can solve chemical equations and have the entire Periodic Table memorized, but I've never tied a tie before. And even after many how-to articles and YouTube videos and visual diagrams, I'm closer to tying a noose when Nathan enters the room.

"So what's with the note—" He bursts into laughter. I know he's laughing at me, but I relish the sound because I desperately miss hearing it. "Graham, what the fuck. You're a mess."

Nathan was out with Victoria while I did my trig homework, so I used the opportunity to tape a note to his closet:

"Wear your nicest suit and tie and get ready to Silicon + Nitrogen with me tonight ;)

LOVE, the boyfriend xoxoxoxoxoxo

P.S. my dorm at 8 PM – be there or be regular quadrilateral."

"Holy hell," I say, looking up from my tie.

Never have I wanted to pin someone against the wall this badly.

Nathan always looks good – that's a given – but I've never seen him in a suit before… and he looks like he belongs on the goddamn cover of GQ, especially with his blood red bow tie and handkerchief gracefully spilling from the breast pocket. God my chest hurts just looking at him, and the longer I do, the more inappropriate my thoughts become, so I'm quick to look away.

"What?" Nathan looks down at himself with a frown. "This is my best suit."

I clear my throat awkwardly. "Sorry I just... you uh – you look... nice."

The word I'm looking for is 'fantastic', but I don't need to feed this kid's ego.

He smirks, and then examines me thoroughly. "Jesus. Please tell me this isn't your best suit, because this is just fucking sad. The jacket's too long and – sneakers, Warren? Are you shitting me? You can't wear those with a suit, you adorable idiot. If you can even call this a suit."

I fidget shyly with my sleeves. "I borrowed most of the stuff from my dad, so it doesn't really fit. And I realized I don't have any nice shoes..."

He sighs, pointedly. "Also, you look like you're about to choke yourself with that tie. Here —let me."

I sit still, bathing in humiliation as my boyfriend ties my tie. It's not even a particularly nice one; it's this obnoxious shade of purple that I'm pretty sure my dad bought as a joke.

"Why are we in suits, anyway?" Nathan's fingers move impossibly fast as he undoes the mess I have created. "I thought that wasn't your thing."

"Well, yeah. But – it sounded like it was your thing. So... you know, I thought we could dress up but still go on the date like we planned. So it's like a mix of what we both want."

"There." He pulls the tie into place. "That's much better. God – if I didn't love you so fucking much, there's no way I'd be caught dead with you looking like this. But I guess it's the thought that counts."

I scrubbed my filthy Converse clean for the occasion, but they are still torn and battered. The dress jacket is baggy and the sleeves are ridiculously long, reminiscent of Snape's robes in the Harry Potter films. And I didn't iron the shirt or pants (because how the hell do you iron clothes?) so they are wrinkled beyond belief.

And, of course, Nathan looks like he just came from a red carpet event.

"Kind of a funny sight," I remark. "It's like a before and after photo."

Nathan shakes his head. "You ready to go?"

I pat my pockets to check for my phone and wallet. "Let's blow this popsicle stand, honey bunny."

"Please never repeat that sentence."

"No promises, pumpkin."


We take my car, because I don't trust Nathan to drive. He's a speed demon with a case of terrible road rage (he once tried to throw a glass bottle at someone's car) and honestly, it's like Fast and Furious every time he gets behind the wheel. Just without the fiery explosions – and even that's a tentative statement.

"Yo, quiz time. Since the chem test is next week. Can you describe Ostwald's Dilution Theory?" I ask, turning down the radio. The silence I receive is nearly suffocating. "Okay, okay, we can go simple. What classifies an acid?"

"No."

"What about a base?" I try.

"No."

"Nate. Did you even take notes on this chapter?"

"Why bother," he asks, crossing his arms, "when I can just photocopy yours?"

"... You've never asked to see my notes."

"Whatever." His leg bounces erratically. "Haven't gotten around to it. So – what's playing tonight?"

"Oh... I dunno, I forgot to check." I pull into the parking lot and snag one of the only spots still available. "Guess it's a surprise."

Nathan rolls down his window and then withdraws his red handkerchief. Concealed in the silky fabric is a plastic baggie filled with a few joints and a Zippo. I should've known the air of sophistication was too good to be true.

"You want one?" He asks, a joint dangling from his teeth now.

"I'm good." I roll down the windows for better ventilation.

Occasionally I'll get high with Nathan, but usually I just accompany him while he lights up. This is partially because of my shockingly low tolerance to weed; last time I got baked, Nathan had to hold my hand for two hours while I had an existential meltdown.

Smoke billows out of Nathan's nose, and then comes spilling from his mouth in a hazy cloud. His hand twitches every time he raises the joint to his lips.

"Get over here," he commands. "On my lap."

"Why?" I grin.

"You're not going to make me beg, are you?" His voice is playful, but his eyes are anything but. Where does the light go when it leaves? I want to know.

I awkwardly climb over the center console and then drop into Nathan's lap. This close, I see the sweat collecting on his forehead, his eye bags digging ruthlessly into the skin.

He blows some smoke out the window and then caresses my hair with his free hand. "Okay. Where do you see yourself in five years?" His laughter quickly dissolves into a dry cough. "God, that's so fucking cheesy."

"No, I got this." I rub my hands together. "Okay – so I'm graduated with my bachelors at MIT, riding a sick Lexus, and receiving accolades for being the youngest person to make a massive breakthrough in quantum physics. Oh, and for inventing time travel."

He snorts. "You're gonna build a time machine?"

"Shut up. What about you? In five years?"

His face falters, but recovers quickly. "Hey, open up."

"What - ?"

He takes a long drag from his joint and then presses his lips to mine, blowing the smoke into my mouth. It's hot as it trails down my throat, pulls itself into my lungs.

"A little bit won't kill you," he says, putting out the joint on the dashboard. "We better get going, right?"

My brain knows all the motions – roll up the windows, unlock the doors, get out of the car – but I can still feel his mouth on my lips, I can still feel him and maybe it's the weed but just looking at him makes me so dizzy, and I know love and lust make your head spin, and I don't always know which is which, but I know I want to stay here.

"Graham. We gonna sit here all night?" Nathan looks at me questioningly.

"S-sorry. Uh." I play with my thumbs. "It's just, ah..."

"Spit it out, you dork."

I dig my phone out of my pocket and begin texting like rapid fire before I get too embarrassed and change my mind.

"I want to fuck you really badly, but I don't want to wrinkle ur expensive clothes... ;w;"

Nathan glares impatiently until his phone finally buzzes, which takes an excruciating fifteen seconds. I cover my face with my palms because I refuse to witness his reaction to my fucking lame text.

"Jesus..." His sigh of exasperation makes my face burn painfully.

When my phone eventually vibrates in my lap, I want to throw it out the car window. I grimace before even looking at the screen.

"U FUKING LOSER. IM DATING THE BIGGEST GEEK AT BLACKWELL WTF

and bby if u wanted sum of this u could have just asked. i dnt mind getting down n dirty"

Oh, my god.

I stuff my phone back into my pocket even though I want to smash it underneath my shoe and destroy any evidence of these messages.

Nathan jams the button to tilt the seat back, and then climbs on top of me. "How long before the movie starts?"

"Uh-" I glance at the car's clock. "Ten minutes..."

He fiddles with his phone, and then drops it on his car seat. "I set a timer for seven," he says and then kisses me with aggression, tongue snaking through.

Gripping both my wrists, I'm forced to lay immobile as he attacks my mouth. He makes me taste his cigarettes, the orange soda he chugged from the gas station when nobody was looking. I suck on his bottom lip, but all I can think about is grabbing him by the collar – running my hands through his hair – ripping open his shirt, buttons popping off – and my fingers ache with longing.

He notices me straining under his grasp.

He flicks my ear with the tip of his tongue. "What's wrong?" He whispers, breath hot, and then bites on my ear lobe. When he pulls away, there is an especially dark smile tugging at his mouth. And I must look desperate, because he finally releases me.

I clutch his bow tie and yank him closer to me. He gasps, now. I grip his face with both hands, angling it so his neck is exposed. Licking the skin at first, gentle flicks and then running my tongue up his throat. And then I bite down,

hard – with rabid force. He moans, his throat hums, and I feel the vibrations on my mouth as I suck on his skin.

"I didn't know," he pants, shoving his hands in my hair, "that you were so into guys in suits."

"I..." Jesus his fingers – they give me shivers, make my skin prickle. "I didn't either." My teeth sink in again and again. From agonizingly pale to bright red, and when he wakes up in the morning – blues, purples and greens galore.

At first I didn't like hurting him, even like this. But watching his eyes roll back, fists clenched – and then rubbing the bruises the next day – well, is this what desire feels like? I can't make myself stop.

"Make me bleed," he whispered once, and it scared me, until it didn't.

"Huh... ahh-" His hands trail down to my shoulders. "Don't get me wrong, 'cause you look fucking cute in your suit too, but-" He starts to grind against me. "... I really wanna see you naked right now."

A thousand witty remarks buzz around my brain, but all I can do is groan as his hip bones crash into mine.

Like unrelenting waves.

"Nathan?" I whisper. I feel the hardness in his pants as he thrusts into me. Something in the pit of my stomach sets itself on fire. "What if someone... ugh... sees us?"

Even now, my face still gets warm at the thought of someone peeking into the car window.

"I hope they do." Nathan grunts, nails clawing into my shoulders through the layers of fabric. I can feel myself stiffening, and I know we should slow down – but we're on a countdown, and every aching millisecond must be put to good use.

For the next five minutes and nineteen seconds, we don't speak. No, the soundwaves are alive with moans and heavy breathing. Squeaking upholstery, Cool for the Summer by Demi Lovato swimming from the car radio.

Got a taste for the cherry, just need to take a bite. Don't tell your mother... kiss one another, die for each other.


The timer goes off, and we linger for a few seconds. Nathan's eyes are dark and delirious, and it takes him a few moments to settle. But with heaving chests, we step out of the car, concealing our snacks from the gas station. Thighs sticky with sweat, faces pink and shimmering.

"No doubt everyone is here for Pulp Fiction," I say, reading the marquee. It's Pulp Fiction, Bridge to Terabithia and Pierrot le Fou.

"Hell yeah." Nathan cracks his knuckles. "That's because Tarantino's the shit. Who cares about the other two? I didn't even see that Terabithia… whatever."

I nearly give myself whiplash looking at him. "Hold on, hold on. You haven't seen Bridge to Terabithia?"

He shrugs. "Isn't it Disney or whatever? Not really my style."

"We have to see it."

He laughs, but it fades quickly. "... You're serious? But – Pulp Fiction, Warren. Come on."

"Dude." I fish my wallet from my back pocket and thrust a few bills at the cashier in the ticket booth. "It's about to start. Uh – two for Bridge to Terabithia."

The guy snickers at me as he slides over the tickets. "Didn't think we were gonna sell any tickets for this tonight. Enjoy the show, guys."

"I was going to pay..." Nathan grumbles. "And I never agreed to this."

"Nate, it was two bucks." I say, grabbing his hand before he can shove it into his pocket broodingly. "And don't be so grumpy. This movie is a classic and you're gonna watch it if it's the last thing I do."

"Pulp Fiction is a classic."

"Yeah, but does it have any magic in it? I think not."

He continues to pout up until we are settled in our seats and I have to shush him because the opening credits are starting. But my boyfriend is the reigning champion of sulking and could have easily kept it up throughout the entire film had I let him. He slouches down, silently eating his Sour Patch Kids with a sneer on his face.

I know he isn't seriously upset about the choice of film, because there has been a melancholic air hanging around him the entire night - or maybe it's just left over from yesterday. Things like that take a while to disintegrate.

I nudge his shoulder for his attention, and then try to feed him a Red Vine. His mouth quirks up in a faint smile before he bites into the licorice. I let him have most of it, but bite down on the other end so we end up sharing it Lady and the Tramp style. Our mouths brush briefly, and he looks up at me in surprise.

"You tricked me," he says, still smiling. "Y'know, the theater's empty. So... if you want, we could continue where we left off."

"Oh my god – this – this is a Disney movie," I sputter. "You can't just – dry hump during a Disney movie, Nathan."

"You're such a prude," he mumbles.

"I can't let you corrupt Bridge to Terabithia."

He slouches down again, avoiding eye contact like I've badly insulted him and sighing with exaggerated distress. He manages to mope in silence for another fifteen minutes – because even the champion has to give it a rest after a while.

"Warren." He whines. "I'm so cold. It's like a fucking igloo in here."

"You're wearing three layers of clothes, you big baby." I frown – a dress shirt, vest and dress jacket and warmth still evades him.

"I can't feel my fingers," he says. "I have goose bumps – I'm going numb."

I shake my head. "I knew this was gonna happen. I'll be right back—try not to freeze to death while I'm gone."


I return from my car with a Legend of Zelda blanket draped over my arms. I always keep a spare blanket in the trunk for Nathan, because cold electricity runs through his veins. It's impossible for him to get warm. I'm convinced he'll never get used to this Oregon chill – doomed to a life of shivering bones and icy fingers.

Strolling into the theater, I expect to find him curled in on himself, hands pulled inside his sleeves and whining about the eternally arctic temperature in movie theaters. But when I come in with the blanket, he's sitting up tall in his seat, hands folded and eyes un-blinking.

"Hey." I whisper, wrapping the blanket around both our shoulders. "What'd I miss?"

Nathan leans into me, but doesn't tear his eyes from the screen. "Shh. They're in Terabithia."

A sly grin consumes my face. This movie sucker-punched me in the heart when I was eleven, and soon it's going to do the same thing to him. I really can't help but wait with disturbing anticipation.


"Jesus. He gave her a dog? ... That's fucking cute."

"I know. Hey – don't touch my Red Vines, nerd."

"But I ran out of candy."


Nathan bites at his nails, wincing at the screen.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Not nothing."

"No, it's just – Jess's dad reminds me of my dad. All the yelling… it's like a bad dream, and you can't wake up. Because you're already awake. And this is just your life."


"Why didn't he invite her to the museum? That's cold, brah."

"'Cause he has the hots for his teacher. Duh."

"What a little perv... Zooey Deschanel isn't even that hot."

"Oh, by the way. Prepare yourself."

"What the hell does that mean?"


"Oh, WHAT THE FUCK! I'm done. I am so fucking done."

"Hey – if you walk out of this theater – HEY, you better finish this movie, Prescott."

"Warren, you asshole, how could you do this to me?"


I reach for Nathan's trembling hands, but he pulls them away violently.

"Don't even touch me right now. Motherfucking shit, I told you we should have seen Pulp Fiction. What kind of hell is this?"

"Come on, babe."

His eyes are bloodshot, bluer than ever. Cheeks damp. He dries them with his jacket sleeve. "Oh my god – he's pouring it all in the river... she gave him those paints, Warren – what the fuck. You better not do that to me."

I squint at him. "Do what?"

"When I die. Don't just dump all my shit in the fucking river."

"What do you mean – when you die?" My throat feels abnormally dry.

"Everybody dies," he says quietly, pulling the blanket closer to his body. I gave up trying to share it with him about five scenes ago.

"Obviously." I fidget in my seat. "But it's like you know you're going to die first, or something."

Nathan glances at me. "I don't. Obviously. ("Is it like the Bible says? Is she going to hell?") Hey – you think I'm going to hell?" He asks flippantly. Though his jaw is tense, face stiff.

I clench my fist. "Do you have to say stuff like that?"

"Figures." I have to read his lips, he says this so softly.

"What?"

"Nothing."

I sigh loudly, my face pinched. "Jesus Christ, if you say 'nothing' one more time—"

"Wh-what?" He hisses. "You'll what?"

"Nathan—"

"It's not like you give a shit. Oh my god, it's just fuckin' useless babble, okay? Forget it."

"What the hell are you talking about?" I snap. Something volcanic is bubbling beneath my skin, and I don't like it. "Of course I give a shit. Why would you even think—"

"No, no, no-" He punches the arm rest. "You can't say that, because I know you're fucking sick of this. Don't even pretend you're not."

"Jesus, stop interrupting me." The words scratch my throat. "And I just – sick of what, Nathan? I mean, what does this look like? I'm here. For you."

"You say it like you don't want to be here. I don't need your fuckin' pity, okay?" He peels off the blanket and dumps it in my lap. Is he seriously too good for my blanket, now?

"That is NOT what I said." My nostrils are flaring, but I can't help it. "God, this isn't fair. You know I'm always there for you."

"Because you're supposed to be!" He shouts. "But you hate it, I know, okay? I know you wish you didn't have to deal with me all the time."

"Okay, what the hell is wrong with you? Did you take your meds today?"

My heart swells painfully.

Can you grab words from the air?

No… once they leave your stupid mouth, your careless tongue, they aren't yours to take.

"Oh – hell no, you don't get to fucking ask me that." He stands up, and then kicks the seat in front of him. "I mean, really? You're just gonna write off everything I say because – oh, Nathan's fucking crazy today."

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

"I can't even talk to you when you're like this." I mumble darkly as I follow him out of the theater.

"Like what?" He's yelling now, and people in the theater lobby start to stare with not-so-secretive eyes. "Sorry – am I being too crazy?"

"Stop walking so fast."

Nathan, a good twenty feet ahead of me, shoves through the theater doors and then vanishes outside. I clench my teeth as I try to catch up with him. At first, I am standing still; the night air wakes me up, makes me alert, but I can't find him.

And then I turn around – he is slumped up against the wall of the building, face scrunched tightly like he is trying to gulp down emotions instead of puke them onto the pavement.

"Nate." I offer him my hand. "I'm sorry."

"Fuck you." He growls, heaving shaky breaths. "Get away from me – I'm serious."

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you –

The words hit me like acid rain.

"No – fuck you - you won't even let me apologize?"

"I love you" for the first time yesterday, and I could feel my insides burning pleasantly... a delightful fire. "Fuck you" for the first time today, and my soul leaves through my gaping mouth... and it doesn't come back.

"I don't need your goddamn apologies." Body trembling, because we are out in the cold, where he is most vulnerable.

"For real? What a joke. You needed me to follow you out here, and you needed me to apologize, because that's just – you're such a parasite, Nathan."

"What did you just call me?"

"A parasite," I say scathingly. "I am always there for you, and you – you're never here for me, and it's like my problems don't even matter. You never give me anything."

Not the things that matter, anyway. Because I couldn't care less about fancy gifts. I couldn't care less about the money.

He lifts his head and glares at me, eyes shining with tears. "I don't have anything to give you," he says through clenched teeth. "Why do you think I – god, never mind. I'm done with this shit." He straightens up and starts to walk away, his shoulders hunched.

"Where are you even going?" I grab his wrist. "My car is—"

"Get OFF me!" He jerks his hand away and then shoves me hard in the other direction.

I stumble backwards, not realizing I am on the edge of the curb, and fall into the street.

"Shit." I groan. My hands are stinging, sticky with blood and gravel, and the blanket lays in a puddle. I snatch it from the ground and then haul myself off the ground, pulse pounding in my ears.

Nathan stands in the middle of the parking lot, his back to me. He rips off the bow tie and throws it; it sails just a few feet. I almost feel bad for him as he kicks the gravel and continues yelling into the abyss.

Instead, I approach him with clenched teeth and a merciless heart. It's an ugly thing beating inside of me, and I don't know what made it this way.

"Are you happy now?" I demand, waving my bloodied hands in his face.

He turns his head away and takes a step back. "I – I told you to stay away from me, bitch."

It doesn't feel like being slapped; no, it's like a brutal uppercut to the jaw that leaves you numb and rattling on the inside.

He looks like a frightened child as he speaks, and by now I'm certain he's off his meds. But for some reason, I can't put out the fire.

"Just get in the car," I say gravely. "We have to get back to the dorms." Because there's no chance we're going to that diner anymore.

"No – no, I'm not getting in a fucking car with you." He insists, still backing away. "I can walk, thanks."

"Nathan. Blackwell's five miles away." I say. "And you're shaking out here – seriously – just, come on."

I dig my keys from my pocket and approach my car. I don't look behind me, but eventually I hear footsteps (stomps?).


The radio is off, but angry noise thrashes around in my brain. Bloody hands on the wheel (fuck you), speedometer quickly rising (stay away from me, bitch), it's all I can hear.

It breeds anger. It swells beneath my skin, and I feel explosive.

"Hey, what the hell?" I glance over at Nathan. "Put your seatbelt on."

He mumbles incoherently, but refuses to move.

"Okay, you're being super childish right now. I could get pulled over—"

"Shut up!" He punches the car window, and then cries out in pain.

"Stop yelling at me," I hiss. "I mean seriously, all you do is bitch about your problems and then fucking scream at me, even though I'm just trying to help—"

"Fuck you, okay? You don't understand shit, and you don't care so just—just let me out of the fucking car. I know you don't want me here."

"Why are you so delusional?" I ask, my mouth full of volatile words, a never-ending stream.

"Don't fucking call me that, asshole."

"Then what's your freaking problem? You make it sound like I never do anything for you – are you seriously that selfish?"

"You know, you can go eat shit, Warren."

My mouth opens, but no sound comes out.

I feel like my soul is trying to get back inside me, but I don't know how to let it in. I speed past stop signs and red lights like I am on autopilot. My heart at a steady but dangerous pace. And when I arrive at Blackwell, my foot slams on the brakes.

"Get out." I say. I don't bother turning the car off, because I refuse to go back into the dorms with him. I refuse to be anywhere near him.

Nathan looks at me before he climbs out of the car, and his face haunts me all the way home.


A/N: currently working on ch 3~