au where martin never blackmailed simon, the emails continue

for misty &hearts

thanks to sienna and di for betaing! ily both 3

for days of the year - best friend's day

for moc - i mostly focused on the 'the way we never stop surprising each other' part of the quote. ummmm enjoy danielle, i guess. aha.

3573 words, by gdocs


I am pathetic.

There it is. My Truth.

I am pathetic because it's officially one week until prom and I don't have a date, I don't want a date, and it's Saturday night and I'm sitting on my bed and refreshing my email every two seconds.

Okay, I just lied, which is completely ridiculous because I'm the only one here.

I do want a date to prom. A very specific date, in fact.

Jacques.

I'm still pathetic, though. That wasn't a lie.

I, Bram Greenfeld, am utterly pathetic because I'm laying in bed on Saturday night and thinking about a faceless boy who I wish was here so badly, but who isn't. I wish Jacques was next to me. I wish it so badly that it's physically hurting my stomach — or maybe that's the dinner Mom made. I really don't like beef tacos. I should tell Jacques that. Except, he hasn't written me back and I dislike double-emailing more than I dislike Mom's beef tacos.

I actually put my phone aside, for once, and just think. If Jacques was here, what would be doing? We'd probably be planning for prom because of course we'd be going together. Or, I mean, would we? I can't even think about meeting him without throwing up. Would I be able to go to prom, a public event, with him?

I'd like to think that I would, with him. It'd be nice. Maybe I should suck it up and actually meet him.

Except thinking about that — coming out so openly to everyone — makes my stomach tie up into a knot. Jacques has mentioned the idea of finally meeting each other several times over the past year and a half we've been emailing and I've shut him down each time. It's not like I don't want to meet him — I want to meet him so much it hurts — just something in me stops myself.

My phone buzzes beside me and I jump, grasping at it. Jacques.

Nope, it's Garrett.

Bramalamb where do u wanna go for dinner b4 prom?

I roll my eyes at his stupid nickname and text out a response.

Already told you, I'm not going to prom.

Garrett has been trying to get me to just go to prom for the past three weeks, no matter how many times I've told him that it's not happening. Not unless I get the courage to actually ask Jacques out — properly.

As soon as I send the text, an email notification comes in, making my heart stop. Now, this is Jacques.

.

FROM:

TO: bluegreen118

DATE: May 13 at 9:23pm

SUBJECT: RE: prom?

Dear Blue,

What the ever loving fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk?

How dare you not want to go to prom? My friends are idiots, so I've heard plenty of bad ideas, but this? This takes the cake. Okay, I can understand not wanting to go alone, but suck it up and go. This comes once. I'm going alone.

Of course, you don't have to go alone…

I already know that you're going to say no, so I'm not even going to offer the obvious solution to your problem.

Blue, you are being an idiot.

Go to prom. Go with your friends. Go alone.

Fuck it, even find someone else to go with — I won't mind, I promise.

Just go.

Love,

Jacques.

.

I wait three minutes before drafting out my response; I really don't want to seem so eager when replying to him. I know that we're past this point, but something about seeming too over excited gives me anxiety.

Everything with Jacques seems to give me anxiety.

.

FROM: bluegreen118

TO:

DATE: May 13 at 9:28pm

SUBJECT: RE: RE: prom?

Dear Jacques,

Okay, fair enough. This comes once. I know that. I also know that I could be going with friends, but that seems very lame. My best friends are going with dates, so I'd just be third wheeling them the entire night. I have one friend in my friend group that's not going with anyone, and while he's cute, he's not you, Jacques.

If I was going to ask someone else to prom, why couldn't I just ask you? I'd be asking a boy, not a girl, if I were to ask anyone.

No, I don't need a beard, Jacques.

Love,

Blue.

.

I hit send, and only two minutes pass before I get a response. My heart is jittery.

.

FROM:

TO: bluegreen118

DATE: May 13 at 9:30pm

SUBJECT: RE: RE: RE: prom?

So fucking ask me. Problem solved. We're seniors. We could possibly never see each other again after this year. Shouldn't we say fuck it all and just get together?

.

I begin to write another email, but he sends a second one right back almost right away.

.

FROM:

TO: bluegreen118

DATE: May 13 at 9:31pm

SUBJECT: RE: RE: RE: prom?

Oh, fuck, that sounded too blunt, Blue. I know you don't want to come out like that, but I really love you.

I'm afraid of losing you when we finish high school.

Love,

Jacques.

.

See, this. This is what makes me pathetic. I'm pathetic because as soon as Jacques says something like this, my knees turn to butter.

And he's right. I hate that he's right.

I don't want to lose him either. We only have a few more weeks of school left before I move to New York for college. I can live through Atlanta's homophobicness for that short, right?

Before emailing Jacques back, I text Garrett really fast.

Change of plans — I'm actually going to go. I'm fine with wherever you choose.

My stomach churns as I add in, Just no beef tacos, please.

I switch back to my Gmail app and write a shiny new letter, with a new subject line and everything.

.

FROM: bluegreen118

TO:

DATE: May 13 at 9:35pm

SUBJECT: PROM?

Dear Jacques,

I'd be honored if you'd go to prom with me next week. That means us meeting, face to face. Yes, I know. We can meet up there. I'll be the insanely cute guy without a date.

Love,

Blue

.

Holding my breath, I press send.

Oh my goodness. It sent. Regret floods me immediately, but I try to push it down as I press the reload button on the Gmail app over and over again.

An email comes in from Jacques and I click it, holding my breath.

.

FROM:

TO: bluegreen118

DATE: May 13 at 9:37pm

SUBJECT: RE: PROM?

xcndgkvneiongioerdnvoikmvmecmedkvmeiocmwoiscnsioncaCBNasnmsdvrelev

.

FROM: bluegreen118

TO:

DATE: May 13 at 9:37pm

SUBJECT: RE: RE: PROM?

...is that a yes?

.

FROM:

TO: bluegreen118

DATE: May 13 at 9:37pm

SUBJECT: RE: RE: RE: PROM?

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES I GOTTA GET A SUIT

.

FROM: bluegreen118

TO:

DATE: May 13 at 9:37pm

SUBJECT: RE: RE: RE: RE: PROM?

Dear Jacques,

I think I might throw up right now. Is that normal? Should I feel like this? I think I'm going to throw up out of excitement. Can that happen?

God, I feel jittery.

Love,

Blue.

.

FROM:

TO: bluegreen118

DATE: May 13 at 9:38pm

SUBJECT: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: PROM?

CAN'T TALK I GOTTA FIND A SUIT BECAUSE I'M GOING TO MEET YOU OK BYE AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

.

I can feel a huge smile sneaking onto my face as I click my phone off and put it to the side.

Okay, so I'm laying on my bed on a Saturday night and thinking about a person that I don't even know and how much I want to kiss him. I'm still pathetic.

Maybe I'll be less pathetic once I meet Jacques.

"So, Bramalamb, I hear you have finally decided to go to prom."

I look up from my food to Simon Spier staring at me.

Oh, Simon.

I hate him.

Okay, that's so not true. I don't really hate him. It's more that I'm jealous of him.

He's gay and he's out and literally no one gives a damn. He came out last year and I admire that a lot. I wish I could pluck up the courage myself.

And then I remember that I am about to come out, pretty soon.

Ahhhhhhh.

"Yeah," I respond to Simon, giving him a smile. "Don't call me Bramalamb, though."

Another reason that I hate Simon is that he's stupidly cute. I hate that. He has messy blonde hair and glasses and gray eyes and I love the way that he looks and I hate that I love the way he looks.

"But Bramalamb is cute," Simon says, poking out his tongue. Is he trying to make my heart implode? I swear to God…

No, he probably thinks I'm straight. I haven't given him any reason to think otherwise. I look around at our very empty lunch table before turning back to face Simon again.

"Where's everyone else?" I ask. There are six other people who sit at our table every day. Today, though, there's only me and Simon.

"Morgan, Anna, and Leah are practicing with the band," Simon says, counting on his fingers, "Abby and Nick went to lunch off-campus, and Garrett should be here soon."

Not even going to lie: my heart deflates a little when he mentions that Garrett's coming. Garrett's my best friend, sure, but I don't think I've talked to just Simon. Like, alone. Just the two of us. It'd be nice to talk to him and see if the pretty face has a pretty brain, too.

Oh, dear. That sounds weird.

"Bramalamb!" a voice says from behind me. I don't even bother to turn; it's Garrett's voice and only him, Nick, and Simon call me Bramalamb.

I hate that nickname.

To be honest, I don't even know why they call me Bramalamb. I just know that Garrett started it earlier this year and he refuses to stop.

"Garrett," I say, blinking. My heart deflates further, but I'm also trying not to show it.

"You excited for prom?" he asks, placing down his food and starting to put fries into his mouth.

"Yeah," I say, actually telling the truth. Meeting Jacques is definitely something I'm excited about, no matter how cheesy prom might be. "You going with anyone, Simon?" I ask, turning to him. He looks slightly shocked that I'm talking to him. Honestly, I'm shocking myself today, but it's really only because there's no noise to fill the table — Nick usually provides that. I need to speak up now, for once.

"No, actually," he says, clicking his tongue. "I'm going alone."

Okay, it's maybe a little bit of a stretch for me to assume that Simon could be Jacques, but I can hope, right? Except Jacques has a date to the prom. Also, I'm not sure that Jacques is out to anyone but his parents, just like me. Simon is out to everyone.

Still, Simon is really cute. I definitely wouldn't mind if he's Jacques.

Especially if I ignore the signs pointing to 'no'.

Jacques sends me a link to a red tie on Amazon and he tells me that if we both order it, that's how we'll know who each other is. It seems like a foolproof plan, except I'm so worried that it won't arrive on time. I convinced my mom to get a free trial of Prime, so it'll come with two-day shipping, but what if something goes wrong?

"You look worried, Bram," she tells me at dinner. What gave it away that I'm worried, Mom? Is it me tapping my fingers on the table over and over again or is it the way I keep on tapping my foot? Or is it my 'worry' face? Mom keeps on insisting that my brows furrow and I have a little frown whenever I worry about something, but I don't see it.

"I'm just worried about prom, I guess," I tell her, moving my salad around on my plate. I look down at my dinner, focusing on it instead of her.

I don't really talk to Mom about my problems. We're close, but we're not that close. It feels weird trying to force myself to open up.

She reaches over the table and puts her hand under my chin, forcing me to look up at her.

"Listen, Bram," she says, giving me a smile, "prom will be amazing for you. I promise."

I haven't told her about Jacques at all, but I do hope that he makes does it amazing.

I guess I'm worried that he won't.

"Okay?" she asks, giving me another smile. It's a motherly smile, which makes sense — she's my mom — and it makes me feel like a little kid again, when she would smile at me before singing me to sleep. I don't remember much about my childhood, but I remember that smile. I haven't seen it in a while.

Maybe I should be spending more time with Mom.

"Okay," I tell her, giving her a smile back.

Prom.

Promenade.

Yes, I looked up what prom is short for. Stop judging me. I look up words when I'm nervous. It's what I do.

My heart is going insane. I'm about to meet Jacques. I can't believe the day is finally here. I can't even think straight. No pun intended…

I'm bringing my tie in my pocket. I don't know why, really, but I sort of want to know who Jacques is before he knows who I am. Is that selfish? Probably…

This'll be fine, I think, looking at myself in the mirror. Everything will be fine.

I hear a horn honk outside and slightly jump — it must be the limo, which is bringing the whole squad to dinner.

Prom.

I'm actually going to throw up.

I'm the last one the limo picks up, which means I get to sit in the only empty seat, next to Simon.

Simon cleans up well — as if he's not cute enough without being prepared for prom. He's wearing a simple suit and his tie — well, his tie is what makes me want to throw up.

I have an identical tie in my pocket.

Which means that Simon is Jacques.

Which makes me want to throw up.

Which I am definitely going to do if I open my mouth.

"No tie?" Simon asks, his smile easy and his hair actually in place for once. I shrug in lieu of an answer. I really don't trust my mouth right now.

Except I need to tell him.

I have no idea how I'm going to do that.

I make it through dinner without throwing up, which is good. I don't eat any of the food, though. I basically spend the entire time staring at Simon and just thinking about how much I want to be at home right now and how bad of an idea this is.

As soon as we arrive at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, I mumble something about not feeling well and stumble in the direction where the bathrooms should be, according to the signs.

It's true that I don't feel well — I'm about to actually going to throw up.

I'm in love with Simon Spier.

Wouldn't that make anyone throw up?

I mean, it's not that Simon is bad. Simon is good. Simon is very good. But some part of my body is saying no no no no no no no no no, over and over again, as if I'm allergic to him.

Oh, God, that'd be unfortunate.

I pull out my phone as I walk into the bathroom and lean on the sinks, looking into the mirror.

I'm a mess. Simon won't even like me if he knew.

I should just email him and tell him that I decided not to go. Wouldn't that be better than this? Then I can go out as Bram, not as Blue, and Simon will never know and I'll be fine.

Except I won't be fine, because I know that Jacques is Simon and my brain is exploding.

Plus, it's not fair to him if I know who he is and he doesn't know who I am.

I must spend a whole fifteen minutes debating this. By now probably every senior has come to prom. It's really only a miracle no one's walked into the bathroom now.

Finally, I decide not to email Simon at all and I slide my phone into my pocket, still leaning onto the sinks. I'm trying to think of what else to do if I'm deciding against emailing him — should I go out there and tell him? — when the man himself walks in. Simon.

"Hey," I say, trying to stay calm. I'm pretty sure my voice cracks.

"Hey," he says, raising an eyebrow. He looks significantly less happy than before.

Oh. That's because he didn't find me. His date. Blue. Oh.

"Hey," I repeat. My brain is incapable of saying any other word, apparently. I'm trying to maintain eye contact with him, but my eyes keep on traveling down to his tie. The tie. Yeah, it's definitely the same as the one I bought.

How big of a coincidence would it be if Simon just happened to have the same tie?

No, that only happens in the movies.

"You okay?" he asks, his sadness disappearing and being replaced by a look of concern. For me. His friend.

Gah.

"Yeah. Just not enjoying prom that much," I say. It's almost a joke because I haven't even gotten to the other people yet. Between Simon being freaking Jacques and me panicking, this experience hasn't been the best so far.

Except why shouldn't it be the best?

Simon is great. All I need to do is just tell him that I'm Blue.

I have none of that courage.

"You're telling me," he says, giving out a little huff. He leans against the wall, sliding down until he's sitting down on the floor. I walk over to him.

"What happened?" I ask, sliding down as well so I'm sitting right next to him, drawing my legs up to my chest.

It's me, I know. I happened.

Jesus.

"I lied before. At lunch. I do have a date," he says. I nod as if I don't know this. My stomach churns. "Except he stood me up."

He leaves that sentence hanging out in the air. It's almost tangible. I feel so bad. I should tell him, right now.

Just say it.

I'm Blue.

Blue, yeah. That's me.

Oh, look, I didn't stand you up. I'm here. I'm Blue.

Hey, Jacques. I'm Blue.

I can't do this.

"There's nothing wrong with going alone," I offer him quietly.

"I know, but —" Simon shrugs. "It's a bummer, honestly. I've been looking forward to this."

"Yeah," I say, as if I know how he feels. I don't. At all. "I mean, I came alone," I lie. I need to meet my date. Correction: I'm with my date. I just need to tell him that I'm his date. "It's not that bad to be alone," I reason. It's true — plenty of seniors came without a date.

"Maybe you can replace my date," he says, a slight smile on his lips.

"Maybe," I say, forcing out a light chuckle.

YEAH, EXCEPT I AM YOUR DATE, my brain screams. I try to shut it up.

Simon stands up, looking back at me.

"Thanks, Bram," he says with a smile that pierces my heart. "I'm going to go back out. You gonna come?"

"Maybe in a bit," I say. He nods and turns to go back out the door.

I can't let him go alone.

"Wait, Simon," I say, still sitting on the floor. He turns around, looking into my eyes. "Your date didn't stand you up."

"How do you know that?" he asks, furrowing his brows. "You don't even know who my date is."

I take a deep breath and go into my pocket, pulling out the tie and holding it, my hand outstretched. The tie that matches the one around his neck.

Simon spends a solid minute looking at my tie, and then at me, and then back at my tie.

"Blue?" he says finally. Now it's his voice that cracks.

"Jacques," I say, standing up.

His mouth slightly open, almost in disbelief, he walks over to me and takes the hand that's holding my tie and squeezes it. He lets out a little laugh, his eyes brightening up as I stand up.

"Blue," he repeats, sounding dumbfounded. "It's you. You were right there. This whole time. And tonight…" He trails off, but I think I know what he's getting at.

I've been hanging out with Simon the entire time I've been emailing him and wishing I was with him. And now Simon Spier, who I've been friends with since freshman year, is my freaking prom date.

"Yeah," I say. Something lifts off my chest. I feel ten times lighter. Jacques. Simon.

He's still holding my hand, and it's a nice weight.

I squeeze his hand back.