The tall blonde turned around, eyes widening in surprise as he saw Blaine Anderson hurrying towards him with Kurt trailing behind. "Blaine! I knew I'd see you here."
"You did great tonight. The Warblers were great. I knew you guys would be a hit! I mean, you saw the girls, didn't you? The girls were swooning."
Jeff blushed slightly from the compliment. "Thanks. Although I feel out of place now – I mean, it is prom night, and here I am in my everyday Dalton uniform."
Blaine shrugged halfheartedly. "I doubt your fangirls mind." He tilted his head towards Wes and David, who were surrounded by a circle of loud, giggly teens. Jeff noticed that their pockets were crammed with several scraps of paper.
He snorted incredulously. "More phone numbers? Well… I'm sure Wes and David are happy."
"I think you're the happy one here," Blaine smirked. "Think about it; more phone numbers for Wes and David means less girls vying for the attention of a certain Warbler named… what was his name again? Nate? Noah? Nick, perhaps?"
Jeff shushed him loudly, looking horrified. "Blaine! For God's sake –"
Blaine laughed, evidently taking pleasure in teasing him. "He still doesn't know you've got a massive crush on him? I mean, I know I took forever with Kurt," – he squeezed his boyfriend's hand as a gentle apology – "but even my stupidity had a limit."
Jeff's face had turned a deep scarlet. "Blaine, you may have been our lead Warbler for years, but I swear I will kill you…"
A chuckle."All right, all right. That was rather tactless of me. I'm sorry. Change of subject – so now that I'm at McKinley, have you had your share of songs? You were a great singer and dancer, and the Council loved you."
"Yeah, I've had the chance to sing a lot more now," Jeff said happily, relieved that the talk about Nick had ended. "I mean, we still have auditions and stuff, so I'm not center stage every single time. Nick's gotten a load of solos too –"
"You sure those 'solos' weren't actually duets?"
The suggestive eyebrow wiggle that followed was completely unnecessary.
Nick was starting to feel sick.
So what if it was prom, so what if he had spent weeks in agony planning this moment? Not five minutes had passed since he saw Jeff and Blaine chatting amicably with each other, laughing and having a great time. They were practically flirting, Nick fumed, and right in front of Kurt too. Why did he think the Warblers singing at McKinley was a good idea? It was a horrible idea. It was the worst idea anyone could come up with. Damn the Council for their unanimous approval, and damn Jeff who was blushing at every single word coming out of Blaine's mouth.
Nick instantly felt ashamed for lashing out at Jeff in his mind. It's not his fault, he thought miserably. Jeff has had a crush on Blaine for months, and it's been awhile since they've seen each other…
Jeff had never directly told Nick the guy he liked, but it wasn't that hard to piece together. Nick mentally ticked off all the evidence. Freshman year, Jeff started learning the guitar after seeing a certain upperclassman in the music room. Sophomore year, he auditioned for a solo week after week in the hopes of winning the approval of said upperclassman. Junior year, Nick noticed the red-rimmed, puffy eyes of his best friend and roommate around the same time Kurt showed up. But Jeff was secretive, and Nick could never get a confession out of him. He insisted he lacked sleep, and continued to dance his heart out, putting up a convincingly cheerful and positive attitude as a wall of defense.
Nick chewed on a fingernail as a slow song came on and couples made their way onto the dance floor. No, that wasn't quite right. Jeff's bubbliness and energy weren't just a show. His genuine happy-go-lucky attitude was what attracted Nick in the first place. In any case, it was now the end of junior year. And if there was ever a moment for him to step up and summon every inch of courage left in his body, this was it.
This was it. He was really going to do it. Nick took a few deep breaths in, exhaling shakily.
Well, regardless if everything goes right or wrong, at least I'll have an interesting story to tell by the end of the night, he thought as he made his way over to Blaine and Jeff.
"Speak of the devil, look who's coming."
Jeff winced and closed his eyes. Please, no. No, no, no…
A hand softly touched his shoulder, and kind brown eyes stared at him curiously when his eyes fluttered open again. "Hey, Jeff."
He could hear a faint ringing in the back of his head, and Blaine saying something about dancing with Kurt, sounding very far away. Jeff turned around to his friend, studying his shoes intently.
"Uh, how are you?" Nick asked nervously. "I thought you'd be bouncing around, as usual… you know?"
Jeff tried to laugh, but the sound that came out of his mouth was forced and clearly unnatural. "Well, you know… I guess I'm not having any luck with the ladies tonight," he joked, sticking his hands in his pockets. "They might've been afraid of me stepping on their feet."
"I don't mind if you step on my feet," Nick answered automatically, taking Jeff completely by surprise.
"Er – what?"
Nick looked unabashed now, staring at his best friend directly in the eye. "I was trying to be witty. I guess it didn't work as well as I hoped." He smiled gently, and gestured towards the dance floor. "I was actually wondering… if I could get a dance with you. Slow dances are my specialty, and I've been meaning to ask you for a while now. I wanted us to dance together."
Was something wrong? Nick wondered if his practicing in front of the mirror had helped with his confession at all. Doubts started to creep in his mind as he saw the blood drain from Jeff's face. Nick had hoped for a slight blush or embarrassed exclamation from the other boy as a sufficient answer, but he was turning pale and looked almost sick by this point.
"I – I – ac – actually I, er… um." Jeff stuttered in vain, clearly lost and still white as a sheet. He moved his eyes wildly as he looked for someone behind Nick. As they locked onto a certain person, his cheeks started their familiar reddening. Nick turned around, a bit annoyed from being ignored, only to see Blaine a short distance away winking at his friend.
Jealousy and irritation bubbled up inside of him, and his throat felt like it was on fire. So that's how it was. He was being foolish and childish, thinking that Jeff would say yes when he was still obviously crazy about Blaine. Nick turned away bitterly, muttering a quick "Never mind, forget about it" to Jeff before walking away, his eyes stinging and his heart just a bit broken.