Hello. It's been awhile.
I'm so sorry I haven't updated in a million years. I know that by writing something, you make the commitment to update and yada yada but...well, you've probably heard all the excuses so I'll just leave it at that. Good news though-it's summer! Though I do have lots of plans, I'll sure have more time to try to write.
I know this chapter feels a little short, but I felt this was a good place to cut it off.
Enjoy, review, and thank you.
Kurt whirled his head around to the shout-whisper of his name just to receive a wad of paper tossed right into his face, his expression immediately scrunching up in shock.
"Ow-!" Kurt spat quietly, hoping Mr. Penton didn't hear from the front of the study hall classroom. He looked back two desks to shoot an annoyed look at Wes, before picking up and opening the crumpled note.
W: Look at Jeff and Nick.
Kurt turned to the "psst," back and diagonally to his right. Blaine motioned with his hands to pass him the note when Kurt was done. Kurt turned back to Wes for confirmation, who nodded. Kurt rolled his eyes before glimpsing a few seats over to his right where Jeff and Nick sat in a row.
That's what they meant by "Look at Jeff and Nick."
While Nick was hard at work writing something, Jeff was quite obviously staring at the boy to his right, a dreamy look in his eyes and...was that perhaps a smile on his face?
Kurt turned around in his seat to look at Wes, showing a sad smile on his face. Wes nodded and Kurt turned back to the note, scribbling down a response:
K: Omg. Poor Jeff. It's like Nick doesn't even notice the way Jeff looks at him.
Once he was done, Kurt reached back to hand off the note to Blaine. Blaine looked at the two boys, sharing a sad expression with Kurt, before he too jotted down a response:
B: God, he stares at Nick the way I stare at you, Kurt. And the way Wes stares at Anderson Cooper. It's funny, though, because isn't it usually Nick to find the clues and notice details?
Wes scoffed and continued his observations before passing the note on to Kurt again.
W: Haha very cute, Blaine. And yes, that's what I was thinking too...it's ironic, isn't it, how Nick's almost always the first one to notice things, but when everyone else sees something, he's completely blind to it?
K: Aw, Blaine, that's so sweet! 3 And yes, Wes, it's completely true.
B: Only for you, Kurt. ;) Yeah Wes.
W: While you guys are so very cute together, to the point where I want to puke rainbows, I feel as if this is a slightly bigger problem right now. You guys are already together.
K: True. Well, what do you suppose we do?
B: Sorry, Wes. It's just kinda hard to help it at times. Anyways, I suppose we talk to him. I mean, I know we said we'd give it time, but it's been nearly two weeks since we caught him singing "Chasing Pavements" in the choir hall. I honestly don't think he could do this alone, he's too scared.
W: Good point, Blaine.
K: But how do you suppose we talk to him?
B: We could ask him after class?
K: But what if he runs away? I know if Nick, Matt, and Greg hadn't gotten me when I was stuck in class, I would have almost surely gotten embarrassed and run to my room.
B: Oh, that's true.
W: I could write him a note?
K: What if he throws it away?
B: But if it's in writing, he'll have to at least read it.
W: And then the thought will just be implanted in his brain.
K: Oh. Well, that seems somewhat plausible.
B: Okay Wes, go ahead.
Wes glanced up at Mr. Penton's desk to make sure the stern, salt-and-pepper-haired man was still focused on whatever he was shuffling with on his desk, before tearing out another piece of notebook paper. But before Wes began writing, he came across a problem. Furrowing his brow, he reached over to tap Blaine on the shoulder.
"Hey, Blaine," he whispered.
Blaine turned his head back just slightly to acknowledge Wes.
"What should I ask Jeff?-"
"-Mr. Montgomery," came Mr. Penton's voice. "What are you bothering Mr. Anderson about now?"
Wes sat up straight. "N-nothing, sir. Just checking if I had the right math assignment down."
Mr. Penton cocked an eyebrow. "You're working on math right now?"
"Y-yes, sir," Wes badly lied.
The aging man stretched his neck to inspect Wes's alibi. "I don't see a calculator out," he stated.
Wes blinked. "O-oh! I-I guess that's why I was getting the answers wrong!" He laughed nervously as he dug into his bag. Kurt buried his face in his hands as Blaine stifled a laugh, near turning red.
Mr. Penton observed this skeptically, before heaving a sigh and turning back to grading papers.
Wes sighed in relief and tapped Blaine on the shoulder again.
'What do I say?' He mouthed clearly.
Blaine thought for a moment, before scribbling something down on a small corner of paper.
B: Tell him we know. There's no escaping that.
Wes thought for a moment, then nodded before writing said message down. He folded it a few times before tossing it over a few heads onto Jeff's desk.
Well, at least, that was his intention. But unfortunately, the aerodynamics of a wad of paper are much different than that of the tennis balls Wes was so accustomed with. So the note flew right past Jeff...
And onto the desk to his right...
Kurt muffled a loud gasp with his hand. Blaine's mouth was gaping farther than he ever thought it could. They both turned to look at Wes, who just stared as Nick flinched as the note hit his desk, before curiously unfolding the note and reading its contents:
We know you like Nick.
Nick's eyes grew wide, and Jeff looked over to read the note, almost turning pale as he read it. Nick furrowed his brow at Jeff, who just shrugged, and they both confusedly looked around for the owner of this note.
"Shit..." Kurt whispered to himself, letting his head fall into his crossed arms on his desk.
"Uh-" Wes began, in the most subtle shout-whisper he could do, "-Nick! Nick!"
Nick whirled around to address Wes. His brow furrowed in confusion, Nick pointed at the note and then at Wes, who nodded.
"It was meant for Blaine," Wes stated, causing Blaine and Kurt to turn to Wes, both shooting him a stare that was both confused and concerned.
Nick seemed even more confused now, and leaned over to whisper to Blaine around Jeff.
"You like me?" Nick asked in the smallest and most incredulous of whispers.
"No-" Blaine insisted, shaking his head.
"-Yes," Wes nodded simultaneously. Blaine whirled around and smacked Wes in the arm.
"-Ow!" Wes blurted as quietly as he could.
"Okay, what is going on here?" Mr. Penton asked, standing up from his seat, crossing his arms against his chest.
Blaine snatched a pencil off Wes's desk. "Stole my pencil," he shrugged, smiling politely. Wes smiled as well, still rubbing his arm.
Mr. Penton looked as if he were about to lecture the boys again, when the phone on his desk rang. He rolled his eyes, cursing under his breath about foolish young boys as he answered the call. After a few moments, he hung up the phone and addressed the class.
"Boys, I'm needed at the office for something. I'll only be a few minutes at the most. Keep studying. And Wes-" Wes's head shot up just as Mr. Penton was at the door. "Don't cause too much more trouble. Our school's reputation is hanging by a thread as it is, thanks to the Fredericks. If I didn't know them any better, I'd think they were related to Cooper."
Everyone stifled a laugh at the mention of Blaine's older brother, the legend of Dalton. Baine just blushed and sunk down in hs seat a little.
Mr. Penton smiled. "Alright. I'm off." And with that, he was out the door.
Naturally, once the door had shut, the twenty or so students all broke into conversation with one another. Nick leaned across Jeff's desk to meet eyes with Kurt, Blaine, and Wes.
"What's going on?" Nick asked Wes, sounding almost scared. He turned to Blaine. "You like me? You're dating Kurt!"
"No!" Blaine said, putting his hands up in a defensive matter. "No, it's not like that at all!"
"I-I was just kidding around, Nick," Wes insisted.
"Really?" Nick asked.
"Really," Wes smiled.
Nick furrowed his brow. "God you guys are crazy," he stated to the three of them.
Kurt's eyebrows near shot off his forehead. "I had nothing to do with this!"
"Yeah, it was all Wes," Blaine nodded.
Nick furrowed his brow again at Wes before shaking his head. "I'm gonna go to the bathroom," he stated, before getting up to leave the classroom.
"Bye!" Wes called to his back. Nick glanced back at the smiling group of Wes, Blaine and Kurt, supressing the urge to roll his eyes before walking out the door. Once the door closed behind him, Wes and Blaine got up to slide in the desks next to Jeff, Kurt following close behind. Jeff looked up, startled at the boys now crowding around his desk.
"...What are you guys doing?" Jeff asked, looking up from whatever he was creating on his desk. He looked up to Blaine and gave an almost convincing smile. "What, you like me too?"
Before Blaine could open his mouth, Wes butted in. "Jeff, we know."
Jeff paused his eyebrows as they were about to shoot off his forehead, and instead cleared his throat, looking back down at his desk. "Know what?" He asked, eyes not lifting up from whatever he was folding his paper into.
Wes tilted his head to the side. "You know. You saw the note. You know it was meant for you."
Jeff just sighed, continuing to fold his paper this way and that. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Wes stood and snatched the paper off of Jeff's desk, emitting a "hey-!" from said boy's throat.
"Origami?" Wes asked as he sat himself down on the desk in front of Jeff.
"Give that back-" Jeff said, reaching across the desk to lunge at Wes.
"We just wanna talk, Jeff," Wes said with sincerity.
"Jeff," Blaine timidly added, "we know you like Nick."
Jeff whirled his head around to glare at the curly-haired traitor before him. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Jeff," Kurt interjected, placing a hand on Jeff's back, "it's okay."
Jeff just buried his head in his hands, sighing deeply. He was trapped.
"Come on, why don't you just tell him?" Wes asked, tossing the half-finished paper crane up and down in the air.
Jeff froze. He couldn't tell Nick he liked him. That was...out of the question.
"If you don't tell him, I will," Wes teased.
Jeff shot his head up so fast he almost felt dizzy. "You wouldn't dare."
Wes just smiled. "Come on. Just tell him. What harm could come from it?"
So much. Endless harm. Jeff thought.
"I'll tell him if you don't," Wes threatened for the second time.
Wes cockily went on a rant about Jeff's feeling, but Jeff could barely stay tuned in. If Nick knew Jeff had feelings for him, it would instantly ruin their friendship. Or make things incredibly awkward, at the very least. Jeff wasn't the best at making friends. Nick was the only friend he could really talk to. And if that was ruined...where would he turn? Where would Nick turn? He couldn't have that happen, it was too scary, and, oh god, why is it so hot in this classroom...
"...Just as simple as any conversation," Wes carried on.
Wes doesn't understand...
"...'I like you, Nick'..."
If that happened, I would be alone...
"...all like, 'oh Jeffy! Never leave me again!'..."
But he doesn't care...
"...all it takes..."
He doesn't know how much I love Nick...
"...then it's basically complete! All you need..."
To the point where I'd never admit how I feel...
"...he's gonna come back soon..."
Because if I lose him...
There's no tomorrow...
"...could do it..."
But Wes doesn't care...
"...no matter what, I..."
He could ruin everything...
"...because if you don't..."
That ignorant, stuck up, son of a...
Just as Wes ended his lengthy rant, Jeff sprung out of his desk to punch Wes straight in the jaw. Wes stumbled back, catching himself on a nearby desk as the paper crane went flying out of his grasp and into the air. Because, though Jeff didn't punch very hard, it still sent Wes into temporary shock.
Unfortunately, usually when someone gets punched in the face, their first instinct is to punch back. So after Wes found balance again, he lunged toward the blonde boy, socking him right in the gut.
Blaine's eyes grew wide at the violence ensued. "Wes-WES!" He yelled, trying to pull Wes off of the boy who looked as if he could be snapped in two. Kurt ran around the desk to grab ahold of Jeff by his blazer.
"JEFF! what's gotten into you?" Kurt yelled, feeling as if he were talking to a misbehaving dog.
The attention of the students in the room was now engulfed by this strange pairing in front of them, two friends whaling on each other endlessly.
"HEY!" Came a booming voice.
Blaine suddenly felt a tight grip on his shoulder, pulling him away from the ruckus. He stumbled backwards and it took him a second to realize it was none other than Mr. Penton.
Mr. Penton forced himself between the boys, fuming with anger as he pried the two away from each other by their lapels.
"Boys, BOYS! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS, A PUBLIC SCHOOL?"
"What the HELL MAN?" Wes snapped at Jeff as he cradled his cheek.
Jeff was just frozen, breathing through his mouth with a droll, sort of disbelieving look on his face.
"I've had ENOUGH! The four of you have earned a good detention!"
"Wait, the FOUR of us-" Blaine began, confusedly.
"Until I get to the bottom of this story, Mr. Anderson, you and Mr. Hummel here looked very well involved." Mr. Penton looked between Wes and Jeff, both of which were breathing heavily, and gave each of them a look of disappointment. "The four of you, follow me. We're taking a nice trip to the headmaster's office."
Mr. Penton marched out of the classroom dragging Jeff and Wes each by the collar, with Kurt and Blaine following behind.
Why...why did I do that? Jeff thought to himself as he walked to the door, catching the eyes of twenty or so gaping students. He was just about to pass through the door, when he caught the sparkling eyes of a certain best friend of his, eyes wide as saucers and near shaking with fear.
"Jeff..." Nick whispered quietly as his best friend passed. Nick had just seen Jeff totally slug out Wes. What had gotten into sweet, quiet, innocent Jeff?
Jeff really wished he could come up with an excuse for himself, because the disappoint in Nick's eyes tore Jeff's heart right in two.
"God this sucks," Wes whispered to the group as he wrung out his sponge into the bucket of water at his feet.
"At least Penton's not as bad as Mrs. Bowen," Blaine whispered back, standing on his tiptoes to wipe the top of the blackboard. "She'd have us sorting her office for detention."
"I'd rather be sorting papers and pens than washing chalkboards," Wes just grumbled back. "Look at this!" He pointed to a spot on his button-up. "I'm getting filthy!"
"Are you positive you're not gay?" Kurt asked, rolling his eyes.
"Oh, come ON-"
"Mr. Montgomery, there is NO talking in detention." Mr. Penton scolded, looking up from his papers.
"Yes, sorry Sir," Wes replied. The second Mr. Penton turned away, Wes stuck his tongue out at the old professor, making Kurt giggle a little.
"Poor Wes," Kurt sighed, "Has to spend his time in detention, when he could be using it watching Mamma Mia for the five hundredth time by himself."
Wes was about to fling water from his sponge on Kurt, but Blaine gave him a cautious, wide-eyed, "you know what will happen to you if you do that, think about your choices here," look, to which Wes just sighed, lowering his sponge.
"I wouldn't have to be here if it weren't for a certain someone in this room. And I'm not talking about the dinosaur sitting over yonder," Wes mumbled, not looking up from the area he was cleaning.
Blaine and Kurt looked out of the corners of their eyes at each other, in empathy for Jeff. They glanced over to the blonde boy whose head hung like a sad puppy, as he mindlessly scrubbed the same area of the bored in circles over and over again.
Other than a few whispers, the boys kept to themselves, wiping away the remains of an Ancient History lesson with sponges and soapy water. Each of the two black chalkboards extended to almost the entire length of the wall, and were almost just as high. So the task of "cleaning the chalkboards" had some weight to it.
Before long, Mr. Penton cleared his throat, the sudden loudness startling the boys in the room. The Professor then proceeded to stand, take a long yawn, and made his way to the door, shooting the boys a stern look before walking out of the room. Once the door clicked behind him, Wes turned to Jeff, and erupted.
"What the fuck was that?" He near-shouted to the blonde boy, sponge almost flying out of his hand as he flung his arms out.
"Wes, take it easy on him-" Blaine attempted to calm the boy.
"-No!" Wes interjected. "Did you not see what happened back there? Jeff-fucking-Sterling punched me in the face, and I'd like to know why!" He turned to Jeff, who now looked in shame, but still seemed as if to hold some sort of frustration. "Jeff, what is going on with you? That was not you man, I don't know what the hell it was, but it wasn't you. So right now, you're gonna man up and tell me what the hell is going on with you, because to be quite frank, IT'S SCARING ME," he finished, staring Jeff down the whole time.
It gave him a few moments of opening his mouth as if to say something, but then closing it a few times. Then finally, Jeff raised his head and asked, "…What the hell were you guys doing back there?"
The three boys looked surprised, and then looked at each other for an answer.
"Um…well," Blaine attempted, "we were talking about you and how you like Nick, and we were just trying to help you-"
Jeff laughed bitterly. "Trying to help a lost cause?" He paused for a moment, gathering everyone's reactions. "Do you know how close you got with that note? Or with how loudly you were blabbering on about how I like him? He could have found out!"
"Well…" Kurt started. "Would that really be a…bad thing?"
Jeff gaped at Kurt incredulously. "Yes! Of course it would be!"
"Why, huh?" Wes asked, not giving up the tension he'd created earlier. "Why would it be so bad, especially to the point that you had to punch me in the face? That's not like you, man."
"I'm sorry!" Jeff insisted. "I really am, and I didn't mean to-"
"Oh, you didn't mean to?" Wes continued. "Why would you ever have the need to do it? Or to even react like that? What would be so bad about Nick finding out you like him, that you'd have to freak out like a MANIAC?-"
If you asked any of the three boys what happened in that moment, they'd each say their hearts stopped for a split second when those words left Jeff's lips. The utter longing and true devotion the came with them, especially at the volume, made all the boys feel fear of losing Nick. For a second.
Jeff took a shaky breath, running his clean hand through his hair. "Losing him. I can't…" Jeff shook his head, finding difficulty with words at the moment. He turned his head to look out the window at the pouring rain.
Jeff turned back to the boys, taking another deep breath. "Kurt, Blaine, you both had a clue the other liked you when you decided to…you know. Flirt. Whatever." Jeff swallowed. "Do you know what Nick means to me? He's my best friend, and he's so great and so sweet, and do you know what would happen if I lost that? If I scared him away? You can't honestly say 'he totally likes you Jeffy!' Because he doesn't. Blaine and Kurt, you guys flirted heavily with each other. Nick…he's like that with everyone. It's his norm."
Jeff sighed again, sniffling a little. "The point is, Nick is my…friend. My best friend. And I'm his. And…I am so grateful for that." Jeff pasted on a smile for everyone. "Really. That's all I need." He turned back to the board, scrubbing the area he'd been wiping circles around for the past ten minutes.
"But is that all you want?"
Jeff froze for a moment at the sound of Kurt's knowing voice.
Kurt looked to Blaine and Wes, before he reached out a hand to touch Jeff's shoulder. "Jeff…maybe if you try-"
"Try what?" Jeff asked. "Try to make him stop liking that guy in Austria? Try to make him love me the way I love him?"
Kurt furrowed his brow. "Love-?"
"-I can't do that, Kurt!" Jeff ducked the subject Kurt was obviously about to bring up. Jeff was close to tears. "Kurt, don't you think I know Nick by now? He'd run away, he'd get scared and stressed out and leave me, and I can't have him leave me, Kurt, I need him in my life whether he loves me or not!"
Kurt blinked in shock at the boy before him. Wes and Blaine stood there with their mouths gaping open.
"I c-can't lose him…" Jeff choked out, tears now trickling down his face. "I just can't. I don't know what I'll do if I scare him off. That's why. What's why I was so…intense. I was-I am so scared...And I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry…" Jeff managed out, before sitting on the floor to pull his knees into his chest and bury his head in his knees, his whole body now shaking with tiny sobs.
Wes was the first to make it over to Jeff, crouching down to Jeff's level wrapping his arms around his friend. "It's okay, Jeff. I'm okay, it's really okay. I'm…I'm sorry too…"
Kurt and Blaine followed not too far behind, shushing and comforting the boy as he shook with quiet sobs that seemed to echo through the empty classroom.
Gah. I haven't written in like a month okay.