Nick was the last one out of car, but he didn't hurry to catch up with Jeff like he always does. This time he waved Jeff on, waited for David, Wes, and Thad to walk by, and then started walking alongside Trent. Nick let out a heavy sigh, eyes trying not to follow Jeff as he walked and talked and laughed with the guys, but it was impossible. How could he not stare after the boy he's liked for going on a year now?
"Are you planning on telling Jeff anytime soon, or are you just gonna keep watching him with that look every time he looks away?"
Trent's voice snapped Nick out of his gaze. "I umm," he cleared his throat. "I'm working on it..."
Trent slowed his walking down, sensing that there was definitely something on Nick's mind. "What exactly does that mean?"
Nick glanced at Trent before he stopped walking completely. He shifted nervously on his feet while his mind searched for the right words. Trent has known about Nick's crush on Jeff for five months. He's dealt with Nick complaining or being upset or giddy because of it. Trent's used to it all by now; that's not why Nick's nervous. He's nervous because he's planning on telling Jeff, and telling him today.
"I want to tell him today. I can't keep hiding it from him, it's driving me crazy and- well, I guess you know that much already, but..." And here comes the self doubting. "But what if it totally freaks him out? I mean, what- what if it scares him off and he doesn't want anything to do with me anymore? Or-"
"Nick," Trent interrupted him before he could get anymore hysterical. "That's not going to happen."
"But how do you know that? The only person who could know that is Jeff. And that's if I even tell him-"
"No," Trent shook his head. "You're not changing your mind now, you seemed so sure about it before you started doubting yourself again. But really Nick, come on. Jeff is your best friend, and you're his best friend. You guys are practically attached at the hip 95% of the time. So I'm sure a little confession won't scare him away."
Nick thought about it for a minute, considering it all. "I don't even know if Jeff is into guys at all though. And he doesn't know that I like guys..." He mumbled. "It'll be like dropping two bombs on him at once. What if-"
"Don't even start the 'what if' game, Nick." Trent put a hand on Nick's shoulder. "Jeff is fine with Thad and I, so no doubt he'd be fine with you liking guys too," he gave a reassuring smile; which made Nick smile.
"I guess you're right, I just-"
"Hey! Are you guys coming or what?" Nick and Trent both turned their heads to see Jeff coming out of the building and jogging towards them. "I told the guys to order and get us a table and I'd see what's keeping you," Jeff said as he approached them.
"Oh, uh... Nothing, we're coming," Nick said, starting walking towards the door.
Jeff gave Trent a confused look, before looking after Nick. "Is he okay? He seems nervous or something."
Trent gave Jeff a small smile. "He's fine, not nervous." Trent started walking; Jeff following alongside him. "Or at least he will be soon..." He mumbled, too low for Jeff to hear.
The three of them went inside -Nick holding open the door for the other two- and walked up to the counter. Trent stepped up and ordered his frozen yogurt first, which gave Jeff and Nick a minute alone for the first time all afternoon.
"Are you all right? You seem kinda tense." Jeff looked at Nick as if just by looking he could tell what was up with his best friend.
Nick turned his head towards Jeff, momentarily getting lost in Jeff's brown eyes, before smiling and shaking his head. "I'm fine, just- just maybe a little tired I guess?" Nick inwardly rolled his eyes. Who am I trying to convince, Jeff or myself? And seriously, that's the oldest excuse ever and he totally doesn't buy it.
Trent turned around and looked at Nick with an expression which stated that he wasn't buying it either. Nick only glared in response. Trent smirked, turning back around and paying for his yogurt, and then stepping to the side. Nick glanced back at Jeff, trying to figure out which of them was going next, but Jeff motioned for Nick to go.
Nick stepped up to the counter and ordered his yogurt; strawberry banana.
"Is that all for you?" The girl behind the counter asked.
Nick paused for a moment, biting his lower lip, before turning around to look at Jeff. "What are you getting?"
"What?" Jeff looked at Nick with a puzzled expression. "What do you mean?"
Nick took a deep breath. "What kind do you want? I'm buying." Ignoring the look Trent was surely giving him, Nick held his gaze with Jeff.
"Oh, umm... Vanilla chocolate swirl. Thanks, man." Jeff smiled before semi-awkwardly looking down at his hands.
Nick's smile faded a little. Oh great, it's getting awkward and I haven't even told him yet! Nick heard Trent clear his throat and he turned to see Trent giving him that look; the one that says 'don't you dare back out now'. Nick knew he couldn't back out now even if he wanted to. It was set in his mind that he was telling Jeff today. He paid for the yogurts, handing Jeff's to him before getting even more nervous.
"Umm, Trent, why don't you go ahead, we'll catch up." Trent nodded and smiled before walking away.
"Wha-?" Jeff started but Nick cut him off. "I want to talk to you about something." He tried as hard as possible not to sound nervous, but really, Nick had never been more nervous in his entire life. He started walking in the opposite direction that Trent did, and Jeff followed after. The two of them sat down at a small table in the corner.
Nick avoided Jeff's stare by pushing his spoon around in his yogurt bowl. He knew he should say something -say anything- but he couldn't. Not yet.
"Thanks for the yogurt," Jeff said after a minute, smiling at Nick. "You didn't have to do that..."
"I know," Nick said quietly.
"But, why did you?"
Oh god, this is it, isn't it? There's no turning back now. Nick took a deep breath before glancing up to meet Jeff's puzzled look. "Because, I- actually wait," he paused for a moment, taking another deep breath trying to gather his courage. "I have a couple things to tell you." He waited for Jeff to say something or give him some kind of a signal to continue.
"Okay, okay yeah. You know you can talk to me about anything," He smiled at Nick.
Nick couldn't help but smile back. "All right, well first of all. Umm..." He looked down again, trying to think of how to word everything. "You know how every time you ask me something about me and relationships-"
"You mean the fact that you're never in one, yet always have an excuse for why that is?" Jeff interrupted.
Nick rolled his eyes. "Yes, that's what I mean. Anyway, I have an actual reason for why I'm never in one."
"Oh really? Well please, do tell." Jeff said, trying not to let his curiosity show.
Nick raised an eyebrow at Jeff, before brushing it off and continuing. "Well, I like somebody. And I don't want to date other people-"
"Wait," Jeff interrupted. "You, Mr. Anti-relationships, has a crush on somebody?"
Nick sighed, trying not to roll his eyes again. "Yes. And I'm not anti-relationships just because I'm never in one. I'm just never in one because the person I like doesn't feel the same way about me..." He trailed off.
"Well, who's the girl you like?"
Nick froze. He knew the question would be asked sooner or later and that he'd have to answer honestly this time, but that didn't make it any easier to face. Nick looked back down at his still untouched frozen yogurt.
Apparently, he was silent for so long that Jeff felt the need to make his presence known. "It's a simple enough question, Nick... Are you sure you're okay?"
"It's not a girl that I like, I like a guy," Nick responded so quickly he wasn't sure if Jeff even understood him. After a quiet moment he looked up at Jeff, who just looked at him with a soft smile.
"Is that why you've been so tense lately?"
Nick shrugged. "Partially, yeah."
"Nick... You didn't have to be afraid of telling me that. You should know I'd be totally fine with it. No need to stress about it." He reached over the table and clasped Nick on the shoulder for a moment before letting go. "So, who's the lucky guy you have your eye on? Do I know him?"
After a few moments of not responding, Nick took a deep breath, looked up at Jeff, and half smiled. "I- I like you, Jeff. I have for a while now..." The voice in Nick's head was screaming for him to stop talking, but he couldn't. It was like the dam holding back his emotions and feelings towards his best friend had finally broke, and there was no stopping it. "I just- there's something about you, but I'm not sure what it is. If it's your caring or kindness or sense of humor or when you laugh, how you get those adorable crinkles in the corner of your eyes. Or how when you're excited you practically hop and skip around like an excited puppy. And your protectiveness whenever anybody says something rude to one of us Warblers... Kind of like a guard dog. Or just- no, wait. Basically you're just a big, tall, human puppy. With an amazing voice. And-, oh god... I'm saying way too much and did I really just call you a puppy? Oh my god, I'm sorry, I just- I, umm..." Nick could feel his face was hot and he was mentally kicking himself for everything he just spilled and for over-sharing.
Jeff just stared at Nick, blinking -trying to figure out what to say or do or how to feel. It was a lot to take in; both that his best friend is gay and also the fact that he has a seemingly huge crush on him. After a minute of not saying anything, Jeff looked down and started playing with his spoon in his yogurt.
"I'm sorry... I said too much, didn't I? Crap, I-"
"You're wrong," Jeff cut him off before he could get rambling again.
"W-what? Wrong about what...?"
Jeff bit his lip, hesitating a moment before looking up at Nick. Before he could think too much about it he reached across the table and grabbed Nick's free hand. "That the person you like doesn't feel the same way. You're wrong." He smiled and gave Nick's hand a squeeze.
Nick stared at Jeff, unblinking and his mouth hanging partially open in shock. There's no way he heard that right.
"Nick? You okay?"
Nick shook his head to snap out of it. "I- I don't know. I thought I heard you say that you like me but, but that can't be right. There's no way I heard that right. You're like, perfect, and I'm just me. And-"
Before Nick knew what was happening Jeff was leaning over the table kissing him, proving that he did hear him right. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough to make Nick's head swim and tie his stomach in knots.
"Wow, I- wow." Nick laughed at his lack of words and squeezed Jeff's hand.
Jeff smiled brightly in response, letting go of Nick's hand and standing up from the table. "What do you say we go sit with the guys, then later we can hang out, just the two of us?"
Nick smiled and stood. "That sounds perfect."
Jeff walked around to Nick's side, grabbing his hand once again, before the two of them made their way over to join their friends.