Notes: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the wonderful journey you guys have given me through this fic! I have never had so much fun with a fandom, before. You lot are all so lovely and wonderful. I want to thank everyone that made art for this fic. I can't even begin to describe the happy breakdowns I had over all your talented works!
Thank you to c2ndy2c1d for allowing me the continued torment of her OC, Nathan Kedd Goldberg.
Thank you to Vinnie (fapitfelix on tumblr) for helping me figure out this chapter and generally getting me back on track when I strayed a little!
And finally thank you to my husband for dealing with me during this mess.
I hope you all enjoyed yourselves, and thank you for reading!
Waiting was one of the worst decisions Edd had ever made.
It wasn't that waiting was particularly bad, it was more the fact that the hours seemed to drag when Edd had no idea what Nat or Kevin were up to.
Edd spent his entire night wondering if he should go see Kevin or not. Considering the Basketball star just left a note with Edd's mysterious neighbor, maybe he wasn't ready to see Edd at all.
Besides, tomorrow started midterms. Edd had extremely important life-altering matters to attend to. Both Kevin and Nat did as well. Edd really hoped the two of them weren't biting each other's heads off. Nat seemed like he was really dreading going back to his room. Edd felt guilty enough for squeezing between the two of them—he didn't want to place a bigger strain on their friendship.
Everything could wait until tomorrow night, right?
It would have to.
Even though his mind wanted to keep occupied, nothing felt right. Edd had all of this energy and no way to release it and so he ended up pacing his room most of the night.
Then, when Eddy texted him during the wee hours of the morning, it only sealed Edd's decision not to see Kevin. His text was a simple one:
FROM EDDY: Kevin is a jerk. Don't date him.
Edd didn't expect any less, and he forced himself to answer.
FROM EDD: I believe you don't have to worry in that regard.
Edd didn't want to add on that it was Eddy's fault anyway that he and Kevin would probably never get together. Did any of Eddy's schemes ever work? There always seemed to be some unforeseen circumstance that caused each plot to fail. In this particular case it was just really, really bad timing. Maybe the texting plan would have worked if Edd hadn't already patched things over with Kevin.
In spite of Edd's horrible decision to lie low, he couldn't sleep properly. It was nearing seven in the morning when he decided he couldn't look at his walls any longer and figured a walk would do him some good.
As he gathered his materials for the day, Edd paused when his hand reached the ridiculous scarf Nat had given him. Should he wear it around campus? What kind of signal would that give out? Maybe he shouldn't wear it—but then again what kind of signal would that give out? Edd was both mentally and physically exhausted. He voted that he could just sleep for a week after Midterms were over. It was entirely possible for a human to catch up on lost sleep. That wasn't a myth at all.
Thinking about sleep wasn't exactly helping Edd's mood any, so in a fit of frustration, he opted to grab the scarf and sling it around his neck. Perhaps it would be a good luck charm.
Once he was actually on campus, he stopped by his work to get a simple coffee to help him wake up. He didn't have to work until later that afternoon after his only midterm for that day, but that didn't stop him from wanting a little pick-me-up before he needed to regurgitate all of his learned information like a machine.
He wasn't expecting to see anyone he knew at the Peach Tree and even if he did, he fully intended to go in, get his coffee, and leave.
So when a certain blonde fashion student began calling out his name loudly and waving, Edd actually groaned and contemplated leaving without his coffee.
He adored Nazz, he really did. He just didn't want to have to talk to her about the falling out which was no doubt on her mind. Edd wasn't even sure if there was a falling out or not. Kevin had seemed okay when Edd spoke to him by his motorcycle, but then he'd turned around and acted like a completely different person the second Edd left his sight. Edd was just a tad annoyed by the inconsistency. He couldn't figure out Kevin for the life of him.
"Double D, I know you can hear me," Nazz called again and Edd knew he had to acknowledge her.
Edd made his way through the morning caffeine addicts to where Nazz stood. On the bright side, she was already in line and Edd could therefore take the dishonest route and cut in front of a few people. On a normal day, this would bother him, but today he allowed it to happen for the sake of his own energy. "Salutations, Nazz."
"You haven't texted me back since Friday," she said, concern lining her voice. "Are you okay? You look terrible!"
"I am alright, I assure you," Edd said, stifling a yawn. "Only tired."
"Sarah said you went home this weekend. She said her brother came home drunk Sunday morning and missed family time. Were you drinking?" Nazz sounded like a mother hen.
"Maybe." Edd was so tired he couldn't even focus his eyes on Nazz properly. He tried to look around him at the familiar sight of the Peach Tree but even the menu behind the counter looked blurry. If he was in this bad of shape, how was he supposed to make it through his midterm. Worse than that, how would Kevin? At this rate, Kevin was going to fail everything and all of the studying Edd put him through would have been for nothing.
Really, whose bright idea had it been to not go see Kevin? Edd felt like he had unfinished business. There was no possible way he could take his Microphysics midterm with loose ends everywhere.
Edd was vaguely aware of Nazz explaining to him the dangers of drinking while depressed when he suddenly interrupted her. "Where is Kevin?"
"Double D, you're tired. If things are strained between you two, maybe now isn't a good idea to track him down…" Nazz said cautiously.
"You are not shedding light on my inquiry," Edd deadpanned. He wondered if his eyes were bloodshot by the way Nazz was looking at him.
"His first class isn't until eleven today. Leave it to him to sleep in every day. I figure that's the class with the midterm today," Nazz said with a sigh. "You're not going to run across campus in a grand gesture of love or something are you? You'll probably trip."
"Your vote of confidence is reassuring," Edd muttered. He eyed the doorway anyway. His Microphysics midterm wasn't going to start for another few hours. He'd left way too early to do much of anything, but he couldn't stand waiting around.
Edd so badly wanted to leave the Peach Tree and make a mad dash for the dorms just like Nazz had said, but a voice inside his head held him back as it shouted: Learning is the backbone of society! It sounded eerily like Ed. Edd know that he needed to take his own midterms very seriously. Skipping out on such an important test would not only ruin his chances at taking on a work-study but he might lose his place on the Dean's List as well. How hypocritical of him would it be if he lectured Kevin on the merits of attendance and test-taking skills and then never showed up to his own exam?
But surely he would have enough time to speak to Kevin. Edd checked the clock on his phone. It was half past seven. His own midterm started at ten thirty. It was entirely possible for him to see Kevin, patch things up and be out in time to keep his perfect attendance record.
A gentle push on his back from Nazz brought him back from staring longingly at the exit. "It's our turn, Double D. Go ahead and order."
Edd turned toward the barista in front of him: one of the lesser talented employees who still needed a cheat sheet to remember the number of shots of espresso for each drink.
Clearly Edd had two choices in front of him: Bad coffee, or Kevin?
It was like the universe finally allowed Edd to have a bit of a break. If the heavens opened up at that moment with a choir of angels to guide him on his way, Edd wouldn't have even blinked. He knew exactly what he needed to do. No contest.
"I apologize, Nazz," Edd said quickly. "But I need to go."
It was a testament to how well Nazz could read Edd that she only smiled and beamed before practically ushering Edd away from her. "Go do what you have to. I'm rooting for you."
"Thank you, Nazz."
Edd gave Nazz a short wave and left her alone to deal with the confused barista but the second he reached the door, a stray thought hit him from the cosmos and he turned back to the counter.
Nazz opened her mouth to protest Edd's return but shut it quickly when she saw the bill he brandished before her. "For Friday night," Edd explained. "It's my part of the bill."
"Oh!" Nazz exclaimed, cautiously taking the money. "You didn't have to! Nat actually-"
Edd didn't allow her time to explain. He wanted to get out of there while he still had his decision firmly in place. Kevin. He repeated the name over and over in his head like a mantra. Kevin, Kevin, Kevin.
Never in his life had Edd run so fast. He found that in his haste, his reflexes were a little quicker than usual. He assumed he would have trouble running, due to his lack of sleep, but the adrenaline coursing through his veins must have counteracted his fatigue. He wove in and out of students and even stopped mid-step to spin completely around a slow walking individual and nearly elbowed him in the face in the process.
When Edd made it to Oak Hall, he didn't even bother pressing the button for the elevator. Waiting for it to reach his floor would take too long. Instead, he opted for the stairwell and took to the steps two at a time.
Edd came to what he felt was a screeching halt at Kevin's door, but in reality it was more of a gentle stop. Before he even attempted knocking, he placed one hand on his knee and the other to rest against the wall beside the door just to catch his breath. He wanted to be able to say everything to Kevin, and Nat if he was in the room, all at once and his need for oxygen put a damper on the explanation process.
He expected both Kevin and Nat to still be sleeping. Although Edd wasn't entirely certain of Nat's class schedule, it would make sense for him to sign up for later classes as well. It just seemed like something Nat would do. What he hadn't expected was for both roommates to be up already.
And arguing. Loudly.
"Just shut up about him and let me sleep, okay?" Kevin's voice sounded scratchy, like he'd just woken up.
Nat, however, sounded perfectly clear as if it were commonplace for him to have a shouting match at eight in the morning. "No! You came didn't come home until what, one in the morning? I was up worried sick about you, ass hole. And you weren't even answering your phone."
"I was busy."
"Yeah, doing what, throwing a hissy fit about Double D? Don't you have a little more faith in me than that?"
"You didn't see the texts. They were convincing…. At first."
"And why were you so upset then, huh? Why can't you just say it?"
"Holy crap, Kev. If I have to sit idly by and watch you break his heart so help me I will get a room transfer. Best bros or not."
"Where are you getting that I'm breaking his heart! I'm not doing anything!"
"Exactly! You're doing nothing! You need to stop all of this denial shit right now."
"What denial? It's the asscrack of dawn, Nat! Go back to bed!"
Edd had to cover his mouth to keep both Kevin and Nat from hearing him breathe. Then again, they were shouting so loudly that Edd was pretty sure they couldn't even hear someone talking in the hallway. It was better to be safe than sorry, though, and Edd steeled himself to listen closer. Eavesdropping was wrong, but it wasn't at all hard to hear what they were talking about and seeing as Edd's entire life revolved around curiosity and discovering the unknown, this was far too tempting.
"Kev, you drove all the way home to give his friends wedgies because they wouldn't step texting you shit about me and him. That's the worst fucking case of denial I've ever seen."
Edd clamped his hand further over his mouth and nose. No wonder Eddy texted him earlier with such a distaste for Kevin. Somehow, Edd wasn't at all surprised. It made perfect sense considering how long Kevin had been gone. He probably left the second he figured out who it was that was texting him. But to travel four hours round trip on motorbike? The night before midterms? Kevin had to be worse off than Edd was.
"I gave them wedgies because they're fucking dorks," Kevin scoffed.
Nat's voice lowered a little, but he was still heated up. "If you don't step up to the plate, someone else is going to come in and take him."
"Oh, like you?"
"Why not? You seemed perfectly happy to be all over him Friday night!"
"Because I'm not the one he wants!"
A brief pause. "How do you even know that?"
"He told me, dipshit. Its you. Probably always has been."
Edd's gut twisted. There went his entire heartfelt plan. There went everything. How could Nat betray him like that? Why would Nat tell him? Edd wanted to both storm into the room and join the shouting match and also run down to the main campus and take his midterm like a good student.
Kevin's weak laughter broke the silence. He no longer sounded tired. "Impossible. You're making shit up."
"You want me to show you? Fuck, I'll call him right now."
Edd nearly let out a string of curses because he knew Nat would call him no questions asked. He didn't remember silencing his phone yet that morning and so he scrambled through his pockets to locate it to turn the sound down. Kevin protested the phone call in the other room, but it was too late for both of them.
The ringtone Edd set for Nat went off the second Edd pulled his phone from his pocket. He didn't even have time to run. He froze, eyes wide.
Just about every curse word Edd could think of flashed across his mind in less than a second.
Paralyzed, he listened as footsteps made their way across the room and the door opened to reveal a fully dressed Nat grinning stupidly at him for eavesdropping. Kevin sat in his unmade bed in a tank top and boxers, his hair a mess and his face redder than Edd had ever seen it.
"Well, speak of the devil," Nat slurred.
Edd couldn't reply. His feet were glued to the floor and his mouth cemented shut out of shock.
Nat laughed at the stunned look on Edd's face and tossed his hands in the air. "Well, this is perfect. Now I don't have to explain anything. I've got shit to do," he practically sang. With one swift movement, he grabbed his backpack and threw an arm around Kevin's neck to give him a sloppy kiss on his temple. He ducked immediately after when Kevin swung his arm around, and Edd got the feeling this happened often.
"Are you leaving?" Kevin asked, still angry. "Just like that?"
"Just like that," Nat replied. "You two have way too much to talk about and having me here isn't going to fix anything."
Nat pointed an accusing finger at Kevin's face and just said, "Don't fuck up."
Kevin responded by flipping him off.
Nat made his way toward the door and Edd. Edd tried to move to the side to let Nat through, but Nat stopped him by placing both his hands on his shoulders. Nat made sure to look Edd directly in the eye, shot him the tiniest smile and a wink before releasing Edd with a soft clap to the shoulder and a tug to the green scarf Edd had around his neck.
Then he was gone, jogging down the hallway and calling out behind him, "Don't make me regret this!"
Edd watched Nat go mostly because he had no idea what to do with Kevin anymore. He'd only wanted to talk—to figure things out. Now Nat had to go and blow every secret in existence. Kevin knew Edd liked him and he didn't exactly look happy about it. In fact, he didn't really look happy about anything. How was Edd supposed to say something to Kevin when all the guy wanted to do was to sit half-naked on his bed and scowl?
He knew it was up to him, though. He knew he had to be the one to break the ice. He was the one caught eavesdropping after all.
Edd closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was now or never. No thinking, just talking. "Nathan is correct. We need to talk."
Kevin let out a puff of annoyed laughter and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "That's an understatement."
It was best to reiterate their previous issues and they those out of the way, first. "Nathan and I are just friends."
Kevin rolled his eyes. "I know."
"Those texts were fake."
"Did you really ride your motorcycle all the way back home to take out your frustrations on my friends?"
"What's it to you?"
"Eddy told me to stay away from you because of that."
Kevin stood up and stretched, probably realizing that he wasn't going to get back to sleep any time soon. He trudged his way to his dresser to pull out some proper clothing. Edd thought he was avoiding the conversation but Kevin finally added, "Are you going to listen to him?"
Edd seriously considered the choices he'd made in life to get him to this point. "Probably not."
Kevin snorted but he still sounded mad, even as he slipped on jeans and a t-shirt over his underclothes. His lack of enthusiasm on the subject actually started to grate on Edd's nerves. He didn't know what he was expecting when he'd ran the entire way to Kevin's room but it certainly wasn't this. It wasn't Kevin acting like a royal douchebag—like they'd never achieved friendship and they certainly hadn't achieved some kind of mutual I-kind-of-want-to-hug-your-face-with-my-face attraction.
Finally, Edd couldn't take it anymore. He couldn't take Kevin being indecisive. He couldn't take feeling hopeful toward the two of them one moment and confused about it the next. He hated going back and forth between Kevin's anger for Nat and his anger toward the rest of the world. Did he honestly think he could solve everything with a couple of insults and some laughter and everyone would just love him for it anyway?
No, the world didn't work like that and Edd certainly did not, either. He knew he'd fallen for the Kevin that was an easy person to talk to—not the Kevin with a roller coaster of emotions.
Edd decided he wasn't going to go anywhere for a while until they figured this out. He slammed the door, hard and tossed his backpack onto Nat's deskchair with more ease than he should have for only been invited to the room for a week.
Kevin cringed at the loud noises and slowly turned toward a seething Edd.
"What is your problem?" Edd demanded, hands balling into fists just to give them something to do.
Kevin gave Edd a dumbfounded expression. "What?"
"You!" Edd waved a hand around frantically, gesturing to Kevin's entire existence. "You're impossible to read! One minute you display something akin to affection for me, which I appreciate, but the next your demeanor changes to that of a nonchalant… miscreant!"
Kevin slowly raised an eyebrow, but he didn't say anything which was just as well because Edd wasn't finished.
"And another thing," Edd knew he was getting riled up, but he couldn't stop himself. "I would also appreciate being treated with a little more decency. How can you expect me to maintain some level of friendship with you if you feel the need to mistreat my friends at every turn? Wedgies, Kevin? Really? Aren't you a little old for that? And fighting with your own best friend? I thought you were better than that. I thought you were the kind of friend I could count on when I had no one else. How could you prove me wrong?"
"Double D," Kevin said quickly, like he was trying to get his voice heard in between Edd's ranting. Edd stopped just long enough to allow him to speak. It was a good thing, too, because Edd could tell that if he said another word, he'd probably choke. "Why do you have to make everything so complicated?"
"Me!? Complicated?" Edd voice was borderline hysterical. "I'm not the one who is complicated. You're the one who cannot make your mind up about whether or not you'd like to be with me!"
Kevin was sweating. Edd could see the beads of perspiration on his forehead. He was nervous. Good. It made Edd feel as though he had the upper hand. Eventually Kevin let out a shaky sigh and grabbed his old red hat. He twisted it around in his hands for a bit before finally putting it on. "That's why you're complicated, dork. Do we have to take it that far? What if it ruins what we were building, huh? Did you ever think about that before you jumped headfirst into this?"
Edd's breath caught in his throat. He felt like Kevin was finally being one hundred percent genuine with him. Suddenly all the pushing and pulling made sense. Edd replayed as many points in his mind as he could: all the small touches, the insecurity, the dashing away, the laughter, the stares and the smiles, they all added up to a Kevin who wanted exactly what Edd did but also didn't want to lose what they already had.
Whatever had been making Edd so angry before seemed to dissipate in a matter of seconds. Why was he even mad again? Was there a reason? Something about wedgies? It wasn't like Kevin did things like that to his friends before—and it was usually on those rare times when they deserved it. Double D was a firm believer in discipline after all and did his fair share of teaching the other Eds a lesson—he was just a little more mature about it.
It wasn't until Edd's lungs burned that he realized he'd been holding his breath for far too long and he let it out slowly. He knew Kevin was expecting something of him so he said the only thing he could think of, "I would have been okay with retaining our relationship as it stood. It was you who became upset about Nathan's interference."
Edd knew he'd said the wrong thing when Kevin's brow furrowed at Nat's name. "I know Nat. He's a clingy bastard. If you two got together, I would never have a minute with you alone. Ever."
"So you would rather place a strain on the relationship between all three of us simply because you're selfish."
"So?" Kevin spouted out defensively. "I liked you first!"
Edd gave a small gasp just as Kevin realized what he'd said, but before he could react properly, Kevin was already trying to cover his tracks.
"Whatever," Kevin muttered. "It's not like you didn't already know, anyway."
The palms of Edd's hands hurt from how tightly he'd been squeezing his fists, so he grabbed a forgotten pillow from the floor to relieve some of the pressure. He squished it around in his grip as Kevin's confession finally sank in. No matter how hard he tried, Edd couldn't stop the grin forming on his face and he used the pillow to actually hide it for a second. He hated how in spite of all their bickering and unresolved problems, the second Kevin admitted he liked him, Edd couldn't help but melt. Was he that far gone? Did he have no backbone at all?
Hell, he had a backbone all right. He had enough of a backbone that he raised the pillow up and marched the few steps over to Kevin. "That's some way of showing it," he said, still grinning without even wanting to and swinging the pillow playfully at Kevin's shoulder.
Kevin took the brunt of the force, but maneuvered around so that he grabbed the pillow before Edd even had the chance to let go. Using the momentum and Edd's lack of balance, Kevin whipped Edd around so that he fell onto Kevin's mattress. Edd bounced once before Kevin bopped him lightly with the pillow.
"It's hard not to like you, dork," Kevin admitted, but he was grinning, too. Who knew a simple pillow would give them enough distraction to finally say what was on their minds? "You're way too fucking nice." Whack. "And smart." Whack. "And your face pisses me off."
Rather than doing any real damage to Edd with the pillow, Edd had his forearms in the air to take most of the pillow's hits. Kevin wasn't even using any force, either. He was just lazily whacking away at Edd's arms. Eventually Edd stole the pillow away from Kevin and tossed it far away to the other side of the room so that Kevin had to talk to him properly. "Why does my face bring you contempt?"
"I don't know, man," Kevin rubbed the back of his neck and sat down on the edge of the bed. Edd picked himself up to sit down beside Kevin. He made sure to give the two of them a little space, just in case Kevin was still on the rocks about their entire situation. Edd was willing to bet that he was, especially since Kevin was staring at his open palms. "Every time I look at it I just…" he trailed off because he'd stopped looking at his hands and accidentally caught Edd's eye. "Stop looking at me like that."
"Like what?" Edd inquired. As far as he knew, he was simply watching Kevin's facial expressions as he tried to pick up on any missed cues.
"This is embarrassing enough already, okay?" Kevin swallowed hard. "You try confessing this shit."
Edd smiled slowly. It was easier to hide behind the pillow to boost their confidence. Once Edd took the pillow away, both his and Kevin's walls came back up. Edd would just have to break them down again but with a metaphorical pillow of his own. "It's all about being honest, right?" Edd began, but then stopped. Kevin was right. It was very hard to say everything he'd been feeling—everything he was currently feeling. In his mind, he could come up with pages of words to describe the heart palpitations and his struggles with breathing, but when it came to actually saying the words, he came up short.
Finally, Edd figured that if he couldn't say the words, he could show Kevin just what it was that happened to him every time they were together. He took one of Kevin's hands in his own and placed the palm directly on his chest.
At first Kevin tried to pull back, but Edd kept his hands steady and eventually Kevin relaxed. "You feel that?" Edd found his voice again. "I cannot fake an increased heart rate. Remember what you've studied. Every cell in the body has various functions. Blood cells, brain cells, skin cells, nerve cells. Hundreds of millions of cells all working together all have one thing in common. Do you know what that is?"
Kevin scrunched his face up, a bit unsure, as if Edd were asking him a trick question. "… a nucleus?" he answered slowly.
Edd couldn't help but let the laughter bubble up and out of him. He squeezed his hands around Kevin's and instead of keeping his hand pressed flat to his chest, he was just holding it close to him. "Technically yes, but not the answer I was looking for."
Kevin narrowed his eyes. "It's a cheesy answer, isn't it."
Another puff of laughter escaped Edd's lips and he shrugged a little because, yes, Kevin was right about that. "It's you," he said anyway. "All my brain cells can think about is you. My blood cells are being pumped out into overdrive because my endocrine gland is producing chemicals and hormones that speed up every function of my body. Increased breathing, heart rate, reflexes, even perspiration. You've started a chain reaction that's affecting me on a completely cellular level."
"Huh," Kevin exhaled, jaw a little slack. "You don't hold back on the compliments, do you."
"Not when they are scientific fact," Edd's voice fell a little quieter. He'd been so caught up in describing human attraction that he hadn't stopped to think how ridiculous he must have sounded. And yet Kevin didn't seem to mind at all.
Kevin leaned in a little bit, eyes never breaking contact with Edd. "So how many of your cells want me to kiss you?"
Edd swallowed, hard. Seeing as he was on a roll with being honest, he couldn't possibly break his streak. "All of them," he murmured.
Even though Kevin gave him plenty of warning, Edd still wasn't prepared for the feeling of their lips meeting. Kevin's hand returned the fierce grip that both of Edd's hands had on his as he leaned forward to seal their mouths together. Edd couldn't think, and yet his brain ran at a mile a minute. He thought he saw fireworks going off or flowers blooming in rapid photo procession. Clouds moved across the sky at a million miles an hour and the heavens opened up to show supernovas and the births of stars simultaneously.
And all Kevin did was brush their lips together once.
Edd must have forgotten to close his eyes because he watched as Kevin pulled away to smirk at him. Before he even knew what he was doing, Edd heard his voice say the words, "That's all? I only get one?"
Kevin laughed and removed his hand from Edd's grip. Edd could feel his spirits fall for just a second. Maybe it hadn't been as good for Kevin as it was for Edd. Maybe this was just like Nat all over again. They kissed, Kevin felt nothing, and now Edd had to take the long path of getting over Kevin just like Nat did.
When Kevin's laughter died down, it was only because he was rolling his eyes instead. "Are you seriously pouting at me? You look like I kicked a puppy."
Edd's honesty wouldn't stop. "I am anxious to know if history is repeating itself and you are not as satisfied with the kiss as you thought you would be."
"You are such a dweeb," Kevin said seriously. "If you want another kiss, you have to take it from me. Ever think that maybe all of my cellular shit is doing the same thing?"
Relief flooded over Edd's features so quickly, he didn't know if he wanted to laugh or cry, but he managed to close the distance between the two of them easily enough.
If Edd thought their first kiss had been great, their second and third and fourth were absolutely fantastic. Even though they hadn't exactly established the parameters of their relationship and they were still testing the waters on just what it was that they were going to do, at least Edd could revel in the fact that kissing Kevin was on the top of his list of awesome things to do in his spare time, right next to examining various objects with an electron microscope.
At some point, they had to stop for air and to adjust themselves on the bed because Edd's torso felt as though it were angled in a precarious position. Kevin cleared his throat and tugged down his t-shirt a bit. "As awesome as all of this is, I do happen to have a midterm in like an hour or something and it would be really awesome if I could still pass it."
"How admirable of you," Edd teased.
"Admirable my ass. You're not out of the water, yet. The deal was to get me to ace my test, not play tonsil hockey."
"I have complete faith that you will pass with flying colors, Kevin."
"Yeah, but I don't." Kevin muttered. "Even with the notecard. It was bad before when I was stressed the fuck out about you, but now I'll be too horny to remember anything."
"It's true, okay? Help me study and lose this boner." Kevin shifted around on the bed awkwardly before grabbing his backpack to pull out his textbook and place it in his lap. Edd had to admire the fact that Kevin was placing so much emphasis on learning that he was forcing down a completely natural biological urge, even if he had to be very crude about it. Edd couldn't help but think that maybe Kevin picked that up from Nat as well, but he didn't bring it up.
In the end, Edd managed to get Kevin to a place where they were comfortable again, both physically and mentally. Kevin actually retained more information than he thought and Edd found that he actually enjoyed the little break. Going back to studying for Kevin's biology midterm made Edd feel like they'd found their common ground again, like maybe they were going to be okay.
There were subtle changes, though. They sat closer together, now, and every time Kevin remembered a fact without a prompt from Edd, he did a mini fist pump. After several victories, Edd rewarded him with a swift kiss to the jaw which only temporarily paralyzed Kevin.
A tiny alarm on Edd's phone broke their reverie to signify that it was time for his midterm and Edd jumped when he realized it was already a quarter past ten. Had they really been at this for two hours? None of their other study sessions had gone by this quickly. If he hadn't set the alarm, he very well might have missed the midterm all together.
As Edd scrambled to help Kevin get his notes cleaned up, Kevin stopped Edd's frantic behavior by holding his own hand out. When Edd gave it an odd look, Kevin simply jutted his hand out further and prompted, "Just give me your hand."
Edd held his hand out and Kevin turned it over, face up, and began writing on Edd's palm with an ink pen.
There was really only one reason why Kevin would be writing on his hand. It didn't take Edd long to realize what was happening.
Kevin had no idea Edd had his number, already. Edd felt his stomach do flips all over again when Kevin finally released Edd's hand and Edd could see the digits that he'd already memorized inked on his skin. How many times had he stared at that number on his phone and contemplated calling it or texting? And now he could. Now there wouldn't be any hesitation seeing as he has official texting privileges.
"Don't know why I didn't give you that earlier," Kevin put the cap back on his pen and shoved it behind his ear. "Would have probably saved us a shit ton of trouble."
"I'll say," Edd murmured. He closed his hand slowly, savoring the numbers. "I'll text you when my midterm is over," he said, happy to finally be saying the words. "Maybe we can meet up to celebrate? Perhaps before I begin my shift at the Peach Tree."
"It's a date," Kevin winked.
Edd didn't miss the tiny smirk that accompanied the wink and he knew what it was for. Part of Edd wanted to call Kevin out for being cheesy just for using the line he himself had screwed up only a few days ago. The other part of him wanted to melt in the fact that it wasn't an accident, now. It was, for all intents and purposes, a legitimate date.
With another loud beep, Edd's cell phone alarm reminded him that he couldn't stay and gawk at Kevin all day. He had an exam to get to that he absolutely could not miss, and his started a half an hour before Kevin's. Edd expected to say a hasty goodbye, but Kevin shook his head, grabbed his own bag and walked with Edd right out the door.
"I'll give you a ride on my bike. You'll get across campus faster that way."
Edd hadn't been on Kevin's bike since the first day they'd studied together. He hoped he remembered how to sit properly. Rather than argue, he knew the motorcycle would be his best bet and, after all, he would get to spend a little bit more time with Kevin which he couldn't pass up.
This time, mounting the bike wasn't difficult at all. Edd didn't have to worry about not touching Kevin or wondering where to put his hands. As soon as he strapped on his helmet, he leaned forward to wrap both his arms tightly around Kevin's waist. Oh, how much difference one week made! Just the Monday before, Edd had felt so awkward holding on to Kevin and accidentally feeling his muscles. Now all he wanted to do was run his hands across Kevin's abs and not even for scientific reasons anymore but for reasons that he might actually be allowed to divulge in.
Even Kevin seemed more relaxed during the ride. Edd remembered how tense Kevin felt under his grip the first time around. Had he liked Edd even then? There were so many questions Edd wanted to have answered, but he knew that, given time, Kevin would most likely answer all of them and then some.
Kevin dropped Edd off as close to the front of his building as possible and allowed his bike to idle for a second while they exchanged the helmet Edd had been using.
"Good luck," Kevin called over the motor. It wasn't so loud now that they weren't moving.
"You too," Edd beamed. The two of them stood there for a second, just staring at each other. Edd had no idea what was going through Kevin's mind but he himself couldn't get over the fact that this was actually happening, and how natural everything felt.
After a second, Kevin shook his head and laughed, "Go! Before you're late!"
"Right!" Edd agreed hastily and began his stumbling toward the building. He had a feeling this exam wouldn't be over fast enough.
Two hours later Edd found himself sitting at the Peach Tree, calmly sipping a latte and tapping away at his phone.
He'd received a few texts from Nat asking him for updates on the Kevin situation. Still unsure on how to define their relationship, Edd opted for simply telling Nat that everything was fine.
FROM EDD: More than fine, actually.
FROM THE GREEN LOON: Oh, you Double Dawg. He's a good kisser isn't he?
FROM EDD: Should I be discussing these kinds of things with you?
FROM THE GREEN LOON: What? It's a simple shared opinion. You should nibble on his bottom lip. He likes that.
FROM EDD: You got that all from one makeout session?
FROM THE GREEN LOON: Dude, he's my roommate. It's literally a slumber party every night. It's just usually me giving out all the secrets.
FROM EDD: I will keep this information in mind.
FROM THE GREEN LOON: Other than that, how'd the midterm go?
And so it went. It was nice to talk about something other than relationship drama with Nat. As it turned out, Nat must have gotten the overzealous professors because he had two midterms that day as opposed to just the one for Kevin and Edd.
Edd had never been so nervous to find out about someone else's grade before. Sure he'd always been mindful of Ed and Eddy's grades and sometimes went so far as to make sure their report cards made it to his friends' parent's hands. This was different. So much more rode on these midterms than just a simple grounding. Kevin's future was on the line.
Despite the few texts Edd had already sent Kevin, his phone was eerily silent. Edd was one hundred percent positive he'd sent them to the right number and that his phone was working properly. Clearly, it had to be if he was texting Nat. Edd figured that Kevin had turned his cell off during the test and hadn't turned it back on, yet.
Edd was just about to attempt an actual phone call when the bell above the doorway to the Peach Tree chimed to signify a customer. Instinctively Edd looked up, even if he wasn't working.
Kevin stood at the doorway of the Peach Tree, positively beaming. Edd knew it could only mean one thing, but he needed to hear it out right.
"Well?" Edd asked eagerly. He was already standing up and heading for Kevin.
"We won't get the official results until the end of the week," Kevin said, but he was still smiling. That had to have been good, right?
"Do you feel you did well…?" Edd prompted.
"Hold on, let me finish," Kevin said quickly and he held up a hand just as Edd reached him. Edd stopped dead in his tracks, his half-finished latte forgotten on his table. "Most of the test was Scantron save for a few essay questions at the end. I asked my professor if it was okay to run my test through really quick. I gave him some bullshit story about coach needing it to calculate my grade."
Edd's eyes widened and he raised his eyebrows, silently begging Kevin to continue.
Kevin tried to pause for dramatic effect, but gave up in the end and just blurted out, "Out of one hundred multiple choice, I only got three wrong!"
"Oh, Kevin!" Edd exclaimed. "I'm so proud of you!" Edd was practically vibrating with happiness. He didn't want to admit that he figured Kevin would pass, but when a B at most—not a full A! Although, the essay questions did have the chance to lower his grade, but depending on how much emphasis the professor placed on them, Kevin could fail the essay portion and still pass. This was wonderful news!
"So it looks like you pass, then Double D. You're an okay tutor," Kevin teased.
"Okay?" Edd scoffed. "I'm amazing!"
It was hard to be so close to Kevin and still not touch. Just the feeling that there was something mutual between them was so new that Edd didn't know how to handle it. He didn't think he would ever get over Kevin wanting to touch him—or the fact that he wanted to touch Kevin. He had no idea what to do. Was it okay to kiss him? Should they hold hands? Everything was so new to Edd that he didn't even know where to begin.
Kevin, at least, seemed to have some kind of idea because he just smirked at Edd. "Yeah," he said, his voice low as he snaked an arm around Edd's waist to pull him close. "You are."
"About time you noticed," Edd's voice dripped with sarcasm, but he was smiling anyway. He inched himself forward a little so that Kevin wouldn't be doing all the work. They were so close, lips a mere millimeter away from touching. Edd could feel the heat from Kevin's face and it lit up all the nerves down his spine.
A sudden knock on the coffee shop window startled both Kevin and Edd into separating. A certain green haired best friend was smiling widely at them, waving, and fogging up the glass.
"Hey!" Nat shouted, his voice muffled a bit from the outside. "No PDA at the workplace!"
For the second time that day, Kevin raised his middle finger to Nat and all Edd could do was cover up a giggle.
Nat responded by bending over and wiggling his ass at them directly from the window. A few of the coffee shop patrons were pointing and staring. One girl pulled out her cell phone and started to video tape it. Edd had half a mind to go out there and drag Nat away before he really embarrassed himself, but he got the feeling that Nat probably lacked the ability to be embarrassed in public.
"Hey," Kevin said suddenly, gesturing right behind their twerking friend. "Isn't that your cranky neighbor?"
Edd looked to see a dark figure sitting on a park bench. Despite the heat he still had on a black turtle neck as he sipped his casually sipped his coffee. "Ah, so it is," Edd replied. "I've never actually seen him around on campus, before."
Once Nat noticed that Kevin and Edd were no longer paying any attention to his antics, he turned around to see where they were looking, shot both Kevin and Edd a double thumbs up and then proceeded to half dance his way over to Edd's neighbor and scare him away.
Edd couldn't help the laughter that bubbled out of him. He'd been so worried about Nat's reaction to his and Kevin's closeness, but like Nat said before, he was tougher than he looked. Edd knew that it probably wasn't easy for him, but he made a silent vow to himself that he would do everything he could to essentially not rub his relationship with Kevin in Nat's face.
"Hey," Kevin's low voice called Edd's attention back to him. "Let Nat go be Nat. He'll be fine."
"I hope so," Edd commented, his voice trailing off a bit. Without Nat to distract them any further, it was Edd who closed the distance between their mouths. He could kiss Kevin in his workplace if he wanted to. In fact, just the idea that he could kiss Kevin whenever he wanted to was such an overwhelming feeling that he started to smile mid-kiss, effectively ruining their rhythm.
Kevin didn't even call him out on it. He just laughed against Edd's lips and pulled him closer.
"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this," Kevin breathed.
"And you have all the time in the world to tell me," Edd said, "But right now, I need to get to work."
"Ugh, can't you call in sick?"
"I'm right here, Kevin. They know I'm not sick."
"You want me to wait here with you?"
"And distract me all night from my work? Go home Kevin."
Edd laughed and forced himself to break contact with Kevin, even though every bit of him told him to stay. "Go home."
Kevin reluctantly began to back up toward the exit. "Fine. But you and me, later. Chinese or something, okay?"
"How romantic." Edd smiled.
Kevin returned the smile as he still walked backward, "You don't know the half of it." He made an attempt at doing a double point with his hands as if he were the smoothest guy on the planet, but his gesture was interrupted by him crashing into the trashcan by the door and stumbling around it.
Edd snickered. "Very promising."
"Hasta luego, Double D," Kevin laughed nervously as he finished straightening the trash can and finally left the Peach Tree.
Work felt empty without Kevin there, and Edd had the strangest feeling that a couple of the coffee patrons were still watching. He didn't want to look and sincerely hoped the girl who had been taping Nat had put her cell phone away.
As Edd prepared himself for his afternoon shift, he couldn't stop himself from sighing nearly every two minutes. As happy as he was, he wondered if every week was going to be as dramatic as this week. He'd honestly experienced more emotions in the past week than he had his entire semester and a half at Peach Creek University.
And yet, at the end of all of the drama, it was more than Edd could ever ask for. Sure, things were new, and he'd have to give them time, but the world would eventually smooth out; Edd could feel it.
It was a sure thing.
NOTE: I wasn't going to do the thing, and then I did.
I love you folks!