Jude smiled infinitesimally, cupping Lennon’s cheek and dragging his mouth along the sharp line of his jaw in light kisses. “What’s wrong with the way I’m lookin’ at ya?” He murmured, brows raised teasingly. Truthfully, Jude couldn’t take his eyes off Lennon. It was almost like seeing him for the first time, something just seemed different- they were different. He felt like if he didn’t study Lennon closely enough, take in every detail about this moment, it’d all disappear before his very eyes and he’d never be able to remember this. With knotted brows, Jude narrowed his eyes, sinking into Lennon’s touch with an involuntary shiver. “You are such a fuckin’ tease..” He drawled, tone low with impatience. As Lennon rocked against him, Jude’s eyes slipped shut and his lips parted to emit a low growl from the back of his throat. “Mm.. more,” He repeated, breathlessly. “Harder.” He dug his fingers deeper into Lennon’s hips, pulling him down roughly to create even more friction between them. A soft sigh escaped as he struggled to catch his breath, still unsatisfied, entirely frustrated with all the layers separating them. Jude eyed Lennon approvingly, let his gaze slip over him with an eager smirk, his hands following his line of sight as he explored every inch of uncovered skin, determined to memorize every dip and contour, how his calloused palms felt on Lennon’s soft skin. Jude let out a light chuckle, brows raised in amusement as he dragged a kiss down Lennon’s chest. “Disappointed, are ya?” Pulling his waistband down just the slightest bit, Jude nipped lightly at the skin, drawing circles with his tongue teasingly. “Ah, we’ll see about that..” Jude smirked smugly as Lennon pushed his hips up with urgency, practically begging Jude to continue on. “Thought y’were disappointed?” He grinned widely, struggling to maintain control over himself. All this made Jude want Lennon twice as much, the ache twice as strong, and he couldn’t wait any longer. Jude pulled impatiently at Lennon’s jeans to help move the process along, eyes trailing over Lennon’s body hungrily. He swallowed hard, the aching desire for Lennon completely taking over every nerve in his body, he was utterly tuned to his needs, to how badly he craved more. Jude clumsily tried to assist Lennon in unbuttoning his jeans, but gave up eventually, allowing Lennon to take the lead as he kicked off his shoes first. He lifted up the slightest bit to kick his jeans off entirely and immediately brought Lennon back to him, kissed him with a new urgency. Pushing Lennon back against the mattress, Jude was only brought momentary relief at the shedding of another layer of unnecessary clothing. Jude pushed himself up by the elbows to hover above Lennon as he slid his hand down to rest at Lennon’s thigh. He teasingly moved his hand up and down to create friction through the thin layer of Lennon’s boxer briefs. “Mm, these are gonna have t’go too, y’know..” He met Lennon’s gaze with heavy lidded eyes, completely compelled by lust, and yet still so taken by the softness of Lennon’s features, the sweetness of his smile, the light fluttering of freckles that dotted his skin. There was so much more to this moment than Jude anticipated, something more meaningful. Poignant, almost. Struck by the sudden bout of affection that swelled vibrantly in his chest, Jude brushed his lips against Lennon’s in a light kiss, sweeter, softer, carrying far more weight than any of the others they’d shared that night. He felt more comfortable in this moment, clad in nothing but his underwear and exposing more of himself, of his heart, than he’d ever bared to anyone before.. and it felt good. It felt so unspeakably freeing to share this part of himself and know it wouldn’t be held against him later. Jude trusted Lennon with his heart more than he trusted himself.
Lennon let his eyes slip shut with a bashful laugh, the only thing nicer than getting to see Jude smile was getting to feel him smile in the middle of kisses just like this. “Nothin’ really…” He admitted, biting his lower lip in a desperate attempt to maintain a smirk. Within moments a bright smile drew itself across his face instead anyway. Shyly he scrunched up his nose, avoiding Jude’s intense stare. “It’s just… embarrassin’, thats all.” Honestly he didn’t know what was so embarrassing about it. What he did know was that his stomach was entirely tied in knots and cheeks felt hot. They were probably a shade of pink brighter than Dylan’s god-awful hair, that was embarrassing. All that from a simple gaze. Lennon laughed to himself. Dylan could never make him feel that much, not even using everything in his arsenal. “Ahhhhh, maybe I am but you fuckin’ love it. Admit it.” He flashed Jude a shameless grin, completely smug and totally unapologetic. Lennon’s head tipped back with a heavy sigh, brows furrowing deeply as he continued to move with Jude. “Ah… ahuh…” A low sound of approval escaped the back of his throat when Jude tugged him down harder. Lennon squirmed impatiently under the attention, torn between being turned on and totally ticklish. His drunken laughter came to a halt, gasping in sharp surprise before a whimper escaped. “Oh— oh God… Jude.” Insistently Lennon pushed up his hips once more to urge him on, fingers tangled tightly in Jude’s hair, but gave up a moment later with a frustrated groan. Falling back against the bed, he opened his eyes and looked up to him, silent as he struggled to catch his breath. Lennon feigned his best unimpressed smirk, smarmy as could be, and quirked a brow. “Why would y’think I’m not still disappointed?” The breathless timbre of his voice gave it all away though. With a strong grip he forced Jude to sink back against his knees and tugged his jeans down off his waist. All he knew was that he had to get back at him, that he had to up the stakes and tease him tenfold of what Jude had done only moments earlier. Breaking into a sly smirk, Lennon looked up to him, holding his gaze as he nipped his hip playfully. Slipping his hand to the small of Jude’s back, he pulled him even closer before letting his hand slip low. Taking a shaky breath, he trailed his tongue over the sharply defined v-line of his hip, coming to a pause as it slipped beneath his boxer briefs. Leaning his forehead against his hipbone, Lennon closed his eyes and sighed heavily, his breath hot and sticky against the skin just above his waistband. He lingered only a moment before pulling back with a satisfied smirk, tugging Jude with him as he fell back against the mattress. Meeting his gaze, Lennon quirked a brow. Who’s disappointed now, hm? Eagerly he pushed the denim of Jude’s jeans down further and further until they pooled around his calves. “Just…” He drawled against his lips, in the middle of a hungry kiss. “Jus’ kick ’em off the rest’a the way.” Lennon dragged his hands down Jude’s back, reveling in the warmth of skin against skin and nothing more, nothing separating them. He wanted to memorize each divot and slope of his body, learn him in every way there was. With a surprised laugh he grew tense under Jude’s teasing, slowly easing into his touch a moment later. Making a soft hum of approval, he let his eyes slip shut and pushed up against his hand. Lennon broke into a small smirk, drawing his hand along Jude’s arm and tangling their fingers, redirecting his attention a couple inches or so. At Jude’s declaration his heart shot up in his chest, pounding even harder than before now. Until that moment this had been a giddy rush, he hadn’t paused to realize just how far they would be going. It wasn’t even that he didn’t want to, he certainly did, it was just startling. This was really happening, this wasn’t a dream. There was a palpable shift between them, one Lennon felt as tangibly as Jude’s hands on his hips and the warmth of his breath on his skin. There was something in Jude’s gaze that left him totally winded in the most amazing way. That left him feeling… feeling something he couldn’t put to words. Wanted, desired, fulfilled, none of those worked, none of them were right. They weren’t enough. Seen. That was the simplest way he could say it. For the first time, someone was looking at him and seeing everything inside of him, not just his body, not just the image he tried to project, but him. His heart. Lips parting with a soft gasp of surprise, Lennon reached up and wove his fingers through Jude’s hair to draw him in. Not to make the kiss harder, rougher, just to hold him and to hold him close. This was a moment he never wanted to end. “You’re so much… y’know that, right?” He had no idea if what he was trying to say made sense, Jude just was. In Lennon’s eyes he was everything. “You’re so much.” Lennon hitched his leg around his waist and drew him closer, pushing up to meet him halfway. With several false starts and more hesitation than he knew what to do with, he slid his hand down his hip and began to tug at the waistband of Jude’s boxer briefs. He broke away from the kiss only to check in with him and make sure this was really okay, that this was what he wanted. Meeting his gaze, he broke into a crooked smile, drawing his thumb back and forth just past the elastic as he waited for the okay.
NAME jae min park DOB november fourth / HOMETOWN chicago, illinois ALIGNMENT true neutral / HOUSE slytherin / ORIENTATION homoromantic demisexual / RELIGION agnostic / ANIMAL crow / OCCUPATION street fighter
+ clever • playful • analytical • swift • humorous
- hostile • critical • cunning • self-critical • suspicious
Jude smiled dazedly as he arched into Lennon’s touch instinctively. Laying his palm over Lennon’s, Jude guided his hand down his abdomen to rest at the waistband of his jeans. Biting back a smirk, Jude started to push Lennon’s hand further, past the waistband, but stopped abruptly with a sly grin. “‘Cause I’ll make y’regret it.. and I don’t think ya want that.” Jude let Lennon’s hand fall away as he turned to face him, arm wrapped tight around Lennon’s waist. He met Lennon’s challenging head tilt with a mischievous smile of his own. “Ah, I’ll leave ya so sore you y’won’t even be able to sit at that drum set’a yours at practice tomorrow..” Jude quirked a brow, breath hot on Lennon’s neck as he teased relentlessly. He grinned up at Lennon with a distracted, unmistakably fond gaze, studying the lines around his mouth when he laughed, the way his hair fell carelessly in messy blond strands above his shoulders. They were sloppy and drunk, completely blind to the consequences of what they were doing, and Jude had never felt lighter or more free. “Well, then maybe y’should keep it up and find out, hm?” He regained his concentration, letting the pad of his thumb brush absentmindedly across the spray of freckles over Lennon’s nose. Surprised by the sudden movement, Jude responded to the push of Lennon’s hips by arching upward, desperate to be closer, to feel as much of Lennon as he could. With half lidded eyes, Jude let out a small groan, gripping at Lennon’s hips with urgency. His smile melted into a frustrated frown as he looked up at Lennon with a pout. “More..” He choked out, the ache that had settled in the pit of his stomach already beginning to drive him crazy. “Fuck,” He bit Lennon’s lip back, still struggling to gain control over his desires. “Y’make me crazy..” Years of holding back, of ignoring and denying and hiding every thought he’d had about Lennon, every dream he had about this moment, one he hadn’t ever believed would actually happen.. it was all overwhelming, finally getting what he wanted, finally knowing Lennon wanted him, too. Jude’s smirk widened as Lennon’s shirt was finally discarded to the floor where it belonged. “Oh, y’would, would ya?” He drawled, running a hand slowly down Lennon’s torso, feeling out every contour, every groove, but it only made the hunger grow. Jude pulled back reluctantly to allow Lennon to pull away his already unbuttoned plaid shirt, not even bothering to watch where he threw it as he tossed it carelessly aside. Abruptly and roughly, Jude flipped the two of them over so that he had the upper hand, smirking coyly down at Lennon. “Ah, y’wanted to see what would happen..” He kissed Jude with fervor, sliding his hand to clasp around Lennon’s wrist as he pulled it up and held it above his head. Moving downward, Jude brushed his lips across Lennon’s jaw and continued, trailing kisses slowly down his torso. Jude idled at Lennon’s waistband, devious smirk playing on his lips as he drew his teeth across the sensitive skin above the zipper. “I dunno about you, but these have t’go.” He grinned with a quirked brow, lifting his head up to bring his free hand down to unbutton Lennon’s jeans with eager impatience. Jude never would’ve had the nerve to do any of this sober, no matter how much he’d thought about it before. Things were just easier this way — far less intimidating. Maybe he needed to get drunk more often.
Lennon’s jaw grew slack as a harsh chill slipped down his spine in the face of Jude’s threats. He scrambled for something to say, something sassy, some kind of comeback, certainly not ‘Uhhh, please‘. God, this was pathetic. All he could manage was a flustered laugh, watching as Jude pulled away and walked ahead. Even fully broken apart he could still feel his breath hot against his neck, his hands and where they had been only moments ago. Trying to catch a hold of himself, he pushed his hands through his hair and ran after him to catch up. A shy look flickered across his face, suddenly feeling unnerved under Jude’s intent stare. Not even alcohol could numb the fright of really being seen. Not being checked out, leered at, someone really seeing you for who you were. “What?” Lennon chuckled, eyes narrowing on Jude’s playfully, but soon his smile softened. The anxiety eased into a comfortable affection that thrummed steadily in his chest. He liked it, the way Jude held him in his gaze, like he saw something beautiful. He liked it a lot. “Maybe I should. Stop lookin’ at me like that.” With a carefree laugh Lennon kissed him and kissed him hard, kissed him greedily, kissed him freely, the way he had longed to for months. As Jude groaned he broke away breathlessly, blonde waves falling in his face. “More?” Unable to hold back his playful smirk Lennon quirked a brow, loving Jude’s pout just a little too much to give in and give him what he wanted right away. He leaned over, trailing slow kisses over his jaw and nipping him along the way. “I can give y’more…” Slowly he began to rock against him, using the friction of their jeans to his advantage. With a breathless sigh he brushed a kiss to Jude’s mouth, a light smirk on his lips. “H—how’s that?” A look of satisfaction colored his features with Jude’s next words. Shrugging smugly, he simply stole another kiss. “Ahuh, that’s the idea…” He drawled against his mouth, unwilling to pull back just yet. Lennon shivered under Jude’s touch, now shirtless, but refused to grow shy. Not this time. Instead he practically posed as a coy smile crossed his face, eager to show off to him what over a year of drumming had done to the stringy gangly boy he used to be. Lennon wasn’t like a puppy still growing into his hands and joints anymore, he had strong arms, strong shoulders. He liked what he saw when he looked at himself and he had a hunch Jude liked what he saw too or he wouldn’t have caught him looking quite so often. What he liked even more, though, were Jude’s hands, calloused from plucking guitar strings and holding his pencils the wrong way. Most of all, he liked them when they were pressed against him, learning him, touching him a way no one else had dared to before. At once Jude flipped them over with a surprising strength, one that left Lennon’s heart pounding for more reasons than one. God, he was startled. Startled and turned on maybe. For a moment he simply looked up at him with wide eyes before devolving into a fit of laughter. He didn’t fight against Jude’s hold, surprised to find he liked the feeling of being pinned back. Or maybe, more accurately, he liked seeing just how strong Jude really was. Liked feeling it. “Yeah… I did… S’that it? I gotta say M’a little disappointed.” He teased, one last breathless laugh escaping as he let his eyes slip shut, weaving his free fingers through Jude’s hair to hold him close. Lennon took slow, carefully measured breaths as Jude trailed kisses down his torso, but lost control along the way. The further he went the shakier each sigh became, growing quick and shallow in his wake. In protest he tightened his grip on him as he stilled just above his waistband, making a sound of frustration. “C’mo— Ah—…” It melted into a needy groan as he pushed up his hips reactively to urge him on. “God, Jude… You’re the real tease here.” And if he was being honest, he didn’t mind, he didn’t mind it one bit. This side of Jude was new and strange but totally thrilling, the stuff of his dreams, dreams that Lennon didn’t dare dwell on. Lennon shifted to help him tug his jeans down, letting his hand slide from the hair at the back of his neck to his bicep. Quickly he pushed off his shoes and let them topple to the floor before kicking off his jeans as well. Wrenching his wrist from Jude’s grip, Lennon shifted to sit up some beneath him. Stealing a look up at his face, he met his gaze with an eager smile, no smirk to be found this time. There was a genuine excitement in his eyes, maybe a bit of nervousness as well. Biting his lower lip, he looked down once more as he fumbled with the button to Jude’s jeans. Shit, be sexy idiot, he was sexy when he did this. Feeling flustered and giddy all at once, Jude tipped up his chin and kissed his throat, breath hot against his skin.
Jude tilted his head back with a small laugh, fingers brushing lightly across Lennon’s jaw. “Took you that long to figure it out?” Jude stilled, but his smile never faltered. Until now, it hadn’t even crossed his mind that this would be his first time being with a guy. Normally, the thought would terrify him. He waited a moment, but the anxiety never came. “Well, maybe I don’t want just any guy, hm?” Studying Lennon’s face for a reaction, Jude flashed him a lopsided grin, one Lennon had certainly seen a lot of tonight. “Maybe I just want you.” Jude’s features brightened, expression softened into something sweeter, relief washing over him in a flood of excitement.. “Ah.. say it again—” He slid his hands to rest at the small of Lennon’s back, tracing light, teasing circles on his skin. “Say you want me.” With each step they took Jude grew more impatient, his entire body buzzing with eagerness and a new kind of ache — an ache to be close to Lennon again, to press against him and feel the weight of his body against his in a way he’d imagined for so long but never dreamed he’d get to really experience. Truth be told, Jude didn’t care who saw — all he could think about now was being with Lennon, finding that bedroom. Anything else was unfathomable in his current state. Jude’s breath hitched as Lennon pressed close from behind, sly smile on his face as he met Lennon’s gaze with narrowed eyes. “Someone’s impatient,” Jude arched his back and leaned back against him, pulling Lennon’s arm to wrap around his waist. “You shouldn’t tease me, y’know..” He smirked coyly as he took stock of the room, deciding this was indeed the guest room he’d been searching for. Head still buzzing from the alcohol, Jude let his eyes slip shut in anticipation of Lennon’s lips to press against his, when he was met with a playful shove instead. His eyes snapped open with surprise as he fell against the bed and tilted his head curiously, unable to bite back his smile. If Lennon kept up like this, Jude would never be able to force himself to leave this bedroom. “What did I say about teasing me?” As Lennon climbed atop him, Jude watched him with a fond gaze, expression softening as he took in the moment, overcome by their closeness and just how badly he wanted this. “Hey there,” He murmured softly, reaching up to push his hand through Lennon’s hair. Letting out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, Jude slowly eased into the kiss, unable to keep from smiling. He let his hands rest at Lennon’s hips, pulling Lennon down to press harder against his lap. “God,” A soft sound of pleasure escaped, muffled by Lennon’s lips against his. Pulling away momentarily, Jude pressed their foreheads together. “You have no idea what you do t’me..” His voice was hoarse as he spoke breathlessly, hands moving to rest at Lennon’s belt. For once, Jude wasn’t over-analyzing, planning out every move with careful calculation — instead, he responded to Lennon’s movement, to what his body told him to do, how to move. He thought again of how this all started in a drunken attempt to make Lennon’s ex jealous, a new sense of determination accompanying his confident grin as he nipped at the skin below Lennon’s ear. “Ah.. m’gonna make you forget Dylan’s name.” Pressing his mouth against Lennon’s once more with urgency, Jude slid his hands up under Lennon’s shirt to run across the smooth contours of his abdomen. He could feel Lennon’s heartbeat, his quickened pulse, how perfectly they mirrored his. Lennon wanted this as much as Jude did, he was sure of that now. “Mm,” He tugged at the hem of Lennon’s shirt with impatience, slightly slurred words melting into a kiss he couldn’t seem to force himself to break away from. “Too many clothes..”
“Well I—“ He stammered, suddenly feeling sheepish. Looking back, Jude had been rather obvious hadn’t he? The look on Jude’s face was enough to tie his insides in knots. There was that stupid smile again, the one that got Lennon all tripped up and tangled among his own thoughts. He hated it and he loved it all the same, never knew if he wanted to kiss him for it or wipe it off his face. Even though the proximity between them and the heat of Jude’s breath on his cheeks left him stupefied, Lennon could make sense of one thing. That smile was just for him. And then something changed in his expression, something that made Lennon’s heart sing. It was bright, it was soft, it was beautiful. He wanted to kiss him, he knew that for certain now. Lennon brought his hands up to cup Jude’s jaw, drawing him close before pushing his fingers back through his hair. He let their foreheads bump, eyes falling shut with a soft laugh. “I want you…” The words spilled from his lips with surprising ease. He was practically overflowing with affection, filling up his chest and his lungs, stretching his ribs to their breaking point, with no real place to put it. He knew where to put it now. Hesitating only a moment, Lennon bridged the gap between them, kissing him with all the want he simply couldn’t convey with words.
Lennon let his eyes flutter shut, reveling in the weight and warmth of Jude’s body when he pressed back against him. He snaked his arms around his waist, teasingly trailing his hands back and forth over his torso and drawing his shirt up with them. “Why not?” Lennon was tempted to reply with the usual snark he always did, throw back a ‘I’ll tease you as much as I fuckin’ want.’, but there was a new part of him, a braver part, that wanted to play along. Wanted to play Jude’s games and tease him in return. He turned his face and brushed a kiss just off the corner of Jude’s mouth before speaking up once more. “Whatchya gonna do if I don’t stop?” He quirked a brow, cocking his head to the side with a light smirk. Slowly he let his hands slip down his hips, playfully grabbing him before pulling away altogether. “Maybe I just wanted t’find out what’d happen if I kept it up.” The flirty look on his face faltered into soft surprise, eventually easing into a small smile when Jude pushed his fingers through his hair. There it was again, that fluttering feeling in his chest, lighter than heart pounding lust and more gentle than anxiety hammering in his throat. Too nervous to put a name to the sensation for fear of what he might find, he simply lost himself in the kiss. As he felt Jude’s smile against his mouth, Lennon knew for certain this was everything. Maybe they were drunk, maybe his mind was cloudier than ever, but this was one of those things you just knew. This, this feeling, this was what he had been searching for for over a year in the back seats of parked cars and dark corners at parties. “Ah…” A soft sound escaped into the kiss as Lennon’s lips parted with a heavy sigh. Eager to draw more sounds like that from him, Lennon pushed his his hips hard against him, smirking to himself as they fell into a rhythm together. Whatever was happening between them, whatever this was, it came as naturally as breathing. He hardly had to think or fumble for the next move to make. Brows furrowing deeply, he forced himself to pull back and catch his breath. As his chest moved hard the corners of Lennon’s mouth turned up in a bemused, sly smile, studying Jude with a half-lidded gaze. “Yeah…?” Lennon asked in a sigh. Lightly he nipped Jude’s lower lip, a quiet laugh escaping as he tugged back. “Tell me then… I wanna know.” At his next words a chill snaked down his spine and caused the hair at the back of his neck to stand up. God, he wanted nothing more than that. Now he was absolutely certain Jude could hear how hard his heart was pounding, it was obvious, to the whole world maybe. Tipping his head to the side to give him better access, Lennon smirked lightly. “I’d love t’see you try.” Playing it cool be damned, Lennon eagerly scrambled to pull off his shirt, getting stuck in it from his drunken lack of coordination. With a laugh he tore it off and tossed it aside, looking down to Jude with a grin. “You next.” He took control, pulling up Jude’s shirt before he had a chance and trailing kisses over his skin in its wake.
"Nah-uh — take away the drums an’ a song goes right t’shit. You pull it all together." Jude countered, tracing light shapes on Lennon’s arm lazily. "What does it look like m’doing?" Lips stretched in a sly smile, Jude pressed a light kiss to his skin. With every move he made that Lennon didn’t reject or brush off, Jude only grew more confident, reassured that at least some part of Lennon wanted the same thing he did. And God, if Lennon wanted Jude even half as much as he wanted Lennon, they could really be something. Jude pulled back the slightest bit to meet Lennon’s gaze head on, forehead creased in confusion as he regarded him curiously. "Yeah.. Don’t sound so surprised—" He laughed a little, ran his fingers back through Lennon’s hair and pulled it free from his messy ponytail. "Maybe I want you.. S’what if I do?" He spoke teasingly, corner of his mouth lifted in a softer smile as he trailed tiny half kisses down Lennon’s neck. "Ah, but what about me, hmm?" He dragged his mouth along Lennon’s neck with a mischievous smile as he pulled away, holding him tight. "D’you want me?" Jude tuned out the noise surrounding them, focusing solely on Lennon and his touch as it all fell away— the music, the slurred words from voices shouting over one another, the bustle of a party at it’s prime. His lips parted with a soft groan as he leaned into Lennon instinctively, his body immediately reacting to Lennon’s calloused hands. Dragging his fingers down Lennon’s back with a rougher grip, Jude slipped his hand into his back pocket and took hold of him firmly, pressing into him with eagerness. With half open eyelids, head cloudy with lust, Jude exhaled and nodded lamely with a hard swallow. "Mm.. y—yeah. I do.." He forced the words out, trying not to choke on how desperately he needed to be close to Lennon— so much closer. Forcing himself to pull away, Jude flashed Lennon a teasing grin. "Now." Pulling his hand from Lennon’s pocket, Jude laced their fingers together and pulled him in the direction of the stairs. There were a few people scattered around the upstairs landing, but it was mostly vacant in favor of the music and food downstairs. "Hmm.. which one.." Jude knew Matt’s house had a spare bedroom that was seldom used, but navigating the dim lit house drunkenly proved to be a more difficult feat than he anticipated. Jude pushed open the last door in the hall, pulling Lennon in with a clumsy grasp and an impatient smirk.
“Oh…” A soft sound passed his lips as Jude kissed his neck, this time it was undeniable, there was no room to wonder, no made up scenarios from overblown moments shared between the two. He was kissing him. Jude was kissing him. “Well uh… it kinda looks like you’re makin’ a move on me.” He teased. Shaking his head in disbelief, Lennon pushed his fingers through his hair and attempted to hold back a giddy grin. This was either the best night of his life or the absolute most shitfaced he’d ever been. Skeptically he scrunched up his nose. “Don’t sound so surprised?” Lennon shook his head with a wry grin, laughing. For a moment he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as Jude undid his hair. It was undeniable how good it felt just to be close to him, just like this, just them. As best he could he forced another smirk, though it was no match for the one previous. Jude was winning and Lennon wasn’t even sure this was a fight. “Oh yeah ‘cause the long list a’guys you’ve been into before really clued me in—“ The challenging look on his face flickered into surprise as Jude dragged a kiss along his neck, faltering halfway through his teasing. “Oh fuck…” He mumbled, letting his eyes slip shut as he tightened his fingers in the fabric of Jude’s shirt. “…w-what?” Lennon’s eyes fluttered open, an expression of pure daze writ across his features. He scrambled an answer but couldn’t think straight. As Jude curled close and wrapped his arms around his waist, Lennon let his eyes slip shut with a heavy, shaky sigh, giving in. The weight of his fingers dragging down his back left him senseless. Finally he opened his mouth to speak, instead gasping as Jude hitched him close. “Yeah—“ Lennon managed a nod, tapering off into a soft groan. “I— I want you…” He choked out, voice breathless and thick with longing. As a playful look flickered across his face he slid his one hand behind him, laying it over Jude’s and urging him on before pressing closer. All he could think about after breaking apart was how to get back together. With a breathless laugh Lennon clambered up the steps after Jude, gripping tightly to his hand. No one paid much attention to them, anyone upstairs was there for one reason only, and that wasn’t socialization. But still, when he caught sight of appraising glances and curious looks he couldn’t help but feel smug. “I couldn’t give a shit which one, jus’ pick a room…” He drawled in his ear with a laugh, pressing up behind him just to be a tease. Lennon stumbled into the room behind him with a drunken snicker, leaning back against the door to shut it behind them. He stood there a moment, studying Jude in the faint light of the streetlamp and moon filtering in through the window curtains. His heart fluttered in his chest in excitement and fear, the good kind. Reaching behind himself, Lennon locked the door and pushed off of it. Playfully he grasped Jude by the shoulders, leaning in to steal a kiss but stopping just an inch or so away. His heart was pounding so hard in his chest he was sure Jude could hear, sure that it would drown out the beat of the music below their feet. Lennon narrowed his eyes on Jude’s with a smirk, pushing him back against the bed, but a drunken fit of giggles ruined his attempt at being sexy. He hopped on the bed and climbed over Jude, blonde waves falling in his face. “Hey…” Lennon’s giddy grin faded into something smaller, the excitement remaining in his gaze. With a tremulous sigh he leaned in, breath hitching hard as their lips brushed together. His heart soared in his chest in a way kissing no other boy had done to him before. Jude was warm and tasted like alcohol, he was more than he had ever imagined, and if Lennon was honest, this was something he had imagined an awful lot. Laughing nervously, he settled against him, straddling his hips and tangling his fingers through Jude’s mess of curly hair.
Jude tilted his head to the side with a curious smile. “‘Course I did. Why’s that so hard to believe?” His sly grin melted into something sweeter as he hung his head back with a hearty laugh. “Oh-hoo, don’t let the guys hear ya say that. They might think you’re pickin’ favorites. ‘Sides, I’d — we’d be nothin’ without you, soo..” Lazily, Jude shrugged, the picture of perfect nonchalance. “Weelll..” He flashed Lennon a wide grin, head tilted once more in a matter-of-fact fashion as he spoke, moving to bury his face in the crook of Lennon’s neck, letting his lips brush against his skin teasingly with each word. “I’m just gonna have’ta let you, aren’t I?” Pulling back with a daring smirk, Jude licked his lips and tried to get a grasp on the disheveled thoughts floating through his mind when he realized with relief that there was nothing to sort. That was the beauty of being drunk — Jude couldn’t think of anything but Lennon. For once, he wasn’t fighting a losing battle with himself internally, wasn’t talking himself out of anything. “Crazy?” Laughter colored his features but his voice remained smooth with certitude. He meant every word he said tonight, despite the undeniable fact that they were all alcohol induced, and he wanted Lennon to know it. “Why’m I crazy for wantin’ you?” Jude could barely bite back his smile long enough to really speak, so at home with himself for once. As Lennon allowed Jude to pull him closer, his lips parted with a heavy, anticipatory breath, trying with every bone in his body to hold himself back, keep from pushing Lennon too far. But God, how much was too much? Jude had no idea anymore. Jude let out a breathless laugh, straightening up the slightest bit to give Lennon better access to his shirt. “Mhm..” Sensing Lennon’s momentary hesitation, Jude lifted his hands to help Lennon undo the next button with encouragement. “Keep goin’..” His smirk fell away as he drew another deep breath, trying so desperately to pace himself. As Lennon made his way down, undoing button after button, Jude found use for his own hands. Letting one rest idly on Lennon’s hip, Jude moved the other under the hem of his shirt to draw his fingers up and down Lennon’s back, eyes slipping shut as he reveled in how warm Lennon’s skin was. He realized with excitement that he wasn’t scared- not even a little. He was impatient, eager, hungry for Lennon — but anger and shame and uncertainty? They all fell away the moment they entered this kitchen, and now he only wanted more.
“Well cause… you’re.. you.” Lennon laughed, his voice plain as though this were the simplest explanation in the world. Totally utterly completely unattainable. That was Jude. Still, there was something in his expression that made him want to believe the words he said, trust that they were true. “Maybe I do play favorites, dumbass. Aw hell, you’re just sweet talkin’ me now, drummers ain’t nothing and you know it.” Even so, he couldn’t help the swell of pride that filled his chest upon hearing that. “What’er you doin’?” Depsite his dubious laughter he gladly accepted Jude, wrapping his arms around his wist and drawing him closer still. This was nice, just holding him, not hugging, was nice. Hugging meant there was a clear end in sight, not holding. Letting his eyes slip shut, Lennon leaned into Jude, shivers slipping over his shoulders and down his spine each time Jude’s lips brushed against him and he felt the warmth of his breath on his skin. “Oh…” He trailed off playfully. Slowly he drew his fingers in patterns along his back, smirk growing. “I s’pose y’will, huh.” Lennon’s grin faltered, falling into sheer surprise. Blinking, he struggled to process what all of this meant. “Wantin’ me.” He repeated in disbelief, an almost delighted smile flitting across his face before disappearing as quickly as it had come. The look on Jude’s face was enough to make his heart beat straight out of his chest. It was one thing to want him but another to grin about it, so at ease with himself. With each passing moment he found himself in deeper and deeper. Was this for real? He caught himself running over the list of drinks he had that night, wondering if Dylan had drugged him somewhere along the line and this was one big feverish trip, nothing more. “I…” No words came as he opened his mouth, overloaded and overwhelmed, like a computer hitting a blue screen he needed to reboot. “That’s— I—“ He stammered with a ridiculous grin, one too big Jude was sure to find idiotic. Taking a deep breath, Lennon steeled himself for what was to come, a terror coursed through his veins but one that felt far off, distant. More of the knowledge that he should be afraid than real fear. Something stirred inside Lennon at the sound of Jude’s command to keep going, a nervous thrill. The low hum of his drawl and each heavy breath he took was like music to his ears, sent him reeling. With a breathless laugh he continued, their fingers bumping into each other as he took the second button from him and undid it himself. Lennon leaned in, his breath catching audibly as their lips barely brushed. This was too much, he couldn’t do it. Like a coward he pulled back, instead dropping his gaze to the buttons of Jude’s plaid shirt he was now fumbling with. With a shy but eager smile he stole a look up, trying to catch his eye. As he took a deep breath, struggling to keep calm, his giddy smile fell away. Slowly he dragged his palm down the length of Jude’s bare torso, reveling in the warmth of his skin and the tension of his muscle beneath it. Hooking his fingers in the top of Jude’s waistband, he pulled him closer. With a surge of courage, still too shy to truly kiss him, Lennon pressed his lips hard to Jude’s jaw, tilting his head back for better access. He dragged a breathless, heavy kiss along the edge of it, free fingers knotting up in the mess of curls at the back of his neck. “Jude…” Lennon drawled in a sigh, his voice low with longing. “Y’wanna go somewhere?”
Jude shrugged simply, trying to distract himself from Lennon’s intent gaze by tracing the outline of his jaw absentmindedly. “Yeah. The way you deserve.” He repeated, small, sincere smile sat upon his face. “I care about you, s’all. I may be drunk as a fuckin’ —-” Trailing off, brows knotted in thought, he tapered off into laughter after failing to come up with a satisfactory metaphor. “But I, uh.. still care.” Narrowing his eyes on Lennon playfully, Jude brushed his fingers through stray blonde strands as they came free from Lennon’s ponytail. “Well, maybe not his, but..” His grin widened, brow arched. “.. Yours was definitely hot.” Lennon drew a laugh from Jude as he leaned lazily against the counter, the marble cool against his back as his shirt rode up the slightest bit. “Hmm, is this your way’a kicking me outta the band, Foley?” He smirked with half open eyes, every nerve in his body alive, buzzing, awakened by his close proximity to Lennon. The kitchen was considerably cooler than the crowded living room, but God, Jude felt as if he were on fire, and he needed relief. He needed to give in to himself, if only a little. “Ooh, and is this your way of gettin’ me out of my clothes? You’re a pretty ambitious drunk, aren’t ya?” Jude’s smile fell into something softer, although still very much present. His voice was raspy, strained from having to shout in the living room. The music was muffled- still audible in the kitchen, but they were alone, and that was all Jude needed. “What if I said it was workin’?” Jude let his eyes slip shut as he drew Lennon close to press against him. He let the paper towel slip from his grasp to the tile floor, allowing his forehead to rest against Lennon’s. His eyes fluttered open, a lopsided, sleepy-eyed smirk on his face. “Maybe we should take it off, hmm?” He was going too far and he knew it, could feel his willpower and good sense getting further and further away from him as every second passed. Jude had maintained near perfect control over his urges for some time now, but one night and several beers later, he was ready to erase it all and try something new. Maybe running wasn’t the answer.. maybe staying was okay. Lennon could want him back- that was still a possibility.. wasn’t it? Struck with the notion that it might not be, that he might just be way out of line, Jude self-consciously drew a heavy breath.
Letting his eyes slip shut, Lennon leaned into Jude’s touch, emboldened by the alcohol coursing through his system. “Druuunk as a skunk.” Despite his laughter and interjection, he mulled over Jude’s words carefully. I care about you, what the hell did that mean? Friends didn’t say that sort of thing, it was implied, hence the friendship. “You thought I was hot?” A fire had been lit inside of him at the simple brush of Jude’s fingers, but moreover, he had set off a storm in his head by his words. None of this made sense, before tonight he had no idea this was even within the realm of possibilities. Whatever this happened to be, that was. “Are you kiddin’?” Lennon quirked a brow with a grin. With a lazy smirk and a playful look in his eye he leaned in “You are the band, dipshit.” A scratchy giggle escaped as he tipped his head back with a smirk, one that had been roughed up by shouting over the heavy bass on the sound system and the cigarettes he had smoked. “Aaand what’er you gonna do about it if it is Bowen, huh?” For added effect he waggled his brows, ambitious was right. Ambitious and drunk off his ass maybe, but this was all in jest right? A curious expression flit over his features, surprised by the sudden shift in mood. A shiver slipped over his spine, one that left him tempted to press closer to Jude, selfishly longing for his warmth. “What’s workin’?” Lennon asked in quiet disbelief, uncertain he heard him correctly. In realization he raised his brows, breaking into a bemused grin. “I’d call you fuckin’ crazy.” He replied, his grin easing into a wry smirk. Or maybe I’d call you mine. A quiet sound escaped from the back of his throat, lips parting as Jude drew them together. Quick to brace himself, Lennon threw his hand up, laying it against Jude’s chest and knotting his fingers up in the fabric of his shirt. For a moment he let his eyes slip shut, unable to catch his breath, unable to think straight. They were so close now he could feel the warmth of his breath on his cheeks. Nothing had ever felt this right before, this electric. Lennon’s heart leapt in his chest at the sound of Jude’s drawl. With a hesitant, almost captivated smile he opened his eyes to face him. He was even more handsome up close, with the kind of eyes Lennon knew he could get hopelessly lost in and lashes for days. “Maybe we should…” He replied with a soft laugh, taking a shallow, short breath as he let his hand slip further down his chest. This was flirting this was flirting this was flirting. Lennon had to echo the sentiment over and over in his head to find the strength and assurance to act. Jude couldn’t keep his hands off of him, this had to be flirting. Tipping his chin up in the slightest, not enough to let their mouths brush, Lennon let a sigh pass his lips and took hold of one of Jude’s buttons. Tonight had been a whirlwind of confusion and touches that lingered too long, but for the first time he felt certain. Heart pounding hard in his chest, he undid the button, hesitantly allowing his fingers to brush over Jude’s bare skin before taking a hold of the next one. So many things were running through his mind that he could hardly focus on a single one, hardly question what he was doing. All he knew was that he wanted Jude, more than ever, and he was pretty sure that Jude wanted him too.
Despite the blind jealousy that bubbled beneath the surface, the corner of his mouth quirked up in an infinitesimal smile. “Nah. M’okay,” His eyelids drooped shut for a moment, the light brush of Lennon’s fingertips across his stubble riddled jawline sending his heart into overdrive. If it beat any faster, he thought he might just implode entirely on the spot. “Just.. I wish someone would treat ya the way y’deserve for once, y’know? And someone who doesn’t dye their hair to match their skate shoes, but..” He flashed Lennon a sly, lopsided grin, hoping it masked the wistful tone of his voice. It was too much to contain; Jude’s feelings for Lennon, his constantly expanding affection— it was always evolving, multiplying. Never had it lessened, and never it would. His heart dropped to his stomach and erupted in a string of nerves, forehead creased in worry as Lennon tensed and tightened his grip on Jude’s shoulders. Maybe he really had crossed a line. As Lennon suddenly bumped his nose with Jude’s, he smiled hesitantly, just hoping he hadn’t made a mistake. He quirked a brow expectantly, wondering what Lennon was thinking, if he felt the pull as strongly as Jude did. “Are you okay?” He murmured, brushing his fingers along the nape of Lennon’s neck. As he followed closely behind Lennon, Jude pulled Lennon closer by the hip, grinning widely. “What does it look like I’m doin’?” Jude shot back, brows raised playfully. “D’ya want me to stop?” Jude let out an amused snort, throwing his head back in laughter as he continued to repeat the word to himself. “I’m not drunk! You’re drunk!” Brows knotted, Jude shook his head as he almost slipped on the tile floor of the kitchen. “Okay, fine.. maybe I’m a liiiittle drunk.” Jude held out his hands at the last second and just narrowly caught the six pack of beer, eyes wide as he erupted into laughter once more, shocked at how easily he’d caught them. “Holy shit! Did you see that?!” His laugh tapered into a soft sigh as Lennon pushed him back. Lips parted in a smile of surprise, Jude set the beer down on the counter, pulling Lennon forward into him by the loops of his jeans. A lazy grin adorned his face as he studied Lennon’s features, watching the concentration with which he worked to clean the spilled beer that soiled Jude’s shirt. “Ah, s’okay — shirt’s a goner.” Leaning back against the counter, Jude drew a soft breath, letting his hands move from the loops of his jeans to rest them at either side of Lennon’s hips. “‘Never liked it much, anyway. ‘Sides, Matt won’t mind if I borrow somethin’ of his.” Holding Lennon close, Jude pulled the paper towels from his grasp with a coy smile. “Y’got some on ya, too..”
The peace that washed over Jude’s face for the single moment he closed his eyes was really something, really beautiful. He was beautiful. An awful twinge of longing and guilt knotted in his chest, thinking about his best friend this way was dangerous. “What?” Lennon blinked in confusion, his gaze flickering away uncomfortably, though his smile stayed in place without falter. “The way I deserve?” He laughed, trying to mask how unsettled he felt by the sentiment. Jude kept saying that but what the hell did he deserve? Swallowing hard, Lennon tried not to dwell on it. He deserved whatever he could get, simple as that. “Oh come ooooon, the hair was kinda hot, right?” A sharp chill slipped down Lennon’s spine as Jude drew his fingers over the nape of his neck. God, he was too drunk for this. Jude made him feel so much that it made him sick to his stomach, he didn’t know how to explain it beyond sheer emotional overload. No, no I’m not okay. I wanna kiss you. Instead he simply laughed, flicking a curious look over Jude’s face. “Yeah. Why wouldn’ I be?” This was too much, if he stayed any longer he would kiss him. With a smirk he pulled away, quick in what he hoped came across as playful, but in reality was just an eagerness to escape himself and his feelings. ‘What does it look like I’m doing?’ Lennon wanted to laugh, flirting, that’s what it looks like you’re doing, but that was quite possibly the last answer he was supposed to give. A new bout of drunken giggles struck as Lennon made his way over to Jude, swaying precariously every couple steps. “Yeah I fuckin’ saw it! Maybe—“ His smirk grew playful as he settled on the spot before him. “You shoulda become a basketball player instead of a singer.” Anxiety and surprise flared in his chest as Jude pulled him in by the loops of his belt. That was… kinda hot. Okay, really hot. In a desperate attempt to ignore the way their hips had been drawn together Lennon frowned and tried to focus on scrubbing clean Jude’s shirt. “Yeah? Then what’m I scrubbing this shit for? We should just take it off’a you.” His laughter soon faltered and fell into deep mortification. That wasn’t even witty. Jesus Christ what was wrong with him? Eyes fluttering shut for a moment, Lennon took in the warmth and weight of Jude’s hands on his hips and how wonderful they felt. Lennon abandoned the paper towels and instead lay his hands on the cool tile counter, mouth twisting into a curious smile. “Yeah? I mean… I don’ mind but—“ He stopped himself. If Jude wanted to help him clean up he was going to jump on the chance. Anything for a small bit of contact, for the brush of his fingers against his skin. An overwhelming swell of affection filled his chest as he watched him, one that made it impossible to keep from smiling. This was so bad but he couldn’t help it, he didn’t want to help it. There was so much about Jude he liked, loved even. Fuck. Sighing heavily Lennon let his head tip back, eyes falling shut for a moment. Fuck fuck fuck, he was so fucking fucked. If this was one of those dime-a-dozen teen movies that played in theaters all the time, with catchy just-indie-enough soundtracks and all the right lighting, this would be the scene where they kissed. But this wasn’t a movie, even if it was, it wouldn’t be his movie. In Jude’s life Lennon filled the role of comedic sidekick, not love interest. Gangly to Jude’s handsome, the flirt to his morals, the gay best friend to Jude’s leading man, even if he wasn’t fucking gay. Even if this was a movie the boy wouldn’t get the boy.
"Nothin’, man. Just think y’can do better, s’all." Jude shrugged simply, meeting Lennon’s slighty offended tone with a lazy smile, the picture of perfect nonchalance. What it really meant was the Jude was jealous, but Lennon didn’t have to know that. At least, not yet. “Yeah! Someone’s gotta clean up the trail’a broken hearts you leave in your wake.” A sly grin pulled at his lips and he lifted his cup up to hide it as Lennon laughed. His fingers tightened around his waist as he held onto Jude’s plaid button-up to steady himself. “Nah. Not slutty, just..” He pursed his lips in thought, amusement coloring his cheeks. “Judgement impaired.” He spoke matter-of-factly, eyebrows lifted in jest as he regarded Lennon with a watchful gaze. Sometimes Jude had to wonder if Lennon’s sudden interest in grappling from person to person had anything to do with the whole picture fiasco just a year or two ago. It was utter chaos — Lennon being forced to come out, not even given so much as a choice. Ever since then, things hadn’t been the same. And now Jude knew it wasn’t just him, it was.. well, maybe even normal for him to be attracted to men. Regardless, Jude couldn’t imagine something as personal as his sexual preference dragged out to the light for everyone to see. In fact,he couldn’t imagine it coming to light at all. Lennon was a much stronger person than people gave him credit for. Certainly stronger than Jude. Jude realized he’d slipped off into his thoughts as he took another generous sip of his beer and brushed his thumb absentmindedly around in lazy circles over Lennon’s smooth skin. “Hm?” Brow arched, Jude forced a tense smile, despite the burning jealousy that radiated throughout his entire body. “Yeah, m’sure he did..” He murmured, glancing nervously away from Lennon to train his gaze elsewhere. Lennon couldn’t know that Jude was jealous, painfully so- it would scare him off. He’d laugh in Jude’s face. There was no way Jude could compete with any of Lennon’s past and future prospects; he had a type— a broad one, maybe, but one that certainly didn’t include someone like Jude- that much was clear. As Lennon leaned against him, Jude shamelessly pulled him nearer, letting his lips ghost against Lennon’s neck in a light kiss. He didn’t know why he did it, how he’d managed to muster up that much daring courage. Maybe Lennon would ignore it, maybe he’d even like it, but either way, Jude simply felt like doing it.. so he did. And it felt good. Smiling, Jude let his teeth graze Lennon’s neck before pulling away, taking one last gulp of his drink and resting the empty cup on a nearby end table. Squeezing Lennon’s hand with a laugh, Jude let him drag him in the direction of the kitchen, thankful for Lennon’s tight grip, lest he take one wrong step and fall on his face in front of everyone. “A’right,” He slurred, blissful grin adorning his face. “Towels is such a weird word, man. Tooowweellss.” Pulling Lennon back toward him, Jude let his other hand rest on Lennon’s hip as they squeezed through the sweaty, unfazed crowd. “Don’t wanna lose ya..” He spoke in Lennon’s ear, having to raise his voice to be heard over the loud thumping of the music.
There was a silent shift, one with no cues and one Jude wouldn’t acknowledge, but Lennon felt it. He felt the way his body grew tense and he felt his fingers still on his side, stop drawing slow circles across his skin. How could he not? That bit of contact was practically all he could think about for the past minute and a half, sending his heart pounding and his head dizzy. In concern Lennon frowned, forcing a curious smile as he leaned down and managed to catch Jude’s eye. “Hey!” With a small laugh he slipped his hand to his jaw, shivering slightly when he felt the rough brush of his stubble, and tipped his chin up. “Somethin’ wrong man?” Lennon managed to feign easiness but his heart was in his throat, had he said too much about Dylan? He didn’t mean to upset him. These days everything was so confusing, he hardly knew how to navigate his best friend. One moment everything was business as usual, the next Jude would grow quiet and distant, the next they were touching in a way Lennon couldn’t explain. Not sexually, just… touching. Simple as that. Touching in a way he wouldn’t dare with his other friends, but felt natural as breathing beside Jude. Oh God, it was happening again. Shamelessly he melted into him, allowing Jude to draw him close, a strange knot tying in his stomach as he felt the way their bodies pressed together. Lennon’s eyes slipped shut with a heavy sigh, trying desperately not to make too much of the moment as Jude’s lips brushed over his neck. What was going on? Best friends don’t just kiss each other. Do they? Oh fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. A clear shiver slipped down his spine, something he desperately wished he could have held in for fear of being too obvious. For a fleeting moment his grip on Jude’s shoulders tightened, longing to remain like that, to drag him off somewhere dark and hidden away where they could just be and better still be more. As Jude drew back Lennon turned to face him, perhaps too soon, maybe just a little too late. Their noses bumped together, eliciting a breathless laugh from the back of his throat. He stole a fleeting look over Jude’s face before losing his nerve and pulling away. He couldn’t do it, he couldn’t kiss him, not if there was a chance he was wrong. Lennon shouldered his way through the thick crowd, his pace quick as if to escape the moment they left on the dance floor behind them. He could only make sense of two things in that moment. One, he needed a beer more than he had ever needed one before. Two, Jude’s hand was warm and calloused in funny places from playing his guitar and there was no more wonderful feeling in the world than holding it. With a jerk he almost stumbled, thinking at first he had tripped, but soon realizing that Jude had drawn him back and slung an arm around his hip. “What do you think you’re doin’?” He asked in a lazy drawl, letting him pull him close despite his teasing. As Lennon felt Jude’s breath cool against his neck, voice low by his ear, he closed his eyes, having to bite back a smile. With all this touching tonight, all the lingering palms and roving fingers, Lennon couldn’t help but wonder if there was something more going on between them. If there was a future for something more. Despite how hard he tried to avoid acknowledging the change between them, let alone hope for one, his heart shot up in his throat at the mere thought of such a thing. Shit, what if this was still just to make Dylan jealous? Fuck Dylan. Was he even watching any longer? He didn’t even care enough to check. Lennon shot a look back at him over his shoulder, practically giggling. “You’re drunk, towels isn’t such a—“ He paused, eyes narrowing in seemingly deep thought. “Towwwoells. Tooooweels. Tweels.” With another laugh he pulled away from Jude, worming his way through the last bit of the crowd and into the kitchen. While he waited for Jude to catch up he grabbed an almost empty six back off the counter and a roll of paper towels. “Hey, gotchya a present.” With a crooked grin he tossed him the six pack before playfully pushing him back against the counter. His breathless grin faded into something smaller as he took a step forward and let their feet bump together, unfurling some of the paper towel from the roll. “Here… lemme help.” Quietly he began to sop up the spilled beer from Jude’s shirt.
With wide eyes and a rapidly crumbling facade, Jude shook his head, held his breath until he felt light headed, until his eyes watered and he was forced to watch Lennon through blurry, distorted vision. Squeezing his eyes shut briefly, Jude tried to focus on the timber of Lennon’s voice, the certainty with which he spoke. “Okay,” He brought one of their interlocked hands up to brush his lips across Lennon’s knuckles softly, finally exhaling. “O-okay.” Brows furrowed, Jude glanced awkwardly down at his feet, shrugging lamely. “H—how could I not?” Jude had hated himself for as long as he could remember. Long before this moment, before he’d admitted how he felt. He tried to think of when it all started, but his mind kept slipping back to that moment on the playground so many years ago, when he was just a five year old boy with a crush on his best friend— who didn’t know the difference between liking a boy or a girl, because to him, there was none. “I don’t know anythin’ anymore, Len. Nothin… nothin’ makes sense.” Jude pulled his hands from his pockets to cross them in front of his chest protectively, nodding with a defeated expression. Lennon was right — there was no use pretending Jude was doing this for anyone’s benefit but his own. He almost laughed, thinking about it. This wasn’t benefiting him, not at all. He was being selfish for no one’s gain but his parents. “You’re right. I’m — I, um.. I really am sorry, Lennon..” Jude trailed off, forcing himself to meet Lennon’s eye. “F’that’s worth anythin’..”
Jude felt the familiar build up of nausea swirl around in the pit of his stomach, a tense gnawing sensation tugging away at him like a fist clenched painfully around his heart. Hurting Lennon killed him, but he did it anyway, didn’t he? Over and over and over again, the same vicious cycle he couldn’t snap himself out of no matter how much it tore him apart. Watching with a regretful, heartbroken expression, Jude didn’t make a move to stop Lennon from leaving, didn’t reach out and grab him and pull him back in the way his heart wanted him to with such desperation that his chest physically ached. As the door slipped shut and latched itself, Jude heard it all— heard Lennon falling apart as clear as day, clearer than anything he’d felt or heard or said all day long. His hand brushed against the door handle with only the ghost of a touch, but he couldn’t seem to will himself to open it, to embrace Lennon and comfort him the way every tendon and muscle and nerve and bone in his body cried out to. He wanted, at the very least, to drag his feet back to the bedroom where he could hide, pretend he didn’t know how Lennon was hurting, that he hadn’t been the one to cause it. Shaking his head, Jude pulled his hand away from the doorknob as if it burned. He didn’t deserve to pretend, to be oblivious. He deserved to sit there and listen, to suffer silently along with Lennon. Jude turned, planting himself to sit idly behind the very same door that Lennon was currently falling apart in front of. He cradled his head in his hands and cried quietly, the sound of his grief muffled, evaporating into silence by the fabric of his jeans. His mind wandered to another Bible verse, one that stuck out in his mind clearer than anything else, clearer even than the verse in Leviticus, the very verse that fueled all this hate and shame he felt in his heart. I don’t understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. “Romans 7:15..” Jude whispered to himself, hands clenched into fists as they rest idly on his knees. Pushing himself up from the floor, Jude felt a new sense of determination and a need to hold Lennon, to take care of him and tell him how sorry he was. That was what he wanted to do. That was the right thing. Turning the handle, Jude swung open the door but was met with an empty hall, surprise coloring his features. He was so absorbed in his thoughts he hadn’t even heard Lennon finally walk away. Swallowing down his disappointment, Jude felt that determination and drive he’d felt so strongly just moments ago break off and tumble uselessly to the carpeted hallway floor. It was too late. He was always too late. Sucking in a deep, painful breath through his teeth, Jude shrunk into himself, pulling the door shut once more and retreating back to his bedroom where he would try desperately to pretend this night had never happened, that he hadn’t broken his best friend’s heart as easily as he tied up his shoelaces every morning. Pretending, after all, was what he did best.