Others, 37

Sometimes Just Being There and Being Normal Is What Someone Under a Lot of Stress Needs

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Garrett only owned two formal shirts and one of them didn’t fit him, but somehow it had still taken him half an hour to decide what to wear for his date with Isaac.

“Do you want to take everything off and put it all one more time?” Thomas asked, tossing a ball up and down in his bed. “I don’t think you’ve gotten your personal best time yet.”

“Shut up,” Garrett muttered, fixing his hair in their mirror. “Just because you can’t get a date doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t care.” And Garrett’s date was with Isaac. It was a big deal. He had to be impressive. He kept not being as cool as Isaac thought he was, not as smart or as badass or whatever. He had to get tonight right.

“I get dates all the time. I wear whatever clothes I have on, at least until it’s time to take them off, and I go up to Milly or whoever and say ‘hey, you want to go out tonight?’ and then we do.”

Garrett rolled his eyes at his best friend. “Yeah, and then at the end of the date it’s a coin toss whether Milly breaks up with you or whoever slaps you.”

“It’s not that bad,” Thomas protested. “Milly and I go on at least three dates a week and we only break up every four weeks or something now. Shocking, right?. And I hardly ever get slapped anymore.”

“Oh, you suddenly learned how to be a gentleman, huh?”

Thomas shrugged, which made him drop the ball on his face. “I guess, or something. A while ago I started to think hey, you know who gets laid a lot? Isaac. So I started to act like him on dates, and you know what happened? Girls are really into that.”

“Girls are really into you being thoughtful and kind and funny?” Garrett asked. “Wild.”

“I know, right?” Thomas sighed, and turned on his side, looking at Garrett. “So listen. Since you’re going on a date with the real Isaac of Clearwater, stop freaking out. He’s going to have a great time and so are you and he doesn’t care what your hair looks like.”

“I know, but I just want to impress him.” He wanted Isaac to know he cared.

“Yeah, because you want to be a boyfriend, not just a date, I get that,” Thomas said. “You know what I think?”

“You think I should just tell him that?” That was what Garrett thought too, but it was scary.

“I think that even Hemi managed to get both a boyfriend and a girlfriend even though we both know Vinnie and Moira are so far out of his league it’s not even a joke. The guy’s an inspiration, and if his loser ass can do it, you can definitely convince Isaac to add you to his harem if you just ask.”

Garrett snorted a gross laugh at that. “After you graduate, you should be like a poet or something.”

“I am pretty good at motivational speeches, aren’t I?” Thomas asked. “Now will you go? Milly’s going to be here in a few minutes and I promised I had the room to myself tonight. I still need to clean it enough that it’s not gross but make sure it’s messy enough that I can pretend I forgot she was coming.”

“Or you could just admit that you want to see her?”

“Look, you do your boyfriend and I’ll do mine, okay?”

“Milly’s a boy now?”

“You know what I fucking meant. Go away.”

Laughing, Garrett went away. “Thanks, Thomas.”

“Yeah, yeah. Just don’t come back early.”

“Fine, but I’m taking your coat, it’s nicer than mine.” He left for real, and made himself walk at a normal pace to go get Isaac. Thomas was a dumbass and a bit of a dick, but even a broken cock was right twice a day. It wasn’t like Garrett was surprising Isaac, they’d literally planned this date, and more than once. Isaac wasn’t suddenly going to change his mind and not want to go out with him. He’d had a clear crush on Garrett for the entire time they’d known each other, and Garrett had had a crush on him for two seconds longer than that because he’d seen Isaac first. It was totally stupid, because they’d had sex at orgies and parties and stuff, but for some reason Garrett felt weird about being alone with Isaac, like that was somehow different.

Of course, the one time he had been alone with Isaac for a night there’d been a fight with a demon that he’d been absolutely useless in. He’d been knocked out or something and Isaac had had to do everything on his own. Maybe that was all it was. He knew Isaac was so much cooler than he was. Isaac didn’t really need him.

But that was stupid and he knew Isaac would tell him so but more nicely, so Garrett went to Isaac’s room and found the door open. “Are you sure?” he heard Isaac asking. “I don’t know. It’s cute, but maybe I don’t want to be cute?”

“You’re literally always cute,” Peter said. “And if you don’t like it, take it off and put Spencer’s back on.”

“I feel like Spencer’s was too formal, though. It’s not like we’re running the minstrel show, right?” Garrett heard Isaac sigh. “Do you think my pants are tight enough?”

Garrett quietly reached up and put a hand over his mouth, warm inside. Isaac was stressing about what to wear too. Isaac was stressing about going on a date with him.

And really, wasn’t that what Garrett adored about him? He took relationships so seriously and he cared so much, and even though he had so many of them, he never took anyone for granted. Garrett had to close his eyes a second and get himself under control. It was going to be fine, really.

So he turned and went in the doorway, so he’d be visible to them. But Isaac had his back to the door and was taking his shirt off, so Garrett’s prepared greeting died on his lips. “Let me try on the one I stole from Nicholas again,” he was muttering.

“Sure,” said Peter. “Hey, Garrett.”

“Hey,” said Garrett, as Isaac jumped. “Am I early?”

Isaac blushed, looking away. “No, I was just finishing dressing.”

Garrett nodded, came into the room. Spencer and Skip were sitting on the chests, watching Isaac as well. Garrett took the shirt Isaac had just taken off—white with a little bow on the front—and helped him pull it back over his head. Then he took Isaac’s hand and kissed it. “You look great.”

“Okay,” said Isaac, looking shy. Garrett knew he wasn’t shy, but he also knew that didn’t always matter. “So do you.”

Garrett smiled at him. “Thanks. Are you ready to go?”

“Yeah, totally ready. I just have to get my money…”

Garrett held his hand in place. “No, you really don’t. I’ll pay.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“But I’m going to anyway. Here.” He pulled out the tickets he’d bought to Lascivious Lionel’s show and handed one to Isaac. “Yours. Keep hold of it. We’ll get food after if that’s okay with you?”

“Yeah,” Isaac said, putting the ticket into his pocket. “That sounds great. Bye, guys.”

“Have him back by morning,” said Peter, giving Garrett a bit of an intense look. It wasn’t really his fault, he just had an intense face. He was super nice, though, and it wasn’t like he disapproved of anything that made Isaac happy. And even if he did disapprove, Garrett had a hard time believing Isaac wouldn’t just date someone until he’d proven that was the right decision.

“Promise,” said Garrett. He looped his arm through Isaac’s and walked him out of the room. “So, you excited?”

“Yeah,” Isaac said, looking at his feet for a second. “I’ve never been to a minstrel show before.”

“You’ll like it, trust me.”

“I do.” Isaac blushed, and he wasn’t the only one. “I’m really looking forward to it. I’m glad we’re finally doing this. I wish we’d done it earlier. Oh, not that it’s your fault that we didn’t. Things happen and they were pretty much my fault.”

“Nothing was your fault,” Garrett promised him. “You’re not responsible for demons or whatever.”

Isaac shrugged. “I guess. But if I weren’t the chosen one…”

“Don’t,” Garrett told him. “You are, and anyway I like you exactly as much as I would if you weren’t.”

“Okay,” Isaac said, smiling shyly. “Thanks, Garrett.”

“Let’s have a good time tonight, okay? You can worry about saving the world tomorrow.”

Isaac nodded. “I will. I want to have fun with you.”

“Me too.” Garrett took Thomas’s coat as they left, and held Isaac’s out for him to put on. Isaac made him nervous, because he wanted to be perfect for him. But Garrett knew he didn’t need to be perfect. He didn’t need to be impressive or brilliant or anything like that. That wasn’t what Isaac needed from him. He just needed Garrett to be there.

And that was all Garrett needed too.

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