The game was over. Another victory for Messina High. Most of the spectators were starting to clear out, and Pedro thought he might as well go too.
The sound of that voice made Pedro jump a little. Not to mention the weird feeling in his chest he was getting. Pedro slowly turned around to look at Balthazar. His heart was beating a little faster than usual. It's just the excitement of the game. You haven't caught your breath yet. But he knew that wasn't true, and he wasn't doing a good job convincing himself that it was.
"Hey Balth," Pedro said casually (or at least told himself he did), "what's up?"
"Not much. Congrats on your win though." Balthazar gave Pedro a small smile, and the weird feeling in Pedro's chest came back.
Stay calm. "Thanks. I should just be glad that Leo let me back on the team, after..."
Pedro's sentence was cut short when he remembered exactly why he was kicked off the team, and his fight with Balthazar afterwards. He was struck by a sudden urge to slap himself.
"I mean…" Pedro stared at his feet. "I was a total dick."
Balthazar looked at him carefully for a while, then softly put a hand on his arm. Pedro's heart skipped a beat, and he almost missed Balthazar's next words, "Hey. We're okay now, remember? I mean, what you did was unjustified. And stupid. But you realize that now. And Hero's okay. She forgives you. And I think Bea does too." Balthazar drew his hand back, and Pedro found himself fervently wishing he hadn't.
The field was nearly empty now. Soon it'd just be him and Balthazar. Should I...?
"You... you saw my description. On your last song?"
"I... I just want to say..." Pedro's voice faltered and his face reddened. "I watched 'An Ode' again."
Balthazar nodded slowly. "And...?"
Pedro ran an agitated hand through his hair. "When you wrote that song, for, for me... I was confused. And... and conflicted. I didn't know what to think or feel. So I guess I just picked the easier thing to believe. That it was a joke. It was either that, or my best friend was..." Deep breath. "my best friend was in... love with me." Pedro stole a quick look at Balthazar, then continued. "And I didn't know what my feelings for you were, because I'd always thought I was straight, but then I started noticing little things about you, like how your hair was a little spiky at the top and how I really liked it when you said my name, and... I guess... ugh... what I want to say is... I know I'm not good enough for you. But I want to be better, I'm trying... And if you like me, if you really do... I- I'm yours."
Pedro cautiously looked up at Balthazar, to gauge his reaction. Balthazar had a stunned expression on his face, lips parted, like he was about to say something. But before Pedro could hear what it was, a muffled snicker came from a nearby bush.
"What the-" Pedro whirled around.
More sounds were coming from the bush now, and the voices sounded very, very familiar.
"Oh my god-"
"I think they've heard us-"
"What do we do?!"
"I dunno, this was your idea!"
The sound of crunching leaves got louder. Benedick and Beatrice tumbled out of the bush.
"Um," said Ben, smiling weakly from the ground, "Hello?"
Pedro's face was turning a very interesting shade of maroon. Uncharacteristic anger surged in him.
"What the hell are you doing here?" That something so secret, so important to him had been interrupted...
Bea recovered her composure first. "Oh, don't mind us, go back to your conversation. It seems very interesting," she said, barely suppressing a laugh.
"Yeah," added Ben, "unless you two lovebirds want some privacy…" He wiggled his eyebrows.
"We- we aren't-" Pedro stuttered. He looked exasperatingly at his two friends, standing in front of him with arms crossed, identical smirks on their faces. Now? Really? he mouthed.
Team Love Gods, they mouthed back.
Pedro groaned and covered his face with his hand. "Balth?"
Balthazar blushed slightly, then said softly, "I do really like you."
Pedro stared at Balthazar for a few seconds, then let out a choking laugh. "You do?"
"Um... yeah," said Balthazar, letting out a little laugh as well.
For a moment, Pedro couldn't do anything but smile, and Balthazar grinned back. Pedro thought if he smiled any harder, his heart would burst and start bleeding all over his chest. And the thing is, he didn't think he'd care if it did.
Then a small cough from Ben brought him back to reality.
"Oh. Um. Yeah. I think we should probably finish this conversation somewhere else..."
"Agreed," said Balthazar, still grinning.
"Bye guys!" Balthazar waved to Bea and Ben, then offered his hand to Pedro. "My house?"
"Your house," replied Pedro, pointedly ignoring the sounds Bea and Ben were making.
They walked out of the school together, Balthazar's hand fitting perfectly in his.