Disclaimer: It belongs to Ngozi.
Jack's sitting in the Haus living room talking with Shitty and Lardo two weeks before graduation when it happens.
"I totally went on an accidate this morning," says Shitty.
"An accidate?" Jack asks.
"You know, when you accidentally wind up in a situation that's super date-like, even though you didn't mean it that way?" Shitty clarifies. "Like, I just wanted to study for my Law and Economics final, right? So I texted a bunch of my classmates to join me on Lake Quad and we'd go over our notes. Only, it was just this one girl who showed up. So we studied for like an hour, and then she suggested we walk to Annie's, and I was hurting for coffee, so I said yes, but then we were in Annie's and I figured we'd keep studying, only we didn't, and we were just drinking coffee and talking and like, it wouldn't have felt like a date if it had been someone I knew well, but I don't know her that well and it totally reminded me of the date I went on after Winter Screw my frog year. Do you remember that, Jack?"
"With Angie the psych major?" Jack asks. "Yeah, you told the team all about it at team breakfast the next day."
"I'm calling bullshit, Shits," says Lardo, whose feet are in Shitty's lap. "This whole accidating thing is based in amatonormativity. And possibly heteronormativity, too. Like, you can't get coffee with a woman you don't know very well without feeling like it's a date?"
Shitty deflates. "Shit, you're right."
"I'm not going to say you're wrong, Lards," says Jack, "because you totally have a point. But I think accidating might be real, anyway. Like, if you keep going to Annie's with someone because you need to be somewhere other than Founders or Faber once in a while, and you keep going on runs with them just the two of you, and keep hanging out in the kitchen with them, eventually some of it starts to feel date-ish, you know?"
Shitty narrows his eyes. "Jack, are you talking about Bitty?"
Lardo frowns. "You'd better not be. You know he has a crush on you, right? It's not good for you to lead him on like that."
"He what?" Jack squawks.
"It's supes obvious, bro," says Lardo. "You did know about this, right?"
"No!" Jack protests.
"I mean, I know you've got your oblivious straight boy thing going on—" Lardo cuts herself off when she sees Shitty and Jack exchanging glances. "Um. Is there something I don't know? No pressure to tell me—"
"I'm bi," says Jack. "Bittle really likes me?"
"Yeah, dude," says Lardo, who had no visible reaction to Jack coming out.
Jack stands. "I've gotta go."
He runs up the stairs to Bittle's room and knocks on the door, a little harder than he meant to. Bittle answers his knock, pulling out earbuds as he opens the door.
"Jack?" Bittle says. "Are you okay?"
"Shitty was just talking about accidating," says Jack. Going by Bittle's face, this clarifies absolutely nothing. "And I think that's what we've been doing."
"We've been doing what now?" Bittle asks, his accent coming out stronger than usual.
"Like, accidentally dating," Jack explains. "Going on all those runs, and to Annie's, and hanging out in the kitchen—I just realized that all of it together kind of feels like a dating situation."
Bittle's entire face falls. "And now you want to stop."
"What?" Jack demands. "No, Bittle, no no no! I mean, not unless you do . . ."
"What? But Jack, you're—you're straight, right?"
Jack's mouth falls open. "Bittle, you overheard Kent and me at Epikegster, right?"
Bittle claps a hand over his mouth. "Oh my Lord, he's your ex?"
"And now you're . . . asking me out?"
"You can say no, Bittle," says Jack. "It'll be okay, really. It's just that Lardo thought you might have a crush on me, and I needed—I needed to know."
"Jack, of course I want to date you," says Bittle.
"It's okay if you need time to think about this," Jack says. "I can't be out, at least not right away, and that'll affect you, too, and I don't want to make you feel like—"
"Please come here and kiss me," Bittle interrupts.
"Oh," says Jack, before complying. He leans down a bit and Bittle stretches up on tiptoe to meet him, and then they're kissing, and the press of lips against lips is heavenly even before tongues get involved. Jack's not sure if he's ever had a kiss feel this right. He had kisses with Kent that were hotter, dirtier, certainly, but never with this much affection and warmth. He wraps his arms around Bittle and draws him closer, wanting as much contact as possible.
When they finally draw back, Jack asks, "So we're dating?"
"That's up to you," says Bittle.
"Can we please be dating?"
"Of course, sweetpea," says Bittle.
When they emerge from Bittle's room awhile later for dinner, Shitty's on his way up the stairs. As soon as he sees them, he yells, "Fine!"
Jack flips him off before paying up.