p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"Liam was done with this. They had been doing the awkward will-they-won't-they dance for way so long that even Scott caught onto it. It was infuriating. One second they would be sparring or running lacrosse drills, the air dripping in all kinds of chemosignals, and the next everything would be shut down and Liam was shut out as Theo drove off in his truck. Not this time./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"He followed after his friend, catching the door as he was closing it, pulling it back open. No more tiptoeing around it. No more patiently waiting for his best friend to fess class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""I want to sleep in your stupid shirts and hold your stupid hand," Liam sighed, a hint of growl rolling into the words./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"There was no way his chemosignals weren't going crazy, not with how fast and loud his heart was beating in his ears, but all he could do now was hope for a decent reaction. Or at the very least something more positive than a broken nose. Somehow they were still in single digits for total number of broken noses./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""Anything you want to say back?" Liam asked, his determined frown falling./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"span class="Apple-converted-space" /spanNiggling voices of doubt started to crowd his thoughts, making his hands shake as they gripped the truck. He was pretty damn sure he hadn't been misreading this. Hell, the whole pack saw it. Mason routinely reminded him that both of them looked at each other way too long to just be friends, and he was never wrong. Not about people and their mannerisms. But maybe, just this onceā€¦/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""Y'know what, never mind. Like just forget it." He forced a laugh out, pretending not to hear the strain in it. "I didn't mean to- That wasn't- Forget I said a thing."/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"The whole of him deflated as he stepped back, lead blocks replacing his feet, dragging him down. He let go of the door, wishing he hadn't said anything. Going back wasn't really possible with friendships, and their's hadn't been an easy one to build in the first class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"As he turned, Theo's hand grabbed at his shoulder with a grip that rivaled pythons. Liam tried not to wince as he kept himself standing still, despite wanting to melt back into the touch before Theo let go. Not even a heartbeat later his hand was gently taking Liam's, threading their fingers together./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""What if I don't want to forget it?" He asked, sliding from the driver's seat./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"Liam fully faced him, tears clinging to the edges of his eyes as he swallowed around the massive frog in his throat. The jerk had the audacity to be smirking at him as he ran a thumb over Liam's class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""Then I'd say you're an ass and should've said something a little sooner," he laughed, punching his arm./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""Maybe you should be less pessimistic and give people you're asking out a chance to get past the record scratch moment when what they've dreamt of is dropped in their lap," Theo countered, snorting as he smiled./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"It was one of the rare smiles, thin and bright, quiet because he was still so afraid of showing positive emotions. Liam loved those smiles best of all. No one else got to see them, except Mason once. He couldn't help lifting his free hand to Theo's cheek, gently skimming his knuckles over the skin before sliding his fingers into his class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"So many bad things in his past and, somehow, he was so soft and trusting. Sure, he was one of the few that got to see it so blatantly in the open, but anyone could tell that he had changed, grown into one hell of a man. A beautiful, honest, snarky asshole of a man with a heart of class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""Let's get home. The pack'll want to know their betting pool is finished," Theo chuckled, gesturing to the inside of the class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""There's a betting pool on us?" Liam dropped his hand away./p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"Theo nodded. "On you. Mason and Malia started it like a month ago."span class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';""That would explain the chalkboard I'm not allowed to look at in his room." Liam chuckled as he, reluctantly, let go of Theo's hand and walked around the truck, hopping into the passenger class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"A warm feeling settled in his chest, making him smile and hum contentedly, as though he had just finished the best thanksgiving dinner in history. Three years ago, he never would have thought that this would be the way his life would go. Peace was something he chased, a high he couldn't catch that made his IED all the worse for so long. This time though, it had a chance at lasting and he would do his damndest to make sure that it class="Apple-converted-space" /span/p
p class="p1" style="margin: 0px 0px 3px; text-indent: 36px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"The little smile that finally lit up Theo's eyes as he glanced over at him and reached for Liam's hand was worth at least that much./p