Michael Imagine: Jealous of Jack Barakat
You twiddled your hair as you lay sprawled on the bed, phone pressed to your ear. You closed your eyes, letting yourself get carried away by Michael’s voice on the other end.
He was always so far away from you, but if you closed your eyes you could always pretend he was just lying next to you, his husky voice in your ear, bypassing the coldness of the space next to you and the static of the phone.
You missed him, and you weren’t sure if the phone calls made you miss him more or less.
All you knew was that whenever your phone lit up with that stupid picture of his face screwed up crazily, you ran to it and locked yourself in your room, without a fail every night.
Maybe his phone calls were your only line of sanity in the distance in the relationship.
Maybe it was what was driving you crazy.
You heard Michael’s voice on the other end, talking about his days - the usual, another show at another place, the boys’ antics and his tiredness - his days didn’t vary much, but he never grew tired of his dream. But when he did get tired of talking about himself and the schedule that barely changed each day - only the venues and places and tricks changing - you were his favourite topic.
What did you do today?
He asked you this every day without a fail, and you could almost picture the soft smile on his face.
Frankly, your days were dull without him. Without Michael to surprise you in the morning by showing up in your living room with a stack of movies, without him to finish a whole pizza with weird toppings that the two of you dared to try, without Michael to bring over new video games for you to play with him - your days were dull.
Without Michael, you were frequently trying to find ways to kill your days until he came back. Until he made your life bright and lively again in his ridiculously silly pikachu pajamas that made your cover your face in embarrassment but smile at the same time.
You called up friends to hang out, finding ways to keep you preoccupied and surrounded by others.
You didn’t like being alone - it only reminded you of how lonely you were. Your mind would always drift over to Michael and then you’d only remember that he wasn’t here, causing a wave of sadness to wash over you over and over again until you were carried out to an ocean of sadness and loneliness that would take too much effort to swim out of again.
You needed Michael at the shore to make you keep swimming. For him to throw you a life buoy, or to come out and splash you in the face for being a lazy loser, like he always did.
You had been spending more and more time out with friends - more specifically your friend Jack. The Jack Barakat of All Time Low himself. You had met him through Michael when he introduced you to Jack when you stayed with him on tour once, and while you were intimidated by Jack at first - it’s Jack Barakat - you slowly warmed up to him after a few more encounters.
It was hard not to like Jack, with his oftentimes inappropriate behaviour that made you blush out of embarrassment at first, but grew to laugh at.
At first, you didn’t hang out with Jack without Michael by your side to make the meet-ups - although you got along well with him, you never purposely sought him out. However, that changed when you bumped into him at a cafe a few weeks after Michael left for tour - you were getting your regular caffeine fix and you would’ve ran past him if he didn’t block your path with a lazy smile, saying if I didn’t know better, I’d say you had a hot date.
You were surprised to see him there, but your surprised melted into a smile when he invited you to have a drink with him. You ended up just sitting with him, doing your homework - or trying to - while he talked on and on, making you laugh loud enough to get kicked out.
Ever since then, the two of you ended up sharing a coffee every Friday, with the occasional hamburger lunch or pizza dinner on the weekends if the two of you managed to make time in your schedules.
He always offered to take you here or there when you were bored, and you definitely weren’t in the position to say no to a music festival or a chicken wing special on a Sunday, occasionally towing along a few friends of yours or his bandmates with you.
Jack always made you laugh - and when the two of you became close enough, he always teased you, making you pout and punch him on the arm, but you were always grateful for the company.
Especially with Michael gone.
Jack reminded you of Michael in small ways - the humour, the breezy personality - and he always made you feel a little less lonely every time he called you up for a coffee or an invitation to the movies.
I went out for coffee with Jack again today - didn’t get any work done, but I think I snorted some coffee out of my nose. Definitely not fun.
Your tone is light and laughing when you tell Michael what you did today, but his voice on the other end is a little tight when you hear it again, edged with something hard that usually isn’t at the end of his words.
Didn’t you just see Jack yesterday?
His question comes out a little sharper than intended, and it takes you by surprise - it isn’t often that you hear Michael sound like this.
Yeah, but today’s Friday. We always go out for coffee on Fridays.
Your answer is simple, innocent - it was merely a tradition between the two of you now, a routine - but there’s something bitter in Michael’s next words that lingers between the static.
So the two of you have a tradition now?
You’re shocked silent for a moment, taken aback by the bitterness in Michael’s words that belong with the voice that you loved so much - not the laughing, joking voice that you were so used to hearing on the other end.
It’s just some coffee, Michael. I’m just doing my homework and he’s just fooling around.
You try to keep your voice calm instead of defensive, knowing that you haven’t done anything wrong - and you haven’t, Jack was just your good friend, more or less like your older brother than anything - trying to wait until Michael washed the bitterness from his words.
Well, I don’t like it when he’s fooling around with my girl.
You nearly roll your eyes at Michael’s words, refraining from letting out a sigh. His tone was sharper now, clipping - and they were indirectly snipping you.
You didn’t do anything wrong. Jack didn’t do anything wrong. You were lonely, yes, and Jack was good company, that was also true - but clearly, Michael didn’t see things that way, and it left a layer of hurt under the frustration.
You would never do anything like that to Michael. Nonetheless with his friend, his idol - you weren’t that type of person, and you’re stunned for a moment that Michael might actually think that you would be.
You missed Michael. You loved him. Being around Jack didn’t change that at all.
There’s nothing happening between us, Michael. There’s no need to be jealous - he’s just trying to keep me company while you’re away.
There’s a silence on his end, and you find yourself holding your breath.
I’m not jealous.
The simple line is so childish and stubborn that you almost laugh, but you hold it back just in time, knowing that it wouldn’t make Michael any happier.
You kind of sound like it.
You try to control your voice, but the faintest of smiles starts to bloom on your lips at Michael’s stubbornness, imagining him pouting on the other end as he tried to defend himself.
You’ve just been seeing him a lot. I - I’m so far away. And he’s so close, I just -
His words stop short, halting, leaving the sentence unfinished. But you know what he means to say; you can hear the slight twinges of anxiety in his voice.
Listen Michael - Jack’s like a brother. I’ve been seeing him a bit, but I’d switch him for you in a heartbeat. He’s not a substitute. He’s not a replacement. He’s a friend, and I hope you understand that. There’s only one you, and that’s the only one I want.
Silence. You can almost hear his doubt.
You’re the only one I want by my side. I don’t care who’s next to me, I’ll always be thinking of you. I am always thinking of you, Michael. I love you, and only you. Always. I hope you see that. I hope you know that.
Silence once again.
Your voice is tentative, small, as you speak into the phone.
Please say something before I have to drown you in enough cheese to make a thousand pizzas.
You can hear Michael’s light chuckle in the background, as if he was laughing to himself and you weren’t quite supposed to hear.
I’m sorry. I was being stupid again, wasn’t I?
His voice is quiet, like a little kid apologizing for what he did wrong. You can almost see the puppy dog eyes, the sheepish smile.
Maybe just a little. It’s fine though, I get where you’re coming from.
You smile into the phone even though you know he can’t see it. The small weights in your shoulders lifted, and you relaxed into your bed once again.
You’ll spend some days with me when I come back?
You can hear the hope in his voice, the light lift in his tone. You can picture the smile starting to spread on his face, and you wish you could see it in person.
Soon, though. He’ll be back soon and you won’t have to imagine his smile or pretend he’s lying next to you, fantasizing about his touch on your skin or the taste of his lips - soon, you’ll have it all in person and you won’t have to dream any more because with Michael, all of your dreams already came true.
Oh, I intend to spend all of my days with you.
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