They’ve got a week and a half to finish this stupid project.Jedediah hasn’t even started to read the book, and he’s certainly not about to.
And he needs Octy’s help.
Octavius picks up on the second try, third ring. But Jedediah
“Hey, Octy.” Jedediah coughs. “I, uh.”
“What do you want?”
“Why do I gotta want something?” Jedediah snorts. “Maybe I
was just callin’ to say hi.”
“So, what do you want?”
“Well.” Jedediah rubs his neck. “I was wonderin’ if you… I
mean, I’m free this weekend, so. I just thought you might like to.” He stops,
considering just hanging up the phone.
“To what?” Octavius
prompts, and Jedediah can’t tell if he’s genuinely curious or taking the piss.
“To go out sometime. Saturday, maybe.”
“Go out?” Octavius
“I mean, like, have lunch somewhere. Or you could come over.
The project. He’s doing this for the project.
“But, I mean, if you’re busy with Lance or something,” he
adds, hurriedly. “That’s fine. I just thought that.”
“You thought that
Jedediah lets out a heavy breath into the microphone.
“I miss you.”
Octavius doesn’t say anything.
“Sorry, I- you’re probably busy,” he says, and oh shit Octy
hates him he’s ruined it Octy’s never going to talk to him again how can he
have fucked it up this badly-
“Are you free tomorrow
“We could go out and
have dinner somewhere. Maybe bring some work to do. I’m sure you haven’t done a
single one of Ms. Orsay’s worksheets.”
Impossibly, Jedediah laughs.
“Yeah- no, no, I haven’t.”
“I know a place that does
really good Italian food. I’ll give you the address- meet me there at, what,
“Sure.” Jedediah can’t stop the smile from smashing out
every other possible expression from his face as he clutches the cell phone to
his face. “You’re- you’re sure Lance won’t mind?”
“Mind? Why would
Jedediah blinks. For being boyfriends, that’s a pretty
formal thing to call him. “No reason,” he says, casually.
“I’ll give you the
address in a minute,” Octavius says, and then-
Did he just hang up?
Jedediah stares at his phone for a good three seconds before
it lights up again, this time with a text. It’s the address to whatever
restaurant Octy had been talking about.
He shuts his phone off and stuffs it into his pocket.
Lancelot is always easy to find.
Jedediah doesn’t even have to try. He slips into the
dressing room in the back of the school theater and finds him practicing lines
in front of the mirror.
“To die…” Lancelot whispers, closing his eyes. He waits for
a second or two before opening them dramatically and flinging a hand in the
air, shouting, “to sleep!”
Jedediah leans against the door and waits.
“To sleep, perchance… to dream.”
Lancelot runs a hand across his face. “Ay, there’s the rub- for in that
sleep… of death! What dreams?”
He twists his neck and looks directly in the mirror.
Jedediah claps, loudly. Lancelot jumps in surprise, twisting
his entire body around to face him.
“Fine show, boi,” Jedediah praises.
Lancelot glows with pride. “Why, thank you. I’m auditioning
tomorrow and there was a selection of monologues for the men; but I think that
one suits me best, no?”
“Sure it does, sure.” Jedediah shrugs. “Hey, Lance, I wanted
t’ask you something.”
“Anything, of course.” Lancelot bows deeply.
“Uh, the bow’s not really, um.”
“Part of the character,” Lancelot explains. “I must stay in
character until my audition- so that the emotions are still raw in my mind- you
“Sure thing.” Jedediah resists the urge to laugh. “So,
anyway. I wanted to ask you about- I mean, since you’re dating Octavius, an’
Lancelot narrows his eyes. “Octavius,” he repeats, slowly.
“What about him?”
“Well, I mean. You two are dating,” Jedediah says,
shrugging. “And I thought-”
“Oh!” Lancelot nods. “Yes, of course. Yes, no, of course we
“You… are dating,
“I just said we were.” Lancelot fidgets with the edge of his
sweater. “So we are. I wouldn’t have said we were if we weren’t; I’d only have
said we were if we were. Which we are. So we are, yes.”
“Lance,” Jedediah says, voice low and teasing.
“All right, we aren’t!” Lance falls down into a chair by the
mirror, breathing heavily. “None of the girls would date me and I needed- and I
knew he liked boys, so I thought he’d be the best choice-”
“Needed?” Jedediah frowns. “Needed what?”
“Gwen?” Jedediah wrinkles his nose. Lancelot doesn’t appear
“But she’s dating Arthur. And I thought that- well. Maybe if
I was dating someone else, she’d get jealous and come after me.”
“So you’re not… actually dating Octy.”
Lancelot frowns, evidently a little miffed. “That wasn’t the
point of my story.” He crosses his arms. “I am
dating him, technically. But we don’t do… date things.”
“Oh,” Jedediah says, shortly. “Right.”
“You were going to ask me something, though,” Lancelot
presses, eager to change the subject. “Something about Octavius?”
“No, no, it’s, uh. Nothing.” Jedediah shakes his head. “Good
luck with the audition thing tomorrow.”
“Ah, yes,” Lancelot
purrs, standing again and pressing a hand to his chest. “Where was I? Oh, right.”
He clears his throat. “Whether it is
nobler. In the mind’s eye, to suffer?”
Jedediah slips out the door just in time to spare himself
from having to hear Lancelot hiss the
slings and arrows and races out through the theater room into the hallway.
He almost runs into the wall, but stops just short before flipping around,
slamming his back into it, and sliding down until he’s seated on the floor,
knees tucked up.
Lancelot and Octavius
aren’t dating. Octavius isn’t dating Lancelot. They aren’t going on dates. They
probably weren’t even going to go out to that play in the first place.
Why can’t he stop thinking about this?
He splays his fingers across his face, unable to keep the
shit-eating grin off his face because Octavius
isn’t dating anyone.