In which Dan has kept his affections for you hidden for the entirety of your friendship, until one day, he comes to your unexpected rescue- but then proceeds to immediately start an argument.
Storming through the front door, you threw your bag onto the ground, hastily kicking your shoes off and grinding your teeth together. You slammed the door closed, throwing your keys onto the table and running to your room, sloppily reaching behind your neck to fumble with your necklace clasp.
Letting out a frustrated groan, you grabbed at the thin silver chain, tugging at it until you felt the tiny links break against your skin. But once it fell loose, you froze, staring down at the sorrowful necklace you held, broken in your hand. Taking a shallow breath, your face relaxed out of the glare you’d been holding it in, walking over to the bed, you dropped down onto the comforter, gripping the damaged jewelry tightly in your palm.
Staring at your carpet, you let your free hand fall against your leg, dragging your fingers softly against the nylons hugging tightly to your legs. Behind you, the sun peacefully dipped lower behind the buildings scattering the skyline, but with your back to the window, all you saw was your own shadow sitting sadly against the wall.
You slowly opened your hand, staring at the tiny silver necklace in the center of your palm. One broken end tapped against the back of your hand, the other looped between your fingers, the clasp still closed. You gritted your teeth again, squeezing your eyes shut when you felt the corners beginning to sting. But, to no avail, behind your closed eyelids, hot tears gathered, and upon opening your eyes, they quickly spilled across your cheeks, dribbling down to your chin.
“This is stupid,” you muttered to yourself, rubbing at your face with the back of your wrist, throwing the broken necklace onto the floor.
You got to your feet, stretching your arm behind your back to grab at your dress’ zipper. Holding the zip between two fingers, you carefully dragged it down the length of your dress, hurriedly shrugging off the sleeves and letting the fabric pool at your feet. Stepping out with one foot, you used the other to kick the dress across the room. Grabbing a loose shirt you wasn’t even sure was yours, you pressed the heels of your hands against your watery eyes, ignoring the sticky makeup that rubbed onto your skin.
Out in the hallway, your phone buzzed against the floor, and with a heavy sigh, you removed your hands from your eyes and hurried out to grab it, shoving away the rest of the things you’d carelessly dropped on the ground. Kneeling on the floor, you snatched at your bag, digging around in it before finally finding your phone, and pressing it to your ear.
“Hello?” You held your phone in one hand, using the other to scoop up the various lipsticks and other things that you’d dumped out of your purse.
“Hey!” A voice chortled into your ear.
You shifted around, leaning your back against the wall, and switching the phone to your other hand. “Oh, hey, Dan.”
“Wow,” his voice crackled over the line. “I think that was the warmest greeting you’ve ever given me.”
You closed your eyes, rubbing at them with your thumb and forefinger. “What do you need, Dan?”
Swiping the pad of your finger against your eyelid, you held your hand out in front of you to glare the kohl-stained skin. “I was going to ask how it went,” Dan said after a moment. “But you don’t sound like it’s gone very well, so, right now, I’m wondering how I can rephrase that to not be an upsetting question.”
You let your head fall back against the wall and pulled your knees up to your chest, resting your elbows against them. “I didn’t have a great time,” you said slowly, cold air curling around your shoulders and down your back, sending goosebumps all across your skin.
Through the phone, you heard Dan take a deep breath, “Do you want me to come over?”
You looked down at your shirt, smiling in spite of yourself when you saw that you had been right, and the shirt that hung from your shoulders was not yours, but one that Dan had left behind. “You don’t need to.”
“I’m coming to get you,” he said after a moment. “I’ll be there in a minute.” And with that, the line went dead.
When Dan arrived, you were standing in your bathroom, scrubbing at the smeared makeup that streaked along your cheeks. Drying your face with the sleeve of your shirt, you ran to the door, grabbing the handle and yanking it open. Dan stood before you, his tall frame leaning casually against the doorjamb. He stared at you with his hot brown eyes, leaving a trail of burning skin as his eyes wandered over you. He finally met your gaze, and with the most serious face you’d ever seen Dan holding, he stepped toward you and said, “What happened?”
You licked your lips, avoiding meeting his gaze. “You really didn’t have to come, Dan.”
He frowned at you, but didn’t respond. You stepped out of the way, letting him brush past you to come inside. He looked back at you over his shoulder, “I want you to come stay with me for a while.”
“What?” You said, quickly closing the door so you could run over to him. “What did you just say?”
He glanced over at you, taking a step toward your bedroom. “I don’t know what’s happened, and I know you won’t want to tell me, so, just let me have a feeling of security by pretending I’m actually lending you security.”
You let him into your room, standing against the door as he wandered over to your bed. He looked up at you with heavy eyes. “Why is the necklace he gave you is lying in pieces on the floor?” He nodded toward the carpet.
You just shook your head, avoiding his gaze, and biting the inside of your cheek.
You heard Dan sigh, “Y/n,” he whispered as he walked toward you. “I’m not going to force you, but, please,” he put his hands on your shoulders. “Please, please, just stay over for one night.”
Your eyes flickered to meet his; He stared over at you with worried eyes and tight jaw. “Fine,” you said slowly. “But I get the bed.”
Dan shoved his apartment door open, holding it with his shoulder as you walked past him. “Okay,” he said, as you dropped your bag down on the couch. It was dark in the room, and, although you were expecting Dan to ask you to flip on a light, he simply ran a hand through his hair saying, “Are you hungry? Because we can get some food, or, um, I have cereal in the kitchen? But maybe-“
“He cheated me,” you said quickly, stopping Dan’s sentence dead in its tracks. “He told me at the restaurant.”
Dan stared at you, mouth open. “What?”
“That’s what I’ve been upset about,” You explained under your breath. “He said he’s been with her since last month.”
“Oh, god, Y/n,” Dan breathed, quickly striding toward you, holding out his arms. You stepped into the embrace, resting your head over his heart, hearing it beat confidently beneath his skin. He put one hand against your lower back, and the other around your shoulders, holding the two of you solidly together. “I’m so sorry.”
You sniffled against his shirt, looping your hands around his waist as you felt your eyes beginning to water again. “I just wish I knew what I did.”
You felt Dan tense up, and after untangling your arms, he pulled away from you. “What did you just say?”
You blinked up at him, still half holding your arms out for his. “I want to know what I did wrong-”
“Nothing,” he interrupted, furrowing his brow and shaking his head. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
You let your arms fall to your sides, frowning over at him, “Maybe nothing wrong, but there was something he wanted that I didn’t have. I just want to know what it was.”
“Y/n,” Dan shook his head, staring at you in disbelief. “He cheated on you. That makes him an asshole: you didn’t do anything.”
You stared over at him, watching his eyes flicker back and forth between yours. Despite yourself, you let out a laugh, “Dan, if he cheated on me, something about me wasn’t good enough, and he had to go find it somewhere else, how is that not my fault?”
“Because!” He cried, throwing his arms up. “None of that was you!”
You cringed as he rose his voice, “Why are you getting so upset about this?”
He took a step away from you, frowning, and staring at the wall over your shoulder. “Because I don’t like that you’re taking responsibility for his wrongdoings.”
You took a deep breath, gritting your teeth, “You’re my friend, I thought that meant you’re supposed to back me up.”
Dan looked away, crossing his arms over his chest. “Yeah, well, not when you’re wrong.”
“Why do you get to decide when I’m wrong?” You scoffed, staring at him with disbelief.
Dan raised an eyebrow at you, running a hand through his hair as he said, “Y/n, this one is obvious: he’s an asshole who doesn’t deserve an amazing girl like you, simple as that.”
You avoided his eyes, letting your gaze drop to the carpet. “Shut up, Dan, I don’t need the pity right now. Can we please just let it go?”
“No!” He cried, enthusiastically throwing his hands into the air. “Especially not now that you’ve said you think I lie to you.”
You furrowed your brow, “I didn’t say-“
“You implied that what I’d said wasn’t sincere.” He took a step toward you, “You think I don’t mean it when I compliment you? Is that it? That I’m just saying it because I think you want to hear it? Because, Y/n, that’s just bullshit.”
“Fine!” You screamed, taking a stumbling step back from him. “Then why do you compliment me?”
“Maybe because I think you’re perfect!” He screamed back.
You froze, staring over at his flustered face before glaring at him. “Don’t fucking do that, I just said that I don’t need your pity, Dan.”
“Oh my god!” He laughed bitterly. “How can you be so fucking dense?”
Looking away from him, you rubbed at your temples with two fingers. “Dan, I don’t even know what you’re talking about anymore.”
“Y/n, you think I’m lying to you when I say those things to you?” He stepped toward you again. “Did you ever think that, maybe, I’ve thought of you like that the whole time?”
When you looked up at him, face washed with confusion, he groaned, saying, “Oh my god, just-“ but instead of finishing his thought, he pulled you to him and crashed your lips together. Holding your cheeks with his hands, your mind went blank, completely ignoring any thought other then Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.
After a moment, you pulled away from him, heart hammering so painfully against your ribs, you were sure they were going to snap. Dan looked down at you, eyes searching your face as you stared at him silently. He took his hands from your face, holding your gaze.
“I just thought you should know,” Dan breathed, your lips still only inches apart. He reached back to your face with a gentle hand, carefully running his fingers over your cheek, tilting your head up toward his to reach your lips again, but you stumbled back, out of his grasp.
Never taking your eyes off the floor, you quietly said, “I think I’m going to sleep on the couch.”
The euphoria Dan had been holding in his lungs was suddenly crushed beneath his ribs, and he was left struggling to breathe. He swallowed hard, nodding sadly as he said, “Right, yeah.” Dan raked his fingers through his hair. “I’ll just, uh … I’ll get you a blanket and-“
“No,” you quickly interrupted. “No, I don’t need one.” He looked up at you, meeting your gaze with sad eyes. “Just go to bed, Dan.”
“Y/n,” he started. “I was only-“
“Go to bed, Dan,” you cut him off, squeezing your eyes shut. “Just go to bed.”
Rolling off the edge of the couch, you quickly got to your feet, wrapping your arms around yourself and blinking through watery eyes. Stumbling through the darkness, you hurried to Dan’s bedroom door, pressing your palm against the rough wood. Pausing to catch your breath, you rubbed at your eyes with the back of your hand, hesitating to reach for the doorknob.
Slowly creaking open the door, you quietly padded across the carpet, sneaking into the still air of the room. Crossing your arms over your chest, you creeped up to the side of Dan’s bed, blinking through the darkness to see his tall frame lying peacefully, tangled up in the sheets.
“Dan,” You whispered, leaning on the mattress with one hand. “Dan?”
He stayed still, chest rising and falling rhythmically. Swallowing against a dry throat, you waited for a moment before crawling slowly onto the bed, nervously smoothing out folds in the sheets before glancing at Dan again. His brown hair lay messily across his face, his jaw slack, as he was tucked carelessly into the bedding.
You reached for his shoulder with a shaky hand, “Dan?”
Upon contact, he hastily rolled over to face you, blinking sleepily and groggily mumbling, “Y/n? Is everything okay?”
“Um,” you hesitated. After you’d fought, and kissed, and sent him off to bed without so much as a goodnight, your request suddenly seemed nothing but selfish. “I had a bad dream,” You whispered, rubbing the sheets between two fingers.
Dan rubbed at his eyes, “Do you want to talk about it?” You shook your head, hoping he could see you through the room’s lacking light. “Well,” he started to sit up. “Do you want to sleep here?”
You met his gaze, chewing on your bottom lip. He was acting as though nothing had happened earlier. Did that mean he didn’t want to talk about it? Pretend it had never happened, and just go on with your friendship? “Yes, please,” You said quietly.
Lying back down, Dan threw half of the covers off of himself and patted the newly emptied space. You crawled over to it, slipping under his blankets and resting your head on the free pillow. Dan reached across you, dragging the covers up to cover you.
“Come here,” he whispered, arching his arm across your body and resting his hand lightly on your hipbone, pulling you to him. “You’re okay,” he said as you scooted closer to him, pressing your back against his chest. “It was just a dream.”
Closing your eyes, you let your hand float down to where his sat on your skin, covering his fingers with your palm, holding him to you. “I’m really sorry, Dan,” You breathed, half expecting him not to hear it. “About earlier.” You could feel him holding his breath. “I’m sorry.”
“You shouldn’t be apologizing,” He said behind you, hot breath wafting along your neck. “I shouldn’t have done that, y/n. After you’d just been broken up with, too- God, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have kissed you.”
You bit your lip, squeezing your eyes shut. “I was just surprised,” you whispered, rolling over to face him.
He stared at you, lips parted, brow furrowed. “You were just surprised?” He repeated.
“Yeah,” you said quietly. “And if I hadn’t scared myself out of it,” you paused, trying to swallow the lump in your throat. “I’m sorry I told you to leave.”
“Y/n,” Dan looked down at the blankets to find your fingers, tentatively reaching for them as he said, “So, you didn’t mind that I’d …?”
“Didn’t mind that you’d kissed me?” You smiled at him. “I didn’t mind at all.”
You watched Dan bite his lip to keep a smile from flooding his face, closing his eyes. “If I were to do it again,” his eyes flicked up to meet yours, voice dropping to a husky whisper. “Well, would I be allowed to do it again?”
Instead of replying, your eyes flickered to his lips, then back up to meet his. And without a second thought, you leaned toward him, connecting your lips again; the fingers he’d been using to stroke your hand moved to lace between yours. Your lips worked together, and you reached up to gently caress his cheek, feeling the soft skin beneath your fingertips.
A few moments later, Dan pulled away, moving far enough back that he could look at your face as he said, “We should talk about this,” motioning toward your interlocked hands. “But, we should do it tomorrow.”
You smiled at him, catching your bottom lip between your teeth. “Okay,” you whispered, leaning to peck his lips one more time before rolling back over, once again resting your back against his chest.
He kissed the skin at the base of your neck, putting his hand back on your hip. “You know you don’t have to ask,” he said after a moment.
You carefully turned your head to hear him better, “Ask about what?”
“To come into my bed,” he breathed against your neck. “I don’t even really want you sleeping on that couch in the first place,” he admitted. “I never did.”
You were both quiet for a moment, and Dan started to mindlessly draw shapes along your bare skin. “I’m sorry about what brought you here,” he muttered. “Though, I have to selfishly say that I’m not sorry you are here.” You swallowed, biting at your lip again. “I like having you here.”
You could feel his heartbeat against your back, rapid and light. You pushed his hand off your hip, quickly turning to face him, catching his features in a worried look until you snuggled up closer to him, nuzzling your face against his neck and lightly placing your palm against his chest.
“You’re the best friend I’ve ever had,” you said with a content sigh. “Even if you don’t stay as that.” You hesitated before saying, “Just a friend.”
He held you to him with the hand that had been on your waist, holding your head in his palm. He kissed the top of your head as you closed your eyes, breath beginning to even out.
“Goodnight, y/n,” he said against your hair.
Sleepily, you nodded against his chest, “Goodnight, Dan.” After a few minutes, you were blissfully asleep, a wide awake Dan cradling you in his arms. He counted your breaths, timing his so that your chests rose and fell at opposite intervals.
His bed is usually so cold, but when you slept next to him, you radiated a comfortable heat that warmed him up, allowing him to lay next to you without needing to drag the blankets up to his shoulders. He smoothed your hair back before closing his eyes and resting his forehead lightly against yours. “I love you so much,” he said quietly, gritting his teeth. He kissed your forehead one last time.
He let his fingers trail down your back, following your spine with the all the way back up to your neck. Knowing you wouldn’t hear it, he tightened his grip on you, hugging you closer to him as he whispered slowly, “More than anything else in the world.”