Jack Zimmermann, Eric Bittle, Shitty Knight
Jack and Bitty deal with the aftermath of the kegster, in their individual ways.
Jack pulled into a gas station a couple of miles from the Haus, but didn’t get out immediately when he stopped at the pump. Instead, he groaned, leaning back in his seat and running his hands over his face wearily. It was bizarre to think that twenty minutes ago, he’d been in Bittle’s room, his arms full of sweet boy, and now…
Now he felt like six kinds of shit.
I don’t have a girlfriend.
It hadn’t been a lie, not really. At least, not once he’d amended it. He didn’t have a girlfriend. What he had was an amazing boyfriend…that he couldn’t tell anyone about.
Maybe he should have told Shitty. Told Mister “I’m gonna double major in gender issues because I’m a secret enlightened genius”. But while he loved Shitty, absolutely, Shitty was easily his best friend, Shitty was also a fucking loud mouthed prick, especially when he was drunk. Tonight had only been more evidence of that. He meant well, but all Jack needed was for him to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, around the wrong people, and his whole future could be in the toilet, again.
So he’d always just…made the same appearances with Shitty that he had with everyone else–the team, the media, hell, himself half the time. Let them believe in the projection when he went to Winter Screw with Camilla, when he said he didn’t have time for girls. And since he hadn’t been looking for anything anyway, had no reason to think it’d be worth the risk, that had been easier than the truth. Even the shit he took for it didn’t matter, the demands for “deets” that didn’t exist after every date, because it’s not like there was anything to hide, because he just…didn’t have anything going on.
Then Bittle happened. Bits, with his smile and support, his pies, his humor and sweetness, his…well, he was hot, too. That didn’t hurt. And he’d tried to avoid it, because he’d…been down that road, and it hadn’t ended well. He still wasn’t completely rid of that mess, if that kegster last year was any indication. But then it had, and it…didn’t hurt. Not when they were together. All the nights in his apartment–in bed, on his couch, watching Bitty move around his kitchen, looking so…right–were more than he’d…ever thought he’d have. Bitty–that small, skinny forward, who’d brought a pie to first skate and fainted if he thought he’d get hit–was so much more than Jack ever thought he’d have in a partner.
He could breathe with Bitty, easier than he ever remembered being able to before. Bitty made everything that had been so hard was just…not, anymore.
And because of that, everything that had been easy was suddenly fucking impossible. Because Shitty cornering him like that wasn’t new, he always pulled shit like that, and he’d back off eventually when Jack made it clear there wasn’t…anything to dig up. But now there was, and that was Bitty, the boy who made everything easy, who’d looked like his world had crumpled when Jack said he wasn’t dating.