bean cycle

The Eggnog Latte

Cause of death: Group projects. At least, Liam thinks, that’s what it feels like.

Then again, a caffeine overdose is also quite possible.

When Liam finds his way to the Starbucks once more, he realizes with a huff that the line is snaking out the hallway again, creeping through the library doors. You’d think by the seventh time he’d remember how crowded it is during finals week. But no.

By the time he makes it up to the front of the line, he’s answered seven texts, ordered three Christmas presents, and beat five levels of Candy Crush. By the end of it, he’s completely forgotten what his group project is about and why he’s worrying about it. He thinks that’s probably for the best.

“Another eggnog latte?” The barista at the front asks sweetly, and Liam flushes, more than a little embarrassed that he’s—apparently–already become a regular customer after living in the library the past couple of days.

Liam nods, giving her a small smile before she blinks at him, as if expecting more.

“Sorry?” Liam worries as he blindly fumbles for his wallet, not sure if that’s what she’s looking for.

“It’s happy hour right now,” she explains. “You get another holiday drink free.”

Liam sighs heavily. Way to make him realize how, well, how pathetic and alone he is this holiday season. 

But he doesn’t want something free to go to waste–not when all of them are poor college students, right?–so he flips on his heel. “Grab whatever the, uhh, person–lad–behind me wants…” Liam gulps, realizing as the words come out that not only is the person behind him a lad, it’s also a lad that he knows.

A lad that he knows well but had always purposefully pretended not to. Because any time Liam had even been within spitting distance of him, he’d always seemed to pull words out of his arse, getting embarrassing tongue spasms along the way.

Like now.

“UhhImeanlikeonlyifyouwantmate.” Liam vomits out the words as if it’s his last dying breath, face reddening as the other boy’s lips upturn.

“I’ll have the same,” he tells the barista with a nod. “Since, you know. Apparently they’re so good, you’ve had to get quite a few,” he continues, his wolfish grin falling to Liam.

“And your name?” The barista asks him, pen at the ready.

“Zayn,” he smiles, looking over at Liam momentarily as if introducing himself.

As if Liam doesn’t already know who he is. Or how he looks when he’s focusing on taking notes (doodling, really). And how goddamn difficult it makes it to concentrate on geometry when all he can see are the angles of Zayn’s cheekbones, his eyelashes obscenely fluttering over them. Or the way he sounded that one time when he’d whispered to Liam, asking if he’d had a pencil to borrow. And how Liam had practically thrown it at him, afraid to graze fingers for fear of the tingling sensation he knew would follow.

With a sigh, Liam shoves the money into the cashier’s hand, hoping that by avoiding Zayn’s eye his thoughts will eventually find their way back to the present. And that his complexion will eventually even out again. 

Shuffling over to the counter next to the cash register, his gaze quickly falls behind him to see if the other boy is following him.

He is.

“So, is this our first date, then?” The words come out casual, as if Zayn is simply asking about the weather, not making Liam’s heart jump in his chest.

“Err—” Liam stutters, reaching for the back of his neck.

“I mean,” Zayn continues on, unbothered by Liam’s reaction. “It’s pretty standard that taking someone out for coffee is a first date.” He shrugs. “And you did just pay for our drinks so.” He grabs for his drink as they call his name, taking a long sip from it before cringing a little.

“A bit too sweet for my liking, Liam.”

There’s a pause as Liam grabs his own drink, mind whirring about how he should even respond to that. He’s surprised enough that the boy is talking to him, let alone asking him if this is a–a date.

But before he’s allowed himself to overthink, he’s sticking his tongue out at Zayn. “I happen to like it.” It comes out teasingly defensive, the mischievous grin hiding just behind his lips.

And when Zayn chuckles, his whole face lighting up, Liam realizes that maybe he should have talked to Zayn earlier. Because, actually, this isn’t the hardest thing he’s done. And it’s definitely better than having to research any more about the farming cycle of beans, for God’s sake. 

“Okay, well then. Come sit down,” Zayn says lightly, gesturing with his open palm to an empty table as he saunters towards it. Unlike Liam, he doesn’t check to make sure the other boy is following behind. “We can have a discourse over the inception of the eggnog latte and the implications on tired uni students around the country.”

Liam giggles but stays close behind Zayn. As he pulls into the chair across from him, he smirks, “That doesn’t seem like ‘standard’ first date talk, Zayn.”

Zayn’s eyebrows shoot up, and he looks taken aback for just a moment before he points out with a grin, “It’s your fault we’re in this mess in the first place.”

And Liam’s not sure if he means this mess of a conversation or this mess of a date. But either way, he’s never been one that’s afraid of a little mess.

let’s get together before we get much older (ronan/adam)

summary: Adam doesn’t know what compels him to make an attempt at finally finding out.

Does Ronan Lynch have a crush on me?

(Do I have a crush on Ronan Lynch?

Otherwise known at the one where Ronan, Blue, and Noah visit Adam and Gansey at their university for the weekend.

notes: This project transcends two months, three countries, and more than a few states of sobriety. It has become my Noah. That is to say, I adore it, but I would also throw it out a window if given the chance.

The lovely, talented Caroline drew some absolutely gorgeous art to accompany this fic.

Special shout out to all y'all who had to deal with me talking about this damn project for so long.

(Please see the ao3 link below for more notes.)

(words: 16,673)

[ao3 link]

“I had almost three years to teach him how to use a cell phone.” Gansey says, looking at the lines of his palms as if they had uttered some sort of unspoken accusation, “Where did I go wrong?“

    Adam glances up from where he had been picking at a loose thread on his sleeve, rolling it between his fingers before tearing it off in a quick pull of his wrist. He lets out a rushed sigh and stretches his arms above his head, rolling his shoulders and neck before turning to Gansey seated beside him.

    “I wouldn’t say Ronan is an ‘old dog,‘” Adam begins, “And learning how to text back isn’t what I’d call a 'new trick,’ but he doesn’t seem inclined to learning how anyway.”

    “Do you think he even brought it with him?”

    “I wouldn’t bet my life on it.”

    “What would you bet on it?”

    Adam pauses, pulling his bottom lip between his teeth and glancing briefly to the the baggage claim, watching the conveyer belt circulate, eyeing jet-lagged passengers from across the Atlantic heave bulging suitcases to their sides as the flight number from Richmond, VA flickers to the top of the electronic tally.

    “A pack of gum. A gum wrapper. Chewed gum.”

    “That’s promising.”

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