He opened his eyes to see the white bedding against his skin. Tom squinted against the morning light as he shuffled between the sheets, careful not to wake you. The countless disasters that he created by doing that, he knew not to wake you until after a certain point. As he got up, his skin prickled with the lack of warmth your body radiated from under the covers, he twisted, looking over his shoulder down at you. Sleeping soundly, hair ruffled, your features soft and warm. Comfortable and safe. You face was lit up due the orange sun shining through the curtains. He couldn’t help but smile. His heart bled for you, for every giggle and every hug and every kiss. Tom couldn’t imagine harming you.
But he did.
Four months later, during the filming of Homecoming, you decided to surprise him. You hadn’t seen each other in months, so you thought it could raise some spirits, put the smile on your face that he was recently lacking the ability to do. The last time you talked, on a cell phone even, was a month ago. It was silent. All you ever got was his same old voice mail or a dry text about he was busy and he wished you good night. You didn’t bother texting Harrison or Jacob, you didn’t even have contact with Zendaya.
You were tired of this. Maybe this visit would rekindle the relationship. You could only hope. You sat down on the plush bed in Tom’s house that he rented in Atlanta while filming. It was nice, it had a large outdoor space and a modern kitchen, the living room stacked with movies you both love to binge occasionally. You gazed longingly at a photo of the two of you, you were laughing at some cheesy joke he had made while he was staring at you. You could see the love in his eyes, and you couldn’t help but wonder if he still did look at you this way. You heard that the spark of long-term relationships eventually ran out. But it was you and Tom, an undeniable force to be reckoned with. The both of you agreed on mostly everything, and there was never a dull moment. You both knew when to stop and when to start, what was right and what was wrong. He fit into your heart like a puzzle piece, and he had permanently glued himself there. But now… the glue was cracking and soon as you realized this you were on a plane within seconds.
Toms place was like your home back in England, where you had moved in with him two years ago after dating him while you were going through your first-year college and decided to make the leap after a year of countless dates and safety hugs. You thought maybe he was the one, and you sure were set on that after you moved in together. But now looking back on it you realized you were young, and maybe, just maybe, you could’ve pushed yourself too much on him. Maybe, just maybe, you were wrong.
“(Y/N),” Tom said in disbelief.
You dropped the frame in fright. You had zoned out, not even hearing him come in. You swore softly under your breath as you looked down at your feet where smashed glass and a broken metal frame laid on the wooden floors. You scowled, ignoring the mess, your only focus on him.
You watched as he dropped his keys on a table beside the door and kick his shoes off, but he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the look on your face. He hadn’t smiled when he saw you like you had hoped. There was no cliche run, no bone breaking hug, no fit of giggles as he peppered kisses into your neck.
There was no darling, no love, no pet name that came along with that sentence.
“I don’t think I can do this anymore.”
It’s been a month since you had broken up with him. It’s been a month since he’s finished the movie. It’s been a month since he’s been back in England since he’s moved back to his loft to find all your belongings gone with a yellow sticky note with your handwriting on it. I moved out and I’m now living with (Y/B/F). If you find anything of mine text me.
God, what had he done. The one he loved so deeply, cared so much for, his one in a gazillion, his soulmate; he had pushed you away. He fought hard to push tears back as he crumpled up the note and threw it in the trash next to your relationship. He scrubbed the floors clean, washed everything to get rid of anything left of you. But when he was finished, his nose burning from chemical fumes, he could still smell the sweet perfume he had bought for you birthday last year lingering in the bathroom or on your side of the bed. He had been so frustrated that he threw out the mattress and had Harrison go shopping with him the next day to buy a new one.
Harrison hadn’t said anything about the breakup yet and Tom was glad for it. Although he could see the pity from his best friends eyes, so he would drag him out everywhere he went. It wasn’t even necessary for Tom to get over you, it was for Tom to stop thinking about it. Harrison knew Tom believed it was his fault, but he knew that the distance was a two sided road that ended usually in a sharp drop off.
So that where Tom was right now, sitting in a coffee shop staring blankly out the window while Harrison went on about some story he went through when he saw some old friends yesterday. He wasn’t listening, especially not when he saw the familiar blue cardigan walking across the street. His back went ramrod straight, his hand shaking so much that he almost dumped all his tea over his pants.
“What?” Harrison questioned at Tom’s tight appearance.
“She’s with someone else,” His voice croaked.
“What?!” Harrison basically yelled as he leaned across the table to see where Tom was staring.
And he was right. There you were, wearing one of his favourite outfits on you. Soft blue cardigan, charcoal grey blouse with a small ruffled neckline, dark jeans, and black boots. His heart hammered in his chest, threatening to break out at the sight of you, holding someone else’s hands.
He watched as you twisted to look up at the man, extremely tall, dark haired, stubble, leather jacket and twinkling smile. Tom set the tea on the table and excused himself to the bathroom. Harrison, once again, didn’t say anything. Tom stalked to the restrooms at the back, locking himself in the single stall and stared at himself in the mirror. His hands gripped the basin of the sink, knuckles turning white at the pressure. His teeth clenched as he dared another look into the mirror. But all he saw was you smiling at the other man. The other man that should be him.
You looked happy.
He wondered if that’s what you looked like when you saw him. If you were bursting with happiness that emitted a light so pure. The light, the laugh, the teasing pushes, he missed it. There was a knock on the door.
“Tom… You alright, mate?” It was Harrison.
“Yeah!” He said too quickly, blinking away the forming tears. “Yeah, I’m good. I’ll be out in a sec’.”
You had the right to be happy. You had the right to be with someone new. He had hurt you, he had left you alone and never tried to fix what he broke. And he still loved you. He knew he always would. Who could forget you? You were brilliant, astonishing, breathtaking.
He could picture the first time he met you, how you were a nervous bundle of tears because you had gotten lost in the city and were scared of missing your first class. You were lucky he found you, lucky he ignored the tears and did not pity you for them. Simply, he held your books, walked a little too closely beside you and showed you to class. The whole twenty minutes of it was him talking, then occasionally you offered a sarcastic comment. Afterwards, you kissed him on the cheek, and he had never blushed so much in his life.
He wondered if the person you were with now felt the same. If he had butterflies in his stomach whenever you spoke, or if his heart rate jumped whenever you complimented him. Maybe he hugged her, maybe she kissed him. Maybe it was your first date since the breakup. And if it was, you looked happy to get over it. That’s what he should be doing. Getting over you. But how could he do that when you still were glued deeply into his heart. The puzzle piece that fit perfectly.
With a sniffle, Tom shook his head, his hair shaking out of its style slightly, he exited the restroom. He found Harrison outside, holding a scone in a white paper bag while he scrolled through Instagram on his phone. Tom cleared his throat to catch his attention. Harrison looked up, blinked slightly at Tom’s shaken features and engulfed him in a hug.
“Hey, it’ll happen to you too one day. Don’t you worry.”
What if Tom didn’t want it to happen. What if he wanted you back. He missed every inch of your skin, your over sugary tea, your grandmother’s secret pancake recipe. But most of all he just wanted to hold you in his arms, at least one last time. Maybe that would make him happy.
They walked towards Harrison’s flat, the gloomy grey sky matching Tom’s mood perfectly. He busied himself with looking at his shoes, the ones you loved oh so much. How you had to practically beg him to buy them. Now, look at him, how he walked comfortably in them. He remembered the other things you loved. Like the cat sitting on the windowsill on his left, or how the owners fed their pet too much that he was fat. They passed more and more and with every step Tom regretting coming to get tea with his best friend at all.
Everything he saw reminded himself of you. The little-checkered table cloth inside a cheap restaurant that you both found each other in after the first run into each other. Hours inside that bar, and a few later accompanied by drinks he found himself in bed with you. Weeks and weeks of dates and flowers, you didn’t have a favourite because you didn’t want to hurt the flowers feelings, chocolate especially. Tom went through the movies he wouldn’t be able to watch anymore, or at least for a while because that was your thing. More and more memories crashed down upon him as he walked beside Harrison, who was quietly munching on the scone that was supposed to be saved for breakfast tomorrow morning.
He regretted it. He regretted losing you. He would give anything, his career even, just to be with you again. But it would never happen. He fucked up.
And he hated you. Not for going out with someone new. No, he hated you for still being there, no matter where he went because he knew you would always be in his heart.
I knew one day you’d fall for someone new. But if he breaks your heart like lovers do, just know that I’ll be waiting here for you.
Reporter: After defeating the Capitals tonight, they’re calling you Mr. Slap Shot after those three slappers you showed us tonight. How do you feel taking that title away from Ovechkin?
Jack: Ovechkin is a star player obviously and has one of the hardest shots in the league. We played hard tonight and played our game and I owe a lot to my teammates ya know and Ovechkin, ya know, he’s a great opponent.
Reporter: What’s your secret to the amazing arm strength and stamina you showed us this evening?
Jack: Haha well I whip up meringue for my husband every once in a while. I’m sure that doesn’t hurt.
“Today on Baking Bitty I’m joined by the Providence Falconers! On my left we have star goalie Jonathan Snow, or “Snowy” to you and me…” Snowy throws a peace sign.
“Also joining us is defenseman Alexei “Tater” Mashcov…” Bitty continues.
“Hello!” Tater waves smiling big.
“And finally my husband “Mr. Slap Shot” Zimmermann.” Bitty winks at Jack. Jack smiles dopely and waves.
“We will be putting my three helpers’ strength and stamina to the test making three meringue classics! Mini Lemon Meringue pies, mini Baked Alaskas, and mini Meringues!”
“If each of you would grab a bowl please,” Bitty says directing them to metal bowls.
“Now we are going to do half batches since we are making these treats “bitty” so how about each of you crack four eggs and separate the whites into your bowls and the yolks into this one,” Bitty places a whicker basket of eggs cradled in a checker cloth in front of them and another smaller bowl for the yolks.
“Okay now if ya’ll’ll whip those whites into a foam we can add a little pinch of salt and some cream of tartar to make the mix take form,” Bitty says. He walks along the front of the island inspecting their work. He takes little dishes filled with the pre-measured ingredients and dumps them in as he goes.
“Looking good looking good,” Bitty says. Next up we are adding a little bit of this granulated sugar and confectioners sugar mix at a time. He takes a spoon and drops a spoonful of the mix into each bowl while the players continue to whip the mixture.
“Feeling it yet boys?” Bitty asks.
“I no know what you mean, I’m feel fine,” Tater announces.
Snowy shrugs concentrating on his mixture.
“How about you Jack?” Bitty asks.
“Just another day at the office,” he says giving Bitty a fond look.
“Great! Well I’ll get started on the crusts and the lemon filing while you boys keep whipping,” Bitty says pointing with his big wooden spoon.
Bitty goes on with the recipes explaining as he goes. Occasionally the camera will cut back out the looks of concentration on the men’s faces as they continue to hand whip the meringues. Snowy has slowed considerably and Tater has taken to switching hand regularly. Jack is chugging along, quietly chirping the other other two while making more noise as he loudly whips the the now white mixture.
Once Bitty gets to the filing he drags out an electric mixer beating the filing into thick goop. Jack is whipping along without issue but Tater has stopped to take a break, resting his hands on the edge of the counter. Snowy is basically stirring the mixture now.
“Wouldn’t mixing this meringue be faster and easier with an electric mixer?” Snowy asks frowning at Bitty’s instrument.
“Yep,” Bitty says smiling. “Loosing steam over there?” he asks.
Snowy glares half-heartedly and picks up his whipping a bit more.
“How about you T?” Bitty asks looking down at the end of the lineup.
“No more,” Tater shakes his head. Bitty laughs.
“We’ll use yours first then since the Lemon Meringue Pie doesn’t need as stiff a mix as the other two,” Bitty says. Snowy snorts at that and Jack elbows him in the ribs but both are snickering.
“Now that the crusts have set i’m going to set the lemon filing and chill it for half an hour,” Bitty says.
They cut for commercial and Bitty brings the men waters.
“Y’all holding up alright?” Bitty says grinning.
“Just fine, Bittle,” Jack says giving Bitty a quick pec.
“My arms are on fire,” Snowy complains, wiggling them out.
“Well as soon as ur done with that water you need to get back to whipping, don’t want the mix to go flat.” Bitty pics up Tater’s mix whisking with wide open strokes before handing it back to Tater and motioning for him to keep whisking.
They set up to begin shooting again.
“Welcome back! The Providence Falconers are still hard at work whipping up some delicious “bitty” meringue classics. Let’s see how they are doing,” Bitty says waving the camera to follow him.
He inspects each bowl making comments about consistency as he goes. Jack’s by far looks the best and is so thick it creates coils that don’t melt as he whips.
“Would you boys like to learn an easier way to hand whip meringue?” Bitty says.
“There’s an easier way to whip this?” Snowy asks.
“Yep!” Bitty takes the bowl from him. He whips the mixture with wide strokes again, flipping the contents on to itself in large arcs. “Introducing air into the mix will help you reach the consistency we need much faster!” Bitty hands the bowl back directing Snowy to whip the way he was.
“Very mean, B. Making us do wrong way whole time,” Tater complains at him with a put-upon pout which breaks easily into a smile.
“Oh hush, it’s good for y’all, builds character.” Bitty waves.
“I think these are almost ready! Let’s finish these up!” Bitty says.
He directs them them thru the rest of the recipes. Tater and Snowy fight over using the blow torch on the pies while Bitty puts the basic meringues in the oven.
While the pies made today are set to bake Bitty pulls out the pre-made treats and sets them up for serving.
He wraps up the show, thanks his guests and the TV audience and gives his final remarks while they munch down on the treats.
Jack texts him the next day after the team’s morning practice, “Tater is easing of the high stick checks this morning and Snowy said his arms felt like lead. He couldn’t catch a single top-shelfer to save his life.”