What going through dexs mind about Nursey?
Funny you should ask…
William Poindexter has a reputation in his small costal town in Maine as being many things. He has been praised for being determined, diligent, extremely hard working, incredibly intelligent, and some even claim that he is very kind underneath his calloused and rough exterior. But one thing Dex was not known for was emotional competence. He was teased endlessly for having no idea how to deal with overwhelming feelings, be it anger, frustration, joy, love or sadness, Dex seemed to only express rage. His sisters will never let him forget his sixth birthday, when he walked in the front door to find a decked out party with a huge piñata and lots of balloons just like he wanted and in response he turned dark red and punched his mother in the stomach. When asked why he had yelled, “I’m just so happy!”
So it’s no surprise that when Dex meets Derek Nurse that every emotion that boy induces sends a shock of electricity through his being and he just wants to scream. Derek makes him feel, and the strange mixture of frustration and affection drove Dex to the edge of punching a wall. In the beginning it was just rage amplified by more rage, yet slowly but surely Nursey softened, becoming kinder and more open to Dex. And then Dex began to notice the specks of gold in Nursey’s eyes, how calming his voice was when he read to himself under his breath, how heavy and strong his hands felt as they fall on Dex’s shoulder after a rough game. But Dex wasn’t sure how to show that the irate anger he felt toward Nurse had subsided after he actually got to know his fellow D-man. Everything he feels is still super intense but now it’s nice, like a warm wave flushing over his body and sometimes he feels like he’s drowning around Nursey and he just needs to jump out of his skin to escape it. And it doesn’t really help when Nurse becomes a literal walking disaster around him.
It begins simply with Nurse giving him these looks that are so suspiciously relaxed and gently happy that Dex is convinced he zoned out looking right at him. Yet when Dex nudges him or whispers “earth to Nursey” the boy acts like a flustered foreign tourist with no fucking clue how to speak English. Then it develops into spilling shit all over himself, dropping things for no reason, and just falling. He even overhears Bitty asking if Nurse had hit his head, if he’s getting enough sleep, if he has family history of nervous system disorders. Which he would totally chirp him for but the poor dude seems embarrassed enough. His face always blooms this bright pink (like a fucking sunset) and he can’t meet Dex’s eyes, which he should know Will isn’t such a monster that he would tease Nurse maliciously, because they’re friends dammit.
At one point Nurse leans on the counter next to Dex and starts to say something gross and sappy before his hand slips and he knocks his lip and teeth into the hard surface. Several times he attempts to balance his chair on its back two legs and lean back nonchalantly but the chair tipped and he landed flat on his back in the middle of the library. And there’s the time he goes to pull his hoodie over his head and it gets stuck on his arms and he walks blindly into three walls before tripping over the couch. And the time he falls down the stairs at a kegster and Dex misses his chance with this super-hot volleyball player, Daya, because he’s put on Nursey patrol for the rest of the night (She ended up hitting on Lardo after that anyways).
But to Nursey’s defense, Will acts just as strange, and people just assume he’s being a dick. He remembers trying to finish a very important coding project and Nurse was sitting across from him on that nasty green couch in huge ass sweater and his hair was all soft and tousled in big curls and he yawned so fucking gently and Dex flipped his laptop and stormed out screaming, “Are you FUCKING SERIOUS?” Earlier that week he had walked in the living room and saw Nurse eating a Popsicle and turned right back around and punched the entrance frame. Sometimes when Nurse speaks, not even necessarily to him, he can feel his entire face transform into a tomato and when someone tries any sort of contact with his person he just snaps. That night at the kegster Nursey complained about his leg hurting from falling so insistently that Dex let him drink three cups of tub juice and a shot of fireball. After that Nursey and his strong hands were pressed against Dex albeit sloppy and very public, Dex was so hot and fuzzy by the end of the night that he walked across the street to a lax bro chilling in the yard shot gunning beers and just slapped the fucking can into the ground.
And don’t get the wrong idea, Dex is not physically abusive (the birthday party was a one-time thing, he was a kid) and he would never hurt Derek or anyone he cared about. He just feels so tight with emotion and energy sometimes he feels like screaming it out or punching a wall would help. It takes the edge off, but it doesn’t change his emotions at all. So one night after he snaps at Nurse for the third time for groaning softly under his breath during a study session that Bitty asks for help with something in the kitchen.
And a wooden spoon comes down hard on the back of Will’s hand, but when he opens his mouth to shout Bitty lays the spoon on his cheek, a silent warning.
“What on God’s green given earth do you think you are doing treating your friend like garbage?” Bitty is standing with his arms crossed loosely, spoon whipping circles into the air, and his eyes gave off a glare that would put most parents to shame. Dex sighs and slides into the kitchen chair before rubbing his face with both hands. “I don’t know how to feel, Bits.”
Bitty’s face softens slightly and he proposes a gentle, “You know you can just talk to him.”
“I- no, fuck. I don’t know how to feel, bro. Like, I don’t know how to handle stuff and just be happy or sad or confused. I just feel, I don’t know, overwhelmed. Like everything is happening so loudly in my brain that I can’t figure it out and I just get frustrated.” Bitty smiles surely and rubs his shoulder.
“Have you ever tried not analyzing how you feel and just felt? Have you ever just let yourself be happy without questioning why?” Bitty is staring intently into his face which is turned determinedly towards the floor.
“No.” And he’s raking a hand through his hair and jiggling his leg because Bitty is so fucking right. When he meets Bitty’s gaze he feels a little like a weight was lifted from his shoulders.
“So explain to me, what about Derek Nurse makes you want to punch a wall on the daily?”
Then in a hushed whisper it’s all coming out, fast and frantic like a flood gate opening, “Because his face is so fucking beautiful I can’t stand it, it’s like his eyes were made to get lost in and I just want to touch his hair because I bet it’s so soft and it smells nice like lavender or cocoa butter or some shit.” He’s out of breath and Bitty has the most SMUG look on his face before he sighs and mumbles “y’all need to talk to each other for Christ’s sake” before sauntering out.
Dex feels… ashamed. He never really thought about how confusing and hurtful his outbursts could be. It hits him like an eighteen wheeler that it probably looked to Nurse like Dex hated him despite Nursey trying so hard to be kind. So when he reenters the room he sucks in a deep breath before holding out his hand palm up. When Nurse looks up from his journal he seems surprised but gives Dex’s hand a small slap before Dex mumbles, “I’m sorry.”
“Dude its fine, I get it.” Nursey gives a forced chuckle, but Dex shakes his head. “No, it’s not. I don’t mean to be such a dick, you’re my best friend.” And now there’s a genuine laugh and Nurse is blushing furiously.
“I, uh, I know you, Will. I know you mean well.”
“Good.” Then Dex is plopping down next to him and poking him lightly in the ribs, “So who’s this guy you and Bitty keep chatting about, haha. S’ he some sort of art major?” Nurse is squirming and his face is dark red as he shoves Dex away, “Nah, he- uh, he’s just this really good friend of mine, we go way back.” When Dex raises his eyebrow Nursey seems to panic, “Hey I need help on this one calc problem lemme-“ and he grabs his bag off the coffee table, spilling half the contents on the ground and ripping out his math notebook. Behind them Bitty clicks his tongue and barks out a laugh when Chowder comes bounding in the front door yelling “NURSEY YOU HAVE A CRUSH?!”