Inspired by Champagne from In the Heights by Lin Manuel Miranda. Many of the lyrics from this lovely song which is a favorite of mine are woven into the story. If you are also a Broadway and/or ITH fan, go ahead and send me a message to chat.
“Jack?” you asked on the other side of the door to his apartment. “Jaaack? OC?”
“Here!” you heard him before he opened up the door. Your best friend since freshman year standing there in the doorway in jeans, socks, and an Aerosmith t-shirt, his long-ish blonde hair tucked covering his ears and his blue eyes shining. “I’m here. Hey. What’s going on?”
“Nothing, nothing.” you said. “I just happened to be around and realized I needed to talk to you… And I got you a present. Had to go downtown in order to get it… Doing anything tonight or right now?”
“Oh, uh…” he said, looking behind him and back to the apartment’s living room. “Packing up and cleaning. Why?”
“Oh.” you mumbled, keeping the bag in your hand carefully hidden behind your back. “You done for the day? It’s getting kinda late.”
He smiled and shook his head. “No way. I have to leave tomorrow morning for Colorado and I’m not done yet. Set it off for a bit, I guess.”
“Oh.” you said again, looking at the ground. “Sorry, I just um… Well, I thought we could make your last night in town for a while something good. You know?”
His eyes jumped a bit. “Oh! Uh yeah. Sorry, I was just about to take a break anyways. I’ve been just sorting stuff out before putting it back. I was just packing- packing. Know what I mean? You can come in. You did go into downtown Boston in summer to get this present after all. I guess that’s what’s in the bag behind your back.”
You smiled as he stepped aside and let you in. “That actually is exactly what’s behind my back. Well…”
“I figured, before you board the plane, we should celebrate a bit. And I remember the deal we made in freshman year.”
He smiled back at you. “First one to actually make something of themselves owes the other a drink.”
“Exactly.” You pulled the bag out from behind your back and opened it up. “So.. I owe you a drink. I would consider trying out for the U.S. Olympic team is a pretty big deal. Especially since I know you’re going to make it. And I figured that big sports stars drink this stuff, right? Not the best quality, but it’ll do for college kids. So, it works.”
He stared at the bottle in your hands before taking it himself and looking at it. “No way.”
“Yeah.” you grinned. “Cold champagne.”
He marveled at the thing. “Damn, (Y/N), the bottle’s all… You went and got this for me? Us? Wait, how did you get this?”
“Jack, I’m 21. I’m not a baby. And I saved up a bit more than just for average beer and bar money.” you joked. “Go ahead, Jacky. What’re you waiting for? Pop the sucker.”
“Right. I don’t know. Fuck wait, did I pack the cups? Do I have plastic ones? Wait, are the cups even clean?”
You shook your head. “No matter, Jack. I’m not a germaphobe and neither are you. Tonight, let’s drink it straight from the bottle.”
Jack smiled at you again and looked around the top, picking at the foil.
You felt a sudden bolt of courage. “Jack?”
“I…” You took a breath, “Jimmy told me what you did for me… Asking your parents to be my final reference point for my letters to grad school… Jack, that’s honestly the sweetest thing anyone outside of my family’s ever done for me.”
“It was no problem-”
“It’s a really big deal for me, though.” you blurted. “And you know that. You’ve heard me ramble about wanting to become a teacher and go to grad school and stuff since we were eighteen and scrawny freshies roaming campus like lost puppies… Is there anything I could say or do to repay you? It feels like I owe you something.”
“(Y/N), you don’t owe me anything.” he swore, still fiddling with the foil. “Well… unless you know how to get this gold shit off.”
You smiled and helped him tear off the foil from the neck of the bottle and grabbed his keys which had a bottle opener key chain on it in order to help with the cap. “There… Jack?”
“Um… Before you leave town tomorrow, do you wanna go take a walk down by the river or something? Go get breakfast?” you noticed him then struggling with the cap. “Jack, are you alright?”
“I’m fine. “ he assured. “I’m just trying to open it. The cap’s being weird and maybe an edge of it is broken, but I’m gonna open this.”
You rolled your eyes. “Jack, lemme see it.”
“No, I got it.”
“No-” you sighed. “Jack, just drop it, okay?”
He looked at you with confusion before setting it down on the coffee table. “Sorry, I just… It’s been a long day.”
You shrugged. “I figured… um…”
“You oughta stay.”
You looked up to see his face, eyes squinted a little, searching your face for the possible punchline of what was maybe a joke and his head cocked a bit to the side. “What?… Uh… Very funny, (Nickname). Come on, you can tell me what’s up.”
“I’m… I’m serious.”
His shoulders dropped once he realized it wasn’t a joke. You were completely serious. “What are you talking about-”
“I’m just saying… I think maybe some things can just.. wa-”
“Wait?!” he exclaimed. “(Y/N), I can’t wait on this! This is my chance! And, (Y/N), you’re leaving too! Don’t act like it’s just me!”
You scoffed and started to get pissed. “I’m just moving a few blocks to be closer to the school! I’m not moving too far! You could take a subway! And you’re leaving the state for maybe even ever and I may never get see you again!”
“(Y/N), what are you trying to say-”
“You get everyone addicted to your charm and now you’re going to leave and go play hockey and forget about us and me and off you go!” you shouted. “Jack-”
“(Y/N), I don’t know why you’re mad at me!” he shouted back to retaliate. “I thought you were happy for me! About all of this and shit!”
“Jack, don’t you get it!?” you groaned. “I am happy! And… And.. Goddammit, I wish I was mad!”
His face softened a bit. “What? (Y/N), what?”
Your body moved before your mind could react. “Fuck it.”
And before you knew it, your lips were planted firmly on his.
Jack completely froze for the minute it happened. He was just about to have some kind of reaction until you pulled away.
His eyes looked soft and sad. “(Y/N)…”
You looked down, knowing what he meant. “I get it… I have to go, I… I’m just too late”
“(Y/N). (Y/N), wait-”
You had already marched out the door feeling heartbroken before he could finish and hurried to the elevator.
It was a couple weeks later.
You hadn’t talked to Jack at all since what happened. And he apparently didn’t want to talk about it either since he hadn’t even tried to call your house. It was probably also due to hockey camp, if he was still there, but the kiss and stuff likely also played into it.
You regretted everything. Why couldn’t you have just shut up and been normal? He’s not into you and sees you just as a friend. That’s what you should have just expected after being one of his closest friends after 4 years. It’s not like he was obligated to like you back because he just wasn’t.
Now, though? You screwed up everything. Your entire friendship was probably toast and it was going to take a miracle to fix it.
“(Y/N)!” your heard your mom call downstairs. “Sweetie, there’s a call for you!”
“Coming mom! you replied before getting up from where you’d been lying on your bed and marching downstairs to the kitchen to get the phone. “Hello?”
You were stunned to hear the male voice from the other line. “Oh.. Uh.. Hi Jack.”
“Hey. he said. “Um.. We should talk.”
“Yeah. We should.” you replied, slumping against the wall with every possible swear word you knew running through your head. “How’s the camp?”
“It’s great.” he confessed. “And I.. I made the team.”
“Really? Jack, that’s great! I knew you’d do it! I’m happy for you. I mean that.”
“Thanks, but,” he sighed, “it’s not why I called. (Y/N), we need to talk about what happened. And I don’t have a whole lot of time since I don’t want to hike your phone bill up a mile.”
Your heart dropped. “Oh. Okay.”
“(Y/N), I’m so sorry. I… I just guess I got carried away and I’ve been so focused on making sure I make the team and that the Hawks call me up so I can start that I… I forgot other important stuff. And I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry.” he repeated. “I miss you and I… I like you, okay? Kinda a lot and for a while. And I just want to make sure this all goes right because it means a lot to me, but so do you… (Y/N), I don’t want to do this if I don’t have your support. This is my dream, but you’re a part of it too. And I’m sorry if I didn’t hear you out and if I was a dick. I’m sorry.”
“Jack, It’s okay. You weren’t the only one who was a dick.” you assured. “And… Jack, you should always know that you have my support. Especially now. I couldn’t be prouder of you and I know you’re going to do great. I really like you too, Jacky.”
“Yeah.” you smiled. “I am and I do. I really am proud of you and I know you’ll do great. I was just afraid you’d leave me in the dust while you run off doing great things and being a pro and you’d forget. I was afraid.”
“So was I.” You could hear his smile through the other line now. “I’m not anymore, though.”
“Okay.” he said before staying silent for a bit. “I gotta get going. One last question. Be mine? And do you want to go out sometime when I go back?”
You smiled. “I’d be honored.”
“Great. Thank you. I gotta go. Take care, (Nickname).”
“Bye Jacky.” you grinned before hanging up and going a small, bouncy happy dance on the kitchen tile. No one had to know that last part, though.
You woke up in bed with everything feeling hot and the feeling of something wet on your forehead. You groaned softly, the feeling making your throat hurt as though it were being rubbed with sandpaper.
“Easy, baby. Easy.” you heard a soothing voice whisper. “It’s okay. It’s just me.”
You slowly peeked your eyes open to see your boyfriend’s face. He looked concerned, holding a damp rag in his right hand. “Jimmy?”
“Hey.” he whispered. “Hey, try not to talk too much…You’re sick, baby. I woke up and you… You’re shivering, but you’re running hot. Probably over 100 for a fever. You sound miserable. Apparently that little sniffle you’ve had for the past couple days has been more than just a sniffle.”
You sniffled and nodded slightly. Even your nose was stuffed up and you felt terrible. Everything felt too hot and too cold, your head hurt as did your throat, and you felt weak.
Your boyfriend ran the cloth over your forehead again and pursed his lips. “I’m going to go get you some water and crackers and the thermometer. I gotta take your temperature to make sure you don’t need the hospital. I don’t want to be sorry.”
You nodded and stayed in bed while Jimmy hurried off to get the items from around the house. You’re pretty sure you’d never seen him so worried. You wondered why.
Jimmy was back in only a couple minutes with the crackers, a glass of water, and the thermometer. He helped you sit up a little bit, allowing you to drink some water before placing the little stick under your tongue. A few minutes later, he took it out and sighed.
“101-ish.” he said, still sounding worried. “You sure that you don’t need a hospital?”
You nodded your head. “I don’t need it.”
He sighed and helped you drink again. “I’m still keeping an eye on you. I’ll be here for whatever you need.”
You nodded and sniffled, lying back in bed. He pulled the blankets over you and asked if it was okay. You nodded and he quietly left the room, brows still furrowed.
You curled up in the sheets and blankets continuing to wonder what about you being simply sick had him so agitated before slowly drifting off into deep sleep again.
You woke up on and off again over the course of the day, Jimmy coming in at intervals to check on you and tend to you when you woke up.
Everything from re-filling your water to getting you more crackers and taking your temperature to giving you medicine and wiping at your head with the cloth again. A home remedy he’d learned from family that he said his mom did to him whenever he had a fever.
Later on, he brought you a bowl of soup with some more water and crackers as dinner.
You smiled softly and sat up as he placed the tray in your lap. “Thank you.”
Your boyfriend shook his head and sat on the edge of the bed near you. “You don’t have to thank me, babe. This is my job as your boyfriend. Got that? I’m supposed to take care of you. And I’m staying in the guest room until you’re better because I don’t want you to have to take care of me immediately after you’re over this. Okay?”
You shrugged and sipped some of the broth from your spoon before eating the rest up as Jimmy told you the things he’d heard on the news. More news from the government on current politics in and out of the country, baseball, and other such topics that were average for late spring in the height of this hopefully Cold War.
You finished the soup a bit later and Jimmy took the bowl. “There. That good?”
You nodded and gave him another smile. “Yes. Thank you.”
He smiled. “Not a problem, baby.” He turned and went for the door before you spoke up, voice raspy and semi-pained.
He looked at you, brows furrowed again, eyes full of worry like how they were earlier. “(Y/N)? Baby? What is it? Something wrong?”
“I just… You seem so….”
He made a full 180 and went back to your bedside so you wouldn’t stress your voice so much. “Seem so what?”
“Worried.” you croaked. “You’re worried. Jimmy, is something wrong?”
He shook his head. “No. Nothing’s wrong.”
You didn’t believe him. “Jimmy… Tell me. I can tell you’re lying.”
He bit his lip and hesitated for a few seconds before giving a sigh. “Yes. Okay, I’m… I’m really worried about you. I’m really afraid when people get sick.”
He looked down at his hands for a bit, not saying a word.
“Because… that it how it started…”
“With my mom.”
You felt your heart grow heavy. That’s right. She got really sick when he was younger, a few years back. That’s how she passed away. “Oh…”
“She just… It started out small and got worse and worse. She had to go to the hospital and then we… she… She… I just get really scared whenever someone I love and care about gets sick. And you’re the most important person in my life, (Y/N). You’re my girl. I just… I don’t want to lose anyone again. Not like that. So… I worry.”
“You won’t” you whispered. “It’s okay. I think it’s just strep. I’m fine. It’ll just be a few days or maybe even a week. I’m fine.”
He looked at you, your eyes locking with his. “I just get so scared.”
“I get it.” you croaked. “It’s fine. You don’t have to explain any further. I know it can be scary since what you went through.”
He nodded. “Yeah.”
“I’ll be okay.” you assured. “Promise.”
He smiled and kissed your forehead carefully. “Okay. I’m going to go wash up. You stay here and sleep. Okay?”
You nodded. “’Kay… I love you.”
“I love you too, (Y/N). Rest up. I’ll be back in a bit.” He got up from the bed with your tray and went back to the door to head down the hall and to the kitchen and clean up. You took a drink of water, smiled, and relaxed into bed again, blanket half covering you so you don’t overheat and head on your pillow, closing your eyes in hopes of sleeping this off.
Today marks the 35th anniversary of the greatest underdog and upset in sports history. The 1980 Winter Olympics, Team USA, consisting of college kids and amateurs, defeats the well trained and powerhouse Soviet Union hockey team in the semi final game famously dubbed, the Miracle on Ice.