“Jack? You’re a photographer.”
Jack looks at Bitty, who is standing nervous in his doorway.
“I take a photography class,” Jack corrects. “I wouldn’t call myself a photographer.”
“But you know about lighting and good camera angles and stuff,” Bitty encourages.
Jack nods. “I guess. But so do you. What about those vlogs, eh?”
Bitty shrugs and bites his lip. “I want your help with something.”
“Okay,” Jack agrees easily. He’s likes helping his teammates and he always feels good after doing something for Bitty. “So should I get my camera?”
“Please,” Bitty says, stepping properly into Jack’s room.
“So, what’s it about anyway?” Jack asks, lifting the camera out of its bag.
“Oh. Well. It’s ah… I was thinking. I want to set up a Grindr profile.”
Jack nearly drops the lens he’s fitting onto the camera. “Really?”
“Well, yeah,” Bitty says. “And I thought, you take nice photos, so…”
Jack keeps his turned while he tries to figure out the sudden queasiness in his stomach. He doesn’t know why it’s there. He doesn’t normally feel this way when helping Bitty.
“Ransom and Holster keep trying to set me up with people,” Bitty continues, “and I do want a relationship, but I want to do it on my own terms.”
“Grindr though?” Jack asks. “Is that the best place to be looking for a relationship?” He doesn’t know why he’s questioning Bitty’s decision. He’s not trying to be judgemental. He’s blames the feeling in his stomach for it coming across that way.
“Well, where else?” Bitty asks him.
“I don’t know. Your classes?” Jack suggests, wasting time fussing with his camera.
Bitty scoffs. “I’ve been in the same classes for months and nothing has happened. I want–I’m ready to be with someone. So, like I said, Grindr.”
Jack turns to Bitty finally.
“What about parties or something. Student unions? You’re part
of some, aren’t you?” Jack swears he’s trying to be supportive.
“Yeah, but same problem.” Bitty’s got a shrewd look on his face, staring at Jack like he’s puzzling something out. “Jack, are you—I don’t get it. Why are you so against me doing this?”
“I’m not against it,” Jack refutes automatically.
“It sounds like you are,” Bitty points out, crossing his arms.
“I’m not,” Jack’s says again, though he knows–is shamefully aware–there’s some truth to the accusation.
“Then why are you being so judgemental?”
“I’m not. I’m not judging you for it.” Jack would never judge his friends like that. Their lives are their own and he respects that privacy.
“Then what are you doing,” Bitty throws his hands up. “Why are you pushing back on this?”
“I’m not,” Jack says defensively, reeling from the accusation, feeling guilty and confused.
“Something’s going on in your head. This isn’t…” Bitty shakes his head, then says with clear disappointment, “It’s not what I expected from you.”
not his head,
Jack thinks, it’s his stomach. Something strange is going on, he feels like he’s swallowed
“I don’t know. I… really don’t,” he stammers.
Bitty narrows his eyes. “Sure you do, Jack.”
“Just tell me. I want to know.”
Jack clutches the camera to his stomach. “I honestly don’t. You just—I just—I feel like—"
As his stomach clenches uncomfortably, Jack knows what the feeling is.
Whatever sentiment Bitty was about to express melts away. His
expression goes from hurt to shock, surprise and then something softer. He folds his arms across his stomach again.
“Jealous?” Bitty asks.
Jack thinks it over. The unease in his gut, his strong reaction. He nods. “Yes. I’m jealous.”
“Why,” Bitty asks hesitantly, not like earlier.
“I don’t know,” Jack repeats, wondering that himself.
“Could you… try to figure it out? Please?”
Jack stares at Bitty. “I’m jealous because…” he starts, not knowing where the sentence will take him. “I want… I want to be that someone. Your someone.”
His gaze is so focused Jack can see Bitty swallow from across the room.
“Jack,” Bitty says, taking a step forwards.
Jack blinks. He feels shaky but doesn’t mind because Bitty’s not looking at him like he cares if Jack’s hands are trembling. Jack puts the camera down on his bed and makes his way over to Bitty.
“Don’t get Grindr,” he says, stopping an armlength away.
“Why not,” Bitty asks of him, arms dropping to his sides.
“You won’t find what you’re looking for on there.”
“Because—” Jack takes a deep breath and another step toward Bitty. “Because it’s here.”