From an early age, Andrew has learned that nothing good ever came from emotions. Caring for someone was exhausting when in a few months’ time, maybe even a few weeks, he would be off to the next foster home. So Andrew stopped. He stopped caring for people who would only disappoint him. He stopped caring for himself when it was easier to forget the pain that way. He stopped caring for life itself when it proved that it was not going to get better. It was what made Andrew not only a good goalie, but a great one. He cut nanoseconds off his reaction time by skipping the shock and excitement when a ball is lobbed his way.
But then Neil Josten came along and Andrew was drawn to him like fly to a honey trap. His scattered thoughts jumped around but kept on landing on Neil Josten, dangerous. Neil Josten, the boy who didn’t add up. Neil Josten, where it didn’t matter if he swung or not, as long as he was close, as long as he was protected from the nightmares chasing him. That was enough.
Then Neil went to the nest. To protect him. ‘If it means losing you, then no.’ Those words reverberated through his head on an endless loop. Andrew did not have friends. Not like that. Not someone who would willingly go through hell, no matter how pointless, just for him. The signals weren’t so clear anymore. When Neil asked that one question, Andrew decided he would finally spell it out loud and clear. ‘That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t blow you.’ And it finally got across to Neil.
Andrew watched as Neil recalculated the world like he was prone to do. He checked the exits out of habit and then he locked eyes with him and Andrew saw something that made his heart beat a little faster, his hands become a little sweaty, his face twitch minutely in a semblance of a real smile.
And then it was gone. Because hope wasn’t something he believed in. Hope was a construct of fools and of people who disliked words for their sound and connotation and not for their life experiences.
When Neil was standing in front of him asking what he was afraid of ‘heights’ came out, but another fear was there bubbling up from the depths. A fear that had blue eyes, auburn hair, and a reckless personality.
And when Neil was on the roof and Andrew leaned in and Neil wasn’t moving and their lips touched and Neil still was not moving to stop him, his heart felt like exploding. But like a tire with slow leak, it deflated and he pushed Neil away.
But Neil kept on coming back and back and back. Until he was gone. And Andrew realized that he was a fool. He made a mistake. He let someone in. He knew better. After Aaron. After Cass. After he was seven and please no longer meant being polite. His emotions were out of hand. He didn’t realize the control he had learned over the course of his life was gone, slipping away slowly until it hit the ground and shattered into a million pieces.
we all agree that andrew is a Space Nerd™ and believes in aliens, so how many nights do you think he spent looking at the night sky in a rooftop at 2 am wishing, that if aliens were real, to be taken away from whatever horrible foster home he was in?
mmmmm ok but consider this: it’s a sunday morning and andrew flutters his eyes open when the sun shines on his lids and his breathing is slow and peaceful and he doesn’t move because neil is sleeping on his bare chest with one hand on andrew’s stomach and he’s slowly rising and falling with the rhythm of andrew’s lungs and for a minute andrew lets the corners of his lips curl upward in a non-menacing way and he lets that real smile stay plastered on his face while he stares down at neil’s soft, messy hair because he’s happy oh god he’s happy, and he still carries his past with him every waking moment of every waking day but he has the foxes and he has a home and he has neil and for once his smile is genuine and not carved from a deeply rooted hate for everything the world has thrown at him because for once he has something good and it’s right there and it’s real