If Nursey’s honest with himself, he couldn’t really have asked for a better Winter Screw his senior year.
Dex, who’d growled demanded volunteered to handle Nursey’s date, had met him at the designated meet-up spot with Chowder under his arm. The smirk he’d leveled at Derek had been darkly promising.
“Didn’t think it’d be right for us to abandon Chowder to an evening alone,” Dex had quipped. Nurse had relished, briefly, in the thrill of knowing Will had arranged this, had intentionally made sure that Nursey was here with no one but him - ahem - the team. Then his attention was pulled to the not so quietly moaning Chowder.
“I can’t believe Cait abandoned me! Our last Winter Screw, and she’s home.”
“Visiting her aunt, from Paris, who’s she’s not seen in like….a decade.”
“Away from me!”
The rest of the night had continued in the same vein: the three of them wandering around, seeking to cheer up Chowder.
They’d bumped into Whiskey and Foxtrot, Dex all but interrogating their dates, Nursey playing at stealing them.
At some point there’d been alcohol and Nursey dragging Chowder out onto the dance floor to so that they could send Farmer snaps of them having a blast.
Nursey had checked in on the frog he’d set up to find the couple blushing adorably in a quiet corner of the hall.
Success in interpersonal relationships (the genuine kind - the kind that lasted more that a year and beyond a shared class) was a relatively new feeling, but it was one he was beginning to get used to.
Just like he was beginning to get used to the tentatively proprietary way Dex’s hand sought out the belt loops at Nursey’s hips, when he leaned in to let Derek know he was heading back to the Haus to finish his last final project.
What he wasn’t used to but perhaps should be after four years of friendship was a drunk and sobbing Christopher Chow.
Chowder swiveled wildly on his feet, swinging from Derek’s side to plaster himself across his chest, burying his face into Derek’s sweater.
“Devek!” Chowder sobbed, raising big watery, brown eyes to stare forlornly into Derek’s.
An anguished cry was the only response he received before his arms were once again full of adorably drunk goalie.
“Come on, buddy. Hey now, I thought we’d had a good night,” he chuckled, passing a soothing hand over Chowder’s hair.
“The bes’night,” came the muffled reply.
“Right. So, what’s with the tears now, bruh? Need me to call Cait?”
“Nooo. I’m a strong dependent man.” Sob. “I don’t need – I don’t need.” Sob. “I’ll call her later.” Sniff.
“Ok. So, no Farmer.”
“This isn’t about Farmer! This is,” here Chris grabbed two fistfuls of Nursey’s sweater and hauled himself upright enough to level his stricken eyes at Derek once more. “About us! It’s about us.”
His head fell once again, this time landing firmly against Derek’s sternum.
“Whoa! Hey. Chowder? Chris? What do you mean ‘about us’?”
Perhaps, it seemed, Nursey had been celebrating his own success with relationships too soon.
“What do you mean us, buddy?”
“I mean –” Hiccup. “You’re going off to Columbia –” Gasp. “And gonna make fancy liberal arts friends.” Hiccup. “And – and — you and Dex.” Sob. “You’re going to – to – smolder at each other.” Sniffle. “And – and –” Sob. “You’re gonna forget all about me! You’re non-chill ex-goalie!”
The wail that followed that admission caused more than one of their fellow students to pause.
“Hey, Chowder, chill. Bro. I need you to chill for me. Deep breaths.” He demonstrated. Chris seemed to make some nominal efforts at matching him.
“Chris, bro - listen to me, ok. You’re not, like, expendable to me, bro. You – you’re my sunshine.”
“Yeah. You know, me and Dex may smolder, but you bring all the light, Chow. Always with the smiles and the enthusiasm. Reliable, warm, never blue for long. Sunshine.”
“Yeah buddy, I’d wilt without you.”
“So, we’re friend-friends. Like, keep in touch after college friends?”
“Yeah, Chowder, keep in touch, meet-up on vacations, Snap from across the country, text everyday. I keep telling you to send in your application to Columbia for grad school.”