Oceans - Stuart Twombly
inspired by the song Oceans by Seafret
word count: 4614
The scene was picture perfect. Bright smiles, twinkling eyes, the fairy lights hung around the outside of the cafe illuminating the dark night. Every time I looked at the picture, I could feel my heart beating in my chest. My friends, all sitting around this horrible metal table. Arms loosely wrapped around each other, cheeks pressed together, peace signs, a typical picture of a bunch of goony young adults.
The rose gold frame sat on my desk, catching my eye every time I typed away on my laptop, or watched Netflix, or worked on a new project Google handed to me. I’d look at it for a few moments, it was never just a glance. It probably took a good chunk of my day actually. I’d stare at it, eyes flickering to every little detail. The whiteness of Neha’s teeth, Lyle’s glasses slipping slightly down the bridge of his nose, one of Billy’s eyes was half closed, my hair was messy, spilling over my shoulders from under Stuart’s beanie. My gaze would linger there, and if I was feeling peculiarly nostalgic or depressed, I’d gently caress the glass protecting the photo with my fingers, then go back to my work like nothing had happened. Oh the vicious cycle of depression.
Today was the day where I got up early, ready for whatever my job would bring me. Some days were harder than others, but never usually too difficult. Though every night I walked back into my apartment with heavy feet. But that had nothing to do with the difficulty of work. No that was just plain anxiety and stress.
See, it used to be incredible. Working on the greatest team of delinquents, that had quickly become my closest friends. Winning the intern competition last year was probably one of the greatest moments in my life, that I’d remember forever. Us dorks felt like we were on top of the world. We’d even gone out for celebratory pizza afterwards. That’s when things started happening. That’s when I grew closer to Stuart Twombly.
The irritating and sarcastic boy that couldn’t handle being away from his phone, had seemed to transform into a completely new person in a matter of forty five minutes. I hadn’t spoken much with him, in fact we’d never even been alone together or held a solid conversation without the rest of the team being there. So when he’d sat in the same booth with me, I was slightly confused. Neha had quickly slid in across from me, which I silently thanked her for, seeing she was the closest person I had on the team. Lyle was on the other side of Stuart, fitting three of us into one booth (which left absolutely no space between our legs) and Billy and Nick and Yo-Yo were squashed in with Neha.
The night was fun though, we’d ordered many pizzas, and stayed until closing. We joked around, made fun of Gharam, and his relentless act towards asking me out.
“I mean, how many times did he try?” Nick snickered. I blushed and looked down at my lap.
“Seriously, the creep should’ve left you alone after the sixtieth decline” Lyle said, an awkward laugh following. “How about a date with a real man?” My eyes widened slightly as I tried to see of he was being serious or not. I couldn’t really tell.
“Come on man, Gharam just started leaving her alone give her the space to breathe” Stuart spoke before I could say anything at all. I looked up at him for a moment, just as everyone began laughing again. But he somewhat ignored my glance, pretending to be interested in whatever Billy was saying. When I realized he wasn’t going to look back at me, I turned away and picked at my meal.
We’d stayed for another few hours that night, until a waitress came over and told us that she couldn’t let us stay any longer.
Her eyes were bored, dull as she looked over our table. I’d figured we’d annoyed her. We weren’t exactly a quiet group. But they landed on Stuart, to which she’d grinned mischievously, and her blue eyes lit up with what I could only describe as desire. Though the look didn’t bother me, it did confuse me greatly.
“Alright, we’ll be on our way” Nick had said, and everyone began sliding out of the booths. Stuart stood, and our waitress opened her mouth to speak, but he turned away from her, smiling softly towards me as I scooted out of the seat. Stuart held his hand down to me, and it landed on the small of my back as I stood. It stayed there as I walked with him to the front door of the restaurant.
Again, confusing me greatly.
But as soon as we were out of the view I looked wildly up to him, my eyes wide and brows furrowed with confusion and question. But he shook his head, just barely, but enough for me to close my mouth before any questions could be asked. The others had caught up to where we were waiting and we all left.
We walked up to the Golden Gate Bridge, as we’d done a few times before to go relax. I’d been there countless times, (I lived in San Francisco) but every time I went it was still just as breathtaking. The group of us laid down in the grass, enjoying the view of the night sky.
“Does anyone know any constellations?” Yo-Yo asked, a few feet away from me.
“Yeah I do” I said, already searching the sky for familiar ones. “There’s Orion” I said, pointing up to where I recognized his belt. “That’s Delphinus, Taurus, Pavo” I looked for more, licking my lips as I tried to remember them all. “I think.. Yeah thats Scorpius, and that’s-”
“How do you remember these all?” Stuart asked from right next to me. I turned my head, meeting his whiskey brown eyes. I blinked for a moment, then chewed on my lip.
“I uh… I minored in astrology for two years” I murmured. I didn’t mean to be quiet, my voice just sorta failed me. Stuart smiled at me, eyes flickering between mine and making my breathing shallow before he looked back up at the stars. I continued to stare at him for a moment, how freckles scattered over his jaw, and long strands of chocolate brown hair poked out from under his beanie, slightly over his ear. When I felt I’d stared for too long, I blushed and quickly looked away.
I think I was growing very fond of this Twombly boy.
When it became so late, the sun began to poke up, I was nudged. Apparently that night I’d fallen asleep in the grass.
My eyes fluttered open to see Stuart and Neha hovering over me. I waved them off and closed my eyes again, turning on my side.
“Come on y/n” Stuart sighed, and a few seconds later I felt strong arms pull me up. I yelped, jolting and opening my eyes quickly, only to hear his chuckle. “You’re fine, just go to sleep” Again, I’d found myself confusedly staring at him. But he didn’t see. He was talking quietly with Billy and Nick. This time I fell back asleep.
When I woke up again, I was being shook gently. I yawned, eyes landing on Stuart.
“Wha-where am I-”
“Calm own would you? Don’t you trust me?” I thought for a moment, opening and closing my lips. That was when I registered I was sitting in a taxi cab, and my head had been laying on his shoulder, cushioned by his beanie. Which still sat there.
“S-sorry did I fall asleep o-on you?” He chuckled and shrugged.
“Your fine. This is your complex right?” He asked, pointing up at the building lot we just pulled into. I nodded. “Good, that’s what Neha told me” He said. I straightened up, cracking my back as the driver parked. Stuart opened the door, stepping out and holding his hand out to me. My eyes locked on his for a long moment, before slipping my palm into his and letting him help me out of the car.
In fact, he’d walked me inside, and into the elevator to the third floor, down the hall to my room as I’d directed. I stuffed my hand into my pocket, grabbing my key and unlocking the door. When I stepped inside, I realized our hands were still conjoined.
“Would you like a drink?” I asked, not wanting to let go for an unknown reason.
“U-uhm sure” Stuart nodded, and I gestured my head for him to come inside. I released his hand, kicking off my shoes and padding my bare feet into the kitchen, and searching in the fridge for a beer. “I-I’ve never been here before” Stuart spoke, looking around. It was a pretty open apartment, the kitchen and living room practically conjoined. Only two doors, one leading to the bathroom, and one to my bedroom.
“No one has, really” I said, plopping two glasses onto the countertop, then searching for a bottle opener.
“Seriously?” Stuart walked over to me, standing on the other side of the counter. I nodded, going through drawers until I finally found it. I easily popped off the caps of the two glasses, and slid one over to him. He took it happily and I picked up mine.
“No, I don’t have company over for anything” I said with a shrug, heading to the living room.
“Not even Neha?”
“Not a single person” I said, plopping onto the couch. Stuart sat next to me, turning sideways to face me. “To you Stuart Twombly” I said, raising my glass. “For being my first guest” He rose his glass, to clink with mine.
We must’ve sat there for an hour, drinking until I was out of beer, and glasses of empty alcohol bottles were all over my coffee table. Not necessarily to get drunk, but we were having too good of a time. It was as though if we’d stopped, then the night would be over. We were enjoying ourselves so much, talking and laughing about little things. To think, the day before, that the only thing could tell you about Stuart Twombly, was his name, and he had an obsession with beanies and his phone.
“Okay okay okay…” I giggled and slurred drunkenly. “I’ll pick… truth” I said with a big smile. He was pensive for a moment, then grinned when he came up with an idea.
“Why’d you move here when you were so young?”
“I wasn’t that young. I was nineteen” I started, taking a swig of my beer. “My hometown sucked. I was bad at making friends so I didn’t have any, my parents… I didn’t have daddy and mommy issues by any means… but I needed a change” He nodded, content with my answer and took a drink. “Now, truth or dare?”
“Dare” He replied and I clapped my hands.
“I dare you to do a handstand!” I squealed, and he eagerly jumped off of the couch, then awkwardly laid his upper back and neck on the floor, propping his legs up, then laying his hands flat on the ground. He was able to hold himself up for a few seconds, but toppled over in a fit of laughter right afterwards.
“I almost did it” He slurred, still chuckling as he sat back up on the sofa across from me. We clinked glasses.
“Oh so close” I said with a giggle before drinking.
“Alright y/n, truth or dare?” Stuart asked, and I thought while he took a long drink.
“Okay… I’ll do a dare” I gave in, to his surprise. I had been dodging that choice the past fifteen minutes we’ve been playing. “Give me a good one though, not some lame ass prank call, you can do better than-”
“I dare you to kiss me” He said, in the softest voice I’d heard all night. My rambling was cut short, and I felt for a moment like I’d completely sobered up. I was staring straight into his honey eyes. I licked my lips hesitantly, then slid forward on the couch. I set my beer on the table, as did he. The entire environment of the room changed, and I realized my eyes had lingered on his lips for too long. I sure had a problem with staring at this boy. I looked up into his eyes for a moment, before closing mine and leaning in.
Our lips touched in a gentle kiss, my hands sliding up to frame around his face, pulling him ever so slightly closer. Stuart’s arms wrapped around my waist, tugging me further against him on the couch, until our chests were pressed together. I sucked in deep through my nose before we parted. His eyes stared into mine, and neither of us moved. Just our chests as we breathed deeply.
“Th-that was my first kiss” I told him softly between quiet pants. His brows knit together, confused.
“What? H-how?” I blinked a few times, unsure of how to answer. Maybe because I’d never had a boyfriend? But I wasn’t about to admit that now. Stuart released my waist, a hand raising to tangle his fingers slightly into a strand of my hair. “Can you promise me something, y/n?” He asked in a murmur. I nodded as he intricately placed the hair behind my ear. “Promise me you won’t forget how beautiful you are” He said quietly. I nodded my head after a moment.
“I promise” I answered, cheeks pink in a blush. Stuart smiled a small but genuine smile, and pulled away from me.
We sat back on our respective sides of the couch, and continued our game.
I thought for a moment as I remembered that night. We were so carefree, and maybe it was the alcohol, but maybe it was just how we were in general. Maybe we were just two young adults, enjoying our Friday night, getting to know each other. Or maybe it was what I had thought. Maybe we were falling in love.
Two weeks later, and Stuart and I were still complaining about our killer hangovers from our long night of drinking and talking. I’d woken up the next morning on the couch, my head in his lap, cradling an arm that didn’t belong to me. He was sat upright, his head hanging off the top of the couch and groaning about a headache. I’d remembered the events from the night before, and somehow managed to get up to retrieve aspirin.
Stuart and I became close friends. Very close in fact. The kind people constantly think are dating, not that I minded. I wasn’t sure if he did. I wasn’t even sure if he remembered what had all taken place that night, but I didn’t push the subject. We became the kind of friends who walk around holding hands, or hug, share food and drink, kiss on the cheek here and there- hell even I would think we were dating. (i wish).
We were sitting in my apartment, the night after our photo was taken at the cafe, his infamous beanie resting on my head. In fact, I was wearing it as of this moment. The both of us were sat on the sofa, watching tv. He was scrolling through his phone while I laid across his lap, my head on the armrest of the couch.
“Hey Stew” I said softly, not sure if I really wanted to ask the question I’d been hung up on for the past days.
“Mhm?” He dropped a hand to my arm to show he was paying attention, seeing that his eyes were glued to his phone.
“Do you remember the night you came over?”
“Mhm, worst hangover of my life” He snorted, glancing to me for a short moment. “Why? Wanna get drunk?”
“No, no Stew it’s important” I said as seriously as I could, but my voice was still quiet. His brows furrowed as he turned off his phone and looked at me.
“Alright” He said, meeting my eyes. “What’s going on in that messy head of yours?”
“Do you remember anything besides the hangover?” I asked, finding it difficult to hold his gaze. “At all?” I asked when he didn’t answer.
“Hold on I’m trying to think… I drank a lot that night” His eyes were squinted, and my heart managed to sink and beat faster at the same time. “I… we played truth or dare…” He started slowly and I nodded eagerly.
“Yeah yeah we did”
“And.. and I did a handstand?” I chuckled quietly and nodded again. “And… and you told me ab-”
“You asked me to kiss you” Stuart’s brows raised.
“Well that would’ve been something to remember” Normally I would have laughed.
“But-but you don’t?” Stuart shook his head.
“No… why was I bad?” He chuckled awkwardly to himself. I pushed myself up, and crawled off of his lap. “Why- are you alright?” I nodded, even though I wasn’t. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I’d made things awkward for you that night” I just shook my head repeatedly, staring down at my lap, where my hands were wringing together. “Hey is there.. Is there something else going on?” Stuart asked, turning to face me but I shook my head again. “y/n/n don’t lie” He put one of his hands on mine. “y/n” He said more sternly. I hesitantly turned my head meeting his eyes and I felt my foot tap quickly on the ground.
“Sorry, sorry no I don’t know what- I don’t know what got into me” He frowned, but eventually got up and stretched a little.
“I’m gonna get a drink” He said, walking over to the kitchen. I watched as he opened the fridge, and surprised me by pulling out a pop can.
“No beer?” He shook his head.
That was the last time Stuart and I talked to each other. Three months passed, and he hasn’t bothered to talk to me whatsoever. I can’t really tell why, I don’t remember having done anything that would’ve driven him away. The rest of that night I hadn’t mentioned the kiss, and it’s not like I admitted to him that I was in love with him. At first, it just really pissed me off, but now I just keep more to myself than before, and tried to ignore him at all costs.
No, that does not mean I’m happy. In fact, I’m beyond miserable. I don’t remember the last time I’d spoken to any of them, I’d hardly spoken at work at all. Just on the phone when a customer or my boss called. I’m not sure when Neha and I’s friendship ceased, somewhere along the line we just stopped talking. Sometimes she sits at my small table in the cafe for lunch, but we still don’t converse. Just sit there silently.
I walked in this morning, not anywhere near as dressed up as I used to get for work. I was in jeans, old and worn biker boots, and a tee shirt. My hair was in a ratty and messy bun, I don’t think I brushed my hair at all this morning. In fact, I don’t even remember walking to the building (I lived just two blocks away) but I can’t tell you remembering the scenery or people I passed. I groaned, rubbing my eyes as I sat down at my desk. My elbows propped up onto the desk as I dragged the skin around the edges of my eyes, hoping to rub the sleep out of them. It wasn’t working. A small groan left my lips as I turned on my computer and began to sign in.
“Good morning y/n” I jumped slightly, dropping my computer mouse onto the floor by my foot. “Oh I’m sorr-”
“It’s okay Lyle” I mumbled. “What did you want?” He seemed to swallow thickly, and readjusted the glasses on his nose. It made me think of the way Stuart used to always crinkle his nose before pushing his glasses up higher on the bridge of his nose.
“Well uh, I’ve actually noticed your lack of interaction with the rest of the team, are you alr-”
“I’m fine, is here something important?” I snapped a little, but didn’t raise my voice. I didn’t want the others to notice my ‘coming out of the shell I’d been hiding in’ moment.
“Actually yes… someone from Communications is here to speak to you about your performance” I nodded my head.
“Well where are they?”
“At the door actually” I turned, and just as I did, Gharam walks over and stands himself next to Lyle, in front of me. I stared with wide eyes up at him, having heard many stories from Neha and Stuart about Gharam and his… foolish charms. “You look surprised darling” He spoke in an English accent, but something was off about it.
“I am, I wasn’t informed of any meeting, until here you are now” I straightened up, seeing that he was trying to intimidate me by leaning over, eyes downcast towards me. I pulled a slight smirk on, just small enough to be noticeable but not questionable. He only reciprocated it.
“Well love, I have an important question for you” You nodded, prompting him to continue. “Attention! Low life Google team!” Gharam held his hands out, earning the attention of Neha, Billy, Nick, Yo Yo, and Stuart, who watched me intently. But I looked back to Gharam.
“What’s this all abou-”
“Your very own lovely y/n here,has been given the opportunity of a promotion!” Besides Graham’s clapping, the room was silent. I continued to stare at the englishman. “What? No applause for this stunning creature?” I wanted to be flattered by his strange way of flirting, but instead I felt like regurgitating. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Stuart walking out of the room, shaking his head. It would’ve broken my heart, if it wasn’t already shattered
“Why do I get a promotion?” I asked quietly, and Gharam grinned widely down towards me.
“Because you, my dear, would be a lovely head of the Communications department” My eyes widened like a cartoon, and my voice caught in my throat. How? My work has been average.
“I-I think you’re at the wrong-”
“Oh don’t be so modest, we can discuss the paperwork over dinner” Gharam smirked and winked, and I took a step away from him, huffing angrily.
“But I like working here!” I stated loudly, and angrily. My hands were in fists by my sides. “I like my group, I like my job I like my payroll, I don’t want a promotion” The man laughed loudly, holding his hands over his stomach like it was the most comical thing he’d ever heard anyone say.
“Oh don’t be ridiculous darling” He said, reaching a finger to swipe his thumb over my cheek. I smacked his hand away with a slap that seemed to silence the room even more. I didn’t notice that this was when Stuart came back into the room, I was too focused on the man in front of me.
“I’m not taking a job just so you can go out with me” I snapped at him, and moved to walk back towards my work space, but he followed me quickly.
“Problem? Gharam?” I spun back on my heel in shock of the voice I hadn’t heard in what felt like years. Stuart Twombly was standing in front of me, his back towards me and Gharam trying to tower over him. In seconds I watched as Gharam backed away, shaking his head and standing silently frozen. “Come on y/n” Before I could say anything, Stuart took my hand pulled me with him out the door of our large office flat. I walked quietly beside him, my hand still stuck in his as he led me through the hallways. I looked over at him, but he kept his focus on his walking. Dead ahead. He was on a mission it seemed.
“Stuart?” I spoke, my voice practically a mumble as we neared the exit of the building.
“Where have you been?” He asked as he pushed open the doors, with me still following right next to him. It was the first time his hand released mine.
“I haven’t been anywhere” I muttered, my eyes narrowing slightly at his apparent anger. “What, you’re mad at me because I haven’t been around?” He ducked his head down, instantly realizing his mistake. “Wow. Wow Stuart” I laughed bitterly, a passive aggressive grin on my face as I looked up. My palm pressed to my forehead as I calmed down my laughter. “If you don’t mind, I have work to get to” I said, turning to go back inside.
“N-no don’t leave” He quickly ran in front of me, hands out and a pleading expression on his face. “Please don’t just go”
“And why the hell not?”
“Because I miss you y/n!” He yelled exasperatedly, and my mouth hung open in shock. “I really fucking miss you” His voice softened, and I blinked, licking my lips before closing my mouth.
“I missed you too” I said weakly.
“And I do remember that night, I remember it vividly, every goddamn second of it” I couldn’t bring myself to tear my eyes off of him.
“Y-you did? Then why did you-”
“Cause I didn’t want to say the wrong thing… guess I did anyways” I frowned slightly, stepping a little closer to him.
“What did you think that you were going to say that would make me upset?”
“Upset’s not really the word… more like.. More like distant. I thought you’d be distant and I didn’t want to lose you or anyth-”
“What were you going to say?” I cut off his ramblings, stepping closer again, if I took one more step, then our noses would ‘bump together.
“I was going to tell you that..” He trailed off for a moment, looking down at his feet. “That um.. That I…” My eyebrows raised in anticipation. “y/n I really like you, I don’t know how you did it but you got me to fall for you in a matter of one night and I swear it wasn’t cause we were both drunk off our ass it was because you’re the first person I’ve ever met that’s… that’s real you felt real to me and I- I wanted to tell you that and I almost did but I didn’t want to mess things up-”
“You would’ve messed everything up” I told him.
“I know” He said quietly.
“Absolutely everything, you would’ve ruined everything” I heard him sniffle, and he still stared down at his feet. I chuckled quietly, and curled my fingers under his jaw, bringing his face up to look at me, even though he was practically above me. “But it would’ve been in the best way possible” I told him solemnly. I watched his eyes light up, and I smiled softly. Next thing I knew he leaned down, and gently pressed his lips against mine.
“I’m sorry” He mumbled between sweet kisses. “I shouldn’t have lied around it I should’ve just told you” I opened my eyes as his arms wrapped around my back, tugging me against him in a tight hug. I smiled, arms winding around his neck and holding myself there against him.
“Try not to ‘forget’ that kiss, okay?” Stuart chuckled against me.
“I’m not sure how I could”
guys i can’t tell you how happy i am to post again :)
xoxo ~ joride