Author: melyssalegend - Melyssa.
Rating: R. (Cursing, underage drinking, the slightest bit of pot.)
Pairing: Brendon/Ryan. (Jon/Spencer, [one sided]Tom Conrad/Brendon.)
Summary: Christmas plot! High school AU! Brendon wants to be one of Ryan's Secret Santa's, but he's afraid Ryan won't care because he's the coolest kid in school.
Disclaimer: Don't know, don't own. Never happened, never will. Title/lj-cut belongs to Drake Bell ("Down We Fall").
Author Notes: This wasn't supposed to be as long as it is, but it's long, and I really love it. I hope you guys love it too. 9,000+ words. I love Christmas. :D
So, uh. Ryan Ross is probably the epitome of cool, in Brendon's eyes. He doesn't know how this really came upon, but Brendon thinks it was one day when he saw Ryan leaning against his locker with a bunch of people around him. Brendon was a freshman at the time and Ryan was a sophomore, and he was so damn popular that when Brendon walked by him for the first time, he slowed his steps and admired Ryan like he was in a movie. And he definitely thought holy crap, wow.
And it's been like that ever since. He's always admired Ryan from afar, never really talked to him (never talked to him at all). But this year, this year will be different. This year, Brendon will talk to Ryan Ross. It's his last chance to. Ryan's a senior, no doubt going to college, and Brendon will have no one to oogle at. So this year will be different. This year...
Brendon will send Ryan a small present a day as his Secret Santa.
“That's so stupid, Brendon,” Tom says while they're sitting across from each other at lunch. There are a bunch of other guys, today including Tom's other senior friend Jon. Tom's a senior too, and Brendon actually does have a lot of senior friends. But for some reason, he can't bring up enough courage to be Ryan's friend.
“I think it's sweet,” Jon throws in, giving Brendon a gentle smile as he dips his French fry into Tom's ketchup. “Maybe he'll show interest.”
“You think?” Brendon questions, perking up. The thought of Ryan thinking Brendon's Secret Santa gifts are sweet makes Brendon's stomach go crazy. “I mean, I'm not going to buy him a car or anything. Just... small things. The Secret Santa thing starts on Wednesday and I need to think of what to get him. What about candy canes? Those are small and everybody likes candy canes.”
Tom doesn't say anything, just sighs and keeps eating his sandwich. Jon lightly smacks the back of his friend's head. “Be nice,” Jon tells him. “And I think that's a good idea, Brendon. I could always ask Ryan what he likes so you can get an idea, if you want me to.”
It's not that Brendon doesn't like Jon at all. Brendon kind of loves Jon. Who can hate Jon? The only slight problem is that Jon is friends with everybody. He's nice to everybody and everybody loves Jon. Jon Walker this, Jon Walker that. Which is never a problem, because Jon's just awesome. But yeah, the problem. He's friends with everybody. Which means he's friends with Ryan. Apparently they're pretty good friends, too. They hang out and go to parties together and things like that. Tom goes too, but has never gotten close enough to Ryan to be friends with him. Says things like, 'He's not as great as you think he is, Brendon. He's so emotionless, Brendon – you guys would never get along. I heard he's a huge douche bag, Brendon.'
Brendon's face flushes and looks down at his salad, pushing it around with his fork. “Um, no, it's okay, Jon. But thanks. I'd, uh. I'd rather not- it's like- I wouldn't, um. It's fine, really, it is.”
Tom smirks and looks at Brendon. “What, you want to 'surprise him', Bren?”
He flushes more and doesn't say anything, shoving half of his salad he managed to get on his fork into his mouth. He hears Jon huff and hears Tom whine in complaint. “I don't understand why you pick on him,” Jon states. “Don't listen to him, Brendon.” He feels a hand on his shoulder and Brendon looks up, seeing Jon leaned over the table to comfort him. “What you're doing is really thoughtful of you and it's adorable. I'm sure Ryan will appreciate getting cute gifts from his Secret Santa.”
Jon sends him a playful grin and Brendon smiles back a little weakly, but he nods confidently. He really wants to do this – he wants Ryan to notice him, say how nice it is of Brendon to get all these things for him, and then Brendon can go in for the kill by sweeping Ryan off his feet and asking him to be his forever. Or something like that.
But really though, it'll work out. Hopefully.
Today is Wednesday and Brendon comes into school, nervous beyond belief. He's not really sure if he should go through with this. What if Ryan thinks it's stupid? He's honestly thinking of backing out. It's a bad idea.
But for some reason, his feet lead him to the table where people buy their Secret Santa presents the school provides, or where you simply buy a tag and put it on the present. Brendon pulls out a tiny bouquet of cherry and apple lollipops while handing the girl behind the table two dollars for the tag.
She hands him a tag and a pen to write who the present is for. As he leans on the table and writes messily on the small piece of paper 'ryanross', Brendon can feel her eyes on him. She probably thinks it's weird a boy is sending Ryan something, being his Secret Santa, but he tries not to think about it. Brendon's pretty well known around this school, and by his bright red hoodies and tight jeans and super obnoxious shoes, people kind of know what he's into, or what kind of people he's into.
He puts the pen down and hands her the tag, watching her tie it around his tiny bouquet and seeing her 'casually' glancing at the tag. “Ryan Ross, huh?” she questions, looking up at him. Brendon shifts from one foot to the other, not saying anything. “He's gotten so many Secret Santa's already. We've put all the gifts he's received in a grocery bag.”
Brendon bites his lip nervously. Ryan's already gotten a lot? His heart aches a little bit, because if Ryan has gotten a lot, then he won't think twice when he gets to Brendon's gift. “Oh, okay,” he just says, trying not to look too deflated. “Um, thanks, anyway. Bye.” Quickly he turns around and walks away from the table, letting the people behind him go to the line.
Brendon walks down the hallway, one hand on his backpack strap and the other fumbling with the keys hooked onto his belt loop. He looks around at the other students, seeing a few freshman girls giggling over something. As he walks by them to go up the stairs to his locker, he hears, “oh my god, you got Ryan and Secret Santa present?! Me too!” and cringes. He feels absolutely pathetic now, because he's trying to compete for attention for Ryan Ross against 13-year-old girls who would spit shine his shoes, if he wanted them to.
While he's kneeling down to put his books away in his locker, he hears someone to his right say 'hey'. He pays no mind to it, because it must be to someone else. But when he hears, 'hey, Brendon?' the second time, his head shoots up to see who it is. “Hey,” the guy says again, and Brendon tries not to widen his eyes. Spencer Smith is standing there, leaning against the locker next to Brendon's and looking down at him.
Quickly Brendon stands up straight and brushes himself off. “Uh, hey,” he replies, brushing his hair out of his brown eyes. “What's up?”
“Did you do the Psychology study guide for the test tomorrow? I forgot to and I need to pass this test,” Spencer explains easily.
Of course Brendon did the study guide. What kind of high honor roll student wouldn't? “Um, yeah, I did. Do you, like, need it for the test? Because I was going to use it...”
Spencer smirks. “Yeah, I figured you were going to use it. But I was just going to go downstairs to get it photocopied in the library, so if you don't mind?”
Brendon nods quickly and reaches into his backpack to pull out his homework folder. Yes, he has a homework folder. It comes in handy, okay? He opens it and pulls out the first thing he sees on the right side, which is his Psychology study guide and hands it to Spencer. “Here you go.”
“Awesome, thanks,” Spencer tells him with the wave of his hand that's holding the paper. “I'll give it back to you when I see you in a few.”
He nods again, because he doesn't know what else to say. It looks like Spencer is going to say something, but both boys hear 'I love you, Ryan!' in the short distance of the hallway. Spencer turns around and Brendon looks over his shoulder (on his toes) to see Ryan walking down the hallway, towards them. He has a pair of aviators on top of his head and his hands in his designer jeans as he's walking closer. Brendon immediately gets down from his tippy toes and looks down at his clothes, beginning to get nervous. What if his outfit looks stupid? What if Ryan thinks his outfit is stupid? He looks like a walking neon light, for pete's sake.
Brendon's about to close his locker and walk away to go find Jon or Tom or Alex or anyone, but his feet feel glued to the ground. Or around this area, anyway. “Hey,” Ryan says to Spencer when he approaches. “Where'd you go? You were there for a second and I look away and you're gone.”
His voice is so smooth, so cool. Brendon feels like gushing, but he can't. It's too embarrassing. “I went right here, obviously, if you found me,” Spencer replies with his sarcastic tone.
It just happened, really, it did, and it was a totally accident, but Spencer is pretty funny and Brendon snorts out a laugh. He quickly realizes that he did it and widens his eyes while Spencer and Ryan look over at him, Spencer with a raised eyebrow and Ryan with the end of his lips curled upward. “Uh, sorry,” Brendon apologizes, although he doesn't really know what he's apologizing for. But he feels like he should, so. Yeah. He should just act like he's not even there.
Ryan tips his chin to him, a way of saying hey, but he still says “Hey” and Brendon's hands are getting sweaty. “Hey,” Brendon replies, trying to act cool about it but he feels like he wants to throw up.
“Thanks for the notes again, Brendon,” Spencer says, snapping Brendon out of whatever trance Ryan had him in. “See you later.”
He swallows the knot in his throat and nods. “No problem. See you.” Brendon turns back to his locker and begins organizing it, putting the rest of his books away while he watches out of the corner of his eye Ryan and Spencer walking away.
Brendon has talked to Spencer loads of time in Psychology class. Brendon is one of those kids who call out in the middle of class, but he's funny and he never gets in trouble for it. Plus the teacher, Ms. Merolla, absolutely adores him. She was his freshman homeroom teacher and she was extremely excited when she realized he was in her class. She always asks Brendon to help out with things and he's more than glad to. Sometimes he'll ask Spencer to help him out once in a while too.
To be honest, Brendon had no idea Spencer and Ryan were really good friends until this year. He had been talking to Spencer in Psychology not too long ago, sitting Indian style on top of a desk and telling Spencer a story about one of his family's Thanksgiving dinner. His hands were flailing all over, and it was cracking Spencer up. He was even crying, which made Brendon extremely happy – he loved making people laugh.
Brendon was in the middle of his story, explaining about his uncle snorting cranberry sauce up his nose when his mom wasn't looking. “He was acting all tripped out, I'm not even kidding,” he said, smiling along with Spencer, who had a huge grin on his face. “He was like,” and cue Brendon's imitation of his uncle Jerry, eyes half lidded and mouth slacking, “'Kids, kids... don't. Really, don't do the things I do. Your uncle Jerry has been through a lot of shit in his days, and I am a hot mess. Isn't that what kids say these days, 'hot mess'? I don't know, but I am fucked up. Shit, is your mom coming back? Shit, gotta clear my nose.'” Brendon began wiping his nose dramatically and Spencer was slapping his knee, he was laughing so hard.
For a moment, Spencer looked past Brendon and his face lightened up as he started to wave his hand into the room. Brendon stopped mid-sentence and jerked his head around, seeing the Ryan Ross standing outside of the classroom. He had a slight grin on his face and his hands were in his pockets, and Brendon quickly flushed red. Ryan must have saw him moving around embarrassingly, watched Brendon do an imitation of his crazy family, and thought he was such a loser.
But Ryan walked into the class anyway, smiling at Spencer's red face from laughing so hard before turning to Brendon. “Nice story,” he told him. “You're pretty damn funny.” Brendon didn't say much else, just nodded and mumbled a low 'thanks' while Spencer and Ryan talked. His heart was pounding, but thankfully neither of them could hear it. The bell rang and Brendon grabbed his things and scrambled out of there as fast as he could, barely hearing the 'see you later, Brendon' Spencer called out.
Brendon goes downstairs towards the cafeteria to find his friends at their usual morning spot. It's loud and most people are standing, but Tom has his feet in an empty seat. Brendon smiles because he always sits next to Tom, and they always save each other seats wherever they go together.
“Hey,” he calls out as he approaches the table. An echo of 'hey Brendon' is called back while Tom moves his shoes off of Brendon's seat for him to sit down.
“What took you so long?” Tom questions, grabbing Brendon's chair and pulling it closer to his own. His hand automatically reaches up to card his fingers through Brendon's hair, something he always does. It's just Tom, it's just what he does. It's TomandBrendon, BrendonandTom. It's kind of always been like that ever since they've become friends.
Brendon let out a dramatic sigh and scoots closer to Tom. “It was horrible, Tommy,” he begins, turning sideways in his seat to face Tom. Tom's legs are laid out in front of him, his ankles crossed, so Brendon leans his legs over and bends them, putting both of his feet on one side of Tom's leg. “So I came in and I brought Ryan's little present, right? It was just something stupid, candy or whatever. But I thought it was cute. So I go to the Secret Santa thing and I write his name on the tag, and the nosy girl who's there is trying to read the tag without me knowing, but duh, I'm going to know she read it anyway, right?” Tom nods and stays quiet, twirling his fingers through the hair on the back of Brendon's neck. “So she reads it and she's like, 'oh, Ryan Ross, huh?' Like, no shit, lady, that's what I wrote on there, right? And then she's like, 'he's gotten so many Secret Santa's! We need a whole separate bag for him!' So now I feel like a complete dork because he won't think twice about my gift and probably think it's stupid.”
“He will not,” Tom tells him, his thumb stroking Brendon's neck. “What did you get him, exactly?”
He sighs again and leans his elbows on his knees, cupping his chin in his hand. “Just, like. This little bouquet of lollipops. Cherry and apple flavor, you know, for Christmas and stuff. But I felt like a freshman trying to compete for his attention, even though this stuff is anonymous. I was walking to my locker and I heard these girls talking about that they got Ryan a gift too.”
“Ryan isn't into freshman. He either dates someone in his grade or someone older.” Tom watches Brendon's face fall and he quickly tries to recover. “But, I mean, I've seen him date a junior before! He doesn't go as low as freshman, that's just creepy. I wouldn't date a freshman. There's no way he would care about little freshman, trust me.”
Tom, honestly, does not want Brendon to be into someone like Ryan Ross. He's stubborn and thinks he's better than everyone else and won't stoop down to certain people's levels. He doesn't understand how Jon is friends with him, or how anyone is friends with him, because he just seems like a stuck up, prissy rich kid who knows people drool after him. And he takes advantage of those kind of people and Tom knows he would take advantage of Brendon in a second. There's no way Tom is going to let Brendon fall for that. That's his best friend, and he's going to watch out for his best friend.
Plus, you know, Tom may be a little jealous that Brendon is into Ryan and doesn't recognize what's right in front of him. But that's beside the point.
“Am I wasting my time, Tom? Be honest,” Brendon says, looking at him with hopeful eyes. “I mean, I want him to notice me. And I know doing it anonymously isn't really helping, but I'm shy when it comes to this kind of thing. Should I make it more obvious that it's me sending my presents to him? Or should I just give up?”
There's no way Tom can tell Brendon that he's wasting his time. None. It will break his heart, shatter it in pieces. But it can also mean that Brendon will fall onto Tom, which means Tom will get to make his move and-- no. No, there's no way he could do that either. What if Ryan is really into Brendon? Even though he hasn't shown any signs of being into him. But Brendon can really have a chance with this guy, and who is Tom to go in and ruin it for him? Brendon is his best friend, and he'll never do that to him in a million years.
Tom gently squeezes Brendon's shoulder, giving him a comforting smile. “You're not wasting your time if it's something you really want,” Tom tells him. “Just sign your presents with your initials or something. Maybe he'll get curious and try to find out who you are.” Tom highly doubts that will happen, though.
Brendon smiles and nods, sitting up more. “You're right. I'll try that.” The warning bell rings, which means that students should start heading to their homerooms and everyone around their table starts to get up. Brendon moves his legs from over Tom's and stands up, letting Tom's hand fall from his shoulders to his lower back while he stands up as well. “Thanks so much, Tommy. You're really the greatest, ever.”
“I know, I know,” Tom grins, making Brendon laugh. He pulls Brendon into a hug and kisses his forehead, a friendly gesture (just a friendly gesture, sadly) and rubbing his back softly. “It'll work out, Bren.”
The two walk behind the rest of their friends as they head towards their homerooms, Brendon leaning his head on Tom's shoulder and Tom holding Brendon with a hand on his hip. Brendon's eyes are closed, letting Tom lead him to where they're supposed to go and Tom's still smiling. He loves being like this with Brendon, loves the comfortable feeling that settles between them. He doesn't think anything can break this, break what they have.
While they're walking down the hallway after they get upstairs, Brendon's eyes fall shut again before he notices that Ryan is walking their opposite way, passing them in the hallway. Once he notices the two, his eyes fall on Brendon and Ryan starts smiling. Not smirking, but smiling at Brendon. At Tom's Brendon. Instinctively, Tom pulls Brendon closer to him and gives Ryan a look that doesn't go unnoticed. Ryan looks back at him with a hard look, but then he smirks at Tom before walking past them.
That smirk can't be anything but trouble.
For Psychology, they're at the library to do a current event article and they need to use the computers since the mobile labs are already being used by another class. Brendon doesn't hesitate to sit next to Spencer, helping him out on what article to pick out. He picked his five minutes ago, and finally Spencer picks one and they get to work. All they have to do is type little paragraphs, answering the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the article. It's easier said than done for Spencer, but Brendon finishes his in twenty minutes all while talking to Spencer at the same time.
“Dude, I don't know how you do it,” Spencer says when Brendon comes back from the printer to grab his finished assignment. “You can multi task like a beast. I can barely walk and talk on my phone at the same time.”
Brendon laughs and shrugs sheepishly, sitting back down next to Spencer and watching him work on the What section of his paper. “I'm always active and stuff, I can't just do one thing, I guess?”
“Well it's pretty amazing. I wish I could do the same,” Spencer tells him, re-reading his article for the fifth time.
Since he has free time left, Brendon goes onto some gaming sites and plays Helicopter, since he has nothing better to do. Spencer's still distracting himself by watching Brendon play it, saying how 'awesome' he is at this game. He grins a little bit, because he loves that Spencer thinks he's so cool and funny and smart. No one has ever really said that about him except Tom, but Tom is more cool, so that doesn't really count. Spencer sounds like he genuinely thinks Brendon is cool. Which is... cool.
But Brendon kind of loses his cool when he hears Spencer say hi to someone, and it follows with Ryan's voice saying hey back. His finger twitches and his Helicopter crashes, and fuck, he was doing so well.
“Aw, damn,” Spencer says, leaning over into Brendon's space. “You crashed, dude. What happened?”
Ryan is right behind him and he's trying to keep his cool, but it's really fucking hard. He can feel the sweat building up on the back of his neck already. “Um. I don't know, I guess my finger slipped,” Brendon says lamely, because he really can't think of anything else.
He hears a chair dragging against the carpet and Brendon swallows before turning in his seat, sitting sideways and facing Spencer and... Ryan. He really needs to contain himself, he needs to calm down, and-- oh god. Oh god.
Ryan is eating one of the lollipops Brendon gave him. Oh god.
“Sick, lollipops,” Spencer says, holding his hand out to Ryan. He's carrying the bag that Brendon guesses is caring his Secret Santa presents. Ryan digs into the bag and pulls out the rest of Brendon's bouquet of lollipops, and Brendon really has to calm down. His leg is shaking and he really only does this when he's a nervous wreck. He's turning into a hot mess, as his crazy uncle Jerry would say.
Ryan hands Spencer an apple lollipop before pulling the one he has in his mouth out, licking his lips and looking at Brendon. “Want one?” he asks, holding the bag out to Brendon.
“No thanks,” Brendon replies, waving his hand out. Ryan simply shrugs and drops the bag down by his feet, putting the cherry lollipop back in his mouth and leaning back in his chair.
“Where'd you get these?” Spencer asks, pulling the wrapper off.
Ryan pulls the lollipop out of his mouth again, licks his lips again, Brendon's trying not to be a weirdo around him again, before Ryan replies. “Secret Santa thing. Everything in this bag is for me,” he tells his friend, gently kicking the grocery bag.
“Of course it is,” Spencer scoffs, smirking. “You're the Ryan Ross. What is this school going to do without you when you graduate? They'll have no one to stare at and yell 'Ryan, I love you! Marry me!' whenever you walk by.”
All Ryan does his roll his eyes and twirl the pop between his fingers. “It's getting a little ridiculous though, don't you think? I mean, seriously. Do these girls have nothing better to do? A freshman 'accidentally' dropped her books in front of me while I was walking down the hallway and practically pulled her boobs out of her shirt. Like I'm interested.” Ryan sounds so calm about these things, like he doesn't care about the girls who throw themselves at him. Brendon doesn't really blame him though – it's been happening ever since Brendon's known (of) him, and he thinks he would get a little tired of it too. That is, if he was cool enough to have girls throw themselves at him.
Spencer shrugs and leans back in his chair as well. “Well they think you're into slutty girls. But they're kind of right,” he says, smirking again. “You're into the slutty part. Just not the girl part.”
Brendon's ears perk up as he hears this, though he's trying to act casual. Ryan's not into girls? Like, really? Honestly? Really? “Shut up, Spence,” Ryan laughs, a smirk appearing on his own lips. “I can't help what I'm into. But I'm not always into slutty dudes. If I could actually find a guy that doesn't want to go down on me the second we talk, that would always be nice too.”
Honestly, Brendon cannot believe what he's hearing. Ryan not only likes guys, he's looking for a relationship. That could be Brendon! Brendon could totally be in a relationship with Ryan! How freaking awesome would that be?! “So I guess Pete's out of the question?” Spencer asks.
“Pete, and William, and Gabe, and Travis, and Joe, just to name a few,” Ryan lists, putting his lollipop in his mouth to twirl his tongue around it for a moment.
“Who are they?” Brendon asks before he can catch himself, but it sounded kind of casual, so he won't do anything drastic, like apologize a thousand times before running away to talk to someone else.
Spencer sighs and turns to Brendon. “These college guys Ryan has hooked up with. They're all mentally retarded, I think. But he seems to think otherwise until after he's done hooking up with them. When it comes to an end, I'm usually right.”
Brendon smiles and laughs a little bit, but Ryan huffs and sits up. “How am I supposed to know that they're relationship-challenged? Going out to dinner to them equals getting in my pants three hours later. Going out to dinner means going out to dinner. Who the fuck says there's going to be an afterwards?”
“That sucks that you get treated like that,” Brendon tells him, trying to keep his heart from going up to his throat. He needs to be brave. He needs to have an actual conversation with Ryan if he's ever going to build the courage to possibly ask him out. Jeez, just the thought sends shivers down Brendon's spine. “You're a human being, you shouldn't be treated like a piece of meat, you know? No one likes that.”
Ryan turns his attention to Brendon, his face etched with something Brendon thinks he's never seen on Ryan before. It looks like... sincerity. “Yeah, definitely. I'm glad someone agrees with me,” Ryan says with a soft smile. And, yeah, Brendon's heart has officially melted into complete goo.
“Are we still going to Pete's party Friday night?” Spencer asks, glancing at the computer behind him and mumbling a low 'fuck', since he realized he hasn't finished his assignment for the class.
“Yeah, I still want to go. But I don't want to be left alone, since I know Jon is going and you'll ditch me in a millisecond,” Ryan states clearly, causing Spencer to inch in towards himself.
Brendon raises an eyebrow. “Wait, Jon? As in Jon Walker?”
Ryan grins and nods. “The one and only. The guy is awesome, and Spencer really thinks so too. Right, Spence?”
“Fuck off, I'm doing my work,” is Spencer's snapped reply, beginning to furiously type the rest of his work.
“I'm, like, really good friends with Jon. He's never mentioned Spencer before, I didn't know you guys knew each other,” Brendon tells both of them, because it's true. How could Jon have the hots for Spencer and not tell Brendon? They're pretty close, he likes to think. Brendon is best friends with Tom and Tom is really good friends with Jon, which means that Jon and Brendon got along the second that they met. They've told each other some personal stuff, and he's slightly surprised that Jon hasn't told him something like this.
Ryan's still grinning and licks his lollipop before leaning closer to Brendon. He smells good, he's wearing cologne, but it's not overbearing and Brendon's body is buzzing all around. “That's because Spencer is a humongous pussy and told Jon not to tell anyone they're hooking up every chance they get to.”
“Ryan, what the hell?!” Spencer groans, turning around and looking at his friend. “I told you not to tell anyone and you tell Brendon! What if he tells Jon?!”
Brendon widens his eyes and quickly shakes his head in defense. “No, no way. I'm not like that, I would never tell Jon something personal like that if you don't want me to. I promise. Like, I'll even pinky swear.”
Ryan lets out a soft laugh and nods. “No, it's cool, I trust you. I know Spencer does too, he's just being a jackass about these things.” Spencer doesn't say anything out loud, just turns back to his computer and continues working on his paper. Brendon laughs a little bit as well, pushing his bangs out of his eyes and looks up, only to see Ryan looking at him with a smile. He tries not to let his face burn red, but Ryan has such a nice smile and he's smiling at Brendon like that. Just like that. “So, hey, can I ask you something?”
His lips are red from the lollipop, from Brendon's lollipop that he gave him via Secret Santa, and Brendon nods with a jerk. “Yeah, sure. Yeah.”
“My friend Pete is having a Christmas party on Friday, nothing big or anything. He's having a few people over and is always welcome to other people bringing guests. There's a theme, kind of? You have to wear either a Santa hat or bring a mistletoe, which the latter is kind of stupid because there's always someone making out at his place,” Ryan explains with the roll of his eyes. Brendon's fingers twitch at the thought of him and Ryan making out. Holy shit, making out. “And I don't want to get trampled with a bunch of my ex-hook ups trying to hassle me into a bedroom. Plus I'd like to get to know you better, so do you want to come with us?”
Brendon's heart is pounding in his chest hard. He was just invited to a house party with Ryan Ross and Spencer Smith, some of the two coolest people in this entire school. He doesn't know how he got into this situation, but he thanks whatever god has given him this chance. “Yeah, totally. I'd love to come,” Brendon tells him with a smile. He's trying not to smile too much to show how fucking excited he is, but dude, he was just invited to go somewhere in public with Ryan!
He would do a victory dance, but one) he doesn't want to embarrass himself in front of Ryan and two) Ryan is smiling at him with a twinkle in his eye, and Brendon doesn't want to look away.
Tom had stopped by Brendon's to help him out with his outfit because Brendon is seriously freaking out. After he explained the entire thing to Tom the other day, Brendon can't stop thinking about it. But now it's Friday night. Earlier today, Spencer and Ryan had come up to Brendon's locker, both asking him for his cell number so they can text him when they're on their way and when they're at his house.
Brendon's trying to act cool about this, but this has honestly never happened before. He's never felt so nervous in this life, not even when he went on a roller coaster with Tom his very first time. Granted, he threw up in a trash can after they got off, but he wanted to go on it again.
Hopefully if Ryan and Brendon kiss, Brendon won't throw up in a trash can afterwards.
“Just wear something simple,” Tom tells him while playing with Brendon's dog, Dylan. She's probably the only dog with a two second attention span, but Tom usually seems to keep her occupied. “Don't get all dressed up. But wear something dark, because you're going to sweat hard core and you'll get embarrassed and want to leave.”
Brendon was going to argue with Tom about that, but he knows it's true. He sweats really fast, and a lot when he gets nervous and it definitely shows. So Brendon goes into his closet and pulls out a plain black t-shirt, switching the shirt he wore to school with it. He flattens it out and stands in front of his mirror on the back of his door, looking at himself. He looks pretty normal, pretty casual. Nothing out of the ordinary. Should he wear accessories?
“Should I wear accessories? Like, wood beaded bracelets or something? I have a few of them from when we went to that fourth of July thing.” There were a bunch of little stands around the park where they went to and Brendon liked a few of the bracelets, so he bought them. Tom said they were junk, but still said that Brendon looked pretty good with them on.
Tom hums in thought before nodding. “Yeah, why not? You look comfortable in them and that's always important when going to the party. Do you have a Santa hat?”
“Yeah. My mom found one that fits me. She said it was my dad's from a Christmas party he had at work a few years ago, but whatever. I think she was telling me I have a big head, since we found the one I had as a kid doesn't fit anymore.” He walks over to his computer chair and pulls the hat off of the seat, pulling it on before grabbing the bracelets from his drawer to slide on and walking back over to the mirror to examine himself once more. The white ball from the hat is touching the side of his forehead, and it's kind of bothering him, but any time he tries to push it away, it just goes back to that spot.
Brendon lets out a frustrated huff before pulling off the hat. He grumbles a complaint lowly, but then sees the hat being snatched out of his hand. “You've never been good with wearing hats,” Tom tells him before putting it back on him. It's looser around his head and it's not completely covering his hair, the hat being on a tilt and the white ball is positioned perfectly. It's not too loose though, it's snug and when Brendon moves his head back and forth, it doesn't budge.
“Thanks, Tom,” Brendon grins, turning around and wrapping his arms around Tom's neck for a hug. “I definitely wouldn't be able to be slightly relaxed about this thing if it weren't for you.”
He laughs a little bit but hugs Brendon back regardless. “I know, I know. You're welcome. Just be careful. Don't drink too much, alright?”
Brendon wants to tease him about acting like a parental figure, but Tom looks serious and worried at the same time, so Brendon gives him a comforting smile and nods. “I won't, I promise.”
Brendon's phone vibrates on his computer desk and Tom lets go to let him answer it. He really wants to tell Brendon not to go to this stupid party, because Ryan will romance him to no end and use Brendon and he'll get hurt, and Tom doesn't want him to get hurt. This is still his Brendon, his best friend, the guy he's been through practically everything with. He doesn't want to mend his broken heart if things don't work out the way Brendon wants them to.
“Ryan texted me,” Brendon grins. “He said they're waiting for me outside. I gotta go.”
“I'll walk out with you, I need to get going too,” Tom says, grabbing his keys off of Brendon's bed. He follows Brendon downstairs, calls a goodbye out to his mom and goes outside with him. Immediately his eyes go to Ryan's car, a dark blue Mustang that's running in front of Brendon's driveway. Tom can see the glow in Brendon's eyes before he glances at his dad's old Volvo in the driveway, but he doesn't say anything. “So, uh, have fun,” Tom tells his best friend, who he's letting go off to a party with college kids. He feels like Brendon's dad or something, but he just... he just cares.
Brendon turns to him and smiles widely, his Santa hat crooked and his bracelets clinking together on his wrists. “Thanks for everything, Tom. I really owe you.” Brendon gives him one last hug before going over to Ryan's car. Spencer opens the passenger door and lets his seat fold forward a little bit so Brendon can climb into the back.
The door is shut and Ryan revs his engine before taking off, leaving smoke behind and Tom glaring at the back of the car.
Spencer and Ryan greet Brendon when he climbed into the car and took off with the two, his leg bouncing with excitement. Spencer begins looking through Ryan's CD collection while Brendon looks around at the nice car. He knew Ryan is rich, but damn, this is a nice ass car.
He almost didn't hear it, but it's one of those things someone just can't let pass by their ears. “Looking good, Brendon,” Ryan tells him, his eyes basically glued to Brendon in the rear view mirror.
Brendon gives him a crooked grin before looking down at his lap bashfully. “Thanks.” When he looks back up for just a second, Ryan sends a wink his way and it sends a shock throughout Brendon's body.
After twenty minutes of Spencer and Ryan arguing over what music to play, they arrive at the guy Pete's house. There are cars everywhere and Ryan just parks wherever is closest. They all pile out of the car, Brendon holding onto the top of his hat so it doesn't fall off. Ryan grabs two Santa hats from in between the two front seats and tosses one to Spencer over the car. As they're walking across the lawn towards the house, Ryan slides his hat on and Brendon takes a look at it on top of his head. It's pretty similar to Brendon's, but has more decorations on it. Brendon's is just a place red hat with the white ball at the end, but Ryan's has sparkles on it and a couple of corny Christmas phrases on it. “I'm digging your hat,” Brendon tells him, nodding toward it with a crooked grin. “You're really in the spirit.”
“Fuck yeah,” Ryan says, grinning back at him. “All we need is some Brandy eggnog and I'm set, dude.”
Brendon laughs, throws his head back a little and walks into the house, Ryan right by his side. “Sounds good to me.”
The house is covered in Christmas galore. There's lights hanging around everywhere, a huge Christmas tree is in the corner, and the only things being served as a beverage are eggnog and water. Of course there's Brandy eggnog and regular eggnog, but Brendon thinks the regular one is spiked with something too. After he quickly downs the spiked one, he grabs a water bottle.
Ryan introduces Brendon to Pete, the host of the party. He's wearing an entire Santa suit, though he's far too skinny to ever be Santa. But his grin is wide and he pulls Brendon into a tight hug, practically screaming over the music, “Glad you can make it! Merry Christmas, motherfucker!”
Brendon meets mostly everyone else at the party, since Ryan knows them. He meets the other guys who he has categorized as 'ex-hook ups' in his mind, since he recognizes their names from earlier that week. They're all fairly attractive, and he doesn't blame Ryan for hooking up with them. But he's a tad jealous since, you know, Ryan hooked up with them.
He meets a bunch of other people – Greta, a bunch of Alexes (Marshall, DeLeon, Johnson, Greenwald), Josh, Dan, Gavin, Thomas, Hayley, Cassadee, and so many other people Brendon doesn't think he can remember by tomorrow. He does catch a glance at Jon, who's in the middle of a long hallway standing in front of Spencer, who's leaning back against the wall. They're talking close, privately, Spencer's hand on Jon's shoulder and Jon's mouth close to Spencer's ear. He's wondering if Jon is whispering something or doing a little bit of something else, but he blocks it out of his mind because, oh. Ah. Weird. Thinking about friend hooking up with another friend. Very weird.
One thing Brendon does think about is how Ryan never leaves his side. Ever since they walked into the house, Ryan has stayed close to Brendon, even putting his hand on the small of his back more than once (more than five times, sometimes keeping it there for a long amount of time). No one really says anything about it, not even Ryan's ex-hook ups. He's introduced them to Brendon with his hand holding onto Brendon, and he's surely seen a few of them look at Ryan, look at the way he's holding Brendon, but none of them have said a word. It makes Brendon's heart swell because they're thinking that they're together. As a couple. Or so Brendon thinks (hopes).
Even Greta had said, “Ryan's usually never hanging out in the main party area this long. He's usually off sucking face with someone,” which had received a nice glare from Ryan to Greta. But Brendon laughs it off, smiling as widely as he can, because it has to mean something. Ryan's not ditching Brendon to go make out with someone else. He's staying here, right by his side, seemingly comfortable as can be.
Brendon worries a little bit that he's holding Ryan back from doing something he might want to be doing. Maybe he does want to hook up with a guy around here. Should he bring it up? What if he does, and Ryan thinks he needs permission to leave Brendon alone? He doesn't want Ryan to go away, no, not at all. But he doesn't want to hold Ryan back from doing something he wants just because Brendon is there.
“Ryan,” he says while he's talking to one of the Alexes. They're laughing about something, Alex (Greenwald, Brendon thinks) holding an obvious joint between his fingers and taking a hit after every sentence he says. Ryan still has his hand on Brendon's back, and his body is getting warmer in that spot. “Ryan,” he says a little louder, leaning in closer to the boy's ear.
Ryan's head turns towards Brendon, looking at him with immediately concerned eyes. “Yeah?” he replies, and Brendon tries not to notice that Ryan pulls him closer.
“Um.” He clears his throat and begins talking, “I don't want you to feel like I'm holding you back from doing what you want at this party, and--”
“Hold on, Bren, I can't hear you,” Ryan tells him over the music, and Brendon bites his lip from smiling too widely. Ryan called him Bren.
He turns to Alex and says something, pointing to Brendon with the hand that's holding his cup. Alex nods and waves to Brendon before walking away, and Ryan turns back to him. “C'mon,” Ryan tells him, and begins walking somewhere in the house. His hand is still on Brendon, and Brendon's body shivers when he feels Ryan's hand slide to his hip.
They end up by a hallway, Brendon thinks it's a different one then where Spencer and Jon were at, and- ack, oh, ew. Thinking about his friends hooking up again. Not good. “Uh, what--”
“Sorry, I couldn't hear you back there. It's a little quieter over here,” Ryan tells him, his hand sliding from Brendon's hip to the small of his back again. Brendon is near the wall and Ryan is standing in front of him, a lot like how Spencer and Jon were, and Brendon's heart starts racing. “What were you saying?”
Brendon's sweating, the cloth from the hat is holding the sweat around his forehead but he hasn't done much moving around tonight. But he's still nervous, and he's with Ryan in a remotely private place. It'll probably make him sweat even more. “Um, I just... I wanted to tell you that I don't want you to feel like you have to stay by me the entire night. I mean, like, I really appreciate it and I want to hang out with you here. But, uh. It's like.” He swallows the lump in his throat, trying to stay calm and collected, but his hands are shaking just a little bit. “Some of the guys we've talked to have been... you know, kind of looking at me weird. Since I've never met them and they know you and they don't know me, and you're holding me and stuff. Which I definitely don't mind, really, it's totally cool and I'm having a fun time, but, uh. If you're not, you know, having a good time, what with standing by me the entire night, you can go do whatever you want with other guys, if. If that's what you want.” Brendon reaches up and scratches the back of his hand, puts his hand back down, then brings it back up to scratch his neck again. “I don't want to hold you back from doing what you want here, so. Yeah. That's basically it.”
Ryan's looking at Brendon with a tilted head, his lips pursed together and his eyebrows furrowed. It can't be good, Brendon quickly thinks, and he's feeling stupid and embarrassed by bringing it up. “Brendon--” Ryan starts.
“I shouldn't have brought it up,” Brendon interrupts. “It was a stupid thing to say. I don't-- I just, I shouldn't have said anything about it.”
“Brendon, no, calm down,” Ryan tells him first, “you're shaking. I can feel it.”
He looks down, and sure enough, Brendon's leg is jiggling and bouncing out of nervousness. He swallows again and tries to keep his blush down, because he can feel his neck getting hotter by the minute. “I'm sorry. I just, I don't want you to think that I'm holding you back from doing... whatever you want to do here.
Ryan laughs softly and shakes his head, looking around for a moment and putting his cup down on a side table in the hallway. “It's definitely not like that, Brendon, seriously. I don't know where you got that idea from.”
“I.. I don't know either, honestly. I was just. Worried, I guess, that you weren't having a good time,” Brendon shrugs helplessly.
“Of course I'm having a good time,” Ryan tells him, smiling wider than Brendon's ever seen him smile. And it's not a teasing smile, it's not a sneaky smile, it's a real smile that Brendon wants to see for the rest of his life. “I'm having a good time with you. I'm really glad you came with me and I'm glad we're here together.”
Together. It rings in Brendon's ears over and over, and it makes him smile just as earnest as Ryan is. “I'm glad I came with you too,” Brendon replies softly.
The tension is different now. It's more like they're the only two people around, like Brendon can feel every small twitch of Ryan's fingers against his side, like Ryan's eyes are looking as deep into Brendon's eyes as he can. “There's something different about you,” Ryan says in a low mumble as he takes a step forward, closer to Brendon.
Brendon doesn't want to move too much, he doesn't want to ruin this moment. “Yeah?” he says in a low voice similar to Ryan's.
“Yeah,” Ryan repeats, his fingertips curling against Brendon's side. “I want. I want to get to know you better,” he starts out, biting his lip a little. And Ryan looks... nervous. And Brendon doesn't think he's ever seen him like this. Ryan's usually always so confident, so comfortable in his own body, so in control of everything that seeing Ryan's layers of power strip down right in front of him feels kind of incredible.
He still doesn't want to ruin it, but he wants to take a chance. Ryan's taken his step forward, and now Brendon wants to. Slowly he reaches his hand up and places it in the crook of Ryan's neck, his thumb resting below his jawline. “I want to get to know you too,” Brendon whispers, feeling Ryan swallow against his palm.
Ryan takes another step forward, Brendon's heart is beating as fast as he's ever felt it go, and their faces are closer than Brendon has ever thought they would be. “Would it be really corny if I kissed you right now?” Ryan asks, his eyes half lidded as his body leans towards Brendon.
“Why would it be corny?” Brendon asks, but his voice is dropped low, so low, that he really does feel they're the only two around.
“Because I purposely brought you under a mistletoe,” Ryan confesses, grinning just a little bit.
Brendon's eyes flick upward and there it is, a tiny mistletoe with fake red berries on it. He begins to grin as he looks back at Ryan, his hand sliding more around Ryan's neck. “No, it wouldn't be corny at all,” Brendon tells him. “It'd be pretty romantic, I think.”
“Romantic is always good,” and Brendon can feel Ryan's words against his lips, his breath mixed with eggnog and Brandy, and his skin feels on fire when Ryan just slips his hand around Brendon's neck.
“Yeah,” Brendon mumbles, “romantic is great.”
Ryan looks in his eyes for a slight moment before finally, finally kissing Brendon, his grip on Brendon's hip getting a little tighter. Brendon's eyes flutter shut, the jolt going down his entire body, down to his toes, making him feel on top of the world as he kisses Ryan back. They're both a little hesitant, a little nervous, a little scared, like they've never kissed someone before. But Brendon thinks that's how first kisses are supposed to feel between two people. His legs, his hands, his stomach are quivering, but Ryan moves his body closer to Brendon's, pressing their upper bodies together while tilting his head to the side. Brendon drops his jaw open for a moment, taking a shaky breath and feeling Ryan stopping his movements. They haven't been kissing long and Brendon already feels breathless. Their noses are pushed against each other, they're sharing air, and Brendon has never felt this good in too long.
His hand on Ryan's neck moves up a little bit, his fingertips brushing against the hair on the back of Ryan's neck while he pulls him forward, kissing him again. Ryan makes a low noise at the bottom of his throat, slowly sliding his tongue across Brendon's lip. He doesn't wait to open his mouth for Ryan, but Ryan doesn't rush to slide his tongue inside. They stop in place for a moment, their mouths pressed against each other's and Ryan holds him closer, tilting his head to the other side to leave a lingering kiss on Brendon's lips before pulling away.
Brendon keeps his eyes closed for a few seconds before slowly opening them, looking and seeing Ryan's hazel eyes staring back at him. They're both catching their breath just the slightest, and Ryan's hand slides up Brendon's side. “I... I want.” Brendon's eyes search Ryan's face, from his red lips to his flared nose to his worrisome eyes.
“What?” Brendon whispers, gently resting his forehead against Ryan's. “What do you want?”
“You,” Ryan breathes, causing Brendon's stomach to twist. “I want to be able to... to walk around with you, to hold your hand, to make you laugh a laugh that only I get to hear.” Brendon's hand moves down Ryan's chest, over his heart to only feel it beating uncontrollably. “I want to brag about you, I want to hold you and kiss you and let everyone know what we have.”
“This doesn't feel real at all,” Brendon says, biting the inside of his cheek. “This. I mean, you... you could have anyone else, but you want all of those things with me?”
Ryan nods, taking a deep breath through his nose. “I've never felt this way around anyone but you. I know that. I know it seems too soon, maybe? Or I'm saying too many intimate things, or whatever, but I can't help it, I can't--”
“I bought you those lollipops,” Brendon immediately says.
He sees Ryan blink in front of him, then watches his lips curl into a sweet smile. “You did?”
“I did,” Brendon nods. “I thought... I didn't want to get anything extraordinary, I wanted to get something small and useful, in a sense, but I didn't know if you would think anything of it. I bet you got all these other ridiculous presents from girls in school, but. I don't know, I just thought...” He lets out a low laugh, shaking his head. “I don't know what I thought.”
Now Ryan's grinning, and it's making Brendon grin, and that makes Ryan hold Brendon closer. “I'd love to talk about how your gift was my favorite gift right now, but I'd much rather kiss you some more.”
Brendon laughs again, more giddy than anything, but he nods regardless. “Yeah. I'd much rather do that too.” He goes to lean in, goes to close his eyes, but when he feel the tip of Ryan's nose brushing against his own, he remembers. “Oh, Ryan?”
Ryan opens his eyes and looks at Brendon under his eyelashes. “Yeah?”
“I want to be yours,” Brendon whispers, not missing the glow in Ryan's eyes before kissing him again.
If Brendon's school had a gossip magazine, like Us Weekly or OK! Magazine, then he's sure a picture of Ryan and him holding hands would be on the cover with some ridiculous title like 'Ryan Ross is off the market!'
People look at the two with wide eyes as they walk down the hallway, holding hands like the world is over. Some girls look like they're about to cry, some girls look like they're about to pull a knife out of nowhere and stab Brendon. To be perfectly honest, Brendon doesn't doubt that they do want to stab him.
But he really doesn't care, because he feels amazing. Walking with Ryan like this makes him feel like he has a barrier around them, like nothing can hurt them because they're happy. And Ryan looks at him with fireworks in his eyes, and he has that mindblowing smile, and every time he gets that look, he kisses Brendon in front of everyone. And for that one (or two, or three) moment(s) of bliss, everyone isn't around and everyone doesn't matter.
Tom is happy, more happy for Brendon than Brendon thought he would be. But it still means a lot. Apparently Tom met someone over the weekend and he won't stop talking about her, and Brendon's happy for him too. He still has his Tom, and Tom still has him. They're happy with each other, but they're happy with their respective partner too.
It's pretty much one big happy fest.
Ryan walks Brendon to his locker and doesn't keep his hands off of him while he's putting his books away. Brendon can't stop smiling and he puts his things away as fast as he can so he can feel Ryan's arms wrapped around him tight.
When they go to Ryan's locker, they don't miss Jon and Spencer walking together, Jon's arm slung around Spencer's shoulder, his hand laced with Spencer's by Spencer's neck. They smile at Brendon and Ryan, who of course smile back while leaning against the lockers together, pressed against each other.
Brendon likes being back against the lockers, because it reminds of him their first kiss. Their first kiss that will never be forgotten, that night that will never be forgotten. Ryan's entire body is lined with Brendon's, but he's taller than Brendon, so he rests his chin or his cheek against the top of Brendon's head. Brendon's arms are wrapped around Ryan's waist, holding his hands together to keep the boy close. Ryan's grip on Brendon is tighter, but Brendon thinks nothing of it.
One of the best feelings in the world, Brendon decides, is when they're kissing. It's probably the dorkiest thing to say or think, ever, but it's true. But really, their first kiss was under a mistletoe, so it can't get much dorkier than that.
Brendon doesn't care if he's acting like a dork, or looks like one, or anything. What he cares about is Ryan.
He looks up at Ryan while he's talking to one of his friends, his eyes looking at everything they can see. He starts smiling, because he can't help but think this is all for me. He wants this, he wants us.
When Ryan turns his attention back to Brendon, seeing him smile, it automatically makes him smile. “What?” Ryan asks, tilting his head just the slightest.
Brendon just shakes his head, mumbles “nothing”, and kisses his boyfriend once more.