Tue Dec 12, 2017 15:55

Holland professed to not being an idiot, and Danny thought he did well to merely frown in response. Then his friend altered the direction of the argument - they were definitely arguing; this was beyond a heated discussion, the likes of which Holland and he had enjoyed many times in their five years of friendship - which caused Danny to stop silently fretting and listen. He was still uncharacteristically agitated, but he was no longer disagreeing with Holland. He knew that the friendship group they’d grown up with had recently developed into two couples plus one Holland, and he knew that couldn’t be easy for them. The girls had arranged one double date, which Danny and Emmett had both dutifully attended, but they hadn’t repeated it; for Danny, the rendez-vous had just felt like they were meeting up as usual, whilst explicitly excluding Holland, and that had made him uncomfortable (though to be honest, seeing Rose and Emmett be intimate with each other still made him kind of uncomfortable too, even though it had been months since they’d started dating. Plus he’d spent less time together with just Marissa. Overall the experience had been an education in how not to spend a date).

Of course there wasn’t anything any of them could do about it (apart from never going on a double date again), it just sort of sucked. Danny didn’t doubt Holland’s sincerity when they said they were happy for their friends, and he wished there was someone else for Holland to couple up with, he really did - having one of his best friends left out wasn’t something that made him especially content - but why did that person have to be Ruben?

“Ruben’s attractive and he was a good boyfriend to me,” Holland answered the question that had remained unspoken in Danny’s thoughts. He resented that version of events, but obviously it was accurate for Holland, even if Danny wasn’t in a position to acknowledge its merits. He didn’t want it to be true, which was a realization that ought to be scrutinized in more detail than he could currently allot it: Holland seemed to be transitioning from angry to upset. He bit back yet another disagreement, that Ruben was the only person here who liked Holland like that. It was not only factually incorrect (probably, unless Armaan really wasn’t interested anymore, which might be a moot point since Holland wasn’t interested in the seventh year, but it disproved their argument for Ruben, so it was valid in Danny’s opinion… not that he would feel any happier if Holland dated Armaan, either; he was lazy and Marissa had found him annoying and actually Danny had never had a problem with Armaan before - arguing with Holland seemed to be affecting his mood) but sounded so defeatist that Danny found himself becoming agitated again.

Holland was hardly undesirable; they were smart and supportive, they always looked amazing, and they always had something interesting or insightful to contribute. Even Danny had thought about kissing Holland sometimes, but that was ages ago, before he’d even kissed anyone at all, and he’d idly been imagining what it might be like to kiss anyone - Marissa, or Rose, or … anyone. It just seemed implausible that only Ruben, of everyone in the whole school, was into Holland.

In the face of these arguments, it would be incredibly petty of Danny to maintain his stance that Holland and Ruben should not date again. Therefore he could perhaps be forgiven for raising his eyebrows in delight surprise when Holland snapped that they weren’t going to date Ruben again. He was saved the indignity of outwardly celebrating by his friend’s next, sobering words. Danny exhaled. His friendship with Holland had never been physically affectionate - even the consolatory slaps on the back and patronising hair ruffles he distributed to Emmett were actions he wouldn’t naturally execute with Holland - and so while part of him felt compelled to reach out to them, he stayed, convincing himself that Holland wouldn’t want his comfort when they were mad at him, anyway.

“Holland, I -” am struggling to find words, it seems. He stubbornly did not want to apologise for hoping to separate one of his best friends from one of the people he liked least out of everyone he’d ever met. Danny’s t-shirt started to slip from his shoulders. He pulled it from round his neck and held it with both hands, so he had something to do with them. “Just be careful, okay? I don’t want you to think I’m chaperoning you,” he added quickly, “or messing with your life or, or anything else that’ll end up with you mad at me.” Semi-serious, semi-joking, Dardanius offered a half-smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “So I’ll back off.” He was going to gripe loudly about it to Emmett, though, if Holland did start flirting again with Ruben. “I just…” Just what? “I really don’t like the idea of you with Ruben.”

  • I believe that you’re overreacting - Holland, Tue Dec 12 12:01
    Danny started with, “ Ruben doesn’t, ” and Holland scoffed in return. The fact that only the guys reacted defensively like that to Ruben made them sure that that was what was going on, even if Danny... more
    • Likewise - Danny, Tue Dec 12 15:55
      • I said it first - Holland, Wed Dec 13 00:37
        At least Danny wasn’t practically shouting at them anymore. The two hadn’t argued before—not like this—but it didn’t surprise Holland that Danny got loud when he was angry. He was shirtless again,... more
        • What’s your point? - Danny, Wed Dec 13 03:59
          He hadn’t meant to say that last bit out loud; he had just been trying to come up with anything coherent, and that had been what his mind and mouth had provided. It was true, but it obviously just... more
          • I must have had one - Holland, Wed Dec 13 15:28
            Are you kidding me, Holland thought, with an extra modifier in the middle of the sentence. They couldn’t believe Danny was dragging Marissa into this—that he was insecure because she’d slept with... more
            • I think it got lost - Danny, Wed Dec 13 16:24
              “Ruben knows things about me that you don’t because he needed to.” What? Needed to? What did that - oh. No, that’s not what Danny meant. It, well, it might have been a part of it, but that wasn’t -... more
              • I’ll organize a search party - Holland, Wed Dec 13 21:25
                Danny looked agitated now. He was pacing and messing with his hair and avoiding eye contact and not finishing sentences. The mood in the practice room had gotten tenser in the span of a few seconds.... more
                • Just tell me what to do - Danny, Thu Dec 14 05:42
                  It sound like Holland was going to argue that’s not what they had wanted, but then they stopped themselves. Danny was exhausted. He felt raw and restless and he just wanted to go back to his... more
                  • First we need a map - Holland, Thu Dec 14 12:27
                    “ It doesn’t matter, ” Danny agreed. Holland exhaled, unnoticed tension leaving their shoulders. They’d known that. They knew Danny; it had never felt like that mattered, not since first year before... more
                    • I found your map... - Danny, Thu Dec 14 16:47
                      Holland apologized. Danny looked at them, and blinked. Why was Holland apologizing? Okay, they’d said some stuff that had caused distress, but Danny hadn’t apologized for the original grievance of... more
                      • This is not the map you’re looking for - Holland, Thu Dec 14 21:01
                        “ It matters because Ruben’s not the only one here who likes you like that. ” Holland stared blankly at Danny. For a long moment, they didn’t understand— who —and then the right neurons fired... more
                        • Oh. Whoops. - Danny, Thu Dec 14 22:10
                          He had no idea what to expect when those words had left his mouth. Danny almost wished he could take them back, but the truth remained it was absolutely impossible he would be able to keep something... more
                          • Maybe a cartographer would help - Holland, Fri Dec 15 03:26
                            For the first time in this entire conversation, Danny said exactly what Holland expected him to. “ Then nothing. ” That was the right answer, Holland thought, with something almost like relief.... more
                            • Do you know any? - Danny, Fri Dec 15 14:51
                              Holland didn’t sit with Danny, but they did move towards the door. For a stomach-lurching second, Danny thought they were just going to leave. He suspected both of them had considered vacating the... more
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