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This is a pseudo-chapter of the webcomic Best Friends Forever.

Chapter 17

The coach of the football team addresses a travel bus full of players and cheerleaders. They’re going on an overnight trip for a football game at a faraway school, and they’d all better behave at the hotel.

Teddy is tagging along to watch the game. He and Vincent sit next to each other, but instead of chatting happily, things seem a little off. Teddy is glued to his phone. Vincent listlessly watches the scenery pass by.

Also joining the trip today is Louis. John has forced him (although not without a loud, whiny fight) into the window seat, and he’s taking selfies to pass the time.

He catches Vincent sulking in the background one of his pictures. When Teddy leaves to go to the bathroom, Louis leans over the back of his seat.

Smirking, he asks if Vincent is going let Teddy distract him during the big game. Vincent briefly shoots him an angry look, but settles back into wearily staring out the window.

Louis raises an eyebrow, wondering aloud if something is keeping Vincent up at night, because he seems exceptionally sluggish. Lacking the will to even be annoyed by Louis, Vincent doesn’t make any kind of response. Louis slides back down to his seat rolling his eyes - somehow Vincent not arguing with him is even more irritating than when he does.


As they make themselves at home in their hotel room, Andre complains to John about the fact that Vincent gets to break the rules, leaving the team rooms to hang out with Teddy in what he’s sure is a massive, luxurious suite. He laments that Vincent is so popular with girls, and so well-liked by the football coach - otherwise they wouldn’t have to “suck up” to him. Silent Guy nods along, but John shrugs and says he doesn’t have a problem with Vincent as long as they keep winning. Louis rolls his eyes.


Rather than the posh suite that Andre imagines, Vincent and Teddy are in a normal room right next door. Since they got the room through school’s group arrangement, there’s only one bed between the two of them. It’s not a huge deal, they’ve fallen asleep next to each other after late-night movie marathons before -- but Vincent still sputters awkwardly, wondering if it’s okay. Teddy teasingly warns him not to spoon him in his sleep, but (as usual) Vincent gets embarrassed.


Tonight, Teddy watches from the stands with Louis. He finds watching sports more boring than playing them, so he ends up playing on his phone a lot of the time. From the field, Vincent finds him in the crowd, and feels especially distant.

He makes up his mind not to look up at Teddy again. They win the game.


Afterwards, everyone is pumped up from their unlikely win. Most of the kids head to a nearby restaurant after they get back to the hotel.

Teddy asks Vincent if he wants to get room service, but Vincent declines, saying that he’s going to take a walk by himself. Teddy lets him go, feeling weird and wanting to give Vincent space.


He ends up sitting on the edge of the hotel’s indoor pool, listlessly kicking his feet in the water. It’s totally empty, and he just wanted to be alone for a while.

Too bad Louis got kicked out of the restaurant for trying to buy a high school football team a round of drinks...and spots Vincent while trolling the lobby for hot guys. Naturally, he enters the pool area, ruining the sanctuary.

LOUIS

“What’s up, quarterback, taking a swim?”

VINCENT

“Louis, can you not right now?”

Vincent is visibly frustrated.

LOUIS

“Wow Vincent, with your pouting it seems like you guys lost the game tonight. But I guess you’ve been losing at a different sort of game, haven’t you?”

Vincent doesn’t respond. He stares at his reflection in the water. Louis sits down next to him, dipping his pale, slender legs into the pool. He smiles wickedly.

LOUIS

“Kamri told me what you and Teddy did over the summer.”

VINCENT

“Kamri doesn’t know shit.”

LOUIS

“Really? She said Penelope told her.”

VINCENT

“What…?”

Vincent is caught off-guard, boggling as he puts it together in his head.

LOUIS

“Straight boys can be so cruel, can’t they?

VINCENT

“I gotta go.”

Vincent gets up and tries to escape the pool room. Louis also rises, calling after him.

LOUIS

“You’re a fucking coward, Fawkes. Why is a big guy like you running away from all his problems?”

Vincent turns around and punches Louis in the face.

Louis yelps, recovering quickly.

Vincent grabs him by the collar, stringing him up.

VINCENT

“What do you want from me!? Why can’t you just leave me alone!?”

Vincent pulls too hard and Louis, feeling strangled, freaks.

They both lose their balance and fall into the pool, but the fight doesn’t end there. Vincent lunges towards Louis, pushing his head under the water.

Louis knees him in the balls, and pops back up screaming.

Vincent stares at him wide-eyed, like he’s just woken up from some weird dream.

Louis swims to the side, lifting himself out of the pool. He coughs up water, and looks back at Vincent.

louis

“Ugh, jesus… Kamri warned me not to provoke you, now I see why…"

He laughs weakly, still coughing. Vincent, not sure what to do, hoists himself up next to Louis. He just kind of sits there looking concerned until Louis’ coughs die down. He notices how rattled Vincent looks.

louis

“God, Fawkes, don’t be a baby. I’m fine, just-”

He breaks into another fit of coughs.

louis

“--UGH.”

vincent

“Are you sure you’re okay? Should I get the coach or somebody…?”

louis

“Do you want to get us BOTH in trouble? God Vincent, chill.”

Louis leans back onto the floor, inhaling sharply. Vincent leans over him, trying to make sure he’s not actually dying.

vincent

“Louis, I…”

louis

“Shut up. Just shut up. I know, I’m an asshole, and you’re all hopped up on adrenaline from the game, so…It’s fine.”

Louis, whose head has been tilted towards the wall, looks up at Vincent.

They sustain eye contact for a few seconds too long, and Vincent’s head jerks down. Louis smirks.

louis

“What are you doing?”

Vincent instinctively pulls away, but he stops himself.

He kisses Louis.

Louis is surprised at first, but rolls with it.


A few minutes later, Vincent and Louis have made their way up to Louis’ hotel room - they assume the other guys will be out stuffing their faces and bugging the cheerleaders for a while.

Just when they’re really getting into it on the bed, they hear the door rattling.

John is on the other side, yelling at Louis for locking the door chain. Louis panics, throws a nearly-naked Vincent out onto the balcony, and closes the curtains.

Deeply confused and very cold, Vincent hears a familiar voice from nearby. Teddy happens to be on their balcony next door.

Noticing that Vincent is in a weird situation, Teddy helps Vincent climb over.

Vincent makes up a shoddy lie about the guys letting him and Kamri use their room to hook-up, and then being interrupted by the coach. Teddy thinks it’s a little funny that Vincent is so panicked.

Suddenly, wet clothes hit the back of Vincent's head. Louis is out on his balcony, and greets Teddy smugly. Teddy is surprised to see him. Vincent lies again, saying that Louis was keeping watch for Kamri.

Louis raises an eyebrow, but Teddy accepts it. Vincent asks Louis to tell Kamri that they should wait until they get back home to continue. Louis says oh, he’ll tell her, and facetiously wishes Vincent sweet dreams.

After Louis goes back inside, Teddy and Vincent are left out on their balcony in silence. Teddy softly says Vincent should get some dry clothes on before he catches a cold. He goes to open the door, but Vincent stops him.



vincent

“Hey, Teddy, did you… did you tell Penelope about um… the summer?”

teddy

“I…”

vincent

“Kamri mentioned that Penelope said something to her, so…”

teddy

“Vincent, I… I’m sorry, but I wanted to talk to somebody about it. It was kind of…”

vincent

“Okay, but like… why didn’t you talk to me about it?”

teddy

“I…”

vincent

“We’re just supposed to be best friends, so…I thought…If it bothered you, then... I dunno...”

teddy

“No, I understand, I should have...I’m really sorry, Vincent.”

vincent

“It’s okay, but… should we um… talk more? Or something?”

teddy

“Vincent, I… I’d rather just forget about it, if that’s ok with you.”

vincent

“...oh… okay… yeah, uh. It never happened.”

Later that night, Vincent lies awake in bed, staring at the ceiling. Teddy sleeps peacefully next to him.

Suddenly, there’s knocking on the door. Desperately hoping Teddy won’t wake up, Vincent slips outside into the hallway.

Sure enough, Louis is waiting for him. He chides him for taking so long to answer the door. Uncomfortable in the current situation, Vincent asks him curtly what he wants. Louis rolls his eyes and replies “your dick.” Vincent hushes Louis, afraid someone will hear. Louis is like “do you want to finish this or not?” Vincent sputters and doesn’t really respond. Louis, disgusted, tells him not to be coy.

Something dawns on Louis.

Vincent freaks, putting his hand over Louis’ mouth and shushing him frantically. Louis frees himself from this grasp, sneering as he realizes aloud that Vincent hasn’t.

Louis uncaps a marker and grabs Vincent’s wrist. He explains that he usually doesn’t fuck around with closet cases, but if Vincent can bring himself to admit his big, gay secret - just to Louis, at least - then he’ll think about hooking up with him for real.

As Louis finishes offering this conditional proposition, Vincent sees that he’s written his phone number on his arm. He tells Vincent to text him if he ever ‘grows a pair’, turns on his heel, and returns to his room.

Vincent returns to his own dark room with an expression that clearly says “WHAT HAVE I DONE”


The next morning, Vincent wakes up while Teddy is in the bathroom He freaks when he remembers Louis’ phone number is written blatantly on his forearm, and looks around the room for anything to cover it. He pulls athletic tape out of his football equipment bag, and starts wrapping his wrist.

Teddy comes out of the bathroom full dressed, and seeing this scene asks Vincent if he’s injured his arm, with great concern. Vincent says NO at first, but then backtracks saying oh, yeah, a little -- Teddy tries take his hand, asking if he wants him to look at it, but Vincent pulls away frantically. Teddy backs off awkwardly.

While packing up his bag, Teddy sheepishly tries to ask Vincent if he’s mad at him for telling Penelope about “that thing”. Vincent is lost for a moment, focusing on the athletic tape. But looks up smiling, asking Teddy “what thing? I don’t remember anything happening.” Teddy smiles, relieved.

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