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

Chapter 18

Vincent sits in French class, looking kind of skittish. His wrist is still wrapped. Louis sits behind him, and Vincent can clearly feel his eyes on him. He’s been trying to avoid Louis all day (and all week since they got back from the trip), but what can he do when they have class together?

When Teddy, who's sitting next to him, notices Vincent looking impatient to get out of class, he gives him a sympathetic smile.

Vincent dares to look behind him -- just at the clock, he needs to know how much longer this class will go -- but he feels relieved when he happens to glance over Louis, who is no longer looking at him.









At the smoothie shop where Vincent works, he idly watches an affectionate lesbian couple having a date. They look really happy, and he glances down at the edge of a number peeking out of the tape on his wrist. Shiloh comes up behind him, jokingly accusing him of “perving on the hot lesbos”.

Vincent gets annoyed, but Shiloh’s already on the next topic, asking him where his little rich dude is today. Vincent tells Shiloh that Teddy’s got a girlfriend, so he’s been busy. Shiloh is surprised, saying he always assumed Teddy was gay and was hanging around because he had a crush on Vincent.

Out of curiousity, Vincent asks Shiloh what about Teddy makes him think he’s gay. Shiloh explains that since Teddy’s pretty girly - very fashionable, carries a purse, etc- “that’s just how gay guys are, right?”

Vincent shrugs, insisting he doesn’t know.


Vincent stands at the gross kitchen sink in his dilapidated rental house, furiously trying to scrub the permanent-marker numbers off his arm. He scrubs, then rinses, again and again, but the numbers just won’t come off. He seems excessively frustrated, like really really pissed at his own wrist.

He gives it one more determined scrub, and gives up. He does something between a sigh and a groan. The faucet drips into the dirty dish water.

He takes another look at the numbers. He slowly picks his phone up off the counter.

He ends up putting it back down without even flipping it open.


Vincent washes his hands in the bathroom at school. He doesn’t see Louis coming in behind him right away, and when he does, he has to double take to make sure he’s not imagining things.

louis

“Busy week, Fawkes? Thought I might hear
from you.”

Louis heads to a urinal. Vincent doesn’t reply.

louis

“Oh so that’s why you didn’t call me. You’re ignoring me. ...That’s cute.”

Vincent leans on the sink without a word.

louis

“Y’know, you can ignore me all you want, but ignoring your little problem won’t make it go away.”

Still nothing from Vincent. Louis rolls his eyes and he begins to wash his hands. He smiles at himself in the mirror, checking his hair.

louis

“Wanna know a secret?”

In a split second, Louis is leaning into Vincent’s personal space, his lips right in his ear.

louis

“I thought about you last night.”



teddy

“Vincent?? Vincent, are you listening?”

Vincent snaps out of remembering what Louis said for the millionth time. Teddy drives him home from school in the Ferrari.

vincent

“W-huh?? Sorry, what?”

teddy

“Are you okay? Look, if you're mad about what I told Penelope, you can really tell me--”

vincent

“Oh, sorry dude, it's um... it's nothing like that. Seriously, that's fine.”

teddy

“Then what's got you so deep in thought?”

vincent

“Oh, uh... you know...just stuff.”

teddy

“...Okay…”

vincent

“Um, what were you saying?”

teddy

“Just that I wanted you to come for dinner tonight. My dad is being obnoxious, trying to make us go visit Princeton, and I could really use you--”




teddy

“.... Vincent...?”


vincent

“Uh, uh-- Ha ---I'm really sorry but um -- I just can't, tonight.”

teddy

“Oh?”

vincent

“No, I've got... I planned something with Kamri, and then I'm um, working. Really late tonight.”

teddy

“Kamri? Are you two getting more serious since we went on that double date?”

vincent

“Y-yeah, sure…”

teddy

“That's good. You two make a nice couple.”

vincent

“Could you um... could you drop me off at her house? Now?”

teddy

“You should've told me to begin with, silly - of course I will. Don’t strain your wrist at work, alright?”

vincent

“Huh? Oh, yeah - right, yeah, I won’t.”

Teddy lets him off in Kamri’s front yard. They say their goodbyes, and Teddy drives off as Vincent waves awkwardly.

As soon as Teddy’s car is out of sight, Vincent sprints across the street to Louis’ house. He runs right up to the door, but suddenly worries - Shit, what if John opens the door?

His finger is frozen on the doorbell. But then he springs into action, unwrapping his wrist and whipping out his phone.

He has to squint at the super faded and smudged numbers, but he eventually manages to type the whole number in.

It rings several times, and then goes to voicemail. Vincent, annoyed, dials again.

This time, Louis clearly has declined the call after only one ring.

Vincent grits his teeth and texts.

pick up

who is this

come on

is this kyle from grindr?

o wait is it troy??? srrrrrrry

wait. marcus?

its vincent

Now it’s Louis who’s calling. Vincent picks up to Louis asking jokingly if the Wizard of Oz gifted him some courage.

Vincent practically yells over him, asking if John is home. Louis says no - he’s at Andre’s.

vincent

“Okay, let me in.”

louis

“What?”

vincent

“I’m outside!”

louis

“Outside?”

vincent

“Outside your house!”

There’s a brief moment of silence, but then Louis breaks into riotous cackling and hangs up. Soon enough, he’s opening the door with an absolutely poisonous smirk.


Meanwhile, Teddy, his dad, and his sister are sitting at a grand dining table in their mansion. His mother rushes in, apologizing for being late. She remarks that the surgery she was doing today went longer than planned. Kennedy begs her not to talk about brain surgery right before they eat. Dr.Hejazi laughs, asking how she got such squeamish children, joking it must be her husband’s genes.

She merrily cheers “Bismillah!” with Dr. Bijapur as kitchen staff bring out their elaborate meal, and they get to eating.

Dr.Bijapur fills his wife in on his plans to take Teddy to visit Princeton with Dr.Kingsley and John. Teddy smiles and politely says that he’d rather not.

Dr.B asks plainly if he’s made any plans to look at other schools.

Teddy can’t answer, so Dr.B he insists they go. He tells Teddy he can bring Vincent, and that John’s stepbrother will be tagging along as well - it’ll be fun.

teddy

“I’m not going.”

dr.b

“Come now, don’t be a child. I know you and John have grown apart - Kingsley and I have too, but you must understand that grief affects personal relationships and -”

teddy

“Please don’t do that.”

dr.b

“I beg your pardon?"

teddy

“Don’t analyze me. I’m not one of your patients.”

dr.b

“Teddy, please, not this again. You’ve become absolutely paranoid of my profession. I’m not a psychic, I can’t literally peek into your sub-conscious. But I wonder, with such a defense, if I might be disappointed if I could. So, what is it? Do you have some explanation as to why I should possibly cancel with the Kingsleys?”

teddy

"..."

dr.b

“Really, Teddy, you accuse me of not understanding, but you never communicate. These kind of trust issues will haunt you into your adult life if you can’t overcome them.”

Teddy leaves the table. His mom chides Dr.B, saying that Teddy is delicate and he should have more patience with him. Kennedy says she’ll go check on him.


vincent

“I just want to be clear….I don’t like… like you, or anything, okay?”

louis

“Oh my god, Vincent, please. I fucking hate you. That doesn’t mean we can’t hook up.”

Vincent huffs, and looks around the room.

louis

“The faster you get this over with, the faster
we can…”

Louis bounces his eyebrows. Vincent’s face, already flushed, goes even redder.

vincent

“I’m… I’m, uh…”

Louis, bored, inspects his nails. Vincent mutters something under his breath, and looks at Louis expectantly.

louis

“Sorry, did you say something?”

Vincent grits his teeth, and says something that seems a little louder, yet still manages to be inaudible. Louis raises his eyebrows.

louis

“Vincent, this is seriously pathetic.”

Vincent gets mad and half-shouts.

After a second of surprised silence, Louis laughs and starts clapping facetiously. He sarcastically congratulates him, but before he can finish--





Kennedy finds Teddy in his room, watching TV.

kennedy

“Hey, we should talk.”

Teddy puts on his best presidential smile, and states there’s nothing wrong. Kennedy asks Teddy why he doesn’t just tell their dad about what John did.

teddy

“If he’s such a good psychologist he should be able to figure it out, right?”

Kennedy admits that their dad can act like a know-it-all, but he definitely wouldn’t be like this if he knew how things really were, how much of an asshole John turned out to be --

Teddy turns the TV off, gets up, and cheerfully announces that he’s going out for a drive.


Vincent lays in Louis’ bed, totally dazed. Louis leans over to a drawer, asking if Vincent minds if he smokes. Vincent does mind, but Louis decides to go ahead anyway. Vincent gets annoyed, reaches over and grabs the joint, crushing it in his hand.

Louis rolls his eyes and says Vincent will just have to entertain him instead.

louis

“So, you’re gay, huh?”

vincent

“What do you think?”

louis

“You really do have a crush on Teddy then,
don’t you?”

Vincent rolls over, obviously not wanting to talk about it. Louis presses himself against Vincents back, poking his chin over his shoulder.

louis

“Oh come on, you’ve got to be dying to talk about this - it’s not like you can chat about it with your bestie. Besides, I actually know what it’s like to have a crush on a straight guy - it happens to the best of us.”

Vincent stays silent.

louis

“Whatever, fine, I know you like him even if you won’t admit it. Everybody knows... except for Teddy, apparently. How does he not know when you tried to KISS him?”

Vincent turns over, and glares at Louis.

louis

What? I’m just saying, he’s pretty dumb for a smart guy.”

vincent

“I dunno if he doesn’t know, I think it’s like...he doesn’t want to know...”

louis

“Oh my gosh, did he say something? Vincent, did he reject you?!”

vincent

“It’s not funny, okay?”

louis

“I’m sorry, jeez. But can you just tell me one thing? What is it that you see in him that’s got you so head over heels, anyway? You know, despite your bummer personality you have the looks of a male model. You’re totally out of his league, not the other way around.”

vincent

“... I dunno, he’s just. My best friend. I like
him a lot.”

louis

'You like him a lot?' Come on, Vincent. Seriously?”

vincent

“Okay, okay, I… have a lot of fun when I’m around him. Or I used to, anyway, before things got all messed up between us… When we hang out I don’t think about all the shit I have to take care of, so it’s like…Being with him just… takes me somewhere else. Somewhere I wanna be all the time.”

louis

“...Okay, go on.”

vincent

“Um… I guess he’s like… I guess he’s like cute, or whatever, too.”

louis

“Like what about him do you think is cute?”

vincent

“...Like… his hair is really… nice, and soft… When he doesn’t straighten it and it gets all wavy...? Het gets these little curls around his face and...And I guess I like… how little he is? That sounds weird but, I dunno, I like it... And um… he smells like, peppermint, or something. He smells really good. It drives me nuts...”




louis

“...Ugh, all this romance shit is so unsexy. Unrequited love doesn’t suit you, Fawkes.”

vincent

“Whatever, I didn’t say I was in like… love, or whatever...”

louis

“I don’t even believe in love and I know
you’re in love.”

vincent

“You don’t believe in love?”

louis

“I’m a child of divorce, what can I say?”

louis

“ ...God, it’s a joke, Vincent... Anyway. Is that really all that happened? You tried to kiss Teddy and that’s it?”

Vincent looks exhausted, and makes an embarrassed sort of grunt.

louis

“What?? Oh my god, what?”

vincent

“Nothing like that, you horn-dog. I just mean… it wasn’t the first time I almost kissed him that week…"




vincent

"...I guess it’s just the only time that he noticed.”

vincent

“Why am I even telling you!?”

louis

“Don’t worry Vincent, your embarrassing secrets are safe with me… for now, anyway.”

Vincent groans, flipping face-down into the pillow.

louis

“I can’t believe you actually went for me. You really are stupid, aren’t you?”

Vincent just groans again, sounding even more annoyed.

louis

“Don’t whine, at least you’ll be getting laid now.”

Vincent looks up, a little surprised.

vincent

“...You wanna do this again?”

louis

“Sure. Secretly fucking the quarterback is just too good to pass up.”



Teddy’s car is parked outside a 24-hour convenience store. He’s been around to all of Vincent’s other jobs tonight, unable to find him. Inside, he asks the girl at the counter if he can talk to Vincent. She tells him Vincent isn’t scheduled to work this weekend.

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