The morning of the Princeton trip, John tries to ask Louis why he looks so damn smug lately. Louis feigns innocence for a second, but does tease John in saying that he’d be “furious” if he ever found out. John is horrified by the prospect, but is distracted when he realizes they’re taking an odd route to Princeton. He asks his dad if this chauffer is new or something, but his dad tells him they’ve got to stop somewhere first.
With great amusement, Louis asks Dr.Kingsley whether he hasn’t told John yet. Dr.Kingsley replies that if he had told him, he would’ve been “bitching about it for days”. John gets angry wondering what they’re talking about, so finally Dr.Kingsley lets him in on the fact that they’ll have company today.
Waiting for the Kingsley-Lindbecks, Dr.Bijapur, Vincent and Teddy enjoy an extravagant breakfast spread. Teddy insists pleasantly he’s not hungry. Dr.Bijapur laughs it off, making a comment about Teddy’s meager figure. Vincent, however, seems to be eating enough for both of them, and Dr.Bijapur remarks that he certainly seems uninhibited this morning.
When the Kingsley-Lindbecks arrive, uncomfortable tension is palpable. Teddy and John are too distracted by their discomfort to even notice the flirtatious look that Louis shoots Vincent. As the group piles into the limousine, John can’t take it and announces that he’s going to sit up front with the driver, claiming to be carsick. Teddy is visibly relieved.
10 minutes on the road and Louis is already inspecting the limo’s mini-fridge, wondering aloud if he should pre-game this college visit. Dr.Kingsley tells Louis to save the party until afterwards. He recalls his college days with Dr.Bijapur and some of the wild “trouble” they would get into - before Dr.B converted to marry Teddy’s mom, of course.
He then asks the boys about the huge “rager” party thrown for Vincent’s birthday party at the Bijapur house - which, apparently, Dr.Bijapur hadn’t known about. With the boys waiting to see if he’ll disapprove, Dr.Bijapur shrugs and smiles, saying that they can do as they please. Teddy seems strangely disappointed with this response.
Upon hearing about Dr.B and Dr.K’s wild college days, Louis raises an eyebrow.
louis“Be honest - you two were frat boys, weren’t you?”
Louis“Clubs? What, like Chess Club…?”
Dr.Bijapur“No, no, the eating clubs.”
Dr.B and Dr.K laugh heartily. Teddy looks sort of put off, like this is definitely his dad’s annoying “good ol’ days” story.
dr.kingsley“There are… what, 13? 12?”
At Princeton, they’re guided on a VIP tour all around campus. Teddy and John stand as far from each other as possible at all times. The dads frequently and enthusiastically reminisce about their college days all throughout the tour, making John groan and Teddy give exasperated little sighs.
When asked what majors they’re considering, Teddy is the only one with a real answer - International Affairs, Politics, or History. Dr.Kingsley answers for John, saying he’ll be doing Pre-Med or Finance. Louis proudly proclaims he hasn’t thought about it, and Vincent just shrugs.
Surprised, Louis asks Vincent if he won’t be majoring in music. Vincent explains that music is just sort of a convenient hobby for him. He would never want to make a career out of it, stating nebulously that “musicians are assholes”.
John’s dad interjects, agreeing that “music is no major for a man”, and that focusing on football is probably Vincent’s best chance at college success.
The tour drags on, and Louis quickly becomes bored out of his mind. He entertains himself by trying to touch Vincent inappropriately without the others noticing.
After grabbing a handful of Vincent's junk and being frantically pushed to the ground, Louis resigns himself to looking at the random booklets and flyers they were given at the beginning of the tour.
Skimming a pamphlet about student organizations, Louis makes a pointed announcement.
john“Pfft, Louis, you’re not an athlete.”
Taking this as an opportunity, the tour guide begins to talk about LGBT life on campus, of which he only knows a little about. Making assumptions, he directs some of his statements towards Teddy as well.
teddy“Um, I’m not…”
The tour guide awkwardly apologizes, saying he's just talking generally, but Dr.B tells him not to worry - “it’s an easy mistake to make.”
When they get to The Street (the avenue where all the eating club’s mansions are) Dr.B and Dr.K get particularly excited - they’re very proud of having been in the most prestigious and exclusive club on the street. It’s all preppy rich kids, dark-wood panelling and white table-cloths. Vincent particularly boggles at these college kids getting served by waiters. Privately, he also feels distressed by the fact that - to him, anyway - Teddy doesn’t look all that out of place here.
Louis seems to enjoy the elitist vibe of the place. He bounces his eyebrows at a passing preppy faux-frat boy.
LOUIS“Maybe I’d fit right in here after all - I’m great at 'eating'.”
He shoots a sly look at Vincent. John, missing the joke, looks indignant.
Louis cackles, and even Vincent chokes down some awkward laughter.
The tour guide leaves them, instructing them to visit the dean’s office for interviews when they’re done at the club. As the dads lead them slowly out of the house, they recount infamous club parties and other antics. Dr.K notes how odd it is to see so many women hanging around the clubhouse - “only men were allowed to be members when we were in school.”
They explain a bit of the process the clubs use to select new members from the sophomores - you go through a series of interviews about your life - who you’re friends with, who your parents are and what they do, where you went to school up until college, where your family ‘summers’, etc etc... Vincent gets really uncomfortable.
The dads laugh. The group makes their way out of the mansion, back towards
the dean’s office.
teddy“I mean… it’s just very WASP-y here.”
Teddy looks like he’s going to say something, but Louis interjects.
When they get to the deans office, they are told that he only has time for 2 interviews that day. Vincent, not feeling like he has a chance in hell getting in here, and Louis, not giving a shit about college in general, eagerly forfeit the seats to John and Teddy. Dr.Bijapur leaves with an apathetic “try and do your best”, while Dr.Kingsley advises John "don't fuck this up”. Louis grabs Vincent's arm and says they’re gonna go look around by themselves.
Outside, Louis pulls Vincent into a secluded corner and kisses him, declaring how exciting it is to have a secret hookup. Vincent gets nervous, telling Louis that now is definitely not the time to get “excited”.
Louis rolls his eyes, saying that Vincent is no fun, but backs off. They stand there awkwardly for a few seconds.
Louis decides to take the opportunity to ask about something that’s been
bugging him all day.
Vincent makes an uneasy face.
vincent“...It’s not really my story to tell, or whatever…”
Louis rolls his eyes, absolutely fed up with how everyone is giving him the run-around with this stupid gossip.
louist“Tell me right now or I’m never fucking you again.”
vincent“...well, I guess it’s not like a secret or anything…”
Vincent huffs, searching for the words. He asks if Louis knows about how John used to bully Teddy in middle school.
louis“Ugh, yes, I got that part already. Is that it?”
vincent“...You know how John’s mom died, right?”
louis“Why are you being weird? Just spit it out.”
vincent“Louis... when they were kids, John and Teddy were friends.”
Back with John and Teddy waiting in the Dean’s Office, everything is completely silent except for the ticking of a clock.
John and Teddy’s birthdays are barely a month apart. Their fathers' college friendship is enduring, and the two families are always together. Ever since John and Teddy were born they were practically raised as brothers.
Despite their sauve sporty billionaire fathers, both boys come out a little… odd.
Their teachers all say the two are smart - they both read beyond their grade level - but they just can’t seem to apply themselves in class. They get teased mercilessly - kids say John looks obese next to tiny Teddy, and Teddy looks practically malnourished next to big John.
They mostly try to ignore it, and laugh bitterly with each other about how “stupid and shallow” their classmates are. They both secretly become self-conscious - but the teasing seems tolerable with an understanding friend.
The immense disappointment they constantly bring their dads and everyone else doesn’t seem to phase the boys, so long as they have each other.
Shortly after they start middle school, John’s mom gets really sick. He starts to change.
His dad starts seeing Louis’ mom while his wife is in the hospital.
Feeling both his parents slipping away, John begins to cling to his dad.
The funeral is the last time John lets Teddy stand by his side.
Deeply grieving and trying to become closer to his dad, John begins to reject everything girly, weak, or nerdy - including Teddy.
He starts playing football, and gains a new group of friends who join him in violently harassing Teddy. John knows Teddy is particularly insecure about how skinny he is, so he and the other guys use it to taunt him.
They don’t stop until Vincent does something about it.
Louis asks Vincent why Teddy’s parents didn’t do anything to help him. Vincent tells him that Teddy still thought of John as his friend for way too long, so he didn’t want to get him in trouble. He was careful to cover up whatever John did to parents & teachers. Vincent says that Teddy’s parents probably never knew.
Later that night, after they’ve dropped the Bijapurs and Vincent at the mansion, Louis sits in his living room idling on his phone. He texts Vincent.
c u tmrw
john“Who are you texting with that creep-ass grin?”
John plops himself down on the couch.
Louis won’t tell him who he's texting - but also doesn’t tease him, get smug, or any of the other annoying shit he usually pulls.
John asks him why he’s acting so damn weird, but Louis is quiet for a long time.
John looks confused.
john“...What the hell are you trying to say?”
louis“I’m saying you’re a douchebag without the decency to even be consistent about it.”
john“...Are you high or something?”
louis“No, I’m just -- forget it, I’m going to bed.”
Back at the Bijapur estate, Vincent and Teddy hang out with some homework in front of them. Looking at his phone, Vincent asks aloud “what’s with the eggplant?” Teddy laughs, and asks who he’s texting. Vincent lies and says Kamri. He quickly changes the subject, asking if Teddy is okay. Teddy smiles, not looking up from his textbook, and asks why he wouldn’t be.
Vincent scoots closer to Teddy, saying it’s bad enough they had to spend all day at some rando college, much less with that jerk… what’s his name again?
Teddy smiles, telling Vincent that it’s OK to say John’s name. Vincent plays dumb, “John? Who’s John? Sounds like an asshole...” Teddy laughs.
He leans on Vincent, saying he’s just glad the day is over. He says that at least it seems like John was uncomfortable too. Vincent, a little flustered with Teddy so close, says that John was probably scared that he’d beat his ass again.
Teddy looks up at him with a raised eyebrow, facetiously worrying “Oh, whatever would I do without my knight in shining armor?” Vincent chuckles, mussing teddy’s hair.