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

Chapter 20

penelope

“Teddy?”

Snapping back to reality, Teddy clutches his open shirt in Penelope’s arms.

penelope

“I told you, you don’t have to-- Don't push yourself if it gets you upset--”

teddy

“I’m not upset, I just…”

Teddy slides off the bed, anxiously trying to create distance between them. Penelope looks sympathetic, but also kind of tired.

penelope

“...do you wanna talk about it…?”

Teddy begins to collect the parts of his outfit which had been strewn across Penelope’s bedroom floor, and put himself back together. He changes the subject.

teddy

“Um...are you going to come to the football game tonight…?”

penelope

“No, I don’t think so.”

teddy

“Ha, football isn’t my favorite either. I just want to see Vincent's last game off properly...”

penelope

”...Then shouldn't you bring your pom-poms?”

teddy

“Ha ha, very funny. What are your plans this evening, then?”

penelope

“Oh, you know... the usual...”

teddy

“Skype date with your boyfriend...?”

penelope

“Teddy, look..."

penelope

"...you really don’t need to like… keep asking about him… I probably shouldn’t have shown you his blog…"

teddy

“It’s not as if I bring him up superfluously. I’m just trying to be polite.”



penelope

“Are you sure you’re okay…?”







Because it's the last game of the season, tonight is "senior night" - a night where the team, coach, and parents celebrate and say goodbye to the senior players who are graduating. Before the pre-game senior night festivities begin, Teddy and Vincent chat on the sidelines. Teddy asks if he's doing alright, how he feels about the game. He doesn't say anything about it, but he's hoping Vincent doesn't feel too weird about being the only senior whose parents didn't come to do the "senior walk" across the field with him.

Before too long, parents and kids start leisurely gathering at the other end of the field.

teddy

“...Looks like they’re gonna start soon. Good luck tonight, Vincent--”

louis

“What, come on Teddy - no good luck kiss?”

teddy

“Louis! Want to sit with me while your mom is doing senior night stuff?”

louis

“Nah, I’m not gonna stick around.”

teddy

“You’re not going to watch the game?”

louis

“I have better things to do than sit here and pretend to cheer on my disgusting step-brother."

louis

"Will we be seeing you two at Andre’s later tonight?”

teddy

“Oh no, I think I’m still partied out from Vincent’s birthday, to be honest…”

louis

“What about you, Vincent?”

Louis flashes Vincent a pointed smile. Vincent looks to Teddy, almost as if for permission.

teddy

“You should go have fun with your teammates. It very well might be the last chance you have with the cheerleaders before they move onto the basketball team!”

All three laugh, but for different reasons.






teddy

“Dad, no.”

Teddy sits with his dad in the stands, watching as some well-meaning junior moms try to get everyone in order for the senior parent walk.

dr.bijapur

“Theodore, look at him. Don’t you have any compassion for your best mate? He’s got nobody to walk with him. It’s bad enough his parents can’t be around for things like this, we don’t need to send him down the pitch unaccompanied for everyone to see.”

teddy

“Regardless, it would just be…incredibly strange for you to go with him.”

dr.bijapur

“I’m just trying to do something nice for your friend. Don’t be selfish. It’s not like anyone’s going to mistake me for his father.”

teddy

“Nobody except for you...”

An extremely awkward silence follows. Feeling fidgety, Teddy eventually picks up his phone and calls Bianca, who is down on the sidelines with the other cheerleaders.

teddy

"Bianca, can you do me a favor?"








“Last but certainly not least, this year’s quarterback and top scorer, #69 Vincent Fawkes!”







After the game, the mood in the locker-room is a mixed bag. They won this game - but they’re not going to the playoffs. Other teams just had better numbers.

The guys lament the season’s slow start - John seems especially broken up about it.

Vincent stands away from the group, fishing around in his locker. He didn’t really expect to get to the playoffs - he’s just happy they won the last few games. Seems like a pretty good end to the season for him. He checks his phone, seeing a text from Louis.

wanna shower w me instead of ur nasty teammates?

come over to my place before we head to andres

He looks around frantically, making sure nobody’s reading over his shoulder. Just as he looks down again, the coach calls to him, and Vincent freaks a little bit. He snaps his phone shut quickly and goes right over to him.

The coach congratulates Vincent on the win, and says it’s a shame it wasn’t enough to get them to the championships. Vincent says he hopes the next quarterback is better than he is. The coach laughs, and says Vincent didn’t do that badly, and he should be proud. He asks if Vincent has given any thought to football scholarships.

Vincent rubs the back of his neck, saying since the season started off badly, he kind of gave up hope early on. The coach hits him on the back, saying that’s no way to be!

As it turns out, the coach sent some recruitment material (athletic records, highlight video compiled over the summer and past years, etc) to some mid-level football colleges on Vincent’s behalf. A scout from one of the schools actually is interested - and came to the game tonight.

coach

“Do you want to meet him?”

Vincent grabs Teddy from the emptying stands as he waits for his dad to stop chatting with the other parents. They look for somewhere quiet to talk, and end up under the bleachers.

Vincent

“...There was a scout here tonight."

He was from a Division II school in Philadelphia, and things seemed good for a scholarship. Teddy is really excited - he accidentally lets slip that he wasn’t sure if Vincent was going to college...but Vincent wasn’t even sure himself! They both laugh.

Vincent

“Also, um… this school is only like an hour drive to Princeton, so…”

Teddy smiles to himself. Before he can respond, Vincent’s phone rings. He looks at it, seeing Louis is calling. He declines the call, looking back to Teddy.

Teddy

“...Who was that?”

Vincent

“Oh, uh -- nobody. Some random number.”

Teddy nods, and it’s quiet.

Teddy

“You know, um… I’m not really sure about Princeton.”

Vincent

“You didn’t like it?”

Teddy

“I’m not sure… I don’t really have any interest in being my dad’s legacy, that’s for certain…”

Vincent

“Yeah, well… I definitely understand that.”

Vincent laughs sort of bitterly, Teddy gives him an understanding look.

Vincent

“Hey, um…”

Vincent

“...what you said on the visit, about Princeton being really uh, ... white… and what your dad said… do you feel like that here? At Victoria High, I mean?”

teddy

“I don’t know… It’s a bit of a dilemma, really.”

vincent

“Huh?”

teddy

“Well, it’s not like if I hung with the desi clique I would feel any more like I… well, it’s not like my dad has put in any effort to make me feel super Indian... And I’m not, really - I’m a few different things mixed together, and that’s…”

Teddy pauses, collecting his words.

vincent

“How come you never told me about this before?”

teddy

“Well I… I think you're probably more of an outsider than I am, the lone scholarship student among the children of CEO’s - How can I complain to you about something like this?”

vincent

“It’s not complaining, dude…”

Teddy laughs dryly, forcing himself to smile.



teddy

“I’m sorry, Vincent - you were all excited about the scout and I--”

vincent

“No, dude, I asked. If you’re dealing with something I wanna know, so…”

teddy

“Vincent?”

vincent

“Yeah?”

teddy

“Would it be outrageous if, um…”

Teddy closes his eyes, trying not to sound weird with what he’s about to ask.

teddy

“What if we like… went to college together?”

teddy

“Or, well, …closer together than an hour away, at least…”

Vincent tries really hard not to read into what Teddy is saying.

vincent

“Um… that’d be cool…”

teddy

“Really?”

vincent

“Yeah, Teddy… of course, dude…”

Vincent and Teddy look at each other, neither sure quite where this conversation is going.





















Vincent’s phone rings again. This time, Teddy sees the caller ID.

teddy

“...Louis has your phone number?”

vincent

“Oh yeah, um-- it’s probably about Andre’s party--”

teddy

“I’d forgotten! You should go!”

vincent

“Yeah?”

teddy

“We can talk about this later, tomorrow, whenever -- go have fun. You just signed up for 4 more years with me.”

Louis (not someone to be rushed) makes his way leisurely down his grand staircase to answer the front door. It's not ringing incessantly, but he can hear Vincent waiting a few seconds and then ringing again and again.





As soon as he opens the door, Vincent kisses him with such enthusiasm that Louis is actually surprised. But not for long...

louis

Jeez, what’s gotten into you?”

vincent

“I dunno.”

louis

“Too bad we didn’t start fucking earlier, if this is what you’re like when you win a football game…”

Surprising Louis again, Vincent picks him right up.

vincent

“Alright, where’s your shower?”

louis

“Wow caveman -- It’s upstairs, c’mon.”






louis

“I can’t believe you rushed over here without even changing. Not that I’m complaining - you look super hot right now.”

Louis just watches Vincent strip his football pads off for a while, enjoying his post-game (and unbeknownst to him, post-Teddy) good mood.

louis

“You’re sexy when you smile - you should do it more often.”

Vincent laughs a little, looking sorta innocent.

vincent

“Y’know, I’ve never uh… like, done it in the shower…”

louis

“Well, looks like you’re trying all sorts of new things with me, quarterback.”





As she gets ready for bed, Penelope chats with her boyfriend Leo via Skype.

LEO

“You think he’s jealous? Of me?”

PENELOPE

“Well don’t sound so surprised. Besides, I don’t think he’s jealous, it’s more like he gets…competitive. He’s just a little insecure, you know? I think he’s working on it, but...”

LEO

“Wasn’t it just supposed to be a casual thing?”

PENELOPE

“I know, It’s just...”

LEO

“Penny, it’s okay. Look, you are a really caring person. For the few people you are close to, you go all-out. It sounds like this guy needs someone to lean on, and I think your natural response is to let him. But like… is that what you signed up for?”

PENELOPE

“No, not really…”

LEO

“Do whatever feels right, but don’t spread yourself too thin. Not to sound possessive myself, but like… I don’t know where you’d get the energy to deal with another guy as needy as I am.”

PENELOPE

“That’s different. I love you.”

LEO

“I love you too… um, speaking of… I wanted to surprise you or something, but I think it might be better to just tell you. I have some news.”







Teddy and his dad ride back from the game in a chauffeured car. For being in an enclosed space with Dr.B, Teddy is strangely cheerful.

DR.BIJAPUR

“You seem chuffed - did Vincent give you some good news?”

Teddy, not wanting his dad to ruin his excitement, doesn’t respond.

DR.BIJAPUR

“You won’t be attending Princeton, will you?”

teddy

“...Are you disappointed?”

DR.BIJAPUR

“Of course not. You know we’ll accept any college decision you make."

DR.BIJAPUR

"...It is interesting how displeased you were with the demographics at Princeton... yet you’re quite content to drop everything to follow your white best mate to whichever state school or community college he thinks he can afford.”

Teddy is quiet again.

DR.BIJAPUR

“But, like I said, we won’t interfere. It’d hurt you more if mummy and daddy came to save you every time you got in a bit of trouble… you know that, don’t you?”

After a few seconds, Teddy addresses the driver.

teddy

“Could you drop me off at Bellefonte Circle?”

DR.BIJAPUR

“Pardon me? Where are you going at this
time of night?”

teddy

“Oh, sorry dad - I have a party to go to.”

Teddy immediately regrets this decision.

He was hoping to find Vincent, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Did he leave the party already? Where did he go? He stands off to the side awkwardly.

But some of the cheerleaders - Bianca, Kamri, and Charli - are surprised to see him out, so they chat him up pretty fast.

bianca

“Teddy? What are you doing here?”

He asks if they’ve seen Vincent, and they all say no. Teddy politely asks how cheerleading has been, and if they’re ready for basketball season. Eventually, they come to the topic of Teddy’s departure from the squad - some of the girls want to know why he quit!

teddy

“Oh, I didn’t quit…”

Bianca is confused, and tells Teddy that Louis told her that he quit. Teddy says Louis told him that she kicked him off the team.

bianca

“I know I’m a serious athlete, but it’s not like we’re a competition squad. It’s just sideline cheer. I was a little annoyed, but I wouldn’t just boot you off like that. I would tell you face to face instead of sending Louis, at least.”

teddy

“But why would Louis…”

Teddy trails off, genuinely wondering.

kamri

“Louis is being so weird lately. He’s been fucking some mystery guy he won’t tell me about. Where is he, even?”

teddy

“...Vincent was probably just worn out from the game and decided to skip the party. I should head home myself…”

bianca

“But you just got here...”

charli

“Come on, Teddy, let’s do shots.”

teddy

“No thank you. I’m tired myself, so…”

The girls reluctantly let Teddy go.

Charli

“Does he ever loosen up?”

kamri

“That sophomore girl got him to.”

bianca

“What? Seriously?”

charli

“Ew, I don’t want to think about them doing stuff…

kamri

“Shut up. Penelope’s cool.”

charli

“Um, the sophomore cheerleaders said they don't even like know who she is. She’s like one of those people who never talks to anybody. She’s freaky.”

kamri

“She talks to me.”

bianca

“She does?”

kamri

“I dunno. We text.”

Outside Andre's house, Vincent's car slowly pulls up to the curb. Vincent is thankful for the November chill - nobody is outside the house. But he thinks he sees somebody pass by a window, so he desperately pushes Louis down by the back of his head.

VINCENT

“Dude, get down--”

LOUIS

“You naughty boy, we just did it and now you want road head?”

VINCENT

“No you perv, I just don’t want anyone to see me driving you. We can’t walk in together.”

Louis rolls his eyes and is about to fire back, but he gets distracted by Teddy walking out of the party. He points him out to Vincent, who panics, and pushes Louis out of the car with a worried “DON’T LET HIM SEE YOU!”



TEDDY

“Vincent?”




VINCENT

“Teddy? What are you doing here?”

TEDDY

“I was just looking for-”

Teddy stops himself.

TEDDY

“...I just. I wanted to stop by and congratulate everyone.”

VINCENT

“Are you leaving? I uh… went home to change and shower before coming here, I…”

TEDDY

“...Had enough of the disgusting school locker room now that the season’s over?”

In the quiet that follows, Vincent sees Louis safely at the front door.

Noticing Vincent looking past him, Teddy turns around just as Louis has slipped out of sight. He assumes Vincent is just eager to get into the party.

TEDDY

“You should go celebrate. I’m gonna get going.”

VINCENT

“You sure you don’t wanna stay for a little…?”

TEDDY

“No, you go have fun. Goodnight, Vincent.”

VINCENT

“Night...”







KAMRI

“It’s about damn time. Where have you been?”

LOUIS

“Oh, you know, just helping one of our Knights out of his armor…”

KAMRI

“A football player?”

LOUIS

“A lady doesn’t kiss and tell.”


KAMRI

“Whatever, don’t tell me. You’re probably just embarrassed because you got desperate enough to fuck John-”

Louis gags dramatically.

LOUIS

“God, Kamri, why would you even joke about that? Ew. I’d rather die.

Kamri laughs.

LOUIS

“...Besides, he’s pissing me off lately.”

KAMRI

“I was wondering why Andre was throwing this party instead of you.”

LOUIS

“Hey, if Andre wants to make a grab for the Party King crown, that’s fine with me--”

kamri

“So what is it this time? Are you and John in one of your stupid prank wars again?”

LOUIS

“No, it’s like… ugh, I found out some shit about him and Teddy, and like…”

kamri

“Huh?”

LOUIS

“Come on Kamri, you were here back then, you know how like… they used to be friends, or whatever, and--”

kamri

"Please, I barely remember John existing before like 8th grade. He used to be a huge loser. But so did Teddy, so I guess it makes sense."

LOUIS

“Yeah but like…”

kamri

“Louis. You already knew that John is a huge asshole. Why are you surprised about this?”

LOUIS

“...Forget it. Can we just get wasted already?”

kamri

“Way ahead of you.”
































♫ hmmmm hm hmm hmm where the wind comes sweepinggg down the plaaain... ♫

LOUIS

"Hnghh??"

john

"Go back to sleep."

LOUIS

"What about the party…"

john

"It’s over. You passed out on Andre’s coffee table."

louis

"Should you be driving?"

john

"Huh?"

LOUIS

"You're drunk. You sing when you're drunk..."

john

"I'm not drunk. We're almost home."