A/N: Wow, once again it is thanks to the song 'The Departure' from the movie Gattaca that you have this chapter. I swear, I should listen to that song whenever I have a huge, tense, argument scene for all my future stories. It's worked twice now... and SDFHOIUTAAKDF, Oliver's huge confession at Chapter 19 was nominated for Best Lover's Spat at the Some Kind of Wonderful Awards! Thanks to whoever nominated me! Nice to see someone enjoys my insane love for drama. HAHAHA!
So… the chapter after this might be the last one. Or… there could be two chapters left. Still haven't decided. :P
TO LOVE A LOSER
THE TWENTY-FIRST LOSS
Winnie had been cooped up in the library for two hours, cramming for a science test in her last period. At the sound of her name, she looked up from her textbook to see Felix standing in front of her desk. She had a feeling she knew what he wanted, so she set her pen down and leant back on her seat. "Oh, what have I done today to have you grace your ever-so-handsome presence on me?" she asked, fixing a smug smile on her face. As she looked at him, Winnie realized something. While she had declared Felix as her rival at an early stage in her life, there really was no point in competing against him when it came to looks because despite how much she could argue, Felix was objectively very handsome – but today she noticed the tiredness that captured the edges of his dark eyes.
She hated the fact she was trying very hard not to feel bad for him. "Wait," she cut in. "Don't answer, I think I already know."
"I need to talk to Oliver."
She clucked her tongue and picked up her pen to get back to her studying. "I don't see why you're talking to me about this. I'm not the overly supportive faghag who's more than happy to help get her gay friends start fucking each other again, thank you very much. I have a very important science test to study for – "
"Christ, Winnie, you know you're going to ace it."
She looked up from her book and raised an eyebrow. "So flattery's your route, eh?" she said, wondering how long she could keep this up.
Felix sighed and Winnie hated her stupid girly instincts because the hopeless frustration in Felix's sigh was breaking her tough bitch exterior. No, no, no. "Winnie, please, he's been avoiding me, he isn't answering my calls, and I know you're the only one he tells things to, so please – "
"Felix, haven't you thought that maybe he really just wants to end things?"
From the look on his face, Winnie was aware that she had hit a sensitive spot, that the thought had gone through Felix's before, maybe even over a hundred times before, and to have her say it out loud for him probably caught him off guard. She thought that would be enough to stop him, but what she didn't expect was when Felix shook his head. "N-no, I know he doesn't," he said softly, like he was slowly gathering the pieces of his self confidence and saying those words more to himself than to her. "He's… he just doesn't know everything yet."
For the longest time, Winnie just stared at him, wondering what she would give to know what Felix was thinking. Here was her rival, the guy she hated sometimes for beating her score in a long test, standing in front of her, looking like he was ready to break down, asking for her help, like she was the only one who could help fix things between him and… well, the guy he 'loooved' apparently. She turned away and picked up her pen, tapping its end against her book as she thought.
Finally, she looked up at him. "He's coming over to my house for a project. He'll be done by seven."
While the tiredness around Felix's eyes didn't disappear completely, it was impossible to miss to grateful gleam in them. Before he could say anything, or God forbid, hug her, she raised her hand to silence him and keep him in place. "Don't tell him I told you this, okay? I want to make it clear that I am firmly uninterested in your love life and have nothing to do with it."
Felix smiled and for a brief second, Winnie was grateful she despised him because if she didn't, she didn't know if she would be just like one of those girls constantly fawning over him if she didn't know he was so, so gay for Oliver. "Thanks, Winnie," he said, and with that, he turned around and left the library.
About six hours later, Oliver could barely concentrate at Winnie's house. He watched her make hand gestures on how to go about the project, point to the plan she had scribbled on her notebook, but he could barely connect her sentences together. It was only when she whacked her notebook against his shoulder when she finally got his attention.
"Hey!" he yelped, gripping his shoulder as he glared at her – but that was nothing compared to the way she was glaring at him. "Sorry," he muttered.
"I swear to God, Oliver, if I'm doing this project alone, I won't hesitate to tell the teacher and you'll be getting a big fat zero on it," she said, raising a finger at him. "God, get yourself together."
Oliver shook his head and sat up straight. She was right. He picked up his pen and took her notebook from her to read through the plan, but two sentences in, he started thinking about… well, Felix again. He groaned and set the notebook down. "I'm sorry, Winnie, but I just… I can't concentrate right now. I need to ask you something."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "You know, when you break up with someone, you're supposed to stop thinking about the person," she said. Of course she'd know what he was thinking – she was Winnie, after all. "In case you didn't know."
"It's just… Jack told me something a couple of weeks ago. After I ended things with Felix… he told me that Felix didn't really have… you know, anyone else." He shook his head and released a short, forced laugh before looking up at her. "That's… that's not true, is it? A ton of people love Felix."
Winnie groaned and ran a hand through her hair. Seriously. Just because she was the only girl the two of them talked to more than twice a week, it didn't mean she was some homosexual relationship guru. She set her hands on the table. "What do you want me to say? That it's true? Or that it isn't?"
He stared at her before turning his head away. "I just want a straight answer," he muttered.
She rolled her eyes at him. "If you've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now, I'm pretty sure you already know it."
Oliver stared at the dark wooden surface of the table, at a faded circle left behind after a cold drink had been put down without a coaster beneath it. He ran his finger along the circle. It couldn't be right. Surely it wasn't just him that noticed the crowd of people that would flock to Felix after another one of his win or the girls that would stare at him or the people that idolized him. Was it because he was Felix's closest friend, so there was something only he could see that others couldn't?
Or was it something he couldn't see that others could? Was it something so obvious to everyone else but him?
Oliver closed his hand into a fist. He had always been so sure that after unloading everything, after finally telling Felix what he felt all these years, he would feel much better. He thought It would make the great weight in his chest disappear – and it did, but it was swiftly replaced with a sense of unease, a gnawing guilt, a troubling doubt that made him think maybe it wasn't the right thing to do, that he really didn't know everything.
"Dude, go home."
He broke away from his thoughts and looked up at Winnie. She was tapping her watch, but she wasn't facing him. "It's already seven," she muttered. There was something different about her. Just a while ago she had been complaining about his lack of attention and now she wanted him to leave?
Oliver raised an eyebrow. "Woah, what's with the 180? Now you want me – "
"Yeah," she said, rolling her eyes and gathering her things. "There's no point in talking about the project if your head's not into it. Go home."
He opened his mouth to argue, maybe to tease her a bit, but when she turned around and shot him a glare that practically yelled, 'GET THE FUCK OUT' he quickly got up from his seat and picked his backpack from the ground. "Okay, see you at school," he quipped, nearly running toward the door.
After watching him leave, Winnie closed her notebook and stuffed her things into her bag. As she climbed up the stairs to go to her room, she made sure to say to herself, "I am not a stereotypical faghag. I am not a stereotypical faghag." over and over again.
When Oliver got to his house he found Felix's car sitting along their driveway. He parked his car behind Felix's and for the longest time he stayed where he was, his hands gripping the smooth leather of the steering wheel, his eyes widening when he saw Felix sitting on the front steps, his elbows propped on his knees, his hands hanging between his legs as he stared down at the marble steps. It was a familiar sight; Felix's car, him sitting on the front steps, exactly how things were… well, when Oliver 'broke up' with him.
As Oliver stepped out of his car, it dawned on him that Felix was obviously the braver one between the both of them. There was no doubt that between them, Oliver was the more impulsive one, the louder one, the one who started way more fights and did way more things without thinking too much about them – yet for the past couple of weeks, he had been the one doing all the avoiding, who had been leaving the classroom as soon as the bell rang, ignoring phone calls, lowering eyes… running away. It was the quiet, reserved Felix who managed to gather his courage to make them face each other and talk about things.
Felix looked up at the sound of Oliver closing his car door, and something clutched Oliver's chest when he noticed the weariness in Felix's eyes, the dark smudges beneath them, and he wondered if Felix had been able to sleep. He stopped in front of him, his hands in his pockets, but it was Felix who spoke first.
"Your parents just left. They went out for dinner."
Oliver had been preparing for something else that he could barely understand why the word 'parents' came up. He blinked as he processed the statement. "Oh, okay." His grip on his car keys was so tight that he could feel its serrated edges cutting into his skin. "Let's get inside then."
He climbed up the steps and swallowed as Felix stood up and followed him inside. He flicked on the lights, but he could barely grasp his surroundings, the couch, the television, the family picture hanging above the fire place – all he could focus on was the person behind him as he closed the door, the cause for the wild beating in his chest and the clammy nervousness that wracked his entire body. God, why was he so nervous?
Oliver had just set his backpack on the couch when Felix spoke.
"You're… you're so fucking blind."
Oliver turned around. Felix was still standing by the door, his hands clenched and shaking at his sides. He moved to take a seat on the couch and for the longest time, he stared down at the carpet, like he was gathering together what he wanted to say. Oliver swallowed hesitantly. "Look, Felix – "
"No, shut up, Oliver – just shut up," Felix cut him off, getting up from the couch to pace the room. Oliver did as he told and stared at his friend, recognizing the anger and frustration and restlessness in his voice because he had heard it so many times in his own. Felix shook his head as he continued, raising a hand at him. "This… you've got it all wrong and… and you've been avoiding me, you won't even give me the chance to say how I feel, what… what I'm going through and that's… that's not fair!"
Felix shot a dark look Oliver's way, but beneath the anger there was an obvious, cold sadness bubbling beneath.
"You don't get it. Oliver… all those things you think about… they don't – they don't matter because either way, no matter what you do, everyone loves you, Oliver. Everyone wants to be with you. I can't… I seriously can't believe you haven't realized that." Felix turned away, his shoulders rising and falling as he took a deep breath. "You can't even see how many friends you have, how many people want to be your friend, how…" Felix's voice dropped that Oliver could barely hear him. "How you're always getting asked and invited to go to things…"
Oliver shook his head and took a step forward. "Felix, what are you talking about? What does this – "
Felix spun around and the sadness in his eyes was bleeding into the anger. "You're not like me, Oliver and… no matter how much I try, I'll never be like you. I'm not good with people, I'm not good at talking, at making friends, at… at conversations and, God, I know it's pathetic, but I've always been so scared that…" Felix ran a hand through his dark hair and Oliver tore his eyes away, not wanting to see the look on Felix's face as his voice broke halfway through his sentence. "I've always been so scared that one day you're going to realize that I'm really not worth your time. That… that you're going to realize you have friends who are funnier, who are better at talking, who are more outgoing, who are good at other things besides grades or sports, and… and I'll have no one else."
Oliver couldn't believe what he was hearing. No way. There was just no way that was all true. He had never seen any evidence of that all those times he was with Felix. People loved Felix. Oliver was just… the guy they went to when Felix wasn't there, the second option, the second best. He stared at Felix, his throat dry. "F-Felix, I've never thought that – "
"If you weren't so fucking blind, you'd have realized that's why I've been in love with you since I was eleven!"
Oliver's eyes widened. Eleven?
He watched as Felix sat back on the couch, looking annoyed and frustrated and defeated as he stared down at the carpet. He let out a short laugh with such dull emotion it barely reached his eyes. "You're… you're the only one who talks to me when there isn't a tournament or some competition going on. You're the only one ever asks me to go to things because… no one else does. And… and I always wondered what there was about me that made me the only person you shared your Star Wars obsession with, why you're always bringing me along to things when no one really wants me there, why you're always with me despite the number of friends you have…"
He sighed, and when he spoke, his voice was so soft, like he was afraid to say his words in case they'd be blown away by the wind. "And, God, I was always hoping that maybe that meant… I was special… to you."
Felix's words ran in Oliver's ears and almost immediately, Oliver wanted to leave the house. He wanted to open the door and run. Run past all the houses, run until he collapsed on the ground and wasn't aware of everything around of him, of what Felix was saying – because… because he couldn't believe it. The Felix he knew was confident in himself, always doing the right thing, loved by others because everyone counted on him and he never let them down. The Felix sitting in his living room was… was so unfamiliar to him – Oliver didn't know him. Oliver couldn't recognize him. Oliver couldn't recognize the hopelessness in this Felix's voice , the loneliness that radiated from his fallen shoulders. This wasn't the Felix he knew –
But then he remembered the thought he had in Winnie's house.
Maybe the confident, strong Felix he had known for so long was the Felix only he could see.
Maybe the Felix sitting in his living room with his hands clasped together, with the sad dark eyes was the Felix that was so obvious to everyone else but not to Oliver.
And suddenly Oliver found himself moving toward Felix, falling to his knees in front of him so that when Felix finally looked up, they were at eye level. They just stared at each other, their faces centimeters apart, and it felt like both of them were holding their breath until Oliver choked out a laugh. "God, this is all so fucked up," he said, his voice so soft, like if it was one decibel louder it would shatter the glass windows of his house.
Felix swallowed, and they were so close Oliver could see the way his Adam's apple bobbed as he did so. "And the thing is," he said, his voice hushed, his pupils growing wide. "I know… there's something special between the both of us, because I…" Felix licked his lips, Oliver's eyes following the tip of his tongue trail along the swollen flesh after biting on it for so long. "I still want to be with you, Oliver, and… and I know you still want to be with me."
Maybe Felix had always been the stronger one out of the both of them, Oliver thought. He was always the one who wanted to talk about things, the one who wanted to move on and get with the future, while Oliver always wanted to make things stop, freeze, and pretend they never happened. Oliver nearly laughed at how wrong he had been seeing things for most of his life. He stayed silent, and the two of them just stared at each other, unsure of what the other would say next. Slowly, Oliver looked down, his cheek grazing along Felix's cheek, and he rested his hands on Felix's knees.
"I… I don't know," he murmured, his hands closing into fists atop Felix's knees. "I… might just, I mean, it might not work. How is it going to work out? I might… it might just hurt you even more."
Felix laughed at his reasoning. "So you're going to avoid hurting me… by hurting me?" he asked, tapping a finger against Oliver's cheek, as if to snap him into reality. "Because this is hurting me, Oliver. You… denying that there is something between us, and… and denying yourself from something that could work out."
A smile cracked on Oliver's lips, and Felix could feel the curve of Oliver's lips against his cheek. "When did you get so good expressing your feelings?" Oliver asked, a slight mocking tone in his voice. "I swear…"
And Felix was filled with hope. He closed his eyes and nudged his nose against Oliver's as he pressed their foreheads together. Anticipation wracked his body, he felt like his heart was going to beat its way out of his chest – but maybe, maybe things would finally work out. Maybe they could start over again, this time with everything off their chests –
"I'm no good for you, Felix."
And everything shattered all over again.
Felix pulled back and stared at his best friend. "Oliver – "
I don't want anyone else, Felix thought. But Oliver shook his head, keeping his eyes away from Felix's view. "There's just… there's just too much wrong with me to make anything work out, it's… I'm never going to be able…" Oliver bit his lip as he pulled away and lifted his hands off Felix's knees, separating the both of them completely. "I don't think it's going to work out – "
So Felix kissed him. He moved forward as far as Oliver had pulled back, and pressed his lips against Oliver's lips before Oliver could finish, ran his fingers through Oliver's dark hair, keeping him in place so he wouldn't turn his head, so he wouldn't run away, and seconds later, Oliver was kissing him back, just as deep, just as frustrated, just as much as Felix wanted it to be. Why Oliver couldn't see that things would be able to work out, Felix didn't know, but maybe the kiss would help him remember how good things were, how good things could be. Felix parted his lips as Oliver deepened the kiss, moaned as Oliver's tongue skimmed along his, and he let himself be pushed against the couch, trapped between the soft leather and Oliver's warm weight. But just as he wrapped his arms down Oliver's back, the warmth of Oliver's body disappeared as Oliver broke away, and cold air enveloped Felix as Oliver moved away from the couch like it had some disease.
Oliver ran a hand over his face and through his hair. He couldn't do it. He had hurt Felix too much already and he knew he'd only hurt him again when things ended between them. He shook his head. "Felix… you need to leave… please, go."
Seconds passed and Felix remained where he was, disbelief in his eyes. It almost scared Oliver how Felix didn't say anything as he stood up from the couch, like he was already too tired to put up another fight. Oliver couldn't blame him. He kept his eyes trained on the carpet, unable to meet Felix's eyes as his best friend moved to the door. When Felix's hand wrapped around the knob and opened the door, he looked back at Oliver.
"I… I can't keep being the only one who wants this to work, Oliver," he said, his voice breaking around the edges of his hushed words. Oliver was trying very hard to keep himself where he was, to keep himself from closing the door and pulling Felix back and making a big mistake that would hurt him and Felix in the end.
"You're going to have to want it too."
With that, he stepped out of the house and closed the door behind him as he left.
For the longest time, Oliver stared at the door. He didn't know how long he had been standing in the middle of his living room. It felt like he was waiting for something. Not for Felix – but something. A realization, an epiphany… something. He felt like he was at the edges of something, so close, but he needed that final kick, that final hit, that final force to push him into it. But… nothing came, he didn't feel anything. Quietly, he turned around and went up the stairs to his room. He closed the door right after stepping inside, not bothering to flick on the lights as he collapsed onto his bed – releasing a string of curse words as he landed on something sharp.
He rolled to the side and pulled out what had poked him – it was a General Grievous figurine. He could recognize its pale white surface from the streetlight pouring into his room. He lay back down and held the figurine up, examining it, making sure he hadn't broken one of the arms. Realizing it was still intact, Oliver held it as he sat up. He looked at his room, at the heaps of clothes on the floor, his fencing gear piled up in its usual corner, the CDs that littered his work desk rather than actual homework.
He felt like watching a DVD, but at the same time, he didn't. He felt hungry, but at the same time, he didn't. And before he could control himself, Felix drifted into his mind again. He remembered Felix kicking the pile of T-shirts on the carpet, laughing about how Oliver was such a pig before bending down to help him clean up. He remembered Felix giving him his fencing glove because Oliver had lost his in the last tournament. He remembered Felix sitting beside him at his desk, awake with him at two in the morning as he helped Oliver with integrals and differentiation together. When Oliver looked down at the General Grievous figurine in his hand, he remembered when they were around twelve, Felix was sitting on the edge of Oliver's bed, watching in awe as Oliver demonstrated the different kinds of lightsaber techniques, like Oliver couldn't do any wrong despite the fact Oliver knew he was completely messing things up and really just wanted to show off, and whenever Oliver asked for the differences in each technique to make sure Felix was paying attention, Felix would always answer correctly.
There was a part of Felix in every part of his room. In fact, Oliver realized, there was a part of Felix in every part of his life.
Suddenly, the door opened and Oliver had to shield his eyes from the light that poured in from the hallway. "Oliver, are you hungry?" his mother asked. He groaned and fell back on the bed as she flicked the lights on. "We brought some take out."
"No thanks, mom."
"Hmm… okay then. Oh, right, Felix was here just a while ago, when we were leaving."
Oliver swallowed. "Yeah, I know."
"Did he want anything? He looked troubled."
"He used to come around a lot, but not so much now."
"… He's been busy, I guess."
"It's so strange not seeing the two of you together all the time," Oliver's mother mused, chuckling to herself. "You know, I always thought he had a little crush on you, ever since you were kids. The way he would ogle at you."
Knots squirmed in Oliver's stomach. Jesus, even his own mother saw it before he did. Exactly how blind had he been his entire life? His hand closed into a fist over his stomach. "Yeah," he muttered.
"And look at you two! You've both grown so handsome – I bet you're breaking a lot of hearts in school."
Or each other's, Oliver thought dryly, nearly making himself laugh at the irony of it all. He sat up, but just before he could ask his mother to close the door and leave him to wallow in his misery, she said, "You're very lucky to have a friend like Felix, sweetie. People like him come once in a lifetime."
It was like cogs turned in Oliver's head.
Oliver stared at his mother, his mouth falling slightly. People like Felix only came once in a lifetime and a person as great him was actually in love with a guy like Oliver. It dawned on Oliver what a lucky piece of work he was to have someone like Felix in love with him. Jesus. He must have had one hell of a past life to be so damn lucky now. His eyes widened and the heart that he forget he had in his chest started beating wildly, like something had jump started it back to life.
For the past couple of weeks, it felt like Oliver was at the border of realization, but something had always been keeping him back from jumping right into it. But now it slowly started to sink in, the reason why he felt like watching a DVD but didn't at the same time, the reason why he felt hungry but didn't at the same time. It was because he felt… halved. A part of him wanting to do something, but the other didn't have the heart to follow through and do it. All of his memories growing up had Felix in them. Growing up, it had always been just him and Felix. He needed Felix just as much as Felix needed him. Felix was his best friend, his other half – and Felix was in love with him.
He got up from his bed and said a quick, "Thanks, mom," as he kissed her cheek. Then he bounded down the stairs, swiped his keys from the coffee table, and sped out of his driveway so fast his dad wasn't able to ask him if he was going to eat his sandwich or not.
A/N: I love how Winnie's dragged into their relationship even though she clearly doesn't want to be a part of it. HAHAHA! Friendship. So yeah, this was a tough part to write mainly because I didn't want Oliver to realize things too quickly, you know? The way I saw it, since he's been thinking about it for weeks now (and come on, he's not THAT stupid), he was right at the border of realization... but just needed that final push. It was also pretty tough to write because I wanted to show Felix's side of things, but I didn't want him to be completely without a backbone, you know? I like playing with the whole strong/weak dynamic – so who do you think is the 'stronger' one between the two of them?
I'm very happy when I read in a lot of reviews that the last chapter pretty much confused you guys on what to feel, on who to 'root' for. Most of the story was in Oliver's point of view so it was natural to relate or sympathize more with him because you know his thoughts and his feelings, but I wanted to mix it up a bit and show Felix's side of things, show that he isn't what Oliver's always thought he was. Because that's life, right? You're naturally going to be biased toward your own point of view, maybe even blinded by it, because you never really know what other people think or feel. Hahaha, deeeeeeep stuff. :P
Jesus, this is an essay of an author note. Lastly, while I've never really had a clear picture of what my characters look like, I do have a clear picture of what Felix looks like. In fact when I saw the picture, I was like, "DUDE. I NEED TO PUT THIS GUY IN A STORY." Remember, Felix is the more handsome one between the two of them, is half-Brazilian, and his mother used to be a model, that's why Oliver has such a crush on her, hahaha! I showed this when I first started the story, so it's been a while. If you have a picture of Felix already and don't want it to be ruined by how I picture him, there's no need to look! :P
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So how was the chapter? Leave a comment please! You know, because the story is almost ending? :)
Also, can I plug my new story, Nora Bell and the Fifth? Check it out!