Chapter 17

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It's known that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, but even so, Trip curves his lips downward at the older boy across from him.

"Why would I do that?" Trip asks as Reed grins.

"Spare a trip," Reed says as his smile widens. "Trip."

Trip rolls his eyes. "I don't live far from here. And I doubt you have a spare bed."

"That wasn't an issue when I stayed over your house," Reed says playfully and Trip sighs.

"I'll leave early in the morning then," Trip says.

"Sure," Reed replies and leads Trip into his kitchen. He shuffles through cabinets, searching for a glass, and settles upon one meant for wine. He places it onto the counter and pulls out a bottle from the rack, unscrewing the cork. The red liquid guggles into the glass quickly and Reed holds it out to Trip.

He scrunches his eyebrows together.

"I'm nineteen."

Reed laughs at the younger fellow.

"Good boy," Reed says and takes a small sip of the liquor. "More for me."

Trip shakes his head. "I don't condone you getting drunk in front of me. It never goes well."

"Like that time I stumbled onto the dance floor at Beck's wedding," Reed remembers with a soft smile. "I made a fool out of myself in front of him."

"He's a fool anyway," Trip assures him. "Passing up someone like you."

Reed places his glass onto the counter again and it clinks. "What?"

"What?" Trip asks as if he hadn't said anything and looks around, averting his eyes from Reed.

"You-"

"Shut up," Trip says, a smile tugging at his lips. "It was a slip of the tongue."

"Right," Reed says without pressuring him further. He just brings the glass back to his lips once more and finishes the bloody liquid.

It takes Trip by surprise when Reed doesn't pour a refill and yawns. It's contagious—the yawn, and Trip opens his mouth widely in reciprocation.

"Tired?" Reed questions.

"I guess," Trip replies with a shrug. Reed moves his head in the direction of his bedroom and Trip follows behind him.

There's a single bed pushed against the corner of a gray wall with black sheets and a black, furry blanket. It's a size that will fit two, though they must be close.

Reed hops onto his bed and stretches out his long body, waiting for his friend to plop down beside him. When he doesn't feel the bed creak, he looks over at Trip who stares down at him.

"You're taking up most of the room."

Reed quickly shuffles his body so it's against the wall and smiles widely.

"Better?" Reed asks and receives an answer as Trip slowly lowers himself onto the bed.

He releases a deep sigh as he stares up at the popcorn ceiling of Reed's room and Reed spares a glance.

Trip's profile is undeniably handsome. One of his eyebrows is somewhat shaved in the middle, his jawline is razor sharp, and his dark hair has grown longer.

Reed reaches his hand out and softly holds a piece of Trip's hair that has grown past his forehead. Trip whips his head to the side and frowns.

"I know," Trip says as Reed looks at him with wide eyes. He hadn't meant to touch the boy so suddenly and removes his hand. "I need to cut it."

"No," Reed says, shifting his body so that he's on his back, mirroring Trip's position. "I like it."

Trip runs a hand through his hair and shakes his head on the pillow. "Because it looks like Beck's now."

Reed sighs. "That's not why, idiot."

Trip raises his eyebrow. "Idiot?"

Reed laughs and shoves Trip's shoulder. "Yeah. You're an idiot."

Trip shoves Reed back and when Reed attempts to retaliate, Trip grabs hold of Reed's forearm, halting his attack. He sits up, pinning Reed's arm to the bed and catches Reed's other arm when he sends it through the air. With both arms pinned down, Trip straddles Reed's waist and stares down at him, his lips pursed.

"You're an idiot," Trip says. "For allowing me in your bed."

"W-what?" Reed asks, shocked at the situation. He looks up at Trip and feels his heart beating quickly against his chest. He isn't one to stutter but Trip is taking him by complete surprise.

Since when was Trip so bold?

Trip releases one of Reed's arms and uses his hand to push the hair out of his eyes. He then brings his hand down and softly pushes his pointer finger against Reed's chest and drags it down to his waist. Reed shivers from the touch and cannot bring himself to move.

"I'm not Beck."

Reed's eyes widen. "What?"

Trip sighs again and releases his final hold on Reed before pushing himself off of Reed's waist. He lays with his back toward the older boy and mumbles a few words.

"Go to sleep."

But Reed doesn't know how he can. He doesn't even know what just happened. What made Trip act so out of character?

"Trip," Reed says quietly and doesn't receive a reply.

He tries again. "Trip."

Still no answer.

Reed breathes out a shaky breath and reaches his hand out to Trip's back. He traces a single finger down Trip's back as he had done earlier to his chest, and Trip immediately turns to face him.

Their faces are inches apart now and Trip frowns.

"What?" Trip asks.

Reed grins and it takes Trip by surprise.

"Do you-"

"Shut up," Trip says, silencing the dreadful question.

Reed smiles softly.

"Good night, Trip."

———
Hope you all are safe and healthy.

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