6 minute read ★

This submission is the runner up for the Ping!xLitClub writing contest held during Induction for the 2k19 Freshers.

Rohan Lahane

Issac couldn’t move. He felt light headed. For a second, he wasn’t sure if he had really done what he just did. For a second he thought it was a dream. He was trying to think of something to say, looking at Harvey’s face, he couldn’t look him in the eye. But by just staring at the corner of his ear, Issac could tell that Harvey was about to cry. Not because he was upset. Harvey was equal amounts of surprised and scared. Issac gathered himself for a second to say “I’m sor…” Before he could finish , Harvey shut him up by kissing him back. It was an awkward kiss, trying to convey “I want this too”. They locked eyes and Harvey stopped to lean his forehead against Issac’s. They both took a breath and Harvey tried to kiss him more passionately, but this time Issac pushed him away. Issac struggled to catch his breath for a moment, he nodded and said, “we can’t”. Harvey got off the couch and clumsily tried to get out of there saying, “I know”. He knocked a few things down on his way out. Issac slapped his palms on his face, he let a few tears out, still shaking. He struggled to stand up, and followed Harvey. 

He couldn’t catch up with him , so he started shouting his name. Harvey couldn’t hear him, his mind was preoccupied with processing what just happened. Then he heard a loud thump. He looked back to see Issac fallen on the ground. Harvey stopped and went back to lift help him . “Are you okay ?”Harvey asked . Issac was fine , he lifted himself up and put one of his hands on Harvey’s shoulder “Are you going to tell her Harv ?” A sudden feeling of guilt rushed through Harvey’s mind. He hadn’t even thought about that yet. He shrugged off Issac’s hand . “It was a mistake, we can’t tell her” Issac continued. “But we have to, she’s ..” Harvey unwillingly argued. “she will never forgive us.” Issac interrupted. 

Harvey didn’t know how to respond to that. He had never kept a secret from Claire before. He used to feel bad just at the thought of liking Issac , He had liked him for some time now. But he had always denied his feelings, mostly because Harvey wasn’t out yet. He had never liked a guy before, in that way. Harvey tried to convince himself that he still didn’t , that his feelings were just derived from the envy he felt when Claire prioritized Issac over him, thus, and he hated that he thought that way, he felt guilty. But there was no denying this. It wasn’t just a stupid thought anymore. 

Harvey needed water, they both went inside. Issac thought about making small talk, to help Harvey cope with everything. He knew how scary coming out was for himself, he understood what Harvey was going through. Harvey tried to avoid talking about Claire too, he knew it was better give Issac some time to think. Because he knew what this meant to Issac. This was Issac’s first kiss. He had fantasised about it being romantic and magical. Instead it was awkward and petrifying. Both of them were trying to think of something to say, that would lighten the tension. But neither of them said anything. 

Issac noticed he had 3 missed calls since they left. All of them from Claire. And then a message, saying she was coming over. Claire got there before Issac could tell Harvey. She noticed something was off with Issac. 

“Iy, you alright ?” she asked. Issac felt horrible when he saw the evergreen smile of hers fade away into a worried frown. Claire was the one who was there for him, to help him come out two years ago. She made him feel secure about his feelings, she talked to his parents. She defended him in school when others tried to pick on him. And he just stabbed her in the back and in the heart .

“Are you okay Iy?” Claire asked. “why do you look so upset?” 

Issac couldn’t help himself, he changed his mind about hiding what had happened. 

“I’m so sorry ..” He started crying. By then, Harvey got back until then, he gave Issac a ‘what the hell dude?’ look. Claire was confused and she turned to Harvey and snapped Angrily, almost like she already blamed him for whatever happened. “what happened harv?” she noticed he was just as distressed as Issac. 

“Claire sit down.” He said, giving her his glass of water. All of them sat down. 

“I can explain,” Harvey said. This could’ve been so much easier to explain if it had been just a kiss, but it meant more to both of them. They clearly had feelings for each other. 

“I’m in love with Iy” Harvey confessed. Issac looked at Claire to see how she would react , but her face was blank. “I have been for a while now”. Issac interrupted him, saying “And I kissed him, and I’m so sorry, but I love him too.” Claire, didn’t say anything for a few seconds. Then she spoke showing no emotions. As if , this meant nothing to her. As if Harvey and Issac were strangers. “ uh, well, I’m happy for you Iy . I hope we can still be friends.” She didn’t say anything to Harvey. “No, but we just want to put this behind us C” Harvey said. “you two love each other, and I think you should be together.” She said, very subtly being Insensitive to Harvey. And Harvey felt that, and it hurt him, “And what about us, don’t you care about what we have ?’’ “It doesn’t matter because apparently you don’t.’’ 

“Claire, that’s not true !” Issac protested, “He does.” Claire ignored him. “why are you being like this C?” Harvey asked. “Being like what ? I don’t want to hurt my friendship with Iy , because of this. He is my best friend.”

“And I’m your boyfriend !”

“Well, you just fucking cheated on me Harv!” Claire broke down from the act of being emotionless and screamed, then she took a pause and almost choked on her words “we’re done.” She wasn’t ready to say that. 

Issac was the only one who could calm her down. “Claire ! just think about what you’re saying. I know we made a mistake, but please don’t be so cold to him, you know you don’t mean that. 

Claire was still angry, “stay out of this Iy” she just started to spit whatever came to her mind. “I know what this is about Harvey, you’ve always had a problem with me being close to Iy, and instead of having the courage to admit that, you’re trying to play with his feelings to get to me. Well you win !” Claire stormed out. Harvey followed her and gestured Issac to stay. “How can you say that ! I’ve never had a problem with you two. I tried to get to know him because he was important to you! And I wanted to support that.” Harvey shut the door, “Claire please !” Claire turned, she walked towards him. “I love you Harvey. But we can never go back to normal from this. Even if we could, our relationship was never going to work. Because even if you aren’t jealous of me and Iy, don’t tell me you feel like I neglect you , that you don’t wish I could someday learn to give you more attention. Of course you do, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to want that. And I wish I could give that to you, but I can’t. I’m not angry because I think you cheated Harvey. I’m angry because I feel like I failed as your girlfriend. And as much as I want to say that I can do better, I can’t. So I honestly think that it would be better for everyone if you be with him rather than me.’’ 

Harvey hugged her, but then he backed away because he instinctively wanted to kiss her. Claire felt that too. “ Just answer one question then C , and I’m only asking this out of concern for you. You’re willing to put Iy above every relationship you’ve ever had. Iy is a great guy , but I’m sorry, you know he can never put you above everything in his life. So tell me this. Do you have romantic feelings for Iy ? Do you , even a little bit , want to be with him? Because if that’s the case, then you have to tell him! Even if he can’t ever want you sexually, you still keep such a thing to yourself.” 

Claire smiled, she nodded in disagreement. “No, I don’t expect him to put me before himself. I know it’s wrong to. Honestly, sometimes it hurts to care about him so much. Sometimes I just wish I could stop obsessing over his friendship, because I know somewhere, it irritates him too. But I can’t help it. He just makes me happy. Even without doing anything, he makes me forget about everything that troubles me. Claire started to walk away , still facing Harvey. She started to shed tears at this point. “I’ve never wanted a relationship with him Harv, not even when before he was out. I don’t know if I can explain what I have with him. Its something most people would call crazy ” she turned back, and said as she walked away. “something more than love.”

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