Yandere Miles Fairchild (1/4)
Word count ; 4.1k
*Dedicated to @kjlewis21. Miles and reader are 18.
I was always left in a good mood after practicing in the music room. Whether it be the electric guitar or drums, I was left pumped up and energetic. Most of the privileged students I was surrounded by spent their afternoons hanging out with friends, so the music room was left at my disposal. Playing music was a huge de-stressor from the constant hard work I had to put in to maintain my scholarship, so I never took it for granted.
Walking through the garden afterwards had a similar effect. The serene roses and well-kept hedges helped calm me down and prepare me for an evening of homework and extracurricular activities. So, that’s exactly what I was doing.
I wandered through the hedge maze that I knew like the back of my hand. I was making my way toward the center, where the fish pond and garden was. I went around the corner, eyes glazing over my surroundings, but froze. Sitting against a tree with a negative expression was a classmate of mine that I rarely paid attention to. ‘Miles,’ was it? He was certainly in a bad mood.
He sent me a fierce glare, wiping his cheeks. I walked up to him, feeling rather pitiful for my classmate. After all, something terrible must’ve happened to send him here.
“What happened?” I asked, pausing in front of him.
Miles shook his head. “None of your business. Do you even know my name?”
“Yeah, Miles. And I guess you’re right, but you really look like you need a hug,” I empathized further, inviting myself to plop down next to him.
Miles pushed some of his black, curly hair out of his face, eyes softening. “It’s whatever. I’ll get over it.”
“Well, you’ll get over it sooner if you get it off your chest,” I retorted gently. “It’s okay if you don’t. You can just tell me how to cheer you up. Ice cream? Exercise? You name it.”
He pursed his lips thoughtfully. “Why?” His voice croaked hoarsely.
I sent him a reassuring smile and placed my hand on his shoulder firmly. Squeezing, I replied, "Because I care, Miles.”
His eyes became glossy and his head drooped. “My parents died a few weeks ago. There was a car crash.”
I gasped. “Oh my god…! That’s terrible.”
Miles shrugged. “People die all the time.”
“It still sucks when it happens, though. You deserve some time off to mourn. How’s your family doing?”
“…There’s Mrs. Grose, she’s been working for the family her whole life. But I’m really worried about my little sis, Flora. I love her a lot and the accident’s really hard on her. I hate that I was forced to come to this shitty school when I just wanna be with my sister.”
A few tears slid down his cheeks. I twisted my body and pulled him in for a tight hug. His arms immediately grasped my shirt tightly, and he buried his head in the crook of my neck. I heard some quiet sniffles and felt some waterworks pressed into my skin. I didn’t mind, though. After all, there was nothing more self-gratifying than helping someone out.
We stayed like that for a while. I didn’t say anything else, not wanting to interrupt the silence. Even though he barely knew me, there wasn’t an ounce of awkwardness. Just two people comforting each other. Two people healing.
He finally pulled away. “Sorry.”
I smiled. “Don’t be.”
He forced a grin. “What’s your name?”
A half-smile graced his mournful features. “Y/n.”
I checked my watch, realizing it was approaching evening study hall. I stood up, and Miles, clearly caught off guard, did the same. He seemed unsure. “It’s almost night study hall,” I explained. “Well, not almost, but I always go early… I hope you don’t mind, it’s just a habit.”
He shook his head. “No, it’s fine… I just — thanks.”
I pursed my lips, deciding to pull him into a final hug. He welcomed it, wrapping his arms around my midsection. “Life sucks and people leave or die sometimes, but remember, you can always choose your family.”
Lim x to zero… blah, blah, blah… ah, that would be six. I grinned to myself as I completed the final problem for my calculus homework. It was right on time, too, since calculus was my first class in the morning after homeroom. And it was almost homeroom.
I tucked the paper sheet into my folder and tucked said folder into my one-strap bag. The second desk seat from beside me was suddenly pulled back, and, startled, I turned to meet who was sitting next to me. My heart thudding with excitement as I recognized Miles, his hair messy and the flesh under his eyelids dark. However, he wore a charming smile as he plopped down right beside me.
“Good morning,” I greeted.
“I’m flattered you’ve graced me with your presence.”
“You should be,” he retorted playfully. “What classes do you have?”
“Mm, let me think… calc, bio, and study halls,” I recited.
“We share the same schedule… I guess I’ve just never noticed you,” he admitted. “It’s cool if I sit with you, right? I don’t really have that many friends.”
“Of course! I know how cool I am, but I don’t have too many myself,” I replied sheepishly. “And if you ever need any help studying, I got you.”
The homeroom teacher marched in, tired as always. I’d be tired too if my job was spent teaching trust fund kids for a minimum wage salary. Or so I assumed. One by one, my privileged classmates went quiet. The homeroom teacher sat down, thinking for a solid minute. I kept feeling Miles glance my way, and it made my heart race with joy. A new friend. Unexpected, but not unwelcome.
“There’s nothing to report, kiddos,” the teacher spoke. “Just keep it down, I don’t want our neighboring classroom complaining like last time, got it?”
Miles jumped in his seat. It truly was flattering how… thrilled he was to get to know me. I turned to him once more, with a coy smile, as I plopped my head in my hand. “So what do ya do for fun?”
“Well, I love playing with my sister, Flora, and I love music. I’m self-taught with the electric guitar.”
“Oh gosh, me too! Plus the drums. Love banging on some bingo bongoes.” I sat up further, no longer feeling abashed or nervous. “Do you know how to play them? I can teach you, if you want.”
He pursed his lips. “Y - yeah, I’ve always wanted to learn. It’s just, uh, hard to get used to making the rhythm instead of playing to it.”
“I know, right? You’d think playing the drums would be easier, but the string instruments were far more preferable when I first started getting into music,” I ranted. “I always preferred rock music, too. Who’s your favorite band? I’m not too judgmental.”
Miles, still smiling, answered, "Def Leppard. I like their diversity. Plus, I always feel badass or sexy as hell!” He did a little shoulder dance with a smolder.
I let out a bout of laughter, drawing the attention of some of my faceless classmates. “You got moves,” I said, clicking my tongue.
“Damn right! And you know who doesn’t? My parents.”
I paused a moment, before chuckling. “Already delving into dark humor, I see. I’m glad my existence is that therapeutic.”
His cheeks reddened in return. “Yeah, right. I mean, thanks for the other day. It was really nice of you.”
The tone shift was sudden. But I let it happen. “I have a feeling the accident isn’t the only thing bothering you. I know it really isn’t the right setting but, you know…”
He seemed to be taken aback. “I don’t know. I’m actually feeling nicer. Mrs. Grose has always told me the other students are just jealous of me, but it still sucks not being used to having friends. I feel so giddy.”
“Well, you better get used to it. Even in the orphanage, I didn’t have anybody to talk to, either. Except the adults. Apparently I’m an ‘angel behind compression.’ Explains the scholarship, at least.”
“Damn. A scholarship? I thought it was just a charity case.”
“Oh - I didn’t mean it to be mean or anything.”
“No offense taken,” I replied with a chuckle. “To be fair, a lot of the kids back at the orphanage aren’t the brightest. But maybe it’s just that rich kid attitude rubbing off on me.”
“Rich kid? Wo-o-ow, can’t believe you’re categorizing me by my trust funds!”
The bell suddenly rung. Out of habit, I darted into a standing position and slung my bag over my shoulder.
“In a rush?” Miles inquired teasingly with a quirk of his brow.
“I’m a full-fledged nerd, you can’t mock my instincts. Come on, slow poke.”
Miles and I walked out of homeroom, merging with the agglomeration of peers. We walked down the hall, but Miles suddenly stopped at a locker. I stopped with him. He opened his locker and pulled out the calculus textbook. As though struck by genius, he turned to me.
“I forgot about your offer. Are you actually down to teach me the drums?”
“Of course! Nothing would make me happier.”
I entered the empty music room. My heart thudded anxiously. I was five minutes early from what Miles and I scheduled, so it hardly counted that he wasn’t here yet. I went over to the drum chair and plopped my bag onto the ground. I sat on the seat and pulled out a music player.
I skimmed through my music and finally landed on my favorite rock song. I repositioned the drums enough and instantly started the music. By habit, I began drumming away, getting lost in thought. I knew some songs so well that I could do them in my sleep. Not to brag or anything.
As the song concluded, I finally blinked and spaced back into reality. I noticed some movement from the door, and glancing over warily, I realized Miles was leaning against the frame.
A sly smirk was gracing his handsome features as he stood straight and entered. “I didn’t know you played so well. Sorry for creeping, I didn’t want to interrupt,” he greeted.
A giggle bubbled in my throat. “It’s no problem. I know how entrancing I am.”
Miles, not shy at all, came and dropped his bag next to mine. He hovered behind me, hands in his pocket. “So… what am I going to learn today, teach’?”
I rose to me feet and motioned for him to sit. “Well, we can start off with the sounds of each drum and I can teach you a beginner’s song. Not too difficult. It’s so easy that it’s engraved in my brain.”
Miles laughed, taking the drum sticks in his hands. He attempted to twirl it in his fingers, but instead, it was sent flying across the room. We both just watched in embarrassment as it landed on a chair. I went to go get it.
“Nice aim,” I commented cleverly.
“I’m a natural,” he retorted, a blush rising to his pale cheeks.
I handed him the stick. He readjusted his posture awkwardly. After a moment, he glanced over his shoulder at me expectantly. “So, what’s next?”
“Okay, So, this,” I motioned to the respective drum, “is D chord. Then C…” I continued to list the drum chords. “So, go ahead and repeat it. Tell me which drum is which chord.”
He bit his lip. “Uh… D, A… E?”
“G. C…” He finished the rest of them correctly.
“Great! So, uh, go ahead and try banging ‘em. To try and get used to the sound of each chord,” I instructed further.
He played around with it, and I heard him muttering the name of each chord under his breath.
The lesson continued like that. He was pretty good for his first time; it was like his hands were made for the drum sticks. I admired his immediate take to the instrument. By the end of the hour or so, I managed to teach him a practice song. I was surprised with how great he was at it.
I checked the time on the clock.
“Huh… It’s almost dinner time. Want to eat together?” I invited, turning off the music.
Miles nodded eagerly. “Yeah. That would be great! Thanks for teaching me. I was right, this is really fun, even with the definite ear damage.”
“You get used to it,” I replied casually. “You did really well. I’m surprised at how good you were. My first self-taught lesson, I spent the first hour just figuring out how to hold the sticks properly.”
“Really? Thanks. I guess I’m just gifted,” he said jokingly.
He stood up and placed the drum sticks back. I grabbed my bag and slung it over my shoulder, waiting for him to do the same. As Miles leaned over, our hands brushed against one another. I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed by the action. Miles didn’t seem to notice, so I brushed it off.
I turned off the lights as we exited the room. The halls were vacant, except for the stray student, so a comfortable silence fell over us as we walked down the hall. We were walking closer together than I was comfortable with, but I didn’t want to seem rude. Maybe I was just not used to interacting with people.
We made it to the cafeteria. We were a little early, so not too many students had arrived. “So, where do you want to sit?” he asked.
And yet another lonely morning.
I’m sure he had a good reason. Maybe there was a funeral. But Miles had been absent for the entire week and hadn’t told me why, so I was left worrying and waiting for his return. I hadn’t let my concern cloud my focus, though. My academics and extracurricular activities were still of the utmost importance. In fact, I used the free time to get ahead of my classes.
I finished up one last assignment, sighing contently. As I put my stuff away, a thud came from the desk next to me.
My eyes widened in surprise, digesting Miles disheveled figure. He certainly didn’t seem happy.
He slung his bag over the back of his seat and plopped down. I opened my mouth, aiming to greet him, but the bell rang and the study hall teacher strolled in, sending a strict glare across the room. Miles visibly slumped.
I went through my bag, pulling out a notebook and two pens. I flipped to a random page. I quickly jotted down, 'What happened?’
I slid the notebook his way, and he noticed my intention. He took the pen and bit his lip, thinking for a moment. Finally, he replied, 'Mr. Quint, the caretaker, died in an accident.’
I grasped at my mouth, shocked. My poor friend was really being done in by fate. I swiftly wrote, '??? Are you serious? That sucks so much, I can’t believe that happened.’
He shrugged, glancing away. 'He and I were close, even though he wasn’t a good person. Mrs. Grose doesn’t get it and Flora doesn’t care, so I had a really hard time.’
A frown twitched on my face. ‘I’m sorry. What happened happens. May he rest in peace.’
Miles didn’t reply, leaning forward and resting his head on the desk. I figured he still wasn’t in much of a mood to talk, but I had one more attempt to cheer him up a bit before focusing on my work. I carefully tore off a small piece from the paper and wrote ‘Nonfungible unlimited hug token.’
Miles had his head down on the desk, but I slipped the paper under his arm. His other hand fiddled with it, but he didn’t check it. So, I decided to leave him be, pulling out a textbook and reviewing.
And that’s how the rest of the day was spent. He still hung out around me, but he wasn’t in much of a mood for conversation. The teachers seemed to be aware about the situation too, and didn’t bother him either. I let him mourn, but I aimed to cheer him up once classes concluded. And it was almost that time, too —
I felt something soft hit the back of my head. Miles, who’d been out of it all day, immediately turned his attention to whatever hit me. I turned just in time to notice a paper ball fall the floor. I glanced around the room, my gaze landing on two boys giggling to each other. I immediately knew what they were up to.
Miles snatched the paper up from the floor. I’m not sure why he was so pissed off.
He unraveled it. I leaned over his shoulder, only to read, ‘Glad your servant joined your parents in hell!’
A frown etched itself onto both of our lips. I was still digesting it, but I felt another paper ball hit the back of my head. Miles immediately noticed, but I didn’t want him to blow up, so I grabbed his wrist when he tried to snatch it.
“Don’t pay attention to it,” I muttered.
Miles sent me a glare, but sat up again. He was clenching his fists so tightly his knuckles were turning pale. I vaguely paid attention to the teacher’s droning, but I reached over to Miles and squeezed his hand. He appreciated the effort, but his body language betrayed his tenseness.
And for a few minutes, the bullies lost interest. Probably because the teacher started paying attention. But alas, it could only last for so long, as the teacher handed out classwork before retiring to her desk. So, once again, I was occasionally pelted with paper balls.
Miles suddenly slammed his fist on the desk and swerved around. “Stop it, you assholes!” he shouted at the top of his lungs. “Stop it or I’ll bash your head in, douche bags!”
I felt everyone’s eyes on us. But, that wasn’t my main concern; Miles had shoved his seat away, forcing it into the desk behind him, and stormed over to the pair. I was absolutely stunned by his outburst, and he was on a rampage. He towered over the bullies.
The teacher was a little late in interfering. Miles fist collided right with one of the boys’ jaw.
Fellow students let out startled screams. I could only watch in horror as the teacher grabbed and pulled him away.
“Boys! All of you! To the principal’s office this instance!” the teacher boomed.
Miles struggled out of her grasp, a fire still in his eyes. But, as he and the bullies were pulled away, he maintained a steady eye contact with me.
Well, that certainly went to shit quickly.
Alas, as an orphan, I had more to focus on than just my best friend’s qualms. In fact, on the weekends, it was required that I attend the open houses. As hard as I worked and as eclectic as my interest were, though, it was depressing nonetheless. Because I knew that I was too old to be adopted.
It was the truth. Parents came to the orphanage to find a young child to raise, not a blooming adult. It still hurt sometimes, though. That because of things I couldn't control, I was robbed of the opportunity to have a real family.
So, today was one of those days that I was in a slump. A Sunday afternoon wasn't to be wasted, but I was too depressed to do much except hang out with Miles, who’d been in a worse and worse mood with each passing day.
“I hate this place,” Miles seethed, placing his head on his knee, both of which were tucked to his chest. We were leaning against a tree in the garden — coincidentally, the one we met each other at — while relaxing before dinner. “You’re the only nice thing about this school.”
I bit my lip. “No need to be a Debby downer. I know those guys are annoying, but they’re just jealous and insecure. You shouldn’t let them ruin your day like that.”
“They wouldn’t if they left you alone,” he sneered.
“Hey, there’s no reason to go thinking about it right now. It would be a shame if you unfairly got in trouble again. That's just what they want. To get a reaction out of you,” I reasoned with a sigh.
Miles changed positions, leaning against my shoulder instead. A fuzzy feeling fluttered in my chest, and I welcomed it. After all, I would do anything to get out of my dismal, insecure mood.
“You’re quiet today,” he muttered.
“Am I?” I replied with a dry chuckle.
“What’s on your mind? Where did you go yesterday?”
I pursed my lips, recomposing myself. “Oh. Well, since I’m an orphan and all, it's required that I show up for weekend open houses. That’s all.”
“Are they boring or something?”
I tilted my head so that I was leaning against his. I let my eyelids flutter shut. “…Yeah. That’s all.”
“I don’t think it is. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing much,” I answered reluctantly, voice wavering. “It’s just annoying that nobody wants me. It just gets to me sometimes. Don’t mind it.”
Miles hand slipped across my leg and grabbed my hand. He intertwined our fingers together. I relished how soft his hands were. I felt my mood washing away into a cloud of happiness. Miles was nice. Miles was good. He didn’t even have to say anything to tell me how much he cared.
“They have shitty taste.” He went quiet for another minute. “Remember when we first met? You told me something that really stuck with me. I think you should hear it, too. ‘You can choose your own family.’ And I choose you. I’ll always choose you, so you don’t need to care about those dumb people at the orphanage.”
I couldn't help it. His words really touched me. My eyes began to water. Miles sat up and turned to me, but I was too shy to meet his gaze. Instead, he cupped my cheek and turned me toward him. His skin was soft. His caress was gentle.
He wiped away the few tears that managed to escape. An embarrassed blush tickled my cheeks and I leaned into his touch further. There was a certain unidentifiable emotion in his eyes, but it comforted me. All I could think about was how grateful I was to have found a friend like him.
His face drew nearer. All of his attention and focus was trained on me, but it didn't make me uncomfortable. His eyes took in every inch of my expression, and a shy smile tugged at my lips. We were only inches away. My brain felt so fuzzy that I didn’t question his actions.
Well, not until his nose brushed against mine. I was too awkward to pull away, not wanting to allow my brain to overthink the situation. We were friends, he wasn't going to do anything weird.
He suddenly pulled up, placing a chaste kiss against my forehead. He lingered for a moment before pulling away. I broke into a smile, enjoying the affection. A giggle bubbled in my throat as I noticed how shy Miles was now.
He withdrew a bit, his gaze cast away.
“Thanks, Miles. I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me,” I stated.
He shook his head eagerly. “You’ve always been here for me. It's the least I could do. After all, we’re… best friends.”
Butterflies swarmed in my chest and I beamed at him. “Yeah. We are.”
A silence fell over us for a few minutes, both of us just soaking in each other’s company. Miles suddenly fussed around with his pocket before withdrawing a small sheet of paper.
“I’d like to use a free hug,” he announced, flashing me the paper.
I felt flattered that he cherished the tiny tear of notebook so much. It was hard to imagine that a few minutes ago I was feeling glum. Miles just had that redeeming effect on me.
In the distance, the dinner bell could be heard. We both shuffled to our feet. I wrapped my arms around his waist and tucked my head on the crook of his heck. He reciprocated, holding me tightly. I felt his breath against my neck and his fingers play with some of my hair.
It felt nice.
We finally pulled away, hungry and ready to eat. We exchanged nothing but smiles and headed off to the cafeteria.
+ pairings: eren yeager + (fem) reader
+ genres: rich kid au, college au, friends to lovers au, fluff, light-ish angst, smut/nsfw content (everybody gets a piece)!
+ warnings: mentions of depression/anxiety, mentions and use of drugs and alcohol, some of the smut happens under the influence so be cautious if that’s something you don’t like, i swear this is all more idiots in love than angst tho i just wanna disclose everything fairly
+ notes: this is alternatively titled super rich kids and you can probably figure out why. some of this is based off of real life, some of it is straight out of gossip girl and i challenge you to separate the facts from the fiction :’) anyways, i hope we all remember the lyrics to in my feelings
+ more notes: one quick reference for ages in this fic—all the vets are older but not by that much, think various stages of grad school. armin, connie, sasha, annie, and bertholdt are all college sophomores. eren, the reader, and pretty much everybody else are college seniors, so they’re about a year or two older. also here is a playlist for your reading pleasures, shoutout to ryn for letting me mooch of their spotify account :’)
+ word count: 19k. i’m sorry.
+ summary: fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, fuck you.; or the story of notorious rich kid and self-proclaimed bad boy eren yeager, and his not so goody two-shoes best friend.
“So you’re saying that you don’t love me? That you’re not riding? That you’ll actually leave from beside me?”
“I’m saying that it’s ass o’clock in the morning and I’m not driving in the rain to Brooklyn to pick your sorry ass up.”
“But… but I want you, and I need you, and I’m down for you.”
You check the time on your phone screen and groan. 3:57am. Far too early to be dealing with the likes of Eren Jaeger. “Just get an Uber or something. I don’t know what you and your idiot friends were up to this time, but I don’t want any part of it.”
“First, they’re our idiot friends. Second, I don’t think they let you take Ubers from jail, and even if they did, it’s, like, four in the morning, so I don’t think there are any Ubers driving around, so could you pretty please come pick me up? I promise I’ll make it up to—”
“From where?” you cut him off, slowly sitting upright in your bed. You hold your phone closer to your ear, ready to listen again; because, certainly, you must have misheard him the first time. You wait, but the line is silent, save for Eren’s awkward chuckling. “Eren Asher Jaeger, tell me that that was another stupid lyric from that stupid song, and that you are not in prison right now.”
Eren makes a sad attempt at laughing. “Technically, it’s a holding cell, not really prison… and I would leave, but they suspended my license for a month, and Min can’t drive yet, so we kind of need you,” he explains, “Uh, no pun intended.”
“Min?” you pull your eyebrows together at the mention of the younger’s name, “Is Armin with you?”
With a frown and a heavy sigh, you push yourself out of bed, wedging your phone between your shoulder and your ear as you grab the nearest pair of sweatpants.
“Why did you get him caught up in whatever stupid shit you were doing tonight?” you complain, scanning your dark bedroom for a shirt to wear, “Erwin’s going to castrate you when he finds out.”
You curse as you stub your toe against the edge of your bed on your way out of the room. Given the time, weather, and the fact that you have several exams to start studying for, hanging up and leaving Eren in the middle of god knows where Brooklyn doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, but you couldn’t go back to sleep knowing that Armin would have to suffer with him.
“Relax,” Eren breathes in a tone all too nonchalant for the situation at hand, “He didn’t get charged with anything, and nothing’s going on his record.”
“You don’t know that,” you retort, sliding your raincoat over your free arm, as you paddle down the stairs of your apartment, “The NYPD suck.”
“True,” he hums, “But I paid off the cop, so it’ll be fine.”
You pause in your steps, but really, you shouldn’t be surprised. “Of course you did,” you mumble, moving again and grabbing your car keys off of the kitchen island.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he questions. His tone is actually genuine and it tempts you to roll your eyes.
“What it always means, Eren,” you sigh, stepping into the elevator, “I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
“Thank you, baby. I love you.”
“Get off my line.”
He doesn’t have time to throw in another pitiful “I love you” before the line goes dead and he’s met with static silence. He hangs up the station telephone with a silent chuckle, turning around to face Armin and Officer Hannes.
“Someone’s coming to pick us up,” he says, trying to focus on Armin’s sigh of relief and not the warmth creeping up his neck and into his cheeks, “I’ll, uh, call a tow for the car in the morning.”
The cop, too tired to care, only shrugs, and pays them no further attention. He hands Eren a plastic bag with his car keys and newly suspended license, escorts him back into the cell, and returns to his desk. Eren gives Hannes the finger while his back is turned.
Beside him, Armin is still quivering; bouncing his leg up and down, fiddling with his fingers, gnawing on his bottom lip. Eren frowns, a heavy wave of guilt washing over him as he takes in the younger’s anxiety ridden state. It wasn’t fair that Armin could have potentially suffered legal consequences because of his stupidity.
Eren’s lucky that Hannes was sleazy enough to accept his bribe and let him off with minimal punishment. With that they were doing, things could have ended up far worse for the both of them tonight.
“I’m sorry, man,” he apologizes, hands stuffed in his front pockets, “About tonight, I mean. We—I shouldn’t have done that, not with you there.”
Armin looks up at him with sparkling, doe eyes and Eren wants to punch himself in the gut for making him go through all of this, even if it didn’t amount to an actual arrest. “You couldn’t have known this was going to happen.”
“I could have prevented it,” he says. Because it’s what you would have said, too.
“It’s not your fault, I wanted to come, remember?” Armin tells him, redirecting his gaze to the grey floor of the precinct cell. He takes a deep breath, almost calming down completely when a sudden thought reignites his nervous ticks, “You… they’re not gonna tell my parents, right?”
“No, no—of course not.”
Armin was legally an adult; he, nor Eren, nor the police had to tell his parents anything. Sure, Hannes could rat them out, but honestly that sounded like way more work than he was cut out for; not to mention he’d be bound to reveal that he let them off easy for a couple thousand bucks.
Armin nods, “And… that wasn’t Erwin on the phone, right?”
“Are you kidding me? He’d murder me on the spot,” Eren says. He pauses before tacking on, “I, uh… I called (_____).”
“Oh,” the younger gapes, “She’ll kill you, too.”
“Yeah,” Eren sighs, scratching the back of his neck in nervous anticipation, “Trust me, I know.”
“You have your access card on you, right, Armin?” you ask. He nods sheepishly, hand on the car door handle.
“Thanks again for coming to get us,” he says meekly, “I’m sorry about waking you up and everything.”
You offer him a warm smile through the rear view mirror, “Don’t worry about it, I’m just glad you’re safe. Text me when you get up tomorrow, okay? We can get brunch, my treat.”
His face lights up at the prospect of free food, and he nods once more, enthusiastically, but his expression falls again when he speaks, “Okay, and I’ll, um, pay you back for the tickets and stuff as soon as I can—”
“It’s fine, really, don’t worry about it,” you repeat.
“It was almost three thou—”
“You forget who you’re friends with,” you cut him off with a smile, “Don’t worry about it, okay? It wasn’t your fault.”
Armin’s eyes dart to Eren quickly, before clearing his throat, a light pink tint to his cheeks. You know that the prospect of money can be a sensitive subject for Armin, one easily triggered by his very environment, but this wasn’t negotiable on your end. You know that Armin doesn’t like the feeling of owing anyone anything, but he knows he won’t get you to budge; so, he quietly nods, appreciative of your generosity, before bidding you and Eren a final goodnight and sprinting towards the dorm. Once you see that he’s safely inside, you wave one last time, and wait for the door to shut behind him.
Slowly, Eren turns to the driver’s seat to look at you. You were eerily calm when you came to pick him and Armin up from the station. You didn’t yell, cuss, or punch him in the face like he expected. You politely talked to the officer, thanked him for his service, paid their fees, and up until now, you’ve shown no signs of being angry with him at all.
The two of you drive back to your shared apartment in complete silence, Eren too confused, and borderline scared, of initiating a conversation. He wonders if you’re too tired, or if you really don’t give a damn anymore, but when you pull into the underground lot of your building and put the car in park, he finds out the silence was simply the calm before the storm.
You take your hand off of the gear shift and turn towards him. It’s a quiet stare down for nearly a full minute before you break the mime act with a slap to his thigh.
“Drag racing? Are you out of your fucking mind? Of all the stupid shit you’ve done—and you’ve done a lot of stupid shit—this has got to take the cake. Just what the actual fuck were you thinking?”
“Ouch!” he inhales sharply, rubbing over where you’d hit him, “We were just having fun! Then these other guys showed up and started talking shit so—”
“Having fun?” you echo, “You couldn’t think of anything fun to do that’s not illegal in every borough of New York City?”
Eren feels his cheek flush, but he only huffs with the illusion of disinterest, “I don’t know why you’re freaking out so bad. I’m a good driver, it was those other squids that got us into shit, I’m telling you. They showed up looking for a fight, then ran like a bunch of pussies when the cops came.”
You exhale slowly, shaking your head in disbelief. You seem to have no other words to say to him, choosing to step out of the car and slam the door behind you. Eren quickly follows, slamming his door equally as hard, and hot on your trail as you march towards the elevator.
“(_____), come on, enough with the silent treatment,” he whines when you stick yourself in a corner of the elevator after pushing the button to the penthouse, “I told you I didn’t start shit, Armin and I got ratted on.”
“I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about whether or not they started it, Eren. You’re still the problem here.”
“Me? How am I the problem?” he pulls back, eyebrows drawn together in genuine confusion, “I just told you I didn’t do shit.”
You scoff, crossing your arms and shifting your left leg, “I’m not doing this with you right now.”
“Doing what with me?” he presses, tone growing icy.
“This, Eren!” you reiterate, “I’m too tired to hear your bullshit right now.”
The elevator dings and opens into your apartment. You push past him, continuing your deliberate strides through the living area, and to the stairs, but Eren catches you with a hand on your wrist before you can go any further.
“Will you fucking stop that,” he growls, “If you’ve got something to say, then stop running away from me, and just say it.”
“Funny,” you sneer, pulling your wrist away from him and settling both your feet on the bottom step, “You’re one to talk about running away from things.”
He takes a step back, standing just a notch below you, perfectly frozen in place. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means your little drag racing episode was not only dangerous and immature, it was you running away from your problems like a spoiled child, yet again.”
Eren’s features narrow at your accusations; eyes fading into hooded slits, lips curving downwards, and voice bobbing low, “I’m not running away from anything.”
“Oh, please, Eren,” you roll your eyes, arms retreating to their crossed position in front of your chest, “Cut the bullshit.”
“I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.” But he bets that even in the dim lighting of the apartment, you can see the tips of his ears growing red, just like they always do when he’s lying.
“Oh, really?” you ask, eyes widening in mock surprise, “You don’t think I don’t know this whole thing has something to do with the fact that your mom came home on Friday?”
Another pause. “Who told you that?” He asks, but it comes out more like a statement.
“Nobody had to,” you snap, “Jean said he caught you with a sack of coke over the weekend, and I knew something was up.”
“It wasn’t mine, I was—”
“I said cut the shit, Eren. If I went up into your room right now I bet your ass I’d find more than enough of it in a shoebox somewhere.”
He retreats, almost bashful, but unapologetic all the same. “Fine, whatever, I did a few lines. Big deal.”
“The big deal is that you think this is fucking normal, and now you’ve upgraded from coke to getting yourself arrested! It’d be one thing if you were acting like a misfit on your own, but to drag Armin into it because you—”
“Drag him into it?” he echoes with the snare of sarcasm dripping from each syllable, “You talk about Armin like he’s six. I don’t know why you think he’s some helpless little baby, but you have no goddamn responsibility over him. He’s not your fucking charity case.”
“I never fucking said he’s my charity case—don’t you ever fucking say that,” you say, “Having some basic respect and concern for my friends isn’t charity.”
“Wake the fuck up! You baby Armin when he’s a grown ass man. I didn’t force him into the fucking car to get sympathy points from you.”
“Grown? Armin is barely nineteen, disowned by his parents, is on a full fucking ride to an insanely expensive university, and you got him arrested tonight! Do you know what could happen if NYU found out? They could fucking kick him out, take his scholarship away—and then what, huh? Or were you just gonna buy off the headmaster, too?”
“You’re acting like I fucking planned for it!”
He’s screaming now, voice bellowing throughout the apartment, face red—and he doesn’t mean to, he doesn’t mean it at all; but it’s late, and he’s tired, and those shouldn’t be excuses, but he’s too prideful to back down.
“Of course you didn’t! You didn’t plan for anything, you were just being a reckless, irresponsible asshole like always,” you tell him, too blind-sighted by anger and the need to chide him that you miss the teary undertones in his words.
“And what’s it matter to you?”
“It fucking matters to me when you call at some godforsaken hour asking me to pick you up from prison!”
He takes a step forward, right leg elevated by the same step that both your feet rest on. “Well, what else am I supposed to fucking do!” He shouts even though he’s mere inches from your face, “Tell me just what the fuck I’m supposed to do instead!”
“You’re supposed to act like an adult and fucking talk to someone!”
“Who the hell am I supposed to talk to, huh?” he presses, taking a step forward and forcing you to retreat backwards, and up a step, “My mother who’s never home or her bastard boyfriend?”—another step forward for him, another step backwards for you—“The step-brother I can’t get in contact with?”—one step forward; one step backwards—“Or maybe the dad I never had, right?”
“Me, Eren!” you yell back with equal vigor, throwing your hands up at your sides, and planting your feet firmly. “Armin, Mikasa, Jean—anyone! You have people who fucking care about you! Stop treating us like correction officers, we’re your fucking friends!”
There’s silence for a while, just you and Eren staring at each other, heavy breathing, waiting for the other to make the next move. He opens his mouth, but when he tries to speak, his resolve washes away, his throat tightens and the words get sucked back in.
It would be easy to keep yelling, screaming, blaming you for blowing up on him. He used to think the scolding he got from you after pulling some stupid stunt was the worst part; but now, he thinks it might be his favorite part. He hates to hear you scream, and it hurts to see you cry, but if you’re yelling, you’re angry that he hurt himself; you care that he’s okay.
“I—” he stutters, words quiet and broken, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to get like this tonight, it was an accident I—”
“You never mean for any of it to happen, yet it always does,” you interrupt, voice soft yet strained, “I know you have your own shit to deal with, but so does everybody else.”
“(_____), please, you’re right, okay? I should have said something before,” he admits, mouth small as he voices his confessions, “I should have talked to you or one of the boys, but I—I don’t know what else you want me to say.”
He’s groveling now. Mouth in pout, eyes wide, voice small, and honestly, he thinks he might cry. At this point he doesn’t care if he does.
“I want you to mean it,” you finally say, and when he looks up, he hates the look he sees in your eyes. It’s something between sad and hurt and empty and it’s awful. Someone like you shouldn’t feel that way. He shouldn’t make you feel that way.
“When you’re ready to tell me exactly what’s going on with you—what’s happening that made you think going to jail would be better than facing your issues—I’ll be here to talk,” you continue, eyes watering, “But until then, goodnight, Eren.”
Eren winces when you turn around and ascend up the remaining stairs. He flirts with the idea of following you, going to your room to finish talking, but you’re probably angry enough to have it locked. His room is up there, too, but he opts for part of the sectional, laying down with the palms of his hands kneading against his closed eyelids.
For as long as he can remember, you’ve been there for him. Your friendship, at times, was like a game of tag—Eren always on the run with you loyally chasing after him; he’d always run amuck, and you’d always be there to catch him in the act. Now, it’s five in the morning, there’s no more yelling, no more chasing, no more racing, but he’s still running.
The following morning, you take Armin out to brunch, as promised. Jean tags along too, something about hanging out with the two of you being infinitely more entertaining than his genetics lecture. It doesn’t seem like Jean knows anything about Armin and Eren’s late night antics, so you don’t bring it up yourself.
Oblivious, Jean chats your ears off as if nothing is awry. Whether he knows it or not, he does a great job of distracting Armin from his own thoughts. They both eat to their heart’s content when you remind them you’ll foot the bill; and you don’t bat an eye when Jean convinces Armin to order his third round of pancakes. He deserves it.
Afterwards, Jean convinces the three of you to go window shopping with him in SoHo, claiming that he needed inspiration for his latest fashion assignment (you don’t question why he’s taking a fashion class as a biology major, but you suspect it has something to do with Mikasa). Window shopping soon turns into actual shopping, so almost completely unprompted, and with little effort on his part, Armin gets a few pieces of clothing on your behalf, while you try to ignore Eren’s words itching at the back of your mind.
Armin’s not a baby, but he certainly is a kid with a rough past and rough relationship with his parents at a time in his life where he arguably needs them the most. A little extra support from his friends wouldn’t harm him.
It’s nearing six when the three of you are wedged in a small booth inside a café, indulging in overpriced hot chocolate. Three sips into his second cup, Jean excuses himself to the bathroom, leaving you sitting across from Armin.
“You know, you don’t have to keep buying me stuff to make up for Eren,” Armin says, a small smile playing on his lips.
“I’m not trying to make up for him,” you sputter, careful not to spill your drink over your lap, “You had a rough night. Just accept my gifts, don’t be a brat.”
“I do accept them. Erwin’s been eyeing that Off White sweater for, like, three weeks now. He’s gonna have a hissy fit when he sees me wearing it.” You chuckle, and he continues, “But you know, as much I love spending time with you, you can’t use me to avoid Eren forever.”
“I’m not avoiding him,” you frown.
“You said you were going to take us to brunch, and then spent the whole day with us.”
“Funny, I recall you saying something about how much you love my company about thirty seconds ago.”
“He’s called you at least ten times today.”
“I was spending the day with my favorite NYU student… and Jean,” you bat your lashes, “I see you maybe once a week. I live with Eren, I have to see him every day.”
Armin calls your name with a pout, “He’s sorry, you know.”
“Not sorry enough,” you mumble. Armin opens his mouth to say something again, but then Jean’s sliding back into the booth, chatting about how he’s finally come up with the perfect anniversary date for Mikasa.
Armin doesn’t notice your sigh of relief, but he does take note of the way you wipe away your notifications when a text rings through. If Eren could spend his days running away from his problems, then you could, too.
Despite being arguably the greediest of you all, Jean loves company, so he doesn’t hesitate to say yes when you ask to crash at his place after your shopping escapades. You expect to be welcomed with sounds of screaming, laughter, and loud music, but to your surprise his apartment is completely silent upon your entering.
“Bertholdt has class and Marco has a meeting,” he prompts, as if he could read your thoughts. He shimmies his coat off his shoulders and tosses it over the bar in the foyer.
Their apartment has the same amount of rooms as yours and Eren’s, but is all stretched along a single floor. It’s more of a maze, really, with intricate turns, and hallways, that all more or less open up into the expanse of the foyer and bar. Their living room is your favorite part. A dark, brown leather sectional wraps around the back three walls and an oversized flatscreen encased in an ebony frame takes center stage. A collection of vinyl records litters the walls above the couch; each of the boys contributing their favorite discs as décor.
“If he has class, shouldn’t you have class?” you question, fingers dragging over the ridges of the closest record.
“I’ve had class all day, but that doesn’t mean I go,” Jean shrugs, walking up behind you and taking your jacket off your shoulders and your bag from your hand, “Besides, Bertholdt will probably cut half-way to go see Reiner, if he can even stay awake that long. Going with him is just as productive as staying home.”
“You’re all a mess,” you scoff, turning around as a cheesy grin grows on Jean’s lips. His smile is infectious, and soon you catch yourself grinning just because.
“You want something to drink?” he offers, throwing your coat over his elbow and tilting his head in the direction of the bar.
“You’re bad at mixing drinks,” you remind him, but follow him anyway.
Jean laughs, not bothering to deny the jab. He doesn’t try his hand at anything mixed or complicated this time; simply offering you a glass of your favorite red, and pouring himself a smaller amount.
He puts the album you were gawking at earlier on the record player, the two of you sinking into the couch as lovely melodies radiate throughout the apartment.
He spends the first hour bitching about how Marco’s supposed to become a CEO in less than a year, yet has the attention span of a squirrel; but the playful lilt in the brunette’s voice, and the begrudging smile on his face lets you know that it’s all love. He gushes about Mikasa for a good half hour, cramming you with stories about his girlfriend’s talent for sewing and fashion. You also learn that Bertholdt’s been busier than usual these days, and Jean suspects it has something to do with a secret lover.
You pinch your eyebrows at his hunch. Bertholdt’s never been one for dating. He’s had many friends with benefits in the past, but they weren’t relationships, nor were they secrets. In fact, you don’t think that he could keep a secret to save his life.
“Why would he be hiding it if he were seeing someone?” you question, swirling your newly refilled glass.
“Dunno,” Jean shrugs, “But it’s sus, I’m telling you. He’s been oddly busy for someone with a 2.3 GPA. Either way, I’ll pry it out of him eventually.”
“You’re so fucking nosey,” you chuckle, watching the mischievous, satisfied grin settle onto his features.
“I kinda think it’s Armin,” Jean says after a while, downing the remaining wine in his cup, while you choke on your own drink.
“Why on Earth do you think if Bertholdt had a secret lover that it’d be Armin?”
“Because he was in love with him for, like, two years in high school,” Jean says, as if the information should be painfully obvious.
“Yeah, and Bert also hooked up with a million different people in high school.”
“That doesn’t mean he wasn’t still in love with Armin.”
“I don’t think Armin’s kissed another human, let alone is in a secret relationship with one.”
“Hm, true. I forget he’s still a virgin.”
“Hey—there’s nothing wrong with Armin being a virgin, leave him be.”
“I know there’s nothing wrong with it,” Jean whines, “But it’s so—he doesn’t have to be. Armin’s cute! And very attractive—dare I even say sexy. He could go outside and get laid right now if he just tried.”
“Stay humble, Jean boy. If I remember correctly, you only started breaking hearts a year ago,” you tut. Jean’s nose goes pink as he shoves you away when you continue, “But, if you’re so concerned with Armin’s virginity, why don’t you go help him out with it.”
“Actually, if I remember correctly, I think that’s more your gig,” he shoots back, a smug smile tugging on his lips. “Not to mention, I’m not trying to get beat up by Annie. Though, I wonder how much longer it’ll take before she finally snaps. Hey, maybe the both of you can tag team him, I’m sure Annie wouldn’t mind, and it might even make Armin less nervous to have you—”
It’s your turn to shove him now, throwing in an extra punch when his head bobs back with laughter. You’re very certain Annie would mind; you would mind if someone inserted themself in your kind of, sort of, not really relationship, and ruined your four years of pining.
“Speaking of lovers,” Jean prompts, once his laughter dies down, bending his knee and turning closer to you. “Why are you and lover boy fighting? Trouble in paradise?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” you hum, sipping your drink in between words. Jean’s eyes pinch together. “Marco and I would never fight.”
“My god, will you let your Marco fantasies go already? You’ve already caused him one sexuality crisis,” Jean groans, “You know I mean Eren.”
You sigh, lowering your glass and reaching forward to pinch his cheek. “It’s nothing you have to worry your pretty little head over.”
“Please,” he scoffs, flicking your offending hand back, “He’s been texting us nonstop since this morning at, like, nine. I didn’t even know he was capable of waking up before noon.”
It’s your turn to roll your eyes, but Jean continues, “Why he would ask us for advice on you is beyond me. He knows you better than all of us combined.”
“And why you’re saying all of this is beyond me.”
“Oh, come on, what’d he do,” Jean pushes, borderline whines, as he puts his empty glass down in a cup holder embedded in the couch. He’s always been the most prone to gossip, but you forget that wine makes him even more of a nosey prick. “Must have been pretty bad. Or stupid.”
“Try both,” you mumble, “Well—I don’t know, it wasn’t… the worst thing anyone could do, but it was really fucking reckless—and why he did it, I couldn’t even tell you. I don’t know what goes through his mind half the time, but I swear he must have been on crack last night.”
“He probably was. On crack, I mean. I told you, I took an ounce from him over the weekend, but that was after Eren and Ymir did, like, five lines.”
“Do they really do that regularly?” you nearly cry, a hand massaging your temple, “Fucking Christ, if he really was high while driving, I’ll kill him myself.”
“Well, I don’t know if regular is the right word,” Jean ponders, “Maybe for Ymir, but god knows what she’s on half the time, anyways. Besides, coke isn’t the worst thing they could do.”
“You sound like you speak from personal experience.”
“Maybe,” he shrugs, pausing when you shoot him a disapproving look, “Oh, come on! You’re no angel, either—if memory serves, you were high as shit at Moblit’s birthday party, and kept singing the star spangled banner all night.”
“Yeah, on weed! One time! It was on a rooftop and the stars were out and it has the same rhythm as the happy birthday song, cut me some slack!”
He finds laughing at your expense to be much more fun, however, as he continues to chuckle while you throw a fit. He’s also not one to let a topic of gossip go undiscussed, and has no problem bringing the conversation back to Eren.
“It’s because you two don’t talk, you know,” Jean tuts, “That’s why you fight like this.”
For the second time, the younger’s words have your eyebrows growing close together. “I mean, I guess—but it’s more than that. Eren and I live together, we obviously talk, but—”
“I know, I know, but just hear me out, okay? You and Eren talk about a lot of things, yeah, but you also… don’t. And sometimes you don’t have to, because you guys, like… get each other.”
“Wow. What a way with words you have, Jean Kirstein. You should write a self-help book.”
“What I mean,” he sneers, unhappy with the sarcasm being thrown his way, “Is that you guys understand each other in weird ways. It’s actually kind of cute—sometimes a little freaky, in all honesty. It’s why you don’t always have to talk about serious things. But you take it for granted and let shit bottle up, and then get in denial about it until you blow up in each other’s faces.”
“Please, you barely passed one philosophy class and now you think you’re Plato.”
“You’re doing the in denial thing right now!” he taunts, “Come one, when you two fight like this, what’s it usually about?”
You sigh, sinking back into the plush leather of the couch, and wrapping your hands around a fluffy throw pillow. Thinking about arguing with Eren isn’t particularly something you like to do, and truthfully, you don’t really get pissed at each other that often. Not to the point of ignoring each other, at least.
“I don’t know,” you drawl, “Drugs, me forgetting things, him doing stupid shit, him thinking Mikasa could do better than you, school, drinking, the fact that he leaves his big ass shoes at the top of the stairs for me to trip over and fall to my death every morning, when—”
“His parents?” Jean cuts you off.
“I—we don’t really… it’s not so much fighting over his parents, it’s all the stuff he does to deal with his parents. He never gives his mom’s boyfriends a chance, and he never really talks about why, either. I know he’s secretly just angry and insecure about his dad, but… I don’t know. That doesn’t really make it better.”
“True,” he nods, “See—he doesn’t talk about it.”
“I know, and I told him that last night, too, but… it’s a sensitive subject for him—his dad, I mean,” you sigh, “And you’re right, he shouldn’t bottle his feelings up, but, on the other hand he’s watched his mom get married five times. I don’t always blame him for not wanting to talk about it.”
“Yeah, but just because it’s hard to talk about doesn’t mean he shouldn’t,” Jean lolls, “Wouldn’t you have rather he said something than have done whatever stupid shit he did to make you want to sleep here tonight?”
“Okay, Socrates, I get it,” you lighten up, “I’ll talk to him—or get him to talk to me. Are you happy?”
“Quite,” he says, annoyingly chipper as he rises from the couch. “I hate seeing my favorite power couple fighting.”
Jean knows his words would elicit a slap to his arm, so he takes off just before you can reach him, prompting you to chase him out of the living room and down the hall. The brunette cackles ridiculously loudly as you scream his name with profanities sprinkled in-between. You catch a hold of the bottom of his shirt and pull him back, finally flicking him on the forehead.
He accepts his punishment with pride, offering you a signature smile in return while you both catch your breaths. It’s a sweet moment, the two of you looking at each other with stupid smiles on your face, exhalations tickling your cheeks.
Jean’s eyes break the gaze first, as he looks down the remainder of your face, and back up to your eyes again. His words could get caught in his throat, but he doesn’t let them—he shakes his head, and swiftly turns around, beckoning for you to follow him.
“Come on, we can steal Marco’s clothes for your pajamas this time.”
Jean spends all of three minutes pulling apart Marco’s dresser before swiping a t-shirt and Christmas themed pajama bottoms from his room. He tosses them in your direction before leading you back down the hall and to the left, opening the door to the guest bedroom for you, before leaving you to change.
They have more than one guest bedroom, but this one is unofficially yours. Little pieces of you can be found littered throughout the room, from spare jewelry to mismatched makeup. You spot a single, gold, teardrop shaped earring on the vanity and sigh as you run your fingers over it.
You swear you’d lost it a few months ago. Trust Jean to put it away for safekeeping without telling you he’d found it. The boy in question returns moments later, knocking while walking through the door with your purse in hand.
“How’d you know I was about to ask you to get that?” you question, a smile on your face as you retrieve the small bag from his hands.
Jean offers you a cocky grin, “Cause I’m the best.”
“Don’t go getting a big head, now,” you tease, “Or, well, an even bigger head.”
Jean ignores your insult, as you take a seat at the edge of the bed, fishing through your bag for your phone to plug it in for the night. He’s about to turn around and bid you goodnight, when the flash of something orange peeping out of your purse prompts his next thought.
“Hey, you picked up your refill, right?” he asks innocently, “It should have been ready last Thursday.”
You sigh, head falling slightly when you close your bag and place it on the vanity. “Uh… no.”
Jean’s mouth is already open, ready with equally friendly and scolding words, but you cut him off before he can talk. “I was going to on Thursday, but I had class late, and then I forgot on Friday and I haven’t really had time since then. But I have a few left-overs from the last two months, so I’ve been taking those!”
Jean’s mouth closes, but his eyes narrow as he begins to walk towards you. You know he’s putting two and two together, so you speak ahead of him again.
“I know, I know, I shouldn’t have any left over, but it’s only five, I promise! I’ve been really good, lately.”
Jean’s eyes remain in concentrated slits, but his resolve is waning when he reads over your expression. His facade fades as he takes the final steps towards you to stand directly in front of your body.
“Okay,” he says, voice soft through his smile, “I’ll go with you to pick them up tomorrow before I drop you home, yeah?”
It elates him more than it should to see the smile you flash his way. Unfortunately, it’s short-lived, as his next question leaves your face twisted with guilt.
“Have you… told Eren yet?”
You consider lying and saying yes, but something tells you Jean won’t buy it. Your silence seems to speak loud enough, as his shoulders drop with a quiet sigh.
“I want to, I just… well I’m mad at him right now, and even when I’m not… I don’t know why it’s so hard,” you confess.
“He’d wanna know, you know,” Jean says, and it’s not the first time he’s said it to you, either. “You know he wouldn’t judge you or anything.”
“I know that. But, truthfully, if I had things my way, not even you would know, Jean.”
It was an accident that Jean found out that you’d been taking anxiety medication.
It was at somebody’s house party where the majority of your friends and their guests had gotten piss drunk. Reiner’s date had suggested mixing their alcohol with molly she’d supposedly had in her bag. In her drunken stupor, she’d mistaken your purse for her own, but luckily, a not so drunk Jean had noticed the label didn’t match her name, and snagged the bottle before the worst could happen.
They ended up not finding her molly, anyway, but it’s a moot point. Jean had cornered you about the bottle later in the week with honest intentions; he’d been concerned that might be another kind of drug disguised by a prescription veil. However, you’d assured him that it was indeed your prescribed Lexapro, and not a shady mixture of black market substances.
And, he’d been more than understanding in the aftermath. Quite frankly, he had somewhat made it his business to ensure that you got and took your medication on time and felt comfortable getting to and from your therapy appointments.
It’s endearing in a way that made you pause and count your blessings sometimes. Jean had been nothing but unequivocally supportive in his understanding about anxiety and had gone the extra mile to comfort you where need be. It made you wonder why you hesitated to tell Eren on several occasions.
It was probably the very nature of anxiety itself that had you doubting your trust in Eren. You wanted to tell him—of course you did—but, you couldn’t. You know that Eren would do everything in his power to make it better, even if that was just being. You know that he’d want to know and he’d kill to understand. But you couldn’t possibly burden him with your problems, not when he has a million of his own.
The one person in the world you wanted to tell, you were terrified of talking to. And you know it’s irrational to be afraid of him, but you can’t seem to control those thoughts. It’s a tiring, consuming, endless cycle.
Jean watches the way your gaze lowers to the floor. He knows exactly what you’re thinking, and, god, he swears if he could take that train of thought away from you, he’d do it in a heartbeat.
With a heavy heart and tired eyes, he takes a final step forward and wraps his arms around your body. He counts three, four seconds before you hug him back. He raises a hand to the back to your head, cradling your face into his shoulder and squeezing you tightly.
“Hey, I’m proud of you, you know that,” he speaks, just a notch above a whisper, “I know you’ll tell him when you’re ready.”
“I will,” you murmur into the fabric of his shirt. You hug him back a little tighter and close your eyes, “Thank you, Jean.”
And Jean holds on, and hopes you know that he wouldn’t let you go, “You’re welcome, (_____).”
You come home to find your entire apartment littered with flowers; in the hallway, on the sectional, atop the counter, up the stairs.
There are several boxes of your favorite macarons stacked in a small pyramid on the kitchen island, and you wouldn’t be surprised if you checked the labels to find that they were shipped straight from the south of France this morning. There’s too many bottles of Ace on the coffee table, sparkling next to a basket of what looks like your regular skincare products. A pretty, gold bow rests atop an even prettier pair of red-bottomed heels, and if you’re not mistaken, that’s a limited edition, vintage YSL clutch on the sectional, resting against your favorite throw pillow.
You sigh, making your way to the couch to pick up the orange envelope sticking out of the handbag. Just as you’re about to open it, you hear footsteps, and a voice that follows.
“You’re back,” Eren chirps from mid-way on the staircase, “I, uh, there’s catering coming from Butter coming soon. I know it’s your favorite,” he continues as he descends the stairs.
He has his hand on the back of his neck and there’s a faint, pink tint to his cheeks as he slowly makes his way towards you. You cross your arms, looking him up and down when he stands in front of you.
He’s wearing dark jeans and a tweed sweater with patches at the elbow. His hair is split down the middle, longer than usual, so the ends of sweep over his eyelashes; and there are telltale signs that he’d been toying with it.
“Eren, what is all of this?” you finally ask, shifting your weight to your right leg.
“Part one of my apology and explanation,” he replies, a hopeful timbre to his voice. You roll your eyes, but he continues anyway, “Actually, part two is in that envelope.”
Skeptical, you unfold your arms and open the envelope. You don’t know what you were expecting—a card, maybe tickets to a musical or something; but what you definitely weren’t expecting were two tickets to Paris.
“France?” you look up, tickets in hand, “You don’t get it do you? You can’t just buy all of this shit, jet us off to Europe and expect everything to be okay.”
“No, no it’s not like that—I swear!” he interjects, hands moving sporadically, “It’s just, well… Can we sit? Then I can explain everything.”
Eren looks at you with those big green eyes and that sad pout to his lips, and you find yourself sighing and taking a seat on the couch against your better judgement. There’s a small smile to his lips when you do—a little victory—and he sits next to you, your knees resting against each other as you face him.
He’s shaking, and your resolve to punish him with whatever solid exterior and half-assed silent treatment dissolves as you take his left hand in your right, and recall your conversation with Jean. “Hey, it’s okay. It’s me, Eren. You can talk to me.”
When he feels your smaller hand envelop his, the shaking stops, and for a moment, it feels like he can do this, like everything is okay. He smiles, and takes a deep breath.
“The other night, you were right, about my mom and her boyfriend coming home,” he starts, words slow and heavy, “I didn’t even know she was coming—I knew she was visiting this month, but she didn’t tell me when, and I thought it was going to be just her, you know? But then she showed up with him, and, well, I don’t know. I was upset. She’s been home for a week now, and we haven’t even gone to dinner or anything.”
He pauses, and you squeeze his hand for reassurance, “We were supposed to get lunch on Thursday, but she cancelled. Had some meeting or something, I don’t know, I don’t care. Friday comes and she says she wants to have dinner, right?”
You nod, he continues. “I thought it was just going to be us, but he was there. That’s when she told me that… that they’re…” he squeezes his eyes shut, “They’re engaged.”
Your mouth falls into a small o-shape. Everything made perfect sense now.
It’s not that Eren didn’t love his mother, quite the opposite actually. He’s a mama’s boy through and through; she’s his role model, his everything, he adores her. Her career as a designer often takes her on long business trips, most frequently as prolonged stays in Paris, so much so that she relocated her primary office there shortly after Eren graduated high school.
Now, she only visits home for one or two weeks at a time, sometimes only for the weekend. Upon her decision to permanently relocate, she planned to leave Eren under the unofficial supervision of Mikasa. Instead, Eren bought Mikasa her own three-bedroom apartment in Midtown (according to his logic, it was better for her to have her own place than to move in with Jean), and a shared two-story penthouse for the both of you that overlooks Central Park.
Eren misses her more than he cares to admit, but he puts on the same facade every time she comes home because he hates the company she brings.
Paris is where she met her newest boyfriend, Mitchell, and Eren swears he hates that man with every fiber of his being. It’s not saying much, though, not when Eren’s hated every single one of his mother’s past romantic partners, right down to his own father.
“Is… is that why you—”
“Rented a brand new Corvette and went drag racing at one in the morning?” he chuckles, “Yeah. It was stupid, I know, but I was just angry, I guess. I dunno what I was feeling, but it wasn’t good.”
You nod, wrapping both of your hands around his now and offering him a warm smile. He smiles back, just for a moment. “That’s what the tickets are for, actually. The wedding.”
“They’re getting married in France?” you question, to which he nods, “On the first? Isn’t that a little short notice to plan a wedding?”
“I think you’re underestimating the power of Carla Jaeger,” he chuckles, “Apparently, it’s been in the works for a few months now. He proposed with fireworks or some shit. Said she wanted to tell me in person, though.”
“This ticket is for next week,” you say, rereading the dates on the papers. “The wedding is three weeks from now.”
“Well, I kind of figured we could take a little vacation before then,” he grins, “I texted most of the boys earlier, and they can probably come to the wedding, but I want to spend some time with you before it gets hectic, you know? Consider it an end of the semester present.”
Your eyes flicker down to your hand, still wrapped around Eren’s, when he starts to trace circles into your skin, “I thought I just told you, you can’t jet us off to Europe to fix things.”
“You did,” he hums, “And I know I can’t—I’m not trying to, I just… Truthfully, I reserved the plane and the hotel a few weeks back and it really was just going to be a surprise for us—well, more like a gift for you because I know you’ve been busting your ass in chem—but then… everything else happened, and I think a break sounds perfect before I watch my mom get married for the sixth time.”
You watch him continue to toy with your hands for a while, processing your conversation. It was typical of Eren to surprise you like this, so you can’t figure out why this particular present leaves you feeling warmer than usual.
“You sure you don’t need a break from me?”
Eren beams and takes the opportunity to lace your fingers together. “Nah, you’re annoying, but not Jean level annoying.”
You scoff, “I’m telling him you said that.”
“It’ll sound better coming from you, anyway,” he shrugs, “Besides, I might just murder Mitchell if you’re not there with me.”
You chuckle, on the verge of accepting his proposal, but the mention of Jean prompts another thought to cross through your mind. “I’d love to, but I… I don’t know. I don’t want Armin to spend the first few weeks of winter break here all alone.”
This Christmas would mark one year since Armin had seen, or even talked to, any of his immediate family members, with the exception of Erwin.
Last year, you all tried to salvage the damage by sticking around so, at the very least, he didn’t have to feel alone. You and your friends decided that Armin ought to be celebrated, not ostracized for any aspect of himself, so you all chipped in for a cute, impromptu trip to the Catskills so that everyone could be together and close to home.
This year, however, there seemed to be quite a few conflicts of interest. Even if Armin was one of the boys who was planning on attending the wedding, you doubt he had plans leading up to it. You know that Marco, Bertholdt, Mikasa, and Jean had invited him to go to Aspen with them, but Armin declined the offer. Similarly, Connie, Sasha, Annie, Reiner, and Ymir would be off to Dubai as soon as classes ended; an invitation Armin had also turned down.
You weren’t sure what Erwin’s plans were, though you’re certain they involved his own friends in some way or another. At the very least, it was unlikely that he would leave his younger brother completely stranded over the break; but you didn’t want to make plans without knowing Armin wouldn’t be alone.
“He won’t, actually he’ll be closer than you think,” Eren reassures you, “Hange and Moblit wanted to go skiing anyways, so Erwin is taking all of them to the Alps instead of Aspen. Armin doesn’t know yet, but he’s going with them.”
“Shouldn’t Erwin spend his break campaigning, and not skiing? Last I checked, he wasn’t too popular in Queens”
“Ah, you know Erwin,” Eren shrugs, “He has a way of making people devote themselves to him. He’ll win the election with or without campaigning, trust me—the point is, that little baby Armin will be safe and sound under Erwin’s protection, and you don’t have to worry about him.”
“How come you get to call him a baby?”
“Because I’m a hypocritical asshole who doesn’t deserve you, but is hoping you’ll come with me anyway.”
Eren smirks, but there’s a genuine undertone to his words as he moves his fingers to toy with the ring around your pointer finger. The same one he gave to you two Christmases ago. Well, kind of.
The ring he originally gifted you was a Harry Winston piece, with an encrusted band that wrapped into two sunflowers, both made of classic, white diamonds with emeralds sparkling in the center. After seeing the design, and the price tag, you demanded that he take it back, or at the very least, get it sized to fit on your index finger or thumb so that people didn’t get the wrong idea.
Instead, he came back with a simple, silver chain for the original ring to hang from, and the current ring on your finger; a rose gold band with tiny diamonds studded around it. Likely equally as expensive, but more appropriate according to you.
“Fine. But you have to be on your best behavior,” you agree, paying no mind to Eren’s thumb twirling your jewelry, “Do you promise me no drag racing or antics of any sort while we’re there?”
Eren shakes his head at the memory, eyeing the first ring that sits against your chest.
He smiles. “I do.”
The afternoon after your last exam, you bid the remainder of your friends goodbye, grab your bags, and hop on a plane with Eren. It arrives in Paris, but you’re rerouted off to Nice before you can so much as blink at the Eiffel tower; you’d be staying there for the two and half weeks leading up to the wedding, in a small villa.
You had to hand it to him, Eren really outdid himself. It’s dark and nearing three in the morning when you arrive, but even in your sleepy stupor you can admire your accommodations. The villa is secluded, the perfect distance from the water, and decorated lavishly almost to your exact liking. You wouldn’t be surprised if Eren sprung it on you that he’d bought the place, and wasn’t merely renting it for this vacation.
Every day after that, Eren proves he was honest in his intentions of this being a getaway gift to you. He’s planned every activity under the sun—from hot air balloon rides, to helicopter tours, to jet-skiing. The days are certainly fun and filled with beautiful memories, but there’s something special about Nice at sunset; something about the sound of gentle waves brushing up against the beach, and the spotlights carved from sun-cast shadows on the buildings.
It’s just after dinner time, bordering on your eighth night here, when you and Eren are walking along the cobblestone streets that border the beach, the length of your sundress flowing every which way with the breeze, and the tail of Eren’s blazer flailing like a cape behind him.
He looks nice tonight, but, truthfully, he always does. He claimed he hadn’t put on the casual green suit because of your outfit, but you swear he was wearing khakis before he saw your dress. The tips of his ears go red when you tease him about it at dinner, but it doesn’t really matter to you; he would have looked good, regardless. Those suits are made for him, after all; tailored to fit perfectly, and designed by his own mother.
The streets tend to settle down after six, locals and tourists retreating indoors or heading to the beach to relax and draw in the evening. Tonight, however, there’s much more commotion than usual on your route.
“Maybe we should take the long way,” you suggest. On the tips of your toes, you realize that there’s some kind of special event happening in the square, filled with lights and music that grows louder with every step you take.
But the crowd and the lights and the smell of food only piques Eren’s interest. “No way—let’s check it out!”
You don’t have the time to refute before his long legs surpass your own stride, headfirst into the sea of people. You can only follow with a smile and a shake of your head. The soft green of his suit jacket serves as your guide as he navigates through the crowd, but the closer you get to the center, the more people there are.
You can feel palms of your hands growing uncomfortably warm as you become hyperaware of just how many people there are. You clutch the end of your dress in your hand, for both practicality and as a sort of comfort mechanism, as you try your best to calm the anxious wave threatening to crash against you.
With a deep breath, you begin to walk again, unaware of Eren’s actions until you physically walk into his hand, long fingers poking at your belly. You hadn’t realized he stopped walking, or that you’d caught up with him, and your eyebrows crinkle when you look down to see Eren’s left hand extended behind him and towards you, palm facing upwards.
He doesn’t say anything, or look back at you at all. Only wraps his larger fingers around yours when he feels the weight of your hand in his, and continues to guide you through the crowd, his pace slower, and hand firm around yours.
The mass of people becomes more spread out when you approach what appears to be the center of the event; and it looks like a party, maybe a wedding of some sort. There’s food and champagne galore, and more than enough happy guests dancing along to upbeat music in the streets.
Eren’s eyes light up as he takes in the scene, “You wanna dance?”
“What—Eren, no!” you refuse, “We cannot crash these people’s party!”
“Why not?” he counters, without a care in the world, “Seems like an open invitation to me! Come on!”
And for the second time that evening, you find yourself being pulled into his schemes; this time in the direction of the open space dubbed dance floor.
You’re both terrible and ostentatious and people start to watch, but it doesn’t matter because you’re smiling too wide and laughing too hard to care. Eren has a way of moving both with and against the music, forcing your body to follow his lead.
He shouts something over the noise, but you don’t have time to register his words before he laces your right hand with his left, and places his right hand on your waist. There’s a blink of confusion for a moment before you’re being swept off your feet and into a dramatic dip. You don’t have time to secure yourself against his shoulders, but Eren does a fine job of supporting you with a single arm against your back.
From what you can tell the song is far from over and the dramatic pose is completely unwarranted, but you and the crowd alike are victim to his charm. You indulge yourself, looking up at him with eyes too fond to memorize every feature of his face in this moment; the way he’s laughing with that big, dumb, wide smile of his that makes his nose crinkle and his eyes light up.
You’re too busy looking at him to hear Eren’s voice calling out to you, or even realize that he’s moved you from your pose to standing back upright. He’s equal parts amused and concerned at the glazed over look in your eyes.
“Hello? Anybody home up there?” he teases, elongating the vowels and squeezing your waist to alert you.
The reminder of his hands on your hips pulls you back to reality, your eyes fluttering down to his arms, then back to his face. It feels stuffy suddenly, too close to function.
“Yea—yeah! Do you wanna get a drink? Yeah, let’s get a drink!” you exclaim, haphazardly pointing and walking towards the food.
You don’t see it, but Eren looks on with glittering eyes, his verbal agreement heard only by himself as you veer towards the buffet. He can still feel your body in his grip, still see the specks of gold in your pupils as he lingers on the back of your silhouette lovingly. And before you can realize, he snaps himself out of it—an out of body experience similar to yours a few moments ago—before catching up with you.
You end up socializing for much longer than intended. Eren makes friends with everyone, to no surprise, and, uncharacteristically, you feel influenced by his actions, and converse with a few people yourself. You let him take the lead, though. Partially because he’s better at it, and partially because you just like listening to him speak French.
“Hey, we should probably get out of here,” he whispers into your ear after waving goodbye to a lovely couple you’d just met, “Before the host of this party realizes we’re miles better than his actual guests.”
You nod with a smile, more than happy to play by his rules for the evening. He offers you his hand again, that same, dopey smile on his face when you take it.
He leads you out of the crowd and back on to the path to your villa, the smell of warm food and sounds of vibrant music growing dull as you venture further from the celebration. It’s much darker than it was when you began your trek back from the restaurant, but beautiful all the same.
Your sandals pad against the wooden dock that leads up the villa, and Eren unlocks the door silently, ushering you inside before entering behind you.
“I know I said I wanted to leave, but I’m not really tired yet,” Eren confesses, pulling his blazer off of his shoulders.
“Me neither,” you say, placing your small wristlet on the table with a shrug, “What do you wanna do though, I’m not—”
“Great!” he cuts you off, smile too big. You narrow your own in suspicion. That tone of voice with that look on his face usually meant something mischievous, at best. “Remember when you said the first time you’d smoke would be with me, and then pranced away and took a bowl from Hange and got high as shit at Moblit’s party?”
“Why does everyone remember Moblit’s party but me!”
“Don’t worry about it,” he chuckles, waving the topic away, “Anyway… Do you wanna smoke now?”
You blink. “I… did you… smuggle weed all the way to France?”
“No, of course not!” he refutes, “…I got it here.”
You scoff, but don’t have the time to question him further before Eren’s tugging on your wrist and pulling you into the bedroom. You take to sitting on your bed while he rummages through his suitcase to retrieve a small, clear jar with several rolled joints inside and a lighter to match.
He shuffles next to you in the bed, mindlessly handing you the lighter while he unscrews the top off the jar. He takes out two of the joints, places one next to the jar on the nightstand, and tucks the other between his teeth. He asks you to hand him the lighter, and you do so wordlessly, distracted by the sight of Eren’s gaze and the blunt poking out his mouth.
“This’ll be fun, yeah?” He reassures you, “Technically, you let Hange take your weed virginity, but I’ll be better.”
“Can you not phrase it like that,” you roll your eyes, “You already took my virginity virginity, don’t be bitter.”
An all too smug grin settles on his features as he recounts the fact. “Besides,” you tack on, “I’ve never done it like this before. So, it’s still a first, kind of.”
Eren cups one hand around the joint, sparking the lighter with the other until it catches fire. He inhales, slow and deliberate, as if he were putting on a show, or a lesson, of sorts, taking the smoke into his lungs and out through his mouth.
You’d gravely miscalculated how attractive Eren would look doing this. Sure, he’s hot, you knew that, but the pronunciation of his jawline when he exhales, and the confidence with which he drags on the blunt is a stark reminder to you. He takes a few more hits, just as slow and sensual as the first, and the room begins to feel warmer.
“Come closer,” be beckons, smoke rolling off of his tongue with every syllable.
You snap yourself out of the haze of your imagination and scoot closer to him. He silently hands you the joint, and it feels heavy between your fingers. At the distance, you take in the smell—pungent and off-putting, but too familiar.
Eventually, you bring it to your lips, careful not to let your tongue press against the tip, and inhale slowly, like you’d seen Eren do before. You do your best to hold the smoke in your lungs for a bit, but seeing as the last time you did this you were amped up on adrenaline and drunk off your ass, the task proves to be much more difficult. It tickles before becoming uncomfortable and you exhale ungracefully, puffs of smoke punctuating your coughs.
Eren watches with a grin, amused at the sight of you fanning the excess smoke away with your nose scrunched in distaste. “You should have warned me you were gonna cough like a bitch.”
“Oh, fuck off,” you whine, trying to hide the hint of a smile creeping onto your face. You hand the blunt back to him, “You’re supposed to teach me, not tease me, asshole.”
Eren pauses his laughter, unsure of what to make of your tone; rushed, a bit embarrassed, but testy. It’s quiet while he stares at you, trying not to let the implication of your words run wild in his mind; but it’s futile when you’re pouting like that, the room is growing foggier, and he’s been semi-hard since you accepted his offer.
“Fine. Watch and learn,” he breathes, words coming out more jagged than he’d intended.
This time, he completely exaggerates every motion; he inhales at a tantalizing pace and flutters his eyes closed while he lets the smoke swish in his mouth, down his throat, and expand into his lungs. He cranes his neck upwards, and purses his lips to let the clouds exit in the streamline that follows the slope of his jaw.
Maybe it’s the drugs getting to you, but your mind is filled with nothing but sheer clouds that aren’t thick enough to block out thoughts of Eren. The weed is unattractive, potent in smell, and all kinds of wrong; yet, everything about him is soft, sultry, and pulls you in.
“Wanna try again, or do you need another lesson?”
You faintly mutter a profanity under your breath. His words end with giggles, a sign the drugs have already begun to take their effect on him, his expression is still smug. You forget Eren knows just how attractive he is. Motherfucker.
“Actually,” he cuts your train of thought, “I have a better idea, come ‘ere.”
Eren beckons you forward again, closing the gap between your legs so that your knees graze each other under the fabric of your clothing while you’re sat next to each other. He leans over, far too close into your personal space, as if to test something; he freezes when his nose is mere inches from your face, a dissatisfied scrunch taking over his features.
He reinstates his hold on your wrist, motioning your body backwards until your back is against the frame of the bed. He hums in approval, positioning himself next to you again, equally as close, but far more comfortable for what he has planned next.
“I’m—I’m gonna try somethin’, okay?” he stutters, the first word mistakenly coming out in broken German, “Just, don’t freak out on me. It’ll be good, promise.”
You nod, unsure of what you’ve just signed off on, but you don’t have time to ask questions. Eren takes another hit, then passes the blunt to his non-dominant hand. He turns to face you, leans forward, and places his free hand on the back of your neck to pull you closer; the expanse of his palm leaving room for his thumb to venture over the bottom half of your cheek.
Eren pulls you in until your lips are millimeters apart, and he can see the pattern of your eyes in beautiful detail. He shifts his hand now so that the majority of it covers your face, the pad of his thumb running across your bottom lip. He applies the perfect amount of pressure to pry your willing mouth open, and then, finally, exhales.
This time, you can taste it. It’s woodsy, and bitter, but the sweet undertones dance on your tongue. This time, there’s more to think about than just the smoke in your lungs; like the burn of Eren’s hand on your neck; the pressure of his thumb against your bottom lip; the proximity of his lips to yours; the look in his eyes.
“Feel good?” he doesn’t bother to pull away before asking, and the words ghost over your lips with the remaining smoke. You nod; he smiles. “Wanna try again?”
You let out a breathy note of affirmation, and then he’s inhaling and exhaling into you, and you welcome him with pried lips and a heavy thumping in your chest. The confidence with which he maneuvers his body and the drugs is nerve-wracking, yet comforting at the same time; he has an expertise and power that intimidates, but compels you to follow.
Together, you finish the first blunt, and Eren lights the second without missing a beat. His hands are more demanding this around; they guide you into submission, and he’s pleased to find that you’re willing to listen.
After the third exhale, you stop focusing on his hands, and more on his lips. After the fourth, you think you might be high—not to the stars as you infamously were during Moblit’s party—but with a comfortable, dull buzz in your head. Everything feels a little fuzzy, out of touch, but you host a burning want for something more, something tangible.
You don’t know it, but Eren feels the same.
After the fifth exhale, Eren pulls away, the blunt a simple stub as he flicks it away onto the night stand, and you miss him being too close. You miss his hands, you miss his warmth, you crave his touch.
“Eren,” you call, unable to think of or see anything but him in the haze. He answers with a strained, “Yeah?” keening towards the sound of your voice, wide eyes flitting all over your face.
It’s too much, too close, too hot. That’s when you cup his jaw, pull him forward, and meld your lips together.
Kissing Eren is painfully familiar, and unnervingly satisfying. It’s certainly not your first kiss with him; and, yet he has a way of making you feel like it is while reminding you of your history. His lips are soft, and they taste like smoke and the chapstick you swear by because he refuses to buy or test out his own.
You pull away too soon, gauging his reaction with blown-out eyes, before dipping forward to have him against you again. Then again, and again, and again, until Eren is tired of your leaving, and his hands are back on your neck.
This kiss is deeper, Eren searching to satisfy the hunger aching inside of him, and you’re happy to comply when his thumb is pressing at your lower lip again. You open your mouth for him and he doesn’t waste a moment, brushing his tongue against yours experimentally, and then flush into your mouth.
He groans when you rake your fingers into his hair, and pulls back with a hissing noise when you scratch at his nape. Large hands move to grip at your waist, and he pulls you into his lap with a concentrated gaze—a brief second for him to admire the sight of you on top of him, before he resumes kissing you. He sucks on your tongue, rolls his past your teeth, and bites on your bottom lip.
You know he relishes in the sounds he elicits from you, and under any normal circumstance, you’re willing to put up a fight with him, but not now. Now, you let him unzip the back of your dress and snake his hands beneath the fabric. The rubbing motions of his hands turn into gripping, gripping into grinding, and eventually, an unfiltered moan slips past your lips when you feel Eren’s erection roll against you.
“Fuck,” he pulls back with a suck of your swollen lip, “You’re so hot.”
Eren quickly switches your positions so that he’s hovering over you. You chuckle lightly underneath him, taking the opportunity to run both your hands through his hair and cradle his head in your hold, “Haven’t done anything yet.”
“I know,” Eren murmurs, dipping his head down to press kisses into your neck, “Still so sexy. So pretty, always.”
Eren bites a hickey into your collar bone, and everywhere he can touch; your neck, your ears, your cheeks, your lips. Your moaning serves as the spark to keep him going, but he’s barely coherent himself the way you keep pulling at his hair and grinding yourself against him. Even through his clothes, you can feel how painfully hard he is.
He barely catches your tongue between his lips when you moan again, sucking harshly before bruising his lips over yours again. His hands are grabby again, finally pulling your dress completely off of your body, leaving it to form a puddle on the ground. They’re back on your as soon as possible, massaging over your tits, and running his index finger over your nipples.
“Eren... Eren, please,” you whimper, chest heaving as you look down at him. He rolls his index finger over your right nipple, with his left hand teasing the other with his thumb. You can’t tell if the look in his eyes is a product of the weed, or just his glassy, borderline predatory stare, but it makes you shiver with pleasure when he wraps his mouth around your nipple and sucks.
“I want you.”
“Want you, too,” Eren hums, pulling back with a thin trail of spit from your breast, before moving to give your left nipple the same treatment, “More than you know.”
You keen to him when he teases his teeth against you, finally having had enough you force him off of you with a tug of his hair. “Then take off your clothes.”
Eren blinks, wide-eyed but glazed all the same. He chuckles lightly, a blush spreading over his cheeks as he nods. He sits back on his knees, pulling his shirt over his head, forgoing undoing the buttons, and pauses briefly with his hands over the zipper of his pants.
“Please tell me you’re not that gone that you forgot how to undo your zipper,” you tease him, chest still heaving from his previous ministrations. Eren smiles, doe-eyed and hazy, and shakes his head.
“No,” he reassures you, finally undoing his zipper and shimmying his pants off his legs, “Was trying to remember what underwear I was wearing. Didn't want it to be embarrassing.”
His honesty makes you laugh, and Eren pauses for a moment to soak it in. Even like this, even with him stumbling over the steps to undress himself, and you almost completely naked in front of him, he can make you smile. There’s something equally sexy and endearing about your giggles; a juxtaposition that makes him want to hug you or kiss you or something in between. And you—you like the look in his eyes even through your giggling; the way he smiles back and blushes and tells you exactly what he’s thinking.
“It’s okay,” you tell him, “Don’t think mine are particularly sexy either.”
Eren hums, shuffling back on to the bed so that he’s between your legs, and leans forward to kiss you again. He still can’t seem to keep his hands off of you, his fingers immediately flying to your underwear and peeling them off your legs, pulling you closer despite the lack of space between your bodies.
“Yeah, doesn’t matter,” Eren echos, tossing the offending item to the side, before cupping your face in his hands, “I’d still wanna fuck you in your granny panties.”
“You wanna fuck me?” you question, eyes sparkling and hopeful.
“Yeah, I do,” Eren can’t help but to smile again, happy and high and drunk on you, too, “Will you let me?”
Your feverish nodding is all it takes for Eren’s mind to go hazy again; clouded with you, you, you. You pull him into a kiss, arching your body into his, and running your hands down the sides of his back. He moans at the feeling, punishing you by nipping at your lower lip and pressing your stomach back to the mattress with his palm.
Your eyes meet his as Eren lines himself up with your cunt, teasing your folds with the head; but it doesn’t take long before he finally pushes in, sheathing himself inside you completely without movement. He waits a minute, whether it’s to make you comfortable, or to gather his own bearings, you’re not sure; but when he’s ready, he flashes you a smile and waits for one in return, before he starts thrusting.
You know Eren’s not gentle; rough whether or not he intends to be by virtue of his size in comparison to you, but you seem to have forgotten just how capable he is of making you lose your senses. He has you gasping, grasping at him at him unintelligibly, feeling full with his cock inside of you.
Eren groans, borderline growls, when he feels you clench around him, when he sees you shaking beneath him. He could do this all; could watch you all day.
“So pretty, the prettiest. Prettiest girl, my favorite girl,” Eren praises, eyes raking up and down your thrashing body, “My favorite fucking girl.”
“Yeah? I’m your favorite, too?” Eren coos, reaching out to guide your arms over your head, the force of his body pinning your hands down; you can hardly gasp before he lacess your fingers together, and gives you a reassuring squeeze.
“Promised you, didn’t I? That I’d be good to you, be on my best behavior,” Eren reminds you, leaning forward.
He eyes your necklace—eyes glued to ring around it—bouncing with your body. He bends his head down to kiss it, bites at the skin near it; a possessive streak overcoming him as the diamonds shine against you. “I said I’d treat you good, always. Meant it.”
He stutters, when you squeeze him back; fingers tightening around his hold, your pussy clenching around his cock. Your whining is insistent, and mixes with Eren’s low moans and guttural noises. Eren doesn’t let up his pace, fucking you fast and deep, and it’s only a matter of time before you feel a knot twisting in your belly.
You attempt to move your arms, searching for a release of the feeling building up inside of you but Eren is strong; stronger than you, and he keeps you in your place. Keeps your arms pinned above you, keeps his palms pressed into yours, keeps his lips hovering above yours, just out of reach.
“Eren,” you call his name through shaky moans.
“Yeah? What, baby?”
And so he does, his lips needy and hungry over yours. Eren fucks you and kisses you through your orgasm, tasting your moans on his tongue in timing with him cumming inside of you. You don’t let up; kissing him lewdly while you both come down from your highs.
“So good,” Eren croons against your lips, down your jaw, into your skin, “So good for me.”
You both moan in chorus when he finally pulls out, Eren’s head laying on your collar, nose nuzzling into your neck. He lets your hands free, and immediately you wrap them around his back, holding him close as you both attempt to catch your breaths.
You don’t know how long you lay there like that, with Eren on top of you, and your thumb rubbing circles into his cheek while he sleeps soundly. Maybe an hour, maybe more, maybe less; but the euphoria of your sex doesn’t quiet seem to fade.
It might last all night, maybe even for the rest of your trip but you don’t mind. You think back to earlier in the evening, when you’d caught his gaze after your dance. The feeling isn’t all that different; warm, and fuzzy, and too much and not enough all at once. It feels good, it feels like Eren.
You hum softly to yourself, careful not to wake up the sleeping boy on your chest, when you realize exactly what these two moments have in common: a rare event in which Eren is still in front of you, steady and stagnant, no running or chasing; and you don’t want to let him go.
Sometimes Eren thinks you act oblivious on purpose just to fuck with him, because there’s absolutely no way you—or any human with a functioning nervous system and social cues—can’t tell that he’s completely, stupidly, and embarrassingly in love with you.
Long gone are his days of trying to deny it or get over it. He realized that sophomore year of high school—almost eight years ago—that no matter where he went, what kind of drug he inhaled, or how hard he tried, you’d be permanently etched into his heart. That doesn’t make it any less exhausting, and, in fact, only makes it more astounding that you haven’t caught on yet. Honestly, Eren’s considered hiring a private psychiatrist just to make nothing’s wrong with you.
Amazingly, the remainder of your vacation continues just like the former half. The only exception being that now you’re in Paris. And that he’s shamelessly coerced you into letting him fuck your brains out on several occasions. But besides that, everything’s chill.
Just two best friends traveling through France together and stopping to fuck in any semi-private location they can find. Just two peas in a pod walking along the Champs Elysées at damn near midnight. Just two best buds with linked arms tasting (see: feeding each other) every macaron flavor they come across while violinists play stupidly romantic, classical music in the background.
He knows he should probably talk to you about it, but for some reason he can’t. Like telling you would make it all too real, and give it a meaning that could so easily be taken away from him; give you a reason to want to leave him. Right now, it’s just a fantasy, and he’s free to keep dreaming, believing that he’s special and worth enough for the affection you’ve shown him.
He doesn’t want to be one in a list of your boyfriends, or fiances, or husbands; he wants to be your only one, and if he can’t be, then he’d rather be stuck to your side as your best friend. At least that way, in someway, he could remain special to you; not a forgotten, ordinary ex of your past.
Though, a best friend who he’s sleeping with regularly and he’s in love with and will always be in love with is starting to sound a lot like a husband to him. At least, the kind of husband he would like to be to you.
You call his name, asking him if he wants to try another sweet. Eren rolls his eyes. What he wants is to fuck you, and marry you, and have you bless his stupid little existence with two runts for kids that look like him but act like you so his life savings don’t run out by the time they’re twelve. But sure, he’ll settle for having you feed him another macaron in the meantime.
“This one tastes just like the coconut one,” he mumbles, chewing his way through the pastry you’d stuffed into his mouth whole.
It’s the seventh bakery you’ve stopped at tonight, and even though Eren’s growing pretty sick of the sugary treats, he’ll walk with you to every damn bakery in Paris tonight if that’s what you want.
He blinks at the thought. He’s so lovesick it’s disgusting. And he wouldn’t do a damn thing to change it.
“That’s probably because it’s almond and coconut flavored,” you say, wiping the stickiness from your fingers onto a napkin.
“I didn’t taste any almonds.”
“I don’t even think you could spell almond, much less tell me what they taste like.”
Eren simply pouts in refute, leaving you giggling at his expression. He doesn’t know if it’s possible, but you seem even prettier in Paris than in Nice. But, that’s probably his rose-colored glasses speaking.
“You think there’ll be macarons at the reception?” you question, biting into yet another pistachio flavored treat, “And if not, would it be rude to bring my own?”
He chuckles. “Yes, babe, I’m sure there will be macarons there.”
He’s always loved Paris, even when his mom moved away here and left him in New York, and he’d always loved it more when you’re with him. He feared that having to attend another, what he considered to be wasteful, wedding in arguably one of his favorite places in the world would leave a bitter taste in his mouth; but, thankfully, he’s only fallen deeper in love since being here.
“You sure you won’t be sick of them by tomorrow?” he asks, watching you debate between taste testing another variation of vanilla bean or rosé.
“How could I get sick of them?” you answer offhandedly, not sparing him a glance away as you choose the pink snack. How could he get sick of you.
“By the time we get back to New York you’ll have forgotten all about them,” he scoffs.
“Don’t worry I’ll quit it soon. I’ll have to eat something solid if I wanna take my meds and go to bed,” you spew with a smile, unaware of what you’ve actually just said, “But they are delicious and I have no regrets.”
Eren pauses. Then so do you, mouth stuffed with sickly sweet.
“I know, you know,” he cuts you off, “About the meds and stuff.”
You look like you could pass out, or scream, or cry, or everything in between. Eren figures saying more is better than saying less, so he continues.
“I saw a bottle in the bathroom a few months ago,” he admits shyly, but careful about his tone, “Didn’t understand half the words on the label, but it had your name on it so I just, uh… Googled it.”
Of course he knows. Eren’s always kind of known, just never had the words to express it. He imagines that’s what you’re feeling right now.
“Oh,” you finally gape, “Why didn’t you, um… you know, like, say… anything?”
“It seemed like your secret to tell,” Eren shrugs, features softening out, “Besides, I figured you’d tell me when you wanted to.”
Eren’s always been better at showing than saying, anyway. He hopes that his actions, small as they may seem, might have provided you with any sort of comfort in the past few months. Maybe even before that, too.
“Oh,” you repeat, continually blinking at him, “That’s… that’s it? You’re cool with it?”
Now it’s Eren’s turn to blink. “What do you mean am I cool with it? They’re your meds.”
“Yeah, but like… you’re not mad I didn’t tell—”
“Of course I’m not mad,” he cuts you off with a soft smile, “It’s not really my business. I mean, like, you’re my business because I care about you, but you have your own private stuff, too, which is cool. Besides, when I was, uh, researching it, I learned that it can be hard to tell people stuff like that even if—”
Eren shuts up when he feels your weight against him and your arms wrapped around him. Shell shocked, he takes a moment to hug you back, and slowly comes to rest his chin atop your head after leaving a flurry of kisses.
“You didn’t have to look it up or do any kind of research, you know,” you mumble softly into his jacket. Eren borderline chortles, but only hugs you more tightly.
“Of course I did. If not for you, then for myself, because I meant it when I said I’d never seen half the words on the prescription before in my life,” he replies, heart glowing at the sound of your small chuckles.
He’s expecting an equally witty response, but you surprise him when you pull back just enough to face him, a hazy smile on your face. “You’re amazing, Eren.”
Don’t blush, fool. Don’t blush, fool. Don’t blush—fucking idiot.
“Yeah, I’m pretty great,” he boasts, leaning back into the coolest pose he could muster up while ignoring the growing heat creeping up his neck. It’s all in vain as you reach over to playfully tug at one of his ears.
He thinks you’re pretty like this. All the time, but most notably when he has you in his arms. So pretty, that he has to lean forward to kiss you; you don’t seem to mind, if the way you smile into the kiss is any indication of your feelings. Eren finds himself mirroring your grin; moving his arms from around your waist to the sides of your face.
The workers in this poor little café probably hate the two of you, but he doesn’t fucking care. He’s got his favorite girl in his arms right now, and you taste like almonds and coconuts and like the love of his life.
And he should tell you. Eren wants to tell you, and he finds himself wondering if those same intrusive, fearful thoughts were part of the driving force behind your own reason to keep your secrets from him.
You pull away from him, hands lightly draped around his neck, and you smile like you’re shy—like he hasn’t known you your whole life. Still, Eren finds himself smiling back; and thinks that if you were brave enough to tell him how you were feeling, then he should do the same.
“(_____), I… I gotta tell you something,” he starts, voice soft as his fingers curl around your waist a little more tightly, “Though, I’m kind of hoping you already know.”
You blink at him, almost innocently. Eren bites the inside of his jaw; you’re going to have to stop doing that before he jumps you again.
Better now than never, he supposes. He tries to shake his nerves when he takes your hands in his, completely covering them with his palms, and closes his eyes. Despite that, you try to offer him comfort, squeezing his fingers as best you can; and Eren takes that moment to thank his lucky stars for whoever decided to put you in his life. Because he knows that no matter what, even if he royally fucks this up, you’ll find some way to be there for him.
He slowly blinks his eyes open again, gaze resting on the ring around your neck. A faded chuckle escapes his lips when looks at it. The only one who got the wrong idea about his gift was you. But, he supposes that’s his fault; he never did explain it, after all.
“It’s nothing… It’s just that, I’m in—”
But Eren’s startled by a voice that makes him freeze. He almost wants to believe he misheard it, but he can hear the telltale clacking of vintage heels on the floor of the bakery and he knows that he didn’t mishear a thing.
Eren turns his head, and sure enough, there is his mother, in all her five foot glory, adorned in designer clothing from her beret to her shoes. With a fucking street urchin on her arm.
“Well, well, well, what a lovely surprise,” Carla beams, red lipstick perfectly in place even after a long day of wear.
Eren’s eyebrows draw together, as he takes in his mother and her fiancé standing in front of him. He can just barely register you calling out towards her, carefully maneuvering yourself off of his lap, and into the neighboring chair; but still keeping your right hand wrapped around his left. He can feel you squeeze it—whether to give him comfort, or warning, he’s not sure yet; probably both.
“It’s so good to see you!” you beam, excitedly offering her and Mitchell a seat across from the two of you at the table. Eren opens his mouth to refute, but you squeeze his hand again; a warning.
Carla leans forward to encase you in a hug, exchanging cheek kisses, and leaving Eren to stare at the street rat across from him. Mitchell seems to know better than to make eye contact with him, irises scattering from Carla’s back to the décor of the bakery while the two girls catch up.
“We missed you at the rehearsal dinner on Sunday,” Carla recounts, eyes fluttering to Eren’s briefly. One look into her son’s eyes, and she understands why; one look into his mother’s eyes, and Eren knows she has him all figured out. “I was worried you might not show at all.”
Eren strategically averts your gaze when you turn your head towards him, choosing to look at his mother instead.
“I didn’t even know there was a rehearsal dinner,” you tell her, tone polite, but Eren can hear the clear jab directed towards him, “I’m sorry, I—we would have gone, otherwise.”
“No need to apologize, darling,” Carla smiles, “I’m sure you two were very busy.”
“We were,” Eren cuts in, words definite. He sees a hint of surprise flash in his mother’s eyes briefly, expertly covered up with her sweet demeanor. She only nods in understanding, sitting back a bit to wrap her arm around Mitchell’s.
“What are you even doing here, Ma?” Eren questions, even as you do the same with his hands under the table, “Isn’t it bad luck to see the groom before the wedding.”
“After the third or fourth wedding, you grow tired of pleasantries and superstitions, my love,” she replies, “This place makes Mitchell’s favorite macarons, we thought we’d share a few before the big day. Maybe get some tea as a pre-celebration.”
The topic of sweets has you speaking up once again, engaging both his mother and Mitchell in a discussion about them, and your other findings from bakery hopping earlier. If Eren didn’t love you to pieces, he would have left the table a long time ago.
It carries on much longer than he can bear to endure; almost an hour of you, and his mother, and Mitchell making pleasant conversation while he tries his best not to brood beside you, but it’s futile. He feels like a little kid again. Stuck at the dinner table with his mother and a man he was being forced to get to know, only for him to become a stranger to him in a matter of months.
Eren grinds his teeth into each other when you laugh at something Mitchell says. He’s not going to sit through his any longer; or ever again.
“Well, this has been fun,” Eren says, voice blatantly monotonous as his cuts through the conversation, “But we should all probably head back go to bed. Big day tomorrow.”
“Eren, we should—” but, he stands up quickly, hand wrapping around yours to force you upwards too.
He doesn’t care to look at you, knowing the dissatisfied expression he’ll be met with. He fishes for his wallet and pulls out too many Euros, neatly tucking them under an unused knife to pay for the meal.
Eren’s steps out from between his chair and the table. “We’ll see you guys tomorr—” But is stopped before he can take three steps away.
His mother’s hand wrapped around his wrist. She stands, significantly shorter than Eren’s full height. “Actually, Eren, could I borrow you for a bit?”
And he doesn’t want to, because he knows exactly the conversation waiting for him. But he looks down at her, lets his eyes flicker to you, and back to her, and he knows he doesn’t have the heart to walk away. Not even if he tried.
He sighs with a shallow nod. He can feel your hand on his shoulder, the proud smile on your lips when you tell him that you’ll meet him back at your hotel. Mitchell ensures him and Carla that he’ll make sure you get back safely, and Eren still can’t stand the guy, but he’s grateful that he can at least be of use for something.
Eren kisses you on the forehead briefly, a promise to you and himself that he’ll finish his confession later. After all, he probably should come to terms with the woman who taught him what love is before he vowed to love you for the rest of his life.
The walk to his mother’s hotel is silent, Eren choosing to keep to himself, hands stuffed in his pockets to prevent his mom from holding them. He’s probably acting like a child, but isn’t that what he is to her; isn’t that she treats him as.
“Look, Ma, you don’t need my approval to marry him,” Eren grumbles, when they finally exit the elevator into the hotel room, “It doesn’t matter to me.”
“Of course I don’t,” Carla offers him a small grin, even if he won’t look at her directly, “But it matters to me.”
“Why does it matter now? It didn’t matter with Keith, or Henry, or Henri with an I, or any of the others,” Eren mumbles, reluctantly taking a seat on the stool opposite the vanity.
His mother tracks his movements with soft eyes and an amused grin as Eren absentmindedly bends a knee and begins to fiddle with the hem of his pants. Just like he used to when he was upset as a child.
“It mattered then, too, Eren,” she tells him, sitting on the stool and facing him.
He’s surprised by her words, his wide eyes giving him away even if he attempts to act unfazed. “It didn’t seem like it.”
Carla opens her mouth to speak, but closes it, words stuck in her throat. She watches Eren’s hunched figure, her tall son not even bothering to look her in the eyes. She exhales slowly; if he were five feet smaller, he’d have tucked himself under her arm, still refusing to look at her, but he’d have snuggled his head into her side while he pouted anyway.
“I suppose it didn’t,” she admits, “In the end, the love wasn’t enough to make it last, then.”
Eren is quiet for a bit at that, pulling at his pants leg. “And… and you love him enough, now?”
“It’s more than love, Eren. It’s... happiness—for yourself and another person—it’s being okay with somebody knowing you now, and forever. Whichever version of you that is.”
“Then why did you marry them before?” Eren asks, “If you knew it wasn’t enough, if you knew it was just going to end up as another big mistake.”
“Maybe the marriages were a mistake, and some of what came with them, but I don’t think the feelings were,” Carla muses, “Love is never wasted.”
“How can you say that?” Eren questions, disbelief and exasperation painted on his face, “Of course it is—you wasted your time, and your money, and your—your everything on those people who couldn’t care less about you now!”
“You let them into our house,” Eren speaks over her, “You let them into your life, and they left. They always left—”
“—And you even let some of them come back! Everyone, you let everyone have another chance, another anniversary, another wedding,” He’s ranting, crying, hot, irrational tears streaming down his face; hiccups interrupting his speech, “So—so, so if it’s not wasted and everyone gets another chance and another chance and another chance—why didn’t he come back, huh? For his?”
Eren’s standing now, arms flailing every which way during his breakdown, but his mother doesn’t try to stop him. She lets him continue, hears him out.
“If it’s love—if it’s not wasted, and it’s real—then why didn’t he come back? Why didn’t he want to? Why—why didn’t he want me? Why did I end up the bastard?”
Eren looks his mother in the eyes for the first time in the duration of their conversation with that final question; with his vision blurry, and chest heaving, and cheeks wet. Carla has no words to say; can only carefully open her arms, and wait for her son to come crashing into them. And he does; and it rains and pours, and Eren holds onto his mother for dear life, and onto the pieces of her breaking heart.
“Am I not good enough to have that kind of love?” Eren asks through tears, “Am I not special enough to want to know?”
“Eren,” she finally speaks, moving to cradle his head in her hands, “You don’t have to be special or good, to be known or loved. It’s enough that you were born. That’s enough to make you deserving of love.”
She doesn’t mind the tears against her palms or the hiccups of Eren’s breathing, “And you already have it.”
And Eren looks at her with eyes wide and wild like a child, staring at the first person to have ever loved someone as messed up, and plain, and ordinary as him; and he can feel more tears bubbling at his eyes.
“Ma, I’m—I’m so sorry,” he chokes out, wrapping his arms around her even tighter, chin resting on her shoulder while his shake through his tears, “I’m so fucking sorry.”
Carla hugs her son as close as she can, like he’s five years old and the apple of her eye and she can take all his pain away. “You don’t have to be. You’re my son, and I’ll love you always.”
It feels like they have all the time in the world like that, to hug and cry and apologize; but Carla hopes Eren knows that he was always forgiven; that he never had anything to apologize for in the first place.
“She loves you, too, baby,” she coos, holding Eren as tight as possible, “But you have to let her know that. That you accept it.”
“Do you think she knows?” Eren asks, words muffled into the fabric of her clothing, “That I love her, too?”
“I do,” Carla confirms, pulling away to look at Eren in the eyes; his beautiful, shining, green eyes, “But I don’t think that either of you really realized it. I mean, you did give her an engagement ring, darling.”
Eren huffs at the memory, “She thought it was a gift.”
“Because you gave it to her as a gift.”
“I thought it was pretty obvious.”
“Love has a way of making people blind,” Carla muses, “Especially two lovesick semi-adults with too much money on their hands.”
Eren’s cheeks grow pink at the accusation, “It’s your money!”
“Yes, and I’m very happy to have it,” Carla chuckles, motioning for Eren to stand up. He does, and she looks up at him with glimmering, proud eyes. “Now, go, shoo. You have a girl to propose to, don’t you? There might be two Jaeger weddings this weekend.”
Eren nods, certain of himself for the first time in a while. He turns on his heel with a vigor igniting his footsteps, but pauses when he reaches the elevator. He makes a sharp turn, running back to his mom one last time, and squeezing her suddenly, and tightly against him.
“I love you, mom,” he says; the words too foreign on his tongue, and he vows to not let them be a stranger to his vocabulary from here on out.
“I love, you, too, Eren,” Carla calmly wraps her arms around her son one last time, “And I always will.”
You half-expected your walk back to your hotel with Mitchell to be painfully awkward, but he proves to be a pleasant conversationalist, even in Carla’s absence.
You know that Eren isn’t fond of him, but you wish that he would at least give him a chance. There’s no way to know if a marriage—if any relationship—will last forever, but, sometimes, you think it’s not about knowing about forever; but, rather about wanting it to make it there; about willing to go the distance with that person.
You can see that want, that willingness that works alongside love in Mitchell and Carla’s relationship, that stands out from her past marriages. You get the feeling they’re going to last; and that, most importantly, they both want it to, too.
It’s quiet out as you both walk the streets of Paris, Mitchell taking the time to point out small notes in architecture that interest you. You readjust your jacket as a gust of wind washes over you, careful to make sure your necklace doesn’t snag against your clothing.
“That’s a beautiful ring,” he calls to you gently.
“Thank you,” Surprised, you quickly let out an embarrassed cough, looking down to your left hand resting atop the uppermost button on your coat. “It was a gift.”
“I meant that one,” Mitchell corrects, carefully gesturing to his own neck to indicate that he was talking about the ring on your necklace, and not the one on your finger.
“Oh, thank you,” you repeat, “That one was actually a gift, too.”
The older man hums, continuing your walk to your hotel. “Must have been one hell of a gift. I don’t know many people who give out engagement rings as presents.”
“Oh, no, no, no, it wasn’t—it’s not an engagement ring,” you tell him, feeling a warmth creep up your cheeks even in the chilly atmosphere of the night, “Eren gave it to me, actually, a few years ago—it was a Christmas gift.”
“Eren, huh?” Mitchell smiles fondly, “That makes sense. Carla tells me how much he cares about you.”
“You—she does?” you stutter. Mitchell nods. “I—I mean, I care about him, too.”
“Enough to accept an engagement ring from him, it seems,” Mitchell taunts, “I’m no specialist, but I know a Harry Winston piece when I see it. They’re not cheap.”
“Trust me, I know,” you scoff, “I almost killed him when I saw how much he spent on it.”
“And you took it, anyway?”
“Well, he—he was supposed to return it,” you defend yourself, “Because I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea! But he just, well, he gave me the other one instead, so I wear that one on my hand.”
Mitchell pauses, just as you both stand to the entrance of your hotel. “And what was the wrong idea you didn’t want people getting.”
“That... that...,” you pause, thinking back to that Christmas day.
Even though Eren is known for spending ludacris amounts of money, the ring came as a genuine surprise to you. A couple thousand on shoes, sure—you’re victim to that yourself; a couple hundred thousand on a lavish vacation wasn’t out of the ordinary, either; but a million, maybe even more, on a ring that you could have only ever asked of him in your dreams was another thing completely.
And, sure, even a few million didn’t mean much to you or Eren at the end of the day, but it wasn’t just the price; it was the object of the money, too. To accept a house, or a car, or a jet for that amount is something you could rationalize; but a ring seemed foreign, and far out of your league.
Then there was the display and value it held beyond money. It’s beautiful, gorgeous, but more than that, it’s tailored to your exact liking. The synthesis of your aesthetic and everything you could ask for, garnished with the memory of Eren in the very design; the diamonds you love, the flowers that remind him of you, and the way they stems wrap around each other and the petals meet in the middle.
A small gasp leaves your lips and instinctively, you reach to clutch the ring in your hold. There was no way this was an engagement ring... Eren hadn’t proposed to you when he gave it to you—in fact, he was so casual about it, that it had you stunned that he hadn’t thought to consider that other people might think it meant something more than what he intended it to be.
But, looking back, it seems like you’re the only one who didn’t understand what was going on. Because Eren told you, even then, that he’d wanted you forever; you didn’t know how to hear him. It was all right there—not just in the ring, but in all his gifts, in the entirety of your friendship.
Eren loves you, more than you could ever know.
“It’s an engagement ring,” you say aloud, but more to yourself than to Mitchell, “Oh my god, it’s an engagement ring.”
Mitchell can’t do anything but smile at your revelation. You’re practically bouncing off the walls, connecting the puzzle pieces of your relationship in the middle of the street at damn near midnight, but you don’t care; because it finally feels right, and it finally, finally all makes sense.
“He, but he never pro—oh my fucking god, I’m going to kill him.”
You feel elated and confused and happy and murderous all at once. Eren wanted to marry you; Eren loved you. He wants you for the rest of his life, and you’ve been too blind to see it this entire time.
Still, you think that maybe a verbal proposal might have helped to open your eyes a bit.
“Mitchell, I have to—”
You’re cut off by the echo of your name coming from the opposite end of the street, and you can just barely make out of Eren’s figure in the faded lights of the street lamps. His name falls from your lips like a whisper, and you hardly register Mitchell’s amused, soft laughter from beside you.
“I think that’s my cue,” he says, patting you on the shoulder, “I better get back to Carla. Something tells me you two have a bit to talk about.”
You can barely nod at him, eye still wide and stunned, but a smile on your face even in your fearful anticipation. You don’t have time to thank him before he turns away, bidding you goodnight; and then you have something else to focus on, as Eren’s footsteps grow louder, and his silhouette grows sharper the closer he gets to you.
He practically crashes into you, chest heaving, hair wind-swept and wild from his running. He puts his hands on your shoulders, to steady himself physically and mentally, labored breaths ghosting over the top of your head.
“Hi,” he finally squeaks; and that stupid, big, dopey grin is on his face.
It’s ridiculous, so utterly ridiculous that you can’t help but greet him back. The two of you stand there, smiling like fools for god knows how long, before the realization strikes you for a second time.
Eren opens his mouth to finally speak, but a pained squeal leaves his lips instead as he feels the back of your hand slap his chest. “Ouch—hey, what was that for!”
“What the hell do you think you were doing proposing to me without telling me?” you screech, packing another punch to his chest for good measure, but it’s a poor barrier and does nothing to stop your tears from falling, “You’re an idiot, I should kill you for this, you know that, Eren Jaeger?”
Eren laughs softly, only to be heard by you in close proximity. He takes your offending hand in his, and reaches for your other, pulling both of them between your bodies. He can feel tears welling in his own eyes, as he looks down at the necklace, glimmering perfectly under the moonlight.
“In my defense, the first thing you told me to do when I gave it to you was to return it.”
“I might not have said that if you told me what it meant,” you can hardly choke out a laugh through your tears; and Eren can’t stop his from falling either, “It’s insane, you know. This whole thing—to ask me to marry you at 19. For me to not realize until we’re 21.”
“I know,” Eren agrees, inching closer even though there’s barely any room between you, “I know. But I know I love you, every version of you. I always have, I always will.”
You close your eyes as Eren’s hands move to your face, gingerly sweeping your tears away from your cheeks. He feels too close, it feels like too much; but you don’t want him to move.
“You know... if you had asked me, then,” you start, blinking your eyes open with a sniffle; you’re met with Eren’s emerald greens one with far too much hope and love glimmering in them, “I—I don’t even know what I would have said.”
“And if I asked you now?”
You pull your bottom lip between your teeth, slowly raising your hands to wrap around Eren’s wrist, and lower them to your neck, before looking at him again, “Ask me.”
Eren blinks, carefully trailing his hands up and around your neck, nimble fingers undoing the clasp of your necklace. He hardly lets the chain pool into his hand before it’s tossed aside, and the ring is still between his thumbs and index fingers as he lowers himself on to one knee.
“You are the love of my life, and there’s not a single version of life—a single version of you, or me—where I don’t want to be with you forever,” Eren says, “And you know how shit I am with my words, but I fucking mean it. I swear to you, that I’ll do my best every day to show you how much you mean to me; marry me, and I’ll prove it to you, I swear, I will.”
Your lips are wobbling at Eren’s confession below you, and you can just barely beckon him upwards in your state. He’s hardly back on two feet before you’re pulling him against you, ghosting the word “yes” on his lips before you kiss him.
You both melt into the kiss, Eren’s hands skillfully cupping your cheeks, while he keeps the ring in his hold and bruises your lips together.
“You don’t have to prove it to me, Eren,” you assure him, hand shaking when you pull apart and let him slip the ring onto your finger—where it belongs, “You already have.”
For his first birthday as a married man, Eren requested something intimate. He wanted just a small celebration with all of your mutual friends, some good food, alcohol, and lots of fun.
Supposedly simple and intimate for him entailed renting out the top floor of the Whitney, which was currently encasing an exhibit portraying some kind of abstract modern art that allowed for a very drunk Eren and Armin have to entertain themselves by trying their best to recreate the paintings using very flawed couples aerial yoga.
The art, paired with the dimmed lighting, Jean’s choice selection of overtly sexual music, and Eren’s pick of overpriced champagne also meant that Marco, Bertholdt, Connie, and Sasha found everything ten times funnier than they were—which meant they were a million times louder than usual.
Jean stands next to you by the bar, watching as Eren attempts to hold Armin above his head by holding on to just his waist. They’re unsuccessful, of course, resulting in both boys toppling onto the ground as the majority of their older friends laugh along.
“Lucky me, I get to take him home at the end of the night,” you drawl, turning to the bartender to order another drink.
She smiles, easily preparing your martini and sliding it you with an inquiry. “That’s your boyfriend? The tall one with the brown hair?”
“No,” you sigh, eyes closed for a moment before taking the glass between your fingers. “That’s my husband, unfortunately.”
× even more notes: this fic. is my baby. it’s been a draft of mine for over two years at this point. it’s gone through various fandoms but i’ve never quite been able to complete and post it, so i’m very happy that it’s finally here! i hope you all enjoyed, and i just wanted to say that i’m glad to finally have been able to share this with you all!