11. Coward

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"You look like shit," were the first words that Troye heard the next morning. With a frustrated groan, he opened his eyes that felt like swollen slits due to his previous crying and was met by Tyler's unimpressed glare.

"Fuck off, Ty," Troye leaned back on the pillow, ducking his head under the covers.

His friend, however, was having none of it, "Do you know what time it is?"

"I don't give a fuck o'clock," he mumbled grumpily.

"Rude!" Tyler simply pulled the covers from him, exposing his half-clothed form to the sunlight streaming from the window and cold air in the room.

Troye whined loudly, kicking the mattress with his feet, before finally sitting up, giving up the idea to smoke Tyler out of the room.

"Seriously, we've been up for a couple of hours, but we were waiting for you, and Connor refused to let us wake you up earlier," Tyler complained, while folding the comforter and taking a seat on the bed. As he took in Troye's face, he gasped, "Have you been crying?"

Troye pursed his lips, shaking his head, "It's not important."

Tyler raised his eyebrows, "No offense, but you look like you've slept with your head in the beehive."

"I'm dealing with it," not meeting his friend's stare, Troye sputtered more for his own benefit rather than Tyler's, "I can't undo the mess I've made, so I might as well make the best of the not good situation."

Tyler gave him a curious look, drawling somewhat jokingly, "You've changed." He then proceeded to pat his leg, "Seriously, though, how are you? I worry about you a lot."

Covering himself with Connor's blanket, Troye rolled over, so he could lay his head on Tyler's lap, looking up at him earnestly, "It's me who should worry about you. I mean, how is your mom? How is your family? But, more importantly, how are you?"

For a second Tyler looked at him with surprised eyes, but the moment passed rapidly, before he tugged at the corner of the blanket forcefully, so that Troye, whose limbs were tangled in it, rolled out of them and effectively fell on the floor.

"Damn it!"

Tyler laughed loudly at Troye's lost and angry expression, "Well, I feel much better now." As he was leaving the room, he turned to look at Troye seriously from the doorframe, "You have grown up a lot, Troye Sivan."

Troye rubbed his bruised butt, his lower lip in a pout, as he thought about simpler times, when his friend was always there to laugh with him or, more often, at him and support him, whatever stupid shit he did. He sighed heavily, as he started picking clothes for the day.

When he finally arrived to the kitchen, fresh out of shower and dressed properly, he was greeted with busy noises of numerous people in the house. Connor was struggling with a coffeemaker, huffing in frustration, as it refused to accept the ground beans, Hannah and a girl Troye didn't recognize were occupied with making waffles, while Tyler, Korey and Zoe were sat in a row on the barstools in the kitchen, sipping on the orange juice without a care in the world, gossiping about someone.

"You're up," Connor looked at him sharply, almost assessingly, before his face split into a happy smile, as he put away a coffee grinder, "We are going to see the bridge and the zoo today," he pointed at the girls standing by the stove, "Hannah and Ingrid are going with us too."

Having heard their names, the girls looked up simultaneously. While Hannah went to hug Troye as if he were her long-lost brother even though he met her only last night, the other girl - Ingrid - just smiled at him prettily, shaking his hand.

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