The Suggestion

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It was unfair that even Charlie's sad, little sighs were cute. It was as if the universe wanted Matteusz to have a hopeless crush on him.

"What's with the teen angst?" Tanya asked.

"Teen angst is a pejorative phrase."

She only rolled her eyes in response. "Charlie?"

"My parents just emailed me," he answered, which explained why Charlie was looking at his phone like it personally offended him.

Matteusz wondered about how messed up their relationship was, if they emailed their son. But he wasn't exactly in a position to judge, when his parents didn't even talk to him at all. (He had lived with his Babcia until he'd finished school and then moved to a different country for university.)

"They want to spend time with me."

"Isn't that a good thing?" Tanya asked, but lacking her usual blunt tone.

Charlie almost never saw his parents. They were politicians who were apparently too busy working to see their only child. They were working abroad Charlie had said the last time they had asked. (The group had an unspoken agreement not to ask. Family was a touchy subject for them all.)

"No. It's for a meeting or gala or something equally horrific. And I have no choice. They already booked a hotel room and train tickets." Charlie sighed again (still adorable). "I can't cope. It'll be three days of hell."

"I don't envy you," Tanya said. "You better hope there's wifi."

"Are you sure you have to go?" Matteusz asked.

He would rather keep Charlie close, even if he was only going for the weekend. Besides, it didn't seem like him seeing his parents would make Charlie happy and Matteusz understood better than anyone how toxic parents could be.

"I haven't seen my parents since I started university. This is the first time I've heard from them in three months... I should go." Charlie didn't sound convinced. He picked up his phone again and started scrolling.

(Would Matteusz go back to see his own parents if he was asked? Not a chance.)

"You started university two years ago," Tanya said. "That's messed up." Matteusz agreed but kept quiet. Family was a touchy subject, even if it was Charlie who had brought it up in the first place.

"They're busy people. And I am an adult now." Charlie didn't seem so sure of that. "I'm used to it."

"Don't be."

He looked up briefly to smile at Tanya but Matteusz knew Charlie well enough to tell that he didn't mean it. Tanya shot him a worried look.

"When are you going?" Matteusz asked. "That's if you're going?"

"It's next weekend." Charlie tapped the table, which was weird for him. Charlie never fidgeted or slouched. (Tanya bet he could walk with a book perfectly balanced on his head.) "But on the bright side, I can bring someone."

"If only you had a date," Tanya teased. She looked down at her wrist then, where her latest present from her girlfriend was; a golden bracelet. She was loved up, which was sweet. (All of their friends were in love it seemed, which was so far.)

"It doesn't say 'date', it says 'guest'," Charlie corrected, missing the sarcasm. He could be ridiculously oblivious at times, which worked in Matteusz' favour. If Charlie knew about his crush, it could ruin everything.

"It's a- never mind." Tanya caught Matteusz' eye and smirked. (That couldn't be a good sign.) "So, are you planning on bringing anyone? To make it more bearable?"

"Tanya..."

"Yes Matteusz?" she replied, looking more innocent than she was acting. (She knew about how much Matteusz liked him. Everyone seemed to notice it - apart from Charlie himself, thankfully.)

"Do you think it's a good idea to bring someone?" Charlie directed the question at Tanya but was looking at Matteusz.

"I would," Tanya said, smiling, "but I have a girlfriend in the first place so it wouldn't be a competition."

"If you find the right person," Matteusz answered. "Someone special to make it more bearable. Just like Tan said."

"Like you?" Charlie suggested. He was looking at Matteusz softly, which turned his insides to goo. "Sorry, that came out wrong."

Charlie didn't mean it. Of course.

"I get it."

"I meant, would you want to come with me this weekend? It wouldn't be that awful. And then I won't have to spend the whole night making small talk to strangers."

"You can spend the whole night making small talk with Matteusz instead?" Tanya suggested. "What do you think Matti?" She was acting like it was a big joke.

"I don't know," he said. "When is it?"

Charlie squinted at his phone screen. "Next week. But you don't have classes on Mondays."

He was right. "It's only three days?"

Charlie seemed to second guess himself. "You don't have to... I know that I don't want to go."

"No, I'll go with you." Matteusz wondered if he would regret it but Charlie's big, earnest smile was making all the worries melt away.

Three days. Matteusz could manage that. (He hoped.)

This au is one of my favs! Let me know what you thought!

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