I'll be your misfit

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"Ah, you bastard," Nick hisses, throwing down his sewing and sucking his middle finger.

I look up from my book.

He picks up his needle and keeps sewing, pulling thread through glistening fabric. The rhythmic hiss of cotton pulling through taffeta is like a lullaby, so I stretch my neck and scrub haze from my eyes.

"You can sleep," Nick says without looking up. "I'm gonna be hours."

"That's because you've picked the most stupid prom dress I've ever seen."

"That's because no one sells stupid prom dresses for people who don't have boobs."

I close the book. "Yeah, I know. Your stupid prom dress is gonna be stupid cute, though."

He nods firmly and repositions, crossing his legs on the bed. The sequins he's stitching look like someone spilled stars across the duvet between us.

"Want me to help?"

"You can't sew for shit."

"I could try, though," I say, grabbing the pack of needles from his kit. "If you thread—"

"I'll lose track of what I'm doing and make a mistake—go to sleep, Teddy."

"I want to help."

"Help by being quiet."

He isn't really grumpy. He's been working on this dress every night for the last fortnight because it wouldn't be him unless he left it to the last minute. My suit's been reserved for months.

Instead of sleeping, or reading, I curl up against the headboard and watch. He blinks twice a minute, at most, and chews steadily on his lower lip.

"I'll make drinks."

*

When I get back, coffees steaming, he's still stitching. I roll my eyes while he can't see and try to waft the scent towards him.

No reaction.

Something's wrong. He's bowed right over the dress, hiding his face behind chestnut curls, and the room's missing his usual sparkle.

"Hey," I say, sitting back in my space. "What's up?"

"Nothing."

"Nick, c'mon. Give me some credit—"

"What are people gonna think?" He blurts, hands trembling, eyes red and wide. I reach over to take the needle from him, but he's holding tight. "When they see us."

"They already know we're dating," I remind him. "They'll probably look at us and go, damn, those are the hottest boys in school."

He snorts and shakes his head. "No, Ted. They'll look at me and think, why can't he be a normal guy and wear a suit."

"You are a normal guy. In a dress. That's fine—"

"Not everyone thinks it's fine."

"I know it's fine. We're gonna have the best time ever, alright? And if it sucks we'll run away and I'll buy you mozzarella sticks on the way home."

He relaxes his grip on the needle. "Fine. I'm gonna hold you to that."

"Fine. I—Nick, listen."

He blinks heavy eyelids and I squash the urge to sweep aside his beautiful sewing so he can sleep.

"I love you, you gorgeous misfit."

He grins and takes the needle again, picking another sequin. "Love you, too."

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