Being Real - Chapter 13 - tripletrouble (2024)

Chapter Text

Waking up wrapped in Chris’s arms was quickly becoming one of Matt’s top favorite experiences of all time, the warmth of the other man’s body keeping his own cold skin comfortable as his breath gently tickled Matt’s neck, what with his nose being buried into Matt’s collar bone. He grinned in contentment, but couldn’t help from stretching out the last vices of slumber, his bones cracking and popping as he did so.

Chris slowly woke up to the movements made by the man he was holding close. He yawned, pulled Matt in closer, and attempted to stretch his own back in the process which elicited a raspy chuckle from the athlete.

“Morning,” he said.

Chris hummed, pleased. “Morning.” He kissed Matt’s neck. “Did you sleep well?”

Matt pulled Chris’s arms tighter around his body and nodded, turning his head to bury his nose in the other’s chestnut hair. “Mhmm… Better than I have in weeks.”

Chris leaned back to look at him, greeted by the sight of Matt with his hair sticking out in every direction and a blissed out smile gracing his cherry lips. His heart warmed at a sight like this.

He sat up, stretched out his arms with a tired groan, then looked back down at where Matt laid. He leaned down, and the two shared a slow kiss. Chris’s arms slipped back around Matt’s waist, pulling him in even closer. Matt melted against him, chest to chest, feeling his body tingling pleasantly despite the mild ache in his backside.

“Do you have any plans today?” Chris asked, breaking away from Matt’s lips.

Matt frowned and sighed, looking up at him. “I really have to study for finals. Going to be busy all week.”

Chris poured his lips. “Oh, right,” he said. “This is the last I’ll see you till the weekend, huh?”

The latter nodded. “Saturday though?”

With a wince, Chris shook his head. “Busy Saturday with a work thing.”

Matt frowned once more, and didn’t know what to say, feeling disappointment settle in his chest. Monday he was scheduled to be picked up with Nick by the Antonio’s, traveling to their house for the holiday break. He wouldn’t see Chris for three weeks in a row if they missed out on this week. Two was already enough of a frustration.

He turned his head, resting his cheek on the pillow. Chris tucked his fingers under Matt’s chin and brought him gentle to look back at him. “Sunday, okay?” he reassured, pecking his lips. “I promise.”

“Okay,” Matt agreed, kissing him again until Chris rolled over on his side and the two were wrapped up in each other’s embrace again, cozy enough to almost fall back to sleep.

Eventually, after a few minutes, Matt groaned in discontent. “I should really get up,” he said.

Chris chuckled. “I’ll make pancakes, then drive you back,” he said, sliding himself out of bed. “You just keep your cute ass right here.”

Matt grinned, his face turning a rosy pink in fluster. A morning like this — cuddling up close with the promise of breakfast in bed, truly put him in a precarious position. It felt as domestic as post-honeymoon consummation and left him teetering on the edge of bliss and delusion.

It was a rickety seesaw he was riding now, this much he was starting to understand, at least in his deeper subconscious. Forefront and stronger in his mind though was still the refusal to really acknowledge it.

Why would he when morning after pancakes were on their way to him?

The content warmth that lapsed over him clouded any judgment and instead filled him a hazy comfort, nestled deep within the comforters.

The problem was that he was too far deep into his denial to even see that it was a problem.

The thought of the morning he was experiencing being his last for a few weeks made his stomach turn sour, and that was all he needed to know that he was buckled in to ride the high for as long as it would carry him. He just wasn’t going to look down at how far off the ground he was.

Chris walked back in ten or so minutes later, Matt’s eyes having started to flutter close again with half-dreams of half-baked nonsense. He sat up and blinked blearily at the aroma of maple syrup greeting him.

“Mm yum,” he hummed. “Smells good.”

“Hopefully it tastes even better,” Chris grinned, sliding in bed beside him with the trays of food. “It’s my mom’s special recipe. She uses brown sugar instead of cane.”

Matt pursed his lips together in intrigue, sidling up closer to Chris as they both dug in. He moaned when the sweet taste hit his tongue, looking at Chris as if to say ‘are you f*cking kidding me?’

Chris chuckled at his expression and nudged his knee against Matt’s thigh. “Told you it was good,” he said.

“I could eat it all in one bite,” Matt said, syrup dripping down onto his lip.

Chris laughed, reaching forward to wipe off the sticky substance. “That’s a little dramatic,” he said, sticking his thumb in his mouth.

Matt blushed at the gesture, watching as Chris sucked his thumb clean.

Chris looked at him and caught him staring. He pulled his thumb out from his mouth with a soft pop and smirked, leaning forward to kiss Matt. He slid his tongue into the athlete’s mouth, sharing a taste of the sugary maple syrup.

“Mm,” he mumbled. “Even better.”

Matt laughed, and licked into Chris’s mouth once more, before pulling away from the kiss.

The two of them stayed wrapped up together in bed for another twenty minutes, eating pancakes, talking, and drinking coffee before they were eventually ready to go.

Chris slipped out of bed to start getting dressed, while Matt watched him lazily from his position on the mattress for a moment.

“You want sweats or day clothes?” Chris asked him, pulling a pair of pants on and fastening the buttons.

“Sweats,” Matt requested.

Chris pulled out a pair of gray sweatpants and a large, dark blue hoodie. He handed them to Matt, then tossed on a Henley.

Matt looked down at the clothes in his hands, taking note of one particular facet of them — of the shirt specifically. He looked up at Chris who was facing the mirror, and raised an eyebrow at him, huffing and trying to hide a laugh.

“Really?” He said.

“Hmm, what’s that?” Chris asked, feigning oblivion.

Matt unfolded the shirt all the way and held it up. Emblazoned across the entire back of it was ‘OWENS’ in white lettering, with the other man’s company logo on the front’s breast. “How subtle.”

Chris shrugged. “No idea what you’re talking about,” he said, but Matt could see the satisfied smirk creeping onto his lips. He shook his head and got out of bed, grinning as he pulled the shirt on over his head, followed by the sweatpants. He felt Chris’s hands rest on his waist, pulling him back against him.

“You look good in my clothes,” he said, kissing Matt’s neck and wrapping his arms around the other’s waist. “My name on your back...”

Matt rolled his eyes and huffed in exasperation. “Possessive much?” He joked.

“Just a bit,” Chris admitted.

“And what will I say if someone on campus spots me wearing this, huh?” Matt asked curiously, even though he wasn’t exactly putting up a fight on the outfit.

“Part of the whole sponsor deal, isn’t it?” Chris replied. “You keep being good for me, I give you special treatment, and you wear my name so everybody knows who you belong to.”

“Belong to?” Matt repeated, body going rigid in his arms as his cheeks went hot. He was glad Chris couldn’t see his face, otherwise he’d see the pink blush that decided to make itself known again, much to his embarrassment.

Chris’s grin faltered for a moment as he realized what he had said, but he quickly recovered. “I don’t mean like that,” he said, squeezing him tighter.

“What do you mean, then?” Matt asked, curiosity piqued as he ignored the pang in his chest.

“Let’s not read into it too much, hmm?” Chris said, pressing a kiss to Matt’s neck, where Matt hoped he couldn’t feel the rapid thrumming of his pulse. “It’s nothing more than our deal, right?”

Matt gulped, going quiet for a few seconds before he nodded his head slowly. “Yeah… Yeah. You’re right,” he said, spinning himself around and placating a grin on his face that he hoped couldn’t be read as fake. He wrapped his arms around Chris’s neck.

“I am?” Chris asked, almost surprised.

“Of course,” Matt agreed. “I was just being dumb and I’m- I’m tired. Sorry.”

Chris smiled back at him. “You’re not dumb. I’m the one who should apologize. I was just…” he sighed. “I don’t know what I was trying to do. Sex brain.”

“Sex brain?” Matt chuckled at the unexpected statement.

“Come on, how can you expect me to think rationally when you look like that?” He said. “Wearing my clothes, messy hair from my bed, lips all red from kissing mine. You’re like sex on legs right now and it’s taking everything in me to not make a repeat of last night.”

He was thankful Chris’s arms were around him, because if they weren’t, he feared he might fall down on his knees in front of him. Which, in all honesty, wasn’t an unappealing thought.

He pulled away though as Chris's hands began to wander, and slipped out of his grasp, knowing that if they didn't leave now, then he might never. "Let's go," he said. "Before you decide to bend me over the bed."

Chris laughed. "Oh I'm not gonna stop you from that idea," he said, pulling on his shoes.

Matt grinned and did the same. "You can bend me over anything you want once finals are over," he promised.

Chris chuckled, grabbed Matt's soccer bag, and led the way out to the car. “Merry Christmas to me,” he smirked.

They slipped into his Miata and drove to Fallon Campus with minimal conversation, falling back into their sleepy morning mentalities and letting the music carry them through the drive.

Matt had his eyes closed, so he didn't catch Chris's gaze on him several times during the drive. If he had, he might have seen the way the other man's lips curled up into a soft smile, and his eyebrows drew down in contemplation.

He wouldn't have known that Chris was thinking of how cute he looked with his eyes closed, his lashes casting shadows on his cheekbones, his messy brown hair sticking out every direction from under the hood, and how it reminded him of what it felt like to hold him all through the night.

He wouldn't have noticed that he was also thinking how nice it would be to take him back to his apartment uptown and keep him there all week. How he wanted to wake up to this sight, to kiss him and feel him close again.

If Matt had looked, he might have seen Chris's wistful look and known that it meant danger was in store for him. He might have seen the look of longing in his eyes and known it meant that Chris was already falling too deep for his own good. And Matt might have felt his own heart begin to thump in his chest, if he saw the affectionate gaze of Chris on him. And maybe he might have wondered what would happen if he fell too.

But Matt didn't see anything. Because he had his eyes closed and was blissfully unaware of the cliff he was standing on.

He didn't know that Chris had been watching him, and thinking of him in a way that went far beyond a casual affair.

Even if he had noticed all of this, however, the cliff was already crumbling underneath both of their feet as they were too busy admiring the horizon.

Chris pulled into the parking lot around noon, sighing at the thought of having to wait what seemed like an eternity before he’d be able to see the other.

Matt lifted his head off the seatbelt, opening his eyes and frowning at the sight of his campus out the window. He didn’t want to get out of the car. Even with Chris beside him, he already felt so far away, and he knew after the night they had last night he’d feel the empty space beside him like a deep, gaping cave the moment he lied down for bed.

Chris turned the key out of the ignition and ran his hands through his hair, looking at him. “Well, we’re here,” he said, his voice soft and lips pouted.

Matt nodded slowly. “Yeah,” he said.

Neither of them moved. Matt met his gaze, and they just sat there for a minute, eyes locked in a wordless conversation. Neither of them wanted to let go. Neither of them wanted to break the spell that had been cast over them this weekend.

“Do you… wanna come in for a bit?” Matt asked him.

Chris’s eyes widened. “To your dorm?”

Matt nodded, rolling his lip in between his teeth.

“Will Nick mind?” Chris questioned.

He shrugged. “I don’t think so. He’s probably just studying.”

Mulling it over for a second, Chris agreed. “Okay. Yeah,” he replied with a grin. “Lead the way.”

Matt smiled back at him, popping the door open and leading him out of the parking lot and back towards the dorm with his bag over shoulder. He checked Chris in as a guest with security and the two got in the elevator and went up to the fifth floor, Matt unlocking his door and slipping in, with Chris following behind him.

“Nick?” He called out.

“Yeah?” Nick yelled back, walking into the joint living area and kitchen. He paused when he noticed Chris’s presence in their dorm.

“I hope you don’t mind a guest?” Matt said to him.

Nick shook his head. “As long as you two aren’t loud.”

Both of their faces went red at that.

“We’re not-“ Matt started, then huffed. “That’s not what we’re doing.”

“Ah,” Nick said, smirking. “Yeah, you probably had plenty of that last night, huh? I know that afterglow look.”

“Shut up,” the other roommate mumbled, crossing his arms in embarrassment.

Nick laughed. “For real though, I have to study so you and you? Zip it.”

Chris made a motion of zipping his lips and tossing out the key, easily ready to comply in fear of overstepping with the other man.

“Yeah, I have to study too. Do you still have those flashcards for entomology I could maybe borrow?” Matt questioned.

Nick nodded, jogging to his room.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been in a college dorm,” Chris stated, looking around the space.

“It’s not much,” Matt told him.

“Bigger than I thought it’d be though.”

Matt nodded. “Yeah, perks of being a sophom*ore, I guess. Last year I was in one of those sh*tty cinder block rooms.”

Nick reappeared a moment later with the cards in his hand and gave them to Matt. “What time did she block out for that final, Tuesday?” He asked.

“Eleven AM,” Matt responded. “I have that and my Victorian lit one that day.”

“I still think it’s gross you decided to take both of them this year on top of your psych courses,” Nick frowned in disgust.

“I wanted to knock out all the credits I need for English,” he explained, shrugging.

“Well good f*cking luck then,” he said, then looked at Chris. “What kinda stuff do you like for dinner? We can order in or go to the dining hall.”

Chris froze, not anticipating the question. “Oh, no no, I’m fine. I probably won’t stay long, I don’t wanna interrupt your flow or anything.”

Nick waved his hand dismissively. “Finals are gonna have us on our ass all week. You probably won’t see him out of campus again until the weekend. You can stay the night if you want, it’s fine,” he assured. “What do you want?”

He looked at Matt in search of an answer on if him staying the night was okay, and received a bashful nod in response. One last night before the hell of tests took over. Chris then looked back at Nick, and shook his head.

“If I’m gonna stay then at least let me cook something as a thank you. You two focus on studying,” he said.

“We don’t really have much stuff to cook,” Matt told him, somewhat embarrassed about the glaring obviousness that now displayed how much of a typical college life he lived when Chris wasn’t around.

Chris pulled his keys back out from his pocket and grinned. “All good, I’ll go grab stuff from the store. On me. Anything in particular you need?” He asked them both.

“We’re out of cereal,” Nick stated.

“Nick!” Matt scolded.

“What?” He retorted. “He offered!”

Chris let out a laugh. “He’s right, I did. I like you,” he pointed at Nick. “I’ll be back in maybe an hour with cereal and whatever else I can find that’ll get you guys through finals.”

Matt sighed, and shook his head with an amused grin. “See you in an hour. Just text me when you’re back so I can let you into the building.”

“Sounds good,” Chris said, then pressed a chaste goodbye kiss to his lips before heading out the door.

Matt hummed in content, then caught Nick’s smug expression staring at him and frowned. “What?”

“Nothing,” Nick told him, then turned around and headed over to their table to study again. “Nice shirt, by the way.”

“f*ck off…” Matt huffed.

=x+x+x=

It was 6:00pm and Matt and Nick were quizzing each other on flashcards from the table still, occasionally getting caught up in back and forth banter and bickering whenever one of them swore they’d said the correct answer or got distracted by the littlest of things.

Chris, meanwhile, was busy at their small stove searing up chicken breast with herbs de Provence and boiling pasta while asparagus was baking in the mini-oven.

He arrived back almost an hour minutes prior and was doing his best to ignore their quizzing and focus on the food.

The other two were completely oblivious to him, too busy yelling at each other to notice and shoving their noses in textbooks. They were also completely unaware of the fact that Chris had bought a whole lot of other things for them to eat this week as well, including a cake he hid in the fridge to ease their stress of exams.

Matt and Nick had been going at it with their studying for hours and were both getting restless from lack of breaks, so the sound of Chris placing a potholder and hot skillet down on their table got their attention.

"Alright," Chris announced. "Time for a break."

“Thank f*ck," Nick groaned.

Matt agreed, pushing the flashcards away and leaning back in his seat. "How long have we been studying?" He questioned.

Chris looked at his watch. "Since 12:30, about. You guys haven't stopped since I got back."

"Yeah, we got a lot of work to do," he stated, running his fingers through his hair.

"Matt," Chris chastised. "Eat before you get too stressed out. I'm sure this can wait at least half an hour."

He sighed and agreed. "Yeah, you're right.”

“I know I am,” Chris responded with his hands on Matt’s shoulders.

He leant down and pressed a kiss to Matt’s temple before walking back to the fridge to grab a two liter bottle of soda he bought for them and some mismatched cups, plates, and silverware. If they didn’t know any better, he’d pass off as an actual server with the way he managed to fit everything in his hands.

They all dug into the food without much hesitation, the two athletes letting out groans of satisfaction when the taste hit their tongues.

“Holy hell,” Nick said wantonly. “Please stay as long as you want.”

Chris grinned, happy to know the dish was being enjoyed. “I’m glad you like it, man.”

“Like it? I love it,” he corrected. “Now I see why you’ve got Matt wrapped around your finger.”

Matt shot his roommate a condescending glare, mouth too full of food to argue back.

Chris let out a laugh. “If anything it’s the other way around. I’d probably bend over backwards for him to have his way.”

“Mm, I’m sure you both do lots of bending over,” Nick chuckled.

“Nick, I swear to god!” Matt yelled, wacking him upside the head.

“Okay! Okay!” He cried, putting his hands up, fork in one. “I’m done. I swear.”

Matt grumbled a bit, but dropped it and continued eating.

The three sat for a bit after they were done with the meal, Chris getting up to clear the table and clean the dishes, unload the rest of the non-perishable groceries, and leave them to study for a bit more.

By nine, Nick started yawning and looked at his phone. “I think I’m gonna call it an early night and get some rest for tomorrow,” he announced, then stood up from the chair.

“Night,” Matt said to him.

“G’night,” Chris also chimed in.

“Night, and thanks for dinner. That was seriously probably the best meal I’ve had since the semester began,” he said to Chris.

“No problem, man,” the latter responded. “In case I don’t see you in the morning, good luck with your exams.”

Nick tossed him a thumbs up, then disappeared into his bedroom.

Chris turned his gaze back to Matt, who was highlighting what looked like every other line in one of his textbooks. He walked over to him and snaked his arms around Matt’s neck, his hands resting over the other’s chest. He leaned his head down so it was resting beside Matt’s and kissed his cheek.

“I think it’s time for bed for you too, baby,” he said.

“Five more minutes. I wanna get through this chapter,” Matt told him, eyes concentrated completely on the page in front of him.

“What final is this for?” Chris asked.

“Developmental Psychopathology,” Matt answered.

“Which is when?”

Matt went silent for a moment, holding his highlighter still in the middle of a sentence. “Thursday,” he mumbled.

Chris chuckled. “You’re going to run yourself into a hole at this rate,” he said. “Come on. Bed for you.”

Matt sighed, reluctantly shutting his textbook and placing it in his backpack, along with the rest of his books. He then turned around in his chair to face Chris and nodded in defeat. “Fine. But I don’t feel like brushing my teeth. Too tired.”

“But not too tired to study?” Chris pestered.

“Don’t question my logic,” Matt huffed, and stood up. He pulled Chris by the arm to his room and shut the door behind them, giving Chris a pair of clothes to change into while he stayed nice and comfy in the sweats from the man.

Matt slipped under the covers and laid back on the pillows, then patted the empty space beside him for Chris to come in.

The other obliged, crawling under the covers and facing Matt so he could wrap him up in his arms.

Matt rested his head against his shoulder and let out a content sigh, feeling his eyelids start to grow heavy as soon as he felt Chris’s embrace.

“Chris?” He called softly.

“Yeah, baby?”

He was silent for a moment, collecting his thoughts before he spoke. “Can I ask you something?” He asked.

“Of course.”

“Why don’t you like to be called names? I mean, you call me baby or my full name but… How come you only wanna be called Chris?”

Chris tightened his arms around him. He went silent for a while, Matt only feeling the warmth of the other’s breath fanning on his hair.

“You don’t have to tell me-“

“For one, sir is what I have to call my dad sometimes. But really, it was when I was sixteen,” Chris began. “I was seeing this girl. We were together for almost two years. It was my first relationship ever. Her name was Cara."

Matt listened intently, drawing gentle patterns on Chris’s chest with his finger.

“She was pretty, smart, funny. She was perfect. Too perfect. But I didn’t realize that until later,” he said. “She called me all sorts of pet names. Honey, sweetheart, pumpkin, babe, whatever. I lost my virginity to her the night of our graduation and she probably used every one in the book.”

Matt hummed in understanding.

“And then, a week later, she broke up with me… But that wasn’t even the worst part… I found out that she never really was into me in the first place,” he continued. “My dad had approached her in the beginning of our junior year. He bribed the school to get all the rankings or something and found out she was pretty high up on the roster but was there on scholarship. He offered to pay for her college tuition if she pretended to date me until we graduated high school.”

“Why would he do that?” Matt asked, baffled by how cruel Chris’s father had been.

“He was trying to keep me distracted, I think,” he answered.

“From what?”

Chris sighed. “That’s a story for another time,” he replied, solemnly.

Matt frowned, feeling sympathetic for kid Chris used to be that had been hurt by people who he trusted. “So, after that you just… swore off relationships?”

“Pretty much,” he shrugged. “Figured if at the end of the day all people want me for is my money, I might as well just give it to those who need it and be transparent about it.”

Something in Matt’s gut twisted, realizing he was no different from the people Chris was talking about. In fact, he was the prime example, and hauntingly similar to Cara.

“I’m sure that’s not all people want. Your money, I mean. Of course people like you for you,” he told him. “You shouldn’t close off to the idea of being with someone.”

Chris let out a chuckle, then squeezed Matt into some sort of half hug. “Maybe. Or I could just stick with the prostitutes, if nothing else.”

Matt tensed up. “What do you mean?”

“I mean,” Chris said. “That if I can’t find someone to love me for me and not my money then I might as well stick to the ones who I can at least pay to spend time with me.”

Matt wanted to tell him no, he wasn’t like that. He wanted to tell him that he was different from the others who used Chris like that. But the words got stuck in his throat when he thought about all the money he’d already made and knew in his soul he really was no better than anyone else. He felt sick.

“I’m just glad I found you,” Chris said softly.

“Why?” Matt asked, trying to hold back unwelcome tears. He really wanted to know why, because he could see no good reason. Why him, Chris? Why him?

Chris suddenly sat up, Matt’s head lifting off his chest in the process. “Look at me,” he said, cupping Matt’s face in his hands. “What do you see?”

Matt blinked and stared at him, trying to answer honestly despite his confusion over the question. “I see… You?”

Chris grinned softly. “Exactly,” he said. “Not the name, not the company. Just me. Chris.”

A tear rolled down his cheek against Matt’s will, looking into the other’s eyes. With a brush of his thumb, Chris wiped away the tear. Matt smiled back at him, broken but genuine nonetheless.

Matt leaned in, capturing his lips in a soft kiss. Chris reciprocated, leaning back against the pillows and bringing Matt with him. They laid there for a while, kissing one another gently until Matt’s eyelids grew too heavy to cooperate.

When they broke apart, Chris brushed some hair off of Matt’s face and tucked it behind his ear. He pulled him back in, cuddling him closer before he closed his eyes to sleep.

=x+x+x=

Two days into finals and Matt was already feeling like a complete zombie. He had to stay up until two in the morning the previous night to cram in all the studying he needed to do, and with the early mornings partnering that, it was already starting to get on his nerves. He was irritable, stressed, and cranky as f*ck.

Not having Chris around to even just talk to only made it worse. The man had only left the morning before and Matt was already concerned he was feeling withdrawal symptoms. He couldn’t believe it had only been two days either. The span from Monday morning to Tuesday night felt like a millennia.

“Ugh, I don’t even care anymore,” Nick said, throwing his pen down on his desk. “I’ve been staring at this problem set for the last 20 minutes and my brain has just completely shut off. I need sleep.”

Matt looked over at his roommate, who was rubbing his eyes and looking miserable. He had bags underneath his eyes that could put luggage at the airport to shame and his hair was messy and sticking up in odd directions. He was almost sure he looked exactly the same.

He looked down at his phone and checked the time, which was already one in the morning. “Yeah, let’s just take a break and get some sleep. We’re done studying for all the classes we each have tomorrow anyways,” he said.

Suddenly, his stomach grumbled, and he remembered one important piece of information. “f*ck, I didn’t even eat dinner yet. Did you?”

“I had a granola bar and a slice of that cake your pretty boy bought,” he answered, yawning. “That’s good enough for me. I’m going to bed.”

“Night,” Matt sighed, receiving only a halfhearted wave in response as Nick walked into his bedroom.

Matt shuffled tiredly over to the fridge and scanned it, deciding on a protein shake. He then grabbed a microwaveable cup of mac n cheese from the cabinets and quickly made (and devoured) that.

Beyond exhausted, he then flopped onto his bed and fell into a dreamless slumber.

The next few days consisted of a similar chaotic routine, if one could even call it that. Wake up, rush to class, complete finals, come back home to study, sleep, and repeat. Matt had been wrapped up in it for what felt like so long, he was almost beginning to forget what the sun looked like.

His teammates were in a similar state of distress. They were all passing their classes, but very few of them were passing with flying colors. It was an effort to just keep their heads above water. C’s get degrees, they tried to keep in mind.

He’d barely spoken to any of them since the banquet, everyone in too much disarray to keep in touch. Much to his dismay, he’d spoken to Chris even less, rarely checking his phone in between taking tests or studying for them.

Chris had tried to reach out to him a couple of times, asking how he was doing and wishing him luck on his exams. He’d responded with simple messages, such as ‘good’ and ‘thx’. But even that small gesture felt like it took too much energy out of him. He was barely keeping himself afloat.

By the last day of finals, Matt had fallen into such a robotic mode that he wasn’t even thinking anymore outside of when he had to. He was just existing. He went through one final in the morning, had lunch with Sam and Colby, then came back to his dorm to take a short nap before his last test of the semester at 5:00. Thank God.

When he finally wrapped up on the last test, he, for one, felt like he knew way too much about Freud to be comfortable, but secondly, felt as though he could run a marathon.

As he walked back to his dorm, he noticed the sun was beginning to set. He smiled slightly at the sight, finally getting a glimpse of something other than fluorescent light bulbs. The weather was still frigid, but he couldn’t find it in him to even mind. He could finally relax.

He fished his phone out of his pocket, scrolling quickly to Chris’s contact and hit call. It rang for a few minutes before going to voicemail, causing him to pout. Not even a minute later, the man sent him a text.

Chris: sry at dinner with dad. call u later

Matt sighed, and sent him back a simple thumbs up in response. He then shoved his phone back into his pocket and trudged along the sidewalk to his building.

When he reached his door, he pulled out his key and unlocked it, swinging it open to see Nick laying on their cheap loveseat, binge watching TV.

“Hey, hey,” Nick greeted, setting down the controller to the game he’d been playing. “How was your last exam?”

“Good,” Matt answered. “I’m pretty sure I did okay, at least. Yours?”

“Okay, I think. At least now we can both relax and finally take a breather,” he said, gesturing to the empty couch beside him. “Wanna sit down? I’m watching The Bear.”

Matt nodded, and slouched down into the chair unceremoniously. “Anything to get my mind off of Cognitive Theory and why Freud thought people wanted to f*ck their parents.”

Nick frowned in distaste and hit play on the show.

They were both out in minutes, snoring away with their heads tossed back on the chair.

Three hours later, Matt woke up with a crick in his neck and the TV turned off. He scrunched his eyebrows together, feeling something tickle his forehead. Reaching up, he pulled off a sticky note from his face.

baked that frozen pizza and went to bed. it’s in the fridge. night

Matt snorted a laugh reading it and got up, cracking several of his joints as he walked over to heat up his part of dinner in the microwave. He ate it in silence, scrolling through his phone. Chris hadn’t called him back, but it was understandable considering the other man had told him the weekend would keep him busy. All he had to do was get through Saturday, and then Sunday they would have all day to reconnect.

He finished his food, threw out the trash, then crashed in the comfort of his own bed, sleeping away most of Saturday now that he finally could.

When he finally woke up a bit past noon, he spent his time leisurely packing for a few hours, occasionally asking Nick for reminders on what to and what not to bring, mostly in terms of toiletries.

Together, they then watched more TV and ordered in dinner, eating in their pajamas and dramatically reacting to the scenes unfolding in the show they were watching.

By a little past midnight, the two bid goodnight to each other and retired to their rooms. Matt was more than ready for the night to pass by quickly so he could spend the incoming day with Chris.

His phone alarm went off at nine in the morning, and he slipped tiredly out of his bed to get ready. If he spent a little bit more time than usual making himself look good for Chris, that was his business. He texted Nick a quick message that he would be out, and Chris that he was on his way, then hopped into his car with excitement thrumming in his veins.

It took him record time to get to the latter’s apartment, zooming through every yellow light with risk and speeding only the slightest. He walked into the complex and texted Chris again that he had arrived, the other man coming to greet him only a minute later.

“Good morning,” Chris said.

“Good morning,” Matt responded, leaning in to kiss him deeply but quick, humming into Chris’s mouth as he did. “How’ve you been?”

“Me? How have you been? Still standing, I see,” Chris joked, pulling out of the kiss and walking the two of them into his apartment.

“Ugh, barely,” Matt told him. “This week’s been hell. I’m so glad it’s over, seriously.”

“You can finally catch a break now,” the other man grinned. “Want some pancakes again for a pick me up?”

“Please,” Matt requested.

Chris laughed softly, and nodded his head, walking around his kitchen island and beginning to prepare breakfast for the both of them.

“Do you want orange juice?” Chris asked.

“No thanks, I’m good,” Matt responded, sitting down on one of the stools by the counter. “You know, I don’t think I’ve seen the sun outside in the past five days.”

“That’s insane,” Chris said with a chuckle. “I’m surprised you haven’t turned into a vampire yet.”

“I am pretty pale,” Matt teased, wiggling his eyebrows. “Not far off.”

Chris snorted. “Yeah, but I’ve seen your skin in the sun and I’m pretty sure you don’t turn into dust if it touches you.”

“Or sparkle,” he said.

“Unfortunately,” Chris teased.

Matt chuckled, and watched as Chris hummed a little tune under his breath while he cooked. He was beginning to relax finally, his limbs no longer tensed up with stress and worry about impending exams.

After a few minutes of small talk and plating the pancakes in front of Matt, Chris let out a sudden ‘oh!’ as he was reminded of something. “I forgot, I got your suit dry cleaned, let me go get it from my closet so I don’t forget to give it to you later.”

Matt nodded his head and watched as the man left the room. He grabbed some of the pancakes and placed them onto his own plate, slathering them in butter and dripping an obscene amount of syrup onto them just how he liked it. It tasted delicious, as usual, and he was just beginning to enjoy himself when his gaze drifted over to the far side of the counter he was perched at.

Atop it sat a copy of the National Enquirer magazine. He reached for it, and saw a small box on the top corner of the cover stating “Omnivest’s Heir Shocks All at Annual Holiday Gala” in bold letters, with an even smaller page indicator beneath it.

Curious at the mention of Chris, he flipped to the page mentioned. His eyes skimmed the page till he landed on a distinct image of Chris in a stunning tuxedo, standing with his arm around the waist of a woman he’d never seen before. She was dressed in a floor length red gown, and looked strikingly beautiful with her long blonde waves and green eyes.

Matt gulped, and read the paragraph beneath it, which stated it was only the day before.

Banking on love? Chris Owens stunned attendees at this year’s annual Gala, showing up with a beautiful date by his side. His father, John Owens, could be seen smiling proudly as the two mingled with guests and exchanged countless close affections.

The room felt like it was spinning around him as Matt read and reread the excerpt, his heart pounding so loud it was echoing in his head.

Matt let out a shaking breath. He felt sick to his stomach, pancakes completely forgotten as he was unable to tear his eyes away from the image of Chris smiling and with the woman.

He knew he shouldn’t be surprised. He knew he was just a placeholder until Chris found something more permanent. Something realer than he was.

Suddenly his own words from the past weekend came rushing back to him, encouraging Chris to put himself out there. He didn’t know why it hurt so bad now to see that the man had. Though, painfully, he was beginning to have an inkling.

His head whipped towards the entrance of the kitchen to see Chris walking back in, suit in hand and a smile on his face. He quickly slid the magazine away from him.

“Here it is. I’ll just hang it on the coat hook so you don’t forget it when you leave,” Chris said, oblivious to Matt fighting off a meltdown.

“Uh,” Matt began, trying to find his voice and failing as a lump formed in his throat. He tried to ignore it, but it felt like he was ready to throw up at any second. “Actually, Chris, I’m gonna go. I need to get going.”

The smile dropped from Chris’s face, and he frowned, concern etched across his features. “What? Why? Are you feeling sick?”

“N- no,” Matt stammered, standing up. “I just have to go. I’m sorry. I have to go.”

Quickly, he breezed past Chris and went to leave. He fought back tears as best as possible, but the moment he was out of view of the man, they began to fall freely. Matt shut himself in his car and choked out sobs, salty and harsh.

The tears weren’t even all for Chris. They were for him.

He felt sick, and dirty, and all he could think of was all the things he’d done with the man. All the things he’d let him do to him. How stupid he was. How f*cking stupid he was.

How could he have been so foolish? Why did he think he was worth anything to someone finally?

He’d gone against every single one of his instincts by agreeing with Chris that one night by the bus stop. He’d gone against every single one of his beliefs in staying with him after that. And why? Why had he let himself do that?

All because of his sick and twisted desperation to claw at any chance of help he could get, sure, but also because of the way the man had touched him. Had spoken to him. All because of the way Chris made him feel.

Every single person, every single movie, every single song he’d heard had all told him how such things were. How wrong it was. How disgusting it was.

And still he’d done it. He’d done it all. And the moment he did, Chris found someone else to hang off his arm.

He didn’t want to doubt the man, but the thoughts came in like poison, making him wonder if this was his plan all along. Get someone in bed, nice and easy with sweet nothings and lies, and when he’d finally had his way with them just move on to the next. To someone actually worth something. Someone with some class and dignity. Someone who wasn’t a damn slu*t.

Another deep sob ripped through his chest, and he covered his mouth to muffle it as the tears fell down his face. His breathing was heavy and ragged, his lungs burning from it as he gasped in for air.

He began to replay their past few months together in his mind, every single word and action and touch and kiss and caress. Every single thing that had transpired between them since the first moment they'd met.

The note he’d left him that morning in the Inn, getting fast food burgers because the fancy dinner they had was terrible, kissing him, cuddling with him, f*cking him. Every moment Chris had been so sweet and kind, or sensually loving with him.

It felt like he’d been crying for an eternity, but really, it’d only been a handful of minutes.

Eventually he found himself slumping down further into the car, the pain he felt too much to bear. It hurt too much. His chest hurt too much. His entire body hurt too much.

And he knew why.

He knew why.

He was neck deep and drowning in love for Chris. It was all he could do to keep himself from throwing up. He loved the man, and he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to be in love with a man at all.

But he was.

He was in love with Chris and the other man had someone else, and he knew all along that it would happen eventually because deep down he knew he truly would never be good enough.

He especially would never be good enough for someone like Chris, and he was an idiot for ever letting himself believe that he could be. The man was the son of a successful businessman. He’d always have a leg up on Matt.

He just needed to get home. He needed to get away from the man before he came out and saw the mess they’d both created.

He put the car in gear, and drove back to the dorm, feeling his heart fall out of his chest the entire ride there.

Being Real - Chapter 13 - tripletrouble (2024)

FAQs

What happens if you have no disposable income for Chapter 13? ›

Many low-income filers have little or no nonexempt property, and no disposable income left after paying their bills and expenses. If you are in this situation, your plan can propose to pay off only your required debts, making no payments on your unsecured debt.

How to survive Chapter 13? ›

8 Recommendations for Surviving Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  1. Create a Support Network. ...
  2. Pay Attention to the Paperwork. ...
  3. Stick to a Budget. ...
  4. Pay the Bills on Time. ...
  5. Stay on Top of Notifications. ...
  6. Keep Your Lawyer Up to Date. ...
  7. Complete Credit Counseling and Debtor Education. ...
  8. Don't Create New Debt.
Oct 15, 2018

What if my Chapter 13 payments are too high? ›

You can modify the terms of your repayment plan with a bankruptcy attorney to reduce the payment. To modify your repayment plan, you'll need to file a modification plan in court. Within that petition to modify, you'll need to state why you need to modify your plan as well as how you will do so.

What is the debt limit for Chapter 13? ›

Chapter 13 Eligibility

Any individual, even if self-employed or operating an unincorporated business, is eligible for chapter 13 relief as long as the individual's combined total secured and unsecured debts are less than $2,750,000 as of the date of filing for bankruptcy relief. 11 U.S.C. § 109(e).

Why do most Chapter 13 bankruptcies fail? ›

In summary, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can fail for lots of reasons. These could be inadequate repayment plans, failure to make plan payments, changes in your financial circ*mstances, failure to do those required courses, filing too soon after previous bankruptcy, and filing without legal representation.

What is the lowest payment on Chapter 13? ›

The Minimum Percentage of Debt Repayments In A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Is 8 To 10 Percent.

What would disqualify me from Chapter 13? ›

You may be disqualified if your payment is insufficient to meet the repayment requirements or demonstrate a reliable ability to repay. Our attorneys can assess your financial situation and recommend suitable alternatives.

What can't you do while in Chapter 13? ›

Also do not not incur debt, use credit, credit cards, or enter into leases while in Chapter 13 without Bankruptcy Court approval, except in the case of an emergency for the protection and preservation of life, health or property. Contact your attorney if you need to sell property or incur debt.

Can you walk away from a Chapter 13? ›

Chapter 13 – See Bankruptcy Code Section 1307 – A debtor has a right to dismiss its Chapter 13 bankruptcy case if the bankruptcy began as a Chapter 13 case, but the court may place restrictions on a debtor's ability to file a subsequent bankruptcy case.

Can I negotiate my Chapter 13 payment? ›

Answer. If your income goes down during your Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you can no longer afford your monthly plan payment, you can ask the court to modify your Chapter 13 repayment plan and reduce your payment amount.

What happens if I can't pay my Chapter 13 payment? ›

The Chapter 13 Trustee is required to report to the Bankruptcy Court if you fail to make payments on time or in full. The Court may then enter an order dismissing your case and withdrawing the protection of the Bankruptcy Court. If that occurs, you then could be subject to creditor collection efforts and other actions.

How much cash can you keep when filing Chapter 13? ›

Under Chapter 13, you also have the $550 cash exemption along with a wildcard exemption up to $1,475, allowing you to keep $2,025 in cash under Chapter 13. However, when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can claim and exempt 75 percent of the wages you earned in the preceding 30 days.

What percentage of Chapter 13 bankruptcies are denied? ›

The study found that just over 35% of Chapter 13 cases filed were successful and resulted in the repayment plan being completed.

Can a creditor refuse Chapter 13? ›

Unlike chapter 7, creditors do not have standing to object to the discharge of a chapter 12 or chapter 13 debtor. Creditors can object to confirmation of the repayment plan, but cannot object to the discharge if the debtor has completed making plan payments.

Can IRS debt be included in Chapter 13? ›

Many types of taxes can be included in Chapter 13—IRS debt being the most common. Depending on the age, some IRS debt can be discharged in Chapter 13, and filers can repay other IRS debt in Chapter 13 through the monthly payment plan.

What is the zero percent plan for Chapter 13? ›

A zero-percent plan doesn't mean you'll pay nothing at all. But you won't pay anything to your nonpriority unsecured creditors, such as credit card balances, medical and utility bills, and personal loans. Any remaining debt you can discharge in Chapter 13 will be wiped out at the end of your case.

Does Chapter 13 trustee monitor income? ›

You'll be forced to face your outstanding debt without the help of a repayment plan, putting you back where you started. So, while a trustee won't personally monitor your income, you must share financial information with them. A Chapter 13 trustee will be responsible for: Determining if you qualify for Chapter 13.

What if my income goes down during Chapter 13? ›

Can I lower the monthly payments? If your income goes down during your Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you can't make your monthly payments any longer, you can ask the bankruptcy court to reduce them.

How to figure out disposable income for Chapter 13? ›

Your disposable income is what remains after you've deducted all living expenses such as food, clothing, housing, utilities, insurance, childcare expenses, medical expenses and insurance costs and mandatory payments.

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