Title: We could rewrite history, if only you and me
Pairing: Andrew Garfield/Jesse Eisenberg
Rating: PG (pre-slash)
Summary: High school AU. He can’t look at Mrs. Eisenberg and see his best friend’s mom anymore, the mom who used to bring him and Jesse fresh cookies whenever they had to hole up in Jesse’s room to study chemistry. Instead, he sees Mrs. Eisenberg, his potential future boyfriend’s mother who might run him out of town if he so much as harms a hair on her son’s head.
Note: “Change the World” by Anberlin lends the title. I’ve been planning a high school AU for a while and tonight I had this random urge to actually write something in that ’verse. So then I wanted to write Andrew and Jesse’s first date but it never got to that. Instead, you have pre-first date Andrew meta. ~1,500 words.
This shouldn’t be any different than any other time Andrew’s come over to Jesse’s house. He’s knocking on the door, rapping his knuckles against the same spot on the wood that he’s worn down over the last year or so. He’s stepping on the same wooden plank that creaks under any significant weight, shifting a little bit from foot to foot in anticipation of being let in. He’s trying not to seem so excited, which isn’t new either.
Mrs. Eisenberg pulls open the door, greets him as kindly and enthusiastically as always, “Andrew, hello! Come in, come in.”
But Andrew hesitates a bit, maybe trips a little over the threshold because all of this is different now. He can’t look at Mrs. Eisenberg and see his best friend’s mom anymore, the mom who used to bring him and Jesse fresh cookies whenever they had to hole up in Jesse’s room to study chemistry. Instead, he sees Mrs. Eisenberg, his potential future boyfriend’s mother who might run him out of town if he so much as harms a hair on her son’s head.
(Not that she knows about the potential future boyfriend stuff. He and Jesse are keeping that under wraps for now.)
This whole going on a date with his best friend thing is already not working out, even though he wants it to, wants it so badly to work out. He fears that if it doesn’t and this night ends disastrously, there won’t be any more shared lunches, borrowed novels or stolen pens. There won’t be any more movie nights or bus rides to New York or video game ass-kickings. There won’t be anything left of the relationship he’s clung to the last year and a half and it will be his entire fault because he couldn’t even talk to Jesse’s mother without almost, quite literally, tripping over himself.
He must look like he’s seen a ghost or something because Mrs. Eisenberg wraps a hand around his arm and asks him if he’s ok.
And then he stammers, “N – no, I mean, yes – yes! I’m fine, really. Totally fine, thank you,” mentally kicking himself because he obviously had to make matters worse.
She raises a perfectly shaped eyebrow to extreme heights, utterly convinced that something is terribly, terribly wrong with him. “Do you need something, Andrew?”
He shakes his head exaggeratedly and points at the staircase in front of them. “I’m, um, just going to – you know, go? Yeah? Is that ok?”
“Are you sure there’s nothing wrong?” She releases his arm and gently pats his shoulder. He doesn’t allow himself to wince. “You know you can talk to me.”
“I do know and I very much appreciate that, Mrs. Eisenberg –”
“– but I promise you that everything is fine. If it’s all right, I am just going to –” God, he can’t even say that he’s going to go see Jesse without feeling like he’s crossing some kind of line. It’s not normal to pick up your date by going into his bedroom, for fuck’s sake. He should just wait in the sitting room and it’ll –
But he can’t, because then she’d think something’s up and they don’t want her, or anyone for that matter, to find out.
So he makes himself stop being such a coward and straightens up, shoots her as disarming a smile as he can muster and says, voice steady, “I’ll go see Jesse now.”
It actually seems to work because she smiles, bats her hands at him, insists, “Go, go, go! Stop cramping my style,” and physically pushes him onto the first stair.
He doesn’t bother to resist. It takes him five seconds to run up all the steps and when he reaches the landing, he doubles over, clutching his side. He’s never come up so fast before, and there’s another thing that’s different.
Once he catches his breath, he walks down the hall to Jesse’s room, passing Hallie Kate’s open door on the way. She yells, “Hey, Andrew!” at him and Andrew yells back his own greeting and that’s about as customary as anything. Then he reaches Jesse’s closed door and isn’t sure whether or not to knock and he’s back at square one, panicking about what to do without making this awkward.
He could knock, which he doesn’t think he’s ever done, and make sure Jesse’s decent (oh God he doesn’t even care about decency when it comes to Jesse anymore and that’s a problem because they haven’t even touched that way yet) before he comes in. That would set off Hallie Kate, though, because she’d hear him knocking and find it wholly uncharacteristic and think it necessary to come out of her room and investigate. She’s oddly intuitive for an eight-year-old, that girl.
Or he could walk in, which he always does, and act like today really is no different from any other day. Date or not, it’s still just them, Andrew and Jesse, out to take the world by storm, one outing at a time. They’re still two best friends hanging out, picking up conversations in random places because they know each other well enough to fill in the missing pieces.
But when Andrew is about to put his hand on the door knob and throw caution to the wind, something occurs to him: It’s not just hanging out. It’s going out on a date and adding a new dimension to their relationship and stepping out of their comfort zones. It’s not – this isn’t – what they’re trying to do here isn’t something you see in real life. You see it in movies, best friends turned lovers turned spouses, the almost always present subplot of a romantic drama. There’s no real life example off which Andrew can base his attempts. All the people he knows that are in relationships were always acquaintances first, never best friends. His parents met at a pub in London where his dad tried to order Budweiser and the barkeep, instead of telling him they didn’t serve American lagers and recommending something better, made a fool of him. His mom rescued him from further embarrassment, ordered them both Budvar and the rest is history. They didn’t meet at school and establish a best-friendship and then decide to start dating. Nope. Without a model, it’s like he and Jesse are destined to fail.
And it’ll all be Hollywood’s fault for planting the idea in Andrew’s head that what they are trying to accomplish will actually work.
He sighs and sits against the wall, knees drawn up so he can hide his face in them. What was he thinking when he asked Jesse out at lunch the other day? (He probably wasn’t, actually. He was probably too distracted by his gut-wrenching desire to lick ranch dressing off Jesse’s lips to thoroughly evaluate the consequences of his spontaneous query of Jesse’s feelings for him.) But, really, it’s not like he could have stopped it from happening at some point. He’s felt things for Jesse for so long that it’s about time he did something about it. Thankfully, Jesse responded positively, albeit in sputters and blushes and lip-bites, and now they’re here. Well, now Andrew’s here, freaking out because this could ruin everything if they don’t get it right.
Jesse’s door creaks open and Andrew jumps up, narrowly missing banging his head against the wall. He swallows hard looking at Jesse, hand tightly wrapped around the doorknob, spine held abnormally stiff. Maybe they really are in the same boat. Maybe they are actually both here, freaking out about ruining everything.
“Hey,” Andrew says, proud that he doesn’t immediately start stammering.
One corner of Jesse’s mouth lifts. “Hey.”
Andrew tucks both his hands into the pockets of his jeans and then pulls one out to scratch the back of his head. “Are you ready to go?”
Jesse surprises him then. He smiles fully, blindingly, eyes suddenly so ridiculously bright that Andrew momentarily wishes he had shades. (But that’s stupid. Not only is it excessively cliché to think that way but it’s also tragically counterproductive. If he were to shield himself from Jesse’s eyes, he’d miss out on what’s probably Jesse’s most attractive feature.) Jesse closes the door to his room, nods toward the stairs and says, “I hope you have something good planned,” and it’s like he doesn’t fear this new thing at all.
Then Andrew figures it out. They’re not restarting their relationship on a different level. They’re adding to their current relationship, building off their dynamic to slowly insert the romance they both want.
Andrew’s chest tightens when Jesse raises a questioning eyebrow at him. He almost can’t find the breath to say, “I’ve never had anything better planned in my whole life.”