Thousands Of Notifications

Submitted into Contest #244 in response to: Center your story around a photo that goes viral.... view prompt


Funny LGBTQ+ Romance

How did it come to this?


I was bitterly lonely so I started a weekly internet stream. 

Initially it was to connect with other lonely early college aged kids. I was too scared to out myself as gay and I struggled to make friends in my classes.

Then it morphed to a highlight of silly games and shenanigans.

Often I would sit on my bed and chit chat, or share what I was learning.

The dynamic changed when I met him.

Him being my older brother’s friend, Simon.

One day he walked in during the middle of my stream. He was clearly a little tipsy since he stumbled in and thought it was my brother’s room.

His height and sandy colored hair had me crushing on him immediately, but I pushed it away.

“Whatcha doing, Kota?”

Kota? I wasn’t sure if I was annoyed or a bit flustered by the shortening of my full name, Dakota.

Normally, me sitting on my bed is normal. But this time I was trying to juggle.

The chat blew up.

Moxyminx42: who is that???

Kollieborder1212: idk but wowza!

“It’s my brother’s friend, ignore him.”

Conner blinked at me with those bright blue eyes. I couldn’t tell if he was about to throw up, or what but he looked like a doofus.

“You’re doing it wrong,” he said, walking to the edge of the bed and kneeling. 

Gently he took the bean bags from my hands and the bed and with ease tossed them into the air.

I became the doofus as I stared at them mesmerized. “How are you doing that?”

He chuckled, a twinkle in those ocean eyes, promising nothing but trouble. 

“Practice and pure, idiotic, avoidance of everything essential.”

I broke my gaze away to see what the fans were saying.

Dangnabbitsaystherabbit: more! More!

“They like it.” I risked a glance to see what he thought of 1,000 people watching him juggle. Amusement danced in his eyes. “What else can you juggle?”

From that moment on, our partnership was sealed, and my older brother, Gideon, couldn’t argue with the money and fans we cultivated.

And Dakota’s Corner quickly changed to Kota & Conner’s Take.

What really went viral wasn’t the silly takes of us in PJ’s bent over mugs and yapping, or us doing cartwheels in full neon polyester bodysuits, or even the time we watched a scary movie and I leapt into his arms!

What went viral was the one year anniversary where we had a pillow fight. we were both wearing oversized shirts, boxers and long socks. Winding up with the couch pillow, he hit me in the face and somehow my nose started bleeding. I think there was a button on the pillow.

But that’s not all.

I laid on the bed holding my face with one hand, unsure what to do next. Either run to the bathroom leaking blood on stream, or wait for him to help. I chose the latter.

“Are you okay?! Shit, Kota, I’m so sorry!”

Panic traced his features. Before he thought to get tissues or help me sit up, he rushed to my side and slightly straggled me.

What’s worse than having 10,000 people watch you get a nose bleed from a pillow, live?

It’s having them snap a pick and clip the video and make edits of it.

In the moment I panicked and tried to sit up, which cause blood to gush all over despite effort to stop it.

Pinching my nose I fled the scene of the crime and tried to stop it in the other room while listening to Conner sputter about what happened and how awful he felt.

I didn’t care about any of that. And we didn’t know of the photos or clips to come yet. What bothered me was my budding crush for my best friend wouldn’t stop. Having him joke around was one thing. But having his leg sweep across my body and the concern in his eyes melted me.

“Fuck,” I grumbled in the mirror, staring at my irritating hazel stare. “You can’t have him,” I grumbled to myself. “He’s straight.”

After a few minutes I joined Conner at a good distance and we wrapped up the stream.

“I’m sorry about your nose,” he said once the stream ended.

I shrugged, tugging at the loose thread of my baggy tee. “Don’t worry about it.”

“You’re too nice, you know that?”

All I could offer was a weak smile.

“You sure you’re alright?”

I tried to swallow because, what else could I do? I was an idiot and it was almost midnight and I was probably over tired.

“Goodnight, Kota.”

“Goodnight, Conman.”

I loved the wide grin I got from that nickname.

The next morning I was jolted awake by not hundreds but thousands of notifications from social media.

The one that stood out the most was a text from Conner.

Conner: R u seeing this??!

Me: no, what??

The next text was a to a tiktok edit that had a heavy, heart thrumming music. The video was Conner throwing his leg over me and leaning down like he’s about to kiss me!

Holy shit!

Out of context, this looks like the opposite of a silly stream.

Me: ummm what??

Conner: there’s hundreds of these man! 

Me: what do we do?

Conner: have you seen our view count for our videos?

It wasn’t an answer to my question. As usual, it annoyed me that he avoided answering the question, however it was often worth the wait.

Dropping my phone, I got up and opened my laptop.

Pulling up the analytics, my jaw dropped when I saw the numbers. 

Our latest stream had almost one million views! 

“Holy shit!”

Me: how is this real??

Conner: Looks like we’re a couple now 

My throat spasmed from that text.

Conner: do it for the $$$

My chest lurched.

Not only did Conner not know I was gay, but he didn’t realize I was fighting those feelings for him. 

Me: maybe lol

A pounding on my door stopped the conversation and I opened it to see Gideon grinning at me.


“So, you and Conner are a thing, huh?”

Rubbing my palms into my eyes, I tossed myself onto my bed.


“I don’t think he even knows your gay.”

Opening my fuzzy-visioned eyes, I waited a moment before glaring at him.

“We’re about to graduate from college. Don’t you want to tell him all the things so he doesn’t up and move away?”

Gideon ran a hand through his brown hair, the same hair as mine. Except his is styled a little nicer and shorter.

“What things?” I asked, trying to ignore the churning of my stomach.

“That you love him.”

“I do not! That video is out of context.”

Gideon gave me an mhmm and lifted a brow. “The other compilations say otherwise.”

“Fan edits don’t count.”

He shrugged. Then added, “I’m just saying, you two have chemistry. And as far as I know, he hasn’t dated anyone.”

“You’re saying he could be gay?”

He shrugged again.

“You’re useless,” I grumbled, my gaze moving to the popcorn ceiling.

“I’m saying he could be bi,” he added before dipping.

The video edit was one thing, but when I went on PhotoPix the picture blew me away. An edit was often a manipulation or over exaggeration of what was happening.

This, however, took my breath away. Conner sat hunched over me, leg over my body, looking at me with the deepest concern.

One that gave me the guts to be an idiot and do without thinking.

Me: what are your plans after college?

The text back is so quick it added to the adrenaline pumping in my veins.

Conner: I’m not sure yet. What should I do?

Me: marry me, obvs

Conner: is that a proposal? ;) 

Me: yes

I bit my bottom lip and waited for bubbles to pop up. I was begging in my heart for him to not only take it well but to know I’m not just playing around.

Well, yes about the proposal but no about it meaning more to me.

Conner: can I come over?

Me: of course

Conner drove to my place and we sat on my bed. Him with his legs swinging over the edge and staring at that ugly bumpy wall overhead.

I say against the head board, picking at my fuzzy blanket. It was the tail end of winter in the Midwest so one never knew what the night would feel like.

“Are you staying in the city?” I found myself asking.

“If you want me to.”

We both glanced at one another.

“That picture says you care about me.”

My mind was reeling, wondering how I sounded so calm. Or did I actually sound like a nervous chipmunk?

Conner rolled onto his side.

“I do.”

“I’m gay,” I blurted.

A smile crept on his face. “I wondered.”


I didn’t ask him.

“I’m not.” The two little words were lead in my stomach and I felt my world spinning like a topper. “But I think I’m bi.”

That sentence eased the burden from my body.

“You’re not just saying that because the world screenshotted us to hell?”

“Heaven,” he said with a wink.

I wanted to run a hand through his wavy hair.

In a more serious tone he said, “honestly, I thought we were just great friends, and we are. But when I hurt you I felt terrible. And when I saw that picture of me freaking out on top of you, I thought, I can’t take a job out of the city. We’ve got a good thing going here. I like being with you. Streaming with you. Eating out with you.”

As he speaks little pictures of what he’s talking about pop up in my mind. I hadn’t thought of all the things we’d done together.

“Running ideas off each other in coffee shops and making new friends together.”

He’s right. Our lives intertwined on campus and we had friends in the same circles. I even secretly snuck to the LGBTQ+ group several times.

“We’ve grown a lot together. I guess.. I can’t envision a future without you in it.”

I’m fighting back tears because the biggest goofball in the world is saying the sweetest shit to me.

“Some would call us best friends.”

I thought he was going to hate my sarcastic tone, but he joins in. Because that’s how we worked, the two of us.

“Historians will call us roommates.”

And that’s it. From that moment on we tested the waters. Held hands in public at a cafe.

He kissed me for the first time when it rained. There was no umbrella so it was short lived as our hair got soggy and covered our eyes.

He took my virginity in my room and created a new special memory of us together.

We continued streaming for another six months before we announced it to the fans.

Our relationship announcement sparked a whole new round of edits. 

And I printed that snap shot of us and hung it on our idea board and above my desk and on a keychain because as cheesy as it was, that’s how it came to this. The fans saw it first.

The moment our friendship turned to more.

March 30, 2024 04:18

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.