LGBTQ+ Romance Teens & Young Adult

This story contains sensitive content

Tw: swearing, insecurities, trust issues

 'So what's the catch? Jace asks his boyfriend.

Nathan groans and opens his eyes.

The clock tells him it's about 3:30 AM.

He rubs his eyes, “huh?”

Jace climbs out of the bed, grabs a hoodie and folds his arms.

“So, what's the catch?” He repeats.

Nathan sits up in the bed, flicks on the lights and groans.

“Jace, babe, it's 3 am, am I just supposed to know what you're talking about?” He asks, slightly annoyed.

Jace squints his eyes at him.

“Do I look stupid to you?”

Nathan looks at him confused.

“Baby, what happened?” He asks, half awake, yet concerned.

Jace rolls his eyes at him.

“Okay first of all, stop calling me that and second of all, nothing happened, I just realized something.”

“What do you mean, don't call me that…? Are you breaking up with me?” Nathan asks, standing up as well, anxiety slowly taking over his normally confident nature.

Did this man really wake him up in the middle of the night to vaguely hint he was breaking up with him?

“No”, Jace simply stated, still seemingly irritated. Maybe even angry?

“Oh, thank god”, Nathan let's out a shaky laugh and smiles wide at his boyfriend, who doesn't return the favor.

“I'm not breaking up with you, I'm on to you”, Jace says while glaring at him.

“You're on to me??” Nathan asks, confused, having absolutely no idea what the hell he could possibly be referring to.

“Yeah, i know you're pranking me”, Jace snaps at him.

Nathan grabs the water bottle on his nightstand and splashes some water in his face, to wake himself up properly, so he can deal with whatever the hell his usual cocky and confident boyfriend is going on about. 

'It's too early for this', he's tempted to yell at him, but he decides against it. 

Jace is always going on about how important 9 hours of sleep are, so whatever is going on must be important if Nathan' health freak of a boyfriend woke him up for it at 3 am.

He clears his troath and continues their conversation.

“How am I supposed to be pranking you, Jace? I can't remember putting a whoopy cushion somewhere, but yes, it was probably me if you found one”, he jokes, laughing slightly, trying to break the tension in the room.

“You know what I'm talking about”, Jace replies annoyed, while still glaring at him with crossed arms.

“No, I don't, actually. Care to inform me?” Nathan asks, slowly getting annoyed too.

He was pretty damn sure he hadn't done anything wrong and everything was fine when they went to bed, so what was with all the attitude?

“I know you've been pranking me, these last few weeks, by pretending to be my boyfriend. This might be a funny joke to you, but I think it's really cruel, actually. So, I don't know who you have the bet with and how long you were supposed to fool me to get your money…. But you can tell our friends, or my siblings or your friends or whoever the f*ck, that they can keep their money. I'm done".

Nathan starts laughing, but his face falls when he realizes Jace is still glaring at him, as angry as ever.

“Wait you're not kidding?” He asks confused.

“Nope I'm not the one that has been lying to his best friends face for the past few weeks”, Jace replies bitterly.

“Babe… What??” Nathan asks, both concerned, but also surprised at the load of crap his boyfriend just came up with at fricking 3 am.

“Don't call me that, it's over. I'm on to you, okay”, Jace all but yells at him.

“What are you talking about?? What happened that made you think like this? Did you have a nightmare?” Nathan asks, trying to figure out what could have possibly triggered this delusional thought process.

Jace is still glaring at him.

Okay, cool, so in the span of one night his boyfriend went from madly in love with him to flat out hating his guts?


“No, I was just laying in your bed thinking man this is too good to be true, and then I realized; f*ck of course it's too good to be true. You're pranking me, you're pretending to like me and my oblivious dumb ass fell for it, I always fall for this type of shit”, Jace irritatedly replied.

Nathan' physically feels his heart break.

Well, not really, obviously, but if that were possible, this must be how that feels.

“Ba… Jace I haven't been and am not pranking you,” Nathan says, trying his hardest to seem genuine and comforting.

“Seriously stop it, I get it alright! I know you and our friends and whoever else is involved, are probably all thinking… Silly Jace actually thought someone could love him! Pshh he's so stupid. He really thought he was good enough for once??! Smartest man in the friend group, my ass”.

Nathan' is about ready to cry at the idea.

Was his boyfriend's and best friend's mind really that dark of a place? And had he just never noticed that until now?

He knows Jace has had his fair share of toxic relationships, and he knows about his trust issues.

But because they've been best friends for practically their whole lives, Jace never had any trouble trusting Nathan.

Well, until now apparently.

“Jace… what are you talking about? Of course, I love you. You're everything to me, you're my best friend, you have been for years and us finally being together has been a dream come true”, he says with a voice laced with concern and pain.

Jace starts waving with his arms like he's lost his last bit of sanity, which would be very concerning considering he is quite literally a genius.

“Stop. Just stop. This might be funny to you, but it's not to me, okay. You can't just tell someone you love them as a joke. It's cruel,” Jace yells, sounding fed up and hurt.

“Well good thing that it's not a joke then”, Nathan replies, slightly defensive.

“Nathan just shut up okay, it's over! I know it took me long enough, but I figured it out. I should have realized it sooner. I mean of course you don't love me, I'm a negative, anxious, know it all and …you are well, you're you. How could a person as funny, sarcastic, charming, enthusiastic, positive and care-free like you possibly be in to a person like me? I don't know how you figured out I like you (because if you hadn't asked me out, i would have never confessed to you), but I think it's pretty messed up that you used that against me”.

Nathan tries to close the distance between them, but backs away again when he realizes how uncomfortable it's making Jace.

“Jace… I would never do that to you. Please don't doubt my love for you, it's the only thing I'm sure of,” Nathan tries to reassure him.

Jace starts anxiously biting his lip, so hard that Nathan fears it's going to bleed. Jace seemingly realizes this because he stops doing so, after Nathan fixes him with a look.

Jace sighs and speaks up again.

“You're taking this way too far. I know you said that you and your college friends like to pull pranks, but my brother's and I did that all the time growing up too. Only our pranks were actually funny-”

“For the love of god, Jace.... I am not pranking you!!!” Nathan yells out, finally releasing his built up frustration.

“Yes you are, you said it yourself the other day when our friends thought that blonde girl at the bar was flirting with me, you said and I quote' have you seen him? Beautiful people like her can't possibly be in to people like him”.

Nathan felt a pang of quilt.

That was just a joke, he didn't mean to upset Jace or make him feel insecure.

That was quite frankly the last thing he wanted to do.

"Jace we were just joking around, and you do realize that I was making fun of myself as well, right? I mean I am dating you for crying out loud. So, in hight sight i called my self ugly as well”.

Jace seems to calm down a bit as the realization hits him, but it doesn't last very long.

“I know, but my whole life I've been told by my siblings that I'll never get a girlfriend because I'm too ugly, and then you told me the same thing-”

 Nathan steps loser to him and cuts him off.

“Yeah Jace, you've been told that by your siblings, that's what siblings do. That doesn't make it true, that's your sibling's way of showing they care about you. I've referred to one of my sisters as Shrek before to Jacob, and she found out about that. Did she get mad? Yes, very, I had to run for my life. But did this ruin her confidence? Nope, because she doesn't let the opinion of her little brother define her self-confidence. And neither should you.. I was just teasing you. Come on Jace, you literally look like a Greek god, of course a beautiful person could be in to you. I'm quite frankly a little weirded out that people aren't constantly throwing themselves at you. I mean, this might be me projecting, but you're like the perfect man. I'm serious, you're the whole damn package. You look as if you stepped straight out of a magazine, you're so handsome and sexy, and don't even get me started on your personality. You're funny, loyal, caring, protective, silly, sweet, kind, smart. Seriously, do I need to go on?” Plus, for what it's worth, I still don't think you should get a girlfriend… however I'd say your chances of getting .. oh, screw that … Keeping a boyfriend are a lot higher”.

Jace stares in to his eyes, and at some point he seems to convince himself it really doesn't look like Nathan is kidding.

He is quiet for a long time, Nathan is seriously considering that he was dreaming all of this, but then Jace finally speaks up.

“I'm sorry, I just got a little anxious,” he admits, while staring at the ground.

Nathan is tempted to ask, “a little?” But he decides against it, now is not the time to be sarcastic. Even if aggressive sarcasm is his favorite coping meganism.

Jace's irregular breathing brings him back to reality.

Nathan asks for permission to touch him and hugs him after Jace nods.

“It's fine, next time it happens, just talk to me, okay? Don't jump to conclusions and don't let that pretty head of yours bully you”, he tells him while stroking his hair.

“So even if this is real, and you weren't going to leave me, I bet you want to now, though. Right?” Jace asks slowly, while still avoiding eye contact.

Nathan violently shakes his head.

“No, actually, I just want to yell at your siblings for getting in your head about nobody wanting you. Well and at myself, babe, if I had known that this dumb joke would get to your head, I wouldn't have made it. I was clearly teasing you because I was jealous when that beautiful girl was flirting with you, not because I secretly think it is impossible for someone to like you. It used to actually be a mystery to me how the heck you've never dated anyone before, but now I guess I get it”.

Jace visibly stiffens up.

“Because I'm too much of an overthinker, too anxious to put up with and loving me is just too hard and exhausting?” He asks, sounding a lot less like the confident, cocky guy Nathan fell in love with.

Nathan cups his face.

“No because you think you don't deserve good things, so you ruin them before they even really get started. You were going to throw away what we have, so you wouldn't have to deal with me potentially leaving you. - Which I would literally never do-I know some people have betrayed your trust before, but I'm not like them. Okay? You're so afraid of getting hurt again, but all you're doing is hurting yourself by trying to prevent it. You're so afraid to tell people how you feel, so you bury it deep inside you, where it only destroys you more”.

Jace blinks a few times, processing the heavy truth that he just practically got smacked in the face with.

“I'm sorry”, he finally admits, voice still sounding un-charachteristicly shy and nervous.

Nathan stroked Jace's cheek with his thumb.

“No, I'm sorry. I'm truly sorry that you thought this was a prank. Jace I know I mess around a lot, I mean I'm probably sarcastic more often than not, but I just want you to know, I would never purposely hurt your feelings. Not for any money in the world, not for a stupid bet, not ever. Plus, you should have known that our friends and your siblings would never come up with such a cruel dare in the first place".

Jace laughs awkwardly. “Yeah, I probably should have realized that.”

Nathan kisses him on his forehead.

Afterward, he lovingly stares in to his eyes.

“These past weeks have been the best few weeks of my life, of course I wasn't faking it. How good of an actor do you think I am?"

Jace smiles at him. “Yeah, you're right, you're not that talented”.

Nathan rolls his eyes at him playfully, but then takes Jace's hands in his.

“Just because you didn't think the joke was funny, doesn't mean I wanted to hurt your feelings. But normally, you think my jokes are funny, how am I supposed to know I took it too far, if you don't communicate that with me?”

Jace groans out of annoyance, but eventually gives in.

“You're right. If it happens again, I will speak up”, he promises.

Nathan smiles wide, “thank you.”

“Can I kiss you now?” Jace asks, smiling sweetly and even a little confident for the first time that night.

Nathan doesn't even bother responding, he just pulls him in to a passionate kiss.

After they pulled apart, he smirks, “did that answer your question?” 

March 08, 2023 22:16

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Jaylyn Newton
21:34 Mar 17, 2023

this is amazing i could read this over and over again and still smile at the ending every time


Eline Pols
23:38 Mar 17, 2023

Thank you so much! That means so much to me.


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Wendy Kaminski
20:03 Mar 12, 2023

Wow, Nathan has the patience of Job. You portrayed someone neurotic and toxic (in Jace) quite well; though I think some would see this as a sweet love story, I actually had an ex- like Jace, and it is exhausting. You think this is just a one night thing? It is not... run, Nathan! Runnnn!! Even after Jace settles down, this: - “So even if this is real, and you weren't going to leave me, I bet you want to now, though. Right?” - “Because I'm too much of an overthinker, too anxious to put up with and loving me is just too hard and exhausting?” ...


Eline Pols
21:28 Mar 12, 2023

Thank you so much for your reply, Wendy! I'm pretty new to publishing my writing, so hearing that people like it feels amazing. I'm sorry you've been through that, it sounds hard. I am actually pretty young (19) and have never been in a relationship before, so I have never lived it myself, but I'm honored that you felt like what I wrote was so true-to-life. PS: I really like your writing, thank you for taking the time to read my story. And I'm exited to be a part of the Reedsy community!


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Eline Pols
09:08 Mar 12, 2023

I meant to say "previous platonic toxic relationships", so the fact that it's later mentioned that the main charachter has never dated anyone before was not a contuinity error.


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