Title: The Strange Attraction Syndrome - Chapter Seventeen
Summary: Ten years is a long time to have an unrequited crush, but Tweek’s wait is just about over. So much for Craig being asexual.
Point of View: Tweek
But plant your hope with good seeds
Don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds
Rain down, rain down on me
—Mumford and Sons, Thistle and Weeds
Tweek’s point of view:
They were the cutest couple ever. There was no denying that.
Whenever Stan and Kyle saw each other, it was enough to make me want to die. It was like their energies fused and they were just there. Together. They existed and that was it and they were okay with that because the two of them were all that needed to matter. Their bodies leeched to one another, limbs a mass tangle of comfort and compassion. I could hear their conjoined laughter from inside the car. Thomas and I made eye contact where I told him with a positive nod, “Stan’s proposing.”
“You think?” Kenny scoffed, looking back at us. “Who do you think picked out a ring with him? Certainly wasn’t Cartman, I can tell you that much.” I bit my lip to hold in my excitement because, seriously, this was just too cute. I could remember elementary school, junior high, and high school. I could remember the past four years. The only constant throughout all of those years had been Stan and Kyle. Their evolution from Super Best Friends to horny, curious teenagers to boyfriends—it was remarkably obvious. If there was such a thing as “meant to be together,” it was between them.
“What’s it look like?” Thomas asked, leaning forward in his seat. I scooted over an inch to make room for him; the three of us met in the middle.
“Very simple, very classy.” Kenny sliced his hand through the air to emphasize just how straight to the point the ring was.
I imagined Thomas and I with identical, insatiable grins. My eyes flitted out the window to where Stan had his hands on either side of Kyle’s face, speaking to him in low tones that none of us could hear. His smile was fluid, purely happy and presented only when Kyle was near. Their relationship had a relaxed quality to it, one with an aura that expressed tranquility and comfort. When the two were together, I felt calm.
“And he’s doing it tonight, r-right?” I asked.
“If he doesn’t, I might just—fuck—have to do it for him,” Thomas agreed.
“I don’t know,” the blonde replied mischievously. “Kyle’s going to be down here for a couple of days so it could be anytime between now and then.”
My best friend and I groaned unanimously, leaning toward each other to express our twin sets of impatience. A knock on the window called for our attention. Stan was there waving at us to come out, his other hand occupied by Kyle’s. Reaching over, Kenny removed the keys from the ignition before exiting the car. Thomas and I followed suit, receiving one-armed hugs from Stan in tandem.
He reminded me so much of Craig and I hated it. At least he didn’t smell like vanilla and cigarettes. Laughing, Stan asked, “What’s that face for?” When I looked up at him questioningly, he mimicked what must’ve been my face. He looked like he hated me.
There was no stopping the blush that graced my unfortunate cheeks with its presence. Hurriedly, I mumbled a quick apology as well as a soft-spoken excuse which was admittedly the truth. That he reminded me of Craig.
Kyle smirked at me knowingly. “Would you like to borrow my boyfriend?”
“W-What?” I sputtered. “God—no!” They laughed at me.
“Awh, come on, Tweek,” Stan crooned, dropping Kyle’s hand to take up mine. “You don’t want to hold Craig’s hand?” I wondered if one day I would and if I’d be able to tell the difference. Stan’s fingers encompassed mine completely, stable and warm, just like his relationship.
“Oh, t-trust me, I do,” I snorted, holding up our hands to see his blunt nails and strong knuckles. What did Craig’s even look like?
“And I suppose I don’t compare?” With an arm around Kyle’s shoulders, Stan began to lead us toward the staircase that would take us to his apartment. It reminded me of the ones in Lakewood, all of those little pebbles infused together to create slabs to step on. Unfortunately, this one wouldn’t take me anywhere near there.
Smiling grimly, I told him honestly, “Not even close.” Craig was as close to Craig as you could get and that was it.
“That sounded like it hurt, Stan. How do you feel?” Kenny joked, smacking the man’s butt with the back of his hand. Living with Kenny must’ve been a riot: never knowing when his hand would lash out and grope you, always expecting a sexual assault, locking the door before bed just in case. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. Even staying at his house overnight gave me a scare, though I’ve only ever done it once many years ago.
After complaining about the pain caused by my insult, a thing of which I hadn’t meant—I swear—Stan asked, “So just how great is this guy? I know I haven’t seen him in—what?—four years, but I distinctly remember wishing he’d left long before that.”
“I can tell you how great he is,” Thomas assured.
Contrarily, Kenny inquired, “Why so protective, buddy?”
I was just mortified all over again.
“Tweek’s like my little brother.” My fingers tightened around Stan’s hand at his confession. “I need to make sure he goes away to someone who knows what they’re doing and how to take care of him. He’s high maintenance.” That was an understatement.
“Well, in that case, I can assure you that Craig has become quite the man. Delectable piece of ass right there.” That was also an understatement.
We reached the third floor landing and started down a walkway, quickly coming upon a familiar set of numbers that took us into an equally familiar apartment. Stan and Kenny’s place was more how I had expected Craig’s to look. They had a regular rectangle of a couch, a table and chair setting with one chair that was white instead of black, an overflowing trashcan, some dirty dishes, and it smelt like a distinct mixture of the two men who lived there whereas I couldn’t differentiate the accumulated scents in Lakewood. On a side table were a few video games and on the floor were some articles of clothing, presumably Kenny’s.
There was lotion on the coffee table sitting right out in the open and I thought to myself that—the culprit once again—Kenny had no shame. I didn’t want to know what I’d find in his room, so when visiting I usually stayed at the kitchen table because there was no way I was sitting on that couch. Partly because I knew Stan and Kyle have had sex on it—not together—and partly because Kenny did everything else on it. To be honest, everything in the general direction of the television terrified me. Out of fear and an unexpected experience, I never turned it on just in case it was stuck on some creepy porn channel. The remote’s probably been splooged on. It was just best to steer clear if you were Tweek Tweak.
Still holding onto Stan’s hand, I situated myself at the only place I felt I wouldn’t be molested by lingering body fluids. Thomas and Kenny found a seat in the domain prude blondes refused to enter, and Kyle started off down the hallway toward what I guessed was his boyfriend’s bedroom. Over his shoulder he called, “I’m going to say hi to your bed. I miss it.” Yeah, I was sure there was plenty that he missed about that bed alright. Looking after him for a moment, I was sure that Stan wanted to reacquaint him with it. I let go of his hand so that he could leave, but his hold on my fingers didn’t relent.
The look on his face was serious when he turned around, even more so when he kneeled before me where I witnessed it head-on. It opposed his earlier mood drastically and I was caught off guard by its grave intensity. “You like him a lot.” My brows knit together. Clearly he was talking about Craig. Stan was one of the first people I’d trusted enough to spill my unyielding crush to. He and Kyle, and Thomas before that. Tenth grade they’d found out. The three had said they’d always known, though. I nodded my head.
He pursed his lips then looked away. When his eyes returned, he said, “You were either Clyde or you were Token and if you were anybody else, Craig treated you like shit.” Stan forgot about Stripe, but I figured that I could let it pass. “He doesn’t leave much room for other people in his life. I can’t say that I know him very well, but he’s—Craig is brutal, Tweek.”
“He’s honest,” I mumbled, dropping my gaze. That’s what Craig had called it: honesty. And sometimes people couldn’t handle that.
“He’s honest,” Stan repeated, laughing. “Alright, let’s go with that.” I gave him a pointed stare. The warning in his eyes mellowed out. “You know I’m not telling you to stay away from him. I just want—…” His features contorted as though this were genuinely hard for him, whatever he was trying to do.
That’s when the words came out, uncensored, completely bypassing my radar. “He’s different with me.” And then my eyes widened, my breath caught, and I tried to erase that before its meaning could register. But all I could blurt out was: “That’s not what I meant! I-I swear, dude!”
Stan smiled a little sadly. “That’s good to hear. That he’s different with you.” But I didn’t mean that! ”I just want to be sure that if you get hurt, it won’t be by him. You care too much.”
It was depressing really, how vulnerable caring could make someone. “You think I don’t know that?”
“No, I know you know that.” He nicked my chin with his free hand, returning my eyes to his. “And if he kisses you—” He meant a real kiss, one instigated by emotion, not out of pity. “Or tells you he likes you—” That sounded quite nice to be honest. “Or wants something from you—” I could guess what that something was, and just the idea gave life to my cheeks. “You make sure that you both benefit. Don’t do things for you and don’t do things for Craig. Okay?”
“Okay.” I didn’t want to agree because I didn’t want to believe it would happen, but I understood as much as my experience would let me even though I hated all of this “just in case” bullshit. To wash some of it away, I joked around by saying, “This is the talk that I never got to have with my dad.”
“Then just call me Papa Marsh.” He grinned and got up, kissed my forehead, and warned the rest of us: “Try not to bother me for as long as possible, alright?” I watched his back as he retreated to his room. To Kyle.