Bitter like Honey (e.d)
s o n g : crush culture - conan gray
a / n : happy valentines from yours truly! everyone’s kinda iffy about today, but this is anti valentine for the most part! also didn’t know what to title it but as always constructive criticism is appreciated :)
w o r d. c o u n t : 1.7k
It was officially February, and the discussions and decorations for the overrated day of “love” were promoted more than ever.
Everywhere in the halls, you were bombarded with couples gripped in the deadly clutches of their other half, nausea-inducing red thorny roses, and sucking their faces off like there was more air to breathe in their own mouths.
Speaking of the halls, streamers hung from the ceilings that created a suffocating atmosphere what with them already being so packed and small. Little hearts made of construction paper stuck to each of the lockers with an agonizingly cute pickup line like “bee my honey” with the joyful bug doodled under. Honey is also extremely overrated as it is always being used to describe something sweet when you thought it tasted more the opposite.
You huffed in exasperation once you reached your own locker. You squinted rather hard to read the chicken scratch in blue ink. All you could make out was a minuscule cupcake with a crooked smiley face when you figured it was going in the trash anyway.
After getting whatever you needed, you slammed your locker shut before ripping the heart off your locker, crumpling the brash pink paper and throwing it away while walking to your next class.
After a long day of treading through the suffocating love in air, it was finally the sacred moment that you were able to go home. If there was anybody absolutely dreaded today, you would definitely take first place.
‘Just need to walk through the halls one more time and you’re free.’ You thought to yourself. The plan was to speed walk with your head low and heading straight for the door with no stops in between. Until of course, you were stopped.
“Hey, y/n! Did you like your heart?”
Ethan Dolan beamed at you sweetly as he strut beside you in all his teenage boy glory. He was the type of guy you vowed to get as little involved with as possible.
It’s not really a topic you like to go into, but ever since the sophomore incident, you promised yourself that you wouldn’t start dating again until after you graduated because high school boys were deemed idiotic and immature. Especially if they’re boys like Ethan Dolan who was treasured as one of the school’s star athletes and the student body Vice President. He oozed trouble through his messy hair and his boy charm, and you were 100% not willing to listen.
“You know, I would’ve if the handwriting was so illegible. I had no idea what it said and, frankly, I didn’t and still don’t really care.” You said cynically and began to walk to faster, hoping that he would get the message and leave you alone. You were quite disappointed when he picked up his own pace to be in front of you and quickly, but cautiously, walked backwards.
“It said ‘you bake me crazy’. I thought the cupcake was a nice obvious touch.” He paused to ponder upon whether or not it was really his writing - which he swears is as neat as can be - or if it was the dark ink. Maybe your eyesight just wasn’t that great at the moment?
He shook himself out of his thoughts to see you pass by him with a quicker pace and once again, he mimicked your actions.
“Anyway, I was wondering if you’d wanna hang out tomorrow? Maybe go get froyo and pizza - maybe watch a movie?” He held tightly onto his backpack straps as to give him that extra sense of confidence which he thought he lacked.
Ethan was rather confident in himself when it came to girls, especially because he easily conformed to what each girl wants and that’s usually a cute date with some red roses and an old romance movie. He figured you were the same. Boy, was he wrong.
You immediately stopped and scoffed before crossing your arms and trying to exude as much cold energy as possible. “Listen,” You started slowly, almost in a condescending way, “I’m flattered, but I’ll pass.”
He sighed and scratched the back of his neck, “Why not? Do I have to streak or something? I’ll do it, i got nothing to hide.” A devious smirk revealed itself and you scoffed. This conversation was getting more ridiculous by the second and you were just trying to get home.
“Oh no doubt.” You rolled your eyes before finally getting outside and turning to him. “Look, don’t take this personally, but Valentine’s Day really isn’t my thing. I’d rather live without all that hype for one lousy obnoxious day. I’m sure there are plenty of girls just waiting to get their hands on you though.” You smiled sarcastically before proceeding to walk down the sidewalk and leaving him defeated.
He watched you walk away and he kicked the ground. He tucked his tongue into his cheek before a lightbulb went off in his head. If it’s romantic gestures you hate, unromantic gestures you shall receive.
You helplessly scrolled through your feed filled with appreciation posts and cute valentines day pictures and your mood plummeted lower than you would’ve liked to admit. Sure you were a cold-hearted mess, but it hurt every now and then to see the innocent love thriving while you were stuck at home eating cold pizza and watching reruns of old shows you’ve seen one too many times.
Then again, you’d much rather be comfy and alone than spending the night with someone who will make romantic gestures today and completely forget your existence the next day.
Your head sunk lower into your pillow as you shut your eyes and let the meaningless mumbling words of the cartoons stumble into your ears. It would’ve eventually lulled you to sleep if it weren’t abruptly interrupted by a crack coming from the balcony door.
“Shit!” He hissed before timidly grasping onto his messy hair and falling back onto the makeshift wooden swing that hung off the huge oak tree that sat in the middle of the grass.
You swung the door open to see him holding a fist to his mouth and nibbling on his pinky nail in anxiousness and guilt. “What the hell?!” You groaned after taking a peek at the bold new crack on the glass due to a rock he threw just a bit too forcefully. He jolted up and walked closer to where you stood a few feet higher.
“It was an accident, I swear! It looked really tiny when I had it in my hand!” You lazily threw your head in your hands as you wanted to cry out in frustration. What is this kids deal?
“Just—whatever. What on earth are you doing in my backyard? How do you even know where I live?!”
He went to grab the mystery object before jumping up to the ledge and climbing over the rail to stand under the yellow light. He licked his lips out of anxiousness and said, “Not important.” before extending a small heart shaped box. You frowned as you read it contained an assortment of chocolates inside and you looked up to see him wearing a devilish grin. You were extremely disappointed to say the least, but what did you expect?
“You can keep them.” You shoved it back in his direction and he put his hands behind his back before shaking his head. “I will not take no for an answer this time.”
“Ethan, i don’t know what you want me to tell you. I told you I don’t like these kinds of things and—”
He walked over to your side and gently said, “Will you just trust me and open it, please?” You bit your lip and slouched in annoyance before sighing in defeat.
“Fine, whatever tickles your pickle.” You popped the lid off the box, unamused. However, that didn’t last long when you just saw a folded piece of paper and nothing more. You held up and tilted your head and he nodded, encouraging you to open whatever it was.
“Ethan, it’s literally an empty box of chocolates and a receipt for flowers.”
“Yep!” He smiled widely and rocked back and forth from his toes to his heels. You stood plainly and stared at him waiting to be handed a bunch of flowers that would die in a week. But he simply stared back. Nowhere did you see any bouquet of flowers.
“Well…where are they?”
“Oh those nasty old things? I threw them away.” You looked over to him in disbelief and he nodded. He pointed to the black trash bin across the street where, if you squinted enough, you could see red and pink flowers peeking out from beneath the lid. “You said you hated all that romantic stuff so I did some research on what the least romantic gifts were and it was an empty box of chocolates, a receipt for flowers, but not actually having any, and an inappropriate joke about sex somewhere in between.”
You bit back the smile that threatened to grow as you lovingly stared at the boy with messy hair, baggy sweats, and an equally baggy hoodie. You were quite amazed. You swore to yourself never again would you fall for a high school boy and you would stick to that no matter what. Right?
“If I do say so myself, I think I nailed your challenge from the ba—” You threw your arms around his neck and a chuckle rumbled from his chest. Ethan hugged you tightly and that’s when you began to think it might not be so bad to be in someone’s embrace.
“I’m guessing my gestures worked, then?” He smiled and gently traced tiny circles on your hips with his thumbs. You pulled away slightly and returned a smile. Your fingers played with the hair on the nape of his neck and his tongue jut out to quickly wet his lips. “So, how ‘bout some froyo?” He stumbled at and foolishly raised his eyebrows.
“Hmm,” you looked up towards the sky and pursed your lips, “I’ll think about it.”
For the first time in a long time, you found yourself enjoying the sweetness that came along with being someone on Valentine’s Day. The time the one and only Ethan Dolan had finally convinced you, over an not-so-ideal froyo topping, that honey was in fact a lot sweeter. You just needed the right kind.