In romcom terms, this is the meet cute between the main characters. This scene is from Falling in Love and (Other Bad Ideas).
Joey moved ahead of Luke, walking even with me to better annoy me, unless he just wanted to walk down the stairs with me for some reason, which would be weird, so the first one. Or more like, he attempted to walk with me while still narrating his fever dream and gesturing broadly.
Basically, I was doomed. Joey was a catcher, built to stay where he was planted. Me, being the shortstop, had to be the opposite: quick, flexible, and able to cover more ground. So the math was easy. He made a motion with his arm and pushed me, and I wasn’t prepared. I went flying, sailing over the last few steps instead of stepping down them. Down I went.
…There so many situations where I would happily go down, but this wasn’t one of them.
Except instead of hitting the ground, I instead landed right in the pages of some fucking chick flick novel. I fell right into somebody’s arms. It couldn’t have been choreographed better. I stared up at an unfamiliar face, his light brown eyes looking into my darker ones. The guy who caught me, the whole picture he painted boiled down to this: a standard male protagonist.
Should I ask Luke what romcom this meet cute was stolen from the pages of? He would probably know. Or wait, this could have been a terribly contrived introduction to the handsome stranger who saved me, but him being a stranger meant something. While entirely possible there were closeted guys at school I didn’t know about, it seemed unlikely. Either through firsthand knowledge or rumors from the guys I shared the aforementioned firsthand knowledge with, I had a pretty comprehensive understanding of any dudes at this school with queer leanings.
“Hi there,” the guy said to me with a little smile. He righted me and continued, “This is one hell of a meet cute, huh?”
No, I already decided it wasn’t! I dusted myself off, unnecessarily, but it made me feel more in control. “I don’t do cute. Not meet, or as a button, or otherwise.”
“Uh oh, is it about to get gay?” Joey asked, looking between us. “It’s fine, just give me some warning.”
“No, it’s not,” I said while the almost-protagonist said, “Yes, it is.”
“So, they answered differently, is that another clue?” Joey directed the question to Luke. “It’s about to get gay, right?”
“Well, I am gay,” the stranger answered. “So I’d argue whatever is happening is already gay.”
We all stared at him. Because… huh. Technically, I was right. This wasn’t some closeted guy I didn’t know about. Because he wasn’t closeted. Which threw us off. Until right then, everybody out at our high school was already in our friend group. And since we had never seen him before, he clearly did not meet these standards. His casual words weren’t anything we expected.
“Am I offending your family values?” he asked us, not really surprised. Seemed he’d been doing a lot of that lately.
“Don’t worry, he doesn’t have values,” Luke responded helpfully.
“Family or otherwise,” Joey added.
Luke looked between me and the new guy slowly. Uh-oh. “You did fall right into his arms.” Don’t let the jock thing fool you, he was actually a huge girl because I could see the words ‘fate’ and ‘destiny’ running through his head. “And did you hear what he said?” Luke asked me, nudging my side with an elbow. “About being gay?”
“I’m standing here with you, in front of him, so obviously I—”
“Dude, come on,” interrupted Joey. “He’s queerballs, and so are you.”
“Seriously?” I asked him.
“It’s destiny or some shit,” Joey reasoned. “Even I’m not strong enough to stand in the way.”
“Two queer people crossing paths doesn’t mean we need to kiss,” I argued. My life wasn’t a romcom.
“I agree,” the Standard Male Protagonist said. “But it is cool to meet you. You’re gay too?”
“Bi,” I corrected.
“Oh, you’re bi?” SMP asked.
“Not what I meant.” I tried again. “Bye.” Got it that time.
I walked away.
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