Jake & Set; second meeting

Jake regarded the big, white manor in silence. White-framed windows covered the walls of the three story building, the roof was black and a chimney peeked up near the right end. The door was as black as the roof and had a silver handle looking so expensive Jake was sure it was worth more money than his family’s entire house.
He stood at the gates, halfway hidden behind a bush with spiky twigs. More of the spiky bushes were seen in the garden, plus trees on each side of the gravel path looking just like a little parkway. He bet it would look wonderful in the spring and summer when the grass were green and the trees wore their leaves. Now they were just cold and gray, and the ground was covered with a thin layer of snow and frost. Except for the ground just around his feet, where the snow had melted, since he’d been standing there for an embarrassingly long time.
Like a total creeper.
Jake turned around quicker than lightning. A little girl in a blue winter coat stood just a couple of feet away, long blonde hair thrown over her shoulder and a light smile on her lips. She looked so happy and friendly Jake forgot to feel embarrassed about getting caught.
“Hello”, he said, stupidly.
“Looking for Set?” she asked, tilting her head a little, just like Set had done that night when they’d met. Her eyes were the exact same deep brown as her brother’s.
“Yes”, Jake answered, gave her a quick smile in response to not seem completely weird.
“Oh, then just follow me!” the sister said happily, smiled wider and pushed the gate open. She walked in, then waited for him to follow. So he did.
Jake absolutely hadn’t planned for this to happen. He’d just happened to walk by and stopped for a moment when he realized exactly which house he was walking by. He had been hoping to maybe see Set in a window, or in the garden, and then just walk home.
But now, he was suddenly invited by Set’s little sister, walking towards the door with the expensive silver handle. A small lump of nervousness started to take shape inside his ribcage. Somewhere near the heart.
“Thank you”, Jake said quietly when the sister held the door for him. He looked around in the big room they’d entered, eyes widening. It was even bigger than he’d expected.
“I’ll go tell Set that you’re here”, said the sister, then hurried away and up the stairs. Jake just nodded, nervously waiting at the door and hoping no parents would come and greet him.
It almost scared him, to be honest. He knew nothing of how to greet rich and proper parents, or how to act around them. Like normal people maybe, but what if they we’re all snobbish and demanded a bow and a ‘Good day Mr. and Mrs. Hargreaves’?
Holy shit. He sure didn’t hope they would.
Jake had been so lost in thoughts he hadn’t noticed Set at the top of the stairs, quietly watching him. It took Jake a few more seconds of worrying before he looked up at the small balcony-like stage where Set stood, leaned slightly over the rail, his surprised brown eyes looking down at him.
“Hi”, Set said. He slowly started smiling.
“Hi.” Jake brushed his black hair away from his eyes, suddenly felt kind of stupid. “I was just… I happened to stop outside your house for a moment, and your sister showed me inside, so…” He smiled stupidly, felt like some kind of intruder, but when Set smiled happily in response he didn’t feel quite as bad anymore.
“I was thinking about sending you a text today actually.” Set started to walk down the stairs, leaning his hand against the rail as he made it down and stopped a few feet away from Jake. He smiled that soft smile again, almost apologizing. “But now you’re already here, so… Well, um, you can put your boots there.” He pointed to the left of Jake, at a shoe rack Jake completely had missed before.
“Of course”, he said, more to himself than to anybody else, sunk down to his knees and quickly unlaced his boots. He took the opportunity to discretely study Set when he was looking another direction.
The boy wore simple black jeans and a white shirt under a light grey cardigan, carefully buttoned and (at least it looked much like it) ironed. His white hair looked almost unnatural in such a perfect hairstyle. The tip of his fringe just touched the bottom of his jaw line, and the rest ended just above his shoulders. It all just made Jake feel like something the cat dragged in, with his black messy hair and worn jeans with safety pins holding a tear together. Shit.
Jake got up with the boots in his hand and carefully placed them on the shoe rack. He made sure they wouldn’t fall down or something else as stupid, then turned to Set again.
Set scratched his neck.
“Do you want tea?” he asked.
“Yes, please”, Jake said and nodded slightly. Better say yes to be polite.
“With milk?”
“Anything else?”
“Uh… why don’t you make it like you usually drink it?” Jake said. He usually didn’t drink tea that often, he wasn’t a real Englishman after all, but Set was so Jake was sure he would make great tea.
“Okay, yes.” Set smiled, then suddenly seemed to be embarrassed and gave his own feet a quick look. “You can wait in my room if you would like. It’s up the stairs, then the last door at the left in the corridor.”
“Yeah sure”, Jake said, nodded once again and backed a few steps before he turned around completely and headed for the stairs. He tried to remember the directions Set had given him; he bet he would be totally lost otherwise.
Once Jake was up the stairs he stopped and looked around a little. The corridor had cream white walls with some paintings hung here and there, several doors in dark wood, and a floor in near exact same color.
The blonde girl was leaning out from one of the rooms to the right, smiling a little when she saw Jake all lost in the middle of the corridor. Jake gave her a little nod and a smile, was on his way to go there, but then remembered that Set had said ‘left.’
Luckily only one of the doors was open. Jake peeked in before he dared to enter, stood in the middle of the room for a short while, and then finally sat down on the edge of Set’s bed.
The room was big and light. The bed was placed directly to the left of the door, up against the wall, and across the room was a big bookshelf filled with both thick and thin books. So Set liked to read, huh?
Everything in the room was neat and orderly. Even the book lying on the windowsill seemed to be placed there with care. Jake somehow managed to feel even more misplaced. He quickly looked up when Set appeared in the doorway, balancing two cups of tea and a small plate with biscuits on a wooden tray.
“I brought some biscuits”, Set said with a smile. He placed the tray beside Jake on the bed, then sat down on the other side. “If… you like biscuits…”
“Yeah, yeah of course. Biscuits rock.” Jake took one of the small crackers and took a bite. He looked up at Set, surprised, when he suddenly started laughing. Only then he understood how lame he must have sounded. Biscuits rock? Holy Jesus on a stick, it was one thing to be nervous, but it was totally another thing to make an complete fool of himself because of it.
He couldn’t help but laugh a little anyway. He’d accidentally made Set laugh, and that was what mattered.
“Oh, I’m sorry”, Set giggled. “It just…”
“Sounded like I was the lamest person on earth?” Jake suggested with a laugh. Set couldn’t really answer, was still giggling, and even had to cover his mouth with his hand to make it stop. “God”, Jake said.
It went quiet for a while, except for small giggling breaths and a quiet sound from the tray when it met the cup Set lifted and then put down again. Jake quietly looked around in the room, then looked at Set when he noticed he’d started smiling.
“So”, Set started. “Juliet said you stood hiding behind some bush…”
“Uh, well…” Jake smiled stupidly. Complete fool, it was. “I just happened to walk by actually. Then I figured, maybe if I saw you in there somewhere I could wave or something, and well… I stood there for an embarrassingly long time. And then your sister happened to find me…” he admitted. A smile found its way back to his lips when Set started laughing again.
This was what he liked about him. There weren’t any awkward silences. Set was so easy to talk with; he was so easy to just… be with. It was even worth embarrassing himself because it just got funny instead of being awkward.
“You could have just called, you know”, Set smiled.
“I know, I just….” Jake breathed out a laugh. “I don’t know why I didn’t.”
“No worries.” Set lifted his cup once again, took a sip of the hot tea. It was still steaming and Jake didn’t get how he could drink it without burning his tongue. “It’s nice to meet you again”, Set then said. “So… I’m glad you happened to stay long enough for my sister to invite you.”
Jake took his own cup from the tray, looked down in the creamy brown tea. The smile on his lips widened, not much, but enough for that foreign kind of happiness to shine through.
“I’m glad, too”, he then said. He was so very glad he’d met him.

© Amanda