This Will Destroy You

Joel and Matty become neighbours after Matty moves to London. So it begins, with a batch of cupcakes and a nervously stuttered 'hello'.

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When Matty first saw the dark haired, small framed boy scurry through the lobby he let his eyes follow him in utter curiosity. He almost seemed like he was running from something, Matty noted as the boy pressed the elevator button with a distressed grimace, grocery bags weighing him down.
"Who's that?" Matty asked in just above a whisper, as though the boy might hear, wonderment sparkling in his brown eyes. Matty hadn't ever seen someone with quite such innocence and beauty before, he felt almost captivated by the awkward boy already.
"That's Joel Young, he's your new new neighbour, sir." The receptionist who had been sorting out his keys told him politely with a tight smile. Matty smiled at this, watching the boy for a moment longer before he disappeared into the confines of the elevator in a rush, with an expression that could only be described as relief. He suddenly felt a buzz of excitement as the receptionist handed him his keys, excitement for his new apartment and his new life, and certainly to meet his new neighbour. Matty was already scheming up ways to introduce himself to the boy as he let himself into his new apartment.

A loud knock jolted Joel from where he had fallen asleep on the couch, television remote still in hand with informercials blearing loudly. He sat up groggily but quickly his tiredness turned into alarm as he noticed the spilt glass of soda. Joel stared at the mess on his coffee table in horror, heart beginning to race at the mere site. Joel barely even registered the second knock on his door as he was frozen in place for a moment, staring at the mess before he moved in overdrive clumsily to clean up the offending liquid that was making him feel unclean and extremely anxious. His clumsiness as it always did only made Joel more distressed and he watched almost as though in slow motion as he knocked the glass and watched is smash onto the carpet. Joel was trying to suppress the familiar feeling of a panic attack as he moped up the soda and dropped the shattered remains of the cup into his shaking hand.
"Idiot." Joel muttered to himself because he should have known better, he shouldn't have fallen asleep and he shouldn't have left the glass there so carelessly. He should have cleaned up, Joel thought angrily.
It took Joel a moment to calm down but he did eventually, letting out a breath when his living room was back to it's normal state of cleanliness and perfection and there was no mess in sight. Joel knew there was many things wrong with himself and he loathed himself for it, however his responses were so severe that the only thing to do was react to ease his heart stopping anxieties. Sometimes Joel dreamt about being an average twenty-year-old, who didn't have OCD, with friends, a job, and a boyfriend. It was the one thing Joel wanted most of all, to have a boyfriend, though Joel never believed he would ever have or even deserve one. After a shake of his head to dislodge his thoughts Joel came to the realisation that someone had been at the door and quickly rushed off, pulling the door open to find a plate of cupcakes at his feet and a boy kneeling down, placing a note atop the cupcakes. The boy looked up in slight surprise as the door disappeared and was replaced by a pair of sock clad feet.
"Hi," The boy said suddenly, springing up on his feet. "I'm your new neighbour, Matty. I made you some cupcakes, I hope you like cupcakes. I didn't think you were in so I just wrote you a note. You're Joel, right?" Joel's eyes went wide as Matty babbled on and he wondered who this boy, the one whose words were laced with a strong America accent and knew his name. His heart was racing at the unfamiliarity of their encounter and Joel almost wanted to take a step back and slam the door in his face. He didn't though, because behind the part of him that was already beginning to freak out he was almost excited.
"H–hello." He managed to stutter out awkwardly. Plus, this boy had made him cupcakes.

Joel thought as Matty sat close to him, tapping a cigarette against his knee that maybe he could live with this. That maybe he did actually quite like it, this whole human interaction, "friends" thing. At least he liked the idea of being friends with Matty. Joel thought that he might have even been enjoying the way he could feel Matty's body heat against his bare arm, and how Matty knocked their knees together lightly every so often. Sometimes Joel even missed the closeness when Matty left, though he was always content with the silence that followed, Matty was an utter motormouth he thought. Though he supposed it made up for his own lack of conversation and social skills. Matty had invited himself over to Joel's apartments several times by that point and Joel could already feel himself falling into a comfortable routine that involved his odd new friendship. Joel hadn't told Matty exactly what, or all the many things that were wrong with him were and while Matty knew there was something he never minded Joel's strange quirks because he liked Joel, he liked him very much in fact.
"Do you consider us friends?" Matty questioned suddenly and it took Joel a moment but he nodded his head, almost unsurely.
"I shall like to this so, though i'm not exactly sure how this whole friends thing works." It was funny, Joel thought, that he could write about friends and relationships and he could do so with such charm, however he knew nothing of the subject that he spent so many hours writing about. Maybe that was why he had never dared to take his writing to a publisher, because he hadn't wanted the one thing he could enjoy to be ridiculed, he didn't want people to see how naive he truly was. Matty tells him that he considers Joel a friend also and it makes Joel's heart flutter dangerously. For once Joel feels as light and carefree as the characters he creates.

He doesn't understand quite how it happens but Matty becomes witness to one of Joel's anxiety attacks and Joel just wants to laugh at his own stupidity but instead he just spills everything to Matty, every single problem and worry he has.
"I don't go around opening doors five times before I walk through them or anything but in a way, that would probably be easier." He tells the boy whose eye's swim with fascination and slight admiration, though Joel really isn't sure why. "I get really anxious about it and it feels like I could have a heart attack if I don't do something. It's not even that I have this damn disorder, it's that it's completely shaped who i've become. I hate going into the city or even outside of this building, all that mess and disorder and sometimes it feels almost paralysing when it's out of my control. I'm not sure exactly how old I was when it began but i've never had many, if any friends because of it and now I have a social disorder of some sort amongst many other things too." And after that he waits for Matty to leave but he never does, instead he pulls him in tight and tells Joel the things he loves about him. Then somewhere between Matty becoming an almost permanent fixture of his apartment (aside from the hours he spent at his job in a recording studio, of course) and Joel having numerous slight mental breakdowns Joel found himself with a strange feeling in his stomach that his mother attributed to stupid "fuzzy love feelings" and he put down to too much second hand smoke.

"That's utterly preposterous." His mother said when – on the rare occasion Matty had spent the evening with the other friends he had made in London instead of Joel – she had come over for dinner. "You can't even smoke in here and I know you wouldn't have been going to stand outside with him every time he has a cigarette." His mother blabbered on. Actually, he had done so once, though he ended up fidgeting and picking up the smoke buds that littered the cement before rushing upstairs to wash and disinfect his hands before Matty had even finished his cigarette. He didn't tell this story to his mother however, instead shaking his head simply, telling his mother to stop being silly.
"Oh, now I think you are the one being silly, m'dear." His mother said in that soft, caring tone. "You're in love, I never thought this day would come."
"Gosh, thanks mum."
"I am so happy for you." She said gleefully, ignoring Joel's grumpy pout.
"I'm not in love, please stop." Joel's cheeks had gone hot but he decided it's probably because the kitchen is still stuffy from cooking and he just rolls his eyes at his mother. They both hear the click of the front door and then a loud, joking voice soon swims through the apartment.
"Honey, i'm home!" Of course this doesn't help Joel's case at all and his mother grins widely at her son before Matty enters the kitchen where they are seated at the breakfast bar having dinner. There was room for a dining table in Joel's apartment but the thought had never so much as crossed his mind that he would ever need such a furnishing. When Matty saw Joel's mother sitting there looking at him his face grew into a wide smile and he stepped closer and stuck out his hand.
"Hello ma'am, you must be the lovely Mrs. Young." She smiles and nods her head.
"And you of course must be Matty. Joel doesn't speak of anything but you." This time it's definitely his cheeks burning in embarrassment, Joel thinks as he shakes his head at her words.
"No mum, that was you. She thinks i'm in love with you." He informs Matty as he helps himself to leftover pasta that Joel had placed tidily under a tea towel on the counter and Joel scolds him when he drops a piece of pasta and quickly picks it up with his finger, eating it and wiping his finger over the spot again to get the remaining sauce. Joel huffs as he leans over the counter and picks up a cloth, wiping at the spot to make sure it was pasta sauce and Matty saliva free.
"Are you saying you're not in love with me?" Matty asks with a pout as he sits down at his side. Joel wonders what happened to Matty spending the night with his friends but he doesn't bother to ask, no doubt it would come with a longwinded tale.
"What if I am?" He questioned suddenly. "I love you, Matts." And he feels both Matty's and his mother's gaze fall on him but he doesn't look up, eating his pasta nonchalantly and he's smirking into his fork and he was only half joking.
"I would love it if you were." Matty said softly and then Joel stops eating, his smirk gone and there's a heavy silence that falls over the room and Joel wishes he hadn't professed his undying love for Matty with his mother sitting right next to him because God, he would never hear the end of this one. He kind of drops his fork and his hand in surprise and his hand comes crashing down on the plate and his plate of pasta is smashing against the tiled floor after making its way down Joel's front first and he kind of stops breathing, though he thinks maybe he hadn't been breathing before.

Suddenly his apartment is a flurry of activity as his mother is jumping up to grab a cloth to wipe her son down while Matty rushes for the cleaning cupboard. For once though, Joel can't really feel the normal anxiety taking hold and he's kind of just frozen there, this anxiety is still there but it's nothing more than a dull thudding in the back of his head, like the beginning of a headache and he just wants to tell Matty that yeah, he does really quite love him.
"Honey, are you okay?" His mother asks softly as she pats his shirt and jeans down of pasta sauce, though it's barely doing anything. Usually by now Joel would be rushing around, getting angry at anyone who got in his way and shaking a little and just wanting to clean up the floor and get out of the clothes as quickly as possible but he's just siting there. He nods dully and stands up finally, sort of stepping in some pasta sauce and jumping out of it, kicking off his sauce stained shoes. He doesn't speak but he goes into the bathroom where Matty is sat on the edge of the bathtub filling up a bucket with hot water, the mop leaning against the wall. Matty smiles softly at him.
"How are you feeling?" He asks as Joel stands there sort of hopeless looking and kind of like a lost puppy, Matty thinks.
"Surprised." He admits truthfully and Matty isn't sure how to respond so he just watches as Joel turns the shower on and climbs in fully clothed and he doesn't mind that Matty is watching him, he just closes his eyes and lets the water beat against his skin. He kind of wants to sit down because he feels exhausted but he thinks about how dirty the floor could possibly be and then Joel thinks about that morning when he had jerked off in the shower and a light blush spreads across his cheeks because he feels like somehow Matty might be able to read his thoughts.

He doesn't remember Matty leaving the bathroom but when the water eventually starts to get cold and Joel steps back into the kitchen with a big fluffy towel wrapped around him his mother and Matty are talking softly between themselves over their dinner. He should have gotten dressed but the towel had been on the heated towel rack all day and it was nice and warm. Matty smiles softly at this and thinks to himself that it's kind of, really adorable. The kitchen is nice and clean now Joel notices but he is sure that once they both leave he'll get the mop and bucket out again and give it a once over himself, just to ease the last bit of anxiety.
"I've never seen you react like that." Joel's mother admits. "Are you okay?"
"I'm okay, honestly. Thanks for cleaning up." Joel sort of wants his mother to go so he can talk to Matty and he wonders if he would even have the courage to do so. He fakes a yawn and soon his mother is saying her goodbyes to both boys.
"I like your mum." Matty states, except he says it as "mom" in his gorgeous American accent and it makes Joel smile a whole lot as he disappears off to put on his pyjamas so he's at least in something half decent to do the dishes.
They stand side by side, Matty is washing and Joel can tell he's taking an extra long time just for his sake. Joel wants to bring up the whole love thing again but he's kind of a chicken and he doesn't really know how to handle such a situation so they just stand in a light silence.
"I'm real proud of you." Matty says and Joel isn't sure what he means but he smiles at him as he puts the last plate away.
"Why?" He decides to question because really, he likes getting to hear Matty's warm accent.
"You didn't freak out or anything when you dropped your plate at dinner." He beams, proud of the boy who had become his best friend but Joel thought it sounded a bit childish really, being proud of him for not freaking out.
"I was kind of distracted, which was a first." He explains.
"By what?" Matty asks and Joel wonders if it wasn't a bit obvious and then whether he should tell the truth or not.
"My thoughts, what I said, what you said, you." Joel pauses for a moment. "Yeah, mostly you."

Joel just wants to say it then, because it's there on his tongue and he knows it's the truth and he thinks Matty probably knows it already but he would like to say it anyway, without the joking undertone. He opens his mouth to say it but a breath doesn't even pass his lips because Matty has stolen the words and he's shoved them into his own mouth and then let them slip right back out again and Joel doesn't really know what to do.
"I love you."

"I know." Joel states simply as he puts down the tea towel and leans over to Matty, pressing their lips softly together and he kind of has to lean on the bench and stand on his tippy toes just to reach Matty's height but he doesn't mind. Joel wanted to say it back but he thought it might have seemed like he was only saying it because Matty had and he most definitely didn't want it to come off that way. Matty's hand finds its way to Joel's back to hold him up but the kiss stays short and sweet, no tongue or lustful moaning. Joel decided that he liked kissing Matty and that if the sink wasn't sitting there full of grimy water and nudging at Joel to clean it up he would definitely be happy to do some more of it. The couple don't exchange words as Matty pulls the plug on the sink and Joel wipes the bench down, and then the sink when it's empty before throwing the tea towel in the washing basket. When he comes back, Matty is leaning against the bench and he smiles softly and Joel decides he doesn't want to wait to say it.
"I love you too, y'know." He tells Matty with a slight laugh afterwards Matty replies, "I know." And then they're kissing again and Joel had seriously never noticed how much shorter than Matty he was until today but he doesn't mind that Matty is holding him against his own body to keep him up.
"Do you want to stay tonight?" Joel asks once they pull away again and he falls back onto flat feet, though Matty doesn't move his arms and Joel ends up leaning his head on Matty's chest. His heart rate quickens as he realises what he's said though and he thinks maybe Matty will think he means it in a sexual way and he most certainly isn't ready for that, so he adds quick as possible, "So we can cuddle." Matty laughs again and grins widely.
"I would love to stay and cuddle with you." And Joel doesn't even think about the mess he'd made or the fact he was going to re-mop the floor again that night.

Joel isn't sure why he was ever so worried about this, every fibre of his body feels amazing and the sounds and faces that Matty is making make him feel like they're in their own little world where everything is perfect. He felt guilty now for having made Matty wait for him but now that it was finally happening it felt a lot more special. They had done other things before that, like that memory Joel loved so much when they had showered together. The memory had flashed through his mind for only a moment but then Matty thrusts upwards and his mind jumped back to the present and he moans loudly into their apartment.
"M–matty." Joel moaned and he could feel his stomach fill with unimaginable warmth and pleasure and oh God, there was no way he was holding it in any longer. He grips Matty's arm, the one that's pressed against his thigh as he cums onto Matty's bare chest and he catches a glimpse of Matty's blissful expression before Matty cums too and Joel falls forward into a heap of limbs and heavy breathing.
"My goodness." Joel says softly, head rested in the crook of Matty's neck and Matty kisses the top of his boyfriend's head because he just can't help himself.
"Let's do that again some time, Matts." Matty laughs at this and Joel giggles, not because he's embarrassed but because he likes hearing Matty's laugh. Joel squeezes Matty's sides softly before rolling off him and getting up.
"Now, lets go get cleaned up before I stop thinking about how amazing you are and start having heart palpitations."



The End

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