Pick has been acting weird for about a month. He keeps telling Rome that he’s at work, but Rome shows up to the clinic with food from the cafe—a perfect, innocent excuse—and Pick isn’t there.
Jay says Pick has been busy lately, that he hasn’t been around the clinic as much, but that a woman has been coming to meet him at lunch sometimes.
Jay doesn’t know about Pick and Rome, so Rome tries to keep a neutral expression and he leaves with a heavy heart.
He had really thought he and Pick would be together forever, as stupid as it is.
Instead, Pick is seeing someone else, and Rome just hopes Pick won’t try to string him along while he “figures it out” or whatever Pick is doing.
Rome isn’t going to be Pick’s backup, and he’s not going to be cheated on.
Pick had told Rome that he loved him, so how can he treat Rome this way?
Rome is lying on his bed, moping and debating on whether he should tell Emma, when his phone starts ringing and Pick is asking to meet up with him tomorrow to talk.
Rome can’t help it, his lips trembling, the tears coming, “Okay, P’Pick,” he warbles.
“You… Are you okay? Are you crying?”
Rome sucks in a shaky breath. “No,” he lies.
“Shit. Okay. I’m coming over.”
But Pick has already hung up.
Rome spends the next ten minutes trying to keep himself together but it only makes him fall apart more. He’s a complete mess by the time he hears the knock and swipes at his face, making some last ditch effort to look less pathetic, but it’s no use. He sucks in a breath and opens the door.
Pick stares at him. “Ai’Rome, what happened? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Rome lies, but he changes his mind. “What did P’Pick want to talk about? Rome—” He swallows, needing to get words past the lump in his throat. “Rome stopped by the clinic and P’Jay said Pick hasn’t been in and has been meeting someone and...and P’Pick said he wanted to talk.”
“Oh.” Pick freezes, panicked, and then he sighs. He grabs Rome’s hand and brings him over to sit down, finds tissues and shoves them into Rome’s free hand.
Rome doesn’t see the point, balling up the tissues in his hand instead of using them to wipe his face, so Pick pries them out of his grip with a huff and cleans up Rome’s face himself.
“Nong, it’s not what you think,” Pick says, and Rome rolls his eyes.
“P’Pick, don’t lie to Rome. I can’t,” and he doesn’t finish the sentence. It’s all he needs to say.
Pick makes a pained face, but he’s still holding Rome’s hand. “Rome, look… Look at me, okay?”
Rome closes his eyes and shakes his head.
Pick gives his hand a squeeze. “Rome.”
Rome shakes his head harder.
“Rome,” and Pick forces the words out, “I love you so much.”
They’re both quiet, other than Rome’s sniffling, for a moment, but Rome finally pulls himself together enough to look at Pick. “Rome loves P’Pick, too,” he whispers.
Pick smiles, struggles again. “The reason I lied, and the woman”—Rome tenses—“are related. It’s true. She’s a realtor. Er.” His eyes flick down. “I wanted to talk to Rome tomorrow because I wanted to ask if Rome wanted to live together.”
“What?” Rome asks, feeling whiplash.
Pick nods. “I’ve been looking at places, trying to figure out what I can afford. If… If you wanted to live together, I was going to take you to see a couple locations tomorrow to make the final decision.”
“P’Pick...wants to live with Rome?” Rome is still dazed, processing Pick's words.
Pick exhales harshly. “Uh. That’s what I just said.”
“P’Pick,” Rome whines, frowning, but his hand toys with Pick’s. “Does P’Pick mean it? P’Pick really wants to live with Rome?”
“Ai’Rome,” Pick scolds, but his leg is shaking. “So?”
“Yes,” Rome says, and he kisses Pick on the cheek, the lips. “Yes. Rome wants to live with P’Pick.”
Pick lets out a sigh of relief. “Fine. That’s...fine. Acceptable.”
Rome giggles. “Very.”