Jay Northcote: Practice Makes Perfect

Jay Northcote--Practice Makes PerfectI’m not quite sure how I feel about the fake it ’till you make it or pretend lovers trope. I don’t dislike it, but I’ve never sought out any stories and, at the moment, I can’t seem to recall any particular stories that I’ve read and or liked. While the leads of Practice Makes Perfect, Dev and Ewan, don’t pretend to boyfriends, I still consider their arrangement to fall under the FITYMI trope.

Dev is nearing the end of his first year at university and because living in the dorm didn’t work out so well, he’s moving into the shared housing that his boss hipped him to. He runs on logic and tends toward formal and impersonal speech and that’s made interacting with some people difficult. It’s only made more so by the fact that some have taken issue with him being gay. The current residents in the shared housing are supposed to be more accepting, so he hopes he can settle in and move on with his life. That’s a goal for him, one that gets broken down into smaller chunks on one of his many to-do lists.

After unpacking and organizing, Dev sets out for the market. Upon his return, be encounters Ewan. Dev can’t help but appreciate the athletically set redhead who turns out to be his next door neighbor. Introductions are made, a bit of small talk, and then they go their separate ways.

Some days pass and Ewan signs for a package, assuming it was the one he was expecting. He opens it to find a dildo, a very nice, dark blue dildo. He checks the shipping label and finds that it belongs to the cutie that recently moved next door. After a mild panic attack and a crisis of conscious, he brings himself to take it over to Dev and apologize for the invasion of privacy, as it were. For very different reasons, it was awkward for both of them, but they got through it.

Their next encounter would prove to be just as awkward, but instead of ending with Ewan relieving himself to the thought of Dev enjoying his new toy as he did the first time around, they parted with a gentleman’s agreement for Dev to tutor Ewan in statistics and for Ewan to return the favor by helping Dev–former Grindr user Virgin_geek333–work through a list of “sex things” he wants to learn about.

Of course the story is about how they go from tutor & student to something more, but it’s the way they do that was really sweet. Each session would start with tutoring and end with one of the things on Dev’s list. Along the way the built a sort of friendship and found even more reasons to be with each other. But things went left when they realized there was only one thing left on the list. Watching them separately come to terms with their feelings and their situation was bittersweet, but of course everything went well in the end.

Fake it ’til you make it stories seem like they would be fun because you get to see people slip up and try to recover, they question their and the other person’s intentions, and then there are those accidental moments that bring things into focus, but since they are the perfect playground for miscommunication and misunderstandings–so often a very irritating device–sometimes they can be frustrating. This, with only minimal misunderstandings, was very cute. It’s the third in a series, but I wasn’t interested in the first two stories. The couples from them had extended cameos, but the story stood on its own, so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. And this is totally weird for me. It’s hard, but I can drop a series, but willingly picking up one from somewhere that’s not the beginning is unheard of. But this story makes me glad I did.

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