The motel is nowhere as nice as their last place. No view, just a squat, tentacle stretch of buildings that look a lot like public school portables. It doesn't matter, really. Jesse doesn't care. Tired and dusty and just needing a shower and a soft place to fall, Andrew shoves his credit card over.
The acned teenager behind the front desk takes the credit card and looks at the both of them curiously. "Well, we've only got a room with one king-sized bed left, actually."
"Really?" Jesse asks.
"It's okay, we'll take it," Andrew says, his car keys lanced and spinning limply around his finger. "What room?"
"I'm – I'm kidding," the teenager says, tapping a few keys into his old cream-colored keyboard, late 90s for sure. "We've got plenty of rooms. I just love saying that when we get two guys coming in. It – it always freaks them out."
Andrew blinks, still spinning the keys. "Does it?"
"U-usually it does." The teenager taps a few more buttons then pulls a key from the wall, handing it to Andrew. "Three-oh-six. Two queens. Go down that set of rooms, hang a left, past the pool, those are the three-hundreds."
Andrew waits for his credit card to be swiped. He hands the key to Jesse as they step away from the desk, dragging his duffel bag behind them.
Andrew pulls off his shirt, still damp and warm from the day. He flicks on the TV and changes channels until he finds Wimbledon on an obscure ESPN. Tucks his hands behind his head and smiles, a little bundle of boy and smiling ease. "Who do you like?"
"Wimbledon," Andrew says, gesturing to the set with his pack of cigarettes, tugging one out and tucking it between his lips.
"Oh," Jesse pauses, his bag slung onto his bed, unzipping it slowly. "Uh, Agassi, I guess?"
Andrew snorts a laugh. "No, I mean, now, like."
"Oh, I don't really know."
"Not Federer, right?"
Jesse chews his bottom lip. "Nah. No. Not him. Right?"
"Right," Andrew says, putting the unlit cigarette between his lips and flopping back, smiling around the smoke. "He wins everything. What's the point? It's boring. I'm bored."
"Good. I didn't want you sleeping outside." Andrew sucks on his unlit cigarette and puffs out an empty breath. "He kind of looks like a Ninja Turtle, doesn't he? Nadal?"
Jesse rolls his shoulders. "You know, you can smoke in here, I don't mind."
"Nah," Andrew says. His stomach is summer-browned; a little freckled around the lip of his belly button. He pats it absently, running a lazy thumb over the soft spot of his nipple. So easy, Andrew making every place he stays into a Frat House of beer and cigarettes and naked skin and this warped idea that everything will just be okay, right as rain, was always so obvious, didn't you know?
Jesse unpacks a few things, sliding them into empty drawers, just the next day's clothes and his toiletries bag, his Epipen, his cellphone, a handful of change rattling at the bottom of his pocket. The sound of tennis is usual and comfortable, the swish-huck of a player, the grunts, the scattered applause and clipped notes of the chair umpire.
Jesse sits by the end of his bed, not sure what else to do. It's only nine and the sun has barely set; Andrew seems half-asleep on his bed, happily watching tennis, and the air is so hot it's almost static.
When Jesse doesn't look out the hotel windows, when he doesn't count the miles between here and New York, when he ignores the six messages in his voicemail waiting, unheard, he feels okay. If he doesn't think about – he is almost okay – if he doesn't think about it – eleven messages now.
He watches Andrew's lips twitch, Jesse weirdly able to read the game even though he can't see it, a sneer on Andrew's lips and an aborted gasp on a lost point, a snarl on a double fault, a grin on a game handily won. Andrew's long fingers drum over his bare stomach. He sighs, just another little pit stop towards adventure, his jeans tugged low as he wriggles his hips on the bed. Oh, happy boy, probably.
Jesse knows it's easy to keep driving but the stopping is hard, because that's when the world catches up to you, out of breath and angry and wondering where you've been. Wondering why you've run far away, wondering why you're watching a boy, some tennis, wondering why you've run in the first place. The world clears its throat, the world taps its foot impatiently and Andrew seems to ignore the knocking.
"Okay, then," Andrew says suddenly, all at once, right in the middle of the seventh game of the third set. His eyes are wild and his grin an infection, untreated and spreading. Andrew slides out of bed, undoes the button of his jeans and wriggles out of them. Black boxer-briefs, his skinny legs. Andrew yawns then, a lot of skin and muscle and sunburn in the shell behind his neck, along his collar bones furious red. "Come on, then."
"The pool?" Jesse asks, knowing it already.
"Come on, sailor." Not even a second to think, thank Christ. "Avast."
Okay, then. Forgetting is easy right now. Let's run some more, if we can. Let's dip and dodge away from the world that's trying to keep pace.
Fully-clothed, but bare feet. Running, Andrew almost dragging Jesse across the pavement around their long block of motel rooms. The gate is locked, a sign warning of no lifeguards, closed after eight at night. No peeing in the pool. Andrew doesn't stop running, does a gymnast's leap over the fence, all ankles and elbows, not quite making it and tearing a blood-red slash down his calf as he flips wildly over it.
"FUCK SHIT FUCK –" and Andrew dives into the pool, ribbon of blood flowing from his leg.
Jesse lifts the hook of the door, runs to the edge of the pool as Andrew flops gracelessly, twists in the water, pops his head up above to dive down again like an eel to touch the bottom and push up to the surface. Blots of black blood on the white tile like dropped coins.
Andrew is grinning as he surfaces, whipping back his flop of hair. "It's so cold, oh God, it's the best –"
Jesse is on his knees, roughed up on concrete and tile by the edge of the pool. "Your leg –"
"A scratch," Andrew says. "Come on. Come on."
Jesse can see it, the flap of skin washed so clean, a little orange iodine flash of color in the water around it as Andrew bleeds.
"But you –" Jesse is half-frantic, can see it all happening at once: Andrew bleeding out in the pool like depressed teenagers in a warm bath on those made for TV movies. His skin going lifeless and snowy pale. Jesse dragging Andrew out of the pool and pressing uselessly against his sternum because it's the only bit of first aid he knows. No, no, that's how other people think.
Andrew grabs Jesse's outstretched hand, cold and wet, tugs him gently, not enough to pull him in. "Are you or will I?"
"You need – do you need stitches? Is it bad?"
Andrew tugs his hand gently again. "Worry more, can you?" He lets go, diving under and kicking smoothly away, Andrew's boxer-briefs tight against his skin, tugged down as he swims to the curve of his lower back and the divots towards the round of his ass.
"This is how – this is how people get staph infections and die, Andrew."
"Aw, yeah," Andrew says, spitting out pool water and grinning. "I forgot. Gosh, I feel faint."
Jesse shakes his head. It's chlorine in the air and a cold front coming in from the west, whipping against the trees and sending leaves down into the water. The leaves stick to Andrew's shoulders as he bobs up in the middle of the pool, pushing back a mess of hair like a quiff.
"Well? Calling an ambulance, then?" Andrew floats on his back, a few petulant kicks spraying water at Jesse. "Airlifting me out? Looking for my blood donor card?"
There is a blessing, right here, somewhere, buried in a shallow grave. Jesse quickly pulls his shirt over his head, shucks down his cargo shorts because at times like this, you have to keep running away from the things that rise up behind you. There's a curse to Andrew, and it's never having to think. There's no margin in this script, no place for hesitant notes and no time to complain or fidget or cross his arms or imagine his life outside of right now, right now, a couple of quick steps and a choked yelp before Jesse is jumping into a pool like he's sprinting from an upset beehive.
Cold. Struggling and surfacing, a splutter spit of chlorine water that tastes like mouthful of summer. He forgets, remembers, wants to grab Andrew and pull him out of the pool even though Jesse knows he couldn't, forgets again.
The shivering silver skin of the pool, sloshing around them, toes scratching the stuccoed bottom. Paddling with his feet refracted under the water, ghostly pale and close to Andrew's, the flash of his thigh and the gash in his calf kicked too close. Jesse spits out water again, a hand on Andrew's shoulder to steady himself. On his neck, against his jaw.
Fingers pressing against his collar bone, his face so close Jesse can see his chlorine-pinked eyes and his wild, private smile.
"Your leg," Jesse says, his legs kicking like an egg beater, remembering two horrifying swimming lessons.
"Your face," Andrew says, quiet and breath cool on wet skin. Fingers pressing against his collar bone, so close Jesse can see his chlorine-pinked eyes and his wild, private smile. Thumbs up against Jesse's cheeks, close enough that Jesse has a hard time staying above water without kicking Andrew, his shins, his knees. "Oh, jeez, look at you. You're crazy. Oh my God. I love you."
Andrew insists on a shower before he even lets Jesse take a look at his leg. He's not limping at all, but the fluffy white towels they stole from the last hotel are blotted with bright cadmium red, a thread of blood syrupy and dark already curling around the ball of Andrew's ankle.
Andrew's in a clean pair of loose flannel boxers, his hair a half-dried mess sticking up every which way, flopping down on his bed and falling limp like Ophelia in the river.
"Do your worst," Andrew mumbles and turns on the TV, flips through the channels, bored of his own blood.
Jesse lifts Andrew's leg, balances it over his knees. First he wipes, carefully, just toilet paper dabbing up the new spill of blood spiderwebbing away from the cut. Jesse grabbed a first aid kit from the front desk while Andrew was in the shower and from it he pulls out the little bottle of antiseptic.
"Holy fucking –" Andrew jerks his leg away and almost knees Jesse in the nose. "Warn me when you're going to salt it, huh?"
"Stop moving," Jesse says quickly, biting down on his tongue as he disinfects, wipes away more slivers of blood, cleans it up as best he can. "Are you feeling, uh, faint or anything?" Jesse wishes he had taken some kind of course because suddenly watching three episodes of House doesn't feel sufficient. "We should have done this before, right when you – not swimming –"
Andrew leans up, his cheeks ruddy already with the heat of the motel room and his general flush of good cheer. "But it was fun, wasn't it?"
"I – how can you tell when something needs stitches?"
"It was fun, though. Right?" Andrew gets closer to Jesse, his face close, dark-lashed eyes big and open and watching curiously as Jesse tries to focus on the blood and the heat. Andrew's nose brushes Jesse's cheek, nuzzling gently, almost like he's trying to – hitch in his throat, fidget his hands – make Jesse mess up as he cleans the cut. Please stop, there's blood. Don't do that.
"You're hurt," Jesse says, not turning his head, not leaning into Andrew's lips and the way his breath is hot and almost wet against the curve of his ear. He's standing still for too long, he has stopped and he can hear the world catching up with its panting breath and sharp teeth.
Andrew laughs, loud so close. A flash of teeth against Jesse's earlobe, a lazy kind of everything. He slides back, slightly unshaven and sandpaper against Jesse's cheek. "Oh, come on physician, heal thyself."
And his lips are there, hovering unevenly in front of Jesse, only touching when they move just so, wavering like a breeze. Andrew's eyes are half-lidded and so casual, the way he finds the corner of Jesse's mouth, never quite sealing it with a comic book smack, more just touching and away. Pressing his lips so calmly against Jesse's, almost curiously. So terribly easy, like a shrug and a cough. Goading Jesse to stop with the blood, wanting him to turn away from the cut and catch the flirt of Andrew's kiss.
Jesse could do that. He really wants to. (Eleven messages, a shallow cut still wet with new blood, a kiss they won't ever talk about the next morning. All of it passing by in a car window, never talked about. You kissed me. Pretend like it didn't happen.) Jesse wants to be that guy, he really does. He tries so hard, but he's standing still.
Jesse's lips are tight under Andrew's, ducking away to press gauze over the slice, four or five inches long, plastering it over with coarse white tape, so much that it looks worse than it should be, like some shark took a pound of flesh, a festering war wound. (Andrew leans in to kiss the edge of Jesse's jaw, the fuzzy, wayward hair that might one day be Jesse's sideburns. The warm, shocking flick of a tongue against the edge of his ear.) Jesse goes furiously red and runs his fingers over the bandage when he's done, the length of the padding and gauze, careful not to press too hard. His fingers are orange with dried blood, dried almost black under his nails, Andrew finding a pulsing spot on his neck to kiss, suck.
"Done?" Andrew says, muffled against his neck. "Ouch. Ow. Thank you." A kiss, drawn long and sweet against his jaw, Andrew crawling a hand down his stomach, under the lip of his jeans, boxers, down –
"It wasn't fun, actually," Jesse says, standing suddenly, pushing Andrew's leg from his lap, jerking away from him. No, be that guy. Can't you be the boy who does this? Who can love the world? Can't you be that guy? The night falls on him like a ton of bricks, finally catching up with a hoarse voice and a reminder that this can't end well. "No – Actually. If you wanted to - know. It was – it was awful. It was f – it was fuck – fucking awful."
"But I saw you," Andrew says quietly, eyes wide and lost, touching a hand on Jesse's hip. "I saw you, I did. The way you were. I've seen that smile from you, like, twice, ever. Twice ever before now." Andrew leans up on his elbows, shoulder brushing against Jesse's. "When I secretly paid for the cheque at that crab shack in Boston when I was pretending to go to the bathroom. Remember that? You blushed and you grinned, for the first time. When we wrapped the last day on set. You remember those?"
"Yes," Jesse says tightly, like a movie he saw weeks ago, like something that happened to someone else.
Andrew touches Jesse's cheek, cups it and close, his lips a danger. "This whole trip, you've been – like something else. Like you're happy – well, more like you forgot that you aren't happy. I see you do it. Like you're totally happy and then – and then that fucking thing leeching off your brain reminds you that you shouldn't be. That fucking poison. I can see it happen, right there in front of me as clear as – the way you'll pull back like you're feeling too good and that can't happen – and it – I know you can't help it. That's who you are, I know it – that's my Jesse, and I –" A pause, Andrew touching lip to skin, Jesse's closed mouth. "This whole fucking – God, the difference between that and your normal smile, the way you get, like you're someone else. Someone happy who forgot to be sad. God, I wish you could fucking see it. I wish you could see yourself sometimes. When you're happy. Maybe it would stick then." Andrew closes his eyes. "I know you can b. I know."
Jesse stands there. Andrew with his boxers and bandaged leg, and that feathersoft smile, the way he quietly drums his bare feet against the ground. So sure, so ready to give himself over to tonight and tomorrow, scraping skin in thistle and adventure and brushing it off because, hey, hey, hell, why not, you only live once. So ready to just be a boy and love and love.
"I've got to – wash my hands," Jesse says. Blood set into his fingerprints, making stark the whorls and lines of his skin. Oh, hello world, you've managed to catch up. "I've got to –"
The lock on the bathroom door doesn't work. Jesse closes it and runs hot, hot water over his hands, scrubbing quickly, digging his fingers into a soft block of soap hoping that'll get it out. Jesse uses the sharp edge at the bottom of his tube of toothpaste to clean under his nails, scraping out the blood until they're white, white crescents.
Andrew opens the door slowly, with a creak. His face is slack and his eyes searching, blinking quickly like he's kind of lost, missed a step walking down stairs. "Jesse? I'm – am I sorry? Am I supposed to be sorry here? I'm right though, aren't I?"
"It's nothing," Jesse says, running his hands under the water, so hot it's steaming a little. "Just needed to – - wash my hands."
Andrew steps close and Jesse can feel the heat from his bare chest, from his stomach. He takes Jesse's hands, pulls them away from the water, closes them under his own. "Okay, okay," Andrew says.
Jesse twists around, between Andrew's arms with the small of his back pressing against the porcelain lip of the sink. "I'm just –"
"Washing your hands," Andrew says quietly, bringing Jesse's hands to his lips. Andrew's wet lips, he presses Jesse's index finger against them, sucks on it gently, the soft slip of his tongue, Andrew's eyes half-lidded and serious. Taking the next finger in, suckling it soft, and the next.
"Stop," Jesse says, weakly. The blessing of not thinking, that special way Andrew has. Had. Making this special and foreign and not what it is now. He's the reason Jesse is somewhere in middle America, hasn't been thinking right at all since he got a call, hasn't been thinking since he got a friend, hasn't been thinking since he got an e-mail from his agent about this movie about Facebook he simply has to do.
The next finger, Andrew's hands steepled around Jesse's like a prayer.
"Stop." Jesse doesn't notice that he's yelling until Andrew's eyes widen. Jesse pulls his hands away, Andrew stepping back almost instinctively. Can't run forever, can't be that guy. He wishes he was someone else, but he's not, he really is not at all. "Who – who do you think I am?"
"Do you – do you know me at all? I'm not good at this.I'm not good at – at being happy go lucky and stealing towels and loving – loving the – I'm not you, I'm not – this isn't me –" Half-formed ideas shooting from him like stray fireworks, his words sparking and flying all over the place in a panic. "You know I'm not good at this. You know, don't you? You must know. I know. Everyone knows. Why don't you know?" It's hard to talk when breathing is so hard, his throat tightening up like a bee sting. "What is this? Why are we even – here? Why don't you know me? Do you know me at all?"
"Jesse," Andrew says quietly, reaching to touch his shoulders but shying away as Jesse flinches backwards. "Jesse, calm down, I'm sorry –"
"Why did you ask me to do this? Why are you doing this? I'm not good at this."
"I thought it – I thought it might be fun," Andrew says, starting to sound desperate. "I really did. You – you said you wanted to come, and I thought maybe we were. Maybe you might. Maybe we could. You can be so happy. You're happy, aren't you?"
"Of course I – I wanted to be happy," Jesse says, almost breathing it out, leaning back against the sink for support. "Of course I'm – I'm going to say yes to you. I love – I love saying yes to you. Everything you do is so easy and so right and – and I really – I really want to be that person, who says yes, and who goes off across America with you and can be so easy and not think. I want you to think I'm that person who can be spontaneous and leave and live out of motels, but I'm – I'm just not." Jesse can't stop talking, wants to shut up, wants his eyes to feel less wet, wants to just fall right here and sleep for weeks. "I stay up at night wondering that if you asked me to pack up my things and move to – to Brazil – or – or wherever with you, that I would. I would without even thinking about it – and – and that scares me." Jesse looks up at Andrew, at his wild eyes and dark lashes and his helpless, twitching lower lip. "You – you scare me."
Jesse has never seen Andrew helpless before. His hands limp and useless at his sides, his body already slim and small, curling up on itself, his hunched shoulders and toes curling against the bathroom tile. "I'm – I'm so sorry," Andrew says, lifeless, never like anything Andrew has said before. "I thought if I – I wanted to – I don't know. I don't know. You were happy. Did you know that?"
"No. I'm not." Jesse closes his eyes, wants to stop talking, wants this to stop right now. Please let it stop. "You wanted to help me?"
"No," Andrew says. "Yes. I don't know anymore. I just wanted to –"
Jesse stops talking, a hot wash of silence running over him, drying his lips and stinging his eyes. Andrew is gone after that.
No. Stop. Yes. That and more, spoken quietly against the door with no one to hear. Yes, yes, I'm sorry. Alone in the room. Let's do it. Let's run across America, okay, together. Andrew? I hate you, oh fucking Christ. Andrew?
Andrew's bed is still empty when Jesse wakes up, curled in his clothes on top of his blankets, the back of his neck and his palms damp with sweat, no air conditioning and the hot day already orange through the curtains. Syrupy quiet, half-opened eyes and the empty bed next to him. Oh yes, the night before a hiccup and a cough into his fist. Oh God please don't be gone.
Sorry? No one to hear it. It's the gross comfort of being right about disaster, an I told you so stuck in the back of Jesse's throat. I told you this trip would self-destruct. I told you this would fail. Waiting for it to all fall apart across all those miles was somehow worse than sitting here alone in the hotel room with the dust motes twisting around him and knowing he was right all along.
Jesse tidies the room and packs both their suitcases. He checks out alone, crumpling up the receipt and tossing it in the trash.
The world outside is as dry and dirty as a western, tumbleweeds and clichés and instant sweat. The car is parked at the far end of the lot and Jesse manhandles too many bags towards it, stumbling a little, kicking up dirt and coughing as it sticks to his lips and tongue. Spitting on the ground.
Andrew is lying shirtless on top of the car, legs stretched out, sunglasses on, only the cigarette held between limp fingers and dragged on loosely. He doesn't move as Jesse tosses their bags into the backseat. He's still sitting up there as Jesse slides into the passenger seat, hands crammed together, fingers laced.
Jesse wipes his forehead, wondering what he should say. Is this an I'm sorry kind of thing? He's not sorry. Okay, yes he is. Half-sorry, half-right. Just say it. When Andrew gets in the car, say it right then. I'm sorry for – I'm sorry you thought this was a good idea. I'm sorry I'm terrible. I might have told you so. Sorry about that too.
The creak of metal and the gentle bounce of the suspension as Andrew hops off, slides into the driver's seat without a word. Pulls the seatbelt over his bare chest, careful to leave his burning cigarette out of the equation.
"Morning," Andrew says, kind of a hoarse, smoky whisper.
They drive due east, inevitably back to New York. Back to before and just somersaulting over the miles, to the world where Andrew was just a co-star in some movie, fading away with e-mails that come further and further apart, neither expecting the other to call. Someone who disappears over time because it's easier to lose someone than to say what's in your head. (Hey. Hi. I think I love you. Don't go, ever, probably.)
But they just drive towards the rising sun, winding up the tape in their cassette from where it's spilled all over America in black ribbons and music.
Breakfast is a road side diner, the kind that Andrew yelled about hundred of miles earlier, the perfect little roadtrip-sanctioned greasy spoon with red leather seats and tiny jukeboxes at every table with Stevie Wonder and Patsy Cline crowding the pages, just like Andrew said.
Is it still the silent treatment when they have nothing to say? Jesse would talk if there was the right word, the right phrase. He's not brushing Andrew off, it's just that when he opens his mouth he just closes it again, focusing his eyes back down on his menu. He really wants Andrew to say something first, so he can do the apology and the hand-wringing and the bile-swallowing and they can just go back to being friendly mistakes.
Andrew blinks, his forehead wrinkled like he's got something to – and then he looks down at his menu, scanning it with a finger. He's wearing an old oxford cotton button down, only the bottom three done up so it splits wide over his sun-freckled chest. Every so often he looks up, under his eyelashes and blinking quickly, rubbing his eyes with sleep.
Andrew orders waffles with extra whip cream, just like he used to say he would if they got breakfast at a real greasy spoon, like from the movies. Like he said miles before, when the road was just a stupid little game. Waffles are the right thing to order, you know. It's just right. Jesse looks up at him and almost smiles because, well, it's just like Andrew said. Their waitress is even named Flo, just like he said. Like prophecy, like morning.
"Poached eggs and toast, please," Jesse asks, handing over his menu.
Andrew shakes his head a little, and Jesse knows it's because he ordered the wrong thing. The poached eggs will be solid. The toast will be dry. It's all about the waffles, man. Waffles. Like he said way back when, when Andrew would fidget his fingers around Jesse's menu and order for him, when he'd steal sips of Jesse's grapefruit juice and sop his toast in the runny yolk of Jesse's breakfast. Back when they could say something right, or wrong, or really anything at all.
"Where you guys headed?" Flo the perfect roadtrip waitress asks, sliding their breakfasts before them. Overcooked eggs, no one can poach a thing in roadside diners, just like Andrew said.
"New York," Andrew says quietly.
"San Francisco," Jesse says loudly.
"Those aren't the same," Flo says, smirking. "Better decide."
"No," Jesse says. "Yes."
"Really?" Andrew asks, careful to not touch, careful to be far away. "After all that – what you said –:
"West," Jesse says. "Please can we – I'd like to – can we –" Jesse runs out of things to say. "It's just that we've come so far."
"Well," Andrew says, chewing his nails. "We can. Are you sure?"
Jesse closes his eyes and he can't remember what he's supposed to feel. He's unhappy, right? They fought, right? This whole thing was a planned mistake, right from the beginning, just like Jesse expected. That's what it is. He's unhappy about this whole thing. He must be. He decided on it days and days ago, that this was a mistake that he couldn't refuse, and it's all crumbling like limestone and rot. Right?
"Yes," Jesse says finally. "I'm sure."
Andrew sighs out like he's been holding his breath. He pats the steering wheel and starts the engine, kicking up gravel as he turns them right around, skidding off down the road, doubling back once more. "San Francisco it is."
The Salt Lake City Temple square is unexpected, sudden, west.
Andrew shoves his hands in his pockets. Jesse knows Andrew is impressed. It's huge and white and imposing and ridiculous. It's America, too expensive and not at all tactful and absolutely perfect. It's all the loud things they've wanted to see, it's exactly right. Jesus walking in America. Is there anything more ludicrously American than the Latter Day Saints? Andrew is smiling and Jesse knows he's thinking all that, holding back some kind of hallelujah because he keeps gritting his teeth and trying to suppress a smile.
"Wow," Jesse says for him, knowing Andrew really wants to say it. Saying it for him, in case Andrew is worried about treading on eggshells. "Man. Look at it."
Andrew looks at him carefully, seems to balance careful words on the tip of his tongue, licking his lips quickly. He blinks. "Yep."
"Yeah," Jesse says, rocking back on his heels, looking up the tall, sudden cliffs of the bell towers.
"Wow," Andrew says, hands in his pockets and shoulders held up high. "Yeah."
"Yeah," Jesse says again. He can see it just then, like Andrew sees it, like a place and a love and a loud bright bang in his life. "Yeah. Is this what you meant? Is this what you wanted?"
Andrew blinks, like he's not used to questions and noise. He looks at Jesse and his shuffle step brings them a bit closer, both their necks craned up to get a better look, squinting as the sun shocks the church as white as bleached coral. "Kind of exactly."
"Thought so," Jesse says. He touches the back of Andrew's neck, let's go because oh shit no, but then rests it there again because Andrew doesn't shy away, the opposite really, leaning into it and rests against Jesse's hand.
Elko, Nevada is a promise, a place to be checked off. It's small and on the way to the far coast, shallowly bright in the basin of mountains and trapped cold night. Silent and convenient and easily forgotten, a kind of grotto dug into the mountain that's just waiting for boys not to say what they're thinking.
Jesse leans his head against the window, opens his eyes. They sting of the wind, blinking quickly, and he sees the town like a hostile planet from Star Trek, impossible and beautiful and waiting for them to take the wrong step. Half-awake, the whole place is lit like the plastic bulbs of a Lite-Brite in the black construction paper of night. A little bundle of life, a little place to sleep that promises it's still west.
The motel is an empty strip of shopping malls in the middle of nowhere, deep in the constellation of the city. A forgotten little bunker of rooms and railings and the promise of HBO. They carry their suitcases inside with a quiet that shivers, a quiet that wants to be broken. Maybe just to complain about how tired – how dirty – how tired they are. Maybe they could say something? Anything? The room is small but has two beds, like somewhere you'd hide fugitives.
"What do you want?" Andrew asks. "There's a McDonalds a couple blocks up."
It's the first thing they've said all day, from the morning of ordered showers, packing up dirty wrinkled clothes they've worn until they stink, squeezing past each other in the small bathroom moving around the room like ships in the night. Fifteen words total, stretched like a little butter over too much bread and Jesse wishes he could just say something like it used to be, bland and logical and have Andrew laugh at him because Jesse deserves to be laughed at, by Andrew at least.
Hey boy. Hey Andrew. Hey now, make fun of me, please.
Andrew leaves. The car loud as it revs, spitting gravel and pulling away and leaving Jesse with the bags and the burden of silence on his shoulders. For a second Jesse wonders if Andrew will actually come back, or if these two bags and the hundred cash he has in his pocket is the last stop towards San Francisco.
(It makes Jesse sink to his knees for a second, but he feels bad about losing faith in Andrew. He can't do that. They're going West after all.)
Jesse just falls on the motel bed, the one nearest the windows because Andrew said he gets first dibs if he wants. A shallow smile, a credit card paying for the night, a hesitancy like Andrew is still too afraid to get close to Jesse, handling him like Swarovski and guilt.
Twenty minutes later and Andrew is back like a prayer.
Andrew gets a burger because of course he gets a burger. It's just right, just the way it should be. American staple food, little packets of ketchup, a dozen too many napkins flung around over their beds. He curls up, cross-legged, on his own bed and eats hungrily, both of their stomachs groaning after hours and dust and an awkward breakfast half-picked only that morning. Andrew bought Jesse the same thing – surprise! – and he wolfs it down hungrily.
Eighteen words, now, Jesse keeping them like flowers pressed in a book.
Say something now. Go on. Something simple and easy that guys say in bored silences, punching shoulders and burping around a bottle of beer. Come on.
Andrew turns on the TV, flicks through the channels until he stops on a movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's already half-done. Audrey Hepburn smokes out of a comically huge cigarette holder and Andrew lights one of his own, lying back on the bed with one hand behind his head.
Jesse crumples his burger wrapper and tosses it at the garbage can. He misses.
Jesse can't sleep. He twists in the sheets, too hot and the air conditioner doing nothing but pushing warm, damp air around the room. He wants to read his book but Andrew is asleep next to him, twitching a little, a lazy hand resting over his sternum and it wouldn't be right to make him move. Jesse's neck is damp against the pillow and his skin feels clammy and he wants to sleep so bad it almost makes his eyes water.
Counting sheep. Counting mistakes. Counting the slight drip drip drip of water somewhere outside, collecting on the eaves and falling just outside their window.
After an hour, the rain starts to fall, quiet for a second and then loud against the roof. All at once it makes the whole place smell of mud and green and ozone. The room is shocked with lightning, holocene and immediate, and the thunder shakes the windows in their panes. Jesse stares at the ceiling and it's only hot and it's only a hotel room and it's only rain but Jesse can feel the dull edge of panic cut into his stomach like fishing wire.
It keeps raining and won't stop. A downpour, the rattle of eaves and troughs outside, a thick wash of smell, lousy with green and summer. Another shock of light and Jesse feels like something has to happen now or he'll break, or he'll just end. He's run out of time and the axis is wobbling and San Francisco is a day away and the thunder won't last forever and the road won't keep on going, not for long, and Andrew is next to him with his eyes closed.
"You too?" Andrew says out of the darkness. Flash of light. Darkness again. "Can't sleep?"
"Did it wake you up?" Jesse asks, his voice sudden and shucked.
"Never quite fell asleep," Andrew says, almost in a hush. Jesse sees Andrew move in strobed lightning. Lying in bed. Leaning up on his elbows. Swinging his legs over the side of the mattress. Standing. Andrew walks over to the window, backlit with his shoulders all tense and the bulge of muscle in his calves as he stretches his feet. "Fuck," he says, stretching the word out to three, four syllables, wrapping it around him like a towel. "Fuck me."
Andrew is lit in shocked white and he's hugely, moonly pale. The sizzling static air makes the hairs on Jesse's arms stand upright and it's like he knows, they both know that they need to move, move right now or die. Tonight is a place that happens once. Tonight is a place like a fire in a cave. Jesse feels it all in his blood, an itchy feeling like this can start now or turn into nothing at all.
"Andrew?" Jesse says, untangling the sheet and leaning out over the edge of his bed. He steps closer, approaching Andrew slowly, quietly, like he might a stray dog. "Andrew?"
"It's raining," Andrew says blankly.
"Is this it?" Jesse asks, not sure what he means by a single one of those words.
"Uh huh. I think so."
Andrew opens the door, stands on the threshold with his toes curling over the edge, wavering in the doorframe like a diver on a board. He looks back at Jesse with a kind of blind apology, with a look of the wild incandescent boy, like it just can't be stopped. Something inside him needs this, needs to bloody his fingers in the meat of the world, needs to be out in the mud and the pour and great big scream of it all.
And then for a second, Andrew smiles, big and toothy and alive. Then he runs.
Jesse's legs are goosebumping and he can hear the roar of water outside. He stands frozen in the doorframe, watching Andrew's bare skin and the mud kicked up around him, as he slips here and catches himself, a flailing momentum that ends with him digging a shoulder into the grass. A yelp and standing, screaming up into the air and beating his chest, pushing back his hair, grabbing fistfuls of dirt that run wet down his arms.
Move right now or die, that's all Jesse's got left. He can sit and think and debate and worry, or he can move right now and never think at all. That's what he's got left in his sticks and stones world of waiting for life to happen to him, third-pig houses that he thought couldn't get blown down but do.
Jesse's moving before he can think, before the world notices he's gone at all.
The mud squishes between Jesse's toes and he walks at first, jogs, sprints as fast as he can. He's soaking in seconds and his boxers cling to him and the water is warm, almost hot. Lightning rips a tear through the sky and the thunder slips through. Jesse just keeps running, for Andrew, at Andrew. He feels like he doesn't have a breath in his body but Jesse somehow finds the air to scream, a choking scream that burns his throat before he slams shoulder and neck and body into Andrew's side, crashing them both hard into swamp and grass and dirt.
Andrew groans and laughs, his grappling hands slippery on Jesse's body, trying to get him around the waist, slipping around his shoulders, wrenched away from his wrists.
Jesse can taste blood and dirt in his mouth and he's underneath Andrew, losing, trying to twist away until he's on top and pushing Andrew into the mud. Jesse's breathing comes out like laughter, unhinged and just nothing like his own voice, someone else laughing in Jesse's lungs.
Andrew wriggles and he's face down in the mud when Jesse presses an elbow into his back, knees in Andrew's thighs, forehead pressed against the back of Andrew's neck. The rain falls like a waterfall on his back, a manic mediation. Andrew laughs, muffled and small in the dirt and then he's away again, breaking out of Jesse's arms and flipping Jesse onto his back.
When Andrew stands he's covered in earth and grass, smeared under his cheeks and down his chest like war paint and blood.
They're running, both of them just running. Away from the motel and into the dark lit up here and there by the whipcracked lightning. They're wolves, they're wolves, for a second they're really wolves and Jesse swears he can smell the wet fur and the air and the ground in a way he's never smelled before. They run over rocks and branches and it cuts his feet and legs but Jesse can't feel it at all.
Whooping and jumping, crashing through the world like Roman candles shooting off in every direction, until they're exhausted and their legs sore and their feet cut up with blood squelching between their toes.
Andrew falls first, on his knees, still laughing as he flops down in the grass, some old high school football field with rusty bleachers and broken lights.
Jesse falls next to him and he can't, he has to – holds on to Andrew's arms, grapples Andrew until they're tangled and wet and mostly naked and gasping for breath, drinking the iron rain water as it comes down on their faces. Slashed up with mud and blood and fallen leaves. Legs between legs and fingers around wrists and Jesse burying his head against Andrew's chest, trying to hold on while everything is buzzing around him and lifting away like helium balloons.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Andrew says, touching Jesse's face like he can't help it, fingers over his cheeks and on the swelling split in his lip, making it hurt and twinge and bleed. "You, you, I love you, oh God. Oh my God."
Breathing tight and Andrew's jaw is stubbly where Jesse kisses it, tasting like the earth. Andrew's mouth, the corner of it. Jesse sucks on Andrew's lip, the whole thud of Andrew's heart loud in his skin, going slower beat by beat, the pulse in his neck against Jesse's tongue.
The rain slows to a drizzle and dawn is straining silver against the edge of the earth. They lie there for a long time slowly falling apart, less tangled as they slip away, as the rain washes them down where they've taken a minute to die. Pixelated sky and Andrew groaning for a cigarette, a world of grey and staying up too late.
Andrew stands first, uncertain on his feet. He looks around curiously as the brightening dawn and the falling down football stadium, cocking his head like a pup. This is new, unexpected for both of them. Andrew sways a little, drunk on rainwater and skin, and then he smiles and reaches down and helps Jesse to standing, tugging him up with a whimper and an ow and his arms all around, a hug and a kiss on the neck that won't easily be forgotten.
They walk back together, limping from one foot to the other, tongues swollen and wordless in their mouths, hand around each other's waist, skin against skin slippery and warm and cut up in long bloody beading black-red threads.
The alarm goes at noon and by then the clouds are thin and dry, bits of blue hidden up in the highest shelves. No rainstorm, nothing to see here, keep moving.
Jesse wakes up like he's hungover. It's lycanthropy, it really is, the full moon blur of last night aching in his muscles and his head. He groans and hears Andrew do the same, the creak of a mattress as Andrew slams a hand against his phone once, twice, three times to shut it up.
Squinting an eye open, Jesse feels the heat drain from his face. His sheets are bloody and dirty with dried mud, caked into the mattress and the blankets. He's only in his boxers, torn up along his thighs like animal claws. Nothing is fresh; the blood is black and hard, the dirt crumbling like dust as he wipes it off his knees and shins.
"Wow," Andrew says, crawling out of bed. His got handprints of blood up his chest, around his shoulders and biceps. "God, we are stupid. We are perfect idiots." Andrew seems happy about it, touching his cuts with fingertips like they're precious to him.
Jesse looks at the long, thin cuts that crosshatch his calves, scabbed over now and violently red, like allergic welts. He runs his hands down them, wincing at the touch. His feet are beat up to hell, a big red scab on his ankle, the bottoms of his feet dark with dried blood and filth. "What did we – what happened last night?"
Andrew shrugs like it's nothing much, like they just went out and got drunk and woke up wearing one sock with a dick drawn on their cheek. "Dunno. Something crazy. Something fucking special, I tell you what." Andrew brushes dirt from his arms, cracks his knuckles loudly. "You were there, too. Oh, man. Oh my God."
The night is missing. The last thing Jesse remembers is the pouring rain and the glint of teeth in the corner of Andrew's smile. It's all dark and lit up with flashing light, the Eleusinian mystery of being a boy and away from home, the sacred right of hard rain and screaming until their lungs hurt and Andrew. Jesse runs his fingers over a long bramble cut running from his hip to his knee. "I just remember running. I remember – being a wolf," Jesse stammers, hearing how stupid that sounds but still smelling the wet fur and salty blood in his nose. "I don't remember."
Andrew is quiet then, still checking his cuts meticulously, like he's afraid to lift his head. "Jesse –"
"This is okay," Jesse says carefully, thinking each word before he says it. "This is okay, isn't it?" A pause, a deep breath. "This is okay."
"Yes," Andrew says softly, running hand back through his dried-fluffy hair, his smile lifted and it hurts Jesse it's so sincere. "I know. It is."
They take turns showering and packing. Cleaning cuts, new and old, sticking the bigger ones with bandaids and iodine. They throw out the sheets and leave a big tip for the maid because the carpet is covered in muddy footprints.
The whole time they say nothing, nothing at all, the night before like some dried flower that can't be touched or it will crumble away. It's mutual, as they're swinging backpacks over their shoulders and stealing some fruit from bowl in the lobby, bumping shoulders and not remembering.
Somehow that doesn't matter, if they remember or not. It's just important that it happened, whatever it was.
The ground has swelled with rainwater and smells, all that engine oil and rust and raw earth and the cloying after-rain lilac. The green is rich and loud, flower heads heavy with water and bowing down. The ground is steaming in muddy spots, smoking like a crater as the sun sucks the rain from the earth.
They pack the car and Andrew stops every so often to wipe his forehead, growling low for a few minutes after. Fuckin' coffee goddamn fuckin' Jesus want a coffee.
Jesse laughs. He zips up his bag and leaves Andrew to it. He gets coffees from the lobby in Styrofoam cups, comes back to the car with danishes and apples in napkins, packets of sweetener in his pocket. Andrew's growl is a happy yelp with his hands around a coffee, sighing and drinking deep. He raises his eyebrows in quiet appreciation, takes another satisfied sip.
A poison oak boy is what Andrew is, a scratchy satisfying itch at the back of his legs that just will not go away. Jesse wonders if he could ever really hate Andrew enough to think, no, no, this is it, I don't want you in my life, with your rain and your hoarse screams and your boyhood insanity. It's a stupid thing to think, watching the gangly boy with freckles on his arms and a lop-sided grin, because of course the answer is no, never, of course not. The itch and the boy. Can't even hate him when he plugs a Bowie tape into the tape deck and sings that damn Major Tom song again and again and again.
"Ready?" Andrew says, taking his keys out of his pocket. Sunglasses low on his nose, dark circles under his eyes like a hangover. (Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.) The laces of his Keds are untied and his hair goes every which way, his chin shadowed with the scrub of stubble.
Jesse watches the slouching mess of a boy for a few seconds before shaking his head. "One more thing."
Jesse runs back to their hotel room and grabs three towels from the bathroom, still a little damp and smelling like fruit shampoo and hard water. Andrew laughs as, one by one, Jesse shoves them into his suitcase.
Andrew pulls over by the side of the road.
"No," Jesse says.
"Oh ho ho, yes indeed," Andrew says.
"I read your horoscope today. Leo: good time for business connections, definite possibility of drowning in a desert lake by the side of the road. Three stars."
"But look," Andrew almost whines. "It's our last day before California and it's so perfect, look at it, I'm so hot, look at it."
"Your cuts – this is like, you will get – Hepatitis. All of them. Every letter of the alphabet."
Andrew pats the wheel anxiously, like a dog on a leash just waiting to be let out into the green grass, just waiting to frolic, the stupid stupid pup. Andrew looks at Jesse with his eyes which is really rather unfair when he does that.
On any other day Andrew would have stumbled out of the car with a loud, cackling 'too bad' and made his own adventure, but last night was the two of them so now he strains against the door and waits, maybe just to make sure that Jesse is alongside him again, maybe just to make sure they make this damn fool mistake in tandem, again.
Jesse sighs, runs his hands over his face. "I deserve it. I've stolen towels. I'm a criminal now. We've broken all the rules."
That's enough for Andrew. He almost falls out of the car in his struggle to get his shoes, shorts, and shirt off all at once. Pulling off his socks, yelping as he jumps from sun-baked stone to stone. One final scream as he flings himself naked, starfish arms and legs, into the lake.
Jesse follows him to water's edge, the stolen towels over his shoulder and a book under his arm.
Jesse reads and falls asleep, wakes up when Andrew stands over him dripping wet and grinning, his hair plastered to his forehead, his boxers twisted around his hips and riding up his thighs a little.
"Perfectly," Andrew says.
All of the answer Jesse expected. Happy to be lost.
Andrew sits there patiently, leafing through Jesse's book while Jesse changes the soaking bandages on his leg (okay, he stole the first aid kit too, but that felt necessary. He needed the kit; the towels were just a point to make for Andrew.)
"I wanna sleep here tonight," Andrew says, lying out on a rock in the sun, sunglasses on and his nose already a bit red. "We can do the rest of the trip tomorrow."
"Okay," Jesse says. Of course there are a hundred reasons why not. Of course there are, but last night happened and today is happy in its shadow. "Sounds good."
Nevada is a sandbank in the world, tall and miles above sea level and the road threatens to drop off in layers like shale as it stumbles towards the ocean. Welcome to California, yellow poppies on the sign. The Rockies at their back, cretaceous and academic, the silt and sawdust layered like a fancy dessert.
The mountains don't want to go on, and the car sits on top of them like a hero, like a gargoyle next to this private little lake, mirror-calm when Andrew's not flinging himself through it like an otter. They spend the day on this last little plateau of wild unwritten roadtrip, staying here and sunburning and eating leftover pastries from breakfast, taking this last little happy roll in the mud before the signs start to count down the miles to San Francisco.
Jesse sits next to Andrew on the hood of the car as they eat apples and bananas and drink tepid water they've left in the car all day. The air is pink and the clouds bleeds orange, cut in the jugular and spilling color into the sky. Jesse takes Andrew's cigarette from between his fingers. Takes a deep, smoky breath. Blows it out.
"Oh, Jesus," Andrew says, laughing. "Really?"
"Absolutely," Jesse says, coughing into his fist. He takes another breath of smoke, coughs it out. "God, I hate this. It's disgusting. How do you do this?"
Andrew laughs, lying down against the car. He takes the cigarette from Jesse and takes a long, deep breath. "Can I be honest? It's cause – cause I think I look cool? Do I look cool?"
"Yes," Jesse says. "Totally cool."
"You think?" Andrew asks.
"Does it matter what I think is cool?"
Andrew sucks on the cigarette, lets out a breath of smoke. "Actually, yes."
"I think you look cool," Jesse says, nodding. "But is it – is it worth the health stuff?"
"What a way to go," Andrew says, tossing the cigarette onto the road, ember glowing hot until it dies. "Sid Vicious, you know? Not giving a fuck." Andrew takes his cigarettes out of his breast pocket, turning them over in his hands experimentally. "You think I'm an idiot, don't you?"
The hood is hot with the day's sun and Jesse wriggles against it. They've still got miles to go, down into the valley of California and the last staggered steps, shuffling down to the place they've talked about, where the trip ends and it all evaporates into the air. It threatens the day, it guides the night. This has got to end sometime soon, just when the world seems all of a sudden new. Jesse feels kind of sad, but kind of not.
"I don't think you're an idiot," Jesse says carefully, choosing the words and the bend of his voice. "I just – give a – a fuck. You don't, but I kind of do."
"Want me to stop?"
"No, no," Jesse says. "I'm just saying. I kind of care."
Andrew tosses his pack of cigarettes on the ground, half-smoked and flung as casual as an apple core, without a care. Leaping down from the hood, he crushes them under heel with a shrug of his shoulders like he was waiting to quit, just waiting for someone to care if he did or not.
They have no matches for a fire, and they wait too late to gather wood anyway. The night settles absolute over them and they're forced to use the rooflight of the car to see anything at all. Andrew turns the radio on, some sizzling pop background, and they leave the doors open, sitting on towels next to the car as they pass a warm half-drunk bottle of coke between them.
The moths attack the light, flinging themselves in and out of the car, buzzing around their heads and flying in their broken way. Andrew tries to catch them, cups his hands as he traps them, laughing as the beating wings tickle his palms.
"How did we end up here?" Jesse asks, digging his fingers in the dirt. It's so strange to think that just days ago he was in New York, and now he's here, lost in Nevada, in the dark, in the desert as it gets so cold in the evening.
Andrew watches Jesse with his long lashes and hesitant smile. He's barechested and even in the dark Jesse can see the splattered ink of his freckles on his shoulders and neck that have been drawn on slowly by the sun over the days. "Do you - wanna know why?"
Jesse just nods.
"I just thought –" Andrew clears his throat, half-closing his eyes. "I just wanted to be part of, like, a double act. You know, what I mean? God this sounds stupid when I say it out loud, it really does." Andrew runs a hand over his face, pushing back the lake-dried mess of his hair. "It's just that I never really had anyone like that before, someone I could really be stupid with and you – I wanted us to be like a real, you know, badass invincible superhero duo who had all these great stories and inside jokes and people would talk about us like one person, like we did all these cool things together that no one else could possibly understand. I thought we could be like, Bonnie and Clyde. Or – or Thelma and Louise. Or like the, uh, the Rosenbergs, I guess. Fuck that sounds stupid. Fuck I sound like I'm twelve years old. No one cares about best friends when they're twenty-seven, do they?"
Jesse almost laughs a little bit, but he keeps it pushed down inside because he really doesn't want to laugh at that. That's not something you laugh at, when someone says that. Jesse knows it's not something you laugh at. It's something you keep in a box at the bottom of a drawer, wrapped in cotton, kept safe for long nights and insomnia. "Andrew, they were – they were all criminals, you know? And they were all killed."
"Semantics," Andrew says.
Jesse laughs, soft and faded out by coyote calls and the rush of wind on their faces. "You know," Jesse says quietly, sobering up from the night, trying to make the shiver of panic into words that might make sense. "I'm not – I'm not better. I still think – I still worry about everything. I'm still half-terrified of – just because I screamed out loud doesn't mean –"
"I never wanted to heal you –" Andrew says, his voice smoky and low. "I never wanted to. If I'd cured you, I dunno, I think I'd miss you too much."
"I just wanted to let you know that – I don't know," Andrew says, pushing his hair back anxiously, making it stand up every which way. "That – that you're happy, I guess. That's all I wanted to do. Just to let you know, maybe. Because sometimes I don't think you know. God, this sounds totally stupid."
"I am," Jesse says, his voice wearing out. "Sometimes. I am."
"I know," Andrew says, smiling slightly. "I'm glad you know. Just a little."
And then Jesse is kissing Andrew. Leaning forward awkwardly, still sitting cross-legged but stretching across the space between them to put a hand against the back of Andrew's neck and kiss him. Drawing in breath as their lips pull apart, and then kissing him again.
Andrew's skin is still so hot from the day, radiating out from his shoulders and chest and ribs and stomach. He makes these short little sucking noises as their lips pull apart and back together again, these throaty little whimpers as he slides forward to close to gap. Andrew crawls over Jesse's thighs and onto his lap, legs wrapping around Jesse's waist and kissing him, needed and aching and warm.
The backseat is a terrible bed.
Jesse wakes up next to Andrew, his legs aching from where they've been cramped up against the door, knees digging into the passenger seat. His right arm is tingling from the way Andrew has slept against him, and Jesse nudges him a little to pull it free.
Andrew is a heavy sleeper and Jesse manages to leverage open the door and crawl out without waking him up. Jesse is only in a shirt and boxers unravels the towels they used as blankets from around his legs, drawing it back over Andrew's legs and half-tucking him in.
It's just past dawn and the sun has already made the sky pretty, too late for the sunrise show. It's just a silver dollar now, turning everything daylight blue. Jesse walks out to the lake, almost tiptoeing like he's afraid to wake up the world.
The lake is calm and as flat as steel. Jesse steps into the shallows, shock cold up to his ankles and clear enough that he can see the tendons in his toes and the cuts along his feet as he stretches them in the silt
Jesse takes in a deep breath.
It's a time that should be filled with all sorts of ideas and worry and memory that catches up to him when he dares to keep still. Instead, Jesse just stands there and thinks nothing at all, lets his mind fill with the buzz of an early morning and the ache in his joints and the dull throb of blood in his veins and the fuzzy burn on his lips and cheeks from Andrew's stubble. He looks up and just watches the color of the sky and feels the cold of the water and the sucks in the sharp edge of the air.
"Hey," Andrew shouts from the car, leaning out with his hair every which way, rubbing his eyes lazily. "Jesse, I'm fucking starving. Wanna go get breakfast?"