Shut Up I'm Dreaming (of Places Where Lovers Have Wings)
Author Notes: I'm so sorry for the delay. My quarter is over in two weeks, which is when I will likely finish this monster up and start working on my piece for the social big bang. I have been moonlighting in the tsn kink meme, as well. My wonderful beta is on vacation, so any mistakes in this are my own. I've missed all of you lovelies. And no, this isn't the end. One more part + an epilogue awaits. <3
Disclaimer: If you found this by Googling yourself, stop it. And go away. Trust me. Real people, fake things.
Part VI: Drawings of Men With Faithful Hands.
There's something about an all-encompassing love that you can't fucking shake. It doesn't hit you at full throttle, doing one-twenty into oncoming traffic that consists of your thoughts and feelings. It doesn't maul you like a fucking bear or give off a warning sign that alerts you to the groundbreaking notion that hey, you're about to lose your fucking heart. Jesse wishes that it would, but life just doesn't work that way.
There's no semblance of balance because you don't even fucking see it coming. You don't even have time to get your defenses up before they're plowing through, right to your gut, and then it's just— signed, sealed, delivered, Jesse is Andrew's.
You meet somebody, and you think they're alright. You get to know them, over days or weeks or months, and you don't know why but you don't get tired of them. People are pretty boring, too self-absorbed and focused on bullshit that means nothing to you. Every once in a while (read: once in your life, if you are a lucky motherfucker), you come across somebody that cares about things you don't and it doesn't matter and you don't find it trite and pathetic, but interesting and you appreciate that they're different. Your ideologies don't line up like a standing army in perfect formation but that's okay.
You don't find yourself wanting to kill them for believing in a god you can't fathom existing; you don't roll your eyes when they say "I'm good" instead of "I'm well." Proper grammar means nothing, not compared to how wonderful they are. You think the way they can't ever make up their mind is endearing instead of fucking aggravating. And if one morning in the middle of filming a movie together they happen to sneak into your bed, slip under your covers, and wake you up with Biscoff for breakfast (ensuring you're addicted for life, essentially) with their hair all wild and crazy and kind of scary, well. It's acceptable if you fall in like with them. A little bit.
("Look what I found!" Andrew had exclaimed with a happy grin. Jesse was groggy but could tell he had been out already, likely to find breakfast, but he had slipped back into pajamas. Jesse doesn't pay him any attention though, just kind of groans because he wanted to sleep for at least ten hours that day, night shoots had been exhausting him.
Andrew tapped him until he turned over, and thrusted a bottle into his face.
"Unless it's a way for me to render you mute, I don't care." His voice was broken with sleep, and he could tell Andrew was grinning. He had no idea whatever it was that Andrew was pushing towards him. He was kind of blind, he needed his glasses, and Andrew handed them over without needing to be told. He always knew what Jesse needed without asking.
"This is like peanut butter, but made out of cookies," Andrew had said, still entirely too happy for the time.
"It's—what?" Jesse asked. Peanut butter made out of cookies, okay.
"I didn't know it was sold on your side of the pond," Andrew said, which made Jesse scoff because Andrew was born in LA, come on now, "but it will change your life. I am not lying."
He handed Jesse a spoon.
Okay, so Jesse was hooked.
They ate Biscoff on the couch all day and Andrew forced Jesse to watch Gossip Girl for nearly four hours because he was going through a terribly embarrassing phase of bad television (he blamed it on Shannon) which he made Jesse swear to never tell anybody about. Jesse hadn't, and he kind of rooted for the asshole that looked like a triceratops and the spoiled brunette to get their shit figured out, even though all he did was bitch and complain the whole time that the show was part of what was wrong with America. Andrew had loved every second of it, grinning and shushing Jesse before he would say, "c'mon, tell me what you're thinking," and Jesse would end up on a ten minute rant about how he was losing I.Q. points over the substantial plot holes in between episodes.
"Not everybody writes as well as you do," Andrew had said, bopping Jesse on the nose with the tip of his finger, wild grin all spread across his face.
He mostly just remembers how he kept wondering how good Andrew would taste after eating the fucking Biscoff, all sweet and like cinnamon and perfect.)
So you get to know this person and you think hey, they're kind of attractive, and they're pretty awesome. But you don't think hey, why aren't they mine? You don't even fucking venture there in the beginning. You wonder why they aren't taken, or think whoever has them is pretty lucky and you hope they realize what a great deal they're getting with this one, people like this don't come along every day (or ever, really, fuck).
So they don't hit you in the face with perfection. They're all wrong sometimes, and occasionally they make you crazy. Like, really crazy. Sometimes when they mention other people touching them you want to push somebody off of a bridge or ruin their life ("I get furious if they touch you"), because it's not like anybody else deserves to touch somebody so fucking wonderful.
And then, only after you're too far gone to reverse it, do you realize that they are everything you want. They're— they're everything, all rolled into one. They are so much good that you can't-—you can't breathe when you think about them. You are so in love you can't fathom living a life without them and god, Jesus Christ, fuck, when did this even happen?
Jesse never even stood a chance. Not then.
He doesn't now, either. He knows nothing about correcting this. He doesn't know how to fix it or escape it. Andrew was still in his bed at four o'clock, when he had gotten up to piss and yeah, there was a nice lyric on the board, and Andrew had pulled him close when he climbed back into bed. But when Jesse wakes up, Andrew isn't there. Sometime between four and seven, Jesse's favorite thing to ever exist slipped out of his bed.
It stings, waking up alone.
Jesse can hear Andrew in his room or in the kitchen, close enough to pick up on words here and there. He's obviously on the phone, and Jesse is guilty of being nosy.
"I don't know what I was thinking, it was— probably the— no, what? Yes, yeah, yeah, quite obviously the stupidest thing I have ever done," Andrew is saying. Jesse's heart falls for a moment before— okay, maybe he isn't even talking about what happened last night. Maybe there's something else Andrew has recently done that he regrets, like get a tattoo in an embarrassing place and— okay, Jesse just shouldn't think about that, ever, because he's kind of imagining a possessive as fuck 'J' on Andrew's—
"God, no. He's still asleep. I can't look at him after—" Andrew is cut off, giving little verbal cues that he's following along to whatever the other person is saying. He's definitely regretting what happened last night, shit, Jesse should have known. Because of course Andrew regrets that, because he's Jesse and Andrew is. Andrew is Andrew. Jesse is just Jesse.
Jesse's stomach clenches at the thought. His fingertips move up to ghost along the spot Andrew's lips were pressed to his neck, and he hopes there's a mark there, some sort of dead giveaway that assures him it wasn't all a dream. That it actually happened.
The guilt and regret he catches in Andrew's voice is more than enough.
He feels like such an idiot.
Andrew gives the person on the phone a quick goodbye, and Jesse turns onto his side and closes his eyes, face half shrouded in his comforter, in an attempt to thwart off whatever awkward talk Andrew wants to undoubtedly have with him.
Sure enough, Andrew pokes his head in a minute later and stays there, not leaving. Seconds tick by before he exhales, breath all shaky, and says, "I know you aren't asleep but I'm going to rehearsal," and Jesse's heart is pounding but he isn't giving up his charade now, this is an award-winning performance, and Andrew finally turns and walks out just after.
Jesse breathes a sigh of relief.
As if on cue, his phone starts to ring. The ringtone isn't Andrew's, so he answers it without looking.
"I'll be home today, you don't have to deal with my plants anymore!" Anna announces, entirely too happy for this early in the morning.
"Pardon?" he asks, "I thought you had work, and meetings, and whatever."
"Didn't take the full week, got it all done and," she pauses before asking, "Jesse, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," he says. It comes out too quickly, obviously a lie. Anna knows when he's lying, she's had nearly a decade to familiarize herself with it, and she just gives a stupid, dramatic sigh that matches Andrew's from moments before.
"If you fooled around and now you're scared of what's coming next then you seriously need to go back to Friends That Become More 101." Jesse is pretty sure his eyes are ridiculously wide.
"How did you even—?" He sputters out, about the same moment Hephaestion jumps up onto the bed and onto Jesse's chest, clawing through his shirt a bit as he stretches. Jesse shifts uncomfortably and then scratches underneath the cat's chin, earning him happy, low purrs in return.
"Female intuition," she replies easily. "My train left almost three hours ago, which means you have two hours to get ready to deal with me. Do you understand?" She sounds like Jesse's mom a scary amount, so Jesse agrees. "And don't eat, we'll get breakfast. I'm starving."
After Jesse has freed himself from underneath Hephaestion and lost his phone in the covers, he makes his way to the bathroom and looks in the mirror.
He's disappointed to find that there's no mark on the side of his neck. There's nothing to reassure him that Andrew's lips were pressed there, and he had felt so eager and needy, just like Jesse. There's no proof.
Woody texts him and says he can't wait to get back to work, they've been on break for ten days and they'll start filming again soon, and Jesse stops for a second because sometimes he still can't process that Woody Harrelson is like, texting him. On purpose.
It doesn't make him feel any less awkward with himself, though. It doesn't make him wonder any less if Andrew could even possibly be into him.
Andrew is that person that people fall in love with effortlessly. He's smart, charming, hilarious, and beautiful. He does things effortlessly and carries off the perfect "who gives a fuck" attitude when he needs to, which only makes people feel like Andrew would be okay if he never got anything else ever again; it's reverse psychology, or something.
Jesse is a little bit envious of that sort of thing every blue moon; how easy it is for Andrew to just have people fall all over him, but Jesse doesn't know what he would even begin to do if he had friends constantly wanting to be more. The thought sort of freaks him out. Andrew doesn't get it, either. He doesn't think of himself like that, doesn't understand it, and he doesn't have to fake it. He genuinely doesn't comprehend why people would even like him, which Jesse just finds absurd.
He also finds it attractive. Andrew is the perfect mix of confidence and vulnerability; it's always struck Jesse as so— Jesse loves it. He loves all of it. He loves the way there's something in Andrew, deep down and hidden, that tortures him just a little bit, even though he's almost always so fucking happy, and Jesse wants—he wants to know what causes all of it. He wants to know how to pick up on the most subtle things; he wants to know everything that Andrew has never told another soul.
He spends a while reading over his Now You See Me script, which is filled with lots of notes and there's a smiley face he didn't write and it looks suspiciously like something Andrew did, just to make him smile whenever he saw it, and it's obviously quite definitely from Andrew because on the next page there's a little note that says "Jesse, you are going to absolutely kill it." Jesse huffs a little and thinks, we can't all be Spider-man.
Andrew believing in him makes him feel as though he can tackle incomprehensible feats, anyway.
He showers. He tries not to think about Andrew, but he does. He feels guilty thinking about him, thinking about last night, but he can fucking feel the way Andrew's lips ghosted over his neck and how hard they both were, like it's happening right now, and Jesse is ashamed when he gives in and leans his forehead against the shower wall and braces himself with his left arm above his head, right hand lower, lower, lower, until his hand is wrapped around his cock.
He's so hard just thinking about it. He doesn't have to imagine Andrew's lips stretched around the head of his cock, or how disgustingly insanely hot the noises would be if Andrew were to give him a blowjob, right here in the shower oh god, and Andrew's hips had fucking— they had fucking been moving sinuously— Jesse groans, low in his throat, and it only takes a few quick tugs before he's coming hard, gasping and flushed and his toes are tingling.
He feels shameful when he text messages Andrew a few minutes later, as if somehow Andrew will be able to tell that he just jerked off in the shower thinking about him. He feels pretty fucked up over it for a second, before he remembers that Andrew had almost kissed him, and Jesse was merely a victim in all of this.
Because he doesn't want it a million times over, or anything. Of course he doesn't.
Hey, how does lunch sound? Can you get away?
Andrew responds almost immediately, which always confuses him since he's supposed to be at rehearsal and it seems pretty unprofessional to Jesse. Andrew's charming, though. It's probably impossible for anybody to be angry with him.
no can do lunch plans with emma
and stop frowning we can talk tonight
not bad talk
seriously stop frowning and stop worrying
Jesse glances around again for hidden cameras. Andrew's ability to peg just what he's doing is kind of creepy. It's also kind of nice. He is, in fact, both worrying and frowning.
see you when i get back
Jesse doesn't reply.
* * *
Anna shows up at a little after nine o'clock and thrusts a piece of folded up paper into Jesse's hand.
"This was taped to the door," she says, one eyebrow arched. She's not taking any of Jesse's bullshit, and he knows as much. She's looking at him expectantly, like she needs to see what's inside of it as much as Jesse does. He knows it's from Andrew before he opens it, but it still makes his stomach clench a little in anxious excitement.
Jesse feels himself go red and brings his hand to the back of his neck sheepishly, like he's been caught in the act. Like he's doing something wrong.
Anna slides over and glances at it before he can fold it back up, which makes him even redder. She inhales sharply, and Jesse knows he's as clear as glass. He folds the note carefully and places it in his wallet, where he is building an accumulation of things he refuses to leave sitting around anywhere. If Andrew wrote him letters, he would probably keep them on him at all times.
"Jesse. What is going on?" She doesn't sound mad, just sympathetic. He probably has the best ex-girlfriend in the history of mankind. He didn't get a crazy one, because apparently he's the crazy one.
"Aren't you hungry? Let's go to breakfast," he offers. He's good with distractions.
She gives him a look that will probably frighten any children she might have one day, but agrees and Jesse thinks he's been let off the hook.
Except that thirty minutes later they're at Markt, and Anna is asking him to get on with it. Jesse opens his menu and realizes they accidentally gave him one for dinner, and he thinks it's funny enough to take a picture and send to Andrew.
"Isn't it weird for you to hear this?" Jesse asks her. He's curious, but it's also just him grasping at straws. It's too embarrassing to say that they were kind of fooling around and Andrew regrets it so much he felt it necessary to complain to somebody on the phone.
Apparently if you don't make it, I don't get breakfast. Markt refuses to give me anything but dinner. He sends Andrew, along with the picture.
"It's not weird, it's perfectly fine. It's Andrew. Me having a problem like this would be like advocating Mitt Romney for president. It would be all wrong for a myriad of reasons." She pauses to take a drink of her coffee, somehow looking more put together in a single second than Jesse has ever looked. He knows she's a catch, and he feels a little bit guilty that he wasn't enough for her in the way he had hoped to be three years ago, or five years ago, or eight years ago. "I want you happy. I've always wanted you happy. You're a great person, you know that I think so. It's never changed. I don't hang around in hopes of you falling back in love with me. That would be awkward and weird, it's not like that. It's," she pauses when the waitress approaches their table.
The waitress apologizes and switches his menu with a flirtatious smile, which makes Anna laugh at him. At least she isn't mad.
"It's more like we're on the same plane, and you know that I would never want anything but the best for you. You are one of my best friends."
It's so much honestly, and it's so nice, that Jesse avoids her gaze. If it was somebody else he would call bullshit, but after a decade you learn to accept most of what somebody says. Jesse knows she means it.
His phone goes off, and he checks it while glancing over the menu and formulating a reply for Anna.
does this mean you need me around
"I don't know how to handle this, with him. Everything is all—it's kind of fucked up, and I feel like it's maybe beyond repair," he admits.
Mayhaps. There's a very, very slight chance.
In between ordering and telling Anna entirely too much, Jesse stops worrying. She's nodding and paying attention to him, letting him know that all of this anxiety and fear and irrationality is normal when you're in love with somebody (Jesse protests that, but she sees through all of his complete bullshit). The worry just stops, and sometime around Anna saying, "he's never going to stop chasing after you, it's so obvious that he is," he just laughs. He's in the middle of chewing up a piece of pineapple that he nearly spits out over the absurdity of it all.
"I'm acting like one of those dramatic girls in high school everybody secretly hates," he laughs.
"You just. No, you aren't," she reassures him, but
did you get breakfast
whatd you get
let me see
Jesse hands his phone to Anna, who is disgustingly curious over whatever is on his screen, and she reads over the messages.
"He wants to see what you're eating, Jesse. Jesus," she groans, before taking a picture and sending it before he realizes what's happening.
Aren't you supposed to be preparing for a play? Eggs with fried tofu and fruit. Jealous? He adds, and hits 'send'.
ill bring down the house and im emotionally drained going to lunch early and yes very but only of your lucky company who are you with
Anna. Have fun with Emma.
see you at your place
Andrew's reply feels short and forced.
Jesse tries not to read too much into it.
"He's a friend, friends wonder." He shrugs, busying himself with eating.
"You're full of bullshit. You don't grope a friend in the middle of the night and then spoon. It doesn't work like that. You probably misunderstood whatever conversation he was having," she offers.
Jesse tries to ignore it, how much sense it makes, but he doesn't want to get his hopes up. He's worrying less. It feels good.
In between bites of food he glances at Anna, studying her. He still thinks she's beautiful, but it's in a different way. He would probably stomp on anybody that broke her heart (if he was, you know, Shaq, or something), and he knows they are never getting back together. But she understands him, and knows enough about him to make better judgement than Ellen or whoever else.
"Hey," he says somewhere halfway through his sandwich. "Thank you."
She grins at him around a mouthful of french toast and tries not to laugh at him, but it's evident in her eyes that she's holding back. Jesse wishes she wouldn't, because he's always loved her laugh.
"For the love of everything holy, please go get your boy."
Probably for the first time ever, Jesse thinks that he will.
* * *
They both have time to kill and end up walking around Chelsea, because it's a beautiful day even though New York is still pretty cold. Anna drags him into a shop that's full of British imports a few blocks, and a lot of minutes, later, and everything just makes him think of Andrew. It's like Anna did it on purpose though, even though she claims she "really likes this British handmade soap" (which isn't true, she only buys fair trade soap that is made in Soweto). Jesse calls her out on it and she shrugs, but she sucks at looking innocent when she's practically sprouting devil horns.
He takes a picture of soap he used in a hotel in London once and sends it to Andrew anyway, because he feels the need to share everything once Andrew's seen his food.
His phone lights up with a :) from Andrew the second two younger girls walk into the store, and he doesn't think they'll recognize him or anything but he stays hidden behind a shelf with Anna anyway. It's quiet in the store, and their conversation is loud and obnoxious.
"Oh my god, you got a picture with Andrew Garfield," one says, all blonde and too much makeup.
Anna's eyebrows raise as they shift a bit back, and turn towards the wall with food on it. She's laughing softly, asking what the chances are that this is happening right. now.
Jesse's interested because it means Andrew is around, more than likely. Close by.
The other one is on her phone, and she's telling somebody about how Andrew had been eating with Emma (Anna gives him a sad look but he thwarts her off, it's not like he didn't know they were going to brunch or whatever), and how they had been "like, so cute, seriously, my god," and apparently she wants to make boats out of them.
They both do. The blonde keeps tossing in, "yeah, we totally ship them," but Jesse doesn't even know what that means unless they're boxing them up and ordering the USPS to send them somewhere, or unless they're going to turn them into boats which, both are fucking improbable.
They're loud and the man behind the counter ushers them out, just as Jesse hears "I tweeted that they're at Markt! Instagram your picture!" and the employee apologizes to them for the disturbance. The shop is all class and old elegance, the girls were likely to break all of his things.
"You apparently have a stalker," Anna says dryly, all sarcasm and "I fucking told you" laced in there thick.
"Shut up," he demands, but she punches the top of his arm softly as they browse again. She's practically bouncing on her toes with excitement.
Did you and Emma go to Markt? he sends Andrew.
now who stalks who… or whom whatever who cares
Anna isn't ashamed to be reading over his shoulder, tsking as her types. She is not-so-subtly singing "Jesse's got a boyfriend," under her breath, and he isn't able to remember why they're friends.
Considering you knew I was there, I am definitely going to say that that is all you, buddy. Reason?
i swear im not a creep
Andrew's answer isn't sufficient, but Jesse allows it to slip by because he'll be analyzing what that means for the next hour.
If you wanted to run into us you could have just said so. We could have waited and ate together.
Jesse types it and sends it but he knows it isn't true. It would probably be too strange. Just like it felt strange at award shows when Anna and Shannon were both there. They might not be dating either of them now, but it's that there's something unspoken between Andrew and Jesse that everybody else seems to know about. Everybody else seems to get it but them, but Jesse feels like he is finally, after so much time, starting to catch on.
you know why i wanted to see you but i dont think our topic of conversation is exactly brunch conversation fodder
Jesse doesn't reply, because he doesn't know what to say.
He ends up buying a container of Biscoff and the stupid, girly, honey almond soap from England. Anna doesn't bother trying to hide her grin.
It makes Jesse feel exposed and raw.
He is completely doomed.
* * *
* * *
They spend time out for a few hours before Anna's telling him she needs to go home and water her plants, but she ends up walking with Jesse back to his apartment, anyway. He figures it is maybe just out of habit, but figures that if he gets a few more hours of company out of it then he's okay with it. Andrew probably won't be home until late, and if Anna is over then he will probably, more than likely, be able to stay pretty calm.
Regardless, he still feels like there is something building. They have sort of acknowledged something happened (Anna keeps telling him "but that's a good thing!" even though he doesn't truly believe it), and it's all. It's sort of falling into place, or something.
Maybe they can get it right this time.
Jesse is juggling his small bag and three of Anna's bags when he is digging in his pockets for the key.
"Can you use yours?" he asks her, and he catches the way her eyes widen and she stumbles for the quickest second before she says, "I think it's at my apartment or maybe I lost it here let me take my bags!" all without a breath and full of lies. But Jesse doesn't take a second to think because she takes the bags and he manages to get his key out in no time at all.
It clicks when he sees that Andrew is in his living room, legs folded up underneath him on the couch, reading Jesse's copy of A Farewell to Arms.
He pauses for a second, and Anna practically walks into the back of him.
"How did you—" he starts to ask, but Anna is louder than he is and all, "Andrew! Andrew!" all quietly like they had arranged this and she was giving some stupid signal and Andrew is looking up, all big doe eyes and a hesitate smile.
"You were supposed to be—" he starts, but Andrew stands up and walks over and Jesse's heart is hammering so quick, so hard, inside of his chest that it's tough to breathe and he thinks he's going to die.
Andrew puts his hands on Jesse's shoulder and moves him two steps to the side, and Jesse sees something new on the dry erase board that makes his throat go dry and he hopes Anna doesn't see it.
Andrew's holding something out to Anna, shiny and small, and it's her fucking key. She pushes it back towards Andrew though, and Jesse is so mortified that this is even happening.
"You'll need this way more often than I will," she says with confidence, and Jesse is so red, he's sure.
She puts Jesse's bag down on the counter and pulls him into a quick hug, whispers "make it happen," not so softly into his ear, and is gone before Jesse can even process what the fuck is going on.
"How did that even happen?" he asks Andrew once the door is closed.
"How did what happen?" Andrew shoots back, faux-casual and like nothing out of the ordinary just occurred. He turns away from Jesse to rummage through Jesse's bag, like he has the right to just go through Jesse's stuff just because he has some sort of claim on Jesse's heart.
Jesse's hand is out when he motions to the door, mouth agape, like he can't believe that just actually happened. He isn't sure when this became his life, but he sort of wishes he could go back and correct it. He hates surprises, he hates feeling caught off guard and unprepared and Andrew's going through his bag and he's on edge.
"I love this soap!" Andrew says enthusiastically, and he's practically beaming when he pulls out the container of Biscoff. There's this smile there, tugging on the corners of Andrew's mouth, that Jesse loves. He wants to kiss it away until there's nothing between them but reckless, open-mouthed abandon and want.
"Sure, just go through my things," Jesse offers up, words short and clipped and rude.
Andrew's smile falters.
"What?" He asks, seemingly confused.
"How did you just get her key? What the actual fuck?" He's confused and mad, and he can be a dick when he has to if that happens to be what it takes.
Jesse absolutely hates himself for wiping Andrew's smile off his face. He wants to take it back, but he's so angry.
"Jesse," Andrew says, like it will magically calm Jesse down and make everything so much better. Like he can coddle Jesse into something because he knows he has Jesse right there, teetering on the edge of insanity and love and confusion. Like he knows everything. He always does.
"Don't 'Jesse' me, what the fuck?" He's overreacting, he knows he is, but it's weeks and months and years of pent up something coming out in all of the wrong ways and he just can't stop it. Anna once said that Jesse's image was all wrong, because Jesse can play the bad guy better than most knew, and he's doing it right now. He can't take it back, so he might as well go with it.
He might as well own up to how fucking mad he is over not having what he wants so much.
"She brought it by before she came here. She's scary when she's determined, she—" and Jesse is humiliated for not knowing about this. He's infuriated, because it was done behind his back. Andrew hadn't done anything wrong, except for talk to his fucking ex-girlfriend and get her key without Jesse's knowledge. "She contacted me, she said she talked to you this morning?" Andrew's unsure now, and he's set the things back on the counter.
They've never fought before, not really. Not as themselves. They've read lines in character and have transitioned into full-on conversations as Eduardo and Mark. They've bickered about Facebook and Harvard and cease and desist orders but never over anything that happened in real life. Never as themselves, without masks to hide behind. At least when work was involved they were able to turn the tension, sexual or romantic or whatever, into something positive.
Now it's just ugly.
"And you thought it was just fine to. To show up and be here with this on the board," Jesse gestures angrily, and Andrew flushes like he has never written on the board or like he's finally been found out, like Jesse didn't know it was obviously always him. "You just started going through my bag! Who the fuck does that? And my books! You can't just—" He cuts himself off when he realizes he isn't mad, but he's humiliated. Like he thought getting some stupid, ridiculous soap and some stupid memento of their past was going to make Andrew love him back, and make everything okay.
He's terrified and insecure and it's all coming out in the ugliest way possible.
"I don't think this is about your bag, or your books, or the key." Andrew sounds calm, which only enrages Jesse further. And no, it isn't, because the things in the bags were for Andrew and Jesse was going to make him a key. Jesse would let Andrew touch all of his books.
He would let Andrew leave fingerprints on anything. On everything.
"Yeah? Tell me then, what is this about? What does it really boil down to?"
Andrew just sort of looks at him incredulously, like he can't fathom Jesse demanding him to say that. Like he can't believe Jesse is asking him to say it out loud. Well, if he's that disgusted with it, then—
"I get it, you regret last night. You're sorry it happened, it was fucked up, I'm sorry, I should have sent you to your own bed—"
Andrew chokes a little in his throat and Jesse stops talking. It's like a scoff, a noise of disbelief. "You're.. you're sorry?" There's this rugged air of cynicism there, woven throughout his words, and it's hitting Jesse like a fist to the stomach. "You don't have anything to be sorry for, that's so fucking unbelievable and so typically—"
"So typically what?" Jesse demands, and he's too loud and too disparaging; he sounds ugly to his own ears. It all feels so out of his control. His heart won't slow down and his brain is foggy.
"You're so fucking blind," Andrew tells him, and it's all so ugly. Andrew's tone isn't so nice anymore. It's bitter.
They aren't clicking together. They're a car wreck on a deserted road. Nobody is around to save them. Nobody is around to save this.
"Yeah, I'm blind. I wasn't the one on the phone this morning talking about how disgusted I was over last night. For the record, you came on to me. It wasn't the other way around, so before you go and act so disgusted by me—"
Andrew's eyes are so wide. And brown, and.
"I wasn't—" Andrew begins, all fumbling for words. His eyebrows are knitted together, like he's thinking too hard. He's working something out, and Jesse can practically see the gears shifting in his head. "You think I was—" he pauses again, and his voice is softer. "You are the biggest fucking idiot, I swear on everything that matters."
Andrew's words aren't bitter now. They're soft, and kind, and his eyes are filled with something sweet. It makes Jesse's toes curl inside of his sneakers and his hands fumble for something to do.
"Thanks?" Jesse offers, because he feels like the conversation is so far from where it was twenty seconds ago. It is something else now. An entity of its own. "I'm glad you think so remarkably highly of me."
Andrew's mouth tugs upwards into the smallest smile.
"I talked to Emma this morning. I was talking about how I was so sure I had pushed you too far. This... this thing has been working itself out for you for so long, and I think you're only marking down the reasons we shouldn't let it happen. I can only write so many lyrics on a board, or send you so many notes, until I just think you don't want it. But your eyes, they—"
"They what?" Jesse asks, and his throat feels tight.
"They give you away sometimes. The way you look at me. It's like." Andrew sucks in a ragged breath, and Jesse just wants to touch. He wants so, so much. "You look at me like I'm everything, sometimes, for a split second. I wasn't going to give up, I just thought. Last night, it shouldn't have been like that, but I don't. I'm not disgusted or put off or full of fucking regret. Jesus Christ." He sounds exhausted, and Jesse takes the smallest step toward him.
"You don't." It's not a question or a statement. It is two words that acknowledge that he understands, he thinks. If it wasn't Andrew then he would wonder if Andrew was mocking his feelings. Using them to his advantage.
"No. Being next to you actually makes me feel like a balloon, or something." Andrew pauses, as thought it dawns on him what he just said, and Jesse tries not to laugh out of confusion and over the amount of endearment he feels towards the stupid boy in front of him.
"A balloon?" Jesse asks incredulously, and Andrew steps a bit closer.
"Kind of like I could float away. Light and floaty."
"Like that Shins song," Jesse replies, because Andrew likes floaty things.
"Reminds me of the way you make me feel," Andrew confirms, and obviously because he put it on a mix for Jesse.
Nearly three years has come down to six days and Jesse doesn't know how it happened.
Except that suddenly Andrew's mouth is on his, light and barely pressing. Jesse thinks his heart might burst. Andrew's lips are soft, and it's the middle of the afternoon. Andrew skipped rehearsal to be here and god, they could fire him if they really wanted to, but he's here and he's kissing Jesse.
He falls into it, groaning when Andrew slides a hand around his waist to tug him closer. Suddenly his back is against a wall, and he couldn't escape even if he wanted to. Andrew exhales a shaky breath as he nips at Jesse's bottom lip before he kisses him again, open-mouthed and perfect. When he pulls away just the slightest bit Jesse's breathing is ragged and Andrew's lips are swollen, and he looks so prepossessing Jesse can barely function. Andrew's eyes are searching his face, bouncing from one feature to the next, and Jesse feels so exposed.
"Like a balloon," Jesse deadpans, not sure how words even came out.
Andrew laughs and leans down to bury his face against Jesse's neck. He presses a soft kiss against the side of Jesse's jaw, and breathes him in. Jesse's still unsure where to put his hands, he's always terribly awkward at the worst moments, until Andrew reaches down and laces their fingers together. His forehead finally rests against Jesse's, right there, and Jesse doesn't believe any of this is real. This isn't his life.
"Are we going to do this?" Andrew finally asks him.
Jesse wants to say yes. He wants to jump into it blindly.
"Do you want to do this?" He answers instead. Andrew gives a quiet huff.
"Do I really need to make it more blatant? I've pretty much taken out a bloody ad in the Times, Jesse. Jesus."
Jesse smiles, how can he not?, and tries not to blush. He's been flushed red entirely too many times today.
"I don't want to ruin everything," he admits softly. Too soft. It sounds weak and unsure, like bullshit even to him.
"I don't think we can ruin everything. Even if— even if this doesn't work, we can slip back into what we were. We can."
Jesse knows it isn't going to be easy. He knows it'll be hard, and they'll spend entirely too much time apart, and people are likely to say that Emma and Andrew are thinking about babies, or something, and Jesse's insecurities will get the best of him sometimes.
None of it matters.
"I can't date you," he says seriously. "You aren't even a real American."
Andrew laughs, lines visible at the edges of his eyes, and Jesse feels like he could float away.
"Yeah, I. I—" he pauses, because saying it is huge. Admitting it is scary. "I want this," he finally says. It feels like a weight has been lifted off of him.
Andrew just gives a little nod before he kisses him.
Jesse is so, so doomed.
He's looking forward to it.
* * *
On the dry erase board when Jesse and Anna walked in.
* * *
The abandoned jar of Biscoff, left on the counter.
* * *