That next morning is awkward. Billy doesn’t know how, exactly— as far as he can tell, Steve can’t remember much from the night’s festivities, having passed out before his head even hit the pillow in the spare bedroom Nikki lent them after they got back from the club. Billy can’t remember all that much either, if he’s perfectly honest, but then, he remembers trying to fuck against a wall, so he guesses he’s got a slightly better understanding as to why there’s a reason to be awkward.
There’s a reason for the awkwardness (which continues into their drive back to Hawkins, great), but it shouldn’t be there, because Steve can’t remember shit and Billy’s a damn good actor, if he does say so himself.
Kali notices, of course. Why shouldn’t she? She’s only spending every waking (or otherwise) hour with nothing but their company and a weird mixtape Steve’s trying to spin in the passenger seat on the drive home.
Prince, The Beautiful Ones. Queen, Somebody To Love. Led Zeppelin, Whole Lotta Love. The Scorpions, Rock You Like A Hurricane.
What in the name of fuck are these music choices? Steve’s jumped through like, four tapes, picking out whatever he can find between Billy’s collection and the three tapes he brought along for the drive, rewinding and replaying only to stop halfway through a song to pull out the tape and stick a new one on. He’s abusing Billy’s poor radio, is what he’s doing. He’s gangbanging the fucking cassette player.
Billy keeps his mouth shut, though. He honestly doesn’t know if he’ll like Steve’s answers if he asks about whatever the fuck he’s doing.
Even if Steve doesn’t actually know why, Billy fucking will. He never should have taken that fucking psych class.
They’re about a day’s drive outside of Hawkins when Kali decides she’s had enough.
“I’m going out,” she says, dropping her bags on the bed she’d claimed. “And I’m not coming back until morning. Work your nonsense out by then, or so help me, you’ll be seeing roaches in your lunches until the day you die. Am I understood?”
Not waiting for an answer, she turns on her heel and slams her way back out of the motel room, likely off to find herself some entertainment at the bar they’d seen around the corner. There are a few seconds of silence, the pair of them struck dumb by her orders, before Steve speaks.
“TV and weed?” he asks.
Billy stares at him a moment, then shrugs.
“Yeah, why not?”
There’s nothing on, so they settle on an old, black and white movie, so they settle on that and Billy goes about rolling them both a joint. The quiet isn’t quite comfortable— the weirdness that had sat so heavily in the car creeps through the air of their shitty motel room— but it isn’t bad, either. He and Steve are propped up shoulder-to-shoulder against the headboard of their bed, Billy using a pillow and the bible from the nightstand to roll while Steve watches, humming quietly to himself and altogether too close to Billy’s ear as he observes.
Billy thinks he’s too close, but he can’t say anything about how he sort of feels like he’s gonna claw off his own skin if he doesn’t stomp down the sudden realization that all he’d have to do to kiss Steve again is turn his head a little bit and open his mouth.
Yeah, no. Back into the naughty thoughts cage with that nonsense. At most, it’s a reaction to the night before, and Billy can’t exactly spring that on Steve, can he? Not when the guy doesn’t remember.
Does he remember?
No, he would have said something earlier. Right?
A rock begins to form in Billy’s stomach, and he’s not sure if it’s over the possibility that Steve doesn’t remember or if it’s because he probably does remember and hasn’t said anything. Steve’s the kind of person to bring that kind of stuff up first, isn’t he? So if he does, what—
“Hey,” Steve says after a moment. “Sorry if I sound kind of awkward, but, just to check— how are we feeling about last night?”
Oh, Billy thinks a little sourly. Of course. Give him the whole day to build up a nice anxiety attack, and then—
“What about last night?”
Billy doesn’t look, but he can practically hear Steve rolling his eyes at him.
“The kiss,” he says. “We totally were going to try and fuck in a bar last night— which, by the way, is kind of embarrassing.” Steve shudders lightly. “I’m not into the whole exhibitionism thing.”
Billy focuses very hard on his roll. He’s not quite sure what to say.
After a moment, Steve sighs.
“Okay,” he says. “I’ll go first, because you’re still learning how to talk about things like a normal person. If I’m remembering it right, we made out at the bar last night and it was pretty nice. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to do it again sometime.” Steve nudges him with his elbow. “What about you?”
Billy’s fingers twitch and he spills half of the wrap onto the bible. He doesn’t swear.
“I— um?” Billy chances a look. Steve looks like he’s trying very, very hard to be patient. “I thought… it was nice? Too?”
Steve smiles a little, dark eyes sparkling with quiet, fond amusement.
“You play a good game, McCloud,” he says, tilting his head. “I definitely thought you were gonna be more suave than this.”
Billy feels a flush of irritation, but before he can open his mouth to retort, Steve’s already moved on.
“I think it’s cute,” he says. “I think you’ve got a lot of things going for you, in terms of cuteness.” Steve’s smile widens hopefully. “With that in mind, I just wanna know— would it be alright if I kissed you again?”
Billy finds himself nodding before he actually comes to a decision
“Yeah. Yes. Okay— oh!”
Steve is warm and smells like motel soap and cigarettes, plastered to Billy’s side as he kisses him ever so gently. After a moment, Billy reaches out, hand fluttering awkwardly before coming to rest on Steve’s shoulder.
“Kali’s gonna be pissed if we have sex in the room,” Billy says when Steve finally remembers they need to breathe.
“Kali gave us the room for the night specifically so we could have sex in it,” Steve answers. He’s breathing a little harder than usual, his gaze unusually focused when he meets Billy’s eyes. “Do you want to?”
Billy does, he so desperately does, but there’s a strange, nervous weight settling in the bottom of his stomach, something he usually would have soothed with a few beers at this point in the evening.
“I don’t know,” he says, looking down at his hands. “Maybe later?”
Steve hums agreeably.
“Yeah, okay,” he says. “Roll that joint— we’ll smoke and make out to I Love Lucy or something, how’s that sound?”
“... That’ll work.”
They end up sucking face for most of the night, culminating in embarrassingly quick handjobs and more making out before sleep finally takes them. Kali knows, obviously, but she doesn’t comment, just looks between them when she comes back in the morning before giving a satisfied little nod and demanding pancakes for breakfast. They find a little diner twenty minutes down the road, and while Kali goes over their route on the giant map she’s spread across their table, Steve’s hand manages to slip into Billy’s under the table. Billy feels his heart go warm and fluttery, and doesn’t shake him off.
Him and Steve, they’re comfortable. It’s warm and easy and familiar, and it looks like it’s going to be pretty easy to slip from friends to something a little different, because for some reason, things have just gotten easier, when it comes to Steve. Sometimes, it even feels natural.
Max’ll probably be excited. Billy’ll have to tell her, once he and Mr. Sinclair have filed the right paperwork. Steve, of course, is gonna insist on telling Dustin, who in turn is going to tell everybody that is in any way connected to the weird little group of DnD nerds and their magic friends. Christ, that’s going to be a headache.
… Billy’s starting to think he doesn’t mind much, though.