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Home is Where The Car Is

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Davey Jacobs was just like any other university student. He attended classes, worked two jobs, each one four times a week, hung out with his friends, enjoyed pizza a little too often and occasionally went to parties. He was also stressed, but lived through the crazy amount of homework and projects he was giving. Coffee was easily his best friend, followed by the three idiots he somehow got stuck with during high school. He hadn’t had a stable relationship in over two years. He was twenty three and hadn’t spoken to any of his family members in three years. Oh! And he lived in his 2006 toyota highlander.

So, really, Davey wasn’t like any other university student. He was screwed over in so many ways, his life was just crumbling slowly into a pile of useless dust. While deep down, he knew that eventually things would turn around, and he would be able to start renting an actual apartment, he had barely any hope.

If he really wanted too, Davey had three friends who would happily take him in and let him crash on their couches. Sometimes he did, but never more than a night. He couldn’t afford to help with rent, therefore he just didn’t feel right doing it. Besides, Finch only had a studio apartment, Specs still lived with his mother and sisters, and Elmer lived too far from work and school for him to be able to justify living there.

Davey was happy in his car. There was no wifi, or power (unless the car was running), or running water, but it was home. He kept his belongings minimal- a suitcase of clothing, a small box of food that didn’t need to be prepared, a pillow and a stack of blankets, his laptop and it’s charger, an extra pair of shoes and his backpack with all his little things.

His friends let him use their showers though, and if not he had a gym membership he shared with Elmer (who never used it, Davey was well aware of that, but he still paid for his half of the membership anyways.) Most places had wifi nowadays, as well as outlets where Davey could charge his things. So really, he didn’t need electricity or wifi.

He didn’t have a phone either. Well, he did- he had a busted Iphone 5 that was starting to see it’s day. He didn’t have a cell plan though, so he could only text people on imessage and while he had wifi. It was tough at first, but it was just ninety bucks he didn’t need leaving his bank account each month. It wasn’t like he needed to call anyone anyways. Most the people he needed to discuss things with (his professors and bosses) just emailed him anyways.

Davey hummed as he crawled around the back of his car. The back seats had been folded down, so that the back was just one big flat surface. He dug through his pile of dirty clothes, making a mental note to do laundry as soon as he could, and found his jacket, before slipping it on. He checked the time on his phone and then crawled into the front seat.

He plugged in his phone before he tossed it on the passenger seat. In his car, the air conditioning did not work at all , and the radio for some reason could only reach the kids radio station, so he opted for carrying around CDs. He took out the one that had been playing previously and swapped it for another random one. None of the CDs were actually in the right case, so he didn’t waste much time in picking one to listen to. It ended up being one of Taylor Swift’s album- not his, but he had it anyways. It was his sister’s that he had took when he got kicked out of the house three years ago. He’d be lying if he said he didn’t know which album it was ( it was Fearless) and he’d be lying if he said he didn’t actively like the music off of it.

Partly because it had been his sisters favourite at the time, partly because Davey just really liked Taylor Swift.

He pulled out of the parking lot he had stayed in for the night, before he cranked the music and made his way to his classes for the day. He stopped at McDonalds along the way for breakfast, and then at Starbucks for coffee. Realistically, he shouldn’t be getting such expensive coffee, but it tasted good, and Davey didn’t get many luxuries. Starbucks was one of his little luxuries.

By noon, he was done his classes and was sitting in the front seat of his car, adding an english essay and a new website design to his never ending list of things to do this weekend. They were written in the notes of his phone, right under do laundry, call boss about Sunday, get bet money from Finch, email prof about missed classes and fight Specs . He didn’t remember putting down the last one, but apparently he thought it was something important to do.

He purposely decided to eat somewhere cheap with wifi. After six months of living  in his car, he had learned the places to go. This was a locally owned Pizza place, which made good breadsticks and pasta. The lunch buffet was always nice too, so that made this place one of Davey’s favourite locations.

While he was eating the second small plate of food, he typed away at his essay on a novel he hadn’t even read yet. He just read a bunch of different synopsis of the novel and was praying that would be enough. He wouldn’t normally do this, but lately things had just been way too much for Davey, and he was just looking for the easiest way out.

“Refill?” the waitress asked, already grabbing Davey’s cup from the table. He smiled up at her and nodded, before thanking her. He still had had a mouthful of water left in the glass, but he knew he would need more water right away anyways.

“You’re here often, aren’t ya?” she asked as she returned with Davey’s glass of water.

“Yeah,” Davey said with a quick nod. “It’s just on the way to work.”

“You’re here so often and I don’t know your name,” she pointed out. The lady was easily in her late thirties and wore a wedding ring. She was just being friendly, which was a relief to Davey. Not that he had just assumed , but girls did flirt with him around campus sometimes and he hated having to explain that he was gay to get others off his back.

He hated being gay. Sure, he had come to terms with it long ago, and he really fucking loved being with men, but he hated it. His sexualtiy was what screwed him over three years go. It didn’t stop him though. He wasn’t going to suddenly turn around and start dating women just so he could go back home.

He wanted nothing more than to go back home.

“David,” he said with a smile as he shook her hand. Her name tag read Cynthia , and Davey gave a small nod to acknowledge he had noticed her name, before she grinned.

“Well David, how about a free dessert?” Cynthia asked. “Could give ya my discount” she offered. Davey hesitated, he really didn’t know about that idea, but a slice of pie sounded wonderful.

“Only if it isn’t too much of an issue,” Davey said. Cynthia smiled and shook her head.

“Not at all! You tip so generously, you deserve something special,” she said, before flipping open her notepad. “Besides, employees get a free dessert after each shift… and I really don’t want another slice of pie. What can I get ya?”

“Just a slice of apple pie, please,” Davey said with a small smile. Cynthia grinned and scribbled that in before she walked back into the kitchen.

Davey focused back in on his work, but more so on the pasta that was sitting on his table. He made sure to finish the food he had taken before Cynthia came back out with the slice of pie, which had been warmed up and sprinkled with a bit of icing sugar.

“Thank you,” Davey said.

“Anytime,” she said.

The pie was nice. It wasn’t very good, and he could see why employees were so often given free slices of it, but the gesture from Cynthia was nice, and he chose to enjoy the pie instead of complain.

Once he was finished eating, he got to play the fun game of whether or not his debit card would work.

His debit card accepted the transaction after declining it once for some reason, which he didn’t actually expect to happen, and he was off once again. He prefered just carrying around cash, which wasn’t safe, but sometimes it was easier just to hand someone a twenty then have to dig out a little plastic card that he never knew would work or not.

Cynthia wished him luck for the rest of the day on his way out, and Davey just gave a small nod.

His car took a second to start up, a wave of panic quickly rising in his stomach only to subside quickly. He ran a hand through his hair, stiff with the leftover gel from yesterday. He really needed to shower- preferably tonight. He’d probably just end up at the gym after his shift at Buck’s , the restaurant and bar where he worked mostly night shifts at. If he was lucky though, Finch would still be up around two am to let him use his shower.

The gas light on his car went off while he was idle at a red light. That stupid little ping noise that Davey hated so much, because that ping noise meant that was another eighty bucks leaving his wallet for something stupid, but he couldn’t avoid.

There was a short debate in his head; whether or not he wanted to get gas now and be late for work, or wait, and risk not having enough to get to the gas station after work. With a quick glance at the time, he decided that he didn’t want to risk it. Sure, he and his boss, Buttons ( or Elanie, but she just had everyone call her Buttons (Davey learned not to question it.)) were on really good terms. They were friends, even, but Davey didn’t need to clock in late for the third time this month.

Worse came to worse, he reminded himself, he’d just get someone to pick him up and he would fill a gas can and bring it back to the bookstore.

He parked in the employee parkign and crawled into the back. He switch his shirts and double checked that he had his nametag, before he got out.

He clocked in just as Jane, the girl who worked before him, checked out. They exchanged smiles, Jane commenting on the fact that Davey “looked like shit.” He just brushed it off, but in his head all he could think was yeah of course I do. What’s fucking new Jane?

Buttons was standing by the till when he stepped out into the mainroom. They greeted each other, before Davey joined her behind the counter. While Davey logged onto the computer, Buttons was talking behind him, but he didn’t actually start listening until halfway through.

“So you can close up shop tonight?” She asked. Davey grimmanced but quickly relaxed his face before he actually turned to face her. That would be half an hour longer, meaning he had half an hour less between his two jobs.

“Yeah course I can,” Davey said with a small nod. “What happened to Steve?” he asked. Steve was the guy he always worked with on Friday nights, who was either very late, or very fired.

“Quit two days ago,” she said with a small huff. “I’m interviewing people to replace him next week… figured you’d be alright working a shift or two solo.”

“Of course yeah, it’s not like we’re crazy busy,” he said with a small laugh.

“You’ll be able to get to Buck’s on time?” Buttons asked.

They had taken classes together Davey’s second year of University. They both impulsively took a crime statistics class that had nothing to do with either of their majors and just bonded. Then she graduated that year, only to take over her Dad’s bookstore a month later. She knew his situation, which he was grateful for. She also understood it well.

“Probably,” he said. “I’m low on gas, but I should get there.”

“I can go fill you up,” she offered.

“Right now?”

“Yeah, Jojo and I are going to her mother’s house for dinner at six, I’m clocking out right away here anyways,” she said. Davey fished his keys out of his pocket and handed them to Buttons, who took them with a smile.

“I’ll be right back. Don’t burn down my store!” Buttons said as she started walking back towards the back.

“Thank you!” he called out.

He hummed as he tapped a pen on the table. A couple came in, browsed around for a while, but didn’t buy anything. Then a few more people trickled in. Still. None of them were buying anything or asking for help, so Davey got to just sit at the counter, fiddling his thumbs idly as he watched on.

Buttons dropped off his keys while he was helping ring a customer through. She stuck around until the payment was completed so the two could exchange their thank yous and goodbyes, and then she was gone.

It was quiet for most of the night, which wasn’t unusual for the store. Most people prefer to go to the bigger, better Chapters just down the road. Somehow though, enough people bought things to keep the tiny store in business. Maybe a big factor was that their entire inventory was all donated books, or maybe it was just conveniently more busy whenever Davey didn’t work.

The little bell above the door chimed and Davey turned to watch as a man wandered in, gazing around just a bit before he made eye contact with Davey.

He sat up a bit straighter as the man, maybe Davey’s age with brown messy hair and tanned skin, approached the desk. He looked nervous, and Davey noticed that his hands seemed to be covered in little splashes of paint. The man offered a smile as he adjusted the sleeves of his very clearly new button down shirt.

“Hi, can I help you?” Davey asked, already preparing to get up off of his chair.

“Actually I was wondering if I could speak to the manager?” he asked. Davey hesitated as he sat up a bit straighter, which caused the man to stand up a bit straighter.

“She’s not actually in the building right now,” Davey said. “I could leave a message for you, though.”

“Oh! Uh, no no that’s fine I uh, was just wondering about the help wanted sign out front,” he said, jabbing his thumb towards the front door. Davey nodded- a cue to let him keep going. Apparently it wasn’t noticeable enough, since he just stared blankly at Davey. He cleared his throat.

“Well, you could leave your resume with me, and I’ll make sure it gets in with the others,” Davey said. The man smiled before he nodded, taking his bag off his shoulders to get his resume out.

“I uh, I’m Jack Kelly,” he said as he slid the resume (slightly crumpled, printed on a light yellow paper instead of white) on the desk. Davey smiled and held out his hand for him to shake.

“David,” he said shortly. Jack laughed lightly and nodded towards his nametag.

“But that says yous named Davey,” Jack said lightly. Davey laughed and shrugged.

“Stolen identity,” he joked, which earned a small laugh from the other. He couldn’t tell if he genuinely found it funny, or he was just laughing so Davey would talk him up on first impressions with Buttons later. Either way, he appreciated it.

“Well if we’re going by fake names, I’ll be... Anthony,” Jack joked as he leaned casually against the front table. Davey raised an eyebrow and laughed lightly.

“Anthony?” he asked. “Geez least mine was close to my name.”

“Anthony’s my brotha’s name,” Jack said. “I may be an artist, but I’m not creative enough to think of a new name close to Jack that fast.”

“Jacques,” Davey said simply, which earned from an eye roll from the other.

“That’s just a french accent slapped onta Jack,” Jack said.

Actually , it’s also equivalent to Jacob and James,” Davey pointed out. “But yeah, just the french pronunciation of Jack.” Jack smirked.

“What are ya, a french expert?” Jack asked. Davey laughed and shrugged.

“No, just smart,” Davey said. The door chimed, and a group of teenagers came in, laughing loudly. Jack gave him a small nod as he stood up straight again.

“Well, hopefully I’ll get to work along ya soon. Thanks in advance,” Jack said. Davey nodded as he took the resume and put it in a safe place, making a mental note to leave it on her desk before he left.

And maybe he’d leave a little sticky note recommending Jack Kelly to Buttons, because well… Davey thought he seemed nice, and capable of carry the job. He was well mannered and respectful and attractive, and Davey would be lying if he said he didn’t already have a stupid crush on the stranger.

Then again, if any male was nice to him, Davey was quick to find himself crushing on them for a week or so. Then he’d forget about them and the crush would fade. The last thing he’d want to do was get to know someone well enough to go out on a date with them. For one, he lived in a car and doubted it would be much of a turn on for anyone . For two, he didn’t even have a phone number, and relied on things like imessage and messenger apps to contact people. Again, that was just kind of ridiculous, so he never gave away contact information.

So, maybe he wouldn’t leave a sticky note about first impressions. Maybe he’d leave a sticky note saying he was rude about it, but then that would just be rude. So, instead, Davey would just leave the resume on Buttons desk and let fate to decide.

He ended up closing the shop up ten minutes early. No one was inside, and no one looked interested enough to come in for any last minute books. It made sense just to close and have those extra few minutes to get to Buck’s .

Davey kept a close eye on the time as he wiped down the counters and swept the floors. He wanted to clean up properly, but knew he wouldn’t have enough time to do it all. He took the cash from the register and brought it to the back room, where Buttons’ small  shoebox office was. He counted it, before putting it in the little safe Buttons kept. She would deposit it tomorrow, surely. Then he left the resume on her desk in clear sight, and decided to add a little sticky note on it anyways.

Dropped this off while I was working, really nice and professional about it. Idk where you leave the resumes you get -Davey

Without a second thought, Davey doubled checked the doors and turned off the lights, before he made his way outside to his car.

The first thing he had noticed when he sat down in the front seat, was the little stack of things placed neatly on the passenger side. Buttons probably did all that- well, she for sure did. No one else had the keys to his car recently.

In the pile, was a bag of dried banana chips, a packet of gum and a new tube of toothpaste (he didn’t know if she was trying to hint at something there), a box of cookies with two of them missing, some granola bars and an itunes gift card. Davey grinned as he looked through his things, before he pulled out his phone.

 

From Davey: You know, you really didn’t have to get all this for me. I have money .

 

And it was true. He didn’t have much, but Davey had money. It was just… car insurance cost significantly less than an apartment. Even if he shared one with a roommate. With an apartment came cleaning, and dishes, and clutter, and unproductivity. With a car, there wasn’t much to clean up and he had nothing really to do but work.

 

From Buttons: Yeah well, consider it a late birthday gift!  

 

From Davey: My birthday was in may

 

Davey didn’t get her response right after that. He had to start driving, so he tucked his phone away and began on his journey. He probably wouldn’t get to see Buttons’ reply until he ended up wherever he was going to go to shower that night. Buck’s didn’t have wifi, and Davey didn’t have data, so he was kind of just screwed.

Again, he changed in the back of his car into a different uniform once he ended up in the parking lot of Buck’s , which was already busy inside. Lots of people ended up there to watch football or hockey or whatever sport Davey didn’t care about in the bar section of the restaurant. Davey was lucky enough to just work in the restaurant part, where it was quiet and family friendly.

He greeted coworkers as he got ready for his shift, lingering in the washroom just a bit to try and tame his hair and wash his hands.

He yawned as he checked which tables he was responsible for tonight. It was only ten, and he was already falling asleep as he stood.

Luckily though, there were enough people around to keep him busy. A refill there, extra napkins here, clean up this table, deal with a flaw in a meal at that table. It was a rhythm he quickly got into, usually checking up on his tables probably far too often, but he always seemed to get good tips for that. Not that it mattered, since the tips were collected and spread equally among everyone who worked in the facility at the end of every week. Including everyone in the bar, as well as the janitors and managers.

Davey could understand most of the people included in sharing tips, but not the managers.

Around midnight, when his shift was half over, Davey and his co worker, Romeo, ended up sitting at one of the tables playing cards. The bar on the other side of the wall was loud and bustling, but the restaurant was not.

Davey didn’t understand why they kept both open until three am- very few people actually ended up sitting in the restaurant, since all the food was the same, and very few minors were out that late of night.

However, without this happening, Davey would be out of a job, so he wasn’t going to complain.

The door opened and both of them grimaced. Davey started cleaning up the cards while Romeo greeted the group of people, before leading them to a table. Davey stretched as Romeo came back towards him.

“They’re just your friends,” he said. Davey laughed lightly and nodded. He could tell just by the sounds of them talking when the door opened.

Still, Davey needed to be professional- since he was on the clock.

But would he really though?

“Hey guys,” Davey said shortly as he approached, already pulling out his pen and notepad to take their drinks, absently writing down what everyone was going to get before they started to talk.

“You look like shit,” Finch said. Davey sighed and smiled.

“Yeah you’re not the first person to say that today,” he said, leaning against the booth they were at.

“Kinda smell too,” Elmer joked. At that, he rolled his eyes.

“Yeah I didn’t get a chance to shower yesterday,” he said, pushing a playful tone, but it was the truth.

“Shower at mine after your shift if you want,” Elmer offered. Davey smiled and shrugged.

“I might take you up on that,” Davey said. “Your place is just so far … I might just shower at the gym.”

“Gyms don’t have nice showers though,” Specs spoke up.

“Just shower at mine, I’ll be up anyways,” Finch said.

“Thanks…” Davey trialed off. “I’ll be back with drinks.”

The guys didn’t question any of it, just accepting the fact that Davey knew that they all wanted. They so frequently came in just to keep Davey company as he worked. That and they were all creatures of habit. He couldn’t remember the last time any of them had ordered anything different to drink than what they normally did.

He returned with their drinks and then slipped into the booth beside Finch while he waited for them to settle on what they wanted to eat.

“We could do wings,” Specs said absently.

“We could , but last time we had wings I threw up,” Elmer pointed out.

“Last time you had them you had gotten a bit too crazy with the amounts of shots you had,” Finch laughed.

“When did that happen?” Davey asked. He didn’t remember that.

“Okay, but we were celebrating my birthday! I deserved the drinks,” Elmer exclaimed.

Davey swallowed hard. He had missed Elmer’s birthday last month since he was working. He heard stories about what they had gotten up to the day after, and it still sucked knowing he missed out on it.

“Well, I’m pretty sure it was the drinks that made you throw up, not the wings,” Finch said.

“Pretty sure we were at Hot Shots too, not Bucks,” Specs said.

“No hot shots was when Spec’s cousin came along and slept with a drag queen.”

Davey blinked. He hadn’t even heard that story before.

“Of all the places-”

“So? Wings are wings, we’re not getting them,” Elmer cut Davey off. Davey sighed before he got up. As if he didn’t feel shitty enough already.

“I’ll be back to get your order in a few minutes,” he said with a small nod, before leaving to linger around in the kitchen while he waited for them to make a decision. They tried to bring Davey back to sit and talk with them, but Davey decided to just ignore them. They didn’t care about his input anyways.

He was being petty, Davey was well aware of that when he brought out their orders of nachos and pretzel buns. He was ignored once and now he was just going to avoid his friends for the rest of the time while they talked. Still, he never really felt like he fit in with them anyways.

They ended up staying around until everyone was getting ready to close up.

“Davey, you’re okay right?” Finch asked as he Specs paid for their food.

“Course,” Davey said shortly as he took the debt machine back from Specs, tucking it into the pocket of his apron.

“Just, you kinda avoided us the entire time,” Elmer said.

“Busy working and stuff,” Davey said. No it was because you were ignored once .

“No one else was here the entire time.”

“Well…” Davey yawned. “I’m still on the clock.”

“You’re coming over to shower, right?” Finch asked. Davey shrugged.

“I might just go to the gym,” he said with a small nod. Finch rolled his eyes.

“You’re driving me home so you need to use my shower,” Finch said. “Crash on my couch too, your car isn’t comfortable.”

Davey sighed. He was too tired to argue, and the sounds of Finch’s couch did sound nice. Even if his couch was a lumpy uncomfortable seafoam green leather couch his grandma had when she was growing up.

“Yeah sure,” he said. “I’ll be out of your hair by eight.”

“What? Plans tomorrow for once?” Finch asked.

“No. I just have a bunch of homework to do… big website design is due on Wednesday,” Davey said as everyone started putting their coats back on.

“So just do it at my house,” he said simply. Davey shrugged, again, too tired to argue.

The car ride back to Finch’s studio apartment was mostly quiet, besides Finch’s short complaint about the lack of radio stations, and then Davey’s selections of CDs. Besides that, and Davey almost falling asleep at the wheel, nothing interesting really had happened.

Once they were parked outside of Finch’s apartment complex, he helped Davey bring in a few things (just his backpack and a plastic bag Davey had stuffed a clean outfit into, along with some sweats for the night) and then while Finch was making up the couch, Davey got into the shower.

He might have spent a bit longer than he planned too originally in the shower. It was just that the water was so warm and there was so much water pressure in his shower. The gym didn’t have either of those things, or private stalls either. He also got to use Finch’s nice body wash instead of his hotel soaps. Small luxuries that Davey often forgot most people had.

When he was out of the shower and changed, he made it back out into the main room and beelined straight for the couch, collapsing on it the minute he was close enough. It was uncomfortable and a small area to sleep on, but Davey didn’t complain as he fell asleep almost instantly.

Chapter Text

“Well Mr Kelly, I must say that you lived up to your resume expectation,” Elaine said as she cleaned up a few things on her desk. Jack smiled, relieved that this interview was finally over. He felt like he aced it- and that he left a good impression, so he just hoped that maybe he would actually get the job.

This was his second interview over the past three days, and he had one more in a few hours. However, of the three jobs, Jack probably would enjoy working at Bumble Bees Books the most. Partly because Elaine seemed like a good boss, partly because a very cute boy worked here.

He wasn’t going to lie- he couldn’t remember his name. He wanted to say David, but that didn’t sound right in his head. However, he was cute and Jack wanted to get to know him more. He didn’t even know if he wa going to work with him at any point, but that was his main motivation.

“Well I’m glad,” Jack said as they both stood up. Elaine reached over the desk and shook his hand. Jack smiled and gave a small nod. “Thank you again ma’am for the opportunity.”

“Please, Elaine is just fine,” she dismissed absently. “You’ll be hearing from me in a few days I think.”

“I’ll be keeping an eye out,” Jack said. She nodded, before she walked Jack back out to the bookstore.

They exchanged goodbyes again just as the same guy entered through the back, greeting Elaine with the name Buttons instead. Considering his brother’s names, Jack didn’t think much of it- just that the cute guy who worked here was currently getting ready to start a shift.

His name was Davey, Jack finally remembered, as the two smiled at each other. Jack kept his gaze lingering on him, before he forced himself out of the front door. Hopefully he would have another chance to talk to him… and maybe even get his number.

Jack hummed contently as the warm September air hit his face. The sun was already setting at six pm, but it casted a nice warm glow across the city, and it just seemed like the perfect lighting for a painting.

He had bussed down to Bumble Bees for his interview, thanks to his brother taking his car because “Spot left mine at the nightclub!” and when the two went to go pick it up, neither of them had came back in either of the cars.

He could only hope that if they did go somewhere, it was in the back of Race car. They had taken his car a few times before, and each time Jack found a used condom in the back.

Jack decided to take a few photos of the landscape for future references before he continued on his way to the bus stop two blocks over.

Getting home was easy, first just take the 104 and then transfer to the 37 , ride for two stops and then walk three blocks down to his apartment building. He and his brothers lived on the fifth floor in a three bedroom apartment, which realistically none of them could afford on their own, but their mother helped out a little bit with rent.

As he unlocked the front door, he could already hear shouting. With a small roll of his eyes, he stepped inside and locked the door again.

His brothers, Crutchie and Race were sitting on the couch, screaming at each other as they raced around on Mario Kart. Spot, Race’s boyfriend who technically didn’t live with them but was over almost every night anyways was sitting in the recliner chair with his headphones in and a textbook in his lap.

“Wanna join Jack?” Race asked, glancing back briefly at him as his character flew off the map. Jack considered it for a second, before jumping over the back of the couch and sitting next to Crutchie, grabbing the third remote already on the table.

“Long as I get ta kick your ass,” he grinned.

Race ended the game, and Jack set up his character as they got comfortable on the couch.

“Don’tcha have a night class today?” Jack asked absently, all three of them focused more on the game than anything else.

“I do, but that don’t mean I’m going,” Race said as he hunched over himself, leaning with his kart around a sharp corner of the map.

“He hasn’t been going for the past two weeks, decided just to read the textbook and hope for the best,” Crutchie said with a laugh. Race rolled his eyes and scoffed.

“Least I have luck when it comes to that,” he remarked.

“Now what’s that supposed to mean?” Crutchie asked.

“Nothin’ just sayin’ I’ve got good luck,” Race said casually. Crutchie rolled his eyes playfully. Race suddenly jumped up on the couch as he completed the race in first place, screaming and hollering as he threw his remote down on the ground.

“Guess who’s paying to go out tonight!” He celebrated. Jack laughed and rolled his eyes, setting down his remote as he sat up from the table.

“Now I wouldn’t have participated in this if I had known yous two had a bet over who won,” Jack said, grabbed his jacket from the floor as he slipped it back on again, only to push his sleeves up to his elbows. Both Race and Crutchie shrugged as they looked to each other, before they looked to Jack.

“Ya still came in last place,” Race pointed out.

“So yous gotta pay,” Crutchie added, grabbing his crutch next to him as he stood up, stretching out just a bit.

“I wasn’t plannin’ on going out!” Jack said.

He was planning on painting. Probably finishing up one or two of his projects, so he’d be able to work on her personal stuff. He only really liked painting landscapes. Faces weren’t fun to draw, and there was nothing more that Jack hated than still life. Of course, those were both the projects he had to do. A self portrait in an abstract style to represent him, and then a stupid still life of his choosing. Sometimes he questioned whether or not he should just jump ship and not finish his degree.

And now instead of painting, he’d have to go out and buy his brothers and his brother’s stupid boyfriend drinks because he was tricked into playing a game of Mario Kart that had a bet attracted to it, both Crutch and Race knowing fully well that Jack sucked at playing Mario Kart. Spot didn’t even try to warn him about it! He probably knew fully well what was going on.

“Well you are now,” Spot said, glancing up from his book before he put it away. Jack huffed, rolled his eyes, before he smiled. He liked the idea of going out anyways. After that stressful interview he had, he kind of deserved it if he did say so himself.

None of them had money to go out- they had to pay rent on Sunday, and they would for sure come up short if they went out, but none of them really cared. Medda would give them the last little bit of money if they came up short. She always did- a wonderful mother she was.

“Let’s get going then!” he said happily.

The next morning, which was a Monday, mind you, Jack was practically a ball of energy. He woke up feeling like shit, but that quickly changed as he had gotten a call from Elaine about wanting to hire him at Bumble Bees . Obviously he had accepted it, and that just cured his hangover right there.

He started on Friday. Friday night, to be specific, meaning that maybe he’d be working that shift that Davey had. Unless he had taken over Davey’s shift, which he doubted. Or at least hoped that was the case.

He was painting, still in the sweats he slept in (with two immature brothers in the house, you never slept nude), and had tossed on an old shirt. He was standing at the easel in the corner of his room, paints spread out on the little table next to him as he struggled to finish this damn still life.

He hated still lifes, and he hated acrylic paints. They dried faster and details were harder to get into place. The colours never matched the colours when they dry, and the texture was barely there.

He liked oils more- sure he needed the solvent to thin the paint and clean them, but they just flowed better on the canvases. They took longer too dry too, so he could work on details as long as he wanted to without any rush at all. The colours didn’t darken at all when they dried, and the texture was just so much nicer.

He liked paints like he liked the people he surrounded himself with. You get what you see- there’s no sudden change of colours after you started getting used to them. Their relationship didn’t seize up quickly and stop changing. He liked when they could change things, even if they had sat out for a while, so they can nudge colours around just a bit and adjust them if something isn’t quite up to their happiness level. He liked them bright and vibrant and happy, but maybe just a bit more complicated than a cut and paste relationship. There was a bit of extra work they needed to do, but that was okay, but the result would always be better.

Jack hummed as he painted, having given up on the reference photo he had taken long ago. He had the sketch and the basic colours and he knew where the light source was, so what was the point?

God he hated art school. Grading you on how well you can paint, of course entirely based on whatever stuck up professor you had opinions was of good. There was specific projects and due dates and all Jack wanted to do was paint . Then again, he didn’t want to be doing anything else. So, he’d get his way through art school and would never think of anything he learned in school again.

“Jack you coming or what?” Race called from the kitchen. Jack hesitated, before he turned down his music and wandered out into the hallway.

What? ” he asked. Race rolled his eyes as he came around the corner.

“We’re carpoolin’ to classes right?” Race said. Jack hesitated.

“Well yeah but… we don’t have any classes today?” he said. Race laughed.

“Yeah wes do- you have your uh, art history class today, or whateva it is,” Race said with a small wave of the hand. Jack laughed lightly.

“That’s a Monday class,” Jack said bluntly. Race raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah,” he said, dragging out the word. “It’s Monday.”

“Well shit,” Jack said with a laugh and a shake of the head. He didn’t even realize.

“Ight gimme ten minutes,” Jack said as he turned around, heading back towards his room.

“You have five!” Race called out as Jack shut his bedroom door.

He rushed to get ready, though he didn’t put much effort into her appearance at all. It was one lecture, after all, and he doubted he’d go out to eat or anything like that after his class. He hadn’t even left yet, and all he wanted to do was get back home so he could keep working on that stupid still life painting of a tower of objects.

Two minutes later, with coffee in a cheap to go mug and missing a textbook, Jack and Race were in Race’s car, heading off towards the classes. At least on Mondays the two had their lectures in the same building, so there was no dropping one person off first and then heading off. The Larkins brothers ( they had all been adopted by Medda Larkins, though they were all at an age where they decided to keep their last names. So while they were brothers, they all had completely different last names. Still, they were the Larkins brothers ) sucked at carpooling or coordinating anything.

Race was a reckless driver. If Jack had to rate his driving skills, it would probably be a four, and it was only so high because he was his brother and he felt like he had to do that. If that wasn’t the case, Race was easily a one point five. Jack wasn’t any better than him- he’d admit that, but at least he didn’t run through red lights.

“You’re gonna get a ticket for that,” Jack said, unimpressed at Race’s stupid decisions. Race laughed lightly and shrugged.

“Who cares? I didn’t wanta wait for it,” Race said with a laugh, before turning up the music on the radio, washing out Jack’s talking.

It wasn’t like he was going to lecture him or anything. He wasn’t his mother, and he knew that Race would have to pay for the ticket, not Jack. So he didn’t care. He just cared that the idiot got both of him safely to their classes.

“You’re good on finding your own way home?” Race asked as he shut down the car. He tossed the keys in his pocket as he started getting out.

“Yeah yeah, I’ll take the bus or something,” he said as he got out and walked to the front of the car.

“I can wait the extra hour,” Race said. The car beeped and locked. Jack shrugged.

“Nah, I know you wanna go and fuck your boyfriend in the empty house,” Jack teased. Race slapped his arm hard.

“I don’t wants to go fuck my boyfriend,” he shot back. Jack snorted.

“Yeah you do,” he said. “So you two can be as loud as ya want, instead of having to worry about me hearing over the wall.”

“Oh my god Cowboy just shut up,” Race said as he nudged him.

“Just use protection,” Jack teased. “Don’t need any babies running around.”

“Neither of us can get pregnant!” Race exclaimed. Jack laughed and shrugged.

“Have fun fuckin your man!” Jack said, before he turned off into a different direction.

Jack turned back just in time to see Race flipping him off. He laughed and repeated the action, before turning away and heading off towards his class.

He sat down in the back of the large hall, humming to himself as he doodled in his notebook. Chances were he was going to fall asleep halfway through or just not pay attention. He knew that from experience. He could just read the textbook afterwards. He wasn’t entirely sure, but Jack was almost certain that the teacher just sat there for a solid three hours and spoke right out of the textbook with some mediocre powerpoint behind her.

He ended up ducking out early too, deciding that the last twenty minutes weren’t anything of interest for him. Not enough to stick around, anyways. His grade would be fine. It was only twenty minutes, after all. If he had any homework to do, he would just get the information from one of his classmates after.

Jack hummed as he headed down the street, enjoying the nice leisurely walk towards his bus stop. He didn’t like the idea of going home, not wanting to walk in on anything explicit, but he would rather be there painting, while enduring the loud moaning on the other side of the wall than wandering the streets with absolutely nothing to do.

The bus still was going to take a while, however, so he happily took his time to get home, kicking a small stone beneath his feet.

He plugged in his headphones at one point, blocking out the world as he waited at the bus stop. Jack wasn’t the keenest on talking the bus- it was more or less just a pain. Realistically, he didn’t know if it was worth it to carpool with Race, despite them being in the same building for their lectures, just because Race finished so much earlier than him. Sometimes he’d wait, but most times he wouldn’t.

He’d save a bit of money too, if he just took his car.

There was no use in complaining now though. He was already waiting and the bus was just coming up the road. All it meant was that he’d be getting home a bit later than he would have if he had just driven himself.

The bus ride was uneventful, of course. Not that Jack was expecting anything epic or exciting to happen. He had hoped that maybe at least he’d see a dog walking down the street but nothing.

Back up to his apartment and into his room, where he immediately started painting again. Luckily, the house seemed pretty quiet, so Jack assumed that Race had taken Spot elsewhere, or they had gotten all their horny problems out of the way already.

He tried to pretend to be interested in the work he was doing, even just to make it seem a bit faster, but it just didn’t work. Everything on this painting was stupid, and he hated the colours in it. So much.

Jack glanced at the time, before double checking the dates. This painting was due on Wednesday. He still had two days to do it, so if he just took a break, maybe finished doing it tomorrow, he’d probably be fine.

So, he switched his paintings over to one of his own, cleaned off his palette in the kitchen and started pouring out different colours of oil paints on the same palette. He grabbed an unfinished painting, the one he had been working on yesterday and started absently mixing his paints, not thinking much about it as he worked.

“That ain’t the still life painting you’ve been complaining about,” Crutchie’s humoured voice came from behind Jack. He grinned, before looking over his shoulder as Crutchie made his way to the bed. He sat down in the middle of Jack’s bed, before putting his blanket over his lap.

“No it ain’t,” Jack replied as he turned back to the painting, continuing to mix colours before he started painting in clouds.

“You ever gonna finish it?” Crutchie asked.

“Maybe someday,” Jack said, smiling back at him once more. Crutchie laughed and shook his head lightly, before he laid down on his bed.

“There a problem with your room?” Jack asked curiously.

“Ya can’t hear the shower sex from here,” Crutchie said simply. Suddenly Jack understood and just nodded, before turning back to his painting. Really, he should have guessed that was what was going on.

 

Jack hadn’t finished that still life for Wednesday. Instead, it was Friday afternoon, and all Jack had been doing for the past two hours had been that still life. That stupid still life that was probably slowly killing him.

He was keeping an eye on the time. Usually, Jack wouldn’t, since if he ended up being a few minutes late for a class, or to meet up with his friends, it wouldn’t matter. However, now he had a job he needed to get to. The last thing he wanted was to show up for his first shift late.

Jack stretched his painting time as much as he could, before finally cleaning up once he decided that he couldn’t stretch his time anymore.

He made himself a sandwich quickly, since he’d be working through supper, and then headed out the front door.

It wasn’t until he had actually gotten close to the store that he realized that there was no parking out front, and he had to go up and down the street a few times before he found a place to park. It was a block away from the store, but it was better than nothing. He’d assume that there wa employee parking in the back, but he wasn’t told about it when Elaine had hired him, so he really had no clue about it.

When he opened the front door, Elaine was standing behind the check out counter, and Davey was sitting on the counter itself, his back facing the store. The two seized their conversation, Elaine smiling and patting his thigh before Davey jumped down from the counter and turned to face him.

A quick flash of recognition crossed over Davey’s face, before he smiled and greeted Jack. Then, he muttered something about using the restroom before disappearing into the back of the store.

Jack smiled awkwardly at Elaine, before he approached the front counter.

“My first shift was today, right?” He asked, feeling very very out of his element suddenly.

“Yes, come with me- actually let’s not do that till Dave gets back,” she said with a small laugh, before settling in on the chair behind the counter. Jack just nodded, and then began to gaze around.

Once Davey returned from the back, she and him switched places, and then Elaine was bringing him back into the employees only area.

She gave him a name tag with his name freshly printed on it, before reminding him of the dress code (which he had already known from the little package of stuff he had picked up a few days before that he needed to read before his first shift ( he only read a bit of it, but he wasn’t going to admit that .).) Then, she just drove head first into training.

It was all one fast blur, and he really didn’t understand any of it, but he just nodded. He figured she might just hang around the store for his first shift.

Apparently though, that wasn’t the case, since as soon as she asked if he had any questions, and he stupidly said no, she was back in the back of the store, leaving Jack alone up front with Davey.

Not that he was complaining at all.

A customer came in and beelined it for a specific shelf, before picking up a few books and heading back to the counter.

Jack was hoping that Davey would take the transaction, since he knew what he was doing, but instead he leaned against the back wall and waited for Jack to do it. He hesitated, before looking at the books blankly.

“You’re completely lost, aren’t you?” Davey said as he walked up next to him. Jack laughed and looked at him.

“That obvious?” Jack asked.

“Oh yeah,” Davey said with a grin.

“Do you wanna do it?” Jack asked. Davey shrugged, before he shook his head. “Ain’t it your job to do these things though?”

“Ain’t it yours too?” Davey teased, mimicking his tone. The girl waiting on her books chuckled. “I can’t do it for you, since you’re logged onto the register, but I can walk you through it.”

“Please,” Jack said.

Davey laughed, before he started telling him what to do. This time, Jack made a mental note to remember what Davey was saying. First, he needed to manually put the prices into the machine, then hit tax then… do something he couldn’t remember to do. Ask for a stamp card? Was that it? Then he gave her her total and asked how she would pay, then had to figure out how to work the debit machine, which apparently was “a quickly easy click of three buttons” but Jack just didn’t believe that, since he was still as confused as ever.

“Have you never worked a job in your life before?” Davey asked once the girl had left, leaving the two of them in the store alone. Jack shrugged as he sat down on the chair, mindlessly turning it back and forth.

“Not any that dealt with money,” Jack admitted. “ But I’ve worked , of course. I didn’t just lounge around the first twenty three years of my life.”

The last thing he wanted was for his new co worker to think he was a lazy kid who got everything handed to him until now. Davey looked like an experienced worker- someone who worked hard, if the dark circles under his eyes were any assumption. Then again, all three times he had seen Davey now, he didn’t seem like he was a very put together person. Maybe he was though, Jack really didn’t know. He wanted to know though.

“What’ve you done then?” Davey asked, leaning against the back wall. Jack shrugged.

“I painted a lot of the backdrops at my mother's theater during high school,” Jack said, and suddenly that felt really pathetic. “And uh, I also was one of those ticket scanner people at the movies. When I was twelve, I had a paper route.”

Davey cracked a smile and raised an eyebrow, before shaking his head lightly and laughing.

“Well you sound mighty proud about that,” Davey said playfully, before he pushed off the wall and stood on the opposite side of the counter.

“I’m proud of a lot of things,” Jack said casually. Davey leaned forward on the counter.

“Like what? Your cocky personality?” Davey asked, still smiling that same grin he started doing a few seconds ago. Jack scoffed in fake offense.

“Well maybe if you just take the personality part off of that,” he said slowly, gnawing on the edge of his lip. Davey blushed and looked down, but brought his gaze back up when he spoke again.

“You implying you’re proud of your dick?” Davey asked, shrinking in on himself just a little bit. Jack smiled and shrugged, before he turned a full circle on the chair.

“You wanna find out?” he asked, leaning against the counter as he turned back around. The two held eye contact, before Davey’s face went even redder and he looked away.

“I don’t sleep around,” he said simply, standing up straight and crossing his arms over his chest.

“How about a date then?” Jack asked. Davey considered it for a minute, before he shrugged.

“Maybe someday,” he said playfully.

“What’s it gonna take for me to get you to go out with me then?” Jack asked. Davey shrugged again as he wandered over towards one of the closer bookshelves. Jack was about to walk around to stand by him, but Davey cleared his throat and nodded to the cashier, reminding him that he had to stay behind there. Jack huffed, before he sat back down at the counter.

“Get to know me, maybe?” Davey asked as he looked back over to Jack, before he picked up a seemingly random book.

“How am I supposed to know that if I can’t take you out?” Jack asked. Davey was silent for a minute, as he was reading the back of the book he was holding. Then he made a small hmm sound and put the book back. He glanced at Jack, before picking up another book.

“We have a shift together every Friday night- get to know me here,” he said with a smile. Jack huffed, before he spun around on the chair again.

“That’s like, five hours though,” Jack said, whining just a bit.

“Twenty hours a month,” Davey said with a small shrug.

“You’re really cute,” Jack said. Davey laughed and looked back at him again, only to go back to his book again. Jack hated that- the way Davey was purposely avoiding eye contact. He was expecting Davey to say something, but he didn’t. Instead he kept looking down, smiling at the cover of the book in his hands, even though he wasn’t reading the back of it.

After that, until closing, they had a somewhat constant stream of people in and out of the store, so neither of them really had to time to talk anymore after that. Jack figured that they could talk for a bit after they closed. Instead though, Davey disappeared into the back room while Jack was left out front to sweep up.

He hummed to himself as he brought the broom and the dustpan back to the back room. He paused outside the office, where the door was open just a crack.

“You sure it’s okay?” Davey asked.

“Course. Not like I’m in desperate need of a shower,” Elaine said casually. There was shifting of something in the room, Jack took a hesitant step back away from the door.

“It’s just… I don’t want to be a bother,” he said.

“You won’t be, like you said you only have two hours before you need to head to Bucks,” Elaine said. “I’ll just text Jojo and let her know, so don’t worry.”

“Thank you Buttons.”

Jack looked through the crack of door again to see the two hugging. He was curious- he couldn’t help it. Why’d Davey need to use Elaine (he called her Buttons ?) shower? Didn’t he have his own? That was just…

Suddenly, the door was opened and Davey was standing in front of Jack, staring at him blankly. He opened his mouth to speak, but Jack spoke before he had a chance to.

“I don’t know where these go,” he said. A wave of relief washed over Davey’s face, and Jack decided that, while he wanted to know what was going on, he would let Davey think he didn’t hear anything.

“Uh, just in the cupboard there,” he said, pointing to the door behind them.

“Oh right of course… Hey! I’ll see you next Friday?” Jack said hopefully, as if Davey wouldn’t be showing up to his shift next week.

“Yeah, see you,” Davey said, and then he smiled at him again, before he turned on his heels and left through the back door exit. Jack bit his lip as he watched him leave, before glancing back to the office, and then putting the broom back in the cupboard. He wanted to know what was going on with Davey and his shower. Curiosity was going to kill him.

Chapter Text

Davey felt like he was about to collapse just from exhaustion. He hadn’t slept in maybe two days now. It had been a constant train of classes, shifts at Bumble Bees, shifts at Buck’s, and then four hours of homework, only to have to go to more classes right after that. It was days like this where he wished he had a bed to fall into. Or a shower. He’d really like his own shower.

Speaking of showers…

He shuddered as he went back under the cold water to rinse off the soap that didn’t lather up very well, but probably still got the job done. Gym showers sucked, but at least these ones had curtains to go across the showers themselves, so Davey didn’t have to stress about people staring.

The only thing he really hated was that he couldn’t control the water temperature. It was either ice cold or scalding hot. On the bright side, the cold water was the only thing that was keeping him awake at this point.

His entire body was shaking once he shut off the water. He didn’t know if it was the lack of sleep, or if he was just freezing cold. Maybe it was a bit of both? It was probably a bit of both.

He got dressed again and packed his things away, before leaving the gym. His original plan, since it was finally Saturday, was to go do his laundry and then do some homework at the same time, but he was just so tired. His head was pounding, begging him to go lay down and sleep. Even if it was just for an hour, Davey needed to sleep.

He slipped into the front of his car and drove down a few blocks to Bumble Bees. He didn’t have a shift anytime soon, but he knew that the only person who would probably notice him sleeping in his car was Buttons. No one ever went by the tiny staff parking lot for Bumble Bees.

Davey barely got there alive. He didn’t even bother to lock his car before he crawled into the back and lazily set up his bed, mostly just unfolding his blankets and tossing them on top of him. He set an alarm for three hours, since he really had stuff to do today, and then just let himself fall asleep.

Even though he was so exhausted, his body didn’t seem to want to fall asleep at first. He was tossing and turning a bit, then he checked his phone a few times. His mind kept going back to all the things he could be doing in that moment instead of trying to sleep. He had homework to do, he was completely out of clean clothing. He needed to do laundry, and that took a while, so he needed at least two hours at the coin laundry. Maybe he could be tidying up his apartment, or getting food… when was the last time he ate ?

Eventually, he did fall asleep, thankfully. It took him resetting his alarm, and then listening to some weird sleep meditation podcast to calm himself down a bit, but he slept. It was short, and really not that good of a sleep (no thanks to the rough car floor, and just neverending nerves) but it was sleep.

Davey groaned as he struggled to find his phone, which was going off in the weird ringtone he had chosen for his alarm. He sighed as he flicked it off, before rubbing his eyes. He glanced at the time. As much as he wanted to sleep some more, he knew he had to things to do. He could sleep tonight, as long as he didn’t get stuck with a bonus shift at Buck’s.

That was a possibility, but Davey was praying that it wouldn’t happen. They extra cash on his paychecks were always nice, but if he didn’t sleep tonight, he would end up collapsing on the floor and losing his job.

He gathered the clothing up and made a mental note to buy some new towels. He lost most of them over the past six months. The two he did have left were ratty and he felt like he deserved new ones.

Maybe that was just his tired mind thinking that, influencing him to buy things he really didn’t need, but he wanted new towels.

Maybe a candle too, he thought as he started driving again. A nice, expensive candle that smells like peppermint or lemon. One with three wicks that he could light and actually have light in his car at night. That was the dream.

He added a candle to his mental list of things he needed to buy today. And cigarettes- he didn’t smoke often, but he was starting to run low on the pack that he had. Maybe Davey could treat himself to a bottle of schnapps. He just felt like he really needed that. He needed a lot of things, but most of them were just a bit too far out of his reach to even consider.

Once he was at the coin laundry, he grabbed his bag of unsorted, dirty clothing, as well as his backpack and headed on inside. He smiled at the lady who was working at the front desk, before he bought a single thing of detergent, as well as getting change so he could actually use the things.

The only other people there were a little old lady and a young woman, clearly at the tail end of a pregnancy with a little girl with her. Davey avoided eye contact with both of them as he picked the washer farthest away from any of them and just dumped everything in. He wasn’t worried of reds bleeding into whites, or darks dulling everything else. He didn’t even have any reds, so why bother?

As he was tossing shirts into the washer, he noticed one of his t-shirts, one of the only two he actually owned, since everything else was button up tops and flannels, had a rip down its seam. Davey had no clue when that had happened. He tossed everything else in, then tossed the shirt into the garbage. He knew it probably would have been easy to just stitch the hole up again, especially since it was right alongside one of the seams, but he didn’t have any clue how to do that. Plus he was sure he could probably find a new one at some sort of thrift store for a few dollars.

His car insurance had just gone through, so he knew how much money he had until his next paycheck, and it was enough to get these things. Even the nice smelling candle that would surely be twenty eight dollars- probably more. But who cared? Not Davey at this point. All he wanted was comfort, and a nice meal and sleep .

He bitterly started the washer, and then sat down at the little table set up against the wall next to the washer. He pulled out his homework, plugged in his music and settled into his spot. He’d be here for a while more anyways, so he might as well try and be productive.

A long time ago, when Davey was about to graduate highschool and still living at home, he had the bright idea that he wanted to be a website designer. He liked playing around with HTML and CSS, and figured that that was going to be a good career move. He thought he could freelance websites, and maybe get a job at some nice office desk job on the side. Technical support or something.

Now though, that he’s been studying nothing but programming classes upon programming classes, he hated the career path he chose. He was looking more forward to the classical literature classes he was taking just for fun. Sometimes he wished that he decided to become an english teacher or something. Less of a paycheck that way, but god he hated trying to program shit.

He adjusted the colour slightly of something on the program, and suddenly none of the design of the website was working at all.

Davey sighed and undid the code, before trying something else. Then he tried something else, and then he just decided to scrap the website all together and started all over, despite the time crunch he was on.

His phone buzzed suddenly and he spared it a quick glance, before he went back to working. It was just Finch messaging him. He didn’t feel like talking to anyone right now. He just needed to finish working on this stupid website about himself. It seemed like a stupid first year project. Davey hated talking about anything to do for himself. Especially since there wasn’t much to say about him. Besides his homelessness. That would be a fun topic to discuss in his website.

His phone buzzed again and Davey sighed heavily. It wasn’t like he was doing much productive work anyways. The blaring headache and sleep deprivation wasn’t much help.

 

From Finch: What you up to right now?

From Finch: skype me dude, gotta make plans!

 

Davey hesitated. He really didn’t feel like talking to anyone, especially over Skype, but he guessed that since he wanted to make plans he should probably do it. Everyone had to plan their plans around his schedule, since Davey was the only one who had the inflexible schedule. Davey- the burden of a friend.

Davey booted the thing up on his laptop, before switching his headphones over to the computer instead of his phone. He hummed softly as he waited for the app to startup and then he hit Finch’s name, starting up the call before he even bothered to reply to his message.

It rang for a few seconds before he picked up. Then, once he did that, he minimized Skype so it was just the video in the corner and he started working on his projects again.

“You look like shit,” Finch said bluntly. Davey cracked a small smile and rolled his eyes.

“Thanks. Haven’t slept in like, fifty two hours,” he said bluntly. If he had thought to get coffee before doing his laundry, he would be sipping it right about now. Instead, he grabbed a can of juice that was in his backpack and just opened it up.

“That’s shitty,” Finch said. Davey sighed, focused more on typing on his computer than on Finch.

“That’s life,” he corrected, glancing at the little Finch in the corner of his screen. Behind him, one of the washers went off, signalling it’s finish. However, it wasn’t his. He wished it was, but of course it wasn’t. He had only been here maybe ten minutes.

“Guess so. So listen, we’re gonna do a movie night next weekend. What days are you free?” Finch asked. Davey hesitated, before he pulled up out his day planner. He ignored the little joke Finch made about him being a grandma for using a physical day planner and not just the calendar on his phone (“ not all of us have access to a phone twenty four seven” Davey reminded him absently.)

“Well uh, obviously not Friday, there’s no way I can get my shift off from Bucks. I’m doing an extra shift at Bumbles on Saturday at… nine but I’ll be done at one, and then I should be free for the rest of the day. Sunday I’m free all morning, but I work at Buck’s at four,” Davey said as he skimmed everything. Finch laughed lightly.

“Course it’s just work… no date with the cute boy from work yet?” Finch teased. Davey rolled his eyes.

“God no. Ain’t nobody else gotta know I live outta my car. I hate already having four people know, I don’t need anyone else,” Davey said seriously. Finch scoffed and rolled his eyes, which only made Davey speak up again. “He’d just think I was a freak and ditch me. I’m happy admiring from afar.”

“Yeah yeah I give it three weeks and you’re waking up naked in his bed,” Finch said bluntly. “You were saying he was flirting with you.”

“Don’t mean shit,” Davey laughed. Finch shrugged and make a series of noises that sounded like words, but Davey couldn’t make out a single one of them, which just made him laugh a bit more.

“Anyways, so Saturday night would be the best night for you?” Finch said, steering the conversation back in the original direction. Davey thought about it for a second, before he double checked his planner.

“Yeah Saturday is best,” he said. “Since I don’t gotta be up early… it doesn’t matter what time I get back to my car and stuff.”

Finch stared at the screen blankly for a second before shaking his head.

“Everyone’s crashing at my place, so you will too,” Finch said bluntly. “Elmer and Specs are both staying the night. You are too. We’re going to get a blowup mattress and everything.”

“If you’re all staying the night so I feel like I can stay…” Davey trailed off. Finch shook his head.

“We’re allowed to have sleepovers dude,” Finch said. Davey nodded.

“Yeah yeah of course,” Davey said.

“You’re allowed to stay the night whenever though, you know that,” Finch said. Davey sighed heavily. If he had a dollar- no even a quarter for every time he heard that, he’d be able to buy his own house. Then he wouldn’t have to be constantly offered a couch to sleep on.

“Thanks Finch… See ya soon,” Davey said. Finch nodded.

“Get some sleep soon too Dave. You don’t needta suffer like that,” Finch said. Davey sighed and closed his eyes, then ran his hand down his face.

“Yeah I know, but I just haven’t had time,” Davey said.

“Move in with someone and you could quit Buck’s,” Finch pointed out. Davey rolled his eyes.

“I can’t afford it- you know I can’t afford it Finch,” Davey said.

“But if you had a roommate,” he said, dragging out the roommate part with a small smile.

That just made his heart sink into his stomach. Yeah, if he did have a roommate he could maybe afford it. But he didn’t have a roommate, and he didn’t have anyone who could be a roommate, and with an apartment came a thousand other things.

“I’m happy in my car Finch,” Davey said. “I really am.”

“Davey you’ve aged about thirty years since you and Connor broke up,” Finch said. Davey sighed heavily.

Six months ago he and his boyfriend of a year and a half broke up. It hadn’t broken Davey’s heart when it happened. The only thing that was keeping them together after maybe a year into their relationship was that they were living together. Davey found out that after they broke up, that Connor had been sleeping around for the last five months of their relationship. Besides losing a place to stay, Davey hadn’t cared at all about the relationship loss.

Davey shrugged. He didn’t know what Finch meant by he aged thirty years . He really hadn’t. He was the exact same, as far as Davey was concerned.

“I like my car,” he repeated. “Only way I’ll cave and get an apartment, is if my car just breaks down on me.”

“Knock on wood,” Finch said.

“See you,” Davey said finally, wanting to finish the conversation before his laundry finished.

“Yeah- keep you updated on the plans for next Saturday,” Finch said. They exchanged a last little goodbye, before Finch ended the call.

Davey glanced around to see that both the old lady and the woman with the kid had left, but another man was in now. He swallowed heavily, before sipping the can of juice he had opened. He really didn’t want the juice, but he wanted to finish it off before he left here.

He switched over his laundry to the dryer, and then returned to his homework. He managed to get back to about where he had been with his website when he had first restarted the project when the dryer finished.

Just as he was packing up his things, his phone buzzed with a notification. Davey closed his eyes as he sighed heavily and all he could think was please not be a shift, please not be a shift.

Davey opened up his phone, read the message, and then he wanted to scream. Of course they had given him a last minute shift tonight. All he wanted to do was sleep, but now got to do an extra shift at the stupid restaurant instead. A stupidly late shift too. Least that meant he could sleep now instead of later.

He sent his boss a quick message confirming he’d be able to do the shift, before he grabbed his things and headed back to his car.

He just tossed his things in the back before he drove to the closest Walmart. He got the new towels he needed, and then picked out a nice smelling candle… or two. He bought two candles- but they were really cheap! So he felt like he could justify it.  

The one purchase that he got that he couldn’t justify (but ended up buying anyways) was a single size memory foam mattress topper, as well as sheets for it.

It had been a combination of how sore his back and shoulders were in the moment, his sleep deprivation, and probably the conversation he had just had with Finch that made him buy them. He hoped he could get the thing in his car in a decent place. It wasn’t until he was walking out of the store with his cart that he realized how stupid of a purchase it was.

Then again, buying this stupid thing meant that for the first time in a long time, he’d have an actual kind of mattress.

Davey parked in the back of the parking lot where no one was, so he felt okay organizing everything in the back of his car. He had to make a permanent bed now. With this memory foam topper, he wouldn’t be able to just fold up his blankets now.

However, when he was done and he got to lay down on this new bed, Davey just about orgasmed. It wasn’t much, but it was like laying on a cloud. A big, fluffy cloud with a thick layer of thin blankets on their own.

Davey sighed contently as he cuddled into it. It was stupid expensive- and he probably shouldn’t have spent a hundred dollars on it, but he couldn’t find a single reason to justify why he shouldn’t have bought it beyond money.

His alarm went off to wake him up again a few hours later. He purposely set it as late as he could, so that he could get as much sleep as he could before having to work another shift. On the bright side, he had nothing to do tomorrow, so he’d be able to just relax and sleep the entire day.

He cleaned himself up as much as he could, before getting changed, and then he headed into work.

The shift he had been set up with was a late night one again. Starting at nine and then ending at three.

He yawned as he clocked in, got his list of tables, and then bounced into routine. The first hour had been kind of busy, but now as the night was getting a bit later, it was slowly down gradually.

He hummed softly as he headed towards a new table. He glanced at the four people sat down at the booth before he flipped open his notepad.

“Hi I’m Davey, I’ll be your waiter this evening… Can I getcha all something to drink?” he asked, glancing up at the group again. One of them caught his eye, making him do a double take before his eyes locked with Jack’s. The two stared blankly at each other until the others at the table caught onto what was going on.

Davey furrowed his eyebrows and cleared his throat, before clicking his pen open.

“Hey Davey,” Jack said, smiling widely at him. “Didn’t know you worked here… did ya quit the bookstore?” His voice seemed kind of worried about the fact that Davey had actually done that.

“No I uh, work two jobs,” he said simply with a small nod. Jack made an oh sound. Davey nodded and smiled, before he repeated, “can I get you guys some drinks?”

He took all their orders, before he disappeared back into the kitchen. Just what he needed. Jack Kelly finding out he worked two jobs. Next thing he knew, Jack would be following him out to his apartment car.

Davey returned with their drinks and handed them out to everyone. Then, he wrote down their order. Just as he was about to turn around and leave though, Jack was talking to him again.

“So you work two jobs?” he asked again. Davey nodded. Was it not obvious. “Why? I’m struggling just to do a good job at Bumbles.” They both laughed a bit, maybe the others at the table did too. Davey didn’t know.

“It’s hard but uh, I gotta pay off debt and student loans somehow,” Davey said with a small laugh. “I only work here maybe three times a week.”

“That’s three more shifts than I could handle,” Jack said.

Please that’s seven more shifts than Jack could handle,” one of the other guys said at the table. Him, Jack and a blonde boy sitting beside Jack all laughed. Davey bit his lip.

“So, you like keeping busy?” Jack asked. Davey leaned against the side of the booth and nodded.

“Yeah, don’t get out much or anything so it’s nice to have stuff to do,” Davey said casually. That wasn’t the case, but whatever. Jack wouldn’t know he was telling a little white lie.

“I could change that for ya if you want,” Jack said, leaning on the table a bit to see him passed the blond boy. Davey blushed and the blond boy nudged him.

“Keep it in your pants Cowboy,” blondie said playfully. Davey felt his face heat up a bit more.

“I uh, gotta get back to work… I’ll talk to you later,” Davey said, directing it to Jack.

“Maybe when my brothas aren’t around,” Jack said playfully. Davey laughed and nodded.

“Maybe,” he replied, before walking away from the table.

While he was waiting for something to do, Davey found himself watching Jack and his apparent brothers (though none of them looked anything alike, and one of them had an arm around the other) talk and eat. They seemed to be having fun. Davey would much rather be having fun right about now. By having fun, he wanted to sleep.

Jack’s friends left once Davey dropped off the bill. Then, Davey returned with the debit machine and handed it over to Jack, who was sitting at the edge of the booth.

“Heya,” Jack said as he took it. Davey smiled.

“Hi,” he echoed.

“So… Buck’s eh?” Jack asked. Davey shrugged.

“Gets a bit more money into the bank account at the end of the week,” Davey said simply. Jack grinned and nodded.

“You know, I have a thing for men in fancy white button down shirts,” Jack said. Davey chucked and shook his head as he took the debit machine back.

“Better find someone wearing one then,” Davey said playfully.

“I’m looking at one,” Jack said, tilting his head to the side. Davey shrugged.

“Ain’t you got a keen eye,” Davey said. Jack shrugged.

“It’s my specialty,” he grinned. “Uh, listen, this has my number on it,” Jack said as he handed Davey a small little card. “It’s my artist card, but you can just worry about the number, yeah?” Jack asked.

Davey smiled at it, genuinely wanting to keep it. That was nice. That was cute- he’d love to call Jack later, or text him but… low and behold: Davey didn’t have a phone number. Even if Jack did have an iphone, he could message him there, but it would show that he didn’t have a number. Davey really didn’t want to admit that to Jack.

“Yeah,” Davey replied anyways. He sighed heavily as he watched Jack walk away, waving at Davey once more. He really liked Jack- clearly the thing had to be mutual too. However, Davey knew a relationship of any kind was going to be a stupid idea. He needed to keep it to co workers, and a good way to do that was not calling him. Not that he could anyways .

Chapter Text

It was amazing how lost Jack could get in his paintings when he was passionate about them. Landscapes could easily take all his attention, and the world would dissolve around him. It was just him, and the abandoned boat dock, with a small tug boat half sunk into the water.

He wished he could do that with his school assignments, all of which were laying around his room half finished. It was a constant struggle- probably the hardest thing he had to do was constantly do paintings and sketches and projects that he didn’t give a rats ass about. Just a few more semesters though, and he’d be free with a degree and no career plans whatsoever.

He absently licked a fresh paint brush, before he mixed a soft blue color. It was similar to the colour of the shirt that Davey always seemed to wear when they worked shifts together. It was a nice one, that fit well but was on the tighter side. He often paired it with a vest that he clipped his name tag to.

Davey was such an interesting person- in the best way possible. He didn’t know much about him at all really, and he had overheard that conversation about him not having a shower (which admittedly raised a few questions) but he was just… Something about Davey drew Jack to him, and he didn’t know what. All he knew was that he so desperately wanted to be with him.

It seemed to be a mutual thing- unless Jack was completely making this all up in his head. Which, realistically, he probably was. Jack tended to do that when he got hooked on someone new. The first person had been Katherine- which, while their brief ( very brief) relationship was a nice one, they never clicked. And that was the same for the next handful of people he hated.

Chances were, if Jack were to actually get a date with Davey, it would have the same outcome. Jack didn’t know what it was about him (and he knew that it was all to do with him) that kept relationships from forming, but he really wished it would stop.

Who knows though- maybe this relationship would finally be the one to work out.

That was- if Davey actually was interested.

He seemed interested, Jack was sure he was flirting with him too, but he never called… or texted. At all. That stung a lot. Especially since he seemed genuinely happy to get his number when Jack gave it to him. Maybe he was just a good actor.

Jack would hope and pray that maybe someday he’d manage to get at least one date. That was all he hoped for really.

He wanted to see what Davey was like outside of work. He had seen him so many times at Bumbles, and then at Buck’s out of the blue last weekend, and he knew there was something more to him. Jack just wished he knew what it was.

“Aren’t you working a shift right now?” Race asked from behind him. Jack jumped at his voice, before turning to face him.

“Don’t think so… what time is it?” Jack asked.

“Four thirty.”

“Shit.”

Jack hastily started cleaning up his paint station, muttering a series of curses in both English and Spanish under his breath. He had half an hour and his shift started. It took him twenty minutes just to get to the bookstore on a good day.

He skipped showering and just barely remembered to get changed as he scrambled to get out the front door. The last thing he needed was to lose the only job he managed to land.

Would it be the end of the world if he was five minutes late? He didn’t think so. Elaine seemed relaxed enough that if he did show up a bit late, she wouldn’t behead him or anything. Twenty four years of experience in life taught Jack one thing- there was no use in stressing over little things like that. If you couldn’t change it, just forget about it.

Still, he ran a red light and cut someone off to do his best to get there as soon as he could. It was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission- wasn’t that a saying?

He clocked in as soon as he got inside and made his way out front to where Davey was helping out a customer.

They made eye contact as the lady left the store. Davey sighed heavily, before he went to doing something with the cash register.

“Hey uh, sorry I’m late,” Jack said. Davey gave him a small smile and a nod, before he started reorganizing the cash.

“You’re not that late,” Davey pointed out as he glanced at the clock. “Buttons isn’t in, so she probably won’t even notice.”

Buttons was Elaine- Jack learned that a few weeks ago. He had yet to make the connection as to why Davey called her that. He didn’t particularly care though. Maybe if it came up he would address it.

“You think so?” Jack asked. Davey shrugged.

“Probably not. Now uh- go help that customer. I gotta stay at the till,” Davey said, nodding towards someone who was browsing books in the back. Jack raised an eyebrow and Davey nodded, before he turned around to go do his job.

Once he helped them with finding a book they were interested in, he returned to the counter, only to have Davey ask him if he could double check the organization of one of the bookshelves.

In fact, it was started to feel as if Davey was purposely trying to avoid a conversation with Jack. He was doing really well, considering the fact that they were usually the only two in the entire bookstore, besides the few customers floating in and out.

They continued working side by side, mostly in silence as Davey was taking frequent trips to the back, or wiping down shelves that didn’t need to be wiped down, or making unneeded small talk with customers as Jack just watched on.

Jack found himself sitting at the front desk more than Davey was, so the two had just switched him onto the cash register. Jack hummed softly as he watched him work, eventually doodling him on a stack of sticky notes he found. He didn’t like drawing faces much, but it was something to do, and Jack liked drawing Davey.

He wanted to talk to him though. He really did- even if it wasn’t about why Jack never got a call ( even though that’s the big thing he cared about .) He just wanted to talk to him.

Davey came back over to the desk and leaned against the wall as Jack cashed out another customer. Then, once they and the other two people in the store left, Jack turned to face him on the chair. They both exchanged weak smiles and Davey was the first one to speak up.

“You’re a painter?” he asked.

“Yeah how’d you- the paint on my hands?” Jack asked. Davey laughed lightly and nodded.

“Yeah it was the paint on your hands,” Davey confirmed. “That what you’re studying? Art?”

“Yeah. Second last year of my program,” Jack confirmed. “University is shit, but at least I’m learning about something that interests me.” He shrugged.

“Wish I could say the same,” Davey replied.

“You studying stuff too? On top of two jobs?” Jack asked, blinking in amazement. Davey nodded.

“Yeah. Computer programing,” Davey said. “Looking into becoming a website designer.”

“That’s cool. So you can like uh, write code and stuff?” Jack asked. “Could you hack into the government's files and stuff?” Jack asked, mostly as a joke but he was kind of curious.

“God no,” Davey laughed. “Could barely hack into my own computer if you asked me to. I can just make a website background bright blue or make a star fly across the page every time you click a button.”

“Sounds exciting,” Jack said with a grin.

There was a quick pause in their conversation as Davey left to go help someone pick up a cluster of books they accidently had dropped. The girl, who was clearly a young teenager was panicking the entire time, while Davey just remained neutral as he helped her put them all back.

Then, Davey gave her a discount on the books she was buying. Apparently though, Davey thought a discount meant him paying for ten percent of the books out of his own pocket, since that’s exactly what he did once the girl left.

Jack thought it was a nice gesture. He didn’t know if Davey really had that much money to be tossing around like that. Didn’t he work two jobs? Course Jack didn’t know why he had the two jobs, maybe Davey just liked the extra money. Didn’t he say he was doing it just to keep busy? Jack didn’t know.

“You never called me,” Jack said suddenly. It had been bugging him- itching and clawing at his stomach their entire shift. Now it was coming to an end, and he knew that he wanted answers.

“Oh. Uh… yeah,” Davey said shortly. He tensed up a bit, and suddenly he started avoiding eye contact.

“Am I that detestable?” Jack asked.

“No!” Davey’s eyes shot up. “God no of course that’s not the case. It’s just… it’s kinda lame actually- the real reason why I didn’t call you?” Davey said sheepishly. Jack raised an eyebrow.

“Well what’s your reasoning then?” Jack asked, spinning lightly on his chair.

“I uh, don’t actually have a phone number,” Davey admitted hesitantly, again avoiding eye contact. Jack grinned and laughed lightly.

“You don’t? Like- not even a landline?” Jack asked, still kind of laughing.

“Nope,” Davey said with a small shake of the head.

“Seriously?” Jack asked. Davey laughed.

“Not a single one,” Davey said.

“Jesus, how do you survive?” Jack asked. Davey shrugged.

“People can survive without phone plans, you know. It’s just… so expensive,” Davey said. “I uh, just reply on like… messaging systems and stuff. Emails sometimes and stuff.”

“You’re like a grandpa,” Jack said. Then, there was a sudden shift in the room as Davey’s head dipped again. “Shit Dave- not in a bad way,” he said quickly. Davey shook his head.

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” Davey said quickly. “Listen uh, if you want… I can give you my email I use for like, imessages. I wouldn’t mind giving you that.”

Jack grinned. That would be… different. However, once Jack got a contact name into his phone, it wouldn’t be any different at all.

“That could work,” Jack said, smiling softly. Jack handed him his phone, before Davey seemed to hesitantly type in an email.

“I uh, obviously can only really text on wifi,” Davey said with a small laugh as he handed it back. He stashed his hands into his pockets.

“Lemme guess, now you’re going to tell me you don’t have wifi back at your place?” Jack joked. Davey rolled his eyes as he smiled.

“No, of course I do,” he said as he nudged Jack lightly. “I’ll text you later.”

“We still have two hours before we can close up,” Jack laughed. Davey rolled his eyes again.

“I can still promise that though, can’t I?” Davey asked. Jack grinned.

The sounds of a promise that Davey would actually text him later made him stupid happy. So stupid happy.

“What if you promised me a date as well?” Jack asked, gnawing lightly on his lower lip. Davey smiled.

“Maybe someday,” Davey said. “Don’t really have time for a relationship right this second.”

Jack raised an eyebrow.

“But there’s a chance?”

There was a beat of hesitation.

“Yeah there’s a chance,” Davey said with a nod and a grin.

The two finished up the last bit of their shifts with light banter and giggles. Jack was smiling like an idiot. Which was stupid, considering his age. Really he shouldn’t be this hung up on a stupid crush. He was too old for stuff like that. Still, he just couldn’t help it. It had been a while since he had interests in anyone. So, this was a fresh, new thing.

Davey lingered around the shop a bit longer than Jack did once the two had closed down and cleaned up. Jack didn’t think much of it. They just said their goodbyes and Jack promised to message him so he’d get Jack’s number.

He texted him before he left the parking lot, and then he put his phone away and drove home. He wanted to text him. He really did but he knew he had to be a smart driver, especially considering the way he drove to work today.

When Jack got home, he was greeted by Crutchie, who was sitting on the couch with the tv’s volume up much higher than it needed to be. However, after having stood there in the living room for a brief moment, and the sounds coming from the back of the apartment started to bleed through, Jack nodded in understanding.

“This is the third time they’ve gone at it since you left,” Crutchie said, his eyes not leaving the home improvement show he was watching. Jack laughed and shook his head as he sat down next to him.

“Jesus, what are they trying to do- make a baby?” Jack said. Crutchie seemed to genuinely consider the possibility.

“I mean, they could if they wanted to,” Crutchie pointed out.

“Nah, Race got that reproductive removal surgery a while back. He freeze any of the eggs?” Jack asked. Crutchie shrugged.

“He don’t talk about that stuff with us really… Considering how much of family men those two are though… maybe,” Crutchie said.

“Not really our place to talk I guess,” Jack said simply as something broke in the room down the hall.

“No it ain’t,” Crutchie echoed. “No it ain’t.”

 


 

Davey sighed heavily as he shivered. He brought a cigarette up to his mouth and took a long drag, closing his eyes. Today had been okay, until it started to pour rain and get ten degrees colder.

He didn’t know what happened. All he did know, was he was working his typical Sunday morning shift at Bumble Bees, and then as he was clocking out he was hit with this overwhelming feeling of guilt. As if he had just run over two dozens puppies with his car. He thought maybe it was because he was thinking and investing so much time in Jack.

It was stupid. It was so stupid, because he knew he wasn’t going to let Jack get to know him anymore outside of work. He couldn’t do it, even though they had this weird, unresolved sexual tension. A date with Jack, could easily turn to sex and a relationship and something nice. Then, once he realizes that Davey’s a broke, homeless guy with no real future, no matter how hard he tried , he’d break everything off and look at Davey as if he was a piece of scum. Then Davey would need to quit working at Bumble Bees and maybe his new boss at his new job wouldn’t be so forgiving about the little slip ups that happen sometimes.

For a brief moment, Davey considered getting a third job. He was only taking three classes this term, so he had the time. Not like he had a social life anyways. He was fine giving up the two nights he could hang out with his friends if it meant getting a bit extra cash. Or maybe he could start doing some freelancing- he could make websites easily now.

He shakily brought his hand down, before he glanced at his watch. He didn’t know why he did. It broke today during his shift at Bumble Bees.

He was freezing, and realistically shouldn’t be sitting outside, on the hood of his car, in the pouring rain. If he was being smart about it, Davey would open the trunk of his car, and sit under the little canopy it created. However, he didn’t like smoking inside his car. He didn’t like smoking at all, but he did it anyways, because it was one of the few forms of relief he could get.

Least he hadn’t turned to hard drugs yet, Davey always told himself. He had done pot a few times, Finch always seemed to have some kicking around, but nothing ever more than that. It wasn’t worth the risk. He’d just stick to his cheap, shitty cigarettes and cheap alcohol that tasted like vomit most times.   

Speaking of which- he needed more cigarettes. He put out the third one he had smoked, and then lit the fourth one. He was nearly soaked to the bone now, and was dreading when he would have to struggle to get his soaking wet clothes off.

His phone lit up in his car. He had rested it on the dash, face up so he could see it if something went off. Davey glanced at who was texting him, before he put out his cigarette and climbed off the hood. Considering the fact that all he could think about the past two hours was how he shouldn’t be talking to Jack anymore, he felt pretty stupid getting back in his car to do just that.

Davey sighed and grabbed a towel as he crawled into the back. He peeled off all his crap and changed, leaving the sopping wet clothing in the furthest corner of his car. Then he curled up on his little mattress with his phone.

He smiled softly as he saw Jack’s contact name on his phone. Then it faded as he unlocked it. Hopefully the wifi would be strong enough in the parking lot of Bumble Bees.

 

From Jack: I still say that season six was the best season

 

The two had been arguing about Shameless- some tv show that both of them watched. Of course, Davey still wasn’t caught up to the most recent season. He only got to watch it when he was with either Specs or Elmer, since they both had netflix and didn’t mind rewatching the show with him. Sometimes he would stream it on a third party website, but he rarely found somewhere with good enough wifi to do that.

Of course, that conversation had been happening last night, and Davey really didn’t feel like talking about it anymore. However, he wouldn’t mind talking to him just about anything really. Although, he hated texting. He really did.

He hummed softly, before he climbed into the drivers side and moved his car closer to the building. He needed a better connection, and it wasn’t like anyone was in the spot next to Buttons’ car.

 

From Davey: I’ve only seen up to four .

 

From Jack: Jeez ur slow watching it didnt you say youve been wathcing it for like two months?

 

From Davey: I keep myself busy. You know that.

 

From Jack: Come over then and we can watch it youre fre tonight right?

 

From Davey: Unfortunately not. Dinner with family.  

 

That was a lie. That was a complete lie that Davey told him. He just… really couldn’t see Jack outside of work. That was a promise he made to himself, and he was going to keep it. He had too- because Jack couldn’t know.

He frowned and put his phone down. He lit one of his candles, the peppermint one that definitely smelt better than the other one, and set it down next to where he was laying.

He watched as he wax melted, and hovered his finger over the flame until it burnt. Then, the harsh notification sound came through on his phone and he was brought back to reality.

 

From Jack: Shame… maybe next time?

 

Davey bit his lip and sighed heavily. He didn’t want to make a promise he couldn’t keep. That would just be rude. Would he be interested in doing that? Probably. He liked the idea of sitting around in a nice cozy living room watching a show with Jack- talking to him and getting to know him, but of course, he wasn’t going to do that.

 

From Jack: could get like pizza and stuff  course my house is super busy so maybe it would be better off at yours

Davey sighed. That was the kicker right there. He couldn’t do that. Unless Jack wanted to watch the show in the back of Davey’s car, with shitty wifi on a laptop that was getting on to be eight years old now.

 

From Davey: We’ll see!

 

He sighed heavily and set his phone down, before he focused on the candle again. He hesitated, before he reached forward and dipped his finger into the melted wax. Then, he waited for it to harden before he peeled it off and put it back in the candle.

He jumped as a sudden, constant tapping started on his door. He looked around, before he laid eyes on Buttons.

Davey got out of his bed and opened the trunk, and then waited for Buttons to come around. He crossed his legs over each other and grabbed a blanket to wrap around himself.

“What are you still doing here?” she asked curiously. She had an umbrella open, even though she was so close to her car.

“Using the wifi,” Davey admitted. “I can go if you-”

“No, Davey it’s fine,” Buttons cut him off quickly. “Just curious is all.”

“Oh uh. Yeah,” he said with a small nod.

There was a brief moment of silence. Davey could talk to her- right? He probably trusted her the most out of all his friends. Everyone else just… Davey didn’t like to talk about potential love lives with his main group of friends. He just… didn’t see them enough.

“Do you think it would be crazy if I maybe went out with Jack?” Davey asked. Buttons blinked, seeming to process the random question before she furrowed her eyebrows, and then spoke up.

“Well… if he’s wanting to too I say why not?” Buttons asked. “You could use a bit more than your three friends.”

“Four, actually. I still count you,” he said with a small laugh. Then it faded as he sighed heavily.

“I just… I don’t want to go out with him and then explain… this,” Davey said. A thought that he seemed to be going back to every other minute of the day. Buttons sighed, shook her head and shrugged.

“That’s up for you to decide if you want to,” Buttons said. “Lots of people live like you Davey. It’s the sad reality of the world. Plus, going on one or two dates with him doesn’t mean you need to tell him your life story.”

“And if it were to get serious?” Davey asked hesitantly.

“You choose how you deal with it,” Buttons said.

“If I don’t want to?”

“Davey, we both know you want to,” Buttons said. “You always want to deal with everything. Even if it’s got not a thing to do with you. It’s just in your nature. So do it- when was the last time you got laid anyways?”

Davey flushed and shook his head, looking down at the floor of his car.

“I don’t just want a quick fuck outta him,” Davey said. She chuckled.

“You don’t want a quick fuck out of anyone,” Buttons pointed out.

“You’re very right. I really don’t,” Davey said. “A quick fuck is what got me into this mess in the first place.”

“Which mess?”

“Living in a car with a family who hates my guts,” Davey said bluntly.

“You don’t know if they hate you. It’s been three years without talking to them. Maybe they miss you,” she said. Davey laughed.

“If they missed me they would have talked to me,” he said.

“You don’t have a cell phone number, and you’re in an entire different city than your parents. Of course they haven’t talked to you,” Buttons said. “Listen Davey, this isn’t about your parents at all, okay? If you want to go out with him? Do it. You’re young and have a long life ahead of you. Maybe this can be your ticket to a happier lifestyle.”

Davey smiled and nodded. He’d like that. He really would, but he was still just so conflicted. He didn’t want to get hurt again, even if it was entirely different circumstances. Maybe he could just let Jack keep flirting with him until he asks him out again. He’d say yes then. Only if Jack was the first one to ask him out though.

“Thanks Buttons,” Davey said with a small grin. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“He seems like a good guy Dave. I doubt he’d just ditch you if he found out that you live in your car,” Buttons said. “You could just not tell him about that too if you really want to.”

Davey nodded.

“Thank you,” he said with a small smile.

“Of course Davey. I gotta get back inside though- see you Tuesday,” Buttons said with a smile. Davey nodded and scooted back, and Buttons closed the trunk for him so he wouldn’t have to. Then he made his way back to his bed and picked up his phone again. Jack was still texting him.

 

From Jack: We really should make plans to do it

From Jack: or anything really  i like hanging out with you

From Jack: And I only bite if you want me too  Im actually a great date


From Davey: Maybe ask me in person?

Chapter Text

“You do realize that there's bacon on that right?” Elmer asked. Davey hesitated as he glanced up from the menu.

“Yes I'm aware,” Davey replied, before looking down at the menu. “It's also something cheap, and it tastes good… so I don't see what the issue is.” He shrugged, before he took a sip of his water.

Elmer sat, staring at him like he was crazy.

“Bacon,” Elmer said shortly.

“Yes,” Davey replied.

“You're Jewish” Elmer said bluntly. Davey rolled his eyes and shrugged.

“Ethnically yes- but I haven't been following Judaism since I got kicked out,” Davey said. “I thought you knew that- I mean… that was three years ago .” Davey let out a short laugh. Elmer shook his head.

“I didn't know that,” he said quietly, before he looked down at the menu. “You know your mother-”

“Elmer my mother kicked me out. I doubt she cares that I'm no longer following her stupid religion,” Davey cut him off.

“It's not stupid,” Elmer said quietly. Davey's face instantly softened and he shook his head.

“I didn't mean it like that,” he said quickly. Elmer shook his head and brushed him off.

“It's fine. I'm going to get a pizza I think,” he said, quickly changing the subject. Davey nodded, accepting the subject change and went back to discussing what they wanted for lunch.

Davey had found a giftcard for this restaurant on the floor of Buck's the previous night and well, no one tried to claim it so he did. When he checked, it still had fifty dollars on it, so he decided to treat himself to a nice lunch that wasn't cheap fast food. Elmer just happened to be the first one to text him back and got to the restaurant.

He was tempted to ask Jack to go at first, but he thought that might be a bit weird. Considering the fact that he told Jack to ask him out in person three days ago, it would be kinda hypocritical to ask him out for lunch over text. Especially since after he talked to Jack about asking him out, he'd been ignoring every text message Jack had sent him.

Davey actually really didn't want to see him tonight at work. He knew he had to, and he knew that when he saw him, at some point, he was going to be asked out on a date but, he was just so freaked out about the idea.

He hadn't told anyone but Buttons about what was happening with Jack. He wanted to tell Elmer, partly because he was there, and partly because he didn't want to tell Finch about it at all. Despite the fact that he and Finch were probably closest.

“So we're going to go bowling and play laser tag tomorrow,” Elmer said as he stuffed the third slice of his little pizza into his mouth. He was the youngest of all their friends, and it really showed. Both in appearance and personality.

“That's fun,” Davey said with a small sigh as he picked up another French fry.

“If you want you can come! We're going early in the morning cause it's toonie lanes,” Elmer said excitedly. “And laser tag is thirty bucks per person I think,” he said, pondering to himself more than Davey.

“No, don't worry about me,” Davey said with a small shrug. “I can't afford that.”

“Well, that's a shame,” Elmer said shortly and that was the end of their conversation.

Davey tried to not let it sting. Elmer gave up on him coming just like that . He should have expected it though. It wasn't like the guys were going to pool together a bit of money to help Davey pay for the game. He didn't expect that, but it still absolutely sucked knowing that all his friends were going out tomorrow morning, and Davey would be sitting in his car or a McDonalds doing his homework.

If he wanted to, Davey could probably scrape up the money for a game of laser tag or two. He had the money in his bank- he had nearly seven hundred dollars in his bank, but expensive were coming up soon and he needed an oil change and his yearly dentist and doctor and eye doctor check ups were coming up.

So with a nod to himself, he finished off the last of his sandwich and then ordered a slice of chocolate cake for himself. He wasn't particularly hungry, but he wanted to just finish off this gift card.

Elmer sat back and watched as he ate his slice of cake, slyly moving his fork in steal a bit of the chocolate glaze (frosting? Icing? Fudge? He didn't really know) off of the edge of the plate. Davey smiled and laughed, before he pushed it closer for him to have some.

“Coulda ordered your own,” he pointed out. Elmer shrugged and grabbed a forkful.

“See, usually it's you stealing from me. Not the other way round- this is my opportunity to be the stealer not the stealee,” he said with a grin as he proceeded to stab more cake. Davey shook his head and brought the cake back towards himself.

“When do I steal from you?” Davey asked. Elmer made a loud hmm sound before laughing loudly.

“When was the last time you ever ordered food when we all go out to a restaurant?” Elmer asked. Davey opened his mouth to defend himself, before it processed and his entire face went bright red.

He shoved the cake back to the middle of the table.

“Eat away then,” Davey said with a small awkward laugh before Elmer cracked a big smile and dug in once more.

“You’re the best, you know that?” Elmer said happily. Davey rolled his eyes.

“Yeah I’m far from it, but whatever you say I guess,” Davey said with a small shrug as he finished off the last few bites of cake.

“Oh whatever Jacobs- you’re close enough to be considered the best in my books,” Elmer said simply as he sipped his drink.

“I’m paying,” Davey said as he pulled out his wallet from his coat pocket. He hadn’t             actually told Elmer about the gift card he had found. Maybe he wouldn’t, and just pretend that he paid for it as a special treat for his friend just because he could. The money could just come right out of his pocket in his eyes.

“No you’re not. Not for me,” Elmer said with a small shake of the head. Davey sighed.

“I have a gift card, relax,” he said. Well, there goes that plan to pretend that he just paid out of the goodness of his heart.

“Oh wow. Alright then- pay away,” Elmer said happily, relaxing back into his seat. Davey grinned as the waiter brought their bill over.

“Hey, wanna come over and play some video games or something?” Elmer asked as Davey handed the girl the gift card. Davey frowned, before slightly shaking his head.

“Nah, I work in three hours… should probably stay on this side of town,” he said. That and well, he didn’t like playing video games. He rarely played them, and when he did he sucked at them. Elmer of all people were probably well aware of that. Still, he appreciated the invite.

“Right yeah… bookstore?” Elmer asked. Davey sighed and nodded.

“Yeah bookstore,” he echoed. Elmer made an ah sound as he nodded grimly.

Elmer left the tip for the waiter on the table, before the two made their way outside and back towards Davey’s car. Elmer had taken the bus over, from what Davey knew. He debated briefly about offering Elmer a drive. It was across the city, and it wouldn’t realistically take him that long to drive him over, but the amount of gas he’d be using to get him there? Well, he had to refill his tank anyways.

“Hey! I'll see you around?” Elmer said with a small grin. Davey smiled and nodded. At least that told him that Elmer wasn’t looking for a ride. Or he wasn’t vocalizing it at least. Elmer started walking backwards out of the parking lot.

“Yeah of course- uh, see you tonight!” he said.

“Right yeah- movie night after your shift, right?” Elmer said. Davey nodded.

“Yeah yeah, took a shift off of Buck’s just for it,” Davey laughed.  

“So you won’t be coming over when everyones asleep for once!” Elmer laughed. Davey rolled his eyes.

“Oh whatever- see you later,” he said. Elmer waved to him, before he turned on his heels and laughed.

Davey watched briefly as Elmer walked across the road, and then started down the block, before he got into the front seat of his car and left the parking lot.

He filled up on gas before he parked in the staff parking of the bookstore. His shift didn’t start for another few hours, but he didn’t mind being ready just to slip inside the building when the time came.

His phone buzzed with a message from Jack. He didn’t open it, not wanting to show him that he read any of the messages. Realistically, Davey knew that it was going to bite him in the ass today not replying, but he just didn’t know how.

Despite the reassuring conversation he had had with Buttons last week, he was still conflicted about Jack. He was interesting, attractive and had been flirting with Davey since before they were coworkers. Which, granted wasn’t that long. A month today, he was pretty sure, not that he was keeping track.

Davey sighed heavily as it buzzed again. He grabbed his packet of cigarettes (making a mental note to get more- he only had two left) and moved to sit on the roof of his car. Buttons came out of the back door of the store and smiled at him. She waved and he waved back, before he got comfortable on the roof of his car. She was probably just making sure it was him and not some stranger, since Buttons went right back inside afterwards.

He glanced at the time as he lit the cigarette. He had twelve minutes before he needed to go work. Long enough to smoke, he decided.

He hummed to himself as his mind went back to Jack. He had to make up his mind before Jack walked into the store. Or at least, he had to make up his mind before Jack tried to talk to him about it. The last thing he needed was to give a hesitant answer to a question he already technically answered.

Why don’t you ask me in person?

God that was one way to suggest you wanted to have sex with someone. Not that that was what Davey wanted out of Jack. Well, maybe it was a little bit, but his main interest was a date. Or two. Maybe a relationship? Davey didn’t really know much about Jack enough to decide that yet.

He coughed as he exhaled the smoke, before it turned into a small violent fit of coughing. Stupid smoke.

Davey slid off of his car and put out his cigarette, before he went around to the back of his car and changed his shirt to his work one. He’d never smoke in his uniforms.

He greeted Buttons as he walked in, before he made his way to the front of the store. His heart rate picked up as he glanced at Jack, already sitting happily at the till and helping someone out. Davey was an idiot, a complete, stupid, idiot.

Jack glanced up at him. Davey smiled softly, but Jack just looked back to the customer as he put the book in a little bag and said have a nice day in that happy tone he usually used.

Davey fidgeted with the hem of his shirt before he walked over and stood behind the counter with him. Jack sighed as he sorted a few coins in the cash register, before he turned to face Davey.

You’ve been avoiding me,” Jack said. Davey laughed lightly, but nodded quickly.

“Yeah… I kind of have,” he admitted.

“Why? Did I scare you off or something?” Jack asked. He raised an eyebrow as he waited for an answer.

Did he tell the truth, or make up some sort of lie?

“The uh, wifi at my apartment completely crapped out on me… still haven’t gotten it fixed,” he said.

Guess he was lying. Seriously Davey, how easy was it to simply say you’re really attractive and I just don’t wanna fuck up and make you absolutely hate me.

“See, if you had a phone plan, this wouldn’t be a problem,” Jack said humorsly. Least he didn’t seem mad at this point.

“Well, that would also be another expense I don’t need,” Davey said with a small shrug.

“Yeah but it would be worth it for situations like these,” Jack said playfully. He wasn’t mad- that was good.

“I can survive without one,” Davey said.

Jack rolled his eyes and muttered “grandpa.”

“We had this conversation last week,” Davey laughed and shook his head. “And you called me grandpa twice now- what, have a thing for older men?” Davey asked playfully. Jack flushed, before he shook his head, but didn’t try to defend himself.

“So you do . Do I really look that old to you?” Davey asked with a small laugh.

“No, god no that isn’t the case,” Jack said. “I’m just calling you a grandpa since like- you don’t have a phone, and-”

“I’m joking,” Davey said with a small laugh. He leant against the back wall and crossed his arms over his chest.

“I don’t actually know your age though,” Jack pointed out. Davey smiled widely and shrugged.

“Well, how old do you think I am?” Davey asked.

“Nope. No- this isn’t a question you answer, because you always end up pissing off the other person,” Jack said quickly. “I’m not playing this game.”

“Well I’m going to guess you at twenty two,” Davey said without hesitation. Jack scoffed, and then hesitated.

“Well I mean, you’re not wrong ,” Jack said. Davey grinned.

“I didn't piss you off. So guess my age,” Davey said with a small nod. Jack sighed heavily, before he skimmed Davey’s body once over. Davey help back a laugh. Judging by Jack’s expression, he was just using that as an excuse to check him out.

Davey waited patiently as Jack thought through his options, his facial expression shifting subtly for a few seconds before he glanced up to Davey’s face.

“You’re no older than twenty six,” Jack said. “Like- at youngest you’re twenty four.”

Davey raised his eyebrows. “Final answer?

“Uh, yeah I guess so,” Jack said.

“Twenty three,” Davey said. Jack raised his eyebrows.

“Well I was close,” Jack said with a small chuckle. Davey laughed along and nodded.

“Yes, you were close,” he mused.

The store started to get a bit busy after that, so the two focused on what they were supposed to be doing for work. Davey helped people find things while Jack checked them out.

When it quieted down a bit more, Davey snuck off to the back to use the washroom, and when he came back, fifteen minutes before closing, it was empty once more. Jack smiled at him, before Davey joined him behind the counter once more.

“So,” Jack said casually, swaying lightly on his seat.

“So,” Davey echoed, staring out the front windows of the store.

So, ” Jack said, dragging out the word just a bit more. Davey furrowed his eyebrows and smiled, before he looked over to Jack.

“Just spit it out already,” he said playfully. Jack rolled his eyes.

“I was trying to do that cute thing where two people go so; so until it gets super static and then I was going to catch you off guard with a nice pick up line,” Jack explained. Davey laughed.

“No one does that,” Davey said flatly.

“Yeah well I coulda started a movement, but you stopped me from being able to do that,” Jack said with a small shrug. Davey shook his head lightly.

“Wanna retry?” Davey offered. Jack shook his head.

“Nope,” he said. “Moments gone… I just… it’s a moment that coulda been perfect, but that moments so far gone now it’s in Russia,” Jack said. They both laughed. Davey sighed mockingly at the end as he rested against the back wall. Jack grinned at him, before he bit his lip lightly.

Davey could tell in his gut that he was about to ask him out. He still didn’t have an answer for him. He didn’t want Jack to know that he didn’t have an answer though. He’d just have to pick an answer on the spot and god he didn’t want to impulsively say no.

Jack opened his mouth to speak, but then the door chimed and someone came in. They both deflated a bit, before Davey got up to flick off the neon opening sign.

“Sorry- were you closed?” she asked. Both of them shook their heads.

“Ten minutes,” Jack explained. The girl smiled and nodded, before she beelined to a specific section of books. Davey stood by the front door as they both watched her looking through the books, before she grabbed two of them and sped walked over to Jack to buy them.

She apologized several times as she paid for the books, and then a few more times as she left. Davey just gave her a small smile, before shutting and locking the front door behind her.

Davey started mopping the floors as soon as he could. He was kind of using it as an excuse to postpone any further conversation with Jack. Davey was freaking out internally. Watch Jack not even ask him out- and Davey had just gotten everything wrong this entire time. God that would probably be the absolute worst.

Jack started doing whatever else to shut down the store. Buttons came out of the back room, collected the money from the cash register and returned to her back room almost without a word. Time was ticking down fast, and Davey just wanted to get out of there and over to Finch’s so he could join the movie night that probably had already started.

“Hey, so uh Davey,” Jack said, catching his attention. Davey smiled at him, putting the mop back in the bucket. He walked over to the counter and stood on the opposite side of Jack.

“What’s up,” Davey asked as casually as he could. Alright, so it was going to happen now. It was going to happen now and Davey had to give him an answer and he didn’t know what his answer was going to be.

“So uh, I honestly don’t know if like- I’m miss reading everything going on, since you’re kind of hot and cold? Not in a bad way of course, just you’re really hard to read.” They both laughed awkwardly, both of them kind of avoiding eye contact at this point. “But, I was wondering if you wanted to go out. Like on a date, maybe, together,” Jack asked.

Yes? No? Yes? No? Yes?

“Yeah, I’d like that,” Davey slipped without a thought, surprising both of them with his answer. He knew deep down he was going to say yes. He knew he’d say yes from the moment Jack gave him his stupid number.

“Cool,” Jack said as his face lit up like a christmas tree.

“Cool,” Davey echoed.

“I was thinking maybe Sunday? Or is that too soon?” Jack asked. Davey hesitated, before he pulled out his phone and double checked his schedule.

“Sunday works perfectly,” Davey said. Jack nodded.  

“Cool, cool… I could pick you up? Let’s say around… six maybe… We could do classic dinner and a movie or something,” Jack suggested. Davey was hesitant to agree to having Jack pick him up, because where was he going to tell Jack to pick him up at? His car? No. He couldn’t do that. He knew that he couldn’t pick Jack up, since his car was filled with everything, and it would be kind of lame if they just met up somewhere, so really… he didn’t have any other options did he?

“I’ll text you my address,” Davey said. Jack smiled.

“Cool,” he said with a nod. Davey laughed.

“You’ve been saying that a lot,” Davey pointed out. Jack shrugged.

“I really didn’t think you’d say yes,” Jack laughed. Davey laughed awkwardly.

Yeah I didn’t think so either.  

“Well I’m just full of surprises,” Davey said playfully.

“Hopefully most of them are good?” Jack said. Davey shrugged. No, one of them was kind of horrible, actually.

“Yeah maybe,” Davey said casually. “I’ll see you Sunday.”

 

“See- I really don’t know how I’m supposed to text him an address when I don’t have an address,” Davey sighed heavily as he rolled onto his back of the air mattress on Finch’s floor. It was close to one am now, and the third movie had just started, but all four of them had turned to their phones at this point, and the conversation had halted besides Davey panicking about what the hell to text Jack back in response to him asking for Davey’s address.

“I’m still surprised you agreed to go out with someone,” Specs said absently. He was the only one still paying attention to the television.

“He’s not that unattractive,” Elmer said playfully. Davey rolled his eyes.

“No he’s great, but like, Davey doesn’t do anything exciting. He also doesn’t like people knowing about the car situation,” Specs said. Davey hated that they were talking as if he wasn’t even there. Probably a habit all three of them had picked up, even if none of them noticed it happening.

“I’m right here,” Davey said flatly. “And I’m not gonna tell him about my car.” He shrugged. “It’s not like it’s gonna be a serious relationship, and I’ll ignore that comment about me being boring.”

They all kind of laughed.

“If it does though,” Elmer said. Davey shrugged.

“Knowing me I’ll push him away after a second date,” Davey said with a small shrug. Finch rolled his eyes and got up from his bed to grab another drink from his fridge.

“You need an address to get him to pick you up at?” Finch said as he took off the top of his beer. “When’s the date?”

“Sunday,” Davey said.

“Stay the weekend then,” Finch said with a small shrug, returning to the bed. “You’re here tonight anyways. Take advantage of my bathroom and my wifi and shit, stay tomorrow night and get him to pick you up from here.”

“That’s too much to ask you,” Davey protested.

“No it’s not. Just stay dude,” Finch said. Davey sighed, before he nodded.

“Okay- alright, I’ll stay the weekend,” Davey said. Finch made a sound of relief, probably glad that Davey wasn’t protesting as much as he normally would. It was the free wifi and an actual bathroom that admittedly convinced Davey to stay.

So, as everyone kind of focused on the movie (again, all of them still just on their phones), Davey picked up his phone and sent Finch’s address to Jack, with a little note telling him to Just text me when you’re here! There’s renovations going on in the hallways in the building so it’ll be a mess to come up .

It was just a little white lie. Davey had been telling Jack a lot of those though. He had to- they were all justified lies. All of it had to do with Jack not finding out about his living arrangement. That was it.

That was probably it.