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Ronan flicked the stereo on and the dreamlike electronica he seemed to favour when he was alone (not alone, Adam reminded himself, alone with Adam) pulsed through the smooth leather seats of the BMW. Ronan didn’t speak as they pulled out of the lot, tossing only a cursory glance at the road beyond Adam before pushing his foot onto the gas pedal. His eyes snagged Adam as they shifted from the road behind them to that ahead, Adam felt suspended for a brief second as though he were hovering a few inches above the passenger seat of the car.

They didn’t speak until they arrived at the grocery store and had climbed out of the BMW, leaving it parked in a bay in a manner Adam could only describe as artless. Except when Adam said artless he meant to say Ronan.

“Remind me why we’re stuck with the grocery shopping,” Ronan griped as he swung the shopping cart through the automatic double doors of the store a little too overzealously.

“Because, like it or not, we need to eat,” Adam replied. “And the only thing in the fridge is some mouldy cheese and half a can of beans.”

“You sure it’s mouldy and not Gansey’s fancy crap?” Ronan said, “Either way, Opal would eat it.”

“Five of us live in that house besides Opal,” Adam reminded him, nudging at the shopping cart to steer Ronan towards the vegetable section.

Ronan cackled, “Four,” he corrected. “Noah doesn’t do much living.”

Adam tried to frown but found the corners of his mouth quirking. “Whatever,” he said with an eye-roll. “Grab a bag of carrots.”

Surprisingly, Ronan did as he was told and carelessly tossed the carrots into the cart.

 

It didn’t take long for Ronan to lose what little interest he had managed to muster for grocery shopping and soon he was trailing Adam, knocking into the back of him with the cart complaining loudly (and colourfully) about how bored he was.

“If you would try to be just a little helpful, we would be done by now,” Adam griped, trying not to let his frustration show. Ronan had endless time to be bored, between Adam’s job at the garage and classes Adam spent most of the little time he had to spare in the library, a couple of hours to spend with Ronan, even if it was grocery shopping, was an exciting rarity.

Despite his best efforts, Ronan must have sensed Adam’s irritation because he reached out and snatched the shopping list that Blue had scrawled from his hand.

“What do we need all this for?” He asked scanning the list, “None of us can cook.”

This wasn’t strictly speaking true, Gansey couldn’t cook ⎼ Blue steamed broccoli and made pasta, Adam could cook anything that could be made in a microwave and Ronan was quite a good cook, but flat-out refused to do so.

Adam rolled his eyes, he more than the others knew the extent of Ronan’s culinary abilities. “We can’t afford to eat out all the time.”

Truthfully, Adam and Blue couldn’t afford to eat out all the time but refused to allow Ronan or Gansey to pay for them, but Adam was grateful that Ronan didn’t point out this fact.

“We need milk,” Adam observed. “And Blue wants some more yoghurts. I can get those and meet you in the dairy aisle.”

“Sure,” Ronan replied. “I’ll get…” he squinted at the list, “jammy tea?”

“Jasmine,” Adam said without looking up from the cuticle he was picking at.

“Shit, Blue’s handwriting is awful,” Ronan said.

He nudged Adam’s side with the shopping cart to indicate he was going to leave it with him and headed off in the direction of the hot drinks. He grabbed the brand of tea he knew Blue liked and, remembering they were nearly out, another tub of coffee. Adam was the only one of them who drank coffee with any regularity - sometimes two or three cups a day. Ronan, like Blue, favoured tea and Gansey drank both without preference.

 

Ronan located Adam in the dairy aisle, deliberating between two types of yoghurt - one with strawberries and one with peach in the bottom.

“She likes the plain,” Ronan said by way of greeting, tossing the tea and coffee he had picked up into the cart.

“Huh?” Adam replied.

“She doesn’t like the fruit,” Ronan repeated. “She doesn’t eat it.”

“Right,” Adam said, putting both yoghurts back and taking the pack of plain Ronan was offering him.

“Come on,” Ronan said reclaiming his place at the helm of the shopping cart. “What next?”

“You have the list,” Adam reminded him.

“Yeah?” Ronan said it didn’t sound like he was agreeing with Adam.

“Ronan,” Adam said warningly.

“Adam,” Ronan replied in an almost sing-song voice.

“Where is the list?”

Ronan shrugged, unable to suppress his grin.

“Christ, Ronan,” Adam groaned. “Why do you have to be such a dick sometimes?”

Ronan laughed, it had an edge to it. “Live a little, Parrish. Who needs the stupid list?”

“We do,” Adam replied, frustrated.

Ronan pantomimed patting down his pockets, “I’m sure it’s around here somewhere.”

Adam considered the boy in front of him, it was unlikely Ronan had actually thrown the list away, more likely he was trying to wind Adam up. Furthermore, Ronan wasn’t one for casual touching, but Adam reasoned that coming from him he may not protest too much.

Mind made up, Adam rounded the shopping cart to stand in front of Ronan and reaching out, slower than usual as to not startle him, he slipped his fingers into the front pocket of Ronan’s jeans.

Ronan jerked back, almost hitting his head on a cheese display, “What are you doing?” His voice was hoarse.

“Looking for the list,” Adam replied mildly.

It wasn’t in the right pocket so Adam moved to the left, hoping he wouldn’t have to resort to the back pockets ⎼ he really hadn’t thought this through.

“Aha!” Adam cried, triumphant extracting a piece of paper from Ronan’s pocket.

It was a crumpled receipt that had run through the washing machine too many times to be legible anymore. Ronan met Adam’s eyes and quirked his brow, daring him to continue.

Adam narrowed his eyes, trying to act braver than he felt. His throat was dry as he stepped closer to Ronan and reached around him to his back pocket.

It was empty. Before Adam could withdraw his hand Ronan’s flew out and gripped Adam’s arm. His gaze was hot when his eyes met Adam’s, holding eye contact for a long moment before his gaze dropped to Adam’s lips.

Instinctively, Adam’s tongue darted out and licked his bottom lip. Ronan lifted his eyes to Adam’s again and released his arm, his chin tilted up as if challenging Adam.

Without thinking Adam stepped forward again, his left hand sliding up to the small of Ronan’s back, the right reaching up to touch his jaw. Ronan’s eyelashes fluttered.

Kissing Ronan felt a little like fighting with Ronan, the taller boy pulled Adam roughly into him so that they were pressed together, legs entangled. Now Ronan really did hit his head on the cheese display but he either didn’t notice or didn’t care. After a few moments of lips and teeth and tongues, that shouldn’t have felt as good as it did, Ronan relaxed and let Adam kiss him, his fingers playing along the waistband of Adam’s jeans and sneaking under his faded t-shirt.

Adam’s hands trailed down Ronan’s back to his ass, fingers brushing his back pocket.

They broke apart and Adam stepped back, he blinked a few times before breaking into a slow grin, holding up a piece of paper clutched in his right hand. “Gotcha,” he said, his Henrietta drawl coming through thick.

Ronan gaped at him, his ears turning red. He began to turn back to the shopping cart, his defences snapping up.

Adam reached out a hand, placing it atop Ronan’s where it rested on the cart forcing Ronan to look at him. He stepped in and pressed another sweet kiss to the corner of Ronan’s mouth leaving him blinking in surprise.

“Gotcha,” Adam murmured, giving Ronan a brilliant smiled.