With a final grunt of effort, Vasquez just managed to get the car to edge up into the small layby, wheels spinning with a heart lurching crunch over the snow covered ice.
“Tramposo, I think this is as far as we are gonna get.” Vasquez carefully unpeeled his fingers from his death grip on the steering wheel, the movement slow and clumsy. His breath fogged in the rapidly cooling air, engine rattling with a valiant effort.
Goodnight nodded slowly, peering out into a world turned grey, snow whipped up into flurries before disappearing into the void. “This storm’s sprung up out of nowhere.”
“Do you want to try and drive?” Vasquez plucked his phone from the dashboard, tapping the side as if that would help the signal, flicking through the mess of text messages from their friends. He didn’t glance over at Goodnight as he thought, but watched the movement of his hands out of the corner of his eye: the reflexive tapping of his lips with two fingers, elbow nudging against the empty space on his belt where a holster once lay.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Goodnight’s voice was almost hesitant, contemplative, but he didn’t make a move to pull his hand away when Vasquez took it, pressing a kiss to the faded tattoo that spanned his knuckles.
“No hay pedo.” Vasquez stared out of the front windscreen at nothing as he considered their options. Driving on was possible in the unknown future, but needlessly reckless while the snow still fell. He glanced in the rearview mirror to see their tracks covered, leaving no trace of their passage.
His phone chimed and Vasquez shifted, holding it to allow Goodnight to read over his shoulder, with his brow furrowed and the glasses he insisted he didn’t need balanced on the top of his head.
Billy: We can send Red out to get you, but not for a few hours. He downed some wine about two minutes after getting here.
“I see my mother is still as charming as ever,” Goodnight murmured, his beard scratching against Vasquez’s cheek and he had to bite his tongue to suppress the urge to kiss Goodnight until the memories that haunted him were distant and faded.
“We could stay here? I’ve slept in worse places and there’s sleeping bags in the back,” Vasquez offered, knowing Goodnight would be conflicted at dragging the youngest of their group out in such a storm, regardless of his confidence at navigating them.
“And leave my mother at the mercy of Billy and Faraday?” Goodnight’s grin was blinding, and he pulled against the constraints of his seatbelt to turn Vasquez’s face to his, kissing him carefully, allowing Vasquez to lean into the slight burn of his beard against his skin. “I knew I loved you for a reason.”
Sam: Billy has just asked your mother what wine is.
Sam: While drinking her best wine.
Vasquez snorted, peering at the messages through half open eyes. Goodnight mumbled something incomprehensible into the back of his neck, pulling Vasquez closer into his chest.
“Billy’s having fun,” Vasquez whispered. It was warm in the back of the car, seats folded and the blankets spread out to create a comfortable bed. Goodnight was pressed so close to his back, one arm curled across his chest and a leg thrown across his hip.
“Good.”Goodnight yawned, his whole body tensing, before he settled back into their makeshift bed. “I’d ask if you were coming to bed but given the circumstances…”
Vasquez chuckled, but stretched out — skin prickling into immediate goosebumps in the still frozen air — to tuck his phone away.
Vasquez sighed as tucked his arm back into the warmth of the blankets, interlocking his fingers with Goodnight’s. He traced idle fingers across the mess of calluses on his fingers and palm, the smooth skin of old injuries.
Goodnight’s grip was tight on his hand, almost bruising on his hip.
“Yeah?” Vasquez drew the word out to further convey his confusion. What could Goodnight be thinking? Vasquez shifted again — restless energy coiling beneath his skin from a long day of driving and trying to prepare himself for meeting the entirety of Goodnight’s family — then froze.
“Not your fault.” Goodnight chuckled, slightly breathless. Vasquez could feel the muscles in his legs coil and relax as he fought to remain still.
“You can,” Vasquez craned his neck to peer over his shoulder, catching sight of the pink splayed high over Goodnight’s cheeks out of the corner of his eye, “use me to sort it out, if you want? I’m not in the mood for anything on my side.”
“Mon merveilleux amour.” Goodnight kissed the back of his neck, and Vasquez laughed, squeezing his hand tightly before settling back down.
“It’s about time!” Faraday called, an arm slung across Sam’s shoulders as the pair moved — Sam walking, half dragging Faraday who stumbled on uncoordinated feet — down the steps towards the car.
“Having fun, guero?”
Faraday hiccuped, his grin blinding.
“Billy and Red have been taking requests to see how far they can push your mother, and Horne is only ramping up his good ol' boy image everytime she tries something,” Sam reported, transferring Faraday to Vasquez so he could hug Goodnight in the same movement. “How was the stop?”
Goodnight coughed, and Vasqeuz caught sight of his blush spreading high over his cheeks once more. “It was fine.”