"Nah-uh — take away the drums an’ a song goes right t’shit. You pull it all together." Jude countered, tracing light shapes on Lennon’s arm lazily. "What does it look like m’doing?" Lips stretched in a sly smile, Jude pressed a light kiss to his skin. With every move he made that Lennon didn’t reject or brush off, Jude only grew more confident, reassured that at least some part of Lennon wanted the same thing he did. And God, if Lennon wanted Jude even half as much as he wanted Lennon, they could really be something. Jude pulled back the slightest bit to meet Lennon’s gaze head on, forehead creased in confusion as he regarded him curiously. "Yeah.. Don’t sound so surprised—" He laughed a little, ran his fingers back through Lennon’s hair and pulled it free from his messy ponytail. "Maybe I want you.. S’what if I do?" He spoke teasingly, corner of his mouth lifted in a softer smile as he trailed tiny half kisses down Lennon’s neck. "Ah, but what about me, hmm?" He dragged his mouth along Lennon’s neck with a mischievous smile as he pulled away, holding him tight. "D’you want me?" Jude tuned out the noise surrounding them, focusing solely on Lennon and his touch as it all fell away— the music, the slurred words from voices shouting over one another, the bustle of a party at it’s prime. His lips parted with a soft groan as he leaned into Lennon instinctively, his body immediately reacting to Lennon’s calloused hands. Dragging his fingers down Lennon’s back with a rougher grip, Jude slipped his hand into his back pocket and took hold of him firmly, pressing into him with eagerness. With half open eyelids, head cloudy with lust, Jude exhaled and nodded lamely with a hard swallow. "Mm.. y—yeah. I do.." He forced the words out, trying not to choke on how desperately he needed to be close to Lennon— so much closer. Forcing himself to pull away, Jude flashed Lennon a teasing grin. "Now." Pulling his hand from Lennon’s pocket, Jude laced their fingers together and pulled him in the direction of the stairs. There were a few people scattered around the upstairs landing, but it was mostly vacant in favor of the music and food downstairs. "Hmm.. which one.." Jude knew Matt’s house had a spare bedroom that was seldom used, but navigating the dim lit house drunkenly proved to be a more difficult feat than he anticipated. Jude pushed open the last door in the hall, pulling Lennon in with a clumsy grasp and an impatient smirk.
“Oh…” A soft sound passed his lips as Jude kissed his neck, this time it was undeniable, there was no room to wonder, no made up scenarios from overblown moments shared between the two. He was kissing him. Jude was kissing him. “Well uh… it kinda looks like you’re makin’ a move on me.” He teased. Shaking his head in disbelief, Lennon pushed his fingers through his hair and attempted to hold back a giddy grin. This was either the best night of his life or the absolute most shitfaced he’d ever been. Skeptically he scrunched up his nose. “Don’t sound so surprised?” Lennon shook his head with a wry grin, laughing. For a moment he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as Jude undid his hair. It was undeniable how good it felt just to be close to him, just like this, just them. As best he could he forced another smirk, though it was no match for the one previous. Jude was winning and Lennon wasn’t even sure this was a fight. “Oh yeah ‘cause the long list a’guys you’ve been into before really clued me in—“ The challenging look on his face flickered into surprise as Jude dragged a kiss along his neck, faltering halfway through his teasing. “Oh fuck…” He mumbled, letting his eyes slip shut as he tightened his fingers in the fabric of Jude’s shirt. “…w-what?” Lennon’s eyes fluttered open, an expression of pure daze writ across his features. He scrambled an answer but couldn’t think straight. As Jude curled close and wrapped his arms around his waist, Lennon let his eyes slip shut with a heavy, shaky sigh, giving in. The weight of his fingers dragging down his back left him senseless. Finally he opened his mouth to speak, instead gasping as Jude hitched him close. “Yeah—“ Lennon managed a nod, tapering off into a soft groan. “I— I want you…” He choked out, voice breathless and thick with longing. As a playful look flickered across his face he slid his one hand behind him, laying it over Jude’s and urging him on before pressing closer. All he could think about after breaking apart was how to get back together. With a breathless laugh Lennon clambered up the steps after Jude, gripping tightly to his hand. No one paid much attention to them, anyone upstairs was there for one reason only, and that wasn’t socialization. But still, when he caught sight of appraising glances and curious looks he couldn’t help but feel smug. “I couldn’t give a shit which one, jus’ pick a room…” He drawled in his ear with a laugh, pressing up behind him just to be a tease. Lennon stumbled into the room behind him with a drunken snicker, leaning back against the door to shut it behind them. He stood there a moment, studying Jude in the faint light of the streetlamp and moon filtering in through the window curtains. His heart fluttered in his chest in excitement and fear, the good kind. Reaching behind himself, Lennon locked the door and pushed off of it. Playfully he grasped Jude by the shoulders, leaning in to steal a kiss but stopping just an inch or so away. His heart was pounding so hard in his chest he was sure Jude could hear, sure that it would drown out the beat of the music below their feet. Lennon narrowed his eyes on Jude’s with a smirk, pushing him back against the bed, but a drunken fit of giggles ruined his attempt at being sexy. He hopped on the bed and climbed over Jude, blonde waves falling in his face. “Hey…” Lennon’s giddy grin faded into something smaller, the excitement remaining in his gaze. With a tremulous sigh he leaned in, breath hitching hard as their lips brushed together. His heart soared in his chest in a way kissing no other boy had done to him before. Jude was warm and tasted like alcohol, he was more than he had ever imagined, and if Lennon was honest, this was something he had imagined an awful lot. Laughing nervously, he settled against him, straddling his hips and tangling his fingers through Jude’s mess of curly hair.
Jude tilted his head to the side with a curious smile. “‘Course I did. Why’s that so hard to believe?” His sly grin melted into something sweeter as he hung his head back with a hearty laugh. “Oh-hoo, don’t let the guys hear ya say that. They might think you’re pickin’ favorites. ‘Sides, I’d — we’d be nothin’ without you, soo..” Lazily, Jude shrugged, the picture of perfect nonchalance. “Weelll..” He flashed Lennon a wide grin, head tilted once more in a matter-of-fact fashion as he spoke, moving to bury his face in the crook of Lennon’s neck, letting his lips brush against his skin teasingly with each word. “I’m just gonna have’ta let you, aren’t I?” Pulling back with a daring smirk, Jude licked his lips and tried to get a grasp on the disheveled thoughts floating through his mind when he realized with relief that there was nothing to sort. That was the beauty of being drunk — Jude couldn’t think of anything but Lennon. For once, he wasn’t fighting a losing battle with himself internally, wasn’t talking himself out of anything. “Crazy?” Laughter colored his features but his voice remained smooth with certitude. He meant every word he said tonight, despite the undeniable fact that they were all alcohol induced, and he wanted Lennon to know it. “Why’m I crazy for wantin’ you?” Jude could barely bite back his smile long enough to really speak, so at home with himself for once. As Lennon allowed Jude to pull him closer, his lips parted with a heavy, anticipatory breath, trying with every bone in his body to hold himself back, keep from pushing Lennon too far. But God, how much was too much? Jude had no idea anymore. Jude let out a breathless laugh, straightening up the slightest bit to give Lennon better access to his shirt. “Mhm..” Sensing Lennon’s momentary hesitation, Jude lifted his hands to help Lennon undo the next button with encouragement. “Keep goin’..” His smirk fell away as he drew another deep breath, trying so desperately to pace himself. As Lennon made his way down, undoing button after button, Jude found use for his own hands. Letting one rest idly on Lennon’s hip, Jude moved the other under the hem of his shirt to draw his fingers up and down Lennon’s back, eyes slipping shut as he reveled in how warm Lennon’s skin was. He realized with excitement that he wasn’t scared- not even a little. He was impatient, eager, hungry for Lennon — but anger and shame and uncertainty? They all fell away the moment they entered this kitchen, and now he only wanted more.
“Well cause… you’re.. you.” Lennon laughed, his voice plain as though this were the simplest explanation in the world. Totally utterly completely unattainable. That was Jude. Still, there was something in his expression that made him want to believe the words he said, trust that they were true. “Maybe I do play favorites, dumbass. Aw hell, you’re just sweet talkin’ me now, drummers ain’t nothing and you know it.” Even so, he couldn’t help the swell of pride that filled his chest upon hearing that. “What’er you doin’?” Depsite his dubious laughter he gladly accepted Jude, wrapping his arms around his wist and drawing him closer still. This was nice, just holding him, not hugging, was nice. Hugging meant there was a clear end in sight, not holding. Letting his eyes slip shut, Lennon leaned into Jude, shivers slipping over his shoulders and down his spine each time Jude’s lips brushed against him and he felt the warmth of his breath on his skin. “Oh…” He trailed off playfully. Slowly he drew his fingers in patterns along his back, smirk growing. “I s’pose y’will, huh.” Lennon’s grin faltered, falling into sheer surprise. Blinking, he struggled to process what all of this meant. “Wantin’ me.” He repeated in disbelief, an almost delighted smile flitting across his face before disappearing as quickly as it had come. The look on Jude’s face was enough to make his heart beat straight out of his chest. It was one thing to want him but another to grin about it, so at ease with himself. With each passing moment he found himself in deeper and deeper. Was this for real? He caught himself running over the list of drinks he had that night, wondering if Dylan had drugged him somewhere along the line and this was one big feverish trip, nothing more. “I…” No words came as he opened his mouth, overloaded and overwhelmed, like a computer hitting a blue screen he needed to reboot. “That’s— I—“ He stammered with a ridiculous grin, one too big Jude was sure to find idiotic. Taking a deep breath, Lennon steeled himself for what was to come, a terror coursed through his veins but one that felt far off, distant. More of the knowledge that he should be afraid than real fear. Something stirred inside Lennon at the sound of Jude’s command to keep going, a nervous thrill. The low hum of his drawl and each heavy breath he took was like music to his ears, sent him reeling. With a breathless laugh he continued, their fingers bumping into each other as he took the second button from him and undid it himself. Lennon leaned in, his breath catching audibly as their lips barely brushed. This was too much, he couldn’t do it. Like a coward he pulled back, instead dropping his gaze to the buttons of Jude’s plaid shirt he was now fumbling with. With a shy but eager smile he stole a look up, trying to catch his eye. As he took a deep breath, struggling to keep calm, his giddy smile fell away. Slowly he dragged his palm down the length of Jude’s bare torso, reveling in the warmth of his skin and the tension of his muscle beneath it. Hooking his fingers in the top of Jude’s waistband, he pulled him closer. With a surge of courage, still too shy to truly kiss him, Lennon pressed his lips hard to Jude’s jaw, tilting his head back for better access. He dragged a breathless, heavy kiss along the edge of it, free fingers knotting up in the mess of curls at the back of his neck. “Jude…” Lennon drawled in a sigh, his voice low with longing. “Y’wanna go somewhere?”
Jude shrugged simply, trying to distract himself from Lennon’s intent gaze by tracing the outline of his jaw absentmindedly. “Yeah. The way you deserve.” He repeated, small, sincere smile sat upon his face. “I care about you, s’all. I may be drunk as a fuckin’ —-” Trailing off, brows knotted in thought, he tapered off into laughter after failing to come up with a satisfactory metaphor. “But I, uh.. still care.” Narrowing his eyes on Lennon playfully, Jude brushed his fingers through stray blonde strands as they came free from Lennon’s ponytail. “Well, maybe not his, but..” His grin widened, brow arched. “.. Yours was definitely hot.” Lennon drew a laugh from Jude as he leaned lazily against the counter, the marble cool against his back as his shirt rode up the slightest bit. “Hmm, is this your way’a kicking me outta the band, Foley?” He smirked with half open eyes, every nerve in his body alive, buzzing, awakened by his close proximity to Lennon. The kitchen was considerably cooler than the crowded living room, but God, Jude felt as if he were on fire, and he needed relief. He needed to give in to himself, if only a little. “Ooh, and is this your way of gettin’ me out of my clothes? You’re a pretty ambitious drunk, aren’t ya?” Jude’s smile fell into something softer, although still very much present. His voice was raspy, strained from having to shout in the living room. The music was muffled- still audible in the kitchen, but they were alone, and that was all Jude needed. “What if I said it was workin’?” Jude let his eyes slip shut as he drew Lennon close to press against him. He let the paper towel slip from his grasp to the tile floor, allowing his forehead to rest against Lennon’s. His eyes fluttered open, a lopsided, sleepy-eyed smirk on his face. “Maybe we should take it off, hmm?” He was going too far and he knew it, could feel his willpower and good sense getting further and further away from him as every second passed. Jude had maintained near perfect control over his urges for some time now, but one night and several beers later, he was ready to erase it all and try something new. Maybe running wasn’t the answer.. maybe staying was okay. Lennon could want him back- that was still a possibility.. wasn’t it? Struck with the notion that it might not be, that he might just be way out of line, Jude self-consciously drew a heavy breath.
Letting his eyes slip shut, Lennon leaned into Jude’s touch, emboldened by the alcohol coursing through his system. “Druuunk as a skunk.” Despite his laughter and interjection, he mulled over Jude’s words carefully. I care about you, what the hell did that mean? Friends didn’t say that sort of thing, it was implied, hence the friendship. “You thought I was hot?” A fire had been lit inside of him at the simple brush of Jude’s fingers, but moreover, he had set off a storm in his head by his words. None of this made sense, before tonight he had no idea this was even within the realm of possibilities. Whatever this happened to be, that was. “Are you kiddin’?” Lennon quirked a brow with a grin. With a lazy smirk and a playful look in his eye he leaned in “You are the band, dipshit.” A scratchy giggle escaped as he tipped his head back with a smirk, one that had been roughed up by shouting over the heavy bass on the sound system and the cigarettes he had smoked. “Aaand what’er you gonna do about it if it is Bowen, huh?” For added effect he waggled his brows, ambitious was right. Ambitious and drunk off his ass maybe, but this was all in jest right? A curious expression flit over his features, surprised by the sudden shift in mood. A shiver slipped over his spine, one that left him tempted to press closer to Jude, selfishly longing for his warmth. “What’s workin’?” Lennon asked in quiet disbelief, uncertain he heard him correctly. In realization he raised his brows, breaking into a bemused grin. “I’d call you fuckin’ crazy.” He replied, his grin easing into a wry smirk. Or maybe I’d call you mine. A quiet sound escaped from the back of his throat, lips parting as Jude drew them together. Quick to brace himself, Lennon threw his hand up, laying it against Jude’s chest and knotting his fingers up in the fabric of his shirt. For a moment he let his eyes slip shut, unable to catch his breath, unable to think straight. They were so close now he could feel the warmth of his breath on his cheeks. Nothing had ever felt this right before, this electric. Lennon’s heart leapt in his chest at the sound of Jude’s drawl. With a hesitant, almost captivated smile he opened his eyes to face him. He was even more handsome up close, with the kind of eyes Lennon knew he could get hopelessly lost in and lashes for days. “Maybe we should…” He replied with a soft laugh, taking a shallow, short breath as he let his hand slip further down his chest. This was flirting this was flirting this was flirting. Lennon had to echo the sentiment over and over in his head to find the strength and assurance to act. Jude couldn’t keep his hands off of him, this had to be flirting. Tipping his chin up in the slightest, not enough to let their mouths brush, Lennon let a sigh pass his lips and took hold of one of Jude’s buttons. Tonight had been a whirlwind of confusion and touches that lingered too long, but for the first time he felt certain. Heart pounding hard in his chest, he undid the button, hesitantly allowing his fingers to brush over Jude’s bare skin before taking a hold of the next one. So many things were running through his mind that he could hardly focus on a single one, hardly question what he was doing. All he knew was that he wanted Jude, more than ever, and he was pretty sure that Jude wanted him too.
Despite the blind jealousy that bubbled beneath the surface, the corner of his mouth quirked up in an infinitesimal smile. “Nah. M’okay,” His eyelids drooped shut for a moment, the light brush of Lennon’s fingertips across his stubble riddled jawline sending his heart into overdrive. If it beat any faster, he thought he might just implode entirely on the spot. “Just.. I wish someone would treat ya the way y’deserve for once, y’know? And someone who doesn’t dye their hair to match their skate shoes, but..” He flashed Lennon a sly, lopsided grin, hoping it masked the wistful tone of his voice. It was too much to contain; Jude’s feelings for Lennon, his constantly expanding affection— it was always evolving, multiplying. Never had it lessened, and never it would. His heart dropped to his stomach and erupted in a string of nerves, forehead creased in worry as Lennon tensed and tightened his grip on Jude’s shoulders. Maybe he really had crossed a line. As Lennon suddenly bumped his nose with Jude’s, he smiled hesitantly, just hoping he hadn’t made a mistake. He quirked a brow expectantly, wondering what Lennon was thinking, if he felt the pull as strongly as Jude did. “Are you okay?” He murmured, brushing his fingers along the nape of Lennon’s neck. As he followed closely behind Lennon, Jude pulled Lennon closer by the hip, grinning widely. “What does it look like I’m doin’?” Jude shot back, brows raised playfully. “D’ya want me to stop?” Jude let out an amused snort, throwing his head back in laughter as he continued to repeat the word to himself. “I’m not drunk! You’re drunk!” Brows knotted, Jude shook his head as he almost slipped on the tile floor of the kitchen. “Okay, fine.. maybe I’m a liiiittle drunk.” Jude held out his hands at the last second and just narrowly caught the six pack of beer, eyes wide as he erupted into laughter once more, shocked at how easily he’d caught them. “Holy shit! Did you see that?!” His laugh tapered into a soft sigh as Lennon pushed him back. Lips parted in a smile of surprise, Jude set the beer down on the counter, pulling Lennon forward into him by the loops of his jeans. A lazy grin adorned his face as he studied Lennon’s features, watching the concentration with which he worked to clean the spilled beer that soiled Jude’s shirt. “Ah, s’okay — shirt’s a goner.” Leaning back against the counter, Jude drew a soft breath, letting his hands move from the loops of his jeans to rest them at either side of Lennon’s hips. “‘Never liked it much, anyway. ‘Sides, Matt won’t mind if I borrow somethin’ of his.” Holding Lennon close, Jude pulled the paper towels from his grasp with a coy smile. “Y’got some on ya, too..”
The peace that washed over Jude’s face for the single moment he closed his eyes was really something, really beautiful. He was beautiful. An awful twinge of longing and guilt knotted in his chest, thinking about his best friend this way was dangerous. “What?” Lennon blinked in confusion, his gaze flickering away uncomfortably, though his smile stayed in place without falter. “The way I deserve?” He laughed, trying to mask how unsettled he felt by the sentiment. Jude kept saying that but what the hell did he deserve? Swallowing hard, Lennon tried not to dwell on it. He deserved whatever he could get, simple as that. “Oh come ooooon, the hair was kinda hot, right?” A sharp chill slipped down Lennon’s spine as Jude drew his fingers over the nape of his neck. God, he was too drunk for this. Jude made him feel so much that it made him sick to his stomach, he didn’t know how to explain it beyond sheer emotional overload. No, no I’m not okay. I wanna kiss you. Instead he simply laughed, flicking a curious look over Jude’s face. “Yeah. Why wouldn’ I be?” This was too much, if he stayed any longer he would kiss him. With a smirk he pulled away, quick in what he hoped came across as playful, but in reality was just an eagerness to escape himself and his feelings. ‘What does it look like I’m doing?’ Lennon wanted to laugh, flirting, that’s what it looks like you’re doing, but that was quite possibly the last answer he was supposed to give. A new bout of drunken giggles struck as Lennon made his way over to Jude, swaying precariously every couple steps. “Yeah I fuckin’ saw it! Maybe—“ His smirk grew playful as he settled on the spot before him. “You shoulda become a basketball player instead of a singer.” Anxiety and surprise flared in his chest as Jude pulled him in by the loops of his belt. That was… kinda hot. Okay, really hot. In a desperate attempt to ignore the way their hips had been drawn together Lennon frowned and tried to focus on scrubbing clean Jude’s shirt. “Yeah? Then what’m I scrubbing this shit for? We should just take it off’a you.” His laughter soon faltered and fell into deep mortification. That wasn’t even witty. Jesus Christ what was wrong with him? Eyes fluttering shut for a moment, Lennon took in the warmth and weight of Jude’s hands on his hips and how wonderful they felt. Lennon abandoned the paper towels and instead lay his hands on the cool tile counter, mouth twisting into a curious smile. “Yeah? I mean… I don’ mind but—“ He stopped himself. If Jude wanted to help him clean up he was going to jump on the chance. Anything for a small bit of contact, for the brush of his fingers against his skin. An overwhelming swell of affection filled his chest as he watched him, one that made it impossible to keep from smiling. This was so bad but he couldn’t help it, he didn’t want to help it. There was so much about Jude he liked, loved even. Fuck. Sighing heavily Lennon let his head tip back, eyes falling shut for a moment. Fuck fuck fuck, he was so fucking fucked. If this was one of those dime-a-dozen teen movies that played in theaters all the time, with catchy just-indie-enough soundtracks and all the right lighting, this would be the scene where they kissed. But this wasn’t a movie, even if it was, it wouldn’t be his movie. In Jude’s life Lennon filled the role of comedic sidekick, not love interest. Gangly to Jude’s handsome, the flirt to his morals, the gay best friend to Jude’s leading man, even if he wasn’t fucking gay. Even if this was a movie the boy wouldn’t get the boy.
"Nothin’, man. Just think y’can do better, s’all." Jude shrugged simply, meeting Lennon’s slighty offended tone with a lazy smile, the picture of perfect nonchalance. What it really meant was the Jude was jealous, but Lennon didn’t have to know that. At least, not yet. “Yeah! Someone’s gotta clean up the trail’a broken hearts you leave in your wake.” A sly grin pulled at his lips and he lifted his cup up to hide it as Lennon laughed. His fingers tightened around his waist as he held onto Jude’s plaid button-up to steady himself. “Nah. Not slutty, just..” He pursed his lips in thought, amusement coloring his cheeks. “Judgement impaired.” He spoke matter-of-factly, eyebrows lifted in jest as he regarded Lennon with a watchful gaze. Sometimes Jude had to wonder if Lennon’s sudden interest in grappling from person to person had anything to do with the whole picture fiasco just a year or two ago. It was utter chaos — Lennon being forced to come out, not even given so much as a choice. Ever since then, things hadn’t been the same. And now Jude knew it wasn’t just him, it was.. well, maybe even normal for him to be attracted to men. Regardless, Jude couldn’t imagine something as personal as his sexual preference dragged out to the light for everyone to see. In fact,he couldn’t imagine it coming to light at all. Lennon was a much stronger person than people gave him credit for. Certainly stronger than Jude. Jude realized he’d slipped off into his thoughts as he took another generous sip of his beer and brushed his thumb absentmindedly around in lazy circles over Lennon’s smooth skin. “Hm?” Brow arched, Jude forced a tense smile, despite the burning jealousy that radiated throughout his entire body. “Yeah, m’sure he did..” He murmured, glancing nervously away from Lennon to train his gaze elsewhere. Lennon couldn’t know that Jude was jealous, painfully so- it would scare him off. He’d laugh in Jude’s face. There was no way Jude could compete with any of Lennon’s past and future prospects; he had a type— a broad one, maybe, but one that certainly didn’t include someone like Jude- that much was clear. As Lennon leaned against him, Jude shamelessly pulled him nearer, letting his lips ghost against Lennon’s neck in a light kiss. He didn’t know why he did it, how he’d managed to muster up that much daring courage. Maybe Lennon would ignore it, maybe he’d even like it, but either way, Jude simply felt like doing it.. so he did. And it felt good. Smiling, Jude let his teeth graze Lennon’s neck before pulling away, taking one last gulp of his drink and resting the empty cup on a nearby end table. Squeezing Lennon’s hand with a laugh, Jude let him drag him in the direction of the kitchen, thankful for Lennon’s tight grip, lest he take one wrong step and fall on his face in front of everyone. “A’right,” He slurred, blissful grin adorning his face. “Towels is such a weird word, man. Tooowweellss.” Pulling Lennon back toward him, Jude let his other hand rest on Lennon’s hip as they squeezed through the sweaty, unfazed crowd. “Don’t wanna lose ya..” He spoke in Lennon’s ear, having to raise his voice to be heard over the loud thumping of the music.
There was a silent shift, one with no cues and one Jude wouldn’t acknowledge, but Lennon felt it. He felt the way his body grew tense and he felt his fingers still on his side, stop drawing slow circles across his skin. How could he not? That bit of contact was practically all he could think about for the past minute and a half, sending his heart pounding and his head dizzy. In concern Lennon frowned, forcing a curious smile as he leaned down and managed to catch Jude’s eye. “Hey!” With a small laugh he slipped his hand to his jaw, shivering slightly when he felt the rough brush of his stubble, and tipped his chin up. “Somethin’ wrong man?” Lennon managed to feign easiness but his heart was in his throat, had he said too much about Dylan? He didn’t mean to upset him. These days everything was so confusing, he hardly knew how to navigate his best friend. One moment everything was business as usual, the next Jude would grow quiet and distant, the next they were touching in a way Lennon couldn’t explain. Not sexually, just… touching. Simple as that. Touching in a way he wouldn’t dare with his other friends, but felt natural as breathing beside Jude. Oh God, it was happening again. Shamelessly he melted into him, allowing Jude to draw him close, a strange knot tying in his stomach as he felt the way their bodies pressed together. Lennon’s eyes slipped shut with a heavy sigh, trying desperately not to make too much of the moment as Jude’s lips brushed over his neck. What was going on? Best friends don’t just kiss each other. Do they? Oh fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. A clear shiver slipped down his spine, something he desperately wished he could have held in for fear of being too obvious. For a fleeting moment his grip on Jude’s shoulders tightened, longing to remain like that, to drag him off somewhere dark and hidden away where they could just be and better still be more. As Jude drew back Lennon turned to face him, perhaps too soon, maybe just a little too late. Their noses bumped together, eliciting a breathless laugh from the back of his throat. He stole a fleeting look over Jude’s face before losing his nerve and pulling away. He couldn’t do it, he couldn’t kiss him, not if there was a chance he was wrong. Lennon shouldered his way through the thick crowd, his pace quick as if to escape the moment they left on the dance floor behind them. He could only make sense of two things in that moment. One, he needed a beer more than he had ever needed one before. Two, Jude’s hand was warm and calloused in funny places from playing his guitar and there was no more wonderful feeling in the world than holding it. With a jerk he almost stumbled, thinking at first he had tripped, but soon realizing that Jude had drawn him back and slung an arm around his hip. “What do you think you’re doin’?” He asked in a lazy drawl, letting him pull him close despite his teasing. As Lennon felt Jude’s breath cool against his neck, voice low by his ear, he closed his eyes, having to bite back a smile. With all this touching tonight, all the lingering palms and roving fingers, Lennon couldn’t help but wonder if there was something more going on between them. If there was a future for something more. Despite how hard he tried to avoid acknowledging the change between them, let alone hope for one, his heart shot up in his throat at the mere thought of such a thing. Shit, what if this was still just to make Dylan jealous? Fuck Dylan. Was he even watching any longer? He didn’t even care enough to check. Lennon shot a look back at him over his shoulder, practically giggling. “You’re drunk, towels isn’t such a—“ He paused, eyes narrowing in seemingly deep thought. “Towwwoells. Tooooweels. Tweels.” With another laugh he pulled away from Jude, worming his way through the last bit of the crowd and into the kitchen. While he waited for Jude to catch up he grabbed an almost empty six back off the counter and a roll of paper towels. “Hey, gotchya a present.” With a crooked grin he tossed him the six pack before playfully pushing him back against the counter. His breathless grin faded into something smaller as he took a step forward and let their feet bump together, unfurling some of the paper towel from the roll. “Here… lemme help.” Quietly he began to sop up the spilled beer from Jude’s shirt.
With wide eyes and a rapidly crumbling facade, Jude shook his head, held his breath until he felt light headed, until his eyes watered and he was forced to watch Lennon through blurry, distorted vision. Squeezing his eyes shut briefly, Jude tried to focus on the timber of Lennon’s voice, the certainty with which he spoke. “Okay,” He brought one of their interlocked hands up to brush his lips across Lennon’s knuckles softly, finally exhaling. “O-okay.” Brows furrowed, Jude glanced awkwardly down at his feet, shrugging lamely. “H—how could I not?” Jude had hated himself for as long as he could remember. Long before this moment, before he’d admitted how he felt. He tried to think of when it all started, but his mind kept slipping back to that moment on the playground so many years ago, when he was just a five year old boy with a crush on his best friend— who didn’t know the difference between liking a boy or a girl, because to him, there was none. “I don’t know anythin’ anymore, Len. Nothin… nothin’ makes sense.” Jude pulled his hands from his pockets to cross them in front of his chest protectively, nodding with a defeated expression. Lennon was right — there was no use pretending Jude was doing this for anyone’s benefit but his own. He almost laughed, thinking about it. This wasn’t benefiting him, not at all. He was being selfish for no one’s gain but his parents. “You’re right. I’m — I, um.. I really am sorry, Lennon..” Jude trailed off, forcing himself to meet Lennon’s eye. “F’that’s worth anythin’..”
Jude felt the familiar build up of nausea swirl around in the pit of his stomach, a tense gnawing sensation tugging away at him like a fist clenched painfully around his heart. Hurting Lennon killed him, but he did it anyway, didn’t he? Over and over and over again, the same vicious cycle he couldn’t snap himself out of no matter how much it tore him apart. Watching with a regretful, heartbroken expression, Jude didn’t make a move to stop Lennon from leaving, didn’t reach out and grab him and pull him back in the way his heart wanted him to with such desperation that his chest physically ached. As the door slipped shut and latched itself, Jude heard it all— heard Lennon falling apart as clear as day, clearer than anything he’d felt or heard or said all day long. His hand brushed against the door handle with only the ghost of a touch, but he couldn’t seem to will himself to open it, to embrace Lennon and comfort him the way every tendon and muscle and nerve and bone in his body cried out to. He wanted, at the very least, to drag his feet back to the bedroom where he could hide, pretend he didn’t know how Lennon was hurting, that he hadn’t been the one to cause it. Shaking his head, Jude pulled his hand away from the doorknob as if it burned. He didn’t deserve to pretend, to be oblivious. He deserved to sit there and listen, to suffer silently along with Lennon. Jude turned, planting himself to sit idly behind the very same door that Lennon was currently falling apart in front of. He cradled his head in his hands and cried quietly, the sound of his grief muffled, evaporating into silence by the fabric of his jeans. His mind wandered to another Bible verse, one that stuck out in his mind clearer than anything else, clearer even than the verse in Leviticus, the very verse that fueled all this hate and shame he felt in his heart. I don’t understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. “Romans 7:15..” Jude whispered to himself, hands clenched into fists as they rest idly on his knees. Pushing himself up from the floor, Jude felt a new sense of determination and a need to hold Lennon, to take care of him and tell him how sorry he was. That was what he wanted to do. That was the right thing. Turning the handle, Jude swung open the door but was met with an empty hall, surprise coloring his features. He was so absorbed in his thoughts he hadn’t even heard Lennon finally walk away. Swallowing down his disappointment, Jude felt that determination and drive he’d felt so strongly just moments ago break off and tumble uselessly to the carpeted hallway floor. It was too late. He was always too late. Sucking in a deep, painful breath through his teeth, Jude shrunk into himself, pulling the door shut once more and retreating back to his bedroom where he would try desperately to pretend this night had never happened, that he hadn’t broken his best friend’s heart as easily as he tied up his shoelaces every morning. Pretending, after all, was what he did best.
"Dylan? Manic Panic Dylan?" Jude rolled his eyes, amusement coloring his features. "I don’t think his own ma remembers what his real hair color is." Lennon certainly had a colorful line-up of exes — Jude couldn’t help but notice that despite the wide variety of men and women Lennon had expressed interest in, there had yet to be one like him. Thinking this, Jude almost laughed. Somehow he didn’t think ‘tie-wearing, church-going Jesus freak’ was Lennon’s type. Not that it mattered, of course.. they were best friends, nothing more. Yeah, but you’d like more, wouldn’t you? Jude tried to shake off the thought, fingers curling into the fabric of Lennon’s shirt. “Oh, but y’have been! M’thinkin of startin’ some kind’a support group.” Jude lifted his head with a matter-of-fact smile, pulling his free hand away from Lennon’s hip for just one fleeting moment to brush away stray strands of blonde hair that fell messily from his ponytail. “Well, people who don’t deserve you, for starters. Manic Panic Dylan is at the top’a that list..” He smirked, moving sideways with Lennon so Dylan could get a better look, brows raised with a smug, satisfied expression, reveling in the steadily growing scowl that adorned Dylan’s face as he shouted across the room at them, words dying out almost immediately upon escaping off his bitter tongue. “What was it about him, anyway? Is overprocessed Marilyn Manson hair a turn on for you? Or is it the concerning amount of Slipknot on his iPod?” His words were laced with amusement and laughter as he studied Lennon closely, counting the spray of freckles across his nose, something he found himself doing often. Feeling particularly daring, encouraged by Dylan’s jealousy and Lennon’s soft smile, Jude let his fingers slip past the hem of Lennon’s shirt ever so slightly, trailing the pad of his thumb across the warm skin of Lennon’s upper hip. “Ah, s’definitely workin’..” He murmured lightly in Lennon’s ear, smile present in his voice. Jude’s smile only grew as Lennon slung an arm around his neck, a dazed expression of surprise flickering across his features as Lennon leaned in. For a moment, one exhilarating, breathless moment, Jude thought he might actually kiss him— and God, he’d never wanted anything more. Not that he would ever admit it, not without liquid courage pumping through his veins- but in this moment, he was as honest with himself as he’d ever been. The thought of Lennon’s lips pressed against his made his heart lurch in excitement and anticipation before dying out in a steady thrum of disappointment when Lennon instead laid his head on Jude’s shoulder. Come on, did you really think he’d kiss you? This isn’t kindergarten. Even then, you were the one doing the chasing, weren’t you? He let out an amused snort, throwing his head back with laughter as Lennon flipped his bright haired, very angry ex the middle finger. Jude shook his head with a proud, lopsided grin. “Ah, looks like it. We make a pretty good team, hmm? Takin’ the world by storm, pissing off one bitter ex at a time..” Jude’s eyes slipped shut for a split second, utterly taken with the low hum of Lennon’s voice, the soft brush of his fingers tangled up in the hair at the nape of his neck. “Mm.. you’re humble as ever, I see..” Eyes flickering open, Jude met his smirk with a challenging grin, head tilted with an arched brow as Lennon spoke. Jude’s laughter melted with Lennon’s as he tightened his grip on Lennon’s waist, feeling the remnants of Lennon’s spilt beer soak into the bottom of his shirt, cold against his skin. He leaned back with a hefty laugh, pulling his hand away from Lennon to lean down and scoop up the now empty can of beer. “Ahh, that y’are.. but so am I. S’a good thing I like us this way.” He joked, grinning widely.
“Uh, yeah an’ what’s that s’posed to mean?” Jude didn’t like Dylan, at this point neither did Lennon, but in the beginning it kind of pissed him off. Truth be told, he didn’t really like anyone Lennon dated. He never knew what to make of it. Jude was first and foremost by his side throughout the mess that became his coming out, but with his disdain for each and every person he brought around, he couldn’t help but wonder if he agreed with everyone else. Forcing a smirk, he pushed the thought away. Who the hell was he to doubt his best friend? “A support group?!” Lennon’s head tipped back with drunken laughter. To keep on his feet he had to grasp Jude’s shirt with a tight grip. As he caught a hold on himself he tried desperately to ignore the heat that radiated off of Jude, even through the fabric of his clothing. It was… nice. “Y’know.” He quirked a brow, eyes narrowing on him playfully. “If I didn’ know any better I’d say you were callin’ me slutty.” Jude didn’t have to, it was a title he would gladly call his own. It was a reclamation of sorts. If he was going to be forced out into the world he was gonna make everyone at fault as uncomfortable as he damn well could. Lennon’s feigned offense gave way into soft surprise, blinking as he brushed back his hair. The feelings that Jude’s touch elicited from inside him were too much to ignore, left his heart fluttering stupidly in his chest. Oh God, don’t do this. I can’t do this. His bible camp going choir boy best friend wasn’t exactly a promising romantic prospect. For a moment he forgot what they were dancing for, that this was all to upset Dylan. Confused by the smug look on Jude’s face, Lennon followed his gaze and looked over his shoulder, reminded immediately of their goal when he caught sight of Dylan’s dejected pouting across the room. He laughed as best he could, ignoring the envious knot that tied tightly in his stomach. Jealous of what? Jude? The girls who could have him? He didn’t know why and he didn’t want to. “Marilyn Manson?!” He snorted with a burst of laughter, shaking his head with a smirk. “Damn, you’re real harsh, y’know. Besides…” He trailed off with a shrug, his expression growing suggestive. “He had a whooole lot goin’ for him.” A bemused smile flickered across Lennon’s face, curious as to why Jude was looking at him that way. Was it even a way? Jesus Christ, he was so drunk. Too drunk to be analyzing this shit. Holy fuck. Lennon’s laughter faltered with a gasp as Jude’s fingers slipped past the line of his shirt, warm and wonderful against the skin of his hip. For just a moment he let his eyes slip shut, taking in the minuscule moment for all it was worth while attempting to deny the hunger it left in its wake. The bitter look on Dylan’s face as he flipped him off was satisfying, but there was something even better about flipping him off. The person he had leaned against to do it. For one moment, one selfish stupid moment, Lennon turned and hid his face in the crook of Jude’s neck instead of pulling back. With a giddy laugh he soaked in his warmth and the wonderful weight of their bodies pressed together, the way he smelled and the tension of his muscles as he laughed. Practically dazed, Lennon forced himself back, breaking into a crooked grin. “The fuckin’ best!” He replied a bit too loudly, practically abuzz with him. There simply weren’t words for the sensation, it was just Jude, simple as could be. As Jude bent down to grab the now empty can, Lennon swayed on the spot, reluctant to leave the dance floor but now soaked himself. “C’mon man.” Without a second thought he grabbed his hand and laced them together. “Let’s go find some towels or somethin’.” Biting back a smile, he tugged him along, reveling in the simple act of weaving through the crowd together side by side.
threads as picspams: so this is goodbye, blythe roberts & mitchell tomlin
"I miss you, I miss you so much it’s driving me absolutely mad. It rained for almost a week after you left, isn’t that funny? Not haha funny, just odd funny.
Even the sky here misses you.”
Contrary to what some people may have believed, Jude loved a good party. It was a well-known fact that the Bowens were one of the most involved (some would even say fanatical) families in the local church community — they were certainly the most vocal about their beliefs, if anything. Somehow, the idea of their church going, Bible reading, Jesus loving eldest son finding company in a place like this was just a little hard to grasp. It worked in his favor, really, how unexpected it was for him to be there. There was something about the atmosphere of a party like this that exhilarated Jude- the stale air, swirling with the strong odor of booze and cigarette smoke, mixed with the overbearing scent of Axe body spray and Victoria’s Secret perfume, the mingling sounds of laughter and conversation fighting for dominance over the beat of the music. Jude could sink into the background and go unnoticed at any moment, whenever he wanted, and that was what he liked the most — the freedom to do and say what he wanted without having to constantly be looking over his shoulder. He was himself on nights like these, and it was the most freeing, comforting sensation. Lennon was late, but he never missed a party, and Jude waited with anticipation to catch sight of that familiar blonde ponytail in the crowd. He immersed himself in idle conversation with a few people he knew from study hall, but that didn’t stop him from tapping his foot and checking his phone obsessively, hoping to at least get a text or call from Lennon if he really wasn’t going to show. He was about to check it for the third time that hour when he felt someone grab his hand, that familiar tingly heat spreading from his palm to his fingertips the same way it did every time he and Lennon touched. Jude steadied himself and tipped up his red plastic cup to keep the contents from spilling over, a crooked, excited grin pulling up at the corner of his lips. “Whoa! Who’re we avoiding?” Already four beers in, Jude was feeling a little more than buzzed, but every nerve in his body were trained on this moment, on how good it felt to simply have Lennon’s hand on his shoulder. Jude smiled lazily and shook his head, bringing the cup to his lips for a sip. “Ahh, another ex, huh?” He followed Lennon’s gaze to the guy standing parallel to them. “Y’certainly have a type..” Jude arched a brow challengingly, overwhelmed by the sudden wave of jealousy that washed over him. With a dazed smirk, Jude brought a hand absentmindedly to rest at Lennon’s hip. Maybe it was the beer or the fact that they were surrounded by people who were entirely absorbed in themselves and each other to notice anything else, but whatever it was, Jude felt particularly daring. “Why hide when y’can make him jealous?” He bit back a smile as he pulled Lennon just that bit closer, still swaying absentmindedly to the music. Jude shrugged simply, taking another gulp of beer from his cup to fuel his steadily growing courage. “Nah.. no one important. ‘Sides, you’re hotter.” He smirked widely with a hearty laugh, trying to brush off the way Lennon’s smile made him feel all dizzy and warm in a way only Lennon could. “Yeah, well, she also thinks Africa is a country — m’not worried about her.” He shrugged again, brushing his thumb across Lennon’s hip as he scanned the room briefly, satisfied that no one was paying much attention to them, if any at all.
For one moment Lennon stilled, the exasperated look on his face giving way into a fond grin at the sight of the smile plastered on Jude’s face. Thoughtlessly he tightened his hold on his hand, his fingers were warm and sent fuzzy tingly shocks straight to his chest. Maybe he didn’t know why, but he did know he liked it. “Uhh— Dylan!” Lennon called back to Jude as he pulled him further, voice loud enough to carry over the din, though he hoped not loud enough to carry across the room. Dylan was certainly the worst judgement in romantic endeavors Lennon had exhibited all year, with bleached hair that had been every shade of the Manic Panic line up at least once in its lifetime and a propensity for the pretentious. But, he was hot, that almost made it okay. “Another?” He cocked his head to the side with a laugh. “You make it sound like I’ve been leavin’ a trail a’broken hearts wherever I go.” In all honesty that wasn’t too far from the truth, the past year had been one of indiscriminate dating. A romantic bender of sorts. The warmth of Jude’s hand pressed against him was impossible to ignore, Lennon’s breath hitched hard in his chest from the initial contact. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it. Really, he liked it a little too much. He could hardly think of anything but that now. “A type?” He quirked a brow with a curious smile, eyes narrowing on Jude’s playfully. “Aaaand what migh’ that type be?” Across the room Dylan was clearly feeling the heat, easy to play and even easier to make jealous. As he caught the challenging look on Jude’s face he called something lost in the thrum of the music and crowd conversation, something that, while unintelligible, looked an awful lot like a ‘fuck you’. For a moment Lennon’s flirty drunken perma-smirk flickered into surprise, his eyes growing wide as Jude pulled him closer. A shock shot through him, one he couldn’t explain, an electricity he had never felt before. “Think it’s workin’?” He asked, only able to hope that he didn’t sound as breathless as he felt. Snickering, Lennon stole a look over his shoulder, practically lighting up at the sight of Dylan glowering all by himself. “Ohhh, he’s pissed.” He laughed as he turned back to Jude, a conspiratorial smile on his face. Alcohol-rich and judgement-poor, Lennon wrapped his free arm around Jude’s neck and drew him closer to rub salt in the wound. He loved the feeling of Dylan’s gaze burning against his skin, how jealous he was, the feeling of being wanted, but what he loved more was Jude’s attention. He loved the weight of his hand on his hip and that lazy crooked smile on his face. It was special, it was just for him. Maybe he wasn’t supposed to know that, but Lennon caught sight of it whenever their knees bumped in the car or their hands brushed while unloading their equipment from the trunk before a gig. Whatever was happening, whatever this was, a ploy to piss off his ex or something else, he wanted more of it. Lennon leaned in without warning, his breath hot against Jude’s cheek, flicking a look over his face before brushing past him. Resting his head on Jude’s shoulder, he threw up his arm and flipped his ex the middle finger. Dylan got the message loud and clear, stalking off to the kitchen in frustration and eliciting a giddy cheer from Lennon. With a victorious grin he pulled back to face Jude once again. “Looks like we made’im jealous, huh?” Even so, he didn’t pull away, the very idea didn’t even cross his mind. Why would it? Not when he had a drink in one hand and the other happened to be holding on to one very— Oh God, Lennon wasn’t even going to finish that train of thought. This was Jude, his very very straight best friend whom he only harbored very very platonic feelings for. Lifting his beer to his mouth, he took a long swig, hoping to drown out the sensation before he accidentally said something stupid and made things awkward. With a laugh of surprise Lennon sheepishly pushed a hand through his shaggy blonde hair, pieces falling from his ponytail and framing his face. “I mean I’m not disagreein’ with you but…” Did Jude really just say that right now? Lennon stumbled all over his own thoughts, utterly at a loss for the right thing to say. What did he do? Flirt back? Was this even flirting? A shiver slipped up Lennon’s spine as Jude drew his thumb over his hip, bringing a nervous laugh from his lips. He knew how to play him as easily as the strings of his guitar without even trying. Smirking slightly, Lennon lightly wove his fingers through the curls at the back of his neck, two could play at this game. “Wait… Africa isn’t a country?” He lifted his brows innocently, feigning genuine surprise. Only a moment later he broke into a fit of laughter, the kind of laughter that came from his whole body, one that made him weak in the knees. In the clumsiness of the moment he dropped his can of beer on the floor, causing him to jump to avoid soaking his shoes. “Sh-shit.” He grinned, struggling to hold in a new fit of giggles. “I’m a fuckin’ mess.”
Disappearing into a crowd wasn’t an easy feat, not when Lennon stood at a gangly six foot something. Somehow Jude, equally as tall, always managed though. He was too laid back, always getting caught up in conversation the whole night long and hanging out on the couch when there was fun to be had. Or, this time, an escape to be made. Through hazy vision Lennon scanned the corners of the room, hoping to catch sight of him. Despite his alcohol dulled senses and less than stellar balance, his complete and utter aversion to awkward confrontations had propelled from one end of the house to the other within a minute flat. The moment he laid eyes on Jude, entangled in an animated group conversation close to the kitchen, relief filled his chest.
“Dude— hide me.”
With little warning and no explanation, Lennon grabbed Jude’s hand and pulled him into the throng of people dancing to some shitty iPod playlist on the sound system. Lots of top forty hits with a heavy beat, the kind of thing you could sway to even though the floor was sticky with spilled beer. He stole a furtive glance over his shoulder, eyes narrowing as they settled upon Dylan, his ex-boyfriend, across the room. “Sorry,” He mumbled to Jude in distracted apology as he eased up closer to him. It didn’t have to mean anything, they were just dancing, at least he hoped Jude knew it didn’t mean anything. And it didn’t, right? There was a bright, glassy look in his eyes as regarded Jude’s expression of surprise, unable to withhold his laughter. Leaning in, Lennon yelled above the music so as to be heard. “Clingy ex!” He explained, flicking another look over Jude’s face. He sure was pretty. The whole room was hot, left his lungs working extra hard and made his shirt stick to his skin but Jude was another kind of hot entirely. Not that kind of hot. Okay, that kind of hot sorta maybe. But in the warmth sense too. He practically radiated it, from every little point of contact Lennon was practically set on fire. Rolling his eyes, he shook the feeling off. This was Jude and he was just drunk. Whatever. No big deal. “Shit…” He muttered under his breath. Lennon quickly ducked his head so as not to get spotted when Dylan turned their way, clumsily moving to the music. For someone to musical Lennon had no sense of rhythm, not unless it was music he could jump around to. “Did I innerupt anythin’ important?” Lennon’s drawl had grown thicker from drinking, his consonants slurred and his syllables all stretched out, I turning into one long Ahhh. A sly smile spread across his face as he narrowed his eyes on Jude. “Were you hittin’ on someone hot? Did I just totally ruin your night? Hopefully she doesn’ think you’re gay now.” Unable to keep from laughing, he tightened his grip on Jude to stay upright, one hand hot against his shoulder and the other tightly clasped around a can of beer. Laughing was a bit of an understatement, when Lennon got drunk he giggled. The whole undignified shebang, complete with a dumb crooked grin.