Urth turns out to be a cafe with an outside seating area that Andrew is sure he saw on Entourage once, which he thinks is pretty cool.
When he mentions this, Emma laughs and pats him on the hand. “You’re adorable,” she says.
Andrew fake-scowls at her, but when he turns to Jesse for moral support, he finds that he’s looking around worriedly.
“Jesse?” Andrew asks, wondering randomly if they have any pet names for each other. Probably not, he decides; he can’t really imagine Jesse calling anyone ‘snookums’.
Jesse taps his hands on the table and slouches down a little in his chair. “It’s too exposed here, people are going to bother you.”
“Too exposed?” Emma laughs. “Are we in a Western?” When Jesse doesn’t smile, she sobers, jostling her ankle against Jesse’s. “It’s okay. Andrew’s okay, aren’t you?”
Andrew doesn’t really know what they’re talking about and the sun is too bright for his headache but, “Yes,” he says, “Absolutely.” He pokes Jesse in the elbow with the corner of his menu. “What are you going to have?”
“Hmm? Oh.” Jesse takes the menu and frowns down at it. “Green tea muffin.”
“There are muffins?” Andrew asks. He hasn’t wanted to make a big deal about the fact that he still can’t focus to read so he’d just been planning to order waffles and hope.
“Yes, right there... Oh.” Jesse stops, looking guilty. He leans into Andrew. “Do you want me to read it to you?”
Over Jesse’s shoulder, Andrew spots their waiter approaching the table. “Why don’t you just order for me?” Andrew asks. Jesse has to know what he likes, right?
Andrew’s half aware of Emma looking at them curiously, but their waiter appears before she can say anything.
Emma orders and then Jesse orders for himself and Andrew, looking wide-eyed and flustered the whole time.
“Coming right up,” the waiter says then hesitates, biting his lip and looking at Andrew from under his eyelashes. “Sorry, this is totally lame, but I just wanted to say that you were awesome in Spider-man. When’s the sequel coming out?”
Andrew’s just about to tell him that he’s mistaking Andrew for Tobey Maguire when Emma leans over, saying, “Oh, thank you so much. We’re hoping for a release next summer.”
The waiter glances at her and smiles quickly before his attention bounces back to Andrew. “It said on TMZ that you’d gotten hurt?”
“I’m fine,” Andrew tells him automatically. “Thank you.”
The guy doesn’t move, just keeps hovering until Jesse clears his throat pointedly. Emma giggles as soon as he’s moved away. “Aww, that’s adorable. You have a fan.”
The expression on Jesse’s face suggests that he didn’t find it adorable.
“Spider-man?” Andrew asks.
Jesse and Emma look at each other. “Didn’t you tell him?” Emma asks.
Jesse shakes his head. “Didn’t you?”
“Hm, good point.” Emma leans her head on Andrew’s shoulder, grinning up at him. “You’re Spider-man, baby. And I’m your Gwen Stacey.”
Andrew is so confused. “But they just made Spider-man. I mean, I know I’m missing a few years, but it still wasn’t that long ago.”
“Yeah.” Emma wrinkles her nose. “We try to avoid those questions when we get asked them by the press.”
“But - ”
Jesse puts his hand over Andrew’s wrist, shaking his arm gently. “You’re great,” he tells him quietly.
“See.” Emma clicks her fingers in Jesse’s direction. “Jesse enjoyed it and he doesn’t even watch movies.”
Andrew hums noncommittally at her and decides that as soon as he can read again, he’s going on the internet to find out exactly what else everyone has forgotten to tell him. Spider-man, wow. That’s big.
They make it through lunch without Andrew discovering that he’s playing any other superheroes in any other unexpected remakes of movies from his teens. Jesse and Emma chat about mutual friends and other projects and Andrew smiles whenever they try to include him.
“Andrew thinks so, don’t you?” Emma says and Andrew starts, realising that he’s stopped paying attention. His head and neck are aching and he thinks he can feel yesterday’s vertigo trying to make a comeback.
“Yes,” he says helpfully. He probably does think whatever it is; he can’t quite tell.
“Hey, excuse me, do you mind?” It’s their waiter and he’s pushing a piece of paper and a pen at Andrew. For a second, Andrew thinks it’s the bill then he realises the guy wants an autograph.
“Oh,” Andrew tells him, “Of course.” He hopes that no one notices the way the pen shakes when he tries to put it to paper. “What’s your name?”
The guy tells him and Andrew scribbles something, managing a little conversation to go with it. As soon as the waiter leaves, he reaches out and grips Jesse’s thigh, looking for an anchor.
“I think I need to go home,” he says and feels his face heat with embarrassment. He hates having to make a scene.
Emma leaps into action, paying the bill and hailing them a taxi while Jesse asks him worried questions and lets Andrew hold his hand. Andrew’s guessing their relationship isn’t public knowledge, but he can’t worry about any potential pictures right now; he can’t think past the pounding in his head.
In the taxi, Andrew leans his head gratefully on Jesse’s shoulder and closes his eyes. It’s cool in here out of the sun, and he starts to feel better before they’re even half way home. As his headache lessens, his embarrassment increases.
“I’m so sorry,” he says for at least the third time. “You two should go back and finish your lunch. I’ll be fine.”
“Stop apologising,” Emma tells him, smacking his thigh lightly. “If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine for dragging you out.”
Jesse shakes his head. “It’s mine. I should have gotten you home earlier.”
Andrew laughs helplessly. “Maybe we all fail,” he compromises. “I fail the most though.”
Jesse’s soft laugh blows through Andrew’s hair. “Okay,” he says, softly, “You can fail the most.”
Andrew smiles. He’s leaving his head on Jesse’s shoulder for as long as he can and even Emma’s tiny little frowns in their direction aren’t discouraging him.
“What’s up with you two today?” Emma asks Andrew when he catches her eye.
Against his side, Andrew can feel Jesse stiffen.
“What do you mean?” Jesse asks quickly. “We’re not... Nothing’s up.”
Okay, maybe Emma doesn’t know about them. It’s Andrew’s turn to frown; that seems strange to him.
The taxi pulls up in front of Andrew’s building before Andrew can try to work this all out and the three of them pile out, Emma leading the way up to Andrew’s flat, holding doors for them while Jesse hovers at his side, hand waiting under Andrew’s elbow as though he expects him to keel over at any moment.
“I’m fine,” Andrew promises for the nine millionth time as soon as they’re inside his flat. He pats Jesse’s left cheek and kisses the corner of his mouth. “I’m going to lie down. You two should do something more interesting than fretting about me.”
Behind him, he can hear Emma’s voice rise as she says, “I knew it!” and he smiles to himself as he opens his bedroom door and collapses on the bed, exhausted by his busy day of kissing and lunch.
It’s dark when Andrew wakes up but Jesse is right at his side, lying on his stomach and reading a book.
“Hi,” Andrew says croakily, rolling over and kissing Jesse’s cheek because he likes the way Jesse smiles when Andrew does things like that. “Is Emma gone?”
“Yeah.” Jesse smile dips. “She’s very happy for us, by the way. And I’m thrilled that you decided to tell her like that.”
Andrew frowns. “Are you pissed off at me?” he asks. “I didn’t know she didn’t know.” He’d surmised it perhaps, but that doesn’t count.
Jesse sighs. “No,” he says, “Of course not. It was just...” He stares down at his book like he’s hoping the word he’s looking for will appear. “It was difficult to handle by myself. She was very excited.” He bites his lip, looking sad, and Andrew feels terrible.
Andrew leans into Jesse and rubs his nose against his jaw. “Sorry,” he whispers.
Jesse twitches. “Stop that,” he says fondly. “I phoned your doctor and she yelled at me for letting you get too tired. You’re not going to do anything but lie still and recover for the rest of today.”
Jesse telling him what to do is strangely hot; Andrew hopes they’ve explored that at some point in their relationship.
“Yes, dear,” Andrew says and squirms, laughing, when Jesse snaps his head around and tries to bite Andrew’s nose.
Andrew rolls over onto his back, smiling up at Jesse. Jesse’s hand brushes the top of Andrew’s hair before he snatches it back.
“Wait,” Andrew says, catching Jesse’s hand and pulling back. “I like that.”
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Jesse tells him, looking so conflicted and serious that Andrew definitely feels a little tug on his heart.
Andrew kisses Jesse’s fingers, trying to get him to smile. “You’re not,” he promises.
“But I might.” Jesse sounds genuinely scared, more than Andrew can see any reason for, but then Andrew doesn’t know how hard it is for him to see Andrew hurt.
“Jesse,” Andrew murmurs. He tugs on Jesse’s hand. “Come down here.”
Slowly, stiffly, Jesse lies down next to him. Andrew rolls onto his side, kissing him lightly. “Hey,” he says into the space between them. “I don’t even know your surname.”
That probably wasn’t the right thing to say but it just occurred to Andrew and it seemed wrong.
“Eisenberg,” Jesse tells him. “Of the famous New York Eisenbergs.” It’s not quite a smile but one of Jesse’s dimples reappears.
“Cool.” Andrew touches Jesse’s cheek. “Tell me something else.”
Jesse makes a face. “No, come on, I’m really not interesting.”
“You are to me,” Andrew promises him. “I’d offer to tell you something in return, but you know more about me than I do at the moment.”
The look on Jesse’s face is complicated. “I...” He reaches up and strokes Andrew’s hair back behind his ears. “I like books. Sometimes I’m in movies. I... I’ve been really lucky in the people I’ve managed to trick into liking me.”
Andrew wants to argue that, but Jesse probably wouldn’t listen to him right now. “Okay, what else?”
Jesse looks stumped for a minute then his expression clears. “I adopt cats.”
Andrew laughs to himself; this guy is perfect, it’s ridiculous. “Okay,” he says, pulling Jesse’s phone out of his pocket and handing it to him. “Well now you’re going to have to show me pictures.” He holds up a finger. “And I want a story for every one of them.”
“You’re really demanding when you’re sick,” Jesse tells him, but he takes the phone and says, “Okay, this one’s Samson...”
The next couple of days pass in a vaguely confusing, somewhat achy blur. Andrew’s bruises turn from black to brown, purple to green, he speaks to his mother every day and Emma more often than that, Jesse cooks for him and kisses him and spends the time in between reading books and phoning people in New York to check on his cats.
They’re living together but it doesn’t feel like they’re really living together, everything feels like it’s in limbo, waiting for Andrew’s memories to come back, although when Andrew says that, Jesse shakes his head quickly and says, “No, no, this is good. I’m not. This is fine.”
Andrew does get some memories back: he remembers his American grandmother dying and his English grandfather getting ill; he remembers his brother’s wedding, but still not the baby or the woman he married; he remembers filming Dr Who, but more about Freema Agyeman than David Tennant; he remembers going to Battersea Dogs’ Home once and wishing he was home long enough to adopt a puppy without feeling selfish.
He remembers so many little things but he doesn’t remember Jesse.
“Maybe there’s a reason,” Jesse says one evening and Andrew doesn’t understand how Jesse can be so calm about this.
“What reason?” Andrew snaps then feels horrible for snapping. “Sorry, sorry, I’m just frustrated.” He drops his head down onto the breakfast bar and doesn’t deserve it when Jesse carefully pets his hair.
“Maybe you’re just remembering more important things first?” Jesse suggests quietly.
Andrew’s head snaps up - it hurts, but it doesn’t bring him to his knees like it would have done a couple of days ago, which he hopes is a good sign for his recovery. “Now you’re just being silly,” he says, teasing but not really because Jesse sounded like he meant that.
Jesse’s mouth curves up but it’s not really a smile. “I’m never silly,” he says, “I”m always serious and sensible.”
Andrew leans into him, their shoulders warm together. “I really wish I remembered you.”
Jesse doesn’t say anything. Eventually, he clears his throat and pulls away. “I’m going to make dinner. Is there anything you want?” He’s rocking back and forth on bare feet, jittery and nervous-looking.
“No preference,” Andrew says softly, “Whatever you want.”
He watches Jesse go and sighs. This is getting ridiculous; he’s going to have to do something if he ever wants to get his memory back and wipe that horrible, sad expression off Jesse’s face, but he can’t think of anything to do.
They have a beer each with dinner. It’s the first drink Andrew’s had for a long time and he’s definitely not drunk, but he is warm and relaxed and it makes it easier to catch Jesse’s wrist once they’re ready for bed, to pull him in and kiss him with intent.
Jesse kisses back, the way he always does, but he stiffens when Andrew tries to push his tongue deeper, stepping back and keeping his hands on Andrew’s shoulders so Andrew can’t close the distance.
“Wait,” Jesse says, “What are you doing?”
Andrew’s heart is hammering in his chest but he wants to do this and he can’t pretend that it’s only because he thinks it might trip something in his memory.
“Can’t you tell?” he asks, reaching across the space between them to stroke his thumb along Jesse’s damp bottom lip.
“Um.” Jesse swallows. “I think, I think I can. But I’m often wrong about these things. Well, not often, because I’m not often in this position. I mean. I mean.” He steps back. “I really don’t think we should.”
Really, Andrew thinks that he should be the one who’s scared right now, but he’s not. “It’s okay,” he tells Jesse. “You’re not taking advantage. I know it’s not the same, but I really like you. Not just because I know I’m supposed to; I really do.”
Jesse shakes his head sharply. He’s staring at Andrew looking half full of wonder and half completely lost. “You don’t,” he says but it sounds more like a question than a statement.
Andrew stares at Jesse’s hopeful expression and lowered eyelashes and can’t breathe. It feels like something is shifting in the air between them. “Jesse,” Andrew whispers because anything louder feels like it would shatter something important. “I think I more than like you.”
Jesse makes a startled, wounded noise. He puts his fingers against Andrew’s lips. “Don’t,” he says. “You don’t. You don’t even remember me.” He starts to pull away but Andrew holds his hand and doesn’t let him go.
“Jesse,” he says, pleads really. Not for sex, just for Jesse not to leave it like this. “Please.”
“No,” Jesse says but his expression softens and he strokes his fingers over Andrew’s cheek. “It’s really okay. You don’t have to feel bad. I love you and that’s enough.”
Strangely, Jesse doesn’t blush, which Andrew would have expected him to after saying something like that. He doesn’t look anything but miserable, really, like he might cry if Andrew says the wrong thing right now.
Andrew feels like an impostor in his own bedroom. It’s painfully obvious that Jesse doesn’t want him here, he wants the Andrew who remembers him. He doesn’t know what to say.
Jesse looks away then. “Look,” he says. “I shouldn’t... I’m doing this all wrong.”
“No, hey.” Andrew can’t stand seeing Jesse look this sad. He reaches out and wraps his arms around Jesse’s shoulders, pressing his lips against Jesse’s jaw. “You’re not doing anything wrong,” he promises. “I’m sorry, okay? I’m so sorry I don’t remember. I know it must be horrible for you.”
Jesse shakes his head. “You don’t know. I’m not... I’m not a good person.”
Andrew parts his lips a little, breathing against Jesse’s throat. “You’re an amazing person,” he says. “You’re looking after me so well.” He’s not trying to start anything this time, he’s just holding on, but Jesse doesn’t seem to realise that.
“You shouldn’t,” he says, shivering and rolling his shoulder, gently dislodging Andrew.
Andrew leans back. “Sorry,” he says, quickly, “I didn’t mean to - “
“You didn’t.” Jesse reaches for him, then drops his hand. “Sorry, I’m sorry, this just isn’t right.” He backs up, moving away from the bed. “Look, I’m going to go read in the other room. I’ve got, there’s this book. I’m going to read a book.”
Andrew watches Jesse go then kicks the side of the bed hard enough that he stubs his toe and swears. “Well,” he sighs to himself, “I fucked that up.”
Lying in bed beside each other all night is uncomfortable. The next morning, they have breakfast together and they manage to hold a conversation through it, but it’s weird and awkward and Andrew wishes he’d just left things how they were.
He stops Jesse before he can take the bowls into the kitchen. Jesse’s expression is still scared and sad but Andrew doesn’t have any intention of trying to bring up anything serious today.
“Let me wash up,” he says, refusing to let his fingers linger on Jesse’s wrist. “You’ve done enough.”
“You’re supposed to be resting,” Jesse argues but Andrew shakes his head.
“I’ll wash up really slowly,” he promises. “Seriously, you go and sit down, read your book or something.”
Jesse looks torn, like he really wants to argue but also really wants to get away from Andrew. Andrew is probably a terrible person for using that to his advantage. He gives Jesse a carefully platonic little pat on the back, directing him away from the crockery.
With a backward glance over his shoulder, Jesse goes, leaving Andrew alone again. He finds a radio and turns it on quietly so he doesn’t have to listen exclusively to his thoughts.
There’s a station which claims to play ‘retro hits from the 00s’ which makes Andrew feel horribly old. He knows about half of them and, if nothing else, he’ll be able to entertain himself listening to his favourite bands’ back catalogues after Jesse inevitably gets fed up with living with an Andrew-lite and goes home.
Andrew is distracted from his emo - thankfully - by the doorbell. “I’ll get it,” he calls even though Jesse hasn’t reappeared anyway.
He dries his hands on a towel as he makes his way to the door and opens it wearing his most welcoming fake smile.
“Hi!” says the man on his doorstep. “I’m Justin.”
Andrew blinks. He shakes his head a little, wondering if the concussion is making him hallucinate. “Yes,” he agrees faintly. “Hold on.”
He closes the door and leans back against it. There are honestly only so many things he can take in one day.
“Jesse,” he calls loudly. “Why is Justin Timberlake at my front door?”
There’s a creak and a curse and then Jesse opens the bedroom door. The right side of his hair is flattened down like he was lying on the bed and he’s holding his mobile in his hand.
“What?” he asks. He hurries up to Andrew and makes shooing motions with his hands, like he wants to open the door but doesn’t want to physically move Andrew away from it because that would involve touching him.
Andrew steps aside.
“Justin?” Jesse asks, opening the door.
Justin waves. He’s definitely... Justin Timberlake is definitely standing at Andrew’s front door. Andrew assumes that he must be the Justin who drunk-texted Andrew the other day. Future Andrew’s life is weird.
“Why are you here?” Jesse asks, staring from his phone to Justin and looking betrayed. “I thought you were in Florida or somewhere.”
“Why would I be in Florida when my boys need me here?” Justin asks, pushing his way into Andrew’s flat and throwing one arm around Jesse and the other around Andrew.
“Um.” Andrew says. “Hello.”
“Don’t worry.” Justin pats him on the chest. “You adore me.” He steers them toward the kitchen where he lets go of Andrew but not Jesse. “Okay, you make me a nice cup of tea or whatever it is you do in times of crisis and I’m going to borrow our boy here for just a minute.”
“This is a time of crisis?” Andrew asks. He winces and rubs the back of his neck - Justin Timberlake is heavy. Which isn’t a complaint he ever thought he’d have.
Justin doesn’t answer, just waves over his shoulder. Jesse glances back at Andrew just before Justin steers him into the bedroom but he doesn’t look panicked so Andrew can’t even stage a rescue.
He sighs. Tea it is then. Wait. “Do you take milk and sugar?”
His only answer is the sound of the bedroom door closing. Bemused, Andrew flicks on the kettle then pulls his phone out of his pocket. With a little squinting, he manages to pull up his recent call log and presses the entry for Emma.
It takes her so long to answer that Andrew is just about to give up but she does at least sound pleased to hear from him when she says, “Andrew! How are you feeling?”
“We’re not asking that,” Andrew says automatically then feels a pang when he remembers that that’s just a him and Jesse thing. “Did you know I know Justin Timberlake?”
Emma’s laugh is loud and delighted. He wonders if she’s a bit drunk. “You know everyone,” she tells him. “But yes. Justin was in the same movie as you and Jesse.”
Right. That would explain why Jesse has just let him shut them in Andrew’s bedroom. Andrew forces his fist to unclench. He’s not jealous, he’s not.
“Andrew?” Emma asks. “What’s wrong? Did he call or - ”
“He’s here,” Andrew says. “I think he came to see Jesse.”
Emma laughs again and, this time, she doesn’t stop for a while. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry,” she says eventually. “Are you seriously jealous of Justin? You really need to watch your movie.” She giggles some more.
“Emma,” Andrew complains. He shouldn’t have called her; he should have called someone he remembers well enough to get cross with.
“Sorry, sorry. Andrew, Jesse adores you, you have zero things to worry about.”
“He doesn’t even want to sleep with me,” Andrew blurts then wishes he’d lost his voice along with his memory. “I think he hates me for not being, you know. For not remembering who I am.”
“Jesse doesn’t hate anything,” Emma tells him dismissively. “Not even like, cancer or herpes or the tax man.”
“Well,” Andrew says slowly, “I”m certainly none of them.”
“Exactly!” Emma sounds proud, as though he’s got something right. “Okay, well, I’m at a brunch party and I’m being incredibly rude so, I don’t know, go break down the door and declare your undying love or something. Bye!”
“She always hangs up on me,” Andrew tells the kettle then realises he’s talking to a kettle and decides not to mention that when he next checks in with his doctor. He also realises that it has boiled so he pops tea bags into three cups and fills them with water.
While he’s waiting for the tea to brew, he experiments a little with his phone. It might be his imagination but the words don’t seem to be blurring together quite as badly as they have been since his accident. He can almost make out the text of a message from his mum which seems to be about squirrels. No, that can’t be right.
Andrew shakes his head and turns back to the tea, spooning out the teabags and adding a splash of milk. Then he picks up all three at once by looping his fingers through the handles and carries them to his bedroom.
He feels stupid knocking on his own bedroom door but Jesse’s probably slept here more nights than Andrew remembers doing so it only seems polite. He knocks with the side of his foot and elbows the door open.
Justin is sitting on the bed and Jesse is standing with his back to the window, ringing his hands. He looks terrible.
“Tea,” Andrew says, when what he wants to do is drop the cups right there and wrap his arms around Jesse until he gets his smile back.
Justin grins. “Perfect timing,” he says, unfolding himself and taking a mug from Andrew. “Thank you. See you later.” He ruffles Andrew’s hair, which Andrew doesn’t manage to duck away from in time and leaves the room.
Andrew leans back, watching as Justin walks all the way across the flat and lets himself out the front door, still drinking his tea.
“Um, okay,” he says, to no one. “Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to keep my mug.”
“Sorry,” Jesse says. “That’s my fault. I called him but I didn’t know he was actually in the city or anything.”
Andrew shrugs. “Am I particularly attached to these mugs?” He remembers being attached to a Cadbury’s chocolate mug when he was seven but that was probably the last time.
Jesse shakes his head. “I don’t think so.” He takes both remaining mugs from Andrew and puts them on the windowsill. “Okay,” he says slowly, “So at the risk of sounding like what I’m pretty sure is a cheesy line from a soap opera, we need to talk.”
Fuck. “Do we?” Andrew asks. “All right.” He sits down on the bed because his knees feel suddenly weak.
Jesse nods firmly but he doesn’t contribute anything else.
“What is it?” Andrew has to ask, has to know because he thinks he can guess where this is going and he’d like to get it over with so he can curl up somewhere and contemplate how he is such a failure at playing himself in a movie of his life that his boyfriend is dumping him.
“I have to tell you something,” Jesse says eventually. “Justin says I have to tell you and if Justin agrees then, well.”
Andrew feels cold. “Are you breaking up with me?” he asks, his voice coming out too quiet.
Jesse’s eyes and mouth form neat little circles. “I... Not exactly?” he tries. “It’s just. Look, it would be better if we just stopped. Okay? Trust me?”
“Jesse.” Andrew shouldn’t be this upset when he doesn’t remember this relationship, except that doesn’t seem to matter, he doesn’t want it to end.
“I can’t,” Jesse says, ringing his hands. “I can’t. Look, I’ll call Emma, she can come hang out with you, but I just can’t be here any more.”
“Don’t call Emma,” Andrew hears himself say. His voice sounds flat but he digs deeply and manages to rake up a sympathetic smile from somewhere. “I...” He stands up and clasps Jesse’s wrists loosely. “I do understand and I know you’ve tried your best so thank you for that.” He’s proud of the fact that his voice doesn’t shake.
Jesse tugs his hands away. “You need to be less nice,” he says. “This would be so much easier if you were less nice.” He takes one step backward with every word. “I have to go.”
“Right now?” Andrew asks. “It’s...” He can’t say it’s late because it’s not even lunchtime. What he wants to say is that it’s the wrong time of day for Jesse to leave, but any time of day would be wrong for that.
Jesse nods jerkily. “Yes, right now. I can stay with Justin, I’m going to stay with Justin. I’ll just... Look, if you want to call me once you’ve got your memory back then we can talk and that would be good. Maybe. But I can’t keep doing this to you, it’s just really not right.” He’s reached the front door and he fumbles it open without turning away from Andrew. “I’m sorry.”
He pauses for just long enough on the threshold that Andrew knows that he could grab him, beg him to stay. That seems horribly, selfishly unfair though so he doesn’t and the door closes between them.
Andrew didn’t know it was possible to feel like he’d lost more when he’s already lost so much of his memory, but it turns out that it is.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to fly out there?” Andrew’s mum asks that evening. “You sound tired.”
Andrew concentrates on listening to his macaroni and cheese heat up in the microwave so that he can sound completely balanced and normal when he says, “I’m sure. Really. Look, I’ll fly home for a long weekend soon.” He hesitates. “Do I do that? Saying that felt...” That felt like a really natural thing to say.
“You do do that,” his mum says quickly. “You come home every couple of months. Did you remember?”
“I... Maybe.” The microwave pings but Andrew ignores it. He can remember the heavy weight of exhaustion from travelling from LA to London, London to LA, but he can’t be sure if it’s a lost memory returning; he’s been making that journey all his life to visit family.
The microwave pings again, annoyed at being ignored. “Sorry,” Andrew tells it absently, pulling out the carton and hissing when melted cheese burns his fingers.
“What are you doing?” his mum asks. “Are you cooking? Where’s Jesse?”
Jesse. Andrew wasn’t going to answer her anyway - if she found out he was living alone, she’d be on her way to Heathrow before he even finished the sentence - but she’s made him think of something else. “If I visit you sometimes and I’m here the rest of the time, when do I visit Jesse?”
“Pardon?” she asks, sounding baffled. “I don’t know. You didn’t even tell me you boys were dating, remember?” She’s trying to sound sniffy but Andrew can tell that she’s actually pretty hurt about that. He wonders if telling her that Jesse has walked out on him will make her feel better or worse.
“Yes, but. You’d know if I’d gone to New York, wouldn’t you? I would have told you that?” Andrew remembers telling his mum everything; he can’t imagine that that’s changed much.
“I suppose so,” she says slowly. “I don’t know what arrangements the two of you have. Why don’t you ask him?”
“Yeah,” Andrew agrees, the tiny spark of... something he’d felt flickering out. “Good idea.”
After he gets off the phone and picks his way through unevenly cooked macaroni and gunk, he dims the lights, turns off the stereo and tries to remember back to the yoga class that one of his gymnastics coaches made him take when he was an incredibly bouncy twelve year old.
It didn’t make him less bouncy at the time, but maybe it will help him to think now.
He folds his legs up into the lotus position - the easy part - and closes his eyes. Jesse, he thinks, he wants to remember Jesse. Then he realises that he’s using yoga like a ouija board and shakes his head at himself.
He keeps his eyes closed and tries to keep his breathing even and just think about nothing. It’s probably not going to help, but he doesn’t know what else to do.
After ten minutes, the back of Andrew’s neck starts to ache from the awkward position. After twenty minutes, Andrew wants to pick up the remote and throw it at the telly.
“Well, that’s not working,” he tells his empty flat and climbs to his feet.
Jesse’s book is sitting on the coffee table where he left it and Andrew bends to straighten it, knowing how much Jesse hates it when things aren’t lined up properly.
He blinks. Does he know that? How? He rubs the centre of his forehead - it’s becoming a habit lately, a nervous tick - is that something he knows or did he just notice it while Jesse was here?
Sighing, head throbbing, he takes a couple of painkillers and climbs into bed. His bed feels too big, too empty without Jesse but Andrew refuses to do anything ridiculous like hugging Jesse’s pillow to his chest. He curls his hand around one corner closest of it, but that doesn’t count.
Andrew calls his aunt to take him food shopping the next day - and makes her swear not to tell his mum that Jesse’s gone - and then Emma comes around in the evening.
He very, very carefully doesn’t think about Jesse or the fact that he doesn’t even know what he did wrong or how he can fix it or...
He doesn’t think about Jesse. And he definitely doesn’t compose text messages in his head that he might or might not be planning to send once he can see to read again.
On Thursday evening, Andrew goes to bed early but it takes him hours to fall asleep. His bed still feels too big and now his flat feels like it’s echoing. His headache is a nagging constant, but even that seems to be fading.
When he finally does sleep, he dreams that he’s picking up Jesse’s laptop and smashing it hard on the floor while Justin smirks at him and Jesse stares at him with big, hurt eyes.
He wakes with a jerk and stares up at the ceiling, thinking holy shit and nothing else.
Because he thinks he’s remembered something rather important. He’s remembered The Social Network and he’s remembered Jesse. He remembers loving Jesse and wanting Jesse but - and this is the important part - he’s almost positive that he remembers never actually having the courage to see if he could have Jesse.
He rolls over in bed and groans into the mattress. He and Jesse aren’t together; he’s almost positive that they aren’t together which means that he’s spent the last few days making the biggest fool of himself possible. No wonder Jesse felt he had to leave.
“Fuck,” Andrew tells his empty bedroom. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”
He sits up, puts his feet on the floor and loses momentum, folding over and resting his forearms on his thighs, dropping his head into his hands.
He can’t believe that he kissed Jesse, that he did it more than once when they’re not even together. Jesse must have hated it but felt too sorry for Andrew to turn him down. Fuck.
Oh god, Andrew has to fix this. It’s all flooding back; Jesse is Andrew’s best friend and Andrew honestly can’t lose him over something so stupid - and stupidly embarrassing - as this.
He jumps to his feet, takes a second to marvel at the fact that the world barely tips at all and throws on the nearest clothes he can find.
He picks up his phone on the way out of the flat but Jesse doesn’t answer the first or second call. Andrew tries a third time once he’s in a taxi but that goes to voicemail too.
“Jesse,” he says quickly, “I remembered something. I think... We’re not together, are we? It’s okay. It’s, I need to talk to you, I’m so sorry I put you in that position. Just please, please call me?”
The cab driver is watching Andrew in the rearview mirror. “Audition,” Andrew mutters and hunts around in the contacts on his phone so he can give him Justin’s address.
Justin opens the door wearing fluffy pink slippers which Andrew will have to remember to make fun of later. “Your name’s Andrew,” he says, enunciating clearly. “You’re like, twenty eight-ish and you’re sort of mostly British.”
Andrew rolls his eyes. He remembers Justin now too and hell if he hasn’t missed him. “I know that, arsehole,” he says, “I’m looking for Jesse.”
“Have you tried your bed?” Justin asks then, “Wait. No, that’s a bad joke at the moment, isn’t it? Dude, you just missed him, he’s heading to the airport.”
“What?” Andrew shakes his head; he didn’t think that Jesse would actually leave LA. “What time is his flight.”
Justin shrugs. “Like an hour or so?”
“Shit.” Andrew flops back against the wall, all the adrenaline from earlier seeping away. He rubs his temples even though he doesn’t have much of a headache today. “Justin, I need to ask you something.”
Justin nods, looking fairly serious for once. “Shoot.”
“We’re not... Jesse and I aren’t dating, are we?” It hurts to say that, more than it should; Andrew still feels embarrassed but under that he’s realising that he also feels really disappointed, that this lovely relationship that he thought he had doesn’t actually exist.
Justin makes a face. “It’s complicated?” he tries.
“Complicated like how?” Andrew prompts. What he can remember doesn’t seem complicated, it just seems platonic. “Complicated like I have a stupid crush on him and Jesse was too nice to let me down gently while I had amnesia.”
Justin snorts, actually snorts, which Andrew isn’t sure he’s heard anyone do since he last visited his great-aunt Katie who had sinus issues. “Complicated like Jesse is so fucking in love with you that anime hearts leap from his eyes every time he sees you but this shit all kind of snowballed on him and he’s been torn up and crying inside because he thinks he’s taken advantage of your maidenly virtue.”
“Wait,” Andrew says. “What?” He’ll deal with the maidenly virtue bit later and concentrate on the love part for now. “Jesse doesn’t love me.”
Justin leans into him, resting a hand on the wall behind his head. “Yes, he does,” he says. “Come on, man, this is Jesse, if he honestly hadn’t been interested, he would have found some supersmart and self-depreciating way of telling you to get lost.”
“Jesse wouldn’t ever tell me to get lost,” Andrew argues. Normally, that would make him feel good, but all it does now is make him even more convinced that he could inflict kisses on Jesse that he didn’t want and Jesse wouldn’t turn him down.
Justin rolls his eyes. “Because he’s in love with you,” he says slowly and it’s stupid but something about the way he says it makes Andrew start to believe him, no matter how completely ridiculous the idea of it is.
Andrew has no idea what to do.
He stares at Justin who stares back meaningfully but Andrew’s rooted to the spot by far too many simultaneous emotions and can’t translate Justin’s looks right now. “Well? Come on! This is the moment in the story where the hero races to the airport to declare his undying love. Have you not seen Love, Actually?”
Andrew has seen Love, Actually and, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not the worst idea. It’s pretty bad, but the worst was probably kissing Jesse in the first place, so after that anything has to be an improvement, right? “I’m going to end up on TMZ,” he tells Justin but he really doesn’t care. “Will you drive me? Please.”
A slow smile spreads across Justin’s face. “Fuck yes,” he says, grabbing his keys, and they race for the lift together, Justin’s fluffy slippers and all.
It turns out that it’s not as easy to race romantically through an airport as it looks in films, even if you’re Spider-man. Possibly, especially not if you’re Spider-man.
“Look, I’d be so grateful if you could just use your PA system to help me find my friend,” Andrew tells the guards at the security station, trying to sound as hopeless and English as he can, hoping they’ll think he’s just a confused tourist.
No such luck. “Why, have you lost your buddy the Green Goblin?” the taller of the two guards asks, nudging her colleague in his ribs.
“Something like that,” Andrew says, smiling politely past gritted teeth. “Please?”
She looks at him for so long that Andrew’s just about to give up when she finally sighs and says, “Okay, sure. What’s the name?”
“Jesse.” She keeps looking at him expectantly so Andrew has to add, “Eisenberg.” She doesn’t even blink and Andrew is instantly insulted on Jesse’s behalf; Jesse deserves to be so much more famous than Andrew.
“Jesse Eisenberg to the security station,” she says into her microphone and the words echo around the departure hall. Andrew cringes; Jesse is going to kill him.
Nothing happens. Andrew probably should have predicted that Jesse wouldn’t just magically spring up out of floor in front of him, but it would have been nice if he had.
The guard shrugs. “It’s a big building,” she says.
Andrew nods and leans back against the desk, scanning the people milling around for any sign of Jesse. His phone buzzes in his pocket, but it’s only Justin, telling him that he’s parked the car and asking if he needs an intervention.
Not yet :/ Andrew types back then jumps when a shadow falls over his phone.
Jesse’s standing there, backpack slung over one shoulder, belt clutched in one hand and only one shoe on.
“Did your eyes get better?” Jesse asks, looking at Andrew’s phone rather than at Andrew.
“Yes,” Andrew says, then, “Hi.”
“Hi.” Jesse waves his shoe. “I was in the security line. I thought, I don’t know, I thought something horrible had happened.” His expression falls. “Has something horrible happened?”
The wave of fondness that hits Andrew is exactly the same as the one he felt back in his flat the other day, only this time, there’s more history behind it. He waves thank you at the guards then takes Jesse’s elbow and leads him over to a quiet-ish bench near the toilets.
“Nothing horrible’s happened,” he promises. “Here, sit down and get dressed.”
Jesse nods, bending down to tie his shoelaces. “I can’t believe you paged me, I nearly had a heart attack.”
“Well, if you hadn’t run away,” Andrew starts to say then stops himself when Jesse’s shoulders tighten.
“I had to,” Jesse says, so quietly that Andrew barely hears him.
“Jesse,” Andrew says, reaching out and putting his hand on Jesse’s shoulder. “Come on, look at me.”
Jesse shakes his head. “I no longer look at people,” he says. “It’s my new resolution.”
“That’s a shame.” Andrew says, ducking down and trying to get a proper look at Jesse’s face. “You have lovely eyes. I’ve always thought so.”
Jesse snorts. “Always?” he repeats. “So for the last couple of days, then.”
“No.” Andrew gives up trying to get Jesse to look at him and just folds down onto the floor in front of him instead. He really doesn’t care if people see. “Since you walked into that first table read and put on your glasses and smiled at me over the top of your script.”
There’s a pause and then, “Oh,” Jesse breathes, jerking his head up and staring at Andrew hopelessly for a second before screwing up his eyes. “You remember me?” He doesn’t look pleased; he looks kind of sick.
“Mmhmm,” Andrew hums. He puts his hands on Jesse’s knees, waiting to see how Jesse reacts to that before going any further. Jesse doesn’t react at all; he seems to be rapidly retreating inside his own head. “Jesse. Come on, please.”
Finally, Jesse opens his eyes and Andrew’s honestly shocked by just how bleak and miserable he looks. “I’m sorry,” Jesse breathes, barely more than whisper.
“No,” Andrew says quickly. He hadn’t really had a plan but, if he had, this couldn’t have gone worse. “Jesse, come on, what are you sorry for?”
“I lied to you!” Jesse tells him. “I’m the worst person in the world.”
People are definitely looking at them now and Andrew still doesn’t care but he knows that Jesse does - or will anyway. He stands up and takes hold of Jesse’s arm. “Come on,” he says and pulls Jesse to his feet.
He looks around for somewhere that they can go, considering then dismissing the toilets, and finally tugging Jesse toward the baby changing room.
“We can’t go in there,” Jesse hisses.
Andrew flashes him a smile. “Nothing kinky,” he promises, “I’m not going to make you wear a nappy.” Jesse doesn’t crack a smile and Andrew sighs. “It’s this or the men’s toilets and that’s just horribly unromantic, so.”
“And this is better?” Jesse asks then, “Wait? Romantic? Aren’t you going to punch me?”
Andrew shakes his head. “I didn’t really give you a chance to tell me the truth, did I? I kind of threw myself at you.”
Jesse shakes his head. He starts to lean back against a counter that runs along one wall then makes a face and straightens up again. “Don’t do that,” he says, “Stop being so nice. I had plenty of time to tell you.”
“Why didn’t you, then?” Andrew asks, reasonably, he thinks.
“Because.” Jesse waves a hand. “Because you were so sick and confused and you were happy when you thought we were together and I didn’t want to take that away from you.” He stops flapping one hand to hold it up, halting Andrew’s next sentence. “Which doesn’t make me a good person. I didn’t have to kiss you or anything.”
“There was no anything,” Andrew reminds him, “You didn’t let us have sex.” He hesitates then takes a deep breath and forces himself to add, “And you didn’t really lie to me, you just jumped the gun a little.”
Jesse frowns. “What do you mean?”
Andrew needs to be touching Jesse for this. He puts his hands on Jesse’s wrists, pleased when Jesse doesn’t shake him off. “I mean, yes, we’re not together but we were kind of on the path to it.” He swallows, suddenly unable to look away from Jesse because this is too important. “At least, Justin said... And I thought so too, maybe?”
Jesse makes a sound that isn’t quite a word and then he’s sinking back against the wall, covering his eyes with his hand. That really isn’t what Andrew wanted to happen.
“How do you not hate me?” Jesse asks, sounding stunned. “I hate me.”
“Yes, well.” Andrew clears his throat. “I don’t. I love you. I tried to tell you that the other day but you wouldn’t let me.” He remembers something suddenly and feels his pulse quicken. “You said you loved me though.”
“Oh god,” Jesse groans. “I was really hoping you’d develop secondary amnesia and forget that. Can we forget that?”
“No!” Andrew tells him, appalled at the idea. “Well, unless you didn’t mean it?”
Jesse stares at him. “Of course I meant it,” he says, “I’m the idiot who flew across the country to gatecrash your recovery and was so obviously crazy about you that I practically Stockholemed you into thinking we were together and - ”
“Jesse,” Andrew interrupts gently. “What are we arguing about?”
Jesse looks up at Andrew with big eyes. “We’re not,” he says, “I’m just freaking out. Feel free to stop me, if you can.”
Andrew laughs. “Okay,” he says and covers Jesse’s mouth with his own.
“Mmph,” says Jesse, pulling back just far enough to say, “That wasn’t quite what I meant,” and “Really?”
“Really,” Andrew promises.
“I’m sorry,” Jesse says again, staring at him.
Andrew shakes his head. His automatic inclination is to tell Jesse that it’s okay, he really isn’t angry, but he knows Jesse won’t accept that. “I forgive you,” he says instead and, this time, Jesse kisses him before he can kiss Jesse.
Justin lets out a whoop when he sees Andrew leading Jesse across the car park. He’s sitting on the bonnet of his car, iPod in his ears and a ridiculous wooly hat pulled down over his eyes.
“So?” he asks, dragging the word out suggestively.
Stupidly, Andrew feels himself start to blush.
“It was very exciting,” Jesse says, bumping his knee against the back of Andrew’s leg when Andrew stops by the car. “Andrew leapt a security barrier and wrestled a police dog and rappelled down the side of the building to land at my feet.” He’s smiling, all bitten bottom lip and downcast eyes and he’s talking rubbish, obviously, but Andrew is just so pleased that he’s done something to make him happy that he doesn’t even correct him.
“Whoo, go Gadget Garfield!” Justin says, hoping off the car and making victory arms which he then flings around the two of them. He ushers them both into the backseat of the car then turns around from the driver’s seat. “Where do you want to go now? C’mon, I’ll drive you anywhere; I am totally Cupid’s winged chariot today.”
Personally, Andrew wants to go back to his flat and have all the sex that they haven’t been having over the last few days. He doesn’t know if Jesse is prepared to move that quickly though.
“Can you give us a ride back to Andrew’s?” Jesse asks before Andrew can decide what to say. He shoots Andrew an unreadable look. “That’s okay, right? All my stuff’s still there and, um, I miss my book and - ”
“Book,” Justin scoffs from the front seat. Andrew wishes they were in a taxi so he could close the privacy screen. “You get your ‘book’, dude. Should I stop at a pharmacy in case your book needs lube and condoms?”
“That makes no sense,” Jesse says, sounding a little strangled but somehow less embarrassed than Andrew feels.
Andrew’s distracted from his embarrassment though by a horrible realisation. Shit, he has no idea if he does have anything like that in the flat. Not that he’s counting on Jesse having sex with him or anything, but he wants to be prepared just in case.
Jesse puts his hand on Andrew’s thigh and leans in close. “You do,” he murmurs quietly. “In your bathroom cabinet behind the mouthwash.”
Andrew laughs, relieved and still flustered. He covers Jesse’s hand with his and they stay like that for the rest of the journey.
Justin drops them off at Andrew’s building with a truly horrible amount of winks and innuendo but at least he does actually leave.
Andrew and Jesse don’t say anything to each other in the lift up to Andrew’s floor but they keep meeting each other’s eyes and smiling so Andrew doesn’t think Jesse’s having second thoughts or anything.
Andrew locks the door behind them once they reach his flat and they stand looking at each other for a couple of minutes before Jesse moves away and starts to drift around the living room, maybe checking that Andrew hasn’t burnt any of his stuff or something.
Jesse fingers brush the spine of the book he left on Andrew’s coffee table but he doesn’t stop, just turns around and holds out his hand.
“Can we?” he asks. “If you’re sure, I mean. If you’re not sure, if you really do hate me, then just tell me and I promise I’ll slink away and you’ll never have to - ”
“Jesse,” Andrew says, “I just reenacted Life As We Know It for you. I’m more than sure.”
Jesse bites his lip. “I have no idea what that is. Is it a movie?” He flaps a hand before Andrew can answer. “Never mind, that’s not the point.”
Andrew feels himself start to smile. He’s always loved it when Jesse gets so overcome by all the things he wants to say they he goes flappy-handed and non-verbal.
“Yes, it’s a movie.” Andrew catches Jesse’s hands and tugs him forward. “Kiss me, now.”
Andrew doesn’t expect it to work, but it does. The wet drag of Jesse’s lips over Andrew’s sends a sharp, zinging pulse of want through him and he gasps, tipping his head back even though that breaks the contact. Jesse starts to kiss his jaw instead: soft, careful kisses that make Andrew need to sit down.
“Bed,” Andrew groans, looking up at the ceiling because he doesn’t want to lower his head and dislodge Jesse’s kisses. “Let’s go to bed?”
“Yes,” Jesse agrees then, “Wait, no. Your head?”
“Is better,” Andrew promises him. He doesn’t mention all the gaps he still has in his memory because he remembers Jesse and that will do for now.
In Andrew’s bedroom, Jesse blinks twice, says, “Right, then,” and kicks off his jeans. Then he blushes and scrabbles his way under Andrew’s duvet, spreading it across his lap.
“What are you doing?” Andrew laughs, watching him.
“It’s far too early in our relationship for you to see me naked,” Jesse tells him. “I’m thinking we should wait at least another fifty years for that.”
Andrew laughs again, like he knows he’s supposed to and tries not to react to another fifty years like it’s a promise.
“Is it too early for you to see me naked?” he asks, starting to unbutton his shirt.
Jesse sits up straighter, resting his forearms on his knees. “Definitely not too early for that,” he says quickly. He watches Andrew drop his shirt onto the floor and start to undo his flies. “And I would like some points for the fact that I didn’t mention that I’ve watched Red Riding a ridiculous number of times and therefore have already seen you pretty naked.”
“Okay,” Andrew agrees. He’s trying to decide if he should jump on top of the duvet or try to worm his way under it now that he’s taken off all his clothes. Under, he thinks, more skin contact. “In that case, I won’t tell you that I watched Cursed before I even met you.”
“Oh god,” Jesse groans and covers his face.
Andrew takes advantage of the fact that Jesse no longer has a deathgrip on the edge of the duvet to twitch it back and climb into bed beside him.
“Hey,” he says, putting his hand on Jesse’s face and turning him toward Andrew.
Jesse drops his hands, revealing pink cheeks and an uncertain smile. There’s pretty much nothing Andrew wants to do more than kiss him right now, so he does, pressing him back into the pillows which Jesse goes with, running his hands down Andrew’s sides until his fingers hit one of Andrew’s bruises and Andrew hisses.
“Shit,” Jesse says, snatching his hand away. “Sorry.”
“No, it’s fine.” Andrew shakes his head. He picks up Jesse’s hand, puts it back on his side. “Really. It’s okay.”
Jesse pulls back and looks closely at Andrew, raking his eyes down Andrew’s torso, presumably inspecting his bruises. When he guides Andrew over to lie on his back, Andrew doesn’t resist.
There’s a particulary sore bruise right over Andrew’s right hip, but it doesn’t exactly hurt when Jesse kisses it, that’s not the feeling at the front of Andrew’s mind at all.
“I was so scared,” Jesse whispers against Andrew’s skin, “When Emma called me, I just wanted to be here.”
Andrew reaches down and strokes his curls back from his forehead. “You are here,” he says. “Thank you for being here.”
Jesse looks up at him, propping his chin on Andrew’s stomach. “Anytime,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean I’m okay with you falling off any more high things. Let’s agree that you won’t do that again, all right?”
“Yes,” Andrew agrees. He’d agree to anything right now. “Absolutely.”
“Good. Good. Would you like a reward?” Jesse’s mouth drags slowly across Andrew’s stomach, stopping to drag the flat of his tongue over Andrew’s bellybutton.
Andrew arches up against Jesse’s mouth. “God,” he groaned, “God, Jesse, I’ve wanted this.”
“Sure,” Jesse tells him, wiping his mouth and smiling down at him crookedly. “When you thought you’d already had it.”
Andrew knows he’s teasing but, “Not just because of that,” he says anyway. “I wanted you when I thought I’d never get to have you too.”
Jesse ducks his head, kissing Andrew’s cock almost absently, it feels like. “Well now you’re just being silly,” he says, “There was never a time when you couldn’t have me.”
Then he sucks the head of Andrew’s cock into his mouth which, as a way to get Andrew to stop embarrassing him, is probably Andrew’s favourite.
Two days later, Andrew’s doctor clears him to return to the set for a few hours every day. Emma gives him a lift and Jesse tags along for, well, no reason at all other than that he and Andrew haven’t really been able to stop kissing or touching each other yet.
“Jesus,” Emma sighs, watching them in her rearview mirror when she stops at a red light. “How long have you two been together? Surely you should be out of the honeymoon phase by now?”
They’re not even doing anything, just holding hands and maybe sneaking a couple of tiny kisses, but Andrew still feels himself flush.
They haven’t told Emma that they weren’t really together when she thought they were. Mostly, Andrew suspects, because Jesse is a little scared of her. (“Trust me,” Jesse whispered urgently while they were waiting for Emma to pull up to the kerb. “She’d be much more interested in defending your honour than you were. Also, she hits.”)
“You’re just jealous because your boyfriend isn’t as hot as mine,” Jesse says now, squeezing Andrew’s fingers.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Emma says airily, but Andrew isn’t fooled.
“Do you have a boyfriend, Emma?” he asks, leaning forward and propping his chin on the back of her seat. “Do I know that? What’s he like?”
“Shut up,” Emma says, swatting at him over her shoulder. “And stop breathing on my neck, it’s creepy.”
“Is he dreamy?” Andrew asks, innocently.
Jesse leans in. “Apparently he’s delicious,” he whispers in Andrew’s ear.
Emma makes a strangled, exasperated noises. “I told you that in confidence, Jesse. Oh my god, I hate both of you. You should go back to being on separate coasts immediately.”
Andrew fees Jesse’s hand tighten around his. “No,” Andrew says seriously, “We really shouldn’t.”
It’s fun to tease Emma and Jesse is very good at helping. Andrew half remembers her now, but it’s more the feeling of friendship that’s come back than any real events yet. He’s almost sorry when they pull up to the lot, even though it means he’s one step closer to getting back to normal.
“Come on,” he says, hand on the door handle, anticipation making his leg bounce. Emma pulls into a space and he hops out, leaning back in to wait while Jesse unbuckles his seatbelt. “Oh,” he adds casually, “do you think anyone will mind that I can’t remember a word of the script.”
“What?” Emma accidentally elbows the horn. “Are you joking? Please tell me you’re joking. Andrew?” She twists around in her seat. “Tell me you’re joking.”
Andrew catches Jesse’s eye and grins. “Let’s see,” he says and turns toward the set.