Jeff moved his plan around the back seat, making noises. Suddenly his hand started plummeting. "Mayday, mayday, the plane's crashing. Something's wrong captain," Jeff yelled. Nick's hand swooped underneath him, a little Superman action figure in his hands. He put his hands under Jeff's, lifting it back up.
"There's no need to fear. Superman is here!" Nick laughed, nudging into Jeff and smiling widely.
"Thank you, Superman." Leaning over, he rested his head on Nick's shoulder, smiling as Nick brought their hands further up, the toy plane balancing in front of their faces. Nick's head tilted down, and they bumped noses, smiling at each other. As Nick stuck out his tongue, grazing against the tip of Jeff's nose, the plane slipped from Jeff's fingers, but he didn't notice.
"No problem, Jeffy," Nick said, smiling. Jeff's eyes moved over to his empty fingers, and he quickly pulled back, snatching up his toy and putting it back in place. He rested back against his seat. "Where are you going?" he asked, using his 'Superman' voice again.
"To the mall!"
"Super-speed!" His hand zoomed forward, and they laughed, looking out the window. The mall, coincidentally, appeared, and they laughed, squirming against their seatbelts. After a minute or two, when they had parked, they were bounding out of the car, jumping eagerly up and down. Their toys lay abandoned on the back seat of the car.
Nick and Jeff nudged each other as they walked into the mall, looking around. This one was a lot bigger than the one in Westerville, and their jaws went slack as their eyes darted around. They had barely walked in when Nick's and Jeff's eyes fell to a store. The store's name, in cursive pink letters read: Sweet Spot. Stacks of candy – from gummies to chocolates to lollipops – lay spread out in the store windows. Jeff's mouth watered, and he looked over at Nick before bouncing up and down with a renewed energy.
Turning to their mothers, their eyes went wide, and their lower lips jutted out. "Please can we –"
"It looks so good –"
"Please. Please. Please."
"All kinds of candy –"
"Can we please? Can we?"
"Need it to survive –"
Their sentences overlapped and melted together, and their mothers looked down at them before laughing. Nick's mom turned to Jeff's, smiling. "I'll take them, Deborah." Jeff grinned widely, his eyes fixing on the candy store. When Jeff's mom nodded, mouthing a thank you, Jeff rushed in, Nick trailing behind him.
The store was bigger than any other candy store Jeff had ever been in. "Woah, look!" Jeff pointed at tubes with rainbow-colored powder, stacked twice as tall as they were.
"Don't get too much!" Nick's mom's words fell to the back of their mind as they ran off, gaping at it. Jeff's mouth watered, and glanced around, trying to decide what he wanted.
"This is amazing." Nick's voice was small, and his eyes widened in awe as he stared around.
"It's like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory!" Jeff said, smiling as he turned toward Nick. His eyes moved quickly back to the store; he had no clue what he wanted. Well, no, that wasn't true. He wanted one of everything, but that wasn't about to happen. There was a tug at Jeff's hand, and he was dragged down another isle by Nick. He laughed, feeling light. Everything looked absolutely amazing, and as Nick pointed to a set of gummies out of their reach, he grinned.
"Shark gummies, Jeffie!" He jumped up and down excitedly, and Jeff nudged him as he saw some sour gummy worms.
"This is so cool. Can we just live here?" Jeff asked. For a moment, he could almost absurdly imagine him, sleeping on the floor, curled up next to Nick, living in this store, and he smiled. Nick smiled back at him, and for a moment they seemed calm before that bubble of peace popped.
"Yes, let's! We can eat candy all day long, and we can stay up as late as we want. I like this idea." Nick stretched up on his tip-toes, trying to reach the bin with the gummy sharks. Jeff watched, a smile rising on his lips. Moments later, though, a stack of gumballs at the end of the shelf caught his eye, and he wandered in its direction.
There were all sorts of jawbreakers and mini-candies and gumdrops and chocolates. He looked around, trying to take it all in, and he stumbled around aimlessly, unable to decide what he wanted. Everything looked absolutely mouthwatering.
It took a while, but after Nick's mom started telling them to pick a few things out, Jeff managed to settle on the sugary powder, some sour gummy worms, sour blue raspberry spray, and some pop rocks. He tore open the package of pop rocks and threw it in his mouth as soon as they bought the candy, and he looked over at Nick. His mouth opened and closed, and he giggled, almost choking on the candy as the fizzling sound got louder and softer.
"You sound all funny," Nick said, giggling. He had snatched fudge, a few chocolate bars, and a giant lollipop. Jeff knew his tongue got sore after eating too many sour things. Still, the lollipop was the size of his face, and as he pulled it out, Jeff couldn't help but stare. His mouth watered, and he squirmed a bit. They made their way out of the store, walking in front of their mothers, and Jeff licked his lips.
Nick carefully unwrapped it before throwing the wrapper away in the trash, and he stared excitedly at it. "This thing is huge," he said, staring at it for a moment longer. His tongue darted out, and he lapped at it before grinning broadly. It's really good. Do you want to try it, Jeffie? We can share it if you want." Jeff opened his mouth, knowing he should say no. "Really, it's okay." After a moment, he nodded.
As he leaned forward, their heads bumped, and Jeff let out a small laugh. He licked at it as well, and a sweet and tangy taste filled his mouth. He smiled broadly and leaned down to continue licking at it. Occasionally, their noses would bump up against each other, but neither Nick nor Jeff cared. At some point, their tongues touched, and Jeff let out a high-pitched laugh as Nick's brow scrunched, but they didn't really care. After all, to Jeff, it was simply Nick, and to Nick, it was simply Jeff. When they were alone, the rest of the world seemed to fade away.
They didn't notice the odd looks some people gave them, though their mothers did. They both wished they could shield their sons from the worlds judgments, and were glad that at least for now they could let it be. Their mothers also noticed how at some point, Jeff's hand slid into Nick's, and the walked down the mall with their arms pressed up against each other and fingers linked, and they smiled.