"Relax," I ordered. "You're doin' great."
"You just keep telling yourself that."
"Go ahead, try again. A little harder this time," I directed. Jay repeated his previous motion with a little more force. "Y' almost got it, keep tryin'."
"Still having trouble?" Adam asked from behind us, laughing slightly.
"I don't want to hear anything from you," Jay growled at Adam, but didn't look at him. His face was focused with more attention that truly necessary for the task at hand. "You've done this longer than me, of course you're going to be better."
"Jus' relax, don't think too much about it," Jeff tried to help. He was grinning, too, trying to repress a laugh.
"Goddammit!" Jay cried out, half frustrated and half embarrassed. "You do realize that we're four grown men playing mini-golf, don't you?"
With that, he caught the little blue ball as it rolled from barrier to barrier - no where near the hole - and pitched into the nearest bend of the man-made creek that ran through the park. I snickered.
"I hate this game."
"I can tell," I consoled.
"Then can we play through?" Jeff asked, tossing his red golf ball in his hand. Adam stood next to him, the little club resting on his shoulder, smirking at Jay. Jay narrowed his eyes at Adam and stepped aside, letting Jeff set his ball on the green.
"Hey," Jay turned to me as Jeff took his putt. "What do you say we trade in these stupid clubs for some drivers and go to the driving range while l'il Adam and Jeffie finish the mini-links?"
"Aw, someone's jealous because they suck at putt putt?" Adam cooed in a condescending tone as he lined up his shot. Jay sneered at Adam's back and lifted his club over his head as if to strike.
"Sounds good t' me," I answered quickly, grabbing the club from Jay's hands. He turned to me, slightly surprised, then shrugged and stuck his hands in his pockets. I looked to Jeff. "We'll be over there, y'guys jus' come on over when y' done."
"Sure," Jeff nodded, and Jay and I turned back up towards the 'clubhouse.'
"Sweet! Hole in one!"
Jay spun quickly and tried to grab one of the clubs from my hand to go injure Adam, but I just kept walking forward, not letting go of the clubs. "C'mon, Jay."
"Show off," he muttered. We finally got to the booth, and I handed the kid behind the counter the clubs. We got a large bucket of golf clubs and two drivers, then headed in the other direction to the driving range.
"I have t' warn you, I'm not very good at this."
"Good," Jay answered, smirking slightly. "That's what you get for dragging me to play mini-golf."
"I happen t' like mini-golf."
"How old are you?" He asked, mockingly. I didn't respond, just set down the bucket between two of the tees. There was no one else out here, which was most likely because it was quarter til eleven and pitch black out. The place was going to close soon and most people had cleared out. I grabbed a golf ball and set it on the flimsy plastic tube as Jay did the same.
"So," I called back to Jay as I swung back to hit the ball, "havin' fun t'day?"
"Eh," Jay answered back. There were two 'whooshes,' as our clubs swung through the air, then two clicks, seconds apart. Jay's ball fell somewhere between the 200 and 250 signs. I'd rather not say where mine landed.
"You didn't even get to the 150 sign!" Jay laughed.
I blushed, turning to grab another ball. "Thanks, Jay. I 'ppreciate that."
"Try again. A little harder this time," he smirked at me. I raised my brow at him, as if to show that I could possibly kill him if I were so inclined. He didn't take the hint. He instead took a southern accent. "Jus' relax, don't think too much about it."
"Shut it, Jay."
He grinned once more and we turned from each other and set up our next shots. "So did you have fun today?"
I sighed, thinking of how hard it had been to convince Jeff and Adam to hang out with us, then how they practically ignored us all night so they could hang all over each other. With my annoyance at them, I took another swing at the golf ball before saying anything snide to Jay.
Wow, it went past the 300 sign.
"Something wrong, Matt?"
I held my tongue. I didn't want to whine at Jay. I'd had a great time with him today. But Adam and Jeff had really brought me down. "No, Jay, I -"
Before I could finish my thought, Jay timidly took my hand. I turned to him, surprised that he was so close, then smiled hesitantly. "What is it?"
"Well... um..." I sighed and started again. "Jeff an' Adam."
Jay frowned, looking away. "Forget them. We've learned our lesson."
I blinked at him, surprised, and he dropped my hand. I'd never heard him say anything bad about Adam before. He walked back to his tee, grabbing a ball as he went, and lined up his shot. Finally, I spoke. "What do y' mean?"
Jay looked up at me and raised a brow. "You won't get mad if I talk bad about Jeff?"
"Um, no," I stuttered, curious as to what he would say. He looked back down again.
"They're nothing but two self-involved drama queens." Click. That one went over by my second shot. My silence seemed to inspire Jay to elaborate. "I mean, last week they were breaking up and... well, you saw them today. We might as well have not been there. I don't know Jeff as well as Adam, but Adam didn't used to be like that."
"Jeff either," I muttered, as we simultaneously reached for another ball.
"And when I told Adam that we hooked up? He didn't give a damn." Click, click. "It didn't used to be like that."
"Jeff used t' be so happy f' me when I found out someone was interested in me," I mumbled, mostly to myself, as I reached for another ball. Jay, however, seemed to have heard me.
"It's jus' not the same," I sighed.
"You know, Adam is a great guy, really. But ever since he found Jeff... he just doesn't seem to care about me. I never get to spend time with just Adam. And time with Adam and Jeff, I'm just a... well, a third wheel." Jay sighed and swung his club again, halfheartedly. The ball landed in front of the 200 sign. I frowned. I guess Jay really had been feeling like I did. Jay had never mentioned it directly, and I was beginning to think it was just me. Jay laughed slightly, distracting me away from my thoughts. Click. "That's so fucking cliche."
"Maybe. But it's still true."
Jay hesitated as I turned back towards him, then frowned slightly. "You, too?"
"Well, I didn't know about you an' Adam, but it's damn true f' Jeff an' me."
Jay watched me blankly for a moment, then I turned back to my golf ball and took a swing. Click.
"I didn't know... I mean.. well, I assumed that since he was your brother..."
I grabbed another ball as Jay stumbled through an incomplete thought. "Nope, jus' the same."
"I'm glad I found you, Jay."
There was a moment of silence, then, "You found me?"
"Well, I, ah..."
"I believe it was me who made the first move," Jay retorted, taking another swing. I blinked at him, surprised, then silently stepped up behind him, resting my hands on my club.
"Y' mean the night y' knocked on the closest door so y' could watch y' hockey game and jus' got lucky when it was mine?"
"I... did that on purpose," Jay answered, faltering as he jumped in surprise. He turned to me, his brow knitted with confusion.
"Right, jus' like y' tricked me int' kissin' y' at that bar?"
Jay hesitated, then smirked with a short laugh. "Yeah."
I grinned back at him and was about half a second away from kissing him silly again when -
"We're ready t' go back t' the hotel now."
Now, don't get me wrong, I love my brother dearly. But that does not mean that there are not a countless number of times daily that I want to throttle him to death. This happened to be one of those times. Jay's eyes darkened a moment as he looked over my shoulder and I could tell that he wasn't pleased, either. As it turned out, Adam had driven us all out here, so we had to leave together, too. Not even turning around to face them, I rolled my eyes and answered, "We only have a few more left. We're almost done."
Jay flashed me a quick smile and we both reached over to grab another ball. I don't know about Jay, but I was planning on taking my time.
"No, no, I let y' win."
"I doubt that, I beat you by seventeen strokes."
"What are y' tryin' t' say?"
I rolled my eyes. Sure, it sounded cute, but they'd been doing this since they came over to the driving range. You. No, you. No, you. No, you. Awww. If I still had that golf club I would have turned around and clobbered them both. Thank God we were finally at the hotel. Jay and I had decided to forgo the formalities that we used to go through with our travel companions and booked rooms together for this trip. And it was a damn good thing that we did because I'd had just about enough of Jeff today.
"Maybe I'm trying to say that you suck."
"I thought y' liked it when I -"
La, la, la! I winced, trying to pretend like I didn't just hear that. That was my little brother for Christ's sake! I cast a glance to Jay, who was examing the carpet of the hotel hallway with a disgusted look on his face. We finally reached Adam and Jeff's room and left them behind without so much as a goodbye. Not that they would have heard it if we had tried.
You. No, you. No, you. No, you. Awww.
"Jesus Christ, they didn't even make it in the room."
I looked over to Jay, surprised, and then back to Adam and Jeff. They had opened the door, but were standing in the hallway, trying to swallow each other's tongues. Not that there was anything wrong with that. I'd been thinking of doing that to Jay all day, but I had the decency to wait until we were alone, at least. Seven more doors.
"They were so close, really. One more step and they would have been in their room...." Five more. "There's a time and a place for everything, but those two just seem to think that all the times and places are theirs..." Three. "I understand that they like each other, but not everyone wants to see that, and..." One. I fell back behind Jay as he unlocked our door, still explaining how Jeff and Adam were being inconsiderate. "They'll be alone all night, couldn't they have waited -"
As soon as the door closed behind me, I dropped my luggage, turned on Jay, and gave him that kiss that I'd been waiting all day for. Jay was surprised at first, but cooperated willingly.
"As I was saying, there's a time and a place for everything and..."
"I waited 'til we were in the room," I smirked, picking up my bag again.
As I spit my mouthwash into the sink, I noticed how suddenly quiet it had gotten. Jay must have turned off the TV and gone to sleep. I turned off the bathroom light on my way out and found Jay curled up with a pillow on half of the bed. Yes, half of the bed. He had carelessly - or carefully, I was still debating which - booked us a room with one bed. I smiled to myself, climbed onto the bed, and reached over Jay to turn off the lamp.
I nearly fell out of the bed when he reached up and grabbed my arm. "Christ, Jay, I thought you were asleep."
He laughed slightly, sounding half asleep. "Almost. I was just thinking."
"Yeah?" I asked, laying back down again. Jay didn't let go of my arm, so I left it draped over him, feeling comfortable like that, and rested my head on the back of his pillow. Funny, I'd never noticed how nice his hair smelled before. Wait, wait, you're in the middle of a possibly important conversation. Right. "About what?"
"Adam and Jeff."
I sighed. "I thought y' said t' forget them."
"I did," Jay answered quietly. "But I can't help but wonder..."
"Do you hate Adam?"
"Well, I guess hate is a strong word. Do you blame Adam for how Jeff treats you now?"
I sighed. "Now? No. I did at one point in time, but after that stunt Jeff pulled in Minnesota, I realized Adam's not drivin' him crazy, he's drivin' himself crazy."
Jay shifted slightly, moving closer to me, then set his hand on top of the one I laid on his stomach and interlocked his fingers with mine. "It's not all Jeff's fault. Adam does have an unusual ability to get what he wants, one way or the other."
"You don't have t' defend Jeff."
"You don't have to defend Adam."
I hesitated. "So how does this change things?"
"Well, are we goin' t' jus' stop talkin' t' Adam an' Jeff?"
"Do we really have a choice?"
"It's not that bad..." I trailed off and sighed, remembering how I really haven't talked to Jeff since I told him to get back with Adam. "Ok, I guess it is."
"Yup," Jay muttered.
I stopped. "Y'know the odds that Adam an' Jeff are thinkin' of us right now are slim t' none, right?"
"I know," Jay sighed. "So I guess we shouldn't waste our breath on them either, huh?"
"That's what I was thinkin'."
"Especially when we can be doing much more productive things."
I smirked. "Really? Like what?"
"Sleeping," Jay answered, shutting off the light.
"Has anyone ever told y' that you're a tease?"
"Nope," he muttered, burying himself further into my arms. Yes, he really was going to sleep.
No response. I kissed the base of his neck softly and was met with soft, even breathing. He was sleeping already. I smiled to myself as I closed my eyes to follow him off around the bend.
Well, he wasn't Jeff. But that was ok.
More than ok.