“We're friends, right?”
Jesse's head snaps up when he hears Andrew's voice. It's Saturday night and Andrew's usually not around, then – he's probably with his unusually large and gorgeous group of friends Jesse imagines him to have, drinking cheap red wine and talking about Stanislavski in some converted loft turned into a commune for people studying things like abstract ceramics – but there he is, looking at Jesse with a mildly accusing look on his face.
“We're friends. Right?”
“Well. It all depends on the definition – ” the look on face Andrew's face turns from mildly accusing to disappointed and really, Jesse feels like Andrew's face is some sort of curse sent to him by a malevolent Goddess of adoration and adorableness – “but, yes, of course we are.”
Andrew smiles, blinking at him innocently, like his face isn't doing evil and painful things to Jesse's internal organs. “That's what – good! Because I definitely consider you a friend. So I was wondering – why don't you ever come see any of my shows?”
Jesse blinks. “'Cause you've never invited me?”
“I've invited you every time!”
“What? No. You haven't, no.” Andrew's eyebrows are rising slowly and Jesse suddenly has an irrational fear they'll soon join Andrew's hair. “...you have?”
“Well yes! I've left you stacks of brochures and everything.”
“I thought those were for the other patrons.” Jesse's on the defensive, now, partly because maybe being on the defensive won't make him look quite as stupid as he feels and really, Andrew's accusatory stare is too much for Jesse's brain to handle.
“They were. But I left them with you and told you when the shows were. So why haven't you ever come and seen any of them?”
Jesse stares at Andrew and doesn't know what to do; shrugging would convey nonchalance but it would seem indifferent and aloof and Jesse feels like he needs to move, somehow express in one gesture how he's sorry he hasn't come, he does want to see Andrew's plays over and over again and when is the next one, please invite me but then Jesse remembers to breathe and the gesture comes out as mixture of a shrug and a desperate little flail to grasp Andrew's shoulder before he decides against it and pulls his hand away. Jesse feels like an idiot.
“I never. Well. I'd love to see the one you're rehearsing right now?”
The accusatory look disappears and suddenly Andrew's beaming at him and Jesse has to look away.
“Great! I'll put you on the list. For opening night.” Andrew smiles carefully. “Do you want me to add +1 for you, if you wanna bring someone?”
“Well. Sure, thanks, that would be great.” Jesse realizes his mistake the moment he's said it out loud, but before he can correct himself, Andrew's pulling away and nodding, smiling politely.
“Sure, okay. I'll do that, then. And thanks, it'll be nice to have someone hopefully rooting for me at opening night for once.”
Jesse's about to correct him but Andrew's already going. “It's on the 23rd, I really hope you can make it. I'll see you around, Jes.”
Jesse still wants to take it back, almost shouts after Andrew, because of course he doesn't want to bring anyone to the show since Andrew'll already be there, sort of, but Andrew's gone.
Emma has very little compassion for him the next day. “You'll just have to suck it up and go alone and be the person with the empty seat next to them, Jesse. Or y'know, you could just tell him you'll be coming alone and give the seat to someone who actually wants it. Doofus.”
“You're making it sounds so easy.”
“It is easy – Jesse, for the love of all things good and holy, he'll show up. He was here yesterday –”
“But I wasn't here yesterday, and I think he knows that.”
“He'll be here today or tomorrow or next week. Just tell him the only person you want to bring to his play is him and since – ”
Jesse groans. “Stop. Just stop.”
“So tell him!”
Jesse shushes her. “You're seriously too loud to work in a library, sometimes.”
Emma smacks him with the newspaper she's holding. “Shut up.”
Jesse sighs. “So I can't talk you into coming with me.”
“Oh, hell no. Besides, someone needs to work when you're off pining – “
“Never mind! Never mind. I'll go alone and deal with all the dirty looks from everyone's parents and best friends and I'll have to pretend I've been stood up or something.” Jesse pauses. “You think I could pull that off?”
“You're deranged. Go away. And no. You're the worst liar in the world, Jes, people would smell the lie on you. People up on the international space station would see you're lying!”
Jesse glowers at Emma. “Well, at least they wouldn't hear me, which more than I can say in your case.”
“Ha ha, Eisenberg. Man up. Tell him you coming alone. And while you're at it, tell him if he brings the art history book back by Thursday, I'll skip on the late fees.”
Andrew shows up two days later, smiling and perfect as ever. “Still coming to my show?”
“About that - “ Andrew's faltering smile makes Jesse rush his words. “It'll just be me, though, I won't. There's no need for two seats. Really.”
Andrew grins so widely Jesse can't help but grin back. “That's great! I can tell Stephen I do have a seat for Jon, after all.”
Jesse's very confused for a moment. “Stephen? As in my – I mean, Stephen from here?”
“Yeah. I was talking with him and Anderson and he seemed so excited that I invited them to come as well. I only had four seats to give, since, y'know, it's not the biggest theatre, but this is great.”
Jesse feels a little sick. Not because he's not glad people will be there to support Andrew, but it's still so disappointing, somehow. It feels stupidly like being excited on the 8th grade when his next door neighbor Mark invited him for a sleepover and then finding out everyone the block had been invited as well. Jesse refuses to believe he hasn't grown up at all in almost 15 years, but the feeling is still there. Well, at least there'll be something to discuss with the therapist.
“Well, that's great. I'm glad you have people rooting for you.”
Andrew smiles. “Thanks, Jesse. It means a lot to me that you guys are coming. Most of my friends are in the play themselves and it's not like mom and dad can fly over every time I get a lead in a student play.”
“You're the lead? I mean, you're the lead. Really? That's. Wonderful, Andrew. Seriously.” Jesse's not surprised but he's wondering why Andrew hasn't mentioned it before. “Congratulations.”
Andrew ducks his head, looking frighteningly like he's about to blush, and pokes Jesse in the arm. “Don't congratulate me yet, I barely know my lines and it's, like, three weeks until opening night.” He glances the clock. “Which means I have to go, I have so much more to do tonight. Bye, Jes.”
Before Jesse can react, Andrew's pulled him into a one-armed hug. The hug is there as fast it's gone and then Andrew's waving goodbye to him from the door. Jesse barely resists pulling the hem of his shirt over his head and sniffing it for any hint of the wonderful things Andrew smells like. Barely.