Jon's always thought of himself as a straightforward guy. He had a pretty good life, even before this Hail Mary chance at being in a band again--good friends, close family, the best job he could ask for. He never really thought anything was missing.
But a week away from Panic (if he's being mostly honest) and it's like he's got the shakes, like he needs something in a way he hasn't before. His mom is making a big deal that he's home, back from months on the road. His brothers have come in to spend some time with the family, and a stream of friends are always trying to catch up with him. It feels like some kind of dream, like nostalgia or wistfulness, to be back here when he keeps thinking about being on the road with Panic.
Or, okay, whatever. Being totally honest, with Spencer.
Jon hadn't really paid attention before, out with TAI or shooting the shit with the road crew, to any of the Panic kids other than to say hey or maybe trade merch on laundry desperation day. Spencer had just been that kid that was glued to emo-kid's side all the time, occasionally flying in the face of expectation by wearing a pink t- shirt or vintage wing-tips.
But then, the band, and then, Spencer. He became this whole other thing, this guy with the quick wit and the flashpaper smile who always, always knew what was going on. It's like Spencer is tugging on him, pulling him in one direction, half a step behind. Even when Jon is in Chicago and Spencer is in Vegas.
Jon thumbs at the phone in his pocket, right over the white threads where he's worn a crease in the denim. He's thinking about calling. It hasn't been that long since they talked--Brendon keeps sending him emoticon-laden texts about what he's doing, what he's eating, what song is on the radio. And Ryan forwards him the weird shit he finds on the internet. But there's been almost nothing from Spencer, apart from a wave in a picture Brendon sent him a couple days ago.
Jon wants to know what's going on and how it feels to be off tour. He wants to feel like he's being missed as much as he's missing them all. And he wants to know if Spencer's feeling as weird as he himself is.
His mom asks him if he wants more salad and his brother hands him a beer despite the eyeroll his dad makes. Jon eats dinner without really paying attention, answering questions and listening to his brothers fight about hockey. His hand keeps ducking down to his phone, and it doesn't buzz once as they finish dinner, clear the table, wash the dishes, and settle in to watch the game.
"I'm gonna--" he says when he can't handle it any more, and his brothers complain when he crosses in front of the team. His dad catches his arm, smiles at him and tells him how happy they are that he's back home. Jon gives him a weak smile and hopes it's not too obvious that he wishes he were somewhere else entirely.
He goes out into the backyard and watches the wind ripple the water in the pool, listens to the next door neighbor put his trash on the curb. He pulls out his phone and scrolls backwards through his text messages, past Ryan and Brendon and Carden and Siska and his mom and Tom and finally lands on the last one Spencer sent to him, a week and a half ago when they were so close to finishing.
thanks for the ice cream ;)
It was such a little thing, bringing Spencer back an ice cream sandwich from the gas station when they stopped and shoving it in the freezer for him when he woke up. But while Jon was out playing poker with Tom and Carden , Spencer texted him, and Jon stared at it for so long that Carden almost stole his pile of M&Ms.
He stares at it again now, and tries to figure out all the things it could mean. And when that gets too crazy, he runs his thumb over the place where Spencer's name is spelled, in lower case, and tries to decide whether to call or not.
Jon thinks he has a chance with this band, that he and Panic are a good fit. He doesn't want to mess that up. But he's always been a straightforward kind of guy, and he's never been in the habit of lying to himself. He wants Panic, he wants to play in front of people again, he wants to be on tour on stage and not just in the wings.
But he thinks he just might want this--want Spencer--a little bit more. So he takes a deep breath, and dials.
Ryan picks up and they say hi and talk for a minute, and then Ryan tells him to hang on a minute and Jon can hear a door open. He hears, Hey Spencer, Jon's on the phone, and there's a little scuffle before--
"Jon?" asks Spencer.
"Hi," says Jon.
"Hi," says Spencer.
There's a pause for a moment and then an intake of breath and Spencer says, "It's really weird being here without you."
Jon laughs. "It's weird not being there. Even though I've only ever been to venues in Vegas. I've never been to your Vegas."
"You should come," Spencer says, and then his breath hitches like he said that too quickly.
Jon is quiet for a moment, and then says, "When?"
"Soon," Spencer says, and Jon feels like his heart is beating really fast, like they're talking about things without saying them.
"Okay," Jon says. "I'll look at flights later."
He swears he hears Spencer smile through the phone line, and Spencer sounds relieved when he blows out a breath and says, "Good."
There's a weird echoey noise and something Jon doesn't hear clearly, but then Ryan's on the phone and Jon knows he's laughing at them both in his weird, dry way when he says, "Thank god, Jon, Spencer's been waiting forever for that."
Jon thinks maybe he's been waiting forever, too.