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Five Times Jack and Bitty Slept Together Before They Slept Together (Plus One Time After)

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They had a roadie the second weekend after Eric got put on Jack's line: Friday night at Colgate, Saturday at Cornell. They drove out to Colgate Thursday after classes; on Friday before the game they practiced and watched tape and did homework, or at least had study time. They beat Colgate by two goals from Jack (two assists from Eric!!) and then piled back into the bus to make the seventy-mile drive to Ithaca before they slept so they could do pretty much the same thing all over again on Saturday.

Only it started snowing. And it did not stop snowing. Ransom and Holster did a whole Great Lakes Shit PowerPoint presentation with sound effects and theme music that explained about Lake Effect snow. It seemed to boil down to: it will probably never stop snowing and we may just live on this bus now forever.

Four hours after leaving Colgate they finally got to Ithaca, and Eric wanted nothing but to be warm and horizontal and finally, finally sleep. For once, Shitty's hotel room nudism wasn't even going to bother him.

Only Lardo came away from the hotel check-in desk with an expression that combined fury and exhaustion and said, "So due to the storm and our late arrival, they gave away some of our rooms. I can go try to fight it out with them or you guys can just double up some more in the rooms we've got and everybody can go to sleep sooner."

There was an immediate wave of agreeing mutters--everyone knew better than to ask anything more of Lardo right now--and Lardo started combining room assignments. Eric was still shivering even though the lobby felt like it was a hundred degrees after the chill of the bus; he wasn't sure his toes or fingertips would ever be warm again. When Lardo said, "Jack, with Shitty and Bits," Eric was half-dreaming, thinking that would be a real fun line combination but he didn't know if he had another shift in him.

He let himself be steered by a big hand on his shoulder to the elevator. Jack's hand, he realized, when they got in and he saw their reflections in the polished doors. Jack was with him and Shitty--in their hotel room. Jack usually got his own--captain's privilege, he thought, but also one of those Jack-things that mostly no one talked about.

"Lord," Eric said, belatedly considering who else didn't usually share a room on the road, "did she double up the goalies, too?"

"Johnson was saying something about whether or not he even exists in this scenario," Shitty said, rubbing his eyes. "I think maybe his girlfriend was coming to this game and already had a room? I don't know, it's too late and I'm too sober to try to understand Johnson."

"Fair enough," Eric agreed.

Jack's hand was still on his shoulder. Jack steered him out of the elevator and to their door, and unlocked it with his free hand. He only let go of Eric when he took a step inside, and then he stopped short. Eric collided with him, and Shitty plastered up against Eric's back, and--

Oh. Oh no.

There was only one bed. It was king-sized, but it was still only one bed, and there were still three of them.

And Eric was the frog, here, and Shitty and Jack both knew he was gay; they might not have a problem with it most of the time, but he could see how this was going to go. He felt like crying at the thought of sleeping on the floor or in the bathtub with whatever thin, awful extra blanket was left in the closet. There was an armchair, but it was right under the window, and he just knew the cold would radiate off the glass.

"I'll call for a cot," Jack said firmly.

Shitty made a scoffing noise and pushed, and Jack and Eric both stumbled forward, so they were all fully inside the room. "No fuckin' chance there's gonna be cots left, man. It's obviously lucky we even got a room. Come on, roadie snuggle time in the king bed."

He was stripping as he walked over to the bed, leaving a trail of clothes before he climbed in naked.

Eric squeezed his eyes shut. "I'll just..."

"Go get changed," Jack said, captainly and stern. "I'll take middle, you sleep on the other side. Shitty's right, we're not going to get anything better."

Eric stared for a moment, trying to process what Jack had said, until Jack gave him a push and went to pull the curtains on the window. Eric stumbled into the bathroom and put on his pajamas, and was abruptly warm enough to have to pee and did that, too.

When he came back out the lights were all off except the lamp on the far side of the bed, and the covers were flipped down on that side. He could see the shadowed shapes of Jack and Shitty taking up only, exactly, two-thirds of the bed, leaving a space for him. His eyes prickled with tears again, and he hurried over like someone else might take his spot if he didn't.

He gasped a little at the warmth when he got under the covers, and hurried to turn off the light and snuggle down.

He'd thought he wouldn't be able to stay awake if he wanted to, once he was lying down and warm, but with the lights out he was intensely aware of the weight--the sheer closeness--of Jack and Shitty taking up the rest of the bed. Jack had his back turned to Eric; his big broad shoulders raised up the comforter like a tent that Eric was lying under, and his weight indented the mattress so Eric was tilted toward him.

Eric pulled his pillow down. It was one of those enormous ones, where he could rest his head on one end and curl around the rest, holding it to his chest so he didn't miss the presence of Señor Bun so much. Now it was a little bit of a shield, too, blocking him from rolling into Jack, cuddling closer to that warmth. They might not mind sharing the bed with him, but... well. He knew better than to risk it.

He closed his eyes and tucked his face into the pillow, wriggling his toes to appreciate that they were finally warm, and then he was asleep.

Eric woke up to the sight of Shitty's naked limbs a little closer than they usually were on roadie mornings. After a few blinks, he remembered that they were sharing a king-sized bed, and then he remembered that they were also sharing it with Jack.

It wasn't Jack that Shitty was sprawled over, though. It was Jack's duffel bag. Eric realized the shower was running, and slowly, sleepily put together the sequence of events: Jack had woken up first, and put his duffel bag in the middle of the bed, where he had slept. Probably to keep Shitty from snuggling up to Eric exactly the way he was currently spooning the duffel bag.

Eric ducked his head down, hiding his smile in the pillow, and resolved to bake something special for Jack when they finally got home.