In the last week, the senator's fixation became getting Spencer to go home to Vegas to vote.
"In your own neighbourhood. At your own elementary school. It doesn't get better than that," he told them, shirtsleeves rolled up, pacing the plane.
He'd been on about it since he caught Spencer and Jon filling out their absentee ballots. They were at a picnic table outside the bus, and the senator was waking up from his nap.
"You're from Chicago?" He pointed at Jon. "So go to Chicago! You need to be where you need to be to know what you need." The senator gets himself worked up over things like this, but particularly when he's still half asleep.
"But I'm voting for you," Jon explained. "I needed to be here to figure that out."
"Oh, God," Spencer groaned. "You weren't going to vote Republican, were you?"
The next day, Jon dragged Spencer out of the VFW hall and made them walk four blocks to the nearest mailbox. But it was a gorgeous day, so he didn't complain too much. Spencer pulled his sunglasses out of his pocket and turned his face into the sun.
"Where's yours?" Jon asked, holding up his envelope. There were five different stamps in the corner.
"Oh." Spencer looked away and down. "The senator got to Ryan, apparently. He's making us fly to Vegas to vote, then we're roadtripping back to LA."
"An adventure." Jon sounded excited. Spencer was not.
"No, four hours in a car with Ryan and Brendon. I'd rather work a phonebank."
"What about the 5th? Where are you gonna be?"
They walked back to the bus, the long way around the push of people spilling out of the hall and into the street. Jon bumped into Spencer, a touch of their shoulders that could have been accidental, but wasn't. Spencer knew enough that it wasn't, and that made them both grin.
"California, probably. The senator's house in Laguna Beach." He looked over.
"Should I be there?"
"At the senator's house?" Spencer wasn't sure.
"We had our first date on the senator's plane," Jon shrugged.
"That wasn't a date."
"I was there. I'm calling it a date."
"You don't just get to call it a date because you want to, Jon."
"Not like you get to decide things because you want to." Jon kept walking when Spencer stopped. "I agreed. I didn't complain, but..." He trailed off when he turned around and didn't see Spencer there. Jon's hands moved restlessly. "Hey."
"Did I do that?" Spencer asked, gesturing up and down at Jon's twitching hands.
"I guess so." He grabbed his camera bag strap to stop himself. "I'm nervous. Aren't you nervous?"
"It's just a kiss."
"It's our first kiss. I don't know if you can handle it."
Spencer saw then what was going on. "Shut up," he said, rolling his eyes.
"I might just be too much for you, Spencer Smith."
"You suck." He bumped Jon's shoulder as he passed, on purpose, but for another reason entirely. He walked quickly to get ahead and away, ducking into the hall. Spencer looked back only once, through the open door, to see Jon holding up his camera. Spencer scowled. Jon took the picture anyway. He always does.
November 5th arrives without Spencer's permission. An early morning flight the wrong way across the country, and his day is shot even before he gets on the plane. The campaign isn't moving until the end of the week, when Josh sets up the transition office. The senator--the President-Elect, Spencer has to remind himself--will fly out with Josh and Donna tomorrow, but Spencer is on a different schedule.
He didn't hear from Jon until after the senator's acceptance speech, when Spencer's phone rang in his pocket, and he heard it only because he had ducked out of the ballroom to get some air.
"It's amazing what you did, Spencer," Jon had said. Spencer said he didn't do anything, but it did feel amazing.
Jon would meet him at Dulles, and he promised Spencer space on his couch for as long as he needed. "But the bed is so much more comfortable," Jon hinted, badly. He told Spencer not to eat on the plane because he had already found The Greatest Chinese Food Ever In Arlington, Spence, You Won't Believe The Moo Shu. In the same breath, he also asked Spencer to steal him some peanuts because he loves those things. Spencer already knew that. It makes this feel real, and they haven't even kissed.
He doesn't sleep on the flight east. He hasn't had a chance to close his eyes all week. He doesn't know what time it is or even what time it's supposed to be, and he let four messages from Ryan and three from Brendon go unanswered.
When they land in Virginia, Spencer has left behind all the joy he found watching the returns last night. He's tired and hungry and has stupid packages of peanuts in every pocket of his blazer. By the time he gets off the plane, he's operating on auto pilot. He follows, one with the crowd, around the corner and down the hallway and up the escalator, leaving two extra steps for the family with three boys above him. As he crests the slow-moving ride, the space frames Jon's head and a sign of posterboard, paint, and glitter. He's holding it up high. It reads PUCKER UP, SPENCER SMITH.
"You're such a dork."
"Yeah, but that's OK 'cause I don't need to impress you anymore."
"No," Spencer smiles and that feels new. "But you could kiss me."
Jon drops the sign between them, then kicks it away when he wants to get closer. He wraps an arm around Spencer's waist. He tilts his head one way, then another. Spencer just barely catches a sigh, but Jon knows him too well already.
"I'm planning my angles," Jon explains. "I want to get it right the first time."
If Spencer has learned anything on this campaign, it's that things get done when someone steps up to do them. Patience and restraint gone, Spencer takes Jon's face in both his hands and goes in for his mouth.
"It's already right," he says and, finally, they kiss. Finally, Spencer lets Jon lick his lips and slip his tongue inside, and, finally, Spencer lets Jon know just how much he likes it.
It happens for the first time there, in the Dulles arrivals terminal, between home and away and the rest of his life.