The camera paused. Contrary to Seth’s expectations, Jimmy straightened up from his muffled fit of laughter in time to hug him and Josh both and walk them back to the green room. He and Josh were engaged in an enthusiastic discussion about all the other times Josh put Seth in an ambulance, which Seth was not too thrilled about. Thankfully, the conversation was quickly ended by Jimmy’s assistant’s interruption.
By the time Josh sat down next to him on the red couch, they were alone in the lounge. Seth was finally fidgeting at will, his eyes focused intensely on the left sleeve of his shirt, trying to tuck it in his jacket and make it stay in. He’d been struggling with this goddamn thing ever since he walked onto that stage, and the asymmetry of his apparel refused to resolve itself. Granted, the awkward angle didn’t change just because subtlety was no longer a consideration offstage, but Seth refused to let it go.
Josh bumped his thigh into Seth’s knee lightly. “Want something to drink?”
Seth glanced at him, his busy fingers still tugging at his left wrist. “I’m good.”
“Doesn’t look like it,” Josh nodded at his hands. “You were at war with that thing for a solid 16 minutes.”
Seth scoffed, smiling, “you timed me?”
“Well, I wasn’t quite feeling the techno music.” Josh grabbed his forearm and lifted it away, a small quirk in his mouth, “I’ll do it.” He didn’t give Seth any room for hesitation, of course, shoving the much tortured tube of sleeve into the arm of the jacket, then tugging the black fabric over the white easily. Seth could feel the warmth of his brother’s finger pads on the cool skin of the back of his hand. He did not turn to catch Josh’s look on the back of his head.
The suit thing never came naturally to Seth. He would probably never admit it on camera, but part of the reason why he found stand-up was more relaxing was that he could dress as he liked. Admittedly, years of hosting and doing SNL eroded most of the discomfort away, but the suit never felt like second skin to Seth. It was one of those things time had proven that Josh could do better than him, amongst cooking, whistling, and snapping. The only residue of the childish resentment that came with the realization of inferiority was, in all honesty, the occasional OCD of misbehaving shirt sleeves. However, the thought of a permanent portrait of him wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans in the same living space as his brother’s infamous collection of formal wear still amused Seth from time to time.
He explained the reason behind this seemingly spontaneous idea to Josh a few years ago at a burger joint, long after he aborted the thought of actually buying the painting.
“I would have definitely liked it if you wore a plaid shirt,” Josh had replied, swallowing a bite of bacon cheeseburger. “Nothing like the joy of showing people exactly why that is the only plaid I have in my condo.”
Seth just smiled and stole one of Josh’s fries. The door of the restaurant chimed as it opened, bringing in a gush of the fresh smell of rain. He never intended to remember that many details, really.
By the time his sleeve was put in its place for good, the saxophone was playing and Elvis Duran had taken the stage. A couple of girls walked in and sat down across from them. Josh waved.
“The trick is to wear a watch, you know.” Josh turned to touch the crook of his elbow, “Or buy a new jacket.”
“Says the guy who wears cuff links since he was eight years old,” Seth chuckled quietly, leaning back to look at Josh.
“You know I’m right.”
“Yeah.” Beat. “When’s your flight?”
“The 29th. Why?”
“I haven’t seen you since,” Seth paused to smile at the curious girls from the other side, who flicked their eyes back to the TV stealthily. “well, you know. The male fashion department is as good as any place of hangout. How does tomorrow sound?”
“I see,” Josh let out a dramatic exhale and adjusted his tie, “I’ll have to clear my schedule, but okay.” The quirk on the corners of his lips was still going strong. Yeah, he was totally smirking.
“What?” He asked. Josh grinned wider and leaned in to him, his voice lowered.
“We should go to Macy’s, you know, the Chicago one? I kinda miss that painting that I never saw.”
Seth snickered. Great, he and his brother start thinking about the same things after the game. “Don’t worry, I’ll help you pick out your own plaid shirt.”
The laughter of the studio audience promptly soared from the overhead TV.