Adam wakes up most days now with Ronan pressed against him. It doesn’t matter if they’re pressed together out of necessity on his tiny mattress or out of need and want on Ronan’s larger beds at both Monmouth and the Barns. Ronan is always there, cheek against Adam’s shoulder or curled up under Adam’s arm, holding on to him as if someone might come and steal Adam away in the night if he doesn’t. Adam can’t fault him. For Ronan that’s probably a very real fear.
This particular Saturday morning at the Barns Adam comes to like any other morning, curled over on his side, arm settled against the groove of Ronan’s hip. He spends a few minutes appreciating the gauzy nature of the light coming through the thin white curtains and thinking about how appropriate it is that someone like Ronan was raised in that light, so unlike the darkness of his own small room back in the trailer. Then he hazards a look down at Ronan and all he can see is blood, trickling across the deep blue sheets and smeared on Ronan’s arms and hands. It scares his own blood cold.
“Ronan,” he hisses and nudges him gently. Adam knows by now that Ronan needs a few minutes after he wakes up to regain control of himself and he doesn’t want to jostle him too much, in case he’s really injured. He counts to thirty before nudging him again.
Ronan blinks up at him finally and Adam lets out a sigh of relief. Rather than terror Ronan’s eyes seem to have carried a heavy sadness back through with him. Adam wants to ask about it, but there’s a more pressing matter. He climbs gingerly over Ronan and pads naked to the bathroom down the hall. He retrieves a roll of toilet paper, a dusty bottle of rubbing alcohol, and a box of band aids. Ronan is sitting up in bed when he returns, carefully holding a jagged piece of glass and dripping blood down his arm onto his chest.
“Jesus,” Adam says. He takes the glass away from Ronan and lays it gently onto the bedside table. Then he wads up some of the toilet paper and shoves it at Ronan, who uses it to wipe futilely at the blood on his chest before pressing it into the palm of his hand and closing his fingers around it. Adam opens the bottle of alcohol and Ronan bats him away.
“I’m fine,” he says. “I’ll go and wash it.”
“Was that all there was?” Adam asks.
“Yes, that was it. I didn’t even mean to bring it back. I was just studying it when I woke up.”
“What is it from?” Adam dabs some alcohol onto another wad of tissue and uses it to wipe the glass down. It’s about the size of a dessert plate with sharp angles. There are two colors on it, a grey of the color you find at the center of dark, angry summer storm clouds and a gold the color of daffodils. Both colors are shot through with foggy veins that spiderweb through the glass.
“It’s nothing,” Ronan says in the heavy way of his that means it is definitely something. “If you can’t handle a little blood I’m not sure we should be sleeping together.”
He’s trying to regain some of this wry mask, Adam knows, because he thinks it will put Adam at ease if things appear to be as they usually are. For Adam, things haven’t been as they usually were since he and Ronan finally fell against each other and he would like to put off going back to the usual for as long as he can if he has a say in it. Adam rolls his eyes.
“It’s not the blood I’m worried about, idiot.” He places his hand against the blood still streaked across Ronan’s chest and leans forward to kiss him. Ronan inhales sharply and brings his uninjured hand up to cup the back of Adam’s neck.
They’ve been together for about a month and this is the most dangerous thing Ronan has yet to dream up, but Adam knows he still has nightmares. He would give anything to do away with those entirely, but he knows it’s not a problem he can fix anymore than he can get rid of his own nightmares.
He climbs closer to Ronan on the bed, needing to feel more of him as the kiss spools from simple comfort to something more urgent. Ronan breaks it off and places a smaller more chaste kiss to Adam’s lips before he says, “I should go clean up, but you’re more than welcome to join me.”
“I think I will.” Adam leans back to let Ronan climb out of the bed. “I’m just going to pull these first.”
“Sure,” Ronan says.
Adam drinks in the sight of him as he goes, lean and predatory in his movements with the tattoo gracefully outlining the muscles of his back. One of these days he’s going to make Ronan sit still long enough for him to be able to kiss every part of it. Once Ronan is gone Adam remembers what he’s meant to be doing and pulls the sheets off the bed. He drags them to the hallway to start a load of laundry in the washer, guessing the amount of bleach that should go into it. Then he goes back to the room to make sure the blood hasn’t seeped through to the mattress.
He considers the glass and wonders if it’s a religious thing. Adam picks it up and wraps it in his t-shirt from the night before to tuck into his messenger bag. There will be time to figure it out later.
When he finally makes it to the shower Ronan is trying futilely to reach his back with one arm with the washcloth and holding his injured hand outside of the spray of water. Adam climbs in and inspects the cut. It’s an angry red trench flanked by loose white skin, straight and deep and extending most of the way across Ronan’s palm.
“Does it hurt?”
“Of course it hurts,” Ronan says. Then he makes a frustrated noise and gives up on the washcloth.
Adam laughs and gently pulls it from his hand. “Give me that, turn around.”
“I wasn’t going to ask for that until you were ready,” Ronan says, turning and bracing himself against the wall of the shower with his good hand. “But there are condoms around here somewhere I’m sure.”
“You’re a jerk,” Adam says. He washes Ronan’s back, following the lines of his tattoo down to the swell of his ass.
“You love it.” Ronan turns his head to kiss Adam over his shoulder.
Adam leans in to meet him. “Yeah, I can’t help it,” he murmurs into Ronan’s mouth. “I have terrible taste."
Ronan retaliates by arching back against Adam and Adam wraps his arms around Ronan’s waist to hold him place. The water goes cold before he so much as shampoos his hair.
* * *
“It’s not from here,” Noah says, appearing just behind him.
“Are you sure?” Adam asks. “Maybe there’s other glass somewhere that I just can’t see unless I go inside.”
“I’m sure. I can see all of it.”
“That’s...really cool,” Adam says. “Can you see through everything?”
Noah shakes his head. “Only places I’ve been. It’s sort of like I can build my memories into models.”
“Did you go to church while you were in school?”
“Me?” Noah laughs. “No. But I come with Ronan sometimes. There’s room in their pew, and it’s interesting.”
“Don’t go being saved on me,” Adam says.
“I think I’m past saving.” When Adam turns around Noah’s voice is all that’s left and he can see Ronan walking towards him across the grass. His hand is still bandaged tightly with gauze
“What are you doing?” Ronan asks. “Casing the joint? You know they don’t actually leave the money in there.” Ronan looks down and sees the piece of glass in Adam’s hands and he stops short. “You kept that. I thought maybe you’d thrown it out.”
“I was curious,” Adam says, ducking his head sheepishly.
“It’s not from here.” Ronan closes the distance between them and pulls it from Adam’s hands. “I’m still surprised at how heavy it is, though I guess I shouldn’t be.”
“Held much stained glass in your time, have you?”
Ronan doesn’t look up. “It’s more like I’m familiar with this particular brand of it.”
“Dream glass,” Adam says.
“Yeah,” Ronan agrees, in an entirely unconvincing manner.
“Are you,” Adam begins. “If you’re mad I kept it you can have it back.”
“No,” Ronan says quietly. He places it back in Adam’s flat, waiting palms. “I want you to have it.”
Adam looks down at the glass and then up at Ronan’s face, which is shuttered in a way Adam has rarely seen, his lids low and his lips pursed. He carefully moves the glass to one hand and then stretches his free arm over Ronan’s shoulders, turning him toward the church office and his small apartment. Ronan stiffens.
Adam reads two things into this. The first is that Ronan knows how afraid Adam is of being overly touchy in public, because no matter how long he’s been out from under his father’s roof they’re still in that same small town he was raised in and he’s still afraid of word getting back to him about all the other ways in which he’s a disappointment. The second is that they’re standing on what is actually sacred ground for Ronan, just outside of his family’s church and the place where his father introduced him to the idea of faith.
“It’s okay,” he whispers. “We’re not doing anything wrong.”
Ronan looks him in the eye and squares his shoulders under Adam’s grasp. “Nothing we do is wrong,” he says, and there’s a bald conviction in his words that clutches at Adam’s heart.
“The street racing is probably objectively wrong.”
“I said ‘we’, Parrish. I do plenty wrong all on my own.”
“I’ve got some time, late shift tonight, if you’d like to put that to a test,” Adam says.
“That is the very reason I’m here.” Ronan slips out from under his arm, but he lets the back of his hand brush against Adam’s a few times as they walk side by side back to his apartment.
* * *
They’re in Cabeswater when Gansey broaches the subject, with all of the tact Gansey is capable of. Adam thinks it’s probably a good idea he doesn’t want to go into politics.
“So how are things with Ronan?” he asks.
Adam looks up from the map they’ve been filling in and frowns. “Fine, why do you ask?”
“I just wanted to make sure you guys were good. It’s a big change.”
Adam levels a look at him, trying to imitate the one Ronan uses to bend people to his will.
Gansey sighs. “Fine, I also wanted to make sure everything wasn’t going to get fucked, you know, before the quest is over.”
“I promise,” Adam says, mostly to watch Gansey blush, “that if anything is being fucked it is not the quest.”
Gansey rewards him by going a dim shade of pink. “It’s not that. It’s just, you’re both my friends. I want you to be happy.”
Adam takes some pity on him then, because that’s also all he wants. “I think we are happy,” he says. “For now anyway.”
Gansey opens his mouth, but he’s drowned out by the trees. A few of them begin swaying gently, but the chain reaction washes them in their susurrus voices relaying a message in Latin that boils down to the greywaren is happy.
Ronan turns to look back at them from farther down the path. He has an eyebrow raised. Adam shakes his head at him and Ronan shrugs. The trees quiet down.
Gansey looks chastened, caught out being nosy, but he smiles through it. “That’s all I wanted to know.”
“We’ll let you know if anything changes,” Adam says.
“Please do,” Gansey says. “But I hope it doesn’t.”
“Yeah.” Adam looks up the path to where Ronan is helping Blue climb one of the shorter trees. “I do too.”
* * *
Ronan shivers lightly. “What was that about,” he asks. “Earlier with Gansey?”
Adam looks up at him. He would brush it off entirely, except there’s a hesitancy in Ronan’s voice that he’s not used to. “He just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to knock you up in the back of the BMW. Threatened to wait on the porch with a baseball bat. You know, the full dad experience.”
It’s a joke, but Ronan’s face doesn’t lighten any. Adam slides his hands off Ronan’s sides and into the mattress so he can press himself up for better eye contact. “He was just checking in, I promise. Making sure all of his friends are okay,” he says. “Why?”
“Nothing,” Ronan says, looking away. He slides his hands down Adam’s back and clasps them behind his waist, anchoring Adam to him.
“Nothing never means nothing,” Adam says.
Ronan frowns. “I think he’s worried that you’ll decide you don’t want me after all and then our whole group will fall apart.”
The way Ronan says it makes Adam feel like Gansey isn’t the one with the hesitation. “Why wouldn’t I want you?” He dips his head down and kisses the side of Ronan’s neck before saying into his shoulder. “You are very wantable.”
Ronan let’s out a long, slow exhale. “It’s just a change though, right?”
“Well, yeah, but anyone was going to be a change from Blue. And at this very moment I promise I want you way more than I want Blue.” Adam slides his hand down to Ronan’s waist and slips his fingers under the band of his boxers.
Ronan rocks his hips slightly and leans up to kiss Adam’s lips, effectively changing the subject. Adam spreads himself back out across him. Ronan dips both of his hands into Adam’s boxers and cups his ass to hold them together as they move. It isn’t until later, with Ronan once again asleep against him, that Adam realizes that when Ronan had said ‘Blue’ what he meant was ‘girls’.
Adam’s not going to be able to honestly tell Ronan he doesn’t like girls anymore, and he doesn’t know what to do about that or if it even matters. He trails his hand lightly down Ronan’s back and wraps himself around him more tightly hoping to convey to the sleeping Ronan just how very here he is and how there’s nowhere else he wants to be.
* * *
At the end of the lesson Calla hands Adam the deck of cards back and their fingers brush. She tilts her head a little and smiles. “That’s good for you and the snake,” she says. “That boy definitely needed some balance in his life.”
“Thank you?” Adam says, thrown by the non sequitur. Still, it has the effect of centering something in him he hadn’t realized was off. Maybe he also needs some balance.
“Don’t thank me,” Calla says. “That sort of thing is never easy.” Adam doesn’t know if she means relationships in general or his specific circumstance. He nods and heads to the kitchen where Maura has made him tea.
Blue is sitting alone at the kitchen table, Maura having disappeared elsewhere. She watches him as he hesitantly sniffs at the cup. It smells like flowers this time and she nods to let him know this one is safe to drink. She pushes the sugar towards him so he can stir some into it.
She’s watching him more closely than usual, and when he pushes the sugar dish back towards the center of the table she says, “So, are you-”
“Blue Sargent! You know better!” Calla shouts from the other room, cutting her off.
Adam laughs. Since the arrival of Blue in their little group the four boys have found themselves unable to get away with a lot of careless things they would have before. It’s absolutely for the better he’s sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sometimes wear on them. It’s good to know that on occasion, Blue herself is subjected to the same thing. She tilts her head down and looks up at him through her hair.
“It’s okay,” he says. “What?”
“You seem to really like Ronan,” she says.
“I think that’s probably putting it lightly.”
She nods. “Do you like him differently than you liked me?”
Adam thinks about it for a few moments. About how when they’d first met he had found Blue so pretty that it caused his chest to ache with want. About how obsessed he’d been with the Red Power Ranger as a kid. About the squirreled away Victoria’s Secret catalogue his dad had been so proud to find in his room. About the picture he keeps in the glove box of his car of the attractive young male model in the dashing coat with the elegant car that represents everything he wants. About his mother asking him if there were any girls in his class that he liked. About the way his father said the word homosexual as if he was talking about dog shit that had been tracked into the house.
Outside of all of that he thinks about the aching beauty of Ronan’s eyelashes and hands and mouth. It feels a bit like the puzzle of the glass, only with this one he knows where all of the pieces fit since he’s been living them.
“No,” he says finally. “I don’t think so.”
“Huh,” Blue says.
“Yeah, that’s about it.” He laces his fingers together around his cup. “Why? Have you decided you’ll let me kiss you now?”
“What?” she says loudly. Blue pulls her head back, narrows her eyes, and closes over the open curiosity on her face with indignation. “That’s!”
“What you get for asking rude questions!” Calla bellows from the next room.
Adam smiles and takes another sip of his tea.
* * *
Adam feels like they spend most of their time like this. Tangled up together in sheets or shadows, marking one another and claiming one another. He knows that Ronan has always needed his hands to say what his words can’t and he thinks that part of this must just be what teenagers are supposed to do, but it also makes him feel wanted in a way he never has before. So he gives back as good as he gets, trying to say it back.
Ronan is kissing his way up his thigh when Adam says, “Blue asked after you yesterday.”
“Did you tell her I’m taken?” It comes out muffled, because Ronan’s teeth are now clenched around the band of Adam’s boxers, dragging them down his hip.
“That’s actually what she was asking about.”
Ronan pulls back and tilts his head up to look Adam in the eye. “How so?”
“She asked if I liked you both in the same way.”
“What did you say?” Ronan furrows his eyebrows.
Adam knows he’s walking on thin ice here, but he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Ronan’s question from before and it feels important to him suddenly to address it. “Yes,” he says, and watches for Ronan’s reaction.
Ronan’s face folds a little. “Really?”
“Well, not entirely the same,” Adam says. “You get a place of honor for the amount of time you spend naked on top of me.”
“That’s good to know,” Ronan replies, a smile teasing its way back out. “Because I can always spend more time naked on top of you, if you’re ever feeling unsure.”
Adam lifts his hips and lets Ronan pull his boxer shorts off entirely. “I wish I knew why everyone’s decided to play at being your parents lately.”
“Let’s not bring my parents into this,” Ronan says, and licks at the head of Adam’s dick with the flat of his tongue. Adam very quickly agrees that nobody’s parents have any place here between the two of them.
* * *
“It’s unlike you to knock,” he says.
Noah shrugs. “It felt weird to just show up in your home.”
“It’s okay, if you need to later,” Adam says. Then remembering himself he steps back. “You can come in.”
“Of course I can,” Noah says. “I’m a ghost, not a vampire.”
“Fair point.” Adam closes the door and settles back down into the center of his mattress.
Noah perches on the edge of it and looks down at his open book. “I do not miss history. There’s only so much one person can care about the Great Schism.”
“That amount is not very much at all,” Adam says, flipping the book closed. “What’s up?’
“Nothing. I just wanted to see how you were.”
Adam crosses his arms. “Why is everyone so concerned with how I am lately?”
“To be fair,” Noah says, “everyone is always concerned with how you are, they just don’t say it out loud because you yell at them. Also, lately what everyone’s been asking about is Ronan and not you, so I thought you might need to talk about not Ronan.”
“That’s,” Adam can feel the frustration rising up in his gut and tightening his throat. He wants to say, that’s not any of your business, because it’s not, but Noah has a point. “It’s fine,” he says.
“Better than fine. It’s great. Can’t you all tell? All we do is spend all of our time together.”
“You did spend most of your time together before,” Noah says.
It’s not untrue. Between their secret plan for Greenmantle and trying to help Ronan figure out how to wake the dream things and Ronan’s constant inability to sleep in his own bed they had spent a lot of time together before. A different kind of time, but Adam thinks that that’s not right either, because that whole time Ronan had been wanting what they had now.
“And what was it you were wanting?” Noah urges gently.
“I wanted him to keep looking at me like that, because it made me feel like I was worth something.” It sounds stupid when he says it out loud.
“Selfish,” Noah chides.
Adam can’t argue. He is. Now he’s just gone from wanting Ronan’s attention all to himself to wanting all of Ronan to himself. “He’s not an anomaly, if that’s what everyone is worried about.”
“He’s not the first boy I noticed, he’s just the first one who noticed me back. Or noticed me first, I guess. And my dad’s, he’s my dad. I hid a lot of myself from him, but hiding and denying aren’t the same thing. I know that’s okay, all right? I don’t feel bad about it.”
“I know,” Noah says. “But do you feel better now that you’ve said it out loud?”
Adam considers Noah for a moment. “I hate you,” he says, because he does feel better.
Noah smiles. He looks from Adam’s face up to the piece of glass above his head. “Good, now tackle the next thing.”
“Do all dead people turn into Oprah, or are you a special case?”
“Pssshhh,” Noah says. “I’m the special-est person you’ve ever met.”
Adam laughs, because he can’t really argue that either.
* * *
Adam kicks off his tennis shoes and crawls up next to Ronan, budging him with his shoulder so he’ll scoot over and give him more room. He looks up and inspects Ronan’s hand. He’s not wearing a bandage anymore, but the cut still looks angry and puckered.
“Are you going to tell me about it, yet?”
Ronan turns the glass over a few more times and then lays it flat across his chest. He reaches his hand down between them and curls his fingers around Adam’s. “It’s all my worry and doubt. All of the bad, uncertain thoughts I have about what I am. I thought. Well, what I thought was stupid.”
“I think you know I’m not going to agree with that.”
Ronan clings to Adam. “I thought maybe if I could condense it I could stop feeling it.”
“And you gave it to me,” Adam says. He feels more guilty for taking it now than he had before. If there’s one thing Ronan probably doesn’t need, it’s yet another physical reminder of the darkness inside of him. Especially not when Adam’s spent so much of their time together trying to prove to Ronan that he is in fact quite bright and stunning.
“Yeah,” Ronan says. “I’ve given you every other part of me that you wanted. So why not?”
“You’re not that heavy,” Adam says, tilting his head so that it’s leaning against Ronan’s shoulder. “Why didn’t you tell me you were feeling this way?”
Ronan turns his head away so that he’s looking at the bathroom door. “I was so happy to finally have you. I was worried if I made you think about it too hard you’d realize you’d made a mistake. That you didn’t really like me at all.”
“What?” Adam says. He has to strain to hear him, but once he makes out the words they don’t make any more sense. It occurs to him in a way it hasn’t before that all of this time Ronan has been using his touches and the centering weight of himself pressed against Adam not to say I desire you, but instead to say don’t leave me. He’s wounded in a way he can’t name and he feels like he’s failed. “Why would you even think such a thing?”
Ronan doesn’t answer and his omission is heavier than the glass. Adam squeezes his hand and then lets go. He gets up and takes the glass from off Ronan’s chest. Ronan looks up at him with the same haunted look in his eyes that he’d had at the Barns. Adam very deliberately walks the glass over to his small plastic trash can and then holds it up a bit before dropping it in. It makes a great racket as it shatters. Ronan jolts upright.
Adam turns to him and makes a show of wiping the palms of his hands. “There,” he says. “All taken care of.”
“You know that’s not how that works, right?” Ronan says, but his lips are quirked just slightly like he wants to believe it is.
“Why not?” Adam settles back onto the bed, sitting on his pillow. He leans forward and grabs Ronan’s shoulders, tilting him back until Ronan is leaning against his chest. Ronan lets Adam wrap his arms around him and tuck his chin over his head.
They sit like that for a while before Ronan says, “Because it’s harder to kill fear than anything else.”
Adam is just as certain that that’s true as Ronan is, but that doesn’t mean he thinks they should live their whole lives expecting it to be true. “Let’s drown it then,” he says.
“I have some ideas.” Adam kisses the top of Ronan’s head. Then his temple. Then his cheek. Then his jaw, and on down his neck. Ronan chuckles and squirms away. He leans forward and pulls off his shirt before turning around and pinning Adam to the wall by placing his hands against his shoulders.
* * *
Adam had been worried that once they’d gotten it all sorted Ronan’s attentions would change because they’d be less desperate, but instead of flagging they’ve only managed to become more intense, as if he had been holding some piece of himself away just in case. Adam finally feels like he has all of Ronan and wants to figure out how to hold on to all of it at once and also forever. It’s a huge feeling, and it scares him a little, but that’s never stopped either of them from doing anything else, so he knows it won’t stop this either.
He’s straddling Ronan, pressing him down into the couch cushions and rucking his shirt up so that he can just put his hands on as much skin as possible. Ronan has pulled Adam’s shirt off entirely and he’s not sure where it was thrown to, but he supposes it doesn’t matter right now, not with Ronan impatiently pressing his hips up into him and kissing his face and neck and lightly biting at his shoulder. Adam lets his hand drift down to where Ronan’s dick is prominently sticking out against his jeans and presses his palm into him lightly. Ronan groans and it completely covers the sound of the second story door falling open.
Adam and Ronan don’t realize they’re no longer alone until Gansey shouts, “Oh God, look away, Jane!”
Suddenly they’re bathed in light and Adam pulls back in confusion. Gansey and Blue are standing in the still open doorway, eyes wide, both looking completely frozen in headlights. Ronan pulls his hands off of Adam, but only to stretch them across the back of the couch and stare Gansey down.
“Uh, hi?” Adam says. Ronan rolls his hips and the end of it comes out as a stutter. Adam’s unsure of what he’s supposed to say at a moment like this. Apologizing seems appropriate, but he’s so completely not sorry. He does pull his hand away from Ronan’s jeans and Ronan lets out a small grunt of disappointment.
Blue recovers first. She pulls the door shut behind them and jostles Gansey’s shoulder as she steps around him. She picks her way across the room until she falls onto the couch next to them. Tilting her head back into the crook of Ronan’s elbow she says, “What are you watching?”
“We were watching Voltron,” he says.
“I can see the were part,” she says. Blue lets out a small snicker and then looks over at Gansey. “Oh come on. You were all curious about how they were doing, now you know.”
“That doesn’t mean I have to sit on the couch with it,” Gansey says. He takes off his shoes and retreats to his desk where he slumps over in his chair facing them.
Adam feels very exposed. “We can go somewhere else.”
“You are the worst at this,” Ronan says. He presses forward and kisses Adam’s neck and then gently shoves at his thighs.
Adam rolls off so that he’s sitting on Ronan’s other side. Blue leans over the arm of the couch and retrieves his t-shirt. She tosses it across Ronan to him and he catches it. He holds it but doesn’t put it on. “No,” he says, leaning in close to Ronan’s ear. “I’d like to go somewhere else.”
“Ugh, get a room!” Gansey shouts. “And stop corrupting Jane!”
“Jane was already corrupted!” Blue shouts back at him.
Adam crawls over the back of the couch. Ronan stands up and makes a show of adjusting his shirt and his jeans and Adam and Blue both start laughing. Gansey gets up and disappears into the bathroom/kitchen/laundry.
“He’s just jealous,” she says.
“As he should be,” Ronan replies. “No offense.”
“None taken,” Blue says lightly. “Do you mind if I watch your cartoons without you?”
“Nope!” Adam says. “Wasn’t really paying attention anyway.”
“Hey! Voltron is one of the best-” Ronan starts.
Adam grabs him by the arm and pulls him into his room and shuts the door behind them. He strips out of his jeans and drops down onto Ronan’s bed. “The best what?” he says.
Ronan leans back against the door and takes him in. “Nothing,” he says. “None of it matters.” For the first time since they’ve met Adam believes him.