"You know, those health and safety posters are there for a reason," Jamie says. "They're so you don't hurt yourself when you lift stuff."
Adam rolls onto his back slowly and sort of gasps. "Oh my god, that is so unbelievably painful."
The box Adam was trying to lift is sitting there next to him. Jamie picks it up and puts it in the truck, lifting from the knees. The crew's already gone on with Tory and Kari, and Grant's in his car with Buster.
"I'm not kidding, Jamie, I don't think I can stand up," Adam says.
"Get up, you big baby," Jamie says. "You've just strained a muscle or something, we've got to get to Alameda by nine."
Adam shuts his eyes and groans, then lifts an arm up. Jamie hunches down beside him, because Adam's gone kind of white, and when he just hurts himself a little he's usually done fussing by now. He braces Adam against his forearm, and helps him boost up. Adam manages to get on his feet, but can't straighten up; he stands bent over, breathing hard through his nose, and grits out, "Yeah, okay, that's not going to work."
Jamie helps him until he's leaning on the back of the pick-up and doesn't look like he's going to fall down, then he gets his keys to re-open the shop. "Wait there."
"I was thinking I'd just sprint up and down a few times, do some jumping jacks," Adam says.
When Jamie comes back, Adam's on his phone.
"It's Tory," he says to Jamie. "Yeah, I dunno, it's pretty bad. We'll leave as soon as I can -"
Jamie tugs Adam's shirt out of the back of his jeans.
"Woah! What the hell are you doing? Look, Jamie's implanting a robo-spine or something, I'll call you back."
"Unbutton your shirt," Jamie says, tossing the heat pack from hand to hand. It's hot. Adam does, slowly, and Jamie helps him slide the shirt off his shoulders, then rolls his t-shirt up his back.
"Could we maybe not do this in full view of the street?" Adam says.
"You're the one who can't walk," Jamie says. "Besides, you take your clothes off every chance you get. Don't tense up."
"Ow!" Adam lurches forward, and yells, "Fuck, Jamie, what the fuck is that?"
"It's a heat pack. It'll loosen you up. Stop whining."
"It's burning my goddamned skin off, Jamie!"
Jamie peels up the corner of the heat pack under Adam's t-shirt and looks at it. Adam's skin has gone bright red. He takes a towel from the back seat of the pickup, folds it over and slides it carefully under the heat pad. Then he gives Adam two tylenol and a bottle of water. Adam sags forward a little.
After a minute, he says, "I think - maybe if you can get me into the back seat. The drugs'll kick in in a second." He's totally white.
"You can't even stand up straight," Jamie points out.
Adam takes a deep breath. He looks like he's going to cry or something. "Goddammit. Should we call them and tell them I can't go?"
Jamie thinks about that for a second. Then he says, "Can you get into the shop?"
Jamie tidies the work table nearest the door, then wipes the sawdust off it with a rag and lays a towel down on top of it.
"Oh my god, are you serious?" Adam says. He laughs, kind of nervously. "Have you actually got a robo-spine?"
"That would be pretty cool," Jamie says. He helps Adam get up on the bench and lie down flat on his stomach, then helps him tug off his t-shirt entirely. He readjusts the heat pack, then goes back to the store room. He comes back around the side of the table, so Adam can't see what he's holding, but Adam smells it before Jamie even tugs the heat pad off. He tries to wriggle, but it's too late.
"Oh, no, no, no way, Jamie, don't you dare - oh my god, that's wrong, Jamie. That is so, so disgusting."
"Lard's great, what are you talking about," Jamie says happily, and smears the white paste down over Adam's back. It starts to thin out as it warms on Adam's super-heated skin, and pretty soon Adam's all greased up. He feels out Adam's back, presses down a little to feel where he's messed it up.
"Ow," Adam says. "Ow, ow - oh, oh wait, there's good, oh, there's really good. Yeah, oh jeez, Jamie -"
Adam stops talking, and makes a sort of whimper. It makes Jamie feel a little weird.
"Okay, put your arms up under your head," he says. "Take a deep breath." He shoves down, and Adam's back makes a popping sound.
Adam relaxes all at once under Jamie's hands, and groans. Jamie rubs down his spine and around each shoulderblade, digging in with his thumb. "Oh my god, that should be illegal," Adam breathes. He sounds like he did when they smashed a car with a rocket at the speed of sound.
"It probably is illegal actually, my license expired in nineteen ninety four."
"Your license? You were not a qualified masseur, Jamie. Do not tell me you were a qualified masseur."
Jamie rolls his knuckles against the base of Adam's neck, and Adam sighs. He'd forgotten how much he likes doing this. It's such an easy way to make people feel good, just putting things back the way they're supposed to fit together.
"Sure. I worked at a spa while I was in college."
Adam laughs silently, so Jamie can feel it against his palms.
"Jamie, I know I don't say this enough, but you are amazing. You are an amazing, amazing person."
"Yeah, remember that next time you get mad at me for telling you to lift with your knees," Jamie says.
After a couple more minutes of loosening him up, Jamie wipes Adam down with the towel, and helps him up. Adam shakes himself out a little, stands up straight, and stares at Jamie, a big, happy grin on his face. He slaps him on the shoulder. "Holy crap, Jamie, you fixed me! That's incredible!"
Jamie's kind of embarrassed. "Just don't do anything stupid now," he says, and busies himself folding away the dirty towel and helping Adam limp over to the pickup. Jamie's already slid the passenger seat right back for him, so he can stretch out a little if he needs to.
"You realize I'm going to stink out the pickup for the rest of the drive," Adam says. He shuffles in the seat to readjust the heat pack. Jamie gets into the pickup, pulls the door shut and sniffs the air.
"You smell like a turkey baster. It's like Thanksgiving."
"You are a really weird guy, Jamie," Adam says. Jamie looks over at him. He's smiling. Adam has kind of a nice smile.
"I thought I was amazing."
Adam reaches over and pats him on the shoulder. "You're that too," he says. They pull out of the lot.