Climbing in through the bedroom window doesn't always wake Max, but Michael still tries to be as quiet as possible.
He knows where the sleeping bag is, but he also knows that there's a loose floorboard just in front of it, so he stands there, motionless, his mind struggling to make the decision. He wonders for a moment if he should just turn around, climb back out, and head back to the trailer. But he remembers the look on Hank's face and he just can't do it.
He glances over and looks at his best friend, trying to ignore the somersaults in his stomach. Max is curled up on his side, one hand tucked under his cheek, the covers kicked down so far they are barely even on the bed. Michael hates himself for wanting what Max has, for wanting Max, but in the same instant, he finds himself stepping closer to the sleeping figure. He shouldn't be here, shouldn't run to Max every time something happens, but he's got nowhere else to go. No one else to go to.
"Stop brooding and get over here." Max's voice is rough, he's still half asleep, but he rolls over far enough in the bed that there's enough room for Michael to climb in next to him.
Michael can think of a dozen reasons why he shouldn't do this, and a thousand reasons why he can't possibly do anything else.
Instead he stops thinking and toes off his boots. He pulls off his shirt and jeans, leaving them in a pile on the floor.
The bed is warm and he tucks himself as close to the edge as he can, keeping a distance between the two of them that they don't always manage during the day. He turns his back to Max, closing his eyes and willing himself to fall asleep. He feels Max move behind him and his whole body goes tense when Max presses up against his back.
Max's arm slides over Michael's waist, his fingers splayed and resting gently against his stomach. If he concentrates, Michael can feel Max's pulse though the thin material of his undershirt, and the warmth of Max's breath on the back of his neck. He feels his own breath hitch and before he knows what he's doing, he reaches for Max's fingers and locks his own in between.
As he relaxes for the first time in days, he tells himself that this is the last time he'll let this happen. Whatever this is.
And if he's lying to himself, no one will ever know.