Christo Bowman realizes just how head over heels he is one day when they meet up to write songs together. They sit in the same room, a flow of creative energy constant even during quiet moments. Christo sits on the floor, back against the couch, his legs crossed under the small coffee table in front of him.
Jason Yarger straddles the arm of the same couch, guitar in his lap, cigarette behind his ear and lost among his messy bleach damaged hair, a pen stuck in his mouth as he strums out a soft melody. He stops what he's playing, mumbles out a lyric under his breath, takes his pen and jots it down into the notebook right next to Christo. He's so lost in his process, smirking to himself as he notes down the words he's repeating. He sticks the pen behind his other ear, picks the melody on the strings again, this time with the words slurred together soft and lazy and Christo swears his heart skips a beat right then.
"You're a work of art," Jason's voice is gentle as it moves to the sound of the guitar. "I wanna swim in the colors... Does that sound good, Chris?"
Christo has to keep himself from staring, swallows the knot in his throat, replies thickly, "It's perfect."
Christo doesn't mention it then, isn't even really sure, but he carries that feeling until he no longer can.
They're on a walk at the beach when Christo decides maybe he's held on to his feelings for too long, decides that maybe it's time for Jason to know. He waits until they've walked up and down the shore, until the sun is low in the sky and the tide lapping at their bare feet is too cold to handle.
Christo waits until they make their way back to his car. Once the crashing waves are audible at a distance and no longer threaten to drown out the sound of his voice. He wavers as he speaks, but he gets it out, gets the feeling off his chest, leaves Jason speechless for what feels like an eternity.
He finally speaks when he reaches into the chest pocket of his green denim jacket, pulls out the half-finished pack of Mavericks, and offers him one. Christo takes it, holds it to his lips, shaky between long, thin fingers, guards it from the wind as Jason lights it for him.
Jason puts his own unlit cigarette between his lips, stuffs the lighter back into the pack, shoves the box into its respective pocket. He presses closer to Christo, touches the tip of his cigarette to Christo's lit one, careful to keep the wind away. He pulls a few breaths, does so until he can draw the smoke into his lungs, then leans away, leaves Christo's heart racing in his chest.
They smoke together to the distant whisper of the sea and, for a moment, Christo nearly forgets about everything.
Jason's halfway done with his smoke by the time he actually thinks, says anything worth saying. Yarger exhales a lungful of cigarette smoke, voice airy and tone bewildered, "I can't believe that you fell in love with me..."
The silence that falls around them in conversation is heavy but lacks the usual tension they're used to. Jason's voice is soft and gentle and it floats in the cool evening air. The gold of the setting sun lights up his features, bright green eyes sparkling and slightly teary, the freckles across his nose and cheeks set on a soft, rosy background. He parts his lips to take another drag, places the cigarette there to hold.
Christo Bowman finds himself distracted, stares at Jason against painted violet skies and bathed by the remaining warmth of a sleepy sun. He puts his own cigarette back to his lips, leans against the front of the car, finds it difficult to find anything to say except, "Yeah, well, I did."
There's a giddy excitement behind Jason's voice, the cool of his chip-toothed smile lost in the air when he replies, "Dude, you are way out of my league."
"Jay, that's not true and you know it," Christo puffs out a breath, flicks his finished cigarette to the gravel to stomp it out.
"Well," Jason's breath shifts, like he's suddenly unsure what to say or how to continue. "What do you want to do about it? About us?"
Christo puts his hand through his own dirty blond hair, drops down to sit on the hood of his car, exhales heavily, "That's the thing; I don't know."
Jason turns around to face him, quietly asks, "Do you want to do anything about it?"
Christo slouches and sighs, not only thinks about everything that could go wrong, but also everything that could go right. He hums under his breath, "Yeah, I'd like to..."
Jay tosses aside the cigarette butt from between his fingers, continues to make eye contact, makes sure it's okay for him to stand and place himself between Christo's legs there.
Christo only moves a little, adjusts his position, brackets Jason's hips with his knees—the insides of his thighs. He takes a hold of the the frayed edges of the fabric along the buttons on the front of Jason's jacket, runs his fingers up and down both sides. Christo pulls, brings Jason closer by the jacket until they're breathing the same air.
Jay leans forward into it, places tattooed fingers splayed across Christo's slender thighs, runs them up and down a couple of times. Christo melts into the touch, slouches some more until he's got his forehead pressed to Jason's. Jay shakes his head with a small laugh, thinks about how typical of them this is after all.
Christo's hand leaves the front of Jason's jacket, makes its way up to Jason's face. Christo's fingers are tentative, fleeting in touch when they tip Jason's chin up just enough for him to feel the tickle of hot, smoky breath against his mouth. The space between them, or lack thereof, makes Chris feel afraid for a split second; afraid of what it all means, of how things might change. The train of thought hardly gets the opportunity to take off at full speed, though, before it slams straight into a brick wall and Christo's mind goes blank.
The ocean air surrounds them, wraps around them pressed together. Jason's lips are on his now, honest and sweet, like he's been waiting for this to happen for a long time.
And perhaps he has.
They don't talk about it, don't label themselves, but everyone around them knows. It's impossible to ignore how close they are. Impossible to dismiss how Jason's smile shows nonstop around Chris, how Christo's eyes sparkle at the sight of Jay.
It all goes unspoken, but it's very much there. Regardless of whether they're at home or on tour, it's all the same. Both their bands know even though it's never mentioned.
Jason Yarger feels like a home away from Home, like a taste of California in the middle of nowhere, an oasis in the desert. Christo loves every second of it, revels in the fact that waking together squeezed into the same bunk on tour feels so much like waking in his bed in LA.
They take whatever they can get when they tour. Rushed makeouts in backstage green rooms, lingering touches at venue sidestages between sets, adrenaline fueled kisses after a successful sold out show. They're half-drunk nights on a bus moving from city to city, sleepy morning handjobs in a bunk they barely fit in together, occasional hazy hotel rooms where Jason's repeating curses and Christo's name under his breath.
It's not perfect, but it's very much them.
Christo's heart starts to race when the lights turn down low. Like he hasn't seen Jason work the stage with his guitar and borderline whiny vocals dozens of times before today already.
He watches from sidestage, watches the band get bathed in lights that alternate between cool blues and violets and warm reds and yellows. Momentarily, he thinks about how beautiful Jason looks, the way he glows in the light, dances back and forth under it as he plays those riffs, sings those melodies Christo witnessed him form some time ago. Jay is too charismatic, occasionally flashes his goofy smile over a green denim clad shoulder to sidestage.
Christo smirks back, starts forming a plan in his head about halfway through Hunny's short set. He waits it out, dances along, sings the words Jason wrote, also repeats those of the covers in their set. He holds still until the last song of the set, feels a mixture of pre-show excitement and nervousness about the stunt he's about to pull.
The lights flicker between violet and yellow when the last song is ending. The band's instruments chug their last notes out and Jason's vocals slightly pull away from the mic. Christo seizes his opportunity then. He runs onto the stage, right to the spot in the center where Jason stands. Christo takes hold of Jason's face in his hands, tenderly places his fingers behind Jason's ears, brushes thumbs softly at his cheeks, plants a kiss directly on his mouth.
It feels electric. Jason beams into the sensation, kisses back and almost falls completely into it before he remembers they're still on. He doesn't get the time to think before Christo pulls away and Jay's mouthing only loud enough for Chris to hear, "I love you."
Christo's heart pounds loudly in his ears for the rest of the night, stays present throughout his own band's set. He hears it deep and heavy in the background when someone asks for a picture of him and Jason together and Jay takes it upon himself to hold on tight and kiss him this time.
It's still unspoken, but it's out there now. Still without a label, but something more than it was before. Christo's head spins at the thought of it all. Thinks about how he'd be happy, elated, even if he got nothing more than this far.