Jesse's outings with Mike are usually boring, filled with instances of Jesse trying to find a radio station they can agree on, which happens about as often as a solar eclipse. Sometimes Mike will attempt a conversation that has nothing to do with Jesse's drug use—or lack thereof—or Walter White or "the business" or any sort of criminal activity, like Mike's trying to be some sort of surrogate grandpa for Jesse.
But today, as they're rolling down the sunbaked highway in Mike's car, Mike breaks the silence with, "So, you and Saul, huh?"
Panic surges through his veins like a wet sponge being squeezed. Saul and Jesse haven't been "together"—in the absolute loosest sense of the word—for very long, but Jesse'd thought there was a, uh, gag order on the topic. Saul's most likely tiptoeing the line of legality by being involved with a client—ex-client? Jesse doesn't even know anymore.
So Jesse decides to play dumb, because he's out of better ideas. "What?"
"You and Saul," Mike says, stressing the words in a particularly important way.
Mike totally knows. Fuck. Maybe this whole drive is a ruse and Mike's going to kill Jesse and dump his body somewhere because reasons? He's not sure what the motive would be, but Jesse's gut tells him this can't possibly lead to anything good.
Jesse frowns and stares down at his hands. He might as well just own up to it all. "Yeah. What about us?"
"How long have you two been..." That sentence just kind of tapers off into the nothingness, but Jesse knows what Mike's getting at.
"A couple weeks, maybe? I dunno."
Jesse can't read Mike's expression. "Has he told you about all his past marriages?"
Christ. Jesse's a little worried about that "all" part, like it implies there's some sort of collective. "Uh... No?"
Mike shakes his head as if he's monumentally disappointed in the progression of their relationship. "Ol' Saul's pretty generous with the proposals. He's been married three times."
Jesse tries to keep the wince off of his face, but, damn. "So?"
"So, he's not exactly the type you wanna settle down with."
Jesse makes a scoffing noise. "Yo, what are you talkin' about? We're barely even dating. Marriage is so not on the table right now. Or possibly ever."
"Maybe not for you," Mike says with a shrug. Jesse scrunches up his face. "You know why he racked up all those divorces?"
Jesse sighs and reaches out to crank up the radio, needing something to drown out Mike's voice. "I don't care."
Mike swats his hand away. "The guy can't keep it in his pants. He's a chronic cheater." Then he looks at Jesse like he's suddenly remembered something important. "You guys use protection, don't you?"
"Oh my God," Jesse groans.
"'Cause if you don't, I'm not sayin' anything for certain, but you might wanna get tested."
Jesse drags a hand over his face. He feels like he's getting The Talk from his grandpa, although there's a careful veneer of menace here that's special to Mike. "Jesus, can you just—This needs to stop. Like, now. I am not having a conversation with you about my sex life."
"I just want you to be safe."
"And I just want to not think about you thinking about us—No!" Jesse holds up a hand like he's trying to fend off any unwanted mental images. He misses the stilted, heavy silence in the car now. You really don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
When Jesse's regained a couple shreds of his dignity, he says, "How do you even know about us anyway? Did he tell you something?" Saul must have been absent the day they taught attorney-client confidentiality at the University of Samoa; Jesse doesn't even think that's a real school. He's calling bullshit on this entire situation.
"He mentions you a lot," Mike says, making a face like this distresses him somehow. "And I might have kept an ear on your house to make sure Walt wasn't tryin' to sink his claws in you."
It takes Jesse a moment to put the pieces together. Then his mouth drops open, because, no, no fucking way.
"You heard us?" Jesse screeches.
Mike looks like he's passing a kidney stone. "Five showers and I still feel unclean."
"Oh my God." Jesse buries his face in his hands and prays for the earth to swallow him. He knows he's loud and vocal in bed, and he says pornographic and embarrassing things, and, Christ, Mike heard them. Jesse thinks about jumping out of the car and taking his chances with the pavement. Maybe he'll die and be free from the shame that's choking him from the inside out.
"I was trying to look out for you," Mike explains, probably cursing his good intentions. Serves him right. "I didn't intend to butt in on your love life, Jesse."
"Yeah, well, here you are. Dude, I didn't know you were into voyeurism."
"It's not like I enjoyed it!" Mike growls, looking furious. "I only bugged your living room. If you two could make it upstairs every once in a while maybe we wouldn't be having this conversation." His face twists into the most conflicted expression Jesse's ever seen, and he mumbles, "God, I've sat on that couch."
Jesse's face is still cherry red; he can feel the heat of the blood rushing beneath his skin. He tries to take solace in the fact that Mike didn't see them, just heard them, but that's tantamount to finding decapitation comforting in the face of burning alive—neither one's cause to celebrate. "Can you just kill me now? Please?"
"If I have to live with it, so do you," Mike grouses. "Look, ki—Jesse, it was an accident. I got way more than I bargained for. I had no idea about you two at all. If I did you think I would'a bugged your place?"
"I dunno. Kinda seems like you're a huge pervert."
"I am not a pervert," Mike says with a sigh.
Jesse rolls his eyes. "Yeah, that's, like, the perv motto." He curls up into a ball the best he can while strapped into the passenger seat. "Jesus... This is the actual worst."
"The worst would be if Walter heard you," Mike says, and, wow, that's a hell of a point. "I don't think he'd take too kindly to finding out his business partner's screwing his lawyer."
Walt finding out is just...God no. That cannot happen ever. Not only for Jesse's sake, but Saul's as well. "Well, you're not gonna tell him, are you?"
Mike's eyes widen. "Why the hell would I do that?"
"Seems like great blackmail, y'know?" Jesse says with a shrug. "'Go on these pick-ups with me or I'll tell Mr. White about you and Saul.'"
Mike's mouth is a thin, contemplative line. "I'm tryin' to keep you out of trouble. Telling him would not be an effective measure."
Jesse slides down in his seat a bit. "Y'know, since me and Saul are sort of a thing I don't really think about using..." He rubs his arm and glances out the window at the scenery zipping by. "He's good to me. It's not just about sex," he admits. Mike needs to know that this is the one good thing in Jesse's life, the reason he can withstand all of Walt's bullshit. Because after Mr. White tears Jesse down, Saul builds him back up with loving arms and stupid jokes and this foolish, fucking wonderful belief that Jesse has more value than the meth he cooks.
After Jane and Gale and all that's happened, Jesse needs someone like that like he needs oxygen.
"He makes me feel good," Jesse continues, "and not just, like, in a dirty way. Sometimes we don't even have sex. We just chill and watch a movie or somethin'. It's not just some hook-up. You know that, right, 'cause you've been listenin' in?" He hopes the bugs were good for something other than humiliating him.
Mike nods in a way that says nothing at all. Jesse wishes he knew the thoughts in Mike's head, if there's anything else earth-shattering he's holding back about Saul. But Mike's not the type to spare Jesse's feelings, even after a chick-flick moment or mortifying revelation. So everything Mike's already told him is probably the worst of it.
Jesse has to poke at the silence in the car with more words. "So, I mean, you could probably get rid of the bugs. If—if you wanted..."
"Yeah, I really don't need any more nightmares."
Jesse frowns. "That was totally uncalled for." His brow knits together, and he asks, "Were we really that bad?"
"I've been doin' this job for a while, and I've never felt more unclean."
"Sounds like we were pretty awesome then."
Mike shoots him a look that says he's one hundred percent done. No one truly appreciates Jesse's sass like Saul does; it's tragic, really. Sarcasm and ace-level meth are all Jesse can offer the world; is it really any surprise he's shacked up with a sleazy, bus-bench lawyer?
"Now, you know why I had to have this talk with you, right?" Mike asks.
"'Cause you hate me?"
Mike pulls a face and goes quiet for a moment. Then he says, "Alright, we're gonna get off at this exit and stop into that diner for a burger and fries, and we will never speak of this again."
Jesse nods, though deep down he wonders how the hell Mike still has an appetite.