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Home is Where The Car Is

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Davey Jacobs was just like any other university student. He attended classes, worked two jobs, each one four times a week, hung out with his friends, enjoyed pizza a little too often and occasionally went to parties. He was also stressed, but lived through the crazy amount of homework and projects he was giving. Coffee was easily his best friend, followed by the three idiots he somehow got stuck with during high school. He hadn’t had a stable relationship in over two years. He was twenty three and hadn’t spoken to any of his family members in three years. Oh! And he lived in his 2006 toyota highlander.

So, really, Davey wasn’t like any other university student. He was screwed over in so many ways, his life was just crumbling slowly into a pile of useless dust. While deep down, he knew that eventually things would turn around, and he would be able to start renting an actual apartment, he had barely any hope.

If he really wanted too, Davey had three friends who would happily take him in and let him crash on their couches. Sometimes he did, but never more than a night. He couldn’t afford to help with rent, therefore he just didn’t feel right doing it. Besides, Finch only had a studio apartment, Specs still lived with his mother and sisters, and Elmer lived too far from work and school for him to be able to justify living there.

Davey was happy in his car. There was no wifi, or power (unless the car was running), or running water, but it was home. He kept his belongings minimal- a suitcase of clothing, a small box of food that didn’t need to be prepared, a pillow and a stack of blankets, his laptop and it’s charger, an extra pair of shoes and his backpack with all his little things.

His friends let him use their showers though, and if not he had a gym membership he shared with Elmer (who never used it, Davey was well aware of that, but he still paid for his half of the membership anyways.) Most places had wifi nowadays, as well as outlets where Davey could charge his things. So really, he didn’t need electricity or wifi.

He didn’t have a phone either. Well, he did- he had a busted Iphone 5 that was starting to see it’s day. He didn’t have a cell plan though, so he could only text people on imessage and while he had wifi. It was tough at first, but it was just ninety bucks he didn’t need leaving his bank account each month. It wasn’t like he needed to call anyone anyways. Most the people he needed to discuss things with (his professors and bosses) just emailed him anyways.

Davey hummed as he crawled around the back of his car. The back seats had been folded down, so that the back was just one big flat surface. He dug through his pile of dirty clothes, making a mental note to do laundry as soon as he could, and found his jacket, before slipping it on. He checked the time on his phone and then crawled into the front seat.

He plugged in his phone before he tossed it on the passenger seat. In his car, the air conditioning did not work at all , and the radio for some reason could only reach the kids radio station, so he opted for carrying around CDs. He took out the one that had been playing previously and swapped it for another random one. None of the CDs were actually in the right case, so he didn’t waste much time in picking one to listen to. It ended up being one of Taylor Swift’s album- not his, but he had it anyways. It was his sister’s that he had took when he got kicked out of the house three years ago. He’d be lying if he said he didn’t know which album it was ( it was Fearless) and he’d be lying if he said he didn’t actively like the music off of it.

Partly because it had been his sisters favourite at the time, partly because Davey just really liked Taylor Swift.

He pulled out of the parking lot he had stayed in for the night, before he cranked the music and made his way to his classes for the day. He stopped at McDonalds along the way for breakfast, and then at Starbucks for coffee. Realistically, he shouldn’t be getting such expensive coffee, but it tasted good, and Davey didn’t get many luxuries. Starbucks was one of his little luxuries.

By noon, he was done his classes and was sitting in the front seat of his car, adding an english essay and a new website design to his never ending list of things to do this weekend. They were written in the notes of his phone, right under do laundry, call boss about Sunday, get bet money from Finch, email prof about missed classes and fight Specs . He didn’t remember putting down the last one, but apparently he thought it was something important to do.

He purposely decided to eat somewhere cheap with wifi. After six months of living  in his car, he had learned the places to go. This was a locally owned Pizza place, which made good breadsticks and pasta. The lunch buffet was always nice too, so that made this place one of Davey’s favourite locations.

While he was eating the second small plate of food, he typed away at his essay on a novel he hadn’t even read yet. He just read a bunch of different synopsis of the novel and was praying that would be enough. He wouldn’t normally do this, but lately things had just been way too much for Davey, and he was just looking for the easiest way out.

“Refill?” the waitress asked, already grabbing Davey’s cup from the table. He smiled up at her and nodded, before thanking her. He still had had a mouthful of water left in the glass, but he knew he would need more water right away anyways.

“You’re here often, aren’t ya?” she asked as she returned with Davey’s glass of water.

“Yeah,” Davey said with a quick nod. “It’s just on the way to work.”

“You’re here so often and I don’t know your name,” she pointed out. The lady was easily in her late thirties and wore a wedding ring. She was just being friendly, which was a relief to Davey. Not that he had just assumed , but girls did flirt with him around campus sometimes and he hated having to explain that he was gay to get others off his back.

He hated being gay. Sure, he had come to terms with it long ago, and he really fucking loved being with men, but he hated it. His sexualtiy was what screwed him over three years go. It didn’t stop him though. He wasn’t going to suddenly turn around and start dating women just so he could go back home.

He wanted nothing more than to go back home.

“David,” he said with a smile as he shook her hand. Her name tag read Cynthia , and Davey gave a small nod to acknowledge he had noticed her name, before she grinned.

“Well David, how about a free dessert?” Cynthia asked. “Could give ya my discount” she offered. Davey hesitated, he really didn’t know about that idea, but a slice of pie sounded wonderful.

“Only if it isn’t too much of an issue,” Davey said. Cynthia smiled and shook her head.

“Not at all! You tip so generously, you deserve something special,” she said, before flipping open her notepad. “Besides, employees get a free dessert after each shift… and I really don’t want another slice of pie. What can I get ya?”

“Just a slice of apple pie, please,” Davey said with a small smile. Cynthia grinned and scribbled that in before she walked back into the kitchen.

Davey focused back in on his work, but more so on the pasta that was sitting on his table. He made sure to finish the food he had taken before Cynthia came back out with the slice of pie, which had been warmed up and sprinkled with a bit of icing sugar.

“Thank you,” Davey said.

“Anytime,” she said.

The pie was nice. It wasn’t very good, and he could see why employees were so often given free slices of it, but the gesture from Cynthia was nice, and he chose to enjoy the pie instead of complain.

Once he was finished eating, he got to play the fun game of whether or not his debit card would work.

His debit card accepted the transaction after declining it once for some reason, which he didn’t actually expect to happen, and he was off once again. He prefered just carrying around cash, which wasn’t safe, but sometimes it was easier just to hand someone a twenty then have to dig out a little plastic card that he never knew would work or not.

Cynthia wished him luck for the rest of the day on his way out, and Davey just gave a small nod.

His car took a second to start up, a wave of panic quickly rising in his stomach only to subside quickly. He ran a hand through his hair, stiff with the leftover gel from yesterday. He really needed to shower- preferably tonight. He’d probably just end up at the gym after his shift at Buck’s , the restaurant and bar where he worked mostly night shifts at. If he was lucky though, Finch would still be up around two am to let him use his shower.

The gas light on his car went off while he was idle at a red light. That stupid little ping noise that Davey hated so much, because that ping noise meant that was another eighty bucks leaving his wallet for something stupid, but he couldn’t avoid.

There was a short debate in his head; whether or not he wanted to get gas now and be late for work, or wait, and risk not having enough to get to the gas station after work. With a quick glance at the time, he decided that he didn’t want to risk it. Sure, he and his boss, Buttons ( or Elanie, but she just had everyone call her Buttons (Davey learned not to question it.)) were on really good terms. They were friends, even, but Davey didn’t need to clock in late for the third time this month.

Worse came to worse, he reminded himself, he’d just get someone to pick him up and he would fill a gas can and bring it back to the bookstore.

He parked in the employee parkign and crawled into the back. He switch his shirts and double checked that he had his nametag, before he got out.

He clocked in just as Jane, the girl who worked before him, checked out. They exchanged smiles, Jane commenting on the fact that Davey “looked like shit.” He just brushed it off, but in his head all he could think was yeah of course I do. What’s fucking new Jane?

Buttons was standing by the till when he stepped out into the mainroom. They greeted each other, before Davey joined her behind the counter. While Davey logged onto the computer, Buttons was talking behind him, but he didn’t actually start listening until halfway through.

“So you can close up shop tonight?” She asked. Davey grimmanced but quickly relaxed his face before he actually turned to face her. That would be half an hour longer, meaning he had half an hour less between his two jobs.

“Yeah course I can,” Davey said with a small nod. “What happened to Steve?” he asked. Steve was the guy he always worked with on Friday nights, who was either very late, or very fired.

“Quit two days ago,” she said with a small huff. “I’m interviewing people to replace him next week… figured you’d be alright working a shift or two solo.”

“Of course yeah, it’s not like we’re crazy busy,” he said with a small laugh.

“You’ll be able to get to Buck’s on time?” Buttons asked.

They had taken classes together Davey’s second year of University. They both impulsively took a crime statistics class that had nothing to do with either of their majors and just bonded. Then she graduated that year, only to take over her Dad’s bookstore a month later. She knew his situation, which he was grateful for. She also understood it well.

“Probably,” he said. “I’m low on gas, but I should get there.”

“I can go fill you up,” she offered.

“Right now?”

“Yeah, Jojo and I are going to her mother’s house for dinner at six, I’m clocking out right away here anyways,” she said. Davey fished his keys out of his pocket and handed them to Buttons, who took them with a smile.

“I’ll be right back. Don’t burn down my store!” Buttons said as she started walking back towards the back.

“Thank you!” he called out.

He hummed as he tapped a pen on the table. A couple came in, browsed around for a while, but didn’t buy anything. Then a few more people trickled in. Still. None of them were buying anything or asking for help, so Davey got to just sit at the counter, fiddling his thumbs idly as he watched on.

Buttons dropped off his keys while he was helping ring a customer through. She stuck around until the payment was completed so the two could exchange their thank yous and goodbyes, and then she was gone.

It was quiet for most of the night, which wasn’t unusual for the store. Most people prefer to go to the bigger, better Chapters just down the road. Somehow though, enough people bought things to keep the tiny store in business. Maybe a big factor was that their entire inventory was all donated books, or maybe it was just conveniently more busy whenever Davey didn’t work.

The little bell above the door chimed and Davey turned to watch as a man wandered in, gazing around just a bit before he made eye contact with Davey.

He sat up a bit straighter as the man, maybe Davey’s age with brown messy hair and tanned skin, approached the desk. He looked nervous, and Davey noticed that his hands seemed to be covered in little splashes of paint. The man offered a smile as he adjusted the sleeves of his very clearly new button down shirt.

“Hi, can I help you?” Davey asked, already preparing to get up off of his chair.

“Actually I was wondering if I could speak to the manager?” he asked. Davey hesitated as he sat up a bit straighter, which caused the man to stand up a bit straighter.

“She’s not actually in the building right now,” Davey said. “I could leave a message for you, though.”

“Oh! Uh, no no that’s fine I uh, was just wondering about the help wanted sign out front,” he said, jabbing his thumb towards the front door. Davey nodded- a cue to let him keep going. Apparently it wasn’t noticeable enough, since he just stared blankly at Davey. He cleared his throat.

“Well, you could leave your resume with me, and I’ll make sure it gets in with the others,” Davey said. The man smiled before he nodded, taking his bag off his shoulders to get his resume out.

“I uh, I’m Jack Kelly,” he said as he slid the resume (slightly crumpled, printed on a light yellow paper instead of white) on the desk. Davey smiled and held out his hand for him to shake.

“David,” he said shortly. Jack laughed lightly and nodded towards his nametag.

“But that says yous named Davey,” Jack said lightly. Davey laughed and shrugged.

“Stolen identity,” he joked, which earned a small laugh from the other. He couldn’t tell if he genuinely found it funny, or he was just laughing so Davey would talk him up on first impressions with Buttons later. Either way, he appreciated it.

“Well if we’re going by fake names, I’ll be... Anthony,” Jack joked as he leaned casually against the front table. Davey raised an eyebrow and laughed lightly.

“Anthony?” he asked. “Geez least mine was close to my name.”

“Anthony’s my brotha’s name,” Jack said. “I may be an artist, but I’m not creative enough to think of a new name close to Jack that fast.”

“Jacques,” Davey said simply, which earned from an eye roll from the other.

“That’s just a french accent slapped onta Jack,” Jack said.

Actually , it’s also equivalent to Jacob and James,” Davey pointed out. “But yeah, just the french pronunciation of Jack.” Jack smirked.

“What are ya, a french expert?” Jack asked. Davey laughed and shrugged.

“No, just smart,” Davey said. The door chimed, and a group of teenagers came in, laughing loudly. Jack gave him a small nod as he stood up straight again.

“Well, hopefully I’ll get to work along ya soon. Thanks in advance,” Jack said. Davey nodded as he took the resume and put it in a safe place, making a mental note to leave it on her desk before he left.

And maybe he’d leave a little sticky note recommending Jack Kelly to Buttons, because well… Davey thought he seemed nice, and capable of carry the job. He was well mannered and respectful and attractive, and Davey would be lying if he said he didn’t already have a stupid crush on the stranger.

Then again, if any male was nice to him, Davey was quick to find himself crushing on them for a week or so. Then he’d forget about them and the crush would fade. The last thing he’d want to do was get to know someone well enough to go out on a date with them. For one, he lived in a car and doubted it would be much of a turn on for anyone . For two, he didn’t even have a phone number, and relied on things like imessage and messenger apps to contact people. Again, that was just kind of ridiculous, so he never gave away contact information.

So, maybe he wouldn’t leave a sticky note about first impressions. Maybe he’d leave a sticky note saying he was rude about it, but then that would just be rude. So, instead, Davey would just leave the resume on Buttons desk and let fate to decide.

He ended up closing the shop up ten minutes early. No one was inside, and no one looked interested enough to come in for any last minute books. It made sense just to close and have those extra few minutes to get to Buck’s .

Davey kept a close eye on the time as he wiped down the counters and swept the floors. He wanted to clean up properly, but knew he wouldn’t have enough time to do it all. He took the cash from the register and brought it to the back room, where Buttons’ small  shoebox office was. He counted it, before putting it in the little safe Buttons kept. She would deposit it tomorrow, surely. Then he left the resume on her desk in clear sight, and decided to add a little sticky note on it anyways.

Dropped this off while I was working, really nice and professional about it. Idk where you leave the resumes you get -Davey

Without a second thought, Davey doubled checked the doors and turned off the lights, before he made his way outside to his car.

The first thing he had noticed when he sat down in the front seat, was the little stack of things placed neatly on the passenger side. Buttons probably did all that- well, she for sure did. No one else had the keys to his car recently.

In the pile, was a bag of dried banana chips, a packet of gum and a new tube of toothpaste (he didn’t know if she was trying to hint at something there), a box of cookies with two of them missing, some granola bars and an itunes gift card. Davey grinned as he looked through his things, before he pulled out his phone.

 

From Davey: You know, you really didn’t have to get all this for me. I have money .

 

And it was true. He didn’t have much, but Davey had money. It was just… car insurance cost significantly less than an apartment. Even if he shared one with a roommate. With an apartment came cleaning, and dishes, and clutter, and unproductivity. With a car, there wasn’t much to clean up and he had nothing really to do but work.

 

From Buttons: Yeah well, consider it a late birthday gift!  

 

From Davey: My birthday was in may

 

Davey didn’t get her response right after that. He had to start driving, so he tucked his phone away and began on his journey. He probably wouldn’t get to see Buttons’ reply until he ended up wherever he was going to go to shower that night. Buck’s didn’t have wifi, and Davey didn’t have data, so he was kind of just screwed.

Again, he changed in the back of his car into a different uniform once he ended up in the parking lot of Buck’s , which was already busy inside. Lots of people ended up there to watch football or hockey or whatever sport Davey didn’t care about in the bar section of the restaurant. Davey was lucky enough to just work in the restaurant part, where it was quiet and family friendly.

He greeted coworkers as he got ready for his shift, lingering in the washroom just a bit to try and tame his hair and wash his hands.

He yawned as he checked which tables he was responsible for tonight. It was only ten, and he was already falling asleep as he stood.

Luckily though, there were enough people around to keep him busy. A refill there, extra napkins here, clean up this table, deal with a flaw in a meal at that table. It was a rhythm he quickly got into, usually checking up on his tables probably far too often, but he always seemed to get good tips for that. Not that it mattered, since the tips were collected and spread equally among everyone who worked in the facility at the end of every week. Including everyone in the bar, as well as the janitors and managers.

Davey could understand most of the people included in sharing tips, but not the managers.

Around midnight, when his shift was half over, Davey and his co worker, Romeo, ended up sitting at one of the tables playing cards. The bar on the other side of the wall was loud and bustling, but the restaurant was not.

Davey didn’t understand why they kept both open until three am- very few people actually ended up sitting in the restaurant, since all the food was the same, and very few minors were out that late of night.

However, without this happening, Davey would be out of a job, so he wasn’t going to complain.

The door opened and both of them grimaced. Davey started cleaning up the cards while Romeo greeted the group of people, before leading them to a table. Davey stretched as Romeo came back towards him.

“They’re just your friends,” he said. Davey laughed lightly and nodded. He could tell just by the sounds of them talking when the door opened.

Still, Davey needed to be professional- since he was on the clock.

But would he really though?

“Hey guys,” Davey said shortly as he approached, already pulling out his pen and notepad to take their drinks, absently writing down what everyone was going to get before they started to talk.

“You look like shit,” Finch said. Davey sighed and smiled.

“Yeah you’re not the first person to say that today,” he said, leaning against the booth they were at.

“Kinda smell too,” Elmer joked. At that, he rolled his eyes.

“Yeah I didn’t get a chance to shower yesterday,” he said, pushing a playful tone, but it was the truth.

“Shower at mine after your shift if you want,” Elmer offered. Davey smiled and shrugged.

“I might take you up on that,” Davey said. “Your place is just so far … I might just shower at the gym.”

“Gyms don’t have nice showers though,” Specs spoke up.

“Just shower at mine, I’ll be up anyways,” Finch said.

“Thanks…” Davey trialed off. “I’ll be back with drinks.”

The guys didn’t question any of it, just accepting the fact that Davey knew that they all wanted. They so frequently came in just to keep Davey company as he worked. That and they were all creatures of habit. He couldn’t remember the last time any of them had ordered anything different to drink than what they normally did.

He returned with their drinks and then slipped into the booth beside Finch while he waited for them to settle on what they wanted to eat.

“We could do wings,” Specs said absently.

“We could , but last time we had wings I threw up,” Elmer pointed out.

“Last time you had them you had gotten a bit too crazy with the amounts of shots you had,” Finch laughed.

“When did that happen?” Davey asked. He didn’t remember that.

“Okay, but we were celebrating my birthday! I deserved the drinks,” Elmer exclaimed.

Davey swallowed hard. He had missed Elmer’s birthday last month since he was working. He heard stories about what they had gotten up to the day after, and it still sucked knowing he missed out on it.

“Well, I’m pretty sure it was the drinks that made you throw up, not the wings,” Finch said.

“Pretty sure we were at Hot Shots too, not Bucks,” Specs said.

“No hot shots was when Spec’s cousin came along and slept with a drag queen.”

Davey blinked. He hadn’t even heard that story before.

“Of all the places-”

“So? Wings are wings, we’re not getting them,” Elmer cut Davey off. Davey sighed before he got up. As if he didn’t feel shitty enough already.

“I’ll be back to get your order in a few minutes,” he said with a small nod, before leaving to linger around in the kitchen while he waited for them to make a decision. They tried to bring Davey back to sit and talk with them, but Davey decided to just ignore them. They didn’t care about his input anyways.

He was being petty, Davey was well aware of that when he brought out their orders of nachos and pretzel buns. He was ignored once and now he was just going to avoid his friends for the rest of the time while they talked. Still, he never really felt like he fit in with them anyways.

They ended up staying around until everyone was getting ready to close up.

“Davey, you’re okay right?” Finch asked as he Specs paid for their food.

“Course,” Davey said shortly as he took the debt machine back from Specs, tucking it into the pocket of his apron.

“Just, you kinda avoided us the entire time,” Elmer said.

“Busy working and stuff,” Davey said. No it was because you were ignored once .

“No one else was here the entire time.”

“Well…” Davey yawned. “I’m still on the clock.”

“You’re coming over to shower, right?” Finch asked. Davey shrugged.

“I might just go to the gym,” he said with a small nod. Finch rolled his eyes.

“You’re driving me home so you need to use my shower,” Finch said. “Crash on my couch too, your car isn’t comfortable.”

Davey sighed. He was too tired to argue, and the sounds of Finch’s couch did sound nice. Even if his couch was a lumpy uncomfortable seafoam green leather couch his grandma had when she was growing up.

“Yeah sure,” he said. “I’ll be out of your hair by eight.”

“What? Plans tomorrow for once?” Finch asked.

“No. I just have a bunch of homework to do… big website design is due on Wednesday,” Davey said as everyone started putting their coats back on.

“So just do it at my house,” he said simply. Davey shrugged, again, too tired to argue.

The car ride back to Finch’s studio apartment was mostly quiet, besides Finch’s short complaint about the lack of radio stations, and then Davey’s selections of CDs. Besides that, and Davey almost falling asleep at the wheel, nothing interesting really had happened.

Once they were parked outside of Finch’s apartment complex, he helped Davey bring in a few things (just his backpack and a plastic bag Davey had stuffed a clean outfit into, along with some sweats for the night) and then while Finch was making up the couch, Davey got into the shower.

He might have spent a bit longer than he planned too originally in the shower. It was just that the water was so warm and there was so much water pressure in his shower. The gym didn’t have either of those things, or private stalls either. He also got to use Finch’s nice body wash instead of his hotel soaps. Small luxuries that Davey often forgot most people had.

When he was out of the shower and changed, he made it back out into the main room and beelined straight for the couch, collapsing on it the minute he was close enough. It was uncomfortable and a small area to sleep on, but Davey didn’t complain as he fell asleep almost instantly.