Moments like these are rare when they’re touring - but that only serves to make them feel more important. It’s worth pausing, worth taking time for quiet intimacy, when they know they only have so much time to be alone with each other.
At home, their togetherness blends into itself, spreads out into lazy days and weeks, blanket forts that stay up in the den for far too long, whole mornings wasted away together under the covers. On the road, they have to make time for this kind of luxury.
And when they do, it’s worth it.
The rest of the crew is taking full advantage of their off day in the city. Josh, ever the adventurer, has already kissed them both goodbye in the earlier hours, and headed off to spend the day with some of his and Debby’s New York friends, padding his gentle way out of the hotel room long before Jenna or Tyler would stir, roll over, gauge the time of day by the quality of light that filters in through the cheap venetian blinds.
By now, the light has already started to soften and fade, the sun making its way below the skyline, casting a dull orange glow over Tyler’s skin, the naked curve of his torso, only half covered by the wrinkled blankets.
It’s indulgent, she thinks, to move slow like this, without a call time, an interview to run to, a bus to catch. Today is theirs, and theirs alone.
Tyler stirs, and lets out a stretched, muted whine, stifled by closed lips. Voice cracked and dampened from long-slept lack of use, he barely gets the two syllables past his lips, but it doesn’t matter - she’s waiting for them. She hears him fine.
“Jenna,” he manages, or something vowelless like it.
The rest comes without words, and her response requires no language at all - except that of lips and wide eyes and gentle fingers against Tyler’s temple, the warm curve of his jaw. He leans into the touch, and she cradles the weight of his cheek like a gift, or a miracle. It is, she thinks; touching Tyler has always felt like a miracle, feels like it even now. Years into their committed and consummated promise, and she still wonders if this - the music, the boy beneath her, all of it - is nothing but the dreaming breathless yield of a never-ending sleep.
Even though their bedbound day has rendered her joints stiff, her muscles sluggish, Jenna is nimble; without leaving the comfort of the covers, she swings a leg over Tyler’s torso, gently coming to rest slightly above his hips. It’s far from suggestive - quiet, lazy, protective above all else. It’s a familiar position, and Tyler’s hands automatically find their home on the tops of her thighs, clumsy and absent-minded fingers clutching at the hem of her t-shirt.
Save for the fingers, they’re still. Save for slow breathing, they’re quiet. Air passes between them like a kiss, moving from one windpipe to another, prompting Jenna to consider - the notion warming her chest - how much breath, how much else, they’ve exchanged; how many molecules from her body must exist inside of his by now, from lips and fingers and sighs, and how many of his have made their way to her, too; how well their bodies know each other.
Jenna’s hands, she thinks, will never be used to the new smoothness of his scalp. Though it’s been months, and though it’s been this way before, she nevertheless finds herself reaching for something to brush off his forehead - but her hands meet skin, and the prickly beginning of growth. She doesn’t mind. With two hands, she strokes over his forehead again and again, trailing her fingers over the curve of his scalp in tranquil, purposeful movements, and then - mesmerized - beginning again.
Time has stopped, or at least, it has stopped mattering. Tyler’s quiet breathing, the dark warmth of his eyes, have slowed the universe; and though she is usually the collected one, it’s almost enough to entirely overwhelm her, and turn her into the breathless, reverent creature that she becomes only when touching him this way.
“Jenna,” his lips form again, just barely, and she breathes the word back in.
He looks so vulnerable, so wrecked and hushed and hers, flushed and glowing not from exertion, or even from any tangible emotion, but simply from the silent, blood-pulsing thrill of existing like this with her. Moving automatically, Jenna drags her knuckles along his hairline. He’s warm, even there. She drags them, feather light, against the full purple buds of his parted lips.
“Baby,” she responds, the syllables nearly as soundless as his had been, each relying on the shapes of their mouths alone to communicate.
Small palms flat on either cheek, a thumb on either side of his nose, Jenna frames his mouth between the heels of her hands; she folds over on herself, back curling lithely, astonishing him with a kiss that is at once deliberate and lazy. She lingers there, indulging in his parted lips, and in the gentle sound of surprise he makes when she reaches them.
Tyler has two settings when it comes to kissing, and this one is slow. It’s subdued, it’s generous, and it’s exactly what it needs to be. They part for a stretched second, but at the sight of his round-red lips, his flushed cheeks, she’s kissing him again.
The beep of a key card in the door registers in Jenna’s mind, but it’s not enough to pull them away from each other; they don’t need to wonder who it is. Instead, she presses her forehead against Tyler’s, closes her eyes, waits for the shift of extra weight on the bed as Josh climbs his way towards them.
It’s so easy. Jenna can’t wrap her head around how anyone else could find the dimensions of their love confusing.
Josh is less of an addition than a resolution, catalyzing the warmth of their tender fire until Tyler’s face is burning up with a smile. She feels and hears the shift of his mouth as he reaches out a hand for Josh, and it brings a smile to her lips, too. And maybe it’s the fact that Josh is wrapping long arms around both of them as if they’re just one big body, maybe it’s that there’s so much skin on skin on blushing skin, sharing each other’s body heat; but beyond even that, the room has grown so undeniably warmer, so much more alive, with Josh in it, with all three of them together, and alone.
It’s not the same shape as the love she has with Tyler - it looks and feels geometrically different - but she wouldn’t trade one for the other. She needs, and has, them both.
There’s coffee on Josh’s breath, but Jenna doesn’t mind, and Tyler’s too far gone to complain. He smells, she realizes, a little like one of the herbal essential oils that Debby always has on, and she finds the notion surprisingly comforting, like another star in the strange and brilliant constellation they all make with each other.
One arm each around her, they hold Jenna close: Tyler’s fingers small and clumsy, Josh’s longer, more sure - but clutching equally tightly, their laziness long gone. They’re holding tight, to this moment, to this day, before they have to let it go. There will be more days like this, more small pockets of evening light and clean blankets, of dark lips, and flushed faces, and body heat compounded.
They really should get up, she thinks; eat something, greet the waning day. But one more minute won’t hurt.
Breath from two pairs of lungs tickles her forehead. Quietly, she slips back into sleep.