Mrs. Murphy was ecstatic when her son asked her permission to travel down to their beach home with his ‘friends’. She had been worried about him for the longest time because of his lack of friends. She was overjoyed to learn that he wanted to spend some of his summer with them.
Connor, although in his past, had an extremely sketchy driving record, leading to his license being confiscated. While being technically able to drive, Evan’s nerves wouldn’t allow him to drive more than to the store and back. Which only left Jared to get them down to Cynthia Murphy’s beach home in Southport, North Carolina. Which meant he had total control over the speakers, and the music he played. Every once in a while, he would play the Pokémon Indigo Theme, singing along with his boyfriends as Connor pretended to hate every second.
Jared was in the driver's seat, cruising leisurely down the interstate. They weren’t in any rush, they wanted to enjoy this trip at their pace. And, Evan wouldn’t let him go even a bit over the speed limit. Connor and Evan were in the back seat, Evan in Connor’s arms.
Jared, he must admit, was a tad jealous that he had to be in the front when his boyfriends were in the back, cuddling. But he knew that he was the only one who could safely drive, so he just sucked it up. Plus, Evan was only in Connor’s arms so he wouldn’t panic. If he would’ve been okay alone, Connor would’ve been in the front seat, directing Jared to the house and changing the music. Jared was a little happy about the fact that Connor didn’t have control of the radio.
Evan was asleep, thank goodness. That means he wasn’t balls deep in panic because of Connor not wearing his seat belt, or because Jared picked up his phone to change the music, or because they had hit a little bump in the road.
By this point in their trip, they were passing through Virginia. They planned to stop at a hotel mid-state so Jared wouldn’t be driving for so long.
Connor tapped Jared’s shoulder, a silent warning for the fact that he was climbing into the front seat while Evan slept in the back.
“Take the next exit.” Connor instructed, motioning to his right as he plopped down into the passenger's seat.
“Are you sure? This place is really country so, you know we gotta be careful.” Jared said, turning the radio down.
“Pshh. I know this area, it’s okay.” Larry had friends in the area they were in. As much as Connor hated to use anything his father supplied him, this would be safer than a shitty motel.
His grabbed his phone out of the glove box and saw 2 missed calls, both from his mother. He made a mental note to call her back as he dialed in his dad’s friend’s number.
“Hello, Mr. Smith, I’m Larry Murphy’s son, Connor.” He said into the phone, putting on his best ‘good kid; not a delinquent little shit’ voice.
“Uhm, me and two of my friends- yes- hah, yes sir- Okay, we were wondering if we could stay at your house- just for tonight- yeah- we’re heading out to North Carolina- my friend- Jared- Yes sir- yes sir, he does. No. No sir, were not d- no, I’m not. Okay, thank you so much. We’ll be there in about half an hour- okay. Same house, right? Okay, thank you so much. Bye.”
Connor sighed, hanging up and smiling at Jared.
Jared raised an eyebrow. “You good?”
“Yeah, yeah. Just- ya know- country folk.”
“Ah,” Jared nodded, ending the exchange by turning the music back up.
Evan, who had been asleep for the past few hours, mumbled softly as he slowly sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Wh-where are we now?” He asked, leaning forward a bit to try to see the map.
“Virginia, we’re heading to Connor’s house.” Jared answered, passing his phone briefly to Evan, before taking it back.
“Not my house. My dad’s friend’s house.” Connor corrected quickly.
“Okay, but- I mean, it’s getting dark.” Evan said, glancing out the back window. It was around 9, and already pitch black outside. It was not ‘getting dark’, it was dark. “How long until we can stop?”
“Like-“ Jared glanced down at his phone, which Connor had rerouted to their new destination.
Evan nearly screeched at him, but that would cause more of a distraction, so he just let out a quiet, “eyes on the road.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Like, half an hour.” Jared said, but quickly flicked his eyes back up, focusing on the mostly empty road.
Evan sat back into his seat, glancing outside at the stars and gripping the edge of his shirt tightly. “How long have I been asleep?”
“Only like an hour or two, not long.” Conner responded, looking over the seat at him. “I was with you until a bit ago when I came up here to help Jared. Want me to come back there with you?”
“No, no, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, I’m fine, really. Don’t worry about it, Con.” Evan waved his hands around, before letting them fall back beside him, one going to grip at his shirt, one hesitantly tapping against the leather.
Tap tap tap.
Three taps. It was something that the three of them had decided on. If something was wrong, or one of them felt they couldn’t say what they needed to, or if they needed, well, anything- they could just tap three times to say so.
Connor was back into the back seat almost instantly, wrapping his arms around Evan, who tensed up in guilt momentarily before melting into the taller boy.
“S-Sorry…” He whispered, knowing it probably annoyed the two boys that they had to tend to his weird paranoia and anxiety.
“Nah, don’t be,” Connor said, pulling him closer. “I don’t mind at all. I know it’s probably scary to be so far from home.”
Evan nodded, relaxing further into him. “Thank you, Con. Thank you, Jared. For driving, I mean. Wouldn’t be possible without you.”
Jared hummed in response, glancing in the rear view mirror at his boyfriends.
Connor, who was unknowingly touch starved for a long, long time, held Evan tightly, kissing his jaw softly.
Evan giggled softly, the grip on the edge of his shirt loosening. “I love you.”
“Love you too, Ev. It’s alright, okay?”
“Mhm. Yeah, it’s okay.”
“Hey, Con. We’re like 10 minutes or so away, right?” Jared asked, taking a turn down a gravel road at Siri’s instruction.
“Yeah, this gravel road goes on for a while.”
Evan bit his cheek, kissing Connors cheek. “G-Gravel? Like- country bumpkin shit?” He asked softly.
“Yeah, Mr Smith is pretty redneck and crazy shit like that, but he’s kind. So, that’s great, I guess.”
“Trump 2020,” Jared stated simply and sarcastically.
Evan hummed in judgement, but it would be better to have a safe place to stay than a probably-safe-but-not-certainly-safe place to stay.
Evan slowly threaded his hands through Connors long hair, kissing his cheek again. “Sorry, for being so weird.” He whispered into his ear.
“You’re not weird, it’s okay. We love you, okay?”
“Ah! No, we love you, and you’re great,”
Evan frowned, resting his chin on Connor’s shoulder. “Fine.”
Connor smiled, kissing the side of his head. “Good.”
“Hate to interrupt this touching moment,” Jared began, breaking the silence, “but, uh, how far are we from this guy's place? The maps aren’t doing their job right.”
Connor let go of Evan- who reluctantly settled against the wall of the car, staring out the window- and jumped back into the front seat, turning off the map.
“Oh shit, right here.” Connor said, pointing off to the side. Jared jerked the car down another shitty gravel road, causing Evan to squeak loudly, grabbing onto Connor’s seat.
“Sorry! Where now?”
“Keep going down this road and take the first left. Then it’s just kinda there.” Connor answered, looking back at Evan. “You good?”
“Yeah… yeah.” Evan smiled softly, running his fingers through Connor’s hair.
Connor turned around, pushing his hair over the seat for Evan to play with. “The house is, like, this disgusting fucking green. So you can’t miss it.”
Evan glances over at Connor, muttering “language,” before turning back to the boys long brown hair, making more and more mini braids with each passing minute, until there were at least a dozen braids on Connor’s head. He only stopped when Jared turned left into the two car driveway in front of a bright green house.
Biting his lip, Evan watched as the door to the house opened, and a man stepped out onto the porch. The man seemed around Connor’s parents age, which made sense. He was more of a heavyset man, but had a bright smile on his face, which calmed Evan’s nerves slightly.
Connor opened the passenger side door, stepping out and waving to Mr. Smith.
“Hey, Connor! How you doin’?” He asked, waving back.
Connor replied with a simple “I’m fine,” and looked through the front of the window to nod at Jared, signaling safety.
Jared looked back at Evan, and reached to grab his hand, squeezing it slightly in reassurance. Evan gave him a small smile in return, and watched as Jared opened to driver door and stepped out, greeting Mr. Smith with a smile and a handshake. Evan followed soon after, already wanting to go back in after he did. Connor glanced over at him, giving him the same reassuring smile that Jared had. His boyfriends knew how to calm him, and it was working wonders.
Evan took a deep breath, and turned to give a polite smile to Mr. Smith, and shaking his hand. He prayed that the man didn’t notice his sweaty, shaking hands.
“Come on in, boys! I only have one guest room, but it does have a queen sized bed. Feel free to use the couch if you need to. It folds out easily enough,” he suggested, heading back to his porch, signaling for them to follow.
Despite trusting those whom Connor trusted, Evan’s stomach twisted in paranoia, his heart speeding up. He glanced at Jared as Connor immediately followed the man.
Jared and Evan, still standing outside, shared a look of is this some scary murder movie plot? Is he a crazed homophobic man about to deadass kill all three of us?
Jared, being the calmer one of the two, flashed a smile and took his hand. He brought his hand up to his lips briefly, before pulling him forward and kissing his cheek. “Love ya. One night, okay?”
Evan nodded, “Yeah.”
Jared nodded with him, keeping his hand held as he followed Connor and Mr. Smith inside.
As they walked in, they caught the middle of a conversation in the foyer.
“-to Mrs. Smith? Larry said something happened…”
Mr. Smith, looking a little sore but not upset at whatever Connor asked. “Unfortunately, I lost her a few years back…”
“Awh, man. Really? I’m so sorry, sir.” Connor said, looking genuinely upset over not knowing.
“No, it’s fine, really. It was many years ago.” Mr. Smith smiled, although there was a sad glint in his eyes. Jared and Evan stood awkwardly, hand-in-hand, watching the end of the exchange.
“Alright,” Mr. Smith clapped, rubbing his hands together. “This way is the kitchen- how early are y’all gonna be up in the mornin’? Bailey can cook for us so y’all get yuns a good meal before y’leave.”
“Bailey?” Connor asked, raising an eyebrow. Mr. and Mrs. Smith had two kids that Connor could remember, neither named Bailey. Had he had another kid since the last time Connor had seen the Smiths? It wouldn’t surprise him, since he hadn’t seen the Smiths since he was, like, eight.
“Mhm. Lemme introduce y’all.” Mr. Smith responded, walking into the kitchen. Standing at the counter was a man around Mr. Smith’s age, pushing a dishwasher closed.
“Oh my gosh, is that Connor? Murphy?” The man asked, grinning widely as he wiped his hands off on a towel. “Drew has shown me so many pictures of you, but man, you are not a kid an’more, are ya?”
Evan relaxed slightly- though still tense- at seeing the kindness of the man in front of them.
Connor stuck his hand out, “Connor Murphy, I don’t think we’ve met, have we?”
“Bailey Barrows-Smith and, no, I only met Drew ‘few years back, so we hadn’t met.”
“Ah.” Connor and Bailey shook hands. “Smith? Are you Mr. Drew’s brother?”
The men looked similar in the age-caused shades of their hair, but in nothing else. Not in eye color or face shape or anything else noticeable.
Bailey took on an amused expression as his hand went back to the towel. “Husband, actually.” Bailey said as he grinned, effectively moving on by turning towards Jared and Evan, not allowing any room for judgement. Not in his house. Not that there would be any anyways.
Bailey tossed the towel he was holding back onto the counter and walked up to the other two boys.
“Sorry for all the hand shakin’, guys.” He said as Jared took his hand, still holding onto Evan’s with the other.
“Jared Kleinman, and this is Evan Hansen. He might have trouble speaking, he’s a shaky guy, but don’t take it rudely, sir.”
Evan nodded, his hand- in fact- shaking as he held it out to Bailey. “Ev-Evan.” He said, being unknowingly curt.
Bailey just smiled, shaking his hand. “We’ got a queen in the guest room, two of you can sleep in there, or one, or all three. It don’t matter, as long as y’all ‘re comfortable. We’ve got couches and shit too, if that tickles yer pickle.”
Okay. Jared Kleinman, a young gay city boy memer, meets Bailey Smith, an old gay yeehaw memer. This spells doom for all non-memers involved. Obviously.
“I think the queen would tickle the heck outta my pickle, siiiiir.” Jared said, putting on his best over-exaggerated country voice.
Connor almost face palmed himself into the sun, realizing that the next 12 hours were going to be hell on Earth. “Yeah, the queen will be fine, Mr. Bailey.”
Sometimes, strangely, Connor-goddamn-Murphy has better fucking manners than either of his boyfriends. Evan is, unbeknownst to him, unbelievably curt when he’s anxious, and Jared… well Jared is just a fucking bitch.
Bailey nodded, turning to his husband. “Can you show them the room then, Drew?”
Drew nodded, motioning his hand to lead the way. “This way, down this hall.”
Connor followed Drew, and Jared kept his hold on Evan’s hand as they followed Connor.
Drew opened the door to the guest bedroom, waving an over-dramatic hand.
The bedroom was nice. Queen sized bed, television, plenty of accessible outlets.
Drew looked at Connor, giving him a thumbs up. “This look okay?”
Connor nodded, offering a gracious smile. “Yes sir, thank you.”
“Alright, make yourselves a’ home, see ya tomorrow mornin’.”
And with that, the boys were alone. Jared let go of Evan and collapsed onto the bed. “Oh, thank god, it’s so soft.” He mumbled.
Evan sat beside him carefully, perched on the edge of the bed. “Is it big enough for all three of us?”
“Yeah,” Connor said, shutting the door. “Of course it is. We’ll just have to cuddle up,” He winked, laying on the other side of Jared.
He leaned over, pressing his lips against Jared’s ear. “Go take off your binder. Me and Evan will get ready for bed too.”
“Fiiiine.” Jared sat up, glaring down at Connor. “Just for you, babe.”
Connor rolled his eyes, looking at Evan as Jaded stood up.
Jared took his shirt off, then slipped into the bathroom connected to the guest bedroom.
Connor scooted closer to Evan, taking his hand. “May I?” He asked quietly, leaning closer to him.
Evan nodded. “Mhm, of course, Con.”
Connor kissed Evan’s cheek, holding his hand tightly. “Thank you, for letting us stay here…” He whispered, kissing his temple.
“Y-Yeah, why wouldn’t I?” Evan asked, tilting his head to the side.
Connor immediately took the invitation to kiss his neck, tapping on his wrist as he scooted closer, his lips hovering over Evan’s neck patiently.
Tap tap tap .
Evan nodded his head in response, causing Connor to press his lips against his neck softly.
“I just know meeting new people, especially country people, might’ve made you… uneasy.” Connor whispered, letting every word press against Evan’s skin.
“Yeah, but they seem nice, don’t they?” Evan asked, running his hands through Connor's hair.
“I know Mr. Smith is nice, and Mr. Barrows seemed equally as nice. I trust them, I just wanna make sure this is okay with you.”
Evan nodded, looking up as Jared came out of the bathroom wearing his shirt and holding his binder.
“What are you two up to now?” He asked, dropping his binder onto the floor and sitting on the other side of Evan, kissing his cheek. “Having fun without me?”
Evan was glowing from the attention, but obviously had something to say.
"What’s up, Ev?” Connor asked, tapping on Jared’s knee, making him back off.
“No- I just- sorry, you didn’t have to stop. I just, I don’t wanna go much further than this. I mean, we’re in someone else’s house.” Evan said, not losing his smile, but obviously becoming worried that he had done something wrong.
“I thought that was a no-brainer,” Jared said, before quickly adding “but thank you for telling us,” and smiling at his boyfriends.
Evan nodded, grinning as Jared kissed his cheek again. “Anyways, how are we gonna sleep?”
“You’re tired? You were just asleep in the car.” Connor asked, standing up and taking down some of the pillows, keeping two up there for them to use.
Jared stood, motioning for Evan to get up. He pulled the blanket and sheet back as Evan spoke.
“Well, I mean, I didn’t sleep for very long.” Evan said, twisting his fingers into the hem of his shirt.
“Alright, well, Jared definitely needs to sleep and I definitely could as well.” Connor said, looking at Jared, who crossed his arms stubbornly.
“I’m not that tired,” Jared grumbled, slipping off his glasses and climbing into the bed nonetheless.
Connor waved his arm, motioning for Evan to get in. After he did, Connor flicked off the lights and settled in too, the two boys wrapping their arms around Evan protectively.
“Comfortable?” Connor asked, a question for both of them.
Evan nodded, curling into Connor. Jared just shrugged, but nodded, scooting closer to Evan, his arms around his waist.
Connor tapped Jared’s arm absently and Jared looked at him with tired eyes, over Evan’s head.
“You feeling okay?” Connor mouthed, tapping on his arm again to bring attention to each word.
Jared nodded, mouthing, “Better than usual, so yes.”
Connor nodded, squeezing his arm lightly before letting go, his hand settling at Jared’s waist instead.
“I love you.” Connor said that one out loud. And he meant it, too. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, holding his boyfriends close.
He was thankful for every second he got to spend with them. He was grateful for Evan, with his anxieties and his empathetic nature. He was grateful for Jared, with his insecurities and shameless humor.
The good and bad of both of them made life worth living. Getting to see them made life worth living. Getting to love them, and be loved in return, made life worth enjoying.