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He’s not sure how long it took for them to settle into a kinda-sorta routine. Alex’s mom would be heading out to work as they got ready for school, they’d crash in front of the TV watching weekday morning reruns and eating cereal. Jonas’s dad would join them for a few minutes before warning them they’d be late, then looping a rough elbow around Jonas’s neck to peck a kiss on his head (it's a new development, this particular kind of affection, but for all his face-pulling and eye-rolling Jonas doesn’t actually mind it too much), and then heading out for work as well.

Jonas and Alex would catch the last few minutes of whatever whatever aired 7-7:30am on weekdays, then grudgingly do their own dishes, pack their own lunch (occasionally arguing over who got to take leftovers), and load themselves and their backpacks into Jonas’s beat up pick-up for the morning commute. 

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They never listen to the radio.

That first morning - before it was a given, when they were still bumping into each other on their routes around the kitchen, before Alex became practiced at climbing into the truck - he’d punched the button on out of habit.

She didn’t jump. Not quite. More like a full body stiffening, a stare, a blank look washing over her face -- and a chill crept down his spine, wondering if she’d start to murmur incoherently, if she’d drop to the ground, if her eyes would go red.

The radio was quickly switched back off. It hasn’t been on since.

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They don’t talk about that night. None of them do. It’s an unspoken agreement between the five of them. Six of them? Were there six of them? No, five. Wait-- four? If he thinks about it too much, things get confusing. So he lives in the moment. They all do. They live in the here and now, or the soon and thereafter, but never in the gone and past.

He’s met more people, made friends with some more of Alex’s friends, even met a few people outside of her circle as well. A few. Like… five. But that’s okay, he’s new and the school year is almost over anyway. And his time at school is mostly one-on-one tutors and study halls and meetings and testing -- figuring out where exactly he is with his education, since juvie sort of interrupted things, and the changing counties thing didn’t exactly help either. He was supposed to graduate this year, or that had been the plan, but now it looks like he’s either staying for a new senior year or going straight for his GED.

He thinks about just getting certified and getting out, finding some part time job somewhere, figuring out what he wants to do with his life, but he’s weirdly attached to Camena now. For all of Alex’s self-deprecating, for all of her offhanded jokes at her hometown’s expense, it’s grown on him quick. Things are nicer here. People are-- well, people are about the same everywhere, but… there are some good ones.

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The only classes he has regularly, when he’s not in “individual study,” are gym and history. One is with Alex, the other is not, though weirdly enough it is with Clarissa. She’s still a bit of a bitch, but he can tell it was especially bad before, at the island, with-- was she…? She was there, right? He knows - he sees her- but, then-- And he’s not sure. But… The past isn’t a place his mind wants to go, it’s too confusing, and if he sees her now, and if he doesn’t try to remember, then he isn’t left wondering if she exists. Of course she does. She’s right there.

They’re not… close. But she’s not mean to him, either. A little chilly, maybe, but there’s a grudging respect. She introduces him to people in the class, bullies someone into switching seats so he’s not stuck next to the most annoying kid in their period. She mostly leaves him alone, except the occasional glance to see how he’s doing. He does the same. Tries to avoid talking to her when she’s with friends. Or ever, really, unless he’s actually got something to ask. It’s a mutual standoffish kind of respect, that melts into weirdly comfortable coexistence in a larger group setting.

With Ren dating Nona, and Nona being best friends with Clarissa, and Alex being best friends with Ren, and Jonas being Alex’s stepbrother… Well, they’re all bound to spend some time together.