Calvin pops into Evan's open doorway, and blinks at the open suitcases and clothes tossed over pretty much every available surface. "Going home?" he asks, as Evan frowns at a suit jacket.
Evan laughs ruefully, shaking his head. "Doubt I'd be welcome. No, Nationals are this weekend, actually. I have to go represent Omega Chi myself since all the other officers weaseled out."
"Really? I would have thought Colin and Stephen would have loved the chance to out-pompous each other," Calvin says, arching his eyebrow.
Evan grins at him. "It's possible their schedules got full when I told them the jet was in the shop and they had to provide their own transport. "
Calvin snorts. "Figures. But hey, if it makes you feel better, Trip is headed home, so at least he can't scheme in your absence."
"He's actually laid off a bit since the KT thing," Evan admits. "I think he took me seriously when I warned everyone to chill out until everything blows over between that and the fire."
"Thank God. Every time I go out with Rusty, I get the sense Beaver's near ready to burn down our house." Calvin shifts from one leg to the other for a minute and then says like a decision, "I can come, if you want, to Nationals."
Evan stares at him dubiously. "I'm driving. To Chicago. " he clarifies.
"You don't have a car," Calvin points out.
"I was going to borrow Rebecca's."
"Now we can take mine," he shrugs. "We can split the gas."
"It's not that it wouldn't be awesome, because it would, but don't you have plans with Grant?" Evan asks meaningfully. "Shouldn't you take advantage of so many of the brothers going home?"
Calvin sighs and takes the shirt Evan just folded from his hand and refolds it. "Grant and I are on a little break. Turns out dating someone still in the closet is more work then I'm looking for."
Evan claps him on the back. "I hear you man. If I could just find ONE drama-free easy hookup before I graduate, it would be great." He raises his shampoo bottle up in a toast. "To being young, attractive, single Omega Chi men on the prowl."
"Is that pina colada?" Calvin asks.
"Oh God, it smells so good," Evan groans, uncapping it.
The next morning they leave so early it's still that weird greyish pre-dawn color staining the sky. Evan insists on taking the first driving shift, and stops at Starbucks and gets them both lattes without even asking. Calvin flips on a generic top 40 station, and they coast through the first hour in content silence.
Calvin's zoned out with his cheek against the window when the GPS says peevishly, "Recalculating." He looks up to see them pulling off into a rest stop.
"Gotta stretch my legs," Evan says. They get out, and Calvin stretches his hamstrings before following Evan into the dirtiest rest stop he's ever seen.
Not ten minutes later they're running full out back to the car.
"How did that even happen?" Calvin yells, pulling on the handle frantically.
"I thought he was just saying hi with his foot," Evan defends himself, sliding behind the wheel. "How was I supposed to know that he--"
"Hurry," Calvin orders, "before we end up like George Michael."
It's another twenty minutes of no one following before they can breathe again. "We tell no one that happened," Evan says, mouth turning up at the corners.
"If by no one you mean everyone," Calvin agrees.
Evan groans. "Cappie would--" He stops short and looks confused, and then sad. There's a awkward silence for a minute, and then Calvin slips Dave Matthews into the CD player. Evan laughs and looks over at him. "Smooth," he says.
"If there's one thing I know about white boys, it's that Dave Matthews soothes your souls." Calvin says, grinning. "I'm a helper, it's who I am."
Just over the border into Indiana, they pull over for lunch at a burger place with a waitress that calls them honey. "Are you and Grant still gonna room together?" Evan says, automatically folding his napkin over his lap.
Calvin takes a long sip of his milkshake for answering. "Uh, we agreed to, but I've been staying at Rusty's."
"Brave," Evan quips. Calvin makes a face, and throws a fry at him. Evan shoots his straw wrapper in retaliation, and they're only saved from an all out food fight by a stern cough from the waitress.
They roll up to the hotel in late afternoon. "Game faces on," Evan says. They fistbump over the center console and exit, slamming doors behind them.
Before they even get to the doors, someone yells, "Chambers!"
He mutters, "Andrew Greene. His dad owns Kraft." Calvin grins, pops his collar, and holds out his hand for an introduction.
Evan keeps up the running commentary under his breath as they make their way to the bar. Calvin has never schmoozed this hard in his
life, but he kind of likes it.
"Jack Veritas," comes a smooth voice. Calvin shakes the offered hand. "Calvin Owens, right?"
"How did you know that," Calvin says, surprised.
"My dad just made partner at your dad's firm. He told me you were an Omega Chi too."
"I'm sure he did," Calvin says laughing. "Sorry about that."
"He's very proud," Jack says with a grin. He shakes Calvin's hand again, his fingers brushing warmly against Calvin's palms.
"Who was that?" Evan asks as they head in for dinner.
"His dad works with my dad," Calvin says, glancing back at him.
"Is that right?" Evan says thoughtfully. "Get his contact info, he could be useful to you." His hand is warm as it settles between Calvin's shoulders,
steering him to their table.
It's late by the time the last speaker finishes welcoming them. Suddenly the whole day, from the incident in the bathroom to that entire stretch of nothing but farmland catches up with him. He yawns hugely, not even bothering to hide behind a napkin. Evan snickers.
"Shut up," Calvin says, pointing at him. "Fuck, I didn't even think, do I need to go reserve a room?"
"Nah," Evan says, standing up and reaching into his pocket. "Me and Colin were supposed to share a double, so you just get his bed." He tosses Calvin the door key, and Calvin catches it one handed.
"Awesome," he says. In the elevator, he leans his forehead against Evan's shoulder and pretends to doze off. He's just the right height to get a perfect lean, and Evan just laughs and presses their floor.
They both hang up their suit jackets in the closet, because by this point, it's pretty much ingrained. Calvin yawns as he strips down to his wife beater and boxers, and pulls on a pair of sweatpants. Evan dives onto the right bed, and flips on the TV. He turns the volume low, and Calvin flips off the light, sliding under the covers of the other bed.
There's nothing but the hushed voice of the TV for a few minutes, until Calvin says, facing the wall, "Do you think Wade will really get expelled?"
The TV goes off with a click and the blankets rustle before Evan answers. "I hope not. You gave him that info we found in the codes, right? To argue at the hearing?"
"Yeah, I did." Calvin is quiet for a second. "I still don't see why you didn't want Cappie to know--"
"It doesn't matter," Evan says. "We weren't meant to be friends, me and Cap."
"You don't have to answer this, but did--"
"We should probably go to bed." Evan interrupts, rolling over onto his stomach. "Night, man."
The next morning, Calvin slips out before Evan wakes up. There's still a few hours before they're due for breakfast, but he feels cooped up in the hotel. Chicago's pretty in the morning, crisp but sunny enough to keep it warm. He goes for a run around the block, and then jogs back up to the room, where Evan's just rising. They head down to breakfast together with companionable silence, and the speakers begin as they're bringing around food. Calvin loves this kind of crap, the guys standing up talking about how they're gonna be better than everyone else because they want it more. It doesn't apply to everyone, but it's a good enough philosophy to get him out of bed in the morning.
Evan elbows him. "This guy's name is Dick Feet. How is he seriously in finance?"
"What else is he gonna do, porn?" Calvin whispers back.
"Dick Feet is a foot long." They both snort into their coffee, and the other guys at the table give them weird looks. A table over, the guy from last night, Jack, grins at him like he wants to be in on the joke.
Breakfast is over pretty soon, and they pick up a schedule of the seminars. They split up for a couple, schmooze through lunch, hook back up for another couple.
"The last one is the Ethics seminar," Evan reads. "We probably should hit that one. Anyone who's serious does." He's not wrong, it's mostly packed by the time they make it to the room, and they just barely snag a couple of seats in back.
"Welcome," the guy says. "My name is Jim Pallato, and I'm a partner at a PR firm. I'm the guy who fixes it when your fathers get busted for not following the rules we're gonna talk about today." Everyone laughs appreciatively, and he grins. "But seriously. The Omega Chis, and the Greek system in general, have a major image problem, and you guys are gonna have gotta be the ones who fix it. No more hazing. No more pranks." Evan shifts in his seat, and Calvin ducks his head. "No more drinking scandals. For God's sake, if the police get called to your house more than once, you are doing it wrong."
They bust out of the lecture an hour and a half later. Evan's redfaced and heading straight for the bar. "I'm sorry, or did that guy reference our chapter nineteen times? God, I am the worst president. Jesus." He gestures for two shots, and passes one to Calvin. "I don't even know what I'm doing here."
"Dude, I'm sure every president felt like he was talking personally to him." Calvin takes the offered shot, and slams it back.
"Oh really? What about that crack about Harriet the Spy in the ZBZs?"
"Okay, that was for us." His eyes widen when Evan passes him another shot, but he clinks it against Evan's rim and swallows it back with a wince.
Forty five minutes later, Evan's laughing about it, laughing pretty much about everything.
"Dude," Calvin says, mocking. "You are the biggest lightweight I know." He's about to tell the bartender to cut them off, when Jack taps him on the shoulder. "Hey," he says, surprised.
"Hey," Jack says, smiling. "I didn't see you at dinner."
"Skipped," Calvin says, gesturing at Evan. "We uh, found the bar." Jack laughs, and his eyes are warm, and Calvin's drunk and not at all oblivious to how much Jack's been quasi-hitting on him. He snags the room key out of Evan's pocket and grins at Jack. "I'm gonna go grab something from my room, if you want to walk."
Calvin heads to the elevator, with a backward wave at Evan. Jack follows, close on his heels, and the doors are barely shut before Jack's crowding him into the wall, hands tight on his hips. Calvin brings his hands up behind Jack's head, and kisses him hard. The bell dings when they hit their floor, and they separate long enough for Calvin to unlock the door. Once inside, Jack backs him into the recliner, and straddles his legs.
"I can't believe our dads haven't hooked us up yet," Calvin murmurs, biting a mark into his neck.
Jack laughs. "If my dad had any idea..." He trails off, and loosens Calvin's belt.
"Wait," Calvin says, putting a hand to stop him. He suddenly feels dead sober. "Are you...you're not out?"
Jack quirks an eyebrow at him. "Of course not. How could I be, with all this?" He waves his hand around, like it explains anything.
"Yeah," Calvin says. He shoves at Jack's knees, pushing him off. "I'm not really into this, actually."
"Dude," Jack starts, but Calvin has had more than enough. He walks out, and bypasses the elevator, taking the steps three at a time. By the time he gets down the stairs, he's fully sober, or at least feels that way. Evan's not at the bar anymore, but with a word, the bartender motions to the double doors that lead out to the balcony.
"Hey," Evan says, when Calvin finds him on a stone bench outside. "I didn't think you'd be back for awhile."
"Me neither," Calvin says, and leans his head back against the cool stone. They sit quietly, watching the city lights.
"I hooked up with Cappie," Evan says suddenly. Calvin turns to look at him, but doesn't say anything. "We were at camp, and we were both sixteen and really bored. And then we were roommates, and drunk, and then we were in the lair and mad. I just. It sucks, and he's mad, but I was into him for years and I can't follow him around anymore, like some sick little puppy." He tosses the cup he's holding over the edge of the balcony. "And I'm sick of not having my trust fund. I'm sick of my parents being mad. I thought I could be like Patrick and not give a shit, but I do. I don't know what that says about me." He turns his body to face Calvin and says, "And I almost followed you upstairs, just to start a fight. That kid isn't even--"
"He's not out," Calvin interrupts him. "If we're like, yelling our drunk rages or whatever, I'm sick of dating dudes who can't stand up. Michael was an ass, but at least I got to hold his hand in public."
"Fuck that," Evan agrees. His breath is hot and sweet from the booze. "Holding hands is nice." He takes Calvin's and runs his thumb over his palm. Calvin shivers, and Evan leans in for Calvin's second kiss of the night. He breaks off to stare at Calvin. "I'm gonna call my mom."
"Please don't talk about your mom when we're making out," Calvin says.
"No, for real. I'm gonna call my mom, and make up. I'm gonna hire Wade and Jeremy a lawyer with my trust fund when I get it back, and I'm gonna find a way to kick Trip out. Or at least shut him up. And I'm gonna hold your hand in public."
Calvin grins. "You got a lot of resolutions there, wino."
"I'm serious," Evan says. He leans in for another kiss, resting his weight against the wall by Calvin's head. "Come on, let's go finish this upstairs."
"Are you hitting on me, Evan Chambers?" Calvin says in a mocking voice as he stands.
"Also a room change. Gonna change your room." Evan grins too big, and holds out his hand for Calvin to help pull him up to a standing position. He keeps hold of Calvin's hand, and they cross the bar right past Jack, who doesn't even look up. Calvin holds his head up, and Evan straightens his tie, and they both nod at the OX officers that pass, before breaking into a run and racing up the stairs.
The next morning, Evan stands with the other presidents, wincing from the bright light coming in through the windows. The future and current leaders of America all applaud, and Calvin hoots when Evan accepts their "member in good standing plaque" to take home.
"Come on," Evan says when he rejoins Calvin. "We got a long ride home."