Max says he feels the same way about Luke as he feels about Luca, and Michelle says the same. But Luke doesn't know if Max or Michelle is just so used to being a Z, so used to knowing what they want, that neither of them - him, her, goddamn pronouns! - notices that it's different.
The way Luke-and-Michelle are together is different from Max-and-Luca is different from Michelle-and-Luca is different from Max-and-Luke. Not in any way that really matters, Luke and Luca both know. Luke's pretty sure it's love, even if he hasn't said it yet, and he will! Soon. Just as soon as he's sure Luca's on board, too. Which, he's kind of sure she is, and man, he really needs to work on figuring stuff like this out. He can't keep referring to himself as someone else when it's still just him but her instead.
Okay, now his head is starting to hurt. But as Luke stares up at the ceiling of Michelle's bedroom, listening to her quiet breathing, he wonders if he should just get used to it. There's bound to be some confusion when there's four people involved in a two-person relationship. but for now... For now he's stuck on this thing that's crawled into his brain and won't let him sleep.
He didn't notice it that first time. Okay, those first several times in the loft in Max's garage. Luke was just a little preoccupied. But in the weeks since then, something started niggling at him. He couldn't quite put his finger on it until last week when Michelle and Luca got caught out in a surprise shower.
It was a day off for both of them and they decided that a picnic - just the two of them - was a good idea. It was nice enough to walk, so they had, but halfway out to the field behind the old freight yard, the sky went dark and heavy with clouds. Michelle wanted to turn back, but Luca was bound and determined to have this picnic. She didn't spend all morning with Janine trying to figure out how the hell to apply eyeshadow and eyeliner without poking her eyes out for nothing, dammit!
Of course, the skies opened up after that declaration, and they made a mad dash for the covered bridge. They were soaked through, and Luca soon discovered why waterproof mascara was such a big deal. Cheeks streaked with black and looking like a half-drowned cocker spaniel, Luca felt embarrassingly close to tears. Michelle doing a piss-poor job of trying not to laugh hadn't helped matters.
But then she made up for it by pulling Luca close, wiping the streaks from Luca's cheeks with gentle hands before kissing the scowl right off her face.
It clicked then.
When Luca kisses Michelle, there's always that split second of hesitation. Not because she doesn't want to kiss Michelle, be with her. Far from it. It's just that, Luca still has no idea what the hell she's doing. Being with Michelle is like losing her virginity all over again. All right, not really, but Luca always has that moment where her stomach drops out and her hands shake a little as they move over smooth skin that isn't her own.
Luke knows where he stands with Michelle. When he kisses her, everything seems to just right itself, like two ends of a circuit coming together to light up the room. There's no thinking, it just is between them.
There isn't much thinking when it comes to Max and Luca, either, but that's a whole other animal. If Luke and Michelle light up a room, Max and Luca set the room on fire. Luke doesn't know what it is that makes them spark off each other so hotly, but even when they'd first met - for the third time? fourth? - it was there, simmering between them in every word, every glance. If Luke is in love with Michelle, then Luca is head over heels in lust with Max. And, truth be told, Luke doesn't have a problem with that, not any more. Luca's been getting well acquainted with Max, and Luke...
Luke resists the urge to squirm, not wanting to wake Michelle.
Max and Luke have a thing. Honestly, Luke doesn't know what to call it. He knows Max wants all of him, Luke and Luca. It took Luke a while, but he finally figured out what had Michelle showing up that first time. And Luke knows that he and Luca both want Michelle on every level: emotional, physical, and everything in between. But when it comes to Max, Luke just doesn't know. Luke's pretty sure Luca wants Max in a way that's getting to be much more than just physical, but with him and Max? He has no freaking clue.
Luke only just got past the point of trying to deny he's drawn to Max. Even that first day in the garage when he dragged his sorry excuse for a truck into Max's garage, Luke hadn't wanted to admit how he noticed the cut of Max's jaw, or the way Max's shirt gaped over his chest. Luke hadn't wanted to admit he'd been half hard when Max got in his face for running out on Michelle during their date, or when they got into that fight at the freight yard. Luke knew now that his body had just been waiting for his brain to catch up. But that doesn't help him figure out what he and Max have going.
They don't catch fire quite as fiercely as Max and Luca do, but they aren't as comfortable or caring with each other as Luke and Michelle, or Luca and Michelle, are either.
They're competitive, always pushing and goading and jibing at each other. Sometimes it's harmless, fun even, getting each other so riled up it's impossible to tell who makes the first move. Other times, Luke takes it a little too far and Max gives him this look. Like Max isn't sure if he wants to hit Luke or fuck him, or if he's just so disappointed, he doesn't want anything to do with Luke at all. Those times are the worst, and Luke thinks that maybe this time, this time he's screwed up so royally it'll be impossible to fix.
But Max always forgives him because, for whatever reason, Max really does feel the same way about Luke as he does Luca. The more he thinks about it, the more Luke realizes he knows it's true, and maybe that's all that really matters.
As Luke looks down at Michelle sleeping beside him, he thinks maybe in all his confused, mixed-up thoughts, that's all he needs to know. And if he's very, very lucky, both Max and Michelle will help him learn that whether it's Luke-and-Michelle or Max-and-Luca or Michelle-and-Luca or Max-and-Luke, it might be different but it's still them. Just the two of them, together.