I’m sick of hearing what if, what if
Just follow what you’re feeling for
If you don’t know what you’re looking for
Just follow what you feel, Just follow what you feel
Kristen’s got her feet kicked back on her balcony. It’s a gorgeous summer day, she has a smoothie in one hand, a script in the other, and headphones in her ears as her iPhone plays her songs on shuffle. One comes on that she hasn’t heard in a while and she gets lost in it for a moment.
She’s pulling up a blank text message before she can even really think about it, entering Jesse’s contact. She attaches a YouTube link to the song.
makes me think of adventureland, man
She looks at the sent message before typing another:
the movie itself not the shoot
you know i don’t listen to music is the instantaneous reply.
Next is hello to you too. come to a wedding with me
Kristen does a double take at the screen and then thumbs through the script before turning back to her phone.
okay one fuck you you do listen to music. put the fuckin’ song on, Eisenberg. and two is that some inside joke? we gettin’ married in this film?
Jesse calls her a moment later. Kristen would’ve bet money on that happening. Jesse can only take so much of texting before he needs a human voice. Kristen’s surprised she got that far, to be honest.
“You haven’t finished the script yet?” he says after she says hello.
Kristen’s mouth drops open wordlessly as she eyes the script in her hand. “Dude, we got it a fuckin’ hour ago.”
“Jesus christ, Eisenberg, fuck you.”
Jesse laughs. Kristen has missed that sound, actually. “How are you?”
“I’d be better if you played the damn song.”
“Not now. No, we don’t get married in the film. There’s not a wedding in sight.”
“More like not ever,” Kristen snorts. “Okay, so what’s up then?”
“Um. Hi, how are you, come to a wedding with me.”
“Wait, seriously? You want me to go to a wedding with you,” Kristen says flatly.
“Yeah, I do.”
Kristen laughs. “I mean, I do love weddings and I’m an awesome fucking time, but what gives, dude?”
Jesse’s silent for a moment. “Anna’s getting married.”
“Oh, shit,” Kristen blurts.
“Yeah, uh. Yeah.”
“Uh. And Mia…?”
Jesse laughs humorlessly. “Please. We’re barely speaking right now.”
“You never did tell me what happened there.”
“What always fucking happens. People-- grow apart. Change.”
Kristen frowns, picking up her smoothie and sipping it through the straw. “So you’ve changed.” It’s not a question.
“Why’s it gotta be me?” Jesse asks, voice hard. “She’s… she’s young, I don’t know. We want different shit.”
“Age is a fucking state of mind,” Kristen replies.
“Okay, then she’s young in all ways or maybe I’m just too fucking old.”
Kristen rolls her eyes fondly. “You really are an old soul, it’s pretty insane, man.”
“Yeah,” Jesse agrees, sounding tired.
“When is this wedding?”
Kristen’s eyes widen. “Excuse me? You didn’t just find out.”
“Hand to god. Invite is currently in front of me. That’s Anna. It’s gonna be a hippie wedding with hippie food and hippie impromptu shit.”
“I love hippie weddings,” Kristen mutters.
“Perfect, great. Then come with me.”
Kristen shakes her head, biting her lip as she stares out at all the other Los Feliz rooftops. “Why me?” Jesse has a ton of friends. And yeah, they’re close and all but he wouldn’t be her first choice for a wedding. He wouldn’t be in her top five choices.
“I can’t-- go alone. Single again while she’s getting married. And you’re the best date a guy could ask for.”
“Jeez, Jesse, you still hung up on her?”
“Not-- no. But, you know, the feelings come back sometimes. You know, right?”
Kristen sighs. She knows. “But seriously, as a date, man? She knows we’re not-- that we never--”
“Well. She was always kind of jealous…”
Kristen sputters. “You gotta be kidding me.”
“She thought you two looked alike. One time we were out at a bar, a commercial for one of your films came on and she was already drunk, started saying how you look alike and why wouldn’t I.”
“Oh my god.”
“Yeah, it was weird.”
Kristen laughs. “Jesus. This is ridiculous. You realize how ridiculous this is, right?”
“I think I’m allowed. I’m hardly ever ridiculous. Give me this once every ten years thing.”
Kristen laughs, shaking her head again. “I’ll go with you on one condition.”
“Yes, anything, name it,” Jesse says excitedly.
Kristen grins slyly. “Listen to the song.”
Jesse calls her again that night.
“I haven’t talked to you this much in weeks.”
“I don’t feel like texting.”
“You never feel like texting,” Kristen says, rubbing behind Cole’s ears. She whines and rolls onto her back, so Kristen moves to her belly.
“That the dog?”
“Yeah, the baby. The other ones abandon me.”
“All of my cats abandon me.”
Kristen laughs, shifting on the bed. She takes off her glasses and puts her book down on the nightstand. “That’s what cats do, man.”
“I know this, obviously,” Jesse says.
“C’mon, get to it,” Kristen says, fully aware he’s calling to give her commentary.
“I can see why you like it.”
Kristen laughs, dry. “Oh can you?”
She can hear his shrug. “It’s catchy. It talks about…. rollercoasters. Hence, the park.”
Kristen snorts loudly. “It’s not just about the lyrics. It’s got… it’s got a feeling, man. I don’t know, like. Well, first of all, it’s got a very 80’s feel to me, in certain ways. Like, Modern English type shit. Or Pulp. Nah, not Pulp. I don’t know. But yeah, just -- just this… feeling. Like it captures some period in time perfectly in some kind of capsule.”
“Hmm,” Jesse says. “It’s very… there’s a strong young love vibe there, for sure.”
“Did you ever feel that way?” Kristen asks, not sure why the answer seems-- important to her.
Kristen huffs impatiently. Jesse can be so fucking sharp 95% of the time, but when she really needs him to get it, he fails out.
“Like, as a teenager? Like Em and James?”
“They weren’t teenagers,” Jesse points out. “And-- I don’t think I’ve ever felt like shit’s supposed to feel in movies. It’s why I don’t fucking watch them.”
Kristen bites her lip. “Yeah, but like, like you and Anna, dude. She was your high school sweetheart. It had to feel like, like young love and dreamy and ‘we are infinite’ and all that shit, right?”
“Well, what about you?”
Kristen snorts. “You fuckin’ knew me when I was that age.”
“Yeah,” Jesse agrees. “So was it like that? With Michael?”
“Michael and I were half over by then.”
“Not answering the question here, Stewart.”
Kristen sighs. “I dunno, probably? I always felt -- more, back then. Everything was heightened, right?”
“Nothing was ever… heightened for me. Not like that.”
“Why?” Kristen says, answer slotting into place as the word formed in her mouth. “Because of like… like the meds and shit?”
“It dulled stuff, that’s for sure. I used to think I wouldn’t be able to act. Like, I couldn’t get into it as deep as I used to, when I was switching stuff up. The Prozac fucked me up good. I fucking freaked out on the Squid and the Whale especially. They’d upped my dosage and I just -- god, I couldn’t find the beats.”
It took Jesse a while to talk to her openly about that stuff. Something swells in her chest listening to him ramble now. She buries her face in Cole’s neck for a moment, before pulling back, closing her eyes.
“You kill it in that, dude.”
“Thanks,” Jesse says, voice quiet, sincere. He clears his throat. “Uh, to answer your question: I suppose. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to compartmentalize my relationship with Anna into a song. Not even a Ween song. I don’t hear things and think, ‘this is this period in my life’. But I also don’t listen to shit like that. I kind of envy your passion for music and-- and even movies, even though I don’t give a shit about seeing them. Except Submarine.”
“Mmm, Submarine,” Kristen agrees. She stares up at the ceiling. “Okay, but. It doesn’t mean anything. I mean, it’s reflection, is all. It’s… finding a connection through something else. It’s almost sublimation. It’s almost a-- a cop out.”
“Yeah, maybe. But I guess it’s a little weird. I mean, people think it’s fuckin weird. Like, for example, I’d never fucking make a mix, the way James did. To-- to what? Express how I feel? Through other things? Just. Why? What on earth is the point of that? If I want to express myself, I’ll express myself. But then I’m sure you’ve made a ton of mixes in your life, yet you also express yourself via your words.”
“Well…” Kristen says, not able to deny it. “Yeah, I mean. Yeah, I have.”
Jesse laughs. “See? I don’t know what that says about me. I don’t care what it says about me, but I also don’t know.”
“It says you’re a dude who loves the written word rather than audio or visual things, man. It isn’t fucking rocket science.”
Jesse hums. “True. Right, I do enjoy reading lyrics. Maybe you should send me lyrics, we could get around this conundrum.”
“Conundrum,” Kristen laughs.
“Shut up.” Jesse’s silent for a beat. “You know… you’re the only one I have conversations like this with.”
A warm, pleased feeling washes over her. “Because I talk about music a lot,” Kristen says dryly.
“You do,” Jesse agrees, sounding fond. It makes that warm feeling expand. “I might not understand it. But I love listening to you.”
“You’re getting really sappy in your old age.”
“You’re a fucking sap yourself, I know your fronts, Stewart.”
Kristen sinks her teeth into her bottom lip. “Hey, I don’t hide it, man.”
“You do a little,” Jesse says.
“A little,” Kristen concedes.
They’re quiet for a moment.
“So, you’re the killer queen, then?”
It takes her a moment to get the reference, and then she laughs. “You’re reading the lyrics right now, aren’t you?”
“Well, no. Not me.”
“There was some of you in Em,” Jesse points out.
“There are pieces of me in all my characters, man. I don’t become someone else. Maybe that works for some people, but not me.”
“Yeah,” Jesse says quietly.
Kristen huffs out a laugh. “Alright, now that I’ve become a Tori Amos song I think it’s time to say goodnight.”
“I don’t get the reference,” Jesse says, voice so fucking monotone.
“Of course you fucking don’t, we just established that. Goodnight, Jesse.”
She forgets she agreed to go to a random wedding as Jesse Eisenberg’s date until she’s half-asleep.
“Jesus fucking christ,” she whispers into her pillow.
“This is fucking weird, us together again,” Kristen had said to Jesse through the phone, after they were both cast.
“We haven’t even done press for Ultra yet, man. By the time we do we’ll have this one under our belt, too.”
“Yeah. You’re shooting Kelly’s first, right?”
“Yeah, and we gotta talk about that.”
Jesse laughed. “Okay, we will. Maybe we’ll do every movie together for the rest of our lives.”
Kristen rolled her eyes. “Yeah, or we’ll just become Evans and Johannson. You’re already Lex fucking Luthor.”
Jesse had snorted. “Yeah, well, let’s be honest, Kristen. I’ll never be Chris Evans.”
“Fuck you, man, I’m Evans.”
“Right of course, my mistake,” was his reply, sarcastic as fuck.
Kristen hung up in his ear.
That was them in a nutshell, basically.
It’s not like Jesse doesn’t have albums. Kristen’s been in his apartment. She’s seen the Ok Computer sitting beside his record player. It’s that he doesn’t get the point. He likes things narratively structured, hence his musicals. Even concept albums he’s not all that big on. Which confuses her as to why he won’t watch films, but whatever. Kristen gave up trying to figure out Jesse Eisenberg when she was eighteen.
“What should I wear to this thing?” she asks while in her favorite boutique in Santa Monica, balancing her cell phone between her ear and shoulder.
“I don’t care,” Jesse says.
“Jesus Christ, I’m your fake date, man, I ain’t doing this shit for me.”
“I like whatever you wear, you don’t need to put on some act for me.”
Kristen isn’t used to getting this many direct compliments from him. It’s kind of a lot. Normally he’s talking about her to a reporter, singing her praises. It’s making her feel -- weird. Not necessarily a bad weird, but it’s messing with their dynamic a bit. She doesn’t necessarily want it to stop, though.
“Alright, uh, I guess a dress. Or maybe like, a long skirt. She’d love that, right?”
Jesse snorts. “Well. It’s probably what she’ll be in.”
“Hey, man, what’s her favorite band?” Kristen asks, realizing she never had before.
“It used to be Cat Power.”
“Of course it was.”
“Yeah. We never listened to music together, ever.”
“Okay, pop quiz,” Kristen says, eying a black dress in the corner. Ohh. Nice one.
“I know you said you couldn’t sum up your relationship in a song, but -- if your relationship was a broadway musical, which would it be?”
“Tick, Tick...Boom!” Jesse answers immediately.
“Is that… exactly like it sounds?” Kristen asks, laughing.
Jesse groans. “Kinda. No, just. Look, it was rough a lot. There was a lot of starving artist conversations and even when things got better, there was a lot of -- dealing with the spotlight. And most of that was on me.”
“Yeah,” Kristen says quietly.
“Anyway, the song Therapy is amazing. I’ll send it to you.”
“Okay,” Kristen says, dress now in her hand. “Think I’m going with a dress, man. It’s hot.”
“Well, you should be comfortable first and foremost.”
Kristen laughs, loudly. “You can be pretty fucking adorable, Jesse. You wearing a suit?”
“I suppose I should.”
“Yeah, you fucking should.”
“Alright. So I’ll be in town the night before the wedding. Let’s go to dinner?”
“Yeah,” Kristen says. “That’ll be cool.”
“Great. Um. Looking forward to seeing you.”
Kristen smiles into the phone, it stretching across her face. “Same, man.”
She listens to ‘Therapy’ on repeat that night, after he sends it.
“I missed your face, man,” is the first thing Kristen says when Jesse picks her up.
He smiles at her, a quirk to his lips that’s always there, a smile that’s never completely formed, always kind of sarcastic. Yeah. She really missed his face.
“Hello,” Jesse says, leaning in for a hug. “Missed you,” he says quietly.
She doesn’t know why the words get to her. She doesn’t know why he’s been getting to her. It’s like ever since he said the words ‘be my date’ things have been-- different. For no reason whatsoever.
He’s just wearing jeans and a grey t-shirt that’s a little too big on him, but there’s something comforting about it. Kristen’s in her standard jeans and white tank top, anyway. She knows Eisenberg doesn’t do fancy, so it’s not like she needed to put thought into tonight’s outfit.
“You wanna come in and see the dogs?” Kristen asks, a little teasing.
Jesse raises his hands. “You know me, uh, not… really?”
She laughs. “I know, man. They’re fed, they’re good. Let’s split.”
Jesse’s got a bottle of wine in the backseat.
“Please don’t tell me that’s your wedding gift,” Kristen says, eying it.
“Huh?” Jesse follows her gaze. “Oh, no. That’s for tonight.”
“Yeah?” Kristen says, eyebrow quirked.
“Place is bring your own bottle.”
“Oh sweet. I love that shit.”
Jesse laughs. “I know, Kristen.”
They go for Japanese. But like, secret Japanese. Or so Jesse says, once they’ve pulled up to the back of a non-descript strip mall and Kristen starts making serial killer jokes.
“Dude, how’d you even find this place?” Kristen asks.
“Harrelson told me about it. And then ‘invited me’.”
“Invited you,” Kristen repeats blankly.
“Yep,” Jesse says, taking off his seatbelt. “With the chef’s permission.”
“Oh, of course,” Kristen says dryly, getting out of the car. “Jeez, what am I in for tonight, Eisenberg?”
Jesse’s eyes dance with amusement. “Guess we’ll see.”
What Kristen’s in for is a five course meal which is mostly beef. Raw beef at that, half the time. Raw beef that they cook themselves.
“I fucking love this,” Kristen says, eyes wide. “Dude, all I watch is cooking shows.”
“I know, you didn’t shut up about them during Ultra.”
She looks over at him; he looks happy and relaxed. There’s a small pleased smile dancing on his lips.
It’s like -- four courses of beef. It’s fucking insane. Kristen’s still in her glory, even as Jesse starts looking a little queasy at the sight after a while and then can’t eat the lamb.
If people recognize them, no one says shit. They do, however, critique Jesse’s wine choice and compare it with their own.
“BYOB competitions, oh my god,” Kristen whispers.
Jesse laughs. During all this it’s almost difficult to find time to talk, but they do, chatting about their latest project together.
“I think it’ll be good,” Jesse says. “I like the script but then again, I liked the To Rome with Love script.”
“Ouch,” Kristen laughs. “Well, we can run lines together and shit. Get that ‘chemistry’ up.”
Jesse snorts. “What’d you say years ago? That we’re impeccable chemists?”
Kristen wrinkles her nose up. “Probably. Sounds like me, man.”
“Yeah,” Jesse says, voice soft and a little distant, like he’s remembering something. Kristen would die to know what.
She finished filming with Kelly last month, so they gush over her next, in between grilling rib-eye.
“I’m so fucking happy for the experience, man, you know? She’s fucking brilliant.”
“She’s got a great eye,” Jesse agrees.
“God, I wanna direct. I’m like, itching.”
“You did that music video, right?”
Kristen nods, spearing a piece of beef into her mouth. “Yeah, was awesome. Kind of fucking terrified to direct a feature but, like, a good terrified, you know?”
“Well. You’d be great at it.”
Kristen feels her face heat, but maybe it’s just the heat of the grill in front of them. She ducks it a little regardless, raises her wine glass to her lips. “Thanks, man. Appreciate it.”
“Just the truth,” Jesse says easily.
“Maybe I’ll cast you in my first one,” Kristen says, grinning.
“Nah,” Jesse replies. “Gotta keep it fresh.”
Kristen rolls her eyes. “Eat your fucking meat.”
The chef comes out at the end of the meal, and he’s excitable and adorable. Kristen makes Jesse take pictures with her phone and then someone takes one of the three of them.
“This was great, man. Thanks for the invite.”
“You two are welcome back anytime, Ms. Stewart. And such a lovely couple.”
Kristen bites her lip, trying to not laugh. “Thanks, man,” she says.
When she does look at Jesse he’s red as fuck.
“Well,” Jesse says as they walk out. “Guess we’re fooling some people.”
Kristen snorts. “Probably because you made me argue with you over the check before stealing it out of my fucking hand, asshole.”
“Hey, you’re my fake date. I pay for my fake dates.”
“Just not your real ones, eh?” she teases, elbowing him in the ribs. “That was a stupid amount of money for food.”
“Worth the company, though.”
That warm, happy flush is back, spreading through her at his dumb words. God, maybe she just needs to get laid. It’s been a while.
When they step outside, there are a few papz lingering off to the side of the lot.
“Fucking seriously?” Kristen mutters. “How’d they even know this time?”
Jesse groans, ushering her along with a hand to her back. “Hate this shit the most,” he says quietly.
“Yeah,” Kristen says, ignoring the grating yells of ‘give us a smile!’ and ‘what are you two doing together?’
“Maybe we should kiss,” Kristen smirks when they make it to the car, talking to Jesse over the top of it. “Sell our story.”
Jesse’s eyes widen. “Uh, I mean, um. Uh--”
“Relax, man,” she laughs, even though she’s feeling a little jittery herself. “Not like we haven’t before.”
“Not like we won’t again,” he points out after they’ve gotten in the car. And yeah, they’ve got a kiss or two in the new film. “That shit doesn’t count though,” Jesse continues.
“Yeah,” Kristen agrees. Which is completely true. Anything she’s ever done on screen with someone -- while awkward, definitely awkward -- always gets compartmentalized as part of the role.
“Not like she’d even pay attention,” Jesse says. It takes her a second to realize he means Anna.
They stare at each other for a moment, something in the air. Jesse licks his lips quickly, looks away.
“Uh. Yeah, so let’s get going.”
On the ride back, Kristen hears him humming the song he sent her. She smiles secretly and looks out the window. Any other time she’d call him on it.
She doesn’t tonight; let’s the way it makes her feel drift over her.
“You look beautiful,” Jesse says, voice terribly sincere when Kristen meets him on the driveway.
“Thanks,” Kristen says, turning around. “Man, do I have hair anywhere? Black plus dogs is just a fuckin’ disaster.”
“Um. Just, like,” he says, brushing his hands over the middle of her back, lightly. Kristen shivers and hopes he doesn’t notice.
“All, uh, clear now,” Jesse says. Kristen’s smile is a little unsteady when she turns to face him.
She puts her hand on his arm, leans in to kiss his cheek. “You look really sharp,” she says, voice low against her ear.
When she pulls back, his eyes are a little wide. “Um,” he tugs his suit jacket down a bit. “Thanks. Yeah, you think?”
Kristen smiles wider, steadier, showing her teeth. “Yeah, man. Pinky swear.”
Jesse rolls his eyes. “Let’s go, your chariot awaits.”
“Yeah, your rental car. Dude, we could take mine.”
“This is fine, it’s good.”
Kristen shakes her head. “Still don’t get why you don’t keep a car here when you keep a house here.”
“Because I don’t want any illusion that I’m staying.”
They’ve had this discussion before: not having a car in LA is basically a recipe for disaster. Still, something about his words make her a little-- sad.
As if reading her thoughts, he says in a rush, “You should come to New York more.”
Kristen taps her fingers on her bare knee. “Eh. I love it, but all my friends are here and shit.”
“Right,” Jesse says.
They don’t say anything for the rest of the drive and Kristen can’t help but feel like some weird tension has settled over them.
“We cool?” Kristen asks as they get out of the car for the valet to park it. Her heels click along the concrete.
“Yeah, we’re cool,” Jesse says.
They’re right on the coast and the view is pretty. “Oh, it’s a winery,” Kristen says.
She honestly had no idea where they were going.
“Yeah,” Jesse says. “She uh, always wanted that.”
Kristen looks at him, biting her own lip. She gets how weird this must be. Even if he’s over her and has been forever, it’s still -- fucking strange. Going to the wedding of someone who you talked about possibly being married to one day.
It makes her reach out, grab his hand.
Jesse looks at her in surprise, lips parting. His cheeks are a little red, his hand a little slick.
She smiles at him, squeezes his hand while reaching up with her other one to push down one unruly curl on top of his head.
“You got this, Eisenberg.”
Jesse gulps, squeezes her hand in return. “You’re, uh,” he starts, but then someone is clapping him on the back and saying hello and Jesse has to be on.
She holds his hand through it all, through introductions and finding their seats near the gazebo where there’s a ton of chairs set up. When Anna finally walks down the grass path to Kevin, Jesse seems calm as a cucumber. Her dress is rather simple, but really fucking pretty. She looks great.
“Ugh, I love this shit,” Kristen whispers in Jesse’s ear when the vows start.
“Sap,” Jesse whispers back fondly.
Kristen drags her index finger over the back of his hand. “I told you I don’t hide it, man.”
They listen to the rest of the vows and maybe Kristen gets a little teary eyed, but whatever. Love is pretty beautiful. She’s happy Anna found that.
They all head in for the pre-reception, which is basically a bunch of wine tasting and cheese.
“You good?” Kristen asks.
Jesse nods at her, smiling softly. “Yeah, I’m good.”
She doesn’t let go of his hand anyway and neither does he.
The reception starts and Anna and Kevin make their way around to the tables. Kristen and Jesse are at the ‘old friends’ table it seems, because Jesse’s talking to them and making dumb, dry jokes.
“Jesse,” she says and his head startles upward.
“Anna, congratulations,” he says, standing and pulling Kristen up with him. They hug and then he shakes hands with Kevin.
“Glad you could come,” Anna says, then turns to smile at Kristen. “Hey. Didn’t know who he was bringing,” she says, eyes a little hard. Huh.
“I’m the winner,” Kristen says, squeezing Jesse’s hand. She smiles up at him, laying it on a little thick but whatever, Jesse’s smiling right back down at her and brushing a piece of hair back behind her ear, where it fell down from her bun. She should cut it again. She should stop looking into Jesse’s big, blue eyes.
“Nice to meet you,” Kevin says.
Kristen blinks at him, had forgotten he was even there. “Likewise, man.”
“Well, I’m glad you two could make it,” Anna says, leaning in to kiss Jesse’s cheek. “Thank you,” she says quietly in his ear.
“Of course,” Jesse whispers.
They head to the rest of the table to say hello, but Jesse pulls Kristen away and over to the bar, knocking back a shot that’s lined up there.
Kristen laughs. “That was kind of painless, right?”
“Weird,” Jesse says. “So fucking weird.”
“Yeah,” Kristen agrees. “You’re doing this for me, you know. When it’s my turn.”
Jesse looks at her, smile turning serious. “Yeah? I’d be your choice?”
Kristen swallows, not really sure what he’s asking. Not really sure why the fuck things feel so different between them lately. Why she likes the way his hand feels in hers. She honestly never thought of him as anything but platonic for years, but now -- yeah. Maybe Jesse would make her top five choices. Maybe he’d be number one.
“Yeah,” Kristen says, voice cracking a little. “Yeah, think so.”
She watches Jesse bite his lip.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for Anna and Kevin’s first dance as husband and wife,” the DJ says.
The song that starts is -- fast and one Kristen has in her music library.
“What the hell is this, Snow Patrol?” Jesse asks.
Kristen laughs. “No.” She watches the bride and groom basically -- spin each other around fast and fun. It’s ridiculous, but it’s also completely her style.
Kristen looks at Jesse, watches him roll his eyes. “‘Oh, Anna Sun’? Seriously?”
Kristen laughs again, head tipping back. “God, dude, you’re so judgmental.”
“This house is falling apart?’ Come on Kristen, you hear these lyrics?”
“Off to an auspicious beginning, huh?”
Jesse snorts. “At least it’s not Cat Power.”
“God, look at us, we’re those assholes who criticize fucking everything.”
“It works. At least for me.”
The song finally ends. Bizarre Love Triangle from New Order starts. Kristen nearly squeals. “Okay, I love this DJ and we’re dancing.”
“God, no. Kristen, I don’t dance.”
Kristen pulls him out onto the floor. “Too fucking bad, you asked me to come, these are my terms.”
Jesse looks so damn uncomfortable. Kristen resorts to putting her hands on his hips and moving them to the rhythm.
He stares down at her, eyes sharp on her own. He licks his lips again and Kristen realizes it’s what he does when he’s nervous. Tries to remember when she’s seen it before.
“This song rules,” Kristen says, just to say something.
“Whatever you say,” Jesse replies.
There’s a lot of space between them, but that changes once the next song comes on.
“Oh my god, I take it back. This song rules. Holy shit.”
Kristen steps into Jesse’s arms, wrapping hers around his neck.
“Whoa, what?” he asks, his voice near her ear.
“Van Morrison, man. Holy shit, haven’t heard this in a while.”
“Oh,” Jesse says softly.
“You’re spinning me when the horns start.”
“I don’t know when the horns start,” Jesse grumbles, breath making her skin tingle.
Kristen smiles, resting her head on his shoulder. “I’ll cue you in.”
She does, and he spins her rather gracefully, actually. She steps back into his arms, swaying and laughing. Jesse’s laughing too by the time it’s over, his fingers brushing back her hair again.
Kristen swallows, their faces so close with how similar their heights are.
“Um,” Jesse says, and Kristen thinks fuck it. They’ve done this before, for pretend. They can do it again. She kisses him, a hard press of lips. Jesse’s are slick and soft. He makes a small sound against her mouth, arms wrapping around her tighter, fingers pressed into the muscle of her back.
“Oh,” he whispers, when they pull apart.
Kristen’s eyes are closed. She exhales shakily, their foreheads resting together. “Um,” she says, biting her lip. “To sell our story.”
Jesse lets her go abruptly, frowning as he pulls back. “Oh. I see.”
“I mean,” Kristen says, taking her hair down from the bun because fuck it, she needs something to run her fingers through. “I mean, if you want, man.”
Jesse looks over her shoulder, not meeting her eyes. “I don’t. Want that.”
Kristen nods, barely breathing. “Okay, uh. What do you um, want then?”
Jesse drags a hand through his own hair. “I want--” he starts, still looking off into the distance. “I want you to talk to me about music I don’t care about.” His eyes are clear when they finally lock on her own. “I want you to-- to cue me in.”
Kristen’s pulse jumps, heart jack rabbiting in her chest.
“I want you to give me a reason to look for cars in LA.”
Kristen’s mouth drops open. “Jesus, Eisenberg.” She steps into his space again, raises her hands to his face, brushing his cheeks. “Why? Because your ex is getting married, man? Would this even have happened otherwise?”
“No, it’s not,” Jesse palms the back of his neck. “It’s not that. I, I dunno. Have been feeling closer to you. Uh, I mean, what about you?”
Kristen bites her lip. “Uh, yeah. Like, same, man.”
He smiles hesitantly. “Yeah?”
Kristen nods. “I don’t know what the hell this is but, uh. Sure. Let’s give that a shot.”
Jesse’s face lights up. Kristen knew she loved weddings for a reason.
She steps back into his arms and he drags a finger down her cheek. “You were such a rollercoaster,” he half-sings.
Kristen throws her head back in laughter.