A/N Okay I always want to have one of these author's notes but I have nothing to say except. Thanks for reading/reviewing/alerting/etc because I get really happy from every little thing :-) ... that's it though so. Here you guys go! This chapter isn't particularly exciting at all but. Whatever.
"Hey!" I perk up from my bed, where I'm leaning against the headboard, legs stretched out, laptop on my lap and clothes and toiletries strewn all over the place. "Hey, we can drive through Ohio and stop at Cedar – "
Emerson cuts me off with a look, pointing to the cell phone by his ear like I am an absolute idiot, and I hear him say, "Yeah, I know, I'm sorry." Jesus, Emerson, what's there to be sorry about? He says, "Ivan promised that we'd at least stop by on the – yeah, yeah." There's a pause, and then he says, "Uh, I don't know, exactly, we're still figuring that out – I mean, he only suggested it – yeah." Pause. "Okay." Pause. "I'll let you know. Love you."
I make a face at him over my laptop as he ends the call and he rolls his eyes and says, "What were you saying?"
"Cedar Point!" I'm grinning like a maniac but I absolutely can't help the way amusement parks turn me into a five-year-old.
Apparently, they don't do the same for Emerson, who just gives me a blank look. "What?"
I return his blank look with a blank look. "Are you shitting me? You don't know what Cedar Point is?"
He shrugs and glances away from me at my clothes, which are clumped into disorganized piles on the bed and on the floor and on top of the duffel bag and everywhere else. "Just – Ivan, really? You were the one who wanted to come home and pack and now I'm basically done and two days later you are still – like this?" He gestures at the mess.
I don't have the energy to feel offended, but then it is true that I was practically jumping in my seat from excitement on the way back from Burger King but as soon as we got home Jamal texted and asked if we wanted to "come over or go to the bar or something" and although Emerson is one to turn down a night out, I am not, so he threw me the car keys and went inside and I had some semblance of a life while Emerson party pooped at home. There was the next day, but after escaping from the (cute but far too cozy for my tastes) apartment of the girl I went home with, I didn't really feel like packing so I just gave myself an Ivan Day. Emerson says I give myself way too many of those, but I beg to differ. Instead of making nonexistent excuses for myself, though, I just say, "Jesus, Emerson. I'm trying to plan out a perfect journey for us."
He comes over to look at what I'm doing on my laptop and I have the Cedar Point website open along with another tab that says, "packing for road trip – Google Search" and a Facebook tab. Personally, I think that these are all important webpages to have open at this significant moment in our lives, but as usual, Emerson doesn't seem to agree.
"Where's the map?" he says.
"Are you telling me you don't know what the United States of America looks like?" I sigh, straighten up, clear my throat, and start to sing, "Fifty nifty you-niiited states from – "
"What are you – " I think he gives up at this point, because he's just shaking his head and trying not to laugh and walking out of the room and half a minute later I'm left alone with my laptop (which happens to be just the way I like it, so fuck you, Emerson). I continue drooling over Cedar Point, checking my Facebook Newsfeed on which absolutely nothing of interest happens, and occasionally throwing things into my bag until Emerson comes back in to inform me that I'm not getting food until I pack, so I say goodbye to Facebook and I pack.
"'Bye, Massachusetts!" I'm saying enthusiastically, waving my keys at our apartment while Emerson loads his bag into the trunk, and I can tell that he's going to ask me, again, if I think that we are ready enough, if I think that we have enough money, if I think that we've planned enough, and the answers to all of those questions are a resounding no but I tell him yes anyway.
I've convinced him to let me drive first, but that may have been a bad idea because now I am trying to navigate us through the city to the highway and it's not fun and I'm hoping that the highway itself is going to be a lot more fun.
Five minutes later, at the next red light, I slam the steering wheel and say, "This is stupid."
Emerson just gives me another one of his looks. "Jesus, we're not even out of the state yet and you're already complaining."
I smile at him and turn on the music system. "Plug in my iPod," I say as the light finally turns green and I cross the intersection before the other drivers have even pressed on their accelerators.
Something tolerable but not Ivan-like starts blasting through the speakers and I know that Emerson has put in his iPod instead and I sigh loudly but before I can even say anything, Emerson says, "Why aren't we going to cool places like, I don't know, New York City and Philly and stuff?" I glance over at him and he's looking at the driving directions that I printed out.
"Because we're going to Cedar Point," I tell him. "If you'd listened to me earlier, you would have known that."
"Why – Jesus, Ivan, what is Cedar Point?"
"It's an amusement park! One of the best ever, with the best roller coasters and – " I cut myself off when I realize he's laughing. Emerson is laughing even though there is nothing funny about this situation. It is an exciting, fun, great situation, yes, but it is not a funny situation. "What are you laughing at?"
"I should've expected that from you," he says.
I'm not quite sure what that is supposed to mean, so I ask. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"I mean – it's an amusement park, not, like, I don't know – a mountain – "
"Are there even mountains in Ohio?"
He just stares at me. "I don't – I mean. What's in Ohio, anyway?"
"Cedar Point." I grin and give him a thumbs up. "I even bought and printed our tickets and everything, man, I bought you your ticket and you laugh at me – "
"Stop whining and drive," he tells me, reaching over and increasing the volume of the tolerable-but-not-Ivan-like music that's still playing. I don't have the energy at this point to force him to change it (although I know he would if I complain enough), so I just focus on the road. Emerson gives me directions until I finally, finally merge onto the interstate, and immediately I'm stuck behind a ridiculous line of cars waiting for the toll.
"I absolutely cannot deal with this," I say, dropping my head onto the steering wheel, and Emerson pats me on the back. "Where is everyone going? Jesus." I sigh and straighten up again, leaning back in my seat. "These toll booths are going to ruin my life. Emerson. This is supposed to be a nice, uninterrupted drive."
"It'll be nice and uninterrupted once we give them money," he says, rolling his eyes. "Uh. There are a whole bunch of these, by the way. You know that, right?"
"Why is everyone a money-mongering whore?" I whine, barely inching forward along with the rest of the cars.
"You're a money-mongering whore," Emerson says.
"Excuse me?" I stare at him indignantly. "You know what, I don't even care right now. God, right now I just want to die. I'm going to get out of this car and go – stand over there – " I point to the other half of the highway, where cars are making it past their side of the toll booth " – and I'm going to just. Stand there until someone decides to pity my poor soul and run over me so I will be dead."
Emerson thinks I'm being funny (I can tell by his stupid laughter), but I'm actually being one hundred percent serious. To prove it to him, I unbuckle my seatbelt and start to open the car door but before I can actually do anything his arm whips across me and shuts the door and he's looking at me half-amused, half-horrified, and he says, "Ivan, Jesus."
"I think," I say, as though I hadn't just tried to get out of the car in the middle of the highway, "that I could walk up there and pay them faster than this stupid car is moving."
"That would be counterproductive," Emerson says, slowly moving his arm off of me once he's sure that I'm joking this time. "Or at least it'd be useless."
"Let's play a game." I let go of the brake and inch forward again and at least we're making some sort of progress now.
"If you say something stupid like Truth or Dare I think I'll just get out of the car myself – "
"God, Emerson, for one we know practically everything about each other and two I can't even dare you to do anything in this stupid car except fuck me and that would be rather inconvenient at a toll booth."
He's rolling his eyes but I know he hates it when I make gay jokes about him and me or him and anyone else because – he's gay. He is also rather obnoxiously sensitive about the subject, which I don't particularly understand, because for one it's not like we live in a conservative area. I know a couple of other gay people who are more lighthearted about the whole thing, and when I ask them what it feels like to get some guy's dick rammed up your ass they just say, "Wanna find out?" while Emerson says, "It's not a joke, Ivan."
I remember when he "came out" to me – he wasn't exactly closeted or anything but it's not like we had known each other for that long, and I had asked if he wanted to go to the bar to pick up chicks and he said, "I mean, I would, except I'm gay."
I remember I just stared at him and said, "Oh." And then I shrugged and said, "We could go to a gay bar if you want," and he said, "What?" So obviously I just said, "Why not, right?" And he just looked at me with the Ivan, you're an idiot look on his face for the first time (although I've seen it many more times over the years) and said, "You go out and do whatever, don't worry, I'll be fine."
So I went out and did whatever and the next day, lying on my bed with my textbook in front of me, I told him, "Hey, if you ever wanna practice, just ask."
He gave me this confused look from his desk and I made thrusting motions into the bed and he just rolled his eyes and turned back to his laptop.
And I said, "As long as you bottom or whatever, 'cause I don't think I could do that," and he was just pointedly ignoring me and I said, "Seriously! I wouldn't mind fucking a guy, can't be that bad, right?"
And then he said, "Can you not treat it like such a joke?" and I just muttered, "Okay, touchy," and that was the end of that.
Or not, because – Things Emerson Doesn't Know About Me #1: I have done things with guys before. Not sex, but basically everything else, because I was 1. drunk, 2. horny, or 3. both.
The way I see it is, if you're a cool person, who gives a shit about what's between your legs?
Emerson jabs me in the shoulder and I straighten up, shake my head, press on the accelerator and we're almost at the toll now and I say, "20 Questions. Let's play 20 Questions."