Honestly everyone likes to pretend James Madison was this small and sensitive guy but like when Martha Jefferson died and Thomas Jefferson locked himself in his room for two weeks James Madison basically told Edmund Randolph “Wow. You’d think he wouldn’t be taking his wife’s death so harshly. Text me when Thomas is going to be useful again. I can’t handle all this sappy bullshit. ” like that dude was as far from sensitive as they come.
When Bitty calls his parents to tell them he’ll only be coming to Madison for two weeks that summer, they’re disappointed but understanding.
“I have to look for jobs in Boston,” he says by way of explanation. “It’ll be easier in the summer since all the college students will have gone home. Besides, I need to live there for at least one summer to decide if I really want to live there year-round.”
“That makes perfect sense, Dicky,” his mother replies. “But if you change your mind and want to stay for longer, that’s perfectly fine too. Just let us know, okay?”
“Okay, Mom. Thanks.”
“Oh, and Dicky, what’s the background behind you? That’s not your dorm room, is it?”
Shit. Bitty looks around at Jack’s apartment. He completely forgot that he usually Skypes his parents from his dorm. “I’m at Lardo’s. She’s having a get-together with the old team— um, I’m the first one here,” he adds, because his parents definitely know how loud his team is, and Jack’s apartment is practically silent in comparison, even when Jack is home. “She just ran out to the store, but I’ll tell her you say hello?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“You’ve got a place to stay in Boston this summer?” Coach checks.
“Yes, sir. Earned some money from babysitting some of my professors’ kids, enough for a month if I don’t get a job. Worst comes to worst, Lardo said I can crash at her house until I’m on my feet.”
Mom smiles. “She’s a very nice girl, Dicky.”
“Sure is,” Bitty replies carefully. “But I know where you’re going with that, and we’re not interested in each other.”
“Of course, of course. Well, we’ll Skype next weekend, right?”
“Yes, and then I’ll fly back with you after graduation.”
“Oh, don’t talk about that,” Mom says, flapping her hand. “I’m not ready for you to be out of college.”
“Me neither,” Bitty says, but his mother’s already left the frame. Bitty can hear her blowing her nose offscreen.
“You’re keeping an eye on job listings?” Coach asks.
“Yes sir. I’m going to downtown every so often to see if there are any help wanted signs, too. Not much luck, but Dex usually stays for the summer and always manages to find a job somehow, so I can ask him if he knows any places that are hiring.”
“All right, Junior. Take care of yourself. See you next Sunday.”
“You too. Bye, Coach.”
His dad hangs up, and Bitty sighs. He’s both dreading and anticipating the trip back to Madison— dreading because he’s been putting it off for a long time, anticipating because maybe then he won’t have to tell them that he’s at Lardo’s apartment, maybe instead he can say ‘My boyfriend lives in New England, and we don’t want to do long distance, and I don’t want to come back to Georgia and have to go back in the closet.’
Jack, saint that he is, had offered to come with Bitty to Madison, and like a wimp, Bitty had accepted. He’ll be staying in a hotel so that Bitty doesn’t have to worry about how to introduce him, but in case it goes badly, Bitty has somewhere to go.
If it goes badly. Lord, he doesn’t even want to think about that.
Bitty closes his laptop with a sigh and goes to rummage through the kitchen and see what he can bake with the ingredients in the apartment. He’s in the mood to make something simple right now, something he could do in his sleep.