A non-exhaustive list of things that Adam Parrish loves:
- Those Saturdays when his shift begins really late and he gets to sleep in. It’s even better if he ends up in the Barns on Friday and stays over. Ronan’s bed is really wide and for some reason it’s never cold. Many things in the Barns seem to emanate a gentle warmth: beds, blankets, the floor, sweaters, light. Ronan’s body at night when Adam holds onto him and buries his face between Ronan’s shoulder blades, the tattoo radiating heat as hot roots and talons and leaves brush against his skin. It’s a sort of warmth he never got enjoy as a child.
- They share clothes. Not because Ronan takes pity on him. At least it doesn’t feel like it and Adam doesn’t know whether it’s him or the world that is changing. It’s a shirt and trackies after Adam takes a shower in the Barns after work. It’s Ronan tossing him an extra sweater when they’re curled up on the sofa and playing Superhot. It’s some old parka that Adam snatches from the coat rack on their way out to see a newborn calf on a cold morning. It’s darned wool socks Adam finds in a drawer in January, all worn out and fuzzed up, but almost the right size.
- When Gansey brings up Noah. Finally someone does, Adam thinks and is ashamed that it wasn’t him. The absence of Noah’s sparkling, fiery, shabby humanity has been eating away everything in the edges of them and their friendship; it’s a widening singularity inside them that nobody has been able to address. Not until Gansey mentions his name again. Ronan is raw and ripped into pieces, barely holding any good days in his hands as it is. Blue cries and yells and goes to lie down in Noah’s bedroom, a taboo shrine none of them have dared to visit, pulling Gansey in her wake. Adam finds Ronan once again in the BMW, the metal vessel of grief. All is terrible then but it starts to get better after that. They get to talk about him again. Laugh about all the things they want to remember. Also seize the things they don’t want to remember. When Blue and Gansey tell Henry about him, Adam doesn’t feel so resentful because it doesn’t feel like they are giving up on Noah.
- After a while, the cards begin to make sense again. He doesn’t feel the violent current of Gabeswater inside his palms as he reads them. However, they don’t look like a unclear blur of images anymore, either. When he spreads the cards on the table in front of him, they align and form bodies and lines before his eyes; he sees an endless number of golden ratios, a universe that is a bit more managable. Maura asks him about them as they are looking at the cards together and he does his best to explain how sensible and cyclic it is. Maura laughs and wonders aloud how Persephone could have had such an analysist as an apprentice. Calla smiles drily and piles up her tea leaves on her saucer. Perfect circles, perfect proportions, her numbers and her figures. Adam swears he sees Persephone shine through her smile.
- The little peculiar dream objects they find on their walks around the Barns. Sometimes they are Niall’s dream things that Ronan wants to hold and then discard; look for a while but then put away in secret hiding places. Every now and then, they stumble upon something that Ronan dreamt as a child: toy animals and small rodents, flowers that never wilt, slingshots with an impossibly long range. Adam usually knows immediately when they find something that came from the younger dreamer’s mind. They are as beautiful and kind and wonderful as Ronan and when he points that out to his boyfriend, he gets a sour glare (and later that night, a heated kiss).
- Come summer, most of the weight that has been pressing down his posture all his life is gone. He has graduated and got a full ride to his number one college. All he has been reaching for for years is now in his grasp. It leaves so many hours in his days that he doesn’t what to do with it. An abundance of time unknown to him. First he sleeps and sleeps and sleeps, but there is only so many days that can be spent dreaming. Especially now that his reality is so much better than anything his mind could produce. They run around the estate and take care of Ronan’s hens and sheep. They go out to Nino’s and Monmouth and 300 Fox Way and everywhere in Henrietta that they didn’t get to go on their quest. They stay up and watch films and TV series and make out on the couch. They fight and fight and fight, but never break. Somehow, the years he lost and never had is something new he’s reaching for.
- At times, there’s nothing tender in Ronan and him. They kiss, they caress and they touch gently, but then there’s another dimension in their relationship as well. It’s a dimension of sharpness and power. They refuse to abandon the speed and impact that forged them together by Gansey’s side and there are days when they still get bruised and bleeding on empty parking lots. They battle for the Xbox controller and end up rolling on the floor. They shove and pull each other when they race towards the driver’s side of BMW. And when Declan and Matthew come to the Barns for summer break, they have a wrestle season outside in the yard like he’s never seen. Ronan against Adam is brutal, just the right side of too competitive and he is silently so thankful that Ronan doesn’t treat him like a broken thing. Matthew is nothing like his big brother and wrestling him is like engaging in a long, confused hug that ends in a jovial handshake. Declan starts out cruel and Adam knows straight away what it is. Their match has a serious tone to it, a study of character and their love for Ronan. It takes all he has to fare against a Lynch, but he knows how to get his message through. After a long scuffle, the tension dissipates and only then is Adam willing to give up.
- There is always a way back for him. Ronan never pushes him and he never pushes himself, but every time he keeps returning. Ronan is there on the porch to welcome him to the Barns, but at the same time Adam can always be sure that their lives go on while he’s away. He is needed but there’s no sword hanging over his head, just tender hands and endlessly wondrous days. Ronan and his dreams. Opal and home and safety. A future he gets to figure out on his own and with his family.