Until Dawn: Chris x Josh
Word Count: 2,400 (Sorry its so long!)
He drove himself over to Josh’s house with single-minded determination, he was going to make his friend feel better. To bring him a sense of self as he cried or laughed or let out whatever pent up emotions he was holding back from the world. Josh needed a release, and Chris would be there.
Three months had passed since Hannah and Beth’s disappearances, and Josh was barely holding himself upright. He seemed alright. He would smile at the right times, but not as big as he usually did. He would laugh, but it wasn’t as contagious. He was still Joshua, but he didn’t act like it. He acted like a replica, a thing that lacked some vital piece that let you recognize it as the real thing. Chris thought that he held within himself the piece that would complete the replica, thus bringing forth the real Josh. His best friend and partner in crime and hilarity. He had to have the piece. If he didn’t he had no idea what would happen to Josh.
It was dark out, cold as September often was, and when Chris looked at his car’s dashboard clock, it read 12:08AM.
He pulled his phone out of his pocket as he parked at the end of Josh’s driveway. It was a long twisting thing that lead up to a massive and prestigious looking white house. For a kid that should have had everything, Josh always seemed to get the short end of the stick.
U better b home. He texted, and within a few seconds he got a response.
Uuuuh why do u ask?
Look out ur front hallway window.
As if on cue, right when Chris looked up to the window, he saw Josh’s body come into view. As they made eye contact he saw Josh smile and shake his head as he always did when Chris did something that confused him. Chris smiled back whole-heartedly, for a moment forgetting that he had a bigger goal in mind other than simply seeing his friend, but when Josh looked to his phone Chris did the same.
What do u want lol. Texted Josh, and Chris shrugged to himself. What did he want? Something in his gut was telling him that it was more than just to see Josh and make him feel better.
Come find out! He texted back, proud of himself for seeming so mysterious.
Well where are we going?
Dude you r so up 2 something.
When am I NOT tbh?
Chris looked up at the window and saw Josh smiling at his phone as he turned and ran back down the hallway, and within a few minutes he saw him come running toward the car from around the corner of his house. He must have snuck out through the back, his parents hated when he went out to late.
As he reached the car and pulled the passenger sides door open, the boys smiled at each other as they put their fists up and bumped them into each others.
“Alright you got me man, now whats up?”
“Meh, now don’t kill me, but I don’t know actually, I just wanted to go for a drive.”
“Well ‘where to miss?’” whispered Josh, his voice low and hilariously seductive as he imitated Leonardo Dicaprio from Titanic.
“The stars,” Chris whispered back as he closed his eyes, and Josh’s laugh made him crack up as well.
Chris let Josh play his music as he drove down the road, and eventually he turned down a back road that lead to another, and then another. They were now traveling down a dirt road - if it even counted as a road - seemingly cutoff from society as they drove through a heavily forested area.
Just as Chris accepted the fact that he may have gotten lost, he looked to Josh, and saw that he was looking up and out the window. His navy blue vest caught the moons light every so often, and it made Chris look to the Josh’s chest much more than he wanted to.
“Chris,” said Josh, jolting Chris out of his silent staring contest with Josh’s chest. “We’ve done some crazy stuff on these late night escapades, but none of em have lead us to the Amish Country. Where are we?”
“Good question,” Chris shrugged, and Josh shook his head as he leaned forward and swiped hard at the car’s volume switch, making AWOLNATION blast through the car.
Josh could sing, and it was mystifying. He loved this band, and Chris had grown into it over time as Josh played the album over and over again. He knew this song. Not Your Fault. It made him feel like he could take on anything, and with Josh in the passenger seat, maybe he could.
The song blasted through its chorus, shaking the car’s foundation as Chris finally gave in and screamed along with Josh. It was a miracle, driving with Josh down a forest road that lead to God knew where. It was almost romantic. And then came a clearing, the dirt path opening up onto a steppe the likes of which neither of the boys had ever seen. It was massive, the grass not as high as it was in the forest, and wild flowers grew in bundled heaps as they fought against the chill of October air.
“Dude,” said Josh. “What’s this?”
“The stars, apparently,” Chris said, but he wasn’t looking at Josh as Josh was at him, instead his gaze was fixed on the upper half of his window.
When Josh did as Chris did and looked out his window, he instantly broke into a smile.
“Did you plan this?” he asked, and Chris looked back to him as he shrugged and smiled.
“I actually didn’t even know if this place existed till now, Jessica said Mike brought her up here once, and I had no idea that it would be this… Stunning either.”
They both brought their attention back to the night sky as they rolled their windows down, letting in the breeze that swept across the field, stirring up leaves and flower petals as it did so.
The sky was something that neither of them could describe, a mix of beauty and wonder. The moon was a big ball of orange in the sky, but the light it cast across the field was pure and soft and white. The smell of decaying flowers, usually overpowering at that time of year, was mellowed out by the scent of freshly mown grass and rain soaked earth. Stars dotted the sky, a myriad that burned so brightly against the violent black of space that it looked almost surreal.
“It’s like… HD or something,” said Josh, stealing the words straight from Chris’s mouth.
“1080P res,” Chris added, and Josh held his fist up close to Chris, and without looking the two bumped fists.
Then a song came on shuffle from Josh’s iPod that Chris hadn’t heard in a long time. Like most of the songs he had come to love, he heard them first from Josh.
“This song always felt so sad to me. Alleyways right? By the Neighbourhood,” he said, and Josh looked over at him as he seemed to come back to the present moment for the first time.
“You’ve been studying young Padawan, nice one. Thats great and all but seriously bro, why did you bring me here, and… I’m alright, really. I hope this doesn’t turn into one of those emotional movie moments.”
“Well it doesn’t have to, but… I don’t know, maybe its more selfish than that,” said Chris, and his eyes dropped to the steering wheel.
“What do you mean?”
“I took you out here to try and break you out of whatever funk you’re in, but-”
“Well you’re twin sisters pulling a Houdini tends to make a guy a little glum,” he said with a smirk, but the humour behind his words didn’t have the affect he was hoping for as Chris sat back in his seat and rolled up his window.
A cold wind swept across the plain once more, and Josh rolled his window up as it crept into the car. It was getting colder, and as the song reached its chorus, a heavy cloud of silence fell over the boys.
Chris listened to the words as he stared down at his hands on the steering wheel. Him and Josh had been friends for a long time, longer than they had been friends with anyone else in their lives. Josh was always the thoughtful one. Always the kind one. Always the brave one. And Chris was the outgoing kid who never kept his mouth shut. It got them into trouble, but trouble was always their thing. If things were different, he thought to himself, just as the song had said the same thing. I’d remember.
He wanted more than anything for things to be different. He wanted Hannah and Beth to be back home and for Josh to have the family he deserved. No more parents running off and shooting movies. No more annoying boyfriends that Hannah and Beth would bring home. He deserved Hannah and Beth, and Chris wasn’t enough. He knew it. Josh needed family.
“You put on a brave face,” said Chris, surprising even himself when his voice broke the silence. “You know you don’t have to pull that shit with me. I told myself I was bringing you out here so I could get my best friend back, but… I just wanted to feel like I was- well, enough for you.”
Josh didn’t respond for a long time, only giving Chris a look that he couldn’t read, and it made Chris anxious. Had he said the wrong thing? No, Josh knew that he was there for him. The song shuffled to Sweater Weather, and Chris looked to the AUX cord that connected Josh’s phone to his car, and as he reached down to change the song Josh’s fingers gently grabbed hold of his chin, tilting his head to the side so that he was looking Josh straight in the eyes.
“Don’t move,” he said, and he closed his eyes. Josh suddenly leaned in. There weren’t any words inside of Chris’s brain that could possibly convey the emotions he was feeling. There was panic, and then a small, holy realization. Chris liked Josh. Like… A lot. Their lips came close, and Josh touched his to Chris’s.
He pulled away quickly, and for a moment it was as if the kiss had never happened as Josh let his fingers fall from Chris’s chin. Silence stretched on once more, and Josh was looking down toward the cupholders between himself and Chris, while Chris was staring at Josh. All his life, ever since the day he met him, he knew Josh wasn’t just any regular friend. He was perfect, his tan skin always clear, his personality warm and welcoming, his jokes always well timed. He complimented Chris in a way that no one else ever did, and as Chris remembered all these things, a feeling of inadequacy made him feel sick to his stomach.
“I- uh. Josh I don’t know what to say, but… I’m mean. Oh God… I wish I could give you what you really needed, you know? You- you need family.”
“Chris don’t even start me on that shit man,” replied Josh, his voice soft and tired as it filled the car with a sense of peace. “You are family.”
“That was pretty damn cliche for Josh Washington,” Chris murmured, feeling awkward as heat rushed to his face. What else could he say when Josh was so close and after what they had just done? Would they ever talk about it again? His brain was buzzing with questions, but his body was shutting off.
As if he could feel Chris retreating into himself, Josh moved in close to him again, making Chris notice just how nicely Josh smelled. It was almost embarrassing how interesting he found him, and even more embarrassing when he remembered how much he loved being close to Josh. He always had some sort of scented body-wash that he was testing out. All summer he was into this Mango Hurricane scented stuff, but now that it was fall he had switched to something Beth had gotten him once a few years back. It smelled like peppermint and a deep forest after a heavy rain fall, a weird combination when Chris stopped to think about it, but on Josh it was perfect. He could smell it on him as he leaned in closer, nearly lighting Chris’s insides on fire as the anticipation of another kiss ripped him apart.
“I never thought in a million years that this would happen, never like this,” said Josh, his voice an odd mixture of discomfort and content emotion. Chris understood what he was feeling, since he was feeling it too. They were friends, and had been for a long time, but were they really this close? Did they really care for each other in that way? Having enough of his internal argument Chris brought his attention to Josh’s eyes as he bit the inside of his lip. They were the sort of brown that no writer could put into words and no painter could ever hope to capture the essence of.
“Don’t even get me started,” Chris said, and Josh smiled as he closed his eyes.
“I remember when I first saw you in that stupid uniform we had to wear during gym in high school. I knew then that I really liked you.”
“That’s when I knew that I really liked you, too.”
“Hell yeah seriously,” Chris said, and he watched as Josh’s eyes flickered from his eyes to his mouth a few times before he finally leaned in once more.
And they kissed, hard and soft all at the same time, Chris’s heart skipping beats in his chest as the warmth of Josh’s hand on his cheek made him dizzy with emotion.
The kiss felt perfect. The song felt perfect. This moment, their moment, felt perfect.
Above them, the sky glistened with countless stars. Beads of white against the black fabric of space. The stars weren’t the only things burning up on the inside that night.
They didn’t pull away for a long time, and as the kiss deepened, Sweater Weather fell silent.