As usual for this time of the evening, Kieran was cleaning up around the med tent and counting inventory on all the supplies they had. They got stocked up when they first got into town but things like painkillers and bandages tended to go more quickly. The truth was the whole process kept him from thinking about Jack. Jack the man he’d seen grow from a boy who was now a man full grown. Jack who seemed to think he wasn’t worthy of love. The whole thing felt like a moral dilemma to him and the less he had to think about it, the better.
He heard some feet shuffling behind him as he was carefully putting back one of his jars of cotton. “Med tents closing down for a wee bit. There’ll be another medic here shortly.” He said to the figure without looking back to see who it was.
His heart was pattering quickly with excitement. Someone had offered to cover for him which left Riley the remainder of the evening to get into trouble. Or, well, at least up to something. Not one to foray into an adventure alone, Riley sought out his best friend and the one person he knew he could coax out of the Carnival.
In his pocket were two tickets to a small show in town that sounded interesting. Some live music was playing and there was bound to be other things there that could be fun to discover.
Approaching the medical tent, light eyes would spot his friend there and his mouth pulled into a grin. “Oh but you see,” Riley began, drawl unmistakable. “I gotta problem only you can fix. It’s a case of the got nothing to do’s, doc.”
A grin came to Kieran’s face as he turned around to regard the voice. Riley was a kind soul who usually got up to trouble but it wasn’t anything that Kieran felt was immoral. Besides he’d noticed that he began to question some of the teachings of God, especially considering what being an angel meant. “Aye, turns out there’s only one cure, but I’m not sure what that is. Have ye got any ideas?” He questioned.
Kieran wasn’t a doctor anymore per se, but his work in hospitals and his degree said otherwise so he didn’t mind being called doc. Laughter bubbled up from his belly and he strode forward to embrace Riley in hug. Letting go he looked back at the curly haired man who he’d befriended a few years ago. “I hope that means ye got a plan, cause I haven’t been off the grounds since we’ve been here.”
His smile turned warm, albeit a touch sheepish when Kieran hugged him though the gesture was returned without a slip of hesitation. When the embrace was done Riley stepped back, grinning wide. “Yep!” He exclaimed. The pride was evident in his tone. “You gotta cure that by doing something fun.” Then came his signature double wink as a silent promise to live up to that aspect of fun.
The tickets were fished from a pocket and held up for his friend to see. “Got an extra ticket to a show in town and I couldn’t leave my best man behind. You ready to see what they got? Guarantee it’ll at least be interesting if nothin’ else.” While he didn’t favor any artists in particular for music he was fascinated by the idea of seeing something in person.
Glad to leave the carnival Kieran pumped his fists in the hair. “Yes!” He exclaimed, turning around to grab a few of his things such as his coat and his coin. He spent so much time on the grounds that some days he forgot about the world at large. He’d been everywhere in the United States but he didn’t get much of a chance to actually see those places.
A thought occurred to him before. “Do ye mind if we stop off by the wagons? I want to let Jack know where I’ve gone.” Nothing was official for the two of them at this point, no one really knew or if they did, didn’t seem to say anything. Jack was scared, scared of what others might think of him and Kieran had to respect that. Riley was in the same boat though and maybe if anyone could understand, it was him.
At the sight of those fist pumps of delight Riley shuddered. He was glad to see such excitement, basked in the experience of seeing his friend light up. Precious few things really made people brighten like that and he was glad he could bring it to someone once in a while.
Tickets would drop back into a pocket from where they had come, and he slipped his hands in afterward for lack of anything to do with them.
“Nah. We can stop.” He needed to let someone know he was going to be off of the grounds, too, just in case there was trouble ahead. It was the polite thing to do, anyway. He could appreciate the consideration taken and the why - whether or not someone was official it was still the courteous thing to do to give some sort of a heads up.
When he felt Kieran was ready, Riley pivoted on a heel and began moving in the direction of the wagons alongside his friend.
Making their way across the grounds to the wagons, Kieran stuffed his hands in his pockets and against the cool Tucson air his breath fogged. “It’s been a bit hasn’t it? How have ye been mate?” He asked, walking briskly to their location so that they could get into town in time for the show. Kieran loves music and he’d seen a few bands in his time but they mostly involved military music. He was excited to see something new, see the town finally and spend some quality time with his friend.
Virtually the same height - though Riley would brag to be taller because he counted the mountain of curls as extra inches - he kept pace quite easily with Kieran. Hands still in pockets his cadence matched a casual stroll.
“Better,” came the reply. He couldn’t help the little grin that settled on his face every time he thought of his little secret. Like Kieran, he was chasing someone around in a circle though his had a few years behind it.
“What about you? Things good?” Keeping up with his friends affairs might seem nosy but then what were friends for if they couldn’t help or support each other?
As they came to his wagon he replied with a shrug. “Good. I’ll tell ye about it once we get on the road.” He said with an actual wink instead of the double wink Riley offered. He climbed the steps into the wagon, his legs propped up on it so he could say a quick goodbye to Jack. The muffled sound wasn’t so muffled to someone as close to it as Riley.
“Hey, Riley and me are going out for a wee bit of fun.” He reached up to a shelf and opened a small bottle to shake out two pills. He replaced the bottle and handed them to Jack. “If ye have any pain take one, but not both.” He said to Jack. A muffled “Be careful” came from Jack and Kieran offered him a smile before standing on his legs to offer him a sweet kiss.
“I promise.” He said and said a quick “Goodnight!” Before he climbed back out again.
Nodding in reply, Riley felt satisfied with that. He knew what people said about those in the same situations of heart both of them seemed to be caught up in. And while he was terrible with secrets he knew better than to start asking a bunch of questions when there was too much exposure. Just because you couldn’t see someone didn’t mean they weren’t listening.
Riley veered toward the wagon he was staying at with his own friend to offer a goodbye. He was back out before too long and waiting again by the wagon where he’d left Kieran.
Once they were together again, Riley turned and began to lead them toward town. He hoped the show was worth the few coins he’d spent on the tickets though he wasn’t considering it a huge loss if not. Just a reason to escape the grounds for a minute was reason enough.
“Ye ever been to Tucson?” He asked as they made their way to the truck. Keys were always in the truck for whoever needed to use it and Kieran had become good at driving. They’d passed through the town many times but Kieran had yet to go in it. He heard that a hotel was being built, something about congress but he couldn’t be sure. “Can’t say I have myself.” He added, finding the truck where is was normally parked.
He reached for the door and found the keys in the vehicle on the seat. “Come on then, we haven’t got all night.” He urged Riley. He was excited now, Kieran loved to drive and he took great pleasure in being the driver.
Shaking his head, Riley sighed. “Nah. Honestly, I couldn’t tell ya how many places we’ve been. I try to be good and stay on the grounds but once in a while I gotta be free and go see the sights.” Not that you couldn’t see plenty from atop the Ferris Wheel, but being part of the experience sat better with him.
At the quip that rushed him, his jaw would drop in mock shock. “Excuse me, mister. Did your mama never teach you manners?” With a laugh he climbed up and into the truck, settling in for the short drive to town. He had some experience behind the wheel, you had to when you fixed stuff that moved.
Kieran chuckled and started the engine, pulling the car into gear they made their way on the dirt road toward the town. “I been seeing someone.” He said almost abruptly, anxious to get that off his chest. Riley was one of the only ones who seemed to be fine talking to him about these things and they were away from any of the carnivals many ears. Kieran couldn’t trust many other people with things like this.
“And I think maybe it’s wrong.” He added, trying his hardest not to think about how he’d watched Jack grow up. At once he was his mentor and now? Well things had gotten a bit complicated between them and he needed some advice from a good friend.
The excitement was evident in his features as he whipped around to look at his friend. “Oh, I need all the details. Come on.” It was said in a manner that could be taken out of context in any other situation but this was not that at all, delivered more on a light-hearted tone and not one of hastiness. “Who is it?”
“Me too,” he said then, laughing. “Sort of.”
“Why do you think it’s wrong?” The question was posed with interest, not judgement. If there was a way to listen and help, he would.
He didn’t speak for a moment as he thought of the words to say. Strictly speaking Riley didn’t know about him being an angel but there were whispers about how certain people around the carnival didn’t seem to age. Kieran was one of them. “Jack.” He replied with a bit of a grin. He’d always thought the boy was smart and could see him grow into a handsome man at a young age.
“I’ve watched him grow since he was a boy. He relies on me and that feel predatory.” He added, wishing he could get over himself. He’d always stay the same while others aged around him, why was this any different?
He was the type that never asked questions. At least not at first. If something seemed off limits Riley never pushed, nor did he let himself fall victim to speculation or rumors. Life was what it was.
When he heard the name uttered his smile grew sly, “Jack. Of course. Of course.” As if he suspected it the whole time and now the idea was coming to fruition. “Seems like a nice one.” Riley was familiar with Jack but not the way Kieran was.
“I don’t think it’s predatory,” Riley replied, taking a moment to mull over what Kieran had just confessed. “Bound to happen at some point, I reckon. Life has a funny way of doing that to ya.” Being someone who looked after another had a way of strengthening bonds of all types. If Jack was comfortable with it he didn’t see any issues, and it wasn’t like the man wasn’t of an age to understand and decide. “And he’s grown. How’s he feel about that?”
Kieran focused on the road ahead as they quickly approached town and frowned a bit. “Scared.” He said quietly as the lights of the city came into view. Tucson seemed to be bustling and perhaps they would be able to get into a little fun. “He’s never been with a man before, something about it makes me think he thinks I won’t be interested in him for long.” Which was silly because Kieran had always had an affection for him.
“But I love him.” He said almost without thinking. It didn’t matter though with Riley there, Riley wouldn’t judge Kieran. “Just wish he would know is all.” He finished for good measure.
He nodded when Kieran said Jack was scared. He didn’t blame the poor guy. Being with someone of the same sex could be challenging in a lot of ways, especially the impact society has on decisions like that. “I can’t predict the future,” Riley stated. The end of his nose would wrinkle at the thought of being handed a thing like that. “But I can tell ya that what you feel is worth fightin’ for. Love is a tricky thing. I say give him time to come ‘round. If he doesn’t, then it’s gonna hurt but you’ll find someone. If he does, and he can accept ya for you then I say you got yourself a keeper. All it takes is time. You gotta show him how much you care about him. He’s gonna pick up on it and understand or he ain’t. But you can’t fix that for him.”
“You know I’m here for ya no matter what. And I’m happy for you both. Trust me about the time thing. Waitin’ can be hard but most of the time it’s worth it.”
The same thing was happening with the man he had given his own heart to; Riley was chasing someone who’d never been with another man before and it was an experience which had been positive but patient so far. He didn’t regret it at all, even knowing that deep down the man deserved a better and more capable partner than himself.
A smile came to Kieran’s face as they finally came into town, finding a spot close to their destination. “Yeah, suppose yer right. I don’t want him to be scared, not here, not at Zion.” It was his home after all and there were more around like him than he seemed to think. He shifted the car into park and he looked over at Riley. Sadly it was a short ride and much more beautiful in the sunlight. “I’ll be as patient as ever.” He vowed, hand over heart, clearly amused by this.
“So what about ye then, anyone taking up space in they brain more than usual?” He asked, keeping the doors closed to stave off the cold for a little bit.
Being afraid was normal. He didn’t want Kieran to think that it wasn’t; like most new things people tended to take the more cautious route when handling it. He was a little bit afraid, too. Or maybe just a little paranoid. “Normal, bein’ scared. It’ll pass. I’d be sorta worried if he wasn’t. Means he’ll be careful with what he has. It’ll work out for ya.” He knew that for sure in his heart.
And then he laughed softly as Kieran made the promise with a hand over his heart.
When the inquiry came for himself his face seemed to light up instantly and his expression grew sheepish. “Oh, well, you know me. Real friendly with a few.” That was a bold faced lie but — “but yeah, I’m chasin’ one ‘round.” He couldn’t fib to Kieran and expect to be trusted. “Sorta the same situation with you an Jack, he had a family before me. Lost ‘em.” It wasn’t his place to divulge so he didn’t, but at least he was being truthful.
Kieran playfully smacked his friend on the chest as he told him about his new love interest. “Good chasing mate, guarantee that one’ll be yers in no time then.” He teased and opened the door to hop out of the truck. Riley deserves someone to be tied down to, even if it wasn’t something he usually did, because he was great and anyone was lucky to be with him.
Taking the gloves from his pocket he blew out cold foggy air and slipped his fingers into the gloves. “Wee bit nippy, don’t ye think?” He said to Riley as he waited for him to hop out of the truck. This was no winter in Scotland but the desert could be a cold and dark place.
Laughing, Riley tried to duck away as the smack came though he took it anyway. A shrug of his shoulders and a foolish grin and he was slipping out of the truck and closing the door behind himself. “Hope you’re right.” His heart fluttered a bit just thinking about it.
Meeting Kieran around in his side of the vehicle, Riley nodded. “I don’t like bein’ cold,” he protested, making a face. “C’mon. Let’s go find this place and warm up a bit.”
As they walked toward the saloon where the show was playing, he looked over at Riley. “What’s his name? This mystery man of yers?” He asked, fighting off the cold as they went against the wind. Cold wind was worse than anything and he was happy he’d have a warm wagon to go back when it was over.
“I told ye mine so now ye have to tell me yers.” He teased as they were getting closer and closer. The walk from the truck wasn’t too far but it was far enough that they might have to use each other for balance on the stumble back.
Riley absolutely preferred warmer weather. Where he was from it got cold but it wasn’t anything like this. Over the years he’d gotten used to the cooler temperatures due to the travel of the Carnival, but that want to be warm had never left him. The bone chilling cold was the worst. Part of him wished he was back in the wagon, curled up under a blanket with his boyfriend. Or whatever they were calling each other.
He moved alongside Kieran, huddling as close as possible to stave off some of the wind from his friend. “Finn,” he murmured, before saying it a bit louder so it could be heard.
Finally they reached the steps of the saloon where a burly man with a bowler sat at the front door. “Tickets please.” He said to the both of them and Kieran looked over at Riley, nodding his head towards the man. Riley had pretty much dragged him out here so it was his responsibility to get them inside.
“Go on then, give him our tickets.” Kieran said, ignoring the cold stare the man was giving the both of them. He’d been privy to a lot of hateful eyes in his time so as he didn’t prod the beasts he could stay out of harms way.
“Yeah, yeah,” Riley quipped, offering over the tickets to the gent in the hat. He didn’t care much for rudeness, especially when they were paying customers. Had the man at the door been less in stature Riley perhaps would’ve said a few things and asked for forgiveness later. As it was, he didn’t put up a fuss if only to not make trouble for his friend.
Once the tickets were given and the door was opened up, Riley ushered Kieran inside, making sure his friend went first. Nobody would ever say he wasn’t a perfect gentleman.
Warm air swirled around, a mixture of moving bodies and a fire place dancing somewhere in the building.
“Much better in here.”
“Agreed.” He replied and took off his gloves to stuff them back into his pocket, opening the buttons on his jacket to get some of the warmth into his bones. “Can I get ye a drink then?” He asked his friend as he eyed the bar at the other end of the room.
The band was setting up still but looked about ready to play which means they got there right on time. He was happy he had someone like Riley around to get him off of the grounds every once in a while. Tucson seemed new still but it was bustling with life.
Riley looked around and grinned. Bright eyes would flicker about at the faces of the people gathered. Coat would be shrugged off, draped over an arm and he took a moment to bask in the warmth. “Wonder what they’re gonna play!” He said over the noise of the crowd.
Moving with Kieran, he headed toward the bar.
Squeezing in between two people, Riley noticed something about one of them and didn’t hesitate to start up a conversation. It was the way he was and he couldn’t help it.
Kieran nodded his head toward Riley and got the attention of the barkeep. “Two scotches please.” He said to him but the look on the man’s face said otherwise. “Sorry sir, Arizona already observes the prohibition.” It was a disappointment for sure but he could learn to cope. “Ginger ale?” He questioned the bartender and sighed in relief as the man got him the drinks he’d ordered. He took out a couple of coins to pay the man with and looked at Riley who was already busy chatting to someone else.
When the drinks were served the bartender leaned into Kieran. “If you’re looking for a speakeasy, heard some folks say there’s one up the road, big blue sign outside.” Probably didn’t have any writing on it but that served Kieran just fine. “Thanks mate.” He replied and paid the man his coin for the drink.
He nudged Riley with one arm and handed him the glass. “Arizona’s dry, both in heat and liquor.” He explained quietly to Riley who’d obviously found a new friend.
That light brush of his arm roused Riley from his conversation. Turning toward Kieran, he looked down at the beverage and then took it, watching his reflection in the amber bubbles. “Ain’t that something,” he quipped, taking a sip from the glass anyway. The ginger taste made his nose wrinkle but the fizzy nature of the drink was good. “Thank you. Next ones on me.”
Leaning against the lip of the bar on an elbow, he took another look around before his gaze came back to Kieran. “We gonna stand here or you reckon we could squeeze up front?” He didn’t want to get too into the crowd in case the band was shit. It was harder to get out when you got too far in.
He would leave the decision to his friend knowing that the night would be exciting either way.
Kieran didn’t much like crowds these days, perhaps it was his age, who could know? While he knew Riley liked to get up close he couldn’t help but being an old kurmudget. “Do ye mind if we stay back here? Sound would do my head so close.” He pleaded, hoping Riley might take the bate and they could continue to converse.
Sipping his ginger ale, Kieran scanned the room. It looked mostly like cowboy folk but he couldn’t say since everyone seemed the same after seeing so many. “So you two, ye know?” Kieran wiggled his eyebrows at his friend. No one would know who they were talking about so it was harmless.
Staying in the back was alright. He chalked it up to the new music; if the tunes were terrible they could leave easier and find something else to do instead of trying to fight through the crowd, and if the music was good it was audible enough from where they were standing to enjoy just as much as if they were up close to the stage.
“Nah, that’s fine with me,” Riley replied. Another sip from the ginger ale, and he turned fully toward his friend to be heard better.
A smirk would split his face, “What about it?” The question was playful. He’d answer as vague as he could considering they were in public, but the man he was seeing meant enough to him that Riley bore an ‘F’ shaped symbol on a swath of skin that nobody even knew was there.
Raising a brow at Riley, Kieran placed drink down along the bar. “Don’t ye give me that, do I have to spell it out?” He replied with a chuckle. Kieran was a Christian man by all accounts, but he knew that he would have never become an angel if it were a sin.
“Have ye done the deed?” He asked finally, hoping that was enough detail to get Riley talking. To any passerby’s it might just sound like two men talking about their ladies.
Riley nearly laughed out loud. He’d done it several times. They were pretty active as far as those types of things were concerned but he wasn’t really the sort to go bragging around about it. “Yep,” he replied, proud. “Uh, a few times.” And every time it got better and better.
“You?” He wasn’t sure his friend had based on their earlier conversation in the truck, but you never knew for sure. “Don’t happen as much as we’d like, still a new thing, you know.”
It wasn’t like they could ever truly be together, get married, or have any sort of a life.
“Nothing exciting. Just some hand stuff.” Jack hadn’t even touched Kieran in that way yet and he was beginning to wonder if it was just Kieran guilting him into being with him. He didn’t want it to make sense, especially when Jack had drunkenly kissed him all those years ago, but guilt was something he would always live with.
“Like I said, scared.” He’d been with so many people in his time as an angel and he always had to watch them die or walk away when it all became too much. To him, whatever sort of love he could hold onto, he’d hold onto with all his might.
Riley nodded. There was no judgement there, no bragging. He lifted a hand and clapped his friend on the shoulder, “Give it time, my friend. It’ll come ‘round.” They would get there. If Jack was afraid then he’d have to learn to get over that. Only time would tell.
His hand would fall and he took another sip from the glass.
The music had begun somewhere in the background. It was a blend of blues and a bit of soul. Not too bad. He grew up on old bluegrass and country music, but now he thrived on mostly carnival music.
Leaning closer to Kieran so as to be heard over the tunes and the crowd, he continued the conversation. He didn’t know Jack that well and was less knowledgeable about the man’s character.
“What’s your favorite thing about them?” He inquired, trying to find out more about Jack little by little.
Kieran thought on that for a moment, listening to music and thinking about Jack. “Their smile. The strength and modesty. Can’t quite say I’ve met anyone like them.” Most people complained about their problems, Jack figured out a way to solve them. “They make this wee sound when they finally fall asleep that makes my skin tingle. Doesn’t happen often but when it does, it’s magical.” Part of him wished he was with Jack right now but they needed space while they were figuring this thing out.
He let the music take over now, his foot tapping to the beat as the music played. He loved music, loved seeing where it had gone and where it was yet to go. “Always willing to go places I’ve never even gone before, at a moments notice. He’s the most... free... bloke I’ve ever met.” It was easy for the words to slip out. Besides which with the music, most people couldn’t hear or weren’t paying attention.
Hearing about Jack, seeing the way his friend lit up made him smile. “Sounds amazing,” he replied. He was glad that Kieran had found someone worth going through this hiccup for. Obstacles and challenges made the endgame worth it, in certain circumstances. “Quit bein’ so sappy and lovesick!” A laugh would leave him though it was only a tease.
“I’m really glad for ya, you know. It’s great what you have. He’s gonna be so good for you.”
A lot of people didn’t like to be challenged or taken out of their comfort zones but if you never took a risk you never learned to grow. To him it sounded like Jack gave that to Kieran, and that Kieran also gave that to Jack.
He was glad to have Riley around, the different perspective helped him look at it all differently. His smile was honest although the music was not. While enjoyable, it just didn’t really make him feel anything. A thought popped into his head, a blue sign with no writing. He watched as people around him began to whisper. “Wyatt Earp” they whispered and the message passed on and on, like some code of some sort.
He leaned into Riley after finishing off his beverage. “I think I might know where the real music is.” He yelled into his friend's ear, nodding his head towards the door of the saloon.
Nodding at the shout, Riley set the half-full glass down on the bar. When Kieran had an idea it was bear encouraged and ran with before his friend had a second to reconsider. Whatever was paid for the tickets didn’t matter, the time spent together meant more than a few coins.
“I’m followin’ you,” he replied, loudly, before pushing away from the counter.
The crowd was easy to navigate through and Riley kept close to his friend as they made for the door.
Quickly putting on his gloves and buttoning his jacket, Kieran grabbed Riley by the arm and pulled him out of the saloon into the cold night air. He looked around at the streets around them. “Blue sign, blue sign.” He released as he looked for exactly that. After a wide sweep he decided they probably needed to run up to the next road to be able to see it.
Kieran dragged his friend along and began jogging at a brisk pace to get up to the street corner. A burst of laughter erupted as he saw the blue sign he’d been searching for. “Ye see, I told ye I found the party.” He proclaimed and began to walk with Riley up to the building where a small alleyway took them down some stairs.
“Password.” The man at the door said and Kieran looked to Riley before he blurted out “Wyatt Earp” he’d heard it in the whispers at the saloon.
The guard eyed them for a moment before he opened the door and allowed the two to step inside.
Back into his coat, Riley bundled up as best as he could to brave the cold waiting outside for them. Rushing out as lead by the arm, with minimal protest, he waited to see what his friend had in mind. The pace seemed to quicken and his curiosity grew with each step.
“If I wanted to exercise I woulda stayed home,” he joked, knowing that the quip itself was terrible in delivery. Being with his lover would’ve given him more exercise than he would ever need in his life.
But it wasn’t just about him. When Kieran laughed, Riley cracked a smile and looked at the blue sign. “That’s your definition of a party?” He inquired, skeptical. What was his friend up to?
Down the alley, he walked and then found himself standing at a secret door. And then he was flat impressed. “You sure your middle name ain’t trouble?” He laughed, stepping into the place after Kieran.
As soon as they stepped through the door there was music and conversation abound. People were dancing and smoking, flirting and drinking. It was absolutely magical. “Well was I right or was I right?” He replied and walked toward the bar where a man with a curled mustache sat cleaning out glasses. Kieran couldn’t resist a good time and this was a very promising
The Tucson underground seemed far different from the simple cow folk he’d seen in town. This was obviously where those who were different could come to play. “Drink?” He asked, since Riley had offered the next round.
“Well call me a horse and ride me into the sunset,” Riley exclaimed, laughing out loud at the scene before his eyes. This was much more promising than the show he’d tried to take his friend to earlier. “You did a good job there!” He could admit when a friend was right. Sometimes, anyway.
When the prompt for drinks came Riley did as promised, getting himself, his friend, and another person a drink before Kieran could pay. He couldn’t help himself when it came to getting caught up in a good time. Why not enjoy the party a little bit?
The night flew past faster than Riley could keep track and before he knew it he was chilly, but content, and trying his best not to stumble back to the truck the entire way.
Kieran had caught up to Riley after a night of fun, so much dancing he was sure he was an expert by now. He jogged up to his friend and bumped his shoulder to the other man’s as they made their way back to the truck. The sun would be up in a few hours so it was best they get back to Zion. He’d have a glass of scotch ready in the morning for the headache. “Oi, ye planning on leaving without me?” He asked his fiend with a belly laugh, taking the jingling keys from his pocket.
“I reckon that was a FANTASTIC night, wouldn’t ye say?” Sure he’d been drinking but his vision was still straight and there weren’t many used the roads in this town as of yet. He was happy they’d wandered upon the speakeasy instead of standing uncomfortably in a crowded saloon.
“Couldn’t get too far,” Riley laughed, nudging his friend with an elbow. Somehow he’d lost track of not just the time but the person with the keys. Oh well. It wasn’t the first time, nor the last one. His adrenaline was still pumping from the exhilaration the hours past had brought. Being himself around strangers was almost too easy.
“I’d say you’re right, it was a fantastic evenin’. We gotta do that again, I reckon. And soon!”
He wasn’t the least bit concerned about the state of being of his friend thought it wasn’t for any particular reason other than coasting on the coattails of the evening.
Once the truck was unlocked he would climb in and get settled, leaning back against the cushion comfortably.
Kieran climbed in awkwardly and setting himself down in seat. “We should do it again, perhaps bring Finn and Jack?” He doubted Jack would be comfortable with it and Finn might not either but his drunk mind thought it was a phenomenal idea. He started the engine and began to drive back toward the carnival.
He’d heard some locals tonight talk about a thriving town in the south called Bisbee and his curiosity was piqued but who knew if he’d have time before they moved on to another place.
It wasn’t long before they made it back and Kieran climbed clumsily out of the truck, nearly falling out of it before he caught himself.
Riley nearly gasped at the idea, frame straightening as if he had just heard the best revelation in his entire life. “Holy crow, if that ain’t the best idea I’ve ever heard I dunno what is!” He wasn’t sure if Finn would come, but it never hurt to ask. His boyfriend was as unpredictable as the ocean sometimes.
Relaxing again, he let the purr of the engine comfort him. The ride itself was enough to make Riley drowsy. As they entered the grounds the Texan was nearly asleep in the passenger seat. One eye would creep open as the truck coasted to a halt.
And then the door would fling open, nearly spilling Riley out of the cab, too. “Woah there,” he coughed, landing on a foot, one knee, and clinging to the door for support. A scramble upward and he closed the door to the truck, managing to make it around to Kieran without further incident.
He latched onto Riley to give him a bit more balance though his own was not the best. Perhaps they could keep each other upright for long enough to get back to the wagons. A chuckle bubbled up from his belly and he placed his arm around Riley to navigate them back.
“Yer drunk.” He teased, even if he was exactly that as well. The journey wasn’t too far but once they came into sight Kieran sighed in relief. The relief of a warm bed, company and some much needed rest. Stopping off by Riley’s wagon first he lead him to the door. “Yer welcome for the best night of yer life.” He joked.
With that support Riley leaned into his friend knowing that if one of them toppled over the other one would be just as doomed. Having that idea, his own arm went around Kieran. It was clear by their amble that they were inebriated - any straight gent would’ve done the same thing for a friend so he feared no judgement or ridicule.
“Me? Nah. You’re the —“ he paused to hiccup. “— drunk one.” And finally the line of wagons began to appear on the horizon, drawing nearer and nearer to them.
Finally they reached the little wheeled wonders and Riley let go of Kieran. “Best night?” He laughed, shaking his head, “Second best. No hard feelings though.” His best night was five years ago, that evening he’d been drunk and felt bold enough to crawl into Finn’s lap. “But thanks anyway for goin’ with me. Give your love a kiss for me, yeah?” With that vague statement nothing out of the ordinary could be assumed.
“Thanks.” He replied and wandered stumbling back to his own wagon where he’d find a sleeping Jack. It was a good night definitely but he was happy to be back and in his comfortable bed next to someone he cared about, even if he was a foot away.