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Dinner was a quiet affair. He sat quietly in the corner and ate the greasy stuff, not too particular about what he was eating as long as it was hot and tasty. He finished well before Landon, but didn't bug him to eat faster. They were in no particular rush. If Landon wanted to take his time and rest, then might as well.
Sitting in the corner was nice. From here, he could see the whole room and keep an eye on things. Actually, that was why Landon had chosen this seat, wasn't it? He raised an eyebrow at himself. Looked like Landon was a step ahead of where he was in some ways.
"Yep, I'm ready." Bell pushed up, grabbing their trash. He threw the garbage away, bin clattering shut. At the door, he held out his hand for Landon's keys. "You gonna sleep? I'll drive carefully."
It was icy outside. He yanked his coat shut and jogged the few steps over to the car. His feet slipped out from under him on shiny black ice. Bell cartwheeled his arms and almost fell, but managed to grab onto the car at the last second. His shoulder wrenched; he felt the cuts tear open.
"Shit," he mumbled. That was no good. "Mind the ice."
Oh well. Didn't need too much of his shoulder to drive. He rotated the shoulder a few times to make sure nothing was too bad, but it all felt fine, aside from the pain from the cuts. He slid behind the steering wheel and started the car up. "Let me know if you need the heat up."
It took him a moment to re-familiarize himself with the car, where everything was, where the headlights were, everything. Just a moment, though. Slightly less than confident, he backed carefully out of the parking lot and took to the road. As he drove, he grew more confident, more used to driving again. It wasn't so bad, even if it was icy.
Back onto the highway. The highway was almost easier to drive than the little roads. They'd taken more care to clear it of ice. This late, there weren't as many people on the road as there'd usually be, either. He headed on into the night. For a while, there was nothing, but slowly, civilization caught up to them. Before he knew it, they were coming up on a city. Plenty of choice in the city for hotels.
"Landon, wake up," he called into the backseat. "What do you think, cheap motel or a decent hotel?" Might as well get Landon's opinion while they had choice.
"No, it hasn't," Landon agreed softly at Bell's question regarding the cold. Inside the fast-food joint it was hard to tell just how cold it was outside, but their brief walk over was enough of a clue to him. A hand reached out to toy with his zipper. Landon watched the fingers idly play. It felt closer than they had been in a while, this casual interaction. Bell let go and Landon snapped out of the daze he'd happened upon.
"Yeah, that'd be nice," he admitted. He'd been okay before, but his injuries were bothering him after a day of driving, beyond what they should do. Actually, he hadn't even gotten a good look at himself and apparently Bell wasn't aware either. Landon was pretty sure Bellwether would've stopped him from driving if he knew, after all, Bell was the protective sort.
"Sure, a nice hotel would be good," Landon said. And it'd give Bell the opportunity to get away from him with an easy excuse or two, hoping for it to be Daniel upon return. Landon almost felt like telling Bell that it wouldn't be clever to leave Daniel with that many opportunities to face on his own, but kept quiet. He didn't want to assume too much. Landon zoned out until their order was finished and put out, then mechanically walked over and picked up their tray.
"Want to sit somewhere? How about there," he nodded to a nice secluded corner. No need to be set up in plain sight.
Landon put the tray down and started to pick off the things that were part of his menu, sucking at the straw of iced coke. It was plain fast food, but it was hot so he wouldn't complain. It was better than some of the things he'd cooked for himself anyway. Landon didn't even pay any mind to anything as he ate. He was tired and his head hurt. Eating only solved part of the problem, but wouldn't take away any of the discomfort.
The last few bits were cold by the time he was finished. Landon yawned for good measure, docilely staring out the window. He was tired and sore, and now that he'd eaten, sluggish to boot. Landon forcibly pulled his focus back to Bell.
"Are you ready?" he offered, keen to get out and just crash on the back-seat of the car.
Fried chicken it was. "Yeah, maybe we should," he said. He could always drive. Landon didn't have to be the only one. He would've taken over already, but Landon had made it so there was no question; he was driving, and he was going to keep driving. The idea of driving all night didn't exactly appeal, but neither did stopping in this little dead end of humanity. [i I don't have to drive all night,] he told himself. [i Just to somewhere better than this.]
He climbed gratefully from the car when they parked. It felt so good to stretch his legs after sitting for so long. Hard to believe they spent their lives on the road, when he felt like this. At least in Haven, he'd been able to walk wherever he needed to.
But he'd been locked up, unable to leave the white walls. He shook his head. He was happier out here. Things were better, even if they had to be on the run.
Landon looked pained. Bell's first instinct was that he'd done something horrible again, but then he caught the hand pressed to Landon's side. Oh? He'd been hurt somewhere? Daniel hadn't said anything. He bit his lip, then decided not to say anything. If they didn't want him to know, he'd keep it to himself. He'd make sure he watched them, though. [i No fights,] he made a silent note for himself. Not while Landon and Daniel were injured like that.
He put in his own order when Landon stepped aside, then went to join the puddle of waiting people at the end of the line. For just a moment, he caught a strange expression on Landon's face, half a smile, half-- he looked away before he could fully understand it. Probably disappointment again. He'd had enough of that lately.
Eyes trained on Landon's coat, away from his face, Bell nodded at the weather. "It hasn't gotten any warmer yet," he joked. One hand reached out and toyed with Landon's jacket's zipper idly. It shone in the light, silver and bright. "Um, you want me to drive?" He released the zipper and glanced upward, not quite meeting the other man's eyes. "We should probably keep moving, at least for a little. I mean... this place doesn't look like a fun place to stay." He smiled at that, then shrugged. "At least until we find a better hotel." .
Stop already, yeah, but where? Landon watched Bell wake up and followed the man's directions towards the exit. It wasn't much to look at; the adverts made it seem bigger than it was, but all the usual things were there.
"Uhm, fried chicken," Landon decided. He felt like having something warm and there wasn't much to ruin about fried chicken. Round two with the gas-station seemed like the least favourable option out of the lot, especially since the time had passed on their sandwiches being any good.
"They really don't have much, do they?" he sighed out.
"Could always get back on the road and find some place nicer," Landon offered up. Food-wise, this would do though. He didn't feel much for driving further, unless Bell was going to or the sun had already gone down. His head was killing him. Shame they didn't have any place to buy some over the counter pain-relief.
"Let's just eat and then see," Landon decided. Bell had slept for most of the journey, so Landon figured he didn't have to be tired necessarily. It'd be a good indicator of how injured Bell was if he fell back asleep after a hot meal though. It couldn't be too bad. Landon parked the car and figured the food would be better if they sat down for it. They could at least do that much, right? Rather than take-out. He was tired of being inside the car already.
Landon got out and stretched, then winced and pressed a hand to his side. Sitting still like that really hadn't done anything to further along the healing process. He shook it and made his way into the fast-food chain. There were few people actually sitting at tables. Some lost family, a few people waiting around to get their take-outs, though most used the drive-through. Landon scanned over his options and decided on a simple menu.
He stepped aside for Bell to put his in and looked around the place. After a quick scan, his eyes stopped at Bellwether. The man was really there, they were back on the road again. Landon allowed himself a careful smile. How many years would they have before everything was reset again this time? One? Maybe two?
And he wasn't getting any younger, as opposed to Bell, who remained the same. Their love was a cruel one, Landon decided. Maybe Bell-goat had been right thinking they shouldn't pair up.
They agreed on the snow, at least, if nothing else. He stared at the window at it passing by. Muted everything out. Made all the interesting scenery white and boring. Maybe he'd just take a nap again. Wake up when he got there.
Time passed. The road rolled on past. Before he knew it, the sun was setting on another day. Bell sat up when Landon spoke to him, startled from the half-doze he'd managed. "Huh? Oh, we can just stop already," he said with a yawn. He didn't want to get to a town just yet. Might be another goat there, and Landon needed a minute or two to heal up and fix his head. Probably needed longer than they had to get all healed up, honestly. But they'd have to make do.
"Over there, that exit's got decent shit at it," he said, pointing out the sign. It advertised a few fast-food restaurants and a motel. Nothing fancy, but it'd be enough of a shopping center for them to pick up any essentials they needed. Probably even have a pharmacy for them to refill the first aid kid, for one, which they definitely needed.
They cruised off the highway and into the exit. There really wasn't much there. A truck stop, the promised motel, a few small shops. Not even the pharmacy he'd hoped for. It was a place people passed through on their way to somewhere else, not a place they stopped. Not a destination, but a blip on the map.
Oh well. He shrugged to himself. If they were hiding from the cops, a place like this was likely to get overlooked. It was good enough for tonight.
"So, uh, fried chicken, tacos, or burgers?" he asked, listing out their limited choices. "Or we could go round two with the gas station food." Not that he particularly wanted to try that again. Their lunch had been good luck, and at best, he'd consider that food mediocre.
The downside to a place like this was that there was absolutely nothing to do but sleep. It was all they really wanted to do, he supposed, but it was kind of... limited. Maybe they should have pressed on into town today after all.
"Well," he shrugged. Never forget... Bell hadn't ever gotten his license to begin with, had he? Everything the man knew was either self-taught or taught to him by Daniel and him. Landon steered them away from the gas-station and back onto the road, listening with half an ear to what had happened. A girl this time? Oh, yeah, he remembered Bell talking about her.
"He probably has already," Landon sighed out.
What boyfriend wouldn't notice? Landon shrugged and sighed out. No reason to suspect them on a resort like that, right? There'd been a plethora of people around that day, even though they were the last ones to see them. At the same time, that plethora of people might as well have seen them gallivanting around the girl.
He'd never know, in the end.
"What? Yeah, yeah I remember. Not much," Landon said. "Most of it is from what Daniel told me and some faint memories," he confessed. Nothing much and nothing to really tie anything together. Most of his memories from the time where Daniel and he were one felt like faded dreams. Probably, most of them actually were dreams.
"Glad to see that hasn't changed," Landon mused. "I don't like it either."
Everywhere he looked there was white snow. Some of it was in a half-melted gray state, some of it walked on and smushed into ice. The roads were surprisingly clear, for what they were. Landon just kept to the speed of the cars in front of them.
It was boring and monotonous. Landon yawned, lazily switched a few lanes and followed the highway, rather than taking any of the exits. After a while the sun started to hang low, glaring off the snow and ice. He was grateful for the sunglasses, but at the same time couldn't deny the ferocity with which the sun's glare tried to pierce through his skull.
"You want to drive into town or just stay at a motel?" Landon pitched with Bell. Either way he didn't want to keep on driving for too long like this. He needed a rest. They probably both did. Bell at least could use a meal to help heal whatever injuries remained. It'd be good if at least one of them was fighting-ready.
"Ha, I knew it," he said. Of course Landon liked his coffee black. He had that stiff-backed stern kind of demeanor, after all. And he wasn't fun. Fun people always put cream or sugar in.
Landon accepted his offer, though, somewhat to Bell's surprise. He'd thought the man was too stuck up to do something like share a drink. It seemed he didn't like it, though. Bell laughed at Landon's distaste and took a big swig himself. How could anyone not like this? It was sweet and creamy and delicious.
It seemed like the way to a man really was through his stomach, because Landon didn't give him the kicked-puppy look once as he chowed down on the gas-station's offerings. "They are indeed," Bell clarified, taking one for himself. Not bad for a gas station, honestly. Tasted decent, all told.
He nodded. "I can drive. I haven't in a while, but I know how. It's like riding a bike, right? You never really forget."
Landon looked a bit nervous. Over him driving? No... it didn't look like that was what was bothering him. Probably the girl, then. Their kill. Bell waved his hand limply. "We got away pretty clean, Daniel and I. I don't think anyone noticed her gone, but she did have a boyfriend, so he might notice something soon." It was a fifty-fifty on whether they had time or should just book it towards the equator.
Bell blinked. "You remember the goatling?" he asked. Landon never--no, wait. Landon remembered having the goatling in him. He didn't remember having a wolf they could walk up to and pet. "Oh, right, yeah," he muttered, waving his surprise away. Landon didn't need to worry about that. He was so busy worrying about everything else that it didn't matter.
Back on the road. He sighed as he settled in, getting ready for the long haul. "Stupid snow. Wish it could be warm all year long," he mumbled to himself. Forget skiing. Swimming and surfing were better anyways. Then he could be warm and have fun. Unlike skiing, where the two were mutually exclusive. What'd he wanted to ski for in the first place, anyways?
Bell returned before long with some food and their drinks. Landon sat down and watched him scoop everything out of his pockets. He needed the card to actually pay for the gas, so he took the plastic out of the pile and went back to pay.
"Oh, I- I have it black, thanks though," Landon declined Bell's offer of sugar and creamer. He gave the man an appreciative smile before paying the machine and coming back to the car. Landon took a moment to just deflate and rest, before his attention was drawn to Bell's offer of chocolate flavoured coffee? Mocha then?
"You always did like chocolate," he muttered and took the drink. Sweet. Landon shook his head. "I think I prefer coffee," he pointed out and started the car back up. They could eat in peace for a few moments and rest. He wasn't sure whether this Bell remembered how to drive, though the earlier offer seemed to suggest the man did. Either way he'd be fine after having eaten something, probably.
"Are those ham sandwiches?" Landon pitched and took one. Now that they were stood still, Landon had the time to take in the cold and really start hating it. It wasn't even pretty, this far out. All there was, was gray, filthy snow and run-down, watery buildings with people to match them. South was right.
Their choices made sense from that perspective.
Landon bit into the sandwich and discovered cheese. Not bad for gas-station food.
"So do you drive?" he asked. "Not now, but I mean, if we want to drive longer then maybe we should take shifts," Landon proposed. He wasn't sure how hot they'd left things behind. Maybe the traces of blood would never be found and though the girl would end up missing, there wasn't likely a single trace left. They could pace themselves a little more and just weave their way back South instead.
He glanced in the mirror and examined the bandages again. They felt tight underneath, sweaty maybe even. Landon sighed.
"Sometimes I feel Daniel forgets we're no longer merged with the goatling," he pointed out. It wasn't like they'd heal fast or whatever. They were just plain old human now. Vulnerable. Not weak, by default, but they'd definitely hold Bell back. Maybe that was why it'd be better to split ways. It'd be easier for Bell now. Maybe it'd be kinder.
"Right," Landon started and crumpled the trash before he started back up the car. "Time to get back on the road."
He took Landon's card, a little surprised at how easily he handed it over. Landon looked equally surprised that he was hesitant to take it. He snorted at that. Looked like they still had to get used to each other. "Right, got it," he said, and headed into the shop to take care of Landon's order.
It wasn't like he would've run off with Landon's card anyways. He'd get, what, two or three meals out of it before it got shut down? Assuming he got away without knowing the pin at that. Rather have the cash.
There wasn't much choice, but the food looked decent for a gas station. He grabbed two ham and cheese sandwiches, a soda, and a candy bar, then set about making up Landon some coffee and him, a cheeky mocha he created from the coffee stand's coffee and hot chocolate spouts. Bell took a sip. Delicious.
He didn't know how Landon wanted his coffee, so he grabbed a small handful of creamers and sugars to stuff in his pocket. Landon seemed like the kind of guy who wanted it black, and Daniel like the type who wanted it [i hot and strong, like my women] if for no other reason than because the line was cheesy, but what did he know? It was an easy peace offering.
[i Landon's probably going to look like I kicked his puppy anyways,] he thought to himself as he handed over the card. Because this Bell didn't remember his coffee order, or whatever. It was stupid.
Whatever. It didn't matter. He had a sugar daddy with, if the sauna was any indicator, a nice dick, so what did it matter if Landon wanted to suck sour lemons all day? [i Shit, I do like dicks,] he realized a second later. Dammit. Stupid subconscious throwing those little details in there.
Back out to Landon. He crawled in the passenger's seat and set up their drinks in the drink console rather than bother Landon with juggling the gas and food. "I got you cream and sugar, if you like," he called, unloading his pockets into the cup holder's flat space. "Or I'll eat it if you don't. Got a candy bar and a soda for whoever gets hungry first."
He took another sip of his mocha, then offered it to Landon. "Wanna try?" he offered. "It's chocolate flavored."
Landon looked up. Oh.
"Yeah, sooner rather than later," he admitted readily. "I don't know if the psychiatrist will give me any now that I've ditched treatment," Landon said sourly. Maybe he could have his mother send over his usual medicine, but that would require them to have an actual address to send it to.
"Sure," he started and took out his wallet, then got his card out. "Yeah, and something for on the road maybe," Landon started and handed the card over. A surprised look flashed across his face at Bell's sudden reluctance. Oh, right, because he didn't know whether or not he was trusted. Landon didn't see fit to ask for the card back. If Bellwether wanted to leave him behind, then what did it all matter? He could go back to England or just kill himself or whatever. Landon blinked and shook the thought.
None of that.
It'd be fine.
Instead of worrying, Landon occupied himself with getting gas for on the road. As soon as the car filled, he pulled the muzzle back and capped the tank. Did Bell worry about their trust? Or was it that he'd thought about leaving? It made sense if he did. Bell-goat had always wanted to leave him behind and thought of him as a convenient incubator. Now that there was no longer a goat-child living inside of him however, he'd outlived that purpose. Unless the goat saw fit to do it again. Landon didn't think he'd survive a second time. He wasn't even sure how they'd managed the first time, to be frank.
He sighed out and rested against the car, stretching his legs out without really moving. One arm was protectively curled around his chest. His head had hurt most, but now that it was simmering down, the other injuries Daniel managed to get were playing up.
Landon carefully undid his coat and pushed some of the layers of clothes out of the way. Deep red greeted him back.
He was afraid to even test that theory. It looked and felt painful.
Landon closed his coat before the cold could set in and shivered for good measure. They shouldn't have left the mental hospital. Why had Daniel freed Bellwether already? It was too soon. He wasn't strong enough for all this.
In the end, he fell asleep.
Maybe asleep was too strong a word. He was still aware of things. The bump when they hit a pothole. The rattle of the car against his butt aggravating the spot in the middle of his back that he hadn't thought hurt anymore. The smell of the car, Daniel and car-smell and rot from some forgotten meal scraps somewhere. Whoosh, wind beating against their car. Fingers against his back, crawling for his neck. A voice, whispering angry words he couldn't quite make out. No. Mantras from Haven, the cadence suddenly familiar, not frightening. Sunlight against his eyelids. The roar of a passing truck. Deeper than a doze, but not quite sleep. Somewhere in between.
His body moved sleepily when he got up. Everything was languid and reluctant. [i I wasn't that deep asleep,] he thought with a yawn. Widely, Bell stretched and took in the gas station as one. Same old, same old. Icy air bit through his coat. Snow accumulated around the base of the station, a grungy gray. Was there less of it here? It was hard to tell.
Bell peered over at Landon. What was he looking at? A box? Pills. Looked like plenty to him, but what did he know? "You need a refill?" he asked. What were they going to do about that? No, Landon and Daniel should know, right? If they needed the pills to operate, surely they'd had some kind of setup before.
"Want me to grab food while you grab gas? What do you want, sandwich and coffee?" Bell held his hand out for Landon's card, then hesitated, changed the gesture to scratching the back of his head. Daniel trusted him with the card, but he wasn't sure that was a good idea, and besides, Landon almost certainly didn't. [i To be fair, I did think about running off,] he allowed. It wasn't an unreasonable thing to worry about. He still remembered plenty to make a go of the streets if it came down to it.
"Or I can just take a walk," he offered a neutral way out. Didn't need to bring the issue to a head or anything, he could just walk away. They were acting civil with each other, not best friends.
South, their eternal mantra. Some things hadn't changed, it seemed. At least Bell wasn't trying to make conversation no more. His head hurt and he didn't want to re-explain everything, really. It hurt, in a way where even he started to dislike his jealousy. This was still the same Bellwether, except he wasn't. He wondered whether Bell would take the opportunity to restore his memories, if he had the choice.
Snow. Everywhere he looked was snow. Landon started to appreciate their desire to get out of here with renewed vigour. It was several hours in when his stomach gurgled and announced that breakfast had been had far too long ago. Landon scratched the back of his head, was met with bandages and sighed out. Everything ached and was sore.
He felt a longing then, a deep-seated desire for something that was currently missing. Landon couldn't quite place it.
"Shall we stop for something to eat?" Landon started. He glanced over at Bellwether, who'd taken to sulking after their botched conversation. Landon didn't blame the man. He was likely not the best conversational partner, through no lack of trying on Bell's part. He knew it, and still it was difficult to shove all the emotions that came up whenever he looked at the man down. All he wanted was to take the man in his arms and hear Bell say everything would be alright now.
A Bell who remembered that he needed that kind of reassuring.
It was a selfish wish. Landon spotted a gas-station and figured they might as well fill their car up for the remainder of their journey to nowhere. It felt like forever and a day since last he'd gotten up to stretch out and walk. Stiff muscles moaned at the sudden change in position. Landon gingerly got out of the car and hissed when his side protested. He understood the headache, but he wasn't as keen to find out the rest.
He held still, just stretching out, before making his way over to the pumps and filling the car up. Simple things. One step at a time. All the 'rules' and little 'tricks' surfaced. He'd been in treatment for so long, it was almost branded into his brain. And now they'd abandoned it all, even though they both knew very well that their recovery was nowhere near where it should be to face a normal life, let alone one like this. Landon took out the box of pills and counted them, then did the same for the other one. A month, at best?
Landon sighed deeply. Bell gave him a suspicious look. There was that martyred face again. What grand sacrifice was he thinking about this time?
Another version of the same look crossed the man's face at his suggestion that they try to get along. Like it was painful just to be near Bell. As if this was all some unpleasant thing he was getting forced into. A grand sacrifice he was making, for some grand reason Bell couldn't understand. He turned to the window instead. If that was how Landon felt, he'd rather not know. This was what Daniel didn't understand; all the little ways Landon told him he was unwanted, a mistake. They could play-pretend and act nice, but he didn't want to get any closer to Landon. Not until he stopped acting like that. Maybe not at all.
"South. Somewhere warm," Bell said simply. Everything else was secondary to getting out of this damn snow. Skiing was fun, but it was too cold for his blood up here. He'd rather be down where it was warmer.
He curled up and rested his head on his knees. He'd been trying to keep Daniel awake before, but Landon put on a hurt expression every time Bell tried to talk to him. Maybe it'd be better if he didn't, and just curled up here quietly. At least then Landon wouldn't hate him.
[i Look, I'm not being mean,] he thought at Daniel, a little irritated. He was doing his best, but it didn't stop Landon from hating him. There was nothing he could do to please the guy, so he'd just shut up and disappear instead. That was what Landon really wanted, wasn't it? For him to vanish entirely. He huffed out. Maybe he should go whenever Landon showed up. That way, Landon wouldn't hate him, and he wouldn't get worked up and say anything mean to Landon.
Snow rolled by outside the window. It got monotonous after a while, all the white. He longed for color, something to break free of the white that wasn't black or brown or dead. But nothing did. The world was monochrome. There was no escaping it. No respite. Not until they got a little further south, at least.
This Bellwether didn't have the same reservations the old one did regarding the two of them. Or perhaps some part of Bell recalled the decisions he'd made in the end and now stuck by them. Either way Landon didn't mind it if Bell felt like he didn't need permission. At least it'd prevent Bellwether from feeling torn between the two of them. It also meant that the Bell that didn't remember felt no real connection to either of them, if he was so freely capable of betraying either one of them. In that regard, Landon felt like what Sam must have been to Bellwether for a while. A convenient companion that didn't fuck him too hard or wasn't actively trying to hurt him.
Landon decided it was up to him then to prevent them from betraying Daniel's feelings. He wasn't even the real personality anyway. When it'd been the two of them, they'd been more Daniel than him, or so Daniel claimed.
He let out a weary sigh and focussed on where they were going instead. The medicine was making him drowsier than he should feel. Maybe Bellwether's offer of driving wasn't something he should've dismissed so readily.
Like him too? Get along? A hand landed on his shoulder. Landon blinked at it, then at Bell.
"Sure," he agreed. At the very least they could get along, after all, it wouldn't just be Daniel all the time. Nothing they could do to orchestrate that. Was this what Daniel felt like back then? An inconvenient presence? Unwanted and unloved?
Emotions welled up that Landon wasn't sure he wanted to feel and the drugs he took barely mitigated any of it.
He sighed out and took a few deep breaths. It was fine. They could get along. Like wasn't love. So long as they kept the distinction between the two, it'd all be fine.
"So... where am I driving exactly?" Landon put out there. Some junctions were coming up, offering options to get off the highway. Considering the amount of snow on the sides of the road, Landon assumed they weren't planning to stay somewhere here. They were bound to make way towards warmer places.
Landon found he didn't regret it. Skiing was nice and all, but he'd prefer some place warmer. It'd make their live-style a lot easier to maintain as well.
Damn it, he was trying, he was really trying to be nice, and Landon was being such a brat about it. Yeah, yeah, sure he didn't care. Maybe next time he should try it without the attitude, and then it would be a [i little] convincing. Such a martyr, their Landon. He'd suffer through it. It took real physical effort to resist the urge to roll his eyes. Such a brat.
"I offered to drive," he pointed out. He could be the one driving. No one was forcing Landon to drive.
Bell twisted his lips and looked away. Alright, he'd tried, but Landon just didn't want to--oh? He looked back. Landon was actually explaining things? Actually trying?
So they hadn't known. He breathed out. Raised both hands to push his hair back. It would've been heavy, finding out like that. Convinced it was all alright, only to be smacked in the face when it wasn't. If anything, they'd been kind, telling him right away. And after he'd betrayed Landon like that, he'd still accepted him, huh? He couldn't have expected that. A weird feeling welled up inside him, something he didn't quite have a word for. Was he grateful? Embarrassed? Something else? He didn't know.
Did it matter? He looked at Landon. What kind of dumb question was that? Of course it mattered. How else was he supposed to make Landon like him?
"I wasn't gonna ask your permission," he said, sitting up straight with a toss of his head. He didn't need anyone's permission to do anything. Landon should know that. "Or Daniel's, either. If he's not out, what's it to him what we do or don't do?" And in the reverse. Otherwise he'd be chasing his own tail to get anything done. Had the old him done that? It sounded awful.
Still. That wasn't what this was about. "I want to like you too, though. Let's work together and get along?" He felt like they should shake on it, but it was awkward in the car, so he patted Landon's shoulder instead. There was no point in being so aggressive towards one another. He'd be better, but Landon had to put in some work, too.
He settled down in the chair again and blinked at their surroundings. So white. So much snow. It was boring to just keep driving. But Landon probably felt that way, too. A part of him wanted to try and figure out where Landon really wanted to go, but the rest of him ignored it. Landon was being difficult, so they'd just go to the zoo or whatever.
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