Warmly Through the Window
Jack paused as he walked away, looking back at the apartment building. His eyes habitually went to the Jacobs' window, three floors up and right in the corner. A freezing wind picked up, forcing Jack to squint as he looked up. But it was still easy to pick out the Jacobs' apartment tonight, since their candles were still burning. He could see it through the window; the glow was distorted by the glass, and the snow that caked the sill and the fire escape distorted the flickering light further. It made the Jacobs' window look like a warm, bright haven in the dismal city night.
He shoved his hands into his pockets for extra warmth; he had gloves, but they were pretty threadbare. He smiled a little up at the apartment, and turned to walk home.
The Jacobs family was Jewish, which of course Jack had always known, but it had been interesting to see it. The charity that ran the lodging house was pretty religious, even though most of the kids weren't, so they had Sunday meetings and celebrated Christmas every year.
But even though it was some kind of Jewish holiday, David had asked Jack if he wanted to stay, so he'd stayed for dinner. It had been delicious, like all of Mrs. Jacobs' cooking was, and Mr. Jacobs had said a lot of prayers in Hebrew. They'd lit the candles -- three tonight -- and chanted a prayer, not quite a song.
It had been warm and kind and unlike anything Jack had ever seen. But he'd felt weird, too, like an outsider. He didn't know what the prayers meant, or even why they were lighting the candles, really. But they'd been all smiles and hugs and -- and family-like.
Jack had excused himself pretty quickly after they'd finished with the candles, since he had to make it back by curfew and all. Though he'd missed curfew a few times after having stayed for dinner with David's family, and they always let him stay the night. Not that he minded those nights, exactly, especially not in the winter. There wasn't much room in the apartment, so he always end up in bed back-to-back with David, who was both warmer and taller than Race or Blink, so it was a lot nicer than when he had to share a bunk at the lodging house. But probably David didn't think so, since he wasn't used to having to share his bed; and anyway, and Jack always felt kind of strange about spending so much time with David's family.
He shrugged the thought off. He had plenty of time before curfew, actually, so it wasn't like it would be a problem tonight.
Jack froze in place, then turned slowly, and saw David hurrying towards him, wearing a coat and scarf and hat, pushing against the wind.
"What're you doing out here?" Jack asked, when David caught up with him.
David shrugged, though it was hard to make it out, as bundled up as he was. "Why'd you leave?"
"I invited you for the night." David trailed his foot across the slushy ground to kick lightly at Jack's boot.
"Oh. Just for -- for dinner, I thought," Jack said.
David frowned. "No, I said you should stay the night. I'm sure of it."
"Maybe you did. I just didn't hear."
"Maybe." David paused. "You don't have to come back, I mean, if you don't want to. I just thought..."
David glanced over his shoulder, up at the warmly glowing window, then back at Jack, and shrugged. "I just sort of... like when you spend the night," he said. Jack could barely hear it against the wind, which whipped the ends of David's scarf around him, blowing the back.
Jack shivered and David frowned.
"We can have this conversation inside, where it's warm," David suggested. "If you're coming, I mean."
Jack nodded and David reached out to grab his wrist, as if he was afraid Jack would run off or something. Jack didn't really mind, even though he could feel the cold through his glove again. At least David's grip was warm.
Jack gave the rest of the family sheepish looks as he stripped his coat back off inside. Les was already asleep, but the rest of the family stayed up chatting until after the candles died down, leaving the apartment dim, and then Mrs. Jacobs sent the kids (as she called them) off to bed.
It wasn't until they'd been lying there for half an hour that Jack realized he could feel David's breath on his neck, that David wasn't facing away from him.
"I just... like when you're here," David murmured.
Jack rolled over. "I like bein' here. I just didn't want to overstep or nothin'."
He realized how close he and David were in the bed, suddenly. Almost nose-to-nose, and he could feel David's hand brush against his side under the sheet. He swallowed hard, his chest heavy and his breath coming in pants, like he'd just run ten blocks.
David's eyes were wide and blue and gleamed a little, reflecting some light from outside, through the window. "Jack?" he asked.
Jack closed the space between them, pressed his lips to David's for just a moment. David made a soft gasp and Jack jerked away, not sure if what he'd done had been right or wrong or what --
David's hand found his under the covers and entwined their fingers.
"You're not overstepping," David said firmly.
"It just seemed like a family night, was all."
Jack felt himself grin and ducked his head forward, resting his forehead against David's. "In that case, maybe I'll stay a lot more often."
David gave his hand a squeeze, and said simply, "Good."