A sneaker nudged against his leg insistently and JC opened his eyes and slid his headphones down. Chris sat down next to him, so fast it was almost like he was collapsing. "You think we should do something about this?"
JC didn't ask what he was talking about. Justin had been on the phone for the better part of the day, just like he had been yesterday. He was in his bunk and talking softly, but although they couldn't hear what he was saying there was a strained note of desperation in Justin's voice that seemed to slice straight through the walls and find JC wherever he went to hide from it.
"What can we do?" JC said. "We can't tell him to stop. It's not like it's loud or anything, it's just -"
"It's fucking horrible," Chris said. "I don't know how much longer I can take it. He's not gonna -"
Justin said, "please," still not loudly but on such a clear rise of misery that JC bit his lip.
"This isn't fair on him," Chris said. "He shouldn't have to do this like this, on the phone, and - it isn't right. I told him he should take a few days, go and see her."
"What did he say?"
"He said we might not have noticed, but he has a job here and he can't just drop everything and leave."
"Well," JC said, and Chris looked at him sharply. "I mean, he's not wrong."
"Come on -"
"What do you want me to do, Chris?" JC said, and before Chris could answer Justin whispered, "come on, just listen, please just listen -" and Chris closed his eyes and opened them again before he answered.
"I want you to tell him to take a few days and go see her."
"Why?" JC said. "I mean, why me, if you've already -"
"Because I told him, and Joey told him, and Lance told him, and his mother told him, and maybe if you tell him too he'll finally do it. I don't care if I have to break an arm, we can get him a couple of days off so he doesn't have to fucking drag around like this. Maybe if there's a clean break -"
"You think that's what'll happen?" JC said. "I mean, you think he'll go there and they'll finally break it off so, you know, he can try and get on with things? Because you're right, this has to be so hard -"
"Either they'll finally break it off for good, or else they'll make up, but either way it won't be like this," Chris said. "I just - I can't sit around not doing anything while he's like this. I'm not made for it."
"Yeah, but -" JC sighed. "I don't think there's anything we can do. I mean, this is his thing, you know? He's got to find his way through it. And he will, you know he will, but I think we've got to let him alone to do it his way."
Chris sighed and then stood up slowly, creakily, like it hurt him to do it. "You're probably right," he said, and winced as Justin said, "no, just please, I swear." "It's just killing me, you know?"
"I know," JC said, and sat back and slid his headphones back over his ears. He didn't turn the music back on, though, but sat there listening to Justin pleading through the wall.