5: Run
by Wax Jism

Zeke's waited for fifteen minutes before he realises two things: he's waiting for Casey. Casey's not coming.

He's not sure which is more disturbing.

Someone says his name and he snaps around only to be grossly disappointed at the sight of some little yuppie fuck he can't even name. That's also disturbing.

"You got any--" the yuppie fuck says, and Zeke growls, "Fuck off," and gets in his car.

He fumbles for his smokes again while he coats the parking lot with rubber just to hear the squeal of tires. He likes that sound. Hell on the tires, though, but he can afford it.

This...thing he has with Casey - whereverthefuck Casey is - is hell on business, too. Tires and business. The car even seems sort of empty without him in it. Maybe that's what small, scared things do - they just insinuate themselves into a guy's life until he has to take care of them.

He notices that he's driving the wrong way. Maybe it's time to cut back some, cause he's heading for Casey's street here. He tosses the cig out the window and makes a U-turn.

At home he makes himself a pot of strong coffee and spends some time cleaning test tubes, Erlenmeyer flasks and Petri dishes in the lab. After that, he contemplates giving Mr Tate a heart attack by doing his homework to present in class tomorrow. Decides against it, because it's starting to look like he might pass history this year.

It strikes him that Casey will pass history. Casey has excellent grades. Casey will go to college next year.

He finishes the coffee and takes a shower. Jerks off without really thinking about anything; he doesn't need to because his skin remembers Casey's skin.

He reads Le Monde online just to make sure he'll be able to flunk French with grace again. He's got it under control. He finds himself wondering if Casey has his phone number.


Six o'clock is dinnertime in the Connor household, and Zeke drives through town, smokes and listens to old Alice Cooper tapes. He likes Casey's parents because they're easy to bullshit. They're crappy fucking parents, though.

"We thought he was with you," Mrs Connor says when he asks for Casey. "He hasn't been home, I think."

Casey's room is tidy and spotless, of course. It does look untouched, but Zeke's spent some time snooping around here, and there's one picture of Delilah missing, and the always-locked drawer is unlocked and empty. The supersecret porn stash is cleaned out.

Zeke hums Runaway under his breath on his way down the stairs. "Right," he says with a smile. "I forgot - I told him he could come over straight after school, and I've been driving around town."

Mr Connor laughs. Zeke laughs with him and thinks, he's gone, you fuckers. You didn't even notice.

There's only one place Casey could run to at this point. "We're working on a project this weekend. Is it okay if Casey stays over?"

They tell him it's more than okay, and they look damned relieved to say that. He likes them less when he leaves.

He doesn't know where Casey is. It's been a while since he didn't know that. Casey's a creature of routines. He can be counted on to do exactly the same things in the same places at the same times every day unless something unforeseen happens.

Zeke likes to go with the flow, but he doesn't like it when Casey improvises. He sort of likes their routine. Casey waits for him after school, and they go to Zeke's place and eat and fuck, watch TV and fuck some more. Zeke drives Casey home. It's comfortable and handy.

It would be even more comfortable if Casey would move in. He's thought about it a few times, but there's never a good time to bring it up. Maybe Casey finally got the nudge he needed.

Zeke lights yet another cigarette makes a note to himself to buy more. If Casey lived with him, he could fuck him in the morning, too. Maybe get a picture of him when he's asleep and not looking so fucking uneasy. Casey's the world's most stubbornly reluctant model. Zeke likes being photographed, but Casey looks like he wants to crawl out of his skin and disappear.

The one time Casey did fall asleep, on the sofa, lulled to sleep by Peter Jennings, Zeke just watched him until he woke up. Forgot to take pictures.

He drives slowly and looks for Casey along the way, but he gets back to his own house and no Casey anywhere. He drives back again, circles streets. It's started to rain a little, a cold, annoying drizzle. He closes the window.

Casey has a tendency to wander, though. More than once, Zeke's found him walking along the streets near his house, kicking at leaves and staring blankly at trees and birds, oblivious to the rest of the world.


Casey's standing at the Greyhound bus stop just before the freeway ramp. Zeke spots him from a block away. He's hunched up in the rain, hands in his pockets. An old brown duffel bag stands next to him.

Zeke pulls up to the bus stop. Casey doesn't move. He doesn't look entirely miserable, despite the rain running over his face. His hair is slicked against his skull. He's perfectly still.

Zeke lights a cigarette and opens the window. The wind's picking up and whips the rain into the car. Casey doesn't move.

"Casey," he says. His cigarette is getting wet, even though he's sitting inside the fucking car. Casey looks like a drowned kitten.

"Casey, get in the car." He's holding the wheel in a white-knuckled grip, and he loosens his fingers one by one. Jesus fucking Christ. "Casey."

This is a weird day. The sky's fucking falling, all of a sudden, and Casey just stands there like a small, wet mule. Zeke gets out of the car. It's like stepping into a shower. The rain's freezing cold, but he feels hot. He almost expects the water to steam off his skin.

Casey's standing only a few lousy feet away, almost in front of the car, but Zeke's already got cold water trickling down his back by the time he reaches him.

"Casey," he says. Still no reaction. He remembers when he was a little kid and his mother suspended his TV privileges for some reason or other, and he decided not to talk to his parents ever again. His mother had yelled at him for twenty minutes straight.

He'd never thought he'd sympathise with her. His hands ache. He wants to grab Casey and throw him in the car.

Casey's turned his face away, and Zeke's hands don't just ache now, they throb with heat. A truck passes and drives through a puddle, drenching him utterly. That's it. His hands catch Casey by the arm and his mouth grinds out the words. "Get. In. The. Fucking. CAR."

He thinks he hears Casey mutter something, but that might just be the roar of traffic on the freeway. Then Casey picks up his duffel bag and drags it around the car and gets in. Zeke stands in the rain for a few seconds. He can feel his pulse beating in his throat and he's hot everywhere but in the pit of his stomach.

He chucks his damp cigarette and lights another one. Resists kicking the car before he gets in and drives.


Driving fast usually makes everything else seem insignificant, but it's not working now. Casey sits quietly next to him.

He doesn't even know where he's driving, but he ends up on the dirt road down to the lake, hitting potholes and puddles and sliding in the mud. The lake comes up suddenly, around a turn and he hits the brakes.

This isn't the popular road, the one that goes to the beach. This ends in a gravel flat that resembles a beach if it's dark and you're very myopic. Some brown, listless bushes tremble in the wind along the road. The water is slate grey and mottled with raindrops.

He turns to Casey, who's staring intently out the window at the flat, grey world. His duffel bag is at his feet, and Zeke yanks it up. It's damp and smells like wet fur.

He pokes through it. Clothes, clothes, clothes, Casey's zip drive, a toothbrush, a folder with photographs. The camera. A passport.

Casey looks about five in the picture. The date of issue is in 1995, and his hair was long and floppy and his face a little softer than it is now. There's only one stamp in the passport, for Mexico.

Guess he was really leaving, Zeke thinks, but the thought doesn't sound like something he's feeling. He can't tell what he's feeling. Casey hasn't moved at all.

"Where were you going?" Zeke asks. He hasn't ripped the passport to pieces, even though he thinks it might feel pretty good to do that.

"Anywhere but here, you fucker," Casey says flatly. Adds, "Canada," almost as an afterthought.

Zeke very rarely loses it. He doesn't even notice that he has before his knuckles already smart and Casey's head has made a dull noise when it hit the window.

Casey holds his hand over his nose, but he doesn't cry out. He's finally looking at Zeke, though. There's blood on his fingers. His face is pale, with a sharp flush crowning his cheekbones, almost like make-up. Zeke wipes rainwater from his eyes. He's forgotten his cigarette and it's burned down to the filter. He drops it in the ashtray.

"You wanna go?" he asks. "You wanna fucking go?"

"Delilah sends her love," Casey says and fumbles for the doorhandle. Zeke catches him, slaps him in the face, falls over him in the seat. The car's too cramped for a fight and Casey's slippery and twisting in his grip, and somehow he gets the door open. They both fall out, hit the ground and the rain hits them and surrounds them. Wet gravel under them. Zeke is holding on to Casey's belt, Casey's coat, and Casey's squirming and kicking, and all the time screaming something unintelligible and garbled.

Zeke doesn't do regret, but he thinks he might be regretting the thing with Delilah. Casey arches and kicks out and smacks him in the jaw with a knee, tears loose and scrambles to his feet. He's lost his coat and his shirt is torn. He runs.

Zeke gets to his feet. He catches Casey down by the water. The gravel is slippery and wet and Casey falls badly, on his face. He doesn't stop struggling and he screams, shrill, inarticulate yells. Zeke manages to turn him over, get his face away from the sharp rocks. He kicks and squirms and his shirt's ripping at the seams and his skin is cold under Zeke's fingers.

In the end, Zeke just holds him down with his body, regrets crushing him against the ground. He doesn't see a choice, though. Casey's wild-eyed and mad, spits in his face when gets a chance and always aims for the groin and the eyes, sharp fingers and knees in soft spots.

When he finally stills, like a cat will still when it realises it can't escape; watchful quiet, ready to explode into action when the hands holding it relax, Zeke murmurs soft words at him and touches his bloody face. "It's okay," he says, even though he doesn't know if that's true. "You'll be okay, you don't have to leave."

Casey lies still and stares past him, blindly into the rain. Zeke strokes his throat and neck, his stomach and arms. Casey doesn't move.

Zeke kisses his face and tastes blood and water.


Casey can walk, but he sways drunkenly and Zeke has a tight grip on his arm. The drive home is quiet, and Zeke worries, for the first time, that he might have crossed some line. It's not something he usually worries about. Casey makes no attempt to clean up.


He knows the water is warm, but he can't feel it. He might as well be sitting in a tub full of ice. Zeke's gone, but Casey can still feel his hand on his back, a whisper of warmth along his spine.

His ruined clothes lie in a soggy heap on the floor. His shirt is in tatters; the sharp gravel chewed right through it when he struggled, right through the shirt and his skin.

Even the cuts are cold. He wanted to go to Canada. He would have been cold there, too. Would have, would have, would have.

He can't figure this out. He has no idea what Zeke wants. His face hurts; his jaw clicks when he moves it and he thinks maybe there's a loose tooth somewhere. His fingers are soft and wrinkled.

He finds a sudden burst of energy and crawls out of the tub and almost runs to the door, slips on the floor and falls against the knob. It doesn't even hurt. He locks the door and leans against it.

He's warming up now that he's out of the water, so maybe it was going cold around him. He didn't even notice.

Zeke helped him out of his clothes, carefully, gently. Whispered soft things. Casey couldn't resist, couldn't comply, either. He wonders where his bag is. The photos are in the bag - Delilah and Zeke, and that horrible picture Delilah gave him. He can't figure Zeke out.

He looks like shit. The mirror is a little steamed over, and he's almost afraid to wipe it. He does, anyway. Looks. Thinks he should cry. He looks like he should cry. It occurs to him that maybe this is his real face. Maybe he was made to be banged against windows. It hardly registers as pain.

He doesn't cry. There are no razors in the cabinet. He thinks about punching the mirror until it breaks. He could get back in the tub and bang his head against the side until he passes out and drowns. He could twist his clothes into a rope and hang himself from the shower rod.

He rubs his face and winces. He already forgot that it's broken. He can't cry. Zeke came for him. He wants to destroy the photo Delilah gave him. He remembers the damp heat between her legs. Maybe he could burn it. He doesn't know where Zeke put his bag.

He stands there and stares at his swollen lip and his red-rimmed eyes and the scratches on his cheek. He breathes slowly and the glass mists over again. He uses Zeke's toothbrush and brushes his teeth and spits blood into the sink. He doesn't rinse the red spatter from the porcelain.

Then he wraps himself in a towel and unlocks the door. There's no sign of Zeke anywhere. Casey can't remember how long he sat in the bath after Zeke stopped cleaning his face and backed out of the room.

The door to upstairs is locked from the outside. There's a sandwich and a glass of milk on the coffee table, a couple of blankets on the couch. Casey's clothes are spread over chairs and shelves to dry out.

He sits down. There are no dry clothes to be had. The blankets are the ones from Zeke's bed, he sees. If he pressed his face into them, he'd smell Zeke. He wraps himself carefully, makes sure no bare skin stays uncovered. The TV isn't on, but he doesn't feel like watching. He's hungry. The sight of the sandwich makes him feel sick.

The blanket warms him and he gets sleepy. He realises he does smell Zeke, and he's in the sofa where they sit and watch TV and doze after sex, and sometimes they sort of slide together and Casey leans his head against Zeke's shoulder. Sometimes Zeke pets his head distractedly. Sometimes they have sex on the couch, Casey pinned down and Zeke pushing into him.

He notices he's curled up and pressed his nose into the blanket after all. It's getting hard to keep his eyes open, but he thinks angry thoughts about the locked door, about Delilah, about the stupid photo, and about fucking Zeke and his fucking house and his fucking car and his fucking hands that can't decide whether to hurt or soothe.

His eyes hurt, and when he rubs them carefully, his fingertips come away damp.


She wouldn't have noticed, but she's sitting by the window. Her mother is out somewhere, probably indulging in some less-than-socially acceptable behaviour downtown. Delilah sits by the window. She's not really waiting for her mother. More like enjoying the silence, actually.

So she sees the car.

After ten minutes, she goes out. The world is glistening and fresh after the rain. She has to zigzag between puddles in the drive.

Zeke's in the driver's seat, drumming his fingers on the wheel and smoking.

"You are stalking me," she says. The street light is painting him in cold white and sharp shadows. He looks hollow-eyed and emaciated, even though she knows he's not.

"Yeah," he says. "You talked to Casey."

Ohhh. Drama. She's been sort of bored all evening, the rain, the rain, her mother yelling, the rain. The silent house after her mother left.

"You didn't think I would?" she says.

"I don't know, I don't know," he says, not playing along at all. He rubs his face. "Look."

"Go home, Zeke," she says and turns around.

"No," he says and she turns back.

"Are you high?"

He rolls his head on his shoulders. "You need to come with me."

There's a full moon she can blame. Instead of saying, "You ARE high, fucker," she just gets in the car.

They're almost at Zeke's house when she notices a smear on the passenger side window. She squints at it.

"Is that blood?"

"Yeah," he says. The night is star bright, nothing left of the clouds, and the sky sucks up the city lights instead of reflecting them back in dirty orange like it's been doing for days.

It would never have occurred to her to be afraid of Zeke before.

"Wait," she says. Fuck. Her brain's putting two and two together now. "Where's Casey?"

"Locked in the basement," he says. He pulls into his drive and gets out. She stares at the smear. It's drying, but it's not very old. Earlier today. She tries to picture it. Blood from a cut. A broken nose. She thinks of car crashes, metal and glass and soft, mangled flesh. She watched Crash once with Stan, and he was horrified. She wasn't, but she didn't tell him that.

She opens the door and yells after him, "What do I have to do with this? Hey, you moron! I'm not going in there until you spill."

He stops and runs his hand through his hair. His shirt is wet. His pants are wet. There are streaks of mud here and there.

"You didn't. Zeke, what the fuck?"

"I'll drive you back," he says, and she gets out of the car.

"Oh, no way. What did you do?"

"You talked to him, okay. Do the math."

She's not the comforting type. Zeke looks miserable, and he's not the type for that, either. Her curiosity is piqued, and she walks past him, ignoring the puddles this time. This is all very creepy in that horror movie way - she's almost expecting to find Casey dead. Should probably check Zeke for weapons.

"Let me in," she says and he does. Just in case, she stays behind him.


Zeke unlocks the basement door and she can't help but say, "You weren't kidding, were you?"

"Nope," he says.

All the lights are on in the basement room. There's a sandwich and a glass of milk on the table. Casey's just a tuft of hair sticking out of a bundle of blankets on the sofa. He doesn't move.

"Well, either he's asleep or dead. What do you expect me to do?"

"I don't think he's dead," Zeke says, a little too quickly. "I didn't hit him that hard."

"Hey, Casey," she says. "Casey!" He still doesn't move, so she walks closer and crouches by the sofa. "Casey, baby, hot sex! Naked women! Wakey. Naked men."

Zeke snorts behind her. She turns quickly and he's not laughing. He looks vaguely scandalised, in fact. She ignores him and touches Casey's shoulder lightly, pulls down the blanket.

He makes a small sound and moves, and she sees his face.

Her own face hurts, and she realises she's left her mouth open. She closes it. She stares. Crash comes to mind again, and she wonders if he'll scar, if anything's broken. She thought, when she watched the movie, that it was hot but so far removed from her. It left her shaken but unsatisfied. Jarred.

"Casey," she whispers. "Casey." She touches his face. There's a cut on his cheekbone, a deep scratch that's bled a little after he cleaned his face. The dried blood crumbles under her fingers.

Casey blinks and whimpers and moves again. His eyelids flutter, and she sees that one is swelling shut. His lip is split and there's a bruise along his jaw.

"You really fucked him up," she says, keeping her voice low now. She slides her fingertips over the swelling around Casey's eye, and his eyelids flutter again. He sighs and turns his face.

Opens his eyes. It takes a little while for them to focus. His voice is hoarse. "Delilah?" He moves his hands under the blanket, looks past her. "Where's--"

He doesn't look scared, she notes. Anxious, maybe. Then he turns off - she can see it happen. He just crawls back inside himself somehow and is still. She thinks again about scars. Her hand lies on his cheekbone, over the scratch.

Zeke shuffles around somewhere in the room. He's stopped being interesting. Casey lies silent and she leans closer. She thinks she can smell blood on him. It looks strange - the blood and the bruises. Make-up, a movie still.

She pushes against the puffy, purple skin and he cries out and screws his face up. It doesn't look like a movie still, then.

"Sorry," she says, and means it. She doesn't take her hand away, though. He's very pale. She wonders if he's in shock. She can't remember what to do with people in medical shock. "Are you feeling sick?"

"No," he says and she can't resist the way his lips move. She leans in and puts her mouth over his, just lightly, to feel the heat of the wound and the bruise. He doesn't move.

She opens her mouth and tastes metal and salt, and her stomach does a quick flip, and she's suddenly light-headed. She licks his mouth and he makes a sound again, so soft she can't really hear it, but she feels it. Her palms prickle with anticipation.

She hears Zeke again, close behind her. She puts her tingling palm on Casey's throat and slides it down, pushing the blanket away. He's not wearing a shirt. Her finger finds spots of heat along his ribs, more scratches. He's still not moving, but it feels like he's fighting to keep still now. She touches his lips with her tongue again and he opens his mouth a little, almost reluctantly.

He's not wearing any pants, either. Or underwear. He freezes up under her hands, holds his breath. Zeke's right behind her, she can feel him there, like a movement in the air. The hairs on the back of her neck try to stand up.

She lifts her head. Casey's looking past her. She follows his gaze. Zeke's face is neutral, but she can see a little twitch in his jaw. She doesn't know if he's angry or afraid or about to burst into laughter. She thinks Casey doesn't know, either.

There's a shallow scrape on the side of Casey's chest, running over the bumps of ribs in a slanted line towards his sternum. It looks like someone rubbed him with sandpaper. Or dragged him over the ground. He's probably had scrapes like that before.

His skin is very smooth, baby soft where it's not scratched. Her hands like it. Her mouth likes his mouth. She wonders, distractedly, if this is what makes a pervert, this want - she can't stop. It doesn't matter, because he's not shying back, he's not trying to get away. He's breathing again, soft puffs against her wet mouth. His chest moves under her palm. His stomach is concave.

She pushes down the blanket, wants all of him at once. He's narrow and skinny; she always slept with jocks before, jocks and Zeke, of course - tall guys, broad-shouldered guys. Casey is smaller than her.

She kisses him then, for real, and his mouth opens and lets her in, and his teeth are small and sharp and his tongue is hot. Her skin is hot, too, hot under scratchy cotton, and she wants to take her clothes off. She thinks about Zeke and the photos.

She fumbles with buttons, opens her blouse. She's not wearing a bra. She leans closer, kisses him harder, and he whimpers. It must hurt, she thinks. It must hurt him to kiss her with his split lip and the bruise. He doesn't pull back, just moans softly and moves his lips as if he's speaking into her mouth. She presses against him, her breasts against his skinny chest. Her nipples ache.

She almost wants to ask him for permission, but she doesn't know what she'd say. She's never-- Boys always come to her. Casey's breathing fast, but he's not doing anything. She slides her hand down his chest, his stomach. Zeke's so close now that she can feel his heat against her back.

Casey yells when she touches his cock, yells something muffled into her mouth and moves sharply. Startling in the quiet room, but he's hard, and she doesn't back off. Then Zeke pushes at her suddenly, nudges her away, grabs Casey's hand and holds it.

That gives her pause. Zeke's hand around Casey's, Casey's face. Zeke's face. Oh, fuck, she thinks. Casey's face. Battered wife, maybe, the bruises and the longing - she doesn't know what's wrong with this picture but something is. Then he arches his back and pushes into her hand, and it doesn't matter.

She pushes the blanket off the couch entirely and leans back in to kiss him. Her legs are trembling and she's filled with something hot and liquid and heavy.

Then Zeke's hand pushes up her thigh, under her skirt. Yanks at her panties and she gets it, she gets it. Moves upward and he slides the panties off. The sofa is big and broad. Big enough for this. She wonders if Zeke's fucked Casey on it. Knows he must have.

Casey's tiny and the bruises look almost fluorescent against his skin, and she has that second of hesitation where he looks at him, down at him and thinks, this is nuts.

Then he squirms and opens his mouth a little, and his eyes are glazed and heavy-lidded, and there's no question. No question at all. It's easy and natural to straddle him, sink into the pillow, and sink onto him. She sees him squeeze Zeke's hand and her stomach flutters, and she has to count to ten to make herself move slowly.

He's biting his lip, his bloody lip, bucking against her like his body isn't bruised all over, like he's in the shape of his life. He doesn't close his eyes, but stares intently at her, then Zeke, then back to Delilah again. She likes the zing of cold down her spine and she finds his free hand and tugs at it, makes him touch her. His fingers ghost over her breast and she thinks he cries out again, but it might have been her. Maybe both of them. Zeke's bent over Casey and his shoulders are tense, like he's the one hurting.

She touches his neck quickly, moves in a slow, comfortable roll and she knows she must be flushed all over, getting damp along her back, between her breasts. She has Casey's hand in a death grip, pressed against them, she's rubbing her nipples against the heel of his palm.

Zeke bows his head over Casey and she doesn't see, but she hears Casey's moan cut off and they're kissing, and Casey goes rigid for a second. Then he pushes up, almost violently, bangs against her and his hand tightens around her fingers, grinds them together.

Zeke's hand under her skirt, suddenly, pressing at the small of her back and she arches and drives herself down and Casey makes a strangled, panicky noise, shudders and stills. His eyes flutter closed.

She's panting and sweaty and it's not enough yet, not nearly, but he's so small and now she sees how tired he is, hollow-eyed where he's not black-eyed.

She must have made a noise now because Zeke looks up at her. He's flushed, too, and breathing heavily, and he moves quickly - she remembers this; that he's fast and strong - and pulls at her, pulls her off Casey and up, and his hand comes up between her thighs. He has strong fingers, strong sure fingers. She remembers this, too, and she grinds against him and fills with it, radiation.

She could swear he grins, just briefly. Casey's blinking sleepily at them, limp and warm under them. Zeke lets her go and she falls back, sits next to Casey's legs.

Casey stirs, mumbles something. Delilah doesn't hear it, but Zeke does, and she thinks it might have been his name. He touches Casey's lips and Casey opens his mouth and sucks on his fingers. Delilah knows the taste, the smell is all around. There's a low ache between her legs.

Zeke's moved closer again, he's unbuckling his pants and Casey's reaching for him. Delilah's not surprised, somehow. She lies down next to Casey, squeezes in between him and the back of the sofa, and Zeke moves up and pushes Casey's legs apart.

She almost wants to protest, wait, wait, he can't-- you can't-- he's hurt, but Casey's pulling Zeke up almost eagerly, lifting his hips without wincing. Delilah kisses his neck and touches his shoulder and watches. She feels it in Casey's body, his intake of breath, a sudden tension and then movement, very slow - Zeke is taking care, letting Casey set the pace. Delilah kisses Casey again, tastes salt on his lips.

It would be possible to fall asleep like this, she thinks. Caught between Casey and the sofa, lulled to sleep by their movements and the drowsy warmth in her body. She fits in here with Casey's breath on her face and Zeke's legs rubbing against hers.

She wonders if her mother got home at all. Finds the answer doesn't really interest her. She's sticky everywhere, and the sweat is cooling her skin now. She might still never get off this couch.

Zeke says Casey's name when he comes. She smiles at that.


She almost does fall asleep, but Zeke shakes her and says, "Come on, I'll drive you back."

She gets up. Casey's wrapped in the blanket again, yawning, and Zeke's buckling his belt.

She gets dressed. Her legs are a little weak still, and she has some of the pleasant well-laid feeling left. She kisses Casey's cheek goodbye. He doesn't smile, but his eyes are calm. Almost serene. She doesn't know if she's ever seen Casey look serene before. Probably not.

Zeke kisses him, too, on the mouth.

In the car, Delilah says, "He needs something for those cuts."

"I have Neosporin and junk. Iodine," Zeke says, but when they get to her house, she tells him to hang on and runs up and cleans out her mother's medicine cabinet. The house is dark and empty. There's no way she's going out looking for the woman. She thinks, if it was Casey, I might go looking, and feels stupid and warm.

They share a cigarette, leaning against Zeke's car. Then he gets in and throws the medicine baggie on the passenger seat. "Seeya tomorrow," he says.

She goes back inside to take a shower.