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Gravity Hill
Author: [profile] sharon_hate 
Rated: Teen
Disclaimer: These are fictional events.
Notes: Written for [profile] wrong_maps, for Hollywood. 

Gravity Hill soundtrack. 

Hollywood, Patrick thinks as they both drive down Laurel Canyon, is okay.

Okay has never been the greatest of compliments, but right now, okay is satisfactory. Okay is more than satisfactory, it’s like lemonade and the sound of water splashing and the smell of diluted chlorine. For the first time ever, okay is great.

Pete’s driving the Civic for the beginning stretch of the trip. Patrick’s never bothered to get too familiar with the city’s tiny backstreets or its long canyons. But Pete loves it, loves driving down the winding streets carved into the hills that are dark and almost dangerous.

The radio is tinny and turned low, but they can still make out some semblance of the song’s melody bleeding through the static. Reception won’t be clear until they hit a main street, where they’ll be away from the thick cover of trees and hills.

Rays of sun filter in through the branches and past the sharp angles of the houses, and through the windshield. The light gets caught between the glass and the lenses of Patrick’s glasses on the dashboard as they weave down the street and it shimmers dangerously. The summer heat radiates from the window, and he can only imagine how warm it would be if he pressed his cheek to it. It’s like the hot concrete that burns the tops of thighs when you crawl out of the pool.

“This is going to be really good for us,” Pete voices suddenly, though his eyes stay locked onto the road. His hand reaches out and latches onto Patrick’s, thumb rubbing comforting circles. The bass player’s fingers have always been a little longer, palms a little rougher than his own.

“I know,” the blond smiles, shifting in his seat to face his boyfriend. It makes his smile a little wider; it always does to think of Pete like that. “It’ll be great. We can make it whatever we want.”

Laurel Canyon hits Hollywood Blvd, erupting in tall and thin apartment buildings crowded in oleander and palms. Each building is parakeet yellow or pale orange with Spanish terracotta roofs and buckling sidewalk along the path. It’s not quite as scary as it was arriving, not as intimidating.

A Latina woman with thick, curly hair twisted into a bun high on her head is walking along the sidewalk, with two tan Chihuahuas on leashes. Trailing behind her is a little girl with long brown hair and dark skin, a small pink purse scraping along the ground. Patrick recognizes the two from his building; they live on the floor below him. He always runs into them by the mailbox or sees them sitting by the pool.

“Hey,” Patrick squeezes Pete’s hand to grab his attention. He taps on his window, directing him to the two in the street. “That’s the little girl that makes fun of me for not knowing Spanish.”

“I’d make fun of you, too,” says Pete, an amused smile slipping onto his face. “Didn’t you take it for like, three years?” Patrick scoffs at him, but nods. He picks idly at the upholstery on the seats, pulling at the threads. “And you can’t translate a five year-old?”

Patrick eyes the horizon just over the mountains. It’s green from the trees, but in some spots, it’s a charred black from recent fires. “Her mom just pulls on her and tells her not to talk to strangers.”

The bassist releases his hand and lets it inch up Patrick’s forearm instead, until it rests at the curve of his elbow. “She probably makes fun of you, too. Calls you a gringo,” he says, the Spanish sounding harsh and flat in his mouth. His fingers are still smoothing over the skin on the inside of his arm and they press at his pulse.

“All that work and I only remember the swear words,” Patrick sighs.

“That’s all you really need to know anyway,” Pete says helpfully.

The apartment buildings are turning into long houses with small porches. Their yards are overgrown with orange, yellow and red Hibiscus flowers, pollen bright gold in the centers and small white blossoms sitting in waxy orange trees. Hidden along the sides of the houses are angry Birds of Paradise—swollen purple and blue on the bottom, then orange on the top.

Hollywood Blvd belongs to the tourists past La Brea. Past La Brea, Hollywood is only small stores that sell t-shirts with cheap fonts across the front. It’s Middle-American families taking off-center pictures of the stars on the floor and in front of hopefully haunted hotels. It’s nothing close to the canyons and the thin, swaying palm trees growing in everyone’s backyards.

“When we get to Vegas,” begins Pete, lightly hitting Patrick’s bicep, “we should stay at that one motel. With the pool that has windows so you can see people inside.”

“I think they demolished it,” Patrick says airily, watching the flash of tourists cameras reflect in building windows.

“What, seriously?” the brunet gapes, clutching the wheel just a little tighter. “That’s bizarre, dude.” The car in front of them has a crystal charm hanging from the rearview mirror that swings back and forth; when it hits the right angle, colored light flits across Pete’s eyes like paint.

“We’ll just stay at another little motel then,” decides Patrick while leaning forward and pushing the square, blunt buttons on the radio. “We can watch bad cable shows and—”

“And be naked,” Pete nods, biting his lip as he tugs the steering wheel to the left. They turn onto Highland, driving straight on past the high school. Young boys on skateboards are doing tricks on the other side of the fence and the crack of ceramic wheels hitting asphalt resounds through the air.

“Yes, and be naked,” Patrick smiles brightly. Today, his changing eyes match the pale blue shirt he’s wearing; it makes him seem so blond and pale, and Pete adores it.

The frontman licks his lips and angles slightly toward Patrick. “It sucks, though. I really wanted to go to the one. I wanted to watch you through the little window. You’d be like Ariel, dude.” Patrick snorts at the last comment. He tugs at the steering wheel again and they turn onto Sunset Blvd.

“Hey, are we really doing this?” Patrick asks seriously, eyes hardening. The traffic speeds up and so do the stores flying past them, until they stop suddenly at the bare intersection. “Cos when we tour, dude, I get tired of you after a couple weeks. And there are other people there. But this time, it’s just us on this—whatever this is—I’m just kind of concerned. You’re not going to dump me by the side of the road, right?”

His boyfriend sneers back at him, but it doesn’t hold any real contempt or anger. “Well, thanks for telling me now. After I crammed all that shit into the trunk.” Patrick watches him with a slight pout, so Pete leans over and kisses his jaw line. He smiles into it at the smell of baby powder on Patrick’s skin. “We can—we are—doing this. We’re driving and fucking our way across the U.S.”

Patrick lets out an airy laugh and looks up at Pete through sandy eyelashes. “You’re a romantic, Wentz. Really.”

The motel they're talking about is called The Glass Pool Inn, surprisingly. It's pretty cool. Or was, actually. They closed it, I believe.

Review, please!

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J. Gomez

May 2009


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