Static. Nothin' but static on every single channel.
Why had Jesse even bothered to painstakingly turn the dial through each and every FM station?
They were in the middle of nowhere amidst the Rocky Mountains, destination somewhere, and static was their theme song.
“Just turn it off, then.” Gabe grumbled from the driver's seat.
He reached over to flick the volume nob quickly to the left, leaving only the rumble of old tires on even older pavement to fill their ears.
Gabe glanced over to see Jesse with his legs pulled up into the seat and crossed under him, pouting out the window. With a sigh, he turned the volume back on.
Jesse looked over, eyebrows raised. “Why—” A phone being tossed into his lap cut him off. He picked it up just as Gabe tossed something else into his lap.
It looked like one of those ancient cassette tapes but had a cord dangling off one end. “The hell am I supposed to do with this?”
“What do you mean 'what am I supposed to do with this,' you shove it into that hole. You know how to do that, don't you?”
“You'd know.” Jesse scoffed. He noticed Gabe smirking at him. Oh, he'd show him later when they finally stopped for the night at some hotel.
For now, Jesse hooked the cord into his phone and pushed the fake tape into the cassette player in the truck.
He flipped through Gabe's saved music passing artist after artist that he didn't recognize. “You got shit taste in music, old man.”
Gabriel Reyes had to stop himself from coming to a screeching halt in the middle of a turn. “Shit taste?! Do you call Creedence Clearwater Revival shit taste in music?”
“Never heard of 'em.” Jesse shrugged, not taking his eyes off the phone.
“At least tell me you know Guns N' Roses.”
“Didn't they sing those songs with really long ass titles?”
“That was Fall Out Boy.”
“Oh, see, I like them.”
Gabe sighed through his clenched teeth. “Gimme that, I'm schooling you on classic rock. No boyfriend of mine will disrespect great music in my truck.”
Jesse let Gabe snatch the phone from his hands. He waited for Gabe to 'school him.
' In the meantime, he started flicking through his own music which ranged anywhere from Britney Spears' Toxic to country music to more modern things.
“Now this is something you've gotta recognize.” Gabe kept glancing back at Jesse expectantly when the beats started.
When the words 'Back in Black!” came across the speakers, Jesse perked up his bobbing head.
“Hey, I know this one! You always play it first durin' your workouts. I always figured it was because you loved the color black so much.”
“This song is better than just because it says back in black! It's a goddamn classic! AC/DC is one of the greatest artists of all time!”
Jesse scoffed once more. “I mean it's good, but you can't call them the best.”
“Oh, okay, dime, Almighty Knower of Music, who would you say is the best?”
Jesse thought for a moment.
There were many artists that he would say were amazing and some of his favorites, but the best?
“I mean, ya can't discredit our Lord and Savior, prime creator of the all-time classic Toxic: Britney Spears. That song will withstand the fall of mankind.”
Gabe bust out laughing, barely containing himself around another sharp corner, avoiding a large delivery truck that had decided it needed his lane as well. “You can't be fucking serious?”
“Have you ever even heard Toxic?” Jesse yanked the cord out of Gabe's phone, ignoring his shout of protest, and shoved it into his phone. It took him three seconds to pull up Toxic.
Exactly on beat, Jesse began singing along, over-dramatically motioning and dancing at Gabe.
The song was torture. Not because Gabe hated it, but because of Jesse. He had oddly become turned on. To save face, he made it a point to stare out the front windshield.
Gabe cursed his own dick. “Turn that shit off, it's hurting my ears with those screeching noises.”
Jesse paused. “Ya can't be serious.”
“Give it.” Gabe reached once more for the cord, yanking it out of Jesse's phone. Jesse reached for it as well, tugging it back toward him.
“No! I ain't lettin' you hog the music.”
“It's my truck, I say what plays!”
“No fuckin' way.” Jesse popped the cassette out, and grabbed it before Gabe could. They both pulled hard on each end until, suddenly, the old cord snapped.
The two men froze, both looking at their respective pieces. “Now look what ya've done.”
“We'll just have to listen from our phone speakers then, I guess.”
They each turned on their own music, alternating who turned theirs up louder until they were both at full volume, the songs yelling at each other, threatening to bust the speakers.
Jesse glared at Gabe as he glared back.
“Turn yours off!” Gabe hollered over the music.
“You first!” Jesse responded. He paused, then said, “Gimme your phone.”
“Oh, c'mon, Gabe. Don't you trust me?” Jesse gave his loving boyfriend his best sad puppy dog eyes.
“Fuck no.” Jesse scowled at Gabe's answer. In retaliation, Jesse grabbed Gabe's phone, rolled down his window, and chucked it out.
They had just so happened to be passing over a rather steep fall off on the right side of the road. The phone fell to its no doubt death below the guardrails.
“What the fuck, Jesse?!” Gabe slammed on his breaks just at the end of the guardrails, pulling off onto a small grassy area just flat enough to park on.
He jumped out of the car and ran to the railing, looking over and shouting expletives in Spanish.
He didn't know what he expected to find, just hoped that maybe he existed in a video game where his phone would shine out to him and show him where it was at. “What the hell is wrong with you?!”
Jesse had stayed near the truck, arms crossed, looking away. The sun had begun to set, already hidden by the mountains. There was no way they'd find his phone.
“Give me your phone.” Gabe said.
Without repeating himself, Gabe began rummaging around in Jesse's pockets, the younger man raising his arms, confused.
Finding nothing, he went back over to the truck and began digging in the passenger side. “Ah-hah!” Gabe pulled the phone out of the floor board.
“Gabe.” The older man ignored him, walking over to the guardrail. Jesse became increasingly nervous. “Gabe?”
Gabe brought back his arm, raised a leg, and pitched the phone directly into the great unknown of the forest below.
“Gabe!” Jesse ran forward, pushing past him. He fell to the ground. The wind blew his hair around his face, the sunglasses on top of his head shifting slightly. “The hell did you do that for?!”
“The hell did you do the same thing to mine!”
Jesse remained silent. He had felt instantly sorry for throwing Gabe's phone out of the window, but how could he say that now?
“We need to go...” Gabe's voice floated over to him, soft as the breeze in his hair. “It's almost dark.”
Jesse ignored the dark hand stretched out to him and the soft sigh that followed. The rest of the drive back to civilization was quiet. Static once again filled the cab.
Whatever station the radio had fallen on, Jesse had left it there, and Gabe had left the volume on.
It was an hour later before the radio had decided to spark back to life, the static cutting in and out between words.
The radio host's voice finally trickled in, allowing the couple to listen in on his show. “And now, we're taking a trip back down memory lane for a lot of older folks.
It's 9PM now, so you know what that means: It's time for the 90s pop classics and to kick it off right, here's Britney Spears with Toxic!”
As the song began to play, Jesse and Gabe looked at each other. Their faces slowly melted from their stony anger into held back smiles until a laugh finally forced its way out of Jesse.
They both devolved into a fit of laughter, their stomachs in gleeful pain.
“Oh, God, I'm so sorry for chunking your phone out the window,” Jesse gasped between laughs.
“I'll only accept your apology if you accept mine for pitching yours off a cliff.” Gabe answered.
“We're fuckin' ridiculous.”
“Wouldn't have it any other way, Cariño.” Gabe pulled Jesse in for a kiss at a red light.
When the light turned green, he put up a middle finger to the person laying on their horn behind them, smiling into Jesse's lips.