Debbie hustled about the diner. This time of the morning was always hectic. As usual, she bitched at rude customers and yelled a continual banter back and forth with the cook as she fetched and served meals. She waved distractedly at two of her boys as they came in, looking exhausted and hung over. She didn't even get to talk to them, and Betty took their order instead.
But when she glanced over, she saw something that made her stop and look. She was glad they were tired enough to not be paying attention to the action around them, and they made her smile. She grinned happily as she looked at them from behind the counter. It was the closest she'd ever seen Brian come to holding hands in public.
Brian was leaning his head in his hand, staring at the fork in his hand. Every so often his eyes would come up to look at Justin face, and a look of affection would come into his eyes, but the rest of his face remained tired and impassive. Justin had picked up a spoon and was twirling it with his hands, until he put his left hand down on the counter with the spoon in it. Brian slid the spoon between the tines of the fork, and they began a gentle, tired battle of tugging at the other person's utensil, a sort of silverware footsie.
Debbie watched the gentle, slow movements of their hands, how close they were. She noticed that when Brian wasn't looking, Justin stared at him lovingly, and when Justin wasn't looking, Brian would often glance at him with a sort of disbelieving and barely disguised affection in his eyes.
They both looked like shit, and they looked at each other while they sipped their coffee and tried to wake up and gain enough coherency to join the living. Instead, they just continued the Brian and Justin version of holding hands; a silverware war with underlying affection going on silently between them.
To Debbie, it was like they didn't even have to think about it. She knew without looking that Brian's foot was probably resting gently on top of Justin's, or that Justin was rubbing an ankle softly against Brian's. She knew that when they got up, Brian would bump shoulders with Justin, or put a hand to his waist, or poke him gently. It was the little things, she knew, that told how Brian felt.
She watched the silent silverware footsie go on for a little while, a strange electricity, a spark that was visible to anyone who looked hard enough, apparent between the two. It was as if the two of them were alone in a muted room, not in a noisy, overflowing diner bustling with activity. It was as if everyone else had disappeared. They were connected only by the foot under the table and the little battle going on upon the tabletop, until Michael slid into the booth and they pulled away from each other, the physical connection broken. But Debbie noticed that Brian kept his hand on the table, reaching out towards Justin, as if he wanted the physical connection to continue. That was enough for her. She'd already known it, but the small, intimate scene she had just witnessed assured her of Brian's feelings for the boy. And she knew Brian's life wouldn't be the same.