Jeremy watches Michael take a sip from the straw in his styrofoam cup. "What is that?" he asks carefully. He's not even sure he really wants to know the answer, but he has a hunch he just needs to confirm, or deny.
"Huh?" Michael looks up and follows Jeremy's eyeline, staring at the cup in his hand. He offers a smile. "Only the most important meal of the day!" he declares, a smug grin plastered on his face. But no amount of silly smiles could hide the exhaustion in Michael's eyes.
Jeremy would have been lying if he said he wasn't tired as hell too, though. College was really kicking their collective asses. And badly. It was getting to the point in the semester that the two friends felt so incredibly jaded at any given moment that nothing could faze them.
He briefly recalls his Skype call with Christine a few nights back, when she asked if he was ready to hand in his thesis due the next day. His brain had gone immediately into acceptance mode; he didn't even panic about having nothing to turn in. His fate was sealed, and he had no choice but to accept it.
The fact that Christine didn't go to school with him did not even occur to him. He didn't even have enough energy to be relieved when she told him she was "totally joking, oh my God, Jeremy!"
So, yeah, college was going great.
Jeremy closes his eyes and takes a breath before shaking his head. He looks back at Michael to meet his playful gaze. "Are you," he starts, exasperated, "seriously telling me right now that you're drinking Pepsi… for breakfast?"
Michael's smile doesn't falter. He blinks.
"Michael, are you drinking Pepsi for breakfast?" Jeremy repeats, a little more urgent this time.
"Don't be ridiculous, Jer," Michaels finally pipes up. He scoffs, gesturing towards his cup. Jeremy is only allowed to be pleased for half a second before Michael continues. "It's Crystal Pepsi."
Jeremy's face scrunches up in response, and Michael goes on. "You know, it's like regular Pepsi, but —"
" — but clear. Yeah, yeah, I know," Jeremy huffs. He'll never really understand Michael's ongoing fascination with retro carbonated beverages.
Michael smiles again, softer and a little more genuine. "What?" he says, taking another sip of his breakfast soda.
"You're drinking Crystal Pepsi for breakfast," Jeremy sighs, gripping the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger. Despite the annoyed gesture, the smile creeping up on his face was difficult to hide. It wasn't exactly that he was judging Michael, per se. No, there was no room for that in their friendship. They'd known each other too long. It was more like… he just wished Michael would take better care of himself.
It'd be awfully inconvenient for him if his favorite person suddenly wasn't around anymore because he had one too many clear drinks that weren't water.
Michael cocks his head and quirks a brow. "Yeah," he replies, airy, "what'd you have for breakfast?"
The smile on Jeremy's face disappears almost immediately. He drops his hand and turns to give Michael a look, but Michael is just smiling like he's won whatever argument-adjacent thing they had going on, so Jeremy instead opts to look down at his dirty converse to avoid eye contact. A silence hangs in the air between them for a moment before Jeremy finally looks back up.
"N —" he clears his throat, "Nothing."
"I'm doing better than you, then," Michael says with a smirk, bringing his straw back up to sip his drink.
"Shut up, man!" Jeremy's face goes red with embarrassment as he crosses his arms across his chest, pouting slightly.
The sight makes Michael laugh out loud, and he drapes an arm around his best friend's shoulders. "How's about this, buddy: you and I go out and get some real breakfast," he proposes with a kind smile.
Jeremy didn't bother fighting the smile that was curling up onto his face. Michael had that effect on him. But then again, he considered, there was also the possibility that he was just way too exhausted to mask any of his emotions. Both could be true. It was probably both.
"Sounds like fun," Jeremy says.
"Sweet! It's your treat," Michaels claps Jeremy's back with a final chuckle, walking ahead of him.
"Michael!" Jeremy chides, brows furrowing as he quickens his pace to catch up to the other.
"I'm kidding!" Michael shouts back through a laugh.
Jeremy rolls his eyes, finally catching up with Michael's stride and settling back into a comfortable pace to walk alongside his best friend.