Notes and disclaimers: Everwood and Bright and Ephram are property of Everwood Utah and other large corporate entities who are not me. No profit garnered, ever, on my part. Thanks to Anna for beta magic. Title from Dar Williams song.


They're driving to the ocean. Ephram says, "And your parents are okay with this?"

"They're busy. They're gonna adopt that baby, I think. The one the sick guy left on our doorstep. If only they'd decided they wanted that a little earlier, huh?" Bright shrugs. "We're allowed to make jokes, right?"

Ephram makes one of his sarcastic noises. "Yeah, joke away."

"I'm allowed to be funny."

"That wasn't actually." Ephram smirks.

"I'm just tired. I've been tired for years." Bright stares at the highway. But he's tired of silence, too. "It's not completely your fault. But it sorta started with you. When Colin got hurt. Everything was thinking. And then you came, and then Colin died and then there was all that thinking so I could graduate and end up at freaking ECC. And you're at your summer thing in New York and every single thing you say is 'what am I gonna do about the baby' and Amy is all, 'how can we make this work when Madison is pregnant' and then when that gets resolved and the baby's off to his great life, my mom gets sick and Amy stays home and you go off to Julliard and it just never ends."

"Thanks for the recap, but I was there. You've thought about this a lot," Ephram says. He laughs. "See, that was funny to say. I'm sorry I brought actual contemplation of the world."

"You didn't bring it, man. It just came. Except for the part you did bring. I just thought there'd be more fun."

"You thought? Says who?"

"I dunno. TV. Movies." Bright laughs this time. "See, I was gonna get into college on a football scholarship, play some D-1, D-1 double A ball, maybe do a few years in the NFL, if I got lucky. And that would been a complete party."

"Football equals party, I get it," Ephram says. He says it in that way that means he's making fun of Bright.

"Football is a lot of work. But it's easy work. It was never hard to think about, you know? Me and football was like you and piano."

"You're mourning football."

Bright rolls his eyes. This happens when you talk too much. "No, dumbass. I'm fine. It's pretty hard to get to play in the NFL, I missed my shot, life goes on. I still get to watch football, it's not like the game is dead or something. I've got different stuff now. It's just, everything I have now is harder than football was. I miss, hey, you remember that girl Hannah?"

Ephram says, "Sure. Is she playing for the NFL now?"

"Har har har. No, I mean, her dad was sick and she and Amy would have these talks, like, all the time, in Amy's room and everywhere. All they did was think and talk. And then she moved home and she'd be calling Amy and they'd talk and talk. So basically, somewhere along the line, my life turned into that."

"Endless conversation between two teenage girls. That does sum you up."

"Fucking pathetic," Bright says. "I wanted more fun."

"That doesn't actually make sense," Ephram says.

"It does to me."

Ephram is quiet for a long time. A really long time for Ephram. He finally says, "Does that tie into our little trip here?"

"Maybe. Hell, you'd agreed to it. Maybe I didn't want another summer of teenage girl talk antics." Bright smiles. "And I haven't seen the ocean."

"I've never really seen the Pacific," Ephram says. "The Atlantic is pretty dull."

"Bet the Pacific is, too. Just really big water."

"But we're driving there anyway."

"I like spending time with you," Bright says. He smirks.

"I thought I turned you into a teenage girl."

"I said it wasn't all your fault." And then they're quiet again. For another really long time. This time Bright gets to go first. "So how is Julliard?"

"Hard. Like I said the other three hundred times you've asked. I thought my first year was bad, but somehow, it's all gotten worse. You don't want to know. How's ECC?"

"Easy," Bright says. "And I got all my classes lined up for the EMT training stuff. Which is going to be incredibly cool. Have to move to Denver for it, but that'll be cool, too."

"I can't imagine Bright Abbott without Everwood around you."

Bright says, "Like a big red cape?"

"I guess. Like a force field. This invisible force field that you totally have just, like, buzzing around you. You are Everwood. I don't know how the town will get on without you."

"Somebody else will have to get the buzz," Bright says. "It will be kinda weird."

"You're thinking again," Ephram says.

"That wasn't thinking. Amy would have said a lot more than 'kinda weird,' man." Bright taps the steering wheel. "Maybe. I mean, thinking's not totally bad. Lots of time I should have thought a lot more."

"Bright, you're being too complex for me. Too much thinking, not enough thinking, I'm just, Bright, I can't take philosophy with you." Ephram's smirking.

"I'm allowed to grow up," Bright says. He feels a little angry, suddenly. It's almost like talking to his dad. "Right?"

"Of course." Ephram sounds a little chastened.

"But you're surprised."

"I thought that's what you were complaining about," Ephram says.

"I wasn't complaining," Bright says. "Cause all those things, all that stuff that made me think and not party, that's exactly the kind of stuff you better grow up for. And yes, I'm a little pissed that no one actually expected me to do it or anything like that, but I did. And now we're taking a little break and we're driving to see the ocean and we're going to eat crappy food and this car is going to be a mess. But just because we do that, that doesn't mean we're not, you know, a little grown. I say little because you're involved."

"Okay," Ephram says. "On to the ocean."


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