The book goes live next week, so we're getting down to the final characters. Today's character is a boy named Jermay (and no, that's not supposed to be Jeremy).
Jermay is a circus kid. He's grown up in The Show alongside Penn and the rest, but unlike most of the children of The Show he wasn't homeless or a runaway; he's there with his father, Zavel. Zavel and Jermay do a magic show to entertain guests before the main event, and they also have a spot in the big top.
He's Birdie's favorite target when she wants to cause some (harmless) trouble, and like many pairs of kids who grow up together, he's not quite sure if his feelings for Penn fall on the friend side of things, or if they go deeper. It's a dangerous distinction, as Penn must keep up the facade of being a boy for the safety of everyone in the circus. Her being openly amorous with another boy could draw attention that none of them want.
Feelings aside, Penn and Jermay are rock-solid friends. They know each other's secrets; they know each other's tells, and they know each other's triggers. They've got a language all their own that allows them to speak on more than one level, and each is the one the other looks to for honest answers - even when they don't really want to hear them. Their philosophy is "always together," because they know that there's no situation that the two of them can't find a way out of together.
But neither of them ever imagined finding themselves in the position of being on the road and on the run without support from the rest of their circus family. Their connection and strength are put to the ultimate test as they have to rely on each other to get from point to point with nothing but their wits to guide them. Jermay's nickname on the train is "Good luck on legs," and all they can do is hope he lives up to it.