He had been called away after only twenty minutes, giving them time to talk a bit and finish the tacos, and not much else beyond that. Twenty minutes was more than Blake had thought to ever get again, even with the roses and the calls, and when he ended up sprawled on his back on his bed, there was a goofy smile on his face.

He couldn't be sure- he couldn't be really sure, but… well, Calix seemed to like him.

At any rate, they had moved beyond the ridiculously painful subject of 'Elinor' after about five minutes.

Blake had to give the singer credit; he didn't push conversations much when he seemed to sense the other person didn't want to talk about it.

In fact, Calix was nothing like he'd imagined a famous singer to be- and he knew the older boy was famous. Aside from Ellen's reaction, there had been that New Year's concert and Calix had thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of screaming fans, and yet, he didn't act very famous at all.

He seemed remarkably down to earth, actually.

It was frightening.

It was more than frightening, because Blake hadn't actually thought the singer would be smart enough to figure something was up so quickly. He had been almost certain that famous people like movie stars and singers lived in an alternate kind of reality where they didn't notice much beyond their own lives.

Calix's practicability and sensibility would be his downfall, he was sure of it, but Blake couldn't give him up.

He wouldn't give him up.

And if Calix hated him for being a liar when he found out the truth for certain, well, Blake would deal with that then.

Hopefully, by that stage, Calix would love him too much to hate him as badly as Blake feared he might if this plan didn't go as well as he was hoping it would.

---

Ellen was waiting at his locker at lunch on Monday, fiddling with her bracelet, a rare thoughtful looking scowl gracing her features. She looked up at Blake's approach, the furrow between her brows smoothing out. "There you are. Let's go, Blakey-boy."

Blake arched his brows at his cousin. "Go? Where are we going?"

"To visit Mark, of course," she told him brightly, and met his bland stare aggressively. "What, so you're the only one who can like a boy now?"

"I never said that," Blake replied mildly, nudging her out of the way with his shoulder so he could open his locker. "I never said anything, actually."

"I can read your mind," she stated solemnly, and paused, narrowing her eyes at him.

Blake, knowing what she was up to, just rolled his eyes and busied himself with digging deeper into his locker. "Don't talk bullshit, Ellen."

Ellen grinned, her scowl falling away entirely. "But he's really cute, Blake."

"He also has a sort-of girlfriend," Blake told her, shoving his books away and turning to face her again. "And while I would back you in any fight, that short girl didn't look thrilled to have him ignore her."

Ellen tossed her hair arrogantly over a shoulder, lifting a hand to examine her nails nonchalantly. "I don't know what you're talking about. You're just jealous cause he'd be right here if I decided to go out with him and your loverboy is probably touring in another city by now…"

Blake slammed his locker closed. "All right, let's go," he told her, and pushed past Ellen, ignoring her startled expression at his abruptness.

---

He knew for a fact that Calix was actually recording his next album in town.

He knew that, because Calix had told him that if Elinor got back from his aunt's in the next two months, he'd really like to see her, and since Blake wasn't allowed to give the singer her number there (wouldn't), maybe Blake would be kind enough to pass on the message to her?

Blake would be kind enough, he had told the singer. Blake would be pleased to pass messages between the two of them, and he'd followed up the offer with a self deprecating smirk and comment about being useful the only way he knew how.

Calix had grinned in response and told him he really appreciated it, and hey, he might get a special note in the thanks section of his next album.

Blake had had to resist the urge to beat his head against the door as he watched Calix's car pull away after the singer had settled back in the back seat with a can of soda.

He wasn't altogether sure this plan was a good one anymore, but he didn't know how to fix it.

---

Blake mentioned none of this to Ellen though, sure that just the mere fact that he was in what could possibly turn into regular contact with a famous singer with gorgeous eyes would get a big reaction, and most likely it would be a reaction he didn't want in the slightest.

They found Mark and his friends by the ice rink again, and Ellen ignored the spectator's glares as she stepped carefully onto the ice, flirting with Mark and trying to get him to show her how to shoot a goal.

Blake stood a little apart from the rest of the spectators, leaning on the wall of the rink to watch. He didn't notice the other girl come closer until she leaned on the wall next to him, pressing their elbows together.

Blake jerked away, scowling at her.

Claire just looked straight back. Her eyes were red, like her face in the cold weather, and Blake wondered how much she had to like Mark at all to come out in this kind of wind. He wasn't entirely sympathetic to her though, he was inclined to root for his cousin, because she had come out in this weather as well.

It didn't make the fact that she'd dragged him out with her any better, but he could understand why she had wanted to come.

"Does she… really like him?"

Blake blinked at the girl, not sure why she was trying to engage him in a conversation when her attitude the other day had more than clearly stated that she wanted nothing to do with either of them. "What?"

Claire huffed out a breath. "Your cousin. Does she really like Mark?"

It wasn't any of her business.

Blake shrugged, looked back to where Ellen was laughing and clutching Mark's arms to keep from slipping and falling on her butt in front of him.

"She doesn't deserve him."

Blake turned his head at that, arching an eyebrow at the girl. "Excuse me? Who the hell are you to say that when you don't even know the first thing about her?"

Claire just glared straight back at him. "Who the hell are you two, too spoilt and rich with your high and mighty ways to just come barging in and nosing into our lives? We never wanted you, we certainly didn't ask for you, and she's going to end up being a bitch to Mark because he won't be able to support her the way her rich little daddy has-"

"Fuck you, what do you know?" Blake retorted, unaware how loud his voice was. Sure, they were rich, and sure, they were probably a bit spoilt, but really, he'd much rather be poor than have his family ignore him until he did something they thought was wrong- and he knew Ellen was the same.

Mark, at least, would be good for her, and she'd certainly be better for him than this fucking cow. "At least she would have his best interests at heart- not like you who's probably too selfish to even think about the fact that she can treat him better than you can-"

And honestly, since when did someone his cousin met at eighteen become someone she was supposed to spend the rest of her life with?

"You- you're a fucking asshole!" Claire shouted, and the players on the ice stopped to stare at them in surprise, Ellen's eyes almost as narrowed as Mark's were wide. "She couldn't make him as happy as I could- did!"

Had Mark been dating her when they'd met?

Blake blinked, turning his attention over to the cute boy, and he rather thought that the fact that Claire had been taking care of him was news to Mark too, because he looked just as surprised and bemused.

Ellen, on the other hand, just looked pissed. "You fucking bitch," she started, and Blake cleared his throat and backed away from the wall, fisting a hand in the back of Claire's jacket and pulling her away as smoothly as he could.

There was a wall between them, but he didn't trust Ellen to pay much attention to that at all, and the girl had a good smack on her.

"Uh- Mark, you think you'd better get back to class?" he shot at the other boy, who blinked himself out of his stupor while the rest of his friends just stared blankly at the four of them, like a herd of cattle and maybe these kids were really just that stupid.

"Oh- yeah," Mark replied belatedly, and reached forward to curl his fingers around Ellen's wrist. "Come along, sweetheart; let's go get you some good old fashioned public school learning."

Ellen met Blake's eyes, and he hoped the warning was clear enough in them- apparently it was, because she just sighed and turned to Mark with a blinding smile. "Sure thing, cupcake."

Mark grinned and laughed, his friends hesitantly sniggering behind him, and Claire made a small noise in her throat and pulled herself away from Blake's grip, running back towards the school building.

The other girls in the spectators group gave Blake a dirty look, followed by equally evil looks towards Mark and Ellen, and followed her, presumably to try and cheer her up.

Blake sighed, and shoved his hands in his pockets and wondered why any of them bothered with crushes or falling in love when it did nothing but wreck havoc on their lives anyway.

---

He knew why, later.

Later, when Calix called again.

He had been curled up on his bed, reading, when Debbie knocked on the door. "Mister Blake? There's that man downstairs again. He's looking for you."

She sounded nervous, and Blake swallowed in reaction, not sure why Debbie could possibly sound nervous unless Calix was angry and Calix would only be angry for one conceivable notion and-

Blake swallowed and swung his legs over the side of his bed.

"I'll be right there, Debbie," he told her, and tried to breathe deep, even breaths when she nodded and left, shutting the door quietly behind her.

This was it then.

This was it and he could only hope that Calix-

Maybe Calix would-

"Blake? Can I come in?"

Blake lifted his head at the sound of the voice; it didn't sound angry at all. It was quiet and subdued, and when Calix opened the door, he just looked tired, although his smile was as bright as ever.

Blake's heart began thumping in his chest at the mere sight of it.

"Yeah, sure," he replied, and had to cough to clear his throat. "I- uh, I hope it's not too messy," he told him, and shot a quick look around the room to check quickly.

Debbie had done her job well though, the only thing- shit, she'd found the roses-

Calix had spotted them at about the same time. "What are those…"

Blake swallowed guiltily, and shrugged, affecting innocence as Calix's gaze flicked back to him. "I don't know. They came to our door the other day, and I guess the maid thought they'd look good in here."

Calix offered a tight smile, and Blake's heart wasn't thumping just for the mere sight of it anymore. God, had he been given away? He needed a better excuse- anything-

Calix was moving towards the bouquet though, carefully sorting through the stems in search of something, and Blake guiltily remembered the note he'd stuck in his desk drawer. Hopefully Calix wouldn't go searching for that there-

"That's odd," the singer murmured, touching a fingertip lightly to one of the rose buds. "I was sure I… There was no card with it?"

"No," Blake lied, and hoped he looked confused enough. "Why, should there have been?"

He was quite proud of himself for not blushing.

"Well- yeah, there should have been. I sent them to-" Calix stopped, looking at Blake, and then smiling a little. "I guess it doesn't matter if she's not here to get them though. Where does your aunt live? Maybe I'll send them to her there…"

"Oh, I don't actually know the address of the top of my head. I'll get it for you later," Blake told the singer, and prayed fervently he could avoid the topic if it ever came up again. "Right now though- why are you here?"

Calix smirked, then shrugged. "I was getting a little bored, actually. Everyone else I know in town is out doing there own thing, so I was thinking maybe…"

Blake's heart started thundering again. "Yes. I can show you the sights if you want?"

Calix's smile was bright and white and his eyes were glowing and gorgeous and Blake knew exactly why people fell in love.