"Moooooooooooom! I wanna go home!" The little blonde boy wailed as he tugged on his mother's trousers, scrunching his face up.

The harried-looking woman standing in front of the counter sighed. "We will in a minute, sweetie," she coaxed her son. "Just hold on until mummy pays for all your candy, then we can leave, alright, sweetie? Does that sound good?" He folded his arms and nodded once.

Behind the counter, Alice bagged the assortment of sweets as fast as she could. "That would be 7.90, ma'am," she smiled at her customer. "Here you go, and keep the change, sweetheart," the woman said, handing over a ten-dollar bill. "Kids, eh? You'd think they would be delighted, getting candy. Hasn't time changed."

Alice laughed politely and handed her the paper bag. "Thanks you for your purchase at Sugarhigh, please come again. And thank you for the tip," Alice added in a whisper.

"No problem, hun,"

Once the blonde woman and her son, whom had started yelling again, had walked out of the store, Alice heaved a sigh of relief and glanced at her watch. 6.02 p.m. Shift's over. Carter was no where in sight. Late, again. Like every other ordinary day.

*

Once Carter had arrived and taken over from Alice, she changed out of the store uniform and left to meet her best friend, Regina, at their favourite ice cream place. Like every other ordinary day.

"Argh," Regina groaned as she plopped herself down in the seat opposite Alice, paper cup of strawberry mint ice cream in hand. "I had to help an old lady into a bustier today. Why she needs one in the first place, I do not know, nor do I need to. All I know is, I saw a lot more wrinkles than I will ever need. Oh my god, I don't get nearly enough pay for this." Regina shuddered and shoved a huge scoop of ice cream into her mouth.

Alice rolled her eyes. "If you hate it so much, why are you still in the lingerie business?"

"Because," Regina said. "Employees get 5% off anything when we buy things there." She winked.

Alice made a face. "I'm sorry I asked. Please. I do not need to know any more details. Especially since Chuck is involved."

Regina laughed. "What? I've said nothing about anything. I didn't even try to tell you about the time we –"

"STOP. I'm begging you, Reg. I love my innocence, and I'm not losing it to you."

"Yeah, you wanna lose it to a nice, juicy, huge – "

"REGINA!"

"- hottie! I was going to say hottie. Geez Lissy, get your mind out of the gutter."

"Sor-ry. There are kids here, man."

"I can see that," Regina said before emptying her ice cream cup. "Speaking of, let's go meet that boyfriend of yours, whom, by the way, fits my description perfectly." She winked as she stood up.

"He's not my boyfriend," Alice said as she followed her best friend. "Unfortunately," she added under her breath.

*

"Those girls disgust me," Alice fumed. "One after another, shamelessly flirting with him! Have they no pride? And Gerard's way too nice to push them away, so they just keep on throwing themselves at him! God. How many stupid girls are there in Colorado, anyway?"

This time, it was Regina's turn to roll her eyes. Alice had launched herself into this rant as they waited for Gerard to end his shift. Like every other ordinary day.

Alice knew that Regina was bored of her repetitiveness, but she couldn't help herself. It killed her to see all those girls making a move on the love of her life. Ever since she was 11, when her older brother first brought the 15-year-old black-eyed boy who stood up for him against a bully. After 8 years, Gerard was still the supportive best friend, and Alice's feelings for him haven't changed, nor has it faded in the slightest.

As the last-minute popcorn-buyers hurried towards their cinemas, Gerard looked up from his spot at the concession stands, spotted the two girls standing off to one side, and sent them a grin before going back to work. Alice went weak in the knees. It was obvious to see why all those girls wanted his attention. He was gorgeous, both physically and mentally.

At twenty-three years old, he was doing what he'd always wanted to do – writing. Granted, he didn't make much money off writing the odd article in the local magazine so he had to take a second job selling popcorn at the cinema, but he didn't mind. Not being in a 9-to-5 job allowed him to work on the novels he's constantly brainstorming for. Sure, he was relying a little on his roommate to pay for groceries and things for their condo, but Alice's brother, being very well-paid in his modelling job, didn't mind.

As he wiped down the counter surface with a damp rag, he felt a hand lightly touching his shoulder. He turned to see his supervisor beaming up at him. "Shift's over." She said, grinning like a silly little girl.

Gerard smiled back. "Thanks," he said.

"Uh, so I was wondering if later, um, you'd wanna do something together…?" she asked, embarrassed.

"Oh, that's nice of you to ask me, but I was thinking of heading home to work on a story I have…"

"Aww, alright then, no problem! Anyway, see you around!" Flustered, she rushed away. Gerard felt a little bad for rejecting her, but he was already interested in somebody, and he was never a big fan of 'playing the field'. Unlike a best friend of his.

Grabbing his things from the shelf under the counter, he leaped out to meet the two girls.

Regina glanced at the entrance to the parking lot, which was located right outside the cinemas. "Aaron's late again," she said in disdain. Like every other ordinary day, Alice's brother was late in picking them up.

Given the choice, they would rather take the bus back to their condos. But Aaron, being the only one with a car, pounced on any reason to drive his beloved Beemer around the Angie, a shopping complex notorious for the amount of shallow, ditsy girls that frequented there. Alice, Regina and Gerard knew this. They also knew that Aaron enjoyed doing this because there were many girls who would be more than happy to go back to the condo with him for a 'chat' (read: replace 'chat' with a different 4-letter word, and that's what they'd be doing). He was a model, after all. Whenever Aaron brought someone over to 'chat' with, Gerard would take refuge at the girls' condo, which was directly across the hall from theirs.

As Regina expressed her distaste towards Aaron's lack of punctuality, Alice tried not to melt under Gerard's spellbinding gaze. As he talked about his day, Alice took in his scent – an intoxicating blend of caramel popcorn and aftershave. He was standing rather close to her, too. Three more steps forward and they would be touching, nose to chin. If she wasn't leaning against a pillar, she might have wobbled.

"Any highlights of the day?" Gerard asked.

"Err, there was a little boy who peed in his pants when I was leaving, but nothing special otherwise."

"Eww." Gerard crinkled his nose.

Alice laughed. "I know, right. Oh, and you will not guess what Reg had to do today."

"Try me. She had to help an old woman get into tights?"

"Bustier. Close enough." They laughed.

"So, what're your plans for the rest of the day?" Gerard asked.

Alice smiled. "A nice long bath, and I'm going to listen to those CD's I bought earlier. You?"

"I'm going to work on this story I've been having ideas for."

"Ooh, I love your stories." And you. "What's it about?"

"It's a surprise! I'm not telling yet." He winked.

As Alice opened her mouth to protest, she heard Regina scoff. "Finally, our ride's here."

Alice and Gerard turned their head in time to see Aaron sauntering through the doors towards them.

"Hey brahh," Aaron said as he gave Gerard a fistbump. "How's everyone?"

Regina rolled her eyes. "Let's just go," she said, dragging Alice behind her as she walked towards the entrance.

*

Alice sighed as she lay in the bathtub, bubbles spilling over onto the floor. She inhaled the sweet smell of her lavender-scented candles. This was Alice's paradise. Then again, it probably was for most girls everywhere.

As she dipped her head into the water, she thought of Gerard. He was probably working on that novel of his. It amazed her, how he could work so devotedly on what he was passionate about, even when he knew it doesn't help him financially. Of course, money isn't everything. But she's seen the way he has to ask Aaron for money when he needed to stock up on the food in their condo. Sure, Aaron didn't mind, but it must be a blow to his ego whenever he has to do that. Alice wished for his writing career to take off, so that he wouldn't have to depend on someone else any longer. She also wished that he would see her and realize that she was the one for him. But as always, wishing never helped anything. Like every other ordinary day.

As Alice added more hot water to the tub, she suddenly thought of something and groaned. She forgot that she had an essay on the 1917 Russian Revolution due in a week. Begrudgingly, she let herself soak in the water for another 5 minutes, before removing the drain stopper in the tub and getting out.

Alice was studying European History in the local university. She wanted to do Performing Arts, but her traditional parents back in Connecticut told her that under no circumstances would she go into a field where you weren't sure when your next meal would come. In fact, her parents didn't even know that their only son, Aaron, was a full-time model. They still thought he was with a law firm, and only modelling on the side.

Even though they were stopping her from pursuing her dreams, Alice still loved her parents very dearly, and it pained her that Aaron was deceiving them. So, after weeks of persuading, Aaron finally promised that he would clear the air that Christmas and tell his parents about what he did to pay the bills.

Drying herself off, Alice wrapped herself in her favourite Snoopy bath robe and headed to her bedroom to get started on that darned ten thousand words.

*

As she stood behind the counter at Sugarhigh, Alice tried to stifle a yawn. She had worked until much later on her paper the night before than she planned, and having to come to Angie right after uni was taking a toll on her that day. Stupid caffeine. Stupid, useless, ineffective caffeine. If Alice fell asleep right in the middle of her shift, only you would be to blame.

When the store was empty, Alice bought herself a bag of gummy worms to boost her energy. To no affect. All it did was make her cringe from the sour tang.

She glanced at the screen on her phone. 5.32 p.m. Great. Still another 30 minutes to go. She stuck another gummy worm into her mouth. This felt so much like an ordinary day. But it wasn't.

*

Alice and Regina walked towards the cinema after work. By now, all Alice wanted to do was go back home and have a long nap in the tub. She barely paid attention as Regina told her about a movie Chuck mentioned.

"It's about this girl who meets this boy and finds out he's the prince of some place or another. We're going to watch it tonight, you wanna come?" asked Regina.

"Sure, if I have nothing else to do," Alice answered, stifling a yawn.

"You know, you really shouldn't have forced yourself to finish your whole assignment last night. It's not due for another 6 days, after all."

Alice sighed. "I just don't want it to interrupt my bath time anymore, you know? That's like my sacred hour."

"I guess I can understand that."

Alice gave Regina a tired smile.

"Oh wait, isn't today your first anniversary with Chuck?"

Regina beamed. "Yes! I was wondering whether you would remember. Look at earrings he got for me!" she brushed her midnight black hair over her shoulders, exposing a pair of exquisite ruby heart-shaped earrings.

Alice gasped. "They're marvellous!" she reached out and lightly touched one with her fingertips.

"I know, right? I couldn't believe it. I just thought he would just bring me to a nicer hotel than usual or something."

Alice wrinkled her nose. "Again with the vulgar talk. Isn't sex supposed to be special, a magical connection between 2 individuals?"

Regina laughed. "You are such a virgin, Lissy." Alice stuck her tongue out in response. "Yes, it is. We just love that magic a lot, so we do it a lot."

Alice rolled her eyes and continued walking. "Do you think Gerard is a virgin?" she wondered aloud.

Regina shrugged. "It's possible, though unlikely."

Alice frowned.

"Come on, Lissy. When are you going to confess to him?" Regina urged.

Alice sighed…again. "I don't know, when I'm ready?"

"Well, when are you going to be ready?"

Alice groaned. "I'd really appreciate if you get off my case, Reg."

Regina put her arm around Alice's shoulders. "Alright, alright. But make sure you tell me if you ever do, okay?"

Alice grinned at her. "I solemnly swear I will."

*

Regina tapped her foot in impatience. "When he's late, he's late. When he's early, he makes us wait for him as he finds entertainment for the night." She stared at the back of Aaron Shepherd as he flirted with 2 curvaceous blondes.

Gerard grinned at her, casually slinging his arm on Alice's shoulder, not noticing her gasp. "I promise you, when my future bestselling collection of short stories makes me my first million, I'll get me a nice car that'll fit all of us and take over from Aaron's crappy chauffeuring business, 'kay?" he held up the hand that wasn't around Alice for a five.

Regina slapped his hand. "Speak of the devil."

Gerard and Alice turned. Aaron was walking towards them, the two girls in tow. Gerard slid his arm off Alice's shoulder. She felt disappointed, and as though someone took a part of her away.

"Hey brahh, meet Alison," he gestured to the girl on his left, "and Tiffany." The girl on his right giggled as he wrapped his arm around her tiny waist.

Gerard smiled at the two girls, and they giggled some more.

"You, lucky sir, are going on a double date with us," stated Aaron.

Alice blanched. No. Please, no.

Gerard raised an eyebrow at his best friend. "Can I have a word with you, away from the ladies…?" Aaron shrugged, let go of Tiffany (who pouted) and allowed Gerard to lead him away.

Once a safe distance away, Gerard said a hushed voice, "What are you trying to do? You know I'm interested in someone else. At any rate, blind dates are so awkward."

"Yet you won't make a move on her, whoever she is! So until you do, I'm giving you an opportunity to see what else is out there. You never know, you might find someone whom you like more. And besides, it's not really a blind date. You've already seen your date."

They continued on in this fashion for another minute, when finally they walked back towards the girls, a look of resignation on Gerard's face, and one of triumph on Aaron's.

"We'll see you tonight at 8, girls." Aaron winked. The girls giggled and rushed off, presumably to get ready for their double date.

No one but Regina noticed the tears welling up in Alice's eyes.

*

As Alice sat amongst the bubbles, she let her tears flow freely. She had been in there ever since they reached home at 7.

This was her haven. The one place where she could be herself. The one place where nothing is hidden.

Her tears kept flowing.

*

As Alice plugged her headphones into her CD player, Regina watched her worriedly. Alice's eyes were still red from the crying, but otherwise she looked as though nothing was wrong.

"Are you sure you don't wanna come with us? It might take your mind off…things."

Alice looked up at her best friend of five years. "Yeah, you go ahead and celebrate your one-year with Chuck." She got up and picked up the pile of CD's she had gotten the day before.

Regina was still hesitant. "Are you sure?"

Alice laughed a little and pushed her out of their condo. "Yes. Now hurry up, it's past nine already. You're going to be late."

"Okay, well, if you need me or anything, just give me a call, alright?"

Alice smiled at her. "Yes, mum. Now go!" Alice shooed Regina away and went back inside, locking the door behind her.

"Now, for some Maroon 5." She put the headphones on, lay in bed, closed her eyes and pretended she was in the studio, singing next to Adam Levine.

*

After 6 tracks, Alice started feeling thirsty from singing along. Realizing she hadn't prepared any water, she opened her eyes so she could get some from the kitchen. She found someone sitting on her bed and yelped.

Ripping her headphones off, she asked a little shrilly, "What are you doing here?"

Grinning, Gerard said, "My date ended."

Having calmed down a little, Alice cocked an eyebrow. "Already? It's only 9.30."

Gerard shrugged.

"Shouldn't you and her be having, um, dessert now?"

Gerard laughed. "She's not my type." Shifting his legs to make himself more comfortable, he asked, "Where's Regina? Shouldn't you be with her?"

"Nah," Alice answered, "anniversary with Chuck. I'd rather not be the third wheel in that date."

Gerard chuckled. "Yeah, they can get a little, hormonal."

"Understatement."

Gerard laughed again. Alice stared at him. She watched the way the edge of his eyes crinkled slightly when he laughed, heard the throaty way his laugh came out.

"You sing amazing, by the way. I really wish you pursued that career."

Alice blushed. "Thanks, Gerard. But you know my parents would disown me."

"It's their biggest mistake."

Gerard looked at her and smiled. Then instantly, his smiled morphed into a worried frown. "Have you been crying?" he asked softly, his fingers brushing the skin around her eyes. When she remembered why she cried in the first time, hot tears began welling up in her eyes again.

"Hey, hey," Gerard immediately wrapped his arms around her, which only made her start sobbing. "What's wrong?"

Between her sobs, Alice started to say, "There's a guy I like, very very much, and he just broke my heart today." Gerard's arms tightened around her.

"Who is he?" Gerard asked softly.

Alice pulled away and stared him in the eyes. "You. He's you, Gerard. I love you. I always have. Since the time you bought me my first Green Day CD. Since the time you taught me how to Google things. Since the time you punched Chuck in the face for calling me a bitch. For eight years, I've never thought of any other boy but you. It's always been you."

She broke down again. For a few minutes, they sat in silence, albeit Alice's sobs.

When she had calmed down slightly, Gerard said, "I finished my story just now."

Are you kidding me? Alice thought. I just bared my soul before him, and he wants to talk about that?

"I never told you what it's about, eh?" Alice didn't bother answering him. "It's about a boy who has a crush on his best friend's little sister." Alice looked up. "Basically," Gerard continued, "she's always on his mind. When he's at work, he wonders if anyone is flirting with her. When he looks at his best friend, he wonders how he'd react if they ever got together. When they're in a group and she laughs, he wishes he could kiss her."

Gerard stopped. Alice seemed to be digesting everything he had just said. The silence stretched on.

Gerard noticed that Alice was inching closer to him. Deciding to take matters into his own hands (literally), he pulled her close to him and started kissing her.

They kissed and kissed and kissed. Eight years of suppressed feelings was released into one, single, explosive kiss. Gerard leaned forward so that Alice was lying on the bed and kept kissing her. His hands clutched her waist as her fingers entangled themselves in his hair.

Only when oxygen became very gravely necessary did they pull apart. Breathless, Alice said, "Hold on, I need to call Regina."

*

WEEEEELLLLL? Was that alright? I'm not sure the ending was enough but I've always sucked at endings heh.

-zebraxyloster