"Clothing...Okay, I got it." Oliver lifted his pen up from the notepad and looked back at the dark-haired girl, who was looking at the pictures upon his nightstand.
She picked up one of a young boy and a man, both of them with bright green eyes and chestnut hair. "This your dad?"
"Um...Yeah, that's him..." Oliver looked down sadly. "He died, when I was ten..."
Ashley's expression softened slightly, "...I'm sorry."
They remained in a silence of sorts for a while after that, before Oliver finally shook his head, "So, what was step two?"
Nodding, Ashley began to walk out of his room and down the steps.
"Ash?" Oliver called after her, following her downstairs as she moved into the kitchen.
"Step two, my Sweet Porcelain," She explained, opening up the refrigerator and grabbing an apple. "Is all about eating."
She tossed the fruit over to him, closing the door to the fridge, and he caught it clumsily, "Eating? You mean, like...Popsicles?"
Ashley shrugged, "Not just popsicles, Bambi."
"What else could there be?" Oliver asked, taking a small bite from the apple in his hands.
"Any type of food can work if you eat it correctly."
The pair had went out to a local restaurant together after Neil had retrieved his wallet. They moved to a table outside, and when they ordered, all Oliver had asked for was a simple fruit salad.
Neil, however, just couldn't take his eyes off of him.
"What would work best, though, is probably something juicy,"
Just the way Oliver was eating was driving him crazy. The fruits were all very juicy: Watermelon, strawberry, blueberry, mango, grape, and all of those.
"Or something you can close your lips around,"
When he picked up a piece of watermelon, he would place part of it in his mouth, before pursing his lips around the small piece of fruit and sucking on it very lightly, getting rid of any excess juices before popping the rest into his mouth.
"Maybe something that you can lick away any extra from the corners of your mouth,"
Occasionally, a bit of juice would hit just above or below Oliver's lips, and Neil could see the tip of his tongue poke out to remove the small spot.
"Anything in a particular shape would work pretty well,"
Oliver had requested that they leave his banana separate, so he could peel it and eat it. Just the general form of it and the way Oliver's lips stretched around it had Neil swallowing hard and looking down, fidgeting slightly.
"Neil, are you sure you're okay?" He asked, lowering the fruit from his mouth and looking at the older boy.
"Fine, I'm just peachy..."
Oliver chuckled a little bit at Neil's word choice. "That's great, but...You know, you really haven't touched your food."
They ate together in silence, mostly, occasionally having brief small-talk over random things like Oliver's dance practice or Neil's 'evil' English teacher; overall, it was quiet, (Neil sometimes glancing across the table to watch Oliver eat parts of his salad).
The waitress came back, notepad in hand, "Anything else I can get you boys?" She asked, smiling pleasantly.
Neil shook his head, "Nothing for me, thanks. Oliver?"
"Popsicles can be very affective, too."
Oliver drummed his fingertips lightly on the table, "...I guess I'd just like a popsicle, if you have any."
Neil froze for only a moment. After all of that, with the fruit and the licking and everything, he was getting a popsicle on top of it?! He didn't know if he could stand that.
The waitress nodded, "One popsicle, coming right up."
She walked away, and Oliver mentally smirked, something told him that what Ashley had taught him was working, and working very well, at that.
Coming back a moment later, the waitress held out a popsicle to Oliver, "Here you go."
Smiling and thanking her, Oliver took the frozen treat. It was already beginning to melt from the midday summer heat, so he gave it a few long licks along the side.
Neil had to avert his eyes for fear of blush breaking out across his face. What was wrong with him? It was only a popsicle for God's sake! At this rate, Neil wasn't sure how he could make it through the rest of the day...