Alex, Carter, and John seated themselves on the soft navy blue couch. John had his
arm around Carter and Alex was on another couch, parallel to Carter and John.

John was blushing slightly, but seemed to be taking the whole walk-in pretty well.
Carter, on the other hand, was still blushing so hard, he'd put a fire engine to shame.

"So, um, John, you come around here often...?" Alex said, trying to lighten the mood.
After the initial shock, Alex had actually found the whole ordeal quite amusing,
and was making the most of an awkward as hell situation. John played along.

"Oh, well, yeah, usually around the hours of no roommate o'clock, but I guess my hours
have changed," John said with a smirk. "Also, are you using ancient pick-up lines on me,
right now? I'm sad to say, you're cute and all, but I happen to be taken."

John stole a glance at Carter, who, if he had been drinking anything at the moment,
would have spit it out all over the clean carpet and Alex. Alex smirked. He liked John.

"So... were you... about to do it... on the couch..?" Alex asked, a single eyebrow
cocked suggestively. I think Carter just died... Alex laughed internally.

"As a matter of fact, yes...," John said, slightly uneasy about answering such a question.
"And, um, one more weird-ass question..." Alex asked. "Go on..." John said warily.

"Have you ever doe it... on this couch, before...?" Alex refused to look
either boys in the eye. There was a long silence before John said,
"Well, um, as a matter of fact, now that you asked,yes, um, we have..."

The room was silent as Alex nodded his head and slowly removed
himself from the couch and settled for sitting on the floor.

Alex looked at John, who was just shaking his head slowly. Alex looked
puzzled at John until he realized he what he meant and promptly stood up.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure Carter got rug burn on his ass that time..." John said,
laughing. Carter gave John a swift elbow to the ribs and a "How Fucking Could You"
look, which only made John laugh even harder.

Eventually, Alex joined in, until all three boys were laughing
so hard, they forgot all about the couch and the rug.

It's all gone...

The dark hot chocolate had rendered the pages of Guinevere and Lancelot unreadable.

Lily's heart had sunken deep into her chest. She had just bought that book,
and it's not like her salary could afford another copy, so she was just plainly,
simply, stuck; forced to never be able to finish the book in a time frame that
worked with her schedule, doomed to never know the ending.

Lily felt as if she could cry, and she might have. She had been feeling
considerably softer since that boy crashed into her the night before.

I even went soft on Ellie and let her drive us home, today from church, Lily thought. What
is this boy doing to me, I wonde-
Lily was cut off by someone grabbing her shoulders.

"Okay! You seriously need to get out of the dumps," Ellie said, slightly swinging from
Lily's shoulders. "Siera and I have been talking, well mostly I have, and I thought that
it would be nice if we got out of the house and went to the coffee shop by the bookstore?"

Lily smiled and said, "Yeah, okay, El." "Alright, Lil! Let's go! Don't forget a warm jacket!"
Ellie exclaimed, throwing an enthusiastic fist up into the air. "You, two, Siera! Let's go!"

"God, does she ever shut up..." Siera said, a smirk on her face. "Nope! Deal with it!"
Ellie grinned. "Yeah, that's what I thought," Siera retorted as she exited the apartment.

As the trio made their way to the coffee shop next to the bookstore, Lily couldn't help
but think about the boy and the book and how she ended up loosing both of them.

With the laughter and jokes gone, the awkwardness rose up like thick molasses,
making it almost impossible to breathe comfortably. Alex had to get out of there.

"Okay, so, um, I'm gonna head out," he said abruptly and darted to his room to change.

Okay, Alex, you awkward little dumb ass. Just change, brush your teeth, comb your hair, get
yourself into some semblance of a functioning human being, and get the HELL out of here,
thought as he frantically threw on some clothes and checked everything off his mental checklist.

He exited the bathroom and turned to Carter and John, feeling a little bit more than slightly
unwelcome. "Okay, yeah, so, um, I'm. Gonna. Go," he said, gesturing stiffly to himself and out the door.

He threw on a jacket, grabbed his keys, wallet, and phone, and ran out the door.

"You know, Carter, he's pretty cool. I can see why you used to have a crush on him,"
John said with a smirk. He received another sharp elbow to the ribs from Carter.

"Ow! Okay, okay! Geez, Carter. I love you, but damn," John exclaimed as
he rubbed the spot on his rib cage where Carter's elbow had made contact.

"You know what you did,"Carter said with a pout on his face.

"Oh, c'mon, Carter. The poor boy finds out you're gay by being ambushed in his underwear by
some boy he's never met having his hands all over you. Give him a break, man," John reasoned.

"Ugh, you're right," Carter sighed, nestling into John's side. The air was still and Carter relaxed
in the warmth of John's side, closing his eyes peacefully, glad that the whole ordeal was finally over.

Softly, John broke the silence. "So, now that Alex's want to..." Carter finished his sentence,
"Get back to it?" he said suggestively with a smirk. John flipped Carter and pinned him to the couch.

"Right on, then," he said, smiling like the devil.

Lily, Ellie, and Siera passed the new dress boutique, the old Italian restaurant, and the many
small carts (of which were closed during the winter) on their wintry walk to the coffee shop.

Ellie nudged Lily and began to whisper in her ear. "Hey, I know how much books cost and
I know how you feel because it got ruined, but don't let it get you too down.

"I know you can't easily afford a replacement right away, and I'm sorry I can't get it
for you, so I just want you to know that you aren't alone if you ever feel too down.

"You can always try and go a little out of your way on a day off to go to the public library and
try and check it out, although they probably only have one copy, and it's most likely out.

"Anyways, I just want you to be happy, so forget about getting a replacement, for now.
Just have fun with the two of us, okay?" Ellie said comfortingly. Lily smiled.

"Thanks, El. I needed that. Let's go get coffee, shall we?" Lily said, a smile on her face.

Alex began his walk to work, I think Dan might actually die, me coming in this early, he thought
with a laugh. As he was about to go into Thanks A Latte, he stopped and eyed the book store.

Despite not knowing what he was even doing, Alex felt a sense of purpose as he entered
through the glass double doors. What was the book that blue haired girl was reading...?

He tried to think back. Oh, yeah! Guinevere and Lancelot! I bet it would be in here, somewhere...

Alex made his way over to the shelves he thought the book most likely to be in,
and after a couple minutes of obviously fruitless searching, someone who
worked at the book store made their over, offering their assistance.

"Excuse me, sir, but the graphic novels are in that group of shelves over there," they said.

Alex stopped searching long enough to look at the worker with evident disdain and contempt on his face.
"Actually, no, excuse you, but I don't appreciate you stereotyping me as a typical boy, thank you very much.

"I was actually looking for something that was ironically quite lacking in the picture
department. Guinevere and Lancelot. Ever heard of it?" Alex said, dripping in annoyance.

The store keeper was shocked. "Um, oh, I, um..." she stuttered. Alex quickly read her name tag.

"Jackie, is it? Yes, well, Jacqueline, if you could point me in the direction
of that book, and no, before you say or even think it, it's not for school.

"So, before you make anymore unwanted comments and assumptions about my
supposedly preferred reading material, how about you just get me that book.

"The prettiest copy you have, preferably illuminated or with a beautiful book binding. And
please, do hurry, I have to get to work." Alex crossed his arms and waited for the girl to move.

It took her a few seconds, but eventually she lead Alex to a leather bound copy of Guinevere and Lancelot.

The leather had been dyed a rich cobalt blue and was pressed with a beautiful scene of the
story of Guinevere and Lancelot with the title sprawled out in beautiful calligraphy against it.

"Perfect, thank you, Jackie. Seems like you can do more than judge other people," Alex said
as he left to pay for the book and leave. He realized he was a bit of an ass, but he didn't care.

All his life, he had been plagued by people who immediately judged him as
the archetypical tall boy; played basketball, loved video games, was a womanizer,
partied hard, wasn't that smart, loved to fight, the list went on.

He was sick of people judging him based on external appearances before they even got to know him.

With that final thought, he exited the store and entered the coffee
shop, much to the surprise of his coworkers, and especially, his boss.

"Alex?!" Dan said in utter shock. "Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm early. Get over it," Alex said. "Hey,
kid, listen here, just because I like yo, doesn't mean you can talk to me like that," Dan stated.

"Yes, sir. I know, I'm sorry. I went into the bookstore and one of the workers
was rude to me and it just got me a little flustered, sorry," Alex apologized.

"It's cool, you can come behind the counter and help out Mikey, I'll pay you for overtime,"
Dan said, gesturing to behind the counter. "Thanks, Dan," Alex answered.

He hung his coat on the rack, tied on his apron, and got behind the counter,
carefully placing the gift wrapped book on a shelf where it couldn't get ruined.