Lily rolled her eyes involuntarily into the back of her head as she listened to
the reading, which seemed particularly lengthy on this Sunday "morning".

It was 11 o'clock and only one hour into the service when Lily felt herself drifting off.

She felt a sudden tap on her right shoulder. "Lil, wake up. It's legitimately only
been two verses," Ellie whispered. "Sorry, I'm just... out of it," Lily replied.

Ellie looked concerned at her friend. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"Yeah, just, I didn't have a good sleep last night," Lily explained.

"Sh!" a woman hushed harshly.

Lily and Ellie immediately shut up until the service was over.
They slowly made their way out the door and into the parking lot.

"Are you driving? Or are you gonna let me drive?" Ellie questioned innocently.

Lily gave her a smug look. "Are you gonna freak out because a
plastic bag flew out onto the road, again?" she said snarkily.

Ellie was silent.

Lily raised an eyebrow and smirked. "No..." Ellie said, unsure
of herself. "Yeah," Lily laughed. "Like you wouldn't."

Ellie gave a heart melting face to Lily. She doesn't break easily,
but the whole thing with that stupid boy had made her weak.

"Ugh, fine! You can drive! Just stop looking at me like that! Jeez!" Lily relented.

Adrien didn't text back after Alex had last texted him. There were no words suitable.
Something important event would have to happen for them to talk, again.

The memories of her were just something that Alex never talked about with anyone.
Not Adrien. Not Carter. Not even himself. After what happened, he just... shut down.

He pretended that they never even happened, that she never even existed.

When someone would accidentally bring her up or ask how she was
doing because they hadn't heard about it, Alex just shut himself down.

It had taken months for him to even return to his normal way of life, pre-Hanna.

Now, all that time, was over. It was a time in his life he would never go back to. She was
the one person on Earth that he could never be able to acknowledge the existence of.

The ride home was silent and calm. Ellie had managed to drive the whole way without getting too
stressed out. I guess she's gotten better about not being too tense while driving, Lily thought.

As Ellie pulled into the parking lot and put the car in park, Lily saw her take the keys out of
the ignition and it was like the old Ellie was back. Driving really stresses her out, doesn't it?

"Phew, thanks for letting me drive," Ellie said with a heavy sigh.
The two exited the car and began walking up to their apartment.

Ellie threw the keys at Lily exclaiming, "If I don't practice not being so
tense and stressed out, now, then I'll never be comfortable on the road..."

Lily laughed.

"You couldn't be more right."

Alex sat comfortably on the couch with his reading glasses on. He had been
intensively reading a book about mythical creatures and their adventures in the days
forgotten long ago, when he heard muffled voices outside the front door.

Instinctively, he leapt off the couch and dove behind it, making for himself the
perfect cover. On his phone, he had 911 ready on the keypad. Now, he waited.

He could almost make out what the voices were saying... Hey! That's Carter's voice,
but I don't recognize the other one... A friend from college, maybe?
Alex discussed silently.

He smiled and put away his phone, feeling stupid for not recognizing
Carter's voice and feeling a bit ashamed of hiding behind the couch.

As he heard the sound of a key turning in the lock, Alex suddenly realized his lack
of pants and a proper shave. Shit! Whoever the hell that's with Carter's gonna-

But it was too late. The door squeaked open and in came Carter and another boy.

Alex had somehow managed to dart into the hallway before they saw him and,
when the time was right, Alex planned, he'd sneak off into his bedroom to change
and maybe comb his hair a bit before being forced to meet anyone.

However, for now he had to wait for them to be too busy
talking to each other to notice him slinking off into his room.

As much as he tried not to, Alex couldn't help but listen in to the conversation.

Ellie plopped herself onto the couch and switched on the TV. Lily slowly trailed behind her.

As she made her way to the Ellie, Lily spotted her ruined book on the floor, beside
the place she was sitting last night. Funny, she thought. I had actually forgotten about you.

She bent over and picked up the hot chocolate stained novel.

Hello, my chocolatey little friend, she thought.

She caressed the spine and opened the book, afraid of what she might see. I hope
it's not too bad, I was a little too warn out to look at it last night...
she prayed.

As she gingerly opened the cover, she felt her heart drop. Every single page, save for
the two or three pages in the beginning and at the end, were all, completely, ruined.

The dark chocolate had made sure that any of the words printed onto the pristine
white paper were illegible, unreadable. The pages were wrinkled and curled.

Lily's heart sunk deep into her chest. It's all gone...

Carter was the first to speak. "Do you like it? The rent's pretty manageable, split between the two of us,"
he asked. "Yeah, it's pretty cool. I'm totally digging the flat screen," the other boy said, clearly impressed.

His voice was low and melodic; you could almost hear the way the deep chords vibrated
in his throat when he spoke. "Um, yeah, that would be Alex's," Carter stated.

He laughed nervously.

Why does he sound so nervous? Alex wondered. He knew it was
probably safe for him to go, but he couldn't help but stay to listen.

"Alex? Is he here?" the boy asked. "Um, no, he's at work. Until 6..." Carter answered.
He sounded like he was about to have to give an impromptu lecture to his 60 classmates.

"So he's not gonna be home for a while, is that what you're saying...?" the boy questioned.

His voice had gone extremely deep, almost as if the question was meant
to imply something beyond that which had been said in the apartment.

"Uh huh, yeah, um..." Carter answered. "Well then, I guess he wouldn't mind if we..."
Alex heard Carter let out a small gasp. "... had a little fun?" the boy finished.

"Ha, um, no. I don't think he would mind, at all..." Carter said. His voice had changed. It wasn't extremely flustered
and nervous... it had become looser, more relaxed. For what seemed like a minute or so, there was complete silence.

Oh, god, are they... Alex thought. He dared to veer his head just far out enough to see into the couch area. There, the
noises matched the actions, as the boy who had come in with Carter was leaving a wet trail of kisses along his neck.

Alex darted his head back into hiding as swiftly and soundlessly as he could.

Crap, do I make a break for it? Change and then make a bunch of noise in my room, let them know I'm home?
Ah, shit. What the hell do I do if they see me trying to get into my room?! Ugh, I hate this...
Alex internally whined.

Fuck it, he thought. I'm going for it. If they catch me... well let's just
hope that my 6 foot seven ass can actually go unnoticed for a change.

Alex looked again at Carter and the boy. They were still kissing. Alex hid, again. Okay,
man. This is your only chance, don't blow it. Just gotta move undetected, like a ninja...

Alex looked out one last time. Like a ninja...

Alex bolted from his safe spot on the wall to his bedroom door, his bathrobe trailing behind him.
"Alex?!" Carter screamed. Alex let go of the door handle to his bedroom and slowly turned around.

The two boys were still embracing each other, both now red in face.

Alex looked guiltily at Carter, and then looked over to the boy, and back to Carter. Carter saw
where he had looked and quickly let go of him and put a couple of inches between them.

"Um, how long have you been there..." he asked, refusing to look Alex in the eye.

"Uhh, since you've been home..." he answered. "And, um, how much of, uh, anything did
you, um," he cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Hear or... see..." Carter continued.

"Uh, well, um..." Alex stumbled. "Um, well... all of it?" Alex stated as though it was a question.

"Oh my god..." Carter exclaimed softly, burying his beet red face in shaking hands. The other boy just awkwardly smiled and
said, "Uh, I, um... name's John. Johnathan White," as he shortly closed the distance between them and extended his hand.

Alex shook it wearily. He had just seen this guy all over hiss roommate and
close friend. Honestly, he didn't want to think where that hand had just been.

"Um, Alex Summers. Nice to meet you, I guess.." Alex stated awkwardly.
"Hi, Alex. Likewise.." John answered back. There was nothing but silence.

Carter was trying desperately to just disappear, but not even he could sneak out of this one.