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So sorry. Haven't abandoned this story at all.

SONG - BLAME - Calvin Harris ft. John Newman

"Every love story is a grand adventure is something my mother used to tell me. It's because I'm a cynic with a thirst of adventure, she probably thought that would move me to find it. Sometimes, some adventures aren't worth it."

-Ulrich Feist, Beacons 2014.

Zen came back a few hours later, bleary eyed and sober in the way that he always appeared after spending time with his old man. Even though I never asked, I always imagined that they spent time reminiscing on the life before Mrs. Philips' passing and trying to tentatively stack up the blocks of their decades weary relationship just like she would have wanted.

"Doris dropped by this morning," I mentioned lounging on his bed. Zen paused amidst removing his scarf "Did she now?" he tried to hide his interest. "Probably came to make sure that you didn't burn down the house or something in my absence."

"Your faith in me is abysmal," I said ignoring the irony of it all.

"It's not abysmal because I have absolutely no faith in you whatsoever," He retorted. "Did she stay long?"

"Nah. Literally took five minutes in all," I confirmed. Zen made a second-long frowning face before turning his expression back. "Whatever." Now it was becoming for too much.

"Oh for the love of everything, why do you always do that?" I asked exasperatedly.

"Do what?" He asked feigning confusion. I rolled my eyes and crawled closer to him "What's the real issue here? Why don't you go after Doris when you clearly have feelings for her?" Zen gives me a sharp look immediately but I glare back quite as hard showing him that I'm not going down easy this time.

"I don't have feelings for Doris," He said forcefully trying his hardest to convince only himself since I won't be easily fooled nor was I going to ignore it any longer. I patted his thigh gently "Just don't do this to yourself anymore. It's not fair at all." Zen stilled on the bed and for a moment I was afraid that I'd gone and truly pissed off my best friend.

But instead he turned his face towards my direction and said "You think I haven't tried to justify it to myself all these years? To try and convince myself that I'm the sort of guy Doris would go for?"

"Is that what you really think?" I asked not hiding the incredulity in my voice.

He sighed. It sounded like to came from exhaustion deep within. "I've been in love with her since I was sixteen. She's perfect you know? The perfect amount of everything. Caring, firm, awesome and just....amazing." even though as her brother I was require to believe that half of those things weren't true and that my sister was a bossy bother, I agreed.

I smiled softly "Then why do you think you aren't good enough for her?"

Zen closed his eyes "Do you remember in 9th grade when she went out with Felix Coasta?"

I nodded. One of the few of Doris' relationships I couldn't easily forget.

"That asshole really hurt her badly," I recalled. "She got really drunk and we had to stay with her all night and missed that rave at Glen Morrow." Didn't really matter. The most exciting highlight of the rave was when Kelly Moore revealed she was pregnant and puked.

"Well when you fell asleep, we were still awake," He recalled. A smile brushed his features at the obviously pleasant memory. "Suddenly she stopped humming and opened her eyes still puffy from crying. I thought she was still drunk but there was a scary amount of clarity in her eyes. She said 'One day I'll fall in love with someone worth it and it'll be the adventure of a lifetime.' Then went cold out."

I digested the story. Then raised an eyebrow "And the problem with that is?"

Zen let out a frustrated gust of air "Because I'm not her grand adventure. I'm the perfectly ordinary best friend of her little brother and that's all I'll always be in her eyes."

"How do you know that?" I asked. "Did she ever tell you that herself?"

"It's the truth," He replied standing up to go to his closet.

"Truth is relative."

Zen sighed "Can we just stop talking about it? I just want to sleep or something. Forgot how lumpy my bed back at home was. Dad still doesn't feel the need to change it." His attempt at changing the subject frustrated me. But I knew that poking him wouldn't get me anything but irritation and closed-off answers. I'd give him his space then try again.

"Ok. Sleep well then go make us dinner," I got up from the bed.

"Geez you make it sound like you pay me for it or something boss," He snickered with familiar sarcasm but there was a hint of relief. I patted his shoulder once again before letting him sleep in peace. I went to the living room hoping to catch an episode of Doctor Who on TV but to my greatest surprise, Ulrich was on the couch, sitting upright with his legs stretched over the cushions completely focused on writing in the pad in his hand.

His hair was wet which mean he'd just showered. He wore a white shirt fitted and snug to the muscles I did not even notice that he possessed. Added to were grey sweatpants that were involuntarily pulled down (I hoped) due to how he sat on the couch exposing a trail of dark hair leading downwards.

"Hey," I said taking away his attention from his writing pad.

Ulrich looked up "Oh, good morning."

I chuckled gesturing to the clock over the fireplace that said 12:52 pm "Think we're a little past morning now."

Ulrich glanced at it and his face was suddenly taken over by a deep shade of red "Sorry. Time just gets by me sometimes."

This was good. We were uttering actual comprehensible phrases to each other and I hadn't fallen over his head or something.

(Yet)

"That's ok. I'm just a little surprised to see you out of your room today," I stated. He shrugged turning his attention back to his writing "Undesirable trait of writers I suppose. Virtually hermit."

"But you came out today," I insisted. "What made you come out? I mean I didn't sort of get the impression that you...well-"

"That I don't like you?" Ulrich cut off.

The words were taken right out of my mouth. I didn't say anything but my expression must have given me away because Ulrich tensed then stood up from the couch.

"I'll see you later," He spoke without looking at my face turning towards the stairs. I wanted to say something but my tongue had twisted into a giant knot and I remained mute until I heard the door on the left bang shut.

So much for progress.

Somehow I'd gone and angered him which brought my right back to square one. I sighed, weightlessly dropping myself on the couch which made the remote bounce on the cushions. At least I didn't have to worry anymore about him mistaking my invitation for a date.

Sorry for the short chapter. The next will be much longer and juicier I promise.

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