f o r t y - s i x

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QBTC : how did you find out about this book?

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Our eyes met and I forgot how to breathe

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After almost an hour spent in Xander's presence, cooking whilst trying his hardest to escape any teasing, mishaps or all-around embarrassment, Sage was proud to say he was a survivor.

He survived cooking and working alongside Xander while successfully hiding the reactions of his hormonal pubescent body. For that, he felt an ineffable sense of pride.

It wasn't awkward when they sat down to eat, either, but it was mostly quiet. Sixty percent of the time, Xander would get lost in thoughts and end up habitually pushing the food around on his plate. Despite that, he managed to eat most of it and hence silence the cry for help in his stomach, if nothing else.

Instead of the rehearsal room, they went to Xander's room, where Sage plopped down on the bed, fiddling with his shirt and the straps of the igloo he'd brought from home. Xander stepped in the room shortly after, causing Sage to stare down at his hands as though they were the most mesmerizing things in the world.

For some reason, he could stop neither the trembling of said hands or the way his face heated every time he looked at Xander. Ever since the occurrence in the kitchen, Sage once again began observing just how attractive Xander really was; something Sage had suddenly overlooked since spending more and more time with the senior.

And come to think of it, that was probably for the better. Now, insecurity and thoughts that Xander was out of his league were slowly returning, corrupting Sage's self-esteem and confidence.

"Hey."

Sage almost shrieked when Xander sat next to him on the bed, leaving comfortable space between them.

A-at least he didn't sit too close...

But even so, Sage couldn't help wanting Xander closer. Just a little.

It was a catch 22.

"Hm?" Sage hummed to answer Xander's call before he drowned in his own thoughts. He kept his head down, though.

"Thanks," Xander said. "You don't suck at cooking like I'd thought."

Sage glared. "I-I told you I could cook, Xander. You're so m-mean."

The senior smirked at Sage. "I know." he snorted with that tinge of lightness that made Sage's heart flip. "Anyways, I'm gonna shower, a'right?"

"Mhm." Sage nodded, crossing his arms. Realizing how dumb and inappropriate that must have looked, he dropped his arms again, awkwardly.

Gwah! What is wrong with me?!

Why can't I look at him anymore?

Xander provided the solution for that problem when he took Sage's chin, turning his head so they faced each other.

"Wait for me?"

Sage agreed - probably a little too eagerly.

He could feel heat engulfing his face when Xander never looked away, only continued scrutinizing his face in a painstaking manner. "I-is everything okay?"

Dark brows drawn together, lips tilted in a frown, Xander exuded confusion, as well as a bit of ... conflict?

"You calm me. Why?"

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