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Yeezus Shirt Pack for The Sims 4


So I did a little digging and surprisingly, couldn’t find any Kanye West merch for TS4 that particularly caught my eye, so I made some myself! Worked on these all day and I think they came out great. Unfortunately, right now these are only for sims with a masculine frame. If you would like a feminine frame version, send me an ask and request it. Special thanks to YOUNZOEY once again for their amazing meshes. This pack comes with the 6 designs you see here, one being a design I made myself (the Tie Dye one, of course.) Let me know what you think!

**Requirements**

You MUST have Younzoey’s T-Shirt AM found HERE, in your Mods folder for this to work.

DOWNLOAD Mesh File HERE

DOWNLOAD Shirt Pack HERE (Sim File Share, I do not use Ad.Fly, you must have the mesh found above for this to work.)

Thumbnail Credits:

DO NOT claim as your own, repost without my permission, ect.

If you use this shirt pack in a post please tag me! I would love to see my work put to good use so I encourage it :)

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It was the first of December, 2012 when I first saw you. I don’t think I’ve ever been so mesmerised.

It wasn’t very busy. In fact, it wasn’t busy at all.

Kaspar leaned against the counter, ignoring the ache against his slender hip where it connected with the marble. It wasn’t a good enough pain to shift his concentration away from his phone. He didn’t even know why he was so concentrated—what was even so interesting about Facebook? He wasn’t trying to be big headed or anything, but he kinda felt too good for it. Everyone on the social networking site was more interested in updating their relationship status and taking pictures of their food—seriously, what the hell?—he just felt like his mind was made for better things than taking pictures and updating people on pointless things in his life.

Plus, the people on his friend list would most likely get bored of countless pictures of pasta and a constant “Single: I’m too scared to get into a relationship” relationship status.

The blond ignored his shiver, caused by the door opening wide enough for someone to let the cold air of December in. It hadn’t snowed yet, but it was extremely frosty and pretty much freezing. He was glad the coffee shop wasn’t too far away from the university and that he didn’t have to be outside in the cold much—everyone wrapped in bundles of clothes still looked freezing, despite their layers. He came from Canada where winters could be fucking deadly, but he preferred comfort of his own home anyways.

“Kaspar, there’s a customer waiting!” His boss shouted before going into the back. The door swung angrily, so he knew he had better get a move on and serve someone. He had no idea why he even worked here. It wasn’t like he needed to, really. All of the funding for his university was done by the school and his apartment was already bought for him by his grandfather. Apparently, he’d travelled to the UK to study as well, only he’d gone for psychology instead. He had no idea why—he’d barely even known his granddad—but he felt like they were similar, like maybe he’d gotten his scientific brain from him and not his parents. His mum was somewhat into biology, but not as in detail as him. His dad wasn’t interested in biology at all, he was a more law and politics guy. Maybe by studying biology and criminology, he’d kind of taken after all three of them, actually.

Well, that was pretty predicted. Genetics, after all. It didn’t really take a biologist to realise that.

Once he’d served the last customer, he went back to Facebook, scrolling down endless statuses of ‘OMG just saw a movie at the cinema!’ and ‘I hate it when people…!’ He figured that since it was late and everyone was beginning to leave, he probably wouldn’t have any more work to do and took off his apron, hanging it up on the hook provided. Even if he did have to serve a few more customers, it wasn’t like he’d get coffee on his shirt because he was careful, but if he did, he was leaving soon anyways and could wash it the moment he got home.

As he was scanning the area, his eyes caught a brunette boy, probably not much older than he was—perhaps even the same age— hunched over a book, his eyes scanning the page quickly and his lips open in a small drop as if he couldn’t believe what he was reading. With his contacts in, he was at a comfortable enough distance to judge that it was a fiction book he was reading, so maybe it was exciting. He should’ve looked away after he’d realised that, but couldn’t. It was like he was glue—Kaspar couldn’t take his eyes off him. He tried to tell himself that there was no reason for him to be staring—that the stranger wasn’t even that good looking, but he was.

He was the best looking person he’d ever seen, actually.

He glanced around the room again quickly, half to see if anyone else was looking at the brunet stranger, half to see if anyone was looking at him looking at the brunet stranger. Once the answer to both of those was no, he stared at the stranger again, finding himself becoming… calm. Despite the boy being clearly anxious because of his book, it made him feel relaxed on the inside. That was weird.

Part of him was afraid he would look up at any minute and catch him, but his reflexes were quick enough that he could look away, and so he kept on staring. He admitted to himself quickly that he was good looking, and he kept on blinking just to make sure he was real. At standing point, he probably would’ve hit the 6’0 mark, or maybe even taller, but not as tall as Xavier. His hair was rather voluptuous and had some height, so that might’ve made him appear taller than he actually was. Although possibly deceiving, his hair was nice too—a brown, chestnut colour that looked unruly, as if maybe he tried to style it, but it ended up inevitably styling itself. His skin was tanned and even though he had a t-shirt on, Kaspar could tell he was slim and defined. It seemed like every inch of him was perfect, and again, he done a once-over of the room to make sure nobody else could witness him ogling him.

His imagination was startled when the brunet slammed the book shut and groaned quietly, shoving the heels of his hands into his closed eyes. Kaspar smiled slightly and looked down at where his fingers were drumming an unsymmetrical tune on the table in front of him, knowing fine well what had just happened. Something had happened in the book which he hadn’t wanted to. He didn’t read books often, but knew the reaction well enough to know that was probably it.

To his dismay, the stranger got up after that and put his empty coffee cup in the bin, shrugging on a jacket to leave.

The blond stayed at his counter, wondering if that had all really just happened or if he’d made the person up.

I dreamt of you that night, you know. It was so weird. So weird that I’d never even think of telling anyone about it. Even Xavier. I’d never even heard you speak, never heard your voice or your accent, so I don’t know how exactly I imagined it—I just imagined your lips moving, and then the sound came out as if I encouraged it. I hope I did. You spoke to me and then offered me your hand, but then you disappeared—as if you were giving me what I wanted, your touch, but then reminding me that I wouldn’t have it. Because I didn’t know you.

And I might never will.

The next time they almost met, they were much closer.

Kaspar heard his accent this time, and his voice. It was deep, and laced with thick Spanish pronunciation. It was a little unexpected, but judging by his tan, the blond had already deemed him from a hotter country than the UK. He probably came here for school, or to visit family, he guessed. He also noticed that his eyes were grey, something he hadn’t been able to see last time because he’d been so far away. His jaw was strong and his cheekbones were defined. He could’ve been a model—he probably was. He was the kind of person that everyone definitely found attractive. Nobody alive would say he wasn’t completely handsome. His entire face just kind of looked like a gift to the world.

Swallowing thickly, Kaspar continued to stare as he spoke to the person serving them, a smile on his face as he asked her animatedly about her day. She replied with that it was boring, and he laughed in sympathy before looking at the Canadian, a smile on his face. Kaspar felt his face heat up significantly, despite the cold weather, and he looked away immediately, finding that his reflexes were not as quick as he’d hoped. The guy definitely saw him looking, and probably thought he was a creep now.

He turned away and continued refilling one of the coffee makers, issuing someone an internet code when they wanted one. He hoped the brunet would go to the seating area that his back was turned to, where he wouldn’t need to see his blushing face, but he went to his usual seat instead, which was right in front of him, forcing him to turn away “conveniently” as he was finished with the machine. The girl he worked with, Jennifer, raised an eyebrow at him knowingly, but he ignored her and insisted he had to help in the back today.

I don’t know why I was so afraid to look at you. I was scared that you’d know, I guess. And maybe you wouldn’t like me to be looking at you. Maybe you might’ve been self-conscious, or maybe you were big headed and had people staring at you all the time. I don’t know. I don’t know because I didn’t know you. But I wanted to, I wanted to so badly.

“Are you ever going to serve him?” Jennifer decided to ask him one day when he’d walked away to his usual seat. Kaspar turned to her to answer and studied her before doing so, knowing that she already knew the answer, but also wondering if he could at least withhold some of his dignity. She had straight back hair and hazel eyes, with a full fringe that was getting so long it almost obscured her eyebrows. Her lips were shiny with lip gloss and the rest of her mid-length hair was tied into a swishy pony tail behind her head.

“Why should I serve him when I have you?” He went for charming, giving her a closed-lipped, sweet smile. She rolled her eyes in return as if used to his antics and pulled a nail file out of her apron, leaning backwards to steady herself on the counter. “I thought you liked serving guys anyways?”

“Yeah, guys that I have a potential to be with,” She chuckled, glancing to the Spaniard who was reading a few tables away. “He’s not really my type, I guess,”

“What is your type then?” Kaspar laughed, folding his arms as he watched her inspect her nails. He would’ve mocked her by inspecting his own, but they were pretty much normal. He had long, slender fingers and short nails, nothing special. He didn’t want to focus her attention on his hands anyways.

“Oh, y’know,” She stared into space for a second and twirled her nail file in her hand, as if she was thinking. Kaspar didn’t think she needed to think. She’d been with enough guys to know what she liked. “Guys like Xavier,”

Rolling his eyes, Kaspar chuckled and shifted on his feet. “So basically blond pranksters who study physics in university?”

“No!” She insisted, shrugging a bit. “Tall blonde’s with a lotta muscle…”

Kaspar’s jaw dropped. “I’m a tall blonde! And I have… some muscle…”

Jennifer laughed. “Your hair is like… highlighted, though! His is just all blond and he’s 6’4!”

“6’3 and ¾,” Kaspar corrected, pouting a bit. “What’s wrong with that guy?” He bobbed his head discreetly to the reading brunet.

“I dunno,” She shrugged. “He’s hot, I mean I’m not gonna deny that, but… he seems too… patient, for me. I like someone loud and outgoing, you know that,”

“I know, but I just thought—… never mind,” He mumbled, a blush rising to his cheeks. “He might be outgoing, you don’t know him!”

“No, go on, you can tell me,” She urged, nudging him in the ribs with her elbow. She was usually extremely cheery and playful, but her concerned frown told him she could be a good listener as well. “What is it that you thought?”

“Well… I just thought he was the kind of guy that would be everybody’s type… y’know?”

“Ohhhh,” Jennifer nodded, her worried expression leaving her face. “Well, I guess he is… I mean, if he asked me out, I wouldn’t say no, but he isn’t a guy I’d stare at and fawn over, like you do,” She added a smirk to the end of her comment, causing the blond to blush harder.

“I do not stare. I just—”

“Honestly babe, I can’t tell if you wanna be him or be on top of him,” She giggled, putting her nail file away only to pull out a lip gloss and smear some more on her mouth.

“I want neither!” Kaspar maintained, his attention stolen so much by her that he didn’t notice the tall figure making his way up to the counter. Jennifer took a few steps backwards when she noticed, the smirk still on her face, before she adopted a fake look of recognition, looking over the Canadian’s shoulder.

“Oh, hi! I’d totally serve you right now, but I gotta go fix my hair,” She gave Kaspar a sly smile before opening the door with her hip and walking backwards into the staff room.

“You don’t have t—!” Kaspar sighed and turned around to face the handsome stranger, trying not to look at him too much. “What can I do for you?” He asked politely, daring a glance up at him. He had a friendly and knowing smile, making the blond think that perhaps he knew about his secret-almost-crush on him.

“Can I… just get another coffee to go?” He asked, the smile still plastered on his face. Kaspar nodded and swallowed, going away to grab a cup without another word. He made the coffee normally and then grabbed a lid, going back up to him. He cleared his throat to make sure it didn’t break whilst talking to him—that would be all he needed to embarrass himself. He briefly remembered thinking that he hoped the guy liked his voice before he spoke.

“D’you want… anything extra on it? Y’know like… cream or anything?” He asked, using his question as an excuse to study his face.

He shook his head and kept on smiling. “Nah, just the coffee is fine,”

Nodding in response since he couldn’t think of anything witty or flirtatious to say, he put the lid on and shoved a straw through the hole, putting it up on the counter for him. He attempted a smile, but it gradually faded as the stranger just… stared back at him. His expression turned to one of expectance and even questioning, silently asking why the fuck this guy was making it so awkward. He was just… staring. Seriously, just take the coffee and leave, man…

The brunet looked amused, rubbing his lips together as he waited for Kaspar to notice.

Eventually, noticing that the blond wasn’t going to catch on anytime soon, he took the coffee in his hand and tried not to laugh. “Don’t you want me to pay for it?”

Realising he hadn’t even asked for the money and he’d been too busy focused on the mystery guy, he blinked and scrambled to open the till. “Shit, right, yeah… um… I mean yeah, you have to pay for it… obviously,” He laughed.

Once they’d exchanged over the money, the brunet seemed to inspect around the cup, as if he was looking for something specific, before pouting a bit and then walking off without another word. When he told Jennifer about it later, she insisted he was probably looking to see if Kaspar had left his number on the cup, but that was stupid. He was probably just making sure the cup wasn’t broken anywhere or something.

——–

“Why don’t you two just stop flirting with each other and go out?” The Canadian complained one night, smiling goodbye to a regular customer. Xavier leaned on the counter between him and Jennifer and said girl had unbuttoned the top two buttons of her shirt. She didn’t know that even a completely naked woman wouldn’t turn Xavier straight.

Jennifer looked at Xavier expectantly after Kaspar said that, but Xavier chuckled and scratched behind his head, leaning up off the counter. “I would if I was straight, honestly. If I was straight, I’d be all over you,”

“…Nice… real nice,” Kaspar sarcastically commented, walking up to chat with them when it looked like they’d have no other customers.

“What? I would be!” Xavier tried to defend himself as best he could. “She’s pretty good looking!”

“Thank you, Xavier!” Jennifer looked specifically at Kaspar with an expectant look on her face. “See, maybe if you’d complimented me like that then we would have dated!”

“…We never would have dated,” Kaspar corrected her. “You were in a relationship when we first met. We friend-zoned each other immediately,”

Jennifer rolled her eyes. “Well we might’ve if you’d flirted with me a little bit! I think I might like having you as a friend better anyways, I always wanted a gay best friend!”

“I’m not gay, I’m bi, and not all gay men are going to give you fashion and hair advice and speak in a high voice…” Kaspar rolled his eyes back and turned to an entertained looking Xavier.

“I’ll give you fashion advice!” He suggested with an excited grin.

“Oh God, no, don’t take fashion advice from him! You should see what he wears when he isn’t going outside,”

“What d’you wear?” Jennifer asked, interested now that Kas had said that.

“Nothing.” Kaspar interrupted again. “He actually wears nothing, I’m not joking,”

“Really?” Jennifer chuckled.

“What? I need to give the boys some space!”

“You’re vile,” Kaspar shook his head and laughed, wondering why he was even friends with Xavier. Jennifer done the same, laughing and moving away from him.

“TMI, man!” Her eyes were redirected to the door and she smirked slyly, moving back to Xavier to whisper something to him.

“Hey, what’re you guys saying about me?” Kaspar pouted, knowing they were probably talking to him since they’d dropped their voices.

“Oh, nothing,” The Australian girl bit one end of her lip and Xavier smirked knowingly as well, both of their eyes trained on him as if he had something funny on his face.

“What is it?” He dragged his hand across his mouth and pulled back to inspect it, but there was nothing there. “Come on, guys! Is there a bug on me or something?” He looked over his left shoulder, glancing up immediately when there was a customer he hadn’t even noticed. He started stuttering when it was the Spaniard he’d slowly started crushing on, blinking to try and bring his focus back. A loud clanging noise echoed beside him and he bent down to pick up the spoon he’d just accidentally slapped off the counter. “Fuck, shit, fucking hell, oh God, I’m sorry, I mean uh… what can I… get you?” He exhaled to try and cool his burning face down.

He sent a side-glare to Jennifer and Xavier who started sniggering immediately, turning away to giggle at him, just catching on to the fact that they’d known he was there the entire time and had waited for him to do something so embarrassing. The guy also looked like he was trying to hold in laughter, but as if he’d found his embarrassment kind of endearing, or maybe he felt sorry for him. “Just the usual, thanks,”

“Right… Sure,” He scowled at the pair laughing loudly at him again and went to make him his usual, wondering how the guy knew that he’d memorised how he took his coffee. Well, he had been here quite a few times, and his ‘usual’ wasn’t very complicated or anything.

“Oh, I’ll get that!” Jennifer intervened when she noticed Kaspar almost finishing the coffee. He stared, puzzled, at her, as she whipped out a pen and scribbled something on the Styrofoam quickly, handing it to the brunet before he could even get a word in.

“What was that? What did you just write on that?” Kaspar’s eyes flickered between Jennifer and the customer, anxiously waiting for someone to answer him, but nobody did.

Until, “Thanks, Kaspar,” The Spaniard smiled and walked away to his usual seat.

“What? Kaspar? What did y—how does he know my name?!”

“What?” Jennifer asked in a defensive tone, her eyes going wide. “At least now you’re closer to actually undressing him rather than just undressing him with your eyes!”

At this, there was a loud bark of laughter and approval from behind her. Xavier stopped abruptly and cleared his throat when Kaspar glared at him again. “Sorry… Sorry…”

“I do not want to undress him! What did you write?!” He demanded. Jennifer rolled her eyes and smiled.

“Don’t worry, I didn’t give him your number, I just told him your name,” She shrugged. “That’s alright, isn’t it? At least now he’ll know what to scream out when he—”

“Oh my God,” Kaspar interrupted to stop her right there. “I swear, you are like a female version of him!” He pointed to a giggling Xavier in the background, who again stopped when the attention was focused on him.

“Uh, excuse you,” Jennifer pointed back at him. “But I am not a blonde with a steroid problem who sexualises everything!”

“Hey, I don’t take steroids! My muscles are all natural!” Xavier called her out, pouting and frowning at her.

Jennifer rolled her eyes without turning to look at him. “Look Kas, in all honesty, if I hadn’t forced you to serve him last month and then told him your name, you guy’s would have still been having creepy eye-sex from the corner of your eye every time he was in here, and yes, that’s hot, but at least with me you guys are making progress! You’re lucky to have me!”

“She’s right, y’know,” Xavier spoke up again. “If she hadn’t intervened, you probably wouldn’t have even spoke to him at all,”

“Thank you!” Jennifer stressed. “See? Even Xavier is agreeing with me, so will you just thank me and give me a hug now?” She held her arms out and Kaspar rolled his eyes again, walking into them and wrapping his own arms around her back.

“Thanks then, I guess,”

“You can repay me by covering for me on Saturday night, I have a date!” The Australian quickly pulled away from him and ran into the back, leaving him with his jaw open. He stared at Xavier who was hiding a smile behind his palm.

“Did you just hear that?!”

“I did,” Xavier nodded, “Who’s she going out with?” He suddenly frowned.

Kaspar shrugged. “Dunno, probably some guy from her class again. She’s convinced that if she wears a shorter skirt each time she goes out with him, then she’ll get laid,”

The blond laughed loudly for a second. “She probably will, knowing her,”

“Yeah, I know,”

Fifteen minutes later, the Spaniard approached the counter again slowly, looking hesitant as if he’d somehow interrupt their conversation. Didn’t he know that the aim of this was that he was the customer and he should be the one getting the attention? Since Jennifer was still in the back doing only God knows what, he steadily walked over to him and smiled uncertainly, a questioning glance on his face.

“Um, can I help—?”

“I just thought I’d give you this back,” He grinned and thrust the Styrofoam cup into Kaspar’s hands, walking away without another word. Said blond looked down in confusion, frowning.

“How rude! Seriously, did you just see that?! Do I look like a trash can today or something?!” He ranted at Xavier. His confusion furthered when Xavier smiled wisely and took the container from him, spinning it around in his hands as the Canadian continued to moan.

“Who does that?! What am I supposed to do with that?! Can he seriously not walk three metres to the trash!? I can’t believe the fucking nerve of hi—”

“Kas, shut up and read.” Xavier commanded, holding a certain part of the cup towards him. He stopped his raging to frown at the offending item, snatching it out of his hands to read it.

~ His name is Kaspar. Kahs—per ~

~ Hi Kaspar. My name is Leandro. Lay—Anne—Droh (: ~

He looked back up at a smirking Xavier, still somewhat baffled. “Now what? What does this mean?!” He started panicking again.

“It means the ball is in your court!” Xavier stressed. “You told him your name, he told you his name—”

“Hey!” Kaspar interrupted. “I did not tell him my name, Jen did,”

“Right, whatever,” He rolled his eyes in response. “Jen told him your name, he retaliated by telling you his name. This is a good sign, Kaspar! He even put a smiley on the end, look!”

“What is a smiley? One of those happy faces? Why would he put a happy face? What is he implying?”

Giving a tired and deadpan expression, Xavier sighed. “Kas, not everything has to have some sort of implication behind it. He put a smiley because he’s being friendly, basically. He’s open for a friendship, maybe more as you get to know each other!”

“But how am I gonna get to know him? I can’t even talk to him,” Kaspar shrugged, a somewhat sad look on his face as he finally admitted his problem.

“You can be charming when you want to. What’s the problem around him?” Xavier wondered aloud.

“I dunno… guys like him just don’t talk to guys like me,” He laughed and closed up again, moving to fiddle with a broken button on the coffee maker.

Xavier was determined not to make him become quiet again. “What do you mean? What is a guy like him and what is a guy like you?”

“He’s… like… I dunno,” Kaspar sighed, figuring that Xavier had dated tonnes of guys, so he probably had some good (or worthwhile) advice. “Popular? He probably has enough guys fawning over him,”

“And what is a guy like you?”

“…I dunno? Smart?”

Xavier gave a disbelieving laugh and shifted in his seat, sucking in through his teeth. “Oh boy, this is gonna take a while. Okay, Kas? First of all, stop judging a book based on its cover.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense, he’s not an object and I can judge him based on his attitude and outwards appearance easily—”

“Okay, it’s a metaphor?” At this, Kaspar blushed. “You use your weird mind tricks to get into people’s heads and find out about them, that’s cool, I get that, but… for once… don’t? Don’t think of him as someone who has to be analysed. He’s a person, not some criminal that you need to examine. Why don’t, instead of studying him, get to know him? Let him tell you about himself, don’t find out using your own resources.”

“But—”

“I’m not finished. Now, secondly, I don’t know why, but you have this… irrational tendency to despise people when they underestimate you, correct?”

Kaspar nodded, glancing to the side for a moment.

“Well, you underestimate yourself. You think that you’re this unlikeable guy, but Kas, you’re not. You just don’t have the confidence to start conversations with hot people, I get it,”

“Hey!”

“Shut up, it’s true. Now, I don’t mean any offense by this, but when you get nervous, you speak in the only way which you can, which means all these biological big words that nobody knows nor gives a shit about. Don’t do that,”

“So… are you saying I should dumb myself down for a guy?”

“No,” Xavier sighed, bowing his head for a moment at how hard this was. “Just… don’t… speak in biological terms? Kas, not everyone is as smart as you. Nobody knows what you are talking about when you rabbit on about DNA and stuff. If he happens to say something that you disagree with, you don’t need to correct him. It really gets fuckin’ annoying,”

“But I just—”

“I’m not telling you to be a different person or anything, okay? Just… analysing people has become second nature to you… it’s like… speaking Finnish with me, but you don’t need to do it. Leandro will most likely gladly tell you anything about him if you ask. It’s that simple. Plus, another thing, how exciting is a relationship gonna be if you already know everything about him? What do you expect to do, analyse every single person until you find the right one that suits your expectations?”

“No, but that’s exactly what I’m saying,” Kaspar laughed a bit. “Leandro is… way above my standards…”

“You mean he’s out of your league?” Xavier raised an eyebrow.

“…Well, yeah, look at him.”

“Again, you’re judging him. Kas, stop. Stop! Why do you think he wouldn’t go for y— Kas, do you even realise how many girls come in here just to sit and giggle and stare at you?” He shook his head. “I don’t know how many times I’ve saw a girl biting their lip when you bend over to clean a table,”

“You’re just making that up to make me feel better,”

“No, I’m not,” Xavier laughed. “I don’t know who put it into your head that you’re ‘ugly’ or whatever, but you’re not. And Leandro doesn’t think so either if he gave you his name,”

“That’s just his name,” Kaspar rolled his eyes. “He probably got sick of Jennifer calling him the ‘hot Spanish piece of ass,’”

“No, he didn’t. He specifically called you out by your own name and then responded by telling you his own, Kas he is into you! If he wasn’t, he would’ve just thrown it in the bin and walked out, but he actually took the time to make sure you knew his name. I’m telling you, he responded positively, if you just did things the right way, which I know you can do, then you’ll probably have a date in no time,”

“But I won’t,” The blond laughed. “He’s not gonna be into me.”

“Okay, Jesus Christ, forgive me, I’m about to sound like a girl,” He took a deep breath and prepared himself. “Kas, you are not bad looking. I’m gonna confess, when we first met, you kinda confirmed for me that I was gay. Yeah, you don’t look like me,” He smirked, making Kaspar roll his eyes again. “But seriously, you have really pretty eyes, and there is nothing wrong with you. You’re not… unattractive… at all? I don’t get what the problem is,”

“What’re you guys talking about?” Jennifer took this moment to come out and frowned at Kaspar, just catching the end of Xavier’s rant. “Kas, you think you’re unattractive?”

“Great,” Kaspar rolled his eyes again and groaned.

“Isn’t he not ugly? Wouldn’t Leandro be into him?”

“Leandro?” Jennifer tilted her head. “Who’s Leandro?”

“The Spanish guy?”

At this, her eyes lit up. “Oh, him! Kas, you got his name?!”

“He put it on the cup, Xavier seems to think this is a good thing,”

“It is!” Jennifer gasped, picking up the cup and slowly grinning. “He even put a smiley face!” She and Xavier shared knowing smiles.

“How on earth is this a good thing? It’s just a name!” Kaspar tried to stress.

Xavier slapped his hand on the counter and sighed. “Oh my God, Jen, you explain!”

“He gave you his name because he wants to tap that a—!”

“Not in that way. More sensitive,” Xavier ordered.

“Oh, okay! Well, basically, by giving you his name, it means he likes you back,”

“He’s a stranger and we know nothing about each other, how could we possibly like each other?” Kaspar asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Okay, you do not know how dating works, do you?” Jennifer smiled knowingly and patted the counter, hoisting herself up onto it and encouraging him to do the same by patting it again. “Get up, listen to wise Jen.”

Kaspar did as she said, swinging his legs and looking behind him to make sure nobody wanted service. “Okay, go?”

“If he didn’t wanna know you, he’d have just left without saying anything, but he replied! Don’t you see?”

“See… what?”

“Kas, for goodness sakes, you’re supposed to be smart, how can you not get this?!” Xavier interrupted, almost tugging his hair out from frustration.

“Don’t get annoyed with him, he’s just inexperienced,” Jennifer scolded, hitting Xavier lightly. The Finnish man rubbed at his eyes before blinking and sighing, waiting for Jennifer to explain better than he had. “Okay, what exactly is the problem?”

Kaspar sighed. “Xavier says the smiley is an implication of friendship, which also therefore implies that he wants to get to know me… and I don’t know how that works,” He blushed slightly, his jaw and cheeks turning light rosy.

“Okay, see when you ramble on about biology? Don’t do that—”

“That’s what he just said, I don’t get this at all! Dating is stupid,” He grumbled and jumped off the edge of the counter, frowning in frustration.

“Okay, honey, don’t get annoyed. What I mean to say is that nobody knows how to respond when you start talking like Einstein,”

“Einstein was a physicist,” Xavier interrupted with a quiet murmur.

“Okay, quick, gimme a famous biologist,”

“Alexander Fleming?” Kaspar asked in a ‘duh’ tone.

“Who the hell is that?” Jennifer screwed up her face.

“…He invented penicillin and discovered lysozyme?”

“Oh! Right, well, when you start talking like this Alexander Mucus kid—”

“Fleming, oh my God,” Kaspar started giggling and put his face in his hands for a moment.

“Okay, can you not? I’m feeling a little stupid at the moment. Right, Fleming, whatever, when you start talking like him, nobody knows what the hell is going on, and frankly, we kinda get a little scared. We have no idea how to respond to you when you start talking about freaking enzymes and the human nature, okay? Instead of talking about biology, answer in terms that a normal person would understand.”

“…Should I act as if I’m speaking to a child? Won’t he find that patronising?”

“No, see the way we’re talking right now? Talk to him like that. But don’t get nervous, that’s when your mouth starts to get all scientifical,”

“That’s… not even a word, but okay, I—”

“We want your mouth to be giving off the impression that you’ll suck him off, not that you practise biology speeches for fun,” Xavier interjected bluntly.

“I do not!”

“Okay I do not need to know what you’re gonna be doing with your mouth,” Jennifer adopted a repulsed expression. “Just speak to him, Kas. Ask him how he’s doing the next time he asks for a coffee,” She shrugged.

“But… what do I say after he replies ‘yeah I’m fine’ or something?” He replied.

“Chances are he’ll ask how you are back, then just say you’re fine, and then smile and let him go,” Jennifer shrugged again and Xavier nodded beside her.

“Is that it?” Kaspar shook his head.

“Well, you can flirt a little if you want? Ask if he’s been working out lately,”

“Ask if he’s into anal,” Xavier suggested.

“…Okay, now I know you’re joking.”

“Really, what gave it away?” Xavier grinned. “The fact he doesn’t have a va—”

“I’m DONE with both of you. Thanks for all the unhelpful help,” He smiled and shook his head. Xavier seemed to catch onto what he’d done, but Jennifer didn’t, beaming at him.

“It’s alright! Just make sure I’m there the next time you do it, I’ll help you! Oh! We can act like spies and wear earpieces and stuff!”

“…It’s not gonna come to that, Jen,”

She pouted. “It might!”

——–

“Okay, go!” Jennifer gave him a little shove of encouragement in Leandro’s direction. Kaspar looked helplessly back at her and then went up to the Spaniard’s table, clearing his throat to get his attention.

“Hey, uh, I was just… wondering… d’you want… a refill? They’re free on Saturdays after six… that’s… why I’m even asking,” He scratched behind his ear, even though it wasn’t itchy, and glanced away to Jennifer and Xavier, who discreetly gave him two thumbs-ups.

Leandro chuckled and nodded. “Sure, Kaspar. Thanks,” He smiled.

“…Right…” The Canadian walked away to get it, breathing a sigh out. He quickly made the coffee and then thrust it towards Jennifer. “I’m too nervous, you need to go,”

“But you were doing so well!” She exclaimed, putting it back down on the counter.

“No, really, I can’t, my hands are getting sweaty. You need to go give him it,” He wiped his palms on his jeans and looked up in disappointment with himself to Xavier, who half smiled at him in reassurance.

“Don’t worry, at least you said more than five words to him today!”

“Oh, shut up,”

Jennifer sighed and swiped the cup up with her newly manicured, smiling at him charmingly and putting it on his table, having a small chat with him before she came back and raised her eyebrow at Kaspar. He stared back at her like a puppy who’d just been given into trouble and sighed, going away to serve someone else.

——-

“They are not dating, Kas,” Xavier said for the fifth time, glancing at Leandro and his companion. They were at his usual seat, so they both had good views of each other, but it seemed none of them were having, as Jennifer so politely put it, “eye-sex” today. Leandro looked way too focused on his new boyfriend or whatever.

“Shut up,” Jennifer hissed quietly to him, again, for the fifth time. “They might be! And lying to him isn’t going to make it any better! I don’t know where we went wrong,” She began to whine, her eyebrows drooping at the ends in hopelessness. “How did we not know he had a boyfriend?!”

“He doesn’t have a boyfriend. They’re not dating.” Xavier shook his head. He sounded pretty sure of himself, but also like he was trying to convince himself of that fact at the same time.

“They look like they are,” Kaspar grimaced as the noticeably shorter one laughed, Leandro’s fingers gliding over his ribcage as he tickled him.

“I tickle you all the time, they’re not dating.”

“Will you please shut up?” Jennifer slapped her palm on the counter and turned to Xavier with a glare that could rival Satan’s, a hand on her hip—a sure sign she was ready to give him into trouble. “You are not making this any easier for him! You don’t know that they aren’t dating. If they are, then we need a plan to split them up, but that’s not going to be easy since Vermont here wouldn’t know how to flirt even if his life depended on it,”

“Hey!” Kaspar protested, a small pout forming on his lips. “I… probably could if my life depended on it…”

Jennifer raised her eyebrow. “Let’s be real, sweetie, you can’t, and you’re gonna have to learn so that Leandro dumps his boyfriend’s ass for yours!”

“I don’t want him to dump someone for me,” Kaspar mumbled miserably. “And I don’t want him to fall for my ass either,”

“Not like he would, I mean when’s the last time you worked out?” Xavier chuckled, but his smile dropped when he got an offended look from both Kaspar and Jennifer.

“Excuse you, the last time I worked out was last night and my ass is way be—”

Xavier smirked. “Why are you suddenly working out, Kas?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Oooh, that’s interesting,” Jennifer grinned and stared at him in interrogation also.

“Four months ago you refused to work out but suddenly Leandro comes along and you’re working out at night?”

“I am not working out just because of Leandro! My… muscles were starting to fade!” Kaspar blushed under both of their stares and swallowed, trying to look away to stop the blush.

“What muscles?” Xavier asked in a scarily honest tone.

“Shut the fuck up!” Kaspar suddenly glared at him. “The muscles on my body obv—”

“Your ass muscles?” He started sniggering. “Wanna make it tight for Leandro?”

Jennifer also started laughing, but at least she hid hers behind her hand.

“…I’m… completely done with you two,” He tried not to laugh in embarrassment, but it dropped when he heard more giggling from across the room. He breathed in deeply, sighing afterwards.

“Trust me, they’re not dating,” Xavier repeated. Jennifer turned to him with another glare.

“Stop saying tha– where are you going?” She watched blankly as Xavier approached Leandro and the boy with a confidence only he could muster. All she heard was an overly sweet ‘hi’ before he started talking too quickly. She grabbed Kaspar’s arm where he was cleaning the counter with a cloth and tugged him into the  back.

“Ow!” He pouted at the nails digging into his bicep. “Jen, what the hell? Why are we back here?”

“I think Xavier’s asking Leandro if they’re together,” She gestured for Kaspar to help her up to the window of the door so she could spy on them.

With a huff, Kaspar bent down and grabbed one of her legs, settling his shoulder under her bum. She was too small to simply go on his back, so he figured this way was better. She was wobbly, but clutched onto the rim of the window to keep herself up.

“What do you see?” Kaspar asked in a groaning tone. The pressure on his lungs wasn’t exactly comfortable.

“It looks good, he doesn’t look like he’s offended him… yet. Leandro’s laughing at him, but the other guy looks moody,” She whispered.

“What do you mean, moody? Do you think Xavier said something to th–”

“Quick, put me down he’s coming back! Oh holy shit, he’s coming in, Kas, move!”

“He’s not even supposed to come in here!” Kaspar hissed back at her, trying to move out of the way of the door as quickly as possible. Jennifer stumbled when jumping off of his shoulder, and got the buckle of her heel caught in his jumper, but other than that, they made it out unscathed.

“I told you s– what the fuck?” Xavier’s expression turned from one of happiness to confusion as he looked at Jennifer, standing with one of her feet attached to Kaspar’s elbow.

“It’s– nothing,” Jennifer huffed as she got her foot loose. “What did he say?!” She asked excitedly.

“They’re not dating,” He said proudly, folding his arms over a puffed out chest. “Told you so~”

“Wait, really? Ah, Kas, that’s great!” Jennifer grinned widely and started bouncing on her toes next to him, gripping his elbow with her hands again.

It was good news, but he still couldn’t fight a nagging feeling in his chest. The boy who’d been with Leandro was good looking– with pretty shaped eyes and a cute smile and nicely-styled brunet hair. And then here he was– with messy blond hair and unnatural green eyes. If Leandro wasn’t dating the other boy, then he would never date him either.

“What’s wrong?” Jennifer asked, noting his sudden drop in happiness.

“Nothing,” He gave a weak smile and blinked, rubbing his hands over his eyes. “Just tired today,” Without adding anything on, he went back out into the café and started wiping up the counter again, making sure there was no spilled coffee, water or sugar. He had been lost in his miserable thoughts again before a 'bye Kaspar!’ made him look up. Leandro waved and smiled to him before leaving, and his heart skipped a beat just at the look of that grin.

——-

“I will give you a hundred bucks if you just ask him on one date,” Jennifer flatly requested.

“No,” Kaspar laughed. “I don’t even know him well enough to ask him on a date. The only thing I know is his name,” He refused.

Jennifer rolled her eyes, turning to give Xavier a knowing look. “He’s due in here in around fifteen minutes, by the time he’s gone, I want you to know his age, his birthday, where he comes from, and what he studies at school. Sound good?”

“No!” Kaspar said instantly, eyes wide. “It doesn’t sound good at all, I don’t want him to think I’m interviewing him!”

“He won’t, see, what you need is conversation skills,” Jennifer decided. Xavier nodded along in the background, sucking on a milkshake. “You don’t ask him quick-fire questions like it’s an interview, you just… slip things in, subtly, to get him talking,”

“What do you even mean?” Kaspar frowned. “Slip what in where?” He put on a hopeless look. “Guys, if that’s some sort of innuendo–”

“It’s not an innuendo,” Xavier rolled his eyes. “You’d know if it was, because I’d have laughed,”

That was true… “Look,” Jennifer grabbed his attention again. “Just… tell him that coffee will give him energy for whatever he’s studying, then, he’ll reply by telling you what he studies. Personally, I hope it’s the romance languages, because damn, do I love a boy who can speak Spanish or French,”

“bonjour jolie fille,” Kaspar smirked at the same time as Xavier muttered a small, “Hola hermosa,”

“Aw, you guys are sweet,” She smiled, patting Kaspar on the back. She scrunched up her nose. “But he’s gay, and you’re gonna be dating this guy, so no can do,”

“I’m not going to be dating this guy, shut up,” Kaspar chuckled embarrassedly. He really wasn’t though– he barely even knew him!

“Do you remember what I told you?” Jennifer mumbled beside him, her head down. She acted distracted, tucking her hair behind her ear.

“Told me about what?” Kaspar frowned, having no idea.

“Hey, Kaspar,”

The blond looked up to see a cute and grinning brunet, staring at him intently with his hand on the strap of his bag.

“Hi,” Kaspar said slightly breathlessly, staring at him for a few seconds in shock at how pretty he was. “Uh, the usual?” He grabbed a cup.

“Ummm,” Instead of going over to the left of the café like he usually did with a book or his laptop, nearest the plug sockets, he took a seat at the counter. “Nah, give me a hot chocolate today please? It’s really cold outside,”

A little taken aback that he would be sitting within ear-shot today, Kaspar nodded mutely and began preparing one for him, slipping a monster munch into his mouth as he worked. It was quiet enough that he could do it without getting caught or moaned at, and he was pretty sure Leandro wouldn’t mind either.

Just as he was about to put the lid over the cup, Leandro commented. “Y'know, you have really beautiful eyes,”

“What?” Out of the corner of his eye, Kaspar saw both Jennifer and Xavier’s head’s snap up at the same time in surprise. He stared at him in disbelief for a few seconds, waiting for him to elaborate or say 'just kidding!’. Instead, he received a stinging, dripping sensation all over his hand.

“MOTHERFUCK–” He gasped in pain and waved his hand around. Jennifer muttered profanities as she wiped up the hot chocolate for him and asked him if he was alright, and Xavier started snickering in the corner. Leandro watched them in shock and partial guilt, thinking it was his fault for distracting him. Mortified and embarrassed, Kaspar quickly escaped to the back where there were multiple sinks, blowing on his hands and hissing. Leandro was really damn lucky he was pretty.

“Is he okay?” Leandro asked concernedly, glancing at the door Kaspar had just ran into. Jennifer finished wiping up the hot liquid and nodded, a small smile on her face.

“He’ll be fine, he’s just not used to being complimented by good looking people,” She said sympathetically.

Leandro nodded as if he understood, but honestly, he didn’t. Didn’t Kaspar get complimented all the time? “D'you mind if I go in and see him? I have some pain killers in my bag he can use,”

“Oh, it’s fine he’ll already have pain killers in–” When she realised this was another opportunity for them to talk, she stopped and smiled. “Yeah of course, it’s only us on duty, so you shouldn’t run into anyone else. He’ll probably be in the kitchen, it’s to the right,”

Nodding, Leandro rounded the counter and went in through the back, walking slowly until he saw the blond bent over a sink, his head ducked and his back clearly conveying how he was trying to control his breathing. He approached him quietly, dropping his bag onto the floor.

“Hey, are you okay?” He asked when Kaspar turned around. He was shocked to see Leandro, but nodded anyways, turning back to tending to his hand.

“Yeah, I’m fine, just… clumsy,” He sighed, smiling.

Leandro frowned, reaching up a hand to try and turn Kaspar’s face towards him. “Hey, are you crying?”

Surprised, Kaspar turned to look at him. His eyes ached, but he wasn’t crying. They had just automatically watered up because of the pain. “Oh, no,” He shook his head. “It was because of the burn, I’m not crying, honestly. It doesn’t even hurt that much,” Well, it didn’t hurt now.

“Oh,” Leandro smiled. “Well that’s good. Anyway I just came back here to say I’m sorry for catching you off guard like that. You were concentrating and I shouldn’t have spoken to you,” He looked down at Kaspar guiltily.

“Don’t be stupid,” Kaspar snorted. “It’s fine, it happens all the time. I should’ve been watching what I was doing anyways,”

“It’s not fine, your hand is all red,” Leandro pouted a bit, eyeing his slender and used-to-be-pale hands. “I’m really sorry,”

“Honestly, it’s okay,” Kaspar smiled, shaking his head. “I’ll be fine, I’ve had worse, way worse,”

“Worse than a… second degree burn?” Leandro looked unsure, and Kaspar knew why.

He chuckled adoringly at the student. “It’s actually only first, it only damaged the epidermis of the skin and is only really equivalent to sunburn,”

Leandro raised an eyebrow and nodded as if he’d learnt something new today. Then he smiled again. “I knew you were the brainy type,”

“What makes you think that?” Kaspar asked, absentminded rolling up the sleeve of his shirt so it wouldn’t get water splatters on it.

“Just,” He shrugged a bit. “I’ve seen you wearing glasses before and you don’t look like the artistic type. More like… science, I don’t know,” He chuckled. “I’m just guessing, I really have no idea. You could be a musician for all I know,”

Kaspar shrugged back at him. “Close, I can play piano, but you’re right, I do biology and criminology, what about you?” Conversations were surprisingly easy actually, and he found himself calming down, wondering what he’d been so afraid of in the first place.

“I could’ve guessed the biology part, but not criminology,” As if becoming more comfortable as well, Leandro leaned over to the height he was at and leaned his elbow on the counter beside the sink, propping his chin on his fist to look at the Canadian. “I do journalism, but I have a feeling you already know that,”

“It is a little obvious, I guess… you’re always reading, or you’re always typing, or writing… you always have ink stains on your fingers, too,” At Leandro’s impressed glance, Kaspar shook his head, deciding to correct him. “It’s not that obvious to everyone, just me… criminology really trains you to observe everything a lot more,” He chuckled.

“Hm,” Leandro smiled. “Well, I’d suck in that class. I wouldn’t be able to take my eyes off you,”

Kaspar’s smile dropped again slightly. Was he serious? He shook his head. “Criminology is much more interesting than me,”

“Maybe, but I doubt it’s more beautiful,”

Okay, he was going to faint. He could feel his face getting hotter. As if sensing his uncertainness, Leandro leaned back and looked horrified for a second. “Wait, you are gay, right? I mean, I’m not hitting on a straight guy or anything?”

“No!” Kaspar was quick to ease him back into their comfortable conversation. “I am! Well, bi, but… I mean I’m not straight,”

“Okay good,” He looked much more comfortable now. “And you don’t have some angry boyfriend or girlfriend who’s gonna scream at me if I give you my number, right?”

Kaspar shook his head mutely, but after a few seconds it looked like Leandro wanted a more verbal answer. He smiled. “Nope, no boyfriend… or girlfriend,”

“Lucky for me,” Leandro smiled. He went to his bag and brought out a notepad, as well as what looked like some pills. He scribbled something on the first sheet of paper quickly and then ripped it off, leaving it under the box of tablets. “I’ll see you tomorrow then?”

Just as the blond was about to mention that he didn’t work on Saturdays, Leandro beat him to it. “Wait, you don’t work tomorrow… Monday then,” He smirked, walking backwards until he disappeared behind the corner. After the door was heard opening and closing, Kaspar let out the breath he was holding and turned back towards the sink. With his dry hand, he pulled the note towards him.

Sorry about the burn, if you need someone to kiss it better:

**** *** ****

—–

He went in on Saturday when Jen was on her shift, hoping to see Leandro, but he didn’t. It made him a little sad, and he was oh-so tempted to call the Spaniard and invite him round while he and Xavier were just sitting doing nothing, but couldn’t find the guts to. Leandro had been so nice and he felt a little more confident when he was with him, but when he went away, he couldn’t help but think he’d soon come to his senses. The feeling of hopelessness turned to guilt, and by the time Monday rolled around, Kaspar seriously wanted to avoid work just so he wouldn’t have to see Leandro’s face. He didn’t know what had happened– Leandro had seemed to into him and he was totally into Leandro, but it was like he just couldn’t jump over the first hurdle. Instead he tried to side-step it and eventually resorted to climbing over it like a turtle.

Half way through Monday, things were even worse.

Leandro hadn’t shown up at all, and Kaspar didn’t know whether that was a 'I’m not coming back here until you call me’ or a 'You didn’t call me at all, so I’m not coming back here’. Jennifer pestered him that he probably just had class, but Xavier took this opportunity to make jokes and tell him Leandro was crying so he wouldn’t come back. He knew it was stupid, but he felt like Xavier’s was the more believable excuse.

“He’ll show up, don’t worry,” Jen narrowed her eyes at Xavier’s constant hyena-like laughing, silently communicating that he better shut up.

“No he won’t,” Kaspar huffed a sigh. “I’ve screwed everything up already,”

“Why do you even like him anyways?” Xavier wondered loudly, interrupting whatever Jennifer was about to contribute. Kaspar looked at him for a second with blank eyes, unable to find an answer, before one popped into his head.

He shrugged. “He makes me feel nice,”

Xavier gave him a weird face. “I don’t even know if that’s just wind or an orgasm,”

Kaspar rolled his eyes. “It’s neither, I mean he makes me feel nice emotionally as well,”

“Aww,” Jennifer cooed behind him.

“So is that it? I could find a million people in this city that make you feel nice emotionally and physically, you don’t need to fawn after him,”

“I highly doubt that, and I’m not fawning after him, I just like him,”

“Honestly the only thing I find hot about him is that he’s Spanish, but, y'know, all Spanish people are hot,” He smirked and gestured to himself.

“You’re only half Spanish,” Jennifer pointed out.

“And half Finnish,” He pouted. “That’s sexy too, that’s double the sexy, actually,”

“I’m just Canadian,” Kaspar shrugged.

“I’m only Australian,” Jennifer added with another pout.

“Dude?” Xavier asked her. “Australian’s are like the hottest thing out. I told you before I’d do you if you were a guy,”

“Wow, that is incredibly charming and also just a little bit sexist,” She frowned confusedly.

Xavier shrugged, unaffected. “Of course I’m sexist, I just told you guys I’m half Finnish and half Spanish,”

Jennifer and Kaspar shared a look. Kaspar eventually sighed and turned, seeing it as his turn to explain. “Sexist and sexy aren’t the same thing,”

“Anything with the word sex in it is a good thing,”

“No,” Kaspar replied with a snorted chuckle as Jennifer slapped her own face in hopelessness behind him. “Sexism is being offensive to a gender,”

“What gender?” He asked with a frown. “I thought that was feminism?”

“Any gender… and feminism is wanting equality for all sexes,” Kaspar said carefully.

“But men are better?” Xavier asked as if it was obvious.

“Oh, hell no,” Kaspar heard Jennifer say behind him. She threw up her hands and went in the back.

“I don’t get why she’s pissed? I like men better? Dude, that’s discrimination against me being gay, I’m offended,”

“She’s not pissed that you like men better, she’s pissed that you think men are better as an entire gender,” Kaspar said quietly.

“But… why shouldn’t I think that? I like men,”

“No, you’re not getting it,” Kaspar rolled his eyes. “And you’re starting to offend me too, now, you cunt. Being sexist is hating a certain gender just because of their gender. Your sexual preference is men, that’s cool, but you can’t think men are better than women in general, like in areas apart from sexual attraction– like career, and politics, and social situations,”

“Oh, no,” Xavier shook his head vehemently. “I totally think women should be paid just as much as men, even more if they do a better job at it,”

Glad he had finally clicked, Kaspar nodded and smiled. “See why she was offended now? You’d be offended if she attacked your masculinity,”

“I’d be offended if anyone attacked my masculinity, and trust me, they wouldn’t be attacking it for much longer,”

“Because you’d pummel them to the ground?” Kaspar guessed.

“Damn straight,” Xavier nodded. “Go and tell her I’m sorry, my brain is being annoyingly slow today,”

Nodding back, Kaspar opened the door and tugged on Jennifer’s arm, explaining that Xavier understood now but he was having a bad day. She rolled her eyes with a knowing smile and came back out, waiting patiently with arms folded and a tapping foot.

“Well?”

He sighed as if being given into trouble by his mother. “Sorry for saying men are better than women, I didn’t mean it like that,”

Satisfied, Jennifer went to get back to work.

“All I meant was that I like to fuck men better,”

As Kaspar tried to hold in his laughter, Jennifer sighed. “I know you do honey, I know, and personally, may I say thank God,”

“Why thank God?” He asked curiously.

“Because if you said that to a woman who didn’t understand your sense of humor, you’d probably be sporting a black eye right now,”

“And painful balls,” Kaspar added in.

“Well that just shows impatience and violence,”

“You’re such an asshole,” Kaspar gave up, shaking his head at the Finnishman.

“I agree,” Jennifer chuckled.

“You guys are assholes for not teaching me about this sooner, I didn’t know girls would flip their shit when I said I preferred guys,”

“For the love of god, we don’t care that you prefer men sexually, we just don’t want you to think that men are better than women at everything,” Jennifer glared at him.

Kaspar no longer cared about their debate, his heartbeat increasing dramatically when Leandro finally walked through the doors and smiled at him. He took a seat at the stools instead of a table again, lowering his bag to the ground. “Hi–” He greeted, taking a glance towards Jennifer and Xavier, who were now, by the looks of it, in a heated argument. “–Are they okay?” He raised his eyebrows.

Kaspar nodded, a little embarrassed. “Yeah, they argue all the time, it’s fine. Usual?”

Leandro nodded, waiting as Kaspar prepared his coffee.

“–literally the most sexist pig I’ve ever met, and you don’t even know it!”

“I’m not even being sexist, I’m just saying I think men are better!”

“That is sexist, you stupid idiot!”

“No, I mean better for sleeping with. Why am I being moaned at for liking sex with guys over women? God, you girls are so fucking irritating, no wonder I’m gay,”

“I swear to God, I will hop over this counter and whip the shit out of you with this towel if you say one more degrading thing towards me,” She held the white towel up for added affect, grinding her teeth behind her glare.

“Are you sure?” Leandro asked Kaspar. “She looks really angry at him,”

“Yeah,” Kaspar sighed, handing him over his coffee. “Believe it or not they have this conversation at least once a month,”

“And how does it usually end?”

“With one of them storming out or with Jennifer threatening to tell Xavier all the most gruesome details about her period…”

“That… okay, that’s not weird,” Leandro chuckled uneasily.

“Okay, that is not what I’m saying at all. When the hell did I even mention pressure on women?”

“There is a pressure on women. You think that you’re only gay because women aren’t good enough for you!”

“No, I’m not saying that, I’m just saying they’re not good enough to get my dick hard,”

“I am this close to slapping you in the face right now,” Jennifer held an inch of air between her fingers.

“But they’re not! Look, listen to my point of view– I think that girls are great, okay? But they’re just not. great. enough. to get me hard, don’t you understand?”

Jennifer took a deep breath. “Xavier, I love you, but I will smack you with the nearest object if you don’t find a better way to word things,”

“The nearest object is a spoon and I doubt that’ll do much damag–”

“DO YOU WANNA FIND OUT?!”

“Okay, no! I’m sorry!” Xavier held up his arms in front of his face when Jennifer picked up said spoon, holding it in a deathly strong grip. “Please, I know I need to word things better, that’s why you guys are my best friends! So that you can tell me when I’m being an asshole!”

“You’re being an asshole,” Leandro and Kaspar said at the same time.

Xavier sighed. “How do I word this properly: I like to sleep with men better than I like to sleep with women?”

“I’m gay?” Kaspar suggested plainly. Leandro snorted from behind his coffee.

“But everyone knows I’m gay,”

“Then just keep your trap shut,” Jennifer advised with a smile.

“This is so unfair, you’re all bullying me just because I’m gay,”

“Oh my god,” Jennifer covered her eyes as if she was humiliated.

“Well you are! I feel so pressured to like girls right now, I’m serious,” Seeing how Xavier actually did look concerned, Kaspar decided to interfere again.

“You shouldn’t feel pressured to like any gender, but you just have to learn how to form an opinion,” He suggested.

“I tried that, but she just flipped her shit,”

“Yeah because you insulted the entire female population by saying they weren’t good enough for you and that they were the reason you’re gay,”

“Well they are, I don’t like women, so I like men,”

All three of them gave a groan.

“It’s not women’s fault that you don’t like women,” Kaspar elaborated.

“I know that,” Xavier said as if they were stupid. “It’s my fault,”

“…” Kaspar was at a loss.

“What I think Xavier is trying to say is that he prefers men sexually, and while he would never be attracted to a woman in that way, he doesn’t think it’s their fault and he still thinks of them as equal human beings… right?” Leandro asked him hopefully.

“Yes, thank you!” Xavier threw his hands up in the air. “You’re still equal, I just would prefer a man to sleep in my bed. And naked, too, if that’s possible,”

“But you really do need to find a better way to word your arguments and think about what you say before you say it or you might end up offending–”

“52% of the world,” Jennifer finished.

“I thought 52% of the world was water?” Xavier frowned.

“Oh my God,” Jennifer turned and threw down her towel. “I’m out,”

“Water takes up over 70% of the earth’s surface, right? You should know that, you do physics. 52% of our population is women,”

Xavier’s eyes went slightly wide. “Holy shit, seriously? So there’s more of them than there is of us?”

“More or less,” Leandro shrugged. “And that doesn’t count other genders,”

“Wait, there are other genders?!”

—–

“So your friends are interesting,” Leandro smiled.

Kaspar nodded, a small smile on his lips. “They can be a handful, but they usually get on well. Honestly I think it’s kind of Jen’s time of the month and that’s why she was so crabby…”

Leandro raised an eyebrow. “You know when your friend’s period is?”

Stuttering a little as he forgot this wasn’t the norm for Leandro, Kaspar nodded. “I can’t help it, she’s really not afraid to tell anyone, and I grew up with a sister, so…”

Leandro chuckled. “That’s nice, what’s her name?”

“Uh, Willow, she’s seventeen in December…” He trailed off.

“Ah, that age,”

“Yeah,” Kaspar agreed with a chuckle.

“Have to pull all the boys off her?”

“No,” The blond looked horrified. “I mean, well, yeah… but she can mostly do it by herself anyways. She has a really specific type,”

“What’s her type?” Leandro asked with a small frown and a laugh.

“Channing Tatum?”

The Spaniard snorted a laugh. “… You don’t have the same type though, right? Because I don’t really want to cut my hair…”

“No,” Kaspar smiled shyly.

“So what’s your type then?”

“Uh…” Incredible looking Spanish men with grey eyes and flow-y brown hair and the best arms I’ve ever seen?  “Nice people, I guess,” He shrugged. “Just people who’re nice to me, I don’t mind how they look,”

Leandro’s flirty smile softened into a different kind of one. “That’s actually really nice of you, Kaspar. More people should have your mindset,”

That was a big compliment to him, and he blushed.

“So I take it you didn’t need anyone to kiss your burn better?” He asked, the smirk returning.

“Uh, no, about that– I meant to call you, but I just… I was a little busy,” He lied.

“Well, two subjects could do that to a person,” He looked as if he knew Kaspar had been too shy to call him.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Kaspar replied. “But I will call you,” He suddenly said, almost in a determined tone. “Sometime…”

“It’d be nice, but don’t feel pressured or anything,” Leandro grinned.

“No, I will, even if it’s just to talk,”

“We could text instead if you want?”

Fuck yes. Please yes.

“Sure,” Kaspar nodded, trying not to look too eager. Texting was so much better and easier and he’d actually be able to keep up a conversation.

After Leandro had handed over his mobile number instead of his handset number, he called a taxi and left Kaspar to lock up, texting him the moment he got home like Kaspar made him promise.

Leandro did text him twice that night, but again Kaspar choked, reading the messages and then burying his face into his pillows. What was up with him? He found himself wanting to speak to the Spaniard so badly, but then when an opportunity to converse arrived, he couldn’t take it.

—–

Hi, what are you up to?

It was such a casual text that he didn’t even notice who he’d replied to until he did a double-take and went back to his phone, eyes widening at the 'Leandro’ on top of his screen. It was something Xavier or Jennifer would ask, and he read his reply over at least six times, despite having already sent it, to make sure it was okay.

Finishing my shift, you?

At this time? It’s like 9.

He swore he’d reply after this customer, and then the next one, and then when one of them left, but still he couldn’t bring himself to respond. He didn’t know why he always froze up around Leandro– it was probably because he was too pretty. After fiddling with the button on a coffee machine so much it got stuck in its place, and then having to pull it back out with the edge of a knife, he finally replied, barely even looking at keyboard as he typed.

It’s the city, we close in an hour, and I’m covering so I don’t mind.

The reply was quick.

Who’re you covering?

His answer was simple, so he forced himself to reply straight away.

Jen’s. She has a date.

Lucky for her. So really you’re all alone then?

I don’t mind, Xavier was here but he left about half an hour ago.

Leandro didn’t reply after that, and although he’d just been getting into texting, his anxiety increased and he groaned, shoving his phone in his pocket. He’d probably said something wrong or offensive, or maybe he was so boring that Leandro had fallen asleep on his phone. He wouldn’t blame him.

Instead he pulled one of the provided laptops out of the shelf and connected it to the internet, quickly surfing Facebook and Youtube for anything relatively new or funny. All that was on his Facebook was pictures of girls and people updating their statuses with what they were watching that night– not interesting enough to take his mind off of Leandro. And his subscriptions on Youtube were the same as he’d last checked an hour ago to show Xavier that video of a goat that was trending.

Out of curiosity, he searched Leandro’s first name in his Facebook search bar, but came up empty. He didn’t know his second name, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t find him. His face was so prominently burned in his brain that the second he saw him in a profile picture, he wouldn’t noticed, but he came up with nothing. Maybe Leandro was one of those smart people who didn’t have a Facebook. But he didn’t seem like that person– surely someone involved with Journalism would love all kinds of social media outlets. Or maybe he just wasn’t looking hard enough.

He checked his phone again for a response, but there was still none. Maybe Leandro was trying to give him a taste of his own medicine by not replying at all, and if that was the case, the feeling in his stomach was enough to teach him his lesson.

Out of boredom and knowing that the success rate of biology taking his mind off of things was 100%, he pulled his bag up from under the shelf and got out his homework, spreading it across the clean counter so that if he could finish it here, when he got home he could do nothing at all. Maybe even get to sleep earlier.

Just as he was comparing the different defense systems in plants, animals and humans and the word antigens was mysteriously starting to look like aging, someone cleared their throat in front of him. He looked up uninterestedly before he met a pair of grey eyes, forcing him to straighten up and connect back with reality.

“Hope I’m not interrupting,” Leandro smiled.

Kaspar shook his head and gathered all of his papers into one pile, shoving them into his book and then concealing them with the cover. “No… uh… do you want anything?” He asked.

Leandro looked highly amused. “You shouldn’t even be selling anymore, it’s past ten,” He pointed at the large clock behind the blond.

“What? Really?” Sure enough, it was quarter past ten. He frowned. He didn’t remember it even being quarter past nine. “Is anybody even here anymore?”

“Just me,” Leandro chuckled, hopping up onto the stool in front of him. “The last person left like twenty minutes ago,”

“Jesus Christ,” Kaspar hissed. “Wait, you’ve been here for twenty minutes?” He realised, frowning.

He nodded. “I sat over there, but you didn’t notice me,” He tapped his schoolbooks. “You really like biology, huh?”

“Shit, I’m sorry,” Kaspar apologised. “I didn’t even realise the time and who left or who even came in,”

“It’s okay,” And it really did look okay with him, his smile was genuine and creased around his eyes.

“Yeah, it’s biology… one of my favourite things in life,” He chuckled and got his backpack from the floor, putting it on the counter so that he could shove his books in it.

Just as he was about to, Leandro swiveled the book around and opened it, looking curiously at the pages. “What makes it so special to you?”

“What do you mean?” Kaspar asked blankly.

He could see Leandro smile from where his head was ducked, eyes scrawling over diagrams and subheadings. “Why do you like it so much?”

“Um…” He didn’t know, but an answer started spilling out of his mouth despite that. “It's… already set in its ways, y'know?”

“How so?”

“Well… it’s not…. Controversial. I mean, theories are controversial, but biology just… isn’t. You can’t have an opinion on it. Nobody can say it’s wrong, because it’s right and… the working is all there,”

Leandro nodded as if interested. “But what about criminology? That must be very controversial,”

“Not when you apply biology,” Kaspar countered

“Explain,” Leandro demanded with a smile.

“Uh… well, you can’t force a person into telling the truth, but with knowing biology, you can make it impossible for them to lie,”

“How come?”

“People do certain things when they lie… and a lot more things than just 'oh they touch their nose’ or 'they fold their arms’– there are small things in a person’s face and voice that you can just tell if they’re lying,” He explained.

“But without biology?”

“Without biology you’re just blind,” Kaspar shrugged. “You might as well judge them rather than try to persuade them to tell the truth,”

“Could you tell if I was lying?” He tilted his head with an excited grin.

“I… could try,” He offered.

“Okay, I have a sister called…”

“Bullshit, you don’t have a sister,” Kaspar shook his head. It was incredibly obvious that Leandro had chosen a lie for his first test. Not only was that predictable in itself, but, well… he lied. “If you had a sister, you wouldn’t have hesitated when giving her name, and you would’ve mentioned her the other day when I mentioned my sister, and… you don’t look like you’ve had many female influences in your life… maybe brothers, or an only child… but I doubt only child because you don’t have that spoiled aura around you and you don’t look lonely, either. You’re too calm and not responsible enough to be a firstborn, but you aren’t carefree enough to be a second-born either… so… you do have siblings, but you’re not the oldest, or the second oldest. Maybe even three siblings… third-born children are usually the needy, whiny ones, but you don’t seem like that either…”

“I think that’s the most you’ve ever said to me. Ever,” Leandro shook his head in amusement. “But that's… impressive, actually. I have three older brothers,”

“No you don’t,” Kaspar eyed him suspiciously.

“No, I do, I swear,” Leandro laughed.

“Okay, I believe you,” He admitted.

“I’m French–”

“Spanish,” Kaspar interrupted. “I speak fluent French, I know a French accent. Plus on one of your journals there’s a sticker of the Spanish emblem. And your skintone is… darker than someone from France, but not that olive-y coloured enough to be Italian, it’s more like just tanned,”

“I–” He snapped his mouth shut. “You really are observant, aren’t you?” He gave a tight smile. “Okay… let me try it, tell me things about you,”

“Okay,” Kaspar thought. “My surname is Connecticut,”

“You’re lying, but I don’t know how to tell what your actual surname is,” He looked unsure. “Wait, is it Connecticut?”

“No, but the fact I used an American State suggests that it might be one of the fifty two states?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Don’t make me go through them,” Leandro whined a bit.

“I’m gonna make you go through them,” Kaspar said cruelly, smiling.

“Ugh,” Leandro took a deep breath and sighed. “Delaware?”

“Nope,”

“New York?”

“No,”

“New Mexico?”

“It doesn’t have 'new’ in front of it,”

“Okay, er… Texas?”

“No,”

“Washington?”

“Nope,”

“New– oh no, wait… Nevada?”

“No,”

“California?”

“No,”

“Indiana?”

“No,”

“Arizona?”

Kaspar shook his head.

“Vermont?”

He shook his head again, but smiled this time.

“…Is it Vermont?”

He purposely folded his arms after scratching the bridge of his nose. “I said no!”

“Okay, okay!” Leandro held his hands up in defense. “Idaho?”

“No,”

“Arkansas?”

“No, it’s Vermont,” Kaspar laughed.

“Wha– I asked you!”

“And I lied, that’s the game, and I think I won…” He smiled.

“I deserve sympathy rounds, I think,”

“Okay, I’m Canadian,”

“No, you’re not!” Leandro said as if he knew this one. “You’re American,” He sing-songed.

“How do you know?” Kaspar smiled.

“Because of your accent… and your second name? If you live in Vermont, that’s actually really cool,”

“I live in Toronto and am extremely offended right now,”

“…I can’t tell if you’re lying,”

“I’m not,” Kaspar smiled.

“Prove it,” Leandro demanded, too unsure.

At first Kaspar couldn’t think of how to prove it. Passport? He didn’t have that with him. Visa? He didn’t have that with him either. He had multiple Canadian key rings and pictures to show him, but he felt like Leandro wouldn’t quite believe those. A look at his biology books reminded him that he was a student, and he did own a student ID card.

But there was a horrible picture on it…

He covered the picture with his hand and showed him  it.

Like he’d been afraid of, Leandro pulled it towards him to read.

“Fine, you win,” He sighed in defeat, but kept on smiling.

“Don’t,” Kaspar warned, feeling Leandro pull himself –and his ID card– aw from him.

“Don’t what?” Leandro grinned slyly.

“I’m not joki– NO!” Leandro ripped the ID card away from him and walked away from the counter to look at the picture of Kaspar, smirking.

Kaspar rounded the table quickly, tearing off his apron partly out of habit and partly because he contemplated throwing it at him. “Aww, you have glasses!”

“Shut up!”

“And you just turned… twenty one? Now I really will remember, remember the fifth of November,” He murmured to himself, smiling in satisfaction when Kaspar snatched it back out of his hands. “Do you celebrate bonfire night?”

“No,” Kaspar mumbled a bit. “Do you?”

Leandro shook his head. “No, but I actually liked it this year. I mean, it scares the shit out of you, but it’s kinda nice,”

The blond chuckled in agreement. “Some of the displays are nice, yeah,”

Leandro commented, “Wait, do you go home for your birthday?”

Kaspar shrugged. “I didn’t last year, my mom and sister came to visit me. Why?”

“Because we should totally go on a date to a bonfire show,”

—–

“YOU GOT A DATE?!” Jennifer screamed, gasping very loudly.

“It’s not a date,” Kaspar shook his head, frowning. “He just said he’d take me to a firework display on my birthday,” He lied.

“That’s a date,” She turned and high-fived Xavier.

“It is not,” Kaspar pressed. “He just– is walking through the door, shut up,”

“He has that guy with him again,” He heard Jennifer whisper to Xavier.

“That’s kinda a hot guy,” Xavier murmured, checking out the backside of Leandro’s friend when he sat down next to him.

“Can I have a–” The stranger started.

“You can have whatever you want, sweetcheeks,” Xavier intervened quickly, a smooth smirk on his face.

Jennifer and Kaspar both groaned at the same time.

The boy, who Kaspar assumed was Irish due to his accent, glared daggers into the tall blonde’s head.

“Hot chocolate,” Leandro asked for him. “And um… I’ll have… something new… what’s different?”

“…Refreshers? They’re cold though. And they don’t have coffee in them. Or tea,”

“What flavours are there?” Leandro read the menu at the side of the counter.

“Berry and Lime?”

“I’ll have the berry the one… please,” He smiled.

“If I give you a chocolate bar,” The Irishman asked. “Can you grate it and put it on top of my hot chocolate?”

Kaspar nodded, waiting for the boy to give him a bar.

“I know what else you could have on top of a hot chocolate,” Xavier mumbled from behind his drink.

“Try and ignore him,” Kaspar advised, giving Leandro his drink before grabbing a grater and scraping the chocolate over it.

“This is Declan, by the way,” Leandro introduced. He received an elbow in the ribs for that. “Ow! What was that for?”

“Don’t tell that prat my name,”

“Wait, what?” Xavier, who’d apparently zoned out, came back to life. “Don’t tell what prat what?”

“It’s funny how he actually recognises himself as the prat,” Jennifer added in.

“This is really nice! You should try it!” Leandro shoved the berry drink towards Kaspar. Xavier smirked at him when the Spaniard said that, indicating towards the straw that had just been in Leandro’s mouth. It was juvenile, but the thought of putting his mouth somewhere where Leandro’s had already been made his abdomen heat up.

He lifted it to his lips and took a sip. It actually was pretty nice underneath his opinion of 'this is the best drink I’ve ever had purely because Leandro’s mouth has been on it’.

He knew Xavier would comment before he even got to set it on the counter. “Now if Leandro’s been sucking cock, you have too, well done!”

Jennifer tried not to laugh, but she failed and giggled into her hands. Declan looked severely unimpressed, and Leandro looked only slightly disturbed, but as if he was getting used to Xavier’s attitude.

“Leandro hasn’t been sucking cock,” Leandro replied.

“Aww,” Xavier pouted. “Well, I have–”

“Oh God, we don’t want to hear about it,” Jennifer pulled a face.

“But Kas might,” Xavier responded, highly affronted.

“I really… don’t,” Kaspar cleared his throat.

Xavier shook his head disapprovingly. “You guys are boring,”

“Just because we don’t want to hear about your sexual endeavors?” Declan asked with a frown, taking long sips of his hot chocolate.

“Yes,” Xavier replied plainly.

“You say that as if your sex life is the most exciting thing on the face of this earth, which I doubt,”

Jennifer choked.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh dear…”

“I think you’re the boring one, actually. If your sex was that good, you wouldn’t feel the need to tell everyone about it,”

“Ooooohhhh,” Jennifer drew out, grinning.

The only answer Xavier had was, “Tch, midget,”

Kaspar’s jaw dropped. “Apologise!” He demanded, voice hard.

“But he said my sex life was–”

“Xav,” Kaspar’s voice held a warning tone. “People can’t help their height, you can help being an asshole,”

“I’m not apologising but I’ll admit I shouldn’t have called him a midget,” Xavier refused politely.

“Is there even any difference?” Jennifer asked confusedly.

“Well why should I apologise? I told him the truth, just in an offensive manner– he’s small,”

“I can’t wait until the day where someone just smacks you across the face,” Kaspar commented in amusement.

That day was today.

Even Leandro’s jaw was left hanging open when a thick slapping sound rattled throughout the air, and Xavier’s head snapped to the side, a red handprint already forming on his cheek.

He rubbed it for a minute with a pout before sucking on his straw again. “I deserved that. You’re lucky you’re hot,”

“Is that seriously all it takes to shut him up and admit he’s wrong? I coulda done that!” Jennifer exploded.

“You’re a very mean little man,” Xavier mumbled, still pouting.

“If you call me a little man again your other cheek will match,”

The Finnishman promptly shut his mouth.

Kaspar looked in surprise at Leandro, who glanced at him apologetically.

Jennifer smiled pleasantly. “You’re never going to be sexist again,” She said mostly to herself.

“I’m gonna go to the restroom, I’ll be right back,” Leandro interrupted, getting up off of the seat.

Kaspar looked at his empty cup with a disapproving nod. “I knew he shouldn’t have had ice,”

“Is your friend into my friend?” He heard Xavier mutter to Declan. The small boy looked far too interested in his hot chocolate to answer, but did so anyways.

“Yeah,”

“Is he gonna ask him out?”

“Dunno,”

“Does he have any brothers? Cousins?” Jennifer asked hopefully.

“Three brothers, ones married, ones gay and the other’s got a girlfriend,” Declan answered robotically.

“Damn it,” She hissed.

“Has he masturbated over him yet?” Xavier asked.

Declan pulled a face. “What in the fuck makes you think I’d know that? Gobshite,”

“What?” Xavier pulled away in confusion. “What? Did… he even just– was that English?”

“Back,” Leandro smiled, sitting on the stool again.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” Declan mumbled, walking around them.

Xavier grinned, getting up.

Declan turned around with a frown and pointed at him. “DON’T follow me,”

He sat down like a puppy who’d just been given into trouble, a sad look on his face. “He’s not very nice to me,”

“You just asked him inappropriate questions and tried to follow him into the bathroom,” Kaspar pointed out.

“What inappropriate questions?” Leandro wondered aloud.

“Nothing–” Jennifer tried to interrupt.

“If you wanked over Kas,” He said bluntly.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Kaspar muttered under his breath.

“That’s hardly the information I’d sha–”

“No, don’t answer him!” Kaspar said quickly.

“That means you have,” Xavier grinned.

“This is so sad,” Jennifer shook her head.

“This is so awkward,” Kaspar corrected.

“This is so inappropriate,” Leandro added, shaking his head quietly.

“This is so funny,” Xavier smiled.

—–

“You didn’t bring your friend?” Xavier pouted the week after, looking at the air behind Leandro.

“No,” Leandro smiled. “Although I know you’d love to have pestered him some more,”

“He thinks I pestered him?”

“Well–”

“Because if he does, he’s damn right,”

“Where’s Jennifer?” Leandro asked Kaspar, ignoring Xavier.

“On a date,” Kaspar replied.

“Fifty quid she gets laid,” Xavier started taking out his wallet.

“Done deal,” Kaspar shrugged. He had the upper hand since he knew she was on her period.

“You’re betting on her,” Leandro looked surprised, raising his eyebrows.

“It’s okay, we bet on him too,” Kaspar said innocently, making Leandro smile. “Granted it’s almost always 'he does get laid’,”

“And with Kaspar there’s no need for a bet because he never gets laid,” Xavier interrupted. “Virgin,” He winked.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Xavier,” Kaspar hollered to him.

“I’m not even talking in a metaphorical sense,” Xavier continued. “He’s literally a virgin,”

Kaspar face-palmed. “If I ever get a gun, you are the first person I’m shooting,”

Leandro chuckled a bit. “I wish I was still a virgin,”

“You do?” Kaspar frowned at the same time Xavier shouted a horrified 'what?!’

Leandro shrugged. “A little, yeah,”

“Ugh,” Xavier scoffed. “Stay away from me, virgins,”

“Virgins are tighter,” Leandro commented slyly. Kaspar stared at him in shock, but Xavier looked as if he was considering the Spaniard’s point of view.

“That’s true, virgins are tighter,” Xavier nodded interestedly. “But they’re inexperienced as fuck, they have no idea what they’re doing,”

“That could be a good thing, you get to be the one to show them what sex even is,”

Xavier eyed him carefully. “You propose a good point,” He bit his lip for a minute before shrugging. “Yeah why not, sex is sex, as long as my dick is buried in something I don’t give a shit,”

“I–”

“I’d really like to be buried inside your friend though, if you don’t mind me saying,”

“I’m sure he's… flattered,” Leandro responded sarcastically.

“You can fuck Kas if I can fuck Declan, deal?” He held his hand out.

“Do I get any say in this?” Kaspar added.

“Uh… deal,” Leandro smirked, shaking his hand.

Kaspar didn’t actually think he would. “What the fuck?” He looked between the two. “Do I look like your property that you can just give away?”

“Well, do you want me to fuck you?” Xavier asked point blank.

“No,” Kaspar scrunched up his face.

“Well then shut your trap,” Xavier smiled.

Kaspar sighed.

—–

“Can you do that chocolate thing for me again?” An Irish accent flooded his ears.

Kaspar turned around, noticing Declan. “Aw, hey! Sure,” He nodded, taking the chocolate bar outstretched in Declan’s hand. “You know we can do this without you bringing the chocolate bar in, right?” He asked him.

Declan nodded. “Oh I know, but galaxy chocolate is better,”

Kaspar nodded, agreeing. “That’s true… Leandro not with you today?” He frowned a bit.

“He will be,” Declan nodded. “I told him I’d meet him here in half an hour,”

“Half an hour early?” Kaspar chuckled.

“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about him,” He said nonchalantly.

Kaspar almost dropped his hot chocolate. He took a deep breath. “Okay… what do you wanna talk about him for?”

“Are you guys dating?” He asked curiously.

Kaspar shook his head. “No?”

Declan smiled a bit. “Do you want to be dating him?”

The Canadian gave a weak laugh, scratching behind his head. “Uh–”

“That’s a yes,” His grin got even bigger. “He wants to date you too, by the way,”

“…How do you… know?” He asked slowly, putting down Declan’s hot chocolate. “Wait, isn’t this going behind his back?”

“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” Declan smiled, taking a sip. “And because he tells me– too often, actually,”

Something in Kaspar’s stomach flipped. “What’d he say?”

“I can’t tell you everything I know!” The Irishman grinned. “I just thought I’d come here and ask: do you ever plan on asking him out?”

“I d-dunno…” Kaspar stuttered embarrassedly. “Uh… I guess I would eventually, if he didn’t, but honestly I’d rather he asked me so I was sure he liked me,” He quickly served a customer while Declan was chatting to him.

“You’re the shy type?”

“Is it that obvious?” Kaspar grimaced.

Declan shrugged. “I just guessed, but Leandro seems to like it,” He absentmindedly read a menu as he spoke. “Please don’t hurt him. I’m not the type of best friend that will come and threaten you to never hurt him or anything, but just please don’t? I’ll tell him the same thing about you, of course,”

Kaspar shrugged back at him. “Of course I won't… well never intentionally anyways. Has he… been hurt before?”

“Yeah, and pretty badly, too. But that’s for you guys to talk about,” He smiled.

Kaspar’s stomach churned. Someone had hurt Leandro? Who would even do that to him? He was absolutely adorable. He wanted to know, but at the same time, he didn’t. He made a promise to himself never to hurt Leandro unless by accident when they were play-fighting or on purpose if they ever had sex and he was into that. That was way too premature to think, actually.

“Is he over it?” He asked quickly.

Declan nodded, a frown on his face. “Oh yeah, but he might still think that it sucks, because it did suck. But he’s over it, been over it for a long time actually,” He smiled, removing the frown. “Plus, he likes you now, and that’s keeping him happy, so,”

“Right…” He shook his head after that, deciding that Declan was right– this was something that he and Leandro could talk about if they ever decided they wanted to have that conversation. “Well, I guess we’ll just see what happens,”

They stood in silence for a few minutes after that, Kaspar thinking about Leandro even more now that he knew he’d been hurt before. He didn’t look like the kind of person that’d been hurt before… but he had come across as very fresh and optimistic too, so maybe he just dealt pretty well with heartbreak. Either way, it was interesting, and made Leandro a little more three-dimensional.

“Your friend is interesting,”

“Which friend?” Kaspar asked.

“Xavier,”

Kaspar tried not to smile a bit. “He thinks you’re pretty interesting too,”

“Really?” He broke character for a bit, looking up with raised eyebrows. “I thought he was just a pervert…”

“He is a pervert… but nobody’s ever really stopped his flirting the way you did, he’s been wanting to see you ever since you did that, asks Leandro where you are every time he comes in without you,” He chuckled a bit.

Declan half-smirked. “Really? What do you guys tell him?”

“Well, he’s annoyed us enough in the past that we tell him you’re out on dates,” The blond admitted.

Declan laughed at that. “Keep that up, it’s funny to annoy him,”

“We will, drives him crazy,” Kaspar chuckled.

“What drives who crazy?” Leandro came up behind Declan, smiling gently.

Kaspar left Declan to explain.

He didn’t.

“You’re here early,” He frowned.

“Yeah, uh…” Leandro glanced at Kaspar for just longer than a few seconds. “I was gonna come in and see Kas before we met up, looks like you beat me to it,” He smiled. “Hope you weren’t embarrassing me,”

“Why would I do that?” Declan turned and gave Kaspar a knowing look.

“Because it’s you?” Leandro pretended to huff under his breath, chuckling when Declan elbowed him. “Are we leaving then?”

“Yeah,” Declan nodded, slurping up the last of his drink. He looked at Kaspar with wide and innocent eyes. “Do you wanna come Kas?”

Why is everyone calling me Kas all of a sudden? “Where are you even going?” He frowned.

“To the pictures!” Declan exclaimed.

“What?” His frown deepened. “What is that?”

“He means the cinema,” Leandro explained. “Some new Disney film out,”

“Oh,” Kaspar realised. “I can’t,” He pouted a bit. “I don’t finish until like five… maybe next time,” He smiled.

Declan nodded in understanding. “Plus I don’t wanna be a third wheel,”

“You wouldn’t be a third wheel,” Leandro shook his head, paying for the Irishman’s drink. “I’ll see you next time, then,” He smiled.

Declan nodded, following him out.

—–

“I hate this time of year,” Jennifer miserably mumbled into her hand, leaning on the counter. “I literally want to pop every balloon in here and suffocate lovebirds with the remaining elastic,”

Kaspar looked slightly disturbed at her admission, but knew how she felt. “I know, right?” He ended up agreeing. “I think I’ve saw that couple making out, like, forty times,”

“Yeah, I get 'live and let live’ but can I just live without seeing two people constantly playing tonsil hockey every few minutes? Come on,”

The blond chuckled, tying another pink balloon that floated up to bump on the ceiling after he pinged it at Jennifer. Strings from the balloons hung down so low that you almost couldn’t see in your way. That was the look the boss had been going for, though, anyways.

“And isn’t this cruel on us, too? We have to work late and serve dinners just so that other people can enjoy themselves,”

“Well lifeguards have to sit in boredom on big chairs just so that other people can enjoy themselves in pools and stuff,” Kaspar gave as an example. “Just think about how happy you’re making some people,”

At this, Jennifer scoffed. “I’m gonna be honest, I don’t give a shit about anyone’s happiness but my own… and maybe yours,”

“Aw, thanks,” Kaspar grinned at her. “Are you maybe only unhappy because you don’t have a date this year?”

“That is exactly why I’m unhappy,” The Australian confessed. “I couldn’t even find anyone on match.com,” She started scrolling through her phone, presumably on the dating website.

“You’re on that?” Kaspar frowned. “Why don’t you go out with a friend or something?”

“Because I hate that look that guys give me when they think I’m a lesbian,” She pouted. “Plus, it’s Valentine’s day, I’m looking to get laid. I don’t want a guy to think I shoot for the other team,”

“Times like these I wish we had wristbands that were colour-coordinated so we know people’s gender and sexuality just by looking at them,” Kaspar sighed. “Bisexual should totally be two-toned, just sayin’,”

“Then there’d be controversy over one sexuality getting two colours,” Jennifer smirked knowingly. “Being straight could be blue… being gay could be yellow… being bisexual could be red… being asexual could be…”

“Green,” Kaspar added.

“Yes! And… pansexual can be orange… anddddd?”

“Polysexual,”

“Polysexual can be… pink! So you would have a red wristband and I’d have…”

Kaspar raised an eyebrow. “A blue one?”

Jennifer looked quite annoyed. “We’re gonna need more colours… what colour should 'I’m straight but totally open to purely-sexual experiences with girls’ be?”

“Hm… white maybe?” Kaspar asked. “Wait so you’d really get with a girl?” He was rather surprised considering how much she talked about sex with men.

Jennifer swayed her head a bit before shrugging. “Sure I guess, but I wouldn’t be able to be in a relationship with one… and it would need to be a really pretty girl– well, not pretty, but y'know, I’d need to be attracted to her,”

Kaspar nodded, unintentionally mumbling his thoughts. “That’s hot…”

“Your perverse side is showing,” Jennifer said, unphased.

“Sorry,” Kaspar shook his head. The last thing he needed was to sound like Xavier. “Why don’t you do that then? Go on a date with a girl and see how it goes?”

“Because I’m in the mood for dick,” She said bluntly.

Kaspar tried to hold his laughter. “Then what’s with the girl thing?”

She whined a bit. “Oh, I don’t know. I kind of just want someone who knows what this,” She drew an invisible circle around her abdomen. “Is all about,”

“Excuse you but I’m a guy and I know what that is all about,” He smiled.

“Well, do you want to have sex with me?” She asked to prove a point.

He sighed. “Nooo, but that’s not the point, some guys know what they’re doing down there,”

“None that I date,” She said under her breath. “Maybe I should become one of those dominatrix women and teach them all about it,” She said, humming to herself.

Kaspar snorted a bit. “But what if another woman didn’t like something that you liked?”

Jennifer stared at the balloon she was filling with helium for a moment, before stamping her foot. “God damn it! Why is there always a counter argument for everything?! Why are things never simple?” She looked like she wanted to slide down the wall and cry.

Kaspar chuckled. “Well, you know what you like best, why don’t you just spend the night with yourself?”

She looked at him dully. “Are you suggesting I spend Valentine’s day masturbating?”

“Yeah?” He shrugged. “Then you’ll know what you like and what you don’t like,”

“That’s miserable, though,” She sighed. “Maybe I should stop by Ann Summers on the way home…”

Kaspar paused. “Am I supposed to know what that is?”

“A sex shop, practically. I dunno, they sell cute pyjamas too, though,” She added as an afterthought.

“Oh…” Kaspar tried to remember what she’d just called it, but couldn’t. “Why is Valentine’s day all about sex anyways, though? I’m seriously just going home to watch movies all night. Why is it that we can slap a name on a day, declare it the day of love, and then suddenly everyone is trying to get laid? Shut up, it’s only Thursday,”

“You make a valid point,” She nodded, glue-gunning a small heart onto a bigger heart. “But nobody else thinks like that, we’ll just get dubbed as old maids if we’re seen without a date on Valentine’s day,” She sighed. “How many dates d'you think Xavier’ll have tonight? By bet is on over ten,”

“Valentine’s day is like Christmas for that boy,” Kaspar agreed. “He usually speed-dates, so… I’m gonna say over fifteen,” He smirked.

“Forty bucks, that’s all I have on me right now,” Jennifer matched his smirk.

“Deal,” Kaspar chuckled. “How many was it he had last year?”

“I think it was twelve, but his sex appeal has gone down now that he’s fucked practically everyone in the city,” Jennifer laughed.

“I do hope you guys are talking about me,” Xavier quipped, raising an eyebrow. When Kaspar turned around to look, his eyebrows raised and his eyes went wide.

Xavier stood with a bunch of roses in one hand and a gift bag in the other, dressed very smartly in a shirt and tie. It even looked like he’d tried to style his hair, which the balloon attached to the gift bag was severely messing up.

Jennifer laughed at him. “What the hell are you dressed like that for?”

Xavier smirked knowingly and put the gift bag on the table, holding the roses in Jennifer’s direction. “These are for you, my sweet, and I hope you’ll accompany me tonight for dinner?”

Jennifer looked surprised for a moment before narrowing her eyes accusingly, grabbing the gift bag to look inside it.

“Yes that is the dress you said you loved last week, and you should wear it tonight when we go out!”

“Really?” She asked as if she couldn’t believe this was happening.

Xavier nodded, smiling. “And we can even have best-friend pity sex afterwards if you want, there’s condoms in that gift bag,” He finally sat on the chair and cleared his throat, returning to the Xavier they all knew and loved.

“Aww,” She grinned, leaning over the counter to hug him with one arm. “This is so cool of you! But wait, you don’t have a date?”

“Nope, I’ve been holding off to make up for being such an ass to you all the time. I’ll wine and dine and fuck you for one night, and then return to the loveable Xavier tomorrow,” He smirked.

It actually was very cool of Xavier– it was times like these when you noticed how observant and caring he actually was. Just when you’d lost hope, he’d throw it right back in your face. He was happy that Jen would have a date as well, and she wouldn’t be miserable for the entire night like she’d worried. He personally couldn’t wait for tonight– he didn’t usually take time out for himself and watch movies with unhealthy treats. He would’ve invited Leandro over, but didn’t know if he’d already be busy. The thought of him busy with someone else made him feel sick, so he shook his head and tied another string to another balloon, ignoring whatever Jen and Xavier were excitedly talking about. Probably their date. He just hoped Jennifer wouldn’t end up having deeper feelings for him after the sex, though.

He stopped with the balloons and glue-gunned the hearts that Jennifer was ignoring, looking at the overwhelmingly large pile they’d still to do. Why did they even decorate on Valentine’s day? He’d understand if it was Christmas, but… it was literally only going to be for one day! At least you could decorate for Christmas in advance and have the decorations up for a while– he’d be doing the opposite job on Monday, taking down all of the things he’d just put up.

“Oh, I’ll do that!” Jen took the hearts from his hands and bobbed her head to the door leading to the staff only base. “You go and get another helium can, that one is about to run out,” He tried not to think too hard on why she was avoiding eye contact.

“It’s over halfway full…” He responded confusedly.

“Just go and get another one!” She said in a non-negotiable tone, widening her eyes at him warningly. He’d known her for long enough that if you didn’t do what she wanted, the rest of your day would also be miserable. He tried not to walk too fast through the door and went to find the other helium can, although he didn’t even know where it was kept in the first place.

When he rounded the corner to confront a large shadow, he took a step backwards before smiling. “Aw hey,” He told Leandro, his smile dropping. “Why are you… back here?” He asked in confusion.

Leandro looked away bashfully, chuckling. “Uh, I came here to see you actually, but I didn’t wanna do this in front of everyone… Xavier told me you’re kind of uncomfortable with crowds, so,” He shrugged, pulling a bouquet of lilac and pink tulips from behind him. There was an odd red and yellow one in the middle of them all, but Kaspar just assumed it was misplaced. “These are for you!” He groaned after that and hid his face with them. “I know I’m embarrassing, and maybe even a little cliché, but still, you deserve them anyways,” He smiled and held them out for them.

Kaspar took them carefully, and realised now that he’d never really held flowers before. When he and Willow had bought their mom a mother’s day gift, it was her who held them. He didn’t want to hold them too tight in case they snapped, and smelled them curiously. They smelled sweeter than normal plants. “These are really nice,” He smiled when he’d pulled his nose away, looking back up at the Spaniard. “Really, this is so sweet, and you’re not a cliché. Cliché would’ve been buying someone red roses,” He chuckled at the thought of Xavier fifteen minutes ago.

“Red roses…” Leandro sucked through his teeth. “They’re not really what I was trying to say…”

“Flowers speak?” Kaspar raised an eyebrow.

Leandro nodded, seemingly entertained. “You don’t know the meanings of flowers?”

He licked his lips in contemplation. “All I know is red ones mean love, or apparently they do…”

“They usually do,” Leandro nodded. “I figured it’d be way too bold to give you red roses or tulips and declare my love for you, and let’s be honest… is it possible to fall in love within a few months?” He asked mostly himself, shaking his head afterwards. “Anyways, pink tulips mean that I care about you, and lilac tulips mean that… if, or when, we ever become something more, I’ll be completely faithful to you. Xavier didn’t tell me much, but he did say that people have had a problem with staying faithful to you in the past… so I just figured you should know early that you don’t have to worry about that with me,” He shrugged embarrassedly, almost guiltily. 

All Kaspar could do was blink. Seriously? His last boyfriend didn’t even look at him in public for a fear of people thinking he wasn’t single, and the one before that only bought him things as a 'sorry I fucked up’ gesture. Now here was Leandro, barely even involved with him, buying him things and telling him he cared about him and wouldn’t stray off with another guy?

If any of his other boyfriend’s had done this, he might still be with them.

But then he wouldn’t have met Leandro with the same mindset he already had…

So now it was a good thing that they were jerks.

“This is… probably one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me,” He admitted with a shy chuckle. “Thank you so much, really, they’re lovely,” He smiled. He raised an eyebrow, smile turning into a smirk. “What’s with the odd one out?” He gestured towards the red and yellow one.

“Oh,” Leandro shook his head. “The red and yellow one means I think you have beautiful eyes,” He smiled. “And I have something else for you as well!” He reached into his jacket and brought out a white envelope, handing it to the blond. “You can read it in a few minutes, I swear I’m just about to leave. I have an assignment I want to get finished before tonight, but I wanted to see you today, so,”

“Okay,” Kaspar breathlessly chuckled. “That’s really nice of you,” He became sad. “But I didn’t get you anything… I-I mean, I thought about it, but I didn’t know if that was… too eager? I dunno,”

“No, it’s okay,” Leandro shook his head, smiling. “After reading the letter you can repay me,”

“Oh, this is a letter?” Kaspar raised his eyebrows. “I thought it was just a card…” He confessed.

Leandro shook his head and grinned, moving forward to leave an invisible kiss-mark on Kaspar’s cheek. “See you later, okay?” He walked backwards until he left the back exit.

Kaspar stood in surprise for a moment, his body still buzzing at what had just happened. Leandro had just come and given him flowers on Valentine’s day, right? He wasn’t dreaming, no? He opened the letter eagerly but gently, knowing that if Leandro and him ever became a thing, he’d probably want to keep this one day and not have it accidentally rip. He leaned against a counter supporting cocoa beans and pulled it out of the envelope, reading. On the front was a simple red heart, but when he turned it around, there was an elegant enough scrawl to make him jealous of Leandro’s handwriting.

If you’re free and up for it, I’ll be waiting for you outside your apartment at 7pm.

Shit, did he have a date?

—–

“What the fuck am I supposed to wear?!” Kaspar shouted at his two friends.

“Casual-smart!” Xavier responded as if rehearsed.

Kaspar narrowed his eyes at him. “Did you know about this, fucker?”

“No,” Xavier said with an innocent expression.

“Yes you did,” Kaspar hissed knowingly. “What has he planned? What else did he say?”

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It was the first of December, 2012 when I first saw you. I don’t think I’ve ever been so mesmerised.

It wasn’t very busy. In fact, it wasn’t busy at all.

Kaspar leaned against the counter, ignoring the ache against his slender hip where it connected with the marble. It wasn’t a good enough pain to shift his concentration away from his phone. He didn’t even know why he was so concentrated—what was even so interesting about Facebook? He wasn’t trying to be big headed or anything, but he kinda felt too good for it. Everyone on the social networking site was more interested in updating their relationship status and taking pictures of their food—seriously, what the hell?—he just felt like his mind was made for better things than taking pictures and updating people on pointless things in his life.

Plus, the people on his friend list would most likely get bored of countless pictures of pasta and a constant “Single: I’m too scared to get into a relationship” relationship status.

The blond ignored his shiver, caused by the door opening wide enough for someone to let the cold air of December in. It hadn’t snowed yet, but it was extremely frosty and pretty much freezing. He was glad the coffee shop wasn’t too far away from the university and that he didn’t have to be outside in the cold much—everyone wrapped in bundles of clothes still looked freezing, despite their layers. He came from Canada where winters could be fucking deadly, but he preferred comfort of his own home anyways.

“Kaspar, there’s a customer waiting!” His boss shouted before going into the back. The door swung angrily, so he knew he had better get a move on and serve someone. He had no idea why he even worked here. It wasn’t like he needed to, really. All of the funding for his university was done by the school and his apartment was already bought for him by his grandfather. Apparently, he’d travelled to the UK to study as well, only he’d gone for psychology instead. He had no idea why—he’d barely even known his granddad—but he felt like they were similar, like maybe he’d gotten his scientific brain from him and not his parents. His mum was somewhat into biology, but not as in detail as him. His dad wasn’t interested in biology at all, he was a more law and politics guy. Maybe by studying biology and criminology, he’d kind of taken after all three of them, actually.

Well, that was pretty predicted. Genetics, after all. It didn’t really take a biologist to realise that.

Once he’d served the last customer, he went back to Facebook, scrolling down endless statuses of ‘OMG just saw a movie at the cinema!’ and ‘I hate it when people…!’ He figured that since it was late and everyone was beginning to leave, he probably wouldn’t have any more work to do and took off his apron, hanging it up on the hook provided. Even if he did have to serve a few more customers, it wasn’t like he’d get coffee on his shirt because he was careful, but if he did, he was leaving soon anyways and could wash it the moment he got home.

As he was scanning the area, his eyes caught a brunette boy, probably not much older than he was—perhaps even the same age— hunched over a book, his eyes scanning the page quickly and his lips open in a small drop as if he couldn’t believe what he was reading. With his contacts in, he was at a comfortable enough distance to judge that it was a fiction book he was reading, so maybe it was exciting. He should’ve looked away after he’d realised that, but couldn’t. It was like he was glue—Kaspar couldn’t take his eyes off him. He tried to tell himself that there was no reason for him to be staring—that the stranger wasn’t even that good looking, but he was.

He was the best looking person he’d ever seen, actually.

He glanced around the room again quickly, half to see if anyone else was looking at the brunet stranger, half to see if anyone was looking at him looking at the brunet stranger. Once the answer to both of those was no, he stared at the stranger again, finding himself becoming… calm. Despite the boy being clearly anxious because of his book, it made him feel relaxed on the inside. That was weird.

Part of him was afraid he would look up at any minute and catch him, but his reflexes were quick enough that he could look away, and so he kept on staring. He admitted to himself quickly that he was good looking, and he kept on blinking just to make sure he was real. At standing point, he probably would’ve hit the 6’0 mark, or maybe even taller, but not as tall as Xavier. His hair was rather voluptuous and had some height, so that might’ve made him appear taller than he actually was. Although possibly deceiving, his hair was nice too—a brown, chestnut colour that looked unruly, as if maybe he tried to style it, but it ended up inevitably styling itself. His skin was tanned and even though he had a t-shirt on, Kaspar could tell he was slim and defined. It seemed like every inch of him was perfect, and again, he done a once-over of the room to make sure nobody else could witness him ogling him.

His imagination was startled when the brunet slammed the book shut and groaned quietly, shoving the heels of his hands into his closed eyes. Kaspar smiled slightly and looked down at where his fingers were drumming an unsymmetrical tune on the table in front of him, knowing fine well what had just happened. Something had happened in the book which he hadn’t wanted to. He didn’t read books often, but knew the reaction well enough to know that was probably it.

To his dismay, the stranger got up after that and put his empty coffee cup in the bin, shrugging on a jacket to leave.

The blond stayed at his counter, wondering if that had all really just happened or if he’d made the person up.

I dreamt of you that night, you know. It was so weird. So weird that I’d never even think of telling anyone about it. Even Xavier. I’d never even heard you speak, never heard your voice or your accent, so I don’t know how exactly I imagined it—I just imagined your lips moving, and then the sound came out as if I encouraged it. I hope I did. You spoke to me and then offered me your hand, but then you disappeared—as if you were giving me what I wanted, your touch, but then reminding me that I wouldn’t have it. Because I didn’t know you.

And I might never will.

The next time they almost met, they were much closer.

Kaspar heard his accent this time, and his voice. It was deep, and laced with thick Spanish pronunciation. It was a little unexpected, but judging by his tan, the blond had already deemed him from a hotter country than the UK. He probably came here for school, or to visit family, he guessed. He also noticed that his eyes were grey, something he hadn’t been able to see last time because he’d been so far away. His jaw was strong and his cheekbones were defined. He could’ve been a model—he probably was. He was the kind of person that everyone definitely found attractive. Nobody alive would say he wasn’t completely handsome. His entire face just kind of looked like a gift to the world.

Swallowing thickly, Kaspar continued to stare as he spoke to the person serving them, a smile on his face as he asked her animatedly about her day. She replied with that it was boring, and he laughed in sympathy before looking at the Canadian, a smile on his face. Kaspar felt his face heat up significantly, despite the cold weather, and he looked away immediately, finding that his reflexes were not as quick as he’d hoped. The guy definitely saw him looking, and probably thought he was a creep now.

He turned away and continued refilling one of the coffee makers, issuing someone an internet code when they wanted one. He hoped the brunet would go to the seating area that his back was turned to, where he wouldn’t need to see his blushing face, but he went to his usual seat instead, which was right in front of him, forcing him to turn away “conveniently” as he was finished with the machine. The girl he worked with, Jennifer, raised an eyebrow at him knowingly, but he ignored her and insisted he had to help in the back today.

I don’t know why I was so afraid to look at you. I was scared that you’d know, I guess. And maybe you wouldn’t like me to be looking at you. Maybe you might’ve been self-conscious, or maybe you were big headed and had people staring at you all the time. I don’t know. I don’t know because I didn’t know you. But I wanted to, I wanted to so badly.

“Are you ever going to serve him?” Jennifer decided to ask him one day when he’d walked away to his usual seat. Kaspar turned to her to answer and studied her before doing so, knowing that she already knew the answer, but also wondering if he could at least withhold some of his dignity. She had straight back hair and hazel eyes, with a full fringe that was getting so long it almost obscured her eyebrows. Her lips were shiny with lip gloss and the rest of her mid-length hair was tied into a swishy pony tail behind her head.

“Why should I serve him when I have you?” He went for charming, giving her a closed-lipped, sweet smile. She rolled her eyes in return as if used to his antics and pulled a nail file out of her apron, leaning backwards to steady herself on the counter. “I thought you liked serving guys anyways?”

“Yeah, guys that I have a potential to be with,” She chuckled, glancing to the Spaniard who was reading a few tables away. “He’s not really my type, I guess,”

“What is your type then?” Kaspar laughed, folding his arms as he watched her inspect her nails. He would’ve mocked her by inspecting his own, but they were pretty much normal. He had long, slender fingers and short nails, nothing special. He didn’t want to focus her attention on his hands anyways.

“Oh, y’know,” She stared into space for a second and twirled her nail file in her hand, as if she was thinking. Kaspar didn’t think she needed to think. She’d been with enough guys to know what she liked. “Guys like Xavier,”

Rolling his eyes, Kaspar chuckled and shifted on his feet. “So basically blond pranksters who study physics in university?”

“No!” She insisted, shrugging a bit. “Tall blonde’s with a lotta muscle…”

Kaspar’s jaw dropped. “I’m a tall blonde! And I have… some muscle…”

Jennifer laughed. “Your hair is like… highlighted, though! His is just all blond and he’s 6’4!”

“6’3 and ¾,” Kaspar corrected, pouting a bit. “What’s wrong with that guy?” He bobbed his head discreetly to the reading brunet.

“I dunno,” She shrugged. “He’s hot, I mean I’m not gonna deny that, but… he seems too… patient, for me. I like someone loud and outgoing, you know that,”

“I know, but I just thought—… never mind,” He mumbled, a blush rising to his cheeks. “He might be outgoing, you don’t know him!”

“No, go on, you can tell me,” She urged, nudging him in the ribs with her elbow. She was usually extremely cheery and playful, but her concerned frown told him she could be a good listener as well. “What is it that you thought?”

“Well… I just thought he was the kind of guy that would be everybody’s type… y’know?”

“Ohhhh,” Jennifer nodded, her worried expression leaving her face. “Well, I guess he is… I mean, if he asked me out, I wouldn’t say no, but he isn’t a guy I’d stare at and fawn over, like you do,” She added a smirk to the end of her comment, causing the blond to blush harder.

“I do not stare. I just—”

“Honestly babe, I can’t tell if you wanna be him or be on top of him,” She giggled, putting her nail file away only to pull out a lip gloss and smear some more on her mouth.

“I want neither!” Kaspar maintained, his attention stolen so much by her that he didn’t notice the tall figure making his way up to the counter. Jennifer took a few steps backwards when she noticed, the smirk still on her face, before she adopted a fake look of recognition, looking over the Canadian’s shoulder.

“Oh, hi! I’d totally serve you right now, but I gotta go fix my hair,” She gave Kaspar a sly smile before opening the door with her hip and walking backwards into the staff room.

“You don’t have t—!” Kaspar sighed and turned around to face the handsome stranger, trying not to look at him too much. “What can I do for you?” He asked politely, daring a glance up at him. He had a friendly and knowing smile, making the blond think that perhaps he knew about his secret-almost-crush on him.

“Can I… just get another coffee to go?” He asked, the smile still plastered on his face. Kaspar nodded and swallowed, going away to grab a cup without another word. He made the coffee normally and then grabbed a lid, going back up to him. He cleared his throat to make sure it didn’t break whilst talking to him—that would be all he needed to embarrass himself. He briefly remembered thinking that he hoped the guy liked his voice before he spoke.

“D’you want… anything extra on it? Y’know like… cream or anything?” He asked, using his question as an excuse to study his face.

He shook his head and kept on smiling. “Nah, just the coffee is fine,”

Nodding in response since he couldn’t think of anything witty or flirtatious to say, he put the lid on and shoved a straw through the hole, putting it up on the counter for him. He attempted a smile, but it gradually faded as the stranger just… stared back at him. His expression turned to one of expectance and even questioning, silently asking why the fuck this guy was making it so awkward. He was just… staring. Seriously, just take the coffee and leave, man…

The brunet looked amused, rubbing his lips together as he waited for Kaspar to notice.

Eventually, noticing that the blond wasn’t going to catch on anytime soon, he took the coffee in his hand and tried not to laugh. “Don’t you want me to pay for it?”

Realising he hadn’t even asked for the money and he’d been too busy focused on the mystery guy, he blinked and scrambled to open the till. “Shit, right, yeah… um… I mean yeah, you have to pay for it… obviously,” He laughed.

Once they’d exchanged over the money, the brunet seemed to inspect around the cup, as if he was looking for something specific, before pouting a bit and then walking off without another word. When he told Jennifer about it later, she insisted he was probably looking to see if Kaspar had left his number on the cup, but that was stupid. He was probably just making sure the cup wasn’t broken anywhere or something.

——–

“Why don’t you two just stop flirting with each other and go out?” The Canadian complained one night, smiling goodbye to a regular customer. Xavier leaned on the counter between him and Jennifer and said girl had unbuttoned the top two buttons of her shirt. She didn’t know that even a completely naked woman wouldn’t turn Xavier straight.

Jennifer looked at Xavier expectantly after Kaspar said that, but Xavier chuckled and scratched behind his head, leaning up off the counter. “I would if I was straight, honestly. If I was straight, I’d be all over you,”

“…Nice… real nice,” Kaspar sarcastically commented, walking up to chat with them when it looked like they’d have no other customers.

“What? I would be!” Xavier tried to defend himself as best he could. “She’s pretty good looking!”

“Thank you, Xavier!” Jennifer looked specifically at Kaspar with an expectant look on her face. “See, maybe if you’d complimented me like that then we would have dated!”

“…We never would have dated,” Kaspar corrected her. “You were in a relationship when we first met. We friend-zoned each other immediately,”

Jennifer rolled her eyes. “Well we might’ve if you’d flirted with me a little bit! I think I might like having you as a friend better anyways, I always wanted a gay best friend!”

“I’m not gay, I’m bi, and not all gay men are going to give you fashion and hair advice and speak in a high voice…” Kaspar rolled his eyes back and turned to an entertained looking Xavier.

“I’ll give you fashion advice!” He suggested with an excited grin.

“Oh God, no, don’t take fashion advice from him! You should see what he wears when he isn’t going outside,”

“What d’you wear?” Jennifer asked, interested now that Kas had said that.

“Nothing.” Kaspar interrupted again. “He actually wears nothing, I’m not joking,”

“Really?” Jennifer chuckled.

“What? I need to give the boys some space!”

“You’re vile,” Kaspar shook his head and laughed, wondering why he was even friends with Xavier. Jennifer done the same, laughing and moving away from him.

“TMI, man!” Her eyes were redirected to the door and she smirked slyly, moving back to Xavier to whisper something to him.

“Hey, what’re you guys saying about me?” Kaspar pouted, knowing they were probably talking to him since they’d dropped their voices.

“Oh, nothing,” The Australian girl bit one end of her lip and Xavier smirked knowingly as well, both of their eyes trained on him as if he had something funny on his face.

“What is it?” He dragged his hand across his mouth and pulled back to inspect it, but there was nothing there. “Come on, guys! Is there a bug on me or something?” He looked over his left shoulder, glancing up immediately when there was a customer he hadn’t even noticed. He started stuttering when it was the Spaniard he’d slowly started crushing on, blinking to try and bring his focus back. A loud clanging noise echoed beside him and he bent down to pick up the spoon he’d just accidentally slapped off the counter. “Fuck, shit, fucking hell, oh God, I’m sorry, I mean uh… what can I… get you?” He exhaled to try and cool his burning face down.

He sent a side-glare to Jennifer and Xavier who started sniggering immediately, turning away to giggle at him, just catching on to the fact that they’d known he was there the entire time and had waited for him to do something so embarrassing. The guy also looked like he was trying to hold in laughter, but as if he’d found his embarrassment kind of endearing, or maybe he felt sorry for him. “Just the usual, thanks,”

“Right… Sure,” He scowled at the pair laughing loudly at him again and went to make him his usual, wondering how the guy knew that he’d memorised how he took his coffee. Well, he had been here quite a few times, and his ‘usual’ wasn’t very complicated or anything.

“Oh, I’ll get that!” Jennifer intervened when she noticed Kaspar almost finishing the coffee. He stared, puzzled, at her, as she whipped out a pen and scribbled something on the Styrofoam quickly, handing it to the brunet before he could even get a word in.

“What was that? What did you just write on that?” Kaspar’s eyes flickered between Jennifer and the customer, anxiously waiting for someone to answer him, but nobody did.

Until, “Thanks, Kaspar,” The Spaniard smiled and walked away to his usual seat.

“What? Kaspar? What did y—how does he know my name?!”

“What?” Jennifer asked in a defensive tone, her eyes going wide. “At least now you’re closer to actually undressing him rather than just undressing him with your eyes!”

At this, there was a loud bark of laughter and approval from behind her. Xavier stopped abruptly and cleared his throat when Kaspar glared at him again. “Sorry… Sorry…”

“I do not want to undress him! What did you write?!” He demanded. Jennifer rolled her eyes and smiled.

“Don’t worry, I didn’t give him your number, I just told him your name,” She shrugged. “That’s alright, isn’t it? At least now he’ll know what to scream out when he—”

“Oh my God,” Kaspar interrupted to stop her right there. “I swear, you are like a female version of him!” He pointed to a giggling Xavier in the background, who again stopped when the attention was focused on him.

“Uh, excuse you,” Jennifer pointed back at him. “But I am not a blonde with a steroid problem who sexualises everything!”

“Hey, I don’t take steroids! My muscles are all natural!” Xavier called her out, pouting and frowning at her.

Jennifer rolled her eyes without turning to look at him. “Look Kas, in all honesty, if I hadn’t forced you to serve him last month and then told him your name, you guy’s would have still been having creepy eye-sex from the corner of your eye every time he was in here, and yes, that’s hot, but at least with me you guys are making progress! You’re lucky to have me!”

“She’s right, y’know,” Xavier spoke up again. “If she hadn’t intervened, you probably wouldn’t have even spoke to him at all,”

“Thank you!” Jennifer stressed. “See? Even Xavier is agreeing with me, so will you just thank me and give me a hug now?” She held her arms out and Kaspar rolled his eyes again, walking into them and wrapping his own arms around her back.

“Thanks then, I guess,”

“You can repay me by covering for me on Saturday night, I have a date!” The Australian quickly pulled away from him and ran into the back, leaving him with his jaw open. He stared at Xavier who was hiding a smile behind his palm.

“Did you just hear that?!”

“I did,” Xavier nodded, “Who’s she going out with?” He suddenly frowned.

Kaspar shrugged. “Dunno, probably some guy from her class again. She’s convinced that if she wears a shorter skirt each time she goes out with him, then she’ll get laid,”

The blond laughed loudly for a second. “She probably will, knowing her,”

“Yeah, I know,”

Fifteen minutes later, the Spaniard approached the counter again slowly, looking hesitant as if he’d somehow interrupt their conversation. Didn’t he know that the aim of this was that he was the customer and he should be the one getting the attention? Since Jennifer was still in the back doing only God knows what, he steadily walked over to him and smiled uncertainly, a questioning glance on his face.

“Um, can I help—?”

“I just thought I’d give you this back,” He grinned and thrust the Styrofoam cup into Kaspar’s hands, walking away without another word. Said blond looked down in confusion, frowning.

“How rude! Seriously, did you just see that?! Do I look like a trash can today or something?!” He ranted at Xavier. His confusion furthered when Xavier smiled wisely and took the container from him, spinning it around in his hands as the Canadian continued to moan.

“Who does that?! What am I supposed to do with that?! Can he seriously not walk three metres to the trash!? I can’t believe the fucking nerve of hi—”

“Kas, shut up and read.” Xavier commanded, holding a certain part of the cup towards him. He stopped his raging to frown at the offending item, snatching it out of his hands to read it.

~ His name is Kaspar. Kahs—per ~

~ Hi Kaspar. My name is Leandro. Lay—Anne—Droh (: ~

He looked back up at a smirking Xavier, still somewhat baffled. “Now what? What does this mean?!” He started panicking again.

“It means the ball is in your court!” Xavier stressed. “You told him your name, he told you his name—”

“Hey!” Kaspar interrupted. “I did not tell him my name, Jen did,”

“Right, whatever,” He rolled his eyes in response. “Jen told him your name, he retaliated by telling you his name. This is a good sign, Kaspar! He even put a smiley on the end, look!”

“What is a smiley? One of those happy faces? Why would he put a happy face? What is he implying?”

Giving a tired and deadpan expression, Xavier sighed. “Kas, not everything has to have some sort of implication behind it. He put a smiley because he’s being friendly, basically. He’s open for a friendship, maybe more as you get to know each other!”

“But how am I gonna get to know him? I can’t even talk to him,” Kaspar shrugged, a somewhat sad look on his face as he finally admitted his problem.

“You can be charming when you want to. What’s the problem around him?” Xavier wondered aloud.

“I dunno… guys like him just don’t talk to guys like me,” He laughed and closed up again, moving to fiddle with a broken button on the coffee maker.

Xavier was determined not to make him become quiet again. “What do you mean? What is a guy like him and what is a guy like you?”

“He’s… like… I dunno,” Kaspar sighed, figuring that Xavier had dated tonnes of guys, so he probably had some good (or worthwhile) advice. “Popular? He probably has enough guys fawning over him,”

“And what is a guy like you?”

“…I dunno? Smart?”

Xavier gave a disbelieving laugh and shifted in his seat, sucking in through his teeth. “Oh boy, this is gonna take a while. Okay, Kas? First of all, stop judging a book based on its cover.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense, he’s not an object and I can judge him based on his attitude and outwards appearance easily—”

“Okay, it’s a metaphor?” At this, Kaspar blushed. “You use your weird mind tricks to get into people’s heads and find out about them, that’s cool, I get that, but… for once… don’t? Don’t think of him as someone who has to be analysed. He’s a person, not some criminal that you need to examine. Why don’t, instead of studying him, get to know him? Let him tell you about himself, don’t find out using your own resources.”

“But—”

“I’m not finished. Now, secondly, I don’t know why, but you have this… irrational tendency to despise people when they underestimate you, correct?”

Kaspar nodded, glancing to the side for a moment.

“Well, you underestimate yourself. You think that you’re this unlikeable guy, but Kas, you’re not. You just don’t have the confidence to start conversations with hot people, I get it,”

“Hey!”

“Shut up, it’s true. Now, I don’t mean any offense by this, but when you get nervous, you speak in the only way which you can, which means all these biological big words that nobody knows nor gives a shit about. Don’t do that,”

“So… are you saying I should dumb myself down for a guy?”

“No,” Xavier sighed, bowing his head for a moment at how hard this was. “Just… don’t… speak in biological terms? Kas, not everyone is as smart as you. Nobody knows what you are talking about when you rabbit on about DNA and stuff. If he happens to say something that you disagree with, you don’t need to correct him. It really gets fuckin’ annoying,”

“But I just—”

“I’m not telling you to be a different person or anything, okay? Just… analysing people has become second nature to you… it’s like… speaking Finnish with me, but you don’t need to do it. Leandro will most likely gladly tell you anything about him if you ask. It’s that simple. Plus, another thing, how exciting is a relationship gonna be if you already know everything about him? What do you expect to do, analyse every single person until you find the right one that suits your expectations?”

“No, but that’s exactly what I’m saying,” Kaspar laughed a bit. “Leandro is… way above my standards…”

“You mean he’s out of your league?” Xavier raised an eyebrow.

“…Well, yeah, look at him.”

“Again, you’re judging him. Kas, stop. Stop! Why do you think he wouldn’t go for y— Kas, do you even realise how many girls come in here just to sit and giggle and stare at you?” He shook his head. “I don’t know how many times I’ve saw a girl biting their lip when you bend over to clean a table,”

“You’re just making that up to make me feel better,”

“No, I’m not,” Xavier laughed. “I don’t know who put it into your head that you’re ‘ugly’ or whatever, but you’re not. And Leandro doesn’t think so either if he gave you his name,”

“That’s just his name,” Kaspar rolled his eyes. “He probably got sick of Jennifer calling him the ‘hot Spanish piece of ass,’”

“No, he didn’t. He specifically called you out by your own name and then responded by telling you his own, Kas he is into you! If he wasn’t, he would’ve just thrown it in the bin and walked out, but he actually took the time to make sure you knew his name. I’m telling you, he responded positively, if you just did things the right way, which I know you can do, then you’ll probably have a date in no time,”

“But I won’t,” The blond laughed. “He’s not gonna be into me.”

“Okay, Jesus Christ, forgive me, I’m about to sound like a girl,” He took a deep breath and prepared himself. “Kas, you are not bad looking. I’m gonna confess, when we first met, you kinda confirmed for me that I was gay. Yeah, you don’t look like me,” He smirked, making Kaspar roll his eyes again. “But seriously, you have really pretty eyes, and there is nothing wrong with you. You’re not… unattractive… at all? I don’t get what the problem is,”

“What’re you guys talking about?” Jennifer took this moment to come out and frowned at Kaspar, just catching the end of Xavier’s rant. “Kas, you think you’re unattractive?”

“Great,” Kaspar rolled his eyes again and groaned.

“Isn’t he not ugly? Wouldn’t Leandro be into him?”

“Leandro?” Jennifer tilted her head. “Who’s Leandro?”

“The Spanish guy?”

At this, her eyes lit up. “Oh, him! Kas, you got his name?!”

“He put it on the cup, Xavier seems to think this is a good thing,”

“It is!” Jennifer gasped, picking up the cup and slowly grinning. “He even put a smiley face!” She and Xavier shared knowing smiles.

“How on earth is this a good thing? It’s just a name!” Kaspar tried to stress.

Xavier slapped his hand on the counter and sighed. “Oh my God, Jen, you explain!”

“He gave you his name because he wants to tap that a—!”

“Not in that way. More sensitive,” Xavier ordered.

“Oh, okay! Well, basically, by giving you his name, it means he likes you back,”

“He’s a stranger and we know nothing about each other, how could we possibly like each other?” Kaspar asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Okay, you do not know how dating works, do you?” Jennifer smiled knowingly and patted the counter, hoisting herself up onto it and encouraging him to do the same by patting it again. “Get up, listen to wise Jen.”

Kaspar did as she said, swinging his legs and looking behind him to make sure nobody wanted service. “Okay, go?”

“If he didn’t wanna know you, he’d have just left without saying anything, but he replied! Don’t you see?”

“See… what?”

“Kas, for goodness sakes, you’re supposed to be smart, how can you not get this?!” Xavier interrupted, almost tugging his hair out from frustration.

“Don’t get annoyed with him, he’s just inexperienced,” Jennifer scolded, hitting Xavier lightly. The Finnish man rubbed at his eyes before blinking and sighing, waiting for Jennifer to explain better than he had. “Okay, what exactly is the problem?”

Kaspar sighed. “Xavier says the smiley is an implication of friendship, which also therefore implies that he wants to get to know me… and I don’t know how that works,” He blushed slightly, his jaw and cheeks turning light rosy.

“Okay, see when you ramble on about biology? Don’t do that—”

“That’s what he just said, I don’t get this at all! Dating is stupid,” He grumbled and jumped off the edge of the counter, frowning in frustration.

“Okay, honey, don’t get annoyed. What I mean to say is that nobody knows how to respond when you start talking like Einstein,”

“Einstein was a physicist,” Xavier interrupted with a quiet murmur.

“Okay, quick, gimme a famous biologist,”

“Alexander Fleming?” Kaspar asked in a ‘duh’ tone.

“Who the hell is that?” Jennifer screwed up her face.

“…He invented penicillin and discovered lysozyme?”

“Oh! Right, well, when you start talking like this Alexander Mucus kid—”

“Fleming, oh my God,” Kaspar started giggling and put his face in his hands for a moment.

“Okay, can you not? I’m feeling a little stupid at the moment. Right, Fleming, whatever, when you start talking like him, nobody knows what the hell is going on, and frankly, we kinda get a little scared. We have no idea how to respond to you when you start talking about freaking enzymes and the human nature, okay? Instead of talking about biology, answer in terms that a normal person would understand.”

“…Should I act as if I’m speaking to a child? Won’t he find that patronising?”

“No, see the way we’re talking right now? Talk to him like that. But don’t get nervous, that’s when your mouth starts to get all scientifical,”

“That’s… not even a word, but okay, I—”

“We want your mouth to be giving off the impression that you’ll suck him off, not that you practise biology speeches for fun,” Xavier interjected bluntly.

“I do not!”

“Okay I do not need to know what you’re gonna be doing with your mouth,” Jennifer adopted a repulsed expression. “Just speak to him, Kas. Ask him how he’s doing the next time he asks for a coffee,” She shrugged.

“But… what do I say after he replies ‘yeah I’m fine’ or something?” He replied.

“Chances are he’ll ask how you are back, then just say you’re fine, and then smile and let him go,” Jennifer shrugged again and Xavier nodded beside her.

“Is that it?” Kaspar shook his head.

“Well, you can flirt a little if you want? Ask if he’s been working out lately,”

“Ask if he’s into anal,” Xavier suggested.

“…Okay, now I know you’re joking.”

“Really, what gave it away?” Xavier grinned. “The fact he doesn’t have a va—”

“I’m DONE with both of you. Thanks for all the unhelpful help,” He smiled and shook his head. Xavier seemed to catch onto what he’d done, but Jennifer didn’t, beaming at him.

“It’s alright! Just make sure I’m there the next time you do it, I’ll help you! Oh! We can act like spies and wear earpieces and stuff!”

“…It’s not gonna come to that, Jen,”

She pouted. “It might!”

——–

“Okay, go!” Jennifer gave him a little shove of encouragement in Leandro’s direction. Kaspar looked helplessly back at her and then went up to the Spaniard’s table, clearing his throat to get his attention.

“Hey, uh, I was just… wondering… d’you want… a refill? They’re free on Saturdays after six… that’s… why I’m even asking,” He scratched behind his ear, even though it wasn’t itchy, and glanced away to Jennifer and Xavier, who discreetly gave him two thumbs-ups.

Leandro chuckled and nodded. “Sure, Kaspar. Thanks,” He smiled.

“…Right…” The Canadian walked away to get it, breathing a sigh out. He quickly made the coffee and then thrust it towards Jennifer. “I’m too nervous, you need to go,”

“But you were doing so well!” She exclaimed, putting it back down on the counter.

“No, really, I can’t, my hands are getting sweaty. You need to go give him it,” He wiped his palms on his jeans and looked up in disappointment with himself to Xavier, who half smiled at him in reassurance.

“Don’t worry, at least you said more than five words to him today!”

“Oh, shut up,”

Jennifer sighed and swiped the cup up with her newly manicured, smiling at him charmingly and putting it on his table, having a small chat with him before she came back and raised her eyebrow at Kaspar. He stared back at her like a puppy who’d just been given into trouble and sighed, going away to serve someone else.

——-

“They are not dating, Kas,” Xavier said for the fifth time, glancing at Leandro and his companion. They were at his usual seat, so they both had good views of each other, but it seemed none of them were having, as Jennifer so politely put it, “eye-sex” today. Leandro looked way too focused on his new boyfriend or whatever.

“Shut up,” Jennifer hissed quietly to him, again, for the fifth time. “They might be! And lying to him isn’t going to make it any better! I don’t know where we went wrong,” She began to whine, her eyebrows drooping at the ends in hopelessness. “How did we not know he had a boyfriend?!”

“He doesn’t have a boyfriend. They’re not dating.” Xavier shook his head. He sounded pretty sure of himself, but also like he was trying to convince himself of that fact at the same time.

“They look like they are,” Kaspar grimaced as the noticeably shorter one laughed, Leandro’s fingers gliding over his ribcage as he tickled him.

“I tickle you all the time, they’re not dating.”

“Will you please shut up?” Jennifer slapped her palm on the counter and turned to Xavier with a glare that could rival Satan’s, a hand on her hip—a sure sign she was ready to give him into trouble. “You are not making this any easier for him! You don’t know that they aren’t dating. If they are, then we need a plan to split them up, but that’s not going to be easy since Vermont here wouldn’t know how to flirt even if his life depended on it,”

“Hey!” Kaspar protested, a small pout forming on his lips. “I… probably could if my life depended on it…”

Jennifer raised her eyebrow. “Let’s be real, sweetie, you can’t, and you’re gonna have to learn so that Leandro dumps his boyfriend’s ass for yours!”

“I don’t want him to dump someone for me,” Kaspar mumbled miserably. “And I don’t want him to fall for my ass either,”

“Not like he would, I mean when’s the last time you worked out?” Xavier chuckled, but his smile dropped when he got an offended look from both Kaspar and Jennifer.

“Excuse you, the last time I worked out was last night and my ass is way be—”

Xavier smirked. “Why are you suddenly working out, Kas?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Oooh, that’s interesting,” Jennifer grinned and stared at him in interrogation also.

“Four months ago you refused to work out but suddenly Leandro comes along and you’re working out at night?”

“I am not working out just because of Leandro! My… muscles were starting to fade!” Kaspar blushed under both of their stares and swallowed, trying to look away to stop the blush.

“What muscles?” Xavier asked in a scarily honest tone.

“Shut the fuck up!” Kaspar suddenly glared at him. “The muscles on my body obv—”

“Your ass muscles?” He started sniggering. “Wanna make it tight for Leandro?”

Jennifer also started laughing, but at least she hid hers behind her hand.

“…I’m… completely done with you two,” He tried not to laugh in embarrassment, but it dropped when he heard more giggling from across the room. He breathed in deeply, sighing afterwards.

“Trust me, they’re not dating,” Xavier repeated. Jennifer turned to him with another glare.

“Stop saying tha– where are you going?” She watched blankly as Xavier approached Leandro and the boy with a confidence only he could muster. All she heard was an overly sweet ‘hi’ before he started talking too quickly. She grabbed Kaspar’s arm where he was cleaning the counter with a cloth and tugged him into the  back.

“Ow!” He pouted at the nails digging into his bicep. “Jen, what the hell? Why are we back here?”

“I think Xavier’s asking Leandro if they’re together,” She gestured for Kaspar to help her up to the window of the door so she could spy on them.

With a huff, Kaspar bent down and grabbed one of her legs, settling his shoulder under her bum. She was too small to simply go on his back, so he figured this way was better. She was wobbly, but clutched onto the rim of the window to keep herself up.

“What do you see?” Kaspar asked in a groaning tone. The pressure on his lungs wasn’t exactly comfortable.

“It looks good, he doesn’t look like he’s offended him… yet. Leandro’s laughing at him, but the other guy looks moody,” She whispered.

“What do you mean, moody? Do you think Xavier said something to th–”

“Quick, put me down he’s coming back! Oh holy shit, he’s coming in, Kas, move!”

“He’s not even supposed to come in here!” Kaspar hissed back at her, trying to move out of the way of the door as quickly as possible. Jennifer stumbled when jumping off of his shoulder, and got the buckle of her heel caught in his jumper, but other than that, they made it out unscathed.

“I told you s– what the fuck?” Xavier’s expression turned from one of happiness to confusion as he looked at Jennifer, standing with one of her feet attached to Kaspar’s elbow.

“It’s– nothing,” Jennifer huffed as she got her foot loose. “What did he say?!” She asked excitedly.

“They’re not dating,” He said proudly, folding his arms over a puffed out chest. “Told you so~”

“Wait, really? Ah, Kas, that’s great!” Jennifer grinned widely and started bouncing on her toes next to him, gripping his elbow with her hands again.

It was good news, but he still couldn’t fight a nagging feeling in his chest. The boy who’d been with Leandro was good looking– with pretty shaped eyes and a cute smile and nicely-styled brunet hair. And then here he was– with messy blond hair and unnatural green eyes. If Leandro wasn’t dating the other boy, then he would never date him either.

“What’s wrong?” Jennifer asked, noting his sudden drop in happiness.

“Nothing,” He gave a weak smile and blinked, rubbing his hands over his eyes. “Just tired today,” Without adding anything on, he went back out into the café and started wiping up the counter again, making sure there was no spilled coffee, water or sugar. He had been lost in his miserable thoughts again before a 'bye Kaspar!’ made him look up. Leandro waved and smiled to him before leaving, and his heart skipped a beat just at the look of that grin.

——-

“I will give you a hundred bucks if you just ask him on one date,” Jennifer flatly requested.

“No,” Kaspar laughed. “I don’t even know him well enough to ask him on a date. The only thing I know is his name,” He refused.

Jennifer rolled her eyes, turning to give Xavier a knowing look. “He’s due in here in around fifteen minutes, by the time he’s gone, I want you to know his age, his birthday, where he comes from, and what he studies at school. Sound good?”

“No!” Kaspar said instantly, eyes wide. “It doesn’t sound good at all, I don’t want him to think I’m interviewing him!”

“He won’t, see, what you need is conversation skills,” Jennifer decided. Xavier nodded along in the background, sucking on a milkshake. “You don’t ask him quick-fire questions like it’s an interview, you just… slip things in, subtly, to get him talking,”

“What do you even mean?” Kaspar frowned. “Slip what in where?” He put on a hopeless look. “Guys, if that’s some sort of innuendo–”

“It’s not an innuendo,” Xavier rolled his eyes. “You’d know if it was, because I’d have laughed,”

That was true… “Look,” Jennifer grabbed his attention again. “Just… tell him that coffee will give him energy for whatever he’s studying, then, he’ll reply by telling you what he studies. Personally, I hope it’s the romance languages, because damn, do I love a boy who can speak Spanish or French,”

“bonjour jolie fille,” Kaspar smirked at the same time as Xavier muttered a small, “Hola hermosa,”

“Aw, you guys are sweet,” She smiled, patting Kaspar on the back. She scrunched up her nose. “But he’s gay, and you’re gonna be dating this guy, so no can do,”

“I’m not going to be dating this guy, shut up,” Kaspar chuckled embarrassedly. He really wasn’t though– he barely even knew him!

“Do you remember what I told you?” Jennifer mumbled beside him, her head down. She acted distracted, tucking her hair behind her ear.

“Told me about what?” Kaspar frowned, having no idea.

“Hey, Kaspar,”

The blond looked up to see a cute and grinning brunet, staring at him intently with his hand on the strap of his bag.

“Hi,” Kaspar said slightly breathlessly, staring at him for a few seconds in shock at how pretty he was. “Uh, the usual?” He grabbed a cup.

“Ummm,” Instead of going over to the left of the café like he usually did with a book or his laptop, nearest the plug sockets, he took a seat at the counter. “Nah, give me a hot chocolate today please? It’s really cold outside,”

A little taken aback that he would be sitting within ear-shot today, Kaspar nodded mutely and began preparing one for him, slipping a monster munch into his mouth as he worked. It was quiet enough that he could do it without getting caught or moaned at, and he was pretty sure Leandro wouldn’t mind either.

Just as he was about to put the lid over the cup, Leandro commented. “Y'know, you have really beautiful eyes,”

“What?” Out of the corner of his eye, Kaspar saw both Jennifer and Xavier’s head’s snap up at the same time in surprise. He stared at him in disbelief for a few seconds, waiting for him to elaborate or say 'just kidding!’. Instead, he received a stinging, dripping sensation all over his hand.

“MOTHERFUCK–” He gasped in pain and waved his hand around. Jennifer muttered profanities as she wiped up the hot chocolate for him and asked him if he was alright, and Xavier started snickering in the corner. Leandro watched them in shock and partial guilt, thinking it was his fault for distracting him. Mortified and embarrassed, Kaspar quickly escaped to the back where there were multiple sinks, blowing on his hands and hissing. Leandro was really damn lucky he was pretty.

“Is he okay?” Leandro asked concernedly, glancing at the door Kaspar had just ran into. Jennifer finished wiping up the hot liquid and nodded, a small smile on her face.

“He’ll be fine, he’s just not used to being complimented by good looking people,” She said sympathetically.

Leandro nodded as if he understood, but honestly, he didn’t. Didn’t Kaspar get complimented all the time? “D'you mind if I go in and see him? I have some pain killers in my bag he can use,”

“Oh, it’s fine he’ll already have pain killers in–” When she realised this was another opportunity for them to talk, she stopped and smiled. “Yeah of course, it’s only us on duty, so you shouldn’t run into anyone else. He’ll probably be in the kitchen, it’s to the right,”

Nodding, Leandro rounded the counter and went in through the back, walking slowly until he saw the blond bent over a sink, his head ducked and his back clearly conveying how he was trying to control his breathing. He approached him quietly, dropping his bag onto the floor.

“Hey, are you okay?” He asked when Kaspar turned around. He was shocked to see Leandro, but nodded anyways, turning back to tending to his hand.

“Yeah, I’m fine, just… clumsy,” He sighed, smiling.

Leandro frowned, reaching up a hand to try and turn Kaspar’s face towards him. “Hey, are you crying?”

Surprised, Kaspar turned to look at him. His eyes ached, but he wasn’t crying. They had just automatically watered up because of the pain. “Oh, no,” He shook his head. “It was because of the burn, I’m not crying, honestly. It doesn’t even hurt that much,” Well, it didn’t hurt now.

“Oh,” Leandro smiled. “Well that’s good. Anyway I just came back here to say I’m sorry for catching you off guard like that. You were concentrating and I shouldn’t have spoken to you,” He looked down at Kaspar guiltily.

“Don’t be stupid,” Kaspar snorted. “It’s fine, it happens all the time. I should’ve been watching what I was doing anyways,”

“It’s not fine, your hand is all red,” Leandro pouted a bit, eyeing his slender and used-to-be-pale hands. “I’m really sorry,”

“Honestly, it’s okay,” Kaspar smiled, shaking his head. “I’ll be fine, I’ve had worse, way worse,”

“Worse than a… second degree burn?” Leandro looked unsure, and Kaspar knew why.

He chuckled adoringly at the student. “It’s actually only first, it only damaged the epidermis of the skin and is only really equivalent to sunburn,”

Leandro raised an eyebrow and nodded as if he’d learnt something new today. Then he smiled again. “I knew you were the brainy type,”

“What makes you think that?” Kaspar asked, absentminded rolling up the sleeve of his shirt so it wouldn’t get water splatters on it.

“Just,” He shrugged a bit. “I’ve seen you wearing glasses before and you don’t look like the artistic type. More like… science, I don’t know,” He chuckled. “I’m just guessing, I really have no idea. You could be a musician for all I know,”

Kaspar shrugged back at him. “Close, I can play piano, but you’re right, I do biology and criminology, what about you?” Conversations were surprisingly easy actually, and he found himself calming down, wondering what he’d been so afraid of in the first place.

“I could’ve guessed the biology part, but not criminology,” As if becoming more comfortable as well, Leandro leaned over to the height he was at and leaned his elbow on the counter beside the sink, propping his chin on his fist to look at the Canadian. “I do journalism, but I have a feeling you already know that,”

“It is a little obvious, I guess… you’re always reading, or you’re always typing, or writing… you always have ink stains on your fingers, too,” At Leandro’s impressed glance, Kaspar shook his head, deciding to correct him. “It’s not that obvious to everyone, just me… criminology really trains you to observe everything a lot more,” He chuckled.

“Hm,” Leandro smiled. “Well, I’d suck in that class. I wouldn’t be able to take my eyes off you,”

Kaspar’s smile dropped again slightly. Was he serious? He shook his head. “Criminology is much more interesting than me,”

“Maybe, but I doubt it’s more beautiful,”

Okay, he was going to faint. He could feel his face getting hotter. As if sensing his uncertainness, Leandro leaned back and looked horrified for a second. “Wait, you are gay, right? I mean, I’m not hitting on a straight guy or anything?”

“No!” Kaspar was quick to ease him back into their comfortable conversation. “I am! Well, bi, but… I mean I’m not straight,”

“Okay good,” He looked much more comfortable now. “And you don’t have some angry boyfriend or girlfriend who’s gonna scream at me if I give you my number, right?”

Kaspar shook his head mutely, but after a few seconds it looked like Leandro wanted a more verbal answer. He smiled. “Nope, no boyfriend… or girlfriend,”

“Lucky for me then,” Leandro smiled. He went to his bag and brought out a notepad, as well as what looked like some pills. He scribbled something on the first sheet of paper quickly and then ripped it off, leaving it under the box of tablets. “I’ll see you tomorrow then?”

Just as the blond was about to mention that he didn’t work on Saturdays, Leandro bet him to it. “Wait, you don’t work tomorrow… Monday then,” He smirked, walking backwards until he disappeared behind the corner. After the door was heard opening and closing, Kaspar let out the breath he was holding and turned back towards the sink. With his dry hand, he pulled the note towards him.

Sorry about the burn, if you need someone to kiss it better:

**** *** ****

—–

He went in on Saturday when Jen was on her shift, hoping to see Leandro, but he didn’t. It made him a little sad, and he was oh-so tempted to call the Spaniard and invite him round while he and Xavier were just sitting doing nothing, but couldn’t find the guts to. Leandro had been so nice and he felt a little more confident when he was with him, but when he went away, he couldn’t help but think he’d soon come to his senses. The feeling of hopelessness turned to guilt, and by the time Monday rolled around, Kaspar seriously wanted to avoid work just so he wouldn’t have to see Leandro’s face. He didn’t know what had happened– Leandro had seemed to into him and he was totally into Leandro, but it was like he just couldn’t jump over the first hurdle. Instead he tried to side-step it and eventually resorted to climbing over it like a turtle.

Half way through Monday, things were even worse.

Leandro hadn’t shown up at all, and Kaspar didn’t know whether that was a 'I’m not coming back here until you call me’ or a 'You didn’t call me at all, so I’m not coming back here’. Jennifer pestered him that he probably just had class, but Xavier took this opportunity to make jokes and tell him Leandro was crying so he wouldn’t come back. He knew it was stupid, but he felt like Xavier’s was the more believable excuse.

“He’ll show up, don’t worry,” Jen narrowed her eyes at Xavier’s constant hyena-like laughing, silently communicating that he better shut up.

“No he won’t,” Kaspar huffed a sigh. “I’ve screwed everything up already,”

“Why do you even like him anyways?” Xavier wondered loudly, interrupting whatever Jennifer was about to contribute. Kaspar looked at him for a second with blank eyes, unable to find an answer, before one popped into his head.

He shrugged. “He makes me feel nice,”

Xavier gave him a weird face. “I don’t even know if that’s just wind or an orgasm,”

Kaspar rolled his eyes. “It’s neither, I mean he makes me feel nice emotionally as well,”

“Aww,” Jennifer cooed behind him.

“So is that it? I could find a million people in this city that make you feel nice emotionally and physically, you don’t need to fawn after him,”

“I highly doubt that, and I’m not fawning after him, I just like him,”

“Honestly the only thing I find hot about him is that he’s Spanish, but, y'know, all Spanish people are hot,” He smirked and gestured to himself.

“You’re only half Spanish,” Jennifer pointed out.

“And half Finnish,” He pouted. “That’s sexy too, that’s double the sexy, actually,”

“I’m just Canadian,” Kaspar shrugged.

“I’m only Australian,” Jennifer added with another pout.

“Dude?” Xavier asked her. “Australian’s are like the hottest thing out. I told you before I’d do you if you were a guy,”

“Wow, that is incredibly charming and also just a little bit sexist,” She frowned confusedly.

Xavier shrugged, unaffected. “Of course I’m sexist, I just told you guys I’m half Finnish and half Spanish,”

Jennifer and Kaspar shared a look. Kaspar eventually sighed and turned, seeing it as his turn to explain. “Sexist and sexy aren’t the same thing,”

“Anything with the word sex in it is a good thing,”

“No,” Kaspar replied with a snorted chuckle as Jennifer slapped her own face in hopelessness behind him. “Sexism is being offensive to a gender,”

“What gender?” He asked with a frown. “I thought that was feminism?”

“Any gender… and feminism is wanting equality for all sexes,” Kaspar said carefully.

“But men are better?” Xavier asked as if it was obvious.

“Oh, hell no,” Kaspar heard Jennifer say behind him. She threw up her hands and went in the back.

“I don’t get why she’s pissed? I like men better? Dude, that’s discrimination against me being gay, I’m offended,”

“She’s not pissed that you like men better, she’s pissed that you think men are better as an entire gender,” Kaspar said quietly.

“But… why shouldn’t I think that? I like men,”

“No, you’re not getting it,” Kaspar rolled his eyes. “And you’re starting to offend me too, now, you cunt. Being sexist is hating a certain gender just because of their gender. Your sexual preference is men, that’s cool, but you can’t think men are better than women in general, like in areas apart from sexual attraction– like career, and politics, and social situations,”

“Oh, no,” Xavier shook his head vehemently. “I totally think women should be paid just as much as men, even more if they do a better job at it,”

Glad he had finally clicked, Kaspar nodded and smiled. “See why she was offended now? You’d be offended if she attacked your masculinity,”

“I’d be offended if anyone attacked my masculinity, and trust me, they wouldn’t be attacking it for much longer,”

“Because you’d pummel them to the ground?” Kaspar guessed.

“Damn straight,” Xavier nodded. “Go and tell her I’m sorry, my brain is being annoyingly slow today,”

Nodding back, Kaspar opened the door and tugged on Jennifer’s arm, explaining that Xavier understood now but he was having a bad day. She rolled her eyes with a knowing smile and came back out, waiting patiently with arms folded and a tapping foot.

“Well?”

He sighed as if being given into trouble by his mother. “Sorry for saying men are better than women, I didn’t mean it like that,”

Satisfied, Jennifer went to get back to work.

“All I meant was that I like to fuck men better,”

As Kaspar tried to hold in his laughter, Jennifer sighed. “I know you do honey, I know, and personally, may I say thank God,”

“Why thank God?” He asked curiously.

“Because if you said that to a woman who didn’t understand your sense of humor, you’d probably be sporting a black eye right now,”

“And painful balls,” Kaspar added in.

“Well that just shows impatience and violence,”

“You’re such an asshole,” Kaspar gave up, shaking his head at the Finnishman.

“I agree,” Jennifer chuckled.

“You guys are assholes for not teaching me about this sooner, I didn’t know girls would flip their shit when I said I preferred guys,”

“For the love of god, we don’t care that you prefer men sexually, we just don’t want you to think that men are better than women at everything,” Jennifer glared at him.

Kaspar no longer cared about their debate, his heartbeat increasing dramatically when Leandro finally walked through the doors and smiled at him. He took a seat at the stools instead of a table again, lowering his bag to the ground. “Hi–” He greeted, taking a glance towards Jennifer and Xavier, who were now, by the looks of it, in a heated argument. “–Are they okay?” He raised his eyebrows.

Kaspar nodded, a little embarrassed. “Yeah, they argue all the time, it’s fine. Usual?”

Leandro nodded, waiting as Kaspar prepared his coffee.

“–literally the most sexist pig I’ve ever met, and you don’t even know it!”

“I’m not even being sexist, I’m just saying I think men are better!”

“That is sexist, you stupid idiot!”

“No, I mean better for sleeping with. Why am I being moaned at for liking sex with guys over women? God, you girls are so fucking irritating, no wonder I’m gay,”

“I swear to God, I will hop over this counter and whip the shit out of you with this towel if you say one more degrading thing towards me,” She held the white towel up for added affect, grinding her teeth behind her glare.

“Are you sure?” Leandro asked Kaspar. “She looks really angry at him,”

“Yeah,” Kaspar sighed, handing him over his coffee. “Believe it or not they have this conversation at least once a month,”

“And how does it usually end?”

“With one of them storming out or with Jennifer threatening to tell Xavier all the most gruesome details about her period…”

“That… okay, that’s not weird,” Leandro chuckled uneasily.

“Okay, that is not what I’m saying at all. When the hell did I even mention pressure on women?”

“There is a pressure on women. You think that you’re only gay because women aren’t good enough for you!”

“No, I’m not saying that, I’m just saying they’re not good enough to get my dick hard,”

“I am this close to slapping you in the face right now,” Jennifer held an inch of air between her fingers.

“But they’re not! Look, listen to my point of view– I think that girls are great, okay? But they’re just not. great. enough. to get me hard, don’t you understand?”

Jennifer took a deep breath. “Xavier, I love you, but I will smack you with the nearest object if you don’t find a better way to word things,”

“The nearest object is a spoon and I doubt that’ll do much damag–”

“DO YOU WANNA FIND OUT?!”

“Okay, no! I’m sorry!” Xavier held up his arms in front of his face when Jennifer picked up said spoon, holding it in a deathly strong grip. “Please, I know I need to word things better, that’s why you guys are my best friends! So that you can tell me when I’m being an asshole!”

“You’re being an asshole,” Leandro and Kaspar said at the same time.

Xavier sighed. “How do I word this properly: I like to sleep with men better than I like to sleep with women?”

“I’m gay?” Kaspar suggested plainly. Leandro snorted from behind his coffee.

“But everyone knows I’m gay,”

“Then just keep your trap shut,” Jennifer advised with a smile.

“This is so unfair, you’re all bullying me just because I’m gay,”

“Oh my god,” Jennifer covered her eyes as if she was humiliated.

“Well you are! I feel so pressured to like girls right now, I’m serious,” Seeing how Xavier actually did look concerned, Kaspar decided to interfere again.

“You shouldn’t feel pressured to like any gender, but you just have to learn how to form an opinion,” He suggested.

“I tried that, but she just flipped her shit,”

“Yeah because you insulted the entire female population by saying they weren’t good enough for you and that they were the reason you’re gay,”

“Well they are, I don’t like women, so I like men,”

All three of them gave a groan.

“It’s not women’s fault that you don’t like women,” Kaspar elaborated.

“I know that,” Xavier said as if they were stupid. “It’s my fault,”

“…” Kaspar was at a loss.

“What I think Xavier is trying to say is that he prefers men sexually, and while he would never be attracted to a woman in that way, he doesn’t think it’s their fault and he still thinks of them as equal human beings… right?” Leandro asked him hopefully.

“Yes, thank you!” Xavier threw his hands up in the air. “You’re still equal, I just would prefer a man to sleep in my bed. And naked, too, if that’s possible,”

“But you really do need to find a better way to word your arguments and think about what you say before you say it or you might end up offending–”

“52% of the world,” Jennifer finished.

“I thought 52% of the world was water?” Xavier frowned.

“Oh my God,” Jennifer turned and threw down her towel. “I’m out,”

“Water takes up over 70% of the earth’s surface, right? You should know that, you do physics. 52% of our population is women,”

Xavier’s eyes went slightly wide. “Holy shit, seriously? So there’s more of them than there is of us?”

“More or less,” Leandro shrugged. “And that doesn’t count other genders,”

“Wait, there are other genders?!”

—–

“So your friends are interesting,” Leandro smiled.

Kaspar nodded, a small smile on his lips. “They can be a handful, but they usually get on well. Honestly I think it’s kind of Jen’s time of the month and that’s why she was so crabby…”

Leandro raised an eyebrow. “You know when your friend’s period is?”

Stuttering a little as he forgot this wasn’t the norm for Leandro, Kaspar nodded. “I can’t help it, she’s really not afraid to tell anyone, and I grew up with a sister, so…”

Leandro chuckled. “That’s nice, what’s her name?”

“Uh, Willow, she’s seventeen in December…” He trailed off.

“Ah, that age,”

“Yeah,” Kaspar agreed with a chuckle.

“Have to pull all the boys off her?”

“No,” The blond looked horrified. “I mean, well, yeah… but she can mostly do it by herself anyways. She has a really specific type,”

“What’s her type?” Leandro asked with a small frown and a laugh.

“Channing Tatum?”

The Spaniard snorted a laugh. “… You don’t have the same type though, right? Because I don’t really want to cut my hair…”

“No,” Kaspar smiled shyly.

“So what’s your type then?”

“Uh…” Incredible looking Spanish men with grey eyes and flow-y brown hair and the best arms I’ve ever seen?  “Nice people, I guess,” He shrugged. “Just people who’re nice to me, I don’t mind how they look,”

Leandro’s flirty smile softened into a different kind of one. “That’s actually really nice of you, Kaspar. More people should have your mindset,”

That was a big compliment to him, and he blushed.

“So I take it you didn’t need anyone to kiss your burn better?” He asked, the smirk returning.

“Uh, no, about that– I meant to call you, but I just… I was a little busy,” He lied.

“Well, two subjects could do that to a person,” He looked as if he knew Kaspar had been too shy to call him.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Kaspar replied. “But I will call you,” He suddenly said, almost in a determined tone. “Sometime…”

“It’d be nice, but don’t feel pressured or anything,” Leandro grinned.

“No, I will, even if it’s just to talk,”

“We could text instead if you want?”

Fuck yes. Please yes.

“Sure,” Kaspar nodded, trying not to look too eager. Texting was so much better and easier and he’d actually be able to keep up a conversation.

After Leandro had handed over his mobile number instead of his handset number, he called a taxi and left Kaspar to lock up, texting him the moment he got home like Kaspar made him promise.

Leandro did text him twice that night, but again Kaspar choked, reading the messages and then burying his face into his pillows. What was up with him? He found himself wanting to speak to the Spaniard so badly, but then when an opportunity to converse arrived, he couldn’t take it.

—–

Hi, what are you up to?

It was such a casual text that he didn’t even notice who he’d replied to until he did a double-take and went back to his phone, eyes widening at the 'Leandro’ on top of his screen. It was something Xavier or Jennifer would ask, and he read his reply over at least six times, despite having already sent it, to make sure it was okay.

Finishing my shift, you?

At this time? It’s like 9.

He swore he’d reply after this customer, and then the next one, and then when one of them left, but still he couldn’t bring himself to respond. He didn’t know why he always froze up around Leandro– it was probably because he was too pretty. After fiddling with the button on a coffee machine so much it got stuck in its place, and then having to pull it back out with the edge of a knife, he finally replied, barely even looking at keyboard as he typed.

It’s the city, we close in an hour, and I’m covering so I don’t mind.

The reply was quick.

Who’re you covering?

His answer was simple, so he forced himself to reply straight away.

Jen’s. She has a date.

Lucky for her. So really you’re all alone then?

I don’t mind, Xavier was here but he left about half an hour ago.

Leandro didn’t reply after that, and although he’d just been getting into texting, his anxiety increased and he groaned, shoving his phone in his pocket. He’d probably said something wrong or offensive, or maybe he was so boring that Leandro had fallen asleep on his phone. He wouldn’t blame him.

Instead he pulled one of the provided laptops out of the shelf and connected it to the internet, quickly surfing Facebook and Youtube for anything relatively new or funny. All that was on his Facebook was pictures of girls and people updating their statuses with what they were watching that night– not interesting enough to take his mind off of Leandro. And his subscriptions on Youtube were the same as he’d last checked an hour ago to show Xavier that video of a goat that was trending.

Out of curiosity, he searched Leandro’s first name in his Facebook search bar, but came up empty. He didn’t know his second name, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t find him. His face was so prominently burned in his brain that the second he saw him in a profile picture, he wouldn’t noticed, but he came up with nothing. Maybe Leandro was one of those smart people who didn’t have a Facebook. But he didn’t seem like that person– surely someone involved with Journalism would love all kinds of social media outlets. Or maybe he just wasn’t looking hard enough.

He checked his phone again for a response, but there was still none. Maybe Leandro was trying to give him a taste of his own medicine by not replying at all, and if that was the case, the feeling in his stomach was enough to teach him his lesson.

Out of boredom and knowing that the success rate of biology taking his mind off of things was 100%, he pulled his bag up from under the shelf and got out his homework, spreading it across the clean counter so that if he could finish it here, when he got home he could do nothing at all. Maybe even get to sleep earlier.

Just as he was comparing the different defense systems in plants, animals and humans and the word antigens was mysteriously starting to look like aging, someone cleared their throat in front of him. He looked up uninterestedly before he met a pair of grey eyes, forcing him to straighten up and connect back with reality.

“Hope I’m not interrupting,” Leandro smiled.

Kaspar shook his head and gathered all of his papers into one pile, shoving them into his book and then concealing them with the cover. “No… uh… do you want anything?” He asked.

Leandro looked highly amused. “You shouldn’t even be selling anymore, it’s past ten,” He pointed at the large clock behind the blond.

“What? Really?” Sure enough, it was quarter past ten. He frowned. He didn’t remember it even being quarter past nine. “Is anybody even here anymore?”

“Just me,” Leandro chuckled, hopping up onto the stool in front of him. “The last person left like twenty minutes ago,”

“Jesus Christ,” Kaspar hissed. “Wait, you’ve been here for twenty minutes?” He realised, frowning.

He nodded. “I sat over there, but you didn’t notice me,” He tapped his schoolbooks. “You really like biology, huh?”

“Shit, I’m sorry,” Kaspar apologised. “I didn’t even realise the time and who left or who even came in,”

“It’s okay,” And it really did look okay with him, his smile was genuine and creased around his eyes.

“Yeah, it’s biology… one of my favourite things in life,” He chuckled and got his backpack from the floor, putting it on the counter so that he could shove his books in it.

Just as he was about to, Leandro swiveled the book around and opened it, looking curiously at the pages. “What makes it so special to you?”

“What do you mean?” Kaspar asked blankly.

He could see Leandro smile from where his head was ducked, eyes scrawling over diagrams and subheadings. “Why do you like it so much?”

“Um…” He didn’t know, but an answer started spilling out of his mouth despite that. “It's… already set in its ways, y'know?”

“How so?”

“Well… it’s not…. Controversial. I mean, theories are controversial, but biology just… isn’t. You can’t have an opinion on it. Nobody can say it’s wrong, because it’s right and… the working is all there,”

Leandro nodded as if interested. “But what about criminology? That must be very controversial,”

“Not when you apply biology,” Kaspar countered

“Explain,” Leandro demanded with a smile.

“Uh… well, you can’t force a person into telling the truth, but with knowing biology, you can make it impossible for them to lie,”

“How come?”

“People do certain things when they lie… and a lot more things than just 'oh they touch their nose’ or 'they fold their arms’– there are small things in a person’s face and voice that you can just tell if they’re lying,” He explained.

“But without biology?”

“Without biology you’re just blind,” Kaspar shrugged. “You might as well judge them rather than try to persuade them to tell the truth,”

“Could you tell if I was lying?” He tilted his head with an excited grin.

“I… could try,” He offered.

“Okay, I have a sister called…”

“Bullshit, you don’t have a sister,” Kaspar shook his head. It was incredibly obvious that Leandro had chosen a lie for his first test. Not only was that predictable in itself, but, well… he lied. “If you had a sister, you wouldn’t have hesitated when giving her name, and you would’ve mentioned her the other day when I mentioned my sister, and… you don’t look like you’ve had many female influences in your life… maybe brothers, or an only child… but I doubt only child because you don’t have that spoiled aura around you and you don’t look lonely, either. You’re too calm and not responsible enough to be a firstborn, but you aren’t carefree enough to be a second-born either… so… you do have siblings, but you’re not the oldest, or the second oldest. Maybe even three siblings… third-born children are usually the needy, whiny ones, but you don’t seem like that either…”

“I think that’s the most you’ve ever said to me. Ever,” Leandro shook his head in amusement. “But that's… impressive, actually. I have three older brothers,”

“No you don’t,” Kaspar eyed him suspiciously.

“No, I do, I swear,” Leandro laughed.

“Okay, I believe you,” He admitted.

“I’m French–”

“Spanish,” Kaspar interrupted. “I speak fluent French, I know a French accent. Plus on one of your journals there’s a sticker of the Spanish emblem. And your skintone is… darker than someone from France, but not that olive-y coloured enough to be Italian, it’s more like just tanned,”

“I–” He snapped his mouth shut. “You really are observant, aren’t you?” He gave a tight smile. “Okay… let me try it, tell me things about you,”

“Okay,” Kaspar thought. “My surname is Connecticut,”

“You’re lying, but I don’t know how to tell what your actual surname is,” He looked unsure. “Wait, is it Connecticut?”

“No, but the fact I used an American State suggests that it might be one of the fifty two states?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Don’t make me go through them,” Leandro whined a bit.

“I’m gonna make you go through them,” Kaspar said cruelly, smiling.

“Ugh,” Leandro took a deep breath and sighed. “Delaware?”

“Nope,”

“New York?”

“No,”

“New Mexico?”

“It doesn’t have 'new’ in front of it,”

“Okay, er… Texas?”

“No,”

“Washington?”

“Nope,”

“New– oh no, wait… Nevada?”

“No,”

“California?”

“No,”

“Indiana?”

“No,”

“Arizona?”

Kaspar shook his head.

“Vermont?”

He shook his head again, but smiled this time.

“…Is it Vermont?”

He purposely folded his arms after scratching the bridge of his nose. “I said no!”

“Okay, okay!” Leandro held his hands up in defense. “Idaho?”

“No,”

“Arkansas?”

“No, it’s Vermont,” Kaspar laughed.

“Wha– I asked you!”

“And I lied, that’s the game, and I think I won…” He smiled.

“I deserve sympathy rounds, I think,”

“Okay, I’m Canadian,”

“No, you’re not!” Leandro said as if he knew this one. “You’re American,” He sing-songed.

“How do you know?” Kaspar smiled.

“Because of your accent… and your second name? If you live in Vermont, that’s actually really cool,”

“I live in Toronto and am extremely offended right now,”

“…I can’t tell if you’re lying,”

“I’m not,” Kaspar smiled.

“Prove it,” Leandro demanded, too unsure.

At first Kaspar couldn’t think of how to prove it. Passport? He didn’t have that with him. Visa? He didn’t have that with him either. He had multiple Canadian key rings and pictures to show him, but he felt like Leandro wouldn’t quite believe those. A look at his biology books reminded him that he was a student, and he did own a student ID card.

But there was a horrible picture on it…

He covered the picture with his hand and showed him  it.

Like he’d been afraid of, Leandro pulled it towards him to read.

“Fine, you win,” He sighed in defeat, but kept on smiling.

“Don’t,” Kaspar warned, feeling Leandro pull himself –and his ID card– aw from him.

“Don’t what?” Leandro grinned slyly.

“I’m not joki– NO!” Leandro ripped the ID card away from him and walked away from the counter to look at the picture of Kaspar, smirking.

Kaspar rounded the table quickly, tearing off his apron partly out of habit and partly because he contemplated throwing it at him. “Aww, you have glasses!”

“Shut up!”

“And you just turned… twenty one? Now I really will remember, remember the fifth of November,” He murmured to himself, smiling in satisfaction when Kaspar snatched it back out of his hands. “Do you celebrate bonfire night?”

“No,” Kaspar mumbled a bit. “Do you?”

Leandro shook his head. “No, but I actually liked it this year. I mean, it scares the shit out of you, but it’s kinda nice,”

The blond chuckled in agreement. “Some of the displays are nice, yeah,”

Leandro commented, “Wait, do you go home for your birthday?”

Kaspar shrugged. “I didn’t last year, my mom and sister came to visit me. Why?”

“Because we should totally go on a date to a bonfire show,”

—–

“YOU GOT A DATE?!” Jennifer screamed, gasping very loudly.

“It’s not a date,” Kaspar shook his head, frowning. “He just said he’d take me to a firework display on my birthday,” He lied.

“That’s a date,” She turned and high-fived Xavier.

“It is not,” Kaspar pressed. “He just– is walking through the door, shut up,”

“He has that guy with him again,” He heard Jennifer whisper to Xavier.

“That’s kinda a hot guy,” Xavier murmured, checking out the backside of Leandro’s friend when he sat down next to him.

“Can I have a–” The stranger started.

“You can have whatever you want, sweetcheeks,” Xavier intervened quickly, a smooth smirk on his face.

Jennifer and Kaspar both groaned at the same time.

The boy, who Kaspar assumed was Irish due to his accent, glared daggers into the tall blonde’s head.

“Hot chocolate,” Leandro asked for him. “And um… I’ll have… something new… what’s different?”

“…Refreshers? They’re cold though. And they don’t have coffee in them. Or tea,”

“What flavours are there?” Leandro read the menu at the side of the counter.

“Berry and Lime?”

“I’ll have the berry the one… please,” He smiled.

“If I give you a chocolate bar,” The Irishman asked. “Can you grate it and put it on top of my hot chocolate?”

Kaspar nodded, waiting for the boy to give him a bar.

“I know what else you could have on top of a hot chocolate,” Xavier mumbled from behind his drink.

“Try and ignore him,” Kaspar advised, giving Leandro his drink before grabbing a grater and scraping the chocolate over it.

“This is Declan, by the way,” Leandro introduced. He received an elbow in the ribs for that. “Ow! What was that for?”

“Don’t tell that prat my name,”

“Wait, what?” Xavier, who’d apparently zoned out, came back to life. “Don’t tell what prat what?”

“It’s funny how he actually recognises himself as the prat,” Jennifer added in.

“This is really nice! You should try it!” Leandro shoved the berry drink towards Kaspar. Xavier smirked at him when the Spaniard said that, indicating towards the straw that had just been in Leandro’s mouth. It was juvenile, but the thought of putting his mouth somewhere where Leandro’s had already been made his abdomen heat up.

He lifted it to his lips and took a sip. It actually was pretty nice underneath his opinion of 'this is the best drink I’ve ever had purely because Leandro’s mouth has been on it’.

He knew Xavier would comment before he even got to set it on the counter. “Now if Leandro’s been sucking cock, you have too, well done!”

Jennifer tried not to laugh, but she failed and giggled into her hands. Declan looked severely unimpressed, and Leandro looked only slightly disturbed, but as if he was getting used to Xavier’s attitude.

“Leandro hasn’t been sucking cock,” Leandro replied.

“Aww,” Xavier pouted. “Well, I have–”

“Oh God, we don’t want to hear about it,” Jennifer pulled a face.

“But Kas might,” Xavier responded, highly affronted.

“I really… don’t,” Kaspar cleared his throat.

Xavier shook his head disapprovingly. “You guys are boring,”

“Just because we don’t want to hear about your sexual endeavors?” Declan asked with a frown, taking long sips of his hot chocolate.

“Yes,” Xavier replied plainly.

“You say that as if your sex life is the most exciting thing on the face of this earth, which I doubt,”

Jennifer choked.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh dear…”

“I think you’re the boring one, actually. If your sex was that good, you wouldn’t feel the need to tell everyone about it,”

“Ooooohhhh,” Jennifer drew out, grinning.

The only answer Xavier had was, “Tch, midget,”

Kaspar’s jaw dropped. “Apologise!” He demanded, voice hard.

“But he said my sex life was–”

“Xav,” Kaspar’s voice held a warning tone. “People can’t help their height, you can help being an asshole,”

“I’m not apologising but I’ll admit I shouldn’t have called him a midget,” Xavier refused politely.

“Is there even any difference?” Jennifer asked confusedly.

“Well why should I apologise? I told him the truth, just in an offensive manner– he’s small,”

“I can’t wait until the day where someone just smacks you across the face,” Kaspar commented in amusement.

That day was today.

Even Leandro’s jaw was left hanging open when a thick slapping sound rattled throughout the air, and Xavier’s head snapped to the side, a red handprint already forming on his cheek.

He rubbed it for a minute with a pout before sucking on his straw again. “I deserved that. You’re lucky you’re hot,”

“Is that seriously all it takes to shut him up and admit he’s wrong? I coulda done that!” Jennifer exploded.

“You’re a very mean little man,” Xavier mumbled, still pouting.

“If you call me a little man again your other cheek will match,”

The Finnishman promptly shut his mouth.

Kaspar looked in surprise at Leandro, who glanced at him apologetically.

Jennifer smiled pleasantly. “You’re never going to be sexist again,” She said mostly to herself.

“I’m gonna go to the restroom, I’ll be right back,” Leandro interrupted, getting up off of the seat.

Kaspar looked at his empty cup with a disapproving nod. “I knew he shouldn’t have had ice,”

“Is your friend into my friend?” He heard Xavier mutter to Declan. The small boy looked far too interested in his hot chocolate to answer, but did so anyways.

“Yeah,”

“Is he gonna ask him out?”

“Dunno,”

“Does he have any brothers? Cousins?” Jennifer asked hopefully.

“Three brothers, ones married, ones gay and the other’s got a girlfriend,” Declan answered robotically.

“Damn it,” She hissed.

“Has he masturbated over him yet?” Xavier asked.

Declan pulled a face. “What in the fuck makes you think I’d know that? Gobshite,”

“What?” Xavier pulled away in confusion. “What? Did… he even just– was that English?”

“Back,” Leandro smiled, sitting on the stool again.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” Declan mumbled, walking around them.

Xavier grinned, getting up.

Declan turned around with a frown and pointed at him. “DON’T follow me,”

He sat down like a puppy who’d just been given into trouble, a sad look on his face. “He’s not very nice to me,”

“You just asked him inappropriate questions and tried to follow him into the bathroom,” Kaspar pointed out.

“What inappropriate questions?” Leandro wondered aloud.

“Nothing–” Jennifer tried to interrupt.

“If you wanked over Kas,” He said bluntly.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Kaspar muttered under his breath.

“That’s hardly the information I’d sha–”

“No, don’t answer him!” Kaspar said quickly.

“That means you have,” Xavier grinned.

“This is so sad,” Jennifer shook her head.

“This is so awkward,” Kaspar corrected.

“This is so inappropriate,” Leandro added, shaking his head quietly.

“This is so funny,” Xavier smiled.

—–

“You didn’t bring your friend?” Xavier pouted the week after, looking at the air behind Leandro.

“No,” Leandro smiled. “Although I know you’d love to have pestered him some more,”

“He thinks I pestered him?”

“Well–”

“Because if he does, he’s damn right,”

“Where’s Jennifer?” Leandro asked Kaspar, ignoring Xavier.

“On a date,” Kaspar replied.

“Fifty quid she gets laid,” Xavier started taking out his wallet.

“Done deal,” Kaspar shrugged. He had the upper hand since he knew she was on her period.

“You’re betting on her,” Leandro looked surprised, raising his eyebrows.

“It’s okay, we bet on him too,” Kaspar said innocently, making Leandro smile. “Granted it’s almost always 'he does get laid’,”

“And with Kaspar there’s no need for a bet because he never gets laid,” Xavier interrupted. “Virgin,” He winked.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Xavier,” Kaspar hollered to him.

“I’m not even talking in a metaphorical sense,” Xavier continued. “He’s literally a virgin,”

Kaspar face-palmed. “If I ever get a gun, you are the first person I’m shooting,”

Leandro chuckled a bit. “I wish I was still a virgin,”

“You do?” Kaspar frowned at the same time Xavier shouted a horrified 'what?!’

Leandro shrugged. “A little, yeah,”

“Ugh,” Xavier scoffed. “Stay away from me, virgins,”

“Virgins are tighter,” Leandro commented slyly. Kaspar stared at him in shock, but Xavier looked as if he was considering the Spaniard’s point of view.

“That’s true, virgins are tighter,” Xavier nodded interestedly. “But they’re inexperienced as fuck, they have no idea what they’re doing,”

“That could be a good thing, you get to be the one to show them what sex even is,”

Xavier eyed him carefully. “You propose a good point,” He bit his lip for a minute before shrugging. “Yeah why not, sex is sex, as long as my dick is buried in something I don’t give a shit,”

“I–”

“I’d really like to be buried inside your friend though, if you don’t mind me saying,”

“I’m sure he's… flattered,” Leandro responded sarcastically.

“You can fuck Kas if I can fuck Declan, deal?” He held his hand out.

“Do I get any say in this?” Kaspar added.

“Uh… deal,” Leandro smirked, shaking his hand.

Kaspar didn’t actually think he would. “What the fuck?” He looked between the two. “Do I look like your property that you can just give away?”

“Well, do you want me to fuck you?” Xavier asked point blank.

“No,” Kaspar scrunched up his face.

“Well then shut your trap,” Xavier smiled.

Kaspar sighed.

—–

“Can you do that chocolate thing for me again?” An Irish accent flooded his ears.

Kaspar turned around, noticing Declan. “Aw, hey! Sure,” He nodded, taking the chocolate bar outstretched in Declan’s hand. “You know we can do this without you bringing the chocolate bar in, right?” He asked him.

Declan nodded. “Oh I know, but galaxy chocolate is better,”

Kaspar nodded, agreeing. “That’s true… Leandro not with you today?” He frowned a bit.

“He will be,” Declan nodded. “I told him I’d meet him here in half an hour,”

“Half an hour early?” Kaspar chuckled.

“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about him,” He said nonchalantly.

Kaspar almost dropped his hot chocolate. He took a deep breath. “Okay… what do you wanna talk about him for?”

“Are you guys dating?” He asked curiously.

Kaspar shook his head. “No?”

Declan smiled a bit. “Do you want to be dating him?”

The Canadian gave a weak laugh, scratching behind his head. “Uh–”

“That’s a yes,” His grin got even bigger. “He wants to date you too, by the way,”

“…How do you… know?” He asked slowly, putting down Declan’s hot chocolate. “Wait, isn’t this going behind his back?”

“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” Declan smiled, taking a sip. “And because he tells me– too often, actually,”

Something in Kaspar’s stomach flipped. “What’d he say?”

“I can’t tell you everything I know!” The Irishman grinned. “I just thought I’d come here and ask: do you ever plan on asking him out?”

“I d-dunno…” Kaspar stuttered embarrassedly. “Uh… I guess I would eventually, if he didn’t, but honestly I’d rather he asked me so I was sure he liked me,” He quickly served a customer while Declan was chatting to him.

“You’re the shy type?”

“Is it that obvious?” Kaspar grimaced.

Declan shrugged. “I just guessed, but Leandro seems to like it,” He absentmindedly read a menu as he spoke. “Please don’t hurt him. I’m not the type of best friend that will come and threaten you to never hurt him or anything, but just please don’t? I’ll tell him the same thing about you, of course,”

Kaspar shrugged back at him. “Of course I won't… well never intentionally anyways. Has he… been hurt before?”

“Yeah, and pretty badly, too. But that’s for you guys to talk about,” He smiled.

Kaspar’s stomach churned. Someone had hurt Leandro? Who would even do that to him? He was absolutely adorable. He wanted to know, but at the same time, he didn’t. He made a promise to himself never to hurt Leandro unless by accident when they were play-fighting or on purpose if they ever had sex and he was into that. That was way too premature to think, actually.

“Is he over it?” He asked quickly.

Declan nodded, a frown on his face. “Oh yeah, but he might still think that it sucks, because it did suck. But he’s over it, been over it for a long time actually,” He smiled, removing the frown. “Plus, he likes you now, and that’s keeping him happy, so,”

“Right…” He shook his head after that, deciding that Declan was right– this was something that he and Leandro could talk about if they ever decided they wanted to have that conversation. “Well, I guess we’ll just see what happens,”

They stood in silence for a few minutes after that, Kaspar thinking about Leandro even more now that he knew he’d been hurt before. He didn’t look like the kind of person that’d been hurt before… but he had come across as very fresh and optimistic too, so maybe he just dealt pretty well with heartbreak. Either way, it was interesting, and made Leandro a little more three-dimensional.

“Your friend is interesting,”

“Which friend?” Kaspar asked.

“Xavier,”

Kaspar tried not to smile a bit. “He thinks you’re pretty interesting too,”

“Really?” He broke character for a bit, looking up with raised eyebrows. “I thought he was just a pervert…”

“He is a pervert… but nobody’s ever really stopped his flirting the way you did, he’s been wanting to see you ever since you did that, asks Leandro where you are every time he comes in without you,” He chuckled a bit.

Declan half-smirked. “Really? What do you guys tell him?”

“Well, he’s annoyed us enough in the past that we tell him you’re out on dates,” The blond admitted.

Declan laughed at that. “Keep that up, it’s funny to annoy him,”

“We will, drives him crazy,” Kaspar chuckled.

“What drives who crazy?” Leandro came up behind Declan, smiling gently.

Kaspar left Declan to explain.

He didn’t.

“You’re here early,” He frowned.

“Yeah, uh…” Leandro glanced at Kaspar for just longer than a few seconds. “I was gonna come in and see Kas before we met up, looks like you bet me to it,” He smiled. “Hope you weren’t embarrassing me,”

“Why would I do that?” Declan turned and gave Kaspar a knowing look.

“Because it’s you?” Leandro pretended to huff under his breath, chuckling when Declan elbowed him.

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Nothing mattered to him anymore.

Choking on a sob, Kaspar examined his recent handiwork and tried to take deep breaths. It would do him no good if he panicked. He didn’t even know why he was panicking—he’d done this what felt like a million times before. He was used to the pain, the panic and the pool of blood all over the floor. This time was no different.

Only it was.

He didn’t notice until he started to feel sleepy. He’d never felt sleepy before. Hurting himself made him feel better. Alive.

The fact that he was growing tired was what made him panic.

He gasped and opened his eyes, but they protested in agony and he shut them again. He tried to move, but his limbs were heavy and felt unlike his own. He’d described himself as feeling ‘numb’ before, but that had been an exaggeration—this was what numb really was. All he could do was lie there and find that breath became harder to catch. His heart struggled for another beat. He didn’t even realise what was happening until it was far too late.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next thing he knew, he was in a café.

Nobody was moving. Everything was frozen, as if someone had suddenly pressed the pause button in a movie. A movie that he was in. He could still move, he realised, as he brought his arm up to look at it. To his surprise, there were no scars. Just pale skin and a few blue veins on his wrist that indicated he had a cold skin colour.

“Oh, there you are,” Someone said.

The blond looked past his arm to a smiling brunet sitting at a table. He didn’t seem to be in pause either, and actively drank a cup of coffee after speaking. Blinking, Kaspar walked to the table and sat across from him, looking around them.

“What’s going on? Why is nobody moving?” Were the first questions out of his mouth.

The man chuckled. “You really don’t know what’s going on, do you?”

Kaspar shook his head. “No?”

“You’re dead.” The brunet replied bluntly. “Oh, and I’m Leandro,”

“What? How?” He squinted, frowning. This was some sort of joke. Or maybe a bad dream, but he was definitely not dead. That was so insane.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” The other male tilted his head, looking thoroughly interested.

Kaspar tried his best, but he couldn’t remember much. Only coming home from school and then going into the bathroom. “Coming home from school,” He replied truthfully.

“Mhmm,” Leandro responded, drinking from his cup. “And then what?”

“And then… nothing…?” Kaspar shook his head. “This is crazy, just tell me what’s going on,”

“I told you what’s going on,” Leandro blinked, an unusual serious expression on his face. “You’re dead. I don’t lie,”

“Well you must be because I’m not dead,” Kaspar frowned.

“You are. You killed yourself,” The brunet said sadly.

“No I—”

“Yes, you did,” Leandro interrupted. “Things would have gotten better, by the way. But you won’t get that chance now,”

“What do you mean?” Kaspar’s heart almost stopped.

“Your life. It wouldn’t have always been that bad. If you’d held on a while longer… it would’ve been pretty good, actually,”

The Canadian severely doubted that. “How do you… know?”

“Because I saw it,” He replied with a small smile, but then sighed. “It’s sad when people take their own lives. It sucks knowing that they feel like they have no other choice,”

Under his stare, Kaspar’s cheeks became enflamed, and he felt like he was being judged. “Yeah, it is… sad. What are you, anyways? How do you… where even am I?”

“You’re in what we call ‘the middle’,” Leandro explained. “The place between life and death. We don’t really know what to do with you, yet… you’re not completely brain dead, but that’s where you’re headed unless you make the right choice,” He shrugged.

“What choice?” Kaspar wondered.

“Well,” Leandro bobbed his head to the left a bit. “You can stay here, and see what you’d be missing out on. Or, you can go back to your life, and you can live what you would be missing out on. I can’t make the choice for you. I can only steer you in the right direction,”

Swallowing, Kaspar took a deep breath. “This is just some sort of bad dream, isn’t it? You’re fucking insane. Christ, the things my imagination makes up…”

Raising an eyebrow and looking slightly and somehow lazily offended, Leandro waved his arm and created a space in the atmosphere where Kaspar was guessing ‘life’ was. It was like a tear in the middle of the air. As if he’d just ripped a hole in a piece of paper, and the page behind it was his life.

“This is what you are right now. All jokes aside,” He said in a gravely serious tone. Through the ripped space, he could make out himself in what was obviously a hospital bed. The heart monitor beside him had flat lined, and there were some doctors freaking out over him.

“Turn that thing off,” Kaspar frowned, looking away from it.

Leandro complied, but held an expression that said ‘I told you so.’

“So what is this? I’m actually dead?” Kaspar began to believe.

The brunet rolled his eyes. “I’m not allowed to lie to you. Of course you’re dead! You just saw it!”

“Do you have to be so fucking mean to me?” Kaspar snapped. “This is kind of unusual for me, if you don’t mind, moron,”

Raising his eyebrows and blinking, Leandro sighed and got up from his seat. “Fine, I guess if you don’t want my help, I’ll just leave,”

“NO!” Kaspar reached out to grab him, but he became mist in his hands and swirled away before the blond could clutch onto anything physical about him. He exhaled shakily, wondering what the fuck had just happened, before someone tapped him on the shoulder and turned him around against his own free will.

“Just kidding!” He grinned. “I can’t actually leave you until you make a choice,”

“Are you serious about this?” Kaspar asked when his heart rate was back to normal.

“Serious as I am Spanish!” He looked way too happy to even be here.

“If you fucking end up as Portuguese or something, I’ll come back here and kill you,” Kaspar deadpanned, raising an eyebrow.

Leandro laughed loudly. “Funny, but I am Spanish! Lucky for you, I guess,” He smirked a bit.

Kaspar rolled his eyes. “Fine, what’s this choice I have to make?”

“Simple, really,” Leandro shrugged, a friendly smile on his face. “You choose whether you want to go back and continue on with your life, or we can send you straight to heaven,”

“Heaven exists?” Kaspar raised his eyebrows, a shocked appearance adopting his face.

“Heaven exists,” Leandro repeated, nodding. “And that’s where you’d go! You’ve been pretty good all your life, so,” He shrugged.

“But…” Kaspar mumbled, a frown coming on his face. “Apparently people who kill themselves go to hell,”

Leandro blinked before looking a little concerned. “We don’t know who made that up, but it’s false. You won’t go to hell just because you felt like the only way out of your situation was death,” He put his hand on the blonde’s shoulder and squeezed it comfortingly. “In fact, the person who made you feel that way goes to hell, not the other way around,”

“Oh,” Kaspar nodded, but then stuttered a bit. “You said my life would get better though—how will it get better?”

“Ahhh, I can’t tell you that,” Leandro smiled. “That would be cheating! You can go back to your life and you can find out how it’ll get better, or you can go to heaven and watch how it would get better. We try and encourage the first option, just because heaven is gettin’ kinda crowded, you know what I mean?”

“But my life sucked,” Kaspar admitted in a whisper.

Leandro looked at him as if he might criticize him for a moment, but then smiled sadly. “I know that some people in your life aren’t so good, kid, but things’ll get better. I promise. I’ve seen it. And even if you decide that you don’t wanna go back, you’re always welcome here,”

“What if I go back, but it doesn’t get better?” Kaspar wondered. “Can I do this again and choose the other choice?”

“I’m afraid not,” Leandro shook his head. “You only get this choice once. We have to choose for some people if we think they can’t make their choice on their own—y’know, like elderly people and stuff, whose bodies have become really painful and weak and stuff, or babies who have some trouble at birth, but… you have to make this choice yourself, and make sure it’s the right one.”

“What’ll happen if I try again then?”

Leandro took a deep breath. “Well, you won’t get the choice. We’ll just send you straight to heaven,”

“What’ll happen to my mom if I go to heaven?” He decided to ask.

Leandro sighed. “I can’t tell you other people’s fates, pal, but I imagine she’d be heartbroken for losing someone as magnificent as you,”

“What if I just stay here, then?” Kaspar asked. “In this place? Wherever… this is?”

“Well,” Leandro shrugged. “You could, I guess. But I won’t always be here, and you’ll eventually bump into someone who’s not so nice and throws you back to earth or heaven themselves. It’s better that you make the choice and don’t give it to someone else, okay?”

“Who are you?” Kaspar finally frowned. “I mean… just… how? Why do you do this? Is this what you need to do?”

Leandro laughed. “That’s… a tricky question. In reality, I have no physical. I’m just… mist. But I can possess people, and look like people. I would have become your mom, but I figured you’d be scared if you saw her between life and death, so I chose someone else who’s… life is in danger right now,” He grimaced. At Kaspar’s horrified expression, he nodded. “Car crash… I hope they make it, I really do, but… who knows? That’s why I’m trying to speed things up here. I kind of have to tend to them, y’know?”

“Shit, well I better stop wasting your time then,” Kaspar frowned. “What do I do? How do I make the choice?”

“Just let me know,” Leandro smiled and shrugged. “Tell me what you want, and I’ll put you where you wanna be,”

“Well you promised it would get better, right?” Kaspar asked for reassurance.

“It’s gonna get better,” Leandro nodded. “I promise.”

“Well… then I wanna go back,” He decided. “I… yeah, I wanna go back,”

“Sure,” Leandro smiled. “I’m glad that’s what you decided. Before you go, though,” He smiled sadly. “I need to erase your memory of this entire meeting. Who knows? You might meet this kid one day and you’ll probably freak out if you realise he’s the guy who made you choose between life and death!” He laughed.

“Oh… okay,” Kaspar pouted a bit. “Well… go on, I guess,”

Leandro nodded and made another clear cut in the air, shoving him towards it slightly with an encouraging smile. “Good luck!”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The first thing he became aware of was the stinging on his arm, and the next was that there was a heavier weight than usual on his stomach. It was just like waking up on a normal day, except for the beep he heard almost every second or two. When he opened his eyes, the room was slightly blurrier than usual and there were two strange lines blocking his vision. When he lifted the more painful arm to swat away whatever it was, his nose tickled and he realised it was oxygen. He probably had trouble breathing, and that’s why he was put on it.

 The next thing he noticed was the mass of blonde hair on his stomach. He could tell without even thinking about it that it was his mom, and he lifted the hand she was holding to put it on her head and run his fingers through her hair.

“Ah, you’re awake,” A young girl with brown hair and a pretty smile waltzed up to him, a pen and clipboard in her arms. “You’ve scared quite a lot of people, Mr. How are you feeling?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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