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I can't think of any cutesy love songs that'd fit as a thread title, consider this a placeholder; Private; paging ze good doktor
Topic Started: Feb 3 2016, 10:43 PM (1,044 Views)
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Lily prodded at her cake moodily. She was not in the mood to go home.

Not only were her parents on her case about running off to school while sick, but her brother was visiting and that meant an evening of being called a christmas elf or something equally demeaning. She didn't want to be rude and impose herself on a nearby cousin, so that left the whole family area off-limits. She hadn't brought her books out to study, or anything else to do.

So now she was stuck here, staring at a piece of cake that she didn't even really want. She just needed an excuse to sit down here so she had somewhere to sit down. And the cafe was usually quiet at this time. She'd had to awkwardly peek in the windows to make sure Caedyn wasn't working a shift, but right now it just seemed to be Alvaro.

She didn't want to bug him while he was working. So she just kept staring at the cake like somehow it held the mystery of the universe, buried somewhere underneath those strawberry layers.

Maybe she should just put the cake in one of those little baggie things and leave. This was probably getting awkward. And that song playing on the radio was grating on her nerves. She'd heard it far too much on the radio lately and there were only so many times she could listen to this kind of thing.
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...That hello was louder than Lily expected.

She looked up to see that Alvaro had sat down across from her. Combined with the loudness and the way he had his hand pressed on the table—that was not a relaxed posture—it made Lily wonder if she'd overstepped some boundary.

It was getting late, especially for a cafe… perhaps she was stopping him from closing up and going home.

“Hello. ...Am I stopping you from closing up? I can leave, if that's the case.”

Although even as she said it, she dismissed the notion. At least partially. Maybe she needed to leave, but she didn't think Alvaro was the type to raise his voice over it.

Lily tilted her head, eying Alvaro with mild confusion.
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“I didn't want to bother you while you were working. I was just… this cafe is nice, and… I mean, not that you're not nice, uh… if you want to talk, that's also good. I just don't have anything specific to say. But if you're off-work or nearly off-work...”

She shrugged. She didn't know where she was going with that. She couldn't blame him for the assumption. Although what things were so important that she'd wait over half an hour to talk to him were beyond her. If she'd needed to talk urgently she would have interrupted him, but she couldn't think of anything that would warrant it.

“Did you want to talk?”

She fidgeted with the fork, still prodding at the barely touched cake.
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Well, talking was something to do, and it sure beat sitting here, staring at a slice of cake. As long as he wanted to talk, it was fine. Then again, he didn't seem to know what to talk about, either. Maybe he'd noticed she hadn't been turning up at the cafe as often lately, and decided that this would get her to visit more. Good impressions and all that. ...No, that was a stupid amount of effort for one person who occasionally bought cake.

She put her fork down and laced her fingers together.

“Did you have a look at those chess books I leant you? Anything interesting?”

She felt her phone go off in her pocket, buzzing quietly. As she waited for a reply from Alvaro, she fumbled the phone a little underneath the desk and tried to turn it off without looking too obvious.
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Lily managed to switch off her phone without being obvious and stuck it back in her pocket before picking up her fork again.

Lily nodded slightly. “Right. That's the opening that involves… you fianchetto the bishops or something like that?”

She remembered the word fianchetto through looking through the book, but she couldn't remember what a fianchetto actually was. Or what that meant for the Sicilian Defence. She was sure it was important. Although she could be thinking of a different chess opening.

Oh well. If she was wrong, then she was wrong.

She stuck a forkful of cake in her mouth while waiting for the reply.
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“I haven't heard of that one. What does it mean?”

Did the room just get way more silent? It was probably because that song had ended (thank god). Lily chewed on another mouthful of cake. Yeah, she was getting the sense of something super awkward being in the air. She was fairly certain she was supposed to leave. That the place needed to close up and Alvaro felt too awkward to say anything. She started removing another chunk of cake with her fork, this one larger than normal.

Finish her cake quickly and leave. That seemed like a good option. One that would save face all around.
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Okay. He was uncomfortable. He was definitely uncomfortable. And over the course of those few sentences, Lily had managed to quietly demolish most of her cake. Half an hour and she'd barely made a dent in it, but a few sentences later she was done. She nodded as Alvaro wrapped up his explanation.

When he asked her the question about the chairs, she held one hand in front of her mouth, still trying to finish chewing the cake—and there was nothing like eating a slice of cake that fast to really put her off chewing on cake—and raised her other hand for a moment to say 'wait a moment.'

Once she was done, she said, “These chairs feel fine to me. Maybe you've just been standing or sitting for too long? You should probably rest.”

She moved to stand up.

“Also, it's late, so I should probably go?”
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...Huh.

Lily settled back in her chair again, head tilted a little as she eyed Alvaro. He was acting weird, and she couldn't figure out what he wanted. She thought he wanted her to leave and now he was telling her to stay, but also talking about the seats being uncomfortable and being all nervous like he didn't want to be her. It was confusing.

There was only so long that avoiding any potentially awkward questions worked for. Fingers touching the end of the fork, Lily looked at her empty plate for a moment, pushing the fork a little back and forth, before looking at Alvaro.

“Is something wrong? You're acting oddly.”
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Lily didn't respond for a while. It was probably a very good thing that Alvaro had looked down, because for a moment she looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Then she shifted her position so that she was resting her chin on it, moving the fingers so they curled in front of her mouth. It still couldn't cover her entire expression, including the redness flooding into her face, but at least now she couldn't be sure she wouldn't let out a nervous laugh. Or any kind of laugh, really. She didn't actually think it was funny, but sometimes laughter just happened.

This… had not been what she expected. She'd assumed he was having an off day, not… this.

She was not sure how to proceed.

Did she like Alvaro? Of course she did. He was nice. Smart. Decent conversationalist for the most part without being overbearing. She supposed he was easy on the eyes, which didn't hurt any. That confession had been… nice. Sweet, even. And it wasn't like he could be worse than Caedyn.

But did she like him in that way?

No.

For whatever reason, she just didn't. She knew what those feelings felt like. She'd had them for Caedyn. For a couple of other people, though in those cases unreturned. And this just wasn't it.

An apology rose in her throat, but got stuck there. Alvaro was shaking. Not looking at her. This part of the whole crush experience was new to her. Caedyn had not been the shy type.

She thoughtfully gnawed on one of her fingers for a moment.

“...I see.”

Really? Was that all she could say? 'I see?' That could mean anything! Lily shut her eyes for a moment, annoyed at herself.

“Wait, I mean... Well. That's… that's, uh...”

She trailed off.
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“No, it's fine, it's just… surprising.”

Lily went back to gnawing on one finger, thinking to herself.

She went over various ways to phrase a rejection without being rude. But anything she thought of was rude or just… cold.

But she was a cold person, particularly in these sort of matters. Caedyn had made that very clear during the argument that had led to them breaking up, and Lily thought maybe she had a point. Caedyn had her issues… a lot of them… but that break-up hadn't been 100% because of Caedyn's flaws.

She didn't want to be cold. She just couldn't figure out a way to communicate a rejection otherwise. What was she supposed to say? 'It's not you, it's me?' What a cliché. It would sound fake. It would just hurt. She couldn't really think of anything that didn't sound like it had a subliminal message of 'you suck.'

But she couldn't just lead him on. Could she?

Then again, he really couldn't be any worse than Caedyn. Maybe if she just went with it… maybe things would get better, and she'd end up liking Alvaro in the right way. Maybe she just needed adjustment. Or maybe she'd ruin a perfectly good friendship.

Lily thought it over. And she came to what she thought might be, at least, a temporary solution.

“Okay. Um, Alvaro… I think I… might have an idea. That dance… the Sadie Hawkins dance. That's on soon. I suppose… we could go together? See if that… if that goes okay?”

Maybe she'd figure out if this was a good idea or not. She'd have more time to figure things out without the pressure of having to come up with an answer immediately. A dance wasn't a full-on commitment. It was just a commitment for that night in particular. She could figure out how to proceed from there.
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“Uh, yes. Good. Um.”

Lily fiddled with her fingers for a moment before getting up.

“Seriously, though, it's late and… parents are probably like… not happy at me for staying out late, so… um, I should go! But, uh… see you then. Yes. I'll… call or email or… yes.”

She tried not to look like she was fleeing as she left. She just needed time to think and collect her thoughts, and she was already unsure as to whether she'd made a good choice or not. She didn't have a plan. She hated not having a plan.

Oh, well. There was time. And what was the worst that could happen, really?

((Lily Caldwell continued in Sidelines.))
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