Alex glanced at his watch. Damn. He was a few minutes late; sure, he doubted Sasha would mind waiting for two minutes, but still. He disliked being late in any case, and of all people, Sasha wasn't the one he wanted to keep waiting."Sorry to keep you waiting," he said, sliding into the booth across from him. "Parking lot traffic." After all, it was the first day of school, and everyone tried to leave at once, and the people who had just gotten their licenses didn't know when to yield the right of way, and freshman parents didn't know which way to drive. All the fun of the new school year.He spared a glance at the menu, but there was really no point; they both knew that he'd be ordering plain cheese. Like always. He was a guy of simple tastes. Predictable ones. Ones like a cheese pizza, or plain old spaghetti and meatballs. Ones like the athletic guy who hangs out with the jocks, or falling in love with your best friend who lives next door.Yeah. Those things.
Alex could feel the corners of his mouth quirk up into some semblance of a grin when Sasha smiled; she always had that sort of effect on him. She smiled, and he could forget about parking lot traffic, forget about his team complaining to him about practice. Forget about any of the bad things in his life, really."Sounds perfect," he said, because. As much as she knew him, he knew her. And perhaps he did too well — because maybe, if he didn't know her so well, it wouldn't be so difficult to breathe when he was around her."It's alright, I guess," he said. "Once practice starts up, it'll be easier. Coach's aiming for CIF champs this year, you know. But I think we're going to try to break it up between morning and afternoon." Because, quite frankly, Coach Burke couldn't afford to have his starting libero be suspended for bad grades like last year. So, more homework time in the evening.Something was off — something that he didn't think Sasha wanted him to know. And he didn't know, but, well. They'd been best friends since kindergarten. He knew her well enough to know when something was wrong. "Hey," he said, brow furrowing with concern, "you okay?"
[ fuck now all i'm thinking about is "maybe if i loved you less, i could talk about it more" and well shit isn't it just fun that i happened to name him alex too rip me ]"Oh yeah," he said when she mentioned her dad, "it would be really awesome if you guys could come to some games again. I really appreciate it." It wasn't a lie; he knew that Sasha supportive of everything he did no matter if she could make it to his matches or not, but. It did feel good to know that she was watching him from the stands — like a good luck charm.And of course, it was nice to have Sasha's family there — they might as well have been his family. Maybe someday they will be, said that little hopeful voice in his head, but he squashed it down. It didn't mean anything if his dad and Mr. Walker were constantly chatting about how great it would be once they were in-laws — not when Sasha didn't like him, not like that.(And there was that tightness in his chest again.)"Yeah," he said. Because it was better for all of their schedules — student athletes didn't get enough credit, in Alex's opinion, for the student part. "Yeah" again, this time with a smile, because it did mean that he wouldn't have to miss out on Fridays with Sasha. And that alone was worth getting up while it was still dark to practice.Of course she is. Did she really think Alex would fall for that? But if she didn't want to talk about it, he wouldn't press her; if it was important, then she'd tell him. "I'm fine," he said. Which meant that it was time to change the subject. "How was your day?"
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