A/N: Thank you so, so, so much to all those that reviewed. Nine reviews in my first chapter, a lot better than the two I hoped to get! Thank you so much you guys!
Elliot entered the Costello Cafe, carrying Chuck in his arms as Quinn followed after. He noticed a couple of people already in the cafe, seated among the dark tables and colorful leather chairs. Most cafes wouldn't allow dogs, but since Chuck was a behaved puppy – something Elliot was very proud of and showed off about to all the dog owners he'd pass by on their walks – the owner allowed him in. Besides, a cute puppy brought in customers with families and kids, and they were the real spenders. The owner even gave Chuck a trinket for his collar with the cafe logo on it, for marketing purposes.
Elliot set Chuck on the ground as Quinn walked past him to the cafe's open kitchen, where some customers would choose to sit to watch the chefs prepare their food or coffee. A girl behind the counter looked up at them, wearing the same uniform they were wearing; a dark skirt to their dark slacks, and a black vest over a white blouse.
"Good morning, Elliot, Quinn," she piped, flipping through one of the pages of the magazine she was reading.
Quinn nodded at her before he immediately started working, taking a dish the chefs had prepared and setting it over a tray. Elliot ambled over to her, taking his time by ruffling her red hair as he leaned over to see what she was reading. "Good morning, Allison," he greeted cheerfully. "What are you reading?"
She scowled at him, raising a hand to ruffle his dark blond hair in return. "'Ten Ways to Make Him Scream Your Name in Bed,'" she said, unabashed, and flipped to another page. "It's pretty interesting – but I know most of the moves, already."
Elliot gaped at her, while Quinn just shook his head and walked away to serve the food. Maybe Elliot was totally lacking in the social skills, but wouldn't it be embarrassing to be caught reading an article like that in public? Oh well, times have changed. "Oh, uh, that's nice," he muttered.
"She has a date tonight."
Elliot looked up to see Valerie, the other waitress and Allison's flat mate, come out from the counter. "Really?" he said, looking back at Allison, who continued to read her article. "Wait, didn't you have – uh, what's his face... John?"
"Jake," Allison corrected, not looking up from her magazine. "Yeah, we broke up last week."
"Oh... how long were you guys together?"
"Six days," Valerie answered for her, fixing some of the cakes that were displayed. Then she stood up, and tucked her hair behind her ear, satisfied with her work. If Elliot remembered correctly, Valerie had a boyfriend for nearly two years now – and no wonder he stayed that long. If looks mattered, Valerie didn't have a problem with keeping him. She had rich, coffee colored skin and hazel eyes that lit up when she smiled. Very pretty.
Elliot looked around the cafe before turning back to Allison. "Good luck with your date, then."
"Thanks," Allison smiled, flipping through the page. "Actually, he comes by here a lot, he's my regular."
Before Elliot could ask her what that meant, Valerie grabbed him by the shoulders and pushed him away from the kitchen. "You've got a customer," she said.
Elliot groaned, his feet reluctantly moving as she pushed him forward. "You couldn't let me waste just a bit more time?"
She gave him a final push for the table. "Just get to work, Elliot," she chuckled.
"Yes, ma'am," he muttered, walking for the man who just entered the cafe.
He was wearing a dark suit, but despite his intimidating, and attractive look of success, he didn't look that old. He couldn't have been thirty, even. He was already holding a small menu that had been left on the table, and looked up when Elliot approached him.
"Good morning sir," Elliot greeted, using his friendly-neighborhood-waiter voice before taking out his trusty notepad from his back pocket. A sudden thought of Steve and Blue's Clues popped into his mind, making him want to say, "The Thinking Chair!" out loud, but he shook his head, trying to focus on the task at hand. "Are you ready to order?"
"Hmm," The man mused, his eyes trailing over the menu before setting it down. He lifted his head and looked around the coffee shop. "Is..." he trailed off, almost hesitantly.
"Is...?" Elliot repeated, lowering his notepad.
"Is..." The man looked over his shoulder, and Elliot noticed his eyes light up with recognition. "Oh, I'm sorry, but I usually have him take my order."
He raised a hand and pointed over Elliot's shoulder. Slowly, Elliot turned around and his eyes followed the general direction, up to behind the counter, where only one person stood.
Elliot turned back to the man. "Oh, Quinn?"
The man nodded, a smile forming on his face. "Ah, yes, Quinn," he said. "Oh, no offence. He just knows how I get everything."
"No problem." Elliot shook his head, not offended at all. In fact, Quinn gave him a few minutes of break time, and he had only started working. He told the man to wait a while before quickly heading back to the counter to tell Quinn.
"Hey, Quinn," Elliot began, setting his notepad on the counter. "Hey."
Quinn's head was down, busy with his latte art for another customer. He held the small pitcher of milk in his hand, carefully moving it back and forth as he formed a milky, leaf-like pattern over the coffee. "What?" he asked, not looking up from his job. His dark eyebrows were knitted in concentration, and while another person would have slipped up and ruined the pattern from the sudden interruption, Quinn had great control over his hands and finished it smoothly.
"Uh, sorry," Elliot mumbled, shooting him an apologetic glance. "Um, you need to take this guy's order."
"Do it yourself."
"Yeah, I was – but he specifically asked for you."
Quinn set the pitcher of milk down. Elliot watched him as he set the cup on a tray, and he almost felt bad that the intricate leaf was going to be ruined when someone drank it.
Elliot blinked and noticed he was looking at him, waiting patiently.
"Oh, that guy." He pointed over to the man sitting by the window, who was currently talking on his phone.
Quinn followed his direction until his eyes fell on the man in question. He didn't say anything, and his facial expression didn't change, but Elliot noticed a subtle change in his eyes. It was hard to place, but when Quinn looked at him and found out he was being watched, it disappeared instantly. Without a word, Quinn brushed past Elliot and headed toward the customer.
From the corner of his eye, Elliot watched as the man looked up at Quinn and when a large smile formed on his face as he stood by him.
"Looks like Quinn's got a regular."
Elliot looked back to see Allison setting down her tray. She crossed her arms as she stood beside him, watching the two. "A what?" Elliot asked, suddenly a bit uncomfortable about the fact they were blatantly watching Quinn and the man. They could at least try to hide behind a table, or something.
"A regular," Allison said flatly. "A regular customer, someone who'll keep coming."
Ah, of course.
"Oh, yeah, I knew that," Elliot scoffed, waving a hand at her.
"And something tells me that man's coming here not just for the food."
Okay, he didn't get that.
"What?" he asked loudly.
He quickly looked back at Quinn and the man. The menu was laid out on the table, the man pointing at something he wanted, shooting glances up at Quinn every once in a while, who just nodded and took down his order. After a while, the man gradually raised a hand and set it on Quinn's arm, and even Elliot could notice the slight stiffening of Quinn's shoulders. He thought Quinn would shake the hand off, but actually, he paused, looked at the man in the eye, and actually leaned closer over the table, probably to read something the man had pointed at.
"I don't know," Allison said, raising her hands in defeat. She shrugged and took a tray that had an order on it. "Maybe I'm just over thinking."
"Yeah, you probably are," Elliot agreed, although he still didn't get what Allison had been implying. She left him to give the food to its customer, and soon, Quinn was walking back to give the man's order to the chef.
"So," Elliot began slowly as Quinn walked past him to hand the chef the order. "You've got a regular."
Quinn turned back to look at him. "A what?"
"Oh," Elliot mumbled, sheepishly looking away. That was the last time he was going to copy Allison to sound smart – but then again, copying Allison to sound smart wasn't a smart idea in the first place. "Uh, a regular, someone who'll keep coming."
Quinn's green eyes narrowed at him before he brushed past him again. "Yeah, whatever," he said. "Get to work."
It was nearly eleven when the three of them arrived at their apartment. Even Chuck was wobbling as Elliot opened the door, sleep making it hard for him to distinguish which key was for the main door.
"Hurry up," Quinn moaned, shutting his eyes and leaning against the wall to support his weight.
"I am," Elliot said, grinding his teeth. He could have fallen asleep in the hallway.
When finally he found the right key, he shoved it into the knob and turned.
"I am so tired," Quinn muttered, slipping into the apartment the second Elliot opened the door. Chuck obediently followed after his owner, lying down beside his feet as he collapsed on the couch.
Sighing, Elliot pulled the key out of the knob and closed the door behind him. He tossed the keys onto the coffee table before plopping himself beside Quinn, quickly turning the television on with a press of the remote. He didn't know why he wanted to watch TV when he was so sleepy, but it was a routine.
Quinn grunted as Elliot sat beside him, and it looked like he was standing up to leave. But after a while, he just said a few words under his breath and shifted to the side so they weren't sitting too close, so their arms weren't brushing against each other anymore. Not noticing this, Elliot flipped through the channels, and Quinn picked up one of the throw pillows and pressed it over his face. "I'm taking a shower first," he said, his words muffled by the pillow.
"Yeah, okay," Elliot yawned, leaning back on the sofa.
He skimmed through the channels and finally settled one a late night talk show. He laughed at some of the jokes, ogled at the hot female celebrity who was being interviewed, but soon, his eyelids began to close on him, until he'd open them up again and realized he had been sleeping since they were already interviewing another celebrity. But before he could haul himself out of the couch, his eyelids closed on him permanently.
Elliot didn't know how long he was asleep, but if it weren't for the soft movement near his ankles, he could have woken up and it would already have been morning. He groaned, rubbing his eyes before looking down to see Chuck shifting his weight so he could rest his head on his shoes. "Aww, Chuck," Elliot mumbled groggily.
He was about to sit up when he felt a weight on his shoulder.
He looked to see what it was, and it was only shock that stopped him from doing a superhuman back flip away from the couch like the characters he played on his video games.
Quinn was leaning on his shoulder. The pillow he had put over his face was on the ground, it must have fallen when he tilted over to Elliot as he slept. His cheek was pressed on Elliot's shoulder, his chin angled up to show parted lips and allowed escaped breaths to stroke Elliot's cheek every couple of seconds. Elliot stiffened.
"Uh, Quinn," he mumbled, too surprised to say anything really. He felt like jerking away, but then again, that would be too rude.
A small frown formed on Quinn's lips and he shifted his head against Elliot's shoulder, angling his chin higher so now his lips were just brushing against Elliot's ear.
Not liking the chills he felt everytime Quinn's lips would brush his ear as he breathed, Elliot knew it was time to get him off. Slowly, he tried to lower his shoulder and he took another throw pillow. Maybe, he could lower his shoulder enough, and then replace the pillow with it –
Elliot jerked away from Quinn, not liking him being so close, not liking the strange, annoying feeling in his gut, and not wanting to lose the feeling in his arm. Quinn immediately fell to his side, his face falling onto the pillow, and his eyes shot open. He sat up and looked around, and Elliot suppressed a snigger at how one side of his hair, the side that had been leaning on him, was jutting up.
Elliot was covering his mouth with a hand when Quinn turned to him, a hard glare on his face. "What?" he hissed.
"You were – " Elliot paused, rolling his eyes at Quinn. "You were going to take a shower."
Seconds after Elliot spoke, Quinn looked away, groaning as he rubbed a hand over his face. Then he stood up, stepping over Chuck as he headed for the shower and closed the bathroom door with a hard slam.
Elliot looked down at Chuck, who was looking at him, woken up by the sudden movement. "At least you don't use me as a pillow," he mumbled, stroking the pup behind his dark ear.
Apparently, Elliot had spoken to soon, because the second he started stroking Chuck's ear, the dog lay back down on his feet and closed his eyes. Elliot's shoulders slumped, a not-very-surprised frown on his face.
"Nah, you two are the same."
A/N: Please leave a review!