A/N: Yay! Eighteen reviews! Who wants to be my twentieth reviewer? Thanks so, so, so much for all your responses! I'm sorry this took a bit long to put up, school's been hell.

Yikes! I posted this yesterday – but I realized that I forgot to write in one scene! So sorry!


QUINNTESSENTIAL

CHAPTER THREE


"So, what are we getting again?" Allison yawned, leaning against Elliot for support.

Seeing how Elliot was carrying the grocery basket and how he was not that much taller than her, she nearly toppled him over. "Hey, watch it!" he yelped, holding onto an aisle before he could fall completely.

"Okay, okay," Allison giggled, getting off him and picking up the bag of chips that fell out of the basket. "Sorry about that."

"'S alright," Elliot mumbled, looking through the choices of loaf bread and trying to remember which one Quinn liked. White or wheat? "God, I can't remember if he likes wheat bread or not."

"Who? Quinn?"

"Yeah, him."

"Does it matter?"

Did it really? Elliot frowned. "Yeah, 'cause if I choose the wrong one, he'd probably beat me with it."

Allison's blue eyes widened. "Wait, he does that?"

Elliot whirled to face her, surprised she actually believed him. Allison had a big mouth, and he couldn't have her saying stuff like that while they worked. "Wait, no – "

"Wasting perfectly good food!" Allison shook her head, trying to hide her grin. "I thought Quinn was better than that."

Rolling his eyes at her, he faced the bread again.

"I'm just kidding!" she laughed, latching onto his arm for forgiveness, something all his female cousins would do. "But seriously, does he treat you bad?"

Elliot scowled, finally deciding to pick the white bread. If Quinn wasn't going to eat it, at least he and Chuck would. "Not really... but it would be easier to live with you – and that's saying a lot."

Ignoring the comment, Allison shook her head. "Quinn can't be that bad. Maybe you just don't know him that well."

Elliot paused, scrunching his eyebrows to think of some reply or excuse. Allison was right, but he had to think of something. Noticing this, she leaned closer. "Wait, you do talk to your flat mate, right?"

"Of course I do!" Elliot said, hurriedly leaving the aisle. Asking for the milk on the other end of the table was considered as talking, anyway.

"Like, real, full-length conversations, right?"

"Uh, yeah," he lied over his shoulder. They talked full-length sentences, anyway.

Allison quickly followed after him. "I mean, you do know he's allergic to chicken, right?"

He whirled around. "Really?" Wow, he never knew anyone who was allergic to chicken. That must suck, never being able to eat KFC and chicken fajitas.

"No, he isn't. But anyway, this proves that you don't know a thing about him." Allison concluded, poking him in the chest rather forcefully. "You've been living with him for a month, and all you know about him is his family name!"

"Well, he doesn't talk!"

"Because you don't talk to him."

"What?" he said indignantly, looking back at her. "I have to start the conversations?"

"Yeah, because – "

Elliot stopped and held a hand in front of her face. "Never mind. I don't really care, anyway," he said, turning around again for the check-in queue. "This waiter thing is only temporary, until I find another job. After that, it's bye-bye Quinn, and bye-bye Allison," he laughed.

Well, that was Elliot's game plan. He didn't graduate from college just to turn into a waiter – no offence to waiters, of course. It was only a temporary job, until he could settle into the city and get a proper one. He was even lucky he landed the waiting job on a newly opened cafe, whose owner agreed to pay half the rent for their apartment. He was actually excited to start, the pay wasn't bad, his rent was pretty much covered, and he was going to have one of the other waiters as a flat mate – but of course, that excitement took a little nosedive when he actually met his flat mate.

"Fine, fine," Allison mumbled, giving up and helping him unload the food from the basket. "I'm just saying – "

"Crap, I forgot the milk!"

Allison looked up at him. "What?"

"The milk," Elliot repeated. "Quinn's gonna kill me if I don't buy some!"

He was already running for the dairy section when Allison turned back and yelled, "I thought you didn't care about him!"

Gritting his teeth, Elliot swiveled between the aisles until he finally reached the dairy section. He didn't care about Quinn, he cared about his life. When he finally got to the section with all the milk, he paused. Oh, crap. Low fat, skimmed, two percent, creamy – which kind did Quinn like?

"Low fat."

Ah, yeah! It was –

Elliot turned around, and nearly fell back on the cartons of milk when he saw Quinn standing in front of him, one hand in the pocket of his dark jeans, while the other was holding a grocery basket. What was even more surprising was the upward turn of his lips – holy crap, he was smiling.

"Oh, uh, Quinn," Elliot began, reaching for the low fat milk behind him. "Why are you here? I thought you were out somewhere."

"Groceries," Quinn said flatly, raising his basket.

Elliot narrowed his eyes at him. "But it's my turn for the groceries."

"I thought you'd forget."

He scowled at him. "Thanks for the faith."

Quinn shrugged, easily setting his basket down. "But since you've got it covered, I guess I'll leave."

Someone cleared their throat a few feet away from them. Quinn and Elliot turned to the side to see Allison tapping her foot impatiently, her arms crossed in front of her chest. "Okay, have you guys decided yet?" she asked, frowning at Elliot. "There's a long line of old ladies waiting for you to pay." She then turned to Quinn and her frown immediately changed into a big smile. "Oh, hey Quinn! Since you're here, I'll go now."

He looked at her. "No, you stay with him."

"He's your flat mate, not mine," she said flatly, before walking away. "See you two tomorrow!"

"Uh, hello, I'm right here," Elliot said, waving the carton of milk in the air.

Quinn sighed, turning to look at him before walking for the check-in lanes. "Hurry up."

Elliot quickly caught up with him. "Since you're here, want to split the cost?" he asked, playfully elbowing his flat mate.

"Yeah, right."

Oh well, it was worth a try. Elliot set the carton of milk down on the belt, ignoring the old ladies who were shaking their heads at him.


The walk back home was quiet, except for the cans and jars clunking against each other in the brown paper bags. Elliot held the groceries in his arms while Quinn easily strolled beside him, his hands set in his pockets, his eyes set forward. Walking beside him gave Elliot a good idea of how tall Quinn was. It wasn't that Elliot was short, he was a proud five foot ten, tallest member in his family, but Quin was still taller than him by what looked like an inch or two. Damn him.

They were turning a corner when Elliot remembered what Allison had said. He sneaked a hesistant glance at Quinn before giving it a shot. He cleared his throat. "Uh... I'm twenty-three, you know," he said from the corner of his mouth.

He didn't expect Quinn to hear him, or if he did, he had just expected him to ignore him. But Quinn actually glanced at him, acknowleding his presence. "So?"

Elliot rolled his eyes. "In case you don't know basic human customs, you tell me how old you are now."

He almost wanted Quinn to say some snarky remark back so he could proudly show off his recently unused sarcasm, but he didn't. So Elliot pressed on. "I graduated from college last year... I took journalism."

"Good for you."

Elliot's shoulders fell. Why was he even trying?

"You know what, never mind," he said. At least he could tell Allison that he had tried, and if the conversation went his way, he could even add a little 'I told you so'.


When they reached their apartment, Elliot quickly set the heavy bags of groceries on the kitchen island and started unloading. He looked over at Quinn, who glanced at him and quickly looked away, as if pondering whether or not he should help unpack, but a second later, he shrugged and walked over to the fridge.

Elliot didn't really mind. "So..." he began, taking out the bread. "What did you do after work?"

"Nothing," Quinn intoned, taking out a bottle of orange juice.

"That's not what I heard," Elliot said, a sheepish grin on his face as Quinn closed the fridge door.

"Then what did you hear?"

"I heard you were on a date."

Quinn twisted the cap off the bottle and leaned against the counter. "If you already knew, why'd you ask?" he asked, an irritated tone in his calm voice.

Elliot shrugged, taking out the jars of jam and mayonnaise and gritting his teeth. "I'm trying this thing, you know, called conversations," he finally explained. "Allison told me I should try it out with you."

Quinn just made a noncommittal grunt and took a sip of his juice.

After folding the brown paper bag, Elliot started setting all the jars in their proper cupboards. There weren't a lot of cupboards, so it didn't take that long. "So, how was it?"

Quinn rolled his dark green eyes as he set his juice down. "I don't want to answer."

Sighing, Elliot closed the last cupboard. "At least tell me if she was pretty or not," he prompted.

As if not hearing him correctly, Quinn straightened up a bit against the counter. "What?" he asked, his voice nearly nonplussed as he tilted his head to the side.

Wondering if he had said something wrong, Elliot raised an eyebrow. "Uh, how was your date? Was she nice?" he asked again, a bit slower in case Quinn decided to throw the bottle at him, or something. He looked away, deciding not to meet his eye – that's what you did with angry bulls.

His flat mate didn't answer again. Of course, this was normal behavior, but this silence felt different compared to the others. While most of the time Quinn kept silent because he didn't want to say anything, this felt as if... he didn't know what to say in the first place. Elliot shot a quick glance at him, noticing that his brow was furrowed as he held a tight grip on his bottle of juice.

Had he said something wrong? Elliot nervously cleared his throat. "So... the date was that bad?" he asked, trying to lighten the atmosphere. "Was she that ugly?"

As if snapping out of a weird trance, Quinn looked up, straight at him, his eyes not leaving his. There was something in them that Elliot could not read, or maybe it was just the bad, dim lighting.

"I'm going to bed," he answered evenly, steering clear of the subject altogether. He turned and left the kitchen before Elliot could bother him more.

Elliot watched him leave, completely confused.

Oh well, at least he hadn't thrown the bottle at him.


A/N: Please review! :)