When she asked me what was wrong for the fifth time in the past hour, I sat up from my previous position, lounging on the couch watching 90210, and frowned.

"I'm getting a feeling," I said.

She smirked, green eyes tap-dancing in perfect rhythm. "And you can't fight it anymore? Forgot for what you started fighting? Taking your boat back to the shore?"

I couldn't quell a small smile. "It's so very scary that you know the lyrics to REO Speedwagon so fluently."

"Words are my art." She sat down beside me. "What's your feeling?"

I hadn't said it out loud yet, hadn't written it or drawn it or painted it, and I closed my eyes as I forced the words out. I cleared my throat. "Um," I said, "I think Kevin's going to move back to California."

Stunned at my own words, I sat for a moment before bending and letting my head fall into my hands, elbows balanced precariously on my knees.

Her hand felt warm through my threadbare t-shirt. "Oh, 'Li," she whispered.

"Yeah." It was barely more than a breath.

We sat in silence, her hand on my back and my head in my hands, for five minutes or more.

"Why do you think that?" she asked finally.

"He's been…talking about it a lot. And there's a good chance he and Clarice will get back together. It's his home, and this is mine. I know he's going to ask me to go with him, but…" I trailed off.

"They moved you out here, right?"

"This is my city, you know, and LA is his." I sighed. "How can I say no? I can't say no."

I could almost hear her furrowed eyebrows. "Would he stay here?"

"I wouldn't want him to." I pushed myself backwards. "Maybe I should go, you know. What's keeping me here?"

"You love it here, don't you?" she asked.

"If I could marry this city, I would," I replied.

"Well then."

"And I fit here better than in LA."

She nodded.

"And I really, really like the Yankees, Adele."

She grinned brightly. "Me too."

Fondly, I grinned back. "You don't count. You like Derek Jeter."

"I have highly refined tastes." Her beautiful, delicate face sobered. "What are you going to do, Eli?"

"I don't know yet. I still need time to think." I scrubbed at my face with my hands.

"Take all the thinking time you need. He'll wait."

"Yeah," I said. "I know."

"You don't do it that way. You have to add salt first. Damnit, Elijiah, get the hell away from the stove."

Adele glared at him from where she cut tomatoes at her counter. The kitchen was much too spacious, she reflected, because in closer proximity, her death-eye stare would have physically wounded him. Elijiah backed up appeasingly.

"I'm sorry, master chef," he said. "Forgive me."

"Chop the damn tomatoes," she commanded as she took over swirling the pasta. Rotini noodles bounced off each other in her shiny black pot. At the corner, she noticed Elijiah's pouting from the corner of her eye.

"You are such a baby," she said.

"I was trying to help," he replied petulantly.

She sighed. His green eyes were full of true regret.

"It's ok, Eli," she sighed again.

He smiled happily and went back to cutting the tomatoes.

"This is almost too domestic for me," he said. "Dear."

"You moved in here, honeybunch."

"We might as well play the radio and spontaneously slow dance to Phil Collins."

She mocked a gasp. "A closet Phil Collins fan! Why, Eli, I never would have guessed."

"Watch it. I'm making the sauce."

"Oh no you're not. You're cutting the tomatoes and then setting the table, pal. One day I'll teach you how to cook."

Eli laughed. "You only know how to cook because you don't have a real job."

Smirking, she shot back, "Who makes millions of dollars a year? Who's a household name?"

"All in good time, my dear." Their heads turned in unison as a door closed.

"What's all in good time?" asked Kevin, strolling into the kitchen. "And since when do you call Adele dear?"

"We're domestic," chirped Adele.

"Good for you," Kevin said.

"I'm going to make millions of dollars," Eli declared.

"Right. And then. Anyway. Eli, can I talk to you for a minute?" Kevin gestured toward the living room with his head.

"Sure," Eli answered confusedly, following Kevin to the kitchen. Adele watched in anxiety.

When they had left the kitchen, half-door swinging, she looked around before retaking her place at the counter.

"Someone has to cut the tomatoes," she muttered.

"What's up?" Eli asked warily.

Kevin frowned. "Something happened at work today. Actually, three things happened at work today."

Eli just nodded, feeling nervous.

"First thing that happened was that Clara emailed me. She said she wished that we could try it again somehow."

Clara, Eli thought. Great.

"And then Richard came in to talk to me."

Eli braced himself.

"He said he wants me back out in LA, Eli."

At that, Eli couldn't say a word. He couldn't move, couldn't nod; he sat, tharn, staring at one of Adele's pieces of art on the wall.

"Last, I guess I just realized…Eli, California's my home." Kevin could barely say the words, and they hurt all the way up.

Eli went boneless, falling back into the soft couch. "You're leaving?" he murmured.

"I have to." Kevin blinked back stubborn tears.

Eli swallowed, tried to speak, cleared his throat. "I-I understand," he said.

Kevin started forward. "Eli, I'm-"

"Not right now, Kev," he said. "Please."

Kevin nodded slowly; then, he walked out of the room.

Eli stumbled into the kitchen.

She'd heard the whole conversation, he knew, when he saw her face.

He semi-collapsed to the ground, the cool tile floor, and her small, strong arms wound around him.

"I'm so sorry, Eli," she whispered against his neck. "I'm so, so sorry."

The tears came then, mercilessly; they were scary, sad, heartbroken tears. He didn't remember how he got into bed, but he woke up the next morning, and Kevin was already gone. Eli felt momentary panic before he realized it was ten o'clock and Kevin was at work.

He smelled bacon cooking, and felt a definite rush of affection for Adele, his vegetarian friend who would kill a cow and eat it to make him happy.

He found himself sitting at the breakfast table, showered, eating bacon to her Special K again without knowledge of how he got there.

And he was talking.

"I knew it would happen one day, I really did. I just didn't think it would be so soon. We're twenty-eight, we're supposed to be married with kids but we only had each other. I lived with him for like ten years and he's the best friend I ever had. He's the best friend I could have hoped for. He always put me first and he always cared about me. I just don't know what's going to happen now. We've never been separated before."

And it was ok. He panted a little, out of breath, and then smiled at Adele.

"It'll be okay," she said.

"How do you know?" he asked curiously.

"Because you're the boy who convinced me," she replied, and he smiled at his bacon and almost felt a blush.

He believed her.