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The sound of an alarm.
Imagine hearing that at 4:30 in the morning on a Monday.
It was moments like these where Theo questioned himself why he decided to share an apartment with his best friend. Yes, it was in a sudden spurt of the moment when he hopped in the last flight available, and yes, it was something that he needed to do for himself while knowing there was no other choice.
But Zach fucking Wright.
Theo groaned and stretched his arm over his head to deactivate the damn thing, but much to his annoyance, only swayed empty space. He briefly pinched his nose in frustration before kicking the thin blanket off of the mattress and stomping outside the room. He was careful not to wake Chase up, who was sleeping soundlessly on Theo's bed.
He banged Zach's door open and strode towards the desk that had the damn alarm ringing like it was the end of the world.
“You left it on again, dickhead,” he muttered, shaking his friend up without remorse. Zach began to groan and blinked repeatedly. “You could've woken Chase up. And now you're late.”
He knew Zach liked getting things done first thing in the morning, but he forgot how early. Dawn hadn't even set yet.
And there were new things to consider — Chase.
Theo wasn't ready to talk what happened. And it seemed that Zach wasn't too inclined, either. In fact no one had brought it up again, including Chase himself, who had returned to his normal happy mood. So as a default, they decided to let the incident slide for a while.
Even if that could make things worse.
With the effects of the alarm still ringing in his ear, Theo decided it was time to start the day anyway. After dragging himself to the kitchen to make some coffee, taking a quick shower, and putting on a black T-shirt and gym shorts, he joined Zach in the living room.
“You're going to the gym with me?” Zach asked, dumbfounded.
Theo rolled his eyes. “I'm going to pretend you didn't just insult me. And no, I'm not. I'm going for a run.”
It was common knowledge that he wasn't as active in sports as the blond was. While Zach had excelled in almost every sport offered in high school, Theo spent his better time in the art room, sketching, sketching, sketching. It was a wonder how the two eventually cross paths.
“A run,” Zach repeated, clicking his tongue. “Huh.”
“Oh, shut up. You go do your thing, I'll do mine,” he prompted. “And for the record, I'll be sticking around the District, so I'll probably catch up with you later.”
“Are you sure you're not trying to catch up with someone else?”
He stared at him. “What, El?”
“Who the hell is El?”
“Eleanor.” The blond merely blinked. “Lenny?”
“My my, Theo.” Zach smirked, crossing his arms and leaning against the kitchen island. “Already creating personal nicknames. You've got it bad.”
“We're friends, for fuck's sake.”
“Yeah, and that's exactly what you told me you weren't going to be a few days ago.” He trudged forward and smacked Theo lightly in the head. He swatted his friend's hand away with a scowl. “I can't stand her cheery voice all the time, she's so annoying, goddamnit — ”
“I don't sound like that.”
“I don't sound like that.”
He grabbed the apartment keys. “I'm out,” he said deadpanned, walking across the floorboards.
“Say hi to her for me!” Zach called out.
Theo flipped his middle finger behind his back.
Sweat was dripping across his back and down his temples. His erratic breaths and the music blasting from his headphones were all that he could hear, and the cool air whispering against his skin was drowned out by the warmth of the sun.
He didn't know how long he'd been running, but it was certainly a significant amount of time. The streets were now filled with a few people roaming around, as opposed to how empty it was before. He'd already passed the entirety of the District, all straight and around, but without consciousness he found himself walking near Bond Beach.
Or maybe it was with consciousness — it was like every road led to the beach. Like it was truly the heart of the town.
In the distance, someone caught his attention.
Eleanor was walking towards him. Or, better yet, towards her shack, which was behind him. In her arms were boxes overflowing with decorations: Christmas lights, party hats, the usual bunch. She hadn't noticed him yet, which gave him the opportunity to give a longer look.
Her dark hair was tied up in a messy ponytail, sporting a casual T-shirt and shorts. He noticed that this was her preferred attire: something simple and easy to walk around with. Made sense, since she was always busy with that shack of hers. And she was slim, but not too skinny, which Theo thought was probably a figure most girls would kill for.