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I glance at the clock when I hear someone come into the apartment. I just can't sleep. Between being in a strange new place and worrying about talking to Liam tomorrow, sleep is impossible. It is now 2 am. No wonder Alex doesn’t make it to his class first thing in the morning. That’s a hell of a shift to keep up while trying to go to school.
I want to surprise him as a thank you for letting me stay, so I have set up the sofa bed for him with pillows and a blanket. I also have done all the dishes and put them away.
I hear the knob turn slowly on the bedroom door. I roll over and shut my eyes, but my heart is suddenly in a panic. Why is he coming into the bedroom?
He slowly opens the door, slides past and walks as silently as he can across the room. I suddenly realize he is just trying to reach the bathroom. I slowly let out the breath I didn't know I was holding.
When he finishes, he pauses only a moment before sneaking back out again. I don’t let on that I am awake. Then I hear him flopping onto the sofa bed. He must be exhausted. I make up my mind then and there to get him off to a good start in the morning.
I am up and dress in record time when my alarm goes off. I pack up my things and put my bag by the door. Alex is all tangled up in the blanket. He is shirtless once again and is wearing just his boxers.
Feeling a bit voyeuristic, I choose to move on to making breakfast. I have the coffee brewing and the eggs and bacon sizzling in the pan. I usually prefer over easy but made mine scrambled, after remembering an article I had read that said under-cooked eggs can be bad if you’re pregnant.
I wonder how Alex likes his eggs but decided to just make his the same as mine to save time. I hear him stir and turn my back to give him the chance to get to the bedroom without the embarrassment of me seeing him in his underwear. Instead, I hear him sigh and roll over. Great, now I’ll have to wake him up.
I lean over the back of the sofa. “Alllex,” I sing-song softly. “Time to get up sleepy head.”
He hugs his pillow and burrows in a little deeper, “Five more minutes, Mom and then I’ll promise I’ll get up.”
This makes me laugh out loud which causes Alex's eyes to fly open. “Cat!”
“Good morning!” I say, staring down at him. “Why don’t you go get dressed? Breakfast is ready and we can catch the bus together to class this morning. If you hurry you just might make it to your first class on time.”
He looks at his watch and groans. “It’s too early.” He throws the pillow over his head. I can't help but smile inwardly. So, this is what it’s going to be like trying to get my kid off to school.
I pick up the pillow and smack him with it, causing him to let out an “OOMPH!”
He slowly brings the pillow down, so I can see those sparkling eyes and I can tell he’s smiling.
“If you insist.”
I realize too late that my words carried a double meaning and flush bright red. I quickly retreat the kitchen and he swings his long legs over the side of the sofa bed. I refuse to look at him.
He heads into the bedroom. In 10 minutes he emerges, still looking tired, but now fully dressed. I dish out our food on the plates. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure how you prefer your eggs so I just made them scrambled.”
He sits down and just stares at me for a moment. I find it unnerving. “Scrambled is fine,” he says after a minute. He eats with zest and takes a sip of his coffee. Alex looks at me again, this time over the brim of his cup. “Remind me to have you stay over more often. I can get used to this.” He takes a bigger gulp of coffee.
There is something about Alex that is so inviting. I feel this pull towards him but I know it's crazy. I’m in a relationship with Liam; I’m going to have Liam's baby. I definitely shouldn’t be crushing on some gay guy. Maybe this is just some hormonal pregnancy thing.
My phone buzzes. I had left it on the counter by the stove. Alex gets up to get it for me. He looks at it briefly before handing it to me. I look down and I see my reminder pop up to get prenatal vitamins and look at him, wondering if he read it.
If he did, he didn’t react to it at all. Instead, he clears our plates and asks, “So, you uh... ready to go?”
I nod. “As soon as I’m done the dishes.”
“Leave them. I’ll take care of them.” He walks over to where my jacket is draped over a chair, picks it up and holds it out for me. He helps me put it on and hands me my bag and then grabs his own coat and bag and off we go.
He sits next to me on the bus. We don't really talk. My mind now fully on what I am going to say to Liam when I see him. I glance over at Alex and he too looks a little lost in thought.
We walk through the campus together but I stop him before we reach the courtyard. “Thank you, Alex. For everything,” I say, handing back his key.
“Did it help?” he asks, looking down at me.
“A little,” I admit. “Some problems just can’t be fixed that quick though, you know.”
His sad smile returns, “Yeah, I know.”
I look up and Liam is storming over to me and he looks mad as hell.
Alex surprisingly takes my hand in both of his and shakes it. “Anytime,” he says, with intensity in his gaze before he gives me a mock salute and takes off through the doors into Ryan Hall.