Please check out my good friend Ben's Q poem. Many thanks :)
Julie and the Phantoms - Rewatch:
Season One, Epsiode Five - THE OTHER SIDE OF HOLLYWOOD
Wedding of Marina Sirtis, 1992
(2009--David Tennant and Patrick Stewart)
Please check out my good friend Ben's Q article. Thanks a lot :)
I don’t own the art.
I don’t own the art.
JATP boys + puppies & 1 kitty 🐶 🐈⬛
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Alex loves his quiet, peaceful life and his simple job at the plant nursery. That is, however, until Willie crash lands into the middle of it. (4.9k words)
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Alex loved plants. He loved the calmness of a greenhouse and the fresh air of a garden. He also loved that plants were not people, and therefore could not talk to him. Alex wasn’t great with people, something that came along with the whole anxiety thing. However, working at a flower shop that doubled as a plant nursery felt like second nature to him.
He had been working at The Watering Can for about a year, and he really, truly loved it. His boss, Ray, was a kind man who also had a knack for photography, which came in handy when advertising their shop. Ray’s daughter, Julie, would also work there sometimes, and she was a complete angel with the singing voice of one. Alex’s favorite days were early weekend mornings, when it was just the three of them in the shop, and Alex and Julie could sing together while watering the plants.
Alex felt more comfortable behind a drum set and would only sing around people he was close with. Meaning, he only sang around Julie, Ray, and his two best friends since childhood, Luke and Reggie. The two of them worked at the music shop down the street, and had begged Alex to join them, but he knew there was no way he could handle a busy shop with lots of noise and crowded customers.
The street The Watering Can lived on was small, with rows of locally owned shops lining it. Across the street was a bakery that had the best cupcakes in Los Angeles, according to Ray, and further down was a small bookstore where Alex sometimes spent his lunch breaks. He loved the calm nature of the area. That was, until the new neighbor moved in.
The building next door had been vacant for a while, ever since the old man running the pawn shop retired and sold the property. Last week, however, a tattoo shop took its place, filling the street with loud music and the incessant buzz of tattoo needles. Alex was pretty sure the noise was slowly killing his plants.
It was a warm Tuesday afternoon, and Alex was outside, tending to the flower bushes that adorned the front of the shop. He had headphones in, but the buzz of the needles had somehow wormed its way past them, drilling into his skull. He hated it. He would never complain, because that would mean initiating confrontation, so instead he gritted his teeth and focused on clipping the dead leaves from the bush.
Everything was going fine until there was a pair of legs in the perfectly manicured hydrangea bush.
“Aw, man, I totally wiped out,” the legs were attached to a boy about Alex’s age, who was on his back against the cobblestone street.
“What?!” Alex was stunned, looking down at the trampled bush.
“My board,” the boy explained, reaching down and tugging a skateboard from the depths of the bush, pulling a few branches and a whole flower along with it. Alex thought he was going to explode.
“You… skated into my bush?” Alex clarified, his blood pressure rising with every word.
“Uh, yeah? My bad,” the boy untangled himself from the flowers and stood up, brushing petals and dirt off his shoes.
“Yeah, it was your bad!” Alex snapped. “Look at it! It’s deformed!” The bush was in fact deformed, and looked a bit lopsided.
“I’m okay, thanks for asking,” the boy scoffed.
“I - oh,” Alex finally turned to look at the bush murderer. The boy was a bit shorter than him, and was looking at him amusedly with a crooked grin. “Sorry.”
“Nah, you’re cool,” the skater winked at him. “I wipe out all the time,” he reached up and removed the helmet he was wearing, revealing dark brown hair that fell past his shoulders. Alex’s mouth was suddenly dry.
Okay, so the bush murdering skater boy was cute. Still, he was a bush murderer!
“I’m Willie,” he said, grinning. “I’m an apprentice at Sunset Ink,” he pointed to the neighboring tattoo shop, and it all made sense. Of course, the property damaging skater dude worked at the obnoxious tattoo shop.
“Alex,” Alex responded curtly. “I work here.”
“We’re neighbors!” Willie brightened.
“Yeah,” the blonde sighed.
“Woah, don’t get too excited,” Willie raised his eyebrows at Alex’s tone.
“Your shop makes too much noise,” he stated simply. “I’m pretty sure it’s killing my plants.”
“Plants can die from too much noise?” the dark haired boy tilted his head, and Alex had to remind himself that cute boys are not cute if they work at awful shops and run your bushes over.
“Probably!” Alex huffed. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have to go do some surgery on this bush,” he waves the clippers in his hand around to prove his point.
“Right,” Willie nodded slowly, backing away. “I have a shift that I’m late to, anyway. See ya, flower boy.”
With that, Willie hopped back on his skateboard and skated right into the shop. Alex rolled his eyes, storming into his own shop to tell Ray why the hydrangea bush looked like a tornado had hit it.
“Who was that?” Julie asked, her eyes sparkling. “He’s cute.”
“He works at that tattoo shop, and ran over our bush!” Alex exclaimed, setting the clippers down with a huff. “Those poor hydrangeas.”
“What?” Julie raised an eyebrow.
“He skated right into it! Didn’t even say sorry!”
“And you care about this bush… why?” she looked at him, puzzled.
“Because - what do you mean - it’s our bush!” he waved his arms in frustration. “And now it’s deformed!”
“It’s just a bush, Alex,” Ray popped out of the back room, laughing softly. “It’ll be okay.”
“It’s the principle of the thing!” Alex sighed. “People shouldn’t skateboard into other people‘s property!”
“Chill,” Julie placed a calming hand on his forearm. “We can fix the bush.”
They did fix the bush, but that didn’t stop Alex from shooting glares towards the tattoo shop every time he passed it. He didn’t see Willie again until the boy wandered into the shop a week later.
“Flower boy!” Willie grinned, heading to where Alex was attempting to propagate a monstera plant. “What, uh, what are you doing?”
“Propagating the monstera,” Alex said, focused on the plant.
“Wanna explain what that means?” Willie leaned in to watch him inspect the plant, and Alex had to yell at his brain to think of anything but the fact that Willie’s hair was brushing against his arm.
“This plant has gotten super overgrown, so I’m taking a small section and replanting it to grow another plant,” Alex explained. “I have to cut this and put it in water, and once roots grow I can repot it.”
“Oh,” Willie said, as if he understood. “Can I cut it?” He’d grabbed the clippers before Alex could deny him, and was blindly reaching towards the plant.
“No!” Alex grabbed his arm to stop him, and instantly felt guilty at the way Willie’s face fell. “I mean, don’t cut it there. I’ll show you.”
Alex pulled a stem forward to show the slightly swollen section. “So, this is the node, and you have to cut below it, or the roots won’t grow,” without thinking, his brain still on plant mode, he placed his hand over Willie’s and guided the clippers to where he needed to cut.
“Okay, flower boy, I got it,” Willie smirked.
Alex dropped his hand, trying to hide the blush that had formed at the contact. “A monstera isn’t a flower.”
“I - wow, you don’t like jokes, do you?” the other boy laughed.
“What? No! I like jokes! I’m funny!” Alex protested. He couldn’t believe him. He let Willie cut his plant, and then he got told he wasn’t funny? Rude.
“You are funny,” Willie agreed, and then cut the plant with a satisfying snip, holding out the leaf proudly for Alex to see.
“Okay, great,” Alex took the leaf from him. “And now we put it in this jar of water, and wait for roots to grow,” he demonstrated by placing the leaf in the water and placing it on the windowsill.
“So, did you come in here to get a lesson on propagation, or were you shopping?” Alex asked, remembering that he worked in a shop and needed to help customers instead of teach them how to do his job.
“I have a request!” Willie’s eyes brightened. “Well, not me, my boss. He wants a few plants and floral arrangements to brighten up the new place. Something badass. Something like… this!”
He held up a large cactus, grinning wildly. Alex took it from his grasp and placed it back on the shelf, having a vivid flashback of Willie’s previous clumsiness around plants.
“You want… a cactus for your store?” he raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah! And you should make us a few bouquets, too!” Willie is bouncing at this point, excitedly looking at all the flowers at the front of the store. “I like this one.”
He pointed to an orange lily, holding it up and inspecting it. Alex tried not to notice how well the color complimented his skin.
“That’s a lily,” Alex said instead. If he kept his brain on plant mode, it would stop him from thinking about Willie’s hands and eyes and ridiculously nice bone structure. “The orange ones represent confidence and wealth.”
“Dude, really?” he held the flower to his chest. “Definitely put some of these in there.”
“I will,” Alex laughed. He almost removed the flower from Willie’s hands, but couldn’t bear to see the other boy’s smile drop. “That one’s for you. On the house.”
“Aw, thanks flower boy,” Willie tucked the stem behind his ear, and Alex cursed every possible higher power in the universe that dropped this infuriatingly cute boy in his life. “I’ll keep it forever.”
“Whatever,” Alex laughed, rolling his eyes to offset the way his heart jumped in his chest. “I’ll pick out a few things and give you a price for your boss.”
“You’re the best!” Willie was gone as quickly as he arrived, and Alex was left with butterflies in his stomach that wouldn’t die, no matter how hard he willed them to.
“Oh, Alex has a crush!” Julie teased from across the store.
“Him? No. No way!” Alex scoffed, as if the idea was ridiculous. “He’s loud, and annoying, and works in that obnoxious shop. Plus, he tried to kill our hydrangea bush!”
“You let him propagate the monstera,” Julie shook her head at him. “You love him.”
Alex only saw Willie in passing for the next few days, which was probably good. He needed time to train his stomach to stop doing backflips every time he saw the other boy, or heard something that sounded vaguely like wheels on cobblestone.
He didn’t hear about him either, until Julie walked in one day with saran wrap around her forearm.
“What is that?” Alex’s eyes bugged out of his head as he pulled her arm closer to him.
“It’s a dahlia,” she laughed, holding out the tattooed skin so Alex could inspect it. “Willie did it for me. He’s an apprentice, so he charges lower rates.”
Alex hated to admit it, but the tattoo was beautiful. He knew dahlia’s were Julie’s mom’s favorite flower, so it made sense why she would want it. The lines were delicate, the shading intricate, and the placement perfect. Willie was talented.
“Oh, he also told me to give you this,” Julie handed him a piece of paper.
Alex unfolded it to find a detailed drawing of a monstera plant, complete with a jar holding a propagated leaf sitting next to it. In the bottom right hand corner was written, to flower boy. Alex’s heart jumped in his chest.
“Oh,” was all he could say. “I should probably get those bouquets to him.”
“Hopeless!” Julie threw her hands in the air and walked to the back room, cursing at him under her breath in Spanish. Alex didn’t know Spanish, but he knew Julie and Ray well enough to know when they were cursing.
If he hung the drawing up on the shop’s cork board, well, that was none of anyone’s business.
A few days later, Alex found himself wandering into Sunset Ink, one vase of flowers in each hand. He had paired the orange lilies with smaller sunflowers, white chrysanthemums, and green carnations. He had never actually stepped foot in the shop, so he was hoping the flowers matched the decor.
The shop was surprisingly quaint. The walls were painted black and had framed flash sheets and work samples hung in the waiting area. The tattooing area was pretty plain, adorned with a few simple mirrors, but one of the walls was completely covered in colorful skateboard decks.
“Flower boy!” Willie had appeared by his side, gently taking one of the vases. “These look sick! Caleb will love them!”
“Nice shop,” Alex laughed nervously, allowing Willie to take the remaining vase and set it on the reception counter.
“Yeah, it‘s your first time here, right?” Willie patted his shoulder. “Maybe I can give you a tattoo!”
Alex paled. “Uh, no thank you!”
“Not a fan of needles?” he teased.
“I’m not their biggest fan, no,” the blonde agreed.
“Well, if you ever want a tattoo, you know who to call,” Willie winked, turning Alex’s stomach into a swarm of butterflies.
Willie was wearing shorts and a t shirt, exposing delicate tattoos of words and numbers along his wrists and forearms, and the bottom part of a thigh tattoo peeking out from his shorts. Alex was trying very, very hard to not picture what was underneath the fabric.
“Yeah, uh, I also set aside a few of our cacti, I just wanted you to see which ones you liked,” Alex knew he sounded like a stuttering mess, but there was no avoiding it.
“Cool! Lead the way, man!”
Alex hated Willie’s skateboard and the helmet he always left unbuckled and the way he would play music outdoors on a bluetooth speaker. He hated how sometimes Willie would tie his hair up when he was tattooing or drawing, and how a single piece of hair would fall out to frame his face. He hated his high cheekbones and soft brown eyes, and Alex especially hated the way his thoughts were plagued by the memory of Willie’s hand under his.
Okay, maybe he didn’t hate Willie. Maybe, just maybe, he had a small crush on him. But, who could blame him? Really, it was all Willie’s fault, with his crooked smile and lingering gazes and personalized drawings of plants.
“Hold my hand!” He was shaken out of his thoughts by Reggie, who was stretched out on Willie’s tattooing table, swatting at Alex with his free hand.
“I’m holding your hand,” the blonde grumbled, reaching out and allowing Reggie to squeeze all the blood out of his fingers. “Dude, he hasn’t even started yet.”
“Oh, right,” Reggie’s grip relaxed.
“You’re a good friend, flower boy,” Willie reappeared, the mischievous glint in his eyes bright as he smiled at Alex.
“Flower boy?” Reggie whispered, tugging on Alex’s hand. He quickly shut up when the other boy sent him a glare.
“You ready?” Willie grinned, tying his hair back. Alex watched a piece of hair fall out of the loose bun and frame his face, hating the way the sight made his mouth dry.
“I think so,” the dark haired boy responded, gripping Alex’s hand tighter. He was getting a tattoo of his signature red bass on the back of his arm. He had seen Julie’s dahlia and immediately booked Willie, ignoring Alex’s protests. Reggie had also been insistent that he, Luke, and Alex get matching friendship tattoos, but Alex had yet to be convinced.
“Okay, I’m gonna start now,” Willie switched on the tattoo gun. “Hold tight.”
Reggie, unfortunately, did hold tight. Alex sat for an hour underneath Reggie’s death grip, listening to heavy metal and the irritating buzz off the tattoo gun. Although, the hour wasn’t a total loss.
He watched Willie work, the boy’s brows furrowed with concentration as he inked Reggie’s porcelain skin. His hands held the gun delicately, and after a while, Alex realized he wasn’t even paying attention to how the tattoo was turning out. He had been watching Willie’s hands the whole time, following every movement with his eyes.
“How does it look?” Reggie whispered.
“Looks great, man,” Alex responded, eyes fixed on Willie’s thumb ring.
Alex was hopeless. He’d accepted it. He had gone from actively disliking Willie, to tolerating him, to developing a super huge and very inconvenient crush on him. According to Julie, it was only a matter of time.
“He’s pretty hot,” Reggie had said while inspecting his new tattoo. “I mean, for a dude.”
“Reg, you’re bi,” Alex sighed.
“Oh, yeah,” he laughed, as if he had forgotten. “Yeah, he’s hot. You should date him.”
“Date Willie?” the blonde boy scoffed, even though he was sure a blush had risen to his cheeks. “That’s crazy.”
“Sure it is,” Reggie patted him on the shoulder and gave him a knowing look. “Sure it is.”
Alex was good at ignoring his feelings. In fact, he ignored them until Willie ran into the shop a week later and made a beeline for him.
“Flower boy!” he called frantically. “I need help.”
“What? Why?” Willie looked seriously panicked, so whatever it was must have been serious, although Alex didn’t know why he was the person to go to for an emergency.
“My cactus,” he grabbed Alex’s hand and pulled him out the door.
The cactus was indeed in trouble. The root was brown and squishy, and it was slightly leaning over. Honestly, it just looked sad.
“Uh, okay, it’s dying,” Alex said after a brief inspection.
“It’s dying?” Willie looked genuinely upset, and it was killing Alex with how adorable he was. “Why?”
“Do you water it?”
“Yeah! Every day!” the boy pointed to the small watering can sitting at his station.
“Dude, every day?” Alex couldn't help but laugh. “It’s a cactus!”
“Is that bad?” Willie’s face fell as he knelt beside his plant, inspecting the root.
“Yeah! Cacti live in the desert, they don’t need water all the time. Just like, once a week,” he watched Willie frown, and his heart couldn’t help but break a little.
“Can you save it?” he looked up with pleading eyes and Alex thought he would probably drive out to the desert and get a new one if Willie asked him to.
“Yeah,” he responded, and Willie grinned. “We just have to repot it with dry soil. Also, you should probably move it closer to a window.”
“But I like to have it next to me,” the long haired boy frowned again.
Alex smiled at that, picturing Willie diligently watering his cactus and letting it take up space at his otherwise tidy station. He also pretended not to notice the perfectly pressed orange lily that was taped to the corner of Willie’s mirror.
“It’s gonna be fine,” he assured Willie. “I’ll run to the store and get some stuff and we’ll fix your cactus.”
“His name is Patrick,” Willie beamed.
“Of course it is,” Alex grinned back at him before heading out the door.
He came back a minute later with supplies, and the two boys got to work.
“How’s it look, doc?” Willie asked as they gently lifted the cactus out of its pot, brushing away the leftover overwatered soil.
“I think Patrick is gonna be okay,” the blonde tried very very hard to focus on placing the cactus in the new pot and not on the fact that the other boy’s hand was covering his entirely.
Together, they gently placed the plant into its new pot and covered it with the new soil. Alex didn't even mind when the cactus needles scraped his hand. Willie bought him a coffee as a thank you, and when Alex laid in bed that night analyzing every second of the day, he thought maybe it could have been a date. Not that someone like Willie would like someone like him. Although, he did buy coffee for him, and that’s what people did on dates, right?
Willie fell on his skateboard outside the shop again, tumbling to a stop right in front of the door, coughing from the impact. He laid still on his back for a moment, and Alex’s brain jumped right to the conclusion that he was dead.
“Dude,” Alex rushed outside to take in the damage. “You good?”
“Yeah,” WiIlie groaned. “I tried to jump the bench.”
The bench in question was a decently large wooden bench with iron arm rails. The boy glared at it as he sat up, as if the bench had personally offended him.
“You know, you should really wear kneepads and stuff,” the blonde reminded him as he stopped the skateboard from rolling down the street. “And probably buckle your helmet.”
“Nah, I’m a pro,” Willie cheekily grinned at him. “That stuff is for dorks.”
“For a pro, you sure do fall a lot,” Alex rolled his eyes and handed the skateboard back to its owner. “At least you missed the bush this time.”
“Hey, that bush did you a favor,” he smirked. “It introduced you to me.”
“It also gave me an extra half hour of outdoor work,” Alex brushed off the comment, trying not to blush.
“Whatever,” Willie nudged him, and Alex finally noticed the blood trickling down the other boy’s leg.
“You’re bleeding!” he pointed at the cut on Willie’s leg.
“Huh?” Willie looked down, unfazed. “Oh, yeah.”
“Are you gonna do anything about it?”
“Nah,” he brushed it off. “I’ll clean it up later.”
“Gross,” Alex wrinkled his nose and then grabbed Willie’s arm, dragging him into the back room of the store.
“Am I being kidnapped?” he laughed as Alex forced him into a chair.
“No,” the blonde pulled out the first aid kit. “I’m helping you.”
Alex pulled on rubber gloves and brought out the bottle of hydrogen peroxide, gathering cotton pads and a band aid.
“Alright, Doctor flower boy,” the brunette teased, earning a glare. “It’s just a cut! Happens all the time.”
“Yeah, well, I’m shocked you haven’t seriously hurt yourself yet,” Alex rolled his eyes and knelt down, cleaning up the blood that ran down the other boy’s shin. He could see Willie’s thigh tattoo again, the edge poking out from the hem of his shorts, and he found his brain wandering back to the thought of what was underneath.
“Is it bad? Do you need to amputate?” Willie joked. “You’re kind of right though. I broke my arm on a halfpipe when I was fifteen.”
“Oh, god,” Alex winced at the thought of breaking a bone. “I’ve never even done anything that could possibly injure me that bad.”
“I can teach you to skate!” Willie’s eyes brightened and then he flinched, Alex having started to clean the scrape.
“I don’t know,” he laughed. “Like I said, you fall a lot.”
“I’m offended that you think I’d ever let you fall,” Willie grinned at him, and Alex knew he was in deep.
That’s why he was only a little surprised when he ended up in the alley between the two shops, precariously balancing on Willie’s skateboard. Alex was too terrified to even think about how tightly he was holding Willie’s hands, or how close together they were, or how the other boy was still wearing the pink band-aid he had given him.
“Wanna do a kickflip?” the brunette had that familiar mischievous glint in his eyes.
“No!” Alex protested. “Dying wasn’t really on my list of things to do today.”
“Relax, flower boy,” the nickname put him at ease. “Here, take this.”
Willie pulled his hands from Alex’s and grabbed his helmet, placing it on the other boy’s head and gently buckling it underneath his chin. His calloused fingers brushed his jaw and Alex thought he was going to die right then.
“Okay, there you go, extra safe,” Willie smirked. “Now, wanna try actually moving?”
Alex shakily picked one foot up and placed it on the ground like Willie had demonstrated, pushing forward against the concrete. He moved forward one inch, and promptly fell forwards. Like a long haired knight in tie dye armor, Willie was already there, grabbing Alex as the board slipped from underneath his feet. Alex was pressed against his chest, Willie’s arms around his waist and their faces inches apart.
If Alex were a more impulsive person, he would’ve kissed him right there. Instead, his brain stopped working and his heart rate spiked, probably fast enough for Willie to feel through the thin layers of clothing that separated them.
“Told you I wouldn’t let you fall,” Willie smiled softly, his breath hitting Alex’s cheek.
He wanted to live in this feeling forever, with Willie’s hands on his back and his face so close that he could see the deep brown of his eyes. Instead, he stepped back, out of his grasp.
“Alex,” his voice was soft, and Alex was pretty sure that was the first time Willie had ever called him anything but flower boy. The blonde turned, confused, and then Willie was kissing him.
Willie. Kissing him. He had both hands on the sides of the helmet he had let Alex borrow, and his mouth was covering his, gentle and frantic all at once. Willie’s eyes were closed, and oh god, should Alex’s eyes be closed? The most beautiful boy he had ever seen was kissing him desperately, and he couldn’t even figure out if he should close his eyes or not. He probably should.
Then Willie pulled away before Alex could even start thinking about where his hands should go.
“Sorry,” the brunette whispered. “Sorry, I - I totally misread that, uh, I’ll see you around.”
Alex was left standing in the empty alley, staring at the side wall of Sunset Ink, trying to figure out what the hell had just happened.
It took Alex four days and about ten lectures from Julie to figure out what he wanted to say to Willie. He had wanted to kiss him back, he really did, but he was caught off guard and shocked that Willie even liked him back, and he hadn’t really kissed anyone since that one time under the bleachers with Sam from English class in freshman year.
Willie had left in a rush, not even bothering to ask for his helmet back, which now sat in the backseat of Alex’s car, out of place and lonely. It had also taken four days for Alex to work up the courage to go next door and find him.
As it turned out, Alex didn’t have to go find Willie. He showed up all on his own, a bouquet of white orchids in hand.
“Hi,” he smiled sheepishly. Alex didn’t think Willie even had the capability to be shy.
“Hi,” Alex replied, setting down the watering can he was holding.
“I brought this,” Willie held out the orchids. “Julie told me these are what people typically get when they’re apologizing. I totally misread things, and made everything super weird, and I’m really sorry. I really like you, and that’s totally okay if you don’t feel the same way, but I also really like being your friend. So, you know, hopefully we can still be friends. If you want,” he trailed off awkwardly as Alex stared at him in wonder.
Alex stepped forward, gently taking the flowers from his grasp. “You… bought me these?”
“Yeah, I -” he never got to finish his sentence because this time it was Alex’s turn to initiate the kiss, quick but firm.
“What?” Willie blinked, eyes wide.
“I should be apologizing,” Alex admitted. “I really like you too, and I thought there was no way you could ever like me back, and I got caught super off guard. I also haven’t really kissed anyone in a while, and I didn’t know what to do with my hands, or if I should close my eyes, or…” he faltered under Willie’s gaze, that had turned from bewilderment to slight amusement and a little bit of something else that he couldn’t place.
“You think too much,” the other boy laughed. Willie took the flowers out of Alex’s hand and placed them on the counter, taking both of his hands in his own instead. “Your hands can go here, and you should close your eyes.”
Alex’s eyes fluttered shut as Willie placed his hands on his shoulders. This time, when Willie’s lips met his, he was anticipating it. His hands moved naturally from Willie’s shoulders to his face to his hair, his fingers cupped around the back of his head. Alex welcomed the kiss and responded with the same intensity, his body relaxing and suddenly knowing what to do. Willie fit against him perfectly, all soft skin and warm hands, and Alex thought that this must be what heaven felt like.
They pulled away slowly, and it was then that Alex realized he was still technically at work, and had just kissed Willie in the middle of the store, with other customers around.
“Alex,” Ray’s voice came from behind them. “I’m pretty sure company policy is against making out with customers.”
“Sorry, sir,” Willie responded as Alex’s head fell on his shoulder to try and hide his bright red face.
“Go take your break, Mercer,” Ray waved the boys off with a smile.
Alex’s thirty minute break quickly turned into an hour, but he couldn’t be bothered to care. Not when Willie had him pressed up against the brick wall of Sunset Ink in the alley, and his hands were in the other boy’s long hair as he lost his breath against his lips. They wasted the afternoon in that alley, too wrapped up in each other to notice the hours passing.
“Damn it,” Julie said when Alex recounted what happened with dreamy eyes and a dazed smile. “I owe Reggie five dollars.”
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