A few weeks passed until Franklin saw Clint again. Not because they both took an assignment at the same school. Rather, at the end of the school day when he was ready to go home, he found Clint outside, leaning against his car, not giving a damn about the signs prohibiting smoking around the school.
"Get in the damn car," E said, leaving no room for arguments. Dudikoff nodded, and climbed into the passengers seat.
"I was starting to think I wouldn't hear from you again," Franklin joked.
"That was the plan, but you've just made yourself comfortable right in my head," said E. "I'm getting straight to the point. This," he gestured back and forth between the two of them. "Is going to stop. I'm saving the both of us wasted time."
"How do you know it'll be wasted?" Franklin asked. He folded his arm. "You feel the same way I feel about you, don't you?" He didn't get a verbal reply, but through reading Clint's expression, he got his answer. "So why can't we give it a try?"
"Because you'll leave just like everyone else," said E. "You're so goddamn happy. Being around me will suck that out of you."
"You'll think I'm too cold."
"I won't. It might not seem like it, but I calm down around you. I like that."
"You'll think I'm emotionless."
"I know you aren't. I can see you aren't."
The car feel into silence as E continued driving on. At a stoplight, Clint finished his cigarette and tossed it out the window, and switched hands on the steering wheeling, leaving his right hand free. Seeing an opportunity, Franklin took his hand into his own and gently squeezed.
A few weeks ago, he would've expected Clint to pull away, but now, he didn't.
"This is nice," Dude said. "Isn't it?"
". . .Yeah," E said. He sighed. "Alright. Alright, I'll give this," E squeezed his hand back. "A chance. But don't say I didn't warn you when you end up disappointed."
Franklin nodded, but he was sure he wasn't going to be.