CHAPTER ONE:

Lexie:

His hand entwined with my own as we walked down the crowded street, and I let out a shaky breath, more thankful that he was with me than he would ever know.

I smiled up at him as we stopped on one side of the busy road, waiting for a break in traffic so we would go running across the two lanes like mad people and hope we didn't get hit. That was always the problem with Seattle; even when it was rainy, the roads were crowded. But on the few days that it was actually sunny? Well it could have been a freak show, like a group of monkeys.

Every now and then he would give my hand a gentle squeeze or run his thumb along my own, showing little signs of affection that he knew I needed. But no matter how much he tried to replace it, he couldn't replace the way he had made me feel.

"They should get more crossings on this road," he murmured under his breath, glaring at the jerk that'd just sped up, purely so we couldn't cross. People were like that on sunny days. They wanted to go to the beach or out somewhere and they didn't plan on stopping for anybody. "Maybe then I wouldn't feel like we're going to get hit if we take a step forward."

The laugh that had been hiding for a few days came out of my lips and I leant into his side as he gave me the biggest smile in a long time. "I knew that beautiful sound was hiding in there somewhere."

"Yeah, the rain kind of hid it." I murmured, scrunching up my nose like I always did when I was smiling or laughing.

This time, he was the one who laughed. But it was more of a chuckle, I guess, when I look back at it now. "So you're blaming the rain for taking away your laugh?"

Before I could reply there was a break in the traffic and he was pulling me forward, making my feet move even though I hadn't told them to. On the other side of the road, someone slammed on their breaks from the stupid speed they'd been going, definitely over the speed limit, and their horn didn't stop for about ten seconds while we moved to the pavement, safe and sound.

"Well," I started once they'd driven away and we'd started laughing our heads off like every time we did something wrong or someone got mad at us. Actually, at any inappropriate moment, I think we laughed. "I'm not going to trust you to pull me across the road any more. You almost killed me!"

His mouth formed an 'o', and he shook his head. "No I did not! The maniac in the car did."

I started laughing again, sending him into a shockwave of laughter, until we were leaning up against the wall trying to catch our breaths.

"We should go inside; I'm sure they're all waiting for us." Joe nodded towards the front door of his bar. He'd left his boyfriend in charge so he could come and 'rescue me' from my bed.

He'd sat on the toilet while I had a shower, brushed my hair while I brushed my teeth, helped me pick out the clothes I would wear and then walked me back the twelve blocks to his bar.

"I don't know if this is such a good idea, Joe." I whispered sadly, looking at the door. As soon as he'd said they're, my stomach had lurched and I'd realised what was going to happen.

As if he was reading my mind (like he always did), Joe shot me an apologetic glance. "I forgot … well I didn't really forget, I guess I just didn't want to bring him up. He's not going to be here, you know? It's just our friends. It's just close friends."

I licked my lips and leant my head up against the cool wall and closed my eyes. "Thank you."

I felt him, more than heard his footsteps, as he moved towards me and leant next to me so his shoulder was pressed against mine. "Are you sure you're okay, Lex?"

I turned my head so it was facing him and opened my eyes. I hoped he'd believe me when I said it, because if he didn't, I knew I wouldn't be able to believe it myself, and I needed to believe it. "I will be."

He nodded his head slowly as the door to the bar opened, sending a chorus or bells that were tied to the top of the door and we both snapped our heads over in the direction.

Jackson stood, frowning slightly. "What are you guys doing? Is everything okay?"

As always, Joe and I spoke in unison. Over the little time I'd known him, I'd began to realise that Joe was the only guy I needed; he was my closest friend. He listened to me when I needed him to, watched old movies with me and ate the fatty foods none of the girls would, purely because he didn't care about the 'carbs' that we would later burn off by playing Twister or some other stupid game that we couldn't get enough of. "It will be."

Jackson mouth pulled up, smiling his pearly-white teeth at us. "Oh, you two are too much alike."

"Thank you," we smiled back at him.

He shook his head and held the door open, rolling his eyes at us. "Come on. We've been waiting for you two forever!"

And so Joe and I made our way into the bar we practically lived in, and into the swarm of people who'd decided it was too good of a day to go to waste.