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Sebastian has just finished putting the final touches on his re-organizational project when a tentative knock came from the door. Lenore has already stopped by and dropped off the bucket of water before mysteriously disappearing as quickly as she came, and they never expected visitors outside of scheduled meet ups. When you spent all day every day cramped up inside with the same small group of people, time alone became a compelling incentive.

Placing the last can of soup on the rather barren looking shelf, Sebastian closed the cabinet and made his way to the door. A louder, more persistent knock came a second time. “Coming, coming,” Sebastian grumbled under his breath, though he knew the visitor would not be able to hear.

He expected Anna or Daniel, but was surprised to find Nathan standing in the hall outside his door. What’s more, Nathan looked… agitated to say the very least. With the seasons now settled into fall, cooler weather settled over them, which left no explanation for Nathan’s shirt soaked in sweat.

“Sup?” Sebastian asked, without knowing what more to say.

“I need your advice.”

Nathan sometimes worked sweeps with Sebastian, though not often. Sebastian spent more time with his girlfriend, Hayley, who often did grocery runs with him, though Sebastian had not seen her lately. “I’ll do my best,” Sebastian offered.

He waited as Nathan glanced up and down the hallway, twice, before turning his attention back to Sebastian. “Can we talk inside?”

He couldn’t remember the last time someone had entered the apartment besides Lenore, and now he had two unexpected visitors in the morning alone. It was as if the entire word was collapsing or shifting on its axis all at once. Why not? Sebastian thought. Stepping to the side, he pushed the door open and motioned Nathan in.

Nathan’s twitchy motions were cause for concern, and Sebastian began to speculate when the last time he had seen Nathan was. He racked his brain but couldn’t remember, though he knew it had been at least a few days at the very least. “Everything okay?” he asked as the door swung shut behind them.

They stood in the small entryway of the apartment and Sebastian felt suddenly claustrophobic, but he didn’t want to invite Nathan into the apartment. He didn’t want Nathan, or any of the others for that matter, to catch sight of their stash and their conditions. He really wished people would stop inviting themselves into his space, and prayed it wasn’t going to become a common occurrence.

“It’s Hayley.”

The response didn’t surprise Sebastian. “She feeling okay?”

“No. Not really, no.” Nathan wouldn’t meet his eye and shuffled nervously from foot to foot, which put Sebastian on edge.

“She feeling a little under the weather?”

“Not exactly.” Nathan’s toe pushed at the edge of the small rug, which folded over on top of his bare skin.

“Is there anything I can do to help her?” he figured a favor was the real reason Nathan had come, wondering if Daniel had already spilled the beans about the pain killers he still had, or if Nathan had somehow spotted Daniel with them and figured out where they had come from.

“I don’t think so.” The words sounded so morbid the way he said it, and Sebastian grew anxious as he waited for Nathan to get to the point.

When Nathan clammed shut once more, Sebastian decided to prod him along, “Did you need advice regarding Hayley?”

“I, uh, well… I was thinking about proposing, but I think I’ll actually wait. You know, until things get better.”

The pessimist inside of him wanted to laugh, to tell Nathan that he wouldn’t hold his breath for that time to come. But perhaps Nathan wasn’t ready for marriage yet, and it wasn’t as if they could legally get married right now, so he hardly saw the point in rubbing it in. “That’s probably a wise move.”

“Right. Yeah, okay. Sorry to waste your time.”

Without another word, Nathan ducked out, leaving a rather stunned Sebastian staring at the door as it swung shut. He couldn’t help but think a proposal was the furthest thing from Nathan’s mind right now, but he wasn’t going to stand there in the cramped entryway with Nathan to try to dig deeper when Nathan clearly wanted to jet. Whatever, Sebastian thought as he shook his head to himself, walking back to the kitchen.

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