It was a miracle that the dean was allowing "Puppy Honey" to continue for another year. Porshe couldn't be happier and he was more motivated than ever to keep the club going strong. Just because the dean had given them the green light to continue their activities didn't mean that they no longer faced the threat of the club closing down.
"Emma." Rome waved his best friend over and motioned for her to take a seat next to him before handing her the camera. "Can you help me pick out the photos for the recruitment drive?"
"Sure." They pored over the shots and finally decided on ten different ones.
Emma scooted her chair closer to Rome with a meaningful expression on her face, "You've been hanging out a lot with P'Pick lately. Did something else happen after..." The brown-haired girl looked around furtively. "...you know."
The only person that Rome had divulged to about the kiss was Emma. He had made her swear not to tell a single soul about it, not even Porshe. Pick would maim him alive if word of it got out.
"Now that my best friend's got a boyfriend...do I look like I have a choice?" Rome feigned an upset sigh. He shifted his gaze to where Pick was blatantly flirting with the newest addition to their club – a first year freshman from the law faculty. "I don't think it meant anything to him, Emma."
Pick refused to discuss the kiss and Rome didn't want to upset the delicate friendship that they had forged. Rome couldn't exactly blame the senior since he was the one who had kissed the other out of the blue. What was he expecting anyway? For Pick to reciprocate his feelings?
"I should go and get the photos printed." Rome pushed his chair back and stood up. "Don't you have to go and feed Tooey?" He asked, referring to the club's dog (pretty much Emma's other best friend now).
Emma was out of her seat within seconds and shouted a thanks over her shoulder at her best friend. Rome slung his camera around his neck and walked past Pick, pointedly ignoring the other since he was so busy chatting someone up.
What he didn't notice was how Pick stared at his retreating back until Rome disappeared from view.
It was getting pretty late when Rome returned with the printed and laminated photos, handing them to a grateful Porshe. The recruitment drive was important this year with the number of members in their club diminishing.
"Thanks a lot, Rome. I really appreciate your help." Porshe said earnestly, more than pleased with the junior's work. "Do you need a ride home? If I remember correctly...you live a couple of blocks away from Emma, right?"
"It's okay, P'. I'll take the bus home."
Sitting in a car with a couple? Nope, he'll avoid that for now, thank you very much. Pick's messenger bag was on the table, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Emma stopped at the table, "Are you going home with P'Pick? Sure you don't want a ride home?"
"And act like a third wheel? No thanks."His answer earned him a playful smack on the shoulder.
They exchanged goodbyes and just as Rome was about to leave a few minutes later, Pick entered with a stack of freshly printed flyers in his hands.
"Porshe left already? Damn that bastard...I got all these printed for nothing." Pick complained under his breath as he placed the flyers in the filing cabinet. "Are you going back already?"
"Yes, P'." Rome slung his bag over his shoulder. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Wait!" Pick called out. "Do you want a ride home?"
On any other day, Rome would have jumped at the chance. Not today. If he had to be honest, his heart was still smarting from seeing Pick flirt with someone else. Also, he wasn't in the mood for any conversations whatsoever.
"It's fine. I'm taking the bus back today. It's past peak hour so I don't think it's crowded."
Pick sidestepped and blocked the way to the door before the junior could leave, "What's wrong? You've been looking so fucking constipated all day.
"I'm just tired, P'."
Mentally tired from the feelings that I have for you.
"Rome.P'Pick." Din's eye contact with Pick lasted less than five seconds (he knew the senior still didn't like him after what he did). He lifted up his spare motorcycle helmet, "Are you in a rush? I need some help picking out some new stuff for my camera. Think you can help me out? I'll give you a lift back after that."
Rome looked at this watch. He was tired, yes, but he wasn't in a rush. And hanging out with Din didn't seem like a bad idea. Their interest in photography had forged a friendship between them, and Din had helped Rome out a couple of times in the darkroom as well with his mini projects.
"Sure, I'll help you out, P'."
Pick was dumbfounded. Perhaps a little pissed. Make that very pissed. Confused too. Rome had turned him down, but then accepted all-too willingly when Din offered him a lift back?! When had they even become friends anyway?!
Why are you so annoyed anyway, an amused voice in his head asked.
"I'm not annoyed!"
Great, now he was talking to himself. It was all that kiss's fault. All these years, Pick had identified himself as straight. What was there not to like about girls? Curves, luscious wavy hair, pretty smiles, plush pink lips.
Until Pick discovered that Rome had all of those listed above too (minus the long hair). That had completely thrown him off balance. Including the brief kiss they had shared a couple of weeks ago. Pick's been trying his best not to think about how it had felt like at that point of time...but it's not really working out in his favor.
"Damn it." Pick muttered irritably, banging the heel of his palm against the steering wheel.
Damn it all to hell.
Rome stapled the flyer to the board and added a couple more just in case. Emma and he had offered to help Porshe in putting up and giving out the flyers around the different faculties.
"Sorry." Rome turned around when he felt a tap on the shoulder. "Mind if I get one from you?"
"Sure!" Rome handed the male a copy of the flyer and the other thanked him with a polite smile before walking away.
Emma still wasn't back yet when Rome returned to the clubroom an hour later. Porshe was on the phone with one of the club's sponsors and Pick was busy going creating the list of stuff that they would need for their upcoming visit to the pet shelter.
"P'Pick, do you know who left this here?"
There was a bottle of chilled lemon tea on his desk. Not just any brand, but his favourite. Only a few people knew that Rome favoured this brand over the rest.
"How the hell would I know?" Pick answered without even lifting his gaze up from the list he was creating.
Rome sat down and looked around the room, still wondering about the person who had left the drink for him. It couldn't be Emma since she still wasn't back yet. Porshe had no reason to buy him a drink. Weird.
"Rome!" Din startled him with the cheerful greeting. "Thanks for helping me pick out the stuff for my camera yesterday. It's not much, but I bought you a drink. I saw you going round putting up the flyers." Din took out a bottle of jasmine green tea from the plastic bag he was holding. "Take this."
Pick's ears rang in irritation at Din's voice. He didn't like this kid, not after what he did had nearly ruined his best friend's relationship with Emma. Now he was trying to act all chummy with Rome?
"Rome doesn't like green tea." Pick interrupted rudely.
Din's expression faltered, "Ah...I didn't know that. Sorry, Rome."
"It's fine, P'Din!" The junior took the bottle anyway. "Thanks for the drink!" It'd be rude of him not to accept it just because he didn't like it.
Someone called Din over to help unload the pet food and he excused himself. Pick plucked the bottle of green tea out of Rome's grip and slid the lemon tea towards the other instead.
"I want this." He uncapped the green tea bottle. "You should drink that since someone went to all the trouble to buy it for you."
"But I don't even know who bought that for me. It might not even be mine, P'Pick."
Pick kept the bottle out of the junior's reach, "You hate green tea. Why do you even want to drink this? Just because Din bought it for you?"
Rome gave up and childishly pulled a face at the senior. He twisted the cap off and wrapped his lips around the rim of the bottle, not noticing how intently Pick was gazing at him.
"Aren't you going to offer me some?"
"You already took my green tea,P'Pick. Now my lemon tea too? Besides, you hate drinking from the same bottle as someone else." Rome pointed out.
Pick gripped the back of the younger male's chair to pull him in closer, one hand already reaching out for the bottle. Rome twisted to the side with a laugh as he tried out hold it out of reach.
"Shouldn't the person who bought this drink be entitled to at least one sip?!"
"You bought this, P'Pick?"
Pick intently flipped through the pages of his list and grunted, "It's just a drink. There's no need to act so surprised."
Of course he would be. Without Rome saying anything or pointing it out, Pick had actually noticed that the junior only drank a specific brand of bottled iced lemon tea. Sure, it wasn't a huge deal or anything, but he'd take what he could get for now. Rome took another sip of the drink to hide the smile that was threatening to stretch his lips.