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Alexander James Wood

"Six miles? Jesus, I don't think I could do that and still live," Alex said with a laugh. He sipped his coffee as Karishma chewed on her lip and felt the corner of his mouth tug up. "Six works for me, we can work on some nightfall photos if you're okay with that."

He watched the two banter a bit about her career in India and felt a bit lost at Gabe's comment. 'He could tell why she liked me so quickly? What's that supposed to mean?' he thought, but didn't want to bring it up. He didn't want to see stupid in front of the other two, instead he just smiled and nodded his head. He was about to answer her question when his phone started to vibrate on the table. With a sheepish smile he held up one finger before picking up his phone. "What's up, Ann?

"I know it's your day off, but I really need you in as soon as you can get back here. Kelly's gone home sick and I can't get this case filled along with the orders. I'm really sorry, love."

Alex sighed and looked over at the other two, lips pressed tight. "You're lucky I love you, you leprechaun."

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'll see you in a bit!"

"That was my boss, I've got to go in, the other decorator is sick and Ann can't run the place by herself. She wants me to come in, but it can wait until after we eat," he decided that she could wait. It's not like he had plans that night and it only needed filled for the next morning. After close was always his favorite time to work anyway, less people. Just then the waiter walked up and while it seemed impossible he shuffled closer to Kari and looked at him with a smug smile, "I'll have the Nutella crepes." He maintained eye contact with the waiter as the other two gave their orders until he walked away.

A little small talk later he brought out their food and Alex left his arm around Kari as he used on hand to eat, he could see the waiter looking at them from the back. He lifted his fork to her mouth and offered her a bite. After the meal was all said and done he handed the man his card before either of the two could argue. After the waiter returned with his receipt and card he made sure to still leave the man a tip. He knew that it's what they lived off of and he couldn't bring himself not to leave anything and 15% seemed like enough to him, little less than average, but still something. Standing up he held out his hand to help Karishma out of her seat before linking their arms together like they were on the walk there as they returned to the car. "I'll just bike back to work and text you later?"

Alexander James Wood

Alex smirked at the waiter as he left and Karishma leaned into him. He blushed as she called him out on the pet name, but simply shrugged. He looked up at Gabe to judge his reaction and gave a small smile hoping the guard wasn't upset. His jaw was set firm, but he didn't look displeased. "I wouldn't call myself buff, but thanks," he smiled, not sure where this boldness was coming from. He wasn't going to complain though. He flushed when she pressed her lips to his cheek, not expecting it in the slightest. The waiter came back with a forced smile and Alex just grinned at him as he thumbed circles into Karishma's hip. As the man walked away Alex removed his hand to pour some milk and sugar into his coffee, while he wasn't the biggest fan of unflavored coffee, he had wanted to piss the waiter off and get what Karishma had recommended him.

She started doing a little dance in her seat and Alex smiled fondly at her, it was adorable. He watched a little wide eyed as she dumped sugar packet after sugar packet into her coffee,"Want some coffee with your sugar there?" After stirring his coffee though he used his right hand to sip at it and snaked his left hand back around her waist, subconsciously thumbing soothing circles on her hip again. "Sound good to me, I work the rest of this week until one, so anytime after that is okay with me. Let me get your number," he said pulling his phone out of his pocket with the hand not currently wrapped around her waist. "So, if you don't mind my asking, why are you with her all the time? She secretly famous? Or not so secretly and I'm just an oblivious fool?" he asked while looking at the burly man in front of him. He thought it rude to ignore the man at the table with them, he wanted to be polite.

Alexander James Wood

Karishma dismissed the jail thing with a bit of a tight smile and he decided not to push the topic. The bodyguard got out of the car and Karishma spoke saying Gabe, he'd have to remember it's not Gage, was friendly and he gave a small smile not knowing what else to say. Gabe opened the door on his far side and he was being pulled across the back seat and out the same door as Karishma was exiting. A tad confused, Alex just went with it, that seemed to be the best way to handle things with her and he didn't mind it at all. They linked up arms again and followed behind Gabe around the mall. He'd only been here once or twice, it was hard to carry things back by bike and he didn't trust bringing shopping bags on the bus. He listened to the two banter about waiting to shop and gave a soft smile, it reminded him of his little sister and he felt a pang in his heart. He'd not been able to talk to her since moving to SOL, his mother cut all ties from his family when he started his transition. He noticed his vision go a little blurry and used his free hand to wipe at his eyes, hopeful that the other two were too caught up in chatting about food and coffee to notice.

She said she noticed him taking photos at the park and blushed, had she caught him snapping a couple of the two of them? He surely hoped not. "Nah, no pro for me. I'm much better at cakes than I am photography. It's just a hobby, nothing more. National Geographic would never take me. I'm more into nature and candids than posing people. That's just awkward for all involved," he chuckled. He mentally noted that he'd need to probably hide the few he'd taken of the other two before allowing her to look at his work. He didn't want to weird her out. "I've got to go through these and then maybe you can come over and we can look through my books?" he offered casually, while inside his heart was pounding. Would she think he was being too forward? He didn't think so since she's the one who pursued him, but you never know.

They walked into the cafe and Alex wasn't expecting it to be this beautiful. The walls were covered with photos of Paris and he let out an audible gasp. Gabe led them to a table and he kept his eyes glued to the walls, trusting Karishma to lead him safely to the table. Once seated a waiter walked up to the table and looked at Karishma as he spoke to the table. He scooted over a little closer to her and wrapped his arm around her waist and cleared his throat a little. He hated people who objectified people. "I'll just have a coffee, but thanks for the suggestion, love," he said with a smile looking Karishma in the eyes as he spoke.

Alexander James Wood

"So if that's not what you went for then, what for, Mike Tyson?" he said with a stupid grin. The woman before him was just so easy to get along with. While, admittedly, their first meeting didn't go so well Alex was happy that Karishma seemed to understand that it was a misunderstanding. On their walk to the car Alex felt the bodyguard, he believed his name was Gage, was watching him closely. His jaw quite literally dropped when she said something about death threats. He looked over to Gage as if to confirm what was said and the guard gave a solemn nod and an obvious look that said not to push it. Alex gave a small nod and an awkward smile and let it drop.

Suddenly his bike was taken from his grasp and Karishma slid a slender arm through his and led him closer to the SUV. Not knowing what else to do since his bike was being locked up in the trunk he slid into the back seat, thankful that Karishma didn't sit up front. It seemed that neither of the other two wanted to start up conversation while in the car and Alex was perfectly okay with that. Some quiet time to think everything though was nice. Without even meaning to he watched Karishma braid her hair as he thought about how pretty her accent was. She told him she was from India, but it seemed like some American influence as well. The end result was something that he could just sit there and listen to. Thinking back to the night at the bar he remembered how pretty she thought she was before he thought she insulted Thomas. There wasn't much more time for anything since he was being taken out in cuffs after that. She truly was someone you could just sit and admire. Snapping out of his trancelike state he realized he'd been staring and also that they arrived. He felt a blush creep along his cheeks and dropped his gaze down. "Coffee sounds good to me, honestly whatever you're up for. I'm just here along for the adventure," he joked. He hoped she knew that that wasn't the case, that he was here for her.

Alexander James Wood

"Yeah that fight was pretty intense. I know Ash was hit pretty hard with that bottle, I hope she's okay. I haven't heard from her since it happened. In jail twice? You don't look like you could hurt a fly," he said with a grin. She made comments about shopping and he wasn't sure. He had fully planned on making it a total him day and just wandering around take photos. Looking down at the camera in his hands and back to his bike his bit his lip in thought. Completely caught off guard at the fact that someone actually willingly wanted to spend time with him was a new concept to him.

Turning his camera off, Alex walked over to his bike, picked up the bag, slung it over his shoulders and picked his bike up. Walking back to Karishma he gave a soft smile. "You do indeed owe me a drink and I could go for some food, I skipped breakfast to catch the sunrise here. It's truly beautiful of you've never seen it here. Highly recommend you do it at some point. I bet it's beautiful after a snow. Fresh, only animal tracks. I'm new around here, does it snow a lot? I hope so, I love the snow. Makes for some great backgrounds," he babbled nervously as the trio walked out of the park. As they made it back to Karishma and Gabe's car Alex grew even more nervous and slightly embarrassed that he doesn't own a car. "It across the Costa Bridge, right? I'll meet you guys there, yeah?" he said, cheeks pink as it climbed onto his bike.

Alexander James Wood

Saturday morning led Alex to waking up in a locked room. Given that he identified as male and he was taking hormones, he hadn't made the money to be able to legally change his name and gender or have corrective surgery yet it left officers a little stumped as to where to put him. Once told this Alex had a bit of a melt down and they decided solitude would be best. His little stunt left him in a few hours longer than he would have been otherwise, but he wasn't being outed and placed with women. They made him remove his binder and he spent the night with a blanket wrapped around himself in the fetal position sobbing. He felt so completely emasculated, like that his gender was completely invalid. The officers referred to him by his birth name and sneered at him as they did so. He refused to speak to any of them as he laid in bed crying.

Ann came running into the station as soon as she woke up and heard the message of her Alex sobbing on the phone. He shared what horrors he already endured before allowed a phone call and she was sure worse had happened. She demanded to speak to the chief and lucky enough he ordered his cakes from her bakery and say her immediately. Once explaining the situation he himself released Alex from police custody and into the arms of Ann. She caught the boy in loving arms and held him for a good while before shooing him to the bathroom to slip the binder back on. They arrived at the bakery and after a quick shower Alex set to work against Ann's orders. Sunday came and went and he was given Monday off.

Monday morning met him with the inability to sleep in, something he is used to. Looking at the time he decided to head over to the park and maybe get some photos of the wildlife creeping out for the day. He checked the weather after he shower and decided layers would be his best bet. He got dressed and made his way to his bike. The ride wasn't long, but he did stop to remove the jacket and scarf after a little while.

Arriving at the park the sun was starting to rise and Alex was at peace. Taking some photos of the sun rise behind trees and squirrels gathering food for the winter. He supposed the weather being off effected their natural habits. He tsk'd sadly and continued snapping photos. He noticed a couple jogging and thought they looked familiar and snapped some photos of them as they sat on a bench chatting. The woman rose and made her way over to him and he panicked. He'd been caught and was flushing like crazy. Once closer she spoke and he sighed in relief, it was the woman from the club. "Yeah, those cells were terrible," he lied. "'M Alex, sorry about the other night. I thought you were making fun of Thomas," he apologized, shaking her hand.
Alexander James Wood

Right as the woman from the bar apologized there seemed to be a fight at the bar. Normally Alex would have just watched and let things play out, but then he saw Ashton running to the girls' rescue. It happened in slow motion, a bottle made contact with the side of her face. As she stood back up he saw blood and was getting up from his seat. He noticed another woman tending to her and thought about leaving her to it, but decided to help. Right before he got there he noticed people crying and realized someone had used... pepper spray? His eyes stung from what was left in the air as he gently guided Ashton to a bar seat behind her. He saw the woman grabbing what appeared to be a small first aid kit from her purse and gave her a soft smile. He turned back to Ashton and held her wrist, not sure how she's take him holding her hand. "You need to be careful, you had no reason to jump into this. This wasn't your battle to fight, you should have stayed out of it, dork."

Alexander James Wood

Ashton didn't speak at all, throwing Alex off a bit. It appeared like she thanked him for the water and he nodded with a smile. He caught the small fond smile she gave when he asked about singing and guessed that she hadn't always been mute. He wanted to ask why she didn't speak, but didn't want to be rude either. She conveyed to him that she didn't talk and he nodded in understanding. After a second she applauded him and gave a thumbs up. "You think I did well? Thank you."

She seemed to be surrounded by friends and, while he was bitter, he understood she was probably out to have a good time with them, not be awkwardly hit on. He watched a couple of girls stumbling around and was about to stand when Ashton turned back to him. She pointed to herself then the two girls and Alex nodded, those were her friends. The tall blonde took both of his hands and shook them with a smile. "I hope to see you around, Ash," he said as she ruffled his hair.

He was about to stand up and return to Thomas when a woman with beautiful long brown hair sat next to him and spoke. "To each their own, let 'em dress how they wanna, he spoke with a hint of attitude after he noticed she looked at Thomas as she said that. No one insulted his friends. The woman offered him a drink and he shook his head, "No thanks, I have to get back to my friend," he stated and walked back to Thomas. He noticed the shot still sitting there and a new drink also placed in front of him. He also noticed he didn't really seem okay. "Do you wanna go get some air? I could use some," he offered hoping that he could help.

Alexander James Wood

Alex was a bit thrown off when the woman didn't speak, and instead help up a firefighter badge. "Your name is Ashton? 'M names Alex," he offered with a soft smile. He really wasn't sure what he was thinking when he walked over here, losing all courage he had previously had. The bartender made her way over to them and he ordered just a water and turned to Ashton, "Whatever you want, it's on me." The woman handed him the drink(s) before making her way to a girl with long blonde hair and green eyes. As a people watcher Alex watched the interaction and thought it odd that the woman scribbled something on a napkin before ordering a drink. Shaking his head of the odd interaction he turned back to Ashton. His flush returned when he made eye contact and instantly turned his eyes down to his water on the counter. His right leg started bouncing and he was chewing on his lower lip. "A-are you going to, ahm, to get up on stage and , and sing? It's a hell of a rush that I, uh, I h-highly recommend," he stammered, just thankful his voice didn't crack.

Some band he had never heard of got on stage after that and people seemed to go nuts. The lead singer certainly had it in him to enthrall a crowd and while this wasn't exactly Alex's preferred style of music he could respect what they do and enjoy the show. The lead singer seemed to have no problems throwing his voice around and Alex was a little jealous. He didn't have full control of his voice anymore to jump around like this man was doing. About midway through the second song he realized what was playing and felt all the more respect for them, it wasn't an easy one. Once their set was over he applauded them and turned to Ashton once again.
Alexander James Wood

Alex jumped a bit when he heard a voice. He held his turned up and saw it was Thomas. He was in a brightly colored suit and it struck him a little odd. A bit dressed up for a club, but who could he judge? "Good to see you too, man. Thank you, it means a lot. This doesn't seem to be your scene, what brings you here?" As he spoke a woman in a very sparkly dark purple dress walked over with what appeared to be shots on a tray. She lowered it to their height and Alex picked up two shots, set one in front of Thomas, and handed her a bill; waving her off as she tried to give him change back. With a dazzling smile she walked away and back to the bar and Alex inadvertently followed her with his eyes. He looked around the bar and noticed a very tall and beautiful blonde haired girl. She was wearing some worn jeans and a frilly hoodie, but Alex didn't even care as his stared at her. Red faced, he quickly composed himself and turned his attention back to Thomas. He couldn't just walk away from him, he needed friends and Thomas seemed like he'd been a good one.

As he usually got in loud places, Alex was a bit spacey. It seemed to only be worse as his eyes kept flicking to the woman at the bar. He tried to seem interested in Thomas's response, he really was, but at this moment in time he was a bit distracted. He cleared his throat and stood up, "I'm going to get a drink, I'll be back. Want anything?" He nervously walked up to the bar and tried to sit in the chair next to the tall blonde. He noticed she's a lot taller than she looked from where he was sitting. In his awe and nervousness he fumbled a bit getting into the seat. He ended up mostly in the woman's lap. "Oh shit, he swore, face completely red. "I'm so sorry, miss." He awkwardly stood and sat himself in the seat next to her.
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