Section 2: Measured Hope
Eric leaned against the door after he left the room. He shouldn’t have grabbed the flowers, but he had hated the look of disappointment on Alex’s face when Alex had seen the flowers and assumed they were for Eric, not him. He had asked for the flowers to be delivered when he knew they would both be in the room so he could see Alex’s face light up, and it had, after Alex realized the flowers were for him, but that initial reaction was powerful and it hung over Eric like a cloud.
Alex just didn’t realize how special he was, or how desirable. He was such an incredible catch, and he didn’t even know it. He hid himself away in books and study, rarely going out, rarely talking to anyone, a recluse in his world of school. Gabby and Makenna were two girls who had tried to break through Alex’s armor, but both had failed, even though neither knew the real reason why. Only Eric, Alex’s roommate, knew the real reason. Alex simply wasn’t interested in girls.
Eric had begun to suspect quite a while ago, and his reaction to Gabby when she cornered him and asked him out confirmed it. Alex had turned bright red and stammered an excuse, but Gabby had persisted and now the two of them were unofficially seeing each other, although Eric was willing to bet that Alex didn’t even realize it. He probably thought it was just chance that they saw each other every day and she occasionally tried to kiss him. Alex could be so blind at times. Like with his true secret admirer.
Eric had been crushing on Alex ever since the semester started, which made them living together a little awkward for him, although Alex, oblivious as usual, didn’t find anything unusual about Eric’s occasional stares. Eric knew he shouldn’t, but Alex was so gorgeous and had so little shame about undressing in front of his roommate. Eric was a little more shy, probably because he had feelings for Alex and the thought of being naked in the same room meant something different for him. He hoped that Alex would figure out the flowers, and he wondered who Alex was thinking of right now with such a blissed out expression on his face. Surely not one of the girls, but who?
He did have a class, but he barely paid attention. Something about building good body paragraphs in an essay. His teacher really got into the subject and had a whole interactive presentation that he normally would have enjoyed, but today he was too busy thinking about Alex, alone with the flowers that were Eric’s only way of telling Alex his feelings. He didn’t know what Alex made of them, but he hoped Alex would figure the puzzle out sometime soon. He had left enough hints, after all, from writing the note himself to selecting Alex’s favorite flowers, carnations, something Alex had told only him.
As he walked back to the room, he wondered what kind of reception he would get. In his head, he imagined that Alex had figured out the secret and was waiting with open arms and a kiss. But he knew that things could never be so easy, and he prepared himself for the worst: Alex assuming the flowers came from one of the girls and finally getting serious with them despite his obvious orientation and preference for men. When he reached the door, he hesitated. Could he go through with it? Could he face Alex after exposing his heart, with the risk of being unknowingly rejected?
He unlocked the door.