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“So you like him, hey?”

Patrick freezes mid reach, an oversized candle paused in the air on the way to the top shelf. He can feel Stevie’s knowing gaze boring into the back of his skull, and also kind of into his soul. Patrick has gotten to really like David’s best friend, but also she terrifies him just a bit. He contemplates a response and feels a bead of sweat run from the base of his hairline to slip down his back under his favourite button down.

How long have I been standing here? It feels like a really long time. Has it been a really long time?

Patrick’s arm starts to quiver from holding the frankly ridiculously large candle (It’s an aesthetic Patrick!) up in the air for so long. He completes the movement deliberately, puts his best approximation of an impassive expression on, and turns to face his would-be interrogator.

“Yes?” he squeaks out. He clears his throat. “Yes, yep, David and I have been working really well together,” he tries again.

There, that sounded normal.

He raises his eyes to meet Stevie’s, and can tell that he in fact did not sound normal. Patrick feels his whole body flush, and knows that she’s witnessing it creep up from under his collar with those razor sharp sable eyes.

Stevie smirks at him like she knows all of his secrets, and turns back to the labels she’s dutifully affixing to jars according to David’s exacting standards. Patrick feels grateful for the reprieve.

He finishes stocking the candles and moves to stand next to her, taking half of the labels and jars that remain. She continues to show him mercy, and they work in companionable silence.

“He’s the best,” Patrick murmurs to her. A confession.

Stevie glances over at him, a rare soft smile on her face.

“I like you for him.”