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Chapter 15: Moss Rosebud

Two days had gone by since Sascha had kicked Evan out of his shop and the man was still trying to figure out what had happened to make the florist do so. He didn't think he'd done anything that bad, after all, Sascha had kissed him back and it had taken the florist a while to push him away.

"Maybe he's just tired of you scaring away his customers," Drew suggested, sitting next to Evan at the usual bar. His friend glared at him, not appreciating the comment, and for a moment Drew was afraid the man would hit him on the head with his beer bottle. "I'm just trying to lighten the mood," he said, hands raised in a placating manner.

"Well, don't," Evan snapped and his friend took a minute to observe him with a curious expression.

"This is really eating at you, huh?" he asked, knowing the answer, because he'd never seen the other man so upset about anything else. He supposed it was just sign of how much he liked Sascha, it was just unfortunate that the florist was so stubborn. "Why'd he kick you out anyway?" Evan frowned, because he wasn't really sure. He didn't think it was because of what he'd done in his apartment.

"I have no idea," he sighed, finishing up his beer and asking for another.

"Hey, you still have to drive home, try not to get drunk," Drew pointed out.

"I'll take a cab," was Evan's short answer, because being drunk and forgetting about Sascha for a night seemed very tempting at the time.

As soon as his eyes opened the following morning, he regretted his decision because his head was killing him and it felt like the sun was trying to burn his eyes out. He fell off the bed, cursed fluently for a few minutes and then staggered to the bathroom to get ready for work and more importantly, take a couple of aspirins. Needless to say, he was absolutely miserable by the time he got to work. Not to mention he was going through more cups of coffee than he could count. By the time lunch rolled around, Evan was feeling slightly better, or at least, well enough to venture out with Drew for some food and more coffee at a nearby cafe.

"Well, you look better," Drew commented as they ate.

"I feel better," Evan responded. "That's not to say I don't still feel like crap," he added.

"You'd feel better if you hadn't gotten drunk off your ass last night," the other man pointed out before taking a bite out of his food.

"I'd also feel better if you stopped pointing out the stupid things I do," Evan shot back.

"But that's what friends are for," Drew said with a grin. Evan didn't even dignify that with an answer. "So, what's the plan for today?" he asked, getting a shrug from Evan.

"Don't really know, but I'll probably hit the bar again," the man answered, and Drew just stared at him in disbelief.

"You just spent the whole day agonizing because you got drunk last night, and you plan to do it again?" he asked incredulously.

"I didn't say I'd get drunk." Or at least, not that drunk.

"Right," Drew said, not convinced. "I have to admit, I never thought you'd turn into an alcoholic after getting dumped by a man," he told his friend, receiving a fierce glare.

"Sometimes, I really feel like punching you," Evan said bluntly, but Drew remained unimpressed.

"Just saying," the man said simply. "I mean, you have to admit, no one saw that one coming," and Evan would give him that much.

"Yeah, well, I'm done with it all," Evan sighed.

"Really? So you're done with Sascha?" the other man asked Evan, slightly surprised because with the way his friend had been acting, he hadn't expected him to ever give up.

"Guess so, he doesn't really want me around anymore," it really had hurt more than Evan had expected, to have Sascha kick him out. Maybe it was because the florist hadn't even bothered to kick Steven out and that guy had really deserved it. Drew gave him a sympathetic look.

"Well, if it helps any, Laura's still interested in you." Usually, that would have helped a lot, but Evan didn't really have much of a desire to ask the woman out. He had wanted Sascha badly, still did, and he would probably need some time to get over that.

As it turned out, Evan couldn't get over Sascha. He'd really tried too – granted, getting drunk probably wasn't the best way to go about it – and maybe he really shouldn't have expected for it all to go away in less than a week; but still, he had thought he would make some progress. But he still thought about the florist, and sometimes he would drive by the shop on his way to work without meaning to. Still, he hadn't seen Sascha since he'd been asked to stay out of the shop. Maybe it was for the best. Evan didn't think he'd be able to move on if he kept seeing the florist.

By the time the week was over, Evan somehow found himself with a date for the weekend and a slightly better mood. He was still not entirely happy with how things had turned out, because he'd really wanted to have Sascha give him a chance, but he supposed it had been impossible from the start.

Sascha was just too stubborn and jaded and Evan didn't know enough about relationships – real ones – to be able to handle the florist and he thought that that was probably why Sascha had always doubted him and his intentions. Maybe he hadn't come across as being sincere enough, maybe Sascha had thought it was all on a whim or just to get him into Evan's bed. Whatever the case might have been, it was too late to bother thinking about it all.

So, on Sunday night Evan got dressed, drove to his date's house and smiled charmingly at the pretty young woman with chestnut colored hair that fell in neat curls to just above her shoulders. Her name was Carol, she worked in the same building as Evan – different company – but they saw each other enough that Evan had a chance to ask her out. Drew had been the one to suggest it. Not that he'd had Carol in mind, but he'd told his friend he should try to get back into dating if he really wanted to forget Sascha and Evan hadn't had a reason to argue. Besides, Carol was very attractive, and more importantly, she actually wanted to date him. So Evan did his best to have a good time.

By the next day, however, he was convinced that it had all been a mistake and Drew was terrible at giving advice.

"Damn, you look like shit," was Drew's eloquently put observation. And yeah, Evan did look pretty bad, but he'd had a rough night.

"Just so you know, I blame you," he said plainly as he downed his second cup of coffee.

"You always do," Drew said casually, leaning on the counter of the lounge. "But just out of curiosity, what happened?"

"I went on a date," Evan thought that was enough of an explanation, but Drew didn't share the sentiment.

"Isn't that a good thing?" he asked, confused.

"Not when you still haven't gotten over the last person you were interested in," Evan muttered, scowling as he refilled his cup.

"Still not following," Drew said, watching as the other man began on his third cup of the day. "Who'd you go out with anyway?"

"Carol, the receptionist from the first floor," Evan said shortly. "Have you ever noticed that she kind of looks like Sascha, because I sure hadn't until last night," he added with a scowl and it didn't take long for the other man to figure out what Evan was trying to say. Drew really did his best not to laugh, but he couldn't help it.

"See, this is why I don't mind you telling me about your dates," he managed to say through his laughter. "It's just too damn funny." Evan's glare did nothing to stop him from laughing.

"You're a terrible friend," the other man commented dully.

"Don't let that stop you from telling me about your failed relationships," Drew said with a grin. Evan didn't bother to answer, he just glowered and finished his coffee before going back to work.

It was a slow day, which was a good thing really because Evan didn't feel like doing much. On the other hand, it also gave him a lot of time to think, and the things he thought about weren't really helping his mood. His mind kept going back to the previous night, when he'd kissed Carol and thought it felt wrong. His hands running along her body, the sensation foreign and the feeling of longing still there no matter what he did. Then he would look at her, the color of her eyes indiscernible in the dark and her hair just short enough to remind him of whom he really wished was with him at that moment.

He'd admitted to himself that it wasn't fair though, not to Carol and not to himself; so he'd taken her home, bid her goodnight and tried to sleep though he was almost certain he wouldn't be able to do so. Of course, he'd been right about that, and that was just one of the reasons why he was absolutely miserable that day. It wasn't a big change from the way he'd been feeling since he'd last seen Sascha. Evan knew it would be a long time until he felt like his old self again. Or maybe that wouldn't happen at all, because he didn't think he'd be able to date as much as he used to before.

"If it's bothering you that much go talk to the guy," Drew said during lunch after ten minutes of watching his friend scowl at his plate.

"He doesn't want to talk to me," Evan bit out.

"Since when has that stopped you." Evan had to admit, Drew had a point. "Can't you call him?" Evan had thought about that, but he figured Sascha wouldn't answer.

"I want to be able to see him when I talk to him," he told his friend. Talking over the phone just didn't seem right when what he had to tell Sascha was so important.

"Then go see him," Drew said with a frustrated tone.

"I can't see him because he kicked me out of his shop," Evan did his best not to stab his friend with his fork – which probably wouldn't have worked because it was plastic – but he was tired of reminding him that Sascha wanted nothing to do with him.

"Don't you know where he lives?" his friend asked.

"Yeah, but I'm not sure he'd want me to just show up at his apartment." Maybe Evan had done that once, but trying it again would be pushing it.

"Then I don't know what to tell you," Drew said, giving up. "Unless you can make him come to you, you're screwed," he said and then turned back to his meal, not noticing the look of consideration on his friend's face.

For the rest of the day, Evan considered Drew's words. It wasn't such a bad idea. The problem was that Sascha wanted nothing to do with him.

How the hell am I supposed to get him to come to me? he thought. Evan sincerely doubted that Sascha would be visiting him in his apartment any time soon. Besides, he didn't want to risk having the florist get a restraining order against him, like Drew often said he might. He didn't think that would be too helpful in his quest to have Sascha give him a chance.

With few ideas and no clue as to what he should do, Evan had no choice but to swallow his pride and ask for help. In the end, he went to the one person who had a chance at being of any use to him; Adam. And yes, he was perfectly aware that his brother would tell him how stupid he was. At the moment, he didn't particularly care, not as long as Adam helped him.

That was how he found himself sitting on his brother's couch, telling him how he'd messed things up with Sascha. Of course, Adam reacted just as Evan had expected.

"You're a real idiot," he sighed, shaking his head. "So you attacked the poor guy and he kicked you out of his shop? Can't say I blame him," he told his brother with a frown.

"I didn't attack him," Evan snapped. He hated to think of it that way, because he hadn't meant to do anything to Sascha. Maybe the florist didn't remember it – he had been drunk at the time – but Evan promised he didn't want to hurt him, and it was true. As scared as Sascha was of being hurt by Evan if he gave him a chance, Evan knew he'd try his best to keep that from happening. He cared about Sascha, and he didn't want to be another bitter memory like Steven was to the florist.

"Well, whatever you did, it was still stupid," Adam insisted. He watched his little brother frown, looking much too miserable for Adam to keep picking on him. As much as he knew it was Evan's own fault, Adam still felt sorry for him. After all, Evan was his little brother. Even if he was stupid.

"Look, Evan, I know you like Sascha, but have you ever thought that maybe he isn't right for you?" he asked in a nicer tone.

"If you're talking about Sascha being a man– " Evan started, only to be cut off by his brother.

"No, I told you I don't care about that," Adam said, before his brother could go into a rant. "He's a nice guy and I see why you like him. What I meant was that maybe it isn't such a good idea to go after someone who's fought so much against being with you," he said. He knew his little brother honestly liked the florist, and he was glad for that. Evan seemed like he had changed since he'd met Sascha, in a good way. The florist was good for him. But he was also ridiculous stubborn.

"Look, from what you've told me he's had a lot of bad experiences with dating, and you practically have no experience." He didn't count all the women Evan had gone out with because he knew his brother hadn't had any serious interest in them. "He's flighty and jaded and it just sounds like he'll leave at the first mistake you make. I know you want to make things work with him Evan, but you have no idea how difficult being with someone actually is."

Evan was frowning deeply now, brow furrowed and eyes staring at the coffee table in front of him. Adam wondered what he was thinking, if maybe he was reconsidering. He wanted his brother to find someone who made him happy, but he didn't think Evan was ready to settle down yet and Sascha was a real challenge.

"I don't care," he said after a while. Adam wished he could say he was surprised at Evan's answer. "I know being with Sascha won't be easy, God knows he's told me enough times," he said, adding the last part a bit fondly. "But I really care about him. I'm willing to try if it's for him."

It wasn't until then that Adam really understood. His brother had never put much effort into relationships, mostly because he never cared about the people he dated as much as he claimed to. This was different though. This time Evan was trying, he'd been trying all along, and he was willing to do all he could for someone who kept rejecting him time after time. It was stupid and illogical and Adam knew why his brother did it all.

"You love him, don't you," he said, and didn't even bother making it a question. At this, Evan blushed and looked at his brother before quickly looking away.

"Shut up," he muttered after a moment. Adam did his best not to laugh.

"You really are an idiot," he told Evan, shaking his head. "Have you told him that?"

"Of course not," Evan said. It was true enough. He'd given Sascha red roses once, fully knowing what they meant, but he'd never told him just what he felt – not unless that time Sascha got drunk counted. He always thought it would just serve to scare Sascha off. Besides, it wasn't something he had figured out until recently. Evan had always known he liked Sascha, that he was attracted to him and thought he was sweet; it wasn't until Sascha left for Thanksgiving that he realized just how much he missed him, how much he cared about him.

"Then maybe you should. It's not like you'll lose anything by giving it a shot," Adam said with a shrug, leaning back into the armchair he sat in.

"He won't listen," Evan said, sighing tiredly. "He doesn't even want to see me. What am I supposed to do when he doesn't want me anywhere near him?"

His brother just shrugged. "Hell if I know," he said, getting a glare from Evan. "Oh don't look at me like that, you should know by now I'm not the best at giving brotherly advice. Besides, I told you not to whine to me when you got dumped. If you're serious about this guy then work it out yourself," he told his brother. Evan just rolled his eyes and shook his head.

He left not long after, his brother telling him to call him if he needed help. It wasn't like Adam, but clearly he could tell Evan was really bothered about the whole thing. Evan appreciated it. Not that he would tell Adam.

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