Alex swallowed the approximately beach-ball-sized lump in his throat, along with his pride, and tried to inconspicuously steady his breathing. He reached out, and his knuckles brushed against Josie’s, but he had missed at trying to grab their hand. They didn’t seem to have even noticed, so he stumbled forward in the conversation. “What were you looking at?” he finally spat out, and then looked away, too embarrassed to continue eye contact.
“Oh.” He couldn’t stop wondering if they were still looking at him. “It’s… over there.”
He forced himself to look over again, avoiding their face but following the line of their index finger to the wall of lockers. Josie stopped walking, so he stopped as well, and Marigold eventually followed suit, walking back over to them.
“What exactly am I looking for?” Alex asked, though it made him feel like an asshole for not being able to see it immediately.
Their face curled into a tight frown. He instantly felt worse. “It was nothing,” they whispered, and then continued walking.
Marigold moved to follow them, but now she was talking: “Hey! It’s definitely not nothing. What is it?”
‘Don’t pressure them!’ Xander hissed, but the others couldn’t hear him and now he was being left behind. He grumbled and started jogging to keep up with the rest.
“Sometimes I see things.” Josie was already back to rubbing their hands over their shoulders. “Just another thing that’s wrong with me.”
Alex was having a heavy sickness-inducing feeling that he could barely identify at all. He had a powerful urge to wrap his arms around Josie and hold them there. “Would you like to stop somewhere for that check-up?” he offered.
“Hm.” They were thinking about it.
They were standing in front of the door to an office, suddenly, as if the floor plan itself had a say in their conversation.