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"Whew," Clay exhaled, taking off his jacket. "I know we drove home, but it's still friggin' cold outside."

"Yeah," Apollo responded, removing his own jacket. "Odd weather for out here, though. Hot chocolate?" Clay nodded, so Apollo walked into their kitchen and started grabbing things out of the cupboard and preparing the two mugs. "That comedian kind of sucked, didn't he?"

"He was terrible. I still don't understand the joke about the pickle." Apollo grunted in agreement. "We need to get Trucy better gigs."

Apollo placed the mugs into the microwave. "Yeah. I think that place is pretty popular though, so maybe some important people saw her? She did really well." Apollo grabbed a banana off the counter, peeled it, and began to eat it, tearing off his bites and popping them into his mouth.

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Maya's eyes snapped open. She shook her head slightly. Part of her felt as if she'd been asleep for years. The other part felt as if she'd not gotten enough sleep at all. She rolled to her side, watching the sun filter in through the blinds and onto Phoenix's resting face. There was such a sense of peace about him at this time in the morning. She smiled. Her eyes traveled along the lines on his face, the creases forming around his eyes that hadn't been there the year before, the way his lips parted ever so slightly when he breathed out. His hair was a mess, so unlike how it looked when he was on the job. There was no other man on the planet who could make her feel so comfortable, so free. 

Then the guilt set in. 

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Phoenix paced around his office, nervously adjusting his tie. He felt as if his palms had never been so sweaty in his life, and his knees were weak enough to buckle under him. He was alone: Clay and Apollo had left hours ago, Pearl and Trucy had gone to some indie film festival, and Athena was on a date with Simon. Phoenix shook his head, still unable to believe that was happening. Something creaked in the hallway and he nearly gave himself a heart attack. Calm down, he thought to himself. It's just--

"Nick?" a voice called gently, the door knob turning, door opening slightly. Phoenix gulped.

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Athena Blackquill

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