Chapter 5: Confessions and Conflicts

Edison walked into the apartment to find Bryce napping peacefully in the middle of his bed. The young genius's hands were gripping the pillow so tightly that his knuckles were white, and he was moaning in a tone of desperate need.


"Now that's awkward," Edison said to himself. He gently shook Bryce who woke and looked up at him in bleary-eyed embarrassment.

"I'm really flattered, Bryce," the reporter laughed. "Why don't you get ready. Remember, we're going out to dinner tonight."

Bryce disappeared into the bathroom. The sound of running water began.

"Bryce," Edison said, opening the door just a little and handing the teen a bag. "Here's an outfit I picked out for you."

"Thanks," Bryce said, taking the bag and setting it on the bathroom sink.

Several minutes later, Bryce stepped out of the bathroom, drying his hair with a blue towel. He was dressed in a pair of jeans with a light grey t-shirt.

"Ready to go?" Edison asked.

Bryce nodded.

About ten minutes later, they reached the Fresh Start.

"Isn't this where Theora's brother works?" Bryce asked.

"At least he did at one point," Edison said. "I don't know if he got his job back after he stopped Raking or not. Are you okay? You seem to a little nervous."

"Huh? Oh! Yeah I'm okay."

Edison smiled. "Is this about that dream you were having earlier?"

Bryce wanted to run from the restaurant, but his feet felt as if they were glued to the floor. He swallowed hard and blushed a pretty shade of pink.

"Don't worry about it," Edison told him. "You aren't the first person in the world to have a very nice dream about your best friend."

"Maybe not," Bryce replied. "But I bet their dreams don't involve… um…"

"Kisses and caresses?" Edison supplied.

"Yeah… that."

The maitre 'd cleared his throat.

"Would you two gentlemen please follow me? There is a table ready."

Bryce blushed even more furiously as he and Edison followed the maitre 'd to the table.

Bryce kept sneaking glances at Edison, unable to concentrate on the menu. His heart was racing and his hands were shaking.

Edison noticed this and smiled. "Bryce, just relax. We're just having dinner. It's not like we're on a date or anything."

"Excuse me," Bryce said, getting up from the table and walking off.

Normally Edison would've let him alone. But with the two recent attempts on his life, he did not feel comfortable letting the teen out of his sight. He followed him into the bathroom.

"Edison, please," Bryce sniffled. "Just leave me alone."

"No way," Edison said. "There's already been two attempts on your life. Until I know you're safe…"

"What do you care?" Bryce asked. "You don't love me."

"You are my best friend," Edison told him.

"Wonderful," Bryce muttered, bitterly. "Best friend. I don't want to be your best friend."

"Bryce, you're sixteen…" Edison began.

"Yeah, old enough for my viewing to count in the tel-elections. Old enough to go to war and die. But not old enough to be kissed by the great Edison-Bloody-Carter."

"Of course you're old enough to be kissed. Here. In London. But there are places where you're much too young. And since Network 23 is an international entity, we have to consider the laws of those places as well."

"Why? It's nobody else's business how we feel about each other?"

"I know that," Edison said. "But there are people out there who would love to ruin my reputation and Network 23 along with it."

"Like Mr. Grossberg?" Bryce asked.

"Him, and others like him," Edison replied. "Now, let's get back to the table. I'd rather have dinner than talk about Ned Grossberg."

Bryce nodded in agreement and followed Edison back to the table.

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