Lexx offered his free hand to help Chel back to her feet, while insistently pushing the bookplate toward her. “If you’re going to keep a journal, use that. You can have it. I have several.” He choked out the words uncertainly. Crying females were not something he was used to, especially when they were sincerely crying. He paused as Chel took the book. She really had no other choice.

Her cheeks were flushed a light pink. Lexx frowned and lifted his hand to gently brush away the tears, first on her left cheek with his fingers, then his palm rested on her right. He couldn’t help himself and slid his hand upward into her hair in what he intended to be a comforting motion. Then, he seemed to come to his senses and reprimanded himself. ‘Why did I do that?! Why did I touch her?!’

Chel looked down uncertainly. She wasn’t sure how to respond. “Uhm,.. thank you, Lexx,…” She studied the data plate, not wanting to look at him. She didn’t want him to see her crying. It was humiliating and made her feel weak since she’d been unable to control a few tears.

Lexx withdrew nervously, trying to keep his expression steady. ‘Why? Why? Why?!’ It had felt wonderful just to touch her and know she didn’t mind, but at the same time, it’d bitten into him. He shouldn’t have done that. ‘Why did I just feel like every part of me shattered. Why do I feel so bad? I was just playing,… why did I do that?’ Lexx attempted to sort through his jumbled thoughts.

“It’s easy to use. You’ll be able to scan your already written pages into it,… and secure it so nobody can read it.” Lexx tried to fill the silence with information about the bookplate, thinking about how stupid he sounded. His voice was cracking and he was holding himself back, barely.

Chel was looking at him now, no longer having that overwhelming urge to cry or feeling upset. Lexx wasn’t mad. He was apologizing in his own way, but he wasn’t very good at it. She smiled encouragingly, trying to let him know without interrupting him that she wasn’t upset either.

Lexx avoided her eyes. ‘Argh,.. at least she’s not crying now. Every part of me wants to grab her and comfort her,.. but I can’t and I won’t. I’m just infatuated with something new. That’s all. It will pass – won’t it?’ For some reason, those internal words did little to comfort Lexx. He knew full well what he was feeling. It just wasn’t time. It wasn’t time. It wouldn’t be time until the end of the game. Until then, he had to keep himself away from doing anything that would set them both up for disappointment.