...I know it shows.
---
Avril Lavigne- Things I'll Never Say
---
Elinor Balodis
Cole Harless

The upcoming country star and his assistant.
---
"Eli... I need you to come pick me up. I'm at the bar. You know which one... And I'm drunk." His voice came across in a slur, breath slightly heavy.

Elinor struggled to think to process the phone call she received after two am that woke her from a sound sleep. She blinked in the dark, swallowing hard, "Of course. I'll be there soon." A sweater tossed over her thin tanktop and jeans pulled on next with boots, a jacket last before she hurried out the door. She knew all too well how he could be. 

Driving up she seen the blond man leaning against the building of the hole in the wall bar, acting as if the structure was all that kept him from tumbling over. A hand ran through his blond hair before he pushed off, stumbling over long legs for a moment that were unsteady. He righted himself and loped over to the car, pulling open the door to tumble inside, "Hi Eli." His smile lit up his face, blues hazy from the whiskey and beer consumed still met her gaze for a brief moment before he settled in.

Elinor took a deep breath, slender digits gripping the wheel tighter with knuckles turning bone white, "Hey." Her tone slightly sharp even if she didn't mean for it to be. She just hated to see him like this. A little over six months on the job and she cared for him, probably more than she should. The blonde turned the wheel, pulling away from the curb to drive him back to his house.

His breathing was quiet and slightly uneven with eyes closed, shifting around in the seat like a restless puppy while she drove. "I am not asleep." Cole stated after a short distance, as if he could read her thoughts in that moment.

"I didn't say anything..."

"You wanted to.. Were going to." He cracked one eye open to look over at her.

"Nope.. I'm not paid to say anything." She bit her bottom lip, "I mean..." Again her mouth ran away with her before she thought out what was more proper.

"Eli..." He rumbled, his hand running over the scruff on his cheeks. "Don't start that. I had one too many."

"Right.." She didn't say what was really going on in her head. Eli often felt the Pepper Potts to Cole's Iron Man. All she could do was step back and watch him chisel away at himself with the alcohol and destructive behavior. She tried to help as she could but seemed more often that not in vain. The red sedan pulled up into the driveway and she waited for him to get out.

Long fingers clumsily undo the seat belt, finally figuring it out after a moment or two. He looked to her with a tip of his head, "You comin' in?"

A sharp breath taken through her nose as she watched him. He was giving her the puppy eyes again ran through her mind before Elinor slowly nodded, turning the engine off and climbing out of the car. A weak spot had for the man, she'd do as he asked.

The door was unlocked, leading the way inside for both of them. His leather jacket wiggled out of and he went for the living room to flop on the couch. His head tipping back, resting against the back of the couch with eyes closed.

She walked after him, picking up his jacket to put on the hook by the door and her own went next to it. Boots slipped off, quietly padding through the house she was getting to know like the back of her hand. Blues drift over his frame on the couch, a sigh slid past her lips before she moved closer. She tugged off his boots, one by one then reached past him to pull down the blanket that covered the top of the couch. Her hair fell forward and likely tickled his nose before she straightened again.

"Staying?" He questioned, eyes not even opening, "You have your room to stay in.." Cole having made things all too easy for her if the hour became late, her room had some of her things left behind so she wouldn't have to go home all the time.

She was silent, smoothing the blanket over him since she knew being slight as she was she wouldn't be able to move him to his room. "I can if you want me to." There was that extra push of caring, going beyond what she had to all the time. Could have just left him in the driveway but look where she was now. "I'll go change and make you coffee."

"Coffee later. Sit down a moment. I'm lonely. We could cuddle." He looked up at her now, a smile on his face. Often he reminded her of a small boy, especially in moments like this when he seemed almost sober.

Elinor felt a pang in her heart, who was she fooling? It was more than caring too much, she had a crush on him in the worst way. Even if she knew he'd never see it. Much like a pink elephant, the blond in front of her would just ignore it and continue drinking. Slowly she nodded, sitting down next to him.

He put his arms around her after putting the blanket on her too, gently pulling her into him and resting his chin on top of her head. "This is good.. Warm."

"Yeah.. Warm." She closed her eyes, trying not to enjoy the moment too much. Pepper Potts eventually got the guy right? Eli just had to wait patiently for him to realize what he had. First was first though, she had to help him with his drinking so he could deal with the emotions he already had before dealing with new ones. 'Patience, Elinor', she reminded herself mentally and hoped she could follow her own advice.
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