Summary: Introverted and an ever constant bookworm Adriana Watson was surprised when an old friend of hers, Reed Richards, asked for her assistance. Reluctantly agreeing, she didn't know how much it was going to change her life. Johnny/OC

Notes: Um. Hi. Here ya go readers, if you even want to read this anymore...


Amazing.

That was the one word that flashed through my mind as I stepped out of the elevator, scanning Reed's place with easily detectable wonder. When I arrived at the Baxter Building, a few reporters were flitting around. They were obviously waiting for at least one of the four to show up, but they weren't allowed inside the place from what I'd seen. My nerves were on edge by the fact that nobody was going to be let in unless they lived in the thirty-five story place, but I was thoroughly surprised.

The doorman had taken one look at me, blinked, and asked if I was Adriana Watson.

After a moment of openly gaping and wondering how he, of all people, knew who I was (because I doubted that most of the people who lived on my floor even knew my name), he finally explained that Reed told him that a young woman in her mid-twenties with brown, almost hazel eyes, waist length curly brown hair, and an extremely worn-out red messenger bag slung over one shoulder would arrive at the Baxter Building around noon. The doorman had allowed me inside, and I'd stepped into the place tentatively. Reed must've remembered a lot about me.

The decor of the place was charming, with the main colour being brown. It was nice and simple, not radiating elegance. My kind of place, honestly. When I stepped into the elevator — surprise, surprise, brown was still everywhere — I recalled what Reed had told me the day before.

30th floor, I thought idly, watching the elevator doors slide shut. Pressing the button, I leaned against the wooden panels, deep in thought. How was I supposed to contribute to whatever machine Reed was making? I hadn't really worked on machinery in months, except for a few, short times.

The numbers flashed by on the elevator. Barely on the 11th floor, I noted as I tapped my foot against the wood. I wondered why there was no elevator music playing. Elevator music was pretty enjoyable to me. It held simplicity, I guess, and that was something I appreciated.

And my contemplation finally ended as I stepped foot into Reed's large and humble abode.

It truly was magnificent.

I could easily see past the brown designed hallway and toward the glass windows, where a great view of the city was shown. The place was large, but currently occupied by several chalkboards and strewn about papers. Considering it was Reed, I wasn't particularly shocked at all the mess and devices strewn about.

Oh, yes. Reed. I needed to talk to him and get working. Shoving my hands into my cardigan's pockets, I walked out a little further. "Um, anyone around?" I called out lightly, feeling a tad nervous. Ugh, why would I feel that way? Well, it was Reed's fault, anyway. He knew I was coming, so why didn't he bother to wait in front of his building?

"Who's there?"

At the sound of someone's deep gravelly voice and something heavy hitting the ground, I turned to the left. A bulking body came my way, which seemed to be encased in... That couldn't be possible. An orange rock body? Completely impossible. I must be imagining things. Or it's Halloween. No, scrap that idea, it wasn't even near October yet.

I blinked at the sight of the rock man, my nerves on edge and a bit of fear creeping into my mind before I squinted at him. There was something familiar about him and his voice. I'd heard it before, and his features, although rocklike, were definitely unmistakable. "...Ben?" I asked curiously, stepping closer to him and furrowing my eyebrows.

"How'd you — Adriana?" He spoke confusedly, as I walked nearer to him. "I haven't seen you in awhile kid. You look a little different."

I thought I looked the same as I did before... Maybe it's the hair, I thought curiously.

"Yeah, you do too," I remarked finally, studying his rock skin and easily seeing how he had stiffened up by my sentence. If I guessed correctly, people probably hadn't taken Ben's transformation all too well, and it was definitely showing in how he was affected by my words. I'm certain he would have scared me if I didn't know him on a personal level and understood that he was virtually harmless unless you went against his friends. Shoot, my mind screeched loudly, say something besides that, or he'll feel even worse... "I got it," I snapped my fingers, a small grin making way on my face, "you got new pants, didn't you? They look great."

Ben chuckled at my words, and I could see him relaxing. Just because he changed on the exterior, didn't mean there was any difference on his interior. He was still the same, in my opinion. "I knew there was a reason Reed and I had a soft spot for you," He nodded, before arching a non-existent eyebrow, "what're you doing here?"

"Reed," I explained to him softly, "he, uh, called me up yesterday. Told me he needed my help, badly. For some machine to revert all of you back to normal or how you used to be." Curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to ask some of my own questions. "What powers did the other two people get?"

Ben gestured for me to follow him, and I quietly fell into step with him. "Well, Sue," He glanced at me, and I waited for him to go on, "you know Sue, right? Susan Storm?"

"Reed mentioned her on several occasions." I muttered quietly. I did remember her name from before, because he did have a habit of saying her name. Whenever Reed talked about her, he'd get this wistful and a certain look in his eyes that just screamed 'I'm not over her'. I could only assume that she was his ex-girlfriend, and he still had deep rooted feelings for her. True love, I guess.

"Sue can become invisible," Ben informed me, before his expression hardened into a certain irritation. I was more focused on Susan's power, which seemed amazing to me. The ability to turn yourself invisible? Now that was convenient."And Johnny." He grounded the name out, sounding annoyed by even mentioning it. "His whole body can go up in flames. Most annoying brat in the world, I can tell you that."

"Sounds incredible," I murmured thoughtfully, a bit in awe of what'd they obtained. Serena hadn't told me about them, but controlling fire and invisibility? Those powers were unthinkable, almost like something from a sci-fi film. Until of course, I remembered that Ben had gotten the worst out of all of them. No man wants to be encased in a body of rock. "Ben... Are you... are you holding up all right yourself?"

He seemed genuinely surprised by my question, turning his head away. "Don't think I have an answer to that, kid," Ben sighed heavily, most definitely feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders, "everyone's afraid of me, and Debbie... she left me."

Right, Ben had a girlfriend! How could I have forgotten? I'd overheard him and Reed speak about her a few times, and of all those times, he sounded utterly in love with this woman. And now, now...

"I-I'm sorry," I sputtered out uncontrollably, already feeling the pity pulsating throughout my body. I just had to remind the man of all the pain and trouble he went through, didn't I? "Ben, I'm really sorry, I shouldn't have asked." I reached a hand out to pat him on the back, my arm stiff and uncomfortable. Dammit, Adriana, don't be so awkward! I chastised myself, knowing how utterly terrible I was at comforting people. When someone was crying or disheartened, I couldn't seem to find the right thing to say, or the proper thing to do to cheer them up while they were down.

He merely waved it off. "It's okay. Not your fault." I could only nod as he walked a bit farther ahead, and inwardly berate myself for being an idiot. "Reed's... here." He gestured to one of the doors, before stepping inside it.

I followed him into a room, which I was assuming was supposed to be the kitchen/dining room. Inside were three people, who were eating lunch and whose heads turned to see who went inside. From behind Ben, I stepped out, waving awkwardly.

"Er, hi." I said uncomfortably, finding Reed's face before breaking out into a relieved and slightly less stiff grin. He seemed exactly the same as before, except with a small grey streak running through his hair. But all in all, there was my old physics and math mentor. "Reed," I greeted him with a timid smile.

He stood up and walked over to me, taking me into a short embrace. Awkward as it was, I hugged him back slightly with an ounce of hesitance. "Adriana, thanks for helping, again," Reed pulled back, gratefulness present in his voice. He grasped my shoulders and gently pushed me forward, so I could meet the other two who were also affected while on that space trip.

One of them was a woman, who looked like a gorgeous model. There was one other thing I noticed about her immediately aside from her beautiful looks: she was genuinely unenthused by my abrupt arrival. Since she seemed neither friendly or curious, and also because she was the only woman in the quartet, it was obvious that she was Susan Storm. It also appeared like she still had feelings for Reed because of how unhappy she was to see me, which I mentally noted to further pester him about later.

Another was a young man, also just as good looking as Susan with a physically fit body and baby blue eyes that Serena would probably swoon over. He seemed to be grinning knowingly at Susan and mouthing words to her that I didn't quite catch, but she may have ignored him or kicked him from under the table. For some odd reason, I felt like I had seen him before... Reed gestured for me to take a seat and resumed his place near who I am assuming is the greatly-disliked-by-Ben Johnny.

"Adriana, this is Susan Storm," Reed put a hand out to show the blonde, who sent me a polite smile. But I bet she was feeling a bit jealous (pfft, she was the one who looked like a woman off those magazines Mother constantly bought) of Reed's attention on me. "Susan, this is Adriana Watson." His eyes darted to the younger man. "And this is her younger brother —"

"Johnny. Johnny Storm," Johnny sent me a charming grin, his voice suave. I could immediately see the signs of playboy written all over him that Serena had dutifully informed me of—something about her saving my innocence—in case one of them came my way. Cocky grin, completely appealing charm, and oozing utter confidence that made women want to cave. Didn't affect me much because I preferred calmer and more mature men, and I wasn't exactly the most normal female. Johnny leaned back in his seat as I thoughtfully picked out the signs, "I'm sure you've heard of me."

Now that he did mention his name... Yes, I had heard of Johnny Storm. Scratch the swooning part I had said before. I knew of Johnny Storm from Serena, since I knew she hated him and his ways with an undying passion. It had to do with something about one of her cousins who was heartbroken after getting together with him and then him leaving her during the night, without a second thought or notice. Another topic that fuelled the fire of Serena's hatred was a news segment that she had adamantly begged me to watch concerning a Mr. Johnny Storm and NASA. I only watched it because Lucas claimed that it was funny as hell.

"I have," I began nonchalantly, setting my bag down on the ground, pushing back a strand of my curls behind my ear absentmindedly, "you were part of NASA. Got kicked out for bringing some chicks into a flight simulator before proceeding to crash it. Not a good thing to have on your résumé."

Ben stifled a laugh as Johnny shot daggers at him. Well, never thought I'd meet the possibly first guy to get kicked out of NASA for whoring around too much. No wonder Serena hated his guts. He seemed to get over my comment easily after a minute or so, popping in a piece of chicken into his mouth with his fork. "Sooo. Do you and Reed...?" He merely said, something underlying in his voice.

"Me and Reed...?" I asked bewilderedly, seeing Susan's eyes widen as she understood what her brother was trying to get at. What was he trying to say? If he was curious as to how Reed and I met, then he could've just easily inquired.

"Y'know," He shrugged his arms casually, the implication wearing heavily on his next words, "do the dance with no pants?"

...Dance with no pants? The words processed through my head before it finally hit, a red warmth exploding on my cheeks. Dancing without pants—oh goodness, Serena explained this to me...

Reed spat out his water the moment Johnny said that, and Susan kicked her younger brother under the table while sending him an incredulous look. He smirked fully, not the least bit apologetic. While I, myself, buried my flushing face in my hands and kept myself from barfing all over the table. There was no way in hell I'd ever think of Reed as anything else except for a friend. And the last time I checked, friend meant a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or familial relations.

"So wrong —" I started in disgust, my cheeks still warm from embarrassment.

Reed nodded feverishly after he coughed. "On so many levels —"

"Ew, just ew," I shuddered, still a bit appalled by what was said and thought, "no offence to Reed, but he's like my dad. Or my teacher. He's just a mentor to me, nothing else." The older man nodded along just as feverishly in agreement.

"Noted," Johnny winked at me playfully, retaining an immatureness that I thought most men would hopefully lose during college or their senior year of high school. That didn't necessarily mean Johnny was stupid, since being an astronaut did take dedication and intelligence, especially since he was still of a young age. Which meant he had all of that, no matter how much I doubted he did. But I didn't hate the guy so I merely sent him an uneasy smile, choosing to put his inquiry behind us.

Susan cleared her throat, directing the attention back to her. After clearing up the issue that Reed and I were just old friends and absolutely/definitely nothing more, her mood significantly lifted. As she turned her gaze on me, I could sense less of the hostility or envy in her eyes from before. It seemed like she was somewhat convinced that I had zero romantic interest in Reed. "What exactly are you here for, Adriana?" She asked, not with irritation but genuine interest.

"Well..." I uncomfortably played with the ends of one of my brown curls, until my mobile phone vibrated in my pocket. The odd sensation made me jolt a little, and Reed noticed immediately. Detracting the attention from me, he began to explain why I was here, and what I would be helping with.

I sent him a grateful look, pulling out my phone and scanning the screen to see who called or texted me. To my slight surprise, it was Lucas. I would've guessed it would have been Serena, because since I'd bought a phone, she had been texting me constantly. Even though I was slightly annoyed at some of her texts (for example, omg Addy I saw this totally hawt guy and he winked at me omigosh) that she sent, I found them a little amusing.

Opening the message, I read over the words in it. 'Ad? we're at your door but no ones answering,' it read, and I almost smacked my head.

I forgot to tell them I was preoccupied with... whatever was happening with Reed and his other dandy companions. Thumb hovering over the reply button, I listened to my old friend's explanation and bit my lip.

'Um I'm out,' I texted back.

A second passed. 'Where?'

'Does it matter?'

'Yeah,' he replied in a second.

Groaning silently, I resisted the urge to smack my forehead once again. Lucas just had to choose to be stubborn this day and at this time... 'I'm just out!'

'That sounds suspicious.'

'Why does it matter?!'

'Everything you do matters to me, Adriana.'

I blinked in surprise. Did he really just text that? I mean, did Lucas mean that platonically, or anything... more? Ever since Serena introduced me to her tall and lanky cousin (six feet, two inches is considered tall, I think), I had been a little infatuated with Lucas. But he had this nice smile and curly black hair and we bonded over Lord of the Rings, and ugh, he just charmed me. Even though I'm pretty sure he just thought of me as his cousin-like-sister's best friend.

Before I could message him back, a text from Serena erupted on the little screen of my phone.

'Omg. Omg. Omg. Are u on a date?! Dont lie to me gurl and Lucy wants to know too omg tell me I promise not tell your mom but omg she'll be so damn happy'

And, once again, before I could message Serena back, a hand grabbed my phone right out of my grasp. My head jerked upward to see Johnny, who read the words on my phone and smirked slightly. To my shock, he began to text Serena, and I just watched. Simply because I was still not processing why the heck he had taken my phone.

Johnny slid the phone over to me, grinning mischievously. Oh no what did he do? I wondered silently, picking up my phone and going to the sent messages to see what he'd sent to Serena.

'Sorry, Ad's friends, but Adriana and I are busy on our romantically lovey-dovey date. Xoxoxo, John.'

My eye twitched. Mainly because of my irrationality and irritation, I may have kicked Johnny in the shin, and then felt horrid as he seethed. "I'm sorry!" I apologised with guilt, but then shook my head adamantly. "Wait... no, I'm not sorry. What you did was uncalled for, and now Serena probably won't leave me alone." And my guess was correct, for my phone was now vibrating non-stop.

"Okay, okay, calm down," Johnny raised his hand peacefully, rubbing his abused shin with his other free had, "I had that coming. But I just had to, your phone was right there."

"I was holding it in my hands," I responded with clenched teeth, turning off my phone and shoving it into my red bag, "I would appreciate it, Mr. Storm, if you would keep your hands away from my property, especially if you don't have permission from me."

Instead of listening to every word I was saying and mulling over his wrong deeds, Johnny chose to make a face at my words. "Mr. Storm makes me sound old," He informed me, speaking while eating, "Johnny or—and I'd prefer this—Gorgeous Guy. Now those are the names that should be coming out of your mouth."

"No thank you," I replied simply, still slightly peeved by his actions and crossing my arms. Did he not realise that I was very unhappy with him at the moment? Honestly, Johnny Storm was not giving off the best first impression, but that was expected, considering how terrible he was (according to Serena).

"Oh, I can tell when a woman's mad at me." He rolled his baby blue eyes, pausing from eating to prod at my leg with his foot. "I'm sorry, Ms. Watson. Please forgive Mr. Storm, because he doesn't know how to control his hands. These," he showed me his large hands, spreading out his ten fingers while he continued speaking sarcastically, "are evil. Pure evil."

"Despite how insincere that was, I'll accept it," I sighed, already feeling tired from speaking to Johnny. He was just too... I couldn't even find the words to describe how he was, but I would eventually.

He chuckled at me, before reaching over to pat my back with his hand. I cringed inwardly, but wasn't physically able to shy away from his sudden touch. "You and me are going to be great, great friends, Ms. Watson." His appendage was warm, maybe even warmer than an overheating computer. It was definitely because of his fire ability. But the strange thing was that it almost felt nice to have that warmth between my shoulder blades...

"Get your arm off of her before I rip it off," Ben nearly growled at Johnny, glaring blatantly at the younger man, "I don't want you infecting her with that pretty boy douchebag disease you have going on."

Johnny sniffled dramatically, clutching at where he assumed his heart was (his palm was too much to the left). "Your words pain me, Big Guy. But at least Doucheitis affects only the inside of a person and has a cure—unlike whatever the hell you have," He mocked cruelly, shocking me instantly.

How could he be so insensitive? Especially to a man who had just lost almost everything, including the woman he loved. Gosh, Ben shouldn't be pitied or feared, and he certainly shouldn't have been made out into an abominable creature by people around him. Okay, yes. He was undeniably terrifying and downright destructive if he wanted to be. If I hadn't known him I'd probably would have ran screaming in fear, as much as I hate to admit it. But before whatever happened to him, he was a nice guy from Brooklyn. And after what happened, he was still a nice guy from Brooklyn. That hadn't changed.

"Shut up, Johnny," Susan was quick to reprimand her younger brother, a disapproving tone in her voice and a motherly-like look on her youthful face, "leave Ben alone. Focus on your own problems, like, I don't know..." She began with a smile until she snapped her fingers, speaking sarcastically. "That nurse you slept with at the Alps that won't stop calling me and asking about you."

"Her?" Her younger brother scrunched up his eyebrows in thought. "Ugh... Her name was Tiffany, right?"

Susan's smile grew tight. "Her name is Allison, dumbo." She then scowled openly, setting down her utensils. "I don't even know why you still give these poor girls my phone number, no matter how many times I keep telling you not to. You hardly listen, and here you go again, sleeping with these girls and never calling them again."

"I don't tell you how to live your life," Johnny responded lazily, reacting as if this wasn't the first time he had received this lecture from his sister, "so don't tell me how to live mine. Besides, they know what they're all getting into. Johnny Storm is not a commitment guy, Sue."

Words like that are going to bite him in the ass, I realised as Susan gave him a disappointed look and left the room, one of these days, he'll fall in love with a girl and the girl just won't know if she should choose him because of how much of a manwhore he is. Poor girl, whoever she is.


"Er, Lucas and Serena..." I said half-heartedly, wishing that it wasn't really them but people who looked like them. Well, I certainly wasn't going to have my alone time after what had happened today.

The two of them were right before me, both of their facial expressions greatly differing. Serena had this creepy, knowing grin on her face, as if she was ecstatic to know I went on a date, even though I did not. Let me put emphasis on the last part. I did not. Lucas' expression was blank, but I knew him well enough to understand that he was not overjoyed by Johnny's impromptu text.

Serena embraced me tightly, probably proud of my "achievement"—although I didn't understand how "dating" was an achievement by anyone. I awkwardly stood there as she cried out how much she was so proud of me, begging Lucas with my eyes to make her stop. After a prolonged sigh, Lucas finally pried his insane cousin off of me, and his hand stayed on the bottom of my back. Ignoring how my tummy was filled with butterflies, I put my hands on my hips.

"Adriana—"

Before she could speak, I interrupted her abruptly. "Serena," I said firmly, my face blank as I regarded my best friend, "I was not on a date. I was at the library, and a family friend came by and messed with my phone." Grasping her by the shoulders, I looked her squarely in the eyes. "Let me repeat that. I, Adriana Vladimir Watson, did not. Go. On. A. Date."

Silence pervaded.

I cleared my throat. "...So, I have some tacos in the fridge—"

"I don't believe you, Missy!" Serena denied everything that I had just told her, eyes narrowed dangerously. Of course she knew I was lying. Part of it was because I wasn't the best liar, but most of it was because we were best friends. She could just tell whether I was making up crap or saying the truth.

Lucas smacked her head, and when she cried out in indignation, he smacked the back of her head again. "What the hell, Lucy?" Serena demanded irritatingly, rubbing the sore spot as she spat out the name she used when she was annoyed with him.

"Leave Adriana alone," He grumbled out to her firmly, brushing past me to go into my apartment as I gawked in surprise, "I believe her. Why would she lie to us?"

I smiled at him gratefully, my nerves going haywire when he sent me a small one back before settling down on my couch. "At least someone believes me," I said aloud while Serena tapped her foot by the door. Her hands landed on her small hips, lips pulled together in a deep frown.

"I'll believe you for now," She muttered out reluctantly as her finger shot out to poke me in the cheek, "but I'll find out the truth, Adriana. I'm the best detective you'll find these days—people call me Sherlock the II."

I raised an eyebrow, deeply amused and somewhat concerned that she would find out the truth of where I was really going. If she knew I was hanging around the likes of Johnny Storm, even if it was to help Reed, she wouldn't let me out alone ever again. She told me that the absolute worst thing I could do to her was be around Johnny Storm, so it was essential that I not let her find out about me visiting the quartet.

From the couch, I heard a snort from Lucas. He shook his head, green eyes sparkling. "Sure, Ren," Lucas waved a hand at her as she stalked me to the kitchen, "tell me, did you ever solve the case of who stole your chocolate cake during recess when you were in third grade?"

"You shut up about that, you ungrateful midget!" Serena yelled as she pulled on one of his black curls and smacked him with a couch pillow, a scowl on her face.

Lucas chuckled, flicking her forehead with his finger, "I'm taller than you are now, booger face." She fumed at him, and they both continued to insult each other.

I blinked and sipped on my strawberry milk while the two bantered back and forth. I'd become accustomed to their constant fighting, and refused to get in between them because of the last time I tried. If I had a brother or sister, I wonder if I had a brother, if we would argue like that. Or if I had a sister, we'd be the best of friends and gossip. Granted, Serena and Lucas were only cousins, but their bond seemed more of a older sister and younger brother type.

While Serena muttered curses under her breathe as she rummaged through my fridge for food, I sat down on the single chair beside the couch. Lucas was browsing through the channels on my television, his hand pushing button after button.

"Hey," He mumbled to me softly, "I know you're lying to us."

"—the new fragrance for men—" the TV rang as my jaw dropped in surprise.

I fumbled nervously with the novel in my hands, fingers fiddling with the softcover. While I wasn't surprised by Serena knowing my lie, I was really surprised that Lucas could tell. "Then... then why did you go along with it?" I asked curiously, my voice lowered as my eyes darted to Serena who was now going through my cupboards for any food she liked.

"Because if you want to lie, then you can," He said simply, settling for an episode of Dr. Phil without even bothering to spare me a glance, "I'm not going to force you, and I certainly won't allow Serena to do it either."

"T-Thanks," I grinned gratefully, feeling my stomach go on overload from the butterflies.

Lucas finally smirked at me, glancing my way while patting my knee. "We all know how Serena can be. Bossy, annoying, nosy... I might as well save you from her wrath," He told me sincerely as I felt how cool his hand was. I should have been freaking out on the inside. But his hand was so cold. Compared to Johnny... Johnny's warmth was so much nicer...

"Quit gossiping about me!" Serena screeched as she jumped from behind the couch to scare Lucas and me on the couch. Her cousin quickly retracted his hand, avoiding her gaze as he focused back on the TV screen. I coughed into my hand, attempting to hide my red face. "Now, Addy," She pulled my curly mop into a ponytail while munching on potato chips, "tell me about this John. Does he have blue eyes? Does he have a sexy bod? Ooh, do you have a picture?"

I gaped at her in utter shock and disbelief, not at all amused by her curious questions about Johnny Storm. I mean... Most of the answers to the questions were yes, I thought as I bit my bottom lip, Johnny Storm wasn't unattractive. He was good looking, I couldn't possibly deny it. And he was a really playful and mischievous guy that, for a lack of a better phrase, wanted to have fun. However, if only he thought of others before he spoke (for instance, when he shot insults at Ben's unwanted new body) and if his playboy attitude wasn't there (Susan's complaints about one of his sleep-then-ditch girls), then maybe I'd actually find him—

Nope, no, uh-uh, weird, I thought hurriedly, eyes wide at the idea of actually liking the esteemed jerk and playboy Johnny Storm, as if I'd ever fall in love with a guy like him. I gave Serena a roll of my eyes and sent Lucas a small smile.


"...Reed."

The man's head tilted to the side at the sound of his name, just barely seeing Johnny sitting down on an office chair and snapping his fingers. After another moment of hearing the fire flicking out of the younger man's hands, Reed finally decided on listening to what Johnny wanted.

He set down his pen, swiveling in his chair to face the source of his aggravation as he made the irritation in his voice blatantly clear. "Yes, Johnny?"

The twenty-four-year-old leaned back in the leather chair, biting back a grin. Snapping his fingers again, much to the growing annoyance of Reed, he spoke. "Tell me about that chick. What was her name again...? Oh yeah, Adriana," Johnny said, inwardly recalling her flustered face after he had suggestively made a comment about a possible romantic relationship between her and Reed. He also remembered the annoyed look on her features when he sent that text to her friend—her eyebrows narrowed in anger and her straight nose scrunched up and her cheeks went pink—it was kind of adorable. Like a puppy kind of adorable.

"Keep your hands away from any part of Adriana," Reed automatically uttered, knowing fully well of Johnny's not so discreet past of sleeping with women and leaving them after in an instant, "she's not the type of person to be easily swooned or charmed by someone like you. Besides, you're too... well, immature for her."

"Ew, so that means she must be as old as you are? Don't worry, I'm not into women over fifty." Johnny made a face in disgust, shuddering as he made no attempt to hide his revulsion.

"She's twenty-six, and I am not fifty," Reed corrected Johnny with an exasperated sigh, already feeling a headache making way, "just... Don't play around with her."

Johnny mulled over that in his mind, chewing on the inside of his cheek. Resting a hand on his elbow, he hummed. "Could it be? Are you jealous, Mr. Richards?" The short haired man mocked innocently. "I guess you do have a thing for her." He nudged the other man's shoe with his foot, a mocking smile on his lips.

In all actuality, Johnny was curious whether Reed really had feelings for the girl who had came by. Yeah, Reed had explained in great detail about how she was going, but he wanted to know if the older man had moved on after his sister. He didn't exactly want a reenactment of what happened two years ago when they broke up.

Susan had cried for days on end, even crashing at his apartment with gallons of ice cream and her favourite films to cheer her up. She forced him to join her and well, he had to be there for his heartbroken sibling. Even though he found himself memorising the dialogue from Titanic and sickeningly, the song that erupted from it. His sister was strong, yes, but her love for Reed had made her weak. Of course, she had tried to move on. That didn't work out at all. Nope, and Johnny could tell she still had feelings for the old man, despite being separated for two years. If only Reed had just let them move in together...

"For the second time," Reed stressed as he rubbed his temples, "Adriana and I are merely friends. No more than that."

Should I believe him or not believe him...? He mused silently. "Well, then what's your history with her?" Johnny inquired after that, keeping his eyes on the flames festering in his palms.

"History?" Reed repeated, furrowing his eyebrows while trying to remember his past with the younger woman. He tapped his pen on the desk before him, recalling the first time he met Adriana. "We met around two years ago. She was a librarian at one of the libraries I frequented. I noticed she had work pertaining to physics, so I helped her out and we became friends. That's all it was," Reed insisted, continuing to write up plans on the machine, "she's almost like a little sister to me."

"Alright then!" Johnny clapped his hands together, grinning thoughtfully. Reed hadn't sounded like he liked Adriana, so that had to mean he was still hung up over Susan. But ugh, Johnny would be damned if he tried to play matchmaker for the two hard-headed ex-lovers.

We'll leave it to fate, He decided finally.