Xander Hall:

(Excerpt from Chapter 2, All the Feels)


Xander had his back to her and she watched as he hung up his black apron and lifted his brocade waistcoat down from the rack. He shook it out, a subtle transition occurring as he slid it up his arms and buttoned it one-handed. He pulled a wool cloak over his shoulders, lifting his gaze to catch her watching. His face contorted in concern.


"Liv, you look terrible," he said, giving her a once over. "What happened?"

Liv put her phone away and stood up. "Nice to see you too, Xander."


He pushed open the door, and did a half-bow, waiting for Liv to pass through in front of him. Wintery air dug icy fingers under her coat, leaving her shivering.


"I'm sorry for saying so, but you really do look dreadful."


She shoved away his proffered arm, and stalked toward his car, snow crunching beneath her boots. "That is not an apology." She turned to glower at him over her shoulder. "You are a terrible best friend."


Xander groaned. "Oh come on. You know what I mean."


"I don't."


He waved a hand toward her mismatched ensemble. "Your hair isn't washed, your clothes are wrinkled, your shoes-"

"Not all of us live in a state of constant cosplay," Liv interrupted.


Xander shook his head. "But you don't look like you, dearest, and that worries me."


Liv could tell she was actually worrying him, because his words were growing into that strange hybrid of modern American and fake British upper-crust. The first week of classes, Xander had gotten into an argument with their professor in the middle of class, and that same BBC-approved accent had come through. He was concerned.