February 2008

1 and a half months after Scarred Souls.

Damian Fielding

‘Do you know what day it is today?’

I tilted my head to the side and up so I could look at Josh. ‘Thursday?’

His tentative smile disappeared—to be replaced by a slight frown.

That’s when I knew I’d messed up somewhere. I didn’t know where though. It wasn’t his birthday. It had just been. Nor was it mine, that had been before his.

‘Well, yeah…’

I glanced down at my books, thoughts spinning.

What the hell have I forgotten? 

‘Just forget it.’ He shrugged. ‘It wasn’t anything important, anyway.’ A brief smile flickered over his lips before he turned and walked into my bedroom.

I stood from the sofa, but then got unsure what to do. I wanted to go after him, but he was upset about something and I didn’t know what for.

I headed over to Silver’s room instead and knocked. When he called out a muffled yeah, I pushed it open to reveal him sprawled on his bed with a sketchbook and a pencil in his hand.

‘What’s up, mate?’

‘What day is it today?’ I crossed my arms over my chest.

‘Valentine’s day,’ was his instant answer.

Well, shit.

He raised an eyebrow. ‘Don’t tell me you forgot about it? It’s your first with Josh.’

‘I haven’t forgotten. It’s just… slipped my mind.’ You totally forgot. ‘What’s so special about it anyway?’ I hunched over, feeling guilty. Josh obviously thought something was important about today, judging by his expression when he’d left the living room.

I didn’t care about any of that romantic shit, however, and I never had. Never would.

‘It’s a day for lovers to, you know, express their love more thoroughly than any other day of the year.’ Silver watched me with an expression I could only classify as amused. ‘There were so many couples at the studio today, getting all kinds of lovey tattoos done.’

‘Why aren’t you celebrating the day with Kian?’

‘Because he’s working late.’ He grabbed his phone, to presumably check the time because he put it right back down again. ‘He’s coming over the minute he’s done at work though. He got stuck with closing the salon on bloody Valentine’s day.’

‘Sucks, mate,’ I murmured, but not really feeling it. I didn’t see the point.

He full-out laughed at me now. ‘Go apologise. Normal people tend to think of Valentine’s as a pretty big deal, you know.’

Neither Josh nor I could be classified as normal… but he clearly hoped for something today, so…

I headed back to my own room.

Josh was sitting cross-legged on the bed, fumbling with a small box he held in his hands. He put it away when he caught sight of me, hiding it behind his back.

I sat down next to him. ‘I’m sorry. I’m not very good at this.’

‘I know it’s not your thing.’ He smiled slightly.

My chest squeezed tight. Josh always tried hard to downplay his own feelings and I hated it. I wanted to fix it, to do something for him, but I didn’t know what. I’d never done anything like this before. I was fumbling around in the dark.

‘I got you something though.’ He reached behind him and presented the box he’d been fumbling with earlier. ‘I don’t know if you’ll like it or if you’ll wear it, but I saw it and thought of you, so…’ He trailed off nervously.

I covered his hands with my own. ‘You didn’t have to get me anything. But thanks.’ I flipped the box open. Inside was a thin, silver  bracelet. There was nothing extravagant about it, it was plain and simple and exactly how I preferred.

Now I felt even worse for not having realised what day it was.

‘Thank you, Josh.’ I slid an arm around his shoulder in a tight hug. ‘I’m sorry I—I didn’t know.’

‘It’s okay.’ He hugged me back with both arms, sliding them around my back and holding on tight. ‘I know this isn’t your thing. Romance and the like.’

‘You should tell me when there’s something you’re looking forward to.’ I drew back just enough so I could look into his green eyes. ‘Like Valentine’s day. It’s better you tell me beforehand, so I’ll know. So you won’t be disappointed when the day comes. I have no idea what I’m doing, so… just being told would be nice.’

His smile grew a little in size. ‘You know, I like that you’re kind of clueless. I’m too, really. Guess we both just have to figure this out as we go.’

I cupped the back of his neck in the palm of my hand, tilting his head forward so our foreheads gently thudded together. ‘I love you.’ I was getting better at telling him that. They were true too. I did love him. Maybe too much, considering we’d only been together half a year. It was everything else I had issues with—never my love for him.

His smile had turned soft now, fond. ‘I love you too, Damian. A lot.’

He kissed me and I relaxed into it, like I’d eventually learned to do. Kissing Josh was nice. His lips were soft and warm and pliant.

‘Happy Valentine’s Day,’ he murmured against my lips.

‘I’m going to do better next year,’ I promised, making a mental note to put it in my calendar. Or else I would forget it.

‘Mmm,’ he hummed as he grabbed a hold of the front of my tee. ‘I think you’re doing pretty well right now.’

I chuckled at that but went willingly when he pulled me with me into a horizontal position.

Our lips met again and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Valentine’s. This was much better than flowers or chocolate or any other romantic nonsense.

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