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The front door swung open, letting in the somewhat short, blonde haired girl that half owned it. Her lovely green eyes gazed down at her phone, drinking in the latest text from one of her friends. “Oh Bri...” she muttered, entering the hallway as she kicked the door shut behind her.
“Heather!” a giddy voice called from deeper in the house, where other small noises came. A head poked around the hallway doorframe, revealing brown hair and green eyes filled with happiness.
“Guess who just got bored?” He grinned at the girl, waiting for her to look up from her phone. “Heather?” he asked questioningly, searching for her eyes amidst the text messages.
“Huh? I’m sorry, I was texting Bri, baby. Her and her friend want to go bowling with me tonight.” Heather snapped her phone shut, looking disinterested with the fervent waggling of the tail at her feet.
“Milo! Watch out! You’re in the way!” Heather snapped the command at the dog, sending it running off into the other room, where it wouldn’t have it’s head ripped off.
“Heather, are you okay?” Brandon arched an eyebrow at the girl, half backing away, half shrinking out of sight.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just have to get ready to go hang out with Bri. Milo just gets in the way when you’re trying to do something.” she shrugged, pulling out her vibrating phone to look at the caller ID. “Bri” it said, making Heather look up at Brandon.
“Just a second,” she told him, flipping it open and bringing it to her ear.
Brandon nodded slowly, looking glum while he watched her smile into the phone.
“Hey Bri! What’s up?” a pause. Then tinny words drifted out of the phone, inaudible to everyone but Heather. “Yeah, I’m getting ready to go now.” she stopped to listen again. “Oh, no no no. I didn’t have anything planned for tonight. So yeah, see you there?” Heather smiled into the phone one more time and snapped it shut.
“Okay sweetheart. I need to go hop in the shower. Could you do me a favor while I’m in there and find those jeans of mine you like? Thanks baby.” She flashed him a smile and blew past him, leaving the boy frowning in the front hallway.
“I guess she doesn’t want to watch The Princess Bride with us tonight, Milo...” Brandon sounded sullen as he addressed the little dog, who looked nearly as sad as he did.
“Brandon!” Heather screamed shrilly, jerking him out of the sad little respite, and into a start. He rushed through the house, making it to the door of the bathroom where she steamed. “What did you do with my towel?” She seethed, pointing to the empty place on the shelf where her thick towel usually hung. He looked at the spot for a moment, and then turned to look at her, slowly.
“...You told me to put it in the wash before you left. It isn’t out yet.” He shrunk against the wall as she shoved him out of the way, muttering as she went out of the room to retrieve her towel.
“It’s been two hours! What have you been doing for two hours?!” She came back into the room, holding the semi-damp towel while she glared at him.
“I was writing you a story, and...” He let the rest of the sentence die off under her scowl. “I’m sorry... I didn’t know you would want it when you got home. I thought we were going to watch your favorite movie together.” The boy tried on a friendly grin, which rapidly melted away under her venom.
“Well, I’m hanging out with Bri instead! And movie or not, you still should have dried the towel!” Heather’s scowl deepened, and she moved him out of the way again, more forcefully than last time. The shower cut on, the water spraying onto its base as she moved around in the bathroom, muttering and collecting things.
“I’m really sorry honey... is there any way I can make it up to you?” He edged closer to her, not sure if he should try and hug her while she still bristled with angry energy, darting around the room quicker than he could catch her in it.
“No! Just, go back to writing your story, or go watch the stupid movie.” The irritation and malice in her words made him back out of the room, easily half his size. “And don’t even think about asking if you can get in the shower with me! No way!” She closed the door in his face, leaving him with the little dog looking on from the door with his, “What the hell is going on?” face displayed.
“...Sorry?” He said, not sure if he should even venture any other words forward.
“Go wash my pants before you forget them too!” She snarled over the noise of the shower, sending the boy trudging into the laundry room, hounded by the little dog.
“I guess she’s just having a bad day Milo. That’s all. She’ll be better when she gets back from bowling.” He gave the dog a pat, trying not to dwell on how broken and disappointing he felt. “She’ll be all better,” he told the dog again, desperately hoping that his words would come true.
The door nearly burst open, helped by the brutal wind coming in through the garage, but mostly from the short blonde with an armful of notebooks and a cell phone perched in a hand.
“Bri, you are such a dork,” she giggles, shaking her head as she nearly trips on the little wagging dog underneath her feet. “Milo! Hi baby! How are you?”
“Heather!” a cheerful voice chimes from the bowels of the house, and her attention quickly snapping from her phone to where the voice came from. A wide grin spans her face, and she drops her books on the table, nearly engulfed by the tall figure that comes around the corner.
“Hey honey, oh, Milo!” She stumbles, tripping over the small dog. She apologizes, and crouches down to hoist the small dog into the air, cooing into his face for a second as the lanky teen behind her nearly swallows the two in a hug. “Unph, Brandon, air…!”
“Oh, sorry!” he says, letting his grip slip just a bit.
“It’s fine. How was your day today?” she asks, looking up at her looming boyfriend, his brilliant green eyes glinting with his excitement.
“Great! Got some writing done, and I was hoping for a movie night tonight!” Her smiles sinks into a pensive frown, and immediately Brandon notices, frowning as well. “Something wrong honey?”
“Bri wanted me to go bowling with a friend, and I had said that I was going to go…I am so sorry honey, I didn’t know you had plans…after?” she asks, forcing up an apologetic smile. He nods, going to bring her into another hug, his bony frame stabbing into her muscular body. She giggles, tickling his ribs to get him to squirm, and adoring his cheerful laugh. He goes to retaliate, but the phone she had dropped on the table starts to sing, frogs chirping in the night air. She apologizes, breaking out of his hold to jog over, answering promptly.
“Hey Bri!” she says with a grin, but then smiles lovingly at the smile Brandon has as he stands patiently beside her. The small voice chirps through the small speaker, but Brandon can’t hear what it is saying, and decides instead to pull his lengthy brown locks into a ponytail, nearly elbowing his short girlfriend in the head as he lifts his boney elbows. “Yes, I am still coming…no, that’s not really an issue, I just can’t stay too long…I have other obligations,” she says, winking at Brandon who giggles, crouching down to tease the small little dog weaving between his massive boots. “Mhmm, yup, I will get ready now. Half an hour? Sure thing…all right, see you then. Adios.” She hangs up the touch screen, tossing the phone back onto the table onto her binder, before turning her attention to the gorgeous green eyes gazing down at her.
“Hehe, I love that look of yours Brandon,” she says, smiling back at him. He flashes her a winning smile, and then hands off the wagging little shih tzu.
“Do you need to get ready honey?”
“Yeah, and I am in desperate need of a shower…could you do me a favor and grab a pair of jeans for me in my room? You’re choice,” she says, and he winks, wrapping his arm around her shoulders as they walk in unison through the kitchen to the hallway.
“I know just the pair,” he teases, kissing her forehead, and noticing the brilliant red tint on her face when he pulls away. “Love you Heather.”
“Love you too sweetheart!” she says cheerfully, and the two break off, the blonde heading into the bathroom and Brandon into her room across the hall.
“Looks like it’s just you and me for a while Milo,” Brandon says sadly, but smiles at the dog’s wagging tail. “That’s okay, because we have more time to write her a story!”
“Hey Brandon?” He looks up at the sharp questions, a bit alarmed at her tone as he dutifully jogs into the bathroom. The girl cocks her head at the empty space where usually a thick bath towel hangs. “You know what happened to my towel?”
“Oh, I washed it…I don’t think it’s dry yet,” he says, shrinking back a bit, suddenly ashamed at his folly, and terrified that she will be angry with him.
“Oh…all right,” she says slowly, thinking for a moment. “It should be, unless you didn’t move it into the dryer…”
“I’m really sorry honey,” he says quickly, but she just looks at him, confused.
“For what? It’s a towel, not the end of the world! It just means I need to find another one.” She winks at him, and a wave of relief hits him, bringing about a smile. He doesn’t loose it as he watches her filter around the small room, fetching things and muttering to herself about what she would need. “You got the pants like I asked?” she says, stopping suddenly. He nearly slaps himself for forgetting, and quickly dashes into her room to retrieve them.
“Sorry!” he gasps, placing them on the counter for her. She looks a bit frazzled, as if she is forgetting something. He thinks for a moment, wondering if it would be appropriate to smother her in a hug as he suddenly is dying to do. He finally decides to do so, catching her before she starts to go after another item. “I love you,” he says, kissing her cheek as he holds her from behind, admiring the glowing look she gives him.
“I love you too! Well, I think I have every thing, so, out!” she says, with a wink, pointing him to the door. He pouts for a bit, even as she pushes him out.
“But the shower is big enough for two!” She laughs, and then winks at him.
“Not with how clumsy I am!” That gets a laugh out of him, and she winks at him before shutting the door. He smiles, looking down at the small dog wagging at him.
“I think we could have both fit,” he says, pouting a bit as he picks up the little dog who assaults his face with his little pink tongue. “Oh well, we can love on her when she gets out!”
Brandon typed away at his keyboard, letting all of his focus center on it, instead of on the depression that dwelled in him since Heather had left in a hurry.
“Bye Brandon! Don’t burn the house down while I’m gone!” She had shouted over her shoulder on the way out, sounding anything but playful in her tone. It left him feeling even more miserable as he recalled the words again, unable to focus on what he was writing.
“I need to make it up to her... and she doesn’t really care much for the stories.” He pushed his chair away from the desk, standing and stretching as he mulled over his thoughts. He knew it was his fault that she was angry at him, and he felt so stupid for not remembering the towel, and so selfish for being upset over the ease with which she blew off their movie night.
“I’m hanging out with Bri instead!” Her words echoed, leaving him feeling bitter again.
“She’s entitled to hang out with her friends. She lets me play with mine, so it’s only fair that I don’t complain about her doing the same with hers.” Brandon looked down at his phone again, checking for any new text messages. In two hours, he hadn’t heard a peep out of her. It felt strange not having her texting him back and forth, and he considered sending her a text himself for the thousandth time that night.
“No, give her a little space bud.” He took a deep breath, reassuring himself that he was just overreacting about the whole thing. “I should do something nice for her though. Maybe more flowers?” He grinned at the thought of that, glancing out at the darkness. It was late, and he didn’t think he was going to find many blooms in the night air. But that didn’t stop him from trying.
Brandon fetched his jacket, tossing it over his bony shoulders before stepping into the night air, heading for the clearing where he harvested the majority of the flowers he got for her. Lo and behold, he saw exactly what he needed. Lovely red roses, still partly open as they drifted into their night slumber. He plucked a few, careful to work around the thorns as he did, and still managing to prick himself a few times.
“These will be perfect,” he told himself, taking in their scent as he pressed the petals to his nose. His phone vibrated, nearly sending him through the roof as it did. “Gah!” Brandon shouted, pulling the phone from his pocket.
“Heather Bool,” the phone read. He grinned and slide his finger over the lock screen, revealing the text message she had sent. “Where are you?” It said plainly, lacking any heart or smilies to adorn the message.
“Uh oh...” he said, certain that it meant she was still upset. He quickly wrote her a text saying he had gone out to get her flowers, and double timed it for the house. “I hope everything is okay...”
The keyboard sings through the small room, the light tapping coming from Brandon’s nimble fingers. The story is finally progressively getting where he wants it, but there still is much to be done. He runs his fingers through his long hair, the chair creaking under his leaning weight as his attentive green eyes skim through his work, a small smile forming as he finds himself content with what he has on his screen.
“Not quite a baddy story, but these words should have her smiling,” he says to himself, glancing over at his phone pensively. Two hours have gone by and he hasn’t heard a word from his girlfriend, which is alarming. Usually they would constantly be sending back and forth sappy messages, but her absence is making baddy withdrawal even worse to go through.
“Two hours…should I text her?” he wonders, fingering the screen of the phone. He decides against it, knowing that she probably just needs her space. He sighs, hating how selfish he feels wanting her to at least acknowledge him, and to show that she misses him as much as he does her. But instead he finally saves his story, and stands up to stretch, his muscles thanking him.
“Well, I suppose we should find something to do Milo…,” he says sullenly to the small dog sprawled out at his feet. The shih tzu’s tail thumps against the carpet, and he can’t help but allow a weak smile to form. He hoists the dog into the air, allowing his soft cheek to be assaulted by his pink tongue. The dog’s licking doesn’t distract him for long, but he still nearly forgets his phone on the desk, practically sprinting back to retrieve it. He glances at his computer screen, and finds a gentle smile forming as he looks onto his girlfriend, who returns his with a grin. His shoulder slump as he is reminded that she is only a picture, and his stare drifts back to his phone. Almost on cue, the screen lights up, the notification reading ‘Heather Bool has sent you a message’.
He grins happily, placing the dog on the ground and sliding his finger across the screen.
‘Bri and her friend started another fight again, and one of them insulted you, and I nearly knocked her out. I am coming home, before I do something I regret.’ His frown deepens as he reads the message a second time, and he quickly realizes that she must be upset. Not only are there an absence of any sort of smile or heart, but the circumstances have always been those that have irritated her.
“She’s probably really upset Milo…,” he says, crestfallen. “We need to do something to cheer her up…” he says softly, tapping his chin. An idea suddenly dawns, and he sends a quick glance outside. A murky darkness covers the night, the world already being tucked in to go to sleep, but he decides that a trip outside is well worth it. “Hunting is not best at night, but I am sure I can scavenge up a pretty bloom for my baddy,” he mutters to himself, finding a thick sweatshirt hanging over the back of his computer chair that he slips over his spindly shoulders.
The night air attacks his scrawny frame, and he has to fight to keep away a shiver. The journey is short, however, and he quickly finds the floral patch that he so often visits. The bushes and vines have been dusted with the night glow, and most of the flowers have already turned out their radiance back into curling buds, so he search is a bit scarce.
He finally comes up upon a small patch, and a wide grin falls over his handsome face. Three unblemished red roses stand in their full glory, nearly basking in the loving glow he still withholds. His thin fingers reach down to grab them, but even then he manages to stab himself with the thorns, despite how careful he is.
“All beauty has to have pain, doesn’t it?” he murmurs, looking at his palm in the waning light to see how bad he had pricked himself. Not enough to be of concern.
“Wah!” he yelps, his phone vibrating in his pocket. His fist clenches around the stems of the flowers, and the thorns decide to embed themselves into his palm, but he doesn’t seem to notice, much too focused on the phone in his hand.
‘Where are you?’ Heather has asked, and immediately he feels a pang of terror hit his churning stomach. He responds quickly, and starts into a sprint back to the house, eager to see how his girlfriend is doing.
“Sorry Heather! I’m home now!” Brandon scurried through the front door, past Milo, and straight down the hall into the living room. “I’m so sorry! I was trying to get these for you and...”
he trailed off as she glared at him. Her features were contorted into a sour expression that made him fill with dread. What had he done that earned him that look?
“Flowers? Really?” Sarcasm dripped off of her words as he shielded himself behind the roses.
“They’re red roses...they represent passion and love.” The boy offered forward the flowers, wincing when she rolled her eyes and accepted them.
“Thank you sweetheart,” she said, the last word sounding more like an insult than a word of endearment. “I know exactly where I’m going to put these.” She got to her feet, tossing them aside as she blew past him again.
His hope and happiness plummeted with the flowers, until tears bubbled into his eyes. “Honey, what did I do to make you so upset?” He asked, trying to choke down the emotion. For all he knew, he had done something horrible that upset her, and didn’t know it. Never jump to conclusions if you can help it, he told himself, already envisioning a million scenarios in which she was upset at him for something he had done.
“You smother me Brandon! You cling to me when I sit down to relax, you give me flowers that rot on the table or end up in the trash, and you write me stories I don’t want to read!” Heather raged at him, emotion running high as her words hit him like a blow. He sat down, unable to shake off the numbness that washed over him.
“...I thought you liked my gifts.” He looked up from the floor, trying so very hard not to break down and cry.
“I do! You just give me so many, so often, and you just... I can’t breathe because of you!” She shook her head, flopping on the couch to glare at him again. “You’re too much, too fast.”
He nodded slowly, his vision blurred by the tears dripping down his face. “...Alright,” he breathed. “I can change...or you.” He looked up, wiping a hand over his cheek to get the tears off of them. “But only if that’s what you want.” He tried on a smile, but it fell away to nothing.
“Brandon...I don’t know what I want. All I know is that you rub me the wrong way with your affection. I’m...I’m not used to it. It isn’t your fault though, it’s just the way you are...” She huffed, squeezing her eyes shut to sort out her thoughts.
“What am I saying...it is entirely your fault. You won’t give me space, or leave my feelings alone. If I’m upset, you’re glued to my side and rubbing my back. If I’m happy, you’re bouncing around and trying to do things with me. You just...you need to take a step back, baby.” Heather shook her head slowly, looking up at her boyfriend.
“I’m back!” Brandon says, bursting through the door in a thunderous rush, nearly falling inside. He shuts it carefully, and looks around the small kitchen, but finds not a soul in sight. Nervously, he pads down the hallway into the living room, hoping that Heather is not too upset, and even more so that he is not the reason for her distress.
He finds his girlfriend curled up on the couch, an absent stare plastered on her face.
“Heather?” he asks tentatively, setting the flowers aside on a small end table. She hardly looks up, merely pulling her legs closer to her chest. “Is everything all right sweetheart?” he asks, advancing carefully. She takes a moment to respond, and isn’t very convincing when she does.
“I am fine,” she says, looking up into Brandon’s face as he sinks down beside her, immediately wrapping his arms around her frame.
“What’s going on sweetheart?”
“Bri hates me. She keeps complaining that I spend more time with you than I do her, and won’t accept you for who you are…it’s just really upsetting,” she admits, curling into her pokey boyfriend. He tries not so smother her in affection, careful to keep a balance. Instead, he just kisses her forehead, and offers to listen for more. “This world is just a mess now and days, and it just reminds me every day how lucky I am to have you as a boyfriend.” He smiles at her, nearly crushing her small frame in a hug, and then enjoys the contended sigh that she gives him.
“Well, I love you sweetheart, and know that I am always here for you, regardless.” She smiles, and nods in agreement, kissing his cheek softly as he cradles her within his strong. A broad smile creeps across his face, and then across hers as well.
“Oh!” he says, sitting off of her quickly, and letting her go to the comfort of the couch. He scrambles to his feet, and snatches the flowers from the table, turning around with a thick smile on his face and hands, and flowers, behind his back. “I love you Heather,” he says, revealing the gorgeous roses and offering them forth to her. Her jaw nearly hits the floor, and he smiles at the broad expression of surprise, gratitude, and admiration mix in her red tainted face. “They’re red roses... they represent passion and love.”
“Oh honey, that is so sweet,” she gasps, rising to her feet to accept the roses he holds out for her. She welcomes them, nearly glowing in admiration before setting them gently on the couch, throwing her arms around his thin frame. “I love you Brandon, and you really didn’t have to…”
“No, but I wanted to.” He draws her up into a hug, and kisses her forehead gently. “I love you too Heather, and I promise that I will always be your baddy.”
“And I will always be yours.” She flashes him an infatuating smile, and then flicks her stare over to the computer screen. “Now, what about that movie that you wanted to watch?”
“Take a step back? But then you would step on Milo!” Heather giggled and leaned in to plant a kiss on Brandon’s cheek. He grinned as he returned the kiss, running his fingers down her arm. “The story is really good Brandon. And I can tell you that I will NEVER be like that towards you.” Heather grinned back at him, settling to her knees to look up into his eyes. “I love you honey, so very much. You would never deserve something like that, and I can tell you that I will always be the best baddy I can for you.” She wrapped her arms around him, listening to his heart beat. She knew that it was all hers, and that she would never do anything to break it.
“I love you too Heather! And I’m so glad that you aren’t like other girls. You’re a baddy, and you’re the only other one.”