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Valentines or Whatever

Marie woke up with a terrible, hellish, tormenting, sickening headache...and that was just the tip of how bad she felt. Then again, spending 5 weeks between blackout drunk and alcohol poisoning and suddenly stopping cold turkey...it was understandable. She had nothing and no one to blame but herself as she clumsily walked to her bathroom to puke. "Morning sickness" She smiles and laughed at herself as she fell beside the toilet and wiped a smudge of vomit from the corner of her mouth. She felt terrible, she needed something to eat...how long has it been since she last ate?! The thought terrified her, thinking how badly her physique must be...and if maybe she had an ulcer or something. However, as she rose to turn the toilet she noticed there were traces of food in there...apparently her subconscious was a...responsible entity? She chuckled and sighed as she opened her medicine cabinet and chugged 2 pills with water from the faucent. She threw herself once again on her bed, waiting for the pain to subside.

It didn't take long, and she wouldn't have been able to go back to sleep until it went away. Awake and medicated Marie could now think...not clearly, but think. She slowly started making a plan... a "to do" list for her day...she didn't want to be sulking around anymore. At the thought though, she fought the need to cry as 2 thick drops glided down the corner of her eyes. She hated it...she hated it all. She hated loving, she hated feeling, she hated her life, she hated him, she hated herself...she hated everything. But...somehow...she stopped. Marie got up slowly and pressed a hand over her aching heart...it hurt...maybe it would always hurt...but she had sulked enough. Clenching her fists she hoped off her bed and - after falling back on it because of vertigo- she walked slowly to her kitchen downstairs.

To her surprise her apartment was clean...spotless impeccably clean. As she slowly moved to her kitchen, Marie couldn't help but get skeptical of it all. She was not this clean...not even in all her senses. Drunk for nearly 5 weeks? She was literally expecting to find at least a rat's nest. Marie pondered about it...she did not hire a cleaning service. Did her manager come by and hire one? She didn't actually remember anything ...just...shadows moving around. She remembered she used to open the door for...someone. Maybe her manager DID...

Marie froze in place as she watched a hooded figure, face hidden between his arms, resting on the farthest counter of her kitchen. He seemed...familiar and as Marie edged closer to him she found the answer to all her prior questions. Yellow plastic gloves on, those used for cleaning, his head resting over a... still moist wet towel, plates still on the sink, and her mop and broom around the corner. The figure was a guy, meaning he wasn't hired to clean her apartment...she laughed at the rather...sexist remark. Still, it was true...he was there. Who was he? As Marie tiptoed to him she watched him move and squirm a bit and she hoped a step back in surprise.

???: Stop staring.
Marie: I-im not!

That voice. Though Marie blushed in embarrassment she slowly got closer to the figure who had still to show his face. His voice, muffled by his position was...familiar to her. Edd? No, his voice was...manlier, a faint accent in it, warm and confident. Marie looked back at her kitchen...clean but with dishes still on the sink.

Marie: Did you...
???: 5 more minutes... was cleaning all night since the storm trapped me here...
Marie: Storm?

Marie moved to her window, moving the curtains aside and gasping in surprise. She had not seen the exterior world in...you get the idea. As global warming was becoming a reality, somewhere along the 2nd week of January a cold front hit the region. Ever since then snowfall and snowstorms had become frequent. Though students enjoyed the extended "winter", others were alarmed at the severity of the snowfall. Shop and business keeper had to take measures and the white landscape was quickly turning into a white nightmare. But, for Marie, it looked dreadfully beautiful and soothing.

???: Beautiful right?

Marie yelped hoping in surprise and turning around to look at the man who was now behind her. Turning to look at him, she blushed now crimson. His hair was a mess and dark bags under his eyes meant he hadn't been sleeping well. Still, his clothes nicely picked out and manly, with his charming and warm smile she knew him perfectly.

Marie: Lyon?
Lyon: Thank god, you're finally sober...

He took a white handkerchief out and lifting her chin carefully- with his free hand- he rubbed gently the corner of her lips, where she had a small trail of her "morning sickness". Marie blushed as she was speechless and frozen in place with her mouth half opened. Lyon giggled as he moved away a bit, his crooked smile warm and mischievous.

Lyon: Better.

Marie averted her gaze, rubbing the back of her leg with her foot.

Marie: Thanks
Lyon: It's nothing.

Marie looked outside once again, the snow didn't seem to let up any time soon.

Marie: How is the university...
Lyon: Online classes and live streams. They were pretty prepared for it, though...i dont really need to listen or go.
Marie: Cocky as ever...

Lyon chuckles and grinned as he sat back on the chair he had been.

Lyon: No...i just...understand the subjects.

He sighed, rubbing his temples. Marie couldn't help but giggle at his...endearing demeanor. It hit her.

Marie: How long have you been here?
Lyon: Well yesterday i brought you Chinese from the Xinjiang Chinese Cuisine in World Avenue around...3:00? Been stuck ever since.
Marie: Did i...let you in?
Lyon: Yeah, though i wouldn't be surprised if you didn't remember. You've been...out of it the last weeks.

Marie nodded and her eyes begin to twitch as the shadows in her head begin to take form. She remembered quiet dinners, but not alone...her shadow was...warm, always present. She remembered always having that shadow around...she ignored it, but it was always there. When she was hungry, it brought her food...when she was sad, it gave her ice cream or a movie...when she passed out...

Marie: How long...have you...
Lyon: Almost 4 weeks now.

Marie shook her head.

Marie: Why?
Lyon: I worried.

Her heart fell down her stomach as she took a deep breath and turned around. As she covered her mouth, her other hand over her aching heart, she tried not to cry...2 tears slipped down the side of her cheeks. Lyon chuckles as his exhausted self could not come up with anything to say. Instead he moved behind her and extended his handkerchief once again.

Lyon: Careful, it's dirty.

Marie coughed a laugh which sounded half laugh half crying. She refused the handkerchief but managed to turn around while still smiling.

Marie: Thanks
Lyon: Least i could do...
Marie: No...you didnt even have to care.
Lyon: Why wouldn't I? We're friends right?

Friends? Marie had never had a real friend before...she had boyfriends, her sisters and Edd...friends were something new. Yet, she couldn't help but smile at such a statement. She bowed her head...blushing.

Marie: Thanks
Lyon: No problem... besides... cute girl like you.. i'd hate if something happened to you.

Marie laughed, an honest laugh, her first one in 5 weeks. Lyon smiled as he had reached his first milestone. He knew that getting Marie to feel better would be a hard and tiresome job (though not this tiresome), so he set milestones, little goals. He had finally reached his first 2:

1. Get her sober
2. Make her smile

Marie's blue eyes glistened as they made eye contact, but she quickly averted her gaze. Lyon smiled and moved to the kitchen.

Lyon: So...mind helping me out? I'm dead and you are a hell of a disaster.
Marie: I know...though... i'm so ashamed that you got to see me like this.
Lyon: Oh, dont worry, i had enough cousins growing up to know everything about girls.

Marie laughed.

Marie: Really now?
Lyon: I know you use too much bleach with your lingerie, it got crusty and...

Marie threw the moist towel he had slept on at his face. It hit perfectly making them laugh.

Marie: SHUT UP!
Lyon: Ok, ok...worst part was taking you to bed. You are really...
Marie: I'm murdering you...

Marie lunged at him, covering his mouth with her hands. Lyon, taken by surprise and too tired simply stumbles backward, hitting his head against the wall with a thud and Marie landing on top of him, her hands sliding and hitting his "family jewels". He groans, closing his legs in reaction and bucking his hip, causing Marie to yelp and smack her face on his chest. They laugh and groan at the same time. As their eyes meet once again- Marie with her hands on his chest, looking up at him, her knees hurt, and Lyon holding her, almost picking her up with his hands on her ribs- they both blush and silently get up together. A bit dazed they silently begin to clean the dishes together, making a working line. Though they were in silence, they exchanged glances and giggles.

Marie could only wonder how she had gotten like this with the guy she had once hated so much. Destiny was a very funny thing. Very funny thing.

Lyon: So...Valentines is next weekend.

A plate shatters to the floor as it slipped off Marie's hand.

Edd cried in frustration as he rubbed his beanie back and forth. The snowstorms had actually played in his favor the last few weeks. The campus was now streaming their classes online for students, that way no one would "fall behind". Honestly, it just gave too much free time to everyone, causing most of the student body to go out into the snowy fields of the campus to play (a relatively safe area). Edd , however, was a different story. Ever since his stay in with Kevin in the first snowfall he had been feeling motivated, invigorated even. Thus, using the full benefits his teachers had bestowed on him, Edd used every minute to work on his personal project. Eddward-Lewin's Equation of Behavior.

At least in theory, that was his plan. Edd, after various experiments and writing on his journal about himself (human experiment 001), had pulled out a lot of conclusions about humanity and behavior. His days of experimenting on animals were behind him, he needed more complex specimens...he needed difficulty to test his theories. Thus he had moved to dogs, cats, parrots, fish even...everything had the same result. By this time, his laboratory had turned into a well trained zoo. His coworkers and other personnel in the lab areas didn't complain about him, if anything they were thankful. From dogs who could go fetch drink from the vending machines, to cats that could open doors and pass items in high shelves, to "personal assistant" parrots, Edd had educated animals by his new experiments of Behavioral Selectiveness...and thus made his NEW equation.

B=f(G,E,S)= (G*E)^(-1)*S

Behavior is dependent of your genes, the environment and the specific situation you are placed in. Where, your genes and the environment you are raised in determine your persona, but these are affected inversely by the situational environment. Thus, despite your initial upbringing and factors, you may act and behave differently and even contrary to how you "normally are", were raised or/and your morals.

Yet Edd felt it was...incomplete. Perhaps the sense of ambiguity of the words were annoying him. Or perhaps it was something he was overlooking...something which made us...tick. As his new cat (Monsieur Wise) purred on his lap Edd could only sigh. His journal was open before him...an open page with his last entry...his last out with Kevin. As he read it again he couldn't help but smile dorkishly... they had drank coffee and spent the day with the animals in his lab..."working". He had to admit he loved the company...but it distracted him awfully...and yet... he just couldn't say no to Kevin. He closes the notebook suddenly becoming self conscious and...with frustration he drops his head on his desk.

Kevin: Morning Dr. Hyde!

Edd yelped at the cry behind him and quickly clenched the notebook to his chest. To be frank, his "journal" was more like a...diary.

Edd: What have i told you about barging it like that!

Kevin: That it startles you?

Edd: YES!

Kevin: More the reason to do it.

Edd scoffs at his answer to which the ginger begins laughing hysterically.

Kevin: Oh come on, i brought you lunch...He dangles a pair of large, white paper bags before him.

Edd smiled but quickly exhaled and tried putting up a tough front with a pout.

Edd: I am grateful for your kind action but i insist that you respect...

Edd squeals as a firm yet soft hand strokes his hair under his beanie, making it fall behind him. He tenses and shivers...pleasure and delight coursing through him. His voice soften and he blushes.

Edd: No...Kevin. Please. Stop?

His eyes close as he droops forward, his head pressing against the ginger's abs. Kevin smiles mischievously and tenderly as he lets go and simply kneels before him with the bags.

Kevin: Are you sure you dont wanna eat?

Edd glares at him...more in protest than actual anger. He grabs a bag and smiles as he opens it, a waft of German Wieners filling his nostrils.

Edd: Well...i cant say no to this...

Kevin: You never say no...

Edd looks at him in protest and shock, mouth ajar as he chuckles and pushes him playfully. The boys laughs together for a while as Kevin sits on the counter eating his own massive and thick hotdog he had bought at the German restaurant in World Avenue. They were so different, so opposites and yet...together... they found peace...harmony.

Contrary to Edd's "busy" days locked inside his lab, Kevin was the carefree jock and juvenile man who WAS enjoying the extended Christmas break. To his surprise though...he had never forgotten nor neglected a single stream of his classes. Punctual, clean and studious Kevin wondered what had made him become like this. Every time he asked, he laughed at the answer...Edd. Today, he had gone out after his streams. It was about midday then and he knew perfectly well where he'd find Edd. It was...the same routine for the last weeks. Kevin had sighed as he got his first coffee, grimacing as it wasn't exactly how he wanted it, how Edd made it. He had spent so much time with Edd that...not being with him...teasing him, laughing with him, talking with him... things were boring. Now...being with him...he simply lit up. Kevin began to inquire on what advances Edd had this day. He knew he was...stuck with his projects...but...he had no idea how he could help. When he tried talking with Edd about work...he always felt stupid. He was undeserving of his friendship or even of taking up his time. A genius like him surely had dreams beyond his. He just wanted to graduate. Still...today...they were simply together.

Edd: I still cant seem to find what i'm missing. Regardless how many times i read my notes...i cant find it.

Kevin: Maybe you're reading over something.

Edd: Problem is what!

Edd leans back on his chair, practically leaning his head on Kevin's leg.

Edd: I'm so lost and it frustrates me.

Kevin begin to rub his head softly, making Edd grin.

Kevin: Dude, take it easy Double D...maybe you need to let it go and... come back to it later...once you're...distracted and fresh.

Edd: Implying that THAT isn't your job?

Kevin: You wont do it by yourself.

The boys laugh.

Edd: Touché, very well, so...what does Mr. Procrastination have in mind?

Parrot: RWAK. Procrastination is bad, work work work. RAWK.

The boys laugh at the Parrots sudden reply from his cage. It looked at them attentively, as if he understood them. Although, with Edd's training, it might as well could.

Kevin: Well... next week is Valentine's.

Edd choked immediately and coughed hard as Kevin moves quickly to pat his back. Soon Edd breaths deeply, gasping for air again, coughing every once in a while.

Kevin: Geez man, it's not like that.

Edd: L-like what? I-i wasn't thinking of anything.

He bites on his sausage, stuffing his mouth.

Edd: I'm fine, p-perfectly fine.

Kevin giggled at his...girlish reaction but goes back to his...seat.

Kevin: Well...as i was saying...how about we go out? Two single guys, a snowy night in the city...

Edd: Most probably snowblown with no visibility.

Kevin: hey! This is my dream!

They laugh.

Kevin: As i was saying. We could maybe go to La Famiglia or some other restaurant you like...or...risk it to the Planetarium.

Edd: You're insane, we're staying close.

Kevin: Movie Night?

Edd: most probable and realistic proposition but we'd have to wait until such date.

Kevin: Date?

Kevin grins mischievously making Edd blush crimson.

Edd: Err, you know what i mean!

Kevin laughs and Edd scowls at him in protest.

The day went by quickly after with no real surprises...except one. Lyon never showed up in the whole day and both boys were quite surprised at his lacking presence. Together, they decide to have fun instead, opting for quick brunches on World Avenue and renting some movies for later. They laughed and walked side by side and as the snow ceased a bit by nightfall and World Avenue was covered in a white carpet, Edd could only smile. The hanging lights gave a magical feeling to the place and the heat from the shops made their entrances with puddles but fun and very illuminated. Though they were all struggling with the bizarre weather, they were also taking advantage of it.

Hot menus and hot beer took hold of the traditional menus and many places found themselves gaining new popularity by diversifying. As the boys sipped a hot onion soup at a French Restaurant called "Delight Douce", they enjoyed each other's company. As the day drew to a close Edd smiled at Kevin as he looked thoughtfully out the window. Perhaps, taking some time off work again was a good thing. Yeah...maybe it was.

Kevin: What?

Edd blushed as Kevin stared at him as if he had something on his face.

Edd: Nothing, nothing...just...thinking.

Kevin: As always.

Edd kicked him under the table and both grimaced in pain, Kevin at the kick and Edd at his fragile self. They laughed. Valetines... one week away huh?

Lyon: For the Nth time Marie, take your time...

Marie: I wont take long! I swear!

Lyon: You said that 20 minutes ago

Marie: Shut up!

Lyon: Dont rush, the reservation lasts all night.

A grunt and a thud is heard from upstairs in Marie's room and Lyon played on his cellphone downstairs. At the sound of the thud however, he bolts up the stairs and into her room.

Lyon: Marie!

Lyon's gaze drops to the floor where a shirtless Marie laid panting. As Lyon was about to inquire what the hell was happening he notices Marie's tight leather black pants. He begins to laugh.

Marie: What?!

Lyon: Really? The struggle is real?

Marie chuckles but hurls one of her boots at him which he barely dodges and the boot hits the door behind him.

Lyon: Come on.

Lyon extends a hand to her, a gentleman's action and (blushing) Marie takes it. He lifts her up with ease and smiles warmly.

Lyon: It does look good.

Marie: Look at my butt again and i'll gauge your eyes.

Lyon: Dont use leather tight pants then.

Marie: But i like them.

Lyon: And i like your butt.

The second boot flies toward his face and he ducks out of the way. The two giggle a bit as Marie moves back into the bathroom and Lyon sits on her bed. It was a bit late, almost 6pm. Yet...he did not mind. Today was Valentines and he was glad to spend it with someone...and not get in Edd's and Kevin's date...or whatever they called it. He WAS a lover, after all. He chuckles at the thought.

Marie: Almost done

Lyon: Relax!

Lyon chuckles as the rather...chic, sexy, wild girl he had now been seeing for a couple weeks (she only a week given the situation) tried to get ready for their night out. Lyon had dressed casually, a black, turtleneck, long sleeve sweater with a wine colored shirt underneath and thick cotton pants, tailored slick and complimenting his strong legs.

He was actually amused at Marie's determination on getting "dolled up". He found her...a natural beauty, yet...girls will be girls. He chuckled at the thought. She had chosen a white shirt with frills around the neck and tight leather pants, a beige shall her only protection for the cold. He knew how things would go and was thankful he had brought along his blue cardigan. Looking outside, he was glad the incessant snow had subsided, leaving only a winter wonderland.

The weather had improved in the last week and the temperature was slowly rising, snowstorms less common and the huge efforts right now were to remove the snow from sidewalks and roads.

Marie: Ready

Lyon smiled as he turned to look at her. She was stunning.

Lyon: Ok... lets go

He got off her bed and extended his arm to her. Marie blushed and giggled, covering her face for a moment. He was...charming, confident and...a gentleman. She knew he was a ladies man, a player... he could be using her... but... he was nice. With a smile Marie takes his arm and grabs her small purse, placing it under her right arm. She nods and they make their way out and off to "La Famiglia", laughing, joking, teasing and Marie punching him every once in a while.

Milestone 3: Make her leave the apartment.

Edd and Kevin debated for the Nth time over their plans. It was already nearly 6 in the afternoon, sun was setting and the view they had at the rooftop of the small Italian bistro with a green roof was breathtaking. Kevin was thankful Lyon had brought him here once and he could now bring Edd, but he felt awkward as the same girls from his first time there were the ones in charge of his table. They constantly kept looking at him... at them and he was tense for the most part. Edd on the other hand, oblivious to people and... emotions, simply took in the experience. A glass of wine with a couple of entrees on a rooftop made into a garden, sitting on a wooden bench with Kevin and the gorgeous, golden sunset do to the refracted light on the snow. He sighed.

Kevin: We should've gone to the Planetarium.

Edd: There was no way we could've anticipated...

Kevin: The weather girl said clear skies!

Edd: Dont raise your voice, the weather can always change any minute.

Kevin sighed and slouched on the bench.

Kevin: Sorry

Edd: Stop worrying! Just...enjoy this moment. Plans dont always go as planned.

Kevin: You sound like an expert on that.

Edd punched him and Kevin giggled as he kept punching him. Kevin raised his hands to defend himself but he found it amusing. Though Edd was annoyed, he wasn't really hitting Kevin...he couldn't.

Kevin: Ok, ok, i'm sorry.

Edd stopped and pouted as he sip his glass of wine with finesse.

Kevin: Oh come on. It was just a joke

Edd: You know how much i stress out because my project is slumped...

Kevin: Again.

Edd started punching his shoulder again and Kevin burst into laughter, defending himself and finally grabbing Edd and trapping him between his arms. He couldn't move now, regardless how much he squirmed and protested. Soon, however, he surrendered and simply sat on Kevin's lap.

As the sunset, Kevin felt he was being soothed. Edd sitting on his lap, his warm body warming him up, the fading light...it did seem magical. Edd was thankful for their position...he couldn't fight it, he liked it... and it made him blush crimson. His heart was pounding out of his chest. He didn't want the day to end...it was unfair to make it end. Today was yet his happiest day...again.

After paying for their food and both giving up on further activities, the boys walked back to campus. It was a silent walk with them walking side by side, giggling and just exchanging glances. They... just loved being together. Yet, inside his mind... Edd was still working, writing his journal... assessing it. He understood better now, he knew what he was overlooking. But... what had his mind working non stop was not his work...it was him. The gorgeous ginger boy walking beside him, that made him feel so safe, so cherished and with butterflies in his stomach. This boy who had tortured him so much once... and now he couldn't imagine being without him. Despite the terror that filled him to think of it...he knew there was no way to deny it. Everything added up. There was no mistaking it.

Kevin: We're back.

Edd lifted his gaze to look at the gates of the campus as they walked past them. As he turned his face, still looking at the entrance he laughed at the symbolism his mind could extract from such a scene. Walking through open doors in a barren, silent winter wonderland...cold but not freezing. Treading into new land. He chuckled.

Kevin: What?

Edd: Nothing...nothing... Just...

Kevin: just?

Edd looked at Kevin and smiled, his cheeks going pink.

Edd: I really like you.

Kevin was taken aback as he blushed, nervous, his heart threatening to burst out of his chest.

Kevin: That was so gay

He laughed, joking, trying to relieve the tension. But, he was laughing alone. Edd had stopped cold, fidgeting with his hands, his gaze dropped as he averted his gaze from Kevin...pouting and puckering his lips.

Edd: So...what if...

Kevin turned to look at him. His nervousness turned to fear...to terror.

Edd: What if...

Edd was blushing, his heart racing, he was shaking...not by the cold, by the shear fear of what he was about to say.

Kevin: You're joking right?

His tone was serious. He begins to chuckle.

Kevin: I mean...you aren't... confessing are you? I mean... we're just friends... and we hang out... and...

Edd felt hurt, his hurt shifting to anger, his anger giving him courage...his theory had been proven.

Edd: No, Kevin. I am dead serious. What if i were gay? Would it be that bad? Would it be THAT bad if i liked you?

Kevin was left silent, now he was shaking. This frail boy, the one he had bullied for so long, had become his best friend, his partner ... and now... now, he had done the one thing he couldn't ever do. Kevin opened his mouth...nothing came out. He simply stared at him, his mouth moving, but no words coming out.

Edd's heart sunk... perhaps he HAD been wrong...perhaps...they were JUST friends. It made sense actually, Kevin had always been manly and he had gone out with girls. He laughed, feeling silly as he wiped cold tears from his eyes. Yet, he smiled back at Kevin.

Edd: Dont worry about... it's okay. I wont... try to win you over if you... well... you know..

He walked past Kevin who stood frozen on spot...he felt as if an arrow pierced him straight through. No... a bullet. He turned, trying to stop him, but Edd just kept walking.

Edd: Hey...you're falling behind.

He hollered. Kevin began to walk after him. His sensation was back... so close...and yet...so far.

Kevin: Edd...

Edd: Thanks for this Valentines...or...whatever. I enjoyed it...honestly.

A knot formed on Kevins throat. He was out of words...

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