Warning: This chapter contains sim nudity and *AHEM* ‘adult themes’
No one was around when I got home. I was glad, since that meant there would be no questions. I made my way up to my room alone, closed the door, and collapsed into the chair with my face in my hands, while the tears continued to fall.
Surely – surely – this wasn’t the end. It couldn’t be. After everything I had gone through with Luc, after everything we had said to each other… God, the things we said. The things I said! The things I did! My body shook with sobs as the events of the evening flashed across my mind. How could I have done that to Luc? How could I have walked out on him like that? Of course he would hate me for what I had done. If the situations were reversed, if he had kissed another girl… I felt a stab of pain through my heart at the mere thought. I wasn’t sure I would have been able to forgive him if that been the case. It didn’t matter what he had done years ago – he was right, this was entirely different. Entirely unforgivable.
Of course, he would never want to see me again. It was my fault. I had ruined everything. With that thought, I could feel my heart breaking. I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t. I couldn’t stand to be alone a second longer. With trembling fingers, I extracted my phone from my pocket and called the first person I thought of.
Ten agonising minutes passed before he arrived. In that time, I had stood up, paced back and forth across my room, had a drink, paced some more, taken several deep breaths… and collapsed again on the floor beside my bed in a fit of tears.
Finally, I heard the click of the front door opening. Footsteps sounded on the stairs, growing louder as they approached my room, then the door was thrown open and Pat was kneeling at my side, his face sad, eyebrows knitted together in concern.
“Di…” he said gently. “Di, what’s happened?”
I could do nothing but continue to sob, tears streaming over my cheeks and soaking my hair. Pat reached out to comfort me, but instinctively I cowered away from him, afraid to let him touch me. “No…” was all I could whisper. “Please…”
“Di, please. Tell me what’s wrong.” He looked as though he was about to cry himself, but made no move to touch me again. I buried my face in my hands and shook my head. I couldn’t speak – it felt as though I was being crushed by the pain.
“Is this about Luc?” he asked, gently. Surprised, I lifted my head to look at him, and nodded. I bit my lip to stop it trembling, still struggling to form a coherent sentence.
Pat scowled at my admission and started to stand. “That’s it,” he said furiously. “I’m going to kill him for this. I told him… I wouldn’t… but if he’s hurt you-”
I grabbed his arm to stop him, frantically shaking my head. “No,” I croaked. “Please, Pat… it wasn’t his fault.”
Clearly fighting to stay calm, he sank to his knees again. “Then what is it? What’s happened, Di? Tell me. You know I’m here for you.”
Choking back my tears, I explained to him, as best I could, what I had done. With Jake, and with Luc, and all about our argument that night. I tried to leave out as much as possible of what Luc had told me of his past – that wasn’t mine to share. When I got to the part about walking out the door, my voice hitched, and another sob caught in my throat. What had I done?
Pat, who had listened calmly throughout, stretched out a hesitant hand to gently brush against the side of my face.
“It’s going to be okay,” he told me, wiping the stream of tears from my cheek with his thumb. “Okay? I promise. I don’t know Luc all that well, but I know you, and if- if you love him…” his voice faltered and a new sorrow filled his eyes, but he pressed on bravely, “… if you love him, he’s got to be a pretty great guy. There’s no way he’s going to abandon you just like that. Not after all that’s happened.”
“But…” I wasn’t convinced. “Pat, everyone has their limits. I cheated on him. I kissed another guy.”
“You were drunk.”
I shook my head. “That doesn’t change what I did. Why would… why would he want me after… after that?” I barely finished the question as the pain of what I had done rose up again inside me. I threw my arms around Pat’s neck and pressed my face into his shoulder, drenching his shirt with my tears as I cried. I felt his muscles stiffen under my fingers, but refused to let go. This was all I had. Without him here, I wouldn’t be able to bear it, I knew it. He was all I had to cling to as my world fell to pieces around me.
After a few moments, I felt his arms around my shoulders, drawing me into a tight hug, seeming to understand what I needed in that moment. “Shhh…” he whispered, dropping his head down next to mine. “Shh, Di… It’s going to be okay… I’m here… It’s going to be alright.”
He held me like that for what seemed like hours, stroking my back gently, murmuring soothing words into my ear, until finally my sobs subsided and I hiccoughed myself into silence at last.
When the tears had ceased, Pat stood up again, pulling me to my feet after him. He took my hands reassuringly and looked me in the eyes. “Okay, listen,” he said. “Even if what you said is the case, you can’t know for sure how he feels until you talk to him about it.”
“No, listen to me,” he said firmly, cutting my protests short. “You have to talk this out. It’s the only way to resolve it. You love him, right?”
I nodded. “More than anything,” I whispered.
His jaw clenched slightly, but he went on, “Then talk to him. If he cares for you as much as he seems to, there’s no way he’s just going to leave you because of this. It wasn’t your fault. Once he’s calmed down a bit, he’ll understand that as well.”
For the first time, I allowed myself to feel a small hint of hope. “Do you think so?”
“Of course I do.” Then his expression softened. “You’re an incredible person, Di,” he said earnestly. “Luc is the luckiest man on Earth. If he doesn’t see that, it’s his fault, not yours.”
I bit my lip. I wasn’t so sure about that. But either way, I was definitely lucky to have Pat by my side. I gave him a small smile, and moved forward to give him a hug. “Thanks, Pat. Thanks for everything.”
His voice sounded slightly hoarse as he replied, but he hugged me back and didn’t pull away. “Anytime, Di.”
In spite of Pat’s good advice, it took me a whole week to work up the courage to go see Luc again. Throughout that time, I was completely miserable. I turned over all possible outcomes of the situation again and again in my head until I was sure it would drive me mad. Every day I woke up thinking that today was the day I would go back and talk to him, but by evening I was still telling myself that he would surely need more time. Perhaps a part of me was hoping that he would call first, so that I didn’t have to.
By the following Saturday, I was fed up with moping around. Enough is enough, I told myself. This is Luc, for goodness’ sake. What’s the worst that could happen? Preferring not to think about the answer to my own rhetorical question, I steeled myself and headed down the street towards his house. Luckily, it was only a few blocks away, so there wasn’t enough time to chicken out and run back home again. Soon I was nervously climbing the steps to his front door, not certain why I felt the need to tiptoe. I rang the doorbell, holding my breath as I did so, and waited.
I was about to turn around and go home (I must admit, with a certain amount of relief) when I heard scuffling sounds on the other side of the door. A second later it was thrown open and Luc was there, standing on the threshold, staring at me. “Di…” he breathed, looking stunned to see me. “What are you…” he shook his head, as though confused. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“I didn’t expect to be here,” I told him honestly. He smiled (which I took as a good sign) and stepped out onto the veranda, closing the door behind him as he did so. I knew I had to be the first to speak – I was afraid of what he might say if I stayed quiet, so I took a deep breath to calm myself. “Luc, I’m sorry,” I said, doing my best to look him in the eyes. “I’m sorry for getting drunk, I’m sorry for hurting you, I’m sorry for yelling at you. I… I hope you can forgive me. I love you, Luc. Please, I… Luc?” for a strange expression had suddenly come over his face. “Lu-mmh!”
The rest of my sentence was lost in his mouth as he stumbled forward, caught me around the waist and kissed me passionately. For several moments I was frozen in place, too shocked to move, wondering what on earth had gotten into him. I was still trying to make sense of the unexpected change when he eventually pulled away, still holding me in his arms, and smiled down at me. I searched his eyes for a trace of anger or resentment, but saw nothing but love and… was it remorse?… staring back at me. My knees went weak with relief. He still wanted me.
“Do you want to come inside, and we can talk?” Luc asked, almost bashfully. I nodded, allowing him to lead me back inside the house and over to the couch where we sat down together. Ash, noticing my presence, leapt up onto the sofa cushion beside me and curled up in my lap, purring loudly. Luc watched her with a hint of a grin playing on his lips.
“She likes you,” he said. Ash gave a loud meow and wriggled out of my arms, landing lightly on the floor again. Luc and I both laughed. “I think,” he added. I grinned, but the smile was quickly wiped off my face by the memory of why I had come. I cleared my throat nervously.
“No,” he interrupted me. “I’m sorry, Di.”
I looked at him in surprise as he went on. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you the way I did. I was hurt, and angry.”
“Anyone would be,” I interjected quickly. He grimaced.
“Sure, but I took it out on the wrong person. It wasn’t your fault, Di. If anything, it was mine. I encouraged you to go out to parties and stuff while you were at uni…”
“Luc, no!” I said, horrified. “You didn’t tell me to get drunk! None of this is your fault, you can’t think that way!”
He gave a small, grateful smile, but then frowned. “In that case, it’s that filthy slimeball’s fault for daring to touch you.” He got to his feet abruptly, fists clenched. “I swear I’m going to kill that bastard.”
There he went again with his hot temper. I stood up and laid a soothing hand on his arm. “Luc, it’s okay. There’s nothing we can do about it right now.”
Luc scowled. “That makes it even worse. I should have been there to protect you!” He kicked the couch in frustration. I quickly took his hands in mine to stop him from damaging anything else.
“You can’t protect me all the time, silly. Yes, that guy took advantage of me. I’m mad at him, too, if that’s any consolation. But right now…” I took his face in my hands, forcing him to look me in the eyes. “He doesn’t matter. I don’t care about him. I care about you.” I pressed a soft kiss to his lips. “You and I are what matters. Please, stop thinking about that other guy.” I kissed him again, longer this time. Luc smiled down at me, and I was relieved to see that my words seemed to have calmed him down a little.
“I’m definitely not thinking about anyone else right now,” he said with a grin, and kissed me again, catching me off guard. When we broke apart, he was still smiling. “Go out with me,” he said suddenly.
I laughed. “I thought we’d covered that part already.”
Luc rolled his eyes, still grinning. “I meant on a date, Genius. Like a proper date, to the park or somewhere. We haven’t gone out since you got back, I thought it’d be nice. What do you say?”
Deciding it would be fun to tease him a little, I pretended to think about it for a few moments, and his face fell. Without a word, I turned and started to walk away. “Di?” he sounded panicked as he followed me to the door and outside onto the veranda. Before I could walk down the steps, however, he grabbed my waist, stopping me. “Di?”
Grinning, I turned in his arms and pulled his face to mine, kissing him, making him gasp in surprise. He responded immediately, tightening his grip on my waist to pull me towards him and kissing me back with equal enthusiasm. As he made to deepen the kiss, however, I placed my hands on his chest and moved away, suppressing a giggle at the look of disappointment on his face. I gave his lips a last peck, and winked.
“Meet me at the park at six.”
The park up the hill from our house was a popular venue for hosting large events, although it was smaller than the one in town where the festival set up every year. Since it was Autumn, however, and the day was unusually cold, there was hardly anyone there except for us.
“Hey, look!” Luc called, taking my hand and pulling me to a wooden gazebo in a corner of the park. “They have a karaoke machine.”
I raised my eyebrows, and he grinned. “You’re not serious.”
“Yeah I am. Come on, it’ll be fun. I hear vocal talent runs in your family,” he added with a wink.
“It must have skipped a generation,” I laughed, but allowed him to drag me to the machine and press a microphone into my hand.
“What song are you picking?” I asked curiously, watching him scroll through the selection screen. Luc shifted so that his body was blocking my view.
“It’s a surprise.”
A/N: In case you’re curious, the song they’re singing here is actually the (English) version of the song below, which was in fact playing on the in-game speakers the first time Luc and Di danced together at Emily’s party. You may want to listen to it as you read the next scene.
He straightened up and raised his microphone as the opening bars of the mystery song rang from the speakers. They sounded oddly familiar. I listened intently as he began to sing the first verse. He wasn’t half bad either, I thought, impressed.
“The sun is so hot,
The drinks are so cold…”
“I know this song,” I said slowly.
Luc skipped a few bars to reply. “I certainly hope so,” he said with a grin, and went on singing.
I gasped in realisation. “This is that song! The one that was playing… at Emily’s party, when we…”
“Cause there’s so many fine women that my head is spinnin’…” Luc belted out the chorus while I bent low to look at the screen. This was the same song that Luc had got me to dance to, only the second time we met. Grinning, I began to sing the second part of the duet along with him.
“Na na na…”
“Na na na na…”
I was laughing as I sang, thinking how cheesily romantic it was that he should have chosen this song. Or maybe he just wanted to pick one that he knew I’d know, so we could sing it together… though his knowing grin suggested otherwise.
As we sang, I found myself loosening up and getting more and more into the song, just like that first dance at my sister’s party. I was having too much fun to care how loud we were, or even that my voice was jarringly worse than his.
When the song ended, it was my turn to scroll through the selections list for the next round. We sang through several more songs together until it started to get dark, at which point Luc pulled a packet of sausages out of the grocery bag he’d brought with him and suggested we have something to eat.
Luc grilled the sausages while I made a tray of drinks at the bar, since the stock cupboard had been conveniently left unlocked by whoever had last hired the gazebo for an event.
When the sausages were done, we stuffed them into a couple of buns from Luc’s grocery bag and sat down at one of the picnic tables under the shelter to eat them. Sitting there at night, with the person I loved most in the world beside me and the rain hammering on the tin roof above us, those hot dogs tasted like the most delicious thing I had ever eaten in my life.
We stopped on the bridge on our way home to take a commemorative photo of the two of us together. Luc insisted, although I hated getting my picture taken.
“It’s raining,” I moaned.
“It’ll only take a second.” I rolled my eyes, but smiled so that he could snap a picture on his phone.
“Very,” Luc replied, smiling as he gave me a quick kiss on the lips. He checked his watch. “It’s getting pretty late, actually. Do you want to stay over at mine tonight? I can sleep on the couch.”
I nodded gratefully. “If that’s okay.”
We ran home together, since neither of us had brought an umbrella, holding tightly to each other’s hands. When we reached the veranda of Luc’s house, we paused to catch our breath and brush some of the excess water off our clothes. “I had a great time tonight,” I told him, smiling up into his eyes glowing with warmth from the porch light. “Thanks for asking me out.”
He chuckled. “Anytime.”
I stood on tiptoe to kiss him, holding my arms around his neck for balance. The back of his neck was cold from the rain, but his lips were deliciously warm.
His hands fell to my waist and he kissed me back for a few seconds before pulling away. “It’s cold, we should get inside,” he said. I nodded.
Inside the house was much warmer than outside. I took off my sweater and scarf and placed them on the end table just inside the door; Luc did the same with his jacket. I turned around to say goodnight, and found him staring at me with a strange look in his eyes. Love, yes, but also… sorrow? And something else I couldn’t quite place, but that for some reason made my legs shake and my heart beat wildly. “… Don’t look at me like that,” I whispered.
Luc took a step towards me. He raised one eyebrow and the corners of his mouth quirked up. “Like what?”
“Like… like…” my brain didn’t seem to be functioning as well as usual. He took another step. “Like that!” I cried hopelessly, pointing at his face.
“My face?” He walked the last few feet to where I stood and took me in his arms, still grinning. I looked up at him with wide eyes. I trusted Luc, but right now I had no idea what was going through his mind. Yet I made no move to push him away. He lowered his face to mine until our lips were inches apart, and I could feel his breath fanning across my face and see the flecks of gold in his familiar green eyes. “You’re beautiful,” he murmured, and then his lips were pressing hungrily against mine and he was kissing me like he had never kissed me before, and it was all I could do to cling to him and stop my suddenly weak knees giving way completely.
He spun me around and stumbled forward a few steps, so that my back was pressed against the wall behind me. I reached up, tangling my fingers in his hair, and bit lightly on his bottom lip, making him groan and tug on my waist with his free hand so that my hips were pulled flush against his.
Almost reluctantly, his mouth drew away from mine in favour of trailing soft kisses along my jawline, down my neck and over my collarbone. His lips found a sensitive spot on the side of my neck and began to kiss and suckle it, causing me to gasp in surprise. “Luc…” I moaned breathlessly, and felt him smile against my skin.
The hand at my back slid down to rest on the back of my thigh, pulling my leg so that it was resting on his hip, and I could feel every inch of him pressed against me. I lifted my other leg to wrap it around him and he lifted me easily into the air, kicking the front door shut with his foot and starting to carry me towards the stairs.
We were both panting by the time we reached the bedroom and I tumbled backwards onto the bed, still wrapped in Luc’s arms. Both our shirts had been torn off and thrown somewhere on the stairs, and now I ran my fingers lightly across his chest, tracing the outlines of the colourful dragon inked into his skin.
“I didn’t know you had a tattoo here,” I murmured, transfixed.
Luc grinned. “I don’t think you’ve seen me without a shirt on since I got it done. Public nudity is typically frowned upon, you see.”
I rolled my eyes. “Smartass.”
He chuckled and bent down to kiss me again, but pulled away a second later, his eyes serious once more. “Are you sure you… want this?” he asked, sounding concerned. “I know it’s all happening really fast. If you’re not ready, if you don’t-” I silenced him with my lips, pressing them hungrily against his, hoping to convey something of what I was feeling through the kiss.
I pulled back to smile at him. “I’m sure, Luc. I love you.” I kissed him again. “You’re the only one I want to be with. It’s always been you.”
Satisfied, he lowered his head to kiss my open lips, with so much love and passion it made my head spin. He lowered me down onto the bed, breathing heavily, his gaze never wavering from my own, and in that moment, Luc… his eyes, his face, his body, his soul… was my whole world. Nothing else mattered.
And nothing I had ever experienced in my life – physically or emotionally – compared to that night, and the sensation of falling asleep in the arms of the man I loved.