“Such crap,” Owen mutters as he walks away from me, heading toward the couch where his sweatshirt is flung over the back. “I’m outta here.”


I set the vase down on the kitchen counter, my pleasure at receiving the flowers evaporating when I realize I’ve not only just got into a huge fight with my brother, but I did the same thing with Drew last night.

Who’s the one with the problem, hmm?

“Owen, look. I’m sorry.” He stops at the door, as if he’s waiting for me to further explain myself. “I just hate to see you make a bunch of stupid mistakes like I did. I wish you could learn from me.”

“I’m going to do what I do no matter what, Fabes. I wish you could see that.” He turns to face me, looking like a ragamuffin in his faded black sweatshirt streaked with bleach stains. Who the hell does his laundry? Oh, that’s right, he does. “I’m not a bad kid. I get decent grades. I only skip class sometimes. And I have good friends. So I smoke here and there. So I get high and forget about my troubles for a while. Is that so bad?”

Yes, I want to shout at him. I want you to be perfect and well behaved and never give me any problems. I don’t want you doing drugs or smoking or drinking or fooling around with girls. I want you to be eight years old forever.

“Maybe we can talk later?” I suggest. “I should be here when you get home from school.”

“What else is there to talk about? You’ve already made up your mind. We’re moving without Mom, you hate that I smoke and you think I’m a f**k-up. Whatever.” He leaves the apartment without another word, slamming the door behind him, and I’m left standing there, so shocked my mouth is hanging open.

Holy. Crap. I’ve stepped in it all over the place. Why am I so confrontational lately? What the hell is my problem?

Regret settles over me and I sit heavily on the creaky barstool. Way to go and screw up that conversation. Clearly I’m the one with the bad attitude. I keep picking fights with my favorite people. Not the smartest move I’ve ever made, that’s for sure.

I run my finger over one of the soft flower petals. It’s a bright, sunny yellow, such the complete opposite of my morose mood.

Look at me. A man leaves me flowers on my doorstep and I’m all mopey. I should be the one apologizing and he’s the one making grand gestures. No guy has ever brought me flowers.

Ever.

My gaze catches sight of a small cream-colored envelope nestled among the blooms and I snatch it up, opening the envelope with trembling fingers.

Fable is…

Faithful

Amazing

Beautiful

Loving

Exquisite

I’m sorry. – Drew

A wistful sigh full of longing escapes me. I think he’s trying to slowly tear me apart so he can be the only one who puts me back together. His words kill me. Slay me dead.

And they fill me with so much hope I don’t know how I could’ve ever doubted him.

Drew

My head is throbbing when I wake up, my brain foggy. I lay awake in bed most of the night, replaying my conversation with Fable. Unable to figure out exactly where everything went wrong but since I’m a world-class screw-up, it had to be my fault.

I finally gave up pretending to sleep and climbed out of bed, threw on some clothes and went to a local supermarket. Found a beautiful arrangement of wildflowers and bought it without thinking twice. Yeah, maybe I should’ve got her some roses since they’re twice as expensive and supposedly are more romantic, but they didn’t seem Fable’s style.

The note made me work a little harder. I wanted to get it just right. No way could I use the word “marshmallow.” She would’ve killed me. I’d like to see her use it on me again. The one time she did, I almost blew it and didn’t show up.

But if she ever did use our code word again, I’d love to see that moment of sweet surprise wash over her when I come to rescue her so fast, her head spins.

Instead, I write her a little poem using her name. Much like I did for my tattoo, though this one is simpler. Sweeter. All about her.

Once I got back home, I crashed out. Woke up hours later with the hangover feeling, the sun’s light deathly bright in my room. Feels like the day is already half over and when I check my phone, I see that it almost is.

I also see I have a bunch of text messages from a certain someone.

Drew is…

Delicious

Real

Extra sexy and…

Wonderful

My heart threatens to crack. She wrote me a poem back. I can’t f**king believe it.

You got the flowers then, I text her.

She replies immediately.

I love the flowers. Thank you.

A smile forms on my lips as I answer her.

You’re welcome. Did you like the note?

I loved the note even more. I think you’re a closet romantic.

My smile grows.

Only for you.

She doesn’t answer and I wonder if I somehow screwed up.

Then I get pissed at myself for always thinking I screwed up.

What are you doing? She finally texts back.

I’m still in bed. I pause. Should I say what I really want to say next? Aw, f**k it.

Thinking of you.

I send the text, my heart rate increasing. I hope she’s forgiven me. I’m dying to see her.

Are you naked, Drew? Because I could totally get on board with that image.

I burst out laughing at her text and quickly reply back.

You want me naked? That can be arranged.

I’m only in sweats, not even wearing any underwear. That I’m thinking like this almost makes me want to laugh.

Also makes me want to suggest we indulge in some of that phone sex/sexting thing we talked about a few nights ago, which sort of blows my mind.

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