I’m currently very annoyed at the complete lack of emotion in the book I’m reading. Thankfully I’m almost done and will be able to move on with my life soon. In the meantime, I’m going to share a fluffy/angsty one-shot I managed to write all in one go the other night that I think contains more emotion than that whole book.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, perhaps you recall Blaze, one of the characters in a story I shared a couple years ago. Here he’s all grown up and has a girlfriend. I think they’re pretty cute. (And fairly shippy, don’t be too scandalized. XD)
I don’t have a song to go with this one. Or a title. So… jump right in, I guess.
Jen’s visit had been planned long before all Blaze’s siblings decided they wanted to tag along on Gavin’s week-long business trip to the Hamptons, but that didn’t stop her from feeling guilty as she watched Blaze bury his face in Ash’s shoulder at the airport, trying not to cry.
“We could have rescheduled,” she said when Blaze got back in the car. “Or gone with them.”
He met her gaze with teary eyes and said, “I want to spend time with you. I do.”
She appreciated how much she believed him.
And after the airport, he was good for a while, happy and energetic and himself. But she could see the shift when they hit the fourth day and ticked over into the longest he’d ever been separated from all his siblings. And she didn’t think he’d been sleeping well in his bedroom alone.
It wasn’t too much work to persuade him she was ready for a quiet evening in. He let her pick the movie, and she chose something slow-paced. Turned off most of the lights in the living room. Sat in the corner of the couch and held out her arms to demand a hug so Blaze would lean on her. Her scheming paid off when Blaze ended up fast asleep with his head in her lap. She buried her fingers in his excellent hair and watched the movie herself, satisfied.
The credits rolled, the menu screen returned, and she muted the TV so the music loop wouldn’t drive her crazy. With one hand she scrolled through Pinterest on her phone, absentmindedly playing with Blaze’s hair with the other.
Blaze stirred restlessly in his sleep, and Jen looked down to find his expression distraught. Before she decided if she should do something about that, he was awake, searching his surroundings with wide scared eyes, then reaching up to hide his face in his hands after he saw her. Colors from the TV flickered over his skin.
“What happened?” Jen asked, putting down her phone so she could move one hand to his shoulder and keep one in his hair. He’d been so relaxed, but his muscles had gone all tense.
“Bad dream,” he mumbled, voice a little choked.
“Does that happen a lot?”
“Not as much as it used to. Mostly when… when none of my siblings are around.”
Jen’s heart hurt as she stroked his shoulder. He chose to stay with her, knowing this might happen. “What do you dream about?” she asked quietly.
She felt him take a deep breath. “Usually it’s Ash getting shot. Sometimes Kai and Star, too. And Dad is standing there doing nothing about it.”
Jen hated hated hated that Blaze had the memories to fuel that. But she loved that he would tell her these things when she asked. “Why don’t you call one of them and remind yourself that they’re okay?”
After a pause, Blaze dug his phone out of the couch cushions. Jen expected him to get up, but he stayed where he was while he dialed Star. “I miss you,” he said when she answered.
The short conversation was only trivial, but Blaze’s voice sounded steadier by the time he and his sister exchanged I love yous and hung up. He tossed his phone onto the coffee table, and they watched it slide almost to the other edge. Then he said, “I’m sorry.”
“Why are you sorry?” Jen asked.
“Because I’m pathetic. I love you this much, and I still can’t spend four days with just you without having nightmares because I miss my family.”
“Do you want to know a secret?”
“Sure,” Blaze said wearily.
“Men who love their families are hot.”
This got the surprised laugh she wanted.
“I don’t think you’re pathetic. I think you’re brave, and I love that you want to be here with me anyway.”
“I do. I just want them here, too.”
“Nothing wrong with that.” Jen kissed the tip of her finger and pressed it against his nose. “Your room has all those bunkbeds, right?”
Blaze looked up at her. “Yeah.”
“Then I’m going to sleep in one so you don’t have to be alone.”
He closed his eyes. “Thank you.”
“We’ll be like kids and have a sleepover. I’m guessing you never did one of those, so I’ll inform you that they consist of staying up way too late giggling about people you think are attractive.”
“Hmm,” he said. “Well, there’s this real cute girl who picks up five movies from the library every other Friday…”
“Great, you’ll have to tell me all about her. But you’ll have to let me up first.”
“Maybe later.” His eyes were still closed, but there was a smile on his face now.
“Fine, I can wait.” Jen picked up her phone. “Gives me time to browse my Pinterest board of attractive actors.”