Ah, I have teased you all for too long! This is called "Valentine's Day"after all... I suppose it's only fitting that the last chapter is also released on Valentine's Day. So, I know it has been quite a while since the last chapter... but this chapter is the end of this story. So, I really do hope you all enjoy it. And as always, reviews are appreciated!
Darien shuddered, his body shaking uncontrollably as he clamored out of bed and onto the floor, crawling to the bathroom for hopefully the last time. He had been up all night, sick of himself, sick of this day... sick of everything that insisted on destroying his life. Her sad, sad smile was always there, always smiling at him with that same apologetic look... every time he closed his eyes, it was there... waiting. He violently pushed himself away from the toilet, his naked back touching the chilled rim of the tub and sending another shock through his body. He looked back at it, anger scourging through his veins.
Why not me?
Why was he not good enough for Serena? He had horrible to her in the past, but he had since changed his ways... he was good enough for her now. He was ready to give the world to that darling, blond girl with whom he wanted to spend every waking moment. He had told her everything and yet he knew... knew that she didn't feel that way about him and there was nothing he could do. He couldn't make her love him... but he couldn't stop loving her either. Darien wrapped his fingers through his hair, clenching his hands into tight fists as the last of his tears forced their way through his closed eyelids. Finally, as the last tear rolled down his cheek, Darien forced calm into his body and stood up from the frigid floor.
"Fine..." he muttered, his voice weaker than he would have cared to admit. He clenched his fists harder, trying his best to quell his shaking arms, "Fine... I can't have you... But I can have this day. I can be with you on this day until it ends. If I have to live in hell... I'm going to live there with you, Serena."
Darien dressed himself in the same attire that he had the past few days, intent on going to the same store clerk to obtain the same outfit. Serena had enjoyed that much... and it was something he would continue to do. Just to bring that smile to her lips. He stared in the mirror, checking his appearance for but a moment, knowing that he would change it in a matter of hours. Grabbing his coat, he headed out the door... forgetting to turn off his alarm clock. It chimed loudly right after the elevator doors had shut behind him.
"My girl... Talking about... My girl..."
"What a lovely song, folks, what a lovely song indeed!" the announcer sang in a happy chime to the end of the song, "Ah, the day may have ended, but I must say... love is still in the air!"
Darien walked down the streets with a determined stride, despite the raging storm of sorrow that swam within the depths of his heart. The air had a bitter chill on his skin today... colder than the past seven days, but he excused it for his own nerves. He was terrified of seeing her face again when he knew exactly how she felt, but he knew the only other alternative was a lonely and miserable day with himself. His angel would be waiting at the arcade for him... even if she didn't even know it.
He saw the shop coming into view and a desire to get into the warm interior spurred him to walk faster. The lights were warm and inviting, calling him into the store he had come to know like the back of his hand. He doubted he would even need her help finding any clothes this time... he knew where everything was, their prices and names. His hand pushed on the glass door, chilling him to the bone before he was met with a blast of warm air. The sweet scent of clothes met his nostrils and the bright lights nearly shocked his senses.
He stopped dead in his tracks, the silence that ensued was broken only by the chime of the door closing behind him. He stared at the store clerk, a blank look held upon his face. Something... something was different with her expression, there was... recognition. The blood running through his veins chilled icier than the air outside as she walked over to him, a smile spreading across her lips. "Y-you... know... my name?"
"Well, duh..." she said with a laugh, tousling her hair with her left hand before holding it out for him to shake. He took her hand in a loose grip, shock still apparent upon his face. She watched him in a moment of confusion, "What? You thought I'd forget the man that punched our mirror?" The look of confusion faded into concern and she looked down at his hand, "How's your hand, anyway?"
"It's fine..." he mumbled softly, his arm dropping back to his side when she released his hand. Too many thoughts were speeding through his mind at the moment... there was no way he could keep track of them all. He clung desperately to the most important one, "What day is it?"
"February 15th... don't you own a calendar?" the girl questioned with a smiling, obviously intending the last part to be more of a silly joke than a question. Darien nodded slowly before recognition hit him like a brick wall. He stumbled back, away from the clerk, his left hand slapping his forehead to try to keep his mind still for just a moment.
"Dear god... It's tomorrow... Today is tomorrow..." His clenched his eyes shut, holding his head in both hands now as he paced the length of the store, muttering to himself in hurried, worried whispers, "This can't be happening... This cannot be happening... I confessed yesterday. She knows. She knows everything about me," he stopped, his hands falling back to his sides, accompanied by a few stray tears, "Things will never be the same again... I can't go back. It's finally tomorrow and she knows everything..."
"That girl you mentioned yesterday..." the girl started. Darien's tear stained eye flew up to her, he had forgotten that he spoke to her of Serena. She was watching him with sad, worried eyes, "So, you confessed to her after all... And now you're not repeating the day anymore? Funny... I thought you were a little nutty, but I guess you were telling the truth, huh?"
Darien dismissed the last part, his eyes lowering back to the ground, trying to think of a solution to this problem. There was none. He couldn't avoid her forever... he didn't want to. He never wanted to discuss this with her, but he couldn't bear being away from her forever. To never see her klutz out again... never see her smile or sparkling blue eyes. He couldn't bear to give that up. "I have to go..."
"But you didn't even..." the girl started, but Darien had already shut the door behind him. She looked up at the chime, a sadness circling in her eyes. She barely knew him and yet she felt so sorry for the man, "Good luck... I hope you win her heart."
Andrew was cleaning the counters when Darien walked into the arcade, fear and worry staining the expression in his eyes. Andrew watched his friend with concern as he walked over to the counter. Darien sat down and clenched his hands together in front of him, they were shaking so hard they nearly rattled the table. "Darien, wha-..."
"I love her!" Darien shouted, attracting a few unwanted stares from the other customers in the arcade. Andrew fell back at the exclamation, staring at Darien in utter shock. Sure, Andrew knew Darien had always had an interest in Serena... he acted around her just like a school yard boy acts around a girl he likes. The gentle teasing and prodding with a hidden affection underneath. However, Andrew had never expected him to declare something so loudly and so suddenly to him. He assumed he would have to one day torture it out of Darien...
"Serena?" Andrew whispered and Darien's eyes flew up to him in question. Andrew smiled at Darien knowingly, "I know, Darien. I'm your best friend. You should have guessed I would have known that much."
Darien did not respond and simply lowered his gaze back down to the counter, but Andrew noticed the momentary appreciative smile that had danced across Darien's lips. Andrew leaned on the counter and stared at his friend with an interested look, waiting for him to continue in discussing his current state. However, after a few moment of silence, Andrew found that it was he who had to continue the conversation, "So, why are you so upset? Isn't this a good thing?"
"Under normal circumstances, with normal, lovable people... sure," Darien muttered, playing idly with one of the creamers on the table. He had to do something with his hands other than compelling them to stay still. His mind was racing and so was his body... everything was a storm within him right now. "Andrew... I told her."
Andrew stared at Darien with the same interested look, as though his body had been placed on pause. He stood completely still and silent until Darien had to look up at him for his reaction. Andrew's reaction came soon after his eyes met Darien's, growing wide in shock as the realization of what Darien said hit him, "You... you... WHAT?"
Darien winced, expecting the shocked reaction and yet not expecting it to be quiet as loud. The same unwanted glances found the pair of them again, more annoyed this time. Darien glared them silent before returning his eyes to Andrew, continuing, "I told Serena, yesterday, that I was in love with her... and..."
Darien stalled, tilting his head back to look up at the ceiling. He had to keep his tears within his eyes and this was currently the only way he could think of doing it. Andrew, obviously impatient to hear the rest, urged Darien on, "And?"
"She said... she didn't... no, doesn't love me," he whispered, his voice cracking under the weight of the tears that threatened to fall. Andrew was silent, waiting for Darien to look at him. Finally, Darien's gaze lowered down to his friend and the tears he had tried so hard to hold back rolled down his cheeks.
"Darien..." Andrew started, sympathy obvious in his eyes.
"I didn't know what else to say... I couldn't sort out my feelings that quickly. It..." Mina stared at Serena, concern apparent in her eyes, waiting for her friend to continue, "It wasn't what I was expecting."
Serena had come over to Mina's house last night in tears, begging to have a place to stay tonight other than her own home. Mina had happily invited her in and they proceed to gorge on ice cream, candies and romantic films until they both fell asleep. Mina had figured it was best not to force her friend into explaining the whole ordeal until the morning... Serena's tearful state had made it obvious that she needed time to think, not explain.
As soon as the sun rose, however, Mina was shaken awake by an even more upset Serena. Apparently the night had given her too much time to think and she had either not slept at all, or woke up very early this morning... both unlike her. Mina was still groggy, but happy to listen to her friend and provide the most help she could on a severe lack of sleep. They now sat, clad in their jammies, in Mina's room with boxes of tissues ready at hand.
"Serena... you said you don't love him," Mina said slowly, trying to measure her words as she said them, "Why are you so upset? Unless... you really..."
"But I can't!" Serena wailed, covering her face in a fresh tissue as she fell into another series of tears. Mina sighed, lowering her gaze to the carpet as she picked at the fibers, trying to think of a way to make this better, "I can't love him, Mina! It's Darien! The boy that's always teased me... called me names... It's just this new side of him, that's all."
"New side of him..." Mina mumbled softly, still tugging at the fibers of her carpet, "I don't think it's a new side of him, Serena. I think it's the real side of him," at the confused look on Serena's face, Mina continued, "Serena... how many romantic movies did we watch last night? Five, six? And more than half had a boy picking on a girl that he secretly loved. Doesn't that sound a tad bit familiar to you?"
"Just because he loves me," Serena muttered, throwing the tissue down to the floor with a hint of resolve, "Doesn't mean I have to. He's teased me for far too long and it's not my fault that he couldn't show his feelings like a normal boy should. I don't have to love him, I don't!"
Serena's teased started once again with the last word uttered in a broken voice. Mina reached out and pulled her friend close to her, running her hand consolingly over Serena's back. Serena shuddered against Mina, continuing to whisper, "I don't... I don't..." Mina frowned against her friend, pulling her closer to her, "Serena, nobody is saying that you have to. Nobody is saying that you have to love Darien."
Serena stopped shivering, sniffling once more before her gaze moved slowly up to meet Mina's. Her eyes were a bright blue, shining with the tears that she had cried, "I don't..."
Darien sat there, mulling over a cup of coffee that had long since turned frigid. Andrew stood next to him, as he had been for hours now despite the fact that Darien had barely spoken a single word. Everything had sunk in, chilled him to the core after two hours had passed by. Serena had not come into the arcade... and she wasn't going to, more than likely. She was avoiding him, trying to stay away from the strange man that had just confessed his love for her... the strange man that had taunted and teased her for so long.
"Darien... You can't let her get to you like this. You look like your dead inside, your eyes are darker than they've ever been before," Andrew whispered, placing a comforting hand upon Darien's shoulder. Darien thanked the warmth of a friend, but could only acknowledge Andrew's words with an unseen nod. Andrew sighed, "So, she doesn't love you... You've teased her for so long. She knows how you feel now, so treat her different. She doesn't love who you were... but you can make her love who you are."
"Andrew, I can't..." Darien whispered, pushing his chair out from under himself and standing to his feet. Andrew's hand was brushed away, although not intentionally, and he lowered it back to his side. It was obvious that Darien was still shaken, his body was trembling just was much as it had been when he had first entered the arcade. His eyes were tear stained, his lashes still wet with the tears that had long since fallen, "She doesn't love me... Serena is... Such a wonderful person, Andrew."
"I know she is, Darien, b-..." Andrew began.
"She meant everything to me and she still does... She treats everyone just as wonderful as she treats her friends. That's one of the things I love so much about her," Darien said with a sad chuckle, "So when she says that she doesn't love me... I can believe that she truly doesn't. Otherwise she would have said thank you... or that she had to think about it... But no," Darien sighed deeply, "She knew exactly what she was going to say..."
Darien almost completely dismissed the voice, about to continue in his explanation of the situation to Andrew when he realized... that wasn't his voice. He whipped around to come face to face with a pair of bright blue eyes, staring up at him with the same tear stained lashes that he bore. He stared down into her eyes in a state of shock, feeling as though he had just been doused in cold water. Serena stood before him, her hands clasped together in front of her.
"Serena, I... I'm sorry..." Darien started, his eyes flitting over to Andrew for a moment before returning to her. Her expression had not changed, but she was waiting intently for him to finish, "I'm sorry if I made you feel weird... and I'll understand if you don't want to talk to me anymore. But it won't change the fact that..."
"I love you."
Darien's eyes widened in shock as a pair of arms wrapped themselves about his neck, gentle hands sliding into his ebony locks as a pair of ruby red lips met his own. His eyes slid closed, his hands making their way around her thin waist, pulling her body up against his and reveling in the sensation. She tasted sweet against his lips, like a rush of warm chocolate mixed with the scents of fragrant roses. She was a walking Valentine's Day gift, bundled up in his arms, teasing his lips with light kisses. His left hand held the back of her head, his lips more urgent against her own and she submitted to him happily.
It was a few moments later when Andrew and Mina began clearing their throats loudly, begging their friends to come up for air. Darien and Serena separated, blue meeting blue as they stared at each other with misty gazes. "Darien... I'm sorry..."
"Why?" he whispered, the word broken, but for lack of air rather than tears.
"I lied to you yesterday... But I didn't let myself know it until now," Her left hand took his right in hers, lacing their fingers together. She held his hand over her heart and stared into his eyes, love sparkling in the crystal blue depths, "I love you."
"I love you, too... Serena."
Darien has spent the remainder of the day nestled in the booth with the girl of his dreams, blessing the day that had come and finally gone. Through all the trouble and pain he had to endure, he found that the feeling of her wrapped in his arms was worth everything. He had bid her good night with a rose and a kiss, watching as she swept into her home. He waited for her, as promised, until she was able to wave at him from the balcony upstairs.
Darien was walking on air with each step he took back to his apartment. All of his dreams had come true in a single kiss... everything he had wanted had been hidden in her lips, her arms, her eyes... her. He sighed, enjoying the crisp evening air and the quiet, velvet night.
"So... you did it..." Cupid whispered, leaning against the tall wall outside of Serena's home. The blond had watched the entire scene from a distance, enjoying her success.
"Apparently so..." she whispered, smiling proudly at the window to Serena's room, "And I'm so glad... they've found each other now. They can be happy."
"You've always been a sucker for romance... But job well done," Cupid whispered, smiling, "Happy Valentine's Day, Mina."
"Heh... a day late..." she whispered, but returned Cupid's smile, "Happy Valentine's Day, Cupid."
And... DONE! Hope you enjoy the end of "Valentine's Day". Be sure to review!