Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. This is my yearly gift to a friend so be kind and review.
"Why can't I get into my room?" Lance looks up from his guitar and gives me a stare that suggests it's fairly obvious why I'm unable to enter my own room. I give him a glare that says he better start with the explaining before I move him myself.
"Todd says he wants it to be a surprise," explains Lance simply, "Happy birthday, by the way." My brother cannot close his mouth for five seconds. Really, I've watched him try and it's impossible. So, of course, everyone in the house knows that, yes, today's our birthday. I'm sure they're planning something for later tonight but Todd decided to spring this on me now.
"My furniture is sitting in the hallway," I say to Lance as I gesture to my dresser, "Is there some reason why it looks like I'm being evicted from this house?"
"Freddy moved it out," explains Lance as he casually goes back to tuning his guitar, "Look; me and him are just the hired help. Todd's the mastermind." I give him a sour look for his choice of words.
"You know I hate that word," I tell him.
"Sorry," apologizes Lance, "Todd says you can't come in till it's ready, whatever it is, so he sticks me here while he and Freddy are in there. I just do what I'm told."
"Famous last words," I mutter as I take a seat on the floor, "So you don't even know what this thing is?"
"It's big," replies Lance, "It must be something special too because he's really paranoid about you seeing it before it's finished." Lance leans his chair back against the door, steadying himself by keeping his feet on the floor while he continues to screw around with his guitar. It's the perfect "bad boy" image and it's not hard to see why a girl would go for that. People are attracted to danger. Me? I prefer a little less chaos in my life. I'm dangerous enough as it is and sometimes I wonder if that's what Todd sees in me. Maybe I'm just the drug that gets him high. Maybe my self-image is shot to Hell and I'm looking for another excuse to tell myself I'm not good enough for him.
"You look like you're sad about something," says Lance. I stare at him for a moment. I'm not a girl who enjoys spilling her guts. Todd's probably the only person I'm comfortable with and that doesn't say much because there's a lot of things I won't tell even him.
"You wouldn't understand," I tell him.
"Might as well try me," says Lance, "It's not like you've got better things to do."
"Sometimes I can't take him," I admit, "It's just . . . all the presents and kisses and nicknames and . . ."
"You're smothered?" asks Lance.
"No," I tell him with a sigh, "I just don't feel like I'm worth it all. I'm not good enough for him. He deserves better than me." I look at Lance and I can tell he knows what that's like. I've seen him come home after fights with Kitty. He'll have this look on his face like someone beat the crap out of him. Lance may talk the tough-guy talk but we all do that and we've gotten good at seeing through each other's lies. None of us feel like we're good enough. It's probably the reason why we're stuck with each other.
"Everybody's good enough for someone," says Lance.
"What if I'm not though?" I ask, "Really, what if there are a dozen other girls out there that are better for him?" It's a mystery to me why Todd loves me. I'll never figure it out. Through all the abuse I gave him and the trauma I've been through he's never once turned his back on me. I've done so many terrible things to him but he's still able to love me in spite of it all. I can't measure up to that standard. There's no way I can ever give me all the things he's given me.
"Maybe there are," admits Lance with a shrug, "I've known Todd longer than you have. You and him are good for each other."
"Like you and Kitty?" I ask.
"On our good days, yeah," replies Lance, "There might be other people out there better for Todd or you or me or Kitty but they're not here. Sometimes, well, you have to realize that what's right in front of you can be the best thing you've ever had."
"Maybe," I relent, "I still don't think I'm worth it."
"Me neither," assures Lance, "It doesn't stop us all from trying though." There's movement on the other side of the door. Lance tips his chair forward as the door opens just enough for Todd to slide himself through and into the hallway.
"Is it safe for me to go in?" I ask him. Todd smiles and holds out his hand to help me up off the floor. There are small streaks of something on his face and on his clothes.
"Come see," says Todd as he leads me inside. The first thing I notice aside from the distinct lack of furniture is that the walls are a different color. The old, chipping, off-white paint is gone. Instead, the walls are painted burgundy, a deep and rich burgundy that matches the color of my coat. Todd beams as he points upward. I look up at the ceiling and swear I'm staring straight into the sky. The ceiling is painted a deep purple, the kind you see if you stare into the sky at dusk just after the sun's gone down. Purple and blue and black all collide and create a wonderful hue that makes it feel like you're really staring into the cloudless night sky. It's beautiful, so incredibly beautiful that all I can do is stand there in awe and realize that this is still my room.
"Still have to wait till it dries," explains Todd, "It might take longer than I planned though."
"For me?" I ask because it's the only coherent thought I can form, "This . . . is for me?"
"Happy Birthday," says Todd with a grin, "You like it?" I don't respond with words. I just kiss him and it says so much more than words ever could. I'm not worth his time, his effort, his anything. I will never be his ideal girl. I don't have to be. He loves me just as I am. He always has and always will. I don't have to be good enough for him because in his eyes I'm already the best girl in the world just because of who I am. I may never give Todd back all the things he's given me but as long as I give him my heart then it'll always be good enough for him.