It's Midnight and Daisy Steiner's Ex-Boyfriend is a Massive Wanker

*

It's 12:15am and Daisy is yelling at the dartboard.

"Honestly, I'm well rid of him. Smug bastard. Always talking about oooooh, I got a promotion, Daisy. And oooooh, let's go somewhere nice tonight, Daisy. And ooooh, you look pretty in that dress, Daisy. "

"Smug bastard," Tim echoes vaguely, squinting as he readies to toss a dart at the board. It's not that he's not listening; it's just that he's heard it before.

"I mean, he didn't really get me, you know," Daisy says. "My art, my creativity, my soul. He took me for granted is what it is. Never remembered my birthday."

"To be fair," Tim says. "You didn't actually have a birthday while you were going out."

"Yes, well. That's not the point is it?" Daisy snaps. "I'm making a point about how he wasn't there for me during the important times, Tim. The times when a girl needs her boyfriend to really-"

"Didn't he have a birthday last month?" Tim says. She jerks her shoulders defensively. "That you forgot."

"Yes, well..." Daisy trails off. She frowns at the dartboard. "He was a massive wanker is my point."

Tim shrugs and resumes aiming.

"Did I ever tell you how much he loved Attack of the Clones?"

Tim's dart flies into the back of a chair.

"He said it was better than Empire."

"That godless bastard."

It's 12:28am and Daisy is crying into a pint of Guinness.

"I don't know what went wrong this time," she says.

"He was a massive wanker."

"I don't know, Tim. I really don't. I think maybe this time he wasn't. Maybe this was a good one and I've cocked it up and I'll always cock it up and I'll never have anyone and I'm going to die alone and maybe be eaten by carrion birds or ants and no one will care or-"

"Whoa there, pickle," Tim says. "Take a breath. You're not going to die alone."

"I'm not?" She raises her teary face. Her nose is running, but there's hope in her eyes.

"There's always Colin," he says. "Assuming of course that you die within the next, let's estimate about 18 or so years, taking into account the little bugger's most probable lifespa-" Daisy's face crumples. "I mean dogs don't live that-" Her head clunks down onto the table. Tim stops. "Anyway, you'll find someone else." He quickly changes tack. "Someone who appreciates your art and remembers your birthday."

"And isn't a massive wanker?"

"Exactly."

"And looks just like Daniel Craig?"

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves."

It's 1:32am and Daisy is singing Do You Believe in Life After Love? at the top of her lungs.

"Is it possible that your taste in music gets worse when you're drunk?" Tim says as they stagger back to their flat. She's completely smashed and leaning heavily against him. It's inconvenient, but he has to admit, not entirely unpleasant. "I hope to Christ you wouldn't sing that song sober."

"Shove off," Daisy says. "Cher understands a woman's heart." She dramatically pushes her clenched fist against her chest. "A woman's heart, Tim, cries out-"

"Too bad she doesn't understand a man's eardrums." He heads her off before she can really get going.

The soft familiar weight of her heaves against his side when she stumbles. He tightens his arm around her waist, keeping her upright. "I'm walking here," she grumbles to the bumpy sidewalk, right before she bends over and splatters her guts all over the pavement. And Tim's shoes. And his favorite pair of jeans.

"These are my favorite jeans," he says. She wipes at her mouth with the back of her hand and looks up at him through her hair. He thinks she might cry again. He doesn't want her to cry again.

"I'm sorry," she says. "They're very good jeans."

He sighs and helps her fling her arm back over his shoulder. Her head lolls against his, the feathery wisps of her hair tickling the back of his neck. She feels sloppy and warm and sweaty and soft in his arms.

"Come on, pickle," he says. "We're almost home."

It's 2:17am and Daisy is not paying attention to the TV.

The TV, where Tim is playing Die Hard because watching John McClane shoot people is the best way to recover after a breakup. This is a proven fact. She's not even looking though, as another bad guy falls down an elevator shaft.

"What if I never get it right?" she says, her voice small.

"It's almost at the good part," Tim shushes her.

"I mean it, Tim." She's not crying now, and she doesn't sound drunk. Well, she doesn't sound as drunk as Tim knows she is. She's looking at him clear-eyed and serious and sad. "What if this is it?"

And because she's looking at him so serious and sad, he has to take the question seriously. "Is this so bad?" he asks, and he can't quite keep the hurt out of his voice. "Us here?"

"Of course we have a laugh," Daisy says. "But I'm talking about my life, Tim. It's okay for you. You've got your comics deal, and you're on your way to bigger things. But I'm just- Stuck." She frowns and plucks at the hem of her shirt. "What if the writing never takes off? What if I never find anyone?"

He pushes a bit of her hair back behind her ear, his fingers grazing against her cheek. "Don't be so overdramatic, Dais." He pinches her earlobe between his fingers. "You'll get it all. I know you will. Everything you want."

She meets his eyes for a moment, hesitating before she flops back into the sofa cushions. She puts her head down on his shoulder, reaching out to scoop Colin into her lap. "I wonder what that is exactly."

"Pay attention." He points to the TV. "This is the good part."

It's 2:45am and Daisy is half-asleep against Tim's shoulder.

She's only drooling a little bit. A very tiny bit, barely worth mentioning.

"You've never forgotten my birthday," she mumbles.

"And I never will." He wraps his arm around her and reaches to pat her awkwardly on the head.

"You never will, will you."

"I just said that."

"But it's true, isn't it."

It wasn't really a question, but he answers it anyway. "Of course it's true. I wouldn't have said it otherwise."

She looks up, and her eyelids are heavy on the edge of sleep. Her cheeks are flushed pink and her lips are parted the slightest bit. She touches his cheek bone, slides her finger down to his goatee and tugs.

"Ow," he says, even though it doesn't hurt at all. Everything feels a little bit suspended in midair, waiting, paused with its breath caught in its throat. Like bullet time in The Matrix.

"Is this so bad?" he says. Only it means something else this time, and they both know it. "Us here?"

She shakes her head no. He stares at her lips, and it seems like the most natural thing in the world to lean toward them. To touch his own lips to them. It feels like the most natural thing in the world to pull her closer to him on the couch, and tangle his fingers in her hair, and bite her bottom lip. It feels like something he hadn't even realized he was waiting for.

It's 2:48am and Daisy is finally getting it right.

end