Disclaimer: The following fiction is based on characters currently owned and operated by the writers and producers of NBC TV's DAYS OF OUR LIVES. It is for entertainment purposes only.I claim no ownership of the characters.

Unavoidably Yours by Fidomom

Brady rolled out of bed with a groan. He sat on the edge of his bed rubbing his face awake.
"Happy Hearts and Flowers Day! Haven't they deleted this pathetic holiday yet? Ugh!"

Across town Chloe rolled out of bed reluctantly.
"This is gonna be one of those days that royally suck. Valentine's Day ... I'd give anything to just skip it this year. No special day to me anymore." Chloe stood up and stretched. Her phone rang.
She picked it up cautiously.
"Hello?"
"Happy Valentine's Day, beautiful!"
Chloe rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh.
"Philip? Give up. Not interested. BYE!"
She hung up.The phone rang again. She yanked it up to her ear.
"I said enough, Philip! Stop! Not interested!"
"Wow! I almost wish I was him! Way to be assertive, Chloe!"
"Brady?! Uh ... sorry. Why are you calling me?"
"Well, if you're gonna be rude to me..."
"Sorry, Brady. I'm just grumpy. Seriously, what's up?"
"Why so grumpy?"
"Today is not exactly my favorite day of the year."
"Hmmm. Mine neither. Wanna commiserate?"
"Depends what you have in mind."
"Dunno thought we could come up with something together."
"Sure but you come over here. Although I love Belle dearly, I'm in no mood for her sunny disposition, not today."
"Understood. I'll be over in about an hour unless of course you're offering me breakfast?"
Chloe smiled in spite of herself.
"Fine, Brady, you're invited for breakfast!"
"Ok then I'll be over in 20 minutes. See you soon."
They hung up. Chloe grabbed a comfy old pair of jeans and tugged them on. She grabbed an old, paint stained, raggedy sweatshirt that Brady had once owned and pulled it over her head. She had to roll up the over-stretched cuffs. She quickly threw her hair into a low riding pony tail. She scrubbed her face clean.
She went down the stairs two at a time, and headed to the kitchen to make breakfast for her and Brady. She hadn't got much done when he knocked on the door. She flung open the door.
Brady's breath caught at the sight of her in his old shirt. He knew she was going for an unromantic, unattractive look, in dishonor of Valentine's Day, but as far as he could tell she didn't know how to look anything but beautiful.
"My, my, my, Chloe don't you look fetching? Nice shirt. Looks vaguely familiar."
"Brady, I suggest you can the attitude with me or I'll starve you."
Brady laughed out loud.
"Alright, alright the attitude is hereby canned ... now feed me!"
Chloe raised an eyebrow at him.
"Do I look like your personal cook? I said you were invited for breakfast... never said I'd cook it for you."
Brady pouted.
"Ok, Chloe. I'll cook for us both then. How would that be?"
Chloe grinned at him.
"I was only teasing you, you big dork! I already started cooking it. Come on, follow me."
She reached out and took his hand, leading him toward the kitchen.
Brady didn't even think of resisting her bossy attitude. Maybe today wouldn't be so bad afterall.

After breakfast, Chloe caught Brady's attention away from the paper he was reading.
"So Brady, what's the plan for today?"
"I honestly don't know. What don't you wanna do today?"
"Hmmm. Well, all I'm sure of is that I do not want to see any evidence that today is the day that it is. If you can protect me from Valentine's Day, Brady then we will have a great day together, no matter what we end up doing."
Brady gave her one of those steady gazes that never failed to calm her and excite her all at once.
"Protect you from Valentine's Day, huh? I think I could do that."
Chloe frowned at him, puzzled.
"Really? I was half joking. Where are we going?"
Brady smiled at her and wiggled his brows.
"Well, that is a surprise! I must insist upon a blindfold for you. Is that okay with you?"
Chloe looked at him with a suspicious smile on her face.
"Okay. Sure, Brady. I trust you. Sort of."
They shared a chuckle at her disclaimer.

An hour later, Brady took the blindfold off for her.
It took a few moments for her eyes to see clearly, though.
What she saw surprised and puzzled her.
"Why here Brady?"
Brady shrugged.
"I figured it was my best shot at protecting us both from evidence of what day this is. No personal significance here for either of us, so it is just a very calm, peaceful, un-Valentine place to hang out, I think. Doubt any V-day celebrants will come here."
Chloe nodded her head smiling.
"No, you're absolutely right Brady! You really amaze me! This is the perfect place to escape V-day reminders! What shall we do here?"
Brady smiled glad that Chloe approved.
"Let's just walk and see what happens."
Hand in hand they walked on the designated paths, completely unaware of how they might look to the casual observer ... like a young couple in love spending Valentine's Day together. The very sort of image they both wanted to avoid seeing.
"It's really beautiful and quiet here. All I can hear is the wind and birds twittering. It was the perfect choice. Thank-you."
Brady looked sideways at her serene, relaxed profile and was glad he'd brought her here. She'd been so tightly wound and cranky earlier this morning and now she wasn't- to his credit.
Brady laughed softly.
"You're welcome. Hey. See that tree over there? Why don't we sit under it when we get there and we can just absorb some peace?"
Chloe spotted the tree and nodded her agreement.
"Sounds good to me."
They continued strolling, stopping occasionally to read epitaphs. Finally, they were at the tree. Brady sat first with his back against the tree. In wordless presumption on both their parts, Chloe sat between his legs in front of him and his arms wrapped around her automatically. She leaned back against his chest, closed her eyes and sighed contentedly. Then she groaned in annoyance.
"Chloe? What's wrong?"
She leaned forward slightly and pulled out her ponytail holder. She showed it to him.
"This was digging into my neck, but I'm feeling much better now."
As soon as her hair was unconstrained the wind began to make strands of it dance against Brady's arms, sending delicious thrills straight to his heart. Chloe settled back into his embrace, unaware of the havoc she was causing him. She was rather absorbed by the sensation of his heart beating against her back and of his soft breaths against her cheek. Wild horses couldn't have pried either of them away from eachother. They sat in comfortable silence undisturbed by the day for nearly 2 hours. His tummy rumbled first.
"I felt that, Brady."
"Well, breakfast was ages ago."
"Where can we go for lunch and still avoid V-day?"
"How about if we go back to your place, and order food in? We could sit in your back yard to eat."
"Hmmm. What'll we do after lunch?"
"We could maybe play boardgames?"
"Examples?"
"Monopoly, chess, backgammon, I don't know. Is there a boardgame you particularly like?"
"Checkers!"
Brady groaned.
"Figures you would pick the one game I suck at. Tink has forced me to play checkers more times than I care to recall, and now you're gonna make me play it too."
"Awww, poor baby. Normally, I might even take pity on you ... but not today! I'm feeling very mean and competitive. I'm gonna kick your butt all over the checkerboard!"
"Checkers it is then."
Chloe stood up and turned to offer a hand up to Brady.
"Uh-oh. I think my butt has fallen asleep."
Chloe chortled.
"Then you better wake it up!"
She pulled him to his feet and laughed at his pained expression and awkward gait.
"You are feeling very mean today, aren't you?"
Chloe tried hard to stop smiling at his discomfort and look properly sorry, but wasn't very successful at all.

Bellies full, Brady watched, chagrined, as Chloe won her 6th game of checkers in a row.
"I can't play again, Di- ... Chloe."
Chloe looked puzzled but didn't delve into why he'd stopped himself from calling her Diva.
"I should actually get going now."
"Oh."
"Not to worry. V-day is over in like 6 hours. I don't think any of it can taint your world in that time."
"Well, if it does it'll be all your fault because you promised to protect me from all V-day reminders."
"Duly noted. If it infiltrates your cocoon after I leave, I will suffer any penance you dish out."
"Even 20 straight games of checkers?"
Brady looked worried.
"20? Oh, man.Umm. Fine. Ok. Deal. But you have to stay home, no tv, no radio because that would just be courting disaster. Agreed?"
Chloe looked at him through slitted eyes, her lips pursed.
"Fine. Agreed. Why exactly do you have to go?"
"Got stuff to do."
Chloe pouted that he wasn't more forthcoming.
Brady stood up, stretched and walked to the door.
"Bye, Brady."
He smiled, winked, waved and then he was gone.

Chloe had Vivaldi playing quietly in her CD player, as she worked on an essay for English class. Didn't matter that it wasn't due for another 2 and a half weeks. Anything to distract herself from dwelling on the calendar date. The CD happened to end just as the first pebble hit her window pane. Chloe sat up filled with dread that it might be Philip. She looked at her alarm clock - 11:25PM. Cautiously she made her way over to her window, lifted the sash, and opened her window.
"Brady? What are you doing back?"
"I need to talk to you. Come down here, ok?"
"Ok. Hang on. I'll be right down." She closed her window and blind again. She looked down at what she was wearing, a sport numbered knee length night gown.
"This won't do at all."
She quickly changed.
She undid her messy topknot and hurriedly pulled a brush through her hair. Then she went to meet Brady in the backyard.
"What took you so long?"
"Sorry, Brady, but sneaking downstairs to meet you is not something I could do in a hurry- I had to be quiet."
"Oh. Of course."
"So what did you want to talk to me about?"
Brady's eyes roamed over her appreciatively and undetected by Chloe.
"Come sit with me, and I'll tell you."
Chloe shivered slightly in the wintry, night air.
"Why don't you come upstairs with me, instead? It's really cold out here."
"What, you mean to your room?"
"Yes, to my room. I trust you. I think even Nancy and Craig trust you. Please, Brady, I'm freezing."
Brady took off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders.
"Ok. I'll go upstairs with you."
Chloe led the way. Once inside her room, Chloe closed and locked the door. Brady looked at her warily.
"Sometimes Nancy looks in on me."
Brady nodded his head. The scents permeating the room were driving him wild, making it difficult to think. He tried his standard attitude.
"So, Chloe, did you successfully escape the trappings of V-day?"
Chloe lay on her bed, on her side with her head propped in her hand. She smiled up at him.
"Yes, as a matter of fact I did!"
"Whew! I'm glad. I did not relish the idea of 20 straight games of checkers."
"Brady? You're stalling. You said you wanted to talk to me about something."
"I'm getting to the point, patience."
Brady glanced at the clock.
"Is that the correct time or is it set ahead?"
Chloe looked at him, puzzled as usual.
"It's precisely the correct time, why?"
"Well in that case V-day is officially over."
"Yes! Thanks to you, Brady, I had the best un-Valentine Valentine's Day ever!"
"I enjoyed myself, too."
Brady noticed her silk robe was gaping open and his breath caught.
"Umm, Diva? You might want to umm close your robe."
Chloe looked down surprised, but made no move to fix it.
"You haven't called me Diva all day... why now?"
Brady was disconcerted by her lack of concern over her gaping lingerie.
He sat down on the bed beside her, closed her robe for her and tucked her hair behind her ear.
"Diva is my cutesy little pet name for you and you specifically requested an un-cute day. V-day is over now so I figured you wouldn't mind me calling you that now."
"I wouldn't have minded earlier, either."
"I'll know better for next year."
"I'm hoping that next year we will be in entirely different circumstances."
"Me too. I have something for you. An un-Valentine card, if you will."
Chloe smiled as she looked at the plain white homemade card.
She opened it, read the message inside and laughed with relief.

Now that V-day is at an end
I'm laying it on the line.
I'm asking for more than a friend,
Chloe Lane will you please be mine?

Chloe looked into his nervous face, and smiled. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him repeatedly.
"Yes, Brady!"
Brady hauled her onto his lap to kiss her properly. She broke their kiss, turned in his arms, straddled him and pushed him down onto his back. Supporting herself with her arms, she held herself over him and looked into his eyes. Her hair was like a tent about their faces.
"Brady, avoiding Valentine's Day was a complete success except for one thing. I was forced to face all day long from breakfast to the walk in the cemetery to the checkers games one inescapable truth ... that I'm already yours. Unavoidably yours."

Brady smiled up at her. He reached for the belt on her pale-purple, silk robe and slowly undid it, giving ample time for her to prevent it. She didn't. She sat up and let him slide it off her shoulders and down her arms.
"When you came to the window this is not what you were wearing."
"I know."
"I thought you looked plenty sexy in the sporty one."
"You don't like this one?"
"I didn't say that. I'm merely pointing out that this one has me on sensory overload. Damn, you are too young and sweet to be this sexy."
"Shut up and kiss me."
"Gladly."
They kissed for a long while. Brady resisted going too far.He still had not so much as let his hands wander. Chloe was getting mighty impatient.
"Brady? Why won't you touch me? I need to feel your hands on me. Please? Touch me everywhere."
"I'm not a saint, Diva. If I start touching you it will be way more difficult to stop before we go too far."
"I don't want you to stop."
"We have lots of time, Chloe. I will make love to you someday but it doesn't have to be tonight."
"So I get no say in this?"
"That isn't what I meant. Of course you get a say."
"Then I'm choosing tonight. I want you to kiss me and touch me and hold me and make love to me tonight."
"Why? Why is it so important that this happen tonight?"
"Why are you so against it?"
"Dammit, Chloe I don't wanna fight with you! Especially not over this."
"I think you do. I think that's exactly what you want!"
"That's it. I'm outta here. I love you, Chloe but I have got to get outta here."
"What did you say?"
"I have to get out of here?"
"In between that."
"I love you."
"That's what I thought I heard. Is that true?"
"Yes! Cripes! I am insanely, passionately in love with you!"
"Then don't go."
"I have to or your trust and your parents trust in me is sadly misplaced."
"You leave me no other choice."
Chloe got up from the bed and removed her silky camisole, leaving her completely topless.
"Still leaving, Brady?"
Brady's eyes glazed with lust. He answered her through clenched teeth.
"Yes. I am. I have to. But I'll never be far away from you. Not physically, not emotionally, not spiritually, and not mentally, either. I will never run or hide from you because I know you'd just find me again anyway. Apparently, I'm unavoidably yours, as well. Always remember that truth. I love you, my sweet Diva."
Chloe smiled at Brady in relief.
"Thank-you. I will always remember. And Brady?"
"Yeah?"
"I love you."
Brady held her briefly before kissing her tenderly. He smiled into her eyes, and then he left her room. Chloe could still feel him present in every fibre of her being though... just as he had promised.