Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: This is unbeta'd so all mistakes are mine. I wrote this for love_bingo on LiveJournal.
There was so much Kevin wished he could say; so much he wanted to just let him know. Like how important he is; how much better life became when they met once more after so much time apart, or how Kevin just can't imagine anyone else in his life.
Like how much he loves his smile, the full blown grin that reveals such indented dimples. Like how much he adored those moments, like early in the morning or late at night, when he's half asleep, can barely keep his eyes open, and he curls himself against Kevin's side. He would press against him, searching for the most contact possible. He would nuzzle his neck and place delicate kisses to any expanse of skin he could reach. If Kevin had to pick a moment – any moment – when he was most beautiful, he would chose that period of subdued togetherness.
It was those moments that made his breath catch, his heart flutter and involuntary smiles cross his face. The urge to just tell him would become so powerful that the words would already be on the tip of his tongue before his brain had formed the command.
But then something would happen. His tongue would become heavy, preventing his confession, and the momentary stall would send the words scattering into darkness, where he was no longer able to reach them.
Why was it so difficult?
He had said those three words, and more, so many times in the past – he knew the task was possible, and yet he was incapable with the one man he was almost certain he cared for more than anyone or anything else.
Maybe that was why. Maybe it was because he did care, because it was real, that he can't bring himself to make the mistake of rushing, especially not if it meant losing Scotty again.
The man was perfect, too good for Kevin he believed, and he still couldn't understand how Scotty could love him at all. It astounded him that out of all the men on earth, all the ones without the emotional baggage, or crazy, gossiping and domineering families, Scotty had chosen him.
Yet he still couldn't say those three damn words!
Kevin had tired writing down how he felt but even then, the words seemed to muddle together. Sentences just didn't come out right. He just couldn't seem to find the right words to fully express how in love with the chef he actually was.
So with no way to say or write what needed to be said, he had to settle for this. The florist that he had spoken to had told him a single red rose was the most romantic of gestures; that it meant, plainly and simply, 'I love you'. The cynical side of him had doubted that very much but, by this point, he had pretty much admitted defeat. It was worth a try, just in case.
As Scotty lay curled up beneath the wrinkled duvet cover, deep and content in slumber, Kevin carefully placed the slim vase with the apparently special flower. He examined it carefully and wondered truly if it really said so much.
It was slightly arched over the right side of the vase, almost as if bowing in Scotty's direction. For a brief moment, the thought hit him that the vase looked oddly empty, the rose lonely, and Kevin bit his bottom lip in worry.
However there was little he could do at this point. He had to get to work. He hesitated momentarily before turning his attention to the sleeping man. A soft smile crossed his face and he allowed himself a few moments to memorise the perfect features, to trace them with the tip of his fingers. Scotty leant into the touch slightly and released a small moan, but he didn't wake.
"Let's see if you can still read me like a comic book," Kevin mumbled a hopeful expression on his face.
He allowed himself one moment of hesitation, as if to be sure that the image would stay with him throughout the day, before he forced his legs to move, leaving the warm bed behind to face the cold winds outside.
Scotty loved slow winter mornings. The time before you had fully woken up and were lost in a sleepy haze, kept dormant by the cocoon of heat that duvet created. He breathed out deeply, and rolled over onto his stomach, his hand automatically reaching out to find his lover.
Eyes closed, he couldn't help but frown as his splayed hand came in contact with the cold, empty loft side of the bed. A sound of disappointment escaped him. He couldn't help it. Just because he knew Kevin had to work today (they could never seem to have a day off together), didn't mean he wasn't just a little saddened to find the man had already left.
With a defeated sigh, he rolled onto his back, keeping his eyes closed as if that would help him hold onto an extra few moments of sleep. Not that it would help much. He'd gotten so used to falling asleep with Kevin beside him; it was difficult to drift off without him. Just more proof that I love him, he thought with a wiry smile.
And he did love Kevin, probably more than he ever thought he would. Even despite the bad experiences when they first met – and the ones he hoped would never come – Scotty had given his heart to Kevin, with no intention of ever offering a returns policy.
Just as Kevin had given his to Scotty. Like his own, it held battle wounds, unhealed scars and frayed edges, that showed the difficulties life had brought; that showed he had survived.
Maybe that was why he couldn't say those words.
Kevin had once told him that every time he had truly loved someone, when he had built up the courage needed to declare how he felt, something had always happened to take it away from him. Scotty knew better than anyone the intense need to withdraw and protect yourself, to never want to love again because it just wasn't worth the countless heartbreak, but he never allowed himself to completely hide. It was difficult, painful, but with the help of Jordan and Michelle, he had been able to pull through even the darkest of days.
Kevin…he didn't have that. From what Scotty could gather, his lover had always preferred his own company to others, which was understandable in the chaos he could only imagine Kevin experienced, growing up in the Walker household. The Walker news vine would have ensured his feelings to become public knowledge and with all the tension that followed his coming out, it was just easier to keep everything bottled up inside.
Sarah and Justin were probably Kevin's closest siblings, the ones who seemed to come to him for help and vice versa, and not even they had been privy to some of the most heart wrenching tales that Kevin had reluctantly told him one night after a particularly awkward encounter with a boyfriend from law school.
Yes, Scotty completely understood Kevin's hesitance but every once and a while, that didn't stop one desperately selfish part of him wish he could – just once – hear the words that he could see getting caught in his lover's throat. The rational part of him would always quickly squash that thought as it arises, replacing it wish feelings of guilt at his need to rush the man; to force him to say something he clearly wasn't ready for.
And Scotty would wait, because he couldn't imagine a future without Kevin Walker and his crazy, overbearing yet completely lovable family in it. He didn't need words, as long as he had Kevin.
Finally admitting defeat against the morning sun, Scotty slowly opened his eyes. Sitting up straight, the duvet piling in his lap, he yawned loudly and stretched the stiffness from his joints. His eyes darted to the bedside table to check the time but stalled at the new addition to the mess of papers, letters and gadgets he kept there.
The flower rested still against the tall glass vase, turned towards him, almost as if it had been watching him as he slept. His heart pounding, he reached out a hand to feel the delicacy of the petals on his fingertips.
Scotty smiled softly, he loved roses. They were the personification of love, something so beautiful and fragile, surrounded by an army of thorns, and he had never received one before. Just when he thought he couldn't love the man anymore, he went and did something so simply perfect. He probably didn't even realise what he had done; it was so like Kevin.
Then a thought occurred to him: what if he did? What if he had thought and planned about this one romantic gesture? He had to admit, that sounded more like the Kevin he knew and loved. The man really did not possess a spontaneous bone in his body.
Vaguely, he recalled a memory from when he was a child. His father, an avid gardener, had taken great delight in telling his son about every flower he had planted in their garden back in Mississippi. It was when he had first decided the rose would be his favourite flower.
"Roses say a lot more than people believe they do. Every one obsesses over their romanticisms and receiving a bouquet of a dozen red roses, but let me tell you son, just one – just a single red rose says it all to the person you love. No more is needed. If that isn't enough, then maybe she isn't the one for you, understand Scotty?"
Those words had stuck with him and he had kept to their meaning, perhaps without even realising it. He had never wanted the extravagancies or luxuries that people seemed to need to prove their love for each other; he didn't want that. Sometimes, the simple things were what really mattered.
Scotty lifted the flower from the water and allowed himself to take in the sweet aroma.
"One red rose is all you need to tell someone you love them," he mumbled, allowing the flower to roll easily between his finger and thumb.
He didn't need Kevin to say the words at all, didn't need verbal confirmation. Because this one simple flower, a red rose, told him everything he needed to know.
It was later than Kevin expected when he finally reached his apartment. The preparations for the preliminary trial the next day had taken longer than he thought it would. Although that was probably down to the fact that he hadn't been completely on take all day.
Ever since he had left that morning, his mind had been consumed with doubts. Had he made the right decision? Would Scotty appreciate it? Would he understand? He had hoped he would get back early, so he could get the answers he had been craving all day, as he was both relieved and disappointed to find their home still and silent.
As always when one of them worked late, the hall light outside the bedroom had been left on. Too tired to do anything else, he kicked off his work shoes and untucked his shirt, removing his jacket, following where the left led him like a moth to a flame.
Scotty was already a sleep, although the open book rested across his chest said he had tried to stay up and wait for him. Smiling fondly, Kevin carefully closed the book, marking the page, and placing it on the bedside table.
Kevin ran his hand over Scotty's short hair, continuing the trace along his cheekbones, his stubble and his slightly parted lips. It was there he paused, just watching as the man instinctively moved to lick his bottom lip. The tip of his tongue brushed the pads of his fingers, and he frowned slightly.
"Kev…" he muttered, confused.
For a brief moment, Kevin thought maybe he'd woken up but Scotty's eyes remained firmly shut. "Yeah, it's me…just go back to sleep," he whispered soothingly.
The light haired man smiled sleepily. "Kevin…"
Smiling at how sweet his half asleep boyfriend was, he couldn't help but wonder if Scotty understood how he felt now; if he now knows how much Kevin loved him.
Biting his bottom lip, he glanced towards the bedside table hesitantly, silently hoping his gift would still be where he had left it.
What he saw didn't fail to make his heart flutter and a grin broke out across his tired face; once again amazed at how well Scotty could need him, even without him having to say anything.
In the vase, two roses now sat. Both equally as beautiful as each other, their stems intertwined under the water. The flower heads were arched as if peering over the edge of the glass.
Yes, now the flower didn't look so lonely.
"You, Scotty Wandell, are just brilliant…" Kevin muttered in awe, relieved.
He didn't need to say those three words. Maybe he would, one day, but until then, this would be enough.