He had never been the romantic type.
For him, a quick shuffling of hair, a bump of the fist, or even a chaste hug was equivalent to shouting to the world his deepest emotional bonds to another. Going beyond that was absurd and unneeded.
As a child, his main influence on how to show affection was his mother. A simple caress of the cheek or warm smile was all he ever needed. These small acts spoke in volumes to him and his brother. She never needed to go out of her way to express her love; it was one of the very few things he never had to question.
After her death, the strong and abrasive women that brought him up showed their adoration in even simpler acts. Crude, yet playful banter, crisp grins, and a proud gleam in their eyes showed him their love. It was that type of affection that was engraved into his nature, and how he expressed his emotions to others.
So, when he finally arrived at the Resembool Station, his heart beating frantically out of his chest, he couldn't understand just what the hell was wrong with him.
Then he saw her.
She was standing on the platform in her casual attire. Her hair was in a messy ponytail, and a smudge of grease that she must not have noticed was painted across her fair cheek. The way her hands rested on her hips, that gleeful smirk on her face, and the sparkle of anticipation in her eyes; he couldn't help but drop his bags and make a running start towards her.
Public displays of affection were not his style, but seeing her made him grow desperate for her touch. She must have reacted faster than he anticipated, because before he could even calculate the distance between them she had leaped into his arms and clung to him so very tightly.
As he deepened his hold on her, he thought of his teacher and her husband, of the late Mr. Hughes and his wife. Their displays of affection had once seemed to be so comical, so dramatic and nauseating. It was only now that he realized it was merely the raw emotional affect of a lover's embrace.
He nuzzled the nape of her neck and breathed in the scent of her hair.
"I missed you." He whispered.
The momentary tightening of her arms around him let him know that the feeling was mutual.