Scott steps out of the shower and rubs the towel over his shaggy brown hair. After sulking around the apartment for three full minutes after Daphne left, he figured he may as well move on; he had lost the war without a fight.
She's gone, and you let her go. Nice going, Renaldi.
He wraps the towel around his waist and opens the door to the hall. Walking past Daphne's door, he does a double take and pauses.
Was her door closed when she left?
He pauses only a moment longer before shaking his head and willing himself to continue to his room.
She didn't come home, you asshole. She's out with James. Get a grip, man.
Hoping to drown out his thoughts, he blasts some music from his computer, changes into some pants, and pulls out a book from his shelf. He reads the same page for a sixth time, realizing with each pass that he hadn't been paying attention to the words and starting over. Halfway through the seventh attempt, he slams the book closed.
Maybe a drink.
Walking out to the sink for some water, he keeps his gaze focused on the floor in front of him. He positions a glass under the nozzle and runs the tap. He was so lost in his own thoughts he almost didn't hear the faint giggle coming from behind the couch. He stops the tap.
"You're playing your 'Everything Sucks' playlist. Are you alright?"
He slowly turns to see Daphne's head peeking out from the top of the couch. She disappears only to reappear standing, walking toward him this time. She's dressed in her pajamas; a white tank top and a pair of his favorite boxers that she stole, simply stating that they were her favorite, too. He's lost count of how many times she's made him hold his breath tonight.
She grabs the glass of water out of his hand. "Miss me?"
He watches her throat drink the water down as she empties the glass.
"Yes…" he says with a sigh, then quickly corrects himself. "I mean—no! Well, no, I mean yes—and well, you were… what are you doing here? Well, not here, I mean. Obviously, you live here. But what are—"
Wiping her upper lip of water, she cuts him off. "I came back." She stares at him silently for a moment, and walks back toward the couches.
"Why…?" One hundred thoughts race through his head, and he pushes aside the ninety-nine thoughts that are his fantasies and focuses in on the only one that could be based in reality. "He stood you up?!"
Daphne turns to look at Scott, now wild with rage. "What? No, Scott…"
"I'll murder him!" He lunges for his keys and charges for the door. "Who the HELL does he think he is, standing up the smartest, funniest, most beautiful—"
"Scott? Scott! SCOTT—SCOTT!" She flies past him, and stands between him and the door. "Scott! Easy, killer. James didn't stand me up!"
A few seconds passed before he fully registered the words. His breathing begins to slow. "What? He didn't?"
"No! To be truthful, I stood him up…" She looks down at her hands touching his bare chest. "And just what in the world were you going to do sans-shirt?"
He looks down, too. He then backs away, embarrassed, his chest searing in the places her hands had rested. "Yeah," he laughs, a little sheepishly. "I have… no idea."
They both laugh tensely.
Scott shakes his head. "Wait—rewind. You, you stood James up?"
Daphne cringes. "Yeah… awkward. I hope it doesn't ruin things for all of us hanging out and stuff, but I don't think it was meant to happen. You know?"
Scott lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "Well, what happened?"
"Oh my god, what didn't happen?" Daphne falls backwards onto the couch in fake exasperation, and Scott can't help but grin at the gesture. "I mean, my hair wasn't working—you saw it; and my feet were killing me in those heels I had to put on because of that dress; and oh, that dress…"
"I like that dress," he offers weakly, still smiling, assuming she's not listening.
But instead of continuing on her rant, she lies still, listening to the both of them breathe almost in sync.
He thinks she may have passed out from delusion. "Daphne…?"
"What," she croaks without looking at him.
He gets up and pulls her off the couch so that they're standing toe to toe. "What really happened tonight." He's trying to get a good read on her face.
Is she upset?
She notices that the feel of his breath on her face is making her dizzy. She offers a quiet, "I was hoping you could tell me."
Daphne looks down at his chest, a chest that has grown to be hard and strong, but conceals a weakness behind it. She leans forward and touches a single kiss just below his left shoulder, over his heart.
Scott speaks through shaky breathing. "What are you doing?"
"I'm kissing it better."
They stare at each other as silence hangs in the air.
"Why didn't you tell me it hurt?"
He looks at her hand resting on his chest. "I didn't know how much."
Slowly, Scott takes her hand in his, opens it, and places a kiss on the inside of her palm. She watches him fixedly, and feels a crushing weight lifting from her. He works his way little by little down the inside of her arm and finally hooks it around the back of his neck. He presses her against his body tightly, foreheads touching.
"How is this possible," he whispers.
She answers, "Because love comes through the lips."
A moment passes and he lifts his head to meet her gaze, to catch her breath, to kiss it better.