Delicate Hearts


'The road has been long and eventful, but we reached our destination nevertheless. We overcame every obstacle thrown our way and came out stronger than ever before. Lucas and I, we're each other's end game, the forever we were both unconsciously looking for. I can't possibly imagine a life without him. We're so entangled in each other it'd be impossible for one to breathe without the other.'

Jasmine stared at the neatly written down words, the short paragraph she wrote in her notepad while absentmindedly listening to the guest speaker in front of the auditorium. Thirty minutes left before her second week of college would end and the long-awaited weekend began. She'd seriously underestimated college. It was much harder than she ever anticipated.

In the end, Jasmine decided to study History. She'd debated following Lucas' advice and studying Psychology, but eventually just listened to her heart. Her favorite subject always had been History and she'd love to become a teacher, to stand in front of a class and actually teach them something useful.

Lucas and she had come a long way. They were currently looking at houses together. Frank and Gabriella thought it was a little too soon, but neither of them planned to listen to them. They knew for sure they were each other's other half and couldn't wait to start their future together. No matter what people said, Jasmine knew Lucas was the one for her.

Her cellphone buzzed in her pocket. A smile touched Jasmine's lips as she read Lucas' text. 'Waiting for you outside. Can't wait to show you your present.' Today was their one year anniversary. Lucas had been teasing her all week, hinting he bought her the perfect present, but never ruining the surprise. It was nerve wrecking.

The past year, Lucas had come a long way. He'd gotten his degree in accounting and was currently working as an assistant in an accounting firm. Jasmine couldn't have been more proud of him. He'd successfully turned over a new leaf, quit using drugs and started being more responsible. Honestly, it was more than Jasmine ever dared to dream. His smoking addiction was the only bad habit he refused to quit. As much as it bothered Jasmine, she accepted defeat. Lucas had changed a lot for her. It wouldn't feel right to ask for more.

"You do realize staring at your cellphone isn't magically going to make time go faster, right?" a low voice whispered in her ear. Shaking her head, Jasmine elbowed the boy sitting next to her in the ribs.

"Don't annoy me, Morrison. I was in a good mood today," Jasmine warned. Liam Morrison was the first guy she'd encountered at college. He was also the most annoying one she ever met. Jasmine often wondered if he might secretly like her. He always seemed to be around. Sadly for Liam, her heart was already taken. Another nice girl would come across his path and he would have what Jasmine experiences every day.

"Going out with your bad boy?" Liam asked lightly. Jasmine grinned inwardly. Yup, Liam totally liked her. He constantly hinted about her relationship and asked questions about Lucas.

"It's our anniversary today," she admitted with a bright smile. Liam's face fell slightly, but he quickly recovered by smirking.

"You know if you ever get tired of your prince charming, call me," Liam winked, before standing up, throwing his book bag over his shoulder and walking away. It was only then Jasmine realized the class had ended.

Still smiling, Jasmine put her notepad and pen back in her satchel. She couldn't wait to see what Lucas got her. Hopefully, his present wouldn't make hers seem like something nugatory in comparison. After many evenings of lying awake, contemplating what she should buy, Jasmine had gotten Lucas a new leather jacket to wear when he took his bike out. His old one looked completely worn because of how often he wore it. It seemed like a nice gift at the time. Now, however, Jasmine worried if it was too obvious.

Walking towards the exit, Jasmine grinned when she noticed Lucas waiting just outside the building, his back leaning against the wall while he took another drag off his lit cigarette. He looked damn handsome in the snugly fitting jeans and the black shirt he was wearing. His raven locks looked slightly disheveled as usual and his eyes were gleaming with mischief.

"Princess," Lucas smirked, winking as he dropped the still burning cigarette to the floor and extinguished it with the sole of his onyx boots. "Ready?" he asked.

Nodding, Jasmine took ahold of Lucas' hand and intertwined their fingers. They were going to dinner first, just the two of them, before returning to the mansion where Frank and Gabriella undoubtedly were waiting for them.

"I still can't believe you've got a new tattoo," Jasmine mumbled, shaking her head in disbelief as she watched the scenery fy by. They were on their way back home. Lucas had shown her his newest tattoo a few minutes earlier, a princess clad in black with their anniversary date underneath. It was safe to say her present could never compare with his and Lucas hadn't even given her the real present yet.

"It's just a tattoo, princess," Lucas smirked, his eyes focused on the road.

"It's not just any tattoo, Luke. What if we break up? You'll forever have a tattoo of me on your body," Jasmine insisted, still frowning.

"Ink that'll remind me of the beauty we shared. I don't ever want to forget about you, princess, no matter if we're together or not," Lucas retorted.

"That could change," Jasmine stubbornly carried on.

"Not for me," Lucas stated, shaking his head. Turning his head to the side to look at her, he mumbled, "I'll always love you, nothing can change that."

"Don't make me cry!" Jasmine muttered, annoyed as she felt tears well up in her eyes. Why did he always have to say the perfect things?

Lucas body shook with laughter as he grinned widely. "You're too damn cute," he muttered as they drove up the driveway.

Jasmine had successfully been able to blink away the tears by the time Lucas parked the car. She wondered what Gabriella was up to. That morning before she left for college, Gabriella had instructed Jasmine and Lucas to come home before Frank and she went to bed. Apparently, they wanted to give them a gift on their anniversary.

"Do you have any idea what your mom has planned?" Jasmine asked curiously as she got out of the car and waited for Lucas to lock the vehicle.

"Nope," Lucas said as he slid the keys in his pocket and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. Lucas and Gabriella had gotten a lot closer over the last year. Their relationship was still fragile, but they were on the right path. It still surprised Jasmine how uncomfortable Gabriella often looked around her son. They'd clearly grown miles apart during the years they fought.

Frank, however, still hadn't tried to recover their relationship. Lucas still avoided his father at all costs and would rather eat dirt than to talk to him. It pained Jasmine. She knew that deep down, Frank wasn't a bad person. He'd just made a few horrible mistakes that ended up tearing his relationship with his son to shreds.

While Nathan still didn't know the truth about what happened between Lucas and his ex-girlfriend, the two brothers completely repaired their relationship. Jasmine couldn't have been happier. Lucas needed his little brother. Nathan was a good influence.

"There you are," Gabriella smiled as Lucas and Jasmine entered the living room. Frank was sitting on the couch, watching a football game, while Gabriella was busy typing away on her laptop. The woman was currently working on her first medical guidebook. She'd been asked to create a handbook for first year medical students.

"Frank, honey, get the present, will you?" Gabriella ordered as she finished her last sentence before closing the laptop. Frank grumbled a little, but did as he was told. Jasmine felt Lucas tighten his grip around her waist when Frank passed them. It was clear her boyfriend felt uncomfortable. The only reason Lucas was still in the room was to make Jasmine happy. He knew how much it meant to her that he at least tried to face his father.

"How was dinner?" Gabriella curiously asked, putting the laptop on the coffee table.

"Great. Lucas took me to that new Italian restaurant," Jasmine replied as she rested her head against Lucas' shoulder. Their date had been perfect – as every date Lucas planned. He might not be Mr. Romantic that often surprised her with gifts or sweet notes, but he did know how to make the most out of every date they went on.

"Was the food any good? Frank and I were planning on getting a reservation for his birthday," Gabriella explained.

"It was absolutely delicious. Definitely the best Italian food I've had in a long time," Jasmine smiled. Her stomach was stuffed. It was a wonder she could still walk after the tons of food she consumed.

"Here you go," Frank interrupted as he walked back into the room, handing a wrapped box to his wife. Gabriella smiled and nodded at her husband.

"I've worked on this for a few days. I hope you'll like it," she said, sounding a little nervous as she handed Jasmine the present.

Jasmine hastily looked at Lucas, but he just nodded, silently telling her to go ahead as she unwrapped their gift. With care, Jasmine untied the bow before slowly ripping the paper and opening the box. A sigh left her lips as her eyes fell upon a beautiful black photo album with the date of Lucas' and her anniversary on top. Curious, she slowly opened the album, tears welling up in her eyes as she looked at a photo of the both of them that was taken during the Christmas party last year.

"I combined all the pictures I could find of the two of you. There are some special ones in there," Gabriella grinned as Jasmine turned page after page, a full-blown smile crossing her features while she cried happy tears.

"It's beautiful," Jasmine gasped, her hands shaking slightly. As she turned her head to the side, she noticed Lucas was looking at the album in wonder, his eyes filled with warmth. "Thank you so much, Gabriella," Jasmine told her godmother, taking the woman's hand in hers and squeezing.

"You're welcome, honey. The two of you deserved to get something nice," Gabriella smiled, tears in her eyes as well. "We're so incredibly proud of the both of you."

Frank silently stayed in the background, looking just as uncomfortable as his son. "Aren't we, honey?" Gabriella asked him.

Smiling a little, Frank nodded. "I'm very proud of you two. I might not talk about it much, but I do regret what happened between us, Lucas. I know I've made mistakes, handled you the wrong way, but I'm proud of the person you have become," the man uttered, for the first time in years giving his son some kind of affirmation.

Lucas nodded at his father, but wasn't able to reply. Jasmine understood he couldn't just forgive his father like that. Too much had happened between them. It would take time, lots of it, to heal those kind of deep wounds.

"We're going upstairs now. I still have to give Lucas his present," Jasmine smiled, breaking the tension in the room. It was one of the reasons why they were looking at houses together. They had zero privacy now that Gabriella and Frank knew about their relationship.

"Good," Gabriella nodded. "Don't stay up too late, okay? We're visiting Frank's parents tomorrow and have to leave early in the morning."

"Sure," Jasmine agreed, as she pulled Lucas' hand, silently ordering him to follow her.

"So, it's not anything special, but I think you'll like it. I mean, it can come in handy and…" Jasmine babbled, nervously playing with the ends of her ebony hair.

"Princess, seriously, calm down. It's just a present. I'll like it anyway," Lucas grinned, shaking his head as he watched her in amusement.

"What do you mean? How can you know for sure you'll like it when you don't even know what it is?" Jasmine asked, clearly confused.

"Because you bought it," Lucas simply replied, like it was obvious.

"Because I bought it," Jasmine repeated, her eyebrows lifted. "That's bullshit. What if I bought you some stupid sweater or something?"

"I'd still like it because you're the one who got it. Princess, it doesn't matter what the gift is, it's the thought that counts," Lucas argued.

Jasmine just stared at him, her mouth hanging slightly agape. Damn. He was totally right, but he still surprised the hell out of her. "Here," she mumbled, still speechless as she handed him the present.

Lucas smiled at her, a 250 kilowatt, sincere smile that made Jasmine feel weak in the knees, as he accepted her gift. He hadn't even opened it and he was already grinning like a kid that had just gotten a bunch of presents from Santa. He was too easily pleased.

After ripping off the gift wrap, Lucas held up the leather jacket Jasmine bought and took a closer look at it, a satisfied smile across his features. "Princess," he whispered, glancing at her with so much love and adoration, Jasmine felt her heart miss a beat. "This is perfect," he mumbled, immediately trying the jacket on and walking over to the mirror. "You got the size just right."

"Your mom kind of helped me pick it out," Jasmine admitted as she watched Lucas twist and turn in front of the mirror. "I'm glad you like it."

"Like it? I love it, baby. It's the best gift I've gotten in a long time," Lucas smiled, catching her eye through the reflection in the mirror. Jasmine's heart melted a little when he called her baby. She'd gotten used to him calling her princess, but any other name still felt intimate and sweet.

Sitting down on the end of the bed, Jasmine gazed lovingly at Lucas, who was still checking out his new leather jacket. If she'd known he'd be that happy with a stupid jacket, she would've bought it a long time ago. His reaction was definitely worth the dollars she spent on it.

"Well, I guess it's time I give you my gift," Lucas mumbled as he finally turned away from the mirror. Jasmine waited patiently as he quickly ran to his room to get the present. A minute later, Lucas returned to the room with a small rectangular box in his hand. "It took me a while before I found just the right gift," he admitted as he handed Jasmine the present.

"Seeing your tattoo was already more than I could've ever dreamed of," Jasmine grinned as she untied the bow. Opening the box, her breath caught in her throat, her eyes wide as saucers. An elegant bracelet sat in the box, an emerald stone attached to it. Jasmine stared at it in wonder, it was so beautiful, perfect even. She couldn't have chosen a better design herself.

"The emerald is your grandmother's birthstone, I looked it up. Now you have your parents with you in the tattoo on your hip and your grandmother around your wrist," Lucas said softly, looking a little unsure as he pointed at the stone.

Shocked, Jasmine looked up and stared into Lucas' eyes. "That's just beautiful. Thank you, Luke," she whispered, tears threatening to escape the corner of her eye once again.

"I know you still miss her every single day, so I wanted you to have something that reminds you of her besides the necklace you wear," Lucas explained, taking the bracelet out of the box and carefully tying it around Jasmine's wrist.

"I love you," Jasmine said softly before pressing a quick peck against Lucas' lips. He could be too sweet sometimes.

"And I love you," Lucas returned, pulling her into his arms. Jasmine's body hit his chest before she started to relax and let her head rest against his shoulder. Two years ago, her grandmother passed away and Jasmine thought her life had been over. Turns out, it was just the beginning of a new chapter of the rest of her life.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Last chance, please review!