‹ Prequel: I Don't Do Lonely Well
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Inside Your Heaven

the reckless and the brave.

“My mom sent us some money,” I call from the kitchen. Alex walks out of the bathroom and shakes a towel over his hair.
“Oh, shit!” he curses, pulling out his phone.
“What’s the matter?”
“My parent’s gift to us. Was that today?” I furrow my eyebrows and check my phone as well.
“We’re so late,” I gasp. Alex rushes into the bedroom and emerges seconds later with a t-shirt on and pulling a sweatshirt over his head.
Isobel and Peter got us a couple’s spa day, and we were supposed to be there fifteen minutes ago. The spa is a half hour away. I don’t think Alex has ever driven so fast.
We end up being an hour late. With profuse apologizing, we get to keep our appointment.
Alex is super uneasy about it. “I don’t get it. You’re naked all the time with me.” Alex pulls the tie on his robe a little tighter around him.
“It’s weird. Someone I don’t know is going to be rubbing me.”
I feel my eyebrows raise, and I can’t help but laugh. “How many times do you beg me for a massage, pull of your shirt, and lie face down on the bed? It’s the same thing, except I’m going to be next to you. Not sitting on you.”
Alex laughs lightly. “It’s just weird. What if there’s a man massaging me.”
“Would you rather he give me the massage?”
Alex’s face falls serious. “Are you kidding? Absolutely not.”
“Alex and Virginia?” We turn towards the two small brunettes awaiting us.
“That’s us,” I respond, lacing my hand through Alex’s. “Looks like we got lucky,” I mutter as we follow the two girls back. They lead us into a dimly lit room with beige walls and side-by-side two massage tables. In the corner, there’s a small wall-mounted waterfall providing a soft dribble of water in addition to the quiet spa music playing.
“We’re Allison and Jessica, and we’ll be doing your massages. We’re going to step out for a moment, and both of you can just get under the sheets, face up. We’ll be back shortly.” The two step out through the door we just walked in. I untie my robe and hang it on the hook provided.
Alex plays with the tie. I walk up to him and kiss his lips gently, pulling the knot loose. He chuckles and pulls the robe off, hanging it next to mine.

“Wasn’t that relaxing?” The door to the steam room closes behind us.
“Yeah, I actually enjoyed that,” Alex agrees. I take a seat next to him on the bench. “Now all the lotion is going to melt off of me.” He holds out his left arm and points to the small drops of condensation forming on his skeleton tattoo. Just above that sits the silhouette of Wendy, and I smile at it, pulling his arm over and tracing it.
“I love our tattoos.” I turn his hand over and rub my thumb against the rose tattoo. “Do you think he’d like me?”
I look up at Alex and watch him as he stares at the tattoo. He looks up at me. “He’d love you because I love you. You make me a better man every single day, and you help me recover from something I thought I’d never get over.” Alex turns his hand over and slides his fingers through mine. “He’d adore you, Virginia. I don’t doubt that for a second.”
We spend a little more time in the steam room and the sauna before a nice lunch and glass of expensive wine. After that, we head back home.

I skip into the apartment happily. “Babe, I can’t wait for you to see me in this dress!” I giggle, hanging the dress bag off of the back of a kitchen chair. Alex looks up from his laptop, and his hair is messy like he ran his hands through it a lot. He’s on the phone and holds up the ‘one minute’ gesture.
I silently apologize, heading for the fridge and pulling out the ingredients for a Greek salad. “Matt, I can’t do that.” Alex sighs heavily. “You’re going to have to find a closer venue or a different date, then, man. I already told you that I’m coming home that weekend.” He listens for a moment, and I take my salad and sit across from him. “Thanks.” He hangs up the phone. “I hate scheduling tour dates.”
I pull my lips into a frown. “I forgot you were leaving.”
He shrugs. “It’s not that soon. We’re going to get a new house and move in first. That’s something we’ve all decided on.” He closes his laptop. “Anyways, what about a dress?”
My lips pull into a smile. “My dress for tonight! It’s perfect.”
“Shit, it’s already New Years Eve.” I nod and Alex sits there for a moment. “We’ve been dating for four and a half years. You and me.”
I smile and reach across the table, sliding our fingers together. “Through everything. Kind of amazing, isn’t it?”
“Amazing, maybe. We worked for what we have, and I’m so fucking proud of us more than I’m amazed.” My lips pull into a smile. “Look at how much we’ve changed and grown up in the past four years.”
“Can I ask you something?”
He nods.
“When do you want to get married?” He gets up from his chair and sits next to me. He kisses my lips.
“July 18th.”

“Mother fucking Derek Sanders!” I shriek. The longhaired brunette turns to me and smiles widely, throwing his tattooed arms around me in an embrace. “How have you been?”
“Great. We’re back in the studio. How about you?”
I smile, feeling Alex’s arm wrap around my waist. “Things have been near perfect, my wonderful friend. You heard it from me first.” I gesture between Alex and I. “Keep July 18th open.” I wink at turn my attention to Alex, kissing him square on the lips. “Because I am so in love with this man.”
Derek smiles at us. “I can’t wait to have a relationship and model it after yours. You two are perfect.”
Alex chuckles and kisses my cheek. “I’m going to go refill our drinks,” he mutters into my ear. He kisses my neck and heads off.
“You know, we’re not as perfect as we look,” I inform Derek. “We fight, we disagree, but in the end, I know I’m supposed to be with him. I don’t want to go to bed knowing we had a fight and didn’t wake up because what if one of us doesn’t wake up the next morning?”
“Just another reason I admire you two. It seemed like you never fought over Warped!”
“We did a bit, but we never go to bed fighting anymore. It’s not worth it.” Alex returns with a Jack and Coke for me.
“What’s not worth it?” he questions.
“Going to sleep fighting. It’s not. We don’t do it.” His lips just pull into a smile.
The minute marker hits, and I’m clutching to Alex’s side for balance, just as he’s leaning on me. He lifts his glass. “Here’s to another year of us.”
I lift my glass as well. “Long live us.” We clink our glasses together and polish off the drinks.
The ten-second countdown begins, and I throw my arm around Grace’s shoulders as she and Jack join Alex and I in front of the large TV screen. “Three, two, one!” The bar erupts in cheering, and I turn and press my chest to Alex’s.
“Happy New Year, babe.” Our lips collide, and I feel my back hit Grace’s. All our friends are cheering. My best bet is some sort of unspoken competition between Alex and Jack.
Finally, Alex removes his lips from mine and then kisses my lips lightly once more. “Happy New Year. Let’s fucking celebrate, yeah?”
I nod, and we head for the bar.
We end up stumbling into our place when the sun starts coming up, and we’ve both already thrown up at the bar, drank more, blacked out, and then recovered.
“I’m going to bed,” Alex groans. “I don’t know if you can get hungover without sleeping, but I think I am.”
We tug on pajamas to the best of our abilities and climb under the covers. “Happy New Year, sweetheart,” Alex mumbles, pulling me close to him. “I love you, and here’s to another year of us.”
♠ ♠ ♠
so, come what may;
i don't think that i'll ever be saved.
i know our song has not been sung;
long live us.