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Nobody's Valentine

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  • Nobody's Valentine

    Summary: Mike has been depressed since his boyfriend dumped him six months ago. Now it's coming up on Valentine's Day and he has to figure out how to deal with the worst day of the year to be single.
    Rating: Mature
    Content Warning: Sexual content, depression
    Status: Complete

    Scribe's Note: This is a story I wrote a few years ago. I'm not saying it's autobiographical, but I'm also not saying it isn't. It is highly fictionalised, however. I considered waiting with posting this here until February, but that's a long time away, and I thought it would be good to fill out the categories a little... Enjoy.

  • #2
    Nobody's Valentine


    I never much cared for Valentine’s Day.

    When I was thirteen, a girl I knew asked me out for Valentine’s. It was the first time anyone ever asked me out for anything. I was a scrawny, gangly kid, tall for my age (it didn’t last), with eyes too big for my face. I said yes, of course. I brought her flowers and she bought me hot chocolate, and then we went ice skating. We were together for six months, that girl and me. An eternity when you’re thirteen. I was going to marry her.

    That was my first and last Valentine’s Day date and in the years that followed, I worked up a growing resentment for the holiday.

    Jesse was like me. Valentine’s Day was a made up commercial holiday, which existed for the sole purpose of making money off couples and making single people feel like shit, he used to say.

    That wasn’t to say that Jesse wasn’t romantic. When we started seeing each other, one of the first things he did was introduce me to the artsy webcomic A Softer World. He did this by showing me the comic strip that carried the words, I want to rob lumber mills and hospitals with you, and just bewilder the hell out of people, the way love should. (The alt text read, We will make everything wrong the right way.) To this day, I consider those to be the single most romantic words in the English language. I bought him the print for Christmas one year.

    Last year, I’d given him a homemade Valentine’s Day card that read, I want to start a revolution against the capitalist establishment with you. Be my Anti-Valentine! He had loved it. With the kind of deep-seated irony that only goths and hipsters are capable of, we made a mockery of everything Valentine’s Day stood for, together.

    For all that, however, here I was, coming up on Valentine’s Day six months after he dumped me, and everything was shit.

    ‘Mike?’ Paul reached across the table and touched my hand. Frothy lattes sat between us. I would have much preferred them to be pints of beer with frothy heads, but I recognised that alcohol might not be the best idea for me at the moment. ‘Mike,’ he said again. ‘You okay?’

    I shrugged and withdrew my hand, letting my gaze slide to the Andy Warhol print on the wall of the coffee shop. ‘I’m fine.’

    Paul looked like he wanted to argue with that, but kept his mouth shut and instead took a sip of his latte.

    Since Jesse dumped me, Paul and I had met almost weekly for coffee or drinks or lunch, but over Christmas we hadn’t seen each other at all and January had sucked more than I was willing to admit. Consequently, I hadn’t seen anyone but my cat and my flatmate Edwin for almost a month. Well, no, that wasn’t quite true. Bryan had come over once. Bryan was tall and handsome with a big cock and had been exactly what I needed after Jesse left, but he was also very busy and didn’t have as much time for me as either of us would have liked. It was a purely physical relationship and we were both fine with that.

    Now Edwin had started training for his new job and was hardly ever at home and Paul had at last managed to coax me out of the flat again. Being unemployed sucked. Being depressed sucked. Being both at once was like a death sentence. I knew I was lucky to have someone who’d drag me out of the house and make me do stuff but at the moment, it was hard to fully appreciate.

    ‘Got any plans for Sunday?’ Paul asked a little too casually, taking a sip of his coffee and not looking at me.

    I rolled my eyes. ‘You know, I really don’t care that it’s Valentine’s Day. February fourteenth is Alex’s birthday to me.’ I paused. ‘Unfortunately, to Alex it’s recently become Valentine’s Day. I rue the day I introduced her to Ian.’

    Paul smiled. ‘So she’ll likely be spending the day with her boyfriend. I take it they’re doing well?’

    ‘Nauseatingly so,’ I confirmed. I sipped some of the froth off my latte. I really prefer cappuccino, but Paul had ordered and I never say no to free coffee. ‘So, I guess this year it’s just a Sunday,’ I added, continuing my previous train of thought. ‘I plan to spend it epically hungover after what I hope to be a long night getting shitfaced with other miserable, single people who want to sleep Valentine’s Day away.’

    ‘Well, enjoy,’ said Paul, inclining his head. ‘I plan to avoid the problem entirely by going away with my parents for the weekend.’

    I shook my head. ‘Wow, you really hate Valentine’s Day so much you’d willingly spend time with your parents?’

    ‘Shut up, you!’ Paul laughed. ‘I’ll have you know my relationship with my parents has improved vastly since I moved out.’

    I chinked my cup against his in a toast. ‘Good for you, mate.’

    #


    I was on the bus home when my phone buzzed in my pocket. It was a text from Alex.


    You are cordially invited to come help me celebrate my birthday at 5 pm on Saturday. There will be food. Bring something to drink and a happy face!


    I smiled down at my phone. Alex and Ian’s place was as good a place as any to start my drinking. I wrote back:


    I’d love to.


    A minute later another text buzzed in.


    I’d like to invite Jesse as well, but only if you’re 100% cool with it. If you’d rather not have him there, just say so, you come first! xoxo


    My heart somehow managed to sink and leap all at once. Part of me dreaded being in the same room with him again, but on the other hand, Jesse and I hadn’t had a proper conversation face to face since he broke up with me, and in many ways that was what I missed the most.

    It had been six months. It was time to swallow my pride and get the fuck over it.


    Sure, that’s totally fine.


    I hit backspace and changed it to:


    Of course I’m cool with it. See you Saturday!


    I hit send.

    Sliding my phone back into my pocket, I told myself that only good could come of this. I was too much of a gentleman to call myself on my own bullshit.

    #


    There’s nothing like a big, hard cock to prepare oneself for the trauma of spending an evening in the company of one’s ex.

    When Bryan had asked if I wanted to come over to his place in the daytime on the thirteenth of February, I jumped. Now I lay on my stomach with his cock buried in my arse, panting and trying to stop myself from whimpering pitifully. Even after all the times we had fucked, it was still hard to adjust to his girth.

    Bryan bit into the back of my neck gently. ‘Such a good boy,’ he murmured fondly, ‘taking all of me like this.’ He accentuated the last couple of words with a rough thrust of his hips and I actually did whimper, despite my best efforts.

    I’d never been such a bottom before. Jesse and I had enjoyed a diverse and dynamic sex life, while we still had one, topping or bottoming as the mood struck us, but Bryan was dominant in all aspects of his life and I had adjusted accordingly when we started sleeping together. So far, it was working out perfectly. There was no need to think, no need to analyse. I could just lie there and feel, and what he made me feel overshadowed everything else, all the sadness and the anxiety.

    It was the greatest gift anyone could have given me.

    Afterwards, we lay side by side in his bed, sipping red wine and chatting about nothing in particular. When our glasses were empty, Bryan took mine from me and pulled me in for a long and deep kiss. By the time he pulled away, my dick was already getting hard again.

    ‘Up for another round?’ he asked, brown eyes glinting wickedly in the light of the slowly setting sun.

    I sighed. ‘Wish I could, but I should probably leave soon. Don’t want to be late for that party.’

    Bryan smirked, his hand trailing down my stomach. ‘Well, you can’t very well go to a party like this, can you?’ he murmured, taking me in hand. ‘Let me help you?’

    I chuckled weakly. ‘I should really leave in, like, ten minutes.’

    He shrugged. ‘Then I’ll get you off in seven.’

    #


    ‘Mike!’ Alex threw her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly. ‘So glad you could make it even though it was short notice. Can you believe it, I’ve been so busy with uni I’d basically forgotten my birthday was coming up . . . Wasn’t until Ian asked if I wouldn’t like to throw a party that I even remembered what month it was.’ She grinned.

    I pulled two bottles of Spanish red out of my bag and handed one to her. ‘Happy Birthday.’

    ‘Aww, you shouldn’t have, sweets!’ She kissed my cheek. As Alex was just about the tallest girl I knew, and I wasn’t especially tall at all, this actually required her to bend down ever so slightly.

    It seemed I was the last to arrive and everyone else was already there. (No doubt this must be blamed on my taking Bryan up on his offer.) I stopped by the kitchen to say hi to Ian, and found Edwin, my flatmate, helping him with the cooking. I then went through to the living room, where most of the guests were seated in the sofa group drinking wine and beer. Among them was Jesse.

    He sat in the chair closest, and stood when I approached, offering a smile and a hug. I passed around hugs to the rest of my friends and exchanged handshakes with a couple of acquaintances, before sitting down on the sofa and opening my wine bottle. Alex appeared at my side almost at once and placed a wine glass in front of me.

    ‘Long time no see,’ said Abi, whom I had sat down next to. ‘You doing okay, Mike?’

    I shrugged one shoulder. ‘Yeah, can’t complain. A little broke, but then there’s not much cause to spend money when I spend most days at home petting my cat, anyway.’ I grinned. ‘Hence, I had money to buy wine!’

    Abi gave me a commiserating smile. ‘Yeah, January was a bit tough for us as well. Sean is still looking for work. Job market isn’t kind at the moment . . . How’s living with Edwin working out?’

    ‘Not bad at all,’ I said, pouring wine into my glass. ‘He’s just enough of a neat freak to keep me in line. Don’t think I’ve ever lived in a house that clean before.’

    She laughed. ‘Yeah, Sean told me they drove each other up the wall when they were house sharing at uni.’

    ‘Well, Edwin’s calmed down a bit since then, and as messy as I am, I’m not as bad as your Sean, so it works out.’

    Alex appeared again and said, ‘Guys, the food’s ready! Still waiting for a dining room to miraculously materialise in this flat but until then, we eat in the kitchen. Hold onto your glasses, please!’ She smiled.

    The food was excellent, which was unsurprising as Ian was a marvellous cook. I often wished I had his talent in the kitchen. While I made perfectly decent food, Ian seemed to intuitively create dishes fit for a king and tonight was no different. A whole leg of lamb awaited us, with roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, honey glazed carrots, swedes and beets, and red wine and blackcurrant sauce. There was also a parsnip puree that I recognised as Jesse’s recipe.

    We had invited Alex and Ian and a few other friends over for dinner a couple of times, and while it had never been the sort of gourmet feast Ian was capable of whipping up, the parsnip puree had always been a particular favourite of our guests’.

    I spent the evening chatting and laughing with my friends. It had been a good long while since I had spent time with more than two people at once who weren’t my blood relatives, and I was almost surprised at how much I had missed the company. Still, whenever there was a lull in the conversation, it was hard not to let my attention wander over to Jesse.

    He had cut his dark hair shorter and lost a bit of weight. I wondered idly if he had finally started working out, as he had said he would for the past couple of years. His purple dress shirt clung attractively to his shoulders and chest. He looked good. He looked healthier and happier than he had been with me.

    Whenever he turned his head in my direction, I promptly looked away. Didn’t want him to get the wrong impression, though I wasn’t entirely certain what the wrong impression would be. Yes, I was staring because I missed him. Yes, I wished that I was sitting next to him talking about art and philosophy.

    Yes, I was embarrassed at how much better he was looking and how much worse I was. I had eaten a lot of junk food in the past few months. I wouldn’t call myself fat, but I was definitely a bit more pudgy around the middle than I had been. I hadn’t had a haircut in months, so I was looking decidedly shaggy. I slept poorly at night, so my already pasty complexion was even more corpselike than usual and I imagined my eyes must be quite sunken.

    On the other hand, I had arrived to the party already tipsy on half a bottle of wine, freshly fucked with a pleasant ache in my lower regions. The thought was distracting enough that I could bring myself back from my meandering thoughts and rejoin the conversations around me without too much effort. At least until my eyes stole another glance at Jesse, chatting jovially to the guy next to him, and I was lost again.

    ‘You all right, mate?’ Sean asked me, catching my attention after a few minutes of no doubt fairly obvious staring at my ex.

    I looked at him and smiled. ‘Yeah! Fine. I’m always fine.’

    He gave me a look that quite clearly informed me that he wasn’t buying it, but chinked his glass against mine and smiled all the same. Then he looked around before leaning a little closer and saying in a hushed tone, ‘You know, it’s okay to not be okay.’

    I let my head fall sideways against his shoulder, and he put an arm around me and squeezed my upper arm fondly, his cheek coming to rest on top of my head. Sean was straight as they came, but tended to refer to himself as ‘bicuddly’. Lucky for me, as he gave some of the best hugs on the planet.

    ‘I know,’ I said softly. ‘And I’m not okay all the time. But I am right now. Honestly. You don’t need to worry.’

    After dinner, we all retreated out into the sitting room again and I somehow wound up sitting next to Jesse.

    ‘So,’ he said, opening a bottle of some craft beer or another, ‘how have you been?’

    I smiled in spite of myself. ‘Well, you know . . . I wouldn’t say great, but things are okay.’

    He nodded slowly. ‘That’s good.’

    ‘Yourself?’ I asked, trying to sound casual. ‘You look like you’re doing well.’

    ‘Yeah,’ he said, shifting a bit in his seat. ‘Not bad, really. Uni’s kicking my arse as usual, but I’ll be done with my degree in spring, so . . . Doing all right.’

    He wouldn’t meet my eye and I found myself thinking, Better without me.

    Thankfully, at that moment the birthday girl plopped down on the couch on my other side and put her arms around me, planting a wet kiss on my cheek.

    ‘I’m so glad you’re here, Mike!’ she said, slurring her words slightly.

    Good, I thought. People are supposed to be happy and drunk on their birthdays.

    ‘Really, it wouldn’t be a proper birthday party without you,’ Alex continued. ‘And it feels like I haven’t seen you in ages! We need to hang out soon. Just the two of us!’

    I smiled and petted her arm affectionately, leaning into her embrace. ‘I’d like that.’

    ‘Coffee next week?’ she pushed. ‘Wednesday, maybe? You say yes I’ll hold you to it, no backing out!’

    I scoffed in mock offence. ‘I wouldn’t dream of standing you up, darling! Who do you take me for?’

    She gave me a serious look, but then she grinned again and tightened her grip on me, putting her head on my shoulder. ‘Well, it’s a date, then.’

    #


    Since Alex and Ian had a birthday/Valentine’s Day date the following day, the party did not run especially late. Sean and Abi went straight home (I had not been told, but I suspected that Abi might be pregnant), Edwin had homework to complete the next day, and the rest of the gang were not in the strictest sense my friends, so drunk on a bottle and a half of decent wine and unwilling to call it a night, I sauntered down the street on my own towards the nearest pub.

    I briefly entertained the thought of heading into town and finding a gay bar, but I didn’t feel up to the constant stream of Lady Gaga and Madonna, nor was the idea of watching outgoing scene kids getting off with each other especially appealing. I wasn’t opposed to potentially picking up a woman tonight, so instead I sat down in what could only be described as the straightest pub I had ever been in and ordered a Snakebite. (A quick glance behind the bar told me that this place had never even heard of creme de cassis, or I would have ordered a Snakebite and Black and sat there looking like the epitome of a sad goth cliché in my all black attire and piercings.)

    I sat at the bar, listening to a playlist of classic rock interspersed with 70s hard rock and 80s heavy metal. Could have done with some post-punk, but at least it wasn’t Lady Gaga. I had nearly finished my drink without anybody speaking to me, when a man sat down on my left. He was about my age, with honey blonde hair and amber eyes. He flashed me a smile.

    ‘Cheer up!’ he said.

    I tried to return his smile, though it probably came out as more of a grimace.

    ‘That bad, eh?’ He took off his coat and hung it over the back of his bar stool. ‘You get dumped or something?’

    This time I did smile, staring down into my glass. ‘That obvious, is it?’

    ‘Takes one to know one, mate. Girlfriend dumped me, what, three months ago? First Valentine’s Day without her tomorrow. You?’

    ‘It’s been six months. We were together for over five years before that.’

    He gave me a deeply sympathetic look. ‘Ah, that’s rough. Let me buy you another drink?’

    I raised an eyebrow and gestured awkwardly. ‘Well, I never say no to free booze.’

    ‘That’s the spirit!’ The man clapped me on the shoulder and turned to the bartender. ‘Another of the same for my friend, and a Proper Job for me!’ He turned back to me and grinned. ‘I’m Aiden, by the way.’

    I shook the proffered hand. ‘Michael. Mike.’

    The bartender placed our drinks in front of us and I drained my old glass before raising the new one. ‘Cheers.’

    Aiden raised his own and chinked it lightly against mine. ‘To shitty ex girlfriends,’ he said.

    ‘And boyfriends,’ I added without thinking. I regretted the words as soon as they were out of my mouth. I had no way of knowing if Aiden would be okay with it or not.

    But he just smiled. ‘And boyfriends,’ he agreed. ‘They don’t know what they’re missing. May the next treat us better!’

    We both drank. A brief but not uncomfortable silence followed. Then Aiden spoke again.

    ‘So, what got you so down? Other than the prospect of being alone on Valentine’s?’

    I shrugged. ‘Honestly, I don’t care much about Valentine’s Day.’ It was getting harder and harder to believe my own insistence. ‘But . . . Jesse and I were at the same party tonight.’

    ‘Ah.’ Aiden nodded knowingly. ‘Has he moved on?’

    ‘I don’t think he’s found someone new,’ I said. ‘And if he has, he’s keeping quiet about it. But . . . He looks happy, you know? Like he’s better off without me. And six months later, I’m more of a wreck than I ever was.’

    Aiden gave me a sad smile. ‘Becca found someone new alarmingly fast. Like, a couple of weeks later she was on some other bloke’s arm. Hurt like hell. But having something to be angry about kind of helped, I guess.’

    I let out a breath. ‘I can’t be angry with him,’ I said softly. ‘Couldn’t if I tried, it’s like . . . It’s not even the fact that he left me, not really. The last few months, it wasn’t really like we were a couple at all, just good friends who lived together and shared a bed. And that’s kind of it, you know? It’s not just that I lost my boyfriend. In some ways, that happened way before. But I lost my best friend.’

    I had no idea where all this was coming from. After months of insisting that I was fine, that everything was okay, it was as if someone had opened the floodgates and it all just poured out of me. Everything I had been feeling and thinking, all my pain and regret, spilling out of me all over this complete stranger. It would have felt embarrassing if I had been able to think around this outpouring of emotion.

    ‘We would stay awake until four in the morning, just talking in bed. Art, philosophy, history, politics . . . No topic was off limits, nothing was taboo. He’s so clever, it’s like he knows everything in the world, and I should have felt like a total moron around him but I never did. Even though I wasn’t as academically gifted, he always listened to everything I had to say, considered it, even incorporated it into his own arguments later. He never made me feel like my lack of formal education was a drawback.

    ‘And he knew me. He knew me and understood me like no one else ever has. He knew me best. While all my other friends were kept at arm’s length, he was my inner circle. It was like he was part of me, sitting right next to my heart and making sure that nothing hurt too badly. And now . . .’ I paused, sipped my drink, shook my head. ‘Now it’s like I have no one. I mean, I have friends, but I no longer have anyone who loves me best. All my closest friends have other friends who are closer. Edwin, my flatmate, we were best friends in primary school. We’ve known each other forever, but we attended different sixth forms, and he met Alex. And now they’re both my friends, and I know they both love me, but they love each other more. They’re best friends, and I’m left on the outside looking in.’

    I knew I was rambling but I couldn’t seem to stop, and Aiden sat next to me, his smile all empathy, and listened.

    ‘When I met Jesse, everything just clicked into place. Finally I had someone who loved me most again. I had someone who was closer to me than anyone else. I was the most important person to him.

    ‘I’m not an attention-seeker. I don’t need everyone to love me, I don’t want to be the centre of attention. Hell, half the time I don’t even want to be around other people. I just want one person who calls me first. One single individual who comes to me before they go to anyone else, one person who thinks of me when they get up in the morning and then again when they go to bed at night. I just want to be important to someone.’

    I finally fell silent. My ears burned and my cheeks flushed scarlet, and I muttered, ‘I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to dump this all over you. Just . . .’

    ‘No worries,’ said Aiden, taking a long swig of his beer. ‘If we can’t spill our guts to perfect strangers in bars in the middle of the night, who can we turn to, am I right?’ He shrugged. ‘My story is a little less complicated, I guess. I mostly just miss having someone to come home to. Someone whose hand to hold, someone to make out with during a movie and cook dinner with. Someone to have mind-blowing sex with.’ He grinned. ‘I’m a man of simple needs.’

    I chuckled. ‘I wouldn’t say that. Those are things most of us want.’

    I bought the next round and we stayed until closing time, mostly just making small talk. When we had finished our last drinks, I had lost count of my units and stumbled out into the lightly falling snow, holding onto Aiden’s arm for support. He was taller than I was, as were most men, and he looked broad and strong. Not overly athletic, perhaps, but definitely looked like he did something physical in his spare time, or maybe for work. When my hand squeezed his bicep and found it well sculpted, my dick suddenly became painfully hard.

    Finding my balance, I let go reluctantly and fumbled in my pockets for my gloves.

    ‘Night doesn’t have to be over,’ I slurred. ‘I’ve got some booze at my place. You could come over for a drink if you like.’

    He smiled and shook his head. ‘Nah. I think I’ve had enough. Time I get home and get some sleep.’

    I nodded, trying to ignore the lump of disappointment in the pit of my stomach.

    ‘It was nice to meet you, Mike,’ he said, offering a hand for me to shake. But I’ve never really been a handshaking kind of guy, so instead I put my arms around him and hugged him. To my surprise and pleasure he hugged me back.

    ‘Thanks for listening to a sad drunk,’ I mumbled against his shoulder.

    ‘Thanks for giving a bored man some company,’ he replied.

    And then I thought that since we hadn’t taken each other’s numbers or added each other on Facebook, and we would probably never meet again, and since he could probably feel my hard-on pressing into his thigh anyway, I really had nothing to lose. So when the hug ended, I looked up into his amber eyes, stood up on tip-toe, and pressed my lips against his.

    The kiss was brief and mostly chaste, but he kissed me back, probably more out of surprise than anything else. His mouth tasted of hops and malt, and he smelled of some discreet aftershave or another. Then it was over and he smiled down at me, running a hand through my hair before stepping back.

    ‘Oh, Mike,’ he said, ‘I’d be the luckiest bloke in the world right now if I liked men.’ He gave me a clap on my shoulder. ‘Go home. Get some sleep. Enjoy the hangover.’

    Then he put his hands in his pockets, turned around, and headed down the street. He turned a corner and was gone.

    Comment


    • droughtquake
      droughtquake
      Bibliophile
      droughtquake commented
      Editing a comment
      I can identify with Mike. The depression, the not wanting to be the center of attention, the not working (although in my case, it’s Disability). But I’ve never had a drop of alcohol, I’ve always been too afraid of losing the little control that I have.

      But I could never have been as bold as he was to kiss the man he met at a straight bar! ;-)

    • Thorn Wilde
      Thorn Wilde
      Second Scribe in Command
      Thorn Wilde commented
      Editing a comment
      droughtquake
      Bibliophile
      droughtquake I doubt Mike would have done it without a drop of that liquid courage either. :P
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