It was an average day at the Nabootique, and Howard Moon had opened up shop at the regular time and was sat behind the counter reading. With the average amount of customers being none, all Howard had to look forward to was the late arrival of his simpleton best friend Vince Noir.
There were simply no words to describe how much I didn't feel like getting out of bed. But as usual, I did it anyway, cause if I didn't Howard would be up here to yell at me again, and I wanted that even less.
So, a pulled myself out of the cocoon of blankets I had burrowed into the night before to begin my daily ritual to perfect my already gorgeous self.
After the average 3 hours spent showering, choosing a genius outfit, doing my hair and make-up and putting on the mask of sunshine that everyone knows as Vince Noir, I was ready to begin my day.
The first thing I see when I step into the shop is Howard sitting behind the counter with a book, and wearing the most horrid combination of beige and tweed I'd ever seen. I never really understood how Howard could hang around with someone like me all the time and not pick up at least a little fashion sense. But, I guess that's what makes him Howard, and what would I do without him?
"Alright Howard?" I asked, as he clearly hadn't been aware of my presence.
"What's the excuse this time Vince?" he asks me, waiting for a witty lie he can put into his little journal.
So like usual I just said the first thing my singular brain cell could think of, "well, I was all ready to come down bright an early jus' for you, when all these crazy thoughts popped into my head about you an me, all the times we 'ad together, you saying you loved me, us kissing on the roof, an I got ta thinking maybe you were right, maybe all the bickering is sexual tension, and maybe I do love you Howard."
Well… that had definitely been one of the weirder excuses I've ever come up with, not even really sure where that came from, Howard is clearly thinking the same thing with that look he's giving me. I can feel my face heating up so I quickly hide it with a grin that clearly says I was joking and Howard immediately looks relieved, I wonder why…
I decide I need some air and step outside with a little wave to Howard. He looks like he's about to say something but I'm already gone.
The air is a lot less stuffy outside, and I figure a walk would do me some good, perhaps figure out a better excuse to use next time.
3RD PERSON POV
Up in the air, a flying carpet zooms by holding the board of Shaman, all off their tits from "having it large" once again. So when a tiny bottle containing a pink liquid falls toward the ground, none of them even notice.
Back on the ground, Vince Noir is still enjoying his stroll when his perfectly styled hair is splashed with something pink and wet that just mysteriously fell from the sky.
Here I am, trying to enjoy my day when some stupid pink rain has to pick me as a nice place to land, just freaking perfect! So without further ado I make my way back home to fix the damage that has been done to my hair.
When I barge back into the shop, Howard quickly looks up from whatever it was he was doing to discover the source of the noise that interrupted the peaceful silence. And for a moment he looked scared, typical Howard, probably thought we was getting robbed or something, but when he saw it was only me the look on his face turned into one of confusion.
"What are you doing back so soon Vince, and what's that pink stuff in your hair?"
Oh my god! I nearly forgot about my hair, I don't have time to stand around here thinking about what Howard thinks might be coming to kill him or his facial expressions. I need to shower!
So without an explanation, again, I just left, dashing up the stairs and into the bathroom.
After repeating my daily routine for the second time that day, I felt much better, seeing as there was no longer any pink stuff in my hair. And I went back down to the shop, it was nearly closing time now, but I figured I could at least spend a little while minding the shop with Howard.
"Care to tell me what that was all about little man?" Howard asked and gave a vague hand gesture; possibly trying to illustrate the "that" he was referring to.
And even though I'm not the smartest person in the world, I'm not that dumb, so I started to tell Howard about the mysterious pink sky water. Or, at least I was about to, when everything started spinning and I could barely hold myself upright. So instead I simply said, "Howard I don't feel so good" before my legs gave out and I was falling towards the ground. The last thing I remember before all together blacking out is someone calling my name and catching me before the ground did.
I was freaking out, plain and simple. One minute Vince was fine, about to explain why he ran off so suddenly or at least spout some crazy excuse and the next he's falling to the ground. But, like a true man of action, I rushed in and saved him from what would most likely have been a nasty landing.
I brought him up to the couch and went back down to close the shop. Naboo wouldn't forgive me if we got robbed while I was taking care of Vince.
But when Vince still hadn't awoken when I returned I really started to worry.
Hours had passed and still no movement. And nothing I said had any effect. So I just sat there next to the couch running my fingers through the featherlike hair that I was never allowed to touch.
I'm not sure how much time passed in silence, but I felt myself falling to sleep.
Ugh… my head feels like mush. And I have no idea what just happened, how did I get here? And who is touching my hair?
I open my eyes and come face to face with the most gorgeous person I have ever seen, who is this mustachioed god and where did he come from?
…..Oh wait, its just Howard. Cute, adorable, naïve Howard… my Howard.
I quickly run through those thoughts again and realize I don't care; I'm not even freaked out by the fact that our faces are less than a centimeter apart or irritated that his hand is messing up my perfectly styled locks. In fact, I'm perfectly content and completely in love.
That's right; I'm in love with Howard! That's new… I don't think I was in love this morning or ever really, but Howard did always say I was a bit slow, and Howard is just so amazing! So he must be right! I just didn't realize that I must have always been in love with him, it's so obvious now!
God look at him, how did I not see this before? I should totally tell him!
"Howard" I whisper.
I hear someone call my name, and I slowly open my eyes. What I didn't expect to be faced with was a pair of the biggest blue eyes I've ever seen.
Then I remember what had happened earlier, Vince passing out, me worrying, at least it explains why I'm on the floor. I freeze up, realizing my hand is still resting in Vince's hair, and now he's awake to yell at me.
I remove my hand, and instead of the expected rant about never touching his hair, all Vince does is let out a little whine.
Now I'm worried all over again. Not only am I not getting a mouthful, Vince is being uncharacteristically quite and he's just staring at me, something must still be wrong.
"Vince? Are you alright?" I ask quietly, hoping that everything is ok.
All I get in response is a dazzling smile and two arms wrapped around my neck.
"Don't touch me" I respond almost immediately, and the arms, as well as the smile are removed to be replaced with a look of hurt, that just as quickly was replaced again with a small smile and rosy cheeks.
"Hi Howard" Vince said in the tiniest voice I'd ever heard Vince use, it was almost…shy?
Alright, now I know something is wrong, Vince Noir is never shy, and he just keeps staring at me like he's never seen me before.
"Vince, what's the matter?"
"Nothings the matter Howard, in fact, everything is perfect. You're perfect."
Now I'm worried and confused, Vince has never said anything was perfect aside from himself, least of all me. In fact, he pokes fun at me and my clothes everyday… Unless that's what he's doing now, like earlier in the shop when he said he might love me. And really, I'm getting pretty fed up with all his jokes.
"I've had it with this silly little joke Vince, and it's not funny." I say calmly.
And now he's the one that looks confused, "what are you on about?"
"Downstairs you said you possibly loved me, now you're saying I'm perfect, did that fall scramble your brain cell?"
I expected some sort of comeback, cause that's just what we do, but instead, I got a giggle. I opened my mouth to kindly ask Vince to knock it off when he smiled up at me.
"Aw 'Oward you're so cute, of course I don't possibly love you" he giggled again.
"Exactly! That's why I would appreciate if you'd sto….." I began, only to be interrupted again.
"I do love you Howard, totally and completely. Everything about ya is perfect, from your brown smoke, to your mocha, from your Hawaiian shirts to your northern pins. God, I just…."
All through Vince's little monologue he'd been getting closer and closer to me, I had no idea what he was playing at but I wasn't going to lose… whatever this was. And I planned to say as much when Vince hurled himself at me, making us both fall to the ground.
I just couldn't wait anymore! There he was, the man of my dreams, standing righty in front of me and all we were doing was talking! So I decided that my mouth could be put to a much better use, so I threw myself at Howard intending to use it properly.
Unfortunately we ended up falling to the ground instead, well Howard on the ground with me on top of him.
I felt my face heat up immediately, being this close to Howard was doing things to me that I never felt before. Then again, I'm hardly ever allowed to touch Howard at all so this is a big deal.
I feel Howard begin to push me off, and I decide I'm not ready to let this feeling go, so in an effort to make him stay I wrap my arms around him and hold him tight.
"Vince, let me go." He sighs, and I pout, I don't want to let go.
"But 'Oward I don't wanna, you're well comfy." But even as I grin, Howard doesn't seem amused.
"Why are you doing this Vince?" he asks me, clearly annoyed, although I'm not really sure why.
"Doing wot Howard?" I ask innocently, but my only response is an irritated glare, so I give.
"I already told you, it's cause I love ya Howard"
"Alright, even if that was true, is this how you treat people you love Vince? Jumping on them and knocking them over?"
Aw, he's so cute when he's irritated, but it's not like I meant to knock him over. No, that was just a happy accident.
"Well Howard if you 'ad jus' caught me we wouldn't be on the ground now would we?" I giggle.
"And I honestly didn't mean to knock you over Howard, I just needed to be a lot closer to you to kiss you, and I guess I could have walked but that would have taken too long, and I jus' thought it would be so magical if you caught me and held me close as we passionately made out till we ran out of breath. Can you imagine it Howard? Fireworks would explode outside, and all our friends…. Well my friends and Lester I guess would do one of those slow clap things like in the movies, but that didn't happen cause we fell down instead, that's okay though Howard, cause that's just like you, and I love you yeah?"
I had become so caught up in my fantasy I failed to see Howard's face twist into a look of shock and something close to disgust before settling on anger.
"Vince." This time Howard's voice was not calm or even irritated, it was angry. But I couldn't hear anything besides the sweet sound of his voice, or see anything past the dazzling brown of his eyes.
"Howard. Let's just resume my original plan on the ground shall we?" I say sweetly, and lean in for the kiss.
This was it, the moment I'd been dreaming about for the last few minutes, and it was really going to happen, me and Howard were finally going to get together! This is just brilliant.
But when our lips finally connect, he just freezes up, and I smile a bit, thinking it was just Howard getting all nervous and shy. Although, I mean, we have done this before, you'd think he'd be used to it the second time around. But when a whole minute passed without any response, I decided it was time to investigate.
"Get. Off. Me. Now." Howard said in the most serious voice I'd ever heard him use, but me being me, I don't take anything seriously, least of all Howard.
"Aw but Howard, why would I want to do something like that when we could continue with the kissing? That is if you'd join in next time around, I mean for a man of action, you're not doing a lot of 'action' are ya?" I grin expecting some sort of stuttered retort about what it means to be a man of action or a comeback about me being a futuristic prostitute or anything really, aside from what actually happened.
Instead of a reply, Howard just shoved me right off him and onto the floor. Hard. Before quickly standing up.
"Ow! What are you doing Howard!" I asked, slightly irritated but not angry, I could never be mad at my Howard.
"What am I doing? What are you doing! You've gone way too far this time Vince!"
Hearing Howard actually yell at me was surprising, we joke yeah but this was something else, and I just didn't understand.
"I don't know what you mean Howard." I said as calmly as I could manage from my position on the floor with Howard towering over me.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about you little titbox! But what I don't get is what you're trying to accomplish with this little trick!"
I didn't like this situation at all, and I was thoroughly confused. Howard loved me too didn't he? Didn't he? Oh what am I saying? He's just being Howard, getting all flustered over nothing. Of course he loves me. He has to. So in an attempt to make this a happy moment again I made a joke.
"Silly Howard, tricks are for kids."
That probably hadn't been the best thing to do though cause Howard just growled and began to storm off.
"Howard wait!" I said, running after him.
"What Vince! WHAT!" Howard yelled spinning around to face me, and I stopped dead in my tracks.
"Howard. I love you." I said it as sincerely as I possibly could, but it didn't seem to matter.
"Yeah, you already said that. Are you trying to seduce me or something Vince so you can go out and make fun of me with all your friends about how gullible I am? Did Naboo get home early? Is he in the closet with a video camera trying to capture yet another embarrassing 'Howard moment' that you can watch over and over while eating popcorn and laughing at how stupid I look for falling for yet another one of your pranks! Cause it's not going to work this time, no sir!"
My eyes were getting blurry as Howard continued his rant, and I realized I was crying.
"Oh just great Vince! Bring on the waterworks yeah? Trying to guilt me into believing all this, or are you just sad that for once everything didn't go right for Vince Noir?"
I could hardly see through the tears that were now streaming down my face, and I could hardly speak, but I had to make him see.
"B…but H…Howard, I really do l…love you!" I cried, and he just sneered at me.
"Yeah well ya know what Vince? I don't care. Even if you were telling the truth (which I know you're not) I could never and would never love you back! How could I? I mean look at you! You're everything I hate, electro and sparkles, ridiculous hair and even more ridiculous clothes-"
I could hardly even breathe, but Howard just kept on going.
"You're the shallowest person I've ever met Vince, you don't care about anyone but yourself! You think its funny to play all these tricks on people? People that are supposed to be your best mate! Cause its not, and I've had it! You don't do anything around here, you just go about as you please, letting in crack addicted foxes, eating jazz records that you have no right touching, pretending to be the 'chosen one' and making me your slave, cutting people's hair while they're asleep, using Naboo's black magic book to start bloody Nanageddon, choosing a cape over a life long friendship, then using me to save your own neck after the worst party in my whole life! You're a horrible person Vince Noir, and I really just don't know why we're even friends anymore."
And just like that, Howard stomped away.
I wanted to follow him, I really did, prove to him that I loved him somehow, but my legs wouldn't move, they couldn't even hold me up anymore. So I just fell to my knees and cried. Howard didn't love me, he doesn't even like me anymore, he thinks I'm the worst person alive. What was I going to do now? I cant live without Howard, he's my everything. I couldn't even think anymore, it was like my brain cell finally called it quits, and my heart had been ripped from my chest, which I guess in some ways is true, I felt empty, and life seemed beyond pointless. I could hardly breath so I just sat there with tears steadily streaming down my face.
"I love you." I whispered to no one.
I suppose I might have been a little harsh on Vince, he did look pretty sorry I guess, but maybe this will teach him not to mess with Howard Moon, Jazz Maverick again, no sir.
I figured I'd let Vince soak up my words a bit, so I headed off to bed with him still sat on the floor. I'd paralyzed him with a good ol' Howard Moon shock of truth, yes sir; when you mess with the Moon you get the truth!
My alarm clock woke me up the next day at exactly 8am to begin another day of work. I looked over to Vince's bed expecting him to have come in after I'd fallen asleep, but I found it strangely empty. Vince never woke up earlier than me so I guess he must have slept on the couch. Ha, probably was too embarrassed to be in the same room as me after I ruined his little game.
So rather than worry about Vince, I continued getting ready for the day ahead. After a quick shower and a careful selection of just the right shade of brown, I made my way into the living room to wake Vince from what I can only imagine were dreams of rainbows and unicorns.
But yet again, I was surprised to find the couch just as empty as the bed had been. It was odd, but I suppose Vince must have gone to Leroy's, that would be just like him, leaving without even telling anyone where he was going. I huffed and began to make my way to the kitchen to make some breakfast when a flash of black caught my eye from behind the sofa and I went to investigate.
And it was Vince. Still on the floor in the same hunched over position he was the night before.
Now I've known Vince to be dramatic, but this was a little much, and it was starting to freak me out so I cautiously stepped forward and realized to my horror that Vince was still crying silently. I honestly didn't think one human being could hold that many tears, but here was proof right in front of me and it was all my fault. What I said couldn't have effected him this much could it?
"Vince?" I said again kneeling down in front of him.
But I got no reaction. Nothing. So I lifted up his head to look at his face and gasped at what I saw.
Tears were streaming down his face, makeup long worn away, and his eyes, oh god, his eyes. They looked dead; there was no spark, no light, no… Vince in them.
When I was finally able to look away from his eyes I saw that although no sound was coming out, Vince's mouth was moving, repeating the same movements over and over; movements that looked very much like 'I love you Howard' but I never was very good at reading lips.
"Vince, snap out of it!" But still nothing.
"Look, I'm sorry ok!" I yelled, but there was no reaction, he just sat there crying and mouthing the same thing over and over.
I tried shaking him, bribing him with candy, I even resorted to a little slap like he used to get me out of my jazz trances. But all that did was cause his head to turn a bit to the right. I wanted to at least move him to the couch, but something was really wrong here, even I could see that. So I figured it best to just leave him be until he snaps out of it himself or Naboo gets back.
Speaking of Naboo he wouldn't be too happy if he got back to a closed shop, no matter how worried I was, I couldn't shirk my responsibilities, so I left Vince where he was and headed down to open up shop without a second glance. I didn't even hear Vince quietly call my name.
It was just about closing time when Naboo and Bollo came walking through the door, not even bothering with a hello as they trudged upstairs, so likewise, I ignored them as well, going about closing the shop and momentarily forgetting that my best friend was sitting basically comatose upstairs.
It probably would have been out of my mind for at least another couple of minutes that I needed Naboo's help, but Naboo decided to remind me instead.
"HOWARD!" I heard Naboo call from upstairs, so I quickly locked up and proceed upstairs.
It was nice to finally be home after a long weekend of partying with the Board of Shaman, so I simply glide past Howard in the shop and make my way upstairs, Bollo following behind. I planned on having a nice quiet evening, just me a hookah and re-runs of Peacock Dreams. What I didn't plan on was finding Vince hunched over behind the sofa.
"What Precious Vince doing on floor?" I heard Bollo ask, obviously spotting the electro poof just as I had.
I actually didn't have an answer to that question and was quite curious myself so I just walked over and knelt in front of Vince to investigate.
Had it not been for my Shaman training, I most certainly would have gasped like Bollo had when I looked at Vince's face. It truly was a horrible sight, to see someone always so full of light reduced to a crying mess. Everything was wrong with this picture, and had it not been for movement of his lips, in what was clearly a declaration of love to Howard, I would have actually feared him to be dead. Something was wrong with Vince and I really had only one person to blame."
"HOWARD!" I yelled down to the shop and waited for him to come up.
When I see Howard appear at the top of the stairs, he doesn't seem all that concerned that his best friend is crying on the floor.
"Yeah Naboo?" he said simply.
"What did you do to Vince Howard?" I ask him angrily.
Next to me Bollo is just looking back and forth from Howard to Vince like he's torn between comforting Vince and ripping Howard's head off, and I find myself not really caring if he chooses the latter.
"I'll have you know I didn't do anything to him, except give him a good telling off when he tried to pull one of his pranks on me. And he's just been sitting there ever since." Howard said defensively, seeing the look Bollo was giving him.
"Harold hurt Precious Vince."
Howard opened his mouth at Bollo's comment, probably in an attempt to say that wasn't true, but I just rolled my eyes and cut him off.
"When was that Howard?" I asked, and he just looked at me.
"When did you give Vince this 'good telling off' that now has him crying his eyes out?"
"Oh. Um… last night around 6?" he said and I just stared at him with wide eyes.
"He's been like this since yesterday!" I really couldn't believe what I was hearing, of all the times not to call me. Howard, the man who worries about everything, decides that Vince being in some sort of coma isn't important enough to bother me over. But there was something weird about all this, Vince wouldn't get all depressed just cause Howard yelled at him, he would just yell back or walk away and the in the morning all would be forgotten. No, something was really wrong here, and I need to find out what that was.
"Alright ball-bag, you need to tell me exactly what happened yesterday, and don't leave anything out!"
So at his request, I told Naboo everything that happened yesterday, starting from when I woke up to when I went to bed, and although I wasn't sure how it was going to help Vince, I figured it was worth a try.
"Then he kept saying how he was in love with me before jumping on me and kissing me! So I shoved him off, yelled at him, and went to bed. I guess he's been this way since."
"That's all that happened?" Naboo asked.
"Yeah… oh wait; when Vince came in after his walk he had some sort of pink liquid in his hair… not that that's really important…" I really didn't think it was, but Naboo apparently did.
"Are you sure about that Howard? You're definitely sure it was pink, and that it wasn't just some sort of weird new fashion trend or something?"
"Yeah, Vince ran upstairs and took a shower right after getting in, next time I saw him was when he fainted. Why does this matter Naboo?"
"Well I guess that's where that went…" Naboo mumbled to himself, and I almost didn't hear him.
"Where what went?"
"The potion I lost you ball-bag. It must have fallen out of my pocket when me and the others were flying by and by some ridiculous coincidence fell on Vince. It would explain the fainting and the whole him being in love with you thing, but not him being like this…"
"Wait, what do you mean it would explain 'the whole him being in love with you thing' what does that even have to do with it!" I once again was very confused.
"Well if I'm right, which I always am, then Vince was under the influence of a love potion that, like many love potions, makes those under its spell fall in love with the first person they see. But it has to be activated with water before it takes effect. So naturally after Vince took his shower the potion was in effect, and all it took was one little glance at you, a brief blackout and bam! He's head over heels. But what I still want to know is what you said to Vince to make him like this." Naboo explained calmly, pointing at Vince.
"Why do you need to know that?" I really didn't want to have to tell Naboo what I said to Vince, I knew it was bad while I was saying it, but thinking about it now, I realize how horrible it actually was. And Bollo already wanted to rip my head off; I didn't want to give him another reason to.
"Because." And there really was no room for argument, so I told him, repeating it felt horrible, and I swear I saw Vince flinch, but it may have just been my imagination. When I finished, Naboo's usually expressionless face was morphed into one of shock and anger.
"What's wrong with you, you ball-bag! How could you say that to your best friend! God, it's no wonder he's like this!" Naboo yelled.
"Why Harold say such bad thing to Vince?" And as Bollo took a step forward, I took one back.
"I…I didn't mean it alright, I was just irritated with all his jokes."
"Well it wasn't a joke this time. Only you could screw this up so brilliantly, you know that?" Naboo asked.
"And just what do you mean by that sir?"
"Well the only real flaw in this potion is that if the one the infected is told by the one they fell in love with that they not only don't love them, but actually despise them, they spiral into a depression that causes them to get all comatose and unresponsive like Vince is now. Good job Howard."
"You will be able to fix him, won't you?" I asked hopefully, this was all my fault, there had to be some sort of a cure.
"Of course, I'm a shaman. I just need to whip up an antidote, and he should be back to normal. Ya know, I've seen this potion backfire a few times before, but never like this. It's almost as if… no, never mind, he'll be fine… probably."
And so Naboo and Bollo left to make the antidote, while I was left with my comatose friend. I did feel quite bad, but all would be right again soon and I got to admit, I was very relieved. I don't think I could deal with Vince actually being in love with me, I mean he's nice and all, but he's just not my type. For one thing, I'm more into…girls and even if I did like guys (which I don't) Vince would be at the bottom of my list. He's way to glittery and he doesn't even like jazz! Yeah, I'm definitely glad this will all be over soon.
Naboo came back a few hours later with a small vial containing what I assume was the antidote. Which was good cause I couldn't bare to stand Vince being like this anymore, he was still crying and mouthing what I now knew was "I love you Howard" over and over. I just wanted the normal Vince back already.
"Is that it? Are you going to fix Vince now?"
"Yes. Now please step aside." So I moved away from Vince, giving Naboo room to work his magic. I watched as Naboo lifted up Vince's head and grabbed his chin to stop the incessant movement of his lips just enough to get the potion in. Then I just stood and waited, I expected some sort of… something, to let me know the potion worked, Vince jumping up and rushing to a mirror would have sufficed, but he just shut his eyes and began to fall over, so I rushed in to catch him.
"What's wrong with him Naboo!" I asked fearfully.
"Nothing, he's just asleep. Go put him in bed would you, he should be fine in the morning. I'm off to get some sleep myself." And just like that, Naboo walked away, leaving me alone with Vince yet again.
But I did as I was told, and carried Vince to our room, gently placing him in his bed and covering him with the duvet.
After making sure he was comfortable I went to my own bed, falling asleep extremely happy that the day was finally over.
When I got to my room, I immediately went to the bed, I was exhausted. But not only that, I was actually quite concerned with Vince, his condition had been a lot worse than it should have been with that particular potion…
The only way he would have reacted so horribly to the things Howard said to him was if he actually had feelings for Howard. That was the only explanation, and it made sense. But, it also created one hell of a problem. I can't cure real emotions.
Vince is thick yeah, but even a simpleton like him can't ignore their own feelings when they get shoved right in their face.
Not only that, but having to deal with such a rejection from his best friend only minutes after discovering and revealing his feelings, Howard basically tore him apart.
This was such a mess, and after everything Howard said to him Vince was going to be a wreck.
When I woke up it was still dark out, and a look at the clock on the bed side table told me it was 4am. What even happened yesterday, how did I get in bed? Maybe I went out with Leroy; at least that would explain why I feel so… horrible and empty. Maybe Howard knows…
And then it all came rushing back, the feelings, the memories, the things I said to Howard, things I did to Howard. Why had I even done any of that? I didn't have feelings for Howard, well at least not ones strong enough that I would suddenly declare my love for him. I always had a thing for him, but it was nothing that I ever planned to do anything about, I mean, Its Howard for crying out loud. But yesterday, it was like I couldn't stop myself, like I needed Howard in a way I never had before. I remember hearing Naboo say it was because of a love potion or something and that he cured me, yet to my horror, I found that I still needed him, I still loved him!
But… he made it clear that would never happen. I could hear his words re-playing over and over in my mind, and each insult was like a punch in the gut." I could never and would never love you back! How could I? I mean look at you! You're everything I hate" That said it all really, Howard would never love me like I now realized I loved him, he couldn't even stand me!
I looked over at Howard, sleeping soundly in his bed, and that's when the tears started to flow.
I guess I had cried myself to sleep, because when I opened my eyes it was light out and Howard was no longer in his bed. For a few agonizing seconds I thought that maybe he left, and was never going to come back because he couldn't stand the sight of me. But then I heard him scatting happily in the other room.
It's nice that Howard is happy, I always loved his smile. Even thinking about it now brightens my mood, but it's probably just because he doesn't have to bottle up his feelings toward me anymore. At that thought I feel myself tear up.
I can't cry anymore though, I have to get ready for the day ahead, and be Vince Noir, Rock 'n Roll star, no matter how much I wished I could just disappear, there were things I was expected to do. Being fabulous and full of sunshine were just a few of said things. No one could know, least of all Howard, how broken up I was inside.
So after perfecting my look so that no one would notice the sunshine kid was anything but that at the moment, I exited the room.
I felt very refreshed after a good nights rest, and with all the stuff that happened in the last 2 days over with I couldn't be happier.
I scatted about the kitchen preparing breakfast for me and Vince, I said some pretty bad stuff, and I figured the least I could do was whip up some pancakes. Naboo had kindly given us the day off to 'recover' so I let Vince sleep in while I got everything ready.
At just about 10 o'clock, I heard Vince exit our room and make his way to the kitchen. For a moment I wasn't sure which Vince I would be seeing; and I feared that when I turned around I would again be faced with a broken and crying man.
Luckily the Vince that walked in was the complete opposite.
"Alright Howard?" Vince grinned happily.
"Morning Vince, how are you feeling?"
"Pretty genius actually, how could I not be when you made pancakes?" he asked and smiled again.
Well he does seem back to normal, guess Naboo's antidote worked, but I suppose I did still need to apologize.
"Look Vince-" I started, but was cut off when Cars began playing, and Vince answered his phone.
"Leroy! What's 'appening?" And that's when I tuned out, I guess, I'll save the apology for later.
Thank God for Leroy! He generally calls at the worst possible times, but this couldn't have been more perfect. I could tell Howard was about to say something serious, probably to tell me he didn't want to be friends anymore after everything I've done, or simply to tell me again he couldn't love me, and I just couldn't deal with that again, not now. I wanted to prolong just being Howard and Vince for as long as possible.
Leroy didn't talk for long, just asked where I'd been and telling me about the gorgeous bird he pulled the night before. I really didn't care, but at least it was a good distraction. And thankfully when I hung up, Howard seemed to have forgotten what he was saying. So instead I chose to tell Howard all about the new 'in' fashion this week while I picked at my meal (I wasn't very hungry at the moment.)
Howard didn't even attempt to look interested, he simply sat there and read the paper, but talking gave me something to do, something to calm my nerves, so I just kept at it until Howard finished his pancakes.
"Are you done Vince?" Howard asked, but he must have seen what I can only imagine was a look of hurt flash across my face because he quickly added, "with your breakfast." I smiled at that and nodded, at least he cared a little, and I was willing to take what I could get before everything fell apart.
A week had passed, and everything had gone back to normal. Vince and I worked in the shop, meaning I worked and he read Cheekbone. We crimped a bit and even had a Satsuma fight, yes sir, everything was going great, Vince was even being a bit nicer to me. Though at times, I would catch him staring off into space forlornly, but when I asked him if anything was wrong he just turned and looked at me with a big smile on his face and said, 'nothing goes wrong for sunshine people' so I left it alone.
We never really talked about what happened, but Naboo said he was back to normal, and I had no reason to doubt him. I never did get around to apologizing, but I'm sure Vince will have figured it out by now that I didn't mean what I said.
A week. A whole week has passed and still Howard hadn't said anything! It's going to happen soon I know it, but the anxiety is killing me.
He obviously doesn't want to apologize cause if he did, he would have done it already. No, he's just toying with me now, acting all nice so that I believe everything is fine, then he's going to leave me, he's going to pack his bags and go, without even saying goodbye, and then I'll be alone.
At night, when I'm supposed to be sleeping, I just watch him, making sure he doesn't leave. I can't fall asleep or he'll be gone.
It's been a whole week, and I've hardly gotten any sleep. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to maintain this happy façade. As it is, Howard nearly walked in on me the other day while I was having what I now refer to as my 'hourly crying session.' Naboo is always watching me, it seems he can tell something is wrong, and Bollo is always getting me things, that he thinks will make me feel better, so I imagine Naboo told him that something was wrong with me. But as long as he doesn't tell Howard, then it's nothing to be concerned about.
Vince may try to hide how hurt he is about this whole thing, but its clear as day for anyone that really knows him, especially a shaman. What I simply can't understand though is how Howard hasn't realized how hurt Vince is. The ball-bag hadn't even apologized as far as I could tell.
It's like Howard is ignoring all the signs, and there are a lot of them. Vince has been eating less and less; I got Bollo to bring him things regularly just to ensure he eats something. But I'm not sure how much good its doing. Vince barely sleeps, if the dark circles under his eyes are anything to go by, and I can tell he attempted to cover them up with makeup, but that can only do so much.
And no matter how much he may say on the contrary, Vince is not the happy go lucky person he was a week ago. I saw him the other day, curled up on the sofa when he thought no one was watching, crying again. He's always crying these days. And when he's not, he gets this look on his face that is just so… sad; even I have to look away.
I want to help Vince, I really do. But the person he needs most right now is apparently, completely oblivious to his cries for help.
I actually fell asleep tonight, not intentionally of course. But I had a nightmare that Howard had left and jolted awake. I looked over to his bed to make sure the dream had really just been a dream and I couldn't breathe.
Howard wasn't in his bed. He wasn't there.
I started to cry then, I couldn't have stopped even if I wanted to, I tried to get up, for what reason I'm not sure, I wanted to just lay in bed forever, there was no point if Howard wasn't there, but it really didn't matter cause I simply fell to the floor and curled up into a ball sobbing. Had I the ability to think, I may have realized I'd been in almost this exact position only a week before. But all my brain cell was able to process at that moment was that he was gone. Howard was gone.
I woke up in the middle of the night needing to use the toilet, so I quietly got out of bed and did just that, I didn't want to wake Vince; he looked like he needed the rest.
I really hadn't thought anything of it. I was just going to the bathroom and I expected to simply get back into bed and sleep for a few more hours.
But as I neared the door to our room, I knew that plan was out.
I walked into the room and was greeted with a sight I had never wanted to see again. Vince on the floor crying his eyes out. And it was even worse than before, he was shaking horribly, and his cries sounded pained. I couldn't stand seeing him like this, it hurt.
"VINCE!" I ran to him, forgetting about my no touching policy, and hugging him close to me.
"Vince I'm here, tell me what's wrong!" But instead of an answer he just cried harder.
So I pushed him back and looked into his tear filled eyes.
"Vince, please just tell me what happened." I pleaded.
"Y-you l-left me, H-Howard" he stuttered out between breaths.
"No I didn't Vince, I would never leave you."
"You w-will" and I was shocked.
"Now, listen hear sir, I'm not going anywhere, why would you even think that?"
"Cause, you h-hate everything about m-me."
It felt like the wind had been knocked out of me, Vince thought I hated him. He thought I was going to leave.
"Vince, I don't hate you, I promise. I'm sorry for all those things I said, I just got carried away. I'm so sorry."
As I held Vince, I realized how thin he had gotten, and when I looked back over the past week, I couldn't come up with one solid memory of him eating a proper meal, or anything at all really. I looked down at him and in the moon light I could see the dark rings under his eyes. How could I have missed all this? Vince had been hurting and I just ignored it, I wanted things to be normal again so much that I blocked out Vince being anything other than his regular sunshine self. This was such a mess. But I had to try and fix it.
So I just sat there for what seemed like forever, holding Vince while he cried himself to sleep.
I woke up that morning to find myself being held in a warm embrace, and looking up I was surprised to see Howard was the one holding me. Until I remembered my little breakdown the night before. I shivered at the memory, which seemed to be enough to rouse Howard from his sleep.
He looked down at me and smiled. Howard smiled. Howard smiled at me. And I couldn't help the grin that broke out on my face, Howard didn't hate me, he said so himself. And he wouldn't lie to me… he couldn't.
"Hey, Little man, you alright?" I love when he calls me that.
"Yeah, I'm sorry about last night, I…I jus'… thought you'd left me." And I wanted to kick myself as I felt the tears start to build up.
"Vince, I meant what I said last night; I'm not going to leave you. And no matter what I said before, I could never hate you. You must know that."
"But you were right Howard, I'm a horrible person, all the things I do to you, and say to you, I deserve to be alone."
"Come on, don't say things like that Vince, we're yin and yang, that's just how we do things. We're always going to be best mates. Right?"
"Right." I smiled again. I was planning on leaving it at that, but when I looked into his eyes, so filled with concern and love, I couldn't help but lean up and place my lips on his. And for 5 glorious seconds I was in heaven.
And it wasn't until Howard pushed me away that I realized what I had done. Again.
"I thought Naboo cured you." Howard sighed
"He did Howard I-"
"Then why did you just kiss me Vince?" He asked looking mildly irritated.
"Because Howard I-"
"And don't say it's because you love me."
So I didn't, even though the words were nearly bursting from my lips, and all my brain cell seemed to be supplying was a mantra of 'I love Howard' over and over again. That being said, all I was able to come up with in reply couldn't even pass as partially believable.
"Course not, I just… slipped. Sorry." There is no way he's going to believe that.
"No problem Little man, just be more careful next time. What do you say we go open up the shop?" I stand corrected.
I sigh, "Yeah that sounds good."
Down in the shop I was sitting in the barber's chair attempting and failing to read my magazine. My eyes just kept going back to Howard. How was I supposed to focus when the object of my desires is right in front of me and I can't do anything about it! I'm not exactly a multi-tasker. Maybe a walk would clear my mind.
"Hey Howard?" I called beginning to tell him I was going out, but as he looked at me I couldn't speak.
"What is it Vince?" Howard said after a minute of silence.
"Um… I… I'm jus' going for a walk"
"Alright, just don't be gone long and make sure not to let any weird potions land on your head this time."
"Sure thing" I said and left the shop.
Normally I would have protested Vince going out during work hours, but he had hardly talked all day, and the way he had slumped down in his chair earlier, maybe a walk would do him some good, at least until I come up with a better plan. Unless of course he comes back under the influence of yet another flying potion.
Though, I must admit, it would be kind of nice having Vince actually be in love with me and not just some joke. He would be a lot nicer I'm sure. But who am I kidding, even if Vince did love me, I want a nice jazzy girl, not an electro boy. No matter how cute they may look sleeping in my arms. Yeah, a nice jazzy girl, like this one walking into the shop.
"Hello miss, may I interest you in some bookmarks?"
A walk really had been just what I needed. It gave me time to think about Howard. I really shouldn't be so sad, even if Howard doesn't return my feelings, at least I get to spend everyday with him, it's not like he's going to get a girl friend anytime soon. I have him all to myself, and I should learn to be happy with that.
Getting back to the shop though made the small bit of happiness I had, shatter to pieces, and I found myself even more miserable than before.
There was Howard in the shop with a girl, a jazzy girl, and they were talking, she wasn't running away in fear, she was laughing; Howard was laughing. This was a scene from my worst nightmare, it had to be! Howard jazzing up some girl, forgetting about me while I stood outside in the rain… but it wasn't raining, I was just crying again.
I couldn't watch anymore, so I ran away.
I was chatting up the jazzy girl (still hadn't learned her name), she was quite nice, and she wasn't even scared of me. But there was something missing. Now that I think about it, where was Vince? I'd been using some good old Howard Moon charm and he wasn't even here to see it.
Then I realized the girl was talking… again. I was getting a bit bored with her, I'd much rather be talking to Vince right now. So as politely as I could I got her out of the shop, and tried my best to wait patiently for Vince. He'd been gone for quite awhile and I was getting worried.
When I finally stopped running, I had no idea where I was, so I looked around a bit, looking for any familiar land marks, a Top Shop, anything really. But when I found none, I got the sinking suspicion I was in an area I generally avoided. For one, there was no Top Shop, but the other reason, the more serious one, was watching me from across the street, and I didn't want to admit it, but I was scared.
I casually ducked into an alleyway and hid behind a garbage bin, I needed to call Howard, and hopefully that group of thugs that were eyeing me would leave me alone until he got here.
I was finishing up the stock taking for the day, figuring Vince would be back any minute so there was no reason to get so worked up about it. He went out all the time, at least he used to before last week, but that's even more reason not to worry right? Things are just going back to normal.
I just finished convincing myself everything would be fine when Naboo came down stairs.
"Hey Naboolio." I said happily, but Naboo just looked around the shop.
"Why?" I asked curiously.
"I need to have a word with him."
"Oh, well he went for a walk, he should be back soon though so-" but I didn't get to finish cause my phone started ringing. And Howard Moon doesn't leave his phone unanswered.
"Hello, Howard Moon at your service. How may I help you?"
"Vince!" At my cry Naboo, who had begun to go upstairs, turned around and came over to me instead looking a bit worried.
"Howard I need you to come pick me up." Vince sounded frightened and it was freaking me out.
"Why? Where are you!"
"I…I don't know, in some area I generally avoid, but there was this group of thugs across the street so I hid in an alley behind a dumpster, I'm scared Howard."
"Don't worry Vince I'm coming to get you!"
"Hurry Howard, I-" but he stopped, and I was about to ask why when I heard it.
"Well well well, look what we 'ave 'ere, your pretty far from home, are ya lost girly?" someone sneered on the other end.
"H-Howard help me!" Vince cried sounding near tears.
"Whose Howard? Your boyfriend?"
" Aw look at 'im, 'es cryin'"
"Say bye bye to your boyfriend now ya little fairy, we're gonna play a game."
"B-bye, H-Howard." Vince sobbed.
"VINCE!" but the line went dead.
This was just what I needed right now. As if I hadn't been worrying about Vince enough, he has to get himself into more trouble! And now Howard was freaking out. Perfect.
"What are we going to do Naboo!" I was freaking out; my best friend was out there somewhere, with people who wanted to hurt him. How was I even supposed to find him! And what if it was already too late by the time I did?
"Calm down you ball-bag."
"CALM DOWN! How can I calm down? We have to find Vince now!" I yelled, this situation didn't call for calm, it called for action!
"Yes, I'm aware of that, now if you would kindly shut up, I may be able to find him. BOLLO!" Naboo called up the stairs.
"What Naboo want now!" came Bollo's reply.
"Get the carpet and bring it down, we're in a bit of a hurry, your 'precious Vince' is in danger!" Naboo then whipped out his travel crystal ball and proceeded, I assume, to locate Vince.
Within seconds, Bollo was plowing down the stairs, carpet in hand.
"Took ya long enough." Naboo rolled his eyes, "Come on Howard, I found Vince, let's go."
And so without even a second thought I hopped on the carpet with Naboo and we set off to save Vince. I only hoped we're weren't too late.
"So is the little princess ready to play?" Sneered one of the thugs.
"N-not r-really no." I stuttered helplessly.
"Well that's jus' too bad init? Cause we are, 'n we really can't play without ya." said another, grabbing my hair in the process.
Even with this current situation, no one was allowed to touch my hair, ('cept Howard a' course) it just wasn't done, and I tried my best to get that point across to them, I really did.
"Let go!" I yelled, flailing my arms around trying to hit at least one of them, even if it was pointless. I knew I wasn't going to get away. Howard wasn't here to protect me this time, and I was useless on my own. I knew it, Naboo knew it, and obviously these jerks here knew it, otherwise I wouldn't be in this situation.
I suppose I must have actually hit one of them at some point, cause one of them yelled and a moment later I felt a fist connect with my face, knocking my head back against the wall I was currently pressed up against. And they started laughing.
They held me up by my hair as they landed blow after blow to my stomach and face. When my hair was let go, I fell to the ground. Something sharp pierced my side and I cried out in pain, though naturally, it went un-noticed by my attackers. I was sobbing at this point, but I didn't care how weak and pathetic I looked, I just wanted it to be over, but apparently they hadn't finished quite yet.
"This is your fault ya know? Ya brought this on your self, dressin' like tha', it's disgusting."
Then they started kicking me and all I could hear was their laughter, it drowned out everything else and surrounded me, they just wouldn't stop, no matter how much I begged them to, they just laughed and continued kicking.
I was losing a lot of blood from the wound in my side, and at one point I felt something break, probably a rib, but there was nothing I could do, why fight when you can't win? So I just laid there, in more pain than I'd ever felt. My vision was going, and I was grateful for the darkness. I thought I heard someone call my name, and imagined Howard coming to save me.
It was taking entirely to long to get to Vince, even though Naboo assured me we were going as fast as he could, it just wasn't fast enough!
"Hurry up Naboo!"
"I'm already breaking the speed limit, and if you tell me to hurry up one more time I will throw you off this carpet faster than you can say Peacock Dreams! I'm worried about Vince to, but I can't go any faster, I'm sorry." Naboo lisped.
I was stunned into silence at his apology, he really was doing all he could, I just hoped Vince could hang on for a little while longer.
When we arrived at Vince's location, I jumped off the carpet and ran into the alley. I didn't immediately see Vince, all I could see was five guys crowed around something on the ground laughing.
"Aw, maybe we were to rough on 'im." Thug 1 mocked.
"Nah 'e deserved it, and more." Thug 2 said.
"Shame 'e didn't last longer, I was 'aving fun." Laughed Thug 3
"Well the games don't 'ave to end jus' cause 'es out, there are plenty a' things we can still do with 'im." Grinned Thug 4, as he unbuttoned his trousers and reached for whatever was on the floor.
"Yeah, 'n 'e'd probably enjoy it." Thug 5 sneered, and that's when I finally saw what was on the ground.
"VINCE!" I yelled rushing over to him, oblivious to the five guys running away, surely they could have beat me up as well, perhaps they just didn't want to take their chances. But honestly I didn't care.
"Naboo call an ambulance!" I yelled at Naboo when I reached Vince.
I lifted him gently, cradling him against myself. This was wrong, so horribly wrong! Things like this don't happen to Vince, he's made of sunshine, how could anyone hurt him like this? Hurt someone so beautiful simply because they dress different. His breathing was labored, and his face was covered in blood and tears, his hair was covered in dirt and caked with his own blood, and if I was honest, that was the most horrifying. Why did this have to happen!
"They're on there way." Naboo said quietly, walking over to us.
I couldn't help the tears at this point, this was just too much.
"Vince! Oh God, Vince! Are you ok!" Why the hell did I ask that! When I can clearly see he's not.
"Course I am, so don' cry kay?" Vince whispered trying to smile, but it was more of a grimace than anything.
"I'm sorry Vince! So sorry!"
"S'not your fault, but I forgive ya, 'n I always will, cause… I love you Howard."
"I love you too Vince" I said, and I knew it was true, even if it wasn't in a romantic way (which I'm not so sure it wasn't anymore) I loved Vince more than I would ever love anyone else. I couldn't live without Vince, he was everything to me. Naboo simply stood to the side, knowing it wasn't his place.
I was having a moment of clarity, when I felt something wet on leg, and was horrified to realize it was blood, it was everywhere, and it was coming from Vince.
"Vince!" I screamed, he had gone quiet, and his breathing had slowed, where was that ambulance!
"H'ward" Vince whimpered quietly before his eyes slipped shut.
By the time the ambulance had arrived, I was beyond freaking out; I was literally going insane with worry. There was blood everywhere and I knew that no human being could lose that amount of blood and still be okay. But Vince was going to be okay, he was the sunshine kid, he had to be okay.
Nothing would be the same without Vince, I wasn't me without Vince, the world wasn't the world without Vince. But God, he just won't stop bleeding! Why is this happening to someone like Vince anyway? How could anyone do something so horrible to such a beautiful person, to the man I loved. And yes, the more I seemed to think about it, the more I was able to see how true it actually was. Of course I had always loved Vince, he was my best friend, but only now, when I'm so close to losing everything, do I see how much he really means to me. Vince is my world, and nothing is going to take him away from me, not now, not when I still have so much to apologize for, when I still have so much I need to say.
I was still lost in my thoughts when I felt myself being shaken quite roughly.
"Sir, are you alright? Can you tell me what happened here?" questioned the paramedic.
"Group of guys… beat up my friend…so much blood." I said sorrowfully, not yet up to forming full sentences', but it appeared that the man understood what I was trying to say.
"We're going to do everything we can to help your friend, but we need you to let go."
It was then that I realized I was holding onto Vince like my life depended on it, which wouldn't have been so far from the truth. But none the less, I knew these people were going to save Vince so I hesitantly let go, and allowed the paramedics to lift Vince onto a stretcher, and load him into the ambulance.
"Are you coming along?" asked one of the paramedics, and I didn't think twice, or bother with an answer as I climbed into the vehicle. The doors were shut, and we headed to the hospital, but there was no time to lose, and the paramedics went straight to work on getting Vince stable.
I watched helplessly as the paramedics worked on Vince, at one point they asked for his name and I unintentionally scoffed, "he's Vince Noir, Rock 'n Roll star" I had always just assumed everyone knew who Vince was, but when I looked down at him, it really was hard to tell that this dying man covered in his own blood was the prince of Camden.
From what I could make out through the fog that had descended over my mind, Vince was suffering from a few broken ribs, severe bleeding, and a possible concussion.
We had just arrived at the hospital when Vince started gasping for air.
"Crap, one of his ribs must have punctured a lung; we need to get him down to surgery immediately!" Yelled one of the paramedics, and before I could even comprehend that information, Vince was being wheeled into the hospital and down a hallway I was prohibited from entering.
A nurse calmly walked over to me and led me toward the waiting room, gave me some papers to fill out, and assured me that a doctor would be out to talk to him as soon as possible.
The papers had kept me occupied for about 15 minutes, but the next 2 hours were quite possibly the longest and most horrible 2 hours of my entire life.
Thankfully, the doctor came out just before I decided to take matters into my own hands and plough through the doors that were separating me from Vince.
"Mr. Moon?" The doctor called and I practically ran through the waiting room to get to him.
"Is Vince alright! What happened? Can I see him!" I asked worriedly.
"Mr. Noir- "
"Vince" I corrected.
"…Vince is stable at the moment, and as you probably know, he was rushed into surgery to repair a punctured lung. The surgery went well, and at the moment he is breathing on his own. Vince had several broken ribs, which were set and wrapped. There was also some internal bleeding, but we were able to fix that rather easily. Vince is also suffering from a minor concussion, generally we would advise for the concussed to remain conscious, but that is simply not an option at this point. His eye is a bit swollen from being punched, and he is quite literally covered in bruises, but those will fade, nothing to be particularly concerned about. The thing that had me worried the most was the blood loss, we removed a rather large piece of metal from his side, and although it miraculously didn't hit any of his organs, we needed to transfuse him with quite a bit of blood. At the moment, his vitals are good, we just need to make sure he doesn't get an infection, and he's going to have to stay in the hospital for observation. Unfortunately, he's going to be in a lot of pain so we will be administering him some pain killers. Vince isn't allergic to anything is he?"
"Jazz…" I mumbled.
"Oh, um, no he's not…C-can I see him?" I asked quietly.
"Of course, follow me." The doctor said, leading me to Vince's room.
When I first see Vince, I thought I was in the wrong room, but when I turned back to look at the doctor he just smiled at me and walked out the door, telling me to call if I needed anything.
I walked over to the bed and looked down at my best friend, and it was like he was a completely different person. Vince looked so weak and fragile, so… small. I pulled a chair up to the bed and grabbed Vince's hand, intending to stay awake till Vince woke up. But the relief I felt, knowing that he was going to be okay after such a horrifying night overwhelmed me, and I passed out right there still holding Vince's hand.
When I first woke up I had no idea where I was, or how I got there. But in a typical Vince fashion, I stayed calm, and tried to figure out what was going on. I can hear a really annoying beeping noise, and looking around I realize it was coming from a heart monitor. 'Why am I in a hospital?' I looked around a bit from my place on the bed and spotted something that instantly brought a smile to my face.
Howard was here, sleeping peacefully with his head rested on the side of the bed. I reached out to pet his hair with the hand that wasn't currently occupied when I caught sight of my arm. It was littered with bruises, and on further investigation, I discovered that nearly every visible part of my body looked like it just lost a round with a bulldozer. I was still staring at my body, when a sudden pain flared through my side, that's when I remembered what had happened, the hurtful words the beating, the reason I had run away in the first place, and I let loose a pain filled cry.
I had been dreaming about the magical times me and Vince had at the zoo, when an anguished cry startled me awake and into action.
"Vince! Are you alright!" I almost yelled out of concern.
"H-hurts H'ward" Vince replied weakly, and I immediately jabbed the call button. A nurse came in just before I started screaming out into the hall about the most important person in my life being in pain.
"Alright hon, I'm going to give you some pain killers, It appears the ones administered to you earlier are beginning to wear off, but don't worry, these should help." The nurse said sweetly, handing Vince two small tablets and a glass of water, which Vince quickly swallowed.
"Someone will be in later to check on you" the nurse said, before leaving the room.
As soon as she was gone I rushed back to Vince's side, having moved away while the nurse was checking on him.
"How are you feeling?" I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
"Not so hot." Vince said sadly.
"God Vince, I'm so sorry."
"What for Howard?"
"Everything, I've been such an idiot, all those things I said to you; they weren't even true, Vince can you ever forgive me?" I cried.
"I already told you Howard, s'not your fault, but if it's what you need to hear, I forgive you, and I always will because I love you. So please, please don't cry." Vince smiled, and instead of a response, I just leaned down and kissed him.
I couldn't believe what was happening, it was everything I could have ever imagined and more! Howard was kissing me, and everything felt so perfect. Howard loved me too.
We sat there kissing until we parted for much needed air, then a thought popped into my head that instantly ripped away my good mood.
'What if Howard is only doing this because he feels guilty, what if he's only doing this because it didn't work out with that jazzy girl in the shop, what if… what if, he doesn't really love me?'
"Vince, what's wrong?" Howard asked, and I realized how I must look. I wanted to smile again, and say that everything was alright, like it was a minute ago. Who cares why he was doing it, I just want to kiss him again. But I couldn't live like that; I had to know, even if the truth would hurt.
"You don't have to do this Howard" I said sadly.
"What do you mean?"
"You don't have to pretend just because you feel guilty, or settle with me because it didn't work out with that girl. There are better people out there for you Howard, you shouldn't have to stay with me because you think it's you're only option or something." I replied, and tried not to cry.
"Where's all this coming from Little Man?"
"Really, its okay, I'll be fine." I looked up and smiled. But Howard just looked at me sadly, and even though I knew what was coming, I couldn't help the tears that fell silently from my eyes.
"I know you'll be fine." Howard smiled, before swooping down and kissing me again. "Because I'm not going anywhere."
"Remember what I said Vince, 'when I make that leap across the physical boundary, it'll be forever sir,' I don't take things like that lightly.
I couldn't help it anymore after that, and I broke down into tears.
"I love you Vince" Howard chuckled.
"I love you too Howard, so much" I cried, and leaned over to kiss him.
'Thank you, for the gift of love'