The whole thing went well. Alex never once questioned where I was. Well not really, he’d joke and make fun of the fact I was keeping things from him, but it was all well and good and it was just teasing. And he stopped when he felt my anxiety even ratched up a little bit. The great thing about sharing that connection with him. He didn’t even have to be in my head to know I was having a rough time. Though I also liked to think that it had to do with how well Alex knew me. Though he didn’t think it was anything like that – because that would mean he was a good boyfriend/husband etc for me, and he still believed we were destined to fail because of him. We’d always have this problem.
But today was all about Alex. We had joked about not doing anything. But I had the whole day set up to be just me and him. Rider was taking care of the kids. And I had turned my alarm off. So the panic this morning was in full effect, but I had it planned. It was still hard not following my schedule. And kids and Alex made sure that I had to deal with it often enough. But today was planned. Not to the second or the minute, but it was all about Alex today. His birthday. Though we would have time with the family it was Halloween after all, and my brothers were human before supernatural. So was Alex, though he didn’t celebrate either.
Alex sat straight up when he saw the sun shining through our window. He pushed my shoulder to wake me up, though I’d been awake for the past hour or more just lying in bed taking in the sounds and smell of my love. I gave him a half smile. “I’m okay. It’s your birthday. Happy birthday.” I said rolling over to look at him.
“What time is it?”
“Eight.” I said.
“You stayed in bed for me?”
I smiled at him. “I turned my alarms off for you. I stayed in bed for me.”
Alex chuckled and rolled his eyes. “So what else are you changing for me.”
I shrugged. “Rider’s taking care of the kids.”
“You put too much on him.” Alex chided me.
“He’s pack leader.” I shrugged.
“I know. And it’s not like he is doing it all the time.”
I sighed and rolled over. “Rider offered.” I got out of bed. “I’ll go make breakfast now.” I was a little defeated on my morning sacrifice. I should have just done the usual. It hadn’t been worth it.
“Nox!” Alex shouted at me.
I turned around and waited for him to yell at me again. His eyes dropped, “I’m sorry. You shouldn’t change things for me.”
I shrugged. “I wanted to let you sleep in. That happened.” I turned and walked out of the bedroom in my boxers and not much else. I didn’t really give a fuck at the moment and no one was around anyway, I’d made sure of it. Rider had everything under control. He always did.
The house was unusually quiet. Rider had done a good job. I threw on my playlist, I had Alex’s mix all cued up and wasn’t really thinking about it when I started it. I started making breakfast. Alex’s favorite. We didn’t have it as often as he’d like, mostly because it involved ice cream. But I planned on spoiling him. And there was no point in not following the plan even if it wasn’t going as planned.
I was flipping the first pancake when Alex came into the kitchen. “I’m sorry Nox.”
I shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. Enjoy your birthday. It’s all I ask.”
Alex shook his head, “I can’t enjoy anything when all I feel is how much I hurt you.”
I pulled my shields around me and put on a fake smile. All of which made Alex frown. “That’s not what I mean, Nox.”
I shrugged. “Babe, it’s not about me. I can’t help but feel hurt, and until I deal with it you can still enjoy your birthday.”
“No. Nox, that’s not how this works.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Talk to me.”
I laughed, “You don’t like when I talk to you.”
I was still cooking his pancakes and Alex waited until I had cleared the pancake on the gridle before he took my hands and pulled me away from the kitchen. “Look. I’m an asshole. I didn’t mean to make the Rider comment. He’s feeling stressed out too. Between family and pack he’s feeling the strain.”
I nodded, “I know. He offered Alex. Quinn was helping him. So was Matt. He offered. We never get any alone time between the fucking city and all the kids we don’t have time for us. He was being a good little brother and helping out. I’m sorry.” I pulled away from Alex and stepped into the kitchen again, just as the song I’d made Alex started playing.
“Nox come on. I’m trying to apologize here.”
“There is nothing to apologize for Alex. I’ll remember not to change my schedule for you. I’ll make sure I don’t put things on Rider. I’ll do better.”
Alex sighed. “Nox.”
I shook my head. “I’m fine Alex.”
“You are so fucking not. I can’t feel anything from you.” So I let it go, let the shield go. It was more work than I liked and Alex winced as everything flooded his extra senses. Not only did he get how I felt about the morning alarm being unset, he felt the unease about putting too much on Rider, knowing he was having a hard time of it all, I knew exactly how Rider felt we’d talked about it. Alex also got the sadness of the fact that he was missing the song I’d made for him. He got the burn on my hand when I had accidentally touched the pan I was using and wasn’t paying any attention to it. He got everything and he took a step back. It was overwhelming.
“You still hid things from me?” Alex frowned.
“I do not. It’s just all building up right now.” I closed my eyes and fought back the tears. It was Alex’s birthday and I wouldn’t make it about me.
But it was already too late. Alex was behind me putting his arms around me. “I’m sorry Nox.”
We stood in the kitchen with Alex holding me like I was broken for several long moments and he laughed, “Play that last song again.”
“What?” I said.
“The one that just ended, play it again.”
I grabbed my phone and pressed the back button and Without you again started playing. Alex’s arms tightened around me. “You singing this?”
I smirked, “Maybe.”
Alex let go and spun me around. “Is that what you’ve been doing?”
“Maybe.” I grinned at him. Though I knew it wasn’t the biggest smile I could have and should have been wearing.
“Do you want your gift before breakfast?” I sighed, “I intended it to be later with the family, but I’m a little spacy and started it without thinking.”
“You recorded it?”
I nodded. “Ryan helped me.”
“Do you want your gift?”