~ Valentine's Depression Meal for Two ~

"I can't believe she dumped me right before Valentine's Day, Nick!" Larry whined. Tears poured down his face like two tiny waterfalls.

"That's rough, buddy," Phoenix said, reaching out to pat his friend on the back, which only made him cry harder.

The bowl of noodles in front of the artist was extra EXTRA salty today, from the addition of Larry's tears.

The reason Phoenix was here at Eldoon's attempting to comfort his distraught childhood friend, rather than sulking at his office, was a combination of the fact that he also had no one to celebrate Valentine's Day with... and the Wright Anything Agency was in absolute chaos right now with the kids and their partners, so he was honestly glad for any excuse to get out of there.

Phoenix was on his second bowl of noodles by the time Larry finally managed to calm down a little bit.

"Oh, hey, Nick... sorry for dragging you out here like this and interrupting your Valentine's Day plans."

Larry sounded genuinely sorry about it, which only served to remind Phoenix that he hadn't actually had any plans of his own.

"It's OK, Larry. It's not like I was doing anything anyway..."

"Wait... you mean you don't have a girlfriend, either, Nick?"

"Nope. And I can't even spend the day peacefully cleaning the toilet, because the office is packed with the kids and their partners, and overflowing with flowers and gifts like you would not believe."

Larry actually cracked a smile at that.

"Oh yeah, I bet that Klavier really went overboard."

"Actually, he didn't. Apollo asked him to tone it down after what happened last year, so this time Klavier only brought him one rose." After a brief pause, during which Phoenix's expression drastically changed, he continued, "Simon is the one who went completely overboard. I swear he must have bought an entire florist shop's stock and dragged them into the office. Compared to him, Bonny only went mildly overboard... but seriously, where are we supposed to keep all those rabbits? What are we going to feed them?"

Phoenix's expression sank even further into despair as he contemplated the pet food bills that would be cropping up in the near future.

This time it was Larry's turn to pat him on the back.

"But it's great that all your kids have found love, Nick!" Larry said. "Being a single dad of three must be hard, but you're doing your best. I'm sure you'll find a woman someday who will love you."

"Thanks, Larry," Phoenix said, not feeling comforted by his friend's words at all. (Well, maybe the bit about him being a good dad...)

In slightly better spirits, the two friends each ordered another bowl of noodles. Phoenix paid for the entire meal. Larry offered to come and help Nick clean up the office afterward - and, although Phoenix was sure Larry's "help" would be less than helpful, he accepted.