"Have you seen next month's shift rosters?" asked Dave as he idly stroked Luka's naked thigh.
"Mmm?" said Luka, who was stretched out on the bed beside Dave.
"February's rosters," said Dave. He propped himself upon one elbow and moved his caresses to Luka's chest. "Has the Chief finalized them yet?"
"Mmm," said Luka tiredly. It had been a long and exhausting day, and all he wanted to do was sleep. Of course the fact that he and Dave had been screwing each other's brains out since dinnertime had probably contributed to his exhaustion. "It's not February...we don't need to know what shift's we're working yet." He yelped slightly as Dave tweaked his nipple.
"Just wanted to make sure you're paying attention," grinned Dave. "Here, I'll kiss it better." He bent his head to Luka's chest.
Luka groaned as Dave's lips fastened on his nipple. He groaned even louder when Dave took his mouth away. "If you are intending to drive me wild with desire, you are succeeding," growled Luka with a gesture to his cock which was showing signs of interest. "What is so important about next month's rosters?"
Dave shrugged. "I thought is might be nice to do something special...you know, for our first Valentine's day together. I wanted to make it memorable."
"Well, you are working the early shift on the 14th and I am working the late shift," said Luka. Sighing he continued, "In any case, I think last year was memorable enough for everyone."
They lay there in silence, each lost in their own memories of last February.
Finally Luka spoke. "It has been almost a year...but I can still see their faces...as they lay on the tables. Looking up at us...trusting us...I did my best...."
"We all did our best," said Dave, pulling Luka into his arms. "We worked as hard as we could...and we did save Carter...you have to remember that," he reminded Luka gently.
"But we couldn't save Lucy," said Luka, sadly. "And Carter...sometimes I wonder if he regrets that we tried so hard to save him...I have seen him in the ER...he looks like a lost soul...and has done for months. I wish that there was something more that I could have done to help him."
"You did all you could and more," said Dave, firmly. "A lot of Carter's problems are his own doing. But what he needs now is a woman."
Luka looked at Dave in surprise, "Do you think that sex is the answer to everyone's problems?"
"I wasn't talking about sex," said Dave, indignantly. "Okay, I was...but Carter needs more than that...he really needs a friend...but preferably one he can score with as well. The guy's lonely. From what I've heard, he hasn't had a decent relationship since long before he got stabbed."
"And what do you suggest we do about it?"
"Well, I know a lot of single women," said Dave.
"I'll bet," muttered Luka under his breath.
"Quiet you," replied Dave. "Anyway, I'm sure if we invited a bunch of them over here and invited Carter as well, he'd be bound to get lucky with one of them."
"You are suggesting we 'pimp' for Carter?"
"No...I prefer to call it 'matchmaking'. If he hits it off, well and good, if not, then no harm, no foul. At the very least, we'll get him out of his house for a fun evening. What d'you think?"
"I think it is an interesting idea," said Luka, mulling it over in his mind. "And if I may make a suggestion?"
"Perhaps you should arrange your little 'matchmaking' session for the evening of the 14th February."
Dave looked at him in surprise. "But then you wouldn't be able to join us," he said.
"I think that Carter would be more relaxed if I - his superior at work - were not there. Besides, it would be a good distraction for him, no? Kerry was trying to decide whether it would be best to let him work a normal shift that day, or whether to let him take a day off."
"She should make him work. It'll do him no good to be stuck at home brooding."
"That is what I told her," said Luka. "This way, he will be working a shift in the morning, and then will spend the evening with you and your friends. He will not have time to brood on the events of a year ago."
"Well that's settled then," said Dave, rolling over on top of Luka. Luka grunted at the sudden weight on top of him.
"Be gentle with me," he said smiling.
"I'm gentle as a kitten," said Dave, kissing him softly on the lips. Luka found that he wasn't as tired out as he had thought, and they both went to sleep with smiles on their faces.
"I don't know, Dave," said John, hesitantly when Dave issued the invitation. "I was just going to take it easy that night."
"You mean you don't have anything planned?" said Dave, "Great, then you won't have to cancel anything. That's settled then. My place at seven. It'll be fun."
John stared open-mouthed as Dave walked away. He really didn't want to have to meet people on that night of all nights. Oh well, he thought, I can always make an excuse and cancel before then.
John never did get round to making that excuse and so he turned up at Dave and Luka's apartment at seven sharp on the 14th February.
Luka looked at his watch. Nine o'clock. If Dave's plan had worked then Carter should be in the middle of being entertained by Dave's friends. In spite of all his efforts, Dave had only been able to find two single women who were free that night.
"Penny for them?" said Kerry, who had come up behind Luka without him noticing.
"What? Oh, I was just wondering how Dave's 'dinner party' was going." In order to make sure that Kerry didn't make any last minute changes to the schedules, Luka had confided in her about their plans for Carter. She had been most approving.
"So, who did he end up inviting?" she asked, smiling.
"His neighbor, Clare," replied Luka, "And that blonde radiology technician, um, Anya."
"Hmm, well Carter was always into blondes...at least since I've known him."
"That will probably give her an advantage over Clare. She's a redhead," explained Luka. "But I think Dave is betting on Clare."
"Well, let me know how it works out," said Kerry.
A few hours later, Luka unlocked the door to the apartment. Dave was sprawled on the couch, reading a magazine. He looked up as Luka came in.
"How did it go?" asked Luka, as he took his coat off.
Dave rolled his eyes in disgust. "Oh the dinner went well enough, and afterwards, everyone was pretty happy. I think I've managed to set up a beautiful relationship."
"Well, don't keep me in suspense, was it Anya or Clare?"
"Both," replied Dave.
Luka's jaw dropped. "Carter got lucky with both of them?"
"Nuh-uh," Dave shook his head. "They got lucky with each other. When last seen they were heading back to Clare's place, and I don't think it was to look at her etchings."
"Anya and Clare?" said Luka. "I don't believe it." He shook his head in amazement. "Well, at least you got one happy couple out of the evening. I just wish that Carter had been part of it. Still, at least you kept him distracted for the evening. Kerry will be pleased..." Luka's voice trailed off, as he saw Dave trying to make 'shushing' motions.
Luka turned to see what Dave was looking at and groaned inwardly when he saw John standing in the hallway. From the stony expression on his face, it was obvious that he had overheard their conversation.
"This was all just a set-up, wasn't it?" John said quietly. "Poor Carter, hasn't been the same since last February...can't get a girl...let's try and fix him up with one of Malucci's friends, shall we?"
"Yes," said Dave. "No," said Luka, simultaneously, glaring at Dave. "It wasn't like that..." he paused. "Okay, maybe it was a little like that."
Dave interrupted. "Look, we knew that tonight might be difficult for you, so we figured we'd provide a distraction...and yes, we thought that you might hit it off with one of my friends. Would that have been so bad? Well, assuming they hadn't been more interested in each other."
"I think I'd better leave now," said John, quietly, as he turned towards the door.
"Oh, don't go off in a huff like that," said Dave, standing up and grabbing John by the arm. "Look, I'm sorry it didn't work out with you and either of the girls. I'm sorry if you didn't enjoy the evening, but at least stay for a little longer, okay?"
"I didn't say I hadn't enjoyed the evening," sighed John, as he allowed Dave to lead him back to the couch. "It was fun...especially the look on your face when you realized that Clare and Anya were interested in each other."
Dave sat down beside John, still holding his arm. Luka sat on John's other side.
"All we wanted was to try and cheer you up a bit," said Dave. "You've been so...so lonely looking these last few months. We only wanted to help."
"I...I have been lonely," said John, quietly. "I...I've felt so alone...ever since...ever since Lucy died..."
Luka put his hand on John's clenched fists. "Tonight you are not alone," he said. John looked at him in surprise, and then at Dave.
Dave, guessing what Luka was implying, nodded his agreement. "If you want it...you don't have to be alone tonight," he said softly. Leaning in, he kissed John delicately on the cheek.
"I don't want to be alone," said John, almost in a whisper. "Not tonight..."
Luka and Dave hugged John between them. They stayed caught up in the embrace for several minutes, before Dave broke away. "So, are we gonna stay here all night, or will we go somewhere more comfortable?"
John hesitated, unsure of whether he was ready for what Dave and Luka were offering. Luka noticed his hesitation. "I promise you, that we will not force you into anything that you do not wish to do," he said. Standing up, he held out his hand to John. "Do you trust us?"
John eyed the outstretched hand for a moment, before grasping it and letting Luka pull him to his feet. "I trust you," he said, simply.