“Aren’t you moving a little fast?” Rory grumbled following Gayle into the kitchen.
“Don’t go all big brother on me,” she chided.
“He can’t help it,” Eddie smiled up at Rory as he handed him the dirty dishes “it’s just who he is.”
“You make it sound like a bad thing,” Rory muttered taking the dishes while his eyes followed Eddie.
Giving Gayle a hug Eddie said “congratulations. I’m so happy for you.” Turning to Rory he reached up to stroke his face “it’s not a bad thing. It’s one of the things I love about you.” He turned before Rory could respond or become uncomfortable.
Rory stared into the sink listening to the sound of Eddie’s laughter as Gayle instructed him to join Trent in the living room while she did the dishes. “You can join them,” she offered once Eddie had left the room.
Shaking his head Rory smiled at her “no I want to help…” He fell silent letting his hands soak in the hot dish water.
“Is something wrong?” Gayle asked as he stood there oblivious for several minutes.
Shaking his head as if waking from a daze “how do you know Trent’s the one?”
“I love him,” she replied saying the three words Rory was so scared of with so much conviction that Rory envied her. Turning to face him she smiled “Rory I understand more then most why it’s so hard for you tell Eddie you love him. Your parents taught you to distrust love and those who said it.” Sighing she pushed him from the sink “I’m not my mother and neither are you. We can choose to be whoever and whatever we want. I choose to let Trent into my life. I know I might get hurt.” Looking up at him “I refuse to let that keep me from losing out on something wonderful.” She washed a few dishes while Rory stood there watching her deep in thought. “When Trent walks into the room my heart skips a beat and when he’s gone it’s like someone has taken the sun. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s something I don’t want to live without.”
“It’s like he chose me,” Rory mumbled in a low gravelly voice raw with emotion “from the moment I met him I knew he was different from anyone else I had dated before.” Laughter from the other room drifted to them “that’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.” Rory glanced at the floor feeling self-conscious something he hadn’t felt in a long time.
“You love him don’t you?” Gayle asked keeping her voice low and her eyes on the dish she was washing. As his silence lengthened she glanced up seeing him staring into space, cheeks a rosy pink. “Tell him” she squeezed his hand “don’t let your parent’s mistakes become yours. You’re better than that.”
Bruce went to retrieve Ramsey’s wallet from the dresser to pay the pizza delivery guy. He was about to put it back when a small picture caught his eye. Pulling it out he felt his lungs tighten as he tried to breathe.
“Honey did you get the…” Ramsey’s voice drifted away catching sight of the picture Bruce was holding.
“Where did you get this?” he asked eyes riveted to the blond in the picture.
“We’ll talk about this later,” Ramsey told him taking the money from Bruce’s tightly clenched hand.
Bruce heard Ramsey as if from a long distance. His attention glued to the photo. The boy in the photo had been all smiles, eyes sparkling, happy. It had been so long since Bruce had felt as carefree as the person in the picture was. Was that why Ramsey carried that picture? A tear trickled down his cheek unnoticed. He jumped when a gentle touch wiped the tear away and he looked into the concerned eyes of the man he was living with. The man who had quickly become the center of his universe. Bruce turned away from him unable to bear him looking at him. He knew he wasn’t what Ramsey wanted or needed. All he was really was a burden with all his neediness.
“Don’t do this,” Ramsey spoke softly trying to cover over the hurt he felt at Bruce’s rejection “don’t shut me out.”
“I’m not,” Bruce cried his voice loud almost angry. Sighing he ran a hand through is hair “at least I don’t want to.” He wiped at his eyes in an attempt to cover up the tears. The picture slipping from his fingers drifting to the floor.
Bending Ramsey retrieved the picture and replaced the photo in his wallet. “The pizza is getting cold,” he put a hand on the blonde’s shoulder “let’s go eat.”
Sniffling Bruce followed Ramsey into the kitchen. The pizza sitting on the counter waiting for them “you must be tired of always having to cater to me,” Bruce observed the undertone of anger still in his voice.
“Never” Ramsey replied taking Bruce’s hands leading him to the couch the pizza forgotten. “I want to take care of you. I want to be here for you when you’re having a difficult time coping with things. I want to be here for you, to help you even if that means I order pizza so that you having something to eat. Lord knows I can’t cook.” That last part brought a temporary smile to Bruce’s face.
“What about you?” Bruce asked gazing into Ramsey’s eyes “I know you want more than I can give.” Bruce moved to get up gazing out the window towards the breath-taking view outside their apartment window. It was one of the things that drew him to this apartment when he and Ramsey were looking for a place together.
“What do you think I want from you?” Ramsey asked gently redirecting Bruce’s gaze back to him.
“I don’t…” he closed his eyes unable to take the look of concern in Ramsey’s eyes. Taking a deep breath he wanted nothing more than to pretend he didn’t know what Ramsey wanted. “To be a fully functioning adult,” he blurted holding his breath expecting Ramsey to offer some sort of argument disagreeing with him.
To his chagrin he found himself being drawn into a hug. Ramsey’s arms felt warm and safe around him. Several minutes passed in silence while they listened to each other breathe. Bruce’s breath tickled the sensitive skin along Ramsey’s neck moving his hair. “Do you really want to know what I want?” Ramsey asked the man he cradled in his arms.
Nodding Bruce pulled back swallowing the lump in his throat giving Ramsey a look like he was about to face a firing squad. “I” he began as his throat tightened choking him. This was it. Ramsey was going to break up with him. Move on with his life with someone who didn’t need so much.
Stroking the blonde’s hair Ramsey gently pulled him close tenderly kissing his lips hoping his actions would be evidence enough that he meant what he was about to say. He pulled back when Bruce emitted a high-pitched mewling sound. He wanted nothing more than to hold the man he loved until all of his fears melted away. To kiss the bad dreams away. To snuggle with him until he was assured of his love for him. Abruptly Ramsey took his wallet out. Fished around for the picture that started all of this. Holding it out so that Bruce could see it “this is what I want.” The picture shook in his trembling fingers. His voice vibrated with all the repressed emotions pent-up inside him.
Bruce’s eyes were riveted to the picture Ramsey was holding. A young blonde. All smiles. Bruce couldn’t remember the last time he smiled like that. Moving his eyes from the picture he found Ramsey staring at him intensely. “I don’t,” licking his lips afraid of what Ramsey was going to say to him “I don’t understand.”
“This” indicating the picture he was carefully returning to his wallet “is what I want. I want to see you smile again. I want to see your eyes sparkle like they were in this picture. To hear you laugh.” Holding his partner’s face lovingly between his palms “I want to see you happy.” This time when he moved to kiss him he was met with the same fervor he had. The same need and desire.
Pulling apart breathing hard Ramsey gasped “I love you.” He noticed the flicker of doubt in the blue eyes he adored. Pulling Bruce close “I know you don’t believe me yet I can see it in your eyes. I’ve hurt you. I know that.” Kissing his hairline his voice low and soft “I promise I’m going to prove this is real. I’m not going anywhere.” Stroking the blonde’s hair Ramsey sighed “this is where I belong. Right here with you by your side.”
Bruce felt like he could melt into the warm embrace of the man he adored and lost his heart to him for the second time. The month’s leading up to this moment already forgotten, a thing of the past “I love you. I’ve always loved you,” he murmured finding himself saying the words he thought he’d never be able to say again.
“I don’t need you to say it,” Ramsey said brushing Bruce’s hair back “I haven’t earned it yet.”
“You don’t have to earn it when it’s freely given,” Bruce asserted snuggling into Ramsey’s arms “I love you and I’m sorry I didn’t say it sooner.”
Ramsey sighed peppering tender kisses all over Bruce’s face “there’s no need to apologize.”
Smiling up at his lover Bruce’s eyes held a hint of a sparkle “dad’s going to want that picture back. It’s one of his favorites of me.”
Shaking his head Ramsey chuckled a little “it’s ok he gave it to me.”
Elyse gave Liono a piercing look “what are we doing here?” she asked the question as soon as she stood up from the taxi.
Liono smiled like the cat who ate the canary “do you remember what we discussed?” he asked taking her hand.
She took his hand, eyes shifting from his exuberant face to the house they were standing in front of. “You better not have done what I think you did.”
“What do you think I did?” he asked keeping his eyes fixed on hers.
“If I remember correctly I told you I’d consider living with you if you had a place of your own,” gesturing towards the house “I didn’t mean for you to go out and buy house.” Giving him a penetrating stare she asked “did you buy this house?”
“I did,” pulling on her hand he dragged her forward up the driveway and into the house. “Wait until you see the inside. You’ll love it.”
Rolling her eyes she let him drag her into the house. It had the open floor plan she liked even if it were a little small. He turned to her expectantly when he had shown her everything. “Its nice” she admitted.
“What do you mean its nice?” he demanded “it’s better than nice.”
She could tell she had bruised his ego but she couldn’t just change her opinion because he wanted her to. Sighing she crossed her arms “the bedrooms are too small.”
“It’s a starter home,” he crossed his arms a wounded expression upon his face.
Touching his arm lightly she smiled up at him “you did ask what I thought of it. I’m telling you. It’s not what I imagined our first house would be like.”
“You did say you’d live with me if I had my own place,” his tone stubborn unreasonable.
Shaking her head laughing “I meant a place without Milo or Jillian. I didn’t think you’d go and buy house without me.”
“Does that mean you like it?” he asked his voice less resentful more hopeful.
“It’ll do,” she told him as he drew her close.
“Does that mean you’ll move in with me?” he asked his voice husky with desire.
“Yes” she smirked pressing her body into his as his lips crushed hers with desire. Separating for a moment she said “next time we buy a house we do it together.”
“Deal” he murmured leading her into the bedroom.
Jillian cuddled into Milo on the couch “this is nice” she kissed his neck “we can do whatever we want whenever we want.”
“Mmm hmm” he said somewhat distracted eyes glued to the TV screen.
“You’re not even paying attention to me” she pointed scooting to the other end of the couch.
“What?” he asked tearing his eyes away from the screen “I’m sorry did you want something?”
Reaching for the remote she turned the TV off. She eyed him a moment half daring him to turn it on again. To her relief he didn’t. He only smiled at her as he closed the gap between them “you were saying something about being able to do whatever whenever we want, right?”
She nodded as he leaned over her capturing her mouth with his in a passionate kiss that would have brought stars to anyone less grounded in reality than she was. As his lips continued to work their magic on her she ran her hands down his back letting her fingers linger on his waist slipping under his shirt. She felt his hands slide down her body to rest on her hips. Moaning she wanted this but she didn’t want to be distracted from what she needed to tell him. She put her hands up to his chest pushing him away from her.
“Hey what’s the big deal?” he asked running a hand through is long hair, confusion written all over his face. “I thought…” frowning he got up from the couch ” never mind it doesn’t matter.”
“Milo please come back” she entreated him.
It was on the tip of his tongue to demand why he should. He was so tired of her mood swings. One minute she was hot the next she was cold. One minute he couldn’t keep her hands off him the next she was pushing him away. Sighing he walked slowly back towards the couch “alright I’m here. Now what?” he couldn’t keep the irritation from his voice.
“I’m sorry” she gave him a contrite tearful look “I know I’m all over the place emotionally lately.” Taking a deep breath before continuing ” there’s something I need to tell you.”
He gave her a sullen stare while a hundred different scenarios played out in his head all ending with her breaking up with him.
Biting her lip she blurted “I’m pregnant.” She looked down at her hands clasped tightly in her lap.
“What?” he gasped as if he didn’t understand what she just said as if maybe she was speaking another language.
“I’m pregnant,” she repeated.
The silence lingered between them. Unsure what he should do or say he reached for her hand “I guess we better start house hunting.”
“I guess we should,” she squeezed his hand a small smile playing across her lips.
“Come on let’s go for a walk,” Rory suggested getting up from the blanket.
Groaning Eddie resisted his efforts to get him to move “I’m comfortable right here.”
“Come on you won’t regret it,” Rory held is hand out “please” he begged looking towards the horizon hoping he was timing this right.
Gazing up at Ramsey’s outstretched hand Eddie took it “alright you win.”
Smirking Rory put an arm around him as they began to walk along the shoreline. The sky turning colors as the sun began its slow descent in the sky. Stopping Rory turned to him the light casting a warm glow in his eyes. He reached a hand out to stroke Eddie’s cheek smiling when the blonde leaned into his caress. “I…I love you so much.” Rory gasped aloud shocking both of them with his admission. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to say those words to you.”
“Rory you don’t have to…” Eddie began unable to disguise the smile spreading across his face in delight.
“Shh I want to say this,” Rory broke in his voice deep with emotion “I should have said this a long time ago I let fear get in the way. For the longest time I thought love was a dirty word. A word used to manipulate people. A word used to inflict pain on others.” He took a deep breath “I realize now I’ve been running. Running away because I was afraid of getting hurt.” He knelt on one knee “you taught me what love is. What it can and should be. I don’t want to live my life without knowing love or having you by my side.” He took out a ring. Holding it up to Eddie’s stunned delight “will you marry me even though I might not say I love you as often as I should.” He slipped the ring on Eddie’s outstretched hand “I promise you that I will never stop trying to show you everyday we’re lucky enough to spend together, to the end of time how much I love you.”
“Yes, yes, yes I’ll marry you a thousand times over,” Eddie jumped into Rory’s arms wrapping his arms around him “you don’t have to tell me you love me when I can see it in your eyes. I feel it in the way you always make me feel safe. The endless hours you’ve spent on my couch just so I could sleep when you got none yourself. You’ve shown me there are more ways to say I love than merely saying the words.” Their mouth’s crashed together sealing their love in a hot sensuous kiss that left them both breathless. “Let’s go home,” Eddie suggested leaning against Rory “I need you tonight.”
Looking deep into the depths of Eddie’s brown eyes. He could sink within their depths and be happy “are you sure?” he asked cradling Eddie’s face between his hands.
“I’m positive” he turned placing a soft kiss on the inside of Rory’s hand “I want this. You.”
“Alright,” Rory nodded gently embracing him peppering Eddie’s face with soft tender kisses “let’s go home.”