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Courtship

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Jeans, tennis shoes, and an old college hoodie. That was the outfit Matthew had been wearing the day Max realized this was love.

It had started off slowly--‘as all classic romances should’ Matthew had said, resting his chin on Max’s chest after their first night together--with all-too-brief meetings when Max was over at his sister’s and Matthew would be there with the kids. Even those early exchanges were crackling with chemistry and wit, and as time went on the their meetings became less ones of chance and more intentional. And then it was completely intentional, and completely devoid of Max’s nieces and nephew.

“You know I’m going to expect flowers,” Matthew had said by way of accepting Max’s request for a first date.

Max brought him a dozen daisies. Matthew kissed him on the doorstep.

They went on dates; they held hands and ducked into doorways to sneak kisses. One weekend they spent the entire time in bed, leaving the comfort of the sheets and one another’s tangled embrace only to retrieve wine or to answer the door for take-out delivery.

Matthew left a small toothbrush and shaving case at Max’s, which became a weekend bag and then a drawer.

And then, one rainy day in late summer, when the evenings started to get cool, Matthew’s standing at Max’s door and Max tries to remember if he’s every seen him so … casual. The sun is starting to set in the sky and Max’s heart, still aching over his mother’s loss, flutters. It’s like burst of color in his vision, there could even be a chorus singing (the classic movies make it seem like there should be, and his mother said there would be. Especially if it was with Matthew, as he’d probably hire a choir to make sure there was an appropriate soundtrack.)

Max knows just then, this is his forever.