It took about a month after Nick sold his house in Vegas for him to start hinting around about buying in California. It took awhile to sell, because the housing market in Vegas wasn't what it used to be, so by the time Nick flew back to sign the closing papers they'd been living in Greg's apartment for almost eight months. It was kind of cramped for the two of them and most of Nick's stuff was in storage, but it was close to both their jobs and it meant they didn't have to fight L.A. traffic, so Greg wasn't in a hurry to move. He was used to apartment living, though, and Nick had been in a house almost since he moved to Vegas.
"Renting is just throwing away money," he always said when the subject came up, then he'd launch into a speech about equity and appreciation and Greg usually checked out right about the time he started talking about tax deductions.
Until he sold his house it was all just talk, because they had rent and a mortgage to pay, and they were stretched thin enough without adding another house payment to the mix. Eventually Nick's agent found a buyer for his place, though, and he didn't even have to lower the asking price as much as they thought he'd have to. So they were down to no mortgage and just a rent payment, and with a few months left on the lease Greg figured they'd save for awhile and talk about it again when they had to. He should have known better, really. And maybe he would have, if he'd ever listened to any of Nick's speeches about tax shelters and investment opportunities.
The first clue he got that Nick was thinking about buying was the Sunday paper. He started stumbling into the kitchen on Sunday morning to find Nick flipping through the real estate section, making 'mmm' noises at the paper every so often over his coffee. Eventually Nick started circling listings, and it didn't take long before he suggested they drive out to a couple open houses, just to see what was out there.
"We still have four months on the lease," Greg said, which seemed to him like a reasonable argument for waiting, but Nick just shrugged and folded the real estate section.
"I'm not saying we have to put in an offer. Let's just take a look."
Which was how they ended up house hunting long before Greg ever thought they would. And it was good, because it meant Nick really was planning to stick around. It was just really fast, and it seemed like there were things they should talk about before they bought property together.
Greg spent the first few Sundays following Nick around the open houses he picked out of the paper, nodding like he knew what Nick was talking about whenever he pointed out a structural feature he liked. For Greg it wasn't about molding and original features so much as distance from work, but after they looked at a few places he started to see why Nick paid so much attention to every place they looked at.
The layout was all wrong in the third place they looked at, for one thing. The living room in the fourth would only work if they got rid of all their furniture and started from scratch, and the last place was so close to the freeway they'd have to buy stock in earplugs if they ever wanted to sleep again. The house they were standing in now, on the other hand, was pretty much perfect. Or it would be, anyway, if they were planning on it being just the two of them for the foreseeable future. Which brought Greg right back to all that stuff they hadn't talked about yet.
"Kitchen's not bad," Nick said, running a hand over the newly installed counter tops.
"It's fine, if it's just you and me."
Nick laughed at that, the cute-and-confused grin making that little wrinkle appear right between his eyes. "You planning to ask somebody else to move in?"
Greg shrugged when Nick glanced back at him. His heart fluttered in his chest and he glanced toward the sliding glass door that led from the tiny dining room to what passed for a back yard. "The yard's too small for kids."
For a few seconds Nick just stared at him, like maybe he was trying to decide whether or not he'd heard Greg right. Then his hand came up to rest on the back of his neck, and Greg braced himself for whatever arguments Nick had probably dreamed up over the years to convince himself he didn't want to be a father anyway. But instead of launching into a speech about the dangers of his job or the cost of adoption or the fact that they'd never even taken care of a dog together, let alone another human being, Nick's lips quirked into a lopsided smile. "Kids?"
"We could start with a dog, see how that goes," Greg said, grinning when Nick laughed. "But the yard's too small for that too."
Nick nodded, hand leaving his neck as he took a couple steps toward Greg. He was reaching out when voices floated toward them from the hallway, and Greg smirked at the sight of Nick's ears turning pink. He slid his arm around Nick's shoulders and steered him toward the front door before the next group of house hunters caught up with them.
"Okay, so this one's off the list," Nick said when they got outside.
"There's a list?" Greg asked, raising his eyebrows as he watched Nick flush.
"Well if we're talking about kids, we're going to need a new list," Nick said. When they reached the car he caught Greg's hand and squeezed, pulling him close enough to feel the heat radiating off Nick. "So we're talking about kids?"
Greg leaned in a little closer, breathing in the familiar scent of Nick's cologne. "Seems like a shame to deny a kid the benefit of having us as parents, doesn't it?"
That got him another laugh, warm against his mouth when Greg leaned in to press a kiss to Nick's lips.
"I guess there's no point in going to the rest of the houses on the list," Nick said when Greg pulled back, but he didn't look all that upset about it. "I doubt any of them will be big enough for a family. And we're going to have to research school districts."
"Later. First let's go to the animal shelter."
"You want to get a dog today?" Nick asked, but he was already sliding into the passenger seat of Greg's car. Greg dug the keys out of his pocket and rounded the car, climbing behind the steering wheel before he looked over at Nick.
"Might as well start practicing, right?" He grinned and started the engine, pulling onto the street and pointing the car in the direction of the county shelter.
"Are we even allowed to have pets in the apartment?"
It was a good question, Greg had to admit. The truth was he didn't know; he hadn't been paying much attention to details when he signed the lease. But they were moving out anyway, so really the worst that could happen was they wouldn't get their deposit back, and that was a sacrifice he was more than willing to make.