I say baby, babe I've loved you a long time, I try harder just to know you're all mine.
(Epic Last Song - Does It Offend You, Yeah?)
He wasn’t used to the emptiness anymore.
Brian turned, eyes flicking briefly toward Justin’s side, running fingers over cool sheets.
He wondered when exactly he’d become this fucking domesticated.
Not that he would ever admit it, of course.
His cell phone rang and picking it up, he growled his hello.
“Grouchy cause you miss me, huh?”
The smile that came was automatic, like all his reflexes were trained to do that at the sound of Justin’s voice.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Sunshine.” He looked at the bedside table, read that it said three o’clock. “I was just getting in.”
“Do I know him?” Justin teased and Brian rolled his eyes.
“What are you twelve?”
Justin chuckled, warming Brian all the way through. “You’re such an asshole, Brian. You can’t just say ‘Justin, you’re the love of my life, I miss you so much I can‘t sleep, I love you and can’t wait until you come home’, can you?”
He let the silence carry its own weight and when it sunk in on the other end, he knew Justin was blushing. Despite his very nearing thirty years, Brian could still make him feel like he was seventeen.
In all the good ways that counted.
The long sigh carried over everything that Justin could manage with the distance between them and Brian felt it all shudder down his back and around to his stomach, that little flipping sensation he sometimes felt when he looked at Justin.
“I love you, too. I miss the fuck out of you. It’s damn quiet without you next to me. One week is too long and I can’t wait to come home.”
Brian smiled just a bit. “Good. Now go to sleep. You need to be brilliant tomorrow.”
Justin snorted, yawning into the phone. “I always am.”
“Very true. Good night.”
“Good night, Brian.”
“You ever think about it anymore?”
Justin glanced over his morning paper at Brian who wasn’t looking straight at him. Rather his eyes were fixed to the table, pretending more interest in whatever report was in his hand then in the very direct question being asked.
Justin didn’t bother to pretend he had no clue. Twelve years and all that lay between them made it impossible not to understand immediately.
“Not like before. No.”
He could have sworn Brian’s face fell just a little but when he finally glanced up, his eyes were shining with warmth. “Okay.”
Debbie had opened her home for the biggest celebration of the decade and Brian had to admit when she said a party, she meant business.
Every queer he knew was there and even some he’d never gotten acquainted with. His hand slipped around Justin’s hip, nose grazing over neck and cheek and ear. Tongue sneaking a taste, hands finding skin beneath clothes. He swallowed the softest of moans into his mouth, ignoring the world. They’d found their own dark corner where it was just them.
Michael and Ben found their way over and they wrapped their arms around each other, announcing that they would be the first to take advantage. That Brian and Justin were going to do the honor of being their best people. Even a little drunk, their eyes wouldn’t stray from each other.
Justin leaned his head on Brian’s shoulder, and he looked down into his face. Something flickered across it and Brian paused in the middle of his sentence to give him a strange look. There was the slightest shake of Justin’s head and then he pulled away, heading toward Ted and Emmett.
When someone mentioned that now they would have double booked weddings in Pittsburgh for months to come - Darren and Emmett groaned out loud.
Brian looked across the room to find Justin staring right at him.
Later in bed, Justin wrapped around him, inside warmth, cock stroking just right, hands gripping hair, he felt it bubble somewhere inside. He smoothed his hand over sweaty brow, meeting eyes that said everything without a word, his heart turned, remembering another time…
Justin’s hand gripped his hips and he flicked his own up, eyes closing on pleasure…
“I’m not going anywhere.” He gasped out and it broke something inside him. It became erratic, his hands digging, and then he began slamming inside, until he could feel Justin all around him, until he heard his name on Justin’s lips…and Justin’s on his…
“You think the two of you will ever try do it again?”
Justin glanced over at Daphne, helping her fold invitations for the wedding into envelopes. Somehow, Debbie had managed to get them all to help. His eyes flicked over to Brian, watching as he smoothed out Michael’s suit, and shook his head.
“I think that ship has sailed without us, thank you.”
Daphne simply nodded. “I see.”
Justin looked at her then, tone not going unnoticed. “What?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“You didn’t have to.” Justin shrugged, the weight of the silver chain around his neck pressing down on his skin. “We don’t need it.”
“Right. Marriage is for the Stepford fags or whatever.”
Justin shook his head. “That’s not it. We don’t find it necessary.”
Daphne made a small noise, turning back to her task. “Sometimes it’s just nice to be asked.”
Justin threw her grin. “I was already asked, remember?”
Daphne stared at him for a long moment, then nodding, grabbed her finished invitations and stopped to drop a kiss on Justin’s cheek. “Yeah. You were.”
Justin followed her exit out of the room and when she passed Brian, her hand came out to squeeze his arm.
Brian glanced across the room, grinning just for him and Justin’s heart tripped over itself like always.
That was all they needed, he told himself.
Brian held onto Justin as he opened the front door, dragging his drunk partner into the living room. Depositing a giggling Justin on the couch, he returned for Emmett.
How the hell they were going to make it through tomorrow’s wedding, Brian had no clue.
He wobbled a bit, realizing that maybe he wasn’t as sober as he’d thought.
Emmett pushed his way toward the couch, laying facedown next to Justin, mumbling into the soft leather.
Brian decided that coffee would be the best course of action. He moved carefully into the kitchen, finding the pot -- and now where the hell did they keep the fucking coffee again? It took several minutes and quite a few mishaps but he finally managed to make a pot. Carrying it and three cups back, he heard quiet whispering, which coming from the two drunks that were Justin and Emmett at the moment was more like loud whispering.
“Have you asked him?”
“Emmett, what the fuck? Leave it alone.”
“I’m just saying you should.”
Brian set the cups down and raised an eyebrow, at least he thought he did. “Ask who what?”
Justin shook his head and reached for the mug closest to him.
Brian let it go. Whatever it was, he’d tell him eventually.
Brian opened his eyes, glancing up at Justin, wobbling just slightly at Brian’s side. He pretended he hadn’t heard anything and shook his head, getting out of bed.
“You need sleep, Justin. Tomorrow we’ve got a lot of shit to get done.”
He started to remove Justin’s shirt, felt trembling fingers over his and looked into the face that was now mere inches from his.
“Did you hear me?”
“I heard you.” He reached for Justin’s belt buckle, furrowing his brow in concentration, trying to unfasten it in the dark. Finding it, he popped open buttons, letting the jeans fall to the floor. Moving Justin out of them, he gently maneuvered him into their bed, covering them both, one arm laying across Justin’s chest.
He could feel a glare and Brian met it with his own. “What?”
“Go to sleep, Justin.”
“So, that doesn’t mean I don’t mean it.”
There was a long pause and Brian thought that Justin had fallen asleep.
Brian covered his face with his free hand. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I’m not being ridiculous!” Justin paused, face scrunching in confusion. “Why do I feel like we’ve had this conversation before?”
Brian sighed, kissed soft lips and breathed quietly into Justin’s mouth. “Because we have. And you said no.”
Justin sighed back onto Brian’s lips. “But that changed.”
“Then you left.”
“Yeah.” Brian grazed his nose against Justin’s skin and muttered out another command for sleep.
In the morning, he knew Justin wouldn’t remember this conversation and he could continue to ignore what it made him feel.
As receptions went it was fucking awesome. At least in Justin’s opinion it was anyway.
Dancing and singing and lots of love and food…
In that moment, in this space, he loved his life.
He looked over at Brian, standing next to Ted and Debbie, giving orders to the clean up crew, rubbing at his neck.
Justin straightened his shoulders and walked toward them, determination in his stride. When he came up behind Brian, he replaced Brian’s hand and began soothing rubs. He leaned his face into Brian’s back, dropping kisses across broad back and exposed neck. He could hear the change in Brian’ voice. Felt when hands reached behind to grip for him. Let himself get pulled forward, standing at Brian’s side.
That was pretty much where he wanted to be always.
Brian stopped halfway through his sentence, eyes flicking over to Justin. He blinked a few times, and Justin knew he was gauging him.
“I’m not drunk. Marry me.”
He heard Emmett's little squeal, caught the smile that lit up Ted’s face and when he looked at Debbie, her eyes shined with tears. She was staring at Brian, waiting.
“I’m not saying today, Brian. Or tomorrow. Or even next year. Or ten years from now. I just want…to know that maybe someday, you’ll marry me. You’ll believe I love you enough to do it. That I want to even if we don’t need it. That I would. So, just say you’ll do it. Say you’ll marry me, damn it. Some day.”
He was standing in front of him now, holding onto Brian’s shoulders, searching cautious eyes. “Don’t make me kneel. I might get other ideas.”
He got a smirk out of Brian and clenched his fingers on Brian’s arms, waiting…
It was like the world had stopped to listen…
It came out on a loud sigh. “I’ll marry you, damn it. Some day.”
Justin laughed out loud, crashing his mouth onto Brian’s, all teeth and smiles. He heard the clapping from Debbie and Emmett. He could make out Ted’s voice on the phone with Blake. He knew it would make the round and it would be the talk of Liberty Avenue for ages to come.
But that was nothing new. They were always the talk of Liberty Avenue.
He felt Brian’s fingers dig into his scalp, opened his mouth under Brian’s and poured his heart into that moment.
It was there. That promise. Even if nothing came of it because they didn’t need it…
It was there.
That was everything.