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The Proposal

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Title: The Proposal
Fandom: Donald Strachey Mysteries (movieverse)
Pairing: Donald and Timothy
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: about 1820
References/Spoilers: Can't think of any.
Disclosure: I wish they were mine. Alas, they are not, so I'm just taking them out for a spin.
Summary: One of our boys has a question for the other, and battles some serious jitters about the answer.


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THE PROPOSAL


by


Candy Apple



I looked in the mirror, then undid the tie and tossed it on the bed, removed the shirt and sent it flying to join the tie. I looked at my reflection, back to my t-shirt again. I pulled out another shirt and tie, held them in front of me, and then sighed. Part of me supposed that if he'd been going out with me this long, he probably liked the way I looked, the way I dressed. Or at least he tolerated it as part of the package that was me.


I'd made reservations at a very nice place, somewhere with live music after nine, and dancing. Our reservation was at seven-thirty, so we'd have time to eat, and then...talk. That was assuming I could swallow. I was never so nervous in my life. What if he doesn't want me after all? What if the whole idea of a commitment to me scares him away? What if I'm an okay guy to date, but not someone he wants to spend his life with? If he says no, what will I do? Will that be the end of our relationship? Can I accept it if he doesn't want me that way?


I sat on the foot of my bed, not even caring that I was sitting on my cast-off shirt. As if which shirt or which tie I chose would make a difference. Years later, he'll tell me it was because of the color of my tie that he said yes? That makes perfect sense.


I rolled my eyes, and flopped backwards on the bed, finally accepting how little control I had over how this evening played out. The fancy restaurant, what I wore, what we ordered, even whether or not the band was any good...none of that would change anything. I couldn't control a damn thing about the most important moment of my life. I've been used to planning, organizing, taking charge of my life, of the key things in it. I haven't always been successful at everything, but it's not because I left a lot up to chance.


The one word that would come out of his mouth that would alter the course of my life, make it joyful and happy and romantic and unpredictable, was completely out of my control. It was all up to him.


It was only five-thirty. Typical. I was two hours ahead of schedule, fussing around with ties and shirts and trying to figure out which cologne to wear. I decided on the one I wore the first night we made love. I figure it if got us that far then, it'll do for tonight.


Then I started worrying that I was trying to evoke some hormone-drenched response brought on by scent-memory, and the whole thing would play out like a bad Meatloaf song. Before we go any further, do you love me? Will you love me forever? Do you need me? Will you never leave me?


Frustrated, I stood up, took off my dressy pants, kicked my overpriced dress shoes across the room, stuck my legs into my favorite khakis, my feet into a nice pair of brown loafers, put on a blue shirt he bought for me because he said it was the same color as my eyes, threw on my jacket, rushed downstairs from my apartment, jumped on the bus that fortunately just happened to be pulling up at the time, and rode it downtown. I almost ran the two blocks from the bus stop to his office. I had to know. Now. And then, hopefully, I could go home, get all spiffed up, and we could go out and celebrate.


I was overjoyed when I saw that horrible little car of his parked out front. That meant he was in his office.


I took the steps two at a time and before I knew it, I was bursting into his office, startling the chubby older woman at the secretary's desk. I had lost count of his revolving door of secretaries in the six months we'd been dating, but I thought her name was Gretchen. I didn't have to ask her if Donald was in. He was only about ten feet away, at his desk. He was on the phone when I threw myself through the door, and now I was standing there, out of breath, a big, stupid smile on my face.


Oh, my God, how I loved this man. From the piles of junk in his office to that awful car, to his beautiful blue eyes, his amazing smile, and a soul so beautiful that it rivaled the rest of him. He was so good, so kind, so smart, so funny, so strong and brave - - and so unexpectedly tender and romantic. I was in awe of this remarkable creature that was Donald Strachey, and I wondered sometimes if I had a right to think I could lay claim to him for the rest of our lives.


He beamed at me, even though he was visibly confused by my presence two hours before a date he was going to pick me up for at my place. He wrapped up his phone call quickly, and then he was on his feet, moving toward me. I knew he was going to kiss me hello, and when he did, I pounced on the poor guy. I wrapped him up in a hug and kissed him as if we were alone in one of our apartments, not in the middle of his office, freaking out his secretary.


Then I gave him the full treatment. He deserved it. I'd planned to do it in the restaurant, and he deserved no less because I was too nervous to wait. I knelt on one knee in front of him, took both his hands in mine.


"I love you, Donald, and I don't want to ever be without you." My heart was pounding so hard that I could barely hear myself talking. "Will you marry me?"


He stared at me, blinked a couple of times, and the bottom dropped out of my stomach.


I've blown it. I've smothered him. I've destroyed everything. I've taken it all too seriously, like I always do. We made love a couple times, and I want to get married.


"Yes," he said, laughing a little, before pulling me up and grabbing me in a big hug. I held onto him like he was going to escape if I eased up enough to let him breathe normally. My hand slipped into that soft blond hair and pressed his head against my shoulder, my head resting against his.


He's really mine.


"I love you," I said, gushing like a love-struck teenager.


"I love you, too, Timmy." He pulled back a little, though I suppose it took quite a bit of his considerable upper body strength to do so, since I wasn't in a mood to loosen my grip. "You're shaking like a leaf, honey," he said, smiling affectionately at me. Looking at me as if I were the most exotic creature ever created. He had that way of looking at me that made me feel on top of the world, like the most loved man on the planet. He would be looking at me that way when we were old and gray, and we'd take that whole beautiful, difficult, amazing journey that is life together, as one, as a couple.


"I couldn't wait. I had to know what you'd say."


"So did my saying 'yes' scare you or excite you?" he teased, still holding onto me around my waist, but the intensity easing a bit.


"Both," I admitted. "I was going to ask you tonight, over a candlelight dinner, but I couldn't have swallowed until I knew your answer. I thought maybe I'd scare you off."


"Being with you forever? The only thing that scares me is that you'll wake up one morning and figure out you got the short end of the stick."


I wonder who it was who managed to convince Donald that he wasn't as wonderful as he is? That he wasn't as handsome and sweet and smart and loving and warm and special as he is? I had a lifetime to fix that, and I planned to get started.


"You're all I ever wanted, Donald. You're beautiful, inside and out, and I could never love anyone but you, for the rest of our lives."


"I think I'll be going now," Gretchen said, easing toward the door, coat over her arm.


"Take tomorrow off, too," Donald said, looking at me while he was talking to her. "I won't be in. At all."


She nodded and slipped out of the room.


"We better wrap this up. I have a date tonight," Donald said, kissing me again, quickly, playfully this time. So few people get to see how cute he is, how playful and fun he can be. I think there are some painful things inside him that stifle that side of his nature sometimes, but it's there, and it's mine. Those strikingly gorgeous eyes of his were positively twinkling with a combination of love and mischief.


"I need to go home and get dressed," I admitted, smiling, a little embarrassed.


"I'll drop you off at your place and then I'll run home and change and come back and get you in time for our reservation."


"Pretty soon, your stuff is going to be in the same closet with my stuff," I said, realizing how stupid it sounded, wondering why that little concept just flooded me with warmth.


"I'll have to tell my stuff to clean up and fly right, rooming in with your stuff."


"My underwear can't wait to share a drawer with yours," I said, hoping it sounded as sexy as it did...stupid. It must have, because he got this sultry look in his eyes and kissed me again.


We had a wonderful dinner, and danced late into the night, until the band finally called it quits. We went back to my place, where we were making love the minute the door closed behind us, and we didn't stop for hours. The next day, we lay around in bed, eating junk food, watching old movies, making out when the spirit moved us.


Two months later, our underwear was harmoniously sharing a drawer, and has been living happily ever after, ever since.


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THE END