"This place already smells and feels like you, babe. I love it," Josh groaned in satisfaction, hugging Tyler from behind while they stood in their living room.
After one year, Tyler was finally moving in to Josh's. Of course, they had a lot of help with it. Josh wanted as much of Tyler's stuff packed and moved as possible, the now-brunet wanted Tyler to feel right at home. Despite Josh's insistence, Tyler had already mentioned that the place had felt like home the second week that he looked after Josh.
Tyler put his arms over Josh's and squeezed his boyfriend's hands lovingly, leaning back and tilting his head to kiss Josh in the slightly awkward position.
"Come on Sinatra!" Jenna hollered as she walked past the door. Both men's heads turned as they saw the hyper golden retriever run past Jenna. Oh, yeah, they also adopted a dog a few weeks ago. Jenna stopped Sinatra from running over the furniture and had him sit down, "You're such a good boy, yes you are!" She ogled.
"I think you love our dog more than we do," Tyler grinned.
"Can you blame me?" Jenna asked, still fluffing up the dog's ears, "Now, I mean it when I say that you can invite me over any time during the day."
"Don't get your hopes up, Jen. I'm positive these two will be christening every available surface as soon as we leave. That might take a month or so," Pete joked, wiggling his eyebrows as he carried a box in, Patrick following on his phone.
The ginger's ears seemed to tune in with what Pete was saying, and he slapped his fiancé's arm, "There's an innocent dog and Patrick in the room," Patrick scoffed.
"Please don't get me and Josh mixed up with Dallon and Brendon," Tyler snorted, pulling Josh to sit down on their couch. They cuddled close together and Tyler breathed Josh's scent in happily.
Even though he lived there for a year, it wasn't the slightest bit hard leaving his crappy apartment, because all he could ever think about was spending all day with his boyfriend and being content, having movie nights whenever, and food fights in the kitchen as they pleased. Besides, hopefully there would be many more years spent living with Josh to overlap the one he lived alone.
"Why aren't Dallon and Brendon here, helping us, again?" Josh asked, seemingly bitter than their other two friends didn't help them with this milestone.
Tyler tapped his jaw and Josh turned to look at him, "They're honeymooning, like the lovey dovey couple that they are," He informed.
It took about seven months for those two to get their happy ending. Even after Dallon and Brendon hooked up at that club, they argued and disagreed on a lot still. They had even broken up at some point, to which all of their friends had to come to a rescue. Tyler cringed when thinking about how loud they were in Dallon's office when they finally made up.
Surprisingly, a lot happened in the year that he knew Josh. He got promoted, being able to work on the fifth floor with Brendon every week now. It was everything that he dreamed it to be, even though Josh and Patrick weren't with him. They were on the floor below, which luckily, dropping by was still easy.
Josh's attacker had also been tracked and found a few months after they went in for identification. He remembered walking in with Josh to the precinct for the second time, watching as the criminal walked by them. Josh gave him a bitter yet sweet smile, waved at him mockingly, then the words 'try me again behind bars, bitch' voiced past Josh's lips.
There was so much satisfaction in seeing the hatred behind the killer's eyes when Josh said that, that when they got to Josh's that night, Tyler shoved Josh on to the bed and gave him a headboard banging reward.
"Okay, children! I think you've helped out enough for today. It's been a big day already, and some of us should even be sleeping right now due to work hours," Josh said, eyes pointedly staring at Jenna who huffed.
"Okay, Mom and Dad," Pete played along, "Don't break the bed!" He said, walking out of the house.
"Ignore him. Love you guys," Patrick smiled, waving and following behind Pete.
Jenna pat Sinatra's head, then stood and kissed both Tyler and Josh's foreheads, "Remember to call me if you need me, alright? I hope the rest of the day goes smoothly for you guys," She said, waiting for Tyler's hum of response, then waving to the two of them and closing the front door behind her.
Tyler threw his leg over Josh's lap as soon as their house was cleared, and Sinatra had already slumped in his bed. The younger's fingers curled Josh's hair around them, pulling a soft yawn from Josh, "My parents want us to come over after spring starts. Both of us still have around seventeen days of vacation left, so we could at least go down for five days or so."
Josh's hands planted themselves on Tyler's hips, "Why not seven? I miss your mom's broccoli casserole," He whined.
"I'll be sure to tell her that you're only dating me so you can have access to her casserole whenever we visit. She'd be so heartbroken but so flattered at the same time," Tyler shook his head at his own words.
Josh rolled his eyes and leaned forward to peck Tyler's lips. Tyler's hands ended up on his cheeks in the midst of their small act of intimacy, and Tyler giggled at the sweetness of it.
If it wasn't already obvious, Josh was introduced to his parents and siblings. Everyone loved Josh to pieces, demanding that they make their visits to Ohio more frequent. Tyler swore that his parents would have preferred Josh as a son, and his siblings would have preferred Josh to look up to rather than him. His parents had denied it, but not his siblings.
On their fourth trip to Ohio, Josh told Tyler's family why his own family wasn't present, and they vowed to take Josh in as their own. So, they were basically married, just without the rings or certificate.
"Ohh yes, I'm so desperate for her casserole, that I'm going to ask you to marry me," Josh said nervously, looking in to Tyler's eyes, hoping for a positive response. Tyler could tell that he was ready to play it off as a joke, "I'm-I'm sorry— that was uncalled for-"
So Tyler hit his chest, "Don't you dare take that back, Joshua. Are you really asking to marry me? I mean, I just moved in today and all—not saying that I'm rejecting it, but are you sure that this isn't moving too f—"
Josh cut him off with a deep kiss this time, squeezing Tyler's hips so hard it made him squirm. When they pulled apart, Josh nuzzled his nose against Tyler's neck, "I've been wanting to marry you since that night in the club when we hooked Dallon and Beebo up. This isn't moving fast for me."
"Oh, so making me come in my pants alerted you that you wanted to marry me?" Tyler laughed.
"It wasn't like that! Well, it partially was, but I thoroughly enjoyed that night, especially since it was our first night out after my accident," Josh shrugged.
"Whatever," Tyler chuckled, kissing Josh's temple, "Even though it wasn't like in the movies or on YouTube, yes, I will marry you with my whole being. And with all of the adoration and love for you inside of me, along with the anger that you sometimes unleash."
"Is that last part supposed to scare me off? Too bad, baby. I want all of you with this marriage," Josh smiled, reaching up and taking Tyler's hand in his own, leaving their fingers together, "I love you so much. Sometimes I swear that I can actually hear angels singing when I'm with you."
"I love you too, you cheesy bastard," Tyler grinned and looked down at his and Josh's connected hands.
He felt like a miracle had truly spawned in his life upon meeting Josh, and ending up in this time and place with him. Tyler's life was a constant string of loneliness, lack of self confidence (with a mask of fake arrogance), and a cold mattress around his body.
Now? Now he was fulfilled, felt that even if his confidence wasn't to its full potential, Josh's loving words to him helped make him feel a bit better about himself. Don't even get him started on how warm the elder made him feel on the inside and outside.
Their friends had started pointing the smallest things out, like the fact that they'd been smiling more, their bad attitudes were disappearing, and they weren't the stubborn, assholes that everyone was acquainted with at first. All in all, Tyler had realized, those weren't small things. Those things affected everybody they were around, it even made Pete cry.
("I haven't seen him this happy since we were in high school. Thank you for bringing my best friend back," Pete sniffled, letting himself be pulled in to the hug that Tyler forced him in to.
"I don't think I've helped that much with anything, it's all been Josh," Tyler replied quietly, a murmur in Pete's ear.
Pete had rejected his statement partially, "You need to give yourself more credit. Josh—he died in that wreck too, he physically survived, but his mind and emotions didn't. He was practically vacant all the damn time, b-but now, he's back because of you.")
Josh knew now that even though he lost two biologically close people to him, that family ran deeper than blood and genetics. Family was made up of the people who distract you from those feelings of doubt that nip on the back of your brain, the ones who wash your sheets every week so sleep showcases behind your eyelids before 2 A.M., the ones who remind you to take care of yourself when they notice you've missed a meal by accident.
Tyler was Josh's family, the elder had told him while they laid in bed one night.
("There are people who I'm related to, who I couldn't stand the thought of looking at, let alone loving," Josh whispered, his thumb grazing Tyler's cheek as they laid on their sides facing each other, "Then, there were people related to me who I loved to the moon and back.
"We're not family by blood, but I love you more than I ever have any of the people I am related to. I love you from East to West, which if you don't know your geography—science-whatever, that's never ending. So, what I'm saying is, we may not be related biologically, but you're more family to me than any of my actual family has ever been."
Tyler responded with a sweet kiss, the two kissing until they fell asleep that night. The morning was one spent cuddling, which had turned into a pillow fight later on.)
"Do you want to repaint any of the walls? Renovate any furniture?" Josh asked, in all seriousness, much to Tyler's shock and amazement.
"Nope," Tyler booped Josh's nose cutely, "I'm perfectly content with everything. You've gone out of your way to make this feel like home from the get-go."
His boyfriend's next question was entirely vast from what they were on track with beforehand. Tyler even choked on his spit when Josh questioned, "What about the children's room?"
Tyler assumed he meant the guest room, but the new name caught him extremely off guard, "Children's room? How far in to the future are we looking here, Josh?"
"Well, I mean.. we just got married, so. Not too far," Josh cheekily grinned, Tyler soon reciprocating, "I was thinking yellow. Or green. We could even do brown! I bet green and brown patterned together would look nice for a baby room."
"We're still not ready! What about our jobs? Our friends couldn't babysit, and my parents couldn't unless we moved to Ohio," Tyler excused, pouting at Josh for being so persistent on the subject, "We have a dog that we can barely even keep up with," He pointed to the retriever sleeping in the corner, and it was probably the most the dog had slept since they got him.
"Do you want to move to Ohio, then?"
"What? Just think about it, you, me, your family, our two children, at the table, and Sinatra in the living room. All of us are eating your mom's wonderful casserole, remember, the reason we're fiancés now, and everybody's happy. Our friends can visit whenever they want to go with Dallon's permission."
"You're unbelievable. I love you."
"I love you more."
"I don't think that that's possible, but okay."
(Spoiler alert: they loved each other just the same, and that wasn't something to be changed, even after the heavens were to take them away.)