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Never Glowed This Color

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“Sir, table for two?”

Don nodded.

“Sige po, sir, wait na lang po tayo sa gilid.” The staff wrote something down in her notepad and gestured to the chairs positioned just outside of the establishment. Don walked towards the empty chairs at the end of the line and smiled at the man beside him, “You should’ve tried, you know. It said fifty percent off for people 3 feet below. I could have saved some.”

His companion scowled, “Ouch.”

They sat at the last two available chairs. Don poked his companion’s cheek as if to say “I’m joking,” with a fond smile.

The line was long. There would be approximately twenty people before them. Don pushed his glasses up and gave his companion a side glance. Benjo was already yawning, in the middle of the day, as they are about to eat at a buffet. Don could not help but chuckle.

“Wanna head back? Mag-siesta ka na lang kaya?”

With big bright eyes, Benjo looked at Don pleadingly. “Please don’t. I think I am just a bit hangry.”

“That’s hungry and angry.”

“I am ‘hungeepy’ then,” Benjo replied as he let out a full blown yawn which even brought tears into his eyes.

Don threw his head back and laughed. The line moved as a group of ten went inside. Don and Benjo stood up and sat at their new seats, nearer the entrance.

Benjo grinned up at Don, “Yay, malapit na tayo!”

Don nodded and looked down at this phone. He has got the whole day planned.

They waited for another twenty minutes before the staff called upon Don’s name and they were being ushered to their seats inside the establishment. They sat across each other, with Benjo looking at Don while cradling his head on his palms.

“After you,” said Don, lightly tapping Benjo’s nose. “Benj, get your food na.”

Benjo practically jumps up from his seat, almost shining, and went over the buffet. Don shook his head, but a smile played on his lips.

When Benjo came back, he was holding two plates. He set one in front of Don and one in front of him, both plates full with sushi, sashimi, and maki.

“Itadakimasu,” whispered Benjo as he took one to his mouth. Don laughed as he followed suit, “Weeb.”

“What? What’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing.”

“Sure?”

“Yeah,” Don nodded as he took another California maki into his mouth. “It’s just…”

“Just,” prodded Benjo, swallowing.

“Just cute.”

“Just cute?”

“Fine. Plenty cute.”

After finishing the plates, it was Don’s turn to stand up and headed towards the buffet, taking a plate with him. He took variants of uncooked meat strips and placed them on the plate, all of which he knew Benjo would love. He ended up with a total of three plates as he went back to their table. Benjo grinned, seeing all the meat, and took the prongs and immediately placed the meat onto the smokeless grill.

Don watched Benjo as the smaller man busied himself cooking. His month of saving up for this day is worth it. Benjo looked up at him, “Wait lang ha. I know you like it all well done. Sorry to keep you waiting, Don.”

“I don’t mind,” was the only response Don could muster without stuttering. How can anyone fault him? Benjo is cute.

A few minutes more of cooking then Benjo was putting meat on another plate for them to share. They poked the same piece of wagyu and Benjo smiled, pulling his fork away. Don took a bite of it, leaving half of the cube. He offered it to Benjo who looked at him inquisitively.

“Open,” said Don.

Something sparkled in Benjo’s eyes as he took the remainder of the meat from Don’s fork happily. Don felt heat rush up to his cheeks.

Two hours later, all the other customers could hear from the pair were their sighs and burps. Benjo let out a deep burp and they laughed before Benjo let out a string of excuses to the people around them. Don clutched his newformed belly and sighed again.

“Hehe, busog.” Muttered Benjo.

Don laughed, “Busog.”

“Suko na ba tayo?”

“White flag,” Don replied as he burped.

Benjo sighed as he called onto the waiter to ask for their bill. Don quickly paid and they were out of the buffet place in ten minutes.

“Let’s go walk around!”

“Okay,” replied Don, putting his hands inside his pockets. His right hand itched to reach for Benjo’s left, but the smaller man is clutching the straps of his backpack with both hands.

“Did you have fun?”

Benjo beamed at him, “Of course, Don! I never ate so much meat in my entire life! Thank you so much po.”

“Po?”

“Heehee.”

“Don’t ‘po’ me just because I am taller than you. Seniority does not work that way.”

Benjo grinned, “I just felt like it.”

“I see.”

“Sorry, Don.”

“Don’t be.”

They reached the bay near the buffet. It was still hot out, and the pair struggled to see with their glasses glinting under the fierce sun.

“Tangina, ang init sa Pilipinas.” Complained Benjo.

Don nodded, rummaging his bag for an umbrella. He grinned when he fished his red umbrella. He opened it and shared it with Benjo, as they stared at the water.

Benjo chuckled, “Look at that floating plastic cup. What do you think the person who threw that was thinking when he threw that cup?”

Don scrunched up his nose, “Think along the lines of ‘fuck the environment’, I guess.”

Benjo placed his head on Don’s shoulder and laughed heartily, “Maybe, but I think he panicked he could not see a garbage bag and resorted to the bad side of things. You know, where the ends does not give a fuck about the means kind of person.”

“Maybe.”

“Ang init talaga,” Benjo commented. “Fuck pollution too.”

Don snorted, “Fuck all this. Let’s walk around where there’s air conditioning, please?”

Benjo faked aghast, “Don! Your carbon footprint!”

Don shook his head, “Benjo, even if we won’t go inside the mall would still have them all on. Might as well, you know?”

“Sure,” relented Benjo. “One condition.”

“What?”

“Grab beer with me later?”

 


 

 

They did grab beer as the sun goes down, with Don hugging the bottles against his chest as Benjo held the door for him, exiting 7-Eleven.

“So, saan tayo?”

Don smiled, “Let’s go sa rooftop. I got a new picnic blanket. Sale kasi.”

There was no sale. Don bought it for this occasion.

Benjo shrugged, “Okay.”

They walked back to Don’s apartment complex. His room is on its top floor, the nearest to the stairs which leads to the rooftop. Entrusting Benjo to turn the doorknob open, Don kicked the door. Benjo quickly took the newly bought picnic blanket from where it was sitting on the bed and they proceeded upstairs.

The sun had just set the moment they stepped onto the rooftop. Stars were beginning to appear as Don placed the bottles on the floor and helped Benjo setting up the blanket by pulling it from the other side. Benjo ploped down immediately.

“Himala, it’s not as hot as I imagined it to be today.”

Don looked up the sky, “Yeah, we’re lucky. No signs of rain too.”

“How’d you know?” Asked Benjo as he grabbed a bottle of Red Horse from the plastic bag. He fished his keys from his pocket and used his Hello Kitty can opener keychain to open the bottle. He took a swig. Don took out his Smirnoff Mule and opened it with his own normal can opener.

“Simple. No nimbus clouds?”

“Oh. The dark low ones?”

“Yep.”

“I see. That’s cool,” Benjo took a long swig of his beer before setting it down beside him. He laid down on the blanket. Don followed suit.

“The stars are already appearing,” noted Benjo.

“I know.”

“They’re beautiful.”

Don chuckled, “And old as fuck.”

Benjo laughed at that.

Don looked at his companion, “What? It’s true. What we see are already dead stars. Those are just their ghosts haunting us from millions of miles away.”

“Still beautiful though,” smiled Benjo.

Don smiled at Benjo who was busy gazing at the stars. The lights reflect upon his eyes, his freckles.

“Yours too,” blurted out Don.

A blush crept up Benjo’s cheeks, “What about me?”

“Your freckles.”

“Huh?”

Don reached out to gently touch each of the dark spots that were scattered around Benjo’s cheeks and nose. “They’re wonderful. You have your own galaxy, you know that?”

Said galaxy became beet red. Benjo quickly got up to a sitting position, facing away from Don. He took his bottle and chugged it down. Don chuckled at how flustered Benjo was.

“Don?”

“Hmm.”

“Th--thank you.”

“I saw them all though.”

“Saw what?”

Don sighed, “On your skin. I saw them all. Constellations from the book I have read when we were children. I have always wanted to map them out.”

Benjo placed his empty bottle of Red Horse and reached for another one, removing its cap. He took a swig.

Don got up as well, took his bottle and chugged it all down. He stared at the bottle, remembering the other kids who loved to drink every Thursday, “Kumusta na kaya sina Salle.”

Benjo snorted, “He’ll live. Neo’s alive, right? Then Salle must be too.”

Don roared with laughter, “Right. Why am I even worried for them.”

“Plus, it has only been what? Three weeks since we last saw them. They’ll be alright and drinking out, Don.”

“I know.”

“Isn’t it odd?”

“Which is?”

Benjo scratched the skin under the bandage on his cheek, “It’s just, I am so used to Neo and Salle always fighting, always disagreeing on something, always have this weird angst against each other that I do not quite understand and then now they’re… like that. As if it was magic.”

Don let out a low laugh for a whole minute.

“What?” Asked Benjo.

“It… wasn’t really easy for them, all of it. They were both idiots. They both made each other cry. They were the most stupid people I knew for a time, just because they could not get over their weird hung ups on each other. Also, it was not angst, Benj, I personally think it was just sexual tension all along.”

Benjo laughed in his palm.

Don hummed, “But they were the most supportive people I know too.”

“I could say the same for the rest of our friends,” replied Benjo, clutching the bottle between his hands.

“They did a lot for us, didn’t they?”

“That they did, Don. We were pretty stupid too.”

“Hmm.”

Benjo grinned, “At least admit it, smarty pants.”

“Fine,” mumbled Don. “I was an idiot.”

“Good. Me too.”

Don nodded, “Can you believe it though? Asia.”

“She helped me so much these past few months. I never thought I would feel this owed to that woman.”

“Same.”

“Yssa, too. My sister have always been a pain in the ass--”

“I am sure she has said that about you too, Benjo.”

“Anyway,” glared Benjo. “She helped cope on being stupid. It was as if she gave me a few lectures on how to get over being one.”

Don raised his eyebrow.

“Ugh, fine, just less stupid.”

“I’m glad,” Don whispered, more to himself than to anyone else.

The wind picked up, strands of their hair swayed along the night breeze. It was totally dark, the stars shone ever brighter and the moon glowed closer to the pair. The both finished the second round of their drinks and reached for the third ones.

“Cheers?”

“Cheers,” grinned Benjo.

They both took a long swig.

“I am really glad,” repeated Don.

“Hmm?” Benjo fluttered his eyelids and looked at Don, “What?”

“Scoot.”

Benjo did what he was told and the next moment Don was pulling him in for an embrace.

“Unf-!”

Don kissed him on the forehead with a light smack.

“I’m glad,” repeated Don yet again.

They broke apart for a second as Benjo jumped into Don’s arms. Their lips smacked together. Don closed his eyes and kissed Benjo back, their lips gliding across each other. With a hand on the back of Benjo’s head, Don deepened the kiss. Benjo’s tongue found his. They wrestle. Benjo shifted his position, sitting on Don’s lap. His hands wound itself within Don’s hair, causing the elastic band which kept his hair in a ponytail to snap.

Benjo pulled away, breathing erratically.

“Don--”

Don took his chin and brought their lips together once more, with Don’s teeth grazing Benjo’s lower lip with the slightest tug.

“Yes, Benj?”

 




When they were able to escape the lull of the moonlight and the tug of each other’s lips, Don and Benjo went down to Don’s room. Don was folding the picnic blanket as Benjo took a change of clothes. He was now wearing cat printed pajamas and a red sando. Don pressed a chaste kiss on Benjo’s cheek as Benjo jumped on the bed. Don proceeded to put the picnic blanket at the back of his closet.

“For next time,” Don said.

Benjo giggled, “We’ll do that again?”

“Of course. I liked it,” Don then went ahead and used the bathroom, changing his clothes as well, to red shorts and a white long-sleeved shirt.

“Are you hungry?” Asked Benjo without looking up from the game he was playing on his mobile phone.

“Not yet,” replied Don sitting on the opposite side of the bed. “What are you doing?”

“Just some game.”

“Finish that one round.”

Benjo’s eyebrow shot up, “Why?”

“Just finish that.”

“Bakit nga?”

“Basta.”

“Okay, Don, okay.”

“I’m tipsy.”

Benjo chuckled, “Of course you are. You’ve always been low tolerance.”

Don rolled his eyes, “And of course you happened to drink all the drinks and not even be affected by it all. Great.”

“Okay,” Benjo smiled, putting his phone away. “I’m done with one round.”

“Sure?”
“Sure.”

Don actually snickered by this fact, and snaked his way up to where Benjo was laying down so he would be technically on top of him.

“Oh,” was all Benjo could manage. “Is this kabedon on bed?”

Don gave him the lightest of smiled before dipping his head to kiss Benjo, who responded in kind. They kissed, and kissed, and kissed. Lips smacking, gliding, deeper and deeper. Benjo brought up his hand once more, combing Don’s hair. Don enveloped Benjo in his embrace, and then lifting him up so Benjo was straddling him.

Benjo pushed his hips against Don, grinding. Don moaned into Benjo’s mouth. Benjo broke away from the kiss, and licked up to Don’s ear.

“Oh, Don, look at you.”

“Tch,” Don looked away, flushing.

“So red, love.”

“Shut up.”

“Oh, make me.”

Don all but grabbed Benjo’s face and kissed him roughly. Don stood up, lifting Benjo up with him. He strode towards the white wall of Don’s apartment and he pinned Benjo against it, not even breaking the kiss. The slit of their mouths were snug against the other, pressing and pressing until their tongues met. Don’s tongue explored the roof of Benjo’s mouth. Benjo gasped and pulled the taller man even closer.

Benjo could not help but let out a long moan as they part. Don grinned, “So, ya liked that, Benj?”

Benjo looked up at Don and tiptoed to kiss his cheek, “Lots.”

He broke away, scurrying to grab his phone from where he left it on the bed during their heated make out session. He tapped a few times then music started playing from his phone. He placed the phone back on the bed.

 

I want to lay down by the fire with you
Where souls are glowing, ever warmer too

 

He approached Don, an earnest smile on his lips. Don stood there, blinking, unsure what Benjo wanted to do.

 

Your love surrounds me like a lullaby
Singing softly, you are mine, oh, mine

 

He placed Don’s hand on his hips before wrapping his arms around Don’s neck. Don laughed and placed a kiss on top of Benjo’s head.

Moon has never glowed this color
Hearts have never been this close
I have never been more certain
will love you 'til we're old

 

They swayed to the Ben&Ben song. Benjo placed his hear directly onto Don’s heartbeat. They both closed their eyes. A small smile tugged at Don’s lips.


Maybe the night holds a little hope for us, dear
Maybe we might want to settle down, just be near
Stay together here

 

Don heard Benjo sniffle. He frowned down at him, “Are you… are you crying?”

“It’s just… I feel so much.”

Don sighed and kissed Benjo’s cheek, “Me too.”

“Really?”
Don pulled Benjo closer, almost hugging him as they swayed. “We follow the pull of fate, into this moment,” Don sang.

We follow the pull of fate, into this moment ,” Benjo sang back.

 

The continued to sway. Don felt a lone tear fell from his eyes. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes once again and pulled Benjo flush against him. He inhaled Benjo as if the smaller man was about to disappear. They clung on each other as if the world was about to end.

 

Maybe the night holds a little hope for us, dear
Maybe we might want to settle down, just be near
Stay together

Stay together here

Benjo’s tears fell faster. Don took his hand and twirled him, before scooping Benjo and placing him on the middle of the bed and straddled him. The song finished, and Don turned off Benjo’s phone before kissing the smaller man.

“Thank you,” whispered Don.

Benjo shook his head, tears still falling down.

“What now?”

“I should be the one thanking you,” Benjo whispered, wiping his tears away.

“Why’s that?”

“Because you’ve given me so much.”

“Hey, love, what I gave you? You gave back twice as much.”

Benjo looked away, turning red. Don took his chin and made him look back.

Benjo closed his eyes, “You never said things like that to me, you know?”

“Well, I am saying them now.”

“I know. I’m very happy. You make me very happy,” Benjo opened his eyes and smiled up at Don who gazed back at him.

“Me too,” said Don, kissing Benjo’s forehead.

Benjo’s response were more sniffles.

“No. Don’t hold back,” whispered Don. “There’s no one but me.”

The dam broke. Benjo sobbed. Don cupped his face and kissed the tears away, and gathered him into his arms. Benjo snuggled up to Don as he started to cradle him. Don looked down at Benjo, and he let him cry for them both.

 





After Benjo had cried everything out, he was all smiles and still snuggled up to Don. He moaned a protest when Don tried to break free from the position.

Don chuckled, “But I was getting you something more.”

“Something more?”

“Of course. You’ll like them, I promise.”

Benjo opened his hold on Don who quickly stood up and pulled a long Balikbayan box from under the bed. He opened the box and grinned up to Benjo.

“Proof,” Don whispered.

“Proof of?”

Don placed his hand on his chest, “Of this.”

Benjo’s eyes watered as he saw everything that was inside the box. He looked at Don after a minute, “Everything?”

“Everything, Benj.”

“Why?”

Don let out a low laugh, “For everytime I could not trust words to say anything.”

Benjo sat beside the huge Balikbayan box. He took the first item that caught his eye. Don smiled as Benjo took three boxes of cookies. He looked at Don, “How…?”

“Well, it is not that hard to actually remember what flavors you liked the best.”

Benjo hugged the boxes to his chest.

Don chuckled, “Cute. Now, you still have eighteen more.”

“Eighteen? Why… twenty-one? What’s with all that?”

“You’ll find out soon enough.”

‘Soon enough’ went on about five seconds when Benjo saw the sticky notes on the bottom of the jar. There were letters on them.

The three cookie boxes contained the letters ‘I’, ‘E’, and ‘O’. Benjo looked at Don with a confused expression on his face.

Don smile went wider without warning, “Go on.”

Benjo did go on. He took a sweatshirt with the letter ‘B’ on it in a huge bold red font. Benjo placed it on his chest, trying to gauge if it is going to fit him or not.

“I got the smallest size,” commented Don.

“What? No, it won’t fit. It’s going to be small. I’m medium.”

Don raised one eyebrow.

Benjo groaned and pulled the sweatshirt over his head. The sweatshirt fit almost perfectly, if not a little big for him.

Don laughed, “Yeah. Medium.”

“But…”

“Just admit it.”

“No, I am not.”

“Say it. Out loud.”

“I am not Bella Swan.”

“No, you’re not Bella Swan. You’re small. Hi, small.”

Benjo took the sweatshirt off and threw it towards Don’s direction, who caught the garment with his left hand. He started to fold it nicely.

Benjo rummaged through the box and got two shirts, one with a printed Hello Kitty on it and one with Mapua’s logo. Both shirts had sticky notes on them, an ‘M’ and an ‘L’.

“You like them, yeah?”

A strong blush crept up to Benjo’s face as he stared at the Mapua logo, “Well, yeah.” He shook his head, trying to get rid of the blush. “Anyway, next!”

Don cleared his throat as Benjo pulled out three small boxes. They held the letters ‘V’, ‘Y’ and ‘U’. Benjo opened the first one. It was a keychain with connected stars, making up a constellation.

“It’s Gemini.”

Don nodded, “Mine’s Aquarius.”

Benjo gasped, “You have one too?”

Don shrugged, “Of course. I was aiming for the partner-y… things.”

Benjo opened the next one. It was a pen, with a small ‘Don’ inscribed on it. Benjo grinned, “And I am guessing you have the ‘Benjo’ one?”

“Hm,” was all Don said, crossing his arms over his chest as he let Benjo open all of the gifts he has accumulated over the past months. Everything he wanted to give the smaller man but could not. He did not know what kind of cowardice took him to not give Benjo all the things he deserved to have, and all of the things Don wanted him to have.

Today, things changed, and Don felt so raw and free.

Benjo opened the last box, which contained a stainless necklace of a single star. Benjo quickly wore the necklace, “How does it look on me?”

Don’s heart skipped a beat. Benjo’s eyes shone like real stars. He took his own pair from the inside of his shirt, “You look paired.”

If anything, Benjo’s eyes went wider. He laughed, “You were totally aiming for the couple stuff, Don!”

Don sported a blush of his own, “Why not?”

Benjo continued laughing, “Okay. That’s nine. What else have we got here?”

He took three fresh sunflowers from the box. Each flower had tags on them with letters written in red marker, another ‘E’, and two ‘O’s.

He smelled them and smiled, putting the flowers on the bed, seemed to be afraid to hurt them. He went back to the box and picked up three paperback books. They have sticky notes on them too, another ‘V’, a ‘Y’ and an ‘R’. The books were Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, a guide to the Kingdom Animalia, and a book about NASA’s exploration of Mars.

“These are so geeky, Don.”

“Just the way you like it.”

Benjo shook his head, “Just the way we like it.”

Don watched Benjo placed the books beside the sunflowers and continued taking out the stuff he stored in the box for so long. Seeing Benjo finally receiving and appreciating all of them makes his heart swell.

Benjo took out the last items from the box. There were coffee beans with the letter ‘U’, a coffee mug which has a sticky note with the letter ‘J’ written on it, and a canister of herbal teas with the letter ‘C’.

Don looked at Benjo holding the last three gifts he was finally able to give him. Each frame had sticky notes stuck on them too, with the letters ‘H’, ‘E’ and ‘N’, respectively.

They were pictures of them.

The first picture was from when they were in elementary school, with Don looking as deadpan as he is up until this day, and with Benjo looking down on his hands, extremely shy to look at the camera.

The second photo was of the whole gang. They were on a beach trip back three years ago.

The third photo was of Benjo and Don as they eat pizza. Don was looking at Benjo, on the act of reaching out and wiping Benjo’s chin of hot sauce.

“I love it,” whispered Benjo. “But what are the letters for?” Before Don could answer, he felt Benjo’s head piece it all together, eyes widening. Benjo lauched himself at Don, who caught him by the hips.

Benjo placed a chaste kiss on Don’s cheek, “Thank you.”

Don put Benjo back on the floor. Benjo grinned, “Let’s get some pizza?”






An hour later, everything was put back inside the box for the meantime, except for the cakes which went to the refrigerator and the sunflowers on a maroon vase on the table. They were sitting on the bed, two boxes of pizza between them. A bottle of wine sits idly on the bedside table with two wineglasses beside it.

Benjo took a bite of his hot sauce coated pizza. “Rawrr,” said Don, giving sounds to how Benjo eats the pizza. “Yum yum yum,” Don continued as Benjo chewed.

Benjo could not help but laugh after he swallowed. He smacked Don’s arm, “What the fuck? Mabubulunan ako sa ginagawa mo.”

Don just laughed as Benjo smacked his arm again before going back to his pizza. Don took a slice for himself, sprinkled it with chili flakes and finished the slice in two bites. Benjo looked at him, mouth gaping.

“Don, you’re a monster.”

“Am I?”
“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“Have you no gag reflex?”

Don raised one eyebrow, “How am I a monster then? I believe that fact is for your upkeep, not mine.”

Benjo spluttered and pizza almost went down the wrong pipe. He coughed, blushing hard. Don smiled and took the wineglasses from the bedside table. He gave one to Benjo. He then took the wine and opened it, pouring on his glass and then into Benjo’s. The clinked glasses and they both drank.

Benjo took another pizza. Don did the same.

“This is the life,” Benjo said. “I wish everyday is just like this.”

Don sighed, taking a sip from his glass. “Well, we could always make them like this. It does not have to happen to us.”

“We can make them happen, I know, Don.”

“But?”

“It’s just… I wonder sometimes. Maybe what if, there is an end to all of this.”

“Of course there is,” Don said, swallowing. “We all die in the end.”

“No, I mean… what if we get separated.”

“Separated?”

“Yeah, like overseas. What if I go to another country or something? What if you do too? What if we are miles away from each other? What if lots and lots of time have to pass before I see you again?”

Don stopped whatever he was doing and looked at Benjo’s eyes, “Benjo, what are you saying? Are you leaving?”

Benjo immediately shook his head, “Hindi naman.”

“‘Yun naman pala,” Don said, clutching his chest. “You made me worry right there, you know. Anyway, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there, Benj.”

“What if nga lang? Humor me, Don, please?”

“Fine. What is it ba?”

“What if we become something like in a long distance thing?”

“We have smartphones, Benjo, we can call anytime you like. There are so many apps for that, too. We could chat for hours.”

“But still, it’s different from face-to-face interactions. No one can smack an arm, no one can kiss a cheek, no one can do anything.”

“Well,” Don started, taking a sip from his wine. “You could bring some of my shirts to sleep on. I could get some of your caps.”

“I see,” said Benjo, blushing. “Can I have some of your perfume too?”

“What for?”

“So I could smell like you too. So I could carry your scent around and not miss you too much.”

“That could work,” replied Don, patting Benjo’s head.

“And we could maybe send some things I bought you there and you could maybe send things I like here at home there, to wherever I may be.”

“We could Skype all night, Benj.”

“We could play online games,” Benjo suggested, to which Don nodded.

“Or, we could promise to come see each other again. We could come back here. We could come back home. Together,” was Don’s suggestion.

Benjo nodded, “Is it because here’s where’s perfect?”

“Of course not,” Don quickly shook his head. “Here is perfect right now, but tomorrow? Maybe not. It does not matter where we are, Benj. What does matter, though, is we are there, anywhere, everywhere.”

Don sighed heavily as he blurted out everything that he could blurt out at the moment. He carefully closed the pizza box, laid them on the floor along with the wine bottle and wineglasses. He took Benjo in his arms.

“Anywhere with you is okay,” whispered Don, finding his voice to verbalize everything he ever wanted to say to the smaller man.

Benjo’s eyes sparkled, “I just hope we don’t get separated like that.”

“I hope so too,” agreed Don. “But hey, if ever we are, we will make it, right?”

“Okay,” Benjo smiled up at him.

“I like that,” murmured Don.

“Like what?”

“That smile when something finally dawns on you. What is it?”

Benjo tapped Don’s chest thrice, exactly where his heart is beating. “This.”

“This?”

“I finally realized.”

Don laughed and kissed the tip of Benjo’s nose, “Well, finally.”

Benjo hugged Don and closed his eyes. Don looked at Benjo’s peaceful face, with the light dusting of pink from blushing. He’s never glowed this color, just as the moon never glowed this color for anyone else but them.