“You’re hiding under that blanket because you’re blushing?“
An affirmative grunt from beneath the sheets is the only answer Rafael gets but it brings a small smile to his face as he rifles through the button-ups, arranged by color and style, in his closet. His work space at the office may always be a mess but nobody can say he isn’t organized at home.
“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, you know,” Rafael says. He glances over his shoulder at the Sonny-shaped lump on the bed, biting back a laugh when he hears a muffled, heavy sigh. “Seriously. The longer you stay under there, the weirder you’re making it.”
That’s enough, apparently, to spur Sonny into action. His head pops up from beneath the sheets, hair sticking up every which way and looking exceptionally sheepish. It’s endearing. Rafael wishes his phone was within reach so he could snap a picture.
Sonny scowls but there’s no real malice behind it and anyway, it’s undermined by the way he flops back onto the mattress. “Just forget I said it, okay? I didn’t mean it.”
“Now you’re being rude. I should threaten no sex for at least twelve hours for that.”
“We’ll both be at work for at least twelve hours.”
“And? I’m trying to punish you, not myself.”
Rafael can hear Sonny sitting back up but keeps his eyes trained on his shirts. He’s already chosen one, a pale pink one to pair with a solid dark purple tie underneath a dark blue jacket and waistcoat. His pink pocket square had already been folded for him last night and left on his nightstand, Sonny had done it while Rafael had been in the shower. Neither of them had said anything about it. Rafael wishes he had because he’s afraid if he turns around to face Sonny now, Sonny will see the disappointment in his eyes. Maybe if he’d said something, Sonny wouldn’t feel the need to say things like “I didn’t mean it.”
“If you’re looking for the pinstriped pink one, don’t bother. You left that shirt at my house. It’s mine now.”
That earns a snort and finally, Rafael does turn back around, performatively rolling his eyes. “When do you ever wear pink?”
Sonny shrugs a bare shoulder. Rafael desperately wants to forgo getting dressed and press his lips against soft, fair skin, mark it the way Sonny had marked his hip last night.
“Never too late to start. Besides, it smells like you, it’d be like you were with me all day.”
“Sounds a little codependent, Detective. Or maybe you don’t mean that either.”
It’s Rafael’s turn to blush when Sonny squints at him, studying him. They’ve been dating for a couple months now, after a couple months of pretending they could handle a colleagues-with-benefits situation without succumbing to their mutual feelings prior to that, but sometimes, Rafael still feels his walls going up. It’s frightening to open himself up to someone, even someone like Sonny who’s never been anything but kind and caring and supportive. His past experiences haven’t necessarily been great ones. Memorable, yes, but not great, and they’ve shaped his expectations for any given romantic relationship over the years. That’s exactly why he hasn’t been in one for such a long time. Sometimes he wonders whether maybe Sonny’s made a huge mistake, wanting to be with him.
“Do you want me to mean it?” Sonny asks, tilting his head, his eyes bright with curiosity. He chews nervously on his lip when Rafael remains silent. “Rafael. Do you want me to mean it?”
Swallowing hard, Rafael ducks his head, wishing he’d thought to grab his shirt already just so he’d have something to do with his hands. Instead, he fidgets under Sonny’s scrutiny, shifting from one foot to another. “I want you to mean it if you mean it.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“It’s an answer,” Rafael says defensively, “just not the one you want to hear.”
Sonny swings his legs over the edge of the bed, pushing himself upright then holding his hands up in mock surrender as he takes two long strides to close the gap between them. “Hey, I’m not trying to piss you off.” He gently tilts Rafael’s chin up until their eyes meet, and he smiles.
The sight of those dimples sends a wave of affection coursing through Rafael, prompting him to inch just a little closer to Sonny so their lips come together for a soft kiss. “Maybe I do want you to mean it,” he admits. “Maybe I want to say it and mean it, too.”
Sonny’s fingers thread through his hair. It’s comforting, something he’s been doing since the first time they’d fallen into bed together, and it draws a contented sigh from Rafael. “You can say it. If you want to, you can say it. Because I did mean it, Rafael. I didn’t want that to freak you out but of course I meant it, you have to know I did.”
Rafael nods. He takes hold of Sonny’s wrist, pulling his boyfriend’s hand from his hair so he can leave a kiss against his palm. “It does freak me out.” Sonny’s face falls a little but Rafael shakes his head. He lowers Sonny’s hand to his chest, over his heart. “It freaks me out but only because I’ve assumed for a long time it was too late for me. I didn’t expect you.”
Sonny laughs, nodding his understanding. “Yeah, I get it. Can’t really say I expected you, either. So I’ll say it again now, if that’s okay.”
“I love you.”
Rafael lets out a slow exhale, his eyes slipping shut as he repeats the word in his mind. Sonny loves him. Sonny loves him, and Rafael believes that. It feels foreign but he welcomes it.
“I love you, Rafael.”
His eyes flutter back open and he pecks kisses to Sonny’s forehead then temple then cheek. “I have court.”
Sonny groans, dropping his head back as he grips Rafael’s shoulders, shaking him. “Are you kidding me?”
“Hey, look at me.” Sonny does. Rafael grins. “I love you, too. I’ll mean it every time.”