Tyler wakes up early, birds tweeting gently as the sun peaks over the horizon. Josh looks like an angel, cotton candy locks a fuzzy halo across his pillow and face. He's completely relaxed and drooling slightly, but Tyler's learned to love all of his fiancé.
"You're staring again, love." Josh mumbles, startling Tyler. He rolls over, snuggling closer to Tyler as he wraps an arm around his waist.
"You're so pretty I couldn't help it." Tyler says back, snuggling back down into the blankets to lay face to face with Josh. He wrinkles his nose, fighting the urge to laugh. "Dog breath.."
Josh's eyes fly open as he leans forward, mouth open and exhaling a toxic lungful. Tyler's trapped, Josh's strong arms keeping him pinned to his chest.
"NOO! YOU'RE GROSS!" Tyler cries, whining like a child. Josh peppers kisses across his nose and cheeks, rolling Tyler onto his back as he squeals.
"But I love you, baby boy." Josh counters, squishing Tyler down into the mattress as he attacks his neck with kisses. "I need all the love I can get so I don't get sad in space."
Tyler gives in, wrapping his arms gently around Josh's neck and pulling him down for a gentle kiss. He kisses up Josh's jaw, lips ghosting over the shell of his ear. "I am not letting you take a naked photo of me into space."
Josh groans, head falling onto Tyler's bare chest. "But I didn't even ask this time!"
"Which means you were hoping if you didn't bring it up it would mean I say yes." Tyler says, fingers running up and down Josh's back. "I will not have my naked ass floating around in the background when NASA decides to do a welfare FaceTime."
Josh's throaty laugh makes Tyler's heart soar.
They stay in bed until Tyler's stomach growls so loud it startles another laugh out of Josh. He pulls a groaning Tyler from the bed, wrapping him in a quilt to silence to his complaints of being cold.
Tyler sits on the counter watching Josh expertly flip pancakes.
They let them get cold as they kiss.
They binge watch The Office, giggling to each other like idiots as Tyler curls closer to Josh.
"I'm nervous, baby." Tyler whispers, TV forgotten as they lay tangled together.
"I'll be okay. It's my third time up there, nothing bad is gonna happen." Josh shifts, leaning across to knock of their oak coffee table with a smirk.
"Asshole." Tyler snaps, worry still buried deep in his chest. "I love you."
"Nothing's gonna happen," Josh says.
What he means is 'I love you too'.
They wake up early, Josh's duffel already loaded in the car. Both of them are too nervous to eat, so they sit around their cups of coffee in silence.
Tyler drives, hand resting on the center console inside Josh's. His stomach flips, excitement and worry and fear and happiness all mixed together inside him.
Josh is almost vibrating, fighting constantly to keep himself seated. Tyler knows he should be happy, his fiancé is living out his dream.
He can't help the anxious dread twisting in his gut. Its made itself at home home, rearing its ugly head for every mission Josh goes on. He does his breathing exercises and ignores his clammy hands.
They part at the gate, Josh is taken away to get ready for launch while Tyler gets herded with the other family members and general public onto hard metal bleachers, a safe distance from the launch pad.
He sits next to Debby and Sarah, conversing quietly about anything but the impending rocket launch. Their all nervous for their spouses, and it shows clearly on Sarah's face.
A screen is rolled out, the inside of the cabin projected for the family members to see.
"Alright guys, you're on the big screen so keep it PG for the kids in the stands." Mark says, clipping his belt into place.
Brendon rolls his eyes and Sarah snorts softly beside him. "Oh darn, I was just about to start spitting out some serious expletives."
"Hey Dun, you hitched yet?" Tyler feels a blush creep up his face at Jenna's question.
"She's always so nosey." Debby giggles, but Tyler doesn't miss the way she twists her wedding band around anxiously.
"I am engaged, Ryan, thank you very much. They even let me paint the ring finger of my suit, so suck it!" He holds his hand up to the camera, laughs filtering through the audience.
"Josh, I specifically told you not to paint your suit, but you proceeded to do it anyway." Mark says, flipping switches out of the camera's frame.
"I have no memory of you saying no, therefore, it didn't happen." He says, crossing his arms as best as he can.
Laughter from the audience dies down as the count down begins. The sound of the engines mutes everything else, and Tyler's gaze flicks rapidly back and forth from the screen to the rocket in the distance.
'It's a honor, ladies and gentlemen, to fly with you.' Tyler reads Brendon's lips with a smile.
"We have lift off in T minus 5," Tyler's hands begin to sweat. "4," His leg starts bouncing, rattling the bleachers. "3," He feels Sarah's hand grab his and squeeze, an anchor, a reassurance that she's here. "2," The ground rumbles, spurring his leg and his heart faster. "1," He watches the exhaust billow out, hiding the rocket as it roars. "Lift off."
The rocket shoots up, crackling and rumbling as it rises. It leaves a trail behind it, clouding the blue sky as it grows high and higher.
The crowd decends into cheers and clapping, whistles and hollars filling the air. Tyler keeps his eyes on the screen, focused on Josh's scrunched face as the camera shakes.
The screen goes black seconds before it explodes.
At first, Tyler's confused. His brain doesn't catch up to his eyes until the second explosion. It sends clouds of smoke into the air as the third explosion finally splits the aircraft into pieces, rendering it into a pile of scrap in seconds.
Tyler feels himself screaming, feels his lungs burning from the lack of oxygen and his chest shaking with the force, but he doesn't hear it.
He doesn't hear Sarah and Debby sobbing beside him, he doesn't hear the crowd shouting in confusion, he doesn't hear anything but his own heart pounding.
He watches as flaming pieces of metal fall through the sky like little shooting stars.
'Make a wish,' Josh sings, arms wrapped snugly around Tyler's middle as he lights the candle.
He ponders silently for a moment before he inhales and blows, extinguishing the tiny flame. He turns and kisses Josh, soft and slow.
'What did ya wish for?' Josh asks, playfully batting his lashes.
'I can't tell you,' I wish for you to come home, 'if I tell you,' safe and sound, 'it won't come true.' so we can finally get married.
Tyler closes his eyes and wishes on flaming pieces of wreckage.