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Let Your Old Heart Shine

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Fireworks could be heard bursting all around with the occasional cheer of joy from a child nearby. Nix silently admired Dick as he sat beside him on their back garden porch. He watched the way every firework from their neighbours lit up each feature of him. The reds bringing his hair to life like wildfire, the blues igniting the speckles of blue and green from his eyes, the whites showing off how truly pale Dicks face is with the added hints of freckles that span across his nose and cheeks. When he turned to look at him, however, he didn’t need any fireworks to light up his eyes this bright. Only Nix was capable of that. He lifted his glass of red wine in his direction slightly before taking a small, tentative sip as if he were savouring this moment of the both of them, even if they had done this for years now. The first time Dick had poured wine for them on a New Year’s just like this night Nix had nearly fainted. “Happy New Year’s Nix”.

“Yeah, you too Dick” Lewis said fondly. “At least the fireworks are half way decent this year” he commented quietly still not quite used to how loved he felt after all but two, now three years married to him. After their first New Year’s when Dick served them wine, he could remember teasing him for weeks afterwards, dramatically saying how he was no longer the innocent, clean-living Richard Winters that he once knew. He chuckled slightly to himself. He didn’t know what he’d do without him. His quiet sarcasm and giving nature. He didn’t love Nixon despite what he is, he loved him because of what he is and Nix will always feel grateful to whatever God there was for granting him this luxury. He made him a better man.

He was brought back to the present suddenly when Dick started talking. “You ever think if we had a kid they’d enjoy these fireworks?” A rocket firework exploded with a big boom above them reflecting neon colours across their neighbouring Californian suburban houses. Dick played with a piece of thread on his dark red and purple patterned scarf gifted to him for Christmas by Carwood Lipton as his old scarf was literally hanging all together by a thread. Nixon would always joke about how he related to the scarves dire state much to Dick’s distaste of his self-deprecation. Every New Year all of their friends group together at their house and have a party. Currently it’s one thirty in the morning; all their friends had already gone back home and either were asleep like Lip or drinking more if you were Luz and Babe. Or up to no good if you were Speirs.

“Dick do you…do you want a kid?” Nix had no problem with adopting a kid, Hell, it’d probably be fun to have some little thing running around their house up to no good, his only concerns were what type of father he would be. “

We could. Adopt one I mean. We have the money, the house.” Dick looked at him earnestly, holding his hand out for Nix to take. “I don’t know what type of father I’d make Dick” he muttered almost miserably reaching for his hand.

What are you talking about Nix? I know for a fact that you’d give your all for this child and wouldn’t hesitate to sock someone in the face if they gave them trouble” That made Lewis chuckle lightly. A few fireworks went off causing some kid, no more than maybe five to squeal in delight. “You think it’s clearing up?” Dick looked up into the dark navy of the sky save for the glow of the explosions. “No I don’t think so” he said nonchalantly. I think it’s clearing up” He said whilst in deep thought. Dick let him take his time with his answer. This wasn’t the first time he’d mentioned adopting. He knew Dick loved kids and furthermore would be a fantastic father. The problem was himself. He wasn’t known for being sober or patient and that might be a problem. He was known for waking up late for work and in general being a hot mess. But the way Dicks eyes turned wistful as if having a family with him was his childhood dream. As if this was all he really wants-a life with him and a child to care for together. He couldn’t help but say yes. He gripped Dicks hand tighter, intertwining their fingers together until their wedding bands bumped lightly. “Yeah alright. Let’s do this.”

The smile that emerged on Dicks face was worth it.

Lewis Nixon waited in his prided Rover P6 classic car as Dick checked the front door of their house was locked for the hundredth time. Sometimes he swore Dick had some sort of OCD going on. Always checking this and that is closed or locked and that everything is in perfect order. Yet he couldn’t find it anything but charming, and besides, the house would probably be next to shambles if it were left in Nix’s care.

The car door pops open pulling Lew out of his thoughts as Dick slides into the black leather seat already hot from the midday sun.

“It’s a children’s home not a night out” Nix commented as he looked at Dicks light blue button down hanging down carelessly over casual black slacks. “First impressions matter Lew” Nix snorted and started pulling out of their driveway and down the straight road cocooned in symmetrical palm trees on each side that Dick loved, well, he loved the symmetry mostly. Said it was pleasing to his soul, but he did also admire the way the light shimmered through the leaves gently. Nix fumbled until he found his trademark black shades, throwing them on to block out the blazing sun high up in cloudless blue skies of Santa Monica.

Of course there was some light traffic as he hit the main road that had Lew biting down the urge to roll down his window and shout snarky remarks. Although what a sight that would be to see; sliding up next to the phony then furiously trying to wheel down his window to shout at them as Dick tried not to laugh next to him. Dick was already smiling as he tried to hide his amusement. “Weekend drivers” Lew muttered petulantly. It wouldn’t take long to get to this children’s home, perhaps fourty minutes or so and he was kind of nervous. If he were honest he didn’t really know how to act around children despite Dick’s enthusiasm. He was better at caring for dogs. I guess children can be like dogs, he wondered to himself, they shit a lot, eat a lot and fuss when they don’t get attention. Stop it he chastised, you can’t think of your child as a dog. I’m thinking more of toddlers, this kid is at the prime age of eleven. It was now April and they had spent most of January, February and March setting up their guest bedroom into a vanilla kid’s bedroom except for the colour of the walls. They decided that that should be his or her choice to make it feel more like home.

The children’s home sat neatly on the edge of the street in downtown as he parked up. He got out and looked at Dick who returned his glance. He turned briefly to lock his car, adjusted his sunglasses and entered the formal looking building which painted Sunnyside Children’s Home with a bacon and eggs smiley face on the front window. They had already filled out the required paper work for which child they wanted. They had no photo of him to go by as he suffered from epilepsy so this would be their first time seeing him. By his description his parents hadn’t passed away but were deemed unable to care for him due to physical, mental, and emotional abuse which broke both of their hearts. It would be challenging but worth it they decided.

The receptionist motioned for them to sit in the waiting room whilst she asked a co-worker to get the child. Their child. Nix glanced around the room nervously picking up a magazine then roughly putting it back down. Before he could fumble anymore though he felt Dicks fingers slide over his. “It’s going to be fine Lew, don’t panic so much” he gave him a reassuring smile, but didn’t let go of his hand. Soon enough an eleven year old boy appeared shyly into the waiting room gripping his duffle bag like a vice. He was a little tall with short but messy blonde hair and sky blue eyes that flickered around anxiously. “Good afternoon” Dick said kindly “I’m Richard Winter and this is my husband Lewis Nixon. Nix waved slightly and smiled. Poor kid looked so confused and scared he couldn’t meet their eyes.

“Blithe these are your new dads!” the co-worker beamed leaning down a little to pat his shoulder. At that his ocean eyes widened a fracture. “I’m adopted?” his surprise was over laid by a thick southern accent.

“Are you ready to go home Blithe?” Nix asked gently, glad when his small jittery hand shakily held onto Dicks sleeve before nodding slightly.