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"Don't get upset, but..."

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It was a lazy Sunday morning and the weather outside was sunny but cool. Gavreel would have loved to go out and take a stroll, but, no, his boyfriend promptly settled himself on the couch in their living room, binge watching something on TV. It was a sci-fi series that Gav just couldn’t find in himself to like, although he had tried watching a few episodes with Cairo.

They had been together for more than eight years now. Two years of enduring a long-distance relationship as the pandemic and quarantine dragged out longer than the rest of the world. Two years of having to carefully plan and save for visits, playing catch-up and tag on the phone and all over social media, just to keep their communication lines open. So when they finally had the opportunity to be together, it was an easy mutual decision to finally live together. The move and transition to living together was not without its own growing pains, but they had gone through so much more in the past, that squabbles over dinner, mixed laundry, and unwashed dishes were peanuts.

So they were able to find their stride a lot more easily than they expected, given that they were direct opposites in some aspects. For Gav, he loved being in a relationship and living with Cairo. He thrived in having someone to look after and having that same person look after him as well. Cairo may be prickly, but for the people he let in, especially with Gav, he was unbelievably generous, to the point of being effusive in his affections. Gav loved the knowledge of being the only one that got to see that side of Cairo. As for Cairo, Gav was happy to discover that he was in fact a relationship guy. It was as if being officially boyfriends opened the floodgates for Cai, and he was actually a worthy match to Gav's pa-kilig style.

Nevertheless, their day-to-day life was a mix of synchronized flow on some days and a push-and-pull of their opposite temperaments on other days. Thus, Gav and Cairo had long had this agreement that they would take turns in choosing their activities together for the week, unless either of them had prior engagements.

He never should have agreed to it. He gets antsy when it’s Cairo’s turn to choose because the choice would often be staying at home. “He’s turning us into an old, boring couple,” Gav huffed. Lucky for them, Gavreel sometimes managed to turn them into sexy opportunities instead. Except that sometimes like right now, his nerdy boyfriend can also be just as persistent with his homebody hobbies. Left with nothing better to do, he decided he might as well reorganize their closet. That always managed to cheer him up.

After an hour or two, he was done with both his and Cairo's clothes, but found that he was still feeling restless. So, he decided to start working on their drawers, beginning with Cairo’s. Sure enough, it was in disarray, with the socks and underwear in one jumbled mess. Gav rolled his eyes then started refolding and segregating. He was halfway done when his hand felt something small, with a velvety surface finish. It’s a small black box at the far corner of the drawer.

His heartbeat sped up, but all the while thinking he shouldn’t get ahead of himself. He took the box out of the drawer and opened it. He gasped upon seeing what was inside: a ring made of white gold, with inlaid diamonds forming an alternating pattern of T’s all around. Cairo was still watching his series, hyper-focused on the screen, so Gav tried to calm himself before rushing to the living room.

“Baby?”

“Hmm?” Cairo glanced sideways, pausing his show on TV, and looked at Gavreel. Gav was uncharacteristically pink right now and bursting with excitement. Cairo frowned. This usually meant Gav was having one of his “bright ideas,” and, whether he agreed with them or not, he eventually ended up getting railroaded into going along. By this time, Cai learned not to mind and chose to pick his battles with Gav. Admittedly, he found himself still hopelessly in love and well and truly whipped.

“What did you say we were going to do this Friday night?” Gavreel asked.

“A dinner at the Carlyle? Why?”

“Isn’t it a bit too much for just a dinner out?” Gavreel now had an eyebrow raised.

Cairo was starting to get nervous… He put down the remote control, shifted in his seat and turned, giving Gav his full attention. “I was thinking that it's been a while since we went somewhere fancy,” he reasoned, if a bit too hastily.

“Uh-huh…” Gav nodded slyly, this time with an insufferable smirk on his face. He had the look of a cat that got the cream, as he slowly moved to where Cai was.

“You’re not being completely honest, mister,” he said as he plopped himself on Cairo's lap. "Don't get upset, but-" He presented the black velvet box he had been hiding in his pocket until then.

“Oh, noooo...” Cairo hid his face into his hands. “It was supposed to be a surprise,” Cairo groaned, as Gav did a little bounce on his lap while grinning like mad.

“Propose to me now!” Gavreel exclaimed, almost half-shouting.

“No, I had it all prepared, I even had a speech,” Cairo insisted softly, as he tried to pry the box out of Gav's hands.

Gavreel lovingly touched Cairo's cheeks with both his hands.

“Baby, I know I may be intense sometimes…”

“Sometimes?” Cairo smiled.

Gav playfully pushed Cai's chest. “Shut up.”

They looked into each other’s eyes before Gav continued, “and I might look like the type who insists on grand gestures- and you HAVE delivered very well on the grand gesture thing. But this, I don’t really need the fancy dinner, or maybe even a possible impromptu performance, …” Cairo feigned shock at this, but Gavreel knew at least one of those things was part of his grand plan. His baby had come a long way from when they were just starting out. Sometimes he was even better than Gav with romantic gestures that it became a bit of a healthy competition between them.

“I just need you right here like this. Just the two of us…” Gav rested his forehead on Cai's to have a better view of those dark eyes he loved so much.

“So, ask me now… Please?” he asked tenderly with a smile.

Cairo tilted his head slightly. He had been planning this for weeks. He wanted to show Gav that he was absolutely serious about this and that he was just as much in love with him now as he had been back when they were still starting out. Cairo thought he had to make this event so momentous and grand that it would leave Gavreel in no doubt about his love and his fidelity.

But right now, Gav was the one who amazed him, yet again. Of course, Gav gets it. They have always understood each other in ways no one ever would. And in that moment Cairo realized this was how he wanted it too. No grand displays, no crowds, no artifice, just them.

“Fine,” he whispered finally as he tightened his hold on Gav’s waist to draw him even closer. “Gav, baby, since that first time you played with me on my livestream…”

“Babyyy! Not the whole speech!” Gav chuckled and peppered Cai's face with tiny kisses to soften the reprimand. “Just ask…”

Cairo laughed a little, as he looked up at Gav. He traced the delicate lines across Gav's face with his fingers, then lightly threaded them through Gav's curls. He fell a little more in love just then. If that was even still possible.

Cairo suddenly felt a lump in his throat as he whispered, “I love you, Gavreel Mendoza Alarcon…” His eyes were starting to leak now. “Marry me and stay with me forever?”

Gav also started tearing up silently. He finally released a breathy, “Oh yes.”

They embraced each other tightly and inhaled each other's scent, before they let go to look into each other's eyes again.

“I’ll always love you.” Gav replied and captured Cairo's mouth for a kiss that was both sweet and passionate. They both leaned on the sofa as the kiss turns heated, and their lazy Sunday suddenly got a lot more exciting...