It started over a mole.
“It’s changed!” Tweek said, pointing at Craig’s arm.
“No, it hasn’t,” Craig said, rolling his eyes as he laid back on the sofa. He flipped on the TV, paying no mind to the worries of his long-term boyfriend.
“Yes, it has!” Tweek insisted, grabbing the remote.
“Hey, don’t be a dick! Give it back!”
“No,” Tweek said, holding it out of Craig’s reach as he tried to steal it back. “You need to promise me you’ll go to the doctor! First your hair started thinning out--”
“Gee, fucking thanks.”
“--And now that mole on your arm is looking weird!” he continued. “You just turned 40, meaning you’re at a much higher risk for cancers and other health issues!”
Craig stood up and snatched it back. “You’re 40 too, you know.” He sunk back into the sofa.
“Yes, and I actually go to the doctor more than once a decade!” Tweek crossed his arms. “When was the last time you went for a normal checkup? Three years ago? Four?”
“Fine!” Craig said, rolling his eyes once more. “If it really makes you happy, I’ll go! But I promise you, I don’t have fucking skin cancer.”
Tweek was right. It was in fact melanoma. It wasn’t serious and hadn’t spread at all. A simple appointment to get it cut off was all it took. Craig was right that his hair thinning was a normal result of simple genetics just as what happened to other men in his family, and overall he was quite healthy.
Still, Tweek didn’t take it well.
“Stop being so calm about the fact you had cancer !” Tweek said during the car ride home.
“I’d barely call it that,” Craig said as he pulled out of the hospital parking lot. “My mom had something similar on her neck when I was a kid. No big deal.”
“It is a big deal!” Tweek quite loudly insisted. “What if you hadn’t listened to me? It runs in your family and still you didn’t want to get it checked out?! It could have spread or--or--”
“I’m fine , Tweek,” Craig said in a calmer voice as he approached a red light.
Tweek’s hand brushed the skin just above where Craig’s arm was bandaged. “I'm just worried about you is all.”
The light turned green. Craig continued driving on. “I know.”
“Because I love you.”
Craig inhaled deeply. “I know. I love you, too.”
“It also had me thinking,” Tweek said, slouching back into the passenger seat, “What if you did have something serious? What if you had to be hospitalized? We’re not married. What if I couldn’t visit you? What if I wasn’t allowed to make decisions for you?”
“We’re common law married,” Craig pointed out.
“In Colorado . What if you have to be hospitalized out of state?”
“Why would that happen?”
Tweek groaned. “I dunno! Maybe you need to see a specialist?”
“Okay, but like, what are the odds of that?”
“What if something happened to you next time you visit Tricia in New York? A car wreck, a stroke, a falling piano, anything ?!”
“I’m pretty sure even states that don’t have Common Law have to recognize existing ones.”
“But what if they don’t!”
Craig didn’t respond. He simply focused on the road ahead.
They decided pretty early into adulthood that marriage never appealed to them. They had no religious incentive nor did they plan on raising a family. They loved each other enough on their own, no piece of paper was ever going to change that. Common Law marriages in Colorado had all the same rights and tax benefits, so why bother?
Not to mention, Tweek specifically didn’t want to have a wedding ceremony--the idea of being put on the spot was too much stress for him. Cost was another factor that freaked him out. What if they spent all that money but needed it later? He’d go on about how he didn’t want them to become homeless all thanks to an overly stressful party.
Craig thought it was a huge overreaction, especially with how financially stable they’d consistently been. Still, he didn’t exactly care about weddings, either. If Tweek wanted one, he’d have gone along with it, but the fact he wasn’t was no disappointment to him. He was happy with his long-term relationship. Sure, they bickered like any couple who had been together for thirty years and they certainly had their ups and downs, especially with Tweek’s mental health woes, but through the years they managed to run their lives together like a well-oiled machine.
“Does it bother you that we never got married?” Craig finally asked. “Do you regret it?”
“What? Craig, I’m happy to be with you!” Tweek sat up straight. “I could never regret our life together--you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me!”
“That’s not what I asked. Happy or not, do you wish that we had gotten married?”
“I hate wedding ceremonies, and you know that!”
“Also not what I asked.” He took a hand off the wheel to rub his temple. As much as he loved Tweek, there was nothing more annoying than trying to get a straight answer from him. “Whether it would have been fuckin’ royal wedding or shitty Las Vegas drivethrough ceremony is irrelevant. Do. You. Wish. That. We. Were. Legally. Married? Yes or no?”
Tweek sighed. “I dunno.”
“Well,” Craig said, doing his best to change the conversation. “What do you want for dinner? I don’t feel like cooking--do you?”
“No.” Tweek shook his head. “Let’s get take-out.”
“Alright then. Chinese or Italian?”
“Hey,” Tweek said as he joined Craig in bed that night, leaning against him as he always did.
“Ow!” Craig said, nearly dropping his phone he was scrolling through.
Tweek jumped. “I’m so sorry! I wasn’t thinking! Is your arm okay?”
Craig couldn’t help but grin.“It’s fine. Promise.”
“Well...good,” Tweek said, leaning his head back against the pillow. He glanced at his own phone for only a moment before putting it down on the nightstand. He sighed.
Craig looked over to him. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” It didn’t sound especially convincing. Still, it was the exact brand of unconvincing that generally meant Tweek didn’t want to talk about it so instead of pressing it further, Craig looked back at his phone. His Facebook was mostly full of insane political posts from Clyde that he would have blocked literally anyone else for.
Clyde never got married. Nor did Jimmy or Token or most people from his graduating high school class. The only ones he could think of were Eric Cartman’s bizarre Jewish wedding he saw Facebook photos of and Wendy Testaburger’s Tweek and him went to Vegas for maybe ten or so years back. Other than that? Hell, most were still single. Craig and Tweek definitely had a one-up over the average person.
Yeah, they were perfectly fine as-is. They didn’t need some dumb contract.
“I think we should get married.”
Craig dropped his phone.
“I’ve been thinking about it,” Tweek said, looking long and hard at him. His face was no longer stuck in his stubborn I-have-opinions-but-I-don’t-want-to-share-them look, but instead the equally stubborn I’ve-made-up-my-mind-and-nothing-will-change-it one.
“You asked if I thought we should be married and I’ve decided the answer is yes.”
“You--Are you sure ?” Craig asked. Not exactly the best way of phrasing the question. He knew Tweek in his determination was sure at that moment , but given that it was a complete 180 from his attitude for the last thirty years they’d been together, Craig didn’t know if he was really thinking it through or just being emotional about that stupid shit on his arm. Of course, if he said that, he’d probably just piss Tweek off.
“I am,” Tweek said. He leaned back against the headboard and up towards the ceiling. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I just...I think turning 40, worrying about the future, about health, all of it…” He looked back over to Craig. “I still don’t want a big wedding, and no, a paper doesn’t change how we feel about each other, but...Well, it does bother me that I’m not tied to you in that way.”
Craig’s body felt as though the temperature dropped by several degrees. Before that day, Tweek had never even hinted at having those feelings. After all the years they’d been together, he’d have thought he’d be more upfront.
“Tweek, honey, if you felt that way you should have told me. I’m sorry. We could have gotten it out of the way years ago.”
Tweek grasped his hand. “Please don’t apologize! I didn’t…” He looked away again. “We’ve been fine the way we are, and I just...I dunno. I didn’t want to make it sound like I was unhappy. I am happy. I love you.”
“Tweek, no normal human being refuses to propose to their significant other because they think it means they’re unhappy in the relationship. Pretty sure it’s the other way around.”
Tweek scowled and let go of his hand. “I know that! Jesus, I’m not stupid! But the thing is, we’re not normal. We’ve been together since we were ten years old! We’ve always just sort of existed well--” he gestured vaguely around their bedroom “-- like this. Sure we’ve changed and matured--we grew up together, we were high school sweethearts, we moved in together at eighteen, but we’ve always just sort of...stayed the same. And you know what? I like the fact that you’ve always been the one dependable and consistent thing in my life.”
“What are you saying?”
Tweek let out an exasperated groan. “What I’m saying is, I’m glad we’ve stayed the same all these years! Marriage wouldn’t change that!”
Craig tilted his head. “But...you want to be married, right?”
“Yes! That’s what I said, right?”
He blinked. “Then--”
“I’m very happy in our relationship but I think for a myriad of reasons, we should have a legally binding official marriage. Even if we have common law, as we get older it’s safer and more dependable. It’s a good idea!”
Craig was fairly certain in all his research in filing taxes and insurance that Tweek’s worries about their rights as a couple were unfounded. Still, if it really bothered him that much ? Sure. If it gave him an ease of mind, especially after the stupid melanoma scare that bothered Tweek so much, he’d be completely willing to get a form at city hall and say some words at a courthouse.
“And also…” Tweek paused. “I know you don’t care what other people think about us, and never have. It’s something I like about you. I also know a lotta people our age still aren’t married and that it technically doesn’t matter as much in this day and age. But...well, if I’m being honest, at 40 years old I think it would be nice to stop saying ‘ my boyfriend’ and start saying ‘ my husband’ .”
Oh. Well, that changed things. A smile grew on Craig’s lips.
Age had really been showing on both of their faces in recent years. Tweek was losing a lot of the youthfulness in his face, replaced by lines starting to form. Didn’t change the fact that Craig thought he was the absolute cutest fucking human being in all of existance. He wrapped his arm around Tweek’s shoulder and pulled him in.
“In that case, will you do me the honor of letting me be Tweek’s husband ?”
Tweek chuckled as he leaned against his chest. “Only if I get to be Craig’s husband.”
“Well, of course,” he said with a playful grin. “But only if we get it done in the most mundane place possible. My fiance doesn’t like the spotlight, after all.”
“Do you want to pick up a license at City Hall?” Tweek asked.
“We can see if we can get it Monday,” he said.
“No suit and tie, right?”
“Hell no. Street clothes at the courthouse officiated by some random judge is fine by me. I guess for witnesses, Jimmy probably can’t come up from LA, but I think I could get Token and Clyde as witnesses.”
“You can,” Tweek said, “But you don’t need it in Colorado. I looked it up--we could self solemnize and do it in the living room or even in the parking lot in our car. Just the two of us. It would save us $100 bucks at the courthouse.”
“So...appointment at City Hall to get a license and then do the vows ourselves in the parking lot after?”
“Unless you’d rather have a short ceremony,” Tweek said, shifting under him. “I’m the one pushing it, so you you want something different, you should say so!”
Craig kissed the top of Tweek’s head.
“Nope. Sounds perfect.”