Time seemed to fly and, years later, all the kids were on their own. The sibling cousins had finished college. Son was in the music industry like his Dad and Daughter had decided to go to grad school, following in Papa’s footsteps. She’d met the man she hoped to marry one day.
Twin and Niecy were trying to make their way back to each other, with its own ups and downs. Exec and the Computer Wiz were truly in love. His heart had taken a while to completely heal from Partner’s betrayal so he’d waited a long time before telling the Wiz how he felt. It was about time Exec had someone who truly loved him, someone who deserved this wonderful man.
Across the room in the leather easy chair, Lover looked at Angel, the smile-with-a-hint of-smirk and the eyes. Angel, stretched out on the leather sofa, looked back, actually looking innocent. Honestly. Innocent.
The “little bunny wabbits,” as Daughter had named them, were still happily “little bunny wabbits.” It was true, the years had slowed them down but they hadn’t completely worn them out. The topsy-turvy turns and backwards and forwards and ups and downs were slower but they’d figured it out. Now things were less frantic and even more loving. They still had a lot to celebrate. And the more years together, the more celebrations.
Lover was wondering if a trip to the kitchen was appropriate. Angel wasn’t sure, at first anyway. Then he remembered there was some vanilla bean ice cream in the freezer. Uh oh. Maybe some ice cream would be … nice?!
They kissed their way into the kitchen, grabbed the ice cream and two spoons, and kissed their way up to the bedroom.
The ice cream and spoons on a napkin on the night stand, candles lit around the room, the two men undressed each other. Yes, the abs were softer, the bodies less defined. They didn’t care, not about the bodies. They still loved each other as much as they did when they’d fallen in love so many years before, maybe more. Differently sometimes but look at them, they both thought. Still in love. So much in love.
For a while they just lay there, enjoying the feel of each other, the warmth, the familiarity. Every now and then hands would begin to move, lips reach to kiss and be kissed. Sometimes they just listened to each other’s heartbeat, knowing it was beating for them. There’d be a lick, or a nibble.
These times when the house was theirs, and they were both in it at the same time, were gold. Lover still checked in on his international offices and Angel still traveled, performing his considerable repertoire. It was funny, though, how the things they’d come to love the most were the simple things. Cooking together (if you could call it that), reading together or to each other, listening to music, even doing the laundry, meant more now than they used to. Angel explained it one day, saying that their lives had both been so hectic that it was nice to just slow down a little. Sometimes. A video here, a close dance there. Dinner with family or friends. Just regular things.
Angel remembered the ice cream. “What do you think we should do with it?” he asked.
“Let’s eat it!” exclaimed Lover. “Besides, I want to watch you enjoy this.”
“You always want to watch me.”
“You’re so beautiful to watch.”
He reached over and got the ice cream and the spoons.
“And what shall we celebrate tonight?” wondered Angel.
“I want to celebrate you.”
“Because my heart still races every time I see you.” Lover paused. There were so many reasons why. “Because I can’t imagine my life without you.”
Angel remembered the night of one of their holiday parties, the last one with Starlight. Lover could see it on his face that for a moment he was somewhere else. Then he was back.
“Where were you?”
Angel looked at Lover, his beautiful husband. He reached out and stroked his cheek.
“Do you remember the night of that party, when I found you outside all alone?”
Lover remembered. It was right after Starlight had made him promise not to tell Angel that she was dying. He stiffened, praying that Angel wasn’t hurting from that.
Angel could feel Lover’s fear. “No, no,” he whispered. “It’s OK, really.”
Lover relaxed back into Angel’s arms. “I was afraid,” he said.
Angel had felt it. “No, I was just remembering how I said I had everything I’d ever wanted. But without you …” He couldn’t bear the thought.
Lover remembered it, too. “You asked me to promise you that I’d never leave you. And I did promise you, I will never leave you. Never.”
“I’ll never leave you.”
Unlike that night, this time, for some unknown reason, Lover did need him to say it.
They both knew that, somehow, it was a promise they would always keep. Always and always.
Tomorrow in “Promises of Starlight”: Years go … bye