Excerpt: Proposal!

May 23, 2015

THEY WERE lazy again and had dinner out on the way home after dropping off the rental van. It was getting on to ten, a bit late, but Kevin picked the Spice Island Inn and said he was paying in a tone that brooked no argument. They were shown to a table on the second floor, right beside a big window with a view of the lights glittering on the water and the big liners gliding silently along on their way to warm, sunny places like Spain and Greece. They looked like floating Travel Inns, with tourists standing at the rails, gazing back at the lights of Portsmouth.

View from the Inn

View from the Inn

“Would you like to go on a cruise sometime, Johnny?” Kevin asked, looking up from the menu. “Something really posh, maybe for a honeymoon?”

John was considering the menu’s prices. “Not until I have a job, at least,” he said, and then what Kevin had said penetrated his awareness. “Honeymoon?” There weren’t many people in the dining room; John thought his voice had been terribly loud, but no one seemed to notice. “Kev,” he said, more quietly, “are you saying ‘like’ a honeymoon, or—”

Kevin looked up almost shyly. “Yes, I’m saying a honeymoon. Johnny, we can get a civil partnership now, make it official. We could even get married in London, if you like. My mother would be thrilled.” John was speechless, and Kevin hesitated. “Too soon, isn’t it? Sorry. You don’t need to answer right now. We ought to take it slow, live together for a while before we jump into it.”

Looking into Kevin’s eyes, John didn’t feel like waiting ten minutes. But he knew Kevin was right. And how many case studies had he read that showed the stupidity of rushing something this important? “I don’t feel it’s too soon, but I want to make it right. We have the rest of our lives. Kev. I know what I want. I suppose it does make more sense to give it some time, to be sure we can still make it work.”

“I know. But this is what I want, Johnny.” He looked calmer than he had that night he’d appeared on John’s doorstep, calm and content. “I want you. A sane life. A real home of our own. I’ve never been as happy, as complete, if you like, as I was those months we were together. I want that back, and this time I want to keep it.”

“So do I.” He wanted very badly to just lean across the table and kiss Kevin, but legal rights or not, he wasn’t ready to handle a shouting match with some drunken yob. He settled for reaching across the table, his hand partly hidden by the menu. “Whenever you want, love. But let’s take time to decide where we want to honeymoon. And I do need to graduate first.”

Kevin’s hand was warm. “Of course. We’ll have to sort out jobs, too. Will you need to do a term as a house officer?”

“Yes. I’m set up with a local counseling center. It’s scheduled to begin right after the holidays, though, New Year’s week. I could postpone it until the first of February, or even cancel if you get a position somewhere else, but it’s probably best if I go into one as soon as I can so I don’t forget everything I’ve learned.”

“So long as you remember the maths until Tuesday.”

“My God, it’s Sunday already, isn’t it? There’s only tomorrow to study—”

“And we’ll be sleeping in late,” Kevin said with an evil grin.

“We will?” That grin sent a message right down to John’s groin, and heat flushed through him. “If
we’d had anything more for lunch than a couple of apples, I’d drag you home right now.”

“Don’t we still have some leftovers?” Kevin asked.

But the waitress was already there with her list of the evening’s special dishes. She smiled indulgently at their joined hands and asked what they’d like for dinner. It was nearly two hours, a big meal, and a bottle of champagne later that they dragged each other up the stairs to their flat.
Their flat. “Who carries who over the threshold?” Kevin asked as John fumbled for the key. “Whom, I mean.”

“We carry each other,” John decided. “All for one, one for all.”

Horatio and Emma—they’d given up and gone historical—were squalling at them as soon as the door swung open, and they had their hands full keeping the kittens from escaping. Kevin made sure their water bowls and kibble were replenished while John dished up two saucers of canned kitten food.

“This having kits is serious business,” Kevin said, and snickered. “What happens when they grow up and ask for the car keys?”

“Doesn’t matter,” John said. “They won’t get far. No opposable thumbs, they can’t turn the ignition.” He tossed the cat food tin in the bin and wrapped his arms around Kevin, pulling his lover against him as he leaned back against the sink. “Damn it, Kev, I’m so fucking glad you came back.”

Kevin’s lips met his, and he lost himself in the kiss—such a strange expression, if you’d never done it, but he was just this side of drunk, and somehow it became easy to lose track of where he ended and Kevin began. Heat, warmth, closeness—the inexpressible safety of knowing that he could reach out and count on Kevin being there, that the edges of their separate, lonely selves would match and join into something bigger… and even more, the urgent hunger in his body meeting its match as their cocks rubbed together through their jeans.

He tried to draw back as Kevin rocked against him more urgently. “Bed?”

“Why?”

Good question. Why bother? They’d get there eventually, and he was so fuzzy with champagne and hot with this beautiful man in his arms that he just let it all flow. Kevin was back. He was staying. Forever now, thought you were dead, oh God I love you love you love you—

John slumped against Kevin’s shoulder and heard him say, “Looks as though it’s laundry time,” and startled Kevin by picking him up bodily and staggering off to the bedroom.

*****

The Spice Island Inn is real; my wife gave me a wonderful 50th birthday gift — a ticket to England. I spent 5 days in London, Bristol, and Portsmouth… and I wish it had been a month, because there was so much I didn’t have time to see. I have a few more pictures to share, next post!

2 Responses to “Excerpt: Proposal!”

  1. Denise dechene says:

    The pic was beautiful and I like the excerpt. I have never been to London but maybe one day. My daughter did a Wuropean tour with a group of young people her senior year. She really loves it overseas. But I have to say her favorite was Ireland.

  2. lee7rowan says:

    I didn’t get to Ireland. I’d like to see that – and Scotland. Probably not until after my wife retires, though!

Leave a Reply