A Character Bleed Story
Colby Kent and Jason Mirelli are getting married. Colby’s trying to balance wedding planning, writing the next award-winning screenplay, and a new life in his new home with Jason. He’s happier than he ever thought he’d be. But he’s got a question or two. He could use Jason’s help, but he doesn’t want Jason to worry.
Jason likes making Colby happy. He’s happy too: right where he belongs, at Colby’s side, together on movie sets and at home. But he can’t help worrying just a little. Colby still forgets to eat, and to put on sunblock when swimming, and now Colby has a question. About their wedding. About their names.
Fortunately, it’s a question they agree on ... and Colby knows exactly how to reassure his fiancé.
“Thinking about that ... the wedding plans, and such ...”
“Picking a calligraphy style?”
Jason had noticed the pen and notebook, then; Colby, entertained and in love, drew a J across his fiancé’s bicep, fingertip a writing implement for an instant. “No, that was only random. Keeping my fingers busy, while thinking about all the emails and production questions and answers for Jillian. Purely meditative, I’m afraid, this time.”
“I like it when you’re happy. So if not that, then what?”
“Ah ... it might be an odd question. Or perhaps not. I don’t know.”
Jason moved a hand, stroked hair out of Colby’s face, gently defied the tugging breeze on his behalf. “Ask me whatever you want, cream puff.”
“Well ... yes. All right. About the wedding plans ... this was on a checklist I saw, and I hadn’t thought, but then I thought, well, if that might be perhaps a question, and then I thought about the question ...” He’d begun now. No going back. “Do you want me to take your name?”
“Do I want you to --” Jason stopped. The afternoon skipped a beat, suspended in gold.
Even the breeze got expectant. Hushed. Paying attention.
“Colby,” Jason said, sitting back more. His hands were solid on Colby’s shoulders, one moving to touch Colby’s chin, to ensure their eyes met. He did not move much other than that, as if afraid to shatter a crystal moment.
“It was only a question?” Colby said, and then realized that had come out as a question, and cringed internally at himself.
Jason swallowed. “I know. Um ... before I say anything ... can you do something for me?”
“Of course, anything --”
“Think about how you just asked me that. What you said.”
“Whether you want me to ... oh.” He heard it, then. “Oh. I didn’t mean ... I don’t know what I meant. I’m sorry.”
This time Jason flinched, visibly. Grief in those deep earth-rich wells, windows right down into a giant heart that opened up and bled for everyone.
Colby bit his lip, and then, because he meant it and because he had a decent guess about the reaction he’d provoke, grumbled, “Oh, damn.”
Jason blinked. Eyebrows going up. “You swear now?”
“Learning from the best. I could’ve said fuck.”
“I can count on maybe four fingers the number of times you’ve said fuck.”
“Only if you’re allowed to count multiple times as one, because I’m very sure I was begging you to, er, do that, that time. And I said it more than once. About now, and the question ... all right, yes, I can hear it now. I didn’t even think about it. About how I ... thought about it. Except I’m not sure I do. Or I didn’t mean to. Like George and the flowers.”
Jason clearly spent a couple of seconds working this out, and then said, “Because he doesn’t actually mean the complaining? Oh. Okay. Because the way he says it isn’t what he actually means. It’s what he’s used to.”
“Yes. And ... it’s even fun for him, I think.”
“Got it. But you don’t need to apologize.”
“That one’s more of a work in progress, I’m afraid.” He leaned in, leaned weight against Jason; felt those massive protective arms go around him. Head on Jason’s shoulder, he added, “Let me try that first question again, then. Would you like it, and that’s me honestly asking because I want to know, so, would you like it if I took your name?”
Jason made a small considering rumbling sound, a shift of earth under sun and shade. Colby snuck a hand up under the clinging shirt just to touch heated skin and fabulous muscle.
Jason said, slowly, not as if hesitant but as if he’d not thought much about it, “It doesn’t really matter to me, I think?”
Colby, surprised, realized his fingers had stopped exploring Jason’s abs, at the first words.
“I don’t mean it doesn’t matter!” Jason had plainly also noticed the cessation of motion. “You can touch me, baby, touch me anywhere you want. Go on. I mean ... I don’t know. I guess I feel like ... it’s not up to me. It’s your name. And I don’t need you to do that. It really doesn’t ... I think what I’m trying to say is, I know you love me. And I love you. And we’ll be married. No matter what our names are.”
“I know,” Colby agreed. “All of that.”
“So I guess it doesn’t matter to me, but ... not in a bad way?” Jason let out a breath, wry about himself or his next thought or both. “Hell, I’ll change mine if you want. You’ve already got four names, and one of them’s Algernon.”