Ivan Hart and Darren Larson are about to celebrate their ninth anniversary. Unfortunately, Darren happens to be busy that day. Following Darren’s suggestion, Ivan decides to take a trip down memory lane, visiting some of the places where the two of them have celebrated their previous anniversaries. Then he finds the perfect anniversary gift for Darren.
Darren isn’t really busy with work. He’s actually planning an anniversary surprise for Ivan, but he doesn’t want his boyfriend to know about it until the right moment. He enlists the assistance of family and friends, who know of his huge plan except for one little detail. Darren is determined to keep that a secret, but he doesn’t count on Ivan’s unexpected surprise.
What happens when Ivan and Darren eventually unveil their surprises for each other?
Ivan felt a rush of sentimentality as he stepped into the pagoda inside the park. He could detect the intoxicating aroma of blooming flowers all around him. The pagoda in the park was made of wood. There was a heavy, rectangular wooden table in the center, and it was surrounded by four large wooden benches. Most people wouldn’t bother to look twice at the pagoda, especially since it was looking rather old and worn down, but it meant a lot to him and Darren.
“The pagoda in the garden at your and Darren’s estate is so much better.”
Ivan turned around to face Thomas. “Maybe.”
Thomas shook his head. “There’s no maybe about it. The pagoda at the estate is made of steel. The two of you have even installed a swinging bed in the center of your pagoda along with windows to cover the inside from the harsher weather elements and heater for the winter season. I love it there.”
Ivan smiled at Thomas. “Darren had that pagoda built for the two of us in memory of our fourth anniversary.”
Jeremiah snickered. “The two of you are sappy as fuck. He bought a damn bakery that was located so far out of the way for the two of you in order to commemorate your first anniversary together. Then he purchased Edible Flowers for your second anniversary. When he failed to convince the owner of the bowling alley to sell him that place, he had one constructed at the estate for the two of you.”
Ivan chuckled. “He’s a sweetheart.”
Thomas laughed. “He’s whipped. You have him wrapped around your pinky fingers.”
Ivan rolled his eyes. “He’s a wonderful man.”
“Not denying that,” Thomas said. “He’s my best friend. I know he’s an awesome guy.”
Jeremiah frowned at Thomas. “Ivan is a great guy, too.”
It wasn’t the first time Ivan was touched by the loyalty shown by Jeremiah toward him, but this time around, he was also amused by the fear displayed on Thomas’s face. Thomas approached Jeremiah in a hurry and nodded in agreement.
“Of course he is. I didn’t mean to imply anything negative about Ivan.”
Jeremiah seemed appeased after that. “Okay.”
Ivan barely held himself back from chortling loudly. Thomas and Jeremiah really needed to get their feelings out in the open. Ivan couldn’t understand what they were hesitating for. Even the most oblivious person in the world would be able to tell how in love they were with each other. Jeremiah was really transparent. His feeling for Thomas was written all over his face. Not that Thomas was much better. Thomas couldn’t take his eyes off Jeremiah for longer than five seconds each time. Ivan decided to proceed with the conversation when the silence in the pagoda became a little bit tense, especially when Thomas and Jeremiah were grinning awkwardly at each other due to their close proximity.
“Darren had surprised me with a trip to this park for a picnic during our fourth anniversary,” Ivan said loudly to grab his friends’ attention. “It had gone well for the first hour or so. We had both enjoyed a nice meal while sitting on the mat, which had been spread open on top of the grass. Unfortunately, it had started to rain. It wasn’t a thunderstorm, but it had been heavy enough. We had to pack up in a hurry and rush into this pagoda right here.”
“What happened afterward?” Jeremiah asked.
Ivan beamed at Jeremiah as the memory returned to the forefront of his mind. “We were the only two people in the pagoda. We had felt as if we were in our own little world. We had sat on the wooden bench as we continued with the picnic while waiting for the rain to subside. I was rather wet from the rain, though. I had shivered from the cold then, and Darren must have noticed it because the next thing I knew, he had covered both of our backs with the picnic mat. Then he had pulled me close toward him so we could cuddle close for some extra warmth.”
“That’s so romantic,” Jeremiah said.
Ivan wiped away the happy tears that threatened to escape from his eyes. “I know, right? Darren is an incredible man, and I love him so damn much.”
Thomas smiled at Ivan. “He loves you, too.”