Nine months ago, Tommy, a nurse, and Jared, a fire fighter met at by accident, literally. Their relationship is red hot from the start, and Tommy can hardly believe how lucky he is.
But after nine months together, Tommy has a big fight and doesn’t talk to Jared for two days. Is it over? Tommy was never really sure he was the hot fireman’s type anyway, especially when Jared has been stingy with declarations of love. But when they finally reconnect, Jared makes it clear he only wants to come home to Tommy.
Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.
I walked over to the door and peered out the peephole but all I could see were tulips. Tulips?
Slinging the lock aside, I turned the knob and opened it. Behind the tulips, which were pink, purple, and yellow, stood Jared, holding them in his hand, thrust toward me.
“You remembered?” I’d once told him early on that my favorite flowers were tulips. It hadn’t come up since then.
Jared gave me his heart stopping smile. “Of course I did. Can I come in?”
I laughed and threw my arms around him, then dragged him inside. He kicked the door closed with his booted foot.
“Am I forgiven?” he asked as I stuck my nose in the tulips.
“Forgiven? I’d marry you!”
He kissed me. “Well, maybe eventually. But I was going to ask you to move in with me first.”
I nearly dropped the tulips as I pulled back to gape at him. “Really?”
His smile was uncertain. “Is it really so unexpected? I’d actually been thinking about it for a while.”
“Yes.” He grabbed the flowers out of my hand and headed to the kitchen. “Let’s put these in water before you manage to throttle them.”
I shook my head, but followed him in there to get a vase. “You want me to move into your apartment?”
“It’s more centrally located,” Jared said, taking the vase I’d taken out from under the sink. “Halfway to both our jobs. Yours has a better view though. And the bathroom’s bigger.”
“Your kitchen is bigger though.” I couldn’t believe I was actually considering it. Getting to this point. From not talking for two days to let’s move in together. “Jared?”
He set the vase of flowers down on the counter and pulled me into his arms. “You have your doubts, don’t you?”
“Maybe. It’s soon, isn’t it? Nine months?”
“How long is it supposed to be?” He rubbed his thumb over my bottom lip. “Is there some arbitrary time decided by others before it’s supposed to happen?”
“We just had a big fight,” I said, doubtfully.
“It was just a fight, Tommy. Couples fight.”
“I implied something awful.” I searched his eyes, but I saw only warmth. “You know I didn’t mean it.”
His gaze was serious as he stared at me silently for a moment. “A little of you did.”
“I know why, Tommy. And I don’t blame you. If I’d been through what you had before, I would have reacted the same way.”
“I know you wouldn’t hurt me,” I whispered. I didn’t want to think about Carl. Not now. Not between us.
“Never. But it may take you some time to realize that. I get that.” He kissed me. “If you aren’t ready for us to live together, I can wait.”