Word Count: 1050
Summary: “That,” said Cameron. “That running away from our wedding, that.”
Notes: This is a piece of original fiction written for my publisher’s Road of a Relationship birthday celebration.
Cameron was still in his tuxedo. He stood in the doorway of their bedroom, his hands in his pockets as he watched Alex pack, looking slim and formal. He was made to wear tuxedos. He’d been wearing one the first time they met, all those years ago. “You’re leaving?” Cameron said finally.
“Yeah.” Alex rolled a pair of jeans and stuffed them into his duffel bag. He’d just grabbed the essentials, the need for flight stronger than the need for order. His own tuxedo was in a crumpled gray heap on the floor of the bedroom. “I figured you wouldn’t want me to stay after — that.”
“That,” said Cameron. “That running away from our wedding, that.”
“Yeah. That.” Not his finest hour. Jason’s band had been playing, all their family and friends — even Cameron’s grandmother who just two years ago had thought men marrying each other was a sign of the End Times — had been standing to watch them walk down the aisle together, Cameron’s hand had been outstretched to take his — and he’d run. Run all the way from Megan and Sarah’s to their own home where he’d just begun grabbing clothes. He hadn’t known what else to do.
Cameron sat on the bed, his hands in his lap. “Alex. Sweetheart.” Alex winced — normally he loved it when Cameron called him sweetheart but he felt like he didn’t deserve it anymore. “I don’t want you to go.”
“I don’t think — I mean — ” Alex sat on the bed too. “All that planning. You were so excited about it. But I can’t go through with it, Cam. I’m not ready.”
Cameron nodded, his expression solemn. “Then why didn’t you say so when I asked you to marry me?”
Alex shook his head. “I don’t know. I was swept up in the excitement, I guess.”
“Are you sure this isn’t just cold feet?”
Alex looked at Cameron, taking in the sorrow in his eyes and the unhappy set to his mouth. “I’m sure.”
“You really want to leave?”
“No,” Alex said softly. “But I think I should. I’ll get the rest of my stuff later.” He zipped up his duffel bag, slung it over his shoulder and headed for the door. He could stay with his folks until he found a new place to live. God, apartment-hunting. It had been years. Cameron would probably sell the house …
“Alex!” Cameron said and Alex turned to look at him. “At least listen to what I wrote for the wedding vows.”
“Let’s not drag this out,” Alex said, shifting from foot to foot.
“Please. This won’t take long.” He took out a note card from his jacket pocket. Alex sighed and set down his duffel bag to listen.
Cameron cleared his throat and began reading. “Alex,” he said, “I fell in love with you step by step and day by day. I fell in love with your t-shirts and your DVD collection and the fact that you always have Jell-O pudding cups in the refrigerator.” Alex chuckled despite himself and Cameron gave a tiny smile before he went on in a serious tone, “I fell in love with your kindness and how you like everyone around you to be happy, and how you see beauty in everyone you meet.”
“Cam,” Alex said, “stop.”
“I’m almost done.” He looked down at his note card again. “I have never met anyone like you. I’ve never liked anyone as much as you. I have never trusted anyone with so much of me as you. I’ve never wanted to marry anyone as much as I want to marry you.”
He put the card away and looked up at Alex, apprehension in his eyes.
“You were going to say that in front of everybody we know?” Alex said softly.
Alex looked down at his shoes. “Cam. I have to confess something.”
“I forgive you,” Cameron said. “Whatever you’re guilty about, I don’t care.”
“No, no, not — I haven’t — I couldn’t write the vows, Cam. I couldn’t put it into words. I know we’ve been planning this for months, but I couldn’t stand up in front of all our family and friends and say what I feel about you. I just — I don’t have the words.”
Cameron was quiet, and then reached out his hand and took one of Alex’s. “You could have read a poem or a verse from the Bible or something from a book.”
“Not after that.” He shook his head, clinging to Cameron’s warm hand. “Not after you saying something that beautiful.”
“I’d still want to marry you even if all you said was you loved me and wanted to marry me too. I’d still want to be with you if you decide you just want to be the way we have been, just boyfriends, just living together. It’s okay.” He repeated urgently, “It’s okay.”
Alex ran his thumb over the back of Cameron’s hand. “You’ll always love me, won’t you? No matter how stupid I can be.”
“I will,” Cameron said.
Alex pressed his lips together, looking down at their joined hands. “My hero,” he said quietly. “My best friend. How could I live without you?”
Cameron placed a hand on the back of Alex’s neck to gently pull him closer and kissed him. “You know what we just did?” he whispered.
“No.” He buried his face in Cameron’s neck.
“We just got married. In the way that matters, we just got married.” He combed his fingers through Alex’s hair and kissed his temple. “Whether we do it in front of witnesses or not, in our hearts, we’re married.”
Alex exhaled and smiled. “Do you think, if we go back to Sarah and Megan’s, do you think everybody will still be there?”
“Yeah,” Cameron said, “I told them to help themselves to the cake.” He stroked Alex’s cheek and tilted up his face. “So we do the reception first and then have the wedding. How does that sound?”
“Is it okay if I don’t put the tuxedo back on?”
Cameron laughed and patted Alex’s shoulder. “I think you should be in your jeans, sweetheart.”
“Then let’s go get married. Again.”