Dex hated that voice. It was a voice he
hadn’t heard come out of his mouth in a long time, since before him
and Nursey got married, before they graduated, before he started
seeing a therapist. It was a voice that said, ’a no would break me’
underneath the real words of his question.
It was how he used to ask for hugs, and
how he asked, three months into their fuck-buddy relationship, for
Nusey to please stay the night, just once, nobody ever stays.
gave him a long, appraising look, but Dex knew he wouldn’t ask why,
all of a sudden, Dex sounded so unsure of himself. Just like Dex
knew, eventually, he’d tell Nursey why something so silly as a
headboard was so important to him.
gave a small smile instead, kissed Dex’s cheek, and said, “That’s
got out of their truck, a purchase that Nursey made without Dex
because he knew his husband could never justify the price to himself,
even though they could afford it a hundred times over. Between Dex’s
NHL salary and Nursey and Lardo’s line of children’s books, there
wasn’t really anything they couldn’t afford.
is why Dex hated how small and broken his voice sounded when he asked
if they could buy a headboard.
the new contract Dex signed, finally featuring a no trade clause,
they decided to buy a house. Nursey went all out; he spent weeks
touring places, picking out furniture, and giving Dex the silent
treatment (apparently ‘whatever you want’ isn’t the right answer).
The only thing left was a new mattress.
saved it specifically for a week when Dex didn’t have any scheduling
conflicts. He tried to tell Nursey that it was fine, he could go
ahead and buy one without Dex there, but he refused, insisting that a
mattress was an individual experience, both of them had to agree.
both knew that, in the end, Dex wouldn’t have an opinion. A bed was a
bed to him, and any bed was better than no bed. It felt nice to have
a full day with his husband, though.
stood in front of a huge mattress store, and for some reason, Dex
felt uncertain. There was something about this, buying a bed, that
made everything real to him. He was an adult. He was well off
financially. And he was about to walk into a store hand in hand with
his husband. And he was happy.
wasn’t the angry kid from Maine, anymore.
saleswoman nearly a foot shorter than the couple (call me
Cici!) dragged them all over the
store, practically pushing them down on mattresses and asking about
their firmness. She asked about hteir opinon on memory foam versus
tempurpedic, about fabrics and springs and coils and all sorts of
questions Nursey has answers for that Dex can’t make heads or tails
He zones out a bit, but jumps
back into the conversation when the topic of temperature comes up
(so, are you two warm blooded or do you use a lot of
blankets at night?). He had no
idea that they made some mattresses cooler than others, but yes they
wanted to try those out, because his husband is a furnace and the
three stupid cats Nursey snuck home were like little fuzzy ovens.
So, they go to the other side of
the store and try out hybrids (of what, Dex really couldn’t say).
Without even trying it out, Nursey pointed at one of the set-ups and
declared, “it’s going to be this one.” Dex had to admit that it
was pretty comfortable. He didn’t feel like he was sinking into the
mattress, which was nice.
Nursey clamored on top, cuddling
into Dex’s side with a smug grin. “Told you it was this one.”
Still grinning, Nursey asked
Cici, “Can you show us some headboard options?”
an entire room of them. Bed frames and headboards and footboards. Big
quilted ones that Dex thought would go great in his baby sister’s
princess room, studded leather ones, wrought iron frames that looked
a little too bondage for Dex’s comfort.
Dex wasn’t sure what his face was
doing, but Cici told them quietly that she would give them a few
minutes to look around, even though she had been attached at to their
side for the hour they had been in the store.
They wandered around, looking at
all the choices. Dex knew he held Nursey’s hand a little too hard,
but Nursey didn’t say anything. He let Dex take the lead, inputting
his opinion but never tryng to influence Dex, never pushing him to
talk about it.
They made two circuits of the room before
stopping (for the second time) in front of a simple padded headboard.
It wasn’t anything fancy, just smooth, cream colored fabric. Dex ran
a finger over the display. It was softer than it looked.
“I don’t understand headboards.
Or footboards. They’re totally pointless.”
In the past, that
may have been an invitation for Nursey to chirp Dex, to ask what the
hell they were doing buying one if Dex thought it was pointless. But
after so many years together, Nursey knew Dex needed to talk it out,
not have a conversation.
“Did you know that before I went to
Samwell, I never slept in a real bed?”
Dex never took his eyes off the headboard. “For a
while I had a matress thrown on the floor in me and Adam’s room, but
then I gave it to Hannah and I started sleeping on some sleeping bags
on the floor. I told myself it was like camping. Even when I imagined
my house, I never imagined a having a real bed. What’s the piont of
buying something that’s totally pointless? It’s just a waste of
Nursey ran a warm hand up and down Dex’s back. Dex
rarely talked about his childhood. It was one of the only things they
still faught about sometimes: Nursey taking their money for granted
and Dex not being able to accept that he can spend money when he
“But we can buy this. We can buy something that’s
totally pointless, just because I want it.”
It wouldn’t match the room, even
a little bit. The whole house was stark greys and bright whites,
accents of bright colors. The cream fabric would stick out like a
sore thumb. It was meant for a softer house. There was something about
it that Dex like, though. He couldn’t put his finger on what,
exactly, but he loved it.
“What do you think?”
Nursey didn’t bother to look away
from Dex when he answered. “I think it’s great, babe. It’ll look
good in the bedroom.”
Dex gave him a hard look.
“Okay, no. but if you like it, then I couldn’t
And just like that,they bought it. And later
that night, in their brand new bed, in their house (their
house, not a house they were renting), Dex slept better than he could
ever remember sleeping.