mattresses on car

“A shitty proposal” for @dasstark 

Sat on the small bookcase beside Adam’s mattress is a toy car, moonlight glinting off of the metal, red turned to grey in the moonlight.

“Parrish?”

Adam murmurs sleepily against his chest. Ronan rests his chin on Adam’s head, the soft strands of his hair tickling against his skin. A warm feeling spreads though him, contentment and happiness and giddy butterflies.

Adam had kept the car. The car that preceded their first kiss, the car that triggered the moment Ronan’s restraints broke, the car that steered potential into reality, set them on a path that had previously been mere possibility.

Ronan remembered their first kiss, over a year ago now, remembered his nerves and exhilaration and joy, the way that kissing Adam woke something that he hadn’t known was sleeping. It had meant as much to Adam. Ronan imagines him slipping the car into his pocket, turning it over in his hands as he considered the kiss.

And Adam had chosen Ronan, chosen a road so many people steered clear of, and he’d ventured down it without hesitation. Their second kiss had been fire and swelling oceans, wild and starving and all consuming. Ronan hadn’t known kissing could be like that. Maybe only kissing Adam was like that.

Over the years, Ronan had collected mementos of their time together – a crumpled gas receipt from a road trip, a dried flower Adam had jokingly tucked behind his ear, a scribbled cartoon of Whelk being drowned in an ocean of Latin declensions that Adam had doodled in one particularly boring class - a hundred tiny discarded items that painted a story of two lives tangling together. Nothing so deliberate as the car though. Nothing so conscious.

“Parrish. Hey. Adam,” Ronan whispers into the quiet of the little room. This bed is the only place he likes as much as the barns.

“Shut up. M’sleeping.”

Ronan grins up at the ceiling, slides a hand down to Adam’s side, and begins to tickle him mercilessly. Adam squirms, twisting in his arms and opening an eye to squint at him.

“What the fuck, Lynch. What are you doing?”

It’s not real anger though – Ronan has seen Adam’s anger, a frightening, defensive weapon that he keeps locked away as much as possible. This is not that. This is indignation and mild annoyance, sleepy confusion and tousled hair.

“You kept the car.”

Adam sits up, properly confused now. He furrows his eyebrows, and Ronan resists the urge to lean forward and kiss the skin between them. Ronan knows every inch of him by now, every expression and crease and freckle of his face. He’s yet to find a permutation of Adam’s face he doesn’t love.

“Ronan?”

“Parrish.”

“Why are you waking me up to talk about a toy car.”

“Because… because it means you decided.”

Adam squints at him, and Ronan tangles their fingers together. His throat is tight suddenly, blocked up by emotions he can’t quite understand. Ronan had known before the kiss that he wanted Adam, all of him, forever. His heart had chosen it’s path years before, and it would only divert if Adam made it.

But Adam couldn’t have decided. Ronan had known, in the brief surprise of Adam’s eyes, that Adam hadn’t truly considered the possibility of them. Not the way Ronan had.

“You… after I kissed you, you took that car. You kept it. It meant enough to you to keep it.”

“Maybe I just really like cars.”

Ronan rolls his eyes. “Shut up Parrish.”

“How could I have chosen anything else, Ronan?”

Ronan stills, heartbeat pounding in his ears. He didn’t know he needed to hear Adam’s commitment out loud until now, but here, on the precipice of a confession, he felt like he was about to be freed of a weight.

“It was always going to be you. I – years ago, I was in a grocery store. And I saw a boy, and he looked like you, and maybe – maybe he even was you. I don’t think so. But… that’s not the point. I guess… I always mistook my longing for you for longing for what you had, you know, wealth and confidence and endless horizons. I’ve never, well, I’d never felt anything like that for a boy before. So I thought it was jealousy. But…” he trails off, embarrassed into inarticulacy.  “Fuck. I don’t know what I’m saying.”

Ronan is quiet. Patience is not one of his virtues, but Adam settles his frayed edges into stillness. He can sit for an eternity, just looking.

“You never made me feel less.”

“Adam…”

“Yes. I made my mind up after that kiss. Because you made me fearless, and you made me brave enough to leave my father, and you made me feel like I was… like I was so much more than some hick from Henrietta. And you also made me feel like it was OK to be some hick from Henrietta. I decided that night, Ronan, that it was you. It was going to be you until the end. There was no other way to be.”

Ronan kisses him, because there isn’t much else he can do at that point, the need for the intoxicating warmth of Adam’s skin and lips and fingers overwhelming.

“Fuck, Parrish,” Ronan manages, pulling back. “You… I… marry me?”

Wide eyes look back, kiss swollen lips parted in a perfect “O” of surprise. Ronan doesn’t feel the sick regret he should. He waits, hands twined with Adam’s, legs twined together in the thin cotton sheets.

Adam looks at the car on the bookcase.

“Alright,” he says, grin betraying the emotion behind his casual response. Ronan feels like he might burst. Adam tucks himself against his side, and Ronan’s fingers trace the muscles in his shoulders.

Adam closes his eyes, lets out a small breath of amusement that grows into a full body laugh. Ronan feels the vibrations of it against him.

“What’s so funny, Parrish?” Ronan asks, wondering if he should be offended. He struggles to feel anything negative whilst Adam laughs.

“Just… I’m engaged to Ronan Lynch. I’m nineteen and I’m engaged and we basically have a child. And… it’s not even weird,” he says, lifting himself onto an elbow. Ronan finds himself gazing up at Adam, and his breath catches. Adam and moonlight pair well together. “Yes, I’ll marry you.”

Adam leans down, lips brushing Ronan’s gently, tenderly. Ronan feels absurdly like crying. Adam has no doubts about him. Adam can commit his life to him with a laugh and a kiss because there is no hesitation, and it is not momentous, it just is.

“One thing though, Lynch.”

Ronan’s breath catches.

“That was a really shit proposal.”

Ronan grins. “You loved it. You love me.” The last words come out more wondering than joking, but Ronan is too ecstatic to feel embarrassed.

“Against my better judgement, I do.” Adam presses his forehead to Ronan’s, their breath mingling. “I feel – I always felt that a heart had a finite capacity. A set amount of love to give. But I was wrong. I love you more now than I did yesterday, and I’ll love you more tomorrow, and I sound like an idiot but the wonderful thing about it all is that I don’t fucking care how stupid I sound.”

Ronan’s breath is coming in little pants, and the bare millimetre of distance between their lips is too much.

“I think,” he exhales, “We can sort out the details of matrimony in the morning.”

“Fuck yes,” Adam manages, voice weak.

Ronan loves the way Adam swears.

Public reminder: Don’t wish veterans/active military members a “Happy Memorial Day” or try to awkwardly honor them. Just the WORD “memorial” should say plenty, but in case it doesn’t, THIS DAY/BBQ WEEKEND/MATTRESS AND CAR SALES/ETC is not for us LIVING vets/soldiers/what-have-you. It’s for the dead. It’s for those who are GONE. If you make it about us we might awkwardly smile and say thank you because of manners and a sheer inability to reply appropriately, but seriously. It’s MEMORIAL day. A day where we’re thinking about people we’ve served with, or family members/friends/etc who have died. Not us. We’re still breathing.