Sometime in the future...
…when Dex realizes he’s not poor anymore.
“can we get a headboard, too?”
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.
Nursey 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.
He gave a small smile instead, kissed Dex’s cheek, and said, “That’s chill.”
They 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.
Which is why Dex hated how small and broken his voice sounded when he asked if they could buy a headboard.
With 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.
They 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.
They 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.
They 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.
He wasn’t the angry kid from Maine, anymore.
A 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 of.
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?”
There was 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?”
“I didn’t, babe.”
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 money.”
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 wants to.
“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 care less.”
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.