Authors Note: So I finally got chapter two done. Yaaaay! I hadn't meant for it to take so long, so I'm sorry about that. But I hope you guys enjoy it all the same :-)
He should have known that going to bed early would never truly work. He was a night owl through and through and trying to sleep before 2am was like trying to deprive him of his precious laptop, simply not going to happen. Sighing, he sat up, his sleeve covered hands rubbing at his eyes as he tried to block the blaring red light coming from the digital clock. He had been expecting Ben to join him eventually, however it had been almost two hours and the other had not once poked his head into the bedroom. There was a soft pang of sadness with a side of guilt waiting when Riley realized that it was most likely due to the state of things he had left downstairs. Dinner left on the table with an engagement ring to boot was a bit theatrical for his tastes, but he couldn't help but feel he was somewhat justified.
With a soft sigh he kicked his legs over the edge of the bed and pushed himself up, shivering as his feet touched the cold, wood finished floors. Personally he preferred the softness of the carpets that made up the living room, but one step at a time. Eventually he would be able to finish carpeting the house and he would no longer have to worry about constantly forgetting socks every time he roamed upstairs. Though he had to admit, it served as a nice wake up device, as he was sure that without it he wouldn't have made it down the stairs at all, and his throat was begging for something to drink.
What he wasn't prepared for was the sight he was met with as he slowly crept towards the kitchen, not wanting to wake Ben if he had fallen asleep downstairs. However, the other was not asleep, nor in the living room, but rather sitting in the dining room, his eyes locked on the velvet box that he had spent weeks fussing over. His expression shone with such melancholy, unlike anything Riley had ever seen on him before, and that sent a pang of guilt rushing through him. 'Maybe I wasn't thinking when I left everything out like that…I mean he looks so depressed, and I knew he'd probably forget anyway. I just wanted to do something special now that I had someone….who loved me. I mean that's not too much of a request right? It was just a stupid day though, stupid holiday…It's over now anyway, after midnight, February 15, no more Valentines Day. Still…what am I supposed to say now to-" before he could finish, his train of thought came to an abrupt stop when he bumped into the small table stand that was just outside the kitchen door.
He say Ben look up, and at that moment found himself at a loss for words, the hazel eyes staring at him with so much emotion it sent his brain for a whirl. He watched as his boyfriend's lips parted as if to say something but then shut once more, his eye brows furrowing as though searching for the right words to say. However when Riley finally found his voice he spoke up first. "Sorry…didn't mean to disturb you and all. I just couldn't sleep you know? And I realized I was thirsty, so I came down for some water or something…"
He thought he heard his name, but was too caught up to truly acknowledge it, just rambling off everything that came to mind. "…And sorry about the mess and all…you know how I am with dishes, heh. But I'll clean it up tomorrow, you know, when I don't feel like I'm gonna pass out, scouts honor. You should-"
"-tell Abi I'm sorry too. I think I might've been kind of standoffish, I'm not really sure. But I can never tell with her and I don't want to-"
Now that got his attention and he quickly stopped, slowly glancing up so his gaze matched that of the treasure hunter's. He watched as the other pushed away from the table and stood, slowly walking over. Each step seemed to make Riley's heart pound, and he could not for the life of him figure out what was making him so nervous. Sure, the situation wasn't exactly ideal, but he hadn't felt like this since he had first let his feelings be known. Yet as each second passed he felt his heart beating faster and his fingers started tugging on the ends of his sleeves, a nervous habit he had developed over time. He didn't come out of it until he suddenly felt himself being engulfed into a hug, his head tucked securely under Ben's chin.
"I'm sorry," he heard the words whispered, lips grazing the tip of his ear and causing him to shiver as he slowly wrapped his arms around the other. For the first few seconds it seemed obvious that he was apologizing for being so late, for missing dinner and forgetting that he had promised to be home. However, then he remembered the other thing. The thing so small he had been able to carry it around is his pocket day by day, waiting for the right moment to deliver it to the one who owned his heart. And that made him nervous. Was it an "I'm sorry about dinner." Was it an "I'm sorry I broke my promise." Or was it and "I'm sorry I'm in love with my ex and can't marry you," type of sorry. And now he didn't really know what to do, so he did the only thing he could think of. Try to laugh it off.
"Huh? Oh, yeah, seriously dude, it's no big deal. It was just a stupid holiday anyway right? Right, and I mean I know that you work a lot and all that boring history stuff really sucks you in and-" Cut off again. But this time by a pair of soft lips brushing against his.
"And it is no excuse," his sentence was finished for him. "I know I can be a workaholic, and I can be late sometimes, and forget to call, but…I can't keep using that as an excuse. Neglecting you like I did tonight…there's nothing I can say that will ever excuse that. You deserve better than that. And don't you dare try and brush it off, because I know how much it meant to you, how important it was to you…more so than I had imagined actually…Heck, dinner alone must've taken forever, and…among other things…I'm just….so sorry that I ruined it Riley."
His mind was racing, trying to take in everything the other was saying, but found it increasingly hard. He hadn't really expected such a heart felt apology, and yet there it was, standing in front of him, and all he could do was look up and offer a smile, not trusting himself to speak just yet. However that option was stolen as quickly as he had found it, as suddenly he was face to face with the small box that had caused him grief, open for the first time since he had bought the damn thing. Staring up at him was a simple gold band, however he had had the jeweler engrave their initials on the inside. It seemed strange to be looking at, for it had been over a month since he had first laid eyes on it inside a window display. He hadn't even planned on it happening, but when he saw it was as though he was drawn to it by an invisible bond that would not release him. And now it was happening again as a faint blush made its way across his cheeks.
His eyes flickered briefly to the other as he cleared his throat. "I uh…I know it isn't your dream proposal, and Valentines Day is over and all…but…I'd be honored if you still want to ask."
And just like that the small box was in his palm, his heart pounding as his brain slowly turned to mush while he tried drastically to remember what he had planned to say. All the work he spent preparing his speech, however, was for naught as no words came to his mind. He had been counting on the romantic atmosphere to serve as a kind of influence over him, letting himself get wrapped up in all the sappy, mushiness that came with a romantic dinner for two on the day of love. Yet now he stood, rooted in place, with nothing up his sleeve. But there had to be something, anything. So much time and energy had been put into this and the moment was finally here. Think. Think. Think.
"Yeah…Well, I guess I can forgive you and all, but you missed out on the amazing proposal speech I had I hope you know…," he started, mentally smacking himself at how ridiculous he sounded, but at the same time a little be glad when a ghost of a smile passed over the other's lips. "I've been trying to come up with a way to do this for a little over a month actually, and I figured Valentines Day and all, I mean with all the mushy gushy stuff going around, something would inspire me. But…really, what can I say? I've been hunting for lost treasures with you for years now and…well, I dunno about you but I've found the only treasure I really need…," Another mental smack. 'Waaaaaay too sappy there Riley.' "I love you Ben…and…I can't think of a better way to spend the rest of my life than with you. And…you know, it'd be cool if it were the same for you…"
Slowly, he finally decided to sneak a glance at Ben, having kept his eyes practically glued to his shoes the whole time as he spoke, too afraid of what he'd see if he looked up. The sparkle in blue eyes and the happy but amused smile were not exactly what he had been expecting, not that he was disappointed or anything. A smile of his own broke out as a hand appeared in front of him, simply waiting for something that Riley wanted more than anything to give it. After weeks of fretting and planning, and even though nothing had worked out as it should, slipping that gold band onto Ben's finger made everything worth it. A day of cleaning, the miracle dinner, even the depression when he had been stood up. None of it mattered as a smile broke out onto his face and he tugged on Ben's collar to pull him into a passionate kiss.
After a shower of kisses rained down between them and he was feeling more content than he could ever remember feeling, he tilted his head when Ben lightly tapped his head. With a raised brow and mischievous smirk, he was asked one simple question. "Cool?"
He rolled his eyes, though the satisfied smile never left. "Shut up."