The day is cold for April. A crisp wind blows among the city streets, sending old leaves and bits of trash scattered in an eternal dance dictated by fate. The only witness to the act is a man walking home from a long day of work. His back is hunched as he tries to keep warm, collar propped up against the wind and hands tucked deep into his pockets. He has long, delicate fingers, and they twirl and fumble with the contents. A phone, a set of keys, a wrapper from an old candy. They are all distractions from the wind.
As night falls the streetlamps blink to life, chasing away the darkness but creating deeper shadows. The glow sparkles along the river to his right. The sound of his shoes on the cobblestones echoes. In a few steps he comes to a telephone box, the door hanging slightly askew. He considers stopping for a moment, getting out of the wind and catching his breath. He takes another step and the opportunity has passed. He keeps moving.
By the time he reaches his apartment his face is dusted pink from the cold. He briefly wonders if a certain someone would tell him that the blush complimented his eyes. But then he stops, and pushes the thought away while he pulls out his keys. Inserting them in the lock they turn with ease, the faint click and subsequent jingle of the tiny heart-shaped keychain familiar to his ears. The door swings open. He steps inside.
"Ah. There you are."
He stops, looking up through sand-colored bangs. A man is sitting at the writing desk in the corner of the room, smiling in greeting, reading glasses perched on his head, shoulder length blond hair tied back with a red ribbon, and eyes laughing at some cosmic joke, "I was afraid you were never going to come back from work, Arthur."
Sometimes he forgets that Francis has moved in with him. Even though they have been dating, have been lovers for six weeks over a year. Even though there are two pairs of shoes by the door, there are two jackets hanging on the coat tree. A new coffee maker next to the microwave and designer shampoos lining the walls of the tub. Sometimes he just forgets. But then again it's only been a month.
"Are you just going to sit there like a toadstool or are you going to greet me properly?" he asks.
Francis smiles, a simultaneous show of innocence and guilt, then stands and walks over. Their fingers tangle, Francis puts a hand on the back of his head. They kiss. He closes his eyes, knowing that Francis is doing the same. They pull back, breath ghosting across lips and mixing. Another smile
"Welcome home, mon amour."
At this point he goes to change out of his work clothes while Francis makes dinner. As much as he wants to protest he knows it is better for the both of them this way. He lost his privilege to argue the first night Francis had moved in, when he set the oven on fire trying to make a special meal for the two of them. Neither one mentions the incident anymore. Francis cooks.
When he comes back into the kitchen he is no longer in his work slacks and button up shirt and tie. Instead he wears a pair of baggy sweats that covers his heels and a large knit sweater the color of the Atlantic. Francis smiles, calls him cute and pulls out his chair for him. He stares at it.
"Is this just how its going to be now?"
"Quoi?" Francis says.
"You call me cute and we eat dinner. How long will it last until we're just two people who live together?"
"… Well if you want me to stop-"
"No. Don't," He sits.
That smile always seems dangerous on his lips. Francis kisses his cheek, "Je t'aime. Tout le temps, je t'aime."
"I don't understand your dumb language, idiot," but he does. And he smiles as well, "Promise?"
"With all of my heart, mon petit."
Like any other night when dinner is done he suggests a movie. Like any other night Francis suggests a nice glass of wine. Like any other night, they ignore both choices and go straight into the bedroom, where label shirts are torn off and sweaters are pulled over heads. The springs of the bed creak. The moon rises, shinning its oddly mystical light on the pair. They touch, they taste, they smell, they see, they hear. They feel the heat of their bodies, they feel the sheets wrapping and tangling around them. They mix, racing hearts pounding in unison against equally love-marked chests. They breathe.
And then it is over.
In the darkness, they see each other more clearly then in any light. Blue eyes, green eyes. Blond hair. It doesn't matter. And as they press close, bodies connecting as they begin to sleep, the last words of the nights are spoken.
"I love you."
The night is finished. He sinks into his lover's arms and his eyes close. Breathing slows. Tomorrow begins a new day. And he knows exactly how it will go.
Love, home, work, home, love. And repeat.