Sorry it's been so long! I've been holding onto this one for a while, but just completely forgot to post it. Enjoy!
A light breeze had settled into that spring afternoon. The sky was clear, a smattering of clouds above large and healthy. Several women practiced yoga on the beach, and from the porch, a light sheen of sweat glistened from their skin. He watched the curve of their backs, the stretch of their sun kissed limbs, unaffected.
Sean sighed, taking a sip of his coffee and leaning back in his chair, tilting his chin toward the sky and closing his eyes. Too many preoccupations plagued his mind. Where was the strength he had so often wielded, the courage that granted him fearlessness? This shouldn't be so difficult.
He fought a twitch as hands came to his shoulders, massaging the bare skin. He melted into it, not bothering to open his eyes as another's breath spread across his face. It wasn't until a figure blocked the sun that he opened his eyes. He grinned up at the other man, smiling down at him.
"Hey, babe." He greeted.
"Hey." Holden replied, bending down. Sean ran his fingertips along the other man's jaw as he kissed him. Holden pulled away, still upside down.
"Your friendship with morning still eludes me." He said, taking a seat in the chair next to Sean. The other man felt a warmth spread through his chest as he noticed Holden wearing one of his college shirts, perfectly too big on him.
"It's nice out here. Thought I'd enjoy it for a little bit."
Holden nodded, leaning back as Sean had done earlier, reclining in the chair.
"We're going out tonight, right?"
"Yeah. Reservations at that Italian place you love."
Sean felt satisfaction as Holden smiled.
"Good. I could go for a big bowl of pasta and some garlic bread."
"You and me both."
That night, Sean situated his tie in the mirror, attempting to calm the fluttering in his stomach. He let out a sigh, pressing a hand to his jacket.
"You ready?" Holden asked from the living room.
"Yeah, just a sec." Sean replied, going to his sock drawer and retrieving one final item.
It still amazed Sean how easy it was to talk with Holden. He observed the way the other man's eyes lit up when he discussed his work, the way he warmly addressed their waitress, and the way he would touch Sean's hand when he agreed with something he said.
He was thankful for how Holden could keep up with him when eating as well. They went through three baskets of bread, and when their meal arrived, they managed to talk and yet still eat at a record pace.
"I'm stuffed." Holden groaned, leaning back in his chair.
"I could go for some more bread." Sean replied, leaning his elbows against the table.
"Well duh. I could always eat more bread. It's the Italian in me, I say."
Sean chuckled, putting his card with the bill.
"I just want to curl up on the couch now."
"Not so fast, Holden Wilson. We have one more stop."
"Where are we going?"
"We're almost there."
"Really, Sean, I have no idea where we are. If you get in a wreck and knocked unconscious, what am I going to tell 911?"
"GPS phone tracking, grandpa." Sean remarked, and Holden pushed his shoulder lightly.
"Whatever. I'm not a big fan of surprises."
"Trust me, I know. Christmas is always hell for you."
"It's just a bit ridiculous, I mean…"
Sean cut the engine and they got out of the truck. He walked to the front of the vehicle, turning back to Holden and stretching out his hand. Holden took it, his brow furrowed in the night.
"C'mon. It's not far of a walk from here."
He led them over some rocky terrain, taking care to step down and helping Holden. The other man could hardly navigate a sidewalk in the daylight; there was no way Sean trusted him to his own devices here. He led them down another stretch of rocks, and when he felt sand beneath his shoes, he knew they were here. Holden's hand tightened in his as Sean grinned at the scene before them.
They stood in an alcove of sand surrounded by a small cliff, the ocean stretching out before them. The moon cast a bright glow across the liquid surface, and when Sean turned to Holden, the other man was studying it, jaw slack.
"Whenever…well, whenever you were gone two years ago, I kind of stumbled across this place. It helped me sort through a lot of feelings, and I'd like to think it contributed to why we're here now, together."
"It's beautiful, Sean."
"I know. But, that's not really why I brought you here. Well, it is, but it's more than that."
And as his stomach began to seize and his heart felt like it was palpitating, he dropped to one knee. Holden looked down at him like he had been hit in the head with a saucepan.
"I love you, Holden. Everything little detail, every follicle in hair on you body, every word you whisper when you think I'm asleep. I memorize the way you say my name, the way your breath feels against my chest when you sleep. I love the way you talk about your work and the way you radiate joy to everyone and the way you can never seem to put your needs before others. I love you, Holden Wilson, and that's why I'm asking you: will you marry me?"
He couldn't quite tell what was going on in Holden's head. He knee had sunk into the sand, and all that was between them was the box with the ring that he held, presenting it to the other man. And then a smile spread across Holden's face, and he felt his heart hammering in his chest.
"Get up here." He ordered, and Sean scrambled to his feet, just to have Holden fling his arms around the other man's neck.
"Of course. Of course I'll marry you, Sean Jackson." He said against his neck, and Sean wrapped his arms around Holden. "I love you, Sean."
Sean pulled back with a smile, and offered up the ring to Holden. Holden took it and slid it onto his finger, studying it briefly with a smile before practically jumping on Sean, kissing him with his arms around his neck. Sean knelt down and Holden went with him. Sand slid into his suit and down his shirt. His hands held Holden's face, and he felt like bigger than his body. It was all as it was supposed to be.