A/N: Hello, my gentle readers. Enjoy this one shot and please let me know what you think.
With my body…
"Hey…" he says and looks at me with that expression that I love and have no name for – that amazing combination of awe, surprise, disbelief and slight panic. "Hey, let's get married."
I've been back in the Pitts for a year, after a three year stint in New York. When it came to my art those three years flew by in a blink of an eye. When it came to my long-distance relationship with Brian, it felt like empires could have been built, expanded and collapsed during that interminable time. He has never mentioned marriage since I left for New York four years ago. I thought that subject was truly dead and buried.
"What? When? How? Why?" I blurt out; completely thrown by the curve-ball he just threw me.
"Married. Right now. Standing up. Because I want to," he says with a smirk, clearly enjoying my complete confusion.
"Didn't we try this before and decide against it?" I remind him.
"That was then, this is now. Besides, we are basically already married. I just want to make it official; between us, that is, since it's still not legal here."
"How exactly are we already married?"
At this point, I am seriously confused.
"Well, take the traditional vows – to love, honor, obey, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poor, till death us do part and all that bullshit. One – it's been firmly established that we love each other. Two – to me to honor someone is to treat them with respect. We've always done that. Three – obedience is total bullshit and I would never vow that to anyone in any circumstance and wouldn't expect you to either. I'm throwing this one out. Therefore, the first three traditional wedding vows are done, done and done!" Brian concludes triumphantly.
"Amazing! I had no idea," I say jokingly.
"But, wait! We are not yet done," he says in his best infomercial voice, picking up my attempt at humor. "Four - in sickness and in health - we've both been there. We took care of each other," he's suddenly serious again.
"Cancer…" I remember.
"Bashing..." he murmurs.
"Hangovers…" I say, trying to get back to the lighter side of this rather depressing topic.
"Ben's cooking…" he says and smiles, "so four – done! Five – for richer and for poorer – again, we've been through both together."
"You took me in when I had nowhere to go. A couple of times... You paid for my PIFA tuition."
"And you did your fucking best to help me when I got fired from Vanguard."
"You weren't exactly poor for long, Brian," I laugh. I had no idea that he would consider my offering him Rage money - a drop in a bucket compared to his debts – an offer he refused, as fulfilling some sort of vow I never actually made.
"Still, you were there. And you didn't drop me like a hot potato because I was suddenly out of money. Trust me, that helped a lot more than you know. Anyway, last but not least – till death do us part. That one's kind of a bullshit vow also, so I'm throwing it out. There you go – since we've been doing all this already rather successfully for a few years, there's no reason to promise them to each other all over again. We are pretty much already married."
"OK, that actually kind of makes sense," I concede, "so, if we are already married, why do you suddenly want to get married again?"
"Because we never actually said it. We never promised anything to each other. I want to do that. I want to promise things to you and keep them for as long as I live."
"Brian, that's the most romantic thing you've ever said to me," I am astonished. He so rarely lets himself speak from the heart, but when he does… he slays me and makes me fall in love with him all over again.
I feel like I am at the end of the rainbow and my pot of gold is almost within reach. I realize that it doesn't matter to me that it's just us here at the loft, that there is no band, no food, no cake, no rings and no golden gardenias. I realize that it doesn't matter that we are lying in bed on rumpled sheets, naked. I realize that this… wedding… is just for us, is only about us and that it is perfect.
"OK, Brian. Let's do it. Let's get married, right now!" I say, suddenly excited.
"OK. But, we've got to get up. We have to be standing, you see?" he says, jumping out of bed and dragging me behind him.
"No idea. It just feels right," he says and keeps dragging me by the hand out of the bedroom area and towards the expanse of the floor-to-ceiling windows and a sleeping Pittsburgh skyline.
We stand somewhere in the middle, naked, bathed in moonlight, looking at each other. Before I can say anything, he screams "Shit!" and runs back into the bedroom. He comes back a minute later empty handed, a mischievous smirk on his face. I have no idea what all that was about.
"So, what now?" I ask.
"I caught a bit of that movie with Hugh Grant, Four Weddings and a Funeral, on cable the other day and I heard wedding vows that make complete sense to me. They are Anglican, I think. So, I want to use them now, for us," he says, surprising me again.
"I don't know what they are."
"Repeat after me," he smirks and puts a familiar ring in my palm; its mate is shining in his.
"With this ring, I thee wed," he says and slides the ring he held onto my finger.
"With this ring, I thee wed," I manage to say, touched beyond measure that he has kept them all this time. I slide his ring on with shaky hands.
"With my body I thee worship," he says smiling widely and envelopes me in his arms.
"With my body I thee worship," I repeat, suddenly understanding why he would so easily make this vow to me. I hug him tightly in return and wait for his next promise.
"And with all my worldly goods I thee endow," he concludes and waves his hand in the general direction of the loft.
"And with all my worldly goods I thee endow," I repeat and point towards my easel in the corner.
"I now pronounce you my husband," he whispers somewhat solemnly.
"I now pronounce you my husband," I repeat and the next thing I know, he's kissing me and his hands are everywhere at once, setting my skin on fire.
A few minutes later we come up for breath and laugh out of sheer joy. Suddenly, he tugs lightly on my hand and says,
"So, husband, want to consummate this marriage of ours?"
"Of course, Brian, it's our fucking wedding night!"
I gently extricate myself from his embrace, turn towards the stairs and say over my shoulder, "Come on, husband, last one on the bed is on top!"
Then I run full out to the bedroom, followed by Brian's rich, happy laughter and the sound of slow, measured steps made by his bare feet.