He lied on his bed with a blank expression on his face. He followed the patterns on the textured ceiling with his now overly dry eyes, tired from nothing but his staring off into nothing. In his mind sat a new, foreign struggle. He had said yes. As Matthew Williams replayed the events of the night before over in his head, he kept hearing that "yes" escape Gilbert's lips.
"Do you usually order jewelry in your desserts?"
"Yes! Yes, I do!"
Matthew was no fool. He recalled how Gilbert had gone on to rave about how he deserved precious metals and gems in his food for the simple fact that he was himself, but the words were fading, slipping from Matthew's mind. He knew that however big his boyfriend's ego was, he'd still be too lazy to ask for special jeweled cakes every time he ate out. Plus, who would give it to him?
What got to Matthew was the nervousness that Gilbert had shown, both throughout the evening and at that moment. He recalled how rushed his reply had been, and with each replay of the scene, Gilbert seemed to be in a greater rush, fast forwarding through his speech, promising to pay for the food, silver and all, snatching the cake-covered ring, and finally scurrying out of the scene. And Matthew wasn't even angry that he had to pay or that he had to walk out of the restaurant and back to the car alone. He wasn't even sure what he felt, but it wasn't pleasant, and it was because he had known that Gilbert was up to something. He had even known exactly what Gilbert was up to. He had known too soon, and that, he told himself repeatedly, was his mistake.
He was the one who was supposed to say yes, not Gilbert, and Gilbert had said it to the wrong question.
Matthew rolled over on his blanket, sprawled across the bed, and let his face fall onto Gilbert's pillow. Well, technically, it was Matthew's pillow, but once Gilbert had claimed something, there was rarely ever a chance of getting it back. He sighed, looking up at the doorway. Gilbert had stayed the night before. He was probably downstairs, just waiting for breakfast. Or, that's what Matthew was hoping. Hoping that he didn't only stay because it was so late when they had returned home. Just praying that he didn't leave as soon as he had gotten the chance.
He sleepily rolled his eyes back to the pillow, intending to close them and rest a moment more, but caught a glimpse of blue fabric piled onto the floor. Reaching over the edge of the mattress, Matthew ran his fingers along the seam of the jacket. His hand caught in the pocket as he reached for the object hiding in its folds.
He held it up in the light of his bedside lamp. It was a small box, soft with its red, velvet covering. He pried at the end opposite the hinge, and the box snapped open easily to reveal a white, silky interior that reflected in the silver ring nestled in its place. With a pang of guilt, Matthew couldn't help his curiosity as he pulled the ring out and held it closer to the light.
The silver shone brightly yet not in the blinding way that a brand new engagement ring would be. It must have been older. He ran a finger along the inside edge, noting that there were words engraved there. He squinted to read them. The letters were tiny, in a fancy print that seemed intricately carved by hand. However, he simply could not read them no matter what angle he held the ring at. What he could see was the tiny smudge of chocolate icing in the corner.
Satisfied with his findings, Matthew silently put the ring back in its place, closed the box, and returned it to the pocket. Since he had first caught a glimpse of it, it had been much more than a piece of jewelry to him, yet now he had seen it for the first time. Despite that he had never worn the ring or even had it presented to him properly, it was still in his home, next to his bed. It could be assumed it had been there all night, and that brought a newfound comfort to Matthew. He pulled himself up off the mess of a blanket then again off the bed, picking up Gilbert's crumpled jacket from the floor and tossing it onto the bed in the process.
With a quiet yawn, Matthew snatched his glasses from the table. He was up and out of the room in no time, eager to find Gilbert waiting downstairs. He'd known he just had to be waiting downstairs. Bare feet slapped against the aged wooden stairs, the floor creaking as he made his way down then around the corner.
Surely enough, Matthew caught a glimpse of light hair, standing out against dark clothes and the dark couch, as Gilbert sat up from his slouching posture. He was there, just as Matthew had hoped, and Matthew couldn't help but feel a fluttering in his chest when he saw the overly excited grin aimed in his direction.
"What's for breakfast?"
Matthew chuckled inwardly at the question. Gilbert's eyes shone, begging, and Matthew could just imagine him begging, "Pancakes and maple bacon! Pancakes and maple bacon!"
"Cold cereal. Cold cereal is for breakfast." he replied