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This is the sequel to this.


Ethan and I sat in a pile of wrapping paper and small boxes, sipping hot cocoa with vanilla vodka in it. He was dangling a ribbon for Mrs. Fluffington to swat at. We had spent the morning playing in the snow and going sledding on a golf course hill by the house, then came home to a nice lunch and gifts. Sweaters. Books. Sex toys. Sarcastic post-it notes. A shaving kit for Ethan. Hockey stuff for me. The climax of Christmas was over…or so Ethan thought.

“Ethan?” I began.
“This Christmas has been magical. I mean, I’m sitting here, by the fire, with medicated hot chocolate, with no place to go and no one making demands on me at work. It’s snowing beautifully outside, and we’re all warm and toasty in here. It’s cliche, but it’s magical, and every Christmas I spent with you, I find this intense happiness that I never knew possible. More than anything, I feel just so incredibly happy with you, and am just far too pleased with the idea that I get to spend a whole ‘nother year with you.”

Ethan smiled at me. “Honey that is so sweet of you to say.” He leaned over and we shared a chaste kiss. I could see the suspicion in Ethan’s eyes. He was no doubt wondering if this was in fact The Time, or if he was reading into things too much. “Jesus christ, I can’t even begin to express how I feel about you..” He worked his jaw, trying to make words come out, but I put a finger over his soft lips so he’d hush.

“Now, I know being with me over the years has been a strange journey for you. We started off as friends. You were dating a girl. Then, you came out to me as bisexual, and then you confessed you had a crush on me-”
Ethan groaned and blushed, much to my delight.
“Which was one of these most wonderful things that has ever happened to me, as I was going insane with my unrequited feelings for you.”
“…You were?”
“Absolutely,” I admit. “I didn’t want to be ‘that creepy gay guy’ but, even then, I knew you were special. I loved your scruffy look. I thought you were so handsome. I was selfish, just looking at the surface. You taught me what it really means to be *in* a relationship, and I never wanted to work so hard for love in my life. You are so ambitious, so forward thinking, that I was – am – constantly amazed by all your kinetic energy. Being with you has made me like… jolt free, and move with intent, to improve and better myself, and grow up.  I wanted -” at this point, my voice cracked -“ I wanted so very much to be worthy of your love, and your approval, to be someone you didn’t consider below you. I want to live in a house with you, and share your bed, and listen to you mutter in your sleep and put jelly on your toast. I love you, and I hope, I really, really hope, that you love me too. So, Ethan Richard Norwich, will you marry me, and let me have you forever?”

I presented a small box from the pocket of my bathrobe and opened it with two trembling, hands.

At this point, I must have entirely mesmerized Ethan because his pupils were dilated and his lids were wide open. It should have been entirely obvious that I was proposing minutes ago, but when he saw the ring Ethan made this high pitched noise, the end of which was smothered by his hands covering his mouth. Mrs. Fluffington fled for the nearest box. Ethan’s palms over his chin were the only things keeping his jaw from falling off his face.
“Holy shit is this really happening…?” he asked, hesitating.
“Yes, it is,” I replied, swallowing hard.
Yes!” he squeaked, a loud voice coming out of a tight throat. “Yes oh my god yes! Yes yes!” He threw his arms around me and squeezed me so hard, I couldn’t breathe. He then peppered me with his kisses.
“Oh my god! Did I just get engaged?” he said, his eyes overflowing with tears.
I was laughing with bliss and happiness, high off adrenaline as the nervousness faded away.
“Yes, it’s happening. I’d been planning this for months.” I showed him the ring.
“Shit, it’s beautiful. And yet, masculine. Shit.” He was openly crying now.
I took it out of the box and slid it into his ring finger. Ethan exhaled audibly. ‘Oh god it fits perfectly. Look at it, it’s just…shit, Joel.” He wiped tears away with this shirt. We embraced and rocked and cried together. The snow continued to fall outside. I piped up. “You know when you came back in from cleaning the gutters and found your dad’s ring gone? I lied. I had taken it to measure for this.”
“What…? Ah you crafty bastard! How did I – how did I not see it? You’ve been planning this for months! You told me we had to put it off!”
I grinned. “That is true. I wanted you to be surprised.” I examined his trembling hand, sniffling too. “God it looks perfect.”
“I’m engaged,” Ethan announced, his eyes red, his voice light with disbelief. “I’m going to get married. Holy shit. This is the best Christmas ever.” He gazed up at me. “I love you so much, Joel. Don’t ever think you’re not worthy of me. I spent so many years worried that you get frustrated or impatient with me and leave. So sure you would assume I’d find a woman and eventually leave. Coming out as bisexual was the hardest thing I ever did because I risked your friendship. Now I’m marrying my best friend, and I think I might be dreaming.”

The tears, the hugging, and the kissing continued until we needed tissues. Ethan’s disbelief melted into excitement, and he fetched his laptop so we could Skype his mother in Florida.
When she saw the ring, she made the exact same noise as her son, and punctuated it with a: “Well it’s about fucking time!”
I left them alone for a moment so they could talk about how much Ethan’s father would have loved to see this moment.

After we called our respective families, I took Ethan out for a walk in the snow which had blanketed the neighborhood. I looked behind us and saw our footprints recede into the distance, and I realized that we had always been sharing the same path. We would be officially starting a new life as one. I squeezed Ethan’s hand.
“I will always love you.”

Text is fictional. The source and maker of the ring is here.


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