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Adam needed this moment of refrain. His heart was racing too fast, his emotions too unstable. Tears were on the verge of spilling out, and his pits were damp so he was definitely sweating in the fall chill. Adam closed his eyes and the voices fell away until he only hear Charlie breathing and smell his cologne. And thank God, it was a different cologne than his usual fall choice because that had a fun way of turning him on no matter where they were.

Charlie didn’t used to wear cologne when they met at summer camp. He wore Axe body spray and always smelled of sweat and Doritos.

Prior to summer camp, Charlie had spent two weeks with relatives in Israel and spent the entirety of the
camp insisting he be called Akiba instead of Charlie to sound more Israeli, because he was 14 and gangly and hugely insecure. As it goes at that age, insecurity is often projected as being mean, and when Adam had told him that was dumb because he was a white kid from suburban Oklahoma, it started a rivalry. That turned into a prank war. That resulted in Adam punching Charlie in the dining hall for being a little shit. Calls to parents followed.

Every year they wouldn’t see each-other until the big NFTY Jewish group retreat at the same camp in the winter, where friends kept them apart. Then not again until the long weeks of summer camp in the Texas heat, where they were constantly in trouble for pranks and senseless teenage violence and garden variety idiocy.

Until a funny thing began happening the last year, the year they were both 17, when Charlie sensed someone was looking at him during Sunday service. He glanced around until he saw Adam. Adam was looking at him in a deep, intense way, and Charlie didn’t understand why it made him feel so strange. A few days later, one of their fights resulted in them making out behind the aforementioned dining hall. That didn’t happen in the Torah.

Adam was so helpless in college, he thought he was doing just fine, until Charlie transferred from community college to his university in his junior year; and the moment Charlie was back in his arms Adam realized he was only pretending be fine until that moment.

“Hey,” Adam whispered.
Charlie startled and opened his wet eyes. “Yeah?”
“During the reception, you want to punch me to make it even?”
Charlie looked astonished. “How did you know I was thinking about camp?”
Adam began to giggle from the look on Charlie’s face, and soon his shoulders were rolling from laughter. Tears leaked from his eyes and he brushed them away. “Cause it was the beginning. We were both such little shits weren’t we?”
“We really were.” Charlie agreed with a soft smile.
“We’re gonna send our kids to that camp right?”
“Oh, absolutely.”
They locked eyes.
“What do you say we break the damn glass and finish getting married?” Adam asked.
Charlie chuffed air through his nose. “What, are you in a hurry to take me behind the catering hall and check to see if I’m circumcised again?”
Adam burst out laughing, startling the rabbi. He was blushing ferociously. “Oi vey. What would the counselors say if they saw us now?”
“Hm, that I’m one lucky boy?” Charlie kissed him. “Come on, let’s go break this glass.”
Adam smiled and took his hand. “Let’s.”

Captions are fictional. Beautiful couple.


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