He eased the car into the driveway and jerked the gear shift parallel to the large, glowing P. The conglomeration of keys was twisted toward him, and the car's purring was halted. For only a few moments, everything was blissfully silent, and the brunet took a chance to breathe; he expelled his car ride's, his day's, his week's stress with a single meditated sigh. Grabbing his suitcase, he climbed out of his sturdy old Mazda and trekked his sidewalk to the front door of his house. His.
He'd worked for years, but finally this plot of land belonged to him. It may not have too many pretty flowers scattered across it, nor was the lawn immaculately cared for, but it was his. His neighbors had heckled or ignored him for years because his house was plain, knowing that they'd ignore him or heckle him just as much if his yard was as immaculate and flowery as theirs. He didn't have a wife to dote after him, or to cook him dinner, or to tend a garden. They both had more important things to do than impress people they'd never met. Kyle wondered how many of them owned their houses. How many of their homes were owned in mortgages?
The glass panel door swung open with a squeal that cried for some WD-40, and as always, he swore to do it later that evening. The front door already stood open, letting in the warm afternoon light from outside. He dropped his case by the door, kicking off his shoes without untying them. He kept waiting for squeals and the rushed steps of a young child, followed by the sober traipse of teenagers needing money for one thing or the other; it was Friday, after all. He heard nothing but a rustle of papers from the kitchen. He loosened his tie as he approached the barren doorway and leaned against it to take in the sight before him.
Alex had his comfortable pajamas on, which stated that he'd been home for a few hours already and was planning on a long night without interruption. The kitchen table was his workstation because the desk in the office simply wasn't big enough for his organizational patterns, or lack thereof. He had his students' research papers all splayed out across the table and one in his hands. Some of the papers were marked with red ink; some looked as if they had been murdered. His thick-rimmed glasses had been dropped across his grade book, and the shadowed bags under his eyes were much more apparent now.
In the beginning, everything had been about passion. They were together every night, cuddling and loving; they wandered naked through their new home on their days off because they knew dressing would only be a waste of time. Now, though, such a luxury was completely unconsidered. Their lives had become routine. Routine isn't altogether bad, however, it is by no means good; it's tiring, and they were both feeling it. Before, they shared love only for each other. Now, they had children to care for; they'd adopted two teenagers and a toddler. Their love was split amongst them all and shrunken down by responsibilities.
"How long have you been working?" The phrase was out before he'd even realized that he'd thought it, and it made Alex jump. They both laughed.
"How long have you been standing there?" he questioned back, his tone suggesting a challenge. Kyle grinned.
"Long enough. How was your teachers' conference?" Alex grunted, rolling his eyes as he sat back in the wooden chair.
"A horrible waste of time, as usual. As if it's my fault they don't know what a gerund is. Hark on the elementary teachers, I keep saying, but they always seem to find a way to blame us." Kyle chuckled as his husband continued to complain about his day. Finally, the man took a deep breath and ended his rant. "So how was your day? You're back late." Kyle grimaced and nodded.
"Peter and Emily are having trouble with the baby again. They stayed late to argue, again." There wasn't much to say to that; it wasn't the first time he'd said those words. Instead, Alex pursed his lips into a dissatisfied expression. Kyle shrugged. "So where is everybody?"
"Maggie's out with her spelling bee group. Then she'll be with Kris and Braden. They're going to see a movie then spend the night at Kris's house."
"Both of them?" Alex laughed.
"I had the same reaction, apparently Kris has grabbed Braden's attention just as well."
"Well, he's a pretty girl. Good for him. Where's Leida?"
"With her father and government supervision. They're having a family holiday." Kyle considered all of this as he moved across the tiled floor towards the chair his lover was occupying.
"So, we're here by ourselves tonight."
"I guess so. Want some dinner?" Kyle slipped his silk tie off his neck and dropped it on the stack of papers directly in front of Alex. He let a mischievous grin form around his lips as he gently caressed the other's cheek.
"I must really have lost my charm if dinner is all you can think about. We're alone in this house. Our house. For the first time in… how long?" Alex's blue eyes lit up, his own little grin twitching to be released.
"Ours? Did that last payment go through?" Kyle rolled his eyes, but nodded all the same. "I guess that means we should do something special then." The brunet nodded, leaning down, as he usually did, to kiss a head of dark hair. He often used the gesture as a sign of affection without being a distraction to work. Tonight, however, it was different. His chapped lips landed on the skin above his temple, the blood beneath it throbbing in time to his heart. His contact lasted a bit longer than usual, and he let his hand wander from a stubbled cheek downward, smoothly traveling across Alex's collarbone with a fleeting touch before the brunet removed himself completely from his lover. He stood above him, that same grin still in place, and yet it could be read so much better now. Amazing how such a simple action can send one's heart into a frenzy. Alex had to take a deep, meditated breath before he spoke, and even then his voice was still affected. "I'll be up in a minute," he muttered, and it was obvious he meant to hurry there.
Kyle turned, leaving the simple kitchen, passing through the living room full of toy blocks, discarded book bags, and video games, then climbed the stairs up to the master bedroom. He went straight to the bathroom, disrobing to his boxers before standing in front of the mirror. His green eyes glittered back at him, reflecting his excitement. Finally, they had the freedom to be the love-crazed fools they'd been years ago. Every day that passed, he yearned for those days more and more. It was unrealistic to want to live like that now, he was too old to be that frisky, but he'd begun to feel lonely lately. If Alex's reaction was any indication, it may have been mutual. They'd have to make sure they did this more often.
The familiar clink of glasses being set on the nightstand alerted him that Alex was upstairs with him. When he stepped into the mirror behind Kyle, his flannel pajama shirt was already missing, probably folded back up and placed back in its drawer. His dark hair was still neatly placed from his morning routine, his skin was only barely tanned despite the long summer they'd been having, his fingers and wrist had smears of red ink, and he hadn't been on a jog around the subdivision in awhile. Kyle took all this in, along with his slim shoulders, bright blue eyes, and fully shaped lips. Alex had aged very well; he was still beautiful. Turning around, he fixed his green eyes on the man that was the rest of his life.
Alex took this as a sign and stepped forward, fixing their lips together. Very quickly, they fell into an old routine, like climbing in an old car. They weren't sure if it would run smoothly, or if it would start at all, but it came to life with surprising lack of finesse. There were hands on skin, and lips and teeth, and that's all that they were aware of. They lost all thought of their children's exact whereabouts, about the annoying people at work, about the squeaky door, and the ungraded research papers. As they maneuvered from the ceramic of the bathroom to the soft carpet of the bedroom and onto the plush comforter of the overtly made bed, they lost all thought of the years past, of gained responsibilities, of past lovers and future loving. The only thought they needed was to get rid of those silly little pillows and that too thick blanket, they should be naked, together, under those sheets and touching. They licked and nipped, as if remembering some attack of high school hormones; they grabbed and groped, as if remembering some drunken one night romance.
Every moment was the height of their passion, and yet that one moment was followed by another and another that they would label just the same. They continued to kiss and grope, to move together under the sheets until they couldn't move anymore. It had been over all too quickly. The two lay cuddled together, wrapped in each other's arms in the reluctant, lazy way a couple does when they have other places they need to be, but they refuse to be there. It took them some time to realize that the sun had already set some time ago.
Later that night, they managed to wander back down to the kitchen for some food. Their naked bodies glowed in the light of the open fridge, and they laughed as they compared how tired and weak their arms or knees were. They sipped milk from the carton and tore pieces of pre-packaged lunch meat to feed to each other. Once their stomachs were satisfied, Alex noticed a piece of paper lying on the counter. In brusque, sloppy handwriting, Braden wrote a note.
Gross, guys. Really. Gross.
The two laughed heartily. They knew the truth. One day, hopefully soon, he too would know their kind of love. It may slow and it may shrink, but they never let it falter. Kyle had been hoping for the old days, when they were younger with stronger bodies and hearty appetites. All he really needed, however, was the realization that everything he had now was perfect. Back then, they were clumsy in their love, everything was in the heat of the moment and a selfish fight for the finish line. Nowadays, he knew that look in blue eyes; he knew how to touch just so to make his muscle's twitch and his voice quiver. It wasn't a competition or a race, but a slow dance without a melody. Back then, he had no responsibilities, now he knew what it was like to forget them. He didn't need the old days; he didn't need to feel lonely, either. He just needed to shove the kids out the door more often.