The chandelier sparkled as glasses shaped like teardrop winked in the shafts of afternoon sun streaming in through the high windows. Looking at himself in the tall mirror with a brass frame, Paul fixed his black tie. Amir, also in white tux, stepped up beside him. He looked in the mirror at Paul’s reflection. Paul looked up and their eyes met in the glass. Paul’s bright blue and Amir’s happy brown.
The first thought that crossed Amir’s mind the moment he saw a tall striking guy with the most dazzling smile he’d ever seen standing at his doorstep was, Kezang, you’re dead. Then a completely different emotion took over; it was a pleasing warmth that swelled happily inside him. It made him smile despite himself. The guy had beautiful blue eyes that almost twinkled from the wide grin. He was holding a bucket full of paint and some brushes and a roller.
“Mind if I step in?” the guy raised a perfect eyebrow into a high arc.
Embarrassed that he’d been staring, he managed a mumble, “Of course.”
The guy walked past him and inside the apartment. “Nice place,” he said. Amir carefully closed the door. “My name’s Paul.”
“Pretty name,” Paul grinned. Amir turned pink.
Seeing that the living room was empty and that the furniture had been moved to the other rooms, Paul instantly began work. He tore open the bucket of paint and dipped a brush in it. He was wearing a faded green T-shirt and old frayed jeans splashed with paints. As he artistically ran the brush along the side of the wall, Amir noticed tight biceps bulging under the sleeves and an abundant neck bent sideways in concentration.
His insides tingled. He nearly jumped when something vibrated to life in his jeans pocket. He clumsily fished out the phone.
“He’s hot, isn’t he?” Kezang spoke in a teasing voice.
“You’re dead, Kezang,” he muttered into the phone. “Dead. I asked you to send a girl over.”
“Oh did you?” she sounded surprised. “Must have slipped my mind.” She laughed.
“Shut up!” he glanced back to see if Paul was listening. He wasn’t. “Who is he anyway?” Paul ran a hand through his dirty brown hair. “He’s…blonde.”
“Duh,” she said, “’Course he is. He’s American.”
“Right. You sent a hot American dude over at my place. Why, thank you. How thoughtful of you. You’re dead, Kezang, dead.”
She laughed some more. “Calm down now, he’s gay. Idiot.”
“What?” his heart skipped a beat.
“Kiss him and you’ll know.”
She hung up.
He swallowed. With sweaty hands he pushed the phone back inside the pocket. For the next few minutes, he nervously hovered around the room, occasionally glancing Paul’s way. Paul had now finished doing the borders and was dipping the roller into the paint bucket.
“Peach might have looked good, don’t you think?”
Amir nearly stumbled over a stray brush. “Uh yeah I mean but that is peach.”
“Oh but I thought this was salmon,” Paul looked intently down at the roller in his hand.
“That’s peach all right,” he said.
Paul chuckled. “Sorry, I suck with colours.”
“Coffee?” he offered before the other guy could notice his flushed face.
“Yeah,” Paul’s face lit up. “I’d like that. Thank you.”
Amir reached up to help Paul do his tie. The bright afternoon light hurt his eyes. Paul raised a hand to shield him from the rays. After he finished fixing the tie, Paul rested a hand on his face, his thumb gently caressing his lips. He looked away.
“You’re cold,” Paul pointed out.
Amir wrapped his arms tighter around himself. “No.”
Without another word, Paul took off his jacket and draped it over him. His heart did a somersault. He was freezing so he didn’t protest and kept quiet. As they silently walked down the sidewalk in the waning light, he stole a few sidelong glances. In the mellow twilight and under the dim streetlamps, Paul looked so amazingly beautiful.
“Soo, that was a date, right?” Paul broke the silence.
Paul kicked a pebble with the tip of his shoe. “It wasn’t?” There was a note of disappointment in his voice.
“Uh, I don’t know.” he swallowed. From the corner of his eye, he saw Paul flash a wide grin.
“It’s time,” Paul said.
Amir stiffened. His heart dropped. “Of course.”
Together, they walked out of the dressing room and in to the garden. The garden was decorated with beautiful white flowers, ribbons and tulle curtains. The benches were filled with people in bright pastel dresses, mostly Paul’s family and friends. Hand in hand, they walked up the aisle.
“That’s because you’ve never tried one,” Paul said.
Amir shook his head. “Don’t wanna. They’re horrible.”
Paul looked down at the purple tablet in his hand, probably wondering how someone could not like a saffron candy.
“O.K,” Paul put the candy in his own mouth, and looked at him. Their eyes met for a split second before Paul suddenly grabbed him by the collar and kissed him. He tried to pull away but the grip was firm. Paul forced his mouth open and pushed the candy inside his mouth with his tongue.
“There,” he leaned back. “Tastes good?”
Slowly, Amir nodded.
The crowd gasped as the bride stepped out of the flowery door. Smiling radiantly, she walked up the aisle, arm in arm with her father. She looked gorgeous in a long white gown with a trailing veil and her team of pretty little bridesmaids.
“Forever?” Paul looked up tenderly at him. Amir nodded. He leaned in and kissed him.
Paul slipped a cheap scouts’ ring into his ring finger. “We’re gonna make it, Amir.” He sounded so hopeful it was surprising.
“I do,” she said.
“Do you, Paul Weber, take Megan Fray, to be your wife, to be true to her in good times and in bad, sickness and in health, to love her and honor her all the days of your life?”
Amir bit his lip through the smile. His eyes tickled.
After a pause, Paul said, “I do.”
A few seconds later, Amir looked up from the scouts’ ring and whispered, “Forever.”
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