A Forever Love Short Story
It had started with an offhand comment the day after Richard’s wedding.
Eli and I had been lying on the sofa watching Empire of Dust and eating leftover wedding cake while Indy and Solo snored from their respective spots on the other end of the sofa and the armchair.
“When we get married,” Eli said, his head in my lap. “We need to have better wedding cake than that. It was dry as fuck.”
“Agreed,” I said as I picked at my piece of cake, not really processing what he’d said. “Although I liked the chocolate.”
“Me too. We should have three different flavours—then it’ll definitely be bigger than my head.” Eli sighed, rubbing his hand over my thigh. “Just no fruit cake. I don’t care how much brandy you’ve put in it, fruit cake sucks!”
I’d laughed and kissed his fluffy curls, and that had been it. It hadn’t been until much later, when I’d been lying in bed, that I’d realised what Eli had actually said: When we get married.
I’d smiled to myself as a ball of warmth ignited in my chest, spreading a giddy feeling through every inch of me. We’d talked about getting married a couple of times, and it had obviously been mentioned more in the run up to Richard and Ruby’s wedding, but the way Eli had said it—with such casual certainty—made it feel like a given. At some point, we’d just need to make that decision official.
Ever since then, it had become something of a running joke between us.
One of us didn’t want to do a particular chore? When we got married it would be the other’s job.
Looking at Richard’s endless stream of wedding pictures in various group chats and across social media? When we got married we wouldn’t have nearly as many posed photos because they were very tedious to take part in. And we certainly wouldn’t spam people with them.
Eli jealous of Oscar’s travelling? When we got married we could go to one of those beautiful places on our honeymoon, and drink fancy cocktails while lying on pristine sun loungers on a white sandy beach.
It made me smile every time one of us said it, and my urge to ask the question grew stronger every day. I just hadn’t actually gotten around to asking.
Then again neither had he.
I was tempted to just ask him when we were at home one night, but Eli had begun the year with a bang and suddenly been overrun with gig offers and regular slots all over the East Midlands. It meant that he was busy five or six nights out of seven, and on the few nights he had off, he was often asleep on the sofa by half nine.
A quiet proposal one evening at home over dinner might be my preference, not being keen on a fuss, but if I was going to ask Eli to marry me, I wanted it to be memorable. Eli deserved that.
I had a plan. I just needed to put it into motion.
“What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?” I asked one Sunday morning at the start of February. We were making brunch and sidestepping Indy and Solo, who seemed determined to make us drop something for them, despite the fact they both knew Eli would give them some of his bacon anyway.
“We’re doing a special at The Court,” Eli said, whisking a bowl of banana and chocolate chip pancake batter. “Single or dating I’m going to read everyone for filth—should be fun!”
“Sounds it.” I dug a couple of frying pans out of the cupboard. “What about after? Do you fancy dinner back here? Or shall we go out on the Monday or Tuesday?”
“Let’s just get one of those Valentine’s dinner at home things from M&S for after,” Eli said. “Then I can just reheat it after I’ve done terribly wicked things to you. Multiple times”
I smiled and ignored the way my cheeks tinted. I always hated how easily I blushed when Eli even suggested anything sexual. “Okay. Let’s do that.”
After brunch I snuck up to the little home office Alexis had made for me on the pretence of painting some miniatures for an hour before our Sunday afternoon film fest. I got everything out, in case Eli suddenly appeared, then grabbed my phone.
Firstly, I messaged Phil to ask him if I could actually do what I was thinking of. Then I messaged Orlando to see if he’d help me pull it off. I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d get responses, but Orlando’s was immediate and almost indecipherable.
I laughed softly under my breath as an endless stream of messages and gifs filled my screen. To say Orlando was excited was an understatement, but he did agree to help with my plans.
Phil responded to me twenty minutes later with a considerably more measured response filled with questions. I answered all of them as best I could, outlining my idea in a series of bullet points. It might have been a bit over the top, but I wanted this to be perfect.
I spun in my chair wondering if I needed to ask anyone in Eli’s family before I popped the question. I didn’t think so, because Eli wasn’t that sort of person, and that whole ‘asking permission’ thing felt very outdated. Eli had never been, and would never be, anyone’s possession and since I’d once ripped into Eli and Richard for treating me that way, I wasn’t going to start any of that nonsense now. But I did want his family to know.
It didn’t take me too long to set up a new message thread with his siblings, and type out a message which had TOP SECRET plastered across the top of it. I knew they weren’t likely to tell—it was more of a just in case.
Then, with my plan starting to take shape, I wandered back downstairs to see what my better half had chosen for us to watch.
A couple of weeks later, on Valentine’s Day, I woke up to the intense warmth of Eli’s mouth wrapped around my cock. I groaned as I shuddered into wakefulness, pleasure coiling itself around my nerves.
He’d done this before, after I’d mentioned wanting to try it, and the first time he had I’d come almost as soon as I’d realised what was happening. Ever since then, Eli had made it his mission to draw it out and see how far he could take me, without making me or letting me come.
I loved it.
“E-Eli,” I moaned, trying desperately not to buck my hips and fuck up into his throat. I knew if I did, he’d just take his mouth away and I didn’t want that.
Eli hummed around my cock, sucking me down and caressing my balls with his fingers. I gasped, my fingers clutching at the sheets.
“F-fuck. Oh fuck. I can’t… it feels so good.” My words were broken as I choked them out, my voice scratchy from a night of disuse.
Eli pulled off my cock, stroking the slick shaft with his fist. “Yes you can,” he said softly. “You know you can be good for me.” I looked down at him through sleepy eyes, nodding my head even though I wasn’t sure I believed his words.
He sucked me down again, drawing more moans from deep inside me as he worked my cock slowly, bringing me closer and closer to the edge.
“I’m close,” I muttered, even though I knew the words would make him stop so he could draw out the sweet torture even further.
“You can come,” he said, looking up at me with eyes full of love. I stared at him, not really sure I’d heard correctly. He pressed a kiss to my shaft and then added. “Much as I want to draw this out, you have to go to work, and I’m not so mean as to leave you hard all day. So you can start the day with one orgasm, and think about how many I’ll give you tonight.”
He winked at me and began to run his tongue over the head of my cock, doing everything he knew would undo me in seconds.
I came with a cry down Eli’s throat, gasping and panting as wave after wave of sensation engulfed me. Eli took me to the point just before it was too much, then pulled off, kneeling before me and jacking his own cock hard and fast so he could paint my body with his release.
“You’re mine,” he growled, a possessive shine in his eyes as he came. He leant down and kissed me. “All mine. Always.”
After tonight, that would be official.
We stayed in bed for a few minutes, before the passing of time forced me to get up and shower. Eli went downstairs to sort the dogs, and we had breakfast together before I left, exchanging the cards and small presents that we’d both told each other not to buy.
“I’ll see you later,” I said to Eli, giving him a final kiss as I headed for the front door. “I’ll be back to get changed and pick you up about half-five.”
“Perfect, I’ll see you then.” Eli pulled on my tie, tugging me closer for an extra kiss. “Be good, tell Pamela I said hi.”
The morning seemed to drag like I was wading through treacle, and every second I spent writing emails or staring at my screen seemed to last for eternity. I’d been up and down to the kitchen at least three times, simply because I couldn’t seem to sit still. Pamela had laughed the third time I’d appeared and sent me off with a cup of tea and two chocolate biscuits.
At lunchtime, I grabbed my coat and headed down Steep Hill to the jewellers to collect my prize, carrying it back like it was a rare Fabergé egg. I sat the ring box on my desk for the afternoon so I could keep an eye on it as I tried to work out what I wanted to say.
This had been my sticking point for weeks, and I still wasn’t any closer to figuring it out. I’d debated trying to write my thoughts down, but I didn’t want Eli to stumble across them. Knowing my luck I’d put the note in my trouser pocket and Eli would find it when he did the washing.
I made the quick dash home to feed the dogs, have a shower, get changed, and collect Eli before we headed back to Lincoln.
Bitch Fit looked stupendous in black and red—like some sort of Valentine horror doll—with a red corset bedecked with ribbons, a black tutu-style skirt, and a rather fetching red fascinator, with a little feather in, pinned to her wig. Eli had been experimenting with Bitch’s style over the past year, having gotten a little more disposable income to put into wigs and clothing. It was fundamentally the same, but a little bit more varied across the gothic-emo-E-girl spectrum, and a lot more extra.
We found somewhere to park, and then headed to The Court. I’d gotten used to being dragged backstage and into Eli’s corner of the dressing room by now, and it was fun to catch up with the familiar faces I saw there while Bitch put the finishing touches to her makeup.
“Oh there you are darling,” Violet said, sticking her head around the door and beckoning to me. She was dressed in a red sequined gown with a voluptuous wig that felt very Queen of Hearts-esque. “Can I borrow you for a second? I need a hand with some of this set.”
“Of course.” I stood up, taking my jacket with me, which still had the ring box tucked into the inside pocket. I gave Bitch a quick kiss on the cheek. “I’ll see you later, break a leg.”
Once I was in the corridor, Violet waved me into a quiet corner. “Have you got everything you need?”
“Yes,” I said. “I just need the ring and five minutes.”
“Perfect.” Violet beamed at me. “The only problem will be getting you off the floor and backstage without Bitch seeing you. You can’t miss her set, because she’ll notice you’re gone, but I’ve worked out a nice little number to go at the end of it with some of the other girls and Bitch will have to come off stage before that starts. If you slip through the stage door then and find Johannes, he’ll bring you round and you can do it after the number ends. I’ll get you started, or at least keep madam on the stage. How does that sound?”
“That sounds great,” I said. “And thanks for all your help with this.”
“Absolutely darling. I wasn’t going to say no. You’re going to make everyone cry though.”
I laughed. “Hopefully in a good way, not because they think I’m weird.”
“Absolutely not. It’s going to be spectacular.”
Someone called Violet and she bustled off to sort out whatever problem had arisen. I headed for the stage door and out into the audience.
Lewis and Orlando had coordinated the attendance of all our family and friends, and strategically spread everyone out so they weren’t all clustered around the tables at the front. Eli would be very suspicious if he came out on stage and saw everyone, especially considering it was both a midweek show and Valentine’s Day.
“Are you ready?” Orlando asked, bouncing up to me. He looked so excited he might explode, and I was surprised he hadn’t burst and spilled the beans to Eli.
“I think so.”
“Know what you’re going to say?”
“Fuck no.” I laughed nervously. “I’ve been thinking about it all day and I still haven’t got a clue. Everything I come up with seems so… boring.”
Orlando gave me a warm smile. “Just speak from your heart. Eli loves you for you, and I know you love him too. Besides, he’ll probably say yes before you can get the question out anyway.”
“That’s true. Good thing I haven’t prepared an essay.”
“Honestly, just tell him to say yes and he will. You’re practically married already, it’s sickening.” He grinned. “In the best way, obviously.”
“Also, if Eli doesn’t pick me to be in his wedding party, can I be in yours? Alexis and I would look super cute all coordinated.”
“Sure,” I said. Eli had a million friends and siblings to choose from, so I didn’t mind. Plus Alexis and Orlando had become very good friends over the last year, when he’d persuaded his boyfriend’s to hire Alexis to do their house. From what I’d heard, it had gotten expensive, but it did look spectacular.
“Yay!” Orlando pulled me into a tight hug. “Come on, we should go and sit down. Do you want a drink by the way? You should probably avoid alcohol though, that’ll make your nerves worse.”
I chuckled and followed him to his table, ending up sandwiched between him and Edward, who gave me a fond smile as I sat down.
“Have some water darling,” Edward said. “You look rather green around the gills.”
“Thanks.” I took the proffered glass as the lights began to dim.
“You’re going to do marvellously,” Edward added. “Just don’t look at us, look at your beloved instead.”
The show began, and it was easier to focus on than I’d anticipated. I’d thought it would be like Eli’s performance at It’s A Drag!, where I’d been too nervous to focus on anything except not vomiting. But now, my brain seemed to have accepted that there were only two answers to the question, and I couldn’t change how Eli would react. All I could do was ask.
Plus, said the little voice in my brain, in its most helpful tone, if I’d thought Eli was going to reject me, I wouldn’t be asking. I certainly wouldn’t be asking him in public.
With that knowledge firmly in mind, I settled back to enjoy the show.
It was a full-on variety performance with dancing, singing, lip-syncing, comedy and even some burlesque, and as always it was spectacular. Violet was acting as compere, adding her acerbic wit and gentle jibes to the proceedings.
Bitch Fit was on after the little interval that broke up the evening, so during it I had some more water and casually checked I still had the ring in my pocket. Violet had deliberately placed Bitch nearer the end of the evening, to make everything a little smoother, and for that I was eternally grateful.
When Bitch Fit strolled casually onto the stage, my heart soared and I whooped and cheered along with everyone else.
“Hello losers,” Bitch Fit said, lifting the microphone and shooting us a wicked smile. “God look at you, it’s like the who’s who of loneliness this evening.” A ripple of laughter ran through the room. “You laugh but the fact that none of you had better plans than this says a lot more about your dating lives than it does about mine. At least I’m being paid to be here. If I had my way, I’d be at home with my boyfriend.” She flicked her wig out of her face. “I won’t say doing what though because I’m a lady, and also he’s sitting right there.” Bitch pointed at me and I laughed, shaking my head, and feeling my face heat. “Give everyone a wave, Tristan.” I dutifully gave a little wave and people clapped. “Aww, isn’t he cute? And he’s mine, by the way, so get your filthy paws off him.”
I laughed again as pride and love filled my chest. I’d never be sure I truly deserved Eli, but I wasn’t going to complain about the hand I’d been dealt by the universe. How could I? He was perfect.
The rest of Bitch’s routine continued—a mixture of stand-up and some lip syncing, with one live parody thrown in—and slowly my nerves began to grow. I could feel the clock ticking down, and soon it would be midnight.
Bitch Fit strutted off stage to plenty of applause and whistles. I took a deep breath and stood up.
“I’ll be right back,” I said to Orlando, who just beamed at me.
I headed for the stage door, where I found Johannes waiting for me, a knowing grin on his face.
“You ready?” he asked, as he led me to the side of the stage beside Violet. The dance number on stage was just starting to wrap up
“Break a leg, darling,” Violet said. “And speak up nice and loud. We all want to hear you.”
I took a deep breath and watched Violet walk onto the stage, catching Eli by the arm as the others began to walk towards the wings then stopped obviously confused. Eli looked stumped, and I was pleased because it meant he hadn’t quite twigged what was about to happen.
“My dear, just stay here for a moment,” Violet said to Bitch, before turning to the audience. “Now, we have a rather lovely surprise for you tonight. Because it’s Valentine’s Day, which means that we’re here to celebrate love in all its forms.” I took another breath and began to make my way towards the spotlight that was now shining on Eli. “And there is a very handsome young man here who I believe has something that he’d like to ask our beautiful trash goblin.”
Violet pointed at me, and Bitch Fit turned, her eyes going wide as she clapped her hand to her mouth. Probably to stop herself swearing loudly. Violet stepped back and suddenly it was just Eli and I all over again.
It reminded me of the night we’d first kissed. Except this time, I was a man so in love that it hurt, and Eli was wearing red lipstick and looked like he was about to cry.
My knee hit the wooden floor of the stage.
“I figured,” I said. “That since we keep joking about getting married we should probably make it official.” I pulled the ring box out of my pocket and flicked it open. The ring was simple—a wide black band with a line of silver threaded through the middle and a single emerald embedded in the centre.
“Fuck!” Eli exclaimed. “Is that… for me?”
“Yeah. It is.” I smiled. “Eli… Bitch Fit… You are the most incredible person I’ve ever met, and I can’t imagine ever spending a day without you. You turned my world upside down, and every day I’m still stunned that you chose me. So, will you choose me again? Will you marry me?”
“Fuckity, fuck, fucking yes! Yes, fucking God yes Tristan.” Eli stuck out his hand and I slipped the ring onto it before I was pulled to my feet and into a crushing kiss as The Court erupted around us.
“You sneaky bastard,” Eli said through the tears. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“You’ve ruined my makeup.”
“I’m sorry.” I kissed him again.
“No you’re not.”
“I’m not, but you’re not really upset.”
Eli grinned. “No, I’m just in shock. I can’t believe you did this here. Here. Like, in public.”
“Yeah, well.” I shrugged. “I wanted it to be memorable.”
“With you Mr. Rose, everything is memorable.”
Eli’s lips were warm and soft against mine, a bubbling promise of heat simmering underneath his touch.
I knew tonight would be amazing. And the rest of our lives would be incredible.