25 | erinome

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e r i n o m e

he was home, standing at my door, suitcases in hand, a grin on his mouth.

"hey. you're home." i throw my arms around him, right around his neck, feeling his laugh vibrate in his chest. i usher him inside quickly, bringing in his small suitcase in behind him.

"how was your flight?" i ask, chuckling slightly when he sinks against the couch, head on my lap as he lets out a tired groan.

"i was sitting next to an old man who was snoring and drooling on my shoulder the entire three hour flight and there was little kid behind me who kept kicking my seat." he looks up from my lap, grinning softly, "so not that well."

i laugh again, running my hands through his golden, soft curls. "you sound exhausted. why don't go home, wash up and nap for a few hours and then we'll catch up on everything? i don't want to wear you out."

"i was going to do that . . ." he sighs, sobering up as he pulls himself upright. "but i really wanted to talk to you."

"oh? what about?" i grow slightly nervous, because the words "we need to talk" are usually followed by something bad.

frowning slightly, he rummaged through the pockets of his jacket. "christmas at my parents wasn't terrible." jupiter begins, laying the jacket back in his lap. "but it made me realize something.

"during dinner, the whole time i kept feeling like i was being watched, you know? i felt my parents' eyes on me like they couldn't believe their anorexic son was eating like a normal person again. but the thing is . . . i'm not.

"i still skip meals, I still cut up food and move it around my plate or hide it in my napkin. i'm certainly better than before but i can still do better. i know i can. i know i can go back to being a normal guy. the kind of guy you deserve."

"oh, jupe, i don't -- "

"just hear me out," he grabs my hands and holds on tight. "i want to be better, not just for you but for me as well.

"i want to be the kind of the guy you deserve. the kind of guy who isn't still living on the past and still terrified of confronting his demons."

"what are you saying?" i ask, my throat clogged up with emotion.

he inhales the silence.

then, "i'm going back to rehab."

the possibility if jupiter leaving, hadn't occurred to me before. i always imagined that once he'd caught me in his orbit, i'd be here to stay. that once i got him he'd be here to stay.

but looking at him now, equal parts of determined, hopeful and terrified, it also occurred to me how naive that was. he was still recovering, still finding his way to normality. i had spent so long trying to get this beautiful golden boy, that it never occurred to me that, one of these days, perhaps, i would have to let him go.

"you should go. to rehab, i mean."

he looks mildly shocked. "really?"

"if this is what you feel that would be best for you, then yes. go.

"you should always have the opportunity to get better, jupe. and this can help you in more ways then i can. so . . . if you truly believe that this what you need, then go."

my voice cracks slightly, and, as if seeing this, he leans forward to drop a kiss on my lips, one hand on my cheek, the other fisted tight. after a shaky breath, he opens his folded palm, to reveal a ring, a beautiful golden band that glints in the light and yet doesn't even began to compare to the light in his eyes.

"don't worry i'm not proposing."  he laughs softly. "it's a promise ring. i'm promising that when i come back i'll be better. i will be the kind of guy you deserve. if you'll take me . . . as i am, here and now."

he looks so shy, so hesitant to reach for my hand that i grasp his free hand in my own, encouraging him with a nod. with shaky fingers, he slips the ring on my finger, exhaling like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

jupiter had caught me in his orbit, that much was true. but maybe i had to let go and believe, that one day, he'd suck me right back in, and this time it would be for good.

i take his face in my hands, our mouths tasting of tears, of promises, of love, of happily ever after as we kiss. i pull back, forehead against his, his thumb wiping away the tears streaking my cheeks, my mouth curved upwards.

"you now where to find me." i say, and then seal the promise -- the promise of forever, of infinity and beyond -- to his lips.

F I N

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