It was finals week of senior year and they should really be studying.
Instead, Jesse and Amy were watching the front door of the student center and playing Fight or Fuck. The rules were simple. For every person (must look to be firmly an adult, any youthful freshman was immediately discounted) who walked through the door they had to pick if they would prefer to fight them or fuck them. It was a game they had come up with when they were bored sophomore year and realized that they were both bisexual.
A short, stocky young man with dark skin and shaved head walked in next. He had his head bowed over a notebook and appeared to be deep in thought.
“Fuck.” Amy stated. Jesse hummed in agreement. “I would not want to fight him. Do you see those biceps? His arms look about as big as my head.”
The door opened again and this time let in a tall pale woman with long, dark hair. She wore a simple dress and seemed like she was enjoying a pleasant afternoon. She looked incredibly out of place amongst the rest of the student population who were all clearly stressing out over finals.
Amy and Jesse looked at each other. “Why would you want to fight her?” Jesse asked. “She’s gorgeous.”
“Her name’s Allison. She tried to spike my drink at a party last year after I called her boyfriend an asshole.” Amy told him, not taking her eyes off the door.
“Alright then. I change my vote.”
“You know the rules. You pick once and then you can’t change your mind.”
“Yeah but there can be exceptions. Like now. I’d fight her too. Just for you.” Jesse winked at her and nudged her shoulder.
Amy smiled a little. It was nice to know her friend would stick up for her. They both returned their attention to the door just in time to see the next person enter.
He was a tall white guy who clearly spent most of his time in a gym. He had bigger muscles than was strictly necessary and a look on his face like he intended to use them. In a not so pleasant way.
“Neither.” Amy decided.
“Nuhuh no neither. You have to pick.” Jesse countered.
“Well I certainly don’t want to fuck him but he looks like he could break me in half if I even thought about fighting him.”
“Too bad. Pick one.”
“You pick one. I noticed you’ve been mum on this subject.”
“Oh fuck, definitely. No question.” Jesse stated confidently.
Amy looked at him. “Wait. Have you?”
Jesse quirked an eyebrow at her. “Pick one and maybe I’ll tell you.”
Amy couldn’t believe it. She knew Jesse liked the more muscled guys but the guy in question just didn’t seem like his type, objectively. She leaned across the table and tapped Adam’s arm.
The third friend at their table was decidedly not a part of their game. He had his earbud in and was engrossed in his notes. He had his final final in a few hours and was stressing out over it. A bit more than was necessary, if you ask Amy. Adam had been stressing about this final for over a week and Amy and Jesse had decided that he needed to stop studying and relax for a little bit before the test. Which is how they ended up at the student center instead of the library. Turns out, his concession to come with them hadn’t included an agreement to stop studying. While the two of them were playing their game, their friend was studiously ignoring them.
This wasn’t altogether a new thing, of course. In the three years that the three of them had been friends, Amy and Jesse had played their little game whenever they were bored, or drunk, in a public place. Adam, however, always refrained. Jesse called him a prude but they both knew it was only because he was devoted to his boyfriend back home.
Adam looked up in response to her tapping. He didn’t take out his earbud. Amy roller her eyes and grabbed the cord.
“What? I’m busy.” Adam glared at her.
She pointed behind him at the door. The guy she and Jesse had discussed was still standing just inside, checking his phone. “Jesse fucked that guy.”
Adam looked at the man in question then turned back around to face her. He glanced at Jesse and gave him a quick nod. “Good for you.” He turned back to Amy. “Can I please study now?” He didn’t wait for a response. Within seconds, he was once again engrossed in his notes.
She let out an exasperated sigh. Jesse just laughed at her. “You know you never picked.”
“Fine. Fuck. If you can fuck him so can I.”
They continued playing for about 10 minutes. They ended up agreeing on most of them though there were definitely a few that sparked a debate about taste and priorities.
There was a brief lull in the flow of people coming in until suddenly a man walked in that made both of them let out a loud, “Fuck” simultaneously. He was tall and obviously well built without being the over-muscled lughead from earlier. He had pale skin and dark curly hair that was just long enough to curl over the tops of his ears. He was wearing tight jeans that hugged him just right with a leather jacket and a black tank underneath. The edges of a tattoo could be seen curling over the tops of his shoulders. He had been wearing sunglasses when he came in but now he took them off and tucked them in the neck of his shirt. He stood where he was for a moment and looked around as if searching for someone.
Dimly it occurred to Amy that she and Jesse were sitting there gaping at him like idiots and perhaps they should, you know, stop that. But she didn’t make any move to pick up her jaw and neither did Jesse. They could only stare as he seemed to catch sight of them and walk their way. When it became apparent that the gorgeous man was in fact walking straight towards them, Amy sat up a little straighter and nudged Jesse with her elbow.
The man came up on their table quickly, his long legs making quick work of the distance between them and the door. Amy opened her mouth to say something but quickly furrowed her brow in confusion when the man grabbed the backpack out of the seat across from Jesse and placed it on the floor. He didn’t make any move to greet either of them. He simply pulled out the chair, sat down, and reached over and took the earbud out of Adam’s ear.
“We need to get married.” A stiff wind could knock Amy over right now. That was one hell of an opening line.
“I have a final in two hours. Come back later.” Was the only response Adam gave. He didn’t even bother looking up from his notebook. Amy and Jesse gaped at each other. What was going on?
“Ok fine. How long will it take? We can get married after.” Amy had to give it to the guy. He was persistent.
“Uhuh. Later.” Adam still hadn’t looked up. He just reached over and grabbed the earbud and replaced it in his ear. The mystery guy smiled smugly and leaned back in his chair. He had just pulled out his phone when Adam seemed to realize what was going on. His head snapped up and he turned to look at the new arrival. He quickly pulled the earbud back out. “Wait. What? No. We are not getting married after my final.”
Mystery guy didn’t look up from his phone. “Nope. You agreed. Decision has been made.”
Adam grabbed the phone. “No.”
Mystery guy reached for his phone but Adam put it out of his reach. “Come on. We can do a quickie at the courthouse or something.”
Adam sighed exasperatedly. “Why?” He drew out the word until it was almost a whine. On the other side of the table, Amy and Jesse were captivated.
“Oh no. We are not doing a quickie wedding at the courthouse after I take a test just to screw with your brother. No.” Adam cut him off. He turned back to his notes. “Now go away. I have to study.”
Amy and Jesse looked at each other. Clearly the mystery guy wasn’t such a mystery. Amy thought for a moment. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say this was Ronan, Adam’s hometown boyfriend. But Ronan was supposedly a farmer. She couldn’t imagine a local farmer from Virginia strolling into a student center in Cambridge in a leather jacket.
She watched as the mystery guy leaned over and shut Adam’s notebook. This caused Adam to turn and glare at him. Before Adam could open his mouth, the other guy said, “You could recite this shit to me two days ago. You don’t need to study any more. So how about we go now and not later.”
“Ronan,” Ah so mystery guy was in fact the mystery boyfriend, “what exactly are you doing here?”
“I feel like that was obvious. We need to get married. Nowish.” Adam pinched the bridge of his nose. Amy could tell he just wanted to study but even she could recognize that Ronan wasn’t just going to let him.
“Why?” Again, Adam drew the word out. “What did Declan do now?”
“Ashley’s pregnant.” There was a sharp silence at the table following the pronouncement. Amy had no idea who Ashley was or why it mattered that she was pregnant. But clearly Adam understood. He was shaking his head.
“No. Nope. Not happening. I am taking my final. I am graduating in four days. And then I will come home and we will get married in a few months like we planned. We are not scrapping our plans just so you can screw with your brother.” Amy and Jesse looked at each other. Adam hadn’t told either of them about his plans to get married. They knew he was serious about his boyfriend but he’d never told them that marriage was in the cards just yet.
“Come on Parrish. We can’t let Declan get married before us.” Adam glared at him again.
“Listen carefully Ronan. Are you listening? We. Cannot. Get. Married. Today.” He paused. “Or tomorrow. Or any day in the very near future.”
“Why not? Are you telling me you actually care that much about the ceremony or whatever? What’s wrong with a courthouse wedding?” Ronan implored. Clearly, beating this Declan guy down the aisle was important to him.
“Nothing’s wrong with a courthouse wedding. And you know I couldn’t give less of a shit about the specifics of the ceremony as long as we come out of the other side of it married.” Ronan started smiling.
“Then what’s the issue?”
Adam stared at him. “Gansey and Blue have been planning this for no less than two years.” Ronan started to blanche. “You want a quickie wedding right now? Fine. But you get to tell them that we got married. Without them.” Now Ronan looked constipated. Adam smiled. “Also, Matthew’s not here.” He added simply.
When Ronan didn’t respond, he placed the earbud back in his ear, opened his notebook back up, and resumed his studying. Ronan didn’t stop him this time. He just leaned back in his chair.
Amy and Jesse let the silence sit for a minute, just in case one of the men decided to start up again. Amy took the time to examine Ronan. She had known about Ronan for practically as long as she had known Adam. The two had met in class freshman year and quickly became study partners. It didn’t take long for Amy to decide that Adam needed a friend and that it should be her. They had been inseparable since then.
But somehow, despite the fact that she had counted Adam as one of her closest friends for almost four years now and they had been roommates the last two, she had never actually met Ronan. It wasn’t that Ronan never came to visit. It was just that his visits somehow always conflicted with her schedule. She’d never even seen a picture of the guy which Adam blamed on his aversion to anything phone related.
But she had heard about him. Adam wasn’t a big talker but over the years she had learned a lot about his boyfriend back home. She knew he owned his family’s farm. That he had a young daughter. That he and Adam had gone to high school together (even though Ronan hadn’t graduated) and she knew that Adam loved the guy. She had to admit that she had crafted an image in her head about the guy and this biker, bad boy look certainly wasn’t what she expected.
When the silence got to be too much she leaned across the table and stuck her hand out. “Hi. I’m Amy. Adam’s roommate. You seem to be the infamous Ronan. Nice to finally meet you.”
Ronan looked at her. He looked at her hand for a moment before he reached out and shook it briefly. “Yeah. Nice to meet you too.”
“This is Jesse.” Amy introduced with a jerk of her thumb. Jesse gave a quick little wave. Ronan just nodded at him. “So. You guys are getting married? That’s awesome. Congrats! Adam never mentioned that. When’s the big day?” She wasn’t sure what else to say.
Ronan looked at her and furrowed his brow. “Adam never mentioned it?”
Amy shook her head but it was Jesse who answered. “No. But you know Adam. Practically have to pry personal information out of him with a crowbar.” He laughed softly as he said it. It was true. Adam wasn’t exactly an over-sharer. For some reason this seemed to upset Ronan. He didn’t respond, just looked at Adam.
Jesse and Amy exchanged glances. It seemed that Ronan wasn’t a big talker either and neither one of them knew what to say. They sat there for a moment in an awkward silence before Adam seemed to pick up on the mood. He looked around the table. When he saw Ronan’s face, he pulled his earbud out. “What is it?”
“Your friends didn’t know you were getting married.” Ronan told him. Adam looked at them both confusedly.
“I told you guys.” They both shook their heads.
“This is literally the first we’re hearing of this, man.” Jesse told him.
Adam shook his head. “No. I told you. I’ve talked about it.” He seemed sure but Amy shook her head again. She reached over and touched his hand. “It’s fine. I mean we’re not offended or anything. We know how private you are.”
Adam looked at her. “Amy, you bought me drinks when we got engaged. I told you.” Amy quirked an eyebrow. Adam didn’t really drink so it would have had to be a special occasion if he let her buy him drinks. But she couldn’t recall any such occasion. “And when was this?”
“Over Christmas of our junior year. We got engaged but decided to wait until after I graduated to get married.” Amy thought for a moment. She did recall Adam coming back to school and telling her that he was going to marry Ronan. But it had seemed like an abstract concept. Like he had realized that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with him. It definitely hadn’t seemed like they had gotten engaged. She told him as such. Adam shook his head and looked at Ronan.
“I told them. Of course I told them.” Ronan had started to smile but Adam didn’t seem to notice. He kept trying to reassure him that he hadn’t been hiding their engagement.
“Parrish.” Ronan started to say but Adam talked over him. He turned back to his friends. “I invited you guys to the wedding.”
Jesse blinked. “I feel like I would have remembered that.”
“We talked about you guys coming to visit the Barns later this summer. In August. For the wedding.” Adam was getting agitated.
“Well yeah but I thought that was just to see you. I didn’t realize that was a wedding invitation.” Adam just looked at him. Next to him, Ronan started laughing. Adam turned to stare at his fiancé.
“You’re finding this funny?” He asked incredulously. “I thought you’d be upset.”
“I was at first. But come on. You have to admit it’s hilarious. You’re so bad at talking about yourself that your friends didn’t realize you were engaged and that they were invited to the wedding.” Ronan said through his laughter. Adam started to smile. “But if you want me to be upset, I can be.”
Adam shook his head. “No. No, I think I prefer you laughing at me.”
“Are you sure? Because I already know a way that you can make it up to me.” Ronan leaned forward in his chair until his face was barely an inch away from Adam’s. Amy knew she should probably look away and give them some privacy but this whole situation was entertaining as hell and she didn’t want to miss a moment of it.
“Oh? And how is that?” Adam asked softly. Ronan smiled in response. “By marrying me. This week.”
Adam rolled his eyes. “Didn’t we just decide this? Gansey and Blue-“
“Have been planning our wedding for longer than we’ve been engaged. Yeah, I know. But think about this. We get married on Friday. Everyone is coming in for your graduation so they’ll all be here. We go down to the courthouse and find a judge and sign the piece of paper. Then later, in August, we can do the reception party crap that Gansey and Blue have planned.” Ronan waited for Adam to respond. Neither man had moved away from each other. Eventually, Adam nodded. A smile started to grow across Ronan’s face. “Yeah?” He asked for confirmation. Adam nodded again.
“Yes.” Both men leaned in the last inch and met in a kiss. Now Amy did look away. This was a private moment for them. That they were having in the middle of the very crowded student center. She smiled over at Jesse. They were both happy for their friend. They waited until they heard the two men break apart before turning their attention back across the table. Adam and Ronan were staring at each other with stupid looks on their faces.
“You have to tell Gansey and Blue though.” Adam told him. Ronan just nodded.
He stood up and grabbed Adam’s arm to pull him up too. Adam started to protest but Ronan cut him off. “You have two hours until your final, right?” Adam nodded. “Then we need to go now to the courthouse and get the marriage license. There’s a three-day waiting period so if we want to be able to get married on Friday then we need to get it now.” Adam just looked at him but didn’t move.
“Adam, if you want to get to your final on time, we need to go now.” Ronan reiterated. This seemed to do the trick. He quickly gathered his things and said a quick goodbye to Amy and Jesse before hurrying off with Ronan. "And all of this just so you can get married before your brother?" They heard Adam say as they left. The two men were too far away to hear by the time Ronan responded but they saw him bob his head up and down.
In their wake, Amy and Jesse looked at each other. Both let out a laugh. “Well. That was not how I expected today to go.”
“Definitely not.” Amy agreed. She was happy for Adam, no question, but she might still be in shock from the whole affair. “We are definitely going on Friday, right?”
“Oh absolutely.” There was no way they were letting their friend get married without them, after all.