Monday, three days to go
“Oh my God, Tom, stop bothering me!”
Brandon just couldn’t take it anymore and had to scream after half an hour of a nagging Tom talking to him about how important a certain day was. It wasn’t that he didn’t care, he was actually happy to help, but if Tom kept talking and talking then someone was going to leave the office with a black eye.
“Look, I get you’re in love, I get you want everything to be perfect, but I swear to God, if you keep repeating to me that I have to order the correct photo frame, I will punch you in the face!”
Tom made a sound as Brandon stormed out. “Oh, yeah? Well, you won’t get any cake if you don’t help!”
“Help with what?”
“Ah!” Tom screamed as he jumped and turned around. Eric was behind him. “Oh my God, don’t ever do that again!”
As Tom started ranting, Eric just grinned, for he knew that was the key to make Tom stop being mad at him.
"...I mean, you could have given me a heart attack, or I could have accidentally hit you, or, or..."
Seeing Eric just kept grinning, he sighed and gave him a small smile. "Fine, you're forgiven".
"Yay" he replied. "Ok, now, what is Brandon refusing to help you with?"
"Uh, well, just something with Challenge Chalice" he lied. "He's supposed to host this time".
"Oh, but I can do it if he doesn't. I've replaced you before".
"Uh, yeah, but, you know, Alex says it's his turn now"
"Oh, ok" he said with a shrug. "Then you better convince him. Offer him a corn dog, he won't say no".
Tom chuckled as Eric went to his computer. "Good to know".
His grin disappeared and he rushed to Alex.
"Hey, I need Brandon to cover for me with today's Challenge Chalice" he whispered.
"Geez, Tom, for real?" Alex said in dismay. "Look, I already told you, I know you need some time alone with Eric but you're just not ready for parenthood".
"That's not possible, god!" he hissed. "And it's not that. I kinda told Eric Brandon would host this time so I need it to happen".
"Why would you tell him that?"
"I didn't know what else to say!"
Alex sighed. "Fine, I'll see what I can do" .
"Thank you!" Tom said, patting his shoulder and going to his own computer.
"What was that?" Eric asked when he got there.
Tom stared at him. "What was what?"
"That, whatever you told Alex, it seemed to annoy him".
Tom chuckled. "It's me. I always annoy him".
Eric narrowed his eyes, but smirked. "Are you hiding something from me?"
"What? No" Tom said, faking a laugh and waving his hand dismissively. "I would never hide anything from you, I'm a terrible liar".
Eric gave him a look. "You're an actor".
Tom chuckled nervously. “Touchè”.
“I don’t know” Eric said, narrowing his eyes again. “You sure you’re ok?”.
“I’m alright” Tom said. “I promise. In fact, what do you say we go out after work?”.
Eric looked at him, as if trying to find any irregularity in his boyfriend’s face that told him he was hiding something. But then shrugged. “Ok. How about a burger?”
“It’s a date” he replied, and winked.
Eric grinned at him and turned around, getting back to work.
Tom turned around too, and exhaled deeply. “That was close”.
Tuesday, two days to go
“Julie, come oooooon!” Tom pleaded as he followed Julie through the hallway.
“I’m sorry, Tom, but I’m very busy today!” Julie exclaimed. “I have a meeting with the producers about an activity for the elder reactors and then I must go receive the kid reactors so I’m totally packed”.
“Pleeeeeeeeeease!” he insisted. “There’s gotta be at least a teeny tiny amount of time you can use for me”.
“Yeah, my bathroom breaks” she replied. “I’m not even gonna be able to have lunch, and if I can, and that’s a big if, it’s gonna be the fastest lunch break ever seen on Earth”.
Tom grimaced. “Geez!”
“Sorry, Tom” Julie said apologetically. “I’ll have a little more time tomorrow”.
As she walked away, Tom sighed. And Brandon, who curiously was eating a corn dog, walked past him.
“Go to hell, Tom” said Brandon, not looking at him and giving him the finger. He was still pissed about the previous day. After Eric left for another shoot, Tom kept nagging Brandon, and while the guy didn’t hit him, he did get mad.
Tom sighed. “Now what?”
“Hey Tom” said a tiny voice from behind.
”Ah!” Tom screamed and turned around. Only, he had to look down to face the child. “Sydney!”
“Hi” the girl greeted.
“Hey, what are you doing here so early?”
“I had an appointment with the doctor this morning and had to skip school so my mom decided to leave me here for the day”.
“Oh” said Tom, and looked around. He leaned down and lowered his voice. “So, you’re pretty much doing nothing”.
Sydney shrugged. “I’m pretty much just hanging out. You want me to help you?”.
“Ok, what is it?”
“Eric’s birthday is in two days. I already got a present for him, but I need some heartfelt lines to tell him how much I love him and no one wants to help. I need it short, I’m not too good memorizing”.
“You’re an actor”.
“Touchè. So, you wanna help me with that?”
“Ok” she replied. “But what’s there to say? Just say what you feel in your heart”.
Tom gave her a blank look. “Wow, Sydney, thank you so much, I hadn’t thought of that”.
“Hey, I’m a kid” she defended. “I haven’t had a boyfriend yet”.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right” he said, sitting on the floor against the wall. Sydney sat next to him.
"You know, my grandma says true love isn't always reflected on cheesy words, but with actions" she said. "Maybe you don't need a heartfelt speech. Maybe you just need to do something that makes him see how much you love him".
"That's not so bad" Tom decided after considering it. "It's true, the little details are usually what count the most".
"Hey" he said. "You're really smart to be just a kid".
"I know" she replied, flopping her hair.
"Are you coming on Thursday?"
"Yes, I am".
"Then stop by the office. I'll give you cake".
"Ooh, ok" Sydney said, excited. "But if you two kiss in front of me, I'll puke".
"Oh, we're not gonna kiss" Tom said maliciously. "We're gonna eat each other's mouths"
He laughed as the poor girl made gagging noises.
Wednesday, one day to go
"You got the cake, right?"
Tori groaned, rolling her eyes as Tom followed her inside the office. "Yes Tom, I called the shop twice to make sure and even got in hold by the supervisor for ten minutes just to make sure they had the address".
"Oh, thank you so much" he said. "And the snacks too?"
"Yes, Brooklyn will go buy them first thing tomorrow".
"Ok" Tom sighed in relief.
"Tom, this has got to be the first time in years I've seen you so stressed over Eric's birthday" said Tori. "Why is that? It's not like it's his last one".
"Oh my God" said Tori, grin totally gone. "It's his last one, isn't it? Is Eric dying?!"
"No, shut up!" Tom hissed, looking around to make sure no one had listened. "He's not gonna die. I just wanna make up for his last birthday".
"Are you kidding? It was a great party!"
Tom rubbed the back of his head. "Not what followed after".
Eric and Tom got into Eric's car that night after a small party at the building.
"I had fun tonight" he said.
"I'm glad" Tom smiled. "You deserve it".
They leaned in and kissed.
"Thanks" said Eric. "I really liked everything".
"And you're gonna love your present" Tom said, cupping his face and kissing him again.
"Wait, this wasn't my present?" Eric asked, showing him the small bracelet around his wrist.
"Well, yeah, silly" Tom chuckled. "One of them. But I got something else I wanted to give you in private".
"I'm intrigued" Eric teased.
Tom took out something wrapped from his backpack. It wasn't too big, Tom could hold it with only one hand. Which was a mistake, for the window of the car was open, and all of a sudden someone appeared and snatched it away from his hand.
"What the hell!" Tom exclaimed, as he and Eric got out of the car. "You son of a bitch, get back here!"
"No, Tom, wait!" Eric called, as Tom chased the thief.
"Oh my God, I didn't know that" said Tori. "At least no one got hurt".
"I did" Tom replied. "In my pride. I couldn't catch the bastard".
Tori gave him a look. "I bet Eric was sad".
"It sucked, yeah. But he loved the bracelet so he quickly got over it".
"But that was something that happened after the party and had nothing to do with it".
"Still, I don't want anything to be ruined" Tom said. "I even got what I was planning to give him last year, and this time, I'm closing the window".
Tori chuckled. "Including this year's present?"
"Yes, which reminds me, I need a picture of me and Eric. I may have to use some filters for it, though, I'm not that photogenic".
"You're an actor".
"Touchè. See ya!"
Thursday, D DAY
Eric entered the office, after having had a busy day in college. First thing that surprised him (which actually shouldn't, for it had already happened before) was the cake on a table, as well as some plates with snacks.
"Hey!" everyone greeted as he got in and sang "Happy Birthday".
Eric grinned as he greeted Julie, Brandon, Tori (who had a camera and was filming for a vlog) and the others. He even high-fived Sydney.
"Don't even try to take the credit 'cause I already know this is your doing" he said, grinning widely as he hugged Tom. "Thank you".
"It's all worth it as long as I see you smile" he replied, giving him a little peck on the cheek. "I love you".
"Hey, separate already! We got presents to open and food to eat!" Brandon said.
Everyone laughed. After opening his gifts, Tom approached Eric and gave him his.
Eric glanced at Tom, who winked at him, and opened it. It was a photo frame for two pictures. Over them, written in white letters were the words "five years later".
It featured the photo he and Tom had taken of themselves the previous day, and to its left was the very first photo of them.
"I love it" Eric said, smiling.
Tom winked at him again as everyone ooh'ed and aah'd the frame.
Later that night, Eric and Tom got into Eric's car, having said goodbye to everyone at the building.
"Thanks for tonight" said Eric. "I had fun".
"It's the least you deserved" Tom replied. "And I had fun too. I got to spoil you all I wanted".
They snickered as they tickled each other. After a few, Tom cleared his throat. "I was told that cheesy words aren't always the best thing to say, but I like saying cheesy stuff. Especially if it makes you blush".
"I'm blushing already" Eric chuckled.
Tom grinned at him. "I've been with you for a long time, Eric. You make me live, all I see is you when I think about what makes me happy. I really love you, and..."
Eric interrupted him by kissing him. Tom cupped his face as their foreheads remained together after separating.
"I'm happy" Eric whispered. "Despite everything, I feel happy".
Tom smiled at him. "Then we gotta keep you that way, right?".
Eric chuckled, as Tom looked inside his backpack and took out a small gift. "Last year, some creep ruined my, oh wait". He closed the window of the car. "Last year, some creep ruined my surprise. This is what I had wanted to give to you that day".
Eric took it and unwrapped it. It was a book.
"The picture of Dorian Gray" he read on the cover. "I couldn't find this anywhere!"
"I have my resources" Tom bragged as Eric hugged him.
"Thank you" the boy said. "And you reciting song lyrics is getting old, just so you know".
"I don't recite them literally!" Tom defended as Eric laughed.