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just an old fashioned love song

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i. Three weeks.

“Shit.” Adam swears. He sets down the needle on the edge of the bathroom counter and takes a deep breath. He can do this. He can do this.

He’s been trying to give himself his shot for twenty minutes, standing shirtless in their bathroom with his arm still bound in its sling. And he’s not making any progress.

His shoulder will heal in time, every doctor has told him that, and he believes them. But Adam’s never been the most patient person and hates being dependent on people. He can do plenty of things one-armed, he’s found, so this is no different.

And so here he is, standing shirtless except for his arm sling, and struggling to plunge a needle one-handed. He keeps missing, jabbing himself shallowly and drawing little pin-pricks of blood. Even if he could get it in, he’s not sure how he would press the plunger firmly enough to actually get his T into his body. But that’s a problem for five minutes from now.

“Adam?” Adam jumps at the sound of his name and nearly drops the needle to the bathroom floor. Lawrence is standing in the doorway, giving him a mildly confused look.

“Jesus Larry!” Adam complains.

“Sorry. Do you need help?” Lawrence asks.

“With what?” Adam loses focus as he tries to aim the needle for the millionth time.

“That.” Lawrence nods toward the needle.

“Nah I got it.” Adam says as he misses again.

“Adam.” Lawrence’s voice is serious.

“Lawrence.”

I’m serious, let me help.” Lawrence gently removes the needle from his grip. He kneels down with the needle in hand and looks up at Adam. Adam flushes a little. He does like Lawrence on his knees, he can’t deny.

“Which side do you prefer?”

“Um…right I guess.” Adam shifts a little.

“Alright.” He feels one of Lawrence’s hands press downs gently on his stomach, pressing the skin and fat taunt. It’s something he’s done himself countless times. But Lawrence’s hand feels incredibly steady and solid against him.

“I’m gonna do it now, you ready?” Lawrence aims the needle at the patch of skin with all the precision that Adam would expect of a medical professional. It shouldn’t be as hot as it is to him.

“Yeah.” The prick of the needle is barely noticable next to the feeling of Lawrence’s hand, and then it’s done. Lawrence smooths a band aid over the tiny dot of blood and it’s over. It took about a mintute total.

“There we go.”

“Thanks Doc. Do I get a gold star?” Adam says sarcastically.

“You can have two.” Lawrence says as he gets up off the ground, taking a second to adjust his weight on his new leg.

“Good deal.”

ii. 3 months.

They’ve been here for over an hour.

Lawrence has experienced some long hours in stores before, Diana had dragged him on many toy store adventures on his days off. Alison had also managed to get him on a few of her shopping trips back in the day. Adam though, Adam takes the cake for the longest shopper he’s ever spent time with. By a long shot.

Lawrence tries to be subtle when he checks his watch, he knows it pisses Adam off if he feels rushed. But the quick glance he gets confirms his suspicion. Over an hour. And that’s just looking at the curtains. He’ll be surprised if they leave IKEA before it closes. This might have to be a two-day shopping trip.

In a way, it’s his fault. He’d been the one to propose the shopping trip. It’d be nice, he’d said, to get some things for their apartment. Nothing major, just a few things they could agree on together. A little relationship experiment, in a way. Adam had loved the idea, and now Lawrence understood why.

That was easier said than done. They have very different styles, a fact Adam attributes to Lawrence being “basically fifty.” If his tone wasn’t so obviously joking Lawrence might’ve felt embarrassed. He does wonder sometimes what people see when they look at him and Adam, due to their age difference. Do they see boyfriends? Or something else?

In any case, they’re in the curtains section. Adam has been stuck looking at two sections of material. Lawrence has to admit, the amount of focus in his expression is incredibly endearing.

“Do you need help deciding?” He offers. Being down to two samples is progress, he decides they’d begun the visit with five.

“I got this Larry.” Adam says without even making eye contact. He’s completely enraptured, it’s a little bit endearing Lawrence can’t lie. But they do have other things to do today, and he’d rather not stay overnight in an IKEA.

“You know they close in an hour.” Lawrence says lightly. In return he gets an absolutely lethal dirty look.

“Thanks for that Larry.” Adam sighs, his eyes returning to the curtain selctions before him in annoyance.

“I’ve never really…shopped for this kinda thing before.” He says, almost shyly, not looking at Lawrence. Lawrence stares at him for a minute in confusion.

“What?”

“It’s not like I had the money or anything.” Adam murmurs and Lawrence feels like kicking himself. Of course he hadn’t. Money is still a bit of a tricky topic between them at this stage in their relationship, and sometimes Lawrence forgets himself a little.

“You’re right, that was insensitive. You can look at them for as long as you want.” Adam gives him an absolutely winning smile in reward, and Lawrence feels any left over dregs of irritation begin to slide off him.

“Thanks. You’re paying right?”

“Do I look like your sugar daddy?” Lawrence snorts. Adam stares at him for a long moment before his face curls into a little smirk.

“I mean...yeah. A little.”

“Shut up.” Lawrence grumbles.

“I love you too.” Adam says back cheerfully as he loops an arm around Lawrence’s waist. “They don’t have good curtains here anyway.”

 

iii. 6 months.

“We should get a cat.” Lawrence looks at Adam from where he’s seated on the kitchen counter one morning. He’s cross-legged, in his boxers and eating a bowl of cereal that Lawrence heavily suspects is Diana’s lucky charms. Lawrence has long since given up trying to get Adam to not sit on the counter, as long as he keeps his feet down.

“What?” He’s not sure where this train of thought came from.

“A cat. We should get one.” Adam repeats, taking another bite of his cereal.

“Why?” It’s all Lawrence can think to ask at the moment.

“Because they’re cool. I’ve always wanted a cat.” Lawrence can’t really argue with that. He wasn’t allowed to have pets as a child so his experience is fairly limited. But he’s seen Adam fawn over some of the strays that linger around their apartment over the past year.

“Does this apartment even allow pets?” Lawrence wonders outloud, he’ll have to check the lease. It hadn’t been a priority when he’d first moved in, before Adam had come to live with him.

“I won’t tell if you won’t.” Adam shrugs, finishing off his cereal and dropping the bowl and spoon into the sink with a loud clattering noise. Lawrence snorts, he has no doubt that Adam would sneak a cat into their place if he could get away with it.

“Very funny. I can check in with the lease, and we can talk about it.” He kisses Adam’s forehead as he passes him.

“How’s Diana feel about cats?” Adam asks.

“She likes them, she likes most animals. We talked about getting her a dog, but it never ended up happening.” It was true, he and Alison had been worried about Diana being lonely since she was an only child. A dog would’ve helped with that, but the mechanics of actually owning a dog had proved extremely difficult.

“You don’t really strike me as a dog guy.” Adam says. He has a brief mental vision of Lawrence trying to walk a dog and almost laughs.

“I’m not.” Lawrence agrees. “Alison liked them more than me.”

“She might be cooler than you.” Adam points out jokingly.

“It’s possible.” Lawrence says dryly. Adam does actually laugh at that, earning him a good-natured swat from Lawrence. Then the pair of them actually need to get ready for the day.

“You’ll at least consider it, won’t you?” Adam says as Lawrence steps outside their apartment, giving him a kiss goodbye.

“Of course.” Lawrence assures him.

iv. One year.

Their anniversary is coming up tomorrow. It strikes him as he’s walking home from a day out, nearly making him physically stop in his tracks. How has that much time gone by? How did he not notice? Why didn’t he write anything on the fucking calendar?

They try not to acknowledge the anniversary of when they met, for obvious reasons, and that was a few weeks ago. But this will be the anniversary of them, them being together, them living together.

Adam has no idea what he’s going to do. Making it to a year-long anything in his life feels surreal. Is it insensitive to even want to celebrate? Their one year anniversary comes on the tail end of the anniversary of Lawrence’s divorce. Maybe he won’t want to celebrate at all.

Adam wonders if he should bring it up. Scratch that, he knows he should bring it up, he just doesn’t know how to do that.

He thinks about it all day while Lawrence is out, he’s working late again. He still hasn't come to any sort of grand plan. Fuck his brain, fuck his anxiety, he still needs to actually talk to Lawrence about it.

So he brings it up when the pair of them are washing dishes together that night. Something about the repetitive nature of cleaning is something both him and Lawrence find soothing. His therapist has said that’s the best time to bring up something stressful. So Adam tries it.

“Soo...our anniversary is tomorrow.” He’s not winning any awards for subtly, but he’s not trying to.

“So it is. Do you...want to do anything for it?” How dare Lawrence beat him to his own question. He even planned the timing for it and everything.

“You’re not gonna believe it Larry but I was about to ask the same thing.” Adam says, drying a plate off absently.

“Sorry for mind reading.” Adam splashes Lawrence with some of the dish water, making him jump back, and both of them burst out laughing. It helps ease a little bit of the anxiety he can feel starting to build between them. Neither of them wants to say the wrong thing and hurt the other.

“But honestly Larry, do you want to do anything?” Adam glances over at him to see his reaction. He doesn’t get one for a minute as Lawrence focuses on washing the next dish.

“We can just...take it easy.” Lawrence says. “I mostly just want to spend time with you.”

“You’re not just saying that because you’re feeling guilty about celebrating?” Adam prods, maybe he shouldn’t. Lawrence sighs, and Adam knows he’s onto something.

“I won’t lie and say I don’t feel that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to spend time with you.” Lawrence responds earnestly. Adam’s touched, truly.

“That sounds perfect.” Adam means it, and Lawrence looks at him almost relieved. They finish the dishes together in warm silence.

V. One year and a day

Lawrence is half an hour late and doesn’t call. Adam’s trying to not get stressed about it, but having been literally kidnapped before makes it difficult. It’s hard not to imagine the worst case scenario when he’s literally lived it.

Lawrence had been late a few nights this week, now that he’s thinking about it, and Adam’s seen him coming in with bags that never seem to appear in the house and that Lawrence never addresses. He’s going to ask him about it, Adam decides.

When Lawrence finally walks in the door, Adam is beyond relieved and is about to throw himself at his boyfriend when he stops. Lawrence’s something in each of Lawrence’s hands. In one is his usual briefcase, no surprise there. The other has...what looks like a cat carrier with a towel draped over it.

No fucking way. There’s no fucking way.

“Is that...?” He trails off when a tiny noise comes from the carrier. In one motion he drops to his knees and peers under the towel. When he peers inside he’s met with a round brown and white face with only one eye looking back at him. He’s in love instantly.

“I tried to get him in time for our anniversary, but they needed to give him his vaccinations. Everything else is here though, food and toys and whatever else.” Lawrence’s voice is mildly apologetic, like he hasn’t fulfilled one of Adam’s lifelong dreams. Adam can barely think of what to say.

“What’s his name?” Adam definitely isn’t getting choked up, not at all.

“I thought you could name him.” Lawrence says, setting the carrier down lightly on the apartment floor. Adam looks back into the carrier, considering this decision with all the heaviness he can muster.

“I think he looks like a Jimmy. We can call him one-eyed Jimmy.” Adam says with a great deal of finality. Lawrence chuckles a little but doesn’t argue.

“Sounds perfect.” Adam turns his attention away from the newly named cat and throws his arms around his boyfriend and gives him a big fat kiss on the cheek.

“Thank you.” His voice is almost shaking with joy. One of Lawrence’s hands is rubbing his back lightly,

“Happy anniversary.” Lawrence murmurs warmly, just barely muffled into Adam’s shoulder as the pair holds onto each other for a long time.

vi. One year and a week.

Adam wakes up to go to work at a little past eight thirty in the morning. He’s not on a fixed schedule like Lawrence, he still prefers doing shit more freelance. Maybe one day he’ll settle down a bit more, but today isn’t that day.

Lawrence is still asleep on his stomach with Jimmy curled up by his feet, Adam is careful not to wake him. He’s been having a lot of late nights recently, he needs all the sleep he can get. Adam is extremely pleased at how well Jimmy has been settling in

“Adam?” Lawrence raises his head groggily as Adam is almost out of the room, literally one foot out of the door. Adam almost curses outloud, he was so damn close to making it.

“Shhh, go back to sleep.” Adam whispers as soothingly as he can. Lawrence blinks slowly at him, reminding Adam of their cat, before settling back into bed.

“Love you.” Lawrence mumbles into his pillow as he dozes back off. It’s a truly wonderful sight, seeing his boyfriend get some much-needed rest.

“Love you too.” Adam responds, closing their bedroom door behind him as quietly as he can.