One of the most memorable ways that you said I love you was how you’d shout it out when you returned home. No matter where you’d gone or for how long, I could always rely on those words resonating through our apartment, followed shortly by the click of the door as it shut. You’d search me out, usually finding me in the middle of editing, and you’d wrap your arms around me, whispering it into my ear with a grin.
“I love you.”
After our first time, we were both tired and huddled together under the blankets, you the larger spoon and I the little. We fell asleep like that, do you remember? The next morning you woke me up with a chaste kiss on the cheek and with your hoarse voice saying those words again, pouring your whole soul into them, even with the roughness of the morning.
“I love you.”
The most passionate you ever sounded while saying it was during our first real fight. I’d been getting a lot of hateful comments and had been really sad and snippy at you, though you hadn’t done anything wrong. I just wanted to be left alone, but you kept insistently asking what the matter was. I remember snapping and asking why you cared anyways, that it wasn’t a big deal. You screamed those words at me then.
“Because I love you, you idiot! That’s why it matters. Why it will always matter.”
There were cavity-inducingly sweet times when those words were uttered by you as well. It was a week before Christmas, and we were sitting in your kitchen, drinking tea. This was during our fourth month of dating, so we hadn’t gotten our apartment yet. You drank Green tea and I drank peppermint. We were sitting in comfortable silence when you murmured it so quietly that I could barely hear, and I’m not sure that I was meant to.
“I love you.”
Do you remember the first time you confessed to me? Probably not, as if you had, I think we would’ve started dating a bit sooner. It was during PAX East, when we had that big party in Mini’s hotel room. We played drinking games through the night, and slowly everybody fell off to sleep except us. I remember how scared I was to meet all of you, scared that I wouldn’t meet your and the boy’s expectations, but I blew it all off with fake confidence and loud laughter. You were clutching your beer, one arm draped over my shoulder when you said it, slurring it into my ear before you fell asleep.
“Delirious? Hey? Guess what? I luuuuv you.”
The most important time you said it was on a Tuesday afternoon. The sun was shining, illuminating your hair as you said your vows to me, promising to stay true to me forever. Your tux fit snugly against your chest and your smile was blinding through my teary eyes. All of our friends were there too, smiling happily for us as you finished quietly.
“I love you Jonathan. With all of my heart.”
I loved the way your eyes would sparkle when you were happy, whether it was when you were really excited about how a video turned out or whether it was when we came out to your parents and they accepted us with open arms. Your eyes sparkled for the little things too, like when I got us tickets to your favorite hockey team’s end of season game, smile lines creasing the corners of your eyes as you pulled me into a tight hug and said the words.
“God, I love you.”
Then there was the time you disappeared without a trace for two days. Or, I guess, the first time. We were living together by that point, so to suddenly have you gone, with no explanation, was terrifying. I called all of our friends, Mini, Brock, Tyler, none of them had heard from you. When you came back and told me that you’d had urgent family matters to attend to, I was rightfully pissed that there’d been no warning or contact. But the anger faded away as you pulled me into a tight embrace and apologetically said the magic words.
“It won’t happen again, I love you Del.”
We were meeting up with the rest of the group and had decided to make cookies for them. This decision may or may not have been influenced by a small amount of vodka and the knowledge that Tyler was finally going to propose to Mini. You tossed a bit of flour into my face and chuckled while I sputtered indignantly. I got you back though, cracking an egg into your hair while you had your back turned. Our food fight went on until the entire kitchen was a mess and we were late. As we cleaned up you leant towards me and licked some sugar off of my cheek. I stood there, staring at you in disbelief as you burst into another round of laughter and said it again.
“Gotcha’ bitch. Love ya.”
But none of that fucking mattered, did it? Not to you at least. It’d been a long few days of recording and so I’d decided to go to bed early. I let you know and you gave me a hug and a goodnight, but once I was in bed I couldn’t get to sleep. I tossed and turned without you in bed with me, but I didn’t want to distract you from editing. At around eleven I heard your soft voice coming from the other room, and I strained to hear what you were saying. You were talking to someone, maybe on the phone, maybe on Skype, but what you were saying… I continued listening, until I heard you say it, and then I covered my head with my pillow and tried to ignore you, tried to ignore the tears that threatened to spill from my eyes. But the last thing I heard you say still rattled around in my head, even after you’d joined me and had your arms wrapped around my chest, the words that you'd said to a stranger.
“I know babe, I love you too.”
It was three months into our relationship before things got intimate. It seems like a long time, doesn’t it? But we were happy and content just playing games and having longer Skype chats with one another. We were at my house when it happened. You had come over for a movie night and we had gotten a bit… distracted you could say. Our kisses soon became heated and clothing was quickly shed. I knelt down in front of you while you stayed sat on the couch, and softly stroked your erection. Your moans filled the room, only getting louder once i’d wrapped my lips around you. Slowly licking and sucking I’d brought you to the edge, and you’d come, with a shuddering gasp, crying out the words like a mantra.
“I love you, I love you, oh god, Jonathan, I love you I love you…”
You brought me to see the stars a couple months after our engagement. It’d been so cliched, with you blindfolding me on the way there and with the picnic, but it was adorable. You made us sandwiches and cookies, although the latter were slightly burnt. We stayed there for hours, talking, and you just kept telling me to wait. When the stars finally began appearing, your proud grin was brighter than any of them. We lay there under the stars, the only light coming from the moon, the stars and the flashlight you’d brought. You turned towards me, grinning and said the words to me, as if I was a miracle, your miracle.
“I love you so much.”
After we’d gotten together, but before we’d moved in, we sent each other letters. It was cheesy, and unnecessary, but it was our thing, I guess. You sent the first one, and I remember that the stamp had a dog on it. I always seem to remember the little things, like the stamp, and the exact hue of your eyes, and the way your hand felt while it was caressing my cheek and… Anyways. You sent me this letter, short, concise, but still sweet. You seemed so proud of yourself for this idea, and I loved that, that pride of yours. Once we moved in together the letters stopped, but I still remember how you signed each of them off.
I Love you.
You were secretive of our relationship at first, which was understandable. We never told the subscribers, but we did tell our friends. Before that, however, you used to love teasing me while we were with them, trying to make me as uncomfortable and as aroused as possible. It was all in good fun. One time in particular stuck with me though. We had all gotten together and were walking down a street to a restaurant that Nogla knew when you got real close, stealthily grabbing my ass, and whispering those same words so sensually that our friends were asking me about why my face was so red for the next fifteen minutes, and each time they did it just reminded me of your voice.
“Hey Jon? I’d love to fuck you into the sheets tonight. Love you babe.”
The time you seemed most proud to tell me that you loved me was when you proposed. We were, again, with our friends, and by then they were used to the idea of us being together. We’d gone ice skating, and I still don’t know how you managed to keep your balance as you knelt on one knee. I don’t remember ever being so happy as then, with my tears of joy slowly freezing on my bright pink cheeks, to the whoops and hollers of our friends as I drew you into a fierce kiss, to you declaring your love for me for all who’d stopped to stare to hear as you slipped the ring onto my finger. I’ve never been able to forget exactly how you sounded in that moment.
“Jonathan, I really, truly love you with all of my heart.”
Then there was that time that you caught me mid panic attack. I don’t honestly remember what it was about, but it was bad. I was in our bedroom, you were supposed to be out, but you came home early. You gently took hold of my wrists to stop me from scratching myself and from pulling out any more hair. You were gentle, you were calm, and you weren’t overbearing. When I finally began to calm my body went limp and you caught me in your arms, quietly muttering to me, over and over.
“It’s okay Jon, I love you, It’ll be okay, I love you, I love you, I love you.”
I was drunk as hell. It was a week after I’d heard you on the phone, and I hadn’t confronted you about it. I couldn’t, because to confront would be to admit that something was wrong and I wanted so badly to believe that everything was okay and that you still loved me. You were gone, said you’d be home by eight. I was waiting in the kitchen until nine thirty before pulling out a beer. And then a glass of wine. And another, and another, until I could hardly see straight from both the alcohol and my tears. My hands shook as I cried. When I heard the door open my head shot up and my grip on my glass loosened. It fell to the ground, shattering. You ran in, worried, and your eyes went wide at the sight before you. I don’t remember much after that, except for the faint red mark on your neck and the words you spoke to me as you swept up the glass.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you. I love you.”
I still miss our Skype calls from when we had only just gotten together, full of cheesy puns and pickup lines. We talked about whatever we wanted, and we were happy. They always made me forget how far apart we were, with you in Canada and me in North Carolina. We talked about getting an apartment together, and when we finally found one you said those words again in that voice, from a completely different country with the knowledge that we’d be together soon.
“I love you.”
I’m a cuddler, always have been. One of my favorite things to do with you was to watch movies or curl up in bed with you with our bodies pressed together. There was no room between us, and it was moments like those that made me really realize how much I loved you. You too, I suppose, as you were almost guaranteed to say so, less serious and more joking, mimicking the voices of our friends and favorite TV shows characters, but always with the same message. (I think your favorite to do was Darth Vader.)
“Jonathan… I. am, in love with you.”
I don’t know that you ever told me what your greatest fear was, but I know that you knew mine. You actually found out before we even got together, before we even met in person. All of the boys did as well. We’d all promised to log on to play GMod at 5:00pm, but there was a storm where I was. I logged in and joined Skype and broke down before we even started playing. I remember a worse time though, and I’m sure you do too. It was horrible, there was thunder so loud we had to scream to hear one another, and lightning so bright that with every flash you were able to clearly see the panic etched onto my face. We were in Florida for our third convention all together, and the parking lots were so jam packed that we parked practically a mile away. I couldn’t stand being outside when the lightning flashed, and so you, god you were so understanding and helpful, you played a run and hide game with me. You’d count the seconds and between the bursts of light we’d run before hiding in the next shop a second or two later. At last, we ran out of buildings to find shelter in. We were soaking and shaking, although my quivers had more to do with sheer blind panic than the cold. You held me tight as you explained through the rushing in my ears that we had to do one last run across the parking lot to our car. I nodded numbly and you gripped me tight against your chest, mumbling.
“Oh baby, I’m so sorry about this. I love you, okay? I love you, don’t worry.”
The second convention that I went to, right after the one where you got drunk off your ass and before the one with the storm, was the one where I actually went to the convention, instead of just hanging out with you guys in hotel rooms. I still hadn’t shown my face, so I was worried that people would see me with you guys and make the connection. You and the others spent weeks trying to convince me to come and see how amazing it was for myself, and I’d finally cracked and agreed. The morning of though, I wimped out right before we were going to leave. I felt guilty, but justified. Then you, you bitch, ha, you just turned around as you and the others were walking away and said those words that the others hadn’t heard you say to me and that made me come running after you.
“Okay then Delirious. Love you.”
I was drunk again when you said those words and it made me so angry that I threw the bottle of Jack Daniels across the room where it shattered into shards both large and small. It’d been weeks now since I’d heard you tell someone else that you loved them, and ‘d been seeing the signs become more and more noticeable, as if you weren’t even trying to hide it anymore. The giggles when you were texting, the lovestruck look when you were on the phone, the fact that you never told me who it was that you called every morning at seven. You came home with hickeys, Evan. Hickeys. A few days before this incident, I’d spent the night over at Luke’s, trying to help him fix his car. I found a lacy pink bra under the bed when I got back. I locked myself in our room with some (a lot) of alcohol and got drunk as shit at 3pm in the middle of the goddamn day, staring at the offending object. You got home from the store, probably saw the mess I’d made in the kitchen in my desperate attempt to find the liquid that I was downing like water, and had immediately come and knocked on the door to our room. You sounded concerned, and I remember drunkenly yelling at you to fuck off. There was silence, and then I heard your voice, muffled by the door, say those words and I threw the almost empty bottle of liquor against it.
“I hope you talk to me about this later. I love you Jonathan.”
For our five month anniversary you wrote me a song. You told me that you were going to sing it to me in person but that you chickened out. We laughed at that, though I secretly wished that you’d sung it to me then. However, I gave you a hug and told you that I loved it regardless. You told me to listen to it when I was missing you, and not until then. I chuckled, but obliged. I listened to it earlier today, because although you broke me, for some reason I still miss you. I miss the old you though, not the person that you became. You made me cry today with that song.
“Don’t worry, I’ll always be here. I love you my little Jon.”
After overhearing that Skype call, everything just went downhill so quickly. I still had hope though, that we’d be okay. That the call wasn’t real, that you still loved me. That hope shattered when I came into our room one night in ‘the Mood.’ You just pushed me aside and said that you really needed to finish editing a video of yours. I said of course, although my heart was sinking. You hadn’t touched me in weeks. As you walked out of our bedroom I told you I loved you and you carelessly threw those words at me, no passion, no feeling, just empty syllables. Then, I thought it was the first time you had said those words without meaning them, but now I just wonder if it was the first time I noticed.
“Yeah Jon, I love you too.”
I remember how much of a fucking tease you used to be Evan. You’d take me on these dates out to fancy restaurants and you’d get me all riled up and horny before we were even halfway through our meals. You’d make me sit through dessert and all the way back home before you’d even kiss me properly. When you did though… we’d kiss on our way to our bedroom, bumping into walls and shedding clothing as we went and it was like a fire had been lit between the two of us. You’d push me onto the bed and raise your eyebrow, a small smirk pulling at the corner of your mouth just begging to turn into a full-fledged grin before speaking.
“You ready Jon? Cause I fucking love you and your tight little ass.”
You broke me. I sat there, after confrontation, as you tried to explain to me. But what good were your words Evan? What good were they when, just a few minutes before, you’d been hastily ushering that woman out of our house, out of our bedroom? What good were your words of reason when, before she left, she asked who I was and what did I mean I was your husband? It’s not okay that you used her, It’s not okay that I no longer trust any of the love that you ever said you had for me because Evan, if you were able to so easily use her, who is to say that you have not been using me for longer than I am aware of? It’s not okay that you lied to me, that you lied to her, that you had sex with her in the bed where we made love on our wedding night. On sweet summer days, on the days that weren’t so great that were made okay by the fact that you were there. It’s not okay that you said those words to me, even as I was dead, even after you’d killed me.
“Jonathan, please. I love you.”
We used to fuck with our friends so much once we’d told them about us (read: found out when you said you loved me in order to get me to go to that fucking convention). Whenever we played and Wildcat started riding our asses about how ‘damn coupley’ we were, we’d just keep going. We voiced exaggerated moans, and made our characters practically grope each other. We had to scrap so much footage, I swear. One time though, one time you said those words, and they flowed out of your mouth like honey. I remember slamming my headphones down without shutting anything off and half-running to your room, where you were waiting. You left your mic on and your computer running as you fucked me on your desk right there and then. Tyler was being a dick that day anyways, though I don’t think he talked to either of us for a week afterwards. All I cared about however, was the sensual way you said those words, vibrating through my very soul.
“I love you Delirious.”
The last time you said I love you to me was when I left. You'd already said your piece, I'd said mine, and I was done. I was just… done, Evan. I packed my bags while you were out ‘taking a breather’ so that we could ‘talk about this’. Meaning that you'd give more excuses vaguely disguised as explanations. But we’d already talked, Evan, and you'd been talking about it, whether you realized it or not, ever since I heard you tell someone else that you loved them, ever since I'd caught you with bruise marks littering your neck, ever since I'd found that bra, ever since I'd seen you fucking someone else in our bed, Evan I was done talking. I was done with you. I sat with my bags as I waited for you to come back. I thought about leaving while you were gone, but decided against it. I felt so dead and broken and you came back with mussed up hair and disheveled clothes drunk off your ass six hours later. You came in quietly, no ‘I love you’ entrance, and froze when you saw me with my bags. I'd already called Luke to come get some of my larger things, like my setup, so I only had a couple of duffel bags. You saw me and your face was overcome with guilt. You opened and closed your mouth a few times, looking for words, but not finding any. I told you I was done and that I’d be staying with Luke for now. As I walked out the door you called after me.
“Please don’t leave Jonathan. I love you.”
“No you don’t.” I replied.
And then I was gone.