Really, now. It shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. In one moment, Jean was proud to have finally secured them a store associate and had called over his shoulder to tell Marco as much. In the next, he’d excused himself after realizing that not only was his fiancée not beside him, but that he wasn’t simply one aisle over.
It was no matter, really. Jean ran back to the associate, confirming his intention to purchase a certain dining room set while agreeing to make payment during the ten minutes it would take to for the furniture to meet him at the exit.
“You don’t want to check with your—“
“Nope.” Jean cut him off, biting his lip on a half-smile. “I want this one.”
Heading to the front of the store, Jean paid attention to his peripheral vision whilst imagining how when he finally found him, the look on Marco’s face was going to be priceless.
The Day Before…
“Come on, Jean!” The words nearly spat from Marco’s mouth, as he pointed at the worn Ikea catalog. Desperate to get Jean’s attention, he scurried forward after all four feet to the rickety, decrepit chair he sat in hit the floor. “It’s perfect!”
The stoic expression across Jean’s face had been enough for Marco to see that the expansive, mahogany dining room table—complete with four chairs and a bench—wasn’t quite what Jean had in mind. Even Marco was surprised at how Jean not also being in love with the dining room set somehow managed to hurt him. Marco tried, but ultimately failed to curb his disappointment, and within seconds it was obvious to Jean in the way his face inevitably fell.
“Aw, c’mon, Marco.” He started apologetically. “It’s just… What do we even need that big a table for?”
Jean knew as well as Marco that the answer lie not in the size of the table, or the fact that they could finally afford furniture of its caliber. No, Jean realized, to Marco a table like this was bound to mean so much more.
Sturdy was the first thought that came to mind. At seven feet long and three-and-a-half feet wide of solid wood, this table was designed to go the distance. “Just like us.” He could imagine hearing Marco say. You know. If Marco were prone to sentimental, tacky crap.
Instead, Marco put on a different smile, insisting they take another look at “less decadent” options. Ultimately, Jean had agreed to spend the day traipsing from one end of Ikea to the other, whilst trying various dining rooms out for size.
He’d waited for Marco to stand up from the old, nearly broken chair and leave their hand-me-down dining table before texting Connie to please have his big-ass pickup truck at the ready whenever they finally walked out of Ikea’s doors.
Now, on his way to the register, Jean contemplated how great it would be to have the store page a small, freckled child to his guardian now waiting at the front of the store.
Jean’s musings were cut short, however, the moment he finally laid eyes on Marco. Slouched on a bench discreetly off to the side, sat a slumped-over, peacefully sleeping Marco. Simply another casualty of the weekend furniture retail war, to most people the angel-faced brunet went by unnoticed. To Jean, he was everything.
As with most things in life, Marco had a knack for seeing something—or someone—and just knowing. It’d been this quiet intuition that had led Marco to him in the first place; an uppity punk kid with high ambitions and little tolerance for asshattery. It had been Marco’s matter-of-fact, yet selfless attitude that had drawn Jean right back to him, and it was that same selflessness that had kept them running around the labyrinthine furniture store when Marco had known what he’d wanted in the first place.
Finished paying, Jean plunked own onto the bench next to his fiancée, rolling Marco’s head onto his own shoulder. Smiling as Marco began to stir, he pretended to have been sitting alongside him all along.
“Mm,” Marco yawned, the action causing him to emit a small squeak. “Hey, man. Didn’t mean to wander off on you. Much less fall asleep…”
“No worries, dude. If you don’t mind, though, I think I’m ready to go.”
Marco simultaneously looked to his watch and raised his eyebrows, clearly surprised by the amount of time that had passed by.
“Yeah! Totally.” A palette carrying a large box, with a familiar looking table pictured on its side passed by in the same moment that Marco raised a hand to wipe the sleep from his eyes. “I guess we’ll just pick this up another day.”
Smiling sweetly and patting Jean’s knee, his eyes trailed after the palette as it was guided through the door.
“Or…” There was a playful lilt to Jean’s voice, which successfully caught all of Marco’s attention. “Or we could just let these guys load that onto Connie’s truck, and we can watch him struggle to get in our house all on his own.”
All at once, Marco’s demeanor changed. What had once looked like casual complacency now paled in comparison to the light that exuded from his smile.
“Are you serious?”
Marco couldn’t help it. With a grin a mile wide, Marco punched Jean playfully in the shoulder, his tongue peeking adorably from between his teeth.
Beaming with pride, Jean accepted the backhanded thank-you while throwing a punch of his own.
“Yeah. Well. You were right.” He had no trouble admitting. “That table is definitely us.”
“Mmhm.” Standing up, Marco snaked an arm around Jean’s waist as they prepared to make their way home. “Pretty sure everyone will fit comfortably around this thing for D&D. We can probably even save a few of the old chairs.”
“’Right.” Jean agreed. “That’ll work.”
Roleplay games would be had, for sure. Jean knew, of course, that game nights were not the crux of the table’s appeal to Marco. He was far too much a planner for that.
No, to Marco the table had the capacity to be everything.
Painfully early breakfasts after fucking each other into early hours of a weekday morning.
A place of trust and comfort to serve family and friends.
Still-quiet daydreams involving new laughter, spilled food and maybe even high chairs.
Marco didn’t have to say it in order for Jean to know. It was an investment in their future.