7.29: Husband & Wife

Note: Some NSFW screenshots near the end, including nudity.

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So… Gigi and I got married yesterday.

Holy shit. That is so fucking weird to write.

But pretty freaking amazing too.

I still can’t really believe it though.

That gorgeous, strong, and incredible woman snoring over there in that bed…

Is my wife.

Yesterday still feels like it was a dream or something. I mean, it definitely wasn’t the wedding I’d always imagined I’d have someday.

But it was perfect anyway.

It was just like I said before — the second I looked at Gigi and said “I do”, all that crap I was worrying about before just disappeared. The only thing that mattered was her.

And I’ll be honest… I’d been pretty freaking nervous leading up to the wedding. Mostly because of our families.

Our parents all took the news a little hard, I guess. Including the part about moving to the US (but at least nobody’s heads exploded like I thought they would?). Once the initial shock wore off though, they were a lot more calm about it, thank God. They were even happy for me. And they still have a few more months before they have to worry about the move anyway.

It was the wedding that everybody’s been going on and on about for the past few weeks. I can’t even tell you how many times we’ve gotten the freaking third degree about whether we’re “doing it for the right reasons”. We had to deal with so many lectures from Mama and Dev and Papa and Rubi… They were treating us like we were little kids or something. Mama and I even got in a pretty big fight about it.

Plus Gigi’s parents were pretty damn shocked too. And for some reason, they refused to believe that this was Gigi’s idea. They were making it out like I’m some kind of mustache-twirling villain out to steal their daughter or something. It was really ridiculous. And I’m pretty sure her dad was convinced we were really doing it because I got her pregnant or something. Yeah, that was fun to try and deal with.

I was so scared that our wedding would basically be ruined by all this stupid drama. I felt so sick about it, right up til that morning.

But I dunno what changed. Maybe it was just seeing us up there saying our vows or something. Or maybe they finally realized that this is our life, and it’s what we both want.

No matter what the reason was, in the end, they were all just so happy for us.

And was so happy having them all there for us too. It meant everything to me to see everybody coming together like that and finally supporting us.

Especially Mama and Papa.

I heard them talking after the ceremony about how fast I’ve grown up and how scary this whole thing is… But about how proud they are of me too. All that cheesy stuff. Mama started crying. Then Papa gave her a hug.

I hadn’t seen them do that in a long, long time.

And I guess knowing we’re leaving for the US in just a couple months helped make it all feel even more special. It was like this one last awesome day where all the people we love got to come together and be happy. To celebrate me and Gigi and the next step of our lives together.

I just wish Opi could have been there. He was the only thing missing. I think we could all feel it.

It’s been over a year since he died, but some days still hurt like hell. He was more than just my Opa… He always felt like another Papa too.

With him gone, I’m the last real Rosebrook left in my whole family. It’s all up to me now. I’m the one who gets to carry on his family’s name… his legacy.

I just wanna make him proud.

And I really think he would be, if he could see me now. He’d want me to be happy with Gigi and go after my dream. I mean, he went after HIS all those years ago. He worked his ass off for it! And it totally paid off.

I was really glad we could have dinner at his restaurant after the ceremony. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really felt like we had a piece of him there with us or something.

It helped make yesterday feel even more perfect.

It really ended up being such an amazing day, but it all went by so fast. The whole thing was basically over before we knew it.

We didn’t spend the night at a hotel or anything. Once it was all over, we just came back home to my apartment… Well, our apartment now, I guess. Gigi’s gonna live with me full time now, until we head to the US. As soon as our marriage license gets filed, we’re sending in all the paperwork for my visa.

And then, in less than four months, we’ll be in Brindleton Bay. Together.

And speaking of together, we were both so freaking giddy when we got home last night… I don’t think either of us could really believe we’d done it — we’re married now. Husband and wife. Together. Forever. How freaking awesome is that?!

We decided not to waste any time — I mean, it was our wedding night. That only happens once in your life, right? We were practically ripping each other’s clothes off the second we got through the door.

We didn’t even make it to the bedroom.

Well, not for the first time, anyway.

And then we went to go clean up after, and…

It was seriously one of the best nights of fucking I think we’ve ever had. It was so hot and fun and it just felt… different, somehow. Which I know makes no sense. Signing a piece of paper shouldn’t make sex feel any better or different or anything… But I swear to God, it did.

We’ve both always liked things a little rough… But I was really happy Gigi didn’t ask me to tie her down or make her call me ‘sir’ or any of that other roleplaying stuff we usually do. Not that I don’t love all that… I totally do.

But honestly? I love it the most when we don’t have to pretend. When we can just be ourselves.

It felt real, y’know? We were just Phoenix and Gigi. Husband and wife. Fucking each other’s brains out and just… enjoying each other. It was perfect.

And I just know the rest of our lives together will be too. I don’t know what I was so worried about before.

Leaving my home and my family behind for the next few years is gonna hurt like hell.

But I’m gonna have my beautiful wife right beside me through it all.

And I know we’ll be okay.

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7.28: Sucky

“Okay, I promised Phee I wouldn’t go too crazy… So what about this?” Tam’s voice reached Jasper’s ears from the other side of the room.

He glanced up from the computer screen, peeking over his shoulder at his boyfriend. His lip curled into a smile. “How did I know you’d pick the Triforce one?”

“Um, because it’s the greatest shirt I own?” Tam laughed.

Obviously. It was a gift from the best boyfriend ever, after all.” Jasper gave him a small wink before turning his attention back to the computer screen. “It looks great.” He called as he went back to reading the article he’d been studying. “But honestly, I bet Phoenix doesn’t really care what you wear.” His voice trailed off slightly as he began reading once more. “He’ll just be happy you’re there.”

“Hmm… Good point.” Tam agreed. “So I’m good to break out the elf ears then? Go for the full Link look?”

“Sure.” Jasper muttered distractedly. His mind hadn’t even fully grasped what Tam had told him… He was too engrossed in his studies once more.

Tam stepped closer to him as he continued. “Great! So you’ll be Princess Zelda then?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Perfect! Just gotta make sure your dress doesn’t upstage Gigi’s… ”

“Mm. Yeah.”

Jasper nearly jumped as he felt a warm hand touch his shoulder.

“Jas… You know I love you. But it’d be kinda nice if you actually listened when I’m talking to you…” Though he smiled, Tam let out a soft sigh of annoyance as he spoke.

“Sorry…” Jasper gave him an apologetic smile as he gently lifted Tam’s hand from his shoulder and pressed his lips against it. “I’m just so caught up in this stupid article… I’ve gotta finish this analysis by Monday, and I barely even started.”

“I get it.” Tam assured him. “You’ve been kicking total ass this semester… might as well keep up that killstreak right?” He teased. “But your brother’s getting married today. In like two hours! And you aren’t even dressed yet.” He shook his head for a moment.

Jasper felt a bit of guilt rising up in his chest. He’s right. I’ve gotta chill out and focus on Phoenix. “I know, I know… You’re right.”

Tam winked at him. “Yup, like always.”

With a small laugh of amusement, Jasper finally rose to his feet. “Thanks for putting up with me lately… I know I haven’t been very fun…” His eyes suddenly lit up. “Oh! But speaking of fun, I forgot to tell you — like half the people from my chem class are going out for drinks tomorrow night… Celebrating that stupid project finally being over.” Jasper smiled. “You in? I’ve been dying for everybody to finally meet you!”

Just as he’d feared, the look on Tam’s face said it all.

“Oh, um… tomorrow? I wish I could… But I can’t.” It was so hard to tell whether his disappointment was genuine. “I’m supposed to stay late after work and help a couple newbies roll up their characters.” Tam explained. “The Wednesday night game group got a couple new people… And we still have room for one more, you know.” He added.

Judging by the look on his face, he’d already predicted Jasper’s answer.

Jasper sighed. Tam was always trying to talk him into joining one of his weeknight game groups. But things were so busy with school during the week. He just didn’t have the time. And they already did one game group together anyway. Wasn’t that enough?

“I’ll think about it.” Jasper gave his usual reply. “But hey — rolling up new characters isn’t gonna take all night, is it?” He asked. “You can always meet up with us after…”

Tam smiled softly, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I’ll probably be pretty wiped after my shift, but… Maybe.”

And just like that, Tam gave his usual reply too.

It felt like they’d barely seen each other for the past few weeks. Tam had been working a lot lately, and Jasper had been so busy with his studies that it took up most of his free time… They’d both been having such a hard time finding time for each other.

And every time the opportunity to go out with Jasper’s uni friends came up, Tam always seemed to have an excuse.

“Okay, well, we can talk about it more later.” Jasper suggested, trying to keep his tone casual. “Or maybe I can leave early and we can just hang out here when you get home from work instead?”

This time, Tam’s smile seemed so much more genuine. “I’d definitely be down for that! And don’t forget, we have those new costumes we still haven’t broken in yet…” He added with a wink.

He couldn’t help the smile that found its way onto his lips at Tam’s suggestion.

“It has been a while…” He admitted. Things had been so busy that they hadn’t had sex in over a week. Maybe that was what the real problem was… “Is it my turn to pick the theme this time?”

“Whatever you want.” Tam’s own smile widened. “You know I’m flexible.”

Jasper suddenly wished they didn’t have to leave for the wedding so soon. He could have taken him right then and there if he could. “Mm… Yeah, you are.”

Tam chuckled softly as his boyfriend pulled him in for a kiss.

“Okay,” Tam began as he finally pulled away from him. “I know you said Phee won’t care what we wear. But as much as you can totally pull off the shirtless-and-sweatpants look…”

Jasper laughed. “I know, I know… I’ll get ready.” He promised.

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Jasper smiled as he watched his brother and new sister-in-law making the rounds to talk to their small crowd of guests.

It had been a very small wedding… Just a short, simple courthouse ceremony followed by dinner at the restaurant that had belonged to Phoenix’s late grandfather. There were less than fifteen people in attendance, including Phoenix and Gigi. They’d decided only to invite their families. Plus Tam, of course. But then, he practically counted as family too, didn’t he?

And maybe he really will be, someday… Jasper and Tam had talked about their future together many times, but the possibility of marriage was something that still felt so far away. But seeing Phoenix and Gigi looking so happy and so in love… Well, it had certainly got him thinking.

“Man, look how happy they are.” He finally spoke some of his thoughts aloud. “I mean, they’re always happy together…. But I don’t know if I’ve ever seen them like this.

Tam nodded. “I know. It’s adorable.” He agreed.

Jasper hesitated a moment before allowing his next thought to pass his lips. “It still feels a little fast too though, doesn’t it?” He asked at last, his tone almost guilty. “I’m happy for them, obviously. And I know we were the ones who told Phoenix he should go to the US in the first place. But… you know what I mean.” They’d both privately shared some of their concerns with one another when Phoenix first announced their engagement. Jasper knew Tam was on the same page as him… But they’d both agreed to be supportive of Phoenix’s choice. And he felt so guilty holding on to some of his previous doubts. “I’m just still trying to wrap my head around it. All of a sudden, my brother’s married and moving thousands of kilometers away. It’s just… a lot.”

“It is. They grow up so fast…” Tam feigned wiping a tear from his eye as he spoke, letting out a small laugh. “No, but seriously… I get it.” He continued. “You know I feel the same way about this whole thing. And big changes like this always suck no matter what. For everybody.”

Jasper took a moment to consider Tam’s words before replying. “Well… Maybe not always. Sometimes change can be good, right?”

“Oh, it usually is.” Tam agreed. “But it almost always comes with something totally sucky too… It’s kinda like when you discover some kind of super kickass dungeon, right? We’re talking legendary-level loot hidden at the end of this thing. But you’ve gotta face hoards of zombies and spiders and shit before you can make it to the good stuff.”

Jasper couldn’t help but smile. Tam always had such a unique way of looking at the world. That was one of the things he loved most about him. “I guess you kinda have a point… Gotta work for it, right?” He asked with a smile.

His boyfriend nodded. “Exactly. It’s like when you decided you wanted to go to uni. It’s fucking awesome. You’re gonna be a goddamn scientist, Jas! That’s insane.” Tam’s smile faded slightly. “But… well, you know.”

“Know what?”

Tam shrugged. “There’s plenty of sucky shit we have to deal with before we get there.”

“Hmm… yeah, good point! There was definitely plenty of suckiness last semester, at least.” Jasper admitted with a small laugh. “But I think I finally got my shit together. I already beat the first level of the suck-dungeon!”

Tam’s smile flickered for just a moment. If Jasper had blinked, he probably would have missed it. “Not exactly what I meant…” He muttered. “But yeah, basically.”

Jasper’s brow furrowed slightly in confusion. “What did you mean, then?”

Before Tam had a chance to reply, Jasper felt a hand on his shoulder. He rose to his feet at his brother’s touch, pulling Phoenix into a warm hug. His talk with Tam could wait until later.

“Congratulations! I’m so happy for you, Phoenix.” Despite his earlier moment of doubt, Jasper truly meant every word. His brother was happier than he’d ever seen him before. And that was what mattered, wasn’t it? Jasper turned to his new sister-in-law once he and Phoenix finally broke apart. “And Gigi… My condolences.” He teased.

She giggled, stepping forward to give Jasper a quick hug as well.

“Cute.” Phoenix shook his head slightly at his brother, but did not lose his smile. “I know we didn’t give you guys a lot of notice… So it seriously means a lot that you could be here.”

“Where else would we be?” Jasper asked. “We wouldn’t miss this for anything!”

Anything, huh?” His brother raised an eyebrow as he and Tam pulled apart. “What if they announced GeekCon was hosting the D&D Championship Series? Today?”

Tam hesitated for a moment. “That was rhetorical, right? So… technically I don’t have to answer?” He laughed softly as Phoenix gave him a soft punch on the arm. “But, uh, speaking of questions… Do we still get to call you ‘Gigi’ now?” Tam asked the woman at Phoenix’s side.

Gigi laughed. “Hmm… good question!” Technically, her childhood nickname had been inspired by her initials — G.G. But she was Gabriella Rosebrook now. “But you know you can call me anything you want, Tam.” She teased, giving him a small wink.

He raised an eyebrow. “Is that so? Hmm… Gotta think of a good one then.”

Jasper laughed. “Hmm… I guess ‘Mrs. Rosebrook’ is way too obvious, huh?”

“Yeah, but what about Lady Rosebrook? Much more regal.”

“True!” Jasper flicked his gaze toward his brother, smiling teasingly. “May as well up it to ‘Queen’ while you’re at it though. That’s how this whole ‘marriage’ thing works, right? The wife’s always in charge.”

Phoenix rolled his eyes while Gigi let out a giggle.

“Alright, what about when it’s your turn then?” Phoenix asked, smirking. “Which one of you guys gets to be in charge?”

“Neither.” Tam shrugged, not missing a beat. “It’s gonna be total anarchy and chaos. Duh.”

“See?” Tam asked as he and Jasper watched the newlyweds return to their table for dinner. “Look at those lovebirds… They’re gonna be fine.”

“I know. You’re right…” Jasper replied. And he meant it too… But their conversation from earlier still nagged at the back of his mind. “But what about all the ‘sucky shit’ you were talking about before? Are you saying they’re immune to that now?” He tried to sound teasing.

“Nah, nobody is. But I’m sure they’ll kick its ass as soon as it hits.” Tam smiled. “Or die trying… But hopefully it’s option A.”

Jasper laughed softly. “Hopefully… And hopefully we can kick some ass too with this whole uni thing?” He asked almost nervously, Tam’s words from earlier still lingering in his mind.

“Of course we can!” Tam’s reply was almost a touch too cheerful. “You said it yourself… You already beat the first level, right?”

Jasper could not help the vague feeling of dread that washed over him at Tam’s words.

Sure, he’d fought his way through the zombie hoards and beaten level one…

But didn’t those levels usually lead to a big Boss battle?

7.27: Shotgun

I never realized til now how much my life is gonna change in the next few months.

As Tam would say, it’s basically like I’m leveling up and rerolling all my stats or something. Everything’s gonna change.

I’m getting my Bachelor’s Degree, I’m starting on my Master’s, I’m moving overseas…

And apparently I’m getting married too.

I feel like I should’ve known it was coming as soon as Gigi told me she figured out a way she could come live in the US with me. I mean, I seriously researched everything I could find. I just kept searching and searching for some kind of loophole or weird hidden rule that would let me bring her with me.

But the only thing I could find was that you’re allowed to bring family members. And that includes spouses too.

I have no idea why I didn’t even think of it as an option. But Gigi did. She thinks of everything.

It’s so weird though. I’d always imagined I’d be the one doing the proposing. I kinda had this ‘vision’ of how it would all go down, I guess.

It’d be like three or four years from now, maybe. Once I’m all done with school. Gigi and I would be living together. We’d own a little house out in the suburbs. We’d both be happy and successful in our careers… and financially stable too, of course.

And one day, I’d take her up to the Bluffs for a picnic, right at sunset. In the same spot where we had our first real date back when we were kids.

And then I’d get down on one knee and ask her to spend the rest of her life with me.

But instead, well… it was pretty much the opposite of what I was imagining.

I think I stared at her for like two minutes before I could even say ANYTHING. I must’ve looked like a total idiot.

She was really patient though. She started giving me this little speech about how much she loves me, and wanting us to take this step and start this adventure together. It was really sweet. And I know she meant every word of it.

So how could I possibly say no?

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it though…

Well, I’m still happy I said yes. But it just feels really, really weird to think that I’m engaged now. I’m only twenty-one years old, and I’m gonna be somebody’s husband. That’s like, kinda weird right?

Don’t get me wrong though! I’m really happy. And excited too. I’ve always known we’d get married someday. Gigi’s everything to me. She loves me just for being me… But she still makes me wanna be a better person too.

And I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anybody else in the whole world.

I just never thought it’d happen so soon, I guess. Or like this.

It’s basically like one of those ‘shotgun weddings’, right? I mean, minus the baby (thank God!). I always imagined we’d have time to plan a real wedding. And that we’d have jobs and money and a house and stuff first, y’know?

And that we’d be getting married because we really, really want to and we feel ready. Not because we have to.

But I guess we don’t really have a choice, do we? Not unless I wanna leave her behind for the next two years. And there’s no way I could ever do that. Not if I don’t have to…

And I don’t, if we get married.

I still have no freaking clue how the hell we’re gonna tell our families about this though. It’s gonna suck so freaking bad.

Especially since we’re not just dropping the “we’re getting married in like a month” bombshell…

This is the freaking “We’re getting married AND moving halfway across the world by the end of the summer” nuclear warhead.

I know we’ve gotta tell them soon though. The longer we wait, the worse it’s gonna be… that whole mess with Gigi definitely taught me that much. So we talked it over, and I think we’re gonna make the rounds to our parents’ houses this weekend and drop the news.

Ugh. Definitely not looking forward to that.

Tam and Jasper are the only ones we’ve told so far. And they were… well, I guess they weren’t expecting it (But then again, neither was I!)

Tam came around pretty quickly, at least… He told us he always figured we’d get married eventually anyway. And that at least I’d have someone there to “look out for me and keep me from fucking up TOO bad while I’m gone”.

Leave it to Tam to help lighten the mood whenever we need it.

Jasper though… He didn’t take it quite as well, I guess. He said he was happy for us and stuff… and I think he meant it.

But while Gigi and Tam were picking out a movie, we were in the kitchen making popcorn and he started asking me all these questions. “Are you sure you guys are really ready?” “Is this really what you both want?” All that kinda crap.

And I mean, okay, they weren’t AWFUL questions. Even when he was a kid, Jasper’s always been so calm and reasonable about this kinda stuff… But he’s my little brother! He’s not supposed to be the one worrying about ME.

And he’s worrying for nothing anyway.

Sure, it’s a little sooner than I was expecting. And yeah, I wish I felt a little more ready. But so what? Not to sound like one of my textbooks or anything, but those kinds of worries are just normal reactions to change, aren’t they? I’d feel this way no matter what.

But I know that the second I look into Gigi’s eyes and say “I do”, none of that crap will matter anymore.

I’m getting married to the woman I love, and she’s gonna be by my side for one of the biggest adventures of my entire life.

I don’t think it can get much better than that.

7.26: Decision

Even from inside his bedroom, the sound of the opening apartment door reached Phoenix’s ears. He knew exactly who it was. Even Jasper and Tam still knocked whenever they came to visit. But he and Gigi were well past the point of knocking on each other’s doors anymore.

Phoenix sighed to himself as he placed his pencil on the desk beside his journal. He’d been trying to get all his thoughts down before she arrived, but she’d shown up a bit earlier than he’d been expecting.

God, I hope this goes better than last time.

Gigi had come over a few times since their fight last Tuesday, but every time they tried talking about things, they never seemed to make much progress. No matter what happened, it always seemed to end with Gigi bursting into tears.

“I’m sorry. I know I’m being a selfish bitch,” she’d kept saying.

There were moments when a small, bitter voice in the back of Phoenix’s mind wanted to agree. I do EVERYTHING for you, Gigi. It wanted to say. Please, let me do this ONE thing for myself for once.

But Phoenix knew he’d brought this on himself by waiting so long to tell her the truth. He should have listened to Tam and told her back when he’d first applied. Then she would have at least had time to process it all.

Yeah… but at least it gave ME a little time to hold on to the dream… That little voice whispered once more. Maybe that’s the real reason I waited. I was afraid she was gonna do this. I was afraid she’d try and guilt me out of it…

The last time she’d come over, Gigi had reluctantly told him she changed her mind, and that she wanted him to go follow his dream… But Phoenix knew her better than that. She hadn’t changed her mind, she was still hoping he would change his.

And he finally had.

I’m just gonna tell her I made up my mind, he decided. I’m not gonna go. Then we can finally move on from all this crap and she can be happy again.

It killed him to see her so upset, and to feel like he’d let her down. Phoenix wasn’t sure how much more of it he could take.

Gigi threw her arms around him as he stepped out into the kitchen. “Hey, baby.” She whispered softly as she pulled him into a warm embrace.

“Hey.” Phoenix brushed his lips against her cheek as he replied.

This was the warmest greeting she’d given him all week… But why? Could she sense what was coming? Did she know what he was going to tell her?

Phoenix guided her to the couch as they finally broke apart. It felt almost uncomfortably familiar, sitting back in the same spots they’d been in when he’d broken the news the first time.

“Alright… I know how much you hate it when I give you a giant preamble.” Despite everything, Phoenix couldn’t help a small laugh as he spoke. “So… I’m just gonna say it. I finally made my decision… And I’m not going.” Though he managed to keep a straight face, he could almost feel a piece of his heart breaking as he said the words aloud.

Gigi blinked in disbelief. “You’re not?”

“Nope.” He shook his head. “I’m staying right here. With you.”

“But… Why not? Going to Brindleton Bay is your dream.”

“Yeah, a pipe dream, maybe.” Phoenix forced a chuckle. “I just really don’t think I can leave everybody behind like that… I know it’d totally kill my parents. And poor Lila too… And you know what a rough time Jasper’s been having with school. It’s really been taking a toll on Tam too… I’ve never seen them so stressed before.” He paused for a moment. “I just feel like they really need me right now. I can’t leave them.”

Gigi shook her head. “Phoenix, we both know that’s total bullshit.”

“It’s not.” He insisted. “You’ve seen how they are lately…”

“Oh, I know that.” She assured him. “Tam and Jasper are definitely having a rough time. And yeah, your parents and Lila probably wouldn’t be too happy… But we both know the real reason you wanna stay…” Gigi’s face was etched with guilt as she spoke.

She’d seen right through him, of course. She always knew how to read him like an open book.

A soft sigh passed his lips. “That’s… probably the biggest reason.” He confessed. “Yeah.”

His girlfriend shook her head slowly. “And it’s not fair. You can’t give this up just for me. This is like, once-in-a-lifetime! You have to go.”

“Wait a minute… Just a few days ago, you were practically begging me to stay. I thought you’d be happy!” He cried, failing at hiding his frustration. No matter what he did, he couldn’t win, it seemed.

“I know, I know.” Gigi bit her lip. “I totally sound like I’m contradicting myself. But just hear me out, okay?”

Phoenix simply nodded.

“I was being super selfish before. All I cared about was how you leaving would effect me, instead of being happy for you. Which was seriously awful of me. And I’m sorry.”

“You were just surprised… I totally sprung this on you way too late. How else were you supposed to react?” He asked. “So seriously, don’t worry about it. It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not… I was being so unfair to you. Yeah, you should have told me about this sooner. We both know that. But there’s still no excuse for how selfish I was.” Gigi replied firmly. “And I know this means so much to you. You really want this, don’t you?”

Phoenix hesitated before replying. “I do.” He confessed. “I don’t wanna leave you. At all. But… I really wanna go.” Why did he feel so damn guilty saying it?

“Then I seriously think you should. You shouldn’t give up on your dream just because of me.”

He was silent for a few moments. That most definitely wasn’t what he’d been expecting her to say. “Really?”

“Really.”

“But… what about us? Like you said, two years is such a long time…”

“Don’t worry about it.” She assured him. “It’s gonna be okay. I promise.”

“You’re sure?”

“I am.”

Phoenix let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding. “We’re gonna make this work. I swear to God, we’ll find a way.” He promised. “I love you so much.”

He leaned forward to press his lips against hers. He felt so guilty for thinking she was selfish before. How could he ever think that?  I should’ve known she’d come around… After all, she was the sweetest, most amazing woman in the entire world.

He smiled against her lips, deepening the kiss as he began pushing down the straps on her tank top.

Gigi pulled away before he could get very far, letting out a soft laugh as she did so. “Woah there, mister. Hold on a second.”

He shrugged, smirking playfully. “What? Just figured I’d thank you for being so amazing about this… Or, if you’d rather, I guess I could punish you instead, for being such a bad girl…” Phoenix hoped his voice sounded convincing enough. It was always so much easier to pretend when he was caught up in the moment.

His girlfriend giggled. “Either one is fine with me.” She assured him with a small wink. “But there was just one more thing I wanted to talk to you about first…”

He held back a soft groan of disappointment. It can wait. He reminded himself. We’ve got plenty of time. Or at least, they would for the next few months anyway. But after that… Phoenix did his best to chase the thought from his mind. For now, he’d focus on being happy. He could save the worrying for later.

“Sure.” He replied at last. “What is it?”

Gigi took a deep breath. “Well, like I said, I really think you should go to Brindleton Bay. I don’t want you holding yourself back for me… But…”

Phoenix’s heart sank instantly. “But’ what?”

“Nothing bad!” She promised. “I just… I really don’t know how I’d be able to handle you being so far away for so long. And I was doing a lot of thinking about everything… What we both want, what would make us both happy… And do you remember? How you said you’d bring me with you if you could?”

He nodded. “In a heartbeat… But… we’ve talked about this before. You can’t come.” His voice was pained.

To his surprise, she smiled in reply. “Nope. I figured it out… And I can! As long as you still want me to, I mean…”

“Wait, seriously?! You found a way?” His entire face lit up as he spoke.

“I did.” She replied seriously.

“But… what about your job? You can’t leave that behind just for me. If you won’t let me do it, I won’t let you either.”

“I already got it all worked out… They’ll let me work from home.” Gigi assured him, smiling.

A smile slowly found its way onto Phoenix’s lips at her reply. “Really?! That’s great!” He paused for a moment, shaking his head in amazement. “So… So you can seriously come with me?” He was having such a hard time believing it. “But… How?”

His girlfriend giggled softly. “So… is that a ‘yes’, then? You want me to come?”

He beamed at her. “Of course!”

“Well, in that case, there’s just one little thing you have to do first…” Gigi’s smile widened as she slowly slid herself off the couch. “Phoenix… Will you marry me?”

7.25: Dream Come True

Note: One NSFW screenshot in this one

———————————-

“Hey… Gigi?” Phoenix’s voice was accompanied by the soft click of the television turning off. “Can I talk to you about something?”

Gigi barely heard his question.”Mmm?” She hadn’t even realized that she’d nearly drifted off to sleep against his shoulder.

Still worn out from earlier, I guess… Gigi’s lip curled slightly at the memory as she finally sat up.

Phoenix had been growing more and more comfortable taking on his new role in the bedroom lately. He was so strong and powerful and aggressive…

And Gigi loved it.

She never would have imagined she’d find herself so into being dominated like that… It just felt like it was time to try and spice up their sex life a bit. She’d suggested they start trying it on something of a whim… And it ended up being perfect.

Gigi loved seeing Phoenix take control. It was like there was this hidden part of him that she’d finally managed to coax out after all these years. It was such a thrill to let herself be completely at his mercy. To let him use her body however he pleased. To let him be the one calling all the shots for once.

She’d been so nervous when she’d first broached the subject with him… But of course, Phoenix was more than willing to give it a try. She knew he would be. Gigi was certain there was no other man on the planet who could ever treat her as well as he did. He always gave her anything she wanted, no matter what. All she had to do was say the word.

He was the sweetest, most giving man in the entire world. And he was all hers.

How had she ever gotten so lucky?

“What’s up, baby?” She asked through a small yawn.

Her boyfriend took a long, nervous breath. “Um, there was just something I wanted to talk to you about… It’s kind of important, and, uh…” He shook his head, almost laughing. “Sorry. Let me try that again.”

Gigi felt her heart leap as the pieces quickly came together in her mind. He was being so cute and awkward and nervous… and he said he had to talk to her about something important…

Oh my God! This is it!!!!!

It was all she could do not to squeal in excitement. She’d tried her best to put the thought out of her mind, but she’d known this was coming ever since that night at the restaurant last week.

Jasper’s cryptic comment about ‘big news’, the way Tam had not-so-subtly tried to cover for him… Gigi had done her best to pretend she didn’t notice. But she knew exactly what it all meant.

And it made sense — She and Phoenix had been together for four years now. She still technically lived at home with her parents, but she spent so many nights a week at his apartment, they may as well have lived together.

They’d both be graduating with their Bachelor’s Degrees in just a few short months. A new chapter of their lives would finally begin…

So why not begin it together?

It would be like a dream come true — spending the rest of her life with the man who gave her everything. The sweetest, sexiest, most incredible man in the universe.

Okay, act surprised. And don’t cry! She told herself firmly. Oh, who am I kidding… of course I’m gonna cry. I wonder what the ring looks like… I hope he knows I like white gold… Gah! Focus! Worry about the ring later.

For now, all she needed to worry about was the amazing man who was about to ask her the most important question of her entire life.

“Gigi… I got some news the other day that I really need to tell you about.” His nervous voice called her back to the present. “It’s good news, though!” Phoenix assured her. “Or, um… it might be. Maybe not… that’s kinda what we need to talk about…”

Her brow furrowed in confusion at his words. News? This certainly wasn’t the way she’d envisioned him asking her. Where was he going with this?

When she remained silent, he continued. “I got an acceptance letter from one of the Master’s Programs I applied to. It was one I really didn’t think I’d get into, but I really, really wanted to. So uh, it was kind of a surprise.”

“Oh, that’s great!” Gigi did her best to hide her disappointment. She was happy for him, of course. And really proud too… But what about the proposal?

Maybe he’s still building up to it… Or maybe he’s gonna wait til graduation or something. She told herself. Nothing to worry about.

Phoenix smiled nervously at her. “Yeah… It is pretty great.” He agreed. “Like, ‘dream-come-true’ level.” He let out a small laugh that sounded forced. “There’s just one problem, I guess… The program I got into? It’s… It’s at Brindleton Bay University.”

Gigi was silent for a few moments as she tried to comprehend what he’d just told her. “Brindleton Bay…” She repeated softly. “That’s in the United States, isn’t it?”

He nodded slowly.

“And… how long is this program? Like a semester or something?”

Phoenix shook his head. “Two years.” He replied softly. “Unless I do my internship there too… then it could be longer…”

It felt like someone had slapped her across the face. Gigi was silent for several long moments as a white-hot burst of rage began bubbling its way into her chest.

“You were planning on moving to the other side of the ocean and you didn’t tell me?!” She cried at last.

“I’m sorry.” Phoenix’s face fell. “I just didn’t want you to worry if you didn’t have to! I honest-to-God never thought I’d get in. You can even ask Tam and Jasper.”

Tam and Jasper… “They knew about this?”

“Yeah. I didn’t tell anybody else though… not even my parents. Like I said, I just… I really didn’t think it was gonna happen. But… I guess it did.”

“Wait… The other night at dinner… THAT was the ‘big news’ Jasper was talking about, wasn’t it?” A joyless laugh passed her lips. How was it all going so wrong?! “I’m such an idiot. You all had this ‘big secret’ you were trying to keep from me, and I thought…” Gigi shook her head slowly, already feeling her eyes beginning to well with tears.

“You thought what?” He asked softly.

She continued shaking her head. “It doesn’t matter, does it? Obviously you don’t care what I think if you’re planning on moving halfway across the world without telling me!

“I am telling you though!” Phoenix cried. “What do you think I’m doing now?”

“You know what I meant! How could you keep this from me for so long, and then just drop this on me and expect me to be okay with it?!”

“You’re right. I fucked up. I should have told you sooner.” Phoenix’s voice was pained. “I’m sorry.”

Gigi tried to take a deep breath. She could already feel her temper slowly slipping out of her control. The last thing she wanted to do was make their fight even worse. But she was just so angry.

She’d been sitting there expecting to hear a promise to stay by her side forever.

Instead, he was trying to leave her.

“Well, you’re not going.” Gigi’s voice shook as she spoke. She felt so foolish saying the words aloud — like a selfish little girl. “You can’t. You can’t leave me.”

“I’m not leaving you.” He promised. “It’s only two years…”

“Or more!” Gigi replied harshly. “Isn’t that what you said?”

“Maybe three, tops…” Phoenix admitted. “But I mean, even if I do go, it won’t change anything. I still love you. More than anything. And we’re still gonna be together.”

“Yeah? For how long? You know what happened to Bryce and Meg…”

“Hey, we aren’t them, okay?” Phoenix looked at her almost desperately. “We’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna make it work.” He assured her.

She shook her head. “You can’t know that. I’m sure that’s exactly what Meg told Bryce too.”

Phoenix ignored her comment about his friends. “Gigi, I love you. And we’ll be fine. I’ll come back home for Christmas. And in the summer too… I promise you, we’ll make this work.”

“God, you sound like you’ve already made up your mind. Don’t I get some kind of say in this?!”

“You do! That’s why I’m telling you… I have two weeks til they need an answer.” He explained. “And I didn’t decide anything yet, okay? I’m just saying if I go… I think we’ll be okay.”

At last, Gigi’s tears had finally begun to fall. “You think? I thought you said you promised.”

“I do! Th-that’s what I meant.” He replied hurriedly. “I do promise… Fuck. I messed this up so fucking bad. I’m sorry, Gigi.”

Gigi finally rose from the couch, feeling as though she were in a daze. She’d planned on spending the night at his place, but she needed to get away. She needed time to clear her head and figure out what she was gonna do.

“Look, Phoenix, I’ve gotta go.” She said softly. It took all her strength hold back all the angry things she felt like saying to him. I’d just make it worse… As if that’s even possible. “I just… I need time, okay? Maybe we can talk more tomorrow or something.”

He looked as though he were about to cry too. “I get it.” He replied. “Take as much time as you want, okay? And I really am sorry.”

Gigi sighed and began heading for the door. But she found herself hesitating for just a moment. “I love you, Phoenix. I wouldn’t be so mad if I didn’t.” She told him softly.

“I know. And I love you too.”

She choked back a sob as she finally reached his front door. If you do, then why do you want to leave me?

7.24: Can’t Do It

God damn it.

Why did Jasper have to go and open his big mouth the other night?! Did he forget that he and Tam are the only ones who know?

Thank God Tam covered for me, even if he wasn’t too happy about it. He texted me after I got home that night, and said I’ve gotta tell Gigi…

But I don’t think he gets it. It’s not like I had a reason to tell her or anything. Not yet.

But I guess now I do… Because Jasper totally jinxed it.

Or maybe ‘jinx’ isn’t the right word. You usually just use it to talk about bad shit, right?

And I’m still trying to decide whether this is awesome or awful.

I got a letter in the mail this morning from one of the graduate schools I applied to.

And not just any school… THE school. “The big one”, as Jasper called it.

Brindleton Bay University. Home to one of the top-ranked Psychology programs in the entire world.

And I got in!

I’m still kinda trying to convince myself it actually happened… I just found out last semester that my uni has a partnership with BBU. And I decided to apply on some kind of crazy whim.

I never actually thought I’d get in. That’s why I never told my parents or Lila or Gigi about it. I knew they’d all freak out and start panicking about it… why would I let them get all worked up over something that isn’t even a sure thing? I didn’t want them to worry for nothing.

Maybe they still don’t have to worry though. Just because I got in doesn’t mean I have to go there. And there are plenty of other universities around here where I could get my Masters degree…

Y’know, ones that aren’t over 6,000 kilometers away from everybody I care about.

But… God, it would be so amazing. When would I ever get the chance to go live abroad like that again? Once I have a career and a family, I won’t be able to.

And I’ve always wanted to leave Europe for a little while… Get out there and kinda ‘see the world’, or whatever. You know what I mean?

Plus, getting to study at Brindleton Bay would just be… insane. In just two years, I could have a degree from one of the best Psychology programs in the world!  It would be so amazing for my career… I bet I’d get an awesome placement for my internship once I get back home. Hell, if I like it there enough, I could probably get an internship through BBU and do it over there! And once I’m licensed and stuff, it’ll look so good on my resume too.

This would seriously be huge for me. A dream come true, basically.

I know Jasper and Tam really want me to do it… they were the ones who pushed me to go for it in the first place. And I’m sure the rest of my family would be okay with it too, eventually. Mama would probably be a mess for a little while… But I know she’d come around.

It’s not my family who’s the problem though.

I feel so damn guilty just thinking about it. How the hell am I gonna tell her?! Tam was right… I should’ve told her sooner. But I really didn’t think this was ever gonna happen.

Fuck. What am I gonna do?!

It seriously breaks my heart if I even try to imagine what it would be like spending more than two years an ocean away from the woman I love…

Shit, I dunno. Even coming home for summer breaks and stuff, I don’t think I can do it. I really don’t.

I tried doing some research to see if there was a way I could bring her too… But I can’t do it.

She can’t come with me. Not as anything more than a tourist, or whatever. The only way she could actually come and stay would be if we were related, or if she got a student visa too.

But she’s already got that job lined up with that magazine once she graduates. She’s not gonna wanna go back to school. And it’s probably way too late for her to apply anyway.

We’re totally stuck. If I go, she has to stay. I’d have to leave her behind. And there’s no way I could ever do that, could I?

I mean, look at what happened with Bryce and Meg. She didn’t even go half as far for school. Just up to London… and they barely lasted a year before they couldn’t do it anymore. The distance was way too much for them.

And poor Bryce… I know he kept saying it was for the best, but it basically destroyed him. He loved her so much.

I can’t do that to Gigi. I can’t just go halfway across the world and break her heart like that. If we ever broke up, it would seriously kill me. And I know it would kill her too. And that makes it even worse.

But I’m getting way ahead of myself, aren’t I?

Maybe we’d be able to make it work… Long distance can be okay sometimes, right? I’d get to come back home and see her in the summer. And we could call and text and stuff all the time. And it’s only two years, three tops… That’s not the end of the world right?

It doesn’t always end up like it did for Bryce and Meg. People make it work all the time!

And Gigi and I… we love each other so much. We’d totally be fine. I know we would.

And besides, all this worrying is totally pointless anyway.

It’s not like I’m actually going or anything… I can’t do it.

That would be totally crazy!

Wouldn’t it?