Hello again guys. I apologize for the delay; I've been busy with schoolwork as well as work-work but it's finally here.

 

This is the ending to the "Epilogue" for Alex and Sebastian that y'all have been waiting for.

The email you can reach me at is lore.guerra13@gmail.com for questions, comments, concerns or donations ha-ha, just kidding!

 

A fellow reader made a playlist with most of the songs I've either used or will use in the series. If y'all want to listen to it while reading the chapters the link for it is this:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJZWEUrY9KRSfQ98rYlMYix46VM0CJ7XS

Three new songs will be added onto the playlist.

 

How Am I Supposed to Live Without You - Christian Cuevas

Would You Wait For Me - Brett Young

Smile Cover by Emily Rex

BTW, as promised, here's the link to my new story: Emanon

https://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/highschool/emanon/

I am still working on it! My laptop charger broke so I haven't had time but now that I'm back at school, I can get working on it again.

In all seriousness, please don't forget to donate to nifty here, without which we wouldn't have this collection of great stories!

Every story is free on here, so please let's keep it that way and donate, guys.

http://donate.nifty.org/donate.html

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Sebastian

I held on to the steering wheel, unable to push my conversation with Alex out of my mind.

 

Why did it have to come down to this?

 

Why, after everything we tried, after everything we went through, did we have to say goodbye now?

 

I was so exhausted of saying goodbye.

 

Still, what more was there to do now?

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

16 Hours Before

I woke up to Sebastian getting ready for work. Since he taught high school, his time to start getting ready was six o'clock. Groggily, I pulled myself up and rested my back on our wooden bed frame.

 

"Don't forget your tie on top of the washer, Seb." I rubbed the sleep off my eyes and tried to focus on his silhouette.

 

"So that's where it is!" I saw Sebastian close the closet door and head towards the kitchen. "Thanks, A."

 

I stayed in bed listening to Sebastian make some more noise while he looked for the rest of his clothes. I smiled - I never knew how happy I'd be to be woken up to the sound of Sebastian looking for shit.

 

"Why don't you go back to bed, A?" Sebastian asked, walking back into our room as he tried to tie his tie.

 

"I have a meeting with the dean at nine." I yawned as I stretched my arms. "Besides, I can't go back to sleep with all the noise you're making," I teased.

 

I saw Sebastian smile through the darkness of our room. "I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you tonight, though. I promise."

 

It was my turn to smile. "You better," I laughed.

 

Sebastian turned away from me and headed into the restroom to finish up. Although I said I couldn't go back to bed because of the noise, I felt my eyes get heavier and, before I knew it, I drifted back to sleep.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Sebastian

 

After I left our place this morning, I drove to work. My morning was hectic as usual but not even the chaos of high school students could push the nagging anxiety out of my mind. I had avoided telling Alex about Emma and Mark's plans on moving for fear of what it would entail.

 

I knew I couldn't keep it from him forever but I still didn't know what I was going to do.

 

On the one hand, I couldn't imagine being so far away from Lily.

On the other, I couldn't imagine leaving Alex for God knew how long.

 

Would he want to come with me?

 

I knew, of course, some part of him would want to but I couldn't ask him to leave his career behind for me. For the past year, getting his tenure was all he could talk about. Hell, even I knew how hard it'd be to get it back if he decided to forfeit it.

 

My blood ran cold as a brand new thought crossed my mind. What if he asked me to stay?

 

I shook my head as my next period's class walked inside.

 

About thirty minutes before my scheduled lunch, I texted Ralf to see if he'd want to grab lunch with me. When he replied, I told him to meet me at a little Mexican place near the mall. Maybe I could talk to him and he'd have some advice for me.

 

I showed up to the restaurant a few minutes late where Ralf was already waiting for me.

 

"Sorry I'm late, man," I said as I joined him at the table. "Traffic from the high school is a bitch."

 

Ralf simply nodded. "Don't worry about it, man. Buy me a beer and we'll call it even," he smiled.

 

I let out a small chuckle. A beer?  "It's, like, fifteen past noon, Ralf. You want a beer now?"

 

"Ha-ha. It's five o'clock somewhere, Sea Bass."

 

I shook my head in disbelief. "You should watch your drinking, Ralf." A few seconds later, our waitress came over and took our order. "Can I have two beers, too, please?"

 

The waitress nodded and walked off. "You're drinking too?" Ralf raised his eyebrows as he looked at me. "Aren't you working?"

 

It was my turn to smile. "Well, I'm not going to let a friend drink by himself. What would that say about me," I laughed. When the waitress came back with our beers I waited to take a sip. "So how you doing, Ralf?"

 

Ralf didn't hesitate to take a deep gulp from his own beer. "Doing good, Seb. MJ and I are getting pretty serious. It's a little scary to tell you the truth, haha."

 

"I bet," I said, remembering how promiscuous Ralf used to be. "I'm happy for you, though."

 

Ralf nodded. "Thanks man. Yeah, I'm happy, too. I didn't think we'd click so much."

 

"Well," I aimed the neck of my beer at him. "What are the plans moving forward?"

 

Ralf took a deep breath. "I'm not sure," he shook his head. "I really like her, though."

 

A small smile formed on my face as I thought about how happy my friend was right now. "Her or the sex?" I teased.

 

"Both," he laughed. "Nah, it's more than that. I don't know. I guess we'll just see how everything goes. What about you? How are you two doing?"

 

My answer was interrupted as the waitress came back out with our order of tacos. "We're great, you know," I said after the waitress left. "This past year has been great for both of us."

 

"But..." Ralf said through a mouthful of Mexican food.

 

I sighed. "But something came up."

 

"Uh oh." Ralf washed down his first taco with a sip of his beer. "What is it?"

 

"It's Emma and Mark." It was my turn to talk with a taco in my mouth. "They're moving to Corpus in about a week."

 

"Shit. Are they taking the girls?"

 

I nodded. "Yeah. They are."

 

"What does Alex think about that?"

 

Here we go.

 

"I - I haven't told him yet." I took another sip of my beer before I looked back at him and was met with him staring right at me. "Why not?" He asked.

 

"Well," I cleared my throat. "They wanted me to go with them, too, and I've been considering it."

 

Ralf gave me an odd look. "You want to leave?"

 

"I think so. I don't really know." That, at least, was true. "What I do know is that I don't want to be away from my daughter more than I already am ... but I also don't want to leave Alex."

 

"Wait." Ralf put down his beer. "They don't want him to come?"

 

"It's not that," I took a bite of my next taco. "It's his job. If he leaves, he forfeits his tenure and it'll be almost impossible for him to get it back."

 

"What about a sabbatical?"

 

I had thought about that, too.

 

I shook my head. "An indefinite one? Like I said, I don't know if I want to leave or not much less how long I'd be away. I can't ask him to put his career on hold and have him risk losing it. This tenure was all he could talk about for the past year."

 

I saw Ralf shove the next taco entirely into his mouth. Jesus, how hungry was he? "Well when are you going to tell him?" He asked after, thankfully, swallowing his food.

 

"I was putting it off for as long as I could to see if I could clear my head a bit."

 

"Has that worked?"

 

I shook my head. "If anything, it's gotten cloudier, ha. I think I'm going to have to tell him tonight."

 

"Bet that will blow over nicely," he said with a hint of sarcasm as he pointed the neck of his beer back at me.

 

"Yeah, bet it will."

 

We finished our tacos in silence after that but, before we left, we shared one last beer together. God knew it wouldn't hurt.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Alex

 

After my successful meeting with the dean, I didn't think that my day could get any better.

 

But, a few hours later, it did.

 

I had spent most of my day giving lectures and grading papers in my office but, around five, I looked at my computer and read an email sent to me from the Dean. I had to read it twice to really understand what it said.

 

She'd emailed me to let me know that the head of the Department of Biology was in talks of retiring soon and I was one of her top three candidates for a replacement. Considering that I had been very hard-working in UT and already in possession of a tenure, she let me know I stood a good chance of being one of the youngest candidates.

 

I couldn't believe it.

 

I couldn't be happier.

 

I debated on calling Sebastian right away to let him know the news but decided I'd rather just let him know tonight. Instead, I spent my last few hours at work grading exams and holding back my excitement.

 

When the time finally came, I drove home and saw that Sebastian wasn't there yet. Taking advantage of this, I decided to take a quick shower before getting ready. It wasn't until I stepped out of the shower that I saw Sebastian standing in front of our bedroom mirror doing his tie. I smiled as I started to put on my previously ironed clothes.

"You look dashing," I winked at him after putting on my shoes.

 

I saw Sebastian's reflection chuckle. "You're looking pretty dashing yourself, A," he said as he finished buttoning his sleeves.

 

"Well, it is a special night," I smiled as I got closer to him.

 

"Oh, yeah?" He gave me a sly smile before turning around and pulling me towards him. "What makes it so special?" he whispered in my ear.

 

Goosebumps ran down my spine. "Well, it'll be a year tonight that we got back together, for starters."

 

Sebastian pushed himself away from me and gave me a small smile, "And what a trip it's been," he said.

 

"Speaking of," I said, barely able to contain my excitement. "Guess who e-mailed me today."

 

Sebastian furrowed his eyebrows. "Who?"

 

"The dean," I smiled. "After our meeting, she e-mailed me saying that the head of the Department of Biology was thinking of retiring."

 

Sebastian's eyes grew wide with surprise. "Did she?" He asked

 

"Yeah, but that's not the best part," I smiled. "She emailed me later saying that, not only was I a good candidate, but I also had a really good chance at getting the spot." A bigger smile broke out. "I mean, shit. That's freaking awesome!"

 

I guess it took a while for Sebastian to process what I told him before a smile finally grew on his face. "That's amazing news, Alex!" He kissed me and gave me a hug. "I'm really happy for you."

 

"Thanks," I said, pulling apart from him. "This is going to be great for us," I kept smiling as I sprayed on some cologne and walked out of our room.

 

"Uhu," he said, absentmindedly playing with his keys as he followed me to the living room.

"We should head out now before we miss our reservations," I said, heading towards the front door.

 

I was about to turn the knob when Sebastian held me back.

 

"Alex."

 

I turned to look at Sebastian. "Yeah?"

 

"There's something - there's something I haven't told you," he said, not meeting my eyes.

 

 

.

"I could hardly believe it when I heard the news today.
I had to come and get it straight from you."

.

 

 

My brow furrowed at the sudden change in his face. "What is it, Seb?"

 

Sebastian let go of my hand and raised his face to look at me. "Emma told me Mark got a promotion in his job."

 

"Okay," I said, relieved that it wasn't bad news. "Why would you keep that from me, though?"

 

"It's because ... it's in Corpus."

 

"Oh," I said, still not realizing where this conversation was headed.

 

"Emma and Mark are moving there and don't want to split the girls up. They - they want to take Lily with them."

 

That's when I got it.

 

 

.
"They said you were leavin' - someone's swept your heart away.
From the look upon your face, I see it's true."

.

 

 

Understanding how much Sebastian loved his daughter, I could see why this would be tearing him up inside. "I'm sorry, Seb." I stood in front of him and squeezed his arm. "We could visit every weekend, though. You don't have to be away from her too long." The look in his eye as I spoke made me feel like I was missing something important. "What is it?" I asked after Sebastian remained silent.

 

"They ... asked me to go with them."

 

"You ..." My voice trailed off. Of course he wouldn't want to leave his daughter. "Yeah, of course." I nodded. "Lily needs her dad," was all I trusted myself to say.

 

Sebastian took my hands into his and pulled them up to his mouth. "Maybe you can come with me?"

 

"Yeah, maybe," I said, convincing neither him or me.

 

"I knew you wouldn't want to," he whispered.

 

"Sebastian, that's not fair. I just - I need more time to think about all of this." I turned away from him and ran my fingers through my hair in frustration. "This is for sure happening, though?" I asked.

 

Sebastian simply nodded. "Yeah. Mark had until today to give them a yes. They're leaving in a little under two weeks."

 

"Two weeks?"

 

"Two weeks," Sebastian repeated.

 

 

.

"Tell me how am I supposed to live without you -
Now that I've been lovin' you so long?
How am I supposed to live without you?
How am I supposed to carry on -
When all that I've been livin' for is gone?"

.

 

 

I shook my head. "You can't - you can't just be gone in a few weeks, Sebastian." I couldn't cram everything I wanted to do with him into two weeks. "Why - why didn't they tell you sooner?"

 

Sebastian lowered his head before looking back up at me. "I've known for a couple of days, actually."

 

"A couple of days? But we've been making plans for the next couple of weeks. You mean you were lying about it this whole time?"

 

"I wasn't lying to you, Alex," he said.

 

"Yes you were, Seb." I shook my head and stepped away from him. "I can't believe this is happening," I turned away.

 

Sebastian walked closer to me and wrapped his arms around me from behind. "I'm sorry, Alex. I just couldn't bring it up. I knew what it'd meant if I did."

 

"You're leaving, Sebastian." I turned around to face him. "You're leaving and I'm - I'm really happy that you're going to be with your family but - I just wish it wasn't like this."

 

Sebastian looked at me, his eyes begging me to understand. "I didn't want to lie to you. I'm sorry. I didn't want to say it out loud because if I did - if I did, it would make it all real. And I already knew how difficult it would be because of your job. I'm sorry, Alex. Please don't hate me for not telling you sooner."

 

 

.

"I'm too proud for cryin' - didn't come here to break down.
It's just a dream of mine is coming to an end.
And how can I blame you when I built my world around
The hope that one day we'd be so much more than friends?"

.

 

 

I couldn't blame him for not wanting to tell me this news. If I was in his shoes, I'd postpone it for as long as I could, too. "Nothing you do could ever make me not love you, Sebastian," I said resting my forehead on his chest.

 

When I looked up and met his eyes again, I saw that they were beginning to look a little cloudy. "It's not fair," he said. "It's not fair that after all the shit we went through, this was on the other side."

 

"We've always had the shittiest of luck," I shrugged, wiping a single tear that began to roll down his cheek. I was silent for a few seconds before I decided to speak again. "I could do it," I whispered. "I could go with you."

 

Sebastian's warm eyes reflected how pained I felt. "You'd lose your tenure, A." He reached over and caressed my cheek. "Not to mention this awesome opportunity you just got."

 

"I don't care," I said.

 

Sebastian only gave me a small smile. "You've worked so hard at your job, A. I couldn't let you lose it because of me. I know how much harder it would be to get it back again."

 

I knew he was right. We both knew it. "We could make it work," I insisted - only because insisting was the only thing I could do.

 

"For a while, yeah." Sebastian agreed but looked away from me and focused on the wall behind me.

 

I paused as I stared at Sebastian's sullen face. "Yeah ... for a while," I agreed. I inched closer to him and rested my head on his chest. "This is really it isn't it? We're not going to be together like this for a long time."

 

I felt Sebastian's arms wrap around me and squeeze. "Feels like it, yeah," he sighed.

 

 

.

"And I don't wanna know the price
I'm gonna pay for dreaming.
When even now it's more than I can take."

.

 

 

I could have rested my head on his chest forever and felt it rise and sink with every breath. I could have stayed standing there with his arms around me. I could have kept pretending everything was ok when it wasn't ... but that wouldn't be fair for either of us. It would just be easier. "It's best that you leave, then," I said, pulling my head away from his chest.

 

Sebastian only looked at me as I met his eyes. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, I could never be the thing that keeps you from your family." I shook my head. "Not again. We both have to let each other go our own way for a bit."

 

"Long distance could work for a while. You know? It'll be hard, yeah, but we've gone through worse."

 

A sad smile spread across my lips. I wanted to say yes so badly but I understood that it wasn't that easy. "How long could we keep it up, though? Until my tenure expires? Until Lily is old enough ... however old that is? Could we survive seeing each other only on weekends and every other holiday for the next year." I could feel my eyes beginning to get moist. "Could we do it for more?"

 

Sebastian's eyes dimmed. He reached over and kissed my forehead. "Let's just pretend a little while longer then."

 

I nodded and gulped the knot in my throat. "Ok." I shut my eyes. The sadness and look of defeat in his eyes made the reality of the situation that much less bearable. "It's so hard looking at you knowing that you'll be moving out in less than two weeks," I said.

 

"We'll see each other again, Alex." Sebastian tried to smile at me through the defeated look on his face as he pulled me closer. Our foreheads rested on each other's. "Remember? Goodbyes don't tend to stick with us," he finished.

 

Even though we both knew how futile the situation was, I couldn't suppress the small smile that formed at the memory his words brought back. I could still remember him saying those words under the pergola at Lea and Brandon's wedding. My eyes searched his for any sliver of doubt in them but I couldn't find any. He really believed it. Maybe he could believe it enough for both of us. "I really hope you're right ... but this time - this time it feels different."

He was quiet for a few seconds. I'm sure he, like me, realized just how different it was this time. This wasn't going away to school or moving to another city for a few years. This was his family - Lily and even Emma - moving to live somewhere hundreds of miles away. At best, he'd have to travel back and forth to split his time between his family and me. Texas was a big state, after all. "It does feel different doesn't it?" He whispered.

 

"Yeah," I sighed. "Don't you miss the times when we'd split up for reasons that weren't, you know, good ones?"

 

Sebastian grunted as his hands caressed my hair. "What difference does it make now?"

 

I placed my ear to his heart and raised my hand to his chest, tracing the soft fabric of his shirt all the way up to his collar as I heard his heart beat. "All the difference in the world, I guess."

 

 

.

"And I don't wanna know the price

I'm gonna pay for dreaming.
Now that your dream has come true."
.



We stayed like this for another few minutes. Neither of us brave enough to pull away. Neither of us strong enough to do what needed to be done. After a few more quiet minutes, I heard Sebastian clear his throat. "So, what does it mean? Are we going to have to ..." He may have trailed off into silence but I knew what the last words of his sentence would have been.

 

Too scared to trust my own voice, I simply shrugged.

 

Sebastian was the first to pull away. He walked over to our bed and ran his hand through his hair. "I hate being an adult," he finally said as he plopped himself on top of the bed.

 

I sighed as I turned away from him. "Yeah. I hate it, too."

 

"I'll come back as soon as I can. I promise."

 

I turned back to look at him, eyes beginning to sting. "I will wait for you, always," I said, both of us knowing that could take forever. Both of us knowing that the visits would get shorter and further apart the longer time passed.

 

 

.

"Tell me how am I supposed to live without you
Now that I've been lovin' you so long?"
.



I looked at the man lying on the bed. Here was the man I had loved for the better part of a decade. The man I hoped I would spend my life with. The one I thought I would never have to be apart from again. "I'm really going to miss you, Sebastian," I heard my words as a little more than a half-hearted whisper.

 

Sebastian righted himself up on the edge of the bed. He looked back at me with the same pained expression I had on my face. "I'm really going to miss you, too, A."

 

He stood up and closed the distance between us. Taking me in his arms, I took him in mine. "I'll always love you, Alex," he whispered in my ear as he rested his head on my shoulder.

 

"I'll always love you, too, Sebastian," I whispered back.

 

 

.

"How am I supposed to live without you?
How am I supposed to carry on?
When all that I've been livin' for is gone?"

.

 

 

We stood like that, hugging each other, for a few more silent minutes. It felt like forever before either of us spoke. "I think I'm - I think I'm gonna go and have a drink with Ralf tonight, instead. If that's okay."

 

I knew what he meant. I don't think I could stand looking at him another moment without thinking about being apart from him.

 

"Yeah," I cleared my throat. "I think that'd be best for the both of us, too. We can talk about it more tomorrow in the morning."

 

We looked at each other one last time - one of the last few times we'd be able to do it in our bedroom.

 

One last kiss.

 

One last time.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Sebastian

 

After my talk with Alex, I walked out of our place and got into my car. Shutting the door, I let the silence of the night engulf me in my car.

 

I sighed.

 

The hurt I felt in my chest as I turned the ignition on and pulled out of the driveway got worse and worse the further I drove.

 

I hated being an adult. I hated having to leave Alex. I hated all of it.

 

Trying to drown my thoughts as I drove, I did the only thing that always seemed to calm me: I turned on the radio.

 

 

.

"I don't need a magic night to make me feel like I'm living in a fairy tale.
I know this love is real.
Hear me when I say whenever I'm away,
My heart is with you all the same."

.

 

 

I hadn't even texted Ralf about showing up at his place tonight but I was sure he wouldn't mind me dropping in unannounced. Still, as I stood at a light, I sent him a text asking what he was doing.

 

The light turned green and I tossed my phone to the passenger seat as I stepped on the gas. For a weeknight, the streets were rather empty. This just made my drive feel lonelier and longer, though.

 

.
"Would you wait for me when I got to leave?
Could I ever be everything you need?
If I promise you my love, could that promise be enough?
Would you wait for me?
Would you wait for me?"

.

 

Brett Young's old song, Would You Wait For Me, continued to play on the radio as I drove closer to Ralf's.

 

A funny thought came up as I drove: I hadn't met anyone as passionate for anything as Alex before. He always found a way to make things feel, I don't know, less heavy and brighter, I guess.

 

In the time I've known him, he's used music to express the words he couldn't say. Hell, the first song I heard him sing, Just To Make You Smile, was still imbedded in my brain in the deepest of ways. From the way he held his guitar to the way he met my eyes and moved his lips, all of it was stored in my brain.

 

Damn. How long had it been? How far had we both come?

 

Before him, my life felt like one big blur - a continuous loop of mediocrity and dissatisfaction. The only bright spot in my life before had been my daughter. For her, I put up with years of being unhappy with Emma - of lying to her and to myself.

 

When my daughter was born and I held her in my arms, I understood what it meant to give someone your entire heart - to want to do anything in your power just to make them smile. In that moment, she was the smallest thing that had ever stolen all of my heart. Even now, I wanted nothing more than to make her proud - to show her that happiness and love could be found even if you had convinced yourself you had missed out on finding it.

 

Is that what I was doing, though?

 


.
"Looking back at where we've been
Being scared to let you in
To you becoming my best friend.
No matter where I travel to,
I'm coming right back home to you.
If you just wait for me."

.

 

Of course I did.

 

There was not a day that went by where I'd look at the faces of my daughter or Alex and not believe I wasn't happy. I stopped at another red light three blocks away from Ralf's house and thought about Alex.

 

I pictured him waiting back at our place just as torn as me. I remember the look on his face when he said he'd wait for me. His eyes glowed with a love I'd seen ever since we'd met all those years ago - a love I knew I couldn't live without.

 

I loved that man and I knew he loved me back.

 

I would leave this town to be with Lily but I knew that Alex would keep his promise to wait for me the same way I did when the tables were turned.

 

We would always hold a candle for each other.

 

I was so certain of this because, even after all these years, everything still came back to him - to us. The smell of his cologne, the way his eyes opened first thing in the morning, the way his eyes lit up whenever he saw me. Everything came back to us.

 


.
"Would you wait for me when I got to leave?
Could I ever be everything you need?
If I promise you my love, could that promise be enough?
Would you wait for me?
Would you wait for me?"

.

 

I remembered our first day together like the back of my hand. From the color of his shirt to the way I climbed on his shoulders trying to reach a pod for our science class. Even then, I knew there was something special about him - something ... more.

 

After all these years, all those feelings and memories were still there - they hadn't left or even dimmed. Hell, I still got nervous when we went out on dates - I still got butterflies whenever we held hands. We went from friends to something so much more than just lovers and I knew that, if the whole world was against us, we'd tear it apart just to reach each other again.

 

I knew it.


 

.
"Would you wait for me when I got to leave?
Could I ever be everything you need?
If I promise you my love, could that promise be enough?
Would you wait for me?
Would you wait for me?"

.

 

Brett Young's song finished as I got to Ralf's place. I placed the car on park and turned off my lights. Minutes went by with me just holding on to the steering wheel, unable to open the door and get out.

 

I looked at my car's glove compartment and thought about what was hidden inside.

 

If I couldn't step out of my car tonight, how was I supposed to leave the love of my life in less than two weeks?


-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Alex

 

I stayed sitting on the floor for a few more minutes but it seemed that time was going by so much slower than usual.

 

Even as I sat on the floor saddened by the revelation that Sebastian would be leaving for some time, I was happy he was going to be with his daughter. I wasn't lying when I said I loved him or that I'd wait for him. I knew it could be forever but what else could I do?

 

A small smile spread across my lips as my eyes landed on a picture on the dresser in front of our bed. I walked towards it and picked it up. It was one taken a few months ago, back when we went on a trip to San Antonio. I had taken it of both of us in front of the Alamo. Right before I had snapped the picture though, Sebastian had leaned over and planted a kiss on my cheek. The resulting picture was one of me with a surprised smile on my face and a mischievous grin on Sebastian's as he kissed me. The Alamo could barely be seen over Sebastian's left shoulder.

 

I held the picture tight to my chest. I knew that he was leaving and that, no matter how much I didn't want to, I'd be staying behind. The hurt in my heart wouldn't be enough to stop me from asking him to stay because I knew that if I did, he would. I couldn't keep him from his daughter, though.

 

Still, how was I supposed to say goodbye when my memories with him were as real and as bright as this picture?

 

A song popped into my head right then, one I hadn't thought of in so long. Taking the picture with me, I walked over to the foot of my bed and sat there. I took a small breath and sang.

 

 

.

"Smile though your heart is aching.
Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky, 
You'll get by."

.

 

 

Even through the hurt in my heart, I couldn't help smiling at what Sebastian and I had built with each other. Sure, it was coming to an end now but so did everything else. I should know better than anyone how these things worked.

 

Still, just because it was ending didn't mean we couldn't have another beginning down the road.

 

 

.

"If you smile through your pain and sorrow,

Smile, though it may be tomorrow,

You'll see the sun come shining through, for you,"

.

 

 

I swallowed the knot that had been caught in my throat. The last time I had heard this song, it was Jay who had been singing it. It had been maybe a year or two since we had moved to Austin and Jay and I were living together in a small apartment near UT.

 

It had been a very long day and I was exhausted as I laid on the couch with the TV on while Jay washed dishes in the kitchen. He must have thought I was asleep when he started singing and, not wanting to interrupt him, I just laid there and listened. Little by little, his voice worked as a lullaby and, before long, I had been fast asleep.

 

The simple memory of it made me smile as I sat on the floor.

 

 

.

"Light up your face with gladness.

Hide every trace of sadness.

Although a tear may be ever so near,

That's the time you must keep on trying.

Smile, what's the use of crying?

You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile."

.

 

 

I looked back at the picture I was holding as I sang. Sure, I felt heartbroken at the thought of being apart from him but I knew Sebastian and I would find our way back to each other.

 

We always did.

 

I decided I wasn't going to let this news ruin the few days Sebastian and I had left together. Sure, I would have loved to have gone to Colorado with him next month but I knew that, even if we didn't go, I'd still take some time off to visit him and Lily for a few days.

 

He was my home, after all.

 

 

.

"That's the time you must keep on trying.

Smile, what's the use of crying?

You'll find that life is still worthwhile,

If you just smile.

You'll find that life is still worthwhile,

If you just smile."

.

 

 

 

The silence that followed after I finished singing was unbearably loud. Still, I kept sitting at the foot of my bed for another few seconds. I sighed and decided I'd call it a night. I was about to remove my clothes and pass out when I heard a noise on the other side of the door. Before I knew it, the bedroom door creaked open. The voice that spoke was as familiar as my own. "That was beautiful, Alex."

 

"Sebastian," I said, startled. "What are you doing here? I thought you were headed to Ralf's."

 

"I did - I was - but, when I got to his place, I couldn't do it."

 

I stared at Sebastian. My eyes searching for any explanation to what he was getting at. "You couldn't do what, Seb?"

 

"I couldn't get out of my car," he said, simply. "I just - I couldn't make my legs work. I just sat there, in my car, in that parking lot, thinking about getting off but I couldn't do it. So I started driving again. I didn't know where I was going or even why, but then it hit me. I was coming right back home to you." Sebastian walked closer to me and took my face in his hands. "I got here a few minutes ago when I heard you singing through the door. I couldn't help myself from listening in the dark." He closed the distance between us and kissed me long and hard before pulling back. "I love you and I'm not going."

 

I looked at him, not sure what either of us could do about our situation right now. "Sebastian," I began.

 

"No. I'm not going." He shook his head. "Not now. Not ever. Okay, Alex?" Sebastian rested his forehead on mine. "I love you."

 

I smiled through the tears that were forming in my eyes again. "I love you, too, Sebby. But your family ..."

 

Sebastian took my arms in his. "You're my family now, too, Alex." His hands traveled from my arms back up to my face. "I don't want to go through anything without you. I won't let you go. Not again. We'll just - we'll find a way to make it work. We always do." Sebastian gulped before slowly bending down on one knee looking up at me.

 

Everything around me began to spin. "Sebastian what are you doing?" I breathed out.

 

"I - I have something." I simply stared as Sebastian reached into his pants' pocket. "I was saving it for Colorado - I had this whole thing planned, really." He shook his head, "Shit never goes as planned with us, huh?"

 

I simply gulped as the man I loved kneeled in the middle of our room.

 

"Alex, I've loved you since before I even knew I loved you. I've loved you through the thick and thin and I know that you love me back. And today - today I realized how much my life has changed for the better." I smiled at the man in front of me. "When I listened to you sing behind that door, I knew the only way I could ever really be happy and smiling is next to you." He gave me a soft smile before continuing. "You fill my life with so much light - if it wasn't for you, I don't think I would have ever felt real love at all. You love me for me. Thank you for loving me despite everything we've gone through. Thank you for loving me despite all of my flaws."

 

I looked down at him and felt a few tears slide down my cheeks. "I don't - I don't know what to say, Seb."

 

"Don't say anything, Alex. Not yet." Sebastian took a deep breath and wiped off the tears rolling down the side of his own face before continuing. Still on one knee, I saw him pull out a small box from his pocket. "Alex," from down on one knee, Sebastian looked up at me. "This decision I'm making, about moving or not, it affects both of us - not just me. I don't want to do things alone anymore." The look he had in his eyes glued me to the spot. "Together or not at all," he nodded.

 

He was silent for a second before continuing, "I don't want to wait for next month or next week or even fucking tomorrow."  He opened the small box in his hands to reveal a ring. "Marry me?" He smiled. "Tonight?"

 

"Oh, Sebastian," I gasped as the full realization of what was happening hit me. "Is - is that? Oh. Oh wow." I moved my right hand and placed it on his warm cheek. I shook my head, "I can't believe this is happening." I turned away from Sebastian and headed to my bedside cabinet.

 

"What?" I could feel Sebastian's eyes on me as I kneeled down and reached for a small box hidden under the cabinet. "Alex?" He asked again and I could hear the unnecessary worry in his voice.

 

Instead of replying, I walked over and knelt with him. "Sebastian," I said, happy tears trailing down my face freely. "The truth is; I don't know where we go from here. In fact, there's just so much I don't know. But the one thing I do know is what I feel for you and I know that's how someone feels when they really love someone." I wiped away the happy tears that were running down my face. "When I lost Jay, I didn't think that I'd feel anything even close to this again." More tears rolled down my face as my voice cracked but I carried on. "Then, when I was reunited with you after so many years, I got to feel all the warmth I felt when I was with you again. It wasn't like I was falling in love with you all over again," I shook my head and touched his face. No. I was just realizing that I had never stopped, I guess. Whatever it was, every time I look at you now, I know that I don't want to live without you." I took a deep breath and raised the small box for Sebastian to see. "Sebastian, will you marry me?" I opened the small box to reveal a second golden wedding band. We both laughed as we realized what we had been hiding from the other.

 

Kneeling in front of each other, Sebastian's hazel eyes met mine. "Yes," he said.

 

I smiled as I placed the ring on his finger. When it was done, he looked up at me, happy tears shimmering in his own eyes. I didn't have to think twice about it. Hell, I didn't even wait for him to ask me again. I looked him in the eye as I replied. "Of course."

 

I don't think either of us had ever smiled as big as when I placed the ring on his finger. We admired our newly jeweled hands for a second. Our eyes met again at the realization of what he had just promised each other. With a small laugh, we closed the distance between us and kissed.

 

"Come here," Sebastian said as he began to stand up.

 

I stood up with him. "What is it?" I asked as I faced him.

 

"Tonight has been such a roller coaster of a night."

 

I nodded slightly as I looked at him through our dimly lit room. He took my arms in his and pulled me into the bed where I landed on top of him.

 

After a small round of laughter, Sebastian's hazel eyes met mine. "I love you with all of my heart, Alex. Always and forever."

 

I lowered my face to his and kissed his lips tenderly. At that moment, I forgot all that had happened tonight. It was just him, me, and our bed. I smiled. "And I love you more," I whispered.

 

Sebastian's chuckle filled my ears. "If you say so," he said pulling me to his lips again.