Technicolor Daze

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thirty-one.

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

“Are you on your way home?” Theo asked Noah over the phone. Noah had just had his seventh appointment with his therapist. Shortly after telling his parents what had happened, his mom managed to schedule an appointment for Noah with a therapist, and fortunately for Noah, his therapist was a perfect fit for him. After that initial first appointment, he began having two appointments per week and was overall doing much better.

He quit working at D2 after doing a farewell performance, as he needed a break from working nights and weekends to focus on his mental health. He’d also quit his job at the bookshop three weeks prior, as his boss wasn’t very pleased with the week he took off without giving her any concrete reason and, as a result, things were tense between them when he went back to work. He’d been planning on leaving that job if he passed the audition for the job position at the House of the Dancing Water anyway, so he wasn’t too disappointed about it.

Before he quit his bookshop job, he’d talked to Mia, his friend who owned the dance school, and they agreed on letting Noah teach a few extra classes. She was also aware that Noah was waiting for a response from the House of the Dancing Water and was rooting for him to get the job.

“Yeah, what time are we meeting Joel later on?”

Noah and Joel had slowly become friends, having had to meet often to discuss the case. It was still pretty early in the process, but authorities in Macau had been notified of the man’s identity, and he would be brought in for questioning the next time he crossed the border into Macau. Noah blocked all contact with the guy the day he filed a report, not wanting anything else to do with him, so he didn’t know if the man had attempted to contact him in the meantime, but as far as he knew, his videos hadn’t been leaked. He knew there was a chance that they could be leaked, but Theo and his parents told him that if it happened, they’d be there to help him.

In any case, Noah had warned Mia that someone was blackmailing him and could potentially leak some private things to her. She told him it wasn’t a problem and that she would let him know if she received any strange emails from an unknown sender.

“We’re meeting at 7 at Joel’s place,” Theo was smoking a cigarette on the balcony, looking at the clear sky.

“Okay, perfect. I should be home in about twenty minutes. I really need a shower! It’s so hot out today!” Noah whined.

“Really? It’s fresh out here on the balcony,” Theo smirked as he spoke into the receiver.

“Oh, fuck off!” Noah playfully told Theo off, “You’re not on a crowded bus heading to Taipa. Of course, it’s fresher there!”

“You poor soul. You’ll be rewarded with a fresh beer when you get home. I bought some on my way home,” Theo offered.

“Okay, you’re forgiven,” Noah retorted.

“How was your appointment?” Theo asked as he extinguished his cigarette.

“It was good. My therapist thinks we’re making a lot of progress and we had a bit of a breakthrough today. I’ll tell you about it at home. Feels strange to be talking about it when I’m sandwiched between people on a bus,” Theo chuckled at Noah’s remark.

“Okay, but that’s great!” Theo smiled, even though Noah couldn’t see.

“Being sandwiched between two people on a crowded bus is great?” Noah teased.

Theo rolled his eyes, “You know what I meant.”

“I know,” Theo could hear Noah’s smirk through the receiver, “Anyway, I’ll hang up now. I gotta call my mom.”

“Okay, see you in a bit,” Theo grabbed another cigarette to light up.

“See you,” Noah hung up.

Theo lit his cigarette up and stared at the distance, as he thought about the last few weeks. He and Noah had spent most of their free time together. Noah slept over most nights ever since he quit dancing at D2 and though they’d never made it official, they were basically dating. He’d even met Noah’s friends and his housemate once when he spent a weekend over at Noah’s and Noah introduced Theo as his partner.

After Noah kissed Theo on their way home from the dinner at his parents’ place, he slowly got more and more comfortable being intimate around Theo once again. They hadn’t gone beyond kissing and making out, as Noah still didn’t feel comfortable doing more than that. Theo didn’t mind. As long as Noah was comfortable, they’d go at his pace.

On Thursday night he finally felt comfortable enough to engage in some foreplay. Theo smiled at the memory of being that physically intimate with Noah for the first time after several weeks. Although they did explore beyond the realm of mutual masturbation and oral sex, it had almost felt like sleeping with Noah for the first time again. The expressions and sounds he made, his fervent touches, that little smile on his face as he laid down on top of Theo, both men panting, trying to catch their breath after climaxing... Theo’s pants got a little tighter and his heart started beating a little faster as the memories played out in his mind.

He knew they hadn’t been dating for long, but he’d already fallen for Noah. He’d taken the plunge and there was no turning back.

Having smoked the cigarette until only the butt remained, he extinguished it on the ashtray and got up to take a shower and get ready.

After showering, he stepped out of the bathroom and heard his intercom ringing. He answered it, “Hello?”

“I’m here,” he heard Noah’s voice. Theo kept forgetting to make a copy of their keys to give to Noah. He was almost like a third housemate. He even spent more time at the apartment than Alice, who spent half of the week at Jamie’s.

Theo clicked the button on the buzzer that would let Noah into the building, “It’s open.”

He heard the building door opening and closing before opening the apartment door and leaving it open while he finished getting dressed. He was about to slip on a shirt when he heard Noah’s voice coming from the living room, “Theo?”

“In my room,” Theo called out.

Noah appeared at the door and leaned against the doorframe, looking Theo up and down, his gaze lingering on Theo’s abs, “Oh, hello there. The workout is paying off.”

Theo had started working out with Noah, wanting to do more activities with the other man. They usually worked out early in the morning, before Theo had to go to work because Noah taught classes at the end of the day. The first two weeks were brutal, as Noah was quite serious about his workout and Theo wasn’t used to getting up that early, but over time, Theo caught up to Noah’s fitness level and adapted to the new schedule.

“It’s all thanks to you,” Theo smiled and started buttoning up his shirt.

“Definitely worth getting up early,” Noah winked at Theo before adding, “By the way, my mom sent her regards and she also asked when you’re available for dinner at their place. My mom misses you.”

Theo had only had dinner at Noah’s parents’ house one more time after his first visit and that had been three weeks after the first time he’d met them. In that last visit, Theo overheard Noah talking to his mom about him. When he asked Noah about it after leaving his parent’s house, Noah said that he’d told his mom that they were indeed together and that his mom thought they made a cute couple. Theo had simply blushed and wondered when Noah would be ready to meet his family.

He knew he wanted Noah to meet his family, but he didn’t know if Noah thought it was too soon. He’d met Noah’s family early on due to Noah’s circumstances, but he wasn’t sure if Noah was ready to meet his family. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop his mom from asking him when he would bring Noah over.

“We could go over tomorrow if you want,” Theo said.

“Okay, I’ll let her know,” Noah’s phone suddenly buzzed with a message. He fished his phone from his pocket and read the text. As soon as he finished reading, he chuckled.

“What are you laughing at?” Theo said as he stepped closer to Noah to kiss him.

“Mia sent me a message telling me that Ivy showed up at her class and tried to make every dance sexier to flirt with another dancer, but the other dancer happens to be gay,” Noah was amused as he texted his friend back.

“Did Mia let Ivy know that the guy is gay?” Theo pecked Noah’s lips. Noah stopped typing and gave Theo a proper kiss before answering his question.

“No, she’s having way too much fun watching her try really hard. We should all go out for some drinks again. It was fun last time we did it,” Noah smiled at Theo. Theo had first met Noah’s friends at a small gathering on Gavin’s rooftop. Aside from Mia and Jenny, who was Noah’s housemate, Gavin was another one of Noah’s closest friends in Macau.

Gavin was a photographer and was generally quiet, but he’d come out of his shell and voice his opinions more freely after a few beers. Theo could see why he and Noah got along - Gavin was super blunt whenever he was tipsy. Jenny was quite a character - she didn’t take any bullshit from anyone and she was the embodiment of the motto ‘work hard, play hard’. She definitely lived up to the crazy stories Noah had told Theo about her. However, she often ranted about her boss and when she did, Theo just zoned out, as it was always about the same things. Mia was passionate about dancing and fitness, so Theo didn’t have much in common with her, but he thought that she was very chill and laid-back.

Overall, Theo found Noah’s group of friends very interesting and decided to introduce his friends to Noah’s by inviting them for drinks at his place. The plan had been a great success, as both of the friend groups ended up getting along and befriending one another.

“Yeah, we should. Maybe next Friday?” Theo suggested, running his hand up and down Noah’s arm.

“Yeah, sure. I’ll ask them,” Noah gave Theo another quick peck before grabbing his towel, “Anyway, Ima take a shower and get ready.”

“Go on,” Theo grabbed his phone as Noah headed into the bathroom.

He went on Facebook and scrolled through his feed. He saw a new tagged photo of Liam with a few other guys, all smiling and holding some drinks. The caption read: ”Bebidas con amigos.” Theo smiled, seeing Liam adapting pretty quickly to life in Mexico. He hadn’t talked much to Liam in the last three weeks, but last time they’d spoken, Liam had told him he was enjoying Mexico City.

Theo kept on scrolling, seeing posts from his sister, some of his relatives in the US, and some from Alice, who had gone to Hong Kong with Jamie for the day. He heard Noah finish his shower and step into his room shortly after, a towel wrapped around his waist. His eyes couldn’t help but roam Noah’s naked body as he dried himself off.

“How are you so fucking hot?” Theo asked gazing intently at Noah.

“Ask my mom. Or don’t, she might tell you how I was conceived,” Theo chuckled at Noah’s comment.

Noah grabbed some of the clothes he left at Theo’s place for when he spent the night over and got dressed. Theo noticed the number of clothes Noah had brought over to Theo’s house over the last few weeks had increased. He already had enough clothes to spend at least two weeks at Theo’s. He’d also brought over two of his own towels. It sometimes almost felt like he lived there.

“So what was the breakthrough you mentioned over the phone?” Theo asked.

“Oh, that. I told her that we’d done some, you know, stuff and that it was amazing and not as scary as I thought it would be. She asked me what changed and why I felt comfortable engaging in foreplay again and I realized that I was more afraid about not being able to enjoy physical contact with you after what happened and not really as afraid about the idea of having sex in general,” Noah paused as he sat down next to Theo, trying to think about how to formulate what he was about to say next.

“Yeah, I’m not really ready to have sex yet, but the fact that he didn’t ruin physical intimacy for me is already something that makes me happy. I didn’t want him to ruin my life any further and having him potentially ruin what we have was a scary thought,” Noah continued, looking down as he admitted his fears. Theo could tell that those thoughts had definitely been swimming in his mind, haunting him for a while. He reached out and placed his hand on top of Noah’s reassuringly.

Noah glanced up and faced Theo, looking him in the eyes, “I definitely want to have sex with you again. I miss feeling you inside of me and being inside of you. I don’t know how long it will take before I’m ready to do it again, but knowing that I’m comfortable with you touching me in that way without feeling gross makes me feel hopeful about being comfortable with the idea of sex in the future.”

“That’s great! I’m so proud of the progress you’re making. And, well, even if it takes months or years for you to be ready, I’ll like you all the same and I’ll always stay by your side,” Theo gave Noah a sincere smile.

Noah gave Theo a small peck on his lips, before saying, “I know. Thank you.”

It was already a quarter past six when both men were finally ready to leave the house and head to Joel’s house. Theo forgot the wine bottle he’d bought so he had to go back up to get it before they were able to walk to the bus stop. They got on the bus and rode to Macau. Noah told Theo about the audition he’d have that week. He’d been practicing at the dance school after his lessons, working hard to be able to get the job. By the sparkle in his eyes whenever he spoke about the audition, Theo could see that Noah really wanted that job position.

When they got off the bus, Theo texted Joel, letting him know that they’d be at his place in ten minutes. Joel lived close to Nam Van lake, fairly close to his office. Noah followed Theo’s lead and soon they were standing in front of the entrance door to Joel’s building. Theo pressed on the 6F button and they waited for Joel to open the door. Once the door was open, not even a minute later, they stepped in and called for the elevator.

“What’s Joel’s fiancé called again?” Noah had never met Michelle, though Joel had mentioned her a few times when they’d met up. Joel had finally proposed to Michelle the week before and fortunately for him, she’d said yes.

“Michelle,” Theo answered.

“Michelle, yeah he’s told me before. I suck at remembering names,” Noah gave Theo a small smile.

“Don’t worry, I’m quite good at remembering names. I can help you,” Theo winked at Noah, who simply chuckled in retort.

The elevator doors opened once they reached the sixth floor and they turned to their left. Theo rang the doorbell as they waited for Joel or Michelle to open the door. They heard some voices coming from the inside before Michelle finally opened the door.

“Hey! Theo! Long time no see! How’ve you been?” Michelle enthusiastically greeted as she kissed Theo on the cheek.

“Hey Michelle, I’m good and wow, you look stunning today!” Theo looked Michelle up and down. She was looking radiant in a yellow summer dress and her dark brown hair cascaded past shoulders in waves.

“Thank you! And I’m guessing you’re Noah?” Michelle asked looking at Noah, who was standing shyly behind Theo.

“Yeah, nice to meet you,” he stretched his arm out, not really sure how to greet her, but instead of taking her hand, she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek, just like she had done with Theo.

“Nice to meet you too! I’ve heard great things about you,” Michelle smiled warmly at Noah. Theo was certain that she was not aware of the details of the case, but she knew that Joel was working for Noah.

“I’ve also heard lovely things about you,” Noah said, smiling warmly but awkwardly at Michelle. Theo found Noah’s demeanor so precious, enjoying his shyer side which he didn’t show as often.

“Well, come on in! Joel is just finishing cooking!” Michelle gestured for them to step in while she closed the door of the apartment.

Joel and Michelle lived in a two-bedroom apartment with a cozy living room that doubled as a dining room. The windows were quite big and overlooked the Nam Van Lake. Theo didn’t know how much they paid for their rent, but he was sure it wasn’t cheap. Luckily, both of them had jobs that paid fairly well.

“Joel’s cooking?” Theo asked before teasingly adding in an intentionally louder voice for Joel to hear, “Are you sure we’ll be okay?”

“Joel has gotten pretty good at cooking recently! Ever since I started working on the weekend, he’s been the one cooking. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised,” Michelle revealed.

“Oh, now I’m intrigued,” Theo said, “Anyway, congratulations! Joel told me about your engagement!”

“Thank you! Look,” Michelle showed off her ring. It was fairly simple and subtle, but Michelle didn’t like flashy jewelry so it suited her, “isn’t it beautiful?”

“It’s very beautiful,” Noah said with a smile.

“I gotta admit, Joel has good taste,” Theo agreed.

“Of course I do,” Joel stepped out of the kitchen holding a tray of roasted chicken and potatoes, “What kind of best friend are you? Doubting my taste and my cooking skills...”

“Hey, don’t blame me! The first time you cooked for me, you burnt the potatoes and the chicken was underdone. I still don’t know how you managed that,” Theo teased Joel as he placed the tray on the dining table.

“That was eight years ago! I was still in college! I’m sure I can redeem myself tonight,” Joel walked to Michelle’s side and wrapped an arm around her waist.

“I can vouch for him,” Michelle assured.

“We’ll see about that... Anyway, we brought you guys some wine,” Theo handed Joel the bottle.

“Oh, Quinta do Penedo, this is good stuff,” Joel complimented as he read the label, “Thank you. I’ll just grab the corkscrew and some wine glasses.”

“I’ll help you,” Theo followed after Joel, leaving Noah behind with Michelle.

Once in the kitchen, Theo saw Joel using the corkscrew to open the bottle and let it breathe a bit before serving. He leaned against the kitchen counter and asked his friend, “How’ve you been these days?”

“Great! Michelle and I spent last weekend at a hotel where I proposed to her and she said yes, so I couldn’t be better,” Joel smiled at his friend after successfully taking the cork out of the bottle and placing the bottle on the counter to rest.

“Glad to hear that,” Theo smiled back.

“You’re also looking good. You and Noah, he’s so looking much better these days,” Joel commented. Theo appreciated how Joel was keeping the conversation and not mentioning the case. He knew his friend was working hard to help Noah, but he also liked to keep a separation between his work life and his personal life.

“Yeah, he’s been doing better, and seeing him get better makes me happy,” Theo said sincerely.

“I’m glad to see you feeling better. You also deserve happiness and it seems like you found someone who makes you happy. And I may not have met him in the best circumstances, but I really like Noah and he really seems to care about you, so I’m really happy for you guys,” Joel said.

“What’s with you being all sappy with me all of a sudden?” Theo teased his friend. Deep down he was feeling happy about Joel’s words, but he wouldn’t let Joel know. That’s just how their friendship dynamics worked.

“I’ve always been a little sappy,” Joel knowingly smirked before adding, “but okay, I’ll stop for now. Let’s bring these glasses to the living room.”

They carried the glasses and the bottle over to the living room where Noah and Michelle were chatting excitedly about something. “Nice to see you two getting friendly!” Joel commented.

"’Mor, did you know that Joel is also into Pina Bausch?” Michelle’s eyes were twinkling.

“Is that the German dancer you’re obsessed with?” Joel asked.

“Yes! Oh my God! I can’t believe I’ve just met someone else who is also into Pina Bausch!” Theo didn’t know who the dancer was, but apparently, she was a big deal to Michelle and Noah, who also seemed keen to talk more about her.

“My friends and I in Berlin decided to do a movie night for Pina and then one of my friends and I decided to recreate one of the dances for fun,” Noah casually added.

“Oh, that’s so cool! I wish I could dance like her, but I’m more of an admirer than a dancer myself,” Michelle shyly admitted.

“Pfft, you’re definitely a dancer,” Joel countered.

“Next to you, I am. You were born with two left feet!” Michelle playfully retorted.

“The shade!” Joel pretended to feel insulted, but his gaze towards his fiancé was quite loving. He poured a glass of wine and stretched his arm out to Noah, “Wine?”

“Sure,” Noah accepted the glass. Joel then poured some more glasses and extended the same invitation to Theo and Michelle before serving a glass for himself.

“Cheers to your engagement!” Theo toasted and they all clinked their glasses together.

“Thank you, Theo,” Michelle smiled at Theo, “You know you’re definitely going to be the best man at the wedding.”

“Joel’s already told me,” Theo smiled before teasingly adding, “I’m already coming up with embarrassing stories about Joel for the drunk best man speech.”

“Oh, fuck off! I also have some embarrassing stories about you so you better be careful, Theodore Edwards!” Joel playfully threatened.

“I’m curious about those stories,” Noah said as he smirked at Theo who simply scoffed and glared at Joel with eyes that seemed to say ‘don’t you dare.’

“Maybe I’ll share some later on,” Joel gave Theo a smug grin, completely unaffected by his friend’s menacing stare, “But first, let’s have dinner before the food gets cold!”

“Yes, I’m starving,” Theo said as he looked at the food on the table.

“Noah and Theo, you can sit over on that side,” Michelle pointed at the two seats facing the living room, whereas they took the seats facing the wall.

They sat down and Joel served Theo and Noah some chicken and potatoes before serving himself and Michelle. Michelle then offered Theo and Noah some salad, which they graciously accepted.

“Okay, Joel. I’ll admit - your cooking skills have definitely improved. This is legit good!” Theo commented after taking a bite.

“Yeah, this is really delicious!” Noah excitedly chewed his food as he nodded in agreement.

"’Mor, what do you think?” Joel asked Michelle.

“You know I love your cooking,” she smiled back and ate another bite before asking Noah, “So, Noah, you mentioned you were a dancer. Where do you dance?”

“Well, I teach contemporary dance at a dance school. Macau Dance Factory, not sure if you’ve heard of it,” Michelle nodded, “yeah, my friend owns it and invited me to teach some classes there.”

“That’s so cool! I thought about taking up some classes there,” Michelle mentioned.

“If you ever wanna try, the first lesson is on the house,” Noah smiled at Michelle who grinned in return, “and, until recently, I was also dancing at D2, but I stopped working there. I actually have an audition this week for the House of the Dancing Water.”

“Oh wow! You must be really good to get an interview there!” Michelle’s jaw was slack.

“He’s amazing!” Theo added, making Noah shy.

“Dancing is my passion. I hope I can open my own dance studio one day,” Noah’s eyes were once again twinkling whenever he spoke about his dream.

“Do you want to open it here in Macau?” Joel asked.

“Yeah, my parents live here and I wanna be close to them. I moved back here a little over a year ago to be closer to them,” Noah explained.

“Oh? Where were you before then?” Michelle asked. Joel already knew a bit of Noah’s background, having met up with him more often and worked with him on the case.

“I finished high school and went to university in Germany.

“This guy’s been all over the place! He’s lived in Thailand, Germany, and Macau!” Joel explained to Michelle.

“Woah! Really? I love going to Thailand! I’ve been there a few times!” Michelle and Noah were really vibing, Theo thought. He liked seeing his friends getting along with the person he loved.

He loved Noah.

He was sure of that.

He didn’t know when it had started or how it had started.

But he knew he loved him.

He gazed lovingly at the man he loved as those thoughts ran through his mind, the corners of his lips going up ever so slightly.

“I was born there and lived there until I was ten before moving here. Theo and I actually went to the same school but never really crossed paths back then,” Noah glanced at Theo with a shy smile.

A smile that made his heart beat a little faster.

“What a small world!” Michelle said.

“I mean, Macau is pretty small,” Theo stated matter-of-factly.

“You know what I meant,” Michelle rolled her eyes at Theo.

“By the way, Michelle, how did Joel propose? He didn’t give me the details,” Theo asked, looking with a teasing grin at his friend.

“Oh, didn’t he? Well, he surprised me with a stay at the Banyan Tree on Saturday. I just thought it was to celebrate winning a case, but I didn’t make much of it. We’ve spent some nights at hotels in the past just as little treats. We had dinner and we went for a walk around the hotel and then we got back to the room and there were red petals all over the bed. I asked him what was all of that and he started telling me about how he felt about me and how he couldn’t imagine a future without me before getting down on one knee and proposing,” Michelle told the story without taking any breaks, visibly excited about the engagement.

“Aww, that was so sweet!” Theo smiled at Michelle before poking fun at his friend, “I didn’t expect anything less from Joel. He’s always been the sappy romantic out of the two of us.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being a sappy romantic. You should learn from me, right Noah?” Joel looked at Noah, giving him a small wink. Noah just chuckled.

And the dinner carried on like that, with friendly light-hearted banter. Noah was thoroughly enjoying seeing the two friends playfully bicker with one another. Although Theo also had that friendly banter with Alice and his other friends, Noah could tell it was different with Joel. There was a shared background, almost as if they’d grown up as siblings from different parents. He recalled that Theo had mentioned that they’d gone to different schools, but lived close to each other, so much so that they spent a lot of time together. He wondered what Theo had been like when he was a kid and a teen.

“Hey, Joel, what was Theo like when he was younger? You guys grew up together, so I’m curious,” Noah voiced his thoughts.

Joel looked at Theo with a smirk before answering, “well, although we went to different schools after kindergarten, our parents were friends, so we spent almost every weekend together. Theo was pretty shy until university. Not at all like the guy you see today.”

“I wasn’t that bad,” Theo retorted, “I just wasn’t as outgoing as you.”

“Lots of girls from my school were crushing on Theo. They always tried to get his attention whenever people from both of our schools would get together. They were so heartbroken when Theo started dating Jason,” even Theo chuckled at that comment.

“But I remember one time, when we were 16 or 17, before he started dating Jason, Theo got so drunk, he would do anything you asked him. We met up with some friends from my school and his school and decided to play ring of fire and every time we got the truth or dare card, he always chose dare. He ended up kissing a bunch of girls who had a crush on him and I had to stop him from stripping off his boxers at one point,” everyone at the table was cackling at Joel’s story except for Theo, who just blushed and buried his face in his hands.

“I was such a lightweight and you guys kept making me drink,” Theo whined.

“You were single and the girls were all interested in getting information out of you, but you were so scared of outing yourself, so you avoided choosing truth the entire night. They kept on making the dares harder to get you to choose truth,” Joel retorted.

“Yeah, not sure which was worse. My classmates teased me for a week, asking me if I wanted to put on another striptease show,” Theo shook his head but with a small smile on his face. He’d almost forgotten about that story.

“I remember that! You kept whining about it the whole week as well, but man, you were such a lightweight back then,” Joel teased Theo.

“He’s still a lightweight,” Noah added.

“Well, you’re German, you don’t count,” Theo defended himself, making Noah laugh.

And the rest of the evening was filled with stories and laughter. Noah was enjoying hearing about Theo’s past and Michelle and Joel were curious about Noah’s adventures in Bangkok, Berlin, and Heidelberg. Although Joel had talked several times with Noah, they’d mostly talked in a more professional setting, so this was the first time he was getting to know Noah on a deeper level and seeing his dynamic with Theo. As he watched the two newly coupled lovers gazing lovingly at each other amidst the light-hearted banter, he couldn’t help but feel proud at how far his friend had come in just a few months. Theo was no longer the cynical and hopeless wanderer. He’d finally opened his heart and learned to love again.

After the dinner and some more drinks, Theo and Noah bid Joel and Michelle farewell, promising to invite them over for dinner next time. Joel and Michelle were curious to try Noah’s cooking after hearing extensive praises from Theo. Once they’d said their goodbyes, they headed back home, smiles on their faces, having thoroughly enjoyed their evening soiree.

Back home at Theo’s place, Alice was on her way out. She’d dropped by the apartment to get some things she needed to take to Jamie’s, where she’d spend the night - she’d been doing that quite often.

“By the way, Theo, you got a postcard. Have a good night guys!” She said just before she left.

Theo walked over to the coffee table and saw that there was indeed a postcard addressed to him. On the front side of the postcard, there was a photograph of the pyramids of Teotihuacán. He turned the postcard over and saw that it was from Liam. It read:

“Hola Theo,

I’m sending you this postcard, just as promised. Of course, it had to be one of the most famous landmarks in Mexico. It isn’t too far from Mexico City and I had to visit this Aztec monument. It’s one of the main reasons I came here and it definitely is better than I expected. I’m loving Mexico City! The language barrier was a bit of a struggle at first, but I’m slowly getting used to it. I’ve already made a bunch of friends here with whom I plan to travel around the country this year. Thank you for convincing me to do this! I definitely owe you one.

Abrazos y besos,

Liam”

Theo smiled as he read the letter. He suddenly felt two arms wrapping around his waist and Noah’s chin plopping on his shoulder. “Who’s it from?” Noah asked.

Theo turned his head around to look at Noah and said, “It’s from Liam. That friend of mine who went to Mexico.”

“Oh, that guy,” Noah’s face turned sour at the mention of Liam’s name. He let go of Theo and turned around, looking a bit like a puppy who’d just been told by his owner that he wasn’t going out for a walk. Theo couldn’t help but find Noah’s jealousy a bit cute, but he wouldn’t admit it out loud.

“Hey,” he grabbed Noah and turned him around to face him and said, “he’s just a friend. You don’t have to be jealous of him. The only person in my heart is you.”

Noah’s dejected expression instantly changed and made way for a small shy smile, “I’m not jealous... It’s just... I want you all for myself.”

“And I’m all yours,” Theo caressed Noah’s face and leaned his forehead against Noah’s, “I love you, Noh.”

He couldn’t help voicing the feelings that had been bubbling up in his heart for a while, longing to come out. Noah looked at Theo with a soft and loving gaze.

“I love you too, Theo,” he said before pressing his lips against Theo’s.

And as their kiss turned passionate and they fumbled their way to the bedroom, both men couldn’t help but feel whole, having bared their souls to one another. They’d given each other their hearts, there was no going back.

Although Noah was still healing from his wounds, with Theo by his side, he felt like he could focus on the light at the end of the tunnel rather than drown in suffocating shadows from his past.

And at that moment, that was all he needed.

A/N: ’Mor is short for Amor which means love in Portuguese.

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