Dreamy Dylan

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#77 It’s a whorehouse

The engagement party is everything I could have hoped for. Some of the adults – mostly the moms, to be fair – stay sober to take care of the kids – but everyone else is hammered after an hour. Aston and Annabel disappear for about fifteen minutes somewhere along the line, and I think everyone knows what they’re doing. His inside-out shirt and her wild sex hair make that perfectly obvious when they walk back in.

“This is a club, not a brothel!” Shaughna shouts at them.

“Mommy?” 4-year-old Zachary asks his mother. “What’s a brothel?”

“Oh God,” Francesca mutters, looking at Joshua for help. “That’s… erm…”

“It’s a whorehouse,” 14-year-old Rose answers with a wicked grin. “Do you know what a whore is, Zach?”

“Nathan!” Joshua looks around, panicking. “Nathan!”

“Rose…” Her dad shakes his head and pulls her away from the little boy. “Stop trying to educate other people’s kids on inappropriate subjects.”

I can’t help laughing at how utterly incapable Nathan is of keeping his daughter in check. As Joshua tries to answer Zachary’s questions about whores, I move on to talk to Derrek and Matthew, who are sipping their beers and watching as James twirls Nova around on the dancefloor. I love how good their relationship with both of their co-parents is. I know it’s hard for Matthew sometimes to see how close James and Nova have gotten since he started dating her mother, but he’s not vindictive about it. He’s just happy she’s got four loving parental figures in her life. I hope one day me, Andre, Imani and Deidra can be that way too.

“Happy engagement,” Derrek says when he sees me. “I’m planning your wedding, by the way. Andre already asked me. I’ve got to say though… getting you one of the venues he mentioned… on such short notice…” He grimaces. “Sorry man, but it’s impossible. Unless there is a runaway bride or a groom drops dead or something, I don’t see how I can book you that castle Andre says you want.”

“Oh…” I shrug. “It’ll just have to be somewhere else then.”

“Andre was quite adamant.” Derrek nods behind me. “Weren’t you, Dre?”

An arm goes around my waist, and Andre’s soft lips press against my cheek. “Yes, I was. My fiancé deserves the most extravagant wedding ever. Anything he wants, he gets.”

I all but melt into a puddle. “It’s okay if it’s not at a castle. I’m sure other places will be great as well.”

“If you’re willing to hold the wedding in a different town or even state, then maybe, but five months?” Derrek shakes his head. “Sorry guys, but even I can’t make the impossible happen. Venues like that are booked at least a year in advance. Not just castles, but all the fancy mansions, chateaus, boathouses, resorts...”

That sucks, of course, but I refuse to let that get me down. “A hotel then, maybe?”

“A hotel should be doable. Maybe. If you don’t insist on more than seventy guests.” Derrek pulls out his phone. “Let me take some notes. What sort of-”

“Babe…” Matt puts his hand on Derrek’s arm. “Let them enjoy today, okay? There is plenty of time for wedding planning.”

With a sigh, his husband pockets his cellphone. “Fine. But if all the nice places are booked, I’m blaming you.”

“You always do, so what else is new?”

Derrek groans. “Dylan, are you sure you want to get married? You’ll end up like Matt and me.”

“Crazy happy and in love, you mean?” Matt rolls his eyes. “Don’t listen to Mr. Grumpy. He’s just tired from today’s bridezilla going apeshit on his ass.”

“We promise not to go groomzilla on you,” Andre vows, still keeping me close, just the way I like it. “We’re chill.”

“Speak for yourself, babe.” I can’t help grinning like a maniac. “I’m not making any promises I might not be able to keep.”

“Oh Lord.” Derrek dramatically puts a hand to his forehead, damsel in distress style. “I’m already regretting saying yes when Andre asked me to plan this thing for you.”

“Asked you?” He laughs. “I’m paying you, Derrek.”

“I gave you such a big discount I’m basically working for free. I can barely pay for the gas for my car and my phone bill with what you’re paying me, Peterson.”

I listen to them bickering for a while, exchanging amused looks with Matt. It’s becoming quite obvious these two have become friends over the past days, while they started with the wedding planning. The kind of friends who pretend to hate each other, and bicker like an old married couple. It’s cute as hell.

Tracy calls for me to join her for a duet onstage, so I give Andre a kiss and throw myself into karaoke. For about half an hour, I sing song after song, since everyone wants to do a duet with me. It’s exactly my kind of night. Especially when Rose Storm decides she wants to sing Sweet Caroline with me, and she makes Nathan tear up. I love it, all that cheesiness, all the love. Most of us can’t sing for shit, but we don’t let that stop us.

“Franny,” I say when I finally take a breather and find her in a corner, her 2-year-old daughter Maddison asleep in her lap. “You look exhausted. Shouldn’t you go home to your baby?” She gave birth to her third kid last month, who’s probably being looked after by Franny’s mother right now. Poor Fran looks like she should be in bed right now.

“Yeah…” She yawns. “It’s just so nice to be out again. I feel like I’ve been stuck in that house for ages.”

Joshua shows up five seconds later, holding Zach’s hand. “Baby, we should be getting home. You look like you’re about to faint.”

“Ughhh…” She groans. “Five more minutes?”

I take a sip of my beer before speaking up. “Can I be totally selfish for a minute and ask you guys for a favor?”

“Shoot,” Franny says right away.

“Could you guys be persuaded to play at our wedding? Andre is a huge fan, and obviously I don’t blame him at all. I’d love for you guys to-”

“Definitely,” Joshua replies before I can continue. “It would be our honor.”

“We’ll pay you, of course,” I hastily add. “I wouldn’t expect you to-”

Francesca laughs. “No way you’re paying us. Did we pay you anything when you helped us with the marketing for our first few gigs? You wouldn’t even hear of it. That’s what friends are for, Dylan.”

I smile, remembering having a very similar conversation when I told Liv and Andre I could run their website and social media accounts. I’ve got the best friends in the world, don’t I?

Once Joshua and Franny leave, others start to make their way home as well. Only those without kids hang around, and let me tell you… that’s only a few people. Turns out that somewhere along the line, we all became a domesticated bunch. Deidra needs to get home as well, since she gets tired very easily these days, thanks to my wonderful baby in her belly.

An hour later, it’s just Shaughna and Dshawn, Malik, Chase and Kyle, Derrek and Matthew, and of course me and Andre. Everyone else left. Shaughna decides to treat us to dinner in their restaurant next door, which of course we devour while drinking beer. It’s the perfect end to the perfect day. I’m jet lagged and exhausted, but the adrenaline keeps me going.

“What sort of wedding are you guys having?” Dshawn asks, sipping his beer. “And will you be in matching tuxes?”

Andre almost spits out his drink. “Matching tuxes?” He coughs loudly. “Dylan will probably be in a rainbow sparkle suit or something. I think I should go simple to make sure our guests don’t go blind within three seconds of seeing us.”

I grin, knowing he’s right. “I’ll need a makeup artist,” I tell Derrek. “Add that to the list. And someone to do my nails and hair and all that shit. I don’t care that men don’t normally have people for that. Act like I’m the bride, okay?”

“I’ve done so many queer weddings I’m not even surprised anymore when the grooms show up in full drag.” Derrek adds my requests to the growing list on his phone anyway.

“That sounds like my kind of wedding.” Chase nudges Kyle. “When are you going to ask me, boo? For future reference, I think Dylan’s ring is amazing. The stone is a little small, though.”

“Small?” I hold up my hand, letting the light bounce off the massive pink stone. “Are you blind?”

“Just high maintenance.” Kyle throws Chase one of those exasperated looks you only ever see on people deeply in love. “Patient, babe. We’ve only been together for a year.”

“Longer than a year,” Chase shoots back.

“Barely.” Kyle rolls his eyes. “Just because Andre and Dylan are tying the knot doesn’t mean I’m suddenly in a rush.”

Chase sighs dramatically. “I’m not getting any younger here.”

“Babe, I painted our fucking living room pink for you. That surely scored me enough points to get through another couple of months without you pestering me about marriage.”

“Do you know me at all?”

“Chase is going to have a wedding that will put ours to shame,” Andre cuts into their lover’s quarrel. “He’s got his dress picked out already.”

“Oh, I know.” Kyle laughs. “I’ve seen it. It’s on a goddamn mannequin in our bedroom.”

“I’m not surprised at all.” Malik holds up his beer and clinks it against Kyle’s bottle. “Good luck with all of… that.” He nods at Chase, who is looking perfectly innocent, pouting slightly.

“You have a wedding dress in your bedroom?” Shaughna asks, completely incredulous. She and Dshawn have been together for years, but they’re never getting married. The idea of a big white dress staring at her from across the room probably frightens her to death.

“Only the one I wanna wear at the reception,” Chase says like it’s no big deal. “I’m still trying to find the perfect one for the ceremony.”

“Oh, am I allowed two outfits too?” I ask Andre, already going through all the options in my mind. “Oh Derrek, I want a karaoke machine for the party, by the way.”

Derrek nods, typing away on his phone. “I hate to rain on your parade, Dylan, but I’m never going to be able to pull all of this together in less than a year.”

“You did Liv and James’ wedding in less than a year,” Matt reminds him. “You’re a wizard, hubby.”

“Nine months after they proposed,” Derrek replies. “And I only managed because there was a cancellation at the venue, and they are both insanely low maintenance. Andre might be easy, but Dylan is as extravagant as they come. I don’t half-ass this stuff. I need more time. I can’t pull this together before the baby comes, guys.”

That’s disappointing, but I’ll just have to throw out half of the things I want. “Okay, just let me know what venue is available and what stuff I need to forget about, and we’ll figure it out.”

“No.” Andre’s voice is firm. “You deserve the wedding of your dreams. We’re not going to settle for less. There’s no rush, love.”

“Erm… yeah there is.” I cock an eyebrow at him. “We can’t name the baby Peterson if we’re not married before Deidra gives birth.”

“Then we don’t.” He truly seems to mean it. “I’d rather marry you properly and give you everything you’ve ever wanted than force you to rush into this just because I’m an anxious mess sometimes.”

“Everything I’ve ever wanted is you.” I take his hand in mine and give him a kiss. “And a family, which I’m getting. With you. I don’t need a big gay wedding at a castle.”

“It’s non-negotiable,” Andre grunts, putting his foot down. “We’ll get married after the baby is here. She can be our flower girl or something.”

“No way. We’re doing this before she’s here.” I can’t believe this. The baby having his name means the world to him, so for him to give that up for me… It’s too much.

“Erm… guys?” Derrek waves his hand, trying to get our attention. “There is quite an easy solution. This is hardly the first time people have been wanting to get married before having a baby, but refuse to settle for less than all their dreams come through. It’s often because the woman wants to take her boyfriend’s name before the baby is born, but she doesn’t want to wear a maternity dress for her wedding.”

“Easy solution?” Andre echoes. “What? How?”

“Small courthouse ceremony to get your name changed, and then a big-ass wedding with bells and whistles in a year and a half or so.” Derrek wiggles his phone at me. “That gives us all the time in the world to plan the wedding of the century.”

That sounds… Well, that actually sounds perfect. I look at Andre, and I can tell he finds the same way. We both get to give the other person what he wants, without having to sacrifice our own wants and needs. I get to be Dylan Dyer-Peterson in just a few months, while still getting the huge party and my rainbow glitter tux or whatever I’ll end up wearing.

“Let’s do that,” Andre agrees right away.

“Yeah,” I chime in. “Let’s do that.”

“Two weddings,” Chase groans. “Hear that, Kyle? They get two weddings, and I don’t even get one. We’ve been together for way longer than they have!”

“And we’ll continue to be together every single day of our lives.” Kyle rolls his eyes at his boyfriend’s temper tantrum. “I love you, but you really need to chill, Chase.”

Chase gets up from the table, looking disappointed. “I need to pee. Be right back.”

The second he’s gone, Malik turns to Kyle. “When are you proposing? Soon, right?”

Kyle grins, his whole face lighting up. “Next weekend, when his parents are in town.”

“Oh my God,” Andre breathes, apparently not in the loop yet. “Really?”

“I didn’t buy a ring, because Chase is crazy picky, so I’m popping the question with an empty ring box, and then I’m taking him and his folks to the jewelry store where Andre bought that monstrosity you’re wearing.” He nods at my hand. “He’ll probably pick out something even worse, but hey…” He shrugs. “It’s his ring, not mine. If he wants a rainbow ring, he’s getting one. If he wants two dresses, he’s getting them. I don’t give a shit. As long as I’m allowed to show up in a boring black tux and can pick out a simple silver band for myself, I’m all good.”

“Hear hear,” Matt agrees immediately. “I went into it with the same mindset when I married Derrek.”

I look at Andre, knowing he feels the same way about me. It’s funny how the dynamics of all couples are different, but we’re also the same in many ways. One has a million wedding ideas, the other is just happy to say I do and couldn’t care less about flower arrangements, table clothes, and decorations. Although I have a feeling that Andre might get into the wedding planning a lot more than he thinks he will. The man definitely has a specific taste.

“Malik, please tell me you’re not proposing to anyone,” Shaughna begs. “I feel like hurling with so much almost-wedded bliss around me. What’s wrong with ten fingers without any things?” She wiggles them at us.

“I’d probably have to find a girl before buying a ring.” Malik smiles wryly. “Not much luck on the love front. All girls seem to want these days is one thing only.”

“Love and marriage?” Dshawn asks, frowning.

“Shoes and clothes?” Derrek adds.

I laugh at their guesses. “He’s talking about sex, guys. It’s not just men who have one-track minds these days.”

“Hey, feminism!” Shaughna shakes her fist. “I’m all for it!”

“Yeah, me too, but at some point…” Malik shrugs. “It would be nice to meet someone who wants more than that with me, you know?”

“Poor you, being so handsome everyone wants to sleep with you.” Andre winks at him teasingly. “You’ll find your girl, trust me.”

“Malik?” Chase asks when he joins us again. “Find a girl? Did hell freeze over while I was in the bathroom?”

That earns him a smack from Malik and a grin from Kyle. We all share looks now that we know Kyle is going to propose soon, and their teasing banter is even cuter now. If Chase knew what Kyle is planning, he wouldn’t be so envious of Andre and me getting engaged, that’s for sure. He’s not mean about it or anything, he’s just a little upset with Kyle for not beating Andre to it.

I lean against Andre, pressing a kiss to his cheek while he wraps an arm securely around me. This, right here, this is perfection. This is what our proposal should have been like in the first place. It’s the perfect day, with the perfect man, and the perfect ring.

All we need now is for our perfect baby to enter into the world, and my life will be everything I’ve ever wanted it to be.

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