He slid the ribbon off the box, still smiling and shaking his
head. Inside was a purple velvet bag, and when Zane peered inside he found a wide silver band. His stomach flipped as he shook it into his palm. It wasn’t shiny or new, and it had obviously been handmade. Etched into the side were numbers Zane quickly recognized as latitude and longitude coordinates.
“Oh God, Ty,” he whispered. He was chuckling as he
pulled out his phone and punched the coordinates into his
GPS. It gave him directions, telling him the location was less than half a mile away. At least it was close.
When he found his destination, it was not what he was
expecting. The only reason he even knew he was there was because Ty was sitting on the front stoop, waiting for him.
Zane snorted as Ty stood to meet him. He held up the ring
and wiggled his finger. “I can’t say this is your best attempt.”
Ty grinned. He turned and tapped the For Sale sign. “I
“I realized the one thing Fell’s Point didn’t really have,” Ty
said, his voice sincere and hopeful, “was a bookstore.”
Ty’s lips twitched. “And we could sell black market
orchids from the back.”
Zane’s breath left him. He was standing in the middle of
the craphole building Ty had bought him, and suddenly he
could see what Ty was truly proposing. A life where neither of them carried a gun. A life where Zane could sit in a bookstore all day, could know that Ty would be there when he went home, right upstairs. A life for them, together. A future. Ty wanted them to cut and run.
Zane thought he had experienced love before. Thought
he had known what it felt like to be the center of someone’s world.
He had been wrong, because it had never felt like this.
Ty squared his shoulders and straightened himself. He
cut quite the figure, his steady presence overpowering the
dusty surroundings. His voice was quiet and clear. “Will you marry me, Zane?”
Ty laughed, and his shoulders slumped with relief. He
moved toward Zane, reaching out to hook his finger through the bullet hole in Zane’s jacket and pull him close. “Thank Christ, ’cause I was out of ideas after this.”
Zane laughed with him, the sound echoing off the bones
of their future home, ringing in a new chapter in their lives
like the bells of a cathedral. Their laughter was still echoing off the walls when Ty took Zane’s face in both hands and kissed him for all he was worth. They wrapped around each other, clinging to the promise of the life they could have.