In every relationship there comes a time when you broach the subject of sharing a drawer.
|"Right, then, how about the bottom drawer?"
Barrett makes a petulant, half-asleep noise and shifts a little in Dexter's arms. His face is warm on Dexter's chest, one hand curled on Dexter's stomach. "Can't, baby . . . that's my sock drawer. . . ."
"Our sock drawer, love, remember?" Dexter kisses Barrett's forehead and sighs, carding his fingers through Barrett's dark, for once blessedly product-free hair. "Or would you prefer our underwear drawer?"
Mildly annoyed, Dexter sighs again, feeling very put-upon. Or he would, if Barrett's bed, and Barrett's arms weren't so bloody warm and welcoming. "Our undershirt drawer. . . ? Our sleep-wear drawer. . . ?"
"Well, shall I just keep my change of clothes in a sack by the front door, then?"
"Mm. . . ." And when nothing more is forthcoming, Dexter swats Barrett's arm. "I'm not asleep. Just resting my eyes," Barrett yawns.
"You can rest them all you want in a little while. For now, we need to figure out where I'll be keeping my change of clothes, since your precious bureau is sacrosanct."
Barrett rolls onto his stomach, laying his head on Dexter's chest once more. His eyes are sleepy and unguarded, tender and fond. "Okay, how about this: I don't give you space in any of my drawers, and instead get a whole 'nother bureau for you to keep your stuff in?"
Dexter rolls his eyes. "Barrett, I don't need a whole bureau for a few changes of clothing."
"Well . . . maybe you could keep all your clothes in it." Barrett smiles a little, his eyebrows raised questioningly. Dexter gapes, his own eyebrows making half the journey from brow to hairline.
"You . . . are you asking me to move in with you?"
Barrett's smile widens. "I believe I am."
"But—but—” Dexter sputters, utterly nonplussed. He and Barrett have never even talked about seeing each other exclusively—have barely talked about Dexter leaving a change of clothes at Barrett’s place—let alone moving in together. . . .
Dexter doesn’t know what to say. Which is not a common occurrence.
"You have to admit: it'd be much simpler than me rearranging my bureau."
"Rearranging our entire lives would be much simpler than rearranging your bureau—alright, yes, I can see where it would be, for you." Dexter snorts, and Barrett laughs, kissing his chest.
"I just don't see the point in half-measures, is all. We've been sleeping together for, what—a year and a half? Pretty much exclusively, at least on my part—”
“And on mine,” Dexter cuts in softly, and Barrett’s sudden smile could rival the sun for beauty and brightness.
“There you go,” he says, almost smugly. “When you're in town, you spend more time here than you do in your own condo. You're basically just using the place as an—oversized closet!"
"That's not true," Dexter protests half-heartedly.
"Oh, really? It's barely furnished! You've only got a bed, a television and three mismatched chairs!"
"Unlike you, I prefer a more . . . Spartan living space."
"My ass, you do." Barrett licks a stripe from chest to chin, and kisses Dexter's lips. Dexter holds Barrett tight and prolongs the kiss till they both need to come up for air or pass out. "You like all the same modern conveniences that the rest of the world enjoys, such as tables, microwaves, and carpeting. And a refrigerator with actual food in it."
"My refrigerator has food in it!"
Barrett tucks his head into the hollow between Dexter's jaw and shoulder with a contented sigh. "If you consider mold and a half-finished bottle of Dijon mustard food, then yes."
Dexter blushes. "Sometimes there's takeaway in there, too."
Barrett chuckles, his lips whispering against Dexter's skin as he speaks. "Takeaway that doubles as penicillin."
"Now you're just being picky."
They lay in comfortable silence for a while, Barrett dozing, Dexter thinking.
At thirty-six years old, he’s been in exactly one long-term relationship that went nowhere after seven months of stilted conversations, bland sex, and certainly no talk of even eventually moving in with each other. And that was nine years ago. Dexter has long since resigned himself to being alone for the rest of his life. With, of course, the occasional paramour, to keep things from getting too pathetic and depressing. But still . . . he never expected that he would ever come close to cohabitating with someone.
But then . . . in all his life, he’d never expected . . . Barrett.
How, Dexter wonders in utter bemusement, does a one night-stand between two completely different people—one of whom spends most of nearly two hundred-fifty days of the year traveling—turn into love and commitment? Even with a year and a half of time to make that happen?
Looking down at Barrett, who’s starting to snore in his arms, Dexter feels a sudden, but unsurprising burst of warmth and affection—of possessiveness and fierce passion—for this sweet, silly, anal-retentive, fussy, occasionally pretentious, always generous, ridiculously adorable, stickler of a man.
It doesn’t matter how it happened. Just that it has, and as far as Dexter’s concerned, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
Barrett is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
"You really want me to move in with you, Barrett."
"Mmhmm." Sleepy assent that's assent, nonetheless. Dexter swallows around the welling sensation in his throat.
"I'm not easy to live with . . . I'm a bit of a slob. Hence my Spartan living quarters. If I had more stuff, there’d be absolute chaos."
"Like I'd trust you to keep this place clean, anyway." A slightly loopy giggle. "I'll do the cleaning and cooking, you just . . . stay with me. That's your only chore."
"I wouldn't say that's a chore, love." Dexter kisses Barrett's mussy hair. "But alright, then. If you really want me here, I would be honored to stay."
Barrett snuggles closer. "Well . . . you’d have to take out the trash, too."
"I'm surprisingly fine with that."
"Good . . . say, Dexter?"
"What's your first name?"
"What's your last name?"
"Barrett is my last name. My first name's John."
Figures. Dexter sighs. "We happen to have the same first name, then."
Dexter can feel Barrett's frown against his collarbone.
"What say we just stick with 'Barrett' and 'Dexter'?"
"'Barrett and Dexter' sounds just fine to me, love. Just fine."