Sometimes secrets are best self-kept, however, what about those that are life altering.
It's been seventeen years. I met Braxton Whitmore on my first day at Ocean Lakes High School. He was in the 11th grade, and I was in the 10th. I remember sitting behind him smelling the scent of his cologne. Braxton was always kind to me, but we became the best of friends when a group of football players thought I wrote a letter to one of their teammates. Oh, did I forget to mention, my name is Jamal Burnes, and I'm gay. That day Braxton walked up to the guys after they humiliated me at the lunch table and said, "If you were real men, you would have asked him if it came from him vice assuming." Needless to say, I didn't write the letter. As the years progressed, the bond between Braxton and myself grew.
Braxton went from a cute high school kid, to a beautiful Naval Officer, with an even more beautiful soul. I went from being a tall, lanky, dark skin little nerd, to a tall slightly muscular English Professor in Oxford UK. Braxton and I, never lost touch. He's even invited me to his wedding, all expenses paid. That is where our story begins.
Jamal stretches out in the back of his Uber, with his curly burnt orange hair fluttering out of the window, as he takes in the Colorado air. The Hills move like majestic stallions upon the backdrop of the bright blue sky. He thinks to himself, it smells like a wedding, like love is in the air. Then the car stops.
"We are here sir," says the Uber driver, clouded in a thick middle eastern accent.
"Thank you so much. 5 stars, and a tip for taking me the long way," Jamal replies stepping out of the car retrieving his suitcase.
He looks upon the house, and thinks to himself, this this is totally going to be an extra wedding. As he walks toward the massive mansion, the door flings open, and the beautiful man that has called him friend for years comes running out. Jamal places his bags back on the ground, and braces for the impact, as Braxton picks him up and twirls him in the air.
"Why has it been so long since we've set eyes on one another?" he asks, as he places Jamal back on the ground.
"Braxton, you left for the military. I moved back to Oxford. You are getting married, and I am still single AF. It was bound to happen. However, I am so delighted that you invited me to the wedding," Jamal replies as Braxton steps back.
"Actually," Braxton gets down on one knee and holds a box out toward Jamal. "I wanted to know..." before Braxton can utter the words, Jamal hits the ground.
All he can hear is a female voice screaming, as someone picks his limp body from the ground, placing him over their shoulder. Suddenly he feels himself fall upon a soft pillow top mattress. In an instance, he falls asleep.
Braxton touches his neck, "He's breathing. I think everything together might have been a bit much for him. You know he's almost a full blown Brit."
"Baby, well let's let him rest for a while," replies Bonny a striking woman with olive skin, and green eyes. She looks like the live version of the woman Ursula turned into after she took Ariel's voice.
Later that Evening
Jamal opens his eyes slowly. Touching the sore knot on the back of his head. There standing before him looking out of the window is Braxton.
"I'm sorry," he apologizes.
"For passing out."
"I wanted to ask you to be my Best Man, and your body went limp," replied Braxton hopping on the other side of the bed.
"Yikes, I know that must've given you a fright."
"Yes it did, give me a fright," Braxton says mocking Jamal.
"Where is everyone?"
"Tonight is the bachelor/bachelorette party. Everyone's gone," replied Braxton now facing Jamal.
"OH NO, lets..." Jamal attempts to get up, but sits down dizzily. Braxton grabs his forearm.
"They have been partying the entire time we've been here. Those are Bonny's people, they don't need me for a turn up," he says, looking Jamal in the eyes.
"That's strange," replies Jamal.
"Why did you faint?"
"Huh?" Jamal replies.
"Why did you faint, when I got down on one knee?"
"Braxton, does it really matter?"
"It does to me," Braxton says sitting up with his back facing Jamal.
"I've always envisioned you getting down on one knee, asking me to marry you. I think my vision got the best of me," Jamal said embarrassed touching Braxton's hand.
"Braxton you can't tell me that you didn't know."
"I didn't know."
"Braxton, I've loved you since the first day I laid eyes on you. I still remember your cologne."
Braxton lays back down in the bed beside Jamal.
"I remember yours too, Chanel No 5."
They clasp hands, look at each other, and in unison ask, "What do we do now?"