Although this episode had revealed the traumatic past of Jesus, it did bring them closer. Judas was very happy about it, as now he joined Jesus in almost every protest and rally. Instead of standing at the edge of the further ring, he stood right next to Jesus, helping him organize the venues and cheering him up when he got frustrated. He also became close with Peter, Simon and Mary, as they would go for a drink or a game of pool usually after a protest.
They just held a peace demo successfully the other day. Everyone was thrilled and went to a bar nearby for an after party, except for Jesus, who was not feeling well and had to leave for a rest. Judas was drinking alone at the counter when Simon approached him with a glass in his hand. They chatted a little bit, until Simon blurted a question. “Are you two, you know, you and Jesus, dating?”
Judas nearly choked on his beer and almost spit it out. He took a small sip before calming down (or at least pretending to calm down). “Gosh Simon, what makes my personal life appealing to you all of a sudden?”
“You know, it’s not just me. Peter and Mary are eager to know as well. ” Simon shrugged. “We’ve never seen Jesus treated anyone differently like how he does to you. ” He winked at Judas. “It seems that you’ve become his favorite. ”
Judas felt his heart skipping a beat. “Oh…so you all think so?”
Simon gave him a suspicious look. “Aren’t you saying you are still ‘friends’? Come on, remember last time when we were on the streets asking people to sign a petition, and you talked with a girl who seemed to be interested (though I thought she might be more interested in your tattoo and dreadlocks)? Mary saw Jesus glancing at you two, like he was upset. You know it’s not very like what he would do right?”
Judas blinked, trying to dig into his memory about this girl but at a complete loss. He couldn’t care less about others when Jesus was around, and even if he talked to someone else it’s just because he knew it would help Jesus. However, his heart lit up with hope, simply by Simon’s words.
He excused himself after finishing up that drink as he couldn’t wait any longer. He went directly to Jesus’ apartment, partly because he still worried a bit about his condition, but more importantly, he want to confirm something that’s very, very important.
Jesus greeted him with a small surprise look on his face. He seemed to have refreshed from the tiredness. “Did you drink with Simon?” he must have smelled the scent of beer radiated from Judas. “Want some oranges?” He walked over to the kitchen and started to peel an orange. Judas’s eyes followed him. He gulped when those golden liquids dripped down from his slender wrist to forearm in a sensual way, suddenly finding himself thirsty.
“Thanks. Speaking of Simon, he actually asked me an interesting question” he glanced at Jesus quickly, voice almost shaking a bit. “He asked if we are…dating.”
“Oh,” Jesus seemed to be engrossed in his work and didn’t bother to look up. Judas could only see his beautiful jawline and short stubble, as his eyes were obscured by those curly locks. “I didn’t say anything,” Judas went on, his eyes never leaving Jesus, “because I also want an answer.”
Jesus was finally done with the tangerine, and turned around to face him. It’s been a while that Judas saw him not calm at all, but flustered and averting gaze back and forth, trying to avoid looking directly in his eyes. “So you are asking me?” Though his voice still steady, Judas could see his hands rubbing on the counter nervously. Judas smiled fondly, as he found the young man utterly adorable.
“Yes I am, but now I think I have my answer.” He looked into Jesus’ dark eyes. “You know, I’ve never been very religious, and sometimes I questioned if there was really a God. But now I think there is, a God, or whatever deity it is, who brought you into my life.” He raised Jesus’ hand to his lips and placed a gentle kiss on it. “The day we met, I saw all the lights that I’ve never seen in my whole life.” He paused, and said firmly. “I love you.”
For a minute or two, Jesus just stared at him, looking startled, which made Judas swallowed hard. However, his fear disappeared after he saw the sheepish smile and charming blush creeping onto Jesus’ cheeks. The young man tried to bury his burning face in his hands, but found they were held tightly by his friend who just confessed love to him. He ducked his head as if to hide from Judas’ hot gaze, but obviously couldn’t suppress the smile tugging at the corner of his lips. In the end he broke into a wholehearted smile. “I love you, too. I’ve been in love with you since the day you got me out from the police.”
Judas let out a deep sigh with relief. One second he was in Hell, and the next second he was in Heaven. His heart rejoiced and rushed so fast as if he just ran a half marathon. He couldn’t help but press Jesus against the counter, encircling his arms tightly around the latter’s waist. Jesus’ hands were on the back of Judas’ neck, pulling him into a soft and warm kiss. Judas, who apparently was seeking something beyond a kiss, tried to slide his tongue in his lover’s mouth and explore him thoroughly. In the meantime, one of his hand was on the back of Jesus’ wavy hair, while the other roaming on his waist, and sneaking in from his white shirt. He could feel Jesus’ warm flesh trembling under his hand, as if it was the first time he was touched in such a way.
Perhaps Judas was just so occupied with his work on Jesus. It was not until their bodies were pressed against each other that he realized something. He was already turned on, and almost painfully hard in his pants, but there was not even a bulge in Jesus’s lower body, even the latter wore a tight jeans.
Judas left Jesus’ lips hastily and stammered an apology. “S-Sorry if I was too fast…Fuck, if you don’t like it we can take it slow…”
However Jesus interrupted him, pressed a finger softly against his lips. “No, no, Judas. There is something I want to tell you first. ” He paused, “I’m, well, I’m asexual.”
“Oh,” Judas stopped, and didn’t know what to say. “Oh I see.” He glimpsed his swelling (and still hardened) manhood and felt weary all of a sudden. “Well, at least I didn’t make you disinterested-”
Jesus looked at him calmly, like he’d expected it. “I should be the one to say sorry.” He whispered, pulling away from Judas’ neck and put his hands awkwardly by his side. “Now you know why I didn’t dare to tell you my love first?” He let out a wry laugh, “If you want, I can use my hands or mouth to-”
He looked at Judas pleadingly, and Judas could see sadness and bitterness from those beautiful dark eyes. He was pulled back in his lover’s arms and held tightly. Judas murmured in his ear. “Hey I didn’t say anything yet.” He paused a bit as if he was trying to find the right word. “I mean this is a bit…unexpected, but you see, I was not saying I love you only to get you in bed, well, at least not just for that.” Realizing he was just jabbering, he pulled back a little to look Jesus in the eyes. “What I’m trying to say is, I love you, and you love me too. That’s everything I need to know. Anything else we can always figure it out.” Now it was his turn to look at Jesus with plead. “I won’t force anything on you, so please don’t leave me or give me up just for this reason, okay?”
Jesus met his gaze. After quite a while he broke into a broad smile with tears, and nodded.
Since then, a year has passed. Like any couple, they had rough patches and hiccups once in a while, but they always got over them fast. Sometimes it was Judas cooking special pastas for his boyfriend (which was Jesus’ favorite), and sometimes it was Jesus making cranberry breakfast cake for Judas (whom actually had a sweet tooth but would never admit it). Most times, it was just a hug with unspoken apologies, a soft kiss placed on the forehead, or one of the couple stretching out lazily on the couch while the other man cuddling in his arms. Both of them had suffered a lot from their past, so they cherished this relationship more than anything else. They loved each other, and they promised to never leave the other, no matter what happened.
Another day, Judas came home at midnight from his job to find Jesus, instead of going to bed two hours earlier, was waiting for him at the dining table. Judas quit his previous “job” not long after he met Jesus, and found a new one as a bartender. He had to work late night for five days a week, so on those days Jesus always went to bed first and left a light on for him. However, the dark-haired young man was sitting at the table now and looking a bit nervous, as if he had some big announcement.
Judas leaned to give Jesus a quick peck on his lips while taking off his jacket. Jesus cleared his throat and started. “Well, Judas I have a news.” He looked at Judas, whom was looking back encouragingly. “I found my sister. Umm, or you can say she found me.”
“Oh!” Judas was a bit surprised, but definitely felt happy for Jesus. He knew Jesus missed his sister and mother a lot as Judas recalled the brooding expressions in his eyes when they met Mary’s family, though most of the time Jesus just didn’t touch the topic. He’d never contacted his mother and sister after fleeing home. It seemed Simon uploaded a video of their recent protest online and Jesus’ sister came across it the other day. Finally, the siblings were able to reconnect after all these years.
“You know I haven’t heard from her for years, after she left home…” Judas couldn’t miss the happiness in Jesus’ tone. “She lives in New Orleans now, with her family. I’ve never been there, but I heard great things, like the weather is nice and they have sunshine all year round. And, umm, everyone loves music there. They said lots of the best artists in this country had moved there…” He looked up and met Judas’ eyes. “She invited me to visit her, and her husband and kids. Do you want to go with me? ”
“Oh, oh, yes.” Judas stammered. This was the first time Jesus invited him to visit his family, as his love and his partner. He could see the seriousness in Jesus’ dark eyes. “Yes, I would very much love to.” He pulled Jesus in a hug and leaned to find his lips. He felt Jesus quivering beneath him from excitement and tugging at his shirt, their hearts beating to the same pace.
It was a wonderful trip, which led to a second, and third time revisit. A few months later they decided to move there. Judas found a new job, still as a bartender, but with a bonus that he could play the piano at the bar on some nights. The owner of the bar was looking for a new pianist who could play some “nice shit”. Judas had learned to play from a priest when he was in that orphan home back then, and though he was highly talented, he didn’t get to touch the instrument again in all those years. Jesus was really happy to see his lover’s fingers moving fast on the keyboard and that genuine smile on his face.
The next year Judas proposed to Jesus. The couple could feel their partner’s hand shaking when they exchanged rings. It was as if they finally found the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and everything was perfect now.
It was five to six in the morning. Judas stubbed out the cigarette, and walked over to the kitchen. He was going to brew coffee for both of them and then make some fresh beignets, which had become Jesus’ favorite for breakfast over the last few months. From a distance, the Sun started to bloom on the horizon and the sky was turning from blue to a radiant gold, as the world was about to wake up, while his world was slumbering peacefully behind him, waiting for a gentle morning kiss from his beloved.