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keeping your promises

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Theo is a worrier.

This is why he likes things to be organized, certain, and according to plan. Because when all the variables are fixed and settled, he doesn’t need to worry because he has everything under control. But there are things he knows—no matter what he does—he will never be able to control, so he has to sit and watch and hope things work out the way he wants them to.

Recently, Theo has been worrying—his hands smoothing the edge of the crumpled blanket; you, sleeping next to him—that one day you are going to get sick of him.

You've been in the mansion for a while, and by now the anniversary is no longer more than just another day. ...Well, except for Comte, who never forgets, because he always comes to greet you—and somehow also always has a grand feast with music and food prepared for the night.

(But Theo remembers, too.)

And it sits in the middle of his chest, weighing down on him.

It is, however, on the anniversary of you deciding not to leave the mansion, this time period, and him, that feels the heaviest. All these past few weeks, Theo would purposefully take the long route to his room after work to pass by that grand door. Leading to a place he has never known, a time too far off in the future that even he, as a vampire, could not imagine what it would be like. A hundred years is too far away.

And yet you are here.

You promised to stay, and you did.

You promised to not let him carry things alone, and you did. 

So all these past few weeks, he would press his forehead against the wood and say, thank you. Thank you for letting her stay. I promise I will get this right. Press his hand against his heart and think of all the things you had given up on that day that you had chosen him.

(Over your entire world.)

Feel the weak organ beating, breaking against his palm when he realizes how easy it would be for you if you decide to walk away from him.

To never see him again.

Theo has never been good with words. Vincent would argue that he is, infinitely good with what comes out of his mouth and the reason why he’s made such a good name for himself as an art dealer, but Theo knew better. He wasn’t good with the words he ought to say, juggling them in his mouth like something hot, coming out as something completely different altogether.

He wonders if you hear the many ways he says I love you. He wonders if he got them all right.

Like in ordering your drink first at the bar. Or letting you have the bigger share of the blanket. Or letting King sleep on the bed with the both of you—fine, but not on all nights.

The way he pats your head when you do something that makes his heart soar. Or the way he holds your arm when the two of you are idle, his thumb running lightly over your wrist, as if reminding himself, you are here, you are alive, and you’ve decided to stay with me. Or maybe the gentle poke on your forehead when you think of something dumb—yet adorably so. A spectrum of emotions Theo once forced himself to shut out, out of fear that it would distract him from the things he wanted in his life, which he now experiences in full color.

He wonders if you understand how much you’ve taught him. He wonders if you know how much you make him feel.

It’s different now, he realizes. Where in the years past something was burning in his chest when he’d finally realized just how much he loved you, like something running, now there is the cool breeze on a sunny morning, the calm of winter ice melting in the spring sun. Where in the years past every touch felt like an invitation, take me, own me, now there is only the quiet comfort of stay with me.

Before, every kiss was a gateway to the bed, but now there are so many kisses littered like sprinkles on pancakes that Theo’s mouth tastes so sweet every day. They’re mostly from you, but it’s not like he can help himself when you’re being that cute. A good morning kiss. A kiss before you get dressed. A stealing some syrup on the corner of your lip kiss. A thank you for breakfast kiss. A kiss before work. A kiss after a job well done. A welcome home! kiss. A kiss like you’ve been waiting for a long, long time. A kiss now that you’re finally alone, together.

It’s different. But it’s not a bad different.

You’ve gotten softer now, Arthur always teases, especially after that one day he had caught you and Theo snuggled up in the sofa in the library, a blanket over your shoulders, Theo gently running his hands through your hair, coaxing you to sleep. It’s like you’re a whole different person when she’s around, Arthur muses.

But is it so bad? Theo wonders. When the person he is when you are around is the person he wants to be?

One time the both of you talked about children. You always skirted around the topic, never quite mentioning it, and Theo didn’t want to push you about it either, so it was rarely brought up. But one day, the two of you had the courage to talk about it: little toes, little hands, eyes as blue as Theo’s (you hoped) and hair the color of yours (he hoped). You promise “We’ll be a family” and he says “You are family enough for me.” (And, well, Vincent too.) That night, he presses a kiss against your belly like planting a seed of a prayer. If you were ever going to have a child with him in the future, he promised he would get it right.

But Theo is a worrier, and sometimes he thinks if he asks anything more out of this second life he might just regret it, like a cannonball rushing back at him saying you’re having too good a time! so he doesn’t dare ask for anything more. You, coming into his life was a miracle enough to him, and he thinks anything more at this point might just be greed. He worries that real life will come and haunt him and take you away. Like the so many times it has tried to. And when one night, he makes love to you with him pressed against your back like he’s holding on to something that might disappear, you turn and press his hands against your heart and say: “Theo, I’m not going anywhere.”

You better not, he prays. I don't know who I will be without you.

Recently, Theo has been worrying—his fingers smoothing the velvet of a small black box he cradles in his hands; inside, a little band holding the glimmer of a star. This time, he’s sure—he’ll get this right. He’s determined. He wonders, he thinks, he hopes, as he watches you tuck a lock of hair behind your ear, if it would be alright, if he asks you to make a promise one more time, that he could stay forever by your side.