Hearing Ante's reaction made me realize that I took the right decision. I didn't know what was going to happen and how we were going to deal with everything that came with that life changing decision but I hoped we would make it work like everything else. "I love you too..." I whispered after a few seconds of silence before kissing him again.
As we walked back to the house, I couldn't help but think of the first time I had told him those words. Ante had been spending a lot of time studying and, during the weekends, he still found the time and strength to cook new and different meals for us to eat together. We had been eating a new dish he had been trying in the kitchen and he was telling me what he had been learning at school and that he hoped he would be able to graduate soon so he could start working in a field that really interested him. I had been so proud of him, of what he had accomplished and I was already sure he would end up working in this field because I knew how hard he worked and studied. The words had left my mouth before I even had time to think about it and he abruptly stopped talking.
"What did you say?" He asked in a small voice after a few seconds of silence.
I smiled at the disbelief in his voice and repeated the same words and became worried when he said nothing after that. "Is everything alright?"
After a few more seconds of silence, he whispered something and I could hear that he was trying not to cry. "Do you really mean it?"
"Of course I do." I responded back, hoping he would believe it. Hearing the doubts in his voice made my heart hurt and I regretted the times where I told him that I had never felt any butterflies while with him. While it was true, I had learnt that love wasn't like in the movies or books and that there were lots of different types of love. I had always loved and cared for him as a friend but I had grown to love him as a partner. He was everything I could hope for: he was nice, caring, funny and we could talk about anything for hours.
"We're here. Are you ok?" He asked, pulling me out of my thoughts.
"Sorry, I was thinking." I said, sending him a small smile as we entered the house.
"How much I love you." I replied, my smile getting bigger as I heard his embarrassed groan. I would never get tired of it.
We went upstairs and went in the bedroom where we undressed ourselves before going under the covers. I crawled closer to Ante and kissed him softly on the lips while one of my hands laid on his left cheek. My fingertips were moving from his forehead to his nose and to the skin of his cheeks, feeling the different textures as my fingers were going from his scars and burn marks to his skin.
"What are you doing?" He whispered while breaking the kiss.
"Enjoying how beautiful you are." I whispered back before giving him another peck on the lips.
"What's going on with you? I don't think you have ever been like that before..."
"What? I can't touch you and show you how much I appreciate you?" I asked before putting small kisses on his cheeks and neck while hovering over him. "Let me make love to you." I added in a whisper and felt him shiver slightly under me.
My hands continued to touch his face before slowly going down, one hand going on his back while the other touched his torso before resting on his stomach, touching his burn marks. I could feel the uneven texture of his skin as my hand was moving and it almost felt like sandpapers under my fingers and I smiled into the kiss. Unbelievably happy and proud that he was trusting me enough to let me touch him that way. As we started making love, I made sure to be slow and gentle and to concentrate on his own pleasure. Hearing him moan into my ears was my biggest turn on, no matter how many years went by. Once we were done, we cuddled without saying anything and I was drawing invisible patterns on his thigh.
"Can I?" He asked in a soft voice between two kisses, making my hands stop moving.
"What?" I asked back, not understanding what he meant by that.
"Y-... Can I top? I-I want to try." He managed to say after a minute of silence and I didn't say anything for a few seconds, not expecting it.
"Of course, you can." I finally replied with a smile. During all these years, he had never been comfortable enough to switch positions and, while I didn't mind it, I was glad he wanted to experience new things.
"You're going to tell me if I do something wrong, right" He said in a small, nervous voice which made me pull him into a hug.
"Everything's going to be fine." I whispered a few centimeters away from his lips before kissing him.
We started slow and gentle and I let him go at his own pace, not wanting to rush this new experience for him. At times, when I could tell he was unsure or nervous, I would take his hands into mine and reassure him that everything was fine. The whole time he had been so gentle and so careful. I never thought I would enjoy this position as much as I did: it had been so different than with Thomas. I didn't feel dirty or ashamed. I didn't feel like I wanted to drink soap until my insides were clean again. I felt good and loved; I felt amazing.
"Thank you..." I whispered to Ante as I closed my eyes, feeling exhausted. "For everything."
He squeezed me a little harder, without answering. I didn't know if he understood everything that I meant with this simple sentence but I knew he understood how much it meant to me and that was enough. I fell asleep listening to his heartbeat and, when I woke up, the bed was empty. I got up with a slight groan and quickly put my underwear back on before going downstairs. I could smell the delicious odor of food. "How come you're already awake? It's Sunday!" I exclaimed as I entered the kitchen.
"I know, I know! I just couldn't sleep and thought it would be great to prepare breakfast. I hope you're hungry." He replied and I felt his lips on mine a few seconds later. I nodded and sat on a chair as he finished preparing the food. We then started to eat our meal in silence, until Ante started to speak and, from the tone of his voice, I could hear that he was slightly nervous. "So, you were serious yesterday when you said we could try fostering a child?"
"I was. I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared but I know you will do an amazing job. And I will do my best to help you."
"I will call them on my way to the office tomorrow to let them know. I don't know how quick the process will be or how old the child will be but I will start planning everything before they get there. We could turn the guest bedroom in a child room, no? How many guests spent the night since we've lived there?" He asked and the joy in his voice made me smile softly.
"You mean in this lifetime? None." I chuckled before adding. "But we can turn the guest room; we aren't even using it anyway."
"Good. I need to book someone to help me remove all the stuffs from the room. Then we will have to go to the store and buy new stuffs... Shouldn't we wait to know the age of the child before buying anything? Or-"
"Stop it. No need to stress before anything happened. Let's clear the room and wait to have more infos before buying anything." I reassured him, hoping to calm him down a little. I knew how important this was for him and that he wanted everything to be perfect but there was nothing we could do but wait for more informations.
"You're right. You're right. We don't even know how long it's going to take once I give them our approval. It could easily take a few weeks or a few months... Let's take it one step at a time." He said and I could sense that he really was trying to calm himself down which made me smile.
"So, any plans for today?" I asked, changing the subject.
"I wanted to work out this morning. I've really let myself go with my workout routines recently..."
"Can we workout together? I worked out a little on my own this week but I do it so irregularly that it means nothing."
"Of course. The living room is big enough for both of us." He replied and I could hear the smile in his voice, making me smile back. We finished eating breakfast and washed the dishes before going to the living room to start working out. I knew I wasn't as athletic as Ante but I did my best to follow his pace and take a break only when he was taking a break.
After a while, I stayed on the floor feeling too out of breath to get up or continue. "Continue without me. I don't know how you do it; I'm feeling as if my lungs are trying to leave my body."
"I was exactly like you before. But physical efforts was one of the best things to change my mind so I pushed through and here I am..."
I waited for him to finish his workout session and we decided to spend the rest of the day watching Siberia from the beginning as I had admitted to Ante that I didn't follow the few first episodes. But, in the evening, as we were laying under the covers and I was listening to Ante's steady heartbeat, I felt a slight knot at the bottom of my stomach. I kept thinking about our decision to foster a kid. Plus, I had my annual checkup tomorrow and I really hoped I wouldn't have any bad news...