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As he wiped away more tears with the tissue, I guided myself through a mental checklist, the same way I did the first time he told me we would never be getting married. We just bought a home together, I reminded myself. We're with each other 24/7. We will have all of the same rights, through legal paperwork, that any other married couple has. He is with me. What more do I need? What more could I ask for than the love I'm receiving day in and day out? I shushed the inner voice that began chanting tiny velvet box , and looked my partner in the eyes for the first time since he'd rushed to my side.

"It doesn't matter to me," I said.

"I don't believe you," David said, his eyes wet, his mouth smiling. "But that's okay. I love you. I want to be with you."

"I know, beh beh. I know."

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