**In honor of the SCOTUS’s momentous, stupendous, about freaking time decision, a flash fic. I’ve brought back Jack and Ryan to tell the tale.**
Jack had lost hope years ago. He was convinced that, despite the way the country as a whole was leaning, the Supreme Court would never rule in favor of same sex marriage. My cynical, pessimistic boyfriend was utterly certain he wouldn’t see a nationwide mandate for equal protection and rights under federal law in his lifetime. Jack was sure we would have to fight for the rest of our lives to be recognized for what we were to each other. That I would always be his significant other, his partner, but never his husband. And he thought I was a fool for believing, deep down, that things would change.
Today, Jack was proven wrong in the best possible way.
I’d been anticipating the decision, most of me convinced that there be would positive news. Though I was scared we’d be once again denied, I just couldn’t let go of that shining hope that finally, finally, it would be as it should have always been. And it wasn’t just about the wedding, about the marriage. Jack and I were as committed to each other as any straight married couple could be. We could have left Montana behind and moved to any number of states if it was just about that, and wed one another. No, it was about being recognized as equal. As valued as any other human being out there. Now that we had that, now that we had the legal protection we’d been so long denied, there was no better way I could think to celebrate than with a proposal.
I’d been planning it for a long time. Because I knew that Jack would never ask. And while I would have taken the news at any time, that it was the end of June was perfect. Because that was when we had met, seven years ago. I’d been up on a ladder, picking pine cones off the trees. Jack had wandered down the row to check on our progress. I’d taken one look at him and I had known he would be mine for the rest of my life. We’d had our bumps, and a necessary separation, but now we were stronger than ever.
I couldn’t wait anymore. I grabbed the jewelers box from the back of my sock drawer, and headed out the door.
I found Jack among the Scotch pines. At least a dozen workers were picking pine cones from the trees, and I ran up the row just as Jack was climbing down from a ladder. He saw me, and his face lit up for just a second before a scowl and concern replaced it.
“Ryan?” Jack’s voice was full of worry. “Baby, what’s wrong?”
I shook my head, trying desperately to catch my breath. It took just a minute or two, and then I beamed up at my beautiful man. “Did you hear? The Supreme court ruled for equal protection and a fundamental right for all people to marry. Everywhere and in every state.”
Jack’s smile was soft, and his gaze was fixed solely on me. I could see a hint of disbelief there, but mostly relief. He reached out for my hand, and squeezed it tight, not being able to say a word. He didn’t have to.
I dropped to one knee, and held up the box with the hand he wasn’t holding. It only took a flick of my finger for the lid to spring open and show off the two gold rings inside. Jack’s breath caught.
“I love you. Always have. Always will. Even when we were apart, my heart beat for you. I never want to be parted from you again. Marry me.”
There was a long beat of silence, and then Jack simply said, “Yes.”
It was all I needed to hear.