"I can't believe we're actually here," said Sean, gazing down at the boats bobbing gently on the canal under a gray October sky. "Venice. It seems like a dream. But then, our entire existence seems like a dream, and I mean that in the best possible way. All my life I did what I perceived as my duty, Elijah, even when deep down I knew it was wrong. The path ahead of me was dark and I couldn't see a single chink of light in it until I met you."
Elijah tightened his arm around Sean, around this dear man who had given to him not only his love but his trust and faith. "When we first set out together, I worried that it was too much too soon. I wondered if you'd grow tired of me, if you'd be homesick and anxious to return to the states."
"Not for a single moment," replied Sean quietly. "I was given a gift that not many people receive, to find my perfect soulmate. Believe me, I know how lucky I am. I will never take that or you for granted. Elijah, I love you."
How clear Sean's eyes were, thought Elijah, hiding nothing. His heart contracted almost painfully before their raw honesty. Sean was right. How many people were lucky enough to find their perfect soulmate? What were the odds that he and Sean should ever have met, instead of leading separate lives, always settling for less, sensing that the one person existed who could make them whole, but never finding him? They had indeed been given a precious gift.
Unable to verbalize the thoughts tumbling through his mind, Elijah settled for kissing Sean instead, putting into that kiss all the love, faith and trust that he possessed and could offer in return. As they moved into each other's arms and deepened the kiss, unheeding of passersby crossing the small bridge on which they stood, it hit Elijah for the first time that no other man had or would ever kiss Sean like this, that no other man had or would ever make love to Sean - beside him. Sean belonged wholly to Elijah, and always would.
"Let's take a gondola ride, Sean," Elijah said when at length they parted. "Let's find the most romantic gondoleer in the entire city and have him serenade us."
"I'm not sure it's in our budget," said Sean.
"Screw the budget. We'll just eat less."
"And live on love?" Sean's smile was a thing of beauty.
"You mean we don't already?" Elijah quipped, and then, holding hands, they ran off together laughing, like two children on holiday, and as they went the sun broke through the clouds and gleamed on the dark water like liquid gold.