Axl and Slash's one-year anniversary doesn't start out quite on the right foot.
A soft thud upstairs, followed by a muffled curse, interrupts my thoughts. It could be a burglar, but more likely it's Steven, who's even clumsier than I am. I flip on the kitchen light--everything's less scary in the dark--and am startled to see Axl's leather jacket draped over the countertop. Axl hasn't been home since our fight, preferring to stay instead at his friend Shannon's. And yeah, I'm a little jealous of that guy, but I'm not going to say anything. Nothing could possibly go on between them anyway--Shannon's straight, Izzy told me, and he's known Axl too long for sex to occur, even out of revenge.
Gently placing my guitar down, I head upstairs, intending first to see if Axl's really home, then to take a long, hot shower. I'm surprised to see that our door is shut, with a thin strip of light at the bottom. Hesitantly, I knock. There's a brief pause, then Axl calls:
My name sounds foreign in his mouth, but it's not out of guilt, it's from worry. It never ceases to amaze me how well I can read Axl's moods after a year, even when I'm not looking directly at him.
Another hesitation. Then:
"C'mon in. It's not quite ready, but fuck it."
What is he talking about? I think, confused. I twist the doorknob and walk in--and immediately am so surprised I nearly slam the door shut again. Axl is sitting on our bed, surrounded by rose petals. Quiet music plays on the stereo; scented candles line the room, the furniture, creating a soft, sweet-smelling glow.
"Jesus, Axe..." I say, eyeing him as I shut the door. He's wearing leather pants, a gauzy white shirt, his copper hair swept back in a light blue bandanna. His eyes follow me as I cross the room, sinking down next to him. "You didn't have to do all this..."
He looks confused. "Saul, yes I did. It's our anniversary. One year."
I swallow hard. I'd forgotten; the argument last week had made me forget. I open my mouth to demand an apology before our celebration can commence, but then Axl tilts his head to one side, and he looks so damn beautiful that I forget everything else and just focus on him, this man who, for the past year, has been leading me through the most emotional and wonderful relationship of my life.
Axl reaches out and cups my chin in his hand.
"Not still mad at me, are you?"
"A little," I murmur, though the closeness of our bodies and the placement of my hand on his thigh suggests otherwise.
A tiny, almost sad smile grows on his face. "Well," he whispers, "let's fix that." And then he kisses me, and I stop thinking at all.