Once Upon a Time



"Tell me a story," Justin said, as they lay entwined in bed, too tired to make love but not quite ready to fall asleep.

Brian rolled his eyes and sighed and then pressed his lips together before saying, "Once upon a time there was this extremely gorgeous prince who was asleep in a castle. A spell had been cast on him at birth and he had slept for almost thirty years. He had slept all of his life, locked in a dream, thinking he was awake. He didnít know the difference. To him, he was alive. His dreams seemed real, they were the only life he'd ever known. Then one day this beautiful prince came to the castle, having survived many dangerous adventures, and awakened him with a kiss. When the sleeping prince woke up and saw his rescuer, it was as if he had awakened from a dream to find that his dream had come true. They fell instantly in love and swore never to part."

"Then what happened?"

"They tore down the old castle and built a new one in its place, the home of their dreams, only this dream was real. Afterwards, they had a magnificent wedding and all of the kingdom came to witness the exchange of their vows and they lived happily ever after."

"Did they have any children?"

"Mmm hmm. Two boys and a girl."

"A girl?"

"A girl. A beautiful princess. All of their children were beautiful and smart and special, each in their own way, and they loved them very much and were very proud of them and they grew up to be good people."

"Did they ever argue or fight?"

"All the time." Brian smiled. "Their battles were legendary. Sometimes they fought for days. But they only fought because they loved one another so much that they could be themselves; they didn't have to pretend to be wise all the time, and they didn't always do the right things, but they always, always made up and they never ever thought about splitting up. They were in it for life."

"And did they live a very long time?"

"Yep. Until they were old and grey and wrinkly and nobody remembered when they were young and beautiful. Except for them. When they looked at one another, they saw themselves as they were and as they had been. And they couldn't say which was better because they loved each other more and more as the years passed."

"How did they die?"

"They celebrated their seventieth anniversary and all their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren were there and everyone laughed and danced and ate until they were stuffed and then the old couple went up to bed and they kissed the way they used to when they were young and then they fell asleep in each other's arms. The next day their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren went up to wake them and found that they had slipped away in the night. Together in death as they had been in life."

Justin kissed Brian's chest just above his heart and laid his head against his skin. "I love you," he whispered but Brian said nothing, only tightened his hold on him and closed his eyes.


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