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Signs & Signals

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The day that Bright first realized he might not be entirely straight, he saw a billboard. "Love is often in the places you aren't looking." It had been an advertisement for some church or another, but it had struck a chord. He was tired of the long string of short-lived relationships, but he didn't know what to change. He scofffed at first. He'd looked everywhere. He'd dated good girls and sirens, blondes, brunettes, and redheads, tall girls, short girls, fat girls, and thin girls. But the sign came back to him that night when he was watching reruns of old Buffy episodes and he found his eye wandering from Sarah Michelle Gellar who had gotten altogether too skinny to the lean frame of James Marsters.

The day he realized that Ephram was more than his best friend a traffic signal had led the way. They'd been roommates for almost three years. In that time, Bright had dated both men and women, while Ephram alternately angsted over Amy and screwed up relationships with other blondes. His relationship with James hadn't been right for awhile, but Bright could be beyond superstitious. He was waiting for a sign to break up with the other man. He got it that evening. James left the house and reached the corner at the exact moment that the traffic signal turned red, bathing him in an almost sinister glow. Bright had his sign, but something made him stay at the window. A moment later, the traffic signal changed again, just as Ephram stepped into the circle of its light.

The day Bright kissed Ephram he passed a dozen small signs on campus. "Seize the day!" He didn't know what they were for, hadn't bothered to care. But when he got home, Ephram was excited. He was practically bouncing and the enthusiasm was infectious. His star pupil had just been accepted at Julliard. For Ephram that was nearly as good as going himself. "Seize the day!" He leaned in, without really thinking about it, and brushed their lips together. It wasn't magic or electric, or any of the things they write about in the cheap romance novels he won't admit to having read. It was comfortable and familiar and shiny new all rolled into one. When Ephram quirked an eyebrow and asked what that was about, Bright just shrugged. Ephram laughed and with one arm around Bright's waist fell heavily onto the sofa, still giddy with his news.

The day of their first real date, Ephram and Bright went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. It was awkward, and for just a moment, Bright doubted that they should do this. Then their fortune cookies came. The fortunes were identical, "The rewarding journey must first overcome bumpy roads." The fortune made them both giggle and eased some tension in Bright's heart. Afterwards, the awkwardness melted away, leaving anticipation in its place.

The day that Bright asked Ephram to marry him began with a case of mistaken identity. Bright had asked Ephram to go with him to a basketball game. Ephram rolled his eyes, but came without any real argument. They'd been together for more than a year now, and Ephram had become more and more willing to go to games, though he drew the line at NASCAR. There was one of those big boards at the game, the kind that could display a message, and during the long wait for the game to start, people could text message a number and their message would show up on the board. Bright had always loved these things, so when he had the chance he sent a silly message. Ephram saw him put the phone away, but not what the message was. A moment later, a message scrolled across the screen. "E, Marry me. -- B" Bright would later learn that a guy named Brad had proposed to his girlfriend Emily. She'd turned him down. Ephram had seen the message and pulled Bright in for a kiss. Bright never corrected the mistake. He'd been carrying the ring around for three weeks.