Note: I know same-sex couples couldn't get married at this time, but Jay refers to Nick as his husband because I imagine him thinking of Nick as such, even if it wasn't recognized by the law.
"What are you doing?"
"I told you, Jay. I'm writing."
"About what? What could possibly be more interesting than me?"
Nick finally tore his eyes away from the paper in his typewriter and looked over at Jay. The blond-haired man was draped over an armchair like a cat in the sweltering heat, wearing a white silk shirt with the top button undone and an expression that could only be described as a pout.
"Jay," Nick said in a tone one mostly commonly uses with four-year-olds, because he knew this would irritate Jay even more and, oh, was he adorable when irritated. "Writing is my job."
Jay glared. "That tone again. The four-year-old tone."
"Well, you are rather acting like one." Nick grinned.
Jay swung his legs down from the arm of the chair and stood up. "All I want," he said, walking over to Nick's desk, "Is some attention from my sweet—" he wrapped his arms around Nick from behind, "—handsome—" he nuzzled his face against Nick's neck, "—husband." He kissed Nick's cheek. "My dear, you don't need a job. You know we have more than enough money."
"Yes, but I love writing," Nick said, refusing to be swayed. "Besides, this is a very important project that I'm working on."
"Oh?" Jay rested his head on top of Nick's and squinted at Nick's paper. "What is the subject?"
Nick yanked the page out of the typewriter. "You'll see later."
But Jay had already caught a glimpse. "Was that my name?"
"Is it about me?"
"Well, you'll have to wait and see, won't you?" Nick said, holding the page face-down against his chest.
Jay actually jumped up and down a little, as much as he would later deny it. "I should have known! What could possibly be more interesting than me? Me!"
Nick untangled himself from Jay's arms so he could stand up and wrap his own arms around Jay's waist. "You are so full of yourself, my love, do you know that?"
Jay was trying to twist around to get at the paper that was still in Nick's hand. "What does it say? Is it about how stunningly attractive I am? Or perhaps about my charismatic demeanor or my impeccable style?"
"No sneak-peeks!" Nick leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Jay's lips. Jay began to kiss back, his hands abandoning their mission of getting the paper to rest, one on Nick's back and one starting to tangle in his hair. After only a few moments Nick pulled away. Ignoring Jay's inarticulate protest at the sudden absence of Nick's lips from his, Nick opened a drawer in his desk and placed the paper inside, together with a stack of other papers.
"Now, let's go for a walk in the gardens," Nick said, closing the drawer firmly.
Jay sighed. "But it's so very hot outside."
"Excellent. Perhaps you'll sweat out some of the arrogance you were just displaying." Nick elbowed Jay lightly in the side and grinned as the blond man huffed and pouted again.
"I'm as modest as any man, but that doesn't mean I'm going to lie to myself," Jay said. "I'm well aware I've been gifted with rather exceedingly good looks. Why, if you weren't here, my love, I'd be the handsomest person in the room."
"That'd be a better compliment if we weren't the only two here," Nick responded, trying and failing to keep the pleased smile off of his face. And of course there was nothing he could do about the slight red hue that colored his cheeks every time Jay complimented him. Even after all this time. "Now, shall we?" He held out his bent arm, which Jay graciously accepted, despite his earlier protests, and the two walked out together.
The next morning, if it could be called such, since darkness was still complete and the hour hands of Jay's many ornate clocks had barely cleared the two, the door to Nick's study was opened by a silent, careful hand. The hand was Jay's, and the motive was curiosity.
He crept across the room and to Nick's desk, and his hand was already on the drawer's handle when it hesitated there. Oh, Jay was just burning to know what secret project Nick had been working on for the last few months, and now that he knew this project involved himself somehow, well, how could he be expected to resist curiosity? And yet...Nick, for whatever reason, wanted it to be a secret. A surprise, maybe. Wouldn't Nick be disappointed if Jay spoiled the surprise by peeking ahead of time?
Jay all of a sudden felt very silly and very ashamed.
He turned and left the room, closing the door softly behind him, and made his way through the corridors until he reached his and Nick's bedroom.
Nick stirred as Jay lay down beside him. "'S somethin' wrong?" Nick mumbled, his eyes still closed.
"No, my dear," Jay said. He reached over and smoothed Nick's hair out of his face and tucked it behind his ear. "Go back to sleep."
"Alright..." Nick turned over, causing the strands of hair Jay had just arranged to fall right back into his face again, and snuggled up to Jay's side. His breathing went deep and even and Jay knew he had fallen back asleep, though he hadn't really been awake to begin with. Jay closed his eyes and soon they were both in the land of dreams.
It was several weeks later, just after lunch, and Jay was sitting on a sofa with his eyes closed.
"Remember you can't look until I tell you to!" Nick said, again.
"I'm not going to, my dear," Jay patiently reassured him. He reached out blindly and managed to find Nick's arm in order to give it a pat. "Now what is it that you wanted to show me?"
"Alright, hold on a moment." The excitement in Nick's voice hadn't waned since a few minutes before, when he had insisted that Jay sit down because Nick had "something to show him". As for what that something was, Jay had his suspicions, but he'd have to wait and see to be sure.
Jay could hear Nick's footsteps approaching again. "Hands," Nick said. Jay held them out and felt Nick place something hard in them. "Alright, open."
Jay opened his eyes and saw that he was holding a book. The cover was deep blue and adorned with gold lettering.
"The Great Gatsby by Nick Carraway," Jay read out loud.
Nick practically leaped in to explain. "You see, I wanted to give you something truly special, Jay. I know most people give their lovers fancy gifts like gold and clothes and boats, but you already have those things. I wanted to give you something that no one else could. I've worked on this for months, writing down the whole story of how I met you and how you changed my life so much for the better. Then I sent it to a shop in town to get it bound, and it just got back today. And...and, well, now that I say this all out loud it sounds kind of silly—"
"Nonsense!" Jay interrupted. His smile was so large that it threatened to break free of the confines of his face. He glanced from Nick to the book and back again, his eyes shining. "This...this is the opposite of silly. This is wonderful. This is fantastic. So this is what you were working so hard on! Nick, I am amazed!"
"Really?" Nick said softly, a shy smile creeping across his mouth.
"Of course really!" Jay stood up and enveloped Nick in a hug, clutching both Nick and the book like he was never going to let go. Jay drew back just enough to plant a kiss on Nick's forehead and one on his mouth.
"I'll read it immediately!" Jay said excitedly. "Or better yet—would you read it to me?"
"The whole thing?" Nick asked. Jay widened his eyes imploringly. "Oh, well, alright, alright," Nick said with a laugh. "I'll have to take breaks though."
"Excellent! This is going to be the best book I have ever read."
"How can you say that when you haven't even—"
"Shush." Jay drew Nick in for another kiss. After a minute their lips parted, but their faces stayed close as Jay cupped Nick's face in his hands, pressing their foreheads together. "I know it will be incredible, just like you. I love you, Nick."
"I love you too, Jay. So very much."
"Now read your incredible book to me, you incredible, wonderful man," Jay said, pulling Nick towards the sofa. Nick chuckled as he sat down. Jay handed him the book and then cuddled up beside him, resting his chin on Nick's shoulder.
Nick began to read...
Jay was mostly silent for the next couple of hours, staying snuggled next to Nick and listening intently. He did, however, make occasional comments.
"I'm sorry, my dear," he said at one point. "I didn't quite get the last few lines, would you mind repeating them?"
"It's strange how you seem to suddenly develop hearing problems when I get to the parts where I describe your appearance, and then I have to read them over again," Nick said, the "irritation" in his voice clearly fake.
"Very well, you've found me out. Perhaps I just want to hear you say again that I'm...what was it?" Jay squinted at the page. "Ah, yes. 'Enchantingly and unimpeachably handsome, dressed in pink and gold like a sunset come to life—'"
Nick gently elbowed Jay in the side. His whole face was red with blushing, but his couldn't keep the smile off his lips. "Oh, be quiet, will you, and let me read?"