make the friendship bracelets - KJBee81 - Red White & Royal Blue (2024)

The first time Alex notices them, Henry has just gotten home from the shelter and, as always, the first thing he does is find Alex. Alex is smiling into a kiss, Henry’s fingers in his hair, when something colourful catches his eye. There, on Henry’s right wrist, is a friendship bracelet, beads of all different shapes and colours and slightly too large for his elegant wrist.

Henry’s about to step back but before he can, Alex grabs his hand and keeps him close, touching the bracelet. “I didn’t realize you were able to sneak out some of the Crown jewels the last time you were in England,” Alex says, a laugh in his voice. “I’m shocked you made it back to the colonies before they put you in the Tower.”

He lets his fingers touch the plastic beads, smiling when he sees the letters that spell Henry. His boyfriend has never let any of the kids at the shelter call him anything but his first name, except for the few influenced by Pez to call him “Hen.”

Henry’s gaze follows Alex’s index finger as it traces the bracelet and the fine bones of his wrist. A small smile graces his lips and his blue eyes glow with happiness. “Yes, well, one of the older children is on a Taylor Swift kick,” he explains as he sets his briefcase down on the nearby kitchen counter. “The group of them decided they needed to make some bracelets and I was the lucky recipient of this one.”

Alex looks up at the joy in Henry’s still irritatingly symmetrical face and feels a burst of warmth in his chest with his love for this man. Henry is a goddamn Prince, has access to some of the most sought-after treasures in the world and is wealthy in his own right, due to his inheritance from his father, but here he is wearing plastic beads with pride.

He grins up at Henry, a devilish gleam in his eyes. “Oh the kids are on Taylor Swift kick, are they?” he teases as he loosens Henry’s tie and opens the first button at his collar. “Not a certain tall blonde Swiftie that I know, who may or may not have been singing along to Cruel Summer in the shower this morning?”

Alex can’t help it; he still gets a kick out of the blush that stains Henry’s cheekbones when he gets flustered. “You heard that, did you?” Henry asks, a little sheepishly before his eyes narrow. “I hope that there were no recordings made of my performance. I’d hate to have a repeat of the last time. I still get calls from Pez where he plays that video and cackles in the background like a hyena.”

Alex laughs as he flutters his eyelashes coyly at Henry. “Whatever do you mean, baby?” He inquires innocently. “I still maintain my innocence until proven guilty. I testify to having no idea how Percy obtained the video of you dancing in the living room to You Need to Calm Down. Perhaps it was David?” They both look down at David, who is sprawled at their feet, head on his front paws. When he looks up at them with puppy dog eyes, Alex knows he’s lost his case.

“He seems an unlikely candidate,” Henry murmurs, taking off his tie and tossing it on the counter beside his briefcase. His eyes glint with mischief and his grin looks dangerous. “I have my ways to make you talk, Mr. Claremont-Diaz, but I had hoped that it wouldn’t come to that.”

Alex’s heart beats faster and he takes a step back, his hands up, looking pleadingly at Henry. “Henry, sweetheart,” he pleads, his mouth going dry as Henry undoes a few more buttons, showing soft porcelain skin under his dress shirt. “You don’t want to do this, baby…”

“Terms of endearment won’t help you now, love,” Henry states gravely, as he tries to keep the corners of his mouth from lifting into a smile. “I suggest you run.”

Alex turns and sprints up the stairs and Henry follows hot on his heels, their footsteps thundering up the stairs and their laughter echoing throughout their home. David remains unperturbed as he stretches out in the sunny kitchen, his tail beating a slow wag against the floor.


The next time he sees Henry with a friendship bracelet, Alex has been helping at the shelter for the day, pouring over some legal issues with the in-house lawyers. After a long day of reading legal briefs and rulings that made him a little sad but ready to fight, Alex is ready to find his boyfriend and head home for the day. There’s a bottle of wine, some food from the nearby Thai place and cuddles on the couch in his future.

However, when he heads to Henry’s office, the lights are off, his laptop is shut and the man himself nowhere to be found. He continues his search through the shelter, having no luck until Alex follows the soft sound of music coming from one of the activity rooms. Pushing the door open, the sound of muffled chatter, laughter and the strains of Out of the Woods reach his ears as he takes in the scene.

Henry is sitting at the head of the table, surrounded by some of the shelter kids as they make friendship bracelets. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable as Henry and the kids work on their bracelets, the late afternoon sun painting the room in a golden glow. Alex’s heart clenches in his chest as he watches Henry, his brow furrowed in concentration and his nose in a cute scrunch, helping a little girl in pigtails get her beads on the cord. He follows her directions, sliding pink and purple beads on the string before tying the ends together with nimble fingers.

The little girl holds out her arm and Henry slides the bracelet on her wrist with a smile. She stares down in awe at her new jewelry, turning her wrist this way and that as the beads sparkle in the sunlight streaming in the window. “It’s so pretty,” she whispers, looking up at Henry with big brown eyes and a beaming smile.

“It’s fit for a princess, Lottie,” Henry tells her, his face soft with affection. “Just like you.” When she throws her arms around Henry’s neck in a hug, Henry startles for a minute before slowly wrapping his arms around her too. He rests his chin on top of the head of brown curls, taking a deep breath, his eyes meeting Alex’s from where he’s leaning on the door frame.

There’s something warm in the pit of his stomach and Alex can picture it; Henry with their kid, a wedding ring on his finger and their hearts making room for another. A home in each other and a life intertwined. Alex has always thought he knew his future but this, a family and a life with Henry, is True North and the other dreams seem less important, somehow. They are the smaller constellations in the sky and Henry is the North Star, guiding him to who he is and where he is meant to be.


After the time with the kids at the shelter, Alex almost never sees Henry without at least one friendship bracelet on his wrist. He wears them around the house, when he’s in comfy sweats and a T-shirt, reading a book on the couch with David at his feet. He wears the bracelets when they are out for dinner with the Super Six. Later the same night, when they are singing karaoke at the bar, he has bracelets wrapped around his wrist as he holds the microphone and belts out Blank Space with June. Alex has even seen them peeking out from the sleeve of his suit during a royal function; Henry wearing them proudly and telling anyone who asks him about the kids at the shelter who made them.

And yes, Alex has his own trinkets with sentimental value. He still wears the key to the house in Austin on a chain, close to his heart; the heavy signet ring beside it, clinking gently together, hidden under his shirt. He understands that the bracelets mean something to Henry and he doesn’t want to take that away from him, he really doesn’t. Alex just maybe feels a little left out and wants his own friendship bracelets, wants to be a part of it. He knows it’s a little silly to feel this way, but he can’t seem to help it.

However, Alex doesn’t have to wait too long for his own friendship bracelet. It’s a Sunday afternoon and they’ve finished their chore list; the dishwasher has been emptied and the laundry has been folded and put away. They finished eating their lunch, tidied the kitchen and found their way to the living room.

Henry’s putting on their playlist as Alex walks up behind him. Alex smiles as the strains of Love Story can be heard from the speakers and he can’t help but sing along with the lyrics. It isn’t the first time he’s heard the song; it’s one of Henry’s favourites and he remembers June having it on heavy rotation when his bedroom was just across the hall from hers. “We were both young when I first saw you,” Alex sings softly, resting his chin on Henry’s shoulder and wrapping his arms around Henry’s middle, hugging him from behind. “I close my eyes and the flashback starts…”

They sway back and forth to the music for a moment, just enjoying being close, when Alex feels Henry slide something on his wrist. “I managed to abscond with more of the Crown jewels after my last visit to England,” Henry murmurs, turning around to face Alex. “Thought you deserved a few jewels of your own.”

Alex looks down to find a friendship bracelet on his left wrist. The bracelet has red, white and blue beads with cute little charms that make him smile. There’s a cowboy hat charm, a little Eiffel Tower and a charm shaped like a cake that makes him chuckle. “You made this for me, sweetheart?” he asks, feeling a little emotional. He touches the charms reverently, turning the bracelet on his wrist. His heart stops in his chest when he reads MARRY ME spelled out in letter beads.

Alex looks at Henry, finding him down on one knee, a soft expression on his face and a small black velvet box in his hands. “Alex, I love you and the life that we’ve built together. In the moment I first saw you, I began loving you and I have loved you every day since,” Henry says, tears shining in his eyes, and a euphoric smile on his face. “But I want to love you for even longer. I want to love you until we have grey in our hair, and you need to wear your glasses all the time. I want to love you on the good days, on the bad days and on the days that blur together in their normalcy. I want to love you for so long that, when they write the history of my life, you are in every chapter and on every page.”

“Baby,” Alex whispers, his face already wet from his tears, his hands trembling at his sides.

Henry opens the small box, lifts out the ring and sets the box down. He grabs Alex’s left hand in his, giving it a small squeeze before continuing his speech. “Alexander Gabriel Claremont-Diaz, will you marry me?” he asks. “You are the best bad decision I have ever made. Let me love you for every day we have in this life and every day in our next life, because one lifetime with you could never be enough.”

“Henry, yes! A thousand percent, yes!” Alex answers, his heart in his throat and a blinding smile on his face. “I completely f*cking love you, baby. Of course, I’ll marry you.”

Henry slides the ring on his finger and stands up, pulling Alex close to kiss him, breathless and tender. Alex wraps his arms around Henry’s broad shoulders and Henry’s arms hug his waist as they slow dance in their living room. Friendship bracelets on their wrists, a ring on Alex’s finger and a future together spread out in front of them.

make the friendship bracelets - KJBee81 - Red White & Royal Blue (2024)
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