Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: make a scene
At Full Speed, #11
Jake’s breath rattled in his chest even though he’d stopped crying a long time ago. Or maybe the rattling sound came from his bones? His whole frame seemed to shake so badly his knees slammed together painfully, no matter how hard he tried to control himself.
There had been people, quite a few actually, who asked if they needed an ambulance, but Bruce managed to decline all their efforts and concern with firmness and kindness. How did he do that?
Jake’s face was hidden against Bruce’s solid chest, which usually would allow him to inhale Bruce’s scent. Just not this time, since his nose was totally clogged. In between some hiccups, Jake said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make a scene.”
“It’s all right, Jake. Think you can get up if I help you?”
Jake nodded. He had no idea if his legs would hold him up, but he’d made enough of an idiot of himself for today. Tomorrow was a different matter. Tomorrow he could start anew and make even more of a fool of himself. Jake’s throat constricted at that thought, and for a second, lightheadedness threatened to overwhelm him.
“Jake, shh, breathe.” One of Bruce’s large hands cupped the back of his head while the other one steadied Jake around the waist.
“I’m so sorry. You must—” Jake bit off the rest of what he’d wanted to say. Bruce had made it perfectly clear he could think for himself.
“I’d like to take you home now. Would that be all right with you?” Bruce asked. His mouth was close to Jake’s ear, his breath warm against Jake’s skin. Jake pushed his forehead deeper into Bruce’s shirt, wanting nothing more than to hide there forever. “Jake?”
“I… will you stay with me? Just for a while?” Jake’s heart pounded so loud it had to be audible to anyone close to him. He didn’t even know if he could stand to be in the same room as Bruce, or if that would send him deeper into panic, but he knew one thing for sure: he needed Bruce. His strength, his compassion and… and maybe even his love.
“Of course I’ll stay with you. Did you honestly believe I’d leave you alone after such a panic attack?” Bruce sounded slightly scandalized.
Jake pried his face off Bruce’s chest, but only far enough so he was able to peer up through his swollen eyes. “I take it that was a stupid question?”
“But?” Jake pressed, immediately regretting his inability to shut up. When would he learn not to force matters?
“But I’d hoped you’d know me better by now.”
“Oh?” Bruce shook his head but he smiled. “What did you think I’d say?”
“I didn’t think you’d say anything at all,” Jake blurted. He froze while his heart rate skyrocketed. A low whimper tumbled over his lips. What the fuck was so difficult for him to understand about the concept of keeping his mouth shut? It shouldn’t be that hard. And even if it was, then he should’ve learned his lesson. He should’ve learned it well.
“What do you mean?”
Jake pressed his lips together and dropped his gaze. He would not say anything. If he refused communication, there was no chance of him upsetting Bruce. Though… what if silence ticked him off? Some guys felt offended by silence, and liked to inflict pain just to get a response.
“Jake, did you by chance mean you suspected I’d hit you rather than try to talk to you?”
Jake’s head snapped up, and he stared at Bruce from wide eyes. A sigh escaped Bruce’s mouth, but fortunately he didn’t comment further. He simply folded his arms around Jake’s shaking form and drew him close.
Jake leaned into Bruce’s body, soaking up the body heat. Belatedly, he realized he’d gone without a fuss, without a thought of Bruce hurting him. Didn’t that mean on a subconscious level he knew Bruce was not like the other guys? The ones that had damaged him beyond repair? He snorted in disgust. How could he lump Bruce together with those bastards that were responsible for all his scars?
“Take me home, Bruce.”