Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: “Because I said so, that’s why”
At Full Speed, #20
At some point, they undressed and slipped into sleep. When a buzzing drew Jake out of a nice dream that involved Bruce on his knees, he moaned.
A chuckle replaced the buzzing, and Bruce said, in a sleep-hoarse voice, “Good morning, sunshine. Sorry for waking you, but I’ve got to work.”
Jake opened his eyes, swallowing. Work. Sure. He had work to do himself, though he could do it whenever he felt like it. No preset working hours could be a blessing, especially since he hated getting up early. On the other hand, it meant self-discipline, and that was a concept Jake sometimes struggled with.
“Sure.” Jake forced a smile on his face. Given the fast rise of Bruce’s eyebrows, his smile lacked sincerity. He rolled over and climbed out of bed, not daring to look at Bruce. “I’ll make some coffee. Do you want some breakfast?”
“That would be great, Jake. I’ll hit the shower quickly.”
Jake nodded and walked out of his bedroom. A whole day without Bruce—maybe even a few days in a row. As a police officer, Bruce worked long shifts. He shouldn’t have to deal with a clingy boyfriend afterward. He needed his wits about him to help protect people who really needed him.
He flipped on the coffee machine, his mouth watering as the aroma of freshly brewed coffee infiltrated his nose. Making an appreciative noise, he filled a large mug and topped it with milk before savoring his first sip.
Sticking his head into his fridge, he frowned. Grocery shopping would have to be on his to-do list for today. However, he still could slap together some sandwiches for Bruce. Or would he rather have cereal? What the hell did a police officer need for a full breakfast? How come he didn’t know what Bruce usually ate in the mornings? Yeah, right, because they didn’t know each other all that well. No matter how much Jake loved the man already.
He pushed the fridge door close and leaned with his back against it. Bracing his hands on his thighs, he squeezed his eyes shut and breathed in and out in what he hoped was a calm pattern.
Jake started when Bruce stepped up to his side, fully dressed, his short hair shining wetly. He gave Jake a questioning look, and for whatever reason, Jake blurted out why he was trembling slightly. “I don’t know what you eat for breakfast.”
Bruce tugged him against his chest then folded his arms around Jake. Warmth seeped into him, chasing away the dreadful feeling trying to settle in his gut. Leaning into the embrace, and trusting Bruce to keep him safe, Jake expelled a long breath.
“I have no real preference. Well, no, that’s not true. If I could, I’d either eat pancakes drenched in syrup every morning or eggs and bacon, but then I’d have to work out even more, so I try to be reasonable. Whatever you have will be fine, Jake.”
“I need to do some shopping. I don’t have much to offer.”
“You’ve got a lot to offer, Jake,” Bruce whispered.
“I meant for breakfast. And anyway, I don’t have shit to offer.” Anger burst through to the surface, surely showing in his voice, but Jake was beyond caring. That’s how he was, and maybe it would be for the best to show Bruce what he was getting himself into.
“You have lots to offer, Jake.”
Jake shook his head. “No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Why?” Jake almost yelled as he clutched Bruce’s shirt.
“Because I said so, that’s why.”
That was no reason, not at all, and yet… Jake’s anger lifted and made place for something akin to relief. If Bruce said so, then Jake had to believe him. Bruce knew what he was talking about.
“Jake, do you have something to offer?” Bruce asked. There was so much power conveyed in that simple question. Jake’s initial reaction was to balk, but a glance at Bruce’s face stopped him.
“Maybe?” Jake’s voice carried more than just a subtle hint of doubtfulness, but Bruce couldn’t expect him to lie. It was one thing for Bruce to lay down the law and a completely different thing for Jake to say how he felt.
“Maybe.” Bruce pressed his lips on Jake’s, then smiled. “Very good. I’ll take that maybe and hope soon you’ll say yes to my question.”
To Jake’s bewilderment, the thought that he might just do that popped up in his mind.