Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: “Hand it over, right now.”
At Full Speed, #21
The breakfast at Jake’s apartment had been the last time Jake had seen Bruce in person. That had been three days ago. Sure, Bruce called every day and asked him about his day, how he was, and if he needed Bruce to come over. Jake had bitten his tongue and acted appropriately like an adult. Of course he didn’t need Bruce to come over, he’d said. After all, Bruce worked long hours in a demanding job. Jake damn well could survive a few days without his boyfriend.
Except that he’d barely slept since Bruce left. Nightmares assaulted him in an intensity that had already caused one or the other complete meltdown. Not to mention the light issue. Darkness was out of the question, no matter how much it made him feel like a kid.
The only sleep he’d gotten yesterday was after downing one too many drinks. Of course he’d only chugged the drinks after Bruce’s call. No need for him to realize how very pathetic Jake was without him. Besides, everyone drank from time to time, right?
Jake stared at the drink in his hand, his third within twenty minutes. He was still waiting for the tiredness to creep up on him, but so far he was only slightly buzzed. Frowning at his glass, he said, “Maybe I’ve got a higher tolerance already?”
With a shrug, he brought the glass to his lips and more or less inhaled the alcohol. “Ugh.” Jake coughed to get rid of some of the burn in his throat but all he accomplished was tearing up. He leaned his hands on the counter, glanced at the clock, and waited. Ten minutes later, he still didn’t feel ready for bed.
He reached for the bottle with trembling hands and poured himself another drink. To himself, he whispered, “This is getting just a little bit out of hand, Jake.” Pausing, he scrutinized the amber liquid, wishing he’d be strong enough to put the glass aside. With a grimace, he told himself, “Oh, what the hell. It’s just a drink, and I really need some sleep.”
Lifting the glass, the strong smell of alcohol reached his nose. He screwed his eyes shut in disgust, intent on drinking as much as possible without setting the glass aside.
A yelp tore from his throat when Bruce boomed, “Hand it over. Right now.”
Jake’s eyes flew open. The glass slipped from his hand, shattering on the kitchen tiles into a million pieces. “Bruce?”
“You could’ve just handed it over. There was no need to smash a perfectly fine glass.”
Jake laughed, but quickly sobered when he caught sight of Bruce’s expression. He stepped aside, but stopped mid-motion when Bruce said, “Stop. Let me throw the glass away.”
“I can do that,” Jake protested.
“I wouldn’t trust you with anything at the moment given the state you’re in, Jake. Stay where you are.”
Bruce searched his cupboards, came up with a pair of gloves and started picking up the pieces. It seemed to take Jake a long time until he understood Bruce’s words. Who did he think he was? What state? He was perfectly fine, just a bit tired.
He opened his mouth to tell Bruce exactly that, but Bruce lifted a hand and gazed up at him with an expression that caused Jake’s stomach to plummet into nothingness. Bruce gave him an approving nod. “Very smart, Jake. How about you use the time you’re going to stand there while I clean up to come up with an excellent explanation why you told me you’re fine when you’re anything but. I’d be very interested in knowing about that.”
Sweat beaded down Jake’s neck. So not good. Besides, he didn’t want to think anyway. He blurted the first thing coming to mind, “How’d you get inside? I didn’t let you in. Breaking and entering is forbidden, even for police officers.”
Bruce regarded him with a hard look. Jake swallowed, knowing very well, he shouldn’t have said what he did, but honestly? How did Bruce get in?
After throwing away some more shards, Bruce straightened up and laid a finger underneath Jake’s chin. With his other hand, he pulled something from his pocket. A key ring dangled in front of Jake’s eyes. “What’s this?”
“The key you gave me three days ago. It wasn’t necessary for me to break into your apartment.”
Heat rose in Jake’s cheeks. How could he have forgotten about this? “I—”
Bruce bent down to finish the clean-up and interjected, “I would say we’ve got a lot to talk about.”
As much as it frightened him to admit it, Bruce was probably right. Jake remained rooted to the spot and watched his boyfriend clean, wondering what exactly Bruce meant by talking….