Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: “I was thinking about…”
At Full Speed, #6
“I don’t want anyone. I want you.”
“But why?” Jake barely prevented himself from crying out in frustration. What would someone like Bruce want from him? What would anyone want from him? Given that Bruce didn’t know all that much about Jake, maybe he was hanging onto a bizarre image of how Jake was. But—
“Jake, stop it. I don’t need to justify myself for falling in love with you. However, I really want to have a chat with whoever made you believe you’re not worth loving.” Bruce’s comment sounded so calm, so reasonable, and Jake couldn’t help but gape at him. “Come on, sunshine, let’s move to your sofa, okay?”
Jake shook his head. Not to deny Bruce’s request, but to clear his mind from all the assaulting information. Bruce was falling in love with him? How the hell did he know that there had been someone—oh, yeah, right. Jake pursed his lips. He’d given that away when he’d flipped and didn’t correct Bruce’s assumption that someone must’ve hurt him in the past.
“No?” Bruce asked. “You want to stay here in the kitchen?”
“What? No, I…” Jake expelled a breath. “Let’s move to the sofa.”
Bruce stooped to press a quick kiss on Jake’s left cheek before he led the way to the sofa, never losing contact with Jake. Bruce let go when he slipped off his jacket and Jake bit his lower lip to stop himself from demanding Bruce’s hand back. He wasn’t that pathetic.
Or maybe he was. At least he seemed to be that transparent because as soon as Bruce had draped his jacket over the back of the sofa, he sat and pulled Jake into a comfortable embrace. For a while, neither of them said anything. Jake relaxed more and more, only then realizing his shoulder muscles ached from tension. He rolled his neck a couple of times and Bruce shifted slightly, making more room under his arm.
Bruce pointed at the muted TV. “What are you watching?”
“Uh, I have no idea.”
Bruce’s chuckle reverberated through Jake’s body and a reluctant smile tugged on his lips. He snatched the remote from the coffee table, put the volume back on, and leaned heavily against Bruce’s chest. “I remember now. I was watching a documentary about Egypt. It was very interesting, but I have no idea if it’s still on.”
Right on cue, the ads made room for the TV program. The documentary was still going, and Bruce asked, “Would you like to keep watching it?”
Jake nodded. “If that’s okay with you?”
“Of course that’s okay with me.”
Indeed, Bruce watched the whole feature and even discussed some of the findings with him. When Jake caught a glance at the clock, he flinched. “Oh, wow, I didn’t realize it was so late. When do you go in for work tomorrow?”
“I’m off tomorrow.”
“Oh.” Just like that, all relaxation fled. Acid burned in Jake’s throat, and his pulse rate spiked. He extricated himself from Bruce’s embrace, which now felt confining instead of comfortable. How was this even possible? It wasn’t as if he hadn’t spent time in Bruce’s arms before. Never had he panicked. What had changed?
“Jake, I’m guessing we won’t be talking about what set off your panic attack earlier since you’re starting to tense up again. I want to assure you I’d never do anything to you that you wouldn’t agree to.” Bruce cupped Jake’s face in his hands and tenderly stroked his thumbs along Jake’s cheekbones. “I was thinking about taking you out for breakfast tomorrow morning. How does that sound to you? Nine o’clock okay?”
Jake blinked at him. “No sex tonight?”
Bruce’s eyes crinkled at the corners. “Do you honestly want to tell me you’re up for sex tonight?”
“Does that matter? I thought that’s why you came.”
The crinkles around Bruce’s eyes vanished. Instead, he frowned at Jake. “Does it matter? Yes, it does. I’m your boyfriend, not a fuck-buddy. Well, I hope that’s how it is, or did I get this wrong?”
Jake opened his mouth, then clicked it shut. Was Bruce serious?
“You don’t think I’m serious, do you?” Bruce asked.
Heat crawled from Jake’s neck to his face. He opted for silence and a shrug.
“It’s okay, because I am serious about you. I know we don’t know each other well, or for long, but I want to be together with you. What do you say to breakfast tomorrow, hmm?”
“Okay. Are you going to pick me up?”
Bruce nodded before he rose from the sofa. He donned his jacket and held out his hands for Jake, who took them. Bruce pulled him to his feet, gave him a hug and another kiss on the cheek, then walked toward the door. “Lock up after me. Call me if you want me to come earlier, okay?”
Jake followed Bruce to the door like a puppy. Would he really leave? Why didn’t he like the prospect of Bruce leaving? After all, that’s what he’d wanted earlier.
“You’re really going?” Jake asked when they reached the door.
“Not if you don’t want me to.”
Jake slid his hands through his hair, tearing at some strands in confusion. “I don’t know what I want right now.”
“I believe you wouldn’t feel secure if I stayed here, no matter how much I’d like to. But if you need me during the night, I’ll come back. How does that sound?”
“Good,” Jake replied.
“Sleep well, sunshine.”
“You too.” Jake rose on tiptoe, pressed a kiss on Bruce’s lips, and locked the door after he departed. Maybe Bruce was the real thing after all.