Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: “Chances are…”
At Full Speed, #7
Jake’s sleep had been interrupted several times by nightmares. Not just simple nightmares, like the ones he usually had, especially when he was wound up. No, these nightmares could be called nightterrors. Around 5 in the morning, Jake gave up on sleep altogether. He trudged over to his sofa, curled up in a corner, and switched on the TV. It took him almost half an hour to stop shaking. When the first rays of sunshine filtered into his small apartment, he breathed in deeply.
“Great, I survived another night. How very awesome,” Jake said, just to hear his own voice. Yup, still there, and it didn’t sound strange. Sometimes, when the nightmares were severe, his voice turned from a normal tenor into a croak. At least he hadn’t screamed so much his voice had suffered.
He glanced at the clock. Still more than two hours to go before Bruce would pick him up. He dragged himself to the bathroom, took a long shower, and made sure his hair was done to perfection. His blond locks were artfully tousled, and he shaved any sign of stubble away, leaving only creamy, smooth skin behind. Satisfied, he inspected his wardrobe. He decided on a pair of dark blue jeans with a light blue shirt that brought out the color in his eyes. To accentuate his slender frame, he pulled out a vest that matched his jeans.
For a moment, Jake turned and twisted in front of the full-length mirror mounted to the left door of his closet. He’d do. At least he hoped he’d do. Some guys were turned off by his height and slightness, though Jake’s body showed finely defined muscles everywhere, whereas others liked it.
“Chances are that Bruce falls into the second category,” Jake told his reflection, mostly to encourage himself. If Bruce didn’t like what he saw, he wouldn’t pursue Jake, right?
With a sigh, Jake turned away from the mirror before he tidied up the bathroom. He still had more than an hour, so he logged into his computer and answered some e-mails. As a freelance artist, he could pick his projects. He loved his job and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Drawing and illustrating was his world. Fortunately for him, he was even modestly successful.
When the door bell rang, Jake jumped. A quick glance at the clock confirmed he’d completely forgotten about the time. He powered down his computer, while he called, “Just a second.”
Moments later, he opened the door, smiling. Bruce stood in front of him, solid as ever, wearing jeans and a leather jacket, and smelling comfortingly of the cologne Jake liked so much.
“Good morning, sunshine.”
“Hey,” Jake greeted. “Let me just grab my wallet and my jacket and we can be on our way.”
Jake snatched what he needed, slipped into his jacket, and locked the door. Bruce took his hand and gave it a squeeze before he pressed a kiss on Jake’s cheek. Bruce’s question took Jake by surprise. “Didn’t you sleep well?”
“What? No, I didn’t. How… how do you know?”
Bruce tucked a strand of hair behind Jake’s right ear. “You just look tired.”
“Couldn’t you fall asleep? You know that you could’ve called me at any time, right?” Bruce asked as he led Jake down the stairs.
Jake shrugged. “I guess I was too wound up.”
He left out that he’d been close to calling Bruce—twice. The nightmares had been so vivid he’d left the light on after the second. No need for Bruce to know how pathetic he really was. Yesterday’s meltdown was enough.
“Do you want to talk about yesterday?”
“No.” Jake shook his head vehemently. “Absolutely not.”
Bruce regarded him with a strange look. Jake’s gaze veered off Bruce’s face. This way he could pretend nothing out of the ordinary was going on. Nope, he didn’t notice Bruce’s scrutinizing stare. Bruce didn’t press the matter. Instead, he guided Jake to his car, keeping a hand on the small of Jake’s back. Ever the cavalier, he opened the door for Jake, waited until he was seated, then closed the door.
Jake watched him round the car before he climbed into the driver’s seat. “Where are we going?”
“How about Fursher’s? They’ve got a wide variety of breakfast dishes, and the portions are generous.”
“I’ve never been there,” Jake confessed. He’d passed the small restaurant that strictly served breakfast and lunch often but he wasn’t keen on sitting there all by himself.
“Then you’re in for a treat.” Bruce smiled before he pulled into traffic.
Jake bit his lower lip to swallow the remark resting on the tip of his tongue—being with Bruce was a treat already.