May 13, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: At Full Speed, #13

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: “Take your time, you’re not going anywhere for a while.”

At Full Speed, #13

Jake slapped a hand over his mouth when realization hit him. How could he have just blurted that out?
Bruce continued to stare at him open-mouthed. Only their breathing, and the continuous rushing and splashing of water, were audible. Jake’s breath came in and out as choked sounds, which not even the tight lock of his hand over his traitorous mouth could conceal.
When Bruce regained some of his composure—or maybe he shook off his shock—Jake swallowed. What if Bruce didn’t believe him? Worse even, what if he did? Why did he open his personal Pandora’s box?
Bruce hauled himself to his feet, gazing at Jake with a hard-to-interpret look. After releasing a sharp exhale that showed off Bruce’s muscled torso, he reached out for Jake.
No! Jake’s mind screeched. No one would ever hurt him. He’d vowed to himself he’d never allow anyone to nearly destroy him again. He curled up in a small ball, which almost cost him his balance on the toilet seat, his arms covering his head. If he’d learned one thing, it was to protect his head at all costs.
Bruce’s large, warm hands rubbed his back before he said, “I’m going to lift you for a moment, okay?”
The blood pounding in Jake’s ears increased to a deafening volume. He cringed away in pain. How could this hurt? It was just his own blood flowing through him. It wasn’t like it was flowing out of him—that pain was completely different.
“Jake? Please, can I do that?”
Was Bruce asking for his consent? Jake forced himself to turn his head slightly to get a glimpse of Bruce. He stood next to him, waiting for Jake to say something. In a hoarse voice, Jake asked, “You’re not going to hurt me, are you?”
“No. God, no. Jake, I’d never hurt you. I just want to hold you for a moment. Please?”
Why couldn’t Bruce take control of the situation? Jake’s body screamed at him to allow Bruce to hold him. But his mind…
Biting his lower lip, Jake overrode his mind’s command to get away from Bruce as fast as possible, and gave a curt nod. Bruce expelled a breath he seemed to have kept inside for too long. He slipped one arm underneath Jake’s knees and one behind his back. With an uncanny ease, he lifted Jake into his arms, took the vacated seat on the toilet lid, and placed Jake on his lap. For a time they sat in silence, both lost in their own thoughts.
Jake listened to Bruce’s heartbeat, the way it slowed down from a frantic gallop to a steady beat. More and more, he melted against Bruce’s body, trusting him to keep him safe. A few tears trickled down his cheeks as his own thought registered. He trusted Bruce. What else would explain why he’d told him what happened? He’d never told anyone about it. Sure, there were some medical records about his injuries, but he’d never come forward with the information as to who’d caused them . The cop that had asked him questions the second time had been nice, and he’d practically begged Jake to give him a name, but…
It had been impossible. He’d started all over. While he still suffered from nightmares occasionally, he was fine. Except today. And yesterday. And pretty much every day since he’d met Bruce. For some reason, his past threatened to overwhelm him ever since he’d met Bruce.
Bruce’s soft voice startled him out of his thoughts. “I need to shut the tap.”
Jake climbed off Bruce’s lap and stood in the middle of his own bathroom, a sense of relief, and something he couldn’t name, surging through him. After closing the tap, Bruce turned around, gripped the hem of Jake’s shirt, and gently pulled it off him. He gestured to the rest of Jake’s clothes. “Take them off, okay?”
Despite a spike in his never-ending anxiety, Jake fumbled with his clothes and finally got rid of everything. Bruce took one of his hands and helped him stagger into the tub. Jake groaned when hot water engulfed him, helping to ease the tension from his body. Bruce folded a large towel, placed it on the floor in front of the tub, and sat down. He stroked Jake’s cheek, then said, “Take your time, you’re not going anywhere for a while.”
For the first time in a long while, Bruce’s firm words didn’t feel like a threat. Jake welcomed Bruce’s statement, knowing he’d keep watch over him. Nothing to fear. How marvelous.

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