Authors: Amylea Lyn
Cael nodded slowly.
“Oh.” He seemed to accept that, but Aiden could see there was still something bothering him.
“Cael? Is there something else? You still look upset.”
“Do you hate me?” he asked in an anguished whisper.
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“What?” Aiden was stunned, completely surprised.
“Why would I hate you?”
“Because I almost got you and your friend hurt,” Cael said, staring down at his blanket covered lap. “I wouldn’t blame you.”
“Absolutely not,” a deep voice said from behind them.
Both men jumped and turned toward the door.
Jake leaned against the doorjamb. His arms were crossed over his chest, and he looked completely relaxed standing there in jeans and a T-shirt. He was just as sexy out of uniform as he was in.
“Everything okay?” Aiden asked. Jake nodded.
“All taken care of. We can leave any time.”
Aiden nodded, turning back to Cael. The kid was slumped in the hospital bed, looking sad.
“You’re leaving?” Cael asked in a small voice. Aiden looked to Jake, who just raised a brow. The kid obviously thought they were leaving without him.
Aiden smiled. “
are leaving,” he said firmly.
Cael looked confused, and then his eyes widened. “We?
You mean --? I’m going, too?”
“Well,” Aiden began, then sighed. He didn’t want to lie to the kid, but he also didn’t want to worry Cael unnecessarily. He sat down on the edge of the bed and took one small hand in his. “The truth is, Cael, that so
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far Max has eluded police. We’ve all decided that for everyone’s safety it would be best if you weren’t here at the hospital. You’re being released.”
Cael looked confused again. “But…”
“We were hoping,” Aiden interrupted quickly, not wanting the kid to get the wrong idea, “that you would come home with us. Where you will be safe.”
Cael looked so stunned that Aiden didn’t know what to do. Did he offer comfort or give the kid time to process everything? He and Jake really hadn’t thought about Cael refusing to go with them. He gave Jake a pleading look.
Jake came over to the bed, laying a reassuring hand on Aiden's shoulder.
“Cael, we don’t blame you for any of this. Everything that’s happened is the fault of the people who hurt you.
We want you to come home with us. We think it the best thing for all of us.”
Cael watched them with a small furrow between his brows. “What if he comes back?”
Jake, bless him, just smiled. “We’ll protect each other, how ’bout that?”
They both waited, Aiden not even daring to breathe as Cael thought. There was a long, tense moment before Cael seemed to make a decision.
Finally, he nodded. “Okay,” he said quietly. “But I need
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to get my stuff from my room.”
Aiden shared a quick smile with Jake. There was something about the kid that just seemed to fit with them. It worried him and made him feel warm at the same time.
“Fair enough,” Jake said.
Aiden nodded. “Let's check you out and get you home.”
Cael was near giddy with excitement the entire way out of the hospital and back to his own room. They were going to take him home. He hadn’t seen this. He’d known they were going to let him go, but not that he would get to go home with them.
He felt shivery just thinking about being in the same house as those two gorgeous men. Even after all that had happened, he still found himself wanting. It was strange, so very strange.
Reaching his little room, Cael turned back to the men following him.
“Can I…alone?” he asked softly, gesturing to the room behind him. “I won’t be long.”
They shared a glance and then nodded.
“Sure,” Dr. Turner said. “We’ll wait out here for you.”
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He retreated into the room, stealing one more quick peek at them both before closing the door. As soon as it was shut, he moved quickly.
Cael grabbed his backpack, the same one he had before he had been admitted for observation, then hurried over to the small dresser. After stuffing his clothes and other meager belongings into the bag, he tossed it onto the bed and then went back to the dresser. Cael carefully wormed his way behind the dresser, ’til he was between it and the wall, and pushed the dresser aside, revealing a covered air vent.
No one knew it was there. It was his secret place, where he hid his drawings so others couldn’t find them. Now he was leaving, so he was going to need them. He never knew if the dreams were going to come true.
Cael quickly popped off the grate and reached in, taking out three completely full sketchbooks, many of them holding loose sheets that had been stuffed inside the already full pads.
After fixing the grate and putting the dresser back, he shoved them in his backpack before walking over to the door. Cael took one last look at where he had been living for the past month. It was miserable and bare, but it was just a stepping stone on his journey.
And the next was waiting on the other side of the door.
He opened the door. Dr. Turner and the cop, Officer
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Blackthorn, stopped talking to look at him. He felt a rush of nerves, but beat them back. He hoped they hadn’t changed their minds.
“I-I’m ready,” he said, sighing in relief when both men smiled.
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Opening the front door, Aiden led a very timid and shy Cael into the front living area.
“Here we are,” Aiden said, placing a protective arm around Cael’s shoulder. Cael seemed to almost cuddle right in, and Aiden wasn’t sure what to think about that.
Then again, it had been a very long day, what with the checking out of the hospital and stopping to get fast-food for dinner. Cael had been so cute, grinning at the silly toy Jake had bought him. He didn’t actually get a kid's meal, but Aiden thought Cael might have wanted one.
Cael’s eyes were wide, as if he'd never seen anything like their house before.
“It’s so nice.” he whispered, voice awed.
“Yeah,” Aiden said, trying to look at his and Jake’s home with new eyes. “It’s not a bad little place.”
“Would you like a tour?” Aiden asked. Cael nodded, while Jake mumbled that he was going to take Cael’s stuff and make up the guest room.
“Well,” Aiden said, motioning around. “This is the living area. Through that little hall there,” he pointed, “is the garage. Down that hall is also a half-bath and door to the basement; we use it as a weight room and storage. In here,” he said, leading Cael through an archway, “is the kitchen. And around the corner is the back porch and laundry room.” He smiled. “Upstairs is a bathroom, the master, an office and a guestroom.” He led Cael through
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each room, pointing out pictures of himself and Jake and their families along the way. The house wasn’t very large, but it was quaint and had a lovely lived in sort of feel. Aiden hoped Cael would be comfortable there.
“Where will I sleep?” Cael asked as they came up from the basement where Aiden had been showing him the weight room.
Aiden frowned. “In the guestroom…”
Cael looked confused. “Then where will Officer Blackthorn sleep?”
“Jake?” Aiden asked, feeling just as confused as Cael looked. “With me, in the master.”
Cael’s eyes widened, then he flushed, dropping his eyes back to the floor. “Oh.”
It suddenly dawned on Aiden that Cael must not have realized that he and Jake were lovers. Damn, Aiden probably should have told the kid before they got him home. He honestly hadn’t even thought of it being an issue. Aiden hoped it wasn’t.
“Cael, I hope this isn’t going to be a problem?” Aiden asked. Cael flushed again, but quickly shook his head no.
“No Dr. Turner…I’m sorry. I realized you were
together, just not
together. I’m sorry.” Cael hunched down, as if he expected Aiden to berate him for his ignorance.
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Aiden shook his head and laid a gentle hand on the kid’s shoulder. “I’m not mad, Cael. It was an honest misconception. Yes, Jake and I have been together for years and we love each other very much. But we’d never ask you for anything. Do you understand?”
Cael nodded, but Aiden could have sworn he saw a flash of disappointment in the younger man’s eyes.
“And it's Aiden,” Aiden said. When Cael looked up at him, seeming puzzled, Aiden just smiled again. “My name is Aiden. And Officer Blackthorn is just Jake.
There are no formalities here.”
“Oh. Okay, then you both can call me Cael.” Cael smiled. Aiden thought it was the first time he’d heard the kid tell a joke. He laughed in delight.
“Did you have any questions, Cael? About Jake and me?
I wouldn’t mind answering them, and now is a good time to ask.” It would be best to get the air cleared right away. The last thing Aiden wanted was for Cael to stew on his thoughts and end up leaving. The kid had a hard enough time voicing his thoughts as it was.
Cael looked down again, and Aiden noticed his hands were trembling slightly. Finally, the kid seemed to gather himself and looked up directly into Aiden’s eyes.
It was the first time Cael had willingly met them, and Aiden couldn’t help but feel proud.
“Y-you love him?” Cael asked. Aiden thought about his Jake and felt a rush of warmth.
“With all my heart,” he replied. “Jake is my hero. We
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met during my last year of college. I was living in this tiny little apartment on the other side of town, and there was a domestic disturbance in the apartment next to mine. I called the police, and this hot, young rookie comes walking up like he was the coolest thing since sliced bread.” Aiden grinned at the memory. He could still see Jake walking up to him with that arrogant swagger, the same one Jake still used when on a call today.
“Anyway,” Aiden said, shaking himself back to the present, “Jake wrote up the report and left to take care of the couple fighting next door. I never expected to see him again. After the call was finished, there was a knock on my door, and when I opened it there was Jake, asking me out on a date.”
“What did you do?” Cael asked, seeming completely wrapped up in the story.
Aiden grinned. “Told him no. I was too busy getting ready to graduate and didn’t have time for a boyfriend.
Jake, however, wouldn’t take no for an answer. He spent the next two weeks hounding me every chance he got.
He even pulled me over once. Finally, I gave in and lo and behold, found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We’ve been together ever since.”
“How long ago was that?” Cael asked, his violet eyes wide.
“Wow,” was all the kid said, his voice whisper soft.
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Aiden just smiled. “You must be tired,” he said, noticing the drop in Cael’s shoulders. “How about I show you to your room and you can take a bath then get some rest.
We’ll figure everything out tomorrow.”
Cael nodded, and Aiden led the way up the stairs. He got Cael an old pair of his sweats, figuring they’d wash the bunch of his clothes and maybe buy him some new ones later that week.
Just before Cael shut the bathroom door, he smiled up at Aiden, the sweetest, most true smile he’d ever seen.
Aiden could feel a rush of want fill his veins.
Jesus, what was wrong with him? The kid had just gotten out of a traumatic situation; he didn’t need Aiden lusting after him like a dog with a bone. Even if it was a very attractive, enticing little bone. For God's sake, he’d been the kid’s psychiatrist. Well, technically the kid never spoke to him until two days ago, but still. He was twelve years older than Cael, too! That had to be against some sort of rule, right?
Then why was it he couldn’t think of anything besides pulling Cael into his arms and showing the kid how wonderful loving could truly be?
“Here’s the bathroom, and your room is right down there. Jake and I are just down the hall. So well, uh, holler if you need anything,” he said, trying to shift so his burgeoning hard-on wouldn’t show.
“Thank you, Aiden,” Cael said softly, closing the door.
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“Night,” Aiden said, wincing when his voice actually cracked. Damn, it hadn’t done that since he was a teenager.
He was about to walk away, when the bathroom door suddenly opened again. He and Cael stared at each other for a moment before Cael finally blurted, “It really doesn’t matter to me that you two are together. I’m well…I’m gay, too, so I don’t mind.” Aiden had already figured that out, but he thought that Cael probably wanted to admit it out loud.
Aiden smiled encouragingly. “Thank you for telling me, Cael. Jake and I appreciate your support in our relationship.”
Cael nodded, biting his lower lip, and Aiden nearly moaned out loud. “Night,” Cael said softly, then shut the door once more.
Aiden stood there for a moment, fighting the need to open the door and join Cael in the shower. The picture that Cael had drawn of the two of them together kept flashing through his mind.
Damn, what was wrong with him? God, what would he do if Jake ever found out what he was fantasizing? He tried to convince himself that he had all he needed with his lover, nothing more was necessary.
Finally, he shook his head and went to hunt down Jake.
He was needing, and only Jake had what he wanted.
Or so he tried to tell himself.
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Morning light shone through the blinds and right into Jake’s face. He groaned. It felt like he’d only been asleep for a couple of hours. Glancing at the alarm clock on his side of the bed, he groaned louder. He
only been a sleep for a few hours! It was six in the morning, at least an hour before he was even willing to entertain the idea of getting up.
Jake turned onto his stomach and buried his head under his pillow. A few moments later, he uncovered his head and sighed. He was wide awake.