That was pretty much the end of Jerrett’s half-formed revelations, though. At least for the time being, while they settled into a routine for Anthony’s recovery. When Sasha was home he took care of Anthony. When he wasn’t, Jerrett kept Ant company, read to him, or they talked and played games. That was all. He certainly didn’t reveal his carefully hedged around discovery on that first morning of Anthony’s stay.
For one thing, there was Sasha to consider. They had been through a rocky beginning, and Jerrett wasn’t keen on doing anything to upset the applecart now that things were running smoothly. Admitting anything had changed in their relationship would mean having to deal with what those changes might mean.
But that assumed, of course, that Sasha was blind. Far from it, Sasha saw more than most people. He simply chose not to act on or speak out about the majority of things he saw. What people felt was their business, to reveal or not.
Jerrett and his happiness, though, was Sasha’s business. It left him confused and a little quieter than usual.
One night about a week into the convalescence, Sasha had tucked Anthony in for the night and sat with Jerrett on the couch, both of them reading. Little things had been worked out to avoid the first day’s near disaster. Anthony now had a grab bar to snag things out of reach and a bell to summon help. He still refused the pain meds during the day but Sasha coaxed him into taking them at night so he could sleep.
At about nine o’clock, Sasha suddenly looked up from his book and said, “You’ve never offered to read to me.”
Jerrett quirked a brow at him. “You’ve never been laid up with a broken leg since I’ve known you either. You’re not jealous, are you, sweetheart?”
The look Sasha gave him and the quick automatic denial would have made him think he was indeed jealous if it had been anyone else but Sasha. Jerrett chuckled and shushed him to put him back at ease. “I was only teasing, Sasha. Would you like me to read to you?”
“I…Anthony says you have such a good reading voice. Yes…I’d like that, sir.”
“Alright. Go pick something from the bookcase in the bedroom.” That one held nothing but erotica, and if Jerrett was going to read to Sasha, he might as well make it fun.
Sasha chewed on his bottom lip while he tried to choose. So many delicious looking stories stared at him, most of them with inviting covers. He considered one with a buff fireman with a naked man kneeling at his feet and one with two young men in the act of tearing each other’s clothes off, one of them blindfolded, but then a title caught his eye.
The Knight’s Tale – oh, that sounded like just the thing. The cover had a sword and armor carefully stacked at the foot of a huge canopied bed with a tangle of nakedness tantalizingly almost-visible through the gauzy bed curtains. Close examination showed three bodies, all male…very nice. He practically skipped back to Jerrett with his find.
Jerrett couldn’t help grinning at his enthusiasm and pulled Sasha into his lap. He opened the book and started to read to him, but he didn’t just read. He murmured the words into Sasha ear in a husky timbre, his hand gliding here and there, stroking down his arm, up his thigh, sliding along the skin under his shirt while he read some hot scenes to him.
Little squirms were unavoidable and since Jerrett liked him squirming in his lap, Sasha didn’t try too hard to hold still. He already had a raging hard-on. Jerrett’s deep voice was perfect for reading erotic scenes, the constant vibration against his back only adding to his excitement.
They had just reached the part where the hero had caught his squire in the stable with his friend. He took them both to his bedroom to ‘punish’ them, first with a leather strop and then by taking them one after the other. He thrust hard into his squire’s lean, hard body, demanding with every stroke that he tell him to whom he belonged…
Jerrett’s thumb brushed over Sasha’s nipple and his head fell back on a hard groan.
Jerrett smiled and continued to read, his lips occasionally brushing over the curves of Sasha’s ear. His hand drifted down from playing with his nipples to the swell of his crotch, the palm of his hand rubbing firmly over his erection and sliding between his thighs to cup his balls and back up again to rub along the length of his shaft and press against the head of his cock.
Concentrating on the story became ridiculously difficult. Sasha’s hips lifted into Jerrett’s touch as a little whimper escaped. The eager young squire in the story had his knight in his mouth now, fellating like his life depended on it, and Sasha’s mouth watered, wanting the same.
“Sir…oh…” he gasped out as Jerrett caressed his shaft through his jeans. “Could I… undress…please?”
Jerrett paused his narrative just long enough to say, “No…Although, you may come anytime you’re ready.” And continued both the story, and his teasing.
In an absolute heaven of erotic frustration, Sasha writhed in Jerrett’s lap, grinding his butt back against his crotch in an obvious effort to get Jerrett more involved. But Jerrett remained in complete control, the steady rise and fall of his voice never faltering as he read.
They went from heated scenes to tender and back to scorching, Sasha feeling as if he were some sort of exotic dish being prepared over a slow fire. He reached his arms back to wrap around Jerrett’s neck, planted his feet on the floor and lifted in a graceful arch to press harder against Jerrett’s hand.
Jerrett was finding it harder and harder to concentrate on the book, but he was not one to give up easily. He’d got it in his head that he wanted to make Sasha come in his pants and he wasn’t going to let up until he got what he wanted. Judging by the little sounds coming from his love, he wouldn’t have to wait too much longer. He curved his fingers lightly over the bulge pressed so urgently into his hand and stroked a little faster.
“Ohgod…love…that’s so…” Sasha got out on tortured breaths. He arched a little higher, his hips thrusting into Jerrett’s touch. The little whimpers escalated to full-throated cries and his body tightened, his muscles hardened to steel bands. The first jolt of his orgasm came on a cry that echoed through the house, so keyed up, so deliciously caught between elation and embarrassment.
Jerrett waited until the last shuddering thrust coursed through his lovely partner and tossed the book down on the couch so he could turn him in his arms and hold him close. The wet spot on the front of his jeans sent a hot jolt to his own cock that he hadn’t quite expected but couldn’t deny. His lips closed over Sasha’s in a heated hungry kiss.
Sasha returned the kiss with unexpected fire. He was always a participant but never the aggressor, nor was he now, but there was a definite touch of starved ferocity. “Sir,” he whispered against Jerrett’s jaw. “Let me suck you.”
With nothing more than a smile as permission, Jerrett let Sasha slide off his lap to his knees and hastily unzipped.
The scent of Jerrett’s arousal hit Sasha in a dizzy wave. He eased the denim down Jerrett’s hips and slid his briefs along with them. So beautiful, that thick, columnar shaft, all hard and ready just for him.
He moaned as he licked up the underside, his mouth watering. His tongue lapped at the head, a delicious Jerrett-cone, before he wrapped his lips around, sucking gently.
Jerrett’s fingers sunk into Sasha’s hair, a soft groan on his lips as he flexed and pushed a little deeper into the warm well of his mouth. “Oh, baby…” He murmured as the pleasure hit him hard.
It should have taken longer, but Jerrett’s excitement had Sasha edging back towards full arousal. With the product of his climax still trapped in his briefs, the bit of lubrication on his hardening cock didn’t slow things down one bit.
He relaxed and plunged down Jerrett’s shaft to take the head past his throat and swallow his member whole.
Jerrett’s fingers tightened in Sasha’s hair and his head dropped back, a moan deep in his throat. His hips lifted at bit harder, one hand sliding to the back of Sasha’s head as he slid past the ring of his throat again and again. That was one thing he loved about his beautiful boy, he could take him all without a whimper.
Right now Jerrett was the one whimpering, his breath coming faster as Sasha’s sweet mouth worked on him, bringing him closer and closer. At the last moment Jerrett tugged Sasha’s head back, pulling his swollen cock from his juicy mouth. He growled through clenched teeth, the muscles of his abs standing out hard as he pumped twice on his long cock and spurted all over Sasha’s pretty face.
A little hum of pleasure rose from Sasha as he moved his head to catch the rest on his tongue. He swallowed what he had, licked off what his tongue could reach and rubbed his face cat-wise against Jerrett’s softening shaft so he could lick the remainder from Jerrett’s skin.
He hoped Jerrett wasn’t done for the night. The taste and scent, the deep panther growls, the hard hand in his hair had him achingly ready to go again.
Jerrett pulled Sasha up and back into his lap, although he did have more in mind this evening it was going to take him a moment or two to recover. Of course, caressing and kissing Sasha with his dirty face and wet jeans meant they were not going to have to wait long.
Very slowly Jerrett unbuttoned and unzipped Sasha’s pants, like he was unwrapping a present. He slid them down to the tops of Sasha’s thighs and took his time peeling down his sticky, wet underwear. “Such a mess you made, sweetheart.” He said in such a husky voice there was no doubt how hot it had gotten him.
“Yes, sir,” Sasha answered in a breathy murmur. “So bad…” He squirmed as the cooler air hit his wet erection, keyed up enough again to gasp when Jerrett stroked a finger over the tip.
A dark fire once more leapt up into Jerrett’s eyes and he picked Sasha up and carried him to the bedroom. He tossed Sasha on the bed, and with his pants still around his knees, he flipped him over onto his hands and knees. Jerrett slid his own pants off and kicked them aside, squirted a good dollop of lube between Sasha’s cheeks and over his rapidly expanding erection. A few quick strokes of his finger was all the prep Sasha got before Jerrett knelt behind him, impatiently slid the slippery head of his cock over his exposed little hole and pushed into him.
Sasha tensed and cried out, delight and pain mixed in equal measure for one exquisite moment. Then he relaxed and pushed back with a soft moan. He lowered his head and shoulders to the bed, inviting Jerrett to drive in as hard as he pleased.
Jerrett was more than happy to accept that invitation, taking Sasha by the hips and plunging into his depths again and again. He curled over his back, running his hands over his body as his hips pumped and bucked delightedly. “My sweet, sweet Sasha…” He murmured in his ear. “I love you, love the way you feel under me,” he breathed.
“Jerrett…oh…” Sasha moaned and moved under his weight, undulating and pushing back hard against his lovely, thick cock. “I love you so…the way you fill me…ohgod…you‘re so wonderful…”
He gasped and panted when Jerrett’s hand closed over his shaft, his hips bucking of their own accord. “Sir…I’m…I won’t hold out like this.”
“Ready again already?” Jerrett purred, nipping at the back of his neck. “Tonight I won’t make you wait, love. Come for me when you wish.”
“You make me so hot…god, those hands,” Sasha whispered and writhed as Jerrett’s fist pumped harder. Although Jerrett loved teasing him, torturing him and making him wait, he knew it was one of Jerrett’s greatest pleasures to make him come.
Jerrett spread his knees farther and drove in, the force of his thrusts scooting Sasha farther up on the bed. He spread his arms out over his head, pushed his butt up higher and gave himself completely to the incredible waves of pleasure washing over him. Small moans grew to louder ones, his climax slamming into him on a sudden, sharp cry.
The feel of Sasha clenching around him, the way he surrendered so completely, sent a hot bolt straight through Jerrett and his cry of pleasure echoed Sasha’s as he was dragged over the edge with him. He pushed Sasha flat down to the mattress as his weight settled on top of him and he nuzzled into the side of his throat.
“Mmm, thank you, sir,” Sasha murmured with a soft smile. “It was a wonderful story.”
“Had I know how much you would enjoy it, I would have read to you sooner,” Jerrett said. He was in no hurry to get up, and he knew Sasha liked to have his weight on him for a while.
Sasha lifted his head to nuzzle at Jerrett with a happy chuckle. “If I’d known how much I’d like it, I would’ve asked for it sooner.” He kissed Jerrett’s jaw. “Though I hope we didn’t wake Anthony.”
Eventually Anthony became more mobile, the heavy restrictive wrappings around his ribs replaced by lighter elastic. He could lever himself in and out of his wheelchair unassisted and spent a good deal of time rolling from room to room upstairs to ease his restlessness. He liked the room at the end of the hall especially well, with its big bow window and its view of the street.
This was where he took to reading the mail his landlady forwarded and this was where Jerrett found him staring morosely out the window one day at lunchtime, a thick sheaf of papers in his lap.
He handed them over with a little sigh when Jerrett frowned at him. “Why do people have to be like this?” he asked in a small, weary voice.
Legal jargon filled the pages but Jerrett was well-versed in the convoluted dialect of lawyers. The papers described a lawsuit, to be brought against the company that ran the Faire by the parents of the little girl. It went on to inquire whether Mr. Dupree, whose injuries were serious and could have been life threatening, would like to be named as a claimant as well or, if not, he would be called to testify at least.
“Because, my dear, most people only appear human on the surface. Given the opportunity, they show what greedy, vapid whores they truly are,” Jerrett said dryly, with his typical cynicism as he flipped back and forth through the papers once more. “I’m actually surprised they’re not trying to sue you for the emotional damage caused by flipping the horse over instead of letting it stomp on her little head.” With a glance at the top of the page for the name of the attorney, he tossed the sheaf of papers aside.
“Hillman and Rogers. Class C ambulance chasers. They must be getting desperate to take on this one. They have no case against the Faire itself, they might be able to squeeze a few bucks out of their insurance, but even that’s doubtful, especially since the girl wasn‘t actually injured.” Jerrett mused. He stopped, noting how dejected Anthony looked. “They can’t come after you personally, Anthony, you know that? Even if they tried it would still revert to the insurance company.”
“I know, I mean, I was pretty sure…” Anthony’s normal verbal barrage ground to a halt. “It’s not like I expected a thank you. But it’s…wrong. And…and…” He gave a vague wave, at a loss to explain how ill the whole thing made him.
Jerrett leaned against the wall, arms crossed comfortably, his fingers drumming on his arm and his expression thoughtful. “Well… if you’re really that upset about it, I could probably get them to drop the case entirely.”
A little smile curled Jerrett’s lips. “I’d represent you as your attorney, pro bono of course. It would probably only take a phone call or two, possibly a letter if they get stubborn, and they’ll drop it.”
“Jerrett, isn’t that… you can’t practice law without a license.” Anthony blinked.
The little smile on Jerrett’s lips turned into a flash of a grin that was both handsome and arrogant. “Well, then, it’s a good thing I have one, isn’t it? Now, sometimes it takes a little nastiness to fight nastiness. I’ll call their attorney first, and let them know you’ve retained your own attorney, and also let slip that our intention is to file suit against the girl’s parents. Since the child is under eighteen, they are responsible for her actions to the extent the law allows. If they’d brought a dog and the dog ran out and spooked the horse causing your accident, they would be completely responsible. In the eyes of the law, a kid isn’t all that different from a dog.
“It’s a sound case, and if we were actually going to do it, you’d win. Their attorneys have to know that, which is why they’re trying to butter you up and get you on their side, hoping this hasn’t already occurred to you. I’ll offer to drop the case if they drop theirs. I’ve no doubt they’ll agree. If they don’t, I’ll tell them we’re also suing for negligence, which will get the state involved. Social workers will have to investigate the parents… basically I’ll threaten to tear their life apart if they don’t back down, but I’m pretty sure it won’t come to that.”
Huge, gray eyes stared up at him as if he had sprouted purple polka-dot ram’s horns. Anthony swallowed hard and choked out, “Hawthorn, you’re an evil, arrogant bastard. And I think I love you.”
Jerrett blinked once, his expression unchanged, although perhaps just a tad frozen. He answered smoothly though. “Of course you do. Hard to resist evil genius.”
“Especially when they’re easy on the eyes.” Anthony gave him a crooked grin. Oh, he was a colossal idiot for letting that slip out. Good thing Jerrett hadn’t taken him seriously. “Like, say, Magneto and stuff, rather than Dr. Octopus.”
Jerrett smiled now that Anthony sounded more like himself. Without giving it much thought he reached to take Anthony’s chin and tipped his head back to kiss him.
A little sound caught in Anthony’s chest as heat pooled in his groin. He had meant to simply caress Jerrett’s lips with his own in answer but his mouth, as usual, got away from him, hunger and too-long thwarted desire leaping up.
He pulled back, breathing hard. “Now, see, that’s not fair at all. Taking advantage of a captive audience like that. And one who’s been mortally injured, at that. Near death’s door. And completely celibate for, oh, weeks, now.”
“I don’t have to be fair. It’s in the Evil Genius Handbook,” Jerrett said, and kissed him again just to draw another little moan from him. He hadn’t meant to get carried away either, but Anthony’s lips were so soft and hungry against his own, he could feel his need spiraling upward. One hand cupping the back of Anthony’s neck, he slid the other down his chest and over the growing bulge between his legs where he massaged gently. “I thought Sasha was helping you with your baths? You mean you haven’t even tried taking advantage of your nurse?”
“I…ohdeargod…” Anthony whispered, his hands gripped white-knuckled on the arms of his wheelchair. “I’ve been a good boy…I know I’m not supposed to have Sasha without you there…it’s been…hard…” He nearly choked on a laugh at the unintended double entendre. “But I’ve behaved…”
“Ah…you’ve been a good boy, have you? And I suppose that deserves a reward?” He chuckled. “Would you like a reward for good behavior, Ant?” he murmured as he nibbled along his ear and squeezed the erection under the thin cloth of his pants.
Anthony’s initial response was an incoherent, breathless moan. He managed to pull himself together enough to answer, “Yessir…oh, yes…I’d like that very much.”
To Anthony’s consternation, Jerrett straightened and stopped touching him, but it was only so he could step behind and take the handles of the wheelchair. The wheels rolled silently across the rug and down the hall to his bedroom where Jerrett lifted him and placed him on the center of the bed.
Stretching out beside him, Jerrett got comfortable and took up where he left off, his hand slipping behind his neck and his lips claiming Anthony’s in a searing kiss. This time his other hand pulled Anthony’s pajama bottoms down with a few economical tugs. His long fingers teased over his straining erection, but did not grip or stroke him, just glided over sensitive nerve bundles in feather light touches.
“That feels so good,” Anthony whispered against his lips. He tried to roll his hips into the touch, realized it was a bad idea when pain shot up his leg, and lay still, panting. His hand slid into Jerrett’s hair, caressing, stroking, the simple contact making his cock jump in desire.
It felt wonderful, the kisses, the caresses, but it was excruciatingly frustrating as well. He wanted to run his hands all over Jerrett’s gorgeous body; he wanted to move, to roll, to drape his leg over, to please him. Jerrett could have hogtied him and he would have felt less helpless.
“Now, now, you just lie still.” Jerrett breathed over his ear. “I know it’s hard…” He snickered. “But if you try to move too much I’ll leave you like this, and you wouldn’t want that, now would you?” A quick shake of Anthony’s head and a dismayed sound made Jerrett chuckle.
He pulled Anthony’s shirt up so he could lick and nibble on his nipples. “Did you know that this…” He held up his index finger, “…is a magic finger? Yep. Part of my superpower arsenal.” He grinned. “I’m gonna make you come with just this.” He ran the tip of his finger from the base of Anthony’s cock up to the tip where he rubbed over the little drop of liquid forming at his slit and back down to just under the flare of his head. His touch was not as light now, but still maddeningly concentrated on the most sensitive bundles of nerves and his lips mercilessly attacked the buds of his nipples.
“Mmm, oh hell yes…magic…” Anthony panted out. He contented himself with tangling his fingers in the thick mass of Jerrett’s hair, concentrating on not tightening his grip, letting that single, skilled finger take him higher, much faster than he had thought possible.
He whimpered as the finger toyed with his slit and then slid down the center of his shaft to that ultra-sensitive spot behind his balls. “Jerrett…you’re so wonderful…” And I love you and I can’t tell you because I’m such a coward…
Jerrett pressed rhythmically into that spot he knew would bring so much pleasure. He had intended to edge Anthony up slowly, play with him for good while, but he looked so delicious lying there, trying to be as still as he could, in an agony of rising pleasure and frustration. The tip of his tongue trailed down Anthony’s sternum, dipped into his navel, and then his warm breath blew over the leaking head of his cock. Lips that could look so hard and cruel were actually super soft as they caressed the silken head of Anthony’s cock. He took him into the heated interior of his mouth as he pressed up into that smooth stretch of skin behind his balls.
So much for the single finger… Anthony’s brain skittered from that half-amused thought to a sudden white-hot rush of pleasure as Jerrett’s lips closed harder around him. The sheer surprise of it was nearly enough to send him over. Jerrett loved oral pleasures but he was usually the one on the receiving end. He was, of course, exceptionally skilled, as he was with everything he did.
A sharp gasp leaped from Anthony as Jerrett plunged down in a hard suctioned bid to take all of him in. “That’s it…I surrender…” he whispered. “Completely helpless…to resist…overwhelmed…completely in your power…”
The sudden, sharp tightening in his groin warned him, the pressure reaching the boiling point. “Jerrett…ohgod…I’m coming…”
Jerrett let the first salty jet burst across his tongue and then lifted his head so he could watch as his hand seamlessly replaced the tight ring of his lips to slide up and down and milk the next few powerful jets as they released in spurts across Anthony’s tummy. With a pleased rumble in his chest, he bent his head once more so he could lick a creamy line off Anthony’s soft skin. He came up to kiss Anthony, letting him taste himself off his lips and tongue.
The world spun and the bed pitched. Anthony moaned and twitched as the aftershocks accompanied Jerrett’s gentle kisses. Dizzy and dazed by the exertion and the slight difficulty he still had breathing, Anthony gazed up at the handsome face above him and, to his utter horror, found himself blurting out, “Thank you…Jerrett…I love you so…”
If that had been the first time Anthony had said it, Jerrett would have chalked it up to letting something slip out he didn’t mean, just as he had in the study. He was leaning on his elbow and had gone very still to look at Anthony and Anthony in turn had nearly frozen with panic, his gray eyes wide.
“Anthony…” Jerrett said cautiously. “Do you mean that?”
Jerrett kissed his lips softly. “Get some rest, Ant,” he said, and got up, quietly leaving the room.
Well, at least he didn’t laugh in your face. Anthony let the silent tears fall as he stared at the closed door. He was so stupid, so utterly, hopelessly idiotic. There was a good chance he had just ruined everything and an even better chance that Jerrett would be back in a bit to tell him it was time someone else took care of him.
Here he’d had the perfect balance of everything, Sasha, tender and gentle, and Jerrett, commanding and passionate, and he loved them both, and he had to screw it all up. If he could have curled into a ball, he would have done so to sob miserably. As it was, he could only lie there with the tears falling and try to keep breathing.
Jerrett paced restlessly back and forth across the floor. He knew he’d hurt Anthony, and this time he hadn’t meant to, but what was he supposed to have done? To fall in love with Anthony felt like he was betraying Sasha. That Sasha loved Anthony was different. He had loved Anthony before he’d even known Jerrett.
Yes, Jerrett had already suspected that his feelings for Anthony were starting to run deeper, but he wouldn’t have acknowledged those feelings. And now here he was pacing and he didn’t know what to do, a fairly rare occurrence. He wanted to talk to Sasha, but he didn’t know if he should ask him to come home early, he would worry himself into a tizzy on the way. But, if he waited until he got home… that was hours away yet and he’d left Anthony all by himself. How would he have felt if when he’d told Sasha he loved him, Sasha had gotten up and walked out on him?
Jerrett picked up the phone and called Sasha.
“Can you ask Keit to take over for you today, love? I need you to come home…No, nothing overly serious… I mean, yes it is serious, but not in an emergency bad kind of way. I just need you. I need to talk to you. Now.”
Sasha hesitated for half a breath, caught off guard. “All right, love, I’m on my way.”
The uncertainty, the hint of confusion in Jerrett’s voice had said it all. Sasha let Keit know something had come up at home and hurried out. Worried, yes, he was worried, but not for himself.
At the house, he drew in a slow breath to steady himself. Here it was, then. Jerrett only became uncertain like this in matters of the heart and now…well, he would have to see where things stood and how far Jerrett had come in his conclusions first.
Sasha rushed inside and flung himself into Jerrett’s arms. “I’m here,” he murmured.
Jerrett did nothing but wrap his arms tightly around Sasha and bury his nose into the fragrant softness of his hair and the side of his throat for a few long moments. When he finally let him go, he took him by the hand and led him to their bedroom, sat down and pulled him into his lap. He took a deep breath and sighed. “Anthony says he loves me.”
Sasha’s forehead creased as he searched Jerrett’s face. Could it truly have been a surprise? Hadn’t Jerrett seen the adoration in those big gray eyes? Maybe not…
He stroked a hand softly through Jerrett’s hair. “And what did you say to him when he told you?”
“I’m not sure. I think I asked him if he meant it and then ran out of the room.” He flopped back on the bed with a huge sigh of regret and covered his face with his hands.
Sasha lay down beside him, one hand stroking his chest. He had never scolded Jerrett. Chided him gently, perhaps, if he didn’t get enough sleep or didn’t eat right, but the temptation to lay into him at that moment was enormous.
“Jerrett…love…” Sasha chewed on his bottom lip and then went on, “I knew things had changed between you since…the accident. I just couldn’t figure out how much.” He leaned in to kiss Jerrett’s forehead. “Do you love him?”
For the first time in a very, very long time Jerrett felt he was on a slippery slope. He knew the answer to that, or thought he did, but he wouldn’t…couldn’t admit to that if it was going to change things between him and Sasha. The fact that Sasha was keeping his tone of voice so well under control wasn’t fooling Jerrett either. He was at the very least annoyed with him. He turned to his side and propped his head on his hand, looking at Sasha, and for once not hiding any of the worry he felt. “Does it matter to you, Sasha?”
Sasha shook his head in disbelief. “Jerrett Hawthorn, you’re one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met but that has to be the dumbest question anyone’s ever asked me.”
He sat up cross-legged, scrubbing his hands over his face when Jerrett simply stared at him in shock. “Of course it matters to me. I love you both. I want you to be happy.”
Jerrett sat up so quickly he almost mirrored Sasha’s movement. He took Sasha’s chin and made him look at him again. “It didn’t matter to you that we didn’t love each other. You were happy with our arrangement. If that arrangement changes, I want to know how you would feel about it. Not how you think I would feel, or how you think Anthony would feel, I want to know how you feel. I don’t want hurt feelings and jealousy to creep into things.”
For a moment, Sasha closed his eyes to escape the intensity of that dark gaze. His feelings were always difficult to talk about, often difficult to put into words. But this…this he had thought about for a long time.
“It did matter to me,” he finally said softly. “That you didn’t love each other. But you’d let him into our life and you could stand the sight of him. It was better than him trying to slice your head off and you wanting him locked up.” He wrapped both hands around Jerrett’s to lower the fingers gripping his chin. “I hoped…I prayed…that someday you might see him differently. That you might feel something for him. And you still haven’t answered the question.”
Instead of answering, he leaned in and kissed Sasha lightly, then got up, not looking behind to see if Sasha followed. He went straight to Anthony’s room, where he was still lying on the bed. Where else would he be?
Despite a hastily raised arm and swipe over his face, Jerrett didn’t miss the tear tracks on his cheeks, nor the hollow look in his eyes. His own eyes softened, and he wished he could have done things differently, talked to Sasha first. His own fault. “Ant…I’m sorry.” There were those words again, so rare from his lips, but he meant them. “I didn’t want to hurt you like that, but I had to talk to Sasha first.” He sat down on the edge of the bed and cupped Anthony’s face in his palm. “I love you, too.”
Anthony stared, his mouth working without any sound. The apology had been shocking enough and now he was certain he was having some bizarre hallucination. Or maybe it was a joke. Yes, that was it.
But Jerrett’s hand remained on his face, gentle…tender. His gaze stayed fixed and determined and…hells…was it possible? With a strangled cry, he flung his arms around Jerrett’s neck, not giving a damn how much the sudden movement hurt, and there he clung, speechless and trembling.
Jerrett slid his arms around Anthony, supporting him as much as holding him. He eased him back down and kissed the tip of his nose.
“Sorry, sorry…” Anthony murmured as he tried to stroke Jerrett’s face and couldn’t stop his shaking. “I thought…” Thought you were coming to kick me out “…never mind.”
Sasha padded in with water and aspirin to scold him gently. “Sh, easy, we don’t want you to hurt yourself now. Not with your cast coming off on Friday and all.” He eased down on Anthony’s other side to stroke his stomach, trying to calm him. “How long have you known, hon?”
“I’m not sure. Well, maybe I am. I mean when it stopped being just a crush, anyway,” Anthony said with a half-smile. “When Thunder fell on me and there his lordship was, hovering over me and telling me in that voice you can’t help but believe that everything would be all right.”
Jerrett snorted. “He has to fall off a horse to get sense knocked into him.”
“Mama always did say I was hard-headed,” Anthony answered. “Though, I’d like to point out that I did not fall off a horse, I fell with one. By all accounts, I was still smack in the saddle when we hit the ground.”
A man could involve himself with someone more dominant, but that didn’t mean he lost all his pride.
January 27, 2015