The Other Team, Book 5
Published 2016 by Book Boutiques.
Copyright © 2016, G.R. George.
All rights reserved.
2 Cubes of Raw Sugar
1 ½ ounce of Whiskey or Rye
1 tsp of water
Two ice cubes
1 strip of lemon peel
Place the sugar cubes into an Old Fashioned glass. Shake three drops of bitters onto the cubes. Next, add the water over sugar cubes and break them up. Add the two ice cubes. Pour preferred liquor over top. Fill glass two-thirds with Club Soda. Give the lemon peel a twist and garnish.
There is nothing better than a sweet Old Fashioned to warm your body.
Jay Lincoln brushed his teeth. The bathroom was large enough to have a corner tub with plenty of room for two people and a five-foot shower with a dozen jets and showerheads to hose off a small group. Two large, oblong crystal bowls with Roman faucets, the necks curved with high arches, sat on a green and black marble counter that stretched another five feet. The cabinets, including the mirrored one over the vanity, were a rich, warm mahogany. Actual mahogany.
He rinsed his mouth, rinsed his toothbrush, and then carefully rinsed his spit from the sink. He placed his toothbrush in the holder behind the bowl and stared at his smiling reflection in the mirror.
It was nearing the end of June, and he and Harvey Grace had been dating nearly three months. When Jay first began staying the occasional night at Harvey’s house, he’d pack a toothbrush. Last week, Harvey had put the extra holder, one that matched his own, behind the second sink. It had been an unexpectedly romantic gesture for which Jay rewarded him well.
Jay’s cock hardened at the memory. Harvey might be forty-five years old, but there was nothing old about the way he made Jay’s heart race. The way Harvey made him feel scared the shit out of him. Things were going really well, but what if Harvey realized they had nothing in common?
Harvey was a professional, a doctor, and not just a doctor—a surgeon. Highly educated, cultured, and if his home was any indication, rich. Even though Jay owned his own business, he’d only attended college for one year. He’d spent so much time between working as a bartender and partying, he’d flunked out of both semesters.
He didn’t regret dropping out. Bartending had showed him another way to make a living doing something he loved. After almost a decade of working behind the bar, he’d finally gained enough knowledge and experience to open his own place. He took a lot of pride in The Other Team. He made enough profit to pay his employees a livable wage, pay his own bills, and have a little extra. Even so, he worried Harvey would realize that he could do better. Jay didn’t want to be Harvey’s mid-life crisis—an itch to scratch.
In the large kitchen, all dark woods, stainless steel appliances, Harvey sat at the center island in one of the four pub-height chairs. He wore black sweat pants and a dark blue T-shirt that clung to his wide chest and shoulders instead of slacks and a button-down shirt—his normal work attire. Jay bit his lower lip as he thought about the treasure of silvery-peppered dark hair just beneath the cotton fabric
Harvey read a newspaper while he sipped a cup of tea. His preferred morning beverage. He ruffled the noisy print as he turned a page. He looked up at Jay, his bright blue eyes crinkling at the corners, and smiled. Jay’s heart skipped a beat. God, he was so fucking sexy.
“Good morning.” Harvey’s low voice, even when he wasn’t trying, was like a seductive caress. “I’ve made you a pot of coffee.”
Heat rushed through Jay, but he didn’t try to hide his reaction. He walked to the counter, watching as Harvey’s gaze tracked him. There was a reason Jay hadn’t put on anything but his boxer-briefs. He loved the way Harvey looked at him.
When Jay stayed the night, Harvey always made him coffee, even though Harvey didn’t drink it himself. Just like Jay always made certain he had Harvey’s favorite tea brand at his apartment.
Harvey had put the cream and sugar next to an empty mug and a spoon beside it on a napkin. Jay grinned as he poured his cup, adding two sugars and a big dose of cream. He stirred the mixture until his coffee was the perfect shade of tan and took a sip. Full-bodied with no acid bite. Yum. “Really good coffee, Harv.”
Harvey rewarded him with an even bigger smile. “It’s a Sumatran blend that a friend at work said was really good. I’m glad he was right.”
Jay’s gut tightened. He forced the mild jealousy away. First, he had no idea who Harvey was talking about, so it probably wasn’t his ex-boyfriend Mark, another doctor and a total jerk. Second, Harvey had bought the coffee because he thought it would make Jay happy. He wasn’t going to spoil the gift by acting like an ass. Besides, they hadn’t put any labels on their relationship. They were frequent lovers, and Jay kept a toothbrush at Harvey’s house. Those were his only claims on the man.
When Harvey’s brow narrowed with confusion, Jay forced a smile to his lips. He set his cup on the counter, crossed the smooth-tiled floor to Harvey and sidled between his thighs. He plucked the newspaper from Harvey’s hand and placed it on the center island.
“Your friend has good taste.” Jay cradled Harvey’s face between his palms as he drank in his gorgeous, light blue eyes—the color of ice, but so much warmer. He dipped his head—enjoying the way Harvey’s strong hands slid up his waist—before he slanted his mouth over Harvey’s.
Harvey opened for Jay, his tongue tasting of honeyed tea. Harvey’s growing erection butted up against his groin. He smoothed his fingers through Harvey’s thick graying hair. “You know nobody reads newspapers anymore.”
Harvey’s palms splayed across Jay’s chest, his fingertips dancing over Jay’s nipples. “How am I supposed to get the news then?”
“The Internet, like the rest of the world.”
Harvey shook his head then leaned forward and nibbled along Jay’s collarbone. “I guess I’m old-fashioned.”
Jay burned with longing and need. He rocked his hips forward, rubbing himself against Harvey’s hard bulge. “I really like that about you.”
Harvey wrapped one arm around Jay’s waist and drew him even closer, with his other hand he reached up and pulled Jay down to his mouth again. “I love the way you feel in my arms,” he murmured against Jay’s lips.
“And I love…the way I feel when I’m in your arms.” It wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t the whole truth either. “Do you work this afternoon?”
“No,” Harvey said. He kissed the dip between Jay’s neck and jaw. “You smell good.”
Jay smiled. Coconut, lime, and basil. He’d used Harvey’s designer body wash. The first time Jay had slept over, he’d used the soap. The scent made him feel like Harvey was next to him all day. Now, he used the wash whenever he got the chance. “You have good taste in soap.”
“I have good taste period,” Harvey said, giving Jay a pointed look. He pushed the waistband of Jay’s shorts down. Jay’s cock pulsed as Harvey rubbed his thumb over the glistening tip, and then brought the pearl of pre-come to his lips. “And you taste good.”
“What time do you go in today?”
“Chris is covering for me this afternoon, but I should go into tonight and check on the deposit.” Jay kissed Harvey again, running his hands down the muscled warmth of Harvey’s chest. “But…since we both are free right now…” He smoothed his palms over Harvey’s large arms. At forty-five, Harvey was in great shape. He worked out almost every day at the hospital gym, and his body was built for bulk. He had a wide expanse of chest, and his arms were nearly as big as Jay’s thighs. “I always want to touch you.”
“We have so much in common.” The corners of Harvey’s eyes crinkled when he smiled. Jay loved each fine line. He leaned forward and kissed the corner of Harvey’s eye.
Harvey’s body was a playground from the hard planes across his broad chest, and the thick muscle of his arms and thighs—not to mention his banging, almost perfectly rounded ass. And while his looks had initially attracted Jay, it was Harvey’s sense of humor, his intelligence, and his kindness that kept Jay wanting more and more. That Harvey seemed to want him just as much shocked Jay. Harvey’s ex, Mark, was an Adonis, and while Jay ran three times a week, he definitely couldn’t compete with Mark’s physique.
Jay’s chest tightened the way it always did when he thought of Mark. On Jay and Harvey’s first date, Mark had almost ruined the entire night with his drunken ass-hattery. It had to be Mark’s body that kept Harvey around, because the guy was a jerk. Jay’s expression must have changed, because Harvey asked, “What’s wrong?”
Jay cupped Harvey’s face and kissed him again. “Not a thing.” He stroked his fingers down Harvey’s arms as he captured Harvey’s mouth and slipped his tongue between his lover’s parted lips.
Harvey slid his hands down the back of Jay’s underwear making his balls draw tight. Jay arched his back and moaned softly when Harvey trailed kisses down his neck. His hot mouth latched over his nipple and he tugged the tightening bud with his teeth.
Jay ran his fingers through Harvey’s thick hair as Harvey licked, and nipped, sucked. “I’m so fucking hard for you,” he groaned.
Jay could feel Harvey smile against his skin. Harvey murmured between kisses and nips, “Then my plan to seduce you is working.”
“Too fucking right,” Jay whispered, his voice going ragged with the need building in his body. God. His dick was like a shaken bottle of beer. Full of pressure and it wouldn’t take much to explode.
Harvey Grace pushed Jay back against the center island and shoved his blue boxer briefs down his narrow hips to his lean thighs. Jay’s cock sprang free—thick and hard—the swollen crown glistening with more delicious pre-come. He cupped Jay’s balls with one hand and wrapped his length with the other, relishing the heavy desire in Jay’s dark amber eyes.
Harvey smiled. He loved how responsive the younger man was to his touch. So hard, so quick. Perfect. “You’re amazing,” he said.
Jay wasn’t bulky with muscle, not like Harvey’s ex had been, but in Harvey’s eyes, Jay was the sexiest man he’d ever been with. The younger man’s body was lean and sinewy, and his sensual mouth begged to be kissed. Harvey still couldn’t believe his luck. Jay was in the prime of his life—old enough to have maturity and stability, but young enough that every twenty-something wanted to crawl into his pants.
Harvey felt a twinge of jealousy. He’d seen the way men watched Jay—especially at the bar. He didn’t lack for admirers. More often than he liked, Harvey felt every single day of his forty-five years. He worked out nearly every day to fight aging, and while he was winning the battle, he knew it was only a matter of time before he lost the war. Time could not be defeated.
He reminded himself that he had to stay in the present. The only thing he knew for certain was how great Jay made him feel at moments like these, and he wasn’t going to ruin it by dwelling on things he couldn’t change. Instead, he stood, pulling Jay into another kiss. He loved the way Jay fit against his body as if the man had been made for his pleasure.
When Jay wrapped his arms around him, the heat from his skin soaked into Harvey’s chest and warmed him. Jay thrust his tongue into Harvey’s mouth, deepening their kiss. What had started as a lazy morning spark was quickly turning into a bonfire of lust. He roamed down Jay’s back until his fingers found purchase on his deliciously smooth ass.
His balls ached with need when Jay moaned into his mouth. Harvey felt Jay’s hands shoving at the waist of his sweats, and hurriedly, helped by pushing them down, along with his underwear, and stepped out of the loose pants. Next, he yanked off his T-shirt while Jay quickly removed his boxer briefs. Then they were back in each other’s arms, their hands exploring and their bodies pressed close and tight while the heat of Jay’s mouth welcomed Harvey. Their kiss became the only source of air, of life, for two drowning men.
“Oh, Jesus,” Jay gasped when Harvey parted from his mouth and kissed down his jaw and neck. “I want…I want you so fucking bad.”
At Jay’s declaration, Harvey kicked the tall chair away from the center island. He shoved his tea mug along with the newspaper aside, not caring when the warm liquid spilled. Jay leaned back against the center island and parted his legs, making room for Harvey to nestle between his thighs. Their cocks rubbed together with sweet friction.
Harvey wanted to sink into Jay, to join with him until they both cried out with release. He licked Jay’s tightly drawn nipples with teasing swirls. In response, Jay buried his fingers in Harvey’s hair and moaned. Harvey kissed and licked and nipped his way down Jay’s chest, using light caresses of his teeth and tongue until he knelt on the floor. He took Jay’s cock into the heat of his mouth, swallowing the thick erection deep once before dragging his tongue along the underside vein to the crown.
The light salty flavor of Jay’s pre-come danced on Harvey’s taste buds. He looked up Jay’s torso and melted as those dreamy whiskey-colored eyes, filled with heated desire and longing, peered down into his own.
“You taste so good,” Harvey said again, before dipping his tongue to the tip once more.
Jay’s eyes fluttered and his hands tightened their grip on Harvey’s hair. The small pain of the hair tug made Harvey’s balls draw snug to his groin. He took the silky length into his mouth again. Enjoying not only the taste of Jay, but the scent and feel of him—masculine and ready. He gripped Jay’s ass, pulling his hips as he urged the other man’s hips to thrust forward. Harvey gulped and sucked and licked as his fingertips breached the crack of Jay’s buttocks and danced over his tight circular opening.
“Oh, fuck,” Jay groaned. His words were a stuttering invocation. “Jesus, fuck, you’re so good. Mouth so hot. Don’t stop.”
Harvey sucked Jay’s length with more veracity, swallowing when the thick head crested his throat. Carnal noises escaped from Jay when Harvey slicked his fingers with spit and pressed the tip of his index finger into Jay’s ass, easing past the first ring of muscle.
Jay’s thighs shook as he arched back with a shuddering breath. Harvey ran his finger over Jay’s prostate, the sweet spot, eliciting a sharp shout from his lover. Jay’s hips bucked and he bowed forward, his fingers pressing and digging against the back of Harvey’s head as he climaxed. Harvey swallowed, loving the way Jay’s ass clenched his finger with every pulsing shot of hot come. He drank Jay until he whimpered.
When Jay couldn’t take more, Harvey removed his finger and slid his lips off the spent length. He smiled as he stood, his own body hungry for release, and wiped his mouth. “You done-done?”
Jay grinned. “Give me a second to catch my breath.” He angled his mouth over Harvey’s and kissed the corner of his mouth. He cupped Harvey’s balls and gave them a light squeeze. “I plan to make you feel so fucking good.”
Jay’s heated promise had Harvey’s dick begging for attention. “I know you will.”
An annoying doo-eee-doo-eee-dee took them both out of the moment, and they turned their heads to the offender. Jay’s cell phone. It was plugged in to the wall next to the coffee pot.
He glanced at the screen and his brow furrowed. “Shit.”
Inwardly, Harvey groaned. “The bar?”
“Yes.” Jay sighed. “I have to get it.”
Reluctantly, Harvey let Jay go.
“It could be nothing,” Jay said, but he didn’t sound convinced.
Harvey washed his hands in the sink and grabbed a dishrag to clean up the spilled tea. He understood work and ethics. Jay’s commitment to his business was one of the many things he respected about him. He sat down without bothering to put his pants on. He still had a little hope that the late morning might fall in his favor, but by the time Jay got off the phone, Harvey knew sexy time was over.
“That was Chris.”
Chris was the assistant manager at The Other Team, Jay’s bar and grill. From all accounts, he was a hard worker, responsible and dedicated. Jay had recently promoted Chris from bartender to a supervisory role, allowing Jay a little more free time for a personal life. Also, Chris had been carrying on a long distance thing with Jay’s younger brother, which—in Harvey’s opinion—counted against Chris in Jay’s eyes, not for.
“Is there some kind of trouble?” Harvey asked.
Jay’s lips thinned. He paused a second before answering. “Jack Wells. I told you about him. He showed up at the bar a little while ago.”
Harvey recalled Jay speaking of Jack when they’d had the “ex” conversation. Jack had been Jay’s first—first crush, first love, first lover, and first heartbreak. A slice of jealousy cut Harvey to the quick. Why would this guy just show up out of the blue? People didn’t park themselves on the door of their exes without motives.
Harvey tried to clear his head of all the whys. Whatever would be would be. He took an easy breath, masking his anxiety with a relaxed façade. As a doctor he’d mastered the technique over the years to hide his own discomfort from patients when he had to give them bad news.
“Did you know he was coming?” It was a question he wasn’t sure he wanted the answer to, but he needed to know.
“No. I had no idea. I…” Jay looked lost. “I don’t want to go, but…”
“Go,” Harvey said. He leaned over and picked his pants up from the floor and slid them on. He could feel the tension tugging at his expression. He made an effort to relax his face before he met Jay’s gaze. “Of course you should go.”
Jay shook his head. “I haven’t heard from him in more than a decade. I don’t know why he’s shown up like this.”
Knowing Jay hadn’t been in contact with Jack eased some of Harvey’s tension. He plucked Jay’s briefs from the floor and held them out. “Then it will be good to catch up. If that’s what you want to do.” He implied a question with his tone and let it hang between them. He didn’t want to pressure Jay. What they had now was good, and he believed Jay felt the same way. Harvey wouldn’t screw it up with his insecurities.
Nodding, Jay pulled on his shorts. He looked at Harvey, his expression raw. “Will you come with me?”
Harvey wrapped his arms around the younger man. He wanted to comfort Jay, but also he wanted to hold Jay, to feel the length of Jay’s body pressed against him, to memorize the warmth of his breath, his skin, his scent…just in case.
Jay tilted his head until their foreheads were touching.
Harvey met Jay’s soulful, liquid gaze filled with his own worry. Jay had been like fresh air to him after years of breathing toxic fumes, but in the back of Harvey’s mind, there was a part of him waiting, wondering when the next ill wind would blow. He brushed his lips against Jay’s, sagging when the younger man clutched him even tighter.
“Is that a yes?” Jay asked.
Harvey forced a smile to his face. “Every time.”
The Other Team didn’t open until eleven-thirty for lunch, so only Chris and the day cook, Jensen, should have been there getting the bar and grill prepped. Jensen was in his late sixties, a retiree who wanted a few hours of work a day to keep from feeling useless. He was a hard worker and a real no-nonsense kind of man. He’d also been in a relationship with his partner for thirty-four years, two years longer than Jay had been alive. Jay had only ever met Gus once, but it was enough to see how much Jensen loved him.
Harvey had said very little on the way over to the bar. Jay hadn’t known what to say anyhow. He wasn’t even sure why he’d asked Harvey along. When they’d walked in, Chris stood by the bar. He raised a brow then pointed to one of the booths.
Jack Wells. Jesus. He hadn’t seen him in fourteen years. Not since the summer after high school. Jack stood up, and Jay’s stomach jittered nervously. His mouth went dry. Jack still resembled his teenage self—pitch-black hair cut short to his head, deep-set dark brown eyes, and a flawless olive complexion. But Jack was no longer gangly with youth. He’d filled out in the shoulders and his jawline was thicker. More masculine. More man.
God! A part of Jay was excited to see him, but another part, the part with common sense, was apprehensive. Nothing good could come of Jack showing up now, and Jay worried about the fall-out.
Harvey was a good man, not only sexy as hell, but also stable. Just thinking about him could bring a smile to Jay’s face. But Jack Wells…
Jay had been so blinded by Jack that summer. Jack had taken everything from Jay, but nothing Jay hadn’t willingly given. Since then, Jay always guarded his heart, determined to keep it safe. Why hadn’t he just told Chris to send Jack on his way? He didn’t have to see him.
Jay knew the answer. Because he was stupid. Just stupid. He’d seen the look on Harvey’s face when he’d said Jack’s name. Why would he risk all he’d been building with Harvey to meet with an ex?
Jack stood up and met Jay’s gaze and flashed a dazzling smile. “Julian,” he said as he reached for a hug, but Jay held out his hand for a shake. He hated how his heart squeezed when Jack said his given name. Nobody, but nobody, not even his parents called him Julian. But when Jack said, “Julian,” it was like an intimate caress across his skin. Jay allowed it when he was a teenager, because it had been as if Jack had claimed him. And at eighteen, Jay had wanted Jack to possess him. A romantic pact. A never-ending love story. Three months later, the love story ended.
Jack’s smile faltered as he took Jay’s hand. Only then did he look past Jay to see Harvey. “Oh.” He let go of Jay’s hand. “Hello, I’m Jack Wells.”
Jay heard Harvey say his name, but he couldn’t think over the rush of painful memories.
Once he’d Googled Jack’s name. The search had brought up a sports announcer, a graphics designer, politicians, a painter, and dozens of other people. The name so common, there’d been more than 100,000 search results. None of them his Jack Wells. Or at least none that he could say for certain. That had been four years ago.
“What are you doing here?” Jay asked.
Jack smiled again. “I thought you’d be glad to see me.”
Jay raised his brows. “Did you?”
Jack’s smile faltered. “No. Not really.”
Harvey broke the awkward moment. “Why don’t you guys sit down? I’ll go get us some drinks.”
Jay turned to Harvey. Jack’s presence freaked him out. He took Harvey’s hand, more to reassure himself than Harvey. Harvey patted Jay’s chest, the corner of his mouth crooking up into a charming smile. “It’s five o’clock somewhere.”
Jay covered Harvey’s hand with his own and tried to smile back. “Okay.”
Harvey peered over Jay’s shoulder, his blue eyes narrowly examining Jay’s ex. “What can I get you, Jack?”
“Coffee if they have a pot going. If not, a cola is fine.”
Jay pivoted to Jack. “Nothing stronger?”
Jack shook his head, his eyelids half-slitted over his soulful eyes. “Nah.” He pulled a coin from his pocket. “One year sober.”
“Congratulations,” Harvey muttered as he stalked off to the bar.
Jay hadn’t remembered Jack as a much of a drinker. They’d gotten drunk a few times during that summer, but it hadn’t been every day. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
Jack shrugged. “Why would you? It wasn’t a problem until it became a problem.”
“Should you be in a bar?”
Jack chuckled. “I think I can control myself for a couple of hours.”
They sat down opposite each other in a nearby booth. The quiet grew between them. Jay occasionally glanced at the bar and watched Harvey interact with Chris. If Chris hadn’t been seeing his younger brother Marty, the way they leaned toward each other might have made Jay jealous. After all, Chris was a good-looking guy, and Jay had dragged Harvey into a meeting with the only guy Jay had ever said “I love you,” to.
Jay shook his head. Harvey would never try to make Jay jealous. Not out of spite or anger. He knew enough about Harvey’s relationship with Mark to know that Harvey wasn’t impulsive with his decisions.
“So, how have you been?” Jack asked.
“Fine,” Jay said with a brief glance at Harvey. “Good, actually.”
“That’s great, man.” Jay reached across the booth and put his hand on Jay’s.
Jay pulled away and studied Jack. Those dark smoldering eyes still smoldered, and his lips hadn’t lost an ounce of full lushness. He remembered what it was like to get lost in Jack’s kisses—in Jack’s embrace. Fuck, he told himself. Stop it. “I don’t mean to be blunt, Jack. It’s good to see you and all, but how did you track me down? And why?”
Jack blushed. He shrugged. “Your parents still live at the same address. I saw them first. They look good, Julian. Happy.”
Jay winced. Julian. Again. “I prefer Jay.”
“You used to love it when I called you Julian.”
“I never loved the name.” And after Jack, he hated it even more.
“All right.” Jack bit the inside of his cheek, tugging the right side of his mouth into a pucker. “I hear your brother is in the army now. I can’t believe the little scruffer is old enough to play at being a soldier.”
Jay’s brother Marty had been to war, and two tours in the Middle East had almost killed him. “He isn’t playing at anything.”
He was proud of Marty. So proud he thought his heart would burst. Marty had always been the solid son, not a flake like Jay. He lived and almost died by his convictions. Jay wished he had an ounce of the bravery that kept his younger brother going. Two years in and out of surgeries, physical rehab, and counseling, and his brother was still one of the strongest people he knew.
Stronger than Jay.
Even though it hurt Marty to give up the military—only four more months before his discharge—Jay couldn’t help but rejoice. The injury had effectively taken his brother out of harm’s way. Although, and he wouldn’t admit this to anyone, his brother’s seemingly new found bisexuality made Jay extremely uncomfortable. He looked up at the bar again, this time scrutinizing Chris.
Chris held up a finger. “Coffee’s brewing,” he said loud enough for Jay to hear from across the room.
“Hey.” Jack put his hand over Jay’s again, drawing his attention back to the booth. “I didn’t mean anything by it.” He rubbed his free hand through his hair, pulling short curls out of their neatly tucked in positions. “I’m getting this all wrong.”
“What are you trying to get right?” Jay flinched at his own abruptness. Fourteen years and he still felt so damned angry.
“My apology.” He pulled the coin out again and twirled it between his fingers. “It’s part of my amends.”
Jay groaned. Son-of-a-bitch. He was one of the steps in Jack’s Twelve-step program. Fantastic. “Consider your apology accepted.”
“It doesn’t work like that, Jul…Jay. I have to actually apologize.”
Harvey brought over two beers, handing one to Jay. Chris brought a cup of coffee with a cream and sugar dish. “Everything okay here?”
“Yah,” Jay said, scooting in to make room for Harvey.
“This your boyfriend?” Jack asked, smiling at Harvey.
Jay felt Harvey stiffen next to him. What could he say? They’d been seeing each other for about the same length of time he’d been with Jack, but the lack of labels made a definition impossible. Fuckity-fuck-fuck. Talk about awkward. “He’s…”
“We’re good friends,” Harvey interjected.
For reason’s he couldn’t fathom, Harvey’s classification of their relationship hurt. Good friends hung out and watched games together, went to movies, out to bars to help each other find tricks…Good friends didn’t fuck. Fuck! He couldn’t stop the anger from rising. Maybe they did. He knew Harvey cared for him, but they’d avoided “the talk” for almost three months. The conversation that either moved a relationship forward or put it on ice. Maybe Harvey’s response was an answer to their relationship status, even if it hadn’t been the answer Jay had been hoping for.
“Yes,” Jay agreed bitterly. “Good friends.”
Jack seemed almost bolstered by the revelation. “It’s nice to meet any good friend of Jay’s.”
This wasn’t going well at all. “Jack, is here to make amends for the past. Part of his sobriety.”
“That’s great,” Harvey said without enthusiasm. “I had a friend who worked the program. It works.”
“Oh,” Jay said. “A good friend?”
Harvey’s lips thinned. “Just a friend.”
Stop it, Jay chided himself. He’d put Harvey in this horrible predicament and now he was being childish about it. “I’m sorry,” he muttered. He darted a quick glance at Harvey. His brow wrinkled with the deep lines of a frown.
Harvey reached under the table and squeezed Jay’s thigh. “I think I should let you catch up with your friend. Besides, I have some patients that I should round on today.”
“Okay.” Jay’s gut clamped like he’d been punched. Harvey had told Jay earlier that he had the day off. He didn’t argue, though. Things had gotten awkward between them, and Jay thought it was probably better for Harvey to leave before either one of them said something they couldn’t take back. “I’ll see you later?” He phrased the statement as a question.
“Sure,” Harvey said, scooting out and standing up. Jay tracked Harvey all the way to the front door until his good friend walked out without even a glance back.
Jensen, his hair completely white with age, poked his head out the kitchen door. “Hey, Jay. I didn’t know you were here. Want an early lunch?”
Jay looked at his ex.
Jack flashed a smile, seemingly unaware that Jay’s heart broke for the second time in his life. Instead of comforting words, something that would make Jay feel better, Jack simply said, “I could eat.”