Authors: Jane Davitt
"Since when?" Dan said. "My dad was finished as far as I could see -- stuck in a rut, just turning over the calendar month by month, year by year, same old, same old. He's changed. Hell, he's reinvented himself, and you need to get the fuck over yourself and do the same." Dan scrambled to his feet and glared down at Tyler's bent head, the back of his neck bared. It was a place Dan loved to kiss, smooth, warm skin that felt good against his lips, but right then, he wanted to administer a slap, not a kiss. "You've had a rough deal, and things just blew up in both our faces, but it's over now. Isn't it?" Tyler didn't answer, and Dan nudged Tyler's knee with his own. "Isn't it?"
"My life carries risks that most don't. Staying away from me might be the best choice to make." "Bullshit," Dan snapped. "Your sucky, fucked-up life
, but it's over now." He wasn't entirely sure about that, but he wanted to believe it. After all, how many more psychos like Paula could there be out there, looking for Tyler? "I'd be just as much at risk of losing you if you were a fireman, or a cop, or back in the army, and last I heard, plenty of those people were married with kids. And if you mean I'm at risk personally, well, I don't suppose people like Paula come calling every day, and shit, Tyler, you know what happened right here?"
"The man on the farm next to us, Mr. Peyersen, known him all my life, nice guy, around sixty -he choked on a cherry stone and died right there in his own kitchen. Freak accident, million to one chance, whatever -- but it just proves my point."
"Oh, you think you're so fucking funny, don't you?" Dan breathed in and pushed for the finish line. "One life, one death. For all of us. Those are the numbers. I'm going to die and there's no avoiding it. I can go looking for it early by driving smashed out of my skull or swimming with sharks, sure, but staying with you isn't like that. It wouldn't be stupid and reckless and dumb, it wouldn't be me missing out on part of my life and skipping to the middle of the book. It'd just be me finding the guy I love early. It'd be me hitting the jackpot. I'm not walking away from a piece of luck like that. I'm not walking away from you."
Dan put his hand out and allowed himself to touch the thick brown hair Tyler kept so soldierman short. He needed to have his hands on Tyler, storing up each tactile memory in case Tyler, bone-stubborn, stupid Tyler, wouldn't listen to him.
"Don't push me away if you still want me close," he said, barely able to hear himself. "Don't make me pay for freaking out over what happened and not being strong enough to handle it right away."
"You were strong," Tyler said, and pulled Dan down to sit beside him, his fingers curled around Dan's wrist like a cuff before they slid inside Dan's fingers, joining them together. "When it counted, when I needed you to be, you were plenty strong."
"Didn't feel it," Dan said, and shit, he wasn't going to cry, he wasn't, and he wasn't going to crawl into Tyler's lap either. Face to face. Equals. Because they were both in the same place now, and it didn't matter how many more breaths Tyler had taken, or how much horror and death he'd seen.
"Ask me," he said, demanding it, because Tyler had to make this choice, the same way that he had.
Tyler rolled his eyes and hauled Dan in for a hard, bruising kiss that held no tenderness but plenty of love. "Come with me. Stay with me. Stop running away and making me drive halfway across the country to get you back."
There was a dangerous glint in Tyler's eyes that sent a shiver of anticipation down Dan's spine. He knew that look. He was going to get reduced to nothing but heat and hunger with Tyler over him, staring down, totally focused on making him beg, not for mercy but for more.
Dan skinned his shirt over his head, without bothering with anything as time-consuming as undoing buttons, and gave Tyler a grin. "Yeah. And then keep on reminding me if it looks like I'm about to forget."
"Tell me." Tyler pushed Dan to his back on the bed and straddled him, being careful not to knock Dan's arm, but showing no restraint when it came to the rest of him. Tyler’s hands held Dan pinned against the bed, and his breath was warm on Dan's face as he leaned down. "Right now, boy."
"I love you," Dan said, and squirmed wildly as Tyler began to tickle his ribs, robbing him of breath. "Tyler! Fuck!" He got it together enough to begin an assault of his own, targeting Tyler's vulnerable areas without mercy. "I love you, I love you, you've got to meet my dad tomorrow, still love you…"
Tyler froze, and Dan risked a glance up at him. Stone-face. Not a good sign. "We don't have to," he said, willing to compromise since he wasn't sure how the meeting would go or if it was a good idea. "We can stop long enough for me to grab my stuff and just hit the road. He can't make us eat bacon and eggs with him."