Blog Special 3
Insecurity. It’s such an insidious bastard, sneaking in and crawling around your brain. You could have love, the greatest love that could exist, and friends who’d always be there for you. Loyal, all of them, lover and friends alike, and yet, that soul-destroying doubt would still find a way to sneak in.
Glenn looked at him. “Is everything okay?”
James kept back a growl as he shoved a chunk of hair off his forehead. “I’m just tired.” The hair fell right back down, almost covering his right eye. “That’s it. I’m getting this shit cut off today!”
His temper shot up as high as the Texas heat, and just as quick. It’d been ninety-five when he woke up, so that wasn’t an exaggeration at all.
Glenn sucked in a quiet breath along with his bottom lip. He didn’t say a word at all, though, just kept walking beside James to the car, speeding up to match him when irritation snapped at James’ heels.
Didn’t the man ever lose his shit?
James huffed and that growl he had tried to keep in almost got away after all. He stopped, just stopped there under the hot as hell sun. Sweat was already running down his back and every other part of him, but James tipped his head up and closed his eyes. He told himself to stop being such a jerk and to get his act together.
“James…” Glenn began only to go silent again. James thought Glenn must think he needed to go back into therapy. James’ moods had more swing to them lately than a Vegas hooker’s hips.
Then there were those wonderful, big hands on his shoulders, and Glenn’s warm breath ghosted over his cheek. “Come on, sweets. Whatever’s bothering you, baking out here in the heat won’t help it.”
James opened one eye, canting his head again to loo at Glenn. Dang, the man was handsome. “Maybe I’ll roast whatever brain cells are acting up. I don’t know what the problem is.”
Glenn did his sexy rumbly thing, where he didn’t actually speak. That comforting sound always chased away the bad things brewing in James’ mind.
“Come on,” Glenn said again, sliding an arm around James’ waist. “If you want to get your hair cut, maybe they can squeeze you in at Chalabar’s. Anywhere else around here will leave you looking like your barber had a sneezing fit while working on you.”
James shook his head. “No, I don’t want it all gone. I just get irritated when it’s so hot and all.” Glenn loved his hair. He obviously loved James more, not to protest over it, but James, despite his fit of temper, didn’t want a haircut. He’d miss Glenn’s fingers in his hair too much to do that, and Glenn would miss it, too.
“Swear, I feel like I’m three sometimes, stomping my feet and having a tantrum,” James muttered. He hooked a finger through one of Glenn’s belt loops. There was another reason why he was on edge today, even though he tried not to let it happen. It was, and he knew Glenn was aware of it, too, but Glenn wouldn't bring it up. Not until he was sure it wouldn't hurt James. So James ignored that whole issue, for now, just like Glenn was doing. “You think I should be in therapy still?”
Glenn didn’t answer until they were in the car a few minutes later. Hot air blew out from the air vents, but it’d cool off. Eventually.
“I’m not going to feed you some line like, do you think you need therapy, because that’s a cop-out.” Glenn put the car in reverse. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you, James. Remember, your last therapist said you’d have mood swings at times.”
Glenn finished backing out then put the car in drive. He laced the fingers of his right hand with James’ left. “Everyone has bad days, and I get cranky, God knows.”
James would have rolled his eyes had he not hated that particular gesture so much. “You? Cranky? When does that happen? You’re the most even-tempered person I’ve ever met. You’re always calm.”
Glenn gave the slightest shake of his head. “Not so, sweetheart. I’ve gotten angry before, even at you. I just don’t waste time on it. I’d rather be happy than mad, and when you do something that gets to me, I choose to let it go.”
Oh now, that was a leading bunch of info. James narrowed his eyes as he tried to figure what to ask first.
“It really bugs me when you take your pants and underwear off together and toss them in the hamper like that,” Glenn said. “It’s a pain in the ass to untangle them when I do laundry.”
James glared at Glenn. “You leave your socks inside out. Do you really think the washer gets that toe jam out of balled up socks?”
Glenn grinned. “Nope, but you look so cute when you’re scowling and unwadding them, I just can’t bring myself to stop.”
“Ass,” James said before laughing. He felt better and wondered how Glenn knew what to do to make that happen. “You’re some kind of relationship guru, aren’t you?”
Glenn snorted so loud James was surprised he didn’t lose every nose hair he had. “Not hardly. I just, I know you, James. I love you and…and that’s all.”
It was hard to keep up a foul mood around Glenn, even when he did ball his dirty socks up into stink bombs.
“I love you too, you know. I just get…” James twirled the fingers of his right hand around by his head. “I think I get paranoid about it when I’m in a bad mood. Yeah, no one’s perky all the time, and if they are, if someone like that exists, we should probably apply duct tape to all flapping and yapping parts.” Glenn chuckled and that sound warmed James to his soul. Gave him a bit of a boner, too.
“I guess I worry that it’s everything else—“ everything from his past, “coming out. But you’re right. We all have bad days, and sometimes I still get snippy about the Troy-thing, even though I wouldn’t have blamed either of you for hooking up if it had happened.” But thank fuck it hadn’t.
Glenn made a little humming sound as he turned down the main road.
“I mean, I wouldn’t be doing cartwheels, you know, but I wouldn’t hate him.” Much. Maybe. James bit his tongue to stifle his babbling. It didn’t work. His jaws seemed determined to pop open and spew out words. “Okay, I might. I’m glad as hell he didn’t get you. I’m glad I’m the first man you ever had sex with, and I’m even more glad that I’ll be the last.”
Glenn moved their hands a little higher up on his thigh. “Me too, sweetheart. I was dumb, and—“
“And hurting,” James finished for him. “Not dumb though. Well, I mean fucking someone when you’re drunk probably isn’t the best idea when you don’t really know that person and—“ And he was going to shut up. Really.
“Right, and he couldn’t have made love to me like you did.” Glenn inched their hands up a little more. “You totally ruined me for anyone else, and I thank God for that every day.”
“Me too,” James rasped, because one glance showed him just how close his fingertips were to heaven. “Uh.” He wasn’t cranky in the least now, though there was a niggle in the back of his mind, something just at the edge of consciousness that he didn’t want to acknowledge. He wasn’t going to pry. It made his belly threaten to turn inside out when he got too close to it.
Besides, he knew why it was there. Glenn knew, too. Three years ago to the day, he’d been minding his own business when he’d been abducted. He’d helped bring down a murderer, a rapist, and he’d kind of been proud of that fact. Proud, and careless, and it had landed him in a very bad situation, which was an understatement.
“It’s past,” Glenn murmured. “You’re here, with me. You’re the strongest person I know, James. The past can’t have you.”
“No, it can’t,” James whispered, then he repeated it louder. “It can’t. I don’t…I don’t want this day to be marked as the day I was taken.” He had to swallow a few times, get some spit back in his mouth. “I refuse to live the rest of my life marking those dates with when I was abducted, when I was assaulted, when I was tortured and scarred. I won’t do it. I won’t let that happen.”
“I know you won’t,” Glenn assured him, squeezing his hand. Glenn moved their joined hands up to press them over his heart. “You can’t just forget everything—dates, days, what they did to you, but you can sure take back every day you have here. We can do that.”
“I haven’t had a nightmare in months,” James pointed out, for himself as much as for Glenn. “I haven’t had a flashback in over a year. I am getting better. I might not be all the way there yet, but I’ll get there.”
“You will.” Glenn kissed his knuckles then put their joined hands back onto his thigh. “I’ve never doubted you for a second, sweetheart. So, what do you want to do today? We could go to the lake—“
“Replace the bad memories with good,” James murmured. They’d always spent those specific dates with him in therapy then them going out to dinner or James sleeping to escape the pain he’d held inside.
“Exactly. We’ll get out and—“
James raised their hands up until he could rub the side of his hand against Glenn’s balls. “And we’ll go home. You have given me the best memories. Today won’t be any different.”
Glenn’s cheeks went ruddy and his breath hitched a little. “Are…are you sure? We could go fishing, work on our tans. Well, my tan. You turn pink. It’d still be a good day.”
James thought about it, he did, but there was that buried heat in Glenn’s eyes that told him Glenn was keeping his own want hidden, or trying to. That was okay; James knew it was because Glenn wanted whatever would make James happen. No pressure, not ever, not from Glenn, and James loved the hell out of him for that patience.
“Home,” James said firmly. He pressed the back of his hand against Glenn’s balls, the part of his cock he could reach at that angle.
“Talk about heat,” James scraped out. Glenn put the Texas sun to shame.
“Home,” Glenn agreed.
James gave his best leer. “Then you are going to have your way with me. I want you to lose it, babe, and this time, I want you to put your needs first.”
Glenn was already shaking his head. “James, I can’t—“
“You can,” James argued, flipping his hand around to cup Glenn’s package. “You can, because you always put me first, and I need this. I need to know you don’t think I’m some kind of breakable thing, especially not on this date. Not on the next one in a couple of days. Not…I need you to claim those days, and give them back to me.”