A Case of You:Suncoast Society(14)

By: Tymber Dalton

“Thanks, Stu. I love you.”

“I love you, too, Sis.” He ended the call.

Great. His good mood had evaporated.

He tossed his phone onto the passenger seat and continued his drive into work. He suspected Cedro, his boss, would give him the time off to go…except Stuart really didn’t want the hassle of dealing with Jake.

Life with Brandon and Jeff had felt like living in a happy bubble after years of feeling he was under siege all the time. Jeff’s health issues aside, this was the happiest he’d ever felt in his adult life.

Hell, it was the happiest he’d ever felt in his life, period. He had a family and large group of friends who loved and supported him. His coworkers and boss respected him. He never felt like he had to explain himself. He never felt like he was looked down upon.

He felt appreciated.

Other than the initial stumble of finding out he’d been catfished by someone when he first moved to Florida, he had literally no complaints about his life, except for the obvious, that he wished he could heal Jeff. Logically, he understood that was out of his control.

Didn’t mean he was okay with it.

Did he really want to go back to Iowa, even for a visit?

On the other hand, he loved Eileen and if she wanted him there…

Plus his parents weren’t getting any younger. Could he handle the guilt if he didn’t go and something happened and he never had a chance to tell them he loved them one more time?

These were all things he knew he’d have to discuss with Brandon and Jeff, and then hand the final decision over to Brandon. He trusted him. Wouldn’t be collared to him as his slave and living with him if he didn’t trust him.

Trust both of them.

* * * *

Emma and Grace were working on homework at the dining room table when Stuart returned home from work late that afternoon.

Jeff lay asleep on the couch, the TV tuned to SpongeBob SquarePants.

After saying a quiet hello to the girls so he didn’t wake Jeff, Stuart made his way to the master bedroom, where Brandon was talking on his cell phone.

Brandon waved him in for a kiss, even as he kept talking on what was obviously a work call. Meanwhile, Stuart headed into the bathroom to grab his shower.

Hopefully the doctor had some answers for them today about Jeff’s condition. He got it. Jeff felt bad that he couldn’t do more, like he wasn’t pulling his fair share around the house.

Stuart and Brandon didn’t feel like that, though. Jeff’s health was beyond his control, and they preferred he take things easy and actually have some good days, versus doing what he thought he “should” be doing and half killing himself.

Like he’d done on Monday.

As Stuart stood under the hot water and let it sluice over him, he closed his eyes and thought about his conversation with his sister that morning.

Eileen had sent him an e-mail with the details not long after their phone call. They were holding the ceremony and reception at a hotel the next town over from where his parents and Jake lived, which would be a blessing because maybe Jake wouldn’t come. Slated for the first weekend of December. He and Brandon could stay at the hotel and hopefully not have too much contact with the rest of his family.

Or even stay at another nearby hotel and hopefully miss out on seeing anyone outside of the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception. That was his preferred option, if they could arrange it.

He heard the bathroom door open and close, then Brandon’s head popped through the front of the shower curtain. “Want company?”

“Always, Master. You never need to ask.”

His head disappeared while he got undressed, then he stepped in with Stuart, pulling him into his arms. “Hey there, stranger.”

Stuart smiled up at him. “Hey there, yourself, handsome.” He almost got swept away by the kiss Brandon laid on him, which was likely to lead to Stuart’s second shower sex episode of the day, until he thought about Jeff.

He rested his palms against Brandon’s chest to stop him before Stuart totally lost his brains. “How did Jeff’s doctor appointment go?”

“He ordered blood work, which we had done as soon as we left there. He basically chewed Jeff out for overdoing it, which we already suspected had triggered the worst of this flare. The weather change contributed, too, I’m sure. The doctor will review the results of the blood work and then call Jeff to let him know if we need to change his medicine or what.”