Silence descended upon them like a heavy blanket as Braylin drove across town to his apartment. Bray ran his thumb across the back of Trebor’s hand resting comfortingly in his as he drove. There were so many questions vying for attention in his mind. Not one could he ask without risk of alienating the silent man sitting beside him. Strange how Trebor had managed to worm his way into his heart without as much effort as others in the past. From the moment he’d seen Trebor across the room from him he knew he had to get to know him.
“Look familiar” he asked giving him a cheeky grin.
“You ass” Trebor snapped “you know damn well it does.”
Walking around the car Braylin lifted Trebor’s chin up “don’t be like that. That night brought us together. You did come here willingly that night.”
“I know” his eyes shifted downward before lifting to meet Bray’s “I don’t regret it either.”
“Good” he said pulling Trebor close before releasing him long enough to take his hand to walk to the entrance.
“I’m just not very good company right now” he admitted as they entered the lobby.
“Want to talk about it” he offered making sure to keep his tone neutral without pressure even though he was dying to know what was going. What had Lia been talking about? Why was Trebor so anxious for him not to know?
“Not really” came the not so surprising answer.
“Alright” Braylin nodded pressing the button for the elevator. “I promised I wouldn’t ask. Tonight is going to be a stress free night.” He put a hand out lifting Trebor’s down turned face. A small smile crossed his lips as he leaned in close covering Trebor’s mouth with his own. He deepened the kiss when Trebor leaned into him moaning into his mouth.
The elevator slowed coming to a stop. Conscious of the doors opening and an elderly couple shuffling in Trebor pushed the hockey player away from him. He tried not to look at the couple afraid they’d be upset at what they’d witnessed.
“It’s alright dear” the elderly woman said touching Trebor’s hand. “We were young once too.” She gave her husband an affection look that he returned with a touch of his hand.
Trebor felt a rush of longing and loss watching the couple. They reminded him so much of his great grandparents. Heat rose to his cheeks wishing the elevator would open again so he could get off. He could feel the walls closing in around him. His breathing was coming out in quick shallow gasps. As soon as the doors opened he bolted through them leaning against the wall panting.
“Hey where do you think you’re going” Braylin asked following him from the elevator. “My apartment is three more flights up.
“I uh” he ran a trembling hand through his messy hair “I’ll take the stairs.”
“If it’s about the kiss” Braylin said “they were totally okay with it.”
“It’s not that” he gasped trying to get his breathing under control.
“Then what is it” he asked.
Shaking his head Trebor took a deep breath. “I’d rather take the stairs.”
“Don’t be ridiculous the elevator is quicker” he said “if you get in I promise I’ll be good.”
Glaring at him Trebor moved towards the open doors. He didn’t know what came over him. The sudden panic of being enclosed. Trapped. All he knew was he had to escape. The sight of the elderly couple holding the elevator for them nearly made him want to run again. He concentrated on his toes crossing his arms he signaled for all around him he wanted to be left alone.
Braylin pressed a hand over his mouth to keep from laughing out loud as the elevator started it’s climb again. It stopped again to allow the elderly couple out. The woman smiled at Trebor eyes shining. “Cherish these moments while you can. One day you’ll be old like us and a stolen kiss in an elevator won’t seem so terrible. It may even be the highlight of your day.”
When the doors closed Braylin moved over to where Trebor stood. “Alone at last” he grinned “thought they’d never leave.” He took Trebor’s hand squeezing it. “Can a I get a smile. Just a little one” he asked “it wasn’t that bad was it? They were alright….”
“That’s not the point” he cried “there’s a proper place and an elevator isn’t it.”
Lips twitching Braylin said “it could have been worse. I mean people have sex inside elevators all the time.
“Have you” Trebor asked curiosity getting the better of him as they walked down the hall. He knew the answer by the shimmer in Braylin’s eyes as they regarded him.
“Why” he challenged “want to give it a try?”
“No” he shook his emphatically looking back towards the elevator. For some reason it was more of a temptation than he thought it would be. If he were alone and knew no one would get on then …. Well if Braylin started something he doubted he’d have the willpower to )resist. “You promised me food” he said changing the subject.
“That I did” he agreed letting Trebor into his home and pulling his phone out to call his favorite Chinese place.
“Don’t I get a choice?” Trebor demanded after realizing Braylin was ordering for both of them. “What if I don’t like it?”
“You will” Braylin assured him “besides you’re starving. Food is food.” He closed the gap between them kissing Trebor hard enough to back him into the door. “You can have dessert while we wait.”
Desire that lay dormant awakened inside Trebor as he reached for the hockey player’s belt buckle. His fingers shook having trouble working the buttons and zippers.
Thirty minutes later they were happily scarfing down chow mien and beef broccoli. There were other items less recognizable and ignored by Trebor as he shoveled food into his mouth.
“Haven’t you been eating” Braylin asked after watching him inhale his food.
“Here and there” he shrugged as if it were normal. “Sometimes if it’s busy I don’t eat at all. Then when I get home I’m too tired to eat.”
“Have you always wanted to be a doctor” Braylin asked curious to know what drives someone to push himself so much. He’d met the dedicated all or nothing hockey player but this was different.
Swallowing the mouthful of food he nodded. “I can’t remember not wanting to be a doctor.” His face turned sober as his eyes took on a far away look. “My great grandpa died from a heart attack. I was five or six at the time. I’ve often wondered if he might have lived longer if the island had a heart specialist.”
“I’m sorry” Braylin murmured “was he very old?”
“He was in his mid seventies I believe” Trebor said “people always say he lived a long life, had a loving wife but he could have had more time if he had the proper medical treatment available to him.” Pushing his empty containers away he rested his head in his hands. “That’s why this situation is so damn frustrating. The only thing I’ve ever wanted to be is a heart surgeon. To save families from the heartache my family went through. Now I don’t know….”
Braylin watched as Trebor blinked several times in succession in an obvious attempt to ward off tears. “This situation, is it the one Lia wanted to tell me about?”
Wiping a hand across his eyes he nodded. “She wants me to bring my boss up on charges of harassment.” He pulled his knees up into his chest curling into himself. “The man literally holds my future as a doctor in his hands. I need this residency. He could destroy everything I’ve worked so hard to accomplish. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted.”
Braylin moved closer wrapping an arm around Trebor’s trembling shoulders. To his surprise Trebor snuggled into him, clutching his shirt between his fingers. For a moment Braylin just held him admiring the man’s drive to his dream. “Has your boss been harassing you” he asked once he sensed the man in his arms was calming down. “Is your boss Doctor Bracket? I met him at the charity event. He’s the guy I teased you about. He stood too close to you. Always touching you. I could tell it made you uncomfortable.”
Nodding against Braylin’s chest he mumbled “I didn’t want to believe he was coming on to me. I mean the guys married. Has kids not much younger than me.”
“Is that why you said he wanted to discuss a patient and didn’t want to be overheard” When Trebor nodded he could feel anger building inside him like a smoldering fire ready to ignite into an inferno at a moments notice. “Has he tried anything? Or threatened you?”
Trebor froze sucking in an anxious breath. Squirming from Braylin’s arms he got up “I should go” he announced making a beeline towards the door.
Jumping over the back of the couch Braylin cut off his escape. “Hey you can tell me. I won’t think any less of you. Just let me help.”
“I can handle it” he insisted hands curled into fists.
Regarding him for a moment Braylin said “everyone needs help sometimes. If you won’t talk to me. Talk to Lia. Get advise. Find out what you can do to protect yourself.”
“I…” he swallowed “what if they don’t believe me? What if I’m wrong? I could destroy him with unfounded accusations. What if” licking his lips he continued “he knows people who will back him. I’m just a resident. If I lose my position my whole future is over. Everything I’ve worked for. Gone.”
“That won’t happen” Braylin asserted slowly pulling Trebor into his arms. “I promise that won’t happen.” He didn’t know how he could prevent it but it sounded good. He felt Trebor relax in his arms resting his head on his shoulder. He placed a soft tender kiss on the top of his tousled head. Trebor moved enough to look up at him, his mouth opened to say something and Braylin cut him off with a kiss. “Let me take care of you tonight” he requested reaching for the hem of Trebor’s shirt tugging it free. Trebor lifted his arms allowing him to pull it over his head. “You don’t have to worry about anything” he whispered brushing his lips lightly over Trebor’s.
Whimpering a little Trebor pressed as much of himself as he could into Braylin. Wanting. Needing to feel more of him. To immerse himself in the man’s presence. “I need you to work your magic on me. I don’t want to think anymore. I just want to feel you.”
Sometime later Braylin shifted his weight in the bed to look down at the sleeping man lying beside him, his head resting on his shoulder. He trailed a finger along his jawline tempted to kiss the full lips puckered into a pout that gave the man the appearance of innocence.
It took him a moment to realize Trebor was looking up at him with confusion in his eyes. “Sorry” he whispered placing a kiss on his nose “I didn’t mean to wake you.”
Recognition replaced the confusion. “What time is it” he asked in a tired half asleep voice.
Reaching for his phone he said “almost 6:00.”
Turning on his side he snuggled his face into the pillow. “Wake me at 9:00 please.”
“Okay” he smile watching him. There was something about the guy that made him go weak on the inside. He’d been in relationships before but none of them had ever touched him the way Trebor had. He had felt it from the very beginning. It was what kept him coming back.
Rolling to his feet he walked towards the large windows. The city lights bright and cars moving along the streets in a city that never truly slept. Rain pelted the glass beading then running in streaks. Gooseflesh rose on his skin from the cool air. He debated crawling back into bed with Trebor. Waking him up to warm himself with his body. A smile tugged at his lips remembering the nights activities and knew he was falling head over heels in love with the guy.
Which meant he couldn’t stand idly by and watch him get hurt. No one should ever be made to feel they had to endure an intolerable situation to keep what they’ve struggled to achieve. He wanted to give Trebor a chance to figure this out on this own yet he was afraid a solution would forever be out of his grasp. Fear would ultimately be a stumbling block. He had to make sure the guy stopped without endangering what Trebor had accomplished. A thrill shot through him as he anticipated what he’d have to do and knowing he was going to enjoy teaching the good doctor a lesson he was sure not to forget.