denyce: (CW RPS: TRoM Chad)
[personal profile] denyce


part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5


The calmness was almost surreal, as opposed to the drama from last night, or this morning before it had eased into what became a pleasant, leisurely day.

Nearly an hour later Jeff stood and moved toward the bbq, quietly asking, “Getting hungry?”

Chad only shrugged.

Jeff countered, “I could fix soup if you don’t think your stomach…”

Chad looked up, and smiled. “Naw, I’m good. Whatever you want to fix.”

Jeff’s eyes zeroed in on the disfigurement of Chad’s smile. It was awkwardly sloped, due to his bruised fat lip. Jeff nodded, turning away as he tried to ignore the memory of how Chad’s lip got that way. As swiftly as the memory surfaced Jeff’s anger soared, clenching his fist against a tidal wave of emotions leaving him with a need to pound flesh, to extract revenge.

Suddenly needing to keep busy, Jeff moved to get the coals and lighter fuel.

As Jeff poured and fiddled with the coals, he causally called over his shoulder to Chad. “Had Chris pick up some dog food, and extra bowls. If you want to check it out…I have the bags sitting against the wall just inside the sliding doors.” Putting the bag of coals down Jeff indicated the other side of the deck. “By the way, Bisou’s water dish is over there. I usually fill it fresh every morning. You’ll probably have to check more often with three of them.”

Jeff didn’t bother to wait for Chad’s response, instead lit the coals, watching as the flame reduced to smolder. He glanced over to see Chad had moved and was refilling Bisou’s water dish. Heading inside to fix the hamburgers, Jeff paused at the door. “I’ll be inside if you need me.”

Chad only waved him on.

Once inside the kitchen Jeff tried to compose himself, knowing that in the end working himself into a frenzy wasn’t going to help Chad. Keeping busy, trying to expend his nervous energy Jeff dug out the deep fryer, plugging it in, and then added oil. Opening the refrigerator, he pulled out the hamburger, setting it down on the counter.

Heading toward the sliding door, Jeff opened it and leaned out as he spoke. “Hey Chad, yes or no on onions? Any spices I should be aware of?”

“Either, whatever you prefer, same with spices.”

“Alright I’ll be out in a few minutes.” Refocusing on the tasks of making lunch, Jeff starting by creating patties. Once he had several patties shaped and ready, Jeff started to make a salad. A beep sounded, informing him the oil was hot enough to add the French fries. Grabbing the bag from the freezer, Jeff added half the bag, listening to the pop-sizzle of oil cooking the fries.

Popping the salad back in the fridge, Jeff headed back outside with a plate of patties to be cooked. Adding four patties on the grill, Jeff asked. “How do you want ‘em?”

Chad was suddenly there beside him, hands in his pockets. Chad’s head nodded to the abundance of patties Jeff had made. “Jesus, you that hungry, or are you feeding an army that I don’t know about? Sorry, just one, medium-rare please. Not that hungry.”

Jeff chuckled. “Figured I’d make a few in case, for tomorrow, or if you didn’t mind ‘em having any.” Though Jeff didn’t refer to them by name, all three dogs seemed to understand what Jeff had said as they moseyed over, obediently sitting down waiting patiently for scraps.

Chad laughed, grinning as he glanced down at the mongrels quietly begging. “”Nice to know I won’t have to sneak them bites.”

Hearing Chad’s laughter helped Jeff settle back into enjoying the moment.

With the hamburgers cooking, Jeff handed the spatula to Chad to go check on the French fries. They worked together easily, the easy flow of small talk and banter flittered about as they moved. Questions of condiments were asked and answered while Jeff set the table outside with plates and utensils adding only condiments they’d each use, salt, pepper, and ketchup. On the last trip into the kitchen Jeff unplugged the fryer, picking up the basket of hot, crispy, French fries. Pulling the fridge open Jeff grabbed a beer for himself. Then yelled out to Chad asking what he wanted to drink, snagging a Coke when Chad yelled back.

Sitting down, they dug in with three dogs eagerly waiting for any scraps as they ate. In-between bites, humorous stories were exchanged about Joe, Axel and Bisou. Each took turns hand feeding bits of hamburger to the begging mutts under the table. Laughing, teasing, passing salt and ketchup, and then slipping easily into comfortable silences as if they’d had known each other for years.

Though things were running smoothly, Jeff couldn’t help himself and was acutely aware of what Chad ate – and what he hand fed Axel and Joe. Not that Jeff was worried about the dogs having the hamburger. Jeff had cooked extra patties just for them, but Jeff had hoped Chad would eat more than he did. If Jeff ignored that worry and the reasons for Chad’s bruises he’d have to admit he was enjoying himself immensely.

It continued like that for the rest of the day, their joviality so infectious that time just flew by. Sidestepping anything serious, not finding any hardship they each entertained the other and shared a steady stream of stories, experiences, jobs - roles past and present they’d played and lost. After lunch and cleaning up, Jeff gave Chad a short tour of the house, yard, and out toward the trails where Chad could walk the dogs after Jeff left.

They only walked toward the mouth of the path; though looking stronger than he did earlier, Chad wasn’t ready to start running or walking the trails just yet. Once they got back, Jeff left Chad outside with Axel, Joe, and Bisou while he went inside to start packing.

It didn’t take Jeff long to pack; he still hadn’t completely unpacked from two weeks ago when he had initially arrived.

Once Jeff finished, he came out to find Chad asleep on the lounge. Bisou sprawled on Chad’s side. Shaking his head, Jeff assumed when he glanced down at Joe and Axel, that Bisou was there because between the three of them she was the only one small enough to fit on the lounge beside Chad.

Jeff pulled up a chair and made himself comfortable. Joe stayed where he was, but Axel moved closer, resting his massive head on Jeff’s knees. With both hands Jeff leaned in, fingers caressing over Axel’s face, as he started to rub and scratch behind Axel’s ears. Through hooded eyes Jeff looked past Axel over to Chad, Jeff’s fingers slowly moving up and down Axel’s coat. Chad was facing Jeff, eyes closed, his body curled toward him. The shadows of dusk filtered over them making it difficult to see Chad’s shallow breaths.

Jeff’s breath halted, as the sun slowly descended and a iridescent shine of light draped over Chad’s body. The crown of Chad’s hair shimmered gold like a halo; Chad’s face softened in gentle sleep, from this angle the skin appeared unmarred. Though once Chad shifted, his hair fell like a shadow brushing over his eyes bringing attention to the mottled bruises covering Chad’s lips and jaw. The images contrasted as quickly and easily just as Chad’s movement did. The person Jeff knew - Chad was a study in conflict. Right now Chad was sound asleep on his lounger, and was so different from the person Jeff thought he knew, and it hadn’t even been twenty-four hours. Even reminding himself that Chad was a victim of abuse, had suffered, didn’t change the feelings of attraction he had toward Chad. Wounded, the word vibrated whispering in Jeff’s head.

Silently arguing with himself, fuming that that wasn’t the case, but even as Jeff disputed the thoughts he knew it was a lie. He had a string of relationships including two failed marriages to use as evidence that every time each person Jeff got involved with had one thing in common - they were either emotionally broken or needy, sometimes both. Jeff couldn’t deny that a big part of him enjoyed helping someone, protecting them, of being the caretaker within the relationship. After two marriages, it was a pattern he had finally recognized for how unhealthy it was. It was a pattern he tried to break and what had ultimately broken his engagement with Mary Louise.

Despite those truths, it didn’t change what he was already starting to feel for Chad. Thankfully Jeff was leaving tomorrow. He was grateful that he was there, could help Chad, but Jeff needed to keep his distance. Chad didn’t need him to make things more difficult or any more confusing then they were right now. There was no doubt that Chad was wounded, needed help, professional help—that Chad had a long road ahead of him.

Suddenly Jeff’s thoughts were interrupted by a ring he recognized —Chad’s cell.

On the next ring, Jeff’s eyes darted around trying to pinpoint the cell’s location. Chad stirred, his hand digging inside his back pocket, pulling it out. Opening his eyes, Chad smiled as he saw Jeff. For a few heartbeats they stayed like, ignoring the cell. But it continued ringing, Chad moved and held the phone closer seeing the name displayed, he sat up frowning.

His eyes shifted back toward Jeff, as he said “Jared. I better take it.”

Jeff nodded, gently brushing Axel’s head off his lap and standing. “I’ll give you some privacy.”

*~*~*~*

Chad watched Jeff walk back inside the house then glanced back at the cell. He could just ignore it and let it go to voicemail, but Chad knew at some point he’d have to deal with Jared, that there was never going to be a perfect time. Flipping his phone open, Chad answered, “Yeah.”

On the other end Chad only heard silence, and could only guess that he had surprised Jared by actually answering. Answering the unspoken question. “I’m okay.”

Chad heard Jared’s shaky breaths when he asked, “You’re sure?”

Chad’s tongue peeked out and ran over his fat lip, trusting that Jeff was right in that Jared and Jensen didn’t know what really happened. “Hung over, but yeah I’m good.”

He heard Jared’s deep breath then exhaled. The words rushed, desperate. “I’m sorry, god… I didn’t mean to…”

Worriedly, Jared continued rambling on. Chad closed his eyes, the chatter reminding him that he had walked in on Jared and Jensen kissing. It hurt. More than Chad wanted to admit. Chad felt like a fool even more so that that he was still in love with Jared. Mentally kicking himself that he had made a bigger ass of himself when came on to Jensen. Briefly, he wondered if Jensen had told Jared. Then he answered his own question, deciding that Jensen wouldn’t say anything and hurt Jared like that. Though none of that changed the fact that Jared should have told him the truth. Interrupting whatever Jared was saying, “You should have told me.”

“You’re right! I should have from the beginning. I’m sorry, Chad I… I have no excuse.”

The words from the beginning, replayed in Chad’s mind, and he suddenly understood what he saw, the intimacy between them. Even last night he had guessed they‘d been together for a while, but now he suspected it was even longer than he initially thought.

The question was out of Chad’s mouth before he realized he spoke, “When?”

A small gasp escaped Jared’s lips, followed by a defeated sigh. “Since Sandy and I…”

Shocked Chad demanded, “Since you were with Sandy?”

Chad heard the plea in Jared’s voice, a plea to understand. “No, after, but that’s why she broke our engagement. She recognized what I was feeling for Jensen before I did.”

But Chad didn’t want to understand, he hurt and his voice was accusing. “That you were what suddenly gay for Jensen?”

“No, yes. I’m sorry, I know I should have told you, but it was so new and it all happened so fast. I didn’t have a handle on it. Then I made excuses, tried to tell myself that what you felt for Jensen was just a crush, that you weren’t ready to come out.”


What Jared believed he felt for Jensen and there was the rub. Chad wasn’t in love with Jensen, but Jared didn’t know that. Chad wondered that if Jared knew the truth, would it change anything? But he had to be honest with himself – it wouldn’t have changed anything. Because the one thing Chad knew for sure about Jared, is Jared didn’t get involved unless his heart was in it.

Suddenly Chad remembered how Jensen had offered his friendship over and over, of how angry Jensen got when he came on to him—even thoroughly pissed, Jensen wanted to protect Jared. “You love him, don’t you?”

Chad knew the answer even before Jared spoke. “Yes.”

Chad chuckled, though it wasn’t exactly funny, but it felt like a cosmic joke of irony that was his life—where he was always the wrong person that others fell in love with—Sophia, Kenzie. And here he was doing the same thing – falling in love with someone - Jared, who initially, was heterosexual and unobtainable and couldn’t, didn’t love him back, because Jared was already in love with Jensen.

“Chad?” Chad shook his head no, hearing Jared’s concern, but couldn’t answer as his chuckle turned into a bitter laugh, until Chad hiccupped and his studded laughter turned into a cough.

“Chad?”

Sitting up coughing, Chad waved his hand in front of his face, as if Jared could see the gesture before choking out, “Good, I’m good.”

“You sound like anything but good.”

Chad heard Jared’s exasperation, could almost see him rolling his eyes, and could feel Jared’s tangible concern. Taking a deep breath, Chad shakily let it go. “Honestly, I am. I will be.”

Jared’s voice lowered, “So are we?”

Thrown, Chad asked, “Huh? We what?” It took Chad a moment to get it. “You mean are we good?”

“Yes?”

Chad deadpanned, “Ackles, gonna make you an honest man? Scratch that, I’m sure it’ll be the other way around.” It was quiet, too quiet; Chad started to think the line had dropped. It hadn’t. Frustrated, Chad cursed, “Fuck Padalecki, yeah yeah we’re good.” Then quieter he added, “We will be. Listen, I should probably go…”

“Chad, wait…”

Trying to be more lighthearted that he felt, Chad responded. “No really it’ll be good.” Swallowing, Chad lied, as he thought of Jared not Jensen. “It was just a silly crush, I’ll get over it. Wasn’t lying, really do need to go before the phone goes dead.”


“Yeah, okay. I’ll call you later…”

“Ah, let me call you okay? I just need a little time, but I promise I’ll call you. Night Jared.”

Chad didn’t wait for Jared to say goodbye as his thumb pressed end call. Chad stayed still, sitting there staring at the phone. His finger grazed over the off button then pressed down, turning the phone off before he flipped it closed.

*~*~*

It wasn’t until Chad glanced up, did he realize it was dark, noticing Jeff had turned on a patio light. Inside Chad could see lights on, and the flickering light of a TV. Getting up, he made his way inside.

He headed over to where Jeff sat on the couch with Bisou half on his side and half on Jeff’s thighs as he petted her. Chad stood there waiting then asked, nodding toward the couch. “Mind?”

Jeff looked up. “No, course not, sit.”

Chad did, slouching pensively, staring without watching. Before he knew it Chad felt a cold nose then a wet tongue licking his face. . It was Bisou. Chad turned, giving her better access; his hand gripped and started petting her coat as he smiled.

Jeff asked, “You okay?”

“Will be…” then Chad added, a bit stronger, “I will.” As Bisou nudged him to continue, Axel jumped up also demanding attention. Laughing when Axel tried unsuccessfully to nudge his head in-between him and Bisou, Chad turned when heard Jeff’s robust laughter as Joe jumped up, deciding to add himself to the mix.

At some point they all settled down to watch TV. Jeff had one side of the couch, Chad on the other; each had a dog curled up beside them with Axel taking the middle, too large to actually cuddle.

*~*~*~*

Out of the corner of his eye Jeff watched as Chad slowly nodded off. His body slumped further down into the cushion, sliding partially over Axel. They stayed like that until Axel got antsy and jumped down, leaving Chad room to spread out a little bit in his sleep, and he did. Stretching out toward Joe who, like Axel, jumped down, conceding the space to Chad. Jeff was about to get up and move to give Chad the couch, but suddenly Chad was there his head sidling up to rest on Jeff’s thigh, his hand innocently settling closer on the inside of Jeff’s thigh like a pillow, trapping Jeff where he was.

Jeff mentally berated himself as he felt his cock twitch and start to lengthen. Suddenly afraid to move that he would wake him, and after the assault, Jeff was afraid Chad might misunderstand Jeff’s intentions. He was feeling like a pervert, even though Jeff knew he wasn’t, that he’d never hurt Chad or anyone else abusively or sexually. However it didn’t change that he had these feelings. The thing was, Jeff couldn’t deny he was physically attracted to Chad. Had felt that attraction years ago when they first met, but he’d been attached and it had only been a surface attraction. Now, it was different. Inadvertently Jeff had seen beneath Chad’s exterior, and Jeff would bet it was more than Chad had ever shown anyone.

Regrettably it didn’t help that in such a short span of time Chad had unintentionally hit Jeff’s buttons— to be there and care for someone, that Chad was a wounded bird that Jeff instinctively wanted to help.

Although it didn’t matter, it wasn’t something he’d allow to happen. Chad was too fragile, had too many things to deal with - he didn’t need Jeff screwing things up further. No it was good thing he was leaving tomorrow. Though he couldn’t hold Chad’s hand, he’d be still helping by just being a friend, giving Chad the space and time that he needed to heal. That would alternatively give Jeff the distance and clarity to think.

Determined, Jeff silently cursed his body’s reaction, willing his erection to go away. Picking up the remote he switched the channel to news, focusing his attention on world events instead of Chad who was still sleeping peacefully in his lap.

At some point Jeff dozed off, then twitched awake as Chad started squirming, Chad’s head and body tried to burrow up onto Jeff’s lap. Jeff looked down to see Chad’s entire body was scrunched up in a fetal position, rocking back and forth, tears running down his face. Recognizing it as another nightmare, Jeff didn’t hesitate as he moved one hand to Chad’s head, his fingers combing through Chad’s hair in a soft caress. His other hand stretched out along Chad’s body, caressing down his arm in soothing strokes in order to calm him down.

His voice still raspy from sleep, Jeff softly spoke. Repeating over and over the same cooing words and phrases he had used before, “Shhh, it’s all right, you’re safe, it’s okay shhh….”

It didn’t take long, as Chad settled back into a more peaceful sleep. Jeff finally stopped talking, but his fingers kept moving, gently caressing through Chad’s hair.

*~*~*~

Waking up the next morning, though still a bit stiff and sore, Chad felt good. Stretching, as he sat up, alone, no dogs in sight. Squinting against the morning sun Chad looked around as he got up and moved toward the kitchen and the sliding glass doors figuring that maybe Jeff was outside. No one was there, but his bladder refused any further investigation, and he quickly moved toward the bathroom.

Once Chad finished his business, including brushing his teeth and washing his face, he decided his next stop was coffee, then he’d start to search. Passing back through the bedroom, Chad paused when he noticed the bed. It was the same as he left it yesterday, which meant that Jeff hadn’t slept there. Suddenly he had an image of waking from a nightmare, of Jeff calming him, his fingers threading through Chad's hair, the security of being safe. Though Chad wasn’t sure if it was an actual memory, the images were too fragmented and dreamlike. Either way the feelings provoked was a haven, the feeling of being safe, secure, and cared for. But he barely knew Jeff, shaking his head; Chad dismissed it as wishful thinking, a dream.

Going back out to the kitchen, he found half a pot of coffee still hot. After fixing a cup, Chad walked outside.

No sooner had he stepped outside than he heard barking. Turning to see Joe was in the lead as Joe and Axel ran toward him with Bisou and Jeff trailing behind them. They were far enough away, that Chad had enough time to take a quick sip before putting his coffee down.

Joe reached him first though he was too excited to stay still; he pranced around Chad’s legs. Axel was on Joe’s heels pushing Joe out of his way to greet Chad. With both hands Chad gripped Axel’s face, curling his fingers into the extra folds of skin and fur, rubbing briskly, before his fingers moved caressing up and around Axel’s ears. Then Chad patted down over Axel’s coat before he pushed him away, to give Joe, who was now calmer, a similar greeting.

By the time he finished greeting both dogs, Jeff and Bisou were there. Chad frowned as Jeff unclipped Bisou’s leash. Once unleashed Bisou walked to him; in turn Chad squatted to give her a proper greeting. Without looking up, continuing to pet Bisou Chad asked, “They didn’t give you a hard time did they?”

Chad heard the inhale of smoke as Jeff lit a cigarette, before he responded, “Nope. They were actually good. You did a good job training them.”

Laughing Chad looked up, “Not me - had to hire a trainer. You should have seen me with Ozzy. Granted, he was a puppy, but my lack of discipline training cost me several hefty fees when we were traveling.”

“Ozzy?”

Chad shrugged. “He went with Sophia after we split.” Chad glanced over to see Jeff’s nod. Squinting against the sun, Chad noticed the casual stance as Jeff stood with his legs crossed leaning back on the patio fence.

“Hungry?”

Startled, Chad shook his head before the question actually registered. “I mean yes, a little.” Then Chad looked at Bisou, and Joe who was demanding more attention. “Did they…

He didn’t have to finish, as Jeff answered. “First thing this morning.”

Looking up, as it had only just occurred to him and Chad hadn’t seen or caught the time when he was in the kitchen. “First thing? What time is it?”

Jeff looked at his watch. “Just after ten.” Stubbing out his cigarette, Jeff moved toward the door. “I’ll start breakfast; introduce you to my specialty, omelets le Morgan.”

His smile forced, Chad looked over and tried to sound chipper instead of the jumbled disconnect he suddenly felt knowing that Jeff would be leaving in little over an hour. “Sounds good. Need any help?”

“Naw, I’m good. I’ll call you when you can set the table.” Distracted, Chad nodded as Jeff went inside.

*~*~*~

The last hour, like breakfast, went by too fast. The omelets Jeff made, despite the little Chad had, were amazing.

Jeff had packed and was ready to go, his suitcase already sitting outside on the front porch. On the counter, Jeff left the pad with Peggy’s number, but it also had held a list of all the other necessary and important numbers Chad might need: Bisou’s local vet, and a string of utility and emergency numbers. Sitting on the pad were a set of house keys.

Staring at the keys, Chad realized he never actually accepted or stated that he’d stay. Though right now the point seemed moot. As it was, everything was happening too fast. Enough that Chad didn’t have time to think never mind be worry about it. When Joe, Axel and Bisou started barking, Chad knew before he heard the car horn honk that it was time.

“Be right back.” Jeff called out as he ran outside.

A few minutes later Jeff came back in, and then squatted down whispering to Bisou as he petted her. Looking back up, Jeff caught Chad’s gaze. “You going to be alright?” he only waited a second before adding, “I could just call Peggy now.”

He must have looked like shit as Jeff stood up, his stare intensifying, trying to read into Chad’s soul. Nervous, suddenly needing to put on a front, Chad shoved his hands down into his pockets. His head bowed down before he glanced back up to Jeff then shifted away. “No, go. Do what you have to.” Chad’s eyes reconnected with Jeff’s, this time maintaining the stare. His throat closing as Chad tried to voice his thoughts. “I don’t know what….” Swallowing, Chad ached to look away, but steadily held Jeff’s gaze. “What you did, you and Chris, you didn’t have to. None of it. Then letting me stay, I… thanks!

Jeff licked his lips like he was going to say something. Instead, returning Chad’s stare, Jeff inhaled and gave a slow, jerking nod. They stood close, almost too close, but neither of them moved away.

Another honk interrupted. Jeff licked his lips again. “I gotta go. Richard’s getting antsy, hates the traffic, but it’s the only time I let him pitch a script I wanted to pass on.” Almost sheepishly Jeff grinned, adding, “Cheaper then paying someone else to pick me up.”

Chad smiled, and silently bobbed his head in agreement unable to swallow past the lump in his throat.

Chad felt Jeff’s hand on his shoulder and looked at it. Felt the firm squeeze that had Chad fleetingly looking back at Jeff. “You need anything, call me.”

With a final squeeze, Jeff stepped back. Chad watched as Jeff’s hands caressed over Bisou’s muzzle, up to her ears in a final rub. “Watch out for my girl and she’ll take care of you. You too guys.” Rushed, Jeff quickly brushed his hands over Axel and Joe’s coats then was out the door.

Chad still stood there, long after he heard the car pull away.

*~*~*~

The rest of the day seemed to crawl by; it was after three when the phone rang. It was Jeff.

Hesitantly Jeff spoke. “Hey.”

As casually as he could Chad answered, “Hey back.” Thankful that Jeff couldn’t see the wide grin he was sporting.

Chad heard Jeff’s chuckle, realizing that maybe he didn’t sound as casual as he wanted, but suddenly it didn’t matter realizing that he liked the sound of Jeff’s laughter, his voice. Abruptly all three mongrels seemed to know that it was Jeff on the other end and started barking in chorus their own greeting to Jeff before Chad was able to quiet them as he made himself comfortable and sat down.

Jeff laughed as he heard them. “You can give ‘em kisses for me.” Speechless, unable to stop himself, Chad’s grin stretched wider as he listened to Jeff’s voice ramble on. “Sorry, but I got a bit bored waiting around, my flight’s been delayed. So I thought I’d check in, let you know I’ll be getting in later than expected.” Jeff paused. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, everything’s good…” Chad bit his lip as he almost added, considering that he was already missed. And Jeff was missed, but knowing that was strange, irrational and good all rolled into one. Fact was Chad barely knew Jeff; he only knew him through Jared, as one of Jared’s friends and co-stars. Though what he felt, the level of trust Chad had for Jeff - on the one hand it scared the shit out of him, but on the other hand it was nice not to feel so alone.

Jeff interrupted his thoughts. “Chad, you there?”

Startled, Chad answered. “Huh? Yeah I’m here.” He felt ridiculous when he nodded.

“Oh okay.” Their connection was clear enough that Chad could hear the airline’s announcement that they were ready to start boarding. “Huh, guess the delay’s over; they’ve started calling sections to board. I’d better go… Listen, I forgot to mention it before and I wasn’t sure if you noticed, but the business cards… I left them by the pad.” The shuffling of people around Jeff filtered through just as another announcement was called out.

“I… excuse me.” Chad knew Jeff was addressing someone else in the background, could hear people milling about. He had the image that Jeff was getting in line, waiting to board. “Sorry, I have to go. Think about it, I seriously think it’ll help—sometimes… ” Jeff’s tone gentled, “You have to take care of yourself, and things have to slow down. You just have to care enough to move one step at a time.” Jeff paused a moment. “Either way, call me anytime if you want to talk, or even to just listen, well to me talk….”

Chad bit his tongue, unable to voice his thoughts about whether or not he was ready for therapy. Instead Chad nodded, internally relieved that Jeff had redefined his offer that he could call, so that he didn’t have to make up an excuse. He was about to let Jeff know, when he heard Jeff swearing under his breath. Then he gathered from the sounds he heard that Jeff was already on the plane, shoving his bag in the overhead compartment and taking his seat. He heard a flight attendant telling Jeff he’d have to shut off his phone and Jeff’s brisk response to the flight attendant. Sighing, Jeff addressed Chad. “I gotta go. I’ll have to check in with you tomorrow. Don’t forget to eat—bye.”

The call dropped as Jeff had to click off, never hearing Chad’s slow muttered ‘bye’.

Shaking his head, Chad looked down at his fingers buried in Bisou’s fur. “He’ll call tomorrow.” She barked in answer, Chad leaned down letting her lick his face as he agreed. “I know. Come on, let’s go outside.”

A couple of hours later it wasn’t even five yet, but Chad was exhausted from doing nothing. After he fed everyone he stood there leaning against the counter staring down at the pad and the business cards beside it. Taking one card in hand, his thumb scraping against the edge, his chest was heavy, emotionally wrought at the thought of talking to anyone. How could he do so now? Chad had never told anyone, ever. Not anyone in his family, his dad, Rex. Sharon knew, he remembered fragmented bits when he had begged her to make it stop—to make him stop.

Just thinking about, him, his hands made Chad start to hyperventilate.

No one knew the truth, not even Sharon, who locked it behind blackouts. He never wanted to remember, and never felt safe enough … sadly not with Sophia, Kenzie, or even Jared.

Jeff knew, or guessed. Though it wasn’t like Chad told him. No Jeff had walked in when he was being… what? His mind screamed, a moment later it silently answered, assaulted. He had been sexually assaulted and Jeff knew that. Had wakened him from a nightmare, knew he was… that it wasn’t the first time, he knew or guessed what had happened before.

Shaking, Chad suddenly had all three dogs vying for his attention, licking his face. Belatedly he realized he was sitting on the floor, his heart racing as his panic attack slowly subsided. Unclenching his fist, revealing the balled up card, slowly Chad forced himself to stand.

It was never going to end; nothing was ever going to be right until he made it right, and pretending just wasn’t going to work anymore. His breath halted, heaving, Chad grabbed his cell forcing himself to hit the numbers and hit send before he backed out.

It only rang twice before the phone was picked up. The voice was cheerful, business-like as she answered. “Hello, Dr. Asher’s office, Rachel speaking. How may I help you?”

A choked sound escaped him.

“Hello, are you there?”

Chad swallowed several times then tried to talk, his voice cracking on “ah…”

Unfazed, just as cheerful as she answered, Rachel reassured him. “Take your time.”

Chad poured a glass of water, his hand shaking nearly spilling it as he took a long gulp then tried to talk. “Sorry,” taking a deep breath then exhaling Chad continued, “I was, I wanted to make an appointment.”

Casually she asked, “New patient?”

“Yes.”

“Alright, one second let me pull up…” Walking outside, needing a cigarette, Chad pulled one out lighting it as he took in a ragged drag. He heard her question him, “Earliest available appointment?”

“Please.” Chad realized she was pulling up the doctor’s schedule, scanning her computer screen. “How’s tomorrow? I had an eleven o’clock cancellation, would that work for you?”

Chad nodded in acceptance, then added, “Yeah, yeah I can do that.”

“Good and your name?”

Only missing a heartbeat Chad answered, “Michael, Mr. Michaels.”

“Alright Mr. Michaels, you’re all set. Do you need directions?”

Chad glanced at the card still in his hand and read off the address, then asked, “Same place?”

“Yes on the second floor, Suite 205. We’ll see you at eleven then. Thank you for calling.”

Chad heard the click; flipping his cell closed, he took a long drag. Sidestepping between Joe and Axel, Chad moved to sit down at the table. Without thinking, his hand went out carding through someone’s fur, acknowledging that he had just taken a step. One step. Inhaling then exhaling shakily, he conceded that tomorrow he’d try to take another step…

FiN~

Masterpost

Sequel

Date: 2016-08-14 12:41 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi,
i discovered this fic a long time ago and i always hoped that maybe you would write a sequel. I rediscovered it today and i didn't find a sequel so i ask. Would you want to write one? I like this chad fic, so if your muse is talking to you, don't hesitate.:) Thanks.
Mia

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denyce: Jared waving hey~ (Default)
denyce

January 2017

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