Cold in the Rain

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Chapter Ten: We didn't, did we?

“Well come on in,” Rick said motioning with an arm towards the inside of the room.

It wasn’t so much that Jay didn’t want to deliver the meal that had been ordered, but more the state that rick was in that had him rooted completely to the spot. Rick standing there as though this was a most normal occurrence was standing in front of Jay with nothing but a towel wrapped around him covering only from his navel to the tops of his knees. Jay couldn’t help but take in the view and had found himself in awe of the body of this guy. He clearly took care of himself and though toned was not too muscular. Just perfect for someone like Jay.

“Hello…Jay?” Rick said now waving a hand in front of his face as though to bring his attention back. Well back to his face anyway.

“Oh…s-sorry,” Jay replied. “You just sorta caught me off guard that’s all.”

He swiftly moved past Rick and placed the meal on top of the room’s only table. Being a budget room, unlike others, this one only contained the bare essentials. A double-bed took up most of it, with a small chest of draws on the far side topped with a decent sized TV and a small dining table strategically placed on the other side with a kettle and condiments to make tea or coffee on the other. The table was so small that Jay had to slightly shift the condiments to make enough room for the pasta.

What are you doing Jay? He thought to himself. You want Andy remember? A! The man that’s only one state away and very close to giving you everything you have wanted since arriving here.

“Sorry about this man,” Rick said, brining Jay back to reality and referring to the towel. “I only just got out of the shower; I really thought I’d have time to change, before you got here.”

Jay smiled, though intentionally kept his back facing Rick for professional and personal reasons.

“How many times have I told you to stop apologizing Rick?” he asked staring at the white wall directly in front of him. “We really have to get your hearing checked you know that?”

From behind him Jay heard Rick chuckle slightly.

“Yeah probably,” he said. “Um, so thanks for the meal,” he started wondering why he was now talking to Jay’s back since he had clearly put the plate down already. “And, um…yeah,” he finished lamely not knowing what else to say.

“It’s not a problem at all,” Jay again smiled to the white wall.

“You know, you can turn around. It’s not like I’m fully exposed or something,” Rick laughed.

Jay laughed too and realizing he was being silly turned around.

“Although…I could be,” Rick then said suggestively.

Jay didn’t know what to say. A big part of him was screaming out: Say no! Leave now! But a tiny part of him wasn’t minding what Rick was saying, it was the first time someone had been suggestive like this in nearly a month. Even Edward was way too demure to talk like this.

Rick just smiled, mistaking his lack of answer for the one he had hoped for. Flicking the door shut, he blatantly removed his towel.

“*”

“This is the six oclock news hello I’m Carigan Blythe. Market research suggests that…”

But before the announcer could go any further Andy’s hand had hit the snooze button.

“Life would be better if we all could sleep past noon? I agree,” he cracked sarcastically.

Despite the fact that he had tossed and turned for most of the night, when Andy had finally fallen asleep it was only to have a nightmare involving a judge telling him off for wasting the courts time, a smiling B glancing from the table next to his then saw this judge sentence Andy to 15 years imprisonment for slander. Andy, whose knowledge of the law could be rivaled for the knowledge that most women had on designer shoes, had contested that slander didn’t warrant jail-time at all, but Mel (his attorney in the dream) had simply shook her head informing him he was wrong and the judge had added another 5 years for insolence. Just as the guards were coming to take him away the alarm had gone off and so now lying in the bed of Mel and Linds’ guest room, Andy could think of nothing but more sleep.

Knowing this wasn’t an option however; he slowly made his way out of bed, flung on a dressing gown that was appreciatively on a chair in the room and made his way down to the kitchen.

“Hey, hey!” Mel said trying to perk him up.

“Morning,” Andy grunted. He wasn’t a morning person at the best of times and try as he might, there was never any faking it until he’d had some coffee and he cursed Lauren for the millionth time since meeting her.

“Coffee,” Mel flung her wrist in the direction of the percolator, “Tea or Juice?”

“Cu-oo-fff-eee” Andy managed to say hoping a grueling would not follow.

Mel just laughed.

“Oh I remember the young days,” she reflected. “No talking till I’d drained three cups.”

“Good, let’s stick to that,” Andy sighed grabbing a cup from the cupboard and pouring it with the beautifully fragranced liquid.

“Ok, I’ll talk; you just listen or grunt K?” Mel smiled. Truth be known, she liked having Andy here. It was like having a son who had gone from infant to his late twenties overnight.

“K,” Andy managed.

“Ok, so I filed the emergency petition last night after you went to bed and Judge Granger’s assistant faxed me this morning. The hearing is scheduled for 8 which means we have about an hour before we need to leave. Breakfast?” she asked suddenly pointing to the pan.

Andy grunted and shook his head.

“I understand,” she simply replied before dishing up her own eggs and sitting down across from him.

“Ok so naturally I’ll be there with you, but the judge will want to talk to you to get an understanding of what’s happening and then he should grant the order and we’ll be out of there before 8:30.” She smiled.

Again Andy grunted, pleased in a way that he could get away with this at Mel’s. He knew there would be no way he could at Micah’s or Aunt Deb’s and it was allowing him to take a proper moment to wake up. The pair then sat there in silence until Andy found the words to inform Mel he was going to have a smoke before changing.

Andy had called Chef Veroan last night before getting into bed and profusely apologized for not calling earlier before explaining the situation. The usually strict chef seemed to understand completely and simply advised Andy to call him before midday to confirm the situation either way, before wishing him luck. Andy reflected on that moment now as he took a very welcoming drag from his cigarette. In the harsh morning chill he regretted not just advising Chef Veroan to get someone else for today and calling him this evening instead. But at the time he hadn’t wanted to let his Aunt Deb down, despite the fact that he hadn’t seen her since she left in a rage to find B. Actually, now that he thought about it, Mel aside, he hadn’t seen anyone except for Edward since B had left the diner. Andy jumped up suddenly and pulled his cell phone out the dressing gown pocket. Not talking to Jay or even Micah was completely acceptable especially given the circumstances, but forgetting to ring dad who was probably at home worried sick about him, there was no excuse for that.

“Hello,” came a bright and almost too chipper response from his father.

Well clearly he’s not too worried Andy thought.

“Ah, hi dad. It’s me.”

“Andy? What time are you guys getting here? It’s freezing!”

This was so not the response Andy was expecting let alone the question of where he was going, if Ben was freezing why didn’t he just go inside?

“Where dad? And why aren’t you in bed still?” he asked quizzically.

“Oh, Mel didn’t tell you did she?” he heard his father sigh.

“Tell me what?” Andy half demanded.

“Andy, I know everything.” He finished calmly. “I told Mel I’d meet you guys at the court house.”

Hearing just that one sentence had allowed Andy’s heart, which had been racing till that point, to calm right down. So Mel had filled him in. He wasn’t worried because he knew what was going on and he’d offered his support. Andy positively beamed, at least as much as he could in the chilly morning.

“Really dad?” he asked smiling, nearly on the verge of tears.

“Of course son, I’m not going to miss this. I’ll be right there to squeeze your hand. I promise. Now when do these damn doors open?”

Andy laughed. For a few days now he was starting to miss New Haven. Aside from the obvious in missing Jay, he missed Lauren. The pair hadn’t even spoken since Andy had left the argument between them over Jay. It seemed every argument around him was about Jay or the two of them. But Andy had shoved that aside the moment he had gotten back home and with everything that had happened since then, wanted nothing more than to talk with his best friend. He also missed Rein and the Dètendez-Vouz itself and what about Rick and John, he’d probably missed them by now. But admittedly he had felt the same way when he was back at home. There were times when he wanted to see his Papa or Mel or even go shopping with Emmett as crazy as it sounded. He had worked out very quickly how green the grass would always look on the other side and despite its impossibility had hoped and prayed that everyone he loved could just move to the one state. But now, missing New Haven and Lauren he couldn’t help but feel at least part of that familiarity with his dad.

“I don’t know, I’ll ask Mel,” he replied and not waiting for an answer, butted out the remainder of his cigarette and walked back inside. He found Mel in the kitchen putting away the last of the dishes from breakfast and passed her the phone.

“It’s Ben. I’ll be upstairs getting ready,” he said all in one sentence and then turned around.

“Ben! What are you doing there now...? No it’s 8 silly!” Mel was overcompensatingly screaming into the phone as Andy made his way upstairs to change.

“*”

The morning sun shone through and the groggy moments of wanting to fall back asleep overwhelmed him, but Jay knew he had to get up now or else he would be late to work. He blinked several times trying to adjust to the light’s glare, but before he could even take a moment to think about what his next move would be he heard a voice behind him.

“Morning cutie,”

Jay turned around hoping he’d imagined the voice, but sure enough Rick’s form came into view and Jay’s worst suspicions had been confirmed.

“So some night huh?” Rick smiled.

Jay realized he must have just gotten out of the shower as he was now toweling off.

“We didn’t, did we?” Jay asked tentatively.

“Well after what we did do, you’re going to need to be a little more specific.”

Rick moved over to the dining table which still had the pasta dish completely untouched and picked up a cup of coffee that he had made for Jay earlier.

“Here, it’s coffee.” He explained before handing the cup over and proceeding to continue drying himself off.

“So, you were about to clarify what you were asking,” Rick helpfully reminded the blonde as he started getting dressed.

Jay meanwhile was mentally slapping himself over and over again. This was just like his luck the past fortnight, just when things seemed to be going the best way they could, trouble had to inevitably intervene.

“Rick…” he started so seriously that the black-haired boy stopped what he was doing and walked over to the edge of the bed.

“Yeah?”

“Did we, you know… Did we… have sex last night?”

It was repulsing him to even ask, but Jay knew he needed to find out the extent of what had happened before he could even go any further.

“Well yeah,” Rick smiled. “It was good wasn’t it?”

But a once smiling face now narrowed into a look of concern as Jay just sat there shaking his head.

“Idiot!” he said suddenly.

“Um…oh-kay- not exactly the response I was after,” Rick replied as he hastily went back to dressing himself.

“No, not you,” Jay replied. “Me. I’m an idiot.”

“What? Why are you an idiot?” Rick asked pulling a T-shirt on.

“Rick I got to be honest with you. The perfect man for me is interstate right now, though the way things are going it looks like we could be together and I could be happy…really happy…for the first time in my life. Now was just not the time for me to do anything, especially with one of his friends!”

Rick sighed and sat on the bed, taking the coffee cup from Jay, allowing him to get out of it and change.

“You know, I figured as much,” he sighed again. “You weren’t really all there last night. I mean, you seemed to be enjoying yourself, but you seemed…shall I say…distant?”

Jay sighed himself pulling on his shirt from last night’s shift.

“Well now you know why. I’m so sorry if I lead you on or anything, I really don’t want to hurt you. I just… I love Andy…”

Jay stopped there taking a moment to realize what he had just said.

“Wow, you know what?” he said at last. “That’s the first time I’ve actually said that out loud.”

Rick couldn’t help but smile.

“Ahhh young love,” he said reminiscently.

“Young? I’m older then you, you idiot.” Jay laughed tossing one of the bed pillows at him.

“Great!” Rick sighed, though still smiling. “Now there’s coffee all over the sheets!”

“Oh give it up.” Jay said. “I’m on housekeeping today anyway.”

Jay walked over to Rick, now fully dressed and took the cup from him. He took a breath and then looked deep into Rick’s eyes.

“Again I just want to say I’m so sorry. Really I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Rick waved him off.

“Hey man, you don’t owe me anything. Not even that well put explination from earlier. We had fun, the end. Really it’s-…”

But Jay cut him off laughing lightly

“All good?” he questioned.

“I so need a new line,” Rick replied shaking his head. “Any way I’m out of New Haven tonight in any case. And I need to check-out before 10 so we’ve only got a couple of hours left. Why don’t you go home and get changed and Ill say good bye when I’m all packed and ready to go.”

Letting out air as though a once helium filled balloon had been released, Jay hugged Rick.

“Thanks for understanding.”

“No problem. Oh and I’m not going to say anything to anyone either, especially not him, ok? That’ll be up to you if you say anything at all. I’ll see you later man.”

Jay straightened up, Rick seemed to have dismissed him and not wanting to stick around any longer anyway Jay strode towards the door and opened it and without another word, left room 203.

If only he could just get out of here undetected he would have more than enough time to get back to Andy’s, shower and change and be back for work on time. But there’s was to be no such luck, as no sooner had he closed the door when

“Jay?” came the sound of a voice he knew only too well.

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