Building Up to Love
“You’re a genius.” Gage clapped his hands. His posture loosened, shoulders down and relaxed. “So what’s with you hitting the bottle on a weeknight? I thought you left your partying days behind you in grad school.”
Jared rolled his eyes. “I was such a party animal, too. Because construction sites are great places to be hung over.” He’d worked full time throughout his college years, and Gage knew it too. Sure, he had a full scholarship, but it hadn’t covered books or living expenses, and Jared had felt obligated to help support their mom and younger siblings at home.
He scoffed and took another gulp of his drink. “So your favorite client came by the building to pick out his finishes yesterday.”
Gage paled. “Aw, Geez. Wait— you’re working on that project?”
“Yeah. Well, the other interior guy’s in jail, so I picked it up.”
Gage grimaced. “I guess I couldn’t have kept you apart forever. But it shouldn’t have been a problem. You can be around each other long enough to let him pick out finishes.”
Jared squirmed in his seat. He didn’t want to confess his weakness to anyone, but he had to say something to someone. Gage was the best choice. And he should know. “He came back while I was laying out bathroom tiles.”
Gage closed his eyes. “Tell me that’s not a euphemism.”
Jared blushed. “It wasn’t a euphemism at first. But, um. We were arguing, and then—”
“Oh God, I watched this porno in middle school.”
“It’s not a porn— wait, what?”
“Angry office sex. It’s a classic porn trope. Come on, Jared, have you been living under a rock? The couple — who may not be a couple yet, but you know how it is — they argue, and then the next thing you know they’re getting busy right then and there over a desk or something—” Gage’s eyes bulged open and he grabbed for Jared’s drink. “Oh my God. My baby brother. Cannot unsee.”
Jared took his drink back. “Dude. No. It wasn’t quite like that. I mean there’s no furniture in there.”
Gage whimpered and covered his eyes.
“It’s just— I’m not sure where my brain went. I was just not thinking clearly, and that was all she wrote. I shouldn’t have done it. I should’ve punched him in the face and called the cops for trespassing.”
Gage calmed himself down. “But you didn’t,” he said with a sigh. “I think you need to ask yourself why.”
“I don’t know why. Impulsivity. Stupid bi people doing stupid bi people things—”
“Hey.” Gage’s voice cut through the din of the bar like a whip. “None of that. You never believed any of it before, don’t you start now.” He put his hand on Jared’s drink. “Maybe you’ve had enough of that.”
“Maybe if I drink enough of it, I’ll stop hearing him say it.” Jared took his drink back and drained it, but he could still hear Logan.
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