I lean forward, arms braced, facing them both. I’m trying not to appear confrontational, but this means so much to me I can barely keep my voice steady. I don’t want my persuasion to come across as bullying. After all, it has to be a decision for and by all three of us.
I just want that decision to be right.
I glance at Eddy first. “You haven’t said much.”
Eddy appears to be engrossed in his coffee. His eyelids droop sleepily, there’s the slightest lick of rose colour across his cheeks. I can see the gentle throb of his pulse at his throat. Soft skin, soft movement. Most people think he’s uber-shy, sometimes aloof. They find him difficult to approach.
I find him the most enchanting creature on earth.
Or… one of them, at least.
I glance at the other man on my mind and in my kitchen, Andy. Stockier, with none of Eddy’s delicacy. Strong, practical, determined. Callused hands that know their business so, so well. He’s half-frowning, like he’s wondering whether to defend or attack.
“You sure?” is all he says.
“I’ve never been more sure of anything.” Andy always needs time to work through things. Totally solid when he settles on his path, but he takes a while to find it.
Haven’t I given him enough time so far?
My gut clenches.
“What will people think?” Eddy says suddenly, startling us both.
“Do you care?” I snap back, far too sharply.
But Eddy doesn’t flinch. Those compassionate brown eyes undo me, every time. “You know I don’t. But maybe you will. One day.”
I peel his hand from his mug and capture it in mine. His palm is warm. “Never,” I say.
With my free hand, I reach for Andy. His large fingers curl around mine.
“We gotta make it legal,” he says roughly. “For Eddy, if not for us. Protection. All he has is us—”
“I’m not a kid,” Eddy protests. “I’m equal in this. Right?”
“Always.” I smile at him: at them both. A ripple of pleasure and content runs through the three of us, joined by our hands, like our personal Mexican wave.
“This is home,” I say.
“Yours,” Andy says stubbornly, though his hand tightens on mine.
“Ours.” I nod. “I’ll draw up the agreement.”
There’s silence in the kitchen. A drop of water falls from the tap into the sink. The fridge makes a familiar clunk in the background.
Andy clears his throat. “Not good at this. Words, that is. But I’m happy.” His earnest gaze flickers between me and Eddy. “For the first time in years. Very happy.”
My heart leaps. “Eddy? What about you?”
He’s quiet for a painfully long moment. My heart hammers, too fast.
He puts down his mug, then eases off his chair. His smile is wicked. “It’s what I want. What I’ve got. No more discussion needed. Right?” He tugs us both towards the door. “Can we all go back to bed now?”
Flash Fiction/ Clare London