Eleos sat in the park pretending to read a book. Through his shades he watched the twenty something year old woman flirting with a man twice her age. To anyone else these two looked like a happy couple in love and they may be, but the truth was she was cheating on her husband. He pulled out his phone and clicked on the camera icon. The man leaned in just as Eleos knew he would and kissed the woman. He took a few pictures then stuck the phone back in his pocket. This was the second day he had spent following this couple and some of the pictures weren’t so tame. His only consolation was that the woman had no children so they wouldn’t have to be put through the divorce which he knew was going to be nasty.
He flipped his book closed and stood with a sigh. He was sure he had plenty of evidence for his client which meant as soon as he sent it off he could get to something more productive like reuniting people or helping the nearby precinct with some of their harder to solve cases. His former police chief had given him a shining recommendation. He walked casually away from the couple and climbed into his car, not even giving them a second look.
Jonah’s nervousness only increased after he found Eleos was not in his office. He had finally found him one state over in Colorado. It had been hard when no one would give him the address and Eleos had no family around that he could ask. He sat across the street at the bus stop, watching the front of the office so he would know when Eleos returned. His heart leaped in his chest when he saw a car pull to a stop right in front of the place and it only increased in speed when he saw Eleos get out of the driver side. He wanted to call out to him, but his voice caught in his throat and he couldn’t speak.
Eleos flopped down in his chair with an exhausted sigh. He took out his phone, found his clients email in his contacts and sent all of the pictures he had gathered to him. He sat his phone down and rested his chin in his hand, looking out the window. It took him a moment to realize there was someone watching his office. To anyone else the person looked like he was waiting for the bus, but Eleos could tell the guy’s eyes were fixed on his office. He stood up, wondering who he had managed to piss off. He had done enough cheating husband and wife cases to know there still had to be someone sore about it. He opened the front door and the young man jumped as if he had been shocked, quickly getting to his feet and lifting the bag sitting on the bench.
“Hey, hold on.” Eleos said as he grabbed the guy by his shoulder and spun him around. His eyes widened in recognition. “Jonah?”
“He…hello Eleos, good to see you again.”
“Yeah, it’s me.”
“Wait, the last time I saw you…”
“I was seventeen, I grew an inch.”
Eleos shook his head as if to dispel his shock. “Uh, why don’t you come inside, we can talk over coffee.”
Jonah walked in, glad to see Eleos actually seemed glad to see him. “Please sit, I’ll start the coffee” Jonah sat down and began glancing around Eleos’s office. Everything looked nice and professional but it still had a tone to it that made you relax. He wondered if Eleos had paid someone to pull such a look off. When he had the coffee started his mind became occupied with memories of Jonah, all those wonderful days they had shared together while he was recovering from his trauma. Jonah was such an amazing man and he was ecstatic that they were reuniting again now that he was an adult.
Eleos poured the coffee in mugs then handed one to Jonah before sitting down beside him. “I have so many questions. How have you been?” Eleos asked Jonah “I’ve been great. I’m in college now to become an attorney” Eleos smiled that heart string stroking grin. “good for you, you doing well?’
“Oh yeah, I struggle at times with the work but who doesn’t?”
“How did you find me?” Jonah blushed “I was..to be honest I looked for you. Just tell me if I was stupid but i thought we were actually friends..like you hanging out with me and comforting me wasn’t just a job..I just wanted us to be friends again if I wasn’t imagining things”
“You weren’t, not at all. I’m glad you found me” Those words were a relief to Jonas and he finally let go of his tension.
“So why did you stop calling?”
Eleos sighed. “I just got caught up in everything after retiring, felt kind of depressed when I wasn’t going to be able to go out and do what I loved. I didn’t need you worrying after what happened to you.”
“You wouldn’t have burdened me in any way, I would have helped you.”
Eleos smiled and tussled his hair. “You always thought of others more than yourself. I’m fine now though and I’m sorry for cutting you out. It’s really, really good to see you.”
“You sound tired.”
“It’s been a long, semi boring week.” He sat his cup down and leaned back, lacing his fingers behind his head. “So, how long are you here for?”
“How long can I stay?”
Eleos laughed and sat up, draping his arm over Jonah’s shoulders and pulling him close. “You’re an adult now, you don’t have to ask. It’s not like I own this town.”
“Are you in a hotel?”
Jonah shook his head. “I just got into town.”
“Good, then you’ll be staying with me until you decide to go home.”
Jonah blushed “really?”
“Yeah, gives us a lot of time together. I’ve missed you, I really have. I’m sure it’s hard to believe me since I havent gotten in contact with you but it’s the truth. Stay with me”
“I understand you were just trying not to burden me but” his blush deepend as he continued “never think that”
“I just finished a job so I can do what i want since I’m my own boss. Lets finish our coffee then I’ll lock up and show you where I live” Jonah nodded and took a nervous sip of his coffee.
After they were finished Jonah waited patiently while Eleos closed the curtains, switched off the lights and locked the doors. “You ready?” He asked after giving the door handle a jiggle.
Eleos smiled. “Still the same shy little boy.”
“I am not.”
Eleos tussled his hair again and Jonah blushed. He hated he was still being treated like a child and wondered if Eleos would always see him that way. Eleos gestured toward his car and Jonah tossed his bag in the back seat then climbed in the front. “Stir fry and rice sound good for dinner?”
“Sounds delicious, I never have time to cook real food anymore.”
“What about your mom, I’m sure she’d cook for you.”
Jonah nervously picked at his jeans. “The school I’m attending isn’t in the same city so I don’t get to see her much. She calls every day though and sends me care packages, you know with soap and snacks and stuff like that. It makes some of the other guys kind of jealous.”
“None of them pick on you do they, I know bullying doesn’t stop at high school.”
“No, I’d say something if they did.”
“Good and I’ll give you my new number so you can call me if something happens. I’ll drive over and kick the shit out of any creep who touches you, I’m allowed to do that to grown men.”
Jonah smiled, still picking at his jeans. Still he said “I don’t need you to do that”
“Need or not I will” Eleos drove Jonah to his home and guided him inside “I guess as a good host I’ll give you a tour of my humble home” He said then took Jonahs hand, both tingling at the feel of eachothers touch. Eleos’s home was small and a place Jonah knew he could be very comfortable in. He hoped when he gathered the courage to tell Eleos how he felt it would be reciprocated but he was even less confident now than before since he felt like Eleos still saw him as a child.
He had only been an adult two years but he still wasn’t one and he’d have to figure out a way to make him see that. With the tour complete Eleos began pulling out what he needed to cook with. Jonah felt awkward, not knowing what he should do with himself. Eleos didn’t seem to notice and just went about cooking.
He sat down at the kitchen table and bounced his leg, his fingers laced together in front of him on the table. “Hey Jonah, can you do something for me?”
Eleos chuckled as he turned and sat his dad’s ring on the table. “Can you hang onto that until I’m done cooking. I don’t like putting it in my pocket because I forget it sometimes.”
“Sure.” He picked up the ring and looked it over. It was a simple gold band with a name inscribed on the inside. Jonah knew this was Eleos’ mother’s name and thought the gesture from his father was incredibly romantic. From the Eleos had talked about his dad, the man was honorable, fiercely loyal and loving. It was a shame he would never get to meet the man who had helped raise Eleos.
“You feel better now?” Eleos asked and Jonah looked at him.
“What do you mean?”
“You were so jittery, I hoped to take your mind off things.”
“Oh, well you succeeded.”
“What’s on your mind that has you so nervous? You seem uncomfortable in my presence.”
“No, that’s not it at all.” He blushed at his sudden outburst. “Sorry, you don’t make me uncomfortable, I just don’t know what to do.”
“Do whatever you want, my home is your home. I have books, I have movies, there’s soda in the fridge, if you would like something from the store I’ll give you my keys.”
“You’d trust me with your car?”
“Are you planning on robbing a bank while you’re here?”
“Of course not.”
“Then yes, I trust you.”
“There isn’t anything I need, do you need help cooking?”
“No, just let me handle this. Go enjoy a book or somthing on TV”
“Okay” Jonah got up and walked to the living room, switching on the TV and sitting down. He flipped through channels until he saw one that was playing Batman Returns. He took a deep breath in then let it out as he sat down the remote. Jonah knew he needed to relax. This was Eleos, the wonderful, amazing man who had helped him through his trauma. There was nothing to be nervous about since he wasn’t admitting his feelings just yet.
Eleos peeked into the living room to check on Jonah. The last time he had seen him this worried was when he had to face his abductor in court. He could tell there was something on his mind and he wished he’d just come out and say whatever was seeming to burden him. He went back to cooking before Jonah realized he was being watched and got embarrassed. He finished off the stir fry and rice then made a plate for both of them and went into the living room. “Here.”
Jonah jumped in surprise and blushed as he took his plate. “Thanks, do you want to watch something else.”
“I’m fine with whatever.” He watched Jonah out of the corner of his eye, seeing him frown. He wanted to ask if he was okay again, but didn’t want to push him. The boy he had helped take care of had grown into quite the handsome young man, yet he lacked such confidence in himself. It was in the way he held himself, almost like he was waiting for another attack.
“This is really good, too bad you don’t live close anymore or you could always cook for me.”
“Would you like me to move?”
“Oh, you don’t have to do that, I was just saying.”
Eleos could hear the hopefulness in his voice even though he denied he wanted it, but he said no more and they continued to eat and watch TV. Jonah suddenly remembered the ring and handed it to him. “See I forgot you had it. I wear it so much that I always feel it.” He took the ring and slid it on his finger.
“So you still wear it too keep people away huh?”
“I’m not a big fan of being hit on while I’m working. Some people take the hint and some don’t.”
“So you’re never going to get married then?”
“I didn’t say that, I can’t just marry anyone, it has to be someone special.” He yawned. “Man I’m tired.”
“Why don’t you go to bed.”
“I’m fine.” He rubbed his shoulder and Jonah gave him a concerned look. “Don’t worry, it just aches sometimes.”
“That’s my fault.”
“You didn’t pull the trigger Jonah, that monster did. He chose to shoot me just like he chose to take you.”
“Do you want me to rub you shoulder for you?”
He smiled. “If you really want to then sure.”
Jonah stood up and walked behind the couch so he could rub Eleos’s shoulders. Eleos let out a small, content noise as Jonah began to work them. “this is the least I could do”
“You never have and dont owe me anything Jonah”
“I know, you’re not the type to hold things over someones head.”
“as long as you know that. I’d be hurt to find out you are here because you feel you need to repay me”
“It’s not that at all, I swear” Jonah rubbed until his hands were sore then joined Eleos on the couch again “Your hands can work magic, thank you”
“You made dinner and I helped with your shoulder, fair trade off” Eleos smiled “I would say so” They ate their dinner and made small talk, completely ignoring the movie in the background. Somhow the contact of rubbing Eleos’s shoulders made him more comfortable. It was odd since the mere thought of touching Eleos normally made him blush but actually doing things and imagining are always different. Not that it wasn’t amazing because it was, its just that he felt that connection come back that they had when he was a kid.
They both finished eating and Eleos took their plates to the kitchen and sat them in the sink. He came back and took his place on the couch once more, propping his feet up on the coffee table. He yawned again and his eyelids started to grow heavy. “Eleos, go to bed, you’re falling asleep.”
“You know I remember when I was the one taking care of you, making sure you got to bed, and were eating.” He patted Jonah’s head. “Alright, I’ll go.” He stood and stretched. “You should move your stuff into the guest room.”
“I will, just get some rest.”
“Worry wart, you get to bed too.”
“You don’t have to baby me, I’ll go when I’m tired.”
Eleos smiled at him then let out an amused huff and once again tussled his hair. He got a glare and couldn’t help but find him adorable. He had the urge to bend down and kiss him to wipe that look off his face and found himself shocked at his thoughts. That was the last thing he needed, some guy coming onto him. “Goodnight Jonah, I’ll see you in the morning.”
Jonah felt bad for getting short with him. He could tell it was just habit for Eleos to treat him like he was younger. He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck then got up and grabbed his bag. He went into the guest room, dropped it on the floor and pulled his clothes off. The bed was incredibly comfortable and he curled up under the blankets. At school he never felt this comfortable. He had a roommate at school, a guy bigger than him, and it made it hard to sleep. When he could sleep, he would have nightmares and would have to muffle his screams upon waking so as not to freak his roommate out. Here he knew he would be safe and that if he did have a nightmare, Eleos would be there. He heard the shower switch on and closed his eyes, letting the sound of the rushing water lull him to sleep.
He slept peacefully in the safety of Eleos’s home until about two am when his all too familiar nightmares came creeping back into his dreams. The horror of what he experienced was playing again and he could feel the fear just as much as he felt it when he was actually in the situation, these dreams were always far too real. He was screaming and tossing himself which woke Eleos, his heart gripped with fear that somthing was happening to Jonah again.
Eleos bolted out of bed, not bother to clothe himself. He was wearing boxers but clothes was so far from his mind he wouldn’t have paused to dress even if he had absolutely nothing covering his body. He jerked open Eleos’s door, glad he hadn’t locked it. He felt a little better when he saw Jonah wasn’t in any new danger but still wanted to hurry and pull him out of his dream.
“Jonah, wake up.” He shook his shoulders and Jonah swung at him. He was still fast enough he managed to dodge the blow and grab Jonah’s wrist. “Jonah!” He yelled this time and this time his eyes flew open. He scrambled back, slamming into the headboard. “Whoa, it’s me buddy, you’re safe.” He still had a hold of his wrist so pulled him slowly into his arms. Jonah clung to him and started crying and Eleos stroked his hair.
“I’m sorry.” He said between sobs.
“I woke you.”
“Shh, there’s no reason to apologize. Do you want to talk about it?”
“It was the day I tried to escape, he was extremely brutal that day he…he made me beg for his forgiveness.” He cried hard, his whole body shaking. “I had too.”
“I know, no one thinks less of you, I promise.” He kissed Jonah’s forehead. “You did what you had too do to survive.”
“Will you stay with me, please?”
“Of course I will. Would you like me to get you some water first?”
“Okay.” Eleos got up against the headboard and Jonah settled himself against his chest. “This okay?”
“Yeah, perfect, thank you.”
Eleos gently wrapped his arms around Jonah and watched him slowly drift back to sleep. He hated that even now that man was torturing him. He had hoped after these last couple years passing he wouldn’t be haunting his nightmares any longer. It was a foolish hope since he knew things like that scar a part of you forever. Eleos struggled to fall asleep himself due to being angry at Jonahs kidnapper but eventually he was able to make himself relax and drift to sleep.
The next morning around ten am Jonah jerked awake. It took him a second to realize why he was being held but when he did he looked up and Eleos who smiled down at him “thank you”
“I’m always here for you now that we’re in touch again.”
“I’m sure it sucks to be woken up twice, last night and when i jerked just now”
“doesn’t matter to me, I just didn’t want you scared. Lets get properly dressed and I’ll make us breakfast”
“I think its my turn to cook”
“You are my guest and thats that”
But I’m already causing you trouble.”
Eleos rolled his eyes. “If I hear you say that again I’ll string you up by your toes.”
“That still sounds like it would be an incredibly painful thing to go through.” He said, brightly smiling.
“That’s more like it, your smile has always made me happy.”
Jonah blushed and his heart fluttered in his chest. “I guess I’ll go take a shower while you cook then.”
Eleos kissed his forehead for the second time then got out of bed. Jonah watched him until he left the room then covered his face with his hands. He felt like such a child. Even though he had liked Eleos coming to comfort him in the middle of the night, he still felt like he was being a burden. He sighed and pushed his hair out of his face then got up and grabbed clean clothes out of his bag. He peeked out the door and when he didn’t see Eleos he hurried down the hall to the bathroom. He took a quick shower, the warm water washing away the rest of his worry. The smell of food made his stomach growl when he stepped out of the bathroom and he moved slowly into the kitchen.
“Feel better?” Eleos asked.
“Yeah, that smells good.”
“Eggs, bacon, and homemade hash browns.”
“For being there for me and not just last night, but for all the days you spent comforting me, for coming over in the middle of the night when my mom would call you. It meant a lot to me.”
Eleos just smiled and finished cooking. He made their plates then poured them each a cup of coffee. “You still eat your eggs over easy right, if not I can throw them back on.”
“This is perfect.” Eleos smiled warmly then chopped up his eggs into his hash browns. “I still can’t believe you do that.” Jonah said.
“I still don’t believe you don’t.” They both laughed. “So, since you’ve never been here before, how about I show you around after breakfast.”
“You dont have to work?”
“I work for myself so I can be off whenever I choose to be as long as I’m not working on somthing and you have perfect timing, just finished a job”
“Then that sounds fun” Eleos smiled at him before continuing to eat. Jonah was glad Eleos had found a shirt because it would be far too hard to eat if Eleos’s torso was still exposed. It was distracting enough to know his bottom half was still only in boxers and he couldn’t even see that portion of him as they consumed their breakfast. When they were done Jonah took care of the dishes and clean up so Eleos could dress. He came out smelling amazing, some scent Jonah didn’t know, not even from when they first knew eachother. It must be a newer thing he picked up.
He followed Eleos out and climbed into the passenger seat of his car. “Are you wearing cologne?” Jonah asked as that new smell filled the car.
“Yeah, one of my clients bought it for me as a gift.”
“Oh.” He felt a sudden stab of jealousy and looked out the window.
“Is it bad?”
“No, it smells amazing actually.”
Eleos smiled. “Good.” He pulled out of the driveway and Jonah continued to stare out the window, feeling petty for being jealous of someone he didn’t even know. Of course people would want to give Eleos gifts, he was the sweetest man in the world and a hard worker. “Hey, are you alright?” Eleos asked.
“Yeah, where are we going?”
“To the museum, you still like them right?”
“I love them, I missed doing things with you.” He tapped his fingers on his leg and Eleos reached over and took his hand.
“What’s on your mind?”
“Do you remember the day I got out of the hospital?”
“Yeah, you were terrified and wouldn’t let go of me.”
“You took me and my mom to the museum then got me ice cream, could we do that? I know it sounds stupid, but it’s one of my fondest memories. You made me feel so safe.”
He squeezed Jonah’s hand. “That doesn’t sound stupid at all.”
Jonah smiled shyly, loving the feel of Eleos’s hand on his. They easily found a parking space at the museum and got out. Jonah wanted Eleos’s hand back but felt weird asking. He especially didn’t want to since he was trying to make Eleos see him as an adult rather than a child. They looked around and talked about the exhibits that interested them for a few hours then left for some ice cream. Jonah was surprised when Eleos didn’t ask what he wanted and actually remembered what kind he had asked for the day they had been imitating.
Eleos smiled at the surprise on his face “How could I forget anything about you Jonah?” Another shy smile tugged at Jonahs lips as they received their icecream then sat down at a table meant for two. The ice cream store was a small establishment that felt like a family run place so Jonah asked “what makes you like this one? We passed a few places we could have gotten ice cream on the way here”
“I like that a family I know runs this place. If I’m going to eat ice cream I’d prefer they get the money for it. They are a really nice family. I’ll have to introduce you while you’re here”
Jonah traced the circle patterns on the table as he ate, the ice cream making him feel less nervous. He jumped when Eleos grabbed his hand to stop its movements. “You okay?”
“Yeah, it’s just a habit. It gives me something to do with my hands.”
“If you need something to do with your hands then just hold mine.”
Jonah blushed. “Is it really okay to do that?”
He chuckled. “Why wouldn’t it be? I’m here to support you.”
“What if people say something?”
His smile was warm and loving. “The owners know my sexual orientation and I could care less what strangers think so if someone happens to see me holding another man’s hand, it won’t matter.”
“I don’t want to be childish, I shouldn’t have to cling to you.”
“I don’t mind and besides it seems to have calmed you down.”
Jonah smiled. “Thank you.” They finished their ice cream and threw away their napkins. Eleos waved bye to the woman behind the counter then pulled Jonah outside. Now that they were out in public, Jonah felt weird holding his hand. He didn’t want people to misunderstand and he became even more worried about looking childish. He pulled his hand away and looked away.
“There’s a park we can walk to.”
His cheeks were red the whole time they walked and his heart hammered loudly in his chest. He kept his eyes downcast, afraid others may be giving them strange looks. He wished he could be as confident as Eleos, wished he could walk with his head high and not be afraid of being attacked again. The man who had taken him had become obsessed and he feared he would run into someone like that again. The park was nice, with a little pond in the middle of it. There were ducks and people standing on the bank feeding them. He was snatched from a place like this, so calm and beautiful that it had been deceptive. He instinctively grabbed on Eleos’s arm, feeling embarrassed.
“It’s okay.” Eleos said and smiled at him lovingly. It nearly made Jonah’s heart stop.
“I…I’m sorry. It’s just…this place…” Eleos stopped and kissed him, making him jump back in shock. “What are you doing?”
“You looked upset, I don’t like it when you’re upset.”
“But you kissed me. You can’t just do that, I might think…I might misunderstand.”
Eleos grabbed his chin. “Tell me what’s on your mind.”
Jonah swallowed nervously, trapped by Eleos’s gaze. “I love you.” A smile spread across Eleos’s face and he gave Jonah a hug.
“It’s not fair how cute you are, even now.” He kissed Jonah’s forehead. “I love you too.”
“I don’t mean like a child.”
“I know.” He tipped Jonah’s head back and kissed his lips.
Jonah blushed, allowing himself to get lost in Eleos’s soft lips. When Eleos pulled back he said “I noticed right away how incredibly handsome you had become and if you are the same man I remember then I know I love you, deeply. ”
“You don’t mind long distance?”
“I’m a private detective, I can live anywhere and find work. We’ll only be long distance until I can sell my house. After that I’ll move” Jonah was both delighted and surprised “You’d really move for me?”
“I love you” Jonah pulled Eleos into another kiss, hit face just as hot as the last time. Eleos smiled against Jonah’s lips, hoping it was a long time before the long distance part kicked in.
~ The End ~