Never More Lonely Pt. 3
"I'm glad I'm finally done with this week." I sink down on the couch with a sigh, a beer in my hand. Cooper chuckles. He'd just gotten back from work too. He'd been putting in a lot of hours over the last two weeks too.
"Is work always this hectic for you?" he asks, taking a drink of his beer.
I shake my head. "But the bosses are pushing hard to have this project wrap up early. We could have worked tomorrow, but I wanted to spend the day with you, so I put the crews on ten hour days this week instead. It was bad enough having to work last weekend."
Cooper pushed his hair off his forehead with one hand. "So you're done now?"
Nodding, I take a big drink from my beer, draining half in one go. The bitter tang is just what I need to cut the dust from my throat. "Yeah. We can just relax this weekend."
"Well, I do have something I want to talk to you about." Cooper's fingers tap on the neck of his bottle.
I stiffen. "I don't think anything good has ever come from that phrase." I was trying for a joking tone, but I couldn't quite pull it off.
"There's something I want to do tomorrow, but I wanted to talk it over with you first." His gaze travels over my living room before settling back on me. His pinkie is still tapping the side of his bottle.
My stomach is churning. "Okay. Well, just tell me." The beating around the bush was going to kill me if he didn't just say it. I thought everything had been good between us.
"Well, my boss told me if I want to stay and manage the office, one of the perks is a housing allotment. I thought we could go look at apartments."
What was I supposed to say to that? I'd thought ... I carefully sit my beer down on the coffee table. I don't use coasters, but the table is a hand me down from my older sister and already well used anyway. My eyes slide around my apartment, looking at the spindly TV stand, the white walls and blank windows with dusty white blinds, the ubiquitous brown carpet that all apartments seem to have, and then settle on Cooper.
He's dressed in gray slacks and a red dress shirt, his tie loose but still around his neck. His hair is smoothed back but he has his glasses off. He looks good, really good. Much better than me with my dirty work pants and blue button down shirt open over my white t-shirt, sleeves rolled unevenly up exposing my dirty forearms.
Of course he'd want to look for someplace nicer to live if he is going to stay. Someplace closer to his work, with nice floors and furniture. Who wouldn't trade up if they could?
I run a hand over my head, scrubbing back and forth, the question of how long it would be until he trades up from me flashing in my mind. Once he settles into his work, he'll get to know someone who fits in with his more sophisticated lifestyle.
I look up. Cooper looks confused. "If you're too tired, you don't have to go with me. I can go by myself in the morning and you can sleep in. I know you've been getting up at five every morning."
Looking for a place would take a while, right? He wouldn't be moving out right away. I still have time with him. "I am tired."
His face falls. "Oh." He looks away from me as he takes a drink of his beer. "Okay. I just wanted to get your input on the places, but maybe I can take some pictures with my camera. That way you can tell if they are good or not."
I really don't want to help him pick out a place where he is going to go to be away from me. Maybe I am trying to move too fast.
"Well, let's talk about it in the morning. I might be fine by then."
I pick up the remote and turn on the TV. "I got a chicken at the store on the way home," I say. "You want to eat and watch a movie?" I'm striving hard to act normal.
Cooper and I work in my small kitchen, bumping into each other. It'd seemed fun before, prompting gropes and kisses, but tonight I wonder if the cramped quarters are part of what prompted him to want to find a new place to live.
I'd been assuming we were going to stay together. That he wanted to. I hate being wrong.
That night was also the first night we didn't have sex of any sort since our first night sleeping together. He still made me hard when he slid next to me in bed, especially now that he was sleeping naked, but I'd no actual desire to do anything.
Instead I lay awake, going over everything, trying to figure out what I've been missing.
The sleep I manage to get is restless. It's early when I wake up with my heart pounding but no idea of what I was dreaming. The bedroom curtains were cracked open and I can see the sun rising through the trees, turning the clouds pink and purple.
Scooting away from Cooper's warm body, I get out of bed and walk to the small window, opening it. The air smells wet with the morning dew that hasn't yet been chased away by the heat of the day. A small bird is a speck against the clouds, wheeling and turning in the distance.
It looks so alone, soaring in solitude.
Don't forget to let me know what you think, then move along and read some of the other Briefer's flash pieces! Links below:
Michael Mandrake m/m
MA Church m/m