Sunday: February 10, 2008
Thanks to Ed and a couple nightmares thrown his way, Dallas had spent another night sleeping like garbage. He scratched at his scalp as he made his way out to the kitchen, still dressed in his pajamas. On his way past the living room, he found Bo still asleep on the couch, legs pulled to his chest. He hardly took up the room a dog would.
At least he had slept. Dallas figured he had to chalk that up to a plus.
Or we could’ve killed him, Ed said. Dallas stopped walking. You were tired, Tex. So, so tired. Do you know how easy it is to take control of you when you’re exhausted?
Dallas took a few steps back and stared at Bo, waiting for any sign of Bo’s life. He lay on his side, the blanket tugged up to his shoulders and tucked under his feet. If he was breathing, there was no sign of it.
Heart pounding in his chest, Dallas walked over to the couch and pressed two fingers to Bo’s inner wrist. It took a moment of feeling around to find a heartbeat besides his own, but it was there. Bo was alive.
Ed laughed, a sudden headache shattering every cohesive thought in Dallas’s mind. Oh, I got you so good, Tex.
Dallas managed to make it to the kitchen before falling to his knees. He squeezed his eyes shut, bowing his head as he slammed his left hand down over his ear. It wasn’t long before he felt a hand on his. He opened his eyes, squinting at Bo, even the dim light in the kitchen proving to be too much to handle.
Bo sat in front of him on the floor, legs folded. He grabbed Dallas’s left hand and, without ever making a noise, rubbed his thumb in a small circle in the space between the base of Dallas’s thumb and forefinger. Dallas didn’t know how long it took, but eventually, the headache faded, as did the loud noises and overwhelmingly bright lights.
“Acupressure. I assumed it was a migraine, based on… everything.” Bo offered a smile. “How often do they happen?”
“Depends on the month. Sometimes only once, sometimes a couple times a week.”
“I’m sorry you have to suffer through them. Have you seen a doctor?”
“Yeah. We believe it’s an underlying condition that we have to try and treat first,” Dallas said. Unfortunately, that underlying condition was Ed, and Dallas was pretty damn sure that bastard wasn’t going anywhere.
“I hope you find the underlying cause soon.”
“Me too. Thank you.” Dallas cleared his throat. “Was that a pressure point, then?”
“Yes.” Bo grabbed Dallas’s hand again and pressed his thumb into the same space as before. “Right here. You should do it on your left hand. You can massage it with your right hand, even with your arm in the sling.
“Cool. Thank you.”
Dallas shifted to sit on his ass rather than his knees. “When did you finally head to bed? Or, uh, to couch?”
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. For once, it didn’t immediately disappear. “Some time shortly after two o’clock this morning. Xavier made popcorn and introduced me to Uncharted. He was very excited to show it to me.”
Dallas nodded. “Yeah, that’s become his favorite game, that’s for damn sure. Ruggedly handsome hero saving pretty girls and shit.” He smiled. “He’s a fan of that. Did he have you play it?”
“Yes. He showed me all the treasure locations I passed so I didn’t have to search for them myself.”
“Good, good.” Dallas leaned back against the refrigerator, pulling his knees up just enough to rest his forearms on them. “You a gamer, Austen?”
“No,” Bo said, a little chuckle slipping through the monotone facade. “My friends introduced me to gaming, but I still only really do it when I’m with them.”
“I thought you didn’t have friends?”
Bo shook his head. “I didn’t have friends while I was in school. I made a few after graduating. Bridget would be one of them. She enjoys the Halo games. I play those with her.”
“Ah, that’s fair. I guess you did clarify that.”
“I generally do,” Bo agreed. He wrapped his hands around his ankles. “Your brother is kind and… humorous. I enjoy his company.”
Dallas smiled, turning his head toward Bo again. “I’m glad you like him. You believe me on the schedule thing now?”
“Yes. It’s… comforting to meet someone like me in a role like your brother’s.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“A ‘role’ like my brother’s.”
“Oh.” Bo cleared his throat, rocking back for a moment. “Uh, well… a role where he has… someone he lives with all the time. Someone who still… loves him, despite who he is and how he acts.”
“Ah,” Dallas whispered. “You’ve got people that love you.”
“Yes, but I fear staying with my adopted parents for too long. I love them. They say they love me. But I assume love for me runs out after six years. So I space my years out.”
“Is… six years how long your biological parents had you before giving you up?”
“I’m sorry, man.”
Dallas scratched his jaw, shaking his head. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to live with that idea in your head, always thinking that you have to keep track of how long you’ve spent with someone to know how close you are to six whole years.”
“I manage. But it’s… still comforting to know that I may have been wrong.” A pause. “Well, about some people, anyway.”
“Everyone’s not the same. We all don’t fit into one of those baby toy shape box things.”
Bo smiled. “I suppose not.”
Dallas reached out and patted Bo’s knee. “Do you work today?”
“I’m on call, but I’m not at the station unless they need me.”
“Cool. Got any plans for the day, then?”
“I suppose not. Why? Do you have plans that involve me?”
Dallas chuckled. “No, we’ll both take the day off from crime shit. But I have some errands I need to run, so I was just wondering if you wanted to stay here with Xavier or if you needed a ride somewhere.”
“If it won’t negatively affect your brother, I think I’ll stay here. I don’t have anywhere else to be.”
“Nah, it won’t bother him. He might just have you play more Uncharted.”
“I will accept my fate.”
Dallas chuckled. “I’m sure Xavier will appreciate that, man.” He smoothed a hand over his short curls. “You wanna help me make breakfast?”
“Do you know how to make French toast?”
Bo smiled. “I think it would be incredibly inconsiderate to offer the suggestion if I was unable to make it.”
“That’s fair.” Dallas pushed himself to his feet before cocking his head to the side. “Holy shit. You’ve been making eye contact with me this entire time.”
“Yes. The hungry cat rarely attacks the hand willing to feed her.” Bo grabbed the counter and pulled himself up. “Well, neither does the human whose migraine dissipated with the help of an unknown pressure point.”
I almost like him, Ed said.
“Fair point, Austen.” Dallas smiled. “Let’s see if we have French toast materials.”
“I do believe you mean ingredients.”
Dallas couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, ingredients. Let’s see what we’ve got.”
A/N: Warning in advance, this is the final chapter I currently have completed. Hopefully, I’ll have another ready by next Thursday, but it depends if I make it back around to this book or not. If there isn’t one next week, there should be one the week after. Thank you in advance for your patience, just in case!
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