Closeness Ch. 05byPS_Lopez©
Jesse shut his car door and sighed, gazing at the garage he'd parked in front of. It told him nothing he didn't already know. After a minute considering what the meeting his father had requested might entail, he left his car and went to the house.
He hadn't tried approaching Archer since That Morning. Archer wouldn't have wanted to see him. The past two weeks had been a circle of self-recriminations and regret and repeated realizations he wanted Archer in his life, but he knew without asking Archer wouldn't settle for mere friendship. No, Archer would want something more than the brotherly relationship they'd shared since they were kids.
Jesse wasn't sure he could do it.
At the door, he took out his keys. In his efforts to avoid Archer, he hadn't gone to the shipping office, so he hadn't seen his father since before That Morning. It was probably why Dad had finally called and asked him to visit. Wary, Jesse had asked if Archer would also be present. Assured Archer wouldn't be, Jesse had agreed to meet.
Inside, he shut the door and locked it, then looked around. He could do one of two things: just hunt his father down, or call his father to get his location. Neither really appealed, but since he didn't really feel like talking right now, Jesse decided on hunting Dad down.
It didn't take long. Dad was in the ground-floor office, going over paperwork, probably to do with one of the rental properties he owned. He had an accountant take care of things, but he liked to keep up with things on his own. When Jesse entered, he looked up.
"You made it."
Jesse nodded and glanced around. This office was much roomier than the one at his father's job, and it contained chairs facing the desk as well as a comfortable suede leather sofa and matching loveseat over by a built-in bar. Sometimes Dad invited business peers in for chats, so the bar was well-stocked. Jesse went over and dropped onto the sofa, slouching, and wove his fingers over his abdomen.
"Why so glum?"
He shook his head, figuring Archer had probably spoken to Dad about the situation already. Dad got up and came over to sit next to him.
"Is this about Archer?"
Jesse nodded, scowling.
Dad put his feet on the coffee table, crossing his ankles as he slouched into the sofa and folded his arms over his chest. "He wants me to get his apartment keys from you."
Without speaking, Jesse shifted to dig into his pocket after his keys. He didn't see a point in trying to protest. It wasn't like he'd figured out a way to get past the fact he and Archer had been brothers for more than ten years. One of his father's hands covered his when he had his keys out, starting to remove the fob which opened the door to the building Archer lived in.
"I don't want them."
Jesse huffed a breath and dropped his hands. The keys jangled. "What am I supposed to do with them?"
"First you need to decide how much you want Archer in your life."
He dropped his head on the back of the sofa, groaning softly. "I love him. I want him back. I just don't know if—" He couldn't say it, what he and Archer had done or talk about making a real romantic relationship with Archer.
Dad inhaled a deep breath, folding his arms over his chest again. "Well, Archer's pretty certain about how he feels about you. He just doesn't think you'll see the reality of the situation."
Jesse gave a bitter laugh. "And what is the reality, Dad?"
"This is just my opinion, but I think the reality is you two haven't been siblings since Archer turned eighteen. There's always been something more between you. To be honest, it was there before he turned eighteen, but you both just did your best to ignore it. Particularly after Archer reached eighteen."
Dad sighed a little. "Helena and I expected you two to hook up much sooner."
Another bitter laugh. "Right, Dad. When?"
"As soon as Archer turned eighteen. We didn't see a reason why you two should continue to deny yourselves." Dad sat up a little, pushing himself back in the sofa, and switched his legs so the opposite one crossed over. "But you two did. Archer told me why he changed then, but I don't know why you did."
"He's my brother, Dad."
"Are you saying so because you really believe it, or because you're afraid to face the truth?"
Jesse pressed his lips thin and tucked his keys away before folding his arms over his chest. The question made him aware of the truth, and he scowled. Just because he could admit it to himself didn't mean he had to like it.
"We've been brothers since we were kids."
"It doesn't mean you can't change the relationship, Jesse. Archer took a huge risk with you, one he didn't have to. He could have just left it like it had been before, but he decided to go for what he wanted, and he wanted to be with you as more than a brother—he wanted you to be his lover."
He flinched a bit, tightening his arms, but nodded. He'd already accepted as much on a subconscious level. Getting it into his conscious mind, on the other hand, was the challenge.
"So now it's up to you to decide if you're really willing to let him go without a fight, even if you'll be fighting yourself as much as you'll be fighting Archer for him to take you back. He was pretty hurt."
Frowning, Jesse nodded. He inhaled a deep breath.
Dad patted his thigh. "You go think about it. If you decide to let Archer go, come give me his keys."
Jesse looked at Dad. "What'll you say if he asks about them?"
Dad smiled a little. "I'll tell him we haven't had a chance to meet."
Jesse got up. "Thanks, Dad."
"I just want you both to be happy, Jesse, and I don't think you're any happier now than Archer is."
Jesse nodded. His father was right. He wasn't happy. He wasn't sure if he wanted to find a way back into Archer's life if it meant them being serious about each other, but he didn't think he really had much choice. He wanted Archer more than he wanted to admit to anybody, even himself.
He left his father, rubbing his palm against the keys in his pocket. A week. He'd give himself a week to figure things out, then make a decision.
Archer stepped into his apartment and shut the door, then leaned against the wall, gazing at the empty room. Maybe he should get a pet. A dog or cat. It might make coming home easier to endure.
Sighing and shaking his head, he took his briefcase to the kitchen and set it on the table. He knew what he really wanted, and it wasn't a pet. It was Jesse.
The past few weeks had been torture. He wasn't sure what to think, particularly since Jesse hadn't been making his traditional morning visits to the shipping office when he didn't have to be at the yard early. Archer hadn't expected anything to change; he'd actually expected Jesse to continue with things as if nothing was wrong between them, and he'd been looking forward to it. Even if he couldn't have had Jesse, at least he would have seen him, and it would have been nice, even if taunting.
But apparently Jesse was so disgusted by what they'd done, he couldn't stand Archer any more. It still hurt, the way Jesse had come into the kitchen, apologizing as if Archer hadn't had any say in how things had turned out. Archer could have resisted, gotten out of bed, pushed Jesse out of it. He hadn't. He'd stayed, because he'd wanted what they'd done. He'd wanted sex with Jesse. He'd wanted to give Jesse his virginity.
Even now, he couldn't quite regret it. He was angry at Jesse, but he just couldn't regret his part in what they'd done. Not any of it. He'd spent the whole evening thinking about it. The days preceding it, sex with Jesse had been foremost on his mind. He'd done his best to manipulate Jesse into bed with him, and it had succeeded, and he couldn't regret a single moment or a single thing he'd done to get there with Jesse.
Deciding he wasn't really hungry, he turned and left the kitchen to go sit in the living room. He dropped onto the sofa and grabbed the TV's remote, then just sat holding it, remembering the night he and Jesse had been on the sofa. How he'd acted, what he'd done, how he'd felt. He'd wanted Jesse to make the first move that night, had spent the whole time the movie was on praying for it, willing Jesse to act.
When Jesse had gone without doing anything, Archer had realized he'd have to make the first move. Considering the fact Jesse had spent the night rubbing his leg, and the gaze he'd gotten when they'd been face to face in front of the sofa after the movie, Archer had realized there was definitely something there on Jesse's part. He almost hadn't wanted to contemplate it, it had fulfilled a hope so long-held it had been almost frightening to consider its realization.
Archer sat in front of his dark TV for the next couple of hours, trying to think of a way to get Jesse back into his life without success. Jesse's apparent disgust got in the way whenever he thought he knew a way. He finally put the remote back on the coffee table and got up to go to bed, where he laid awake half the night unable to sleep. Finally, sometime around two, he thought, I will get a pet tomorrow. It'll be better than coming home to an empty place, as he was dozing. Sleep claimed him shortly thereafter.
He slept fitfully, jerking on the covers, plagued by dreams where Jesse would tease him. When he rolled over, half-awake but still caught in dreams, and couldn't tug the covers with him, he woke completely, eyes popping open as he froze. He panted, straining his ears as he clutched the blankets as close as he could get them, trying to hear if anyone was in bed with him. An experimental tug, using his body to pull at the blankets, didn't get them to move any further than they had before.
Honestly afraid, he dropped to his back as he closed his eyes. There was one person who had keys to his apartment: Jesse. He couldn't think of a reason why Jesse would lay with him. A finger brushed his jaw, gently tugging on the stubble there, and Archer sucked in a breath, opened his eyes, and made himself turn his head.
Jesse lay next to him, fully dressed, head propped on one hand. Archer pushed himself into a half-seated position.
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
"I'm sorry." Jesse didn't move off the bed.
Archer twisted, rolling to his side to face Jesse. "I don't want another apology. I wanted to have sex with you!" He drew back his left fist. "Get out!"
Jesse scrambled over him, grabbing his wrist, making him drop onto his back again. Archer tried to pull his right hand out from under Jesse, but it was weighed down, pinned to the bed next to his side and wouldn't move enough to come free.
"No, just listen." Jesse's face hung above his, expression earnest. "I'm not apologizing for the sex. It was wrong to. I'm apologizing for the apology."
Archer squeezed his eyes shut, dropping his head onto his pillow. He didn't reply, not knowing what Jesse expected him to say to the apology. After a minute, Jesse retreated from him, returning to the opposite side of the bed. Archer raised his hands to rub his face, wishing he was more awake for this. It felt like everything was crawling through his mind.
"So what do you want, Jesse?" He dropped his hands to his sides and stared at the ceiling. If Jesse didn't spell it out, he wouldn't go along with whatever it was Jesse wanted.
"I want you."
"How?" He folded his arms over his chest. "As a brother?" He was almost ready to accept it. Anything to get Jesse back into his life.
"No. As a lover."
Archer stopped breathing, eyes popping open again. "Really."
Jesse's hand touched his arm. "I'm serious, Arch. I mean it. I . . . I did a lot of thinking this past week. It wouldn't be enough to have you as a brother again. I've wanted you to be my lover—my boyfriend—for too long. I can't go back to fighting the desire like I was before we slept together. I'm sorry it's taken me three weeks to figure it out, but it's the truth. I want to date you, make love with you, move in together with you."
Archer closed his eyes, taking deep breaths, but his pulse beat fast. "Really?"
"I mean it, Arch. I'm not lying. Please believe me. I'm not lying this time." Jesse sounded as if he was losing hope, and he withdrew his hand.
Before he realized what he was doing, Archer rolled over, rising to his knees to straddle Jesse. He set his hands on either side of Jesse's head and gazed down into Jesse's eyes, seeking sincerity. It took a little time. Jesse looked as if he was resisting hope, and his eyes reflected the hope he felt. He did not, however, avert his gaze from Archer's, and Archer examined his face.
"Why do you want to date me?"
Jesse swallowed, his hands tentatively touching Archer's thighs near the knees. Archer shivered at the contact as it tickled.
"I want to date you because I love you."
Archer's eyes closed for a moment, and he nodded, his first hope met. When he opened them again, he stared down into Jesse's eyes. "How?"
Jesse's hands slid up Archer's thighs. When his fingers reached the leg elastics of Archer's underwear, they traced along it back and forth a little. His gaze didn't leave Archer's.
"As a lover."
Archer closed his eyes, dropping to his elbows. Their noses bumped, and his lips found Jesse's. He settled on Jesse's body, uncaring he was blushing hot enough to burn his face, just happy Jesse had told him what he'd wanted to hear. Jesse's arms wrapped around him. They kissed for a minute before Archer raised his head.
"It hurt when you apologized for the sex."
"I won't ever do it again." Jesse was vehement.
Archer chuckled. "I love you, too." He wiggled against Jesse and set his head on the pillow next to Jesse's head. "Want some coffee?"
"What time is it?"
He checked the time. "Almost eight."
"I have to be at work by eight thirty."
Archer heaved a sigh. "Will you come over after work?"
"You come over to my place. Stark misses you."
He laughed. "Okay." He pushed himself over to his side of the bed, settling on his back. "You go ahead and go to work."
Jesse got up on his hands and knees to kiss Archer. "I love you."
Archer pulled Jesse's head down for another kiss. "Love you, too. You go now." He gave a gentle push. "I'll see you tonight."
"I look forward to it."
He grinned back at Jesse's grin, then Jesse left the bed. Faintly, the front door shut. Archer laid in bed for a minute, stretching, then rose, smiling.