THE PARTY - A BLOG STORY
Henry and Jack had thought nothing could ever drive them apart. They were wrong. Three months have passed since Jack walked out of the home they shared, and Henry had been too stupid to take back the hurtful things he'd said.
Both assured by their respective parents the other would not be present at Henry's mother's annual Christmas gathering, they attend. Finding they have been duped into seeing each other, Henry realizes that this may be his only chance to try and make things right. But will he be able to convince Jack to come home?
Chapter 1 HERE, Chapter 2 HERE, Chapter 3 HERE and Chapter 4 HERE
The final chapter can be found HERE at S.A. Meade's place on 23 December.
Chapter 5 – Sue Brown
Jack couldn’t miss the pain and longing in Henry’s eyes. The man looked devastated, the newfound confidence stripped away, and what was left was… raw and vulnerable. Jack wanted to step forward, and hug Henry close to him, promise to put him back together until he was his Henry again. That’s what he wanted to do. But months of resentment and three months of painful loneliness stopped him in his tracks. One apology and a plea wasn’t enough. It would never be enough.
“Why should I? Has anything changed at all?”
“God, yes. I’ve changed, Jack. These past few months have been hell.” He ran his hand through his hair, ruffling it out of place. “Coming home to an empty house. You’ve got no idea.”
Jack just stared at him, unable to believe his ears. “No idea? I have no idea?” He shook his head. “I don’t believe you said that to me. Henry, did you hear anything I just said? I was on my own in that house for months before I grew a pair and actually left to get a life of my own. You were either working or schmoozing. You were never there.” He shut his mouth before anger overwhelmed him.
“I came home every night,” Henry protested. “It didn’t matter how late it was or how early I had to work the next day, I came home.”
“I was in bed. When did I get to see you? When did we eat together? Go out together? You spent more time with that bitch upstairs than you did with me.”
“That’s not true.”
But it was true. And Henry knew it. Jack watched as he slumped down onto a wooden crate.
“I never meant to hurt you, Jack,” Henry whispered.
Jack shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. It’s too late now.”
“Don’t say that. We can talk about it. Jack, I don’t want to lose you.”
“You lost me the day you said that you should marry Georgina. That was the moment I realised your job was more important than me.” Jack shook his head. “I was so proud of you. Even when we saw so little of each other whilst you were training. I knew my Henry was going to go all the way. I just thought I’d be the one by your side and in our bed, not a woman. Not her.” He hated the way his voice cracked at the end.
Henry looked horrified. “She isn’t, we haven’t…. Not Georgie. I’m gay. You know I’m gay.”
“Bisexual according to Porks.” Jack knew that Porks had been needling him, but he had wondered the same thing over the past empty months.
“It makes no difference now. I need to go.”
Jack turned to walk up the stairs but Henry leapt forward and grasped him around the bicep.
“You’re not going anywhere.”
“Let go of me, Henry.” Jack tried to sound icy and calm but he was afraid it just sounded needy.
Jack tugged his arm to get free, but Henry hung on for dear life. No way was he letting Jack walk out for a second time.
“Let. Me. Go.”
“No. Never again. I was so stupid, Jack.”
“At least we agree on one thing.”
Henry gritted his teeth, realising Jack wasn’t going to give him any leeway. “Sit down here. Our mums want us to talk. If you walk out of here once we’ve talked then fine, but I’m not spending Christmas listening to my mother chew my ear for not trying.”
He was pleased when Jack stopped resisting and let Henry manhandle him over to the stool. Henry pushed Jack down and then knelt in front of him. Henry heard Jack’s sudden intake of breath as he looked up at him.
“Jack, I will say sorry and keep saying sorry until you believe me.”
“I believe you. You’re not a vindictive man, Henry.”
“Then why won’t you come home?” Henry reached for Jack’s hands, pleased when Jack didn’t pull away.
“Because nothing has changed, love. You’re still going to be working or socialising to improve your career.”
“I have to work, yes. But I am only going to functions as a couple.”
Jack tried to pull his hands away. “So what has changed? I’ll be at home and you’ll be playing the happy normal couple”
“The only person by my side will be you. My happy normal gay partnership.”
“Don’t joke,” Jack said breathlessly, his eyes wide and hopeful.
Henry kissed the inside of Jack’s wrist, pleased with the moan, hastily bitten back. “I’m not joking. If Sir Donald has problems with it, then I’ll look for another team.”
“You can’t do that. Working with Sir Donald was your dream.”
“You are my dream and my life. Everything else is unimportant. The last few months have proved that.”
Jack stroked Henry’s hair. “There,” he said, almost absently. “It was out of place.”
Henry sat back on his heels, desperately waiting for Jack’s answer. He was prepared to beg if necessary. Jack was not walking up those stairs without him.
“Yes.” Jack nodded. “I’ll come back, but only if things change. If you change.”
“I’m never going to let you out of my sight again,” Henry said, knowing how unrealistic that was, but now was the time for love and passion, not cold, hard realism.
Henry pulled Jack into his arms, kissing him tenderly. Jack’s lips parted under his, the kiss wet, open, and healing. He could feel Jack trembling and vowed to himself never to hurt his love again.
They pulled back for air, and Jack smiled at him. “We’d better find our mothers before they send out a search party.”
“I suppose we have to thank them,” Henry said.
“You know they’re going to be insufferable now,” Jack said ruefully. “They’re never going to let us forget it.”
“There you are, Henry. And with Jack.”
Henry cursed under his breath as he heard Georgina’s cool, sarcastic-laden voice, and saw her coming down the stairs, treading carefully in her high heels.
“What do you want, Georgie?” he asked coldly, aware of the tension in Jack’s body.
“Your mother is looking for you, and I thought I was your guest.”
He eyed her with dislike, and deliberately took Jack into his arms. Jack resisted for a moment then stepped into Henry’s embrace. “My mother invited you and I’m busy. Go find Porks. He’ll look after you.”
Georgina tutted and shook her head. “You’re making a big mistake. Daddy won’t be happy if he finds out you’ve gone queer again.”
Henry took a deep breath knowing he was probably about to detonate his career. “I’ve always been queer. And if Sir Donald has a problem with my sexual orientation he can take it up with the hospital’s administrators.”
Jack held him closer. “Henry, you don’t have to….”
Henry looked at his lover, seeing the concern for him in his eyes. “Yes, I do. I treated you abominably this year.” He ignored Georgina stomping up the stairs as he tucked a curl behind Jack’s ear. “I won’t make that mistake again.”
Jack licked his lips. “Henry, this isn’t the right time and God knows, there are a million better places but….”
“Yes?” Henry looked at him expectantly.
“Can I come home?”
The entire story will be available as a free download from All Romance EBooks and LoveLane Books after the 23 December. Merry Christmas!
My lovely new assistant, Amelia has been busy promoting Luke's Present,coming out from Dreamspinner Press on 19th December.