Peter’s day is going from bad to worse. First he loses his job, then he finds out his apartment flooded. He has nothing left but his sister, and she lives in another city.
Sean doesn’t know what to expect when he agrees to give his best friend’s brother a job and a place to stay, but he feels sorry for the guy, especially when Peter calls him because his car broke down on his way to town.
Peter’s luck is rotten, or at least, it is until he meets Sean. Because Sean is his mate, and Peter is home with him.
He doesn’t feel that way, though. Peter wants to be with Sean, but he’s afraid. He can’t allow himself to depend on anyone, not even his mate. He has to show himself and the world that he can stand on his own two feet, but when it could mean losing Sean, he’ll have to make a decision.
Will he make the right one?
Peter didn’t love being an accountant. He didn’t think anyone loved being an accountant. He wasn’t sure why he’d chosen this job except for the fact that he was good at math and he had a degree, but he had, which was why he wasn’t exactly happy when the boss called him to his office. When that happened, it meant something bad was going on, and Peter tried to remember if he’d done anything. He didn’t think so, but what did he know? He wasn’t the boss, and he didn’t care about the same things Rupert did.
He stared at the office door, wondering what was going on in there. He hadn’t been the only one called in, and from the faces of the people who left, he knew that whatever it was, was bad.
He tapped his fingertips onto his knee. He wanted to run away, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t hide under his blankets so the monster wouldn’t find him. He couldn’t avoid this, couldn’t avoid being an adult and having to face what being an adult meant.
The door flew open, and a woman came out. He’d seen her around the office, but they didn’t work together. Still, he wanted to comfort her when he saw that her eyes were full of tears. Instead, he stayed right where he was, and she straightened. She nodded at herself, not even looking at Peter, and strode away from the boss’s office with purpose.
Peter swallowed. He was the only one left, so he knew it was his turn now.
He had a pretty good idea of what was happening, but he told himself not to overthink it. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe his boss only wanted to talk about clients.
Maybe he was about to get fired.
He got to his feet, rubbed his trembling hands onto his thighs, and headed for the door since it was still open. When he peeked in, he knew he was right. Rupert was behind his desk, looking pale, rubbing his face as if he wasn’t enjoying what was happening. He probably wasn’t, either. The man wasn’t evil, and while he wasn’t exactly Peter’s friend, they’d been friendly the few times they’d talked. He and Peter always said hello when they saw each other in the hallways, and whatever the reason he had to fire people, it had to be serious. Peter couldn’t imagine it was easy.
But then, his own life would be far from easy as soon as he got out the door.
Rupert looked up and grimaced at the sight of Peter peeking in. “Peter. Come in.”
Peter wanted to shake his head and move away from the door, but instead he stepped into the office and closed the door behind him. Then he hovered there, wondering what now.
Rupert waved at the chairs on the other side of his desk. “Sit down.”
Peter didn’t say anything. He obeyed, his heart racing in his chest.
Okay, so he didn’t love being an accountant, but he was good at it. Besides, if he wasn’t an accountant, it meant he didn’t have a job, and that was a problem. He had to pay rent and utilities. He had to put some money away for rainy days.
The problem was that this seemed to have become a rainy day, and he didn’t have enough savings.
“I’m sorry,” Rupert said. “I’m not happy to do this, but the business is closing. All of you will have to find new jobs.”
Peter swallowed. He’d expected it, and he didn’t want to snap. Rupert had been an okay boss, and he’d given Peter a chance right after Peter had graduated. “Can I ask what’s happening?”
Rupert looked away from Peter. “I’m moving to Florida. My wife, you know? She doesn’t like it here. She wanted to live in a warmer climate, and that means closing the business and starting a new one.”
Peter hadn’t expected that. He’d thought the business was failing, maybe. He hadn’t even thought twice about Rupert’s wife. “So you’re just kicking all of us out?”
“I’m not kicking you out, no. I’ll do everything by the book. But the business is closing, Peter, which means you have to find a new job. I’ve been letting people go all morning, and most of them haven’t taken it well. I’m hoping you won’t yell at me.”
The attempt at humor didn’t touch Peter. He’d been so busy that he hadn’t even realized that people were being let go. He should have. It certainly explained why the office seemed to be so empty at this time of day. It shouldn’t have been, but if people left the building as soon as they talked to Rupert, it made sense.
Peter swallowed. His mouth tasted like metal, and he wasn’t sure why. “All right. I’ll go, then.”
Rupert looked relieved. Peter didn’t know what had happened before he got here, but he could easily imagine. Not all the people who worked here were as meek as he was.
“Thanks for not making this harder than it is,” Rupert commented.
Peter almost snorted. What did Rupert know about hard? Even though he was closing his business, he would start a new one in Florida. He wouldn’t have to think about how he was going to pay rent or how he would buy food. Hell, even if he never opened another business, he didn’t have to worry about any of that. He was rich. His father was rich. Peter never understood why he had opened this office, and he still didn’t. He also didn’t care.
He got to his feet. He hoped he would manage to get to the door without falling on his face, even though his legs felt like jelly. Now that he knew what was going on, his thoughts were focused on the new problems he would have to deal with.