If they can get through the first case, they’ll get through any—that’s what Chad tells himself. But juggling his career and his relationship isn’t easy.
The monstrous part of Romeo gnaws away under the surface. His dark moments leave Chad uncomfortable, and when they accumulate into an attack, it leaves Chad shaken.
A guilt-ridden Romeo disappears and Chad’s quest for a normal life falls apart around him. He needs Romeo, his monster, his savior and if that means turning his back on a normal life ... so be it.
Be Warned: m/m sex
Romeo was shirtless, and Chad admired the view of his back, all his muscles tightening, then relaxing with the blow, but as he edged around the room, he swallowed, and a feeling of unease stopped him in his tracks. Chad picked up on the darkness crackling in the air, the aura that wrapped around Romeo every few days like a storm cloud. It threatened thunder, lightning, but Romeo kept it at bay, waited for it to ease, then flashed Chad a reassuring smile.
Romeo hadn’t seen him. His attention was fixed to the table leg. He scrunched his face up in a snarl, flashing his teeth with each hit of the hammer. The anger in his expression distorted his handsome face. He wasn’t building the table, he was destroying it. The table leg had split, but he kept hitting it, bits of wood splinted off, flying through the air.
When the leg finally shattered, Chad backed off at the relief on Romeo’s face. He dropped the hammer to the floor and swept his hands through his hair, gasping at the roof. His relief quickly turned to anguish and he gripped the back of his neck, releasing a sound of frustration.
Chad backed out of the outhouse, knocked on the open door, and walked in again.
Romeo stiffened, and dropped his arms by his sides. He turned to face Chad with a smile. His eyelid drooped a little on one side, a pink scar marred his cheek, but it was a warm smile that brightened his handsome face. The storm cloud dispersed, if only for a little while.
Chad gestured to himself. “Looks that way.”
“How you feeling?”
Worried, uneasy, helpless … there were a few emotions flying around in Chad’s head, but he didn’t say any of them. Romeo didn’t like mentioning his outbursts, and Chad played along.
Romeo frowned. “The session was okay?”
“Yeah, fine.” Chad said. “I’m a little tired that’s all.”
“I’ve made roast chicken for dinner.”
Chad hummed. “I could smell it from the front door.”
“All the works. Roast potatoes, carrots, mash potato… Parsnips.”
Chad wrinkled his nose. “Parsnips.”
Romeo laughed. “I know, I know. You’ve got time for a shower first if you want.”
“I can smell you from here.”
Chad saw through the casual teasing, Romeo wanted him gone, and a sharp pain stabbed in his chest. He swallowed, pointing at the poorly concealed table.
“What happened there?”
“It didn’t fit together how it should’ve.”
“It was fine the other day.”
“There was a little wobble, it bothered me.”
“Looks like you’ve sorted it.”
Chad smiled, trying to make light of the situation, but it was as fake as Romeo’s strained laugh.
“Yeah, well. We’ve got more tables.” Romeo said as he gestured to the room.
He was right, there were plenty of tables. Coffee tables, dining tables, side tables. The outhouse was a forty meter by forty meter square. It had once echoed, been vast, but two months of Romeo’s new obsession, and it was nearly full.
Chad’s face dropped at Romeo’s bloody hands. He didn’t seem to notice the shards of wood sticking out of them, or the trails of red.
“Romeo. You’re bleeding.”
“Huh?” He looked at the blood dripping from his fingers to his wrist. “So I am.”
Romeo picked out one of the splinters, another, and another. He didn’t flinch, he looked oddly detached, in a daze.
Chad went to approach, but Romeo’s hand shot up, stopping him dead. “Stay there.”
He tipped back on his heels. “Why?”
“Because there’s no need for you to come over, I’m fine.”
“You’re not though, are you.”
Chad took a step, but Romeo’s voice hit him like a truck.
There was a wall of furniture between them, Romeo stood in a cage of his own making. He kept his palm up towards Chad, and his eyebrows tugged together as he pleaded.
“Okay.” Chad whispered.
It was another ‘dark’ moment, they didn’t last long, only a few minutes, but it was enough to make Chad uneasy. An internal battle raged inside Romeo. Chad wanted to help, but his presence only made it worse.
Romeo grabbed a rag off a nearby desk and wrapped it around his hand. “Fine, see. Go inside, have a shower.”
It was no longer a suggestion, but an order. Chad’s heart sunk, but he didn’t let it show.
Romeo’s forced smile started to tremble, and Chad retreated.
“I’ll be thirty minutes.”
He walked away, clutching his stomach. Romeo hadn’t soothed his nerves—he’d added to them.