Setting the Trap
Coming April 12 from
"I’m not the kind of guy who lets someone else control my life, Jesse."
In between selecting essays, poems, short stories and novels to drive his point home, he had begun preparations for a dinner that would be easy on Drake's stomach and filling. The home made chicken noodle soup simmered on a back burner, and Jesse sat peeling apples into lemon water for a fresh apple crisp. Served with ice cream it would be the perfect dessert.
"I thought you were making a chocolate pie?" Jay slung two grey plastic bags from the grocery store onto the counter.
Frowning, Jesse dropped his apple into the water bowl and began to unpack the bags. "It's too rich; it'll upset his stomach with the drugs, won't it? Why didn't you use the recyclable bags?" They had a stack of environmentally approved re-usable grocery bags in both cars.
"Didn't have the jeep. I had to take what they had. Just use them to reline the trash cans." Jay leaned over the counter and kissed Jesse softly. "Missed you. How is he?"
Flicking a glance at Drake, who hadn't stirred for at least half an hour, Jesse pulled Jay back for a deeper kiss. "Mmm. I think he's okay. He's just been out of it all afternoon."
Jay's thin fingers curled around Jesse's jaw and his sweet breath just hinted at the acrid taste of tobacco as it rushed over Jesse's mouth. "The codeine might make him queasy. Chicken soup was a good meal plan."
Jesse stared into his brother's blue eyes, so pale and intense. "You were worried about him and me here alone?"
Color rushed into Jay's cheeks and he ducked his head. "No. I... Jesse, I have to tell you something."
Puzzled, Jesse pulled his chin from Jay's hand and seated himself on a stool. "Okay. Do you mind if I peel while you tell me? I'd like to get this baked and cooled for dinner."
Jay nudged aside one of the stools to make room at the counter then leaned to the center to draw another paring knife from the butcher block. "I'll help. I could use something to do."
He resisted the urge to protest. Jay wasn't inept in the kitchen, Jesse was just a little bit of a perfectionist. "How about you peel and I'll slice? Try not to peel too much fruit with the skin, okay?" That way he could control the size of the slices and... "Shit. I'm sorry. I'm such a control freak sometimes. The crisp will cook more evenly if the slices are all the same thickness, Jay. That's all."
Startled blue eyes met his. "Huh? I didn't say anything. I'm happy to peel." And Jay began peeling, long thin ribbons of pale green apple skin coiling around his fingers to fall to the table. Jesse watched those strong hands, their nimble movements sure and unconsciously sensual. He shook off the allure and picked up the apple he'd peeled right before Jay arrived. He sliced it into neat, even pieces for the filling.
"You said you wanted to talk?" He prodded when Jay sat concentrating on his apple peeling.
"Drake came to see me for lunch today." The fine fingers trembled a little, slowed in their motions.
Some odd note in Jay's voice brought Jesse's gaze to his face instead of his hands. His twin's cheeks were flushed, his eyes downcast. He swallowed hard, and Jesse thought it must have been a painful gesture, because his lips tightened and thinned.
"I know, I told him to, remember?"
"He brought me Indian food." The splash of the apple Jay had peeled landing in the bowl of ice water followed the moody comment.
Jesse paused in his slicing. "You like Indian food." Why did it matter?
"Yeah. We didn't eat it."
Indignation on Drake's behalf sparked. "Jay! When a man goes to all the trouble—"
"Because we were too busy fucking like bunnies in the supply closet." Jay threw the knife on the table and Jesse couldn't guess what it cost his brother to meet his eyes at that moment.