Winter Solstice

Chapter One

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Joseph Carlton sighed as he set his bags down before letting his gaze scan the cabin. It was a simple design; the door opened to the living room where a large fireplace was the centerpiece of the room. In front of it sat a deep burgundy couch, a pale olive chair sat to one side, and a cream color rug sat on the floor. With a shake of his head, he turned to close the door behind him. Pulling his boots off, he placed them on the rug before removing his coat and after shaking the snow from it, he hung it in the closet.

He crossed to the table sitting in the corner to set his laptop bag onto the wooden surface. Smiling, he looked around the cabin again. After the death of his parents and the aftermath of the ordeal, Joey had to get away before he went insane. So he had spoken to Troy; even though his friend had invited him for Christmas, Joey just couldn't do it. He needed to be away; he needed time to think.

Moving to grab his bag and head up towards the second floor and the bedroom, another smile found his face. In the middle of the bedroom was a king size bed, a cherry wood nightstand on each side, and a large armoire stood in one corner. A handmade quilt sat on the bed, and walking over, Joey set the bag down before he ran his hand over the quilt. With a sigh, he moved to his bag.

Once he finished unpacking, Joey headed down to check out the big fireplace; he saw that it was a wood one and had to grin. Glancing around, he saw that there was a small stack of wood off to the right. He would have to find out where the rest of the wood was kept so he'd be able to bring more wood in. Turning he scanned the room again, finding a door off to the left.

Walking over, Joey found the bathroom, another smile coming to his face. The bathroom was good size and had all modernized amenities. The bathtub was big enough to hold at least three people, and the shower was a glass encased in the corner. It was done in warm browns and sandstone colors. Turning, Joey decided to finish searching the cabin and the land surrounding it.

Walking into the kitchen, Joey glanced around; he knew that Troy had told him that the man had had the cabin stocked full and the heat turned on for his stay. Walking out to the mudroom off the kitchen, Joey found more wood piled up. Finding the fuse box and a stairway that led to the basement, Joey headed back into the kitchen to make some tea.

Running water into the teakettle, Joey turned and set it onto the stove before he moved back towards the pack he had set beside the door. Inside was the tea he had ordered from Japan; pulling it out, he headed back into the kitchen to find a cup. As he made tea, he let his mind wonder over his newest idea; he planned to start work on the book that he wanted to write.

Once his tea was ready, he walked over to the large double doors that lead out to the deck where he could see the frozen lake in the distance. With a small sad smile, he let his gaze scan the frozen wasteland; at least right now, it was barren. In the summer, it was full of life with those that came out here to spend their time.

"This is stupid," Joe said pushing away from the doors. He had to come to terms with all that had happened in the last two months of his life. That was what he was doing here; to center himself and get his book started. Moving to switch on the radio, Joey scanned through until he found a station he could listen to. Once satisfied, he moved to the desk in the corner of the living room where he set his laptop up.

As he waited for the computer to boot, he went into the kitchen to make another cup of tea; he knew that it was going to be a very quiet two weeks, and a small smile found his face. At least he would not have to be worrying about the loud neighbors waking him up in the middle of the night for a while.

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Joey pulled open his eyes as the coffee pot beeped that it was done. Mumbling to himself as he poured a cop, he was still trying to figure out why he was awake. He had spent a good deal of the night before working on his book's outline, and yet here it was barely seven in the morning and he could no longer sleep.

Picking up his cup, Joey turned to cross over to the large double doors, looking out he saw snow was falling gently. With a soft smile, he took a sip of the hot bitter liquid. As he watched the snows fall on the lake, he listed all the things he wanted to get done that day.

He pulled his brown ratty old robe tighter around himself; Joey could not help but shivered when the wind howled. He was not sure what the temperature was, but it looked cold. Joey stood there for several more minutes before turning away from the snow and went to make himself something to eat for breakfast.

He had planned to spend the day in the quaint little town but was not so sure, with the snow that was falling, that he really wanted to go out. Once he finished his toasted bagel, he headed up stairs to grab his clothing. Heading down into the bathroom, Joey started the shower before pulling off his robe and pajama bottoms, before stepping into the shower.

Joey went through his morning routine as he always did, with his mind on other things. Finishing up, he pulled on a simple pair of jeans and a dark green sweatshirt. Leaving the bathroom, Joey looked out the window to see the snow was still lightly falling, and he decided that was not heavy enough not to go.

Crossing the living room to where he had hung his coat, he reached into the pocket, pulled out his keys and pushed a button on the remote; a grin covered his face as his Dodge Durango roared to life. Moving back to the kitchen, he poured one last cup of coffee before turning off the pot.

Moving to the table, he sat down to wait for his truck to heat up. After sitting for several long minutes enjoying the quiet of the cabin, Joey got up to put his cup into the sink. Grabbing his coat, he made sure he had his wallet and keys before he pulled on his hat and gloves.

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Joey could not have asked for a more picture perfect town. It was decorated for the upcoming Christmas holiday and the people were friendly and the shops warm and inviting. He had spent the morning looking through the antique shops, knowing that he would have to make the five-hour trip this summer.

He had had lunch at a quaint diner, the man running it was friendly, the man's wife and young daughter a delight to be around. Plus, the food and coffee were the best he'd had in a while. After lunch, he had wandered around window-shopping as the snow continued to fall. As he moved down the street, he was surprised to find a sign that was advertising puppies. Leaning he looked into the box and saw only one lone puppy left, it was huddled into the corner.

"Hey mister, you interested in the puppy?" Joey turned to find a boy of about fourteen.

"No, sorry," Joey said; he watched as a frown came to the boy's face.

"Well that's too bad," the boy said shaking his head as he glanced around.

"Why is that?" Joey asked; he had heard something in the boy's voice. He waited as the boy looked around again, not seeming to want to say anything else.

"That's the runt, my dad said that if he doesn't find a home today that he'd have to be destroyed," the boy all but whispered. Joey could only look from the boy to the puppy and back again. He could not believe anyone would be cruel enough to put down a puppy. Looking up he met the boy's eyes, seeing nothing but honesty in the pale blue depths.

"Okay, I'll take him," Joey said, seeing surprise come to the boy's face. "only because I don't want to see him killed."

"Oh," the boy shook his blond head, his eyes impossibly wide. After a second, Joey watched as he moved around his eyes kept scanning the street. "I have all the stuff you'll need, you can have it."

"Okay," Joey replied as he watched the boy. Once the child stopped and was watching him, Joey took another second. "How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing, just take good care of him," the boy replied, with a finally scan of the street he bolted away. Joey shook his head, moving he knelt down by the box, reaching in he let the small animal sniff his hand.

"Well, ready to go?" Joey asked; he lifted the box and turned to head back to his truck. Getting to it, he set the box down to open the door. He set the box down onto the seat and closing the door, he glanced up at the sky seeing that the snow was coming down a little heaver now.

Walking around the Dodge he climbed in, he started the truck before glancing over at the animal he had acquired. With a shake of his head, he turned back to the road. The trip back to the cabin took a little longer then he had expected because the roads had become slightly slippery. Once back, he parked and carried the puppy and the food the boy had given him into the house. He hadn't spent really anything in town, only a couple of trinkets.

After taking off his stuff and hanging it up, he went in search of a blanket to make the puppy a bed. He saw that the animal was trying to peak out over the box. With a grin, he moved over and reaching down scooped the animal up, laughing as it tried to lick his chin.

"Well, hello there sweetheart," Joey said, moving the puppy to see the animals stomach. "I guess well be finding you a boy name, huh, little guy?"

With another grin, Joey set the animal down, he watched as the puppy looked at him, before the tiny thing moved around the room. Joey turned and headed up to his room, hearing the puppy whine from the living room. Returning he placed a small blanket down by the sofa. Getting up he made sure he put down food and water, before he picked up the animal and carried him outside.

"You have to do your business," Joey said, he shivered slightly as he stood waiting for the animal to go. They stood just outside the cabin off the mudroom, a small lean to that blocked most of the snow leaving a small patch of yard. As soon as the puppy finished, Joey took him back into the house. Placing the animal onto the blanket, he turned to his computer and the work he needed to do.

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Joey looked up as the puppy whined again, although the tiny animal hadn't moved off the blanket and was continuing to watch him. Shaking his head, he turned back to the page he was working on. He had gotten more done then he had thought and twilight had fallen outside, along with heavy snow. He had flipped on the radio about an hour before hand, to find out there was a winter weather watch out.

"It'll be fine, sweetheart," Joey said softly, he looked out the double doors, only to realize that he couldn't see out into the dark. He jumped slightly, hearing the dog yelp as a knock came onto the cabin door. Staring at the door, it took until the knock came again. Getting up he headed over to the door, "who is it?"

"Thank god someone's here, let me in, it's freezing out here," the reply from the other side of the door came. With a glance at the puppy again, Joey slowly opened the door. Shifting slightly he let the man in, he eyes widening slightly. The man was covered in snow and shivering.

"Get that stuff off," Joey said softly as he moved towards the fireplace. He planned to throw several more logs onto the fire, to help the man warm up. After setting several logs onto the already burning fire Joey turned to the man, an eyebrow rising as the man unzipped his jacket and a dog jumped out.

"Don't worry, he's friendly," the man said as he shrugged off his jacket before pulling off his hate and gloves.

"I have a new puppy, so he better be good, or he's going outside," Joey said, his eyes scanning the man. He was greeted with warm blue eyes, light brown hair streaked with blond.

"Sure, Frank is great with other dogs," he replied coming towards Joey and the fireplace. "I'm Adam."

"Joey," Joey replied watching as the man held his hands out to the fire.

"Man you should see the how much the snow is going down out there," Adam replied with a glance towards Joey. "It's close to a blizzard, thank goodness I saw the light, or I'd be lost out there."

"That's good," Joey said as he wondered into the kitchen to make a fresh pot of coffee. He glanced over to see Adam and his dog Frank talking to his puppy and took a minutes to study Frank. He was a grayish black little dog that looked like an Australian Shepard, Joey was slightly startled when the dog looked at him, one of Frank's eye were blue one was green. "Would you like coffee?"

"Coffee would be great," Adam replied as he straightened up before moving towards the table to sit. Joey poured two cups before carrying them to the table.

"Do you want anything in your coffee?" Joey asked as he sat, he saw Adam shake his head no, before he took a sip of the bitter liquid. They feel into an awkward silence, one that made Joey wish he was more interesting. He took several minutes before he glanced up to see Adam watching him. Feeling a blush rise on his cheeks, Joey dropped his eyes. "I should get back to work."

"Work? You're not going out there." Adam said; his blue eyes concerned as he watched the blond.

"No, I'm going back over to the desk," Joey said; he pointed towards the desk he had been working at. He saw the man, a stranger, glance over before he relaxed.

"What are you working on?" Adam asked, a grin blooming on his face.

"A book, excuse me," Joey said moving away. He sat down behind the desk with his coffee cup and noticed that Adam was smiling at him from the table. Joey's plan to ignore the man wasn't working like he was hoping it would. He was glad when Adam got up from the table and moved to sit in front of the sofa, the man playing with the dogs. After several minutes, Joey found himself lost in the world of his making.

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"Hey, Joe?" Adam said softly, he watched as hazel eyes glanced at him before returning to the laptop screen. Adam gave the boy several more minutes before he called his name again. Once he knew he had the boy's attention, he grinned again. "How about something to eat? You've been working for several hours."

"I have?" Joey asked; he turned to glance around the cabin, as if looking for a clock. He then realized as his stomach growled how hungry he was. "Sure, I'm sorry."

"Not a problem," Adam said; he followed the blond to the kitchen. He watched as the boy moved around making them something to eat. "Can I help with anything?"

"No, no, I put something together last night, it'll only take a minute to fix," Joey replied glancing back at the tall man.

"I can at least set the table, point me towards the plates," Adam said moving further into the kitchen. He saw Joey nod to his left and with another grin Adam moved close to reach the plates. He felt Joey shift slightly, the boy trying not to oblivious about moving away.

Grabbing the plates Adam moved to the table to place them down. Turning back, he saw Joey holding out glasses and silverware to him. Taking them, he laughed softly as he returned to the table to set the items down. Taking a seat at the table, he watched as Joey finished up in the kitchen and then joined him at the table.

"So, you here long?" Adam asked; he saw the boy glance at him, the look of distrust in his eyes.

"Why do you ask?" Joey wanted to know, his mind going over everything. There was the fact that he was in a cabin with a complete stranger in a snowstorm.

"No reason, just asking," Adam said shrugging as he moved to dish some of the hot-dish Joey made onto his plate. He could see how pale Joey was, and wanted to curse himself, he hadn't meant to freak the boy out.

"Well it's none of your business and my friend is coming tomorrow," Joey replied moving to his own dinner.

"I doubt your friend will be here tomorrow," Adam said, his voice low. He saw Joey's sharp look and had to curse himself again. "I mean with all this snow I doubt anyone is going to make it up here."

"Well have to see, won't we?" Joey muttered going back to his dinner. He didn't want to say how much it bothered him that he was alone with someone he didn't know. He glanced up at Adam seeing the man was occupied with his dinner, before he glanced over at the man's dog. Frank was nuzzling the puppy looking as if he had found his best friend.

"They seem to like each other," Adam said softly pulling Joey's attention back to him.

"Seems that way," Joey nodded, his eyes straying back to the dogs. He saw that they had curled up together in front of the fireplace and with a sigh went back to his food. After he was done, he moved to clean up the dishes. He glanced up when Adam started to help. "I can do these."

"I don't mind helping, since I ate too," Adam said, he grinned at Joey as he moved passed the blond towards the kitchen. With a frustrated sigh, Joey followed him. They worked quietly to clean up the kitchen, once done Joey glanced over to see what time it was.

"It's late," Joey muttered glancing at Adam; he glanced towards the loft bedroom with only one bed. "You'll have to take the sofa."

"All right," Adam said, he grinned as he watched Joey disappear up the stairs. It was only minutes later that the blond came back with sheets, a blanket, and a pillow. With a smile, he took the sheet and started to make the bed.

"I'm sorry I can't offer more," Joey said clinching the blanket to his chest as he watched Adam laid the sheet onto the sofa.

"It is all right," Adam replied turning to take the blanket from him. "Frank and I will be fine."

"Okay," Joey nodding shifting from one foot to the other for several minutes before he turned away and scooped up his puppy. "Night."

"Night," Adam replied as Joey walked away. Pausing at the bottom of the stops, the blond glanced at Adam before heading up the stairs. Changing quickly, Joey glanced at the puppy that was sitting on the bed. He wasn't sure what to think of what was happening. Still he knew something was up; he just couldn't put his finger on it.

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Joey rolled pulling the covers closer to himself; he didn't know why he was so cold except that it felt colder than when he had gone to bed. Pulling the animal closer, he closed his eyes hoping to go back to sleep, only to find that he had started to shiver. Sitting up he reached over to flip the light on, but nothing happened. With a frown, he got up and moved towards the big overhead light but that one didn't work either.

With a muttered curse, Joey glanced over the railing to see that the fireplace was still going. It was casting a cheery glow into the living room; he could see Adam sleeping peacefully on to the sofa. Grabbing his pillow, the dog, and the big quilt, he turned and headed down into the living room. Dropping the pillow Joey set the dog down gently onto the floor, watching as the little thing headed straight towards Frank where the other dog was curled up.

Shaking his head, Joey glanced at the sleeping Adam again before turning to lie down on the rug in front of the fireplace. With a sigh, he pulled the blanket tighter around himself as he felt another set of shivers run through him. He let his eyes gaze into the fire, hoping that he would warm up some. When he heard something behind him, he glanced over his shoulder to see Adam was watching him.

"What's wrong?" Adam asked, his voice sleep rough.

"I think the power is out, it's cold in here," Joey replied softly, his eyebrow rising as Adam sat up. He moved to sit up as the man scooted off the sofa to sit down beside him.

"Here, I'll share," Adam said throwing the blanket he had over the one over Joey. Reaching up the man grabbed his pillow before wrapping an arm around Joey and lying down.

"What are you doing?" Joey asked trying to scoot away.

"Keeping you warm," Adam yawned before snuggling closer. "Now go to sleep, it's been a long day."

"But…" Joey trailed off, he could feel Adam's deep even breathing and knew the man had gone back to sleep. With a sigh, he closed his eyes willing sleep to come.

Joey woke and for the first time in a long time felt safe, warm, and protected. Snuggling in, he sighed as arms came around him. Taking a deep breath, he let sleep over come him again, wondering why, all of a sudden, Robert was being so nice and what the hell the man was doing in his bed. "Robert."

When Joey woke again, it was to the smell of something wonderful, fresh coffee and bacon filled the area. Sitting up he glanced around, finding that the cabin was still cold, but it seemed to be warming slightly. He looked over finding Adam in the kitchen and thought of earlier came back to him.

"Hey you're awake finally," Adam said softly, "I hope your hungry I'm making omelets."

"What?" Joey asked pulling himself from the warm cocoon of blankets.

"Food, omelets, you know things you eat in the morning," Adam said grinning as the tousled boy looked at him before Joey stumbled into the bathroom. Humming Christmas songs under his breath Adam went back to making breakfast. He carried the two plates with omelets on them to the table, before returning to grab the plates piled with fried potatoes and bacon.

"Why did you do this?" Joey asked as he emerged from the bathroom. He let his eyes gaze over the table, moving to pick up his coffee cup. He took a deep drink of the hot bitter liquid before he looked at Adam again.

"Wanted to," Adam shrugged sitting down.

"Why?" Joey demanded, the boy not moving from where he was standing.

"Who's Robert?" Adam wanted to know, he tried not to let the anger get the best of him.

"What?" Joey hissed, moving to set his cup down know that his hands were shaking.

"You muttered that name in your sleep," Adam replied shrugging as he started to serve himself.

"So? What right does that give you to ask me questions?" Joey demanded; his anger showing as his cheeks pinked.

"Hey, it was me holding you, yet it was his name you were calling out!" Adam yelled as he stood. Joey stared at the man, not sure what the hell Adam was even saying.

"I don't recall asking you to hold me," Joey finally said.

"You were cold, now eat, before it gets cold," Adam said sitting down. Joey stared at him for several second before sitting down. He was slow to start eating, for several minutes he was worried about Adam.

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Adam looked up as Joey worked, he could see the boy was concentrating hard. A grin found his face as he reached down to pet the puppy in his lap. Joey's dog was sweet; Frank had fallen in love with it as soon as they had met, although, he wasn't sure why the boy hadn't named the dog.

"Joey?" Adam said; he saw the boy look up at him. "I think you should name your dog Jack."

"Why?" Joey asked saving what he had been working on before he got up. He crossed the room into the kitchen to refill his coffee cup.

"Because the little guy needs a name," Adam shifted, watching the boy. He could see Joey was leaning against the counter looking at him.

"Well Jack is a good name." Joey said going back to his computer. He glanced up to find Adam watching him, before he turned to look out the double sliding doors. The snow was still coming down pretty good and was glad that Adam had been able to fix the power.

"Do you have a radio? Maybe we can get some sort of weather report," Adam said.

"Over there," Joey pointed towards the table in the corner. Adam nodded, getting up the man crossed the area to flip the radio on, he scanned through until he found a station. After listening to the weather report, Adam turned back to Joey to see the boy was watching him.

"Doesn't look like we'll be going anywhere for a while," Adam moved towards the kitchen, he wanted to check the food. He needed to make sure that they had enough to eat and if they didn't, he'd have to figure out a why to keep them from starving.

"What are you doing?" Joey inquired trailing after the man.

"Checking food, wouldn't want you to starve," Adam grinned as he looked back at the boy. He saw Joey rise on eyebrow at him.

"There is enough food, my friend Troy made it so I would have enough for two weeks, there is enough for two for at least seven days," Joey replied following Adam into the kitchen. "And I brought a few things, so don't worry."

"Good," Adam said softly as he turned back to the boy. He watched as Joey paused, the boy looking at him but getting no closer. "So what do you want to eat tonight?"

"Do you normally feel the need to feed strangers?" Joey asked rising an eyebrow as he crossed his arms.

"Only when they look like they need it," Adam replied with a grin. "You look like you need someone to take care of you and feed you."

"And you're applying for the job?" Joey shifted slightly, he saw the look in the man's eyes and wasn't sure he was comfortable with.

"Maybe," Adam let his grin widen as he watched Joey laugh before the boy returned to his laptop. Wandering close he watched Joey's face for several minutes. "What are you working on?"

"Nothing," Joey replied closing the laptop computer lid. "I'll make dinner since you made breakfast, maybe you could take the dogs out."

"All right," Adam said as Joey moved towards the kitchen. Getting his coat on he grabbed Jack before heading outside with Frank following behind.

Joey moved to pull things out of the fridge; he glanced out the window to see if he could see Adam and the dogs before he turned to start dinner.

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Joey looked up from his chopping as the door opened and then closed as Adam brought the dogs back in. he glanced back to see the man shrugging the coat from his body. With a shake of his head, he turned back to his chopping; a yelp escaping him as Adam buried his cold nose against his neck.

"You're so warm," the man muttered. Joey stood still as Adam's breath ghosted across his neck causing a shiver to run up his back.

"Please, stop," Joey said; his voice barely above a whisper.

"But my nose is cold," Adam replied with a grin as he felt another shiver run through Joey's body.

"I need to finish dinner," Joey let his eyes side close as he felt Adam press closer for a second before the man pulled away. Opening his eyes, he went back to his dinner preparations.

"So tell me about yourself," Adam said; his eyes on Joey's back. He also noticed the way it stiffened at his question.

"Not much to tell, I'm the youngest of three, one sister, one brother, I work at a newspaper writing a column and am currently working on a novel."

"And yet you're spending Christmas alone," Adam said as he sipped his coffee.

"That was my choice," Joey said moving to dump the chopped veggies into a bowl already filled with lettuce.

"Your parents…" Adam started.

"Are dead!" Joey hissed; he took several deep breaths.

"I'm sorry," Adam said; his voice soft as he went to move back towards Joey.

"Don't," Joey said, Adam could see the tense way the boy was holding himself. Retreating into the living room Adam checked on the dogs to find them cuddled up together in front of the fire. After making sure there was enough wood in the cabin for the night, Adam returned to the kitchen to keep an eye on Joey, but all the boy did was finish dinner. As Joey carried the meal to the table, Adam managed to catch his eyes.

"Why don't you tell me about yourself?" Joey started hoping to sidetrack the man.

"I'm the only child of a wealthy couple, I suppose they spoiled me. I did very well in school and I cam out to my parents when I was twelve, which I guess didn't surprise them." Adam told with a grin. He could tell that he had thrown Joey off.

"Well that explains a lot," Joey muttered going back to his meal; he really shouldn't have been surprised.

"Explain what?" Adam inquired; his smile fading slightly.

"That you're a spoiled rich boy, no wonder you act the way you do," Joey shrugged barely glancing up. "I bet you even did well at sports."

"I did, I played football and even played in the school band," Adam explained, not sure why Joey had that look on his face as if he had eaten something bad.

"And dated a cheerleader," Joey shook his head as he watched Adam's eyes widen.

"Yes… he was on the cheer squad," Adam dropped his eyes.

"Me, I was the mousy kid in the back of the room, who had to study five hours a day to get his grades, did poorly in sports, and couldn't hold a tune," Joey said pushing his plate away as he stood. "It was kids like you that made my life hell."

"Joey," Adam stated, but the boy walked away. With a sigh, he moved to clean up the mess from their dinner.

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Two days had passed and while the storm had finally blown itself out, they were still stranded in the cabin. He glanced up to see Adam was reading one of the paper back books that were in the cabin. Turning his attention back to his computer, Joey tried to push thoughts of the man out of his head.

"Here." Joey jumped at the voice and the warm hand on his shoulder. He had been so lost in thought he hadn't heard Adam get up. "You look like you could use some tea."

"Thanks," Joey replied; he watched as Adam retreated back into the kitchen. He felt bad about being a prick to the man, but some things took longer to heal than others.

"How's that coming?" Adam asked; he saw Joey look up at him again.

"Okay," Joey shrugged slightly.

"You don't sound okay," Adam said; he had another grin on his face.

"It's just that I expected to be alone," Joey said with another shrug as he went back to his work.

"Well, you shouldn't be alone," Adam said; he saw Joey give him a frustrated sigh before the boy stood and headed into the kitchen. "It's Christmas Eve you know."

Adam stood and moved towards Joey, he had been invading the boy's space for the past two days. Moving behind Joey and wrapping his arms around the boy's waist, he buried his nose into the Joey's neck. He took a deep breath before moving to kiss the soft skin.

"I wish you'd stop that," Joey said turning he pulled away from Adam. He barely glanced at the man as he dumped his tea before moving towards the stairs. He couldn't concentrate with Adam here, and he couldn't toss the man out into the snow, no matter how much he wanted to.

"Joe, what do you want for Christmas?" Adam called from the bottom of the stairs. Closing his eyes Joey threw himself onto the bed. He wasn't going to give into Adam's question. "Come on Joey, tell me."

"Go away," Joey muttered from the pillow, but he felt the bed dip under Adam's weight. He felt warm wet lips on his neck and forced himself to lay still.

"Tell me what you want for Christmas," Adam asked, letting his lips trail over Joey's warm neck.

"To be left alone," Joey muttered shifting slightly. He tried to shake Adam away from him, but the man latched onto the skin of his neck. Closing his eyes tightly Joey willed his body not to react to Adam's touching. "Please stop."

"Joey," Adam started, but after a few minutes, he gave up and left the boy on the bed. Heading down into the kitchen, he cleaned up the mess that was left from the day. Turning off lights, he moved into the living room where he dropped down on the ugly sofa to watch the fire.

The two dogs had curled up on the rug, his dog wrapped around the puppy. It made him smile to see, but that smile faded slightly as he heard Joey moving restlessly on the bed in the loft. With a sigh, he moved to lie down, figuring he could at least try to sleep.

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Joey stumbled into the kitchen, his mind on nothing but coffee. Pouring a cup, he took a deep breath of the bitter liquid. Taking a sip, he let out a small appreciative sigh. He hadn't slept worth anything the night before and he was still tired. He needed at least two cups before he knew he'd be able to face Adam.

"Merry Christmas," Adam said sneaking up on the boy to wrap his arms around the disheveled blonde's waist, he nuzzled Joey's neck. Joey closed his eyes; he was out of the energy to fight anymore. He couldn't deny the attraction he felt and he was tired of saying no. He didn't want to spend the day thinking about all he had missed.

With a low sob, he turned in Adam's arms, reaching up he pulled the taller man closer as he sought Adam's lips. The kiss was sloppy as tears spilled down Joey's flushed cheeks. "I know what I want."

"What?" Adam asked cupping the back of Joey's head as he tasted the boy's tears.

"I want my parents back!" Joey cried, his voice breaking with another sob. Closing his eyes Adam pulled the boy closer, he held Joey tightly while waiting for the worst of the sobs to pass. After a few seconds, he shifted, slowly making his and Joey's way towards the sofa.

"Please…" Joey muttered, more tears slipping down his cheeks.

"Come on, sit down," Adam pulled Joey close as soon as he got the boy to sit. "Let it out, Joey."

"I… I can't," Joey's voice broke as he muttered. "I'll start and not stop."

"Talk to me, please, Joey," Adam said pulling the boy closer.

"Okay," Joey said taking a deep breath; he knew that talking would help. Besides, he didn't know Adam and after they were dug out, he didn't have plans to see the man again. "My parents were killed in early October; by the end of October my lover of three years, Robert, dumped me because I had too much emotional baggage."

"You're kidding," Adam whispered.

"Nope, Robert didn't even go to the funeral with me," Joey said snuggling deeper into Adam's arms. "But that's not even the worst of it.

"Oh?" Adam glanced down at the boy.

"Nope, my brother and sister met with me…" Joey trialed off as another sob escaped him. "They decided… that… that me being gay wouldn't work… so they said I couldn't see my nieces or nephews until… until I went through therapy to fix what was wrong with me."

"There is nothing wrong with you," Adam said as the blond broke down in sobs again. He knew know why the boy was so stand offish. He held the boy as Joey cried. Adam shifted them until they were lying on the sofa. He ran his hand through Joey's blond hair as the boy's sobs quieted to hiccups, then to sniffles until Joey's breathing evened out and Adam knew the boy had fallen asleep. He shifted to pull a quilt over them.

XXXXX

Joey shifted coming slowly awake. Even through he didn't want to. His head hurt along with his chest and nose. As the memories of the morning came back to him, he wanted to groan.

"It's okay," Joey heard Adam's voice and realized the man was still holding him that he was nearly laying on top of Adam's chest.

"You're still holding me," Joey whispered, his voice awed.

"Of course, you needed me to hold you," Adam said moving to drop a kiss to Joey's head.

"Thank you," Joey muttered as his cheeks pinked, he dropped his eyes from the brunets. He didn't resist as Adam untangled himself and stood.

"Stay here and rest I'm going to make some tea, and then something for lunch," Adam said as Joey went to get up. Once he was sure the blond was going to stay, he moved towards the kitchen to start water for the tea. Moving to the fridge, he searched for what he could make for lunch.

Deciding to make grilled cheese sandwiches, he searched until he found tomato soup to go with it. Moving everything to the counter he pulled out another pot to put the soup in. as he was making sandwiches the water boiled and moving he made tea for Joey. Grabbing aspirins, he moved back into the living to hand both to Joey.

"Here take these," Adam said holding the aspirins out to Joey.

"Thanks," Joey replied taking them. Popping them into his mouth, Joey reached up and took the tea. Taking a sip, he smiled slightly up at the man. Nodding, Adam moved back to the kitchen to finish making their lunch. Putting the soup in bowls and the sandwiches on plates, Adam added a little fruit to finish off the meal. Returning to the living room, he handed one bowl to Joey before sitting down.

"Here," Adam said putting the plate between them.

"What's this?" Joey asked, leaning slightly to set his tea down.

"Comfort food," Adam said picking up one-half of a grilled cheese sandwich to hand it to Joey. "Dip this into your soup, its good."

Adam grinned as he started to eat; he kept an eye on Joey as the boy ate his soup and sandwich. In the few days since he had been there he had noticed that the boy didn't eat much, and it worried him. He made sure that not only did Joey eat all of his soup, but most of the sandwiches and fruit.

Once all the food was gone, Adam carried everything back into the kitchen. He brought Joey back another cup of tea, seeing that the boy was holding Jack with Frank curled up beside him. "Try and get some more rest."

"But…" Joey started; he really needed to get some work done; besides it didn't mater how tired he was. He glanced up as Adam came to sit down beside him.

"It can wait," Adam replied cupping the boy's face. Leaning slightly he pressed his lips to Joey's, slowly deepening the kiss; he let his tongue snake into the blonde's mouth. Joey let out a whimper when Adam pulled away. He liked the way that Adam kissed; it helped him forget everything. However all Adam did was kiss his forehead before the man got up and headed into the kitchen.

Joey couldn't help but watch Adam as the man moved about the kitchen. He liked the way that Adam's sweater pulled across the muscles of the man's upper body. The lean waist and tight butt, he glanced up as Adam turned to catch him watching him. Joey could feel a blush stain his cheeks as Adam laughed slightly. Joey had to admit that he liked the sound of the man's laugh.

"So," Adam started as he sat down beside Joey again. He pulled the boy back into his arms. "Is there a reason you were looking at me like you're still hungry?"

"I want to feel you," Joey whispered as he buried his face into Adam's neck.

"Joey," Adam started; he very much wanted to take the boy up on his desire, he plan to, just not until Joey had rested more.

"I'll make it good for you, promise," Joey whispered.

"I know with you it'll be good," Adam said pulling the boy back slightly. "And I plan on taking you, but I want you to rest and feel better."

"You're not lying to me are you?" Joey asked as he met Adam's blue eyes.

"Not on your life," Adam said; he shifted the dogs off the sofa and got Joey to lie down again. Kneeling down beside the sofa, he kissed the boy's lips. "Try and sleep, I need to bring more wood in and wanted to start a stew for supper."

"Okay," Joey said. He was still tired and his head still hurt so maybe some more sleep would help. He smiled as Adam tucked the blanket around him before the man headed back towards the kitchen. With a sigh, Joey turned to look at the fire, finding his eyes growing heavy.

XXXXX

Joey became aware of the warm arms holding him, leaning slightly he buried his face into the arm that was currently in front of him. Taking a deep breath, Joey smiled as Adam's smell surrounded him. He let out a small sigh as Adam's name slipped passed his lips.

"See, now that's the way to wake up," Adam said snuggling closer to the blond he was holding.

"It is," Joey replied pulling Adam's arms tighter around himself.

"Are you hungry, dinner should be just about done," Adam said as he looked down at the boy. He saw the look in Joey's deep brown eyes and had to smile. Leaning down slightly he kissed the boy on his lips, letting it deepen slightly. Pulling back, he reached up to cup Joey's face as he smiled.

"I'm hungry, just not for food," Joey said, nearly cringing at the sound of that.

"We should eat," Adam said; he saw the pout that came to the blonde's face.

"You keep putting me off," Joey said dropping his eyes. He was forced to look back up when Adam placed a finger under his chin. "Please."

"We'll get to it, but you need to eat," Adam said.

"Why do you insist on feeding me?" Joey inquired. He could see a blush come to Adam's face, as the man's blue eyes glanced away from him before coming back.

"Because you're so skinny," Adam muttered. He glanced back up as Joey laughed, although the sound wasn't entirely merry. "What?"

"Nothing," Joey shrugged, moving to sit up. He glanced back at Adam as the man continued to watch him. He became aware of something that smelled wonderful and saw the smile that crossed the man's face. His face turned red when he heard his stomach growl.

"See, I knew you were hungry," Adam grinned again.

"I guess I could eat," Joey shrugged getting up to head into the bathroom. Doing what he needed to Joey moved to wash his hands, he glanced up looking in the mirror, his eyes widening as he saw how disheveled he looked. Picking up his brush, he pulled it through his hair before moving to wash his face and brush his teeth.

When he finally exited the bathroom, he saw Adam raise an eyebrow at him. He shrugged before moving to sit at the table. He glanced up as Adam set something in front of him, he wasn't sure what it was, but it smelled wonderful. Picking up his soupspoon he dug in.

"This is really good," Joey said; he saw Adam grin at him.

"My grandfather's old stew recipe, I modified it some, but it's pretty much the same concept," Adam said. They ate in silence before they cleaned up the kitchen together. Once done, they returned to the sofa in front of the fire where Adam pulled Joey back into his arms. "So tell me more about you."

"Not much to tell really, other then what I've already told you," Joey looked at the other man, his eyes widening slightly as Adam watched him. He didn't pull back as Adam leaned to capture his mouth, the kiss deepened until Joey let out a low moan.

"Joey," Adam groaned out the boy's name as he pulled back enough to cup the boy's head. Deciding that he wanted to stretch out, he shifted to pull the boy off the sofa and onto the rug in front of the fireplace. Pushing the blonde onto his back, he leaned over the boy.

Joey reached up wrapping his arms around Adam's neck to pull the man back to him. He opened his mouth to Adam's probing tongue, moaning as he felt the man's warm hands on his bare stomach. Arching up, Joey rubbed against the man above him. He wanted to get past this part and get to the actual main event, but he found Adam wouldn't be rushed. The man was going to go slow.

"Adam," Joey moaned out; his hands moving to stroke the man's chest.

"Slow," Adam said shifting against the boy. As much as he wanted to be buried inside Joey, he wanted to make it good for the boy.

"Want to feel you," Joey whimpered out, his voice low and husky.

"And you will," Adam pulled back, his eyes scanning the area. "Hang on a sec."

"What?" Joey asked as Adam pulled away. He watched as the man crossed the room to the bags he had set in the corner. He watched as Adam rummaged around in them before the man turned to him with a grin. In his hand was a box of condoms and lube. Raising an eyebrow Joey watched the man cross back over to him.

"Gotta be prepared," Adam said tossing the things down. Moving away again, he headed up the stairs to pull the quilt and pillows off the bed. Carrying them back down he set them down before turning to the fireplace to toss more wood onto it.

"Done?" Joey asked as Adam moved back towards him.

"Yeah, except for stripping you of your clothing," Adam grinned as he reached for the blonde's shirt. Pulling it over Joey's head, he leaned to kiss along the boy's shoulder. He dragged his lips across Joey's pale skin, until he reached a nipple to pull it into his mouth.

"Adam," Joey groaned as he reached up to bury his fingers into the man's hair. He was extremely hard and wanted very much to get on with the main event. He tired to move the man along but found that Adam wouldn't be sway from his pace.

"I'm going to do this right," Adam grinned as he moved to ease the boy's pajama pants off. Letting his hands run up the blonde's leg, he rubbed them over Joey's cloth covered erection. The boy let out a low moan arching against the hands that were touching him. Shifting Adam pulled boxer-briefs from Joey's body, shifting back slightly to pull his own clothing off. "You are so beautiful."

"No," Joey said reaching up to cover his face.

"Yes, you are," Adam said as he pushed the boy's legs apart. Cupping Joey's hard cock he leaned until he could blow his hot breath onto it. The boy let out a groan arching up until the tip of his cock hit Adam's mouth. "And you're eager, too."

"Adam…" Joey whinnied softly. A cry escaping him as Adam plunged down onto his cock, the man's mouth hot and tight around the engorged flesh. Sucking gently Adam bobbed his head; he wasn't sure if he wanted to bring Joey to orgasm before sex or make the boy wait. "Adam… Adam, please."

Adam shifted, not taking his mouth from Joey's cock, and he found the lube and popped the cap open. Getting some onto his fingers, he let his middle finger rub along the boy's ass crack. He found Joey's opening hot and pulsing already and dipping his finger slightly in he groaned. He felt Joey jerk, the boy straining against him. Letting the cock slip out of his mouth, Adam watched the boy's face as he slowly pushed the finger deeper inside.

Joey groaned as he felt the finger enter him, moving his legs further apart he tried to push it deeper. Opening the eyes that he hadn't realized he had closed, Joey looked at Adam, seeing the man was watching what he was doing and had to blush upon realizing where Adam was looking. He turned his face away when the man's blue eyes came to him.

"Joey?" Adam asked, having felt the boy tense. "Am I hurting you?"

"No," Joey whispered, he started to rock his hips hoping to pull Adam's attention away from his face.

"If I'm not hurting you, then why are you so tense?" Adam inquired, knowing that the boy was losing his erection and hoped that he hadn't done something wrong. Shifting his finger around, he watched as Joey jerked again as his prostate was hit.

"Stop looking and just do it," the blonde whinnied.

"I like to look, besides, you're so gorgeous," Adam grinned when Joey looked at him again. Leaning he captured the boy's lips again, letting his tongue tease Joey's lips. He reached down to stroke the boy's half-hard cock, bringing it back to life.

"Want you," Joey whimpered pulling the bigger man closer to him. "want to feel you inside me."

"You will," Adam muttered against the boy's mouth. Shifting he pressed their bodies together, finding it harder to resist the temptation of rushing. He wanted to be buried in the same heat as his finger was. "I have to finish stretching you."

"No, it's fine, please," Joey groaned as another finger joined the first inside of him. He could feel the beep burn of being stretched and pulling his legs up as far as he could he arched against the man's hand.

Adam pulled back to look at Joey's face, he could see the aroused flush on Joey's skin. Moving his fingers, he tested the opening, and deciding he had stretched the boy enough, he pulled his fingers free as he reached for the box of condoms. He grinned as those now dark honey brown eyes came to him, watching as he pulled a condom over his erections before he spread more lube over his encased cock.

Moving over the boy, Adam braced himself with one hand beside Joey's body before he lined himself up with the boy's prepared opening. "Are you ready?"

"Yes," Joey hissed as Adam pushed into him. He wasn't a virgin by any means, but Adam was bigger then his last lover had been.

Adam paused once he was fully seated inside him; he gave the boy a few minutes to adjust to having him inside before starting to thrust gently and slowly. Reaching up Joey wrapped his arms tightly around Adam's neck pulling the man as tightly against him as he could.

"That's it baby," Adam said reaching down to grab the boy's ass cheek. He picked up his pace slightly, loving the sounds he was pulling from the blonde under him. Joey cried out as his prostate was hit causing his body to throb, he wanted to cum very badly.

"Harder, faster, please," Joey cried out, his nails scratching Adam's back as the man started to thrust into him faster and harder. Another cry escaping him as his orgasm came closer; he knew he wouldn't be able to hold out much longer. Another hard thrust and Joey felt his climax rip through him, a low cry escaping him he spilled himself between them.

"Joey!" Adam yelled out as the boy tightened around his cock, another two thrust and he was filling the condom with his completion. Keeping his weight on his arms, Adam took deep breaths to calm his heartbeat. After a few seconds, he slipped out of the boy, taking care of the condom he returned to the living room to lay down beside the blonde. Gathering Joey into his arms, he snuggled him close.

"That was wonderful," Joey whispered softly as he laid his head on Adam's chest to listen to the man's heartbeat.

"Yes it was," Adam grinned; he knew that sex with Joey would be beyond good, and he was right.

XXXXX

Joey floated in a cloud of warmth, a smile on his face as his sore completely satisfied body snuggled under the covers. He hadn't felt this good in years, and it was all due to Adam. The man certainly knew his way around the bed. Hearing noise in the kitchen, Joey rolled over to bury his face into the pillow.

Hearing his phone, Joey moved to grab it from the nightstand. He was surprised; it hadn't ringed in all the time that he had been there. Looking at the ID, he saw that it was Troy and flipped the phone open. "Hey."

"Hey, how was your Christmas?" Troy asked.

"It was delightful," Joey answered a grin coming to his face.

"Good, good, so is Adam there?" Troy inquired. Joey sat up, his eyes swinging around the room.

"What?" Joey asked softly as he pulled the covers back.

"Adam, I have lost his number, I need to speak with him," Troy said through the phone.

"Oh my god, you didn't," Joey said horrified. Pulling the phone away from his ear, he stared at it before flipping it closed. He couldn't believe that Troy would have gone through with what he had said he was going to do. There was no way he imagine that the man down stairs was a hired hooker.

Dropping the phone to the bed, Joey moved around the room pulling on is clothing. He heard his phone ring again, but ignored it; he wasn't going to listen to his ex-friend. He still couldn't believe that Troy would stoop so low. Joey felt tears come to his eyes as he thought about the last two days.

"Hey, Joe, are you coming down?" Adam called from the kitchen. Joey froze, his eyes swinging around the room again as tears slipped down his cheek. Finishing pulling his clothing on, Joey started to toss the rest of his clothing into his suitcase. Grabbing everything, he moved down the stairs, glad that the plows had dug them out late yesterday. "Joey?"

"Get away from me!" Joey hissed his voice low.

"What?" Adam asked; his eyes wide. "What the hell?"

"How could you!" Joey yelled moving around the cabin gathering his stuff. He wasn't going to stay here with man hired to sleep with him. Besides, he was pissed at Troy and wanted to be away from everything that reminded him of the man. "How could you sleep with someone for money?"

"What are you talking about?" Adam asked watching as the boy packed his stuff.

"Don't play stupid, I know what Troy did, I know who you are!" Joey hissed glaring at the man.

"Troy?" Adam asked; his eyes wide as he realizing what Joey was saying.

"See, fucking asshole," Joey said; as he finished packing his stuff. Grabbing his puppy, he stormed out to his car. He couldn't think past wanting to get away. Adam couldn't do anything but stand speechless as he watched the boy leave. He wasn't sure what to do; he was confused about what Joey was going on about Troy. Taking a breath, he dashed out the door hoping to stop the boy, only to see Joey's taillights in the distance.

XXXXX

Joey rolled as the phone rang, he didn't get out of bed, letting the machine get it. Besides, he knew who it was, so it wouldn't matter if he got up or not. Hearing the machine click on, he buried his head into his pillow as he listened to Troy leave a message. He didn't care what the man said; he wasn't going to answer Troy at all. Rolling over again Joey closed his eyes and let sleep calm him again.

A bang on his door jerked him back awake, his eyes widening as he heard his front door slam shut. Sitting up he grabbed Jack, his eyes wide as he watched a man storm into his room.

"Get the fuck out of that bed, Joseph!" Troy yelled glaring at the boy.

"Get out!" Joey yelled back as he swung his legs over the bed, he bent to set Jack on the floor. "I'm not speaking to you for what you did."

"I did not hire Adam to seduce you," Troy said turning to leave the room. Joey listened to the man moving around his kitchen. With a muttered curse, he got out of bed and walked into the kitchen. "Happy fucking New Year."

"Whatever," Joey said staring at the man.

"Now have a seat, I have something's I want to say to you," Troy said moving to the table, he glared at the boy until Joey moved to sit down. "First off, I did not pay anyone to sleep with you, just so we're clear."

"Fine," Joey said shrugging. "Thanks for stopping by."

"Joey," Troy started shaking his head. He got up to pour coffee; he knew this was going to take a while, since the boy was so untrusting.

"Listen, I get it, I really do," Joey said. "I've been depressed since this thing with Robert, and you did what you thought was best."

"I didn't pay someone to give you a pity fuck!" Troy hissed, slamming the coffee cup down in front of the blonde. "Adam asked to go to the cabin because he knew you'd be there."

"What?" Joey asked looking up from where he was trying to sop up the spilled coffee.

"Have you eaten?" Troy asked, his watched Joey open and close his mouth several times before the boy shook his head no. with a shake of his head, he turning to make something for Joey to eat, nearly tripping over the puppy that was standing behind him. "When the hell did you get a puppy?"

"When I was up at the cabin," Joey said softly drinking his coffee. "So, what about Adam?"

"Breakfast first then we'll talk about Adam," Troy said moving around the kitchen. Joey watched him quietly, not sure what to say. He didn't want to be sitting in his kitchen watching his ex-friend making breakfast. What he wanted to do was go back to bed; it was a good place to be. "You really should stop sulking."

"I want to go back to bed," Joey said dropping his eyes to the table.

"You're not going back to bed and I am still your friend, so stop looking at me like that," Troy said putting a plate down in front of Joey. Moving to grab his own plate, he came back to the table to sit across from the blond. He took several bites before he regarded the boy across from him. "I went to college with Adam."

"Well at least he wasn't a total stranger," Joey muttered picking at his scrambled eggs.

"Joey," Troy started again with a huge sigh. "Adam was not hired or paid to sleep with you, actually from talking with him, sleeping with you wasn't on his list of things to do, he wanted a chance to get to know you."

"Well he did," Joey muttered.

"Joey, what happened to make you not trust me anymore and make you think I've done something I know would hurt you?" Troy asked watching as Joey looked up at him.

"I don't know, but it's your fault." Joey replied.

"I love you, Joey, you know that. You have been my friend for the past five years, I've seen what that asshole put you through, I wouldn't hire some guy to go to my cabin and spend that much time with you alone." Troy explained softly. "I trust Adam that is why I let him go up there, I expected him to explain that he knew me and that he was up there with my knowledge."

"Why didn't he?" Joey inquired.

"I don't know, but he's been in love with you for over a year," Troy said watching surprise come to Joey's face. "He wanted very much to meet you, but well you've been so stuck on Robert."

"I was dating Robert," Joey said; he shrugged slightly.

"The man was a depriving asshole; you were infatuated with him," Troy said, "When Adam found out you were going to the cabin alone, he wanted to go stay in town and meet up with you, but when found out that the bad storm was coming, he wanted to be in the cabin with you incase something happened."

"Why does he care?" Joey inquired, "Besides he got what he wanted, so what's the point."

"He cares because that's the way Adam is, and he didn't get what he wanted. He wants to date you; he wants to wake up to you every morning." Troy said softly. "He's hurting bad, he was really upset by what you said and the fact that you wouldn't let him explain."

Joey stared at the man; he wasn't sure what to say, since he was so confused. He found out, that the man he thought was a hired hooker was actually college buddy of Troy's and that the man had been in love with him for the last year. Frowning he dropped his eyes from Troy.

"If it makes you happy, I'll give the man an apology," Joey muttered softly, "besides Jack is missing Frank."

"Okay," Troy said with a small grin.

"Maybe I can go out for coffee with him," Joey said having missed the man terribly in the past six days.

"That would good, but you might want to shower first," Troy said moving to stand, "you smell pretty rank."

"All right," Joey said also getting up, he walked towards the door with Joey, finding that the boy's puppy was following them.

"So what's the dog's name?" Troy asked bending slightly to pet the dog.

"Jack," the boy said, watching as Troy smiled before the man stood again. He gave Troy a hug watching as the man left his apartment. Turning Joey went towards the kitchen for another cup of coffee before he jumped into the shower.

XXXXX

Joey stood in front of the building that Troy assured him Adam worked at. With a deep breath Joey walked into the building letting his eyes scan the interior. He was surprised to find out that Adam was an architect and the man worked not far from Troy's restaurant.

"May I help you?" A nicely dressed receptionist asked.

"I'd like to see Adam Griffins, please," Joey said softly; but before the woman could call Adam, Joey heard Adam's voice behind him. Turning he saw the tall dark haired man walking with another, they were discussing something about buildings. He knew the minute that Adam saw him, the man's eyes hardened and an unhappy frown came to his mouth.

"Joey," Adam said stopping in front of the blonde.

"I came to apologize," Joey said softly; his voice low as he looked up at Adam.

"Well, thank you for it," Adam replied, his voice hard.

"I'm really, really sorry Adam," Joey said again, his eyes dropping to the floor. He could feel tears threatened to come to his eyes.

"And I believe you," Adam said bringing the boy's eyes back to him.

"Can we get coffee sometime?" Joey asked, before Adam could answer another man stopped beside them.

"Adam, are we still on for tonight?" The man asked grinning as he glanced at Joey.

"Yes, Erik we are," Adam said turning a smile onto the man. Joey watched the exchange feeling as if someone had kicked him hard in the stomach. He cringed as Adam looked back at him, before he dropped his eyes. "Joey?"

"Listen, I'm sorry I bothered you, I just wanted to come by and apologize to you," Joey said turning to walk away. He stopped when Adam touched his arms.

"I'm sorry about us not being able to get coffee," Adam said.

"Yeah, me too," Joey said as the first tear slipped down his cheek. Leaving the building he paused on the sidewalk, he had called into work to tell them that he would be in, but found now that he didn't want to. Turning Joey headed towards the restaurant where he knew that Troy would be. Even though it was closed, Joey walked in, walking through the empty dining room to the kitchen and the back office.

"How'd it go?" Troy asked without looking up. When Joey didn't answer right away he looked up to see the tears slipping down the pale blonde's cheeks. "Not well I take it."

"For someone who loved me for so long, he certainly got over it pretty fast," Joey said trying to keep his voice steady and failing.

"What?" Troy asked getting up from his desk.

"He has a date tonight and when I asked him to get coffee he told me he couldn't," Joey shrugged taking a deep breath to get his torn emotions under control. "It's my own fault, so really, I'm not surprised."

"Joey," Troy started, his heart aching for his friend.

"I have to get to work, I'll call you later," Joey said leaving the restaurant. He made his way towards his car, not looking at the building that held his lost opportunity. Getting to work, he picked up his messages and moved to his small office.

Dropping down into his chair, he looked through the messages and the things he had missed since he had been gone. He had a story that was due in the next six days, which would be easy for him to do, provided he could get his head back together. Flipping the rest of the way through his messages, he paused at the one from his sister.

He weighed his options, he needed his family, and he had always had them there to support him. He hadn't realized his parents had held him in the family, but he needed his brother and sister. Reaching for his phone, he dialed his sister's number, he had decided that he needed family more then he needed a love life.

XXXXX

Troy stared at Joey; his couldn't believe the bullshit that had just fallen from the boy's mouth. "How can you ask me to lend you a private room to let your brother and sister set up the rest of your life?"

"Troy please, this is the only way. I need my family and if this will make them happy then I'll change," Joey said tapping a foot as he looked up at his friend.

"So you'll be even more unhappy then you are now," Troy said shaking his head. He pointed towards one of the private rooms before he turned to walk away. He had things he wanted to do and he couldn't waste a second if he wanted to make things right.

Joey watched his friends retreating back before he turned to walk back into the main room of the restaurant. He nodded to his two siblings and had them follow him into the room. Joey moved to one side of the table as his siblings sat down on the other side.

"So you have decided?" Joey's sister Jill asked.

"Yes," Joey replied keeping his eyes on the table. He knew that his decision was going to rip his heart out, but at least he'll be able to see his nieces and nephews. "I will go through the treatment."

"It's not treatment, Joe, its therapy," his brother said.

"I don't understand how mom and dad could let this continue," Jill said shaking her head. "It's like knowing your child has a mental illness and doing nothing about it."

Joey nodded, not looking up. He didn't like being referred to as a mental illness. He could feel the tears gathering in his eyes, but he was determined not to let them fall. He only half listened as his brother and sister talked about him like he was diseased. Closing his eyes, he tried to resolve himself to the decision that he had made.

"Joe?" Jill asked; Joey turned to the woman. "Mike and I have picked the perfect place for you to go, its one of those hosted by the church, you'll find God and love, and within a year you'll be able to find a wife."

"Okay," Joey agreed. What else was he going to say, no one wanted him anymore, but at least his family was willing to give him a chance if he went through this therapy. Hell at that moment he was even willing to let them find a woman for him to marry if it meant that he could be with the people he loved.

"It's an illness, Joe," Mike said, Joey turned his eyes to his brother. "it probably didn't help that mom and dad coddled you so much, but when they saw this when you were young, they should have done something to fix it, you would have been so much happier."

"Of course," Joey nodded, his eyes going back to the table.

"As soon as you're married with a child on the way, you can see your nieces and nephews," Jill said. Joey looked up at them. He had assumed after going through the therapy, it would be years if he ever even got married and he didn't want children.

"It could take years," Joey said; he looked between them two of them.

"There will be woman there willing to take…" Mike trailed off slightly, "a reformed deviant like you for a husband."

"Oh," Joey said; he knew that kind of woman. Ones that dictated your life for you, never letting you forget that they've saved your soul. He really didn't want a marriage like that, hell; he didn't want to be married anyway.

"The therapy is eight weeks, after that we can start looking at the woman, it won't be hard to find you the right one," Jill went on, a smile on her face. "A year from now, you'll realize how wrong your current lifestyle is."

"I've heard enough," Joey looked up when he heard the voice, his eyes meeting Adam's deep blue.

"This doesn't concern you," Jill said standing.

"It does," Adam said moving across the room, he glared at the two at the table. "Joey, please, you don't want to do this."

"This is what I have to do," Joey said dropping his eyes.

"Joey," Adam said leaning down to look at the boy.

"Please leave, Adam, you don't want me, and this is my decision," Joey said glancing at the man.

"I do want you, I was hurt, Joey, you wouldn't listen or answer my calls," Adam moved to cup the boy's face. He ignored the boy's siblings.

"But you had a date," Joey said, tilting his head into the man's hand.

"Yeah, about that, it was with him and his wife to go over plans for an addition they are putting on their house," Adam admitted softly.

"But," Joey started shaking his head.

"I'm sorry," Adam said pulling the boy up. He pulled Joey into his arms and leaned to capture the boy's lips in a healing passionate kiss. He pulled back when the man and woman behind them gave a loud protest, and turning to look at him, he glared. "There is nothing wrong with Joey, but there is with you two, to think that Joey has a mental illness."

"You have no right to interfere with this," Mike said pulling himself up.

"I love Joey, and I'm not going to let you screw him up," Adam said turning to look at Joey when the boy squeaked. He grinned at the look on the blonde's face.

"You love me?" Joey asked, hope shinning in his eyes.

"Yep, and I want to make a go of what we started at the cabin," Adam said wrapping his arms around Joey again. "No more deceptions, no more misunderstanding, I want you just as you are."

"Me too," Joey said throwing his arms around the man's neck to pull Adam close. The kiss was sweet with promises of what would come later.

"I think you two should leave my restaurant," Troy said from the doorway.

"But," Jill started, her eyes swinging to her baby brother.

"Enough, out now, or I call the police," Troy said shaking his head at the two. He shut the door quietly between the two a smile on his face. He was glad he called Adam to let the man know what was going on, only to be surprised to find Adam searching for Joey to apologies for what had happened the day before.

Pulling back slightly Adam reached up to cup Joey's face; he smiled down at the boy. "I'm glad this is working out."

"Me too," Joey said grinning, "Because Jack is really missing Frank."

Adam laughed as he dropped a kiss to the blonde's lips. "Yeah, well Frank has been less then desirable to live with since leaving the cabin, he really misses Jack too."

"Then we should go collect our dogs and find a nice place to curl up," Joey said pulling away.

"How about my house, I have this huge fireplace," Adam said wrapping an arm around his lover as he lead the way out of the room. Joey grinned; he very much wanted to see Adam's fireplace and the man's house. He grinned at Troy as they left the restaurant to start their new life together.