Kyle cupped the mug of hot chocolate in his hand like a space heater. For whatever reason, Adrian had a sensitivity to the heat, and he was supposed to be home soon, so Kyle hd the heat on lower than he'd like.
His coworker and sometimes friend Melissa was sitting on the couch with her legs curled under her, facing him and taking a sip of her own hot chocolate. Kyle could smell the peppermint.
"So, I'm just saying," Kyle said. "That if you know someone…"
She rolled her eyes. "How is that a good idea, Kyle? You have enough trouble committing. Trying out your newfound skills when you still want someone else doesn't seem like it would end well. How could you commit?"
Kyle sighed and looked down at the swirling brown liquid. "I know," he admitted. "But Adrian hasn't made any indication that he wants to get back together, and I don't want to wait forever. Besides, Dr. Lycraft thinks it would be good for me."
"How could that possibly be good for you?"
"Well, I'll actually have someone to commit to instead of this vague idea of commitment. And Adrian would be the best choice, of course, but if I can't have him…"
Melissa sighed. "I'll see."
"Thank you," he said, grinning. "Now, are you going to tell me about this new girlfriend of yours or not?"
His coworker blushed and said, "Well, we met at that art exhibit a few weeks ago…"
Adrian chose then to walk in the door.
"You're home late," Kyle commented, looking up at him.
Adrian sighed and slid his camera case off of his shoulder, rubbing at the spot it had been resting. "Busy day. I got another assignment I needed to go check out."
"Hi, Adrian," Melissa said.
"Oh, hi," the blond said. He glanced at Kyle. "Well, not all of us have the next week and a half off…"
Kyle laughed. "Why do you think I wanted to be a teacher?" he asked. "There's chicken soup on the stove if you want some while you're working. I made it less than an hour ago, I promise.."
Adrian's eyes brightened. "That sounds great. I'll be in my room if you need me."
The words gave Kyle a small pang of guilt, but he pretended to ignore it. When they first got the apartment, they'd wanted two bedrooms with the idea that Adrian could use the second as his office. Kyle, of course, had effectively ruined that plan when he broke up with him.
"Okay," he agreed quietly.
Melissa left a few hours later, when Kyle practically kicked her out so he could go get some sleep. It didn't matter if he didn't have to work the next day. He was still exhausted and he didn't want to mess up his sleep schedule for when he needed to go back to work.
Knocking on Adrian's door and then proceeding to enter regardless, Kyle said, "I'm going to bed. Good night."
Adrian jumped and looked up from the article he was writing, standing up. "Are you about ready to pass out, or do we have some time to talk? Cause if you're really tired, then it can wait," he asked.
Kyle shrugged and suppressed a yawn. "What do you need?"
His roommate took a deep breath, collecting his thoughts, and rested one of his hands on Kyle's shoulder. "I was talking to your counselor."
Kyle blinked. "You were? Why?"
"Well…I was worried. I wanted to know how well you were doing. She says she thinks you should start looking for a relationship."
Kyle nodded. "Yeah…"
Adrian bit his lips. "Well, I don't know if there was…someone you were already looking at, but…I…Kyle, I really do love you, you know. And I know you've had problems with it in the past, but let's face it—the two longest relationships you've ever had were both with me. If…if you really can do this, don't you think that I'd be a good choice? If you can commit to anyone, it's probably me, right? If you still…if you still want me."
Kyle stared at him for a long quiet moment, then grinned and started laughing. Was Adrian really that insecure? It was adorable. "You just want my top three relationships," he said. "Bronze, silver, and gold."
Adrian smiled. "As long as this last time is gold, I guess. If this doesn't work, I don't think I can do it again, Kyle. I don't know what else to try."
Kyle smiled back and took a step closer to Adrian. "I'll try to be good," he promised.
Adrian's smile turned into a brilliant one as it became obvious that Kyle did want to try things again, after all. "Well, you know how when you get scared of things you cling to me? Just try that!"
The teacher couldn't help laughing and tugged Adrian into his arms. "Can I stay the night in here?"
The comment earned him a soft swat to the shoulder. "We've been going out all of a minute, and you want to sleep in my bed?" Adrian gasped. "I don't think so. I'm not that easy."
Kyle laughed again—he couldn't help it. He couldn't really believe this was actually happening. "Tomorrow, then," he agreed, heading back out the door.