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Boss Nanny - 19. Lost and found

“I know, I’m sad too,” Matt said as he carried Aidan to the apartment. The kid had been quiet on the ride home. He was usually pretty noisy, having something to say about everything. As Matt carried him, Aidan laid his head on his shoulder and stared into nothing. Matt recognized the pathetic look on Aidan’s face. It mirrored his own. “You have to remember that Moose was having a bad day. You weren’t there when Mike surprise attacked him at the office like a little bitch. I’ll spare you the details. But it didn’t end there. Then he got a call that you were being rushed to the ER,” Matt explained to his brother as he let them into the apartment and dumped the diaper bag by the door.

He sat on the couch and snuggled his Pouty Potato. “Not everyone can be strong all the time. The least we can do is give him a day to breathe. If he doesn’t call us by the end of the weekend, we’ll go check on him. Okay?”

Aidan watched Matt with the biggest, saddest blue eyes and quivering lip. There was even a lone tear that clung to his bottom lash. His still bruised eyes added to the utterly devastated look. Matt’s heart squeezed. Aidan might not have understood what was said, but he understood what was happening.

“I know he said some hurtful things but we’re going to let that stuff go, okay? Love is about grace and forgiveness.”

The rest of the day was kind of a bust. The brothers laid on the couch and watched a movie, ate food, and otherwise moped pathetically. Aidan kept looking at Matt, wondering if it was time to go get Moose.

Nope, it wasn’t time yet. He wasn’t sure how long it would take Seamus to call but he hoped it would be soon.

That evening, Matt gave Aidan a bath. He loved a fresh Aidan and smiled brightly as he combed that wild brown hair into a neat little geeky do. “Look,” Matt pointed to Aidan’s reflection in the mirror. “It’s a Geeky Potato.” Aidan smiled at himself.

They finished getting ready for bed. Aidan didn’t want to sleep in his crib. As long as he had two black eyes, Matt couldn’t say no. Geeky Potato got one more dose of medicine before snuggling into Matt’s bed for the night.

Matt silenced his phone but he kept it close by…just in case.


“What are you doing?” Matt groaned. He turned his head to try and get away from the bothersome fingers.

Aidan was poking Matt in the face. He put his arm around Aidan and pinned the toddler under him. Aidan started wiggling and whining, so Matt attacked the soft belly flesh until Aidan was laughing uncontrollably. He stopped the attack and smiled at his crazy haired brother. “Are you going to let me sleep now?”

Aidan smirked. “Sweep.”

The trap was clear. The kid couldn’t hide shit. But Matt closed his eyes and waited anyway. Sure enough, the mattress dipped and Aidan was on top of him, trying to tickle him. Matt thrashed like a dying fish, taking Aidan on the ride of his life. They wrestled around until Matt was exhausted. Aidan probably could’ve kept going but Matt slipped off the bed and ran away. Leaving a laughing Aidan to cheer in victory.

It was a great morning, which actually hurt. Seamus should’ve been there. Aidan should’ve been attacking both of them, or maybe Seamus would’ve sided with Aidan and combined powers. However divided the teams, there should’ve been three of them.

Aidan went to daycare, Matt went to class, his phone didn’t ring. Matt went to work, picked up Aidan from day care, his phone didn’t ring. They went home, cooked dinner, and, you guessed it, his phone didn’t ring.

Okay, Matt had planned to wait Seamus out since Seamus was the one who’d lashed out, yet Matt was calling Seamus’s number before Aidan’s door clicked closed for the night. He’d given Seamus twenty-four hours to come to his senses. Matt wasn’t waiting any longer.


Maybe Seamus was calling him at that exact moment? He looked at his phone and waited for an incoming call as he walked to the couch. Nothing. He tried calling again. Voicemail. He called more times than he wanted to admit. Two dozen? Three? Nothing but voicemail. Every call was just one more time.


The next morning. Voicemail.

Matt didn’t see him at the office nor at the café when he stopped by.

It felt sucky but Matt wasn’t giving up yet. He pulled Aidan from the car seat and set him on his hip. “After what happened the other day, I think I’ll carry you.”

He thought Aidan would protest because the kid still thought he was the fastest person in the world, but he let Matt carry him anyway.

The doorman frowned sympathetically at Aidan’s battle wounds. “Oh boy, you took a beating.” He pulled a little Dum Dum from just jacket pocket and handed it over. Aidan took it, then hid his face bashfully in his brother’s neck.

Matt smiled at the tiny peach sucker. “Thank you. This is just what the doctor ordered.”

They continued to the loft. Matt let Aidan knock. When Seamus didn’t answer, Matt tried, a little louder.

Though he knew that going into Seamus’s apartment while they were fighting was a gamble, it was one he was willing to take. The lights were off and it was utterly quiet. “Seamus?” he hollered. They checked the apartment. No Seamus. Matt called his phone again and, surprise, got his voicemail.

Matt turned on the TV and they made themselves at home. By dinner time, there was still no sign of Seamus. Matt considered staying the night but decided against it.

Matt continued to call Seamus’s phone on a regular basis. He stopped by the loft a few more times. No Seamus. Drove by the business. No Seamus. Hang out at the cafe. No Seamus. Matt was not only irritated that Seamus was avoiding him but worried that something was seriously wrong.

It wasn’t until midweek that part of the mystery was solved. They were at the apartment. Aidan kept walking to the door asking for Moose.

Matt sighed. “I don’t know what to tell you, he’s not answering and I don’t know where he is. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Aidan cocked his head. “Fown?”

“I tried. Moose isn’t answering his phone.”

“Moose fown!” Aidan galloped to the door, smiled, grabbed the diaper bag, and dragged it awkwardly to Matt.

“Do you need a new nappy?”

Aidan shook his head and scowled. He didn’t need a new diaper. Instead, he squatted next to the bag and dug into it, tossing things out as he went. Finally, he reached into the deep dark depth of the bag and pulled out a cell phone. “Fown!”

Sure enough, Aidan was holding Seamus’s phone. Matt took the dead phone and looked it over. “Did you hide Moose’s phone from him?

Little brother took the phone back and held it to his cheek. “Ello Moose!” Aidan walked around the living room chatting and fake laughing into the phone. Matt smiled despite himself. At least he knew why Seamus wasn’t answering. But that didn’t answer the bigger question. Where was Seamus?

If Aidan had accidently stowed the phone last time they were together, why hadn’t Seamus stopped by? It was like he literally dropped off the face of the earth. Matt spent the rest of the evening thinking about that night. He replayed everything that had happened starting with the joy he felt when Seamus stopped by the office after two weeks apart and ending the replay when the loft door closed behind him.

Matt was at a dead end. He had called no less than a hundred times, stopped by the apartment six or seven times, swung by the office even when he wasn’t scheduled to work, and drove by the businesses, all in an effort to find Seamus. Now he had to wait. And he would wait as long as Seamus needed.


Turns out waiting for Seamus was b-o-r-i-n-g. Time seemed to move at a snail's pace.

I did give Matt more time to think. One of the things he thought about was the night Aidan face-planted it. More specifically, he thought about his conversation with the woman behind the counter at Dough Guppies.

Since his mother’s death, Matt wasn’t sure he’d ever talked about her to Aidan. Not once. If he had, it wasn’t anything notable. And Aidan’s dad? Zilch. He didn’t even have a picture in his apartment to commemorate their existence. It was no secret that Matt wasn’t overly close with his mom but that didn’t mean that Matt didn’t love her or that Aidan should know her.

Aidan needed someone in his life to preserve the memory of his parents and make sure their lives were known to him.


“Aidan, c’mon. What are you doing? Stop. You can’t do that. Those are someone else’s flowers.” Matt groaned and swept his brother into his arms and away from the bouquet of flowers he was trying to steal from Nancy Stubaucher RIP 1916-2008.

Go figure, his mom was buried on the far side of the cemetery. The distractions between point A and point B seemed endless. Matt couldn’t imagine doing this on a regular basis. Every flower, every gift, every headstone, every cross was all very exciting to Aidan.

“Here,” he handed his brothers the flowers they’d picked up on the way. “I don’t think Mom will care if you destroy these.”

Aidan grabbed the flower and took off in a trot, leaving petals floating in the soft breeze. Matt sighed. Why he thought this would be like a scene from those melodramatic movies where the small child understands the deep, emotional significance of what they were doing, he’d never know. Instead, Aidan was hyped up on freedom and the thrill of a brand-new place.

Matt couldn’t judge Aidan for not playing the part, not when he didn’t feel much himself as he stood in front of his mother’s modest burial. He didn’t even know what to say. He was tempted to say the same shit he heard in the movies but why? What was the point? Could his mom even hear him? Would she see through his words, to the truth of the matter?

Guilt simmered under the surface. He didn’t hate his mom. He loved her. She was a good woman. She cared for him. She loved him.

He couldn’t help that he was closer with his dad. As he got older and grew into himself, he realized how different he and his mom were.

Aidan picked up a small, fallen tree branch and started whacking it against the neighboring headstone. It was his dad’s, but still.

Matt rolled his eyes and looked at his mom’s headstone. “Having a kid was not my plan. Now I find out I have a whole different set of rules because you and Todd died. Someone said I should have pictures so Aidan can know you. Well, all the photos were on your phone and that was locked. I didn’t try that hard to guess your password because it never occurred to me that I might need anything from the phone. Surprise, I was wrong…about a lot of stuff really. And I don’t even know Todd that much. What am I supposed to tell Aidan about him? He seemed like an alright guy? Sure, that will excite Aidan when he’s older.”

Matt looked at the ground and kicked a rock.

“I changed Aidan’s last name when we did the adoption. I thought he should be a Kessler since I would be raising him, but now I’m second guessing that too. What if he wants his dad’s last name? What if I stole that from him? It’s so much more complex than I thought it would be.”

Matt stood for a few more minutes. He didn’t have a lot to say. As he wrangled Aidan in, he’d hoped his brother would put his hand on her headstone. Why? To say a prayer or something? As he thought it, he knew it was bullshit. He finally gave up. Trying for something that wasn’t going to happen was worse than doing nothing at all. Plus, Aidan was growing restless.

Matt picked him up. As they exited the cemetery, Matt looked back at the gravestone, then at Aidan. The kid was pulling his hoodie string, making the hood bunch up around his face, which irritated him, so he pulled harder, which cinched it tighter, which irritated him more.

Aidan had exactly zero fucks to give. The whole trip was for nothing.

When they got back to the apartment, he decided to go through the photos he had on his phone. He had a whopping four pictures of his mom. Five if you counted the one of her arms and torso as she held Aidan the day he was born.

Why couldn’t he have zoomed out?

He tossed them down and walked away. He really needed to stop trying to live up to other people’s expectations.


Between the wasted cemetery field trip, remembering he packed a box of pictures from his mom’s house, only to find out he had no clue where the storage key was—probably at Seamus’, he was emotionally exhausted. Put a fork in him. He was done.

To escape, he laid in bed, scrolling through his phone. With everything that happened with Mike, Aidan’s fall, and Seamus’s freak out, Matt hadn’t been on social media for over a week. It was time to see what the rest of the world was up to.

Jay Petermeyer had posted some pictures.

Matt did a double take. Jay and his friends, including Seamus, were definitely in Mexico having a blast. Picture after picture of laughter, smiles, adventure, and fun. Seamus had said he was going during spring break, which wasn’t until next week.

Except half the state was off this week and the other half, including Matt, was off next week.

What the Hell? Seamus left without resolving things between them? Now he was gone for two whole weeks. That was irritating.

As he swiped, he realized that wasn’t the worst of it.

Matt squeezed his eyes closed. “Oh no…” When that didn’t help, he pressed his fingers against his eyeballs to try and override the building pain in his gut.

He peeked at his phone with one eye.

Yep, there it was. A group photo. Seamus and Will were wearing crowns, the kind you find on the Prom King.

jaypetermeyer: Happy 30th birthday to these two kings! #dirtythirty #mexico

Matt threw his phone down and rolled onto his stomach. Burying his face in the pillow, he screamed.

Yes, Seamus told him they always went on vacation for his birthday but it never connected. He didn’t even know Seamus’s exact date of birth. He should have, they’d dated long enough, but Seamus never talked about it and he’d skipped last year because of the adoption. Out of sight, out of mind. Honestly, birthdays weren’t Matt’s thing. Except for his twenty-first, Matt rarely celebrated his own.

He fell asleep with his head buried in his arms. There was literally nothing in this world he wanted more than to talk to Seamus. Except maybe being with him. He was tired of missing him. They were a pair, a duo, they should be doing this together. Seamus should’ve been with him at the cemetery and advising him as he tried to figure out how to incorporate his mom into Aidan’s life. He should’ve been in Mexico celebrating his boyfriend’s birthday. Those were just a few things they should’ve been doing together. How had things gone so wrong?


Matt finished the last few days of school before spring break. Knowing he was about to see his friends after almost a year was the only thing making life bearable.

Friday, he picked Aidan up from daycare. They swung by a DQ on the way home. Aidan was over-the-top excited to be around so much ice cream. Once they got their cones, they sat at a window booth that looked out on the main street. Aidan sat on his knees and dripped ice cream all over himself and the red table top.

“I was thinking this could be a new tradition,” Matt said as he wiped ice-cream with a shitty little napkin. “It’s something Mom used to do when I was little. She’d pick me up from school on Friday’s and we’d get ice cream. They are some of my favorite memories with her. I don’t think we’ll be making regular trips to the cemetery, but we could do this. What do you think?”

Aidan smiled and offered Matt a lick of his vanilla cone. Matt accepted, making Aidan a very happy potato.


Matt: What time are we meeting up?

Matt sat at the kitchen table and texted his friends. They’d made tentative plans but they hadn’t nailed anything down over the last couple of weeks. While he waited for a response, he watched Aidan and Grandpa Brad cook dinner. Well, Grandpa Brad cooked dinner and Aidan sat on the counter holding a wooden spoon that he waved around in delight.

Spanks: Bro, Mat and I ended up going to Florida with friends. Spring break baaaaby!

Matt: wtf?! Zak?

Zak: Since Mat and Spanks were heading to FL, I decided to stay home. I didn’t see the point of all that travel if we weren’t all getting together

Matt: So y’all changed the plans but didn’t tell me? Thanks for the heads up. I wouldn’t have turned down plans with Seamus in Mexico if I knew you dipshits were going to cancel. Fuck off.

It might’ve been a little harsh but it had been a fucking terrible week that could’ve ended differently if he’d known his friends were planning to ditch out. Now he was at his dad’s instead of being where he wanted to be—with Seamus. He powered off his phone and tossed it on the counter. He didn’t want to read their bullshit excuses.


Wanting to spend a little time with his grandkid, Brad took over the bedtime routine. When Aidan was safely tucked in bed, Brad came back. Texting with one hand, he shoved Matt’s knee with the other, forcing him to scoot over on the couch. Once he pressed send on his message, he looked at Matt. “Talk.”

“The guys bailed on our plans. Like, they flat out went to Florida and never said anything to me until a few hours ago.”

His dad cringed at the douchey move but otherwise stayed silent. He knew his son, he knew there was more.

“And Seamus and I are fighting—I think. Or something. I don’t know,” he sighed and told his dad about Mike showing up at the office and everything he said, then Aidan’s ER visit, which his dad knew about but Matt detailed again because it was an important part of the saga, then he explained how Seamus had gone off on him. “He said some hurtful things but I know he was just upset. Mike had done a number on him and Seamus was just projecting his insecurities or whatever. That doesn’t mean I was going to sit there and let Aidan hear all that garbage, so I left. I figured Seamus would calm down and call me but he never did.”

“Sometimes we have to put our pride aside, Matt. It sounds like Seamus was put through the wringer. He might need you to reach out to him. Let him know you’re still there for him. You have to remember that Kelly never was, so he probably assumes you don’t want anything to do with him.”

Matt growled. “I know, Dad! I did call him, at least a million times. I stopped by his apartment almost every day and I tried to track him down all through town. If I wasn’t in school or at work, I was trying to find Seamus. I tried, Dad. I swear. I didn’t know why Seamus’s wasn’t answering his phone until Aidan brought it to me. He must’ve been playing with it when we were at the loft and put it in the diaper bag.”

“Well, that explains it.”

“No,” Matt shook his head. “It only explains why Seamus didn’t answer his phone. It doesn’t explain why he took off to Mexico without talking to me. He knows where I live, where I work, and where I go to school. He could’ve found me. He left me, Dad. He fucking left me.”

Matt didn’t know what he expected his dad to do, maybe go to the garage and grab a pitch fork then march his happy ass to Mexico and ream Seamus well into the night until the red head came crawling back. How dare he hurt his only son’s heart! Okay, that might’ve been a little dramatic but Matt definitely expected something more than a look of sympathy that said Brad’s heart hurt, not only for his son, but for Seamus.

Brad was on his phone again. It was the third or fourth time he’d grabbed it since they started talking. Matt made a point to facialize his disapproval. Who was he texting anyway? If he was finally dating, good for him, but could it not wait?

His dad cringed, “Sorry, last time I promise,” and hurriedly put his phone away. “I agree, Seamus should’ve found you. For whatever reason, he didn’t. So, what happens now?”

“There’s not much I can do until he gets back and I’m pretty sure he’s gone for another week.”

“That’s a long time.”

“I know! And I’m kind of mad about it.”

Brad’s phone rang and Matt threw his hands in the air. He needed his dad’s full attention right now. Matt was feeling really ignored—by Seamus and now Brad. “Dad! Can you silence that please? I’m trying to have a conversation with you.”

Brad pressed a button on his phone, making it quiet, then held the phone out to Matt. Before he let go, he held Matt’s eye and smiled. “This wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t turn your phone off earlier.” Then he was gone.

Matt looked at the phone. It was a weird number. Not a local area code but not from another country, like say, Mexico. That was a little disappointing.


“Hey.” The voice was familiar but a bit meek and hesitant.

He stood up from the couch. “Seamus.”

“I’m so sorry,” Seamus pleaded. When Matt didn’t reply right away, he continued. “I was so upset. By the time I got my shit together, it was too late. I went by your apartment and stopped by the office. I kept missing you. I shouldn’t have come. I should’ve stayed there. I should’ve camped outside your door. I’m so fucking sorry.”

Matt closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He wanted to yell at Seamus for the things he said and how he made Matt feel. He wanted to be mad and hang the phone up on him.

“I’m not mad at you.”

“You’re not? Then why’d you leave?”

“Because you were being an asshole and I didn’t want Aidan to bear witness. But I wasn’t mad at you. I blame Mike…and Aidan.”

Matt could see Seamus in his mind's eye, holding the phone with his eyes closed, a small smile playing on his lips.

“It doesn’t justify what I said or how I treated you.”

“I never said it did. But sometimes we don’t need justification, we need compassion, understanding, and a little sympathy. Lord knows you’ve given me those in spades.” Matt listened to the silence as Seamus took in his words. He could only imagine how hard it must’ve been for Seamus to be on the receiving end of any of those things. Between his family and Kelly, those had to be foreign concepts.

No wonder Seamus had reacted the way he did. His reaction was purely a defensive strategy as he waited for Matt to disown him.

Matt laid down on the couch with Seamus pressed to his ear. “After the whole Mike fiasco, Aidan and I picked up your favorite pizza. We wanted to surprise you. My plan was to come back, eat pizza, put Aidan to bed, and let you decompress everything that happened. We didn’t get a chance to do that and things really blew up. We could talk about it now?”

“Matt,” Seamus said softly. “That’s not why I was upset. Was I shocked that Mike came by? Yes. I was fucking stunned. Did the things he said open old wounds? Definitely. But getting a call from you, hearing Aidan screaming so hard I thought he was dying, then arriving at the ER only to find out I couldn’t go back…Matt, that fucking killed me. It brought me to my knees. My blood ran cold. The terrible things that ran through my mind—” unthinkable things. “Mike could work with Kelly’s parents and take everything I own and it would hurt less than sitting in that god forsaken lobby scared that I might never see Aidan again. Of everything I have, it’s you and Aidan that hold any value.

“I’m sure what transpired with Mike contributed to my escalation. He couldn’t have picked a better time to shine a light on my biggest insecurities. My biggest fear is losing you two. Even when we got back to the apartment, I was still afraid. We’d been separated for two weeks, I was getting ready to leave again, and I just wanted five minutes with Aidan. Honestly,” his voice caught. “The fear I felt hadn’t gone away. I just wanted to hold him and cry. I wanted to let it out but I couldn’t.”

“Oh Seamus.” Matt wiped the tears from his eyes. “Why didn’t you say something to me?”

“I couldn’t handle the rejection.”

“I wouldn’t have—”

“You could have, Matt. You could have and you did. You told me it was you who needed to stay with Aidan.”

“That’s not how I meant it.”

“I know, but it’s how it felt. What if I would have explained myself only to have you tell me no again?”

“What if you explained yourself and allowed me to understand where you were coming from?” Matt countered. He had Seamus there and the older man knew it. When Seamus didn’t respond, Matt asked. “Can I see you, please?”

A moment later it rang for video chat, then Seamus appeared. It was dark and he was in bed. The light from the screen was the only thing illuminating Seamus’s face. He didn’t look good. There were clear signs of exhaustion and emotional stress.

“How’s your trip?” Matt asked.

“Not great. But the guys are doing their best to keep me and Jay sane. How are things with your friends?”

Matt groaned. “I’m not talking about them. They all bailed and never told me. I’m so mad I could rip their balls off.”

Seamus frowned. “So you could be here with me?”

“Yeah, I’m mad about it too.”

“You could still come for the last week.”

“I don’t even want to know what those plane tickets would cost.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Seamus said with all the seriousness in the world.

Matt laughed. No doubt his boyfriend would move the sun and the moon to get him and Aidan there. “I bet it doesn’t. But Aidan and I don’t have passports anyway.”

Seamus was propped up now and his voice was more confident than it had been. “You could make an appointment at the main office. They have exemptions for immediate travel and they’ll print the passport right there.”

“I could and I would, but there’s a few things I need to do before you get back.”

Seamus shook his head. “No. There’s nothing you need to do that could possibly be more important than you guys coming here. If you refuse to come here, then I’ll come home early. Jay's actually heading back in a few hours to see Loren, I could join him...”

Matt tilted his head and looked at him like a parent waiting for their kid to calm down. “Do you trust me?”

“That’s low, Matt. I can’t answer that and get what I want.”

“Actually, you can answer it and get what you want. Now, do you trust me?”

The low growl made Matt smile.

“Yes, I trust you.”

“Good. Now go back to your vacation and I’ll pick you up from the airport.”

“Wait!” Seamus shouted in an almost panic. When he spoke again, his voice was softer. “I’m not ready to end the call.”

“Okay,” Matt smiled. He didn’t want to get off the phone either. It’s not like his dad needed his phone…wait. “Why’d you call Dad’s phone and not mine? Also, who’s phone is this?”

“It’s Jay’s phone so don’t go sharing his number with the world.”

“He must love you if he’s letting you call people from his phone.”

“More like he was tired of me moping. At least if I'm on his phone, he's not staring at it helplessly, waiting for an update from Loren. And I’m not calling people, I’m calling you.”

They both blushed and stared at each other through the camera. So damn sappy.

Matt cleared his throat. “How’d you get Dad’s number anyway? If you had his memorized and not mine, I’m going to freak out,” he warned.

“I don’t know anyone’s phone numbers by heart. I was going to message you on Instagram but I couldn’t log in from another device without them wanting to verify my account since I’m trying to gain access from another country. In order to verify my account, they want to text me, but I don’t have my phone. Not having my phone has been a giant cluster fuck of epic proportions. Jay said he would DM you on Instagram but I worried that could come off wrong. So we messaged Brad instead and he gave us your number. With the way things have gone for me, I wasn’t surprised to call and find your phone was off.”

“I told the guys to fuck off for ditching me, then turned off the phone so they couldn’t bother me with their stupid excuses,” he explained. “Were you texting Dad tonight?”

“Yeah, I was trying to figure out what to do.”

“God, I was so irritated with him. I was pouring my heart out to him and he kept grabbing his phone and texting. I was this close to throwing his damn phone across the room.”

“I’m glad you didn’t.”

“Me too.”

“Besides being upset with me, what did you do this week?”

“I’m not upset with you,” Matt reminded him. “I kind of had a shit week though. I got it in my head that there was a certain way I needed to keep Mom and Todd’s memory alive for Aidan. I ended up taking him to the cemetery, which was terrible. By the end of the whole thing, I’d spent too many hours trying to put together a ridiculous facade that didn’t fit us.”

“You’re doing a great job, don’t let anyone tell you differently.”

“I know. I need to stop worrying about how others might do this and focus on doing what’s right for us. I ended up taking Aidan to Dairy Queen on Friday. It’s something Mom used to do when I was in school. She also made chocolate chip and banana pancakes on Sundays. I was thinking we could do that with Aidan.”

“I think that sounds perfect.”

“I missed your birthday,” Matt continued. “I feel really terrible about that one.”

Seamus sighed. “It’s whatever.”

“It was super shitty of me. I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted, but you better come next year.”

“I will,” he promised. “I should’ve come this year. It was a mistake not to. Besides asking us that one time, you never brought it up. I didn’t even know what dates you were gone. The lack of chatter made it seem unimportant.”

“I know, that’s my fault. I wasn’t excited to go because I didn’t want the separation. So I didn’t talk about it.”

Matt sighed. He just wanted to forget about everything and be with Seamus. “I love you.”

Seamus closed his eyes and rubbed his chest. “I love you, too. So fucking much.”

It was late. Matt stretched out on the couch and grabbed a throw to keep him warm. Seamus already looked better. His face wasn’t so sad and dull. He was still wearing his guilt but even that had softened with relief.

They talked and talked. Seamus shared about the trip and Matt vented about his friends. He was pretty sure those friendships weren’t the ones he’d be fostering through adulthood. Not that he didn’t love them, but he accepted that some friendships change.

“My phone’s going to die,” Matt finally said.

“Charge it.”

“It’s somewhere in Dad’s room. I’m not going to go dig around in there while he’s sleeping.”

“Call me from your phone.”

“Why didn’t I think of that?!” Matt sat up and started toward the kitchen. “On Jay's phone?”

Seamus was quiet for a moment. “Maybe call me on Will's phone. Jay is getting a ton of messages about Loren.”

“What happened to Loren, exactly?”

"He was in a rock climbing accident. I don't know much more than that."

"Yikes. Shit, text Will's number to my phone" Just then his dad's phone died. Matt pressed the power button on his phone and watched the icon flash as it booted up. When the text arrived, he called.

Talking had brought him peace, but also longing. Some things wouldn’t be completely resolved until they saw each other face to face. Until then, Matt had work to do. He needed to make some changes before Seamus got back.

Which meant Matt needed to get to work.

Copyright © 2021 Mrsgnomie; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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