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The call to Trevor goes straight to his voicemail, so I know he deliberately ignored the call. I clench my teeth and dial again. I don’t leave a message that time either, but I give him a few minutes to pout and chew his lip as I get my dinner ready.

I take ground turkey out of the fridge. It’s not until I’m slapping the burger into the pan that I realize I’m almost smiling. Shouldn’t be. The sleepwalking is serious shit. That it gives me a reason to talk to Trevor doesn’t change that. And ignoring my calls is the exact kind of immature shit that ought to piss me off.


Instead, there’s a rush of anticipation like I haven’t felt since I put him on the plane. After I carry my plate to the table, I tap out a text.

Answer your phone next time, brat.

Two bites in I get an answer.

Oh. Thought you butt dialed while trolling on Grindr.

I drop the burger onto the plate.

How the hell does Trevor know about my Grindr account?

Probably guessing. The brat is too smart for his own good. But now that I’ve got his attention, I voice call him again.

He answers with “What?” and there’s a ton of attitude packed into that one word.

My palm itches. “Watch your tone.”




I know him now. I know the need under that defiance. Craving claws at my guts, sharper than any I’ve had for the cigarettes I smoked for ten years before quitting. I want him over my knee, my hand landing hard and heavy while the sweet curve of his ass shudders and reddens under the blows. Despite sitting 800 miles away from him, I can feel him struggling and kicking until I pin him down, hear him gasping out his apology, his pleas. If I had him here, I’d hit him harder then, so he knows I’ve got him. That I’m something solid he can push against when he needs to let go.


Except he’s eighteen and he’s got a life ahead of him. One where I can’t promise to be that for him. One where I sure as hell shouldn’t be missing how tight and clingy his ass is on my dick.


My silence answers for me.


“Exactly,” he says. “Like there’s anything you can do about it now.”


“Are you trying to manipulate me, Trevor?”


“Into what? Coming out to Ohio? Right. Like that will happen.”


“I told you this was how it had to be.”


I wait for him to remind me that he plans on coming back. To my house. To my bed. He told me that for two weeks straight. But he doesn’t say anything now. In the quiet space between us, I picture him shrugging and the craving hits me again. This time to touch him, to brush his hair off his face and hug him. It’s a purely selfish need to feel him lean into me, when I should be working on him taking care of himself.


I square my shoulders. “How are you doing?”


“Great.” The word turns meaningless under the weight of Trevor’s sarcasm. “I’m bored out of my mind. Dad put me to work at the dealership, carrying files from one office to another, like they couldn’t find a well-trained golden retriever to do it. But hey, I signed up for my own Grindr account.”


“You’re too—”


“Not according to their terms of service,” the cocky little brat sneers back.


Anger sets those few bites of dinner on fire in my chest, until I have to thump my ribcage with a fist. It’s not jealousy. I want him to have fun and fuck around with people his own age. But it’s too damned easy to picture Trevor innocently asking some asshole Top to get a little rough and getting seriously hurt. Physically and mentally. I want to believe he’s just trying to make me jealous, but what if he isn’t? And it’s on me for fucking this up, because now that he’s had what he wants in a safe way, he’ll risk getting it anyway he can.


“You promised me you’d stay safe.”


“Don’t worry. It’s not like I’ve been able to find anything to be safe about.”


And speaking of safe. “You have any trouble with sleepwalking?”


“How would I know?” he throws back, but then he adds, “I got it covered.”




“I move the laundry hamper in front of my door at night.”


Which would be fine except he’s moved obstacles before while he was asleep. “What about the way you took down my crutch blocking the stairs?”


“What do you expect me to do? Hire a bodyguard?”


I let out a long breath. “You could talk to someone.”


“Like a therapist?” There’s a tiny break in his voice on the last word.


“Like your doctor. A medical doctor.”


“How will that be any different?”


“You’re the smart one. Aren’t there chemicals in the brain that make us want to sleep or wake up?”


“Kind of. There are neurotransmitters.”


“Right. If an engine’s acting up, you bring it to a mechanic.”


“You want me to take drugs?”

At least now I hear some humor in his voice.


“You’ve never had antibiotics? If something’s wrong, you get it fixed. You don’t wait for it to get worse.”


“I guess.”


That’s probably the best I’m going to get out of him from here.


“You been staying in shape or you wasting all that hard work laying around jerking off?”




“Why don’t you ask your dad if you can go with him to his gym?”


“Because he goes at like five o’clock in the morning.” Trevor makes it sound like the equivalent of drowning kittens.


“So ask him for a guest pass.”


At least at a gym, Trevor will have a chance to meet someone. Maybe not what he wants, which seems to be a boyfriend, but someone he can go to the movies with. The brat has a lot going for him, especially now that he’s been training with me and starting to fill out.


“Why do you care?”


“You know damned well I do care, so don’t be a little punk about it.”


I wonder if I turned up the volume, I’d be able to hear him bite his lip.


“Fine,” he says at last.


It’s not, and we both know it. But I can’t offer anything else that doesn’t make what I’ve done worse. “Stay safe, brat.”

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