“I never would have thought he was the one,” Preston said when Cary finished telling him what had happened.
“I know, and it was all my fault. If I had loved him the way I should have…” He heaved a deep sigh of remorse.
“That’s not true,” Preston said adamantly, easing his hand out to take Cary’s which lay on the pristine white hospital sheet. It had been two days since he’d been shot and he was doing better than even his doctor had predicted. He still felt like a pincushion with all the tubes and needles stuck in him but with help he could sit up, which he was doing now. “He’s a sick man Cary. I suspect even if you had really loved him he’d still have seen me as competition, although I wasn’t.” He smiled, gently squeezing Cary’s hand. “At least now with a decent lawyer he’ll get some help. If, of course, he’s willing to plead insanity.”
Cary nodded, looking down at their hands for a moment before returning his gaze to Preston’s face. “What are you going to do now, once they let you out of here?”
“I was going to ask you the same question. Are you going to stay at your apartment?”
“I don’t think I could stand being there after all that’s happened.” He chuckled wryly. “I slept on Tabby’s sofa again last night after dealing with the police. I told her I was fine and wanted to stay here at the hospital with you but she put her foot down.”
“That’s my Tabby Cat, bossy as hell but I love her anyway.”
“For sure. So, anyway, I guess I’m going to start looking for a new place as soon as possible.”
“Would you…” Preston chewed his lip as he stared at Cary. “Would you consider having a roommate? I can’t keep imposing on Tabby but I don’t want to be by myself and I’m neat and orderly, usually, and, and,” he said all in a rush before he lost his nerve.
Cary smiled as he traced his thumb over the palm of Preston’s hand. “If it’s you, then yes I’d consider it if you can put up with the fact that I’m a lousy cook and I hate being told what to do.”
“I think I could handle that.”
“But,” Cary looked squarely at Preston, saying softly, “can you also handle the fact that I love you?”
“Umm, well,” he replied, trying to keep his face composed, “I suppose, maybe, after a while, if you’re quite certain that has to be part of the deal.”
“It’s all of the deal Pres. Love, given unconditionally, if you take it.”
“God yes I’ll take it! And give it back with all my heart.”
“Finally,” Tabitha whispered as she opened the door, smiling elatedly when she saw Cary very gently but firmly take Preston in his arms to kiss him. Then she stepped back and closed the door softly. “It’s about time.”