“Is Tabby really her name,” Cary asked as he trailed after Preston, grabbing the champagne on the way to the kitchen.
“Yep, short for Tabitha. She’s the one who helped me escape from the hospital and then nursed me back to health. A true Florence Nightingale.” Preston smiled to himself. “She’s a wonderful person and a good friend.”
“Better than me,” Cary said softly under his breath.
Preston turned swiftly to look at him. “Not true and you know it. You’re the best friend I ever had or ever will.”
“But I wasn’t there when you needed me,” Cary countered.
“You would have been. Cary, even if you had been in town you wouldn’t have known what happened. Well,” he frowned, “I gather it made the papers so eventually you would have but I told the hospital not to notify anyone and no visitors. The only reason Tabby knew was because she was my nurse.”
“That’s how I found out, through the newspaper. Damn it Pres it scared the hell out of me when I read that. And then when you vanished…Didn’t you know that I’d have done everything in my power to help?”
“I didn’t want help. I wanted to run, to hide. I would have too if Tabby hadn’t offered to let me, no make that forced me to stay with her.”
“Then I owe her my profound thanks. Pres, there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t thought about you and wondered where you were and if you were still alive.” He stepped closer, touching Preston’s cheek. “I missed you so damn much.”
For a long moment their eyes locked. Preston wanted so badly to close the distance and kiss Cary. He ached with the need to but knew he had no right. Cary had someone. He had Hugh now and was happy. If Cary had ever wanted more with him than just friendship that was long past. Stepping back from his touch Preston began searching for the caviar. “Damn it,” he muttered, “I know it was here somewhere.”
Cary scrubbed a hand over his face. He’d seen something in Preston’s eyes, a longing, a need. He couldn’t answer it although it shook him deeply. He understood with sudden clarity that Preston loved him, maybe always had. And he’d rejected that love. Not intentionally because he could have loved him back, would have if he hadn’t been such an idiot, afraid to take a chance at loosing his friend if he’d allowed what they had to possibly become more. And now he had Hugh. ‘
For what that’s worth’. He stopped as he realized what had just gone through his mind. ‘It’s worth a lot. It has to be. Damn.’ Shocked and confused he turned and grabbed the bottle of champagne. “Where are the glasses,” he asked as he opened it, jumping back when it spouted champagne everywhere.
“Holy shit!” Preston broke into laughter as he waved the can of caviar. “You never could do that right.”
“Yeah, I remember the last time…” Cary grinned as he grabbed a towel off the rack to start cleaning up. “Mark’s going away party. What a disaster that was.”
“Boy was it.”
After opening the caviar and finding the crackers to put it on, Preston leaned back against the counter. Cary joined him, handing him a glass of champagne with a smile. “To a great website and to us. Friends forever.” He touched his glass to Preston’s.
“Forever,” Preston replied, smiling back.