Genres: Drama, Gay, GLBT
Collections: Society of Masters
Editor(s): Rylan Hunter
Cover Designer(s): Siol na Tine
Cover Art Credits: Photo by Smilla at Dreamstime.
Production Editor(s): Erika L. Firanc
Proofreader(s): Kailin Morgan, Siol na Tine
Length: Short Story (4,700 Words)
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Serialization Date: Upcoming
Archive(d) on (To be Determined)
Tags: m/m, Short Story, Society of Masters, Whatever the Cost series
Content Labels (What they are and why we use them)
“It’s not a pretty story,” Jacen warned. His fingers grasped at Liam’s shoulder and carded through soft blond hair. The natural scent of Liam filled Jacen’s head, so intangible but somehow, wonderfully, more powerful than the old fears. Liam was there with him. The rest—everything he had been afraid of—was gone. It had been gone for years.
“Pretty? Like my story?” Liam asked. There was that eerie echo of Avery in the words, beneath the layers built on top of the child that was, that lost little boy, in search of love and home, grown into the incredible man who had bound himself and his fate to Jacen’s, for better or worse.
A shiver raced up Jacen’s back, part of the old fear, but Liam felt it there, and kissed it away, replacing hurt with hopeful caring with the skill of one who has learned, through trial and effort, the craft of healing. Wrapped up in Liam, Jacen was hidden inside the safety of their home, surrounded by loved ones, in a place of serenity which together they earned through their efforts to break free of old identities, and the chains of prostitution and helplessness. Jacen had earned that, had fought for it with everything that was in him. With blood and sex, pain and lust, terror and faith, he had followed the path he had set for himself, long ago, and, miraculously, had wound up where he was.
He was happy. He was blessed. Most of all, he was lucky.
“You have enough pain in here,” Jacen sighed, laying a hand on Liam’s chest, over his heart, feeling it bump against his palm. “I don’t want to make you carry mine too.”
“I love you,” Liam said to him. “You believe that, right? And you love me even though I was a whore and a liar, and even though I buried Tim. Do you love me less for knowing about Timothy? Look at where we are. Think of what we have now. We’re married. You’re stuck with me. So tell me. Please, baby.”
“It’s terrible,” Jacen warned, hissing the words, needing Liam to realize what he was asking.
“Maybe,” Liam allowed. “But you’re beautiful, and strong, and we already know your story has a happy ending.”
He snuck a glance at Liam’s face, seeing him bite at the edge of his lip, one eyebrow raised.
“God,” Jacen groaned. “I can’t tell if that sounds dirty or arrogant.”
Liam burst into laughter. Infectious, it caught Jacen too.
“Please, baby,” Liam pleaded so gently. “Share this with me. You’ll feel lighter. Promise.”
Thinking that if anyone would understand, it would be this man who loves Jacen so much, he sighed in surrender and murmured, “Okay.”
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