December 31st, 2015
Jesse was frantic.
He paced the floors of the house, back and forth, back and forth, his cellphone clutched tightly in his hand, though there was nothing that that could do.
He had gotten word just as he was leaving work that there had been some sort of giant accident on the roads, and that a lot of people were stuck and injured between Evergreen and Indianapolis, and, well, that morning, Thomas had told Jesse that he was going to head into the city to see his brother. Of course, that had been earlier, right?
On his way home, Jesse had assured himself over and over again that things were fine, that there was no way that this was a big problem, and that Thomas would be home when he got there...but he wasn't, and yeah, that sort of put things into gear for Jesse, and he decided to call. Maybe Thomas had seen the reports, and decided to stay at his brother's, or something like that, so he called...and was met with no answer.
Thomas wasn't here, his car wasn't here, he wasn't answering his phone, he had gone to the city, and there had been...an accident. A huge accident that a lot of people had been in, critical injuries, even deaths had already been reported, and Jesse was here, all by himself, not at all sure what the fuck he was supposed to do. He called Thomas' phone again and again, hoping for something, for an answer, but there was nothing, so he paced.
What if Thomas was hurt? What if there was something really wrong. Oh god, what if he died? This was the first person that Jesse had really ever cared about, the first person to really care about him much at all, and all that he could really think about right now was how awful he felt about the whole thing. He had feelings for Thomas, far greater than he had been able to understand, and admit to himself, let alone say out loud, but he'd been growing closer to him every day, trusting him more. Hell, for Christmas, he'd shown him that by giving him handcuffs, and the promise that he wouldn't try to run again...and that if he did, he wanted Thomas to stop him, because he trusted him.
And now? Now that could all be crashing down around him.
Sometimes it was far too easy to throw himself into his work and just forget that the rest of the world outside his darkroom existed. Especially when it was freezing cold outside and he was without a car because Annie, David’s wife had needed to borrow his because David had taken their car on a business trip. She’d been really apologetic about the whole thing but even if Thomas didn’t like her as much as he did, he probably still would have loaned Annie his car anyways because it wasn’t like he was using it for much. He didn’t really like driving at the best of times but particularly not in the winter so it was really no skin off his nose if he was car-less for a while.
So without a car and with Jesse at work, Thomas had gone down to the darkroom to finish off the prints he owed Mel, before she started sending angry text messages again about how he was letting her down and letting the buyers she’d lined up down as well… Of course with Mel, it was sometimes difficult to tell the difference between angry texts and normal texts since she was a big fan of capslock all the time but Thomas was slowly learning to parse out the difference and the last few he’d received were definitely annoyed leaning towards angry.
Standing up from the low table that held his lightbox, Thomas stretched, feeling the muscles in his back protest as he did so. He wasn’t old or infirm by any definition but spending several hours hunched over developer trays and the lightbox was a good way to guarantee he would start feeling the pain before long. Casting a glance at the prints that were already hanging up to dry, Thomas noted how many he’d already done and decided that it was a decent enough number that he was owed a break. And maybe Jesse would be home by now, which would mean that he really should go say hello, make the usual overtures like ‘how was your day, dear’ and all that.
When he opened the door to the basement though, he caught sight of Jesse pacing up and down the hall, phone clutched in his hand and instantly Thomas’ mind went to the worst possibility. “Jesse? Is everything okay? You didn’t get anymore of those texts, did you?”