"And keep doing the exercises at home this weekend."
Sean managed to salute his physical therapist while turning to wrestle with the door into the waiting room.
Kyle put down his magazine and got to his feet. "Hey."
Sean balanced with the crutches first under one side and then the other so he could shrug into his coat while Kyle waited quietly. Sean had told Kyle over and over that he could wait in the car, but he never did. Sean hated the fact that they wouldn't let him drive yet, so Kyle had to keep taking time from work to bring him here and pick him up. Had it only been three weeks of therapy? It felt like a year.
He was starting to wish that Kyle would complain, but Kyle was being a fucking saint about the whole thing. By now, Kyle knew better than to try to help him with his coat, or to get the door, or to suggest that he take the ramp instead of the stairs. The fight they'd had over Brandt felt like it was still simmering. Kyle had slapped on a veneer of polite attention to the publicity that was seeping into every other aspect of their lives. Sean wondered how long it would take for Kyle to snap.
"So, how much of a bitch was Theresa today?" Kyle asked after Sean had stowed his crutches in the backseat and eased into the front.
"She used her whole quotient up yesterday so I got to spend lots of time in the whirlpool."
At first, Sean kept thanking Kyle for picking him up, but Kyle always made a face that made Sean feel even worse than being dependent did.
"You want to go out and get something to eat?" Sean asked.
"Not unless you really want to. There're some of those cornbeef quesadillas from Juan O'Grady's left."
Sean knew damned well Kyle would normally never turn down a chance to go out to eat, but every time they went out, they could barely eat a mouthful between people coming over to their table to tell him how scared they'd been to hear the news and what a great guy Sean was. It might be great for the public perception of gays and it might be making Brandt some money in the future, but in the middle of a restaurant, the attention made Sean uncomfortable. He couldn't imagine what Kyle hid behind his polite smile. They were living off their freezer and takeout since neither of them could stomach the sight of turkey after the second week.
"Tired?" Kyle asked.
"Not really." After all that time in the whirlpool, Sean felt almost back to normal.
Sean stared through the windshield and then snuck a glance at Kyle's face, the features so familiar but so composed and distant. It had gotten worse since he got home from the photo shoot on Monday. Kyle was going all-out for the Oscar for Considerate Boyfriend in a Supporting Role, but Sean knew Kyle was holding something back. "Do you want to go to the football game?" Kyle turned the radio down as they waited at the light to cross Market Avenue.
"The football game. McKinley's in the divisional playoffs."
"I know that." What Sean couldn't believe was that Kyle knew that. Kyle's attention to sports was limited to the men's swimming and diving events at the Olympics, and attending Tony's Super Bowl party. Though Sean suspected the Super Bowl party attendance had more to do with margaritas and chili than with an interest in the game. In six years of living with a stats-obsessed baseball coach, Kyle had just managed to grasp the difference between an ERA and an RBI.
"All these years you've never once gone to a game with me."
"I thought you might like to go."
The light changed. Sean watched the streets go by. Maybe Kyle had decided that since Sean was now as out as Elton John that going to a game together wouldn't cause problems for Sean with the kids or parents.
"Do you want to go?"
"Isn't that what I said?" Kyle turned right on Harrisburg Road.
Sean would have gone down Thirty-fifth Street. This was the long way. "No. You asked if I wanted to go."
"I want to go."
"To the football game."
Kyle's casual hand-in-lap steering shifted to a perfect ten and two on the wheel. If he weren't wearing the leather gloves Sean's mother had bought him last Christmas, Sean bet he'd be able to see white on Kyle's knuckles. But the polite facade never cracked.
"So, you're too tired?" At last they turned onto Willow Avenue.
"I'm fine. We'll go to the game."
Sean was still trying to figure out why they were going as they hung their coats up in the hall. He wasn't sure how much more of this he could take. He didn't want another fight, but he couldn't stand watching Kyle be so goddamned careful all the time.
"Do you want me to nuke up the quesadillas?" Kyle asked.
"You want to grab something on the way to the game?"
Kyle looked up at him, really looked at him. A quick dart of his tongue moistened his lips as he swallowed.
Sean leaned forward and traced his tongue along the thick bob as it rolled down Kyle's throat. Kyle put a hand up to rest on Sean's chest, not pushing him away, but not letting him closer. There was a question in Kyle's eyes, in the slant of his dark brows.
And right now there was no pain keeping Sean from pressing forward with his answer. He pushed Kyle into the coats lining the hall. The hand on Sean's chest fell away as Kyle tipped his head to meet Sean's kiss.
"So, you really liked the whirlpool, huh?" Kyle muttered against his mouth.
"Shut up." Sean dropped his crutches and grabbed the back of Kyle's head. Kyle's hands made a muffled sound as they slapped flat against the wool-covered wood.
As Kyle's lips opened on a moan, everything hit Sean at once, that long-missed smell, Kyle's taste, the wet slide of his tongue and fuck that healing sartorious muscle, because all Sean wanted to do was grind his cock into Kyle's belly.
Kyle's hands dug into Sean's hips, holding him steady as they kissed, and there was nothing careful or polite about the thrusting tongue in Sean's mouth, the tug of teeth at his lips when they pulled apart.
"Upstairs. Now," Sean grunted against Kyle's lips.
"Okay." But Kyle was kissing him again, cock hardening against Sean's hips as Kyle inhaled Sean's mouth. It took all Sean's concentration to keep his hips still.
Sean lifted his head and steadied himself with a hand on the door as Kyle bent and picked up his crutches, tucking them under Sean's arms.
"Race you." Kyle winked.
"You're on." Sean swung backward and pivoted on his good leg, blocking Kyle's access to the stairs with his crutch. "I win." He hitched himself up on the first step.
"Still have to make it to the bed."
Managing the stairs on crutches was one thing. Managing the stairs on crutches with all his blood pounding into his hard-on was almost impossible. He paused to rest halfway up.
"Sean?" Kyle's voice held urgent concern, and suddenly Sean knew how he was going to win.
"I'm okay," he said without a trace of the irritation he usually showed when Kyle tried to help him.
At the top of the stairs, Sean deliberately stumbled. As Kyle hurried up the last few steps to catch him, Sean tripped Kyle with a crutch and took off for the bedroom. Kyle cursed and chased him, but Sean was sprawled on the bed before Kyle caught him.
"You are such a competitive shithead." Kyle dropped onto the bed.
"Sore loser. Whose idea was it to race a cripple?"
"I just wanted--" Kyle stopped, but Sean could fill in the missing words I just wanted everything to be normal again. Kyle went on, "So we up here for a reason, or did you just want to try to trip me into falling down the stairs?"
"Oh, I got a reason. Interested?" Standing, Sean used one crutch for balance as he pulled his sweats and boxers off his legs.