"Will do." Jack watched them go, caught Ty's gaze for a moment, and then went inside. The screen door opened a moment later, just as he stepped into the kitchen.
"Thanks again," Ty said.
"No problem, kid. Can't risk your brakes goin' out." Jack rummaged until he found a beer, then popped it open, taking a huge swallow.
Ty laughed. "We're going out and you're already drinking?"
"Needed it." Jack took another big drink, and set the bottle on the counter. "By the way..." He turned and Ty looked up from where he'd been reading the brake pads box. "Happy birthday."
The kid smiled, lighting up his entire face. "Thanks. Finally legal." As if to accentuate his point, Ty grabbed Jack's half-empty beer off the counter top and finished it off.
Jack made a point to not look at the way the kid's throat worked with every swallow, or the expanse of flesh exposed, waiting for a kiss or two. When the bottle hit the inside of the trash can, Jack snapped himself out of his daze. "I'm gonna go get changed."
"Cool. I'll be down here."
He took the steps two at a time, needing to put as much space between him and Ty as possible. His control was slipping the more they were alone. Every inch of Jack's body ached for Ty's touch, his fantasies only fueling the fire slowly driving him mad. Safe in his room, Jack slumped back against the closed door, eyes closed, and tried to steady his racing heartbeat. This was killing him.
Jack opened his eyes, realizing he'd been standing there for a good while longer than he'd intended. "Yeah. Just gimme a minute."
"You okay, man?"
No? Jack shook his head. Just open the door, take the chance.
"Jack. C'mon." Ty tried turning the doorknob, muttering something when it proved to be locked. "Look, we don't have to go out. I can call Robbie's cell and--"
"No. I'm okay, kid." Really. Jack heard the wood creak when Ty leaned against the wall.
"Then what's wrong? You've been acting weird for a while now," Ty said quietly.
Taking a deep breath and saying a prayer, Jack turned and opened the door. Ty stared at him from the opposite wall, hands shoved into faded jeans pockets. Booted feet set shoulder-width apart, stretching the denim across lean hips, he watched Jack with a curious but worried expression. Jesus, Jack was in trouble and he knew it.
"I'm okay. Really," Jack said finally.
"Then why have you been avoiding me? Thought we were friends."
Jack sighed and raked a hand through his already-graying hair. "Goddamn it, Ty! I'm avoiding you because I want you too much."
"What's stopping you?"
Brow furrowed, Jack met Ty's gaze. "What?"