He settled on the couch under a few afghans with the glow of the muted television. He'd never been good at sleeping in complete blackness until he'd shared a bed with Neil, and now he definitely didn't want to be in the dark. Not without that comforting arm draped around his waist, the familiar bulk and sense of safety that Neil provided.
In the morning, he woke to the apartment door closing quietly. Neil had left. Not even a kiss good-bye or a note. The gummy mess curdled in Danny's stomach no longer had anything to do with food.
He got up, tidied, and somehow managed to muddle his way through the day and have supper warming by the time Neil came home, late and tired.
"Hey." Danny leaned on the kitchen counter, watching Neil hang his coat, stash his briefcase, and tuck his shoes away in the closet. "How was your day?"
"Need a neck rub?"
Neil shook his head and closed the closet door. He didn't turn around.
"Neil, how long are you going to stay mad for something without telling me what it is? It isn't fair."
"I'm not mad."
"I slept on the couch last night because you wouldn't let me in the bedroom. Into our bed. In my book, that's mad."
"I was sorting something out."
Neil shuffled around to face Danny. "It's about me, not you."
"I slept on the couch," Danny said again, more clearly, in case it had slipped past the first time. "That's about me." His chest heaved with the effort of curbing his temper. He wasn't mad. He was frustrated. Frightened.
"Can we eat?"
The bottom dropped completely out of Danny's fight. He closed his gaping jaw with a snap. It had never required conscious thought to make his feet carry him the five steps across the kitchen before, but between that and breathing, he had about all he could manage. With exaggerated care, he took down the oven mitts and fished the casserole out onto the stovetop. The loud clanging of glass against metal filled the room.